LME Nickel Stocks



There’s no guarantee that a solid state battery will have any nickel. As well as developing different and better electrolytes researchers are looking to improve both the anode and cathode. Establishing just exactly what alternatives are in the pipeline is not easy because the research is clearly, commercially, very sensitive.

There’s no such thing as a hydrogen battery. Hydrogen powered cars, if they have batteries, I would expect these batteries to be either traditional lead acid or NMC. A hydrogen fuel cell car provides electricity to the electric drive train in the car. This short presentation by Tony Seba is worth 10 minutes of your time.

The slowdown in the depletion of nickel stocks in the LME was to be expected. It looks like this month will finish on or near 10,000 tonnes. The depletion rate since the start of 2018 has averaged 15,000+ tonnes per month. If stocks continue to drop but at a slower rate so be it. The one thing we don’t want to see is a return to a persistent increase in stocks in the LME. I don’t think we are at the point where we are going to see that.

That’s a very useful link, thanks for posting.

TDT :sunglasses:



“There’s no such thing as a hydrogen battery.”

If so, what is this?


On a brief inspection I would say its a hydrogen fuel cell.

TDT :sunglasses:


And Tony Seba, do not know that???



The first paragrpah of the link you posted states:-

“A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that combines hydrogen fuel with oxygen to produce electricity, heat and water. The fuel cell is similar to a battery in that an electrochemical reaction occurs as long as fuel is available.”

I guess when it says "The fuel cell is similar to a battery" that must means its not a battery.

TDT :sunglasses:


Nice answer, I will study the subject, I’m not sure of that. If you have any credibility information, please send it, all information that I can get is usefully.
Thanks a lot for your point of view, is always welcome, thanks again.


This will probably come off the boil a bit before the close but it makes a nice contrast to the recent down trend.

I can’t remember where I picked up the below graph but it seems to show what appears to be happening at the moment.

The down trend that started a month and a half ago intersecting with the long term uptrend. The bounce, so far, seems to be fairly pronounced. With luck this heralds a reversal and marks the continuation of the long term up trend. Next week should, with luck, confirm the reversal.

TDT :sunglasses:







Investors keen to tap into the electrification of the world’s transport networks should look upstream to the battery metals market instead of buying shares in automakers, according to Ulrich Ernst, the chief executive officer of Blackstone Resources.

Cobalt High Grade MB free market $ per lb in warehouse
Price Change
05/09/18 33.55 –
STLM 34.98 -4.07%
STLY 29.18 15.00%
Monthly Averages
Aug 18 34.06 -1.50%
Jul 18 37.97 -11.64%
Jun 18 41.44 -19.04%
Save this price

Cobalt Low Grade MB free market $ per lb in warehouse
Price Change
05/09/18 33.40 –
STLM 34.98 -4.50%
STLY 28.65 16.58%
Monthly Averages
Aug 18 34.12 -2.12%
Jul 18 37.89 -11.86%
Jun 18 41.41 -19.34%
Save this price

Lithium carbonate index, min 99.5% Li2O3, battery grade, ex works China, yuan/tonne
Price Change
06/09/18 82747.00 –
STLM 97924.00 -15.50%
Monthly Averages
Aug 18 92341.60 -10.39%
Jul 18 111119.25 -25.53%
Jun 18 123453.00 -32.97%
Save this price

The electric vehicle (EV) revolution will first emerge as a mixture of differing technologies, from hybrids to all-electric cars powered by an ever-evolving battery-metal-mix of cathodes, Ernst said.

“Battery-metals don’t mind what path the EV revolution takes. They don’t mind which automaker wins and which one loses. Even the type of technology used is of little relevance,” he said.

“Aggregate demand for battery-metals will rise at an exponential rate. And the days of the traditional combustion engine are limited,” he added.

Citing data from the Boston Consulting Group, Ernst said that the proportion of vehicles produced that run on gasoline and diesel will fall from 95% globally in 2017 to just 52% by 2030.

