Here’s the lithium price forecast through to 2025

The subdued spot demand therefore is weighing on sentiment and pressing down prices,” Susan Zou, Shanghai-based vice president at Rystad Energy. “The likely supply surge and downstream overcapacity are set to bring lithium prices down subsequently in the medium term,” GS said in a Feb. 23 note. Many shared the view that the global lithium market would remain tightly balanced, limiting lithium’s price decline into 2023. With EV adoption picking up, some industry experts predict the gap between lithium demand and supply will remain or even widen in 2023.

“This is still a nascent industry, experiencing amazing innovation and growth but also some growing pains,” he said, with some of the auto companies, for example, realizing that the products they were offering weren’t competitive in the market. “Higher interest rates are weighing on the automotive sector as the cost to purchase a car has increased considerably, and EVs have not been immune,” said Schoffstall. “Higher costs of living and economic uncertainty” are also likely weighing on the auto industry as buyers put off making large purchases. “China is the world’s largest EV market and [it] saw a considerable drop in the rate of growth of EV adoption,” said Steve Schoffstall, director of ETF product management at Sprott Asset Management.

  1. Lithium carbonate prices surged to a record high of almost 600,000 yuan per ton in November 2022, more than 12 times January 2021 prices.
  2. The U.S. subsequently announced financial support to make that happen.
  3. By the end of 2025, Blanchard sees a “modest deficit” of around 40,000 to 60,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent, but forecasts a wider deficit amounting to 768,000 tonnes by the end of 2030.
  4. In particular, the price is driven by the demand for two forms of the metal – lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide.
  5. Lithium is toxic and ingestion is often done under close medical supervision.

Because we’re constantly seeing rubbish articles with titles like “Lithium- the New Gasoline” etc. We do also see lithium ion batteries starting to be used in grid storage/grid balancing applications (an application I don’t think is a good match for Li-ion batteries, but that’ll be the subject of a future article). If we want to determine whether or not there are problems with lithium, the first question we have to answer is how much lithium we’ll need to build out an EV battery fleet. With no changes to our outlook, we maintain our forecast for lithium prices to rise in 2024 and to average a little over $30,000 per metric ton from 2023 through 2030. While we expect prices will remain volatile, we think a market deficit will generally keep them above the marginal cost of production of $20,000 per metric ton on an all-in-sustaining cost basis. With our changes to our forecast, our fair value estimates for the lithium producers under our coverage are also unchanged.

The latter are powered by petrol and a lithium battery that is recharged via an electric socket. It has a potent reaction to water and with air, it rapidly oxidizes after being cut. Lithium is the only metal that reacts at room temperature with nitrogen. When burning, lithium has a crimson flame that turns white when the fire turns more vigorous.

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It’s easy to figure out the minimum amount of lithium necessary to deliver a certain amount of energy. Lithium has an atomic weight of 6.94 g/mol, so we already know that a little (mass of) lithium goes a long way. You get one electron per lithium atom, and there are coulombs per mole of electrons. Rearrange in a line calculation and you end up with 3.87 Ah per g of lithium, which is the theoretical maximum. That gives you between 70 g of Li per kWh for a 3.7V nominal Li-NMC or Li-NCA battery, or 80 g/kWh for a 3.2V nominal LiFePO4 battery. These are obviously totally inaccurate values, since the utilization of lithium in any real battery can never be 100%.

Ultimately, Goldman is forecasting global lithium demand to grow to ~1,300kt LCE by 2025, but expects lithium production to hit ~1,700kt LCE. First, a rare slowdown in EV demand in the pivotal Chinese market has taken the markets by surprise. According to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA),  sales of new energy vehicles, including pure battery EVs and plug-in hybrids, fell 6.3% in January, a sharp contrast to a blistering 90% growth in 2022. Chinese lithium prices briefly touched the Yuan 600,000/mt mark in early November due to power cuts and pandemic controls in key producing provinces such as Sichuan and Jiangxi. In the same period, Pilbara Minerals’ spodumene auctions continued to refresh new highs, reaching a record $7,805/mt at its Nov. 14 auction, which also boosted market sentiment. A survey of Asian market participants presented a more conservative view of lithium prices.

