LME Nickel Stocks





LME data week from January 6 to 10
Live Warrants started the week at 129.222 (82.63%) and ended 140.808 (82,32%) at Cancelled Warrants started the week at 27.156 (17,37%) and ended at 30.258 (17,68%)
Opening Stocks are now at 171.060 +14.682 this week



Relocation will sooner or later be reflected in Chinese GDP, they have a huge middle class and have to mature domestic demand, but with the industry afraid… … The China-ASEAN FTA trade deal is giant and we cannot overlook this . “In August 2009, both parties signed the Investment Agreement. The establishment of the China-ASEAN free trade area enhances close economic and trade relations between the two parties and also contributes to the economic development of Asia and the world at large. ”
The author doesn’t talk about it, in this link you can see the different treaties signed.




Some interesting graphics



Hi Nuno, do you honestly think hydrogen has a large scale application? I can understand big oil companies pushing it but it doesn’t really make much sense to me. Its principal advantage over batteries is range and re-charge time both of which, in lithium ion battery applications, are improving every year. Once you get a 1,000km single charge battery that can be recharged in less than 10 minutes its game over. Where does hydrogen go then? Ships? Aircraft? Possibly trains although I doubt trains will be a significant market.

I just can’t see it somehow but of course I could be completely wrong. This presentation seems to suggest I am.

TDT :sunglasses:


You have my opinion on this article, can you send information about “a 1,000km single charge battery that can be recharged in less than 10 minutes”


I did say “Once you get…” but of course the 1,000km battery pack is already here. The Tesla next generation Roaster has a 200kWh battery pack with a 1,000km range now. The under 10 minute charge time is aspirational but that’s coming although when I can’t say. At a guess I would suggest wthin 5 years.

TDT :sunglasses:


And they’re on the verge of bringing out a 1,000,000 mile battery (that’s a battery that last for 1,000,000 miles and not a battery that can hold a 1,000,000 mile charge :face_with_raised_eyebrow:).

TDT :sunglasses:


Thanks TDT, good news, I think you’re talking about this,



**SHANGHAI, Jan 13 (SMM) – Increase in seaborne prices of cobalt boosted domestic cobalt prices last week. Concerns about an upward trend in prices led to some restocking demand, which in turn supported the cobalt price rally. Producers of cobalt salts firmed up offers despite thin trades pre-holiday. **

**Decline in prices of lithium carbonate slowed while stockpiling from downstream material producers drew to an end and dampened demand for lithium carbonate. **

**Downstream demand remains determinant of cobalt prices in the future despite bullish prospects for prices before the Chinese New Year holiday. Large-scale maintenance at lithium carbonate smelters during the holiday will reduce inventories, but a lack of significant improvement in fundamentals could continue to keep prices weak. **

**According to SMM database, about 1.18 million new energy vehicles obtained qualification certificates in China in 2019, 4% lower from a year ago. New energy passenger vehicles accounted for the greatest share of 86.9%, while new energy special vehicles took up the smallest 6.2%. **

The capacity of installed power batteries increased last year, by 8.7% to stand at 62.2GWh. Among this, ternary batteries accounted for 65.4% and lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries made up 32.3%.

**Due to subsidy phase-down, China’s NEV production declined year on year for the fifth consecutive month in December, despite frontloading production at year-end. This resulted in negative growth in the full-year production in 2019, with the output of new energy buses and special vehicles falling 14.5% and 31.1%, respectively, from a year ago. **

**SMM forecasts China’s NEV and power battery markets to see four major types of roadmaps in 2020, which are high-nickel ternary battery system preferred by automaker Tesla, LFP battery system favoured by BYD, cost reduction driven by technology advancement, and expansion of joint venture carmakers and foreign battery producers. **

**SMM estimates a rebound of 22.6% in China’s production of NEVs in 2020, standing at 1.43 million units. Output growth is expected to pick up from 2022, with China’s NEV production likely exceeding 7 million units by 2025. **

In the week ended January 10, prices of refined cobalt edged up by 10,000 yuan/mt from a week ago to 272,000-280,000 yuan/mt, with the improved speculative sentiment, SMM assessed. Prices of cobalt hydroxide remained flat on the week at $9.4-10.2/lb.

Increase in overseas offers of refined cobalt drove major producers in China to lift prices. But higher seaborne prices failed to buoy domestic prices of cobalt hydroxide, on the back of limited procurement by downstream producers.

