Russian non-ferrous metal manufacturers have export prospects

3 december 2019 | Rossiyskaya Gazeta

The stable demand of China, the slowdown of global economic activity, trade differences between the United States, the European Union, and China, and the Federal Reserve Board’s decision to ease the monetary policy have had an impact on the global non-ferrous metal market in 2019. Head of the Analytical Center’s Department for Sectors of Economy Grigory Mikryukov has described the market situation and prospects opening up for our country in an interview with the newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Grigoriy Mikryukov
Grigoriy Mikryukov
Department for Sectors of Economy

“Russia has a strong position on this market: our country is a major global manufacturer of non-ferrous metals. According to Bloomberg, Rusal ranked second by aluminum output in 2018, after Aluminum Corporation of China, while Norilsk Nickel ranked the world’s fifth producer of refined nickel, and refined copper manufacturers occupied the fifth position. Russia ranks the world’s sixth aluminum exporter with a market share of 3.4%.

North America and the European Union are the main markets for aluminum exports. The global aluminum market situation is not the most favorable: over the first nine months of 2019, the growth of global demand for primary metal practically dipped to zero much because of the slowing down industrial production, including low demand for cars.

The EU will continue to increase aluminum consumption in the car and transport machine building sectors: Bloomberg expects metal consumption in these areas to rise by 10% within the next five to ten years. According to its forecast, consumption of aluminum by North America’s car industry will grow by 36.8% to an average amount of 248 kilograms per vehicle by 2025. Nonetheless, exports to the United States are currently facing significant trade restrictions imposed by the U.S. president’s policy of returning key production facilities to the national territory.

The Philippines and Indonesia are the world’s biggest suppliers of nickel ore. Russia ranks the world’s third largest exporter of nickel with a market share of 10.2%. In the first nine months of the year, Russian exports of nickel and nickel products increased by 11.5% compared to the relevant period of 2018. An important competitive advantage of Russian nickel is its purity: storage batteries are using nothing but pure refined nickel instead of stainless steel or ferronickel made in Indonesia and China.

Russian copper exports went up 10-11% in 2017-2018, and dipped by 9.3% year-on-year in the first nine months of this year. Russia controls 3.3% of the market (the world’s 7th position), yet Russian manufacturers have a potential for further enlargement of exports on condition of expanding and modernizing domestic production facilities.”

Source: Rossiyskaya Gazeta