This page is archived news covering the period from December 1, 2006 to December 30, 2006.
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Stainless Steel Prices & Nickel News

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

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Daily Nickel Market Prices

December 2006

(Nickel prices are responsible for approx. 60% of the cost of stainless steel - see bottom for more)

  2007 price forecast round-up - A lot of first time visitors to this site are looking for predictions and forecasts for nickel and stainless steel prices for 2007. Here is a list of the forecasts recorded to date. Posted on the top of this page thru December only. (listed from lowest to highest)(updated 12/25)
Westpac - $6.50/lb / JP Morgan - $6.70/lb / Bloomberg survey of 9 analysts - $9.31/lb / Macquarie Research - $10.13/lb / Morgan Stanley - $10.75/lb / UBS - $10.75/lb / Merrill Lynch - $10.75/lb / JB Were - $10.83/lb / Citigroup - $11.00/lb / ABARE - $11.23/lb /Goldman Sachs - $11.34/lb / Lehman Bros - $11.50/lb / Wachovia - $11.68/lb / BMO - $12.00/lb / National Australia Bank(NAB) - $12.13/lb / RBC Capital - $12.50/lb / Desjardins Securities - $13.00/lb / Barclay's - $13.78/lb

  If you support the mining industry, or would like to hear an opposing side to the daily propoganda you hear from the tree huggers and dirt sniffers, you should consider owning a copy of the documentary Mine Your Own Business. (The 'Institute of Public Affairs' of Australia wrote "As Mr McAleer documents in Mine Your Own Business, unsubstantiated accusations from environmentalists can appear compelling. Their claims may be false, but they command the moral high ground. Yet sadly in the end, by hindering or stopping development, they condemn the world's poorest to a life of subsistence." Another blogger wrote "Using a style reminiscent of Michael Moore, whose film Fahrenheit 9/11 lampooned the Bush administration, Mr McAleer lured environmentalists into making statements that were false or patently ridiculous.") Visit the website, and buy your copy here

Also, a special "Happy New Year" to my nephew, Seaman Evan Barrett, serving aboard the USS Kitty Hawk. Stay safe sailor!!
Photo's from Evan

USS Nvvy Drill Team in Norway

Friday, Dec 29
  The year ended quietly for LME nickel. It ended the day, week, month and year at $15.10/lb ($33,300/tonne). A far cry from the $6.18/lb it began the year at.
  World Economy at Risk From Chaos of Bush Regime - "The world survived 2006 without a major economic catastrophe, despite sky-high oil prices and a Middle East spiralling out of control." Article here
  Nickel still number one for Cuba - "Nickel retained its first place among Cuban exports in 2006, its earnings boosted by unprecedented high prices on the international market, although output was lower than the government had hoped." Article here
  China Favoured Consort for Africa's Fund-Hungry Miners - "Resources companies operating in Africa have increasingly been eyeing Chinese investment with mixed feelings." Article here
  Indications at 8:00 am CST make it appear to be a very slow day, with nickel prices showing no movement.
  China tax cut on nickel unlikely to spur imports - "A tax reduction on imports of refined nickel in China is unlikely to spur inflow because of high world prices, trading sources said on Thursday." Article here
  Mining mergers kept Cutifani busy - "It’s been quite the wild ride for Mark Cutifani, a transplanted Australian who has made a remarkable impact since coming to Sudbury to work for Inco Ltd. just over three years ago." Article here
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $15.69/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.29/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 168 tons =  6,648 tonnes

Thursday, Dec 28
  LME market was quiet today with the year ending tomorrow. LME nickel ended the day at $15.08/lb ($33,250/tonne).
  A non-nickel related story about how one of the world's largest gold miners almost got away with 20,000 acres in Chile for $19. And the contract said the seller would be fined $95,000 if he took his "windfall" and tried to buy adjoining land? Article here (this company may need to hire a PR director to work in Chile . Anyone interested? - just kidding)
  Notable quote - Robin Bhar, metals strategist at UBS - "The fact that growth in the developing world will offset the decline in demand from the U.S. represents a turning point for commodity markets, which have been historically tied to the expansion and contraction in the U.S. economy."
  China's sees economic growth around 10% in 2007 - "China's feverish economic growth will slow slightly to about 10 per cent next year, the chief economist for the National Statistics Bureau said Thursday" Article here
  More on yesterday's report that China is imposing tarriff's on certain items to discourage exports. It appears from early reports in China media, that nickel will be in the 11-15% range. According to reports issued by the General Customs Administration earlier this week, nickel exports from China have surged 39.9% in the first 11 months of this year, compared to last. Exports in November alone were 54.3% higher than November last year.
  At 8:00 am CST, indications were nickel was selling at 2 cents higher
  The Half Century Ending in 2006; the Next Half Century Beginning in 2007 - "A half century ago “Engine” Charley Wilson, then the CEO of General Motors, said to a U.S. Senator during his confirmation hearings to become President Eisenhower’s Secretary of Defense that “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country.” Just a few years later, Nikita Khrushchev, the successor after a bitter internal struggle to Joseph Stalin as Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics said to Eisenhower’s Vice President, Richard M. Nixon, “We will bury you.” - article here
  Want to keep tabs on conditions at PT Inco in Indonesia (new page) or CVRD-Inco Goro in New Caledonia (new page)
  Interfax reports the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck southern Taiwan Tuesday evening, affected international phone and internet traffic when undersea optical cables were damaged. By Wednesday afternoon backup systems were assisting carry the internet traffic load along eastern Asia.
  The commodities to splash out on - "As oil and copper lose their shine, water and platinum are among the products tipped by fund managers to attract the attention of investors." Article here
  Xstrata labour talks centre on "language" - "Labor talks between Xstrata Plc (XTA.L: Quote) and the union representing workers at its nickel operations in Sudbury, Ontario, are focused on language, a union official said on Wednesday." Article here
  Nickel Magazine December 2006 Volume 22, Number 1 For pdf download and online version / online translations / free hard copy subscription visit here
  Canada Weekly Review pdf here
  Xinhua reports Chinese government will impose tariffs on exports of natural resources next year including "stainless steel ingots, preliminary processed tungsten, manganese, molybdenum and chrome"
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $15.63/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.26/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 102 tons =  6,480 tonnes (12.50% cancelled warrants)

