International Nickel
Study Group



Mine products

Nickel content reported for laterite based production equals the amount of nickel contained in ores mined. Nickel content reported for sulphide based production equals the amount of nickel contained in concentrate production.

Intermediate products

Nickel content reported equals the amount of nickel contained in matte, mixed sulphide concentrates (containing more than 35 per cent combined nickel and cobalt), and other intermediate products of nickel metallurgy, including salts and oxides for further refining.

Primary nickel products

Nickel contained in products of smelters and refineries in a form which is ready for use by consumers; this includes:

Refined nickel (class I) - products with a nickel content of 99% or more:
- Electrolytic nickel
- Pellets
- Briquettes
- Granules
- Rondelles
- Powder/Flakes

Charge nickel (class II) - products with a nickel content of less than 99%:
- Ferro-nickel
- Nickel oxide sinter
- Utility (Japan, Korea, Rep., Taiwan, China)
- Nickel pig iron (China)

- Chemical nickel oxide
- Nickel sulphate
- Nickel chloride
- Nickel carbonate
- Nickel acetate
- Nickel hydroxide
- Other salts and chemicals


Nickel contained in smelter/refinery nickel products used by consumers for the manufacture of products in each of the categories shown below.

Stainless steels, other than castings, containing by weight 1.2% or less of carbon and 10.5% or more of chromium, with or without other elements.

Other alloy steels, (excluding castings).

Steel castings, alloyed (including cast iron).

Non-ferrous products (including castings): products of pure nickel (98-100% Ni), nickel base alloys (50-97% Ni), iron-nickel (-chrome) alloys (30-49% Ni), copper base alloys (1-49% Ni) and clad materials.

Plating: nickel metal used for plating (N.B. nickel used to manufacture chemicals and nickel chemicals used for plating should be included under "Other uses").

Other uses: catalysts, batteries and chemicals.


Quantities of nickel products exported or imported during the period stated. Wherever possible, trade item descriptions are followed by the corresponding code numbers of the Harmonized System (HS). Nickel trade statistics refer to:
- Ores and concentrates (26.04.00)
- Ferro-nickel (72.02.60)
- Waste and scrap of stainless steel (72.04.21) - nickel content 8% or greater, - nickel content less than 8%,
- Nickel matte (75.01.10)
- Nickel oxide sinter and other intermediate products of nickel metallurgy, excluding matte (75.01.20)
- Unwrought nickel, not alloyed (75.02.10)
- Nickel waste and scrap (75.03.00)
- Nickel powder and flakes (75.04.00)

It should be noted that HS 75.01.20 includes intermediate nickel products requiring further processing and not just finished nickel oxide suitable for direct use by consumers.


Nickel contained in primary nickel products held by nickel producers (and their agents), consumers, commodity exchanges (such as the LME), traders and in government stockpiles. LME stocks are held at various locations in warehouses approved by the LME. Strategic stocks are known to be held in Japan and Russian Federation.


LME Prices

The London Metal Exchange (LME) acts as a "barometer" of nickel supply/demand world-wide. Trading on the LME takes place in two daily sessions (morning and afternoon). The two sessions are each broken down into two rings made up of five minutes trading in each contract (cash and 3-months). The official prices for the day are assessed after the second ring of the morning session by a "quotation committee" in light of the dealings and prices quoted during the day's morning session. LME official nickel prices are used as bench mark prices by the international trade. Nickel on the LME is primary nickel of minimum 99.8% purity, in specified forms of cathode, pellets or briquettes. It is traded in lots of 6 tonnes each. All sales due for delivery are backed by warehouse warrants.

Cash: the price paid - expressed in US$ per tonne - for primary nickel, the warrants of which are delivered immediately (the next market day).

Settlement: expressed in US$ per tonne, is equivalent to the seller's cash price.

3-months: the price paid - expressed in US$ per tonne - for primary nickel, the warrants of which are to be delivered in three months time.

Tables reporting LME prices include LME price equivalents in US$/lb.

LME turnover

This is the turnover as released daily by the LME. The official LME turnover includes futures as well as options and reflects trading between all Clearing Members from cash to 27 months and takes into the reckoning client cross-trade.

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