Tsingshan plans another 50,000t nickel LME listing this year

Image: Tsingshan Holding Group.

China’s Tsingshan, the world’s biggest nickel producer, is planning to register 50,000 metric tons capacity of nickel cathode on the London Metal Exchange (LME) in the second half of 2024, a company official said on Wednesday.

The company listed nickel cathode from its Dingxing plant on the LME in the second quarter, and will likely apply to list 50,000 metric tons from another smelter this year, Morgan Xue, vice president of Eternal Tsingshan Group, told a conference organized by Shanghai Metals Market.

Tsingshan’s move is part of efforts by Chinese producers, which traditionally make lower-grade product such as ferronickel, to produce more high-grade cathodes in Indonesia and China that are deliverable on the LME.

In March 2022, the turbulent nickel market saw many participants losing money over a sudden surge in price that forced the LME to halt nickel trading, partly due to a shortage of deliverable nickel cathode.

Sources said Tsingshan was front and centre in the crisis due to its large short positions on nickel at the time.

Edric Koh, Head of Corporate Sales in Asia at the LME, said at the same conference on Tuesday that he saw more listing potentially from Indonesia, the world’s biggest nickel producer.

To attract more listings and restore market confidence after the nickel crisis, the LME last year launched a fast-track process to allow more nickel producers to list brands quicker.

The first application since the fast-track process was launched was from Huayou in June 2023. Since then, a few other Chinese producers such as GEM, CNGR and Tsingshan have applied.

LME nickel inventories surged 127% in a year to 85,650 tons on Monday, partly due to the increasing availability of nickel cathode brands from China and Indonesia, contributing to a growing surplus and pressuring prices.

(By Siyi Liu, Fransiska Nangoy and Mai Nguyen; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Michael Perry)


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