The stability of cell prices can be attributed to changing costs, and it is anticipated that cell prices will decline further in the second half of the year due to the decreasing price of lithium carbonate.
According to data from SMM, the current price of lithium carbonate stands at 307,000 yuan per ton, reflecting a 2.16% decrease compared to the previous week. Several factors have contributed to the rapid rebound of its price.
Firstly, there has been a decline in domestic ore production, resulting in lower willingness among lithium salt manufacturers to sell their products at reduced prices. Secondly, increased customer demand has led to improved month-on-month activation of the midstream manufacturing chain. In June, the market faced challenges in terms of ore supply, as evident from the high auction prices of lithium mica and lithium pyroxene. Additionally, environmental factors have hindered the resumption and improvement of mica mine production, while overseas lithium mines are gradually recovering, albeit with transportation time delays.
However, as temperatures rise, the expansion of production in salt lake mines can contribute to increased lithium carbonate production capacity. Nevertheless, the overall production capacity for lithium carbonate is showing slow month-on-month improvement.
On the demand side, there has been a recovery in customer demand for power batteries, indicating a positive outlook for the energy storage market. Overall, customer demand is slowly returning. We anticipate that the price of lithium carbonate will remain stable in the short term. However, as production capacity continues to ramp up in the second half of the year, we expect a decline in lithium carbonate prices, stabilizing between 200,000 and 300,000 yuan per ton. Regarding profitability, material manufacturers experienced a decline in profitability during Q1, whereas most battery manufacturers maintained a stable profitability level.
According to data from SMM, the price of pouch ternary battery 523 and lithium iron phosphate, excluding tax, stands at 0.646 and 0.575 yuan per Wh, respectively, remaining stable week-on-week. Based on our estimation, the cost of ternary battery 523 and lithium iron phosphate, excluding tax, is approximately 0.655 and 0.496 yuan per Wh, reflecting a decrease of 0.007 and 0.004 yuan per Wh. Their EBIT has decreased by 0.0094 and 0.079 yuan per Wh, respectively, while increasing by 0.007 and 0.004 yuan per Wh week-on-week. In the short term, it is expected that the cell price will stabilize with the support of stable cost.
Furthermore, the price, excluding tax, of pouch ternary 523 cathode cell is currently 216,400 yuan per ton, indicating a 1.01% decrease compared to the previous week. The price, excluding tax, of lithium iron cathode cell remains unchanged at 86,300 yuan per ton. The price, excluding tax, of PVDF remains the same at 170,400 yuan per ton. The price, excluding tax and processing fee, of aluminum foil (A00 aluminum) has decreased by 0.78% to 32,300 yuan per ton. The price, excluding tax and processing fee, of copper foil (electrolytic copper) has experienced a 4.84% decrease, reaching 81,000 yuan per ton. The price of negative electrode (artificial graphite) has declined by 0.91% to 33,600 yuan per ton, excluding tax. The price of diaphragm (wet coating film) remains unchanged at 1.81 yuan per m², excluding tax. The price of electrolyte for ternary batteries stands at 47,600 yuan per ton, excluding tax, while the price of electrolyte for lithium iron phosphate remains the same at 31,200 yuan per ton, excluding tax.