Indonesia to resume some nickel ore exports

13-Nov-2019 Intellasia | ArgusMedia | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The Indonesian government has resumed nickel ore exports today after nearly two weeks of investigations into alleged rule violations by some firms.

Nine out of 11 companies being evaluated were allowed to export as the cargo complied with regulations, but the remaining two continued to be banned from shipping nickel ores, according to Indonesia’s nickel miners association.

Nickel ore exports were temporarily suspended on 28 October after allegations that some exporters had violated rules by exporting without a permit or exceeding the quota assigned. It was also claimed that these firms were shipping higher-grade nickel ores. Under existing rules, only ores containing less than 1.7pc nickel content are allowed to be exported. In addition, export permits are only granted to companies that have made an investment to build smelter capacity in Indonesia.

Indonesia is the largest nickel ore producer in the world, followed by the Philippines. Indonesia exported 20.72mn t of nickel ore and ferro-nickel last year. The majority of this, 19.9mn t, was delivered to China to feed the country’s stainless steel industry, trade data show.

Despite the supply disruption, the three-month nickel contract on the London Metal Exchange fell to $15,770/t today, down by 5.6pc from $16,700/t on 28 October.

A number of traders claimed that Chinese stainless steel mills and nickel pig iron producers have stocked up on nickel ores ahead of the export ban, and the supply chains are less likely to be affected by the policy.

Nickel prices fell mainly because of weak stainless steel demand globally, which outweighed supply disruption.

“[Indonesian policy] changed like wind; it’s desperation to keep the prices up. I’m starting to get a little bored,” said one nickel trader.

In September, the Indonesian government announced that it will bring forward the nickel ore ban by two years to January 2020.

Following the announcement, many miners increased their nickel ore export volumes before the deadline.

According to Indonesia’s minister for maritime affairs and investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the number of nickel ore shipments from Indonesia each month has surged to 100-130 vessels, up from an average of 30 per month prior to September.


Category: Indonesia

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