Wednesday, Dec 27
  LME nickel ended the day at $15.20/lb ($33,500/tonne)
  Expect more mergers, acquisitions - "Some of Canada's best-known companies were swept into foreign hands this year and the wave of consolidation that saw the selling of national icons such as Inco, Falconbridge and Hudson's Bay Co. isn't over yet." Article here
  Reuters Asia Metal Weekly Review pdf here
  Weekly Behre Dolbear Global Mining News pdf here
  In the holy cow department - Xinhua reports the National Development and Reform Commission is forecasting 2 billion people will travel during the Spring Festival, which runs from Feb 3rd to March 14th. 98.5%, or 1,850,000,000 will travel by auto. (remember - the US population just reached 300 million this year. And our DOT gets nervous on our holidays!)
  Metals Insider Week in Review - not published this week for holidays
  Commodities boom to stay for now, says Accenture - "With the demand for almost all commodities on a continuous rise and showing no signs of slowing down, global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company Accenture says it is optimistic that its mining business will continue to benefit from the commodities boom." Article here
  Merger mania and the money they paid - "ONE thing is for certain, there was a lot of cash flying around in the world’s mining sector in 2006. According to Bloomberg News, about $186bn in 1,361 mining deals had been transacted by the year-end. Billions of dollars was also returned to shareholders, or spent in buy-backs. Revenue was sky-high. The industry had never had it so good for years." Article here
  Yieh announces Yusco has raised the price of 300 series hot and cold roll stainless for January and has cut allocation for customers by 10-15% in hopes of adding some stability to the market.
  Current indications show nickel selling at plus 15 cents
  BHP, Rio settle on 9.5pc -  "Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have followed the lead of Brazil’s CVRD by striking a deal with Chinese steelmaker Baosteel that will boost the price of contracted iron ore deliveries by another 9.5 per cent next year and add more than $100 million to the WA Government’s iron ore royalties." Article here
  Shorting the Base Metals Complex - "Copper’s fall from grace in the past six months has been nothing if not fantastic. Since topping out around $4/lb. in May, copper has slumped recently to $2.85/lb." Article here (another sentence from article - "Among those likely to get hit hardest is probably nickel, a recent favorite of metals speculators worldwide.")
  Government may take stake in Philnico - "The government may be willing to take a stake in Philnico Industrial Corp. (PIC) anew in order to save the deal between the nickel mining firm and China’s Jinchuan Nonferrous Metal Corp., Trade and Industry Secretary Peter B. Favila said" Article here
  Friday's official closing prices - cash - $15.51/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.15/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 510 tons =  6,582 tonnes (13.49% cancelled warrants)

Tuesday, Dec 26
   Part 1 of 4 part series - Rising world interest rates the real enemy of the mining boom - "A RISE in world interest rates, rather than the long-awaited development of new mining capacity, might be the catalyst that brings the mining boom to its eventual end." article here
   Uranium and zinc top investor picks for 2007 and silver and nickel to benefit too - "Scotiabank Vice President, Industry and Commodity Market Research Patricia Mohr has forecast uranium and zinc as her top picks for investors in 2007, with precious metals, particularly silver, expected to benefit from further weakness in the U.S. dollar." article here  And the Scotia Bank report in pdf here
  Just a reminder - LME markets are closed today for the Boxer Day Holiday, thus no nickel price updates until tomorrow.

Holiday Weekend Update
  When Small Is Not Beautiful - "China wants its thousands of small steel enterprises to consolidate, but the divergent interests of various players and the central government’s heavy-handed administrative approach are hampering progress." article here
  Recently posted to web - "Background Paper. The Outlook for Metals Markets. Prepared for G20 Deputies Meeting Sydney 2006" pdf here
  A very nice report from Russia's third largest nickel producer, Ufaleynickel - gives worldwide data - dated 12/5 pdf here
   At the end of 2005, the metal which seemed to be getting the most bullish outlook was zinc. As 2006 ends, much of the talk is about uranium.
  Small clouds in blue skies - "The Chinese dragon is a difficult beast to tame. At 2006's meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC) in March, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao outlined a new national economic model based on greater resource efficiency and "balanced" growth. Wen told delegates that the blind pursuit of high gross domestic product (GDP) growth for its own sake should be abandoned: instead, China should slow annual growth to a modest 7.5 % through 2010." Article here
   Growth in economy set to slow - "Growth in China's economy may slow next year due to macroeconomic controls which are curbing investment and exports, a government report said on December 22." Article here
  Kazakhstan's largest bank, KazCommerce Bank, reported Wednesday that Australia's second largest nickel producer, Minara Resources Ltd, would meet its projection of 31-33,000 tons of nickel this year.
  Mining boss knew when to walk away from the Inco battle - "Donald Lindsay still drives the first car he ever bought. On most days, the 16-year-old black Audi, two-door hatchback, can be seen at the downtown Vancouver headquarters of Teck Cominco Ltd. The aged car made the trip west from Toronto to Vancouver two years ago, when the 47-yearold former investment banker at CIBC World Markets Inc. traded in his leather brogues and suspenders for a hard hat and the world of base metals mining. "It probably cost more to move the car than it's actually worth," Mr. Lindsay chuckles during a recent interview." article here
   Iron ore price settlements suggest China commodities boom will continue - "News over the past week that China’s Baosteel had conceded a 9.5 percent price increase in iron ore price with, firstly CVRD, and then with BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto on Friday evening, on behalf of all the Chinese importers, suggests that the country’s phenomenal growth rate shows no sign of diminishing." article here
   Pedal to the Metals in 2007 - "Although we are still a long way from the ultimate major blow-off in metals prices and equities, the level of speculative interest and monies raised over the course of 2006, even in the face of a somewhat vicious summer shakeout, leads us to believe that 2007 could be the most exciting year in this bull market to date." Article here

