MOSCOW, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) said on Wednesday it expected uncertain times ahead in two of its key markets — nickel and copper — as the coronavirus outbreak continues to disrupt both demand and supply.
The company, which reported 2019 net profit up 95% compared to the previous year, said the outbreak, which originated in China, made the future health of these markets hard to predict.
“The Chinese government restrictions on mobility, extended work holidays and mandatory closures have imposed a significant disruption to the supply chain and already had a significant impact on end consumption,” Nornickel said, referring to nickel markets.
“The extent of demand disruption makes it unlikely that the first-quarter losses can be fully recouped in the second and third quarters of 2020, as the supply is also yet to recover.”
In terms of copper, Nornickel said it had expected to see a recovery in demand due to an increase in infrastructure investment in China and the rollout of next-generation 5G telecom networks.