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Daily Nickel Market Prices

January 2007

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

  For the week - the main topic in the nickel market will be the Xstrata-CAW talks in Sudbury. Keep up with current news by visiting the web page the union membership is here or search the news for the latest here weather in Sudbury here (maybe the CAW should negotiate a 3-1/2 year contract - they have proven they can strike in worse weather - but striking in the summer has to be easier! Anyone else notice its a full mooon tomorrow night! (2/2)

Wednesday, Jan 31
  That's it for anymore updates on the blog for the evening. Many of you will know what is to be decided tonight, long before we wake up. For all the visitors checking in this evening from Sudbury, we wish you good luck. We will see you tomorrow.
  Update 6 - Canadian Union Makes Counter Proposal To Xstrata - "The Canadian Auto Workers have made a counter-offer to Xstrata PLC as the two sides continued to negotiate ahead of a possible strike at midnight EST (0500 GMT), the union reported." - Article here
  Update 5 - Local 598 boss Rick Grylls to Sudbury Radio 790 and posted at 5:23 pm - Grylls did admit some progress was made over concerns that unionized workers would be used at the New Nickel Rim South Mine...BUT he says they remain MILES apart on many other issues including monetary items.
  Update 4 - Sudbury union reviews Xstrata contract proposal - "The union representing workers at Xstrata Plc's big nickel operations in Sudbury said it received its first counter-proposal from the company on Wednesday evening and said there was "some movement" on the labor contract." - Article here
  Update 3 - Union at Xstrata says some movement on labor deal - "The union representing workers at Xstrata Plc's big nickel operations in Sudbury said on Wednesday that it has received the first counter proposal from the company and that "there is some movement" on the labor contract." - article here
  Update 2 - Mine Mill, Xstrata negotiators remain upbeat - "With about 1,000 Xstrata Nickel workers definitely set to strike at midnight, the mood was upbeat among Mine Mill Local 598/CAW negotiators late Wednesday afternoon." - Article here
  Update - Xstrata To Respond To Union's Proposal By Late Wed -Union - "Xstrata PLC's is expected to issue a response by late Wednesday local time to the union's latest contract proposal at its Sudbury, Ontario nickel operations, a union official Wednesday,... article here
  Traders were betting on a strike during most of the trading day. As the afternoon went on, and the story below was posted, prices continued to climb and ended the day at $16.76/lb ($36,950/tonne). Since we are finding more and more places on the net posting official closing as they are announced, we will begin posting them at the end of the day, instead of the morning. Today's official closing prices - cash - $17.71/lb - 3 month buyer - $16.49/lb. We will post an update if anything is announced in Sudbury before 10 pm EST. 
  Xstrata `Stalling' in Advance of Strike Deadline, Union Says - "Xstrata Plc, a Canadian mining company whose nickel plants might be shut by a strike tonight, hasn't returned to the bargaining table today, said union leaders who characterized the company's actions as ``a stalling game.'' - article here  and another article from late yesterday here
  Russia to cap foreign control of strategic companies - extended - "Russia's Cabinet approved bills to restrict foreign ownership of companies in strategic industries, including energy, metals and defense." - article here
  New Caledonia Activist Group Rejects CVRD Invite To Brazil - "Rheebu Nuu, a New Caledonian activist group that opposes Companhia Vale Do Rio Doce's Goro nickel project on the South Pacific island, has rejected this week an invitation to visit CVRD operations in Brazil." - article here 
  European Nickel Sees Caldag At Full Output In 2009 - "AIM-listed European Nickel PLC plans to start production of nickel concentrate at its Caldag mine in Turkey in early 2008, with full output in early 2009, a company executive said Wednesday." - more here
  LME Nickel May Correct To $30,000 - Barcap - "LME nickel likely to experience technical correction, after breaking trendline support near $37,500/ton, repeated bearish divergences in relative strength index, says Barclay's Capital." - more here
  With traders around the world scanning and analyzing every word being quoted out of Canada, bets are being made on tone and adverbs used. Yesterday, when the news was quiet (primarily because the two sides were talking to each other and not thru the media), the market began to think a resolution was at hand and the market fell. This morning, after an evening full of more rhetoric, the market is betting on a strike and at 8:00 am CST, indications are the market is trading up by $.35/lb.
