China won’t seek to control global rare-earth market by cutting output

By Wang Yi Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/30 22:08:41

Rare earth exploration in Shanghai File photo: VCG

China's industry watchdog on Tuesday denied media reports claiming that the nation is limiting production of rare-earth minerals in the second half of the year, and it said that the country's planned rare earth output in 2018 had been raised rather than reduced.

Experts said that as a reliable supplier, China will not try to control the market by reducing production.

China plans to raise rare-earth mining output quota for 2018 from 105,000 tons to 120,000 tons and melting quota for the full year from 100,000 tons to 115,000 tons, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said.

Citing data from Dutch market research firm Adamas Intelligence, Reuters reported on Thursday that China decided to limit domestic rare -earth production to 45,000 tons in the second half.

The 45,000 tons would only represent 40 percent of the year's total production, and unlike previous years when China unveiled 50 percent of the year's total output in the first half, it announced 60 percent (70,000 tons) in the first six months of this year, according to the MIIT.

Reuters also said that the reduction is "an attempt to better control the market" by reducing the quota.

Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the accusation is groundless and reflects a double standard.

"China only adjusts production in consideration of market needs and environmental sustainability, rather than 'to better control the market'," Bai said.

For a long time, China's rare-earth products have made significant contributions to the global supply of this key group of raw materials. In order to further meet market demand, production was raised in 2018, the MIIT said.

"China is deepening all-round reforms and continuously expanding its opening-up. It will actively work with the international community to build a fair and rational rare-earth market order and safeguard the rights and interests of legitimate enterprises," said the MIIT.

Mei Xinyu, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said that China wants to be a reliable supplier in the market. "There is no need for the market to overreact, and China will not reduce export quota to 'control the market'," he said.

"China may make minor adjustments in production, but it's just for the purpose of sustainable development of the industry," Mei said.

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