This page is archived news covering the period of August 2011
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Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices

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Daily Nickel Market News & Stainless Steel Prices

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Wednesday, August 31

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 82 to 1,619. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Stocks to Extend Slump on Inflation Outlook, HSBC Jintrust Fund Says // China Stocks Fall, Capping Biggest Monthly Drop Since May on Tight Credit // Philippine Economy Grows Less Than Estimated
  • Philippine GDP Grows Less Than Estimated as Slowing Demand Curbs Exports // Asian Stocks Rise, Paring Worst Month in a Year, on Fed Policy Speculation // That 200% Debt Is Cry for Economic Revolution: William Pesek // German Unemployment Falls as Hiring Holds Up // Greek Debt Swap Is Attracting More Banks Than Indicated to Date, IIF Says // European Stocks Gain After Fed Minutes, Trimming Monthly Slide // Announced U.S. Job Cuts Rose 47% in August From Year Ago, Challenger Says // S&P Rates Subprime Mortgages Higher Than U.S. // Fed Officials Weighed Steps to Boost Growth // U.S. Files Complaint to Block AT&T, T-Mobile Merger // Stocks in U.S. Pare Gains After Roubini Says Another Recession Is Starting // Treasuries Head for Biggest Monthly Gain Since 2008 After U.S. Downgrade
  • The Euro is trading down over 2/10 of 1% against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 1/3 of 1% and trading at $89.20/barrel. Gold is down slightly, while silver is up over 1.1%. Base metals ended their London session higher. Indicator charts show nickel spent the day much like yesterday, in a steady climb until it had risen by nearly $550/tonne, where it lost about 30% of its gains. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.07/lb , its first time over $10/lb since the fifth of this month. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses reversed course yesterday and lost nearly 2000 tonnes. Totals returned to a level lower than we saw before the last four days of gains began, at 103,800 tonnes. Cancelled warrants remain high, so either consumers are buying nickel, or investment houses are trying to make it look that way. August is nearly over and we start the last third of the year tomorrow.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • U.S. Moves Closer to Minority Majority - more
  • Takeaways From Fed Minutes - more
  • In U.S., Worries About Job Cutbacks Return to Record Highs - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.08/lb higher, with other London traded base metals mostly higher. The Euro is currently trading less than 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1% and trading at $88.00/barrel. Gold is down over 4/10 of 1% and silver is down 3/10. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up nearly 2/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures imply a near triple digit opening gain may be in the cards for the Dow. Nickel inventories dropped hard overnight.    
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Climbs for Sixth Day in London Trading on Optimism for More Demand - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals firm but poor economic data could lead to price weakness - more
  • Reuters - Copper up on dlr, supply; gains seen short-lived - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper rallied yesterday, pulling the rest of the group up along with it, as supply issues were back in focus. In particular, it was reported that Chile produced 373,498 tons of metal in July, down 18% from the same month last year and off more than 50,000 tons from June, providing us with yet more evidence of just how unresponsive the supply side has been to rising prices (even after discounting the impact of strikes). In addition, there continues to be concern about a possible strike at Freeport-McMoRan in coming days after talks with the company were said to be going nowhere. Right now, metals are mostly higher, but oil prices are lower by about $.60/brl, while the dollar is largely unchanged in very quiet trading. US stocks are expected to open higher. Volumes have been light in many markets, as this week tends to be a popular vacation week ahead of the Labor Day holiday. .... Nickel is at $22,207, up $302, and we are now watching to see if $22,000 could now be taken out decisively in order to lend credence to the emerging breakout on the charts. (Daily Metals Report here)
  • (Interfax) Central China's Sichuan Hongda Molybdenum & Copper Co. Ltd. (Hongda) plans to build a molybdenum-copper processing plant in Sichuan Province's Shifang City, Hongda announced Aug. 31.
  • Baosteel says buying iron ore based on qtrly pricing, Platts index - more
  • Australian resources companies not ignoring local manufacturers, says Sam Walsh - more
  • (JMB) Japanese Fastener Makers Forecast Y/Y Profit Down for F2011
  • Tropical Pacific currently neutral, but La Niña remains possible in 2011 - more

  China's Jinchuan hikes nickel prices another 1.2%, tracking LME rise - China's largest nickel producer Jinchuan Group Wednesday raised domestic prices for the two grades it offers by a further Yuan 2,000/mt ($314/mt), or about 1.2%, after increasing prices Yuan 3,000/mt on Monday. - more

  New Caledonia/South Korean nickel venture expands - New Caledonia’s SMSP mining company says its joint venture with South Korea’s Cosco will double nickel production by 2014. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 30

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 4 to 1,537. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Asian Stocks Climb on Better U.S. Spending; Car Sales Boost Honda, Toyota // India Faster-Than-Forecast Expansion Keeps Pressure on RBI to Raise Rates // Japan’s Jobless Rate Rises, Retail Sales Drop as Noda Picked for Premier // European Economic Confidence Falls Most Since December 2008 // Companies Stop Selling Bonds as Costs Jump by 40%: Euro Credit // Berlusconi Agrees to Overhaul Austerity Plan // Finland’s Collateral Demand Leaves EU Faced With Rewarding Bailout Fatigue // Stocks Advance in Europe for Second Day; Rio Tinto, RBS, Bunzl Lead Gains // BofA Sells China Construction Stake for $3.3 Billion Gain, Raising Capital // Gross Advises Investing in Brazil, Mexico as U.S., Europe Face Recession // U.S. Consumer Confidence Falls to Two-Year Low // Fed’s Evans Favors ‘Aggressive’ Policy Easing After Weak First-Half Growth //
  • The Euro is presently trading down over 6/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude is up nearly 1.7% and trading at $88.74/barrel. Gold is up 2.2% and silver is higher by 1.4%. Base metals ended the session higher. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, lagged a little as US markets opened lower in choppy trading, then hit the $10/lb level before closing slightly under. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the days treading at $9.94/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose for a fourth consecutive session and now sits just over the 105,000 tonne level. It appears this round of drops in nickel stockpiles bottomed out on July 22nd with 101,418 tonnes reported. The year started with 136,890 tonnes recorded on January 4th. US consumer confidence has plummeted again, to a level last seen over two years ago, and according to MarketWatch, one of the sixth largest, one month declines in the past 21 years. But markets are trading off earlier lows and trying to get back to the break even level, as Chicago Fed President Charles Evans states in a TV interview that he was “somewhat nervous” about the economic recovery and that the Federal Reserve needs to do more to lift the economy. QE3 anyone?

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Texas-Area Manufacturing Tumbles - more
  • Mind the ($5.1 Trillion) Gap - more
  • Vital Signs: Disposable Income Dips - more
  • The Biggest Lie About U.S. Companies - more
  • The Bernanke Rally? - more
  • Tropical Storms are becoming active in both the Pacific and Atlantic - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.18/lb higher, with other London traded base metals higher as well. The Euro is trading nearly 7/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, putting some negative pressure on metals trading. NYMEX crude is off 7/10 of 1% as well, and trading at $86.68.barrel. Gold is up 1/8% and silver is up 9/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China off 4/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures show Wall Street may open in a bearish mood. Nickel inventories rose over the weekend.
  • LME Morning - Base metals touch multi-week highs, underpinned by cautious optimism - more
  • Reuters - Copper rises on consumer spending, strike - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - It was an action-packed 72 hours for the markets as of Friday’s session, with investors bracing for the impact of Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke's highly anticipated speech, as well as the monstrous hurricane that was barreling its way towards the US mid-Atlantic and Northeast coasts. As it turned out, neither event lived up to its dramatic billing. In the Fed's case, Chairman Bernanke avoided the expansionary language used in last year's speech, basically saying the Fed is in wait and see mode. Instead, he took time to criticize the execution of fiscal policy run by the Congress and administration, saying that the recent discord likely hurt growth and bluntly reminding the politicians that "most of the economic policies that support robust economic growth in the long run are outside the province of the central bank". However, he did say that the Fed would do more to support the slowing US economy, saying that the central bank "is prepared to employ its tools as appropriate to promote a stronger recovery" and that it would extend its September monetary policy meeting in order to allow a "fuller discussion" of possible moves it could make. Bernanke admitted that recent data was showing US growth had slowed more than expected (with Friday's revised +1% growth reading for second quarter GDP confirming this) and said that the temporary factors behind the decrease only explained a portion of the weakness. Nevertheless, the Fed chairman still expects “a moderate recovery” to continue and indeed, strengthen over time. Equity markets slumped shortly after the Fed's remarks, pressuring commodities a bit lower, but the selling was short-lived; by Friday’s close, the Dow was up almost 140 points, allowing US equity markets to enjoy their first winning week in more than a month. ..... In metals, we are modestly higher right now despite a stronger dollar. Clearly, the fact that some key US macro numbers have come in much stronger than expected (particularly last week's durable goods orders readings and Monday’s consumer spending number) seems to have quieted recession talk for the time being.  .... Nickel is at $21,795, up $295, and still very range-bound, but a close above $22,000 could take prices above a three-week trading range (red line) to possibly test $23,500 next.  (Daily Metals Report here)
  • (Yieh) It’s reported that two Indian large stainless steel producers including JSL stainless and Visa Steel was currently mulling to cut stainless production due to the high prices of chrome ore, bought from Orissa Mining Corp., the only one supplier to the two companies.
  • Citi's Top stories of the day: China Metals-Aug. 30 - more
  • PNG Mining Minister Clears Air On Mineral Rights - more
  • (China) Defaults on local govts' debt 'unlikely' - more

  Posco to Jointly Build $448 Million Nickel Refining Plant - Posco, the world’s second-biggest stainless steelmaker, plans to build a 480 billion won ($448 million) nickel refining unit in South Korea with its New Caledonian partner. - more

  Colombia, BHP Billiton settle royalty dispute-minister - Global miner BHP Billiton has settled a royalty dispute with Colombia, clearing the way for a renewal of the company's contract to operate the Cerro Matoso nickel mine, the country's mining minister said on Monday. - more

  Domestic Price Of Ni-Based Stainless Scrap Is Anticipated To Tide Over On Level Of Yen 160,000 / Ton = Stainless Steel Mills Have Less Interest To Purchase Stainless Steel Scrap - The price of nickel-based stainless steel scrap (new clippings) to be purchased by stainless steel companies of Japan has been depressed on a level of Yen 160,000 - 165,000 per metric ton delivered to mills and, owing to less interest at mills' side, domestic price of nickel-based stainless steel scrap in Japan is supposed to tide over to September on the present level. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending August 27, 2011, domestic raw steel production was 1,861,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 76.1 percent. Production was 1,647,000 tons in the week ending August 27, 2010, while the capability utilization then was 68.1 percent. The current week production represents a 13.0 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending August 27, 2011 is down 1.4 percent from the previous week ending August 20, 2011 when production was 1,888,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 77.2 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 29

  The London Metal Exchange is closed for Summer Bank Holiday today.

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up

  • Baltic Dry Index - holiday - no reading (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Widens Base of Reserve Ratio to Control Liquidity, Limit Inflation // China Stocks, Bonds Drop on Measures to Curb Bank Credit; Rate Swaps Jump // Dollar Cheap in Purchasing Power as Investors See Shelter // Japan Finance Chief Noda to Succeed Kan After Winning Leadership Contest // Asia Stocks Climb for Third Day as Bernanke Says U.S. Economy Recovering // Italy Tests Appetite for Debt When ECB Is Absent // Stocks Rally in Europe After Two Days of Losses on U.S. Economic Outlook // Consumer Spending in U.S. Climbs More Than Forecast on Purchases of Autos // Stocks Gain Amid Optimism for Economy
  • The Euro is now trading only slightly higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 2-1/4% and trading at $87.27/barrel. Gold is down over 2.1% and silver is lower by over 1.9%. Base metals went untraded on the LME as London markets were closed for national holiday. US markets are trading higher today, primarily after a weekend of analyzing what Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke did or did not say Friday. The million dollar question is whether the US economy is heading for another recession, or is just missing gears at it tries to shift out of first.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • U.S. Economy: Sick, But Not Dying - more
  • Rodrik Says Don’t Count on Emerging Markets - more
  • High Debt Levels Poised to Stunt Growth - more
  • From Green to Red – Is Credit Crunch 2.0 Imminent? - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel not trading. The Euro is presently trading just slightly lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 8/10 of 1% and trading at $86.06/barrel. Gold is nearly 1/2 of 1% lower and silver is down 2/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China down 1-2/3%. European markets are trading higher and US futures show Wall Street futures at triple digit higher figures. With LME closed for holiday there are no inventory numbers released.
  • LME Morning - no report today

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report today
  • (Yieh) According to data released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan produced 261,118 tons of stainless steel products in June, up by 6.7% in comparison of 244,836 tons in May.
  • (JMD) World nickel supply is expected to be excess by 20,000 tonnes in 2011, according to the supply and demand balance of nickel in the world by Sumitomo Metal Mining. The firm expected the excess was 35,000 tonnes on the previous forecast in April, but readjusted on August.
  • (WP) Danemar Says Norilsk's Offer `Not Attractive' for Rusal
  • Jean-Raymond Boulle to take control of Bondi Mining  - more

  African Rainbow Workers Start a Strike at Nkomati Nickel Mine, Union Says - African Rainbow Minerals Ltd. (ARI) workers at the company’s Nkomati nickel mine started a strike over wages and shift allowances today, National Union of Mineworkers spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said - more

  China Imported 621,000 Tons of Chrome Ore In July 2011 As Increased Slightly = Had A Slight Increase Of 1% From That In June, Imports From South Africa, Turkey And India Recovered - According to the customs-statistics released in China, the quantities of chrome ore imported by China in January - July of 2011 as well as in a single month of July were as per the table shown below. - more

  Chinese firm to double investment in Quebec nickel mine - Jilin Jien Nickel Industry Co. will invest an additional $400-million in its project to extract nickel in Nunavik in northern Quebec. - more

  Indonesia could face more strikes as workers push for higher pay - Recent strikes in Indonesia by gold miners, pilots and supermarket staff over pay signal that workers have started to push for a greater share of profits in a booming economy that has drawn foreign investors partly for its low labour costs. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 26

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 41 to 5,141. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) World Facing 50% Danger of Another Recession, Nobel Laureate Spence Says // Short Sellers May Spend Another Month on European Stock Market Sidelines // Greece Government Links Debt-Exchange to Reaching 90% Participation Level // Europe Stocks Drop as Bernanke Gives No Signs on Further Economic Support // U.S. Banks Said to Seek Relief From Regulators as Deposits Swell // Hurricane Irene Poses Test to Retooled U.S. Emergency Agency // Fed’s Plosser Says 2012 Outlook Hasn’t Changed, Opposes More Asset Buying // U.S. Stocks Gain After Bernanke’s Speech
  • The Euro is over 2/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is off nearly 4/10 of 1% and trading at $84.97/barrel. Gold is higher by more than 8/10 of 1% and silver is down 1.2%. Base metals ended their session higher. Indicator charts show nickel spent the day with a well established and firm upward trend. For the day and week, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $9.73/lb , a gain of $.11/lb on the week. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses soared yesterday and now sit just over the 105,000 tonne level. Today's much anticipated Bernanke speech turned out to be a big nothing - and that in itself sent a wave of relief thru the market. The Dow is up nearly 150 points. Let's hope Irene turns out to be a non event as well.
  • Have a relaxing and safe weekend!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • The Heart of the Matter - more
  • Bernanke: A Chance To Talk About Fiscal Policy? - more
  • Factory Expansion Continues in Kansas City Fed District - more
  • China’s Looming Debt Disaster - more
  • Six lessons Japan can teach the West - more

   DJ Singapore Nickel Premiums Rise On China Buying - Traders - Nickel premiums in Singapore are rising amid stronger Chinese buying interest and tightening supply in the city state, traders said this week. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.20/lb higher, with other London traded base metals higher as well. The Euro is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is down 3/4 of 1% and trading at $84.54/barrel. Gold is up 1% and silver is down more than 1/10 of 1% . In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China down slightly. European markets are trading lower, and US futures also read negative at the moment. Nickel inventories rose sharply overnight.  
  • LME Morning - Base metals drift in quiet morning trading, all eyes on Jackson Hole - more
  • Reuters - Copper steadies, eyes on Bernanke - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper sprinted past key resistance at $9000 yesterday and closed above that mark, a technically significant close in that we now could see more chart-based buying. Right now, copper is up again, pulling up the rest of the metals up along with it. However, energy markets are weaker today after yesterday's recovery that took place on worries about the weekend storm that is due to snake up the east coast this weekend, carrying with it the potential for flooding and power outages. (We are hearing that there already is a run on batteries and flashlights, but scuba gear is still available). The Euro is steadier today after weakening sharply yesterday as investors mull developments out of Europe. In this regard, the bickering over the Greek bailout package continues, with Finland insisting on collateral in exchange for furnishing any loans. Yields on Greek two-year bonds surged to 43% yesterday, while the cost of insuring Greek government bonds against default also rose sharply. Policy makers are now looking for an alternative form of collateral that could satisfy the Finns, such as Greek state property or other noncash assets, but Greece is opposed to these linkages, considering them an assault on its sovereignty. An analysis in Bloomberg notes that if the collateral dispute is not resolved, it could derail a second bailout package for Greece, since without support from all 17 Euro-zone countries, no funds can be released. The intended bailout package amounts to €109 billion, but central to the money being released, is a distressed-debt exchange deal whereby the country's private-sector creditors agree to accept new bonds worth less than their original issue price. Greece said today that it won't proceed with this swap if private participation in the program falls short of a minimum 90%, adding yet another wrinkle to the ongoing negotiations. Of more immediate concern to the markets, is Chairman Bernanke's speech scheduled for later on Friday. As we noted in yesterday’s note, there is no indication that the Fed chairman will be unveiling any surprises, and we suspect that the markets are likely coming to that conclusion as well, which may explain yesterday’s modest retreat in US equities. Our sense is that we likely will get extreme choppiness after the Fed chairman is done speaking, but things should close pretty much unchanged on the session, as we do not see the speech containing enough of a surprise to trigger a sharp move in either direction. In fact, the potential for a downward move in most markets will likely be limited given the modest improvements we have been seeing in some of the US macro readings of late, with this week’s surprisingly strong durable goods number coming to mind. Initial claims data also came out yesterday, and although these came in at 417,000, somewhat above the 400,000 expected, the strike at Verizon (since resolved) accounted for at least 8,500 claims, so the headline number was not as bad as it seemed. In addition, we got the Kansas City Fed manufacturing index out yesterday, coming in at +3 in August, unchanged from July, providing some evidence that the sharp 30 point plunge in the Philadelphia Fed survey out last week may be an outlier. ..... Nickel is at $21,239, up $389, and still very range-bound. (Daily Metals Report here)
  • (Interfax) China's stainless steel industry, the largest in the world, will likely see booming exports taper off in the near future as sluggish global economic recovery saps demand, Umetal analyst Hu Yan Ping told Interfax.
  • Antibacterial stainless steel - more
  • Hurricane Irene Tracking - more
  • BHP gets tough on staff - more

