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Exports of Chinese rare earth metals to jump ahead of new regulations

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BEIJING : Exports of rare earths in top producer China are likely to increase ahead of new regulations due to take effect on October 1, the state-backed research house Antaike said on Tuesday.

The regulations, issued on Saturday by China’s State Council, or cabinet, set out rules on the mining, smelting and trading of the materials used to make products ranging from magnets in electric vehicles to consumer electronics.

The cabinet also said China will establish a information system to track circulation of rare earth products, a move that Antaike said was aimed at preventing smuggling and illegal trade.

Antaike, in a post on its WeChat account, said the regulations, combined with recent efforts by China to regulate the trade of rare earths and other critical minerals, could concern the market.

“Exports will likely increase in the short term due to a possible wave of stockpiling ahead of the regulations taking effect,” it added.

In December, China announced it would ban the export of technology to make rare earth magnets, on top of a ban already in place on exporting technology to extract and separate the critical materials.

China has also said it would require exporters of rare earths to submit information on shipments and quantity under a new rule effective Oct. 31.

Beijing has also introduced restrictions on exports of germanium and gallium products as well as some graphite products, citing national security and interests.

Exports of germanium and gallium products used widely in the chip-making sector surged in July, a month before controls over the sector took effect.

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