China’s imports of nickel ore from the Philippines and bauxite from India and Australia increased in May as buyers in the biggest consumer of commodities sought to fill the gap caused by Indonesia’s ban on shipments.
Nickel rose after Macquarie Group Ltd. and Citigroup Inc. reaffirmed their outlooks for supply shortfalls and advised buying the metal following three straight weekly price drops, the longest slump since November.
Since Indonesia banned ore exports, the global nickel industry has been rocked by surging prices, Chinese workers like Zhang Qi Guang are building smelters in Sulawesi and business at Eva’s Jewel restaurant has collapsed.
China’s production of nickel pig iron will rise 6.2 percent to 155,000 metric tons next year, with Chinese stainless steel producers substituting about one- third of primary nickel with the cheaper alternative, CRU said.
Nickel’s roller-coaster ride this year isn’t over, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which expects the highest prices in two years to prompt expanded capacity for smelting and discourage purchases by steelmakers.