What separates lithium, and what makes this situation so dangerous, is the intense geopolitical competition lithium is subject to, the regulatory environment lithium interfaces with, and lithium’s role in combating climate change. Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. About 46% believed prices will continue to hover at high levels, while 39% believed otherwise with newer projects coming online. Platts assessed Chinese domestic lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide at Yuan 548,000/mt DDP China and Yuan 555,000/mt DDP China Dec. 20, up 94% and 155%, respectively, since the start of 2022. Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed seaborne lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide at $75,000/mt CIF North Asia and $81,000/mt CIF North Asia Dec. 20, up 122% and 156%, respectively, since the start of 2022.

In the 1790s, Jozé Bonifácio de Andralda e Silva from Brazil discovered petalite on Utö, a Swedish island. This was the first lithium mineral to be found but it wasn’t until 1817 that lithium was identified as a new metal in its own right. This battery materials miner had a tough quarter and things aren’t getting any easier for it.

Wood Mackenzie similarly forecasts that the overall lithium market will see a supply surplus in the coming years. Lithium is mainly used for energy storage such as batteries for electric vehicles and sustainable energy generation. The price of Lithium is expected to rise substantially in coming years as the world moves further towards using green energy and lower carbon industry. Battery expansion related restocking demand and price action indicators higher EV sales kept the market tighter in 2H22 than previously expected. Our commodity team now expect lithium prices through 1H23 to reflect the near-term tightness and lagging spodumene contract price pass-through before declining over 2H23. While we see earnings support for the Australian stocks over months on price lags, on a 12m view we expect lithium stock prices to fall as lithium prices decline from record peaks.

Why We Continue to See Higher Prices for Lithium

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Our latest articles and strategies for the post-work life you want. “Sales will increase, but the pace of increase may slow down,” a Chinese battery maker said. “The main risks [are] likely to come from delays in commissioning of new projects and delays in permitting of new assets,” he said.

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“We believe there will eventually be enough lithium to support the demands of electrification. But in the near term, we expect to see the impact of supply constraints on lithium pricing for many years, if not longer,” he said. According to the energy research firm, hundreds of lithium projects are currently under exploration, but the complexity in geology and time-consuming permitting process still pose challenges. China is the world’s third largest producer of lithium, which is an integral element in electric vehicle batteries. Aside from various uncommon usages, lithium is used mainly as a component of rechargeable Li-ion batteries and as a treatment for several types of mental disorders. For most people in previews decades, lithium was either a controversial treatment for brain disorders or a song by Nirvana. In the 1790s, a Brazilian naturalist discovered the mineral called petalite on an island in Sweden.

Lithium supply and prices

More than half of the 26 companies expected Chinese lithium prices to average below Yuan 500,000/mt in 2023 and North Asian lithium prices to average below $70,000/mt, according to the latest Platts’ Battery Metals Outlook Survey. Worrisome signs in the market pointing to a slowdown in demand growth for electric vehicles spanned beyond China. Professional investors say demand is likely to soar due to big increases in how much is used in electric vehicles.

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Lithium is earning its current moniker, “white gold,” and all the geopolitical contention that comes with it. When Argentina’s new libertarian president, Javier Milei, announced sweeping reforms, a prominent one was making it easier to export lithium. The U.S. subsequently announced financial support to make that happen. When Namibia conflicted with a Chinese mining company, it was over the export of lithium.

Also in 2012, the automotive sector accounted for 14% of the Li-ion battery market. By the end of 2016, this will grow to as much as 25% by the end of 2016. My feeling is that they’re just overwhelmed with requests for information and don’t have the resources or staff to answer them. Irrespective of the reasons, the fact that they’re not providing any answers is a shame in my opinion, as the misinformation out there is driving people to incorrect conclusions about the future of their technology. Myra P. Saefong, assistant global markets editor, has covered the commodities sector for MarketWatch for 20 years. She has spent the bulk of her years at the company writing the daily Futures Movers and Metals Stocks columns and has been writing the weekly Commodities Corner column since 2005.