Lithium carbonate prices continue to decline, leading to a heavy wait-and-see mood among downstream customers, who are reluctant to place large orders.
The price of lithium carbonate has dropped by half from five months ago, with panic selling not stopping.
Battery-grade lithium carbonate prices in China fell RMB 12,500 per ton ($1,818 per ton) today, bringing the average price down to RMB 300,000 per ton, according to Mysteel.
Industrial-grade lithium carbonate also fell by RMB 12,500 per ton today, leaving the average price at RMB 260,000 per ton.
Compared to yesterday's average prices, battery grade lithium carbonate and industrial grade lithium carbonate fell by 4 percent and 4.59 percent respectively, the new biggest drop of the year.
The price of battery-grade lithium carbonate has fallen 49 percent compared to RMB 590,000 per ton on November 21 last year, and the drop this year is about 40 percent.
Lithium carbonate is still being sold off at an accelerated pace, a report in local media Yicai today quoted an unnamed industry source as saying.
The continued decline in lithium carbonate prices has led downstream customers to shy away from placing large orders, with a heavy wait-and-see mood, the source said.
On March 20, a company in northwest China's Qinghai province dropped its sell offer for battery-grade lithium carbonate to RMB 280,000 per ton, and some local battery-grade lithium carbonate ex-factory prices dropped to RMB 250,000 per ton, the report noted.
As lithium prices continue to fall in China, some analysts previously said the drop will not last long as imports become more attractive.
Overseas lithium products have seen a significant premium, which could support prices for lithium products in China, said CITIC Securities in a March 7 research note.
Notably, Yicai's report today said there have been withdrawals of lithium carbonate orders in overseas markets, which has further pushed down the price of lithium carbonate.
A month ago, it was reported that CATL was pushing a lithium rebate program to car companies, with some cells to be settled at RMB 200,000 per ton of lithium carbonate.
CATL acknowledged the plan on March 9, but did not mention the base prices.
CATL's lithium sharing plan was not motivated by a price reduction, but rather that the company already owns some mineral resources and does not want to reap windfall profits, the company said.
CATL's proposed price benchmark of RMB 200,000 per ton for lithium carbonate has further lowered market expectations for the price, accelerating the panicked drop in lithium carbonate prices, Yicai's report today quoted several industry sources as saying.
($1= RMB 6.8742)