Indonesia Says Nine New Nickel Smelters Could Be Operational This Year

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Indonesia forecasts that nine nickel-processing plants may be completed this year after the largest mining producer banned raw ore exports in January, spurring a rally in refined prices to the highest level since 2012, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. The plants include two ferronickel and seven pig-iron nickel smelters, according to data from the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry. One chemical-grade alumina plant is also scheduled to be completed this year, the data showed.

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Southeast Asia’s largest economy is seeking to force a move toward processed commodities, betting that repercussions from the ban such as job losses will be offset by investment in new plants and output of higher-value products.

Yesterday, the spot price of nickel experienced yet another a large increase, rising 3.7 percent on the LME to land at $20,105 per metric ton. Monday closed the nickel 3-month price at $20,125 per metric ton on the LME, after moving up 3.7 percent. At INR 1,251 ($20.90), the Indian nickel cash price finished the market day up 2.3 percent per kilogram.

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On Monday, May 12, the day’s biggest mover was the price of Chinese primary nickel, which saw a 10.9 percent increase to CNY 147,250 ($23,642) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap was unchanged at CNY 16,400 ($2,633) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 16,100 ($2,585) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil continues hovering around CNY 16,400 ($2,633) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese 316 stainless coil held flat at CNY 26,000 ($4,175) per metric ton.

The price of Chinese ferro-chrome held steady at CNY 8,300 ($1,333) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly saw little movement at CNY 145,000 ($23,281) per metric ton.

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