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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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Thursday, December 30

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - no report this week  (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Manufacturing Growth Slows as Policy Tightened // Companies Owned by China Central Government Ordered to Pay More Dividends  // China Says Interest Rate Liberalization May Curb Inflation, Asset Bubbles // South Korea Says North Boosted Special Forces, Deploying New Battle Tanks // China's Stock Index Rises for Second Day as Yuan, Copper Reach Record High // Mining IPOs May Set Record as Investors Bet on Metal Demand // Italian Business Confidence Advances to 34-Month High on Economic Outlook // Pimco Says U.S. Will Keep Reserve-Currency Status // European Stocks Fall Most in a Month; Randgold, UniCredit Shares Retreat // Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall to Lowest Level Since July 2008 // Copper, Emerging Stocks Rise on China; Dollar Falls a Sixth Day // Equity Funds See First Weekly Inflow Since April, ICI Data Show
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, currently by 3/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude is down by 2-1/4% and trading at $89.09/barrel after inventory numbers fell less than expected. Gold and silver are both off 1/2 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mixed, with copper continuing its record breaking run. Indicator charts show nickel started higher, slumped badly in early afternoon trading, before spiking upwards by $350/tonne in just a few minutes. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.02/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses slumped for a second day, and now read just under the 135,450 tonne mark. The Baltic Dry Index is not reporting updates this week. The LME will be trading a shortened day tomorrow and will be closed Monday for the New Years holiday.
  • Tomorrow is New Years Eve holiday here in the US so our next update will be on Monday, January 3rd. We wish our readers the happiest of New Years and may the new year bring each of you health and happiness.

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.15/lb higher, with all London traded base metals on a bullish run. The Euro is presently trading 3/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 4/10 of 1% and trading at $90.76/barrel. Gold is down slightly while silver is higher by 6/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up slightly. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures show Wall Street may open lower as well. Nickel inventories fell again Wednesday as inflows dry up. Our afternoon update may be delayed.      
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals defy gravity on weak dollar, bullish sentiment - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - (Final update of 2010) LME copper hit another record high yesterday in very quiet trading, teeing off on against a weaker dollar and easily moving higher in light market conditions. The copper market is up again today, this time blasting through the $9500 mark. However, the performance in the rest of the metals group is somewhat more subdued. The weaker dollar has been acting as a tailwind of sorts for copper this week. Although the greenback has held its own against the Euro, it has eroded sharply against both the Swiss franc and the Japanese yen, both of which hit 28-year and seven-week highs, respectively, this week. China's yuan is also moving higher within its band, and hit a record high against the dollar today after the People's Bank of China set a higher mid-point for the currency cross. It will be interesting to see what next week brings as trading and commercial personnel start to filter back. Last year at this time, we rallied into much of December and into January only to experience a rather sharp, but short-lived, correction in the second half of the month. We would not be surprised to see a similar pattern set in this time around as well, as many markets are becoming overbought, and the bullish refrain, particularly in copper, is far too uniform for our liking. Also going somewhat unnoticed in copper, is the fact that LME stocks are continuing to rise, up a hefty 5,000 tons today, bringing total holdings to over 370,000 tons, which is a two-month high. We did not see any Shanghai inventory reports out today, and suspect these will be released next week. ..... Nickel is at $24,125, up $280, and fairly strong today. Resistance remains at $25,200. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Russian November nickel output fell 0.5% on the year and 0.1% compared with October.
  • (Yieh) Reportedly, in the past two months, large quantities of stainless steel cold rolled imports jeopardized the profit of the domestic producers in Taiwan. According to the custom data, the monthly stainless steel import surged sharply to more than 20,000 tons in November and October, which is almost the same as domestic monthly consumption. The local mills complaint that the large quantities of imports suppressed stainless steel prices in Taiwan market even though the nickel price soared in the recent months. It's said that the domestic mill’s offer is about NT$2,000/ton higher than import offer.
  • (Russian media) Norilsk Nickel plans to produce up to 235kt of nickel and 358kt of copper in 2011
  • China leaves West dismayed by move to cut vital mineral exports in 2011 - more
  • HSBC China PMI eases in Dec as factory output stays strong - more
  • No payment for piracy, insists U.S. - more
  • AISI - Three-fourths of all American steel is recycled, part of the industry’s clear environmental commitment.

  China 2010 stainless steel price graph - 304 stainless - here

  Russia's Norilsk starts buyback, RUSAL fumes - Norilsk Nickel launched a $4.5 billion share buyback on Wednesday, as tycoon Vladimir Potanin sought to further marginalise rival Oleg Deripaska in a bitter boardroom battle. - more

  Govt asks sailors' families to have patience - The government Wednesday asked families of the sailors who were on board the Bangladeshi ship Somali pirates hijacked in the Arabian Sea to have patience, saying such rescue might take a long period of time. - more (Day 26 for the 26 Bangladeshi crew and passenger on board)

  Indonesia to soon issue new underground mining rules - Indonesia will soon issue regulations to allow underground mining in protected forests, the government said on Thursday, a move likely to attract more investment but alarm green groups. - 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, December 29

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 22 to 1,773. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China CEOs Temper Support for Stronger Yuan With Concern on Dollar Flood // China May Need More Affordable Homes Than Target of 10 Million, ISI Says // South Korea Names Kim Jong Il's Regime `Enemy,' Vows Tougher Military Line // China Cuts Export Quotas for Rare Earths by 35% // China's Stocks Rebound from Longest Slide in 5 Months; Retailers Advance // South Korea Beats South Africa as BRIC Candidate, Goldman Says // Asian Stocks Advance as Oil, Gold Producers Climb; Tower Surges in Sydney // Population Changes Accelerate Global Economic Shift to Asia, Census Shows // Copper Advances to Record in London Trading on Speculation of More Growth // Norilsk Rises to 2-Year High as Buyback Offer Tops Market Price // Sweden Shows Central Bankers How to Fight Next Asset Bubble // German Inflation Unexpectedly Quickened in December // European Stocks Rise for Second Day as 600 Index Approaches Two-Year High // Dodging Repatriation Tax Lets U.S. Companies Bring Home Cash // U.S. Loans Make Comeback as New Issuance Doubles // U.S. Stocks Rise, Extending Biggest December Rally Since 1991
  • The Euro is presently trading over 6/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is off over 1/3 of 1% and trading at $91.17/barrel. Gold is up almost 1/2 of 1% and silver is up 1%. Base metals ended the session mostly higher, with only the two most costly metals losing ground. Nickel started the session looking strong and toyed with the $11lb level for awhile, before crumbling in afternoon trading, losing around $500/tonne in a short period. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.81/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell back after a large withdrawal left the Singapore warehouse last Friday. Stockpiles now sit just over the 135,700 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru the end of last week (chart here). Nickel appeared to be caught up in the copper record breaking run early on, but could not keep the momentum as the trading day progressed.  

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Insider - next issue Jan 4th

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Cru - Yongda Steel is constructing a 600,000t/y stainless steel slab mill and a 300,000t/y rebar mill at its works in Wuzhou city
  • Investors still want to add commodities to their portfolio - more
  • In the Rearview, a Year That Fizzled - more
  • China Cuts Export Quotas for Rare Earths by 35% - more
  • Guest Post: Oil Juggernaut Unleashed - more
  • Guest Post: Underneath the Happy Talk, Is This As Bad as the Great Depression? - more
  • Curiously Weak Consumer Confidence - more
  • Top 5 overlooked stories of 2010 - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.06/lb  higher, and trading back near the $11/lb mark. All London traded base metals are trading higher at the moment. The Euro is trading over 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is off more than 1/2 of 1% and trading at $90.99/barrel. Gold is lower by 1/10 of 1% and silver is up 2/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 1/2 of 1%. European markets are trading mostly lower, while US futures show Wall Street may open slightly higher. Nickel inventories fell on the 24th.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Copper breaks previous record as market reopens - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals have firmed up over the course of this holiday week in thin Shanghai trading, and LME prices have now raced to catch up, with copper hitting another record high today. The stronger tone is somewhat surprising given the Chinese rate hike announced over the Christmas weekend, where the central bank raised the benchmark one-year lending rate by 25 basis points to 5.81%. In addition, the government said today that it will raise interest rates on loans that it makes to commercial banks; the so-called rediscount rate will rise to 2.25% percent from 1.8%, while the one-year relending rate will be increased by 52 basis points to 3.85%. The government also said that it will be targeting growth in industrial output of 11% next year, slowing from an expected 15% in 2010. Despite the resilient tone we are seeing in a number of metals, we would not be surprised to see a modest correction set in sometime over the next two weeks as trading and commercial desks return to more normal staffing levels. Investors may take stock of the 2011 landscape and may not necessarily like what they see. Although the world macro picture is far improved from where we were two years ago, there are trouble spots looming ahead. To wit, sharply rising commodity prices are contributing to rising inflation in emerging economies, and this is leading to more aggressive government moves to rein in growth, particularly in Asia. In China’s case, despite the recent rate move, the Chinese authorities are still somewhat “behind the curve”, in that nominal interest rates are now just barely above the “official” inflation reading, but still well below the food inflation index of nearly 12%. In an attempt to soften the blow, the FT reported today that several Chinese municipalities will be raising minimum wages by anywhere from 15%-21% for workers next year, the second such rise in six months. However, this will only exacerbate the inflation picture down the road. More broadly, the commodity spiral, if left unchecked, will trigger possible demand destruction, lead to commodity substitution where applicable, and generate a more aggressive supply-side response, factors that admittedly thus far, do not seem to be registering with investors. ....  Nickel is at $24,345, up $200. Resistance remains at $25,200. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) An official with the Chinese Society of Rare Earths (CSRE) denied domestic media reports that China's rare earths resources have declined dramatically in the last 20 years.
  • (Reuters) China's steel mills produced 1.687 million tonnes of steel a day in the middle 10 days of December, up 1.2 percent compared with the previous 10 day period, according to data from the country's steel association.
  • (Reuters) Two major iron ore indexes in Asia inched higher on Monday amid expectations that Chinese steel mills plan to buy more stocks ahead of the new year holiday. The Metal Bulletin Iron Ore Index .IO62-CNO=MB rose 27 cents to $167.59 per tonne on Monday, and the Steel Index 62 percent .IO62-CNI=SI remained almost flat at $170.9 per tonne.
  • Notable Quote - John Hussman - "We are observing what can only be described as a Fed-induced speculative blow off. While this has been avidly encouraged by the Fed, it is important to recognize that there is no actual economic mechanism at play here other than words. Investors are chasing stocks because Ben Bernanke told them to, and despite the fact that we have seen two plunges of more than 50% each over the past decade, investors are at least temporarily willing to believe that the Fed will “backstop” their risk-taking by preventing the market from falling. ...... Unless one twists logic into a pretzel so that up is down, one can identify nothing of substance in the Fed’s policy that is supporting the markets. Stocks are being buoyed solely by a combination of words, sentiment and superstition."
  • Michael Panzner over at Financial Armageddon - "One of my bigger mistakes, however, was underestimating the extent to which government transfer payments — unemployment insurance, food stamps, social security benefits, etc. – aided consumer spending and, by extension, the overall economy. As Global Economic Intersection estimates in “Personal Transfer Payments and GDP,” the accumulated value of “extra” transfer payments Americans received from 2008 to 2010 — that is, the amount over and above the long-term trend — worked out to about $569 billion."
  • Barry Ritholtz - Wall Street Journal - 2010 consumer spending was 68.6% of the economy. This reflects an increase — yes, an increase – from 66.5% in 2007. The reasons are 1) A sharp decrease in businesses spending; 2) The ongoing contraction of housing within the overall economy — currently at its lowest level since World War II.

  Nickel processing plant to be built in SE Sulawesi - The Southeast Sulawesi provincial administration established cooperation with foreign and national companies to build a nickel processing plant in the region. - more

  RUSAL rejects offer to sell Norilsk stake - RUSAL rejected an offer to sell its 25 percent stake in Norilsk Nickel to the company, the world's biggest nickel and palladium producer said on Tuesday. - more

  • The Battle Between Norilsk Nickel and Rusal Continues - The fight between MMC Norilsk Nickel and UC Rusal has entered another round. - more
  • Russian Oligarch Deripaska Faces $5 Billion In Tax Evasion Claims - Oleg Deripaska is running out of friends who stick up for him, especially at the Finance Ministry in Moscow and the Federal Tax Service. - 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, December 28

  London Metal Exchange closed Monday, 27th and Tuesday, 28th for holiday.

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel not trading for a second day due to holiday shutdown in London. The Euro is trading over 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, at the moment. NYMEX crude is up 1/3 of 1% and trading at $91.34/barrel. Gold is up 9/10 of 1% and silver is higher by nearly the same. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off more than 1-3/4% on inflation concerns. European markets that are open today are generally trading higher, while US futures appear more positive than yesterdays performance. There will be no afternoon update with nickel not trading again today.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Ed's reports will be posted as soon as we receive (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Reportedly, European stainless alloy surcharges will increase slightly for next January delivery. At the same time, the stainless steelmaker Outokumpu expects to increase its alloy surcharge by 4%~6% due to nickel price continues to rebound according to LME figures.
  • (JMB) Japanese steel demand will decrease by 3.2% to 26.88 million tonnes in raw steel output in January-March compared with estimated raw steel output in October-December, which decreases for the first time in 2 quarters, announced by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Monday. METI expects the raw steel output will decrease due to higher semi-finished steel output in October-December and inventory adjustment.
  • Xu Aihua, analyst with state-owned consultancy firm Beijing Antaike Information Development Co. Ltd - "China will become the world's largest molybdenum producer, with output jumping 17.8 percent to 86,000 tons."
  • Beware 'Experts' Heralding a 'Back to Normal' Economy - more
  • China Cuts First-Round Rare Earth Export Quotas by 11% - more
  • Prices soar as investors rush for commodities - more
  • China - The domestic steel price index rose 3.19 points month-on-month to 124.51 points as of end November, reports Xinhua, citing the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

  POSCO to raise stainless steel prices for January - South Korea's POSCO , the world's No.3 steelmaker, said on Tuesday that it would raise prices of its major stainless steel products by 5.5 percent for January to reflect improving market conditions and rising raw materials costs. - more

  China's Purchases Of Raw Materials For Stainless Steel Cause To Enlarge Risky Factors = Purchases Of Nickel And Chrome At Discounted Prices Are Supposed To Result In Discrimination - The substantial quantities of raw materials (mainly nickel and chrome) for production of stainless steel purchased by stainless steel mills of China are in the direction to enlarge further the risky factors in relation to the competitions with stainless steel mills of the western world on sales of stainless steel products. - more

  Norilsk May Offer Investors Buyback on Rusal Rejection - OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel’s board may discuss whether to buy back stock from all shareholders tomorrow as a $12 billion bid to acquire United Co. Rusal’s stake in the Russian mining company failed to spark negotiations. - more

  Commodities Beat Financial Assets Making Silver, Zinc Top Picks for 2011 - At a time when money managers’ concerns have swung between record government stimulus and the potential for a new recession, investors remain bullish on commodities that beat stocks and bonds for a second 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

Monday, December 27

  London Metal Exchange closed Monday, 27th and Tuesday, 28th for holiday.

