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China’s lithium hydroxide exports up on battery demand

02 Mar 2018 15:55 GMT
China's lithium hydroxide exports up on battery demand

Beijing, 2 March (Argus) — China's lithium hydroxide exports continued to soar in January on rising demand from the electric vehicle battery sector.

January exports rose by 77pc year on year to 2,192t from 1,240t, customs data show, with the largest importer Japan more than doubling its intake to 1,412t from 688t.

South Korea imported 440t of the battery material in January, up by 39.2pc year on year, while shipments to Taiwan surged to 135t from just 0.5t in January 2017. Exports to Germany fell by 24pc to 102t.

China's total exports in 2017 increased to 19,383t from 9,835t in 2016, and 9,430t in 2015. January exports of lithium carbonate also soared by 171pc year on year to 271t.

The demand outlook for battery materials remains strong as global electric and hybrid vehicle production is expected to continue rising. But the average January lithium hydroxide price fell to $12.77/kg from $13.18/kg in January 2017 as a result of rising supply. Steady price rises over the past two years have prompted large producers in China to build new production lines. Domestic lithium salts capacity has risen to 250,000 t/yr, including 170,000 t/yr for hydroxide.