FOCUS: Elevated nickel prices to stifle nickel-rich battery adoption, cobalt demand unlikely to benefit significantly

Strong gains in nickel prices since the start of the month and the expectation that this strength will persist are likely to slow the pace of nickel-rich battery adoption in the electric vehicle (EV) market in the near term, market participants told Fastmarkets.

But this dynamic is unlikely to result in cobalt demand picking up significantly, they added. Following an announcement by the Indonesian government on August 30 that it would implement a ban on nickel ore exports from the end of this year - two years earlier than had been previously expected - nickel prices surged in anticipation of a supply shortfall from the beginning of 2020. The three-month nickel price on the London Metal Exchange hit an intra-day high of $18,850 per tonne on September 2, nearing its highest in five years. Although the price gave back some of its recent gains, it remains firmly above $17,000 per tonne, after remaining well below that level since September 2014. This acute upturn in nickel prices and the possibility of further increases in the near future has quickly caused some EV manufacturers and battery producers to balk at utilizing and producing nickel-rich batteries, market sources...


Susan Zou

September 09, 2019

11:08 GMT