  Most recent news on Xstrata-CAW talks - "DJ Xstrata, Sudbury Union To Meet Wed At 1400 GMT - Union" article here  "Xstrata Sudbury labor talks head down to the wire" article here "CAW hopes to beat Xstrata deadline" - article here
  (Excellent article) Price of Nickel Reflects Panic Due to Global Shortages - "A sniffle in Indonesia, sneezes and coughs in Australia and New Caledonia and a possible full-blown case of the flu in Sudbury are all causing the price of nickel to explode reaching levels we never thought possible." - Article here
  Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip in Coils From the Republic of Korea; Final Results and Rescission of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review in Part - report here
  Soaring nickel rubs shine off Indian stainless steel - "Soaring global nickel prices combined with a recently introduced lower duty on a range of finished metals will hit margins of Indian stainless steel makers, a top industry official said on Wednesday." - article here
  Scotiabank Commodity Price Index - pdf here
  Behre Dolbear - Global Mining News - this week's copy still not posted
  Russian tycoon to buy business partner's stake in OAO Norilsk Nickel - "Russian tycoon Vladimir Potanin will buy out long-time business partner Mikhail Prokhorov's stake in the world's biggest nickel miner, OAO Norilsk Nickel, holding company Interros said Wednesday." - Article here
  Australian land agreements questioned - "Nearly half of the land use agreements signed by indigenous Australians with mining companies and government partners have failed to deliver significant benefits for them, an Australian university study concluded." - Article here
  It's now official !!- (see our entry on January 2nd when we first broke the news) - CVRD Inco announces senior management appointments - release here
  Botswana: Tati Nickel Break Ground - "President Festus Mogae got a bit of exercise last Monday near Phoenix Mine east of Francistown, and hopefully, his exertions will benefit both his own health and that of the Botswana economy." - article here
  China's stainless output to grow by 20% in next few year - "The continuously increasing stainless steel demand brought up not only the stainless price but also the nickel." - article here
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $18.30/lb - 3 month buyer - $16.79/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 306 tons =  3,972 tonnes  ( 36.82% cancelled warrants)

Tuesday, Jan 30
  For the most part, the rhetoric coming out of Canada was silenced much of the day, as the two sides met behind closed doors. That silence made the market nervous, and many began to bet the two might reach an agreement. This brought the price of nickel down on the LME, which closed at $16.19/lb ($35,700/tonne).(more) Just about the time the market was closing for the day, the last report we posted, came out. If nothing changes before tomorrow morning, it will be interesting to see how the market reacts to this "less than optimistic" news. The official close for 3 month nickel for the day was $16.79/lb, but this was determined after the first ring, and much of the price decline came in later trading. If nothing else, today's trading indicates that an agreement between the two will bring nickel pricing down, although few believe any drop will be more than a mere dip in a continued bull market thru 2007. 
  Xstrata, Sudbury Union May Discuss Contract Tue - Union - "Xstrata PLC representatives and union officials at the Sudbury, Ontario, nickel mine may meet later Tuesday to discuss the labor contract after a meeting between the two earlier didn't touch on the subject, a union official said." - Article here
  Xstrata Resumes Labor Talks to Avert Ontario Strike - "Xstrata Plc resumed labor talks at its Canadian nickel unit, which accounts for 4 percent of world supplies of the metal. Union leaders said workers will strike unless an agreement is reached on a new contract by Feb. 1." - Article here
  Barclays Cuts Copper, Zinc Estimates, Raises Nickel - "Barclays Capital, the investment bank of Britain's third-largest lender, cut 2007 copper and zinc price forecasts and raised nickel and tin estimates." - article here
  India's Jindal Stainless Chalks Out US$1.1 BLN Capex - "Leading domestic stainless steel maker Jindal Stainless Ltd will invest an additional Rs 50 billion (US$1.1 billion) in its Orissa plant to double its production capacity to 1.5 million tonnes annually. - Article here
  At 8:00 am CST, indications were nickel was selling down by $.03/lb. All eyes on the Xstrata-CAW talks in Sudbury.
