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China’s Tianqi Lithium Suffers as Lithium Prices Plummet

Daniel Kim Views  

Jiemian Newspaper·Yonhap News

Tianqi Lithium, known as the King of Lithium in China, is expected to record a net loss of $682 million in the first quarter of this year. As a result, Tianqi Lithium’s stock price plummeted to its daily limit.

According to Chinese media outlets such as Securities Times on the 24th, Tianqi Lithium announced its earnings forecast the previous evening. It expects to record a net loss of 3.6 billion to 4.3 billion yuan ($537 million to $642 million) in the first quarter.

Tianqi Lithium explained that the loss was due to the sharp drop in the prices of lithium salts and lithium carbonate and the poor performance of Chile’s SQM, in which Tianqi Lithium invested about $4.2 billion to acquire a 24% stake in 2018. The price of lithium salt, a raw material for the electrolyte, a key component of lithium-ion batteries, has been falling since last year, recently dropping to 110,000 yuan per ton ($16,400). This is an 80% drop compared to the peak in 2022.

The price of lithium carbonate, the raw material for lithium salt, can also not escape the downtrend. Earlier this year, some companies halted their operations due to the inability to handle the cost of lithium waste disposal, causing a slight recovery in the price of lithium carbonate. However, it is still hovering around 100,000 yuan per ton. According to the Shanghai Steel Federation, the average price of lithium carbonate on that day was 115,000 yuan per ton. Although it has risen slightly compared to the low at the beginning of the year (92,400 yuan), the price has not yet recovered.

Meanwhile, Tianqi Lithium’s stock price recorded its daily low limit in the Chinese stock market due to the gloomy earnings outlook.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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