SEOUL, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's rare earth import from China plunged 60.6 percent last month due to a surge in import prices, customs data showed Monday.
South Korea purchased a total of 61 tons of rare earth material from China in August, down 60.6 percent from a month earlier, according to the Korea Customs Service (KCS). It was the first decline in five months.
The August fall was attributed to a surge in import prices, which jumped 31 percent last month. The reduction in import from China was offset by an increase in import from Japan and France.
Rare earth import from Japan grew 29.8 percent on-month to 65 tons last month, with those from France soaring 515.5 percent to 46 tons.
In terms of value, rare earth import from China tumbled 41.2 percent on-month to 2.45 million U.S. dollars in August, while import from Japan and France jumped 74.7 percent and 339.1 percent respectively.
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.
Meanwhile, magnesium import from China declined 37.9 percent on- month to 657 tons in August, with shipment of tungsten from China retreating 60.1 percent to 19 tons.
Cobalt import from China contracted 23.6 percent to 392 tons over the same period, but molybdenum import jumped 47.8 percent to 306 tons last month.