What big things happened with lithium cobalt in the first half of 2018?

Aug 14, 2019   Pageview:22

Driven by policy support and market capital, the production and sales of new energy vehicles have increased significantly, which also rapidly promotes the "blowout" new era of power batteries, and correspondingly also drives the demand for cobalt and lithium.


According to the latest statistics from the research department of power battery application branch, in May 2018, the installed capacity of power battery in the domestic new energy vehicle market was 4516.59Mwh(4.52GWh), up 223% year on year and 22% month on month.


However, as the "heart" of new energy vehicles, the power battery industry chain is facing profound changes. With the progress of technology, the cost of ternary battery is gradually reduced and the safety is gradually improved, which will impact the lithium iron phosphate battery. In this environment, jianruihuaneng subsidiary company watmar also announced recently, due to insufficient orders, financial difficulties, all staff holiday for six months. Just six months ago, the company was ranked third in the top 20 companies of 2017.


Power battery industry chain is facing profound changes, cobalt lithium metal market fluctuations. Cobalt prices have been climbing steadily since July 2016, with the industry booming after more than two years of rising prices and a threefold surge. Cobalt prices fell for the first time in April 2018, falling 2.4 percent in just two months. As of press time (July 10), electrolytic cobalt closed at 535,500 yuan/ton, the price has dropped to the lowest point in half a year.


In order to have a more comprehensive understanding of the cobalt lithium industry, SMM reviewed the cobalt lithium market situation and made the following arrangements for the major events of cobalt lithium in the first half of 2018:


On January 3, the ministry, the ministry of finance, ministry of science and technology, national development and reform commission released four ministries and commissions "about new energy automobile application for examination and approval of duty related issues notice", the notice said, to further standardize and strengthen the new energy automobile application fiscal subsidy funds management, clear funds declaration, distribution and use the responsibility of each link, ensure the safety of the funds for the 2016-2020 new energy vehicles applied financial support policy notice (money to build [2015] no. 134) is the supplementary provisions.


On January 8, the official website of China national locomotive and rolling stock technical service center issued a "notice on the adjustment of the application work of" new energy vehicle promotion and application recommended model catalog ". The notice makes it clear that the center will be responsible for the acceptance and review of the application materials of the catalogue, as entrusted by the ministry of industry and information technology, in accordance with the relevant requirements of the notice on the adjustment of financial subsidy policies for the promotion and application of new energy vehicles and other documents. The first five batches of the catalogue released in 2016 need to be re-approved, and enterprises should apply according to the new technical requirements.


On January 16, the "new energy vehicle manufacturers and product access management regulations" was officially released. The new regulations raise the entry threshold and strengthen the safety supervision requirements from the aspects of the enterprise's design and development ability, production capacity, product consistency assurance ability, after-sales service and product safety assurance ability, aiming at effectively improving the quality and safety level of new energy automobile products. The new rules will take effect from July 1, 2017.


On February 1, the ministry of industry and information technology announced the industry standard preparation and revision plan for the first quarter of 2018 (draft for comments), in which the nonferrous industry standard project schedule includes the preparation and revision plan for a number of lithium ion battery anode materials and precursor related standards.


On February 7, the four ministries of the ministry of industry and information technology, the ministry of finance, the ministry of science and technology and the national development and reform commission issued a "notice on adjusting the fiscal subsidy policy for the promotion and application of new energy vehicles". According to the new policy, subsidies for new energy vehicles will be reduced by 20 percent from 2016, and local government subsidies will not exceed 50 percent of the central government's subsidies for bicycles. From the highest subsidy of 120,000 yuan for individuals to buy pure electric vehicles, to the highest subsidy of 110,000 yuan in 2016, to the highest subsidy of 66,000 yuan in 2017, until the end of the subsidy in 2020.


