Lithium prices hold firm, cobalt prices rally

The lithium carbonate CIF Asia price stabilized at $11,000 per tonne for the third consecutive month in June as the impact of lower demand for lithium iron phosphatecathodes was offset by lower Chilean exports.

The London Metal Exchange cobalt cash price surged 24% to $23.81 per pound in the month to July 14, driven by further supply logistics disruptions from renewed lockdown measures and civil protests in South Africa affecting Durban port shipments.

  • China’s June passenger plug-in electric vehicle, or PEV, sales surpassed the previous record set in June 2019, just before central level subsidies halved.
  • Europe’s top-four countries’ passenger PEV sales and penetration rate reached year-to-date highs in June. Stricter requirements for new car emissions will accelerate PEV uptake.
  • We expect market tightness to support a strong lithium carbonate CIF Asia price for the rest of 2021.
  • We expect the cobalt metal price to increase 11% to $23.00/lb quarter over quarter in the September quarter before edging down to $18.67/lb in the December quarter as supply bottlenecks ease.

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This article was published by S&P Global Market Intelligence and not by S&P Global Ratings, which is a separately managed division of S&P Global.