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Forecasts and market analysis based on price assessments from Fastmarkets MB and Fastmarkets AMM

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December 2019 | Base Metals


Nickel: Down to $13,000 per tonne


Nickel has held above the psychologically-important $13,000 per tonne level, but only just. It remains vulnerable in the short term and continues to underperform the rest of the base metals complex, beset by Chinese stockpiling before the Indonesian ore export ban comes into force in January, bearish speculative fund positioning, the uncertain demand outlook from Chinese stainless steel mills and a technically weak backdrop.

Vale exiting VNC again? Vale’s investor day in New York last week raised some interesting issues, which we discuss here. In particular, the company noted that all options are back on the table regarding its strategy for its long-troubled and perpetually-underperfoming VNC HPAL complex in New Caledonia. It will clarify its plans in H1 2020. It tried and failed to find a buyer in 2016, threatened care and maintenance in 2017 and in 2018 pledged a $500m investment through 2022. Now it is openly talking about exiting again. We do not think exiting means a shutdown. This is the least likely scenario for VNC and it remains in our supply model over the long-term....

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