Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Nickel Ore inventories at China's ports enough for five-month consumption

Nickel Ore inventories at China's ports enough for five-month consumption
Shanghai Metals Market expects nickel ore inventories at China’s ports to be sufficient for five-month consumption at least.

As of May 9, nickel ore inventories at major five Chinese ports totaled 13.43 million tonnes, down 5.50 million tonnes or 29% from the level before the ban took effect January 12, according to a survey by SMM.

The SMM survey shows Chinese NPI producers need 4 million tonnes of nickel ore for production every month, and monthly imports from the Philippines are around 1.5 million tons, leaving monthly consumption of port inventories around 2.5 million tons.

It is worth noting that production halts have occasionally happened in Ulanqab, Inner Mongolia due to environment protection inspections, and this will slow the decline in port inventories.

Prices for high-grade ore, domestic nickel, high-grade NPI and LME nickel have surged by 100%, 56%, 47% and 45%, respectively, from when Indonesia introduced its ban on unprocessed ore exports , according to SMM’s pricing data.

Such strong gains were due mainly to strong market speculation after the Indonesian ban, SMM believes.

The maximum amount of medium and high-grade nickel ore (Ni 1.5% and above) that the Philippines is capable of exporting each year is approximately 20 million tons. In 2013, China consumed over 40 million tons of medium and high-grade nickel ore, far above the current export capacity in the Philippines.

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