GLOBAL LITHIUM WRAP: Chinese domestic lithium prices hold on stable demand; quiet markets subdue price moves in Europe, US

China’s domestic battery-grade lithium spot market held steady week on week on Thursday April 18 on stable demand from downstream cathode producers, while rest-of-world prices continued to stagnate on weak spot consumption and ahead of the Easter holiday starting on Friday.

  • Battery-grade lithium carbonate market stable week on week. 
  • Battery-grade lithium hydroxide prices level out after last week’s dip. 
  • Technical and industrial-grade carbonate prices stable despite tight supply. 
  • Rest of the world prices unchanged ahead of Easter break.

Chinese spot battery-grade lithium market prices were steady this week on steady demand and after producers kept their offers unchanged and resisted lower bids from consumers.

Fastmarkets assessed the Chinese domestic spot battery-grade lithium carbonate price (min 99.5% Li2CO3) at 70,000-78,000 yuan ($8,018) per tonne on Thursday, unchanged from the previous week.

Technical and industrial grade lithium carbonate prices have also remained steady this week despite tight supply. Fastmarkets assessed this price at 62,000-67,000 yuan per tonne on Thursday, on an ex-works China basis.

“Despite lower bids, we have kept our battery-grade lithium carbonate prices stable this week. Demand from cathode makers is steady, supporting the current market price,” a producer told Fastmarkets.

“Technical and industrial grade lithium carbonate prices have also remained unchanged week on week due to increasing demand and despite tight supply,” the producer added.

The battery-grade lithium hydroxide market in China was also stable week on week after a fall in price seen last week.

Fastmarkets assessed the battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate (min 56.5% LiOH.H2O) price at 90,000-95,000 yuan per tonne on Thursday. The price had dipped by 3,000 yuan on April 11 on deals done at lower levels.

“The market has reached stability this week and don’t expect much price change in the coming days. Prices fell last week but market participants agreed there is little room for prices to keep decreasing,” a second producer told Fastmarkets.

Stable Asian lithium seaborne market
The cif China, Japan and Korea battery-grade lithium prices were unchanged this week and the market remained quiet on little trading activity.

Fastmarkets’ battery-grade lithium carbonate (min 99.5% Li2CO3) price was assessed at $11.50-13.50 per kg on Thursday, while the hydroxide (min 56.5% LiOH.H2O) price was $15-16 per kg, both on a cif China, Japan and Korea basis.

“The seaborne market has seen very little activity this week with most costumers covered on a long-term basis,” a trader told Fastmarkets.

Steady European and US lithium prices
European and US battery-grade lithium spot prices were flat week on week in a depressed market environment.

Fastmarkets assessed the battery-grade lithium carbonate (min 99.5% Li2CO3) spot price at $12-14 per kg and the lithium hydroxide (min 56.5% LiOH.H2O) spot price at $15-16 per kg, on Thursday and both on a delivery duty paid in Europe and the US basis.

“The market is slow and most of the companies seem to be on holidays,” a third producer told Fastmarkets.

“Prices will likely remain stable until next week due to the Easter holiday,” the producer added.

The Easter holiday runs from Friday April 19 to Monday April 22 in Europe.

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