Nickel premiums flat in Europe, China, amid quiet market conditions

Nickel premiums stayed flat around the world amid quiet trading in the week to Tuesday April 9

Read on to find out more about the price updates for nickel premiums across Europe and China.

Europe

In Europe, nickel briquette premiums, uncut cathode premiums and 4X4 premiums were all unchanged week-on-week on Tuesday amid quiet market conditions. 

Fastmarkets assessed the nickel uncut cathode premium, in-whs Rotterdam at $180-400 per tonne on Tuesday, unchanged from April 2.

New liquidity was reported, however, with the arrival of Indonesian material to Europe. “But it has been quiet,” a market participant said. “Maybe people are still on Easter holidays.” 

Fastmarkets assessed the nickel 4×4 cathode premium, in-whs Rotterdam at $470-700 per tonne on Tuesday, also unchanged from a week earlier. 

While most market participants were in line with the current range, some thought the market was weaker. 

“We are not seeing a lot of uncut availability in Europe, so it does not make sense for 4×4 to be $470-700 per tonne,” a trader said.

Fastmarkets assessed the nickel briquette premium, in-whs Rotterdam at $100-250 per tonne on Tuesday, unchanged from the previous week, supported by fresh liquidity.

“Canadian and Finnish material are at the lower end of the range,” a second trader said.

The London Metal Exhcange three-month nickel price was $17,875 per tonne on April 9, down from $17,000 on April 2. 

China

Premiums for nickel full plate in China continued to be unchanged amid quiet market conditions in the week to Tuesday, with imports quiet amid deepening arbitrage losses. 

Fastmarkets’ calculation of the nickel import arbitrage averaged a loss at $1,307 per tonne in the week to Tuesday, compared with a loss at $1,144.36 per tonne the week to April 2.

Export business was also quiet, with new Chinese brands slowing and having a hard time finding downstream buyers overseas, sources said.

“Most market participants buy these units from Shanghai bonded warehouses for delivery purposes,” a nickel trader in eastern China said. “But oversea demand is sluggish at the moment, so they are not able to find any real downstream buyers.”

The trader agreed that increased competition in overseas market was having an impact on Chinese exports. 

Fastmarkets assessed the nickel min 99.8% full plate premium, in-whs Shanghai, and the nickel min 99.8% full plate premium, cif Shanghai, at $0-200 per tonne on Tuesday, unchanged since December 19.

The current wide range reflects the price differentials among different brands and usages.

Keep track of the dynamics and volatility in the nickel market with Fastmarkets. Find out more on market trends and price updates when you visit our dedicated nickel market page.

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