Materials, stocks, and commodities
- FTSE 100 | The UK index reached a post-pandemic high, encouraged by banking and oil stocks as oil prices pushed above $85/barrel.
- Silicon squeeze | A shortage of silicon, caused by production cuts to reduce energy usage in China, has pushed prices up by over 300% in less than two months. Silicon is used in a variety of products such as computer chips, glass, and silicone materials.
- Graphene | A floor slab in Manchester’s Mayfield regeneration scheme has made the first commercial use of concrete strengthened with graphene in a suspended floor slab. Tests show it should reduce the necessary concrete volume by 30% and reduce drying time from 28 days to 12 hours.
- Cement plans | Forty of the world’s leading cement and concrete manufacturers are collaborating to speed up progress to greener concrete by pledging to cut CO2 emissions by a further 25% by 2030. The world’s most used human-made material accounts for 6 – 7% of total global CO2 emissions.
- Factory gate prices in China grew at the fastest rate on record last month (an annual rate of 10.7%). As China is a key exporter concerns have been raised over the impact this could have in other economies.
- Port jam | Felixstowe, which handles over a third of UK container traffic, has warned that the HGV shortage has caused a backlog of containers, causing freight to be rediverted to other ports. Last year we also reported on container jams at Felixstowe because of Covid-related delays.