Brazil ramps up purchases of critical metal from Russia

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Brazil’s imports of Russian nickel reached $11.1 million in July, the highest amount since 2005, according to RIA Novosti, citing government data.

According to the outlet’s analysis, supplies have more than doubled since June. In absolute terms, Brazil’s Russian nickel imports increased to 435.9 tons in July, the highest level since July 2019.

In July, Russia was the largest supplier of nickel to the South American country, followed by Norway with $10.4 million in deliveries and the United States with $7.3 million. Germany ($4.7 million) and South Africa ($3 million) rounded out the top five.

Nickel is a vital component of lithium-ion batteries and is used in everything from home appliances to electric cars, as well as in the production of stainless steel.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), if nations accomplish the Paris Climate Agreement’s targets of lowering greenhouse gas emissions and limiting global warming to pre-industrial levels, demand for nickel could increase nineteenfold by 2040.

Russia accounts for about 10% of the world’s nickel supply. Norilsk Nickel, a state-owned enterprise, ranks first in the world in terms of high-grade nickel production, with a market share of more than 20%.

Due to EU and US sanctions, Moscow has shifted its metal exports from Western countries to alternative markets. Priority destinations for Russian exports, according to Trade Minister Denis Manturov, are China, Turkey, South East Asia, member states of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, and CIS countries. Russia will also target the Latin American, African, and Middle Eastern markets, according to Manturov.