Metals Behind EV Revolution to Resume Volatile Rally – Again – by Annie Lee and Eddie Spence (Bloomberg News – January 14, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Battery metals are set to rebound this year as an electric-vehicle boom is bolstered by post-pandemic push for a green economic recovery.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has indicated the sector could get a boost, while China wants new energy vehicles to account for about 20% of total new car sales by 2025. Germany has extended subsidies on EVs for an extra four years, and the U.K. will ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030.

The markets for metals such as lithium and cobalt, which soared in 2018 before slumping on concerns about oversupply, will be underpinned by a step change in battery demand. Global EV sales are projected to surge 60% this year, according to BloombergNEF.

“Now it’s much more real,” Aleksandr Khodov, lead analyst for nickel and cobalt at Trafigura Group, said in a phone interview. “We’re not talking about hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles anymore, we’re talking about more than 5 million in 2021.”

Another tailwind for lithium, cobalt and nickel comes as further stimulus is expected to fuel inflation, boosting demand for hard assets like commodities. The reflation and weaker dollar trades mean it’s no longer just an EV story, according to Trafigura, the world’s No. 2 metals trader.

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