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Lithium battery supply and demand gap exceeds 20%, and the price of lithium carbonate in China has doubled in four months


Driven by various favorable policies, new energy vehicle manufacturers continue to make efforts, and the global market ushers in a new round of development opportunities, which also makes the price of lithium carbonate and other raw materials for lithium batteries continue to rise. Although the relevant production capacity has increased significantly in recent years, it still cannot meet the demand.

Global new energy industry is hot, lithium battery prices soar

Globally, China is the largest lithium consumer, accounting for 57% of the world's lithium demand in 2019. And 60% of this demand comes from lithium batteries. In recent years, the importance of new energy vehicles has become increasingly prominent, and as the "heart" of new energy vehicles, the importance of lithium batteries can not be ignored.

In the past decade, due to the growing demand for lithium batteries, lithium production capacity has increased significantly. A statistical data from BP shows that global lithium production fell by 19.2% to 77000 tons in 2019, but this is still nearly four times the level of 10 years ago.

Commodity analysts at the British Commodity Research Institute said that in 2020, the global lithium market for the first time in many years appeared in short supply, which may continue this year. It is expected that the demand for lithium in 2021 will be about 450000 tons, about 10000 tons higher than the supply. At the same time, the price of lithium carbonate also rebounded sharply from the end of last year, and accelerated after entering this year.

The lithium price index tracked by British benchmark mining intelligence, a battery raw material consulting company, rose 14.4% in February this year, the second largest monthly increase since the record rise in January this year.

In order to ensure the safety of the supply chain, automobile manufacturers are also increasing their investment in the upstream of lithium batteries. It is reported that Tesla has cooperated with many lithium mines in different regions of the world. Savannah resources, a London based mining company, is also planning to develop the first large lithium mine in Western Europe. The increase in supply brought about by the increase in investment will ease the pressure on the demand side to a certain extent.

The gap between supply and demand exceeds 20%, and the price of lithium carbonate in China has doubled in four months

Lithium carbonate is one of the raw materials necessary for the production of lithium batteries. As of March 12, the average market price of battery grade lithium carbonate in China was 83500 yuan per ton, up 6000 yuan per ton in a week, and the spot price has doubled in four months.

In four months, the price of battery grade lithium carbonate has doubled from 40000 yuan per ton in December last year to 80000 yuan per ton, and it will rise almost every other day. Not only lithium carbonate, but also the prices of other lithium raw materials required in lithium batteries have also continued to rise. Since January at the beginning of the year, the price of lithium carbonate has increased by nearly 60%, lithium hydroxide by 35%, and lithium iron phosphate by nearly 20%. Although the price of lithium continues to rise, it is affected by the overall market, The share price trend of lithium battery sector is just the opposite. Taking Ganfeng lithium, the industry leader, as an example, its share price has fallen by more than 28% since the peak of the year.

This round of lithium carbonate price rise is mainly caused by the imbalance between supply and demand. Since the second half of last year, the sales volume of new energy vehicles has increased month by month, and the installed capacity of lithium batteries has increased significantly, driving the significant growth in the demand for lithium salts such as lithium carbonate. According to the data of China Automobile Association, in February 2021, the loading volume of power batteries in China was 5.6gwh, an increase of 832.9% year-on-year. Among them, the loading volume of ternary batteries was 3.3gwh, an increase of 538.6% year-on-year; A total of 2.2gwh of lithium iron phosphate batteries were loaded, an increase of 2826% year-on-year.

Yi Yanting, director of new energy research of Shanghai Nonferrous Metals network: from the perspective of supply, the shortage of ore resources is also one of the main factors leading to the rise of lithium price this time. On the one hand, it is the cause of the epidemic, which is restricted by overseas parties; On the other hand, the ore price in previous years was relatively low, which led to the bankruptcy and shutdown of overseas mines. From the beginning of 2021 to now, the gap between supply and demand is about 20% to 25%.

Under the significant mismatch between supply and demand, recently, lithium salt listed companies have also announced plans to expand production and increase production, increasing the supply of lithium resources. Ganfeng lithium acquired Yili Hongda and indirectly owned the Qinghai Qaidam Yiliping lithium salt lake project. Shengxin lithium energy signed the off purchase agreement with avz mining, which has the largest lithium mineral resource in the world, to purchase spodumene concentrate. With the subsequent release of production capacity, the price rise of raw materials will also be eased. However, in the short term, the price of raw materials in the upstream has soared, and the demand of new energy vehicle enterprises in the downstream to reduce costs and increase efficiency remains unchanged. For lithium battery manufacturers, the pressure is still not small.

Huang Richang, head of the procurement department of a new energy vehicle enterprise in Guangzhou: it is preliminarily estimated that the cost impact is about 5%. However, we will reduce the manufacturing cost of the whole vehicle through the iterative upgrading of new technologies, the innovation of production methods, and the optimization of the supply chain, so as to avoid the rise of lithium battery costs passing to the terminal and affecting the sales price of new energy vehicles.

Zhejiang: the demand for new energy vehicles increases, and the nickel processing plant is at full capacity

Ternary lithium battery is one of the mainstream power batteries in the new energy vehicle market at present. In the cathode material of ternary lithium battery, the higher the nickel content, the higher the energy density ratio and the longer the battery endurance. The wide use of ternary lithium batteries has stimulated the market demand for nickel sulfate, the raw material product. At present, how about the production of nickel sulfate?

Reporter Wang Xiaolin: the green powder in my hand is nickel hydroxide, which is produced by hydrometallurgy of raw nickel ore and transported to China from overseas. Its nickel content is about 35% to 40%. After further processing and removing impurities, it can be made into intermediate product nickel sulfate.

Since the second half of 2020, the penetration rate of new energy vehicles in China and Europe has increased significantly, and the production of nickel sulfate has been in short supply.

Zhangwenfan, director of the leaching workshop of Zhejiang Quzhou Huayou metallurgy No. 1 branch: our whole production has basically reached full capacity.

Last year, the global output of nickel sulfate was 230000 tons, while the output of nickel sulfate in China was about 140000 tons, accounting for about 60% of the global output. The production staff of the factory admitted that the output of nickel products in the factory was not large in 2018 and 2019, but then from 2020, the nickel output of the factory doubled or even several times compared with 2018 and 2019.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Article source:Battery net

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