This page is archived news covering the period of August 2008
If you are looking for current daily market news, please visit here.

Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices

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


Daily Reports

Platt's
UBS Daily
MF Global
BNP Paribas
Macquarie Bank
Reliance Money
Commonwealth Bank

7/25 Market Prices

Ferromolybdenum (65-70%)
$35.40/lb
 

Moly Oxide (>51%)
$33.75/lb
 

Ferrochrome(60-65%)(HC)
$2.00/lb
 

Ferrochrome (LC)
$5.15/lb
 

7/25 Scrap Prices

Stainless Steel (LTL/ton)
$.74/lb
 

Nickel Publications at Amazon

Updated twice daily before 8:00 am CST and by 1 pm CST

Weekend Review, August 30 & 31

  Hurricane Gustav storm info here  Live satellite view here  WDSU New Orleans is live online here Traffic cams - here

  China imported 540,000 tons of chromium ore valued at 231.149 million US dollars in June 2008. The import in January-June reached 3,480,000 tons valued at 1,240.615 million US dollars, up 22.9 percent and 100.3 percent respectively year on year. - more

  India's stainless steel demand is expected to rise 8-9 per cent in the current fiscal year and double in the next five years, as more of the alloy is used to make railway coaches and buildings, an industry official said. - more

  Reports

  • Morning Montra - pdf here
  • The Chart Store - Weekly Scoreboard - pdf here
  • How do old erpeople spend their time- pdf here
  • Credit Suisse Technical Chart Outlook - pdf here
  • Scotia Weekly Trends - pdf here
  • U.S. July Monthly Steel Fact Sheet - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • (Rusmet) China's securities regulator has forbidden, for the time being, any foreign futures exchanges or other foreign entities from setting up warehouses for delivery on the mainland, it said in a note posted on its website this week.
  • (Dow Jones) "Nickel prices will find support near to medium term from strong demand for hybrid vehicles as crude oil surges, partially offsetting the weak appetite of stainless steel makers, an industry official said on Thursday. But prices, which have fallen about 21 percent so far this year on the London Metal Exchange, could come under further downward pressure when new projects start coming on stream in the next few years, said Indra Ginting, director for investor relations at PT International Nickel Indonesia Tbk."
  • GFMS - Dollar outweighs other fundamentals. Nickel remains the most volatile performer out of all the major six base metals as has been evident since our last Base Metals Market Update. - more
  • (even power problems in US?) Alcoa Inc. will lay off about 300 workers at a Texas smelter and is suing the plant's power supplier, claiming it caused power disruptions that forced the firings, the aluminum maker said Friday. - more
  • Investors looking for Canadian stock bargains will find cut-rate prices in the base metals space, but analysts caution that a rebound may take a while, as sluggish demand could continue pressure metal prices.- more

Courtesy S & C Electric

  It is reported that domestic ferrochrome market moves sluggish this week and traders all pay attention to purchase prices offered by Baosteel and Taiyuan Steel and hole a wait and see attitude. - more

  • It is reported that many Chinese iron ore traders have halted domestic sales on continued slack demand after the Olympic Games. Domestic ore concentrate price has lost over CNY 200 per tonne recently, following the price slide in spot ore imports market. And the market transactions are quite few across the country. - more

  European Surcharges for September

  • ThyssenKrupp - here
  • Outokumpu - pdf here
  •  Germany

    August

    September

    in Euro/t

    1.4016

    703   

    743   

    1.4301

    1.583   

    1.504   

    1.4571

    2.902   

    2.823   

  Four U.S. stainless pipe producers, and the United Steelworkers (USW) today applauded a preliminary determination by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) that Chinese imports of welded austenitic stainless steel pressure pipe were dumped at a margin of 22.03%. - more

  Broken Hill company Bemax Resources says it may be able to offer jobs to many local workers who were recently sacked. Last week, mining company Perilya announced 440 job cuts - more

  Integrity Bank of Alpharetta, Ga., with $1.1 billion in assets and $974 million in deposits, was closed Friday by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was named receiver. This marks the 10th U.S. bank failure so far this year. - more  updated FDIC list here

Friday, August 29

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 120 to 6,809. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • Dollar recovered from earlier losses and was trading higher against the Euro, and lower against the Yen, while metals traded lower. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.17/lb .  
  • Have a safe and enjoyable weekend!!

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.11/lb   lower. Oil is trading higher on Gustav concerns, and dollar is lower after a report showing U.S. personal income fell in July more than economists forecast. Metals, precious and base, are nearly all trading lower. Last day of the trading month is typically quiet, but you just never know. Gustav still has the capacity to become a major hurricane over the weekend, while Tropical Storm Hannah looks to be trouble for the Bahamas (here) The U.S. will be start an extended weekend att eh end of the business day, celebrating Labor Day on Monday.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  ANALYSIS-Nickel risks further sharp fall on slow demand - "Nickel prices could plunge another 25 percent by the end of this year, unless orders from stainless steel producers in Europe pick up in the next two to three weeks, industry sources and analysts say." - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "LME prices lost ground on Thursday, and although a firmer energy complex and weaker dollar helped rally the complex to practically unchanged at one point, a reversal in both these complexes ultimately led to heavy selling later in the day...In the meantime, the dollar enjoyed a mid-session recovery on higher than expected revisions to second quarter GDP (up to +3.3%). This was an important figure, as it highlights relatively decent US growth just as other western economies ,(as well as many Asian ones), are seeing their growth rates tail off markedly. It remains to be seeing whether such readings will be maintained going into Q3. We have our doubts, and in fact, most estimates are calling for US growth levels to come in well below Q2. In addition, with other economies only now starting to weaken (after an appropriate lag from the US), it seems to us that the path of least resistance in most commodity complexes is lower still. This morning, we are off to another weaker start in base metals. ... More importantly, there continues to be questions about the strength of Chinese end-user demand following the Olympics. We don’t anticipate a sharp snap-back in consumer activity in the aftermath of the Games, as we see the general macro picture in China still weakening.... We are currently at $20,095, down $405, and giving back a good portion of this week's gain. We are neutral on nickel at these levels, as prices seem to be in the middle of a minor trading range.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Indonesia's state-owned miner, PT Aneka Tambang Tbk , revised on Friday its nickel sales target up by nearly 6 percent for this year from an earlier target to boost revenue as nickel prices soften. - more
  • Scotiabank’s Mohr forecasts higher copper and uranium prices, strong international coal prices - more

  London Metal Exchange, the world's largest marketplace for industrial metals, may decide next week to begin trade in cobalt and molybdenum futures as prices surge for the raw materials used in iPods, laptops and steel products. - more

  China Metallurgical Construction Group Corp.'s $1.4 billion Ramu nickel project in Papua New Guinea hasn't been delayed after landowners this week closed the site and attacked Chinese workers, said partner Highlands Pacific Ltd. - more

  • Operations at the Ramu nickel mine in Madang have been disrupted after locals attacked Chinese workers there and workers walked off their jobs protesting poor working conditions. - more

  China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group recently signed a nickel production contract with a mining company under Myanmar's Ministry of Mines. - more

  The exports of chrome ore from South Africa have been continuing to increase and particularly, an expansion of the exports for China is remarkable. - more

  • BHP Billiton , involved in a near $150 billion bid for rival Rio Tinto , has agreed to provide information for South Africa's Competition Commission to evaluate the takeover move. - more

  The Central Government of China (the Ministry of Commerce) announced on the beginning of this week that the regulations for exports of ferro-alloys from China are strengthened from the 1st September of 2008 as decided as of the 21st August of 2008. - more

  • Bloomberg reported that Macquarie Group Ltd, citing a drop in construction in China, said that steel consumption growth in China, is expected to slow in the second half of this year. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Base Metal Prices-Mumbai-Aug 29 - more
  • 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 28

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 121 to 6,929. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • (Market Watch) The U.S. economy grew at a 3.3% real annual pace in the April-through-June quarter, the fastest in since the third quarter of last year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. This was close to double the 1.9% growth initially estimated last month.... Investors, showing no sign of concern about the outlook, took the GDP report at face value and pushed stocks up sharply on the news.... Separately, the Labor Department said first-time applications for state unemployment benefits fell 10,000 in the latest weekly data to 425,000, while the four-week average of continuing claims climbed to a near five-year high of 3.37 million." The news from the US today helped reverse earlier declines in the Dollar, which traded higher this afternoon on the better than expected economic news, and a news report that the US, Europe and Japan had secretly worked out a way to boost the dollar back in March (see here). Crude oil which started the day trading higher, then flat, has now fallen by around $2/barrel. Precious metals traded mostly higher, regardless of the dollar, while base metals all traded lower. Indicator charts show nickel fell early and then spent much of the rest of the day bouncing up and down. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.30/lb . Sucden's day old nickel chart (here) shows trading thru yesterday is meandering with no clear pattern. Overall trend still remains negative, although the Falcondo closure and end to the Olympics has given the market some optimism it hasn't had since Cerro Matoso ended their strike earlier this year. But as long as LME inventory levels remain as high as they are, and continue to find a way of "maintaining" their current levels, it is doubtful we will see nickel make any more dramatic bull runs. Unless .... something happens at the Thompson mine and smelter in Canada next month. United Steelworkers union (USW) Local 6166 will be negotiating a new contract with the Vale ownership in the coming weeks, and this bargaining session could prove difficult with the market in a slide. Here is a bookmark you might want in the next few weeks - Local 6166 web site here

  Reports

  • Exhibit 1b. U.S. Imports For Consumption of Stainless Steel Products - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Commonwealth Research Hard Line - "We had been expecting the nickel price to bounce higher at some point in coming quarters. But given sluggish economic growth in developed economies, current indications are that any lift in nickel demand may initially be more muted than we had been  anticipating. With new projects expected to add to nickel mine supply over the balance of 2008 and in 2009, the nickel market is likely to remain in surplus."
  • Chinese media - "China domestic ferro-chrome market keeps quiet this week, and prices maintain at the fluctuating tendency with normal transactions. The power supply shortages in some regions have forced some FeCr producers to reduce their production.... Recent chrome ore quotations dropped a little bit, but it is hard to cut down the costs of FeCr."
  • China Securities Journal - "July nickel metal output in China rose, but the past week, LME nickel prices have rebounded, but still below the domestic price of nickel laterite nickel ore to the majority of a metal smelting nickel costs. We believe that the current nickel price of the concerns in the coming mainly from stainless steel to the metal nickel demand for nickel demand for iron, nickel price trend is not good for us."
  • Sony President: Stagflation Threatens Asia - more
  • Resources boom will last for years - more

  China is likely to cut many of its remaining tax rebates on steel product exports in the near future, after July exports hit a record high, while increasing rebates for stainless steel, traders and analysts said on Wednesday. - more

  The word "blackout" in relation to the Second World War evokes images of air raid wardens shouting "Put out that bloody light" as Great Britain turned off its street lamps and vehicle headlights, and hid interior house lights behind heavy curtains. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.23/lb  lower. Dollar continues to trade lower, and crude oil is trading higher today on Gustav worries. Precious metals are trading higher, while base metals are mixed, some higher, and some lower. Baltic Dry Index slipped under 7000 today.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • The Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Market Analysis - pdf here
  • Resource Daily Plus - here
  • Standard Bank Base Metal Comments - here
  • Morning Montra - pdf here
  • Commodity Morning Bell - pdf here
  • UK Steel have released Key Statistics for the UK steel market (including stainless steel) - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal prices worked generally higher yesterday on the back of stronger energy prices and a softer dollar, which lost ground despite what we thought were constructive US durable good numbers. Orders rose by 1.3% in the latest month vs. the unchanged readings expected, but that apparently did not do much to revive the greenback's fortunes. ... We are seeing an about-face in today’s trading, with metals down across the board (with the exception of lead) despite energy being up and the dollar down. Unusually, metals are looking past these items and seem to be focusing, instead, on rising LME stocks (particularly in copper and ali).... We suspect that the losses we are seeing today should be limited over the course of the day, as energy and the dollar should both provide a measure of support. However, today’s action in metals is noteworthy, as it illustrates the notion that exogenous variables (like the dollar and oil) are important, but tend to exhibit more inconsistent influences on prices. Instead, it is the fundamentals in each of the metal complexes that will ultimately set price direction. ... We are currently at $20,500, down $500, and struggling as we approach $22,500 resistance."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) China's refined nickel prices will continue in an uptrend for the remainder of the year with support from international nickel prices, production cuts and rising demand, industry insiders told Interfax on Aug. 27
  • (Xinhau) Nickel Production Grows by 10.6% in Jan-Jul, Consumption Up 24.7%
  • (China Media) South Korea Gwangyang Ferro Nickel Plant plans to put into operation by the end of September
  • Credit Suisse TU.S. steel imports decreased 14% year over year in July to 2.6 million metric tons, and slightly below the preliminary July import data of 2.7 million metric tons. Adjusting for differences in shipping days, July imports increased 0.7% sequentially (up 4.1% sequentially on an unadjusted basis). Year-to-date, imports are down 11.1% versus 2007.

  China Molybdenum Co., the nation's second-biggest producer of the metal used in steelmaking, expects a global shortage of 2,000 metric tons this year will prevent prices from falling. - more

  Bloomberg reported that Macquarie Group Ltd, citing a drop in construction in China, said that steel consumption growth in China, is expected to slow in the second half of this year. - more

  • Mr Yang Xinmin GM of Wuxi Tianmai Metalwork Co Limited said that the stainless steel prices would further move down before September comes, though at a slowed pace. - more

  Recycling International reports - Global production of stainless steel edged higher over the early part of this year but, more recently, the sector appears to have taken a backward step. Rotterdam prices for 304 stainless steel scrap have fallen to US$ 2180 per tonne, while 316 scrap has fallen to US$ 3250 in early August. Ferritic 430 scrap (17% chromium) and 409 scrap (13% chromium) stood at US$ 750 and US$ 650 respectively, also below the levels of mid-June." - source

  The world major steel exporter, China, set to lowering the prices. The drop hasn’t been significant so far, just 5 percent, but the metal makers of Russia will also reduce the cost of their product in the fourth quarter - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 28 - 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 27

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 65 to 7,050. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • (Market Watch) "Signaling that some businesses have still been spending despite tight credit and a slow economy, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday that new orders for U.S.-made durable goods surged in July, rising 1.3%....Economists said exports are likely behind the strong durable's report....The risk must be that in time the combination of slowing global growth and a stronger dollar crimps exports, but for now they are the lifeline," Shepherdson (Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics) wrote." The Dollar traded lower against the Euro, but regained some of its lost ground later when the durable goods report was issued, and a European Central Bank policy maker put serious doubt on any further rate cuts in the EU. The path of the dollar appears to be guided by fears of who is economically worse off these days - the US or Europe. Economic news from both regions is ugly, and depending on which is worse for the day, benefits the others currency. Crude oil traded higher as Hurricane, now Tropical Storm Gustav left at least 17 dead in the Caribbean region, and was expected to regain hurricane status as it headed toward Cuba. This storm appears to have a lot of the weather experts very nervous, and its current track, posted here by the TSR, has Katrina survivors none to impressed (forecast here). The National Hurricane Center 5 day forecast here. With the dollar lower and crude oil higher, you would imagine metals would be trading higher today. And you would be correct, for the most part. While a few strays managed to end up slightly lower on the day, the overall complex was up. This included nickel, which indicator charts reflect was gradually stair - stepping its way higher all day. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.51/lb .  Sucden's day old chart shows, that after today's gain, nickel traders might be trying to test the $21,500 resistance line again (chart here). Then again, the day started with a RSI of 25, implying heavily oversold, so we may have just witnessed what some traders call a dead cat bounce today. Either way, market watchers will be watching to see what happens with LME inventories over the next few weeks. Nickel inventories, stored in London Metal Exchange warehouses, measured 47,094 tonnes yesterday, their highest level since mid June and with the Falcondo mine closure now in its second week, some will be wondering if today's slight inventory dip will continue.  

