Nickel is just one metal still facing hurdles, despite the rebound in prices it saw in Q2. During the first half of 2020, mining and refining facilities for nickel were disrupted at a global scale, from the Philippines to Canada, as a result of coronavirus containment measures.
“We expect primary refined nickel supply to decline by a little more than 1 percent year-on-year in 2020 because of the disruptions,” Roskill Senior Analyst Jack Anderson told.
“By 2030, we forecast nickel demand from the batteries sector to account for a little over 25 percent of the total nickel market,” Anderson said. “These nickel-rich cathodes will also be joined by non-nickel-containing cathodes such as lithium iron phosphate, which is favored in the Chinese market for its lower cost and safety record in powering EVs.”
Despite the economic weakening due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Europe and China have strengthened their EV subsidy programs and maintained their CO2 and EV targets, which Roskill believes will continue to support EV adoption and therefore nickel demand from the battery space.
As the second half of the year begins, the world continues to be challenged by the uncertainty from COVID-19, with commodities being no exception.
“For nickel, we are waiting to see whether the Indonesian NPI producers are impacted by any outbreaks in the locations they operate,” Anderson said. “This is significant because it supplies NPI to Chinese stainless steel mills as well as integrated domestic operations.”
He also pointed to several battery-grade nickel intermediate projects under construction in Indonesia.
“The timely development of these projects to produce battery-grade nickel to feed the lithium-ion battery market could be under threat,” the expert said. “Roskill believes that battery-grade nickel intermediates are the pinch point in the EV battery supply chain.”
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