SHANGHAI, Aug 19 (SMM) - The short-term nickel ore prices remain rangebound, and the market is relatively slack. On Friday August 19, SMM average price of Ni 1.5% ore stood at $68.5/wmt on a CIF basis, flat from a week earlier. On the demand side, at present, most domestic NPI plants and steel mills reduce their production, and the demand for raw materials is weak. The gloomy stainless steel market outlook still puts huge pressure on NPI prices. Meanwhile, the oversupply of NPI is unlikely to change, hence the NPI prices maintain a downward trend. In order to guarantee profits and mitigate risks, NPI plants only accepted the low-priced nickel ore, and they mainly purchased on rigid demand. On the supply side, prices of low-grade nickel ore were close to the break-even point, and the profit margin of medium-grade ore narrowed, thus the mines were less willing to ship. Mines intended to hold firm to their prices as the restocking demand may improve due to the approaching rainy season. After the ocean freight fell to $14-15/mt, the FOB prices rose slightly under the profit distribution. It is expected that the short-term nickel ore prices will remain rangebound at the current level as the upstream hold the prices firm based on its judgement of the restocking demand while the actual downstream markets are sluggish. Ni 1.5% ore prices are expected to move between $66-70/wmt in the short term.