Friday, Dec 22
  LME nickel rebounded today, with bargain hunters in a buying mood. Nickel on the exchange ended at $15.15/lb ($33,400/tonne). The London Metal Exchange will be closed next Monday and Tuesday, so if we can find anything to post, we will be back Tuesday. Merry Christmas!
  Commodities far from hitting the wall as China caves in on ore price - "THE commodities boom isn't over yet." here
  Philnico open to deals with other investors - "Mining firm Philippine Nickel Corp. (Philnico) is keeping its options open to other possible investors who are interested in a joint venture with the Nonoc nickel mine in Nonoc Island." here
  At 7:30 am CST, indications show nickel was selling for $.43/lb higher.
  World Average Stainless Steel Prices - Latest Forecasts from MEPS here
  China sees 2007 steel output up 10 pct - "China's crude steel output is expected to rise 10 percent to 462 million tonnes, leading to increased exports unless government policy succeeds in reining in low-end steel production." here
  Nickel Gains in London as Inventory Drop Signals Tight Market - "Nickel rose for the first session in six after stockpiles fell, signaling supplies of the metal used in stainless steel remain tight and may lag behind demand." here
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $14.83/lb - 3 month buyer - $14.83/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 258 tons = 7,092 tonnes (17.60% cancelled warrants)

Thursday, Dec 21 (Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere at 7:22 pm EST and Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere at 11:22 am on Dec 22 in Melbourne, Australia)
  And for those where it is already Friday, and those still on Thursday, we would like to wish our worldwide readers who celebrate the holiday, a very Merry Christmas!!! The London Metal Exchange will be closed on Monday and Tuesday of next week.
  LME nickel ended the day at $14.46/lb ($31,900/tonne).
  Weekly Scotia Bank Price index pdf here
  Rob TV - 8:15 AM ET The Street with Bridgitte Anderson Commodity Price Index in 2006 & 2007 Outlook Patricia Mohr, vice president economics, Scotiabank here
  China to Tighten Grip on Steel Product Exports Next Year - "China will continue to control the exports of steel products next year by imposing stricter policies, industry officials said in Beijing yesterday." here
  $1-B Nonoc mines deal on brink of collapse - "THE $1-billion deal to revive one of Asia’s largest nickel mines is on the brink of collapse after disagreements over valuation and share ownership prompted would-be Chinese investors to seek more time to review their offer." here
  Vale, Baosteel Agree to 9.5% Iron-Ore Price Increase - Cia. Vale do Rio Doce, the world's largest iron-ore miner, and China's Baosteel Group Corp. agreed to raise iron-ore prices next year by 9.5 percent, the smallest increase since 2003. - here
  PT Inco Expects to Meet Nickel Output Target of 71,000 Tons - "PT International Nickel Indonesia, the country's largest nickel producer, expects to meet its production target of 71,000 metric tons this year because of more rain in recent days." here
  'Stainless steel demand to go up' - "Finland-based stainless steel major Outo Kumpu considers India to be a market with strong potential for speciality products. With a turnover of e5 billion, the company looks forward not only to market its products but also hopes to set up a manufacturing base here" article here
  Article from 14th - No need to be afraid of industrial wastes: expert "The chairman of the Indonesian Mining Experts Association (Perhapi), Prof. Irwandy Arif, called on the public here Thursday not to be too concerned about disposal of tailings on land or into the sea because mining technology had become more and more sophisticated." here
  Investment, offtake deal reached for Zambian nickel project - "Chinese nickel producer Jinchuan and Australian-miner Albidon have signed an investment and offtake deal for the Munali project, in Zambia, Albidon reported on Monday." here
  PT Aneka Tambang, Indonesia's second largest producer of nickel and 65% owned by the Indonesian government, told the Jakarta Post on the 14th it hopes to produce a record 22,000 metric tons of nickel next year. The Bisnis Indonesia reported on the 11th, the company  is "planning to open a tender for the development of an alternative energy generator in 2008, in line with the company's plan to convert from fossil fuel to alternative energy sources....Alternative energy sources options being reviewed includes hydro, gas or coal powered electricity plant."
  At 7:45 am CST, indications were nickel was selling down about $.40/pound
  Toledo Mining H1 loss widens, ore shipment delayed here
  Brook Hunt Latest Monthly Nickel Report - here
  Press Release - Jaguar Nickel Inc. announced today that it has terminated its exploration alliance with BHP Billiton Ltd. for the exploration and development of nickel mining properties in Canada, Alaska, the mid-continental U.S. and Greenland.
  Global Stainless Steel Output to Rise 14% in 2006 MEPS article here
  Here is the complete ABARE report we mentioned Monday pdf here
  Scotia Capital - Precious Metals and Base Metals 2006 Conference - here (Speakers include numerous executives from junior mining companies of Canada)
  We thought some of you might be interested - some 2007 outlooks that are more economic rather than metals specific  -
#1 (Deloitte) Global Economic Outlook 2007 pdf here
#2 JETRO Report, 2007 Economic Outlook for East Asia here
#3 Wachovia - 2007 Annual Economic Outlook pdf here
#4 82 minute video by Leo Abruzzese, editorial director of The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The Global Outlook for 2007 - video here  
#5 UBS Global Economic Perspectives pdf here
#6 55 minute video by Keith Wade, chief economist at Scroders video here
#7 Seven Potential Surprises for 2007 from UBS pdf here
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $15.65/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.33/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 78 tons = 7,350 tonnes (25.61% cancelled warrants)

