Nickel Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

The Nickel Market is segmented by Application (Stainless Steel, Alloys, Plating, Casting, Batteries, and Other Applications) and Geography (Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, South America, and Middle-East and Africa).

Nickel Market Snapshot

Nickel Market Overview
Study Period: 2016 - 2026
Base Year: 2021
Fastest Growing Market: Asia Pacific
Largest Market: Asia Pacific
CAGR: >5 %
Nickel Market Key Players

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Market Overview

The nickel market was valued at around 2.3 million ton in 2020, and the market is projected to register a CAGR of more than 5% during the forecast period (2021-2026).

The nickel market growth is hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, as lockdowns, social distances, and trade sanctions have triggered massive disruptions to global supply chain networks. Due to lockdowns in various countries, most of the industries or factories were temporarily shut down and have impacted the demand and price of nickel. Major mining companies like Nickel Asia and Global Ferronickel Holdings suspended some of their operations in response to COVID-19. Brazil’s Vale had cut its 2020 guidance by up to 20,000 metric ton, citing limited ability to keep current maintenance shutdown schedules.

  • Over the medium term, the growth of the nickel market is likely to be driven by the increasing demand for nickel in stainless steel alloys. Currently, about two-thirds of nickel sold each year goes into stainless steel. Also, increasing demand for nickel in automobile batteries, energy storage systems in wind turbines, or solar panels at a lower cost is the major driving factor for the market growth.
  • Stringent environmental regulations and possible health risks due to increasing sulfur dioxide emissions from the nickel melting process and volatility in nickel prices are likely to hinder the market’s growth.
  • The growing popularity of electric vehicles is likely to act as an opportunity in the future.
  • Asia-Pacific is expected to dominate the nickel market in the future, due to the high consumption rate of nickel and the presence of large stainless steel manufacturing companies and battery manufacturers in this region. Furthermore, burgeoning demand in China and India is expected to boost the prospects of the metal market.

Scope of the Report

Nickel is a chemical element and a transition metal, mostly used for high-grade steel manufacturing. The nickel market is segmented by application and geography. By application, the market is segmented into stainless steel, alloys, plating, casting, batteries, and other applications. The report also covers the market size and forecasts for the Nickel market in 15 countries across major regions. For each segment, the market sizing and forecasts have been done on the basis of volume (kiloton).

By Application
Stainless Steel
Other Applications
South Korea
Rest of Asia-Pacific
North America
United States
United Kingdom
Rest of Europe
South America
Rest of South America
Middle-East and Africa
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
Rest of Middle-East and Africa

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Key Market Trends

Increasing Demand for Stainless Steel

  • Owing to its corrosion resistance, durability, and abundance in availability, stainless steel is used in various sectors, including food and beverage, construction, aerospace, transport, medical, chemical, etc.
  • Nickel plays a crucial role in the manufacture of stainless steel. It is one of the major commercial grades of alloys used in stainless steel production. Nickel alloying holds for almost two-third of the stainless-steel production process across the world.
  • Also, one of the key advantages of nickel in stainless steel is in stabilizing the austenitic structure of steel at room temperature. In general, 8% of nickel is present in the commonly used grade of stainless steel.
  • Furthermore, the addition of chromium decreases the toughness of steel, and nickel compensates for the decrease in toughness. Chromium also induces ferromagnetism in steel which is not desired in some of the applications, and thus, nickel helps in countering this problem.
  • Chinese stainless-steel mills consume more than half of the primary nickel. Other major stainless-steel producing regions are smaller than China and fulfill a greater share of their nickel requirements from stainless steel scrap than from primary sources.
  • Owing to the above-mentioned factors, the demand in the nickel market is likely to increase in the future.
Nickel Market Share

Asia-Pacific to Dominate the Market

  • Asia-Pacific holds the major share in the consumption of nickel. This is primarily due to the presence of large stainless-steel manufacturing companies and battery manufacturers.
  • The major nickel ore concentrations in the Philippines, New Caledonia, Australia, Indonesia, and China are instrumental to making the region the largest producer of nickel. The flow of Indonesian nickel pig iron (NPI) to China’s stainless steel sector mushroomed from just 600,000 metric ton in 2018 to 2.7 million metric ton last year.
  • The Philippine Nickel Industry Association and the power battery committee of the China Industrial Association of Power Sources recently signed a pact of strategic cooperation. The agreement paves the way for a possible collaboration on a nickel-industry roadmap for the Philippines, as well as information sharing on policies, trading, and investment for nickel ore that will impact the production of batteries for electric vehicles.
  • China is rich in sulfide nickel resources, which are mainly distributed in Northwest, Southwest, and Northeast China. The proportion of retained reserves in the total reserves of the country is 76.8%, 12.1%, and 4.9%, respectively. In terms of provinces (regions), Gansu has the largest reserves, accounting for 62% of the total nickel reserves in China, followed by Xinjiang, Yunnan, Jilin, Hubei, and Sichuan.
  • Furthermore, the increasing consumption level of nickel in China is also expected to boost the market in the region, as it alone accounts for the highest share of the world’s nickel demand.
  • China is the global leader in the electric car market, with the sales of new electric vehicles being four times higher than that of the United States. The Chinese central government’s principal policies to promote electric vehicles are expected to increase the demand for nickel in the country.
  • In 2019, each Chinese vehicle manufacturer and importer was required to make or import at least 10% electric vehicles. These regulations apply to any company that manufactures or imports more than 30,000 vehicles in China. Companies that fail to achieve the required percentages may purchase credits from companies that over-comply.
  • Due to the impact of COVID-19, the demand for nickel has reduced from many end-use applications. However, with recovery expected in 2021, the demand for nickel is expected to grow in the region during the forecast period.
Nickel Market Growth Rate By Region

