Nickel is one of the raw materials for the plating of products such as sink faucets and shower column set. 300 series stainless steel with nickel as the main raw material is also widely used in the sanitary industry. The rise in nickel prices is expected to have a certain impact on production companies.
Indonesia accelerates export ban, nickel prices skyrocket
The Indonesian official finally confirmed that a ban on nickel ore exports will be imposed on January 1, 2020, two years ahead of the previously announced time. If the ban is implemented in advance, Indonesia’s existing nickel-iron production capacity will be completely incapable of digesting Indonesia’s nickel ore production, which is expected to cause a serious shortage of global nickel resources before 2022. In the current global nickel market, there has been a narrow gap. Raise the price of nickel sharply.
In July of this year, rumors about the mine ban on Indonesia have been rampant, driving nickel prices to rise sharply. Among them, the main contract of Shanghai nickel rose by 11.09% and 16.13% in July and August, respectively. The increase of LME nickel in July and August was 14.70% and 23.57% respectively.
According to the Shanghai Futures Exchange, China is the world’s largest consumer of nickel, with consumption of 1.14 million tons in 2017, accounting for 53.4% of total global consumption. Due to the relatively scarce nickel resources in China and the high dependence of raw materials on foreign materials, a large amount of imported nickel ore is required.
According to the data of the General Administration of Customs, the total import volume of China’s nickel ore and concentrates in 2018 was 46,992,300 tons, of which Indonesia’s imports were 1,501,500 tons, and the Philippines’ imports were 30,082,000 tons, accounting for 31.96% and 63.86% respectively. If Indonesia implements mine ban, China will be seriously affected and manufacturers will face further pressure from rising costs.
Stainless steel faucet is the most affected
The kitchen and bathroom industry has a large demand for metallic nickel. The largest amount is stainless steel faucet. The GB/T 35763-2017 “stainless steel faucet” national standard implemented in July 2018, the units involved in the drafting include JOMOO, Huayi, Primy and other well-known companies. On the e-commerce platform, multiple brands of stainless steel faucets are also available.
It is understood that the stainless steel faucet mainly uses 304 stainless steel as the main raw material. The nickel content of 0.304 stainless steel is 8%-11%. The price of nickel will rise, and the price of stainless steel will rise simultaneously, pulling up the price of related finished products.
At the same time, because nickel has good corrosion resistance and ductility, it is often used in the plating surface of bathroom hardware to improve wear resistance and corrosion resistance. The nickel layer of some high-end products can be as thick as tens of microns. Therefore, some sanitary ware companies that use faucets and showers as their main products often mention nickel in the column of pollutant emissions in their annual reports. For example, a listed sanitary ware company has seen an increase in total nickel emissions in recent years. In 2017, total nickel emissions were 0.0231 tons, and in 2018 it reached 0.0382 tons.
In addition, more and more companies have begun to produce stainless steel bathroom cabinets in recent years, and stainless steel is also used as accessories in traditional bathroom cabinets. The increase in nickel prices will bring some cost pressure to these enterprises.