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Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices

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Daily Nickel Market News & Stainless Steel Prices

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Nickel Prices

Friday, April 30

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 5 to 3,354. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Indonesia Said to Delay 100 Billion Yen Samurai Sale After Record Inflows // Macquarie CEO Moore Plans Spending, Acquisitions to Build on U.S. Growth // Daiwa Posts Unexpected Loss as Fee Income Lags Behind Larger Rival Nomura // ICBC, Construction Bank Post Largest Profits Among World's Banks on Growth // BOJ Pledges to Help Banks Lend as Data Show Deflation Still Plagues Japan // Asian Stocks Rise, Copper Advance as Earnings Improve, Greek Debt Crisis Eases // Barclays Drops After Investment Banking Revenue Slide More Than Estimated  // European Inflation Accelerates to 1.5%, Unemployment Holds at 11-Year High // SNB Pledges to Counter Franc Gains as Debt Crisis Prompts Search for Haven // Goldman Sachs Says There's `No Guarantee' Britain Will Keep Its AAA Ratin // Sovereign Debt May Hurt Markets for Decade, Edinburgh Money Managers Say // European Options Jump to Highest Since May 2003 Versus VIX on Greece Fear  // Spain's Unemployment Rate Exceeds 20%, Complicating Efforts to Cut Deficit // U.S. Economy Expanded at 3.2% Pace in First Quarter on Consumer Spending // Goldman Sachs Falls on U.S. Prosecutors' Review, Bank of America Downgrade // Consumer Sentiment Index for U.S. Falls to 72.2 After 73.6 March Reading // Stocks Drop as Goldman Sachs Probe Widens, MEMC Electronic Sinks on Loss
  • The US Dollar is trading lower by 3/10 of 1% against the Euro. NYMEX crude is up over 1/2 of 1% and at $85.63/barrel. Gold and silver are both up just under 1%. Base metals ended higher, but none matched nickel's performance today. Indicator charts show nickel started the day stronger, then stalled for much of the day. Then in the last hour of trading, nickel spiked another $750/tonne. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day, week, and month at $11.93/lb . The high for the month was $12.49/lb on Dec 16th and we estimate the average cost of cash nickel in April will be $.40/lb higher than March. That will mean stainless steel surcharges for June will be higher than May. We ended March at $11.34/lb. With only two days of gains registered the entire month, inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell a total of 10,542 tonnes thru the month of April to end just over the 145,300 tonne level. We are now 21,162 tonnes off the all time record high seen on February 8th of this year. However, we still have 30,839 more tonnes of nickel stockpiled in LME warehouses than we had this time last year. Monday is not only a new week, but a new month, so we could see today's final spike, help drive the average price of nickel for April high enough, to encourage more fund investment next week. If the spike holds, we could also see some shorts who might have entered the market earlier this week as nickel got hammered, be forced to cover their bets next week. Outside of the LME, it was quiet on the news front today, so we wish you a safe and relaxing weekend.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (TH) Zimbabwe - Nickel and granite sales declined 11 percent and 35 percent respectively. Bindura Nickel Corporation, the biggest nickel producer in the country, remains on care and maintenance.
  • Exploration junior African Eagle sees ‘bright future’ for nickel - more
  • The Euro Trap - more
  • Fed Watch: We Can't All Be (Net) Exporters - more
  • Former Fed Staff on 2011 Rate Hikes, Balance Sheet Woes - more
  • More Jobs at the Top and at the Bottom, Fewer in the Middle - more
  • Beyond the Greek Crisis: Will Capitalism Survive? - more
  • Physical Gold is a Reasonable Investment Right Now - more
  • Napa Vineyards Tank - more
  • Gross Domestic Product: First Quarter 2010 - more

  Vale Boosts Nickel Production at its Clydach Refinery in Wales - Vale SA will raise output at its Clydach nickel refinery in Wales to full capacity by the end of this week, taking semi-processed metal from a Canadian facility that has been hit by a labor strike. - more

  Mortality and cancer incidence in a nickel cohort - Previous studies of nickel workers have primarily noted significant early increases in lung and nasal cancers and for various types of accidents. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.25/lb , with most base metals trading higher on a rebounding Euro. The Euro is trading over 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment.  NYMEX crude futures are up 4/10 of 1% and over $85.50/barrel. Gold opened 2/3 of 1% higher and silver is up nearly 1.1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up nearly 1/4 of 1%. European markets are trading lower at the moment, as Spain's unemployment rate climbs over 20%. and US futures imply a positive opening on Wall Street. Nickel inventories fell overnight.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices fell on Thursday, with copper dipping to its lowest level in some six weeks and getting to an intraday low of $7341. It was a rather strange session in that both a weaker dollar and a stronger US equity market failed to generate any spillover buying in metals, unlike in crude, where we saw strong gains. We can only suspect that metals struggled yesterday on account of China, where the government's moves to incrementally tighten is causing justifiable concern. We are making some amends to yesterday's sluggish performance today, with metals pushing slightly higher on the back of renewed weakness in the dollar (now at $1.3320 against the Euro) and a generally more upbeat mood in Asian and European equity markets.  ... While most markets have been on a stronger footing in recent days in anticipation of a European aid package, we very well could sell off again if investors do not perceive its ultimate size and scope to be robust enough. The authorities have their work cut out for them-- not only do they need to come up with enough money for Greece, but they also have to convince the markets they are ready to move decisively with even more money should the contagion get out of hand.  .... We are $25,700 on nickel, up $300, and relatively quiet today; charts remain in a short-term down channel.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Effective with shipments Monday, May 31, 2010, ATI Allegheny Ludlum is increasing base prices by approximately 6% for stainless cold-rolled and hot-rolled sheet and strip, tubular-quality sheet and strip, continuous-mill-plate products, and emission-control alloys. This increase is achieved by reducing the functional discount by two percentage points on most stainless products and increasing the base price on continuous-mill-plate and emission-control alloys by $0.04/lb.
  • (MNP) Nickel producer Independence Group has posted another solid quarter, only narrowly falling short of budgeted production at its Long nickel mine in Western Australia.

  DJ Tsingshan Minerals To Start Nickel Pig Iron Ops In Fujian In May - Shanghai Tsingshan Minerals Co., China's largest privately-owned stainless steel producer, will start operations at a nickel pig iron plant in Fujian province in May, a senior company official said. - more

  Molybdenum Production At Freeport-McMoRan In Q1 / 10 Was On Favorable Tone = Produced 17 Million Lbs. Of Mo In Concentrates As Increased By 21% From That In Same Quarter / 09 - Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (Freeport-McMoRan) of the USA released on the 21st of April their settlement of accounts for the first quarter (January - March) of 2010. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, April 29

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 30 to 3,359. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Roubini Says Greece `Tip of Iceberg' as Sovereign Debt Threatens Recovery // ICBC First-Quarter Net Rises 18% as Economic Rebound Spurs Credit Demand // Asian Currencies Gain, Bond Risk Drops After Fed Pledges to Keep Rates Low // European Economic Confidence Improves to Highest in More Than Two Years // Euro Sales Accelerate as UBS Sees $1.20, Morgan Stanley Ponders `Breakup' // Trichet Urges German Approval for Greek Aid to Create `Sense of Direction' // Pledge to Aid Greece Pushes European Corporate Credit-Default Swaps Lower // Papandreou Starts Austerity Pitch to Greeks as EU Says Bailout Almost Done // Spain's Campa Confident on $22 Billion Bond Redemption as EU Aid Ruled Out // European Stocks Advance as Estimate-Beating Earnings Outweigh Debt Crisis // Fed Signals Sustained Job Gains Needed Before End to Low-Rate Commitment // More Than a Million May Lose Jobless Aid As Congress Seeks Spending Curbs // Viacom Profit Climbs 38% on Reduced Operating Costs, Improved TV Ratings // Allstate Sells Stocks, Betting on Corporate Debt in `Slow-Growth' Economy // `Strategic' Home-Mortgage Defaults in U.S. Reach 12%, Morgan Stanley Say // Stocks Rise Most in Two Months on Earnings; Dollar Declines on Fed Outlook
  • The Euro is trading over 1/10 of 1% against the US Dollar, and off earlier highs. NYMEX crude oil is trading over 2.2% higher and over $85/barrel. Gold is up over 1/10 of 1% while silver is over 1.5% higher. Base metals ended the day mixed. Indicator charts show nickel started higher, went even higher in aftenoon trading, before collapsing late. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.50/lb . For only the second time this month, inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose overnight and now sit just under the 145,900 tonne level. The growth was not in Rotterdam as we expected, with Norilsk usually shipping heavily into the European warehouse before spring flood force them to stop shipping for a few weeks in May. Sucden has not updated their nickel chart in a few days now. It's still too early to say what will happen, but nickel traded showed strength during the day yesterday, even though it ended lower, while today, it showed some signs of weakness, although it did not fall as low as Monday's sell off saw. Fears that cuts in steel production might take place in China are making traders nervous. We are also seeing traders trading the short term technicals, which, depending how short term you want to get, are negative this week, while the long term technicals remain positive.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MB) Nickel volumes traded at near record levels on LME Select
  • (IIFL) A report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted sustained rise in commodity prices across metals, crude oil and agricultural resources. ..... The report also noted that apart from the demand for commodities from emerging nations, investment inflows into commodity-related assets rose sharply during 2009, reflecting the continued relative attractiveness of this asset class.
  • Parsing the Fed: How the Statement Changed - more
  • The Lone Dissenter: Another Month, Another Hoenig Dissent - more
  • To Save The Eurozone: $1 trillion, European Central Bank Reform, And A New Head for the IMF - more
  • Macro Overview: Economy & Markets - more
  • Asia: Leading the Global Recovery - more
  • Interesting Site - more (example - enter your DOB and find out how many days old you are)

  Xstrata Nickel Publishes "Our Approach to Sustainability" - Xstrata Nickel announces the publication of Our Approach to Sustainability, a brochure outlining its 2009 Sustainability performance against measurable targets and which sets new targets for 2010. - more

  Investors reject Tanzania's "distorted" mining law - Mining companies on Wednesday rejected a new law in Tanzania that raises royalties on minerals and prohibits foreign companies from gemstone mining, saying it would further erode investor confidence. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.06/lb higher, and choppy, with other base metals trading mixed and off session highs. The Euro is trading 1/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil futures is 1.1% higher and over $84/barrel. Gold opened nearly 2/10 of 1% higher while silver is nearly 4/10 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower with China off 1.2%. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street should open higher. Nickel inventories actually rose overnight for the first time in 18 sessions and for only the second time this month.     
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices lost further ground on Wednesday, (apart from aluminum), but finished well off their worst levels of the day, as a steadier US stock market and a weaker dollar allowed some buying to set in. Also keeping the pressure on the dollar yesterday, was the Federal Reserve’s rather benign view on interest rates expressed in its latest statement, where it pledged to keep borrowing costs low for an "extended period". Markets shrugged off a downgrade of Spain's credit by S&P, this coming on the heels of a more dramatic demotion of Greek and Portuguese paper on Tuesday. We are slightly higher as of this writing in metals, as the rebound in the Euro (now at $1.3260) is allowing additional buying to take place. However, we would still be wary here, and view rallies as being suspect until such time as the Euro zone authorities remove the nagging doubts investors have about their ability to back the integrity of the Euro with the required financial “muscle”. Stung by recent market reaction, the authorities are obviously now regrouping for another attempt at a rescue, and markets are presumably pushing higher in anticipation of a "new and improved" (and likely much larger) plan. However, whether this will be enough to return the Euro to a firmer footing and allow metals to resume their upward path remains to be seen. The performance of the decision-makers thus far has not inspired much confidence, particularly given how daunting the numbers have become since they let the crisis escalate. As examples, the Bank of New York-Mellon, the world’s biggest custodian of financial assets, said in a note today that investors are abandoning the Euro at a rate not seen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers when the currency tumbled more than 25% against the dollar between mid-July and the end of October. In another piece, JPMorgan Chase estimates that European policy makers may need to funnel as much as $800 billion in eventual aid or government bond-buying programs if they are to stamp out the region’s spreading fiscal crisis. These are serious numbers, and will likely act as formidable headwinds for the Euro - and metals - as we head into the second of the year. ..... Reuters reports that Chinese merchants are re-exporting some imported refined nickel stocks as steel mills switch to cheaper nickel pig iron. "In our case, NPI has replaced 60-70% of our refined nickel” a senior executive at a stainless steel producer in Jiangsu province told Reuters. Traders tell Reuters that NPI may have been substituted for up to 70% of spot refined nickel demand from small- and medium-size mills in China, although the level of replacement is hard to prove since there is no official data.  ..... We are $25,800 on nickel, up $100. This week’s decline has badly damaged the charts, and we see the current selloff possibly extending to $23,800 before leveling off.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) has announced a price rise of US$50~250/ton for stainless steel exports for the first half of May. The company’s domestic prices for 300 grade stainless steel will raise by NT$4,000/ton, while prices for 400 series products will increase by NT$1,000/ton.
  • (SSY) World Steel Dynamics’ SteelBenchmarker puts world export prices for hot rolled band at $718/t in end-April, up $212/t on levels in end-November 2009, representing the highest level since October 2008. Significantly, however, China’s HRB price remained at the same level from early April of $574.
  • Universal Stainless reports $1.43 million profit - more

  China’s Nickel Pig Iron Output Advances to Record - Production of nickel pig iron in China, the world’s largest consumer of nickel, jumped to a record in the first quarter after prices more than doubled in the past year, according to a researcher. - more

  • High nickel, iron ore prices boost China's NPI demand - Chinese merchants are re-exporting some imported refined nickel stocks as steelmills switch to cheaper nickel pig iron (NPI), which may be near-term bearish for LME nickel prices, industry sources said on Thursday.  - more
  • China steel prices dip on destocking, property worries - Chinese steel prices fell this week with traders and mills dipping into their stockpiles amid worries that tightened property regulations will hit demand over the rest of the year.  - more

  Results fall sharply for stainless steel recycler ELG - The stainless steel recycler ELG Haniel recorded a significant drop in turnover and profits in the year 2009. - more

  Norilsk Nickel 1Q Output +1% To 70,000 Tons; PGMS Output Jumps - Russian mining giant OAO Norilsk Nickel Thursday reported a 1% rise in first quarter nickel and copper production, and a significant jump in its output of platinum and palladium. - more

  Groupe Eramet : 1st quarter turnover 2010 - Turnover up 19% in the 1st quarter of 2010 compared with 1st quarter of 2009 - more

  Panoramic 3Q Nickel Output Up 5.8%; 3Q Copper Concentrate Output Down 21% - Panoramic Resources Ltd.said Thursday third quarter nickel in concentrate output rose 5.8% to 4,314 metric tons from 4,078 tons in the second quarter, to bring fiscal year-to-date output to 12,917 tons. - more

  MEPS Global steel price up 36 percent, year on year, despite subdued demand - Despite relatively weak demand, US flat product transaction values continue to climb rapidly as producers press for more and more increases to cover their growing input expenditure. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, April 28

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 126 to 3,329. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Central Bank Pledges Policy Flexibility as Global Recovery `Fragile' // Sumitomo Mitsui Returns to Annual Profit as Japan Emerges From Recession // Yuan Gain Against Dollar May Be Delayed as Greek Crisis Drives Down Euro // Asian Stocks Plunge, Asia Bond Risk Climbs on Greece, Portugal Default Concerns // Greece's Junk Contagion Pressures EU to Broaden Bailout After Market Rout  // Trichet Travels to Berlin on Diplomatic Mission as Merkel Nears Greek Vote // Global Stocks $1 Trillion Loss on Greece No Reason to Sell for U.S. Funds // Euro Drops to One-Year Low Versus Dollar as S&P Cuts Spain's Debt Rating // Greece Turning Viral Sparks Search for EU Solutions as Aid Estimates Surge // European Stocks Drop to Six-Week Low as Spain Downgrade Fans Debt Concern // Dow Chemical Profit Beats Estimates on Higher Sales of Commodity Plastics // U.S. Households Lost $100,000 on Average in Financial Crisis, Study Says  // Levin Grilling Blankfein Over Ethics Means Clash of Harvard Law Standouts // Profit Surge Without Job Growth or Pricing Power Means Fed Rates Unchanged // U.S. Stocks Advance as Profits Help Market Overcome Spain's S&P Downgrade
  • The Euro, which was trading higher earlier, was stung with the news of the Spain downgrade, and is now trading under 2/10 of 1% higher. NYMEX crude futures are trading 1/4 of 1% higher, and over $82.50/barrel. Gold is up 1/4 of 1% and silver is down over 4/10 of 1%. Base metals, which had the appearance of a blood bath early, ended mostly lower, but ended rather tamely. Indicator charts show nickel fell hard early, but then spent the day climbing out of the hole, knocked back by the Spain news, only to recover quickly - although in after market trading. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.61/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses now stand just over the 145,300 tonne level after a small los overnight. Sucden's day old chart shows yesterday's trading was within the wedge trading has formed, and today's trading will fall out of the wedge. (chart here) Typically falling out of the wedge to the low side implies future potential losses, and the fact nickel fell thru support levels today, would add strength to this argument. But these are strange times and traders are taking more risks with the economy outlook brighter, so we don't bank on it. There are apparently way too many people out there with a lot of money who still feel nickel should be trading at $30,000/tonne ($13.60/lb).  Whether they have enough money, and the appetite for risk necessary to get it that high, remains to be seen. The Baltic Dry Index had a second big day of gains, adding another 126 points overnight. The International Nickel Study Group released new estimates for 2010 today. Their press release can be read here (pdf). The report estimates nickel supply and demand will be in equilibrium this year. NIckel ended lower but looked rather strong today, considering the early morning panic wore off rather quickly, and the Spain news only caused a momentary setback.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • INSG Speakers presentations 2010 - see links for updated pdf presentations

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) The world nickel market will be broadly balanced in 2010 with demand around 1.39 million metric tons and production near 1.4 million tons, the International Nickel Study Group said Wednesday. According to INSG, which met in Lisbon this week, nickel demand and usage accelerated in the first part of 2010, with stainless steel production increases experienced in most parts of the world. This is an improvement from a year ago, when primary nickel usage started 2009 extremely weak before recovering in the second half of the year.
  • Reputed nickel bull Touradji barely ekes gains From Reuters.com: U.S.-based Touradji Capital, whose $1.6 billion commodities fund is said to have amassed a large long position in nickel, has managed only a 1.7 percent gain this year despite the metal's nearly 50 percent surge. - more
  • Cuba - Moa nickel output up 5% in Q1
  • Greece – GIIPS – Eurozone - Big Problem - more
  • How Greece Killed Its Own Banks! - more
  • Paid sick leave pushed for low-income workers - more
  • Bernanke: U.S. Needs Deficit Reduction Plan - more
  • A Financial Reform Commercial I Want To See - more
  • Talk of bigger aid plan takes edge off contagion fears - more

  Commodities could be the next Big Short (1): John Kemp - If Rip Van Winkle was a commodity investor, and had fallen asleep in the middle of 1990, or 2000, only to wake up in 2010, he could be forgiven for thinking the super-cycle had never happened. - more

  Nine months in, Vale Inco strike a stalemate - Steps from the front of a line of trucks loaded with copper ore waiting at the gates to Vale Inco's Clarabelle mill, five hungry strikers surround a gas stove in their makeshift shelter, watching a massive omelet sizzle in a pan. - more

  Will shorting nickel work? - Shorting nickel when Business Week publishes a nickel deficit story is being contrarian. But, there has to be something with performance cycles which spots extreme sentiment and potential reversal. The tool based on time fractals suggests that nickel should underperform gold, and shorting nickel, even if not on an absolute basis, should work against AIGP (73 per cent gold). - more

