This page is archived news covering the period of April 2012
If you are looking for current daily market news, please visit here.

LME nickel prices and news

Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices

Free comprehensive information on worldwide nickel market pricing, stainless steel prices and metals analysis and forecasts


Daily Nickel Market News & Stainless Steel Prices

Kiva - loans that change lives

Nickel PricesStainless Steel News

Monday, April 30

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 1 to 1,155. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Plans Tariff Cuts for Commodity, Consumer Goods to Encourage Imports // Singapore Jobs, Taiwan Slowdown Show Europe Impact on Asian Trade: Economy // Asian Stocks Gain on Australian Rates, Earnings, South Korean Confidence // Anti-Austerity Calls in Europe Rise as Election Campaigns Reach Final Days // King Faces 10 Days of Angst on BOE Stimulus as Britain’s Recession Festers // Spanish GDP Drops Less-Than-Forecast 0.3% as It Enters Recession: Economy // Occupy Wall Street Plans Global Disruption of Status Quo May 1 // European Stocks Slide as Spain Enters Recession, Extending April Decline // Father of Treasury Floating-Rate Notes Says Now Worst Time to Begin Sales // Business Activity in U.S. Cools While Consumers Continue Spending: Economy // Homeownership Rate Drops to Lowest Since ’97 on Foreclosures, Tight Supply // Euro Weakens as Spain Enters Recession; U.S. Stocks, Commodities Retreat
  • The Euro is 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 7/16 of 1% and trading at $104.48/barrel. Gold is up slightly, while silver is off over 8/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mixed, with nickel one of the losers. Indicator charts show nickel spent much of the session in a slow, steady decline. For the day, and month, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.11/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose sharply on Friday and now totals just over 103,900 tonnes. Nickel ends April $.02/lb lower than it ended March, and down $.38/lb since the last day of 2010. Much of the world will be closed for business tomorrow, for May Day festivities, but the London Metal Exchange will be open for business tomorrow and and shut down Monday, May 7th instead. China will be on holiday but we still get their April PMI data, which will be closely watched and could give nickel a nudge. News out of Indonesia will be watched closely this month in regards to the export restrictions of nickel ore and when, and how, exactly this might take place. So much uncertainty surrounds this situation, that is hard to decide if the market has already figured a ban into the current trading price.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • State Governments Are Big Mega Millions Winners - more
  • Consumer Sentiment Improves - more
  • Economists React: GDP Is ‘Disappointing but Also Puzzling’ - more
  • Workers’ Pay Rises Modestly - more
  • Vital Signs: Jobless Claims Trending Higher - more
  • Eclectica Fund: April 2012 TEF Commentary - more

  A Ferrochrome producers seek support for export tariff - South Africa’s mature chrome value chain which provides over 200 000 jobs and contributes over R42 billion in Gross Domestic Product is under threat and its rapidly declining market share is putting jobs at risk, Ferrochrome producers alleged in a meeting held with North West Premier Mme Thandi Modise in Mahikeng this week. - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb lower, with other London traded base metals mixed. The Euro is trading 1/4 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are down 6/10 of 1% and trading at $104.32/barrel. Gold is down slightly while silver is off 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, the few Asian markets trading ended higher, with most Asian countries shut down for an extended Mayday holiday weekend. European markets are trading lower this morning, and US futures are slightly lower at the moment. Nickel stockpiles rose sharply on Friday.
  • Bloomberg morning -  Copper Climbs Fifth Day as Stockpiles Decline in London - more
  • Reuters morning - Copper shaken from 1-month high as dollar rises - more
  • LME Morning - Metals drift from initial multi-week highs, follow through fades - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Metals continued to work higher on Friday, with copper rallying to its highest level in nearly three weeks amid growing signs of both physical and futures-related tightness. In addition, the fact that the US GDP number came in on the weaker side (as we said it might in Friday’s note) ironically helped the advance as well, since it not only weakened the dollar, but revived hopes of some sort of quantitative easing taking place down the road. GDP for the first quarter came in at 2.2%, substantially less than the 2.5%-2.6% expected, and well below last quarter’s 3% increase. However, its negative impact was cushioned somewhat by the fact that the closely watched consumer spending component rose by its strongest amount in more than a year-- up 2.9% versus 2.1% in Q4, thanks mainly to robust auto sales and a good pick-up in housing. In addition, inventory build-ups made up only half a percent of the growth readings compared to a more substantial 1.81% in Q4. Outside of consumer spending, government and business spending both slipped this past quarter, as the former eased on account of a rise in austerity measures and cuts in defense spending, while business outlays fell on account of a temporary expiration in tax and investment credits. Right now, markets have opened the new week in quiet fashion, with metals pretty much mixed. Copper did get to a high of $8496 earlier, but prices have since retraced and are now in negative territory, while other metals are not doing much either. Precious metals and energy are both down a touch, as is the Euro, now trading at $1.3220. US stocks are expected to open higher. .... We are still quite cautious on the markets here given the European situation and the generally sluggish macro outlook. Having said that, we realize that the ongoing tightness in copper is real and is playing a dominant role in supporting the group as a whole. At some point, however, copper stocks will start to build, particularly given the fact that demand remains weak. More importantly, metal will find its way into the system to feed the backs; in fact, we already may be seeing signs of copper holdings in China starting to move out (see our story that follows) and should these outflows accelerate, as we expect them to, they will add to stocks and compress the spreads in the weeks ahead. ..... Nickel is at $17,895, down $205, and still very range-bound for the moment. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (PR) First Nickel Inc. reports that it has completed the work required to satisfy the stop work order issued by the Ministry of Labor last week. The Ministry lifted the order at 6:00pm on Sunday, April 29, 2012 and the mine has resumed normal operations starting with the shift on Sunday night. The Company does not anticipate any negative impact on second quarter production.
  • (Yieh) Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco), one of the largest stainless steelmaker in Taiwan announced its May list prices on April 27th. The company decided to cut the domestic prices of 300 grade stainless steel products by NT$2,000/ton; while it remained the domestic prices of 400 grade stainless steel products unchanged for May deliveries.
  • (PR) PT PLN, a state-owned electricity company in Indonesia, has signed a memorandum of understanding to 300MW electricity to meet the energy needs for the operations of industrial nickel smelter owned by PT Bumi Modern Welfare, or BMS, located at Sulawesi and East Java.
  • (Dow Jones) Toledo Mining Corporation PLC Monday said production of run-of-mine ore from Berong nickel mine during the first quarter ended March 31 amounted to 183,000 wmt, or Wet Metric Ton, at an average grade of 1.88% Ni.
  • (DOw Jones) OAO Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel and palladium maker, said Friday its first-quarter nickel output increased 7% compared with the same period last year, to reach 75,824 metric tons.
  • (SSY) According to the latest Short Range Outlook from the World Steel Association, apparent steel use (ASU) for 2012 is set to rise 3.6% year-on-year to 1422.3 Mt after a solid growth of 5.6 % in 2011. The WSA forecasts that world ASU will increase by a further 4.5% to another new record of 1485.7 Mt in 2013.

  The International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) has released this new video to mark the centenary since stainless steel was first discovered and commercialised. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 27

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 8 to 1,156. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Seeks Boost From Low-Income Housing as Real Estate Slows // China’s Industrial Profits Rebound to Rise 4.5% in March // Most Chinese Stocks Drop as Profit Concerns Overshadow Easing Speculation // Bank of Japan Expands Stimulus as Lawmakers Push for More Growth: Economy // Spain Rules Out Need for EU Bailout as De Guindos Says Banks Fully Funded // Italian Borrowing Costs Climb at $7.9 Billion Auction of Benchmark Bonds // France Unemployment Near 10% Fueled by Laws Election Doesn’t Address: Jobs // Netherlands Reaches Austerity Deal, Ending Budget Impasse // Recession-Wracked Greece Nears Vote That May Decide Fate in Euro // European Stocks Advance, Capping Longest Stretch of Gains Since March 16 // Ford Rises as Profit Tops Analysts’ Estimates on North America Auto Sales // Economy in U.S. Grows 2.2% as Stockpile Drop Overshadows Consumption Surge // El-Erian Says U.S. Economy May Need ‘Assistance’ as Growth Is Insufficient // Stocks Gain as Earnings Results Temper U.S. GDP Report; Euro Strengthens
  • The Euro is presently trading 1/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1/3 of 1% and trading at $104.21/barrel. Gold is up nearly 1/2 of 1% and silver is up over 3/4 of 1%. Base metals ended the session higher ... except for nickel. Indicator charts show nickel rose early, traded choppy for much of the session, and fell hard late. For the day and week, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.21/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose on Thursday and now totals just over 101,750 tonnes. Here is how a Dow Jones author titled their daily base metals article "LME Metals Close Mostly Higher Amid QE3 Hopes". If this is the real reason for today's overall increase in base metals pricing, then we feel traders may be disappointed. We end the week in the US with a lower than expected 1st quarter GDP report, but with earnings still surprising, the Dow is trading higher.
  • Have a pleasant weekend!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • New Grads’ Pay Gap Is Lasting Legacy of Recession - more
  • Are Jobless Claims Tracking Gas Prices? - more
  • Vital Signs: Gauge of Business Spending Slows - more
  • Falling Labor Force Participation - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.05/lb high, with all London traded base metals trading higher at the moment. The Euro is presently trading nearly 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are down 1/3 of 1% and trading at $104.19/barrel. Gold is trading is down nearly 2/10 of 1% and silver is off nearly 1/4 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China down 2/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures are flat. Stockpiles of nickel rose sharply on Thursday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper at 3-week high on tight supply; euro zone weighs - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals track euro higher, remain susceptible to currency fluctuations - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Base metals finished sharply higher yesterday, as the lingering after-effects of Chairman Bernanke’s comments continued to pressure the dollar, forcing it to slide to $1.3263 against the Euro -- a three-week low. Other markets saw good gains as well; precious metals and US equity markets both finished higher, with stocks putting together their best three-day gain since February amid decent earnings reports. Bloomberg calculates that of the 239 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported since mid-April, 75% have beaten estimates. One group that is falling short are the big-name European banks, many of whom are struggling in light of dwindling investment banking business and light trading. Technicals also helped some of the metals advance yesterday. In this regard, Reuters reports that COMEX copper moved through both the 100-day moving average at $3.72 per lb ($8,162 per ton) and the 200-day at $3.76 ($8,225).  .... Right now, markets are mixed, with base metals recovering from early losses and now modestly higher, but precious metals and energy are both down. The Euro is steady at $1.3230 and US stocks are expected to open flat. Some of today’s buy-side momentum has been knocked back on reports out late Thursday that S&P downgraded Spain’s credit rating by two notches, citing “a challenging fiscal outlook”. S&P cited the worse-than-expected deterioration of the country’s budget and a growing likelihood that the government will need to provide aid for the country’s banks that have been hit hard by mounting real estate losses. If this was not enough, the government also reported today that Spain's unemployment rate shot up to 24% in the first quarter, while retail sales slumped for the twenty-first consecutive month. “Spain is in a crisis of huge proportions," Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said in a radio interview. For his part, the country’s economy minister had to again deny reports that the country was seeking outside help. “Nobody has asked Spain, either officially or unofficially” to turn to Europe’s bailout mechanisms, he said in an interview late yesterday. “We don’t need it.” ..... In terms of US macro numbers, we should get more clarity later today on first quarter GDP. (The consensus estimate calls for an expected GDP increase of +2.6%). We suspect the reading will likely come in either in-line or slightly weaker than expected, in which case we should see the dollar continue to lose ground over the course of Friday trading. This could provide somewhat more upside momentum to the base metals group, although we would be wary about any kind of protracted run given the fact that worries about Europe and slowing growth could collectively trump any currency-induced rebound.  ..... Nickel is at $18,330, up $130. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Dow Jones) The nickel market will remain in oversupply for the next two years, and producers should adjust output in order to support prices, analysts with Macquarie Bank said in a report Thursday.
  • (Yieh) According to statistics, the stainless steel inventory totaled 205,327 tons during the second 10 days of April, decreasing by 2.58% from the previous 10 days.
  • (SBB) Tokyo asks Jakarta to rethink metal ore export ban
  • (Reuters) Commodities ended broadly higher on Thursday, with copper one of the biggest gainers, after high claims for jobless benefits in the United States fed expectations that the Federal Reserve may approve another U.S. economic stimulus.
  • Forecasting National Recessions Using State Level Data - more

  Chinese traders divided over near-term outlook for moly oxide prices - Chinese traders, the largest spot molybdenum oxide suppliers in Asia, were divided Tuesday over the direction in which prices would head in the near term. - more

  China's ferromoly prices flat for fourth month despite pick-up in demand - Ferromolybdenum prices in China remained flat at Yuan 121,000-125,000/mt ($19,209-19,844/mt) Thursday, unchanged since the start of 2012 and only marginally above the cost of production, despite a pick-up in demand from Chinese stainless producers in April. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 26

