SHANGHAI, Aug 8 (SMM) - According to SMM data, the spot prices of domestic battery-grade lithium carbonate and industrial grade-0 lithium carbonate have risen together today.
The spot prices of battery-grade lithium carbonate increased more significantly by 1,500 yuan/mt in a single day to 468,000-478,000 yuan/mt, with an average price of 473,000 yuan/mt. In addition, the spot prices of spodumene concentrates (6%, CIF China) also climbed to $4,930-5,130/mt after plateauing for a long while. Its average price broke through $5,000/mt to a high of $5,030/mt.
According to SMM survey, the mining cycle of lithium concentrates was relatively long, so resources released fell short of the downstream demand for lithium battery in the short term. At the same time, the Australian lithium miner Pilbara held its eighth lithium concentrate auction on August 2, and the transaction price reached an all-time high of $6,350/mt again, up 2.6% from the previous auction, which supported the prices of lithium concentrates to continue fluctuating at a high level. On the news front, CITIC Securities pointed out in its latest research report that the output of lithium concentrates in Australia surged in the second quarter of 2022, but low ore grade and lobar shortage still existed. Since July, the prices of Australian lithium concentrates have risen to $7,000/mt, boosting the production costs of domestic lithium salts. CITIC Securities believes that the lithium prices are very likely to increase in the second half year under the support of costs. However, it also suggests that the growth is limited due to accumulated inventories throughout the industrial chain. Moreover, CITIC Securities forecasts that the lithium prices will retreat from highs in 2023, and fall significantly in 2024 due to surplus in supply. It is expected that as the lithium sector matures, the companies relying more on their in-house production of raw materials will remain the first choice for downstream buyers.
At the 2022 (seventh) China International New Energy Conference hosted by SMM, an analyst from SMM forecast that the prices of lithium carbonate will decline during 2023-2025 when downstream demand is fulfilled by the increased production of overseas mines and salt lakes. The analyst also estimated that since 2025 the output growth will fall short of the stable demand for motive power battery amid a booming energy storage market, and the lithium carbonate prices are expected to rally.