GLOBAL LITHIUM WRAP: China’s lithium prices’ downtrend continues
Published: Friday, 20 September 2019
Spot prices for lithium in China moved down this week due to lower prices amid ample supply, while the seaborne Asian lithium market also declined with increasingly lower prices reported.
China’s domestic battery-grade lithium carbonate
prices moved down this week with lower concluded prices
reported on the spot market. Producers, who were eager to sell
material, continued lowering their prices to attract more
- The battery-grade lithium carbonate price drifted
- Technical and industrial-grade carbonate prices remained
- Lithium hydroxide prices continued their downtrend due to
- The Asian battery-grade lithium market fell after lower
prices were reported.
Fastmarkets last assessed the lithium carbonate,
99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, exw domestic China, spot
price at 56,000-61,000 yuan ($7,889-8,593) per tonne on
Thursday September 19, down from 58,000-62,000 yuan per tonne
the previous week.
"Some producers, especially small-sized ones, who are eager to
boost sales, sold at 56,000 yuan per tonne for battery-grade
carbonate or even lower than this level. There are also higher
prices from big producers in the range of 58,000-61,000 yuan
per tonne," a buyer told Fastmarkets IM.
"Downstream demand from the lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) sector
has grown in recent weeks and I think it will continue growing
in the fourth quarter because most downstream buyers prefer to
purchase LFP due to its lower cost. Demand from
nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) battery producers showed no sign
of improvement, while lithium prices are still under pressure,
resulting from sufficient supply, though demand increased a
little," a producer said.
Technical and industrial-grade lithium carbonate prices
remained weak, with prices falling slightly over the week top
Thursday September 19. Deals can be concluded in the range of
49,000-52,000 yuan per tonne with most at the lower end of the
Thin buying continued weighing on the battery-grade lithium
hydroxide market, leaving prices to fall further this week.
Most prices were at around 60,000 yuan per tonne, with demand
Fastmarkets last assessed the lithium hydroxide
monohydrate, 56.5% LiOH.H2O min, battery grade, ex-works, spot
price at 60,000-68,000 yuan per tonne on Thursday September
19, down from 62,000-70,000 yuan per tonne the previous
"China’s domestic demand for battery-grade lithium
hydroxide hasn’t seen any increase, with lower
prices still emerging. I even heard micro-grade lithium
hydroxide concluded at around 65,000 yuan per tonne, but ours
are still around 68,000-70,000 yuan per tonne for micro-grade,"
a second producer said.
Seaborne Asian lithium prices down
The seaborne Asian battery-grade lithium spot market embarked
on a downtrend this week with prices moving down.
Fastmarkets last assessed the lithium carbonate,
99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery-grade spot price at $9-11 per kg
on a cif China, Japan and Korea basis on Thursday, down from
$10-12 per kg week on week, while the lithium hydroxide
monohydrate, 56.5% LiOH.H2O min, battery-grade spot price
was at $11-13 per kg cif China, Japan and Korea on Thursday,
down from $12-13.50 per kg the week before.
"Prices for battery-grade lithium are under downward pressure
with a flurry of lower prices. I even heard some lower offering
prices from China at around $8 per kg cif Japan for both
battery-grade carbonate and hydroxide," a distributor in Japan
European and US spot prices moved
The European and United States’ battery-grade
lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide spot market prices
moved sideways week on week on sluggish market activity due to
the end of the region’s summer holiday season.
Fastmarkets assessed the lithium carbonate
99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price at $11-13 per
kg on Thursday, while the lithium hydroxide
monohydrate 56.5% LiOH.H2O min, battery grade, spot price
was at $13-14 per kg, both on a ddp Europe and US basis and
unchanged from the previous week.
"We sold some lithium carbonate this week but things remain
very slow due to the holiday period," a third lithium producer
told Fastmarkets. "Prices will probably remain unchanged in the
coming days and we would expect more activity by the end of
"The market remains slow and we believe that it
won’t improve in the coming months," a supplier
told Fastmarkets. "Most market participants anticipate a very
slow year ahead with low prices amid the current market
"Most producers have material in stock and are finding it
difficult to sell their inventories," a second lithium supplier
told Fastmarkets. "We don’t think prices will
improve any time soon."
trade log for battery-grade lithium carbonate in China for
August includes all trades, bids and offers reported to
Learn more about Fastmarkets’
lithium pricing methodology here and read the latest
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.