Challenges and opportunities await metals markets in a world in flux: 2022 preview

The metals and mining industry prepares to play a critical role in building a more sustainable future

The world is facing historic difficulties – from the worst consequences of Covid-19 and undeniable evidence of worsening climate change to logistical chaos and a late surge in prices for commodities, especially those that are energy intensive. In 2021, there was growing conviction among companies, markets, even governments, that new approaches are required to combat these issues.

For instance, businesses – and many of the countries in which they operate – began to address the need to cut emissions to avoid climate catastrophe.

There is now a tangible commitment around the globe, such as we saw at COP26 in Glasgow, to accelerate action against climate change.

Metals markets will play an essential role in the global economy in 2022 amid the pursuit of decarbonization and sustainability. For instance:

  • The move to electric vehicles and the need for improved energy storage mean sourcing materials for battery anodes has never been more important.
  • And the steel industry’s need to minimize the emission of pollutants will increase reliance on ferrous scrap – and higher-quality scrap at that.

Really, the growing imperative of sustainability will affect all aspects of the metals supply chain. But without smoothly functioning markets, this energy transition drive is destined to stall.

This is where Fastmarkets’ reporters and analysts can help – by immersing themselves in your markets to identify price moves and trends, and to provide you with the actionable intelligence you need to make business decisions in 2022 and beyond.

In this series of articles, Fastmarkets’ experts tell you what is in store for this year across ferrous and non-ferrous markets.

Explore our 2022 preview coverage:

Decarbonization

China’s steel fundamentals in flux on decarbonization drive: 2022 preview

Steelmaking raw materials set for volatile year amid deluge of uncertainties: 2022 preview

Rising carbon, energy costs to change EU steel pricing: 2022 preview

Nickel’s awkward position in the sustainability landscape: 2022 preview

Chrome, nickel set to benefit as China’s decarbonization push spurs stainless steel capacity growth: 2022 preview

China decarbonization forces shift in western aluminium market: 2022 preview

Energy transition

Robust demand likely to support natural graphite anode supply chain: 2022 preview

Lithium carbonate premium over hydroxide to persist in new year, sources say: 2022 preview

Biden’s solar ambition to increase metal prices… if it gets realized: 2022 preview

Graphite anode gaining ground with supply chain shift amid EV demand boost: 2022 preview

Magnesium still considered a risky market; supply challenges loom: 2022 preview

Scrap markets and the circular economy

Asia billet, scrap prices could drop amid weaker Chinese demand, sources say: 2022 preview

US scrap mart consolidation to continue in ’22: 2022 preview

Plenty at play in ’22 for US ferrous scrap: 2022 preview

European aluminium scrap and secondary prices to be supported, participants say: 2022 preview

Logistics and other topics

Logistics issues key to annual tin contract negotiations in Europe: 2022 preview

Steel downstream buy frenzy likely to continue: 2022 preview

Lead byproducts may not be Chinese smelters’ silver lining: 2022 preview

Base metals’ fundamental backdrop to remain healthy in year ahead: 2022 preview

What to read next
Graphite companies Nouveau Monde Graphite, Novonix and Westwater have all announced offtake agreements in a developing US anode supply chain to comply with that country’s generous subsidy scheme under the Inflation Reduction Act and to ease the current dependence on China for material, Fastmarkets heard on Thursday February 15
Traders have built up their presence in the lithium market in recent years; they see an opportunity in lower prices – after record highs set in 2022 – while the lithium industry aims to take advantage of an expected growth in demand spurred by the global energy transition
What are the main challenges on the path to decarbonization and the adoption of sustainable aviation fuels for the aviation industry?
Ferrous scrap prices in main Mexican markets dropped sharply in the week to Tuesday February 6 – their third consecutive weekly decrease – amid weak sentiment, Fastmarkets understands
The London Metal Exchange is finding that when it comes to metal of Russian origin, and in particular aluminium, it can't please all of the people all of the time.
Supply chain localization of the graphite industry is a trend that is expected to continue in 2024 amid ongoing geopolitical tensions and excess capacity in Mainland China, the major holder of the global anode supply. Challenges remain, however, sources told Fastmarkets