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel not trading today with London markets closed for holiday. Three month nickel ended the week at $10.95/lb, according to Dow Jones and inventories stand over the 136,850 tonne marke after another large gain, as mines dump extra nickel into LME approved warehouses. The Euro is trading slightly higher against the US Dollar this morning. NYMEX crude is down 4/10 of 1% and trading at $91.11/barrel. Gold is down 3/10 of 1% and silver is down nearly 3/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended flat, with China down 2% after China raised interest rates over the weekend to cool inflation. European markets that are open are trading mostly lower this morning, and US futures show Wall Street may open lower as well. There will be no afternoon update with nickel not trading today.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Ed's reports will be posted as soon as we receive (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (MF) According to sources, China Minmetals Corporation would produce 240,000 tons of HC ferrochrome in 2010 and output would expand to 400,000 tons in 2011 with an increase of 67% as a booming market is predicted.
  • (JMB) Nippon Seisen/ To raise price of Ni stainless steel wire
  • China's industrial output expected to rise 15% in 2010 - more
  • China raises interest rate second time this year to curb inflation - more
  • Wen: We are beating inflation - more
  • How Long Is Each State’s Unemployment Extension? - more
  • Job Offers Rising as Economy Warms Up - more
  • An inflation (or lack thereof) chart show - more
  • Going Bankrupt: 100 Bailed Out Banks - more
  • Is the Fed Printing Money? - more
  • The Finite World - more
  • Coburn: Unadresssed debt, spending will bring 'apocalyptic pain' - more

  China's Purchases Of Raw Materials For Stainless Steel Cause To Enlarge Risky Factors = Purchases Of Nickel And Chrome At Discounted Prices Are Supposed To Result In Discrimination - The substantial quantities of raw materials (mainly nickel and chrome) for production of stainless steel purchased by stainless steel mills of China are in the direction to enlarge further the risky factors in relation to the competitions with stainless steel mills of the western world on sales of stainless steel products.  - more

  Rising commodity prices threaten global economy - Australians naturally regard high commodity prices as good, but they are now reaching levels that pose a threat to the world economy. - more

  Japan Q1 steel demand seen steady, exports help - Japan's demand for steel products in the January-March period will be about the same as the current quarter as a growth in exports will help offset a decline in domestic demand, the trade ministry said on Monday. - 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, December 23

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)
  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.14/lb , with all base metals lower this morning. The Euro is trading slightly lower against the US Dollar at the moment.  NYMEX crude is slightly lower and trading at $90.42/barrel. Gold is down 1/3 of 1% and silver is off 4/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended quietly with CHina off over 8/10 of 1%. European markets are flat and US futures have yet to determine where the market might open. Nickel inventories had another day of over 1,000 tonne gains and now sit just over the 136,300 tonne level. US industry is mostly closed tomorrow for Christmas Eve. London Metal Exchange will be open in a shortened trading day on Friday and closed Monday and Tuesday of next week. Next site update will be Monday. Merry Christmas!!
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals range, traders fret over Chinese demand prospects - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Ed's reports will be posted as soon as we receive (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Chinese media is reporting exports of stainless steel in November reached 117,904 tons, an increase of 20.91%. Imports during November were 56,885 tons, an increase of 2.2%. Japan is the largest exporter of stainless to China.  
  • (Reuters) Mr Marino Murillo economy minister of Cuba - "The nickel industry failed to complete its production and export plan by 6,700 tonnes, which meant it failed to earn USD 120 million."
  • (Interfax) Baoshan Iron and Steel Group (Baosteel Group) announced on Dec. 22 that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Baosteel Resources Co. Ltd. (Baosteel Resources), has established a unit in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to oversee international projects.
  • (Interfax) China's Minister of Commerce, Chen Deming, said at a Dec. 22 conference in Beijing that China aims to increase imports in 2011 and will therefore work toward resolving trade disputes, including frictions regarding the current iron ore pricing system, according to a report on the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) Web site.
  • China expects exports to slow in 2011 - more
  • 14% credit growth predicted for 2011 (China) - more

  Raw material to Kalinga Nagar units at concessional rate likely - At a time when the industrial units operating in the Kalinga Nagar Industrial Complex (KNIC), the emerging steel hub in Orissa's Jajpur district, are grappling with steep hike in prices of iron ore and chrome ore, the state government has assured that raw materials would be made available to these industries at subsidised rates. - more

  Solomons Landowners Protest Nickel Contract - In Solomon Islands, the Bugotu Landowners Association (BLA), says the decision by government to award Sumitomo the license to develop Nickel on Isabel could "hamper the little progress that has been made in the partnership between landowners and the government." - more

 Potanin sees end soon to Norilsk dispute -paper - Russian tycoon Vladimir Potanin expects the struggle over control of Norilsk Nickel will be over within three to four months after the world's largest nickel and palladium miner offered to buy back aluminium group RUSAL's key stake, The Wall Street Journal said.- more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 56 to 1,830. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Inflation Risk Leads to Asia's Worst Bond Returns // China Raises Gasoline Prices for Third Time This Year as Crude Costs Jump // Hong Kong Pollution `Very High' at Five Stations, Triggers Health Warnings // China May Spend $1.7 Trillion in Decade on Power Generation, 21st Reports // China Stocks Drop After Fuel Price Increase; Banks, Tsingtao Pace Declines // Japan Forecasts Slower Economic Growth as Yen's Strength Threatens Exports // South Korea Prepares for Military Exercises With Jet Fighters, Artillery // Most Asia Stocks Climb on Rising Commodities, U.S. Sales Data; Sanyo Falls // Buyout Loans in Europe, Mideast Jump as Banks Chase Fees: Credit Markets // U.K. Economy Slows More Than Estimated as BOE Splits // Greece Leads Increase in Sovereign Debt Risk as Fitch Puts Rating on Watch // European Stocks Climb for Third Day as ARM, Hermes, Aker Solutions Advance // Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Increase Less Than Forecast // U.S. Economy Grew at 2.6% Pace in Third Quarter on Spending // Stocks, Oil Climb to Two-Year Highs on Economy; Treasuries Fall
  • The Euro is trading 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up over 4/10 of 1% and trading at $90.22/barrel. Gold is up over 1/10 of 1% and silver is lower by nearly 2/10 of 1%. Base metals ended mixed and mostly lower. Indicator charts show nickel was sleepily holding its own until about mid afternoon, when it took a $700/tonne nose dive. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $10.91/lb , finally falling below the $11/lb mark. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose for a 6th consecutive day and now show totaling over 135,250 tonnes. Inventories have grown by 4,308 tonnes in the last six days, or 3.18%, with most of the gain coming in the last three. Sucden'sa day old chart shows nickel trend bound again (chart here). It has now been 12 days since the Baltic Dry index had a positive day, and lost 56 more points today.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Talley Metals Technology Inc. today announced that it will increase base prices by approximately 5% on all stainless products. The increase will be effective on orders shipped on or after February 1, 2011. Additionally, current monthly surcharges will remain in effect. Talley Metals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carpenter Technology Corporation, produces and distributes stainless steel bar and wire.
  • 2010 Census Data - more
  • Extended Fed Currency Swaps Not Sign of Fresh Concern - more

  MEPS Forecasts A Double Digit Global Stainless Steel Price Hike in 2011 - After many months of unchanged stainless steel basis values in the United States, they seem to be on the up. Inventories have been pared back to minimum levels and demand is improving consistently if not spectacularly. - more

  Tata move could shake up industry - A shake-up of the domestic ferroalloys industry may be on the cards, according to reports from India that industrial conglomerate Tata Steel is in talks to sell its South African ferrochrome assets for more than R1 billion. - more

  Spot moly prices rise in northeast Asia on European buying spree - Spot prices for molybdenum oxide in northeast Asia have risen to $16.20-16.40/lb CIF Japan/Busan from $15.90-16.00/lb CIF last week, on strong buying interest from European traders, market sources said Wednesday. - more

  RUSAL to consider selling Norilsk Nickel stake - Russia's UC RUSAL hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch to value its stake in Norilsk Nickel which, an analyst said, was an indication its owners are seriously considering a sale. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.01/lb   higher, with other base metals mixed and quiet. The Euro is trading 1/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar this morning.  NYMEX crude is up over 4/10 of 1% and trading at $90.19/barrel. Gold i sup 1/10 of 1% while silver is lower by more than 4/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China off 1% after fuel prices increased in that country for the third time this year, adding further inflationary stress. European markets are slightly higher at the moment, while US futures are showing nothing as of yet. Nickel inventories made their third big bounce in as many days.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals well-supported, climb towards record highs - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper barreled on to another record high of $9392 yesterday, and came close to testing this level again today, as a force majeure declaration by Collahuasi, coupled with strong import data demand out of China, continues to provide background support. Thin trading conditions are also likely exaggerating the underlying price advance. Other metals also pushed higher yesterday, but certainly, none have approached the magnitude of copper’s stunning advance this month. Despite the recent gains seen in copper, a few variables should give longs reason to take some money off the table, especially now that prices are in nose-bleed territory. For one thing, the sharp downtrend in LME copper inventories seems to be have ended, as an increase in stock levels has now set in. We have also seen a 12,000 ton accumulation in Shanghai as well last week, this despite a very unfavorable arb. Secondly, the Collahuasi force majeure is really a logistical bottleneck, and not a more serious mine issue. The mine has extra stocks it can call on, and is in technical negotiations with the nearby Patillos port to resume shipments. Third, the dollar is not really buckling, as problems in Europe are lingering, with one getting the feeling that the next shoe could drop at any moment. Fourth, roughly ten days after launch, the amount of copper held to back physical copper exchange traded products now stands at 1,445 tons. Total holdings in the nickel are around 402 tons, while tin units remain roughly unchanged at 80 tons. The overall accumulation, although still early days, looks very modest to us, and seems to confirm our earlier view that this product will attract a limited following given its fee and pricing structure. Fifth, we wonder whether we will now start to see early stages of demand destruction set in over the copper complex as a consequence of the high prices we are seeing. In this regard, we are hearing that discounts on Chinese physical units against futures benchmarks are widening, and there does not seem to be any reports of shortages either. Lastly, there should be a spate of index rebalancing heading into the New Year. In this regard, Reuters reported yesterday that Dow Jones-UBS will trim copper's allocation slightly. Although S&P-GSCI said it will increase copper's slice heading into 2011, we could see a change here too, especially if copper continues its advance until January 5th-9th, which is when both indices will implement the final breakdowns. Today’s action in metals seems to be much quieter across the board, with copper prices now lower, but other metals holding on to modest gains. Energy prices are up by about $.40 a barrel, as cold weather and holiday demand is keeping both the product and crude complexes both fairly well bid. The dollar is holding steady at $1.3120, but did break the $1.31 mark again late yesterday on news of lingering European credit downgrades. Portugal was in the spotlight yesterday, as was Greece later in the day, when Fitch said that there was a “heightened probability” of a downgrade after it completes its review of the country's finances by January. Greece is currently graded at BBB- by Fitch, its lowest investment-grade rating. Gold is up slightly, but US stocks are expected to open flat. ....  Nickel is at $24,650, up $25, and very quiet with only at $225 trading range in place. Resistance remains at $25,200, and bulls need to see prices take out this mark for a breakout to set in. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Reuters) Russia's UC RUSAL has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch to appraise its 25 percent stake in Norilsk Nickel, a source close to the world's top aluminium producer's shareholders told Reuters.
  • (Yieh) Reportedly, ArcelorMittal has released its European prospectus and demerger plan to split the stainless steel business. Also, the company has announced the new venture’s name Aperam, which will be used after the date of spin-off.
  • (Interfax) China's refined lead, zinc, tin and nickel imports all witnessed year-on-year decreases in the first 11 months of 2010, according to Dec. 22 figures from the General Administration of Customs (GAC).
  • (MF) According to sources, chrome ore market price is increasing with active inquiries. As quoted from traders, there were no sizeable transactions and chrome ore price was predicted to lift further owing to inventory backup.
  • (TE) ThyssenKrupp Nirosta is strengthening its Dillenburg plant with an almost €18m investment in a new skin-pass mill, a unit for the downstream treatment of cold-rolled stainless steel.
  • Strong La Niña event continues in the Pacific - more

  Stainless Steel Division of ArcelorMittal Files European Prospectus and Demerger Plan - The stainless steel division of ArcelorMittal announced that it has published its European prospectus and demerger plan, following the decision of the ArcelorMittal Board of Directors to proceed with the spin-off of the stainless steel business. - more

  Eti Krom / Turkey Rises Prices Of Chrome Ore For Shipments In Jan. - Mar. 2011 = In View Of Resumption Of FeCr Production In China, Supply Of Cr-Ore Is Expected To Tighten - Eti Krom Inc., which is the largest producer of chrome in Turkey, announced on the 15th of December that the Company has decided to rise the prices of lumpy chrome ore with Cr 42% for shipments in the first quarter (January - March) of 2011. The new prices to be risen are as follows on CFR China basis and based on quantity and destination - 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, December 21

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 69 to 1,886. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Said to Raise Gasoline Prices by 4% From Tomorrow as Oil Costs Jump // China's Wang Says `Concrete Action' Taken on EU Debt // North Korea to Allow Nuclear Inspections as Tension Eases, Richardson Says // China Urges South Korea to Punish Those Responsible for Fishing Boat Clash // Stocks Rebound from Biggest Drop in 3 Weeks; Property, Coal Shares Rally // India Can't Find Enough Laborers to Build Roads in $1 Trillion Singh Plan // Asian Stocks Rise as Commodity Firms Gain; Korea Climbs as Tension Eases // European Investment Banking Fees Tumble to Six-Year Low Amid Debt Crisis // Scottish Investors Say No to Spanish Bonds Even at 5.5% Yield: Euro Credit // Portugal Bond Rating May Be Cut by Moody's on Concern of `Sluggish' Growth // Chavez Lauds Lukashenko's `Extraordinary' Election Win as U.S. Slams Vote // Fed Extends Swap Lines With ECB, Other Central Banks // Staffing Industry Hiring Revenue Surges as Jobs Remain Scarce // S&P 500 Climbs to Pre-Lehman Level // U.S. Retail Sales Accelerated Last Week in Biggest Jump of Holiday Season
  • The Euro is now trading over 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up over 4/10 of 1% and trading at $89.75/barrel. Gold is up nearly 2/10 of 1% and silver is less than 1/10 of 1% higher. Base metals ended the session mostly higher, with only lead losing ground. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher but on the decline out of the gate, then recouped most of its earlier losses, before stumbling again late. Dow jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.17/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored worldwide in LME approved warehouses surged yesterday, with its second biggest one day gain this year. Inventories now total just over the 134,500 tonne level. Sucden updated their day old nickel trading chart, showing nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). Inventoried nickel stores have grown by 4,404 tonnes in the last month, and by 18,840 tonnes since bottoming out four months ago. Many market analysts seem to be in denial that the market is oversupplied at present, and with large mines such as Ramu, Ravensthorpe and Ambatovy expected to begin producing next year, any support the Voisey's Bay strike may have been adding, have long been silenced. Goro has started production, Xstrata's Dominican Republic nickel mine is back up and running, and Koniambo is scheduled to start producing in 2012. But we are lead to believe that by the time all that nickel begins to saturate the market, China will producing record amounts of stainless again, and will apparently outlaw the production of pig nickel, the constant burr in the butt of metals forecasters. Need more proof? Try this Metal Bulletin teaser line from one of their article's today. "China's refined nickel imports dropped by more than a third in November, while nickel ore imports surged to within 20000 tonnes of a record monthly high." The Baltic Dry Index lost another 69 points today, and is now at 1,886.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • The great bank heist of 2010 - more
  • One-in-Three Working Families Considered ‘Low Income’ - more
  • It’s a Bummer to Be a Boomer - more
  • Tourism Spending Rebounds, but Below Peak - more
  • Hardships of a Nation Push Horses Out to Die - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.02/lb higher, with all London traded base metals higher at the moment.  The Euro is trading 1/5 of 1% higher against the US Dollar.  NYMEX crude is down 1/10 of 1% and trading at $89.27/barrel. Gold is up slightly and silver is down nearly 2/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 2.2% after North Korea backed off retaliatory threats. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures show Wall Street may open bullishly. Nickel inventories rose by a large amount yesterday. Nickel traders so far are trying desperately to keep nickel above $11/lb, while the fundamentals are adding negative pressure.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Copper price hits fresh record on supply worries, import data - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper prices were extremely strong once again yesterday, approaching the record highs set earlier in the month, as concern about the concentrate situation at Collahuasi reinforced the already strong tone evident in the market. The mine operator said it is producing units normally as it seeks alternatives to ship its ore out after a weekend port accident forced it to halt shipments and declare force majeure. The rest of the metals were also up yesterday, but swept up mainly by copper. Today, we are seeing more of the same, with copper prices taking the lead and racing to another record high of $9357. The rest of the metals are sporting more modest gains, while nickel and tin were actually lower up until the last hour. For now, copper is clearly the one metal standing out among the pack, as its fundamentals are the most compelling. Today’s move has been triggered by both a slightly weaker dollar, and strong follow-up import data out of China showing refined copper imports in November rising nearly 37%. Reuters calculates that the country’s apparent consumption in November was up a staggering 24% from the previous month, rising to 661,376 tons, and offsetting an equally sharp fall in October. Year-to-date apparent consumption is up a more modest 5%. The inflow was surprising in that the LME/Shanghai arb has been negative for much of the month, leading to speculation that the numbers may have been inflated by the week-long National Day holiday in October that could have pushed some imports into November. We will run our usual Chinese import and export table and historical charts later in the week, as the individual components of the data only came out today. ...  Nickel is at $24,700, up $150. The complex is fairly sluggish today, although having said that, prices have nevertheless managed to work themselves up to the top end of the trading range capped by resistance at $25,200. Bulls now need to see prices take out this mark for a breakout to set in. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Reportedly, China’s Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group (Tisco) has announced to decline the prices of 300 series stainless steel by US$100/ton to improve the company’s sales volume.
  • (MB) Chinese stainless steel exports jumped 20.91% in Nov
  • (MB) China Nickel Imports are 12,044T in Nov, a 6 month low
  • (Interfax) Wuhan Iron & Steel (Group) Corp. (WISCO) aims to raise annual steel production capacity from 40 million tons to 60 million tons during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), according to a Dec. 21 announcement on the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) Web site.
  • (AP) China's major nickel producer Jinchuan Group signed the formal arrangement agreement with the Canadian miner Continental Minerals to implement Jinchuan's proposed acquisition, said Monday the Vancouver-based Continental Minerals in a press release.

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 15th December 2010 = Stainless Steel Industry Of Europe Moves To Reorganize - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 15th December of 2010 is as follows - more

  Miners win symbolic tax victory - Future state royalty rises should be credited against federal taxes, the policy group reviewing the controversial mining tax has recommended. - more

  Steel Price in Developing Market Drift Lower - In Russia, price competition amongst domestic metallurgical plants has intensified. The onset of low seasonal demand has forced producers to offer discounts. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending December 18, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,697,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 70.2 percent. Production was 1,492,000 tons in the week ending December 18, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 62.3 percent. The current week production represents a 13.8 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending December 18, 2010 is up 0.9 percent from the previous week ending December 11, 2010 when production was 1,683,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 69.6 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, December 20

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 44 to 1,955. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Hong Kong Pollution Hits `Very High' Levels at All Three Roadside Stations // China's Stocks Decline Most in 2 Weeks on Korean, Interest-Rate Concerns // Euro Falls a Second Day on Concern Region's Crisis to Spread; Dollar Gains // Aussie Leads `Extreme' Currencies Deutsche Says Avoid // Medvedev Joins Parade to India Chasing Weapons, Nuclear Deals // French AAA Grade at Risk as Downgrades Sweep Europe // BOE Forecast to Raise Interest Rate Within Six Months, CBI Says // Europe Company Debt Spreads Above U.S. as Growth Diverges: Credit Markets // European Stocks Advance on Economy, Erasing Losses From Lehman Bankruptcy // Christmas Gets More Costly as U.S. Retailers Avoid Panic Holiday Pricing // Yields Flatten QE2 Critics With Curve Showing Fed End to Stimulus in Sight // AmEx Falls as Credit-Card Fees May Be `Next Target' // Bears Turn Bullish on U.S. as Obama Benefits From Roiling Emerging Markets
  • The Euro is presently trading 6/10 of 15 lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is higher by over 3/10 of 1% and trading at $88.30/barrel. Gold is up nearly 8/10 of 1% and silver is higher by 1/3 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mostly higher. Except for nickel. Indicator charts show nickel traded very choppy today, with the bulls making morning gains, only to see them evaporate, and a strong charge later in the day, only to see it too fail. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.11/lb . While still showing some hesitation in holding the $11/lb level, nickel has closed above that mark for 6 consecutive sessions now. This is better than the 3 out of 4 day run in early November, and 6 of 8 trading day run it has in early October. Stockpiles of nickel stored worldwide in LME approved warehouses rose significantly Friday, and now register over 132,800 tonnes. The Baltic Dry Index dropped another 44 points to read 1,955. Total container counts for November for the Port of Los Angeles show an increase of 14.95% in traffic over last year, although that is off the annual average of a 18.52% gain. Likewise, the Port of Long Beach saw a 24.6% increase in November traffic over last year, but off the annual average of 30.1% higher. So depending on whether you are the half full, or half empty kind of reader, the economic recovery appears to be solid but not moving like everyone hopes it would.

