SHANGHAI, Jul 18 (SMM) - On the supply side, the profit margin of spot imports changed little due to the high premiums of imported pure nickel in the bonded zone even though the SHFE/LME price ratio improved further. In terms of NPI, the NPI plants intended to raise their quotes because of the high costs. At the same time, the plants were reluctant to ship as they purchased nickel ore at high prices earlier, so they cut their production instead. The demand was further weakened by the steel mills’ production cut plans and the off-season. Special alloy steel and battery industries increased their purchasing volume amid the falling futures prices. To sum up, under the expectation of the bearish macro factors, nickel prices will hardly rise sharply. SHFE nickel prices are expected to move between 140,000-160,000 yuan/mt. At present, the LME nickel prices have not yet returned to the fundamentals, and the prices may fluctuate. When the prices return to normal, SMM will resume the price forecast of LME nickel.