The London REE Report: Has China Loosened? 2013.

Zhang Ping, chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission, told Japan's Trade Minister Akihiro Ohata on Saturday that he had "instructed (officials) to speed up inspections at customs, to be more efficient", Ohata told reporters.

Their meeting, along with talks between Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Chinese President Hu Jintao, took place on the sidelines of a summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group of nations in Yokohama, Japan.

According to media reports, China is shipping or is about to ship, rare earths and metals to Japan again. This is good news if it’s true.  So far nothing in the media about shipments to Europe and America, although it is still far from clear if these were ever affected, despite media reports that they were. This being China, supplier of up to 97% of rare metals, and this being the slightly secretive world of rare metals, there’s little transparency, and a whole lot of talking up one’s book. Below, the latest coverage in The China Post.

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China rare earth exports to Japan being normalized: traders
November 16, 2010 10:22 pm TWN, AFP

TOKYO — China's blocking of rare earth minerals to Japan is easing after Beijing pledged to “speed up” exports amid a thaw between the Asian powers in a territorial spat, traders said Monday.

“Shipments of rare earths started the week before last week at a Tianjing port,” an official of Daido Electronics, manufacturer and trader of rare earth-related products based in Gifu prefecture, told AFP.

Another trader specializing in rare earth, who requested anonymity for his Tokyo-based company, said “procedures at Chinese customs resumed on Monday, although the actual shipments have not started yet.”


In other China news today, China has started taking orders for their new narrow body, single-aisle commercial plane, the C919, that’s intended to replace Boeing’s 737 and the Airbus A320.  Significantly GE’s leasing company was among the first placing orders. We covered the C919 last month. A fly by computer plane, it will have all the latest hi-tech avionics, which involves the use of rare metals to make them work. One way or another, if we are to keep our modern way of life, we badly need to get a few more non Chinese mining projects into production. More separation and refining plants into production too.

China Wins 100 C919 Orders, Breaks Airbus-Boeing Grip
Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) — Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China announced its first 100 C919 passenger-plane orders, breaking Airbus SAS and Boeing Co.’s stranglehold on the world’s second- largest market for new aircraft.

General Electric Co.’s leasing arm and China’s big three domestic airlines are among the customers for the narrowbody plane, state-controlled Comac said in a statement issued at the Zhuhai air show in southern China today. It didn’t say how many aircraft each customer ordered.

Comac has a full-sized model of the front section of the plane on display at the show as it challenges Boeing and Airbus’s grip on a domestic plane market that could be worth $480 billion through 2029, according to Boeing. The Chinese planemaker expects to sell more than 2,000 C919s worldwide over 20 years competing against Boeing and Airbus’s most popular jets.

—–The C919’s Chinese customers include Air China Ltd., China Southern Airlines Co., China Eastern Airlines Corp., HNA Group Co. and CDB Leasing Co., according to the statement. The model, which has 166 seats in its standard version, competes with Boeing’s 737 and the Airbus A320.

—–The global single-aisle jet market may be worth $1.68 trillion over 20 years, according to estimates by Boeing.


In other Asian, held over news, at the weekend South Korea’s LG Chem announced more plans to gear up for GM Chevy Volt. Significantly they are looking out to the period beyond 2013, by which time the G-7 should be out of its recession and the worst of the austerity regimes will be ending.

LG Chem sees more battery orders for GM's Volt in 2011
Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:02pm EST

 Volt refuels (Reuters) – South Korea's LG Chem expects to secure more battery orders for General Motors Co's upcoming Volt electric cars for 2011 because of higher-than-expected demand for the car to be rolled out in the United States later this year, an LG Chem executive said.

LG Chem, which started to supply batteries for Volt in September under a six-year exclusive contract, said demand for the Volt was expected to be further fueled by the move by General Electric Co to buy 25,000 electric cars, including 12,000 from GM over the next five years.

GM previously planned to build 10,000 of the Volt cars in 2011 and about 30,000 in 2012.

But the U.S. automaker said in July it will increase Volt production capacity by 50 percent to 45,000 units in 2012, from 30,000.

—-LG Chem plans to boost its annual production capacity at its Korean car battery plant sevenfold to 60 million cells by 2013, with investment of 1 trillion won ($887.1 million) by that year.

LG Chem will also spend additional $300 million on its U.S. plant by 2013, which will have an annual output capacity of 20 million cells.


While no one can predict the future, LG Chem are making an informed guess that from 2013 onwards, western growth and prosperity will be back to a higher normal. The difficulties of 2007-2011 will have largely past. I would tend to agree. But if that’s correct, we all then have an arriving problem, consumption of all commodities will start to soar. The prices of most will rise as well. Arguably, a big demand stimulation for the subject of the blog lies not too far ahead. While 2011 looks to be a difficult year at least in the first half, it will likely be a year of great opportunity to get into the rare metals sector.

More on Thursday as I’m travelling tomorrow in pursuit of fame and fortune.

Graeme Irvine, London.

  1. Nice to see China-Japan relations settling down. It will drive out some speculators from REEs, but that’s fine, the market should focus just on supply and demand, without politics to muddy the waters.

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