China Likely to Thin its Pig Iron Stainless Steel Herd, Nickel Up

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Producers of an alternative to refined nickel in China are expected to cut output as prices for ore imports have nearly doubled since the end of February after the ban of shipments by top exporter Indonesia, Reuters reported.

Reduced supply of nickel pig iron could mean the world’s top consumer of nickel would increase its use of higher-grade and possibly imported refined metal, underpinning global prices that have already risen about 16 percent this year.

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The price of Chinese primary nickel increased by 3.1 percent on Wednesday, April 9 to CNY 109,200 ($17,623) per metric ton, making it the day’s biggest mover. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap held flat at CNY 16,400 ($2,647) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap held steady at CNY 16,100 ($2,598) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil saw little movement at CNY 16,400 ($2,647) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil was unchanged at CNY 26,000 ($4,196) per metric ton.

The price of Chinese ferro-chrome remained essentially flat at CNY 8,300 ($1,339) per metric ton. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese ferro-moly remained essentially flat at CNY 145,000 ($23,400) per metric ton.

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At INR 996.70 ($16.58), the cash price of primary Indian nickel finished the market day up 1.3 percent per kilogram. On the LME, the nickel spot price declined 0.4 percent to $16,410 per metric ton. On the LME, the 3-month price of nickel fell 0.3 percent to $16,440 per metric ton.

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