China’s exports of rare earth magnets to US rebound in July
BEIJING: China's exports of rare earth magnets to the US rebounded in July from the previous month, customs data showed yesterday, as concerns linger that Beijing could restrict the supply of rare earth products in the Sino-US trade war.
Shipments totalled 447 tonnes last month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
That compared with 414 tonnes in June and 356 tonnes in July last year.
China is the world's dominant producer of rare earth magnets, which are widely used in medical devices and consumer electronics as well as defence. It has raised the prospect of restricting rare earth supply to the US, although no formal measures have been announced.
In retaliatory tariffs on US$75 billion (S$104 billion) of US goods announced late on Friday, China's Ministry of Finance slapped a 5 per cent duty on imports of permanent rare earth magnets from the US from Dec 15, although such imports were at a negligible 4 tonnes in the first half of this year, customs data show.
Tariffs on imports of 11 other rare earth-related items were also introduced.
Another key rare earth product for the US is lanthanum, which is used in the oil-refining industry.
Exports of lanthanum oxide stood at 966 tonnes in July. That was more than double the 433 tonnes in June and up 119.5 per cent from 440 tonnes in July last year.
Exports of lanthanum carbonate, meanwhile, were at 119 tonnes, just below 120 tonnes in June and down 71.9 per cent year on year.
China's overall rare earth exports, which can fluctuate wildly, rose by 32.2 per cent in July from the previous month to their highest level since December, according to data released on Aug 8. - REUTERS