Wednesday, Dec 20
  LME nickel ended the day where it began, at $15.24/lb ($33,600/tonne). The bulls are quiet as the bears attention remains on copper, which again fell to 6 month lows. (a few media sources say nickel was down today but the numbers we see show stabile)
  Not nickel related , but a trial any mining company invested in, or considering investing in Indonesia, is watching closely - Mining firm objects to pollution film up for Indonesian award here  And the company tells their side with a website about the case here
  Turnaround in Chinese Steel Trade Creating Tensions in Global Market - "All the world’s steel markets are being affected by the upsurge in Chinese exports that has taken place over the last two years." MEPS article here
  Ferro-chrome miners seeking Q1 price rise - South African ferro-chrome producers will try to secure a fourth consecutive price rise for their goods when they sign contracts to supply European steelworks in Q1 next year, mining sources said on Wednesday. here
  Recycling International - December Market Analysis - "Stainless scrap remains scarce" pdf here
  At 7:45 am CST indications were nickel was trading at a nickel per pound higher
  China to create second global commodity market - "China might create a second global commodity market in the next 15 to 20 years in order to exercise more control over commodity prices that are currently being determined in Paris, New York and London." here
  Thailand's battered stock market bounces back - "Thai stocks jumped 11.2 per cent Wednesday, recovering from a historic fall that shook regional markets and sparked concerns over another Asian financial crisis." here
  Mining industry to gain $6.5B from 24 projects - "THE Philippine mining industry is poised to get at least $6.5 billion in investments if 24 priority projects finally push through, the head of the industry association said Tuesday." here
  China's steel industry shows signs of cooling - "After four years of steady growth, China's steel industry has seen capital investment finally slow down this year" here
  Vale's Indonesia Nickel Unit to Clarify Lower Output Next Week - "PT International Nickel Indonesia, the country's largest nickel producer, may clarify next week the extent to which 2006 output may miss a target of 71,000 tons because of a power shortage caused by a lack of rain." here
  Weekly Behre Dolbear Global Mining News pdf here
  Permit delay may hit Turkey nickel mine project - "Completion of European Nickel Plc.'s Turkish nickel project may be hit by delays in securing a forestry permit, the company said." here
  Sylvain Néa at the edge of the resignation?  "Sylvain Néa would be ready to offer his own resignation of the SLN in exchange of the dismissals of the six members of his trade union authorized by the mine and work managements. Last stage of a conflict with end of breath?" here (translation by Google)
  China buys Redstone ore here (and) FNX Mining boasts record quarter results here
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $15.63/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.29/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 186 tons = 7,428 tonnes (27.71% cancelled warrants)

Tuesday, Dec 19
  LME nickel ended the day at $15.24/lb ($33,600/tonne) as traders consolidate their accounts and take profits before years end.
  Headline in China's Alibaba today "Expert : China's stainless steel market may be huge in 2007".
  India Won't Be China in Commodities - "The recent article “India vs. China” by Jackie Steinitz makes great reading, but sadly, it is based on many wrong assumptions." Response here (you can backtrack to read the original article and comment from this page)
  Base metals seen fortified by China - "Prices of industrial metals over the coming years will be fortified by spending on infrastructure in China as its people flock to large cities in search of higher wages, a hedge fund firm told Reuters." Article here
  Most recent update on El Nino affecting Indonesia weather (i.e. PT Inco's lack of water) here
  ISSF - "Accelerating stainless steel production in third quarter" here
  At 8:00 am CST, indication were nickel was selling down about $.24/lb
  Metals outlook stable on moderating but favorable prices: Moody's - "The business outlook for the global base metal industry continues to be favorable for 2007, as base metal prices moderate but remain at favorable levels, Moody's said in report Tuesday." Article here And one more article on Moody's report here
  Metals prices will fall in 2007 - "Base metals prices are likely to be lower in 2007, even though prices remain favourable for producers around the world, ratings agency Moody's said." Article here
  Macquarie: Resources Sector: Review – Strong 2006 Article here
  Commodities may still be a good bet, the pros say, but only in moderation - "When it comes to commodities, investors are getting mixed signals. On the one hand, the numbers don't look promising. Following a red-hot run, the sector has languished this year amid signs of slowing U.S. economic growth. Many analysts believe the slowdown could keep prices for various raw materials in check for months to come." Article here
  Various Chinese metals trade magazines are proclaiming that China has officially become the world's largest producer of stainless steel this year, edging out Japan for the top spot. Some experts in that country are expressing concern, as they enter the typical slow period, that in order to curb China's booming stainless exports, the government will take action to make exporting stainless steel less profitable, by reducing or eliminating export rebates and /or changing tax policies.
  CVRD to build mega carriers for China trade - "Brazil`s Compania Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) is planning to build a fleet of super-sized dry bulk carriers to boost its iron-ore export capacity and compete more effectively with Australian rivals as both seek to satisfy growing demand from Chinese steelmakers." Article here
  Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes reports SLN is concerned about its worldwide reputation after two years of labor problems in New Caledonia and also announces some personnel changes article here (Google translation) And Mineweb comments on yesterday's report by Radio New Zealand here
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $15.92/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.51/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 60 tons = 7,242 tonnes (26.8% cancelled warrants)

Monday, Dec 18
  LME nickel ended the day at $15.43/lb ($34,025/tonne)
  Notable quote - A Chinese recycling paper referring to Barclay's "Global Outlook 2006" - "In the area of commodity prices, there is a decline in the importance of the United States, while China's influence is increasing."
  Reuters Asia Metal Weekly pdf here
  As of 7:45 am CST, indications were nickel was selling down about $.20/lb
  Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) forecasts global nickel spot price will average $11.23/lb in 2007, a big jump from their earlier forecast of $8.75/lb.
  China bull run shows no sign of slowing - "GROWING concern about the slowing of the US economy is not denting the bull market in Asia, which looks likely to run on towards the Year of the Pig." article here
  Radio New Zealand - SLN worried about New Caledonia situation as losses pile up here 
  Metals Insider Week in Review - here (final weekly update for 2006)
  Friday's official closing prices - cash - $16.08/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.74/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 216 tons = 7,182 tonnes ( 27.99% cancelled warrants)

