Renaissance Technologies Increases Stake in Lithium Producer SQM

(Bloomberg) -- Renaissance Technologies LLC boosted its stake in lithium giant Soc. Quimica & Minera de Chile SA before the Santiago-based company was cleared by the government to crank up output.

As of Dec. 31, the firm owned 1.2 million American depositary receipts in SQM, one of the world’s largest lithium producers, a regulatory filing showed. That compares with 901,300 ADRs three months earlier.

SQM shares more than doubled last year amid rising demand for lithium, a key component in rechargeable batteries. Investors have been piling in as electric-car makers including Tesla Inc. race to secure supply. A gauge that tracks prices of lithium around the world climbed to a record for a 12th straight month in January, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence data compiled by Bloomberg.

Filings released this month don’t include hedge funds’ current position, which may have changed since the end of the quarter. SQM’s ADRs have fallen 8.5 percent since the end of December, with losses accelerating after the lithium maker was allowed by the Chilean government to ramp up output, easing supply concerns.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. said this month that the sell-off presented an opportunity for institutional investors to gain lithium exposure because it would take SQM five to eight years to increase production to more than 100,000 tons per year of lithium carbonate.

Money managers who oversee more than $100 million in the U.S. must file a Form 13F within 45 days of each quarter’s end to list those stocks as well as options and convertible bonds.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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