Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth Group (600111.SH), China’s biggest rare-earth producer which accounts for half of the world’s light rare-earth production, announced that it would suspend its smelting and separation work for one month in a bid to drive up market prices, the Wall Street Journal reported. Rare earth metal prices surged in 2009 and 2010, prompting concern over China’s critical role in the industry, which supplying around 95% of global demand. However, prices have dropped steeply this year amid fears of anemic global growth and depressed Japanese manufacturing. The company said that its one-month production halt, which begins Wednesday, was aimed at “balancing supply and demand.” It is the second time in as many months that the company has taken steps to pump up market prices for rare earths. Analysts at RBS (part of RBS Group; RBS.LSE) anticipate that the move will remove about 5,000 metric tons of output from the market this year.