  Rand Merchant Bank Base Metals Report pdf here
  Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries - Market Report - pdf here
  Canada Weekly Commodity Price Update pdf here
  Indonesian Antam's FeNi III smelter starts commercial operations - "Indonesian ferronickel major PT Antam said its new FeNi III smelter started commercial operations on Monday following the handover of the unit from the engineering, procurement and construction contractor, an unincorporated consortium of Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsui Co. Ltd. - Article here
  Scotiabank Commodity Price Index - pdf here
  Yieh reports Taiwan's Yieh United Steel Corp and Tang Eng have raised price of stainless for February and report Posco of South Korea has announced another price increase for March
  New Law May Threaten Rio Tinto's Indonesia Nickel Project - "Negotiations have been underway between Rio Tinto and the Indonesian government since 2004 to develop what would be the Anglo-American mining giant's first nickel asset in Indonesia, but have stalled on interdepartmental policy clashes, with the result that they may not be completed before the contract of work system is abolished under the new laws." - article here
  World's top 10 steel producers - here
  Updated - How the increase in the cost of nickel affects the price of 250 stainless steel bolts - here
  (comment - China is 0 for 2 this week in nickel mine development news. First, the Philippines, now Cuba) Venezuela trumps China in Cuba ferronickel deal- "A senior Cuban official said Monday Venezuela had replaced China in local plans to produce fero-nickel at a partially completed plant in eastern Holguin province." - Article here
  Norilsk Nickel reports 0.4% growth in nickel output in 2006 - "Russia's metals giant Norilsk Nickel [RTS: GMKN] said Monday its nickel output grew 0.4%, year-on-year, in 2006, to 244,000 metric tons." - Article here
  Stainless-Steel Producers Cut Nickel Use, Group Says - "Stainless-steel producers, users of about two-thirds of global nickel supplies, are reducing the amount of the metal in their products after prices soared to a record, an industry organization said." - Article here (comment - this has been a threat for some time now, but with the stainless market doing so well, any loss has been disguised by the overall increase. Nickel producers would be wise to take notice, and to back this up, here is an article from last week from a small trade magazine that caters to the food industry - article here)
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $18.59/lb - 3 month buyer - $17.12/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - no gain/loss =  4,278 tonnes  ( 39.27% cancelled warrants)

Monday, Jan 29
  Update - Mediator aims to set up Xstrata Sudbury meeting - article here
  LME nickel fell today, closing at $16.94/lb ($37,350/tonne). The official close for 3 month nickel for today was $17.12/lb.  (more -"DJ LME Review: Long Liquidation Weighs On Base Metals" - article here)
  Metals Insider - Week in Review for Nickel - pdf here
  CVRD reviewing Goro as New Caledonian nickel strike comes to an end - "As the New Caledonian strike, which has severely disrupted the island’s nickel mining and smelting sector for the past four months, seems to be drawing to a close, it appears that CVRD is reviewing the future of its $3 billion Goro nickel laterite project." - more here (comment - There has been a lot of speculation lately on whether CVRD may abandon the Goro project. While CVRD/Inco holds a 69% interest in the Goro project, Mitsui of Japan holds a 10% stake thru Sumic Nickel Netherlands (as part of a Japanese Consortium with Sumitomo, who holds an additional 11%). Mitsui also holds a 18.24% voting share of Valespar, the majority stockholder in CVRD, and holds a seat on the CVRD board, currently occupied by Hiroshi Tada, who is also a vice president of Mitsui. Japan has watched as China has slowly eaten away at its worldwide share of stainless steel production. We are very skeptical they would be willing to surrender one of the largest and most important nickel projects under construction, and one, that the world is counting on to relieve the market from its current production deficit.) 
  Miners ask UN to stop China excluding them from Africa - "The world’s largest mining companies are turning to the UN and the World Bank in an attempt to prevent China freezing them out of Africa, The Times has learnt." - article here
  South Korea Buys 300 Tons of Nickel From Glencore via Tender - "South Korea's Public Procurement Service bought 300 metric tons of refined nickel from Glencore International AG, the world's largest commodity-trading company, via tender today." - Article here
  Jinchuan gives up Philippine nickel project-source - "The Philippines' Philnico Industrial Corp said talks with China's Jinchuan Group Ltd. on a joint venture to reopen the Nonoc nickel mine had hit a snag and the firm was talking with four other investor groups." - more here
  Scotiabank's Commodity Price Index Reaches New Record High in December - "Nickel prices soar to spectacular levels" - press release here
  Africa set to strip Western giants of mining rights - "African governments are gearing up to seize back valuable mining concessions from the global extractive giants." - article here
  Chinese media quoting CRU figures - World nickel production in 2006 - 1,354,000 tons  World nickel consumption in 2006 - 1,380,000 tons = World nickel production deficit of 25,700 tons in 2006 - Big reason - World stainless production grew by 14% to 27,800,000 million tons.
