GLOBAL LITHIUM WRAP: China's battery-grade carbonate price falls on slow buying activity ahead of Dragon Boat Festival

June 08, 2019 / www.metalbulletin.com / Article Link

The price in China's domestic market for battery-grade lithium carbonate moved down week on week on slow demand because of the forthcoming Dragon Boat Festival on June 7-9; prices in the rest of the world were stable.

Ex-works China battery-grade lithium carbonate price edges lower on weak demand Lithium hydroxide prices rangebound in China Rest of the world's prices unchanged.
The battery-grade lithium carbonate price softened in the week ended Thursday June 6, with lower prices in the spot market due to reductions in demand with market participants in China preparing for the national holiday in observance of the Dragon Boat Festival.

Fastmarkets' latest assessment of the price for Chinese domestic spot battery-grade lithium carbonate, min 99.5% Li2CO3, was 72,000-77,000 yuan ($10,395-11,117) per tonne ex-works on June 6. This was down from 74,000-78,000 yuan per tonne the previous week.

"The lithium carbonate market has softened a little this week. Prices will face further pressure due to the typical slow season in China during the coming months," a buyer told Fastmarkets. "We haven't purchased material this week and will wait until after the holiday, because prices might fall."

Stability was also reported in the battery-grade lithium hydroxide spot market due to the slow demand and reduced spot market activity.

The spot price for battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate, min 56.5% LiOH.H2O, was unchanged week on week on Thursday at 83,000-88,000 yuan per tonne.

"The battery-grade lithium hydroxide spot market in China was flat this week on slow demand," a lithium producer told Fastmarkets. "Micro-grade material is still trading at a premium, but overall there are no changes in prices."

Asian seaborne prices steady
The seaborne Asian battery-grade lithium carbonate and hydroxide spot market prices were similarly flat week on week, also on low trading activity due to scarce demand.

Fastmarkets assessed the spot market prices for battery-grade lithium carbonate, min 99.5% Li2CO3, and lithium hydroxide monohydrate, min 56.5% LiOH.H2O, unchanged week on week on Thursday, respectively at $11-12.50 per kg and $14-15 per kg, cif China, Japan and South Korea.

"The seaborne Asian market has been very slow over the past two weeks," a distributor told Fastmarkets. "Our prices for battery-grade material remain unchanged, at mid-$12 per kg for carbonate and mid-$14 per kg for hydroxide. Slow demand will probably keep the market unchanged in the coming weeks."

Stable prices in Europe, US
The European and United States spot market prices for battery-grade lithium carbonate and hydroxide have also remained unchanged week on week on slow trading activity.

Low levels of demand kept this market unchanged because typically most of the material is traded on a contract basis.

Fastmarkets assessed the spot prices for battery-grade lithium carbonate, min 99.5% Li2CO3, and lithium hydroxide monohydrate, min 56.5% LiOH.H2O, unchanged week on week on June 6 at $11-13 per kg and $14-15 per kg respectively, delivered duty-paid in Europe and the US.

"The European and US markets remain quite slow on scarce demand. We have been mainly negotiating our contract prices," a second lithium producer told Fastmarkets.

"We have heard of lower prices in Europe and the US for lithium carbonate and hydroxide from China," a second distributor said. "However, we could not confirm any deals below the prices currently quoted by Fastmarkets. The market could soften in the coming weeks."


Fastmarkets lithium prices

Fastmarkets' trade log for battery-grade lithium carbonate in China for June includes all trades, bids and offers reported to Fastmarkets.
Learn more about Fastmarkets' lithium pricing methodology here, and read the latest lithium price spotlight here.

All lithium carbonate, hydroxide and spodumene prices are available in our Battery Raw Materials Market Tracker. Get a sample of the report here.