LOS ANGELES, Nov 13 (Reuters) – The burgeoning lithium industry, which produces the powerhouse metal used to make electric vehicle (EV) batteries, has entered its first major downturn, an unwelcome bruising for investors eager to help combat climate change.
Albemarle Corp, Tianqi Lithium Corp and others have been producing more lithium than automakers need. Global supply exceeds demand by about 5 percent, according to Canaccord data.
That comes as electric vehicle sales in China – the world’s largest EV market – fell nearly a third in September amid sliding government subsidies, the third consecutive monthly decline, according to Jefferies.
A global average of prices is down more than 50 percent since the start of 2018, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a metals pricing provider that is hosting an EV supply chain conference this week in Los Angeles.
“Current market conditions are challenging,” Luke Kissam, Albemarle’s chief executive officer, said last week. Despite the weak data, analysts and executives expect a rosy future when they look out 10 years.
For the rest of this article: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/13/reuters-america-lithium-producers-hit-by-first-big-downturn-of-electric-vehicle-era.html