January 2022
Nickel prices started 2021 on the up, at ~US$16,600/t, as supply continued to be built out in Indonesia and hoovered up by China—largely from Chinese-owned and operated capacity developments in the country—to fill the gap left by Indonesia’s raw ore export ban, which came into place at the start of 2020.
While the emergence of nickel demand growth from the EV sector has added an element of excitement to nickel markets, with the sector’s demand for a range of higher-grade nickel products, the main driver is still demand from the stainless-steel industry. 2021 saw one of the world’s largest nickel and stainless-steel producers, Tsingshan, throw a curveball to the market, announcing it would begin producing battery-grade metal from its significant stainless-steel-focused products.