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2040 Lithium Market Outlook

Long-term lithium prices forecast

Our latest long-term lithium price view from an expert team

SFA (Oxford) has independently tracked the lithium market and prices on behalf of its clients over the last decade. Of particular interest has been the economics (incentive pricing) of brine and hard rock suppliers relative to the growing demand for lithium products, particularly battery-grade materials. Released annually, our ground-breaking, forward-looking lithium report analyses the trends and influences on the lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide markets and battery technologies out to 2040. This bespoke study examines, on a deep-dive basis, the changing nature of the lithium market and prices out to 2040 from the likely effects of automotive and battery technological advances.

Market outlook for lithium

Released annually, SFA's Long-term Lithium Market report will keep you abreast of rapidly evolving developments in the lithium market, providing you with a competitive edge. Our bespoke 200-page study examines, on a deep-dive basis, the changing nature of the lithium market and metal prices out to 2040 from the likely effects of automotive and battery technological advances.

Lithium is used in a variety of end-uses and in various forms, with automotive batteries making up just a fifth of demand last year. However, in future, electric vehicle batteries are forecast to dominate end-use and so lithium is likely to play an increasing role in energy storage solutions. 

Our analysis of powertrain evolution over many years, as well as recent in-depth battery studies, enables us to understand the risks to lithium demand uptake in the future (using high-low scenarios). 

The report profiles the maximum potential supply relative to electric vehicle uptake scenarios over the next 10 years, and also on an indicative basis out to 2040. The study presents a comprehensive overview of the critical success factors for lithium operations and projects, and provides detailed primary lithium (LCE) and battery-grade lithium hydroxide supply-demand balances.

The report details market developments and is tailored to incorporate an individual client’s specific strategic requirements covering:

 

Lithium demand impacts and new market threats:
  • Macroeconomic developments in long-term lithium supply-demand fundamentals and technology (global, US, EU and China).

  • Detailed impact of powertrain technology trends, specifically EV forecast risks including global powertrain evolution & electrification, automaker announcements and implications for commodities, EU CO2 emission targets and opportunities for EVs, hybrid technology developments, China’s policies and the new energy vehicle market, and US market risks.

  • Long-term battery technology shifts and EV powertrain developments and their impact on lithium demand.

  • A full review of lithium used in lithium-ion batteries, including the growing popularity of LFP, NMC and NCA battery cathode chemistries.

  • The trade flow of lithium carbonate and hydroxide products worldwide and an assessment of China's position in the global supply chain.

  • Upside and downside EV uptake scenarios to illustrate the potential envelope of lithium supply-demand, and therefore price possibilities in future.

  • SFA's long-term research into PGMs requires us to undertake ongoing detailed modelling of the risks associated with the future evolution of the battery raw materials supply chain. Therefore, the lithium market report also includes reviews of loadings of lithium by vehicle model and powertrain type, including the use of NiMH batteries in hybrid vehicles.

  • Battery developments, costs, manufacturers and plant expansions.
  • An evaluation of battery factory capacity development, being the key link to lithium suppliers, end-users and price evolution.

  • The future of lithium-ion batteries, including threats and opportunities, and recycling potential.

  • Analysis of existing and potential end-uses including consumer electronics demand, glass/ceramics and other non-battery end-use evolution.

  • Supporting demand data to 2040 on lithium demand by end-use and lithium EV demand by region.



Lithium supply and production economic impacts:
  • Updates on the present and future long-term stability and growth of lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide supply, supply response, reserves and resources, factors influencing cost inflation and exchange rate and volume impacts.

  • A detailed evaluation of lithium mining worldwide (by operation, company and country), including the unique attributes of brine deposits in South America, as well as hard rock deposits elsewhere.

  • Producer economics of lithium supply – brines and mineral sources.

  • An overview of lithium processing methods and the wave of new lithium hydroxide capacity.

  • Potential supply constraints and sociological challenges related to supply and political risks.

  • A review of highly probable and possible projects to 2040, including grade and volume analysis. A review of lithium projects incentivised by recent high lithium carbonate and hydroxide (and spodumene concentrate) prices, including detailed profiles of Argentinian and Australian operations in development which account for the bulk of potential new suppliers.

  • Supporting supply data to 2040 on lithium supply by region, producer and operation.

 

Price forecasts and market scenarios:
  • The report concludes with a range of lithium supply-demand outlooks and price forecasts out to 2040 to highlight where potential pinch-points for the market might occur in future, including supply risks, EV scenarios, substitution and recycling potential.

Who should read this report?

  • All industry stakeholders and new business entrants who need to keep abreast of the evolving influences on the lithium market and prices, including end-users, mining companies and juniors. 

  • Investors and financial institutions needing to understand and quantify the risks and opportunities in the industry, future costs of production and short- to long-term lithium prices.

Live Q&A with the analysts

  • Our report is supported by a video call, most often hosted through MS Teams, which is led by Beresford Clarke, along with our team of expert Battery Metals analysts, to discuss the Long-Term Lithium Market report, and address any further questions your team may have.

Contact one of our team for more details

Beresford Clarke

Managing Director: Technical & Research

Jamie Underwood

Principal Consultant

Thomas Chandler

Principal Market Analyst

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How can we help you?

SFA (Oxford) provides bespoke, independent intelligence on the strategic metal markets, specifically tailored to your needs. To find out more about what we can offer you, please contact us.

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