Indonesian recovery to sustain global nickel production growth – BMI

Global nickel production growth will come out of negative territory for the first time since 2014, driven by Indonesia’s export ban moderation, according to BMI Research.

Indonesia and Australia will lead nickel production growth rates from 2017-2021, the agency said in a report, adding that output in the number one global producer, the Philippines, however, will remain muted in the coming months as a result of environmental shutdowns of mines over 2017.

Global nickel ore production growth will rebound in 2017 following consistent y-o-y decreases since 2014, the research agency said.

“We forecast world nickel production to grow by an annual average rate of 2.7% over 2017-2021. However, production growth rates during the next five years will remain lower than the 4.5% average rates achieved during 2012-2016, which were boosted by higher nickel prices experienced in 2012-2013, before the commodities slump and Indonesian growth before the export ban in 2014,” it said.

BMI expects global annual nickel production to reach 2.56mnt by 2021.

The Philippines will remain the largest nickel producer in absolute numbers in the years to come, although its global share of the market will stagnate as ores are depleted and policy uncertainty choke new potential projects, it forecast.

The best performing country in terms of nickel production growth during 2017-2021 will be Indonesia, following the moderation of its export ban in January 2017, it said, adding that the other outperforming major producer will be Australia, which maintains a stable regulatory environment and solid project pipeline.

“Finally, Russian nickel production will grow at the slowest rate of the top five major producing countries in the coming years as few projects come online. Consequently, we expect Russia to drop on the list of major nickel producers, from second in 2017 to fourth in 2021,” BMI said in its report.

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