For more than three months, events in the world of hardware and electronics in general have shown that this is not a technology problem as such (which it is, eye) but a geopolitical, territorial and material problem for control, supply and treatment of everything that has to do with semiconductors. The last example is the most precise: the control, treatment and distribution of the calls «rare earth«, For which everything has exploded and the war is at its highest point.
The scarcity crisis is far from over, China and the United States intensify it
The summary of what is reported today can be summed up in a single sentence: the price of the metals that make up rare earths has skyrocketed and is now peaking. The background of all this is much broader than the fact that due to this all hardware components are going to go up in price, mainly because companies are not going to be able to absorb the impact of the rise and transport, so this will have repercussions. in a higher cost for the user and therefore presumably low sales for the manufacturers.
This goes much further, since rare earths have skyrocketed in price (there are minerals at + 150% such as lithium) in the last year and reports assure that the escalation will be greater in the coming months, just when Intel and AMD they are going to present their new processors and, in part, platforms. The reason for this is undoubtedly the trade war between China and the US over these minerals, where the Asian country controls 58% of world production and a surprising 85% of refining of these metals.
The US moves tab and tries not to depend on China in rare earths
The Biden administration has given order and economic aid to its country’s mining companies to increase the capacity of these rare earths, but China in a very intelligent move that occurred years ago has a significant stake in the largest mining company in the United States. : MP Minerals.
Right now the US capacity is about 50,000 tons per year, which depend on refining in China to be used as minerals in the industry. That is, China currently has the upper hand, where approximately 20 years ago no one saw the movements of Asians now lament. Trump was very clear about it with China, Biden seems to be beginning to see the reality of the war and that is why it is rumored that the departure from Afghanistan corresponds to a centralization of economic resources to win the war for semiconductors, since weapons in said The country was never going to be won and it only served as an excuse to generate money with weapons and to launder dollars.
Meanwhile, both countries play roulette with hardware, since prices are going to rise, companies are going to sell less, less rare earths will be imported, and we will all lose. The issue is who loses the least, not who wins the most. What is certain is that it will not be the last movement between these two superpowers, while the European Union, as they say “neither punctures, nor cuts”. Grab your wallet, because not even Black Friday is going to compensate in the hardware seen what is seen.