Is Indonesia planning OPEC-like organisation for EV battery metals?
Is Indonesia planning OPEC-like organisation for EV battery metals?

1 November 2022 – The government of Indonesia seems to be actively considering an OPEC-like cartel for EV battery metals. At the same time, the nickel export tax is being brought back into the race, while the Philippines is cracking down on illegal mining and export of the valuable metal. Nickel prices in Asia and Europe react accordingly. And stainless steel prices are reported to be rising in Asia in November.

Is Indonesia planning OPEC-like organisation for EV battery metals?

According to media reports, Indonesia is thinking about setting up an organisation for battery metals, especially nickel, comparable to OPEC. Indonesian Investment Minister Ball Lahadalia told the FT that Indonesia was currently exploring the possibility of creating a governance structure similar to OPEC for minerals such as nickel, cobalt or manganese.

More transparency in the nickel market?

It now remains to be seen whether this Indonesian proposal could really be implemented and whether this would provide more or less transparency than we had or did not have with the LME. And who might have a seat at the table of an EV battery metal cartel and whether this could further increase harmful influences, such as from traders like Big Shot.

Is the nickel export tax coming?

After Indonesia announced that it could be defeated in the nickel dispute with the European Union before the WTO, but that it would be relaxed about this because the industry is now built, the topic of the export tax on low-processed nickel products (nickel pig iron and ferronickel) has now become more topical again. No final decision seems to have been made on the starting date, but the export tax is not yet off the government’s table.

Philippines crack down on illegal nickel mining and exports

The Philippine government has launched an investigation into a mining company with links to China for the illegal mining and export of nickel ore. Among other things, 100,000 wmt of nickel ore already loaded were stopped before leaving a Philippine port.

Nickel prices rose significantly on Tuesday

Nickel prices in Asia rose sharply on Tuesday due to the large amount of market-relevant data and falling nickel stocks. SHFE Ni2211 was up almost 4.2%. Chinese spot prices even rose by up to 4.43%. And nickel also jumped more than 3% at the start of trading on the LME.

Taiwanese stainless steel producers raise prices

As expected, several Taiwanese stainless steel producers raised prices for various stainless steel products on 1 November due to higher raw material costs. And data from China also show that nickel pig iron in particular is in short supply, stainless steel scrap is undersupplied and ferrochrome is expected to rise due to supply problems with chrome ore in South Africa.

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