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Nickel: Nickel deficit is coming

As you know, in January of this year, Indonesian ban on the export of unprocessed nickel ore came into force, which resulted in a not very bright prospects. According to specialists of Mining and Metallurgical Combine «Norilsk Nickel», if the strict limits of the law will not be in some way mitigated the world market offers considerable structural changes, one of which will be the formation of nickel deficiency. A ban on the spread laterite nickel ore, which is the main component of smelting in China rough ferronickel. As a result, shipments from the Philippines and New Caledonia will not be able to fully compensate for the resulting deficit, maintaining the same level of crude production of ferronickel.

In addition to a deficit and hurt the quality of raw material, supplied to China from other sources, certainly inferior to the quality of Indonesian ore. As a result experts expected increase in the cost of crude ferronickel smelting in China, which, in turn, affect the growth of nickel prices. And the development of new mines for extraction of nickel in this case is not a panacea, as well as increased production at existing facilities outside of China — such measures can only partly compensate for the projected decline in the production of ferronickel in China. All these factors, along with the constant demand exhibited by stainless steel producers, as well as the existing reserves of nickel in China and their quality can serve as an impetus to the emergence of the deficit in the nickel market, since the third quarter of this year.

The specialists of «Norilsk Nickel» expect an increase in the cost of nickel in 2014, and in 2015, as the Indonesian ban, which is most likely to remain in force. And if this year can be relatively balanced, the 2015 deficit in the nickel market will not take long.

Anticipating problems with nickel in the world market, «Norilsk Nickel», however, the spirit does not fall, and is negotiating with Japan and China on long-term contracts for the supply of palladium. And although the specific supply amounts were not disclosed, Pavel Fedorov, Deputy General Director of the company, says that they will be very significant. According to information provided by the Financial Times, makes a deal will be substantially similar to the contract between the «Norilsk Nickel» and BASF to supply palladium and platinum at the beginning of this year.

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