Connect with us

Eye on Lithium: The consensus is there’s no consensus on when lithium prices will begin to rise again

  • Fastmarkets says next lithium upcycle to begin mid/late 2025
  • “I do expect prices to remain around current levels for at least the next couple of years”: Fastmarkets analyst Jordan Roberts
  • ‘Mr Lithium’ Joe Lowry believes market bottom “by the second half of 2024 at the latest”
  • Benchmark says there are a couple of bull market signals to keep an eye on: flagging mine supply and booming EV sales

 

Is it too early to load up on sold down lithium stocks? Maybe, says Fastmarkets battery raw materials analyst Jordan Roberts.

While the next couple of years represent another attractive opportunity to invest in the lithium sector, Roberts says punters should prepare to be waiting until mid/late 2025 for the next upcycle to begin.

“If we look at the length of the cycles in the lithium market, the last “winter” so to speak lasted between 2-2.5 years between 2019 and 2021,” he told Stockhead.

“Spot lithium prices have been on the decline for roughly a year now. So if we apply the timeline from above, that points to a recovery in the middle to late 2025.

“So I do expect prices to remain around current levels for at least the next couple of years based on a supply and demand balance that is pointing to a market surplus in 2024 and 2025.

“Lithium stocks are currently some of the most shorted on the ASX, so I think there is a fairly strong belief that the lower price environment is here to stay for a while and there is low risk of a potential short squeeze.

“There is still a hunger for lithium generally and positive sentiment for long-term demand fundamentals. I believe that the first sign of a stable recovery in price, not just short-term restocking driven, will be reflected in stock sentiment.”

 

But prices won’t go stratospheric again. Probably

Roberts says believes lithium prices probably won’t go as mental as they did in 2022, when spodumene was paying over US$8000/t and chemicals topped US$87,000/t.

“The sector’s move away from fixed long-term contracts to index-based price mechanisms, and the increasing use of futures contracts should cap potential price upside (in theory) and avoid a return to $87 dollars per kilogram,” he says.

“However, Should the current price environment cause producers to pause expansions and project development to enter a hibernation period, this could create the perfect storm that again results in another price run-up akin to 2021-2022.”

SC Insights lithium expert Andy Leyland agrees.

 

What do other experts say?

Like Leyland, ‘Mr Lithium’ Joe Lowry believes the lithium chemical supply surplus isn’t as big as analysts believe. He expects prices will begin to rise sometime in 2024.

“Much of Chinese lepidolite is losing money at current spot pricing. Even Chinese companies can’t lose money on a long-term basis without subsidy,” Lowry told Stockhead.

“I believe the bottom happens by the second half of 2024 at the latest.”

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence forecasts “a more balanced market in 2024” but one which is “likely to keep prices at similar levels to today”.

But there’s a couple of bullish signals to keep an eye on, it says.

“The slim forecasted surplus could swing into a deficit if only one major project delay occurs. Equally, should global EV sales rise 600,000 units above base case demand forecasts, the supply and demand dynamic would flip, which could lend some support to prices.”

Not an unthinkable scenario, says Benchmark.

Then there’s the Big Bear Goldman Sachs, which is predicting prices to bottom out in 2025 due to oversupply, before rising in 2026.

Say what you like about Goldman Sachs (Lowry certainly does), but some of its analysis on lithium forecasting in 2023 turned out to be pretty accurate.

Macquarie has also pivoted from its bullish September outlook, and now says the market for lithium will “remain in surplus for several years”.

 

ASX lithium form guide:

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort. Best viewed on a laptop. (Note: figures accurate per ASX at 4pm.) 

