Nickel – Japan, South Korea

Dear Margaret

(ref no: 902)

Wishing you a Happy & prosperous New Year for 2022., and the ability to travel (safely when you want to)!  

Comments of particular interest are noted with ‘*’.  

Matau’s Comments:

  • Nickel outlook is for need for considerable expansion for stainless steel alone.
  • Copper outlook is for significant demand growth. 
  • Base metal markets remain excruciatingly tight!  
  • Japan’s IP is recovering well. 
  • South Korean IP appears to have resumed an upward growth tre3nde.
  • High power costs are widely impacting global smelters’ output.


*Copper  China’s factory activity unexpectedly accelerated in December.  The world needs much more Cu.

*Cobalt  The global cobalt supply chain is relatively fragile, sensitive to disruption.   

*Nickel  Primary nickel consumption to rebound yr-on-yr due to stainless steel capacity expansions alone. 

*Zinc & Lead  Power costs threaten production.  Ag-rich Pb concentrates are in demand.

Tin  Myanmar concentrate supply issues unable to be covered by Australian and Bolivian supply. 

Aluminium  Norsk Hydro cuts Slovakian output due to power costs. 

Gold  Price fell year-on-year though has risen in recent weeks.  Price drivers are the usual suspects.

Platinum & Palladium  Prices have reduced this year, though ongoing auto demand is rising.

*Oil  China continues to rely in the Middle East for oil supply. 

Iron Ore  Prices registered first annual decline in three years. 

Shipping  The dry bulk market fared much better than the tanker market, during 2021..


South Korea – Industrial Production:  Recovering well from covid-19.

Japan – Industrial Production:  IP is recovering, supported by steel & machinery (& other).