  Reports

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

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Labor Market Stagnant in Most U.S. States - more
  • Keeping the Good News in Perspective - more
  • Voodoo Economics Revisited - more
  • When Zombies Win - more
  • How to Dump Your Muni By 60 Minutes - more
  • It’s Never Too Early to Predict the Future! - more
  • US Bank Failures to Date - more
  • US Follows Japan: The Rise of Freeters, aka Temps - more

  Trader Trafigura buys 8 pct Norilsk Nickel stake - Commodities trade house Trafigura acquired 8 percent of top global nickel and palladium producer Norilsk Nickel , the Russian miner said on Monday, potentially strengthening its hand in a dispute with RUSAL. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.03/lb lower, with other London traded base metals slightly higher at the moment. The Euro is  presently trading 1/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 7/10 of 1% and trading at $88.64/barrel. Gold is higher by over 1/2 of 1% and silver is flat. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off nearly 1-1/2% on Korean tensions. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street may open higher. Nickel inventories rose sharply on Friday.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals choppy in start-of-week business, copper close to fresh record - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper closed higher on Friday, notching up its third consecutive weekly gain, this despite the Euro sliding for a second straight week against the dollar. The rest of the metals also closed higher on Friday, no doubt due to the strong tail-winds provided by copper, as we doubt any of them would have gotten their on their own accord. Today’s action is pointing to a stronger copper complex once again, but the rest of the metals are just now pushing higher after dragging earlier in the day. Trading volume should be fairly light this week, and could exaggerate the extent of the price fluctuations. If anything, we should see a slight drift lower in prices towards month’s end, as some hedge funds take money off the table to lock in returns.   ....  Nickel is at $24,920, down $80, and the only metal that is lower today. Nevertheless, prices have managed to work their way higher over the course of last week, and could now be in a position to breakout if they clear $25,200.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Outokumpu - Stainless steel base price development in Europe softened in late 2010. Currently, prices have stabilised and the prevailing demand-supply balance supports price increases for deliveries in the first quarter 2011. Outokumpu will, thus, target to increase base prices for all coil products in Europe by 4-6%. The increase applies to all new business from today.
  • (Interfax) China's central government should facilitate the export of steel products to ensure a minimum export level, Luo Tiejun, deputy director at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's (MIIT) department of raw material, said Dec. 18 at Mysteel's annual conference in Shanghai.
  • (Yieh) It’s known that Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group (Tisco) has aimed on the country’s large scale project; thus, the production of 304 series stainless steel has decreased in domestic market even the company has increased the output in this year.
  • Commodities Rally Falters in Currency Futures as History Shows Dollar Wins - more
  • The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index edged 0.1 percent lower in November after increasing a revised 0.9 percent in October. In September and October, tonnage increased a total of 2.8 percent. The latest reduction put the SA index at 109.7 (2000=100) in November from 109.9 in October. - more

  Ample nickel stocks soften impact of Kwinana refinery interruption - An interruption to nickel production at Australia's Kwinana nickel refinery was having little impact on world prices for the metal, with ample supplies to cover any short-term needs, metals traders said on Monday. - more

  Global crude steel output rises in Jan-Nov - Global crude steel production rose 16.2 percent in the January to November period to more than 1,280.7 million tonnes from the same period a year ago, figures from the World Steel Association showed on Monday. - 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, December 17

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 29 to 1,999. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Kynikos's Chanos Says China Real Estate Boom Goes `Unabated' // Cash Squeeze Forces Banks to Pay Double Government Fund Rate: China Credit // PBOC's Zhou Indicates Global Turbulence Is Delaying Chinese Move on Rates // Japan Shifts Defense Policy to Counter China's Rising Military Influence // Asian Stocks Rise for First Time in Three Days as Samsung Gains // EU Leaders Create Debt-Management Mechanism From 2013 // Ireland's Credit Rating Cut Five Levels by Moody's With a Negative Outlook // Portugal May Get Frozen Out by Bond-Sale `Avalanche' in 2011: Euro Credit // German Business Confidence Unexpectedly Rises to Record // Merkel Suffers Parliamentary Defeat as Opposition Blocks Welfare Overhaul // Lloyds More Than Doubles Irish Bad-Loan Charges on `Significant' Decline // European Stocks Retreat as EU Debt Concern Persists; AstraZeneca Declines // U.S. Leading Indicators Index Increases by Most in 8 Months // Stocks Decline, Irish Bonds Retreat on Moody's Rating Cut; Copper Advances
  • The Euro is currently trading 3/4 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is flat at $87.72/barrel.  Gold is up 2/10 of 1% and silver is higher by nearly the same. Except for tin, base metals ended the session higher as well. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower and trading in a very narrow band, until late in the session when for a second day, nickel prices shot up near the end. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $11.38/lb , up $.50/lb from last Friday's close.
  • Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses rose yet again yesterday, and now sit just over the 131,850 tonne level, their highest level since mid June. Sucden's day old chart reflects nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index keeps reminding us the recovery isn't set in stone yet, falling under the 2,000 level after losing 29 more points today. BHP is having production problems in Australia, while Sherritt announced its Ambatovy project should start producing next year.
  • Have a safe and relaxing weekend!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • US LEI Increases - more
  • Unemployment Extension Won’t Help 99ers - more
  • Regional Fed Surveys Flag Seeds of Future Inflation - more
  • Q&A: Ron Paul on His New Perch - more
  • 22 Arrested in LA Foreclosure Protest at Chase - more
  • Wall Street Whitewash - more

  Nickel output disrupted at BHP Australia refinery - BHP Billiton said on Friday that a shortage of nitrogen gas has interrupted production at its Kwinana nickel refinery in Western Australia. - more

  Sherritt ups Ambatovy project capex to $4.8 bln - Diversified miner Sherritt International Corp said it raised the capital costs budget for its Ambatovy Project by 5 percent to $4.76 billion to step up production. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.02/lb lower, with other base metals trading higher. The Euro is presently trading over 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is off nearly 6/10 of 1% and trading at $87.20/barrel. Gold is up over 1/4 of 1% and silver is slightly lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China down over 1/10 of 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures are flat. Nickel inventories rose yesterday.     
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals rise across the board as correction falters, solid euro supports - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper ended lower for a third straight day yesterday, dragging the rest of the group down with it in very quiet trading. Other markets were also subdued, with energy and gold finishing with minor losses, while US equities ended with a modest gain. Sovereign debt issues were again front and center in terms of the headlines, as EU leaders met for a two-day summit. Despite the jitters that usually surround such meetings, the euro managed to hold on to its gains, and we suspect that part of this was attributable to relief that the Spanish debt auction took place in relatively orderly fashion. In this regard, the Spanish treasury sold $3.2 billion of bonds--less than its maximum target--at an average yield of 5.446% compared with 4.615% the last time the securities were offered on November 18th. Nevertheless, the fact that the paper moved at rates that were not as high as initial expectations was considered a net positive. Things are different today in the metals space, as another round of dollar weakness has sparked some buying. The euro is now trading at $1.3267, but soared to a high of $1.3370 at one point earlier in the day, as EU leaders wrapped up a two-day summit by agreeing on a new rescue system for future debt crises. A European Stability Mechanism, set up in October, will now be utilized to provide rescue loans to countries, but the mechanism will also force private creditors to assume some losses when a country is deemed insolvent. (However, existing bond holders will be exempt). EU leaders decided not to beef up the their existing bailout fund or introduce pan-European bonds. However, the Euro did lose some of its earlier gains after Moody's downgraded Ireland's government bonds by five notches later in the day, and this triggered a significant retreat in metals from earlier highs. In macro developments, the US Congress gave its final approval late on Thursday to the deal President Barack Obama and Republicans made to extend expiring tax cuts, passing the measure by a vote of 277-148, and now sending the bill for signature. In ETP news, the latest warrant holdings reports show that 595 tons of copper stocks are being held by ETF securities, with 66 tons of nickel and 80 tons of tin also being held. We expect holdings in all three categories to continue to push higher into next week, but admittedly, are somewhat surprised by how little inventory has been “tied up” thus far. .... Nickel is at $24,665, down $35, and the only metal that is lower today. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) It is reported that Japan's Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless (NSSC) has started to sell new stainless steel cold rolled product named FW2, used to substitute for SUS 304. It’s said that FW2 can reduce 40% of nickel and chromium content and it owns higher anti-rusty ability.
  • Nickel To Average US$24,000/tonne In 2011 - more
  • (SHY) The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARE) in a report predict China crude steel production will reach 674 million tonnes in 2011, an increase of 7 percent based on 630 million tonnes in 2010.
  • (AISI) The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that for the month of October 2010, U.S. steel mills shipped 6,629,195 net tons, a 7.2 percent decrease from the 7,140,369 net tons shipped in the previous month, September 2010, and a 8.7 percent increase from the 6,097,348 net tons shipped in October 2009.
    (SBB) US stainless flats consumption rises 13% m-o-m
  • (SM) According to the American Forest & Paper Association's November 2010 U.S. Paperboard Report released today, total boxboard production decreased by 0.6% compared to November 2009, but increased 2.3% from last month. Year-to-date production was up 3.3% over 2009.

   Ferrochrome price dips 4% - The European contract price of ferrochrome for the first quarter of 2011 has been settled at $1.25 per pound, a fall of 4 percent, due to sluggish demand. - more

  U.S., Canadian Metals Shipments Take Sharp Upturn - Metals service center shipments of steel and aluminum products rose robustly in November, perhaps signaling the beginning of a sturdier recovery for the metals industry, the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute shows. - more

  S.Korea's POSCO to construct stainless steel plant in Turkey - POSCO, South Korea's leading steelmaker, said Friday that it plans to build a cold-rolled stainless steel plant in Turkey as part of efforts to meet rising demand in eastern Europe. - more

  Restart of Bindura Nickel uncertain - The resumption of operations at Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC) remains uncertain as the firm’s parent company, Mwana Africa, is still to secure the necessary financing. - more

  Striking Vale workers get $30K in Christmas gifts - Striking workers at the Voisey's Bay nickel mine in Labrador have received up to $30,000 worth of money and gifts from fellow union members. - more

  POSCO Q1 steel prices likely same as Q4 -sources - POSCO , the world's No.3 and South Korea's No.1 steelmaker, is likely to keep domestic prices of its key steel products unchanged in the first quarter of next year from this quarter, company sources said. - more

  Oligarch Vs. Oligarch: Prokhorov Is After Deripaska's Shares In Rusal, Maybe More - In Oleg Deripaska’s short career history, his Russian partners don’t last for long. - 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, December 16

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 19 to 2,028. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China May Raise Interest Rates 6 Times Through 2011, Mizuho's Suzuki Says // China Raises Export Taxes of Some Rare Earths to 25% // China's Stocks Drop for Second Day on Rate Increase Concerns; Banks Slide // Vietnam Stock Index Slumps Most Since August After Moody's Lowers Rating // Yuan Forwards Rated Asia's Best 2011 Bet at Goldman, Nomura: China Credit // India's Central Bank Pauses in Increasing Interest Rates After Cash Crunch // EU Faces `Gridlock' on Debt Crisis, Sees Deal on Post-2013 Tool // Spain Completes Last Bond Sale With Rating at Risk: Euro Credit // Debt Contagion Threat Splits EU Leaders Seeking Rules to Stem Euro Crisis // European Stocks Advance as U.S. Data Suggest Economic Recovery Is On Track // U.S. Foreclosure Filings Drop to Two-Year Low Amid Lender Delays // General Mills Profit Misses Estimates on Raw-Material Cost // General Mills Profit Misses Estimates on Raw-Material Costs // Wall Street Blame Rift May Blunt Impact of U.S. Crisis Panel // U.S. Economy: Drop in Firings Points to Improving Job Market // Wal-Mart Recalling 2.2 Million Electric Heaters for Overheating, Fire Risk
  • The Euro has returned dot the green, and is now trading over 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is off 1/4 of 1% and trading at $88.38/barrel. Gold is off nearly 2/3 of 1% while silver is up 2/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mostly lower, with only tin and nickel gaining. Indicator charts show nickel spent most of the day trading in a choppy band of $300/tonne, when in the last 1-1/2 hour, it hit a daily bottom and then spiked about $400/tonne. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.20/lb . Stockpiles of nickel rose for a second day yesterday, and now sit just over the 131,400 tonne level. Sucden finally updated their day old chart showing nickel trading over the last week thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index continues to sag, dropping another 19 points. This is the 8th consecutive day of declining numbers for the BDI.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (WSJ) New York manufacturing activity roared ahead this month after contracting in November, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey released Wednesday. But hiring fell back. The Empire State’s business conditions index jumped to 10.57 in December from -11.14 in November. Economists had expected a reading of just 5.0 in December.
  • (MW) The Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing survey showed a surprise improvement in December, in a further sign of the improving economic outlook. The business outlook survey by the Philly Fed, which covers Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, rose to 24.3 in December from 22.5 last month. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a drop to 17.5.
  • Economists Disagree on Future Path of Inflation - more
  • 10 Questions for GOP Members of Financial Crisis Inquiry - more
  • Tax Deal Could Be Fed’s Savior - more
  • Federal Debt and Interest Costs - more
  • Why U.S. Must Have Rare Earths - more
  • "Why Aren't More Bankers Going To Jail?" - more
  • Germany’s choices - more

  Norilsk Nickel makes $12 bln offer to RusAl to buy its stake in company - Russia's largest nickel producer Norilsk Nickel has made a $12 billion offer to the world's largest aluminum maker RusAl to buy its 25 percent stake in Norilsk Nickel, the mining giant 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 lower, with other London traded base metals mostly lower and quiet. The Euro is presently trading over 1/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down nearly 1/2 of 1% and trading at $88.20/barrel. Gold is flat while silver is up over 8/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China down 1/2 of 1% on rate increase concerns. European markets are trading only slightly lower at the moment, and US futures give no hint to where Wall Street may open. Nickel inventories rose yesterday.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals flabby as strong dollar and rising inventories weigh - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Base metals finished easier yesterday, as the dollar recouped almost 2 full Euros in late-day trading, and pressured the complex lower. Other markets also ended up giving earlier gains, with energy finishing only slightly higher despite very bullish weekly inventory data, while precious metals and US equity markets both finished down. The dollar rallied on continued concern about the Euro, with the mood growing skittish on talk from Moody's that it might downgrade Spain’s' credit rating. In addition, EU divisions surfaced again as to how to contain the debt contagion, with the Germans balking at boosting the EU’s 750 billion-euro emergency fund, and still not completely on board with respect to issuing so-called E-bonds. This morning, another EU summit is underway, and focus is on Spain and Portugal. Both countries have approximately E275 billion of sovereign and bank debt expiring in 2011, and there are increasing worries about Belgium lately as well. In a good sign, the Spanish treasury paid just slightly less than expected for long-term bonds in an auction earlier today, while Portugal announced extra measures to cut red tape and boost growth. Other issues to be discussed at the EU summit will be how the $ 1 trillion joint EU/IMF loan facility can be improved, either by increasing its size, or making the facility more flexible, perhaps by introducing credit lines. All this seems to be stabilizing the Euro somewhat today, where the currency is now at $1.3240, up slightly on the day. However, commodity markets are not responding, with both metals and energy off for a second morning running. Copper is leading the way lower, as the relentless decline in LME stock levels seems to be ending, while the ratio of cancelled tonnage has slipped further to 5.2%. Moreover, the dominant position that was controlling 90% of stock warrants on the LME earlier in the week has now fallen back to between 40-50%.  ....  Finally, for all the talk that the recently launched ETF securities would suck in massive amounts of metal, it was reported that the amount of copper backing the physical exchange traded product as of December 14 was a whopping 25 tons, this according to the company's website. Total holdings in nickel and tin were 6 tons and 5 tons, respectively. We expect these quantities to increase in line with higher trading volumes, but if they don’t, the products will not technically be physically backed, but rather “look-alikes” for the underlying LME contracts-- and expensive ones at that.  .... Nickel is at $24,430, down $120, and quiet, with only a $300 trading range in place today. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Barclays - However, in line with our underlying bullish view for base metals, we expect an eventual break above $25,200 to bring $27,590 into focus (nickel)
  • (Yieh) Japan produced nickel-based stainless steel of 134,366 tons in October, down by 2.8 % from September.
  • (MP) Chinese ferro-chrome prices have edged up in the past week on higher bids made by steel mills for their purchases in January.
  • (Interfax) Luo Bingsheng, vice chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), announced Dec. 12 that only 60 percent of China's total demand for iron ore this year required the use of imported materials, down from 70 percent last year.
  • (AFPA) The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) today released the November 2010 U. S. Containerboard Statistics Report today. For the thirteenth straight month, containerboard production rose over same month a year ago. Total production saw an increase of 33,800 tons or 1.2% when compared to November 2009.
  • Extreme weather sparks global commodities rally - more

