15.8 C
New York
Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Lithium Market Cheers as Top Supplier Sees Demand Driving Higher

Lithium Market Cheers as Top Supplier Sees Demand Driving Higher© Bloomberg. An employee holds processed lithium for a photograph at a Talison Lithium Ltd. facility, a joint venture between Tianqi Lithium Corp. and Albemarle Corp., in Greenbushes, Australia, on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. Rising Chinese demand for lithium-ion batteries needed for electric vehicles and energy storage is driving significant price gains and an asset boom in Australia, already the world’s largest lithium producer.

(Bloomberg) — The world’s largest producer of lithium calmed investor fears of oversupply and slower Chinese demand for the mineral used to power electric vehicles, sending shares surging across the industry.

Albemarle Corp.’s fourth-quarter earnings topped analysts’ estimates, and it expects global lithium demand to grow 21 percent annually, with the market remaining tight for years as manufacturing of electric cars and large-scale batteries soars. The company’s stock rose the most in almost three years on Thursday.

The outlook comes little over a week after shares across the industry sold off as producer Livent Corp. reported disappointing results and said customers in China were delaying purchases. Albemarle said it sees no evidence of a slowdown, with sales of new-energy vehicles doubling in China last year and indications that demand for electric cars will continue to benefit from government incentive programs in the Asian nation.

Albemarle’s 2019 outlook helps calm investor fears of lower lithium prices from an oversupplied market, James Sheehan, an analyst at Suntrust Robinson Humphrey, said in a note. A 4 percent gain in prices in the fourth quarter, “supports our thesis that Albemarle can maintain stable pricing.”

Albemarle’s stock rose as much as 11 percent, the biggest intraday gain since May 2016. It was the best performer on the on Thursday. Santiago-based Soc. Quimica y Minera de Chile SA, the world’s second-largest producer, rose 2.4 percent for a second consecutive gain. Shares of Tianqi Lithium Corp., the third-largest, posted their highest closing price this year.

Price Outlook

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Albemarle, which produces about a third of the world’s lithium, expects prices to remain flat or to increase this year. Prices for lithium carbonate, the most common form of the mineral, have fallen from historic highs, but still remain more than double the level of four years ago, according to monthly data by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

Global sales of electric vehicles soared 98 percent during the fourth quarter, Albemarle Chief Financial Officer Scott Tozier said Thursday on a conference call with analysts. The number of available plug-in hybrids and battery-electric models announced by automakers for 2021 has grown by almost 40 percent since mid-2017. As a result, demand for lithium carbonate equivalent will be about 475,000 tons by 2021 and 1 million tons by 2025, he said.

Large producers such as Albemarle, SQM and Tianqi will continue to dominate a space that might look oversupplied this year as new capacity comes in, Albemarle Chief Executive Officer Luke Kissam told analysts during the call. With new technologies demanding more lithium, the market will remain tight in coming years, he said.

“The momentum around electric vehicles has continued to accelerate,” Tozier said. “The demand curve has shifted higher and steepened,” he said, referring to lithium.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Source: Investing.com

Related Articles

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles

Popular Articles