INSG’s latest forecasts cold comfort for nickel producers – by Andy Home (Reuters – April 25, 2024)

London, April 25 (Reuters) – Nickel has rallied hard this month, clawing back some of the territory lost during its relentless price slide over the course of 2023. London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month nickel touched $19,775 per metric ton on Monday, the highest it has traded since September last year.

Last at $19,045 per ton, nickel is up by 15% since the start of the year, the third strongest performance after tin and copper. Sentiment has improved as low prices have exacted a rising toll on nickel producers. Multiple operators have closed or curtailed capacity due to the rapid rise of lower-cost Indonesian production.

BHP Group, which is mulling the fate of its Western Australian operations, warned last month that 30% of Australian mine capacity had gone off-line and another 30% was in trouble due to the squeeze on margins. The involuntary supply response to low prices has reduced the glut of metal hanging over the market, but it hasn’t eliminated it. The world is still facing a third consecutive year of nickel oversupply, according to the International Nickel Study Group (INSG).

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