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Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices

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Daily Nickel Market News & Stainless Steel Prices

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Tuesday, August 31

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 1 to 2,713. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Yuan Set for Biggest Monthly Drop Since '94 as Economy Slows, Dollar Gains // Buy China Solar Stocks on Economy `Shift,' Avoid Developers, Elegant Says // China's Stocks Decline as U.S. Income Data Fuels Economic Growth Concern // India's Economy Grows Most Since 2007, Adding Pressure on Rates // Japan Defends Economic Policy Steps as Yen Strengthens Anew, Stocks Slide // Thailand's July Industrial Production Growth Slows as Global Demand Cools // Japan Issues Storm Warnings, Cancels Okinawa Flights as Typhoon Approaches // Asian Stocks Fall on Concern U.S. Economy Slowing // Gold Rallying to $1,500 as Soros's Bubble Inflates // Europe Inflation Slows to 1.6%, Unemployment Holds at 12-Year High of 10% // German Unemployment Drops for 14th Month as Rising Exports Bolster Economy  // Most European Stocks Advance, Paring Monthly Decline; Iliad, Kerry Climb // Moderate Drinkers Live Longer Than Abstainers on Average, Study Confirms // Karl Case Sees `A Lot of Positive Stuff' in Housing-Price Data: Tom Keene // Consumer Confidence in U.S. Rose More Than Forecast // Stocks Rise, Treasuries Pare Gains on Confidence, Housing Data
  • The Euro is now trading nearly 1/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, off session highs and losing ground at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is down over 3% and trading at $72.40/barrel. Gold is up over 1% and silver is up 1-2/3%. Base metals fared poorly today, all ending in the red. Indicator charts show nickel started out lower, spiked when US consumer confidence numbers were released, but fell just as sharply shortly thereafter. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.39/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses now sit just over the 118,650 tonne level after dropping overnight. Sucden's day old chart shows trading thru last week (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index did little, gaining a single point. US markets appeared to be set for another down day when Market Watch reported "Confidence among consumers rose to 53.5 in August due to an improvement in their short-term outlook, but overall, consumers remain "apprehensive," the Conference Board reported Tuesday." With that, world markets still trading, bathed in red, went positive. World oceans are quite active with tropical storms, as can be seen on this map (here). You can click on the map and zoom into a specific region for details and status on each named storm. Tomorrow, we start September, and typically this signals the return of stainless steel demand after summer vacations. Whether 2010 is another typical year, remains to be seen.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (SMR) China's steel mills produced 1.711 million tonnes of crude steel per day in the middle 10 days of August, little changed from the previous 10 days, data from the China Iron & Steel Association showed on Monday.
  • (GT) The world's largest iron ore producer Vale SA may cut iron ore prices by about 10 percent, the first reduction in a year, indicating the miner has begun to consider demand when setting prices.
  • (FX) The Nomura/JMMA Manufacturing Purchasing Manager Index reached 50.1 points in August down from a figure of 52.8 in July and only fractionally above the neutral 50.0 threshold.
  • Housing Bust Makes Paying for College Harder - more
  • Immigrants Make U.S. Workers Richer - more
  • Personal Income Breakdown - more
  • No Clothes - more
  • Don't get fooled by Bernanke - more
  • Jackson Hole Economic Symposium - pdf here
  • Quote of the Day: Double Dip or Not - more
  • Psychological Stages of a RE Bubble Market - more
  • FDIC: 829 problematic banks in second quarter - more

  Indonesia's Antam starts up Tapunopaka nickel mine in Sulawesi - Indonesia's Aneka Tambang, or Antam, said Tuesday that production has commenced at its 1.5 million wet mt/year Tapunopaka nickel mine in southeast Sulawesi. - more

  Second Half Remains a Big Question Mark - In its annual mid-year poll of service center executives, MCN has learned that sales are still up, inventories are still down, but there is little consensus on what to expect for the rest of the year. - more

  Key commodity prices set to spike, warn analysts - Experts argue markets are not taking into account likely sharper demand for oil and natural gas and a potential supply crisis in coal, copper and iron ore. - more

  Service Center Shipments See Slower Growth in July - The rate of growth of steel and aluminum shipments from service centers in the United States and Canada slowed in July. Inventories of both metals, expressed in terms of months of supply on hand, rose in both countries, according to the latest Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute, Rolling Meadows, Ill. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.14/lb lower, with other London traded metals also lower. NYMEX crude oil is down 1.4% and trading at $73.64/barrel. Gold is trading slightly higher, while silver is trading slightly lower at the moment. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off more than 4/10 of 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning, and US futures show Wall Street may continue lower after yesterday's 141 point drop on the Dow. Futures have the Dow under the psychologically important 10,000 mark again this morning. Nickel inventories fell overnight.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals soften on equity slide, concerns about the US economy - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals pushed higher on Friday, with copper rising to its highest close since early August. We think the rally had much to do with the revision to second-quarter GDP, which came out at +1.6%, and although this was only slightly higher than expected, it nevertheless was something of a relief to investors who were expecting an even more tepid reading. Shortly after this number came out, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke - speaking at the annual Fed summit in Wyoming - said what everybody knows to be true by now, namely that the U.S. recovery has softened considerably of late. However, investors were relieved to hear Bernanke saying that the Fed was ready to initiate further quantitative easing measures if necessary, and that he did not see the economy tipping back into recession. Instead, he projected modest growth in the second half of 2010 that should pick up going into 2011. In keeping with the schizophrenic nature of the markets, Friday’s gains in equities evaporated almost in full yesterday, (LME markets were closed on Monday), as renewed concern about weak growth again weighed on sentiment. Although copper survived the brunt of the selling in COMEX trading by finishing higher, energy prices were off sharply, as were US stocks, which plunged in the last hour of trading, wiping out most of Friday’s gains despite US personal income and spending numbers that came in pretty much in line with estimates. LME metals seem to be catching up today, with declines now noted across the board. Energy prices are also lower, as is the dollar, with the yen continuing its surge to 15-year highs, ignoring limited steps the government is taking to stem its rise. US equities are called to open lower. ..... Despite the sharp technical bounces, the tone in metals remains tentative, as lingering concern about the sub-par pace of US growth is capping any prolonged advance. On the downside, however, we are seeing somewhat of a floor given the still stable pattern of Chinese intake, coupled with the fact that stocks for most of the LME metals are trending lower, a sign that excesses are not building up. .... We are at $20,675 on nickel, down $375, and seem to be turning lower on the charts. Support is at $20,200. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) and Tang Eng have both announced to lift export price of stainless steel for September.
  • (Yieh) China’s Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Tisco) has released new price for the 36th week (August 31 – September 6). The price of 304 hot rolled and cold rolled stainless steel coils was up by RMB300/ton. And the price of 430 cold rolled stainless steel coils kept unchanged for a continuous of three weeks.
  • (AMM) Stainless steel surcharges appear to be in for a reversal, with market sources anticipating an increase for October after three consecutive months of declines. But what direction they’ll take beyond that remains unclear.
  • (Xinhua) Nickel Consumption Suffers 49% Decline in July
  • Baosteel sees drop in Q3 profit - more
  • Steel and raw material prices to rise - Mr Sahit Muja - more

  Putin calls for fair nickel, copper duty formula  - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called for a fair formula to be developed for calculating export duty on nickel and copper, one that takes world price volatility into account. - more

  Quiet Asian Biz For Ni-Based Stainless CR Sheets - Negotiations continue inactive as a whole on export deals of nickel-based stainless CR sheets in Asia, mainly for shipments to China, in contrast with favorable growth of negotiated export deals for other stainless steel products such as bars and heavy plates.  - more

  Stainless Steel Prices To Dip In Final Quarter  - World stainless steel transaction prices have followed a general upward trend over the past twelve months. Stronger economic conditions, coupled with various government stimulus projects, boosted steel consumption. - more

  RusAl boss Deripaska arrives in Norilsk after delay - Billionaire Oleg Deripaska, CEO of the world's biggest aluminum producer RusAl and co-owner of Russia's largest nickel producer Norilsk Nickel, arrived in Norilsk on Tuesday in his private jet, after earlier being denied landing permission. - more

  • Putin threatens pollution fines as Norilsk shareholders move closer to ending conflict - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has promised to levy hefty fines on nickel miner Norilsk Nickel for violating ecological norms if it does not upgrade its production facilities to reduce pollution. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending August 28, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,698,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 70.2 percent. Production was 1,381,000 tons in the week ending August 28, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 57.7 percent. The current week production represents a 23.0 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending August 28, 2010 is down 1.9 percent from the previous week ending August 21, 2010 when production was 1,730,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 71.5 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, August 30

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - not reported due to holiday (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Rising China Wages Cut Advantage Over Mexico, Flextronics Says // Mitsui Fudosan to Open More China Shopping Malls as Consumers Spend More // Sugar Imports by China May Jump 42% as Demand Exceeds Supply, Survey Shows // China's Stocks Rise After Bernanke Pledge; Commodity, Consumer Shares Gain // Bank of Japan Boosts Loan Program, Pledges More Steps If Needed // Singapore Tightens Loan Limits to Cool Housing Market // Asian Stocks Rally for Third Day on Recovery Bet; Yen Strengthens // European Economic Confidence Highest in Two Years // German Bonds Rise Amid Renewed Recession Concern; Italy Will Auction Debt // Crude Falls From Seven-Day High on Skepticism About U.S. Economic Recovery // European Stocks Advance; Zodiac Aerospace, Genzyme Gain // Bernanke Faces Skepticism on Policy Tools, May Need Fiscal Aid // Deficit Cost Declines Give Obama Stimulus Clinton Couldn't Get // U.S. Should Put Growth Ahead of Deficit Cuts, Economists Say// Bernanke Faces Skepticism on Policy Tools // Consumer Spending in U.S. Tops Forecast, Incomes Lag // Stocks Fall on Income Data; Treasuries Gain
  • The Euro is now trading 7/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down nearly 1% and trading at $74.47/barrel. Gold is down slightly and silver down more than 1/10 of 1%. Base metals were not traded as UK markets were closed for Summer Bank Holiday. For this reason, there are no stockpile figures today, not will there be any update on the Baltic Dry Index, until tomorrow. Wall Street is lower as traders give back some of Friday's gain, in nervous anticipation of a big report week. Many of the previous reports have hinted at a bad July, and this week we begin to find out if those hints prove to be true. China released more nickel import figures. We already had that China imported 14,339 tonnes of refined nickel in July, compared to 12,619 tonnes in June. Now we know they imported 2,510,246 tonnes of nickel ore, compared to 2,246,464 tonnes in June. This compares to 2,108,078 tonnes in July of last year. Imports of nickel ore have increased consistently since February, and this months figure is the second highest ever. The earlier reports that pig nickel producers had shut down may have been exaggerated a tad, or China is busy stockpiling for the future. Hard to tell how nickel traders will greet this news tomorrow. Any increase of nickel imports into China, refined or ore, is typically greeted as welcome news by traders, but the Euro is getting beat up pretty bad today, so tomorrow's market is anyone's guess.  

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - not published today
  • Reuters Metals Insider - not published today

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Economists React: Spending Data Indicate Recovery ‘Slogging Through the Mud’ - more
  • Q&A: Bank of Israel’s Fischer Sees ‘No Magic Bullet’ for Recovery - more
  • NABE Survey: Most Economists Favor Extending Bush Tax Cuts - more
  • Economists Consider Asset Purchases By Central Banks - more
  • Employment During Recoveries from Recessions – Long Term Trends - more
  • Are Wall Street Analysts Contrary Indicators? - more
  • It’s Witch-Hunt Season - more
  • Housing Market: What's Ahead? - more

  Nickel Shows Marginal Improvement In August - The prices of Nickel only showed marginal improvement compared to peers that generated better returns in August. Markets saw lower offtake from the steel industry while production of steel showed constant improvement. - more

  Putin threatens to step in over Norilsk shareholder row - The Russian government will step in to the shareholder conflict at the country' top nickel producer, Norilsk Nickel, if the existing shareholders fail to resolve the company's management dispute, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Monday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel not trading today due to the London exchange being closed for Summer Bank Holiday in England. Markets will re-open tomorrow. The Euro is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% lower against the US Dollar this morning.  NYMEX crude oil is down 2/3 of 1% and trading at $74.67/barrel. Gold and silver are trading slightly higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up nearly 2%. The European markets that are open are trading slightly higher, while US futures show Wall Street might open lower. It will be a busy week on Wall Street report wise, with traders getting consumer confidence and Chicago PMI numbers on Tuesday. Construction spending, ISM Mfg index and motor vehicle sales numbers follow on Wednesday. On Thursday we get jobless numbers and factory orders, with August employment numbers out Friday.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Ed advises no report today
  • (CV) The domestic purchasing managers index (PMI) of steel rose 1.1 points month-on-month to 45.4 in July, reports yicai.com, citing Cai Jin, the vice director of China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing. Cai attributed the increase of steel prices to decreases in the production volume of crude steel instead of rising demand.
  • (OANA) PT Aneka Tambang Tbk. plans to conduct a maiden export of nickel ore to Greece next Monday, the company's external relations manager, Achmad Tamnang, said here on Friday.
  • (SPC) Chinese steel players became over enthusiastic as steel prices started to rise in mid July and remained bullish for 4 weeks. As a result many steel majors announced price hikes of up to CNY 1000 per tonne. But it appears that their hope is short lived as Chinese steel sector is burdened with a host of problems, which are exerting huge downward pressure on steel prices. Chinese governments drive to curb the growth has led to several changes in policy matters, which is bound to have negative effect in the steel demand growth in the country. This is coupled with overcapacity, huge inventory buildup and restricted exports.
  • (MF) U.S. ferrochrome prices held steady during the past week amid low activity levels. However, there are signs that the market is inching higher, sustained by hand-to-mouth buying by stainless mills, traders said.
  • (SO) Guangdong Province-based Chinese steelmaker Chengwei Stainless Steel Inc. (Chengwei Stainless Steel) signed an agreement with Wuxi Industrial Park in Luxi County, Hunan Province regarding the construction of a new 350,000 mt annual capacity stainless steel mill.
  • (SBB) Russian H1 stainless flats output up 79% year-on-year
  • Euro-zone PMI manufacturing for the month of August slowed to 55.0 from 56.7 the month prior amid economists’ expectations of 56.1, while the services index cooled to 55.6 from 55.8 in July, Markit Economics said today.
  • China's strength is now proving to be its weakness - more

  POSCO to raise stainless steel prices for September - South Korea's POSCO, the world's No.3 steelmaker, said on Friday it will raise prices of major stainless steel products by 5.9 percent for September to reflect rising raw material costs. - more

  Export tax on chrome up - Government has increased export tax on unprocessed chrome from 15 percent to 20 percent to encourage value addition on chrome ore and fines. - more

  Firm makes first nickel ore shipment from Dinagat Island - Oriental Vision Mining Philippines Corp., an associate of publicly listed NiHao Minerals International Corp., completed its first shipment of nickel ore last Aug. 9, the firm said in a statement yesterday. - more

  Posco Buys Daewoo International Stake for $2.8 Billion - Posco, the third-biggest steelmaker, agreed to buy control of Daewoo International Corp. for 3.37 trillion won ($2.8 billion) to expand its sales network and gain raw materials as prices climb. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, August 27

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 9 to 2,712. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Iron Ore Imports to Rise Next Quarter on Prices, Nippon Yusen Says // Chinese Steel Prices Post First Decline in Six Weeks on Slowdown Concerns // China Stocks Gain, Paring Weekly Decline; Drugmakers Climb, Shenhua Falls // Japan's Consumer Prices Slide, Adding to Risk of Slower Growth // Japan Prime Minister Kan Says Ready to Take `Bold' Action on Yen Strength // U.K. Economy Grows Most Since 2001 on Construction // European Sovereign Debt Risk Heads for Biggest Increase in at Least a Year // Four German States Say Inflation Slowed in August, After Fuel Prices Drop // Europe Has `Made It' Through Financial Crisis, Trade Chief De Gucht Says // European Stocks Gain on Stronger-Than-Forecast U.S. Growth; Vopak Rallies // Bernanke, Trichet Economic Paths May Diverge at Jackson Hole // U.S. Economy Grew a Revised 1.6% in Second Quarter // Bernanke Says Fed Will Do `All It Can' to Ensure U.S. Recovery // Intel Cuts Third-Quarter Sales, Gross Margin Forecast // Stocks Advance, Treasuries Retreat on Economy, Bernanke
  • The Euro is now trading over 1/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is up over 1% and trading at $74.13/barrel. Gold is down over 1/10 of 1% and silver is up over 1/3 of 1%. Base metals ended higher, after the GDP numbers did not come in as bad as economists feared and the market reacted with the knee jerk reaction we figured might happen yesterday. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher but was on a slide until the GDP numbers were announced, and then it was all gain from there. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $9.55/lb , about $.25/lb lower than last Friday. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouse fell overnight and now sit just under the 118,900 tonne level. This is the first loss in the last six trading sessions. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru Thursday (chart here). The first bit of US news broke early. The U.S. second quarter GDP numbers were revised down to 1.6% growth from 3.7% in the 1st. Economists had been forecasting a deeper cut, in the 1-1.5% range, so the numbers looked to be 'not as bad' as expected.  Immediately after the announcement, the Euro fell, equities jumped, even nickel spiked upwards. And as it stands now, the Euro has recovered, equities are still higher and nickel ended higher. (at least we don't have to say slightly now). Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke assured the markets the Fed was ready to take action to fight deflation. The mere fact Bernanke used the word "deflation" raised some eyebrows. Even bad news from Intel can't deflate the market today, which has seen the Dow up in the triple digits and the market is fighting to hold on to their gains.  We will see if they can pull it off after an otherwise, lousy week.
  • Have a good weekend - the fun starts again on Monday.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MySteel)  It is reported that stainless steel supply is found decreased in August 2010 in Zhejiang and Jiangsu Province with more and more mills join the club to cut or suspend operation.
  • Something Else for Government Bondholders To Worry About - more
  • For Workers Who Find Jobs, Lower Wages - more
  • Western and Southern European Debt, It’ll Get Worse Before It Get’s Better! - more
  • Slack Could Lead to Sharper Inflation Decline - more
  • Ins, Outs of Jackson Hole Fed Meeting - more
  • China and India: Those two big outliers - more
  • Welcome to CDO World! - more
  • This Is Not a Recovery - more

  Steel Price Volatility To Remain in the Short Term - Over the past twelve months, steel prices have remained volatile as instability in the world financial system negatively affected market sentiment. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb higher, but drifting lower, with most other base metals trading lower this morning. The Euro is currently trading slightly higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is trading over 2/10 of 1% higher and at $73.52/barrel. Gold and silver are both slightly higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended their Friday slightly higher, with China up 3/10 of 1%. European markets are slightly lower this morning, while US futures show Wall Street may open slightly higher. Nickel inventories fell slightly overnight. So far, it has been a morning of 'slight' movements as the world waits to see what the US GDP numbers will look like and what Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will say today.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals consolidate rally, range comfortably ahead of US economic inputs - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals rallied impressively on Thursday after stronger-than-expected initial claims data from the US managed to break the steady drip-feed of poor economic statistics that have been coming our way over the past week. However, although metals held their ground, a late-day fade set in over the energy and US equity markets, perhaps after inventors concluded that the initial claims number was simply not enough to significantly change the short-term outlook. In fact, the Kansas City regional Fed index seemed to confirm this view, with its index coming in at 0 for the past month, worse than the positive reading expected. Most markets -- including metals -- are treading water right now, as we wait for key numbers out later this morning. In this regard, in addition to Michigan consumer sentiment readings and revised US GDP numbers that are coming out for the second quarter, (expected at +1.4%), the markets will be glued to what Chairman Bernanke has to say about the economy at the Fed's annual retreat in Wyoming. Already, a growing number of pundits are urging the Fed to think more "outside the box" in an attempt to jump-start flagging growth, including expanding the central bank's balance sheet, buying private securities, and even charging banks to keep money on deposit with the Fed, thus forcing idle liquidity back into the economy. We will have to see what the Chairman has to say in this regard, but we suspect that many of these ideas will likely get a friendlier hearing in the weeks ahead if the economic data continues to deteriorate. In other markets, the dollar is holding at relatively unchanged levels of $1.27 against the Euro after weakening against it yesterday, while oil prices are flat as well. The US equity market is called to open slightly higher, but we do not expect to see much action in any of the markets until after the various numbers and the gist of Chairman Bernanke’s remarks are in. .... We are at $20,715 on nickel, up $265. Support at $20,200 is intact despite a one-day breach seen earlier in the week. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Victory West Moly Limited to Acquire a Majority Interest in Highly Prospective Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) Nickel Project in South Sulawesi - more
  • (China) Economy faces major challenges - most

  New Caledonia’s Koniambo nickel project on track for 2012 opening - The owners of New Caledonia’s Koniambo nickel project say the new plant is expected to be completed to start production in the first half of 2012. - more

