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Nickel: Stock decline and production cuts - the key for higher prices

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Report summary

At the April meeting of the INSG, Sean Mulshaw discussed nickel oversupply, high stock levels and what this means for future nickel prices. Estimated global nickel stocks stand at close to 1Mt, the equivalent of approximately six months of demand. A decline in those stocks should be positive for prices and this could most easily be achieved with the help of stronger demand and/or reduced supply. However, demand has been disappointing of late, especially in China, and even with a turnaround there, predicted growth in global demand is unlikely to have a large near-term impact on the existing excess. Equally, further producer discipline is possible in the present price environment but despite having already reduced our 2016 forecast by 80kt since December 2015, that would still have to be substantial if more than only a moderate price improvement is to be achieved before late 2018.

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