  Commodity Comments

  • JP Morgan Michael Jansen - ""Metals are likely to remain rangebound in the short term but a slightly more upbeat trading environment could unfold in the fourth quarter, depending on whether Chinese merchants and producers respond to the looser fiscal and monetary settings."
  • JPMorgan sees multi-year cycle for commodities - more
  • 30 largest companies in the World by market cap - (including 2 mining companies) - here

  Vale Inco, the nickel wing of the Brazilian mining giant, has fallen further behind schedule in its efforts to begin installation of a waste pipe at its massive Goro project in New Caledonia, but said the mine is still on budget and on target. - more

  MEPS - World steel prices are currently at all time highs. Since August 2007, hot rolled coil average transaction values in North America have risen by almost $US600 per tonne. EU prices have moved up by approximately $US530 per tonne and Asian figures have advanced by more than $US350 per tonne. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.21/lb higher. Some analysts appear to believe the dollar has risen too fast in recent days, and after oil started the morning trading higher on Gustav concerns, the Euro got an early boost. The dipping dollar loosened the collar around the necks of metals traders, and most precious and industrial metals were trading higher.  Nickel inventories took a break, with no large inbound shipments received, and multiple outbound shipments recorded. There has been a strong influx of nickel in the past weeks, and in particular, since Xstrata announced the closure of the Dominican operation. We saw this right after BHP's Colombia mine went on strike. It came in fast and furious for a few days, then dried up completely. It will be interesting to see if that holds up this time as well.     
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  • CPM Group 'The Long-Term Sustainability of Recent Commodity Price Strength" - pdf here (slow to load)
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Oakvale Market Report - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Commodities Market Analysis - pdf here
  • Commodity Research - pdf here
  • Morning Bell - pdf here
  • Behre Global Mining News - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "LME metals lost ground on Tuesday, as a firmer dollar and lingering questions about end-user demand continued to weigh on the complex. A revival in energy prices manage to lift metals off their worst levels of the day, but unlike oil, metal prices never ventured into positive territory during the US session. This morning, we are slightly higher in the metals as a combination of higher energy prices and a weaker dollar is boosting the complex. The Euro was last trading at $1.4730, above Tuesday's six-month low of $1.4570, while the pound stood at $1.8463, after itself falling to a two-year low of $1.8330 yesterday. However, it should be energy prices that could keep things firm in metals for the balance of the week-- oil markets are fretting about Tropical Storm Gustav, which is barreling towards the Gulf of Mexico after hitting Haiti yesterday. Landfall is expected sometime this weekend. .. We are currently at $20,400, up $370, and recouping a bit more than half of yesterday's decline. However, we see the complex having difficulty working beyond $22,500 resistance.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • China Commodities Weekly for August 18-22, 2008 - more
  • "Mr. Tulpulé breaks down the markets for four key commodities that Rio Tinto produces: iron ore, copper, aluminum, and thermal coal. His paper is bullish on all four. He avoids any mention of nickel or zinc, two commodities in which prices have plummeted in the last year. Rio Tinto, to its great fortune, does not have exposure to either one. - more
  • (Yieh) - The stainless steel crude steel production output at Japan’s seven major manufacturers in July saw a decrease of 9 percent compared to the previous month. Mill’s inventories were building up in July, and production was being cut at same time.
  • (China Daily) Baosteel plans to lower most prices in Oct - more
  • Is It Finally Time to Buy Moly? - more
  • (Thomson) Salzgitter AG said it will lift the sales prices of its steel products again from the fourth quarter, reacting to a surge in energy and raw-material prices. The company said it will charge 30 euros more per metric ton of flat-bar steel and up to 120 euros more per ton of heavy plate.
  • (Steel Guru) South Korea based steel distributor Gana Stainless Steel Co has formed a JV with Al Othman Imco to establish a stainless steel pipe service centre in Saudi Arabia. It will supply types 304 and 316 seamless pipes.
  • South Korea Gwangyang Ferro Nickel Plant plans to put into operation by the end of September
  • (Interfax) Canada has decided to levy an anti-dumping duty of between 131 percent and 292 percent on welded steel pipe exports from China, which comes after the United States slapped an over 700 percent import tax on Chinese welded pipe in May, industry insiders told Interfax on Aug. 26.
  • (AISI) Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that the U.S. imported a total of 2,842,000 net tons (NT) of steel in July 2008, including 2,177,000 NT of finished steel (up 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively, vs. June final data).

  Three Chinese workers at Papua New Guinea's controversial Ramu nickel mine have been attacked by 100 armed local landowners. - more

  • The Governor of Papua New Guinea’s Madang province has criticised the response by both national and provincial governments as well as the developer of the Ramu nickel project to ongoing issues around the mine. - more
  • Police in Papua New Guinea are investigating an attack by 100 armed local landowners on three Chinese workers at the Ramu nickel mine in Madang province. - more

  A nickel-processing plant in Long Harbour cleared an environmental hurdle on Tuesday as Newfoundland and Labrador approved a plan by Vale Inco to dispose of effluent in a backwoods trout pond. - more

  Dissatisfaction To Government With Regulations For Cr-Ore Export Is Whirling In South Africa = Fe-Cr Producers Are Complaining About Delay Of Measures To Control Cr-Ore Export - more

  Rio Tinto yesterday shrugged off talk of an impending collapse in the commodities market, pointing to recent research that suggested China will build up to 50,000 skyscrapers in the next 20 years, the equivalent of 10 New Yorks, creating sustained long-term demand for steel and other raw materials. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 27 - 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 25
(London Metal Exchange closed today for Summer Bank Holiday)

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - no figures released today due to holiday (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • (Associated Press) "The National Association of Realtors reported Monday that sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5 million units, down from June's downwardly revised rate of 4.85 million units....Home sales were about 13 percent lower than a year ago and prices were down dramatically. The median price for a home sold in July dropped to $212,000, down by 7.1 percent from a year ago. Despite the third monthly sales increase this year, the number of unsold single-family homes and condominiums rose to 4.67 million, the highest number since 1968, when the Realtors group started tracking the data." (MarketWatch) "U.S. stock indexes on Monday dropped nearly 2%, retreating from last session's strong gains, as oil reached above $115 a barrel and as concerns about the financial sector continued to weigh on investor sentiment." Down earlier, the US dollar is trading slightly higher against the Euro. Oil is lower, having fallen from an earlier day high of $16.09/barrel. Precious metals are trading lower, but only slightly. With the London Metal Exchange closed today, we have no ending nickel price to report. English markets will resume their normal schedule tomorrow. With metals news seriously lacking today, we are posting some other news that might be of interest. If you have stayed in a Best Western, you might want to read about the largest cyber heist in history. If you were a fan of the Olympics, a Chinese writer asks, "Who really won?". The final medal count here. And the BHP-Rio fight was back in the media spot light today.
  • Revealed: 8 million victims in the world's biggest cyber heist - more 
  • China, US, (or Jamaica): Who Won the Olympic Games? - more

  Commodity Comments

  • Stephen Roach, Head Economist, Morgan Stanley - "While it is difficult to establish statistical evidence of causality, we believe that the USD and oil will likely remain negatively correlated, for various reasons." - more
  • (Thompson Financial) - "The IMF pares its forecasts for 2008 and 2009 global economic growth in a note prepared for a meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) nations, a G20 finance official tells Reuters. The IMF now sees world growth this year at 3.9 pct, slower than the earlier forecast of 4.1 pct presented in its World Economic Outlook last month."
  • (Reuters) - "Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Monday Russia sees no advantages to WTO membership and should freeze some commitments made during entry talks in a sign Moscow is pulling away from the West after its war in Georgia."
  • China's iron ore imports in July increased 18% YOY to 39.63 million tons

  Rio Tinto boss Tom Albanese will come out with guns blazing at today's half-year results, amid tension about BHP Billiton's $150 billion takeover attempt. - more

  • BHP Billiton Ltd., which has made a $142 billion hostile bid for Rio Tinto Group, was subpoenaed by South African antitrust regulators to provide information it declined to give relating to the biggest mining takeover. - more
  • Rio Tinto shares rallied after Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan cleared the way for a Chinese state-owned aluminium maker's bid to increase its stake in the company. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel not selling - markets in London are closed. LME will re-open on Tuesday. The dollar is trading lower, and oil is slightly higher.  Olympics are officially over - thank you Beijing and China for one heck of a show!! Next stop - Vancouver 2010.

  Reports

  • Haywood Securities Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here
  • CommerzBank Commodity Spotlight - pdf here
  • Oakvale Capital Market Report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Metals Market Analysis - pdf here
  • Commodity Research - pdf here
  • Daily Metal & Energy Commentary - pdf here
  • Philippines Mining Briefing - pdf here
  • Phillip Capital Metals Weekly - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no daily commentary posted today due to London market being closed
  • China will not suffer from a "post-Olympic recession", senior officials said Sunday, because of the scale and potential of its economy. - more

  The commodity markets have suffered significant setbacks in the past few weeks on concerns over European demand and Chinese growth, but Macquarie Bank has warned against reading too much into the recent price trends, in a research note dated Monday. - more

  The exports of Chinese low carbon ferro-chrome in the first half (January - June) of 2008 increased by 4 times compared with that in the same period of 2007 and the offensive for exports of low carbon ferro-chrome taken by Chinese producers is anticipated to continue further. - more

  Indonesia's government has announced that it is to stall the implementation of regulations limiting mineral resource production in the country, saying that plans to put the regulations in place this year have proved 'impossible.' - more

  China's Baoshan Iron and Steel (Baosteel) has cut its fourth-quarter sales prices for cold-rolled steel products, the first cut in a year, as the demand outlook weakens in China's auto and home appliance sectors. - more

  Steel prices are forecast to fall for the rest of the year as demand slackens in the domestic market, according to the Viet Nam Steel Association (VSA). - more

  Sometimes life just catches you by surprise. For Rio Tinto boss Tom Albanese, it's been happening since last year, when rival Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton launched a $US160 billion takeover offer for his firm. With that now mid-way through a regulatory approval process, who should Albanese bump into at the Olympics the other day? - more

  • Rio Tinto Group, fending off a hostile $143 takeover bid from BHP Billiton Ltd., rose in Sydney trading after biggest shareholder Aluminum Corp. of China, or Chinalco, was given Australian approval to raise its stake. - more

  Major Japanese steelmakers including Nippon Steel Corp. and JFE Steel Corp. are considering joining forces to purchase overseas iron ore mining rights to cope with the raw material's soaring prices, informed sources said Saturday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 25 - 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 26

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 32 to 7,115. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • (Bloomberg) "New-home sales in the U.S. improved in July from a 17-year low and construction cutbacks by builders reduced the glut of properties on the market by the most in almost five decades." (Market Watch) "The decline in U.S. home prices picked up speed in June, with prices down a record 15.9% in the past year for 20 key cities, according to the Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday by Standard & Poor's." (Market Watch) "U.S. consumer confidence rose in August - the second consecutive month of gains - but the level remained relatively low and job concerns persisted, the Conference Board reported Tuesday." (Market Watch) - ""There is going to be more attention paid to what is happening at the Democratic National Convention than the economic data calendar. This is the only week of the year when politics can take over economic data, geopolitical concerns and commodity prices," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies & Co." (Bloomberg) "The dollar rose to a six-month high against the euro on speculation the greenback will be the main beneficiary of a global economic slowdown as German business confidence dropped in August more than forecast." (AFP) "Oil prices rebounded briefly above 117 dollars on Tuesday, erasing earlier losses as attention switched to a hurricane that could threaten US energy facilities in the Gulf of Mexico."
  • So what does all the above mean in today's market? Wall Street is slightly up on the consumer confidence report, although the bulls hold is slipping. Things are getting as bad as they are in the States, which makes the dollar trade better. Oil has sold within a $5/barrel range this morning, and is, at the moment, up around $1/barrel. Metals couldn't tag on to oil's coat-tails today, as the rising dollar counter balanced the news. Precious metals were mixed, while base were all trading lower. Nickel, hit with a rather large overnight gain in inventories, succumbed to bearish pressure early on, and while its initial setback stuck thru much of the days, trading, it collapsed yet again in late trading. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $9.07/lb .  Sucden's chart, updated thru yesterday, shown here,  reflects last week's nickel bull spurt and the turnaround that resumed on Friday. RSI, both given by Sucden and MF Global give no direction signals. Ed Meir from MF Global calls last weeks spurt a dead cat bounce, doomed to fail, and the market has yet to give a reason to believe he might be wrong. Sucden's chart "implies" we could be testing minor support around 19,700 and if this fails to hold, we are heading into the 18,500/tonne to 19,700/tonne range.
  • Hurricane Gustav appear it will miss much of Cuba's nickel mining area's, unless it swings farther north (graph here)  

  Commodity Comments

  • Mining's Massive Margins - more
  • New Olympic event: the commodity toss - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.29/lb  lower. Dollar is trading much higher this morning after it was reported "The German Ifo Institute's August business climate survey tumbled more sharply than expected to 94.8 in August, down from a reading of 97.5 in July". Crude oil is trading lower and the oil market will be watching Hurricane Gustav closely (here) over the next few days. Sucden reports - "Crude futures were lower this morning as poor German IFO and GDP data highlighted the frailties of the European economy and once again sparked fears that a global slowdown would result in reduced demand for oil". As we post the morning briefing, all metals, precious and base, except for palladium, are trading lower.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal bulls were hoping that Thursday’s stunning commodity rally was the start of something impressive, but instead the longs were lured into a vicious bull trap on Friday. Not only did metals tumble sharply by the close, they also erased pretty much all of Thursday’s gains. We were not particularly surprised by Friday’s sell-off and, in fact termed Thursday’s move a “dead cat bounce” in our note that day. Nevertheless, we were taken aback by the abruptness of the decline, especially in oil, which lost whatever if gained -- and then some. LME markets were closed yesterday, but things have turned south once again as of this writing despite a briefly higher opening in Shanghai. As European trading started, the dollar’s surge to six-month highs against the Euro on the back of dreadful Ifo German business and consumer confidence readings, (which dropped to a three-year low), coupled with a rise in LME copper stocks and rumors of impending copper deliveries into Shanghai, have all combined to hammer metals. Energy prices, which were also higher overnight and yesterday, are also sharply lower. The air continues to seep out of commodities, as participants come to realize that the US slowdown is no longer “ring-fenced”, but spreading around the globe with alarming speed, and thus explaining the dollar’s appeal....We are currently at $20,250, down $600, and still well above the downchannel that has been broken. However, we see the complex having difficulty working beyond resistance at $22,500 without more upbeat demand indications from the stainless side." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Metal First) China's refined nickel imports up 17% in July, ore imports down 55%. China's Electrolytic Nickel Output Was 11,403 tons in July.
  • (Dow Jones) The world nickel market was in a 6,600 metric ton deficit in the first half of 2008, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics "

  Rio Tinto, the world's second largest miner, today revealed a 51.8 per cent rise in profit for the first six months of the year due to soaring commodity prices as it reiterated its rejection of BHP Billiton's offer for the group. - more

  • A surge in demand from China could cause a bounce in commodities prices as restrictions on industrial activity around Beijing are eased after the Olympics. - more

  Courtesy AISI - "In the week ending August 23, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,125,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 89.1 percent. Production was 2,075,000 tons in the week ending August 23, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 87.7 percent. The current week production represents a 2.4 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending August 23, 2008 is up 2.0 percent from the previous week ending August 16, 2008 when production was 2,167,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 90.8 percent."

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 26 - more
  • 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 22
(London Metal Exchange closed Monday, August 25th for Summer Bank Holiday)

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 43 to 7,147. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • MarketWatch - "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sent a soothing message to global markets Friday, saying inflation was on track to moderate in coming months, and triggering a rally in stocks on speculation that means the Fed will keep interest rates low for the near future." This put Wall Street in a very good mood. CNN reported "The U.K.'s gross domestic product between April and June showed zero growth, the country's statistics office reported Friday." This news help boost the dollar higher, while oil traded lower, and metals, in general, also traded lower. Indicator charts show three month nickel had a very bouncy trading day, with Dow jones reporting the bears finally won the tug-of-war, with the metal closing at $9.43/lb . While down for the day, nickel ended 11% higher on the week. Monday will see LME markets closed for Summer Bank Holiday, with trading to resume on Tuesday.
  • Olympic metal count - here Closing ceremonies will take place this Sunday. Paralympics began next month in Beijing. Have a safe and restful weekend!! 

