Research

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

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December 2019 | Stainless Steels


Prices stabilize following sharp correction: Nickel Highlights


Vale has relinquished its status as the world’s biggest nickel producer this year, after lower production from all its nickel units in the nine months to September, not just VNC (-23.1%).

Vale’s investor day in New York during early December 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-underperforming 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...

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