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Vale S A : Shanghai nickel leaps to record high on supply worries

10/21/2021 | 02:44am EST

Oct 21 (Reuters) - Nickel prices in Shanghai hit a record high on Thursday as falling Chinese imports raised worries about supply, while potentially lower output in the Philippines amid an already tight inventory situation also lifted prices.

The most-traded November nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange hit a record 161,600 yuan ($25,250.79) a tonne, before easing to close at 155,880 yuan a tonne, up 4.2%.

Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange advanced as much as 2.2% to $21,425 a tonne, its highest since May 2014.

China's September imports of nickel ore and nickel pig iron (NPI) fell 1.6% and 12.3% month-on-month, while ore output in the Philippines, the No. 1 supplier for China, could decline this year due to unfavourable weather.

There is a shortage of ferronickel in the market, said a trader.

Prices of NPI with nickel content of 10%-15% in China <SMM-NIC-NPI15> rose to a record $1,502.50 a tonne. Chinese production of NPI - used in making stainless steel - has been disrupted due to a widespread power curb in the country.

Chinese NPI plants operated at their lowest level on record earlier this month, said Marex commodities broker Anna Stablum in a note, citing data from Marex Spectron's joint venture partner Earth-I.

Brazilian miner Vale SA saw third quarter output fell 22% year-on-year, while Russian miner Nornickel said its nickel production in January-September fell 23% year-on-year, despite a pickup in third-quarter output.

Refined nickel inventories in ShFE warehouses <NI-STX-SGH> have been hovering near a record low for weeks, while LME stocks of the metal <MNISTX-TOTAL> were at their lowest since December 2019 of 92,766 tonnes.

LME cash nickel was traded at a $83-a-tonne premium over the three-month contract <CMNI0-3>, the highest level since October 2019, indicating tightness of nearby inventories, with one party holding 40-49% of nickel warrants <0#LME-WHL>, LME data showed.

Despite some dips in demand from the electric vehicle sector, overall demand for refined nickel is still optimistic, said Huatai Futures in a report.


* LME copper fell 2.2% to $9,960 a tonne at 0719 GMT, aluminium dipped 0.2% to $3,063 a tonne while zinc rose 0.3% to $3,757 a tonne.

* ShFE lead rose 1.5% to 15,945 yuan a tonne, zinc dropped 1.5% to 25,365 yuan a tonne and copper fell 1% to 72,890 yuan a tonne.

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or

($1 = 6.3998 yuan)

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Jason Neely)

ę Reuters 2021
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