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March 2018
Jan 30, 2018

New edition of signumBOX Analysis report - Issue 15th

signumBOX is pleased to announce the releasing of the 15th edition of the signumBOX Analysis report, including the forecast of supply - demand balance for the 2018 - 2037 period with the new agreement reached between SQM and CORFO. 

In this 15th edition of our signumBOX Analysis report, we highlight the evolution of the lithium industry in the last years. 2017 was an important year for the industry, not only because of the evolution of the demand, but also because of the role that lithium plays in future technologies. We have observed a huge increase on prices. Five or six years ago lithium carbonate prices were in the range of US$ 5,000 to US$ 6,000 and by that time no one in the industry expected prices to rise sharply. On the contrary, the industry expected that the growth in production mainly from new actors in the industry, would exceed the expected growth in demand.
What really happen? Demand started to grow faster than the industry predicted, and new projects were delayed. The situation in Chile related to the CORFO-SQM arbitration process was uncertain and the industry was nervous. For the first time we started to see spot prices in China driven by speculation. Very small volumes at very high prices. The question mark was (and still is) if the industry is going to be able to meet the demands needs in the future. 
Now the industry does not seem as nervous as it was 6 months ago, when we released the 14th issue of this report. The agreement between SQM and Corfo will provide the industry with new supply. But, another ghost appears: the fear of oversupply. We do not expect oversupply in the short-mid term, as new production capacity takes time to be part of the lithium supply. Demand will continue growing, and supply as well, but with a delay. In a long term the market should be balance, and prices should be driven by the marginal cost of the producer with the highest cost. Also, there will be a new player in the industry with a very important role: recycling.
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