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China - Lithium Carbonate - Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights
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Article Publishing Date: Aug 30, 2021

China Is Unlikely to Tap into Afghanistan’s Resources to Strengthen Its Position in the Global Lithium Market

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IndexBox has just published a new report: 'China - Lithium Carbonate - Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights'. Here is a summary of the report's key findings.

Although China is the second-largest importer of lithium carbonate in the world, it dominates globally in exports for lithium oxide and lithium hydroxide. With moderate lithium deposits, the country will need to find ways to expand its resource reserves to support the rapid development of its electric car and electronics industries. It is widely viewed that China will construct lithium mining facilities in Afghanistan, but this is very unlikely in the near future due to the difficult military and political situation there.

Key Trends and Insights

China remains the second-largest importer of lithium carbonate worldwide but dominates globally in lithium oxide and hydroxide exports. According to IndexBox, in 2020, China’s market share consisted of 57K tonnes or 67% of worldwide exports. South Korea and Japan were the main importers of Chinese lithium.

Lithium production in China grew from 10.8K tonnes of lithium content in 2019 to 14K tonnes in 2020. According to USGS estimates, China stands in fourth place globally for lithium reserves (1.5M tonnes of lithium content), behind Chile (9.2M tonnes), Australia (4.7M tonnes) and Argentina (1.9 M tonnes).

The rapidly developing electric car and electronics industries in China will require enlarging their resource reserves to meet production needs. Alternative methods to increase their mineral reserves could include expanding domestic excavation, building mining facilities abroad or expanding lithium imports.

Recently in China, there have been discussions about creating a mining facility in Afghanistan for rare earth metals to provide one means of expanding their resource reserves. Implementation of such a project in the near future is highly unlikely, mostly due to the difficult military and political situation in the country. Mes Aynak in Afghanistan, one of the world’s largest copper deposits, serves as a precedent, where China invested in mining operations. In 2008, the Chinese Company MCC-JCL Aynak Minerals (MJAM) received a permit to rent and develop the ore, but to this day they haven’t begun to extract nor smelt the ore. Currently, the project remains within an exploration phase. The main reasons for the facility’s stalled construction are threats of armed conflict in Afghanistan and a shortage of necessary resources such as coal and phosphate.

There are no reliable sources of data about Afghanistan’s lithium deposits. According to estimates from the Afghanistan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, there are 1.4M metric tonnes of rare earth elements in the country. There is no open-source information detailing whether those minerals are accessible for the extraction or whether they are contaminated by radioactive elements. At the moment, there are no active mining operations for lithium in Afghanistan. The mining industry is significantly under-developed there, and due to a low GDP, the only method to stimulate growth is foreign investment.

Currently, the Belt and Road Initiative should enable China to strengthen its leading position in the global lithium export market. The initiative’s main goal is to construct a unified large market among countries in Asia Pacific, Africa as well as Central and Eastern Europe. It should help China increase exports of lithium as well as increase imports of crude ores when necessary. Within the Belt and Road Initiative, China has invested in transport and logistics infrastructure in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan.

Lithium Carbonate Imports into China

In value terms, lithium carbonate imports expanded sharply by +8.5% to $261M (IndexBox estimates) in 2020. In physical terms, lithium carbonate imports into China reached 50K last year.

Chile (37K tonnes) constituted the largest lithium carbonate supplier to China, with a 74% share of total imports in 2020. Moreover, lithium carbonate imports from Chile exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest supplier, Argentina (13K tonnes), threefold.

The average lithium carbonate import price stood at $5,208 per tonne in 2020, falling by -36.5% against the previous year. Average prices varied noticeably amongst the major supplying countries. In 2020, the country with the highest price was Argentina ($5,922 per tonne), while the price for Chile stood at $4,889 per tonne. In 2020, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Argentina.

Lithium Oxide and Hydroxide Exports from China

In value terms, South Korea ($357M) and Japan ($313M) constituted the largest markets for lithium oxide and hydroxide exported from China worldwide.

Lithium oxide and hydroxide exports from China skyrocketed to 57K tonnes in 2020, picking up by +16% against the previous year. In value terms, lithium oxide and hydroxide exports declined slightly to $688M (IndexBox estimates) in 2020. 

South Korea (29K tonnes) and Japan (26K tonnes) were the main destinations of lithium oxide and hydroxide exports from China. In 2020, the most notable growth rate regarding the volume of shipments, amongst the main countries of destination, was attained by South Korea (+68% y-o-y).

The average lithium oxide and hydroxide export price stood at $12,120 per tonne in 2020, which is down by -15.2% against the previous year. Average prices varied noticeably for the major overseas markets. In 2020, the country with the highest price was South Korea ($12,491 per tonne), while the average price for exports to Japan totaled $11,968 per tonne. In 2020, the most notable growth rate in terms of prices was recorded for supplies to Japan.

Source: IndexBox Platform

Product coverage:

This report provides an in-depth analysis of the lithium carbonate market in China. Within it, you will discover the latest data on market trends and opportunities by country, consumption, production and price developments, as well as the global trade (imports and exports). The forecast exhibits the market prospects through 2025.


Country coverage:

Data coverage:
• Market volume and value
• Per Capita consumption
• Forecast of the market dynamics in the medium term
• Trade (exports and imports) in China
• Export and import prices
• Market trends, drivers and restraints
• Key market players and their profiles

Reasons to buy this report:
• Take advantage of the latest data
• Find deeper insights into current market developments
• Discover vital success factors affecting the market
This report is designed for manufacturers, distributors, importers, and wholesalers, as well as for investors, consultants and advisors.