  Nickel Stockpile Orders Increase to Highest Level Since April - Orders to draw nickel from stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange rose to the highest level since April on gains in Singapore and Rotterdam. - more

  Posco Cuts September Stainless Steel Prices as Nickel Drops - Posco, the world’s second-biggest stainless-steel maker, will cut domestic prices of the alloy used mostly in buildings by as much as 2.7 percent next month, following a decline in the cost of nickel, a key raw material. - more

  Minara urges no action from shareholders over bid - Shareholders in Minara Resources Ltd. should take no action on Glencore International PLC's offer to buy out minority shareholders in the nickel miner until after the preparation of a report assessing whether the offer is fair, Minara's board said Friday. - more

  Two RUSAL partners seek to sell out-paper - Two partners in the world's top aluminium producer, UC RUSAL , want to sell their stake to a third tycoon, Alisher Usmanov, owner of an iron ore miner and shareholder in Norilsk Nickel , Vedomosti reported on Friday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 25

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 20 to 1,582. (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 10 Months on Bank Earnings, Fiscal Spending // Asian Stocks Rise as U.S. Durable-Goods Orders, Home Prices Beat Forecast // Greek 10-Year Yield Climbs to Record 18.54% on Concern Bailout Will Fail // U.K. Consumer Confidence Declines to Three-Month Low as Recovery Falters // German Stocks Sink Amid Speculation of Extended European Short-Sale Bans // France, Spain, Italy Extend Bans on Short-Selling // IMF May Authorize Next Greek Payment Under Bailout Plan by End-September // Steve Jobs Resigns as Apple CEO After Cancer Battle; Cook Named Successor // Bernanke May Forgo Easing as Data Point Higher // Jobless Claims in U.S. Rise to 417,000 // BofA Says Berkshire Will Invest $5 Billion //
  • The Euro is now trading 1/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is also 1/3 of 1% lower and trading at $84.89/barrel. Gold is up 2/3 of 1% and silver is 2.8% higher. Base metals ended higher, for the most part, except for aluminum and nickel. Indicator charts show nickel fell early, then made a morning bull run. But after short traders freeze extensions were announced in Europe, equity markets worldwide turned south and pulled nickel down with it. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $9.45/lb , exactly where it did yesterday. Stores of nickel stockpiled in LME approved warehouses rose slightly yesterday and now total just over the 104,000 tonne level. Cancelled warrants levels have risen lately and it appears some nickel buyers are gambling nickel prices have pretty much bottomed out. Traders are not happy about the ban on short trading in some European countries being extended, and are less optimistic that the Fed will announce anything tomorrow. The Dow is presently trading over 150 points lower and taking back some of yesterday's gains.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Nomura: U.S. Economy Lost Jobs in August - more
  • Vital Signs: Durable Goods Orders - more
  • With Jobs Elusive, Young Workers Quit Looking - more
  • An important lesson from Jackson Hole 2010 - more

  MSCI: Growth Slows in Service Center Shipments - Service center shipments increased from year-ago levels, though growth rates continued to slow from earlier in 2011, according to the July Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute, Rolling Meadows, Ill. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 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 2/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up nearly 3/4 of 1% and trading at $85.78/barrel. Gold is off nearly 1% and silver is down slightly. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher with China up 3-1/3%. European markets are trading higher this morning and futures show Wall Street may open higher as well. Nickel inventories rose overnight.
  • LME Morning - Base metals quiet as market awaits direction from Jackson Hole - more
  • Reuters - Copper underpinned by China, Fed meeting eyed - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals rose slightly yesterday largely on account of constructive US macro data, but trading conditions were relatively quiet compared to what was going on in other markets. US stocks, for example, staged another strong advance, sending bonds tumbling, with the long bond losing 3 whole points on the session. Gold plunged 4% on the day for one of its sharpest drops since 1980. After the close, the CME announced a 27% margin hike (quite an unusual move in light of falling prices), contributing to another 2% loss this morning. Since Tuesday's peak of roughly $1910, gold prices have retraced some $200/ounce and we suspect that more selling could still come our way given how sharply the metal has advanced. Finally, there were widespread declines in grains and some of the softs yesterday, capping what was a very mixed showing across most markets. Right now, base metals are slightly higher, while energy prices are also showing a modest $.50/brl gain. European stocks are up, leading to a marginally higher opening for US stocks. The dollar is slightly weaker, now trading at $1.4420 against the Euro. Volatile as some of the markets were yesterday, we likely will be in store for more of the same this week, most likely tomorrow, when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at the central bank's annual retreat in Wyoming. During last year's speech, Bernanke prepared the markets for "QE2", but we do not think he will unveil anything of the kind this time around. For one thing, the Fed has not leaked its intentions in advance, something it did last year when it tipped off the Wall Street Journal in advance. Moreover, the Fed's ability to maneuver at this stage is limited, since it is one thing to flood the economy with practically free money, but quite another to get people to borrow it, especially given the sorry state of the housing market. In fact, in an interesting interview carried on the Financial Times web site, former Chairman Alan Greenspan points out that of all the recoveries tracked since 1948, the current one remains unique in that the housing sector is still flat on its back two years into the recovery, something that has never been seen before. According to Greenspan, this is the reason why unemployment remains so high (a view shared by Warren Buffet as well). At this stage, we are unsure as to how markets will react to Chairman Bernanke's speech should he fail to provide the extra stimulus that the markets may be looking for. The tempting conclusion is to suggest a sell-off would ensue, particularly from the equity side, but the markets could easily rally as well, as investors may interpret a more measured approach as a signal that the Fed believes the economy is capable of recovering on its own -- and without additional Fed tinkering. Trading wise, we would refrain from taking any positions going into Friday's speech, except for day-traders, who likely will thrive given the wide price ranges that could ensue.  .... Nickel is at $21,200, up $375, and not doing much. (Daily Metals Report here)
  • (SSY) Despite intensified global economic concerns and broad stock market declines, world export prices for hot rolled band from the World Steel Dynamics SteelBenchmarker have firmed to a 2-month high of $710/t, up $17/t month-on-month. This marks a year-on-year increase of $100/t, but is still $29/t lower than the 1h11 average.
  • (RFCM) Rusal representatives on Norilsk Nickel 's board vote against buyout offer
  • (China) Steelmakers hunting for coking coal - more

  Massive nickel mine clears final hurdle - The final regulatory hurdle has been cleared for the development of a massive new $500-million open-pit nickel mine north of Grand Rapids. - more

  Supply And Demand Of Molybdenum In Japan For First Half 2011 = Reduced Production Of Special Steel Had Caused To Decrease FeMo Consumption By 3.4% - Let us trace the supply and demand of molybdenum in Japan for the first half (January - June) of 2011. Japan produced 5,607,000 tons of crude special steel in the first half of 2011, having decreased by 9.9% compared with that (6,222,000 tons) in the same period of 2010, and this decline of the output influenced on consumption of molybdenum in the period. - more

  Carpenter Tech looks to build $500M factory - Carpenter Technology plans to expand manufacturing, creating some new jobs. But where? - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 24

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 37 to 1,602. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Bank of China First-Half Profit Climbs 28% to Record on Loan Growth, Fees // Banks Pay Record Rate for Government Cash on Tightening Risk: China Credit // Biden Says He ‘Didn’t Come to Explain a Damn Thing’ to China // China’s Stocks Decline on China Life’s Earnings, Global Growth Concerns // Japan Unveils $100 Billion to Fight Surging Yen as Moody’s Lowers Rating // European Bank Job ‘Bloodbath’ Surpasses 40,000 // German Business Confidence Index Drops to Lowest Level in More Than a Year // Denmark’s Stimulus Package May Fail to Prevent ‘Long, Painful’ Adjustment // European Stocks Climb on Better-Than-Estimated U.S. Durable-Goods Orders // U.S. Banks Facing Main Street Squeeze as Economy Saps Earnings // Drought-Baked Fields Curb U.S. Wheat Outlook // U.S. East Coast May Be At Risk of Aftershocks // Irene Likely to Become ‘Major’ Hurricane Today, Heading to North Carolina // Bank of America Memo Says JPMorgan Merger Talk Among Blogs Is ‘Baseless’ // U.S. Stocks Decline, Reversing Earlier Rally
  • The Euro is down over 2/10 of 1% against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up nearly 6/10 of 1% and trading at $85.93/barrel. Gold is down 3-1/4% and silver is off 4.3%. Base metals ended their session mixed, and for the most part, quiet. Indicator charts show nickel fell early, then bounced where it traded in a narrow range until late, when it slipped back. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $9.45/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose substantially yesterday and now sit just over the 103,900 tonne level. Only Rotterdam reported in and outbound activity yesterday, but both were large readings. Markets appear to have shifted into neutral, awaiting any word from Ben Bernanke on Friday about any QE-3 type help the Fed might offer. Markets were up yesterday on the speculation the Fed would announce something. Regardless of what happens, depending on what Bernanke says on Friday, we could see a big move, in one direction or the other. In the mean time, markets appear to have turned cautious.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Why Can’t Europe Get it Right the First Time… or the Second… or the Third? - more
  • A Different Kind of Economic Imbalance - more
  • Vital Signs: Housing Sector Woes - more
  • Hurricane Irene Status - more

  Benguet Corp. unit in nickel off-take deal - Benguet Corp. disclosed Wednesday that its subsidiary, Benguetcorp Nickel Mines lnc., had signed an off-take agreement for nickel with a Chinese trading company. - more

  Nickel nanoparticles "exploit" cancer pathways - Research by an interdisciplinary -- pathologists, engineers and chemists -- team of scientists at Brown University found that nickel nanoparticles activate a cellular pathway that contributes to cancer in human lung cells. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.10/lb higher, with other London traded base metals trading lower this morning. The Euro is presently trading slightly lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down over 1/10 of 1% and trading at $85.31/barrel. Gold is up over 8/10 of 1% and silver is up over 1/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off 4/10 of 1%. European markets are trading slightly higher, while US futures show Wall Street may open lower. Nickel inventories rose overnight.    
  • LME Morning - Prices steadier on weaker dollar, but volumes remain light - more
  • Reuters - Copper steady ahead of Fed meet - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals rose on Tuesday as the Chinese PMI number provided enough momentum for the LME group to maintain its gains. In addition, the weaker dollar and a surging US equity market also provided support. The US macro numbers that we did see yesterday, while disappointing, failed to derail any of the gains. In this regard, new home sales declined more than expected in July to their lowest level in five months, with sales at 298,000, slightly below the 300,000 rate expected. Furthermore, a report from the Richmond Fed showed manufacturing falling further into negative territory, coming in at -10 from July’s reading of -1. Among the index’s components, shipments lost sixteen points to -17, new orders dropped six to -11, while the jobs index inched down three to 1. Markets are very quiet right now, with energy prices flat, while base metals are mixed, with modest changes on either side. The dollar is steady at $1.4460 against the Euro and gold has rebounded after its largest daily decline yesterday. US stocks are expected to open lower, with Dow futures pointing to a 100-point opening decline. We do not think we will be seeing much action in most complexes until Friday when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at the central bank's annual retreat in Wyoming on Friday. During last year's speech, he prepared the markets for "QE2", the $600 billion bond-buying program, and it seems that markets are trading in anticipation that something similar will be on offer this time around. We suspect the odds of a disappointment could be rather high, as the Fed's ability to maneuver at this stage is rather limited. This may set the markets up for another leg lower heading into next week, although we could see a short-lived relief rally take hold on Friday before the fade sets in. One situation we would keep an eye on is the deteriorating equity picture at Bank of America; shares in the bank were down for their fourth straight day yesterday and have hit their lowest level since March 2009, while the cost of insuring the bank's debt against default spiked to a record level as well. Troubles at this massive bank have the potential to unnerve the US stock and commodity markets, especially if credit default swaps continue to move higher, indicating that lending counterparties are losing faith in the bank’s viability. Later today out of the US, we get July durable orders data (expected at 1.9%). Out of Asia, Japan’s credit rating was lowered by Moody’s to Aa3 with a stable outlook, the company said yesterday. Rebuilding costs from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, along with continuing efforts to contain the Fukushima nuclear crisis, will make it hard for the government to meet its borrowing target this year, Moody's said. ... Nickel is at $20,850, up $190, and where we were at this time yesterday. (Daily Metals Report here)
  • (Yieh) It’s reported that European steel mills such as ThyssenKrupp and Outokumpu have decided to decline the surcharge for cold rolled (CR) stainless steel sheets which are arranged to produce in September, due to the fluctuated base metal and stock market.
  • (Platts) China's Jinchuan reduces domestic nickel prices by a further 1.9%
  • Losses increase at Toledo Mining - more
  • (Reuters) Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel and palladium producer, said on Wednesday its board has approved an offer to buy back 15 percent of its shares held by Russia's RUSAL for $8.75 billion.
  • (Interfax) China's refined lead, tin and zinc imports fell last month on an annual basis, while nickel imports rose, according to figures released Aug. 22 by the General Administration of Customs (GAC).
  • (CD) Chinese consumer confidence slipped 3 points to 105 in the second quarter. It's the first decline this year and comes amid concern over growing inflation, according to a report by The Nielsen Co released on Tuesday.
  • (China) Manufacturing set for slower contraction - more
  • (ATA) The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 1.3% in July after rising a revised 2.6% in June 2011. June’s drop was slightly less than the 2.8% ATA reported on July 26, 2011. The latest pullback put the SA index at 114 (2000=100) in July, down from the June level of 115.5.

  Moly Production In Western World In First Half 2011 With Remarkable Expansion In North America = Scale To Produce Molybdenum Is Moving To Enlarge Mainly At Primary Mines In North America - According to settlements of accounts for April - June quarter of 2011 released by major producers of molybdenum in the western countries, these producers in North America are thought to have shown a strong intention to increase their molybdenum production. Consequently, the output of molybdenum in the western world for the first half (January - June) of 2011 had been still taken the leadership by North American producers. - more

  Glencore makes bid for Minara nickel miner - Swiss commodities giant Glencore is bidding to take over Australian nickel miner Minara, in Glencore’s first big move since going public in May. - more

  IMFA plans Rs 6,600-cr power plant in Orissa - Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Ltd (IMFA) is planning to spend Rs 6,600 crore over the next five years to set up a 1,320-Mw power plant in Orissa. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 23

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 50 to 1,565. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China’s Manufacturing May Contract at Slower Pace This Month, Survey Shows // Hong Kong’s ‘Scary’ 7.9% Inflation May Fuel Wages Even as Recession Looms // Asia Stocks Climb as Exporters Rise on Fed Stimulus Hopes, China // European Banks Must Pay Up to Borrow $100B // Euro-Area Services, Manufacturing Grow at Slowest Pace in Almost Two Years // Dollar, Yen, Swiss Franc Fall After Manufacturing Data Exceeds Forecasts // Europe’s Failure to Stem Banking Crisis Haunts Markets Again // European Stocks Advance on Speculation Fed May Seek to Bolster U.S. Growth // Douglas Peterson to Become President of S&P // Hurricane Irene Intensifies as Storm Nears U.S. // July New-Home Sales Fell to Five-Month Low // U.S. Stocks Rise on Fed Speculation
  • The Euro is trading over 4/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up nearly 2% and trading at $86.07/barrel. Gold is lower by over 2.1% and silver is down 3.3%. Base metals ended the session higher .... except for nickel. Indicator charts show nickel started higher but spent the day in a slow, deliberate slide. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.37/lb , a new low close for the year. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell yesterday and now sit just over the 103,250 tonne level. The daily inventory reading has remained in the 102-104,000 tonne narrow band since July 13th. Equity markets are higher today, mostly because of hopes that Bernanke will come to the rescue again, and the news, as MarketWatch's Kate Gibson so elegantly put it in a lead article today "U.S. stocks stronger after a wave of bad-but-perhaps-not-horrible data from U.S., Europe and China."

