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China May Find It Hard to Cool Lithium’s Rally This Time Around

  • Prices taking out records in China as market stays tight
  • The latest industry meeting won’t help short term: BNEF
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Scorching gains for lithium, a raw material vital for powering electric vehicles, threaten to push costs even higher for Chinese battery makers, and the government is finding itself powerless to do anything about it.

Even after a meeting last week where Chinese authorities pleaded with major producers to stabilize prices, lithium carbonate surged to a fresh record, rising to 500,500 yuan ($70,716) a ton. In yuan terms, that exceeds the level prevailing when Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk called prices “insane” earlier this year.