Clyde Russell is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own.
LAUNCESTON, Australia, Jan 15 (Reuters) – The immediate impact of Indonesia’s ban on exporting unprocessed mineral ores has been felt in nickel markets, but the slow burn, and potentially larger, may be in aluminium.
London Metal Exchange three-month nickel jumped 7.4 percent between the close on Jan. 9 and Jan. 14, when it ended at $14,340 a tonne. In contrast, London aluminium futures barely nudged up 0.6 percent over the same three-day trading period, and the benchmark contract in Shanghai weakened by 0.6 percent.
It may well be that the market is accurately reflecting more immediate concern over the supply of nickel, since Indonesia supplies about 13 percent of the world’s mined nickel.
But the likelihood is that any loss of Indonesian cargoes will act merely to lower the available surplus of nickel, suggesting that the current rally may not be sustained. However, the story with aluminium may be slightly different, at least over the medium to long term.