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Silicon’s 300% Surge Throws Another Price Shock at the World

  • Silicon metal output disrupted amid electricity curbs in China
  • Chemicals firms declare force majeure on silicone products
Silicon metal at the Alumetal Group Hungary Kft. aluminium processing plant in Komarom, Hungary.
Silicon metal at the Alumetal Group Hungary Kft. aluminium processing plant in Komarom, Hungary.Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg
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A metal made from the second-most abundant element on Earth has become scarce, threatening everything from car parts to computer chips and throwing up another hurdle for the world economy.

The shortage in silicon metal, sparked by a production cut in China, has sent prices up 300% in less than two months. It’s the latest in a litany of disruptions, from snarled supply chains to a power crunch, that are creating a destructive mix for companies and consumers.