Knives out for nickel despite bullish supply signals: Andy Home


And possibly also in China’s increased appetite for refined nickel.

Net imports of refined nickel were 17,225 tonnes in May, the highest monthly level since January 2013.

Cumulative net imports of 40,300 tonnes over the first five months of this year were 7.2 percent higher than the year-earlier period, a noteworthy change of trend after more than a year of negative year-on-year comparisons.

Russia has been a major supplier of nickel to the Chinese market for many years so it’s difficult to say to what extent May’s imports from this country of 16,400 tonnes, a near four-year high, were amplified by bets on the ongoing ShFE deliverability questions.

The continued acceleration in imports of ferronickel, a cheaper-priced alternative for China’s stainless steel producers, looks a better indicator of tightening supply in China.

Imports have more than doubled so far this year to 259,000 tonnes and are running at record rates.

However, the single largest component of this year’s ferronickel flow to China, 55,200 tonnes, has come from Indonesia.

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