Indonesia’s competition watchdog looks into nickel sector after cartel complaint (Reuters U.S. – November 18, 2019)

JAKARTA, Nov 18 (Reuters) – Indonesia’s anti-monopoly agency has begun a preliminary study of the country’s nickel smelting sector, an agency official said on Monday, after a miners’ association accused big nickel smelters of conducting a cartel.

The agency will decide whether to launch a full investigation of pricing and other practices in the industry after completing its initial enquiries, Guntur Saragih, a commissioner at Indonesia’s Commission for the Supervision of Business Competition (KPPU), told a news briefing.

The Indonesian nickel miners association (APNI) has claimed that two giant smelters control 60% of the local nickel ore market and determine prices in Indonesia, the world’s biggest nickel ore exporter. It has not named the two smelters.

Last week APNI’s secretary general Meidy Katrin Lengkey told reporters that the anti-monopoly agency had launched an investigation over the complaint, but Saragih said the initial study only began on Monday and would last 30 days and was not a full investigation.

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