  Ramu Nickel to appeal PNG injunction - The Chinese-owned company, Ramu Nickel, says it will urgently appeal to the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court after the National Court this week refused to lift an injunction stopping the construction of an off shore tailings disposal system. - more

  Domestic Production Of Nickels In Japan In First Half 2010 Increased From That In 2009 = Output Of Nickel Metal Increased By 50%, That Of Ferro-Nickel Also Increased By 25% - The quantities of nickels produced in Japan in the first half (January - June) of 2010 were known in last week. According to this report, in June of 2010, Japan produced <> nickel metal : 3,096 tons and ferro-nickel : 5,444 tons on Ni content base (corresponding to 26,342 tons on material base). - more

  POSCO to raise stainless steel prices for September - South Korea's POSCO, the world's No.3 steelmaker, said on Friday it will raise prices of major stainless steel products by 5.9 percent for September to reflect rising raw material costs. - more

  Taigang Stainless Posts First-Half Profit as Construction Demand Increases - Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Co., China’s biggest producer of the rust-proof metal, swung to a profit in the first half after demand recovered for building construction. - more

  Chinese Steel Prices Post First Decline in Six Weeks on Slowdown Concerns - Benchmark Chinese steel prices fell 1.9 percent this week, the first decline in six, as the government studied a property tax and economic concerns eroded purchases of the material used in houses and cars. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, August 26

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 70 to 2,703. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Philippine Growth Unexpectedly Quickens to Fastest Pace in Three Years // Official China Data Masks Surge in Housing, Food Prices // China's Stocks Climb; Coal Producers, Jiangxi Copper, Cosco Lead Advance // Ireland's `Vicious Circle' Leaves Banks Facing Higher Debt Cost // Consumer Confidence to Increase on Stronger Growth, Employment, GfK Says // Pakistan Orders 600,000 to Flee Homes as Floods Surge to Indus River Delta // European Stocks Rally From Five-Week Low; Credit Agricole, L'Oreal Climb // Capital Investment Slowdown in U.S. Signals Reluctance to Hire // Birinyi Cuts 2010 Forecast, Says Bull Market Intact // U.S. Jobless Claims Decline More Than Forecast // U.S. Stocks Fluctuate on Spain Budget Concerns, Jobless Claims
  • The Euro is trading 1/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is higher by 1-1/3% and trading at $73.47/barrel. Gold is nearly 3/10 of 1% lower, while silver is more than 1/2 of 1% higher. Base metals ended the session higher, after an initial higher opening forced some short covering later. INdicator charts show nickel had a up and down day, but by the end of the session, ended higher than it started. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.28/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses worldwide rose for a fifth straight session, and now show just shy of 119,000 tonnes, the highest reading since July 16th. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index fell for a second day dropping another 70 points. The employment report out of the US was a mixed bag today, with initial claims falling by 31,000 to 473,000 for last week, but the 4 week average, more closely watched by analysts, rising from 438,500 to 486,750. Tomorrow is a biggie, with second quarter GDP numbers to be issued. Analysts are forecasting a 1-1/2% increase, well off first quarter numbers. We tend to think they're being a little overly pessimistic, or maybe we should say, we hope they are. We are seeing the same slowdown everyone else is, but this didn't really seem to become unusual until mid-July or so, at least from what we saw. Whatever is announced, the market is wound up tighter than a rubber band and we could easily see a strong knee jerk reaction to whatever news comes out, more so on the positive side if the news is good, in our opinion. The Dow is lower at teh moment, but tomorrow could be interesting. Or not.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Yieh) According to the latest statistics, China’s nickel consumption slid in July in response to slowing stainless steel demand. Meanwhile, as stainless steel demand dropped, nickel price kept falling in China’s spot market.
  • (JMB) Japanese steel export decreased by 13.8% to 3.297 million tonnes in July from June, which was the first drop in 4 months, announced by Ministry of Finance on Wednesday.
  • (ATA) The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.5 percent in July, although June’s reduction was revised from 1.4 percent to 1.6 percent. The latest improvement raised the SA index from 108.3 (2000=100) in June to 110 in July.
  • (Interfax) Chinese steel mills are currently seeking to expand overseas in order to reduce the country's reliance on iron ore imports, creating a stir of panic among foreign enterprises operating in the sector, according to a number of recent state media reports.
  • (SO) The Russian Special Steel and Alloys Consumers and Suppliers Association (Spetsstal) has announced that that in the first half of 2010 Russia's output of stainless steel flat products grew by 78.9 percent year on year to 29,219 mt.
  • How An Even Slower Recovery Would Feel - more
  • Economists React: Weak Durable Goods, Weaker Housing - more
  • Q&A: Prospects for Manufacturing Growth - more
  • Fed’s Evans: Economy In ‘Extremely Modest’ Recovery - more

   China's metals imports going strong - It seems there is no end to China's appetite for metals. China's economic health is robust and it is continuing with the metal buying spree.  - more

  ThyssenKrupp's plants in Brazil and Alabama - ThyssenKrupp, Germany's biggest steelmaker, is ramping up production at its $12 billion plants in Brazil and the United States, underpinning its ambitious growth strategy in Europe and the NAFTA region. - more

  South Korea's Posco To Sign Deal - South Korea's state-run debt clearer said Thursday that it will sign a deal next week to sell a controlling stake in Daewoo International Corp. to POSCO, South Korea's leading steelmaker. - more

  Seasonal; Demand and Price Volatility Take Hold in Developing Markets - In the Russian Federation, domestic metallurgical plants have continued to operate at reduced capacity. Shipments to the construction and heavy manufacturing sectors have remained sluggish. - more

Our internet was out most of morning

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.16/lb higher, with all base metals trading higher this morning on the LME. The Euro is presently trading 1/5 of 1% higher against the US Dollar.  NYMEX crude is up nearly 9/10 of 1% and trading at $73.13/barrel. Gold is up over 1/10 of 1% and silver is up 9/10 of 1%. Asian markets ended quietly overnight, with China higher by 1/4 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures are slightly higher at the moment. Nickel inventories rose for a fifth straight session.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals check back at highs, still firmer after bargain-hunting bounce - more

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper prices hit a one-month low on Wednesday -- as did lead and nickel-- after a barrage of poor U.S. macro data kept the markets under pressure. In this regard, both July durable goods readings and new home sales came in substantially worse than expected. Of the two releases, the durable goods number was by far the more negative surprise, with orders increasing by a scant 0.3%, much less, than the 3.1% reading expected. However, in keeping with the volatile nature of this report, the July reading was revised higher to +0.1% from the prior estimate showing a 1.2% decline. Sales of new homes fell 12.4% in July from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 276,000, also well below estimates calling for a 334,000 rate. (Putting that number into some historical context, 600,000 new homes were sold in an average year from 1983 through 2007). Despite the poor readings, markets did stage a rather impressive short-covering rally by the close of the US session. In yesterday's note, we alluded to the fact that both energy and US equities were severely oversold, but metals less so, so it makes sense that these two complexes did in fact end up in the black, while metals simply pared its losses by the close. However, metals are catching up today, with good gains seen across the board, particularly in copper, zinc, and lead, the three metals that saw the heaviest selling this week. Oil prices are up as well, and US equities are called to open higher after decent showing's in Europe and Asia. Today’s trading should be dominated by macro releases out of the US, with weekly initial claims figuring most prominently. Readers may recall that last week's 500,000-claim uptick roiled the markets, but that figure may have perhaps been exaggerated by the large number of claimants filing for benefits that were temporarily suspended, but later reinstated by Congress. We will have to wait and see how this week's numbers play out, (expected at 485,000), but we suspect that an in-line or a better-than-expected figure will likely help yesterday’s modest short-covering rally gain further traction..... We are at $20,325 on nickel, up $235. Support at $20,200 gave way yesterday on a closing basis and so we need to close above this level today to confirm that this short-term bottom is still in place. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, August 25

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 88 to 2,773. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Commodities Set to Advance, World Needs Higher Interest Rates, Rogers Says // Yuan Little Changed on Concern China Will Slow Appreciation on U.S. Slump // China Stocks Drop on Global Growth Concerns; Jiangxi Copper, Shenhua Fall // BHP's Second-Half Profit Doubles on Metal Price Gains // Asian Stocks Drop for Fifth Day // German Business Confidence Unexpectedly Increases // German 10-Year Bond Yield Near Record Low After Ireland Debt Downgraded // Putin Selling Shortest-Term Debt Since '03 as CPI Increases: Russia Credit // European Stocks Drop for Second Day on U.S. Economic Data; Tullow Falls // Lack of Jobs, Foreclosures May Keep U.S. Housing Depressed // Sales of U.S. New Homes Dropped to Record Low in July // U.S. Durable Goods Orders Show Sign of Cooling Economy // O'Neill Says `Disappointing' U.S. Data May Spur New Fed Easing
  • The Euro is now trading over 1/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down 3/10 of 1% and trading at $71.42/barrel. Gold is up 3/4 of 15 and silver is over 2-1/2% higher. Base metals ended lower, but off earlier lows, in most cases. Indicator charts show nickel fell hard in the morning, but spent most of the afternoon in choppy trading that went no where fast. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.11/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose to above the 118,300 tonne level after Rotterdam registered a huge inflow. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel's most recent pricing slump (chart here). European stainless steel producers are reporting September stainless steel surcharges are up slightly, and the whole surcharge situation usually gets thrown into discussions, when surcharges happen to rise as nickel prices are falling, as they are now. US producers have an even more difficult time as they will be announcing October surcharges next week. The Baltic Dry Index took a surprising dip, falling 88 points. With the barrage of negative news around, this has been a sole beacon of hope for some of us, and we can't afford to see it turn negative for very long. US reports were not good again today. Sales of new homes in the United States fell to an all-time record low in July, and US durable goods squeaked out a slight gain, thanks mostly to orders for airplanes.  The Dow is presently trading under the psychologically important 10,000 level, but fighting to get back.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Fed’s Evans: Economy In ‘Extremely Modest’ Recovery - more
  • Q&A: Prospects for Manufacturing Growth - more
  • MBA: Mortgage refinance activity increases, Purchase activity flat - more

  Steel glut to hit demand for raw materials - BHP - BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, on Wednesday signalled a looming slowdown in global steel-making raw materials markets due to overproduction of steel. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.22/lb lower, with other base metals also trading lower. The Euro is trading less than 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down slightly and trading at $71.59/barrel. Gold is up 1/4 of 1% and silver is higher by 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China down 2-1/3%. European markets are trading lower this morning, and US futures show Wall Street could open bearishly. Nickel inventories rose sharply overnight.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals stumble as risk aversion returns; eye US data - more
  • Reuters - Economic, demand uncertainty weighs on copper - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper prices tumbled to their lowest level in nearly a month on Tuesday, as a sharp sell-off in equity markets-- triggered in part by abysmal July existing home sales readings out of the US-- took a toll on both metals and a number of other markets as well. Only the "safe-haven" complexes survived Tuesday’s sell-off, with gold, the dollar, and treasuries all doing better. Metal prices were already struggling earlier in the day, but took a turn for the worse after housing sales dropped by their steepest monthly amount on record -- off by some 27% -- and substantially more than the 12% decline expected. Inventories of unsold homes also rose. Much of the sales decrease was attributable to the end of tax-credits for homebuyers, but investors were in no mood to parse the numbers, with the Dow losing about 60 points in a matter of seconds after the release. There were a few attempts to recover over the course of the day in several markets, but none of these amounted to anything. Right now, we seem to be fading once again in metals after holding ground in earlier trading. The dollar is slightly stronger and is trying again to take out the $1.26 level against the Euro after briefly doing so yesterday. Crude oil markets are down again today after falling for five days in a row, and US stocks are called to open lower. We should note that several markets-- among them crude oil, gasoline, and the S&P 500 --are all now quite oversold, with their RSI's ranging from the mid-20's to the low 30's. (Metals are not on the list, with their RSI's in the 40 range, and still in fairly neutral territory). Having said that, we would rather not pile in on the short side at this late stage, as the mood is getting too bearish, too quickly for our liking. Moreover, with conventional thinking now coalescing around the perception that the remainder of this week’s macro numbers will all be terrible, the stage could be set for a reversal. Indeed, an upside surprise in durable goods orders, (out later today and expected at 3.1%), or more importantly, the initial claims reading, (out Thursday and expected at 485,000), could trigger a substantial short-covering rally. In addition, many markets are approaching key support levels, with copper closing in on $7050, and likewise, ali, zinc, and lead, are all close to chart support. ...  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (MFG) BHP Billiton said the markets could be in store for a looming slowdown in global steel-making raw materials markets due to overproduction of steel. "With global steel production running ahead of real demand in the quarter ended June 2010, we expect output to soften from the record highs achieved in April this year," BHP said. "This will impact near-term demand for steel-making raw materials, however the fundamentals remain strong in those commodities, particularly iron ore, where there is a lack of low cost supply response expected over the next one to two years," the company said.
  • (Dow Jones) Nickel's fundamentals should continue to improve in the second half of 2010, driven in part by the recovery in the stainless steel markets, but price volatility is likely to remain given the ongoing macroeconomic concerns, the chief executive of Talvivaara Mining Company PLC said Wednesday.
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s China Steel Corp.will announce new domestic price for October and November shipments today after finished meeting with steel participants yesterday.
  • (Yieh) China’s largest steelmaker, Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel, said it will keep the domestic stainless list prices unchanged for the second week as nickel prices dropped and keeps falling.
  • Repairing steel demand - more
  • Jim Rogers: Another financial collapse could lead to a commodity boom - more
  • Hope for nickel prospects on the east coast - more

  World Output Of Ferro-Chrome In First Half 2010 Increased By 82% From That In Same Period 2009 = Data Compiled By ICDA, The Production In Southern Africa Had A Remarkable Increase Of 2.5 Times - According to the statistics compiled and released in this week by ICDA (International Chrome Development Association), the total quantity of all grades of ferro-chrome produced in the world in the first half (January - June) of 2010 came up to 4,660,746 tons, having had a considerable increase of 82.5% compared with that (2,554,063 tons) in the same period of 2009 - more

  MCC delays Ramu nickel mine startup to year end - Production at Metallurgical Corp of China Ltd's (MCC) Ramu nickel mine in Papua New Guinea is likely to be delayed to the end of the year, six months later than previously scheduled, a senior executive said on Wednesday. - more

  UK firm eyes deals to revive Berong mine - London-based Toledo Mining Corp. Plc. has been bleeding pounds since the suspension of its Berong nickel project. Now, it is pursuing various deals to revive its flagship project in Palawan. - more

  EU Mill Profit Margins to Remain Low in the Short Term - The conversion margin between raw material expenditure and steel prices climbed steadily during 2009 from the low point early in that year. - more

  BHP outlook for commodities mixed - BHP Billiton said today the short-term outlook for commodities is mixed, with the miner favouring copper over steel. - more

  Mining company Vale overtakes Petrobras to become Brazil’s biggest exporter - Brazilian mining company Vale has overtaken oil company Petrobras to become Brazil’s biggest export company, according to figures published in Brasilia by the Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Ministry. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, August 24

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  plus 20 to 2,861. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Asia, U.S. Slowdown to Seriously Affect Europe, EU Economy Chief Rehn Says // Australian Lawmakers Gather to Debate New Government Makeup // Kan Says Yen Moves `Undesirable' as Union Urges G-7 Action to Curb Rise // Yen Advances to Eight-Year High Versus Euro Amid Global Slowdown Concerns // Japan's Stocks Tumble as Nikkei Enters Bear Market on U.S. Concerns, Yen // China Stocks Rise on Rate Outlook, Led by Vanke, Baoshan; B Shares Rally //  European Banks May Face More Frequent Stress Tests to Bolster Confidence // Exports, Investment Helped Fuel Record Economic Growth in Second Quarter // European Stocks, U.S. Futures Retreat; Rio Tinto, CRH Fall // Citigroup Consumer Unit's Overhaul Said to Spur Overdue Loans // U.S. Existing Home Sales Plummet // U.S. Stocks Slump, Treasuries Rally on Homes Sales Report
  • The Euro is trading over 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, erasing earlier losses o a dismal US existing home sales report. NYMEX crude oil is down over 1/7% and trading at $71.85/barrel. Gold is up over 1/3 of 1% on safe haven buying, while silver is up nearly 2-1/2%. Base metals ended the session lower, with the rising Euro coming to late in the session to offset slowdown concerns. Indicator charts show nickel opened d lower and crept slowly lower for the entire session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.34/lb . Stockpiles of nickel rose for a third consecutive time overnight, and now sit just over the 117,500 tonne mark. This would actually put the total at 12 tonnes over the level it ended July at. Most of the gain can be credited to a very large shipment into the new LME warehouse at Hull, in the UK. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index gained another 20 points overnight, and now stands at 2,861. According to one freight analyst, the BDI is coming off its best two week gain in over a year, thanks mainly to a ban of iron ore from certain areas of India into China, that has forced China to import more iron ore from Brazil and Australia, which involves shipping. US markets woke up in a crabby mood this morning and the US exiting home sales report, showing sales fell the most in history, did little to calm nerves. MarketWatch carried the headline". Treasury sells $37 billion in 2-year debt at 0.498%" which would be a new record low yield. Not exactly the kind of records you want to see broken in a recovery. Economists were not pleased with the report. Nigel Gault of IHS Global Insight stated "The most worrying feature of the recent housing data is the absence of evidence of any underlying improvement in sales. All of the action earlier this year appears to have been driven by the tax credit." Steve Blitz with Majestic Research noted "The most distressing aspect of today’s data is the uptick in the inventory of existing homes for sale." Paul Dales of Capital Economics was downright gloomy "Home sales were eye-wateringly weak in July and suggest that the double-dip in house prices that we warned about at the start of the year is just around the corner.... Overall, it is becoming abundantly clear that the housing market is undermining the already faltering wider economic recovery. With the increasingly inevitable double-dip in prices yet to come, things could yet get a lot worse."

