SHANGHAI, Aug. 17 (SMM) – The fast development of new energy vehicle market in China stimulates demand for copper foils used in lithium-ion batteries in recent years, SMM learns.
This led to average operating rate at domestic copper plate/sheet, strip and foil producers rose by 6 percentage points YoY to 58.74% in H1 this year.
With copper foil capacity expansion in China, domestic demand for copper foil imports entered downside track in recent two years. But domestic producers of copper foils used in lithium-ion batteries also report troubles in capacity expansion due to cash strain and high processing requirements. Besides, average capacity expansion cycle in the industry is as long as 1.5 or even over 2 years and this makes producers hard to get earnings in a short period, which also discourage copper foil producers to expand capacity.
The annual capacity of copper foils used in lithium-ion batteries totals 36,000 tonnes in China at present, which should reach 40,000 tonnes this year following technical upgrade. And the actual demand is expected to hit 50,000 tonnes in 2016 and will maintain more than 20% growth rate in the future. The demand for copper foils used in motive lithium-ion batteries will likely grow at a pace of over 50% in the future.
“The production of copper foils used in motive lithium-ion batteries will double in 2016 due to growing demand from motive battery sectors .”, a senior official of copper foil enterprise said.
An industrial insider pointed out that the growth in capacities is slower than that in demand and hence, the copper foils may drag down motive battery productions in future. What’s worse, the supply and demand imbalance in the market will likely be strengthened by domestic intensive release of new motive battery capacities and new energy vehicles in H1.
Heading into 2016, approximately twenty domestic large auto producers, including BYD, FDG Electric Vehicles and China Aviation Lithium Battery, invest in motive batteries in a large scale, with new capacity hitting 25GWH.
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