SMM, 17 April:
Battery and downstream end markets:
In the power market, domestic car companies affected by the epidemic sales are not good, accumulated more inventory, battery procurement has declined recently. In addition, overseas European and American car companies have not yet resumed production, many car companies such as Honda continue to extend the shutdown time, other car companies are expected to resume work in early May. The operating rate of domestic power battery plants has remained low since the beginning of the year, and based on pessimistic expectations for overseas end markets, the battery factory began reducing material end orders in mid-to late March to control raw material stocks. On the consumer battery side, the impact of the current overseas epidemic is still ongoing, with export orders for end products and consumer batteries continuing to shrink, and export orders for battery factories shrinking by an average of about 30%.
Electrolytic cobalt and cobalt hydroxide: domestic electrolytic cobalt prices fell this week. Domestic metal cobalt downstream enterprises due to weak orders procurement enthusiasm is not high, the market transaction sporadic, the price goes down again. The process of resumption of work downstream of overseas markets is slow, market trading is cold, and spot prices are also lower. Cobalt hydroxide, although the export of raw materials in Africa is not smooth, but due to the decline in metal cobalt prices, superimposed Chinese smelters have reduced operating capacity one after another, cobalt intermediate prices under pressure, prices are expected to fall back slightly in the future. The price of SMM electrolytic cobalt is 23-250000 yuan / ton, down 5000 yuan / ton from last week. The price of cobalt hydroxide in SMM is $9.8-$10.6 per pound, the average price is the same as last week.
Cobalt and nickel salts: cobalt salt prices are flat this week. Cobalt salts were sold sporadically this week, with some large cobalt tetroxide plants buying cobalt chloride in small quantities as a result of new orders. The quotation of cobalt salt plant is relatively strong, the downstream inquiry increases one after another, and the price is in the process of game. However, considering the downgrade of the South African blockade, the easing of imports of cobalt raw materials upstream, and the expected reduction in orders from major downstream battery factories in May, there may be some room for prices to fall next week. The price of cobalt sulfate in SMM is 4.4-47000 yuan / ton, the average price is the same as last week. The current price of SMM cobalt chloride is 5.3-56000 yuan / ton, the average price is the same as last week. The price of nickel sulfate of SMM battery grade is 2380024000 yuan / ton, which is 150 yuan / ton higher than that of last week.
Cobalt tetroxide: the price of cobalt oxide fell on Thursday. Cobalt oxide closed sporadically on Thursday, with some of the new procurement demand of lithium cobalt oxide plants, affected by the strong pressure price of battery plants and cathode material plants, the price of cobalt oxide continues to bear pressure. Feedback from a large cobalt tetroxide plant, the effect of raw material import delay, May or reduce part of the operating rate, in order to balance the raw material consumption in June. The current price of SMM cobalt oxide is 17-175000 yuan / ton, down 3000 yuan / ton from last week.
Ternary precursor: the price of the body fell before the yuan on Wednesday. The price of cobalt salt in the upstream was flat this week, and the price of nickel salt still rose slightly, but the order quantity of the downstream battery factory decreased significantly, and the precursor manufacturers were subject to the downstream pressure price. In order to maintain production and stock price reduction, the price fell seriously. The price of SMM ternary precursor (type 523) is 7.1-73000 yuan / ton, down 3000 yuan / ton compared with last week. The price of SMM ternary precursor (622) is 7.8-81000 yuan / ton, down 2000 yuan / ton compared with last week.
Lithium carbonate: lithium carbonate prices continue to fall this week. At present, the overall demand of the market is not good, and transactions are sporadic. Conventional ternary orders in the power market began to be cut in mid-late March, while consumer markets were affected by outbreaks in India and Southeast Asia, exports were blocked and demand for lithium manganate fell sharply. Extending to the upstream market, according to industry customers to SMM, battery-grade lithium carbonate transactions are weak, downstream may be willing to lower slightly on the basis of the current price range to lock in long orders, the two sides play an active game on pricing. Industrial grade lithium carbonate low prices continue to probe, the manufacturer said that if the buyer is willing to cash transactions or bulk transactions, the price still has 0.05-1000 yuan / ton concessions. This week SMM battery grade lithium carbonate price is 4.45-46500 yuan / ton, the average price is down 1000 yuan / ton from last week. This week, the price of SMM industrial grade zero lithium carbonate is 3650-40000 yuan / ton, the average price is down 500 yuan / ton compared with last week.
