Metal Bulletin’s assessment of nickel stocks in Shanghai-bonded warehouses decreased to a historical low of 28,000-34,000 tonnes at the end of December, down 22.5% month on month and 61.7% on an annual basis.
Metal Bulletin’s historical data of Shanghai-bonded nickel stocks began in April 2015.
The sharp drop in bonded stocks was caused by traders’ trying to clear stocks through customs before the import tax was doubled, market participants said.
On Friday December 15, the Chinese Ministry of Finance announced that the refined nickel import tax would raise to 2% from 1% starting from January 1, 2018.
"During the period of December 15 to January 1, market participants in the Chinese nickel industry all rushed to clear stocks through customs,” a senior Shanghai-based nickel trader said.
"The cleared stocks enter the Chinese domestic market, some becomes domestic inventory, some flows into the Chinese domestic nickel market, weighing on Chinese domestic nickel prices,” the trader...