In 2021, nickel prices have risen by 18-20pc according to commodity price trackers. As of February 19, 2021, the metal’s closing price was $19,496per mt on the London Metal Exchange. Three-month futures were at $19,512/mt.
The last time nickel prices were at an all-time high was in September 2014. It could have resulted from Indonesia banning exports of unprocessed nickel products in January 2014 that lead to increased demand from other countries like the Philippines.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continued in 2020 and through the beginning of 2021, the demand for nickel did not drop. Whilst most of the world’s nickel supply is used in the production of stainless steel, the expanding battery sector has driven demand higher.
The prices of other battery metals, copper, lithium, and cobalt, have risen 17pc, 45pc and 55pc, respectively, since early 2021.
According to Julian Kettle, chairman of Wood Mackenzie (Woodmac)—global energy, chemicals, renewables, metals and mining research and consultancy group—the world will require more metal to transit to low-carbon energy.