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Bank of America CDS Spread Nears Record As Credit Market Misses Rally Memo - more
  • The Fed’s Secret Liquidity Lifelines - more
  • US Census Bureau The 2011 Statistical Abstract - more
  • Tropical Storm Risk - Irene - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.10/lb higher, with all London traded base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro is currently trading nearly 3/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up nearly 1.2% and trading at $85.41/barrel. Gold is down more than 8/10 of 1% and silver is lower by 1-3/4%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up over 1-1/2%. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street should open higher as well. Nickel inventories fell overnight.    
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Climbs on Speculation Fed Will Take Steps to Bolster U.S. Economy - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals higher, fret over poor economic data - more
  • Reuters - Copper up as China data boosts sentiment - more

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Daily Overview - pdf here
  • Metals Insight - pdf here
  • ThyssenKrupp Nirosta September Stainless Steel Surcharge - more
  • Outokumpu September Stainless Steel Surcharge - pdf here
  • Ryerson Customer Link - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices fell yesterday, as continued concerns about a growing slowdown in the US and Europe-- aggravated by lingering debt worries-- outweighed the impact of upbeat Chinese copper import data. (More on the numbers later). Copper posted its third consecutive weekly loss last week, and is now down more than 10% so far this month, but among the base metals, ali has been the particularly weak one, getting to a new 2011 low of $2323 last week. In other markets, US equities surged on the opening bell yesterday following another brutal sell-off on Friday on hopes that Fed Chairman Bernanke may outline further easing measures when he speaks later in the week. However, the buying hardly gained traction and the gains fizzed by day's end. Oil prices also buckled slightly yesterday, especially on Brent, as fast-paced weekend developments saw rebel forces pushing into Tripoli for the first time. Although it seems the Libyan leader’s days are numbered, the more important question for the markets is trying to ascertain just how quickly Libyan oil will come back on stream. This morning, we are higher across the board in metals, mainly on account of a weaker dollar, (now close to $1.45 against the Euro), as well as the release of the Chinese PMI number overnight. Although the index showed factory activity slowing for a second straight month in August, (coming in at 49.8), the contraction was less than expected and provided some relief to investors who were bracing for a much worse result. Oil markets are higher today, although of the two contracts, the Libyan-influenced Brent contract continues to struggle, and is practically unchanged. US stocks are expected to open higher, while gold has soared to another record of around $1910, this despite an overnight margin increase imposed by the Shanghai Gold Exchange. .... There is not much change in our view on metals over the short-term; markets should continue to take their direction from macro readings as opposed to anything else, including currency-related influences. For the moment, the preponderance of the data continues to point to sluggish growth in most countries, and so we suspect that metals will likely drift lower over the course of the next several weeks. Clearly, many are looking to the Fed chairman to pull out another rabbit out of his hat on Friday, but we suspect the Fed’s firepower is largely spent at this stage. An alternative strategy the Fed could consider– actually doing nothing – may work better, as it could allow the economy to climb out of its current soft patch now that oil prices are finally breaking, but we suspect that “policy tinkering” will likely win out.  ...... Nickel is at $20,950, up $100. (Daily Metals Report here)
  • (Reuters) South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers said on Tuesday that wage talks with management at African Rainbow Minerals' Nkomati nickel mine had failed and the labour group threatened a strike at the mine from next week.
  • (Tru) Russia - Domestic non-ferrous metals decreased in the last months of 2011, production of raw nickel 1.2%, while cobalt - 3.7%, as evidenced by the information of the Federal State Statistics Service.
  • (CM) Data from research firm Beijing Antaike Information Development Co showed that there are two undergoing stainless steel projects will soon bring another 5 million tonnes of crude stainless steel over the next few years. It is also expected that Chinese stainless capacity will reach 20 million tonnes by the end of 2015 by those projects.
  • (TRI) Mr Allen Cao GM of Tsingshan Mineral, the mineral procurement arm of the group, at the SBB WZSSE Stainless Raw Materials Summit in Shanghai, said that China's NPI production capacity is also expected to increase by 100,000 tonnes in 2011. He added that China's growing hunger for NPI saw its stainless steel makers use 78% more of the product in 2010 than the year earlier.
  • (ATI) Effective with shipments beginning October 1, 2011, a surcharge of $534 per ton ($26.70/cwt) is being added to grain-oriented electrical steel invoices. This surcharge is subject to monthly adjustment.
  • European manufacturing and services stall, adding to signs of slowdown - more
  • China factory output cools in August - HSBC - more

  Japan's Output Of Stainless Steel Products In June 2011 Totaled To 261,118 Tons = Increased By 7% From May, Increases Of Cr And Ni-Cr-Mo Based Products Resulted In Whole Expansion - Accordingly to the steel statistics released on the 12th of August by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the quantities of stainless steel products (hot-rolled products) produced in Japan in June of 2011 and broken down by kinds of steels were as per the table attached hereto. - more

  Nickel prices to be hit by decreasing Chinese demand - Chinese consumption of Nickel is set to decrease with the preference growing for Nickel-Pig-Iron (NPI). At the London Metal Exchange (LME), Nickel prices have fallen from a high of $29,000 in January to around $21,000 in August. - more

  Norilsk Nickel announces buyout offer to Rusal - Norilsk Nickel has announced a new buyout offer to UC Rusal; the proposal suggests to buying 15% of the shares (60% of Rusal’s stake) for USD 8.75 bn, at about USD 306 per share. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending August 20, 2011, domestic raw steel production was 1,888,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 77.2 percent. Production was 1,647,000 tons in the week ending August 20, 2010, while the capability utilization then was 68.1 percent. The current week production represents a 14.6 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending August 20, 2011 is up 0.3 percent from the previous week ending August 13, 2011 when production was 1,883,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 77.0 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 22

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 53 to 1,515. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Hong Kong’s Record Negative Interest Rates Fuel Yuan Demand: China Credit // China’s Stocks Drop on Concern About Tight Monetary Policy, Global Growth // Thai Growth Unexpectedly Slows on Japan Quake Disruptions, Global Economy // Gold Seen Heading for Biggest Annual Gain in 32 Years on Flight to Safety // Salgado Confident EU Rescue Fund Won’t be Needed to Backstop Spanish Bonds // Qaddafi Sons Taken as Rebels Sweep Into Tripoli // Merkel Says She’ll Resist Pressure for Euro Bond // European Shares Advance, Rebounding From Two-Year Low; Eni Gains on Libya // Retailers’ Slowest Profit Growth Since Recession Portends Weak Second Half // Hedge Funds Buying Corn to Silver to Soy After Commodities Futures Decline // Homebuyers Hunker Down as Real Estate’s Drag on U.S. Economy May Worsen // Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion in Loans from Fed // Treasuries Price In QE3 as Barclays Says Traders Anticipate $500 Billion // U.S. Stocks Rise on Fed Stimulus Speculation
  • The Euro is now trading less than 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 1.2% and trading at $83.23/barrel. Gold is up 1.8% and silver is over 1% higher. Base metals ended the session lower. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, but spent much of the rest of the session in a slide, which ended about an hour before the trading session ended. Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $9.46/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose on Friday and now sit just over the 103,350 tonne level. European equity markets gained today, but any enthusiasm did not spill over into metal trading today. Nickel has closed lower than the prior day for the last three consecutive days and today's close is a new low for 2011. IN the US, the Dow jumped to over 11,000 early, then slipped to nearly where it opened. In the last half hour it has started to gain positive momentum again. Chalk up another Arab country in the 'government recently overthrown' column. Markets are expected to remain choppy this week, with important reports and speeches being watched closely.   
  • Tropical Storm Risk map for Irene - due to hit US east coast late this week - more

  Reports

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

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • The United States of Unemployment - more
  • What Do Markets Expect From Bernanke at Jackson Hole? - more
  • ECB Set for a Lengthy Pause - more

  Tsingshan: China to Raise Nickel Pig Iron Output by 25-50 Pct in 2011 - China is expected to raise its nickel pig iron (NPI) output by between 25-50 percent to 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes this year from 200,000 tonnes in 2010, said Tsingshan Holding Group, the country's largest private stainless steel mill. - more

  Rusal Slides as Norilsk's Lower Offer Dims Deal Prospects - United Co. Rusal's Russian depositary receipts dropped the most in more than two weeks after OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel lowered an offer to buy back shares, dimming prospects a deal will be reached that may help Rusal fund debt repayments. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading at no change but on the rise from early morning losses, with other London traded base metals mixed and mostly quiet. The Euro is presently trading over 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 1.6% and trading at $83.57/barrel. Gold is up 2/3 of 1% and silver is over 1/2 of 1% higher. In overnight trading Asian markets ended lower, with China off more than 1%. European markets are rebounding this morning and futures show Wall Street should open much higher. Nickel inventories rose over the weekend.  
  • LME Morning - Base metals range-bound, traders assess macro risks - more
  • Reuters - Copper edged down on global economic concerns - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report for Monday
  • (Yieh) It’s reported that Taiwanese Tang Eng's general manager expected that the stainless steel prices would stop dipping in September as the nickel prices have slumped to the lowest level over past eight months.
  • (PN) RUSAL: No official buyback offer received from Norilsk Nickel
  • (MBN) China's nickel ore imports reach fresh high in July
  • (Australia) Labor Left pushes for mining barons to fund manufacturing revival - more
  • Chinese economy to grow 9.28% in 2011 - more

  DJ Zambia Munali Nickel Mine Operations Restricted After Landslips - Underground blasting operations at Zambia's sole nickel miner, Munali Nickel Mine, continue to be restricted as a precaution following recent land movement there, a company executive said Monday. - more

  PNG Ramu Nickel to start operations in Sept-shareholder - Papua New Guinea's Supreme Court has cleared the way for initial operations to begin next month at the $1.5 billion Ramu Nickel project, a shareholder said in a statement. - more

  Indonesia Inco sees lower nickel output in 2011 - International Nickel Indonesia (Inco) sees this year's output at 71,000 tonnes, lower than its average annual output at 73,000 tonnes, an official of the firm said late on Friday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 19

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)
  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.10/lb higher, with other London traded base metals higher as well. The Euro is trading 1/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 8/10 of 1% and trading at $81.73/barrel. Gold is up over 1-1/2% and silver is over 2-3/4% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off nearly 1%.  European markets are trading lower this morning, and US markets are pegged to open lower. Nickel inventories rose yesterday and sit just over the 103,200 tonne level.
  • We are on the road today so there will be no afternoon update. Have a pleasant and restful weekend!   
  • LME Morning - Metal prices recover but remain vulnerable - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -Just as price volatility was starting to recede amid signs of some market-wide consolidation, a massive sell-off set in yesterday, pulling the rug out from under unsuspecting "upside nibblers". Outside of gold and the US bond market, there was nowhere to hide, with the selling in energy being particularly brutal. In this respect, oil prices on NYMEX shed more than $6/brl, wiping out most of this week's hard-fought gains. There were sharp declines in base metals as well, with aluminum crashing to a 2011 lows, although the rest of the group has yet to achieve that distinction. More broadly, the Reuters-Jefferies CRB index closed with its biggest daily loss (down 2.3%) since S&P’s downgrade. Stocks fared even worse, with the Dow losing almost 420 points on the day to close below 11,000, while the S&P and NASDAQ each lost about 4%. We are seeing mixed markets today, with base metals higher, but energy prices continuing to sink, with oil now breaching the $80 mark on NYMEX. It is another miserable day on the equity front, with markets in Europe and Asia weaker, leading to another lower opening call for stocks here in the US, where Dow futures are pointing to a 190-point opening decline. Gold is pushing on to a new record, now at $1860, while the dollar has not been doing much, holding steady at around $1.43 against the Euro. There was no one variable that was behind yesterday's rout, but rather, a confluence of events coalesced to bring the markets down. The Morgan Stanley downgrade growth forecast we referenced in yesterday's note started things off, but things only got worse after a slew of US economic numbers were released later in the day. In this regard, after falling below 400,000 for the first time since April, initial claims rose to 408,000 in the latest week, disappointing those who were hoping for a possible turn in the beleaguered job market. CPI readings for July also came in at a higher-than-expected 0.5% on the overall rate (vs. a consensus of 0.2%), while on the housing front, existing home sales fell to 4.67 mln, coming in less than the 4.87 mln expected. However, the release that really walloped the markets was the Philadelphia Fed factory-sector index of general business activity, which fell to its lowest level since March 2009, coming in at -30.7, well below the -1.0 expected. There was nothing positive in the Philly report, as every category declined except for prices, which remained steady, but the rest -- new orders, unfilled orders, shipments, and employment -- all contracted. Finally, a bit of good news came our way from the Conference Board's leading economic indicators index, which increased by 0.5% in July, up from 0.3% in June, but a closer examination of the number shows that the bulk of the increase, (some 70%), was attributable to a spike in money supply, not a particularly meaningful component at this stage of the recovery -- or what remains of it. It is clear that deceleration in growth we have been worried about for much of this year seems to be gathering momentum and now spreading beyond Europe and the US (as we saw from the sub-par Brazilian numbers referenced in yesterday’s note). It remains to be seen how deep the current slowdown will get and how quickly it will be over, but we think we should be able to avoid tipping into recession here in the US. We say this in view of the fact that the more energy prices go down, the more optimistic we get, as oil, more than any other commodity, has the capacity to perhaps single-handedly jump-start growth. Lower energy prices act like a massive tax decrease and simultaneously lead to a sharp moderation in inflation readings, thus allowing central banks to avoid raising interest rates and perhaps even prompting some to lower them. Of course, US rates are already on the floor, but rate decreases in key emerging market rates (and possibly the EU) could provide a much needed shot in the arm in reviving growth prospects. For that to happen, however, we need to see a much more sizable correction in the critical Brent oil benchmark, which at $106, still remains elevated, However, Brent may soon crack given what is going on in Libya. In this regard, it seems the rebels are making progress in moving towards Tripoli, and as they tighten their noose around the capital, the end-game could come rather quickly since Colonel Gadaffi's forces, sensing imminent defeat, may melt away. In fact, NBC News today that the Libyan leader himself may be the first one to bolt, apparently negotiating an exile agreement that could take him to Tunisia. Such a development could finally dent the resilient Brent market, as investors have to start discounting the possibility that a long-awaited recovery process in Libya's production could perhaps get underway. In the meantime, it seems the continued downward selling pressure emanating on most commodity and equity complexes will likely continue. There are no macro numbers to be released out of the US today, while politicians have checked out as well, with most comfortably on vacation. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will be at Jackson Hold next week, and investors are waiting to see if “QE3” will be unveiled at the time. That may be the next inflection point for the markets, but in the meantime, it is going to be a rough slog for the bulls, except those in gold and US bonds. ......  Nickel is at $21,550, up $250. (Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • (MFG) South Korea's POSCO said on Friday that one of its blast furnaces in the southwestern city of Gwangyang was on fire, but that no production disruptions had been reported.
  • (MNP) The fully built $US1.5 billion ($A1.45 billion) Chinese-managed Ramu nickel-cobalt mine in Papua New Guinea can finally start ore commissioning activities next month after a favourable Supreme Court judgment.
  • (Yieh) According to report, there are two undergoing stainless steel projects will soon bring another 5 million tons of crude stainless steel over the next few year, data from research firm Beijing Antaike Information Development Co.
  • (JMB) Japan Stainless Steel Import Increases by 13.5% in June
  • China pledges no economic hard-landing - more

 Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 12th August 2011 = Steeply Strengthened Exchange Rate Of Yen / US-Dollar Has Caused To Embarrass Trading Companies - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 12th August of 2011 is as follows: - more

  Norilsk to make third buyback offer to RUSAL - Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel said on Friday it would offer to buy back 15 percent of its stock from UC RUSAL in a new attempt to resolve a long-running shareholder dispute. - more

  Focus: Deep sea placement to proceed at PNG's Ramu Nickel mine - The National Court in Papua New Guinea has cleared the way for the Ramu Nickel mine to dispose of its tailings using a deep sea placement off the coast of Madang Province. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, August 18

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 43 to 1,414. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Top Stock Picker Jain Won’t Touch Chinese Banks on Bad Debt // China Curbs Halt Gains in Beijing, Shanghai Home Prices First Time in 2011 // Morgan Stanley Lowers Global Growth Forecast // European Stocks Sink Most Since 2009 Amid Concern on Growth, Bank Funding // Jobless Claims in U.S. Top Forecast // Treasury Yields Tumble Amid Concern Worldwide Economic Growth Is Slowing // Philadelphia-Area Factory Index Falls to -30.7, Lowest Since March of 2009 // Stocks Plunge as 10-Year Treasury Yield Falls to Record Low; Gold Surges //
  • The Euro is trading nearly 3/4 o f 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down nearly 5.1% and trading at $83.13/barrel. Gold is up 1-2/3% and silver is up 1%. Base metals took a bath today, once again parroting equity markets. Indicator charts show nickel headed south at teh outset and never looked back. For the day, three month nickel closed at $9.66/lb . Traders were once again unable to punch thru the $10/lb level. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses slipped for a second consecutive session, and now sits just under the 103,100 tonne level. Activity of outbound shipments remain brisk, with typically one large inbound shipment being recorded each day. The Dow is down over 400 points at the moment. Markets were looking to open lower prior to the opening bell, but when the Philly Fed Index was released well below expectations, the volatility index rose by 30% and equities tanked, with the Dow at one point, over 500 points lower. We are traveling tomorrow so our morning briefing may be delayed.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Vital Signs: Producer Price Index - more
  • Moody’s: Private Student-Loan Defaults Tick Up - more
  • The allocation of time over the business cycle - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.18/lb lower, with other London traded base metals mostly lower. The Euro is presently trading over 4/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down over 2% and at  $85.79/barrel. Gold is up 1-1/3% and silver is up 4/10 of 1%. In overnight trading Asian markets ended lower, with China off 1.8%. European markets are trading lower this morning and futures show Wall Street could open deep in the red. Nickel inventories fell overnight.  
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Slides as Banks Cut Estimates for Global, Chinese Economic Growth - more
  • LME Morning - Economic woes weigh heavy on market - more
  • Reuters - Copper prices sag, market confidence crumbles - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals closed higher yesterday, with copper hitting a one-week high by briefly poking above $9000 resistance before retreating. Markets exhibited considerable more volatility than what we saw earlier in the week, as crude oil pushed up by about $2/brl at one point only to give up half its gains later in the day. Similarly, the Dow was up by some 120 points at mid-session before it also closed roughly unchanged. Yesterday’s firmer tone in commodities was attributable in large part to the weaker dollar, which continued to sink to a three-week low versus a basket of currencies, even getting past the $1.45 level against the Euro at one point. Its weaker tone was brought on by worse-than-expected US inflation readings that saw July producer prices increasing 0.2%, well ahead of expectations calling for an unchanged reading. Core prices rose by 0.4%-- the largest increase since January. All in all, the numbers were not good, and puts the Fed in somewhat of a pickle given its recent decision to freeze rates. In such a setting, the asset class that will suffer the most will be the dollar, as investors know that the Fed will not be raising rates despite inflationary headwinds. The best the central bank can now hope for is for inflation to start declining over the months ahead, but this very much depends on commodities continuing their generally downward drift. This morning, we are seeing a broad retreat in both base metals and energy, while the dollar has rebounded, and is now at $1.4360 against the Euro. It has even picked up ground against the Swiss franc, where there is talk of intervention in the forward markets. Gold is up again for a fourth straight session. In the equity markets, European stocks have followed Asia’s lead lower, setting up a weaker opening for US equities. The markets continue to fret about global growth prospects as the rate of deceleration is now becoming broader and deeper. To emphasize the point, Morgan Stanley cuts its growth forecasts both regionally and globally today, citing "recent policy errors" and saying that the US and the Eurozone were now "dangerously close to recession". Brazil is the latest country to report slower growth this week, with numbers issued by its central bank yesterday showing economic activity falling by 0.26% in June from May, marking the first decline since December 2008. (In the meantime, the seven month old government sank deeper into crisis on Wednesday after a fourth minister quit, while another top aide publicly questioned whether President Rousseff would actually seek reelection). We expect to see a continued sideways drift with a downward bias in most markets over the very short-term, as trading conditions remain light. The weaker dollar could offer intermittent support to commodities, as was the case yesterday, but we suspect the focus will be more on the macro numbers and less on currency over the weeks ahead.  .... Nickel is at $21,550, down $400.  (Daily Metals Report here)
  • (Yieh) It’s reported that the stainless steel inventories in China’s Wuxi Market in Jiangsu province have increased as traders and end users hold orders on hand on dropping nickel prices. Also, this is the first rise since the past three months.
  • (Interfax) China produced 514.01 million tons of steel products over the first seven months of 2011, up 13.04 percent year-on-year, according to figures released by Shanghai-based Mysteel Information on Aug. 17.
  • (MBN) Chinese ports overwhelmed by surge in nickel ore deliveries
  • (RSSDA) According to SpetsStal Association, stainless steel imports to Russia in 1H 2011, compared to 1H 2010, shows a record rise by 37.8% to 113.7 thousand tons.
  • (SBB) China nickel pig iron industry in overcapacity
  • Mincor posts $23.4m loss, sees upside - more
  • Benguet Corp. disclosed Tuesday that it has become the exclusive marketing agent for the nickel ore production of its wholly owned subsidiary, Benguetcorp Nickel Mines Inc. - more

