NEW YORK : Shares in U.S. rare earth materials firm MP Materials Corp surged more than 11 per cent on Wednesday following China’s announcement of restrictions on exports of some gallium and germanium products – minor metals used in semiconductors and electric vehicles.
China’s commerce ministry said on Monday the curbs would take effect from Aug. 1, saying the step was aimed at protecting national security interests.
There are growing concerns the restrictions could spread to rare earth metals in which China accounts for nearly two-thirds of world mine production.
Las Vegas-based MP Materials mines rare earth oxides at the Mountain Pass mine in California although it still ships them to China for final processing.
MP Materials declined to comment.
Its stock was last up 6.8 per cent on the day at $24.73, having hit a high of $25.78 earlier. It was on course for its biggest one-day percentage gain in roughly four months.
The shares of Navitas Semiconductor Corp were 3 per cent higher. Navitas does not anticipate any impact on customer deliveries from China’s restrictions given that its chips use gallium, which can be obtained from multiple sources as it is a by-product of other metals including aluminum, a company spokesperson said in a statement.
“Navitas does not expect customer deliveries to be impacted or its business to be adversely affected by the export restrictions,” the statement said.
China’s restrictions could directly impact several U.S. and European chipmakers whose products rely on gallium nitride, Wells Fargo analyst Gary Mobley said in an investor note. Mobley pointed to Wolfspeed Inc, Qorvo Inc, Skyworks Solutions and Qualcomm among firms that may experience constraints.
Semiconductor stocks were trading mostly lower on Wednesday, with the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index down 1.7 per cent. Qualcomm shares were off about 2 per cent, while the U.S.-listed shares of NXP Semiconductors NV lost 1.3 per cent. Lumentum Holdings Inc’s stock fell 4.5 per cent.
Wolfspeed bucked the trend as its shares soared more than 15 per cent after it announced on Wednesday that it secured a $2 billion deposit from signing a 10-year agreement to supply silicon carbide wafers to Renesas Electronics Corp. Wolfspeed shares were last up 13 per cent at $64.27 on the day.