Market watchers have been positive on energy metals despite the state of the rest of the commodities market, and that trend looks to be continuing. Last Tuesday, FMC (NYSE: FMC) announced a 10-percent increase in global prices "for all grades of lithium carbonate and lithium salts including lithium hydroxide, pharmaceutical carbonate and specialty salts." The increase is effective December 1, 2014, and applies to all standard and non-standard pricing. Explaining the reason for the increase, Chris Senyk, global marketing director for FMC Lithium, cited continued rising costs and operational cost pressures at FMC's Argentina facility. "These increases will help ensure continued investment in our operations and support the supply service expectations of our global customers," he said. And though prices are increasing for a range of lithium products, Senyk singled out lithium hydroxide in particular, noting that hydroxide prices were already increased in May and that December's 10 percent increase will be in addition to that. Increased demand from the battery space Although operational costs are driving price rises for FMC products, Simon Moores of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence has suggested that further price gains could be in store for lithium hydroxide due to tightening supply. An October 15 report from the analyst states that although markets have been focused largely on lithium carbonate, it's lithium hydroxide that could be looking at a shortage as soon as 2015. While the material is normally used as an industrial lubricant, it has also been finding favor as a cathode in batteries, where lithium carbonate is also commonly used. Some properties of lithium hydroxide make it a more favorable material for cathode production, but high prices often mean that lithium carbonate is used instead.