Steel maker Posco said it had developed a new no-nickel stainless steel product, which is 50 per cent cheaper than the popular stainless steel with nickel.
Facing record-high nickel prices, the South Korean steel maker has been considering trimming nickel consumption and switching to metal with zero-nickel content.
Global nickel prices have soared 50 per cent so far this year, hitting a record $50,200 per tonne, as investment funds pumped money into the low-stock metal.
'The new stainless steel, which has qualities similar to the popular nickel-containing stainless steel products, can be a good substitute,' the company said in a statement.
Previous no-nickel stainless steel, which uses chrome, was known to be difficult to process and less corrosion resistant compared with stainless steel with nickel.
The price of the new steel will be 2.3 million won ($2,481) per tonne, half of the price of stainless steel with nickel.
Nickel, a key raw material in stainless steel, is added to raise corrosion resistance, strength, toughness and ductility to stainless steel, used in wide range of products from kitchenware and machinery to airplanes.
Posco plans to sell 2,000 tonnes of the new product every month, expanding its monthly sales target to 10,000 tonnes next year.
Posco produces 2 million tonnes of stainless steel in a year.