Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations forecast battery-grade lithium carbonate to trade at 504,813 CNY (US$74,000) per tonne in 12 months time. Lithium is expected to trade at 484,185.00 by the end of this quarter.
Lithium carbonate prices in China rose slightly to 480,500 yuan/tonne in mid-August, remaining close to the record-high of 500,000 from March and 400% higher year-on-year as soaring demand drove expectations of extended supply deficits.
Source: Trading Economics.
Shanghai Metals Market data pointed to a supply deficit of 1,361 tonnes in July, swinging from the supply surplus in the prior month as the re-opening of the Chinese economy and cash subsidies for new energy vehicles lifted car manufacturer’s demand. In the US, demand for new energy vehicles is set to increase as the newly passed “Inflation Reduction Act” extends tax breaks for new electric vehicle purchases—although eligibility for the tax break will be determined by the sourcing of critical materials, including lithium. (Earlier post.)
Lithium carbonate is forecast to trade near its high. Source: Trading Economics.
According to the USGS, global end-use lithium markets are estimated as follows: batteries, 74%; ceramics and glass, 14%; lubricating greases, 3%; continuous casting mold flux powders, 2%; polymer production, 2%; air treatment, 1%; and other uses, 4%.
Lithium consumption for batteries has increased significantly in recent years because rechargeable lithium batteries are used extensively in the growing market for electric vehicles and portable electronic devices, and increasingly are used in electric tools, and grid storage applications.
The only lithium production in the United States currently is from one brine operation in Nevada. Two companies have produced a wide range of downstream lithium compounds in the United States from domestic or imported lithium carbonate, lithium chloride, and lithium hydroxide.
Excluding US production, worldwide lithium production in 2021 increased by 21% to approximately 100,000 tons from 82,500 tons in 2020 in response to strong demand from the lithium-ion battery market and increased prices of lithium. Global consumption of lithium in 2021 was estimated to be 93,000 tons, a 33% increase from 70,000 tons in 2020.