Nickel Market Intelligence


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With this purchase you will be subscribed for a 12-month PRO membership to the upcoming all new Beroe LiVE (launching in Q3, 2020)


*These features will be unlocked on the new Beroe LiVE when it launches (Q3, 2020)

Are you looking for answers on Nickel category?

Are you looking for answers on Nickel category?

  • What are the key trends in Nickel category?
  • Am I paying the right price?
  • Am I working with the right supplier?
  • What are the major challenges and risks in Nickel industry?
  • How is Nickel industry performing?

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Report Coverage

  • Regional Market Outlook
  • Negotiation Support Levers
  • Cost Structure

Production Size

Global Production

2067 KT


219 KT


389 KT


1,800 KT

Table of contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Category Landscape
  3. Regional Market Outlook
  4. Category summary – COVID-19 Impact
  1. Market Analysis
  2. Market Overview
  3. Market Drivers and Constraints


  1. Nickel Regional Market Outlook
  2. Global Porter’s Five Forces Analysis
  3. Negotiation Support Levers
  1. Nickel COVID-19
  2. Covid impact
  1. Nickel Cost and Pricing Analysis
  2. Cost Structure
  3. Price Trend and Forecast


  1. Nickel Industry Best Practices
  2. Industry Activities
  3. Contract Models
  4. Technology Development

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Global Market Outlook on Nickel

  • Nickel mine supply remains subject to a range of disruptions, including reduced production in Brazil and the Philippines, as well as the Indonesian export ban. Despite this, the world’s refined nickel market is expected to record a net surplus for 2020, as the pandemic is expected to have a greater negative impact on consumption than on production. The market is expected to move from a 61,000-ton deficit in 2019 to a 43,000-ton surplus in 2020
  • Global primary finished nickel consumption is forecast to contract by 15 percent in 2020, as COVID-19 impacts the world and the Chinese construction and automotive sectors. The resulting shutdowns from the pandemic have severely reduced activity in the industrial and construction sectors, resulting in weaker demand for base metals, including nickel
  • April’s upward trend in nickel prices was likely a false indicator of an early recovery, as previous fears of a supply shortage were alleviated by an expected widening market surplus for nickel. However, given its exposure to China’s stainless steel and EV production, there is a wide consensus that nickel is one of the best placed base metals to rebound, as the world, particularly China, starts to recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic

China’s nickel ore imports plunged by 66 percent year-on-year in April 2020, as imports from Indonesia and the Philippines fell. China’s nickel ore imports have declined by 35 percent year-on-year in the first four months of 2020. Falling nickel ore port stocks in China signal a tightening nickel ore market, as China accounts for just over half of the world’s nickel demand. Global nickel demand is expected to be impacted more negatively by
COVID-19 than nickel supply

  • The Indonesian nickel ore ban and a sharp fall in exports from the Philippines are having significant effects on Chinese nickel pig iron output, which declined for the second consecutive quarter in March 2020. In early April 2020, the Philippines’ biggest nickel miners suspended operations, as a result of measures to contain COVID-19. These suspensions resulted in nickel ore output in the March quarter declining by 27 percent from a year earlier to 28,000 tons. With more than half of its 29 operating nickel mines reporting zero production, port data suggests exports from the Philippines fell drastically in April 2020, with January to April 2020 exports of nickel ore falling by 40 percent year-on-year. The Philippines has become a main feedstock source for China’s nickel pig iron industry, since the introduction of Indonesia’s export ban
  •  Vale, the world’s largest producer of nickel, has lowered its nickel production guidance for 2020, with the company citing heavy rain, unplanned outages, regulatory delays, and ongoing logistics disruptions caused by COVID-19 lockdowns. Vale revised its 2020 production guidance for nickel down from 200,000–210,000 tons to 180,000–195,000 tons for the year. Vale nickel production totalled 208,000 tons in 2019 

Nickel Drivers and Constraints 


Demand from Battery Manufacturing

  • The use of nickel in battery manufacturing is expected to expand over the outlook period, as both the scale of battery manufacturing expands and the nickel intensity of battery technologies rises. Technological advances are facilitating the manufacture of batteries with a higher amount of nickel, which is favored for its efficiency, longevity, and cost-effectiveness

Consumption of Stainless Steel

  • Chinese net exports of stainless steel for March almost doubled over January and February 2020. Defying market expectations, Chinese domestic inventories have fallen, the stainless steel price has strengthened, and a recovery in April production has led to improved conditions for Chinese stainless steel markets, consequently improving expectations for nickel consumption



Demand from End-use Industry

  • End-use demand for nickel will be adversely affected by COVID-19 that the LME nickel price will recover at the slowest pace among the base metals. It is forecasted a 15 percent drop in end-user demand for nickel year-on-year in 2020, increasing the likelihood of a significant reduction in investment interest

Supply Disruption

  • Nickel supply disruption log for 2020 currently estimates unplanned losses this year at 203,000 tons (7.5 percent) of annual production. Most of these are due to restrictions related to COVID- 19. Going forward, it seems that demand rebound hopes, supply disruption threats, a potentially bullish technical chart setup, and risk-on sentiment seem to be outweighing the potential negatives for nickel prices

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