  ArcelorMittal details stainless steel spinoff; restructuring plan - The world's largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, Thursday gave details of the spinoff of its stainless division, saying it will be subject to restructuring including a temporary shutdown of a cold-rolling mill in France. - more

  Increase In Nickel Deficit Positive in Long Run - The markets of Nickel were in deficit of 6800 tonnes during Jan-Oct 2010. The report released by World Bureau Of Metal Statistics (WBMS) suggests that the markets for Nickel improved on their deficits from 600 tonnes during Jan-Oct 2009 to 6800 tonnes in Jan-Oct 2010. - more

  Total Output Of Crude Stainless Steel By 7 Major Works / Japan In Oct. 2010 Increased = Produced 333,000 Tons As Increased By 15.6% From That In September - The total quantity of crude stainless steel produced by seven major stainless steel works of Japan in October of 2010 came up to 332,913 tons, which increased by 15.6% compared with that (287,959 tons) in the previous month of September. - more

  New Owner Shows Queensland Nickel the Way - Queensland Nickel was hours away from seeing its operation cease, but an unlikely hero stepped in and now the refinery is setting record levels for production. - 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, December 15

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 22 to 2,047. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Consumers Signal Deepest Inflation Concern Since 1999 in PBOC Survey // Soaring Hong Kong Rents Prompt Allianz, Accounting Firms to Shift Towers // LG Display CEO Sees 3-D Taking 10%-20% of LCD Television Market Next Year // Taiwan Offering Ruffle Best Value in China as Growth Rates Match Mainland  // China's Stocks Retreat on Policy Tightening Concerns; Developers Decline // Japan Manufacturer Confidence Deteriorates First Time Since End of Crisis // Asian Stocks Decline From 2 1/2-Year High on Outlook for Economic Growth // Germany Stiffens Opposition to Aid Boost in Face-Off With ECB // Spain Aa1 Rating Put on Review by Moody's on Eve of Bond Sale // Ireland's Bailout Fails to Revive Market for Bank Bond Sales: Euro Credit // European Stocks Fall on Debt Concern, Snapping Longest Gains in Six Months // Fed Signals Stronger Economy Won't Slow $600 Billion Stimulus // U.S. Industrial Production Rises More Than Forecast // U.S. Homebuilder Confidence Unchanged in December Amid Depressed Demand // Stocks in U.S. Fluctuate as Economic Data Offset European Debt Concerns
  • The Euro is trading nearly 9/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, as European debt concerns return. Most of the steep fall has come in the last few hours. NYMEX crude is up over 1/10 of 1% on news crude oil stocks fell by a startling 9.854 million barrels in the last week, and is currently trading at $88.42/barrel. Gold is down over 2/3 of 1% and silver is off over nearly 1.1%. Base metals ended the day mostly lower. Indicator chart show nickel traded very choppy today, with neither the bulls or bears being able to shift the trend. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.14/lb , up $.03. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose yesterday, and now stand just over the 131,150 tonne level. Sucden still has not updated their day old trading chart in a week. The Baltic Dry Index slipped yet again, dropping another 22 points to 2,047. Today was the third day for nickel to close above $11/lb. It went about 4 days last month and eight the prior month over the $11/lb mark or very close to it. It will be interesting to see if traders can hold onto this level, or if fails as it has in the last two months.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (DJ) The global nickel market was in a 6,800 metric ton deficit between January and October this year, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said Wednesday. That compares with a deficit of 600 tons in the same period last year and a surplus of 28,100 tons in the whole of 2009, which included substantial imports recorded by China partially for re-stocking purposes, the WBMS said.
  • The Lone Dissenter: Kansas City’s Hoenig Goes Out With A Record - more
  • Parsing the Fed: How the Statement Changed - more
  • Retail Sales Make Fourth Quarter Look Stronger - more
  • David Stockman on Dylan Ratigan - more
  • Infographic: How Color Affects Our Purchasing Habits - more
  • Index of Hours Worked - more
  • Quote of the Day - Wallison, like most ideologues (on the Right and the Left), suffers from cognitive dissonance: When presented with facts that challenge or contradict his ideology, their brains get flummoxed. Rather than accept the possibility that deeply held beliefs are wrong, the mind fabricates rationales and excuses for the evidence in front of them. The same cognitive factors that lead sports fans to blame the referees when their teams fail to impress also lead ideologues to ignore facts and focus on beliefs. (source)

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.05/lb lower, with all London traded base metals lower at the moment. The Euro is trading less than 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, but on the rise. NYMEX crude is lower by 3/4 of 1% and trading at $87.61/barrel. Gold is off 2/10 of 1% and silver is off 3/4 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off 2/3 of 1% as Chinese price satisfaction index indicated consumers are more concerned about rising prices than at any time in the past decade. European markets are lower this morning after Moody’s Investors Service said it may cut Spain’s credit rating, while US futures show Wall Street may open in a bearish mood as well. Nickel inventories rose yesterday.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals retreat as correction ensues, copper tightness less intense - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper hit another record high on Tuesday, but then proceeded to weaken over the course of the day, finally closing lower late in the US session. The rest of the metals finished mostly higher, with lead, nickel, and tin ending at one to two month peaks, although zinc prices faded. Zinc was hit by a mammoth stock increase this week, which finally succeeded in collapsing the cash-to-three’s spread to a double-digit contango from a flattish reading seen on Monday. At just under 700,000 tons, zinc stockpiles are now at their highest level since December 2004. In copper, focus remains on LME cash contracts and who exactly is holding up to 90% of copper cash warrants. JP Morgan denied it was the “person of interest”, leaving investors to move on to other names –or entities. The LME has the power to force such holders to make metal available to the market by imposing its “lending guidelines”, so that metal is lent out at a prescribed premium, usually far less than what is indicated on the screen. In other developments yesterday, we saw other commodity markets weaken in the wake of the long-awaited Fed policy statement, which seemed somewhat downbeat, particularly considering the relatively decent economic numbers that have come our way over the last few weeks. The Fed labeled the current pace of economic recovery as "disappointingly slow", and said that it would consequently continue its government-bond buying program (to the tune of some $75 billion per month) in an effort to reinvigorate growth and increase employment within the context of stable prices. Laudable as these goals are, the US bond market was not on the same page, as investors continue to fret about the inflationary impact of the Fed's actions, pushing prices lower in the process. The 30-year bond, for example, fell 2 full points after the Fed's statement, while the 10-year dipped a whole point, pushing its yield to 3.47%, its highest since May. Not surprisingly, the dollar rallied as yields strengthened, contributing to the late-day weakness we saw in a number of commodity complexes. Metals are lower right now, as are energy prices. The dollar is not doing all that much, now trading at $1.3340 against the Euro, so the sell-off we are seeing seems to be occurring on its own. The weakness in copper is leading the overall group lower, as the dominant position controlling more than 90% of stock warrants has fallen back to between 80 to 90%, while the cash-to-three’s backwardation has also eased to around $57 from $70 seen earlier this week. Our view on the markets has not changed that much; we still maintain that we are in store for a rather sharp correction over the next several weeks, as investors have not yet fully discounted the implications of rising interest rates. Granted, the increases we have seen (or will see) are off a low base, and are not that threatening in nominal terms, but central banks seldom stop after a first round of tightening, and we think this thinking will eventually resonate with the markets. The US is somewhat of an outlier in this regard, in that the Fed is trying to lower rates, but the bond market seems to be playing the role of a "spoiler", nudging rates up on its own, particularly on the long end. China is in a very different place altogether, and will likely have to raise rates sooner rather than later, as the current policy of raising reserve requirements and instituting selective price controls will likely fall short in terms of reach and effectiveness. Europe has other issues to worry about besides higher rates, namely, being one step away from the next crisis, and preventing another run on its currency. But perhaps more important than the issue of rates, and somewhat lost in the hype, is the fact that ever-higher commodity prices — now being fueled by a plethora of easy-to-trade ETF's — could eventually lead to a round of demand destruction (or metal substitution) that will be hard to offset through traditional investment vehicles. ..... Finally, our calculations on the ETF conversions presented yesterday were incorrect; ETF publishes a "metal entitlement" number every day on this site. Taking the metal ETF price (NAV) and dividing by this number should give one the accurate $/MT conversion, so as an example, the dividing the copper NAV of 46.0376373 (for the 13th of December as shown on the ETF web site) by .0049981 should give a copper price of $9211. We also attach an explanation as to how the metal entitlements are derived at the end of our report.  ..... Nickel is at $24,320, down $180. Charts are looking better, as prices have closed above $24,500 for two consecutive days, but the market now needs to mount more follow through. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) China produced 730.29 million tons of steel products in the first eleven months of 2010, up 15.7 percent year-on-year, according to figures released by Shanghai-based Mysteel Information on Dec. 15.
  • (MW) Fitch believes the nickel market will be "fairly balance over the next 18-24 months with supply disruptions resulting in stock draws." "While current prices are above the marginal cost of nickel production (estimated at $6.50/lb.), producers may need long-term prices in excess of $7.50/lb. to bring on new laterite production," the analysts suggested.
  • (SBB) According to Fitch Ratings' 2011 outlook, stainless production is likely to grow at an annualized rate of 2.5-3.0% over the next 18 months
  • (MEPS) The MEPS EU composite steel price ended this year 31 percent above the figure at the end of 2009. MEPS forecasts a further double digit rise in the average price for 2011 compared to 2010.

  UBS raises forecast metal prices for 2011, holds long-term outlook steady - Investment firm UBS raised its outlook for metal prices in 2011 on Tuesday as it predicted Chinese inflation worries will ease and demand will pick up in the spring. - more

  Commodity of the month: Ferrochrome - Ferrochrome is an alloy of chrome and iron containing 50-70 per cent chrome. - more

  Santa Rita looking brighter for Mirabela - Santa Rita looking brighter for Mirabela - Investors have added nearly $300 million to the value of Mirabela Nickel since the start of the month on hopes its flagship Brazilian mine is finally starting to deliver on its promise. - more

  PNG Government Touts Ocean Dumping - The Deep Sea Tailings Program (DSTP) is the best recommended method for mines in the country, the Department of Environment and Conservation has said. - more

  ETI KROM Foresees Chrome Ore Prices To Soar In Q1-2011 - Chrome ore market in China is silent nowadays due to high stock in China and decreasing stainless steel and FeCr productions because of electricity restrictions by Chinese Government. This silence is the sign of an active market for the coming months because many factories will restart their production soon, according to ETI KROM's President & CEO Robert Yuksel Yildirim. China imported around 7 million mt of chrome ore until end of October in 2010 and it is expected that the amount will reach to 8.5 million mt at the end of 2010. Under such circumstances, we may expect up to 10 million mt of chrome ore import by China in 2011. Demand of China for high quality lumpy chrome ore will continue in 2011 as well. Lumpy chrome ore producers in Turkey, Oman, Pakistan, Iran and Albania have started to reduce their production since end of November due to winter conditions. All of these countries are now living under winter conditions and production will be decreased further. Therefore, during first quarter of 2011, there will be limited chrome ore, especially high quality lumpy chrome ore supply available in the market. Due to the increases in the production and transportation costs, ETI KROM has decided to revise its ore prices for Q1-2011 accordingly. In order to keep the sustainable deliveries and quality of ore to its customers during hard winter conditions, ETI KROM has increased its monthly chrome ore prices for Q1-2011. Thus, ETI KROM's new chrome prices for 42% grade lumpy ore are as follows on CFR China basis and based on quantity and destinations: January 2011 : 400-420 USD/dmt February 2011 : 425-440 USD/dmt March 2011 : 450-475 USD/dmt On the other hand, ETI KROM foresees a strong HC FeCr spot market price in 2011, especially starting from middle of Q1-2011 due to restocking and economic recovery. We expect ChCr benchmark price for Q1 to be rollover in order to avoid a big price volatility and keep healthy and stable market.

  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, December 14

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 7 to 2,069. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Rate Pause May Reflect Policy Maker Split, Deutsche Bank's Ma Says // Shipping Loan Market Share Tumbles 94% as Yuan Beats BRICs: China Credit // Coal Imports May Rise 78% to China, India, Drive Up Prices: Energy Markets // China's Stocks Rise as Software Companies Rally; PetroChina, Banks Decline // Kan Orders 5 Percentage-Point Cut in Japan's Corporate Tax to Spur Growth // Asian Stocks Rise to Two-Year High as Copper, Oil Boost Material Producers // Trichet Calls for `Maximum' Flexibility of Region's Rescue Fund // Irish, Portuguese Bonds Outpace Peers as ECB Speeds Purchases: Euro Credit // U.K. Inflation Rate Unexpectedly Increases to 3.3% // European Stocks Rise for Seventh Day on U.S. Retail Sales; Lufthansa Gains // Bernanke Options May Be Limited Amid Republican Scrutiny // U.S. Foreclosure Prevention Falling Short, Watchdog Panel Finds // Seized U.S. Home Sellers Luring Currency-Rich Australians // Inventories at U.S. Companies Increase 0.7%, Less Than Forecast // Treasuries Drop, Stocks Gain on Retail Sales Report Before Fed's Decision
  • The Euro is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% higher against the Euro in choppy trading. NYMEX crude is up over 1/10 of 1% and trading at $88.72/barrel. Gold is up 7/10 of 1%, with silver about the same. Base metals ended the session mixed and mostly where they started, after thr Euro gave up earlier gains. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, but by mid morning began a slow descent. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $11.11/lb , down a penny from yesterday. Nickel is nearing the barrie that has stopped it the last two months. In early October, nickel got up to $11.25/lb before retreating, and in November made it up to $11.16/lb before falling back. Before that, you have to go back to the first day of May to find a close above $11/lb. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell again Monday and now sit just under the 131,000 tonne level. Sucden has yet to update its day old chart since the 8th. The Baltic Dry Index dropped another 7 points to 2,069. US markets are up on strong retail sales numbers.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • NFIB: Modest Improvement and Correlation du jour - more
  • Why America’s Two Economies Continue to Drift Apart, and What Washington Isn’t Doing About It - more
  • Canadian Central Banker Warns of ‘Death Grip’ on U.S. Dollar - more
  • Research: ‘Skin in the Game’ Is Good for Mortgage Market - more
  • Video: Stockman Says Tax-Cut Deal Is Bad Policy - more
  • WikiRebels – The Documentary - more
  • The Declining Demand for Men - more
  • Roubini: Fiscal Follies - more
  • Evaluating QE2 - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.11/lb higher, and off earlier highs, with other base metals trading mixed. The Euro is trading over 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down slightly and trading at $88.57/barrel. Gold is over 3/4 of 1% higher and silver is up nearly as high. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 1/4 of 1%. European markets are off slightly this morning and US futures show Wall Street has yet to determine a direction. Nickel inventories fell again yesterday, with increased warehouse turnover.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals continue on upward trajectory, copper sets fresh record peak - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals pushed sharply higher on Monday, boosted by strong Chinese macro numbers and relief that the authorities there did not raise interest rates over the weekend despite higher-than-expected inflation readings. Precious metals were also stronger, as were grains and energy, while US stocks ended up with more modest gains. The commodity surge was also helped by the weaker dollar, which ended the day at around $1.34 against the Euro, falling more than 2 full Euros from its earlier intraday high. At the end of the second day of trading yesterday, shares in physical copper ETP ended at $46.4, with nickel closing at $122.14 while tin finished at $129.15 per share. (Multiplying by 2204.62 should give the equivalent $/ton price. All three, when converted, were higher than the underlying futures price). Reuters made a note that some 600,000 lots of copper traded yesterday; assuming that there was a buy and sell associated with each lot, Reuters calculates that this works out to about 15,000 tons of copper metal that was theoretically traded. Right now, we are mostly higher in the metals space, as markets have recouped earlier losses seen in Asian trading. Copper hit another record high of $9267earlier, but has since faded somewhat. The cash to three's spreads remain tight in most metals, and at the end of our report today, we plot the closing spreads for all six metals (as of yesterday) over the last few months. Our charts show that most have narrowed over this period, with nickel and tin being the exceptions.  .... There is no doubt after observing the action of the past week that commodity markets are all on the boil, with the path of least resistance being higher. However, the bullish euphoria is getting somewhat overextended in our view, and prices could be vulnerable to a rather sharp correction. We suspect the country that has given the markets the most reasons to go up -- China -- also has the capacity to knock them down. In this regard, although nothing happened this past weekend with respect to interest rates, we would not be surprised to see a rate increase put through by year-end or by early next year given the worrying inflation picture. In addition, the authorities have clearly not been able to rein in growth with the half-measures they have instituted thus far, and may have little choice but to move if they want to avoid more drastic measures later on. Speaking of inflation, a key Chinese policy maker said today that the country’s inflation target for next year would be raised to 4%, up from this year's 3%. However, this would still not “paper over” the need for further tightening, as the current inflation rate (5.11%) is running well above target. .... Nickel is at $24,800, up $270. Charts are looking better, as prices have closed above $24,500 yesterday, and another close above this mark today (likely) should lead to further gains. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) China’s Taiyuan Iron & Steel Company (Tisco) has announced to remain the prices of its stainless steel products unchanged for week 51st.
  • (SMM) Jinchuan Group raised ex-works nickel prices by RMB 3000/mt to RMB 181,000/mt on December 14th., its second price increase this month.
  • (SHY) According to statistics from National Bureau of Statistics, China has produced 577.25 million tonnes of crude steel, 543.57 million tonnes of pig iron and 730.29 million tonnes of steel products in the first eleven months, up 10.1 percent, 8 percent and 15.7 percent year on year.
  • (JMB) China Raw Steel Output to Hit First 600 Million tonnes in 2010
  • (FDM) According to Business China, China Securities Journal reported that Baosteel Group Corporation, an iron and steel company, has entered into an agreement with Fujian Wuhang Stainless Steel Products Co., Ltd. to acquire a 70% stake in Fujian Desheng Nickel Products Co. Ltd., a manufacturer of stainless steel and nickel alloy products. All the three companies are based in China.
  • CR Index: The December shopping picture may not be bright - more