Sunday, Dec 17
  US scrap prices this past week - less than two tons $.72 -.$76/lb
  Did you ever think you would live to see the day? Dow Jones Newswire - 12/16 - "China and the U.S. signed a deal Saturday that is meant to pave the way for Westinghouse Electric Co. to build four civilian nuclear reactors in China."  
  Steel may shine on back of proposed import-duty cuts - "Steel prices are expected to fall in next fiscal as government may announce import duty cut on its inputs, reports Economic Times" Article here
  Nickel a goldmine but lustre will fade - "NICKEL prices have now gone beyond any producer's dreams. That is no journalistic hyperbole: that judgment comes from Sydney-based analysts Stock Resources." Article here   
  Photo's of Soroako, Sulawesi, Indonesia, home to PT INCO Indonesia - Photo's and video from the PT web site here  Photo's taken by someone visiting the mining company here Some photo's from a biologist who conducted some botany studies there (the smoke in the photo's at the bottom are from the Inco plant and I believe, taken before new filters were installed) here  And finally, a breathtaking photo of Lake Matano here
  Couple of anti-mine video's  for a lazy Sunday afternoon - in French only - "Le cauchemar de Goro" here and in Spanish (with very difficult to read English sub-titles) "Explotación de níquel en tierras mayas: Proyecto Fénix" here. First is against Goro and the second against Skye's Fenix project in Guatemala.
  CVRD weighs spinoff, listing on TSX - "The head of Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) says his company is considering spinning off its base metal assets into a separate entity and seeking a North American stock listing." article here
  If you are interested in the history of New Caledonia and the current state nickel miners face there, here are two articles that give a good background of why things are happening with the CSTNC and the Kanak. This book summary gives a summary of the government situation and why peace with the Kanak's will not be CVRD's last political struggle here  Here is another very descriptive article here (neither of these is up-to-date so please be aware some things have changed since publication. For instance, article one talks some about the success of the elections in Fiji as being a bright spot in the region - this government has been overthrown since)
  A follow-up to our theory Friday. PT INCO Indonesia President and Chief Executive Office Arif Siregar reported to media on October 30 that due to a fire in late May in their #2 furnace, production for 2006 would be 158-to-159 million pounds, short of 2005's 168 m/lbs and just under 2004's 159.1 m/lbs. On November 13, Mr Siregar announced to reporters 2007 production would be similar to 2006 levels, constrained from growth by the lack of sufficient power supply. Then on December 13, CVRD President mentions that PT INCO operations may be effected by the drought and lack of power. On December 14, PT Inco issues a press release that unless the region receives rain in the next few days, the operations at Soroako may need to shut down on the 20th. They also announce they may fall just shy of earlier production estimates and will perform maintenance planned for 2007. Redundant? Back up a few weeks and Mr Siregar issues a statement to the Indonesian media that unless they get the necessary permits to continue construction of their third power plant, the 90 kw Karebe power plant, they will cease expansion projects on Southeast Sulawesi island. Apparently an Indonesian paper on October 7th carried a story that stated Mr Siregar, who just took over as PT INCO's head in July of this year, had been named as a suspect in a criminal investigation case of "destroying protected forest in Karebbe Village, Malili, East Luwu District". The problem seems to be the dam was being built without necessary permits and, according to the statement by Mr Siregar, "90 hectares of the conservation forest" had been, or would need to be cut. While it is highly unlikely any threat of criminal prosecution would be carried out, the two sides are playing political cat and mouse, as the project has been on hold for well over a year (while unlikely - not impossible - Jakarta Post Sept 8 -"Prosecutors in Indonesia have demanded a three-year prison term for Richard B. Ness, head of PT Newmont Minahasa Raya (PTNMR), accused of polluting Buyat Bay. Foreign investors, already wary of legal uncertainties in Indonesia, are closely watching the outcome."). PT has offered to re-forest an area twice as large as the cut area. And while Mr Agnelli may have been doing no more than reporting on the company status to stockholders, his words were not only noted by nickel traders, but most likely, officials in Indonesia. (if PT Inco can secure proper permits by year end, construction of the Karebe dam/power plant could be complete by early 2010)

Friday, Dec 15

  While some forecasters had stated that if the $35,000/tonne benchmark was broken, there was no telling how high nickel would go, its momentary rise to that mark today brought out the profit takers and LME nickel ended the day at $15.58/lb ($34,345/tonne). Have a nice weekend, there will be a Sunday update, and for those readers of the Jewish faith, Happy Chanukah.
  Commodities guru Jim Rogers looks to 2007 here
  We covered this a few months ago, but the mainstream media picked it up yesterday, telling people how their U.S. nickels and pennies were worth more melted than in their pocket. Today the government responded - U.S. Mint bans melting pennies, nickels here
  Why commodities are not as risky as you think here
  At 8:00 am CST, indications nickel was selling about a penny a pound less than yesterday.
 Our two cents worth - personal opinion only!! - Those who watch the nickel market for trading purposes, and Indonesia in particular, usually watch things like blockades, strikes, maintenance failures, earthquakes, and in 2001, an entire ore ship sinking with about 3% of their annual production on board, but except for the occasional big storm, don't usually worry about the weather, like those who trade in wheat or corn. For those who are, here is the closest station I can find to PT Inco's Indonesia nickel mine that Mr Agnelli was referring to yesterday here (and yes that is rain forecast this weekend). (for following see below - updated) After doing some further research last night, it is my humble opinion that the CVRD president wasn't necessarily talking to shareholders, or the media, when he made that statement Wednesday, but attempting to send a signal to the Indonesia government. This was followed up by a statement by PT on Thursday, that operations could cease on Dec 20, unless they get rain. (here) Was there another message? They need rain yes, but the Indonesia government has no control over the El Nino. Was there more? My Bahasa Indonesia language skills are non existent and online translators are primitive. I did find a business blog that stated that the "Indonesia Energy Ministry had blocked a tender offer by Inco yesterday". No further details are attached and I am unable to find anymore on what this means. The news that the Indonesia mine's output would be affected by power was covered back in November (here) so, in my humble opinion, the market is reacting to a non-event here, and something possibly meant for Indonesian officials, spooked the London market. If any of my Indonesia readers can help fill in the holes here,  or destroy this theory, I would be grateful. (Follow-up - Thanks to a reader, our theory has been shot down. In reference to above mentioned tender offer, read here) - (apparently more than a few of you are visiting this site and it keeps crashing. The tender offer was about the 20% shares in PT Inco Indonesia that is owned by the public and by Indonesian law, must remain in the public's hands and can not be purchased by CVRD) So the message apparently had no hidden meaning for a foreign government - just the severe drought that is hitting Indonesia is making a constant battle for power for PT Inco worse than usual, so maintenance repairs that were scheduled for next year, are being moved up. How much, if at all, this will affect the nickel supply is yet to be determined.
  Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes - Goro Nickel: Questions, answers and a status quo here (Google translation) Radio New Zealand - And more on the firings in the CSTNC strike here
  Metals - Nickel falls after touching new all time record here and Nickel touches record high, copper steady here 
  Yesterday's official closing - cash - $15.97/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.69/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 240 tons = 6,966tonnes (18.52% cancelled warrants)

