We continue to experience unprecedented cost pressures across the board over the last eight months, and even more so over the last four months. Raw materials, components, labor, transportation, tariffs, and the list goes on. To highlight how dramatic the sea change has been, see below a chart showing the increase in Lithium Carbonate, primary ingredient in our Lithium based cells. Eight months ago, LiCO3 was ~88,000 CNY/Ton, today it is nearly $498,000 CNY/Ton…nearly 5.7x higher.
While lithium has been skyrocketing up, nickel as well has shown some recent, and dramatic, volatility that is already affecting our costs for our NiMH based products. At the end of February, Nickel was <$25k USD/Ton, after spiking to nearly $51k USD/Ton, it remains at nearly $32.6k USD/Ton, roughly 30% higher in just one month!
The good news is we have been able to equitably share the burden with our customers to protect the business. Order intake has been strong in spite of this inflationary environment, but we must remain vigilant in controlling costs everywhere across the business, be it Lithium or paper clips. It is important for all Harding stakeholders to understand and communicate these challenges so there are no surprises to the customer that could jeopardize a program.