  Analysis -China's nickel pig iron splurge to cap refined metal price - China's growing hunger for nickel pig iron saw its stainless steel makers use 78 percent more of the high-iron content raw material in 2010 than the year earlier, in a trend set to dampen nickel prices by swelling a global supply glut. - more

  Domestic Price Of Ni-Based Stainless Scrap In Japan Hesitates To Fall Further = Stainless Steel Mills Purchase This Scrap On Level Of Yen 170,000 / Ton - The domestic price of nickel-based stainless steel scrap (new clippings) purchased by stainless steel companies of Japan had been stormed (fallen steeply) in November but a sharp fall of price for this scrap has turned to slow down on a basic tone from the beginning of December and the current prices of nickel-based stainless steel scrap purchased by stainless steel mills have been converged in the range of Yen 170,000 - 175,000 per metric ton delivered to mills. In comparison with the prices prevailed in a late part of November, these prices in December have stopped to weaken further, after having fallen by Yen 5,000 - 10,000 per ton. - more

  Outokumpu warns of Q4 loss as customers hold back - Finland's stainless steel maker Outokumpu warned it would post an operating loss in the fourth quarter, showing the impact of overcapacity in the sector in Europe and sluggish customer demand. - more

  POSCO begins work on new stainless steel plant in Vietnam - POSCO, South Korea's leading steelmaker, said Monday that it started work to expand its stainless steel production capacity in Vietnam to meet growing demand in Southeast Asian markets. - more

  Iron ore imports decline - Imported iron ore will account for 60 percent of China's ore consumption this year, down 2.4 percent from 2009, the first drop in recent years, thanks to rising domestic ore production, an industry official said. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending December 11, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,683,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 69.6 percent. Production was 1,492,000 tons in the week ending December 11, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 62.3 percent. The current week production represents a 12.8 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending December 11, 2010 is down 0.8 percent from the previous week ending December 4, 2010 when production was 1,697,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 70.2 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (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, December 13

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 19 to 2,076. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Said to Plan for at Least $1.1 Trillion of New Lending // China Risks `Rush' to Tighten in 2011 After Inflation Accelerates Past 5% // Default Swaps Jump Most Among BRICs as Inflation Breaches 5%: China Credit // China Rate Caution `Positive' for Stocks, Former Golden Bull He Zhen Says // China Pledges to Change Growth Model in 2011, Tackle Prices, Grow Quickly // China's Stocks Jump Most in Two Months on Economic Reports, Rate Caution // `Shadow' Lenders' Emergency Fed Loans Boosted Aid to Barclays, Citigroup // European Stocks Climb for Sixth Day; Kazakhmys Leads Mining Shares Higher // No New Normal for 2011 in Forecasts for 11% S&P 500 Gain // Wall Street Sees Record Revenue in Recovery From Bailout // Obama Health Law Is Ruled Unconstitutional by Judge Over Insurance Mandate // Stocks, Commodities Gain as China Refrains From Rate Increase
  • The Euro is now trading nearly 1/2 % higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up nearly 1/2 of 1% and trading at $88.19/barrel. Gold is up 6/10 of 1% and silver is nearly 2.5% higher.  Base metals all ended higher. Indicator chart show nickel gained early, stalled, then began to rise in the afternoon. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.12/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored worldwide in LME approved warehouses slipped Friday and now total just over the 131,000 tonne level. The Baltic Dry Index fell 19 points today and now stands at 2,076. China reports it produced 20,415 tons of nickel in November, up from 17,324 the month prior. Thru November, China had produced 205,008 ton of nickel, compared to 164,796 for all of 2009. Worldwide markets traded higher today, thanks largely in part to China's decision not to raise rates over the weekend. After Friday's unusually timed announcement that their country's inflation rate had risen over 5%, markets feared China had more than enough reason to raise rates. However, it did not and the markets are expressing their approval.

  Reports

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

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Goldman - "However, we believe that the outlook for dramatically rising consumption demand from emerging markets will keep long-dated nickel prices well supported.". ... Forecasts 3 month price - $19,500 6 month - $19,500 12 month - $19,500
  • (SMM)  Market rumors report the 2010 chromium industry meeting will be held in Shanghai. China will attempt to shut down 50% of inefficient stainless steel capacity, or approximately 2.5-3 million mt. The government crackdown on pollution and energy consumption will be more strictly implemented again in 2011, which is the start of another five year plan. However, objections from local governments may cause difficulties in achieving Central Government goals.
  • The Illustrated History of the U.S. Credit Collapse - more
  • Economists: Europe Needs to Take Further Action - more
  • Number of the Week: 1.6 Million Put Off Retirement - more
  • Bloomberg's "Chart Of The Day" Warns Of Coming Surge In Wheat, Corn Prices - more
  • Why the Economy Stubbornly Insists on Growing More Slowly When Taxes are Lower - more
  • As China Rolls Ahead, Fear Follows - more
  • What happens when the jobless give up? - more
  • Bank Closures to Date - more
  • Block Those Metaphors - more

  What will metal ETFs mean for investors, consumers? - The launch of physically backed copper, tin and nickel exchange traded products on Friday has triggered a hot debate about the advantages and disadvantages for investors, consumers and producers. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.10/lb , with other London traded base metals all higher at the moment. The Euro is currently trading over 3/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up nearly 1-1/2% and trading at $89.08/barrel. Gold is up 4/10 of 1% and silver is over 2.6% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up over 3% after China did not raise interest rates after high inflation numbers were published late Friday. European markets are also trading higher, with US futures showing Wall Street is also happy that China did not raise rates. Nickel inventories fell Friday.     
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Copper hits fresh all-time peak, next target $10,000 - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals put in a mixed showing on Friday, with copper and nickel both higher, but the rest of the complex lost ground. In fact, it was a very uneven performance in other markets as well, with crude oil prices finishing lower, while US equities finished with a modest gain. The launch of physically-backed ETP's on Friday was noteworthy in that for most of the session, the three metals for which the ETP's were initially created, namely, copper, nickel, and tin, were the ones that were higher for most of the day. It remains to be seen how much of a following these products will garner in the weeks ahead given the high entry costs that are associated with them, not to mention competing products that are not quite the same, but offer equivalent exposure to metal price movements. Macro reports out of the US on Friday were constructive, but did not leave lasting impressions on any of the markets. In this respect, consumer confidence readings rose to its highest level in some six months, while a second report revealed that the US trade deficit contracted more than forecast. We suspect that markets shrugged these items off, as investors were more preoccupied with the strong Chinese macro data that came out on Friday, and whether the authorities would follow through with a rate hike. Since then, more releases have come out over the weekend, including ones showing Chinese industrial output accelerating to 13.3% last month from a year earlier, (and exceeding estimates), while urban fixed-asset investment (a good indicator of government spending) climbed almost 25% in the first 11 months of 2010. Retail sales gained 18.7% in November from a year earlier. Inflation readings were also released, and these came in much worse than expected; there was a 6.1% rise in November producer prices, while consumer prices clocked in at 5.1%, the highest since July of 2008. However, the most worrisome number for the authorities must be the almost 12% rise in food prices on a year-over-year basis. Despite these disturbing inflation readings, metal markets are higher as of this writing, as we suspect that the widely-expected interest rate rise that was supposed to be announced over the weekend has not materialized. In addition, investors must still be impressed by the robust nature of the recent Chinese data, and its implication for stronger metal offtake. However, we still believe some trouble could lie ahead, as a rate rise will have to come though sooner rather than later, triggering a modest correction in a number of already overheated commodity markets. Moreover, by declining to raise rates now, the authorities may fall further "behind the curve", likely increasing the risk of a hard landing down the road. Finally, some metals – copper in particular – have seen such a strong advance, that we have to wonder whether we are close to seeing some demand destruction set in over the physical markets.  ... Nickel is at $24,200, up $220, with charts looking steady. The uptrend line seems intact, but we could see more of a pop if the complex manages to close above $24,500, the top end of the resistance band.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Last week, the US Department of Commerce (DOC) announced the final results of anti-dumping duty (AD) reviews on stainless steel sheet and strip imports from Taiwan suppliers. US DOC has decreased the AD rates which were determined in the preliminary ruling on August 13, 2010.
  • (Interfax) Vice Chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) Luo Bingsheng said on Dec. 12 that 60 percent of China's total iron ore demand this year was satisfied by imports, a decrease of 10 percent from the previous year, state media reported.
  • (Interfax) China's daily crude steel output stood at an average of 1.67 million tons in November, an increase of 3.1 percent month-on-month, according to a Dec. 11 National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report.
  • (Interfax) Baoshan Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. (Baosteel) announced Dec. 13 it will raise ex-works prices for major steel products by between RMB 100 ($15.01) and RMB 300 ($45.02) per ton in January after leaving prices unchanged for two consecutive months.
  • (MB) Chinese nickel output surges to 11-month high
  • (CM) Stainless steel consumption in Russia, the first three quarters rose 79.7%

  Concern over rising prices of steel-making raw materials - Much on the lines of the concern shared by Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor Subir Gokarn on the rising oil prices and its likely impact on inflation management, the ballooning prices of steel-making raw materials triggered by a global liquidity, is causing concern too. - more

  ‘A terrible wait’ along B.C.’s Highway of Tears - Doug Leslie operates a massive shovel that loads trucks in the open pit at the Endako molybdenum mine, 160 kilometres west of Prince George in northern British Columbia. It’s a tough job and it has hardened him. - 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, December 10

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 16 to 2,095. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Increases Banks' Reserve Ratios to Cool Prices // China Trade Surplus Tops Estimates, Adding to Tension // Taiwan Set for `Outstanding' Share Gains Amid Momentum: Technical Analysis // China Orders Power-Station Coal Contract Price Freeze to Slow Inflation  // China Stocks Rise as Export Gain Overshadows Concern Rates to Slow Economy // India's Industrial Production Expands 10.8%, Fastest Pace in Three Months // Asian Buyers to Extend Global Recovery in Mergers Next Year, Survey Shows // Euro-Area Bond Stokes Tempers as Flashpoint for Debt Markets: Euro Credit // Debt No Drag for Europe Stocks as Strategists See 2011 Gain // Germans Get Jobs for Life as Boom Shrinks Worker Pool // Euro Declines as Merkel, Sarkozy Reject Increase in Euro Zone Rescue Fund // Americans in Poll Want Deficit Cut With Entitlements Secured // Pimco's El-Erian Says U.S. Must Do More Beyond Stimulus, Raises Forecast // Consumer Spirits Lift as Economic Recovery Accelerates // Wall Street Bonuses Show `We Still Have a Problem,' Obama Aide Warren Says
  • The Euro is trading lower against the US Dollar, but off session lows and by less than 1/10 of 1%.  NYMEX crude is down 1% and trading at $87.48/barrel. Gold is over more than 1/10 of 1% and silver is down nearly 3/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the day mostly lower, but not nickel. Indicator chart show nickel dipped very early, then spent the day in a steady climb. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $10.88/lb , and up $.22/lv on the week. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell slightly yesterday and remain just under the 131,200 tonne mark. Sucden has not updated its trading chart since Wednesday. The Baltic Dry Index lost 16 points overnight and now stands lower than it was when we got our little boost last week. MarketWatch reported this morning "A gauge of U.S. consumer sentiment rose in early December, reaching the highest level since June, but remains below pre-recession levels, according to the Reuters/University of Michigan index released Friday." Wall Street struggled earlier, but this news has pushed the Dow into solid green.
  • Have a safe and relaxing weekend! 

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel exports fell 38.3% in October from the previous month, and was down 54.0% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Friday.
  • (Dow Jones) -U.S. nickel imports rose 19.3% in October from last month, and was up 27.2% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Friday.
  • Ron Paul to Take Over Fed-Oversight Panel - more
  • Barclays Sees ‘Potent Brew’ for Growth - more
  • CFOs More Optimistic on Hiring This Year - more
  • The effect of unemployment insurance on unemployment - more
  • Worrying about oil prices - more
  • A Decline in Self-Employment - more
  • Obama’s Hostage Deal - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb , with other base metals trading mixed this morning. The Euro is presently trading a little over 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is trading over 1/3 of 1% higher and at $88.71/barrel. Gold and silver are both down by a little over 1/10 of 1% and 1/2 of 1% respectively. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China up 1-1/4%. European markets are trading higher this morning and US futures show Wall Street may will try another bullish start again. Nickel inventories dropped slightly yesterday.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metal prices climb on robust Chinese economic data - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals finished lower yesterday, but not before copper put in another record high, getting to $9091 at one point in Asian trading before fading, and dragging the rest of the group lower. Other markets finished quietly mixed; US stocks ended flat, but there was good strength in financials for a second day in a row, long a lagging sector. Oil prices ended higher, as did gold and silver, but the dollar hardly did much against the Euro. This morning, we are higher across a number of markets. China-related macro data is sparking some buying and showing the markets that the Chinese economic juggernaut still seems to be powering forward. In this regard, both Chinese imports and exports jumped sharply in November, bank lending topped forecasts, and property investment – and prices – all pushed up despite the government's best efforts to rein in the real estate sector. On the trade side, November imports rose 37.7% from a year earlier, easily topping forecasts calling for a 24.2% increase, while exports rose 34.9%, also well above expectations for a 22% rise. China's wide measure of money supply rose 19.5% in November from a year earlier, while banks extended 564 billion yuan in new loans; both numbers were slightly ahead of estimates as well. Property prices edged up 0.3% in November from a month earlier, while real estate investment rose 36.7% from a year earlier. On the commodity side, imports of copper, crude oil, iron ore, and soybeans all surged in November, although much of this increase was magnified given that it was compared to an extremely depressed October base. November copper imports, for example, rose 28.5% from October levels to 351,597 tons, while crude oil imports rose to their fourth-highest figure on record, up almost 32% from October’s 19-month low. Iron ore imports were up 25.5% from October, while soy imports were up a whopping 46.9% during the month. The strong numbers have several implications for the commodity markets. First, they suggest that October’s weakness was a temporarily slowdown related mainly to de-stocking, and that local stockpiles are now being replenished by the private sector, or in part, by the government, as it seeks to use this hoard to fight off potential supply shortages, particularly in foodstuffs. The numbers also obviously suggest that economic growth in China is booming along, and that much stronger measures may be needed to slow the economy down. In fact, just this morning, the Chinese central bank raised reserve requirements for the third time in five weeks, upping them by 50 basis points as of Dec. 20Th. Surprisingly, this did not have much of an impact on any of the markets, as metals bounced back after a short-lived dip. There is now talk of an interest-rate increase coming this weekend, perhaps timed to coincide with a leadership conference that gets underway on Friday (and which lasts for three days). We will see how the markets treat the rate news if it indeed transpires; our guess is that this move will also get shrugged off. However, commodity markets will be increasingly in more dangerous territory going forward, as each tightening move, particularly in Asia, will eventually trigger the slowdown central bankers are secretly hoping for. ...  Nickel is at $23,800, up $195; charts look study, and we seem to be on track to push slightly higher.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) According to data of Special Steel and Alloys Consumers and Suppliers Association (USSA), Russia’s stainless steel consumption in the first nine months of 2010 was 228.9 thousand tons, soared by 79.7% year on year.
  • (DJ) Minara Resources Expects 2011 Murrin Murrin Output At 33,000-37,000 Tons Nickel
  • (SO) Canada-based miner Lundin Mining Corporation announced that heavy rains over the last few days in the Extremadura region of Spain, where the company's Aguablanca mine is located, have caused operations to be curtailed.
  • (AP) A Parliamentary panel has asked the Indian government to ban the "injudicious export" of natural resources like iron ore and coal and declare all the mineral resources as national wealth.
  • Inflation Surprise May Spur Commodities to Outperform, Credit Suisse Says - more
  • China's trade surplus hits $22.89b in Nov - more

  Price Of Charge Chrome For Shipments In Q1 / 11 Is Delicate To Be Settled By Roll-Over = European Mills Are Supposed To Request A Reduction, Price For China Is Focused - The benchmark price of charge chrome (high carbon ferro-chrome) to be settled for shipments in the first quarter (January - March) of 2011 is shaking. - more

  Baosteel acquires 70 pct stake of Desheng Nickel - China's leading steel mill Baosteel Group has acquired a 70 percent stake in a nickel alloy producer with an annual capacity of 920,000 tonnes to secure more raw materials for its stainless steel production, the China Securities Journal reported on Friday, citing an unnamed source. - more

  European Nickel switches focus to Acoje project - European Nickel has placed the Çaldag( project in Turkey on a care and maintenance basis until receipt of the forestry permit. - more

  Base metals have reached peak price levels - executive - Base metals prices are not expected to significantly increase over the next 12 months as they have already reached peak levels, the managing director of Geneva-based advisory group GAIA Capital Advisors, John Coast Sullenger, told BNamericas. - 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, December 9