  U.S. Steel Reports Smallest Loss in Five Quarters - U.S. Steel Corp., the nation's second-largest domestic steelmaker by sales, reported its smallest loss in five quarters as higher metal prices and sales reduced the effect of rising material costs. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.26/lb lower, with all base metals trading lower. The Euro is trading higher, about 4/10 of 1%, which is typically good for base metals trading, but we are seeing a second day of profit taking as traders cut their risks in the face of the Greece unknown. NYMEX crude futures are trading only slightly lower, and at $82.39/barrel. Gold has opened 2/3 of 1% lower while silver is down 1-2/3%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China down 1/3 of 1%. European markets are lower this morning, while US futures show US markets may open more positive. Nickel inventories slipped again overnight.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals sold off sharply yesterday, with copper slumping to a one-month low, while aluminum had one of its largest one-day declines in over five years. Many of the variables we had been highlighting as selling triggers over the past few weeks all seemed to have coalesced yesterday to generate the dramatic sell-off. The day started off on a lower note to begin with, as continued dithering over the Greek rescue package undermined the Euro early in the session. The dollar then pushed even higher on news that Standard & Poor's downgraded the credit ratings of Greece to junk and that of Portugal's by two notches. The impact of the move was immediate and stunning; Greek two-year note yields jumped to a record high of 19%, (and are up to 25% today) on fears of outright default, while Portuguese rates jumped a full percent to 5.7%. In the meantime, credit-default swaps on European debt have surged to their highest level ever. The day’s events also underlines another point we raised in yesterday’s commentary, namely, that when it comes to economic dislocations, time is of the essence, and so the inability to move quickly usually makes the cost of an eventual rescue more expensive (and expansive) as the Europeans are now finding out. The dollar-induced selloff in metals seen yesterday was further compounded by the sloppy performance in the equity markets, where early gains reversed course just as the S&P news broke, and once the Goldman hearings got underway. The grilling Goldman executives received likely unnerved investors, many of whom are already bracing for stricter regulatory reform. Perhaps not helping matters much either, was how ill prepared the Goldman executives seemed to be, even allowing for some of the more misguided questions thrown their way. Yesterday’s sell-off also damaged many of the chart patterns, and effectively ended the short-term upchannels that some metals were in. As a result, we are not surprised to see more selling setting in as of this writing, as some technical systems have likely turned negative. Having said that, we would not rule out a possible short-covering bounce setting in later today, or more likely tomorrow, in anticipation of the Europeans being forced to announce something more credible.  The dollar is somewhat weaker now, trading at just under $1.32, and helping metals recover off their worst levels of the day. Crude oil markets are down for a third day in a row, and US equity markets are also called to open lower, building on the weakness seen in both Europe and Asia. The most dramatic decline was seen in Portuguese stock market, where the country’s main PSI 20 index was down almost 6% earlier in the day   .We are $25,225 on nickel, down $700. Yesterday’s decline has badly damaged the nickel charts, and we see the current selloff possibly extending to $23,800 before leveling off.. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Bloomberg) Keangnam Enterprises Ltd., a South Korean builder, sold its remaining stake in a Madagascar nickel mine to Daewoo International Corp. for 30.6 billion won ($27 million). Keangnam sold a 1.25 percent stake in the Ambatovy project to the South Korean trading company, according to a regulatory filing today.
  • (Yieh) Considering the global chrome ore price kept increasing, India MMTC announced to lift up the chrome ore exported price by US$100/ton now and the price valid on 30th, June, 2010.
  • (FT) Nickel's sharp rise has also sparked the interest of speculators, inspiring comparisons with 2007 when prices rose above $50,000 amid allegations of market manipulation. "I've never seen a wall of money like this," says Alex Heath, of Royal Bank of Canada, referring to the speculative interest in base metals.
  • (Interfax) The China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) has confirmed that a number of Chinese mills have agreed to a new quarterly pricing system proposed by Vale, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, a senior official said at a press conference on April 28.
  • (MB) Mincor nickel sales down 14.6% in Q1
  • Universal Stainless Reports Further Recovery in First Quarter of 2010 - more
  • (PR) The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.4 percent in March, following a revised 0.3 percent decrease in February. The latest improvement put the SA index at 109.2 (2000=100), which is the highest level since November 2008.
  • Neutral conditions returning to the Pacific - more
  • STB Railroad Economic Data - pdf here

  No forecast from Nippon Steel; costs too volatile - Nippon Steel Corp, the world's No.2 steelmaker, failed to give annual profit guidance for the first time, highlighting the industry's uncertainty over raw material costs and the increasingly tough market conditions. - more

  POSCO confirms raising May stainless steel prices - South Korea's POSCO, the world's No. 4 steelmaker, said it will raise prices of stainless steel products for a fourth straight month on rising raw material costs, confirming an earlier local report on Wednesday. - more

  Material Matters: Base Metal Positives And Iron Ore Questions - China accounts for 40% of global consumption and production in the lead market, so that country's lead market balance was a major discussion point at Metal Bulletin's International Lead Conference held last week in Germany. - more

  Asian workers about to arrive for New Caledonia’s Koniambo nickel project - New Caledonia’s Koniambo Nickel company says within weeks 200 Asian workers will arrive as large scale construction work on its smelter is getting underway. - more

  China Says Vale, BHP Threaten to Cut Iron Ore Supply  - Vale SA, BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group, the three largest exporters of iron ore, threatened to cut supplies unless steelmakers accept their price demands, the China Iron & Steel Association said. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Tuesday, April 27

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 183 to 3,203. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Singapore May Sell More Land, Apply Measures to Curb Property Speculation // Nomura Bid to `Gain Altitude' Hits Turbulence as Lehman Veterans Bail Out  // Bank of China First-Quarter Profit Rises 41% on Rising Demand for Credit // Yen Gains, Asian Shares Fall on Concern Over Greek Bailout, China Economy // Daimler Raises 2010 Earnings Forecast After Mercedes-Benz Profit Rebounds // Papademos Says Greek Deficit-Reduction Program Will Prevent Euro-Contagion // Credit-Default Swaps Reach Record High as Greek Debt Crisis Infects Europe // ThyssenKrupp Mulling Iron Ore Derivatives as Deutsche Bank Says `Game On' // Deutsche Bank's Profit Jumps 48%, Beating Estimates on Investment Banking // Greece Cut to Junk at S&P as Debt-Crisis Contagion Spreads Through Europe // Portugal Debt Ratings Are Cut by S&P, Outlook Negative Amid Growing Debt // European Shares Fall Most in Five Months; BHP Billiton, Banco Popular Fall // Goldman Sachs Set to Face Senate's Levin in Post-Crisis Day of Reckoning // Ford Reports $2.1 Billion Profit, Increases Forecast as Auto Sales Rebound // Goldman Sachs Abacus E-mails Show Employees' Hunt for `Easiest' Asset Firm // Bernanke Says Failure to Cut Deficit May Push Up Rates, Endanger Recovery // Consumer Confidence in U.S. Rises to Highest Since '08 as Payrolls Improve // Stocks Plunge as Dollar, Treasuries Advance on Concern Greece May Default
  • The US Dollar is now trading over 1% higher against the Euro as traders worry about Greece solvency. NYMEX crude oil is down 2.1% and under $82.50/barrel. Gold is up nearly 3/4 of 1% as European investors rush for security and silver is down nearly 9/10 of 1%. Base metals all ended the session lower, unable to fight the sinking Euro. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, but held its own during much of the session, before diving with the other markets on the S & P downgrade of Greece and Portugal. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.75/lb , its first close below $12 in 8 sessions. Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses stand just over the 145,500 tonne level after a small loss overnight. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). After hanging around the 3000 level since April 15th, the Baltic Dry Index took a big jump overnight, gaining 183 points to 3,203. Chart watchers should note that we broke thru the bottom of the wedge formation today - which typically tells us nickel should fall some more - but  we seriously doubt technicals has much more to do with nickel pricing than fundamentals does these days. Confidence took a beating today thanks to the on again, off again, bailout of Greece. With Portugal's rankings cut today, traders got spooked. Volatility in the US jumped over 20% and markets plunged. Traders may have been less than confident today, but the Conference Board reported US consumer confidence rose to its highest level since September 2008.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Outokumpu - "The demand for standard grades of stainless steel has recovered to some degree in 2010 compared to late 2009. The good order intake from the beginning of the year has continued. The increased demand reflects both increase in distributors' inventories and improved demand from end-users. There are also initial signs of increased activity in investment-driven customer-segments, but this has not yet materialised in major orders. .... Outokumpu's deliveries of stainless steel increased by 35% to 333 000 tonnes in the first quarter compared to the first quarter of 2009. Also prices have recovered strongly. Base prices increased on average by 34% and transaction prices, which also include raw material costs, were 28% higher. Raw material prices have soared from their year-ago levels, nickel was on average 91% higher and ferrochrome 28%....... Outokumpu is now gradually increasing its production and delivery volumes in the second quarter are expected to be at the same level or somewhat higher than in the first quarter."
  • Sherritt posts profit on nickel, oil prices rises - more
  • Greece Just Tip of Debt Crisis Iceberg: Roubini  - more
  • U.S. Consumers Brown Bagging It for Big Screen TVs - more
  • Generation Y: The Broke Generation - more
  • Goldman's Erik Nielsen On Why US Taxpayers Will Soon Burn Tens Of Billions To Delay The Greek Bankruptcy - more
  • Socialism for the Rich: Battle to keep tax breaks for hedge funds and private equity partners  - more
  • Fears of crushing debt spread to cities, provinces - more
  • Hero' dog leads cops to blaze - more

  IFM bullish on ferrochrome demand as Q3 sales jump - South African-based International Ferro Metals Ltd (IFM) posted a 76 percent rise in third quarter ferrochrome sales, reflecting a rebound after smelters were shut last year during the downturn. - more

  Mineral production on the rise  - Zimbabwe has projected a 15% increase in mineral output this year buoyed by an increase in mining houses’ capacity utilisation, a cabinet minister said last week. - more

  Miners face billions in new taxes - Australian mining companies face a massive new tax of at least $5 billion a year as the federal government plans to stack a resources rent tax on top of the $7bn miners pay in state royalties. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending April 24, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,764,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 72.9 percent. Production was 977,000 tons in the week ending April 24, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 40.8 percent. The current week production represents a 80.6 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending April 24, 2010 is up 0.6 percent from the previous week ending April 17, 2010 when production was 1,755,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 72.6 percent.

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.18/lb lower, with all base metals trading lower this morning. The US Dollar is trading higher against the Euro,  up 2/3 of 1% on Greece default concerns. NYMEX crude futures are down 1.1% and at $83.27/barrel. Gold opened 1/3 of 1% lower while silver is down is down nearly 9/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off 2% and at a six month low. European markets are trading much lower this morning, and US futures show Wall Street could open lower. Nickel inventories continue to fall, although at a much slower pace than we have seen recently.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals finished mostly higher on Monday, with the exception of aluminum, which lost about 1% on the day. On the whole, the complex did well to close as it did given that the dollar remained quite strong, rallying on continued uncertainty about the Greek rescue package amid overt backtracking by the Germans. Incredibly, negotiations with the IMF and the EU are still continuing, and we cannot help but marvel at the length of time it is taking to put this relatively modest package together. This is in sharp contrast to the lightning speed with which US officials worked on rescues in the fall of 2008, where hundreds of billions of dollars of aid were being approved literally over the weekend, (and prior to Asian markets opening), either through government bailouts or forced mergers. This is not to advocate massive bailouts in 24-hour time periods, but what we are saying, is that when it comes to economic dislocations, time is of the essence, and markets cannot be expected to march to the leisurely pace that bureaucracies are accustomed to. The EU is, therefore, in danger of losing control of the situation entirely, and needs to pay attention to warning signs outside of Greece, where yields are pushing consistently higher. Portugal’s two-year note for example, fell for an 11th straight day today, driving the yield up to 4.27%, while investors also demanded a higher rate for a new issue of Spanish paper this week - and got it. While the EU fiddles, the dollar is now at $1.33 against the Euro, and threatening to break towards new highs. All this is taking a toll on metals, where we are sharply lower across the board as of this writing, and perhaps making up for yesterday's positive session under somewhat similar circumstances. Crude oil prices are down by another $1/barrel after falling by a similar amount yesterday. US stocks are expected to open slightly lower ahead of the Goldman Sachs testimony in Washington. Commodity markets are also taking note of jitters coming out of China, where the equities fell to a six-month low overnight after the country’s biggest real estate developer reported first quarter profits down 53% from the previous quarter. Chinese equity investors seem to be concluding that government measures to cool the real estate sector will likely impact growth more broadly, as it is hard to ring-fence only certain sectors of the economy with restrictive policy measures. ....... We are $26,750 on nickel, down $409; the upchannel remains intact, but seems to be losing some of its trajectory. Participants keep buying the dips on nickel, but we would advise against doing so this time around, as current prices are getting too rich for our blood. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Forget Oil: 15 Countries Sitting On A Fortune Of Metals And Minerals - more
  • (Yieh) According to Spetsstal’s data, as a result of demand recovery and price rise on stainless steel in global market, Russia imported 15195 tons stainless steel in March, increasing by 29.6 percent from February.
  • (Yieh) The grow rate of stainless steel output in Europe in 2010 is expected to exceed most Asian countries except China, according to SMR. In 2009, Tisco, Posco and Yusco are the top three mills in the world ranking of stainless steel output.
  • (Interfax) The price of ferro molybdenum on the Chinese market is again trending upward, though at a slow pace, an analyst told Interfax on April 27.
  • (SBB) World stainless output at all-time quarterly high: Macquarie
  • (JC) China’s Taiyuan Iron and Steel Company (Tisco) has announced to keep its stainless steel prices unchanged from the previous week.
  • (MFG) China's production of nickel pig iron is likely to rise in April and May due to increased capacity after hitting a record level in March, this according to research group Antaike. Antaike's estimate of nickel output from NPI represents an annual production rate of more than 200,000 tons, double what the research group was forecasting earlier. Of course, a surge in pig iron production was one of the contributing factors leading to the nickel price bubble popping in 2008.
  • (SMM) According to SMM statistics, China's physical output of NPI in March was 362.5kt, equaling to 17.4 kt of metal output after conversion, hitting a record high, up 46.7% MoM, and up 111% YoY. China's output of metal output in March was up 39% MoM, and 184% YoY.

  Goro start-up partly stopped after acid spill-Vale - Vale said on Monday that it had partially halted commissioning work at its already delayed Goro nickel operation in New Caledonia following an acid spill. - more

  China's nickel pig iron output rises on price, demand - China's production of nickel pig iron (NPI) is likely to rise further in April and May due to increased capacity after hitting a record in March, which could trim demand for refined nickel, industry sources said on Tuesday. - more

  Outokumpu reports return of stainless steel demand - Demand for standard grades of stainless steel has recovered to some degree in 2010 compared to late 2009. The good order intake from the beginning of the year has continued. - more

  Chinalco: To Produce Nickel, Cobalt In Domestic Joint Venture - Aluminum Corp. of China, also known as Chinalco, and Jiangxi Rare Earth & Rare Metals Tungsten Group Holding Co. have set up a joint venture to produce 40,000 metric tons of nickel and cobalt annually, Chinalco said in a statement on its Web site late Monday. - more

  Mincor Resources – Nickel's Quiet Achiever - The most expensive of the five major base metals, nickel likes to act as the standard bearer for an advancing army. - more

  IFM bullish on ferrochrome demand as Q3 sales jump - South African-based International Ferro Metals Ltd (IFM) posted a 76 percent rise in third quarter ferrochrome sales, reflecting a rebound after smelters were shut last year during the downturn. - more

  Does Foreign Ownership of Mining Companies Benefit Canadians? - When it comes to the efficiency and productivity of Canada's nonrewable mineral resources, only one thing matters: are Canadians getting as much benefit as they can from their mineral resources when the companies that extract those resources are foreign owned? - more

  Nordic average steel price up 43 percent in past twelve months - Most producers in Northern Europe have increased prices steeply and frequently in recent weeks. - more

  China defines commercial secrets after Rio Tinto trial - China has issued definitions of what constitutes commercial secrets for its hundreds of state-owned firms, in line with a draft law that also requires telecommunications and Internet operators to give authorities access to information sent through their networks. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Monday, April 26

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 7 to 3,020. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Dollar Strength Grows as Carry Trade Profits Evaporate Without High Rates // Greece's Deepening Fiscal Woes Are Lesson for Japan, IMF's Shinohara Says // Philippines' April Inflation May Be Fastest in a Year on Power, Oil Costs // China's Next Currency Shift May Help Yum!, Lenovo Balance Trade With U.S.  // Asian Stocks, Commodities Rally on Economic Recovery, Greece; Yen Weakens  // Merkel Says Greece Must Demonstrate Plan for Budget Cuts to Get German Aid // Deutsche Bank May Struggle to Reach Earnings Targets Amid New Regulation // Greece Nears Aid by Mid-May as Papaconstantinou Warns Against Default Bets // Bank of Ireland Seeks to Raise $4.5 Billion as Bad Real-Estate Debts Surge // European Stocks Climb for Second Day; BHP, TomTom, Weir Group Lead Gains // Treasury Plans Citigroup Stock Sale in Biggest Step to Exit U.S. Bailout // Blackrock Profit Rises Fivefold as Barclays Global Deal Lifts Assets, Fees // Bond Traders Declare Inflation Dead With Yields Below 2008 Crisis Levels // U.S. Stocks Gain on Caterpillar, Whirlpool Earnings; Financial Shares Fall
  • At the moment, the US Dollar is trading over 4/10 of 1% higher against the Euro. NYMEX crud eis trading over 1% lower, and at $84.22/barrel. Gold is trading nearly 4/10 of 1% lower, while silver is trading flat. Base metals ended mostly higher, but quiet today. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, but lost some ground during the day. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $12.32/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses now sit just over the 145,700 tonne level, after warehouses registered their 15th straight decline. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru last week, and evidence of a possible topping (chart here). CBI Canada reports production of pig nickel has tripled so far this year thanks to higher nickel prices and it forecasts 100,000 tons of pure nickel will be produced in the first half of 2010 thru this process. These are pretty amazing numbers as forecasts in the early part of the year put the entire year's production at 100,000 tons. Dow Jones reports in an article about Chinese pig nickel production "Traders said trading volumes in physical nickel remain low and sales are largely between trading houses rather than to downstream users."  Ed Meir of MF Global referred to nickel trading entering a period he calls a pennant formation. We call it a Symmetrical Triangle, where the daily highs are lower, and daily lows are higher, bringing the trading into a tighter and tighter wedge. This usually signals a big move is in store, either a reversal of a trend or a continuation. The trend has obviously been very bullish lately.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • U.S. Firms Raise Hiring on Optimism Over Recovery - NABE Survey - more
  • Number of the Week: 103 Months to Clear Housing Inventory - more
  • Financial Overhaul Could Include Access to Free Credit Scores - more
  • Fixed Income: One Long Round Trip Edition - more
  • Berating the Raters  - more
  • Blast from the Past - 1933 article - Banks: Deposits Guaranteed - more

  China NPI Output Record High In March On Rallying LME Nickel - Chinese nickel pig iron production reached a record high in March on the back of rising nickel prices at the London Metal Exchange, weighing on domestic nickel prices due to its inexpensive but less efficient nature. - more

  Antam to Benefit From Rebounding Nickel Prices - State-controlled miner PT Aneka Tambang should more than double its profit this year as a strong recovery in nickel prices and higher ferronickel sales will outweigh the expected lower returns from gold, analysts said. - more

  Are metals prices heading for a fall? - After a brief tumble in February on fears that the Chinese economy was overheating, commodity prices resumed their upward trajectory. This has ensured mining shares kept moving higher – until two weeks ago. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.17/lb higher, with most base metals trading higher this morning. The US Dollar is trading over 1/3 of 1% higher against the Euro at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are trading 1/3 of 1% higher, and at $85.40/barrel. Gold opened 1/4 of 1% lower while silver opened 1/10 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets closed higher as concerns about Greece eased, with China ending lower by over 1/2 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures show Wall Street may open the week in a good mood. Nickel inventories fell over the weekend.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices overcame earlier losses to close higher on Friday, as a weaker dollar, a sharp jump in US new home sales prices, and further movement in the Greek crisis, all combined to encourage the buyers off the sidelines. In the case of the Greek situation, which in our view is the mostly dominant short-term variable facing most markets right now, the Greek government officially asked the IMF and the EU on Friday for permission to draw on a $60 billion facility. Greece says it has enough money to cover its needs through April, but the country faces roughly €9 billion in debt redemptions next month. Access to the money is still some days off, and the terms dictated by the IMF will likely be more stringent than what the EU has already put in place. Even so, it is not clear that this money will prove to be enough to allay market concerns about further trouble down the road. Tellingly, prices for Greek bonds lost their early gains on Friday, indicating that investors believe that Greece can still nevertheless default on its debt. In the event that such perceptions gain traction, the next step could involve the government asking bondholders to take back less than what they are owed. We think all this has yet to be fully discounted by the currency markets, where the Euro is still stubbornly defending the low $1.30 mark against the dollar, and in effect, giving metals some breathing room to push higher. .... The caveats associated with both these variables suggest we could run into some headwinds in metals, particularly as we again approach key resistance level for a number of complexes like copper, where the $8000 mark has proven to be sticky. Right now, metals are mostly higher but off their best levels of the day, with the exception of ali. The Euro is struggling (now at 1.3325) and has given up earlier gains after remarks made by the German Finance Minister saying that his country can still reject the aid package for Greece if conditions are not met. While the weakness in the Euro has not yet caused the metals to dip into negative territory, we suspect a foray back to the $1.32 level (last week’s intraday low) should be enough to tip the balance.  .... We are $27,350 on nickel, up $300; charts show a pennant formation developing, (red lines) and since this is taking place within an upchannel, it could signal an impending break to the upside. We’ll have to see if this technical sign indeed turns out to be accurate considering how overbought the nickel complex already is.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) LME nickel prices are near a top for now, says Societe Generale analyst David Wilson. Says upward momentum is petering out and there could be a pullback from the current prices. Says there is a feeling that output of stainless steel production, a consumer of nickel, may have run ahead of demand and nickel mines are reopening.
  • (Dow Jones) Chinese nickel pig iron production reached a record high in March on the back of rising nickel prices at the London Metal Exchange, weighing on domestic nickel prices due to its inexpensive but less efficient nature. NPI output in pure nickel content almost tripled on year and rose 39% from February to 17,400 metric tons in March, according to data from CBI China, a leading commodity information portal.
  • (Reuters) LME nickel four-week technical forecast bullish
  • (CCR) Power consumption by China's high energy-consuming industries set new records in the first quarter of this year, an official from the China Electricity Council (CEC) told Shanghai Securities News. Statistics from the National Energy Commission (NEC) showed that the country's total electricity use in the first three months rose 24.2 percent over the same period of 2009, to 969.5 billion kilowatt hours.

