According to the latest data from GGII, a lithium battery research institute, China's lithium battery shipments reached 605GWh in the first three quarters of 2023, a year-on-year increase of 34%, approaching the total for the entire year of 2022. Driven by the downstream market, the shipments of positive electrode materials, negative electrode materials, electrolytes, and separators have all shown significant growth, with positive electrode and electrolyte materials growing at a rate of 40%.
GGII's data shows that in the first three quarters of 2023, China's positive electrode materials shipments reached 1.82 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 40%. Among them, shipments of lithium iron phosphate reached 1.2 million tons, ternary materials reached 487,000 tons, lithium cobalt oxide reached 60,000 tons, and lithium manganese oxide reached 75,000 tons, with year-on-year growth rates of 64%, 6%, 1.7%, and 50% respectively.
Among them, the proportion of lithium iron phosphate batteries in the first three quarters has exceeded 70%, driving the continuous rapid growth of lithium iron phosphate positive electrode materials. Data shows that in September, the growth rate of ternary materials has surpassed that of lithium iron phosphate materials, and it is expected that the proportion of ternary positive electrode materials will rebound in the fourth quarter.
In addition, the decrease in lithium salt prices has increased the cost-effectiveness of lithium manganese oxide materials, leading to a 50% year-on-year increase in shipments. It is expected that the shipments of lithium manganese oxide materials will continue to grow rapidly in the fourth quarter as some domestic 3C products switch from lithium cobalt oxide to lithium manganese oxide routes.
As for negative electrode materials, China's shipments reached 1.19 million tons in the first three quarters, a year-on-year increase of 25%. Among them, shipments of artificial graphite materials reached 1.058 million tons, and shipments of natural graphite materials reached 139,000 tons, with year-on-year growth rates of 29% and 1% respectively. The rapid growth of artificial graphite materials is mainly driven by the switch to artificial graphite in overseas markets, leading to an increase in export demand. In addition, new types of negative electrode materials such as silicon carbon and silicon oxide are also increasing rapidly.
In terms of electrolytes, shipments reached 786,000 tons in the first three quarters, a year-on-year increase of over 40%. The high price of lithium salts has also affected the overall profitability of the electrolyte industry. With the stabilization of lithium salt prices in the fourth quarter and the increasing proportion of high-value products such as lithium bis(fluorosulfonyl)imide in new lithium-ion batteries, the profitability of companies in the industry is expected to improve significantly.
For lithium battery separators, shipments reached 12 billion square meters in the first three quarters, a year-on-year increase of 30%. Among them, dry-process separators reached 3.3 billion square meters, and wet-process separators reached 8.7 billion square meters, with year-on-year growth rates of 55% and 31% respectively. The demand for dry-process separators is growing faster than that of wet-process separators, mainly due to the preference for dry-process separators in the energy storage market.
Overall, the various segments of China's lithium battery industry chain have maintained a fast growth momentum in the first three quarters, although the growth rate has dropped significantly compared to the same period last year. With the arrival of the peak demand season in the fourth quarter and the gradual stabilization of material prices in various segments, the overall situation in the industry is expected to improve. GGII predicts that China's total lithium battery shipments for the year are expected to achieve a growth rate of around 35%.
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