The price hike in 2011 made downstream enterprises purchase part of NdFeB in advance. In 2012, the NdFeB industry is meeting with unprecedented dilemma. What is worse, nearly the whole downstream market of NdFeB is on the decline, especially wind power. As the world's largest wind power country, China has seen its newly-added installed capacity drop by 10% in 2012.
The market prospects of HDD and ODD, which are the most important application fields of bonded NdFeB, look gloomy. Popular electronic products, such as tablet PC which is gradually occupying traditional PC market, don't use HDD and ODD. Traditional PC is HDD and ODD's main market, and the market may decline continually.
HDD shipment was about 620.652 million in 2011, but was only 442.32 million in the first three quarters of 2012, and is predicted to be only 582.31 million in 2012, down 6.2% year-on-year. The HDD shipment is estimated to decline to 536.82 million in 2015, down 14% compared with 2011. The ODD shipment was about 495 million in 2011, and it is expected to decline to 425 million in 2015. Other areas, such as frequency conversion air conditioner, e-bike and loudspeaker, are facing decline too. These areas are more sensitive to price, ferrite is competent in these areas too, and the cost is much lower. But NdFeB is applied widely in automobile market, especially EPS. It is estimated global EPS motor shipment will reach 33.9 million in 2012, and run up to 42.6 million in 2014, up 25.7%. The application scope of EPS is stretching from high-end to low-end vehicles, so the market prospect is very good. But most EPS motors are produced by Japanese companies, who will purchase local magnet with priority. The high price of NdFeB in 2011 propelled numerous Chinese companies involve in this industry. About 90% NdFeB magnet was produced in China in 2012. The production capacity of Tianjin, Shanxi, Zhejiang, and Baotou had exceeded 300,000 tons in mid 2012, while the actual demand was less than 100,000 tons, so the production capacity was seriously excessive. Although some people believe that high-end NdFeB production capacity is not surplus, the most important application market of high-end NdFeB is HDD and ODD, whose market prospects don't look good in the long run.