• Lithium stocks keep powered the materials sector with prices pushing higher beyond 500,000RMB for lithium carbonate in China
  • Bulk metals and coal also heavily bought as China’s latest Covid lockdown unwinds


Miners pulled out two from two to start the week, recording a second straight day of gains to erase memories of last week’s dour finish.

The clear standout remains lithium stocks, and at this point just inject that mood stabiliser straight into our veins, OK.

Its gains upon gains for the battery metals sector, with more price agencies reporting higher prices in China after Asian Metal’s call last week.

Fastmarkets MB says Chinese domestic lithium carbonate prices lifted 5000RMB over the week to 515,000RMB/t, equivalent to US$73,430.86/t of $109,340.30/t Australian.

That is supporting hard rock miners, with spot spodumene prices at US$6750/t for benchmark 6% Li2O material.

There remain questions over how long lithium carbonate prices will be so high, with Fastmarkets noting recent power rationing in the Chinese province of Sichuan had seen converters draw heavily on stockpiles, supporting higher prices.

“Demand for lithium carbonate has always been weak, especially compared to that of lithium hydroxide. And consumers do have ongoing supply from South American lithium producers whose prices are lower than Chinese levels,” one Chinese lithium producer told the reporting agency.

Still, those sorts of prices are driving massive profits down the line in Australia, with investors betting more is to come.

The materials index was up 2.67% at 4.30pm AEDT, with Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) leading the large caps with a 5.26% gain.

Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) lifted late to a new all time high of $4.89, up 2.95%, with IGO (ASX:IGO) and Allkem (ASX:AKE) up 4.63% and 4.04%, respectively.

The exit of 21 million people from lockdown in Chengdu, China, also drove strong support for bulk and industrial metals with BHP (ASX:BHP) and South32 (ASX:S32) on the up.

Rare earths bellwether Lynas (ASX:LYC) and mid-tiers Nickel Industries (ASX:NIC), 29Metals (ASX:29M), Syrah (ASX:SYR) and Champion Iron (ASX:CIA) were also among the strongest performers along with lithium co. Ioneer (ASX:INR).

Coal miners also posted big gains after New Hope Corp (ASX:NHC) delivered a whopping 1146% rise in NPAT to $983m, with CEO Rob Bishop predicting prices above US$400/t would remain the norm for months to come amid shortages and the need for heating as the Northern Hemisphere winter approaches.



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