GLOBAL LITHIUM WRAP: China’s lithium hydroxide prices remain soft on lack of demand; Europe, US prices stable

China’s domestic spot lithium carbonate market was stable this week, with most producers unwilling to lower their prices and lithium hydroxide prices still on a downtrend due to a lack of interest from downstream buyers.

  • Battery-grade lithium carbonate prices held steady with no changes heard
  • Lithium hydroxide prices remained soft and higher prices were hard to conclude
  • Industrial-grade carbonate materials prices stabilized after a decrease last week
  • Asian cif China, Japan & Korean prices held unchanged

China’s spot battery-grade lithium carbonate market had no fluctuation this week and most producers insisting current prices. Downstream buyers were in no hurry to buy and only purchased on a hand-to-mouth basis.
Fastmarkets’ price assessment for Chinese domestic spot battery-grade lithium carbonate (min 99.5% Li2CO3) was 73,000-81,000 yuan ($10,874-12,066) per tonne on Thursday March 7, unchanged from the previous week.

“We purchased last week and haven’t placed new orders this week,” a downstream buyer told Fastmarkets. “Recent battery-grade lithium carbonate prices are stable and some major producers are unwilling to lower prices below 78,000 yuan per tonne.”

Industrial grade lithium carbonate prices stabilized this week after a decrease last week and remained steady at 62,000-69,000 yuan per tonne.

In the battery-grade lithium hydroxide market, lower prices on the spot market resulted as weak demand continued to weigh on prices.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate (min 56.5% LiOH.H2O) was 95,000-100,000 yuan per tonne on Thursday, down from 95,000-103,000 yuan per tonne from previous week, according to Fastmarkets’ assessment.

“Lithium hydroxide prices are under downtrend pressure and it is hard to conclude [deals] above 100,000 yuan per tonne for normal-grade material, while micro-grade [remains] above 105,000 yuan per tonne,” a producer said.

No change to Asian lithium carbonate seaborne prices
The cif China, Japan and Korea battery-grade lithium carbonate prices maintained unchanged, with no downstream buying and not many new orders concluded.

Fastmarkets’ price assessments for battery-grade lithium on a cif China, Japan, Korea basis, were both unchanged on Thursday, with lithium carbonate (min 99.5% Li2CO3) staying at $12-14 per kg, and lithium hydroxide (min 56.5% LiOH.H2O) at $15-17 per kg.

“We haven’t heard any fluctuation in battery-grade lithium carbonate cif Japan [prices], and there are still some buyers under contracts with prices at 14-16 per kg. We will keep [a] watchful [eye] on the market,” a distributor in Japan said.

European, US prices rangebound
The European and United States spot markets kept flat with prices maintained at current rates, with buyers in no hurry to buy and limited activity seen on the spot market.

Duty paid Europe and US prices were both unchanged week on week with battery-grade lithium carbonate (min 99.5% Li2CO3) $13-15 per kg on Thursday, and battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate (min 56.5% LiOH.H2O) $15-17 per kg.

Fastmarkets’ trade log for battery-grade lithium carbonate in China for March 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.

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