For the Quarter Ending September 2023
In North America, the price of lithium hydroxide experienced a decline in the third quarter of 2023, primarily due to low inquiries, sufficient inventories, and a reduced production rate. Notably, in July, lithium hydroxide prices in the domestic market of the USA decreased, largely attributed to weakened demand from the downstream lithium-ion battery manufacturing industries. Reports indicated ample inventories of the product in the region, and imports remained consistent. Furthermore, the importation of low-priced goods from Chile contributed to the overall downward price trend of the product. It's noteworthy that the supply chain functioned without major constraints, and production rates remained stable within the domestic region. The demand outlook, both domestically and internationally, has remained moderate, driven by subdued inquiries from the downstream battery and cathode manufacturing industries. Japan, a major importer, experienced a slowdown in purchasing activities during the same period. As of September 2023, lithium hydroxide prices were assessed at USD 30,000 per metric ton.
In the Asia Pacific region, the price of lithium hydroxide experienced a decline, which can be attributed to several factors including sufficient inventory levels, low demand, and limited inquiries from downstream battery industries. In South Korea, domestic supplies of lithium hydroxide remained high, primarily due to poor downstream demand, while manufacturers continued their operations at a consistent pace in exporting nations. The demand outlook remained weak, as consumer inquiries from the downstream battery manufacturing industry showed limited activity. Battery manufacturers exhibited a reluctance to increase their orders in both the third and fourth quarters, opting for cautious purchases, particularly as they anticipated further price decreases. Moreover, declining production costs were influenced by weak cost support from upstream lithium carbonate, prompting manufacturers to continue lowering their product prices. Throughout this period, market transactions were limited, and there were no notable instances of major port congestion or supply chain constraints. As of September 2023, the assessed price for lithium hydroxide stood at USD 27,500 per metric ton.
The price of Lithium Hydroxide has continued its bearish trajectory, primarily due to weak demand from the downstream sector, low import prices, and limited inquiries. In Belgium, the price of lithium hydroxide has experienced a consistent decline, largely as a result of a significant drop in demand from the lithium-ion battery manufacturing industry during this quarter, alongside subdued consumer inquiries. Deteriorated business sentiments across the European region have contributed to a sustained downward trend in the pricing of Lithium Hydroxide. Battery manufacturers have shown no interest in increasing their orders during the third and fourth quarters, opting for cautious purchases, especially in anticipation of further price reductions. In terms of supply, the availability of Lithium Hydroxide was moderate in the European region, with market participants maintaining consistent imports of the product. Furthermore, there have been no reported instances of supply chain constraints or port congestion. As of September 2023, the assessed price for lithium hydroxide stood at USD 29,750 per metric ton.
For the Quarter Ending June 2023
In April 2023, the prices of Lithium hydroxide followed the bearish movement as the market is still a little bit skeptical about the recovery of economic conditions and the bounce back of overseas players. According to the monthly rise and fall chart of Lithium hydroxide from April to June, the monthly price of lithium hydroxide in April has a small drop from March prices by 5%, a large decline in May by 10%, and an overall decline in June at USD 54600/ton. In May, the upstream lithium carbonate operated weekly, which weakened the cost support for the lithium hydroxide market. Which again resulted in a drop in the production cost of lithium hydroxide. In addition, the domestic market is capable enough to serve the downstream players owing to having an ample amount of raw material inventory. The actual market transactions were limited due to weak domestic demand. In June, the downtrend of upstream lithium carbonate continued, and the support for lithium hydroxide weakened again. The market supply was relatively abundant, the demand side was light, and the mentality of the industry was poor.
