March 25, 2020 / 3:34 AM / 4 days ago

China Jan-Feb nickel ore imports fall 5.1% y/y as Indonesia ban begins

BEIJING, March 25 (Reuters) -

* China’s nickel ore imports in the first two months of 2020 fell 5.1% from a year earlier, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data released on Wednesday, as the ban on exports from top miner Indonesia came into force

* China imported 4.32 million tonnes of nickel ore in January and February combined, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs, versus 4.55 million tonnes a year earlier

* Customs said last month it would combine trade data for January and February instead of releasing it for individual months

* Volumes in January-February from Indonesia, whose ban on exports from Jan. 1 sparked a scramble for ore in late 2019, were down 18.1% year-on-year at 1.98 million tonnes as the last cargoes to be shipped arrived in China

* Arrivals from alternative supplier the Philippines meanwhile rose 39.6% year-on-year to 2.01 million tonnes

* Top Philippine miner Nickel Asia on March 16 warned of potential disruptions to shipments due to the coronavirus

* China’s imports of nickel pig iron, a raw material for stainless steel production, rose 60.8% from a year earlier to 473,059 tonnes, with arrivals from Indonesia - which are not subject to a ban - more than doubling to 403,575 tonnes (Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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