SHANGHAI, Mar 13 (SMM) - Nickel prices trended lower last week as many bearish macro factors emerged. After nearly a year of rate hikes, the US inflation rate is higher than the target of 2%. On the evening of March 7, US Fed’s Powell made a speech indicating that it is necessary to accelerate the pace of rate hikes in the future. The US ADP employment data on March 8 was higher than market expectations, confirming the resilience of the current US labour market, which aroused market concerns about a sharp rate hike in the future and sent nickel prices into a nosedive. On the supply side, the fall in spot pure nickel prices encouraged upstream shipments. In terms of NPI, a stainless steel mill in east China bought thousands of tonnes of Indonesia and Chinese NPI at 1,250 yuan/mtu (tax included, delivery to factory). Some traders and NPI factories chose to accept the prices because the NPI supply was ample and the market remained sluggish. On the demand side, according to SMM research, affected by the slumping futures prices, the stainless steel suppliers were eager to ship, hence the spot quotes declined last week. Pure nickel transactions made by alloy companies picked up slightly amid the falling nickel prices. It is expected that the downward space of nickel prices may narrow in late March, mainly because the prices have plummeted at the beginning of the month, and that the pure nickel inventory has not yet seen a large accumulation. In addition, the peak season will also beef up the prices.
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