Top Nickel Exporters by Country

Nickels, pennies (courtesy of

Nickels, pennies (Pixabay)

Nickel exports by country totaled US$2.1 billion in 2017, down by -52.6% for all nickel shippers over the five-year period starting in 2013. Globally, the value of exported nickel increased by 5.6% from 2016 to 2017.

Resistant to corrosion, nickel is used in stainless steel, magnets, coins, rechargeable batteries as well as plating on plumbing fixtures and a green tint in glass.

Among continents, Asian countries accounted for the highest dollar worth of exported nickel during 2017 with shipments valued at 39.9% of the global total. In second place were Oceania exporters at 26% led by New Caledonia and Australia while 16.2% of worldwide nickel shipments originated from North America followed by 13.2% from Europe. Smaller percentages came from Latin America (3.1%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Africa (1.6%).

The 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 2604 for nickel ores and concentrates.

Top Nickel Exports by Country

Top 15

Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of nickel during 2017.

  1. Philippines: US$685.3 million (32.1% of total nickel exports)
  2. New Caledonia: $341.8 million (16%)
  3. United States: $241.7 million (11.3%)
  4. Australia: $213.4 million (10%)
  5. Finland: $175.8 million (8.2%)
  6. Indonesia: $155.2 million (7.3%)
  7. Canada: $104.9 million (4.9%)
  8. Guatemala: $66.2 million (3.1%)
  9. Belgium: $58.3 million (2.7%)
  10. Zimbabwe: $35.1 million (1.6%)
  11. Russia: $28.5 million (1.3%)
  12. Turkey: $9.2 million (0.4%)
  13. Germany: $9 million (0.4%)
  14. Netherlands: $7.2 million (0.3%)
  15. Macedonia: $1.8 million (0.1%)

The listed 15 countries shipped 99.8% of all nickel exports in 2017 by value.

Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing nickel exporters since 2013 were: Netherlands (up 143,600%), Belgium (up 18,104%), Germany (up 8,232%) and Canada (up 6,011%).

Those countries that posted declines in their exported nickel sales were led by: Indonesia (down -90.8%), Zimbabwe (down -89.3%), Australia (down -76.5%), Philippines (down -32.7%) and Finland (down 26.6%).


The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for nickel during 2017. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s exported nickel and its import purchases for that same commodity.

  1. Philippines: US$685.3 million (net export surplus down -32.7% since 2013)
  2. New Caledonia: $341.8 million (up 75%)
  3. United States: $241.3 million (up 4,463%)
  4. Australia: $206.5 million (down -77.2%)
  5. Indonesia: $155.2 million (down -90.8%)
  6. Guatemala: $66.2 million (up 129.6%)
  7. Finland: $46.1 million (reversing a -$217.4 million deficit)
  8. Zimbabwe: $35.1 million (down -89.3%)
  9. Belgium: $23.5 million (reversing a -$1.6 million deficit)
  10. Russia: $18.7 million (reversing a -$46.4 million deficit)
  11. Turkey: $9.2 million (up 107.3%)
  12. Germany: $6.2 million (reversing a -$2.8 million deficit)
  13. Singapore: $665,000 (down -21.6%)
  14. Norway: $446,000 (down -76%)
  15. Spain: $422,000 (down -99.5%)

The Philippines had the highest surplus in the international trade of nickel. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms strong Filipino competitive advantage for this specific product category.


The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for nickel during 2017. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s imported nickel purchases and its exports for that same commodity.

  1. China: -US$2.1 billion (net export deficit down -59.2% since 2013)
  2. South Korea: -$194.4 million (up 25%)
  3. Japan: -$189.2 million (down -40.9%)
  4. Canada: -$96.6 million (down -46.3%)
  5. Ukraine: -$64.2 million (down -51%)
  6. Macedonia: -$29.2 million (down -70.7%)
  7. India: -$2.9 million (down -87.1%)
  8. British Virgin Islands: -$1.8 million (no 2013 data)
  9. Madagascar: -$1.4 million (no 2013 data)
  10. France: -$362,000 (down -83.4%)
  11. United Kingdom: -$201,000 (down -98.3%)
  12. Austria: -$57,000 (down -29.6%)
  13. Portugal: -$47,000 (reversing a -$1,000 deficit)
  14. Montenegro: -$23,000 (no 2013 data)
  15. Romania: -$17,000 (no 2013 data)

China incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of nickel. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights China’s competitive disadvantage for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for nickel-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand.


Nickel Producing Companies

Below are 10 of the largest nickel producers that represent established players engaged in the international trade of nickel. Their home country for each company’s headquarters is shown within parenthesis.

  • Norilsk Nickel (Russia)
  • Vale (Brazil)
  • BHP Billiton (Australia)
  • Jinchuan Group (China)
  • Glencore (Switzerland)
  • Sherritt International (Canada)
  • Eramet (France)
  • Sumitomo Metal Mining (Japan)
  • Anglo American (UK/South Africa)
  • Minara Resources (Australia)

According to global trading platform Alibaba, the following suppliers are also examples of nickel ore exporters. The home-country location for each business is shown within parentheses:

  • Philminerals Inc (Philippines)
  • Zeil Global Enterprises (United States)
  • Metores Oy (Finland)
  • Cornerstone (Indonesia)
  • Osho Metal Ve Madencilik (Turkey)
  • FENI Industries (Macedonia)


Searchable List of Nickel Exporting Countries

You can change the presentation order by clicking the triangle icon at the top of the columns.

RankExporter2017 Nickel Exports% World Total
1.Philippines$685.3 million32.1%
2.New Caledonia$341.8 million16%
3.United States$241.7 million11.3%
4.Australia$213.4 million10%
5.Finland$175.8 million8.2%
6.Indonesia$155.2 million7.3%
7.Canada$104.9 million4.9%
8.Guatemala$66.2 million3.1%
9.Belgium$58.3 million2.7%
10.Zimbabwe$35.1 million1.6%
11.Russia$28.5 million1.3%
12.Turkey$9.2 million0.4%
13.Germany$9.0 million0.4%
14.Netherlands$7.2 million0.3%
15.Macedonia$1.8 million0.1%
19.South Korea$381,0000.02%
23.Papua New Guinea$203,0000.01%
25.United Kingdom$96,0000.004%
34.South Africa$2,0000.0001%

See also Top Aluminum Exporters by Country, Iron Ore Exports by Country, Top Stainless Steel Exporters by Country and Copper Ore Exports by Country

Research Sources:
Alibaba, Supplier showroom for nickel. Accessed on September 14, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 14, 2018

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on September 14, 2018

The Balance, The 10 Biggest Nickel Producers of 2013. Accessed on September 14, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on September 14, 2018

Wikipedia, Nickel. Accessed on September 14, 2018