Vale Indonesia, Indonesia's largest nickel producer, may need to scrap its plan to build a USD $500 million smelter in Bahodopi (South Sulawesi) as its strategic Chinese partner, for now, backed away from the project due to falling nickel prices. Initially both sides agreed to form a joint venture for the establishment of the smelter.
Update COVID-19 in Indonesia: 59,394 confirmed infections, 2,987 deaths (2 July 2020)
2 July 2020 (closed)
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Today's Headlines Nickel Price
The nickel price is expected to remain under pressure up to (at least) the second half of 2018 due to the structural oversupply in the world market. So far this year the nickel price has fallen 9.38 percent to USD $9,080 per ton (London Metal Exchange). Analysts of the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. say nickel - used in stainless steel - is the worst-performing metal so far this year.
Although Indonesian nickel miner Vale Indonesia saw its sales rise by 32.4 percent year-on-year (y/y) to USD $143.95 million in the first quarter of 2017 supported by the 24.1 percent (y/y) growth in the (average) nickel matte price in Q1-2017, the company is pessimistic about the direction of the nickel price in the remainder of 2017 as inventory levels remain high on the London Metal Exchange and Shanghai Futures Exchange.
Official data show that in 2014 China, the world’s largest consumer of industrial metals, imported the lowest amount of nickel ore since 2010. Apart from slowing economic growth in the world’s second-largest economy (China’s economic expansion having eased to 7.4 percent year-on-year in 2014), falling nickel ore imports are also caused by Indonesia’s ban on exports of unprocessed minerals (implemented in January 2014) and monsoon rains in the Philippines (limiting production and seaborne trade).
Concerns about the arrival of a new El Niño weather phenomenon have increased in recent weeks. A possible new El Niño cycle has a major impact on the global commodities market. El Niño - a weather phenomenon that occurs once every five years on average - involves periodical warm ocean water temperatures off the western coast of South America which can cause climatic changes across the Pacific Ocean. Its impact on harvests and the world varies; sometimes passing almost unnoticeable (such as in 2010) but it can also be felt worldwide.
Latest Columns Nickel Price
Vale Indonesia, Indonesia's largest nickel producer, is one of those mining companies that has been plagued by low commodity prices. Various securities companies have cut their recommendation for the purchase of Vale Indonesia's shares due to persistently low nickel prices. Net profit of Vale Indonesia is expected to decline by 50 percent (y/y) to USD $26 million in 2016 as the company's average nickel sales price is expected to fall 29.5 percent (y/y) to USD $6,848 per ton this year.
At the start of 2014 Indonesia introduced its long-planned export ban on raw mineral ores in a bid to strengthen the domestic economy by reducing its dependence on raw commodity exports and instead forcing miners to process their raw ores domestically before exporting is allowed. Being an important global supplier of certain ores, this new Indonesian rule (stipulated by Law No.4/2009 on Coal and Mineral Mining) has a considerable impact on global markets and prices, one of which being nickel.
The global nickel price declined 5.1 percent on Tuesday (09/09) after it became known that the Philippines would not implement a ban on exports of this commodity yet. Similar to Indonesia, the Philippines was preparing to implement a ban on exports of unprocessed minerals in an attempt to boost revenues (by exporting mining products with added value). However, it may take seven years before such a policy is implemented. This implies that the occurrence of a possible shortage of nickel on the global market in the coming years has diminished.
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