China's Ganzhou launches rare earths exchange

BEIJING (Reuters) - The city of Ganzhou in China’s southeastern province of Jiangxi has launched an exchange for spot transactions in rare earths and minor metals, according to a report posted by the Association of China Rare Earth Industry on Thursday.

The Ganzhou Rare Metal Exchange, which was launched on Dec. 31, will help boost the city’s global influence and pricing power for the traded products, the report by the provincial government-run Jiangxi Daily cited Ganzhou mayor Zeng Wenming as saying.

The bourse is the second rare earth exchange to open in China, the world’s dominant producer of the group of minerals after the launch of the Baotou Rare Earth Products Exchange in Inner Mongolia in 2014. The Shanghai Futures Exchange is also working to introduce rare earth futures.

Baotou and Ganzhou are China’s two hubs for rare earths, which are prized for their use in consumer electronics and military equipment.

The Ganzhou exchange will also trade molybdenum, tungsten, tin, cobalt and other metals, the report said, making its trading portfolio similar to that of China’s now-defunct Fanya Metal Exchange.

Fanya was launched in 2011 with the aim of raising prices for minor metals and initially enjoyed government support before collapsing amid liquidity problems in 2015.

The report did not specify which of the 17 rare earths would be traded in Ganzhou, which is known for its high concentration of heavy rare earths such as terbium and dysprosium.

The city was visited by Chinese President Xi Jinping in May last year, speaking concerns that Beijing could seek to restrict supply in its trade war with the United States.

China has not formally announced any measures to curb supply and is set to sign a Phase 1 deal to end its trade row with Washington this month, although its rare earth exports to all countries sank to a 4-1/2 year low in November.

Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Rashmi Aich