Nickel price spike during Russia-Ukraine conflict could drive up EV costs – by Camille Erickson (S & P Global – March 3, 2022)

Nickel prices jumped after Russia, a top global nickel producer, invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, threatening to drive up electric vehicle battery costs that were already under pressure from rising raw material prices.

The London Metal Exchange three-month nickel price increased on the news of Russia’s incursion, reaching an 11-year high of $25,575 per tonne in trading on Feb. 24, while LME stocks tumbled in the run-up period, dipping throughout February to 82,314 tonnes as of Feb. 22, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights data.

While governments have pummeled Russian financial institutions and individuals with a litany of sanctions following the country’s incursion into neighboring Ukraine, commodity exports from Russia have been left largely untouched. But the possibility of sanctions is heating up metal markets, especially in nickel, where Russia is a leading producer.

Should sanctions be imposed, China, which has declined to criticize the invasion, could become one of the only buyers of Russian metals, giving its EV makers a competitive edge.

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