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (SMH) The Lounge Lizard nickel project in the Forrestania region of Western Australia, which produced first ore in January, is expected to contribute about 2,000 tonnes of nickel production in 2010/11.
  • (Commodore Research) In last week’s report we continued to highlight the iron ore export ban in Karnataka India and firm Chinese iron ore demand. Chinese iron ore demand has remained firm and the ongoing ore export ban continues to result in China importing a large portion of its iron ore from Brazil and Australia. .... has caused capesize freight rates to increase dramatically during the last few weeks.
  • (Scott Burk) The BDI had its largest 2-week gain in 14 months as rates were stronger across all drybulk segments.
  • Foreign Retailers Fuel China’s Export Machine - more
  • Mortgage Refi Madness Packs Less Kick Than In The Past - more
  • Fed’s Hoenig: Too-Big-To-Fail Policies Disadvantage Community Banks - more
  • Will the Next Generation be Better off Than Their Parents’ Generation? Becker - more
  • Celebs’ & Billionaires’ Economic Warnings? - more
  • Household Debt as a Percent of Disposable Income - more
  • Summer Rerun: CDOs: The Ticking Time Bomb - more
  • Epic traffic jam in China leaves drivers stuck for 9 days - more
  • WWIII ahead: Warfare defining human life by 2020 - more

  Belvedere Makes First Shipment of Nickel Concentrate - Belvedere Resources Ltd. is pleased to announce that the "Baltic Sea" left Kokkola Port in Finland, for China on Saturday, carrying the first 1000 tonnes of nickel concentrate from the newly re-commissioned Hitura Nickel Mine on board - more

  ThyssenKrupp to Supply Stainless for Sowwah Square Project in Abu Dhabi - Until recently Sowwah Island was just a lonely patch of desert in the Persian Gulf. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.22/lb lower, with all London traded base metals in the red this morning.  The Euro is trading over 1/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is down 1/2% and trading at $72.24/barrel. Gold is down 1%, as is silver. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower with China closing over 1/2 of 1% higher. European markets are trading lower this morning, and US futures show Wall Street may open lower. Nickle inventories took a big jump higher overnight.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals slide further on stronger dollar, economic woes - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals ended mixed in very quiet trading yesterday, with copper and ali unchanged, while the rest of the group finished with modest losses. A better tone evident earlier in the day faded after US equity markets stumbled yet again, while further strength in the dollar also contributed to the lackluster finish. In addition, metals never managed to shake off the weak European manufacturing and purchasing data, which we referenced in yesterday's commentary. The early action in commodities so far today is not boding well for the bulls either; metals are lower, with weakness especially apparent in copper and zinc, while crude oil prices are down for a fifth straight session, as prices close in on $70 support. The dollar is up against the Euro, now trading at $1.26 and at a six-week high, while the yen, another “flight-to-safety” currency, has soared to a fifteen-year peak. Weaker global stock markets are behind the negative tone today, as European stocks tumbled to a 5-week low, with construction and cement shares taking a particular pounding after Irish building supplies major CRH warned core earnings could fall 10% this year. The Nikkei also hit a 15-month closing low on concern about the soaring yen. Here in the US, Dow futures are called to open 70 points lower with the S&P expected to fall 8 points. Things may stabilize later in the day depending on what July existing home sales data show, but we are not holding our breath, as estimates are calling for a 4.72 million unit annualized number, already about 12% lower than the previous month. Signs of uncertainly abound, even at the Fed, where the Wall Street Journal reported today that at least seven of the 17 top Federal Reserve officials at the bank’s August meeting expressed reservations about the decision to buy more Treasuries in an effort to get more money into the system and jump-start lending. At the end of an extended debate, Mr. Bernanke settled the issue by pushing successfully to proceed with the move in what was described by the Journal as “among the most contentious [meetings] in Ben Bernanke's four-and-a-half year tenure as central bank chairman”. We suspect that we will see further downside in a number of commodity markets over the balance of the week, as light volume will likely exaggerate the impact of any selling. The only relief we see for the beleaguered bulls, is if some of the US data out this week surprises to the upside and triggers a short-covering bounce, similar to the impact the unexpected rise in industrial production readings had last week.  ... We are at $20,790 on nickel, down $410; charts suggest that we are on track to dip to the low $20,000 mark.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) According to the statistics from the Japan Iron & Steel Federation (JISF), Japan produced 7.09 million tons of pig iron in this July, up by 24.6 percent on last year. The statistics also showed that the Japanese crude steel output totaled 9.22 million tons in this July, down by 1.4 percent on this June.
  • (Interfax) China's refined lead, zinc, tin and nickel imports all dropped on an annual basis in the first seven months of 2010, according to Aug. 23 figures from the General Administration of Customs (GAC).
  • (MFG) POSCO plans to keep stainless steel production at full capacity in September as demand remains strong despite concerns of a potential slowdown, an executive heading the stainless steel operation told Reuters on Monday. "There are concerns of a demand slowdown due to the uncertain economic outlook but so far demand remains strong across all our major markets and prices are also holding firm," he said. At full capacity, POSCO produces 143,000 tons of stainless.
  • (MF) According to sources, an annual capacity of 100,000 tons ferrochrome project was launched in Gansu province recently. It is owned by Hongdian Ferroalloys Co., Ltd.
  • SAfrica miners to vote on Rio Tinto-BHP jv strike - more
  • Chicago Fed National Activity Index Improves in July - more
  • U.S. Economy Enters 'Slow Growth Mode' - more
  • This Is Why There Are No Jobs in America  - more
  • If the economic road is so bumpy, why are all those trucks on the move? - more

  Total Quantity Of Moly Produced By Main Mines / Western World In First Half 2010 Increased By 15% = Exceeded The Scale Produced In Same Period 2008 - The quantities (on Mo content base) of molybdenum in molybdenum concentrates produced by main molybdenum mines in the western world in the first half (January - June) of 2010 were as per the table attached hereto. - more

  Korea Resources Sells Part of its Madagascar Nickel Mine For $140 Million - Korea Resources Corp., a state- run resources explorer, will sell part of its stake in a nickel mine in Madagascar to Korean companies for $140 million to raise cash for future mining projects abroad. - more

  LME Calls Minor Metals Launch ‘Encouraging’  - Cobalt and molybdenum trading have made “an encouraging start” in the six months since it was launched on the London Metal Exchange on Feb. 22, exchange officials said Monday. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending August 21, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,730,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 71.5 percent. Production was 1,381,000 tons in the week ending August 21, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 57.7 percent. The current week production represents a 25.3 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending August 21, 2010 is up 2.4 percent from the previous week ending August 14, 2010 when production was 1,689,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 69.8 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, August 23

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 85 to 2,841. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Thailand's Economy Expands More Than Estimated as Exports Counter Turmoil // Yuan Declines Most in a Week on Speculation Gains to Slow on European Woes // Most Asian Stocks Fall Amid Economic Growth Concerns; Utilities Advance // U.K. Economy Set to Take a Pounding as Traders Turn Bearish // U.K. Consumer Finance, Business Confidence Show Evidence Recovery Waning // Chilean Miners Face Four Months Underground as Rescuers Drill Escape Hole // European Confidence Unexpectedly Improves After Second-Quarter Expansion // European Stocks Advance; Old Mutual Rallies on Nedbank Talks // Housing Slide in U.S. Threatens to Drag Economy Into Recession // Bernanke Must Raise Benchmark Rate 2 Points, Rajan Says // Investors Shake Up Fund Industry With Record Bond Love Affair // Catastrophe Bonds Rally as `Dire Predictions' for Storms Are Scaled Back // Stocks Fluctuate as Economy Concerns Offset Takeover Optimism
  • The Euro is now trading 1/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is over 1.2% lower and trading at $72.93/barrel. Gold is off nearly 2/10 of 1% while silver has turned slightly higher. Base metals ended the day mixed, and for the most part, very quiet. Indicator charts show nickel fell early and spent the afternoon doing nothing. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.62/lb , the lowest close for August, but still higher than any closing price in July. Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose over the weekend and now sit just over the 116,500 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows a nickel market going no where fast (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index continues to rise, up another 85 points today. Two big mining stories in the media over the last few days, neither of which affects our industry. BHP's offer for Potash of Canada has turned hostile after the latter rejected the former's offer. And in Chile, 33 miners, trapped underground for 17 days, have gotten word to rescuers that they are alive and well in a safe room. Rescuers predict it will be another 2-3 months before they can actually free them from the mine.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) The LME launched cobalt and molybdenum futures contracts Feb. 22. Since then ..... 321 lots of molybdenum have been traded, equivalent to 1,926 tons and $69 million.
  • (NIST) Stainless Steel Imports up 60% Through May 2010
  • July Unemployment Rates, by State: Uneven Progress - more
  • (CD) More than half of China's existing residential structures will need to be demolished and rebuilt in the coming 20 years, according to a senior researcher from the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, a claim that has sparked fresh questions about the short lifespan of Chinese buildings.
  • Bankruptcy and the Crisis: Why so Few? - more
  • Is U.S. Manufacturing Disappearing? - more
  • U.S. Debt: An Expensive Habit - more
  • The Importance of Mortgage Rates  - more
  • Now That’s Rich - more

  Bad weather delays Putin Norilsk visit - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's plane was diverted from the airport of the Arctic town of Norilsk to another town of Khatanga on Monday because of bad weather, his spokesman said on Monday. - more

  MEPS Forecasts Global Crude Steel Production To Exceed 1.6 Billion Tonnes in 2014 - Despite the difficulties brought about by the economic crisis which commenced in late 2008 and extended throughout much of last year, global iron and steel production will be at “all-time” high tonnages in 2010. - more

  China July iron ore imports from India dip 21 pct - Imports of iron ore from India plummeted for a second straight month, falling 21 percent in July to 6.547 million tonnes with heavy monsoons disrupting transport, customs data showed on Monday. - more

  Rizhao Steel to file suit against Australian iron ore company - Rizhao Steel Holding Group said Friday it would file a lawsuit against Australian iron ore company Mount Gibson, after being ordered by an arbitrator to compensate the miner for breach of contract. - more

  Swaps edge lower on doubts over recent spot rally - Forward iron ore swaps are trending lower with investors unsure whether an 8 percent rally in spot prices this month can be sustained. - more

  Analysts predict of more than $US12 billion 2010 profit for BHP, cites bulk commodities for the whopping figures - A mixture of local and foreign resource analysts said on Monday that giant mining firm BHP Billiton Ltd is set to report a full year profit of $US12.6 billion once the company's results are made public on Wednesday this week. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.12/lb lower, with other base metals trading in London mixed and quiet. The US Dollar and Euro are trading quietly with the Euro having a tiny advantage at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is up 3/4 of 1% and trading at $74.37/barrel. Gold is trading slightly lower, while silver is down 1/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower , with China of less than 1/10 of 1%. Australian markets ended slightly lower on election results that showed no clear winner. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street should open higher. Nickel inventories rose over the weekend.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals trade sideways as complex consolidates - more

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Morning Montra - pdf here
  • Metals & Energy - pdf here
  • Market Drivers - pdf here
  • Metals Insight - pdf here
  • SSINA Releases Market Data for May 2010 - pdf here
  • BMO The Goods - pdf here
  • IMF Commodity Markets Review - pdf here
  • July 2010 World Crude Steel Production - more
  • Weekly Scoreboard - pdf here
  • Robry Weekly Economic Assessment - more
  • SMM Nickel Price Forecast - more
  • ThyssenKrupp Nirosta Sept SS surcharge - here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Although there were no US macro reports to speak of on Friday, the overhang of disappointing numbers from earlier in the week continued to weigh on the markets. As a result, metals joined both energy and US equity markets to finish the week on a down note. The dollar was another source of pressure, rising against the Euro, and bid higher on flight to safety reasons. The metal markets are mixed as of this writing, and most are fluctuating within very tight trading ranges in very quiet conditions. We do not think this will change over the course of the day, as there are no major macro releases out of the US at least through mid-week, at which point the markets will have something to chew on. In this regard, we get July existing home sales out on Tuesday (expected up 4.7 5 million units annualized), while Wednesday brings us July durable goods orders (expected at 3.1%). July new home sales data comes out Thursday (expected at 330,000 units annualized), as does weekly initial claims data (expected at 485,000). Readers remember that last week's initial claims data unexpectedly hit the key 500,000 mark, pummeling a number of markets in the process, and so this week's figure will likely assume additional importance. Finally, on Friday, we get a second estimate of second-quarter GDP (now expected to come in at 1.4%, downwardly revised from last month's 2.4% reading). University of Michigan sentiment numbers also come out Friday (expected at 69.4, and only slightly lower from last month's 69.6 reading). .... We are at $21,225 on nickel, down $325, and about where we were at this time on Friday. There is modest support at current levels, but despite that, we are looking for more weakness ahead. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Bloomberg) World nickel production will expand a record 13 per cent to 1.575 million metric tonnes next year, led by supply from Brazil’s Vale SA, Macquarie Bank said in a report dated on Monday.
  • (Dow Jones) Jinchuan Group Co. has lowered its refined nickel price for the first time since early June by CNY4,000 ($588) to CNY167,000 a metric ton effective Monday, the company said on its website.
  • (JMB) Japan Major 5 Steels' Raw Steel Output Rises by 21.7% in July
  • (JMB) Sumitomo Metal Mining Expands Coral Bay Nickel Capacity by 10%
  • Benefit From The Rise Of Nickel With These ETFs And Mining Stocks - more
  • Inflation, not deflation, Mr. Bernanke - more

  Nickel prices could drop in the short-term, believes Tom Price, global commodity analyst at UBS. He shares his outlook and trading strategy for the metal, with CNBC's Oriel Morrison. - video here

  POSCO says to keep stainless output at full capacity - POSCO plans to keep stainless steel production at full capacity in September as demand remains strong despite concerns of a potential slowdown on a weak global economy, an executive said on Monday. - more

  China continues to be net exporter of molybdenum - According to the customs statistics released in China, the quantities of molybdenum exported and imported by China in June 2010 were exports: 2.62 million pounds and imports: 2.13 million pounds. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 17th August 2010 = Actions To Screen Facilities Are Permeating In China, Prices Of Ferro-Alloys In China Are Being Sustained - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 17th August of 2010 is as follows  - more

  Lawyer, Govt clash on mine - Mining Minister John Pundari and landowners’ lawyer Tiffany Nonggorr have clashed over the proposed deep sea tailings placement issue with the Ramu nickel mine in Madang. - more

  A case of overproduction for iron ore - There could well be a bit of a celebration today in the share prices of the iron ore producers and developers on the basis that should Tony Abbott's Coalition end up in power, there will be no mining tax. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, August 20

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 112 to 2,756. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Gold Stocks to Extend Rally on Inflation Outlook, Central China Says // Taiwan Grew Faster-Than-Expected as Exports Weathered Risks // China Stocks Fall, Paring Weekly Gain, as Developers Decline on Inflation // Asian Stocks Slump as Demand Concern Drags Sharp, Toyota Lower // HSBC Sees `Decent' Chance for Global Stock Market Rally in Fourth Quarter // Euro Founding Father Works for Free Rescuing Greeks // European Stocks Decline for Second Week, Led by Xstrata, Kazakhmys as Metals Fall // Crude Oil Declines to Six-Week Low Amid Signs U.S. Recovery Is Faltering // Pension Cuts Won't Cover U.S. Taxpayers' $3 Trillion Bill, Professor Says // Payrolls Increase in 37 U.S. States, Led by Michigan // Billionaire Kenneth Fisher Recommends Buying Equities as Pessimism Surges //
  • The Euro is now trading over 9/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is still trading down in the 1-1/2% lower range and trading at $73.28/barrel. Gold is off 1/3 of 1% and silver is nearly 1/9% lower. Base metals ended the session lower, but off early morning lows. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, fell thru the morning, but crawled back during the afternoon. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.75/lb . Last Friday it closed at $9.64/lb. Inventories of nickel took an unexpected turn overnight and gained, with two large inbound shipments overshadowing a nearly dried up outbound market. Total nickel stockpiles now read just under the 116,400 tonne level. Cancelled warrants had slumped hard the last two days, but picked back up today. With the Euro getting beat up and equity markets in a sour mood, today's stockpile gain was salt in the wound for nickel traders, but the market remained calm, albeit bearish. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel getting hammered yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index continues to gain ground, adding another 112 points to 2,756. The Chinese stainless steel index we follow continues to tick higher, albeit slowly. The increase we saw this week can not be justified in the price of nickel, so we are curious if this implies China is seeing an uptick in demand. We are not seeing any evidence of this in China media, or in the Chinese current price of ferrochrome and molybdenum, but our interest is perked. In the mean time, it is Friday. So far today, Wall Street had been in a fairly bearish mood, and has crawled back from an earlier triple digit loss, but there is always that last half hour swing that leaves the day up for grabs. Have a safe and restful weekend and we hope to see you back on Monday, when we start it all over again.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Global crude steel output in July rose 9.6% on the year but total output remained lower than July 2008 levels before the effects of the economic slowdown hit production, the World Steel Association said Friday.
  • Fed’s Bullard: No Tax Increase Now, Labor Reallocation Is Key - more
  • Much of Indian ‘Middle Class’ Is Almost Poor - more
  • Economists React: Jobless Claims Cast Doubt on Recovery - more
  • Could Millions of Homes Be Foreclosure Proof? - more
  • Appeasing the Bond Gods - more

  India wants to discourage iron ore exports: Junior steel min - The government wants to discourage iron ore exports to conserve the resource for local use, Junior Steel Minister A. Sai Prathap said on Thursday. - more

  Tata Steel to set up industrial park in Orissa - After a gap of one-and-a-half decades, Tata Steel is set to build an industrial park on 3,200 acre acquired earlier by it to set up a mega steel mill at Gopalpur in Orissa's Ganjam district. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.06/lb lower, with all London traded base metals lower in morning trading. The Euro is trading over 8/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down 1/3% and trading at $73.46/barrel. Gold is down more than 1/10 of 1% and silver is off 7/10 of 1%. Asian markets ended lower in overnight trading, with China off nearly 2%. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures show Wall Street may open in an equally bearish mood. Nickel inventories rose overnight.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals sink as sentiment sours; profits booked ahead of weekend - more
  • Reuters - Copper slides as US data hurts demand outlook - more
  • Fairfax Market Report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices reversed course yesterday, with copper falling from a two-week high, as poor economic data weighed on sentiment. In fact, even measured by the subpar nature of the macro numbers we have been seeing in recent weeks, Thursday's batch of US figures were particularly disappointing. The day started off with the weekly initial claims report, which showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment jumping to 500,000 last week, up from an upwardly revised 488,000 for the previous week, and well ahead of the 470,000 consensus forecast. More ominously, the figure brings the claims reading to its highest level since November. Later in the day, a Fed reading of manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region slumped to a 13-month low, coming in at -7.7 when expectations were calling for a positive 7.5 number. Lastly, the index of leading economic indicators increased by .1% in July, less than the .2% increase expected; although the miss here was not that significant, this indicator does not carry relative weight in the general scheme of things. Other markets took the releases hard as well, with oil prices giving up about a $1/brl on the day, while natural gas fell to three-month low at one point before recovering by the close. US equity markets also dropped, with the Dow off by some 200 points before paring some of its losses by the close. We are lower once again this morning, with crude oil prices off by another $1/brl, while metals are down as well, despite declines seen in LME and Shanghai copper stocks. (See our table). The dollar has surged, reclaiming its flight to safety status and is now trading at just under $1.27, as has gold, which is at a seven-week high. US stocks are called to open modestly lower, ignoring decent earnings reports out overnight from the likes of Hewlett Packard and Dell. .... We are at $21,350 on nickel, down $450. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) According to Swiss Bank, the consumption of nickel could drop sharply by around 23 percent by the end of 2010 due to slack stainless steel market.
  • (Interfax) Iron ore stockpiles at China's 22 major ports fell by 3.47 percent from Aug. 13 to 71.41 million tons on Aug. 20, including 16 million tons of Indian iron ore stockpiles which are down 5.21 percent, according to Shanghai-based Mysteel Information's Aug. 20 figures.
  • (Fairfax) China's largest nickel producer, Jinchuan Group is expected to lose between10,000-20,000 tonnes of output due to furnace repairs. Operations are to resume in September nearly a month ahead of Schedule according to news reports.
  • (AMM) Nickel premiums sink in sluggish market
  • (SBB) Macquarie says nickel market in deficit, INSG sees surplus
  • (Kyodo) Japan's July crude steel output up 20% on year, down 1% on month
  • (Xinhua) China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) forecast the steel prices to fluctuate by small margins in the third quarter, while nonferrous metals to largely maintain the current prices.
  • (Reuters) Growth in orders for Taiwan's exports slowed more than expected in July, pulled down by sharp falls in orders from China and Europe and pointing to a slowdown ahead for Asia's big exporting economies as demand falters.
  • (SCD) China's largest steelmaker by output, Hebei Iron and Steel Group, is reportedly talking with Australia's Sundance for potential co-operation on the Mbalam project in West Africa.
  • (SO) On August 18, northern Chinese steelmaker Taiyuan Iron and Steel Group, the world's largest stainless steel producer, signed a contract with China Nonferrous Metal Mining (Group) Co., Ltd to develop a nickel mine in Tatkon, Myanmar.

