Seaborne Asian spot lithium prices stable in quiet market, European spot prices continue descent

Spot lithium carbonate and hydroxide battery grade prices in the seaborne Asia market were stable in the week to Thursday April 4, with conditions quiet due to a public holiday in China, sources told Fastmarkets

Elsewhere, European lithium technical and battery grade spot prices declined amid persistently weak demand and illiquidity, exacerbated by Easter holidays in the region, sources added.

Meanwhile, on April 4, Fastmarkets published its first assessment of North American specific lithium technical grade and battery grade prices on a delivery duty paid basis for the US and Canada.

The US and Canadian spot lithium assessments were assessed at parity to the European equivalent and at a premium to the CIF seaborne Asia spot lithium price equivalent.

Interested in learning more about our market-reflective lithium price data, news and market analysis? Fastmarkets can help you gain a competitive edge and navigate this rapidly evolving landscape. Find out more today.

Fastmarkets’ domestic China spot lithium price assessments were not published on April 4 due to the Qingming Festival holiday in China, which is also called Tomb Sweeping Day, from April 4-6. The table below therefore shows the latest assessed prices, published on March 28.

Fastmarkets assessed lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot prices cif China, Japan & Korea at $12.50-14 per kg on April 4, unchanged since March 15, after falling by 0.97% from $13-13.75 per kg.

Fastmarkets assessed the lithium hydroxide monohydrate LiOH.H2O 56.5% LiOH min, battery grade, spot price cif China, Japan & Korea at $12.30-14 per kg on April 4, unchanged since the beginning of April but by down 0.75% from the last session of March, when it was assessed at $12.30-14.20 per kg ahead of the Easter break.

Ahead of the public holiday in China, most Chinese producer sources reported earlier this week that they had received very few inquiries and limited buying interest from the seaborne Asia market.

Sources in Japan and South Korea reported limited spot buying interest for the time being and that buyers’ needs were being met by existing long-term agreements.

Sources in the region were also continuing to monitor the lithium future prices on the China’s Guangzhou Futures Exchange (GFEX) for any potential change in direction that could affect the physical spot market.

“At the moment, the market is lacking a bit of direction,” an intermediary source active in Asia said.

“Demand is not doing great at the moment and there is still a lot of material available, I was recently discussing with a South American producer who was offering a substantial amount of material,” a second intermediary source active in Asia said.

Further upstream, the price of spodumene min 6% Li2O, spot price, cif China was assessed by Fastmarkets at $1,100-1,200 per tonne on April 3, up by 4.55% from $1,000-1,200 per tonne on March 27.

Spodumene prices continued to steadily rise amid higher offers with public reports of concluded liquidity continuing to boost sentiment for spodumene.

The recent result of a tender for Australian-sourced spodumene raised the expectations on spodumene prices for Australian miners, sources reported. But sources were continuing to monitor Chinese lithium downstream chemical prices and any potential change in direction.

What to read next
Global copper futures prices are in a frenzy, with record highs being logged on the New York-based Commodity Exchange (Comex), London Metal Exchange and Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) in recent days
The South Korea government has started to build up a national stockpile of lithium reserves through the state-owned Korea Mine Rehabilitation & Mineral Resources Corp (KOMIR), Fastmarkets was told on Tuesday May 21
A host of Chinese battery manufacturers have been increasing their production of electrolytic nickel to reap gains from strong futures prices because the growth in downstream demand for electric vehicles (EVs) is slowing, Fastmarkets heard on Tuesday May 21
Fastmarkets rounds up the key discussion points at the 30th annual Cobalt Institute conference in New York, from May 12-14.
Fastmarkets invited feedback from the industry on the methodology for its audited lithium and spodumene price assessments, via an open consultation process between April 18 and May 17, 2024. This consultation was done as part of our published annual methodology review process.
Fastmarkets launched a new price assessment for MB-GER-0006 germanium dioxide, in-whs China, on Friday May 10.