  Reports (none of the reports below are current but contain information that might prove helpful or interesting to some readers)

  • China's Impact on Metals Prices in Defense Aerospace, December 2005 - published April2006 - pdf here (slow to load)
  • New Insights into the Drivers of Metals Prices - pdf here (old article - interesting info)
  • Modeling of Stainless Steel Properties - pdf here
  • Pricing Metals Structured Products - pdf here
  • Properties of austenitic stainless steels - pdf here
  • Study Of Spot Welding Of Austenitic Stainless Steel Type 304 - pdf here
  • Choosing Stainless Steel Rebar - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • China Stakes - "The government’s income has finally taken a hit from China’s slowing growth. July revenues to central and local governments dropped by nearly 20%, making doubtful rumored economic stimulation policies such as tax cuts. According to Ministry of Finance (MoF) statistics, China’s total revenue in July was RMB 532.325 billion, an increase of 13.8% over the same month last year. But this growth rate is 19.3 percentage points lower than in July, 2007, and 19.7 percentage points lower than the growth rate in the first half of the year."

  A dramatic drop in nickel prices over the last year does not appear to be jeopardizing operations or mine development projects in the Sudbury area, even though such cutbacks have been seen in other jurisdictions. - more

  About 200 workers at the Nunavik Nickel Mine site have been told they will be laid off by the end of October as Canadian Royalties faces serious financial and logistical problems and a dispute with its minority partner. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.20/lb lower. Dollar is up, crude is down slightly, and metals are trading in the red. The LME will be closed on Monday for a Bank Holiday, so we appear to be seeing some profit taking before the extended weekend. Sucden's daily chart reflects the effect of the 3 day bull run, and RSI shows the market overbought - here. Nickel inventories rose substantially for a second day. Trading has been very volatile in nickel trading this morning.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Oakvale Capital Market Report - pdf here
  • Angel Commodities Daily Analysis - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Commodity Morning Bell - pdf here
  • Daily Market Commentary - pdf here
  • AIIS August 2008 Steel Market Import Survey - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "We had a stunning rally in base metals yesterday, and there were massive price gains in energy and precious metals as well. ... Yesterday’s spike in commodities brings up the question of whether the move we saw was a massive dead cat bounce, or the start of something more meaningful. At this stage of the game, we think the dead cat bounce theory has more credibility. Our negative view is based on our belief that yesterday’s move was way overdone, and could be vulnerable to an equally sharp setback, as apart from dollar weakness, there was nothing else that compelling to justify the advance. In fact, we are seeing most commodity complexes roll back a good portion of their gains today, as the dollar recovers about half of yesterday's losses against the Euro and now trading at $1.4840. ... We are currently at $20,900, down $595, and falling short of our upside target of $22,500 yesterday. Look for a drift lower from here, with prices pushing towards the $20,000 mark." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Fears that the commodity boom is ending are exaggerated, as growth in China and India will support demand despite a threat of recession in major developed economies, says academic and Reserve Bank of Australia board member Warwick McKibbin. - more
  • Reuters reported that BHP Billiton Limited is not planning any changes to its Australian nickel making operations. A BHP Billiton spokeswoman said that BHP, which in June 2008 idled its Kalgoorlie nickel smelter and Kwinana refinery in Western Australia for four months of repair work, is operating its mines and other processing facilities as normal. She added that "We are not considering any changes to our operations."

  According to China’s major stainless steel firms, stainless steel demand in China will stay weak in September 2008 amid concerns of an economic slowdown. - more

  An Outokumpu survey reports that the sales volume of stainless steel in the US in the first season of 2008 has dropped by 12.5% from the last quarter of 2007 due to weak demand in the global market. - more

  Australia's competition regulator Friday raised concerns over the pricing power in the iron ore market of a combined BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and Rio Tinto Ltd. (RTP) should BHP's proposed takeover of its rival proceed. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 22 - more
  • 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 21

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 154 to 7,190. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • MarketWatch reporting on Conference Board report issued today ""If there's a second-half recovery, it'll be the second half of 2009," said Ken Goldstein, labor economist at the private research organization. "The recent decline in gas prices isn't enough to overcome all the negative momentum that's been building up." Daily FX reported "The US Dollar has pulled back across the majors this morning as the Conference Board's US leading indicator fell more than expected at a rate of 0.7 percent in July, marking the sharpest drop since the credit crunch began at the end of last summer." And the AP reported "Oil prices jumped above $121 Thursday as rising antagonism with Russia underscored the possibility it could affect energy shipments from the world's second-largest oil producer. The weakening U.S. dollar, a fall in U.S. gasoline inventories and a possible output tightening by OPEC at its next meeting in September all helped push prices higher."
  • On June 20th of this year, nickel became the second most expensive metal traded on the London Metal Exchange, when tin prices passed it by. Today, nickel came close to re-gaining the top spot, but not quite. Although nickel had another incredibly bullish day, tin did also. In fact, with the dollar down nearly 1% today, metals, both industrial and precious, went green. Equity markets, on the other hand, paid the price (world markets here). What a difference two days makes?! Up till a few days ago, reporters were blaming the fears of a global economic slowdown for forcing metal prices lower. Now a newly published economic report once again confirms just how bad it is in the US, the dollar drops, and the "fears of a global economic slowdown" magically move to page two. Our advise remains the same. Until things return to normal in China, watch the dollar for direction clues to overall base metal movements. Indicator charts show the plus/minus trading range for nickel today was around $1600/tonne. Mostly all up. And while it took a slight dip toward the end, it had recovered most of this by close. Market does not yet appear to have broken thru Sucden's $21,500 resistance line (chart here), although it is poised to make an attempt, unless profit takers drive the market lower before the three day weekend break (Summer Bank Holiday in London on 25th). It would be interesting to know how much of the gain over the last few days are shorts scrambling to cover. This was a market firmly in the grips of the bears until the bull stampede started on Tuesday. RBS metals analyst John Kemp in London told Dow Jones today "I think the market got itself very short and a moderate amount of buying pushed prices higher as people tried to cover those shorts." While Kemp was referring to the metals complex as a whole, short covering has had to have had some effect on nickel trading the last few days. JP Morgan analyst Michael Jansen, was pessimistic in his morning report, "(Just) because one or two producers are struggling, it is not necessarily logical to get bullish of the relevant produced metal. What really confirms that prices have stabilized is a solid sustained demand recovery." Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended today's trading at $9.75/lb .   

  Commodity Comments

  • from Outokumpu Quarterly Report - "Global growth in demand for stainless steel slowed towards the end of the second quarter and markets moved to oversupply. The quarter’s apparent consumption of stainless steel is estimated to have remained almost flat in Europe and globally compared to I/2008. Market conditions were weaker in both Europe and Asia. In the US, demand for stainless continued to be at a low level. Global production of stainless steel increased by some 2% compared to the first quarter despite strong production cuts in Asia, especially in China.... ...Compared to the very strong first half of 2007, demand for stainless steel was significantly lower in the second quarter. ...The slowdown of demand during the holiday season and annual maintenance breaks at the Group’s mills as well as the postponement of purchases by distributors will clearly reduce stainless delivery volumes for the third quarter compared to the second quarter"
  • Some reasons not to expect a collapse in raw-materials prices - more

  The stainless steel and ferrochrome markets are expected to recover in the fourth quarter of this year but growth will remain limited until the end of 2009 due to a weaker global economy, U.K.-listed Kazakh miner Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation PLC said Thursday. - more

  A dramatic drop in nickel prices over the last year does not appear to be jeopardizing operations or mine development projects in the Sudbury area, even though such cutbacks have been seen in other jurisdictions. - more

  Google Map view of Cuba's nickel mines/plants - here

  Novice explorers check out a deserted nickel mine fairly intact south of Timmins - here

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.46/lb higher. Apparently no profit taking today. Traders are interested in making as much out of this recent Falcondo news as possible and not interested in stopping a bull run just yet. If you look at Sucden's chart thru yesterday (here), you might note that this morning's indicator charts show that the current nickel trading price is very nearly, if not already, "off" this Sucden chart. We have yet to reach Ed Meir's $22,500/tonne major resistance line - but it is looking more and more likely this level might get tested. As you can see by Ed's morning report (below), LME inventories gained by a rather substantial amount overnight.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  China's Stainless Steel Demand Stays Weak, Makers Say - Stainless steel demand in China, the world's largest producer, will stay weak next month amid concerns of an economic slowdown, the country's three largest producers said. - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals turned in a mixed performance yesterday despite a modest recovery in energy prices late in the day. Copper ended slightly lower and well off earlier highs, as focus shifted, instead, to the recovering dollar. Lead also finished lower, but nickel remained resilient, closing just under the $20,000 mark.  ... We are off to a much more solid showing today, with the whole board higher. Copper is hovering just around the $7750 mark, while nickel and tin have both crossed over $20,000. The dollar has stalled against the Euro today, and is currently at 1.4750, helping the advance. Metals are also taking their cue from the energy markets, which are sharply higher today despite a sizeable build in crude stocks yesterday. The continued fallout from the Georgian crisis is stirring up energy, with the Russians leaving their intentions vague as to whether or not they intend to redraw the political map. In this regard, it will be interesting to see what they will say to a formal request made by one of the breakaway regions, (Abkhazia), for Russia to formally recognize its independence. Saying yes could elevate the crisis to a new level and roil up the markets even further. We suspect that with the dollar's advance on hold for now and energy prices moving higher to possibly the $120 mark, metals will also push higher in sympathy over the next few days. In addition, we suspect that there will be a good deal of short covering that could also aid the advance. However, this will be a rally in what seems to us be to a general drift lower, as the bearish macro background is still very much with us.... We are currently at $21,400, up $900. Nickel took out the downside channel, (as our chart shows), and now could see a run to $22,500. However, we suspect that the rally will eventually falter given decelerating demand prospects on the stainless side. In fact, Bloomberg reports today that China’s three largest producers said that stainless steel demand will stay weak well into next month." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Jim Rogers, who in April 2006 correctly predicted oil would reach $100 a barrel and gold $1,000 an ounce, said a tumble in commodities from records represented a temporary reverse in a long-term rally. - more
  • (Yieh) Some Korea importers have already decided to cancel hot-rolled procurement contracts after mid-July because of internal weak demand.
  • (Interfax) China's crude steel output up 9.3 pct year-on-year in first seven months
  • Analysis-Steel prices set to bounce but not too high - more
  • Japan's July crude steel output up 1.7% on year at 10.19 mil mt - more
  • Flat-rolled steel market in US takes another hit, declines $30/st - more
  • Commodities: Is the Decennial Pattern Still in Effect? - more

  The latest production cutbacks in the nickel industry after a steady decline in prices have fueled hopes that nickel may be near a floor, but much still depends on the health of the stainless steel industry, where China holds the key, say analysts. - more

  Supply And Demand Of Ferro-Chrome In Japan For Jan. - Mar. 2008 Quarter = Under Largest Overstocks At Mills In Its History, Prices Of Ferro-Chrome Had Steeply Risen - more

  Rio Tinto Group, planning a $2 billion nickel mine in Indonesia, said the project is still profitable after prices of the metal slumped. - more

  • Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto said Thursday it hopes to sign a contract with Indonesia later this year for the development of a major nickel concession in Sulawesi. - more

  EU steel prices are currently at record levels after meteoric advances through the first half of 2008. - more

  Miner Mincor Resources Ltd has reported a 36 per cent fall in net profit for the 2008 financial year to $64 million on the back of lower nickel prices. - more

  ArcelorMittal SA announced Wednesday it has acquired London Mining Brasil, a Brazilian iron ore miner, and said it will develop port facilities in the state of Rio de Janeiro together with Canadian iron ore producer Adriana Resources Inc. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 21 - more
  • 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 20

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 199 to 7,344. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • (Dow Jones) "A much larger-than-expected increase in U.S. crude oil stocks last week - more than 11 times the amount forecast by analysts - led to a heavy selloff in crude oil that didn't spare base metals." Crude had started out the day gaining (java chart here), but the aforementioned report drove the market lower. The US Dollar also traded higher against the Euro (java chart here). The Baltic Dry Index appears to have returned to the bear walk, with a big drop registered today. Nickel inventories were up overnight. While most of the precious and base metals trading ended lower today, nickel was not one of these. Indicator charts show it was another $1000 plus trading range for the metal, with a slight decline in the early morning trading, followed by a bullish afternoon. Looking at Sucden's daily chart (here), it appears the market broke thru the 19,496 and 19,748 lines successfully today, and could be poised to test the resistance line of TL2 at $20,101. Ed Meir with MF Global has major resistance at $22,500. Then again, stainless steel producers are praying for some profit taking tomorrow. We'll have to wait to see what happens, but in the mean time, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.03/lb , it's first close over $9/lb since July 23rd. After yesterday's bombshell from Xstrata about the Falcondo closure, the news was much quieter today.
  • Forbes - more
  • Typhoon Nuri is expected to strengthen to level 3 before striking southern Guangdong Province in China on Friday. map And back in the US, Tropical Storm Fay is 1/2 way thru its scenic path of Florida, and after that there is a very minor possibility it could turn southwest and re-enter the Gulf. Forecasters however, think this is highly unlikely (map here

  Reports

  • Triland 'Outlook for Nickel to 2017' - pdf here
  • The Energy Benefit of Stainless Steel Recycling - pdf here
  • Birth of Stainless Steel - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has decided to levy a fine on Mechel and has ordered the company to reduce its coking coal prices by 15% effective Sept 1

  Couple of reports we found online that some readers might find helpful

  • Salt fog tests of 304 and 316 stainless steel - pdf here
  • Kesternich tests of 304 and 316 stainless steel - pdf here (slow to load)

  Interesting news story on NBC Nightly News last night that is rather bearish - news story here

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.24/lb higher. Indicator charts show nickel was off earlier, as the media is reporting, but has recently spiked yet again. Even with all the buying yesterday, Sucden still shows the RSI on nickel to be at 30, which implies the market remained oversold at beginning of trading today.    
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "With things very quiet in terms of news and volume thin, markets are vulnerable to out of the ordinary movements, triggered by relatively insignificant changes in sentiment. Such was the case yesterday, when the dollar weakened to unchanged levels against the Euro after being stronger earlier in the day. That was enough, however, to set off a short-covering stampede in a variety of commodity complexes, base metals included. ... Some of this euphoria is being rolled back this morning ... We are currently at $19,250, down $145. Given how beaten up nickel was of late, it is perhaps not surprising to have seen a decent bounce in the complex this week, especially since $18,000 refused to break on the downside. Despite the fundamentals looking sloppy, charts suggest that we could move a little higher from here, as the short-term downchannel seems to have broken." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Scotia Capital China Update - (Steel) "We observe that the low output growth, together with surging exports, indicates that a de-stocking cycle is ongoing for steel. If the de-stocking continues, it will eventually result in low inventory, which will support steel prices in the domestic market in the months ahead."
  • (MF Global) Global crude steel production was up 6.2% percent year-on-year in July at 117.2 million tons, this according to the International Iron and Steel Institute. July production was down 1.6% from 119 million tons in June as China's production dropped by 4.4% percent to almost 45 million tons. Production from 66 countries, accounting for more than 98% of total world crude steel production, was up 6.1% year-on-year to 815 million tons in the first seven months of 2008.
  • China exported 1.724 million tons of ferroalloy in the first half of this year, up 8.5 percent year on year, with the growth rate down 50 percentage points.
  • The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that for the month of June 2008, U.S. steel mills shipped 9,136,000 net tons, a 2.4 percent increase from the 8,920,000 net tons shipped in June 2007 and a 1.4 percent increase from the 9,008,000 net tons shipped in the previous month, May 2008. - more

