COLUMN-London Metal Exchange Week galvanised by electric dreams – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – November 3, 2017)

LONDON, Nov 3 (Reuters) – The future is bright. The future is electric. The green technology revolution lit up this year’s London Metals Exchange (LME) Week. “Electric vehicles are a great long-term story” for industrial metals, according to Colin Hamilton, head of commodities research at BMO Capital Markets.

And this is a sector that has been looking for exactly that since the abrupt demise of the “super-cycle” story that accompanied the last big bull rally. Copper has traditionally been the talk of the LME Week cocktail parties and dinners because this is the time Chilean producer Codelco announces its premiums for the coming year.

But this year copper was rudely shoved out of the London limelight by new hot metals such as lithium, cobalt and nickel. Particularly nickel, another core metallic component of the lithium-ion batteries that are going to power all those electric vehicles (EVs).

The verbal buzz quickly translated to trading buzz. Nickel went on a turbo-charged, heavy-volume rally in both London and Shanghai. LME three-month nickel hit a two-year high of $13,030 per tonne on Wednesday.

Which may be just a little bit premature in terms of its usage in electric vehicles, a slow-burn story over the next couple of years at least. But it was symptomatic of this week’s focus on the sunny electric uplands rather than the more prosaic short-term outlook.

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