Stocks missing from this list? Email [email protected]

CODE COMPANY WEEK MONTH 6 MONTH YEAR PRICE MARKET CAP
MTM MTM Critical Metals 92% 283% -12% 16% 0.092 $6,761,722
EUR European Lithium Ltd 56% 54% 13% 52% 0.1125 $146,395,113
ARN Aldoro Resources 52% 47% 19% -22% 0.125 $16,827,968
GLN Galan Lithium Ltd 33% 19% -16% -32% 0.73 $243,895,873
CMD Cassius Mining Ltd 29% 29% 18% 100% 0.04 $20,104,422
PAM Pan Asia Metals 24% 3% -30% -62% 0.155 $20,877,679
EVR Ev Resources Ltd 22% 10% -15% -21% 0.011 $12,095,472
YAR Yari Minerals Ltd 22% -21% -21% -35% 0.011 $5,547,115
LLI Loyal Lithium Ltd 22% 6% 14% 24% 0.365 $25,240,547
DAF Discovery Alaska Ltd 21% 44% -18% -28% 0.023 $4,450,459
NWM Norwest Minerals 19% 0% -33% -41% 0.032 $7,764,377
DYM Dynamicmetalslimited 18% 0% -48% 0% 0.165 $4,900,000
JLL Jindalee Lithium Ltd 17% 2% -44% -48% 0.98 $62,909,722
BNR Bulletin Res Ltd 17% -3% 130% 51% 0.14 $41,105,865
FIN FIN Resources Ltd 17% -21% 50% 11% 0.021 $14,283,911
OZM Ozaurum Resources 17% 22% 233% 112% 0.14 $23,812,500
WML Woomera Mining Ltd 16% 21% 123% 53% 0.029 $34,617,142
VKA Viking Mines Ltd 15% 25% 50% 50% 0.015 $14,353,618
KZR Kalamazoo Resources 14% 0% 4% -43% 0.12 $20,564,337
AUN Aurumin 14% 0% -19% -59% 0.025 $9,319,520
CTN Catalina Resources 13% 13% 50% -55% 0.0045 $5,573,191
TYX Tyranna Res Ltd 13% -5% -5% -25% 0.018 $55,886,231
G88 Golden Mile Res Ltd 12% -10% -64% -7% 0.019 $6,258,401
AGY Argosy Minerals Ltd 12% -12% -63% -75% 0.145 $189,595,012
LTR Liontown Resources 11% 24% -40% 28% 1.685 $3,996,274,846
AML Aeon Metals Ltd. 11% -9% -33% -63% 0.01 $12,060,407
INR Ioneer Ltd 11% 3% -56% -61% 0.15 $316,711,822
WCN White Cliff Min Ltd 11% -9% 43% -29% 0.01 $11,489,034
BM8 Battery Age Minerals 11% -5% -61% -59% 0.205 $16,936,009
LRS Latin Resources Ltd 10% 53% -14% 181% 0.275 $796,234,767
GT1 Greentechnology 10% -13% -62% -67% 0.275 $90,416,848
IPT Impact Minerals 10% 0% -21% 57% 0.011 $31,511,743
SYA Sayona Mining Ltd 9% 13% -60% -63% 0.07 $730,824,017
SGQ St George Min Ltd 9% 6% -13% -49% 0.035 $33,460,375
TON Triton Min Ltd 9% 14% -29% -33% 0.024 $35,911,271
EMS Eastern Metals 9% 13% -33% -51% 0.036 $2,884,919
RAS Ragusa Minerals Ltd 9% -14% -45% -69% 0.036 $5,133,556
AL8 Alderan Resource Ltd 9% -14% -8% -14% 0.006 $5,534,307
GW1 Greenwing Resources 9% 25% -46% -55% 0.125 $23,523,950
PL3 Patagonia Lithium 9% -7% -32% 0% 0.125 $6,386,705
VUL Vulcan Energy 9% 14% -33% -56% 2.79 $490,408,073
LRD Lordresourceslimited 8% -19% -28% -61% 0.065 $2,339,324
LRD Lordresourceslimited 8% -19% -28% -61% 0.065 $2,339,324
