Looking at the follow-up trend of the nickel market from the four frameworks of the nickel industry chain

Abstract Let's first look at the price trend of nickel over the past few years. The driving logic of nickel price from 2015 to 2016, 2017, and 2018 is actually different. In 2015, it was caused by a driver of a nickel mine.

Let us first look at the price trend of nickel in the past few years.

The driving logic of nickel prices from 2015 to 2016, 2017, and 2018 is actually different. In 2015, it was caused by a driver of a nickel mine, including Indonesia and the Philippines. The policy, especially the policy of the Philippines, determines the price of nickel. After 2016 and 2017, it actually experienced a change in the stainless steel industry chain, which means that the supply and demand of stainless steel determines the price of nickel.

In the first half of 2017, the inventory of stainless steel rose sharply, causing the price of nickel to fall. In the second half of the year, the situation of stainless steel was reversed to bring the price back up, but from November last year, especially November LME After the annual meeting, the focus of the entire market has changed. It may shift from the focus of stainless steel to the new energy vehicle. Many people may still think that the new energy is a story, but in fact it It may already have a large impact on the entire nickel industry chain, at least in the fundamental research framework and logic of nickel should have some relatively large changes.

We can see that the price of nickel has also experienced some small fluctuations, but the overall focus is on the upswing. If you do not consider new energy this year, the situation of the whole stainless steel industry is very similar to last year, all in the Spring Festival. Before and after the stainless steel began to accumulate, the price fell. After the Spring Festival, this situation probably improved in May and June, so last year there was a first suppression and a rise. Today, there is actually such a trend, but the whole center of gravity is being lifted up. This is because the new energy cycle This new background has led to a change in the pricing model for the entire price.


Let's take a look at this nickel industry chain framework.

1. Global laterite nickel or nickel-iron/stainless steel industrial chain:

Indonesian exports, China's environmental storms, Qingshan expansion, global stainless steel demand prospects are expected.

1) Indonesian exports:

An important reason why everyone is still pessimistic about nickel in the first half of this year or at the end of last year is that the export quota for laterite nickel ore in Indonesia is constantly coming out. The total amount is very high, so many people think that this year's ferronickel The output may be close to 500,000 tons, but in fact we look at the import of nickel ore this year. We can see that the export of nickel ore in the Philippines and Indonesia has increased, but in the Philippines we can actually Seeing that its quantity is relatively reduced, we can see that even if these mines in Indonesia can come out, can there be such a large increment in China?

2) China Environmental Protection Storm:

The output situation in the first few months of this year was the same as that of last year in January. It was lower than last year in February and a little higher than last year in March. In fact, since March of this year, China has experienced from Inner Mongolia to Jiangsu, Shandong and Liaoning. Due to the restriction of environmental protection factors, there have been a lot of production cuts. So in fact, we see that the output of ferronickel is from March, and in April and May, the monthly ratio is actually decreasing every month. Therefore, it can be considered that the output of ferronickel is this year. Less than expected, after July, some people may think that the environmental protection is over, or the Shanghai summit is over, will there be a reduction in production.

However, we look at an environmental protection policy this year. We believe that the production of ferronickel will still be restricted by environmental factors this year. From this year's policy, we do not think that this year's policy is looser than last year because there are some big ones. Enterprises, such as Nickel’s North Sea Chengde, including several state-owned enterprises of other colored varieties, including listed companies, have been criticized for failing to meet environmental standards, or even the leadership has some problems. As a result, this year's environmental protection should continue to be implemented. This means that the production of non-ferrous metals this year will not only be ferronickel, but also several other varieties, especially the mine, which may be restricted or inevitable. It is subject to restrictions.

3) Qingshan expansion:

Qingshan’s third 1 million tons of stainless steel should have been on the line in June and has already started production, so this matter may be considered in two ways.

First, because stainless steel is on the line, we can understand it to some extent to suppress the domestic stainless steel industry, because in July and August, even afterwards, stainless steel imports from Indonesia will continue to increase, so Will lead to a very low position of imports and exports, the domestic consumption of stainless steel or the price is very unfavorable.

But from another point of view, because Indonesia’s third 1 million tons of stainless steel is on the line, the import of MPI from there will inevitably decrease, so it will not affect the entire ferronickel, or Rather, the relationship between the supply demand of ferronickel and stainless steel, but we believe that this piece of the line should be an increase in demand for nickel.

