The wild swings in global metals markets are coupled with concerns about whether manufacturers will run low on supplies of key commodities.
Nickel surged to a record high as sanctions against Russia threaten the global supply of the precious metal. Ditto for palladium, a key component for car engines. Meanwhile, copper and aluminum touched records earlier in the week before falling back. One member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet told Yahoo Finance Live that the administration is working with companies to avoid shortages and ensure that there is a sufficient stockpile of commodities.
“What we are doing — and we’re doing it every single day, literally — is working with the private sector to find alternative sources of these critical minerals — nickel, palladium, uranium,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in an interview with Yahoo Finance Live. “The good news is most companies have quite a lot of stockpile, so this isn’t an immediate problem.”
While raw material supplies may not yet be an issue, shortages of components like semiconductors have only been exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting sanctions. Advanced Micro Devices CEO Lisa Su recently told Yahoo Finance Live that the chip shortage will likely persist beyond this year.
The Biden administration is focused on long-term fixes. Raimondo and Biden are scheduled to meet with business leaders Wednesday to discuss the Innovation Act, which they say will unlock investment in U.S.-based manufacturing. Last week, Biden touted Intel's plan to boost its $20 billion investment in a new Ohio plant by fivefold if the bill becomes law during his State of the Union address, where Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger was a guest of Biden’s.
Gelsinger told Yahoo Finance Live last year that Intel is committed to making chips for other companies in its effort to increase capacity.
"Overall the foundry business today is over a $100 billion market So we are going into a large market," said Gelsinger at the time. "I have set a goal that by the end of the decade we want to be the number two player in that market."