[ferro-alloys.com]China’s Tsingshan Holding Group Co. was one of the main forces behind a record drawdown in London Metal Exchange nickel inventories last week, according to people familiar with the matter.
The company, the world’s biggest stainless steelmaker, bought the nickel to secure supplies ahead of a looming ban on raw nickel ore exports from Indonesia, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deals are private.
While the LME’s warehouse network is designed as a last-resort source for exactly this type of supply crisis, the scale of buying could raise concerns about a potential shortfall if the drawdowns continue. Some traders and consumers have been scrambling to pick up metal since early September, when Indonesia confirmed plans to bring forward its ban. But the move last week was surprisingly sharp — the nearly 25,000 tons that left the warehouses was the biggest decline in the four-decade history of the nickel contract.