  Japan steel output down for 2nd month, pickup seen - Japanese steel output fell for the second month in a row in July as producers cut back during slack seasonal demand although a pickup is seen later this year as analysts expect top export market China to restock. - more

  Slowdown to shackle industrial commodities in H2 - Industrial commodities face an uphill struggle over coming months as economic growth slows, but the price collapse seen in the last quarter of 2008 is unlikely. - more

  Ansteel may postpone US plant investment - Angang Steel Co (Angang) said Thursday that its parent, Anshan Iron and Steel Group (Ansteel), may postpone plans to invest in a US steel plant because of objections from US lawmakers, Reuters reported. - more

  • U.S. lawmakers cheer as China steel firm backs out - Lawmakers from U.S. steel-producing states on Thursday cheered a decision by Chinese steel company Anshan Iron & Steel Group to back off plans to invest in a U.S. steel plant. - more

  Russian court to hear RusAl suit against Norilsk Nickel AGM votes on Sept 16 - A Siberian arbitration court has set a preliminary hearing date of September 16 for a suit from the world's largest aluminum producer RusAl over the failure of Russia's top nickel producer Norilsk Nickel to provide annual shareholders' meeting vote results, a court official said on Friday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, August 19

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 86 to 2,644. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Taiwan's Economy Grows 12.5%, Exceeding Estimate, May Prompt Rate Increase // BHP's $45 Billion Debt Commitment `Tests' Limits of Rally: Credit Markets // Bank of Japan Said to Be Still Assessing Economic Impact of Stronger Yen  // China Stocks Rise as Gold, Coal Producers Rally as Hedge Against Inflation // BP Countersued by Commodities Trading Head Who Claims Wrongful Dismissal // No Fear of Inflation in Germany as 30-Year Yield Drops Below 3% // German Bond Yield Reaches Record Low on Concern Economy Slowing // European Stocks Decline on Concern About U.S. Economy; Holcim Shares Slide // Asian Computer Shipments Signal Extended Consumer Spending Slump in U.S. // Sears Says Quarterly Loss Narrowed After Year-Earlier Costs // Jobless Claims in U.S. Rose to Highest Since November // Stocks Retreat, Treasuries Gain on Recovery Concerns; Oil Drops
  • The Euro is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down over 1-1/2% and at $74.25/barrel. Gold is up 1/4 of 1% and silver is off 1/3%. Except for tin, base metals ended their session lower. Indicator charts show nickel made an early morning bull run, but before US markets opened, nickel started to drop. With the poor data that followed from US reports, nickel continued its decline. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.88/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell overnight and now sit just under the 115,700 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here).  The Baltic Dry Index continues to hum along, gaining another 86 points overnight to read 2,644. The Chinese stainless steel index made an unusual jump overnight and it will be interesting to see what it means, if anything, or if it is a mistake. After jumping to 106.25 on August 11th, thanks to the jump in nickel, the index had cooled back to 104.82 all this week, when it jumped back up to 105.49 today. Curious activity that may turn out to be no more than a glitch. We woke to the Reuters headline "Austria steelmaker urges no "hysteria" over economy" and have to admit, this headline peaked our interest. We couldn't help wonder what hysteria we had missed, or was some news coming they were trying to head off. In fact, it was really nothing, but you can feel confident that the Austrian steel group Voestalpine has assured the world that there will be no double dip recession.A US report showed U.S. first-time jobless claims increased to its highest level since November 2009, which chilled traders enthusiasm. The Conference Board's leading economic indicator reading, while positive, showed the economic recovery was slowing. The Dow is down triple digits at the moment.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) China's Jinchuan Co., the world's fourth largest nickel producer, will be able to resume operations at its flash furnace in September, about a month ahead of schedule, Jinchuan president Yang Zhiqiang said on the sidelines of a Melbourne Mining Club event Thursday.  
  • Fed Officials All Over the Map in Explaining Policy Shift - more
  • At Small Firms, Job Cuts Run Deep - more
  • Rural Job Picture Finally Better Than '09 - more
  • The June Trade Release: A Clash of Narratives - more
  • The US Economy: A Canadian Leading Indicator - more

   Asia Steel-China market stable as mills lift Sept prices - Steel prices on the Chinese domestic market were largely stable this week after leading steel mills announced they would raise their prices for September. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.15/lb higher with other base metals mixed. The Euro is trading over 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is up over 1/10 of 1% and trading at $75.50/barrel. Gold is trading slightly higher while silver is up over 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher , with China up over 6/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher today, with US futures signaling a third bullish day on Wall Street may be in store. Nickel inventories fell overnight.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals uplifted on absence of stock inflows; diverge from broader sentiment - more
  • Reuters - Copper up but demand doubts linger - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper extended its gains for a third straight day, as falling copper inventory levels and firmer tone to the US equity markets continue to provide a measure of support. On the equity side, a reassuring same-store sales forecast from Target led to a modest rally in consumer stocks yesterday. The dollar has also been holding steady for much of the last two days, allowing metals the leeway to push higher. We are mostly higher again today, with copper hovering just below key resistance at $7500. Most other metals are modestly higher, but none are as close to their critical resistance points as copper is. Global equity markets stocks briefly hit a one-week high earlier in the day before turning lower, and equities will likely take their cue later in the day from US macro data. Weekly initial claims data (expected at 475,000), July leading economic indicators (expected at +.2%), and Philadelphia Fed August readings (expected at 7.5) all come out today. (We erroneously wrote in yesterday’s report that these numbers will be out Wednesday). Other markets are mostly higher-- oil prices are up by about $.39/brl and trading just under $76 after getting to a weekly low of $73.80 yesterday. (In stark contrast to metals, US oil inventories officially hit a record high yesterday.) The dollar is holding steady at $.12840, and we find it interesting that it has not weakened further despite the relatively decent gains seen in both metals and global equity markets this week. ... We are at $22,200 on nickel, up $300, and very quiet today. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (MFG) Bloomberg quotes the International Nickel Study Group as saying that refined nickel production in June was 121,000 metric tons in June, exceeding demand of 114,500 tons.
  • (Yieh) Because nickel price on LME increased in the first half of August, Taiwan’s leading stainless steel mills including Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) and Tang Eng have both lifted the price for the second half of August.
  • (JMB) Nickel powder/ No more fear of short supply
  • (Yieh) It's reported that Indian Anti-dumping Bureau under Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced on August 16 to initiate anti-dumping investigation on 200 series cold rolled stainless steel products and all austenitic stainless steel (nickel content of less than 6 percent) originating in China, the U.A.E. and the U.S..
  • (Nirmal Bang) Industrial metals prices are trading a tad lower on international bourses. We expect a bounce back in the prices of industrial metals on account of continuously declining LME warehouse stocks and rise in cancelled warrants which indicate that the physical interest in metals is still strong.
  • (PTR) U.S. Steel Corp.'s stock Wednesday rose on rumors of ArcelorMittal being interested in buying the Pittsburgh-based steelmaker at $80 a share.
  • (SDBB) China's largest steelmaker by output, Hebei Iron and Steel Group, is reportedly talking with Australia's Sundance for potential co-operation on the Mbalam project in West Africa.
  • (SM) According to the American Forest & Paper Association's July 2010 U.S. Paperboard Report released today, total boxboard production increased by 4.8% compared to July 2009, and 4.4% from previous month. Year-to-date production was up 4.2% over 2009.
  • Local blind market watcher created Hindenburg Omen so investors can see downturns ahead - more
  • China may introduce stimulus to boost imports - more

  Nickel May Rise 14% as Consumption Climbs, According to Societe Generale - Nickel may rise 14 percent in the fourth quarter as higher stainless-steel production in China drives a gain in usage, according to Societe Generale SA. - more

  Japan Produced 277,694 Tons Of Stainless Steel Products In June 2010 = Increased By 7% From That In May, All Products, Except Cr-Mn Based Stainless Steel, Increased - According to the steel statistics released on the 12th of August by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the quantities of stainless steel products (hot-rolled products) produced by the stainless steel industry of Japan in June of 2010 were as per the table attached hereto. - more

  Quantities Of Main Ferro-Alloys Imported By South Korea In First Half 2010 = Imported 573,000 Tons In Total As Increased By 79% From That In Same Period 2009 - According to the statistics released in South Korea, the quantities (on material base) of main ferro-alloys imported by South Korea in the first half (January - June) of 2010 were as per the tables (1) and (2) shown below. - more

  US$26 million needed for nickel mine  - At least US$26 million is required to restart operations at Trojan Nickel mine by Mwana Africa Corporations, it has been revealed. - more

  Chinese steel prices capped by oversupply-CISA - Chinese steel prices are expected to stay volatile within a narrow range in the near term as steel overcapacity will continue to burden the domestic market, the China Iron & Steel Association said in a statement. - more

  Austria steelmaker urges no "hysteria" over economy - Steel group Voestalpine called for less "hysteria" about the global economic outlook on Thursday after quarterly earnings beat estimates thanks to rising demand and cost-cutting. - more

  WTO raps EU anti-dumping in China fasteners case - The World Trade Organization has condemned the way the European Union assesses duties on unfairly priced imports in a complaint brought by China over sales of screws and bolts, a person familiar with the case said on Tuesday. - more

  Overhaul of Mining Regulations Imminent - Minister Susan Shabangu announced this in a media statement issued on 17 August, when she undertook to take the proposed amendments to cabinet “before the end 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)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, August 18

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 43 to 2,558. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Doubles Korea Bond Holdings as Asia Switches From Dollar // Taiwan's Economy Probably Grew More Than 10% Amid Export Gains // Malaysia Economy Grew 8.9% Last Quarter, Near the Fastest Pace in a Decade // China Stocks Fall For First Time in Four Days; Everbright Gains on Debut // Bonds Rally on Economy; Yen Strengthens, U.S. Futures Fluctuate // Bank of England Voted 8-1 to Retain Stimulus in Third Defeat for Sentance // Maersk Raises Forecast as Increase in Freight Rates Spurs Return to Profit // Germany Ignores Soros as Exports Boom at Consumers' Expense // Iceland Central Bank Cuts Benchmark Rate 1 Point to 7%; Estimate Was 7.5% // Europe June Construction Output Rises Most in Three Months, Led by Spain // European Stocks Fall for First Time in Five Days // Mortgage Applications Index Increased 13% Last Week on Refinancing Surge // Mexico Imposes Tariffs on U.S. Food Products in Dispute Over Truck Access  // U.S. Stocks Fluctuate as M&A Speculation Offsets Energy Slump
  • The Euro is trading nearly 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is down over 1.3% and trading at $74.78/barrel. Gold is up nearly 6/10 of 15 and silver is off more than 4/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mixed and quiet. Indicator charts show nickel spent most of the first three quarters of the session in a slump, before finding some footing the last quarter. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.91/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell overnight, after a very active day with numerous large outbound shipments overshadowing a lone inbound in Rotterdam. Stockpiles now total just over the 115,900 tonne level.  Sucden's day old chart shows nickel's rally yesterday (chart here) fueled by a falling Dollar, a strong equity market, and news that China's production of steel was up in the first weeks of August. After looking like it might be losing momentum late last week, the Baltic Dry Index gained another 43 points overnight and reads 2,558. The BDI is starting to get more media attention as a bright spot among worldwide index readings. With no government reports to work with today, US traders looked to earnings reports by Target and Caterpillar. With positive results reported, the market is higher after trading negative earlier. So far, a ho-hum day.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Justin Yagerman Shipping Weekly - While grain exports should benefit the Panamax and smaller vessels, growing iron ore and steel inventories in China may slow recent Capesize gains. As of 8/16, iron ore inventories were up 12% w/w while total steel inventories were up 22% w/w.
  • Nordea Markets Weekly Shipping Memo - China imported 51.2 million tonnes of ore last month (up 9% m/m) and spot prices in China gained 3.6% w/w, now trading at USD 144 per tonne, but still slightly below Australian ore delivered in China (USD 148 per tonne).
  • Fed’s Kocherlakota: Markets Misunderstood Recent FOMC Move - more
  • N.Y. Fed: Households Continue To Reduce Debt - more
  • The Effect of the Economy On the Nonprofit Sector - more
  • MBA: Mortgage refinance activity increases sharply, Purchase activity declines - more
  • US oil speculators fined for $100-a-barrel "vanity trade" - more
  • Chart Book: The Legacy of the Great Recession - more
  • China's economy overtakes Japan's in real terms - more

  China's Slowdown Worries Trade Partners - China's abrupt growth slowdown is sending a chill through Asian economies and as far away as Australia and Africa as its voracious demand for imports fades. - more

  ENRC Net Profit Up; Warns On Pricing, Cost Outlook - Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. PLC Wednesday said increased sales at higher prices lifted its first-half net profit, but warned its costs will continue rising and weaker economic growth may drag down sales prices in the second half of the year. - more

  Minister in Bid to Heal Fallout Over Mine Rights - The Department of Mineral Resources will impose a six-month moratorium on receiving new applications for prospecting rights while it takes urgent steps to address growing concern locally and abroad that the system is flawed and open to abuse. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $0 no change at the moment, with other base metals mixed and very quiet. The Euro is trading unchanged versus the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is down nearly 1% and trading at $75.03/barrel. Gold is trading slightly lower at teh moment, while silver is off over 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower with China off nearly 2/10 of 1%. European markets are trading slightly lower this morning and US futures show Wall Street wants to keep its one day old bull run going. Nickel inventories fell sharply overnight.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals return to plus column as dollar weakens, supply tightens - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals hung on to their gains on Tuesday, along with most other markets. Brent oil prices were up by more than $2brl, and there were solid gains in US equities, which rallied on the back of good earnings reports from the likes of Home Depot and Walmart. In addition, an unsolicited $38 billion bid for Saskatchewan-based Potash by BHP-Billiton fueled prospects of a looming bidding war, especially now that it seems BHP’s offer will turn hostile. The main macro item that was behind much of Tuesday’s rise was news that July US industrial production rose 1%, stronger than the .6% expected. Although the report was not a huge upside surprise, it was notable in that it did break a string of dismal releases over the past week, all of which have been coming in either in line, or somewhat worse than already-lowered estimates. In this regard, housing data released Tuesday fit the more typical pattern, with starts rising to 546,000 in July, but falling short of the 555,000-consensus forecast. Building permits were also a disappointment, with permit issuances down from 583,000 in June to 565,000 in July, and coming in below the 573,000 consensus. Right now, we are not doing very much in metals, with the complex quietly mixed. With a number of metals approaching key resistance levels, ($7500 on copper and $2250 on ali) we suspect further gains could be somewhat more difficult to stitch together.  ... We are $22,000 on nickel, up $50, and very quiet today; charts are not revealing much. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) The world nickel market was in a 19,000-metric-ton deficit between January and June this year compared with a surplus in the same period last year, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said Wednesday.
  • (Yieh) Russia has imposed an anti-dumping duty at terms of five years on nickel-containing stainless steel from China, South Korea, Brazil and South Africa.
  • (MP) Chinese ferro-chrome prices gain further as mills hike bid prices
  • (SM) The American Forest & Paper Association released the July 2010 U. S. Containerboard Statistics Report today. For the ninth straight month, containerboard production rose over last year and posted the highest production amount since August 2008. Total production saw an increase of 152,200 tons or 5.5% over July 2009 and grew 4.5% compared to June 2010. The month over month average daily production also saw an increase of 1.2%. Year-to-date 2010 production has increased 9.8% over 2009.
  • Anfield Intersects 33 Meters Grading 1.94% Nickel at its Mayaniquel Project, Guatemala - more
  • La Niña conditions persist in the Pacific - more

  World Output Of Nickel In First Half 2010 Increased By 4% From That In Same Period 2009 = Nickel Production In Western World Decreased By 5% For Strikes Continued At Vale -Inco - According to the figures compiled by The Tex Report on the basis of the settlements of accounts for the first half (January - June) of 2010 released by major nickel producers in the world, the world output of primary nickel in the first half of 2010 increased by 4.0% to 721,000 tons compared with that (693,000 tons) in the same period of 2009. The detailed quantities of nickel produced by major nickel companies of the world in January - June of 2010 were as per table shown below. - more

  Nunavik’s second nickel mine heads for 2012 opening - The $112.4 million being sunk into the Chinese-owned Nunavik Nickel Mine located between Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq includes this newly-built residence for 365 future workers. - more

  Plant & Machinery Manufacturers oppose any Anti-dumping probe on Imports of Hot Rolled Flat Products - New Delhi - Process Plant machinery manufacturing and exporting companies in the country have written to the Union Commerce and industries Minister Mr Anand Sharma have expressed shock and serious concern at frequent Anti Dumping investigations initiated by Ministry of Commerce against imports of stainless steel sheets and coils in the country. - more

  Steel, Aluminum Shipment Growth Rate Slows  – The rate of growth of steel and aluminum shipments from metals service centers in the United States and Canada slowed in July. Inventories of both metals, expressed in terms of months of supply on hand, rose for both metals in both countries, the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute shows. - more

  PNG’s second biggest mine considers a deep sea tailings system - In Papua New Guinea, the developer of Madang’s second biggest mine is considering a deep sea tailings placement system - similar to the one which has landed the Ramu nickel project developer, Ramu NiCo, in court and further delayed construction of its refinery in Basamuk in Madang’s Astrolabe Bay. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, August 17

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 27 to 2,715. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Confronts Export Dependence After Surpassing Japan // Foreign Investment in China Increases in July for 12th Consecutive Month // Chinese Bulk Demand to Drive Advance in Baltic Dry Index, Cosco Forecasts // China to Let Overseas Banks Invest in Bond Market to Spur Currency Flows // China Stocks Advance for Third Day, Led by Consumer, Industrial Companies // Potash Rejects $39 Billion Bid From BHP Billiton // German Investor Sentiment Declines to 16-Month Low // King Says U.K. Inflation to Exceed Government Limit in Letter to Osborne // Spanish, Irish Borrowing Costs Decline as Concern Eases on Budget Deficits // Euro Set for Multi-Day Rebound to $1.32 Above Support: Technical Analysis // U.K., U.S., France, Germany `Well Positioned' on Aaa Ratings, Moody's Says // European Stocks Rise on Earnings; Carlsberg, Wienerberger Gain // Wal-Mart Profit Climbs, Earnings Forecast Increased // Mortgage Bonds Slumping Amid Concern of `Mega-Refi' Wave: Credit Markets // China Cuts Long-Term Treasuries By Most Ever as Yields Drop // U.S. Industrial Production Rises More Than Forecast // U.S. Household Debt Shrank 1.5% in the Second Quarter // U.S. Producer Prices Rise for First Time Since March // U.S. Stocks Advance on Earnings, BHP's Bid for Potash Corp.
  • The Euro is now trading nearly 4/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is 1-1/3% higher and trading at $76.25/barrel.  Gold is now trading only slightly higher while silver is up nearly 9/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session firmly higher for a second day, as a rebound in equity markets and the Euro, help boost sentiment. Indicator charts show nickel spent most of its session on a slow gradual increase, until late in the session, it poked over thr $10/lb mark and then fell back slightly. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.96/lb . Inventories of nickel dropped overnight as 3 large outbound shipments overshadowed a single large inbound shipment. Total stockpiles numbers now rest just shy of the 116,600 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel  apparently finding a bottom (chart here).  The Baltic Dry Index gained 27 points overnight and is now at 2,515. The US Commerce Department reported that housing starts rose by 1.7% in July, less than analysts expected, with building permits dropping 3.1%. Housing starts are running about 7% lower year on year. The Labor Department reported producer prices rose 0.2% in July, while core wholesale prices rose 0.3%, both higher than analysts expected. But the big news of the day was US factory output rose 1.0% in July thanks mostly to the auto industry, while June figures were revised lower. A closely watched segment of this report was the capacity utilization number, which rose from 74.1% to 74.8% in July, its best showing since November 2008. The Dow is up triple digits on the news, and shows no signing of giving any of it back today.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Goldman Sachs - "For nickel the bank's quarterly forecasts stand at US$19,742 and US$20,337 per tonne for the final two quarters of this year, then Us$20,951, US$21,372, US$21,694 and US$22,021 per tonne for the four quarters of next year." - more
  • Barclays - "Moreover, given that we anticipate the global stainless sector will ramp back up in Q4 (particularly as China restocks) and Goro mine looks unlikely to produce anything in 2010, markets conditions should be even tighter by that point and set the stage for even further price gains" - more
  • (Dow Jones) China Molybdenum Co. (3993.HK), China's largest molybdenum producer by output, said Tuesday it plans to raise up to CNY4 billion by issuing corporate bonds in China.
  • Boston Fed: Economics Couldn’t Reveal Housing Bubble - more
  • Fed Unveils Slew of Mortgage Rules - more
  • 3 Out Of 5 Baby Boomers Don't Have Enough For Retirement - more
  • Bill Black: U.S. Using "Really Stupid Strategy" to Hide Bank Losses - more

  MGB suspends mine project in Isabela - The operations of the Nickel Mining Project in Isabela’s coastal Dinapigue town has been suspended by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) amid the provincial government’s claim that its continued operation poses danger to the environment. - more

  Why nickel causes allergies in humans - German researchers have finally traced the reason for allergies caused by nickel. - more

  Australia election to decide fate of mining tax - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard plans to bring in a 30 percent tax on profits at larger iron ore and coal mining firms from 2012 if she wins Saturday's election. Her opponent, Tony Abbott, has pledged to dump the tax. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.22/lb higher, with all London traded base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro is trading nearly 3/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar currently. NYMEX crude oil is up over 1% and trading at $76.06/barrel. Gold is up over 8/10 of 1% and silver is 1.5% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher, with China up over 2/3 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street could return to a bullish mood today after Wal-Mart returned better than expected results. Nickel inventories fell overnight.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Copper drives base metals up on weak dollar, stock declines - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper prices closed higher on Monday, as the trend of falling inventories more than offset the impact of lackluster economic data. Copper stocks, for example, are down some 25% since the middle of February, tin stocks are down nearly half over the same period, while nickel stocks are off by some 30%. Trading was extremely quiet in most other markets outside of metals yesterday; energy prices lost modest ground for their fifth losing session, while the Dow Jones Industrial average fell only a point after bouncing around indecisively all day. Yesterday's US macro data was not particularly noteworthy, coming in a tad below estimates. August manufacturing in the New York region rose to 7.1 this month from 5.1 in July, but came in slightly less than the 8 reading forecast. The NAHB Housing Market Index came in at 13, a shade lower than the 14 expected. Both readings reflect tepid economic conditions, and will likely discourage investors from taking aggressive long-side bets in practically any of the markets for a little while longer, as they ascertain whether the current slowdown morphs into something more serious (like a double-dip recession). Metals are higher again this morning, with good gains seen in copper, lead, and zinc. We see no particular reason behind the rise, and suspect that we are building on yesterday’s gains and the fact that LME inventories are continuing to decline. In addition, a better tone in Asia and European equity markets has also been helpful, leading to a higher opening call for the US equity markets. Nevertheless, we would be reluctant to chase the current advance, as we think the markets have the headwind of slowing economic growth to contend with for a little while longer. Later today, we get July industrial production readings out of the US, likely the most important release of the week, (and expected at .8%), along with July housing starts and building permits data (expected around 560,000 annualized). July PPI readings also come out (expected at .1% on both the overall and core rates). ... We are $21,969 on nickel, up $419, and still congesting within a tight range.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Wuhan Iron and Steel Group and Anshan Iron and Steel Group, two of largest steel mills in China, said today they would both raise steel prices for shipment next month.
  • (Interfax) Baoshan Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. (Baosteel), the Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed subsidiary of Baosteel Group, announced on Aug. 16 that it will raise its September ex-works prices for several steel products by between RMB 200 ($29.42) and RMB 500 ($73.55) per ton.
  • (AP) South East Sulawesi Governor Nur Alam has told nickel mining investors to contribute US$1.50 to the regional government on every ton of nickel ore they export. "Investors may extract our mineral resources but they must not forget their responsibility to contribute funds for the improvement of the Southeast Sulawesi people`s welfare," Governor Nur Alam said in Kendari Friday.
  • (SBB) Ferro-chrome prices in Europe steady, activity rising
  • (MBN) Major Chinese stainless mills lift FeCr bids by up to 11%
  • (JMB) Nippon Steel Group Maintains Stainless Cold Sheet Top Share in F2009
  • (MBN) Taigang stops raising stainless prices as market turns quiet
  • ATI Allegheny Ludlum Announces Grain-Oriented Electrical Steel Raw Materials Surcharge - more
  • China strikes a worry but no strategy change yet: execs - more

