China produced 110,000 new energy vehicles (NEVs), including pure electric vehicles (PEVs) and plug-in hybrids, in November 2019. This is down by 36.9% from November 2018, according to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

In November, Chinese automakers produced 75,000 PEVs, down by 28% from the corresponding month last year, while plug-in hybrids made up 13,000 units, down by 64.6% year on year.

Sales of NEVs totaled 95,000 units in November, down by 43.7% year on year. PEV sales fell by 42.1% to 63,000 units, while sales of plug-in hybrids were down by 56.1% to 14,000 units from a year earlier.

Over January-November this year, Chinese manufacturers produced 1.093 million NEVs, up by 3.6% from the corresponding period a year earlier, and total sales were 1.043 million units over the same 11 months, up by 1.3% year on year.

In the same 11-month comparison, output of PEVs rose by 18.6% to 783,000 units, while output of plug-in hybrids decreased by 18.7% to 196,000 units. Sales of PEVs were up by 11.8% to 729,000 units, while sales of plug-in hybrids totaled 206,000 units, down by 11.9%.

China’s monthly output and sales of NEVs have fallen on an annual comparison every month since July 2019. The first-ever year-on-year monthly fall came at the end of the transitional period for the new NEV subsidy policy in China in late June, which raised the threshold for incentive eligibility and cut the value of subsidies.

"The production and sales of NEVs usually reached their peak at the year-end in previous years, but 2019 is quite different with five consecutive months showing a year-on-year decline since July due to reduced subsidies. Based on the economic benefit data of NEV enterprises, these NEV companies are all in a loss state at present under the sluggish atmosphere," CAAM said.

"NEV output and sales are likely to rebound in December, while it will still face greater challenges next year," CAAM added.

Continuously falling NEV output and sales have added to the bearish sentiment for the battery industrial chain. The price of lithium, one of the key raw materials widely used in batteries for NEVs, accelerated its downtrend recently because of falling demand from battery cathode makers and sufficient supply. In response, lithium producers lowered their prices to boost sales and cash flow near the year-end.

Fastmarkets assessed the lithium carbonate, 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, exw domestic China, spot price at 48,000-53,000 yuan per tonne on Thursday December 5, down from 52,000-55,000 yuan per tonne in the previous week.

The price fell by 5.6% week on week in the latest assessment, steeper than the average weekly fall of 2% over November.