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Jakarta Post

Ban on unrefined nickel exports positive in long run: Economist

  • Norman Harsono
    Norman Harsono

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Mon, October 28, 2019   /  11:02 am
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Heavy equipment is in use at a nickel mining site.(Kontan/Cheppy A. Muchlis)

The government’s controversial move to bring forward a ban on the export of unprocessed nickel is a long-term play that will only work if accompanied by the development of the downstream nickel industry and regulatory certainty, an economist has said. Enrico Tanuwidjaja, economist at Singapore-based United Overseas Bank (UOB), said a turnaround was possible, because domestic and global demand for refined nickel would rise over the years amid increased demand for electric vehicles and higher nickel content in batteries. “This [turnaround] would bring about more stability in the rupiah and opens up room for a lower interest rate environment in the country,” writes Enrico in a macroeconomic note released on Oct. 21. In the short term, the ban would cut exports by US$65 million each month, but Enrico maintained that such a cut was “relatively small” and...