The Economist – Money Talks

Twin peaks - oil’s price rises alongside battery metals intended to replace it

The choices that we as consumers make, particularly how we travel and how the goods we buy are transported, can have a huge impact on the demand for various commodities. While oil prices are once again on the rise, the value of the battery metals that are expected to eventually largely replace petrol and diesel have also ticked up in recent months.

The Economist’s latest ‘Money Talks’ podcast explores what is driving these competing bets on the fuels of the future, and explores when and why there could eventually be a divergence in the fortunes of oil and battery metals.

Prices for cobalt, lithium and the other rare metals needed for batteries have soared since late-2020, with raising demand partly in anticipation of an expected post-Covid recovery. This is particularly apparent in China where electric vehicle (EV) sales surpassed 224,000 in December, representing 9% of total car sales. The podcast explains how demand will continue to rise both because of the growing popularity of EVs, and because of all the other green infrastructure that governments are pledging to build in the coming decades.