China’s shipments of rare earth magnets climbed 12 percent in 2019
Exports of rare earth magnets from China to the United States increased by 12 percent in 2019. Data from the General Administration of Customs show that shipments to the United States rose to 4,593 t (5,062 st), up from 4,103 t (4,522 st) in 2018.
The increase comes as the United States looks for ways to secure its supply of rare earths and decrease its dependence on China.
The 2019 number is the highest annual total in customs database records going back to 2017.
Reuters reported that China, the world’s top producer of rare earth magnets, in May last year sparked concerns it could restrict the supply of rare earth products in a trade fight with Washington. However, Beijing ultimately did not announce any formal measures and earlier this month inked a Phase 1 deal to ease the hostilities.
China’s rare earth magnet production achieved steady growth in 2019, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said last week.
For December, rare earth magnet shipments to the United States came in at 360 t (397 st), down 4.5 percent from 376 t (414 st) in November but up 1.1 percent year-on-year.
The U.S. military is seeking to stockpile neodymium iron boron magnets, a type of rare earth magnet essential to weapons manufacturing, Reuters reported last month.