Trade data point towards reglobalisation
Trade data point towards reglobalisation

8 May 2023 – The worldwide trade data are robust and the trend towards globalisation continues unabated. Even if trade flows are shifting, there is no getting around China, especially for electric vehicles. The EV business is booming there. In Asia, commodity prices are rising today, Monday, in some cases by more than 5-6%. And what is the nickel price doing?

Trade data point towards reglobalisation

Since 2006, there have been no significant changes in the trend towards more globalised and open trade, according to analysis by ING Groep NV. Although there has been a slight slowdown in the last three years, economic integration across the cross-border commerce has proven to be very robust despite war, pandemic and other challenges. And overall, it is moving within the framework of historical trends. []

Trade flows prove robust

Even though trade flows are changing due to geopolitical developments, major economies such as North America and Europe still rely on imports, even if they are trying to stop using China as the world’s factory. But the Chinese are already looking for new trading partners to perhaps no longer deliver directly to the United States or Europe, but indirectly – e.g. via Mexico, which has preferential conditions with the United States due to the USMCA treaties.

China: 40% EV deliveries in 2023

With regard to the development of electric driving, Germany and China currently stand out in the export of EV vehicles. For 2023 alone, analysts expect 40% of Chinese vehicle deliveries to be partially or fully electric. By 2022, China was already only 20% behind EV export world champion Germany and this gap is expected to shrink further. A massive demand boost for EV raw materials such as nickel, lithium or cobalt is to be expected.

Asia: Commodity prices rise, in some cases significantly

From Asia, above all China, a rise in commodity prices was observed today (Monday). The top performers were coking coal with a plus of 6.32%, hot-rolled coil with 5.07% and iron ore with 5.02%. Some grades of stainless steel were up about 1%, followed by stainless steel futures with a narrow 1% gain. Copper was up more than 1.30% after inventories in China fell sharply.

What is the nickel price doing?

Looking at nickel ore prices (+3.66%) and nickel pig iron (+1.82%), low-grade products have made decent gains. SHFE nickel futures are up as much as 1.02% on Monday and spot prices for high-grade nickel are up more than 1.4%.

Moreover, in the first three months of 2023, imports of nickel ores to China originating in the Philippines increased by more than 66% compared to the same period last year.

Oversupply deliberately feigned?

The rising import figures, the forecast growth rates for EV vehicles and the repeated resistance of nickel prices to deliberately misleading reporting by some market participants who want to make us believe that there is still enough nickel ore or that there could be an oversupply, therefore seem to us to be very contrived and far-fetched.

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