Benchmark: lithium-ion battery prices rise for first time in gigafactory era; lithium carbonate major driver
Benchmark Mineral Intelligence reports that battery producers have begun to increase lithium-ion cell prices following a period of consistent raw material price rises throughout 2021, particularly for lithium.
According to Benchmark, several of China’s major lithium-ion battery makers have written to customers setting out intentions of new pricing structures, citing the rise in cathode and anode raw material prices as well as higher costs more generally, including for non-active materials such as PVDF binder, foils, and energy.
Lithium carbonate has been singled out as a major driver behind the battery cell price increases.
Benchmark’s Lithium Carbonate Price EXW China (battery) has increased 313.33% since this time last year, reaching RMB 185,000/tonne ($28,675) in mid-October. Lithium carbonate prices are presently at all-time highs and set to continue on their upward trajectory as demand continues to outstrip supply.
Benchmark’s EXW China (Battery) grade of lithium carbonate rose by 26.5% to RMB 160,000/tonne ($24,800) in the final two weeks of September 2021. The price has continued to move upward.
While Benchmark’s EXW China hydroxide price has also seen unprecedented upward movement, rising by 68.4% over Q3 to an average of RMB 157,500/tonne ($24,425), robust demand for LFP chemistry cathodes in China has once again placed carbonate at a historically unusual price premium over hydroxide.