Lithium hydroxide: battery grade lithium hydroxide prices are flat this week. According to SMM research, with the spread of the overseas epidemic, the closure of the European car market has hindered the export business of domestic leading battery enterprises. Orders for China's high-nickel ternary materials enterprises have been greatly reduced since mid-March. Domestic lithium hydroxide orders are the first to react and deal sporadically. As it takes some time to transmit downstream orders, Japanese and South Korean material companies may begin to reduce demand for upstream raw materials in May, and current export orders for lithium hydroxide have not been greatly affected. In May, June, Japan and South Korea material factory orders are still uncertain, superimposed domestic demand is weak, downstream current pressure price idea, domestic battery grade lithium hydroxide price is likely to be loose. In addition, as the price of lithium carbonate continues to fall, the price of lithium hydroxide deeply processed products or passive adjustment, low prices may face a decline after the festival. This week, the price of SMM battery grade lithium hydroxide (coarse particles) is 5.3-59000 yuan / ton, the average price is the same as last week.
Lithium cobalt: the price of lithium cobalt has fallen this week. Orders for lithium cobalt acid were sporadic this week, and orders for downstream lithium cobalt battery plants in May were expected to be lower than in April. According to research, orders for lithium cobalt acid plants in May have not been seriously affected, but weakening demand in May is certain. Lithium cobalt may still have a little room to fall next week. The price of lithium cobalt sulfate in SMM4.35V is 19.1-196000 yuan / ton, down 4000 yuan / ton from last week.
Ternary materials: the price of ternary materials fell sharply this week. The price of upstream precursors fell significantly this week, and the price of dynamic ternary materials fell accordingly. Battery factories began purchasing May orders this week, with material factory prices under pressure as a result of cuts in production by big battery makers and the impact of exports from overseas consumer markets upstream, with orders falling sharply downstream. The price of SMM ternary material (type 523) is 11.2-119000 yuan / ton, down 6500 yuan / ton from last week. The price of SMM ternary material (622) is 13.3-139000 yuan / ton, down 3000 yuan / ton compared with last week.
Lithium iron phosphate: the price of lithium iron phosphate is down this week from last week. Lithium carbonate prices have fallen slightly this week, and orders in the power market have not yet risen. As a result of the battery factory to iron lithium factory pressure price is serious, iron lithium price is forced to lower. Energy storage orders increased this week, due to its low quality requirements for iron lithium, the price is basically near the cost line, the operation of small and medium-sized iron lithium enterprises is difficult. The price of lithium iron phosphate (power) in SMM this week is 36-4, 000 yuan / ton, down 2000 yuan / ton from last week.
Lithium manganate: the price of lithium manganate is down this week from last week. Lithium carbonate prices fell slightly this week, trading volume is still weak, downstream overseas consumer goods export decline basically transmitted to lithium manganate manufacturers, orders in May are expected to be lower than in April. Recently, battery factories began to inquire, prices have been reduced, market competition is fierce, lithium manganate prices are expected to continue to decline next week. This week, SMM lithium manganate (volume) price is 215,300 yuan / ton, the average price is down 250 yuan / ton from last week. This week SMM lithium manganate (power) price is 3.4-36000 yuan / ton, the average price is down 500 yuan / ton from last week.
Forecast in the future: the current power and consumer demand of the new energy market are both weak, cobalt controls the transport capacity of South Africa, affects the export of raw materials, the news on the supply side is good, and the market price is relatively strong; the operating rate of lithium salt manufacturers is still high, and the market price is still under downward pressure. In the future, the price trend of cobalt and lithium should pay attention to the progress of resuming work of overseas car enterprises, and the feedback of terminal demand to the relevant policies.
SMM Battery Materials Research team
Hu Yan 021-51666809
Qin Jingjing 021-51666828
Mei Wangqin 021-51666759
Huo Yuan 021-51666898