Nickel Falls From 30 Day High, Norilsk CEO Says Supply Fears Overblown

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Vladimir Potanin, the billionaire who runs Russia’s Norilsk Nickel, told Bloomberg News that concerns that supplies of the metal will be disrupted by sanctions against the country over the crisis in Ukraine are overstated and that nickel supplies would be augmented by finished product from Indonesia in the next two years.

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Nickel has jumped 31 percent this year after Indonesia banned exports of unprocessed ore in January and some buyers believe that Norilsk, the world’s biggest producer, will have sales curtailed by widening sanctions aimed at punishing President Vladimir Putin’s government. Potanin said the medium-term outlook is for stable prices as Indonesia starts its own processed nickel production within the next two years.

“I see Indonesia as the key nickel price driver for the time being,” Potanin, Norilsk’s chief executive officer, said in an interview with Bloomberg outside Moscow on April 24. “The rest of the factors have only marginal influence.” Indonesia is expected to invest in its own nickel production, which will compensate for the possible shortfall of metal supplies. Anti-Russian sanctions are not affecting Norilsk’s business so far, he said.

On Tuesday, April 29, the day’s biggest mover was the cash price of primary Indian nickel, which saw a 2.4 percent decline to INR 1,114 ($18.40) per kilogram. On the LME, the 3-month price of nickel gained 0.8 percent to finish at $18,580 per metric ton. At $18,545, the spot price of nickel finished the market day on the LME up 0.5 percent per metric ton.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were flat for the day. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome continues hovering around CNY 8,300 ($1,327) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row. The price of Chinese ferro-moly saw little movement at CNY 145,000 ($23,189) per metric ton.

The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge held steady around $1.16 per pound. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil was unchanged at CNY 26,000 ($4,158) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil saw little movement at CNY 16,400 ($2,623) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap held flat at CNY 16,100 ($2,575) per metric ton. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap remained essentially flat at CNY 16,400 ($2,623) per metric ton.

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