"Excess exports from China's rare earth industry kept prices artificially low for years, and it was now 'unrealistic' to expect them to fall back to previous levels as Beijing reins in the sector, a senior industry official said on Thursday."
"Li Zhong, the vice-general manager of top producer Baotou Steel Rare-Earth Hi-Tech Holding, told a conference organized by Metal Pages that China's role as the dominant global supplier of rare earths will gradually come to an end as the industry focuses more on the domestic market.
China produces about 95 percent of total global rare earths, giving it a chokehold over the supply of 17 elements used to manufacture catalytic converters, permanent magnets and battery cells for products including wind turbines, cell phones and hybrid cars.
Foreign governments have cried foul after Beijing imposed tougher export restrictions on domestic producers, cutting off supplies and driving up global prices."
David Stanway reports for Reuters September 16, 2011.