  Steelmaking boom has sent nickel and hard coking coal prices soaring--Scotiabank - As world steel production reached a new record high, Scotiabank's Patricia Mohr anticipates more investment capital will be available for iron ore projects. - more

  New Caledonia nickel plant spill probed as launch again delayed - The government of New Caledonia’s southern province and the Vale-Inco nickel company are this week investigating the circumstances of a spill of 670,000 litres of a solution containing acid. - more

 PNG Mining Group Protests Ramu Misinformation - In Papua New Guinea, the Chamber of Mines and Petroleum believes there appears to be a lot of misinformation surrounding the deep sea tailings placement system (DSTP) for the Ramu project. - more

  MEPS April - EU composite steel price up 45 percent, year on year - Despite relatively low activity levels and poor final demand, flat product steel prices are ascending rapidly. - more

  Tanzania increases royalties in new mining law - Tanzania's parliament has passed a new mining law that increases the rate of royalty paid on minerals like gold from 3 percent to 4 percent and requires the government to own a stake in future mining projects. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Friday, April 23

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 7 to 3,013. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China to Keep Yuan Stable Until Second Half, Invesco's Greenwood Predicts // Container Lines Will Achieve Rates Target on Asia-U.S. Routes, Cosco Says // Geithner Harnesses G-20 Behind Yuan Push as India, Brazil Raise Pressure // Greece Asks EU, IMF to Activate Bailout Deal That May Test Euro Stability // German Business Confidence Surges More Than Forecast as Exports Flourish // U.K. Stocks Trump Europe as Valuations Overshadow Budget Deficit, Politics // Greek Financial Rescue Plan May Offer Little Respite as Debt Woes to Mount // British Economy Grows Half as Much as Forecast as Election Date Approaches // European Stocks Advance; Adidas, Volvo, Akzo Nobel Shares Lead Increase // Buffett Has `Great Confidence' in Goldman Sachs, Berkshire's Murphy Says //Bond Spreads Recover to 2007 Levels When BNP Froze Funds: Credit Markets  // New-Home Sales in U.S. Jump 27%, Goods Orders Gain in Sign Recovery Intact // U.S. Stocks Fluctuate as Jump in Home Sales Offsets Mixed Earnings Outlook
  • The Euro is now trading over 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up nearly 9/10 of 1% and nearing $84.50/barrel. Gold is up over 1% and silver is trading over 1.1% higher. Base metals ended mostly higher, although the day was mostly a yawner. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, spent the early part od the day choppy, then started in a recovery mood late. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $12.27/lb , falling in after market trading. If the drop of $.31/lb off last Thursday excites you, let us put it into perspective. Today's close is $.16/lb higher than last Friday, $2.07/lb higher than this date last month, and $7.14/lb higher than this date last year. Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses now stand just under the 146,600 tonne level, after warehouses shipped over 1000 tonnes more than they received for a third consecutive day. Sucden's day old chart show nickel traders, apparently attempting to push the price of nickel to $30,000/tonne, are having a hard time breaching the $28,000 tonne mark (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index continues to bob around the 3000 level, with a gain of 7 points. Quiet day for metals news and trading.
  • It's nearly the weekend here in the States, and we wish each of you a safe and enjoyable one!!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • The Obama administration wants to change the way politicians fight for jobs by encouraging regions—instead of individual states and cities—to compete for economic development projects. - more
  • 10 Things You Don’t Know (or were misinformed) About the GS Case - more
  • Greece, The IMF, And What Comes Next - more
  • The Consensus on Big Banks Starts To Move - more
  • Greece Declares Unilateral Withdrawal from Reality - more
  • Don’t Cry for Wall Street - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.16/lb lower, with other base metals trading mixed and quiet. The US Dollar is trading 1/5 of 1% lower against the Euro, which would typically give a little boost to commodity trading. NYMEX crude futures are down over 1/10 of 1% and are at $83.60/barrel. Gold opened 1/10 of 1% higher, while silver opened slightly lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off 1/3 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning as German business confidence rose to a two-year high, and US futures show Wall Street has no intention of giving up its bullish week. For the third consecutive day, nickel inventories fell by more than 1000 tonnes.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices finished lower on Thursday, as concern over Greece's deteriorating financial situation resulted in the dollar surging to one-year highs against the Euro. Yesterday was also a particularly bad day for the Greeks, as tens of thousands of civil servants took part in a series of protests against the government. In the meantime, Moody's cut Greece's debt rating one notch, from A2 to A3, and said further downgrades were likely. In addition, the EU's statistical body cast doubt on the accuracy of Greece's financial numbers, and said the country's 2009-budget deficit is likely wider than previously thought. The day's events sent Greek bonds into a tailspin, with the benchmark 10-year yield rising 84 basis points to 9%. This has prompted the country to ask for money from the ECB/IMF facility, as it will find raising fresh debt in the current climate to be next to impossible. Not only is the Greek rescue taking a long time to play out, but it has also been so badly handled, that it we seem to be witnessing "a death by a thousand cuts". Amid this turmoil, we would not be surprised to see the dollar continue to strengthen in the weeks ahead, as attention moves away from Greece to other countries with similarly weak deficit profiles. Dollar strength should deter any meaningful rallies in commodities from setting in over the short-term, and instead, may increase the odds for a rather sharp break to the downside. With respect to metals, concern about the sustainability of China's growth will also dog the complex given that the authorities have yet to play their trump card, which is raising general interest rates. We think that is just a matter of time before it happens. We are seeing a very quiet session today, with most metals down slightly except for tin, which is up a touch. Crude oil markets are flat, while the dollar is slightly weaker at $1.33, which if it holds, will break a six-day losing streak. Trading ranges in metals remain narrow, and given the light macro calendar out of the US, we do not expect much to transpire for the balance of the day. ....  We are $26,650 on nickel, down $445. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (AP) Indonesian nickel miner PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) reported a 125.84 per cent rise in net profit to Rp201.93 billion (US$22.4 million) in the first quarter of this year from Rp89.88 billion in the same period last year.
  • (JMB) Japanese steel export increased by 14.3% to record 38.667 million tonnes in fiscal 2009 ended March 2010 from fiscal 2008, announced by Ministry of Finance on Thursday.
  • China - Bumpy road ahead for exports - more

  Posco Raises Steel Prices as Much as 25% on Costs  - Posco, South Korea’s largest steelmaker, will raise product prices by as much as 25 percent from May 3, taking advantage of strong demand from makers of cars and appliances to pass on higher raw material costs. - more

  • POSCO hikes steel prices; 1st rise in nearly 1 yr - South Korea's POSCO, the world's No.4 steelmaker, joined other major mills as it hiked prices for its benchmark steel product by 25 percent from May to reflect rising global steel and raw material prices. - more

  Ramu reports draw ire of Chamber - The Chamber of Mines and Petroleum believes there appears to be a lot of misinformation surrounding the deep sea tailings placement system (DSTP) for the Ramu project. - more

  Nickel Productions In Japan In Feb. / 10 Increased Compared To Those In Same Month / 09 = Output Of Ferro-Nickel Exceeded The Scale As Recorded In 2008 - According to the statistics compiled and released in last week by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the quantities of nickel metal and ferro-nickel produced in Japan in February of 2010 were as per the table attached hereto. - more

  Stainless steel sector fighting back - The stainless steel industry is seeing a strong recovery this year, the British Stainless Steel Association's annual forum in Sheffield will be told today. - more

  Iron ore price hikes threaten disruption of China's steel market - A senior Chinese industry official has warned major iron ore producers that huge price hikes are likely to damage China's steel market and relations between iron ore and steel producers. - more

  Environmentalist charged with trespassing at site of contested nickel sulfide mine - Cynthia Pryor, a prominent opponent of a nickel sulfide mine planned for state land on the Yellow Dog plain northwest of Marquette, spent two days in jail this week after being arrested for trespassing on land where Kennecott Eagle Minerals has begun clearing trees for the first phase of construction for the mine. - more

  The real BHP story? - A Cambodian link is uncovered in the BHP corruption case. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, April 22

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 3 to 3,006. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) IMF Raises 2010 Global Growth Outlook to 4.2%, Says Public Debt Poses Risk // China's Property Stocks Slump on Concern Government to Intensify Crackdown // Hyundai Profit Jumps Fivefold to Record $1 Billion on Sonata, Tucson Sales // Japan's Sovereign Credit Rating at Risk as Debt Burden Swells, Fitch Says // Asia Stocks Decline, Yen Gains on Concern Over Obama Financial Reform Plan // Papandreou Faces Bond Rout as Budget Deficit Worsens, Greek Workers Strike // Greek Deficit Was Worse Than Forecast Last Year, May Exceed 14%, EU Says // Credit Suisse Falls After Missing Debt-Trading Rebound That Helped Rivals  // Standard Chartered Ordered to Pay Singapore Banker It Fired on First Day // European Stocks Fall as Region's Budget Deficit Widens; Nokia Shares Slump // CenturyTel to Buy Qwest for About $10.5 Billion to Boost Broadband Network // Tax-Exempt Municipal Yields Decline Most in Two Months as Investors Return // NYSE's Niederauer Sees `Nice Tailwind' For Financial-Regulations Overhaul // Existing U.S. Home Sales Rise 6.8% as Buyers Take Advantage of Tax Credit // EBay Slumps Most in Year as Turnaround Effort Falls Short of Expectations // Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall in Sign Labor Market Healing as Economy Grows // Stocks Retreat on Qualcomm, EBay Earnings, Wider Euro-Area Budget Deficit
  • The US Dollar is presently trading 2/3 of 1% higher against the Euro, as the Greece deficit crisis grows. NYMEX crude oil is 6/10 of 1% and over $83/barrel. Gold is off 1/3 of 1% , while silver is down over 1/2 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mostly lower, except for nickel. Indicator charts show nickel made an early morning run, then dived into negative territory and had climbed its was back by our morning update. After that it staggered around, ending higher for the day, and retreating some in after market trading. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $12.29/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses now stand just under the 146,700 tonne level, after experiencing a second consecutive day of over a 1000 tonne drop. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here).  Vale advised that its mega mine Goro is still not producing nickel after new glitches and another spill. The large mine being constructed in Papau New Guinea, the Ramu mine, is on hold after courts last week put a halt to construction pending a review of the mine's spilling plans. A nickel mine in China reports this morning seven miners were killed in a nickel mine accident in Henan Province. Vale Sudbury and Voisey's Bay miners are both still on strike, although Vale appears to be increasing production using non striking employees. Typically Norilsk would be shipping heavily this time of year, in anticipation of their annual shutdown for flooding, but if they are, the numbers aren't reflecting the gains are going into LME approved warehouses. China reports imports of refined nickel were up in March, 19,143 tonnes compared to 12,243 in Feb 2010 and 12,620 in March 2009. They also report imports or nickel ore were at 1,635,793 tonnes compared to 573,280 tonnes in March 2009. And yesterday we reported China stainless steel production was up over 10% in March from the prior month. Today, China is reporting its having a hard time meeting demand for cold roll steel products. The IMF is reporting the planet is recovering from the worldwide recession faster than expected. All of this is giving morale support to the recent bullish nickel run, irregardless of the fact the world has plenty of nickel stockpiled. The Baltic Dry Index fell 3 points and remains around the 3000 level.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Anglo American Nickel Production Up By 7% To 4,800 Tonnes
  • (Dow Jones) Gold and nickel miner PT Aneka Tambang said Thursday that its first-quarter net profit more than doubled, mostly because of lower cost of sales and tax benefits.
  • ECB Paper Looks at U.S., Europe Spots on the Laffer Curve - more
  • The U.S.’s Least Capitalized Big Bank: The Fed - more
  • Fed Made $47.B in ‘09 - more
  • "The Two Issues to Watch on Financial Reform" - more
  • The Administration's February Forecast Compared to Current Expectations - more
  • Guest Post: Are Interest Rate Derivatives a Ticking Time Bomb? - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading flat , and off session lows, with all other London traded base metals lower. The US Dollar is trading 3/10 of 1% higher against the Euro at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are trading nearly 9/10 of 1% lower and have slipped under $83/barrel. Gold opened nearly 4/10 of 1% lower with silver down more than 8/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off over 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures show a possible lower opening for Wall Street. Nickel inventories fell over 1000 tonnes for the second consecutive day.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper staged an impressive comeback yesterday, erasing about $130 a ton in losses to close unchanged on the day. Robust Chinese import data offered support, as did a steady stock US stock market. However, all the other metals finished slightly in the red. We were somewhat surprised that the stronger dollar did not keep values down over the course of the day yesterday, as from all accounts, things still seem to be very problematic for the Euro. In this regard, yield premiums on Greek 10-year bonds over German paper climbed over 5%, their highest level since March of 1998. Clearly, markets are not convinced that the ECB/IMF package recently cobbled together is enough to hold things together, and authorities will have to put on a more convincing show in order to allay concerns in this regard. Time is also of the essence we might add; Reuters quotes the Greek finance minister as saying that talks with European and IMF officials, (now in Athens), could last as long as two weeks, which could prove an eternity as far as financial markets are concerned. The impact of the stronger dollar is being felt again this morning, with the Euro down to $1.3330, and once again pressuring metals in the process. Greece’s ASE Index of stocks dropped 1.7% at one point, adding to a string of recent losses, and the cost of insuring the nation’s debt surged to a record high amid mounting concern that the government will now cut or delay payments to bondholders. Oil prices are off, and US stocks are expected to open lower as well...... We are $26,937 on nickel, down $63, and still holding up impressively. Two days of closes above $27,250, (the recent intraday high) could set the stage for an advance towards $30,000.   (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) South Korea’s main stainless steel mill, Posco may raise its domestic price of cold rolled stainless steel sheets by 200,000 won/ton (US$180) for April and May production.
  • (Yieh) According to Morgan Stanley, the nickel price is likely to rebound while Goldman Sachs Group indicated that it is a good opportunity for nickel price to move upward once again.
  • Global recovery faster than expected, says IMF  - more

  7 killed in C China mine blast - At least seven people were killed after a gas blast ripped through a nickel mine in Henan Province Wednesday, the local authority said Thursday. - more

  Spill at New Caledonia nickel plant contained - New Caledonia’s Vale-Inco nickel company says there has been a spill of 670,000 litres of a solution containing acid. - more

  Goro nickel mine still delayed - Vale's Goro nickel project in New Caledonia is still not yet in production due to "hiccups" in its commissioning phase, a company spokesman said on Wednesday. - more

  Nickel Supply May Stay in Surplus This Year, Antaike Says - Nickel may stay in surplus in 2010 as China’s output climbs, according to researcher Beijing Antaike Information Development Co. - more

  Global nickel prices seen topping $30,000 a tonne by June - Nickel prices globally are likely to top $30,000 a tonne by June, driven by escalating demand from the stainless steel industry amid tight supply, analysts said. The three-month nickel contract on London Metal Exchange (LME) is currently trading at $25,999 a tonne, down $650 from previous close. - more

  Output Of Ferro-Nickel In Japan For CY 2009 Decreased To Less Than 60,000 Tons On Ni Content = Produced 58,936 Tons As Decreased By 5% From That / 08, Increased Exports Were Unable To Cover - It was known that Japan produced 58,936 tons of Ni in ferro-nickel in the calender year (January - December) of 2009, having decreased by 5% compared with that (62,014 tons) in the preceding year of 2008. - more

  Century Peak Corp. cites ‘substantial’ nickel deposits in Dinagat - Studies commissioned by Century Peak Corp. (CPC) have found a significant amount of nickel at its twin mines on Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte. - more

  Cold-Rolled Steel Demand Exceeds Supply, Baiying Says  - Chinese demand for cold-rolled steel products, used to make cars and appliances, is exceeding domestic supply and depleting inventories, underpinning prices that have gained 9 percent this year, a trader said. - more

  Zimasco plans to increase production - SINOSTEEL Corporation has announced plans to increase production at its local subsidiary, Zimbabwe Mining and Smelting Company, by 30 percent. - more

  Iron Ore Prices May Drop 30% on China Curbs Concern - Iron ore spot prices, trading at a 21 month-high, may drop about 30% in coming weeks on concern China is taking steps to slow the pace of economic growth, UBS AG said. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, April 21

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 11 to 3,009. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) BHP Faces SEC Probe After Finding Possible Corruption at Mining Projects  // China's Bank Regulator Orders Stress Tests in Crackdown on Property Loans // Bank of Japan's Nishimura Sees `Beams of Light' at End of Deflation Tunnel // Hong Kong May Raise Property Sales Tax, Sell More Land to Cool Speculation // Greece Aid Talks Begin as IMF Signals Rising Debt Is a Threat to Recovery // Goldman Sachs Says SEC's Fraud Case Hinges on Actions of Single Employee // European Insurers Escape Costs From Iceland Volcano Air Travel Disruption // Papaconstantinou Says Greece Could Activate Aid Package Before Talks End // European Stocks Decline; Shares in Greece, Spain, Portugal Lead Retreat // AT&T's Sales Trail Projections as Growth in Mobile-Phone Subscribers Slows // Visa Will Buy CyberSource for $2 Billion to Boost Online Payment Services // Freeport Says Chinese Copper Inventories May Weaken Demand; Shares Decline // U.S. Stocks Fluctuate as Apple, Morgan Stanley Offset Greek Debt Concerns
  • The US Dollar continues to trade higher against the Euro, a little over 1/4 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crud eis trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher, and over $84/barrel. Gold is trading over 8/10 of 1% higher , while silver is higher by more than 1.6%. Base metals did not fare as well as their precious and minor metal counter parts today, all ending lower. Indicator charts show nickel declined sharply in early morning trading, and spent the late afternoon in a steep recovery mode. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $12.25/lb , lower but eating up only about 1/2 of yesterday's gain. Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses now sit just over the 148,800 tonne level, after dropping over 1100 tonnes overnight. The last time we saw inventories this low ... was December 16th of last year. Yes, we got a whole lot of inventory in late December. On today's date last year, we had 106,518 tonnes and the price of nickel was trading in the $5/lb range. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). China reported that it has imported more nickel ore in the first three months of 2010 than it did in the first 5 months of 2009, telling us pig nickel production is booming. Refined nickel imports were also higher, and the 47,605 tonnes of refined nickel they imported in the first three months of 2010 is well over the 32,932 tonnes in the first three months of 2009. China also reported stainless steel production in March was up 10.7% over February. The WBMS reported the world saw a surplus of 23,000 metric tons of nickel in January and February of this year, and what.....? Sometimes you really have to wonder where they get this stuff.    

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Guidelines for Nickel Stainless Steels for Marine Environments Natural Waters and Brines - more

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) BHP 3Q Nickel Output 43,300 Metric Tons, +8% On Yr
  • (SG) It is reported that China's major stainless steel producers made a total stainless output of 634,800 tonnes in March 2010, up by 10.7% MoM. Of this, HR stainless accounted 395,100 tonnes, up by 26.88% MoM, while CR stainless reported 239,700 tonnes, down by 8.5% MoM in the same comparison.
  • Emerging Market Countries and the Crisis: How Have They Coped? - more
  • Extra Tax Refunds Giving Consumers A Short-Term Boost - more
  • Fed’s Plosser Supports Ending Emergency-Lending Power - more
  • Former Malaysian PM identifies role of tax havens in financial crisis - more
  • Fred Hickey - If We Continue Down This Path, the Outlook is General Impoverishment for the Country - more
  • Of Avalanches and Tipping Points - more

  Miners wary as PNG court halts nickel operations - A crucial stage of the $1.5 billion Ramu nickel project in Papua New Guinea being developed by Chinese state-owned giant Metallurgical Construction Corporation has been halted by the national court. - more

  Antam may opt for rights issue to fund projects - State-owned mining company PT Aneka Tambang may carry out a rights issue to raise up to US$2.98 billion to finance six major projects, president director Alwin Syah Loebis told lawmakers Monday evening. - more

  BHP reveals SEC corruption probe over 'small' projects - BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, has uncovered possible corruption at exploration projects. - more

  Will nickel continue to rally? - Nickel was the best performer across the commodities complex during the first quarter of the year 2010, with a gain of 34.9 percent. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.35/lb lower, with all base metals trading lower. The US Dollar is trading over 4/10 of 1% higher against the Euro, adding pressure to commodities. NYMEX crude futures are flat at $83.87/barrel. Gold opened slightly lower this morning, while silver opened over 4/10 of 1% lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up nearly 2%. European markets are lower this morning, while US futures are also lower. Nickel inventories fell over 1000 tonnes overnight. Bloomberg reports "“The metals are going to face continued volatility as we keep getting a flow of both good and bad news which affect investor sentiment,” Wang Jianchao, an analyst at Dahua Futures Co., said from Beijing. “The global economy seems to be slowly recovering. However, any sign that China’s demand will weaken will weigh on prices.”    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals pushed higher on Tuesday, although prices finished below their earlier intraday highs. Robust corporate earnings reports out of Wall Street, a relatively tame dollar, and the improving travel situation in Europe, all helped contribute to the firmer tone. Although the Goldman Sachs fraud case continues to weigh on the company's stock, the weakness did not spill over into the broader equity market yesterday, enabling commodities to build on their gains throughout the day. In fact, the broader Reuters-Jefferies CRB index gained about 1% on Tuesday after dropping 2.5% over the last two sessions. It remains to be seen whether we will now resume taking another shot at the recent highs on metals, but certainly, the lack of follow-through today suggests that we could see further sloppiness over the short-term. We think attention has now shifted away from the troubles at Goldman and back to the Euro, where the Greek debt crisis continues to fester.  .... In metals news, we got the latest March Chinese import data overnight; the copper numbers are presented below, showing another strong push higher in March. Outside of copper, primary aluminum imports were down 67% yr/yr, refined zinc imports were off by 85.07% yr/yr, but refined nickel imports were at 19,143 tons, up 51.7% pct yr/yr. Refined lead imports stood at 1,082 tons, down 95.73% pct yr/yr, while tin imports were at 1,825 tons, down 25.92% vs. the year-ago period. We will present our usual summary table and accompanying charts in tomorrow’s note. .... We are $26,570 on nickel, down $720, in what has been one of the complex’s more significant price declines in some time. However, nickel still looks very strong on the charts, but is quite overdone in our view. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) The global nickel market was in a surplus of 23,000 metric tons between January and February of this year, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said Wednesday.  Mine production during January and February was 230,700 tons, up 1% on the year, the WBMS said. World apparent demand was up 22,700 tons from the previous year, the WBMS said, without providing a total figure. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.
  • (Dow Jones) Japan’s ferro-nickel output in February was 26,797 tons, which increased by 78.6 percent year on year. Meanwhile, Japanese nickel metal production was 3,124 tons, which up by 61.1 percent compared to 1,933 tons of the same period of last year.
  • (Interfax) China's crude steel output in March stood at 54.97 million tons, accounting for 45.68 percent of the world's total, down from 46.83 percent recorded in February, according to a World Steel Association (WSA) announcement on April 20.
  • (MNP) Partners in the Ramu nickel-cobalt development in Papua New Guinea remain confident an interim injunction to delay construction of a deep sea tailings displacement facility will be lifted before impacting the production timeline.
  • (MB) Macquarie sees $30k/T nickel in Q2, fall in Q3
  • (Nikkei) Sumitomo Metal Mining To Boost Nickel -Refining Capacity 60%
  • (JMB) Ni stainless steel scrap/ Market prices in Kanto continue to rise
  • China Data Puts Commodities In Sweet Spot - more
  • World economy: New sources of growth are slow to emerge; risks and uncertainties persist - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 15th April 2010 = Moving To Place Inquiries For Ferro-Alloys Before Chinese Suppliers - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 15th April of 2010 is as follows - more

