Globally exported nickel accelerated by 52.5% for all shippers of nickel over the 5-year period starting from $2.87 billion in 2018.
Year over year, the value of nickel exported worldwide dropped by an average -16.1% compared to $5.22 billion during 2021.
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.
By value, the world’s 5 biggest nickel exporters are the Philippines, New Caledonia, Russia, Finland and the United States of America. Collectively, those 5 international suppliers generated about three-quarters (75.4%) of the overall dollar spend on exported nickel ores or concentrates during 2022.
Among continents, nickel suppliers located in Asian countries exported the highest dollar worth of shiny metal during 2022 with shipments valued at $1.3 billion or 29.1% of the worldwide total. In second place were nickel exporters in Oceania’s New Caledonia and Australia at 26.1%, trailed by suppliers in Europe at another 18.8%.
Smaller percentages came from North America (12%), Latin America (8.7%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Africa (5.3%).
For research purposes, the 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 2604 for nickel ores and concentrates.
Top Nickel Exporters by Country
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of nickel during 2022.
- Philippines: US$1.3 billion (28.8% of total nickel exports)
- New Caledonia: $907.5 million (20.7%)
- Russia: $445.5 million (10.2%)
- Finland: $357.7 million (8.2%)
- United States: $328.7 million (7.5%)
- Brazil: $321.1 million (7.3%)
- Australia: $232.3 million (5.3%)
- Canada: $196.9 million (4.5%)
- Zambia: $119.2 million (2.7%)
- Ivory Coast: $88.4 million (2%)
- Guatemala: $60.1 million (1.4%)
- Zimbabwe: $14.4 million (0.3%)
- Türkiye: $11.3 million (0.3%)
- Tanzania: $9.2 million (0.2%)
- Germany: $6.4 million (0.15%)
By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 99.6% of globally exported nickel in 2022.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing nickel exporters since 2021 were: Germany (up 910.2%), Tanzania (up 270.2%), Canada (up 66.4%) and Russia (up 48.5%).
Five countries posted declines in their exported nickel sales, namely: Zimbabwe (down -98.6% from 2021), Australia (down -47.8%), Guatemala (down -36.3%), Türkiye (down -26.1%) and the Philippines (down -13.5%).
Countries Generating Greatest Surpluses from Global Nickel Trade
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for nickel during 2022. 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.
- Philippines: US$1.3 billion (down -13.5% since 2021)
- New Caledonia: $907.5 million (up 12.6%)
- Russia: $445.5 million (up 48.5%)
- United States of America: $328.6 million (up 32.1%)
- Brazil: $317.3 million (up 34.1%)
- Australia: $225.8 million (down -49.1%)
- Zambia: $119.2 million (up 42.7%)
- Ivory Coast: $88.4 million (up 24.7%)
- Guatemala: $60.1 million (down -36.3%)
- Zimbabwe: $14.4 million (down -98.6%)
- Finland: $11.4 million (down -78.8%)
- Türkiye: $11.3 million (down -26.1%)
- Tanzania: $9.2 million (up 270.2%)
- Norway: $2.7 million (down -32.7%)
- Germany: $2.5 million (reversing a -$3.8 million deficit)
The Philippines generated the highest surplus in the international trade of nickel. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms the strong Filipino competitive advantage for this specific product category.
Countries Incurring Worst Deficits from Global Nickel Trade
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for nickel during 2022. 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.
- mainland China: -US$4.5 billion (up 2.6% since 2020)
- South Korea: -$382.2 million (up 12.2%)
- Canada: -$306.9 million (up 22%)
- Japan: -$285.7 million (down -0.6%)
- North Macedonia: -$58.4 million (down -45.7%)
- Ukraine: -$15.4 million (down -73.8%)
- Cyprus: -$10.5 million (down -55.6%)
- Dominican Republic: -$3.9 million (down -31.3%)
- Indonesia: -$2.3 million (up 23,080%)
- South Africa: -$1.8 million (up 5.1%)
- Czech Republic: -$802,000 (up 389%)
- Greece: -$452,000 (up 65.6%)
- Portugal: -$320,000 (up 67.5%)
- Vietnam: -$293,000 (up 388.3%)
The People’s Republic of 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.
Major Exporters by Greatest Volume of Nickel Shipments by Weight
The following ranking reveals which counties exported the biggest volumes of nickel during 2022 in terms of shipment tonnage.
