Category: Commodities

Nickel Journal

Nickel ended at US$17,701 per ton in London Metal Exchange (LME) Tuesday (June 22). While way below its peak this year, the commodity remains in a profitable range for most Indonesian smelters, where some reported cash cost around US$8,000 per ton. Strong sales performance of electric vehicle, particularly in Europe, continues to support nickel, main precursor of EV battery.

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Oil & Gas Journal

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rebounded to above $70 a barrel on Thursday, hovering at levels not seen since 2018, as investors focus on prospects of strong oil demand. OPEC said in its June report that oil demand would rise by 5.95 million bpd this year, unchanged from its May forecast.

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EVolution Continues to Support Metals

Nickel closed higher at US$18,142 per ton in London Metal Exchange (LME) Tuesday (May 18), thanks among others to positive development in the global electric vehicle market. Copper and tin, two other important metals for EV battery, were also strong at US$10,465 and US$32,261 per ton. 

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Freeport & Papua Economy

Papua is among few provinces with positive economic growth last year, thanks to recovery of PT Freeport Indonesia’s gold and copper operations. Papua grew 2.32%, whilst lower than North Maluku (+4.92%) and Central Sulawesi (+4.86%), home to the country’s nickel smelters and steel investments. 

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Antam: Strong Q1, but lots of issues to settle

Aneka Tambang (ANTM) reported net profit of Rp630 billion in the first quarter of 2021 against net loss of Rp281.8 billion in the corresponding period last year, thanks to higher volume and average prices of metals. Still, there are lots of issues that should be immediately settled, including receivables from Bakrie Group and commercial operation of ferronickel smelter in Halmahera Timur (FeNi Haltim).

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Q1/21 Results: PTBA & ADRO

State coal producer Bukit Asam (PTBA) booked a net profit of Rp510 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021, declined 2020, declined 43.9% from Rp4909 billion in the corresponding period of 2020. Revenue fell 23.5% to year on year (y/y), and gross profit declined 33.3% to Rp1.02 trillion. Operating profit also dropped 52.5% to Rp514.5 billion. 

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The FeNiHaltim Construction Standstill

State-owned (BUMN) mining company PT Aneka Tambang Tbk (ANTM) has been constructing a ferronickel smelter with an annual production capacity of 13,500 tons of nickel in ferronickel (TNi) in Halmahera Timur, Maluku Utara, since 2012. The so-called FeNiHaltim project has made ANTM shell out at least 3.5 trillion rupiah from its own coffers and additional state capital placement. The project is supposedly over 90 percent completed, but it still can’t be completely wrapped up—the reason: electricity supply.

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A Faster EV-olution

France, the second largest auto market in Europe, recorded market share of 16.1% from plug-in cars last month. In the first quarter of 2021, the country recorded market share of 13.95% from all plug-in cars, jumped from 9.69% only in the corresponding period of 2020. Germany, the largest auto market, meanwhile, reported an even more impressive market share at 22.5% against 9.2% only in March 2020. 

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EV Battery Race

Minister of state-owned enterprises Erick Thohir, minister of foreign affairs Retno Marsudi, and minister of trade M Lutfi were in China late last week to meet various companies in the country related to the ambitious US$5 billion partnership with Indonesian Battery Company (IBC)—-a consortium of state companies Aneka Tambang (ANTM), Pertamina, PLN, and MIND ID. 

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The EV Disruption & Tsingshan

Tsingshan’s announcement of a disruptive technology converting nickel ore into nickel sulphate—-precursor for electric vehicle battery—-via matte has largely been considered responsible for recent correction of nickel price from as high as US$19,689 on February 22 to as low as US$15,907 per ton on March 9. While the technology will likely change the supply side of nickel sulphate, question remains as to whether it will be fast enough to cope with the growing demand side.

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