BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s rare earth exports rebounded slightly in October after sliding the previous month, customs data showed on Friday, with the world’s top producer of the minerals not following up on a threat to curb supply amid an easing of U.S. trade tensions.
Exports of the group of 17 chemical elements used in consumer electronics and military equipment came in at 3,639.2 tonnes last month, according to General Administration of Customs data.
That was up 1.9% from 3,571 tonnes in September, which registered a near-19% month-on-month drop. The October shipments were also up 17.4% from a year earlier.
China in late May raised the prospect of limiting rare earth exports to the United States as part of the long-running trade war between the two countries.
But Beijing has not formally announced any restrictions on exports, and it is now working with Washington to finalize a so-called “phase one” deal to end the trade row.
Lynas Corp, the only major rare earths producer outside of China, said last month that while U.S.-China trade tensions were leading to greater interest in rare earths, they were continuing to have a short-term negative effect on market confidence.
In the first 10 months of 2019, China’s rare earth exports, which can widely fluctuate, came in at 40,037.2 tonnes, down 7.1% from the same period last year, customs said.
Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Tom Hogue and Muralikumar Anantharaman