Following a large drop of 37%, the spot prices of lithium hydroxide battery grade ex-Shenzhen settled at USD 31500/tonne in the week ending on 21st April 2023. Under the mentality of downstream enterprises buying up rather than buying down, the actual orders in the market were not good. Most of them were low-priced orders. The focus on lithium hydroxide price negotiations was weaker, resulting in a dead market. The support from upstream lithium carbonate was also insufficient for the lithium hydroxide market. Finally, in the month of May, the lithium hydroxide market was in the price rise stage. In this time period, the upstream lithium carbonate price rose mainly, which backed the lithium hydroxide market. The enthusiasm for the downstream inquiry was slightly improved. The manufacturers performed well mainly in the field of long terms orders, the price mentality of the industry was strengthened, the enterprise quotation rose, and the spot market was traded just in need. In the first ten days of June, the cost support continued, driving the price of lithium hydroxide to keep up. The manufacturer mainly executed long-term procurements, and the downstream mainly followed up in need. The market had a strong wait-and-see atmosphere.
In the second quarter of 2023, the price curve of lithium hydroxide was also following the bearish trajectory of 1st quarter. The probable reason caused this movement is the increasing electric car pricing war amongst the market giants like Volkswagen in the Belgium market. The major exporting nations are decreasing the offered quotations to allure downstream consumers. The wait-and-see atmosphere was foggy, the market trading atmosphere was cloudy, and moreover, the demand in the downstream battery manufacturing and cathode industry was suppressed due to poor economic conditions. As per the price analysis of Chemanalyst, the reference price of Battery grade lithium carbonate was USD 53410/tonne, and following the same trend, the price of lithium hydroxide settled at USD 52670/tonne on June’23. As per market participants, the demand has been moderate in that region while consistent import of the product has been maintained, and the supply has been steady. In this timeframe, no supply chain constraint or no port congestion is observed.
The Lithium Hydroxide market in US domestic region exhibited bearish market sentiments throughout the first quarter of 2023. In the first month, the prices dropped consistently amid restricted market activities in the Asian region. The regional competition dropped amongst lithium-ion battery manufacturers. In February, the prices slid down amid constrained market activities in the Asian region. The cost support from the upstream Lithium Carbonate in the region was weak thus, lowered the production costs. In March, amidst uncertainties regarding the economic conditions and slower overseas inquiries, the market prices of Lithium Hydroxide plummeted. Throughout Q1, the cost support from Lithium Carbonate remained weak, and in the last few weeks, the production rates were lowered amid higher levels of inventory in the region. Thus, the prices of Lithium Hydroxide Battery Grade DDP USGC settled at USD 67947 per tonne at the end of Q1 2023.
The Lithium Hydroxide market in China remained on a bearish trajectory throughout the first quarter of 2023. In January, the NEV subsidies ended, due to which the downstream players were cautious about new orders of the product and the disruption in transportation as the logistics enterprises stopped responding to new inquiries a few weeks before the holidays. In February and March, the market prices of Lithium Hydroxide plummeted considerably amid weaker cost support from the upstream Lithium Carbonate in the region. In the last few weeks of Q1, the production rates dropped as ample inventories of the product were present in the region, and the demand outlook remained suppressed amid limited market transactions in the region. Thus, the prices of Lithium Hydroxide Battery Grade FOB Shenzhen settled at USD 57597 per tonne at the end of Q1 2023.
Throughout the first quarter of 2023, the market prices of Lithium Hydroxide showcased a bearish pricing trend in the Belgian domestic market. In January, the prices plunged, moving identically to the benchmark offers in the Asian markets. In addition, the rise in inflation and energy prices in the European market kept the operating rates restricted. In February, the prices decreased amid a drop in regional market competition among electric vehicle manufacturers. The procurement rates dropped in this period due to lower electric vehicle sales in the Chinese domestic market, leading to uncertain market conditions. In March, the prices dropped further amidst the electric car pricing war amongst the market giants, and the domestic manufacturers slashed electric vehicle prices amid rising market competitiveness. Thus, the market prices of Lithium Hydroxide Battery Grade DDP Antwerp settled at USD 69120 per tonne at the end of Q1 2023.