Lithium Industry Hit Hard With Falling Prices

Lithium Industry Hit Hard With Falling Prices

Hikaru Tanaka
2 min read

Lithium Prices Plunge Causing Significant Losses for Tianqi Lithium in Q2

Tianqi Lithium, once a profitable enterprise, is expected to suffer a loss of over 4.8 billion yuan in the first half of the year due to a plunge in lithium prices. The company's net losses for the first half of the year are projected to be between 48.8 billion yuan and 55.3 billion yuan, with an anticipated loss of 0.983 billion yuan to 1.633 billion yuan in the second quarter, a slight decrease from the nearly 4 billion yuan loss in the first quarter. The primary reasons for the losses include ongoing high-priced inventory liquidation, a sharp decline in gross profit margins due to the depressed lithium prices, and the projected losses of its stakeholding subsidiary, Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM), which has impacted Tianqi's investment income. This series of issues has shifted Tianqi Lithium from profitability to loss, with no signs of an industry-wide recovery in sight.

Key Takeaways

  • Lithium prices have dropped below 10,000 yuan per ton after three years.
  • Tianqi Lithium is set to incur a loss of over 48 billion yuan in the first half of the year.
  • The losses in the second quarter have narrowed but the issue of high-priced inventory persists.
  • Depressed lithium prices have led to a significant decrease in product gross profit margins.
  • The projected losses of the subsidiary SQM have impacted Tianqi Lithium's investment income.


The drastic plunge in lithium prices to below 10,000 yuan per ton is primarily due to the imbalance in supply and demand and market expectation adjustments. Tianqi Lithium's widening losses reflect the dual pressure of high-priced inventory and depressed lithium prices. In the short term, lithium industry profits are under strain, but in the long term, if demand recovers, there is potential for a lithium price rebound. The further losses of SQM exacerbate the situation for Tianqi Lithium, demonstrating the interconnected effects within the global lithium industry chain. Investors should focus on industry consolidation and technological innovation to cope with market fluctuations.

Did You Know?

  • Depressed lithium prices: Lithium prices refer to the market price of lithium metal, a crucial battery material extensively used in electric vehicles and renewable energy storage. Depressed lithium prices imply reduced demand or increased supply, leading to price decreases.
  • Significant decrease in product gross profit margins: The gross profit margin is the proportion of sales revenue minus direct costs to sales revenue. Depressed lithium prices cause the fixed costs for lithium enterprises, while sales prices decrease, resulting in a significant decline in the gross profit margin and affecting the profit-making ability of companies.
  • Projected losses of the subsidiary SQM have impacted Tianqi Lithium's investment income
    • Subsidiary stakeholding: A subsidiary stakeholding refers to a situation in which the parent company holds a certain percentage of shares but does not have a controlling interest in the subsidiary. Tianqi Lithium holds shares in Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM), thus SQM's performance directly affects Tianqi Lithium's investment income.
    • Projected losses impacting investment income: Projected losses indicate an expected deficit before the end of a financial reporting period. Projected losses for SQM signify poor performance, reducing dividends and the benefits from its stock price rise received by Tianqi Lithium, consequently impacting the overall financial performance of the company.

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