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 11 to 1,148. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Helps Finance First-Home Buyers While Denying Speculators: Mortgages // China’s Stocks Drop as Earnings Concerns Overshadow Possible Fed Stimulus // South Korean Growth Accelerates Even as Europe Threatens Exports: Economy // Asian Stocks Rise for Second Day After Bernanke Signals Stimulus If Needed // Euro-Area Confidence Declines in Sign Region’s Slump Is Deepening: Economy // Deutsche Bank’s First-Quarter Profit Declines 33% as Crisis Curbs Trading // Bernanke Signals Further Fed Easing Unlikely as Economic Outlook Improves // Bernanke Rebuts Krugman Criticism He Ignores His Own Advice on Deflation // More Americans Than Forecast Submitted First-Time Jobless Claims Last Week // U.S. Stocks Rise as Pending Home Sales Increase; Treasuries Trim Advance
  • The Euro is trading over 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 4/10 of 1% and trading at $104.56/barrel. Gold is up nearly 9/10 of 1% while silver is 1-2/3% higher. Base metals ended their trading session higher as well. Indictor charts show nickel only took a few breaks today in an otherwise solid uptrend. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.26/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell slightly overnight and now total just over 100,700 tonnes. Nickel is on a cyclical uptrend that, in our opinion, most likely will not last very long. Base metals are getting some forward momentum from copper as well. US corporate earnings continue to impress and equity markets continue their bull run.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Vale's results should soon start to be positively affected by the company's growing coal production in Mozambique and Australia and by the start of exports of nickel oxide from the Goro project in New Caledonia, which is now starting up, Ferreira said.
  • Has Obama Stacked the Fed? Not Really - more
  • Parsing the Fed: How the Statement Changed - more
  • Surviving ’Taxmageddon’ Without Maiming Economy - more
  • The Recovery in the G-7 - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.18/lb higher, with other London traded base metals higher as well. The Euro is trading only slightly lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are down over 1/10 of 1% and trading at $104.00/barrel. Gold is trading 1/3 of 1% higher, with silver up 2/10 of 1%. In overnight trading Asian markets ended higher, with China up 2/10 of 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures are flat at the moment. Nickel stockpiles fell slightly on Wednesday.  
  • Reuters morning - Copper highest in more than 2 weeks, demand eyed - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals off highs remain higher on solid euro - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Metal prices finished in positive territory in relatively heavy volume yesterday, with COMEX turnover pushing above 110,000 lots, 60% above the 30-day average, this according to Thomson-Reuters data. A number of other commodity markets also pushed higher, although energy was relatively restrained all day on noises out of Iran that a possible breakthrough in the nuclear talks could be in the offing. Metal prices did wobble off their highs briefly when the Fed policy statement came out at noon yesterday, as investors were disappointed by the absence of any wording that hinted at possible easing in the months ahead. However, we did see a bit of a snap-back, particularly in gold, after Chairman Ben Bernanke got his press conference under way. The Fed Chairman emphasized that the central bank was ready to do more to help the US economy if needed, saying “We remain entirely prepared to take additional balance sheet actions as necessary to achieve our objectives. Those tools remained very much on the table and we would not hesitate to use them should the economy require that additional support”. Having said that, the time-line for low rates seems to nearing its end; Fed surveys now show that seven governors now believe it would be appropriate to raise rates some time in 2014, up from five in January, while only four want to wait longer, down from six. ... Right now, we are higher in both base and precious metals, although energy prices are down slightly. US stocks are expected to open lower after a relatively sloppy performance in Europe, where equity markets are under pressure on account of disappointing bank trading results and renewed concerns about debt. In the latter regard, Italy sold 8.5 billion Euros of six-month bills at a rate of 1.772%, up from 1.119% at the previous auction on March 28. The yield on Spanish 10-year government bonds increased four basis points to 5.81% and has not been much of factor today, but the deterioration in Italian yields is arguably making up for it. ..... We doubt much will be happening to day as the news cycle is relatively light, but we suspect that Euro concerns and worries about slowing Chinese demand will likely reappear as legitimate market concerns going into next week. .... Nickel is at $18,029, up $425 and back over the $18,000 mark. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to statistics released by the Chinese customs, China exported 148,988 tons of stainless steel flat products in March, rising substantially by 41.5% in comparison of 105,276 tons in February.
  • Economy still being buffeted, ministry warns - more

  Palladium, Nickel Seen Gaining From China Consumption Shift - Aluminum, nickel, palladium and gold may benefit from China’s shift toward consumption-driven growth from an economy fueled by investment, while agricultural products are set to lag behind, according to Barclays Capital. - more

  Vale: Profit down 44%, but 'worst over' in China - Brazil's Vale SA, the world's biggest iron-ore producing company, saw first-quarter profits slump as heavy rains hit shipments and iron ore prices sank on China's growth slowdown. - more

  • Vale sees profit halved - Vale SA, the world's largest iron ore miner, said on Wednesday that first-quarter profit fell by nearly half from a year earlier because rains limited exports, prices for its main products fell and spending on new mining projects rose. - more

  Vale says all furnaces are back on after incident - Publicly-listed PT Vale Indonesia set high expectations for the company’s newly installed electric furnaces in Sorowako, South Sulawesi, after undergoing early repairs and consequent upgrades following an incident involving angry locals last year. - more

  100 years of stainless steel: Developed in Krupp’s research labs in Essen and first patented in 1912 - Stainless steel is an indispensable part of our everyday lives – at work, at home or at leisure. The foundations for its global use were laid 100 years ago. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 25

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 121 to 1137. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China’s Stocks Rise on Premier Wen’s Pledge on Economy, U.S. Housing Data // India Investment-Grade Debt Rating at Risk as S&P Cuts Outlook on Economy // Draghi Softens Tone on Inflation, Risks ‘Broadly Balanced’ // Bonds Rally in Italy, Spain While Bunds Drop as German Sale Misses Target // Merkel Backs Draghi’s Call for Growth Focus to Combat European Debt Crisis // European Stocks Climb for Second Day as Swedbank, Electrolux Lead Advances // Mad Cow Case May Pose Little Threat to Demand for U.S. Feed-Crop Exports //Ex-BP Worker Accused of Destroying 2010 Gulf Spill Texts // U.S. Companies From Apple to 3M Beat Forecasts at Highest Rate Since 2010 // Housing Declared Bottoming in U.S. After Longest Slump Since World War II // Fed Says U.S. Economy Will ‘Pick Up Gradually’ as Policy Is Left Unchanged // US Stocks Advance, Treasuries Fall as Fed Refrains From New Stimulus Actions
  • The Euro is trading slightly higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are trading over 1/4 of 1% higher and at $103.27/barrel. Gold is down slightly, while silver is off more than 1-1/4%. Base metals ended the session mostly higher. Indicator charts show nickel was trading choppy but going no where early. Then US markets opened higher and nickel rose sharply. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $7.99/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose on Tuesday and now total just over 100,800 tonnes. This is the third time this month where LME has reported total inventories rose over the 100,000 tonne level, only to fall back twice prior. If it were not for favorable earnings reports, the news today would be much less positive. The US Commerce Department reported orders for long-lasting U.S. goods fell in March. The UK economy officially fell into recession - again. And Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is not expected to announce any unpleasant surprises from the Federal Reserve when he speaks to reporters in a few hours. Nickel got a little nudge today from an International Nickel Study Group report that forecast nickel to be in a 50,000 tonne surplus this year. That would typically be bad news for nickel traders, except this forecast is lower than INSG made before.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Americans' Access to Basic Necessities Gradually Improving - more
  • Consumer Confidence Slips Slightly - more
  • A Look at Case-Shiller by Metro Area - more
  • Vital Signs: Deteriorating Euro Zone Output - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.06/lb higher, with other London traded base metals higher as well. The Euro is trading only slightly higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are up 7/10 of 1% and trading at $104.25/barrel. Gold is up nearly 1/10 of 1% and silver is up nearly 2/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 8/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures are higher as well. Nickel stockpiles rose sharply on Tuesday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper steady ahead of Fed's meeting outcome - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals resilient on strong euro, copper tightness strengthens - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Metals pushed higher yesterday, with copper rising over 1% and partly reversing Monday's sharp losses. A better tone in the European credit markets and a firmer Euro combined to help the complex advance. Trading volume was heavy, particularly on COMEX, where turnover was some 40% above the 30-day average. Other markets were also stronger yesterday, with equities breathing easier on account of relatively successful Dutch, Spanish, and Italian debt sales. We are up across the board in most commodities again today, as the Euro has pushed to a three-week high of over $1.32 on the back of Italian and Spanish bond yields dropping for a second straight day. Most equity markets are also up, with Apple’s solid results reinvigorating the technology stocks. The company blew past earnings estimates yesterday despite offering lower guidance for the current quarter. The stock is up some 5% in pre-market trading, trading around $590. All eyes will be on the Fed policy statement out later this afternoon and the Bernanke news conferences that follows. We suspect that markets will push higher if the Fed tweaks enough of its language to favor a more accommodative stance. Given that most economic numbers over the past two weeks have been coming in somewhat under forecast, the central bank may be inclined to do just that. We will have to see what happens; the statement comes out at 2 p.m. US east coast time and Chairman Bernanke will follow with a news conference at 2:15 p.m.  ....  We likely will have a good day in most markets today, as investors should like what they hear from the Fed. Whether this will likely be enough to last into next week remains to be seen, as policy easing –or hints of it -- may only do so much in terms of patching up things before investors again confront the starker realities that cannot be remedied with easier money. We refer, of course, to the more intractable problems of a Euro crisis that could re-emerge practically at any time, while more problematic for metals, is the fact that global economies seem to be slowing in synchronized fashion. ..... Nickel is at $17,580, up $170. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Reuters) Finnish miner Talvivaara forecast nickel prices would be around $20,000 per tonne in the long term, after reporting a quarterly operating loss due to cheaper nickel.
  • (Dow Jones) The global nickel market could be in surplus by 50,000 metric tons in 2012 as new mines come onstream, offsetting an on-year demand increase, according to the International Nickel Study Group. Global refined nickel production is expected to reach 1.69 million tons in 2012, up 5.6% from 2011, the group said in a statement Tuesday. Output will rise as new capacity comes into production and newly commissioned projects ramp up, it said. Global consumption is forecast to total 1.64 million tons, up 4.5% from 2011.
  • (MBN) Most large US stainless steel producers have lowered their surcharges for May due to falling nickel prices.
  • (Dow Jones) LCH.Clearnet Ltd., which clears trades for the London Metal Exchange, said late Tuesday it will lower initial margins across the base metals complex......Margins for nickel will drop to $2,403/ton, from $2,670/ton .... LME Margin Rate Changes - more
  • (Yieh) It’s reported that the European stainless producers including Acerinox, ThyssenKrupp and Outokumpu have decided to cut the alloy surcharge by 3.5% month on month for May, in response to lower nickel prices.
  • (ATA) The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.2% in March after increasing 0.5% in February.
  • Vale Q1 net seen falling 45 pct on prices, volumes - more
  • China's tax revenue growth hits three-year low - more

  China imports of bauxite, nickel ores seen up in April - China's March data for bauxite and nickel ore confirmed Chinese importers rushed to buy the two materials ahead of a possible export ban in key supplier Indonesia and imports in April may be even bigger. - more

  Vale's Production Results For Q1-2012 = Only ferroalloys held on, otherwise dropped = Vale of Brazil released on April 17 results of production and sales during the first quarter (July - September) of 2012. Excerpts covering the production results of manganese ore, ferroalloys, nickel and cobalt are as per the table attached hereto. - more

  Mining Companies in Global Talent War - Bruno Rizzuto’s father, Cesare, was 19 when he got off a boat in Halifax from southern Italy in 1951. With no coat, and “5 cents in his pocket” he headed for the gold mines of Timmins, Ontario, where he worked underground for 41 years. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 24

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 26 to 1,116. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Leading Economic Index Rises at Slower Pace, Signals Growth Slowdown // Most Chinese Stocks Drop on Concerns About Economy, Europe; Banks Advance // Australia’s Slower Inflation Spurs Bets RBA to Resume Rate Cuts: Economy // Merkel Stands Firm on Crisis Austerity, CDU Ally Altmaier Says // Human Genome Proving Most Lucrative With Record Biotech Premiums: Real M&A // Weidmann Rejects as ‘Ridiculous’ Soros Claim Bundesbank Ready for Euro End // European Stocks Rebound From Three-Month Low; Nordea, Kone Leads Advance // Fed Interest-Rate Forecasts May Confuse Rather Than Clarify 2014 Outlook // Wal-Mart CEO Says All Employees Accountable for Its Compliance Standards // Sales of New U.S. Homes Declined in March to Pace That Exceeded Forecasts // Wal-Mart Bribe Probe Follows Decade of Litigation for Sex Bias, Overtime // Stocks Advance on Quarterly Earnings Reports, Home Sales; Treasuries Drop
  • The Euro is trading 1/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 7/16 of 1% and trading at $103.55/barrel. Gold is up 2/10 of 1% and silver is down 1/4 of 1%. Base metals ended the session higher - except for nickel. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, but spent the day in a choppy down trend. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.89/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses rose on Monday and now total just shy of the 99,800 tonnes level. Although US economic reports were dismal today, no matter how they are sugar coated, but corporate earnings were mostly higher, so Wall Street is upbeat as well. Markets appear to be suffering from Euro crisis fatigue and taking a day off from concerns. The Federal Reserve is meeting today and their statement tomorrow will be watched closely.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Rosenberg: U.S. Clients View Canada as ’51st State’ - more
  • Is high public debt harmful for economic growth? - more
  • Origins of the Indebted American Homeowner - more
  • No End in Sight - more
  • Bean Counters Get More Optimistic - more
  • Social Security Fund to Run Out in 2035, Trustees Say - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.05/lb higher, with other London traded base metals higher as well. The Euro is trading nearly 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are up 2/10 of 1% and trading at $103.32/barrel. Gold is up 2/10 of 1% while silver is up 4/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China down slightly. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures are pointing higher as well. Nickel stockpiles grew on Monday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper back above $8,100, but caution persists - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals step back, copper hit by profit-taking - more

  Reports

  • ThyssenKrupp Nirosta May Stainless Steel Surcharge - more
  • AK Steel May Stainless Steel Surcharge - pdf here
  • These 5 Mining Stocks Will Plummet On Falling Nickel Prices - more
  • Reuters Inside Metals - pdf here
  • Commonwealth Daily Alert- pdf here
  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Metals Insight - pdf here

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Markets got hammered yesterday, with few places for the bulls to hide outside of the safety of the dollar and top-graded US and German bonds. Base metals fared the worst, as on top of Euro concerns, the complex had to contend with nagging worries about Chinese demand and building local inventories. We have opened slightly higher today as declining Spanish and Dutch 10-year yields have calmed the markets somewhat. In addition, Moody’s said last night that the collapse of the Dutch coalition over the budget impasse is a “credit-negative” but the agency left its AAA rating intact for the moment.  .... In other markets, energy prices are flat, the Euro is higher, now trading at $1.3145, while the precious metals group is up as well, with gold recouping most of yesterday’s losses. US stocks are expected to open up as well ahead of Apple’s earnings numbers, set for release after the close today. (Q1 earnings are expected to be up 57% to $10.04 billion on revenues of $36.8 billion). We also get the Case-Shiller 20 city index for February later today (expected at -3.4%), followed by April consumer confidence readings (expected at 69.5, slightly lower than last month) and March new home sales (expected at 320,000). .... Nickel is at $17,650, up $100.  (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Interfax) China's imports of nickel ore and concentrate increased for a second month in March ahead of Indonesia's ban on exports of nickel ore that will start in May.
  • (Yieh) It is reported that the Islamic Republic of Iran has become the largest producer of crude steel in the Middle East and Africa.
  • World's third largest stainless-steel scrap trading company again increases turnover and generates EUR 850 million - more
  • (China) Surprise money supply growth - more
  • Neutral ENSO conditions dominate Pacific - more

  China Stainless Steel Market In Apr - It is reported that Chinese stainless steel mills' oversupply has been threatening the nearby countries. - more

  China NPI 2012 Output Likely To Drop By 10% YoY = Indonesia's export ban on nickel ore is near = It is becoming more likely that China's output of nickel-pig-iron (NPI) during 2012 will drop, by more or less 10% compared to 2011, with a possibility that 2013 output of NPI will be further less by 20% than 2011 output. - more

  Stakeholders meet to review Ramu mine deal - The week-long Ramu nickel cobalt mine project memorandum of agreement (MoA) review meeting between the state, Madang provincial government, landowners and Ramu NiCo Ltd started in Mt Hagen yesterday. - more

  Stop-work order issued - A Ministry of Labour inspector issued a stop-work order for First Nickel's Lockerby Mine on Monday after a random inspection showed there were problems with the No. 2 shaft. - more

  2 plead guilty to stealing tons of nickel - Two men who operate a warehouse that stored nickel briquettes imported through the Port of Baltimore have pleaded guilty to a plot to steal tons of the metal and selling it. - more

