Nickel declined along with most metals as China’s power crisis spread from factories to residents, adding risks to supply chains, demand and the economic recovery.
Residents in several northern provinces have already been dealing with blackouts, while traffic lights are being turned off, causing chaos on the roads in at least one major city. That shows how quickly the country’s power crisis is escalating, adding the risk of social instability to an economic slowdown and global supply chain disruptions.
Economists at Nomura Holdings and China International Capital have downgraded their growth forecasts as electricity shortages force businesses to cut back on production.
The power crunch in the top metals consuming country has already caused supply losses at metal smelters, fabricators and steel mills in the past few months. Prices of aluminum surged to the highest level since 2008 earlier this month as the energy-intensive sector was a major target of the country’s move to curb power usage.
For nickel, prices are under pressure as the energy crisis is curbing output mostly at stainless steel mills and power restrictions may tighten further into the fourth quarter, stock broker CICC said in a note on Monday.
Nickel fell as much as 2.9% to $18 830 ton on the London Metal Exchange before trading at $18 840 as of 7:53 a.m. local time. Zinc declined 0.9%, while copper rose 0.3%.