Why oil and battery metal prices are surging in parallel

Supply constraints are leading to higher prices for oil and metals for EV batteries (meant to replace oil).


February 16, 2021

Metals used in electric vehicle batteries are going to the moon.

Cobalt, lithium, copper, nickel,and some rare earth metals have seen prices surge in recent months as electric vehicle (EV) demand — especially in China — rises.

According to The Economist, the bullish run is also due to COVID-related supply constraints in China (rare earth), Indonesia, and South Africa (cobalt) — among others.

Another energy-related commodity is also seeing prices jump.

On Monday, WTI crude oil hit $60.77…

… a pandemic high, per CNBC. The commodity is now up more than 20% for the year and is a long way away from negative futures prices of April 2020.

Supply constraints are also an important consideration for oil. The winter weather sweeping through Texas could potentially freeze wells and take oil production offline. Further, many O&G companies are shedding production budgets, which will strain supplies.

Add to that, greater energy demands — to deal with cold weather and the longer-term expectation of economic recovery — and you have the recipe for rising prices.This may all be a sign of a “strange pattern to come,” writes The Economist: higher prices for both oil and the metals that may help replace it.

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