SHANGHAI, Sep 23 (SMM) – Cobalt stockpiling will continue, supporting cobalt prices. Inventories of cobalt raw materials will not be high in the near term with the restocking demand ahead of the National Day holidays. It is expected that cobalt raw materials will pile up in Q4 as demand from the 3C market will weaken.
Large-scale producers raised lithium carbonate prices, but downstream users were cautious about the offers. Some lithium salt factories in Jiangxi and Sichuan began to receive orders and deliver cargoes in late September, but transaction prices may not be as high as the quoted prices. Lithium prices are expected to hold stable in the fourth quarter.
In the power battery market, the scheduled production plans of car companies continued to increase in September, and it is expected that the demand for new energy vehicles will also be higher in September and October. Operating rates of the first and second level power battery enterprises are gradually increasing. It is estimated that the output will rise about 30% in October, and operating rates may hit 80% or above. Ternary batteries increased by 33.4% from the previous month in August, and it is expected to maintain a high growth rate in September and October. In particular, the demand for ternary batteries of Series 5 gradually returned to the normal state of last year. Lithium ion batteries began to increase gradually in June and July, and are expected to keep a slight growth trend in September and October.
Prices of lithium carbonate rose last week. Prices of electric carbon increased 500 yuan/mt to 41,000 yuan/mt, and the spot has reached the mainstream turnover, with a small number of manufacturers offering 42,000 yuan/mt. Prices in small and medium-sized enterprises have not changed due to inventory pressure. For industrial-grade lithium carbonate, downstream and purification enterprises have increased their demand for industrial carbon at low prices, with more inquiries and few transactions. The quotation of electric carbon manufacturers went up, and the demand for quasi-electric carbon is likely to improve.
Prices of industrial carbon are likely to rise slightly. Prices of SMM battery-grade lithium carbonate stood at 39,500-41,000 yuan/mt, and the average prices increased by 250 yuan/mt compared with a week ago. Prices of SMM industrial grade lithium carbonate stood at 33,500-37,000 yuan/mt, and the average price remained unchanged from the previous week.