  Environmental watchdog sues Norilsk Nickel for $33 mln - The Krasnoyarsk Territory Commercial Court has registered the environmental watchdog's $32.58 million lawsuit against MMC Norilsk Nickel for environmental damage. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending April 21, 2012, domestic raw steel production was 2,003,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 81.1 percent. Production was 1,814,000 tons in the week ending April 21, 2011, while the capability utilization then was 74.2 percent. The current week production represents a 10.4 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending April 21, 2012 is up 1.4 percent from the previous week ending April 14, 2012 when production was 1,975,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 79.9 percent. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 23

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 23 to 1,090. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Manufacturing Contraction May Spur Further Monetary Easing: Economy // China May Ease Controls on Lending Rates Before Deposits Move, Zhou Says // China’s Stocks Decline on Manufacturing Report, ChiNext Rules // World’s Highest Stock Valuations Show Japan Profits Recovering From Quake // Bundesbank’s Weidmann Says What No Politician Wants to Hear During Crisis // Nestle Agrees to Buy Pfizer’s Infant Nutrition Business for $11.9 Billion // Italy Consumer Confidence Plunges to Record Low in April // Dutch Face Elections As Rutte Seeks Majority for Measures // Weidmann Says ECB Monetary Policy Not Panacea for Euro Region Debt Crisis // European Stocks Drop on Manufacturing Decline, Dutch Impasse; ING Retreats // Companies More Upbeat on U.S. Economy, NABE Survey Shows //Janet Yellen Reveals Twists With No Turns as Fed Policy Assesses Expansion // Stocks Decline With Euro on Pushback Against Budget Cuts; Copper Retreats
  • The Euro is trading 2/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1.6% and trading at $102.20/barrel. Gold is down 6/10 of 1% and silver is off 3.6%. Base metals ended their session lower as well. Indicator charts show nickel spent the day in a long steady down trend. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.96/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell below the 100,000 tonne level for a second time this month, and now totals just over 899,600 tonnes. Activity has slowed dramatically at the warehouses as cancelled warrants have fallen as well. European and Chinese concerns overshadowed upbeat US earnings reports and drove world markets lower today. HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics reported a reading of 49.1 for the China purchasing managers’ index, compared with 48.3 in March. The same company reported its survey of purchasing managers in Euro-area services and manufacturing fell to 47.4 from 49.1 in March. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte offered to resign after failing to clinch an austerity deal, while French President Nicolas Sarkozy lost the first round of his re-election bid. The US  Dow is off approximately 140 points at last check.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Upon Review, Jobs Picture Not So Pretty - more
  • 1 in 2 new graduates are jobless or underemployed - more
  • Bean Counters Get More Optimistic - more
  • Number of the Week: Smaller Tax Refunds This Year - more
  • Japan’s IMF Pledge Makes It No. 1 Fund Contributor - more
  • Manufacturing States Post Drops in Unemployment - more
  • When Factories Close, the Pain Lasts for Decades - more
  • Planet Earth's Current-Account Deficit Grows 18% - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.05/lb lower, with other London traded base metals lower as well. The Euro is trading 6/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are down nearly 9/10 of 1% and trading at $102.99/barrel. Gold is down 3/4 of 1% while silver is off 2-1/4%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China down 8/10 of 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning while US futures show Wall Street could open down triple digits. Nickel stockpiles fell overnight.
  • Reuters morning - Copper falls as EU factory data, politics, weigh - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals step back, copper hit by profit-taking - more

  Reports

  • China Imports and Exports of Base Metals in March 2012 - more
  • Robry Monday Morning Economic Assessment - more
  • Weekly Scoreboard - pdf here
  • Reuters Inside Metals - pdf here
  • Commonwealth Daily Alert- pdf here
  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Metals Insight - pdf here

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Copper prices pushed higher on Friday, pulling the rest of the metals up along with it on account of an unexpected rise in a German business sentiment index reading and on news that IMF coffers would be boosted to the tune of $430 billion. Most other markets pushed higher on Friday as well, helped in no small part by the surging Euro which ran up to a two-week high of $1.32 despite rising Spanish yields, which topped 6% three times last week. However, trading volume was light, with COMEX copper turnover hitting 68,600 lots, down sharply from last week's record high of 127,276. Furthermore, Reuters reports that LME open interest in copper fell to its lowest level in more than two years. It’s a far different story today, with metals sharply lower and wiping out all of Friday’s gains. Other complexes are also off, with losses seen in energy, precious metals, and the Euro. US stocks are expected to open lower as well, following sloppy equity sessions in both Europe and Asia. Dow futures are pointing to a 120-point opening decline. ..... On the macro side, a number of statistics out earlier today have also hurt sentiment, arguably more in metals than in any of the other commodities. In this regard, the Germans reported that the country’s manufacturing sector unexpectedly shrank at its fastest pace in nearly three years in April, with Markit's manufacturing PMI index falling to 46.3 from March's 48.4. "Reports are that sales to southern Europe are particularly weak, so there is some evidence of troubles in the periphery (of the euro zone) spilling over to the core," a Markit analyst told Reuters. A companion survey, however, showed the pace of growth in German services increasing slightly to 52.6 from 52.1 in March. ..... Nickel is at $17,560, down $245, and struggling once again. We are likely on track to test the recent low of $17,125. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) It’s reported that the construction of the world’s largest stainless steel complex base was started in Wugang City in Henan Province. It’s said that it will take 5 years to complete the construction
  • (Reuters) ANZ lowers gold, nickel price forecasts for Q2 2012
  • (Interfax) Despite clocking record steel output last month, China's share of global production edged down as activity increased among steelmakers worldwide amid higher prices and stronger demand during the peak season.
  • Mine to medal: Olympic medal journey at London show - more

  FeCr's Dual Pricing Stirs Benchmark System (Part 2) = China's sharp rise in stainless steel production is making a structural change over the ferrochrome market = (Continued from Part 1) On the other hand in China, its domestic production of ferrochrome is expected to sharply rise in the near future as it did with stainless steel. - more

  Ramu NiCo confirms report of ‘minor spill’ - Ramu nickel cobalt developer in Madang, Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd has confirmed that there was a “minor spill” of sodium hy­droxide at its refinery plant in Basamuk last Wednesday. - more

  Nickel miner ponders court challenge - A High Court challenge to the carbon tax will centre on a government decision that is likely to hand windfall carbon tax compensation to BHP and cut that for Queensland's Yabulu nickel refinery owned by Labor's arch-enemy, Clive Palmer. - more

  Rusal’s $43 Billion Seven-Year Glencore Deal Feeds Fued - United Co. Rusal, the world’s biggest aluminum supplier, is locked in to selling $43 billion of the metal to Glencore International Plc over seven years in a contract that’s fueling a feud among billionaire investors, four people familiar with the accord said. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 20

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 39 to 1067. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China May Cut Reserve Ratio Without Altering Stance on Inflation: Economy // Bo Ouster Threatens Model Easing Wealth Gap in Largest China Municipality // China’s Stocks Rise, Capping Weekly Advance, on Monetary, Fiscal Outlook // Economics 101 for Bank of Japan Recommended as Takenaka Presses for Easing // German Confidence Gauge Beating Forecasts Signals Stronger Growth: Economy // Europe Urged to Fight Financial Crisis as G-20 Warns of Increased Stress // European Stocks Rise as German Confidence Increases; Bank Shares Lead Gain // Mortgage-Tax Deduction Curbed by Housing Slump as U.S. States Get Rewards // Nine U.S. Banks Said to be Examined on Overdraft Fees // Recession Taught Profligate Americans the Value of Savings Cache: Economy // Stocks Gain With Commodities, Euro on Earnings, German Business Confidence
  • The Euro is trading 6/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 1.5% and trading at $103.83/each. Gold is up less than 1/10 of 1% while silver is 4.10 of 1% lower. Base metals ended higher today, after German business confidence unexpectedly rose for a sixth straight month in April, giving the Euro a boost. Indicator charts show nickel rose steadily thru most of the day, until it crossed $18,000/tonne and fell back. For the day and week, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.08/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose above the 100,000 tonne level for a second time this month and currently total just shy of 100,100 tonnes. US markets are higher after strong earnings reports, German business confidence rose, and rumors grow that China will take further measures to stimulate its economy. Nickel ended $.23lb lower for the week.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Recovery Downshifts but Doesn’t Break Down - more
  • Food Stamp Rolls to Grow Through 2014, CBO Says - more
  • Domestic Demand Seems to Be Holding Up - more
  • The Real Tax Rates of the Rich - more
  • CEO pay balloons to 380 times average worker's - more

  DJ China Sinosteel Begins Trial Output At 80,000-Ton Ferronickel Plant -Association - Chinese steelmaker Sinosteel Corp. has begun trial production at a major ferronickel plant at its Sinosteel Binhai industrial base in Hebei province, a report on the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association's website said Thursday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb higher, with most other London traded base metals higher as well. The Euro is trading over 1/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are nearly 6/10 of 1% higher and trading at $102.85/barrel. Gold is up 1/10 of 1% while silver is 2/10 of 1% lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 1/2%. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures hint Wall Street may shake off two days of losses
  • LME Morning - Base metals stagnant, eurozone eyed as French presidential elections loom - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Abbreviated commentary: It seems that while this writer was away at the ISRI conference in over the past two days, not much has changed in terms of the metal markets, which makes the job of catching up somewhat easier. ..... In terms of the business outlook, we got the impression from our various meetings that demand in the was quite good. Most people we talked to have had a decent 2011 and a strong start to 2012. However, some did report a slower April compared to the first quarter, while almost all were wary about the longer-term outlook, with US elections, slowing Chinese demand, and uncertainty about the Euro clouding visibility. Right now, metal prices are higher on reports out of that major economies will pledge more money to boost the IMF. Although the amount involved has yet to be announced, Europe and have already promised $320 billion, while emerging nations are now trying to chip in an extra $100 billion, about in line with the $400 billion that the Fund has requested. However, the money is not “in the bank” just yet, and we suspect that these amounts will likely not be enough to prevent “Euro jitters” from dissipating entirely, best reflected in the fact that Spanish yields continue to remain high. .... (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to statistics released by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), the output of austenitic stainless acquired 64.2% of the US’s total stainless production in 2011, lower than the share of 68.1% in 2010.
  • (Interfax) Iron ore stockpiles at China's 30 major ports edged down this week as steel prices leveled off after seven weeks of gains while iron ore prices remained steady, discouraging new purchases, according to Shanghai-based Mysteel Information.
  • Copper Traders Turn Bullish for First Time in Six Weeks - more
  • (China) More policy easing on way to boost economy - more

  Ramu nickel cobalt mine in production - After a number of setbacks, Ramu nickel cobalt mine in Madang, has been commissioned and is now in production and nearing first sales in coming months, according to partner, Highlands Pacific. - more

  FeCr's Dual Pricing Stirs Benchmark System (Part 1) = As a result, ESKOM's power buyback revealed growing fragility of the system = The long negotiations for the benchmark price applicable to the shipments of charge chrome to Europe during the Q2 (April - June) recently ended with an increase by US¢20/lb Cr, which was a result of European stainless steel mills' compromise to accept most of the proposed raise of US¢22 - 25/lb Cr by the South African sellers based on the forecasted lower supply of charge chrome during the quarter caused by ESKOM's power buyback program. Consequently the new benchmark price for Europe rose to US¢135/lb Cr. - more

  BHP Colombia nickel mine output up 72 pct - Nickel production in BHP Billiton Cerro Matoso mine in Colombia rose 72 percent in the first quarter from the year earlier thanks to the replacement of a furnace, the company said. - more

  POSCO expects earnings to improve in second half - South Korea's POSCO, Asia's second-biggest steelmaker, expects earnings to improve in the second half as a better global economic outlook allows the company to ask for higher domestic product prices. - more

  Global, China steel output rises in March - Global crude steel production rose 1.8 percent to 132 metric million tonnes (145.5 million tons) in March, compared to the same month last year, data from the World Steel Association showed on Friday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 19

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index -  plus 22 to 1,028. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Geithner Calls China’s Widening of Yuan Trading Band ‘Very Significant’ // China’s Central Bank to Ensure Adequate Availability of Cash, Xinhua Says // World’s Richest Are Worth $1 Trillion as Alwaleed Joins Billionaires Index // Japan’s Fastest Export Growth in Year Boosts Outlook for Recovery: Economy // Spain Joins France to Sell $17 Billion in Debt as Yields Rise // Hollande Vows Minimum Wage Rise as Sarkozy Warns on Deficit // French Credit Risk at Three-Month High // European Stocks Drop a Second Day as U.S. House Sales Unexpectedly Decline // Google Seeks Billions by Boosting Mobile Internet Speeds // Bush Tax Cut Armageddon Could Yield Better Tax Code // U.S. Jobless Claims, Home-Sales Decline Show Recovery Moderating: Economy // Stocks in U.S. Decline on Jobless, Home-Sales Data as French Bonds Retreat
  • The Euro is now trading slightly higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is over 1/10 of 1% lower and trading at $102.54/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1/10 of 1% while silver is 6/10 of 1% higher. Base metals ended their session mixed and mostly higher. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, spent most of the first 2/3 of the session in a slide, then falling, spiking, and falling again in very choppy and volatile trading. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.98/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose on Wednesday and now total just over 99,750 tonnes. After spending the last few weeks in the 6-7% range, cancelled warrants have fallen to the mid 4% range, reflecting a slowdown in nickel purchases. US markets are lower today with economic reports coming out lower than expected and European concerns not going away. Corporate profits are still coming out better than expected, so market has underlying support.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Why Isn’t Canada Benefiting From Oil Prices? - more
  • Fischer Points to Israel as Example for Euro Zone - more
  • Would Repeal of Key Dodd-Frank Provision Really Save $22 Billion? - more
  • Key Reason for Wage Inequality Is Education - more
  • A ban on oil speculation? - more
  • Eurozone credit contagion, in 8 easy steps - more
  • Why the Wealthy Are Worried About the Economy - more

  Indonesian Ore Export Ban to Boost Nickel, Norilsk Nickel Says - Indonesia’s planned ban on exports of unprocessed metal ores may push nickel prices higher and revive production at idled mines, according to Norilsk Nickel. - more

  BRIC Countries To Drive Global Steelmaking To Record High in 2012 - MEPS predicts global steel output at 1625 million tonnes this year. This equates to a rise of over 80 million tonnes (5.4 percent) compared with 2011. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.03/lb higher, with other London traded base metals mixed and mostly quiet. The Euro is trading nearly 3/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are flat and trading at $102.68/barrel. Gold is down 4/10 of 1% while silver is off nearly 6/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China down over 1/10 of 1%. European markets are trading slightly higher this morning and US futures show Wall Street will try to shake off yesterday's drop. Nickel stockpiles grew on Wednesday as in and outbound shipments slow dramatically.  
  • LME Morning - Base metals climb slightly but eurozone concerns cap gains - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Next report to be published on Friday

