GLOBAL LITHIUM WRAP: Earlier weakness in Asia markets pressures European, US lithium carbonate price down 3%

The European and United States battery-grade lithium carbonate price fell by 2.9% week on week on Thursday August 27 amid continued poor demand conditions, while the Chinese and seaborne Asian markets held.

  • European, US battery-grade lithium carbonate market dropped 2.9%, ending six weeks of stability.
  • China’s battery-grade lithium prices held, with participants waiting for clues on market direction.
  • Seaborne Asian market still sluggish, with sellers finding it difficult to conclude deals at higher.
  • Europe, US lithium battery-grade carbonate spot market drifts lower

The battery-grade lithium carbonate spot assessment in Europe and the US was the only price assessment to move this week, drifting lower in a slack market with demand for lithium chemicals subdued due to the summer holiday period and ongoing weakness filtering through from the more liquid Chinese and seaborne Asia spot markets.
Fastmarkets assessed the lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price ddp Europe and US at $7.50-9 per kg on Thursday, down from the $8-9 per kg level it had previously held for six weeks.

“We offered lithium chemicals in Europe but we have not done any deals over the past fortnight, it is very quiet,” a distributor active in Europe and in Asia told Fastmarkets.

The lithium hydroxide monohydrate 56.5% LiOH.H2O min, battery grade, spot price ddp Europe and US assessment was unchanged week on week at $9.75-10.50 per kg. The assessment has not changed for five weeks in a very subdued market.

Chinese market participants take watchful stance
China’s spot battery-grade lithium carbonate market maintained its steady pattern this week at the end of August with most producers maintaining their offer prices while most buyers held watchful attitudes. Some major downstream buyers did not place new big orders this week.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for lithium carbonate, 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price range exw domestic China was 37,000-41,000 yuan ($5,371-5,956) per tonne on Thursday, unchanged since July 9.

“We haven’t placed new orders in recent weeks as we purchased sufficient stocks in the previous month which can support our current production for a while. As for whether the lithium price can go higher, it is determined by market supply and demand, and I am still doubtful that prices could really increase in the short term even though there is talk of higher prices expected,” a buyer told Fastmarkets.

“Battery-grade lithium carbonate market remained steady this week without many fluctuation reported. Some producers are still willing to sell materials at a higher level, but currently our concluded prices haven’t been increased yet,” a second buyer said.

The battery-grade lithium hydroxide price remained unchanged week on week in a relatively steady market. Downstream demand has not improved and buying interest remained thin.

Fastmarkets’ lithium hydroxide monohydrate, 56.5% LiOH.H2O min, battery grade, spot price range exw domestic China was at 45,000-51,000 yuan per tonne on Thursday August 27, also unchanged since July 9.

“Battery-grade lithium hydroxide market remains thin, and buyers haven’t placed more orders. We just maintained our current offers of around 48,000 yuan per tonne under the stagnant market,” a producer said.

Asian seaborne lithium market inactive
The seaborne cif China, Japan and Korea battery-grade lithium sector was also steady this week with an inactive spot market. Market sources said prices were still under pressure and buyers were slowly rejecting prices at the higher end of the current range.

Fastmarkets assessed the lithium carbonate, 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price cif China, Japan and Korea at $6.50-8 per kg, unchanged from a week ago.

The lithium hydroxide monohydrate, 56.5% LiOH.H2O min, battery grade, spot price cif China, Japan and Korea was also unmoved at $8.80-10 per kg.

“I haven’t had any spot deals for lithium carbonate in Asian in recent weeks due to the slow market. More buyers are reluctant to accept spot prices of $8 per kg for battery-grade carbonate and I have heard of more offers below that level,” a distributor said.

Learn more about Fastmarkets’ lithium pricing methodology here and read the latest lithium price spotlight here.

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

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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