SHANGHAI, Mar. 1(SMM) -- After the Chinese New Year Holiday, SMM conducted a survey on 36 companies with blast furnace which produced 85% of nickel metal from all companies with blast furnace.
Among the surveyed 36 companies, 53% of them produce (1.7-1.8%) NPI and 47% of them produce (4-6%) NPI. Operating rates at these companies in January were as below: average operating rates were 71.2% at 12 large companies with monthly output more than 10 kt; average operating rates were 42.4% at 8 medium sized companies with monthly output less than 10 kt; average operating rates were 32.5% at 9 small companies with monthly output less than 3 kt. High operating rates at large companies are mainly attributed to goods orders at large stainless steel mills, while low operating rates at small companies are mainly attributed to the fact that most of them were producing (1.7-1.8%) NPI and some companies were shut down for unit maintenance, dragging down the overall operating rates at small companies.
Among the 36 surveyed companies, 16 them halted production for maintenance in January, and among the 16 companies that suspended production, 69% of them produce (1.7-1.8%) NPI and 31% of them produce (4-6%) NPI. After the Chinese New Year holiday, companies that halt production gradually resumed production, 56% of them have already resumed production at present. In addition, among the 9 companies those haven't halt production and produce (1.7-1.8%) NPI, 4 of them or 33% of them may convert to produce (4-6%) NPI. It is expected that tight supply of (4-6%) NPI may be eased after mid-March.
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