“What’s astonishing is that we are now in 2018, and 2030 is only 12 years away,” he added.

The mix of battery metals used in battery cathodes may well change drastically in the years ahead, along with the battery cathodes themselves, according to Ernst.

“Technological progress will drive this shift to make owning a decent electric car like the Tesla more affordable. The exact mix of battery metals and the technology used will change to make all-electric cars more efficient, more powerful, drive longer and speed-up charging times while on the road,” he said.

“The beauty of investing in battery metals is that you don’t have to wait for this point in time to arrive. If you diversify your portfolio of battery-metal interests, then the final mix doesn’t matter whether it’s North American cobalt, rare earths from Norway, manganese from Colombia or molybdenum from Mongolia,” he noted.

"So forget about investing in EVs. Battery materials matter more,” he added.

Price moves
Ernst said he was unfazed by the recent fall back in the cobalt and lithium prices.

“The easing of supply-side tensions in the Democratic Republic of Congo has seen cobalt prices fall 15% and lithium prices fall 20% in the last six months. I think it’s good to see some of this risk premium come out of the battery metal market because it’s the long-term demand-side forces, such as the electric car, which will drive this market forward,” he said.

“Batteries might be falling in price due to efficiency gains made in battery technology. However, battery metals are also rising as a percentage-of-cost of these batteries. And, as the number of EVs dramatically increases, demand-side forces are likely to overwhelm any short-term supply-side relief,” he added.

Metal Bulletin’s assessments of low and high-grade cobalt prices, a key raw material used in the production of EV batteries, peaked at 10-year highs in April but slid lower for several months after May. Meanwhile cheap selling from China met weak summer demand elsewhere.


This is what seems to be driving things at the moment:-

“NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar rebounded and world shares hit a six-month high on Friday after China’s moves to boost domestic consumption bolstered a rally driven by investor bets that the latest U.S.-China trade dispute was unlikely to dent global growth.”

The markets don’t seem to believe that the current trade war being waged by Trump is as potentially damaging to global growth as first thought.

TDT :sunglasses:


It’s a shame this very enlightening info is not being shared on the other bb.


This could impact prices tomorrow.

The Kalgoorlie nickel smelter is big. From what I can gather its nameplate is 100,000 tonnes pa. Its also old. According to this article:-

“An expensive furnace rebuild originally scheduled for about 2020 is not expected to be required until between 2024 and 2027.”

“BHP is spending $US43.2 million to expand the Kwinana refinery to supply product tailored for use by the battery industry.”

“The smelter is a key cog in that supply chain, with both nickel and sulphuric acid from Kalgoorlie to be used in the process to produce nickel sulphate at Kwinana.”

It will be interesting to see the impact this will have on the price of nickel tomorrow. Another up day like Friday would be more than welcome.

TDT :sunglasses:


This highlights the pivotal role Kalgoorlie plays in the production of 65,000 tonnes of nickel at the Kwinana refinery

If this goes off line it will impact the price of nickel immediately. Depending on the severity of the fire it could be off line for years if they have to undertake a re-build of the furnace. They have a furnace re-build pencilled in for 2024/27 anyway. It looks like the fire may force them to bring that forward.

TDT :sunglasses:

The below is an update on the Kalgoorlie fire posted on Facebook.

_"UPDATE: A BHP spokesman said the fire at the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter was out. _
“All people have been accounted for and are safe and the plant is currently shut down,” he said.
“We are working closely with DFES on the continuing response. We have notified the relevant Government authorities.”


I am sure they have a very good insurance, maenwhile bad news are good news for us.

The important is “no reports of injuries from the blaze.”



LIVE FUTURES REPORT 24/09: LME base metals prices pressured by US-China trade tensions; Chinese markets closed
Three-month base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange were down across the board during early trading on Monday September 24, with a ratcheting up of global trade tensions sapping the positivity seen in the market last week.

This morning’s weakness comes after a strong close from the LME base metals last Friday, when copper in particular gave a robust performance to end the day more than 4% higher at $6,363 per tonne.

