In October 2023, China's spodumene concentrate imports were approximately 464,700 mt in physical content, down 7% MoM and up 116% YoY. The average import price was about $2,677/mt. The slight MoM decrease in spodumene imports in October came from Australia, a major lithium ore producer. Specifically, the import volume of spodumene concentrate from Australia in October was around 345,904 mt in physical content, accounting for nearly 74.5% of China’s monthly imports, down 13% compared to September. The volume of spodumene concentrate sent from Australia to Sichuan and Jiangxi province remained high, while its shipments to other regions decreased slightly.
Subsequently, it is forecast that the amount of spodumene concentrate to be sent to Sichuan province will continue to decrease as China's leading lithium salt plants reduce imports from Australia. However, given that some mines in Australia consider the shipment volume and the supply increase in rest areas, their quotations have been cut. And the price of spot 6% grade spodumene concentrate is expected to be lowered from $1,700-1,800/mt to $1,500-1,600/mt. In addition, with the continuous decrease of the lithium salt price, quite a few downstream cathode material manufacturers have gone to Africa to look for first-hand spodumene sources for cost considerations. It is expected that the amount of spodumene concentrate delivered to China will stay relatively high.