Earlier this week, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced the second round of allocations of rare-earth export quotas for 2013, to companies operating in China. This follows the initial announcement outlining the first allocation for 2013 in December 2012.
A total of 15,500 t of export quotas was allocated in this second round, comprising 13,821 t of light rare-earth (LRE) products and 1,679 t of medium / heavy rare-earth (M / HRE) products, bringing the total for 2013 to 30,999 t. This is almost identical to the 2012 total of 30,996 t.
Let’s now take a look at the allocation numbers associated with this week’s announcement, before reviewing them in the context of the full year’s allocations, and those of recent years. The companies below, highlighted in green are Chinese / non-Chinese joint-venture (JV) companies – the rest are Chinese-owned. The list is sorted from highest-to-lowest total allocation:
|Exporting Company||Allocation (tonnes)|
|Baotou Rhodia Rare Earth Co.||1,020||65||1,085|
|Gansu Rare Earth New Materials Co.||881||72||953|
|China Nonferrous Import-Export Co. Jiangsu Branch||758||137||895|
|Grirem Advanced Materials Co.||735||141||876|
|China Minmetals Corporation*||670||140||810|
|Yiyang Hongyuan Rare Earth Co.||712||21||733|
|Yixing Xinwei Leeshing Rare Earth Co.||611||114||725|
|Ganzhou Chenguang Rare Earth New Materials Co.||660||57||717|
|Leshan Shenghe Rare Earth Technology Co.||647||56||703|
|Zibo Jiahua Advanced Material Resources Co.||683||19||702|
|Guangdong Rising Nonferrous Metals Group Co.||572||79||651|
|Jiangyin Jiahua Advanced Material Resources Co.||529||118||647|
|Liyang Rhodia Rare Earth New Materials Co.||489||141||630|
|Xuzhou Jinshi Pengyuan Rare Earth Materials Co.||546||54||600|
|Ganzhou Qiandong Rare Earth Group Co.||455||94||549|
|Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare Earth Hi-Tech Co.**||509||28||537|
|Baotou Huamei Rare Earth Hi-Tech Co.**||508||29||537|
|Inner Mongolia Baotou Hefa Rare Earth Co.**||444||27||471|
|Chalco Rare Earth (Jiangsu) Co.||373||96||469|
|Jiangxi Rare Earth & Rare Metals Tungsten Group Co.||438||6||444|
|Shandong Pengyu Industrial Co.||378||40||418|
|Baotou Tianjiao Seimi Rare Earth Polishing Powder Co.**||201||9||210|
|Huhhot Rongxin New Metal Smelting Co.||155||14||169|
|Baotou Santoku Battery Materials Co.||159||10||169|
|Ganxian Hongjin Rare Earth Co.*||132||31||163|
|Guangdong Zhujiang Rare Earth Co.||83||37||120|
|Xi’an Xijun New Materials Co.||11||0||11|
|Sub-Total: Chinese / Non-Chinese JVs||3,847||490||4,337|
* Part of China Minmetals Group, which was allocated a confirmed total of 973 t.
** Part of Baogang Group, which was allocated a confirmed total of 1,755 t.
Here is a comparison of the quota allocations for the past five years:
We can see that there has been little change in the total quantity of allocations in the past four years, even if the structure and methods of allocations have evolved. The same companies which were allocated first-round quotas in 2013 also received them in the second round.
Given the projected increases in non-Chinese supply of LREs in 2013 and beyond, it was expected in some quarters that MOFCOM might eliminate export quotas for LREs; while this has not yet happened, it is still a distinct possibility. MOFCOM was apparently at pains to preserve the total export quota numbers in comparison to 2012, perhaps in an attempt to minimize volatility caused by the allocations. Of course, doing so is a case of “too little, too late” given that the rare-earth price increases which peaked in mid-2011, were caused by the rare-earth supply chain mis-interpreting the drop in quotas in 2010 as an actual restriction on supplies from China…