Livent Corp. boss warns of lithium shortage within a decade – by Susanne Barton, Laura Millan Lombrana and David Stringer (Toronto Star/Bloomberg – October 13, 2018)

NEW YORK—The market for lithium will remain tight through 2025 as producers struggle to lift output fast enough to meet demand for the material that’s essential in making batteries for electric vehicles, according to the sector’s newest public company, Livent Corp.

“We think demand is going to grow almost five times larger in 2025 than it was in 2017,” chief executive officer Paul Graves said in an interview Thursday in New York, as the supplier made its trading debut. “Our biggest challenge is producing enough to meet the demand — there’s a much greater risk that this market is consistently in a deficit in the near future.”

The longer-term demand outlook from Livent, a spin off from chemical maker FMC Corp., echoes the view from Chinese competitor, Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium Co., which this week sold shares in Hong Kong for the first time.

Yet investors aren’t immediately swayed, focusing instead on concerns new supply may flood the market in the short term, and on the material’s decline in 2018 after a rally that tripled prices in the three years through 2017.

Shares of Philadelphia-based Livent closed little changed Thursday, while Ganfeng plunged 29 per cent on its Hong Kong debut — even after pricing the shares at the bottom of a target range — before rebounding as much as 13 per cent in early Friday trading.

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