Saturday, March 11, 2017

Nickel on Slippery Slope

Nickel fell to a 13-year low of $7,725 a tonne ($3.50 a pound) in February last year; then rallied to more than $11,700 by mid-November. It ended the year barely above $10,000.

In 2017 the rollercoaster continues as news from top global suppliers Indonesia and Philippines pushes and pulls the base metal in different directions. After a 10% rally last month, the price of nickel has been hammered this week losing 7% to end at $10,200.

Nickel is mainly used as an anti-corrosive in steel alloys. It rallied on a clampdown on mines in the Philippines and an ore export ban in Indonesia in place since 2014.
The latest weakness is being blamed on news that the Philippine government is about to lift an environmental review that led to the closure of over half the country's production capacity.

The market was also rocked by news that Indonesia is lifting it's partial ban on exports sooner than expected. Indonesian miner PT Aneka Tambang said it has 5 million tonnes stockpiled for immediate shipping.

View of the Norilsk Nickel smelting plant in Norilsk