On February 13th, the "3+2" battery-grade lithium carbonate project of qinghai yanhu byd resources development co., LTD and qinghai yanhu fozhaolankelithium was officially launched in golmud, qinghai, which is the largest battery-grade lithium carbonate project in China. The contracted annual output of 50,000 tons of lithium carbonate projects include the 30,000 tons battery level lithium carbonate project of qinghai salt lake byd development co., ltd. and the 20,000 tons battery level lithium project of qinghai salt lake fozhao lanke lithium co., LTD. The total investment is nearly 8 billion yuan, and the construction period is estimated to be about one and a half years.


On February 13, the ministry of finance, the ministry of industry and information technology and the national development and reform commission jointly issued the notice on adjusting and improving the fiscal subsidy policy for the promotion and application of new energy vehicles. According to the new subsidy policy, except for the fuel cell vehicle, the original standard is maintained, other models have a significant slope decline, the maximum range is more than 50%; The new policy explicitly calls for the elimination of local protectionism, and measures such as local catalogues and archival filing will be cancelled.


On feb 24, the ministry of industry and information technology said the cumulative output of lithium ion batteries from January to December 2017 reached 117.8947 million, an increase of 31.25% year on year. From January to December 2017, China's battery manufacturing industry has achieved a cumulative export delivery value of 92.48 billion yuan, up 18.3% year on year, with a cumulative production and sales rate of 95.5%, down 1.7% year on year.


On February 26, xinhaiyi and shenzhen guoao fund signed the "lithium industry cooperation framework agreement", and proposed to invest 500 million yuan to carry out in-depth cooperation with the guoao fund. According to the capital use plan, 300 million yuan will be used for the construction of a lithium pyroxene quarry in Canada. 200 million yuan will be used to build 20,500 tons of domestic lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide processing plants, including 17,000 tons of lithium carbonate and 3,500 tons of lithium hydroxide.


Chile, the world's largest copper producer and supplier of lithium, is expected to attract about $60 billion in new mines and expansion projects over the next 20 years, the country's mining minister said on Monday. The country currently spends about $15 billion a year on mining. The government has set an ambitious target of creating 250 world-class suppliers in Chile and expects to value Chilean exports at $10bn over 10 years.


The state on March 7, a total of 14 listed lithium battery enterprise profits in 2017, from the point of current situation, in 2017, 80% of lithium battery companies profits are made of different level rise, the fastest rising is jiangxi feng LiYe, profit growth of 213.95%, and make money the most is sky LiYe, profits more than $20.


On March 14, according to Japanese media reports, panasonic announced that the factory in dalian, China has begun mass production of car lithium ion batteries. As a tesla battery supplier, panasonic is ramping up investments to qualify as a leading auto parts maker. Panasonic said its on-board lithium-ion battery plant in dalian, China, which is the company's first production site in China for square on-board lithium-ion batteries, has been pushing ahead with preparations. Panasonic did not disclose the total investment, but Japanese media said the scale reached tens of billions of yen.


On March 22, saic and ningde times signed a memorandum of understanding on strategic cooperation, in which the two sides intend to further deepen cooperation and jointly promote the recycling and reuse of new energy vehicle power batteries. This is not the first cooperation, according to the age of ningde recently disclosed in the prospectus, ningde era and Shanghai automotive group investment management co., LTD. Was established in June 2017, the common era of the saic power battery co., LTD. And Shanghai times power battery systems co., LTD, the two companies registered capital of 2 billion yuan and 300 million yuan respectively.


On April 2, the ministry of industry and information technology, the ministry of finance and the state administration of taxation, as well as the China aviation industry center, simultaneously released new policies related to new energy vehicles. Among them, the three ministries and commissions jointly issued a notice on further strengthening the management of "catalogue of new energy vehicle models exempt from vehicle purchase tax" (hereinafter referred to as "catalogue"), which clearly stipulates that the catalogue will be cancelled if no new vehicles are listed in the catalogue for one year in the future.


