China’s NdFeB Exports Increased 11.0% in 2017
Exports amounting to US $1.47 billion in 2017
In 2017 China’s exports of neodymium-iron-boron (“NdFeB”) permanent magnet alloy amounted to 29,907 tonnes, an increase of 11.0% over the previous year, according to statistics from China Customs. The value of NdFeB exported in 2017 amounted to US $1.47 billion (US $49.10 per kilogram), an increase of 13.0% year-over-year.
Imports amounting to US $214.5 million
China’s imports of NdFeB permanent magnet alloy amounted to 2,357 tonnes in 2017, an increase of 1.5% year-over-year, according to statistics from China Customs. Despite this relatively small quantity, the total value of NdFeB imported in 2017 amounted to a hefty US $214.5 million (US $91.00 per kilogram), an increase of 2.4% over the previous year.
Huge disparity between unit value of imports and exports
The observed disparity between China’s average realized export price (US $49.10 per kilogram) and import price (US $91.00 per kilogram) in 2017 speaks to the nation’s ongoing reliance on Japan for supply of high-grade NdFeB used in electric vehicle traction motors, wind power generators, industrial robots, and other applications involving elevated temperatures and/or strong demagnetization fields.
As China’s electric vehicle industry continues on a path of explosive growth, and the nation pushes forward with the automation of assembly lines and the onboarding of more-and-more renewable power, Chinese end-users of high-grade NdFeB will become increasingly reliant on expensive imports from Japan if China’s own high-grade production capacity does not increase substantially in the near-term.
For end users of high-grade NdFeB in Europe and North America – which are also highly reliant on Japan for high-grade NdFeB supply – the potential for future escalation of China’s imports from Japan should be a major concern.
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