LME Nickel Stocks





This time China will not be able to stop the price hike, since Tsingshan’s costs with HPAL are around USD14,000 / ton, and many do not believe they can do it at this price and in the timeframe foreseen by Jim Lennon.

“Tsingshan’s ambition is no surprise, but it’s not possible to build such a HPAL plant in 12 months,” said Wood Mackenzie analyst Sean Mulshaw. Mulshaw added, "It’s also not possible to build one on this scale for only $ 700 million.

"Tsingshan’s ultimate goal is credible. However, we are not convinced that a new 50,000 t / y HPAL plant will be in operation before the end of 2019.

An example that analysts cite is the Ambatovy in Madagascar. On its website, Ambatovy says the project cost $ 8 billion and will have the capacity to produce 60,000 tonnes of nickel.

"There is panic over the offer, but the Tsingshan project will not hit the market next year. It will take two to three years, "said Jim Lennon, director of Red Door Research.

The problem is the Chinese economy and this is another conversation.

The Chinese purpose is to produce sufficient Class 2, to reserve as much Class 1 as possible for the batteries.

The price fell more than 33% in relation to the high of 2018, the current levels is unsustainable for some mining companies that have multi-year losses in these units,


The nickel price is close to a one-year low, impacted by US-China trade tensions and the ramp-up in nickel pig iron production in Indonesia.

The LME spot price fell below US$11,000 per tonne yesterday for the first time in almost 12 months, to $10,951.50/t.

Meanwhile, analysts told Reuters the high-pressure acid leach facilities planned at the Indonesian Morowali Industrial Park, designed to produce battery-grade nickel and cobalt chemicals, were unlikely to start production next year.

“There is panic about supply, but the Tsingshan project isn’t going to hit the market next year,” Red Door Research managing director Jim Lennon told the wire service.

Wood MacKenzie analyst Sean Mulshaw agreed the tight timeframe was unlikely.

Reuters said stainless steel would account for about two-thirds of global nickel demand this year, while battery demand was estimated at 4%.

CRU senior consultant Toby Green told a conference in Perth last week that unless a truly disruptive route to market emerged, the commodity forecaster believed the nickel sulphate price would need to rise to more than twice its current levels - to about $24,000/t - in order for EV battery demand to be met.


To meet Climate Agreement, sales of conventional cars must end in 15 years
Sales of new diesel and gasoline vehicles will have to end in the next 15 years to meet environmental targets, according to a study by the European Transport and Environment Federation (T & E) released on Wednesday.


Strong EV numbers bode well for battery raw materials demand
Electric vehicle (EV) sales continue to see robust growth - the latest data from China shows NEV sales of 138,000 in October - up 50% from October 2017, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Year to date, sales of 852,890 NEV s are up 116% from 394,759 units. Battery-only vehicles (BEV s) accounted for 80.4% of the sales, with plug-in hybrid (PHEV) sales making up 19.6% of NEV sales. NEV sales tend to pick up in the final quarter of the year – (in 2017, 49% of the year’s sales were made in the fourth quarter. If this trend continues, Fastmarkets estimates total sales for 2018 could reach around 1.4 million NEVs. Note in Chart 1 the strong recovery in 2018 sales after the subsidy disruptions in June and July.

China PEV sales 2017-2018

In the European Union, plus Switzerland and Norway, third-quarter electric chargeable vehicle (ECV) registrations climbed 23% to 90,242 units, and in the first three quarters, registrations climbed 35.4% to 273,702 units. Of the latter, 49% were BEVs and 51% were PHEVs. While Chart 2 shows that hybrid EVs dominate the registrations, it does show steady growth in BEVs and PHEV s - these were up 37% and 34% respectively in the first three quarters of the year compared with the same period in 2017. As the EV evolution unfolds and as more EV models come to market, we expect the shift from HEVs/internal combustion engines (ICEs) toward ECVs to gain momentum.

Europe EV registrations

In the United States, BEVs have shown outstanding growth, with sales up 110% in the first 10 months of the year compared with the same period in 2017. PHEVs showed 28% growth over the same period. Collectively, growth was up 72%. The ramp-up in Tesla Model 3 has led to the rapid advance in US BEV sales.

