Nornickel now earns nearly half of its revenue in Asia

(Image from Nornickel’s Instagram page)

MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC, Russia’s biggest miner, now earns almost half of its revenue in Asia while sales in Europe tumble, further evidence of a shift in global commodity flows amid the country’s war in Ukraine.

In the first three months of 2023, Asia accounted for 45% of the company’s revenue, while Europe — traditionally its largest market — fell to 24%, it said in a presentation. The figures were 31% and 47% respectively last year, when the miner had annual contracts that were signed before Russia’s invasion.

The presentation, part of a company sustainability report on Tuesday, offers a glimpse into how the war is changing the market structure even for major firms that aren’t subject to sanctions. Nornickel, as the miner is known, controls about 7% of global nickel output and 40% of palladium.

While the US and UK have imposed sanctions on Norilsk Nickel’s top shareholder and president, Vladimir Potanin, no penalties have been placed on the company itself or its exports. Still, it has faced disruptions in logistics, insurance, banking and shipping in the fallout from the war.

Nornickel sought to increase sales to China this year, in some cases offering metals for yuan, people familiar with the matter said in March. Those prices are set in Shanghai, a sign of how the conflict is redrawing the global trade map for commodities and handing greater power to China, they said.


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