This page is archived news covering the period from April 1, 2006 to April 30, 2006.
If you are looking for current daily market news, please visit this page.

Daily Nickel Market Prices

April 2006

(Nickel prices are followed here daily as they are responsible for up to 60% of the cost of stainless steel)
(Molybdenum prices are for molybdenum oxide, an ingredient and major price factor in 316 stainless)

(all ton listings are metric tons = 2204.6 pounds - what we use to determine closing - see bottom of page)

4-28

LME nickel started off the day in a nose-dive, going as low as $8.24/lb (10% lower than Tuesday's high), before rebounding and ending the day, week, and month at $8.73/lb.
*    Metals Place reports imports of nickel to China are down 25.7% and consumption of nickel is down 15.6% compared to the same time last year. While this should be extremely concerning to traders, most appear to be comparing recent comsumption to last quarter.
*    China' largest nickel smelter, Jinchuan Group, has capped price increases on nickel, temporarily, in an effort to help its customers.
*    LME nickel invedntory - minus 504 tons = 27,174 tons

4-27

Nickel on the LME, joined the other declining metals today, and nosedived as traders took profits. Closed at $8.53/lb. Short-lived or pull-back? We will have to wait and see.
*    Inco resumes construction at Goro operation in New Caledonia.
*    The International Iron and Steel Institute predicts global steel demand to rise by 7.3 percent in 2006, led again, by China.
*    Inco and United Steelworkers Local 6500 still in negotiations in Sudbury, Ontario. Last time these two negotiated a contract, it took a 13 week strike in 2003 to get a new agreement.
*    China raised one year lending rate yesterday according to Blooomberg.
*    LME nickel inventory - minus 270 tons = 27,678 tons

4-26

While momentarily reaching a new record high of $9.17/lb, afternoon profit takers drove the closing price down to $8.87/lb.
*   Yieh reports Taiwan's Yusco and Tang Eng raised prices of export stainless by $250 to $300/ton (US).
*   Roskil reports there is plenty of molybdenum concentrate available, the price is staying high due to a lack of 'usable moly' because of the lack of available roasters
*   LME nickel inventory - minus 144 tons = 27,948 tons.

4-25

LME nickel ended the day in record territory, closing at $20M/ton -  or $9.07/lb.
*   Japan Oil, Gas, and Metals National Corporation announces it will release 1,620 tons from their nickel reserve to stabilize the rising cost of nickel.
*   Falconbridge announces first quarter 2006 net income of $462 million dollars (US) on revenues of $2.858 billion compared to $176 million on revenues of $1.894 billion the same time last year.
*   Peter Goudie, executive vice president of marketing at Inco, told analysts Monday, Inco has forecast a 10,000 metric ton deficit of nickel this year. This would compare to a 11,000 mt surplus in 2005, and a 6,000 mt surplus in 2004.
*   LME nickel inventory - minus 162 tons = 28,092 tons

4-24

LME session was volatile with most metals finishing down. Nickel bucked the trend and closed at $8.79/lb.
*    LME nickel inventory - minus 162 tons = 28,254 tons

4-21

The London Metal Exchange went wild today, with all metals taking huge jumps. LME nickel closed at $8.78/lb,
up a full 5% and a new record high.
 *    Inco announces its intent to resume construction next week of its New Caledonia Goro project.
*   China's largest producer of nickel, Jinchuan Nickel Group, signs agreement with Australia's Allegiance Mining, worth about $1.3 billion US dollars at current nickel price. Jinchuan produces approximately 90% of China's domestic nickel. Production at the Tasmanian mine is expected to begin in early 2007.
*   LME nickel inventory - minus 180 tons = 28,416 tons

4-20

Only last quarter, nickel did not seem to be enjoying the market prices, its counterparts on the LME were experiencing. Today, other metals all fell on profit taking, while nickel actually gained, closing at $8.37/lb.
*   Yieh is reporting Taiwan's two largest stainless mills have advised they will raise price of stainless next week, but have yet to announce by how much. With nickel being at a 17 year high, some manufacturers of stainless product, are not quoting, pending the results of this increase.
*   Inco first quarter earnings are out and the company reports first quarter net earnings were down 36%. Reported profits dropped to $202 million from $317 million this same quarter last year.
*   LME nickel inventory - plus 378 tons = 28,596 tons