In addition, if there is a Qingshan, there may be a project of 2 million tons in Zimbabwe, but we don’t know if it is a few hundred, but the 300 series is expanding outward, especially the 300 series is expanding overseas, which may become a trend. For the domestic market, there may be some small stainless steel enterprises that may face some problems, or they may be converted into a variety of other enterprises. I think this is the result that is likely to develop in the future.

4) Global stainless steel demand prospects are expected:

For the demand for domestic stainless steel, I think if we want to compare zinc, copper and aluminum, then stainless steel should be the exposure to infrastructure and real estate. The amount used in infrastructure and real estate is relative to other colored, accounting for The ratio is the lowest, that is to say, in one of its downstream needs, there may be more and more scattered use, such as durable consumption, such as mechanical equipment, etc., so our preconditions, our whole The general judgment of the macro is that there will be no good last year in the second half of this year. In the second half of last year, a situation that exceeded expectations will not be realized this year. And because of the high base in the second half of last year, a demand in the second half of this year The growth rate, the data we see should be relatively weak.

But if we look at it from the stainless steel, it also faces some population-related needs, which means that a reduction in its demand or a decline in growth rate will not be so abrupt, or It is very large, so we look at the performance in April and May is actually very good, then other colored varieties are the same, then July and August may face a seasonal weakness, but in general, we still A demand for stainless steel will be considered, and because of a relationship between its population and consumption upgrades, one of its demand growth rates will still maintain a relatively stable situation.


We look at the overseas situation, overseas stainless steel, you can look at the growth rate of each region. We can still see several economies. For example, India will have some further growth, so in most countries, this growth rate may be relatively down.


This data from a few institutions of stainless steel growth outside China, we see that the general situation in 2018 is that the growth rate has been relatively weak, so we see that the global stainless steel consumption situation is also a positive growth rate. However, the growth rate will be relatively downward. Another thing to talk about stainless steel is the minimum amount of nickel used in stainless steel. Some of it may be produced entirely by MPI. It must be added with some nickel. This nickel can also be nickel or nickel. Beans, etc., because in a series of stainless steel, most of the stainless steel, many stainless steels contain more than 8% of nickel, even higher than 8%, even 8% of stainless steel, even Aoyama, Indonesia also needs a little nickel to adjust its chemical composition, including a content of this chromium, and another iron content, to make a ratio, so it is impossible to completely use ferronickel to produce, so the stainless steel production is completely used Chen This conclusion of nickel is wrong, it must be maintained at a minimum dosage ratio of nickel.

2. Global nickel sulfide or electrolytic nickel/nickel sulfate industrial chain:

The supply of refined nickel is difficult to grow, the global nickel stocks continue to decline, the principle of wood barrels/short board effect, competition of raw materials, and the expansion of nickel sulfate industry.

1) The supply of refined nickel is difficult to grow:

Let's take a look at the global supply of refined nickel.


We can see that the increment of the sulphide ore in gray is almost rare, which means that one of its consumptions in the past few decades has been relatively adequate, or low-cost. Consumption.


Let us look at a production situation of electrolytic nickel, which is a decline in 2018. In 2019, it will increase slightly in 2018. There will be an increase in 2020. Even if this quantity is increased, we can see that the absolute unit is 1,000 tons. In fact, the absolute amount in 2020 is an increase of about 20,000 tons since 2018, so this amount is actually very low.


Then we look at the balance of supply and demand for the world's refined nickel. We can see that all institutions and nine institutions have a shortage of supply and demand balance for refined nickel, from 2017, 2018 to 2019, and 2020. A shortage situation.

2) Global nickel stocks continue to decline:

Let's take a look at the global inventory of nickel beans. First, China's social stocks continue to decline, and nickel is the only non-ferrous metal variety that has not been accumulated before and after the Spring Festival this year. We can see that global nickel stocks continue to decline, about nickel. Bean, the whole nickel bean, the overseas nickel bean stock is also a relatively obvious process of going to the library.

We still think that a large part of this year's nickel beans is actually consumed, instead of going to hidden inventory, and because nickel beans have a water stick to the nickel plate, we have calculated that an import window for nickel may open. The time is very short, but it is not ruled out that there is still no such big loss due to the discount, and even the consumption and use in the end is profitable.