Competitive Landscape

The nickel market is fragmented. The major companies include Norilsk Nickel, Vale, BHP, Jinchuan Group International Resources Co. Ltd, and Glencore.

Recent Developments

  • In June 2020, BHP agreed to acquire the Honeymoon Well Nickel Project comprising the Honeymoon Well development project and a 50% interest in the Albion Downs North and Jericho exploration joint ventures from MPI Nickel Pty Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel Australian Holdings BV.
  • In August 2019, Vale Indonesia announced to invest USD 5 billion in nickel projects with its partners in the coming years, including USD 2.5 billion in battery-grade nickel plant projects with Japan’ Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd and China’ Qingshan Holding Group.

Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study




    1. 4.1 Drivers

      1. 4.1.1 Rising Demand for Corrosion Resistant Alloys in the Oil and Gas Industry

      2. 4.1.2 Other Drivers

    2. 4.2 Restraints

      1. 4.2.1 Volatility in the Supply Demand Scenario

      2. 4.2.2 Environmental Considerations During Mining Activities

      3. 4.2.3 Unfavorable Conditions Arising Due to the COVID-19 Outbreak

    3. 4.3 Industry Value Chain Analysis

    4. 4.4 Porter's Five Forces Analysis

      1. 4.4.1 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      2. 4.4.2 Bargaining Power of Consumers

      3. 4.4.3 Threat of New Entrants

      4. 4.4.4 Threat of Substitute Products and Services

      5. 4.4.5 Degree of Competition


    1. 5.1 By Application

      1. 5.1.1 Stainless Steel

      2. 5.1.2 Alloys

      3. 5.1.3 Plating

      4. 5.1.4 Casting

      5. 5.1.5 Batteries

      6. 5.1.6 Other Applications

    2. 5.2 Geography

      1. 5.2.1 Asia-Pacific

        1. China

        2. India

        3. Japan

        4. South Korea

        5. Rest of Asia-Pacific

      2. 5.2.2 North America

        1. United States

        2. Canada

        3. Mexico

      3. 5.2.3 Europe

        1. Germany

        2. United Kingdom

        3. Italy

        4. France

        5. Rest of Europe

      4. 5.2.4 South America

        1. Brazil

        2. Argentina

        3. Rest of South America

      5. 5.2.5 Middle-East and Africa

        1. Saudi Arabia

        2. South Africa

        3. Rest of Middle-East and Africa


    1. 6.1 Mergers and Acquisitions, Joint Ventures, Collaborations, and Agreements

    2. 6.2 Market Share/Ranking Analysis**

    3. 6.3 Strategies Adopted by Leading Players

    4. 6.4 Company Profiles

      1. 6.4.1 Anglo American

      2. 6.4.2 BHP

      3. 6.4.3 Cunico Corp.

      4. 6.4.4 Eramet


      6. 6.4.6 Jinchuan Group International Resources Co. Ltd

      7. 6.4.7 Norilsk Nickel

      8. 6.4.8 Pacific Metal Company


      10. 6.4.10 Sherritt International Corporation

      11. 6.4.11 Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd

      12. 6.4.12 Terrafame

      13. 6.4.13 Vale

      14. 6.4.14 Votorantim

      15. 6.4.15 Glencore

    5. *List Not Exhaustive

    1. 7.1 Growing Popularity of Electric Vehicles

    2. 7.2 Emerging Application in the Medical Industry

**Subject to Availability

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Nickel Market market is studied from 2016 - 2026.

The Nickel Market is growing at a CAGR of >5% over the next 5 years.

Asia Pacific is growing at the highest CAGR over 2021- 2026.

Asia Pacific holds highest share in 2020.

Norilsk Nickel, Vale, BHP, Jinchuan Group International Resources Co. Ltd, Glencore are the major companies operating in Nickel Market.

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