Metal Mayhem: EV, steel industry to take hit over soaring nickel prices

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Production of batteries for electric vehicles as well as stainless steel, paint and alloy-based industries are expected to take a hit, as prices of a key raw material — nickel — have zoomed over 100 per cent in the past few days.

The Russia-Ukraine crisis has triggered the shortage which in turn led to a massive spike in prices.

On Tuesday, nickel prices surged as much as 111 per cent to trade briefly above $100,000 a tonne. The exponential rise in price led London Metal Exchange (LME) to suspend trading in the non-ferrous metal.

However, prices corrected soon after on Tuesday itself.

At present, Russia is one of the largest producers of the metal in the world. It is feared that new and more stringent sanctions against Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis will curtail global supplies.

“We have seen huge volatility in nickel prices which have jumped more than 200 per cent this year till date. Shortage of supply and demand for nickel from EV industries is supporting the prices,” said Anuj Gupta, VP, Research, IIFL Securities.

According to Kshitij Purohit, Lead of Commodities and Currencies, CapitalVia Global Research: “Nickel prices increased almost 100 per cent in the last few trading sessions.

“EV and steel industries are majorly using nickel as a raw material and the increased price will drag down their margins to lower levels which also impacts their profitability.”

Tapan Patel, Senior Analyst (Commodities), HDFC Securities: “Nickel prices have recently surged to record levels. It is currently halted at $80,010 per tonne after LME suspended trading for the remaining day.

“The global shortage due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis and higher demand from the EV segment were the bullish factors for Nickel prices.”

(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at rohit.v@ians.in)

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