Chile’s SQM expects lithium prices to dip in second half – by Felipe Iturrieta and Aislinn Laing (Reuters U.S. – August 24, 2018)

SANTIAGO, Aug 24 (Reuters) – Chilean lithium miner SQM said it forecast lithium prices dropping as much as 10 percent in the second half of the year compared to the first but stressed it saw no problems with potential water restrictions in the Atacama salt flat where it operates.

Chief executive Patricio de Solminihac said on a second-quarter earnings call that Australian lithium concentrate being converted in China for use in car and cell phone batteries was responsible for downward “price pressure.”

“There’s consensus the market will continue to grow, but on supply there’s more uncertainty,” he said. “We see that the price will be slightly lower in the second half of the year, although still significantly higher than in the second half of last year.”

SQM , which is also an important producer of plant fertilizer and iodine, said in its earnings report for the second quarter, released on Thursday, that its overall revenue had increased 26 percent compared to the same period last year.

It projected that lithium sales would increase 50 per cent in the second half of the year compared to the first.

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