4-19

Nickel traded on the LME ended the day at $8.32/lb.
*   LME nickel inventory - minus 468 tons = 28,218 tons

4-18

Thanks to the report of China's GDP expanding at 10.2% in the first quarter, and more funds bailing out of the oil market, LME nickel closed at $8.29/lb.
*    Ferrochrome for European customers rose 7.25 cents/pound for 2nd quarter of 2006 to 70 cents/pound.
*    LME trading resumes today.

4-17

London Metal Exchange continues to be closed today for the holiday. Trading resumes tomorrow.

4-14

London Metal Exchange closed until Tuesday, April 18th. Have a nice weekend.
*    LME nickel inventory - minus 42 tons = 28,686 tons

4-13

LME nickel retreated today, closing at $8.09/lb.
*   Scrap theft has never stopped over the past few years, but is returning to the headlines with high prices again. Some of the stories I have seen recently...
Trio of thieves in Oregon dress up in highway workers gear, set out cones, and in broad daylight strip bridges of cross beams and handrails. They've hit 3 times and still at large.
In Ohio this week, $4000 worth of bleachers were stole from a baseball field.
In Indiana, a body was discovered beneath some electrical wiring at an old Army ammunition plant, where just last week, 6 men were arrested for stealing nearly $500,000 worth of copper wiring and scrap metal. The most recent thief apparently wasn't aware some of the wiring was still hot.
Beijing gave up replacing the 25,000 manhole covers its lost and is now replacing them with concrete ones.
Belgium's largest railway system is reporting most of their 800 aluminum baggage carts are gone.
In Germany, thieves didn't mess with baggage carts - they stole 3 miles of inactive railway track.
Yesterday - 600 Canadian customers went without phone service for 6 hours after thieves stole 300 feet of phone wire. This happened to some citizen's of Longview, Washington twice last week, when thieves returned to the same spot twice and stole similar wiring.
In Thailand, the president is livid after someone stole the power cable to a tsunami warning tower.
And in South Africa, 300 homes and 200 business were without power yesterday for 6 hours after thieves broke into a working substation and began to dismantle it.
And now one of Great Britain's crimes has made it to the States. Since last year, Great Britain has witnessed the disappearance of 250,000 aluminum beer kegs! Breweries in America are reporting a similar problem.
Steal our power - steal our phone service - steal the guttering from our house and the highway signs to guide us home. But have pity and leave us our beer!! 
*   LME nickel inventory - minus 168 tons = 28,728 tons

4-12



Nickel on the London Metal Exchange went over $18,000/ton before dropping and closing at $8.14/lb.
*   Market is edgy with union contracts expiring in late May at Inco's Sudbury mine and a Falconbridge refinery in Norway. Add the hostility and sabotage at Inco's Goro project in New Caledonia and on the horizon, the annual shutdown of shipments from Norilsk, as the Yenisei River floods. Throw in shortages of stainless scrap in areas, gains in stainless steel production, slumping LME inventories, an oil market with low returns, and you have a recipe that funds apparently find in their favor. 
*   LME nickel inventory - minus 534 tons = 28,896 tons

4-11

Nickel isn't slowing down, ending the day at $8.04/lb.
*   China extends anti dumping duties on cold rolled stainless steel sheet from Japan and South Korea another 5 years.
*   Goro's nickel project resumption is still weeks away, at best, says Inco, although it stands by its claim to meet production goals of late 2007.
*   Ottawa Citizen - The Toronto Stock Exchange is putting off acceptance of Falconbridge's poison pill plan, which is designed to prevent a creeping takeover, the miner announced yesterday.
*   China stainless steel production up 18% in first quarter of 2006
*   LME nickel inventory - minus 984 tons = 29,430 tons

