COLUMN-Nickel the latest metal to feel the electric vehicle buzz – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – October 25, 2017)

LONDON, Oct 25 (Reuters) – First it was lithium. Then it was cobalt. And now it is nickel’s turn in the electric vehicle spotlight. Nickel is just as important as the other two metals in manufacturing the batteries that will power the green technology revolution.

It is used in both currently dominant lithium battery configurations, nickel-cobalt-manganese and nickel-cobalt-aluminium. Indeed, it may increase its material share against cobalt, a metal that is posing all sorts of supply problems, both physical and ethical, for the automotive sector.

Growing demand from battery-makers will exacerbate “the predicted structural shortage of nickel between now and 2025,” according to research house Wood Mackenzie.

The outlook for nickel, it said, “is one of deepening deficits, falling stocks and rising prices.” (“A demanding supply problem for nickel”, October 2017) It’s exactly the sort of rallying cry that frustrated nickel bulls have been awaiting and has helped keep London nickel bubbling around the $12,000 per tonne level.

But unlike lithium and cobalt, both of which have experienced straight-line price rallies over the last year or so, nickel looks more of a slow-burn story with some complicated plot twists.

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