(MB) Base metals traded on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were up across the board during Asian morning trading on Monday March 12, with nickel leading the pack higher. The most-traded July nickel contract on the SHFE stood at 104,530 yuan ($16,508) per tonne as of 02.48am London time, up by 3.7% or 3,710 yuan per tonne compared with last Friday’s close. Nickel prices have been bolstered by declining stocks as well as the positivity surrounding the metal’s use in the electric vehicle sector. Nickel stocks at LME warehouses fell by 1,890 tonnes to 328,998 tonnes last Friday, while those at SHFE-approved warehouses decreased by 1,359 tonnes to 328,998 tonnes. “LME nickel stocks have declined by nearly 38,000 tonnes [since the start of the year],” China’s Galaxy Futures noted. Meanwhile, a large 27,244-tonne cancellation of nickel warrants at LME-listed warehouses on Friday further underpinned prices for the metal. The underlying support stemming from the positive picture for nickel from the electric vehicle sector is also continuing to buoy prices. “Nickel is still enjoying overall bullishness … Growth in the electric vehicle market is likely to support nickel; it received further support on Monday after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said buyers should continue to enjoy tax subsidies and non-cash incentives,” Metal Bulletin analyst Andy Farida said. Meanwhile, stainless steel prices have been unable to replicate the success that nickel prices have had so far this morning with an accumulation of stocks, weak demand and soft prices keeping the stainless steel market under pressure, according to market participants. Some stockists are planning to lower their prices further to draw down their inventories, market sources said.Meanwhile, some mills are experiencing a drop in production costs, which may weigh on stainless steel prices further, they added. “The weakness in the stainless steel sector is casting a shadow on the rally in nickel prices,” Galaxy Futures added.