  Blurb - "Chinese non-ferrous metal companies increased aggregate profit by 82 percent in 2006 from a year earlier" Source - Shanghai Securities News quoting the Ministry of Finance
  At 7:50 am CST, indications were that nickel was selling down by $.16/lb. (more) (Quote - Bloomberg " More than 90 percent of nickel stockpiles belonged to a single company as of Jan. 25, according to LME data. It's the same for aluminum and aluminum stockpiles in LME-monitored warehouses. The exchange doesn't identify the companies. Under LME rules, companies in control of more than 90 percent of stockpiles must make the metal available to buyers for a limited charge. ")
  Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries - Market Report - pdf here
  Iron ore producers 'will be the new Opec' - "Iron ore producers will become the "Opec" of the steel industry as growing global demand for the metal increases their pricing power, said Ratan Tata, chairman of India's Tata group, whose steel unit is trying to takeover Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus." - Article here
  DJ Indonesia Mining Official:Ore Export Ban Will Hit Sector Hard - "Indonesia's new ban on exports of metal ores will likely deal a hard blow to the troubled mining sector, Indonesian Mining Association Executive Director Priyo Pribadi Soemarno said Monday." - article here
  Nickel sweetens platinum miners - "THE improvement in the nickel price this year has provided an interesting boost to the fortunes of South Africa’s platinum companies which produce the metal as part of the platinum group metal (PGM) family." - Article here
  No effect on nickel yet, but worth watching - "MILF hits mining activities in Mindanao" - article here
  If you did not look thru the weekend review posting, there are numerous articles posted.
  Shanghai Metal Market - Prices moved to lower right column
  Friday's official closing prices - cash - $18.33/lb - 3 month buyer - $17.15/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 600 tons =  4,278 tonnes  ( 37.87% cancelled warrants)

Weekend Review , Jan 27-28

  A Rich Seam: Who benefits from rising commodity prices? - "As world leaders meet in Davos, to discuss ‘The shifting power equation’, Christian Aid's latest report, A Rich Seam: Who benefits from rising commodity prices? shows that despite spectacular rises in the prices of commodity prices in oil, copper and gold, the ‘equation’ is still weighted very much in favour of the rich, with developing countries scarcely benefiting at all." - pdf report here
  Metal miners take a shine to moly - "COPPER has been bouncing back, gold has a new and higher support level, nickel is going wild, and now molybdenum, often a by-product of copper, is refusing to heed all the bearish warnings." - article here
  Strike set to push up nickel prices - "NICKEL prices are expected to rise on fears of strike action after hitting a fresh high on Friday for the eighth session running." - Article here
  Company lists environmental safeguards for Iron Range mine - "In a move to quell environmental concerns, PolyMet Mining Corp. said it has given regulators a list of safeguards it will take to prevent groundwater contamination at a proposed copper-and-nickel mine here." - Article here
  Double-edged commodity trends - "When talking about commodity markets, for obvious reasons crude oil hogs the limelight. The impact of oil supply and prices on the global economic cycle is huge, with a further impact on inflation....However, it’s the other way round for metals compared to oil when it comes to the relationship with the global economic cycle." - More here
  DJ Russia's Nickel Output Up 4.6% On Year In 2006 - "Nickel output in Russia increased 4.6% on the year in 2006, news agency Prime-Tass reports Friday, citing the Federal State Statistics Service." - Article here
  Nickel prices "to storm the city SEIZING CAMP," the market has been artificially control - "Six nickel production in 2005 at 67.8% of global output control has been far higher than that of other non-ferrous metals industries." - Article here