  Nickel May Fall 23% on Weaker Demand for Stainless Steel, According to UBS - Nickel may drop as much as 23 percent by the end of this year as demand weakens for stainless steel, the main source of consumption for the metal, according to UBS AG. - more

  Realities Of Order To Scrap Down Facilities For Ferro-Alloys In China Are Searched = Objective Annual Capacity Is 1.72 Million Tons, Corresponding To 6.6% Of Actual Production - The Central Government of China (the Ministry of Industrial Information) has ordered (to suspend operations) on the 8th August of 2010 the 143 companies, producing ferro-alloys in China, to scrap down their facilities by the 30th September of 2010 at the latest and, when the contents of this order are analyzed, its main points are summarized as follows  - more

  Major nickel market developments in July 2010 - Reuters reported that soft demand from the key stainless steel sector and plentiful stocks point to further nickel price weakness in the remainder of the year. - more

  China daily steel output at 1.719 mln T early Aug - China's steel mills produced 1.719 million tonnes of steel per day in the first 10 days of August, up 77,000 tonnes or 4.5 percent compared with the end of July, the China Iron and Steel Association said on Tuesday. - more

  Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip in Coils From Taiwan: Preliminary Results and Rescission in Part of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending August 14, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,689,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 69.8 percent. Production was 1,381,000 tons in the week ending August 14, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 57.7 percent. The current week production represents a 22.3 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending August 14, 2010 is down 1.4 percent from the previous week ending August 7, 2010 when production was 1,714,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 70.9 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, August 16

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 20 to 2,488. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg)  Japan Economy Surpassed by China as GDP Is Less Than Estimated // India's Inflation Rate Cools to Six-Month Low, Adds to Case for Rate Pause // India to Top China as Fastest Growing Economy by 2015, Morgan Stanley Says // Morgan Stanley Raises Property in China Portfolio, Says Rebound Expected // China Favors Euro Over Dollar as Bernanke Alters Path // Asian Stocks Fall to Three-Week Low as Yen Gains on Japan GDP // China's Stocks Rally on Economic Outlook, Led by Shippers, Energy Shares // London House-Price Decline Wipes Out Gains From 2010 Rally, Rightmove Says // South African Mining Investment Risk Grows as Anglo, Lonmin Lose Rights // Yen Advances as Japan GDP Adds to Slowdown Concerns, Curbs Risk Appetite // European Stocks Advance for Third Day; Cairn Energy, Aviva Gain // Lowe's Profit Trails Estimates as Sales Growth Misses Forecast // Hedge Funds Cut Bets on Rising Gas by 23% as Prices Fall: Energy Markets // Back-to-School Standoff Risks Profit Margins as Consumers Wait // U.S. Insurance Regulators Issue Consumer Alert on Death Benefits // U.S. Economy: Factories Lose Orders, Builders Lose Confidence // U.S. Stocks Advance as Tech Rally Offsets Economic Concerns
  • The Euro is presently trading 7/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down over 1/10 of 1% and trading at $75.31/barrel. Gold is over 2/3 of 1% higher, while silver is  up 1.6%. Base metals ended the session higher, thanks to a recovering Euro and higher equity markets. Indicator charts show nickel slid early  on, but quickly recovered and then spent the day in choppy trading. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.76/lb . Stockpiles of nickel remain relatively unchanged from Friday, gaining slightly and reading just over the 117,000 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows the rise and fall of nickel over the last few weeks (chart here). Metals news is fairly quiet again today. We look for the industrial production numbers out of the US tomorrow to determine what will happen to nickel, with at least one economist writing that this number alone could tip his current forecast for his current forecast of no double dip. The Baltic Dry Index remains in the green, but its rate of growth is slowing. We are seeing stainless steel prices in China dropping, which leads us to conclude the recent increase was due primarily to the price of nickel, and not because of any increase in demand.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • S.Korea July exports growth to China, US slows - more
  • Japan's growth slows amid worry about yen's climb - more
  • Number of the Week: Insults and Injury for Renters - more
  • Economists in Philly Fed Survey More Pessimistic - more
  • Economists React: Consumer Can’t Drive Recovery - more
  • Rosenberg: Odds of Double Dip Higher Than 50/50 - more
  • Another Threat to Economy: Boomers Cutting Back - more
  • Summer Rerun: How Bad Might It Get? - more
  • Attacking Social Security - more
  • FDIC Bank Failures - more
  • A Bleak View - more

  Analysis - Spotlight on Chinese walls in LME warehouse - Fears of sensitive information seeping through Chinese walls has resurfaced after the recent purchase of London Metal Exchange registered warehouses by a major trader, but that concern is not universal. - more

  China's Baosteel shows caution,keeps Sept prices stable - China's Baoshan Iron & Steel will keep September steel prices stable from August, signalling a cautious outlook on demand and price gains made since July. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.08/lb higher, with most base metals trading higher as well. The Euro is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is up nearly 2/10 of 1% and at $75.53/barrel. Gold is up 3/4 of 1% and silver is up over 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, while China ended higher by 2-1/3%. Europena markets are trading lower this morning, and US futures show Wall Street may open lower also. Nickel inventories gained slightly overnight. Dow Jones reported nickel ended last week at $9.64/lb, down on the day, and down for the week.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals steadier after corrective bounce, pare gains as caution prevails - more
  • Reuters morning - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  Metals finished lower on Friday, as lukewarm macro data out of the US revived concerns about slowing economic growth, contributing to a general retreat we saw in a number of markets. In this regard, although July US retail sales increased by 0.4% after falling 0.3% in June, the number came in shy of the projected increase of .5%. Moreover, core sales, which exclude the highly volatile auto, gasoline, and building material sectors, declined .1%. CPI numbers were a nonevent, coming in slightly higher than expected, while Michigan consumer sentiment readings for early August came in a tad under estimates. All in all, the numbers could have been worse, and so the fact that they came in close to estimates likely kept Friday's losses to a minimum. However, one of the clear winners this past week was the US dollar. With a number of markets reeling, the greenback headed for its strongest weekly performance against major currencies in almost two years. Right now, metals are slightly higher, as are energy prices, both climbing on the back of a weaker dollar, which is now trading at $1.2820 against the Euro. However, the move higher in metals has a tentative feel to it, and we could possibly fade again, especially if US macro data slated for release this week disappoints.  ... We are $21,375 on nickel, up $100; although we are seeing signs of congestion in recent days, the short-term down channel is still in place, and indications are that we move lower from here.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) Shanghai Qichang Stainless Steel Co. Ltd. has entered into a cooperation with the administration committee at Jiangsu Province's Rugao Port to invest RMB 1.8 billion ($264.96 million) in a nickel alloy project in the port area, the Rugao municipal government announced on Aug. 14.
  • (CD) China's electric power consumption in July reached 389.6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), up 13.94 percent year-on-year, the National Energy Administration (NEA) announced Saturday.
  • How to profit from higher Nickel prices...? - more
  • Spending Slumps Even With Back-to-School Underway - more
  • Hoenig calls Fed policy 'dangerous gamble' - more

  Nickel Demand Growth in China to Slow as Stainless Steel Expansion Cools - Nickel demand growth in China, the world’s biggest consumer, will slow this year as stainless steel production cools and as competition persists from lower-cost alternatives, said Beijing Antaike Information Development Co. - more

  Commodities Report Nickel Faces Squeeze Play - Glencore International AG's failed bid to market nickel from the world's largest producer has cast a spotlight on the risk of a supply squeeze in coming months for the metal. - more

  SE Sulawesi governor reminds Nickel miners of their obligation - South East Sulawesi Governor Nur Alam has told nickel mining investors to contribute US $1.5 to the regional government on every ton of nickel ore they export. - more

  Rusal: Files Lawsuit Against Norilsk In Russia On AGM Voting - Russian aluminum giant United Co. Rusal PLC said Monday it has filed a lawsuit against miner OAO Norilsk Nickel in the arbitration court of Krasnoyarsk, in Siberia, in connection with the Norilsk annual general shareholders meeting. - more

  Ramu NiCo brings services to rural areas - The Ramu nickel/cobalt project is bringing much needed services to remote areas of the Madang Province which would have otherwise lived in poverty. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

August - Friday the 13th

  The Hindenburg Omen Has Arrived - Easily the most feared technical pattern in all of chartism (for the bullishly inclined) is the dreaded Hindenburg Omen. - more
  • Goldman Joins JPM And Deutsche In Slashing Q2 GDP, Sees 25-30% Chance Of Double Dip - more
  • Hidden Income in China Boosts Income of Top 10%, Fueling Speculation, Social Strains - more
  • Trichet Gets `Headache' as Record German Growth Outpaces Periphery Nations - more
  • Rosenberg: Odds of Double Dip Higher Than 50/50 - more
  • Retail Sales increase 0.4% in July - more
  • Paralysis at the Fed - more

  The Baltic Dry Index gained 31 points to 2,468 withe one sub-index going negative.

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.03/lb higher, but struggling to hold onto gains, with other base metals trading mixed and quiet. The Euro is trading over 3/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is quiet and trading at $75.70/barrel. Gold is up nearly 2/10 of 1% and silver is up the same. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher with China up nearly 1.4%. European markets are trading lower despite record second-quarter economic growth in Germany, and US futures are lower at the moment. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses rose yet again overnight, as the Rotterdam warehouse continues to receive large shipments thanks to Norilsk's resumption of shipments. Totals, according to Fast Markets, now show at the 117,000 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here) . There will be no afternoon update today, so we will update the BDI numbers as soon as we receive them this morning. Have a safe and restful weekend!
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals mostly steadier on corrective bounce, step back from highs - more
  • Reuters - Copper climbs with German GDP; eyes U.S. data - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals finished higher yesterday, an impressive showing given another drop in the US stock market and a third straight decline in energy prices. In addition, the complex also managed to shrug off an uninspiring macro release out of the US, that of weekly initial claims readings, which jumped unexpectedly to 484,000 last week, the highest reading since February, and well above the 465,000 expected. This morning, we are more or less holding to yesterday's gains in quiet trading, as markets are breathing a bit easier after data out of Europe showed that the Euro-zone economy grew at its fastest pace in four years in the second quarter driven by an unexpectedly strong surge out of Germany. The combined GDP of the region grew 1.0% over the period, coming in stronger than the consensus estimate of 0.7%. The increase comes on the heels of figures released yesterday showing industrial production rising 2.5% for the second consecutive quarter. Not coincidentally, in our view, both these numbers mirror the decline in the Euro that took place over the period; with the Euro recovering impressively since then, third quarter growth readings will likely fall short of what was achieved in the second. ... We are $21,450 on nickel, up $25. With support at $21,500 taken out on a two-day closing basis, we could see prices head lower to $20,200 support. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) has announced a price rise of US$180~200/ton for stainless steel exports for the second half of August.
  • (Macquarie Research) Latest data on the global stainless steel market confirm a significant rise in 1H10 production of more than 40% YoY. Stainless steel production accounts for 65% of nickel use, 80% of high carbon ferrochrome use and 30% of molybdenum use. .... Despite this, we are projecting an almost 20% YoY rise in global output in 2010 to 30.9mt. If anything, the risk to these numbers on the upside. This is partly due to the recent strong recovery in nickel and ferrochrome prices, which have led to rise in stainless steel prices (in China, 304 grade prices are now quoted at Rmb22,300/t ($$2,820/t), up 14% from the low of Rmb19,600/t ($2,460/t) in early June. Rising prices could cause a premature resumption of a restocking cycle, leading to delays in production cuts (we are hearing this is occurring in China).
  • (Interfax) The southern India state of Karnataka, the country's second-largest iron ore producing region, recently imposed a temporary ban on iron ore exports from ten of its ports and has stop issuing permits to transport ore to other states.
  • (Interfax) China produced 465.87 million tons of steel products in the first seven months of 2010, up 23.1 percent year-on-year, according to figures released by Shanghai-based Mysteel Information on August 12.
  • (MB) Stainless mills in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, which house nearly half of China’s stainless capacity, have been ordered to halt operations two days every week to conserve state grid power.
  • (MF) Prices of ferrochrome in the Chinese market are increasing sharply at the moment, as the spot supply of this material is quite tight right now, and most producers are fulfilling contracts and those who hold stocks refuse to sell their products right now.
  • (AP) Australian miner Mirabela Nickel Ltd says output is improving despite slower than expected ramp-up speeds at its flagship operation in Brazil, and it expects production at the very bottom of guidance.
  • (Angel) China has now become the world’s second largest economy and this factor is very bullish for the base metals space. The country is the major consumer of base metals and hence is the major driver of prices. With this latest development of the country taking over Japan as the world’s second-largest economy, we expect sentiments over China’s growth to become more positive. Despite their monetary policy tightening, we expect the country to accumulate base metals for their strategic build-up of reserves.
  • (AP) The Indian government is considering setting up a trust to monitor a scheme which aims to compensate people displaced due to mining operations from the profits of such projects.
  • (ecPulse) Euro-Zone economy expanded during the second quarter of this year at the fastest pace in nearly four-years, where it beat market expectations as was witnessed in Germany’s GDP earlier today as it grew at the fastest pace in nearly 20 years.
  • (TTN) Hong Kong Q2 GDP Q/Q: 1.4% v 1.9%e; Y/Y: 6.5% v 6.3%e; Prior month revised lower 
  • A Nation That Won't Be Fooled Again - more
  • Bailout Nation States & Municipalities - more

  Russia Norilsk says Glencore asked to sell all nickel - Russia's Norilsk Nickel said on Thursday that Glencore, the world's biggest commodities trader, had sought to buy all of its nickel output. - more

  Lonmin resolves mineral sales dispute with SA government 12th August 2010 - Lonmin is now set to receive approval to sell non-pgm base metals gleaned from its operations in South Africa, it has been confirmed. - more

  • Lonmin Cleared By DMR To Sell Nickel, Copper, Chrome In S Africa - Lonmin PLC , an exploration company announced Wednesday that it has received confirmation in writing Wednesday from the Department of Mineral Resources of the Government of South Africa or DMR which rescinds with immediate effect its instruction, dated August 3, requiring Lonmin to refrain from selling Nickel, Copper, Chrome and any other minerals other than Platinum Group Metals. - more

  ORE, PGMC settle Palawan mine row - Oriental Peninsula Resources Group. Inc. will issue shares to Platinum Group Metals Corp. (PGMC) to settle a legal battle over nickel-rich mine sites in Palawan, the former said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange. - more

  ThyssenKrupp lifts outlook, sees commodities swings - ThyssenKrupp, Germany's top steelmaker, warned of volatile raw material prices ahead after robust demand from the auto and engineering sectors helped it post consensus-busting results and raise its outlook. - more

  Norilsk's Potanin secures $2 bln state refinancing - Russian tycoon Vladimir Potanin has raised $2 billion from a state bank to repay his 2008 state rescue package, becoming the second co-owner in metals giant Norilsk to secure a government-backed refinancing. - more

  Mining production slows down in June - Total mining production in South Africa fell for the second consecutive month to 4.9% year-on-year in June from a 7.6% decline in May. - more

  Mining deals starting 'to look very suspicious' - Problems in the DMR and what can be done about it. - more

  Oligarchs battle for nickel giant - Oleg Deripaska is urging investors to back his war against a fellow Russian oligarch over the world's biggest nickel miner. - more

  Metal thieves strike at Worcester sewer works - Metal thieves have escaped with stainless steel and cables worth around £12,000 after targeting a sewage treatment works near Worcester. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, August 12

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  plus 59 to 2,437. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Industrial Production Increases 7.1% in India, Slowest Pace in 13 Months // China's Yuan Slides Most in Seven Weeks on Slowdown Signs, Dollar Advance // Property Developers Ask China to Suspend Tightening Policies, MNI Reports // China's Stocks Drop to Two-Week Low on Global Slowdown, Inflation Outlook // Asian Stocks Fall for Fourth Day, Extending Global Rout, on Growth Concern // Wheat, Corn Stockpiles Dwindle as Russia Drought Curbs Output // AB InBev Second-Quarter Profit Rises on Beer Sales During Soccer World Cup // European Industrial Output Unexpectedly Declines on Drop in Durable Goods // Russian Bond Sale Rocked by Bernanke as Investors Flee Moscow, Yields Rise // Greek Teachers Rush to Retire Before Pension Changes, Threatening Shortage // European Stocks Gain for First Time in Three Days; AB InBev Shares Rally // Gulf of Mexico `Dead Zone' Grows as Spill Impact Is Studied //Foreclosure Crisis Spreads Across U.S.; Idaho Defaults Mount // Mishkin Says Fed's Floor-Setting Move on Balance Sheet Has Alarmed Markets // U.S. Stocks Fall as Jobless Claims Data Cast Doubts on Recovery
  • The Euro is now trading only 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar after new jobless claims in the US unexpectedly rose. NYMEX crude oil is down 1/8% and trading at $76.61/barrel. Gold is 1-1/3% higher on safe haven buying and silver is up by a little over 1%. Base metals ended the session mostly higher, with only nickel ending the session lower. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, spent much of the day in choppy trading, then got a bounce late in the session as the Euro recovered earlier losses. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.71/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses rose for a second consecutive day, and have now gained in six of the last eleven sessions. Total stored now show just under the 116,700 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here) and an inability on nickel trader's part to hold onto the $10/lb level. What has happened to nickel over the last week, in our opinion, has very little to do with the fundamentals of nickel, not that they ever do anymore. The technical were signaling it was a good time to run for the border, and with the hope on everyone's mind that stainless steel demand will pick up as summer vacation's end, the two punch combination helped pull nickel prices higher. Then the reality of the world as it is really happening struck home, and the news that the economy was not recovering as fast as everyone hoped, nickel got caught up in the worldwide sell rush. The Euro has taken a beating over the last few days and this is not helping nickel either. This most recent panic attack will come to an end soon enough, and after licking their wounds, traders will inevitably try the $10/lb mark again. Whether they will be successful or not, remains to be seen. And if the economic news continue to disappoint, then there bigger concern will be holding onto the $9/lb level. The Baltic Dry Index continues its rise, gaining another 59 points. The Dow is lower at the moment.   

