Japanese Chemical Trader blog

Japan Chemical Trading Blog

Nickel Supply Deficiency

An article on Japan Metal Bulletin dated May 9 states, “Sumitomo Metal Mining expects a supply deficiency in the worldwide balance between nickel supply and demand in 2014, for the first time in 4 years. Demand is estimated to be 1,915,000 tons, up 6.8% from the previous year, and production is estimated to be 1,885,000 tons, down 0.9% from the previous year.”

Nickel is a metal used for stainless steel, plating, and batteries and is mainly produced in Russia, Canada and Indonesia.

Since Indonesia imposed a ban on the export of nickel ore in January for the purpose of developing its domestic smelting and processing industry, the production of nickel has been in decline, leading to an increase in its international price. Substitute nickel ore produced in the Philippines has doubled in price compared with beginning of this year.

Meanwhile, production of stainless crude steel, a major application of nickel, has been steadily growing, led by China, a leading producer of steel, with the exception of the period immediately after the financial crisis.