RDN Raiden Resources Ltd 8% -5% 310% 763% 0.041 $106,175,499
QPM Queensland Pacific 8% -2% -45% -50% 0.055 $110,689,717
LPM Lithium Plus 8% -17% 28% -7% 0.345 $30,955,752
MHK Metalhawk. 8% -10% 8% -15% 0.14 $13,420,950
CAI Calidus Resources 8% 8% 26% -20% 0.215 $131,531,381
NVA Nova Minerals Ltd 7% 33% 26% -46% 0.365 $75,920,386
SBR Sabre Resources 7% -14% 19% -18% 0.031 $12,311,018
OBM Ora Banda Mining Ltd 7% 2% 96% 192% 0.245 $409,624,769
BUR Burleyminerals 6% 6% -28% -25% 0.165 $16,713,965
DTM Dart Mining NL 6% 6% -58% -69% 0.017 $3,868,854
LKE Lake Resources 6% 2% -56% -83% 0.1325 $184,917,812
CHR Charger Metals 6% -27% -64% -60% 0.18 $11,997,871
WR1 Winsome Resources 6% -4% -33% -11% 1.09 $195,126,804
AZI Altamin Limited 6% 4% -28% -30% 0.055 $23,546,707
MLS Metals Australia 6% 6% 9% -17% 0.037 $23,089,339
ASN Anson Resources Ltd 6% -2% -8% -23% 0.1425 $180,003,484
DLI Delta Lithium 5% 7% -42% 4% 0.48 $323,409,419
PLN Pioneer Lithium 5% -26% 0% 0% 0.195 $5,685,000
CRR Critical Resources 5% -13% -50% -53% 0.02 $37,334,856
NMT Neometals Ltd 5% 8% -57% -74% 0.205 $130,764,966
PMT Patriotbatterymetals 5% 8% -34% 51% 1.135 $514,633,556
ALY Alchemy Resource Ltd 5% 5% -34% -54% 0.0105 $11,780,763
WYX Western Yilgarn NL 5% 5% -19% -19% 0.105 $4,965,750
JBY James Bay Minerals 5% -15% 0% 0% 0.315 $10,220,175
JNO Juno 5% -9% 52% 10% 0.105 $20,013,979
PNN Power Minerals Ltd 5% -6% -42% -58% 0.225 $18,348,981
LEL Lithenergy 5% -5% -34% -26% 0.57 $59,230,750
LNR Lanthanein Resources 5% 92% -23% -45% 0.0115 $14,832,837
TMB Tambourahmetals 4% -25% 33% 14% 0.12 $9,123,439
TMB Tambourahmetals 4% -25% 33% 14% 0.12 $9,123,439
MQR Marquee Resource Ltd 4% -4% -42% -30% 0.026 $10,747,994
PLS Pilbara Min Ltd 4% 10% -19% 6% 3.98 $11,887,398,383
AAJ Aruma Resources Ltd 4% -13% -37% -49% 0.027 $5,316,071
MIN Mineral Resources. 4% 16% -1% -9% 70.53 $13,663,049,960
MM1 Midasmineralsltd 4% 12% -59% -28% 0.145 $12,144,614
THR Thor Energy PLC 3% 7% -25% -50% 0.03 $5,581,090
WES Wesfarmers Limited 3% 10% 17% 26% 57.62 $64,693,471,823
ZEO Zeotech Limited 3% -13% -27% -30% 0.033 $55,469,538
CXO Core Lithium 3% -1% -70% -74% 0.2675 $534,233,886
RON Roninresourcesltd 3% -18% 16% 9% 0.18 $6,812,627
FTL Firetail Resources 3% -8% -30% -52% 0.077 $11,465,728
A11 Atlantic Lithium 3% -23% -25% -34% 0.41 $249,017,274
GL1 Globallith 2% -7% -24% -36% 1.18 $313,619,685
INF Infinity Lithium 2% -4% 7% -20% 0.096 $46,259,209
PGD Peregrine Gold 2% -6% -11% -36% 0.245 $15,015,846
FG1 Flynngold 2% -31% -13% -48% 0.052 $7,577,661
MMC Mitremining 2% 0% -13% -7% 0.26 $15,305,659
