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Lithium prices in China have tumbled 29% as slower EV demand hits 'white gold'

China lithium battery manufacturing
Employees work on a production line manufacturing lithium battery products at a factory in Yichang, Hubei province, China.Reuters/Stringer
  • The price of lithium, essential to EV batteries, has fallen by 29% from November highs in China.

  • The metal is still worth eight times more than it was before 2021.

  • Sigma Lithium sharply jumped Tuesday following a report that Tesla is thinking about buying the Canadian miner.

Lithium prices in China have slumped by 29% from November highs as demand for electric vehicles wanes in the world's largest EV market.

The key battery ingredient, valued at over $86,000 per tonne at its 2022 peak, now costs around $61,795, the Financial Times reports, citing data from the pricing agency Fastmarkets.

Looming over the Chinese market are lower subsidies for electrified vehicles and weak consumer confidence, which has been rattled by the country's property crisis, according to Fastmarkets.

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While this spells an end to its two-year rally, the "white gold" of clean energy continues to be worth eight times more than it was two years ago.

For now, producers seem to be adapting to shifting demand. China's CATL, which is the world's largest battery producer, reportedly agreed to sell batteries to Chinese EV makers at lower rates.

Prices will be based on the production cost — capped at $29,016 per tonne — as long as customers agree to buy 80% of their battery requirements from CATL.

While lithium prices in the West have undergone a much weaker decline of only 10%, Albemarle and SQM — lithium producers located in the Americas — have lost over 10% in share price last week, which continue to slide.

But shares of Sigma Lithium sharply jumped Tuesday following a report that Tesla is thinking about buying the Canadian miner at a time of increasing demand for the key metal.

Tesla has been discussing a possible bid for the company with potential advisers, Bloomberg News reported late Friday.

Read the original article on Business Insider