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Nickel Stocks In China Have Increased To 100,000 Tons At Present
= Survey By Antaike, Owing To Fever To Invest Excessively In Nickel
Antaike, which is national organization in China to investigate metals, expressed recently that the total quantity of nickel stocked in China as of present time is estimated to have reached a scale of 100,000 tons. The activities to invest in nickel are supposed to have still had a fever in China.

While China consumed 181,000 tons (estimation) of nickel in the first half (January - June) of 2009, the quantities of nickel supplied in China for that period were viewed as <> imports : 181,000 tons, <> domestic production : 96,000 tons (assumedly 62,000 tons of nickel metal from Jinchuan Group, 24,000 tons of nickel-contained pig iron and 10,000 tons from other sources) and <> total : 277,000 tons (excluding nickel stocks in China as mentioned above). However, according to the latest information, the purchases of nickel by China in July to August are thought to be calming down somewhat.

The estimated consumption of nickel by China for the first half of 2009 had a decrease of 4.3% compared with that in the same period of 2008 but this decrease of the consumption is thought as a moderate extent compared to a sharp decline (decreased by 22%) on the world level. A fever to invest in nickel, being currently developed in China, seems to have differed from the reality of nickel consumption in China. The international price of nickel in the first half of 2009 was underpinned mainly by a fever to import nickel into China. LME nickel prices at the 6th of August had risen to a higher level than US$20,000 per ton for both of cash and three-month futures and, although those at the 7th had fallen somewhat, recorded the highest ones since August of 2008. An extraordinarily risen price of LME nickel in last week was stimulated by a speculative factor anticipated to see the scarcity of nickel for a short period to be caused by the strike at Sudbury Division of Vale Inco in Canada. This strike is forecasted to continue for a long period of 2 - 3 months but, when the strike is over and the factors to stimulate nickel price disappear from the market, the supply situation of nickel will become a considerable excess in the same case as that of aluminum. A leading analyst said that, in view of the fundamentals on supply and demand of nickel, it will be difficult to make a satisfactory explanation of LME nickel price of US$20,000 per ton.

The Sudbury Division of Vale Inco has the capacity to produce 85,000 tons per annum of nickel and, even if the strike continues for 3 months, the quantity of nickel to be reduced by this strike is estimated to be a little more than 20,000 tons on an annualized base. On the other hand, LME nickel stocks at present have still maintained a level of 100,000 tons.

For a reference, according to the customs-statistics released in China, this country imported approximately 185,000 tons on content base of nickel in the first half (January - June) of 2009. On the contrary, in spit of a fever to invest in nickel as mentioned above, the consumption of nickel in China for the first half of 2009 was depressed and had a decrease of 4.3% from that for the same period of 2008. Therefore, Antaike analyzed that approximately 100,000 tons of nickel stocks are supposed to have existed in distribution sector of China.

The reason, having decreased nickel consumption in China, was mainly due to a reduction in production of stainless steel implemented by Chinese mills for the first quarter (January - March) of 2009. It was informed that China consumed 86,000 tons of nickel in January - March quarter of 2009, having decreased by 10.5% compared to that in the same quarter of 2008. The world consumption of nickel, excluding China, in the first quarter of 2009 had a decrease of 30.5% and, accordingly, a decline of nickel consumption in China was moderate. For a reference, the consumption of nickel by China in April - June quarter of 2009 turned to expand and increased by 2% compared with that in the same quarter of 2008.

China imported 185,000 tons of nickel in the first half of 2009 and the contents were <> nickel metal : 118,000 tons , <> nickel oxide : 31,000 tons (39,000 tons on material base), <> ferro-nickel : 25,000 tons (125,000 tons on material base) and <> nickel matte : 10,000 tons (14,000 tons on material base).

In addition, China imported 5,400,000 tons of nickel ore in the first half of 2009, corresponding to 81,000 tons of nickel content calculated on the basis of Ni 1.5% in ore, and this quantity on nickel content base will still exist as the buffers for nickel supply.
last modified : Tue 18 Aug, 2009 [10:52]
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