GLOBAL NICKEL WRAP: China nickel discounts swing back to premiums on fresh arb opportunity

Discounts for full-plate nickel cathodes in China swung back into premiums in the week to Tuesday November 5 and a newly-opened arbitrage import window refreshed spot appetite for material in the region, while buyers in Europe and the United States remained firmly on the sidelines.

  • Asian nickel once more traded at a premium while an open arbitrage window enlivened spot activity in the region
  • European market remained subdued on lack of physical appetites despite lower LME price
  • US premiums held with participants focused on contract business for 2020
Chinese discounts jumps to premium on open arbitrage window
Discounts for nickel full-plate cathodes in the Chinese import market turned into premiums in the week to November 5 when the import arbitrage window opened abruptly during the week.
“The import window opened intermittently this week due to technical squeezing on China’s futures exchanges rather than due to supply tightness,” a Shanghai-based trader said. “That’s why the import window opened and why nickel is trading in a premium now.”

The Chinese nickel import market had been closed since late July and nickel cathodes premiums dramatically swung into discount from late October while the...


Violet Li

Orla O'Sullivan

Amy Hinton

November 06, 2019

16:09 GMT

London, Shanghai, New York