Four months on, fallout from Chinese scandal drives up nickel stocks

Analysts polled by Reuters in July still expected the nickel market to swing into a 99,000 tonne deficit next year.

“The run in nickel prices was never about a shortage of metal, it was about a shortage of ore. And nickel metal just isn’t a good replacement for the low-quality ore that NPI producers in China need,” said analyst Joel Crane of Morgan Stanley in Melbourne.

Indonesia’s nascent nickel pig iron industry is not expected to be in full swing until at least late 2016.

Analysts estimate that China’s mills have enough stockpiles to last until the middle of 2015, as they have boosted imports of Philippine ore – up 26 percent in the January-August period to more than 22 million tonnes.

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