Indonesia’s exports of nickel ore and concentrates rose by 63.8pc to 32.4mn mt in 2019, as mines and manufacturers upped output to beat the Indonesian government ban on nickel ore exports as of January 2020.
Indonesia’s exports of nickel ore increased by 12.6mn mt in 2019 from 19.8mn mt from the prior year. Indonesia is the largest producer of nickel ore and concentrates, but the country imposed a ban on exports of the raw material to boost its domestic smelting and stainless steel industry.
China, the largest producer of stainless steel, was the top importer of nickel ore from Indonesia, and imported 31.2mn mt in 2019, up by 61.7pc or 11.9mn mt from the previous year. There were signs of stockpiling by China, the biggest nickel ore buyer.
Ukraine imported 1.2mn mt of nickel ore from Indonesia in 2019, up by 140pc or 700,000mt from the previous year.
Japan was the third largest importer, and imported 50,000mt in 2019, down from 55,000mt in 2018.
In December 2019, Indonesia exported 3mn mt of nickel ore and concentrates, up by 87pc or 1.4mn mt from the prior year period. China remained the top importer and imported 2.9mn mt of nickel ore from Indonesia, up by 81.2pc or 1.3mn mt from December 2018.
The EU launched a complaint against Indonesia’s ban on nickel ore exports at the World Trade Organisation in November 2019, claiming reduced access for Europe to nickel ore and fears of cheaper and polluted stainless steel containing higher levels of carbon dioxide flooding the markets and impacting EU producers.