SHANGHAI, Mar 8 (SMM)—China’s refined nickel output rose 5.33%, or 692 mt, from January and 1.7% from a year earlier, to 13,700 mt in February. The Gansu smelter and Xinjiang smelter produced 12,600 mt and 1,073 mt of refined nickel respectively, while other smelters remained suspended.
SMM expects China’s refined nickel output to rise to 14,200 mt in March due to longer operating days of the month. In addition, the Tianjin smelter has started to resume production, while the Jilin smelter is likely to restore its refined nickel line at the end of March.
Nickel pig iron (NPI)
China’s NPI output shrank 1.88% from January to 37,800 mt Ni in February. This included 31,400 mt Ni of high-grade NPI, down 0.58% on the month, and 6,500 mt Ni of low-grade NPI, down 7.76% month on month. Shorter operating days of February led to the decline in high-grade NPI output in February, while suspension of low-grade NPI plants in east China resulted in the fall in low-grade NPI output.
SMM expects China’s NPI output to increase 5.01% on the month to 39,700 mt Ni in March. Output of high-grade NPI is likely to rise 2.87% on the month to 32,300 mt Ni due to longer operating days, while that of low-grade NPI to gain 15.4% to 7,500 mt Ni as some integrated #200 stainless steel mills restart production.