Electric cars have made this once obscure metal the hottest commodity of 2017 – by Eshe Nelson (Quartz Media – December 18, 2017)


2017 belonged to cobalt. The silvery-blue metal, which is mined as a by-product of copper and nickel, is a crucial element in the lithium-ion batteries that power everything from electric cars to Apple products.

This year, it has completely outshone the rest of the commodities market. The price of cobalt surged 120%, while the Bloomberg commodity index fell 4%.

The market for cobalt has increased from about $4 billion last year to about $8 billion, according to Bloomberg. Traders and automakers are betting that consumers will increasingly switch to electric vehicles as several countries around the world try to drastically cut down carbon emissions by banning gas and diesel cars.

By 2026, demand for lithium-ion batteries is forecast to grow by six or seven times the current amount, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. These expectations have helped nearly all the raw materials used as components in the batteries, such as lithium and nickel, to outperform the rest of the commodities market.

These materials need to be available now to meet demand for the final products, such cars, in just a few years.

For the rest of this article: https://qz.com/1159341/electric-cars-have-made-the-once-obscure-metal-cobalt-the-hottest-commodity-of-2017/