  A little more than a year ago, nickel was the superstar of the commodities boom, trading at record levels above $23 (U.S.) a pound. - more

  Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel Corp., Japan's largest maker of the alloy, refused orders from wholesalers for nickel-based sheets to stem a rise in stocks that has helped push prices to an almost two-year low. - more

  BHP Billiton Ltd/Plc, the world's third-biggest producer of nickel, is not planning any changes to its Australian nickel-making operations, a company spokeswoman said, despite declining world prices for the metal. - more

  China's domestic market for nickel-based stainless sheets is thought to have bottomed out, according to information made available in Tokyo. Until recently, China's domestic market for Ni-based stainless sheets continued to fall in reaction to a decline in the world's nickel prices. - more

  Rio Tinto has come closer to implementing a multi-billion dollar nickel mine project after concluding negotiations with Jakarta on a working contract to develop the mine in Lasamphala, Sulawesi. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 20 - 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 19

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up

  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 79 to 7,543. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • (CNN Money) "In another indication of growing inflation, wholesale prices increased in July to the highest annual rate in 27 years, according to a government report released Tuesday." (MarketWatch) "The Commerce Department estimated Tuesday that housing starts fell 11% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 965,000 in July". With this news out of the US, the dollar continued to slip (here), while in the last hour, crude, which was sagging earlier, is higher (here). With inflation back on the tips of traders tongue's, commodities took on renewed interest (here). Metals were mixed, with precious mixed, and base all in the gaining column. Nickel was a story in itself. Xstrata's announcement that it was basically taking nearly 10,000 tonnes of planned production off the table over the next four months, on the back of news from Russia that their third largest nickel producer was cutting its 14,000 annual production in half, has traders wondering if the $8/lb mark is the magic number that will force production to be curbed. In their latest 2008 financial report, Xstrata reported "Falcondo’s operating costs have increased to $7.96 per pound for the first half of 2008 from $5.13 per pound in the prior period, primarily due to rising oil prices." Xstrata is also preparing to negotiate with the Falcondo union, who's current contract expires on November 30th of this year. In Australia, the media, which was praising BHP for its accomplishment over the last quarter yesterday, were today all asking about the profitability potential of Ravensthorpe at the low nickel price. This is a question that Vale is probably asking itself about Goro. And we can't forget the smaller mining company's. Xstrata is big enough, and diversified enough, that it has the ability to shut down one of its major producing mines, but the little guys don't have the luxury of other mines to fall back on. It will be interesting to see if we start seeing some of the majors do some bargain hunting amongst the minors, especially those with the lower cost production. It was a day for the bulls to come out of the shadows. Indicator charts show nickel started out strong, then seemingly froze in its tracks for much of the afternoon, before resuming its climb, peaking around $1300/tonne higher. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $8.80/lb . It is difficult to say what might happen here. You might be thinking we were here once before this year, with the closure of BHP's Columbia nickel mine due to a strike. In some ways maybe, but we weren't in the $8/lb range then, so we weren't as nearly concerned about further supply disruptions due to mine closures. That has become a real and distinct possibility these days. On the other hand, the argument could be made that our inventory numbers are basically the same as they were last month, and the month before, and the month before that, and they have managed to maintain a fairly level, if not slightly declining range, while the worldwide stainless steel demand, has supposedly been miserable. Can we afford to loose 10,000 tonnes from Xstrata over the next four months and another 600 tonnes a month from Russia? There are reasons to be bullish. There are reasons to be bearish. The only thing we can say is that we have learned that it is very hard to turn a market sentiment around without some glaring facts to change the hearts and minds of those who are investing with their money. Take oil for a recent example. When oil was firmly in a bull run a few weeks back, Iran fired some rockets that potentially had the range to strike Israel and the market went up another $10/barrel that week alone. This weekend, Iran supposedly fired off a rocket that could put a satellite into space - or whatever else they wanted to send around the world, and the market, now firmly in a bearish mood, didn't break a sweat. Nor did they seem to care about the pipe carrying 1% of the worlds oil thru Georgia being shut down. It's hard to predict the psychology of the market moment. Until today, nickel was firmly entrenched in a bear run. Will the news today change the market sentiment? We will see.
  • Keep an eye on now Typhoon Nuri. It could definitely cause some problems in the East (latest here) And a funny story below about an Australian mayor putting out a call for women for his lonely miners. Looks not important.   

  Reports

  • Karvy Comtrade Special Report - Nickel  Quarterly - pdf here
  • Super Cycles in Real Metal prices? - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • (Bloomberg) Nickel supply may match demand in 2008, instead of a surplus as previously expected, London-based metals research company CRU said today. There was a 96,000-ton surplus last year.
  • (Bloomberg) Moscow-based Industrial Metallurgical Holding, which produces about 5 percent of Russia's total output of the steelmaking ingredient, shut two of three furnaces at the Reznickel plant and two of five furnaces at the Ufaleynikel facility, spokesman Pavel Kovalenko said today by phone.
  • (Bloomberg) China's nickel pig iron output growth has stalled as the government shut small blast furnaces to save energy amid the sixth year of power shortages. More than half of the blast furnace operators in China's Shandong, Henan, Shaanxi and Hebei have closed plants that produce low-grade products, lifting nickel ore stocks at Chinese ports to almost 8 million tons, compared with about 5 million tons at the end of 2007, Macquarie analysts said in June.
  • The Beijing Olympics have sharply reduced copper demand in top consumer China, but as normal life resumes, buyers are expected to revive the market, probably as soon as September. - more
  • Whatever Happened to Decoupling? - more

  BHP Billiton's $US2.2 billion ($2.5 billion) Ravensthorpe laterite development is not assured of an easy path and could struggle to turn a profit at full capacity if nickel prices continue to slide. - more

  • There is nothing magic in the pipework at BHP Billiton's new $2.2 billion laterite nickel project in Western Australia that will allow it to escape the squeeze on the sector from the slump in nickel prices - more

  Mayor John Molony of the outback mining town of Mount Isa in the state of Queensland, Australia, has come under fire over comments he made to Townsville Bulletin, a local newspaper: "May I suggest if there are five blokes to every girl, we should find out where there are beauty-disadvantaged women and ask them to proceed to Mount Isa." In other words, he's on a campaign to recruit "ugly women." - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.18/lb higher. Market is all a flutter with news that Xstrata is shutting down their Falcondo operation for 'maintenance and because of high costs'. We suspect the timing of the shut down could potentially have something to do with a union contract at the mine, that will expire during the four month period. Are laid off workers more open to company offers than employed workers? Nickel is trading higher, having started the morning with an RSI of 26.9, according to Sucden (here), which implies an seriously oversold market. LME stored inventories grew overnight. Metals are mixed with precious all trading lower, and industrial, mostly trading higher. Crude is lower, while the Dollar is trading higher.

  Nickel rose for the first time in four sessions in London after Xstrata Plc, the world's fourth- largest producer of the metal, suspended production at its Falcondo operations in the Dominican Republic. Lead also gained. - more

  • Xstrata Plc, the world's fourth- largest nickel refiner, suspended its Falcondo operations in the Dominican Republic after costs surged and metal prices plunged. Nickel advanced as much as 3.6 percent in London trading. - more
  • The world’s fourth largest nickel producer, Xstrata, has shut down a ferronickel mining and processing operation in the Dominican Republic for at least four months, due to soaring input costs and lower nickel prices. - more

  Reports

  • TD Bank Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here
  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Oakvale Capital Market Report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Angel Market Analysis - pdf here
  • Standard Bank Market Comments - here
  • IndiaBulls Daily Metals - pdf here
  • SMC Commodity Research - pdf here
  • Ernst & Young Mining Eye - pdf here (for junior mining investors)
  • Canada's Minerals Monthly - pdf here
  • Reuters Commodity Update - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metals turned mostly lower on Monday, giving up modest gains in very subdued trading. The dollar worked itself higher from earlier losses over the course of the day, and although it still closed down, it nevertheless contributed to the selloff in metals, as did a late day fade in energy prices. Lead bucked the trend to close slightly higher. We are higher this morning, with tin, nickel, lead, and zinc taking the lead from copper and aluminum as supply issues are largely in the news. In nickel’s case, for example, prices are up on an Xstrata announcement that it is suspending operations at its Falcondo ferronickel mining operation in the Dominican Republic for a period of four months due to poor market conditions and required maintenance.... All this suggests that metal prices should work higher from here, were it not for the fact that demand is also slowing, in some cases rather sharply, and apparently more than offsetting the impact of supply cutbacks. This is best evidenced in the LME stocks figures, which, by and large, are still rising for most metals. (See our latest charts at the end of our report). Furthermore, in the very short-term, metals are not being helped by the stronger dollar or fading energy prices, both of which are acting as exogenous drags. We would therefore be approaching the periodic bounces we will inevitably see in metals with a great deal of caution for the balance of the quarter. In our view, weakening demand, as opposed to cutbacks in supply, is the far more dominant pricing variable, since it tends to be pervasive, harder to predict in terms of its cyclical duration, and does not lend itself to being switched on and off.  ... We are currently at $18,700, up $650, and making up a good portion of yesterday’s decline; we could move slightly higher from here, but see a trading range situation at best, and not the start of anything significant on the upside."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) - The Chinese government's plans to adjust its stainless steel trade policies are at the center of debate in the sector, industry insiders told Interfax on Aug. 19.
  • Steel companies that took a massive bet on furnaces fed on cheaper scrap metal rather than more traditional iron ore could find themselves under pressure as scrap supplies become both more expensive and increasingly difficult to find, analysts say. - more

  Philippine nickel ore exports to China, the world's biggest consumer of the metal, plunged 96 percent in July as lower prices of refined nickel and energy shortages cut production of nickel pig iron. - more

  Talks between the Goro Nickel company and the group Rheebu Nuu over a waste disposal pipeline are continuing in a bid to reach an agreement for the multi-billion dollar project to proceed. - more

  Soared Price Of Stainless Scrap Is Restrictively Influenced By Sharply Fallen Price Of Nickel = Exporters Purchase This Scrap At Yen 230,000 / Ton As Much Lower Than Price Of Nickel Metal - more

  Shipments of steel and aluminum products from U.S. and Canadian metals service centers continued to decline on a year-over-year basis in July, but the rate of decline slowed both in the United States and Canada, the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute shows. - more

  Ikejima Urban Mine, a metal recycler based in Nagasaki prefecture in southern Japan, will start recovering nickel from industrial scrap starting April 2009, Tetsuya Kokubun, a company official said Monday. - more

   Courtesy AISI - "In the week ending August 16, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,167,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 90.8 percent. Production was 2,075,000 tons in the week ending August 16, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 87.7 percent. The current week production represents a 4.5 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending August 16, 2008 is up 1.2 percent from the previous week ending August 9, 2008 when production was 2,142,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 89.8 percent."

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 19 - more
  • 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 18

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 65 to 7,622. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • US dollar traded lower today, as did crude oil. Oil has spent the morning trading between $112 even and $115 change a barrel and is currently flat on the day in the mid $113/range. Precious metals were mostly higher, while base metals were mixed. Nickel was the big loser on the day, while tin was the big gainer. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended today's trading at $8.19/lb . Sucden's day old bi-hourly chart shows nickel will have lost all of the gain it witnessed last Wednesday (here), by end of trading today. While the RSI shows the market started the morning oversold, negative sentiment seems to be dragging the price back into the $17,450 - $18,000/tonne range. BHP reported record profits today, while its profits from nickel were down. Interesting article below about why BHP's success isn't necessarily good news for other miners, thanks to the profitability of the oil division they alone have, and another article asks the question no one seems to want to answer - "At what price does the mega Ravensthorpe nickel mine become unprofitable?" Nickel shipments on Friday were about equally balanced in and out, all limited to Europe, with a small shipment out of Singapore. Jilin Ji'en Nickel Industry Co. Ltd., currently producing about 6,000 tons of nickel per year, announced it was constructing a 150,000-ton nickel facility in northeastern China's Jilin Province; projected to commence production in 2009. Ed Meir with MF Global cautioned his readers about the post-Olympic bounce many are expecting. Another point Ed skipped over is we are seeing many call for a return to normal business in a few weeks when the Olympics are over. Keep in mind that in mid September, Beijing is hosting the Paralympics, so it is doubtful they will cancel all pollution control measures they have taken, until these games have concluded. And until then, we will not get a clear picture of what might, or might not happen. Tropical Storm Fay is in the headlines today, as it gains strength and approaches Florida, but we suspect Typhoon Nuri has the potential to do a lot more damage. Taiwan, the Philippines, and China are watching it approach nervously (here). And here are your current Olympics metals standings here

  Reports

  • Phillips Capital Metals Weekly - pdf here
  • Presentation on the London Metal Exchange - pdf here
  • The Nickel Misconception - (medical facts) - pdf here
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry - Nickel - pdf here
  • AK Steel Stainless Steel Comparator - pdf here
  • ESCO brochure about stainless steel with handy chemical resistance chart - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • RBS metals analyst John Kemp - "As long as crude oil remains under pressure, base metals will continue to trend lower."
  • Fears are growing that the commodities boom is ending as investors who have fled the oil market desert gold, copper and other metals. - more
  • The commodity bull market has a long way to go, said legendary investor and fund manager Jim Rogers at the recent Agora Financial Vancouver Summit. - more

  Demand for metals may be softening in developed economies, but thankfully for BHP Billiton it's as steady as ever in China. - more

  • To understand the key drivers of BHP Billiton's monster profit, and even more the pointers to its future profitability, it is critical to conceptualize Australia's global giant as a combination of two companies. - more
  • BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers rightly spent a lot of time talking up the beauty of his company's record $US15.39 billion ($A17.64 billion) June-year profit. - more

  Hundreds of Muslim guerillas attacked two towns in the Philippines troubled south on Monday, killing 34 people, burning homes and looting banks before being driven out by the military. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.26/lb lower.  Metals are mixed this morning, with nickel the big loser and tin the winner, so far.  Reuters reports that "The US dollar slipped on Monday, easing from a six-month high against the euro as gold and oil prices rose, but slowing demand for commodities was widely seen supporting the currency in the medium term."
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • Haywood Securities Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here

  • Oakvale Capital Market report - pdf here

  • Casey's Daily Resource Plus - here

  • Angel Commodities Base Metals Flashback - here

  • Precision Machined Products Association Material Impact - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals started the day weaker on Friday, with prices not helped by falling energy or a rising dollar. However, by late in the day, we saw an impressive reversal that illustrated the danger of following inter-market relationships too closely, as unsuspecting metal bears sold into earlier energy and Euro weakness and walked into a bull trap instead. This morning, we are building on Friday’s gains, although not very convincingly, with earlier gains fading. ... Finally, we do not think commodity markets have fully discounted the prospect of a further Chinese slowdown, as many are still looking for a post-Olympics bounce; we doubt this will take place by the extent envisaged, and so on the whole, would remain cautious on base metals prices for the duration of the third quarter. ... We are currently at $18,350, down $350; nickel has been holding up rather impressively over the last week despite the weakness in the rest of the group, but it remains to be seen whether repeated probes of $18,000 hold up." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Commodity prices may have another 10% to fall before hitting the bottom of the cycle, at which point a pickup in Chinese demand should provide a floor to prices, says ANZ's commodity strategist Mark Pervan. Adds, global economic lead indicators are also nearing a bottom, suggesting demand will be stronger in 2009.
  • Crashing commodity prices have once again given ammunition to skeptics who believe the bull-run of recent years was a blip, but that view underestimates demand and economic growth in the emerging world. - more
  • Will commodity prices rebound after the Beijing Olympics draw to a close? - more
  • Friday culminated a tough week for commodities, as the dollar gathered strength against other major currencies. - more

  Nickel futures prices may continue to rule weak over the next few days mainly on a higher inventory level and poor demand from stainless steel mills. - more

  A portable power tool company, China Powerplus, has acquired a 46.25 per cent stake in nickel pig iron producer China Steel Australia for about $25.92 million. - more

  Shanghai-listed Jilin Ji'en Nickel Industry Co. Ltd. is currently constructing a 150,000-ton nickel facility in northeastern China's Jilin Province, which is projected to commence production in 2009, a company official told Interfax on Aug. 18. - more

  South Africa’s Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) had “massively” shed jobs in the mining sector and “massively” downgraded the country’s investment desirability in mining, former Opposition Leader Tony Leon MP said on Monday. - more

  Mining giant BHP Billiton, bidding around $127 billion for rival Rio Tinto in what would be the world's second-biggest takeover, posted a 30 percent rise in half-year profit and boosted its dividend, saying it was in good shape to weather a downturn in the commodities cycle. - more

  • BHP Billiton's view of demand for commodities being strong in the medium to longer term is borne out by its investment in growth projects, said CEO Marius Kloppers, who singled out copper as an exciting place to be. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 18 - more
  • 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 15

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 137 to 7,557. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • The last day went much like some of the others this week. Oil traded lower (live chart), dollar traded higher (live chart), Wall Street was gaining, and metals traded lower - whoops, that is precious metals traded lower, base metals, for the most part, traded higher. Except for nickel, that is. It still had room to give back from Wednesday's spurt (chart), and it gave a little more today. Nickel inventories stored in LME warehouses ended the week higher, having gained 174 total tonnes over last Friday's figures. While indicator charts show nickel was climbing at days end, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $8.48/lb . Down for the day, but up on the week.   
  • Have a safe and restful weekend.

