The nickel market is currently undergoing a “fundamental structural change” as an increase in supply from the Philippines and a number of international mining projects offsets a halt in Indonesian nickel ore exports, says Natixis. “Against this backdrop, weak demand from the stainless steel industry and falling energy prices have combined to push nickel prices to three-year lows,” it says. However, with supply conditions expected to deteriorate in the second half of the year and demand likely to pick up, nickel prices should gradually improve, it adds. Forecasts LME cash nickel prices averaging $17,250/ton this year and $19,000/ton in 2013. LME 3-month nickel +0.6% at $15,972/ton.
By Francesca Freeman@dowjones