  Nickel Prices Rise 46%—Should Design Engineers Worry? - Cash prices for nickel have risen sharply this year on the London Metal Exchange, triggering some concerns of a possible shortage this year. Prices have skyrocketed from a low of around $18,000 per metric ton earlier this year to a recent closing of $26,400. - more

  Bullish on nickel, zinc: Global Financial Market - In an exclusive interview with CNBC-TV18, Bharath Kumar, Global Financial Market, speaks about various commodities and gives his outlook going forward. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Tuesday, April 20

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 4 to 2,998. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) India Raises Interest Rates, Reserve Ratio Quarter Point to Slow Inflation // China Tightens Rules on Sales of Unfinished Homes in Effort to Cool Market // China Mobile Profit Misses Estimates as Competition Pares Subscriber Gains // Asian Stocks Rebound on SEC's Split Vote on Goldman, Economy; Yen Declines // German Investor Confidence Rises to Six-Month High on Euro, Unemployment // FSA to Start Formal Enforcement Investigation Into Goldman Sachs in U.K. // U.K. Inflation Surged to 3.4% in March, Faster Than Economists' Forecasts // Greece Sells 1.95 Billion Euros of Bills to Yield Less-Than-Forecast 3.65% // European Stocks Advance as Goldman Scrutiny Concern Eases; Daimler Surges // Goldman Sachs First-Quarter Profit Tops Estimates as Firm Battles SEC Suit // Goldman Sachs CDO Lawsuit Split SEC's Commissioners Along Party Lines // BofA-Merrill Rank First on Credit Suisse's Tally for CDO `Litigation Risk' // Coca-Cola Profit Rises 20%, Bolstered by Latin America's 4% Sales Increase // Dark-Pool Crackdown Will Harm Mutual-Fund Investors, Ex-SEC Officials Say // Stocks in U.S. Gain as Harley, Marshall & Ilsley Earnings Exceed Estimates
  • The US Dollar is trading nearly 4/10 of 1% higher against the Euro at the moment. NYMEX crude is trading over 2.2% higher and at $83.25/barrel. Gold is up 1/3 of 1% and silver is up 8/10 of 1%. Did we mention the US Dollar is trading higher, typically adding pressure to commodity trading?? Apparently no one cares today because base metals all ended higher as well. Indicator charts show nickel rose thur most of the session, before stumbling near the end of the session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $12.38/lb , off session highs and your second highest close fo the year. Inventories of nickel stored in LME stored in LME approved warehouses slipped under the 150,000 tonne level overnight. From their all time record peak of 166,476 tonnes on February 8th, nickel inventories have now fallen by over 16,500 tonnes. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading's back track did not last long (chart here). US markets reallied late yesterday on news that the whole Goldman law suit was more of a political ordeal than a legitimate government investigation and suit. Apparently the SEC voted 3-2 along political lines to proceed with the suit. For traders that might have been worried that the Goldman suit would be the beginning of a potential string of law suits against major financial institutions, this news proved once again that the financial industry has been, and will remain to be, a hands off, do whatever you want, and the government will rescue you when you screw up, industry. Yes that may be populist to say but waiting for someone to prove it wrong. The Baltic Dry Index slipped 4 points and appears, at least for the last few days, to be comfortable hanging around the 3000 level. Reuters carried an interesting article today,  titled "Funds driving nickel, not mills - ELG Haniel" Michael Wright, chief operating officer of ELG Haniel GmbH Group, a major supplier of secondary raw materials to the global stainless steel industry told Reuters "There's no shortage of nickel and it very much depends on the third quarter, we could easily get the same situation we had before where mills come into the holiday period and say stocks are sufficient and they cut back on buying raw materials. ...."There's some positive signs that demand (from the stainless industry) continues but nobody will commit themselves further than the end of the second quarter. Nobody knows if it's really a boom or if we're going to see another bust." When asked what was driving the price increase in nickel, he stated "It's driven by funds. Stainless steel production has little effect on the nickel price at present. Stainless scrap will catch up, we're anticipating about 800,000 to 1 million tonnes coming on the scene in 2010/11."

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) "After helping to drive the impressive rebound in prices last year, China has taken more of a backseat recently with price spreads and inventory trends in the country suggestive of soft spot market conditions," Barclays said. "The market has become saturated with metal, albeit only temporarily, in our view."
  • The US Financial Media Does Not Disappoint, But Will Obama? - more
  • Don’t Blame Extension of Jobless Benefits - more
  • No Resolution in Sight in Fed Blame Game - more
  • Rule 10b-5: Manipulative and Deceptive Practices - more
  • Current trends in paying for healthcare insurance - more
  • Where Is The Money Coming From To Fuel Spending? - more
  • The Man Who Lives Without Stocks - more
  • Throat-Clearing on the SEC's Goldman Sachs Case - more
  • Rally on SEC Vote - more

  Stainless contract won't emerge any time soon -ELG Haniel - An exchange-traded contract for stainless steel is not likely to emerge in Europe any time soon, Michael Wright, chief operating officer of ELG Haniel GmbH Group, said on Tuesday. - more

  Quake closes Kalgoorlie mines, possibly for days - All mines in Australia's Kalgoorlie region were evacuated on Tuesday following a 5.2 magnitude quake, and will not reopen until safety checks are completed, which may take days, a mine union official said. - more

  Purchasing ceases publication today - Magazine and website will close as part of major divestiture of parent company. - Reed Elsevier, parent company of Purchasing, announced today that it is closing Purchasing and the magazine's website, purchasing.com, as well as most of its other U.S. publications, effective immediately. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.30/lb higher, with all base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro si trading only slightly higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are up 1% and at $82.30/barrel. Gold opened 1/2 of 1% higher while silver is up over 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with CHina down slightly. European markets are higher this morning, and US futures imply a stronger opening for Wall Street. Nickel inventories fell below the 150,000 tonne level overnight.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper prices fell to three-week lows on Monday, dragging other metals down with it, but the overall complex did manage to pare its losses by the close of the US session. The dollar and the yen both firmed, as Greek debt concerns continued to keep the pressure on the Euro. Markets also kept an eye on developments at Goldman Sachs, with the mood turning somewhat brighter later in the day on a growing sense that the government's case against Goldman could likely prove difficult given that the SEC itself had split by a 3-2 party line vote on whether to file suit against the firm. .... In the meantime, out of China, Deutsche Bank is telling its clients that the recent tightening measures may result in average home prices falling as much as 10% in major Chinese cities, while values of mid to high-end properties could drop by as much 20%. In addition, the bank sees monthly transaction volumes declining by a whopping 50% in the coming months. From India today, the central bank raised interest rates for the second time in a month and ordered lenders to set aside more cash as reserves. While today’s decision matched the forecasts, about one third of the analysts in a Bloomberg News survey anticipated an even larger move.  ... We are $27,374 on nickel, up $674. Nickel has been the strongest metal in the complex, even closing slightly higher yesterday. We now are at new highs, and depending on the closing action, charts suggest a likely attempt to test $30,000.   (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (MFG) Nickel prices are being driven largely by funds, not by the increase in stainless steel output or the shortfall of stainless scrap supply, the chief operating officer of ELG Haniel GmbH Group, a major supplier of secondary raw materials to the global stainless steel industry, told Reuters. "There's no shortage of nickel... we could easily get the same situation we had before where mills come into the holiday period and say stocks are sufficient and they cut back on buying raw materials" he was quoted as saying.
  • Kalgoorlie Earthquake does not affect area nickel mines according to Bloomberg
  • (Interfax) Baoshan Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. (Baosteel), the Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed subsidiary of leading Chinese steelmaker, Baosteel Group, will hike its ex-works prices for major steel products by between RMB 200 ($29.30) and RMB 600 ($87.90) per ton in May, Baosteel announced on April 19.
  • (Interfax) China produced 185.75 million tons of steel products in the first three months of 2010, up 28.6 percent year-on-year, according to figures released by Shanghai-based Mysteel Information on April 20.
  • Russian Jan-Mar Zinc, Copper, Nickel Output Up, Aluminum Down - more (quote - Nickel output increased by 7.2% and nickel ore output rose 13.6%.)
  • (SKRIN) Russia's export of nickel to foreign countries contracts by 9.7% in January-February 2010
  • (MW) The closely-watched ZEW German investor sentiment index jumped to 53.0 in April from 44.5 in March, beating expectations for a rise to 46.0. The ZEW current conditions index rose to -39.2 from -51.9 in March.
  • (CS) Construction output in the eurozone slumped by 3.3 percent compared with the previous month, which was the largest decrease since 2001, European Union (EU) statistics agency Eurostat said on Monday.
  • The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased 1.4 percent in March, following a 0.4 percent gain in February, and a 0.6 percent rise in January. The U.S. LEI is now at its highest level.
  • (HP & Co) Chinese ports reported a 22 pct increase in container throughput in the first quarter of 2010 compared to 2009 and even more significantly these figures topped the previous record figures in 2008. These good cargo volumes continue to stimulate demand on the chartering front with any large containership open receiving much attention from interested charterers.

  Risk appetite returns to support base metals - Industrial metals gained on Tuesday, with copper rising 2 percent as risk appetite improved with positive results from Citigroup (C.N) and as investors bet on robust demand from China. - more

  Western Australia shaken by largest earthquake in 50 years - Western Australia’s Kalgoorlie city was on Tuesday rocked by the biggest earthquake to hit the region in 50 years, damaging several buildings and causing the Kalgoorlie gold mine to be evacuated. - more

  • Mines in quake-hit Australia's Kalgoorlie area - A 5.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Western Australia state mining region of Kalgoorlie on Tuesday, closing mines temporarily. - more

  March 2010 Crude Steel Production - World crude steel production for the 66 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (worldsteel) was 120 million metric tons (mmt) in March. This is 30.6% higher than March 2009. - more

  • worldsteel Short Range Outlook - The World Steel Association (worldsteel) today released its short range outlook (SRO) for 2010 and 2011. worldsteel forecasts that apparent steel use will increase by 10.7% to 1,241 mmt in 2010 after contracting by -6.7% in 2009. - more

  Baoshan Raises Cold-Rolled Steel Prices on Ore Costs - Baoshan Iron & Steel Co., the largest publicly traded Chinese steelmaker, will increase cold- rolled product prices in May to pass on higher costs of iron ore and coking coal. - more

  U.S., Canadian Steel and Aluminum Shipments Rise at Double-Digit Rates; Inventories up Slightly -  March shipments of both steel and aluminum products from metals service centers in the United States and Canada rose at double-digit rates from year-ago volume, the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute shows. Inventories of both metals in both nations rose slightly. - more

  ArcelorMittal eyes stake in Ferro Alloys Corp - ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel maker, is eyeing another strategic buy in India. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending April 17, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,755,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 72.6 percent. Production was 977,000 tons in the week ending April 17, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 40.8 percent. The current week production represents a 79.7 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending April 17, 2010 is up 1.4 percent from the previous week ending April 10, 2010 when production was 1,731,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 71.6 percent.

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Monday, April 19

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 7 to 3,002. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Developers Drop as Regulator Orders Halt to Lending for Third Homes // Aussie Drive to Parity Derailed by Yuan Revaluation, Slower Rise in Rates // Toyota Said to Agree to Pay Record $16.4 Million U.S. Fine on Auto Recalls // Stocks, Commodities Slide as Goldman Sachs Sued; Airlines Decline on Ash // Pressure Mounts on Goldman Shares, Board as Probes Spread Across Atlantic // U.K. Economic Growth Forecast for 2011 Raised on Exports, Item Club Says // Merkel Undermines Bunds as Premium to Treasuries Fades on Greek About-Face // European Stocks Decline as U.K., Germany Signal Probes Into Goldman Sachs // Citigroup First-Quarter Profit Beats Estimates as Bad-Loan Costs Decline // Recovery Tilts Toward V-Shape as U.S. Profit Surge Prompts Growth Revision // Pressure Mounts on Goldman Shares, Board as Probes Spread Across Atlantic // Leading Economic Indicators Index in U.S. Rises 1.4% as Economy Recovers // Goldman Sachs Suit Might Prompt Broader Investigation, Stricter Regulation
  • The US Dollar continues to trade higher against the Euro, but only by a little over 1/4 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude is down just under 2-1/2% and over $81/barrel. Gold is down 1/3 of 1% and silver is off 1/10 of 1%. Base metals ended mostly lower as the Gold man suit and stronger Dollar added pressure. That is, except for nickel. Indicator charts show nickel was in trouble early on, but when US markets did not open in a blood bath, as some had feared, nickel began to rise, and by close, had regained all of the earlier losses. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $12.11/lb , with after market trading moving into positive territory, Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell again over the weekend, and now sit just under the 150,500 tonne level. Sucden's day old trading chart show nickel's reversal that began Friday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index lost 7 points and remains around the 3000 level. Nickel's rebound today shows its strength is intact.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • IMF Global Financial Stability Report -  more

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Romer: ‘It’s Aggregate Demand, Stupid’ - more
  • Researchers: The Internet Isn’t Polarizing America - more
  • Goldman Sachs: Too Big To Obey The Law - more
  • Was Greece Rescue Futile, and is Portugal Next? - more
  • The One Last Ethical Bank? Bear Stearns Just Said No To The Goldman-Paulson Scheme, Did Not Pass "Ethics Standards" - more
  • FDIC Bank Closings - more

  Asian average stainless steel prices - Asian average stainless steel prices advanced in line with our February forecasts. Increases were noted in three out of the four countries researched. High inventories in China are keeping prices - more

  Forecasting energy consumption in the ferrochrome sector - Energy demand had been increasing over the years. The necessity for sustainable energy planning requires accurate forecasting of future electricity consumption. - more

  Iron ore glut threatens as miners dig new lode - Iron ore miners may end up regretting a hard-won fight to establish spot-market pricing as the industry benchmark if a barrage of new mine production turns today's supply deficit into tomorrow's glut. - more

  PDAC 2010 – Ring of Fire and the Rebirth of Ontario Mining – by Stan Sudol - more

  Candidate warns against raising mining royalty rates - The Nationals' candidate for the federal seat of O'Connor has urged his state colleagues not to support any increase in gold and nickel royalties. The Western Australian Government is considering raising mining royalty rates as part of the budget process. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.18/lb lower, with all base metals lower as traders seek risk aversion after the Goldman Sachs suit. The US Dollar is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher against the Euro this morning. NYMEX crude futures are down 2-2/2% and at $82/barrel. Gold opened 1/2 of 1% lower while silver is off 2/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets fell hard on the Goldman news, with China off over 5%. European markets are lower this morning, and US futures show Wall Street will open in a bad mood. Nickel inventories fell hard again over the weekend.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices remained steady for most of last week, as a slightly weaker dollar and robust economic data-- particularly out of China-- provided a solid underpinning. Things changed dramatically on Friday, when the SEC blind-sided the markets by filing a civil complaint against Goldman Sachs, accusing the firm of misrepresenting sub-prime securities to investors. The company's stock plunged by about 13%, leading to broad-based weakness in the equity markets. Commodity markets, which seemed to be in their own world lately, fell hard as well with the sell-off in metals erasing much of the week’s gains.  .... All in all, we can’t say we are surprised to see the current selloff set in. Markets have been running too fast and too hard for some time now based solely on technicals, and were in need of a trigger to set off some selling. The unlikely combination of the Goldman Sachs law suit, Chinese tightening, and volcanic ash out of Iceland, all coalesced to start the sell-off and nudge commodity price levels closer to more realistic readings. .... We are $26,330 on nickel, down $375, and on the verge of taking out the short-term upchannel, which we suspect will eventually give way, setting up a move to $25,500. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Reuters) Japan's crude steel output rose 62.8 percent in March from a year earlier to 9.34 million tonnes, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said.
  • (SO) In the first quarter of 2010, Shanxi Province based Chinese steelmaker Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Group) Co Limited produced a total of 2.642 million tonnes of steel, up by 4.22% YoY, including 713,400 tonnes of stainless steel, up by 45.47% YoY.
  • (SM) For the fifth straight month, containerboard paper production has risen sharply when compared to last year. Current total production saw an increase of 379,100 tons or 15.6% over March 2009. Although, total production amounts also increased compared to February 2010, average daily production was down slightly due to the number of days in March.
  • China's real estate time bomb ticking - more

  We welcome a new sponsor to the site - Remetallic who is an International Trading Company dealing in various secondary/Excess prime quality Stainless Steel flat and round products. We thank them for the sponsorship and encourage our readers to visit their site and look at the services they offer the stainless steel industry.

  Nickel mine banned from completion - The Ramu nickel cobalt project will continue to be banned from completing the construction of the $US1.5 billion (K4.22 billion) deep sea tailings placement system (DSTP) approved by the State.- more

  Mining firms hit by China cyber attacks - Three major Australian mining companies have been the targets of Chinese cyber attacks, with one coming around the time of Stern Hu's arrest there on bribery and spying charges. - more

  Courtesy AISI - The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that for the month of February 2010, U.S. steel mills shipped 6,311,076 net tons, a 4.1percent decrease from the 6,579,808 net tons shipped in the previous month, January 2010, and a 46.1 percent increase from the 4,319,545 net tons shipped in February 2009.

