ASIA COPPER WEEK 2018: LME to launch lithium contract in H2 2019 [CORRECTED]

The London Metal Exchange is planning to launch a lithium contract in the second half of 2019 to meet growing demand from the electric vehicle industry, Fastmarkets learned during Asia Copper Week in Shanghai.

The contract, announced as part of the exchange’s Strategic Pathway in September 2017, will be settled against an index price, with Fastmarkets MB’s lithium spot price index one of those being considered to be the contract’s benchmark.

“In terms of lithium, we are working closely with the market to create the most effective price management tool to serve the entire value chain,” Liu Yang, the LME’s head of corporate sales and China business development, told delegates during a panel discussion on Wednesday November 14.

“We’re scheduled to be the first [exchange] to bring a lithium contract to the market,” Yang said.

In October, Fastmarkets MB was invited to address a lithium industry gathering hosted by the LME to highlight its range of pricing data solutions it offers to the market.

Fastmarkets MB was the first organization to have successfully completed an external assurance review that abides by International Organization of Securities Commissions’ (IOSCO) Principles on a number of lithium prices carried out by independent professional services company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Fastmarkets MB has identified the ex-works China market as the most liquid spot market for battery-grade lithium at present. Fastmarkets MB’s assessment of the Chinese domestic spot battery-grade lithium carbonate (min 99.5% Li2CO3) price was unchanged week on week at 74,000-83,000 yuan ($10,665-11,962) per tonne on Thursday November 15, with several small orders concluded close to the top end of the price range.

Learn more about Fastmarkets’ lithium pricing methodology 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.

[This article was first published on Tuesday November 20. It has been corrected to say that the launch of the lithium contract will take place in the second half of 2019 instead of the second quarter.]

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