Nickel Trading

Nickel has been called one of the most underrated metals in the world. It is one of the most versatile metals on Earth and its presence and properties allow modern life to function and prosper. It is present in a myriad of products, from televisions and batteries to aerospace components, yet only a small amount of nickel is used as a product in its own right – there about 3000 nickel containing alloys in everyday use, and the vast majority of new nickel goes into alloy and stainless steel production.

Redstone Commodity Search has a well mapped network in the global nickel markets and works with metal producers, traders, brokers and logistics groups who sell, procure, broker and arrange shipping for this important metal. Some of the recent mandates Redstone Commodity Search has worked on include:

  • European Nickel Sales Manager, Netherlands
  • LME Trader (Nickel exposure), United Kingdom
  • Nickel and Cobalt Trader, Switzerland
  • Concentrates Traffic Operator (Nickel experience required), Luxembourg
  • Battery Materials Trader, United States
  • Nickel and Zinc Trader, Netherlands
  • Nickel base alloy trader / sales, United States

What is Nickel?

Nickel is the fifth most common element on Earth behind iron, oxygen, silicon and magnesium. It is a naturally occurring metal, found and mined from the Earth’s crust in a similar manner to copper and other metals. Depending on the type of ore it is found in, nickel is mined either in open pits or using underground techniques. Its desirable properties make it ideal for creating alloys as it adds corrosion resistance, hardness, strength at high and low temperatures as well as magnetic and electronic properties. Its ability to withstand high heat minimises corrosion which means that products containing nickel have a much longer life span without being replaced so can be used in harsh environments such as in jet engines, offshore installations and power generation facilities.

For sulphide ores, the ores are crushed and ground to liberate the nickel minerals which are separated from the less valuable material through selective flotation or with magnetic separation. The nickel concentrate undergoes flash smelting, leaching and other processes to increase the purity and create a higher grade of nickel to be sold and made into stainless steel, nickel-containing alloys, used in battery and catalyst production, or as plating for other metals.

How is Nickel Traded?

Few products are made of pure nickel. Due to its many applications, nickel is one of the most valuable mined materials which can have a significant impact not only on the other industries which rely on it such as stainless steel and nickel containing alloy production but also on entire countries’ economies.

Australia has by far the largest nickel reserves followed by New Caledonia. Other significant nickel reserves are located in Brazil, Russia, Cuba, Indonesia, South Africa, Canada, and China. Countries which produce the most nickel, however, in descending order are the Philippines, Russia, Canada, Australia, New Caledonia, Indonesia, Brazil, China, Guatemala and Cuba.

Asia accounts for approximately 70% of the total world demand for nickel, with China alone constituting around 52% of the global nickel demand. Consumption is linked very closely to the stainless steel sector which continues to increase, particularly in Asia.

Nickel is one of the most recycled materials globally, mostly in the form of alloys, and with nickel being infinitely recyclable, about half of the nickel content of stainless steel products today will have come from recycled nickel.

In the financial market, nickel can be traded in futures and options contracts to mitigate risk by locking in selling and buying prices. They are also traded by speculators looking to profit from market changes by assuming the price risk (more about commodity trading).

Who are the Customers?

  • Aerospace industry
  • Automotive sector
  • Oil refineries
  • Rechargeable battery manufacturers
  • Stainless steel industry
  • Electronics production
  • Mints (coin production)
  • Marine engineering