Base metals prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange were broadly down during Asian morning trading on Monday January 14, with weakness in US equity markets last Friday denting investors’ risk appetite.

Tin and nickel shrugged off the weakness experienced by their peers in the early session on Monday, rising by 0.5% and 0.6% respectively. Nickel has found support against a backdrop of tightening supply.

Reports of nickel projects in Indonesia and China’s Qinhai province being postponed due to financial difficulties along with growing demand for ferro-nickel from the Chinese stainless steel industry have fueled expectations of tightening supply of nickel.

“The higher price of recycled stainless steel has made Chinese stainless steel refineries turn to ferro-nickel for their raw material needs instead. In addition, new nickel projects are reportedly having difficulties, which also generated some bullish sentiment in the market,” a nickel analyst based in Beijing said.

At the same time, SHFE nickel stocks continue to slowly decline; nickel stocks at SHFE-approved warehouses fell by 415 tonnes to 14,466 tonnes in the week ended January 11. This is down 74.7% from year-ago levels.

The most-traded May nickel contract rose to 92,280 yuan ($13,645) per tonne as at 10.32am Shanghai time, up by 560 yuan per tonne from last Friday’s closing price.

Elsewhere, copper was the biggest loser this morning with the red metal pressured by a firmer US currency compared with recent days.

The dollar index stood at 95.56 as at 10.31am Shanghai time, up from 95.43 at roughly the same time last Friday. The index had fallen as low as 95.03 on January 10.

“Right now, not too much news from the market. Deals would have more influence on copper price which is being dragged down by the stronger dollar index,” a copper analyst in Shanghai.