SHANGHAI, Dec 4 (SMM) – Shanghai nickel prices plunged again on Wednesday, extending the losses from November albeit signs of slower decline at end November, pressured by intensified fears of US-China trade war and stainless steel oversupply.
The most-active nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange for February delivery fell to 103,360 yuan/mt, the lowest level since July 10, before ending down 3.95% on the day at 104,020 yuan/mt.
Falling nickel prices drove more stainless steel producers in China to cut production or suspend for maintenance. Losses have spread across the industrial chain, with muted trades of nickel pig iron and nickel ore.
Consumption of stainless steel remained weak. An SMM survey showed that manufacturing activities across nickel downstream sectors in China, including stainless steel, galvanising, alloy, and battery, stayed in contraction for the eighth consecutive month in November.
On December 4, spot prices of #304 No. 1 stainless steel coil in Wuxi dipped 100 yuan/mt and stood at 13,400-13,500 yuan/mt, SMM assessments indicated. Prices of the product have slipped since mid-October from around 15,350 yuan/mt.
Spot prices of refined nickel, meanwhile, also fell by 3,300 yuan/mt on the day to an average 108,250 yuan/mt for SMM 1# nickel. Downstream consumers restocked as needed on lower prices.