An industry official on Monday denied media reports suggesting that China is reducing its quota for rare earth exports for the second half of the year in a bid to control the market, saying that despite the lower production quota in the second half, production for the whole year is expected to rise sharply.
The senior official with the Association of China Rare Earth Industry (ACREI) suggested that the lower production quota for the second half of the year was due to huge production in the first half and that media reports are hyping up the situation.
"It is true that the production quota for the second half is lower than that of the first half, but production in the first half was the largest in five years," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Global Times.
He further noted that the quota for rare earth production for 2018 had been raised from 105,000 tons to 120,000 tons, the highest level since China started to set a quota for rare earth production since 2006.
Citing data from Dutch market research firm Adamas Intelligence, Reuters reported last week that China had cut the quota for rare earth production for the second half by 36 percent, as part of "an attempt to better control the market."
China is the largest producer of rare earths, which provide essential materials for making electric vehicles and consumer electronics. In September, China exported 4,951 tons of rare earths, up 14.8 percent from the previous month, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.
The trade war between China and the U.S. might have a small negative impact on China's rare earth industry, the ACREI said in a report released on September 30.
"Downstream products that use rare earths such as nickel-metal hydride [batteries] and electrical machinery have been included in the [U.S.] list of products targeted for 10 percent tariffs. This will have an indirect negative impact on the industry," said the report.
The report said that the U.S. move to remove some rare earth elements from its tariff list showed "the relatively high dependence on China's rare earths."