GLOBAL LITHIUM WRAP: Chinese, Europe, US lithium carbonate prices edge down
Published: Friday, 17 August 2018
Chinese domestic spot battery-grade lithium carbonate prices have fallen on thin buying activity and lower prices, while lithium hydroxide prices have temporarily stabilized this week, while seaborne, European and US lithium carbonate prices moved down.
The battery-grade lithium carbonate spot market in China
remains influenced by weak demand, with lower prices offered in
the spot market amid good existing stocks.
- Battery-grade lithium carbonate prices continue their
downtrend while downstream consumers are waiting for the
market to hit the bottom due to the good level of material
- Prices for battery-grade lithium carbonate compounds
produced from brine remain trading at a lower price compared
to the same type of lithium compounds produced from hard
rock, due to higher production costs for lithium made from
- Battery-grade lithium hydroxide prices have temporarily
stabilized this week on quiet trade.
- Seaborne cif China, Japan & South Korea, European and
US lithium carbonate market prices fell week on week due to
the decreasing price trend in China.
Embedded in this market situation, consumers are holding back
on procuring more material while waiting for the market to
bottom-out and reach lower prices.
Industrial Minerals last assessed the Chinese domestic
spot battery-grade lithium carbonate price (min 99.5%
Li2CO3) at 90,000-95,000 yuan ($13,008-13,730) per tonne on
Thursday August 16, down from 94,000-100,000 yuan per tonne the
"We lowered our battery-grade lithium carbonate prices again
this week as consumers keep pushing for lower prices," a
lithium producer told Industrial Minerals. "Most consumers are
now looking to purchase material on a weekly or monthly basis
due to the fear of further lower prices in the weeks to come."
Battery-grade lithium carbonate as well as technical and
industrial-grade, produced from brine from Tibet and the
Qinghai regions, remain trading at the low end of Industrial
Minerals’ price range for lithium carbonate due to
lower production costs compared to compounds produced from hard
industrial-grade lithium carbonate market prices were at
75,000-80,000 yuan per tonne on Thursday August 16, unchanged
week on week, according to Industrial Minerals’
Despite the downtrend in battery-grade lithium carbonate
prices, battery-grade lithium hydroxide prices have stabilized
lithium hydroxide monohydrate (min 56.5% LiOH.H2O) prices
were at 115,000-130,000 yuan per tonne on Thursday August 16,
unchanged from the previous week, according to Industrial
Minerals’ market assessment.
"The Chinese lithium hydroxide market remains within a wide
price range due to the premium paid for battery-grade lithium
hydroxide compounds as well as for the micronized material,
which holds a premium above the rest of battery-grade lithium
hydroxide," a second producer told Industrial Minerals.
"Micronized and higher purity battery-grade lithium hydroxide
are trading at 130,000 yuan per tonne and slightly above,
whereas the normal battery-grade material is trading as low as
115,000 yuan per tonne," the producer added.
Asian seaborne price falls
The seaborne Asian cif China, Japan and Korea battery-grade
lithium carbonate price has been influenced by the continuous
dips in domestic Chinese prices.
Industrial Minerals assessed the price for battery-grade
lithium carbonate (min 99.5% Li2CO3) cif China, Japan and South
Korea at $16-18 per kg on Thursday August 16, moving down
from $16.50-18.50 per kg from previous week.
"We keep receiving offers for Chinese material even below $16
per kg but we don’t believe the market is already
at that type of price level," a trader told Industrial
"We have heard prices as low as $15 per kg for battery-grade
lithium carbonate compounds and that is because Chinese
producers are trying to achieve higher prices outside China," a
distributor told Industrial Minerals.
Meanwhile, a lack of activity has kept battery-grade
lithium hydroxide (min 56.5% LiOH.H2O) spot prices at
$19-20 per kg on a cif China, Japan and Korea basis on Thursday
August 16, unchanged week on week according to Industrial
Minerals’ market assessment.
European, US carbonate prices down
European and US battery-grade lithium carbonate spot prices
continued to fall week on week, affected by lower Chinese
prices and a lack of demand during the current summer holiday
Industrial Minerals assessed prices for battery-grade lithium
carbonate, min 99.5% Li2CO at $16-18 per kg, ddp Europe and US
on Thursday August 16, decreasing from $17-18.50 per kg last
"The market is quite slow due to the holiday season and we have
been offering material as low as $16 per kg in order to sell
some material amid this very slow market," a second trader told
Industrial Minerals. "We have not locked in any material yet as
consumers are waiting to see the market dip."
Despite the current descending market trend, depressed demand
kept lithium-hydroxide monohydrate, min 56.5% LiOH H2O, spot
prices unchanged week on week between $18.50-20 per kg, ddp
Europe and US, on Thursday August 16 according to Industrial
Metal Bulletin’s trade log for battery-grade
lithium carbonate in China for August includes all
trades, bids and offers reported to Metal Bulletin.
Learn more about Metal
Bulletin's lithium pricing methodology and read
lithium price spotlight here.
All lithium carbonate, hydroxide and spodumene prices are
available in our Battery Raw Materials Market Tracker.
Get a sample of the report here.