Most important EU nickel supplier to drop out?
Most important EU nickel supplier to drop out?

22 February 2023 – Russian mining group Norilsk Nickel seems to be thinking about stopping its sales to Europe. This could pose a huge problem for the EU, which gets about 50% of the important raw material from Russia. Stainless steel prices in China are rising. Run on scrap continues to increase. More export restrictions soon?

Will nickel suppliers stop sales to the EU?

The Russian mining group Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel), which claims to be the world’s largest nickel and palladium producer, intends to either reduce or completely stop its sales to the European Union (EU), according to an unnamed senior executive. This is what Asian media are currently reporting.

Nornickel’s annual report indicates shift in customer relations

Nornickel’s recently published annual report also indicates that the company is looking for new customers for its nickel products in view of the changed geopolitical conditions.

“Economic restrictions imposed on Russia by a group of countries pose risks for operating, commercial and investment activities of the Company. To mitigate these risks Nornickel is developing relationship with alternative clients and suppliers, setting up new logistic routes and exploring new capital markets.”

Source: Nornickel full year 2022 financial results

EU hooked on Russian nickel drip

In 2021, the European Union sourced almost 50% of its imports of processed nickel products (312,000 MT) from Russia. Despite the war in Ukraine and Western sanctions, Ni imports from Russia to the EU did not stop in 2022, but increased by another 13%. The total amount is probably even higher, as not all statistical data has been collected and finally published.

“Morality only applies when it works out in one’s own favour…”

“Despite economic and moral sanctions against Russia, this once again shows the double standards of Western steel producers and the EC. Morality only ever applies when it can be used in one’s own favour. See, for example, CBAM or collecting EU subsidies for Green Steel on the one hand and investing massively in coal-fired blast furnaces on the other,” Thorsten Gerber, CEO of the Gerber Group, said on this topic today.

Stainless steel prices in China rise across the board

Stainless steel prices in China continued to rise in many regions today. Especially the grades 304, 201 and 430 continued to go up. Stainless steel scrap prices following.

Are more export restrictions on scrap coming soon?

The run on ferrous and non-ferrous scrap continues. Just recently, the German Salzgitter AG announced the acquisition of another recycling company for scrap and metal through a subsidiary. This is a trend that has been observed for some time, especially among the large European steel producers. These are acquiring an ever-growing portfolio of companies, particularly in the field of scrap recycling.

Conversion to EAF steel making in India and China

With the increasing switch to Electric Arc Furnaces (EAF) also in a global context, countries like China and India are also likely to start protecting their raw materials in the form of scrap in the foreseeable future. While the European Union is already in the process of creating facts with its new Waste Shipment Regulation.

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