Thursday, Dec 14

  LME nickel ended the day at $15.75/lb ($34,725/tonne), after hitting a record earlier in the day. From Bloomberg "PT International Nickel Indonesia, the country's largest nickel producer, may miss this year's output target of 71,000 tons as lower-than-average rainfall since October reduced electricity at the company's hydroelectric power generator, the company said today in an e-mailed statement." here
  At 7:45 am CST, indications were nickel was way up, selling at nearly $.50/lb higher than yesterday. Of everything said by CVRD yesterday, the one that probably shook up the market the most today, was the news about a potential power problem in Indonesia. Even though LME stocks have seen an increase this week, the market can not afford another disruption in production from another major supplier, like we are seeing in New Caledonia. Some traders have told the media we could see new record high's.
  Metals Shine In Record-Breaking 2006 here
  Xstrata Nickel on asset hunt here
  U.S. stainless use has increased here
  A small article about El Nino effecting Indonesia weather here
  CVRD says talking to Xstrata on nickel synergies here
  Base metals prices to forge ahead in 2007 here
  Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes reports New Caledonia courts said SLN could terminate 6 of the 9 striking employees it had requested, and CSTNC leader Sylvain Néa responded by blocking an ore tanker from being loaded at Montagnat de Tontouta. more here (Google translation)
  Global nickel demand strong but some relief in 2007 here
  Yesterday's official closing - cash - $15.49/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.08/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 222 tons = 6,726tonnes

Wednesday, Dec 13
  LME nickel ended the day at $15.08/lb ($33,250/tonne)
  CVRD Roger Agnelli announced in today's webcast, that officials from his company would meet with New Caledonia officials in January in regards to the Goro project. He also stated that he felt CVRD could persuade local leaders to allow the project to move forward stating ,"It's not Inco now, it's CVRD, and we have a good relationship with indigenous communities" (comment - This may get a chuckle from those who read this blog daily. Back on October 20th, we carried the story - "CVRD reports 200 armed Xikrin Indians attacked the company town of Carajas in the Para State of Brazil on Tuesday, and initially took 600 hostages, who were later released." ) Of more concern, was his announcement that a lack of rain in Indonesia could potentially affect the energy supply to their operation there (CVRD-Inco's). He did not elaborate further.
  Bloomberg - Lead Posts Biggest Loss in Four Weeks After Exaggerated Gains here (Quote  from article - "Paris-based Eramet has lost 50 tons of metal (nickel) a day since miners in New Caledonia started their protest on Sept. 25 to demand improved benefits. The situation hasn't improved, Eramet spokesman Philippe Joly said yesterday by phone from Paris.")
  World Bureau of Metal Statistics reports that the nickel market recorded a 95,000 metric tons deficit during the first ten months of 2006.
  Commodities Bull Run To Last Until 2014-2022 here  (Quote from article - "China will be the next great country in the world. The 20th century was that of the U.S. but the 21th will belong to China")
  Another article about the UN report released last week - World wealth gap here (Quote from article - "The three richest people in the world have more money than the poorest 48 nations -- combined.")
  Jinchuan set to buy Philnico stake here
  Commodity prices could collapse in twelve months here
  At 8:00 am CST, indications were nickel was trading up about $.15/lb
  India to Overtake China's Growth, Credit Suisse Says here
  Australian nickel miners report output of refined nickel  increased by 21% in the third quarter of 2006. Most other metals output were down.
  Zinc, nickel price forecasts boosted here
  Yieh reports South Korea's Posco has announced it second increase of 2006 for 400 series stainless steel, raising the price by a little over $75/ton effective Dec 27.
  Nickel Rises, Snapping 2 Days of Losses, as Demand Beats Output here
  Yesterday's official closing - cash - $15.67/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.26/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 96 tons = 6,504 tonnes (15.31% cancelled warrants)

Tuesday, Dec 12
  LME nickel ended the day at $14.88/lb ($32,800/tonne) as traders were spooked by the large increase in inventory.
  Jaguar Nickel appoints Vic Alboini as President and Doug Chornoboy as CFO (press release here)
  Skye hires Hugh Duncan as Project Director for Guatemala Fenix nickel project (press release here)
  Added UBS to daily links on left
  Macquarie: ZFX & JBM - Zinc and Nickel Upgrades here
  Xstrata, union start labor talks in Sudbury here
  Mining To Slow Slowly Over Next Two Years here
  Global commodity markets to deliver below-average returns in 2007 here
  At 7:45 am CST, indications were nickel was trading down about $.12/lb
  Weekly Behre Dolbear Global Mining News pdf here
  BHP Says Kwinana Nickel Refinery to Shut for 21 Days here
  Digging into Gold and Minerals - from here
  Press release - CVRD Year-end Media Web Cast details here
  Mongol President Pays Uneventful Visit To Moscow here (bottom of article refers to building bidding war for Mongolian minerals)
  Yesterday's official closing - cash - $15.74/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.31/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 414 tons = 6,408 tonnes (17.6% cancelled warrants)

Monday, Dec 11  (Majority vote shifted - icons are back)
  LME nickel ended the day at $15.38/lb ($33,925/tonne)
  Mining giants at risk here
  High nickel prices bode well for deal here
  Brokers Look To Easing Metal Prices here
  At 7:45 am CST, indications where nickel was trading down by $.09/lb.
  Merrill Lynch questions the strength of metal prices here (if anyone knows if this 120 page report is posted on the web, we would like to link to it for our readers)
  Magazine - Commodities Online December 2006 issue here
  Article - Mining boom to peak within two years here
  Metals Insider Week in Review - here
  Friday's official closing prices - cash - $15.82/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.40/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 264 tons = 5,994 tonnes (27.63% cancelled warrants)

