Molybdenum is a metallic element that is most commonly used as an alloying agent to enhance metals' strength and durability. It is also used for a range of chemical purposes, for instance as a lubricant or pigment. In most applications, moly has no substitutes, a fact that helps keep demand steady. While the average price of moly rose in 2014, it may fall in 2015. That expectation is based on the fact that the Chinese government canceled export quotas for the metal in 2015 following a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that such restrictions violate WTO rules. A lack of quotas is likely to increase world moly supply. With that in mind, it's interesting to look at the top moly-producing countries of 2014. Here's a brief overview of those nations based on statistics from the US Geological Survey (USGS). 1. ChinaMine production: 100,000 tonnes China produces the vast majority of the world's moly, and despite a 1,000-tonne drop in production between 2014 and 2015, the country remains the globe's biggest producer by a large margin. The Asian country's massive economy includes a giant industrial sector, and it is keen to limit its reliance on western mine output. By producing the moly needed to keep its industrial capacity strong, China avoids overpaying for imported metal. In years past, the country leveraged its position as the top moly producer by limiting exports of the metal, but as mentioned above, that changed in 2015. The full implications of China's more open trade policy for moly remain unclear. 2. United States Mine production: 65,500 tonnes The US ramped up its moly output in 2014, raising production by 4,800 tonnes, but its demand for the metal still remains higher than domestic supply — last year, its imports of the metal rose by 17 percent.