Posted on 21 Nov 2023
Price averages for Chinese lithium carbonate, nickel and cobalt have dropped considerably this year amid weak global market fundamentals, according to Fitch Solutions’ BMI.
Analysts at the research house estimate that year-to-date, China lithium carbonate prices have plummeted 72.6% on-year to $19,673.9/tonne, as of 16 November.
Cobalt prices have dropped nearly 36% to reach $33,420/tonne, while nickel also saw a strong decline of 42%, with prices currently at $17,421/t. Copper prices, meanwhile, have remained relatively flat, and are averaging around $8,265.5/t due to high stock levels and weak market conditions, Kallanish notes.
“Over the past month, year-to-date price averages have generally declined for base metals, dragged down by the persistence of weak global market fundamentals and US dollar strength,” BMI analysts said in a note.
While BMI’s three-to-six-month outlook for base metals is neutral, it forecasts a bullish sentiment for the 12-to-24-month period. It maintains that there will only be a “slight improvement” in base metal prices in Q4 2023, with prices likely to average lower than in 2022.
“Looking into 2024, we expect prices to increase from current levels as US dollar strength subsides and we see a moderate recovery in demand (driven by Mainland China),” it added. “However, weak growth prospects across several key markets will keep price growth modest.”
BMI forecasts the prices of China lithium carbonate to average $55,000/t in 2023 and $50,000/t in 2024.
It predicts 2023 average nickel prices to be $22,000/t, dropping to $20,600 in 2024. Copper average prices are predicted to be $8,550/t and $8,800/t in 2023 and 2024, respectively.