Commodities Update — Gold falls; grains rise; Copper retreats from 8-week high


China In-Focus — CATL to develop new battery materials; July industrial profits down

RIYADH: China’s CATL is working on new battery materials that can improve energy density by between 10 percent and 20 percent, compared with iron phosphate batteries, the company’s chairman said, as the battery giant scrambles to retain its top position amid competition.

The new material technology known as M3P can enable an electric vehicle to run 700 km per charge combined with CATL’s next generation battery pack technology, Zeng Yuqun said at the World New Energy Vehicle Congress in Beijing on Saturday.

The new materials will also lower the costs compared to nickel and cobalt-based batteries, he added.

Zeng, however, didn’t say what metals M3P batteries will use or when mass production could start.

CATL, whose clients include Tesla, Volkswagen, BMW and Ford, is the world’s biggest battery maker accounting for more than a third of the sales of batteries for electric vehicles worldwide.

Global market for EV batteries

The global market for electric vehicle batteries is expected to reach $250 billion by 2030, with demand exceeding 3.5 terrawatt hours, said Wan Gang, president of China’s World New Energy Vehicle Congress, speaking in Beijing on Saturday.

China July industrial profits down

Profits at China’s industrial firms sank in July, reversing previous gains as fresh COVID-19 curbs dragged down demand and squeezed factory margins, while power shortages due to heatwaves threatened production.

Profits at China’s industrial firms fell 1.1 percent in January-July from a year earlier, wiping out the 1.0 percent growth logged during the first six months, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Saturday.

The bureau did not report standalone figures for July.

Factory production and activities in major manufacturing hubs like Shenzhen and Tianjin were hit in the month as fresh COVID curbs were imposed.

In July, China’s industrial output growth slowed to 3.8 percent on-year from 3.9 percent in June.

Liabilities at industrial firms jumped 10.5 percent from a year earlier in July, matching the 10.5 percent increase in June, the statistics bureau said.

US, China reach landmark audit deal

Beijing and Washington took a major step on Friday toward ending a dispute that threatened to boot Chinese companies, including Alibaba, from US stock exchanges, signing a pact to allow US regulators to vet accounting firms in China and Hong Kong.

US regulators have for more than a decade demanded access to audit papers of US-listed Chinese companies, but Beijing has been reluctant to let overseas regulators inspect its accounting firms, citing national security concerns.

The deal marks a partial thaw in US-China relations amid tensions over Taiwan and will come as a relief for hundreds of Chinese companies, investors and US exchanges, giving China the chance to retain access to the world’s deepest capital markets if it works in practice .

If not, some 200 Chinese companies could be banned from US exchanges, US Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler said. The agency has previously identified Alibaba Group, JD.Com Inc., and NIO among those at risk.

(With input from Reuters)

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