The export price of Chile's lithium carbonate has plunged to US$10,655 per ton on average, the lowest since last Nov. and down 17.6% year-on-year and 9% sequentially, according to Chilean customs.
SQM, the world's second largest lithium supplier, notes that there is no sign for the price decline to end in the near future. Lithium price tumbled by 8% in the first quarter and is expected to drop by another 25% in the coming months.
Despite the current downturn, the outlook for the lithium market is robust. Market players point out that the rapid development of electric cars has been jacking up demands significantly, which will rise by 20% by 2021. Ricardo Ramos, CEO of SQM, notes that lithium demand has been spiking at a double-digit rate, adding that the existing slight oversupply is not a problem for the industry.
Global lithium demand is expected to top 315,000 tons this year, slightly lower than prediction, which will rise to near 1 million tons by 2025, according to SQM.