The Philippines, now the biggest exporter of nickel ore in the world, after Indonesia, banned exports of mineral ores earlier in the year with 28pc less nickel ore exports in March, from March 2019.
The country exported 1.34mn mt of nickel ore in March, down from 1.86mn mt in March 2019. The decline in exports followed a drop in output caused by temporary shutdowns at 18 mines for maintenance. Extreme weather conditions also contributed to a fall in production. The Philippines’ Jan-Mar 2020 nickel ore exports rose by 5pc to 3.16mn mt, from 3mn mt in the prior-year period. The country’s April output is expected to be low on COVID-19 related operational halts.
China is the largest consumer of nickel ore from the Philippines. China imported 1.24mn mt of nickel ore from the Philippines in March, down by 30pc from a year ago. The country imported 2.86mn mt in the first quarter (Jan-March), up by 9pc from the prior-year period.
Japan is the only other importer and imported 101,500mt of nickel ore in March, up by 2pc from a year ago and 303,000mt in Q1 down by 25pc from the prior-year period.