On April 4, the closely watched ningde era new energy technology co., LTD. (hereinafter referred to as "ningde era") successfully held a meeting, as did the deeply convinced technology co., LTD. Together with it, while Beijing borui hongyuan data technology co., ltd. was rejected in the meeting. It will take just over six months for ningde times to file its initial prospectus. One person close to the regulator said the pace at which ipos could be lined up in three to six months could be expected within the year.


On April 21, at the first China new energy power battery and energy storage industry conference in 2018, li jianzhong of dengsheng technology said that currently, among the application costs of positive electrode materials for power batteries, nickel, cobalt and manganese have accounted for 90% of the costs of positive electrode materials. Industry experts believe that the power battery industry to speed up the reshuffle, competition, reduced subsidies or even the elimination of the price will lead to a significant decline. The strong price of raw materials will affect the gross profit rate of battery enterprises. It is expected that the gross profit rate of power battery enterprises will drop from about 30% to about 20% in 2018.


On April 26, dong Yang, executive vice President of the China automobile association, announced at the 2018 China automotive BBS that the evaluation and release of the white list for the automotive power battery and hydrogen fuel cell industry would be carried out. The fields included in the whitelist evaluation include key materials, battery cells, battery systems, hydrogen fuel cells, etc. Relevant enterprises can apply on a voluntary basis, and the whitelist will be released in batches in May 2018. The purpose of releasing the white list is to promote and support the excellent, and guide all kinds of resources to favor high-quality enterprises.


On April 28, saic motor corporation officially launched the construction of the passenger car ningde base project, which is the fourth plant of its own-brand passenger car after Shanghai lingang plant, nanjing pukou plant and zhengzhou plant.


On May 7, the signing ceremony of the joint venture project between huayou cobalt industry and LG chemical of South Korea was held. Joaquin new energy materials was established in April 2018, covering an area of 230 mu, with a total investment of 3 billion yuan, to build a new precursor material project with an annual output of 100,000 tons of high-nickel power batteries. The first phase of the project is invested 1 billion yuan, with an annual output of 40,000 tons of high-nickel power batteries.


On May 12, the strategic alliance for technology innovation of the resource compulsory recycling industry recently issued a notice, saying that five group standards, including the general requirements for the production of comprehensive utilization enterprises of waste power batteries, will be implemented from May 20, 2018.


On May 16, bic battery launched its new 18650-3.0Ah high energy core, which has an energy density of up to 250Wh/kg. This is another technical improvement after bic's 2.75Ah power cell (18650) has an energy density of up to 240Wh/ kg. In addition, the current capacity of the bic 3.0 high-energy core is 6.5GWh, with a daily production capacity of 2 million, which will be made into the standard single product with extreme performance in the 18650 system, and can support 500 kilometers of ultra-long range of electric passenger cars.


Cobalt, which has more than tripled in price over the past two years on May 22, has become one of the biggest threats to the fast-growing electric car industry as the risk of supply disruptions increases. For lithium batteries to grow, they must cut costs and invest in new mines to avoid rising material prices, bloomberg new energy finance analysts said on Monday. Cobalt shortages are happening faster than previously thought and could be a potential threat to the electric car market in the next five to seven years.


On May 28, the ministry of industry and information technology announced the preliminary review of subsidy funds for the promotion and application of new energy vehicles in 2017 and previous years. After the review, it was finally confirmed that the subsidy funds for the liquidation of new energy vehicle enterprises in 2016 and 2017 would amount to about 18.972 billion yuan. Among them, yutong bus, byd, ankai bus, jianghuai automobile, foton automobile and other listed automobile enterprises have ranked first in subsidy funds in the past two years.


On June 1st Siemens teamed up with Northvolt to develop the latest technology to produce premium lithium-ion batteries. The project will receive financial support from Siemens, with an investment of 10 million euros (74.13 million yuan) and mass production of lithium-ion batteries after 2020. Northvolt will also become the preferredsupplier of Siemens' lithium-ion batteries.


