Well, it has been a few months since we last looked at the price of Neodymium. We last looked at it back in September when the pricing bubble began to burst and speculator-driven prices began to drop. This is the graph that we posted at that time:
The price of Neodymium had just started to tumble at that time from a peak of about $450/kg to just over $300/kg. So how has Neodymium fared more recently? Let’s have a look:
Its looks like it is pretty much in free-fall. The price seemed to level in January but failed to hold and continued to drop through lat winter. The price is now just over $150/kg. If you invested in Neodymium in July of 2011, you might not be a happy speculator right now.
But let’s keep this in perspective: In 2008 the price of Neodymium in China was at a mere $6/kg, so while the drop from $450 to $150 might seem huge, it is still many times larger than the price when China was cornering the market.
We still do not know how much further the price will drop or if it will level off. Some costs will remain with us: China’s pollution-fighting duties, etc. But the fact that several companies switched from using Neodymium to other sources (such as the Toyota Prius). Domestic production and other rare-Earth mines outside of China have also started producing and it is not in their interests to see Neodymium drop too low -while US mining companies might be happy to get $450 a kg, they will probably be OK with lower prices – but not the cellar low $6/kg.
Neodymium magnets are used in not just toys, but also in stereo loudspeakers, TV’s, turbine systems, car parts, science instruments, and even smartphones.