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to statistics, the crude stainless steel output made by 7 major Japanese stainless producers totaled 281,560 tons in February, down slightly from a month earlier.
  • Talvivaara posts operating loss, lower production guidance - more
  • (JS) According to statistics, the stainless steel inventory totaled 157,791 tonnes in Chinese Foshan market in end of March 2012, decreasing by 6.04% from a half month earlier
  • Rio Tinto more confident on commodities outlook - more
  • (Reuters) China's steel companies made a loss of around 1 billion yuan ($158.69 million) in the first quarter compared with a profit of 25.8 billion yuan a year ago, an official with the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) said on Wednesday.
  • (SM) The American Forest & Paper Association released its March 2012 U.S. Paperboard Report today. Total boxboard production decreased by 3.6% compared to March 2011, but increased 3.9% from last month.
  • The Economy of Sulawesi Indonesia - more
  • Forbes names Russia's new wealthiest man - more

  Japan Imported Ferroalloy Market Report April 13, 2012 = Increased scrutiny by Chinese customs against the roundabout trade causing a bit of stir in the market = Market outlook in Japan of the imported ferroalloys as of April 13, 2012 is as follows: - more

  Miners From Australia Wary of Impending Rules in Indonesia - Australian miners are concerned about the impact of the Indonesian government’s new mining sector policies, which include a plan to ban exports of unprocessed metal ores and a required divestment of mining operation stakes by foreign investors. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 18

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 17 to 1,006. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Home Prices Fall in More Than Half of Cities Tracked as Curbs Remain // North Korea Breaks Off Nuclear Accord as Food Aid Halted // China’s Stocks Rise Most in Two Months on Policy Speculation, IMF Forecast // Asian Stocks Rise as IMF Raises GDP Forecast, Spain Debt Sale Beats Target // Soaring Spanish Bad Loans Cast Doubt on Public Cost of Propping Up Banks // Spanish Banks Gorging on Sovereign Bonds Shifts Risk to European Taxpayers // Russia Said to Halt Syrian Arms Supplies After U.S. Pressure // German Government Bonds Outperform Peers on Euro Debt Crisis Safety Demand // Soaring Spanish Bad Loans Cast Doubt on Public Cost of Propping Up Banks // European Stocks Decline; Repsol, Santander Lead Losses in Spanish Shares // Jobs Data Simultaneous Release at Risk as U.S. Review Spurs Restrictions // Tyson, Cargill Hurt by ‘Pink Slime’ Ahead Grilling Season // Fannie Mae Proposal Is Said to Include U.S. Safety Net for Home Mortgages // Stocks Fall on Intel’s Results as Treasuries Advance, Crude Oil Declines
  • The Euro is now trading just under 1/10 of 1% against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are off 1-2/3% and trading at $102.46/barrel. Gold is trading 6/10 of 1% lower, while silver is 8/10 of 1% lower. Base metals ended the session mostly lower, with only zinc ending flat. Indicator charts show nickel traded choppy all day, tumbling late. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.00/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose on Tuesday and now total just over 99,600 tonnes. Markets appear to be jittery as traders await the results from tomorrow's Spanish bond auction. In the nickel and stainless industry, the only real news is the ongoing saga of the Indonesian ban on ore exports and when exactly, this will happen.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MB) The Indonesian Nickel Association is suing the government over plans to ban raw material exports from May 6, sources told Metal Bulletin.
  • Occupy the Buttonwood Tree: The 99% in 1765 - more
  • Small-Business Owners, Banks Blame Washington for Credit Woes - more
  • Why Richard Koo’s idea won’t save the Eurozone - more
  • Vital Signs: Warm Weather Fuels Home Improvement - more

  Small Miners in Indonesia Need to Team Up With Smelters: Government - Small miners in Indonesia, a major producer of raw materials, need to team up with larger firms investing in smelters to avoid a 2014 ban on raw mineral exports, a government official said on Tuesday. - more

  • Doomsday Is the Theme as Nickel Miners Meet in Bali - While students and unions protested a proposed fuel subsidy cut in the capital and other cities across the country on Thursday, a small group of nickel miners gathered on Bali to voice their own concerns. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.01/lb higher with other London traded base metals lower. The Euro is trading 4/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are up 1/10 of 1% and trading at $104.11/barrel. Gold is down 1/2 of 1% and silver is off 2/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up over 2-1/4%. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures show Wall Street may open lower. Nickel stockpiles rose on Tuesday.  
  • Reuters morning - Copper gains on China equities rise; Europe caution - more
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Advances for Second Day on Demand Expectations - more
  • LME Morning - Eurozone uncertainty dogs market, base metals mixed - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • no report on Wednesday or Thursday

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (MN) The world’s largest iron ore producer Vale has attributed a 15% quarter-on-quarter drop in iron production to high rainfall impacting on its Brazilian operations.
  • (TA) BHP Billiton missed production forecasts for the March quarter at its rain and strike-hit Queensland coking coal mines, and today warned that industrial action would have a big impact on performance.
  • (Yieh) Reportedly, Chinese stainless steel mills’ oversupply has been threatening the nearby countries. According to the latest statistics, the capacity utilization rate of the Chinese stainless facilities was only at 61.3%, caused by surged output and weak demand. Facing the fierce price competiveness from cheap import, Tang Eng, one of the major stainless steel mills in Taiwan has been mulling to file the antidumping investigation against the cheap imports from China and South Korea.
  • (Interfax) China plans to cut taxes on domestic iron ore in a bid to put pressure on import prices and reduce costs for its beleaguered steel industry, an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) told the at 2012 International Iron Ore Market Seminar in Qingdao on Tuesday.
  • (Dow Jones) Dafeng Port Group Co., a port operator in eastern Jiangsu province, is investing $420 million to build a ferronickel plant in Indonesia, Jiangsu's Yancheng City Development and Reform Commission said on its website Wednesday. - more
  • (China) Home prices decline in most cities in March - more
  • (SM) The American Forest & Paper Association released its March 2012 U. S. Containerboard Statistics Report today. Containerboard production gained 2.5% over the same month last year.

  Indonesia Readies Ban on Unprocessed Metal-Ore Shipments - Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, will proceed with a plan to ban exports of unprocessed metal ores including bauxite from next month, while confirming an exemption for producers that intend to treat output locally. - more

  • Indonesia Readies Ban on Unprocessed Metal-Ore Shipments - Indonesia will proceed with a plan to ban exports of unprocessed metal ores including bauxite from next month, while confirming an exemption for producers that intend to treat output locally. - more

  Molybdenum Tax Increase Could Spark Higher Imports In China - The new tax rate for molybdenum is the first increase since January 1st, 2006 and is spread across five different categories of mines; from class one at the high end to class five at the lowest. - more

  Mincor increases nickel mine output - Nickel miner Mincor Resources has reported a lift in third quarter output and says it is on track to meet its full year production targets. - more

  Vale fined for New Caledonia acid spill - New Caledonia’s appeal court has fined the Vale nickel company 5,000 US dollars over an acid spill at its Goro plant three years ago. - more

  China's Imports Of Raw Materials In February 2012 - more

  Growth Levels Off in March - March shipments of aluminum and steel were only slightly changed in both the United States and Canada. Inventory positions also remained nearly constant in both countries. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 17

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 14 to 989. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China’s Foreign Direct Investment Drops for Fifth Month on Slowing Economy // China Added to its Treasury Holdings in February as Japan’s Stake Climbed // India Lowers Interest Rates More Than Estimated to Stoke Growth: Economy // Japan to Provide $60 Billion to IMF to Boost Crisis Resources, Azumi Says // Rio Tinto’s Iron Ore Production Misses Analyst Estimates // Spain Sells More Bills Than Planned With Borrowing Costs Rising at Auction // German Investor Confidence Unexpectedly Climbs to Two-Year High: Economy // Euro Area March Inflation Rate Higher Than Estimated on Energy, Transport // European Stocks Climb Most Since December on Spanish Debt, German Economy // Short Sales Surpass Foreclosures as Banks Agree to Deals // U.S. Factory Production Cools for the First Time Since November: Economy // Stocks, Commodities Advance on Spanish Debt Auction, IMF Growth Forecasts
  • The Euro is trading over 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up nearly 1.6% and trading at $104.55/barrel. Gold is down over 1/10 of 1% and silver is 2/3 of 1% higher. Base metals ended the session mostly higher. Indicator charts show nickel rose early, and after spiking to around $18,000 tonne, fell $250/tonne in a few minutes, before returning to its trend. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.09/lb . Stockpiles of nickel held in LME licensed warehouses fell on Monday and now totals just over 98,850 tonnes. US reports were disappointing but you couldn't tell that from the reaction of the equity markets today. In fact, any bad news is being ignored in light of strong earnings reports and easing concerns about Spain. US housing starts fell sharply, and industrial production stalled for a second month in March. But with the Dow trading nearly 200 points higher and the FTSE ending up over 100 points, nickel fought to turn positive today. Inbound and outbound activity at LME registered warehouses remains higher than normal.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Q&A: New President Jim Kim on World Bank Priorities - more
  • Don’t Expect Another Midyear Swoon in 2012 - more
  • China’s century or America’s? - more
  • Vital Signs: Consumers Gloomier on Current Conditions - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending April 14, 2012, domestic raw steel production was 1,975,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 79.9 percent. Production was 1,814,000 tons in the week ending April 14, 2011, while the capability utilization then was 74.2 percent. The current week production represents a 8.9 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending April 14, 2012 is up 0.9 percent from the previous week ending April 7, 2012 when production was 1,958,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 79.2 percent.

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.13/lb higher, with other London traded base metals mixed and mostly higher. The Euro is presently trading slightly lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are trading 7/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. Gold is trading slightly higher and silver is up nearly 4/10 of1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China down 1-1/4%. European markets are trading higher this morning, with US futures higher as well. Stockpiles of nickel fell on Monday.   
  • Reuters morning - Copper steadies after fall; supply in spotlight - more
  • LME Morning - Most metals track euro off lows but tin slips to fresh three-month low - more

  Reports

  • SMR Monthly Stainless Steel Briefing - All downhill from now? - more
  • SSINA Releases Market Data for January 2012 - pdf here
  • Reuters Inside Metals - pdf here
  • Commonwealth Daily Alert- pdf here
  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Metals Insight - pdf here

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Metals ended slightly lower yesterday, although tin and nickel fared the worst, with each losing a whopping $850/ton on the day. There were sizable declines in Brent oil prices and some of the grain markets as well, while the Euro weakened early on before snapping back late in the day, likely on a bout of short-covering. There is no doubt that the bullish mood in the commodity markets has soured, as more investors begin to question the upside potential going into 2012. In fact, Bloomberg ran a story yesterday to this effect, pointing out that money managers lowered net-long positions across 18 U.S. futures and options exchanges by 9.3% in the week ending April 10th, their biggest reduction since December. Copper COMEX holdings tumbled 84%, its biggest drop in six months. It’s not difficult to see why the bullish appetite for commodities is starting to wane. In addition to worries about another potential flare-up in the Eurozone, markets are also watching developments in China with justifiable concern, given how prominent a buyer the country has become in a number of commodity markets over the years.  .....  In other news, Reuters reported yesterday that Glencore is thought to be holding a dominant long position in the copper market, as LME data showed one entity controlling 50-80% of combined cash contracts and inventories. Dealers say that Glencore is facing off against Chinese speculators, who have taken short positions. In the meantime, backwardations are flaring out, with the premium of cash to three’s trading at $75 per ton yesterday, the highest since October 2008, while April/May is at $42. It is not certain when these backs will start to ease, as canceled warrants continue to rise, while LME inventories have resumed declining. Finally, we present below the latest Reuters poll survey results for both this year and next on the various LME metals: The table can be accessed through our report... Nickel is at $17,827, up $322, and making up a portion of yesterday’s steep plunge that took prices to $17,500; charts continue to look poor. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) Reportedly, Taigang Stainless, the largest stainless producer in China announced to cut the list prices of its stainless steel products by another RMB200~RMB600/ton for May deliveries, in response to weak nickel prices and sluggish demand.
  • (Interfax) The increased volatility of the renminbi after China widened the currency's daily trading band against the dollar will curb demand for copper as collateral in offshore yuan trading, reducing imports and weighing on global prices of the metal, Myyouse analyst Wang Yu told Interfax Tuesday.
  • (China) Costs, shrinking demand squeezing exporters - more

  Japan Crude SUS Production Almost Unchanged; February 2012 = Maintaining the level of total production of the preceding month = Crude stainless steel production in February 2012 by the 7 major Japanese stainless steel mills was 281,560 tons, only marginally down from January. Although there were some ups and downs by mill among the seven, total monthly production of February was unchanged from January. - more

  Nickel and ferrochrome prices diverge - Power of supply-side economics shows in nickel and ferrochrome markets with Xstrata having curbed ferrochrome output by 425000 tons. - more

  Citi Bullish On Nickel, Gold, Palladium; Bearish On Copper, Silver - Citigroup Inc said Monday that it's bullish on nickel, gold, and palladium and bearish on copper and silver following its latest revision to commodity price forecasts between 2012 and 2014. - more

  Filipino priest wins international environment award - Filipino priest Edwin Gariguez has been named one of the winners of The Goldman Environmental Prize award over his anti-mining advocacies, particularly in the island of Mindoro. - more

  What If 2007 Was the Commodities Cycle Peak? - As we layer price plots of the credit bubble peak in 2007 over stock and commodity charts we cannot help but wonder whether we might not already have seen the peak of commodity prices for some years to come. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 16

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 3 to 975.   (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Widening Yuan Band Signals Confidence in Expansion After Bo Ouster // Yuan Drops Most in a Week, Tracking Asia Losses, as Trading Band Doubles // Hedge Funds Cut Commodity Bets on Slowing China Growth // India’s Inflation Exceeds Estimates, Limiting Room for Interest Rate Cuts // Euro Area to Seek Bigger IMF War Chest as Concerns Over Spanish Debt Mount // Euro Weakens Below $1.30 for First Time in Two Months on Crisis Concern // Rajoy Says Spain Must Act More Quickly Than He Had Envisaged When Elected // Home Sellers Across U.K. Sought Record Prices on Supply Shortage: Economy // European Stocks Advance as International Power Shares Climb on Stake Sale // No Double-Dip Deja Vu Seen for U.S. Economy Amid Resilience Missed in 2011 // U.S. Retail Sales Rise More Than Forecast on Improving Job Market: Economy // Treasuries Gain as Spanish 10-Year Bonds Decline, S&P 500 Index Fluctuates
  • The Euro is now trading slightly higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude si down 1/3 of 1% and trading at $102.47/barrel. Gold is trading over 1/2 of 1% lower, while silver is down 4/10 of 1%. Base metals ended their week opening session mixed, with nickel and tin getting hit rather hard. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, did little for much of the session, before plunging late. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.94/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose on Friday and now totals just over 99,300 tonnes. Activity in the warehouses was heavy, with two large receipts being offset by two withdrawals. Nickel closed below the $8/lb level for the first time this month - that only happening on two occasions last month. Stockpiles saw a near 950 tonne gain today, but still remain below the psychological 100,000 tonne level. European and US equity markets are higher today, as positive earnings and economic news overshadows Spanish debt concerns. The debt problem has not gone away however, so we might see a volatile week on world markets.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Fed Won’t Bow to Political Pressure - more
  • Consumer Sentiment Dips - more
  • Real Estate Drags on China Growth, Domestic Consumption Is Bright Spot - more

