This Morning in Metals: Copper prices move sideways; construction employment rises; Northvolt assembles first lithium-ion battery cell at Swedish gigafactory

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This morning in metals news: copper prices have moved sideways to close 2021; meanwhile, the U.S. construction sector added jobs in November; and, finally, Northvolt said it had produced the first lithium-ion battery cell at its gigafactory in Sweden.

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Copper prices trend sideways

copper mine

Gary Whitton/Adobe Stock

Copper prices have consolidated and trended sideways to close the year.

The LME three-month price surged to nearly $10,300 per metric ton level in October, according to MetalMiner Insights data. The price proceeded to slide to close that month and has since trended sideways.

LME three-month copper closed Tuesday at $9,620 per metric ton, or up 0.1% month over month.

Construction employment rises

Construction employment picked up in November in a majority of U.S. metro areas, the Associated General Contractors of America reported.

“It isn’t surprising that construction employment has picked up in most metros over the past year, given the strong economic rebound most of the country has experienced,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But with record job openings in construction, it’s clear that even more metros should be in the plus column if contractors could find the workers they need and get materials delivered on schedule.”

Construction employment increased from November 2020 to November 2021 in 237 of 358 metro areas.

Northvolt hails first lithium-ion battery cell from Swedish gigafactory

Swedish battery maker Northvolt announced it had produced its first lithium-ion battery cell at its gigafactory in Sweden.

“Last night, the commissioning of the Northvolt Ett gigafactory in northern Sweden led to the assembly of the first battery cell,” Northvolt said in a release Wednesday.

“Marking a new chapter in European industrial history, the cell is the first to have been fully designed, developed and assembled at a gigafactory by a homegrown European battery company.”

Upscaling will continue at the factory in 2022, Northvolt said, when it also plans to begin commercial customer deliveries.

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