Nickel pig iron capacity expansion defies slowdown in market

Sep 05, 2012 | 03:00 PM |

Tags  nickel pig iron, capacity expansions, refined nickel prices, power costs, stainless steel, Xinhai Technology, Linyi Yichen Alloy, Jinaihui Technology nickel

SHANGHAI, China — China’s nickel pig iron prices have been dragged down by falling London Metal Exchange nickel tags and weak demand for stainless steel, and the market might face a supply glut as producers bring more capacity online.

Spot nickel pig iron prices have fallen 11.5 percent since the start of the year to 1,130 to 1,150 yuan ($178 to $181) per nickel unit this week from 1,280 to 1,300 yuan in early January, in line with LME three-month nickel prices, which hit $15,885 per tonne on Sept. 5, down 13.8 percent from $18,425 on Jan. 3.

The three main costs for producers of nickel pig iron—used as an alternative to nickel in the production of stainless steel—are energy, transportation and nickel ore. Falling stainless steel demand and a weak nickel pig iron market have seen many producers struggle to make a profit, with many suspending operations.....

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