what is the current price of lithium

Once lithium is cut and exposed, it develops a black oxide layer. Lithium is the only metal that reacts at room temperature with nitrogen. When burning, lithium has a crimson flame that turns white when the fire turns more vigorous. It has a melting point of 180.50°C (356.90°F) and a boiling point of 1342°C (2448°F). A degree of stability is necessary in order to rescue the lithium market. Prices of lithium need to be low enough that consumers, such as battery manufacturers, can make a profit, but high enough to encourage suppliers towards long-term expansion and investment.

Unfortunately for all, this vision has been interrupted by some of the perennial enemies of the orderly market – human greed and poor planning. Just over a year ago, lithium prices were sitting at nearly $80,000 a ton in December 2022. The U.S. government was so worried about the metal’s price and its impact on advanced https://www.investorynews.com/ technologies it enacted a comprehensive supply review. EV makers, including Tesla TSLA , were scrambling to buttress their own lithium supplies. Lithium sellers such as Ganfeng Lithium, the Albemarle Corporation, and others were so swamped with orders they were holding auctions, which routinely pushed prices upward.

When Argentina’s new libertarian president, Javier Milei, announced sweeping reforms, a prominent one was making it easier to export lithium. The U.S. subsequently announced financial support to make that happen. When Namibia conflicted with a Chinese mining company, it was over the export of lithium. After the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, one of the few economic opportunities that emerged was for the export of lithium from the Taliban-ruled Emirate. It does look like we may have hit the bottom, or at least we are very near.

In the 1790s, Jozé Bonifácio de Andralda e Silva from Brazil discovered petalite on Utö, a Swedish island. This was the first lithium mineral to be found but it wasn’t until 1817 that lithium was identified as a new metal in its own right. Our responsive widgets and charts scale to nearly any display size.

Johan August Arfvedson of Stockholm analysed the mineral when he realized it contained an unknown metal that was a new alkali and a version of sodium. The metal’s name is derived from the Greek word “lithos” meaning stone. Lithium is a silvery-white metal that resembles aluminium or platinum. On the periodic table, it belongs to Group 1 (Ia) which holds the other alkali metals hydrogen (H), sodium (Na), rubidium (Rb) potassium (K), cesium (Cs), and francium (Fr).

Metal Price Fixings?

Fast forward to today (Feb. 19, 2024) and the China lithium carbonate spot price is at CNY 97,500/t (~US$13,719/t) (red line drawn by the author). This now means that most Chinese non-integrated spodumene and low grade integrated lepidolite production is now very unprofitable. The September 2023 chart below from Macquarie shows the various Chinese lithium producers cost of production.

  1. Another factor that affects lithium prices is the rarity of the metal.
  2. One of the main forecasts that investors rely on to predict the market price is the current global demand and supply chain.
  3. In Australia, lithium comes from mining ores of other minerals.
  4. The chart below forecasts that if EV adoption and ESS surges (top line) we will get large lithium deficits again this next decade.

It should also be noted that February 2024 China EV sales YoY growth will potentially be terrible, given Chinese New Year is in February this year compared to January in 2023. This alone might delay a lithium price bottom for a couple of months which ties in with some analysts’ views that the bottom will occur late Q1, 2024 or in Q2, 2024. The chart below shows what happened to iron ore when China accelerated their industrialization and urbanization. We expect orders to start flowing upstream again either towards the end of the first quarter or early in the second quarter. Furthermore Chinese non-integrated lepidolite and spodumene (from Xinjiang) is almost unprofitable, with Chinese brine (from Tibet) also getting close to being unprofitable.

Metal Spot Price Charts Lithium Price Chart (USD / Pound) for the Last Available years

Lithium prices currently hover at approximately $13600 a ton as of December 18th 2023. Very strong December 2023 global EV sales should mean that the cathode and battery manufacturers will need to do some restocking, particularly if EV sales growth holds up in H1, 2024. Lithium mining produced an estimated 82,000 https://www.currency-trading.org/ metric tons of lithium in 2020 and the global reserves in 2021 is at an estimated 21 million tonnes. Lithium is toxic and ingestion is often done under close medical supervision. Lithium carbonate is prescribed for manic depression (also known as bipolar disorder) and sometimes for lesser grades of depression.

what is the current price of lithium

While theoretically, EV makers can produce more vehicles with dropping battery prices, demand for EVs has slowed as leaders such as Tesla try to produce vehicles for the mass market. Previously, the market appealed to luxury buyers and early adopters, creating significant growth. Lithium supply is driven by current producers expanding and new projects coming online. This is also dependent upon lithium prices being high enough to incentivize (and hence finance) expansion and new production. At current lithium prices there is minimal incentive for many new projects.

In Australia, lithium comes from mining ores of other minerals. Chile and Argentina extract lithium from the brine of underwater lakes. The water is brought to the surface and allowed to evaporate. The remaining saline solution is processed to extract the lithium, usually by electrolysis. Lithium has a silvery veneer and is a soft and malleable metal. It has a potent reaction to water and with air, it rapidly oxidizes after being cut.

Spot Prices versus Retail Prices

One of the main forecasts that investors rely on to predict the market price is the current global demand and supply chain. In particular, the price is driven by the demand for two forms of the metal – lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide. Another factor that affects lithium prices is the rarity of the metal. The London Metal Exchange (LME) works closely with the lithium industry to provide more information, forecasts, charts, and lithium prices to investors. Market prices for lithium have fluctuated dramatically over the past few years as investors have speculated over the supply and demand for lithium in the growing market for electric vehicle batteries.

They search the globe for great investments with a focus on trending and emerging themes. The current focus is on electric vehicles, the EV metals supply chain, stationary energy storage and AI. Lithium is vital because of its indispensability in modern green technologies, especially advanced batteries. Countries https://www.topforexnews.org/ in the developing world have been able to tap into vital new revenue streams even as the price of lithium was pushed downwards. Fears over another crash, current capital losses, and a lack of production increase even when input prices are at rock bottom may stymie efforts to increase lithium production for years.

As the chart shows, CAM manufacturers have been destocking at a fast pace, once battery inventories return to normal level then orders should start to flow upstream again… The commodity remains extremely valuable due to its essential roles in the fields of medicine, technology, and to investors looking to add a sought-after commodity to their portfolio. Two of the world’s major lithium producers are Australia and Chile. China and Argentina also produce the metal to a lesser degree.

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The China lithium carbonate spot price has been stabilizing since December 7, 2023 and this past 2 weeks has bounced higher from CNY 95,500 to CNY 97,500. This price crash should remind everyone that green energy is just as susceptible to market forces as its competitors in the fossil fuels industry. On balance, this is an overwhelmingly positive thing, as the maturation of green energy has made solar electricity cheaper than coal and created large, moneyed constituencies interested in the success of green energy. Besides being used extensively in the medical and psychiatric fields, lithium also offers vast applications in other areas.

It is known as a soft substance with the lowest density of all metals (0.534 g/cm3). Investors can draw their own conclusions on what scenario (base case or high case demand) will likely play out. In 2022 we saw what happens when EV demand surges and in 2023 we saw what happens when supply surges.

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