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China says 2019 rare earth magnets output maintained steady growth

SHANGHAI, Jan 22 (Reuters) –

* China’s production of rare earth magnets maintained steady growth in 2019, according to its ministry of industry and information technology on Wednesday, citing data from the China Rare Earth Industry Association.

* Sintered neodymium iron boron magnet output stood at 170,000 tonnes last year, up 9.7% from 2018, while bonded neodymium iron boron magnet production grew 5% to 7,900 tonnes.

* The ministry also reported samarium cobalt magnet output at 2,400 tonnes in 2019, a 4% year-on-year growth.

* China, the world’s top producer of rare earths, shipped 46,330 tonnes of rare earth in 2019, according to China customs data, the lowest annual total since 2015, on weaker global manufacturing demand amid the U.S.-China trade war.

* Reuters reported that the U.S. military plans to stockpile rare earth magnets used in weapons manufacturing, according to a government document, seeking to cache a supply of neodymium iron boron magnets in an attempt to weaken China’s control over the rare earths sector.

* China had earlier raised prospects of restricting the supply of rare earth products in its trade war with Washington, but it has since raised its annual rare earth output quotas to record highs and signed an initial deal with the United States to end the trade row. (Reporting by Emily Chow and Tom Daly; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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