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Swiss commodities trading house Glencore International AG has been unsuccessful in an informal bid for the marketing rights to all of the nickel produced by OAO Norilsk Nickel, Norilsk said Thursday.
  • China Labor Cost Increases Setting the Bar for Other Economies - more
  • Caution holding back economy, top forecaster says - more
  • Consumer Spending Slows in July - more
  • Second-Quarter Growth Looking Even Worse - more
  • For four out of five unemployed workers, there are no jobs - more
  • First Draft of August 30 Principles of Macroeconomics Introductory Lecture - more
  • The Fed’s Fallacious “QE Lite” Logic - more
  • Debt In The 30s - more
  • Tea with Nouriel Roubini - more
  • Trade Deficit Explodes - more
  • New superbugs spreading from South Asia: study - more

  Nickel: The Rise of the Silver White Metal - Nickel has been one of the biggest sufferers in the global commodity price meltdown.- more

  Law protects resource companies from legal action - The issue that aroused most popular antagonism to Papua New Guinea’s government of Sir Michael Somare—helping push supporters into the opposition—has been its legislation protecting resource companies from legal action. - more

  Asia Steel-China prices rise on week but supply glut weighs - Steel prices on the domestic Chinese market rose slightly this week, supported by more expensive iron ore and expectations that major mills will raise prices in September, but overcapacity remains a big worry. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.25/lb , with most London traded base metals trading lower. The Euro is trading over 1/2 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, and sliding. NYMEX crude oil is down over 1-1/2% and trading at $76.86/lb. Gold is up over 1/2 of 1% on renewed safe haven buying and silver is higher by nearly 3/10 of 1%. In overnight trading Asian markets ended lower, with China off 1.2%. European markets re quiet at the moment, showing a slight gain, while US futures are still down at the moment. For a second day in a row, nickel inventories rose.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals off lows but still fragile, retreating euro pushes metals lower again - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - It was a brutal day for the bulls in a number of markets on Wednesday, with metals proving to be no exception. Copper fell to two-week lows, and there were sharp declines in the rest of the group as well. Outside of metals, energy sold off sharply, while the dollar chalked up its biggest daily gain in nearly two years against major currencies. Equity markets around the world crumbled, with the Japanese Nikkei now down about 19% from its peak to a thirteen-week low, signaling a possible start of an official bear market if we surpass 20%. Markets apparently are having second thoughts about the Fed statement out Tuesday, perhaps equating the treasury’s purchasing program with the view that the Fed now sees the US economy as possibly tilting back into recession. Moreover, some were arguing that the Fed was not aggressive enough, in that the excess liquidity it is seeking to provide through its treasury-buying program (estimated at some $10 billion/month) is simply not sizable enough given the size of the economy. Be that as it may, we suspect that many commodity markets, which only six weeks ago had discounted growing signs of a slow-down by selling off sharply only to rally strongly since then, may now have to give up a good portion of their recent gains again to bring valuations in closer alignment with the new macro realities. Yesterday's sharp sell-off does not seem to be carrying over with the same intensity into today’s trading. Although energy markets are lower, they have not added much to yesterday's after-hours declines, while metals have erased earlier losses and are now slightly higher. European equity markets have been bouncing around either side of unchanged levels, while here in the US, we expect stocks to open mixed despite poor guidance from Cisco, which reported after the close yesterday and promptly saw its stock drop almost 10%. ...  We are $21,250 on nickel, down $445, and have broken through key support at $21,500. Another close below this level today could push prices towards the low $20,000 area. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) According to Russia special steel and alloy consumer and supplier association (Spetsstal), the main consumption of stainless steel product has reached around 140,000 tons in the first half of 2010, similar to the same level of 2008.
  • (SBB) Russia's H1 stainless steel output +65%, imports +80%
  • (Interfax) China produced a total of 15.44 million tons of ten major nonferrous metals in the first half of 2010, up 34.8 percent year-on-year, according to an Aug. 12 report from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
  • (JMB) Japan Stainless Import Rises by 58.5% in January-June
  • Gladstone Pacific Nickel Gets Unconditional Queensland Nickel Offer - more
  • Consumer Confidence Continues to Fall - more
  • Quote of the Day - Caroline Baum - What we had was a government-prescribed course of amphetamines (to keep it up), antibiotics (to prevent infection) and antidepressants (to make it feel better). It endured regular steroid injections from both monetary and fiscal authorities. And it still has no real muscle. - more
  • (RITA) The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 0.2 percent in June from its May level, rising after one monthly decline, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1). - more
  • Hindenburg Omen Confirmed As Equities Slump, Buy Short ETFs - more

  Domestic Price Of Stainless Scrap Has Finally Reacted To Rise Of Nickel Price = Stainless Steel Mills Have Risen Their Purchase Price Of This Scrap From Second Half Of Last Week - The international price of nickel metal has rallied from the fourth week of July and, accordingly, domestic price of nickel-based stainless steel scrap (new clippings) in Japan, which so far did not react to this rise of nickel price, has finally moved to change. - more

  Peering into Sinosteel's Financial Black Hole - What began with prepayments for undelivered steel has grown into a Sinosteel money pit that's billions of yuan deep - more

  Department tells Lonmin to stop 'illegal mining'  - The department of Mineral Resources yesterday rejected claims that banning Lonmin from selling base metals was part of a bigger corruption scheme aimed at benefiting President Jacob Zuma's backers. - more

  Russians in a pickle over battle for nickel - Aluminium oligarch Oleg Deripaska is getting bent out of shape over his row with Interros, a fellow - and, it has to be said, rival - shareholder in Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel producer. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, August 11

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 166 to 2,378. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Output Growth Weakens; Inflation Accelerates // China Steel Output Falls to Five-Month Low as Mills Idle Plants on Demand // China's Stocks Advance as Slowing Economy May Reverse Tightening Policies // Asian Stocks Fall on Japanese Machinery Orders, Commonwealth Bank Margin //  Bank of England Cuts Outlook for Economic Growth // Louisiana Declares Emergency as Gulf Storm Builds // Rusal's Deripaska Seeks Arbitration Against Potanin Over Norilsk Control // Moscow Bonds Climb to Record as Finances Outweigh Concern Heat to Cut GDP // European Stocks Drop for Second Day on Fed Outlook; Nobel Biocare Retreats // Fed Reverses Exit Plans, Sets $2 Trillion Floor for Holdings // Economists Cut U.S. Growth Forecasts as Firms Limit Hiring // U.S. Trade Deficit Unexpectedly Widens to $49.9 Billion in June // U.S. Stocks Join Global Retreat on Concern Economic Recovery Is Faltering
  • The Euro is now trading nearly 2-1/4% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down 2-2/3%. Gold is down nearly 1/2% and silver is off over 2.1%. Base metals also took a beating, all ending lower. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, and slid thru most of the trading session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.84/lb . For the fifth time in the last two full weeks, stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose, and now total just shy of the 116,300 tonne level. Sucden's day old trading chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). Nickel fell for a second day on news that China's steel production had fallen to a five month low in July on weaker demand. The Baltic Dry Index continues to climb, up another 166 points, and a lonely bright star in an otherwise, cloudy economic sky. It didn't help matters when the published Fed minutes yesterday followed every piece of good news with a "but" or "however". Kind of like saying "plenty of green shoots but most of them are blossoming under a pile of manure". We still aren't ready to give up on the recovery, albeit a slow one, but you have to wonder when the head cheerleaders give up on their normal chant that "all is well".    

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel exports rose 58.7% in June from the previous month, and was up 231.4% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel imports fell 9.2% in June from last month, but was up 277.0% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
  • Platou Markets - As volumes through second half of 2009 was high and we do not expect a significant pickup in demand through the remainder of 2010, it seems like China’s iron ore import may post a negative growth this year. To avoid this and see volumes flat from 2009 level, when it ended at 630 mt imported, China needs to import 54.1 mt on average for the rest of the year. Meanwhile, Chinese steel exports dipped 19% m/m to 4.55 Mt in July as the country cancelled export tax rebates on a number of steel products beginning in the middle of July.
  • Justin Yagerman - Lack of demand has been evident especially through port congestion estimates, which are currently at a low point. We expect seasonal increases as well as possible stimulus packages in China during Q4 2010 to drive rates higher later this year.
  • Economists React: Fed Takes the ‘Middle Road’ - more
  • Parsing the Fed: How the Statement Changed - more
  • WSJ Survey: Risks of Deflation on the Rise, Fed on Hold Longer - more
  • From Disinflation to Deflation? - more
  • Beware the light at the end of the tunnel - more
  • Fed begins monetizing the deficit - more
  • "Waves of More Foreclosures" = More Bank Failures + Big Trouble for the FDIC, Suttmeier Says - more
  • The Food Bubble: How Wall Street Starved Millions and Got Away With It - more
  • Study Looks at Tax Cut Lapse for Rich - more
  • Cutting the corruption tax - more

  Mining: Harare adds tax on ferrochrome  - Zimbabwe has raised its export tax on unprocessed ferrochrome to 20 percent from 15 percent, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said yesterday.  - more

  Steelmakers Restock as Iron Ore Buys Rise - Iron ore imports by China, the largest buyer of the steelmaking ingredient, rose for the first time in four months in July, indicating steelmakers are restocking after depleting inventories. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.17/lb lower, with all London traded base metals trading lower for a second day. The Euro is trading 1.2% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is also down 1.2% and trading at $79.28/barrel. Gold is down 1/4 of 1% and silver is off by 2/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China up nearly 2/3 of 1%.  European markets are lower this morning, and US futures  show Wall Street should open lower, as world traders worry about the future of the US economic recovery and the slowing pace of the Chinese recovery. Nickel inventories rose overnight.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals eases as US/China economic outlooks dim, euro falls - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals lost ground on Tuesday, but prices finished off their worst levels of the day after an abrupt turn seen in the aftermath of the long-awaited Fed statement. The US stock market erased a 130-point decline to briefly climb back into the black before fading modestly by the close, while energy cut its steep losses by half. The dollar also had a big move, falling by a full Euro from its earlier intraday high of $1.3070. In its statement yesterday, the Fed wisely acknowledged that the US economy was slowing, and outlined steps it would take to insure that even more liquidity enters the system. We say "wisely" because if the central bank had put blinders on, and merely acknowledged the slowdown, while hoping for better readings in the months ahead, we suspect the damage in most markets would have been far more severe. Instead, the central bank not only admitted that growth was faltering, but added a liquidity twist, saying it was ready to reinvest the proceeds from its maturing mortgage bonds into treasuries. .... Metals are likely to be in store for a period of sloppy trading in the days ahead as the recent advance--which arguably was getting long in the tooth anyway-- will have likely run its course. However, as long as metal stocks continue to decline, we do not expect to see a major sell-off, but rather a sizable retreat back into the trading ranges. .... We are $21,800 on nickel, down $400, and fairly quiet, but we are approaching key support at $21,500. A breach below this level could also take out the short-term down channel, (see chart in our attachment), and push prices towards the low $20,000 area. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) According to data from National Bureau of Statistics today, China’s steelmakers produced totally 51.7 million tons of crude steel in July, 3.9 percent down from June as demand is weak.
  • (Interfax) China's daily crude steel output stood at an average of 1.67 million tons in July, a decrease of 6.7 percent month-on-month as well as the lowest level in the past seven months, according to an Aug. 11 National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report.
  • (SBB) US stainless prices expected to flatten out in September
  • (Yieh) Russian government plans to file an anti-dumping case on stainless steel imports against China, South Korea, Brazil and South Africa. The investigation period will be lasting for 5 years. Meanwhile, Russia has imposed an anti-dumping tax of 29.9 percent from China’s Shanix Taigang Stainless Steel in June this year and 39.1 percent from other China’s companies.
  • (China) July CPI rises to 21-month high, PPI growth falls - more
  • Federal Reserve policymakers statement - more
  • Consumer Reports Index for August - more

  First nickel from Goro, 12 years after WA pioneers - Brazilian mining giant Vale, which acquired the New Caledonia-based Goro project after its acquisition of Inco in 2006, has announced first metal product from the high pressure acid leach (HPAL) project. - more

  Spot Price Of High Carbon FeCr In China Has Turned To Rise, Causing Intention To Import = Nickel Price Has Risen, Troubles Emerged From Flood May Occur Confusion In Inland Transportation - Spot price of high carbon ferro-chrome in China is now moving to change. Domestic price of this ferro-alloy was so far on a straight way to fall but has rallied to a level of CNY8,300 - 8,400 per metric ton of material (corresponding to 111.2 - 112.5 US-Cents per lb. of Cr for high carbon ferro-chrome containing Cr 50% min.) from the beginning of August. - more

  China's crude steel output falls for second month in July - China produced 51.74 million mt of crude steel in July, the second straight monthly decline, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Wednesday. - more

  RUSAL takes Norilsk dispute to London - Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska will take his dispute with magnate Vladimir Potanin over metals giant Norilsk Nickel to London in an effort to regain board parity after several failures in Russia. - more

  Steelmakers restock as iron ore buys rise - Iron ore imports by China, the largest buyer of the steelmaking ingredient, rose for the first time in four months in July, indicating steelmakers are restocking after depleting inventories. - more

  SAfrica's Eskom to boost independent power supply - South Africa's power utility Eskom expects to almost double the level of generating capacity that its grid will get from independent power producers (IPPs) by next March, a senior official said on Wednesday. - more

  WTO raps EU anti-dumping in China fasteners case - The World Trade Organization has condemned the way the European Union assesses duties on unfairly priced imports in a complaint brought by China over sales of screws and bolts, a person familiar with the case said on Tuesday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, August 10

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 98 to 2,212. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Tells Banks to Take Back Trust Firms Loans, People Say // Yuan Declines Most in Five Weeks as PBOC Sets Lower Fixing; Dollar Gains // China's Biggest Gold Producing City Halts Output After Mine Fire Kills 16 // Copper Imports by China Climb for First Time in Four Months on Arbitrage // China's Stocks Fall Most in Six Weeks on Trade, Property Prices // Asian Stocks Fall for Second Day as Trade Data Fuel China Growth Concerns // Russia May Lose 15,000 Lives, $15 Billion of GDP in Heat Wave // U.K. Home Prices to Fall Until 2012 After `Sucker's Rally,' Savills Says // Asia Beats Europe as Gulf's Shariah Lenders Seek Growth: Islamic Finance // European Stocks Retreat From 15-Week High; Barratt, TUI Fall // U.S. 2010 Census to Finish Its Tally $1.6 Billion Under Budget, Locke Says // Buffett Shortens Bond-Holding Duration After Inflation Warning // Chief Executives in U.S. Less Confident on Jobs, Survey Shows // Worker Productivity in U.S. Unexpectedly Fell in 2nd Quarter // U.S. Stocks Fall on China Economic Data Ahead of Fed Meeting
  • The Euro is presently trading over 8/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is is down 1.3% and trading at $80.42/barrel. Gold is off over a third of a percent and silver is down 6/10 of 1%. Base metals fared little better, all closing lower. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, and slid for much of the session, finding its footing late. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.07/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in worldwide LME approved warehouses slipped overnight and now sit just over the 116,000 tonne level. Cancelled warrants also slipped, back under the 4% level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading above the $10/lb level yesterday (chart here). Import numbers from China disappointed traders today and this was the instrumental reason metals fell. While exports continue to rise, slower imports signal a slowing in China's economy. Once again the double dip warning flag has been raised and volatility seems to be in the wind today. The threat will gradually subside until the next batch of bad news starts the cycle all over again. The Baltic Dry Index continues to send a positive signal, gaining another 98 points to 2,212. Maybe it's no more than a mirage in the desert, but in our opinion, as long as the BDI stays in a positive trend, it could very well be hinting the economic picture could be looking a little brighter around the next corner. Before industry can make 'stuff' they have to buy the raw materials and the BDI could be telling us that that purchasing is picking up. There are those who would dismiss this notion, and we readily admit, they can make a good argument. Back to nickel, Vale announced Goro had successfully produced its first nickel  product in tests at its New Caledonia mega project, and could be producing nickel by the end of the year. With the price of nickel back over $10/lb, closed pig nickel producers are rumored to be firing back up in China.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Reuters) Brazilian mining giant Vale has started production at its Goro nickel mining project in New Caledonia, the company said in a market filing on Monday.
  • Small-Business Sentiment Deteriorates Again - more
  • CEOs Less Confident in Recovery - more
  • San Francisco Fed Paper Warns Odds of Recession Rising - more
  • Student-Loan Debt Surpasses Credit Cards - more
  • U.S. Incomes Tumbled in 2009 - more
  • Japan's Economic Stagnation Is Creating a Nation of Lost Youths - more
  • European Banks – Distinguishing the Walking Wounded from the Living Dead - more
  • Widening Chinese Trade Surplus Increases Pressure to Intervene - more
  • Reagan insider: 'GOP destroyed U.S. economy' - more
  • Structured Notes Are Wall Street's `Next Bubble,' Whalen Says - more
  • Consumer confidence - more
  • Economic Pessimists Gain Cachet - more

  Vale New Caledonia Project Produces First Nickel During Tests - Brazilian mining company Vale SA, the world's second-biggest nickel producer, said its Goro project in New Caledonia in the South Pacific successfully produced its first nickel metal product during tests. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.31/lb lower, with all London traded base metals in the red this morning after disappointing China data was released. The Euro is trading over 6/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment.  NYMEX crude oil is down over 1/8% and at $80.00/barrel. Gold is lower by more than 7/10 of 1% and silver is off nearly 1/6%. In overnight trading, Asian market ended lower, with China down nearly 3%. European markets are lower this morning, and US futures show US markets could open lower. Nickel inventories continued to fall overnight. The Federal Open Market Committee is meeting today and expected to issue a statement at 2:15 pm EST.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more
  • LME Morning - Metals subside as China kicks off data flow with unexciting trade figures - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices pushed mostly higher on Monday, although aluminum gave up earlier gains to finish lower. A stronger tone in both the US equity markets and energy, combined with a weaker dollar helped the advance, but trading conditions were thin in many markets, as the August lull sets in. In the equity markets for example, the New York Stock Exchange had it slowest trading day so far this year, with composite volume hitting 3.3 billion shares, well off the average daily volume of 5.4 billion shares. Many participants also headed to the sidelines ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy statement due out later today. There is much anticipation about what the central bank will say in terms of further quantitative easing now that US growth is showing increasing signs of decelerating. We suspect that should the Fed "stay the course" and not signal that it is contemplating any new policy initiatives, (i.e., such as buying bonds or lowering payments of banks deposits held with it), we could see a rather sizable late-day sell-off ensue in most markets for the balance of the week, led by a pullback in US equities. Among the various Fed statements out over the last several months, this month’s statement could prove to be the most pivotal. Commodity markets are already sensing some alarm ahead of the release, with metals and energy off sharply. US stocks are also expected to open lower as well, while the dollar is a touch stronger against the Euro. In the case of metals, decent Chinese import trade data released earlier in the day have not done much to stem the selling. In this regard, it was reported that Chinese copper imports rose in July for the first time month-on-month since March to just under 343,000 tons, in line with estimates, while scrap imports were up strongly once again. Of this total amount, 250,000-280,000 tons were likely comprised of refined copper cathodes, but we will know the exact amount when the category breakdowns are out later this month. We summarize the main non-ferrous highlights in the table contained in our attachment. On the ferrous side, China's July iron ore imports also snapped three straight months of declines and regained a level above 50 million tons, as steel mills stepped up buying. Also out of China, state media reports said on Monday that the government has ordered more than 2,000 companies in 18 industries to shut outdated manufacturing capacity by the end of September,. The factories targeted for closure were either highly polluting, consumers of large amounts of energy, or did not meet safety requirements. Firms that fail to comply could face penalties, including having their business licenses withdrawn. In a parallel initiative, the industry ministry is working to consolidate the steel sector by closing small mills and raising production standards by shutting mills that produce less than 1 million tons of steel or 300,000 tons of higher-end steel a year.  ...  We are $22,150 on nickel, down $650, and fairly quiet. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (AP) China's largest nickel producer the Jinchuan Group raised its refined nickel price by 3,000 yuan (USE443) a metric ton (tonne) to 167,000 yuan/tonne effective from Monday, the company said on its website.
  • (JMB) Orders for stainless steel plates/ In June, decline year-on-year 1st in 11 months
  • (MNP) Crescent Resources will sell its Mt Lucky manganese project near Laverton in Western Australia for $3 million, announcing today it has agreed to sell the tenement package to the joint venture company that runs the Murrin Murrin nickel mine.
  • (MBN) Jinchuan's rapid-fire nickel price hikes spur NPI demand
  • (JMB) Japan Major Smelters Post Better April-June Results
  • (Interfax) China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) released a number of lists on its official Web site on Aug. 8 containing details about domestic steel and nonferrous metals facilities that have been classified as outdated and set to be phased out by the end of the year.
  • (AMM) U.S. premiums for plating-grade nickel have finally started to decrease as the supply-side squeeze that has saddled the market for the past six months begins to dissipate, according to market participants.
  • (MDM) Machine Tool Consumption Up 56.1% YTD
  • (AP) Japan's Sojitz Corp. said Friday that a molybdenum-mining joint venture in Canada will raise its annual output capacity 60 per cent to 7,300 tons next year to prepare for future growth in demand.
  • (Yieh) TISCO announced to raise its domestic stainless steel price for this week by RMB300/ton for domestic market.
  • (AAP) Nickel miner Minara Resources Ltd has bought the Mt Lucky manganese tenements in Western Australia from gold miner Crescent Gold Ltd for $3 million.
  • Growth in China's exports, imports slows down in July - more

  Nickel no longer fickle - The price of nickel has hit $US10 a pound, prompting talk of some Western Australian mines reopening. - more

  (PR) Mwana Africa PLC is pleased to announce the completion of a Competent Person's Report on Bindura Nickel Corporation's plans for the restart of operations at the Trojan Mine, including an audited resource and reserve statement for the Trojan deposit, prepared by SRK Consulting Ltd . Mwana Africa has a controlling interest in BNC. - more

  Norilsk shareholder circle call for EGM - The uneasy truce between Interros and Rusal over the management of mining giant Norilsk Nickel has crumbled amidst claims of flawed elections for board seats, with both shareholders looking to buy each others stake. - more

  Iron Ore Imports by China Increase in July for First Time in Four Months - Iron ore imports by China, the largest buyer of the steelmaking ingredient, rose for the first time in four months in July, indicating steelmakers are restocking after depleting inventories. - more

  • China's Hebei Steel raises prices effective from Wed - China's Hebei Iron & Steel Group raised steel product prices by up to 300 yuan ($44.33) effective from Wednesday, raising expectations that other major steel mills would follow soon. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending August 7, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,714,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 70.9 percent. Production was 1,381,000 tons in the week ending August 7, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 57.7 percent. The current week production represents a 24.2 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending August 7, 2010 is up 0.5 percent from the previous week ending July 31, 2010 when production was 1,706,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 70.5 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, August 9

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 84 to 2,114. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's July Car Demand Growth Slowest in 16 Months // Chalco, Hebei Steel, Cement Makers Must Shut Outdated Plants, China Says // Shanghai New Home Sales Fall 11% During Week Ended August 8, Uwin Reports // Gemdale Shares Drop After Property Sales for First Seven Months Drop 42% // Most Asian Stocks Rise as Profit Speculation Overshadows Growth Concerns // Hedge Funds Raise Bets on Rising Oil Price to 13-Week High: Energy Markets // Wheat Speculators Slow Bets on Gain After Best Month Since 1973 // BRICs Losing to Turkey in Stocks as Indonesia Swaps Beat Russia // Muscovites Flee Worst Heat `in 1,000 Years'; Death Rate Doubles // European Stocks Climb; Rio Tinto Leads Rally in Mining Shares // McDonald's Sales Rose 7% Worldwide in July, Beating 5.1% Analyst Estimate // Goldman Sachs Lowers Forecast for Japan, U.S. Growth // Stocks, U.S. Futures Climb on Stimulus Speculation
  • The Euro is now trading nearly 4/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is up 4/10 of 1% and at $81.02/barrel. Gold is lower by nearly 1/2% and silver is off be nearly 9./10 of 1%. Base metals ended mostly higher, with aluminum slipping into the red late in the session. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, and spent the day on a fairly steady uptrend. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.34/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approve warehouses slumped over the weekend and now show sitting just under the 116,300 tonne level. All of the nickel gained during the recent four day stretch of gains is now gone. Sucden's day old chart show nickel trading thru Friday (chart here). With nickel closing above the psychologically important $10/lb level on Friday, there is no telling how high the bulls can run the price up now. The Baltic Dry Index continues to send some strong signals about worldwide commodity shipping, gaining another 84 points today, after a 52 point gain Friday took the BDI back over the 2000 level. News about nickel or stainless was hard to find today. Let us hope this is not a calm before some storm. Not only are nickel prices rising but ferrochrome and molybdenum are also seeing some uptick in pricing. Guess where stainless steel prices are heading?

