Stainless Espresso: Will nickel prices get a breather in 2022?
Stainless Espresso: Will nickel prices get a breather in 2022?

5 April 2022 – Is there a breather for nickel prices? Today’s start on the LME casts doubt on this. But also in other respects there is much to say against nickel prices falling in the foreseeable future. LME aluminum stocks at record low. And US Department of Commerce extends anti-dumping measure on stainless steel plates.

Breather for nickel prices?

Even if there are already experts who want to recognize a breathing space for the nickel processing industry in the Indonesian announcement to significantly increase the production capacities for nickel in 2022 and 2023, one should be careful to look at the realities.

Indonesia with export ban on nickel ore

Indonesia still has an export ban on nickel ore, which has since been dragged before the WTO by the European Union. The slightly more highly processed products, such as nickel matte or nickel pig iron (NPI), are hardly used outside China. The Indonesian government is also considering an export tax on ferronickel and NPI, which is currently being evaluated.

In other areas, too, the Indonesian government has either announced further possible export bans on raw materials or wants to keep the energy source in the country, for example, with high royalties on coal exports.

Indonesian raw materials for Indonesian products

All in all, the Indonesian government is trying by all means to keep important raw materials, such as nickel, aluminum and coal, in its own country and thus to strengthen its own economy. In addition, they have no interest in the raw material for their own lithium battery production, among other things, leaving the country too cheaply and pushing the prices for nickel and EV batteries too far down.

What other arguments are there?

Whether China will continue to adhere to its zero-covid strategy remains to be seen. And it won’t slow down the Chinese economy much at the moment. The world is already readjusting to the new political circumstances.

However, we see energy costs as a factor that will be an important indicator not for weeks, but rather for months (if not years).

Nickel prices continue to rise

Nickel prices started today’s trading session up more than 3%, trending towards 4%, and is currently (around 8:15) at just under $34,500 per ton.

Aluminum stocks at lowest level since 2008

Already the past weeks, a continuous decline in inventories of the London Metal Exchange could be observed. Aluminum inventories are now more than a third lower than at the February 2008 low, where LME inventories had been around 950,000 MT. LME aluminum inventories were reported at less than 630,000 MT on April 4, 2022.

LME aluminum prices also rebounded more than 1.2% at the start of trading this morning.

Stainless Steel Plates: US Department of Commerce extends anti-dumping measure

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) has announced the final results of reviews of anti-dumping duties on stainless steel plates in coils (coils) from Belgium, South Africa, and Taiwan.

DOC determined that the removal of anti-dumping duties on the subject products from these countries would likely result in continuation or recurrence of dumping. The definitive dumping margins are 8.54% for Belgium, 41.63% for South Africa, and 10.20% for Taiwan.

The anti-dumping duties for these countries will apply from April 4, 2022.

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