Rare earth imports nosedive as demand met in summer

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Rare earth imports nosedive as demand met in summer

Korea’s imports of rare earth materials plunged in November from a month earlier due to decreased shipments from China, customs data showed yesterday.

Imports of rare earth materials, which include scandium and yttrium, came to a total of 139 tons last month, down 47.5 percent from a month earlier, according to the data by the Korea Customs Service (KCS). This follows a 36.6 percent shrinkage in October.

Imports from China dropped 48.3 percent from a month earlier, the data showed.

“Domestic companies seem to have secured a sufficient amount of rare earth materials during the summer. That appears to be translating into less demand for imports of such materials over the past few months,” a KCS official said.

Countries all over the world are rushing to secure rare earth elements mostly used in electric vehicles, liquid-crystal displays and other high-tech equipment.

Korea imports two-thirds of its rare earth material needs from China. Imports of other rare metals increased. Manganese imports totaled 11,920 tons last month, up 13.7 percent from a month earlier, while molybdenum imports surged 104.7 percent on-month to 1,960 tons, the data showed. Cobalt imports jumped 37 percent to 806 tons, but imports of tungsten fell 4.8 percent to 148 tons, according to the data.

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