FOCUS: Wide import arbitrage fuels rally in Shanghai full plate nickel premiums

Premiums for nickel full plate surged in China this week following an arbitrage-driven rally that saw Fastmarkets’ premium assessments for the material in Shanghai hit historic highs.

Fastmarkets’ assessment of the premium for nickel, 99.8% purity, full plate, cif Shanghai, climbed to $350-410 per tonne on Tuesday June 18, an increase of 69% from $210-240 per tonne a week prior and the highest since the assessment was launched in April 2016.
Similarly, the premium assessment for nickel, 99.8% purity, full plate, in-warehouse Shanghai, jumped to $360-420 per tonne on Tuesday, up by 66% from $220-250 per tonne a week earlier. The latest range also marks the highest since Fastmarkets launched the assessment in November 2011.
The dramatic increases in both premiums came amid an abrupt opening of the import window in China, the result of a combination of low stocks in the country, limited availability of imported cargoes and rising demand from the domestic stainless steel sector.

The import arbitrage between the London Metal Exchange and China’s Wuxi Stainless Steel Exchange stood at a profit...


Violet Li

June 21, 2019

11:05 GMT