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China’s largest rare-earths manufacturer Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth (Group) Hi-Tech Co. Ltd plans to launch a physical-trading platform for rare earths, according to the WSJ. State-owned Batou will launch its first spot-trading platform on August 8.
China controls about 95 per cent of rare earth metals which are used in hi-tech and defence sectors. And such a platform would help the country exercise more control in the pricing of important minerals.
“The market for rare earths is largely opaque because they aren’t sold in public markets and move in small volumes, and only a few private-sector and government sources provide pricing data. A trading platform could provide some clarity, but if successful it could also give a China-based entity a role on determining rare-earth prices.”
China has been cracking down on illegal mining, cut production and enforced quotas to curb pollution and secure its reserves.
The EU, U.S. and Japan have asked the World Trade organisation to settle a dispute with China over its export restrictions on rare-earth minerals. Many argue that this is an attempt on the part of Beijing to draw more manufacturing to the country.
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