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A lithium site operated by Chile's SQM. Suppliers of the battery material are rushing to increase output. (Photo by Nozomu Ogawa)
Market Spotlight

Battery costs rise as lithium demand outstrips supply

Carmakers scramble for raw materials in a bid to win global electric vehicle race

RURIKA IMAHASHI, Nikkei staff writer | China

TOKYO -- The price of batteries for electric vehicles looks set to rise in 2022 following a decade of sharp decline as supplies of lithium and other raw materials fail to keep up with ballooning demand.

While mining companies scramble to increase production from existing facilities and develop new sources of supply, benchmark prices of lithium carbonate ended 2021 at records. In China, the biggest battery-producing country, the price was 261,500 yuan (just over $41,060) a ton, more than five times higher than last January.

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