SHANGHAI, Jun. 4 (SMM) – SMM #1 nickel prices were quoted between RMB 135,100-135,500/mt. Jinchuan lowered nickel prices by RMB 2,000/mt to RMB 137,000/mt. Transactions were muted as traders lacked arbitrage opportunities on the Wuxi electronic trading, and due to soft demand from tight cash flows.
SMM surveyed 36 market players and found that 22% believe LME nickel prices will edge up to USD 19,700-20,200/mt. Nickel ore and high-grade NPI supply is tight due to ongoing Indonesian ban on the export of unprocessed ore, so steel plants generally use low-grade nickel ore with nickel to produce #304 plate, which will drive nickel consumption and boost nickel prices.
50% market players believe LME nickel prices will hover between USD 18,800-19,600/mt. total positions did not surge or fall sharply, with nickel prices expected to resist both increases and declines. When combined with market caution before the release of European Central Bank’s interest rate decision and US non-farm employment data, nickel prices should rise initially before falling this week.
28% think LME nickel prices will fall to USD 18,300-18,800/mt. Cash flow tightness, combined with inspections on finance-driven iron ore imports, downstream demand will not improve. In this context, nickel prices will lack support.