Global instability, ongoing supply chain problems and the lingering impact of Covid-19 have all contributed to the current unusually high prices for metals and related raw materials and components.
The inflationary shock that has come with the Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused metal prices to skyrocket globally. In some cases, these prices are rising from levels that were already abnormally high due to lingering supply chain disruptions and shortages that developed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In early March, copper prices hit an all-time high as warehouses emptied out, likely driven by traders concerned about potential supply disruptions that may come in the wake of the Russia–Ukraine conflict.
In addition to record-high prices for copper, we’re also seeing major surges in prices for materials like nickel (up 30%), cobalt (up more than 7%), and palladium (up 40%).
Nickel is an essential ingredient in a wide variety of important products, including alloys, corrosion-resistant coatings, many kinds of rechargeable batteries, and stainless steel. Steel, along with copper, is a common material in cable assemblies and lanyards.
Cobalt is also essential in a variety of industrial equipment and components — including rechargeable batteries and superalloys used in gas turbines.
In turn, the rise in metal prices has also led to increased prices for wires, cables, and cable assemblies.
Reduced industrial capacity may also soon drive an increase in wire and cable assembly prices. Manufacturers in both Russia and Ukraine have had operations significantly disrupted by the invasion. The significant wire harness manufacturing industry in Ukraine, for example, has been forced to shutter, hampering carmakers’ operations.
The country’s wire and cable manufacturing industry has taken a similar hit, which will likely drive up global prices for cables, cable assemblies, and wires.
As a result, a wide variety of businesses either face or will face significantly elevated prices of metals and components like wires and cables. These components are essential in almost any electronic component or device — including solar panels, wind turbines, and petrochemical equipment.
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