(Added a chart)
SHANGHAI, Jan 21 (SMM) – China’s imports of nickel ore and concentrate fell in December for a third straight month, as the rush to ship the raw material used in stainless steel and batteries out of Indonesia before an export ban came into force from January eased after a temporary export halt ordered by the Indonesian government in late October rattled Chinese buyers.
China imported 4.32 million mt of nickel ore and concentrate last month, down 27.91% from November but up 94.2% from the same month of 2018, according to SMM calculations based on data from China customs.
Indonesia exported 2.47 million of nickel ore to China in December, remaining the top nickel ore exporter to China. This was down 26.13% from a month ago, but more than doubled from a year ago.
Nickel ore imports originating from the Philippines dropped 37.88% to 1.54 million mt last month, some 76% higher than the corresponding month of 2018. The Philippines’ nickel ore exports to China have shrank for three consecutive months, due to the rainy season.
For the same month, China’s nickel ore imports from regions beyond the two Southern Asian countries jumped some 86% to 250,000 mt.
China’s nickel ore imports are set to continue to decline in January, as Indonesia’s export ban has taken effect and the wet season in the Philippines has not ended.
Chart: China's nickel ore imports