Global output of lithium battery electrolyte was about 150,000 tons in 2016, up 35.5% from a year ago, largely concentrated in the countries such as China, South Korea and Japan. Among them, China produced around 88,000 tons (over 60.0% of the global) with a year-on-year rise of 28.7%, and achieved the output value of RMB5.86 billion, an upsurge of 86.3% year on year, primarily because of: 1) a rise in prices of electrolytes; 2) a larger proportion of functional electrolyte with high added value.
From the perspective of upstream raw materials, the price of lithium hexafluorophosphate (LiPF6) started rising rapidly from 2014 and reached USD43,000/t in 2016, representing a growth of over 35% from 2015. However, as new capacities are put into production, the price of LiPF6 will trend down in 2017. The prices of electrolyte solvents soared in mid-2016, caused mainly by off-production of some plants for overhaul and accidental factors like production halt at Hangzhou-based plants during the G20 Summit, but stabilized at the end of the year. Therefore, as the prices of raw materials decline, lithium battery electrolytes will also see a downtrend in the prices in 2017.
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Regarding downstream industries, consumer electronics is a major application of lithium battery electrolyte, but has grown at a slower pace, for the market is almost saturated. Flourishing EV and industrial energy storage markets will be main driving engines of the Chinese electrolyte market.
EV: China produced around 320,000 electric passenger cars in 2015 and is expected to reach over 1.3 million units in 2021, showing a CAGR of more than 30% during 2016-2021. Meanwhile, single-car battery capacity of an electric passenger car was 30Kwh in 2015 and is expected to approximate 48Kwh in 2021. Hence, the rapidly growing demand for lithium batteries from EVs will drive the development of the electrolyte market.
Major global lithium battery electrolyte manufacturers include Chinese Shenzhen Capchem Technology, Guangzhou Tinci Materials Technology, Zhangjiagang Guotai-Huarong New Chemical Materials, Japanese Mitsubishi Chemical, Ube Industries, Mitsui Chemicals, and South Korean Ukseung Chemical. Chinese Shenzhen Capchem Technology is the world’s largest supplier of lithium battery electrolyte, seizing a market share of roughly 10.0% in 2016.
Lithium battery market has boomed in recent years, contributing a steady growth in demand for electrolytes. But, ever-rising prices of upstream raw materials, especially LiPF6, have added cost pressure on electrolyte manufacturers. As a result, lithium battery electrolyte manufacturers in the Chinese market have to improve profitability and enhance market competitiveness via industrial-chain layout and business integration. For example, Guangzhou Tinci Materials Technology gained some cost advantage by producing LiPF6 on its own in 2016, raising the gross margin of electrolytes to 46%, 9 percentage points higher than that of Shenzhen CAPCHEM Technology.
In addition, Ube Industries and Mitsubishi Chemical plan to merge their respective electrolyte business in China in Apr 2017 so as to strengthen competitiveness here.
The report focuses on the following aspects:
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Major Points from Table of Contents
1 Overview of Lithium Battery Electrolyte Industry
2 Global Lithium Battery Electrolyte Market
3 Chinese Lithium Battery Electrolyte Market
4 Upstream and Downstream of Lithium Battery Electrolyte Industry
5 Lithium Battery Industry
6 Key Foreign Lithium Battery Electrolyte Manufacturers
7 Major Chinese Lithium Battery Electrolyte Manufacturers
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