  Commodity Comments

  • JPMorgan analyst Michael Jansen - "We are looking for growth in China to re-accelerate in the fourth-quarter period, but also because in four of the five base metals - other than copper - prices are flirting with the top end of the production cost curve"

  I have been asked to speak next month, in September, at the Hard Assets Conference in Las Vegas. My topic, on the morning of September 10, will be “Minor Metals as an Emerging Asset Class.” - more

  Reaction was mixed at the provincial Mining Act consultations Wednesday night at the Howard Johnson Hotel on Brady Street. Some prospectors fumed they were not being properly consulted and bolted from the meeting while others stayed to express their concerns. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.23/lb  lower.  Dollar continues to climb, oil is lower.      
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  • SSINA Releases Market Data for April and May 2008 - pdf here
  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Oakvale Capital Daily Market report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • July Largo Letter (molybdenum) - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "We had a startling reversal in metals yesterday, as earlier gains that followed Wednesday's impressive bounce fizzled, leading to broad-based declines instead. We were skeptical about yesterday’s higher move to begin with and wrote as much yesterday, but thought that the complex would at least make a better go of it before fading.  ... Yesterday’s selling in base metals has spilled over into today’s session. In fact, energy, grains, and precious metals have all joined the selloff, with gold crashing through the $800 level. Not surprisingly, the dollar is stronger and weighing on the commodity complex at large, with the Euro now hovering just above 1.47. As we wrote yesterday, we believe this latest dollar rally has some staying power, and could take the greenback to the 1.40-1.43 area over the next few weeks, in which case the downward pressure on commodities should continue. With the rest of the world now joining the US in slowing down, the prospects for holding the dollar have brightened considerably.  ... We are currently at $18,550, down $550, and nickel has now given back more than half of its recent gains. The short-term downtrend line that we thought got broken yesterday in fact held, (see chart below), so we now may have more work to do on the downside instead."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Marc Faber, publisher of the investment newsletter the Gloom, Boom and Doom Report, comments on the commodities outlook and monetary policy in a telephone interview today from Chiang Mai, Thailand. - more
  • (Dow Jones) - "The consensus view on U.S. equities appears to be that the market has bottomed, which could continue to drive investment money out of commodities and into "classic equity portfolios," says Mitsubishi Corp. analyst Tom Kendall."

  Prices of high carbon ferrochrome fell in Asian markets as traders are said to have excess supply, market sources in Japan and South Korea said this week. - more

  With the falling global nickel prices, Indian steel mills, including: Jindal Stainless Steel, Mukand Steel, and Shah Alloys are considering price cuts of 5~7 percent in the coming months. - more

  Russian aluminium giant RUSAL on Thursday demanded the re-election of the board of Russian miner Norilsk Nickel, because it believed it to be controlled by a rival shareholder. - more

  • Norilsk CEO replies to UC RUSAL's open letter - more

  Miners earning less than $100,000 a year are on less than the industry’s average national salary, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data released recently. - more

  FOR almost half a century, the United States has imposed a trade embargo against Cuba. And yet it sometimes seems barely visible. - more

  1994 - The Behavior of Non-Oil Commodity Prices - pdf here

  • 2003 - Pricing on Non-Ferrous Metals Futures on the London Metal Exchange - pdf here

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • 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 14

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 323 to 7,420. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • The Dollar and Wall Street initially reacted negatively to the news that U.S. consumer prices jumped 0.8% in July, but then oil began to slide, and both turned around. Here is why MarketWatch explained oil's decline today "Crude-oil futures fell nearly 2% Thursday as data showing euro-zone economies in contraction and a growth slowdown in China's industrial output raised concerns that global oil consumption has further to fall.... Overall, the economy encompassing the 15-nation euro zone shrank 0.2% in the second quarter, a reversal from modest growth in the first three months of the year. Both Germany and France reported contraction in gross domestic product for the latest quarter. Germany, the largest European economy, is the world's fifth-biggest oil consumer....And separately, it was reported that industrial growth in China, the world's second-largest oil consumer, slowed during July to the weakest pace in 18 months." Reports of a slowing economy in Europe is helping boost the dollar, which in turn is putting additional pressure on oil, already dropping because of consumption concerns ... by the same slowing economy's. And Wall Street? Here is how one analyst explained it to MarketWatch "It's a reflection of a confused market. On some days, people want to celebrate the decline in oil prices, and on other days, there's concern crude is down because of slowing global growth," said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak. "Technology in particular is benefiting; buy technology and sell commodities." That sell commodities recommendation seems to be coming from a lot of analysts these days, although not with such passion from those who specialize in the commodities themselves. Except for tin, metals were trading lower this morning, and that is where they ended the day, precious and base metals included. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.66/lb .
  • Updates Olympic metal count - here   How Much Is That Gold Medal Actually Worth? - here

  Commodity Comments

  • Fears of a slowdown in Chinese economic growth brought commodities stocks under fire, with investors forecasting the end of the five-year boom. - more
  • (Thomson Financial) ThyssenKrupp AG.'s chief financial officer Ulrich Middelmann - Commenting on the stainless steel unit's prospects, Middelmann said he expects the unit to post significantly higher, or to 'roughly double' profits in the company's fiscal year 2008/2009 compared with the current fiscal year 2007/2008. He said he expects the market to remain weak during the current and the next quarter, however. 'We are suffering under the market (...)the uncertainty from nickel (prices) is clear, customers and service centres are hesitating a lot to order too much', Middelmann said.

  Lower nickel prices have eaten into the profits of yet another miner with significant holdings in Greater Sudbury. - more

  With ferrochrome demand strong this year because global stainless steelmaking remains above average, European benchmark prices have risen in every quarter and could continue rising beyond this quarter’s expected record average of $2.05/lb. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around  $.18/lb  lower. Metals are a mixed lot this morning, with tin the big winner so far. Dollar is lower after data showed that U.S. consumer prices jumped 0.8% in July (greater than expected), while first-time applications for state unemployment benefits fell by 10,000 in the latest week to 450,000. Sucden's chart puts yesterday's nickel trading in perspective - here  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • Oakvale Capital Market Report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • UBS Commodity Connections 3rd Quarter - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "After being extremely oversold for much of the week, metal prices staged a dramatic turnaround yesterday, except for lead, which continues to struggle. The fact that the dollar halted its rise yesterday encouraged some of the shorts to cover in this regard as well. By the close, copper was up by 5%, while nickel rose an impressive 8%. ... The stronger session we saw yesterday is flowing through into today’s action, where we see impressive gains, particularly in copper. The dollar is up slightly today against the Euro, but has come off earlier gains, and is contributing to the firmer tone, as is a stronger energy market. Nevertheless, we would not be chasing the current bounce in metals, as we suspect the markets are still vulnerable. ... We are currently at $19,208, down $300, and consolidating somewhat after yesterday's impressive advance. Charts suggest that we could push a bit higher from here given that the short-term downtrend line in place since mid-June seems to have been broken."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • ThyssenKrupp - "In the Stainless segment, base prices are improving more slowly than expected. Demand is stable, while service centers are being cautious in view of the nickel price trend. Due to the weakness of the US dollar there are signs of further imports from the US dollar zone, which could slow prices in the second half of the year. Nevertheless, the segment is expected to deliver a positive earnings contribution."
  • The industrial output of Chinese enterprises with annual sales above 5 million yuan (728,608 U.S. dollars), was up 14.7 percent in July. The growth rate, however, was down 3.3 percentage points year on year, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) figures revealed on Thursday. - more
  • Adens still commodious to commodities Commentary: But hard-assets mavens are ready to shift if the market does - more

  Metals prices overall now are in the seventh year of a bull-pricing phase, a so-called supercycle, that actually started in 2002. Since then, nonferrous metals traded on the London Metals Exchange (LME) have increased in price by more than 300%. - more

  Posco, Asia's biggest maker of stainless steel, and rival Jindal Stainless Ltd. cut prices of the rust-resistant metal after the cost of nickel declined.- more

  Cia. Vale do Rio Doce, the world's largest iron-ore producer, will spend $5 billion to build a steel mill and a power plant in the northern Brazilian state of Para. - more

  (couple of articles in French - need to use your own translator. Neither Google or AltaVista online translators were working this morning)

  • Nouveau directeur général de Goro Nickel, Michel Sylvestre aura en charge la phase de démarrage de l’usine du Sud. Il mise sur une entrée en production en fin d’année. - here
  • Le cours exceptionnel de mai 2007, à plus de 50 000 $ US la tonne, est à ranger au rayon des souvenirs. Mauvaise nouvelle ou normalisation d’un marché qui avait perdu les pédales? - more

  United Company RUSAL, the world's largest aluminium producer, on Thursday demanded an extraordinary shareholders' meeting in September to re-elect the board of mining giant Norilsk Nickel. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 14 - 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 13

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 105 to 7,097. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • Here are the headlines that set today's trading. Thompson Financial - "The dollar recovered from a brief dip against the euro after U.S. data showed retail sales fell during July, while the pound continued to slump sharply following a dovish Bank of England quarterly Inflation Report." MarketWatch - "Crude-oil futures rose for the first time in four sessions Wednesday after the U.S. government reported that supplies of crude, gasoline and distillates declined last week as refinery activity dropped." Associated Press - "Russian tanks rolled into the crossroads city of Gori on Wednesday then thrust deep into Georgian territory, violating the truce designed to end the six-day war that has uprooted 100,000 people and scarred the Georgian landscape." Things have changed since our morning report. Oil is much higher, up nearly $4/barrel (here). The dollar has turned weaker (here). Metals, except for lead, were placid early, but turned very bullish in afternoon trading. Nickel trading early in the day, was about as exciting as watching paint dry. But late in the afternoon, indicator charts suggest someone left the gate open, and the nickel bulls got out made a charge. Dow Jones reports for the day, three month nickel ended the day at $8.82/lb . Will it hold? Very doubtful. Overall sentiment is negative and unless the dollar begins to tank again, demand is giving no signs of recovery anytime soon.
  • Interesting little article that isn't getting much attention, thanks to the Olympics and Russia's military incursion into Georgia. A Coast Guard cutter headed towards the Arctic Monday, to map the ocean floor for future oil exploration. Russia has laid claim to 460,000 square miles of Arctic waters after planting a small flag on the ocean floor of the North Pole last year. The US State Department has stated coastal countries have sovereign rights over natural resources within 200-mile (322-km) of their borders, but that is the limit. Confrontation in the early stages? (more)
  • The women will love this article from Australia (Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned) - here
  • In light of the Beijing computer animated controversy, here is a 6 minute clip showing some of the potential of computer generation used in a recent HBO mini-series - here
  • Updated Beijing Olympic metal count - here

  Short cover boosts copper almost 4 pct, nickel 6 pct - Copper rallied almost 4 percent on Wednesday while nickel jumped 6 percent as investors rushed to buy the metals to cover their short positions, traders said. - more

  Reports

  • Safe Use of Nickel in the Workplace - A Guide for Health Maintenance of Workers Exposed to Nickel, its Compounds and Alloys - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • (Interfax) MMC Norilsk Nickel saw its sales revenue under Russian accounting standards (RAS) fall 18% to 124.262 billion rubles in the first half of 2008 compared to the same period of 2007, the company said in a report. Net profit plunged 95% to 4.095 billion rubles in the period.
  • A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article entitled "China, Jim Rogers, and Commodities" in which I stated the following: - more

  Highlands Pacific Limited, which holds interests in two major assets of the Ramu nickel/cobalt project and Frieda River copper/gold project in Papua New Guinea, is ready to assume the responsibility of an operator after revitalizing its management. - more

  Alaskans in the primary election will vote on Ballot Measure 4, an initiative that opponents say will kill large-scale mining in Alaska but supporters say will save Bristol Bay's wild salmon streams from a toxic spill at the Pebble Mine. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.02/lb higher. Overnight inventory numbers reflect another large shipment of nickel arriving into LME European warehouses. At press, the dollar was slightly stronger, in very choppy trading (live java chart here), while oil is slightly higher, but subdued (live java chart here) Sucden's morning chart shows nickel quiet yesterday, with an RSI of 61 (chart here) Ed Meir with MF Global has RSI on nickel at 39. The Baltic Dry Index actually rose 105 points today, after a very long streak of negative days.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Oakvale Capital Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - here
  • India Bulls Daily Metals - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "No rest for the beleaguered metal bulls, with prices falling sharply once again yesterday on the back of a stronger dollar, which soared to six-month highs against a basket of currencies on better-than-expected US trade figures. ... It seems the air is rapidly leaving the commodity bubble. This has not surprised us given our fundamental bent to price analysis, much of which has been suggesting of late that a price pullback was long overdue. In addition, fund and index money that has found its way into commodities may be slowing down in light of heightened volatility and poor returns. In fact, CTA’s had their worst monthly performance in over three years this past July, this according to the Barclay Hedge database, with average losses of almost 3% for the month. ... The dollar remains firm, (up again today), and given how negative practically everyone has been on the greenback of late, we expect its current run to push on for a little while longer. In addition, oil inventory data comes out later, and could stabilize the energy complex (and metals) if the numbers come in on the bullish side, but here again, this could be too little, too late given the overwhelmingly negative mood. In sum, it seems that the bears are firmly in charge of the trading themes, with rallies still very much vulnerable in a host of commodities, base metals included. ... We are currently at $18,100, unchanged, and very quiet; nickel seems to be sitting out the worst of the selling we saw hit the complex this week." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • A little history lesson for the bruised bulls - Macquarie Comments October 14, 2004 (when analysts were only beginning to call nickel a full blown bull market) "LME metal prices suffered one of their largest one-day price corrections for some time with nickel leading the way with a massive 16.3% day-on-day fall, the fifth biggest daily fall in LME cash nickel prices ever (but only the second biggest this year!)... The carnage was brutal, especially in nickel, where prices fell by 16.3% on the day and continued the sawtooth price movement of nickel this year: Nickel’s gyrations in 2004 are remarkable…$/tonne $/lb % Change 6-Jan peak 17770 8.06 18-May low 10530 4.78 -40.70% 7-Jul peak 15980 7.25 51.80% 9-Sep low 12050 5.47 -24.60% 8-Oct - high 16595 7.53 37.72% 13-Oct 13700 6.21 -17.45% Source: LME official cash prices."
  • The US Commerce Department announced Tuesday that June nickel imports increased 13.6% the previous month, representing a growth of 29.6% over the same period last year. June nickel exports grew 14.3% over May 2008, and 64.1% over the same period last year.
  • A snapshot of China's major industrial statistics - more
  • Link posted by member of Investor Village forum - song for investor's wives - video here (thanks KevinKT)

