TrendForce’s latest investigations reveal that the battery industry’s operating rate fell in November due to a significant cooling in end-user demand. Falling prices of key raw materials like lithium, cobalt, and nickel led to a consistent downward trend in battery cell prices. In November, prices of Chinese EV battery cells dropped by approximately 3–4% MoM, consumer LCO cells decreased by 2.5%, and storage-type cells fell the hardest at 6.8%.
TrendForce’s latest research indicates that despite a decrease in the CPI in Europe and the US this year, consumer budgets are still constrained due to the current high-interest-rate environment, and the real estate bubble in China has suppressed TV demand. Moreover, a significant increase in TV panel prices this year has led brands to scale down promotional events, resulting in a decline in global TV shipments to 197 million units in 2023—a YoY decrease of 2.1%.
TrendForce reports the global shipment of notebooks is expected to reach 167 million units in 2023—a YoY decrease of 10.2%. However, with inventory pressures easing, the notebook market is anticipated to return to a balanced supply and demand cycle in 2024. The principal growth drivers are expected to be the gradual release of pent-up demand for business sector upgrades and continuous expansion in certain segments such as Chromebooks and gaming notebooks. Overall shipment volume is forecast to reach 172 million units, marking a YoY increase of 3.2%.
TrendForce reports that China’s EV battery market is undergoing a period of turbulence due to an overall lack of demand. Battery suppliers are reportedly reluctant to replenish their inventories and are instead, focusing on depleting existing stocks. This has resulted in insufficient demand to support the prices of upstream lithium materials, leading to a continuous decline in ASP.
October 17th brings a new round of developments in the ongoing chip war between US and China as the Department of Commerce issued another update to its export control regulations. This time, the update included the targeting of sectors such as semiconductor manufacturing equipment and HPC chips (primarily AI chips) as well as the addition of two new companies onto the Entity List. TrendForce points out that a significant change is the formal inclusion of the NXT:1980Di—which was previously in a grey area—into the list of controlled items. However, since ASML has already been green-lit for shipments post-application, the immediate ripples from this move remain to be seen.
TrendForce reports that the global automotive market continues to blaze ahead in its vigorous expansion, with vehicle displays steering toward larger dimensions and tech-savvy cockpits. In this technological race, many panel makers are ramping up their visibility in the automotive supply chain, dreaming big to clinch a Tier 1 supplier status.
Concurrently, based on TrendForce’s analysis, as N-type cell capacities incrementally come online, there might be a sporadic shortage of high-quality silicon materials and wafers tailored for N-type cells. This could further establish a noticeable price disparity between N-type silicon and wafers, and their P-type counterparts.
Australian mining company, Liontown Resources Ltd., has just announced it’s agreed to a buyout proposal of AUD 6.6 billion (USD 4.3 billion) by US lithium producer Albemarle Corp (ALB). TrendForce’s latest “2023 Global Li-Ion Battery Industry Chain Market Supply and Demand Report,” indicates that global lithium production in 2022 hit approximately 860,000 tons of Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE). ALB, with its diverse lithium portfolio (spodumene, lithium salt, and tolling), accounted for over 180,000 tons of LCE. Predictions for 2023 spotlight a global lithium production reaching 1.21 million tons LCE, and ALB is set to churn out 200,000 tons of that, holding firmly onto the lead with its 17% market share.