QUOTE AND NEWS
Financial Times  Jun 21  Comment 
If supply is curtailed, the metal presents a buying opportunity
Financial Times  Jun 21  Comment 
Demand from China and the electric car battery market could boost market for metal
The Hindu Business Line  Jun 7  Comment 
The downtrend in the Nickel futures contract on the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) paused in the past week. The contract was stuck in a sideways range between ₹563 and ₹581 a kg. Within this range th...
Financial Times  May 31  Comment 
Financial Times  May 15  Comment 
Politics in Indonesia and the Philippines keep price of steel ingredient volatile 
The Hindu Business Line  May 11  Comment 
The Nickel futures contract on the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) has risen sharply in the past week. The contract made a low of ₹574.6a kg last Friday (May 5) and has surged about 5 per cent to trad...
The Economic Times  May 11  Comment 
Nickel prices rose by 0.25 per cent in futures trading today.




 
TOP CONTRIBUTORS


Nickel is a metal which is mainly used as an alloying element of stainless steel, major ingredient of brass, and for electroplating. Nickel is also used together with lanthanum in the nickel metal hydrid (NiMH) battery.[1] Nickel is highly resistant to corrosion and is widely used to create corrosion resistant alloys and is also used heavily in the electroplating process. Nickel is used with Chromium to create Nichrome, which has a high melting point and is used for the efficient conversion of electricity to heat. Annual world production was 1.4 million tonnes in 2007.[2]

The chart at left shows continuous front-month futures prices for Nickel traded on the London Metal Exchange.

Metal Exchange

Nickel is traded at the London Metal Exchange (LME).[3]

Nickel Producers

Nickel deposits are classified as either sulfide or laterite deposits. Economical viable laterite deposits are huge but with lower concentration of the ore in comparison with sulfide deposits. The primary ore associated with sulfide deposits is Millerite.[4] Biggest producers are

Key Trends and Forces

Economic Cycles

Nickel prices are reacting significant to over or undersupply of the markets with the metal. Prices peaked at more than 50,000 USD/tonne in March 2007 and subsequently declined to less than 10,000 USD/tonne in February 2009. Unprofitable mines were closed as a consequence and one of those was the new Ravensthorpe laterite mine in Australia (BHP) which was supposed to produce 50,000 tpa after full rampup.[5]

Emerging Economies

Usage of stainless steel is increasing with the growth of the economies. Average growth rate for stainless steel production in the BRIC countries was 26.3% during the years 2001-2008.[6]

Different Types Of Stainless Steel

High nickel prices initiated a switch to 200-series steels. This type of steels have 3.5-6% nickel content rather than 8-10.5% in 300-series steels.[7]

Substitution By Nickel Pig Iron

A further reaction to the high nickel prices in 2007 was the use of low grade nickel ore to create nickel pig iron as a substitute for refined nickel in China. This process is not sustainable if nickel prices are below 24,000 USD per tonne.[8]

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References

  1. Wikipedia article on Nickel
  2. International Nickel Study Group - Statistics
  3. London Metal Exchange (LME) London Metal Exchange - Standard Nickel Hub Page
  4. Environmental Sustainability Metrics for Nickel Sulphide Versus Nickel Laterite, December 2008
  5. BHP shelves Ravensthorpe, slashes 1800 jobs, January 2009
  6. Global Stainless Steel Forecast, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, January 2009
  7. Substitution of low-nickel stainless steel grades finds momentum, September 2007
  8. China Raises Nickel Pig Iron Production This Year, Juni 2007
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