Friday, October 22, 2010

Flexing Her Enormous Econonmic Muscle, China Quietly Withholds 17 Exotic Materials

By turning down the flow of certain strategic materials, China suddenly reminds the world that she currently holds many of the cards (rare earth elements) necessary for manufacture of high tech products. Higher import costs lead to higher prices, inflating the U.S. economy, almost at will; lowered rare earth mining and processing quotas also mean larger retention within China - a decisive manufacturing advantage whenever desired.
While some one-third of known, rare earth deposits are located there, China produces 97 percent of the world's production.

20 October 2010 - Washington (CNN) - US inquiry into China rare earth shipments

17 rare earth elements are required in manufacture of magnets, hybrid cars, computer monitors, HDTV and wireless circuits and most solar cells used for power generation. China produces 97% of these materials, but has stopped/limited shipments to Japan and countries friendly with it.

Experts forecast that annual demand could exceed 200,000 tons by 2014, far exceeding current production level of 124,000 tons a year.

It is necessary to exercise management and control over the rare earth industry, but there won't be any embargo. -Premier Wen Jiabao Oct 8, 2010.

China has denied it was halting exports, but Japanese trading firms said shipments stopped around Sept. 21, held up at Chinese ports by increased paperwork and inspections. That came after Japan arrested a Chinese fishing boat captain whose trawler collided with two Japanese patrol boats off disputed islands in the East China Sea.
China's export cuts have naturally prompted mining companies in the United States and Canada to resume production. Japan, whose demand for these minerals next year is estimated at 32,000 tons, may face a 10,000-ton rare earths shortage.
Japan suspects the world’s biggest energy consumer, China, may be drilling in an offshore gas field near a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Submarines are always silent and strange.



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