Nickel market rebalancing put on hold as divergent Indonesia, Philippines strategies signal standoff – by Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – February 14, 2017)

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VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – A rebalancing of the nickel market has been cast into doubt as divergent strategies by major producers Indonesia and the Philippines muddle the outlook, a recent report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) has found.

While Indonesia looks to increase nickel exports, the Philippines is shuttering mines, the banking group’s global commodity research team said in its ‘Global Metals Weekly’ publication.

Nickel has seen a significant improvement in fundamentals over the past 12 months. This has been heavily influenced by a decline in nickel pig iron output in China, on the back of Indonesia’s ore export ban.

Yet, Chinese producers have invested in Indonesia to access that ore and are now ramping up operations. Indeed, global nickel pig iron output in 2017 is set to match the levels seen before the ore export ban, analysts stated.

“Against this backdrop, and especially the success Indonesia has had in attracting foreign direct investment, it has been somewhat unusual that the country has decided to remove the ban on ore shipments.

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