Li-ion Batteries Drive Chinese Lithium Imports
Lithium, last year’s hottest metal, looks set to be even hotter in 2017. With the new year barely a day old, mineral exploration company Birimian announced the sale of its Bougouni lithium project in southern Mali to China’s Shandong Mingrui Group.
The deal signals the start of a scramble for lithium assets, led by Chinese companies that want to ensure supplies of the raw material for lithium-ion batteries, according to the Financial Times.
Our trade data shows Chinese lithium imports [HS283691] on the rise, even as demand drives up prices.
As China amasses lithium assets, it is moving aggressively to capture share of the global market for Li-ion batteries. The FT cites Benchmark Mineral Intelligence estimates that almost 70% of new Li-ion battery cell production capacity is being built in China. Our Chinese trade data shows China’s widening its lead as a source for Li-ion batteries [HS850760] imported by the US.
As Comstock Magazine comments, the start of mass production at the Nevada facility is not only a huge milestone in Tesla’s progress toward electrifying transportation. The Gigafactory brings Li-ion manufacturing, which has been dominated by China, Japan and South Korea, to the US.
Still, betting on batteries is risky, says Comstock: prices worldwide fell 22% in 2016 and are forecast to drop as far as 20% in 2017. What will put the brakes on the downward trend? Unyielding raw-material costs.
From our blog:
- Hot Metal: Lithium in Global Trade
- Fueling Speculation: Gigafactory’s Need for Lithium
- A New HS Code for Tesla (and Other EV Makers)
From our free report library:
You may also be interested in our Lithium Import Market Insight:
- Learn more about Lithium Import Market Insight: Trade Data Customized for Lithium Market Stakeholders
- Request a demo of Lithium Import Market Insight
Date posted: January 9, 2017