A record trade surplus for China, the largest metals consumer highlighted weak domestic demand for nickel this week.
Imports and exports came in worse than anticipated in China and the monthly trade surplus bulged to a record $60 billion as a survey published last week revealed that manufacturing, a key sector to the Chinese economy, contracted in January for the first time in more than two years.
China’s exports fell 3.3% in January from a year earlier, while imports slumped by 19.9%, according to data released on Sunday by the Customs Administration.
The spot price of nickel traded sideways, keeping at $14,735 per metric ton on the LME on Monday, February 16. Following two days of downward movement, the nickel 3-month price held steady at $14,750 per metric ton on the LME. The Indian nickel cash price saw little price change last Friday at INR 924.00 ($14.89) per kilogram.
Chinese stainless steel prices closed flat for the day. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 10,950 ($1,756) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese ferro-moly held flat at CNY 82,000 ($13,148) per metric ton.
The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge held steady at $0.94 per pound. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil was unchanged at CNY 23,700 ($3,800) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil continues hovering around CNY 16,700 ($2,678) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap held steady at CNY 13,050 ($2,093) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap held flat at CNY 9,450 ($1,515) per metric ton.