Indonesia brings forward nickel ore export ban

Indonesia published an energy ministerial decree on Thursday September 5th confirming a nickel ore export ban from January 1st 2020, which the government had announced earlier in the week.

Indonesia said on Monday it would be stopping nickel ore exports two years earlier than initially indicated as part of its acceleration of efforts to process more of its resources at home. Existing export recommendations for shipments of nickel ore with content below 1.7% will be valid until December 31st.

The decree stated that the steps were taken to ensure enough supply for nickel smelting facilities.

A similar ban was put in place in 2014, generating a short-lived but profitable spike in freight rates as producers boosted trade to beat the restriction. The nickel price is high at the moment and another surge was thought likely before year-end.

The new restriction applies to the export of low grade nickel ore – export of high grade material is already prohibited.