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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1977
Year 1977, Volume 1 (1977)

Corrick, John D.
Nickel,   pp. 657-671 ff. PDF (1.9 MB)


Page 657

  657Nickel 
By John D. Corrick' 
 The nickel situation during 1977 was marked by depressed demand, which led
to unstable prices, increased stocks held by producers, and production cutbacks.
Consumers were able to reduce their stocks to very low levels because of
the oversupply situation. Major nickel producers announced plans during the
latter part of 1977 to reduce production in an attempt to lower operating
costs and nickelinventories. 
 Domestic nickel consumption stagnated at a level about 5% below that of
1976. Consumer-held stocks reached their lowest level in nearly 6 years as
consumers took advantage of the oversupply situation that plagued major nickel
producers. By reducing inventories, nickel consumers were able to free considerable
capital for other uses. The share of ferronickel and nickel oxide of the
total U.S. market in 1977 increased at the expense of pure unwrought nickel.
The pattern of nickel consumption remained essentially unchanged in 1977
from the 
previous years. 
 The lower-than-anticipated demand for nickel in 1977 resulted in the price
of cathode nickel being decreased on July 25 from $2.41 per pound to $2.20
per pound. Additional price reductions occurred until December, when most
major nickel producers announced support of a $2.08-perpound price for cathode
nickel that would extend through the first quarter of 1978. 
 World trade in nickel was somewhat hampered by the lack of demand. Imports
of nickel into the United States in 1977 decreased 11% when compared with
those of 1976. Leading suppliers of nickel to the United States, in descending
order, were Canada, Norway, New Caledonia, the Dominican Republic, Botswana,
and the Philippines. Japanese importers attempted to reduce the quantities
of nickel ore and ferronickel previously ordered from various producer nations
for delivery in 1977. 
Table 1.—Salient nickel statistics 
(Short tons, contained nickel) 
1973 
1974 
1975 
1976 
1977 
United States: 
Mine production'                         Plant production: 
Domesticores                         
Importedmaterials                     
Secondary                            
Exports(grossweight)                      
Imports for consumption  
Consumption                             
Stocks, Dec. 31: Consumer                    
  Price cents per pouncLworld: Mine production                        
18,272 
13,895 
~ 
32,629 
22,070 
190,418 
197,723 
28,759 
153 
782,588 
16,618 
14,093 
226 
20,930 
30,442 
220,655 
208,409 
45,291 
153-201 
849,257 
16,987 
14,343 
7,978 
17,880 
30,121 
160,507 
146,495 
35,485 
201-220 r890 532 
16,469 
13,869 
20,070 
13,273 
r47,166 
188,147 
162,927 
r31 690 220 
r904 680 
14,347 
12,897 
24,757 
12,349 
39,412 
167,111 
155,260 
18,638 
241-208 
851,647 
r&V~ed 
' Mine shipments. 


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