Lithium carbonate prices increase 10 times within a year!

Time:2022-04-08 Views:84
Lithium carbonate prices increase 10 times within a year! Economic Daily: Guide the price of power batteries to return to rationality.
Recently, new energy vehicles have been "rising". Affected by multiple factors such as the industrial cycle, the epidemic, and international tensions, the cost of raw materials in the upstream of the automobile manufacturing industry has continued to increase. For example, the price of battery-grade lithium carbonate per ton has increased by 10 times within one year. Some analysts believe that this has deviated from the law of supply and demand and is abnormal growth.

Chen Shihua, deputy secretary-general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said that from a demand perspective, lithium battery prices may continue to rise for some time. However, under the regulation of the competent authorities and the efforts of all parties, the price of power batteries will gradually return to rationality.

Raw material prices rise across the board

The main raw materials of power batteries include positive electrode materials, negative electrode materials, separators and electrolytes, etc. These raw materials are greatly affected by the price of lithium, nickel, cobalt and other commodities or chemical raw materials.

Since the second half of last year, the main raw materials of power batteries, lithium, cobalt, and nickel have all risen sharply. The latest data shows that since December 21, 2021, the price of nickel has risen from less than 150,000 CNY / ton to 220,000 CNY / ton on March 20, and the highest point once exceeded 300,000 CNY / ton; The price of cobalt in the East China market has risen from less than 490,000 CNY / ton to 566,000 CNY / ton; the production price of lithium iron phosphate has risen from less than 100,000 CNY / ton to over 150,000 CNY / ton, an increase of nearly 60% .

Data released by the China Automotive Power Battery Industry Innovation Alliance shows that compared with the beginning of last year, the average price of mainstream ternary lithium battery cathode materials has increased by 108.9%, the average price of lithium iron phosphate battery cathode materials has increased by 182.5%, and the average price of ternary lithium battery electrolyte. Up 146.2%, lithium iron phosphate battery electrolyte rose 190.2% on average.

At the recently held China Electric Vehicle 100 Forum (2022), Zhang Feng, senior vice president of Funeng Technology (Ganzhou) Co., Ltd., said frankly, "The life of battery companies has been very difficult recently, especially due to the increase in raw material prices. At present, Funeng is communicating the second round of price increases."

"At the end of last year, Funeng has completed the communication with the vast majority of customers on the issue of price increases. Except for a few major customers, they have completed the price adjustment, and will be supplied at the new price from January 1 this year." Zhang Feng Said that with the further rise in raw material prices this year, Funeng began to communicate with individual customers and prepared to share with them the increased costs of raw materials from the price increase on January 1 this year to the end of March.

The cost pressure brought by the price increase of power batteries will eventually be transmitted to the whole new energy vehicle. Since March, nearly 20 new energy vehicle companies have announced price increases, involving nearly 40 models. The overall price increase of most car companies is controlled within 10,000 CNY, and the price increase of Xiaopeng Motors is between 10,100 and 32,600.

"Battery prices have risen very sharply, and some manufacturers have raised prices more than we imagined." He Xiaopeng, chairman of Xiaopeng Motors, said that the impact of price increases on car sales will take another two or three months to see more clearly.

There is no lack of capital speculation behind

In the first two months of this year, despite the frequent epidemics, chip shortages and rising prices, my country‘s new energy vehicles continued to grow. From the perspective of the installed capacity of power batteries, the cumulative increase was 109.7% year-on-year. Among them, the loading of ternary batteries accounted for 43.8% of the total loading, a cumulative increase of 50.6% year-on-year; the loading of lithium iron phosphate batteries accounted for 55.9% of the total loading, a cumulative increase of 203.1% year-on-year, showing a rapid growth momentum.

The substantial increase in the installed capacity of power batteries has made the problem of battery supply shortages more and more serious. Yin Tongyue, Secretary of the Party Committee and Chairman of Chery Automobile Company, said that as the new energy vehicle track becomes more and more popular, the demand for power batteries continues to rise.

Ouyang Minggao, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, pointed out that the main reason for the sharp increase in the price of lithium carbonate in this round is that the global demand for new energy vehicles has grown rapidly since last year, which has produced a progressive demand amplification effect in the field of batteries and materials. greater magnitude.

Ouyang Minggao believes that although the driving force for the growth of new energy vehicle sales will exist for a long time, the increase in demand for lithium resources caused by panic inventory reserves is only temporary. With the improvement of lithium carbonate supply capacity and the gradual expansion of the battery recycling industry, it is expected that lithium resources will restore the balance of supply and demand in two or three years.

This time the cost of batteries has risen, and there are other factors. Chen Shihua pointed out that the current round of raw material price hikes is abnormal, which deviates from the normal relationship between supply and demand.

Chen Shihua said that driving up the price of raw materials for power batteries has affected the stable and healthy development of the new energy vehicle industry, and runs counter to the national development strategy, so we should maintain a high degree of vigilance.

All parties work together to ensure supply chain security

In response to the current sharp rise in lithium prices and raw materials for power batteries, the China Automobile Association stated that it has included the price increase of raw materials into the monitoring scope since the second half of 2021, and will intensify its actions in the near future to submit countermeasures to relevant authorities.

Authorities have also begun to take action. Xin Guobin, vice minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said recently that it will focus on meeting the production needs of power batteries, moderately speed up the development of domestic resources such as lithium and nickel, and combat unfair competition such as hoarding and price gouging.

Yin Tongyue said that the core materials such as nickel, cobalt, and lithium required for the manufacture of power batteries are scarce resources and rely heavily on imports. He suggested that the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and other departments should formulate policies to incorporate new energy power battery materials into the national strategic reserve resource management, set up special funds, support and encourage domestic companies to purchase foreign battery material resources, and ensure the safety of the new energy vehicle supply chain.

For the new energy vehicle industry, to improve the supply level of battery supply materials, it is necessary to rely on development and management, and to promote technological innovation around resource extraction and refining, battery technology research and development innovation, and recycling system construction. Some experts believe that low-nickel, low-lithium, low-cobalt or cobalt-free batteries are the new development direction of power batteries. If they can reach the corresponding energy density, the supply and demand pressure of key raw materials will be relieved from the source.

Wu Kai, chief scientist of CATL, said that the company has launched the third-generation CTP (high-efficiency grouping) technology, which is internally called Kirin battery. He revealed that under the same chemical system and the same battery pack size, the power of the Kirin battery is 13% higher than that of the 4680 system.

Yuki Kusami, CEO of Panasonic Electric Group, said that solving the problems of electric vehicle battery quality and safety, rational operation of charging facilities, and total cost control is the key to promoting the further popularization of electric vehicles. Panasonic Electric Group will strive to achieve mass production of cobalt-free batteries within three years.

"Judging from the perspective of demand, the rise in lithium battery prices may continue for a period of time." Chen Shihua said that through the efforts of all parties, the problem of excessively rising raw material prices will be solved, the price of power batteries will return to rationality, and the supply and price will be guaranteed. The goal of securing the chain and stabilizing the chain will surely be achieved. He suggested that the automobile industry should conform to the general trend of building a new development pattern and seize the rare historical development window period of the new energy automobile industry.