Sunday update, Dec 10
  Negotiations between Mine Mill & Smelter Workers - Local 598 C.A.W.and new owners, Xstrata, will begin soon. The current labor contract expires January 31, 2007. You can follow the news from the CAW here Historically, these particular negotiations have not gone well, with Local 598 striking for 3 weeks in 2004, and for 7 months, ending in 2001. With new ownership, these negotiations are worth watching for those who follow nickel prices . 
  Nickel mines continue to operate, clergy says here
  Trade war: China trounces India 4-1 here
  With 1/3 of December gone, forecasted stainless surcharges for February are up $.11/lb over January's and up $.086/lb from this month 
  US scrap prices this past week - less than two tons $.71 -.$74/lb
  Market Analysis: Nickel by GFMS Metals here
  World Class Mining Project on American Soil here

Friday, Dec 8
  LME nickel ended the day and week at $15.54/lb ($34,250/tonne) Have a nice weekend and see you for the Sunday update.
  Merrill Lynch raises nickel price forecast to $10.75/lb for 2007, $9.50/lb in 2008, $8.00/lb in 2009 and to $7.00/lb in 2010. Acknowledging nickel has the most impressive fundamentals of the base metals, they also warned the first quarter of next year may see some destocking, which could bring prices down in the short term.
   Commodities and Islam, the start of something big here
  Believing Chinese demand will sustain base metals prices is ‘very dangerous’ here
   Albidon turns to Jinchuan link here
  A hazard of ousting Russian steel from the global market has appeared, which... here
   Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes gave an update on the CSTNC strike, now in its eleventh week. It reports only the Tiébaghi mine is currently able to feed the Donaimbo smelter. More here (using Google translator)  
   LionOre Mining International announces plans to increase production of nickel in 2007 by 30% to "44,300 tonnes of payable nickel".
  Yieh Corp - "The price of 300 series stainless steel was 100 percent higher in October this year compared to the same period last year."
   Merrill downgrades mine sector here
   Brazil to boost ferronickel production elevenfold here
   Yesterday's official closing - cash - $15.62/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.23/lb
   Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 72 tons = 5,730 tonnes

Thursday, Dec 7
  LME nickel ended the day at $15.29/lb ($33,700/tonne)
   Supply, Demand, and Shamanism here
   Last month China agreed to invest $1 billion to re-open it. Now is the future of the Nonoc refinery in trouble - again? here
  The latter part of this decade is shaping up to potentially see an 'extreme' surplus of nickel if all the mines under construction come on-line as planned. What has been billed as the world's biggest nickel mine, got approval from Madagascar officials last week, and the Ambatovy mine is expected to produce 60M tonnes per year, starting in 2010. Ravensthorpe, Goro, and Vermelho are due to start producing in 2008. The last big mine to open, Voisey's Bay in late 2005, added additional supply for 2006, but was apparently absorbed by increased demand. 2007, even without any major disruptions at producing mines, is hinting to be another lean year for supply.
   According to MEPS, China has become the largest foreign supplier of stainless steel to the United States as of this year.
   Indications at 7:45 am CST show nickel down about a nickel a pound.
  China Turns Net Steel Exporter here
   Radio New Zealand and Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes, which we monitor daily, have not had any stories on the CSTNC strike for some time now. The island's newspaper, Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes, is carrying a story today about Korea's Posco wanting to build a nickel plant in the country and the negotiations between the government and the company.
   Article - Anglo American approves Barro Alto nickel project here (projected production - 2010 / purchased from Inco in 1998)
   Yesterday's official closing - cash - $15.79/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.42/lb
   Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 390 tons = 5,5658 tonnes

Wednesday, Dec 6
LME nickel was quiet today, ending the day at $15.51/lb ($34,200/tonne)
*    Article on Tom Albanese, set to become CEO of Rio Tinto next year - American takes top job here
*    Article - Around the Markets: A boom for nickel miners here
*    Article - Will peaking nickel prices affect stainless steel makers? here
*    Article - Red-hot market for nickel here
*    Forecast - Bart Melek at BMO Capital Markets tells the Dow Jones Newswire that nickel will remain high in 2007 as continued growth in China will help keep the growth in the global economy at 4.6%.
*    Article - Nickel Joins the Precious League here
*    AK Steel lowers surcharge on 304 stainless for January 2007 to $1.3047/lb from December's $1.3295/lb
*    Few figures from a United nations report issued yesterday - The wealthiest 1% of the world's population own 40% of the global assets.  The top 10% own 85% of the worlds household wealth. The poorest 1/2 own 1%. If you have $61,000 in assets, you are in the top 10%. If you are worth $2161, you are in the top 50%. (comment - it could almost be said that if you own the computer you are reading this page with, or one like it, that possession alone could almost qualify you for the top 50%, if you owned nothing else - feel fortunate yet?) You can download the 70 page pdf report here
*    Yesterday's official LME closing - cash - $15.94/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.60/lb
*    Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 288 tons = 6,048 tonnes (32.14% is cancelled warrants)

Tuesday, Dec 5
LME three month nickel rose to $15.65/lb early in the day, beating December 1st by a nickel per pound, before ending the day at $15.56/lb ($34,300/tonne).
*    Forecast - World Average Stainless Steel Prices - Latest Forecast from MEPS here
*    At 8:00 am CST indications reflect nickel was selling $.38/lb higher.
*    Article - Madagascar okays 'world's biggest' nickel mine here
*    Behre Dolbear Weekly Global Mining News - pdf here
*    Dow Jones Newswire  quotes Standard Bank analyst, "There is a palpable feeling that prices may continue their ascent." referring to nickel.
*    Article - Reuters - "Rio Tinto, the world's second-biggest miner, said on Tuesday it had appointed senior executive Tom Albanese as its new chief executive, starting next year." Article here
*    Article - Trade Tensions over China's Growing Stainless Steel Capacity here
*    The announcement of a 6 week closing of the Rapu Rapu mining project in the Philippines due to typhoon damage will not affect world nickel production, as this project produces copper, zinc, gold and silver.
*    Radio New Zealand and Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes remain quiet on any new developments between CSTNC and SLN, with most of their coverage having to do with a military coup taking place in Fiji.
*    Yesterday's official closing - cash - $15.60/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.28/lb
*    Today's beginning LME inventory - plus 132 tons = 6,336 tonnes

