Prices of lithium carbonate in China jumped to a record high of $41,925 a tonne in December driven by strong demand from manufacturers of the batteries that power electric vehicles, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence (BMI) said.
Lithium carbonate is used for lithium iron phosphate (LFP)batteries. Sales of electric vehicles which use these batteries have been accelerating in China.
BMI’s assessment puts the mid-point of Chinese lithium carbonate prices in December at $39,250 a tonne, a gain of 485.8% from the same period a year ago. The range was $36,575 to $41,925 a tonne.
Higher lithium carbonate prices have been driven primarily by strong demand from the electric vehicle battery sector during 2021 and compounded by seasonal restocking of inventories ahead of “Spring Festival 2022 in China”, BMI said.
“The re-emergence of domestic Chinese lithium iron phosphate (batteries) has pushed lithium carbonate prices to all time highs in 2021, a trend that is expected to continue as the market enters 2022,” BMI said.
“Lithium carbonate producer stocks have been depleted on continued high demand and remain at low to non-existent levels.”