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Korean EV battery makers strong in a weak global market

Nov 23,2019
Korean electric vehicle (EV) battery makers are doing well despite a global slowdown in the market.

The three Korean companies on the top 10 list of global EV battery suppliers all achieved on-year growth in shipments of at least 30 percent for the month of September, according to a report Friday by SNE Research.

LG Chem’s shipments were up 69.2 percent on year in September. It is now the No. 3 in the world with an 11 percent share, up from No. 4 with an 8.2 percent share last year.

Shipments for Samsung SDI, the sixth largest EV battery supplier, increased 37.9 percent on year, while No. 10 SK Innovation achieved 33.7 percent growth. Samsung SDI had 3.5 percent market share this year as of September. SK Innovation’s was 1.8 percent.

All three Korean companies reported strong Augusts as well. LG Chem’s growth was 79.9 percent, Samsung SDI’s 10 percent and SK Innovation’s 8.1 percent.

Globally, the market has been performing poorly.

Shipments of EV batteries in September were 10 gigawatt hours, a 10.5 percent decline on year. In August, the total was 7.1 gigawatt hours, which was 10 percent down from the same month the previous year. That was the first time since January 2017 that monthly shipments retreated year on year.

The slowdown comes after a period of rapid growth. Even with the sluggish two months, the EV battery market as of September is 46 percent larger than in the same period last year.

SNE Research, a firm specializing in battery-market information, said the recent decline resulted from stagnant markets in China and the United States, which are the two top countries for EV battery demand. EV battery sales in both countries had slumped around 30 percent on year in September alone.

Chinese EV battery suppliers have been performing especially poorly.

Ningde, China-based CATL, the world’s No. 2, experienced a 10.2 percent drop in shipments in September on weak EV bus and truck demand. Shipments from Shenzhen’s BYD fell 71.2 percent on year.

“By annual comparisons, the EV battery market has continued to grow this year, but there’s a possibility of the Chinese market continuing to be slow for some time, and the U.S. market seems murky, so the on-year increases may not be as strong,” the research firm said.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]