May 9, 2023

Chart of the Week: The reason for the lithium supply crunch

by Fathom Consulting.

There has been concern recently about possible supply bottlenecks slowing down the energy transition, including shortages of critical minerals such as lithium and cobalt used to make electric car batteries. Chile’s decision to nationalise its lithium industry brings such fears into sharper focus. But the recent sharp decline in lithium prices, while reflecting a slowdown in electric vehicle sales in China, adds another perspective. Lithium is being looked for, and found, in new places, highlighted by a large new discovery of reserves in India. A shortage of raw materials might turn out not to be as big a problem as a shortage of the capacity to refine them – most of which is currently located in China. Just ask Elon Musk, who recently urged aspiring entrepreneurs to refine lithium rather than developing a new picture-sharing app.

Refresh this chart in your browser | Edit the chart in Datastream

The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not necessarily those of Refinitiv Lipper or LSEG.

Join a growing community of asset managers and stay up to date with the latest research from Refinitiv and partners to help you inform your investment decisions. Follow our Asset Management LinkedIn showcase page.


Refinitiv Datastream

Financial time series database which allows you to identify and examine trends, generate and test ideas and develop view points on the market.

Refinitiv offers the world’s most comprehensive historical database for numerical macroeconomic and cross-asset financial data which started in the 1950s and has grown into an indispensable resource for financial professionals. Find out more.

Get In Touch


We have updated our Privacy Statement. Before you continue, please read our new Privacy Statement and familiarize yourself with the terms.×