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Refined nickel imports rose YoY in January and February, imports to exceed 10,000 mt again in March
Apr 15, 2021 13:23CST
Source:SMM
According to customs data, China imported 10,407 mt of refined nickel (including unwrought unalloyed nickel with the total amount of nickel and cobalt ≥99.99% and cobalt ≤0.005%, and other unwrought unalloyed nickel) in January 2021, a month-on-month decrease of 12.41%, but a year-on-year increase of 31.82%.

SHANGHAI, Apr 15 (SMM) – According to customs data, China imported 10,407 mt of refined nickel (including unwrought unalloyed nickel with the total amount of nickel and cobalt ≥99.99% and cobalt ≤0.005%, and other unwrought unalloyed nickel) in January 2021, a month-on-month decrease of 12.41%, but a year-on-year increase of 31.82%. Among them, imports of other unwrought alloy nickel accounted for 68.6% and stood at 9,073 mt, a decrease of 1,933 mt from December 2020. Imports of unwrought unalloyed nickel with the total amount of nickel and cobalt ≥99.99% and cobalt ≤0.005% were 3,267 mt. China exported 513 mt of refined nickel in January, a month-on-month decrease of 75.14% and year-on-year decrease of 79.42%.

China imported 9,313 mt of refined nickel (including unwrought unalloyed nickel with the total amount of nickel and cobalt ≥99.99% and cobalt ≤0.005%, and other unwrought unalloyed nickel) in February 2021, a month-on-month decrease of 10.51%, but a year-on-year increase of 26.1%. Among them, imports of other unwrought alloy nickel accounted for 71.32% and stood at 6,642 mt, a decrease of 498 mt from January. Imports of unwrought unalloyed nickel with the total amount of nickel and cobalt ≥99.99% and cobalt ≤0.005% were 2,670 mt, down 596 mt. China exported 711 mt of refined nickel in February, a month-on-month increase of 38.61%, but a year-on-year decrease of 69.51%.

Imports have increased on a year-on-year basis since November last year as the import window has opened after domestic refined nickel inventory dropped to a low level and as downstream consumption of various brands of nickel plates was stable.

Imports of Australian nickel briquettes were 3,264 mt and 3,464 mt respectively in January and February, mostly under long-term contracts. The sharp drop in SHFE nickel prices made nickel briquettes more cost effective than nickel sulphate in March, driving a large amount of non-duty-free nickel briquettes to flow into China. As such, the import volume of nickel briquettes in March is expected to increase further. The imports of Norwegian nickel plates were 1,861 mt and 1,516 mt respectively in January and February, the highest since August 2016.

Source: SMM

Note: Prices of scrap stainless steel included tax of 11% from July 3, 2017 onwards after authorities started to check invoice issues in the scrap market.

Refined nickel
Imports

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