22 September 2023 – EU gas prices have continued to fall this week, which should help the manufacturing industry. In South Korea, a large stainless steel plant will cease production at the end of the month. And Indonesia is not allocating any new mining quotas for nickel in 2023. Nickel ore also remains scarce.
EU gas prices decline as supply outlook improves
Falling natural gas prices on the Dutch TTF exchange this week signal improving supply conditions in Europe. Storage facilities at 94% capacity and arbitration progress on Australian LNG strikes point to stabilizing flows.
Norway’s crucial Troll gas field, delayed by maintenance, is coming back online. This should boost Norwegian exports to Europe. Warm October weather forecasts suggest low heating demand.
With supply disruptions easing and mild weather in October, downward price pressures may persist. Though volatility remains, Europe appears to be weathering the gas supply uncertainty of recent months. Continued cooperation between producers and cautious optimism could further stabilize markets ahead.
Major South Korean stainless steel producer stops production
A major South Korean stainless steel manufacturer has announced that it will cease production at the end of September 2023. Employees have already been informed of the move and will be redeployed to other parts of the company. The plant had an annual production capacity of about 200,000 MT of stainless steel.
Nickel: Indonesia does not allocate new mines quotas for 2023
Indonesia has announced that it will not issue any new mine quotas for nickel in 2023.
New mining quota application system under development
Septian Hario Seto, deputy minister at Indonesia’s Coordination Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment, told at a conference that a new mining quota application system for nickel miners will be available from October and applications can be submitted from November. The government will then start processing quotas for 2024.
Shortage of nickel ore
The deputy minister acknowledged that some plants in Indonesia have cut back or even stopped production because of the shortage of nickel ore. About two-thirds of the world’s nickel supplies are used to make stainless steel, and the use of nickel in batteries for electric vehicles is growing rapidly.
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