Nickel prices expected to settle after Russia sanctions fade

Nickel was last traded at $14,735 per tonne, up 20.2% on a year-to-date basis emerging as the strongest performing base metal so far this year. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists predict nickel prices to ease off over the short term after a buildup of tension surrounding US sanctions against Russian aluminum giant Rusal led to a surge in prices. It reached an over three-year high in April at $15,275 per tonne.

According to FocusEconomics, markets were wary of the US also targeting Nornickel tycoon Vladimir Potanin – to further intensify supply fears, the London Metal Exchange (LME) delisted two Norilsk-branded products on April 18, driving up demand for the metal.

The LME later clarified that the delisting was determined by Norilsk decommissioning the plant that produced the nickel, and unrelated to the sanctions. Nickel prices started to wind down in the weeks following the US Treasury Department announcing an extended deadline for the execution of sanctions on April 23. This slow decline is expected to be the trend as the increased usage of nickel in the automotive sector will be a gradual implementation and FocusEconomics panelists believe it will have little influence on nickel prices in the future.

FocusEconomics provides economic forecasts for energy, base metals, precious metals, and agricultural commodities. Its monthly Consensus Forecast is compiled by polling leading economists from banks and consultancies, and results are then analyzed by FocusEconomics’ own team of economic experts.