Certain Rare Earth Stocks Drawn into Trade Dispute

Shares of rare earth mining companies in Asia Pacific surged on Wednesday after Beijing made a veiled threat toward Washington regarding the materials.

In China, shares of JL Mag Rare-Earth and Innuovo Technology skyrocketed 10% each Wednesday. Lynas in Australia — one of the few rare earth miners outside of China — saw its shares pop more than 15%.

The price hikes came following warnings by officials in Beijing that products made from rare earth minerals should not be used against the development of the world's second-largest economy.

The comment, reported by Chinese state television, was taken as a threat aimed at the U.S. and its technology companies that are dependent on the materials. Chinese President Xi Jinping recently visited rare earth mining and processing facilities, adding to speculation that China could make the minerals more expensive or unavailable if the trade war continues to expand.

Currently, China is the world’s largest producer of rare earths, a critical component in the manufacturing of products ranging from smartphones to electric vehicles.