SHANGHAI, Nov 8 (SMM) – The latest SMM survey showed that China’s production of nickel pig iron dipped 0.64% in October, while that of refined nickel inched up 1.5%.
China’s production of refined nickel grew 1.5% from September to 13,500 mt in October, as a smelter in Gansu stepped up operations.
Maintenance at a smelter in Jilin continued last month. On a year-over-year basis, refined nickel output dipped 1.64% in October.
SMM expects the production to extend the increase to 14,500 mt in November, as the Gansu smelter will ramp up production further to make up the impact from the previous maintenance.
Nickel pig iron (NPI)
Output of NPI in China dipped 0.64% month on month but rose 30.34% year on year to 52,400 mt in Ni content in October.
Despite the persisting overhaul at a high-grade NPI producer in Jiangsu and power supply controls in Inner Mongolia, the production decline from September was moderate, as healthy profits kept producers in normal operations.
High-grade NPI accounted for 45,800 mt in Ni content last month, down 0.64% from September, and production of low-grade materials slipped 0.65% to 6,570 mt in Ni content as producers held off from fully recovering given the sluggish 200-series stainless steel market.
China’s NPI production is expected to decline 1.81% from October to 51,450 mt in Ni content in November, as output of high-grade materials will shrink 3.19% to 44,400 mt in Ni content.
The recovery from maintenance at some plants will bolster output of low-grade NPI up 7.8% to 7,100 mt in Ni content this month.
China produced 47,500 mt of nickel sulphate in October, up 11.18% month on month and 21.38% year on year. This translated to 10,454 mt in Ni content.
The production expanded from September, as integrated nickel sulphate and precursor plants stepped up production after the premiums of battery-grade nickel sulphate over nickel briquette exceeded 10,000 yuan/mt.
This, together with generally weaker demand from new energy vehicles, hit nickel sulphate producers, driving some plants to the production of refined nickel.
Production of nickel sulphate across China will likely continue to grow in November, rising 9.57% from October to 50,100 mt, or 11,454 mt in Ni content, in anticipation of the ramp-up of newly-commissioned capacity and resumption of some electroplating-grade nickel sulphate producers.
This article was updated to correct nickel sulphate production print for October and estimate for November.