Demand for Rare Earths Will Grow Steadily

Global demand for rare earths is forecast to increase 3.5% per year to 149,500 metric tons (mt) in 2019, valued at $4.5 billion. The largest increases are forecast for the permanent magnet segment, boosted by expanding production of advanced neodymium magnets for applications such as wind turbines and hybrid and electric vehicles (H/EVs). Rising output of nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries is also expected to fuel rare earths demand. In addition, upgrades to oil refining sectors in emerging countries are projected to boost global catalytic cracking capacity, supporting the production of fluid cracking catalysts, and associated demand for lanthanum and cerium. Rising production of steel, motor vehicles, and electronics is also expected to drive rare earths consumption. These and other trends are presented in World Rare Earths, a new study from the Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

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ILZSG Offers Lead and Zinc Forecasts

The International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) held its 60th session in Lisbon, Portugal, during October, which included a meeting of the group’s statistical and forecasting committee to review the current levels of world supply and demand for lead and zinc and the outlook for 2016. The ILZSG forecasts were prepared before Glencore’s announcement to cut zinc production by 500,000 metric tons (mt) and contained lead mine production by 100,000 mt (See Leading Developments, p. 5).

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Fear Factor Pushes Gold Higher and Copper Lower

By Steve Fiscor, Editor-in-Chief

Gold moved higher from $1,088/oz to nearly $1,134/oz during August as investors sought relief from a global slump in stock prices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average swung back and forth more than 1,000 points before settling down 6% for the month. The market activity, brought about as oil declined below $40/barrel (bbl) and the Chinese devalued its currency, could cause the U.S. Federal Reserve to rethink a hike in interest rates.

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