It is expected that the short-term lithium carbonate spot price will remain weak and fall.
The Zhitong Finance App learned that on November 24, data monitoring by the Business Society showed that the overall price of lithium carbonate futures weakened sharply this week. On November 21, the main LC2401 contract fell sharply by 4.55% to 132,300 yuan/ton; then on the 22nd, the main LC2401 contract fell sharply by 6.98% to 124,700 yuan/ton, and lithium carbonate futures prices continued to reach new record lows. As of the 23rd, the main LC2401 contract closed at 124,800 yuan/ton, and the secondary flagship LC2407 contract closed at 11,800 yuan/ton. The price difference between the two narrowed to 11,000 yuan/ton. The continuous decline in futures prices may be affected by weak expectations for lithium carbonate forward contracts. This has also lowered recent lithium carbonate contract prices to a certain extent.
According to the Business Association's commodity market analysis system, the prices of industrial-grade and battery-grade lithium carbonate have declined unabated this week. As of November 23, the average domestic mixed price of industrial-grade lithium carbonate was 137,400 yuan/ton, down 6.91% from the average price of 147,600 yuan/ton on November 19; the average domestic mixed price of battery-grade lithium carbonate was 145,600 yuan/ton, down 6.43% from the average price of 155,600 yuan/ton on November 19.
Looking at market changes, the spot price of lithium carbonate continued to fall this week. On the one hand, it was affected by the sharp decline in futures prices, and on the other hand, the price declined due to the imbalance between supply and demand in the market. On the supply side, lithium salt companies that cut or overhauled domestic production in late October have resumed production one after another in late October, and some new lithium salt companies are in an incremental climbing production cycle. Combined with the increase in lithium carbonate exports from Chile to China in October, 84.5% to 16,791 tons, this has led to a marked increase in lithium carbonate supply.
On the demand side, downstream demand for energy storage remains weak, while cathode materials companies still have a strong wait-and-see sentiment. Amidst the recent downward price trend, there is no desire to pick up goods in scattered orders, and market transactions continue to be lackluster. Although trading companies have recently drastically lowered the sales price of lithium carbonate, market feedback transactions are still small. In addition to the recent gradual decline in the rise between lithium carbonate spot prices and 2401 contract futures, it is also difficult for some lithium carbonate trading companies to make significant concessions on sales, and it is also difficult for their trading volume to improve.
Downstream lithium iron phosphate prices have declined, and production costs of lithium iron phosphate have declined as lithium carbonate prices and iron phosphate prices have declined. On the supply side, lithium iron manufacturers produce as needed to absorb finished product stocks as much as possible. On the demand side, there is no obvious increase in demand on the power side and energy storage side, and the driving force for lithium iron materials is limited.
The price of lithium hydroxide has also declined. Affected by the narrow decline in the price of upstream spodumene concentrate and the weak operation of the lithium carbonate market, the cost support for the lithium hydroxide market is insufficient. Coupled with poor demand performance, downstream factory shipments mostly maintain immediate procurement under pressure. Market transactions are still dominated by long-term cooperative orders, the bulk goods transaction atmosphere is weak, and the focus of lithium hydroxide market negotiations is weak.
The Business Association believes that the current state of excess supply in the lithium carbonate market continues, but as seasonal factors influence salt lake companies may gradually reduce production, while other lithium salt companies will also cut production due to cost inversion issues. This may make it difficult for domestic lithium carbonate supply to increase drastically in the later stages. This may ease the contradiction between supply and demand. However, with demand currently unfavorable, it is expected that the short-term lithium carbonate spot price will remain weak and fall.