Tuesday, September 14th 2021

Rare Earth Metal Prices Are Skyrocketing, Electronics Prices Expected To Follow

If it wasn't bad enough that we're in the middle of a pandemic, which has resulted in major shipping issues globally and a semiconductor shortage, it now looks like electronics are likely to get even more expensive due to skyrocketing prices of many rare earth metals.
Nikkei is reporting that many often overlooked materials, such as neodymium and the lesser known praseodymium, have increased by almost 74 percent since the same time last year and that's only one of several key materials that have increased in price by 50 percent or more in a year.

It's no secret that lithium has increased in price and it now costs about 150 percent of what it was costing last year. However, many other, less obvious materials have also increased in price, with copper up over 37 percent and tin up almost 82 percent in a year. To TPU's readers this mainly means that you can expect higher costs for PCBs and all the components that are soldered onto them, as tin is used to solder just about every component in place.
Neodymium and praseodymium are used in everything from simple speakers, to electrical car motors to wind turbines. With prices continuing to go up, as the demand is increasing due to governments in many western countries switching to a green economy and focusing on electrification of cars, while at the same time trying to go fossil fuel free, seems to be an undertaking that is poorly timed with the current state of the electronics industry.

Other materials like terbium oxide, which is used in LEDs, flat panel displays and high-temperature fuel cells among other things, have gone up by over 60 percent in price. Even good old aluminium is up over 55 percent, which means more expensive parts in just about everything that uses a lightweight metal structure or housing.

As the report goes, China controls 55 percent of the global market when it comes to production of rare earth metals and 85 percent of the refining process. The Chinese government has been putting tighter export controls in place this year, which is also part of the reason for the increase in costs. This might be a way for the nation to try and fight back against some of the trade disputes that have arisen with the US, but it's clearly affecting every nation in the world, as China is without a doubt the world's manufacturing hub.

What China seems to have missed though, is the fact that this is affecting local Chinese companies as well, since increased material costs have caused their profits to tumble, as they often have long term contracts with their business partners that can't be renegotiated easily. As such, many small and mid-sized Chinese suppliers are suffering losses and if this continues we might see some of these companies go out of business. Large, international corporations aren't unaffected by these price increases either, since at some point they're going to have to increase their prices to the end customer of their products, which is likely to translate into fewer sales.

Right now, a lot of negotiations are taking place all around the world to try to maintain pricing, but someone, somewhere is going to have to eat the cost and that can only go on for so long. So far, Sonos has already increased the pricing of its speakers, by anything from $10 to $100 depending on the product. This might be a sign of things to come, as Sonos is unlikely to be the only company to adjust prices accordingly.
Source: Nikkei
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42 Comments on Rare Earth Metal Prices Are Skyrocketing, Electronics Prices Expected To Follow

#2
xkm1948
This is the new normal now. Get used to it. Maximize life span of your current electronic. Not every one needs the shiniest new toy.
Posted on Reply
#3
TheLostSwede
The Quim ReaperWhats the spot price on Unobtanium thesedays?
You'll have to check with Nvidia.
Posted on Reply
#4
neatfeatguy
"Even good old aluminium is up over 55 percent, which means more expensive parts in just about everything that uses a lightweight metal structure or housing."

Holy hell. Prices had been moving up at my work, but I didn't know it jumped that much. This also probably explains why we dropped one scrap metal company for sending scrap to because they wouldn't come up on pricing, so we changed to another vendor that gives almost $.25 more a pound.

"Right now, a lot of negotiations are taking place all around the world to try to maintain pricing, but someone, somewhere is going to have to eat the cost and that can only go on for so long. So far, Sonos has already increased the pricing of its speakers, by anything from $10 to $100 depending on the product. This might be a sign of things to come, as Sonos is unlikely to be the only company to adjust prices accordingly."

Time to let the government know that $15/hr working fast food joints isn't good enough anymore, the minimum wage needs to be pushed to $25/hr so we can all be rich flipping burgers!
Posted on Reply
#5
TheLostSwede
neatfeatguy"Even good old aluminium is up over 55 percent, which means more expensive parts in just about everything that uses a lightweight metal structure or housing."

Holy hell. Prices had been moving up at my work, but I didn't know it jumped that much. This also probably explains why we dropped one scrap metal company for sending scrap to because they wouldn't come up on pricing, so we changed to another vendor that gives almost $.25 more a pound.

