Global nickel production is projected to exceed consumption by
90,000 tonnes in 2013, according to the International Nickel
The organization projects global
production of 1.86 million tonnes in 2013, up 5.7 percent from
1.76 million tonnes in 2012. Consumption is forecast to reach
1.77 million tonnes in 2013, up 7.3 percent from 1.65 million
tonnes in 2012.
"Nickel demand in early 2013
improved relative to the latter part of 2012. With new nickel
projects recently coming on-stream, nickel production so far
this year has increased and will likely continue to increase in
coming months," Portugal-based INSG said.
"There are some indications that
slower Chinese economic growth is affecting the domestic nickel
market, with usage increasing more slowly than in recent
years," the report said. "Indonesian nickel ore export
restrictions implemented in 2012, in the form of an export ban,
have not materially reduced supply to China so far in
Meanwhile, Barclays Capital Plc
has adopted an "invigorated bearish perspective on nickel,"
with supply and pricing fundamentals poorer than anticipated so
far in 2013, according to a research note.
Barclays recently upgraded its
nickel surplus forecast to 108,000 tonnes from 88,000 tonnes,
while downgrading its 2013 London Metal Exchange cash price
forecast to $16,766 per tonne ($7.60 per pound) from $17,766
per tonne ($8.06 per pound).
"Until evidence of supply
cutbacks gathers pace, prices will need to trade lower for
longer than previously seen, and any move higher in prices will
in turn reinforce what we expect to be a record refined market
surplus this year," Barclays said.