BEIJING, May 25, -- The global nickel market will be in a slight deficit this year, due partly to growing demand from China and still-idled nickel capacity, metals consultancy Metalytics Ltd. said Wednesday.
Primary nickel consumption is likely to climb 9.5% this year to 1.435 million tons, while primary nickel supply could rise 5.3% to 1.4 million tons, resulting in a deficit of 35,000 tons, John Barkas, a director of Metalytics, told an industry conference.
Global stainless steel production is expected to rise 15.3% to 29 million tons, he said.
Nickel demand growth slowed after the global financial crisis, but China has played an important role in driving that demand.
China accounts for about one-third of global nickel consumption, with an average annual growth rate of 25% from 2000-2009, when annual growth in global demand was about 1.1%.
"The world is relying on China for the next stage of large (nickel) growth," Barkas said.