  Reports

  • Reuters Metals Insider - pdf here
  • The Commodity Tracker - more

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Reuters) "Colin Hamilton, analyst at Macquarie said the current nickel prices may not be sustainable. "We are seeing the rising nickel price reincentivise some nickel pig iron production in China ... and the stainless steel market is softening."
  • (Reuters) Brazilian mining giant Vale expects iron ore prices to be mostly steady in the coming months and around $140 per tonne for the next quarter, company officials said on Thursday.
  • (SMR) Russia exported 102,100 metric tons of nickel in January-June, 3.9% less than in January-June 2009, the federal customs service reported Friday.
  • (SBB) Taiwanese stainless mills had announced price increases of $70-150/t for their stainless exports for August on rising nickel prices,
  • WSJ Econ Tracker - more
  • Does the Drop in Temps Signal Trouble Ahead? - more
  • Economists React: ‘The Great Stall’ Takes Hold - more
  • The Mother of all Bubbles - more
  • America Goes Dark - more
  • Waiting for Nothing? - more
  • FDIC Bank Failures - more

  South Africa Makes Request on Steel Duties - South Africa on Saturday asked Russia not to impose anti-dumping duties on imports of nickel-alloyed flat-rolled stainless steel because it does not compete with Russian products. - more

  SAIL commissions Rs 39cr unit at Salem - As part of its Rs 70,000 crore expansion programme, SAIL today commissioned a Rs 39.4 crore unit at its Salem steel plant. - more

  Nunavut’s Inuit and Agnico-Eagle Partner and Embrace Mining to Secure Their Futures – by Marilyn Scales - more

  U.S. sets preliminary antidumping penalties on Chinese drill pipe - The U.S. Commerce Department on Friday set preliminary antidumping (AD) penalties on imports of drill pipe from China, a move that might escalate trade disputes between the two countries. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.27/lb higher, with other base metals also trading higher this morning in London. The Euro is trading over 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is up 1/1% and trading at $81.59/barrel. Gold is trading slightly higher, while silver is up nearly 3/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 7/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning and US futures show Wall Street is back to being in a bullish mood. Nickel inventories fell over the weekend and  Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended last week at $10.02/lb. There is a serious drought on nickel or stainless steel news this morning.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals firmer as dollar softens, fresh uptrend highs seen in some  - more
  • Reuters morning metals report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals continued to push higher for most of last week, rallying on both better technical and fundamental elements before easing somewhat towards the end of the week. Among the fundamental variables at work for most of the week was the continued trend of declining LME stock levels. Copper stocks, for example, are now off some 140,000 from the February highs, while aluminums stocks are off some 200,000 tons over the same period. Talk of an impending ETP product that could potentially tie up another 1 million tons of aluminum also helped steady the ali complex. Zinc, on the other hand, has pushed higher on account of a sharp rise in cancelled warrants following last week's announcement by Horsehead Holding that a force majeure on some zinc oxide and special high-grade zinc contracts may last for several months following the explosion at its zinc refining facility in Monaca, Pennsylvania. Through all this, the markets seem satisfied that demand out of China - while slowing of late - will be sufficient enough to take up incremental metal units. However, the slowing growth trend evident in the US has caught the markets off guard more noticeably, as evidenced by Friday when weaker-than-expected non-farm payrolls data. The numbers showed that total nonfarm payrolls fell by 131,000 for their second straight monthly decline on account of government census workers being terminated. The private sector adding only 71,000 jobs in July, less than the 90,000 gain expected. Although equity markets at first fell sharply after the release, stocks did manage to recoup most of their losses by the close. However, the recovery did little to alter the impression that the employment picture seems stagnant in that the number of jobs being created is hardly enough to keep up with natural population growth, let alone accommodate the millions of people who have lost work since the recession began.  ... We are $22,620 on nickel, up $520, and apparently on track to $23,730, which seems to be next resistance on the charts.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) According to the Spetsstal Association, steel demand in Russia has rebounded back to the level of pre-recession period, both domestic production and imports of stainless steel have shown an upward trend. Total stainless steel production in Russia reached 45,100 tons from January to June, imports hit 83,400 tons, that are 64.5 percent and 81.2 percent higher.
  • Shipping industry optimistic despite weak economic indicators - more
  • China steelmakers likely to raise prices in Sept - more
  • China orders 2,000 firms to shut overcapacity by end-Sept - more

  Norilsk Nickel launched construction of a cargo terminal in Murmansk - There started construction works of a huge terminal for at least 1,5 mln tons of cargo. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, August 6

  Baltic Dry Index - plus 52 to 2,030. (chart)

   MarketWatch - Payrolls report - Consensus forecast for the net loss of 60,000 jobs. - Report - Jobless rate at 9.5% as U.S. economy sheds 131,000 jobs; private sector adds 71,000 jobs. note - Gold moves higher while base metals, including nickel, slip on the news.

  Wall Street Journal (quote) - The wheat-market drama also is likely to reignite the debate over the role that investors play in the commodities markets. On Monday, the World Bank said speculators may be a short-term driver of volatility in food prices, though it said supply-and-demand fundamentals ultimately triumph. Prices of cocoa, coffee and pork bellies have also recently soared.

  • Globe and Mail - (quote) “Speculators are adding to the volatility in the wheat trading pits,” Mr. Boyes said. “You have these big commodity funds over the past three to five years, these non-agricultural traders who are participating in wheat futures trading, not just millers, bakers, farmers and grain companies.”

  MarketWatch - Germany's industrial production declined 0.6% in June from the previous month, data showed on Friday.

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.12/lb higher, with all London traded base metals higher at the moment. The Euro is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down 3/10 of 1% and trading at $81.76/barrel. Gold is up 2/10 of 1% and silver is 1/10 of 1% lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 1-2/3%. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street is higher at the moment, but the payroll report for July being released in a few minutes will dictate the markets direction today. Nickel inventories fell and  now show totaling over the 117,300 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart is here (chart here
  • There will be no afternoon update as we will be away from the computer. Have a great weekend!!
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals consolidate at steadier levels, mark time ahead of US jobs report  - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report this week
  • (Yieh) Japan imported around 18,000 tons of stainless steel products in June, up by 43 percent compared to 12,300 tons in the same period of last year.
  • (Yieh) Taiwan's Chien Shing Stainless Steel Co. has announced to resume operation in next week because the strong demand requests from their existing customers. CSSSC halted stainless steel rolling at its Matou works in July due to slow demand.
  • Chinese media reports Baosteel has raised prices for cold-rolled steel grade 304 by 1,800 yuan/ton ($266) and selling at 22.8 thousand yuan/ton ($3352).
  • (Interfax) China's chrome ore imports are expected to climb to between 7.5 and 8.5 million tons in 2010, an increase of between 10 and 20 percent year-on-year, senior company employee Cao Wenquan with Turkey-based Yildirim Holding Inc., said at an August 6 conference in Qingdao.
  • (Interfax) Hubei Fuxing Group has started construction work on a 100,000-ton precision stainless steel facility in Hanchuan, a county-level city in Xiaogan, Hubei Province, state media reported on August 4.
  • (PAI) Q2 Chinese output reached 2.69mt, up 10.4% qoq according to the Stainless Steel Council of China Special Steel Enterprise. 1.32mt of 300-series (high nickel) stainless were produced in the period, 799,600t of 400-series, and 573,700t for 200-series.
  • (PR Newswire) An upcoming sale by Russian aluminium giant Rusal, controlled by Oleg Deripaska, of its stake in Norilsk Nickel to the Russian Government would end the long drawn-out conflict between the principal shareholders of the world's largest producer of nickel and palladium and increase the likelihood of the creation from it of a Russian "national champion" in metals. Leading analysts believe that such a scenario is likely to be welcomed by investors as increasing shareholder value.
  • (SG) It is reported that China steel market starts to rebound this week after three consecutive months price fall since mid April. Recently, over 20 steelmakers announced to lift their EXW prices.
  • (SO) Luo Bingsheng, vice president of the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), has said that the CISA does not agree with the elimination of all steel mills in China which are in violation of official regulation and guidelines, which together have an aggregate output capacity of 300 million mt.
  • (AP) China's largest nickel producer Jinchuan Group Co. raised its refined nickel price by 3,000 yuan a metric ton (tonne) to 164,000 yuan/tonne effective from Tuesday, the company said on its website. The price rise came just one day after Jinchuan had lifted its refined nickel price by 3,000 yuan/tonne on Monday.
  • (Interfax) Chrome and manganese alloy prices on China's market are beginning to rebound after three months of steadily declining, Sinosteel Raw Materials Co. Ltd. deputy manager Liu Jing said at an August 5 conference in Qingdao, Shandong Province.
  • (MB) European stainless steel flat product prices have bottomed out and demand is expected to pick up in September, market participants told MB.
  • (TASS) Customs: Russia’s nickel exports down 3.9% on yr in January–June
  • China widens stress tests to steel, cement - media - more
  • The American dream of the Chinese rich - more

  Reuters Insider - Stainless Steel and Nickel - interview here

   Japan's Exports Of Ferro-Nickel For China Are Slowing Down = Increased Quantity Of Nickel-Contained Pig Iron Produced In China Is Permeating Into Domestic Market - A sudden and sharp decline in domestic production of ferro-nickel in Japan in 2009 was underpinned by the substantially increased exports of ferro-nickel for China. However, the exports of ferro-nickel from Japan in 2010 are on a strong tendency to be unable to expand. - more

  Merafe says has enough ore despite Lonmin restriction - South Africa's Merafe Resources said on Friday it has enough ore sources to mitigate the impact of a government order preventing Lonmin from selling any associated minerals. - more

  • State Faces Legal Battle As Lonmin Loses Rights - The Department of Mineral Resources will be taken urgently to court by Lonmin after the world's third-largest platinum miner was forbidden from selling associated minerals from its mines with immediate effect. - more

  Nickel Asia Corp, Baosteel Resources In Talks On Philippine Nickel Mine - Philippine Laterite nickel producer Nickel Asia Corp. is in talks with Baosteel Resources Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of China's second largest steelmaker Baosteel Group Corp., to jointly develop a laterite nickel mine in the Philippines, NAC vice president Rolly Cruz said Friday. - more

  Russia to introduce duty on some stainless steel - A Russian government commission said on Thursday it will introduce a three-year anti-dumping duty on stainless flat-rolled steel containing nickel from South Africa, Brazil, Korea and China. - more

  China jailed two steel executives over Rio Tinto's Stern Hu bribery scandal - China has finally revealed it jailed and fined two Chinese steel executives over the Rio Tinto bribery and industrial espionage scandal. - more

  Norilsk dispute drifts towards high noon - Norilsk Nickel, subject of a shareholder dispute between Vladimir Potanin’s Interros and Oleg Deripaska’s Rusal, says it is ready to participate in a buyout in a buyout of Rusal’s stake. - more

   Mining industry scores Church's 'extremist view' - The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (CMP) on Monday scored the Catholic Church for its "extremist view" against the exploitation and development of the country's natural resources. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, August 5

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 21 to 1,978. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Tests to Check Risk of Cash Crunch Among Developers // Nomura to Boost Commodity Trading in Japan Fivefold to Meet Hedging Demand // Indonesia's Economy Expanded 6.2% in Second Quarter From Year Earlier // Thailand Stocks Post Longest Gain in 16 Years as Overseas Investors Return // Li Ka-Shing `Optimistic' on Economy as Hutchison, Cheung Kong Profits Gain // Asia Stocks Rise on Toyota Earnings, U.S. Optimism // Russia to Ban Grain Exports From Aug. 15 as Drought Cuts Yields // Europe Junk Bonds Set to Overtake U.S. as Debt Woes Recede: Credit Markets // ECB Keeps Rate at 1%, May Weigh Second Run at Exit // Greece Likely to Get Aid Payout on Austerity Progress, IMF Says // Trichet May Start ECB's Second Run at Exit as Economy Recovers // British Subsidies Trigger `Solar Revolution' Under Rainy Skies // European Stocks Rise; Nokian Renkaat, Aviva Pace Advance // BP Will Start Pumping Cement to Seal Oil Well Today // Alliant Techsystems Raises 2010 Forecast as Net Rises on Ammunition Sales // U.S. Retailers' July Sales Trail Estimates on Spending Cuts // Medicare's Viability Extended to 2029 Following Health Overhaul, U.S. Says // Stocks Drop on Jump in Jobless Claims
  • The Euro and US Dollar are trading nearly even at the moment and trading so far this morning has been choppy. NYMEX crude is down 2/3% and trading at $81.94/barrel. Gold is trading flat while silver is trading 4/10 of 1% higher. Base metals ended the session mostly lower. Indicator charts show nickel started the day trading higher, but as US markets opened and equity markets fell, nickel was dragged down. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.92/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell slightly overnight and total just under the 117,800 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel's return to its bullish run (chart here). The slow stochastic (SStoch) reading shows nickel opened this morning in overbought territory but the Relative Strength Index (RSI) showed nickel still had room to run technically. The Baltic Dry Index returned to a positive number after slipping for a few days. It gained 21 points to 1,978. While its rate of growth is no where near the degree by which it fell, and many feel its reliability as an overall economic gauge is incredibly skewed these days due to excess ships, we still look upon the BDI's turnaround from a long and steep fall as a positive sign for the world economic recovery.  US markets are trading lower today after new jobless claims unexpectedly rose last week. The July employment report will be out tomorrow with economists forecasting the overall jobless rate will move from 9.5% to 9.6%.  We leave you with two monthly reports you don't hear too much about in the economic data pool, but it says a lot about what American's are felling in general. First is the monthly report on number of American's on supplemental nutrition assistance program. May's number, the most recent published, is an all time record high, and shows more than twice as many American's are getting assistance than just two years ago. (data here) The second is published monthly by the FBI showing how many background checks they ran for new purchases of guns. While not a record high in July, it is the first July on record where these checks exceeded the one million mark, and the first time on record, where the FBI ran over 1 million checks per month for a full 12 months. (pdf here) Surely, these are interesting times we live in.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Jobs Report May Hold Key to Fed Action - more
  • Compensation Study: Employers Pay More, Employees Make Less - more
  • Consumers Shun Big-Ticket Items - more
  • Bankruptcy Filings Drop in the South - more
  • Inflation Expectations Are Not Stable!  - more
  • Fannie and Freddie's Foreclosure Barons - more
  • Auerback: The Real Reason Banks Aren’t Lending - more
  • Summer Rerun: “Carry trade threatens a deflationary global collapse” - more
  • Weekly Leading Index (Still) Widely Misunderstood - more

  China steel execs jailed for leaking secrets - A Chinese executive once touted as the future head of steelmaker Shougang was jailed for leaking commercial secrets to employees of Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto who have since been jailed, a court official said on Thursday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.06/lb higher, with other base metals mixed and mostly lower. The Euro is currently trading nearly 1/4% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1/2% and at $82.07/barrel. Gold is trading over 1/10 of 1% higher, while silver is up 1/2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended nearly flat, with China off nearly 9/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures are slightly higher at the moment. Nickel inventories fell again overnight.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Unrelenting uptrend resumes on technical momentum, upbeat sentiment  - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report this week
  • (Yieh) According to the data from the Stainless Steel Council (SSC) of China Special Enterprise Association, China’s crude stainless steel output rose by 34.46 percent to 5.47 million tons in the first half year compared to the same period of last year.
  • (Interfax) China's consumption of stainless steel is set to enter a period of relatively low growth in the next three to five years, Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Co. Ltd. senior analyst Hao Peigang said at an Aug. 5 conference in Qingdao.
  • (Interfax) Shandong Taishan Iron and Steel Group Co. Ltd. (Taigang) will start production at its 600,000-ton hot-rolled stainless steel annealing and pickling line (APL) in September of this year, senior company employee Chen Peidun said at an Aug. 5 conference in Qingdao, Shandong Province.
  • (AMM) A number of nickel traders and consumers have initiated negotiations for 2011 volumes well ahead of the normal October mating season in a sign that buyers are a bit anxious about 2011 supply, market participants told AMM.
  • (MBN) China's rising NPI prices prompt smelter restarts
  • (SBB) China FeCr prices rebound on tight supply
  • (MP) Chinese molybdenum prices have moved up further on tight supply following serious floods which have disrupted mining operations
  • (MP) The slide in ferro-chrome prices in the United States has come to a temporary halt as the market awaits further direction.
  • China said to test banks for 60% home-price drop - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 30th July 2010 = Weakened Domestic Prices Of Ferro-Alloys In China Have Caused to Enlarge An Opacity For Future - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 30th July of 2010 is as follows - more

  Metals Demand May Cool as China Bank Stress Tests Point to Property Dip - Chinese metals consumption may cool if government orders for stress tests on banks to gauge the impact of a property price slump of as much as 60 percent indicate the market has further to fall, analysts say. - more

  80% Cheaper Solar Cells Switch Gold For Nickel - One of the major drawbacks of most renewable energy sources is high cost. In order to see a huge rise in the use of renewable energy sources, prices must come down. - more

  Russia Norilsk ready to buy its shares from Rusal - Russia's Norilsk Nickel, said on Thursday it may take part in a pool to buy out part of the stake of one of its shareholders UC RUSAL if such a pool is created, Norilsk's chief executive officer said on Thursday. - more

  Rio Tinto warns of volatility - Mining giant Rio Tinto Ltd has unveiled a strong jump in first half profit, thanks to booming commodity prices, but says economic conditions globally remain volatile. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, August 4

