Chinese battery-grade lithium carbonate price have dropped below CNY 300,000 ($43,781.94)/tonne to CNY 292,000/t on 24 March, down 11.24% on-week from the 17 March price of CNY 338,000/t, according to 100ppi.com.
The price has already declined by over 50% from the peak at about CNY 567,500/t in November 2022, Kallanish learns.
At the same time, the price of lithium hydroxide and lithium concentrate also declined. According to pricing provider icbattery.com, the price of battery-grade lithium hydroxide dropped about 3.85% from CNY 390,000/t on 16 March to CNY 375,000/t. The supply of lithium concentrate is much more stable now than during the time when the lithium salt prices surged.
Some listed companies, such as Zangge Mining, said their unit costs are relatively low at about CNY 30,000/t. Low-cost lithium carbonate only makes up a relatively small portion of the domestic production volume in China. There is still a lot of production capacity limited by resource issues and the cost is likely to be above CNY 200,000/t.
In addition, the lithium battery recycling market will also be negatively impacted due to the declining lithium salt prices.
Because market prices are low, some mainstream lithium salt companies are not willing to sell their products, opting instead to build inventories.
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