Platts assessed spot battery-grade nickel sulfate with a minimum 22% nickel content and maximum 100 ppb magnetic material at Yuan 26,500/mt ($3,706/mt) DDP China Dec. 6, flat on the day but down Yuan 1,500/mt on the week.
Mainstream tradable values heard in the market were initially as high as Yuan 28,000/mt DDP China, but later fell to Yuan 26,000/mt toward the end of the week to Dec. 1. Most tradable indications were starting to concentrate at Yuan 26,000-26,500/mt in the week to Dec. 6.
Offer levels heard for nickel sulfate also fell on the week to Yuan 26,500-27,000/mt, DDP China. Sparse offers as low as Yuan 26,000/mt were heard but with strict payment terms, according to market sources.
Demand for nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) batteries remained weak, with most demand from consumers heard to have been well covered by their term contracts.
“Around 20% of the cathode material production was cut in Q4,” said a China-based cathode maker.
Further upstream, participants concurred that spot trades of mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) were also thin.
“Refiners won’t buy MHP to produce nickel sulfate because they will lose money. They are only operating on their tolling business and earning tolling fee,” said the China-based consumer.
“60%-70% nickel sulfate we need to source from our MHP term contracts, but the rest we will buy recycled nickel sulfate or directly buy nickel sulfate from the spot market.”
Platts assessed the MHP CIF North Asia basis LME nickel monthly average price unchanged on the day but down 1% on the week at 75% payables, while the MHP CIF North Asia basis Platts nickel sulfate price was also unchanged on the day and on the week at 79% payables.
The all-in price, as calculated from the payables basis of the LME nickel price, was at $12,731/mt, while the all-in price, as calculated from the payables basis of the Platts nickel sulfate price, was at Yuan 93,044/mt ($13,013/mt) Dec. 6.
Battery-grade manganese sulfate offer levels were still heard above Yuan 5,000/mt. However, tradable levels were heard at Yuan 4,500-5,000/mt, down Yuan 500/mt on the week.
Platts assessed spot battery-grade manganese sulfate with a minimum 32% manganese content at Yuan 4,600/mt ($643/mt) DDP China Dec. 6, down Yuan 100/mt on the day and down Yuan 400/mt on the week.
Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.