Industrial Insight

Nickel prices | April 23, 2014

Nickel prices improving

23 April 2014

So far in 2014, nickel prices have risen sharply despite other industrial metals, like copper and iron ore, struggling in the market.

One of the main reasons for this improvement in nickel prices is Indonesia’s ban on nickel ore exports. These prices could even grow even stronger later in the year, which is good news for companies like Vale (a nickel producer) and BHP Billiton (which is looking to offload its nickel resources).

As recent as last year, nickel was the worst performing industrial metal. Before the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, nickel prices were approximately $50,000/ton. As a result, mining companies ramped up their production levels, but soon afterwards the global economy lost steam after the financial crisis, damaging the demand for base metals. Unfortunately, miners had already committed to their capacity expansion so they could just continue to produce nickel instead of being able to just lower production. In 2013, the International Nickel Study Group recorded the refined nickel supply climbed about 11 percent resulting in an estimated surplus of 173,000 tons.

But nickel prices have bounced back sharply entering into a bull market after gaining 20 percent by March. Last week, the nickel prices for a three-month delivery climbed to a 14-month high of $17, 917 per ton at the London Metal Exchange.

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About author

I'm the executive vice president for a steel casting trade association, the Steel Founders' Society of America. I've got a crazy wife, five crazy children, three crazy people that married into the family, and two crazy fun little grandsons.







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