4-10

Nothing like a new 17 year high to start the week - nickel closed on the London Metal Exchange at $7.91/lb, with $8+/lb a distinct possibility. Interestingly enough, the nickel market is in a much better condition than it was early last year, yet this week last year, nickel was selling at $7.29/lb and only had 9,294 tons on hand.
*   Yieh is reporting Taiwanese process mills expected to raise price of stainless approximately $63/ton this week with mills expected to increase May prices over $100/ton, due to increase in nickel.
*   LME nickel inventory - minus 756 tons = 30,414 tons

4-7

LME nickel ended at $7.65/lb, but didn't experience the profit taking other metals did.
*   Inco's Goro nickel project in New Caledonia suffered fresh attacks by members of the Rheebu Nuu group who are opposed to the project. The project remains on hold, with many employees, transferred off the island until tensions ease. The shutdown could have an effect on the first scheduled shipments of nickel, planned for late 2007, and this 'potential' disruption has sent a jittery market to near record highs.
*   LME nickel inventory - minus 498 tons = 31,170 tons

4-6

LME nickel continues to show strength on fund involvement and a weakened dollar, ending the day at $7.70/lb. Some suppliers are beginning to get nervous about spot shortages in certain stainless steel manufactured items, as buyers have held off in the hopes prices would fall from 2005. That apparently will not be happening anytime soon.
*   There is some speculation that the major investments have taken money out of the volatile oil markets and invested into metals. How long the money stays, if true, is anyone's guess.
*    LME nickel inventory - minus 114 tons = 31,668 tons.

4-5

Funds roll in the investments as nickel ends the day at $7.60/lb. (yep, that's what the newswires is reporting.)
*    LME nickel inventory - minus 318 tons = 31,782 tons

4-4

LME nickel ends the day at $7.20/lb
*    MEPS releases estimates of 2005 stainless steel production with guesstimates for 2006. For 2005 worldwide production fell 1.2% from 2004 to 24.3 million tonnes. Most of the world lagged behind, while both China and India saw hefty increase's. MEPS predicts that this trend will continue, with China leading the way, and 2006 estimates are for a worldwide increase of 7% to 26 million tonnes. 
*    Some reports now state the Inco Goro project suffered over $10 million dollars in damage from weekend vandalism.
*    BHP Billiton has advised that its US$1.34 billion Ravensthorpe nickel development in Western Australia is approximately 40% complete, with the project due to produce its first nickel in the second quarter of 2007. It is also warning  the project may suffer another cost hike later this year, with rising labor and materials costs.
*    LME nickle inventory - minus 468 tons = 32,100 tons

4-3

Nickel soars to a 9 month high - closing at $7.26/lb. This is not good news for stainless steel users hoping prices would fall anytime soon..
*   Inco halts construction of its Goro nickel mine on New Caledonia following attacks by  vandals/protesters over the weekend. Estimates of $1 million in damage incurred.
*   Allegheny Ludlum announced price increase on stainless steel sheet and strip, both cold and hot rolled, effective May 1st.
*   LME nickel inventory - minus 258 tons = 32,568 tons.

3-31

LME nickel, at $6.89/lb,  ends the day, as did all metals, in the negative as fund investors consolidate their portfolio's for the quarter end.
*    LME nickel inventory - plus 222 tons = 32,826 tons

3-30

Dollar down, nickel up on heels of copper - nickel closed at $7.01/lb.
*    International Stainless Steel Forum announced that world stainless crude steel production declined by 1% in 2005 for the first time since 2001.
*    LME nickel inventory - plus 66 tons = 32,604 tons


Nickel (average annual price) Molybdenum (average annual price)
2001 $2.70/lb $2.36/lb
2002 $3.07/lb $3.59/lb
2003 $4.37/lb $5.21/lb
2004 $6.28/lb $15.92/lb
2005 $6.69/lb $32.51/lb
2005 - average price of ferrochrome - $.74/lb



Closing price - you may notice different sites giving different "closing" costs. I use the price LME uses, which Joanna James at the Global FX Desk graciously explained, is the settlement price for 3 months nickel after the 2nd ring close offer. LME shows on their site the closing price taken after the last kerb.

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