Monday, Dec 4
Nickel on the London Metal Exchange gave back some of its gains last week, closing at $15.25/lb ($33,700/tonne)
*    Surcharge - Allegheny Ludlum drops surcharge on 304 stainless for January 2007 to 1.3141/lb from December's $1.3369/lb.
*    Article - UBS sees commodities bull run resuming next year here
*    Article - Soaring China nickel ore imports no cause for concern: Merrill here
*    At 7:45 am CST, indications were nickel was trading lower by $.11/lb
*    Metals Insider Week in Review - here
*    Friday's official closing - cash - $15.65/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.51/lb
*    Today's beginning LME inventory - plus 138 tons = 6,204 tonnes

2007 - what is in store? (For the purchasing agent wondering where the stainless market will go in 2007)

This article is meant to be informative and in no way a forecast of what we think prices will do. In fact, by constantly monitoring the "experts", it has become obvious to anyone that follows the market, that what we have witnessed over the past few years is unprecedented in history, and therefore, completely unpredictable. Four years ago, China was not in the top 3 of the world's stainless steel producing nations. By the end of this year, it may become the world's largest. In 2002, it became the world's largest consumer of stainless steel, after 10 consecutive years of 17% growth.

In 304 stainless steel, nickel makes up 8% of the total raw material ingredients, but due to its cost, makes up to 60% of the raw material cost - in a normal market. If you want to know where stainless prices are going, watch the price of nickel. Nickel has gone from $3.00/lb in 2002 to an average of $6.69/lb last year to current prices in the range of $14-15/lb. So why the climb? Simply put, worldwide producers of nickel were caught off guard by the demand in China, coming alongside a worldwide boom in stainless steel demand. Much of the nickel used in stainless comes from scrap and after three years of record prices, surplus scrap has long since disappeared. Opening a new nickel mine to take care of this increased demand is about a 10 year project, from discovery to production. And all worldwide producers are currently making as much nickel as they possibly can to take advantage of record prices. Supply is so tight that the slightest news of disruption can cause an increase in the market - which is highly speculative and has become driven by fund market investments. Just this last week, two mega mines being built in Australia and New Caledonia announced cost overruns of a billion dollars each, and more importantly to consumers, delays of potential production to at least 2008. That leaves 2007 as another potentially tough year for prices. Any labor strikes, any emergency shut-down's, any disruption of any kind, will mean bad news for those waiting for prices to come down.

The one factor hanging over the entire story, is how much of the current trading price is due to market fundamentals, and how much of it is due to speculative market forces. Nickel inventories are lower than they were this time last year, and in many parts of the world, stainless steel producers are running flat out. But in reality, there really is no shortage of nickel. If you need it, you can find it. It is entirely realistic to see the world in the same shape as it is now, and prices trading for double what they were in 2002 - in the $6/lb range. But current prices are over double that range.

Trading is like climbing a mountain. The higher you go, the harder it is to breathe. On a mountain this is caused by lack of oxygen. In trading, it is more a lack of risk tolerance, based on a past experience of getting burned. Will the market forces stay bullish, or turn bearish on you, and how much are investors willing to gamble on their hunch? What no one knows yet, and only time will tell us, is where on this particular mountain we are. Are we near the peak? Or is there still more mountain to climb? Stay tuned.

Sunday update, Dec 3
*     US stainless steel scrap price - small quantity - $.68 - $.71/lb
*    Article - Rex Loesby, president of Western Troy Capital Resources, gave a 20 minute talk at the Hard Asset Investment Conference in San Francisco on November 26th on the need for new molybdenum sources here
*    Article - Ferrochrome prices seen falling in 2007 as surplus re-emerges here This comes after many stainless steel mills rejected the $.03/lb increase ferrochrome producers charged for the fourth quarter.
*    List of active nickel mines in the world here listed by mining companies here
*    Article - Cuba: a short-term political forecast here
*    Overview of New Caledonia - Mining: Nickel and Cobalt Mining here
*    Press release - 11/30 FFE Minerals, the FLSmidth Group's (Denmark) mining and minerals systems arm, has been awarded a contract for over USD 90m to supply critical process machinery for a ferronickel facility to Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD), the Brazilian mining giant. The USD 1.3b Onca Puma facility, which is to process ferronickel from lateritic ores based on FFE Minerals short kiln technology, is to be built in the Paragominas state in northern Brazil.....The facility, which is expected to be ready for operation in the fourth quarter of 2008....
*    Makfax online reports the ferro-nickel plant in Kavadarci, Macedonia owned by Feni Industry will face sanctions due to excessive air pollution. The plant was "ordered to have the furnace's electrostatitic filter replaced within next 90 days" and will face a fine.
*    Article - Mayhem in metals here

Friday, Dec 1
LME nickel hit a record high at $15.60/lb early in the day, before profit takers cashed in and prices ended the day and week at $15.38/lb ($33,900/tonne)
*    Lehman Brothers raises 2007 price forecast for nickel to $11.50/lb.
*    Monthly report - Fundamental Metals Monthly pdf here
*    At 8:00 am CST, indications were nickel was selling up by $.18/lb
*     Article - Goldman ups nickel, zinc, platinum price forecasts here (nickel to $11.35/lb for 2007)
*    Yesterday's official closing - cash - $15.74/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.20/lb here
*    Today's LME nickel inventory - minus 660 tons = 6,066 tonnes

All prices, unless marked official closing prices, are indications only of LME traded prices and courtesy IFS.
(Molybdenum prices are for molybdenum oxide, an ingredient and major price factor in 316 stainless)
(all ton listings are metric tons = 2204.6 pounds - unless marked official, nickel prices are indications only)
Updated daily before 8 am CST and around 12:30 pm CST weekdays, with some Sunday updates

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(average annual price)

2001 $2.70/lb
2002 $3.07/lb
2003 $4.37/lb
2004 $6.28/lb
2005 $6.69/lb

(average annual price)

2001 $2.36/lb
2002 $3.59/lb
2003 $5.21/lb
2004 $15.92/lb
2005 $32.51/lb

(average annual price)

2002 $ .30/lb
2003 $ .47/lb
2004 $ .68/lb
2005 $ .73/lb


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