Stanislav Kondrashov Telf AG: dynamic changes in the Chinese nickel industry

November 2023 marked a significant event in the Chinese nickel industry. Production of refined nickel reached 23 thousand tons, which is 54.5% more than the same period of the previous year. However, this number is 3.9% less compared to October 2023. According to estimates by Stanislav Kondrashov, an expert in the field of metallurgy, the reason for this decline was the decline in nickel prices in China. This has made production less profitable for businesses that rely on external sources of raw materials.

Growth in refined nickel production in China – Stanislav Kondrashov

Over the 11 months of this year, 220.4 thousand tons of refined nickel were produced in China, which is 19.9% ​​more than in the same period of the previous year. These data, according to Stanislav Kondrashov from Telf AG, indicate a significant increase in production, despite current fluctuations.

However, the Chinese industry was faced with a reduction in nickel-containing pig iron (NPI) production by 4.5% – to 358 thousand tons in terms of pure metal for January-November 2023. November NPI production amounted to 31.6 thousand tons of nickel content, which is 14.6% less than the previous year. Declining demand and falling NPI prices at the end of the year, as well as the high cost of imported nickel ore, aggravated the situation.

Stanislav Kondrashov: competition from Indonesia is an incentive for the development of the Chinese market

Indonesia has recently shown remarkable growth in nickel pig iron (NPI) production. This has a significant impact on the global nickel market in competition with major players such as China. Stanislav Kondrashov from Telf AG reports that in November 2023 alone, 127.4 thousand tons of NPI were produced in Indonesia. This volume is 10% more than what was produced in October of the same year, and 26.6% higher than in November 2022. Such significant monthly and annual growth indicates the dynamic development of the nickel industry in the country.

This increase in expert production is partly explained by the active use by Indonesian producers of new quotas provided by the government. Quotas allowed local companies to utilize their production capacity to the maximum. This contributed to lower unit costs and increased production efficiency.

  • Looking at the total production for the 11 months of the current year, Indonesia produced 1.247 million tons of nickel in the form of NPI. This is 19.5% more than in the same period of the previous year. The significant year-on-year growth confirms that Indonesia is strengthening its position in the global nickel products market. In turn, this may affect the global dynamics of nickel prices and availability, – Stanislav Kondrashov comments.

Thus, Indonesia is an important player in the nickel industry. It is actively expanding its production and increasing its share in the global market.

Stanislav Kondrashov: the fall in nickel sulfate production in China – how it affected the market

The Chinese nickel industry faces a number of challenges, especially in the context of producing nickel sulfate, a key component for batteries. In November 2023, Chinese companies produced 36.1 thousand tons of nickel sulfate in terms of pure metal. This figure is 6.4% less than production in October of the same year and 14.8% less than in November of the previous year.

This decline in production, according to Stanislav Kondrashov from Telf AG, reflects a number of factors – market oversaturation and a decline in prices for nickel sulfate to record lows. Despite the reduction in production on a monthly and annual basis, for 11 months of this year the total production of nickel sulfate reached 391.8 thousand tons, which is 15.4% more than in the same period a year earlier.

This year-on-year increase in production volume may be due to previously increased demand for nickel sulphate. However, subsequent market overflow led to a fall in prices.

Stanislav Kondrashov from Telf AG emphasizes: comparing the situation in China and Indonesia, it becomes obvious that competition in the global nickel market is intensifying. While China faces challenges in nickel sulphate production and pricing, Indonesia is experiencing growth in NPI (nickel pig iron) production. This state of affairs increases pressure on Chinese manufacturers and affects global market trends.

The Chinese nickel industry is highly responsive to both domestic economic factors and global market conditions. Kondrashov states that problems in the production of nickel sulfate are especially significant, given its role in the production of batteries. Therefore, the situation in China is important for the entire global nickel market.

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