Nickel prices are expected to average $24,900/tonne in 2022, boosted by the fallout from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to the Australian government’s Resources and Energy September quarterly report seen by Kallanish.

However, the prices are expected to ease over the outlook period as a result of increased Indonesian production and improving liquidity in the LME nickel market.

Thus, prices in late 2023 and into 2024 have been revised down slightly to account for surging Indonesian supply. This takes the price forecasts to $21,250/t on average in 2023 and $20,250/t in 2024.

According to the report, Indonesian refined output is expected to ramp up to about 1.1 million tonnes in 2022, and is forecast to grow to about 1.4m t in 2024.

Meanwhile, recent high prices have boosted Australia’s nickel export earnings, which reached $4.4 billion in 2021–22.

Australia’s nickel export earnings are forecast to rise to AUD 5.1 billion ($3.31 billion) in 2022–23, before easing to AUD 4.6 billion in 2023–24.

Australia’s export volumes are also estimated to rise from 157,000 t in 2021–22 to 202,000 t in 2023–24, supported by the need for Australian nickel for the transition to low-emissions technologies.

Australia’s refined output is also forecast to be steady over the outlook period, at 105,000 t in both 2022–23 and 2023–24.

However, increases in refined nickel production may occur if nickel prices are higher than expected over the outlook period.