SHANGHAI, Jul. 12 (SMM) - China’s production of nickel pig iron (NPI) fell 1.5% month-on-month in June to 32,000 tons as high-grade producers continued to cut output on depressed prices, according to a survey by Shanghai Metals Market.
Production of high-grade NPI was 27,400 tons last month, in metal content, down 1.8% from a month ago while that of medium- and low-grade NPI were both flat with May’s levels, at 1,100 tons and 3,500 tons, respectively.
Large producers in Shandong and Jiangsu provinces using rotary kiln electric furnace (RKEF) further cut output as nickel prices went below $14,000 per ton on London Metal Exchange in June.
However, additional new RKEF capacities are coming on stream including Macrolink Mineral Inc. in Inner Mongolia, and Jinyuan Nickel Ltd. in Guangxi region.
High-grade NPI output is expected to grow in July as a result whereas medium-grade NPI output is expected to fall this month given its demand from stainless steel plants has remained scarce.
Low-grade NPI output may hold steady because falling coke and pig iron prices have narrowed losses borne by its producers.
Consumption of stainless steel has remained flat in China, despite some improvement in the overall economy.
For more details of the survey, please contact SMM’s nickel analyst Wang Haoyang at firstname.lastname@example.org.