  Munali Nickel Mine ops to remain suspended - Underground operations at Albidon‘s Munali Nickel Mine in Mazabuka will remain suspended until the mining firm complies with the mine safety standards, Mines and Minerals Development director of safety Mooya Lumamba has said. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 17

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 27 to 1,371. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Expands Yuan Role in Biggest Boost to Hong Kong’s Economy Since 2003 // Yuan Declines Most in Two Weeks as China Halts Record Fixing // Asia Inflation Risk May Climb With Yingluck Plan to Boost Thai Rice Prices // Europe’s Stalling Economy May Keep ECB Interest Rate on Hold // Markets Go From Nightmare to Bad Dream: Vincent R. Reinhart // European Stocks Climb; Health-Care Companies, Vestas Rise, Carlsberg Sinks // Rising Spending Holds Off U.S. Double-Dip // Fed’s Bullard Says New 2013 Rate Pledge Not a Signal for More Bond Buying // U.S. Government Merits Junk Debt Rating: Laurence Kotlikoff // Wholesale Prices Rose More Than Forecast // U.S. Stocks Little Changed as Dell Slumps
  • The Euro is trading 3/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude continues to trade 1.4% higher and at $87.86/barrel. Gold is down 1/10 of 1% while silver is higher by over 1/2 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mostly higher but off earlier highs. Indicator charts show nickel headed north early, but when Wall Street turned south, nickel followed suit.  For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $9.95/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell again on Tuesday and now sit just over the 103,250 tonne level. Outbound shipments remain active, offsetting large inbound shipments. Nickel traders obviously want that $10/lb nickel back and came close to obtaining it today. Wall Street's afternoon descent put the nix on that for today, but tomorrow will be a new day.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) The global nickel market was in a small surplus of 4,100 metric tons in January to June, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said Wednesday.
  • More Student Loans Are Past Due - more
  • Vital Signs: Manufacturing Picks Up - more
  • The Consumption Economy Is Dying—Let it Die - more
  • The GDP revisions: What changed? - more
  • Misunderstanding the Rent vs. Buy Dynamic - more

  Law firm hopes to keep suits against Hudbay alive - A Toronto law firm is pushing for lawsuits against Canadian mining company HudBay Minerals regarding alleged human rights abuses to continue, despite the fact the company no longer owns the project where the alleged killing of one man and gang rape of 11 women occurred. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.14/lb higher, with all London traded base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro is trading over 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 1.3% and trading at $87.78/barrel. Gold is trading flat, while silver is up slightly. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China down 4/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures show Wall Street may open higher as well. Nickel inventories fell overnight.  
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Rises as Chinese Buying Draws Down London Metal Exchange Stockpiles - more
  • LME Morning - Metals witness slight rises but trading light as uncertainty prevails - more
  • Reuters - LME copper up on steady China demand, Asian equities - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals ended mostly lower after a fairly quiet session yesterday, never managing to recover from the poor German macro data we referenced in yesterday's report. There was a brief uptick after US industrial numbers were released, which showed a .9% increase for July, well ahead of the .4% expected. The number was a pleasant surprise as investors were bracing for rather poor figures given the recent deceleration evident in regional indices, but it seems that a good rebound in automobile manufacturing helped the number come in on the strong side. Also somewhat of a positive (although not entirely unexpected) was the announcement by ratings agency Fitch reaffirming the US’s AAA rating and leaving its outlook at “stable”. On the negative side, data released out of the housing sector shows activity remaining moribund, with starts coming in at 604,000 in July, slightly weaker than the 608,000 consensus. Building permits came in at 597,000 against expectations for 606,000. Both data points also saw negative revisions in June. By yesterday’s mid-session, most markets weakened again after the long-awaited Sarkozy/Merkel leadership meeting came to an end. The two leaders unveiled plans for closer Eurozone integration and significantly, did not rule out launching Eurobonds as a possible policy tool that could be utilized in order to fight the current contagion. However, both leaders said the timing of Eurobonds will have to be an "outcome of an integration process, not the prelude", meaning that utilization of such an option was still ways down the road. Also disappointing the markets somewhat, was the fact that the two leaders stopped short of endorsing a proposal to increase the size of the stabilization fund. Instead, a proposal to reintroduce a transaction tax on financial institutions, (which Sarkozy called a “priority) triggered some selling in equities, particularly among the financial names and leading exchanges. The tax, however, is not a sure thing as it would have to be approved by all the countries in the Eurozone. On a scale of one to ten, the Franco-German proposals seem to have registered a four or five at best, as investors were disappointed by the cautious approach taken by the two leaders, although they were pleased to see that the Eurobond idea was not categorically rejected. Right now, we are seeing a generally firmer tone set in over commodity markets, although again, trading is fairly quiet and price ranges are much narrower than what we saw last week. Most of the LME metals are modestly higher with the exception of aluminum, which has yet to find its sea legs, hitting a low of $2361 earlier today, just $1 off its 2011 low. Oil prices are up by about $1.20 a barrel, while the dollar is weaker, now trading at $1.4450 against the Euro. US equity markets are called to open slightly lower following modest losses seen in Europe. We get US inflation readings later today, with the release of producer prices for July. Prices are expected to have risen 0.1% after a 0.4% fall in June. Indian inflation readings also came out overnight; the country’s wholesale price index rose at an annual 9.22% in July, down from the annual rise of 9.44% in June. We do not expect to see much in terms of action in metals for the balance of the week, as the lack of any impending developments should keep trading activity rather uneventful.  .... Nickel is at $21,690, down $10, and the only metal that is down today. (Daily Metals Report here)
  • (Reuters) South Korea has bought a total of 2,000 tonnes of high-grade primary aluminium ingot, 1,500 tonnes of zinc ingot and 200 tonnes of nickel for October shipping via tenders closed on Wednesday, the state-run Public Procurement Service said.
  • (Reuters) China refined nickel imports may rise in Aug, Sept on margins
  • S&P keeps Norilsk Nickel ratings On watch negative on buyback plan - more
  • (SM) The American Forest & Paper Association released its July 2011 U. S. Containerboard Statistics Report today. Containerboard production rose 4.6% when compared to June 2011, and the month over month average daily production was up 1.2%. The containerboard operating rate for July 2011 was down slightly, 0.6 point over July 2010 to 98.1% but it gained 1.2 points over June's operating rate.
  • Some cooling, but neutral conditions persist in the tropical Pacific - more

  Nickel Outlook Uncertain; Volatility Seen - Talvivaara - The short-term outlook for nickel remains uncertain, and volatility in the metal's price is likely to remain high as fears over a slowdown in economic growth, the U.S. debt burden and euro zone sovereign debt weigh across world commodity markets, executives of Finland's Talvivaara Mining Co. PLC said Wednesday. - more

  Growth in Metal Shipments Continues to Slow - Service center shipments increased from year ago levels, however, growth rates continue to slow from earlier this year for both steel and aluminum in Canada and for steel in the U.S. U.S. aluminum shipments declined slightly from year ago levels. Inventory levels increased for both metals in the U.S. and Canada. - more

  HPAL producers remain a nickel wild card - Buried within the deluge of second-quarter earnings reports was a minor production guidance downgrade from Australian nickel producer Minara Resources . - more

  Nickel laterite tech whizzes plan listing - Direct Nickel plans a backdoor listing on the domestic bourse and says its patented method for processing troublesome nickel laterite deposits is set to transform the industry. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 16

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 38 to 1,344. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Foreign Investment in China Jumps 20% as Nissan, McDonald’s Woo Consumers // Chinese Speculators Fuel Property Market With Fake Divorces to Skirt Curbs // China Increased Treasury Holdings for Third Month in June as Demand Waned // India’s Inflation Rate May ‘Peak’ in August, Finance Ministry’s Basu Says // Asia Stocks Gain as Buffett Buys on ‘Sale,’ Tech Rises on Google // Merkel Meets Sarkozy on Debt Concerns // King Says ‘Severe’ Market Stress Threatens U.K. // Europe Q2 Expansion Slows More Than Forecast // Sarkozy Working With Merkel on ‘Ambitious’ Proposals to Defend Euro Region // Stocks in Europe Decline as Economy Grows Slower Than Forecast; Enel Drops // DeMark Says U.S. Stock Rally May Begin in Weeks, Europe Banks Are ‘Buys’ // Obama Says Debt-Limit Battle Hurt Economy // Wal-Mart Second-Quarter Profit Rises 5.7% // Fitch Affirms U.S. AAA Credit Rating // Stocks Fall as Europe Floats Financial Tax
  • The Euro is trading 1/4 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1/3% and trading at $86.75/barrel. Gold is over 8/10 of 1% higher, while silver is down over 1/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mostly lower, with only nickel making a substantial gain. Indicator charts show nickel fell early, then started  along a ragged climb thru the rest of the session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.84/lb . LME approved warehouses saw a gain of only a few tonnes yesterday after heavy inbound and outbound traffic, and totals remain just shy of the 103,300 tonne level. While the GDP news from Europe put a damper on early morning trading on Wall Street, it appeared the bulls might pull off another gainer, until the leaders of Germany and France announced they would propose a tax on financial transactions in September. With that, Wall Street turned cranky, and the Dow just experienced a near 200 point freefall. Nothing like the smell of volatility in mid-afternoon. The International Nickel Study Group reports a 2,600 tonne nickel deficit for the first half of 2011, but expects a 30,000 tonne surplus for the year. If true, we can start expecting to see some growth in the LME warehouse numbers in the upcoming months.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MFG) The global nickel market experienced a supply deficit by 2,600 tons in the first half of 2011, the latest monthly bulletin from the International Nickel Study Group (INSG) showed. Global primary nickel consumption totaled 763,100 tons in January to June 2011. INSG expects the nickel market to show a 60,000-ton surplus this year, compared with a deficit of 30,000 tons in 2010.
  • Moody’s Lowers Economic Growth Outlook - more
  • Student Loan Debt Climbs - more
  • Economic consequences of recent oil price changes - more
  • Stop Coddling the Super-Rich - more
  • Did George W. Bush cause this crisis? - more
  • Can the Middle Class Be Saved? - more
  • Chart of the Day: Is the Unemployment Rate Really 12.5%? - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.09/lb  higher and climbing, with most other base metals trading lower this morning. The Euro is trading over 1/2 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down over 1.6% and trading at $86.46/barrel. Gold is up 9/10 of 1% and silver is down 8/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China down 7/10 of 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning on disappointing 2nd quarter GDP numbers from Germany. US futures are lower as well. NIckel inventories gained slightly overnight.
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Declines on Speculation China, U.S. Slowdown Set to Reduce Demand - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals drift lower on eurozone economic woes - more
  • Reuters - Copper slips on firm dollar, weak economic outlook - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals ended mixed in a very quiet start to the week, this despite the fact that both US equity and energy markets posted solid gains. Aluminum was particularly weak, approaching, but not yet breaching its January 2011 low of $2360. In other markets, gold finished higher, while the dollar closed sharply lower, although it did little to help metals per se. On the macro front, the numbers we got out of the US yesterday came in on the weaker side, but did not derail any of the rallies we saw; August manufacturing in the New York area contracted for a third straight month, with the index falling to -7.72, much worse than the unchanged reading expected. Separate data showed housing continuing to struggle, with a gauge of July homebuilder sentiment stuck at near historic lows. The Fed also said demand for consumer bank loans was flat over the past three months, while commercial and industrial lending saw a modest pick-up. This morning, many of the complexes that have been pushing higher over the last few days are now in negative territory; oil prices are off by $1.20, metals are also down, while US equity futures are also pointing lower. The negative turn is attributable to news out of Europe showing that the German economy expanded only 0.1% in the second quarter, marking a sharp slowdown from the 1.3% rate posted in the first. The tepid growth figure comes on the heels of similar numbers out of France last week, showing the economy there basically stuck in neutral. More regionally, the Eurozone's economy expanded by 0.2% in the second quarter, below expectations calling for a 0.3% rise. In addition, European manufacturing growth eased in July, while economic confidence slumped to its lowest level in almost a year. Germany's DAX 30 stock index was down 2% on the reports, setting up the lower opening for US stocks. The Euro is weaker against the dollar (now at $1.4370) ahead of a French–German leadership meeting scheduled for later today; both politicians downplayed expectations ahead of the meeting. We do not have much to add to what we wrote about the markets in yesterday’s commentary. The “debt drama” that unfolded on both sides of the Atlantic over the last few weeks seems to have receded somewhat, but the focus now is on worsening macro readings, particularly out of the US and Europe On their own, such numbers seldom generate the sharp price swings of the kind we saw over the last two weeks (that seems to be Congress’s specialty), but what poor macro readings do instead, is to exert gradual, but consistent pressure on prices, while keeping rallies in check. This is what we could be seeing today in light of the German GDP readings. In sum, we reiterate our view that metal prices will continue to struggle over the balance of the year, as they drift along a more depressed trading range compared to what we saw in the first half. The deteriorating global macro backdrop is now getting both broader and deeper, courtesy of the extremely steep rise in energy prices earlier this year. The recent decline in oil prices may alleviate some of these adverse effects, but we still need prices to fall much more than they already have to exert maximum impact. We will be publishing a more in-depth survey of all the LME metals and our accompanying price forecasts next month. .... Nickel is at $21,466, up $166, and is the only metal that is up today. (Daily Metals Report here)
  • (Yieh) Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group (Tisco) announced to remain its export prices of 300 series cold rolled (CR) stainless steel unchanged due to the appreciating RMB.
  • OneSteel to cut 400 jobs and may close Whyalla blast furnace - more
  • (China) Local govt debt risk 'is under control' - more

  Weak stainless demand to sap nickel strength - Deteriorating demand from stainless steel mills and rising mine production are likely to push the nickel market into surplus in the second half of the year and put modest pressure on prices. - more

  From igloo to mine-shaft: Nunavut’s first Inuit miners - A Kivalliq-based research project is helping trace the journey of Inuit families from “igloo to mineshaft.” - more

  E United to Build Nickel-iron Alloy Plant in Fujian Province, China -  E United Group, Taiwan’s leading producer of steel products, will budget NT$10 billion to build a nickel-iron alloy plant in Ningde of Fujian province, China, with designed annual capacity of 300,000 metric tons, construction to begin sometime in September this year, and the plant to offset impact from volatile nickel prices. - more

  ThyssenKrupp nickel alloy business draws interest - ThyssenKrupp’s (TK GR) nickel alloy division VDM is attracting interest from private equity and trade buyers, two people familiar with the situation told merger market. - more

  Kazakh Billionaires Court Controversy - In June, the formidable Kazakh trio of Alexander Machkevich, Patokh Chodiev and Alijan Ibragimov, who made their billions building mining giant ENRC, orchestrated the ouster of the ENRC’s Sir Richard Sykes, senior independent director (and a former chairman of GlaxoSmithKline), and Ken Olisa, another non-executive director (head of technology merchant bank Restoration Partners). - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending August 13, 2011, domestic raw steel production was 1,883,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 77.0 percent. Production was 1,647,000 tons in the week ending August 13, 2010, while the capability utilization then was 68.1 percent. The current week production represents a 14.3 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending August 13, 2011 is up 0.2 percent from the previous week ending August 6, 2011 when production was 1,879,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 76.8 percent. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 15

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 19 to 1,306. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Hong Kong Recession Risk Is Global Warning, Most Accurate Forecaster Says // Japanese Economy Contracts Less Than Estimated on Post-Tsunami Investment // China Downplays Local Government Debt Risks, Looks at Bond-Sale Mechanism // Hong Kong Apartment Sellers Cut Asking Prices as 70% Property Surge Ends // Rice Poised to Rise With Thailand Imposing Curbs as U.S. Crop Shrinks 20% // Mushrooms Join Growing List of Radioactive Threats to Japan’s Food Chain // Citigroup, Goldman Sachs Boosted Ties to French Banks as Rout Approached // London House Prices Plunge on Financial Turmoil // European Stocks Advance for Third Day; Insurers, Energy Companies Increase // Global Demand for U.S. Assets Fell in June // Stocks Rise on Takeovers as Debt Risk Falls
  • The Euro is up nearly 1.4% against the U.S. Dollar. NYMEX crude is up nearly 2.1% and trading at $87.16/barrel. Gold is up over 4/10 of 1% and silver is higher by 2/3 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mixed and for the most part, about where they ended last week. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, fell into negative territory, rose, only to fall a second time. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $9.66/lb .  Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell over the weekend, and now sit just under the 103,300 tonne level. Equity and base metals markets were quieter today as bulls took the early initiative, but appear to be nervous the bear may get loose again. Fundamentally, nothing has changed from last week, so nerves remain frayed and traders remain scarred. Volatility is down and the Dow is up over 100 at the moment, after an early opening bounce that has gone no where since, but has held.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Insider - pdf here
  • Robry Weekly Economic Assessment - more

