Bloomberg News

Nickel Export Tax Won’t Curb Russian Supply, CRU Analyst Says

December 21, 2009

Russia’s decision to re-introduce an export tax on nickel will not lower supply from the world’s largest producer of the metal, said London-based researcher CRU.

Producers of nickel will pay a 5 percent duty to sell their metal abroad in a month, Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, said today by phone after the decree was published in the official Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper. The government suspended the charge in January after a price slump.

Vanessa Davidson, managing consultant for the nickel and chrome group at CRU, spoke today in a phone interview.

On supply and exports:

“Russia is such a big producer. It has a lot, a lot more nickel than they could ever use internally. If they are going to produce it, they need to export it. It’s not like they can divert the material to local consumers because there is so much of it.”

On the impact on producers:

“I doubt whether 5 percent is a lot to producers. Norilsk Nickel is one of the lowest-cost producers in the world. I’m not sure whether it’s going to be very significant.”

On the outlook for production:

“This year, Russia is going to produce 250,000 metric tons of nickel, a bit less than last year. The amount that Russia produces is coming down over the year and it peaked in 2006 at 275,000 tons.”

-- With assistance from Denis Maternovsky and Maria Kolesnikova in Moscow. Editors: M. Shankar,

To contact the reporter on this story: Chanyaporn Chanjaroen in London at cchanjaroen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stuart Wallace at swallace6@bloomberg.net


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