The latest magnet material with pricing concerns (Neodymium Price Concerns – June 2021) is Strontium Ferrite.
The Strontium Ferrite (SrFe12O19) magnet is the most commonly used magnet material, featuring in switches, electric motors, telecommunications, and electronics. Strontium hexaferrite’s hard magnet material has a high coercivity due to its magnetocrystalline anisotropy. The material’s resistance to corrosion and demagnetisation, and the ability to operate in temperatures up to 300°C, makes it ideal for a diverse range of applications.
Strontium Ferrite is traditionally a low-cost magnet material. However, the normally stable price of Strontium Ferrite has experienced pressure following a series of increases in raw material prices.Since the beginning of 2021, Strontium Carbonate has increased in price by nearly 270%. Strontium is derived from Celestitie with 50% [data relates to 2014] of the global supply originating in China. Production issues have restricted the mining of the ore, resulting in a global shortage. Other producers in countries such as Spain (26%) and Mexico (20%) have also experienced production issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ferrite Oxide prices are normally very stable, but have experienced a 13% rise since early June 2021. Although prices appear to have stabilised, the outlook remains uncertain. The magnet material is sourced from iron scale peeling off steel during the manufacturing process. Such iron scale is reprocessed to meet the right specification for ferrite magnets. As China is both the largest global source of ferrite oxide and ferrite magnets (60% of global production), changes in policy such as reduced steel manufacturing impact the availability and thus price of the ferrite oxide.
The pricing outlook remains uncertain, although the trend suggests that pricing has peaked. However, there is no sign of prices falling back to those seen earlier in 2021.