7 November 2023 – The aerospace industry is demanding more and more nickel due to full order books. High-quality nickel products increasingly difficult to obtain. Prices have doubled. Last week, the Japanese government passed a comprehensive stimulus package to boost growth and curb the impact of inflation on households.
Aerospace sector needs more nickel, capacities limited
The high order volume in the aerospace industry has brought another important consumer of nickel back into the focus of supply chains.
This is because nickel is in high demand in the aerospace industry due to its high corrosion resistance, high strength and special mechanical properties.
As a result, competition for high-quality nickel products for electric vehicles, energy infrastructure and other stainless steel applications continues to intensify.
Limited supply drives prices
Superalloys with a high nickel content are generally used to a lesser extent in the energy sector than in aerospace, with lower individual order volumes and greater project dependency. According to RystadEnergy analysts, prices for smaller orders have already more than doubled since the first quarter of 2023 due to limited supply.
Growing demand for high-nickel alloy bars and stainless steel bars
Overall, the analysts see steadily growing demand for high-nickel alloy bars and stainless steel bars. Especially in the refinery, chemical, energy and liquid gas sectors, which alone require almost 1 million tonnes of stainless steel bars per year.
With aircraft manufacturers’ full order books and rising defence budgets worldwide, this is likely to further fuel demand and, in particular, competition for scarce production capacities.
Japan: stimulus package to boost growth
Last week, Japan’s government passed a comprehensive economic stimulus package aimed at boosting growth and curbing the impact of inflation on households. The 37.4 billion yen (2.5 billion USD) package is equivalent to 6.4 per cent of gross domestic product.
The stimulus programme includes income tax rebates and cash payments to low-income households as well as an extension of subsidies for fuel, electricity and gas until spring 2024.
In addition, wage growth is to be stimulated, particularly in small and medium-sized enterprises, domestic chip production is to be strengthened and the green transformation, disaster prevention and infrastructure construction are to be driven forward.
The measures to promote consumption in particular could have a positive impact on the profit development of Japanese companies in the coming year. The expected profit growth of 9.7 per cent for the next twelve months could be revised slightly upwards as a result of the package.
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