In 2014, despite the poor economic conditions of some developed countries, global nickel prices still rose by 12 percentage points. In May 2014, Lun Nickel’s cash settlement price climbed to US$19,434/ton, but due to the reduction in production by Eurozone steel producers, related economic problems and inflationary pressures, prices retreated in the fourth quarter and fell to 10 in October. $15,765/ton. At the same time, the inventory of the Stock Exchange has gradually climbed to a new high, and it exceeded 385,000 tons at the end of October.
Although the price of nickel metal is low and the market is oversupply, the new nickel plant continues to emerge because producers believe that the global economy will recover. At the same time, global austenitic stainless steel production in 2013 increased to a new high, of which China’s production accounted for more than half. Demand for nickel-containing superalloys is still rising in the market, especially in the aerospace and power sectors. In January 2014, the Indonesian government issued a ban on nickel ore exports, hoping to promote the production of domestic ferronickel and nickel-containing pig iron. In May, Russia’s Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest nickel company, said it would sell its assets in Australia, Botswana and South Africa, focusing on its core business in Russia.
Alternative to nickel
In the building materials industry, austenitic stainless steel is replacing the original low nickel, double chrome or ultra high chromium stainless steel. Some special steels that do not contain nickel sometimes replace nickel-containing stainless steel for use in the power and petrochemical industries. Titanium alloys can be used in corrosive chemical environments instead of metallic nickel or nickel alloys. Lithium batteries have replaced nickel batteries in some devices.
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