S Korea's rare earth imports from China surge in May
Updated: 2012-06-21 16:41
SEOUL - South Korea's rare earth imports from China surged last month due to a fall in import prices, customs data showed Thursday.
South Korea purchased a total of 92 tons of rare earth materials from China in May, up 71.3 percent from a month earlier, according to the Korea Customs Service (KCS). Around 48.5 percent of South Korean imports of rare earth materials in May came from China, down 1.1 percentage point from the previous month.
The unit price of rare earth materials imported from China dropped 27.1 percent on-month to $41.58 per kilogram last month, contributing to the country's higher dependence on China.
Rare earth materials, including scandium and yttrium, are key components for modern-day technologies such as hybrid electric vehicles, liquid crystal display (LCD) and other high-tech products.
Rare earth imports from Japan jumped 53.3 percent on-month to 69 tons in May as import prices declined 28.2 percent to $39.88 per kilogram last month, when 20 tons were imported from France.
In May, South Korea imported a combined 190 tons of rare earth materials, up 75.3 percent from the previous month, according to the customs office.
Meanwhile, imports of some rare metals also increased in May on an on-month basis. Inbound shipments of manganese, cobalt, lithium, indium and chrome expanded 5.4 percent, 30.0 percent, 57.2 percent, 7.3 percent and 35.7 percent respectively last month.
In contrast, imports of molybdenum, tungsten, titanium and magnesium contracted 20.3 percent, 27.5 percent, 57.2 percent and 37.8 percent each over the cited period.