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Number of the Week: Are Stocks Overvalued? - more
  • Consumers Are Miserable, but Still Shopping For Now - more
  • Recession Widened Education Gap in Job Market - more
  • Small-Business Owners' Revenue and Hiring Expectations Down - more
  • Another Real Estate Time Bomb: Unsellable Vacant Homes? - more
  • Who Is to Blame if Shares Continue Steep Declines? - more
  • How the Federal Reserve boxed itself in - more
  • Americans are angry. Why aren’t they protesting? - more
  • Chinese manufacturers struggle to keep workers - more
  • Don't listen to recession forecasters - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.02/lb lower, with other London traded base metals quiet and mixed. The Euro is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar this morning. NYMEX crude is down1/5 of 1% and trading at $85.21/barrel. Gold is down 3/4 of 1% and silver is down slightly. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up nearly 1-1/2%. European markets are quiet and down just slightly and US futures show Wall Street may open on the positive side. Nickel inventories slid over the weekend. 
  • LME Morning - Metals check back from highs, consolidate gains - more
  • Reuters - Copper steady, Japan data, soft dollar support - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Markets were noticeably calmer in Friday trading, either on account of the intense moves of the previous four days simply exhausting everyone, or perhaps because the spike in Valium prescriptions likely doled out over the course of the week was finally having some impact, particularly in the US equity markets. Incredibly, the volatility seen in US stocks this week seems to have surpassed what we saw in 2008. In this regard, the New York Times points out that the 4% alternating gains and losses seen from Monday through Thursday has never been seen before in the history of the index (going to back 1928). Other markets also set records, or near-records this past week-- Reuters reports that money market assets had the largest inflows for a single week since February 2008, while outflows from equity funds (at $26.1 billion) was the highest on record since the second quarter of 2008. Emerging market equity funds had a net $7 billion pulled out, the most since the third week of 2008. In option trading, more than 150 million contracts changed hands, a record high, while in the bond market there was a net outflow of only $1.5 billion. On the commodity side, Bloomberg said the latest CFTC position report (through August 9) revealed that funds reduced long side bets by the greatest amount in any week since February 2010, cutting net-long positions in 18 commodities by 19%. Among some of the stand-outs, COMEX copper holdings were down some 61%, while bullish bets on gold fell to a five-week low. There were sharp declines in energy positions as well, along with many of the grains. All this suggests that the recovery we have seen in commodities over the past few days is likely devoid of any sustainable upside conviction and is likely mainly due to short-covering in thin conditions. Having said that, we do not think the selling will necessarily return so quickly, as most markets remain slightly oversold. Moreover, many of the events that were front and center in terms of market focus are now receding: In particular:
  • 1) The drama surrounding the US debt ceiling negotiations is now behind us and the recommendations of the "Super-Committee" is still some weeks away.
  • 2) Out of Europe, although sovereign debt issues are still quite serious, the crisis seems to have gotten the attention of senior policymakers, many of whom are scurrying back from sacrosanct August vacations to consider some rather radical steps. To wit, the leaders of France and Germany are due to meet this week amid increasing talk of "Eurobonds" possibly being issued that could either sit alongside or attach to local bonds in a hybrid type of structure. Movement towards such a bond could possibly do way with recurring bailouts and move the region closer to a fiscal union, but there are still many details to be sorted out. Of course, Germany would need to sign off here, as the higher interest payments that these bonds would command, coupled with the likelihood of a stronger Euro generated in its wake, would likely be detrimental to Germany's growth prospects. So far, the Germans are not biting; the country's Finance Minister told Der Spiegel over the weekend that he "rules out Euro bonds for as long as member states conduct their own financial policies...we need differing interest rates so that there are possibilities of incentives and sanctions to force fiscal solidity". Writing in another German newspaper, George Soros took a different view, saying that “Germany and other countries with an AAA rating have to approve some sort of Euro-bond regime. Otherwise, the Euro will implode.” All this doom and gloom is still some ways down the road, but we sense there is sufficient recognition among EU leaders that further steps need to be taken, and we suspect that such perceptions will likely stabilize markets, at least over the short-term. In the meantime, the Europeans are a proceeding to empower the E440 billion European Stability Facility to start buying bonds, although this "solution" continues to run into concerns about the size of the fund and whether it will be big enough to plug all the leaks. Furthermore, the facility’s legal authority has yet to be approved by national parliaments and so it does not provide an immediate backstop for now.
  • Right now, markets are quietly mixed, with base metals steady, while energy prices are lower, although not by much. The dollar has lost some ground, while US equities are called to open higher following the firmer tone seen in European and Asian markets. Gold is off for a third straight day. We think metal prices will continue to tee off macro variables coming out of the US this week, while also shadowing equity markets, although the correlations between the two will likely get more pronounced if the selling in equities intensifies. With the European and US debt situations now moving on to the next phase, the slide in the markets may now give way to a short-term trading range not far off the bottom. There should also be a notable reduction in the wild price swings, as investors refocus on macro data in an attempt to gauge the extent of a possible global slowdown.  ..... Nickel is at $21,365, down $35, and showing modest signs of slowing the recent downward drift. The recent low of $20,200 remains key support. (Daily Metals Report here)
  • (SBB) Russia imported record stainless tonnage in H1 2011
  • Q+A-What happened to China's power shortages? - more
  • (China) Heading for a double-dip? - more

  LCH.Clearnet raises LME nickel, lead, zinc, tin margins - London clearing house LCH.Clearnet is raising its margin rates for the London Metal Exchange's nickel, lead, zinc and tin contracts, effective August 16. - more

  Inco president director resigns - Indonesia’s largest nickel producer, PT International Nickel Indonesia (Inco), announced Friday that Tony Wenas had resigned as president director of the company due to personal and family reasons.  - more

  PT Billy to build 600-MW power plant in Sulawesi - Nickel mining firm PT Billy International will soon build a power plant with a capacity of 600 megawatts in Kabaena island, Southeast Sulawesi province. - more

  Baosteel raises main product prices for September - Baoshan Iron & Steel Co Ltd , China's top listed steelmaker, said on Friday that it will raise prices of its main products for September bookings, in anticipation that demand will pick up in the peak consumption season. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 12

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 10 to 1,287. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Loans Slide to Lowest Level of 2011 as Fastest-Growing Economy Cools // China Said to Tell Banks to Tighten Property Lending as Curbs Take Effect // Hong Kong Second-Quarter GDP Unexpectedly Falls 0.5% From Previous Quarter // China’s Central Bank Says U.S. Debt ‘Worrisome’ // Stocks Rise in Europe as Short-Selling Ban Imposed; Banks, Insurers Climb // Euro-Region Industrial Production Fell in June // French Economy Stalls With Decline in Consumer Spending as Exports Dwindle // Treasury Saves $647 Million in Bond Sales // Wall Street Trading Results a Mystery to Analysts as Global Markets Gyrate // Consumer Sentiment Plunges to Three-Decade Low // Retail Sales in U.S. Climb Most in Four Months Even as Confidence Declines // Stocks Advance in U.S. on Retail-Sales Gain; Franc Drops, Treasuries Climb
  • The Euro is currently trading slightly lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is higher by 8/10 of 1% and trading at $86.40/barrel. Gold is down 1-2/3% while silver is up 2/3%. Base metals ended the session about where it started, except for a bouncing tin. And while most ended slightly higher, indicator charts show nickel climbed during the first half of the day after opening lower, only to lose footing and slide late. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.71/lb , down $.50/lb for the week, and off $1.63/lb from two Friday's ago. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose for a fourth consecutive session yesterday, and now total just shy of the 103,600 tonne level. Base metals appeared to step back today and let equities decide some sort of trend to join in on. European markets ended higher, but how much of that was real, and how much of it was caused by a ban on short selling. Obviously metal traders weren't sure. US markets are higher today, even after a consumer confidence report showed American's are about as pessimistic as they have been in the last 30 years. But retail numbers released for July also showed, that depressed American's love to buy things to make themselves feel better. And with 2/3 of the US economy dependent on what American's buy, and not on how they feel, Wall Street was happy - or at least is at the moment. There are still a few trading hours left and this week, all bets are off.  
  • Have a safe and relaxing weekend.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • “The Death of Mining” in 1984 – perhaps Mark Twain said it best - more
  • Video: Roubini Says Recession Risk Greater Than 50% - more
  • Vital Signs: Wider U.S. Trade Deficit - more
  • Global Slowdown Is Hitting Trade Flows - more
  • For Now Jobless Claims Suggest No Double Dip - more
  • Geography of Job Loss (animated) - more
  • City turns upscale building in Crown Heights into homeless shelter - more

  South African Mine Nationalisation Deemed Unlikely 12th August 2011 - Nationalisation of South Africa's mines has been deemed the "wrong medicine" to resolve the problems proponents hope it will address. - more

  Anglo Pacific boosts chromite interests - Global natural resources royalty company Anglo Pacific has acquired a royalty interest in North America's three largest chromite ore deposits from KWG Resources. - more 

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.02/lb lower, but rising, with other London traded base metals mixed, and except for tin, quiet. The Euro is currently trading 2/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up only slightly and trading at $85.74/barrel. Gold is down 9/10 of 1% and silver is down 3/4%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China up 3/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, thanks in part to a short selling ban in some countries. Futures show Wall Street may have more bull in the barrel. Nickel inventories rose overnight.  
  • LME Morning - Metals mixed, pause for breath as frantic week draws to a close - more

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Daily Overview - pdf here
  • Metals Insight - pdf here
  • US Imports of Stainless Steel Mill Products - more
  • Desjardin's Commodity Trends - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - The schizophrenic week on Wall Street continued in full force yesterday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing up by more than 400 points, this after a 520 plunge on Wednesday, a 430 point gain on Tuesday, and a 635 point collapse on Monday. For the moment, it seems that the equity correlation with base metals remains pretty much intact, much more so than energy, which has been showing more signs of divergence, particularly over the last two days. We seem to be off to a quiet day in the equity markets thus far, although given the recent pattern, this is not necessarily a sign of how things will end up. Asian equity markets finished mostly higher, leading to the current gains we are seeing in Europe. In addition, Europe’s stronger tone may be attributable to the lack of any new developments, as well as the late-day Thursday announcement by French, Italian, Spanish, and Belgian regulators banning short selling for a period of time. We will have to see what impact this ban will have going into next week, but we do have our misgivings about governments attempt to "manage" the markets, as they usually end up making things worse. Metals are mixed right now with only fractional changes seen, while energy prices are also flat. Gold is slightly lower after a $35/ounce decline yesterday, its steepest in some seven weeks. The dollar is weaker against most currencies, including the Chinese yuan, which has been quietly appreciating over the week, as the government presumably maneuvers it higher to help its inflation fight. US equities are expected to open modestly higher. We will be getting July retail sales data shortly, where a 0.5% rise is expected compared to a 0.1% increase in June. Excluding automobiles, sales are expected to rise 0.2% versus a flat reading in June. Later in the morning, the Michigan August consumer sentiment index also comes out with a reading of 63 compared to 63.7 in July, but with all that has been going on, we would not be surprised to see confidence readings fall much more than expected. Of the two readings, we expect the retail sales figure to prove to be more of an “inflection point” for the markets, just like the relatively minor weekly initial claims release was yesterday. In this regard, markets seized on the news that unemployment benefits dropped to a four-month low last week, but given that there was so little else out in terms of numbers, the reaction in the hyper-charged equity markets was likely overdone. Out of Europe, numbers released earlier show that the French economy failed to grow in the second quarter vs. the first, as consumers sharply cut spending. GDP came in flat for Q2 after a 0.9% expansion in the first quarter, and was well below the 0.3% expected. More broadly, Eurozone June industrial production came in at -.7% vs. the revised +.2% reading reported in May. Out of Japan, the government expects growth this year to come in around.5%, down from 1.5% projected earlier, but is quite upbeat for prospects next year, seeing growth in the range between 2.7%-2.9% Its very difficult to get a sense of direction as to where things will be going short-term in metals, but we may get a better idea next week when more numbers come out that could help validate whether or not the market's obsession with recession fears are overblown. In addition, the wild swings in the equity markets are bound to continue at least for some time longer, making short-term forecasting even more difficult.  .... Nickel is at $21,800, up $200. (Daily Metals Report here)
  • (Yieh) It’s reported that steelmakers such as South Korean Posco and Taiwanese Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) have recently increased the export prices of nickel based cold rolled (CR) stainless steel by US$200/ton average for Asian market.
  • (Interfax) Baoshan Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. (Baosteel), the Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed subsidiary of Baosteel Group, will raise ex-works prices for several steel products in September by between RMB 60 ($9.38) and RMB 200 ($31.26) per ton, Baosteel announced Aug. 12.
  • (Z) India's Bohai Commodity Exchange (BCE) launched the spot trading of electrolytic nickel on Thursday and also set up the first batch of delivery warehouses in Shanghai to meet traders' demand.
  • (MBN) Chinese ports overwhelmed by surge in nickel ore deliveries
  • Norilsk May Cancel Treasury Shares After Buy Back, Chairman Said - more

  New Operation At Climax Mine / USA Causes To Change Molybdenum Market = Copper Mines, Recovering Moly As By-Product, Also Plan To Increase It, Pressure On Mo Supply Enlarges - The Climax open cut mining mine, which has been located in Colorado State of the USA with annual capacity of 30 million lbs. of Mo and has been evaluated as a large-sized molybdenum mine since 1976, is expected to launch molybdenum production from 2012. - more

  Indonesia's Antam says H1 ferronickel output up 6 pct - Ferronickel output at Aneka Tambang , Indonesia's state-owned nickel miner, rose 6 percent in the first half of 2011, compared with the same period last year, the firm's chief executive said on Friday. - more

  Indonesia says to impose tin export royalty, ban ore shipment - Indonesia, the world's top refined tin exporter, will impose a new "royalty" charge on all tin shipments and only allow the export of refined tin, a trade ministry official said on Friday, a move that is expected to lend support to weakening global prices. - more

  Busy times in Long Harbour - Long Harbour Mayor Gary Keating says it’s full swing ahead in his town as construction of Vale Inco’s hydromet nickel processing plant moves forward. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 11

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 12 to 1277. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Yuan Climbs to 17-Year High Against the Dollar // Rice Is Next Japanese Food-Radiation Risk From Fukushima Nuclear Fallout // Weil: Is There Enough Money to Save the Banks? // In Washington, Constant Gridlock Is More Costly Than Crisis: Ezra Klein // Japan May Cut Its Growth Forecast to 0.5% as Global ‘Headwinds’ Intensify // Australia Jobless Rate Unexpectedly Rises; Traders Increase Rate-Cut Bets // Asian Stocks Pare Decline as Increased Profits Temper Europe Debt Concern // Russian GDP Slows to 3.4% in Second Quarter // Osborne May Defend Fiscal Plans as BOE Warning Becomes Opposition’s Weapon // European Stocks Surge Most Since May 2010 on Outlook for Economic Growth // Investors in U.S. `Keep Their Heads’ After S&P Downgrades Municipal Bonds // Foreclosure Filings in U.S. Plunge 35% to Four-Year Low, RealtyTrac Says // Trade Deficit of U.S. Unexpectedly Widens to $53.1 Billion on Export Slump // 30-Year Mortgage Rates Fall to 9-Month Low // Stocks Rebound on Drop in Jobless Claims, Earnings
  • The Euro is currently trading 1/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 9/10 of 1% and trading at $83.64/barrel. Gold is down over 1.9% and silver is lower by nearly 1.1%. Base metals ended their trading session higher. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher this morning, slid as European buyers awaited US traders to send a signal which direction they were heading, and then as US markets rose, nickel rose as well. For the day, Dow Jones reports nickel closed at $9.78/lb , its  strongest close this week. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose yesterday, and now sit just over the 103,300 tonne level. Warehouses were active with two large inbound, and three smaller outbound shipments recorded. Equity markets are on the upswing of a teeter totter type week, and metals are mainly along for the ride. Markets are dictated by fear one day, and greed the next. Until fundamentals start playing a part again and emotions chill, the market will continue to exist on volatility.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel exports rose 32.1% in June from the previous month, but was down 31.1% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel imports fell 18.8% in June from last month, and was down 6.3% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
  • London May Be Latest to Feel Effects of Youth Unemployment - more
  • Stock Market Rout Raises Risks of Recession - more
  • Vital Signs: 4.5 Unemployed for Each Job Opening - more
  • Income in Cities Reflects Depth of Real Estate Woes - more
  • Speaking Soothing Words vs Truth Bombs - more

  Investing in output - Rising costs and looming carbon taxes are not deterring Xstrata or Merafe from investing in growing output over the next few years, or paying dividends. - more

  Mining Giant Becomes Armenia's Largest Taxpayer - An increase in world prices for base metals has made a German-owned mining company the largest corporate taxpayer in Armenia, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports. - more

  Vale Steve Wood Speech to Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Sector (SAMSSA) – August 9, 2011 - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.12/lb higher but sliding off earlier highs. Other London traded base metals are trading higher as well. The Euro is trading 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is down 1.7% and trading at $81.48/barrel. Gold is down 9/10 of 1% and silver is down 3/4 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China up 1-1/2%. European markets are trading lower this morning and US futures show the bear is still roaming freely on Wall Street. Nickel inventories rose overnight.  
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Advances as Industrial Metals Gain on Yuan’s Climb to 17-Year High - more
  • LME Morning - Copper surges more than 3 pct as bargain-hunters return but volatility remains - more
  • Reuters - China demand hopes boost copper - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - It was another wild day in the markets yesterday, with the US stock market giving back all of Tuesday's 430-point gain and then some. However, this time around, the equity rout did not result in a corresponding decline in base metals, as most held up well (with the exception of copper, which sank to an eight-month low). Energy prices were also very strong, rising more than $3.5/brl. Both complexes were helped by the weaker dollar and the relentless run-up in gold, which soared to $1800 yesterday. The sharp decline in US equities was fueled by debt rumors circulating that France was possibly going to lose its AAA status, but the story was debunked when S&P said the country’s rating was secure, even adding that the country was showing far more progress in controlling its deficit than the US was. Moody's also affirmed its triple A rating on France some time later. What proved to be more difficult to shake off were rumors about trouble at the French banks, with Soc-Gen being under the spotlight. Over the weekend, the UK’s Daily Mail ran an article suggesting Soc-Gen was in a perilous state, and although the paper retracted the story later on Tuesday, the concerns lingered, causing a number of French banking names to sell off sharply. Shares in Soc-Gen were down a whopping 23% at one point before closing 15% lower, while BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole closed off by 9.5% and 12% , respectively. Many of these stocks have recovered today, as European markets did not follow the negative close seen in Asia, helping setting up the US markets for a positive open at one point. Dow futures were pointing to a 100-point opening gain about an hour ago, but since then, futures they have taken a sharp dip, and we are now expected to open lower. Once again, the bank rumors are not going away, with talk now being heard that an unnamed Asian bank has cutting funding off to a French bank. Through all this, base metals are holding their own, with copper up more than $160/MT, although the rest of the group is showing much more modest gains. We suspect that equity markets will continue to set the tone for commodities for the balance of the week. Although the two diverged yesterday, it is very unusual for the pair to go their separate ways for long, especially if the selling in equities turns out to be heavy. In other markets, oil prices are down by about $1.50, while the dollar is mixed in quiet trading. Gold is off by about $20/ounce at around $1780 in light of a margin hike announced by the CME yesterday. The US macro calendar is light this week and this has not helped give the markets something concrete to latch onto. Later today, we will get weekly initial claims data, with unemployment benefits expected to hit 409,000. The June trade deficit will also be released (expected at $48 billion). Neither number should be that important, but given the frayed nerves, markets may read more into them than what they normally should. We suspect that tomorrow’s July retail sales number will have more impact, as it is a direct measure of the health of the key consumer sector in the US. Finally, the table we ran for Chinese import numbers yesterday was the wrong one; we reproduce the correct one in our attachment. There continues to remain some debate about the strength of the Chinese copper import data; Andy Home, a well-respected base metals columnist at Reuters, points out that although imports of refined copper and other products rose by 9.5% this past month, is not exactly certain how much of these imports went to actual copper users and how much went into bonded warehouses in Shanghai. In this regard, copper inventory held in warehouses have started rising again and are currently estimated at 350,000 tons, up from 300,000 ton at the end of June and well above "normal" levels of around 200,000 tons. “That raises the possibility that much of the increase in July import volumes has merely gone to inflate the Shanghai stocks cushion” Home points out.  .... Nickel is at $21,000, up $30, and not doing much after a good run yesterday. (Daily Metals Report here)
  • Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip in Coils From Germany, Italy, and Mexico: Revocation of Antidumping Duty Orders - more
  • (Interfax) China's daily crude steel output fell 4.02 percent month-on-month in July to 1.91 million tons, according to a National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report released on Aug. 10.
  • Q&A: Vishal Agarwal, MD, Visa Steel - 'More pain for steel sector in the current quarter' - more
  • Rough seas for commodities - more
  • China’s Fast Development Drives Great Demand for Fastener Uses - more
  • The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index® (PCI®), issued by the UCLA Anderson School of Management and Ceridian Corporation fell 0.2 percent on a seasonally and workday adjusted basis, offsetting some of the relatively strong 1.0 percent gain posted in June. - pdf report here

