SHANGHAI, Aug 24 (SMM) - The average price of 1.5% Philippine laterite nickel ore stood at $87/mt last week, up $3/mt on the week.
Nickel ore prices kept rising last week, and NPI plants with rigid demand accepted the high prices. Market trade was quiet.
Port inventories increased significantly, and nickel ore supply was tight. The ore arrived in August has been completely sold, and the market had nearly no spots. Traders did not provide quotations. Steel plants were less willing to accept the NPI prices due to the lower stainless steel prices.
The rising raw material costs were the major support for the high NPI prices. The operation efficiency at ports was quite low under the tighter pandemic control, and the inflow of nickel ore resources was slow, leading to the tighter supply in domestic market. The Philippines will enter the rainy season in two weeks, while NPI plants have high demand for nickel ore. The mainstream prices of 1.5% Philippine laterite nickel ore are expected to stand between $87-91/mt this week.
Ocean freight from the Philippines to China on August 20 stood at $24.25-24.55/wmt (the Philippines to southern Chinese ports-the Philippines to northern Chinese ports), up $2.5/mt from the previous week. Ocean freight rose mainly due to the pandemic across the world.
Tieshan port and Lianyungang port both reported new COVID-19 cases last week. The ports strengthened the inspections of cargo ships amid worsening pandemic and tighter control. The berthing time of ships increased, and the operation efficiency was low, which drove up the shipping costs. At the same time, the crew’s salaries increased due to the high pandemic risks in Southeast Asia and other countries. The ocean freight are expected to remain at this level in the short term.