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Lithium prices surge as China pushes e-vehicles

Sharp price rises for the key battery material could make cars more costly

Heavy rains in South America dampened lithium production, resulting in higher prices.

TOKYO -- Propelled by demand for batteries used in electric vehicles, spot prices of lithium have climbed more than 30% since the start of the year and will likely drive up the cost of the autos.

The Chinese spot price of lithium carbonate, the bellwether for lithium trades, came to around 152,000 yuan (around $23,000) a ton in mid-October -- up from 110,000 yuan at the beginning of the year and 18% higher than in late August.

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