**SMM assessed the average prices of cobalt sulphate at 47,500-49,000 yuan/mt last week, 2,750 yuan/mt higher than a week earlier, with prices of cobalt chloride rising 2,250 yuan/mt, to stand at 56,000-57,500 yuan/mt. Prices of battery-grade nickel sulphate, meanwhile, fell 250 yuan/mt on the week to 24,500-25,000 yuan/mt. **

**Producers of cobalt salts raised prices on limited inventories, trying to making up for their previous losses. Bullish prospects for cobalt prices dominated the market. This, together with some new orders, prompted downstream producers to restock. **

According to SMM assessments, prices of cobalt (II, III) oxide also climbed, by 11,500 yuan/mt last week to 180,000-190,000 yuan/mt, due to higher prices of cobalt salts and insufficient inventories of cobalt (II, III) oxide.

**Optimistic demand outlook from 5G boosted bullish sentiment about cobalt prices. New orders at downstream lithium cobalt oxide (LCO) plants and expectations of logistics suspension this week also accounted for the improved trades and elevated prices. SMM forecasts transactions to cool this week, but prices of cobalt (II, III) oxide may continue to edge higher if overseas prices extend their increase. **

**For the week ended January 10, SMM assessed prices of ternary precursor NCM523 at 79,000-82,000 yuan/mt, up 2,500 yuan/mt on the week, with prices of NCM622 stabilising at 86,000-89,000 yuan/mt. **

**Higher cobalt prices were the driver behind the rise in ternary precursor prices. Trades were muted last week as most downstream ternary material plants finished restocking before January 1. SMM expects prices of ternary precursor to hold steady before the Chinese New Year holiday. **

**SMM assessed prices of battery-grade lithium carbonate at 47,000-50,500 yuan/mt, and prices of industrial-grade lithium carbonate at 37,000-40,000 yuan/mt, both down 1,000 yuan/mt on the week amid subdued transaction activity. **

**There remain some demand from cathode material producers till mid-January, and trades are more likely to occur at low prices in cash. **

**The price range of battery-grade lithium carbonate widened on the back of industry-wide production cuts in the power battery market, albeit decent demand from the digital battery sector. Suppliers of feedstock spodumene and mica also cut offers to destock. Producers of high-quality battery-grade lithium carbonate have problems selling cargoes, but they are not willing to slash prices in order to secure market share. A slew of ore smelters carried out maintenance for the new year. They are expected to resume operation in the first half of February. **

SMM assessed prices of battery-grade lithium hydroxide (coarse particle) remained flat on the week at 52,000-57,000 yuan/mt.

**Prices of high-quality battery-grade lithium hydroxide held firm on the back of tight supply since end-December, SMM learned from market participants. There is no production cut schedule for the material during the upcoming holiday. **

Prices of LCO, which is used to produce 4.35V batteries, also held unchanged on the week at 195,000-210,000 yuan/mt, SMM assessed.

**Downstream battery makers mostly halted production, leading to overall sluggish demand for LCO and subdued trades. **

**SMM assessed prices of ternary material NCM523 and NCM622 remained unchanged on the week at 126,000-137,000 yuan/mt and 145,000-153,000 yuan/mt, respectively. **

**Price increase in ternary precursor dampened demand from the downstream market. But demand remained solid for high-nickel ternary materials and at foreign producers. SMM expects prices of ternary materials to stabilise before the holiday. **

**SMM assessments showed that prices of LFP used in power batteries flat on the week at 39,000-42,500 yuan/mt. **

**Weakness in prices of lithium carbonate did not impact on prices of LFP materials as downstream purchases were also weak with battery makers shutting down for maintenance. SMM learned that some 90% of LFP producers have stopped production. **

**SMM assessed prices of lithium manganese oxide (LMO) used in high-energy-density lithium-ion batteries and prices of LMO used in power batteries limitedly changed on the week, at 22,000-31,000 yuan/mt and 34,500-36,500 yuan/mt, respectively. **

Some downstream battery plants concluded procurement last week for production of the last batch of products pre-holiday. LMO producers will shut down in mid-January for the holiday.



CAAM: China car sales dropped 8.2% in 2019

**Data Analysis 03:07:56PM Source:SMM **
SHANGHAI, Jan 13 (SMM) – China’s automobile sales dropped 8.2% in 2019 to 25.77 million units, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said on Monday.

Passenger vehicles accounted for 21.44 million units, shrinking 9.6% year on year.

In 2018, automobile sales in China declined 2.8%, marking the first contraction since the 1990s.

CAAM data also revealed that sales of new energy vehicles in China slipped for the first time since the government began to vigorously promote clean energy vehicles about a decade ago, due to macroeconomic pressure and a significant cut in subsidies.

NEV sales shrank 4% in 2019 to 1.21 million units.

The industry ministry said over the weekend that China will not make significant cuts to subsidies for NEVs this year, which reassured carmakers.
Source SMM



Exclusive: China’s base metals output in 2019

**Feature 08:42:05PM Jan 10, 2020 Source:SMM **
SHANGHAI, Jan 10 (SMM) – This is a roundup of China’s base metals output in 2019, from an SMM survey of major producers.

