Platts, a division of S&P Global Commodity Insights, the foremost independent provider of information, data, analysis, benchmark prices, and workflow solutions for commodities, energy, battery metals, and energy transition markets, has introduced groundbreaking daily assessments for spot market US lithium carbonate prices. The launch of these new price assessments for battery-grade lithium carbonate, delivered duty-paid (DDP) to the United States, addresses the increasing demand from market participants for pricing transparency and enhanced pricing information, as the North American battery supply chain continues to evolve. This initiative follows a thorough period of market consultation and feedback and complements S&P Global Commodity Insights’ existing suite of battery metals assessments in Asia and Europe. It also builds on the successful addition of daily assessments for US black mass in August 2023.
Recent government policies such as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) have driven domestic electric vehicle (EV) sales and spurred global efforts to localize the mine-to-market EV value chains. Interest in energy storage has also intensified as part of the overall energy transition. Analysts at S&P Global Commodity Insights project a 15% increase in US energy-transition demand for lithium by 2035 post-IRA. While planned US capacity expansions may eventually fulfill domestic sourcing requirements, the decision to provide a daily assessment on a delivered-duty-paid basis acknowledges the possibility of project delays leading to reliance on sourcing from other countries, particularly FTA members.
The Platts US lithium carbonate DDP assessments represent standard battery grade quality (minimum of 99.5% Li2CO3), with a minimum quantity of five metric tons, powder packed in bags, delivered 15 to 60 days forward, and expressed in US dollars per metric ton. Other quality indications are taken into account and normalized to Platts’ base standard specification, considering prevailing market differentials.
Adriana Carvalho, Senior Managing Editor of Metals Pricing at S&P Global Commodity Insights, expressed satisfaction with the introduction of these daily domestic price assessments, emphasizing their importance in meeting the growing need for price transparency in the evolving North American electric battery market.
According to analysis by S&P Global Commodity Insights, US electric vehicle sales are expected to exceed 4.6 million units by 2030, supported by energy transition trends and government policies. However, stable and reliable supplies of cost-effective lithium will be crucial for EV battery manufacturing. These evolving market dynamics have prompted many companies to reassess undeveloped lithium assets, accelerate projects, and explore new opportunities. There is a positive outlook for the lithium and battery sectors in North America, with significant investments aimed at establishing a robust supply chain within the region, from mining to electric vehicle production.
Christopher Davis, Regional Metals Pricing Director for the Americas, highlighted the importance of independent price assessments and data to illuminate emerging spot market activity in the evolving North American electric battery segment.
The Platts US lithium carbonate DDP assessments are accessible through S&P Global Commodity Insights products and services, including Platts Nonferrous Metals Alert, Platts Metals Daily, Platts Connect, Platts Market Center, and the Platts price database.