The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) closed 1.67% higher this week, a great outcome given the sharp sell-offs experienced by the broader equity market on Monday and Tuesday.
Leading the charge this week is a red hot sub-sector within the S&P/ASX Materials (INDEXASX: XMJ) sector.
ASX 200 shares in the lithium sector surged to either multi-year or all-time record highs this week.
Underpinning this performance is higher lithium spot prices and upbeat quarterly results.
Top performing ASX 200 shares this week
Pilbara Minerals Ltd (ASX: PLS)
The Pilbara Minerals Ltd share price rallied to a new record intraday high of $1.74 on Friday. It finished the session up 1.78% at $1.72.
Shares in the lithium miner bounced back strongly this week after tumbling 9.15% to $1.44 by Tuesday.
Since its Tuesday low, the Pilbara Minerals share price rallied an extraordinary 20% in three days.
The lithium sector has been surging lately. The Global X Lithium & Battery Tech ETF (NYSEARCA: LIT) skyrocketed 16.38% this month and 23.32% year-to-date.
The ETF is comprised of companies involved in the full lithium cycle. This includes mining and refining the metal through to battery production and electric vehicles.
The lithium ETF reached a record high closing price of US$81.76 on Friday. This signals that it isn’t just Pilbara Minerals rising but the broader emerging sector as well.
Pilbara Minerals is expected to release its June 2021 quarterly activities report next Thursday, 29 July.
Orocobre Ltd (ASX: ORE)
Orocobre Limited is another ASX 200 share hitting record highs this week.
The Orocobre share price rallied 9.39% this week to a close of $7.69 on Friday.
Its performance is similar to Pilbara Minerals, with the company’s shares tumbling on Monday and Tuesday.
The Orocobre share price jumped 9.91% on Thursday following the release of the company’s June quarterly results.
The results highlighted improved production figures and expansion plans, but more importantly, much higher lithium prices.
The company said the average realised price for its lithium carbonate during the quarter was US$8,476/tonnes free on board (FOB). This is up 45% quarter-on-quarter.