3) Raw material competition:

The two things mentioned above, nickel electroplating and nickel sulphate, are first-grade nickel. They want to produce the same raw materials, so if the output of nickel sulphate is to be expanded, it will bring two results, one is The output of electrolytic nickel must be reduced because the raw materials are occupied. The second is that the inventory of nickel beans must be reduced. That is, the production of nickel sulfate means further consumption of the nickel bean stock, and then the principle of the wooden barrel is many. People have been correcting stainless steel, but we think that this thing of stainless steel does affect its cycle, monthly and weekly fluctuations, but I think it can not affect the long-term trend of the whole nickel, even if it is MPI Production will increase substantially, but it will not change the structural shortage of primary nickel.

4) Accelerated expansion of nickel sulfate industry:

The expansion of overseas nickel sulphate capacity and domestic, this is a quantity after the conversion of nickel, overseas around 90,000 tons in 2018, 118,000 tons in 2019, domestically, this year is estimated to reach 128,000 tons, obviously will reach 150,000 Tons, so the result is that the price of raw materials will rise, and then we will see the high-pressure acid leaching technology behind, we will mention as much as possible later, and then squeeze the demand for nickel in other industries. .

Let us first look at the capacity expansion of domestic nickel sulphate. I have removed some small companies, so the whole volume should be expected to have a production of about 100,000 tons of nickel this year, because the growth rate of nickel sulfate capacity expansion is very obvious, so it will bring raw materials. The growth of demand.

In the case of nickel sulphate production, its growth rate was 40% and 50% in other months except for February. In July, it reached a growth rate of 60%, and then the cost of producing nickel sulfate was last year. I also mentioned that it is still produced with nickel beans at present, one is that its cost is low, the second technology is very simple, and the third is that the nickel bean raw material is relatively abundant. Then, for the future situation, we believe that the current supply of a raw material for this production, the amount of this high-grade sulfide ore that can be used at present is greatly reduced, and a large number of low-grade sulfide ore will be used in the future. I will not explain this figure in detail. The whole trend means that the difficulty and cost of a future technology and a production are increasing.

3. HPAL industry chain:

Limited capacity, high cost, especially initial cost is too high.

1) Limited capacity:

The existing global enterprises that use laterite nickel ore to produce wet-processed intermediates are currently in the same number. China currently imports them from the previous two, Ramu and Turkey. So in fact, how much of our raw materials can be counted, and it can be counted up to 2020. We can see that there are no increments in these companies in 2020, and these companies have been in the past more than a decade. The production is basically a loss. Last year, it was profitable, and it still benefited from the rise in stock prices.

The whole product of this mode of high-pressure acid leaching has a small increase in 2020. That is because we have included 20,000 tons of Indonesian plan, assuming that it can achieve a 20,000 tons in 2020. the amount. The production of intermediate products, we can see that the possible amount in 2020 is about 270,000 tons, then 40,000 tons more than the current nearly 230,000 tons, an increase in the entire intermediate product, which indicates that the production capacity is Limited, it can be seen.

2) High cost, especially the initial cost is too high:


This is a different capital, in the first quarter and under the different price levels of the stock price to produce this wet smelting intermediate, to invest in this wet smelting intermediate, high-pressure acid leaching technology project, its a nickel price incentive The price is probably about, so from the graph we directly conclude that it is under the same capital intensity that the stock price reaches a very high level to be able to attract this high-pressure acid leaching at a lower price. Production of nickel sulphate, so this means that if the stock price is adjusted, it means that the company is going to carry out this kind of production. Its nickel price, the price of nickel required is very high, and basically means the current price. Below the level, no one, no company will go to vote for this project.

Then we think that from a relatively low conservative consideration, we also believe that this price will require a nickel price level of more than 20,000 yuan to encourage enterprises to invest in this laterite nickel ore to produce wet smelting intermediates to produce nickel sulfate. This technology. Because it has two problems, one is that the temperature requirements are very high, the second is that the pressure requirements are also very high, and often it is a capital investment, we also mentioned that it will be higher than expected. A value, we have a financial situation from Ruimu, including several other ones, I did not put it in the PPT, that is to say, the previous few, their actual capital investment is often higher than its initial estimate of about two The ratio is even more than three times, so this capital investment is very high. This means that this approach is not currently feasible.

4, precursor / cathode material / battery industry chain:

High growth rate, high nickel trend, integration trend.

