Nickel prices continued to decline in November, following 7% month-on-month drop in October

November 22, 2023

1 mins read

Nickel prices on the LME are showing the most consistent downward trend among the base metals. The 3-month price fell by 7% month-on-month (m-o-m), and by 16% year-on-year (y-o-y), in October, to $18,525/MT. The decline has continued in November with prices falling to the lowest since May 2021. By the fourth week of November, prices stood at $16,825/MT, down another 7% m-o-m and accelerating the y-o-y decline to -35%.

Despite the growing demand trend for nickel from the battery industry, the main impact on the market is formed by excessive supply of raw materials and correspondingly low prices. Thus, Indonesia is actively increasing production of nickel pig iron and production increased by 9% y-o-y in October, and production for the first 10-months of 2023 grew by 19% y-o-y. Most of the raw material is exported to the Asian market, creating a surplus and putting pressure on prices.

Nickel demand for stainless steel production remains slow, as stainless steel production, which consumes more than 65% of the world's nickel, is declining. China, responsible for over half of all global stainless steel output faces excessive stocks, which is weighing on demand. Nevertheless, total production of all stainless steel series increased by 4% y-o-y in October, although it varied by product. The production of 200 and 300 series, where the main volume of nickel is consumed, fell by 5-6% y-o-y in October, while the production of 400 series increased by 61% y-o-y, although 400 nickel is, either rarely used, or has low percentage content. Thus, the demand for nickel from the stainless steel industry is declining. The tightness of the stainless steel market will stimulate further production cuts, so nickel demand is expected to continue declining, at least through November.

 

 

 

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