June 17, 2011 / 3:46 PM / 7 years ago

European nickel premiums ease, demand worries weigh

* Premiums for nickel briquetts $300-450/T -traders

* LME Three-month nickel hits 7-month low, rebounds

LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) - Premiums for physical nickel in Europe eased from last month, traders said, as demand worries for the stainless steel material dominate.

Premiums for briquette NI-RDM-BRQ over LME cash prices CMNI0 ranged from $300-450 from around $350-$550 in May, traders said.

Premiums for full-plate nickel NI-RDM-FP were at $50-100 a tonne, versus $50-$150 and for cut nickel NI-RDM-CT premiums were at $300-$400 versus $300-$450 last month.

“Sentiment is weak. Nickel prices have fallen. Some of the stainless steel stockers are trying to postpone or cancel their orders from stainless steel mills,” one trader said.

“The market is pressured for the time being.”

Nickel prices were under pressure for much of May and still look vulnerable. Demand from the stainless steel industry is easing for seasonal reasons but more than would normally be expected.

Stainless steel production accounts for around two-thirds of nickel demand and stainless buyers have been holding off making purchases. [ID:nLDE74Q1GN]

Three-month nickel on the LME CMNI3 on Friday hit its lowest since November at $21,525 a tonne before rebounding.

Traders quoted tin premiums for Chinese material SN-CN at $450-600 versus $500-$600 a tonne last week, and standard-grade Malaysian tin SN-MY at $330-370 a tonne versus $350-550.

“The premiums have been relatively unchanged for months, having moved no more than $20 either way,” another trader said.

“It’s very orderly ... not a huge demand.”

Premiums for physical zinc ZN-SHGDPP were quoted around $130-$140 compared with $125-$140 a tonne last week.

Premiums for spot copper may jump by a quarter once the third-month arbitrage window opens between the LME and Shanghai, which could hasten deliveries of LME stocks in Asia to China, industry sources said on Thursday. [ID:nL3E7HG0HX]

Editing by Jason Neely

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