China Nickel offtake to rise 62% on steel demand

May 30 | Updated: May 31 2007, 05:30am hrs
Demand for nickel in China, the world's biggest consumer of the metal, may raise 62% by the end of the decade because of rising demand from stainless steelmakers, a government researcher said. Demand for nickel will rise to 400,000 metric tonne in 2010 from 247,000 tonne in 2006, Zhang Mei, a researcher at the Ministry of Land and Resources's information centre, said at a conference in Shanghai.

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.