Future Facing Commodities 2024 - your questions answered

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On 27th March 2024 Wood Mackenzie held the third annual Future Facing Commodities Forum and welcomed over 1,400 guests across our Asia Pacific and US/EMEA broadcasts. On the day we explored myriad issues, ranging from EV demand variability, battery component and raw materials trends; nascent technology in batteries, renewables and storage plus CBAM impacts on aluminium. We provided our take on the current downturns in lithium and nickel, and our outlooks for cathode and anode, copper, manganese, vanadium and rare earth markets. We also looked at the latest hydrogen trends. During the event we invited attendees to send us their questions. With battery raw material markets in the doldrums questions regarding the EV growth story, technology change, and supply competition featured heavily. Read on to to explore some of the key questions posed, and our experts’ responses.

Table of contents

    • What is the risk that your penetration rates in Europe & US are too ambitious? Will the recent boom of hybrid vehicles affect your forecast of EV penetration?
    • A number of Chinese OEMs – e.g. BYD - are already supplying low cost, mass market EVs at a profit in the Chinese market. Are these Chinese OEMs well placed to export their low cost EVs to other markets?
    • Is Na-ion a real threat to Lithium-ion batteries, and what are some of the implications for raw materials?
    • Are there any significant implications for copper in the cathode chemistries mentioned in the discussion?
    • What are the main alternatives to graphite in anodes?
    • Is there a way to compete with the All-in-Sustaining-Cost of Indonesian nickel producers?
    • Will Non-Indonesian Nickel suppliers survive?
    • Rare Earths - Do you believe that ionic clay supply will come to fruition in Brazil and Africa, or is this supply pathway likely to remain Chinese-based?
    • Where is the pet coke and needle coke used to make synthetic graphite generally sourced from? Is it at risk of supply shortages if non-coke based iron-making processes become widely adopted?
    • Do you see a real penetration of REE-free motors?
    • Do you expect recovery rates of metals from batteries to improve over time?
    • CBAM - I assume that the traded price in EU will be set by the marginal cost of imported aluminium with associated CBAM impacts. Are you predicting that in addition to the increase in price, that the price will in fact be considerably more volatile under CBAM?
    • What are you seeing from the big miners on capex growth for '24 and in terms of achieving GHG ambitions in the mining space?
    • What is SOEC and why is it more expensive than PEM or AWE technologies?
    • Can AWE/ALK remain competitive with cheaper batteries providing firming or will the more flexible PEM ultimately dominate the electrolyser market?
    • What are the expected types of end-use for hydrogen, given your views on its cost evolution per kilogram?
    • What will be the impact of A.I. on inflation?

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