As economies across the globe recovered from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, experts forecasted an increase in the demand for vanadium. The majority of the vanadium produced globally is used in the production of steel in China. Here’s a review of vanadium’s market performance in 2021, particularly for the first half of the year, as well as what some experts and analysts expect for the future.
The vanadium market struggled to navigate the uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic last year. During the pandemic period, the demand for the metal increased by 7% in China but declined by 8% in the rest of the world.
However, by the end of 2020, market expectations grew stronger, as more economies moved to reopen. During the first months of 2021, the demand for the metal increased, especially in the second quarter, with Chinese demand remaining strong. New growth in demand was mainly driven by recovery from the pandemic.
Demand and Supply
The steel sector is the primary consumer of vanadium as mentioned above. Throughout the first half of 2021, vanadium demand from the rest of the world worked to catch up with China. Erik Sardain, an analyst at Roskill, explains that one of the main reasons that demand for the metal in the rest of the world lagged behind was because most economies were more exposed to the chemical and aerospace industries. China’s economy is focused more on construction and infrastructure. Sardain expects demand from the steel sector to remain strong in China throughout the second half of 2021, while vanadium demand in the rest of the world also continues to grow steadily.
CRU Group’s Willis Thomas also expects that as more conversations and announcements surrounding the battery segment occur, the demand for vanadium will increase. Sardain agrees, adding that China will be the primary driver of demand in the battery segment. With regard to supply, Sardain believes it may be a bit constrained in the second half of 2021 as the demand grows and the production of steel increases.
Sardain expects vanadium prices in the second half of 2021 to remain at present levels and forecasts that vanadium pentoxide in Europe will average $8.10 per pound.
On the other hand, Thomas states that lower prices are usually observed in the second half of every year, in comparison with the first. However, he continues, if the demand for steel remains strong and vanadium supply remains tight, low prices for the metal are unlikely.
Meanwhile, makers of vanadium flow batteries, such as StorEn Technologies Inc., are snatching up an increasing share of the vanadium market. It remains to be seen how this growing application of this mineral will impact the broader market.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to StorEn Technologies Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/StorEn
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