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Chinese nickel pig iron prices continue to rise on tight supply

Chinese nickel pig iron prices continue to rise on tight supply

Spot prices of high-grade nickel pig iron (10-15% Ni) in China continued to rise this week to Yuan 1,000-1,050/nickel unit ($163-171/unit) delivered with 17% VAT included on Thursday on tight supply, sources said. Prices were at Yuan 960-1,000/unit a fortnight ago. NPI supply has tightened following production cuts in Inner Mongolia as producers reduced or stopped output to lower pollution during the APEC meetings in Beijing in early November. Some producers in Inner Mongolia are restarting production following the end of the meetings but others, along with some producers in the rest of the country, remained shut as they deem current prices to be too low, analysts said. "Many producers are not willing to sell," a Beijing-based nickel analyst said. NPI prices may continue to rise in the near term on support from the tight supply, he said. Prices have continued to rise as many producers are operating at losses, a Shanghai-based nickel analyst said. Demand from stainless mills remains stable and prices may continue to rise on tight supply, she said. However, an official with a central Chinese mill said there was limited upside for NPI prices due to a weak stainless steel market. "Demand in the stainless market is not good. Costs are still high and profit margins poor for stainless producers," he said. NPI prices had started to rebound in early November on firmer global nickel metal prices, but not before dipping as low as Yuan 930/unit in late October. Platts does not assess NPI prices. >>

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