With a simultaneous rise in nickel prices.
The most common types of lithium batteries today are the nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) combination versions, as well as the competing iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are especially popular with Chinese manufacturers, which already occupy a leading position in the world market. The opposing price movement of nickel and lithium is currently providing an advantage to Chinese suppliers that do not depend on nickel for their iron phosphate traction batteries, Business Korea said.
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The average cost of a ton of nickel by mid-December increased by 13.3% compared to November. In the first days of spring, it soared to $40,000, dropped to $19,000 by July, and now rose again to $28,625. At the same time, the cost of a ton of lithium in December decreased by 7.69% compared to the previous month, opening up additional opportunities for Chinese manufacturers on price manipulation. Of course, NCM batteries also require the use of lithium, but rising nickel prices prevent manufacturers from realizing the full benefits of lower lithium prices. Suppliers of LFP batteries are in a better position, and in geographical terms, this is good for China.