SHANGHAI, Apr 13 (SMM) – Indonesia and the Philippines are likely to export 48.8 million mt nickel ore to China in 2018, according to general manager at Biwei Resources, Yang Qin. Peak export season for nickel ore is traditionally from April to September.
However, as some plants turned to producing carbon steel and with low operating rates at stainless steel plants, demand for low-grade nickel ore is likely to decline in 2018.
The Philippines is likely to export about 1.6 million mt of nickel ore in April, while Indonesia is likely to export 2 million mt. Supplies of nickel ore are likely to see a surplus in the second and third quarter of the year. Supplies are also expected to exceed demand for production at ferronickel plants, Yang told delegates at the SMM CoLiNi Summit on Friday April 13 in Quzhou, Zhejiang province.
Imports from the Philippines accounted for most of China's supply of nickel ore in 2017. Imports from the Philippines stood at 40.05 million mt while imports from Indonesia stood at 4.62 million mt. Supplies in China’s nickel ore market peaked at 100 million mt in 2013. Imports from the Philippines were unable to fully support demand in China after 2014.
Yang also expects large-scale producers of ferronickel to take the lead in price negotiations.
Yang added that, as more plants locate closer to ports, inventory is likely to be distributed more evenly.
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