Roskill offers new nickel market outlook to 2018

Coin (Foto: ©Lupo /

London — For the nickel market, 2014 may prove to be a turning point when vi­tality is restored to an industry that saw prices dip below US$14,000/t in July 2013. At this level, not seen since 2009, an estimated 30 per cent of operations were believed to be unprofitable, as demonstrat­ed by numerous suspensions and closures in Australia and at other high-cost operations. As PMI indi­ces, macroeconomic indicators and growth forecasts turned more optimistic, downward price trends reversed in the sec­ond half of 2013 – a reversal that is expected to be sustained.

In China, rotary kiln electric fur­nace (RKEF) technology has lowered NPI production costs by around 25 per cent, but also serves to increase demand for high-grade nickel ore, sourced mostly from Indonesia. Following the ban in Indonesia on raw material exports, prices in the middle of January ex­perienced a rally. However, stock­piles of lateritic ore in Chinese ports, combined with stocks held in producer, consumer and LME warehouses provide partial insula­tion from this supply shock. Fur­thermore, nickel supplies are rela­tively price-elastic, with increases in price expected to result in in­creased output from operations that for much of 2013 operated under marginal conditions.

Much more information on the nickel market can be found in the 2014 Roskill report on „Nickel: Market Outlook to 2018“ under

Source: Roskill Information Services Ltd.