   Papua New Guinea halts controversial nickel mine - for now - A massive, controversial nickel mine has been shut down in Papua New Guinea due to the environmental concerns of its slurry pipeline, reports Cultural Survival. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.08/lb lower, with other London traded base metals mixed. The Euro is trading 4/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are down 1/3 of 1% and trading at $102.47/barrel. Gold is down 2/3 of 1% and silver is down over 1/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China down 1/4 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures are higher at the moment. Nickel stockpiles rose sharply on Friday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper at 3-mth lows; stalked by China, eurozone - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals off lows but eurozone jitters weigh - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Copper prices punched below the $8,000 mark for the first time in three months on Friday, as disappointing GDP data out of China weighed on the metals group and other complexes as well. For the week as a whole, copper was off some 4%, among the worst performers in the CRB index. In addition, the selling occurred in heavy volume, with Friday's COMEX turnover nearly two-thirds above the 30-day average, this according to Reuters data. Despite the fact that other Chinese macro indicators outside of the GDP numbers were either in line or slightly ahead of estimates, investors nevertheless latched onto the main reading and concluded that the country is now undoubtedly on a slowing growth spiral. The question now raging among China-watchers is just how long and how deep will this slowdown run; we have gone on record as saying we suspect the deceleration will be deeper and last longer than the conventional forecasts have it, meaning that the metals outlook for the balance of the year will be restrained at best. In addition to China, worries over Spain hung heavy over the markets on Friday, bashing the Euro and sending it to a low of about $1.3070. Prices for Spanish default swaps jumped to a record high as government attempts to reassure investors with austerity measures and revised tax collection procedures seemed to be falling flat.  .... Finally, price forecasts from the latest Reuters poll have come out showing that on average, analysts expect copper prices to hit $8,445 a ton in 2012 and increase to $8,818 in 2013. Meanwhile, analysts surveyed expect aluminum to average $2,250 a ton this year, with a market surplus seen at 445,000 tons. The nickel market is forecast to have a surplus of 36,000 tons in 2012, with cash nickel prices seen averaging $19,988. We will present the full results in tomorrow’s report. .....Nickel is at $18,091, down $219, and struggling; charts suggest a further probe lower, perhaps down to the low to mid-$17,000 mark. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Reuters) Poll-LME Cash Nickel To Average $19,988/T in2012, $20,414 in2013, vs January Forecast of $19,875 for 2012, $21,200 for 2013
  • (Yieh) According to the data of China Iron & Steel Association (CISA), Chinese steel industry faced big losses in the first quarter due to high raw material costs and slow demand.
  • (CNW) Liberty Mines Ships First Batch of Nickel Concentrate Since Re-Starting Operations
  • (MR) A large nickel reserve, estimated at more than 20Mt, has been found in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.
  • (SBB) PT ANTAM Tbk announced that it has switched on the FeNi II ferronickel smelter following the completion of its optimization program.
  • Decapo Stainless Continued price stability - more

  Citi Bullish On Nickel, Gold, Palladium; Bearish On Copper, Silver - Citigroup Inc said Monday that it's bullish on nickel, gold, and palladium and bearish on copper and silver following its latest revision to commodity price forecasts between 2012 and 2014. - more

  Nickel-absorbing plant to be featured in agri forum - An indigenous plant capable of absorbing nickel will be the showcase of Agri-Entrepreneurs’ Forum and Techno Clinic of the 42nd Annual Scientific Conference of the Crop Science Society of the Philippines (CSSP) scheduled on April 16 to 21 in this city. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 13

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 12 to 972. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China’s Less-Than-Forecast 8.1% Growth May Signal Easing // North Korean Rocket Disintegrates in Setback for Kim’s Four-Month-Old Rule // Singapore GDP Rebound Prompts Faster Currency Gains on Inflation Concerns // ECB Seen Favoring Bond Purchases Over Three-Year Loans as Crisis Deepens // Spanish Bank Borrowing From ECB Soared Almost 50% in March to Reach Record // Spanish Default Risk at Record as Rajoy Struggles to Avoid Bailout Stigma // European Stocks Decline as Chinese Economic Growth Slows; Bank Shares Drop // Fed Rift Over Interest Rate Outlook Widens Amid Signs Job Market Cooling // Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Eases as Employment Growth Diminishes: Economy // Stocks, Copper Fall as Treasuries Rise After China’s Economic Growth Slows
  • The Euro is now trading 8/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 6/10 of 1% and trading at $103.03/barrel. Gold is trading 6/10 of 1% lower while silver is down 2.7%.  Base metals ended the session lower. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower and trended lower throughout the session, but considering the weakness in the Euro, it held up pretty well. For the day and week, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.31/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell slightly on Thursday and now total just under the 98,400 tonne level.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Yellen Faces Testy Questioners - more
  • Corporations Are Consumers, My Friend - more
  • The US Has the Highest Share of Employees in Low Wage Work - more

  Ind. rivers, streams have worst pollution in nation - The amount of pollution in Indiana’s rivers and streams is greater than any other state’s in the country, according to a study recently released by Environment America Research and Policy Center. - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.06/lb lower, with other London traded base metals lower as well. The Euro is trading 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are down nearly 1/10 of 1% and trading at $103.57/barrel. Gold is down 2/10 of 1% while silver is down 1/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up nearly 4/10 of 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures show Wall Street is unhappy about China missing GDP estimates for the first quarter. Nickel stockpiles fell slightly on Thursday.
  • Reuters morning - China March copper, aluminium output near record - more
  • LME Morning - Metals easier, China's slowing GDP puts skids on sentiment - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Metals soared yesterday, with copper finishing 2% higher on the day in heavy volume, as COMEX turnover ran at more than 50% above the 30-day norm, this according to Reuters data. All other metals pushed higher as well, as did a host of other commodities. In fact, fourteen of the nineteen commodity complexes in the CRB index were up by 1% or more, led by nickel (up 4%). Even natural gas, which we wrote about in yesterday's commentary, finally managed to break a multi-day losing streak to finish with a good gain. In the equity markets, US stitched together their best two-day advance so far this year. A weaker dollar and talk from two Fed governors that the central bank would remain accommodative into 2014 triggered yesterday’s across-the-board advance. Ironically, the disappointing U.S. jobless claims data was also interpreted positively, as it reinforced the notion that the Fed would remain easy for far longer. Impressive as yesterday’s run was in metals, we are now rolling back most of these gains in the aftermath of the long-awaited Chinese macro numbers, released overnight. In this regard, the government reported that China's GDP expanded by 8.1% from a year earlier, the smallest amount in almost three years, and coming in well below the 8.3%-8.4% rate expected. .... Nickel is at $18,509, down $191, and giving up some of yesterday’s impressive run higher. Resistance remains at $18,700. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to statistics, the stainless steel inventory totaled 157,791 tons in Chinese Foshan market in end of March, decreasing by 6.04% from a half month earlier
  • (Interfax) China's crude steel production grew 10.2 percent month-on-month in March to hit a record high of 61.58 million tons on the back of higher steel prices and increased demand, according to data released Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
  • China's Q1 GDP growth slows to 8.1% - more

  Indonesia finmin sees mining export tax rule by June - Indonesia will issue a mining export tax regulation by June, the country's finance minister said on Friday, showing the government is pushing ahead with a policy that is worrying resource firms. - more

  Antam Switches On Feni II Smelting Plant - PT ANTAM is pleased to announce it has switched on the FeNi II ferronickel smelter following the completion of its optimization program. - more

  BHP CEO: some processing operations under pressure - BHP Billiton Ltd. Chief Executive Marius Kloppers said Thursday that some of its minerals processing operations are under pressure from softening prices and high costs. - more

  Miners strike out against MRRT with advertising campaign - The mining industry has broken its advertising truce with the Gillard government, launching a pre-emptive strike against potential tax rises aimed at the resources sector in next month's budget.- more

  Japan FeNi 2011 Production Down 17% YoY = PAMCO down 31% due to forced curtailment by Earthquakes/Tsunami = Japan's ferronickel production in 2011 (calendar year) was 56,300 tons (of nickel content unless stated otherwise, an estimate), down by 16.6% from 67,520 tons produced in 2010. - more

  Nickel Asia’s Q1 shipment drop 16% to P1.66 billion - Nickel Asia Corporation on Thursday said the value of its shipments in the first quarter dropped by 16 percent to P1.66 billion, reflecting the decline in world nickel prices. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 12

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 16 to 960. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Growth Seen at Slowest Since ’09 With Wen Revival Due This Quarter // Top Forecasters See Copper Advancing Even With China Slowing: Commodities // China’s Stocks Rise Most in 2 Months on Monetary Policy Easing Speculation // Indonesia Extends Pause in Interest-Rate Cuts as Inflation Risks Persist // Sony to Cut 10,000 Jobs in Hirai Plan to Revive Consumer-Electronics Maker // Italy Borrowing Costs Rise on Concern Spain’s Woes Reigniting Debt Crisis // Spain Calls State Set-Up Excessive as Bill Tightens Regions’ Budget Rules // European Stocks Gain for Second Day as Fed Indicates Rates Will Remain Low // Broadest Bull Market Since 1990 Masked by Apple Adding 8% to S&P 500 Index // Romney Camp Woos Women While Stumbling on Equal Pay // IMF’s Lagarde Says Europe Remains Main Risk to Economy as U.S. Strengthens // U.S. Jobless Claims Reach Two-Month High in Sign of Slower Hiring: Economy // Stocks in U.S. Advance While Dollar, Yen Weaken Amid Stimulus Speculation
  • The Euro is trading over 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are up 9/10 of 1% and trading at $103.61/barrel. Gold is 1.1% higher, while silver is up 2.9%. Base metals traded higher today, as borrowing costs fell in Europe, alleviating some debt concerns. Indicator charts show nickel spent the day in an uptrend, spiking late in the session. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.48/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored IN LME approved warehouses fell on Wednesday and nw total just under 98,450 tonnes. Nickel made the Wall Street Journal today, and the title of their article is "Indonesian Ban Could Be Turning Point for Nickel" (see below). Stockpiles took a second consecutive big hit today, and BNP announced "A sustained structural nickel surplus is still forecast but is no longer a foregone conclusion". Stockpiles appear to be disappearing as customers and/or investors snap up nickel at what they apparently hope is a bargain price. With so much uncertainty surrounding the Indonesia situation, markets could remain volatile as traders try to outsmart the market.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel exports rose 18.4% in February from the previous month, and was up 64.5% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel imports rose 9.9% in February from last month, and was up 18.7% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
  • Incentives Where Workers Pay Taxes to the Boss - more
  • Food Frenzy: An Economist Analyzes Eating - more
  • IMF Warns U.S. Underestimates Costs of Citizens Living Longer - more
  • Good Jobs News: More People Are Quitting - more

  Nickel surplus still likely but no longer guaranteed: BNP Paribas - A sustained structural nickel surplus is still forecast but is no longer a foregone conclusion, investment bank BNP Paribas said in a research note Thursday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.05/lb higher, with other London traded base metals higher as well. The Euro is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are up over 1/2 of 1% and trading at $103.28/barrel. Gold is down 4/10 of 1% while silver is lower by the same margin. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 2%. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures point to a higher opening. Nickel stockpiles fell hard for a second consecutive day.
  • Reuters morning - Copper up as ECB comments ease Euro debt worries - more
  • LME Morning - Metals steadier as rebound continues, cut gains with sentiment nervy - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Metals steadied somewhat yesterday after six European countries sold debt without much of a glitch, adding a measure of stability to the credit markets. The closely watched Italian auction was mixed, in that although short-term yields moved higher, (double what they were a month ago), the full allocation was taken out. The German auction, on the other hand, was somewhat sloppier, as investors did not take up their full allotment. Ten-year Spanish bonds did better, with yields declining by 10 basis points to 5.88% and backing away from the critical 6% mark. The calmer conditions were enough to reinvigorate the Euro, which managed to trade above $1.31 for most of the session. Other markets were also firmer, with good gains seen in US equities and energy, although gold and silver both lost ground. The markets continue to show signs of stabilizing right now, with most metals higher, led primarily by copper and zinc. Energy is also up slightly and the Euro remains steady, now at $1.3140 and at a one-week high. However, European credit markets are somewhat on the defensive, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that Italian short-term yields rose yet again at an auction held today, although longer-term 10-year yields dropped a tad to 5.57% from 5.64%. ..... Out of the US, the Fed’s “Beige Book” report released Wednesday afternoon was quite decent, revealing that the economy continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace from mid-February to late March, with good gains noted in the automotive and high-technology sectors. Manufacturers expressed optimism about near-term growth prospects, although many were concerned about rising energy prices. Mining activity expanded and oil extraction rose, but natural gas drilling slowed. Banking conditions were stable, with some improvement seen in loan demand. Hiring was steady, and although it was reportedly difficult to find highly-skilled workers, upward wage pressures remained constrained. ..... Nickel is at $18,221, up $121. Charts are looking slightly better, although the short-term downtrend remains intact and won't be taken out unless we break through $18,700. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) It’s reported that the many stainless producers in China have continued to reduce the production in April due to weak prices in domestic spot market.
  • (Interfax) Baosteel's prices for major steel products will remain unchanged in May, the leading Chinese steelmaker said Thursday, though analysts expect market prices may stop climbing next month and could start to edge downwards.
  • (MB) Spot nickel ore prices in Chinese have begun to slip this week, after going unchanged for nearly two months, due to weak demand and increased supply.
  • (FAN) The authorities in the city of Fuan in China's Fujian Province are planning to establish a super stainless steel industrial park located at the juncture of the Wanwu and Xiabaishi peninsulas.
  • Commodities Will ‘Drift Lower’ as Stimulus Ends, UBS Says - more
  • BHP won't carry loss-makers: Marius Kloppers - more
  • China's economy to grow 8.2% this year: WB - more

  Indonesian Ban Could Be Turning Point for Nickel - Nickel prices have taken a battering recently, tumbling almost 20% on the London Metal Exchange since early February. - more

  Indonesia's industry minister wants mining export tax soon - Indonesia should quickly impose a tax on mining exports, the industry minister said on Thursday in comments likely to worry miners in the world's top exporter of thermal coal and refined tin. - more

  Japan Ni-Alloyed SUS Scrap April Price Down Yen5,000 = Reflecting the continued weak trend of LME nickel price = The domestic price of nickel-alloyed stainless steel scraps (new clippings) for April deliveries was agreed to start with lowering it by Yen5,000/ton from the price for March, making it Yen145,000/ton delivered as most prevailing. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 11

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 16 to 944. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) IMF Said to Be Ready to Reduce Forecast for China Current-Account Surplus // China’s Aluminum Demand to Expand at 8-10% Annually, Novelis CEO Says // China Stocks Rise to 2-Week High as Developers Gain; Chongqing Shares Drop // Japan Machinery Orders Unexpectedly Increase in Boost to Economic Recovery // ECB’s Coeure Indicates Bank May Buy Spanish Debt to Reduce Borrowing Costs // Rajoy Says Spain’s Future Is at Stake as Crisis Forces Decision on Regions // Annan Warns of ‘Unimaginable’ Outcome to Syria Conflict // Italy Sells 11 Billion Euros of Bills as EU Crisis Concerns Boost Yields // European Stocks Rebound From Two-Month Low; Banks, Carmakers Lead Advance // Profit Drop at U.S. Banks Jeopardizes 2012 Share Rally as Loans Trail GDP // U.S. Labor Market Boosted by ‘IP-Intensive’ Industries Reliant on Patents // Stocks Rebound as Alcoa Beats Estimates; Spanish Bonds Advance With Euro
  • The Euro is now trading 1/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 1-3/4% and trading at $102.78/barrel. Gold is down 1/10 of 1% and silver is down 9/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session quietly, and except for tin and nickel, higher. Indicator charts show nickel opened in the cellar, and spent much of the day climbing. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.21/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell on Tuesday and after five business days over the 100,000 tonne level, stockpiles now total just over 99,300 tonnes. Euro concerns eased today, and Alcoa's earning's impressed; thus equity markets are higher today. After five consecutive declines, the Dow needed a rebound session, and is getting it. Metals are looking for a direction, with economic concerns overshadowing. After looking strong on a down trading day yesterday, nickel looked weak today, although it did spend the session trying to claw its way out of the basement.

