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Industrial metals have been on a tear in 2017 and the London Metal Exchange has taken the start of LME week Monday to announce that it is planning to launch futures contracts for the battery metals Lithium and Cobalt as early as the start of 2019. Lithium and Cobalt prices have surged along with other industrial metals involved with electric vehicles.

Battery Metal Supply Chart

Industrial metals have risen by more than 20 per cent. Nickel, copper and zinc have all hit significant highs in 2017 after years of turgid price action. All three are likely to be champoioned at LME week but it is the battery metals that carry the buzz. An LME working group with 70 carmakers, battery producers and miners involved in electric vehicles is due to meet in London this week to discuss new futures contracts for lithium and cobalt that would allow users to manage their exposure to fluctuating prices.
 “Battery metals we see as transformational,” Matthew Chamberlain, who was appointed chief executive of the LME in April, says. “It’s nice for the metals community to have a really exciting growth story.”
As well as EVs, Julian Kettle of Wood Mackenzie said delegates would be talking about the recovery in prices and whether it was sustainable, as well as the outlook for growth in China over the medium and long term. 
Source: Bloomber; LME
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