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 7 to 1,957. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Toyota Raises Forecast as U.S. Recovers, Asia Gains // Asia to Dominate Sukuk Market Growth Over Next 18 Months: Islamic Finance  // China Tells Banks to Stress Test for 60% Home-Price Drop // // Indonesia Pledges `Special Attention' to Inflation, Holds Key Rate at 6.5%  // Korea Exchange Bank's Profit Declines on Additional Bad-Loan Provisions  // Asian Stocks Fall as U.S. Home Sales, Factory Orders Prompt Growth Concern // Airbus A350 Gets Asian Boost as Cathay Endorses Wide-Body Jet // Carbon Capture Closer to Profit as Oil Rallies Toward $100: Energy Markets // EU Seeks Caspian Gas Accord to Cut Russian Dependence // Europe's Services, Manufacturing Growth Accelerates // Russia Should Ban Grain Exports Amid Drought, Glencore Unit Says // European Stocks Erase Earlier Gains; Benchmark Stoxx 600 Index Slips 0.1% // U.S. Companies Added More-Than-Forecast 42,000 Jobs Last Month, ADP Says // Announced U.S. Job Cuts Fell From Year Ago, Challenger Says // Bacon Surge May Last Through August as U.S. Hog-Herd Cuts Tighten Supplies // Minnesota Sells Biggest Debt of $860 Million at Lowest Rates in 13 Years // McCain Calls Life Insurers Holding Onto Soldiers' Benefits `Disgraceful' // Life Insurers `Very Proud' of Retained-Asset Accounts, Industry Group Says // U.S. Economy: Service Companies Expanded Faster in July
  • The Euro is currently trading over 1/2 of 1% lower against the Euro.  NYMEX crude is up 1/10 of 1% and at $82.63/barrel. Gold is 1.2% higher and silver is up over 1/2%. Base metals ended the session higher, after US reports gave a boost to the market. Indicator charts show nickel floundered early, but jumped in afternoon London trading. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.96/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell for a second consecutive time today, and now total just under 117,900 tonnes. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index registered a second decline, down 7 points to 1957, but the Cape sub index turned positive. We suspect that this two day decline is nothing but a momentary blip on an otherwise bullishly turned screen. Maybe we should qualify that - that statement is more of a hope than any prophetic vision. And while we aren't hopeful, we also believe nickel is heading back into the $10/lb range very soon, even though Dow Jones reports "Commerzbank stated the metals are at risk of correcting because prices have increased more than fundamentals warrant." Why? Because we don't believe fundamentals make nearly as much difference to the "big" investors as they used to. In our opinion, it's mostly driven by fund money powered by computers analysing technical signals and profit/loss potential, and in our opinion, the days of traders scrutinizing supply and demand equations have apparently fallen by the wayside. Funds and traders can not make money when the price is dormant. Period. The markets want to be bullish right now, and unless some major news breaks that reminds us of the near depression we are trying to crawl out of, and how close we still are to the bottom of that cycle, the market will find its justification to go higher. Historically, August is a good month for commodities, as the slow summer season begins to end, and the optimism for renewed growth will likely power nickel forward. We could be wrong, and we usually are, but we have grown far too cynical about daily swing in the price of nickel, and how traders 'justify' the increases and decreases to itself and others. The good old days where a mine could make a hand shake agreement with a stainless steel producer are long gone and now their pricing relationship is based off some guy half way around the world playing cat and mouse with another guy on the other side of the world. And the days when you or I could look at reports and try to figure out where nickel should realistically head, are also gone.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Second-Quarter Slowdown Likely Worse Than First Thought - more
  • With Wallets Thin, Consumers Face Zero-Sum Game - more
  • The impact of sunset of tax cuts on GDP, employment, inflation & interest rates - more
  • Understanding Context: The Housing Boom & Bust - more
  • On the Web's Cutting Edge, Anonymity in Name Only - more
  • Commodity ETFs: Toxic, deadly, evil - more
  • MBA: Mortgage Purchase Applications increase slightly last week - more
  • Andy Xie on China’s Empty Apartments  - more
  • AP Economic Stress Index - more

  Panoramic eyes Norilsk's Australian mines: CEO - Norilsk is reviewing its nickel holdings in Australia, which were idled in 2008 and 2009 due to weak demand for the steel making metal additive and potentially account for about 10,000 tonnes of annual production. - more

  ENRC Upgrades 2Q Steel Raw Material Output To Capacity - Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. PLC Wednesday reported second quarter production that was well ahead of the same period a year earlier and said its primary ferroalloys and iron ore divisions were effectively operating at full capacity. - more

  Thought Leader -- Steel's Struggle for a Sustainable Future - AISI CEO Thomas Gibson is beaming about steel's environmental strides, but views forthcoming EPA regulations as a major threat. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $0/lb unchanged although trading has been choppy earlier, trading within a $150/tonne band. Other base metals are mixed but equally quiet. The Euro is trading less than 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is down 1/3% and trading at $82.29/barrel. Gold is trading nearly 1% higher, while silver is up the same. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher, with China up nearly 4.10 of 1%. European markets are slightly lower this morning, while US futures show a slightly lower opening may be in the works, although the ADP report showing U.S. private sector employment increased by 42,000 in July, seems to be edging the futures market higher. Nickel inventories fell overnight.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals confined ahead of options expiry; caution caps advance - more

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Morning Montra - pdf here
  • Metals & Energy - pdf here
  • Market Drivers - pdf here
  • Metals Insight - pdf here
  • Nickel Magazine - Mining Stainless Steel Exploring the essential role of stainless steel - more
  • Nickel Magazine Volume 25 - here
  • Steel Founders' Society Of America CaSteel Report - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  no report this week
  • (Yieh) China’s Lianzhong Stainless Steel Cor. (Lisco) has announced to raise its stainless steel price for this week, due to higher nickel price and improving demand.
  • Blythe Masters Says ‘Don’t Panic’ as Commodities Slip - more
  • China's economic growth to slow to 9.2% in Q3: think tank - more
  • La Niña continues to develop in the Pacific - more

  CSSC Released the Stainless Steel Production in the Last Half Year of 2010. - China crude stainless steel production is reached 5.479 million metric tons(mmt) in the first half year of 2010, indicated an 34.46% increased in production compared to the first half year of 2009. - more

  Miners pan politics at Outback meeting - More than 2,000 mining executives and financiers spent the last three days in this gritty Outback mining hub attacking the nation's prime minister for proposing a new tax on iron ore and coal mines. - more

  ENRC 2Q Ferroalloys Output +40%; Running At Capacity - Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. PLC Wednesday reported second quarter production that was well ahead of the same period a year earlier and said its primary ferroalloys and iron ore divisions were effectively operating at full capacity.  - more

  Norilsk May Back Potanin in Buying Out Deripaska, Vedomosti Says - OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel may back billionaire Vladimir Potanin in buying out rival shareholder Oleg Deripaska’s United Co. Rusal, Vedomosti said, citing two unidentified people close to the nickel producer’s management and another close to an owner. - more

  • Infighting at Russian Mining Company Threatens Markets - A struggle for control has erupted on the board of Norilsk Nickel, one of Russia’s most valuable mining companies and the world’s largest producer of nickel and platinum group metals, which currently have new uses in fuel cells for electric cars, The New York Times’s Andrew E. Kramer reported. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, August 3

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 13 to 1,964. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Karachi Businesses Shut Doors After 36 Killed in Overnight Riots // Treasuries Lack Safety, Liquidity for China, Yu Yongding Says // China's Worst Floods Since 1998 to Cut Farm Output, Lift Prices // Worst Russian Drought in 50 Years Threatens Next Crop // Australia Keeps Key Rate at 4.5% as Inflation Cools  // Thailand Becomes Bull Market as Investors Return // Asian Stocks Rise as U.S. Manufacturing, HSBC Earnings Bolster Confidence // Greece Passes First Deficit Test as Budget Challenges Mount // Swedish Debt Office Says It May Unwind Krona Bet Once at `Normal' Level // Russia Plans Six-Year Ruble Bond, Longest Since 2008, as Debt Funding Lags // Gieve Says Bank of England Will Raise Rate `Quickly' When Growth Persists // Xstrata's First-Half Profit Triples on Metal Prices  // Dow Earnings Trail Analysts' Estimates After Weather Reduces Seed Demand // P&G Profit Forecast Trails Estimates as Shoppers Limit Spending // Fed Likely to Pass On More Stimulus Amid Signs Economy Weak // BP's Gulf Oil Leak Ranks as World's Worst Caused by an Accident // Consumer Spending and Incomes in U.S. Stagnate // Geithner Says U.S. Unemployment May Rise Again Before Declining // Pending Sales of Existing U.S. Homes Decrease 2.6% // `Dangerous Heat' Spreads Across Central U.S. // JPMorgan's Masters Urges No `Panic' as Commodities Unit Slips
  • The Euro is presently trading over 1/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, and off session highs. NYMEX crude oil is trading over 1% higher and at $82.19/barrel. Gold is nearly 4/10 of 1% higher, while silver is higher by nearly 9/10 of 1%. Base metals took a breather today, with some profit taking driving prices lower. Indicator charts show NIckel was choppy today, although it traded in a fairly narrow band. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.82/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses slipped after four consecutive days of gains, and now registers just over the 118,150 tonne mark. Rotterdam, which had been recording huge inbound shipments the last four days, showed no inbound received overnight, implying Norilsk's big ore carrier has left the dock.  Sucden's day old chart shows nickel's attempt to break $10/lb (chart here). AK Steel and Allegheny announced stainless steel surcharges for September and they are slightly lower than August surcharges. AK Steel, which now published two separate stainless surcharges for different thickness', shows the 304 stainless steel surcharge on material greater than .015", dropped from $.9612/lb to $.9391/lb. On 316 stainless, the monthly surcharge at AK for 28 gauge and thicker material, dropped from $1.377/lb to $1.3461/lb. The drop in surcharges was thanks to lower chrome and moly prices last month, while the average price of nickel rose slightly in July. While the price of nickel fell today, the uptrend appears to have held. The Baltic Dry Index took an unexpected turn into the red and fell 13 points to 1,964, with all three sub indexes falling into the negative. The economic news from the US was disappointing to the market and at present, Wall Street is lower. The Wall Street Journal reported different economists reaction to the news that wages and spending had stalled in June (here). Stagflation has been on the tip of most economists tongue's the last few weeks, but expect to hear inflation concerns start getting more press - as consumer prices, or at least all the ones the government does not monitor, are increasing. Gas, bacon and coffee have gotten some coverage the last few days, but we suspect you'll be hearing a lot more in the coming weeks. Inflation tends to support commodity prices as investors seek security.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MB) NSSC cuts 300 series surcharge again
  • After Scorching Year-Long Run, Factories Chill Out - more
  • Productivity Convergence Is Messy Process - more
  • Long Way to Go for Recovery - more
  • World-Wide Factory Activity by Country - more
  • Why Is Deflation Bad? - more
  • China is too big to fail - more

  Xstrata-Merafe Cut Ferrochrome Production in Third Quarter on Lower Demand - Xstrata Plc and Merafe Resources Ltd.’s ferrochrome joint venture, the world’s largest producer of the stainless-steel making ingredient, cut third-quarter output after demand fell and power costs increased. - more

  • Global Ferrochrome Demand to Exceed Output in Both 2010, 2011, Merafe Says - Global ferrochrome demand is expected to exceed production in both 2010 and 2011, Merafe Resources Ltd. said. - more

  Western Areas seeks partner for 3rd mine - Nickel miner Western Areas NL says its offtake partners could be interested in entering a joint venture for its planned third mine in Western Australia. - more

  India state iron ore exporters face force majeure - Iron ore exporters in a key Indian state may declare force majeure by the end of this week if a ban continues, the head of a trade body said, a move that could hit supplies to the $88-billion world market. - more

  Fortescue sees volatile iron ore prices - Global iron ore prices face a period of volatility as steel markets in China soften, Fortescue Metals Group chief executive Andrew Forrest has said. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.13/lb lower, with all base metals trading lower this morning as traders take profits. The Euro is trading over 3/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is trading nearly 4/10 of 1% higher and at $81.64/barrel. Gold is trading more than 1/10 of 1% higher while silver is higher by nearly 2/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher, with China off more than 1-3/4%. European markets are trading slightly lower this morning, and futures show Wall Street might open slightly lower after earnings from Dow Chemical and Proctor and Gamble disappointed traders. Nickel inventories returned to the loss column.  Marketwatch noted today "As MarketWatch's Mark Hulbert reports, August has historically been a great month for investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has returned 1.3% on average for the month since 1896. Only July has a better record at 1.4%, Hulbert notes."
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals consolidate on profit-taking; wider markets lack momentum - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - No reports this week
  • (Interfax) Iron ore pricing negotiations between China's steel mills and iron ore giants Vale, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have reached an impasse, China Iron and Steel Association's (CISA) Vice Chairman Luo Bingsheng announced on Aug. 3.
  • (JMD) NSSC/ Reduces production of cold-rolled nickel steel sheets
  • (AP) China's largest nickel producer Jinchuan Group Co. has raised its refined nickel price by 3,000 yuan a metric ton (tonne) to 161,000 yuan (US$23,772)/tonne, effective from Monday.
  • (DJ) Jinchuan Group Co. raised its refined nickel price by CNY3,000 ($443) to CNY164,000 a metric ton effective Tuesday, the company said on its website.
  • China H1 crude steel output grows 21% - more

  Plant To Produce FeCr Is Constructed In Oman By Joint Venture With Indian Enterprise = By End 2011, This Plant Produces 75,000 Tons / Year Of FeCr - Oman is the country to produce chrome ore and the project to construct a new plant in Oman for production of ferro-chrome is coming up. - more

  Mincor Restarts Production At Miitel Nickel Ore Body - Australian nickel producer Mincor Resources NL has restarted production at its Miitel ore body, Chief Executive David Moore told an industry conference Tuesday. - more

  Norilsk Nickel has success on Arctic sea transport - Russian mining and metallurgy major Norilsk Nickel has success in using the Northern Sea Route for cargo transport between Europe and the Arctic port of Dudinka. Last week the company’s head vessel delivered its millionth ton in Rotterdam. - more

  Russian Billionaires Battle Over Norilsk Nickel - A feud between Russian billionaires threatens to destabilize Norilsk Nickel, one of the world’s largest mining companies. - more

  China May Reduce Number of Iron Ore Importers to Improve Bargaining Power - China, the world’s largest buyer of iron ore, may reduce the number of qualified importers of the commodity with new rules for the steel industry soon, paving the way for mills to improve their price bargaining power. - more

  ThyssenKrupp to use indices to price steel - ThyssenKrupp, Germany's biggest steelmaker, will be using commodities-based indices as the basis for determining prices of annual steel contracts with its customers, its chief executive said in an interview published on Tuesday. - more

  Tax forcing local miners overseas: Andrew Forrest - Fortescue Metals Group boss Andrew Forrest says the uncertainty over the resources tax is forcing mining companies to shift overseas. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending July 31, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,706,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 70.5 percent. Production was 1,255,000 tons in the week ending July 31, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 52.4 percent. The current week production represents a 36.0 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending July 31, 2010 is down 2.1 percent from the previous week ending July 24, 2010 when production was 1,742,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 72.0 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, August 2

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 10 to 1,977. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) India's Manufacturing Growth Accelerated Last Month // China Manufacturing Faces `Slowdown, Not a Meltdown' // `Painful Trade' Drives Up Hong Kong Home Prices Amid Shortages, CLSA Says // South Korea's Won Reaches a Six-Week High as Exports Increase; Bonds Rise // Asian Stocks Advance on Profits, Forecasts; Honda, Hitachi Rise // Time to Buy Dollars as Euro Economies Reach Limits of Austerity // Yen, Dollar Drop as Signs of Global Recovery Buoy Risk Demand // Pound Reaches Five-Month High Against Dollar on Optimism About the Economy // European Stocks Rise to Three-Month High; BNP, HSBC Gain // Geithner Says U.S. Will Move `Quickly' to Fulfill Financial Rules Overhaul // Economy Gets Healthier as Company Yields Narrow to Treasuries // Greenspan Says Drop in Home Prices Might Bring Back Recession // Manufacturing in U.S. Expanded at Slower Pace in July // Bernanke Says U.S. Consumer Spending to Accelerate // Stocks Climb as Earnings Top Estimates; Treasuries, Dollar Fall
  • The Euro is now trading 9/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is up oper 3% and at $81/39/barrel. Gold is up 1/10 of 1% and silver is higher by 2%. Base metals ended solidly in the green to start the month of August. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher this morning and gained into the afternoon where it held onto its gains. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.95/lb , its best finish since late May. For the first time this year, the London Metal Exchange has reported that more nickel was received into their approved warehouses than was shipped out, for four consecutive sessions. Nickel stocks are reportedly now back to near the 118,400 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart show nickel breaking out of its channel at the end of last week (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index rose another 10 points today. The news is mixed and no matter what your view on the world economic recovery is, you can find facts and figures to support your belief. The China BDI was not encouraging, while the US was more so, even though it fell. Japan's BDI was discouraging, while Europe's numbers gave further signs of hope. Pick your poison, but be wary fighting the trend.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Switzerland's Glencore International SA has acquired the metals warehousing operations of Italy's family-owned Pacorini Group, the company said Monday, marking yet another foray into storage by influential players in the commodity markets.
  • Greenspan: A ‘Quasi-Recession’ - more
  • Number of the Week: Default Repercussions - more
  • Q&A: Romer Reacts to GDP Data - more
  • Defining Prosperity Down - more
  • Getting Ugly on the Commercial Real Estate Front  - more
  • Real GDP per Capita at September 2005 Level - more
  • Hot political summer as China throttles rare metal supply and claims South China Sea - more
  • The very questionable case for good corruption. - more
  • Alan Greenspan: Two Economies - more
  • China now has 65,000km of highway! - more

  South Africa is the world's largest ferrochrome producer, accounts for approximately 45% of global output - Research and Markets has announced the addition a new report "A Strategic Analysis of South Africa's Ferrochrome and Manganese Mining Industry" to their offering. - more

  Norilsk Nickel introduces president, Andrei Klishas to take position   - OJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel is introducing a president, who will be answerable to the company's CEO, Norilsk said in a statement. - more

  • Shareholder RUSAL unappeased by Norilsk appointment - Russia's metals giant Norilsk Nickel moved to even out the number of board seats held by two warring top shareholders by appointing a board member to the management team, but RUSAL seemed unappeased. - more

  North American Steel Price Drops 4 Percent in July - Flat product transaction values in the US continued their sharp decline in July. This has taken place against the backdrop of rising raw material costs in the third quarter. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.17/lb higher, with all base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro is trading over 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is trading over 1.1% higher and at $79.87/barrel. Gold is trading 1/3 of 1% lower and silver is up more than 8/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up over 1.6%. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures imply Wall Street will open the new month very bullish. Nickel inventories rose for a fourth straight session. China's PMI is slipping and according to noe gauge, is no longer growing. The HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, compiled by Markit, dropped to 49.4 from 50.4 in June. China's official purchasing managers' index published by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing fell to a 17-month low in July of 51.2 from 52.1 in June. It would appear the bulls are in charge today, and any negative news is to be overlooked.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals trim gains as early flurry slows, inventory data holds no surprises - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Ed on vacation - no report this week 
  • (AP) China's largest nickel producer Jinchuan Group Co. has raised its refined nickel price by 3,000 yuan a metric ton (tonne) to 161,000 yuan(US$23,772)/tonne, effective from Monday.
  • (AP) PT International Nickel Indonesia (Inco, JSX:INCO) posted a 61.1 per cent rise in net profit to US$218.8 billion in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year.
  • (JMB) Japan 3 Stainless Makers Post Profits, 2 Makers Losses for 1Q F2010
  • (DJ) The global supply of nickel is expected to fall 20,000 tons short of demand in 2010, the chief executive of Anglo American PLC (AA.LN) said Friday.
  • China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell to a 17-month low in July of 51.2 from 52.1 in June
  • China's manufacturing at slowest for 17 months - more
  • Stockman: How the GOP Destroyed the U.S. Economy - more
  • Six questions for Bruce Bartlett - more

  Vale strike in Labrador hits one-year mark - Striking miners in Labrador marked a full year on the picket line Sunday, as a long-running strike at Voisey's Bay showed no sign of ending soon. - more

  DMCI seeks to double nickel exports - DMCI Mining Corp. is seeking to double its exports to 1.2 million tons of nickel this year in response to the growing demand for nickel ore and iron laterite in Asian countries. - more

  More stainless steel output cuts required to support prices - Most regions have recorded a moderate, though gradual, economic recovery since the darkest days of the so-called Global Financial Crisis. - more

  Western Areas Sees Rising Chinese Demand For Nickel Concentrates - Having recently shipped its first nickel to China, Western Areas NL said Monday that it sees further growth in demand from the country's expanding stainless steel sector. - more

  RusAl, Partners Offer to Buy Potanin Out of Norilsk - United Company RusAl is ready to buy out the stake in Norilsk Nickel held by Vladimir Potanin's Interros Holding to end a shareholder dispute and boost the value of Russia's biggest mining company, RusAl CEO Oleg Deripaska said Friday. - more

  China Taiyuan says to invest in CNMC's Myanmar nickel project - Taiyuan Iron & Steel, China's top stainless steel mill, will take a 40 percent stake in an $800 million Myanmar nickel project to assure material for its Shanxi Taigang unit, a firm official said on Monday. - more

  Metal futures market 'still fairly niche' - The introduction of metals futures on the Singapore Exchange is set to boost interests in metals trading in Asia and position Singapore as commodities trading hub. - more

  Base metals set to shine after price falls & oversupply - AfDB - Prices for metals such as aluminium, copper, lead, nickel, tin and nickel are set to rise after a period of price volatility and oversupply as the global economy begins to recover, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB). - more

  Base metals to recover on robust growth - After a rally towards the end of 2009, base metals have tumbled in the first half of 2010 on China monetary tightening and concerns about sovereign debt problems in Euro Zone nations. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

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