On June 8th Congo's prime minister signed a new mining law, giving immediate effect to the new mining code, all of which will remain unchanged. The move could lead to legal battles between the government and major mining companies operating in Congo, including glencore and landesgold, which last week threatened to file legal appeals against the government if it went ahead with the new mining law.


On June 11th, according to people familiar with the matter, vale reached an agreement to produce and sell cobalt in the future to meet the growing market for electric cars. The deal stipulates that vale will produce cobalt products at Canada's Voisey's sBaycomplex, people familiar with the matter said. Vale had been seeking financing to shift its opencasting model to underground operations and extend the life of its mines.


On June 13, the Chinese academy of sciences (cas) held a press conference to announce the major achievements made by the cas strategic pilot science and technology project "revolutionary nano manufacturing technology focus". The energy density of a single cell of several power batteries specially developed by the leader can reach more than 300Wh, which means that the range of a single charge can reach nearly 500km, ranking the world's advanced level. The key materials of lithium battery developed in the pilot project have entered the pilot stage, and have been supplied to more than 30 battery and electric vehicle enterprises and formed a cooperative relationship.


According to a report on the website MiningNews.net on June 14, although lithium demand is still expected to grow at an average annual rate of 16 percent by 2025, analysts at citibank believe that lithium production will grow even faster, potentially creating a supply glut in the lithium market. Citibank predicts that global lithium capacity will increase from the current 200,000 tons/year to 400,000 tons/year by 2020. Lithium supply exceeded demand by 5 percent in 2017. This year, the figure will expand to 11 percent, and next year to 27 percent.


On June 16, the tariff commission of the state council announced the decision to impose additional tariffs on us $50 billion of imports from the United States. According to the announcement, on June 15, 2018, the us government released a list of goods subject to additional tariffs, which will impose 25% tariffs on about $50 billion of goods imported from China. Among them, about $34 billion of goods will be subject to additional tariffs starting from July 6, 2018. Meanwhile, about $16 billion of goods will be subject to additional tariffs starting from July 6, 2018.


On June 25, the ministry of industry and information technology learned that the ministry of industry and information technology will promote the Yangtze river delta new energy vehicle battery recycling pilot work. Miit, director-general of the department of energy saving and comprehensive utilization of Gao Yunhu recently led to jiangsu province, zhejiang province to carry out the new energy vehicle power battery recycling research work, and held a Yangtze river delta region in zhejiang province Quzhou City organization work symposium, Shanghai, jiangsu and zhejiang province by the competent department of industry and information technology related officials to participate in research activities and meetings.


On June 27th analysts at bank of America merrill lynch issued a new report saying that lithium prices may come under pressure in the short term, and that factors surrounding the need for electric cars are worth investors' attention. With the vast majority of lithium producers looking to boost output and the potential for a fall in lithium prices high, nickel is the best investment target for the electric car revolution, the report said. Concerns about trade disputes have dragged down prices for other industrial metals, but nickel has proved resilient to trade disputes as inventories have fallen to four-year lows.


On June 28, he long, vice President of byd and CEO of the battery business group, disclosed that byd and China metallurgical corporation have formed a joint venture. MCC has a high-quality nickel-cobalt mine in Papua New Guinea that could be used by the joint venture. Mr. He said the joint venture with China metallurgical corp. represents a small participation by byd in controlling cobalt resources. For China metallurgical, the main focus is on byd's downstream industrial chain layout. The negotiations took two years.


On June 29, data showed that the number of power battery supporting enterprises in China has dropped from about 150 in 2015 to about 100 in 2017, and one-third of them have been eliminated. 'on the whole, power batteries are already showing some structural overcapacity at this stage,' said huang shilin, vice chairman of ningde times.


On June 30, foreign media reported that TheFreedoniaGroup released a new global battery report. The company expects the global battery market to be worth more than $54 billion by 2022, largely due to growing demand for lithium-ion batteries in electric and hybrid vehicles and their high selling prices, good news for many battery metal exporters listed on the Australian stock exchange (ASX).


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