China's leading lithium manufacturers have reportedly agreed to establish a minimum price of 250,000 yuan ($36,380) per tonne of lithium carbonate to curb the rapid decline in the battery material's price, according to six people familiar with the matter.

Approximately ten companies, including Tianqi Lithium and Ganfeng Lithium, reached the agreement on Tuesday during a conference in Nanchang, southern China. The individuals, who requested anonymity due to the topic's sensitivity, included one attendee and five others briefed on the discussions.

In response to Reuters, Ganfeng denied any discussions concerning a price floor. A company representative stated in an email, "Ganfeng always insists that product prices should be determined by the market, and will never take the initiative to control prices to influence the market." The company added that no industry player possesses such capabilities. Tianqi declined to comment.

Zhicun Lithium, another major lithium carbonate producer in China, was represented at the meeting, according to four of the sources, but could not be reached for comment.

This move follows a significant drop in lithium prices due to a drastic slowdown in electric vehicle (EV) demand in China, the world's largest EV market. Spot prices have plummeted by over 60% since their peak in late November, with the decline accelerating in recent weeks amid an intensifying price war in China's auto market.

It remains unclear how long these companies, which account for over half of China's lithium carbonate production, will adhere to the price floor.

On Friday, spot prices fell to 220,000 yuan per tonne, as reported by Fastmarkets' weekly price assessment, down from 260,000 yuan the previous week. Offers as low as 150,000 yuan were also heard in the market this week as traders attempted to offload growing inventories, according to a battery manufacturer buyer who did not attend the lithium producers' meeting.

"Setting a floor price should strengthen the market sentiment and hold the prices from falling further," said the person who attended the meeting.

However, some buyers were skeptical that producers would maintain the price floor due to weak demand. "If we don't buy, someone will eventually drop the price," stated a lithium carbonate buyer briefed on the decision.

Two of the sources revealed that meeting participants also discussed the Guangzhou Futures Exchange's planned launch of lithium carbonate futures later this year, a development that could help stabilize prices.