What happened

The market for lithium might be fading, at least according to an analyst tracking developments in the material, whch is widely used in the manufacture of batteries. That bearish new take drove down the prices of companies dealing in the element, with one prominent victim being Lithium Americas (LAC). Shares of the specialist fell by over 2% in price on Wednesday, a steeper fall than the S&P 500 index's 0.3% drop.

So what

That outlook comes from Morgan Stanley. Its analyst Javier Martinez de Olcoz Cerdan published a new research note based on recent figures for a top global lithium specialist. He was particularly concerned about developments in one of the element's most important markets, China.

According to the data he disseminated from materials giant Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile, lithium exports from the company fell notably in volume and price, dropping 10% and 11%, respectively, in September on a month-over-month basis. This was due in no small part to the Chinese market, where prices cratered by a worrying 21% to fall to the lowest level since early this year. 

Although prices in other markets improved by 7%, this was hardly sufficient to offset the slump in China. 

Now what

As a result, Cerdan thinks that there is a yellow flag waving for lithium prices just now. While he didn't specifically mention Lithium Americas as a stock at risk, the potential fallout for the company could be dramatic if prices and/or volumes continue to trend downward.