Lithium producers stay bullish on EVs despite growing headwinds – by Ernest Scheyder and Melanie Burton (Reuters – November 2, 2023)

Nov 2 (Reuters) – The world’s largest lithium producers say they remain bullish on long-term demand for the battery material in the midst of recent price drops fueled by growing worries that the global pace of electric vehicle adoption is slowing.

LG Energy Solution (373220.KS), General Motors (GM.N), Honda (7267.T) and other auto and battery makers have trimmed EV expansion plans in recent weeks, partly due to rising interest rates, which in turn has stoked concerns of a supply glut for the battery metal. A basket of prices for lithium – which vary by region and by type – tracked by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence has dropped more than 60% this year.

While demand for the ultralight battery metal is still expected to rise this year from 2022 levels, investors’ expectations for white-hot industry growth were dampened by sluggish quarterly reports from Albemarle (ALB.N), Pilbara Minerals (PLS.AX), Livent (LTHM.N) and others.

In Australia, the world’s largest lithium-producing nation, Pilbara Minerals is the most-shorted stock on the Australian Stock Exchange, suggesting investors have a negative view on lithium demand.

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