As my colleague Fouad Egbaria wrote last week, the U.S. administration’s relaxation of the timescale for implementation of sanctions against Rusal has had the effect of taking the panic out of the market.
As a result, prices have fallen for several days, not just for aluminum but for other metals that the market feared could face the same threat — most notably nickel, in which Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska has an interest. But the vagaries of Washington policy aside, the underlying fundamentals for the nickel market remain firm.
Reuters reports that according to the International Nickel Study Group, world stainless steel melting production rose by 5.8% last year, while projecting that global nickel production and usage is expected to rise to 2.344 million tons (MT) in 2018.
In terms of tonnage, world nickel production is expected to grow from 2.07 MT last year to 2.22 MT this year, while usage is expected to increase from 2.19 MT in 2017 to 2.34 MT in 2018.
As a perspective on fundamentals reasserts itself, the nickel price has recovered, rising back about $14,000 per ton. Demand has remained robust among stainless producers, with production forecast to rise 4% this year to over 52 million tons, while fears remain around supply.
For the rest of this article: https://agmetalminer.com/2018/04/30/nickel-fundamentals-come-back-to-the-fore/