World Demand for Rare Earths to Reach 180,000 Metric Tons in 2015
World demand for rare earths is forecast to expand 7.1 percent per year to 180,000 metric tons in 2015. In dollar terms, sales are expected to more than triple from $3.0 billion in 2010 to $9.2 billion in 2015. Consumption will be driven by increases in battery alloy, electronic product, motor vehicle and permanent magnet output. Market growth is expected to accelerate substantially from the 2005-2010 period, when demand in most nations was negatively impacted by substantial and unexpected reductions in Chinese exports beginning in 2009 that led to a sharp rise in rare earths prices. Neodymium and dysprosium are expected to post the fastest growth rates of any rare earth types, spurred by increased sales of heat-resistant NdFeB permanent magnets. However, cerium will remain the most widely used rare earth, accounting for almost one-third of the 2015 tonnage total. These and other trends, including market share and product segmentation, are presented in World Rare Earths, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
Permanent magnets are the largest rare earths market, in terms of both value and volume. Sales will be fueled by increases in consumer electronics, electric motor, and hybrid electric and other motor vehicle production. Neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets, also known as “neo-magnets,” will account for the majority of sales.
World demand for rare earths used in metal processing applications will climb 7.8 percent annually through 2015 to 19,350 metric tons. Sales will be stimulated by increased levels of global steel production, particularly high-strength steels and steels with elevated anti-oxidation properties.
China has held a virtual monopoly on rare earths production since the turn of the century. In 2010, Chinese mines produced 111,000 metric tons of rare earths, accounting for over 90 percent of world output. Among the major Chinese suppliers are Inner Mongolia Baotou Rare-Earth Hi-Tech, China Minmetals and Jiangxi Copper. However, the emergence of non-Chinese suppliers, including Molycorp, Lynas and Great Western Minerals -- combined with increased research and development in rare earths refining technologies -- will boost overall rare earths supplies and eventually reduce upward pricing pressures.
The Freedonia Group is a leading international business research company, founded in 1985, that publishes more than 100 industry research studies annually. This industry analysis provides an unbiased outlook and a reliable assessment of an industry and includes product segmentation and demand forecasts, industry trends, demand history, threats and opportunities, competitive strategies, market share determinations and company profiles.
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