The base metals’ weaker showing this morning follows China’s decision on Saturday to withdraw from planned trade talks with the US and the imposition of fresh tariffs between the two nations on Monday.

US President Donald Trump’s latest and biggest round of tariffs on Chinese goods to the tune of $200 billion came into effect today, with the duties starting at 10%. These are set to rise to 25% on January 1, 2019, unless the two nations can come to a trade agreement.

China responded in kind by imposing its own tariffs on $60 billion worth of US products.

The market was decidedly bearish in response to the heighted trade tensions, with all of the base metals on the LME reversing the strong gains recorded at the end of last week.

Adding further downward pressure to the base metals was a strong dollar; the dollar index stood at 94.28 as at 10.39am Shanghai time, up from a reading of 93.91 at roughly the same time last Friday.

The three-month LME nickel price led the decline with a 1.5% or $190 per tonne fall to $13,060 per tonne as at 10.39am Shanghai time. This despite the relatively strong fundamentals for the metal.

“Nickel stocks on the London Metal Exchange are trending lower; at 231,024 tonnes, they are down 135,588 tonnes or 37% from 366,612 tonnes at the end of December 2017,” Metal Bulletin analyst James Moore said, adding that currently 23% of stocks are booked for removal.

The other base metals on the LME were similarly weaker in response to the negative macro factors.

“With a rather uninspiring economic calendar today the next trigger could well be the next tweet from President Trump as it is unlikely that he will keep quiet regarding the Chinese response to the proposed trade talks,” Malcolm Freeman of Kingdom Futures said.

In China, the Shanghai Futures Exchange was closed on Monday in observance of the Mid-Autumn Festival.


Macro drivers
Global risk sentiment improved on the back of easing trade tensions between the United States and China as well as a softer dollar index, providing tailwinds for the base metals complex. But there are several global risk events that deserve market attention, from the delayed second round of trade talks between the US and Japan and the fact that China has cancelled previously planned talks with the US to resolve their trade differences. Ongoing uncertainty or a negative retaliatory action could derail the positive backdrop seen last week, with the risk of fresh selling resurfacing again.

In China, a total of 674 tonnes of nickel was removed from Shanghai Futures Exchange-listed warehouses last week, bringing total stocks to 16,189 tonnes on September 21. This is a touch higher than the 2018 low at 15,749 tonnes. Still, we expect the outflow of stocks to slow in the short term after China produced a surplus of 2.4 million tonnes of stainless steel in the first six months of 2018, based on latest data from Chinese information provider Antaike.

As such, the growing stocks of stainless steel could pressure domestic mills to reduce production rates and subsequently, nickel consumption. Producers elsewhere were also forced to cut prices because the world is awash with Chinese stainless steel, while Tsingshan Indonesia’s low-cost material, which is a cheaper alternative, is also looking for buyers.

But persistent drawdowns of on-exchange stocks at the LME remains a dominant trend and it is bullish feature that should allow the LME nickel price to rise. Total LME stocks dipped to a fresh 2018 low at 231,024 tonnes on September 21. The total amount of metal assigned for removal remains fairly high and makes up approximately 25% of all available metal in LME-approved sheds. This suggests healthy physical demand, with most of the metal used for financing activities as well as stored for future consumption – especially in the production of electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

Additionally, nickel’s fundamental backdrop is fairly bullish. According to the latest data from the International Nickel Study Group (INSG), the global refined nickel market was in a deficit of 81,100 tonnes in January-June 2018, larger than the 42,000-tonne deficit recorded in the same months a year earlier. Therefore, the combination of a conducive macroeconomic condition and nickel’s positive fundamental backdrop should provide support for higher prices.


Nickel stocks in the LME down by another 1,302 tonnes. The total is now 229,722 tonnes. The last time nickel stocks were this low was 17th. October 2013. At the current rate of depletion we should hit a five year low before the end of this month.

TDT :sunglasses: