China, Japan and the United States are among the world's top three consumers of rare earths. Global consumption of rare earths has continued to grow in recent years, with global consumption estimated to be about 155,000 tons (REO) in 2018.
Rare earth consumption in the United States is highly dependent on foreign countries. Judging from the current world rare earth production, no country or region can completely replace China's supply of rare earth to the United States in the short term. Catalyst is the largest application field of rare earth in the United States, and the rare earth products imported from China are mainly lanthanide products.
China's exports of rare earth smelting separation products to the United States account for nearly 30% of the total exports. It is estimated that China's exports to the United States this year will be about 14,000 tons, basically the same as the previous year. In recent years, China's exports to the United States of rare earth permanent magnets account for about 11% of China's total exports. In the first nine months of this year, China's exports of rare earth permanent magnets to the United States reached more than 3,000 tons, close to the level of the whole year of 2017. It is expected that exports of rare earth permanent magnets to the United States this year will exceed that of last year, approaching 4,000 tons.
The three major rare earth applications in Japan are magnetic materials, catalysts and batteries. Nearly 70% of China's exports of rare earth metals and alloys are exported to Japan, and the varieties are mainly lanthanum and neodymium. 90% of China's exports of terbium and dysprosium products are exported to Japan.
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