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Nickel and ferronickel price start decline in March

Time:[3/28/2012]   Hits:1614

 LME fluctuations since January 2012, prices of nickel metal and ferronickel in China went up in steps during January and February 2012, but started decline in March 2012 partly due to the self adjustment of the market. The resistance of ferronickel producers to maintain the price does not seem to have been very successful.

Price changes of ferronickel (Ni: 10% to 15%) in the domestic markets (Inner Mongolia and Hunan) have been, December 23rd 2011: CNY 1,240 to CNY 1,180 per tonne, January 10th 2012: CNY 1,260 to CNY 1,290 per tonne, January 30th 2012: CNY 1,280 to CNY 1,310 per tonne, February 10th 2012: CNY 1,380 to CNY 1430 per tonne, February 20th 2012: CNY 1,390 to CNY 1,430 per tonne, March 1st 2012: CNY 1,380 to CNY 1,430 per tonne and March 16th 2012: CNY 1,370 to CNY 1,410 per tonne. All prices are based on delivered to user's plant yard and tax paid.

Price  of electrolytic nickel metal (Jinchuan 1#, Ni>99%) in the domestic market (Tianjin) have been changed December 29th 2012: CNY 128,200 per tonne, January 9th 2012: CNY 132,000 per tonne, January 30th 2012: CNY 148,500 per tonne, February 10th 2012: CNY 147,000 per tonne, February 20th 2012: CNY 140,000 per tonne, March 1st 2012: CNY 138,500 per tonne, and March 16th 2012: CNY 137,800 per tonne. All prices are based on delivered to user's plant yard and tax paid.

Production at the stainless steel mills in China has been low because of the lower demand from construction sectors, making the demand for ferronickel also lower. Especially nickel pig iron consumption was first trimmed of which nickel unit cost was less competitive than the ferronickel of regular grade, as LME nickel price declined.

In September and October 2011, it was reported that more producers of ferronickel, mostly of nickel pig iron, in Inner Mongolia were obliged to curtail or cut back production to avoid operations in red and output of ferronickel from the province was substantially reduced. When LME price rebounded in February 2012, ferronickel production was increased as some of ferroalloy producers converted their furnaces to produce ferronickel, or some of the ferronickel producers resumed operation at the idled furnaces. This indicates that medium and small sized producers are basically flexible in coping with changes in the market for profitable operation