GLOBAL NICKEL WRAP: Global premiums unchanged amid virus pandemic

Global nickel premiums continued to trade flat in the week to Tuesday March 24 despite regional business practises diverging in the fight against the 2019-CoV coronavirus. China continued its market return while the United States headed toward lockdown, and European participants remained firmly on the sidelines.

  • China’s market return has yet to show in premium levels, with patchy spot trading on occasional arbitrage opportunity having little effect
  • A flurry of panic buying ahead of an expected US lockdown left the market there similarly unmoved
  • European participants stayed out of the spot market, with production and subsequently spot demand gradually grinding to a halt.

China’s premiums unchanged
In China, nickel full-plate cathode premiums held steady, with deals reported in the week to March 24 within the existing range.
The import arbitrage between the London Metal Exchange three-month nickel contract and the most-traded contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was estimated at a loss of around 200 yuan ($28) per tonne, down from a loss of 300 yuan per tonne on Tuesday last week.

Fastmarkets’ assessment of the nickel, min 99.8%, full plate premium, cif Shanghai, was $130-160 per tonne on March 24, flat from a...


Violet Li

Orla O'Sullivan

Amy Hinton

March 25, 2020

18:50 GMT

London, New York, Shanghai