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 33 to 2,111.  ? (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China November Passenger Car Sales Rise 29% to Record // China Official Calls on Overseas-Educated Nationals to Return, Xinhua Says // China Calls U.S. Congress `Arrogant' for Passing Nobel Winner Resolution // China's Stocks Decline to Two-Month Low on Policy Tightening Speculation // Japan's Economy Expands at 4.5% Annual Pace, Faster Than Initial Estimate // Thailand's Debt Rating Outlook Raised to Stable by S&P on Fiscal Strength // India's Manufacturing Jump to Boost Prospects for January Rate Rise: India Credit // China Hit With Tariffs From U.S. After Tianjin Pipe Gets Subsidized Loans // German Bonds Climb as 3% Yield on 10-Year Bunds Stokes Investors' Appetite // Brown Urges European Leaders to Coordinate Action, `Surprise the Markets' // European Shares Advance to Two-Year High; Societe Generale, Barclays Climb // Top Spending Forecaster Greenlaw Sees U.S. Consumer Pickup // Dean Foods Down 59%, S&P's Worst, as Milk Takeovers Sour // U.S. Home Values May Drop by $1.7 Trillion This Year // Mortgage Rates for U.S. Loans Jump to Five-Month High // Life Expectancy in the U.S. Drops for First Time Since 1993 // U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Fell 17,000 to 421,000 Last Week // Stocks Fluctuate as DuPont Slump Offsets Jobless Claims
  • The Euro continues to trade lower against the US Dollar, and is presently trading over 3/10 of 1% lower. NYMEX crude is up over 1/10 of 1% and trading at $88.41/barrel. Gold is over 2/3 of 1% higher,. while silver is up nearly 1.7%. Except for tin, base metals ended in the loss column. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, then slid the rest of the session, dropping nearly $1000/tonne during the day. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.70/lb . This puts nickel back to Monday's close. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses slipped yesterday and now stand just under the 131,200 tonne level. Sucden did not update its daily chart today. We believe the Baltic Dry Index lost 33 points today, but did not get this information from what we consider a reliable source. Our normal source has not updated their information today. Slow news day although US House Democrats have thrown the President a curve ball and rejected his tax cut agreement made with Republicans.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • The Daily Show Takes on Bernanke and Printing Money - more
  • About 6 Million Didn’t Work at All Last Year - more
  • Demand for U.S. Cash Surges - more
  • Tax Appeals Swamp U.S. Cities, Towns as Property Prices Plunge - more
  • The Definitive Guide To China - more
  • Passing the Pension Time Bomb? - more
  • Consumer Deleveraging Continues - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.05/lb lower, and off earlier highs, with most base metals trading lower. The Euro is trading 1/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar and also off earlier session highs. NYMEX crude oil is up 1/10 of 1% and trading at $88.38/barrel. Gold is up nearly 2/10 of 1% and silver is up over 3/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, while China fell over 1-1/2%. European markets are trading higher at the moment, and US futures show the Wall Street bulls may come out of hiding. Nickel inventories fell yesterday.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Chinese cooling tactics fail to take shine off base metals - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper pushed to another record high yesterday, as tight inventory conditions and talk of looming ETF's (with the first ones apparently being rolled out tomorrow) helped keep prices on the boil. Other metals rose in sympathy, with aluminum having a particularly good day on strike news out of South Africa. Metals shrugged off a stronger dollar and the upward creep in global interest rates yesterday, which we think will ultimately help douse the price spiral we seem to be in. In this regard, besides talk of a Chinese rate hike that could come in as early as this weekend, JPMorgan Chase is predicting that India's central bank may raise interest rates as early as next month, while an official at Russia’s central bank also said that the bank may move on rates by the first quarter of next year. German yields have also hit their highest levels since May. Here in the US, the bond market is giving the recent tax compromise a resounding thumbs down, with yields on the 10-year now at 3.3% (up from the 2.35% low hit in September). We are mostly lower right now, but not by much, and indeed, copper hit another record high earlier in the day. In other markets, oil prices are higher, but off their best levels, while the dollar is steady, and now trading at just over $1.32 against the Euro. Gold is trading up, and US stocks are called to open higher as well after a relatively quiet session yesterday apart from good gains seen in the financials. Chinese stocks were weak overnight, (down 1.3%) with property stocks once again getting hit on concern about a possible rate move. The Shanghai index has now lost 11% since reaching a high on Nov. 8, and is down 14% year-to-date. .... Nickel is at $23,875, down $125, and basically where we were at this time yesterday. However, we have managed to get two closes above $24,000, and so have raised our next upside target accordingly.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Reportedly, China’s government will aim to eliminate the backward stainless steel enterprises in 2011; consequently, the stainless steel output may decrease by 2.5 million tons to 3 million tons, reported in International Chromium Development Association (ICDA) hold in Shanghai.
  • (Reuters) China's daily crude steel output recovered further in the last 10 days of November, reaching 1.643 million tonnes, up 2.74 percent compared with the previous 10 days, data from the China Iron and Steel Association showed on Thursday.
  • (AMM) Nickel premiums for 2011 contracts are expected to fall to between 30 and 45 cents per pound in the United States as Vale AS’ aggressive pricing strategy continues to pressure the market, according to an informal survey by AMM.
  • (MF) According to data of Special Steel and Alloys Consumers and Suppliers Association (USSA), Russia’s stainless steel output in the first months of 2010 has reached 91,380 tons, up by 49.7% year on year.
  • (WSS) The European Union stopped charging anti dumping duties on stainless steel fasteners and parts imported from Vietnam on 20 November 2010.
  • (ET) October’s Freight Transportation Services Index increased 0.2 percent from its September level, rising for the second consecutive month, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics said Dec. 8.
  • (MW) Treasury prices fell on Wednesday, pushing yields on 10-year notes to the highest level since June, as investors signal worry that the U.S. is not dealing with its budget deficit. .... At the intraday high in 10-year yields, they were up 30 basis points from Monday, the fastest 2-day rise since September 2008 -- just after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy.
  • 10 reasons to shun stocks till banks crash - more

  Baosteel to Take Over, Restructure Desheng Nickel - Baosteel Group Corp., China’s second- largest steelmaker, agreed to take over and restructure Desheng Nickel, a Fujian province-based nickel smelter and stainless steel producer. - more

  Price Of Low Carbon FeCr For Shipments To Japan In Q1 / 2011 Is Risen = Contracted With Major Consumers By A Rise Of 16 - 17 US-Cents Per Lb. / Cr - The prices of ferro-chrome to be imported into Japan for shipments in the first quarter (January - March) of 2011 are strongly anticipated as (1) price of low carbon ferro-chrome is risen and (2) that of high carbon ferro-chrome remains unchanged. - more

  India’s Ferrochrome Exports to Asia May Fall 33%, Group Says - India’s ferrochrome exports to countries including China and Japan may drop by a third in the next four years as domestic consumption gains, said Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Ltd., the nation’s largest producer. - more

  This comprehensive report was commissioned by the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) and the European Confederation of Iron and Steel Producers (EUROFER) with the objectives of "a high scientific quality as well as an independent and transparent data review and assessment". The overall conclusion is that, in normal use, stainless steel does not pose any significant health risk. - report here

  Zimbabwe govt to own 51 pct in all mines-paper - Zimbabwe's cabinet has agreed that the government will takeover all alluvial diamond mining in the country and own a 51 percent share in the mines extracting all other minerals, state media reported on Thursday. - 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, December 8

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 29 to 2,144. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China `See-Saw' Stocks Signal False Rally Will Falter: Technical Analysis // China Purchases $3.1 Billion of Japanese Bonds as Yen Beats Dollar, Euro // Biggest Bond Slump Since '04 Not Over, Top Fund Manager Says: China Credit // China's Stocks Fall on Concern About Rate Increases, Possible Property Tax // New Zealand's Bollard May Keep Rate Unchanged at 3%, Lower Growth Forecast // Hitachi Leads Rare Earth Recycling Drive in Japan as China Crimps Supply // Asian Teens Ace Global Achievement Test Besting U.S. as Shanghai Excels // Asian Stocks Drop on China Tightening Concerns; Exporters Rise // German October Industrial Production Jumps More Than Forecast // Italy's Budget Adds Political Risk to Fiscal Woes: Euro Credit // OPEC May Maintain Production Quotas as Crude Exceeds $90: Energy Markets // Russia Says Joining WTO by July Is `Realistic' After Resolving EU Concern // Irish Lawmakers Back Budget as Lenihan Battles Country`s `Worst Crisis' // Banks in Europe Fail Stress Tests With No Authority // IMF's Strauss-Kahn Says Europe Still in `Troubling' Situation on Deficits // European Stocks Advance for Third Day; Prudential Leads Rally in Insurers // Tax Cuts May Spur U.S. Economy, Cut Need for Fed Purchases // Obama Tax Deal May Lead to More Business Hiring, Moynihan Says // U.S. States Face `Cliff' as Federal Stimulus Ending Opens $38 Billion Hole // Bonds Drop, Dollar Gains on Growth Prospects; Oil Slides, Stocks Fluctuate
  • The Euro continues to trade lower against the US Dollar, down over 1/4 of 1% currently. NYMEX crude is off over 6/10 of 1% and trading at $88.14/barrel. Gold is down 1-1/3% and silver is off 1.1%.  Base metals ended the session mostly higher, with only nickel finishing in the red. Indicator charts show nickel opened much lower, and spent the day on a steady incline. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $10.88/lb , but after market trading drove the price into the green. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose yesterday and now stand just shy of the 131,600 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index fell for a second day, down 29 points to 2,144. In last weeks three days of gains, we added 83 points to the index, and have given back 35 of them in the last two days. so far, today on Wall Street has been much like nickel - an uneventful day.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • The 25-Year 'Foreclosure From Hell' - more
  • Food Stamp Rolls Continue to Rise - more
  • Credit-Card Borrowing Dips, but Student Loans Jump - more
  • City Unemployment: Slow Progress - more
  • Economists React: Pros, Cons of Tax Deal - more
  • Tax Cuts vs Stimulus - more
  • The Correlation between Money Base Growth and Inflation - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.15/lb lower, with most base metals trading lower this morning. The Euro is trading over 4/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is down nearly 8/10 of 1% and trading at $87.99/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1.2% and silver is off 1/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off 9/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning and US futures show Wall Street has yet to decide a direction, although slightly lower at the moment. Nickel inventories rose yesterday.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals mostly lower as correction unfolds, copper spreads ease - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper retreated from a record high of above $9,000 a ton yesterday, staging something of an intraday reversal; this is when the market sets a new high, but is unable to sustain itself at this lofty level and ultimately finishes at its lows in what technically could be considered to be a near-term top. The stronger dollar was also instrumental in reversing the gains we saw yesterday, as currency markets continue to mull over the implications of the recent tax proposals now heading for a vote in the US Congress. In the early going yesterday, optimism that Ireland will pass an austerity budget helped lift the Euro against the dollar, but the gains did not hold up over the course of the day. The opening salvo on the ETF front starts next week with ETF Securities saying yesterday that it will launch the first exchange-traded commodity products on December 10th. "Investors are increasingly looking at hard assets as a way to hedge against growing concerns about sovereign risk, currency debasement and potential inflation," the chairman of ETF Securities said in a statement. To start, the company will offer products backed by physical copper, nickel, and tin and would begin to offer aluminum, lead, and zinc ETCs, along with an ETC backed by a physical industrial metals basket next year. It remains to be seen how this will work, what the embedded costs are, and how much interest the product will attract. Metals are now mostly lower, but off their worst levels of the day, as are energy prices. The dollar is stronger, now at $1.32 against the Euro, while US stocks are expected to open slightly lower. Looking ahead, we still are nervous about developments that could come out of China over the weekend, where there is talk of another interest rate hike that could be put through ahead of the latest inflation readings scheduled for release on Monday. Between now and then, metals should remain steady, although we think it will be difficult for any of them to stay where they are the Chinese do move on rates. Already, Chinese equity markets are beginning to wobble and were off 1% overnight, perhaps a precursor to similar weakness that could be in store for us in metals next week. .....  Nickel is at $23,850, down $245; we are waiting for another second day close above $24,000. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Currently, India’s demand for ferro-molybdenum is steady; however, the deal volume is small and the prices are at INR1, 000/kg (US$22/kg). Dealers indicated that since the inventory of ferro-molybdenum is still at high level, buyers are not willing to stock up.
  • Total output of ten kinds of nonferrous metals will be controlled within 41 million tons- more
  • (PR) The Prefeasibility Study (PFS) on the Rönnbäcken Nickel Project (RNP) has been formally launched by IGE Resources, following board and management approval in November.
  • (IIFL) So far the LME three-month forwards of Nickel have run up by 28% to $ 24195 per tonne from $ 18920 per tonne at the start of the year. The metals rise has been due to Chinese buying and demand regeneration from 2008-2009 lows.
  • (SO) According to the data issued by the Russian Special Steel and Alloys Consumers and Suppliers Association (Spetsstal), in January-September this year Russia's output of stainless steel products rose by 49.7 percent year on year to 91,380 mt.
  • (Reuters) The European Union said on Tuesday it backed Russia's entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO), clearing the way for Russia to join the trade body in 2011.
  • China Economy to expand by 10% in 2011 - more
  • Jim Rogers bets the farm as he shuns Wall Street - more
  • La Niña dominates in the Pacific - more
  • Ceridian-UCLA - The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index™ (PCI) by the UCLA Anderson School of Management, adjusted for season and for monthly workdays, grew 0.4% in November which was not quite enough to offset the decline of 0.6% in the previous month, and not nearly enough to offset the 2.1% decline in the PCI since July. Though on a year-over-year basis the PCI is up 4.5%, the three month moving average has been declining for four months, continuing to suggest problems with the goods components of the economy. - pdf report

  Asian Stainless Prices Yet To Top $3,400 C&F For Ni-Based CR Sheets - Circumstances remain unchanged in Asia under which prices of nickel-based stainless CR sheets have yet to exceed a level of US$3,400/ton C&F when it comes to export deals for shipments to China and elsewhere. Having a major impact are the world's volatile nickel prices. - more

  ArcelorMittal to spin off stainless steel unit - World No. 1 steelmaker ArcelorMittal will spin off its stainless steel division, a move that may spark consolidation in a European industry burdened by over-capacity. - more

  ThyssenKrupp / Germany More Inclines To Produce Chrome-Based Stainless Steel = To Install New Facilities At Krefeld Works As Scheduled To Complete In 2015 - strengthen the facilities to produce chrome-based stainless steel at Krefeld Works, ThyssenKrupp of Germany announced in this week to invest US$320 million (= Euro 244 million) in new facilities as scheduled to complete in 2015. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending December 4, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,697,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 70.2 percent. Production was 1,482,000 tons in the week ending December 4, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 62.3 percent. The current week production represents a 14.5 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending December 4, 2010 is up 2.7 percent from the previous week ending November 27, 2010 when production was 1,652,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 68.3 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

Tuesday, December 7

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 6 to 2,173. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Outstrips Fed in Liquidity Surge Threatening Inflation Spike in 2011 // U.S. Pressed for Deeper Greenhouse Gas Reductions by China, India, Brazil // Teens in U.S. Rank 25th Globally on Math Test, Trail in Science, Reading // BRIC Consumers `Key Investment' of Our Lifetime, Goldman's O'Neill Says // Asian Stocks Rise for Fifth Day on Signs Economic Recovery Is Stabilizing // EU Rules Out Immediate Aid Boost, Banks on ECB to Fight Crisis // Euro May Reverse Advance Against Dollar on Resistance: Technical Analysis // Aspirin Cuts Death Rates From Range of Cancers, Researchers Say // Swiss Re Sees Risk That European Debt Crisis May Derail Economic Rebound // EU Rules Out Immediate Aid Boost, Banks on ECB to Fight Crisis // European Stocks Rise to Highest Level in Two Years; Unilever, Tesco Climb // Hiring Intentions at U.S. Employers Improving, Manpower Says // Obama Agrees to Sustain Bush Tax Cuts in Exchange for Reduced Payroll Levy // Tax-Cut Extension Will Fuel U.S. Growth, Pimco's El-Erian Says: Tom Keene // Stocks Rise on Tax Cuts; Bonds Fall as Copper, Gold Hit Records
  • The Euro is now trading less than 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, shedding earlier gains. NYMEX crude is off 3/4 of 1% and trading at $88.71/barrel. Gold and silver are both off 1%. Base metals fared better, with all closing off earlier highs, but most remaining positive. Indicator charts show nickel opened much higher, peaking early on and slumped much of the remainder of the session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day's trading at $10.93/lb .
  • Stockpiles of nickel stored worldwide in LME approved warehouses rose again yesterday and now sit just over the 131,400 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index returned to the loss column, dropping 6 points to 2,173. After reading Robry's natural gas report yesterday on this site, we do not need to see the BDI heading south again. Couldn't help but wonder if watching Lisa Kelly on the true life tv show 'Ice Road Trucker' navigate thru the India mountains is kind of like where our economy is at present. We are still climbing, but very slowly, in stop and go traffic, and ever so close to the edge of a very dangerous cliff.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Hiring Plans Pick Up Across Globe - more
  • Fed’s Lacker Warns QE2 Carries Risks - more
  • Research Highlights Slowest Price Increases Since 1981 - more
  • My Agnosticism about UI  - more
  • Still no strength in this rebound - more
  • Median Duration of Unemployment - more
  • Global PMI Scorecard: faster rate of expansion - more

  Norilsk plans to restart Black Swan, Cawse nickel projects - Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel and palladium producer, plans to restart production at its Black Swan and Cawse nickel operations in Western Australia in the next few years, a spokesman for the company said Tuesday. - more

  Xstrata: Plans To Double Nickel Mine Output By 2016 Xstrata PLC said Tuesday it plans to double nickel mine output by 2016. Falcondo, in the Dominican Republic, is on track to ramp up to 50% capacity--roughly 14,000 metric tons a year--of nickel in ferronickel by 2011, and the Koniambo, New Caledonia, nickel project is 65% complete and on track for a 2012 start date and capacity of 60,000 tons. - more

  Xstrata: $1.3 Billion Platinum, Ferrochrome Projects Planned - Xstrata PLC is expanding its platinum and ferrochrome output through $1.3 billion worth of projects, the company's chief executive for alloys said Tuesday. - more

