By Carrie Shi and Cristina Belda
Asian battery grade lithium prices were unchanged week
on week Most market participants in China have delayed
their return to work due to the coronavirus outbreak.
China’s internal transportation network has
been disrupted, affecting cargo delivery.
European and US market not yet significantly disrupted
because they are heavily reliant on South America.
There was limited spot trading in China in the week to
Thursday February 6 because most market participants had not
returned to work due to the coronavirus outbreak which has
infected over 30,000 people as of the end of this week.
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for
lithium carbonate, 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price
range exw domestic China was 45,000-51,000 yuan ($6,431-7,289)
per tonne on Thursday, unchanged from the previous week.
The lithium hydroxide monohydrate, 56.5% LiOH.H2O min,
battery grade, spot price range exw domestic China was also
steady at 52,000-57,000 yuan per tonne on Thursday.
"We haven’t resumed production this week and
estimate to be back after February 9. We haven’t
adjusted our prices for the moment, but supply might be a
little tight once we resume production as most buyers
didn’t stock up sufficiently ahead of the Lunar
New Year holiday [starting on January 24]," a producer told
"Our company hasn’t returned to work, and we
made no new purchases this week. I am still holding a watchful
attitude for next week’s market," a cathode
This week’s industrial-grade lithium carbonate
market remained quiet with limited spot trading. Some lower
offer prices were heard but few deals were concluded.
Fastmarkets assessed the Chinese technical and industrial grade
lithium carbonate spot price as unchanged week on week at
38,000-41,000 yuan per tonne on Thursday.
Meanwhile, travel restrictions introduced to contain the
spread of the virus is having an effect on logistics
businesses, sources said. Delivery fees have increased but even
those willing to pay are struggling to find available freight
"Currently logistics are also delayed due to the
coronavirus. Freight fees for hydroxide even doubled, but it is
still hard to find freight cars to deliver materials. We will
see whether the situation will be better next week," a second
Asian lithium seaborne market flat
The cif China, Japan and Korea battery-grade lithium compound
prices also held at current levels this week.
Fastmarkets assessed the lithium carbonate, 99.5% Li2CO3
min, battery grade, spot price at $8-9.50 per kg, and lithium
hydroxide monohydrate, 56.5% LiOH.H2O min, battery grade, spot
price at $9.50-11 per kg, both on a cif China, Japan and Korea
Seaborne Asian logistics have also been affected due to the
coronavirus, with reports that there are limited customs
officials to clear shipments at ports.
"So far as I know, some customers who depend on
China’s suppliers have trouble receiving raw
materials and they might suffer a lack of stock," a distributor
"Lithium production in China has been delayed and logistics
has also slowed due to the coronavirus. As of now, we still
have some stocks, but I am a little worried about the future
around spring," a distributor told Fastmarkets.
European market unchanged with enough inventories
In Europe and the United States, lithium market participants
reported no effect on supply as a result of the coronavirus so
far. But if logistic restrictions are prolonged,
European original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that rely on
lithium battery cells from Asia will suffer supply chain
disruptions, Fastmarkets head of battery raw materials research
William Adams said.
For the time being European producers have not reported any
"We have enough inventories; we are covered for the next few
months," a European producer said.
Other participants pointed out that they rely on South
America, with Chile being the main supplier of lithium for
them, and China is not a key factor supplier of raw
Unrelated to the virus, some smaller producers in Europe are
offering to liquidate stocks, as Fastmarkets reported last
week. But the offers have not yet affected prices because as
there is a lack of clarity about the quality of the material on
offer and no consumer has reported purchasing at these
"There are rumors of lower prices out there, but nothing has
been concluded and that is not representative of where the
market stands," the European producer said.
Fastmarkets’ lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3
min, battery grade, spot price ddp Europe and US was unchanged
amid a quiet trading environment at $10-11.50 per kg on
The lithium hydroxide monohydrate 56.5% LiOH.H2O min, battery
grade, spot price ddp Europe and US also remained flat on last
week at $11.50-12.50 per kg on Thursday.
trade log for battery-grade lithium carbonate in China for
February includes all trades, bids and offers reported to
All lithium carbonate, hydroxide and spodumene prices are
available in our Battery Raw
Materials Market Tracker.