Nickel futures traded close to $19,000 per tonne in August, not far from a 3-week low hit earlier in the month after traders digested signs of slowing demand from China, as manufacturing PMIs pointed to a further slowdown in Chinese factory activity in July. On the supply side, prospects remained balanced after Vale announced it had settled a nine-week strike with workers of a Canadian mine, while 30-day LME inventory resumed its downward trend from an April peak, mainly due to disruptions at nickel mines in New Caledonia and Russia.