Mar 4, 2022 - Economy & Business

Metal prices soar after Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Prices for metals crucial to manufacturing — especially the auto industry — continued to soar.

Why it matters: This is part of the inflationary shock of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the world's response to it, which could disrupt supplies.

Palladium: A key metal used in catalytic converters that automakers install to scrub engine emissions. It's up roughly 40% this year.

  • Russia, the world's largest producer, is responsible for 40% of global output.

Nickel: A central ingredient in stainless steel and rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles. It's up about 30% in 2022.

  • Russia is the third-largest producer, mining roughly 10% of the world's nickel.

Aluminum: The lightweight metal is vital to industries across the economy from consumer packaging to aerospace and defense and construction. This year it's up more than 30%.

  • United Company Rusal — formerly led by oligarch Oleg Deripaska before he was sanctioned in 2018 — is one of the world's largest producers.

Cobalt: Another key ingredient of electric vehicle batteries, for which demand has surged in recent years. It's up more than 7%.

  • Russia is the world's second-largest producer of cobalt, much of which is mined by Norilsk Nickel, a mining giant whose oligarch president Vladimir Potanin is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, making it a potential target of sanctions.
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