**Copper **

**China’s production of copper cathode stood at 8.95 million mt in 2019, up 220,000 mt, or 2.4% from 2018. SMM expects the output to rise 4.42% year on year to 9.34 million mt in 2020. **

**The addition in China’s copper cathode production last year fell far below the estimated rise of 600,000-650,000 mt. Besides less-than-expected materialisation of new and expanded capacity, incidents at smelters such as Baiyin Nonferrous, Shandong Jinsheng, Dongying Fangyuan, Chifeng Yuntong, West Mining Qinghai Copper, and Xinjiang Wuxin, as well as concentrated maintenance accounted for the smaller growth of output. **

Chifeng Yuntong, Chinalco South East Copper, Guangxi Nanguo, West Mining Qinghai, and Heilongjiang Zijin contributed to the majority of the copper production in 2019.

**China’s copper cathode output will continue to increase with a compound annual growth rate of 5.26% in 2019-2022, SMM assessed based on capacity addition and expansion schedule at Chinese copper smelters. **

**The respective production in 2020, 2021, and 2022 are estimated at 9.34 million mt, 9.9 million mt, and 10.45 million mt. **


China produced 35.44 million mt of primary aluminium in 2019, down 1.8% from 2018, as loss-making smelters trimmed their output in the first half of the year while production in the second half was affected by a slew of unexpected accidents. This marked the first annual production decline in about a decade.

In the same year, primary aluminium consumption in China shrank as well, falling 1.6% year on year to 36.07 million mt, as major consumers lost momentum, with less real estate floor space completed, fewer automobiles manufactured and less investment in grid projects.

For 2020, new or restarted smelting projects are expected to help China’s primary aluminium production gather pace, while an anticipated recovery in cars, durable goods and property will likely drive aluminium consumption back to growth.

SMM expects China’s primary aluminium production to grow 3.4% to 36.64 million mt in 2020, and consumption to inch up 0.3% to 36.19 million mt.

In terms of social inventories, the level of 1 million mt is unlikely to be broken around the Chinese New Year holiday in January to February. When it comes to March to May, inventories are unlikely to rise or decline substantially given a traditional high consumption season and supply expansion. In June to August, inventories will begin an uptrend and exceed 1.2 million mt. Inventory destocking is expected to begin in September to October and continue through to the first quarter of 2021.

The commissioning of new alumina projects in China are likely to be concentrated in the second half of 2020, boosting production by 1.3-1.5 million mt.

China’s net imports of alumina are expected to stand at 1.1 million mt in 2020. Supply of metallurgical-grade alumina is expected at 74.47 million mt, while demand is estimated at 70.9 million mt. There will be a supply surplus of 951,600 mt.

Prices of domestic bauxite are more likely to rise than decline in the year to come. Alumina prices are hovering at the bottom, and inventories, how fast reopened refineries can ramp up and when the import arbitrage window can open will decide the magnitude of the rally in alumina prices.

**Prices of domestic alumina in 2020 are expected to rise, before decline, before rise again, in anticipation of demand and supply dynamics. **


China’s refined zinc output came in at 5.84 million mt for 2019, up 9.64% year on year, as rising treatment charges lifted profits among smelters and encouraged them to operate in high gear.

Zinc production is expected to grow 6.78% year on year to 6.24 million mt in 2020.

TCs for domestic zinc concentrate were on a tear to a peak of 6,500 yuan/mt of Zn content in the last year. TCs slipped in some regions as smelters stockpiled in winter, but the declines were limited.

**As for zinc mining domestically, there was about 200,000 mt of new capacity coming online in 2019, and more than 100,000 mt is expected in 2020. **

Tougher environmental requirements have led to the shutdown of a slew of small-scale mines, but large-scale ones were limitedly affected, suggesting that zinc concentrate supply pressure lingers.

SMM learned that Chinese zinc miners now can see a profit of 2,000 yuan/mt, which is healthy enough to keep them operate actively.

Zinc ore supply in China is expected to grow about 210,000 mt in 2020, in anticipation of inflows of seaborne materials as Chinese smelters will maintain high production and as an oversupply overseas underpins TCs. Chinese small- and medium-scale zinc miners are likely to take the lead to trim output if zinc prices fall below the break-even points for miners.


