Nickel Trends 2017: Deficit Expected on Supply Challenges

base metals free investors report

At the end of 2016, nickel was trading at $10,010 per tonne, and many market watchers were anticipating higher prices in the face of rising demand and short supply.

What actually happened to prices and why? As 2017 comes to a close, the Investing News Network is looking back at the main trends in the nickel space this year, from issues in top nickel-producing countries to electric vehicle optimism.

Read on to learn what happened in the nickel market in 2017, and what market participants had to say during each quarter of the year.

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Nickel trends Q1: Major nickel producers affected

The year began with the Indonesian government announcing plans to loosen a ban on nickel ore exports. While nickel pig iron production declined in China in 2016, the International Nickel Study Group (INSG) said recently that Indonesia’s move could lead to increased output in 2017. It also sees nickel pig iron production increasing in Indonesia itself this year as new projects ramp up. 

In February, nickel prices hit a three-week high after Regina Lopez, the Philippines’ acting environment secretary, ordered the closure of over half the country’s mines due to environmental concerns. The Philippines is the top producer of nickel, and when Lopez failed to secure a permanent government position, prices for the metal fell on concerns that mines in the country could come back online.

Nickel trends Q2: Prices fall on weak demand from China

Andrew Mitchell, Wood Mackenzie’s principal nickel analyst, said Chinese stainless demand weakened in Q2, and “we saw many plants cut production.” Continue Reading

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