  China defends iron ore benchmark pricing system - China’s Ministry of Commerce Thursday stepped up its defense of the iron ore benchmark system in the face of moves by the big three international mining giants to end the decades-old pricing mechanism. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Friday, April 16

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 8 to 3,009. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Singapore's Lee Says China Should Let Yuan Gain, End `Angst' Caused by Peg // Thai Stocks Decline on Concerns Political Clash May Hurt Economic Growth // China Faces `Close Call' on Interest-Rate Rise After Growth Surges 11.9% // Yuan Plan Reflects China Consensus, Not U.S. Pressure, PBOC Adviser Says // Asian Stocks Drop on U.S. Joblessness, China Property; Yen Gains on Greece // EU Finance Chiefs Say Greece Doesn't Plan Immediate Rescue-Package Request // Germany May Seek Smaller Euro Region Amid Greek Woes, Morgan Stanley Says // European Stocks Fall, Erasing Weekly Gain, as U.S. Regulators Sue Goldman // Bank of America Returns to Profit as Merrill Lynch Purchase Boosts Revenue // GE's Profit Falls Less Than Analysts Estimated as Finance Unit Stabilizes // Fed's Yellen Says She's Growing More Confident Economy Is on `Right Track' // Goldman Sachs Sued by SEC for Fraud Over Mortgage-Backed CDOs; Shares Drop // Housing Starts in U.S. Rise More Than Forecast as Builders Gain Confidence // U.S. Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index Fell to 69.5 in April  // Financial Shares Tumble After Goldman Sachs Is Accused of Fraud Over CDOs
  • The US Dollar continues to trade higher against the Euro, now over 1/2 of 1% higher. NYMEX crude oil is down over 3% and under $83/barrel. Gold is down 2% and silver is off 3.6%. Even base metals joined the rush fo thr door today, all, yes all you nickel beaten skeptics, lower. Indicator charts show nickel had peaked early this morning, then dropped  a little as US markets opened lower, but long's didn't start bailing out until the SEC charged Goldman Sachs with fraud. Then traders in London couldn't get the closing bell to come fast enough. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $12.11/lb , down over 3% from yesterday's close, but 6% higher than last Friday's close. Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell for a ninth straight session, and now sit just over the 151,200 tonne level. Sucden updated their day old nickel trading chart, which shows the run thru yesterday (chart here). Yesterday's close saw nickel's first $.99/lb gain in two consecutive sessions since February 2008, when nickel finally joined a "then" base metals mini bull run after Cerro Matoso workers went on strike. Nickel prices have not been this high since May of 2008, and some analysts and traders say the market is heading to $30,000 tonne or $13.60/lb. Why? No one seems to have a good reason for all this except to say its a technical run. For those who don't read candlestick trading charts, that is a neat term that means the chart signals says nickel should go higher, so traders follow. Trading this way, you will learn terms like "long legged doji", "inverted hammer", "shooting star", etc. What we saw in the nickel market this week is what is sometimes called the "bendover" signal. A bendover signal goes something like "My name is Bubba and I am your 325 pound cell mate. But you can call me Daddy." Markets are in a tailspin today, and after the SEC charged Goldman Sachs with fraud, some appear to be walking around mumbling "What? A bank lied? Is it possible?", while others appear angry "Charge a bank??! Are they nuts? Don't they know who really runs this country?" Housing starts rose, consumer confidence fell, and it is the weekend. We hope you all have a safe and relaxing one.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • How Bosses Stay in Charge - more
  • Stimulus Does Poor Job Plugging Budget Holes - more
  • Fed’s Bullard: Policy Future Depends on Coming Data - more
  • “Zero Edge” — Rebutting Faulty Tax Analysis - more
  • Are Defaults Really Driving Retail Spending? - more
  • Michael Lewis on Wall Street - more
  • The Fire Next Time - more

  What is an iron ore swap contract? - The breakdown of the decades-old annual benchmark system in iron ore pricing is likely to boost the popularity of iron ore swaps contracts. - more

  • Iron ore swap contracts: Who's doing what? - The move to create a more transparent and market-based pricing scheme is gaining momentum in iron ore with cash-settled swap contracts emerging among the most popular hedging tools promoted by banks and brokers. - more
  • Steelmakers weigh options as iron ore pricing changes - Europe's steelmakers are in tough negotiations with powerful iron ore miners who are pushing to end a decades-old annual benchmark pricing system for the steel making ingredient in favour of a more flexible mechanism. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.12/lb higher, with other base metals trading mostly higher. The Euro is trading 1/4 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment, and off session lows. NYMEX crude futures are down a full percent but still over $84.50/barrel. Gold opened 2/10 of 1% lower, while silver is down 1/10 of 1%. Asian markets fell overnight as US unemployment rose and China took measures to cool its red hot real estate market. China ended down over 1%. European markets are slightly lower this morning, with US futures also slightly lower at the moment. Nickel inventories slumped for the ninth consecutive session overnight.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report this week
  • (Dow Jones) Gordon Buchanan, a trader at nickel trader Stratton Metals in London, agreed nickel was heading for $30,000/ton.
  • (Dow Jones) "There are certain elements of the fund community that are targeting $30,000," said Societe Generale analyst David Wilson. "Everything's moving in the right direction for nickel."
  • (Jidal) Rio Tinto's Kennecott Utah Copper Corp. will invest $340 million to build a molybdenum autoclave process (MAP) facility in Magna, Utah, that could double its molybdenum output to 60 million pounds a year by 2015.
  • (MF) Jinchuan Group Ltd., China's largest nickel producer, plans to issue three-year medium term notes worth RMB 1.7 billion ($249.04 million) to institutional investors on the Chinese interbank bond market, the company announced on April 15.
  • (SMM) Jinchuan Group raised ex-works nickel prices by RMB 10,000/mt to RMB 195,000/mt on April 16th.
  • (CCR) China's power generation in March rose 17.6 percent from a year earlier to 336.95 billion kilowatt hours (kWh), official data showed on Apr 15, extending recent rapid growth on the back of rising industrial demand.
  • (Dow Jones) Airports remained shuttered across much of Northern Europe Friday in the biggest ever disruption to air traffic on the Continent, with delays and cancellations expected to continue through the weekend after a volcanic eruption in Iceland blanketed the region in a huge ash cloud.
  • China trims holdings of US Treasuries by 1.3% - more

  Nickel Advances to Highest in 23 Months; Zinc, Copper Fall - Nickel, used to make stainless steel corrosion-resistant, advanced to the highest level in 23 months on speculation the market will swing into deficit for the first time in four years as a recovering economy boosts demand. - more

  Posco to Spend $5 Billion on Mines to Secure Supplies  - Posco, Asia’s third-biggest steelmaker, plans to invest about $5 billion on overseas mines, joining rival mills scouring the globe for supplies as raw-material costs jumped.- more

  PNG court rules against Ramu nickel mine developers - The developer of Papua New Guinea's Ramu nickel mine, has again failed to lift an injunction by landowners against its plans to construct a deep sea tailings facility. - more

  Australian Regulator Suspends Review on BHP-Rio Deal  - Australia’s competition regulator said it suspended its review schedule for the proposed Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton Ltd. iron ore joint venture, to give the companies more time to respond to questions. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, April 15

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 35 to 3,001. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's Economy Grows 11.9%, Pressuring Wen to Sever Yuan Peg, Raise Rates // Thai Clashes May Ravage Growth, Investor Confidence, Finance Minister Says // Singapore's Lee Sees `Good' Growth After Record Expansion in First Quarter // China Says Probing Possibility of Monopoly by Biggest Iron Ore Suppliers // Asian Stocks, Currencies Gain as Recovery Accelerates in Biggest Economies // Greek Bonds Show EU Rescue Package May Be Tapped as Borrowing Costs Rise // U.K. Consumer Confidence Plunges by Most Since July 2008 as Election Looms  // Banks Decry New Basel Mandates on Cash, Capital in Global Regulation Fight // London Finance Vacancies Reached Highest Since 2008 in March, Survey Shows //  Greece Moves Closer to Triggering Aid as IMF, EU Officials Head for Athens // ECB's Stark Says Inflation Risk `Tilted to the Upside' on Commodity Prices // European Shares Climb, Extending 19-Month High; Roche Gains on Drug Sales // Foreclosure Filings in U.S. Jump 16% as Bank Seizures of Homes Hit Record // `Jerk' Insurance Soothes Reluctant Sellers Amid Signs of Property Recovery // Manufacturing Gains Lead U.S. Recovery as Job Market Fails to Follow Suit // Mortgage Rates on 30-Year U.S. Loans Fall to 5.07%, First Drop in a Month // Stocks in U.S. Fluctuate Near 18-Month High After Jobless Claims Increase
  • The Dollar continues to trade higher against the Euro, up 2/3 of 1%. NYMEX crude is down 1/3 of 1% and over $85.50/barrel. Gold is over 1/2 of 1% higher and silver is nearly 2/10 of 1% higher. Base metals ended the day mostly higher as the afternoon so a recovery from earlier losses. Indicator charts show nickel was in no trouble today, opening higher, then "recovering" with the other metals. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at an unbelievable $12.58/lb , one penny shy of a dollar higher than Tuesday's close. Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell by a large amount overnight and now sit just under the 151,900 tonne level. Sucden did not update their day old chart for a second day. The Baltic Dry Index rose 35 to 3,001. The bull continues to run, and buyers of nickel and stainless steel are getting trampled once again. The only group more annoyed than buyers of stainless steel these days, is probably the striking miners in Sudbury who are missing out on some fat bonus checks. We found the Bloomberg headline posted above amusing "ECB's Stark Says Inflation Risk `Tilted to the Upside' on Commodity Prices". Ya think?

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Economists React: China’s GDP Shows Signs of Overheating - more
  • Euro Zone Government Debt Could Top 100% of GDP - more
  • Chubble (The Unmistakable, Yet Thoroughly Argued Chinese Bubble), Unemployed/Deleveraging Shopaholics Pushing Retail Stocks & Other News - more
  • The 1920s Depression: Glenn Beck, Thomas Woods, and "Benefits" of Cutting Taxes to Combat a Recession, Part 1 - more
  • March Foreclosures Surge To Absolute Record, At 369,491, 19% Jump from February - more
  • Yes, 47% of Households Owe No Taxes. Look Closer. - more
  • Lagging Psychology at Turning Points - more
  • Metal$ are in the pits - more
  • Consumers Come to Life - more
  • Top 400 Taxpayers - more

  Top 10 nickel producers in 2009 according to CRU

  • 1. Norilsk Nickel - 347,672 tonnes
  • 2. Jinchuan Group - 130,050
  • 3. BHP - 118,100
  • 4. Vale - 98,707
  • 5. Xstrata - 88,577
  • 6. Eramet - 52,200
  • 7. Sumitomo - 49,158
  • 8. Anglo American - 38,406
  • 9. Sherritt - 33,600
  • 10. Minara - 32,977
  • (not included in CRU figures - pig nickel production in China, which could have been as much as 100,000 tonnes in 2009)

  Nickel: Major market developments in March - Global nickel prices may be due a downward correction in the near term, but more gains are likely further ahead as supply struggles to keep up with demand, some analysts say.- more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.15/lb higher, with all base metals trading lower this morning. The US Dollar is trading nearly 8/10 of 1% higher against the Euro this morning, adding pressure on commodity trading. NYMEX crude futures are down 3/10 of 1% and over $85.50/barrel. Gold opened nearly 2/10 of 1% lower with silver down 2/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets end e higher, with China lower by nearly 3/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, and futures show Wall Street may open slightly lower.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report this week
  • (Yieh) Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) announced to lift the price by NT$5,000/ton for the second half of April because of the increasing nickel price. Yusco announced to lift the domestic price and exported price of 300 series stainless steel by NT$5,000/ton and US$150-200/ton respectively.
  • (Interfax) China's daily crude steel output reached an average of 1.77 million tons in March, down 1.45 percent from February's figure, according to a report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on April 15.
  • (Dow Jones) German steelmaker Salzgitter AG said Thursday the number of employees on shorter working hours was lower than previously expected in March due to an improving economy, adding that this number will fall further in the course of the year.
  • Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto PLC Thursday said it remains cautious on the near-term outlook for the global economy. "Economic conditions on a global scale remain volatile and uncertain," Chairman Jan du Plessis said at the company's annual general meeting. - more
  • (SSY) The world export price for hot rolled band rose by 10% from end-March to $696/t, according to World Steel Dynamics’ SteelBenchmarker, the highest level since October 2008. This has coincided with the increase in new quarterly contract prices for iron ore and coking coal. Most of April’s increase was in China, up by $47/t (+9%) to a 19-month high of $573/t in contrast to the USA (+3% to $748/t).
  • (China Daily) China's economy grew 11.9 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, up 5.7 percentage points from the same period of last year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said today.
  • (RITA) The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 0.3 percent in February from its January level, rising for the second consecutive month, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today.
  • Rail Time Indicators - pdf here
  • Economy growing at 'somewhat' faster rate: Beige Book - more

  Nickel Climbs to 23-Month High as China Reports Faster Growth - Nickel advanced to the highest level in 23 months, pacing an increase in industrial metals, as China, the world’s largest consumer, reported that economic growth in the first quarter accelerated to the fastest pace in almost three years.  - more

  Ferrochrome price looks set to rise in April - The price of ferrochrome on the Chinese market increased significantly in March. In the case of high-carbon ferrochrome, its price on the domestic market increased from RMB 8,450 ($1237.90) per metric ton at the beginning of March to RMB 8,900 ($1303.82) per metric ton by the end of the month, an increase of 5.3 percent. - more

  Producers set to push up steel prices higher - China's third- largest steel mill Wuhan Iron and Steel Group announced on Wednesday a price increase on key steel products by 500 yuan ($73) per ton for May on the back of rising raw materials costs. - more

  Early REACH registration for nickel metal and nickel sulphate - The Nickel Institute today announced the successful REACH registration of nickel metal and nickel sulphate, eight months before the registration deadline. - more

  Indonesia's Antam, China firms in talks over $1.2 bn smelter - Indonesian gold and copper miner PT Aneka Tambang (ANTM.JK) said on Tuesday it is in talks with several Chinese firms about their possible investment in its $1.2 billion ferronickel smelter. - more

  Firm apologizes for blunder - Despite an apology being issued over the trampling of an aboriginal burial ground, the war of words continued Wednesday between a mining exploration company and a First Nation in the heart of the future Ring of Fire chromite project. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, April 14

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 38 to 2,966. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Signals Caution in Withdrawing Stimulus Even After `Rapid' Expansion // South Korea's Sovereign Rating Raised to A1 by Moody's on Economic Rebound // Emerging-Market Stocks Climb Most in Two Weeks; Metals Rise on Asia Growth // UBS Defies Politicians, Vows to Pay Market Rates to Attract, Keep Bankers // Greek Bonds Decline for Second Straight Day as Pimco, BlackRock Shun Debt // Abu Dhabi Names Sheikh Hamed to Run Wealth Fund After Sheikh Ahmed's Death // Greek Bonds Decline as EU Governments Wrangle Over Aid Plan to Reduce Debt // European Shares Rise After Intel, JPMorgan Results Beat Analyst Estimates // JPMorgan Profit Rises 55% on Trading Revenue, Beating Analysts' Estimates // Morgan Stanley Said to Have Lost 61% of $8.8 Billion Global Property Fund // Geithner Says China's Yuan Peg `Effectively Lets' U.S. Set Interest Rates // Bernanke Says U.S. Recovery to Stay Moderate Amid `Significant Restraints' // Retail Sales in U.S. Rise, Inflation Stays Contained as Recovery Quickens // Stocks, Commodities Gain as Earnings, Economic Data Lift Recovery Optimism
  • The Euro is now trading higher against the US Dollar, by nearly 4/10 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is up 2.4% and over $86/barrel. Gold is up 7/10 of 1% and silver is up over 1%. Base metals ended the session higher, and one ended significantly higher. And yes, that would be nickel. Indicator chart show nickel opened strong, quieted in midday, then took off for the races the rest of the session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.97/lb , its highest close since May 2008. Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses slipped again overnight and now sit just over the 153,300 tonne level. Cancelled warrants remain above 4-1/2%. Sucden did not update its day old chart today. The Baltic Dry Index is up 38 to 2,966. The devastating earthquake in Qinghai Province, China gave a boost to metals trading today, as did the Euro's gain. A Chinese website describes the affected area as "Qinghai is rich in petroleum, lead, zinc, copper, chromium, cobalt, nickel, iron, asbestos, mirabilite, gypsum, lake salt, potassium, boron and coal. " Matthew Walls with Dow jones Newswires reported today "Traders said investment funds continue to pour money into metals, and their strong buying power is deterring market participants from shorting the metals. Most selling is largely coming from longs booking profits, they said." He added "Many analysts expect the rally to continue in the near-term before prices swing sharply lower on rising production. The higher nickel prices are prompting miners to restart mines idled during the financial crisis, when prices plunged." So far, there is no fighting this bull. And unless the price drops suddenly, we could be getting a rash of stainless steel price increase announcements shortly. This is feeding on itself now. Stainless users, fearful of further price increase due to the rising price of nickel, buy more to protect their inventory cost. This increases demand for stainless steel and nickel, and with a little encouragement from the Euro's strength, traders drive the price of nickel higher. And so on and so forth. 

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MB) China to produce 313,000T nickel, says Antaike
  • (PI) Pelican Resources Limited intends to undertake a fully underwritten non-renounceable rights issue of approximately 21,554,285 shares (Rights Issue). .... The Rights Issue will raise approximately A$1.07 million before costs. The proceeds of the Rights Issue are intended to be used for working capital purposes and progressing the Romblon Nickel Project in the Philippines.
  • Jeff Frankels Weblog  - NBER Committee Holds Off Declaring Recession’s 2009 End Until It is Sure - more
  • Morgan Stanley Loses $5.4B In RE Fund: Biggest Loss In History! - more
  • What Could Derail the Recovery? - more
  • Dallas Fed Backed Discount-Rate Increase - more
  • The Truth About the Tea Party (the Original One) - more
  • Taxing the Rich, Over Time - more
  • “Recovery” Bypassing Small Businesses - more

  Nickel Still Powering Ahead as Stocks Continue to Fall - Claims that various parties are manipulating the nickel market are understandable when you look at the rise in prices. - more

  Indian Stainless Steel Industry Set for Skyrocketing Growth - According to our new market research report “Indian Steel Industry Outlook to 2012”, India offers a fast growing steel industry with enormous future growth potentials inherent. - more

  Molybdenum on the LME: Initial Signs are Encouraging - With little more than a month passed since molybdenum (moly) began trading on the London Metal Exchange (LME), initial signs are good that producers and consumers alike are making use of the new exchange traded mechanism for this ‘minor metal’. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.22/lb higher, with other base metals trading mostly higher. The US Dollar and Euro are trading only slightly changed, with the Euro slightly higher at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are higher by 8/10 of 1% and at $84.75/barrel. Gold opened over 8/10 of 1% higher, while silver opened 1/3% higher.  In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 1/3 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures show Wall Street will also open higher. We see reports that nickel inventories fell again overnight, but have yet to confirm this. At the moment, nickel trading prices are still climbing, and have just hit the $26,000 tonne level. .
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report this week
  • (AFP) The nickel price has risen by 39.2 per cent so far in 2010, and reached a 23-month high of $US25,800 a tonne in mid-April. The rally has had a flow-on effect for Australian nickel producers. Minara Resources' shares have gained 67.5 per cent since February, while Mincor shares are up 65.2 per cent. However, Deutsche Bank anticipates a sharp downturn in the nickel price before the end of 2010
  • (SMM) Jinchuan Group raised ex-works nickel prices by RMB 5,000/mt to RMB 181,000/mt on April 14th.
  • (Interfax) - Shanxi Province-based Taiyuan Iron and Steel (Group) Co. Ltd. (TISCO), China's largest stainless steel mill, is to maintain its ex-works prices for stainless steel products in mid April, despite the fact that Chinese nickel prices have continued to rise, the company announced on April 13.
  • (JMB) Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Corporation (NSSC) agreed with Xstrata of Switzerland in price hike of ferrochrome by 32.1% for April-June shipment compared with January-March. NSSC followed the hike range approved by European stainless steel makers. Because Ferrochrome supply is relatively tightening when Chinese stainless steel output maintains high level and European stainless steel demand is recovering while ferrochrome production cost is rising in South Africa.
  • (SO) According to Chinese customs data, in March this year China's finished steel exports totaled 3.33 million mt, up 0.84 million mt compared with February or up 99.4 percent year on year. The total finished steel export volume in the January-March period came to 8.71 million mt, registering a rise of 69.5 percent year on year.
  • (AMM) Stainless steel demand is expected to remain strong through next month as buyers look to place orders ahead of a possible peak in surcharges in June, nickel traders told AMM.
  • (Yieh) Because of the increasing nickel price, Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) and Tang Eng will probably lift their prices further for the second half of this month.
  • (Yieh) According to the statistics, Japan's fastener export value was about US$203 million, down by 29.4 percent than the previous year.
  • (CCR) China's electricity consumption in the first quarter rose 24.19 percent year on year to 969.5 billion kilowatt-hours (kWhs), the National Energy Administration (NEA) said in a statement on its website on Apr 13.
  • ENSO Wrap-Up: El Niño in breakdown cycle - more
  • (PNG) Mining Act changes set to affect industry - more
  • China unveils new rules for foreign investment - more

  Nickel Climbs to 22-Month High as Metals Advance on Recovery - Nickel advanced to the highest level in more than 22 months, pacing an increase in industrial metal prices, as equities gained and an accelerating global recovery led by Asia boosted confidence demand will increase. - more

  Nickel May Swing to Deficit for First Time in 4 Years - The nickel market may swing into a deficit for the first time in four years as the global economy recovers from its worst postwar recession, fueling demand for stainless steel, said Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., the biggest producer in Japan. - more

  BHP to Take Weeks to Resume Full Nickel Mine Output  - BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, said full production from the Nickel West Leinster operations in Western Australia won’t resume for “several weeks” after a fatality on April 11. - more

  Minmetals studying Australian nickel mine restart - China's Minmetals said it is conducting a review that could lead to a restart of its Avebury nickel mine in Australia, becoming the second miner in the country to consider reactivating production shut due the global financial crisis. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Tuesday, April 13

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 17 to 2,928. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Rupiah Appreciates Fives Times More Than Yuan as China Revalues in History // China May Float Yuan by June 30, Avoid One-Off Revaluation, Survey Shows // Taiwan Will Cut Tax for Second Time to Compete With Hong Kong, Singapore // China's Biggest Banks Face $70 Billion Capital Shortfall, ICBC's Yang Says // Asia Stocks, Metals Decline as Alcoa Sales Miss Estimates; Yen Strengthens // Greece Sells More Bills Than Planned as EU's Aid Promise Rekindles Demand // Euro Rally on Greece Aid May Prove Fleeting as Europe Trails U.S. Recovery // Skyscraper Tower 42 in City of London Is Put Up for Sale for $462 Million // European Shares Decline for Second Day; BHP Billiton, Total, Sandvik Slide // Small-Business Confidence Reaches Eight-Month Low on Concern Over Earnings // Maturity Wall Shrinks by $196 Billion as Junk Bonds Surge: Credit Markets // Goldman Sachs Helps Nashville Boost Debt 40% in Convention Center `Gamble' // Citigroup's $14 Billion `Liquidity Put' Loss Is Focus of U.S. Crisis Panel // Trade Deficit in U.S. Widens More Than Anticipated as Import Demand Grows  // Most Stocks Fall as Alcoa Sales Cast Doubt on Economic Recovery's Strength
  • The US Dollar is trading nearly 1/10 of 1% higher against the Euro at the moment. NYMEX crude is down 2/3 of 1% and under $84/barrel. Gold is down 1/3 of 1% and silver is off 7/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mixed. Indicator charts show nickel fell early, climbed back out of the hole early in the afternoon, jumped, and then dove. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.57/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses tumbled again overnight, and now sit just under the 154,000 tonne level. Cancelled warrants are above the 4-1/2% level for a second day. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index finally pulled off a gain, up 17 points to 2,928. Metals traders seemed to be a little unsure of themselves today, as the Euro/Dollar spread seems to be giving no clear directional signal. Lot of data due out this week, including China, so we expect to see increased volatility over the next few days.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel exports fell 48.3% in February from the previous month, but was up 350.8% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
  • (Dow Jones)  U.S. nickel imports rose 9.1% in February from last month, but was down 29.3% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
  • Guest Contribution: NBER Panel Member Gordon Says It Is ‘Obvious’ Recession Over - more
  • Optimism at Small Businesses Falls - more
  • IMF Prepares For Global Cataclysm, Expands Backup Rescue Facility By Half A Trillion For "Contribution To Global Financial Stability" - more
  • Visualizing America's Tax Inequality, The Wealthiest 11,000 People, And Why Obama's Campaign Promises Mean 77%-91% Taxes For The Richest - more
  • Fed Watch: What Could Derail the Recovery? - more
  • A Banana Republic With No Bananas - more
  • The Cover-Up - more
  • Failure Is A Failed Strategy - more
  • Is The Recession Over? - more