  Ferro-Chrome Industry Of South Africa Has Faced Three Anxious Factors = Project To Save Energy Causes To Enlarge A Differential Between Enterprises - Increased exports of chrome ore = As a reaction to the fact that South African producers have lost a profitability for production of ferro-chrome, they are endeavoring to export chrome ore. - part 2

  Interros proposes fresh Norilsk Nickel share buyback - Interros, one of the core shareholders in Norilsk Nickel, has proposed that the metal giant's board of directors discuss a fresh buyback of the company's stock at an August 15 board meeting, Norilsk Nickel said on Wednesday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 10

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 8 to 1,265. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Yuan Strengthens to 17-Year High on Fed Rate Stance, Faster Inflation Data // South Korea Military Says Returned Artillery Fire With North Korea Today // China May Delay Rate Rises Until 2012 as Market ‘Chaos’ Threatens Exports // Singapore Cuts 2011 Export Growth Forecast as Risks to Global Economy Rise // South Korea Bans Short Selling as State-Run Funds Signal Increased Buying // Cameron Pledges ‘Fightback’ in U.K. Riots // Australian Consumer Confidence Slumps to Lowest Since 2009 on Market Slump // Commerzbank Profit Drops 93% on Greek Debt // France in Crosshairs as Germany Enjoys Sole Safe-Haven Status: Euro Credit // European Stocks Tumble to Two-Year Low as SocGen, BNP Lead Rout in Banks // Downgrade Doesn’t Matter as Bond Investors Show Faith in Fed After S&P Cut // Commodities Rebound From Eight-Month Low on Fed’s Low Interest-Rate Pledge // Being Like Soros in Buying Farmland Lets Investors Reap 16% Annual Gains // Fed’s Decision to Hold Rates Until 2013 May Herald QE3, Standard Life Says // Bernanke Borrows From Carney’s Stimulus Playbook With Interest-Rate Pledge // U.S. Stocks Fall on Concern of Deeper Europe Crisis
  • The Euro is now down 1-1/3% against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 2.3% and trading at $81.13/barrel after inventories fell more than expected. Gold up 2% and was over $1800/ounce earlier in the day. Silver - up 3.6%. Base metals - mixed on the day, and all ended off earlier highs. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, but when Wall Street began trading and took a swan dive as the Euro tanked, nickel followed. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended under $21,000/tonne for the first time since November 2010, and closed at $9.51/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose on Tuesday, and now sit just over the 102,850 tonne level. Fresh nickel and stainless industry news is on the scarce side as everyone, in and out of our industry, wonder where the world economy is heading to next. Nickel has fallen by nearly $2/lb in the last week and a half. This is brutal, and it most assuredly, not helping consumer confidence. And while leaders in Great Britain are dismissing the riots there as nothing more than thievery, we suspect other world leaders are watching developments there closely.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Neal Lipschutz ,Wall Street Journal - Bleak is a strong word, a powerfully negative word. But bleak isn’t strong enough to describe an economic outlook that calls for emergency tactics of zero overnight interest rates for at least four-and-a-half years.
  • Economists React: Fed ‘Bunts’ With Timeframe for Low Rates - more
  • Fed Statement Following August Meeting - more
  • Vital Signs: Small Businesses Are More Depressed - more
  • The uncertainty shock from the debt disaster will cause a double-dip recession - more
  • Stock Plunge Isn’t a Great Recession Predictor - more
  • Where Americans Can Cut Back - more
  • How the Fed Got Itself Boxed In - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.36/lb higher, with all London traded base metals higher. The Euro is currently trading nearly 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up over 4.1% and trading at $82.59/barrel. Gold is up 1-1/4% and silver is up over 2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets played catch up ending higher, with China up nearly 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, while futures show Wall Street may take a rest stop after yesterday's bullish reply to Monday. Nickel inventories rose overnight. Money is rolling back into world equity and commodity markets. 
  • LME Morning - Metals higher but snap post-Fed rally turns bumpy - more
  • Reuters - Copper perks up on Fed, weak dollar, China imports - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - We had complete mayhem in the markets yesterday, with prices all over the place before things closed generally higher. The prize for the most white-knuckled performance had to go to the US stock market; the Dow started off at unchanged, worked up to a 200 point gain by mid-day only to swing back towards a 190-point loss shortly after the Fed statement was released. It then roared back to close with a 430 point gain in the last hour of trading for its 10th strongest point gain ever and its best percentage finish since March of 2009. Financials led the advance, surging more than 8% and recovering from Monday's two-year low. Another market that experienced strong gains was US treasuries (yes, the very same group that was downgraded over the weekend) after the Federal Reserve said it was going to keep interest rates low for at least another two years in a bid to support the flagging economy. However, the Fed has left itself an “out” of sorts as highlighted by our firm’s chief economist, Jim O’Sullivan, who points out that “while the signal on keeping the funds rate near zero until at least mid-2013 was quite dramatic, the commitment does not necessarily apply to the size of the balance sheet, providing officials an option for tightening through that channel at some point before mid-2013”. The central bank also said that it has discussed "the range of policy tools" it could use to spur the economy, although it did not categorically state that it was considering another easing program. Not surprisingly, the dollar was pounded across the board yesterday, particularly against the Swiss franc, as the message went out that interest rate differentials will continue to work against the greenback. Commodity markets watched the action in equities markets with guarded relief yesterday, but prices did not move to the upside until much later in the day. In fact, base metals were mixed until well after the Fed statement, and it was only going into Asian trading did we see a broad-based advance set in. We suspect the equity-induced euphoria will sustain commodities going into today’s session. Copper even managed to get above $9000 earlier in the day, and there are good bounces seen in the rest of the group right now, particularly in lead, zinc, and tin. Oil prices are also on a tear, with Brent up by some $4/brl. However, important as the Fed statement was yesterday in terms of a turning point, we expect its impact to fade by later in the week or early next week. By then, participants may come around to the view that the decision to keep rates depressed for so long must mean that the central bank sees US growth remaining sluggish for an extended period of time. This is not exactly a vote of confidence in the economy and should keep the tone in commodities rather restrained, at least for the balance of the year where the current weakness will likely manifest itself more clearly. Granted, many will rightly argue that China, and not the US, is the big "elephant in the room" as far as metals are concerned. However, China's outlook itself remains guarded going forward in that there has been a clear deceleration in growth. However, all this is not necessarily a bad thing -- we would like to see commodity prices settle into a sideways trading range for the balance of the year at relatively low levels, since this will help inflation at bay (particularly in emerging markets) and allow central banks to back away from growth-killing rate hikes. At this stage of the game, the key is to keep growth on track in as many countries as possible, even if the US and the EU have to sit things out for a while. Out of China, important numbers were released on the metals side; the government reported that China's copper imports rose 9.5% in July to a six-month high as material presumably purchased during a period of lower prices in May and June arrived at ports. However, imports were still down 22% in the first seven months and off almost 11% from July 2010 levels. July imports of primary aluminum, alloys and semi-finished aluminum products also rebounded from June levels, rising 9.2% to 70,413 tons in July, and are up 4.4% from a year earlier. Imports of alumina fell 14.3% to hit a record low of 60,000 tons in July. The key categories are itemized in our attachment with more a detailed breakdown coming out next week. ..... Nickel is at $22,025, up $845, and finally moving higher after what has been a miserable week for the complex.   (Daily Metals Report here)
  • (Yieh) According to data of Korea Iron and Steel Association (KISA), South Korea produced 638,957 tons of stainless steel sheets in the first half of this year, up by 4.2% in comparison of that in the same period of last year.
  • Commodities Rebound From Eight-Month Low on Fed’s Low Interest-Rate Pledge - more
  • Quadra FNX profit jumps on higher copper prices, output - more
  • (CD) China's exports in July rose 20.4 percent from a year ago to reach $175.128 billion, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said on Wednesday. China's trade surplus rose sharply to $31.48 billion in July from June's $22.27 billion.

  First Quantum sees Ravensthorpe online soon -  First Quantum Minerals says it is on track to produce first nickel from the resurrected Ravensthorpe mine, two hours from Esperance, within months after beginning pre-commissioning. - more

  Ferro-Chrome Industry Of South Africa Has Faced Three Anxious Factors = Raising Electricity Fees, Slowdown In Growth, Problems Of China - South Africa has monopolized a 77% of chrome reserves in the world but South African producers of ferro-chrome have been suffering from the difficulties to operate at a profit. - part 1

  Vanuatu could supply limestone to New Caledonia’s Goro nickel plant - Multi national nickel processor, Goro Nickel, which is developing a huge smelter in New Caledonia, is considering importing limestone from Vanuatu. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 9

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 7 to 1,257. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Inflation Quickening to 6.5% Limits Policy Response to Global Crisis // Most Chinese Stocks Decline on Global Economic Growth, Inflation Concern // Syria Pressed as Arab States Join Criticism // EU Crisis Fix Lies in Deployment, Katainen Says // Trichet Turns ‘President of Europe’ as Debt Crisis Stuns Political Leaders // Retailers’ Leveraged Loans Slump on Double-Dip Recession Concern in Europe // Greek Short-Selling Ban Won’t Help Stocks, History Says: Chart of the Day // London Riots Prompt Cameron to Recall Parliament as Extra Police Called In // European Stocks Rebound From Two-Year Low, Snapping Seven Days of Declines // Fed May Boost Stimulus Pledge // U.S. Home Values Have Smallest Drop in More Than Four Years, Zillow Says // Hay Cheaper to Ship to China Than California Hits Dairies: Freight Markets // U.S. Productivity Falls for 2nd Straight Quarter // U.S. Stocks Stage Biggest Rally of Year Ahead of Fed
  • The Euro continues to trade nearly 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is now up 3/4 of 1% and trading at $81.93/barrel. Gold is up 1-1/2% and silver is down 2.7%. For the most part, base metals ended about where they ended yesterday, with most slightly higher. Indicator charts show nickel peaked out around our morning update, before sliding back into the red late. The only real big movement nickel trades made today, was shortly after US markets opened higher, then suddenly fell, before rising again. Nickel joined the about face fall but never joined in on the Wall Street recovery. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $9.62/lb , down two cents from yesterday. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose by only 6 tonnes yesterday and remain just under the 102,600 tonne level.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • CR Index: Consumer sentiment at lowest level since late '09 - more
  • The Rise in Commodity Prices: Speculation or Fundamentals? - more
  • Corporate Executives Grow More Pessimistic - more
  • Fishing for Takeaways From S&P Downgrade - more
  • Sixth Biggest Stock Market Crash Ever - more
  • Vix curve implies a ‘systemically important shock event’ - more
  • Don't Panic About the Stock Market - more

  Albidon, Jinchuan wrestle over Munali Nickel - Minority shareholders of Australia-based nickel mining company Albidon Limited are reportedly seeking to wrestle control of Munali Nickel Mine from China’s Jinchuan Group, well-placed sources say. - more

  Mugabe takes fresh aim at mining firms - President Robert Mugabe said on Monday Zimbabwe would punish firms from Western states who have slapped sanctions on senior officials in his ZANU-PF party, warning that global miners including Rio Tinto could be hit. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.19/lb higher, with all London traded base metals higher. The Euro is trading 2/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is down 2/3 of 1% and trading at $80.79/barrel.  Gold is up nearly 2% and silver is 2.3% lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China up slightly. European markets are trading lower at the moment, while US futures show a relief rally may be ahead on Wall Street. Nickel inventories gained a tiny amount overnight.
  • LME Morning - Metals rollercoaster ride continues, volatility heightened - more
  • Reuters - Copper slips to 8-mth low on global growth concerns - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - It was another bloody day in the markets yesterday, as the selling picked up in practically all complexes, except for gold, which marched on to another record high of $1720, its 11th record in 19 sessions. Oil was selling off in chunks not seen since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, with WTI losing $5.50 on the day and testing $80 -- an eight month low -- before recovering slightly by the close. Grains plunged as well, as did base metals, with copper leading the sell-off, falling 3% for a fourth straight day of losses. Nickel, lead, and tin were all hit hard, although aluminum sustained less damage. The most intense selling occurred in the US equity markets, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged by a nauseating 635 points after a rally attempt in the afternoon faltered. Of course, the sharp declines were mainly attributable to the S&P thunderbolt that came out over the weekend, but the agency decided to pour more fuel on the fire shortly after the US opening yesterday when it also downgraded other institutions holding large amounts of US debt, such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, as well as a number of insurance companies. Significantly, it did not downgrade any of the US banks, whose stocks were nevertheless badly mauled. And just to illustrate how crazy the day eventually got, a Senate panel now apparently wants to investigate the "irresponsible" S&P downgrade. It is ironic, if not amusing, to see the very same Congressmen who failed to do the necessary hard work to resolve the US budgetary impasse are now up in arms, threatening to take S&P to task in a "shoot-the messenger" type of outing. Things were off to a rough start in early Asian trading earlier, with equity markets opening sharply lower, while commodities continued to sink; oil prices were off by another $5/brl at one point hitting $75.71, while copper dipped to a low of $8446. However, a modest rebound has since set in, with base metals now all higher, while crude oil is unchanged. US stock futures, which at one point were showing a 250 opening loss for the Dow, are now pointing to a 25 point decline. The dollar is slightly weaker. We could see a rather substantial rebound off the lows set in over the course of the day, as markets are now quite oversold, and likely overshot the mark yesterday in terms of the news that triggered the sell-off in the first place. Granted, the S&P downgrade was significant, but we would argue that it was not totally unexpected -- or wrong. Moreover, the downgrade did not impact sectors that normally would be crushed by this kind of announcement, namely, the dollar and the US bond market, both of which rallied sharply yesterday. This is in stark contrast to how poorly both the Euro and the European bond markets behaved when trading agencies downgraded the debt of Eurozone countries. The fact that the selling did not impact these two key sectors in the US tells us that investors seem to be treating the S&P downgrade with some question. Instead, they seemed to have been selling for the sake of selling, or more likely, focusing on the possibility that the US economy could slip into recession. The latter is a legitimate concern, although we do not think it will transpire, as the economy still seems to have enough momentum behind it, weak as the forward thrust seems to be. Moreover, we should not underestimate the beneficial impact of the decline in energy prices in freeing up extra cash for the consumer, while moderating inflation readings, particularly in emerging markets countries. Of more immediate concern to the markets, is the Fed’s policy statement out later. Some suspect the central bank could hint at another ease, but we hope that nothing of the sort will be unveiled, as it could relay the message that the Fed is again being called to the "rescue" just as it running out of bullets. Instead, should it decide to stand pat, investors might be more encouraged, as they may let the selling take its course without the Fed having to prop things up. .... Nickel is at $21,625, up $375, and has gotten pummeled this past week, sinking to a low of $20,200 earlier today before bouncing back. We place support there, roughly coinciding with the November 2010 low (red line in our attachment).  (Daily Metals Report here)
  • (MFG) China's spot stainless steel prices are headed for a new 2011 low after dropping more than 3% over the weekend, Metal Bulletin reports. Traders are offering Taigang's benchmark 304 2mm 2B stainless cold rolled coil at 22,400-22,500 ($3,467-3,483) yuan per ton, down from 23,200-23,300 yuan on Friday. Jinchuan Group, China's largest nickel producer, also lowered its offer by 5,000 yuan on Monday to 169,000 yuan per ton.
  • (MNP) The $US190 million restart of the Ravensthorpe nickel project in Western Australia is underway after more than a year of plant modifications by new owner, Vancouver-based First Quantum Minerals.
  • (Yieh) It’s reported that China’s spot stainless steel prices have dipped as the nickel prices slumped at LME cause by the concern on the US and European debt crisis.
  • (AMM) China’s crude steel output fell in July as mills reduced their operations owing to the summer slowdown and higher production costs
  • (Reuters) China July refined copper, nickel production hits record
  • Fastener makers still may face strife in EU - more
  • Why Economic Growth Was Slow in the First Half of 2011 - more

  Albidon Wants Bigger Stake in Jinchuan’s Nickel Mine, Post Says - Albidon Ltd. wants to increase its stake in Munali Nickel, the Zambian mine that is 51 percent owned by Jinchuan Group Ltd., the Post reported, citing unidentified officials at the Australian company. - more

  Global molybdenum consumption is expected go grow by 4.5% in the next decade - International Molybdenum Association released the report, that it is expected global molybdenum consumption grows by 4.5% per year between 2009 and 2019, power generation - more

