New US sanctions? Nickel and aluminum prices jump upwards
New US sanctions? Nickel and aluminum prices jump upwards

21 February 2024 – The prospect of new US sanctions against Russia indicates to market participants that aluminum and nickel could now also be sanctioned, causing prices on the commodity exchanges to rise significantly in some cases. And nickel pig iron is becoming increasingly important in the international stainless steel process chain.

New US sanctions? Nickel and aluminum prices jump upwards

After the US government signaled yesterday (Tuesday) that a significant new package of sanctions against Russia was planned following the death of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, nickel and aluminium prices on the London Metal Exchange reacted with significant increases. The price of aluminum in particular has already risen by more than 3.2%, but nickel also increased in price by more than 2.0% shortly after the start of trading today, Wednesday.

Even though the content of the new US sanctions package is not yet known, the market currently assumes that aluminum and nickel in particular, which have not yet been comprehensively sanctioned by the United States, are likely to be included in the package.

Is the EU putting Russian aluminum back on the agenda?

US sanctions against aluminum in particular could also put the EU under renewed pressure to put raw aluminum back on the agenda, after Commission President von der Leyen recently hoped for an easy negotiated solution for the EU’s next package of sanctions against Russia.

Is nickel pig iron becoming more and more important?

Commodity price provider Platts, a unit of S&P Global Commodity Insight, introduced a daily price assessment for Indonesian nickel pig iron (NPI) this week, the company announced on Tuesday.

S&P Global Platts has thus joined the growing queue of data providers that price Indonesian nickel pig iron, which is widely used in stainless steel production in Asia.

The importance of NPI in the stainless steel process chain is thus becoming increasingly apparent, also in view of the ongoing shortage of stainless steel scrap.

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