Chinese Monopoly is Hiking Consumer Electronics Prices, Consumer Electronics Daily Reports
NEW YORK, Aug. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A scarcity of a metal that you’ve probably never heard of is causing significant price hikes for all kinds of consumer audio products, from high-end stereo systems to car stereo speakers to tiny ear buds that connect to smart phones, as well as for other devices such as hybrid vehicle motors. And according to a report in Consumer Electronics Daily‘s Aug. 31 edition, access to this vital element is fueling a growing trade fight between the U.S. and China.
The substance is neodymium, a so-called rare earth metal that’s used to make the powerful magnets that allow shrinking the size of audio speakers, headphones and other consumer products. Consumer Electronics Daily reports that virtually all of the world’s neodymium comes from China, which, realizing it has a near-monopoly, has hiked the price of the metal by as much as 1,000 percent. That alone has meant speaker price increases of as much as 10-20 percent, and they could go higher, CED said.
The little-known problem of China monopolizing neodymium and other rare earths is big enough that at least one congressional bill on the commodities has been introduced. Some are pressing the U.S. to take the dispute to the World Trade Organization, Consumer Electronics Daily reported. Others think the solution is to ease environmental rules to allow the U.S. to mine its own supply of the rare earths, said the publication.
Between 96 and 99 percent of global production of rare earth elements, including neodymium, terbium and others, takes place in China, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission. That dependence “exposes the U.S. economy to China’s export restriction policies which are aimed at encouraging domestic use,” an ITC report said.
Consumer Electronics Daily is the U.S.’s leading source of news on the worldwide development, manufacturing, sales and marketing of consumer electronics and related products and services. It’s published by Warren Communications News, a 66-year-old Washington, D.C.-based company that also publishes the award-winning Communications Daily, Washington Internet Daily and Green Electronics Daily.
For further information or a copy of the CED story, contact Senior Editor Rebecca Day at 212-627-2610 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Trial subscriptions to Consumer Electronics Daily are also available at 202-872-9202 or www.consumerelectronicsdaily.com.
SOURCE Consumer Electronics Daily