Rare earths: Growing demand and tight supplies | The American Ceramic Society

Rare earths: Growing demand and tight supplies

It’s far from a disinterested source, but Avalon Rare Metals tells me today that prices for individual rare earth elements have soared 22-705% since January:

“[T]he most significant rises have occurred since the June announcement on export quota reductions. The largest percentage price increases have been for cerium and lanthanum, which most analysts believe is largely due to China’s exporters limiting exports of the low valued light rare earths . . . With the exception of terbium, today’s prices for all the rare earths are the highest they have been since 2001, when price data became more widely available for individual rare earth elements. Based on a simple, un-weighted, arithmetic average, rare earth prices as a group have risen a remarkable 300% since the beginning of 2010!”

Some examples of REE price jumps* provided by Avalon:

REE Price, as of 1/5/10 Price, as of 8/5/10 % increase**
europium 485 590 22%
terbium 365 605 66%
dysprosium 117.25 286.50 144%
yttrium 10.25 34.50 236%
gadolinium 6.75 40 493%
neodymium 22.50 55.25 146%
praseodymium 21.50 54.50 153%
lanthanum 5.60 33.50 498%
samarium 3.95 31.80 705%
cerium 4.15 33 695%

* In U.S. dollars, FOB ex-China per kilogram, where prices are the mid-points between the bid and the ask prices on the reference dates.

** Avalon’s numbers corrected from original.

For more on the growing crunch on REEs, see Wendy Hankle’s “Rare earths: RESTRICTED” story in the online September issue of ACerS’ Bulletin.