  'Chromite mines in Orissa, K'taka critical to US interest' - Two little known chromite mines in Orissa and Karnataka, besides a factory in Gujarat that manufactures critical chemotherapy drugs are among global "key infrastructures" which could pose a danger to America’s national security if they come under terrorist attack, a secret US cable released by WikiLeaks has revealed. - more

  Pirates Hijack Cargo Ship with 25 People aboard off India - Suspected Somali pirates hijacked a Bangladeshi ship carrying nickel ore in the Arabian Sea and appear headed to the lawless East African nation, officials said Monday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.24/lb higher, with all London traded base metals higher this morning. The Euro is trading over 4/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is over $90/barrel, up over 1.1% and trading at $90.37/barrel. Gold is higher by nearly 1/4 of 1% and silver is up nearly 2.4%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 1.1%. European markets are trading higher this morning and US futures show Wall Street will open bullishly. Nickel inventories rose yesterday.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME morning - Metals firm, copper charges to new record above $9,000/t - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - We had an extremely quiet session on Monday across most markets, more reminiscent of days that typically precede major holidays. Metal prices ended up mixed, with copper volumes running at about one third of normal levels, while energy finished with only modest losses, as did the US stock market. Ironically, none of the markets reacted much to the dollar's sharp rally, where it broke a four-day losing streak against the euro. We suspect that part of its strength was attributable to short covering, while the rest could be due nervousness setting in on the public airing of more European differences with respect to future rescue efforts. Whereas things were fairly quiet yesterday, they could not be more different today, as a number of markets are exploding. Copper is at a new high, and oil prices have also pushed past $90 on both crude contracts. US stocks are expected to open higher as well, with Dow futures showing an 80-point opening gain. Gold is in record territory, with silver approaching 30-year highs. The dollar slightly weaker against the Euro, and now trading at $1.3360. Markets are likely teeing off the announcement out last night that President Obama and the Republicans have reached a compromise on tax policy – among other things, there would be an extension of expiring tax cuts for all Americans for two years, a renewal of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed for 13 months, and a one-year reduction in Social Security taxes. It remains to be seen whether these cuts will have the desired impact of stimulating the economy, but they most certainly will grow the deficit and weaken the dollar, and this is perhaps what is behind the sizable advance we are seeing today. Also making the rounds this morning and causing some early price weakness in Asian sessions, was a newspaper report out by the China Securities Journal saying that China is likely to raise interest rates in the coming days in a demonstration of the government's resolve to tame inflation. The paper said that this weekend offered a "sensitive window" for a rate rise, which would be the country's second after a surprise increase in October. The report weighed on Asian stock markets in early trade, though the Shanghai index later pared losses. Chinese consumer price index come out next Monday, and the authorities may act before then. ...  Nickel is at $24,140, up $540. The $24,000 mark figures as prominent resistance (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) China’s Taiyuan Iron & Steel Company (Tisco) has announced to raise he prices of its stainless steel products for week 50th.
  • China may raise interest rates this weekend - more

  Seafarers face unacceptable danger on nickel ships-trade group - Seafarers face unacceptable danger in transporting nickel ore in wet conditions, a maritime industry group warned on Tuesday, citing three such laden ships that capsized and killed 44 people in the past six weeks. - more

  PNG's Ramu nickel mine seen starting production in 2011 - Papua New Guinea's Ramu Nickel Mine, majority owned by China's Ramu Nico Management, will commence production in 2011 working up to an annualised rate of 31,150 tonnes of nickel and 3,300 tonnes of cobalt, a company official said on Tuesday. - more

  Korea Resources to Build Ferro-Nickel Refinery Plant in Korea - Korea Resources Corp., the state-run mineral explorer, agreed with three companies to build a 120 billion won ($106 million) ferronickel plant in Korea to help ensure supplies of the raw material used in stainless steel. - more

  China's Imports Of Molybdenum In CY 2010 Are Anticipated To Decrease To Half Of That In CY 2009 = Imports In This Year Are Inevitable To Be Less Than 40 Million Lbs. - The total quantity of molybdenum to be imported by China in the calender year (January - December) of 2010 is anticipated to decrease to half of that imported in the preceding calender year of 2009. According to the customs-statistics released in China, this country imported 30.25 million lbs. on Mo content base of molybdenum in the first 10 months (January - October) of 2010. - more

  Norilsk Nickel in talks to sell Australia's Waterloo - The world's top nickel and palladium producer, Russia's Norilsk Nickel, is negotiating the sale of its Australian nickel-producing company Waterloo, a Norilsk Nickel representative said on Tuesday. - more

  Xstrata Nickel Fair Value Review of Araguaia nickel project - Xstrata Nickel’s operations and growth options are subject to regular reviews to ensure appropriateness of asset carrying values. - more

  Miners, investors puzzle over Indonesia mining rules - Miners and bankers will scrutinize the impact of new mining policies on their operation and investment plans in Indonesia at an industry meeting this week, assessing whether recent rules offer solution to old issues such as bureaucracy and conflicting policies - more

  WikiLeaks strikes a blow at US global interests - In its latest blow, WikiLeaks has released a secret list of infrastructure from British telecommunications facilities to chromite mines in India, whose loss or attack by terrorists could "critically impact" US security. - more

  Types of Chroming Processes - Chroming, or chrome plating, is the process of coating an object with the metal chromium, which creates a silvery, shiny finish. Many silver-looking metal finishes are on the market, but a finish cannot be called chrome plating unless chromium is used in the process. - 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

Monday, December 6

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 11 to 2,179. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Bonds Jump Most in 21 Months as PBOC Tackles Cash Shortage: China Credit // China's Coal Prices Fall for First Time in 3 Months on Stockpiling Surge // Copper Stockpiles Slumping Makes Metal a Favorite for Goldman // Australia Floods Damage Crops, Force Evacuations; Coal Shipments Disrupted // Australian Central Bank Set to Keep Its Key Rate at 4.75% as Economy Slows // European Officials Split Over Bailout Fund Increase, EU Bond // Euro Declines as European Officials Split Over Fund Increase; Dollar Rises // Euro's Worst to Come as Best Forecasters See Crisis Spreading // Germany Rejects Pleas to Increase European Aid Fund, Introduce Joint Bonds // European Stocks Climb, Led by Miners, Chemical Makers; Hochtief, BASF Gain // Bernanke Says Fed May Take More Action to Curb Joblessness // Bond Market Favors Obama Over Merkel as Euro Threatens Germany // Treasuries, Dollar Rise on Prospect of Fed Buying; Euro Weakens // Obama Says Tax Bill Must Include Jobless Aid, Credits
  • The Euro is trading 9/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is down 1/3 of 1% and trading at $88.88/barrel. Gold is down slightly after hitting a new record high earlier and silver is up 1-1/4%. Base metals ended the session mixed, in a quiet day. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher this morning, slumped as the Dollar increased, but made a recovery late in the session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.70/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored worldwide in LME approved warehouses rose Friday and now sit under the 131,200 tonne mark. Considering the weakness in the Euro today, base metals did well, as did most commodities. The Baltic Dry Index continues to claw its way higher, gaining another 11 points today.  For the layman, the Bernanke interview last night on 60 Minutes was much different than his last. At that one, the talk was of green shoots and the bottom was in. This time, the talk was about how we were to a non sustaining recovery and perilously close to a dip into another recession, with unemployment rates to remain extraordinarily high for up to 5 years. The equity markets will most likely appreciate the talk of possibly more quantitative easing by the Fed down the road, and futures this morning showed traders were a little confused by what they heard and were waiting for the markets to open to see how others would play it. The interview was timed for two purposes. First, Bernanke wanted to defend the Fed's action against its critics, and secondly, to send a message to the new Congress that deficit reduction was important, but not while the economy was so weak. If he had other intentions of spreading more seeds of economic enthusiasm, he may have come up a tad short.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Insider - pdf here
  • Robry Economic Assessment - more
  • Allegheny Ludlum January surcharges - more

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Bernanke on CBS’s ‘60 Minutes’ - more
  • Economists React: ‘Painful Reality Check’ on Jobs - more
  • Bernanke: China “Risking Inflation” With Currency Policy - more
  • Economists React: ‘Painful Reality Check’ on Jobs - more
  • Let’s Not Make a Deal - more
  • Bear Market That Wasn't Gores Pessimists as S&P 500 Rebounds 20% - more
  • The Next Chapter in Consumer Lending - pdf here
  • Crude Hovers Around Highest Since October 2008 - more

  Norilsk Nickel to restart Australian concentrator - The world's top nickel producer, Russia's Norilsk Nickel <GMKN.MM>, said on Monday it would restart its idled Australian unit Lake Johnston, which mines sulphide ore and produces nickel concentrate. - more

  Small, medium steel mills turn to derivatives - Small and medium-sized steel producers are increasingly looking to derivatives trade to lock in profit and cut risk as they contend with meagre margins, shifting economic trends and volatile raw materials prices. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.03/lb  lower, with other base metals mixed and quiet. The Euro is trading nearly  a full percentage point lower against the US Dollar, as European leaders voice concerns over steps the EU is taking to ease the European sovereign debt crisis. NYMEX crude oil is up under 1/10 of 1% and trading at $89.27/barrel. Gold is flat while silver is up 1-1/4%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher, with China up less than 1/4 of 1%. European markets are flat to slightly lower this morning, and US futures are slightly lower after Ben Bernanke's 'less than cheerful' interview on 60 Minutes last night. Nickel inventories rose Friday.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals falter as euro stumbles, prices mixed - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals ended mixed on Friday, with most of the group finishing with modest losses, although copper did post a $5/MT gain on the day. Other commodity complexes, including energy and gold, both finished higher, as did the US stock market. These showing's were quite impressive in view of the fact that we had a shockingly poor non-farm payroll number out Friday, with only 39,000 jobs being created, well below the 140,000 expected. Metals are holding up again today amid very quiet trading and tight trading ranges. The dollar is stronger (now at $1.3290 against the Euro, up from $1.3440 reached earlier), but we fail to see what exactly is behind its strength in light of weekend comments out by Chairman Ben Bernanke saying that the Fed would entertain expanding the scope of QEII should it need to. In addition, the Obama administration will likely compromise on its tax proposals and allow tax breaks for everybody, meaning that any hopes of reducing the deficit will now recede even further. Out of Europe, there is some apprehension on the Euro ahead of a meeting on European finance ministers, where the head of the IMF will reportedly call on EU ministers to increase the bailout facility, and also urge the ECB to step up its bond purchases. The Germans are apparently against this, while the Belgians are pushing hard the other way. Currency markets may be understandably uneasy waiting for the final communiqué, but having said that, the European debt crisis now seems to have entered a less urgent “wait-and-see” mode. This is best reflected by the drop in the extra yield investors are demanding to hold Portuguese 10-year bonds over German bunds, with the premium falling to below 300 basis points for the first time since August after touching 428 basis points in late November. If there is a unified stance emerging out of the finance ministers meeting, we would not be surprised to see dollar weakness resume and push metals up one more time. In the meantime, it seems that the only bearish wild card for metals that we see, is if the Chinese were to unexpectedly raise their interest rates prior to year end. This would be a significant game-changer, but for the time being, it does not seem to be on the market’s radar. Speaking of China, we continue to come across more bizarre steps the authorities are taking to fight inflation. Bloomberg reported over the weekend that in the Chinese city of Kunming, the local government has imposed temporary price controls on daily necessities to counter rising inflation. Kunming’s government asked five retailers, including Wal-Mart and Carrefour, to report any price adjustments and give reasons for changes two days in advance of making them. Other commodity producers have also apparently requested government approval before putting through price increases. ...  Nickel is at $23,400, down $100. The short-term uptrend line remains intact, but $24,000 resistance could prove to be a bit sticky, as we note from the charts. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s stainless steel suppliers still faced hard time in exports even though they have cut their prices and nickel price has rebounded.
  • (Reuters) Tata Steel is to raise prices for structural steel in Britain by 50 pounds per tonne effective for all deliveries from Jan. 2, 2011, it said on Monday.
  • Mirabela Nickel Limited - Production Update - more

  Bangladeshi ship seized by pirates heads to Somalia - A Bangladeshi-flagged cargo ship hijacked by pirates off the coast of India appears to be heading towards the Somali coast, shipping officials say. The MV Jahan Moni, carrying 43,000 tonnes of nickel ore, was taken over by heavily-armed pirates on Sunday. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 30th November 2010 = Price Of Chinese Ferro-Silicon Has Continued To Weaken - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 30th November of 2010 is as follows  - more

  MMC Norilsk Nickel obtains new licenses in Botswana - OJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel informs that its subsidiary Tati Nickel (Botswana) secured new exploration licenses in the country. - more

  Asian Steelmakers To Up Prices In Q1'11 Export Deals - There are prospects that steelmakers in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China will execute price increases in their export deals of various steel products for shipments to Asian destinations in the January-March quarter of next 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

Friday, December 3

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 35 to 2,168. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Changing to `Prudent' Policy Next Year From Easing Bias, Xinhua Says // China Must Raise Deposit Rates to 12-Year High to Protect Savers, Xie Says // Roubini Says India's Economic Growth May Surpass China's in Next 10 Years // South Korea's New Defense Chief Threatens Retaliation for Any Air Strikes // Green Shoots Emerge From an Economic Train Wreck: Matthew Lynn // Dollar Weakens for Third Day as Futures Fluctuate Before U.S. Jobs Report // Trichet Keeps Pressure on EU as Bond Program Buys Time // Irish, Portuguese Bonds Rise Amid Speculation ECB Buying Debt // European Freeze Reduces Channel Tunnel Trains as Airports Struggle to Open // Trichet Keeps Pressure on Governments as ECB Buys Bonds to Calm Investors // European Stocks Decline as U.S. Unemployment Rises; Barclays, Xstrata Drop // Fed Created Conflicts in Improvising Financial System Rescue // Fed Won't Raise Rates for Years Amid Slow Payrolls Growth, Gross Says: Tom Keene // Unemployment Rises to 9.8% as U.S. Adds Just 39,000 Jobs // Stocks, Dollar Retreat After Employment Data; Gold Rallies
  • The Euro is now trading 1-1/4% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up over 1% and trading at $88.94/barrel. Gold is up over 1-1/2% and silver is up nearly 2-1/2%. Base metals ended the session mixed as the lower Dollar helped push some into the green. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher but was already on a slide before the disappointing US report was issued, which drove the price even lower, Finally, at the end of the session, nickel got a bounce, but not enough to get out of the hole. For the day and week, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $10.66/lb . Up $.43/lb from a week ago, and down $.02/lb from a month ago. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose yesterday and now stand just over the 130,900 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel firmly in a bull market (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index has now risen for two out of  the first three days of December, with another 35 point gain today. Quiet day for news, as the market tries to figure out what today's bad news means on the back of an otherwise positive news week.
  • Have a safe and pleasant weekend!!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Q&A: Trichet on ECB Bond Buying - more
  • November Sales: How Retailers Fared - more
  • China's Culture of Secrecy Brands Research as Spying - more

  US payroll report shows unemployment rate rises to 9.8%. Euro jumps, base metals slip.

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.03/lb lower, with all London traded base metals slightly lower at the moment. The US payroll report could set the tone for the remainder of the day, when it is announced in about 20 minutes. The Euro is trading nearly 3/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up over 1/10 of 1% and trading at $88.12/barrel. Gold is trading over 1/10 of 1% higher, while silver is up 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 1/10 of 1%. European markets are slightly higher at the moment, and US futures show Wall Street is waiting for the jobs report. Most expect a big improvement over last month, although economists predict the overall unemployment rate will remain the same. Nickel inventories rose yesterday.     
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metal traders optimistic before monthly jobs data - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper rose to a three-week high yesterday, and is on track for its best weekly gain since July, as it continues to tee off against a weaker dollar. The dollar at first rallied yesterday after opening remarks by ECB head Jean-Claude Trichet left the impression that the central bank was not going to establish as aggressive enough a presence as some were hoping for. However, it then began to give up its gains once it became apparent that the ECB was, in fact, bidding for both Portuguese and Irish paper. The ECB's bond purchases have totaled €67bn since May, a relatively modest amount, as national governments have done more than that. Clearly, the ECB now needs to step up the pace of its purchases if the markets are going to give it the benefit that it could succeed as a stabilizing force. The ECB also said yesterday that it would keep its key interest rates unchanged, (no surprise there), and pledged to extend its liquidity safety net for banks at least until April of next year instead of winding it down as previously planned. A stronger tone in US equities also helped the commodity space yesterday, particularly after Goldman Sachs lifted its view on the financial sector to "overweight," marking the first time the firm has been positive on financials since 2008. Bank of America and J.P. Morgan both gained about 2.5% on the upgrades. Equity markets were also encouraged by the National Association of Realtors' pending-home-sales index, which unexpectedly soared 10.4% to 89.3, boosting a number of home-service stocks in the process. Among the disappointing macro releases of the day, was the weekly initial claims reading, which came in at 436,000, higher than consensus estimates. Markets next shift their focus to the key nonfarm payroll number out later, with an estimate of 130,000 expected, while the unemployment rate is called to hold steady at 9.6%. Metals are not doing much ahead of the release, and are quietly mixed; oil prices are slightly higher, while the dollar is weaker today, now trading at $1.3250. US stocks are called to open slightly higher. In addition to the non-farm payroll number, we get October factory orders (expected at -1.3%) and ISM services data for November (expected at 54.5) later in the day. It seems that a number of key commodity markets are now gearing up for a retest of their recent highs, (with copper proving to be one of them), made possible by the "remedy formulation" phase that we now seem to be in with respect to the European debt crisis. In addition, the US economy seems to be strengthening just when the bulls need it most, with most recent macro readings coming in stronger than expected. The one wild card remains China, and here, it remains to be seen whether more rate rises are in the cards. Certainly, the Chinese authorities continue to institute a series of increasingly radical measures (such as telling state-owned coal producers yesterday to freeze their prices for next year) indicating to us that they still are somewhat behind the curve on the inflation front. Today, the authorities formally stated that China will shift to a "prudent" monetary policy as of next year, changing the phrasing from the "moderately loose" stance that was in place up to now. The announcement was taken in stride, with the Shanghai Composite Index virtually unchanged on Friday, as the shift in language was already priced in.  .... Nickel is at $23,675, up $25. Charts look somewhat better, and we now seem to be pushing towards next resistance at just under $25,000. LME stocks continue to be tightly controlled. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Hideo Suzuki, CEO of Japan’s Nisshin Steel, said recently that Japan’s stainless steel mills should consolidate to compete against international rivals.Since the scale of Japan’s stainless steel mills is too small, it’s difficult to negotiate raw material prices with suppliers and accelerate investments.
  • (Interfax) Following calls among steelmakers worldwide for greater cooperation, industry players have weighed in on the benefits of sourcing iron ore from smaller miners.

