Amid a major reordering of global oil markets, investors and manufacturers are turning their attention to a lesser-known commodity which experienced its biggest ever price surge at the start of this year.
Lithium carbonate helps to power smartphones and hoverboards, but the real attraction for investors is the nascent electric and hybrid vehicle sector. The emergence of firms like Tesla — which is building its own lithium factory in Nevada — has helped to boost the price and more demand is expected, according to Eoin Treacy, a strategist at investment strategy firm Fuller Treacy Money.
"Home batteries and home charging stations are likely to become much more visible," he said in a note on Monday evening.
"Utilities are already installing industrial scale (lithium) batteries to tackle intermittency of renewables and to become more efficient with fossil fuel use."