  China Steel Australia operating at full capacity on Chinese demand - China Steel Australia has been running at full production during the month of March 2010. - more

  Mincor seeks higher nickel yield - Mincor Resources Ltd wants to reactivate its Miitel nickel mine at roughly 50 per cent above its previous production rate, betting nickel prices will continue to recover. - more

  Tokyo Steel to raise output 20 pct in April - Nikkei - Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co, Japan's biggest maker of construction steel, will raise production to 180,000 tons in April, up 20 percent from last month, in response to a rebound in steel demand throughout Asia, the Nikkei business daily said. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.08/lb lower, yet recovering, with other base metals mostly lower. The Euro is trading lower against the US Dollar, but just slightly at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are down nearly 1% and around $83.50/barrel. Gold opened 1/10 of 1% lower, and silver is down 1/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China 1.2% higher. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures imply a softer opening for Wall Street. We have yet to find the overnight LME warehouse movement totals for nickel.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - No report this week
  • (JMB) POSCO of South Korea started a discussion to expand the production capacity of stainless cold rolling mill in Vietnam by over 3 times to 300,000 tonnes per year. Feasibility study is conducted to introduce 2 cold rolling mills of the capacity at 100,000 tonnes per year. The firm will decide the investment in mid 2010.
  • (SMM) Goldman Sachs JBWere told that ,"We expect that nickel prices will remain flat during the most time in Q2, but are expected to fall significantly in Q3."
  • (MB) Murrin Murrin Q1 nickel output down 10%
  • (NFIB) The Index of Small Business Optimism lost 1.2 points, falling to 86.8. The index has posted 18 consecutive monthly readings below 90. The March index continues this trend and is heading in the wrong direction, very inconsistent with the notion that the economy is recovering and that job growth has strength. Nine of the 10 index components fell or were unchanged from February’s. Not the picture of an economic expansion.
  • China slaps duties on US, Russian silicon steel - more
  • China's big banks need $70b capital in 5 years - more
  • Watercooler – Wealth and Inequality in Charts and Graphs - more

  Japan Q2 ferrochrome price up 35 cents from Q1 - The term price for ferrochrome to Japan for the second quarter rose by 35 cents per pound from the previous quarter to $1.44, or 32 percent, a Japanese company official said on Tuesday. - more

  Major Asian steelmakers to face H2 volatility after strong Q1  - Major Asian steelmakers are set to post a sharp rebound in March quarter profits on strong demand from autos and electronics makers, but growing cost pressures and concerns about tightening policy cloud the second-half outlook. - more

  DJ Aneka Tambang Plans $1.2 Bln, 23,000 Ton/Year Nickel Smelter - Indonesian state-owned nickel and gold producer PT Aneka Tambang , or Antam, plans to build a ferronickel smelter with production capacity of 23,000 metric tons of nickel a year, a senior executive with Antam said Tuesday. - more

  FNX not interested in Timmins smelter - A junior miner with several nickel and copper mines in Greater Sudbury has no interest in the soon-to-be idle Xstrata Copper metallurgical site in Timmins. - more

  POSCO ups target; steel price rises may be small - POSCO's stronger 2010 steel sales will be eroded by rising costs and global monetary tightening, offsetting firm demand from appliance and auto makers and keeping earnings at similar levels to the first quarter. - more

  Eti Krom / Turkey Rises Prices Of Chrome Ore = Prices For Shipments In Q2 / 10, Because of Favorable Demand And Increasing Costs - Eti Krom Inc., the largest chrome producer in Turkey, announced on the 7th of April to rise their official prices of chrome ore for shipments in the second quarter (April - June) of 2010. - more

  China Might Investigate into Iron Ore Price Monopoly - Chinese steelmakers are likely to go to law if the world's top three iron ore miners continue their monopoly over supply prices, disclosed Xu Xiangchun, director of mysteel.com, a steel information service provider.  - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending April 10, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,731,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 71.6 percent. Production was 977,000 tons in the week ending April 10, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 40.8 percent. The current week production represents a 77.2 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending April 10, 2010 is up 1.1 percent from the previous week ending April 3, 2010 when production was 1,712,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 70.8 percent.

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Monday, April 12

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 2 to 2,911. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Bank Loans Decline More Than Economists Forecast on Government Curbs // Default Swaps Drop to Three-Month Low on Greek Rescue Plan: Credit Markets // China Import Surge Triggers Trade Deficit, Adds Pressure to Scrap Yuan Peg // Thai Air, Tourism Shares Slump After Fatal Protests Spark Travel Warnings // Euro Strengthens as Stocks, Commodities Gain on Greek Rescue; Bonds Fall // UBS Posts Highest Quarterly Earnings in Almost Three Years on Debt Trading // Greek Stocks, Bonds Soar After $61 Billion Bailout Pledge From Europe, IMF // Greek Aid Package Will Do Little to Boost Economic Growth, Economists Say // European Stocks Decline; Eurazeo Falls, Greek Bank Shares Rally in Athens // Double-Dip Doesn't Figure in Recovery With Home Depot Building Inventories // Profits for Big Banks Dimmed by Home-Equity Loan Loss Seen at $30 Billion // BlackRock Lured by 4% Notes Shunned at Pimco as Steep Yield Curve Persists // Stocks in U.S. Climb on Greek Rescue Package; Alcoa Gains Before Earnings
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar on news of the Greece bail-out, and is now nearly 6/10 of 1% higher. NYMEX crude oil is down 1/3 of 1%, bucking the Euro boost due concerns over higher US crude inventories.  Gold is up a little over 2/10 of 1%, and silver is trading flat. Base metals ended the first day mixed, with both gainers and losers. Nickel led the gainers. Indicator charts show nickle opened higher, and staggered higher throughout the session. For the second consecutive day, three month nickel set a new 2010 record close, which according to Dow Jones, was $11.69/lb today. Nickel inventories stored in LME warehouses slumped over the weekend and now sit just under the 154,600 tonne level. Inventory totals have slipped by 1,842 tonnes so far this month. Sucden's day old nickel trading chart shows a bull run that will not give up (chart here). Nickel got a boost from a rising Euro today, but more importantly, the temporary suspension of the BHP Nickel West Leinster operations. While there is plenty of  nickel stock available in the world, the fact that those numbers are falling off record highs in light of a worldwide economic recovery, has a psychological affect on traders, and any disruption in supply is being looked at with more importance than the total reserves suggest they should. Dow is trading over its own psychological level today, above 11,000.   

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • NBER Statement: ‘Premature’ to Say Recession Is Over - more
  • Trichet: Some Euro Zone Countries May Need to Accept Deflation - more
  • More on Oil's Impact on Consumption - more
  • A Simple Experiment to Disprove the Alleged Gold/Silver Price Suppression Schemes - more
  • Enter the Greek Bailout that doesn't bailout! - more
  • S.C. Bank is 42nd Bank Failure in 2010 - more
  • Stuck in the Middle - more
  • S&P 500 Price, P/E, Div Yield 1997 - present - chart here

  Molybdenum on the LME: One Month and Beyond - With little more than a month passed since molybdenum (moly) began trading on the London Metal Exchange (LME), initial signs are good that producers and consumers alike are making use of the new exchange traded mechanism for this ‘minor metal’. - more

  Getting Cleaner Metal into the Mold - New techniques are emerging to improve the value of castings by improving the efficiency of molten metal treatment and pouring, for iron and aluminum. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.18/lb , with most base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro is trading 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are down over 1/2 of 1% and under $84.50/barrel. Gold opened nearly 1/10 of 1% higher, while silver is up more than 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly lower, with China off 8/10 of 1%. European markets are flat this morning, and US futures are not showing much for a Wall Street opening. Nickel inventories fell over the weekend. Nickel prices are getting a boost this morning on reports the BHP Nickel West Leinster operations have been temporarily suspended after a worker's death over the weekend.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - No report this week 
  • (Dow Jones) Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ...retained a bearish outlook on nickel prices, calling for nickel to fall below $20,000 a metric ton within three to six months as supply increases.
  • (MW) Australia’s second-largest nickel producer Minara Resources reported on Monday that its Murrin Murrin mine, in Western Australia, produced 7 832 t of nickel and 549 t of cobalt in the first quarter, ended March 31.
  • POSCO, South Korea's leading steelmaker, said Tuesday that it has raised prices of its stainless steel products by up to 9 percent to reflect increased costs of raw materials. The price of hot-rolled stainless steel 300 series was raised by 300,000 won per ton to 3.55 million won (US$3,160), while the price of stainless steel 400 series went up 150,000 won to 1.94 million won, the steelmaker said. - more
  • (SMM) Jinchuan Group raised ex-works nickel prices by RMB 3,000/mt to RMB 176,000/mt on April 12th.
  • (China) Overcapacity exacerbated by recession - more

  BHP suspends WA nickel operations after miner dies - Global miner BHP Billiton Ltd has suspended operations at part of its Nickel West mining complex in Western Australia after a miner died in an accident there at the weekend. - more

  • Body of driver found in West Australia underground nickel mine - Emergency crews have recovered the body of a 45-year-old man after his mine vehicle dropped down an 18-metre shaft in an underground nickel mine in Western Australia. - more
  • BHP Billiton under fire after mine death - The safety record of mining giant BHP Billiton is under fire after the death of a 45-year-old worker in an underground nickel mine. - more
  • Royal Commission called for after mine death - West Australian Labor leader Eric Ripper has called for a Royal Commission into mine safety following the death of a miner in Leinster - more

  OMC / India Rises Prices Of Chrome Ores For Shipments In Q2 / 10 = Price Of High Grade Ore Rises By 33% Compared To That In Q1 / 10 - Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) of India announced in this week to rise the prices of chrome ores (friable ores) to be applied to deliveries during the 1st April to the 30th June of 2010. - more

  Spring season - What is pushing up the price of copper and other base metals? - more

  Price hikes for raw materials spell trouble for Japan steelmakers - Runaway demand by China for iron ore and moves by mining firms toward more profitable, short-term pricing systems spell trouble for Japanese steelmakers' bottom lines. - more

  German crude steel output in March almost doubles - Crude steel production in Germany leaped 91.5 percent in March from the same month last year to 3.958 million tonnes, its highest since September 2008 as the sector roared out of a deep economic slump. - more

  Why can 3 mining giants consent to short-term iron ore pricing - After Australian mining giant BHP Billiton and Brazilian miner Vale had announced their seasonal prices to customers, Australia's second largest mineral supplier Rio Tinto said in a statement on Friday that their negotiation of seasonal prices of iron ore is underway. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Friday, April 9

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 9 to 2,913. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China May Post March Trade Deficit, Undermining Criticism Against Yuan Peg // Ambani's Reliance Is Said to Have Found More Gas in India's Biggest Field // Steel Recovery Drives Gains in Coal Prices, Takeover Battle for Macarthur // Asian Stocks Advance, Greek Bonds Rise on Bailout Speculation; Euro Strengthens // Trichet Thwarted as Greek Credit Crisis Creates Instability in ECB Markets // EU Officials Are `Ready to Act' on Financial Help for Greece, Torres Says // U.K. Economy Maintained 0.4% Growth Pace in First Quarter, Institute Says // Voestalpine May Invest in Iron Ore as `Oligopoly' of Miners Raises Prices // European Union Says It's Ready to Aid Greece as Fitch Cuts Credit Rating // Soros Says EU Should Offer Greece Cheaper Loans to Avoid a `Death Circle' // European Shares Rise on Greek Bailout Optimism; Givaudan Soars on Revenue // Prince, Rubin Say They Didn't Recognize Citigroup's CDO Risk Before Crisis  // Retail Recovery in U.S. Hangs on April Sales to Prove March Was No Fluke // Junk Bonds Grab Record Share of New Sales as Yields Tumble: Credit Markets // Bernanke Defends Fed's 2008 Actions, Says Regulators Must Act `Forcefully' // Treasuries Head for Weekly Gain as Greece Concerns Spur Demand for Safety // Wholesale Inventories in U.S. Increased 0.6% in February as Sales Climbed // U.S. Stocks Rise as Wholesale Inventories Point to Strengthening Economy
  • On  assurances the European Union would not let Greece default, the Euro is currently trading nearly 9/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down 3/4 of 1% and under the $85/barrel level, bucking the Euro boost. Gold is trading nearly 9/10 of 1% higher, while silver is up 1.6%. Base metals all ended the session higher, thanks in no small part, to the bouncing Euro. Indicator charts show nickel started the day positive, then spiked after the Euro jumped and ended the session still looking like it still had legs to run. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $11.42/lb, down from last week's close, but still residing within its bullish trend. Hard not to call a bull by its name when the price jumps by $1000/tonne in one day. Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses slipped yet again overnight, and now sit just over the 155,100 tonne level. Cancelled warrants hover around the 4% level. AMM reports there are rumors of large inflows of nickel coming into Rotterdam over the next few weeks. This would match last year, as the last two weeks of April saw a big influx of nickel into Europe, most likely Russia shipping heavily before their annual month long shipping shut down due to spring floods. Also reading reports in Canada media of possible behind the scenes talks going on between Vale and the union, but now a new sticking point to actual negotiations has arisen, the dismissal of nine striking workers by Vale. Both sides must regret missing out on the higher nickel prices, whether it be larger output, or bonus payments. Sucden's day old chart shows yesterday's apparent bottoming for nickel (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index slipped 9 points to end the week at 2,913. For those of you hoping nickel would fall this week, you got your wish, but probably not to the extent you hoped. Three month nickel ended 2009 at $8.41/lb and is now trading 35% higher. Without some economy shaking bad news, it looks like it could remain above $10/lb for quite some time, and further strength in the Euro, or overtly positive economic news, could keep an overdue correction at bay.
  • Have a safe and relaxing weekend.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Why the Greek Rescue Isn’t Going According to Plan - more
  • Learning From Greece  - more
  • Honolulu Tops List of Cities With Lowest Unemployment - more
  • First Official Complaint Filed To DOJ-Anti Trust Over JPM's Role In Silver Manipulation Case - more
  • Evidence That Primary Dealers Have Collectively Engaged In Repo 105 And Qtr-End Book Cooking Type Schemes For Years - more
  • Bernanke, Plosser Moved Markets Most in 2009 - more
  • Economic Policy: Lessons from History - more
  • Retail, Jobs Suggest Stronger Recovery - more

  Nickel extend gains as traders eye funds - Nickel hit a near two-year high on Wednesday, and outperformed the rest of the metals complex in the first quarter, as supply shortages and robust demand from stainless steelmakers buoyed prices. - more

  Nickel Price Rise Driven by Steel Demand - Nickel has had a tremendous year so far registering gains of more than 35% in the first quarter and outperforming all other metals traded on the London Metal Exchange. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.19/lb higher, with all base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro is trading a little under 2/10 of 1% higher, and off session highs, which is boosting commodity prices. NYMEX crude futures are up nearly 2/3 of 1% and nearing $86/barrel. Gold opened nearly 1/2 of 1 % higher with silver up 1-1/3%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended the day higher with China under nearly a full percent. European markets are higher this morning as traders speculate Greece will be bailed out. And US futures show Wall Street has no intention in bucking today's bullish trend. Nickel inventories fell overnight.     
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices closed lower yesterday, but prices finished well off earlier lows, as another "buy-the-dip" session set in. The action in metals followed the dollar practically all day yesterday; metals sold off initially when the dollar soared to $1.3280 against the Euro on continued concerns over Greece, but after the ECB head said that the country was is no danger of default, the dollar proceeded to weaken to $1.3360, lifting metals in the process. Nonetheless, we suspect currency markets will continue to test the resolve of the ECB in the months ahead, and the Euro will likely be under further pressure, as authorities grapple with sovereign debt issues across the region. This morning, we are back to what has been a more normal state of affairs of late, with the weakness in the dollar (now at $1.34) against the Euro allowing a measure of buying to set in over metals. The authorities in Europe are expressing more confidence about a bailout for Greece, if it comes to that, and that is what is helping the Euro this morning. There is also talk - first reported by the New York Times yesterday -- that Beijing is close to announcing a "small but immediate" revaluation in the Yuan, and that it would let the currency fluctuate more widely within its peg. Such a move could be announced just before the nuclear summit scheduled for next week in Washington, and should be moderately bullish for commodities depending on the nature of the adjustment.  .... We are $25,035 on nickel, up $330, and again over the $25,000 mark. Two closes above this level could prove bullish. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) Chinese spot iron ore prices are expected to be pushed upwards, as the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals and Chemicals Importers and Exporters (CCCMC) has asked its members to stop importing low-grade iron ore, industry insiders told Interfax at an April 9 conference.
  • (AMM) Nickel bucks LME trend as market braces for Rotterdam stock inflows
  • (SBB) Slower orders worry China stainless market
  • (SBB) Turkish chrome ore exports triple last year
  • (PR) AK Steel said today that it will increase spot market base prices by $40 per ton, effective immediately with all new orders for its carbon steel products. AK Steel said that the price increase is in response to increased demand for carbon steel products, as well as the need to recover higher costs for steelmaking inputs.
  • Has the Bull Market in Commodities Run Its Course? - more
  • Emerging economies need more representation - more

  Sumitomo Metal Mining Plans To Reform Facilities For Nickel Production In FY 2010 = Reformation Of Electric Furnace For Ferro-Nickel Completes In August - Sumitomo Metal Mining of Japan is scheduled to reform the facilities for nickel production in the financial year of 2010 (April 2010 - March 2011) as follows - more

  Update on Euro Nickel Conference 2010 - An atmosphere felt at Euro Nickel Conference held in last week was that many of the parties concerned, including analysts, have observed the situation of nickel in 2010 as a short supply. - more

  Nickel miner considers reopening Miitel mine - Nickel miner Mincor Resources has flagged the possible reopening of its Miitel mine near Kambalda. - more

  Chromex Mining’s Encouraging Start of the Year after a Challenging 2009 - It’s been two months since Chromex Mining restarted full mining operations at Stellite, one of its chrome projects based in South Africa. - more

  Norilsk Nickel buys land in Murmansk Oblast - The regional government in Murmansk expects to get significant sums from the sales of industrial lands to mining and metallurgy giant Norilsk Nickel. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, April 8

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 25 to 2,922. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Geithner Visits Beijing Bearing `Olive Branch' Ahead of Hu-Obama Meeting // Indonesia Stock `Bubble' Spurs Central Bank to Consider Capital Controls // Yuan Forwards Jump as New York Times Says China `Very Close' to Ending Peg // Greek Bonds Slump, Stocks Drop on Concern Bailout to Unravel; Yen Rallies // ECB Keeps Rates on Hold as Greek Crisis Complicates Effort to End Stimulus // European Retail Sales Decline Most in Nine Months on Job Cuts, Consumers // U.K. Manufacturing Surged 1.3% in February, Twice as Much as Was Forecast // Russian Economy to Get World's `Biggest Bounce' This Year, BofA Predicts // Trichet Says He Doesn't Expect Greece to Default on Debt as Crisis Worsens // European Stocks Fall by Most in Six Weeks on Greece Concern; Porsche Drops //  Bernanke, Dudley Say U.S. Rebound Has Yet to Produce Significant Job Gains // Jobless Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Increased Heading Into Easter Holiday // United Merging With US Airways Would Reshape U.S. Industry, Reduce Seating // U.S. Stocks Climb as Retailer Sales Offset Concern Over Greece's Finances
  • The Euro and US Dollar are trading dead flat at the moment, which should send a cold shiver down the back of those who buy nickel. NYMEX crude si now only lower by over 1/2 of 1% and nearly back to $85.50/barrel. Gold is up 1/3 of 1% while silver is lagging, down 4/10 of 1%. Thanks to a remark from European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet who said he does not expect Greece to fall, the Euro's slump ended and climbed back against the Dollar. For metals traders, it was as if the waters had been parted and salvation was at hand. After a couple of days where the bull had been cornered, but not penned, the bull broke loose today and most metals ended higher. Indicator charts show nickel opened much lower, but almost immediately began a slow trek out fo the basement, and by the close, had succeeded. After hours trading show they were not done yet either. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.21/lb , only $15/tonne higher than yesterday, but the move confirms the bull has a strong desire to run. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell overnight, and now sit just under the 156,700 tonne level. Cancelled warrants have now jumped over the 4% level. Sucden's day old chart shows traders not in any hurry to surrender last week's bull run (chart here). One year ago today, we closed at $4.98/lb with 106,494 tonnes worth of nickel stockpiled in LME warehouse.  In a few articles below we examine the background of the Touradji Capital Management and its founder, who have been getting a lot of fingers pointed their way as the cause for the sudden rise in nickel prices.