  Ni-system Cold-rolled Stainless Mills Increased Export Prices Concurrently - According to a source familiar with the matter, Ni-system cold-rolled stainless steel mills such as POSCO of Korea and Yieh United Steel (YUSCO) of Taiwan increased concurrently their export prices for Asia. - more

  Debt gloom tarnishes metals - The last thing the base metals complex needed was yet another shock. No, not the downgrading of the US credit rating. - more

  Canadian company sells Guatemalan nickel mine - HudBay Minerals Inc. sold a promising nickel mine in Guatemala to focus on Canadian and Peruvian projects the company can develop using mining techniques it has been using for more than eight decades. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending August 6, 2011, domestic raw steel production was 1,879,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 76.8 percent. Production was 1,647,000 tons in the week ending August 6, 2010, while the capability utilization then was 68.1 percent. The current week production represents a 14.1 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending August 6, 2011 is up 1.1 percent from the previous week ending July 30, 2011 when production was 1,858,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 76.0 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 8

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 4 to 1,264. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) G-7 Seeks to Calm Investor Fear After World Stock Selloff // Japan Official Warns of Further Yen Selling to Deter Currency Speculation // Europe’s Crisis May Stuff U.S. Banks With Undeployable ‘Hot Potato’ Cash // Global Banks Poised to Slash 101,000 Jobs in Fastest Reductions Since 2008 // European Stocks Drop for Seventh Day to Two-Year Low, Entering Bear Market // Bank of America Weighs ‘Potential Responses’ to Counter Fannie Mae Demands // Group of Seven’s Tools May Be Wrong Fit for Stocks Seeing Recession Danger // Agency Mortgage-Debt Spreads Widen to Most in Two Years After Downgrades // Stocks Tumble, Treasuries Rally on U.S. Rating Cut; Italian Bonds Advance
  • The Euro continues to trade over 4/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down nearly 4-1/2% and trading at $83.10/barrel. Gold is up over 3./1% and trading over $1700/ounce. Silver is up 2.6%. Base metals did not fare as well as precious metals today, all lower with many taking a serious beating. Indicator charts show nickel fell early but was fairly steady until US markets opened and then it was every man for themselves. Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at a new 2011 low, at $9.64/lb . Nickel has only ended five other sessions below the $10/lb level, and those were all together in mid June. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell on Friday and now total just over the 102,500 tonne level. After one day of gains, the last five have been declines so far this month. That one gain was large enough however, to keep levels above where they ended last month by over 100 tonnes. Nickel is caught up in the dash for cash so hard to tell where this is going. We see Hudbay dumped the Guatemala Fenix nickel non-project on to the next sucker - ah-hem mining company. This time the Russians will take a crack at it. Skye Resources bought the project in 2004, which turned into a public relations boondoggle. They unloaded it onto Hudbay in 2008, who decided after only 3 years, it was not to be. Maybe the Russian's will have better luck because US and Canadian miners are doomed in this area, in our opinion. World equity markets are reacting as expected so far, after S & P downgraded US debt after markets closed on Friday. The Dow is down 333 at 11,111 at the moment. For those superstitious types, remember the S & P 500 bottomed out in 2008 at 666.  

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Insider - pdf here
  • Robry Weekly Economic Assessment - more

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • July employment-trends gauge ticks lower - more
  • Making Sense of China’s Economic Statistics - more
  • Economists, Market Watchers Increasingly Concerned About Recession, Shrug Off Downgrade - more
  • Number of the Week: Washington to Blame for Gloomy Consumers? - more
  • Second Recession in U.S. Could Be Worse Than First - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.10/lb lower, with most base metals trading lower, and off session lows. The Euro is trading over 4/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is off 4% and trading at $83.40/barrel. Gold is up over 2-1/2% and silver is up nearly 4%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off over 3-1/2%. European markets are trading lower this morning, and US futures show Wall Street could open nearly 250 points lower. Nickel inventories fell over the weekend.
  • LME Morning - Metals mostly fall as equity wipe-out continues, mood grim - more
  • Reuters - Copper hits 5-week low on slowdown prospects - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - What a week we just had. The odds are that the upcoming one will be just as dizzying given the momentous headlines crossing the screens, likely leading to heightened volatility and intense selling, at least in some markets. These kinds of conditions are ideal for day-traders who thrive on big intra-day price swings, but most investors will be watching things from the sidelines as they wait for the dust to settle. If anything, the recent action reminds us very much of the conditions apparent during the 2008-2009 financial crisis, with the key difference being that this time around, it is sovereign countries-- and not the banks-- that are under the spotlight. Last week started on a deceptively positive note after the politicians in Washington cobbled a down-to-the-wire weekend debt agreement, whose most important feature, in our view, was to stave off the specter of a US default. However, the euphoria that set in early on Monday did not last long, as the selling returned that very same afternoon. Concern about the modest size of the package, the numerous loose ends, and the inevitable political bickering that lay ahead unnerved investors. The tone in the markets got progressively worse later in the week after European debt woes and poor macro numbers darkened the mood, climaxing in Thursday's sharp 500+ point decline in the Dow. Commodities were not spared, with all complexes staging sharp retreats, with the exception of gold, which managed to end the week on a positive note after making new highs in the process. Base metals fared particularly badly on Friday, with copper sinking to a six-week low on the double-dose of bearish news that the Escondido strike in Chile was also over, with workers apparently returning to their posts this weekend. The CRB index finished down nearly 5% for the week, its largest weekly decline in three months. The weekend did not bring much relief either after S&P stunned investors late Friday when it announced that it was going to downgrade the US's long-term credit rating to AA-plus from AAA. The agency cited "the political brinksmanship of recent months" as partly being behind its decision, adding that the run-up to the debt agreement "highlights what we see as America's governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy". S&P went on to say that the "majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act". Although the White House went to great lengths to try to convince S&P not to go through with its downgrade, even bringing up a $2 trillion error in its budget calculations, the ratings agency stuck to its guns. We suspect S&P's move will likely dominate market sentiment negatively, at least in the early part of the week. Indeed, we are seeing sharp declines place in energy right now, although the tone is much more mixed in base metals, with a few of the metals turning higher in the last thirty minutes. Not surprisingly, gold has surged, trading at a new high of just over $1700. Equity markets in Asia and Europe are lower following last week’s sharp selloff, where some $2.5 trillion of value in global stock holdings was lopped off. US stocks are called to open sharply lower, with Dow futures pointing to a 250 point opening decline, while the S&P and NASDAQ markets are called to open 32 and 56 points lower, respectively. The dollar is holding steady, and is only fractionally lower against the Euro, but losing more heavily against the yen. (The Japanese government’s unilateral attempt last week to cool the yen’s rally is already falling apart, with the currency now at 77.80 against the dollar, almost at pre-intervention levels). Despite the current weakness, we suspect the "S&P selling salvo" will be relatively short-lived, perhaps lasting through late Monday or Tuesday before some short-term bargain hunting sets in. For one thing, markets may have already priced in a downgrade given the warnings that have been coming out of the agencies for some time. Secondly, both Fitch and Moody's have not joined S&P in downgrading US paper, meaning that the US outlook remains a point of contention. Thirdly, countries that have been downgraded before (i.e., Japan and Belgium come to mind) did not necessarily experience a spike in their interest rates, so this fear may not be realized in the US bond markets either. (In fact, treasury futures are only seeing very modest losses right now). Finally, and most importantly, G7 ministers have been consulting over the weekend and we presume they are putting in place credit facilities in order to prop up both the dollar or US bonds should the selling get too intense. Of course, none of this mitigates the impact of the downgrade on the US’s economic prestige, but after last weekend’s sorry spectacle, coupled with the meager package that followed, such a move was perhaps inevitable. If there is a silver lining in the S&P decision, it may be that it could prompt more urgent and less partisan action in Washington in order to get spiraling US deficits under control, utilizing policies that include a mixture of spending cuts, tax increases, and entitlement reform. Markets were also buffeted last week by developments in the European debt markets, as Italian and Spanish bond prices cratered on concern that the Europeans will not display the financial or political muscle to ring-fence the spreading contagion emanating from Greece. As it now stands, the ECB is the main player in the crisis, since it can readily buy distressed bonds for its own account. Pointedly, it did not pick up Italian paper last week, likely because it was already choking on Irish, Portuguese, and Greek debt that it also "had" to buy earlier this year. Indeed, this is why the European Stabilization Fund was empowered to take over the ECB's role as another buyer of last resort during last month's debt accord, but incredibly, the fund's buying facility will be operational only after national parliaments give it the legal authority to proceed. This means that until such time -- likely by year-end -- the markets will look to the reluctant ECB to step up to the plate. In Italy's case, alarmed by the unraveling crisis, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Friday that he will bring forward cuts to balance Italy's budget by 2013, while also rushing through welfare and labor market reforms. Sources tell Reuters that the ECB demanded such measures in exchange for buying Italian bonds. While this may indeed be true, the S&P weekend downgrade seems to have melted away any lingering ECB resistance may have had to further bond buying, as late on Sunday, the central bank stated categorically that it would be buying both Spanish and Italian debt in order to "ensure price stability in the Euro area". We have been negative on most of the metals and the broader commodity group for some months now, as evidenced in our daily and monthly write-ups. This was not necessarily because of the startling developments that have hit both sides of the Atlantic, (although they did play a part and were appropriately highlighted), but more so on account of the fact that investors seemed to have been bidding up commodities largely on the back of a weaker dollar in recent weeks, while paying scant attention to the clear deterioration in the macro data from a number of countries--including China. This "weak dollar/high commodity price" relationship finally seems to have broken down this past week, and we think it will be some time before it is revised. Instead, if markets are to now focus more on macro readings in the weeks ahead (as we suspect they may) while relegating the dollar to a secondary role, commodity prices will likely struggle over the second half of the year. In energy's case, we would not be surprised to see a drift down to the $70-$75 range basis the WTI contract by October. Base metals will also be under pressure, as we think increasingly sluggish macro news out of China will weigh on them later in the year. In fact, after last week’s correction, base metals are now all down year-to-date, although most have yet to retest their 2011 lows. In terms of US macro data, we will not be seeing anything today, but Tuesday brings us Q2-productivity readings (expected at -.6%), as well as the FOMC rate decision and policy statement. On Thursday, we get weekly initial claims readings (expected at 409,000), followed by Friday's July retail sales report, likely the most important release of the week (expected at .5%). Friday brings us August Michigan sentiment readings (expected at 62.5, down slightly from last month's 63.7). Last Friday, US jobs data for July came in stronger than expected, (up 117,000 vs. the 85,000 expected), and although it arguably stabilized the US stock market somewhat, its impact has since been swept away by the S&P news.  ..... Nickel is at $22,320, down $185. The nickel charts look quite poor, with little showing in the way of support until the mid-June low of $21,337. (Daily Metals Report here)
  • (Yieh) It's reported that Japan’s Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless (NSSC) announced on August 4th to raise export offers of stainless steel by US$100/ton, to follow the rebound of Nickel price.
  • (AP) Indonesian Nickel Exports Down 30% In First Half
  • Ferro Metals furnace upgrade completed - more
  • Rio Tinto trades under investigation after share crash - more
  • Sumitomo increases stake in Nickel Asia - more
  • Asian stocks fall most in almost 3 years - more
  • Asia Would Be Hit Harder by a Second Global Crisis: S&P - more

   Tumbling metals prices tell a bleak story - On a morning like this, as we wait for the bell to strike 10am and another trying day on the market begins, you can't do much more than absorb the cold, hard facts. - more

  HudBay Minerals to sell Fenix project for $170 mln - Canadian miner HudBay Minerals Inc said it would sell its Fenix ferro-nickel project in Guatemala to Russia’s Solway Group for $170 million in cash. - more

  Traders complain of delay at Malaysia LME warehouses - Traders have complained of fresh cases of lengthy and costly delays to withdraw their holdings of key industrial metals from warehouses approved by the London Metal Exchange (LME)-- this time in the Malaysian port of Johor. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 5

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - no change to 1,268. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China No Savior This Time With 6% Inflation // China’s Stocks Slump to 7-Week Low as Economic Concerns Spur Global Rout // World Market Rout Is a Loud No-Confidence Vote in Global Leadership: View // Global Equity Volatility Surges on Rout, Prompts Record Hong Kong VIX Gain // Japan Exporters Seek More Aid After ‘Too Late’ Yen Intervention // EU Struggles to Tame Crisis Amid Contagion // Trichet’s Bond Firepower Faces Test as ECB Purchases Fail to Stem Turmoil // German Industrial Output Unexpectedly Fell // U.K. Producer-Price Inflation Accelerates to 5.9%, Fastest Pace Since 2008 // Italian Economic Growth Accelerated as Debt-Crisis Contagion Slams Bonds // European Leaders Race to Tackle Crisis // European Stocks Fall as U.S. Jobs Report Fails to Allay Concern; RBS Drops // Bernanke Models Confounded as Forecasts Succumb // GM Surpasses Toyota as World’s Largest Automaker By Sales on Japan Quake // Gross Says Banks Charging to Hold Cash ‘Unheard of’: Tom Keene // Payrolls Rise, Jobless Rate Falls, Concerns Ease // U.S. Stocks Rise on ECB Bond Buying Speculation
  • The Euro is trading over 1.1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is presently trading slightly higher and at $86.69/barrel. Gold is up over 4/10 of 1% while silver is down over 1.3%. Base metals all ended the session lower. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower and was holding its won for a time, until US equity markets turned south, dragging the base metals complex with it. For the day, Dow jones reports three month nickel closed at $10.21/lb . For the week and month to date, nickel is down from July's close of $11.34/lb. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME authorized warehouses slipped for the 4th day this week, and now sit just over the 102,650 tonne level. For the week and month, nickel stockpiles remain 90 tonnes over where they ended July, after four straight day of withdrawals was not enough to offset Monday's recorded gain. The day appeared to start with some promise, with July's jobless report coming out better than most expected. The Dow rose more than 170 points, and then suddenly took a 500 plus point freefall. Currently the Dow is up over 100 points to the positive. It's a see saw battle as the bears try to keep their momentum going, while the bulls try to break the losing streak. Yesterday's over 500 point drop on the day, appears to have spooked even the most bearish investors.
  • Have a restful and safe weekend!!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (TI) FTR's June Trucking Conditions Index, as reported in the August Trucking Update, rose slightly to a reading of 7.7 from 7.3 in May.
  • Monster Employment Index: Sideways Job Market - more
  • IRS Sees Just A Few Thousand Multi-Millionaires - more
  • July Sales: How Retailers Fared - more
  • Consumer Moods Sour More in August - more
  • On The Edge. Again. - more
  • Market Wobble is a Warning Shot Across the Bow - more
  • Discuss: BEA revised 2009 & ’10 Personal Income Sharply Lower - more
  • World debt guide - more

  Russian H1 2011 stainless steel export up by 14pct YoY – Spetsstal  - According to Spetsstal Association, Russian stainless steel exports rose by 14% YoY to 3306 tonnes in H1 2011 as compared to the same period in 2010. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.25/lb lower, with all London traded base metals lower. The Euro is trading nearly 4/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 4/10 of 1% and trading at $86.29/barrel. Gold is up 9/10 of 1% and silver is up nearly 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off 2.1%. European markets are trading lower this morning and US futures  are lower as well, with traders awaiting the July jobless report. Nickel inventories fell for a 4th straight session yesterday.     
  • LME Morning - Base metals crash to multi-week lows, risk aversion sell-off sustained - more
  • Reuters - Copper sinks to two-month low, demand fears dominate - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Posted as soon as received (Daily Metals Report here)
  • (Yieh) Recently, the rising nickel prices have pushed up the stainless steel prices in Asian market. Accordingly, the steel mills in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan have hiked the export quotes of stainless steel products.
  • (FAN) According to Spetsstal Association, Russian stainless steel exports rose by 14% YoY to 3306 tonnes in H1 2011 as compared to the same period in 2010.
  • (MBN) More nickel pig iron facilities to come online in China
  • (SMM) LME Nickel Prices Fall for Three Consecutive Days, NPI Prices Resilient
  • (Reuters) Shipping disputes hit H1 Indonesia nickel exports
  • (FAN) Chinese ferrochrome output rose 12 percent to 1.2 million metric tons in the year to June, compared with 0.1 percent growth to 1.85 million tons in South Africa, according to estimates by Xanten
  • (MB) The stainless steel scrap market is facing a huge supply deficit after ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA LLC fires up its melt shop late next year, according to one of the world's largest suppliers of stainless and nickel scrap.
  • (SMM) Jinchuan Group Cuts Ex-works Nickel Prices to RMB 174,000/mt on August 5
  • (AAR) The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported mixed results for July monthly rail traffic compared with the same month last year, with U.S. railroads originating 1,111,682 carloads, down 1 percent, and 895,649 trailers and containers, up 1.3 percent.