"Right now, a lot of negotiations are taking place all around the world to try to maintain pricing, but someone, somewhere is going to have to eat the cost and that can only go on for so long. So far, Sonos has already increased the pricing of its speakers, by anything from $10 to $100 depending on the product. This might be a sign of things to come, as Sonos is unlikely to be the only company to adjust prices accordingly."

Time to let the government know that $15/hr working fast food joints isn't good enough anymore, the minimum wage needs to be pushed to $25/hr so we can all be rich flipping burgers!
I mean, it's per ton, but even so. It's up, up and up this year, from less than US$1,700 a ton to over US$2,900 a ton. It seems to have come down slightly this month though.
Looking at the link below, the last and only time it was as expensive as now, was in 2008.
tradingeconomics.com/commodity/aluminum
Posted on Reply
#6
neatfeatguy
TheLostSwedeI mean, it's per ton, but even so. It's up, up and up this year, from less than US$1,700 a ton to over US$2,900 a ton. It seems to have come down slightly this month though.
Looking at the link below, the last and only time it was as expensive as now, was in 2008.
tradingeconomics.com/commodity/aluminum
We go through a lot of aluminum a year. This past year has been super busy. Other extrusion companies have been having issues getting a consistent flow of billets in, so a lot of new customers have been coming through on top of our existing base. Old customers have also been coming back. One new customer just put in an order for 100,000 pounds of material that's due to by the middle of next month, not to mention a handful of other new customers are wanting similar amounts and existing customers, a lot of them have doubled (easy) what they normally take in a year.

A normal (pre forced economic shut down) year, we'd see a normal ebb and flow for business. Things would start picking up around the end of March and get busy throughout spring and into early fall - usually about start of November. Then things would slow down, much like the construction season in the Midwest. But all of last year since December and based on order forecasting from customers, we're looking to keep production ramped up as much as possible to try and meet demands.

On top of it all, owners have been turning away more new customers than we've been bringing on simply because we don't have the capacity to keep up with all our existing customers if we keep brining in more and more new ones that eat up press time. So many companies are having issues with their current extruders keeping up or prices going up that they're looking to outsource their needs to other extruders, even if it means they're halfway across the US. We got companies in Texas wanting us to take their metal business and ship things from Minnesota out to them. We've got a new customer that drives up out of Iowa because he can get material faster from us than from his local extrusion company.

Right now, for us, business is booming and at least looks to stay that way for the next 6 months. But, who knows what the future holds. We can be slammed one year and a lull the next.
Posted on Reply
#7
TheUn4seen
Early retirement, here I come.
Thank you consumers for being greedy and brainwashed by marketing. Because you "need" all the shiny toys even during a pandemic and price increases, I can retire years ahead of the plan.
Posted on Reply
#8
ThrashZone
xkm1948This is the new normal now. Get used to it. Maximize life span of your current electronic. Not every one needs the shiniest new toy.
Hi,
Tell Microsoft that about win-11 security spec's lol
Posted on Reply
#9
lynx29
looks like I won't be waiting on that LG 42" OLED after all.. better buy the 48" C1 OLED now for $1300 before its too late.

useless free markets.
Posted on Reply
#10
TheLostSwede
neatfeatguyWe go through a lot of aluminum a year. This past year has been super busy. Other extrusion companies have been having issues getting a consistent flow of billets in, so a lot of new customers have been coming through on top of our existing base. Old customers have also been coming back. One new customer just put in an order for 100,000 pounds of material that's due to by the middle of next month, not to mention a handful of other new customers are wanting similar amounts and existing customers, a lot of them have doubled (easy) what they normally take in a year.

A normal (pre forced economic shut down) year, we'd see a normal ebb and flow for business. Things would start picking up around the end of March and get busy throughout spring and into early fall - usually about start of November. Then things would slow down, much like the construction season in the Midwest. But all of last year since December and based on order forecasting from customers, we're looking to keep production ramped up as much as possible to try and meet demands.

On top of it all, owners have been turning away more new customers than we've been bringing on simply because we don't have the capacity to keep up with all our existing customers if we keep brining in more and more new ones that eat up press time. So many companies are having issues with their current extruders keeping up or prices going up that they're looking to outsource their needs to other extruders, even if it means they're halfway across the US. We got companies in Texas wanting us to take their metal business and ship things from Minnesota out to them. We've got a new customer that drives up out of Iowa because he can get material faster from us than from his local extrusion company.

