nickel drop, switch to manganese

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    The future for nickel: analyst

    Monday, January 31, 2005
    THE price of nickel is forecast to drop to around US$12,000 a tonne because of declining stainless steel production, according to an industry consultant.

    Markus Moll from Steel & Metals Market Research told Reuters that the high nickel price had seen many appliance makers switch to products such as series 200 stainless which uses manganese rather than nickel as its key additive.

    "As a result of that, and increased nickel production from various brownfield projects, nickel should become cheaper," Moll said.

    Another factor in the market was the planned start-up of the giant Voisey's Bay mine in Canada next year plus higher output from Cuba, which has predicted a 10% increase in output to 77,000 tonnes next year.

    Moll also forecast a tight market for stainless steel scrap with shortages in Asia and North America and a balanced market in Europe.
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