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Unpacking factors behind recent spike in nickel prices

21 May 2024 16:02 reported by Louise Wang

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The recent resurgence of nickel prices, surpassing US$21,000/ton on May 17th, was a result of a complex interplay of various factors. First, despite an apparent oversupply of nickel, a shortage of nickel ore persists due to delays in approval processes in Indonesia, the world's largest producer.

Furthermore, the imposition of restrictions on Russian metal by the US and UK, effective from April 13th, exacerbated supply constraints, particularly affecting nickel. Simultaneously, forecasts by the International Nickel Study Group (INSG) indicated a surge in global nickel demand to 3.45 million tons this year.

Besides, the surge in copper prices, breaking historical records, had a spillover effect on other base metals. In addition, the resilience of economies such as the US and Eurozone, demonstrated by improving economic indicators, fueled industrial activity and demand for metals. Finally, civil unrest in New Caledonia further exacerbated market uncertainty, disrupting local mining operations and adding to nickel price volatility.

In summary, the nickel price surge is a result of a combination of factors, including supply constraints, geopolitical tensions, increased demand, commodity market dynamics, economic resilience, and regional instability. Together, these factors have driven nickel prices to new highs.

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