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Live Lithium Prices Today

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*Lithium pricing in the US and China are slightly different due to shipping, insurance, the exchange rate and other risk factors. Click here to learn why lithium prices are plunging and what to expect.

Lithium Market Updates

Lithium Carbonate Pricing

While China only accounts for roughly a quarter of the world’s raw lithium supply, it holds a virtual monopoly on processing capacity. China produces an estimated 80% of the entire world’s lithium-ion batteries each year, and about 60% of all electric vehicle batteries. As a result, Chinese prices for battery-grade lithium (i.e. lithium carbonate with over 99.5% purity) have become one of the foremost proxies for the price performance of lithium as a commodity.

Lithium Pricing

Lithium Carbonate comes in different grades (sell Lithium Grades Explained below). The higher the purity, the more expensive the commodity. China is also the world’s largest consumer of 99.2% purity lithium carbonate, and effectively dictate the price performance.

China’s 99.5% Lithium Price Chart

China’s 99.2% Lithium Price Chart

How Lithium is Priced

The OECD provides a comprehensive framework for determining the price of lithium. Here are the main factors that affect lithium price:

  • Market Conditions and Demand: The surge in demand from electric vehicles, portable electronic devices, and energy storage options significantly influences lithium demand.
  • Quality and Grade of Lithium: Battery grade (higher purity) commands premium prices over industrial grades.
  • Production Costs: The costs to extract and process lithium from brine or mineral sources play a critical role in its market price. These costs are influenced by technological efficiency, energy prices, and regulations.
  • Supply Chain Efficiencies: From extraction to delivery, logistics play a key role.
  • Regulatory Environment: Subsidies and environmental/governmental policies affect production costs.

Lithium Grades Explained

Lithium grades refer to the purity of the lithium compounds. The specific grade required can vary significantly depending on the end use.

The three most common lithium grades are:

  • Lithium Carbonate 99.5%: Battery Grade, essential for lithium-ion batteries in EVs and portable electronics. The pricing for Lithium Carbonate 99.5% (CNY/mt) is considered the benchmark for lithium pricing worldwide.
  • Lithium Carbonate 99.2%: Technical or Industrial Grade, used in glass, ceramics, and greases.
  • Lithium 99.9%: Used in pharmaceuticals or aerospace applications where a high degree of purity is necessary.