Imports accounted for 61% of the nation's demand last year and will rise to two-thirds in 2010, he said.
Nickel futures in London rose to a record this month as China's economic growth fueled demand for the metal. Domestic production of the metal in 2010 may rise 71% from 2005, Zhang said. Most of the new capacity will come from Jinchuan Group Corp, which supplies 90% of the nation's nickel. Chinese producers, including Jinchuan, will boost overseas purchase to meet rising demand, said Zhang in an interview at the conference. " The global nickel market will be basically balanced in the next few years. The global nickel market will be in slight deficit this year and move toward a balance in 2008, said John Barkas, director of Metalytics, Sydney-based independent advisory firm for the resources industry. Nickel will move into a surplus of 40,000 tonne in 2010, he said.