1) High growth rate:

Let's take a look at new energy vehicles. Lithium iron phosphate and lithium manganate are mainly used for passenger cars and special vehicles for new energy. Then we say that the proportion of passenger cars is relatively large, pure electric passenger cars are mainly used ternary materials. Therefore, it means that the ternary is necessarily a trend that gradually increases.

Looking back on the subsidy, the subsidy has not been cancelled, but low battery life, such as lithium iron phosphate, basically means no subsidies, but high endurance, especially in the cruising range of more than 400 km We see that subsidies are going to increase. It is going to increase in 2018 compared to 2017. What is the situation when the battery life reaches 400 kilometers or more?

I listed about 811, and NCA two commercial batteries can reach more than 400 kilometers of cruising range, then maybe 622 can be achieved with the development of technology, but we communicate with the industry, get the conclusion That is, 622 is actually a relatively embarrassing variety. The big comparison after 532 will inevitably be a large part of 811, 622 is a transitional product, so we think 811 and NCA are the mainstream in the future.

2) High nickel trend:

Regarding the content of various metals in 111, 532, 622 and 811 and NCA, we only look at nickel. 111 is 397, 811 is 712, NCA is 734, which means that the nickel content of 811 and NCA is the most, then about the upper right picture is an estimate of our future ratio of each battery, we feel that In 2020, 811 may reach 27%, and then lithium iron phosphate may end up with only 10%, and lithium iron phosphate we believe that its use in new energy vehicles will be eliminated faster. It may be more suitable for the lead-acid battery that we have traditionally considered. For example, the mobile base station, the energy storage battery of the iron tower is currently using a lot of lithium iron phosphate, but the new energy vehicle The use of lithium iron phosphate, or some of what we said before, even we think that a car that is cheating must be eliminated, and the elimination does not mean that the development of new energy vehicles is gone, Rather, it means a more standardized and further trend towards the development of clean energy.

Let's look at the next production of new energy batteries. In May 2018, in this new energy passenger car, it was basically 80% or more. Nearly 90% is already using ternary, and then about the cost of ternary. In fact, there are indeed some serious problems in the industry, or the less optimistic issue is that the cost of raw materials is high, but the battery price may still be relatively low, which causes battery companies or cathode materials companies to have a very low profit, so that they are currently Then reduce this kind of raw material procurement, but this is more of an industry's own adjustment or adjustment process. It does not affect a major trend in the development of new energy vehicles, or simply because the industry is still not standardized. The next pain, this figure we will not see, is a prediction of the installation of different batteries.

3) Integration trend:

Let us look at the next trend of industrial integration. In fact, there is also integration of stainless steel, so the new energy vehicle will inevitably become the trend of integrated development, which will become more obvious. For example, nickel ore enterprises are looking for nickel sulfate production, even establishing cooperation with automobile companies, or even more. It may be important that some large auto companies will seek to acquire or cooperate with nickel sulphate producers, or even to seek the purchase of such mines. These are all things that may develop, that is, the raw materials that will emerge in the future. Squeeze.

In addition to new energy vehicles, ternary batteries are also used in other aspects, mainly 3C batteries, notebooks, mobile power, tablets, etc., this increase is actually very large, in fact, we look at the battery in the past nickel The consumption is about 3%, so the traditional battery itself is also developing rapidly, but even if it develops rapidly, in the case of a more rapid development of new energy, the proportion of traditional batteries will continue to decline. Although it is growing, its proportion will still decline, which means that the demand for new energy vehicles is very high.


Regarding a price of nickel, a factor about Lido, the green is bad, that is, Indonesian exports, including the expansion of Castle Peak, can be said to be more or more empty, then we regard it as a relatively minor negative. Factors, we can see that the jump red or orange is a bullish factor, including China's environmental protection, including the decline in global nickel stocks, the expansion of nickel sulfate industry, the high growth rate of ternary production and the trend of high nickel. It means that a long-term upward trend of nickel is relatively certain, but it does not rule out that its price will have a relatively large fluctuation, for example, it faces a macro negative emotion, including Funds, including some seasonal negative seasonal factors in the industry, will cause it to have a large price volatility, but if we put the time longer, nickel we think it is the only demand in the non-ferrous metal category. There is a clear growth point, a variety that can be optimistic for a long time.

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