SHANGHAI, Feb 14 (SMM) - The nickel prices rose steadily last week. Before the Chinese New Year (CNY) holiday, the continuous falling nickel inventory in China and overseas pushed up the nickel prices sharply. The spot goods gradually arrived after the CNY holiday last week, and the premiums declined, but the nickel prices remained high. The excessively high prices suppressed the downstream purchases, and the consumption weakened. The social inventory increased slightly. The global nickel supply remained tight. The shortage of raw materials caused the nickel sulphate output to drop by 6.25% on the month. The nickel sulphate prices will rise amid growing demand, which will subsequently drive up the nickel prices. The overall fundamentals will support the nickel prices. SHFE nickel prices are expected to fluctuate between 170,000-178,000 yuan/mt this week, and LME nickel prices are expected to move between $23,000-23,800/mt.
The SHFE nickel prices fluctuated at a high level between 168,000-175,000 yuan/mt last week. The high prices suppressed the spot transactions to some extent amid sluggish downstream purchases. Jinchuan nickel gradually arrived in the market in the second half of last week, while the transactions were modest, and the premiums declined. At the same time, the arrivals of NORNICKEL nickel were limited, and the premiums stood firm. The premiums of Jinchuan nickel were at the same level with or even lower than that of NORNICKEL nickel. As of February 11, the NORNICKEL nickel premiums stood at 2,900-3,000 yuan/mt over the SHFE 2203 nickel contract, and the premiums of Jinchuan nickel were at 3,000-3,100 yuan/mt. The premiums of nickel briquette stood at 2,800-3,000 yuan/mt.