GLOBAL LITHIUM WRAP: Chinese lithium prices stable ahead of year-end; other regional markets flat

Chinese domestic spot battery-grade lithium carbonate prices were stable in the week ended Thursday December 27, with buyers in no hurry to make any purchases ahead of the New Year holiday. Lithium hydroxide prices in the country were similarly unchanged because consumers had no immediate need to restock.

  • Battery-grade lithium carbonate prices unchanged amid holiday lull.
  • Lithium hydroxide prices flat due to inactive market.
  • Industrial-grade carbonate market steady.
  • Asian seaborne carbonate prices stable.
  • European, US prices unchanged, participants absent for seasonal holidays

In China, the spot battery-grade lithium carbonate market was steady this past week, with producers insisting on current price levels, while buyers were largely absent from the market due to the upcoming New Year holiday (December 31, 2018 - January 1, 2019).

Fastmarkets assessed the Chinese domestic spot battery-grade lithium carbonate price (min 99.5% Li2CO3) at 75,000-83,000 yuan ($10,906-12,069) per tonne on December 27, unchanged from the prior week.

“I haven’t done any buying this week and will only purchase again after the New Year holiday. Because some suppliers are still negotiating spodumene prices with miners, I am taking a watchful stance on next year’s prices,” a buyer source told Fastmarkets.

Industrial grade lithium carbonate market in Qinghai held at current level without any fluctuation before the year-end. Most concluded prices for industrial-grade carbonate remained at 68,000-70,000 yuan per tonne this week.

Meanwhile, the industrial grade lithium carbonate market was stable this past week, with most deals for industrial-grade carbonate in the Qinghai region concluded at 68,000-70,000 yuan per tonne.

Battery-grade lithium hydroxide prices in China were similarly flat week on week, but concerns remain that continued weak demand due to seasonal holidays could push prices lower in the near term.

Fastmarkets assessed China’s battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate (min 56.5% LiOH.H2O) price at 100,000-110,000 yuan per tonne on December 27, unchanged from a week earlier.

Asian carbonate seaborne price stable
Elsewhere in Asia, battery-grade lithium compound prices on a cif basis in China, Japan and South Korea were unchanged this past week due to a lack of trading activity in the run-up to the end of the year.

Fastmarkets’ price quotations for battery-grade lithium carbonate (min 99.5% Li2CO3) and lithium hydroxide monohydrate (min 56.5% LiOH.H2O), both on a cif China, Japan and South Korea basis, at $13-15 per kg and $15-17 per kg respectively on December 27. Both assessments are unchanged from a week ago.

European, US prices unchanged
In Europe and the United States, lithium spot prices were unchanged this past week amid quiet trading conditions due to the year-end holidays.

Fastmarkets’ assessment of the battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate (min 56.5% LiOH.H2O) spot market price on a delivered duty-paid basis to Europe and the US stood at $13-15 per kg on December 27, flat with the prior week.

The lithium hydroxide monohydrate (min 56.5% LiOH.H2O) spot price on a delivered duty-paid basis to Europe and the US was also unchanged week on week, holding at $15-17 per kg.

lithium prices

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

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.

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