MOSCOW, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Expectations of a boom in demand for electric vehicles are leading investors and battery makers to stockpile nickel and helping to fuel a spike in global prices of the metal, Russian mining company Norilsk Nickel said on Monday.
Nornickel, the world’s second-largest nickel producer, said demand for the metal from the battery sector leapt 38 percent in the first half of this year versus the same period last year.
Along with demand from the stainless steel sector, this helped boost prices to $15,750 per tonne in June, their highest in over four years, the company said, with the battery sector accounting for 5 percent of total global nickel demand.
Nornickel said the expected pick-up in demand for electric vehicles was also a factor behind a drop in industry inventories, as investors and battery makers built up stocks. Nickel inventories at the London and Shanghai exchanges fell to 274.000 tonnes from 411,000 tonnes between January and July, it said.
Nornickel sold 101,000 tonnes of nickel in the first half of the year. It also mines cobalt, also used in electric vehicle batteries, and revenue from that metal rose 52 percent in the first half of this year, the company added.