Tesla sees shortages of nickel and copper

By Reuters News Agency. Published at May 3, 2019, in Features

Copper prices and other industrial metals rebounded slightly on Friday in thin Labour Day holiday trade in the US, with electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc expecting a global shortage for nickel and copper.

Tesla, a major minerals consumer, saw shortages of nickel, copper and other electric-vehicle battery minerals down the road due to under-investment in the mining sector, its global supply manager for battery metals told a conference on Thursday.

Three-month copper rose 0.2 percent to $6,177.50 a tonne at 0204 GMT, rebounding from a two-and-a-half-month low hit in the previous session.

Copper has been under pressure on uncertain demand outlook from China, the world's biggest consumer of the red metal, as the Chinese economic growth has yet shown a steady sign of stabilising after last year's slowdown.

"Looking ahead, as supply disruptions in Chile and Peru in the second half of this year will become more apparent, this may help rebalance the market (for copper)," Helen Lau of Argonaut Securities said in a note.

"Before this happens, we are concerned that a further strength in dollar and sluggish economic report from the United States and China may further put downward pressure on copper prices overs short-term in our view," Lau said.

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