TORONTO The nickel market
is likely to see more consolidation and price increases in the
coming years, although all eyes are on Indonesia over its
proposed ore export ban, according to speakers at an
international nickel conference in Toronto.
Capacity closures and
consolidation will continue to be a factor in 2013, David
Wilson, director of metals research and strategy at Citigroup
Inc.s research group, said during a pricing panel at the
conference sponsored by AMM sister publication
Metal Bulletin. "I think we will see more capacity
closures, so the market could tighten up this year. Nickel is
one of the most consolidated markets already, but I think we
will see more consolidation."
Wilson noted that with
"considerable outages" at some nickel minesincluding Vale
SAs Onca Puma in Brazil and Mechel OAOs Southern
Uralsthe industry has already reached most analysts
projected disruption rate for 2013.
UBS AG analyst Angus Staines
said his firm is forecasting nickel prices will reach $9.80 per
pound by 2015. "We expect prices to strengthen between now and
2015. The nickel surplus will peak this year and gradually
approach balance in 2015," he said. "The key risk to that is an
implementation of an export ban in Indonesia."
The Indonesian government is
currently reviewing a proposed ban on all mineral exports from
2014 in a move intended to support its domestic refining
Scotiabank commodity market
specialist Patricia Mohr said that an Indonesia export ban
"would do more than anything" to boost nickel prices. "I think
prices for nickel will be at a low ebb for a few years, but
then at the end of the decade will go higher," she said.
Mohr added that she believes the
eurozone continues to be "the real risk on the macro front" for
base metals pricing, although Wilson said he believes "a lot of
the European issues have already been factored into