European nickel premium at year high; China slides, US flat

Tight supply and steep backwardation on London Metals Exchange continued to support European premiums while China premiums retreated slightly amid increased arbitrage loss, and US premiums were stable in the week to November 16, Fastmarkets learned.

  • European premiums strong while long term contact negotiations for 2022 ongoing
  • China premiums slid amid increased arbitrage loss
  • US premiums unchanged with minimal spot trading
Nickel premiums remain firm in Europe, 4x4 cathode ticks upwards
Tight supply and high backwardation on cash/three-month spreads supported premiums in Europe in the week to November 17, following their rise to year highs last week.
Spot activity was low across all refined nickel products in Europe in the week, with the focus remaining on long term contract negotiations.
“[The] current high backwardation means that traders aren’t keeping stock and the high price environment means that consumers are only buying exactly what they need right now,” one trader told Fastmarkets.
The current cash/three-month spread on the LME was in a $106-per-tonne backwardation on November 16, consistent with levels last week.
“These issues will continue into next year,” the trader added.

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Published

Orla O'Sullivan

Yingchi Yang

Callum Perry

November 17, 2021

16:46 GMT

London, Shanghai, New York