  Tisco has further decreased its stainless steel output in July as the demand remains low. - more

  A French expert looking at the Goro Nickel mining project in New Caledonia says questions remain about the waste disposal from the plant which is to start production later this year. - more

  Hyundai Steel Co., South Korea's second-largest steelmaker, may cut the price of its cold-rolled stainless steel products next month, following a similar move by bigger rival Posco. - more

  • Steel makers have long been stuck with an unflattering image. A not-so-glorious reputation of running smoke-belching plants, lobbying their way through regulatory loopholes, and working laborers around the clock, but these do not apply to the country's steel giant POSCO. - more

  Domestic stainless steel makers including Jindal Stainless, Mukand Steel and Shah Alloys are looking at reducing prices by up to 5-7 per cent in the coming months in the wake of falling nickel prices globally. - more

  China's exports of steel products in July hit an all-time high of 7.21 million tons, customs data showed on Monday, in a surprise surge that may spur stricter trade policies to curb outflows. - more

  Commodities demand from China, the world's largest metals consumer, will rebound in the next quarter and investors should buy some mining stocks, Goldman Sachs JBWere Pty said. - more

  PT International Nickel Indonesia plans to build a $1.2 billion nickel plant in Sulawesi island to process ore and tap rising demand. - more

  Earlier this month, Deripaska accused pro-Potanin Norilsk Nickel executives of mismanagement and poor performance. On August 8, Deripaska announced its opposition against a possible merger between Rusal, Norilsk and Metalloinvest. - more

  • UC RUSAL's open letter to Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, Norilsk Nickel CEO - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 13 - more
  • 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 12

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 63 to 6,992. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • Last week's write of $2-1/2 billion by Fannie Mae was welcomed by Wall Street taking the Dow up over 300 points on the same day. Apparently the market doesn't expect much from them these days, but today's 1-1/2 billion dollar write-off by J.P. Morgan Chase, has had the opposite effect. Oil continues to slide (at one time in the low $112/barrel range), while the dollar is ever so slightly up at press time, having faltered once already today. It was another red letter day on the trading boards of precious and base metals. Indicator charts show nickel traded in a narrow band today, and by the end of the day, broke with the other metals, and ended a few pennies higher. LME inventories show another large shipment of nickel arriving into a European warehouse, but, and its a big change, it showed an even larger shipment leave an Asian warehouse. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.16/lb . Couple of other interesting Reuters news items for the day. "U.S. oil demand during the first half of 2008 fell by an average 800,000 barrels per day compared to the same period a year ago, the biggest volume decline in 26 years, the Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday." "U.S. economic growth is expected to slow more sharply in the coming months than previously forecast with employers shedding staff into next year, according to a Philadelphia Federal Reserve survey released on Tuesday." "BP has closed two oil and gas pipelines running through Georgia" "Data Tuesday showed a massive spike in annual UK CPI inflation during July to 4.4 percent from 3.8 percent in June." Here is your updated metal count from Beijing here  
  • Someone went and screwed up our April Fool's joke for next year. Space mining now being discussed, for real here

  Reports

  • Desjardin's Commodity Trends - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • (Dow Jones) "The tone in the markets could be negative for a while," said Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Lewis, but he added that the dollar rally is based in "shaky fundamentals."
  • Watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics Games last week, most Londoners were thinking "how do we match that!" The Chinese laid on a spectacular show and the fireworks that will launch London's games in 2012 could be very drab in comparison. - more
  • We have all heard that “timing is everything”, and that truism applies as much to mine development as to anything. It seems that there is a growing number of new mines planned in Canada just as analysts warn of major corrections in commodities prices. - more
  • Smart investors have booked big profits by investing overseas over the past several years. Yet there's increasing evidence that the global boom may be coming to an end -- at least for now. - more
  • Is the mining boom over? Are we descending into another of those times when the mining industry hangs on by the skin of its teeth? A time when miners and engineers and truck drivers loose their jobs and investors their shirts? We have seen it all before. In 1983 and again after that. - more
  • New production cycle forecast in metals - more

  Nickel gains steam, but is it too little too late? - "Last Thursday, nickel rose the most in almost a month in LME trading after Industrial Metallurgical Holding said it may cut production because of this year’s price slump. Industrial Metallurgical shut its two nickel plants for 10 days at the end of July 2008 for maintenance and is considering reducing output." - more

  Jindal Stainless Ltd has cut prices of its 300-series products by as much as 5-6 per cent, following a drop in nickel prices globally. - more

  Finnish miner Talvivaara is set start production at its nickel mine in Sotkamo site in northern Finland on schedule on Oct. 1, and within budget, its chief executive Pekka Pera said. - more

  In a new series on risky resource projects the authors ask what BHP Billiton can do to avoid social and environmental controversy on a remote Indonesian island should a nickel development there move ahead. - more

  A northern Chinese city near Qinhuangdao, one of the sites of this month's Olympic soccer matches, has ordered the shutdown of steel mills accounting for 2 percent of China's steel output, industry sources said on Monday. - more

  Courtesy AISI - "In the week ending August 9, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,142,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 89.8 percent. Production was 2,075,000 tons in the week ending August 9, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 87.7 percent. The current week production represents a 3.3 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending August 9, 2008 is up 1.4 percent from the previous week ending August 2, 2008 when production was 2,113,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 88.6 percent."

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.12/lb lower. Euro continues to slump against the dollar (live graph here), while oil is selling under $114/barrel already this morning (live graph here). Metals are mostly trading in the red this morning.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Oakvale Capital Market Report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource plus - here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - here
  • Canada Commodity Price Update - pdf here
  • TD Bank Commodity Price report - pdf here
  • Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc Market Report - pdf here
  • Reuters Metal Weekly - pdf here
  • International Molybdenum Association Newsletter - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "This morning, the dollar is at 1.49, and up again against the Euro. The greenback’s recent gains have been staggering, and have taken a toll on a variety of commodities. In addition to the selloff we have seen in base metals, precious metals are also getting hammered, with platinum now hovering around $1400/oz while gold is at eight-month lows, and in a position to break $800/ounce. The most dismal performance has been turned in by oil, where prices have now fallen for seven days in a row, ignoring any bullish news along the way. This was best evidenced yesterday, when we closed lower despite reports of fighting in Georgia that is raging only miles from a one million barrel per day pipeline. ... We are currently at $17,700, down $300, and on track for a test of the July 2006 low of $17,000. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) - William Adams - ""It's hard to believe the U.S. has reached its nadir yet, so for the moment we would say this is a bout of dollar correction, but there again these can last some time and during that time the commodities may continue to struggle."

  Posco, Asia's biggest maker of stainless steel, and rival Jindal Stainless Ltd. cut prices of the rust-resistant metal after the cost of nickel declined. - more

  • POSCO, the world's No.4 steelmaker, said on Tuesday it would cut stainless steel prices by up to 10 percent, reversing two earlier price hikes this year, as prices of nickel, a key input in the alloy, slide. - more

  Thomson Financial reported that Eramet subsidiary Societe Le Nickel has just lowered its short and mid term production targets and is barely profitable. - more

  Jinchuan Nickel / China Was Unable To Achieve Nickel Production As Planned For 1st Half 2008 = Because Of Sichuan Earthquake And Snow Damage, Copper Production Also Decreased - more

  British mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are working with energy engineer WorleyParsons on plans for the world's biggest solar power station in sun-drenched Australia. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 12 - 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 8

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up

  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 320 to 7,201. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • Wall Street woke up to bad news this morning, but that was all brushed aside, as the dollar rose and a barrel of oil traded lower (live here). Bloomberg posted this headline this morning "Euro Falls the Most in 4 Years on Reduced Bets for Higher Rate". With the dollar on the rebound, metals had another day trading in the red, both in precious and industrial. Sucden's morning chart (here) showed the morning began with an RSI at 90.6. Technically speaking, this means nickel was well overbought. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $8.21/lb . The reports from Beijing are that the Olympic opening ceremony was stunning, and reports from Georgia, are "the Russian's are coming". And no, that isn't from the movie "Red Dawn" - the country of Georgia, not the U.S. state. Charts below are courtesy of a Xstrata presentation to conference in Australia this week.
  • Our advice for the coming months - Nickel is trading over 3 times what it was just 7 years ago, and will most definitely go higher on certain days in the near future. Nickel is trading for nearly a third of what it was a year ago, and most definitely will go down on certain days in the future.
  • Have a safe and restful weekend!!
  • Reuters - more

Courtesy Danske

  Commodity Comments

  • Goldman's analyst comments on Vale's (Brazil) market update - Vale enthusiastic about long-term iron-ore pellet demand for steel production. Comment that stainless steel producers have been unwilling to restock nickel inventories in the face of a deteriorating economic backdrop. Copper and coking coal are its favoured commodities for future growth.

  President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo witnessed the signing Thursday of a cooperation agreement between two Philippine companies headed by her former chief of staff, Michael Defensor, and a Chinese company to explore for nickel and put up a $150-million nickel processing plant in the Philippines. - more

  Russian mining and metallurgy giant Norilsk Nickel will open a new major mine outside Monchegorsk in the Kola Peninsula. - more

  • Billionaire Vladimir Potanin, fighting for control of Russia's largest mining company OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, succeeded in getting his candidate selected as chief executive officer. - more

  German metals group Cronimet said on Friday it bought with a group of unnamed Dubai-based investors a 70.5 percent shareholding in Indian ferro chromium producer GMR Ferro Alloys & Industries Ltd . - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.35/lb lower today. All base metals are trading in the red this morning, as are precious metals. Dollar is higher, crude is lower. BDI takes another 300+ point hit, and nickel inventories are nearly unchanged. Wall Street not starting with good news this morning as Fannie takes a $2.3 billion loss and US productivity up only 2.2% in second quarter, with labor costs higher.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • Oakvale Captial Daily Market - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Brook Hunt Headlines From The Latest Nickel Monthly Report - more

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - (no metal commentary posted today)
  • (Dow Jones) - Nickel is in the process of giving back all the gains it made Thursday, and if it breaks decidedly below $18,000 a metric ton, the metal could fall towards $16,000/ton, says JP Morgan analyst Michael Jansen.
  • (Dow Jones) - Most analysts attributed nickel's rally yesterday to short-covering and traders were uncertain whether it would be followed through. UBS said in a note while the list of "highly probable" additions to nickel's supply side had lengthened, increasing costs and a more uncertain outlook for nickel prices made them skeptical all the supply would come on stream as planned.
  • (Dow Jones) - Sentiment in base metals on the LME is negative as demand concerns have resurfaced, says Barclays Capital. Says this is spurring long liquidation, which continues to pressure prices lower. Adds until there is a clear pickup in buying, sentiment is likely to remain weak, and prices are unlikely to find the momentum to go higher in the short term.
  • Tens of thousands of investors have piled into commodities in recent years, spurred on by stupendous returns. - more
  • Armin Reller, a materials chemist at the University of Augsburg in Germany, is actually a storyteller. - more
  • Two results yesterday, one in Australia and one in Indonesia, should give those resource bulls some food for thought, especially for nickel mining stocks. - more
  • With nickel prices on the rise UBS analyst Onno Rutten says pure play nickel companies left standing in the wake of recent consolidation in the sector offer very attractive opportunities for investors. - more
  • The commodities boom is over. Experts say the super-high prices commodities have attracted in the past five years are falling and are unlikely to bounce back. - more

  Cia. Vale do Rio Doce, the world's biggest iron-ore producer, is reconsidering its planned Vermelho nickel project in Brazil as costs surge. - more

  • VALE, the world's biggest iron ore producer, is likely to rise in trading today after announcing a record second-quarter profit, up 22 per cent, beating analysts' forecasts. - more

  Industrial Metallurgical Holding, the country's third-largest nickel producer, may slash output after a 30 percent slump in prices this year. - more

  Taiwan's stainless steel sheets output in January-May 2008 inched up 0.6% year on year to 1,453,607 mt, according to the latest production report from the Taiwan Steel and Iron Industries Association. - more

  PT International Nickel Indonesia, controlled by Brazil's Cia. Vale do Rio Doce, said it has stopped sending nickel ore to PT Aneka Tambang as the contract expired. - more

  • PT Aneka Tambang, Indonesia's second- largest metals producer by market value, will feed its Sulawesi smelter with nickel from its own mines after the expiry of a supply contract with PT International Nickel Indonesia. - more

  Sherritt / Canada Progresses Nickel Projects In Order - more

  BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's biggest mining company, plans to build a $900 million port terminal in Brazil to export iron ore, Valor Economico reported. - more

  Raman spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy have been used to work out the adsorption mechanism of toxic heavy metals on to magnetic nanoparticles. The particles are being developed as a novel remediation material for metals such as the toxic hexavalent chromium. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 8 - 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 11

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 146 to 7,055. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • With nothing but bad economic news for months, Wall Street has taken  to following oil's lead, and with oil down again today, the Dow is trading in the green. Metals were trading mostly higher this morning, with the dollar trading lower. But with oil trading lower, the dollar rebounded, which pressured base and precious metals into the red. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.14/lb . Sucden had the RSI below 30 again, at 29.8 (here) . That means the last trading days, have started with nickel seriously oversold, seriously overbought, and seriously oversold again. Kind of redefines the over-used term "market volatility". And this in a bear market? Speaking of bears, the Russian's are back to their old cold war ways. Latest reports put Russian troops inside Georgia and outside of the separatist region of South Ossetia, which they entered last week. Apparently Russian troops are now in Gori, 60 miles west of the capital city of Tbilisi. The Russians sent the world a message to butt out with this attack on a BBC news crew (here). Here are a couple of webcams from downtown Tbilisi (here - click the images to get a live shot). Eyes of the world are also on Beijing for the Olympics. Here is your current medal count for all nations here If you missed the opening ceremonies, here was the first few minutes (video here) - and it just kept getting more awesome.

