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Insight Weekly: EV makers push new battery tech; China banks' leverage ratios; output costs slip

Today is Tuesday, June 13, 2023, and here’s your weekly selection of essential intelligence on financial markets and the global economy from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Subscribe to be notified of each new Insight Weekly.

In this edition of Insight Weekly, we take a close look at automakers' efforts to develop alternative battery chemistries amid high metal prices and the growing demand for electric vehicles. Automakers are trying to replace cobalt in batteries with either additional nickel or by using iron, while pushing boundaries on sodium batteries that use no lithium or cobalt, to control increasing prices. The hunt for alternative battery technologies is driven by a tight supply of raw materials and a desire among some governments to reduce trade dependence on China, which hosts much of the world's battery metals refineries as well as manufacturers of cells and other components, according to Henrique Ribeiro, principal analyst of batteries and energy storage at S&P Global Commodity Insights. Industry experts warn that the shift to new battery chemistries could come with trade-offs in cost and performance for consumers.

Many major mainland Chinese banks saw declines in their leverage ratios in the first quarter as they accelerated lending to support government growth targets and reported weaker returns on equity, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. A high leverage ratio indicates that a bank has more capital reserves and is better positioned to weather financial crises, but also means that it has less money to lend out.  

Average prices charged by factories for their goods fell globally in May for the first time in three years, according to the JPMorgan Global Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index compiled by S&P Global. Falling demand, improving supply and lower energy and shipping costs have caused a shift in pricing power from the seller to the buyer in recent months, driving down prices through global supply chains.

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Compiled by Waqas Azeem

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