Right now, for us, business is booming and at least looks to stay that way for the next 6 months. But, who knows what the future holds. We can be slammed one year and a lull the next.
Well, "enjoy" it while it lasts, although I guess it's not fun to be busy 100% of the time either.
Posted on Reply
#11
zlobby
The Quim ReaperWhats the spot price on Unobtanium thesedays?
More or less 1:1 with common sense. Eh...
Posted on Reply
#12
xkm1948
ThrashZoneHi,
Tell Microsoft that about win-11 security spec's lol
Just use Linux or keep Win10.
Posted on Reply
#14
Chrispy_
Nice; price hikes in the middle of the scalper apocalypse.

This news is sure to cheer everyone up....
Posted on Reply
#15
Sisyphus
20 years ago China subsidize his Rare Earth Mining companies until most other international players gave up. Now there is the combined political-economic strategy: Cheaper contingents for political subordination, high prices for the rest of the world. State capitalist monopoly to maximize national power.
Posted on Reply
#16
mak1skav
Remember when economy experts warned governments that all those lock downs will have a huge impact on economy but the media "experts" blamed them for spreading conspiracy theories? Pepperidge Farm Remembers
Posted on Reply
#17
Sisyphus
mak1skavRemember when economy experts warned governments that all those lock downs will have a huge impact on economy but the media "experts" blamed them for spreading conspiracy theories? Pepperidge Farm Remembers
The price of Rare Earth is manipulated by Chinese government , not by covid. Otherwise you're right, a lot of prices are going up because it was easier to print money than to keep people working.
Posted on Reply
#18
mechtech
neatfeatguy"Even good old aluminium is up over 55 percent, which means more expensive parts in just about everything that uses a lightweight metal structure or housing."

Holy hell. Prices had been moving up at my work, but I didn't know it jumped that much. This also probably explains why we dropped one scrap metal company for sending scrap to because they wouldn't come up on pricing, so we changed to another vendor that gives almost $.25 more a pound.

"Right now, a lot of negotiations are taking place all around the world to try to maintain pricing, but someone, somewhere is going to have to eat the cost and that can only go on for so long. So far, Sonos has already increased the pricing of its speakers, by anything from $10 to $100 depending on the product. This might be a sign of things to come, as Sonos is unlikely to be the only company to adjust prices accordingly."

Time to let the government know that $15/hr working fast food joints isn't good enough anymore, the minimum wage needs to be pushed to $25/hr so we can all be rich flipping burgers!
Aluminium almost jumped up 100% when Trump introduced tariffs. Steel has gone up about 100% past year.

Just don't buy anything, eventually if everyone fallows suit prices will come done............................keywords being 'if everyone'

I think wallstreet wants to make some money after the gamestop fiasco lol
Posted on Reply
#19
Metroid
The chinese are behind it, made all countries stop working with the virus then the chinese are using their reserves which bought very cheap from those countries before the virus then will sell 10 to 20x more expensive then they will crash the rare metal market then will buy those metal very cheap again, business 101.

Know how you can stop the bs? just don't buy overpriced products.
lynx29looks like I won't be waiting on that LG 42" OLED after all.. better buy the 48" C1 OLED now for $1300 before its too late.

useless free markets.
Where I live I can buy it for 750 usd and still having doubts because i have a 28 4k monitor 60hz working without any problem and seems all right, an oled 48 inch 120hz would be awesome.
Posted on Reply
#20
zlobby
SisyphusThe price of Rare Earth is manipulated by Chinese government , not by covid. Otherwise you're right, a lot of prices are going up because it was easier to print money than to keep people working.
Didn't Xi announce support to rebuild Afghanistan recently? Same Afghanistan where suddenly tons or rare elements were discovered?
Posted on Reply
#22
ThrashZone
HI,
Side stepped referring to mining didn't they lol :roll:
Posted on Reply
#23
Tigger
I'm the only one
I'll be scalping my partners old lithium pills :p
Posted on Reply
#24
AnarchoPrimitiv
Most people probably don't know about it, but the minerals our electronics use have serious impacts, there's no better example than the conflict mineral Coltan. The demand for Playstation 2's in the west helped spark a war over this mineral in the Congo that helped to devastate the country and its people

Posted on Reply
#25
Readlight
Interesting. I wold be glad to get some off this material, for pension.
Posted on Reply
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