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Coronavirus to hit Nornickel’s nickel and copper markets

Mining Technology - Russian mining company Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) has announced that the recent outbreak of coronavirus in China is expected to hit two of its key markets, nickel and copper.

The company noted that the virus poses a downside risk for the pace of demand recovery and undermines its demand assumptions, particularly in the first quarter of this year.

Nornickel said in a statement: “At the moment, due to large uncertainty about the duration and the ultimate health impact of the epidemic, we cannot quantify its impact on copper demand and supply, neither can time the market recovery.

“If the virus is contained by the end of this March, we find it reasonable to assume that the consumption losses could be recovered during the rest of this year, given that China has plenty of spare capacities across all copper-consuming value chain.”

In its 2019 financial results released yesterday, the company reported that primary nickel consumption is expected to increase by 85kt to 2,538kt this year.

The growth rate of global nickel demand from battery material producers is also expected to moderate to 17% year on year, down from 26% in 2019, reaching a combined volume of 210kt in China, Japan and South Korea.

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