Lithium prices rose more than 400% in 2021; supply agreements failed to keep up

Why the most common lithium pricing mechanisms don’t serve the strategic aims of the EV market

Lithium prices shot up by more than 400% in 2021, but producers’ profits didn’t follow the same trajectory. Instead, the vast majority of producers found themselves locked into long-term, fixed-price supply agreements, at prices as low as 300% below spot market rates.

A more sophisticated pricing mechanism is required to ensure the lithium market can attract the investment it needs to meet surging EV demand.

Lithium supply negotiations have not kept up with market conditions

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Lithium hydroxide monohydrate 56.5% LiOH.H2O min, technical and industrial grades, spot price ddp Europe and US, $/kg
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Lithium carbonate 99% Li2CO3 min, technical and industrial grade, spot price range exw domestic China, yuan/tonne
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Lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, contract price ddp Europe and US, $/kg
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Lithium hydroxide monohydrate 56.5% LiOH.H2O min, battery grade, contract price ddp Europe and US, $/kg
Price Data Page
Lithium hydroxide monohydrate 56.5% LiOH.H2O min, battery grade, spot price ddp Europe and US, $/kg
Price Data Page
Lithium hydroxide monohydrate 56.5% LiOH.H2O min, technical and industrial grades, contract price ddp Europe and US, $/kg
Price Data Page
Lithium hydroxide monohydrate 56.5% LiOH.H2O min, battery grade, spot price range exw domestic China, yuan/tonne
Price Data Page
Lithium carbonate 99% Li2CO3 min, technical and industrial grades, spot price ddp Europe and US, $/kg
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Lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, contract price cif China, Japan & Korea, $/kg
Price Data Page
Lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price range exw domestic China, yuan/tonne
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