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Economist Mike Mussa: Sunny Side Up - more
  • Fed’s Hoening: Room to Raise Rates Without Hurting Recovery - more
  • Layoff, Hiring, and Unemployment Rates - more
  • Bernanke on Deficits: In Long Run, We’re All on Social Security, Medicare - more
  • BIS: The Future of Public Debt - more
  • Fed’s Dudley Calls for Action on Bubbles - more
  • 2010 College Grads Face Lower Salaries - more

  Nickel price correction on the cards-Talvivaara - Star metals market performer nickel is ripe for a price correction as Western demand is failing to keep pace with emerging market giants China and India, Finnish miner Talvivaara Mining told Reuters. - more

  In the above article, the New York based hedge fund Touradji Capital Management is blamed yet again for driving the price of nickel higher. (see March 30th article). Here are some articles about this fund and its colorful leader.

  • Touradji Capital Management - Wikipedia - more
  • Paul Touradji - more
  • The commodities ‘gladiator’ - more
  • Touradji’s Winning Way Fails to Obscure Ex-Employees’ Hostility - more
  • Past History - Personal Feud Closes $1.5B Hedge Fund - more

  Electricity shortage 'costs SA billions'  - A shortage of electricity-generation capacity in South Africa has already stalled further investment in mining and beneficiation capacity, losing with it the potential for creating thousands of jobs and the associated revenue and foreign exchange earnings. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.14/lb lower, with other base metals mostly lower. The US Dollar is trading 3/10 of 1% higher against the Euro, at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are down over 1% and just under $85/barrel. Gold opened 2/10 of 1% lower while silver is down over 9/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China down over 1/1% on concerns the Greek bailout may come apart. European stocks are lower this morning, and US futures imply another bearish opening on Wall Street. Nickel inventories fell again overnight.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices finished lower on Wednesday, with copper leading the group down, as it retreated from the $8000 mark for a second day in a row. However, the decline was relatively modest considering that the dollar was quite strong all day. There was very little in the way of macro news, apart from US consumer borrowing for February, which fell an unexpectedly sharp $11.5 billion, the most in three months, and well ahead of the modest $.3 billion decline forecast. The figure unnerved the stock market, which sank shortly after the release, recovered later in the day on the heels of a relatively successful Treasury bond action, only to finish at its lows by the close.  .... With respect to today’s action, we are looking at across the board weakness in commodities, with oil prices off by $.80 a barrel and metals retreating more sharply than they did yesterday. The dollar is once again behind the decline, pushing to $1.33 against the euro, and nearing its recent high of $1.3268 reached on March 25th. Greek jitters again seem to be behind the dollar’s strength, as the yield premium over German debt has ballooned to its highest level since the inception of the crisis, while Greek credit default swaps rose to a record high as well. European stocks are now down on speculation that the bailout will unravel, not necessarily an outlandish expectation at this stage. US stocks are called to open slightly lower. .... We are $24,400 on nickel, down $325, and holding up relatively well. We still seem to be in the $25,000 orbit, but the longer we stall around this level, the greater the likelihood is that some of the longs banking on a breakout above $25,000 will likely get out, leading to a rather sharp selloff.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Reuters) Australia's Mincor Resources has started a study into reopening of its Miitel nickel mine as prices for the steel alloying metal rise, the company said Thursday.
  • (Yieh) It is reported that the production of ferro-chrome in Turkey is limited at Southern mine due to snowbound condition in North of Turkey, influencing its total output to be in a short supply. Thus, Turkish domestic price of ferro-chrome has soared to US$380/ton.
  • (Interfax) Wuhan Iron and Steel (Group) Corp. (WISCO), China's third-largest steel producer, is expected to cease importing iron ore from the three iron ore giants - Brazil-based Vale and Australia-based BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto - in the next two months, in accordance with a request from the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), a WISCO employee said at a conference on April 8.
  • (JMB) Japan Stainless Scrap Price Rises Rapidly
  • South Boulder Mines reports stunning results from Duketon Nickel Project - more
  • Norilsk mulls sale of Stillwater stake-filing - more
  • Ring of Fire buzz adds fervour to mining symposium  - more
  • Commodity Bull Market Will Continue, Gold to Rise, Rogers Says - more
  • Japanese Machinery Orders Unexpectedly Fall 5.4%  - more
  • Dylan Ratigan Discusses The Great Financial Con Job With Alan Grayson And Bill Fleckenstein - more
  • Consumer Loan Delinquencies Show Broad-Based Decline in Fourth Quarter 2009 - more
  • Small Business Owners Less Optimistic About Economy - more

  Hardly a nickel-and-dime story - Villagers try to punt savings on nickel; saturation point for budget hotels; bubble-nomics. When you live in a country with a red-hot economy but paltry bank interest rates you need to get creative. A nickel trader tells me that the other day an old woman walked into his office with a bulging bag of RMB100 notes. - more

  If steel prices are rising, it's not buyer demand that's pushing them up - Coming out of a recession that saw 2009 production sliced by a third or more, electric-arc furnace steelmakers, the mini-mills, this year are facing what an analyst calls “a challenging end-market environment.” - more

  Xstrata Says S Africa Power Woe Halted ZAR5 Billion Investment - Global miner Xstrata PLC put on hold a 5 billion rand ($690.7 million) investment in its South African ferrochrome business because of a lack of available power in the country, Chief Executive Mick Davis said. - more

  East Asian Stainless Market At $3,300 C&F For Ni-Based CR Sheets - The going stainless steel market for export deals of nickel-based CR sheets stands at US$3,300/ton C&F for the product of 2mm thick in East Asia where transaction prices of Ni-based stainless CR sheets have further advanced for the past one week. - more

  Mincor Could Undershoot 2009-10 Nickel Output Target - Mine problems could cause nickel production by Australia's Mincor Resources NL to fall short of a 12,000-13,000 metric tons target range for this fiscal year, Managing Director David Moore said Thursday. - more

  Jinchuan looks to extract nickel firm's assets  - Jinchuan Group Ltd, China's largest nickel producer, has made a $150 million offer for Canadian junior nickel miner Crowflight Minerals Inc to gain its assets in Manitoba and Ontario, Canada.  - more

  Stern Hu will not appeal guilty verdict - Australian mining executive Stern Hu has decided not to appeal to the Shanghai High Court against his 10-year prison sentence for taking bribes and industrial espionage, after lengthy discussions with his family and lawyers. - more

  March 2010 Appliance Market Forecast - (quote) Stainless is used in up to 30 percent of major appliances and that percentage is still growing. While it started on the high end, it has since moved down market to less expensive models. “It is now seen more as a different color choice than a new material,” Yundt says. Many appliance manufacturers are converting some parts from high-nickel-based stainless to alloys with less nickel content. Less nickel means a less expensive part and less volatile pricing. Some have moved from Type 304 stainless to Type 201. More recently there have been moves to Type 439 and even Type 430 stainless, Sales says. While such changes can sacrifice some corrosion resistance, many stainless parts are more cosmetic than functional. “But there still isn’t much of a move to the ‘faux’ stainless finishes. They still want the real thing,” he notes. - more

 Please forward to your company purchasing agent - We have a fastener special for your consideration today. M6 hex serrated flange nut A2 stainless steel to DIN 6923 spec. 100,000 for $10.00/thousand, 250,00 for $8.00/thousand or 500,000 for $6.00/thousand. This is a surplus item from a country that doesn't use as much metric as the rest of the world, so when they are gone, they are gone. And for the non-metric countries, they also have a non serrated 1/4-20 flange nut in 18-8 stainless steel in over supply. Seller has about a million of these they would like to move and are willing to consider all reasonable offers. If interested, please contact us

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, April 7

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 34 to 2,947. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Emerging-Market Stocks Advance; Taiwanese Dollar Paces Gains in Currencies // China to Sell Three-Year Bills, Prompting Speculation Rates Will Rise Soon // Geithner Says China Will Pursue Bigger International Role for Its Currency // China Considers Trading of Yuan Against Ruble, Won, Ringgit, Official Says // Bank of Japan Keeps Key Rate at 0.1%, Says Recovery Intact Amid Deflation // Europe Economy Unexpectedly Stagnated in Fourth Quarter on Investment Drop // Switzerland Threatens Tax Cheats Using `Wrappers' From Insurance Companies // Greek Bond Yield Premium Over Bunds Widens to the Most Since Euro's Debut // Stocks Drop in Europe as BHP Billiton Falls; Nokia, Man Group Shares Rise // Fed Officials Saw Inflation Slowdown That May Temper Need to Raise Rates // Mortgage Applications in U.S. Slump 11% as Loan Rates Rise Most Since June // Chief Executives in U.S. Turn More Optimistic as Sales Rise, Survey Shows // Greenspan Defends Fed's Consumer-Protection Record Before Financial Crisis // U.S., European Stocks, Commodities Drop; Greek Bonds Slump on Default Risk
  • Greece, and the risk of default is back in the headlines, and thus the Euro is trading lower against the US Dollar, 1/3 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is off over 4/10 of 1% and under $86.50/barrel. Gold is up nearly 1-2/3% while silver is higher by over 1-1/2%. Except for tin, base emtals ended the session lower. Indicator charts show nickel fell hard early, but spent the rest of the session stair stepping back. For the day, Dow Jones reports thtree month nickel ended the day at $11.20/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses slumped overnight and totals now rest just over the 156,000 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel's slump already hesitating (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index slipped another 34 points. Considering the beating the Euro has taken this week, nickel appears to be holding its own very well. It would appear the bear hasn't convinced the bull to get back in his fence quite yet.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Steel Market Intelligence GmbH has reported its annual top producers of stainless steel. Shanxi TISCO, also known as Shanxi Taigang, became the world's largest producer of stainless steel flat products in 2009, followed by the POSCO group, Yucso, then former #1 ThyssenKrupp Stainless, and Acerinox.  ArcelorMittal came in at number 6, followed by Baosteel, Outokumpu, Fujian Wuhang/Deshang Nickel, and NSSC. 2009 is the first year a Chinese company ranked number 1.
  • (Bloomberg) Salzgitter AG will restart its blast furnace C in Germany in June or July and has begun readying the facility to resume operations, company spokesman Bernd Gersdorff said today by phone. The steel-making unit, which has a yearly capacity of 800,000 metric tons, won’t start at full production, he said without commenting further.
  • (SG) Dow Jones reported that Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Limited plans to up its nickel production by 23% and keep its copper output relatively unchanged in the 2010 Japanese fiscal year. As per report, Sumitomo aims to produce 41,000 tonnes of nickel. ... It also plans to increase its ferronickel output by 12% to 18,800 tonnes.....
  • Bernanke Speaks: Expect Deficit Warnings - more
  • Dallas Fed’s Fisher: Inflation Low on List of Worries - more
  • Goldman Denies It Bet Against Clients - more
  • Fed Research Looks at Difficulties Gauging Inflation Expectations - more
  • Reis: Strip Mall Vacancy Rate Hits 10.8%, Highest since 1991 - more
  • Scientists create ’sound bullets’ that could destroy cancer, submarines - more
  • Watching the growth of Walmart – now with 100% more Sam’s Club - more
  • Balance Sheet, Savings Rate, Debt Service Ratio - more
  • Consumers Climb Out of Their Bunkers . . . - more
  • China's Global Shopping Spree - more (1/2 way down page)

  Change or lose out, Xstrata's Davis warns SA - Xstrata, one of the world's major resources companies, has suspended a R5bn investment in ferrochrome in South Africa because of power problems there, said CEO Mick Davis, pointing out a string of bottlenecks that caused the country to miss the last commodity price boom. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.11/lb lower and choppy, with only tin trading higher on the LME this morning. The US Dollar is trading over 4/10 of 1% higher against the Euro at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are down 2/3 of 1% and at $86.26/barrel. Gold opened over 1/10 of 1% higher with silver up 1/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher with China down over 1/2 of 1%.  European markets are lower this morning on reports the European economy stagnated in the 4th quarter of 2009 and remained unchanged from the third quarter. US futures imply a bearish opening on Wall Street. Nickel inventories dropped for a second consecutive time overnight.     
  • Reuters morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper briefly hit a 20-month high above $8,000 a ton on Tuesday, and incredibly, prices are now only 10% away from their 2008 record highs. All this is occurring amid a fundamental backdrop that we believe does not justify such valuations. However, this does not seem to be registering with investors, as an onslaught of fund money and enthusiasm about global recovery prospects are instead propelling prices to bubble-like levels. Surprisingly, even the stronger dollar failed to displace copper's upward momentum yesterday after the euro dipped to $1.3360. The dollar's rally was attributable to continuing nervousness about the Greek rescue package, an issue we do not think will be going away so easily given the halfhearted way that it has been dealt with thus far. In the latest turn of events, Greek government bond yields hit 7.1%, while the cost of insuring Greek government debt rocketed to its highest level since late February, as doubts grew on whether the latest package would be enough to see the Greeks through. In addition, remarks that Greece was looking to cut the IMF out of its aid package added to the dollar's upside run, although a senior Greek official said later that his country had no intention of sidelining the IMF. The dollar lost some ground late in the US session after the Fed released minutes showing an inclination to keeping rates low for the time being, but as of this writing, it is strengthening again, and is now back to $1.3340 against the Euro. We are still looking for an intraday reversal in copper to mark a temporary top in the market; this is a pattern where prices spike only to close down later in the day. One could make the case that we had this yesterday when a fresh advance above $8000 was made, but failed to hold. However, the upside move needs to be more significant, as does the selling. In the meantime, metals are mostly lower as of this writing, but not by great amounts. With the US macro calendar remaining light this week, we see very little reason for the buyerish mind-set to change. However, given the overextended levels seen in a number of metal complexes, particularly copper, we have our doubts that this strategy will be sustainable...... We are $24,599 on nickel, down $251. Prices seem to be stalling around the $25,000 mark. We expect more sideways movement around this level for the time being. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) A rally in nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange has forced cost-conscious Chinese stainless steel makers to turn to nickel pig iron or NPI, a cheaper but less efficient nickel substitute, to manage costs.
  • (SO) Japan-based Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd (SMM) has issued an update regarding its three-year business plan originally announced on February 15, 2010. In its statement, SMM said that it is aiming to become a major producer by securing a nickel refining capacity of 100,000 mt per year, with a further boost up to a 150,000 mt per year capacity also envisioned.
  • (SO) According to Luoyang, Henan Province-based Chinese molybdenum producer China Molybdenum Co., Ltd, overall molybdenum inventory in China now exceeds 45,000 mt, accounting for 22 percent of the world's total molybdenum inventory.
  • (Xinhua) Jinchuan raises nickel price by 2,000 to 173,000 yuan/t
  • (Yieh) According to the statistics, Japan’s import volume of stainless steel products stand at 9,939 tons in February which down by 26 percent than 13,430 tons in January.
  • European Nickel and Rusina Mining – the sum of the parts - more

  Sudbury strike becomes longest in Inco's history; little hope for resolution - The increasingly bitter strike at Vale Inco's nickel mining and processing operations in Sudbury, Ont., has become the longest in the company's century-long history. - more

  Steel tycoon's travel possibly "restricted" after Rio trial - A Chinese steel tycoon may have been barred from leaving the province of Shandong, a newspaper said on Wednesday, adding to speculation over his whereabouts since he testified that he gave $9 million to a Rio Tinto employee convicted for graft. - more

  Vale’s EU Iron Ore Probe Request Is ‘Absurd,’ Steel Group Says - A request by Vale SA, the largest iron ore producer, for the European Commission to investigate whether steelmakers colluded in price talks is “absurd,” said Eurofer, a group representing steelmakers in Europe. - more

  Steel mills told to halt production - Small steel mills with steel blast furnaces less than 400 cubic meters in size are being told by the central government to shut down production by the end of next year. - more

  BHP's iron ore price up 99.7pc - BHP Billiton has secured a 99.7 per cent price rise from its Asian iron ore customers for the April-June quarter from a year ago, Macquarie Bank said today. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Tuesday, April 6

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 10 to 2,981. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Australia Raises Benchmark Rate, Dismissing Warnings of Hit to Consumers // Asian Commodity Stocks Rise on Recovery Optimism; Euro Weakens on Greece // Bank of Japan May Keep Policy Unchanged as Tankan Shows Economy Improving // Pound Plunges as Poll Shows May 6 Election Could Result in Hung Parliament // Euro Weakens Amid Greece Funding Concern; Aussie Advances on Rate Increase //  Papaconstantinou Says Greece Isn't Trying to Rework European Aid Agreement // European Stocks Rise on Economy; Boliden Leads Raw-Material Shares Higher // Fed Finds Record-Low OECD Inflation With ECB Showing Convergence on Rates // Rise in Treasury Yields Slowed as Currency Reserves Grow Fastest Since '08  // Home Depot's Blake Adds Jobs for First Time in Four Years on Sales Rebound // Fed Finds Record-Low OECD Inflation With ECB Showing Convergence on Rates // Job Openings Fell in February in Sign Employers Will Be Slow to Add Staff // U.S. Stocks Fluctuate as Banks Advance on Speculation of Regional Mergers
  • The US Dollar continues to trade higher against the Euro, now up nearly 9/10 of 1%.  NYMEX crude is unchanged at 86.62/barrel. Gold is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher, while silver is lower by 2/3 of 1%. Base metals ended the day higher, except for nickel. Indicator charts show three month nickel fell thru much of the morning, then did a turnaround at about 1:30 pm London time, and rose with the other metals. This slow climb lasted till the end of the session, when prices stumbled again in after market trading. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.25/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses are being reported as rising over the weekend but Dow Jones lists a total inventory level that is consistent with a loss by the same amount. Upon checking, we confirmed that inventories did fall over the weekend, and now sit just over the 156,800 tonne level. If you are getting your numbers from Reuters or Dow Jones, the gain in inventory that is shown is incorrect. Sucden's day old nickel chart shows nickel peaking out last Thursday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index slipped 10 points to 2,981. Allegheny Ludlum was the first to publish stainless steel surcharges for May here in the States. 304 Stainless Steel surcharges are going from $.9115/lb in April to $1.1013/lb in May, and 316 will see surcharges rise from $1.3644/lb to $1.6179/lb. AK also published theirs and show the following average metals prices - average nickel rose from $8.61/lb in February to $10.1883/lb in March. Moly rose from $16.23/lb to $17.42/lb, chrome rose from $1.2263/lb to $1.307, and iron rose from $410/GT to $475/GT during the same period. Both company' surcharges are listed (here).

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Reuters TMI newsletter - pdf here
  • Corrosion Analysis of Stainless Steel (Heatburners) - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • 115 miners saved after 8 days - more
  • A Deeper Look at the Fed’s Inflation Debate - more
  • Fed Ends Meeting Without Discount-Rate Move - more
  • A Closer Look at Market’s Discount Rate Drama - more
  • Greenspan: Worst Financial Crisis Ever, Including the Great Depression - more
  • Rental Prices: Up Or Down? - more
  • Why Do Some Investors Perceive This Market As Cheap? - more
  • Mighty America's 5 stages of rapid decline - more
  • Relax, We’ll Be Fine  - more
  • 574 page report from CDC on Health in US - pdf here

  China firm offers C$150 mln for Canada's Crowflight - China's Jinchuan Group has offered C$150 million in cash to acquire Canadian junior nickel miner Crowflight Minerals Inc, driving Crowflight's shares up 44 percent on Tuesday morning. - more

  Steel scrap prices to rise again in April - U.S. scrap steel prices are expected to move upward yet again in April, bringing Purchasing magazine's monthly scrap steel price index closer to the 432.0 cyclical peak of August 2008 after reaching an 18-month high of 324.6 in March. - more

  For our fastener distributor readers - The Fully Threaded Radio - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.24/lb lower, as profit takers take central stage, with other base metals mixed and quiet. The US Dollar is trading nearly 6/10 of 1% higher against the Euro at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are up 3/10 of 1% and at $86.88/barrel. Gold opened nearly 1/3 of 1% lower, with silver off nearly 3/4 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China only slightly lower. European markets are trading higher this morning, with US futures showing Wall Street may open slightly on the bearish side. Nickel inventories are being reported as rising over the long weekend, but the numbers don't mesh so something is being reported incorrectly.     
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals pushed higher on Thursday, the last full trading day for the LME before the two-day Easter break, but we have added to gains in the markets that remained open, as a string of constructive macro reports boosted sentiment. Possibly the most important statistic was Friday’s March nonfarm payroll number, which rose by 162,000, its largest increase in three years. Although 48,000 of these jobs were generated by the government recruiting census workers, the report nevertheless reflected higher than expected job expansion in the private sector, and even prompted the head of the National Bureau of Economic Research, (the official arbiter on US recessions), to hint that the recession may soon be declared officially over. Also out last week, were reports showing China's manufacturing activity continuing to gain ground, while Japanese business sentiment pushed to its the highest level in more than a year.  .... We are $24,500 on nickel, down $550. With prices getting to key resistance at $25,000, (see our chart), we could see something of a pause here. However, the trend still looks very strong, and we suspect the buying will resume after a few days of sideways movements. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Reuters) "You used to be able to think that a big pick-up in cancelled warrants was metal being moved for consumption," said David Wilson, director of metals research at Societe Generale. "But it's never a clear picture these days -- with more speculative elements moving metal from one side of the line to the other.
  • (AP) POSCO, South Korea's leading steelmaker, said Tuesday that it has raised the prices of its stainless steel products by up to 9 per cent to reflect the increased costs of raw materials. The price of hot-rolled stainless steel 300 series will be raised by 300,000 won per ton to 3.45 million won (US$3,069)...... - more
  • (JMB) Japanese nickel supply is short in the distributors' market when the import from Canada keeps very low. The supply is very tight especially for plating, battery and powder metallurgy. Smaller buyers cannot secure the requirement while major buyers can keep the operation with inventory and long term purchase contract.
  • (MB) Taigang keeps local stainless list prices flat as Chinese nickel trades at discount to LME
  • (AP) The Jinchuan Group, China's largest nickel producer by output, has inked a supply agreement with Panoramic Resources to continue getting nickel ore concentrate from the Australian company for a further 10 years. - more
  • (PR) Mirabela Nickel Limited advises that Mr Nick Poll has resigned as a director of Mirabela Nickel Limited, in order to focus on new business ventures. Mr Poll was a founder of the Company and was instrumental in the discovery and development of the Santa Rita project. The Board thanks him for his invaluable contribution to the establishment of the Company and wishes him the best in future ventures.
  • (AP) POSCO , South Korea's leading steelmaker, has begun construction on its second plant in Tianjin, northeastern China, local reports said Monday.
  • Vms Ventures Inc - To Spin Out Its Nickel Properties and Become the Largest Shareholder in North American Nickel  - more

  Sanford Bernstein Raises 2010 Forecasts for Industrial Metals - Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd. raised its 2010 estimates for copper, zinc, nickel and aluminum following a “resilient” price performance. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 31st March 2010 = At International Conference Held In Hong Kong, Tightened Supplies And Risen Prices Surged Its Atmosphere The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 31st March of 2010 is as follows - more

  Posco raises stainless steel prices for 3rd month in a row - South Korea's Posco, the world's No. 4 steelmaker, said yesterday it had raised prices of stainless steel products for a third straight month on rising raw material costs and to match global competitors. - more

  Hanking Plans to Develop Nickel Plant in Konawe  - China's Hanking Industrial Group Co Ltd is interested in developing a nickel refinery in the Regency of North Konawe, Southeast Sulawesi. - more

  County will hear input on mining - Supporters and opponents of chromite mining on county forestlands have spent the last several weeks rallying the public. Both sides will converge at Tuesday’s Coos County Commission meeting to make themselves heard to the board. - more

  Iron ore imbroglio turns more murky - Chinese steel mills should focus more on diversifying their mining resources to thwart the monopoly of the three global miners on iron ore supplies as the boycott call sought by the steel association may not fetch dividends, industry experts said on Monday. - more

  EU average carbon steel prices - As predicted, price increases were recorded for both flat and long products in March. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending April 3, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,712,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 70.8 percent. Production was 981,000 tons in the week ending April 3, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 41.0 percent. The current week production represents a 74.5 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending April 3, 2010 is down 1.3 percent from the previous week ending March 27, 2010 when production was 1,734,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 71.7 percent.

