Nickel Surplus to Soar
The global market for nickel may swing to a surplus this year and see a greater glut next year as supply outpaces demand, according to Eramet SA, operator of the world's largest ferronickel smelter. Supply may outstrip demand by about 3,300 metric tons this year and by about 48,900 tons next year on a real-consumption basis, compared with a deficit of 46,200 tons last year, Sebastien Bosc, managing director of Eramet Korea Ltd., said Tuesday at a seminar in Seoul, citing the company's estimates. Nickel, used to strengthen stainless steel in products from kitchen sinks to aircraft-fuel tanks, has declined 25 percent this year, becoming the worst-performing base metal on the London Metal Exchange. The global surplus may jump to 54,000 tons in 2012, the biggest in four years, Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. said last month.