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The global nickel market size was USD 36.27 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow from USD 41.75 billion in 2023 to USD 73.06 billion by 2031, at a CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with nickel witnessing a negative impact on demand across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a higher growth of 1.2% in 2020 as compared to the average year-on-year growth from 2017to2019. The sudden rise in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.
Nickel (Ni) is a silvery-white, lustrous metallic element that occurs naturally. The product offers exceptional physical and chemical properties, making it a necessary component in several products. Its main application is alloying, especially chromium and other metals, to create stainless and heat-resistant steels. The improving technologies in mining, smelting, and refining allow lower-grade nickel ore to be processed. Further, increasing exploration activities by mining companies, driven by attractive commodity prices, are anticipated to boost the adoption of Ni metal. Moreover, increasing technological advancement in stainless steel and rising consumer expenditure over Ni-based products, including alloys and batteries, will augment the global nickel market growth during the forecast timeline.
Impact on Production and Consumption of Nickel Due to Spread of COVID-19 Hampered Market
The COVID-19 pandemic has hindered the Ni market since lockdowns, social distances, and trade bans have caused enormous disturbances in worldwide supply chains. Most industries and factories were temporarily shut down due to lockdowns in many nations, affecting the demand, production, and prices. In reaction to COVID-19, major mining companies such as Nickel Asia and Global Ferronickel Holdings halted some of their operations. Vale, a Brazilian company, has lowered its 2020 production prediction and claims a lack of adherence to current maintenance shutdown schedules. However, many governments are trying to get economies back on track. As a result, the market is estimated to stabilize in the next couple of years.
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Rapid Growth of Electric Vehicles to Surge Adoption of Batteries is a Prominent Trend
Factors such as upward demand for lightweight vehicles and rapid adoption of electric cars due to rising greenhouse emissions, technological advancements, and consumer expenditures over automobiles have boosted the automotive industry worldwide. This has further fueled the demand for batteries. Nickel is a significant component in lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars. It allows manufacturers to utilize less cobalt, which is more expensive, and has a less transparent supply chain while packing more energy into batteries. According to the Nickel Institute Organization, battery technology is progressing in line with the developing automobile industry, increasing the usage of Ni-containing Li-ion batteries. Nickel Cobalt Aluminum (NCA) and Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC), two of the most widely used batteries, contain 80% and 33% of Ni, respectively; newer NMC formulations are also reaching 80% Ni. The product is currently used in the majority of Li-ion batteries. Hence, such factors would propel the market growth.
Rising Demand for Stainless Steel Fueled Ni Metal Consumption
The increasing demand for stainless steel from the automotive, consumer goods, and construction industries will fuel product adoption. According to the Nickel Institute Organization, stainless steel accounts for more than two-thirds of global Ni consumption. The product improves the formability, weldability, and ductility of the steel. In addition, it offers corrosion resistance in some applications when used as an alloying element. The high demand for stainless steel in various industries is also attributed to its multiple characteristics such as lightweight, high tensile strength, durability, and easy fabrication. Thus, rising usage for stainless steel will surge the product demand during the forecast timeframe.
Fluctuating Prices to Hamper Market Growth
Nickel price is higher, making it an expensive raw material for various applications and end-use industries. Furthermore, the Ni metal being a commodity, its prices are determined by supply and demand and are constantly fluctuating. The high-grade Ni is a necessary component of the electric vehicle battery. The speculation about rising EV demand has pushed its prices higher. Moreover, the restrictions on the export of Indonesian nickel by the country’s government to maintain its resources have also hindered metal adoption in various applications. Hence, such factors are anticipated to restrict market growth.
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The stainless Steel Segment was the Largest Segment in 2020 due to Rising Construction and Automotive Industries
Based on application, this market is segmented into stainless steel, special steels, batteries, electroplating, alloys, and others. The stainless steel segment holds the highest nickel market share in the global market. The rapidly growing construction & automotive industries and rising consumer expenditure over stainless steel products such as tableware, cutlery, kitchen sinks, and furniture will boost the adoption of stainless steel. This would result in a rise in demand for nickel. The increasing product adoption to manufacture austenitic, including face-centered cubic crystal structured steel, which is particularly tough and pliable, will surge its demand in the special steel segment.
The advancement in Ni-containing battery technology, rapidly growing electrical & electronics industries, and increasing adoption of electric vehicles will drive the growth of the batteries segment. This, in turn, promotes the adoption of Ni metal as it aids in delivering greater storage capacity and higher energy density to the batteries at a lower cost. In the electroplating segment, the demand for nickel plating is associated with its corrosion and wear resistance properties. The product also offers adhesion properties for subsequent coating layers, thereby being used as an undercoat for different coatings. According to the Nickel Institute Organization, the best soft magnetic qualities are found in alloys with 72-83% of Ni employed in inductors, transformers, magnetic shields, magnetic amplifiers, and memory storage devices. Hence, such factors will drive product adoption during the review period.
Asia Pacific Nickel Market Size, 2020 (USD Billion)
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The market size in Asia Pacific stood at USD 26.92 billion in 2020. The increasing technological advancement in stainless steel to make it more sustainable has fueled the market growth in Asia Pacific. China holds the highest market share in this region and is the fastest-growing country. The increase is associated with the rapidly growing construction & automotive industries, rising research & development activities, and rapid infrastructure developments, contributing to fueling the product demand in China.
In stainless steel, the product in Europe is mainly utilized in electric vehicles. The swift growth of the automotive industry coupled with increasing technological advancement will fuel the product demand in this region. In North America, the U.S. is a leading country. The rapid expansion of the construction industry has fueled stainless steel production in this region. This growth is attributed to its high flexibility, good energy absorption, and explosion-resistant properties increasing the demand for Ni metal.
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In the Middle East & Africa, the consumption of the product can be seen in special steels. The ability to improve the steel's ductility and toughness at low temperatures help provide hardness and strength to the steel. The rising adoption of stainless steel and nickel alloys in implantable medical devices and orthopedic applications, including joint replacements to stents, will propel the market growth in South America.
Business Expansion is the Strategic Initiative Implemented by Companies
Key producers operating in the market are Anglo American plc, BHP, Vale, and Eramet. These companies are involved in product innovation, capacity expansion, acquisition, and collaborations in the market. Anglo-American is a mining company with a portfolio that spans nickel, platinum, diamonds, iron ore, and copper. Codemin Mine manufactures around 9,000 tons of nickel annually for the domestic market.
An Infographic Representation of Nickel Market
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The nickel industry research report provides a comprehensive analysis of the market and focuses on crucial aspects such as leading companies and applications. Also, it delivers quantitative data in volume and value, market analysis, research methodology for data, and insights into market trends. It highlights vital industry developments and the competitive landscape. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses various factors that have contributed to the growth of the market in recent years.
Value (USD Billion); Volume (Million Ton)
Application and Geography
Fortune Business Insights says that the global nickel market size was USD 33.31 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 59.14 billion by 2028.
Registering a significant CAGR of 7.3%, the market will exhibit considerable growth over the forecast period (2021-2028).
The stainless steel segment is expected to lead the market during the forecast period.
Rising adoption of stainless steel from various industries such as automotive, construction, and consumer goods is the key factor driving the market.
China held the highest share in the market in 2020.
Anglo American plc, BHP, Vale, and Eramet are the leading players in the market.
The rapid growth in automotive industry along with increasing technological advancement is anticipated to boost the consumption of the product.
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