REE prices have risen substantially in the last decade. Between October 2009 and June 2011, prices for all REE rose 1,500 percent then declined significantly during the latter part of 2011. The increase in price was the result of China’s monopoly on REE exports. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, prices declined further in 2012 but remained substantially higher than in 2010. Although there have been major fluctuations in price of REE, they are expected to remain high until a chain of supply, processing, and manufacturing has been established outside of China. The table below shows the rising prices along with fluctuations in 2008, 2010, and 2011.
Relative market values for REE are highly variable and depend in part on the source quoted. Prices also depend on the level of purity, which is determined by the specifications for any particular application. Pricing occasionally address individual metallic elements. However, most references cite REE in oxide form, reported as REO. REO concentrates vary in their elemental mixes based on that found in their source deposits. REO prices vary accordingly and may not be comparable between one deposit and another. Concentrates range from near 40 percent REO to 99 percent REO. One source for current REE price information is Metal-Pages, which requires a subscription.