What to expect from global lithium hydroxide prices in 2024

Fastmarkets provide an overview of lithium hydroxide’s recent global performance, across key regions and offer insights into what 2024 might hold for battery manufacturers, energy sector analysts and lithium hydroxide buyers

In an era where renewable energy sources and electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more prevalent, lithium hydroxide, a key component in battery manufacturing, has found itself at the center of attention in recent years.

The volatility of its prices on the global stage reflects the world’s shifting environmental priorities, technological advancements and geopolitical dynamics.

Lithium hydroxide price performance across regions

China: the pacesetter in lithium hydroxide prices

China, a dominant player in the lithium market, has seen fluctuations in the price of lithium hydroxide this year. According to Fastmarkets, the price range for lithium hydroxide monohydrate LiOH.H2O 56.5% LiOH min, battery grade, spot price exw domestic China, experienced a slight decrease to 100,000-110,000 yuan per tonne in late April from the previous range of 100,000-120,000 yuan per tonne. This has since fallen to 94,000 – 103,000 yuan per tonne at the end of May.

This adjustment reflects the dynamic interplay between supply-demand balances, production shifts towards lithium carbonate due to its stronger demand from lithium iron phosphate (LFP) producers and the overall sentiment in the lithium market.

CIF China, Japan & Korea (CJK): seaborne market dynamics

The CIF (cost, insurance and freight) CJK market, representing the seaborne trade lanes to China, Japan and Korea, tells its own story.

Lower prices in China and an anticipated slowdown in growth in South Korea in the third quarter weighed on the market, resulting in lower lithium prices. Fastmarkets’ price assessment for lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot prices cif China, Japan & Korea was $13.50- 14.50 per kg on May 24, down by 1.8% from $13.50-15.00 per kg on May 17 and lithium hydroxide monohydrate LiOH.H2O 56.5% LiOH min, battery grade, spot price cif China, Japan & Korea at $13.40-14.50 per kg on May 24, down by 2.1% from $13.50-15.00 per kg on May 17.

DDP Europe & US: western markets in sync with Asia

The Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) prices in Europe and North America reflect the global nature of lithium hydroxide trade. Following the trends in the seaborne Asia market, lithium spot prices in these western markets have edged higher in Q2 of this year, propelled by firmer offers from producers and intermediaries.

This synchronized movement underscores the interconnectedness of global lithium markets, where regional price movements often ripple across the globe.

Forward-looking forecast insights for 2024

Drawing on our recent data and market analysis, several key themes emerge regarding the outlook for lithium hydroxide prices in 2024:

A mild recovery expected in the fourth quarter

The consensus among market analysts points to a mild recovery in lithium prices during the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2024. This optimism is grounded in expectations of increased activity post-to meet end of year targets, strong battery production seen in March and April finally filtering through upstream and low inventory levels necessitating restocking.

However, the forecast acknowledges the existing weakness in the seaborne Asia market, adjusting the 2nd quarter forecast downward to $14.50 per kg.

For the full year of 2024, lithium hydroxide prices are expected to average around 103,780 yuan per tonne in China for the second quarter, with a full-year average of 103,500 yuan per tonne. Our forecasts also anticipate battery-grade lithium hydroxide cif China, Japan and Korea to average $14.50 per kg in Q2 2024 and average $15.00 per kg for the full year.

Underlying factors affecting lithium hydroxide prices

Several factors will play a crucial role in shaping the trajectory of lithium hydroxide prices. These include the pace of EV adoption globally, advancements in battery technology that may affect lithium hydroxide demand, geopolitical tensions that could impact lithium supply chains and environmental policies that may influence mining and production practices.

As we look at 2024, it’s clear that the lithium market remains a vibrant and complex ecosystem, influenced by a multitude of factors. For stakeholders in the battery manufacturing and energy sectors, staying informed and agile will be key to navigating the fluctuations in lithium hydroxide prices.

With the anticipated recovery and ongoing developments in technology and policy, the landscape of lithium hydroxide prices promises both challenges and opportunities ahead.

Lithium hydroxide prices chart

For an illustration of our lithium hydroxide price trends and forecasts, refer to the lithium hydroxide price chart below. This visualization offers a snapshot of historical and forecast data.

This is an example of the live data offered by Fastmarkets, which enables stakeholders in sectors affected by the lithium hydroxide market to make informed decisions.

Whether you’re strategizing procurement, investment, or research initiatives, keeping a close eye on lithium hydroxide prices will be crucial in the dynamic and evolving energy landscape of 2024 and beyond.

This is a late May 2024 sample taken from our lithium news subscription (forecasts subject to change), written by Fastmarkets analysts Jordan Roberts and Vicky Zhao. To discover more about our lithium hydroxide price, news and forecasts visit our product pages.

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