Oil prices are forecast to rise to $56 a barrel in 2018 from $53 this year as a result of steadily growing demand, agreed production cuts among oil exporters and stabilizing U.S. shale oil production, while the surge in metals prices is expected to level off next year, the World Bank has said.
Prices for energy commodities – which include oil, natural gas, and coal — are forecast to climb 4 percent in 2018 after a 28 percent leap this year, the World Bank said in its October Commodity Markets Outlook.
The metals index is expected to stabilize in the coming year, after a 22 percent jump this year as a correction in iron ore prices is offset by increased prices for other base metals.
Prices for agricultural commodities, including food commodities and raw materials, are anticipated to recede modestly in 2017 and edge up next year.
“Energy prices are recovering in response to steady demand and falling stocks, but much depends on whether oil producers seek to extend production cuts,” said John Baffes, Senior Economist and lead author of the Commodity Markets Outlook. “Developments in China will play an important role in the price trajectory for metals.”
The oil price forecast is a small downward revision from the April outlook and is subject to risks. Supplies from producers such as Libya, Nigeria, and Venezuela could be volatile.
Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers could agree to cut production further, maintaining upward pressure on prices.
However, failure to renew the agreement could drive prices down, as could increase production from the U.S. shale oil industry.
Natural gas prices are expected to rise 3 percent in 2018, while coal prices are seen retreating following a climb of nearly 30 percent in 2017.
China’s environmental policies are anticipated to be a key factor determining future trends in coal markets.
Iron ore prices are forecast to tumble 10 percent in the coming year but tight supply should push up prices for base metals including lead, nickel, and zinc.
Downside risks to the forecast include slower-than-anticipated demand from China or an easing of production restrictions on China’s heavy industries.
Gold prices are anticipated to ease next year on expectations of higher U.S. interest rates.
Agriculture prices are expected to edge up in 2018 due to reduced supplies, with grain and oils and meals prices rising marginally.
Agricultural commodities markets are well-supplied and the stocks-to-use ratios (a measure of how well supplied markets are) of some grains are forecast to be at multi-year highs.
However, favorable weather patterns, well-supplied global food markets, and relatively low world prices do not necessarily imply ample food availability everywhere.
Drought conditions that are by some accounts the worst in 60 years, have caused crops failures in parts of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya and led to severe food shortages.
Conflicts in South Sudan, Yemen and Nigeria have driven millions of people from their homes and left millions more in need of emergency food.
The World Bank’s Commodity Markets Outlook provides detailed market analysis for major commodity groups, including energy, metals, agriculture, precious metals, and fertilizers.
The report includes price forecasts to 2030 for more than 45 commodities.
It also provides historical price data and supply, demand, and trade balances for most commodities. – Joseph Appiah-Dolphyne
What would happen if you flipped a switch, and suddenly every new car that came off assembly lines was electric?
It’s obviously a thought experiment, since right now EVs have close to just 1 percent market share worldwide. We’re still years away from EVs even hitting double-digit demand on a global basis, and the entire supply chain is built around the internal combustion engine, anyways.
At the same time, however, the scenario is interesting to consider. One recent projection, for example, put EVs at a 16 percent penetration by 2030 and then 51 percent by 2040. This could be conservative depending on the changing regulatory environment for manufacturers – after all, big markets like China, France, and the U.K. have recently announced that they plan on banning gas-powered vehicles in the near future.
The Thought Experiment
We discovered this “100 percent EV world” thought experiment in a UBS report that everyone should read. As a part of their UBS Evidence Lab initiative, they tore down a Chevy Bolt to see exactly what is inside, and then had 39 of the bank’s analysts weigh in on the results.
After breaking down the metals and other materials used in the vehicle, they noticed a considerable amount of variance from what gets used in a standard gas-powered car. It wasn’t just the battery pack that made a difference – it was also the body and the permanent-magnet synchronous motor that had big implications.
As a part of their analysis, they extrapolated the data for a potential scenario where 100 percent of the world’s auto demand came from Chevy Bolts, instead of the current auto mix.
If global demand suddenly flipped in this fashion, here’s what would happen:
Some caveats we think are worth noting:
The Bolt is not a Tesla
The Bolt uses an NMC cathode formulation (nickel, manganese, and cobalt in a 1:1:1 ratio), versus Tesla vehicles which use NCA cathodes (nickel, cobalt, and aluminum, in an estimated 16:3:1 ratio). Further, the Bolt uses a permanent-magnet synchronous motor, which is different from Tesla’s AC induction motor – the key difference there being rare earth usage.
Big Markets, small markets:
Lithium, cobalt, and graphite have tiny markets, and they will explode in size with any notable increase in EV demand. The nickel market, which is more than $20 billion per year, will also more than double in this scenario. It’s also worth noting that the Bolt uses low amounts of nickel in comparison to Tesla cathodes, which are 80 percent nickel.
Meanwhile, the 100 percent EV scenario barely impacts the steel market, which is monstrous to begin with. The same can be said for silicon, even though the Bolt uses 6-10x more semiconductors than a regular car. The market for PGMs like platinum and palladium, however, gets decimated in this hypothetical scenario – that’s because their use as catalysts in combustion engines are a primary source of demand. – Mining.com
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