**China’s production of refined nickel climbed 3.31% from a year ago, to 157,300 mt in 2019, as rising nickel prices on Indonesian ore export ban stimulated production at some small smelters in the second half of the year. Limited availability of sulphide minerals, coupled with a pullback in nickel prices, will likely see refined nickel production in China slightly lower in 2020. SMM estimates a drop of 1.46% in China’s refined nickel output in 2020, standing at 155,000 mt. **

**Output of NPI in China increased 27.96%, or 127,800 mt in Ni content in 2019, SMM data showed. High-grade NPI accounted for 508,300 mt with low-grade material taking up 75,600 mt, both were in Ni content basis. Overall NPI production in China is expected to fall 12.96% year on year to 509,000 mt in 2020. **

The NPI market performance was outstanding in 2019. Rising NPI production on the back of cost advantage and unprecedented high discounts squeezed the market of refined nickel. With high profit margins, output and capacity of NPI advanced month by month for most of 2019. Majority of the growth was contributed by large NPI plants and intergraded stainless steel mills, such as Shandong Xinhai, Tsingshan Group, Jiangsu Delong, and Baosteel Desheng.

**Production at some plants edged lower at year-end due to lower inventories of raw materials and smaller profits, which were caused by falling prices of high-grade NPI as downstream stainless steel prices weakened significantly. **

**SMM forecasts a shortage of raw materials following the Indonesia export ban in 2020 will weigh on China’s NPI market and see Indonesia surpassing China to become the world’s top NPI supplier in the upcoming years. The respective NPI production in China in 2020-2022 is estimated at 509,400 mt, 457,600 mt, and 350,000 mt on Ni content basis. **

**China produced 136,700 mt of nickel sulphate, in metal content, in 2019, with a year-on-year increase of 33.31%. Production in 2020 is expected to rise 12.66%, to 154,000 mt. **

**The expansion of China’s nickel sulphate market may slow significantly in 2019-2020. Domestic capacity of nickel sulphate increased 46% on the year to 1.05 million mt in 2019. The growth was capped as demand from the new energy vehicle sector weakened after subsidy cuts and reports of NEV incidents. In the first half of the year, selloffs of traditional fossil fuel vehicles with lower emission standards also depressed consumption of NEVs. **

SMM estimates nickel sulphate capacity to grow 23% to 1.29 million mt in 2020. With the termination of NEV subsidies by end-2020 and the removal of the “white list” of recommended battery suppliers, a reshuffle of China’s power battery industry will result in slower growth of the nickel sulphate market this year.

However, the increase in demand may pick up from 2021 on the back of positive development of the NEV market. This is likely to expand the production of nickel sulphate and keep the growth rate above 20% in 2021-2022.


**Refined lead output in China came in at 5.15 million mt in 2019, up 1.5% from a year earlier, according to SMM data. SMM expects the production to rise 2.1% in 2020, standing at 5.26 million mt. **

**China’s primary lead market maintained well-supplied in 2019, primarily because rising treatment charges (TCs) for lead concentrate bolstered production at primary lead smelters. Safety concerns at mines and declining grade of domestic ore triggered a surge in lead concentrate imports last year, which eased domestic ore shortage and boosted the TCs for lead concentrate. Production of primary lead received a smaller impact from environmental issues as major producers pursue green production. SMM expects China’s output of primary refined lead to continue to edge higher in 2020, but the proportion of materials purely produced from concentrate will decline. **

**Production of secondary lead in China also rose in 2019 amid new and expanded capacity. Secondary lead supply was in an upward trend in the second half of the year, supported by improving profit margins and favourable national policies. **

SMM estimates an increase of 150,000-200,000 mt in China’s secondary lead production in 2020, with new capacity coming online in Anhui, Jiangxi, Inner Mongolia, and Henan, and more availability of lead-acid battery scrap.


China’s production of refined tin declined 15,500 mt, or 9.97% year on year to 139,800 mt in 2019, while the average operating rate across tin smelters dropped to 48.5% from 53.8% in 2018, as tighter ore supply depressed TCs for tin concentrate.

**SMM assessments showed that tin concentrate TCs fell to 13,500-14,000 yuan/mt for cargoes of Sn 40% in the second half of September, and to 10,500-11,500 yuan/mt for cargoes of Sn 60%. **

In October, operating rates across tin smelters slipped to 41.6% from 50.1% in September, and refined tin output dropped to 9,900 mt from September’s 12,000 mt.

Tin output shrank further to 7,500 mt in November, with operating rate at a near-five-year trough of 31.3%, as China’s largest tin producer—Yunnan Tin—undertook overhaul.

China’s tin production is expected to recover 4.3% to 145,000 mt in 2020, as some large-scale smelters plan to expand production.

**Meanwhile, tin concentrate ore supply is expected to remain in a tight balance. Yinman Mining is expected to reopen in 2020, but ore production is unlikely to receive a strong boost at the initial stage of its resumption. **

Production of refined tin in China is expected to be 149,000 mt and 152,000 mt in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
Source SMM