• Chinese domestic lithium carbonate producers held their sale prices in the days coming up to the week-long national holiday.
  • The price of industrial-grade carbonate materials was soft but held in the current range.
  • Downward pressure lingers in the Chinese lithium hydroxide market, although the assessed range held.
  • Asian cif China, Japan & Korean lithium compound markets flat.

There was some respite for the spot battery-grade lithium carbonate market in China this week although there were lower offers from some small-sized producers and traders. Mainstream prices held week on week, having fallen by 1,000-2,000 yuan per tonne the week before.

Fastmarkets assessed the lithium carbonate, 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, exw domestic China, spot price at 56,000-61,000 yuan ($7,859-8,560) per tonne on Thursday.

“With the approach of the National Day holiday, we haven’t adjusted our prices further and most concluded prices are still in the range of 58,000-60,000 yuan per tonne,” a lithium carbonate producer told Fastmarkets. “Downstream buyers remain cautious of buying and we will be watchful of the market after the holiday.”

Technical and industrial-grade lithium carbonate prices remained soft with prices rangebound this week. Most deals could still be concluded at 49,000-52,000 yuan per tonne, while some lower prices below this level were also heard, market participants said.

Meanwhile, the battery-grade lithium hydroxide market remained soft this week due to unimproved demand from the downstream battery cathode sector and limited deals concluded in the domestic market.

Fastmarkets 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, unchanged from the previous week.

“I heard some lower prices below 60,000 yuan per tonne for battery-grade hydroxide from some producers who are eager to sell under the flat market, but no matter how low the offers are, there is limited demand from domestic buyers. Our prices are unchanged ahead of the holiday,” a second producer said.

Seaborne Asian lithium market flat
The seaborne Asian battery-grade lithium spot markets have stabilized at current levels, attributed to weak buying activity with fewer spot transaction heard.

Fastmarkets 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 and the lithium hydroxide monohydrate, 56.5% LiOH.H2O min, battery-grade spot price at $11-13 per kg cif China, Japan and Korea on Thursday, both unchanged from the previous week.

A distributor in South Korea blamed limited spot procurement since most buyers have secured material under long-term contracts, adding that purchasing prices could fall once contracts for next year are signed at the end of this year.

Quiet downstream interest continues to keep the European and US battery grade lithium carbonate and hydroxide spot prices rangebound week on week.

Fastmarkets assessed the lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price at $11-13 per kg on Thursday, and the lithium hydroxide monohydrate 56.5% LiOH.H2O min, battery grade, spot price at $13-14 per kg, both on a ddp Europe and US basis and unchanged from the previous week.

Fastmarkets lithium prices

Fastmarkets’ trade log for battery-grade lithium carbonate in China for September includes all trades, bids and offers reported to Fastmarkets.

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.