China has bought half of the world’s biggest lithium assets put on the market since 2018, far more in value than Australia and the US combined. Meanwhile, extreme weather heightens LNG volatility, growing market attention on black mass, Huawei’s semiconductor teaser, and Germany’s economic struggles. Plus: energy market impacts from the coup in Gabon.
UPPING THE UPSTREAM ANTE
China’s global minerals grab
Here’s a startling, if unsurprising, fact: half of the world’s biggest lithium assets put on the market since 2018 have been bought by China, according to S&P Global Ratings.
By value, Chinese acquisitions of the largest lithium mines available for sale were even greater, totaling 7.9 billion USD, or 58% of the total value of the top 20 deals worldwide since March 2018. Australia came in second at five deals totaling 4 billion USD. And the US trailed with three purchases worth 650 million USD.
The trend is clear. Chinese firms are extending their reach further into upstream stretches worldwide, in turn reinforcing existing midstream and downstream dominance. Regions of particular interest are Africa and Latin America, where Chinese players have acquired stakes in dozens of primary lithium projects. All this strengthens China’s hold on supply chains—and leverage over the global energy transition.
Global top 20 lithium M&A deals since 2018, by value
Source: S&P Global