Nickel: Market Outlook to 2018, 13th Edition 2014
Roskill's 13th report on Nickel has been published. If you're involved with Nickel in any way, this report will help you make the right decisions.
For the nickel market, 2014 may prove to be a turning point when vitality is restored to an industry that saw prices dip below US$14,000/t in July 2013. At this level, not seen since 2009, an estimated 30% of operations were believed to be unprofitable, as demonstrated by numerous suspensions and closures in Australia and at other high-cost operations. As PMI indices, macroeconomic indicators and growth forecasts turned more optimistic, downward price trends reversed in the second half of 2013 – a reversal that is expected to be sustained.
In China, rotary kiln electric furnace (RKEF) technology has lowered NPI production costs by around 25%, but also serves to increase demand for high-grade nickel ore, sourced mostly from Indonesia. Following the ban in Indonesia on raw material exports, prices in the middle of January experienced a rally. However, stockpiles of lateritic ore in Chinese ports, combined with stocks held in producer, consumer and LME warehouses provide partial insulation from this supply shock. Furthermore, nickel supplies are relatively price-elastic, with increases in price expected to result in increased output from operations that for much of 2013 operated under marginal conditions.
With legislative and presidential elections planned later in 2014, further changes to the Indonesian nickel ban appear likely. Nonetheless, the apparent resolve of the Indonesian government will provide an incentive for the ongoing construction of Chineseowned NPI smelter projects, although these are unlikely to be completed before 2015. Lack of access to reliable power supplies may delay the completion of RKEF plants and, in the short term, may limit NPI production in Indonesia to plants based on outdated blast furnace technology. At the same time, a gradual displacement of NPI production from China to Indonesia opens up the possibility of Indonesian exports of NPI to non-Chinese stainless mills.
Outside China, operations such as Ambatovy, Goro, Koniambo and others are ramping up to full production, potentially adding around 100kt of output in 2014, and an additional 70-80kt in 2015. The nickel market is expected to remain in surplus throughout most of the outlook period, but as primary nickel use is expected to grow at 3.9%py to 2018, supply and demand are expected to reach approximate balance towards 2017/18. Investment in expansion of capacity will be required to supply the market beyond this point; this is forecast to drive a recovery in prices and premiums to levels explained in detail in Roskill’s latest Nickel Market Outlook report.
What the report gives you:
- Independent, in-depth research and analysis
- Essential market intelligence for successful business planning
- Detailed survey of production and processing in 44 countries
- Up-to-date profiles of the activities of producers and processing companies
- Forecasts for end-use consumption, world demand and supply balance and prices
Get accurate answers from independent experts
- Which greenfield and brownfield nickel projects are currently most advanced?
- How dependent is the Chinese stainless steel industry on NPI and what are the alternatives?
- What are the implications of the Indonesian export ban on supply and demand?
- What do incentive prices tell us about the likely long-term price of nickel?
1. Executive summary
2. History, properties, occurrence and resources of nickel
3. Mining, processing and refining of nickel
4. World production
5. Review of nickel producing and processing countries
6. Production costs
7. World consumption
8. First and end-uses for nickel
9. International trade in nickel
10. Secondary nickel use
11. Supply and demand outlook
12. Stocks and prices