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Nickel Price Surge Batters Chinese Stocks

Nickel prices in China hit a record high on Wednesday with prices rising 17% to hit 267,700 yuan (about $42,400) a tonne, touching the ceiling for permitted daily gains

Tsingshan has to either pay off the outstanding short positions, which could be as high as $8 billion, or prove it has sufficient deliverable nickel to repay in kind. Photo: AFP.


Nickel prices in China hit a record high on Wednesday after trading of the metal was suspended in London.

Prices rose 17% to hit a record of 267,700 yuan (about $42,400) a tonne, touching their ceiling for permitted daily gains.

The jump in futures hit Chinese companies that use nickel, such as Shanghai-listed battery maker Huayou Cobalt and Shenzhen-listed automotive parts producer Hengli Industrial, which both fell 10%.

The surge also affected Chinese stainless steel futures, which dropped on Wednesday, after opening more than 7% higher, as cautious investors assessed the uncertainties caused by a surge in prices of nickel, a raw material.

A bad bet placed by China’s Tsingshan Holding Group, which bought large amounts of nickel to reduce its short bets on the metal and its exposure to costly margin calls, fuelled the rally and triggered the London Metal Exchange ban.

Prices of the metal had already been rising following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia supplied nearly 13% of the total global nickel mining capacity in 2021.

The most-active stainless steel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, for April delivery, dropped as much as 4.2% to 20,655 yuan a tonne, after touching 24,785 yuan per tonne earlier.

“Current stainless steel prices have derived from its own supply and demand fundamentals,” Fu Zhiwen, an analyst with Huatai Futures, said.


  • George Russell, with Reuters




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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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