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Fed ‘Hawk’ Wants Rate Hike This Year or Next - more
  • Look To U.S. In The 1930s For Housing Policy, IMF Says - more
  • IMF: Global Economic Outlook ‘Pretty Grim’ - more
  • Bankruptcy costs and America’s household debt crisis - more

   Clean project of NORNIKEL - The Mining and Metallurgical Works NORNIKEL, the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium, and also one of the world’s main producers of platinum and copper, is launching a unique environmental project. - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.03/lb lower, with other London traded base metals mixed and quiet. The Euro is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are up 1/3 of 1% higher and trading at $101.37/barrel. Gold is down nearly 2/10 of 1%, while silver is lower by 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China closing slightly higher. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street may get an early morning bounce as well. Nickel stockpiles fell on Tuesday.  
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Rises as Chinese Car Sales, Japanese Orders Top Estimates - more
  • Reuters morning - Copper steadies near $8,000 on growth worries - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals mixed, copper and aluminium claw back losses but all remain jumpy - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Metals were walloped yesterday, with copper falling to a three-month low and taking out key bottom-of-the range support at $8150. There were broad declines in the rest of the LME group as well, along with heavy selling in a host of other commodity markets, except for gold and silver, both of which took on the “flight-to-safety” role alongside the US dollar and a surprisingly resurgent yen. We were not surprised by yesterday’s downside move in copper, as the various props that have been holding up the market for over the last few months are starting to list badly. Most significant, is the recent turn in LME stocks, which have now actually risen by about 8,500 tons over the last four days, coinciding with a similar rising trend in last week’s Shanghai figures. More importantly, concern about overall Chinese demand is growing, and the trade numbers out yesterday did little to assuage these fears. Although copper imports were decent, the rise in local Chinese copper stockpiles coupled with softer premiums, suggest that a good portion of this metal is being channeled into stockpiling arrangements as opposed to getting consumed. another variable that unnerved the markets yesterday, and one which we frankly think will get worse before it gets better, is the worsening situation in the European credit markets. In this regard, Spanish ten-year yields briefly crossed the critical 6% threshold yesterday before settling at 5.93%. In addition, Italian 10-year yields were up 0.31% to 5.67%, while the yield premium on 10-year Spanish and Italian government bonds over German bunds widened to over 4%. .... For the moment, things look calm, but we could see the selling in most markets pick up if the Europeans again find themselves scrambling to get ahead of the next debt crisis. Greece may be done for now, but we have to quickly brush up on what is going on with Spain..... Nickel is at $18,067, down $108, and about where we were at this time yesterday, with the short-term downtrend line still in place. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Merafe) Shareholders of the Company are advised that the European benchmark ferrochrome price has been settled at $1.35 per pound for the second quarter of 2012, an increase of 17% from the $1.15 per pound price in the first quarter of 2012.
  • (Yieh) Reportedly, Taiwan’s stainless steel major players, Yieh United Steel Corp (Yusco) and Tang Eng are planning to team up for an anti-dumping complaint against Chinese and South Korean's commercial grade stainless steel coils import into Taiwan.
  • IMF World Economic Outlook - more
  • Commods funds face Q2 dilemma as recovery stutters - more

    Nickel stocks poised for an upturn: Desjardins  - Nickel is often nestled in the shadows of better-known metals such as copper and gold, but Desjardins Securities Inc. believes the silvery-white lustrous commodity is where the buying opportunity lies for investors right now. - more

   Q2 Price For Charge Chrome Agreed With One European Mill = At US¢135/lb Cr; European benchmark yet to be agreed officially = According to some sources of information in Europe, an agreement was made between a South African ferrochrome producer and a European stainless steel mill on the price to be applied to the shipments during the second calendar quarter of 2012 to be increased by US¢20/lb Cr from the first quarter benchmark price of US¢115/lb Cr ddp. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 10

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - no change to 928. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) One-Buck Budweiser Means Luxury in China Where Beer Costs 30 Cents: Retail // China Reports Unexpected Trade Surplus in March as Imports Slow: Economy // China’s Stocks Rebound in Last Hour as Trade Data Spurs Policy Speculation // Russia Demands Syria Enact Troop Pullout Under Annan Plan // Bank of Japan Keeps Policy Unchanged After Lawmakers Reject Board Nominee // Japan Closer to Restarting First Reactors Since Fukushima // Spain’s Planned $13 Billion Budget Cuts Fail to Prevent Bond Yields Rising // Top Forecasters See Euro Weakness Returning as Spain Misses Budget Target // Franc Approaches SNB’s Euro Limit as Debt Crisis Spurs Demand for Refuge // Norway Killer Deemed Sane in Reversal of Mental Evaluation // European Stocks Retreat After U.S. Jobs Report as Italian Banks Lead Drop // Bernanke Pushes for Shadow Banking Curbs With Warning Recovery Not Secure // Profit Growth Stalling in U.S. as Slowdowns in Europe, China Hurt Recovery // Principal Forgiveness May Save Fannie, Freddie $1.7 Billion, DeMarco Says // U.S. Job Openings Rose in February as Hiring Hit Three-Year High: Economy // Stocks Drop With Spanish Bonds on European Debt Concern as Treasuries Gain
  • The Euro is trading just over 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1.3% and trading at $101.13/barrel. Gold is up nearly 1% and silver is down 3/10 of 1%. Base metals ended their session lower as well. Indicator charts show nickel opened much lower today, then took a dive, before recovering back to nearly where it opened. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed the day at $8.24/lb . Stockpiles of nickel store in LME approved warehouses fell last Thursday and now total just over the 100,000 tonne level. A renewal in European debt crisis concerns, coming on the back of last Friday's disappointing employment report, has put markets in a very negative mood, with the volatility index jumping back over the 20 level. Nickel got beat up today, but not as bad as some other base metals.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • More Americans think It’s a Good Time to Buy a Home - more
  • US March Employment Trends Index Dips -Conference Board - more
  • Fukushima to Burn Highly-Radioactive Debris - more

   Chinese traders divided over near-term outlook for moly oxide prices - Chinese traders, the largest spot molybdenum oxide suppliers in Asia, were divided Tuesday over the direction in which prices would head in the near term. - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.14/lb lower, with all London traded base metals lower as well. The Euro is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are down 2/3 of 1% and trading at $101.79/barrel. Gold is 1/3 of 1% higher while silver is 4/10 of 1% lower, In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China closing 1% higher. European markets are trading lower this morning, with US futures slightly higher at the moment. Nickel stockpiles fell over the holiday break.
  • Reuters morning - Copper at 1-mth low; nerves fray on China demand - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals retreat as economic outlook sours - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Investors were blindsided on Friday after the US Labor Department reported that US employers added only 120,000 jobs in March, the fewest in five months and well short of the 200,000 expected. The unemployment rate fell to 8.2% from 8.3%, but this was not necessarily indicative of a substantial improvement in the job market, but likely on account of fewer people looking for work. A subsequent release out later in the day showed that US consumer borrowing rose by its smallest amount in four months. About the only positive with respect to Friday’s macro release was the fact that the markets were closed that day for the Easter break, and so, investors had a long weekend to mull over its implications. The extra time, however, did little to stave off the inevitable reaction; markets that re-opened on Monday sold off sharply, with COMEX copper, WTI prices, and US equities all down on the day. The dollar lost ground against both the Euro and the yen, while US bonds soared. European markets remained closed on Monday, but are making up for lost time and are broadly lower right now. In our markets, the LME group opened with modest losses in early Asian trading, but the selling picked up after Chinese import data was released. In this regard, the government reported that the country returned to an export-led trade surplus of $5.35 billion in March, a surprise reversal from February's $31.5 billion deficit. There was a solid 10.4% year-on-year bounce in export sales to the US, but the overall import number gave the markets some pause, growing only 5.3% year-over-year (vs. the 9% forecast) and clearly reflective of sluggish domestic demand. For the first quarter as a whole, total Chinese exports and imports were in rough balance, coming in at $430.02 billion and $429.35 billion, respectively. ..... We do not have much to add to what we have been writing in previous commentary; we suspect the path of least resistance is likely lower still for a number of commodity markets in light of both the deteriorating credit situation in Europe, coupled with growing expectations that the US recovery may be showing signs of topping out. Chinese growth also remains an issue, and if anything, this morning’s trade numbers underline the chronic underperformance of the country’s consumption sector compared to its still-critical export base. ..... Nickel is at $18,068, down $337, and with the short-term downtrend (red line in our chart) still in place. ...... AMM reports that US nickel premiums continue to fall, with both melting and plating grade material now hitting multi-year lows, as suppliers hold out for large volume deals. Melting-grade premiums have dropped to between 20 and 29 cents per pound from between 20 and 30 c/lb previously, while plating-grade premiums have sunk to between 50 and 65 c/lb. from between 55 and 75 c/lb. "Demand from stainless in China and Europe has been sluggish. We could go a little higher if this Indonesian export ban is really imposed but otherwise, it doesn’t look like prices are going to be great this year," one analyst told the paper. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) Brazilian miner Cia Ferro Ligas da Bahia (Ferbasa) said in a statement that it will raise the prices of high carbon ferro-chrome by US$1.35/lb. for the second quarter. The increase is about 17.4% than the first quarter and will be a basis for negotiation between the company and their clients.
  • Small Business Confidence Drops After 6 Months of Increases - more
  • (China) First-quarter home prices down 20.7% in capital - more
  • Tropical Pacific remains ENSO-neutral - more

   Metals: Searching for direction - One year ago, Stockholm-based Raw Materials Group (RMG) forecast that a basket of base metals (copper, nickel, lead and zinc) and precious metals (gold, silver, platinum and palladium) would continue to recover from the global financial crisis. - more

   China to cut SA chrome imports - China's all-important stainless-steel makers are to reduce purchases of imported South African ferrochrome, turning to cheaper Chinese alloy producers who use imported, unprocessed chrome ore. - more

   Japan SUS Products February Imports - Drop Drags = 13% drop from January; imports from all major sources declined = The Japan Iron and Steel Federation compiled the import statistics released by the Ministry of Finance into the table attached hereto with regard to the imports of stainless steel products during February 2012. - more

   Philippines risks dropping off mining map - Unstable policies have long kept the Philippines off the radar screens of global miners but Manila’s move to rewrite mining rules risks putting the country further off the grid. - more

   Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds working meeting with head of Norilsk Nickel Vladimir Strzhalkovsky - The main topic for discussion was on how to improve the environmental situation in Norilsk. In addition, the prime minister wanted to know how a series of social issues at the enterprise were being addressed. - more

  Rusal Appoints Legal Team to Advise on Sual Arbitration - United Co. Rusal, the world’s biggest aluminum producer, said it hired legal counsel to advise on arbitration brought by Sual Partners Ltd. to overturn trading contracts with Glencore International Plc. - more

  • Russian tycoons' feud over RUSAL comes to UK court - A feud between two Russian billionaire shareholders in UC RUSAL, the world's biggest aluminium maker, will be aired in a London court, the company said on Tuesday, with a $47 billion supply deal in the balance. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending April 7, 2012, domestic raw steel production was 1,958,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 79.2 percent. Production was 1,814,000 tons in the week ending April 7, 2011, while the capability utilization then was 74.2 percent. The current week production represents a 7.9 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending April 7, 2012 is up 3.1 percent from the previous week ending March 31, 2012 when production was 1,900,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 76.9 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 9

  The London Metal Exchange is closed for Easter Monday.

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up

  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China’s March Consumer Prices Rise 3.6% From Year Earlier // China May Be Cautious on Adding Stimulus After Inflation Picks Up: Economy // China’s Stocks Drop to One-Week Low as Faster Inflation Damps Rate Outlook // Sony to Cut 10,000 Jobs Worldwide, 6% of Workers, Nikkei Says; Shares Rise // Japan’s Current Account Swings to Surplus, Adding Support for the Currency // Russia Leaves Key Rate Unchanged on Mounting ‘Medium-Term’ Inflation Risks // France’s Veolia Swaps Flag Investor Faith in Debt Plan: Corporate Finance // Italy Vies With Spain for Investor Funding as ECB Boost Fades: Euro Credit // AOL to Sell $1.1 Billion of Patents to Microsoft, Return Cash to Investors // Employment Growth Seen Rebounding From Slump With U.S. Recovery Entrenched // US Stocks Decline With Treasury Yields as U.S. Labor Report Misses Estimates
  • The Euro is trading nearly 1/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1.8% and trading at $101.44/barrel. Gold is over 8/10 of 1% higher while silver is up over 1/4 of 1%. No reports from London today on BDI numbers, inventory numbers, or base metals trading. London markets will return tomorrow after a four day Easter holiday. US markets are lower today, as traders react to Friday's dismal employment report. Base metals trading could benefit by being closed during this correction, as much of the dust could be settled by the time markets open tomorrow morning.

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Number of the Week: How Long Before Job Seekers Give Up? - more
  • Consumers Cut Credit-Card Debt, Add to Auto and Student Loans - more
  • Economists React: Hitting ‘Pothole’ in Road Back to Strong Growth - more
  • Four Common Unemployment Myths - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel not trading due to a holiday in London. The Euro is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are down 1-1/2% and trading at $101.77/barrel. Gold is up nearly 6/10 of 1% while silver is lower nearly 4/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China down 1%. European markets are mostly closed and US futures show Wall Street may react negatively to last Friday's employment report.      

