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Global demand for lithium would increase 48% in 2021

Global demand for lithium will rise from 305,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) in 2020 to 452,000 tonnes in 2021, according to projections released by the Australian government.

In general, lithium is a key component in products and processes used in a variety of applications and industries, including lithium batteries used in consumer electronics and electric vehicles, high-performance greases, thermoplastic elastomers for car tires, rubber soles. rubber and plastic bottles, catalysts for chemical reactions, organic synthesis processes in the areas of steroid and vitamin chemistry, various life science applications, as well as intermediates in the pharmaceutical industry, among other applications.

World lithium production and demand

The Australian government also forecasts that global lithium demand will reach 675,000 tonnes by 2023, as global uptake of electric vehicles increases further.

Global demand for lithium

The sharp increase in demand in 2021 is based on increased acceptance of electric vehicles, driven by prices, model choice and government action.

Meanwhile, during the four months to April 2021, China‘s lithium hydroxide exports decreased 8% compared to the end of 2020, but increased 20% in April, month-over-month, reflecting normal trade.

Conversely, lithium carbonate imports increased 20% compared to the previous period and 38% month-on-month.

On the other hand, during the four months to April 2021, South Korea‘s lithium hydroxide exports increased 13% compared to the previous period, while lithium carbonate imports decreased 11% compared to the previous four-month period, but they were up 35% month-over-month.

Japan’s lithium hydroxide imports increased 37% month-on-month in April 2021, recovering to more normal trade.

The global lithium market is made up of producers located mainly in America, Asia and Australia.

Among the main competitors in lithium compounds are: Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A., Sichuan Tianqi Lithium, Albemarle Corporation, Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium and Livent Corporation.

 

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