All told, these 15 major suppliers generated 99.98% of the total 49.3 million tons of globally exported nickel in 2022.
- Philippines: 43,384,336 tons of nickel (80.2% of world’s total)
- New Caledonia: 6,839,376 tons (12.6%)
- Guatemala: 2,419,422 tons (4.5%)
- Ivory Coast: 272,473 tons (0.5%)
- Turkey: 261,846 tons (0.5%)
- Russia: 251,981 tons (0.5%)
- Australia: 217,546 tons (0.4%)
- Finland: 186,027 tons (0.3%)
- Brazil: 119,796 tons (0.2%)
- Zimbabwe: 36,186 tons (0.1%)
- Zambia: 34,659 tons (0.1%)
- United States of America: 33,050 tons (0.1%)
- Norway: 9,875 tons (0.02%)
- Canada: 6,323 tons (0.01%)
- Tanzania: 5,413 tons (0.01%)
Fastest-growing nickel shippers as measured by weight are Taiwan (up 13,603% from 2021), Tanzania (up 365.6%), Canada (up 52.6%) then the United States of America (up 28.6%).
Declining by the highest percentages compared to 2021 were Zimbabwe (down -97%), Australia (down -47.6%), Norway (down -44.9%), Türkiye (down -33.9%) and Guatemala (down -31.7%).
Average Unit Prices for Nickel Exports
Focusing on the 15 main countries that export nickel based on total sales revenues, the costliest suppliers are Canada and the United States of America.
Four major suppliers from which to buy the least expensive nickel on international markets are the Philippines, Guatemala, Ivory Coast and Türkiye.
- Philippines: US$33 per ton of nickel (down -2.9% from 2021)
- New Caledonia: $138 per ton (up 22.1%)
- Russia: $1,881 per ton (up 58.1%)
- United States of America: $7,736 per ton (up 2.7%)
- Brazil: $2,541 per ton (up 28.3%)
- Australia: $2,039 per ton (down -0.3%)
- Canada: $20,405 per ton (up 9%)
- Zambia: $3,253 per ton (up 34.9%)
- Ivory Coast: $47 per ton (up 2.2%)
- Guatemala: $36 per ton (down -7.7%)
- Zimbabwe: $2,745 per ton (down -53.9%)
- Türkiye: $65 per ton (up 12.1%)
- Tanzania: $364 per ton (down -20.5%)
- Germany: $5,318 per ton (up 376.5%)
- Belgium: $2,154 per ton (up 28.3%)
- Norway: $488 per ton (up 22%)
The highest levels of inflation calculated for greater average prices per ton of exported nickel belong to suppliers in Germany (up 376.5%), Russia (up 58.1%), Zambia (up 34.9%), Brazil (up 28.3%) and Belgium (also up 28.3%).
There were two double-digit decliners in terms of average prices year over year. The lowest average prices were offered by nickel sellers in Zimbabwe (down -53.9% since 2021) and Tanzania (down -20.5%).
Major 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.
- Anglo American (UK/South Africa)
- BHP Billiton (Australia)
- Eramet (France)
- Glencore (Switzerland)
- Jinchuan Group (China)
- Minara Resources (Australia)
- Norilsk Nickel (Russia)
- Sherritt International (Canada)
- Sumitomo Metal Mining (Japan)
- Vale (Brazil)
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.
- Cornerstone (Indonesia)
- FENI Industries (Macedonia)
- Metores Oy (Finland)
- Osho Metal Ve Madencilik (Turkey)
- Philminerals Inc (Philippines)
- Zeil Global Enterprises (United States)
Searchable List of Nickel Exporting Countries in 2022
The 42 countries showcased in the automated database below sold 100% of globally exported nickel ores or concentrates during 2022.
You can change the presentation order by clicking the triangle icon at the top of the columns.
An entry of 0% in the right-most column means that 2021 data was unavailable.
See also Iron Ore Exports by Country, Top Stainless Steel Exporters by Country and Copper Ore Exports by Country
Alibaba, Supplier showroom for nickel. Accessed on August 12, 2023
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on August 12, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 12, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 12, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 12, 2023
The Balance, The 10 Biggest Nickel Producers of 2013. Accessed on August 12, 2023
Wikipedia, Nickel. Accessed on August 12, 2023