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Monday, April 5

  The London Metal Exchange remains closed today for Easter and will re-open for trading on Tuesday.

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up

  • Baltic Dry Index - closed today   (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Indonesia May Bet Slower Inflation Will Buy Time to Hold Off Rate Increase // RBA's Next Move on Benchmark Rate Seen By Economists as `Very Close Call' // Geithner Counts on Delay in Report to Give China Space to Strengthen Yuan // Asia Stocks, Commodities Rise as U.S. Employment Data Lifts Recovery View // Yen Rises on Speculation Japanese Exporters Buying Currency; Pounds Gains // Bond Buyers Seek Record Protection From Rating Downgrades: Credit Markets // U.S. Service Industries Grow at Fastest Pace Since May 2006, Creating Jobs // Stocks in U.S. Rise as Employers Add the Most Jobs Since 2007; Intel Gains
  • The Euro is presently trading slightly lower against the US Dollar, off session highs. NYMEX crude is on a run, up 2-1/4% and over $86.50/barrel. Gold is up over 1/2 of 1% and silver is over 1.1% higher. No updates on base metals price changes or nickel inventory today, as London markets were closed. London markets will re-open tomorrow. The National Association of Realtors reported that pending home sales rose 8./2% in February and the Institute for Supply Management reported their non-manufacturing index rose to 55.4% from 53.0% in February.

  Reports

  • Robry Sunday Night Economic Assessment - more
  • Weekly Scoreboard - pdf here
  • Monthly Scoreboard - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • The Changing Cyclical Contours of the US Economy - doc here
  • Ask the Labor Department: Highlights From Chat on Jobs Data - more
  • Percent Job Losses During Recessions, aligned at Bottom - more
  • Consumer Bankruptcies Surged in March - more
  • Debtor States - more
  • Reis: U.S. Office Vacancy Rate Highest Since early '90s - more
  • Tired of market bears? Here are four bulls who've been right so far. - more
  • China’s Growing Wealth Gap - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Nickel is not trading today as LME markets are closed for the last day of a four day Easter weekend.  The Euro is trading 1/4 of 1% lower against the US Dollar in markets that are trading today. NYMEX crude futures are up nearly 6/10 of 1% and at $85.35/barrel. Gold opened slightly higher, while silver opened the same. While many of the Asian markets were closed, those that remained open ended Monday's trading higher. European markets are closed, while US futures show a higher opening is on tap for Wall Street.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - No report today - LME closed (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Bloomberg) Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co., South Korea’s biggest power-equipment maker, won a $120 million order from Xstrata Plc to build a power plant in New Caledonia. The plant, which will supply power for the Koniambo nickel mine on the South Pacific island, will be completed by July 2012, Changwon, South Korea-based Doosan Heavy said in an e-mailed statement today.
  • (SO) Iranian ferrochrome producer Sabzevar FerroChrome Co. exported more than 5,000 mt of ferrochrome in the last Iranian year (ended March 20, 2010), compared to about 7,000 mt in the previous Iranian year.
  • (TEX) East Asian Stainless Market At $3,300 C&F For Ni-Based CR Sheets
  • (SBB) Asian stainless prices surge $200/t
  • Commodities: Manufacturing Hits a Sweet Spot - more
  • Employment Chart Roundup - more

  Ferronickel prices to rise 15 percent in 2010, Antam says - Given recovery in world demand, Indonesia’s state-owned mining company PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) expects average ferronickel prices to rise to at least US$15,000 per ton or higher by about 15 percent a year earlier. - more

  POSCO says to raise stainless steel prices for April  - South Korea's POSCO, the world's No. 4 steelmaker, said on Monday it had raised prices of stainless steel products for a third straight month on rising raw material costs and to match global competitors. - more

  China urges boycott of Australia, Brazil iron ore - A Chinese industrial group has urged domestic steel companies to stop buying iron ore from the world's top three miners in protest of an alleged price monopoly, state media said Monday. - more

  Steelmakers, dependent on iron ore, seek investigation of mining industry - Steelmakers are fighting attempts by the iron ore mining industry to raise the cost of their main raw material, calling for an investigation of what they claim is an "oligopoly" that inflates prices. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star // Northern Life.ca
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • Steelworkers and Vale use the Internet to get the word out - Ken Neumann can remember when communications during a labour dispute meant using an old Gestetner machine to make copies of leaflets to hand out to members. - more
  • Sides don't know each other; The Star's interview with Vale Inco president and CEO Tito Martins - more
  • Why I'm still on strike after more than 8 months - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Weekend Reading

Note - The London Metal Exchange will be closed Friday and Monday, for Good Friday and Easter Monday. Our next update will be on Monday, April 5th. Have a safe and relaxing Easter weekend!!

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Interfax) The China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) will cancel the iron ore import licenses of Chinese iron ore importers that failed to import more than 1 million tons of iron ore in 2009, state media reported on April 2.
  • (SO) According to Luoyang, Henan Province-based Chinese molybdenum producer China Molybdenum Co., Ltd, overall molybdenum inventory in China now exceeds 45,000 mt, accounting for 22 percent of the world's total molybdenum inventory.
  • (SBB) Chinese ferro-chrome buyers have accepted higher prices of 105-110 US cents/lb cfr China this week as offer prices from India show no sign of wavering.
  • (JMB) Sumitomo Metal Mining Plans 23% Higher Nickel Output
  • (SG) According to the data issued by the Russian Special Steel and Alloys Consumers & Suppliers Association, Russia's imports of the main stainless steel products in 2009 decreased by 38.7% YoY to 109,600 tonnes and fell by 33.4% YoY to USD 388.57 million in money terms.
  • (BIR) The early months of 2010 have confirmed this positive trend: compared to January 2009, worldwide steel capacity utilisation increased 11.6 percentage points to 72% in January 2010. Latest indications are that this utilisation rate is now heading for 80%. This is good news for our industry even though we must recognise that such production growth is not only a result of rising real steel demand but also a result of restocking to a large extent.
  • (CD) Baoshan Iron and Steel Co Ltd (Baosteel), a major Chinese steelmaker, on Thursday reported revenue of 148.53 billion yuan ($21.76 billion) and a net profit of 5.816 billion yuan in 2009, down 25.97 percent and 9.95 percent respectively year-on-year.
  • (CD) China's average daily stock trading volume at the Shanghai Stock Exchange shrank 35.2 percent month-on-month to 96.85 billion yuan ($14.2 billion) in February, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said Thursday.
  • Some Perspective on the Employment Situation - more

  World nickel prices head toward $12/lb - World spot nickel prices increased 13.2% to a first quarter average of $9/lb from $7.95 in the final quarter of 2009. In fact, the late-March price surge on the London Metal Exchange (LME) continued into the new month so the spot price on April 1 was $11.55. And, in the LME futures market, nickel for end-of-June delivery has surged 34.9% so far this year to $11.34/lb. (LME markets are closed until April 6.) - more

  New Caledonia government deems nickel crisis over - The New Caledonian authorities have found that the crisis in the nickel sector is over and decided to stop the support measures adopted last year. - more

  Scrap Supply short across the board - Markets continue to trade within ranges that aren't very conducive to much excitement. Maybe that's not all a bad thing. - more

  Rusal-Norilsk Nickel merger looms ahead, experts say - Experts believe that the nomination of Oleg Deripaska to the board of directors of Norilsk Nickel is a move that will result in the merger between UC Rusal and Norilsk Nickel. - more

  Commodities Will Be Crushed Once China's Credit Clamp-Down Hits - Research sentiment is starting the turn against the huge commodity run we've had as of late. - more

  Steelmakers Fight Back Over Iron Ore Price Push - Steelmakers are fighting back over attempts by the $200 billion iron ore mining industry to raise the cost of their main raw material, calling for regulators to investigate an “oligopoly” that inflates prices. - more

  • China’s Iron Ore Talks With Vale, BHP ‘Pointless,’ Shagang Says - China’s talks with the world’s biggest iron-ore miners are “pointless” as its steelmakers have to accept the higher terms Vale SA negotiated with Japan this week, Jiangsu Shagang Group Co. Chairman Shen Wenrong said. - more
  • China steelmakers meet, mull iron ore price shift - A state-affiliated industry group vowed Friday to tighten control over iron ore trading as Chinese steelmakers discussed strategy for contentious price talks with global miners - the backdrop to last month's commercial spying and bribery convictions of four Rio Tinto employees. - more

  Germany extends probe into BHP-Rio jv - Germany's Federal Cartel Office has extended the deadline of its investigation into the planned iron ore joint venture between miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto at the companies' request. - more

  HudBay revises resource estimate for Fenix project - Canada's HudBay Minerals Inc lowered resource estimate for the Fenix project in eastern Guatemala but with a higher nickel grade. - more

Thursday, April 1

Note - The London Metal Exchange will be closed Friday and Monday, for Good Friday and Easter Monday. Our next update will be on Monday, April 5th. Have a safe and relaxing Easter weekend!!

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up

  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 7 to 2,991. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China, Japan Manufacturing Improve as Asia Leads Recovery; Stocks Advance // SocGen Investigating `Anomalies' in Singapore Account, Says Clients Told // Asian Stocks Advance, Dollar Falls as China, Japan Signal Stronger Rebound // European IPOs Outstrip U.S. by Most Since 2007 as Brenntag Beats Sensata // FSA Charges Seven in Insider-Trading Ring Using Data Leaked From Printers // Stocks in Europe Climb to 18-Month High as Manufacturing Expands Worldwide //Construction Spending in U.S. Declines to Seven-Year Low Amid Foreclosures // GM U.S. Sales Rise 21%, Ford Gains 40% in Auto Market That Remains `Rough'  // Fed Reveals Bear Stearns Assets Swallowed to Get JPMorgan to Rescue Firm // JPMorgan's Dimon Regrets Using Government Guarantee Program to Issue Debt // U.S. Manufacturing Expands at Fastest Pace Since July '04, ISM Index Shows // U.S. Stocks Gain on Global Manufacturing, Jobless Claims Data; Alcoa Rises
  • The Euro did a complete turnaround shortly after our morning briefing and is now trading over 4/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, although off session highs. NYMEX crude is up over 1%, off session highs, and still over $84.50/barrel. Gold is up over 1.2% and silver higher by 2.1%. Base metals ended mostly higher, but the market was heading lower as it closed. Indicator chart show nickel rose to near $11.70/lb, then spent the rest of the session falling. It appears with nickel moving markedly lower as the Euro was gaining strength, traders got nervous with the four day weekend ahead, decided nickel may have over extended itself, and took some profits off the table. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and LME week at $11.35/lb , but fell negative in after market trading. Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses started April with a rare near 1100 tonne bounce, and now sit just over the 157,500 tonne level. The movement in inventory this week has been interesting. In the first 3 weeks of March, the market only saw 2 days where more nickel went into the LME approved warehouses, than went out. Of this 4 day short work week, 3 of these days have been gainers, and we have seen an increase from last Friday of nearly 1600 tonnes. Have we bottomed? Taking a rest? Hard to tell but Dow Jones has an interesting article below about major pig nickel producers firing back up. PMI numbers form China and the US looked very good today and world markets are trading higher on the news. We still have an annual shutdown of Norilsk shipment tocontend with in May so wouldn't start counting the chickens yet.  The Vale strike remains the wild card. Sucden's day old chart reflects trading thru yesterday and the bull run that won't quit (chart here). The London Metal Exchange is closed tomorrow and Monday, so next shot at seeing what will happen will come on Tuesday of next week.

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (DJ) The benchmark European ferrochrome price has been settled at $1.36 a pound for the second quarter of the year, 35% higher than in the just-ended quarter, South African ferrochrome producer Merafe Resources Ltd.said Thursday.
  • (MarketWatch) Altogether, 11.4 million people were collecting some type of unemployment benefits in the week ended March 13, up about 215,000 from the prior week.
  • Raw materials and global competition - more
  • China’s Debt Bubble: When Will the Ponzi Unravel? - more
  • FRB Dallas: National Economic Update - more
  • Does the U.S. Pay Too Little in Taxes? - more

  China Ramps Up Nickel Pig Iron Output On LME Nickel Rally - Chinese nickel pig iron producers have been ramping up production on the back of rising nickel prices at the London Metal Exchange, taking advantage of NPI's price advantage compared with primary nickel to sharply increase market share, analysts said Thursday. - more

  EU probes complaint over Indian steel subsidies - The European Union on Thursday opened a probe into allegations of unfair Indian subsidies to its stainless steel makers, amid claims that they are hitting European producers. - more

  Merafe Resources presentation to investor conference contains good market information for ferrochrome under Section 3 Market Review - pdf here

  Yesterday, we analyzed what the increase in nickel did to the cost of a 304 stainless steel bolt. Today let's use the same batch of bolts and see what the increase in ferrochrome will do. Our batch of bolts are 250 pieces of 1/2-13 X 1 Hex Head Cap Screws in 304 Stainless Steel which weighs approximately 26.5 lbs. These are commonly called 18-8 in the US and the 18 is the minimum percentage of chrome per bolt. Using today's cost of ferrochrome at $1.36/lb X.18% X 26.5 = $6.49 worth of chrome in these 250 bolts. Using last years average price of ferrochrome, we have $.85/lb X 18% X 26.5, we have a total of $4.05 worth of chrome in these 250 bolts. That's an increase of 2.44 divided by 250 bolts = $.01/each. Comparing this to yesterday's numbers, we can see a 37.5% increase in the cost of ferrochrome has a far smaller effect on stainless steel prices than nickel, even though it is a major component. Adding this to the 20% increase we recorded yesterday with the increase in the price of nickel alone, our potential selling price for this bolt now goes from from $.25 in March of 2009 to $.31/each now. The combination of nickel and ferrochrome increase together, adds 24% more to our bolt cost. We still have not included the increase in iron ore or any production costs.

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.19/lb higher, with all base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro is trading nearly 1/4 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, which typically would be pressuring commodity trading. NYMEX crude futures are trading up over 1%, and over $84.50/barrel. Gold opened slightly higher, with silver up 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher with China up 1-1/3%. European markets are trading higher this morning, with US futures also higher. LME nickel inventories rose over 1000 tonnes overnight, starting April with a gain.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning news- more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals continued to push higher yesterday, although copper stumbled and ended the day with a modest loss. End-of-the quarter fund buying pushed aluminum and zinc to three-week peaks, and tin to its highest level since September 2008. Nickel hit a two-year high, and actually was the best performing metal for the first quarter. Reuters also reported that "dominant positions" are controlling between 50-80% of cash warrants for nickel, tin, and lead, and this is likely fueling the bullish mindset even further. We are seeing the upside momentum returning again in the Thursday session, with another broad-based advance underway. This time, copper is taking the lead, as it pushes towards the psychologically significant $8000 mark. For the moment, the dollar seems to be taking a back seat, hardly doing much on the week, and not really an impetus behind the rally so far. Instead, it seems good macro numbers out of China are fueling today's advance. In this regard, the official purchasing managers' index rose to 55.1 in March from 52.0 in February, beating the median forecast of 54.5 in a Reuters poll. A parallel index rose to 57.0, the third-highest reading in the six-year history of the survey. A Chinese government researcher said earlier this week that China's annual growth could now reach 12% in the first quarter. These are indeed heady numbers, but we suspect that with inflation rising as well, authorities will have to tighten again rather soon, taking some of the momentum out of the economy going into the second half of the year. Also fueling this week's advance in metals has been the strong-looking charts, as well as thinking by some of the speculative money that the global recovery is now picking up steam. Falling LME stockpiles are being cited as a major reason behind this thinking, although strangely, the accumulation of metal in Chinese warehouses seems to be getting far less attention. In closing, we been wary about the recent advance for some time, and with a number of markets, particularly nickel, getting into overbought territory, we would maintain our view, tempting as some of the charts look. On the macro level, the global recovery will likely move in fits and starts, which is why we have our doubts that commodities are on track for another unrestrained bull market. ..... We are $25,586 on nickel, up $591. With prices getting over key resistance of $25,000, we need to see the market confirm this important break by managing to close over it for two consecutive days, in which case we could be on track for further gains.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (PR) Shareholders of Merafe Resources are advised that the European benchmark ferrochrome price has been settled at $1.36 per pound for the second quarter of 2010, an increase of 35% from $1.01 per pound in the first quarter of 2010.
  • (Reuters) The second quarter contract settlement for ferrochrome, a key ingredient in stainless steel, rise 35 percent to $1.36 per pound. "The settlement is a reflection of recovery in European stainless steel demand (evidenced by materially higher stainless scrap prices in recent weeks), in conjunction with continued strength from Chinese consumers," Liberum Capital says in a note.
  • (DJ) Chinese nickel pig iron producers have been ramping up production on the back of rising nickel prices at the London Metal Exchange, taking advantage of NPI's price advantage compared with primary nickel to sharply increase market share, analysts said Thursday.
  • (Interfax) Jinchuan Group Ltd., China's largest nickel producer, raised its ex-works refined nickel price to RMB 171,000 ($23,050.91) per ton on March 31, an increase of 8.23 percent from the start of the month, according to Jinchuan Group's Web site.
  • (MNP) Western Areas has kicked off high-grade nickel production at the Tim King Pit at Spotted Quoll, two weeks ahead of schedule.
  • (Reuters) Oleg Deripaska, Russian billionaire and major shareholder of UC RUSAL , may return to the board of Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel, the business daily Vedomosti reported.
  • RUSAL's press office declined to comment.
  • Andrew Haldane, Executive Director Bank of England - "As Nobel-prize winning physicist Richard Feynman observed, to call these numbers “astronomical” would be to do astronomy a disservice: there are only hundreds of billions of stars in the galaxy. “Economical” might be a better description. It is clear that banks would not have deep enough pockets to foot this bill. Assuming that a crisis occurs every 20 years, the systemic levy needed to recoup these crisis costs would be in excess of $1.5 trillion per year. The total market capitalisation of the largest global banks is currently only around $1.2 trillion. Fully internalising the output costs of financial crises would risk putting banks on the same trajectory as the dinosaurs, with the levy playing the role of the meteorite."
  • (Xinhua) The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for China's manufacturing sector stood at 55.1 percent in March, up 3.1 percentage points from last month, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) said Thursday.
  • (SSY) According to government data, Japan’s industrial production fell by 0.9% month-on-month in February, following strong growth in January, representing a decline for the first time over the past year. However, compared with a year ago, February industrial output was up by 31.3%.
  • Change in US Employment Recession/Recovery - more

  Sumitomo To Up Nickel Output 23% In FY2010; Copper Unchanged - Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd. plans to up its nickel production by 23% and keep its copper output relatively unchanged in the 2010 Japanese fiscal year, the company said Thursday. - more

  Nickel mine revival: A sign of shining Zambia-China ties - The re-opening of the Munali Nickel Mine has brightened hopes of a speedy recovery in Zambia’s little-developed southern town of Mazabuka after a year of the mine’s closure and job losses. - more

  Mittal Stokes Conflict Over Steel Prices by Predicting 21% Jump - Lakshmi Mittal, chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, stoked a row over how global prices are set by telling consumers that raw-material costs may push steel rates up 21 percent. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star // Northern Life.ca
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • (PR)3/31 - Vale Inco is pleased to announce that USW Local 2020-005, representing Office, Technical and Professional employees in the Sudbury Operations, has voted 84.5% in favor of ratifying a new three-year collective agreement with the company in voting that concluded today.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

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