Monday, May 9, 2011

UPDATED: Hoarding Rare Earths is a Sign of China's Weakness (MCP; REE; AVL)

Update: "More than You Ever Wanted to Know About the Rare Earth Mining/Refining Business (MCP; REE; AVL)".
Original post:
Yeah, that's the ticket.
I don't know how this helps the trader/investor, I do know we're still looking for Molycorp to trade down to between $60 and $62.50 before we get another series of all-time highs.
From Barron's Investor's Soapbox:

Why China Is Hoarding Rare Earths
It could be a measure to keep jobs and maintain social order.
LPL Financial
Watch out! China continues its hoarding of rare-earth metals -- a substance vital to the manufacturing of high-tech products, from flat-screen TVs, laptops and mobile phones, to batteries for electric cars and solar panels.
Is China establishing itself as the next Saudi Arabia for technology manufacturing, complete with an OPEC-style embargo? And what could this mean for America's continued technology sector primacy and the prices our consumers pay for technology products?

No need to hit the panic button just yet. With the initial fear-driven headlines on this topic come and gone, it's time to revisit one of Chairman Mao's quotations and "seek truth from facts."
Analysis of the facts leads to a few clear conclusions:

• China's control of the current available supply of rare-earth metals does not set the stage for a technology-style OPEC embargo, nor does it signal yet another "end of America" economic crisis. In fact, many rare-earth metals are quite abundant the world over, and we can expect any price rises in connection with the current shortage to end once other mining resources become available over the medium term.

• China is making a decision to stockpile rare-earth metals out of a position of weakness, not strength. This is being done to ensure continued strong employment in China's manufacturing sector, versus executing on a plan to strategically restrict the global flow of technology products or components.

• Don't expect prices for technology products to increase substantially beyond the pace of inflation, and don't expect America's technology sector to come under siege because of China's rare-earth metals hoarding.
Let's discuss each of these items in a bit more detail, starting with the actual abundance of rare-earth metals. While China today controls 97% of the ready-for-use supply of rare earths, less than one third of this resource is actually in China....MORE