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Magnesium Shortage Expected To Hit Motorcycle Manufacturers by 2022

A view of a BMW Motorcycle in the factory

At this point, I’d say we’re at our limit for unfortunate events in the moto market. 

From the constipation of the Suez Canal situation to the longevity of the chip shortage crisis, to the pretty envelope wrapping all this up that has been (and continues to be) unprecedented times….we’re just saying that everyone could use a break, despite the great sales numbers for today’s two-wheeled industry

So naturally, given our current track record, we’ve now got an incoming magnesium shortage to chatter about.

Let’s get started.

the rear wheel of a motorcycle (magnesium alloy)

Visordown states that China has been hit by a massive power crisis, resulting in a dramatic decline in the production of magnesium. Our own motorcycle markets are extremely hungry for this alloy, as it does so much to represent everything lightweight and strong that we want in a motorcycle – and with China responsible for the production of 87% of the world’s magnesium, it’s not just the motorcycle industry about to be affected. 

the rear wheel of a motorcycle (magnesium alloy)

“China began suffering from rolling blackouts in September as a result of an electricity shortage,” explains the China Macro Economy.

“In response, local authorities ordered the country’s biggest magnesium smelters in Yulin, Shaanxi province, to cut power usage. Magnesium production at Yulin’s roughly 50 smelters in Fugu county – which account for about 60 percent of China’s total output – was halved from mid-September, and 15 of those smelters are likely to see a complete halt in production until March, according to industry figures and media reports.”

The Billiton Magnesium plant

That equation means that our own markets will see a serious shortage by Q1 of 2022, if not earlier.

“The magnesium shortage will likely hit the auto and aluminum sectors the hardest,” says Mok Yuen Cheng, senior managing editor for non-ferrous metals at commodities analyst S&P Global Platts. 

A view of a magnesium motor that has been die-cast

“Europe, Japan, and China have already seen auto output cuts this year due to chip shortages. Now, with the magnesium supply also tight, carmakers are facing higher production costs and further potential output curbs.”

A factory view of magnesium alloy ingots

Last week, the German non-ferrous metal industrial association WVM wrote to the German government, saying that “it is expected that the current magnesium inventories in Germany, and respectively in the whole of Europe, will be exhausted by the end of November 2021.”

A worker focusing on a motorcycle in relation to recent news that there will soon be a magnesium shortage.

If you’re thinking this won’t be that crazy, it’s been enough to get the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (EAMA) to issue a warning to its members, with the following cry to affected governments:

‘…our industries jointly call on the European Commission and national governments to urgently work towards immediate actions with their Chinese counterparties to mitigate the short-term, critical shortage issue as well as the longer-term supply effects on European industries.’

A view of a worker looking in a magnesium tube

We will keep you posted on everything that comes down our pipeline for this story; in the meantime, be sure to brush up on what’s happening in the motorcycle industry with chip shortages, and as always – stay safe on the twisties.

  1. It is past time that the world recognizes that China is no ones friend. They have repeatedly made it difficult to buy basic items elsewhere; and now are rationing supplies to damage everyone’s industries. The Chinese goal is world domination and unless the world wakes up.they successful! Stop buying Chinese and force them to play fair with everyone.

  2. The problem for industry with this Magnesium shortage is that you can’t make aluminum without a fair amount of magnesium in the alloy – and it will be the shortage of billet aluminum that will impact many different industries around the world. the German auto makers consortium has said Europe will run out of magnesium by the end of November – just 4 weeks from now. All due to a lack of electricity in China to support smelting operations.

    1. Yes, interesting how quickly it will be hitting the central hemisphere. Currently in the works of researching percentages of manufacturers per country to see who will feel it the most – if Germany’s already panicking then I suppose we have our answer, though I prefer the hard, shiny truth of real numbers.

  3. ….yet we are still throwing away most of our waste/scrap aluminum due to short-sighted failures to encourage and support recycling in much of USA.

  4. Amen Mr. French you are absolutely correct. And because Chinese leaders see the government as far more important than human rights they are doubly dangerous to the free world. The West needs to wake up and stop helping them before it is too late and China holds all the cards….economically and militarily. And we go along with all this so we can sell more cars and Coco-Cola?

  5. First of all, thank you so much for this article. Great stuff. Very helpful.
    Second, good grief. What next!

    1. Hello Jonathan,

      Glad you liked it – I thoroughly enjoyed the research…and yes, I ask myself that each morning I’m surfing the web looking for the next thing…

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