Lithium industry watchers hoping the battery metal was poised to rebound from an epic slump have been hit by the realisation prices have fallen again this month, with inventories piling up as electric vehicle demand signals stay gloomy.

Spot prices of lithium carbonate in China have slid to the lowest since August 2021 and the most-active futures on the Guangzhou exchange have lost 12% so far this month. In top producer Albemarle’s latest auction on June 19, the winning bid was down 6.9% from the previous sale on June 5.