At the time of the alleged 2010 embargo, Chinese firms accounted for 97 percent of rare-earth oxide production and a large fraction of the processing business that turns these into rare earth metals, alloys, and products like magnets. This near-monopoly was in a market with surging demand and intense political resonance in consuming countries. And the most dependent countries-primarily Japan and the United States, but also several European states-happened to be those over which China most wanted influence. Prices soared in the REE spot market in the wake of China's 2010 export cuts, especially as downstream users-companies that incorporate REEs into other products-filled inventories to protect themselves from future disruptions.
Downstream markets are already adjusting to the changing supply picture through normal market mechanisms. This report presents a forecast of REE for a variety of technologies: semiconductors, HDDs, FPDs, mobile devices, LEDs, and alternative energy.
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