In my opinion the nickel global market to be in deficit this year, that will support upward trend of the nickel prices. This deficit will be reflect solid demand growth, which exceed similarly strong NPI supply growth. In spite of the demand slowdown forecasting in the near-term from the rate of the past three years, I expect deficit until 2022. Therefore I count on stable growth of the nickel prices not only in the coming years, but in the long-term.
I am positive regarding Nickel, however only in long-term. Market remains in deficit, nevertheless large inventories will make prices to be muted before 2020. On supply side, I expect growth mainly due to (1) Indonesian government partially relaxed its nickel ore ban (+100 ktpa Ni to NPI), (2) Gina Lopez, ex-Philippines' Mine Minister, was removed and that dramatically reduced the likelihood that up to 50% of the nickel mines could be closed for environmental reasons. This growth partially offset by over 50ktpa Ni loss of production from conventional producers. On demand side, the main thing is growth in nickel in batteries (total nickel use in batteries is projected to reach 225kt Ni by 2022 with a ten-fold rise in use for nickel in electric vehicles alone). As a result I expect continuing deficit on Ni market (~60 ktpa Ni), however large inventories will make prices to be muted (even battery grade material, briquettes) before 2020. After 2020 that deficit will be priced in and I expect growth up to $15,000-$20,000/t