The various battery makers that supply the electric and hybrid carmakers of today are suddenly finding it a bit hard to buy quantities of cobalt on the open market, thanks to a joined-up attempt by a bunch of hedge funds to corner the market for the essential metal.
A bit like Eddie Murphy in Trading Places but with battery materials instead of orange juice, the group of six international hedge funds is attempting to control today's supply of cobalt in the hope that it'll be worth loads more in the future when electric cars really really take off for real, with the fund managers said to have built up a stockpile of $280m (£223m) of cobalt — around 6,000 tonnes of it or approximately 17 per cent of an entire year's global supply.
They'll be keeping it in warehouses, sheds and city centre super-basements for a few years, hoping that the demand for large car batteries that the electric car boom promises will lead to higher prices for cobalt in the future, and then all the clever rich men can sell it, bank a profit, then pop off to Waitrose for an all-day-breakfast sandwich and feel very happy with themselves. [FT (paywall)]
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