  Theft Leaves Tons of Evidence - It wasn't your typical nickel-and-dime heist. Authorities charged a Baltimore scrap-yard owner with stealing 96 tons of the metal nickel, worth $2.6 million. - more

  Chrome export tax system tightened - Government has tightened loopholes in the taxation of chrome ore exports, as part of efforts to leverage the country’s natural resources. - more

  JFE Aims to Raise Steel Prices to Pass on Rising Costs - JFE Holdings Inc., Japan’s second- largest steelmaker, is seeking to increase prices next quarter to pass on higher material costs to carmakers and other buyers. - more

  Philippine province says to keep open-pit mining ban - A ban in the southern Philippines on open-pit mining that may jeopardize the $5.2 billion Tampakan project majority owned by Xstrata Plc , will remain although the federal government sought to suspend it. - more

  China, Korea Concerns of U.S. Stainless Pipe and Tube Producers - Members of the Stainless Steel Tube Trade Advancement Committee (SSTTAC) are on the alert with respect to imports of seamless stainless steel pipe and tube, particularly from China and Korea. - 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, December 2

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 37 to 2,133. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Gold Imports Soar Almost Fivefold on Inflation // Yuan Withstands Europe Debt Crisis With Biggest Gain in Asia: China Credit // Bank of America Becoming Bank of Asia as Revenue Rises 30% // Thailand's Unexpected Rate Rise Puts Onus on Indonesia as Inflation Climbs // Australia Retail Sales Unexpectedly Fall, Imports Drop; Currency Declines // ECB Holds Benchmark Rate as Markets Pressure Trichet // Dale Says U.K. Budget Cuts Won't Derail Recovery as BOE Monitors Inflation // Snow Hampers Travel in Europe, Forcing Gatwick, Edinburgh Airports to Shut // Argonaut Sees Portugal Bailout as Europe Tops Hedge Funds' List of Worries // ECB Delays Exit as Trichet Buys Bonds to Fight `Acute' Tensions // European Stocks Rally as ECB Buys Bonds; Shares of BHP Billiton, BMW Rise // Fed May Be `Central Bank of the World' After UBS, Barclays Aid // Libor Measure Shows Bank Stresses Reach Highest Since June: Credit Markets // Distressed Homes in U.S. Sell at Biggest Discount in Five Years // Retailers Beating Sales Estimates on Black Friday // Pending Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Rise a Record 10% // New Jobless Claims Suffer a Thanksgiving Setback // U.S. Stocks Extend Rally on Retail Sales; Limited, Abercrombie Shares Rise
  • The Euro is now trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up nearly 9/10 of 1% and trading at $87.50/barrel. Gold is up nearly 2/10 of 1% and silver is up over 9/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the day all on the positive side. Indicator charts show nickel started strong, slumped, and then spent the afternoon in very choppy trading. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.70/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses took a hit yesterday, when a large withdrawal was taken from a South Korean warehouse. This one  was legal, unlike the theft of nickel taken last week from a warehouse in Baltimore, Maryland. Totals now sit just under the 130,800 tonne mark. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel on the rise once again (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index jumped back to the gaining column today, up 37 points to 2,133. AK Steel was the first to announce stainless steel surcharges for January - and they are posted below.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • German imbalance and European tensions - more
  • Dallas Fed’s Fisher Defends Emergency Actions - more
  • Decoding the Fed’s Emergency Programs - more
  • World-Wide Factory Activity, by Country - more
  • Spain Sells 3 Year Bonds At 3.717%, 119 bps Higher Than Prior Auction - more
  • Bloomberg's Top Economic Forecasters - more

  Industrial metals to beat agri commodities - With demand from China and India soaring to new heights, industrial metals are all set to outperform agricultural commodities in the coming days. - more

  Widow of murdered Mayan leader announces lawsuit filed against mining company  - Another Canadian mining company is facing legal consequences as a result of its mining activities in South America. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.09/lb higher, but already well off earlier highs. Other London traded base metals are higher as well. The Euro is trading over 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, also off earlier highs. NYMEX crude is only slightly higher and trading at $86.77/barrel. Gold is up over 1/10 of 1% and silver is slightly lower at the moment. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up over 6/10 of 1%. European marekts are trading higher this morning, while US futures show Wall Street should continue a December running of the bulls. Nickel inventories slumped sharply yesterday, after a large withdrawal from a South Korean warehouse. The owner of Potter's Salvage, a West Baltimore scrap yard, has been charged with possession of stolen goods, $2.6 million dollars worth of nickel and ferrochrome from a Baltimore warehouse. Alan A. Verschleisser, 65, is well known to Baltimore officials, and is reportedly the father in law to Joseph Shereshevsky, co-owner of WexTrust Capital, who has been charged with defrauding almost 1,200 investors of $225 million in a Ponzi scheme. Shereshevsky's partner in WexTrust, Steven Byers, has plead guilty and awaits sentencing.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals firm, as market awaits ECB tranquilizer - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper rose to a two-week high on Wednesday, as a number of markets staged monstrous rallies on the back of strong global macro data. In addition to the sharp gains we had in metals, there were sizable advances in energy and US equities, with the Dow having its best daily showing in three months by chalking up a 250-point gain. A string of decent purchasing managers’ reports drove the markets higher, but US macro data also contributed to the stronger tone. In this regard, November ISM came out at 56.6, in line with estimates, but nevertheless expanded for a 16th straight month. This was followed by a strong ADP private employment report (coming out at 93,000, well above the 58,000 expected), Q3 productivity readings, (out at 2.3% and in line with estimates), and October construction spending -- perhaps the biggest surprise of all, (out at +.7%, and well above the -.5% expected). Metals are up once again today, with copper leading the charge higher. It seems investors are gunning for a retest of the recent high of $8964 on copper, at which point we will see a double-top formation, normally a technical sign of a short-term peak. The euro is steadier today at $1.3164, and receiving some breathing room in light of an ECB meeting that is being held as we write this note. Investors will be keen to see if the ECB session generates any new proposals besides the ones already advanced to head off the Irish crisis. A senior US treasury official was also in Europe this week, fueling speculation that some American participation could be in the works. (Perhaps we have to wait for the next WikiLeaks cable dump to find out for sure).  ... Nickel is at $23,715, up $165. With two closes above $23,000 resistance in place, charts look significantly better, and we now seem to be pushing towards next resistance at just under $25,000. LME stocks continue to be held by a dominant firm, said to be controlling 50 to 80% of the warrants. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Posco) South Korea’s Posco, the third largest steelmaker in the world, plans to increase its production of 400 series stainless steel to meet the strong demand in 2011. It’s said that Posco is likely to decrease the output of 300 series and increase that of 400 series to offset of higher nickel prices at this moment.
  • Factory output robust in November - more
  • (TMT) Norilsk Nickel said Wednesday that its Tati Nickel unit got two exploration licenses in Botswana.
  • (JMB) NSSC's Stainless Sheet Prices Set Unchanged for December
  • The Economy Isn't In Recovery - more

  China nickel demand growth to slow sharply in 2011 - Antaike - China's real nickel consumption growth will slow to between 2 to 4 percent next year, from 12 percent this year, as demand from an oversupplied stainless steel sector slows, Fan Runze, an analyst at state-backed research firm Antaike said on Thursday. - more

  Man charged after $2.6 million metal heist - Stealing $2.6 million in industrial metals was easy. Trying to sell them was hard.That's the story told by federal authorities about a brazen Labor Day weekend heist of 100 tons of nickel from a Baltimore metal importer. - more

  Russia Exported 726,000 Tons Of Ferro-Alloys In Jan. - Sep. /10 As Increased From That In 2009 = Exports In Jul. -Sep. Were Sluggish But Maintained A Firm Tone - According to the statistics released in Russia, the quantities (on material base) of ferro-alloys exported from Russia in January - September of 2010 as well as in a single month of September were as per the table attached hereto. - more

  New Nickel Mine for Tasmania - A proposed nickel mine in northern Tasmania is being seen as a source of economic boom for the region. Proto Resources has shown interest in Barnes Hill, near Beaconsfield for the last few years. The company have now been granted a license for an open cut nickel mine in the region. - more

  MRRT deal must not be altered: Rio - Rio Tinto says the federal government must stick to an agreement on the new resources tax, amid debate on royalty payments. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending November 27, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,652,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 68.3 percent. Production was 1,469,000 tons in the week ending November 27, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 61.4 percent. The current week production represents a 12.5 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending November 27, 2010 is down 2.8 percent from the previous week ending November 20, 2010 when production was 1,699,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 70.3 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

Wednesday, December 1

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 3 to 2,096. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's Manufacturing Growth Accelerates, PMI Shows // Rate Swaps Climb Most in Three Years on Inflation, Inflows: China Credit // China Blocks UN Security Council Action Against North Korea, AFP Reports // China's Stocks Decline as Manufacturing Growth Fuels Tightening Concerns // Japan Says `No' to Kyoto Protocol Extension, Wants World Treaty // Australia's Economy Grew 0.2% in Third Quarter From Previous Three Months // Thailand Unexpectedly Raises Rates as Inflation a Bigger Threat Than Baht // India Growth May Surpass Government Target for Year, Ushering Higher Rates // Asian Stocks Rise on U.S. Consumer Sentiment, China Manufacturing Reports // Contagion May Force EU to Expand Arsenal to Fight Debt Crisis // Europe Manufacturing Grows at Fastest Pace in Four Months, Led by Germany  // U.K. Manufacturing Expands at Fastest Pace in 16 Years Amid Export Orders // European Stocks Surge Most in Three Months; BHP Billiton, Santander Climb // Employers in U.S. Announce Most Job Cuts in Eight Months // Jobless Aid Begins to Expire as Congress Deadlocks Over Cost // Fed Names Recipients of $3.3 Trillion in Aid During Crisis // ISM Index of Manufacturing in U.S. Fell to 56.6 in November // U.S. May See a Double-Dip Recession, 10% Unemployment Next Year, UN Says // ADP Estimates Companies in US Added 93,000 Jobs // Stocks, Euro Rally on Jobs, Manufacturing Data
  • The Euro is now trading nearly 1.2% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 2.7% and trading at $86.38/barrel. Gold is 1/3 of 1% higher and silver is up 1.4%. Base metals had no plan to be left behind in today's equity and commodities bull run and all ended the first day of December higher. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher this morning, and then after US reports began to be published, slowly moved higher. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $10.66/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses rose significantly yesterday and now sit just over the 131,800 tonne level. Sucden's day old nickel chart shows nickel trading over the past week and nickel's bounce yesterday (chart here). Cancelled warrants moved above the 4% level on Monday and remain there, for the first time since early August. MF Global is reporting "The LME reports that 50-79% of stocks are being held by a single firm.". This comes the day after news that a single trader holds over 80% of LME copper stock. Interesting.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Nickel outperforms but oversupply likely - more
  • Euro Zone Members as U.S. States - more
  • Fed’s Kocherlakota Wants Inflation Expectations Increase - more
  • The financialization of commodities - more
  • Fed Discount-Rate Minutes Show 2 Banks Want Higher Rate - more
  • Hans Rosling's 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes - The Joy of Stats - BBC Four - video here

  Sherritt buys into Sulawesi nickel project  - Diversified miner Sherritt International Corp (S.TO: Quote) said on Wednesday it would take a majority stake in the Sulawesi nickel project in Indonesia. - more

  Stainless steel scraps to fluctuate, demand eyed - Stainless steel scraps will most probably continue fluctuating in the coming trend, among factors of cost support, tight supply and policies suppressing as well as other negative news both home and abroad. - more

  Talvivaara sticks to 2010 production guidance - Finnish nickel and zinc group Talvivaara Mining Company plc reiterated its 2010 production guidance at 11,000-13,000 tonnes nickel and 28,000-30,000 tonnes zinc. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.15/lb higher, and with resistance having been breached for 2 days in a row, the technicals favor the upside, although trading has stalled much of the morning. At the moment, all London traded base metals are higher. The Euro is offering some support as well, up over 9/10 of 1% against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 1.7% and trading at $85.53/barrel. Gold is 1/3 of 1% higher and silver is up 1.8%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China off slightly. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street should open in a bullish mood. Nickle inventories rose sharply yesterday.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals firmer, copper powers higher as December tightness worsens - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals closed sharply higher yesterday, pulled mainly by copper, which again defied the surging dollar, as it teed off instead on a tight fundamental picture and a stubborn backwardation in the cash-to-three's spread (now valued around +60). Constructive US macro data also helped; in this regard, November confidence readings rose to its highest level in some five months, and came in much higher than forecast, while the Chicago ISM’s business barometer increased to 62.5, also exceeding estimates. However, housing data remains soft, with the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home values in 20 cities up 0.6% in September, its smallest gain since January. This morning, we are higher once again in all markets, fueled by strong manufacturing data from Europe and China, with the official Chinese purchasing managers' index rising to a seven-month high of 55.2. Data from Germany also showed its manufacturing base expanding faster than was the case in October, while France's PMI bounced to a 10-year high. However, Italian numbers showed conditions at their weakest level in nine months, while Spanish manufacturing stagnated. These reports precede a slew of US numbers scheduled for release later today, including our own November ISM reading (expected at 56.4), the ADP private employment report (expected at 60,000), Q3 productivity readings (expected at 2.3%), and October construction spending, (expected at -.5%). Also helping the markets immeasurably today, has been the recovery in the Euro, now trading at $1.31. Its rally is likely due to the fact that investors may be starting to conclude that the ECB authorities will have to do much more for the region then they have already done given the resoundingly poor marks they received from the markets on their handling of the Irish bailout. ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet hinted as much, saying that ECB should not be underestimated in the types of steps it could take, and although he did not outline what these would be, several proposals are making the rounds. These include: 1) boosting the 750 billion-euro temporary rescue fund, or tuning it into an asset- buying program, 2) cutting interest rates on existing bailout loans, 3) delaying the ECB’s exit from providing emergency liquidity funding, or 4), taking the Fed route, and flooding the Euro-economy with cash. Some of the existing rules may also have to be revisited; as an example, while euro-area governments can lend to each other, they are barred from assuming each other’s debts. Eliminating this restriction would, in effect, allow better “balance sheet management” across the continent. While we are still wary about going long at these levels, the markets clearly feel otherwise, buoyed by the positive data that has been streaming out over the last two days. For the time being, participants seem to be unconcerned by the consequences of these numbers, namely that central banks, particularly in Asia, will have to step up the pace of tightening in order to stave off inflationary pressures. In fact, Thailand today was the latest Asian country to hike its interest rates, overnight, and we likely will see more of the same in the weeks ahead, but that clearly does not seem to be the overriding concern for now. ...  Nickel is at $23,335, up $285; another close above $23,000 resistance will be technically significant. The LME reports that 50-79% of stocks are being held by a single firm. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (XEC) China Jinchuan raises refined nickel price by 1.7 pct to 178,000 yuan/t
  • (ETN) China Nickel 's Lianyungang project completes pilot run
  • (MF) Chrome ore imports volume of Oct. of 2010 slightly increased by 1.21% owing to plain purchasing from Chinese mills in soft situation. Imports volume from South Africa and Turkey increased obviously and imports from Oman decreased. Inventory was still at high level in Chinese ports.
  • China's PMI of manufacturing sector rises to 55.2% in Nov - more
  • Europe's manufacturing sector activities rise in November - more

  Outlook For Chrome Metal Market By Delachaux / France = The Demand In 2010 Is Recovering In Order, Tight Supply Of Raw Material Is Continuing - Mr. Yoran Guenegou, Sales and Marketing Engineer of Delachaux in France, came to Japan and had an interview with our pressman (Mr. Hideo Saitoh) on the 16th of November at the Head Office of Sumitomo Corporation in Tokyo, which is the agent in Japan for sales of chrome metal produced by Delachaux. - more

  Theft of nickel from city warehouse has international implications - It was a deceptively simple heist. People cut through a chain-link fence surrounding a nondescript warehouse, backed trucks onto a lot and drove off with chassis loaded with shipping containers filled with nickel briquettes and a metal called ferrochrome. - more

  Mining projects in the South to get more funds - Two Canadian miners, Cadan Resources Corp. and MBMI Resources, Inc., will be getting funding for their mining properties in Mindanao and Palawan. - more

  Japan steel stocks "dangerously high" - JFE - Japan's steel inventories are too high, a JFE Steel Corp official warned on Wednesday, urging makers to be "prudent" in drawing up October-December production plans. - more

  Founder of Universal Stainless dies - Clarence "Mac" McAninch, the founder and former chairman of Universal Stainless & Alloy Products, died Saturday after a brief illness. He was 75. - 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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