SHANGHAI, May 21 (SMM) – Prices of lithium metal extended their declines over the weekend as prices of lithium hydroxide slid and as closure of chemical plants in Jiangsu lowered demand.
SMM assessed prices of domestic industrial- and battery- grade lithium metal at 720,000-750,000 yuan/mt as of Tuesday May 21, down some 10,000 yuan/mt from Friday May 17.
During the same period, prices of battery-grade lithium hydroxide slipped some 500 yuan/mt, to stand at 88,000-97,000 yuan/mt as of May 21.
Producers of pharmaceutical intermediates in Jiangsu province were ordered to close for rectifications from April after an explosive accident at a chemical plant in Xiangshui of Jiangsu occurred on March 21.
Lower demand for industrial-grade lithium following the closure also postponed the start of new capacity across lithium producers, SMM learned. Market participants do not expect the downstream mills to resume in the short term.
Consumption from battery-grade lithium held steady in May.
To regulate the chemical industry, the Jiangsu government said the number of local chemical mills will be cut to fewer than 1,000 by the end of 2022, after being reduced to 2,000 by the end of 2020.