SHANGHAI, Mar. 23 (SMM) --
According to data from General Administration of Customs on March 22nd, China's imports of refined nickel in February were 12.24 kt, down 3.52% YoY, and down 24.5% MoM. YTD imports were 28.462 kt, up 40.13% YoY.
The sharp decline of refined nickel importing volumes is mainly due to the fact that most downstream producers were off on Chinese New Year holiday in February. In addition, low domestic/LME nickel price ratio is another reason behind decline of importing volumes. According to SMM record, average monthly domestic nickel prices were RMB 7,817/mt lower than LME nickel prices in January, while domestic nickel prices were gradually higher than LME nickel prices from February 5th to February 12th, resulting in relatively brisk importing sentiment.
However, as LME nickel prices roared after February 22nd, a large amount of nickel stored before the Chinese New Year holiday entered the market given the high profit. In this context, domestic/LME nickel price ratio slumped, and losses of imported nickel were basically exceeding RMB 10,000/mt or even amounting to RMB 20,000/mt. It is expected that imports of refined nickel may even lower in March.
China's imports of nickel ore in February were 0.95 million mt, up 55.33% YoY and down 17.7% MoM. YTD imports were 2.1 million mt, up 88.1% YoY. The MoM decline of nickel ore importing volumes is mainly attributed to the ongoing rainy season in Southeast Asia as well as fluctuation trend of nickel prices. In addition, most shipping companies were off on holiday, so few shipps were sailed out, and imports of nickel ore reduced as a result.
As there were relatively few imports of nickel ore in February, NPI producers scrambled to purchase nickel ore at ports when nickel prices soared after the Chinese New Year holiday, resulting in tight supply and steady increases of nickel ore in spot market. In this context, many producers sought nickel ore at overseas nickel mines, and nickel ore industry experienced prosperous development. It is expected that imports of nickel ore will grow significantly in March and April.
To contact the writer on this report: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © SMM. All Rights Reserved
None of this material may be used for any commercial or public use in any forms or means, without the prior written consent of SMM. For reproduction issue, please contact us by email: email@example.com