In this report, you can find information that helps you to make informed decisions on the following issues:
1. How to diversify your business and benefit from new market opportunities
2. How to load your idle production capacity
3. How to boost your sales on overseas markets
4. How to increase your profit margins
5. How to make your supply chain more sustainable
6. How to reduce your production and supply chain costs
7. How to outsource production to other countries
8. How to prepare your business for global expansion
While doing this research, we combine the accumulated expertise of our analysts and the capabilities of artificial intelligence. The AI-based platform, developed by our data scientists, constitutes the key working tool for business analysts, empowering them to discover deep insights and ideas from the marketing data.
1. INTRODUCTION

Making Data-Driven Decisions to Grow Your Business

1.1
REPORT DESCRIPTION
1.2
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND AI PLATFORM
1.3
DATA-DRIVEN DECISIONS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
1.4
GLOSSARY AND SPECIFIC TERMS
2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

A Quick Overview of Market Performance

2.1
KEY FINDINGS
2.2
MARKET TRENDS
3. MARKET OVERVIEW

Understanding the Current State of The Market and Its Prospects

3.1
MARKET SIZE
3.2
MARKET STRUCTURE
3.3
TRADE BALANCE
3.4
PER CAPITA CONSUMPTION
3.5
MARKET FORECAST TO 2030
4. MOST PROMISING PRODUCTS

Finding New Products to Diversify Your Business

4.1
TOP PRODUCTS TO DIVERSIFY YOUR BUSINESS
4.2
BEST-SELLING PRODUCTS
4.3
MOST CONSUMED PRODUCT
4.4
MOST TRADED PRODUCT
4.5
MOST PROFITABLE PRODUCT FOR EXPORT
5. MOST PROMISING SUPPLYING COUNTRIES

Choosing the Best Countries to Establish Your Sustainable Supply Chain

5.1
TOP COUNTRIES TO SOURCE YOUR PRODUCT
5.2
TOP PRODUCING COUNTRIES
5.3
TOP EXPORTING COUNTRIES
5.4
LOW-COST EXPORTING COUNTRIES
6. MOST PROMISING OVERSEAS MARKETS

Choosing the Best Countries to Boost Your Exports

6.1
TOP OVERSEAS MARKETS FOR EXPORTING YOUR PRODUCT
6.2
TOP CONSUMING MARKETS
6.3
UNSATURATED MARKETS
6.4
TOP IMPORTING MARKETS
6.5
MOST PROFITABLE MARKETS
7. PRODUCTION

The Latest Trends and Insights into The Industry

7.1
PRODUCTION VOLUME AND VALUE
8. IMPORTS

The Largest Import Supplying Countries

8.1
IMPORTS FROM 2007–2020
8.2
IMPORTS BY COUNTRY
8.3
IMPORT PRICES BY COUNTRY
9. EXPORTS

The Largest Destinations for Exports

9.1
EXPORTS FROM 2007–2020
9.2
EXPORTS BY COUNTRY
9.3
EXPORT PRICES BY COUNTRY
10. PROFILES OF MAJOR PRODUCERS

The Largest Producers on The Market and Their Profiles

LIST OF TABLES
Table 1:
Key Findings In 2020
Table 2:
Market Volume, In Physical Terms, 2007–2020
Table 3:
Market Value, 2007–2020
Table 4:
Per Capita Consumption In 2007-2020
Table 5:
Imports, In Physical Terms, By Country, 2007–2020
Table 6:
Imports, In Value Terms, By Country, 2007–2020
Table 7:
Import Prices, By Country Of Origin, 2007–2020
Table 8:
Exports, In Physical Terms, By Country, 2007–2020
Table 9:
Exports, In Value Terms, By Country, 2007–2020
Table 10:
Export Prices, By Country Of Destination, 2007–2020
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1:
Market Volume, In Physical Terms, 2007–2020
Figure 2:
Market Value, 2007–2020
Figure 3:
Market Structure – Domestic Supply vs. Imports, In Physical Terms, 2007-2020
Figure 4:
Market Structure – Domestic Supply vs. Imports, In Value Terms, 2007-2020
Figure 5:
Trade Balance, In Physical Terms, 2007-2020
Figure 6:
Trade Balance, In Value Terms, 2007-2020
Figure 7:
Per Capita Consumption, 2007-2020
Figure 8:
Market Forecast To 2025
Figure 9:
Products: Market Size And Growth, By Type
Figure 10:
Products: Average Per Capita Consumption, By Type
Figure 11:
Products: Exports And Growth, By Type
Figure 12:
Products: Export Prices And Growth, By Type
Figure 13:
Production Volume And Growth
Figure 14:
Exports And Growth
Figure 15:
Export Prices And Growth
Figure 16:
Market Size And Growth
Figure 17:
Per Capita Consumption
Figure 18:
Imports And Growth
Figure 19:
Import Prices
Figure 20:
Production, In Physical Terms, 2007–2020
Figure 21:
Production, In Value Terms, 2007–2020
Figure 22:
Imports, In Physical Terms, 2007–2020
Figure 23:
Imports, In Value Terms, 2007–2020
Figure 24:
Imports, In Physical Terms, By Country, 2020
Figure 25:
Imports, In Physical Terms, By Country, 2007–2020
Figure 26:
Imports, In Value Terms, By Country, 2007–2020
Figure 27:
Import Prices, By Country Of Origin, 2007–2020
Figure 28:
Exports, In Physical Terms, 2007–2020
Figure 29:
Exports, In Value Terms, 2007–2020
Figure 30:
Exports, In Physical Terms, By Country, 2020
Figure 31:
Exports, In Physical Terms, By Country, 2007–2020
Figure 32:
Exports, In Value Terms, By Country, 2007–2020
Figure 33:
Export Prices, By Country Of Destination, 2007–2020

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