Ohata calm as China cuts rare earths

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Akihiro Ohata reacted calmly to China’s announcement Tuesday that it will cut its rare earth export quotas for the first half of 2011 by 35 percent, saying it was effectively what was expected.

A METI official briefing reporters following Beijing’s announcement said that while further analysis is needed to evaluate the latest move, the announcement shows China intends "not to sharply cut" the quotas from the previous year.

China said it will allot around 14,400 tons of rare earth minerals for export in the first half of 2011, about half of the total export quota for 2010, which stood at around 30,000 tons.

"We can’t evaluate (China’s announcement) without analyzing the content . . . but I think the quota was decided roughly in the form of what we had in mind," Ohata told reporters.

China supplies more than 90 percent of the world’s rare earth minerals.

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