Indonesia Export Ban Has Japan's Nickel Smelters Worried

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Indonesia’s export restrictions have many Japanese nickel smelters worried. And for good reason…

“Japanese nickel smelters will be severely impacted by Indonesian bans on exports of unprocessed mineral ores due in January as Japan imports 43 percent of ferro-nickel materials from Indonesia, the head of mining industry body said on Thursday,” reports Reuters.

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“With a current account deficit at a near-record high, the Indonesian government is scrambling to ease nationalistic resource rules that were passed more than a year ago, including a ban on mineral ore exports from January 2014.”

“‘So far, Indonesia has not come up with any specific actions to ease its new mining law. We are worried about it,’ Hiroshi Yao, Chairman of Japan Mining Industry Association (JMIA), told a news conference.”

“‘If Indonesia’s export restrictions of unprocessed mineral ore go into effect next year, an impact on Japanese nickel smelters will be big,’ he said.”

Weakening prices changed direction when the cash price of primary Indian nickel rose 3.2 percent on Wednesday, November 20. On the LME, the spot price of nickel fell 0.8 percent to $13,575 per metric ton. Following two days of rising prices, the 3-month price of nickel dropped 0.4 percent on the LME to $13,690 per metric ton.

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Chinese stainless steel closed mixed on Wednesday. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome was unchanged. The price of Chinese ferro-moly remained essentially flat.

The price of Chinese primary nickel fell 0.7 percent on Wednesday after two days of no change. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese 316 stainless coil remained essentially flat. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil continues to hover for the fifth day in a row. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row. The price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap held steady.