The rare earth metal miners exchange traded fund continues to lose strength as China prepares to end tariffs and quotas on rare earth exports.
The Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF (REMX) was down 0.2% Wednesday. REMX has declined 6.0% over the past month and is down 4.1% year-to-dated.
China could remove tariffs and quotas on its exports of rare earth materials after the World Trade Organization deemed them discriminatory, Reuters reports.
“They may be cancelled next year,” a source close to the matter, who declined to be identified, said in the Reuters article.
In March, the WTO panel found that the Chinese tariffs violated international trade rules by providing domestic consumers an unfair advantage over foreign competition.
China accounts for over 90% of global rare earth production, including 17 elements used in a wide range of high-tech and renewable energy devices. Beijing placed export tariffs and quotas on the rare earth metals industry in 2010 after finding that global prices were to low to offset environment costs. There is currently a 15% to 25% tax on exporters.
However, some argue that lifting the export quota will have little or no effect on the overall rare earths metal market. [Friend Fear With ETFs]
“China is likely to do away with the rare earth export quota after the WTO dispute with trading partners,” Lin Jian, a mining analyst at Zheshang Securities Co., said, Bloomberg reports. “This won’t have much impact on the global market because the supply exceeds demand in this economy and China hasn’t been using up its export quota.”
Moreover, rare earth prices could be supported through an increase in so-called resource taxes.
REMX tracks miners, refiners, recyclers and producers of rare earth/strategic metals. Chinese companies make up 18.2% of the ETF’s overall portfolio, along with the U.S. 18.3%, Australia 12.3%, Japan 10.3% and Canada 9.3%.
Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF
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Max Chen contributed to this article.
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.