  Norilsk: Sees Nickel Demand Possibly Falling Long-Term - OAO Norilsk Nickel, world's largest nickel and palladium producer, sees the demand for nickel possibly falling in the long term as other materials replace it, the company's chairman said in an interview. - more

  Antam appoints group to help fund Halmahera project - State miner PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) announced Thursday the appointment of a consortium to help the company acquire loans to build a ferronickel smelter in East Halmahera, North Maluku. - more

  • Antam Looks to Raise $1b For North Maluku Smelter - Aneka Tambang, the nation’s largest listed gold miner, has appointed seven financial institutions to help it raise $1 billion, which it will use for the construction of a ferronickel smelter in eastern Indonesia. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 4

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 8 to 1,268. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Li Ka-shing Rejects China ‘Hard Landing’ Concern // China Stocks Rise on U.S. Stimulus Speculation, Aircraft Industry Support // Japan Follows Switzerland in Acting to Weaken Currency to Protect Exports // Spanish Bond Yields Surge in 3.31 Billion Euro Auction of Sovereign Debt // German Factory Orders in Surprise June Uptick // Lira Tumbles as Market ‘Baffled’ by Turkey’s Shock Rate Cut; Stocks Slide //ECB Resumes Bond Buying as Trichet Offers Banks Cash to Stem Debt Crisis // European Stocks Sink to One-Year Low Amid Concern Global Recovery Stalling // Cargill Turkey Linked to Salmonella Sparks Second-Biggest U.S. Meat Recall // Economy Close to Stall Speed May Signal Renewed U.S. Recession // Consumer Confidence in U.S. Declines // Oil Wipes Out 2011’s Gains on Stall Signs // Gold Falls From Record $1,684.90 as Global Equity Rout Spurs Metal Sales // Stocks Tumble as Two-Year Treasury Yield Drops to Low
  • The Euro is over 1.1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is down nearly 4.2% and trading at $88.09/barrel. Gold is down 1/3 of 15 and silver is off nearly 4-3/4%. Base metals was not spared today's continuing market sell off and all ended lower. Indicator charts show nickel trended lower for the first 80% of the trading session and recovered some losses late. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $10.73/lb .  Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell for a third straight session on Wednesday and now total just under 102,800 tonnes. Another day where reporters were probably too busy swimming to be fishing for news on stainless steel or nickel. The Titanic appears to be sinking again and Main Street America watches as their retirement funds take a beating - yet again. Nothing was immune from the sell off today, including gold. The VIX, the so called volatility index was hovering near 15 points a few weeks ago, and is approaching a reading of 30 today. The 2 year Treasury is at reportedly at a record low and the 10 year is sinking fast (chart). The Dow is down over 300 points, and at that, off session lows. Ugly day, and an ugly week. Maybe tomorrow's jobless report will surprise.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Chronicle of gloom: Economic indicators at lows - more
  • Former Top Fed Officials Signal Support For QE3 If Inflation Slows - more
  • Consumer Moods Sour More in August - more
  • CEO Confidence Slipped in July - 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 lower as well. The Euro is currently trading over 1/2 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down over 1% and trading at $90.96/barrel. Gold is up over 1/2 of 1% and silver is up 3/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China up nearly 2/10 of 1%. European markets continue to fall this morning, while US futures imply yesterday's bounce has little staying power and is currently lower. Nickel inventories fell overnight.   
  • LME Morning - Base metals slip lower on diminishing risk appetite - more
  • Reuters - Copper near 1-month low on demand worry, higher dollar - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - next report August 8
  • (Bloomberg) Merafe Resources Limited said that South Africa should consider export duties and other controls to stop a surge in chrome ore sales to China so local ferrochrome makers can stay competitive.
  • (Interfax) China's iron ore demand is not the underlying cause of the freefall of the Baltic Dry Index (BDI), a measure of global raw material freight rates that has fallen every day of trading since July 7, industry insiders told Interfax.
  • (MBN) Nickel price under pressure from weak stainless demand and high nickel pig iron output
  • (JMB) NSSC Keeps Sales Price of Ni Cold Stainless Sheet and Plate in August
  • (SBB) Asian stainless prices rise but buyers wary
  • (Cass) The Cass Freight Index continues in its role as a leading economic indicator, with July numbers that foreshadow an extended retraction in the U.S. economy. Freight shipments in July decreased for the first time this year, 3.7%, while freight dollar volumes declined by 2.1%.
  • (CR) Unemployment rates rose in more than 90 percent of U.S. cities in June, according to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 29th July 2011 = Price Of Indian Silico-Manganese Rallied To Rise - The market tendency by item on imports f ferro-alloys into Japan at the 29th July of 2011 is as follows - more

  Benguet ready to process nickel - Benguet Corp.’s nickel mining subsidiary is near its goal of processing its output to create added value. - more

  Construction costs for New Caledonia’s nickel plant increases - The construction costs of a nickel plant being built in New Caledonia by Swiss miner Xstrata and local firm SMSP have jumped by more than 1 billion dollars. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 3

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 7 to 1,260. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Joins Russia in Blasting U.S. Borrowing //Most Emerging-Markets Stocks May Be Poised for Decline: Technical Analysis // U.S., Australian, Japanese Bonds Rise on Outlook for Slowing Global Growth // Russian Billionaires Buy U.S. Estates as Overseas Wealth Flows to Mansions // German Stocks Decline 10% From This Year’s Peak; Volkswagen, Daimler Fall // Spanish, Italian Bonds Rise on Bets European Officials May Act on Crisis // Syrian Forces Shell Hama as UN Struggles for Agreement on Condemning Assad // European Stocks Drop Most Since March on Concern U.S. Growth Is Faltering // Odds of U.S. Recession Seen Rising // Moody’s Affirms U.S. Rating, Warns of Downgrades // U.S. Service Industry Grows Less Than Forecast // Dow Extends Longest Drop Since 1978
  • The Euro is trading 7/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 2.3% and trading at $91.64/barrel. Gold is up nearly 1/2 of 1% and silver is up nearly 2-1/2%. Base metals joined the dash for cash, and all fell on the day. Indicator charts show nickel fell hard early, then bottom fed the rest of the session. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $10 shy of a full $1000/tonne drop, at $10.80/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell slightly yesterday and now sit at 102,900 tonnes. No matter how strong nickel has looked compared to its counterparts over the past few weeks, it got hit hard with the ugly stick today.  News for the morning is a little light today, maybe because too many newspaper writers have other things on their minds - like their 410K's - that had finally recovered from the last stock market exodus. The dead cat bounce we saw in early morning futures, evaporated as soon as the market opened, and we are seeing another ugly day on Wall Street.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MarketWatch) A record number of Americans are now receiving food stamps, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In May, there were 45.75 million recipients of the aid, up 2.5% from the previous month and 12% from May of 2010.
  • Consumer Bankruptcies Drop - more
  • Goldman: Rising Unemployment Rate Raises Recession Risk - more
  • Meanwhile, Back at the Economy - more
  • Job Cuts Surge 60% to 16-Month High - Challenger Report- pdf here
  • Our Sputtering Economy, by the Numbers - more
  • More people borrowing from 401(k) accounts - more

  ENRC Q2 ferrochrome up, running at full capacity - Kazakh miner ENRC said it expected all divisions to produce at full capacity in the second half, after posting a dip in second quarter iron ore volumes and a 3.2 percent increase in saleable ferrochrome. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.34/lb lower, with all London traded base metals lower. The Euro is up nearly 3/4 of 1% against the US Dollar,  which would typically support commodity trading. NYMEX crude is off 1% and trading at $92.87/barrel. Gold and silver are both over 1/2 of 1% higher this morning. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended sharply lower, although China ended just slightly lower. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures are seeing a potential dead can bounce this morning. Nickel inventories dropped slightly overnight.  
  • LME Morning - Growing risk aversion caps base metals, fears for global growth rise - more
  • Reuters - Copper falls as U.S. growth uncertainty lingers - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report this week - next report August 8th
  • (JMB) Ni Series Cold Stainless Sheet Price Hits Bottom, Tokyo
  • (MP) Chinese high carbon ferro-chrome prices continue to rise, underpinned by increased downstream demand. The market is much more active and producers are more bullish about the short-term outlook.
  • (SBB) Merafe sees world consumption of ferro-chrome up 5% in 2011
  • (Bloomberg) China’s steel production may gain to 690 million metric tons to 700 million tons this year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said today in a statement on its website.
  • (S & P) Russian mining and metal group Norilsk Nickel has not published its audited financial results for 2010. We are placing our 'BBB-' long-term and 'ruAA+' national scale ratings on Norilsk on CreditWatch Negative.
  • Cashed-up miners could turn more hostile on deals - more
  • China's Dagong downgrades US credit rating - more
  • Neutral conditions remain in the tropical Pacific - more

  Cost of Xstrata Pacific nickel plant jumps to $5bn - The construction costs of a nickel plant being built in New Caledonia by Swiss miner Xstrata and local firm SMSP have jumped by more that $1 billion, the joint venture said Wednesday. - more

  Stainless Steel Companies / Japan Are Moving To Transform Map To Purchase FeCr = Glaring At Prices Prevailing In China, Japanese Mills Intend To Purchase Spot Cargoes At Discounted Prices - Stainless steel companies of Japan are moving to transform substantially the map to purchase high carbon ferro-chrome (charge chrome). - more

  Albidon Minority Shareholders Seek Control Of Munali From Jinchuan - Minority shareholders of Australia-based nickel miner, Albidon Ltd. (ALB.AU) are seeking to wrestle the control of the company's only nickel producing project, Munali Nickel Mine in Zambia, from China's Jinchuan Group co. (2362.HK), the majority owner of Albidon, officials have said. - more

  PNG Nickel Opponents File Supreme Court Appeal - The battle between the developers of the Ramu nickel cobalt project and landowners in Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Madang province is far from over. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 2

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 3 to 1,253. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China’s Stocks Decline to 6-Week Low on Manufacturing Slowdown, Inflation // Asian Stocks Retreat as U.S. Debt Deal Overshadowed by Faltering Recovery // Italy, Spain 10-Year Bond Spreads Are at Euro-Era Record on Growth Concern // European Stocks Sink to Lowest in 11 Months on Weaker U.S. Growth Outlook // Debt Compromise Set for U.S. Senate Vote Amid Doubts // Fed May Weigh More Stimulus on Flagging Recovery // Senate Passes Debt Plan to Avoid Default // Stocks, Treasury Yields Drop on U.S. Outlook
  • The Euro is now trading 1/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, after trading positively when a US report showed US consumer spending was at a two year low in June. NYMEX crude is down 1.1% and trading at $93.86/barrel. Gold is up over 1.4% and silver is up over 2.4% on safe haven buying. Base metals ended the session mixed nickel the clear winner, yet again. Indicator charts show nickel spent the entire session in a rocky climb, seemingly unaffected by Euro's volatility. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $11.25/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell yesterday and now total just under 102,950 tonnes. Futures showed Wall Street was in a grumpy mood before the US Commerce Department reported consumer spending fell in June for the first time in two years. Markets went from being grumpy to grouchy and are once again, in a triple digit decline. The double dipper crowd is starting to awaken again. Let's hope they are proven as wrong as they were last year.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Reuters) But the group was not immune to rampant cost inflation that has hit the entire sector, as increased costs and the weak U.S. dollar dented the bottom line and forced the miner to increase estimates for its remote Koniambo nickel mine, where estimates rose to $4.6 billion from an initial cost of $3.85 billion. Koniambo, in New Caledonia, is seen as an example of Xstrata's ability to deliver large greenfield projects, and analysts said the increase was disappointing, but the miner blamed a remote location and a unique environment that means less competition among contractors.
  • Economists React: Very Weak, Very Disappointing - more
  • There’s Something Happening Here . . . - more
  • America is merely wounded, Europe risks death - more

  Nickel market prospects in the face of oversupply and Chinese pig nickel - The nickel demand situation currently is "pretty much wholly reliant on China and how that country develops" - more

  Blast at POSCO kills 1, injures 2  - An explosion inside a POSCO plant on Tuesday killed one worker and injured two others. - more

  MAX Mine resumes mill operations - The MAX Molybdenum Mine at Trout Lake resumed mill operations on July 27. The operation mines and mills molybdenum into a fine powder concentrate at their facility located on a mountainside above Trout Lake. - more

  Albania chrome miner hunger strike enters 8th day - A hunger strike by chrome miners against Albania's largest employer, DCM DECOmetal, entered its eighth day on Tuesday as the two sides appeared closer to negotiating an end to a month-long dispute. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending July 30, 2011, domestic raw steel production was 1,858,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 76.0 percent. Production was 1,684,000 tons in the week ending July 30, 2010, while the capability utilization then was 69.6 percent. The current week production represents a 10.3 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending July 30, 2011 is up 1.5 percent from the previous week ending July 23, 2011 when production was 1,830,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 74.8 percent.

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.01/lb higher, with other London traded base metals mostly lower and mostly quiet. The Euro is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is down nearly 1/2 of 1% and trading at $94.43/barrel. Gold is higher by 9/10 of 1% and silver is up 1.7%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off over 7/10 of 1%. European markets are lower this morning and US futures show Wall Street is already in a grumpy mood. Nickel inventories dropped overnight.    
  • LME Morning - Metals little changed but weak US manufacturing data sours sentiment - more
  • Reuters - Copper slips as economy uncertainty weighs - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report this week
  • (SG) According to data, China exported 175,400 tonnes of stainless steel in May 2011, up by 21.7% MoM from April 2011, close to the highest level of 177,973 tonnes in March 2011.

  DJ Xstrata Approves 2 Canadian Nickel Projects Totaling $649M - Xstrata Nickel's development of the $530 million Raglan extension project in Northern Quebec and the $119 million Fraser Morgan project in Sudbury, Ontario, will now move ahead. - more

  AK Steel adds surcharge to September shipments - AK Steel Holding Corp., which manufacturers steel products, said Monday that it told its customers it's adding a $460 per ton surcharge to invoices for electrical steel products shipped in September. - more

  Western Areas set to sign new nickel deal - Australia's third-largest nickel miner, Western Areas NL, says production is so strong that it will complete its obligations early and may negotiate higher contracts for the metal. - more

  Merafe H1 down sharply, sees better Q4 - South Africa's Merafe Resources, the country's largest ferrochrome producer, reported a sharp drop in first-half earnings on Tuesday, hit by lower output and higher costs, but said it expects better trading conditions in the fourth quarter. - more

  Landowners in Papua New Guinea have secured another injunction preventing a mine from dumping millions of tonnes of waste into the sea.- more

  Widows taking on Vale - It's not a sexy issue, but United Steelworkers' J.P. Mrochek hopes to get candidates in the Oct. 6 provincial election talking about the need to change legislation affecting the survivors' pensions of hundreds of Ontario widows. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, August 1

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 8 to 1,256. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China’s July Home Prices Rise at Slowest in 11 Months on Government Curbs // Asia’s Economic ‘Soft Patch’ Jars With Inflation, Posing Dilemma on Rates // Manufacturing Weakens From China to U.K. // Asian Stocks Rise as Obama Says U.S. Lawmakers Agree to Break Debt Impasse // Worst Europe Earnings Hitting Industrials // Funds Lift Bullish Commodity Bets to Six-Week High as Silver Holdings Jump // European Stocks Drop to Eight-Month Low as U.S. Manufacturing Growth Slows // Debt-Limit Deal to Get Congress Vote Today // Manufacturing Index Falls to Two-Year Low // Stocks Drop, Treasuries Up on Economy Data
  • After US economic data showed US manufacturing slowing to a crawl in July, the Euro took a dive and is now trading over 1.1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1/3% and trading at $94.46/barrel. Gold is off less than 1/10 of 1% and silver is down 1%. Bae metals ended the session lower on the stronger Dollar. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher and held its ground until the pressure from the falling Euro grew too strong. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the session at $11.14/lb . On a percentage basis, nickel still looks stronger than many of its LME traded counterparts. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose for the fourth time in the last six reporting days and now total just under 103,100 tonnes. Stockpiles began falling again back in January, when they peaked at 137,766 tonnes on January 18th, after gaining roughly 21,000 tonne since mid August of 2010. With credit crisis taking the headlines recently, someone forgot to tell traders that the world economies were slowing. That came into focus today as manufacturing purchasing indexes from around the world reported slowing conditions. Even the US, elated by a overnight tentative debt limit agreement, rose sharply early in today's session, only to drop like a rock when the US PMI showed growth in US manufacturing had slowed to a snail's pace. So are we seeing a seasonal slowdown, backing off to a more consistent rate of slower growth, or are we dangling over a double dip cliff? Pick your poison. Dow is off triple digits at the moment, coming on the back of its worst week this year.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Insider - pdf here
  • Robry Weekly Economic Assessment - more

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (ticker) In Asia, China''s manufacturing sector contracted in July to the lowest level since March 2009, final results from Markit Economics showed today. The HSBC manufacturing purchasing managers'' index fell to 49.3 in July from 50.1 in June. Euro-zone final Purchasing Managers'' Index fell to 50.4 in July from 52 in June, reaching its weakest reading since the recovery began in October 2009, Markit Economics said.
  • Number of the Week: China’s Population Bust - more
  • Has the Economy Hit Stall Speed? - more
  • Economists React: ‘Recovery? What Recovery?’ - more
  • Insiders selling at unusually fast pace - more
  • Country Sovereign Ratings - more

  Ferrochrome – Up or Down? - We often look to nickel to judge the direction of the stainless market. Likewise, when looking at nickel, almost always refer to the stainless market to discern direction. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb higher, with all London traded base metals higher as well. The Euro is trading over 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is up 1% and trading at $96.64/barrel. Gold is sown over 1/2 of 1% and silver is down over 1-1/2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 2/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning and US futures show at least for the moment, the debt ceiling agreement has markets thinking positively. Nickel stockpiles grew over the weekend.   
  • LME Morning - Base metals rally after US debt agreement but cautious mood remains - more
  • Reuters - Copper rises to near 4-mth high after U.S. debt deal - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report today
  • (Bloomberg) Natixis Commodity Markets Ltd .... It raised estimates for this year to $25,300 a ton for nickel ....
  • (Yieh) Recently, the continuously rising nickel prices have pushed up the stainless steel prices in Asian market. ..... Though the demand for stainless steel might shrink by the coming of rainy season, the stainless steel prices may still have chances to hike further if the nickel prices continue to soar.
  • (MBN) PT Inco's nickel output up 13% in Q2
  • (SBB) Chinese FeCr rise further, import price rebound
  • (JMB) Japan Major 4 Stainless Makers Post Profit in April-June
  • Obama’s and Bush’s effects on the deficit in one graph - more
  • In charts: Weak GDP and weaker consumption - more
  • China's July PMI falls to 50.7% - more

  PNG landowners win reprieve in nickel mine legal battle - Landowners in Papua New Guinea have secured another injunction preventing a mine from dumping millions of tonnes of waste into the sea. - more

  Albidon cuts Zambia 2011 nickel output forecast - Australia's Albidon Ltd. has cut its 2011 nickel concentrate output forecast by 21 percent at Zambia's Munali mine due to lower-than-projected ore production and quality, it said on Friday. - more

  Nickel Asia 1H profit soars to P1.7B - Nickel Asia Corp. said profit less minority interest for the first half of the year reached P1.73 billion, more than double the P694.6 posted in the same period last year, as the company benefited from improving nickel prices. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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

July Archives


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All prices shown on this page are indications only. "A Guide To LME Trading"...pdf here "The ABCs of a Metals Exchange" ...pdf here (Molybdenum prices are for molybdenum oxide, an ingredient and major price factor in 316 stainless) (all ton listings are metric tons = 2204.622 pounds ) Updated daily before 8 am CST and before 1 pm CST weekdays - Disclaimer Candlestick Pattern Dictionary here / Intro to Candlesticks here Original content and opinions copyright www.estainlesssteel.com. Note - For real time and official LME prices, LME requires a user subscribe to be an authorized LME vendor.

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