LPI Lithium Pwr Int Ltd 2% 2% 88% 26% 0.555 $350,664,412
FRS Forrestaniaresources 2% -8% -68% -80% 0.0285 $4,530,001
RIO Rio Tinto Limited 2% 9% 19% 17% 136.57 $50,359,191,591
IGO IGO Limited 1% 9% -40% -32% 9.11 $6,853,273,708
REC Rechargemetals 1% -15% -75% -31% 0.093 $10,578,438
AVZ AVZ Minerals Ltd 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.78 $2,752,409,203
LIT Lithium Australia 0% 3% -9% -33% 0.03 $36,665,750
AKE Allkem Limited 0% 16% -39% -13% 9.83 $6,304,350,967
RLC Reedy Lagoon Corp. 0% -17% -14% -48% 0.005 $3,097,704
TKL Traka Resources 0% -5% -36% -52% 0.003 $2,625,988
GSM Golden State Mining 0% -17% -67% -65% 0.015 $4,190,559
TEM Tempest Minerals 0% 0% -38% -65% 0.008 $4,091,068
KGD Kula Gold Limited 0% -50% -12% -40% 0.015 $6,290,487
ENT Enterprise Metals 0% 33% 0% -60% 0.004 $3,207,884
STM Sunstone Metals Ltd 0% -13% -46% -62% 0.014 $52,316,023
EFE Eastern Resources 0% -20% -20% -72% 0.008 $9,935,572
SRZ Stellar Resources 0% 0% -38% -38% 0.008 $8,043,185
AOA Ausmon Resorces 0% 0% -14% -57% 0.003 $3,020,998
SRI Sipa Resources Ltd 0% 19% 25% -22% 0.025 $5,703,953
RGL Riversgold 0% -25% -20% -60% 0.012 $10,644,276
EPM Eclipse Metals 0% -11% -50% -50% 0.008 $16,500,434
MNS Magnis Energy Tech 0% -13% -70% -89% 0.042 $50,378,922
M2R Miramar 0% 11% -40% -72% 0.021 $3,126,260
WMC Wiluna Mining Corp 0% 0% 0% 0% 0.205 $74,238,031
LLL Leolithiumlimited 0% 0% -53% 4% 0.505 $498,553,663
RMX Red Mount Min Ltd 0% -14% -25% -40% 0.003 $8,020,728
ENT Enterprise Metals 0% 33% 0% -60% 0.004 $3,207,884
XTC XTC Lithium Limited 0% 0% -17% -67% 0.2 $17,528,272
IEC Intra Energy Corp 0% -25% -40% -63% 0.003 $5,812,736
ICL Iceni Gold 0% -16% -25% -34% 0.053 $12,472,571
TMX Terrain Minerals 0% 25% -29% -17% 0.005 $6,767,139
MHC Manhattan Corp Ltd 0% 0% -50% -27% 0.004 $11,747,919
ANX Anax Metals Ltd 0% 7% -52% -43% 0.03 $14,427,529
ADG Adelong Gold Limited 0% -17% -38% -29% 0.005 $3,498,278
PFE Panteraminerals 0% -13% -40% -53% 0.052 $6,896,373
CXB0 ASRA MINERALS LTD. 0% -11% 0% -59% 0.00004 $6,515,983
PFE Panteraminerals 0% -13% -40% -53% 0.052 $6,896,373
PSC Prospect Res Ltd -1% 1% -45% -27% 0.088 $41,236,545
PLL Piedmont Lithium Inc -1% 9% -51% -35% 0.42 $158,083,824
AZS Azure Minerals -1% -7% 145% 1540% 3.69 $1,697,114,428
FBM Future Battery -1% -3% -41% 34% 0.071 $38,964,187
WC8 Wildcat Resources -2% -9% 467% 2733% 0.68 $831,058,844
TOR Torque Met -2% 22% 57% 22% 0.22 $28,913,298
TOR Torque Met -2% 22% 57% 22% 0.22 $28,913,298
EMC Everest Metals Corp -2% -2% -58% 1% 0.08 $13,062,649
EMC Everest Metals Corp -2% -2% -58% 1% 0.08 $13,062,649
ADV Ardiden Ltd -3%