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Angel Commodities - In the coming week too we expect nickel to trade between $17,500 to $18,000.
  • Resources stocks and commodities were hammered this week in what analysts describe as an unforgiving market. - more
  • Here's how I see it. Many are celebrating the bursting of the energy/commodities bubble. - more

  Fresh from its $US11.5 billion ($13 billion) capital raising, Brazil's Vale is looking for more acquisitions in the global mining space. - more

  The Platts 62% Fe benchmark price for iron ore fines closed unchanged at a midpoint of $165/dmt CFR North China Monday, in a very quiet market in which traders and shippers do not foresee an upturn before the end of the month. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around  $.04/lb higher. Dollar is slightly lower, metals are mostly trading in the green. Well China did not disappoint Friday night. After watching the opening ceremonies, we could not help but wonder what the individual that has the job of creating the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Summer Olympics, must have been thinking! Wonder if he or she is having career doubts this morning. And we can not forget the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  • Haywood Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here
  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Oakvale Capital Market report - pdf here
  • Daily Resources Plus - here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - here
  • Jyske Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • India Daily  Metals Commentary - pdf here
  • Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. Market Report - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metals were hammered on Friday, as a bearish barrage hit the complex from all sides. For one thing, energy prices crumbled, finishing almost $5/rbl lower on the day, while the dollar roared ahead, pushing to the 150 mark against the Euro for its biggest one day against the currency in some four years, while also rising to seven-week highs against the yen. None of the metals were spared in Friday’s decline, with nickel dropping almost 6%, zinc 4.4%, and lead a whopping 7.7%. ... The momentum in the dollar looks formidable at this stage, as there seems to be something of a reassessment going on, namely, that the US slowdown is now spreading more aggressively to other countries of the world, making the value of holding alternative currencies somewhat less attractive. Amidst a stronger dollar environment, growing question about end-user metal demand, (particularly in China), and dismal chart patterns, we suspect that metals will remain under pressure over the short-term. ... Our long-term chart on nickel shows how bearish the recent trend in nickel has been. We are currently at $17,950, down $200, but we seem to be on track for a test of the July 2006 low of $17,000." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Bloomberg - OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, Russia's largest mining company, fell to a 17-month low in Moscow after its second-biggest shareholder said output will fall in 2008. Alexander Bulygin, chief executive officer of United Co. Rusal, which owns a quarter of Norilsk, said on a conference call on Aug. 8 after the market closed that the nickel company's metals output may decline 11 percent.
  • The commodities boom that just weeks ago looked unstoppable may have finally burned itself out. - more
  • China exported 7.21 mln tons of steel products in July, up 21.4 pct over the same month last year, the General Administration of Customs said. - more

  It seems that an expectation to rise price of South African charge chrome for shipments in October - December quarter has receded. - more

  Molybdenum prices are likely to top US$40/lb in 2009, according to Vancouver's Creston Moly, which is developing its 170Mlb (77,065t) molybdenum El Creston deposit in Mexico's Sonora state. - more

  According to the latest production report from Taiwan Steel & Iron Industries Association, Taiwan's stainless steel sheets output in January to May 2008 inched up by 0.6% YoY to 1.4 million tonnes. - more

  Indonesia's state-owned miner PT Aneka Tambang Tbk ANTM.JK said on Friday it would tap nickel ore for its smelters from its mines in North Maluku after a contract with PT International Nickel Indonesia INCO.JK (Inco) ended. - more

  AIM-listed European Nickel Plc said on Monday it sees approval of the forestry permit application for its Caldag nickel laterite project in Turkey in the "relatively near term", as it took Turkish environmental ministers to visit a successfully rehabilitated site in Canada. - more

  The overall nonferrous metal prices may stop falling with the rise in production costs and some enterprises' decision to cut production, a survey on nonferrous metal spot market disclosed. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 11 - 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 7

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 348 to 7,521. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • US markets got hit with a lot of bad news today. The slumping oil was trading up. Weekly jobless claims rose higher than expected. Retailers announced the whole stimulus check did not have near the effect many had hoped, with Wal-Mart's 3% sales increase disappointing Wall Street. Pending home sales rose 5.4% from June, but was down 12.3% from June 2007. But that news helped boost the dollar, also helped by the European Central Bank leaving interest rates alone, stating they expect economic growth in the euro zone to weaken substantially this year, even as inflation remains above the ECB's target. Baltic Dry Index, or the BDI, keeps taking a beating. Metals trading was a mixed bag, with precious trading lower, and base metals ending mixed. Nickel was the days winner, even on news of a large inventory build overnight. With Russia's third largest nickel miner effectively out of the supply picture for the next ten days, and possibly longer, some traders covered shorts, while others took renewed interest. Or are they? One thing we have learned following the London Metal Exchange all these years, is that traders and their respective company's don't make money for themselves, or their clients, unless the market is moving. To be fair, that applies to nearly all markets. Who wants to buy a stock that doesn't do anything? Be safer burying your money in the back yard, if that was the case. This will probably turn out to be no more than one of those unexplainable arches on the chart, where questionable reasons are given to drive the market against the overall tide, only to return a few days later. Some traders will win, some will lose. But this is the only way they get to "play the game". Oh, sorry. Forgot the company line. "The market activity for daily commodity trading is strictly dictated by the law of supply and demand, and speculation plays an insignificant part." Ok, everyone happy again? Must have stepped into a wormhole for a moment and forgot ourselves. Sucden's daily day old chart shows yesterday's RSI of 29, started today at 58.94. A reading of 30 implies oversold, while 70 implies overbought. After today's trading, we are back between the $18,050 and $19,050 lines (chart). Indicator charts show nickel spent most of the day on the rise, backing off a couple hundred dollars a tonne at the end. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.54/lb .    
  • Since tonight in the West is tomorrow in the East, here is your Olympics schedule that starts tomorrow. Olympics and the Paralympics  These two sets of games last thru September 17th. Good luck to all nations of the world, and their representatives.

  Commodity Comments

  • Commentary: To protect their 401(k) savings, American workers must unite - more
  • Commentary: Commodities plunge shows it was hot money all along - more

  Nickel-Major market developments in July - "Soft demand from the key stainless steel sector and plentiful stocks point to further nickel price weakness in the remainder of the year, some analysts say." - more

  Escalating sulphur costs and plummeting nickel prices have led to Australia's second-largest nickel producer reporting an 80 per cent drop in its half-yearly profit. - more

  Nickel Price Falls Takes Its Toll - Two results yesterday, one in Australia and one in Indonesia, should give those resource bulls some food for thought, especially for nickel mining stocks. - more

  Vale, the world's largest iron ore miner, is not looking for large acquisitions but small- to medium-sized assets, Chief Executive Roger Agnelli said on Thursday. - more

  Mining and metallurgy giant Norilsk Nickel has raised the Russian flag on the second of its ice-protected freight vessels. - more

  Aluminum giant Rusal stepped up the pressure Thursday on Vladimir Potanin - the largest shareholder in mining firm Norilsk Nickel - calling on Russia's financial watchdog to probe this week's surprising turn of events at the company. - more

  • Rusal, the 25% plus 2 share stakeholder in Norilsk Nickel, says its looking for clarification for of the deal announced on Tuesday, between Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim and Vladimir Potanin’s Interros, concerning a 16.6% stake in Norilsk, and may call on the Federal Financial Markets Service to investigate it. - more
  • United Company RUSAL said on Thursday it will vote against the election of the Norilsk Nickel chief executive proposed by a rival shareholder in the Russian nickel miner, Vladimir Potanin's Interros group. - more
  • Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, battling with Vladimir Potanin for control of OAO GKM Norilsk Nickel, opposed the candidate for chief executive officer of the country's largest mining company. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around  $.35/lb higher. At least one author is crediting short covering, while Bloomberg is crediting news of a 10 day shut down in production at Russia's third largest nickel producer. The maintenance shutdown will have little effect on nickel inventories, but the stoppage does send a psychological signal, that if nickel gets too low in price, unprofitable mines (those with higher mining costs) will be forced to shut down and stop producing. This starts to put stress on the supply chain, and with demand currently suffering, the concern is less immediate, and more long term.       
  • Reuters morning metal news - more

  Nickel Gains in London as Russian Producer Considers Output Cut - Nickel rose the most in almost a month in London after Russia's third-largest producer said it may cut production because of this year's price slump. - more

  Reports

  • Oakvale Capital Market Report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Steel Founders' Society of America Casteel Reporter - pdf here
  • Presentation by Xstrata to Diggers & Dealers Conference in Australia - pdf here
  • Presentation by World Steel Dynamics June 2008 - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "We had a very choppy session yesterday, as rallies in most of the metals fizzled by late in the day. ... However, with energy prices looking very wobbly, questions about end-user metal demand still out there, and LME metal stocks showing recent signs of increasing, we suspect that metals will continue to remain under pressure over the next few weeks, (although in the very short-term, several are oversold technically). In addition, fund money seems to be making a slow but steady exit out of the commodity space, as many hedge funds are unwinding trades where they were long commodities and short practically everything else. ... Things are very quiet as we start Thursday’s session. Most metals are modestly higher today, as we push up on what seems to be a modest technical rebound and an unusual up day in energy. We expect the firmer tone to continue for the balance for the day, as the dollar is also slightly weaker ahead of the ECB rate decision. ... Nickel is at $18,500, up $700, and moving higher today. The complex is quite oversold technically (with an RSI of 31) and therefore, we could move slightly higher from here, but we think rallies remain vulnerable. "(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • The Kambalda nickel province will be uneconomic if the metal’s price slips below $US6 per pound, according to Panoramic Resources managing director Peter Harold.
  • Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (Vale) reported that its second quarter profit was US$5.01 billion, up 22.3% from US$4.09 billion last year. Earnings per share was US$1.02 for the latest quarter.
  • Jesse Livermore, the world’s greatest trader used to say, “Remember, the market is designed to fool most of the people most of the time. - more
  • These days, even the good news is bad news. The good news, which helped the stock market to its biggest gain in four months on Aug. 5, is that commodity prices, led by oil, have been plunging. The bad news is why commodities have fallen: One big factor is a slowdown in global economic growth, with prospects for worse ahead. - more
  • The recent divergent performance of the LME metals raises the obvious question of whether the performance of the laggards - lead, nickel and zinc - will be duplicated elsewhere in the sector. - more
  • Views on the prospects for base metals from Natixis Commodity Markets – the London based commodities research arm of French Bank Natixis. - more

  Diversified resources giant Anglo American plc wants to expand its production of nickel, iron ore and platinum to take advantage of strong prices for the commodities. - more

  According to Metal Pages forecasts, average spot price of low-carbon ferrochrome (65 %of chrome, 0.08 % of carbon) in the free European market fluctuated last week. - more

  Average Prices Of LME Nickel In July 2008 Fell To Lower Levels After Interval Of 2 Years = As Felt Repugnance To Oversupply And Reducing Stainless Steel Production - more

  PT International Nickel Indonesia, the country's largest producer of the metal, said second-quarter profit fell 67 percent because of lower prices and output. - more

  The maxim that one should see, hear, and speak no evil appears to have started out in ancient China. Confucius apparently added the obvious fourth – do no evil. - more

  The Platts price assessment for shredded ferrous scrap delivered to Midwest mills fell $35 to a midpoint of $565/lt as more scrap processors sold into a market flush with supply and short on demand. - more

  Following on the footsteps of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, the richest man in Australia has now promised to give away his fortune to charity. Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, the iron-ore magnate behind Fortescue Metals, this week said he plans to donate nearly all of his $8 billion fortune before he dies. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 7 - more
  • 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 6

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 231 to 7,869. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • The US markets awoke to the news of another huge write-down from Freddie Mac, which kind of dampened the market euphoria from yesterday. (MarketWatch) U.S. Energy Department said crude supplies rose 1.7 million barrels in the last week versus the expectation in a Platts survey for a drawdown of 1.2 million barrels. U.S. gasoline supplies fell 4.4 million barrels, greater than the expected decline of 1.4 million barrels." On this news, oil fell under $118/barrel, which helped undo any potential panic in the US stock markets. Dollar was higher today on fears of an economic slowdown in Europe, a potential recession in Germany, and the Fed's decision to leave interest rates alone yesterday. Typically a stronger dollar is not necessarily good news for metal commodities, but traders apparently felt the market was oversold, or they had to cover short trades, and most of the market traded higher. As far as nickel is concerned, the upward trend may not hold, but the market technicals showed the metal was heavily oversold. Sucden's day old chart (here) had the RSI at 29, as did Edward Meir at MF Global. It is also worth noting on the second graph on the Sucden page. Notice the Stochastic lines shown as SSK and SSD. The last time they were this low, no, the last two times they were this low (1998 and 2001), the market went very bullish. No other reason from the supply/demand stats to believe that might happen this time, but if you are an expert on the Slow Stochastic system, we would be interested in hearing your take on this. Traders may have been spooked by nickel's official price closing under $8 yesterday and today. For awhile, the market, as were we, convinced that nickel would settle into the $12/lb range.... then it was the $10/lb range .... now the talk is the $7/lb range. We are probably just too stupid, or too stubborn, to let go of the $10/lb range, although if China doesn't start polluting again, after the rest of the world leaves the Olympics games, it won't be hard to figure out which category we fit in. Indicator charts show nickel nose-dived early, and then spent the rest of the day stair-stepping its way up. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $8.07/lb .

  Commodity Comments

  • (Dow Jones) JP Morgan trader Martin Squires called Wednesday's gains "a pause for breath," and said very few metals have any value on the long side at their current prices. While the pullback has attracted some buying in physical markets, it hasn't been in large enough volume to reverse the downward trend, Squires said. "It's more people taking advantage of the price drop rather than aggressively re-entering the market."
  • (Dow Jones) Standard Bank analyst Leon Westgate said the market remains skeptical that the softness in physical markets is solely due to the normal summertime slowdown. "Trying to differentiate between whether this is due to a seasonal slowdown or slowing global growth is quite tricky, so that's sort of weighing on sentiment," he said.
  • Metaltorg reports imports of stainless steel in Russia continues to grow. The volume of shipments for the first half of 2008 compared with the same period in 2007 increased by 6, 1% and totaled more than 82.3 thousand tons. At the same time, declining Russian exports - the export of stainless steel totaled 6.8 thousand tons, a 11.4% lower than last year. The bulk of imports were still falls on a flat rent, which is more than 67% of imports.

  Ferrochrome prices could beat the record $2,05/lb level reached for the third quarter of this year in the following six months, JSE-listed Merafe Resources said on Wednesday. - more

  Turkey government has released statistics for exports of chrome ore thru the first seven months of 2008. China remains the largest destination, receiving 60% of Turkey's chrome exports. Russia is the second largest importer, at 22.2%, with Sweden in third with 11.6%. Of the top 10 destination, 9 have seen their imports increase, with 5th place Belgium showing a decline. Of the remaining 9, Russia has shown the greatest increase, from 36,150 tons last year, to 272,348 tons in the first seven months of this year. Sweden has seen its imports of Turkish ore increase from 25,850 tons to 142,323, while China has grown from 671,077 tons to 738,022 tons. (thanks CO)

  In response to requests from respondent ThyssenKrupp Mexinox S.A. de C.V. (Mexinox S.A.) and Mexinox USA, Inc. (Mexinox USA) (collectively, Mexinox) and petitioners, *1 the Department of Commerce (the Department) is conducting an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on stainless steel sheet and strip in coils (S4 in coils) from Mexico. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.09/lb higher. At this time, all metals, both precious and base, are trading in the green. Dollar is slightly higher, while crude has been trading roughly between $18 and $20 barrel as traders await the US crude stockpiles report this morning. The US stock market will be opening on this news - (Bloomberg) "Freddie Mac, the U.S. mortgage-finance company hobbled by record foreclosures, will slash its dividend at least 80 percent after posting a quarterly loss that was three times wider than analysts' estimates."     
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • Danske Bank Commodity Monthly - pdf here
  • Oakvale Capital Daily Market report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - here
  • August Molybdenum Newsletter - pdf here
  • BBVA China Watch - pdf here
  • Nickel Magazine June 2008 issue - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metals stabilized somewhat yesterday, with copper managing to salvage key $7600 support, and zinc also paring losses after hitting a 2-1/2-year low. Prices were pressured earlier in the week by growing LME stock levels, renewed concern about slowing demand, and a weaker energy complex. Finally, despite a relatively dovish Fed policy statement out yesterday where the central bank signaled that it was in no mood to raise rates, the dollar, surprisingly, held steady on the announcement, and did not provide much significant upside support to commodities. In fact, the greenback hit seven-week highs against the yen in Asian trading overnight, and is practically unchanged against the Euro as of this writing. We are higher in metals this morning, but the mood remains fragile, and it is far from certain that we have reached any tradable bottoms.... Nickel is at $17,500, down $100, and sitting out the rally we are seeing in the rest of the group today. We expect an eventual break to $17,050, the June 2006 low."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Yesterday's official price of cash nickel of $7.91/lb, was the first time nickel's official cash price had fallen under $8/lb since April 12, 2006.
  • Average prices for July 2008 per AK Steel - nickel $9.1445/lb, molybdenum - $33.67/lb, chrome - $2.405/lb, iron - $890/GT
  • Xstrata Plc, the world's fourth- largest copper and nickel producer, said supply disruptions will support prices for both metals this year by partly compensating for any weakening in demand. - more
  • Commodity prices fall: not many hurt. The two forces at work in global commodity prices are a lot more evenly matched than they were a few months ago, when almost all prices were stronger than a mallee bull. - more
  • Major acquisitions by Xstrata since 2002 - more
  • the first half of stainless steel imports fell 13 percent
  • The U.S. government announced June statistics that show the country's imports of stainless steel in the first half of 2008 fell to 526,890 tons, from last year's 607,990 tons, a decline of 13% YOY.

