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Thursday, September 20, 2007

India to import record Nickel this year

MUMBAI: Increasing consumption of stainless steel in the wake of India’s construction and economic boom may force the country to import more nickel this year.

The Indian Stainless Steel Development Association expects a rise of 10-15 percent in nickel imports. The Association president N C Mathur said India will buy nearly 50,000 tonnes of the metal this year.

“India’s construction boom is driving the nickel import output,” Mathur said. India had imported 40,000 tonnes of nickel last year.

Indian industry uses two-thirds of nickel to make stainless steel and the country does not produce the metal.

Majority of India's consumption is of low nickel content stainless steel, which use 1-4 percent of the base metal.

Mathur said that the annual stainless steel consumption in India is expected to expand by about 12 percent in the coming year from about two million tonnes now.

Nickel is a highly volatile traded commodity due to its importance as a critical input in stainless steel manufacture. Rising demand and limited supply is the major feature of global nickel industry at present. Russia tops in global nickel output followed by Australia, Canada and New Zealand. China, US and European Union are the main consumers of nickel.

Global consumption of nickel is expected to rise 7 percent to 1.34 million ton in 2006. This may further go up to 1.38 million in 2007. Global production is estimated to be 1.32 million ton in 2006 and is likely to reach 1.37 million in 2007.

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