Lithium giant forecasts 15% greater demand. How are ASX lithium shares reacting?

A woman smiles as she powers up her electric car using a fast charger.A woman smiles as she powers up her electric car using a fast charger.

When one of the biggest operators in an industry speaks, it’s usually worth listening. Investors of ASX lithium shares had the chance to get the latest pulse reading from US-based Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB) last night, and the outlook is rather rosy.

Today, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is lingering 0.11% lower following the release of surprisingly high inflation data. Despite this, several Aussie companies involved in producing the electrifying material are in the green.

Driving a positive outlook for lithium

For some background, Albemarle is one of the largest suppliers of battery-grade lithium in the world. The company not only produces lithium but also processes it.

In the September 2022 ending quarter, Albermarle achieved US$1.5 billion in net lithium sales. In comparison, Pilbara Minerals Ltd (ASX: PLS) recorded $1.19 billion in revenue across the entire 2022 financial year.

Last night, Albermarle provided updated estimates for the future of lithium in its 2023 strategic update. The most eye-catching metric was a 15% increase in the company’s lithium demand forecast for 2030, primarily due to higher expected electric vehicle (EV) adoption.

As such, management is now forecasting a total of 3.7 million metric tonnes worth of lithium demand in 2030 — giving ASX lithium shares something to cheer about. This is based on the assumption that annual EV production will reach 46.9 million by that point in time, equating to a 48% market penetration of light-duty vehicles.

Albemarle energy storage president Eric Norris described the catalyst for increased demand, stating:

We expect to continue to see increased EV adoption with charging speed and range improvements; more access to charging infrastructure; and changing consumer preferences. In response, auto OEMs are setting ambitious electrification goals and making large investments in EV production.

How are ASX lithium shares are responding?

The peachy outlook painted by Albermarle’s management could be supporting the prices of Aussie lithium companies today. Greater demand for lithium could mean higher prices for longer, promoting strong ASX lithium share prices today, including:

At the larger end of town, Mineral Resources Ltd (ASX: MIN) is struggling on Wednesday despite releasing its quarterly report. Shares in the lithium and iron ore miner are down 1.42% this afternoon with iron ore shipments weighing on shareholder sentiment.

The post Lithium giant forecasts 15% greater demand. How are ASX lithium shares reacting? appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

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More reading

Motley Fool contributor Mitchell Lawler has positions in Albemarle. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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