SHANGHAI, Jun. 27 (SMM) – China imported 263,851 tonnes of nickel ore from Indonesia in May, according to China Customs, the first appearance after Indonesia’s ore export ban in early 2014. Will Indonesia, the ever top supplier of nickel ore in the world, rule market supply again?
The answer is probably not in 2017, SMM guesses, with reasons below.
First, only two companies in Indonesia have been permitted to export nickel ore by the government so far, namely Antam and Zhenshi Group’s Fajar. Based on export quotas of approximately 3.60 million wet tonnes of the two, its proportion in China’s ore import volumes, averaging 30 million tonnes of laterite nickel ore annually, is not outstanding.
Second, it is still a buyer’s market in China’s nickel ore market, and meanwhile, offers of Indonesian ore are relatively higher, with no price advantages. Such condition also gives no bright picture of demand for Indonesian ore.
Third, Antam has its maximum monthly shipping capacity of about 4-5 ships, SMM learns, and based on this, it might be difficult for the company to finish its export quota of 2.60 million tonnes.
To sum up, SMM predicts that Philippine nickel ore will continue to dominate market supply in 2017, and the appearance of Indonesian ore will not change the supply pattern over the year.
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