US EV registrations

In 2017, Tesla sales accounted for 61% of US BEV sales. In the first 10 months of 2018, Tesla’s market share has reached 77% of US BEV sales, and Model 3 sales account for 55% of all US EV sales and 71% of Tesla’s sales. The lion’s share of the increase in US BEV sales is due to the Model 3. Impressive EV sales look set to continue, and Fastmarkets expects them to continually surprise on the upside. Auto manufacturers continue to push their EV agendas and are investing tens of billions of dollars and euros, not to mention yuan, on their EV programs.

Volkswagen recently said its next wave of EVs will offer 450-550km of range, and with other manufacturers rolling out new models, car buyers will have many more choices. While market consensus is that the price of EVs will converge with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2025 and that until that time the inflection point will not be reached, Fastmarkets expects this will happen sooner. Seeing the unfolding trends and given more EV models to choose from, more would-be buyers are expected to consider EVs even before EV and ICE prices converge.

Similar to our view, it was interesting to see comments by Volkswagen chief executive officer Herbert Diess that “… by 2020-21, it will be difficult to take a decision against electric cars because they offer so many convincing points… For those who don’t drive more than 30,000km a year, electric cars will be the first choice.”

In addition, when you have EV ranges of 500km, the average user will probably only have to recharge the vehicle three or four times a month - it will not be so necessary to be able to charge a vehicle at home since charging could be done at work, while shopping or in public parking spaces. Range anxiety and concerns about charging are therefore seen as headwinds that are dying down.



Excellent article.

The below link is in the same vein.

I’m not so sure about this comment though.

“Earlier this year, the International Energy Agency predicted that electric vehicle ownership will jump to about 125 million by 2030, spurred by policies that encourage the purchase of clean-running cars.”

I think the IEA is way behind the curve predicting only 125 million EVs on the roads world wide by 2030. I expect more than that by 2025.

TDT :sunglasses:


The nickel price has now become a total farce !


As shanghai, fell more than 27% in relation to the high of 2018, Cobalt fell 41%, silver 18%



Why do you say that?

The LME has over 10% of the annual nickel market in its warehouses around the world, what other base metal is held in such quantities? The supply/demand equation is more or less balanced at the moment and Trump’s trade war is sucking what little optimism there is out of the market. Add to that the fact that some commentators suspect that Trump’s trade war is simply masking a slowdown in the Chinse economy that would be happening anyway and the nickel price doesn’t look to me to be in an unnaturally low place. The nickel 29 year price graph doesn’t suggest that $5/lb is way off the mark.

All the other base metals have retraced this year. Maybe not quite as significantly as Nickel but then none of them had the rise nickel recently had. There is still a very significant amount of nickel in LME warehouses around the world and Chinese NPI production has ramped up significantly this year. You also need to factor into the equation the fact that the EV sector hasn’t really got going yet but I do firmly believe that it’s just a matter of time.

The bull is just putting on its running shoes.

TDT :sunglasses:


By: Yoel Minkoff, SA News Editor
Steep losses were seen in Chinese markets ahead of the weekend as lingering trade war tensions added to worries about global growth.

Trade talks? Discussions between the U.S. and China should be equal and mutually beneficial, Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said on Friday, adding that he hoped the two countries can find ways to manage their differences through dialogue.

Shanghai -2.5% to 2,579.

By: Carl Surran, SA News Editor
The Trump administration says China has failed to alter its “unfair” trade practices, part of an update of the U.S. Trade Representative’s Section 301 investigation into China’s intellectual property and technology transfer policies, which sparked U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

The report accuses China of continuing a state-backed campaign of cyber-enabled theft of U.S. intellectual property and discriminatory technology licensing restrictions.

Despite the relaxation of some foreign ownership restrictions, “the Chinese government has persisted in using foreign investment restrictions to require or pressure the transfer of technology from U.S. companies to Chinese entities,” according to the report.

The timing of the release just 10 days before Pres. Trump is due to meet Chinese Pres. Xi at a Nov. 30-Dec. 1 Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires appears to be a move by some of the more hawkish members of the Trump administration, such as Trade Rep. Lighthizer, to bolster their case ahead of the summit.