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • no report today

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) It's reported that Philippine Oriental Peninsula Resources Group indicated to triple the nickel ore production this year due to regional increasing demand. The Group Chairman indicated that a subsidiary, the City Nickel Mine Development Company will lift up the nickel output this year to 3 million tons from previous 1 million tons.
  • (SKRIN) Russian stainless steel exports rose 51.4%
  • (Interfax) Baoshan Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. (Baosteel), the listed arm of China's leading steelmaker Baosteel Group, expects to be in the black in the first quarter and maintains an optimistic outlook for the industry in the second half, the general manager Ma Guoqiang said April 5.
  • Hedge Funds Cut Wagers as Fed Signals Less Stimulus: Commodities - more
  • March jobs report: Hiring slows, Unemployment falls - more
  • China CPI growth rebounds to 3.6% in March - more

  India will emerge a big market for stainless steel - We want to bring the latest products to Indian customers. But at times we get entangled in anti-dumping issues. - more

  Asian Market Of Ni-containing Cold Stainless Sheets Enhancing Further Wait-and-see Stance - A wait-and-see attitude of each customer on the Ni-containing cold-rolled stainless steel sheets in the Asian area is felt to have been strengthened further as prices of material nickel fell below $8 per pound in late March. With this, negotiations become quiet. - more

  China Mo Jan/Feb Imports/Exports Both Go Low = Export down by 40%, imports down by 29% compared to the same period of 2011 = China's molybdenum trade was quiet during January and February. - more

  Health fears over nickel plant proposal - Campaigners against plans to build a nickel processing and recycling plant fear their health could be at risk. - more

  Metals Service Center Shipments Momentum Increases - February shipments of aluminum and steel from metals service centers were up sharply from February 2011 in the U.S. and Canada, according to the Metals Service Center Institute. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 5

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 2 to 928. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China’s Stocks Rise Most in Two Months on Prospect of Foreign Fund Inflows // Taiwan’s Stocks Slump Most in Five Months on Tax Concern // German Industrial Output Shrink More Than Forecast in February on Weather // Portugal Says Some Municipalities May Be Forced to Restructure Their Debt // Spain Rattles European Markets as Investors Flee to Francs, German Bonds // Manufacturing in U.K. Unexpectedly Drops in Sign of Uneven Growth: Economy // European Stocks Advance as Mining Companies Climb Amid Decline for Banks // Announced U.S. Job Cuts Fell 8.8% in March From Year Ago, Challenger Says // Four Fed Regional Bank Presidents See Reduced Need for Additional Stimulus // Consumer Confidence Hits Four-Year High on U.S. Job-Market Gains: Economy // Stocks Reverse Earlier Losses as Commodities Climb on U.S. Labor Optimism
  • The Euro is now trading over 6/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 1.4% and trading at $102.90/barrel. Gold is up over 1/2 of 1% and silver is up 1-1/3%. Base metals shrugged off the lower Euro today and all ended higher. Indicator charts show nickel slumped early, then began a climb that lasted through the rest of the session. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.35/lb , recovering nearly all of yesterday's loss. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell on Wednesday and now total just under 100,150 tonnes. With little other news to talk about, analysts are a buzz with speculation on what impact the 2014 Indonesia ban of nickel ore will have, what impact the threatened 25% Indonesia tax might have, and when all this will actually take place. There are reports the China is importing as much laterite ore from Indonesia as it can in the mean time. With so many questions swirling around the situation, the price of nickel is getting a boost, albeit a speculative one. Considering the weakness in the Euro, nickel trading looked very resilient. The London Metal Exchange is closed for Good Friday today so our next update will be Monday.
  • Have a safe and relaxing weekend!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Moody’s Analytics Sees More Rapid Unemployment Decline This Year - more
  • Lean Inventories Will Be Plus for Production - more
  • The Foreclosure Deal Spares the Housing Market (So Far) - more
  • Vital Signs: U.S. Factories Gaining Steam - more

  Vale seeks nickel near Repulse Bay - World's second-largest nickel mining company plans exploration this year - Vale - the second largest nickel producer in the world - plans to begin looking for nickel this year on the Melville Peninsula near Repulse Bay, Nunavut. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.04/lb higher, with other London traded base metals trading mixed. The Euro is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up nearly 1/2 of 1% and trading at $101.91/barrel. Gold is up 1/3 of 1% and silver is flat. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China up nearly 2-1/2%. European markets are trading lower this morning, and US futures are lower at the moment. Nickel stockpiles fell on Wednesday.  
  • Reuters morning - Copper little changed; restrained ahead of holiday - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals slide on softer euro, debt contagion fears stoked and US stimulus hopes dashed - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Markets plunged yesterday, ending weeks of relative complacency as investors spent a second full day discounting the ramifications of Tuesday’s Fed policy minutes that apparently shut the door on further easing. Copper fell more than 3%, its biggest decline in nearly two months and there were widespread losses in the rest of the LME group as well. In other complexes, gold and platinum each slipped roughly 3.5% on the day, while silver gave back a whopping 6.6%, the biggest loss in the CRB index by far. US equities and crude oil also retreated, with WTI sinking to its lowest level since mid-February. On the currency front, the growing unease in the European credit markets, evidenced by Wednesday’s sloppy Spanish bond auction, catapulted the dollar to a high of $1.31 at one point, almost 2.5 Euros higher than the low reached the day before. The greenback also gained strength after ECB President Mario Draghi said the Eurozone outlook was subject to further downside risks that could emanate from the debt crisis. Right now, metals are mixed. Copper is up slightly, but the rest of the group is showing slight losses. Gold is up $13/ounce and may be perking up on realizations that potential debt troubles in Europe could actually revive interest in the metal, just as it did during the tension-packed fourth quarter off last year. Energy prices are also higher, but the Euro is struggling, now trading at $1.3070. US stocks are called to open lower again following down sessions seen in the other equity markets. .... Moreover, we are also concerned that the US recovery may be showing signs of “topping out”. Although we are not seeing any significant deterioration in the US macro numbers just yet, it should be noted that the recent batch of statistics have not been beating estimates as handily as they once were. In this regard, apart from Monday’s ISM-manufacturing reading, the balance of this week’s reports (construction spending, factory orders, the ISM-services readings and the ADP private payroll report) all came in slightly below estimates. ..... Nickel is at $17,928, up $73, but we did sink to a low of $17,668 at one point earlier in the day...... Metal Bulletin reports that European tin premiums for 99.85% material in Rotterdam warehouses have moved lower, and are now at $400-550 per ton from the $450-550 range previously reported. Premiums for 99.9% material remained flat at $600-650 per ton. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Singapore nickel premiums are edging higher after demand for the alloying metal picked up following a recent price decline on the London Metal Exchange, but a sharp rebound is unlikely due to high inventories, market participants said.
  • (Yieh) Reportedly, Taiwanese Tang Eng decided to cut the domestic prices for its 300 grade hot rolled and cold rolled stainless steel sheet and coil by NT$5,000/ton and to slash the export prices by US$170/ton for April. According to the official of Tang Eng, the company’s price cut for April was in response to the lower nickel prices, weak demand and huge cheap imports.
  • (Interfax) China is mulling a new round of subsidies for the home appliance sector that may help support copper demand this year, Hu Xiaochong, an official with China Household Electrical Appliances Association , told the 8th International Copper Summit 2012 in Shanghai March 30.
  • The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index® (PCI®), issued by the UCLA Anderson School of Management and Ceridian Corporation rose 0.3 percent in March following the 0.7 percent increase in February and the 1.7 percent decrease in January. The first quarter PCI is below the fourth quarter of last year by 4.9 percent at an annualized rate. - pdf report
  • (China) Trend-spotter sees chances - more

  China Nickel Imports/Exports February 2012 = Imports of unwrought dropped otherwise rose, while exports jumped to nine-month high = According to China's customs statistics, imports and exports of nickel bearing materials including ores in February 2012 as well as during the first two months of 2012 were as per the attached table hereto. - more

  Zimbabwe says now "owns" 51 pct of foreign miners - Zimbabwe's government raised the stakes on Thursday in its drive to wrest majority control of foreign mining companies, with a minister saying the state now considered it owned 51 percent of firms that have not complied with local ownership laws. - more

  China has concentration of vital minerals needed for U.S. manufacturing - Despite China's emergence as an economic power and all the talk about how America has become a service economy, U.S. manufacturing is alive and well. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 4

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 5 to 926. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Speeds Up Opening of Capital Markets as Quota Lifted to $80 Billion // Asian Stocks Decline as Fed Damps Stimulus Expectations; Nikkei 225 Slides // Portugal Sells 18-Month Bills in the Longest Maturity Since EU-IMF Bailout // Portugal Sells 18-Month Bills in the Longest Maturity Since EU-IMF Bailout // Commerzbank Loan Losses From Shipping Seen Rising as Shares Slide: Freight // Spanish Yields Reach 12-Week High on Auction; Italian Bonds Drop // Draghi Says Inflation Risks Prevail as Europe Economy Starts to Stabilize // Rajoy Says Spain in ‘Extreme Difficulty’ as Government Bond Demand Drops // European Stocks Fall as Fed Damps Stimulus Speculation, Spain Sells Bonds // Fed Sees Improving U.S. Economy Reducing Need for Additional Accommodation // Oil Tumbles on U.S. Supply Surge as Domestic Output Climbs to 12-Year High // Wall Street Salaries Rose in 2011 for a Majority of Workers, Survey Finds // U.S. Service Industries Keep Growing in Sign Job Market Improving: Economy // Stocks Drop With Commodities as Fed Damps Stimulus Talk; Spain Yields Rise
  • The Euro is now trading 3/4 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is off 2.3% and trading at $101.62/barrel. Gold is down 1-2/3% while silver is off over 4.1%. Base metals took a hit as well, all ending lower. Indicator charts show nickel opened deep in the basement, spent much of the afternoon climbing out of, only to give up all the days gains late. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.10/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose on Tuesday and now total just over 100,600 tonnes. Markets that were all excited about the possibility of QE3 last week, are now despondent over what was said in the last Fed's meeting notes. Markets that were all excited about Greece getting its fiscal ducks in a row (at least for the next month or two) are now despondent over Spain's problems. Markets that were all excited the first quarter of 2012, are not starting the second quarter quite as thrilled. In our opinion, nickel took a hit today based primarily on the Euro getting thumped.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Fed’s Williams: Economy Still Needs Aggressive Central Bank Support - more
  • Markets’ Focus on QE3 Doubts Misses Fed’s Worries About Jobs - more
  • Global Central Banks Boost Dollar Holdings, Cut Euro Stores - more
  • U.S. Economy Needs Stimulus, Not Soothsayers - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.19/lb lower, with all London traded base metals lower as well. The Euro is down over 6/10 of 1% against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are down nearly 9/10 of 1% and trading at $103.12/barrel. Gold is down 1-1/4% while silver is 2-1/4% lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China markets closed for holiday. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures are lower as well. Nickel inventories rose on Tuesday.
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Drops on Federal Reserve Minutes, Increasing Stockpiles - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals track lower as euro softens - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • It seems that what is moving markets these days are various pronouncements coming out of the Fed, either in the form of testimony or speeches given by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, or in yesterday’s case, policy minutes released by the central bank. The March installment of these sacred deliberations, released late yesterday afternoon, suggested that the Fed governors were not eager to launch additional stimulus measures right now, a stance that was not particularly surprising, but which nevertheless caused a fair share of damage to a number of markets. Moves towards any type of quantitative easing, the minutes revealed, would only be undertaken if the current expansion falters or if deflation sets in, typically defined by inflation clocking in at less than 2% per annum. “I would have to see some pretty severe circumstances before I endorse for another round of quantitative easing,” Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart told Bloomberg, a statement that seems to make a much more resolute case against QE3 than what was perhaps being communicated by Bernanke. The central bank also affirmed that it plans to hold interest rates to near zero through late 2014 as the improvement it sees in the US economy was deemed insufficient to fast-track the removal of any rate accommodation. ....  Other metals are also sharply lower right now, with aluminum being particularly being weak and on the verge of taking out $2100, while nickel briefly broke below $18,000. Oil prices have yet to buckle, with both the major contracts down only by a modest $.70-$.90/barrel.  ..... Outlook-wise, we do not have much to add to what we have written in previous commentary. The markets still seem to be range-bound and we do not think that yesterday’s Fed minutes were that much of a surprise to justify the current selloff. In our view, a more concerted correction could set in later this month or going into early May, as European debt worries mount just as the US could see the recent growth ramp-up start to “top out” given the dual headwinds of weakening export markets and high energy prices. In addition, despite the release of last weekend’s stronger PMI number out of China, we suspect that we will see more evidence (not less) of overall activity slowing in that critical market.  .... Nickel is at $18,104, down $346, but we did breach $18.000 earlier in the day, getting to a low of $17,817. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (China) Service business index rebounds in March - more

  Japan Imported Ferroalloy Market Report March 29, 2012 = Pitched battle in Europe ongoing for charge chrome Q2 benchmark = Market outlook in Japan of the imported ferroalloys as of March 29, 2012 is as follows: - more

  Indonesia can increase revenue from mining sector - president - Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Wednesday he sees opportunities to increase state revenue from specific sectors of the mining industry but warned that a blanket tax on all sectors would be counter-productive. - more

  Russia's Potanin may keep control of Norilsk board - Russia's Norilsk Nickel , where tycoons Vladimir Potanin and Oleg Deripaska have waged a long battle for control, will review nominations for its new board on Wednesday, two sources familiar with company's plans told Reuters. - more

  Indonesia weighs mine export tax to curb output boom - Indonesia is considering a hefty tax on mining exports to stop miners from overexploiting resources to beat a 2014 ban on shipments of some unprocessed metals and lower grade coal, an official said on Wednesday, but the plan may backfire if foreign buyers turn elsewhere. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending March 31, 2012, domestic raw steel production was 1,900,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 76.9 percent. Production was 1,834,000 tons in the week ending March 31, 2011, while the capability utilization then was 75.0 percent. The current week production represents a 3.6 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending March 31, 2012 is down 2.4 percent from the previous week ending March 24, 2012 when production was 1,947,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 78.8 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 3

