Demand for lithium is expected to outpace global supply as consumers switch to battery-powered vehicles. With China currently leading in processing of the vital raw material, the U.S. government is looking to boost domestic production. Photo illustration: Carlos Waters/WSJ Surging prices for lithium are intensifying a race between auto makers to lock up supplies and raising concerns that a shortage of the battery metal could slow the adoption of electric vehicles. Lithium carbonate prices in China, the benchmark in the fast-growing market, stand at about $71,000 a metric ton, according to price-assessment firm Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. That is almost four times as high as a year ago and just below the record set this March in yuan terms. Lithium is an outlier in commodity markets that have broadly retreated in recent months , reflecting gloom over an economic outlook dimmed by the Federal Reserve‚Äôs interest-rate increases and stuttering growth […]