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Chinese battery giants sees long-term rise for lithium prices

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By Colin Hay - 
Ganfeng CATL BYD lithium price battery

Hopes of a rebound in the global lithium market are being boosted by the growing confidence of lithium battery developers in China.

A number of Chinese specialists are amongst the world’s leading producers of lithium-ion batteries for the electric vehicle (EV) market.

According to Statista, China-based CATL was the leading lithium-ion battery maker as of the end of 2023 with a market share of almost 37%.

Compatriot BYD ranked second with a market share of 15.8%.

Now, Ganfeng Lithium, a powerhouse in the global lithium battery supply chain, has suggested that battery metal prices are set for a long-term uptrend.

Stabilisation benefits

Ganfeng chair Li Liangbin recently said that China’s lithium industry would benefit from a stabilisation in battery metal prices.

He said lithium demand from producers of power batteries, energy storage and elsewhere will keep growing amid “an irreversible trend” of global energy transition.

Li told Reuters that if lithium prices can stabilise between around $17,000 and $32,000, it might create the best development environment for the whole industry.

Turnarounds coming

Financial services company UBS believes lithium prices are turning thanks to a significant decline in the critical metals’ surplus levels.

UBS analyst Lachlan Shaw has reported that the global lithium supply surplus for 2024 is now at 94,000 tonnes—significantly lower than the previous estimate of 142,000t.

UBS says that lithium supply is being curtailed, slowed or delayed with the surplus levels now around four weeks of supply compared to a previous six weeks.

EVs set to rebound

Meanwhile, leading global investment firm Goldman Sachs has suggested falling battery metals prices may lead to a rebound in EV demand.

Goldman Sachs research expects EVs to reach breakthrough levels in terms of cost parity (IE without subsidies) with internal combustion engine cars in some markets next year.

It also believes battery innovation is also helping reduce battery costs and that regulatory tailwinds will continue to favour the EV sector.