Shanghai Nonferrous Metals News
China produced 47.6 kt of NPI (in Ni metal) in December 2019, down 10.36% m-o-m but up 14.91% y-o-y. Several large NPI smelters reduced their operations in December, momentum likely to extend through to January 2020.
New shipments of nickel laterite were sparse one month prior to the introduction of Indonesia’s ban on raw ore exports, interrupting operations at smelters. Furthermore, weak demand from downstream stainless-steel producers has also been weighing on NPI smelters. Mainstream NPI smelters can still manage to reach breakeven, while high-cost BF smelters are in loss. Most smelters have decided to maintain normal operations, despite having zero or negative profit at present given high resumption costs.
SMM forecast domestic NPI output at 47.6 kt (in Ni metal) for January 2020.