Philippines miners ride on China’s nickel ore hunger, keeps eye on trade war

“concern” because it has the potential to slow demand, said Dante Bravo, president of the Philippine Nickel . . ."


To be true, many mining companies are going to have a lot of difficulties, Nickel has to be seen over a long time horizon, since it is the EVs that will boost demand.

“I heard some Chinese investors are shooting (down) nickel price. They think nickel production in Indonesia will bring the market into surplus next year, and demand for stainless will be bad,” said Peter Peng, an analyst at CRU Group.

“They expect nickel price down to around $8,000.”


A slide from a BASF presentation from last year, seen by Reuters, envisaged a cathode materials product made up of just 20 percent nickel and 70 percent manganese in about 2021. It said that would cut costs to just over $40 per kWh of energy stored from well over $50 currently.

BASF was less specific in its latest statement to Reuters.

“The market will be ready to adopt such materials in some years from now,” it said.

The company, which elbowed its way into the cathode market with a string of takeovers and investments from 2012 to 2015, competes with several big Asian manufacturers as well as Britain’s Johnson Matthey and Umicore.

All three European players also produce catalytic converters for diesel vehicles, which are losing favor among regulators due to their emissions, adding urgency to their EV battery push.

Umicore declined to comment specifically on its nickel strategy; earlier this year, it said lifting nickel content was key to boosting a battery’s energy density - or how much energy a battery can store - and some cobalt was needed for stability.

It has a leading position in high-nickel NMC-811, made up of 80 percent nickel, 10 percent manganese and 10 percent cobalt, and has said it is working to improve the product’s durability over charging cycles and high voltage stability as well as focusing on recycling.



What do you know about this?

A slide from a BASF presentation from last year, seen by Reuters, envisaged a cathode materials product made up of just 20 percent nickel and 70 percent manganese in about 2021. It said that would cut costs to just over $40 per kWh of energy stored from well over $50 currently.

Using this numbers by 2025 will be necessary only:
149,000Tn Ni 166,000Tn Ni
IEA estimates that 125,000,000 electric cars are to be driven by 2030, 30% using this BASF technology and putting only 8kg of nickel per car and for these 30%, of market share, we speak of 300,000 Tn Ni required until 2030.

I do not know how this tech is going on.


The cathode materials business is a relatively small part of BASF, but it is one of Chief Executive Martin Brudermueller’s flagship innovation projects aimed at lifting BASF’s share price after a 20 percent rout since he took over in May.

Nickel, mostly used for stainless steel, costs about one fifth the price of cobalt. But BASF estimates that demand for high-grade nickel for electric vehicles will surge to 318,000 tonnes in 2025 from 25,000 tonnes in 2016. That would absorb 58 percent of global supply, in 2016 terms, compared with less than 5 percent in 2016.

Materials suppliers as well as carmakers such as BMW and VW are wary of shortages and have been pursuing contracts to secure long-term supplies.

Asian cathode suppliers include Sumitomo Metal Mining and Nichia from Japan as well China’s Ningbo Shanshan and Easpring.

BASF has committed to building a cathode factory in Finland and is assessing several European locations for follow-up investments, including Schwarzheide in eastern Germany as part of a 400 million euro investment plan.

Johnson Matthey plans to spend 200 million pounds ($263 million) on an eLNO plant that could go on stream from 2021, while Umicore will invest 660 million euros ($744 million) in battery materials in China and Europe.

“Umicore does have a head start but the real growth will start in five to 10 years so it’s not too late for the other producers,” said Patrick Jahnke, portfolio manager at Deka Investments, which owns BASF stock

eLNO Battery Material Announced: Claimed Improvement Over NMC 811 & NCA

In my personal opinion, we are watching the market speculate, not really knowing what technology will dominate.

What we know is that a new technology, takes about 10 years to be feasible.




I’ve had a busy day today so haven’t looked at your posts in detail. I’ll try and give this the time it deserves tomorrow. Thanks for posting, it all looks very interesting.

TDT :sunglasses:


It can be this tech