  Since the third quarter of 2007, there has appeared a unilateral price increase for the common carbon steel products, with stainless steel price slumped and then keep dull. - more

  Swiss-based Xstrata is targeting a doubling of nickel production within five years, a senior executive said on Wednesday, rivalling the dominance of bigger sector rivals in Russia, Brazil and Australia. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 31st July 2008 = Sharp Fall Of Nickel Price Causes Chain Reaction To Lower Price Of Ferro-Chrome - more

  Eramet subsidiary Societe Le Nickel has just lowered its short- and mid-term production targets and is barely profitable, Pierre Alla, the unit's manager, was quoted by Les Echos as saying. - more

  Chinese mining giant, China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation (CJIC) is to form a joint venture company with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) to mine chrome in Zimbabwe. - more

  • Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe, presides over one of the world’s richest minerals treasures, the Great Dyke region, which cuts a geological swath across the entire land from northeast to southwest. - more

  The Russian metals tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov announced Tuesday that he would sell a minority stake in the Arctic mining company Norilsk Nickel for $10 billion to his former business partner Vladimir Potanin, possibly ending a drawn-out ownership struggle between several of the richest men in Russia. - more

  - Cia. Vale do Rio Doce, the world's biggest iron-ore exporter, is looking for copper and coal acquisitions as profit growth slows following the steepest drop in nickel prices in two decades. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 6 - 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 5

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 109 to 8,100. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • Dollar rose throughout the day, as oil retreated, at one point falling to $117.99/barrel. Metals had another down day, with only a few squeaking out a gain. Nickel fell hard early and then settled into a holding pattern for the afternoon, according to indicator charts. According to Dow Jones, three month nickel ended the day at $7.96/lb . This will effectively drop us out of the range nickel has been trading in over the last 7 days, highlighted by the $18,050 and $19,050 lines on Sucden's daily chart (here) Technically the market started the day with the RSI and Stochastic reading showing the market was oversold, but as Ed Meir's wrote in his morning report, traders are much more worried about the slowing economy.

  Reports

  • Allegheny Ludlum September surcharges - here
  • AK Steel September surcharges - pdf here
  • North American Stainless October surcharges on flat products - here surcharges on bar products - here

  Commodity Comments

  • Recession in the world market of nickel has proceeded. Average price of cash metal on LME at the last tenders has decreased by 19.5 %. - more

  The conflict over the Pujada Nickel reserves in Davao Oriental will be one of the issues that will be discussed during the Mining Summit in September, the Mindanao Business Council said.  - more

  For most people stainless steel means steel and carbon steel is just plain iron. One of the biggest jobs NC Mathur, director, corporate affairs, Jindal Stainless handles is to educate people on this distinction. - more

  West Coast shippers said Thursday that dockworkers at three California ports are intentionally slowing cargo movement and causing shipping delays as the two sides continue to negotiate a new contract. - more

  Mining group Xstrata is expected to post a 11.6 percent fall in first-half net profit on Wednesday, mainly due to lower zinc and nickel prices, Reuters is reporting. - more

  Commodity prices fall: not many hurt. The two forces at work in global commodity prices are a lot more evenly matched than they were a few months ago, when almost all prices were stronger than a mallee bull. - more

  The Development of Alumina-Forming Austenitic Stainless Steels for High-Temperature Structural Use - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around  $.15/lb lower. Metals trading is a mixed bag this morning with nickel, tin and zinc trading in the red, and the others, in the green. Precious metals are all down. Fed is meeting today but expected to leave interest rates alone. Tropical storm Edouard is weakening and heading for Houston, but oil continues to fall, now trading in the $119/barrel range. China's Sichuan province was struck by yet another 6.0 magnitude earthquake overnight, the Olympics begin in 3 days. And LME nickel inventories grow overnight. Nickel's official prices today are under $8/lb for both cash and 3 month.    
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Nickel, Zinc Drag Metals Lower in London on Signs Use Weakening - "Nickel and zinc led a slide in metals traded in London as rising stockpiles indicated weakening world demand amid a global economic slowdown." - more

  Reports

  • Oakvale Capital Daily Market report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - here
  • Metals & Mining Analysts' Ratings & Estimates - here
  • Haywood Securities Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here
  • Reuters Metal Weekly - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "The wheels seem to be coming off the commodity wagon, as energy prices were hammered again yesterday, while base and precious metals also experienced sharp downturns. All three complexes caved in despite the dollar being relatively unchanged from Friday’s levels, so the commodity bulls really cannot assign blame to the greenback for this latest debacle.... We seem to have stabilized somewhat this morning, but the mood remains fragile, as chart patterns look tattered in a variety of metal complexes.  ...The dollar is much stronger today than it was yesterday, and not helping the bullish cause. For now, it seems that the price of least resistance for most commodities is lower still, as weakness in energy prices should continue to cast a shadow over the entire group. Moreover, in the case of the base metals, our RSI readings still do not show excessively oversold conditions, suggesting that the downside has more room to run... Nickel is at $17,650, down $375, and prices have finally taken out $18,000 after several attempts. We still suspect that we could see an eventual break to $17,050, the June 2006 low (red line)." .(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Vladimir Potanin's investment firm Onexim Group is buying a 16.66% stake held by Mikhail Prokhorov in Norilsk Nickel, Russia's largest metals firm, for $10 billion, or $315 a share.  (more)

  South Korea is now suspending exports of stainless steel CRC. - more

  • South Korea’s stainless steel industry has experienced sluggish demand since July. - more

  Fearful that control over mineral resources might slip into foreign hands, China has increased reporting requirements for mining firms planning to list overseas. - more

  Strategy For Chrome Business Is Heard From Top Executive Of Eti Krom / Turkey = From Mr. Yildirim, Who Is President And CEO Of Eti Krom And Came To Japan - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending August 4, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,113,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 88.6 percent. Production was 2,059,000 tons in the week ending August 4, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 87.0 percent. The current week production represents a 2.7 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending August 4, 2008 is down 1.4 percent from the previous week ending July 26, 2008 when production was 2,142,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 89.8 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 5 - 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 4

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 71 to 8,209. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • It was an ugly day for metal traders, and commodities in general. A Marketwatch headline this morning read "Worst inflation in 27 years trumps tax rebates - Real spending falls 0.2% in June as incomes rise 0.1%" Inflation, typically good for commodity investments as a hedge, is now proving to be having an adverse effect on the economy, which in turn, is not good for commodity demand. And while some may argue that the world still spends too much time worrying about the US market, higher costs are hitting everyone and there are many signs of a worldwide slowdown. With oil on the slide again today, even with a Tropical Storm roaming the Gulf, US markets were trading about even. Precious and base metals, on the other hand, took a licking. Indicators show copper and zinc prices were down nearly 4%, tin nearly 6%, lead over 6%. Nickel fared better, down less than 2%. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.17/lb .     
  • Reuters - more

  Commodity Comments

  • (Dow Jones) - Base metals traded on the London Metal Exchange were down sharply Monday, and the market will likely continue to fall as the market's focus shifts from supply constraints to weakening demand, analysts and traders said.
  • The commodities bubble is doomed - more

  Recycling Nickel

  • Nickel Institute Report 2002 - pdf here
  • The Contemporary Nickel Cycle - pdf here

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.07/lb   lower. Dollar is slightly higher, oil prices are weaker, and base and precious metals are lower, across the board. Inventories stocked in LME warehouses gained overnight, with the Rotterdam and Helsingborg warehouses receiving large shipments. Tropical Storm Edouard popped up over the weekend in the Gulf of Mexico, but so far, oil traders do not seem to be too concerned.     
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  • Danske Weekly Focus - Commodity Correction - pdf here
  • Oakvale Capital Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Standard & Poors Commodity Perspective - pdf here
  • IndiaBulls Daily Metals & Energy Commentary - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Base metal prices fell sharply on Friday, as relatively uninspiring macro data from the US weighed on the complex. ... With the dollar not doing much this morning and still hovering around five week highs against the Euro (at 1.5580) and with energy giving up earlier gains, the path of least resistance has been lower for metals so far today. ... After several years where the focus has been mainly on tight metal supplies, it seems the markets are finally focusing more on the implications of rapidly weakening demand, something that is much harder to come to grips with, and in our view a far more potent variable on the downside, as the rapid retreat in commodity prices this past month best illustrates. ... We are at $18,130 on nickel, down $170, and holding up fairly well considering the weakness in the rest of the group. However, we still suspect that we could see an eventual break to $17,050, the June 2006 low (red line), as charts do not look that positive."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (IRIS) On London Metal Exchange (LME) Nickel near month delivery contract is trading at USD 18,300. The support level for the same can be seen at USD 17,140 a ton and if it breaks this level then it may fall till the level of USD 16,690. However, it is expected to show slight pull back till the level of USD 21,000 therefore it is recommendable to take short position at higher level, he added.
  • The Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI)of China's non-manufacturing industries climbed to 58.1 percent in July, up 1.2 percent month on month, China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing(CFLP) released the statistics on its website on Monday.

  Farewell, West Perth. For serious mining types, there is only one place to be this week: Diggers and Dealers. - more

  Toledo Mining Corp., a producer of low-grade nickel ore, said China's stockpiles of the raw material rose to more than 8 million metric tons because of weaker demand. - more

  Taigang Stainless announces price adjustment for August 2008 shipment. - more

  Indonesian ferronickel major Antam's consolidated sales revenues dropped 5% to Rupiah 3.23 trillion ($355.59 million) for the second quarter ended June 30, 2008, from Rupiah 3.38 trillion year on year, largely due to lower ferronickel prices, the company said Friday. - more

  • Indonesia's ferronickel major PT Aneka Tambang, also known as Antam, produced 4,152 mt nickel contained in ferronickel for the second quarter ended June 30, 2008, down 6% from the same period in 2007, the company said Friday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 4 - 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 1

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 61 to 8280. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • Here were some of your lead lines from world news today. U.S. - "U.S. manufacturing activity was flat in July, the Institute for Supply Management reported Friday."  "Spending on U.S. construction projects fell by 0.4% in June, the Commerce Department reported Friday, pulled lower by weaker outlays on housing and state and local construction." "The U.S. unemployment rate hit its highest level in four years during July as employers cut jobs for a seventh straight month, though less severely than predicted, a Labor Department report showed on Friday." "Italy's new car registrations fell 10.88 percent in July to 190,889, compared with a year earlier, the ministry of transport said." "Bank of England rate setters are expected to keep interest rates unchanged on Thursday as they continue to grapple with the twin evils of soaring inflation and a flagging economy." "Spanish car sales fell 27.5 percent in July to 121,437 units, industry group Anfac reported on Friday." "Spanish corporate debt defaults soared 172 percent between April and June from a year earlier to hit a record high as dozens of building and property firms collapsed at the end of a decade-long housing boom, the government reported on Friday." "Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. said Friday sales in July fell 11.9% to 197,424 vehicles." "The purchasing manager's index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector fell to 48.4 points in July from 52.0 in June, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) said. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in manufacturing activity while a reading below 50 represents a contraction." "Growth of disposable income in the 15-nation euro zone slowed in the first quarter of the year, but consumption picked up over the same period, the European Central Bank said on Friday." "Denmark's purchasing managers index fell markedly to 43.1 in July from a revised 63.6 in June, the purchase and logistics lobby DILF said on Friday." "The U.K.PMI Manufacturing gauge fell to 44.3 in July from 45.9, which was the lowest in a decade." Depressing? Well yes, but hey! - only 7 days left till the Beijing Olympics. And dog meat is officially off Beijing menu's for the next few months. China announced it might take even more drastic measures to cut down on the smog yesterday, depending on the weather conditions.
  • The metals complex did little today, trading in the red for most of the day. Indicator charts show nickel made a gallant charge at one point, and made it well into the green, before it lost its momentum and sank to end the day lower. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.30/lb .

  Reports

  • ScotiaBank Commodity Price Index - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Dow Jones - "A plethora of weaker-than-expected economic data throughout the session has weighed on prices, starting with Germany's June retail sales and continuing with U.S. July non-farm payrolls data. And because the U.S. July ISM manufacturing index came in flat, it failed to provide any further direction to the base metals, traders said. "

  Unofficial figures from July 2008 - Average cash price $9.14/lb 3 month price $9.23/lb ended June at $9.93/lb ended July at $8.32/lb LME inventory totals for nickel read 46,5436 tonnes at the end of June, and ended July at 44,526 tonnes. Inventory levels hit a high of 47,058 tonnes during the month of July, and a low of 43,188 tonnes.  

  The outlook for base metals — copper, zinc and nickel — for the quarter leading up to September is expected to be bearish according to analysts. - more

  Reported buyout talks between ThyssenKrupp AG and AK Steel Corp. are not true, the German steelmaker said Friday. - more

  The ownership of Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov's home has been dragged into the acrimonious divorce with his former business partner Vladimir Potanin. - more

  Most metals used in industry can be replaced with another metal in case of supply shortages. For example, car manufacturers are replacing steel with aluminium when steel prices are going through the roof. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.02/lb lower. Headline for the morning could be "Dollar firms, metals complex squirms". At present both base and precious metals are down on a stronger dollar. This was just released "Nonfarm payrolls fell for the seventh straight month in July while the unemployment jumped to 5.7%, a four-year high, the Labor Department reported."   
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  • Oakvale Capital Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - here
  • FDC Daily Monitor - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Base metals closed higher yesterday, but prices were well off earlier highs, as a sharp retracement in the US stock market and a reversal in oil prices both weighed on the complex. The weakness in US stocks was mainly attributable to a sharp rise in weekly initial claims data, somewhat disappointing 2nd quarter US GDP data, and a shocking revision to fourth quarter 2007 GDP numbers, showing that growth actually fell by .2%. First quarter 2008 growth was revised lower to +.9%, thus preventing the economy from officially slipping into recession. ... We are sharply lower at the time of this writing, with base metals down across the board. Rising LME stocks in number of complexes (copper, lead and zinc, are all showing inventory rises today, continuing the recent trend) are contributing to the negative mood, as is a stronger dollar ahead of key payrolls number out later today. A reversal in energy prices has also wiped out most of Wednesday’s oversized gain, and is not helping the mood either. ... We are at $18,300 on nickel, down $50, and quiet so far today after a very weak session yesterday. We still maintain that we could see a break to $17,000 before the end of the month, as charts do not look inspiring.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Thompson Financial) - The purchasing manager's index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector fell to 48.4 points in July from 52.0 in June, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) said. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in manufacturing activity while a reading below 50 represents a contraction.
  • Tumbling prices for natural gas, nickel and corn made July the worst month in 28 years for the Reuters/Jefferies CRB Commodity Index.
  • Outokumpu announced to acquire SoGePar, a Italian distributor of stainless steel in, which also owns many branch offices in Europe, such as, U.K., Belgium, Finland, France, Ireland and Germany.
  • Business Daily - Chinese steel mills oppose BHP Billiton Ltd's proposed takeover of Rio Tinto, Luo Bingsheng, vice chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association, says, reiterating the group's stance against the deal.

  TISCO has released its new list price of August. Price of 300 series stainless steel coil will reduce by RMB1,500/ ton. Specifically; price of 304 medium plate and hot rolled plate will fall by RMB100/ton; however, price of 400 series stainless steel keep unchanged. - more

  Every summer, the residents of Nikel, the Russian town located close to the border to Norway and Finland, worry about the wind. Once every three days, winds from the north bring major amounts of sulphur over the town streets. - more

  Mining groups from Brazil to Australia are combing the Philippines for copper, nickel and gold but patience is required to see a return on investment, a top official said on Thursday. - more

  Indonesia's ferronickel major PT Aneka Tambang, also known as Antam, produced 4,152 mt nickel contained in ferronickel for the second quarter ended June 30, 2008, down 6% from the same period in 2007, the company said Friday. - more

  The Tata Iron & Steel Co., Ltd. (Tisco) of India constructed new plant in Richards Bay of South Africa to produce ferro-chrome by two electric furnaces and started to operate No.1 electric furnace from April of 2008. Following this operation of No.1 electric furnace, No.2 electric furnace is scheduled to be ignited in August of this year. - more

  BHP Billiton Ltd says the grounding of a ship at the Port Hedland harbour illustrates why third parties should not be given access to its rail network in the Pilbara. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - August 1 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

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