Commodity prices increase as mining transitions to green energy – by Olivia Johnson (CIM Magazine – April 2022)

Nickel, cobalt and lithium continue to benefit from electric vehicle demand

A strong end to the year and accelerated prices in January have led to higher commodities forecasts, and metals such as copper, nickel and lithium are benefiting from “the red-hot EV market.”

In S&P Global’s State of the Market: Mining Q4-21 conference, Sean Decoff, senior analyst, metals and mining research at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said that in general, the industry is seeing positives. COVID-19 cases are dropping, many countries are completely scrapping restrictions and persistent inflation is benefiting commodity prices.

Iron ore, for example, had a volatile year. It reached record highs in the first half of 2021, but the prices essentially collapsed later in the year. In July, cracks appeared in the Chinese property market, additional supply came online and China restricted steel production due to the government’s pollution control measures.

When steel production in China peaked, the iron ore price started to drop, and by the end of the year steel production in the country came in three per cent lower, the first year-on-year decline since 2016. Prices evened out due to Chinese restocking and the expectation is that Chinese demand will be stronger in the March quarter.

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