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Davos 2023-ERG sees copper rising on high demand, supply worries

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By Divya Chowdhury and Savio Shetty

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Copper prices are set for another rally this year thanks to surging demand, supply concerns and the metal's widespread use in energy transition technologies, Eurasian Resources Group's (ERG) chief executive officer told Reuters. "Whatever the winning technologies for batteries, EVs (electric vehicles), renewable energy, etc, will be in the future, they all need copper," Benedikt Sobotka said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

"I am very long copper," Sobotka said in an interview with the Reuters Global Markets Forum, adding he expected a 10%-20% rise in base metal prices this year. The world's green energy transition will drive a new commodity supercycle, especially as inventories are at historical lows, Sobotka said. "Copper (inventory is) at less than four days, zinc at less than one day ... with the opening up of China, markets are rebounding everywhere," he said, adding that he expected a "big surprise after the Chinese New Year" as production is ramped up, inventories are rebuilt, and consumption rises.

Sobotka, who is also co-chair of the Global Battery Alliance (GBA) - a public-private collaboration to establish a sustainable battery value chain by 2030 - also announced a "battery passport" proof of concept at Davos. "For the first time we will be able to trace all the minerals that go into EV batteries," he said. The origin of raw materials has gained greater importance after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and Western sanctions against Moscow, as buyers want to know where the inputs for their batteries are coming from. For daily Davos updates in your inbox sign up for the Reuters Daily Briefing here. Join GMF, hosted on Refinitiv Messenger, here.

(Reporting by Divya Chowdhury in Davos and Savio Shetty in Mumbai Editing by Mark Potter)

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