A longer-term perspective supports price appreciation.
A bullish outlook that will see nickel climb out of its current price slump and double in value to in excess of US$20,000 a tonne before March 2017, has been forecast today by market observer, Alto Capital.
Addressing the Paydirt 2015 Australian Nickel Conference in Perth today, Alto Capital research analyst, Mr Carey Smith, said that while the sector was under substantial cost and price pain, nonetheless the trend factors and outlook were far more substantial than they appeared.
“The nickel market has been dismal due to a recipe of stockpiles are up, production is up and demand is down,” Mr Smith said.
“However, going forward, stockpiled Indonesian high grade laterite nickel in China has all been consumed, China Nickel Pig Iron (NPI) production is in decline, global nickel supply is decreasing with only Independence Group’s Nova Bollinger project on the horizon and most producers/miners are losing money – so they will minimise their operations and/or get out of the game,” he said.
“This favours a return to the unrealised 2014 predictions of prices circa plus US$20,000 a tonne.”
Mr Smith said the current downturn was one of the longest in the nickel sector, totalling around 53 months with a decrease in price over that time of greater than 65%.
While the sector’s consensus 12 months ago was +US$20,000, the current price was more around US$10,000.
“On a performance review, all base metals have been in a downward trend, but have stayed mostly above GFC trough levels – except nickel,” Mr Smith said.
“London Metal Exchange (LME) stockpile estimates have pushed out to approximately 450,000 tonnes or about 85 days consumption,” he said.
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