China begins stockpiling rare earths amid weak prices

China begins stockpiling rare earths amid weak prices

Summary: Country has begun stockpiling rare earths for strategic reserves, amid rising international tension over export limits it has imposed on the mineral--a critical component for many high-tech goods, report says.

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China has been stockpiling rare earths for its strategic reserves, tightening the country's grip on the resource used in making high-tech equipment such as advanced electronics and automobiles, a state-owned newspaper said.

According to the China Securities Journal on Thursday, Beijing has already started the program, but it not elaborate exactly when it began.

The current low prices for rare earths was what triggered the purchases, said the newspaper.

It noted that China had previously announced its intentions to build such a strategic reserve, but has not publicly announced when it would do so.

China produces over 90 percent of the world's rare earths supply. Its recent moves to tighten the export of the material has led to an international outcry led by the European Union, Japan and the United States.

Last week, the Office of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), along with the European Union and Japan, asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to establish a dispute settlement panel to rule on U.S. claims over China's "unfair" exports of rare earth materials.

Topics: Tech Industry, Government Asia, Legal, China

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Loves caption contests, leisurely strolls along supermarket aisles and watching How It's Made. Ryan has covered finance, politics, tech and sports for TV, radio and print. He is also co-author of best seller "Profit from the Panic". Ryan is an editor at ZDNet's Asia/Singapore office.

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  • This will be huge for the Hard Drive industry

    This could keep HDD and SSD prices high even as the production capabilities of the main manufacturers rebound from the Thailand flooding.
    dsa791