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 3 to 931. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Fortescue’s Power Says China Steel Demand ‘Very Strong’ // China First-Quarter Growth at 8.4% According to Estimate Cited by Official // China’s Zhou Urges Fed to Consider Global Effects of Its Stimulus Programs // Asian Stocks Advance as U.S., China Reports Bolster Economic Confidence // German DAX Beating S&P 500 by Most Since 2005 on Global Economic Optimism // Spain’s Debt Will Rise to Record 79.8% of Economy as Budget Deficit Jumps // Molson Coors Agrees to Buy Brewer StarBev for $3.5 Bln // James Murdoch Steps Down as BSkyB Chairman Amid U.K. Phone-Hacking Scandal // European Stocks Fall; Popolare Di Milano Sinks, Cairn Rises on Acquisition // Economy in U.S. Enters Sweet Spot Spurring Global Growth While China Slows // American Men Dominate Jobs Recovery Taking 88% of Non-Farm Spots: Economy // Coty Said to Flip From Seller to Buyer in Avon Deal After Losing Patience // Stocks Fall as S&P 500 Rally Seen as Overdone; Treasuries Gain, Oil Drops
  • The Euro is now trading nearly 1/10 of 1% higher against teh US Dollar. NYMEX crude is off 6/10 of 1% and trading at $104.60/barrel. Gold is down over 1/10 of 1% while silver is nearly 6/10 of 1% higher. Base metals ended their session mixed and mostly quiet - except for nickel. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher and did little for the first half of the session, then broke much higher before collapsing late. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month closed at $8.37/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses was unchanged overnight after small shipments outbound were offset by an equal amount received inbound. Nickel continues to rebound off last weeks lows, on reports Chinese buyers may be buying imported nickel again. If this is the real reason for the rally, then we expect it to fizzle out soon. Chinese and US PMI figures are getting some credit for the increase. We suspect this rally looks more like a technical rally, assisted by the fact nickel was unable to close below major support for two consecutive sessions last week, and computer models are buying. Whether this turns into a real rally, or becomes a suckers rally, is anyone's bet at the moment. But it's the kind of market condition that gives nickel buyers a serious headache, and turns any buying strategy they might have had, to a situation comparable to the winning odds of a Las Vegas casino.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Macquarie as quoted by Reuters - "Feedback from the recent days suggests Chinese buyers (are) rushing to restock at what are believed to be low prices. This is reflected in rising physical spot premiums over the last week or so ..... The LME nickel price is now trading below domestic prices in China, which makes buying imports more attractive, and currently prevailing price levels are trading below cash production costs for some nickel pig iron production in China."
  • Fed Struggles to Find Minorities for Top Economic Jobs - more
  • Sentiment Index Based on News Coverage Shows Improvement - more
  • World-Wide Factory Activity, by Country - more

  Safety authority keeps Talvivaara metals plant closed - The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency says that the metals factory of the Talvivaara mine in Sotkamo must remain closed until its operation is shown to be safe. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.06/lb higher, with other London traded base metals lower at the moment. The Euro is trading over 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are down nearly 9/10 of 1% and trading at $104.32/barrel. Gold is down over 1/4 of 1% and silver is lower by over 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, while China was closed for a second day. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures are also lower. LME inventory numbers were unchanged overnight.
  • Reuters morning -  Copper steady near 2-month high on China, U.S. data - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals lose momentum, choppiness expected - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Copper shot out of the gate on the first trading day of the second quarter on Monday, posting its biggest one-day gain in 6 weeks and leading all commodities in the Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index. Although the stronger-than-expected manufacturing index from China did not jumpstart the complex, prices started to move later in the day when the US ISM number came out. It was interesting to see that copper failed to pull the rest of the metals up along with it, with the closing gains in the rest of the group on the modest side. Neither did we see a strong advance in the precious metals, although energy prices shook off a mixed start to add another $2/brl on the day.  We have to say we were surprised by yesterday’s move higher in copper, as the US manufacturing number cited behind the increase, was something of a mixed bag. Although the index rose to 53.4 from 52.4 in February, it came in only slightly ahead of estimates. In addition, the sub-indices in the report were mixed; the new orders readings component stood at 54.5 in March, down from 54.9 in February, while a measure of exports fell to 54.0 from 59.5, a sign of the headwinds coming out of Europe. On the plus side, the production index jumped to 58.3 from 55.3, as did the factory employment index (up to 56.1 from 53.2). In addition, a separate report showed US construction spending decreasing by 1.1% in February -- its biggest drop since July. Right now, markets are generally lower, with copper giving back a small portion of yesterday’s gains despite a brief uptick to $8702 earlier in the day. Chinese markets were closed yesterday, and will remain shut through Wednesday. .... Nickel is at $18,350, up $125, and perking up over the last few days. Given the market’s impressive bounce off support at around $17,000 and nickel’s improved competitiveness versus pig iron, we likely will move somewhat higher from here. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Reuters) Indonesia plans 25 pct mining export tax in 2012
  • (Yieh) Rio de Janeiro steelworker union said that the Brazilian flats maker Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN) is planning to cut about 1,000 employees, aiming to reduce costs.
  • (Yieh) It’s reported that Chinese steelmaker said that its sales volumes of stainless steel products totaled 1.353 million tons in 2011, up slightly by 0.8% from a year ago. Meanwhile, its stainless steel sales acquired 5.2% of the total sales volumes in 2011.

  Codelco's Molybdenum 2011 Output Up YoY = 50.7 million pounds produced, up 5% YoY and 50.7 million pounds sold, up 9.5% YoY = Codelco announced late last week production/sales results of 2011. Total output of molybdenum during the year was, according to the results, 50.7 million pounds (23,000 tons) of molybdenum content, up by 4.5% from 48.5 million pounds (22,000 tons) produced in 2010, and quantity sold in 2011 was 50.7 million pounds (23,000 tons) of molybdenum content, up by 9.5% from 46.3 million pounds (21,000 tons) sold in 2010. - more

  Rusal Would Study Norilsk Sale at Right Price - United Co. Rusal’s Chairman Barry Cheung, whose predecessor quit citing a “deep crisis” at the company, said the world’s biggest aluminum producer would study selling its stake in OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel at the right price. - video here

  • Rusal Chairman: No Plan To Sell Down Stake In Norilsk Nickel - Barry Cheung, the newly appointed independent non-executive chairman of the world's largest aluminum producer United Co. Rusal PLC (0486.HK), said that the Russian miner hasn't received any offer for its 25% stake in OAO Norilsk Nickel (GMKN.RS) and that it has no current plan to sell down its investment in the nickel miner. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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 2

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - no change to 934. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Manufacturing Gain Masks Exporters’ Struggle as More Loosening Seen // Asian Stocks Rise After China Manufacturing Data; Australian Dollar Climbs // European Leaders Seek Additional Global Help After Crisis Firewall Boosted // European Stocks Gain as U.S., China Manufacturing Expand // Groupon Revisions Highlight Risk as New Model Outpaces Accounting Controls // Oil Rises From Six-Week Low on U.S. Manufacturing // U.S. Stocks Rise as Manufacturing Growth Tops Estimates
  • The Euro continues to trade 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up nearly 1.4% and trading at $104.44/barrel. Gold is 2/3 of 1% higher while silver is up over 2-3/4%. Base metals ended the session higher as well. After an early morning jump that was quickly fading, indicator chart show nickel jumped on news the US PMI came in higher than expected, and rose nearly $600/tonne over the course of two hours, before falling back late. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.26/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose over the 100,000 tonne level on Friday for the first time since early September 2011. Levels now read just under 100,550 tonnes. Ed Meir of FC Stone is advising investor clients to be patient and wait for nickel to consolidate before betting on a positive run up in prices. The market seemed unimpressed with the growth in the Chinese PMI, but appears to have loved today's U.S. PMI report. Liberty Mines announced a resumption of nickel production today at its Timmins, Ontario operation. And China markets are closed for holiday today and tomorrow. 

  Reports

  • Robry Monday Morning Economic Assessment - more
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Reuters - Canada's Liberty Mines Inc said it has restarted production at its nickel facility in Timmins, Ontario, a year after suspending milling for maintenance.
  • Number of the Week: Can Popular Job Be Well Paid? - more
  • Big Part of Consumer Spending Paid by Uncle Sam - more
  • Mega Millions Sells More Than 2 Tickets for Every U.S. Resident - more
  • Unemployment Rates, by State - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.01/lb higher, with other London traded base metal quietly lower. The Euro is trading 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are down nearly 6/10 of 1% and trading at $102.43/barrel. Gold is down 2/10 of 1% and silver is up over 1/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, while China markets were closed for the Qingming Festival. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures are lower as well. Nickel stockpiles rose over the 100,000 tonne level on Friday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper up on China factory data, but caution reigns - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals lifted on China data, thin trading conditions expected - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Copper prices rose on Friday, ending the month pretty much flat, but having a very decent first quarter all things considered, with prices up some 11% over the period. (For what its worth, tin was the star performer in the LME group in Q1, up 19%, while nickel was the biggest loser, off some 5%). Despite the late-week gains in copper, we have not yet been able to break out of a relatively tight trading range of between $8100-$8800 now in place for the better part of two and a half months. Moreover, many of the other metals seem to be immune from copper’s relative resiliency, with aluminum and nickel looking particularly weak. Weekend numbers out of China were supposed to give the markets something fresh to look at and possibly provide clearer direction for the markets, but so far, this has not happened. China’s March official purchasing manager's index showed an unexpected jump to 53.1, an eleven-month peak, but after an initial burst higher, metal prices are now largely mixed in listless trading. It is interesting to note that China’s official PMI number varies significantly from the unofficial HSBC/Markit reading out last week, which showed activity contracting. Economists tell Bloomberg that the discrepancy may be due to the fact that there are seasonal influences embedded in the official number, and so the actual reading may not be as strong as it looks. (The other reason, of course, may have to do with the veracity of Chinese statistics itself. In this regard, it always amazes us how quickly official Chinese macro numbers are released, usually hours after the month is over).  ....  In other news, commodity hedge funds are reporting lackluster returns for the first quarter despite one of the biggest monthly rallies in crude oil in years and decreasing market volatility. The average hedge fund earned in excess of 5% for the year thus far, according to Hedge Fund Research. Blenheim Capital, the largest commodity fund, is up 4% so far this year, while London’s Clive Capital has lost 0.63%. Singapore’s Merchant Capital has gained just under 2% and BlueGold was down 2% (as of February. Astenbeck Capital has performed the best of the lot, with the $5 bln firm returning 13.5% so far this year. “Some people have shied away from taking big directional bets in oil after they got burned last year in May. Macroeconomic uncertainty is still deterring people from actively engaging on the long side,” a manager of one fund told the paper. .... Nickel is at $17,914, up $89, and selling off from an earlier high of $18,200. Support at $17,800 was taken out last week, and although we are back over it right now, nickel’s downchannel is still very much in place and will not be taken out until we get a close above $18,700. Nickel should start looking attractive at current levels, particularly considering its improved competitiveness vs. pig iron, but we would like to see a degree of consolidation before recommending a long position. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) It’s reported that the Stainless Steel Council of China Special Steel Enterprise Association (CSSC) has urged the government to take action against 304H stainless steel imports, used in high-temperature applications.
  • (CMMW) Meanwhile, the Xstrata-Merafe chrome venture reported that it had amended its agreement with Eskom, which would see it temporarily closing an additional two furnaces at its Wonderkop and Lydenburg smelters from April 1 to the end of May.
  • Funds Cut Bullish Bets, Goldman Goes Neutral: Commodities - more
  • (SMM) China's Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), a preliminary readout of the country's manufacturing activity, rose for four consecutive months to the highest level since October, indicating the economy is on path of steady growth. PMI climbed to 53.1 percent in March of 2012, 2.1 percentage points higher than a month earlier, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said Sunday. A PMI reading of 50 percent demarcates expansion from contraction

  Nickel-Ore Exports From Philippines Seen Rising on Indonesia Ban - Nickel-ore production and exports from the Philippines are set to increase this year as the nation benefits from Indonesia’s plan to halt shipments of unprocessed material next month, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau said. - more

  Japan Crude SUS January 2012 Production By Mill Up = Up by 4.0% from January; monthly increase of two months in a row from the curtailment started in November = Crude stainless steel production in January 2012 by the 7 major Japanese stainless steel mills was 281,770 tons, up 4.0% from 270,979 tons recorded in December 2011. This is another monthly increase following December when the output rebounded from the drop in November due to the curtailment. - more

  Trojan course: Zim mine brings nickel back on China dime - A Chinese mining group will invest $21.2-million to restart Zimbabwe's Trojan nickel mine that closed during the country's political turmoil, the mine's owners announced on Monday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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

March Archives


Chart Info Delayed 1 Day

Chart temporarily down

Chart temporarily down


Translate this page to French | German | Spanish | Italian | Portuguese | Chinese | Japanese | Korean | Russian


"A Guide To LME Trading"...pdf here (all ton listings are metric tons = 2204.622 pounds ) Updated twice daily - before 8 am CST and before 1 pm CST weekdays - Disclaimer Original content and opinions copyright www.estainlesssteel.com. All prices shown on this page are indications only. Note - For real time and official LME prices, LME requires a user subscribe to an authorized LME vendor.

Site Sponsors

Advertise your company on this site

Your banner here

3/27 Market Prices
not official prices

ferrochrome and chromium prices

Moly Oxide (>51%)
$14.00/lb
 
Source

Ferrochrome(60-65%)(HC)
$1.21lb
 

3/27 Scrap Price

Stainless Steel (LTL/ton)
$.88/lb
 ferrochrome prices and molybdenum prices

Smaller Quantities
$.70/lb
 chromium prices and nickel prices

MEPS Stainless Steel Price Index

Global 304 SS Index

nickel prices

North America 304 Index

price of stainless steel

EU 304 SS Index

price of nickel

Asia 304 SS Index

Other Sites

Nickel Mining Stock
Stainless Steel Videos
USGS Mineral Reports
Industrial Metals Index
Nonferrous Metals Index
World Disaster Info
NOAA El Nino Updates
Investor Guide

Today's Market

USA Economic Calendar
World Economic Calendar
Europe Markets
Asia/Pacific
TED Spread
LMEX Index
VIX Index
US Futures


LME Margins
LME Calendar
LME Ring Times
Metals MSDS
Nickel Toxicology
Stainless Steel MSDS
USGS Molybdenum Info
USGS Nickel Information
USGS Chromium Information
Tariff Codes (many countries)


Price of Nickel

Nickel Graph Temporarily Down

1 and 5 year nickel chart

JP Morgan Delayed Price

Daily Commodity Prices

Sucden's Evening Base Metals Report

Site Pages

Nickel Price Charts/Forecasts
Stainless Steel Graph/Charts
Stainless Steel Surcharge
Nickel/Stainless Research
Stainless Steel Literature
Make your own charts
Nickel Price Archives
Ferrochrome Facts
Worldwide PMI

Archives

2014
January February March
April
2013
January February March
April May June July August
September October
November December
2012
January February March
April May June July August
September October
November December
2011
January February March
April May June July August
September October
November December
2010 and prior



nickel news




Nickel Publications at Amazon

ASTM F593C, F593D, F593G, F593H,
304 and 316 Stainless Steel Hex Bolts
and ASTM F594 Stainless Hex Nuts
In stock - contact the author for current pricing and availability

Contact author  /   EStainlessSteel Home Page

Your free daily news source for nickel, molybdenum, ferrochrome, chromium, iron ore and stainless steel market prices and news.

Any reproduction in whole, or in part, without permission from the author is prohibited.
© 2003-2013