  Nickel strong demand exacerbated tensions supply cake - "While steel production of nickel metal electrolytic nickel lower than the quality of the pie. However, the products are widely used in industry and for easy melting and the IT industry. Given the current strong demand, the supply of nickel pie may further exacerbate the tense situation. European spot market price has risen to 1,000 U.S. dollars per tonne by using nickel cake" - Article here
  India reduced the import duties on non-ferrous metals - More here
  Hot metals - "As predicted at the beginning of the year, analysts, the price of metals continue to rise. This growth is expected to about the middle of the year." - Article here
  Net iron : Production in 2006 - "In 2006, the Armenian JSC Net hardware reduced production ore 12.4% to 2580.5 tonnes, compared to 2,943 tonnes for the same period last year." - Article here
  Market overview of non-ferrous metals in December 2006 - "December ended the year proved that the forecast situation in the international market for non-ferrous metals is extremely risky." - Article here
  China : In 2007, the demand for nickel is high - "Demand for nickel in China remain in the 2007 high, in spite of a probable increase in the price, said analyst consulting company Shanghai Securities Zhu Limin." - Article here
  Reuters market analysts forecasts 2007 - Updated forecasts by Reuters - average of analysts show nickel 2007 - $12.00/lb and 2008 average - $9.75/lb.And here is the complete list found in Chinese media - (some have changed since our December list) - ABARE - $11.23/lb, ABN Ambro Bank - $4.66/lb, Antaike - $12.00/lb, ANZ - $9.50/lb, Barclays Capital - $14.19/lb, - $12.70/lb, BMO - $12.50/lb, Bank of Paris - $11.68/lb, Canaccord Adams - $13.69/lb, Citigroup - $11.00/lb, German Commerical banks - $12.42/lb, Commonwealth Securities - $13.61/lb, CPM Group - $14.09/lb, Deutsche Bank - $14.28/lb, EIU - $12.10/lb, Everbright Securities - $13.61/lb, GFMS - $11.11/lb,  Goldman Sachs - $10.89/lb, JP Morgan - $9.98/lb, Lehman Brothers - $11.50/lb, Macquarie Bank - $10.13/lb, LOGIC Advisors - $15.65/lb, Mann Financial - $14.02/lb, Merrill Lynch - $10.75/lb, Mitsui Bussan - $9.53/lb, Morgan Stanley - $10.75/lb, NCM - $8.16/lb, National Bank - $10.00/lb, Numis Securities - $12.00/lb, RBC - $12.50/lb, Salman Partners - $13.79/lb, Scotia Capital - $10.00/lb, SiGe - $11.34/lb, Standard bank - $12.93/lb, UBS - $10.98/lb, Parastatal - $14.52/lb, Wellington West - $13.00/lb
  Source China Nonferrous Nets 1/19 (please pardon the translation) - "In 2007, accounting for more than 50% of the growth in global demand for metals that China's economy will maintain a rapid growth rate, ore supply has been alleviated but still can not meet the growth in demand. ... Primary non-ferrous metals prices will remain high, the probability plummeted smaller, it will be divided among all varieties, nickel, zinc, lead and gold will continue to challenge the 2006 high points, copper, aluminum, tin weak performance. ... Zhongyuan Securities insisted that the current round of nonferrous metals bull market cycle will far exceed all expectations, ...."
  Source Shanghai Securities News - "Non-ferrous Metal Industry statistics show 81.7% profit growth - 2006 Statistics released by the Ministry of Finance on the 26th"
  Source Barclays - "China's nickel concentrate imports continued to rise significantly, and for the year 2006, reached 377.78 million tons, a 681% growth." 9.7%
  CVRD Moves Ahead With Goro, Voisey's Bay - "Brazilian miner Companhia Vale do Rio Doce [NYSE:RIO; TSX:N] says it will spend US$477 million on maintenance at its newly acquired Canadian operations this year and push ahead with the Voisey's Bay nickel project in Labrador." - Article here
  Mining exports seen doubling in 3 years - "The mining industry expects last year’s $ 1.2-billion metal exports to double in three years time as more mining projects come on stream. This year alone, investments in mining is also projected to reach $ 00 million from only $ 120 million last year." - Article here
  CVRD opens purse for spending - "The chief executive of Brazil's Companhia Vale do Rio Doce has unveiled ambitious spending plans, saying the price of nickel has been unexpectedly high since the mining giant took over Canadian nickel producer Inco Ltd." - article here
  Most recent CAW negotiation membership advisory - here  and "steelworkers Pledge Support for Mine Mill/CAW Union in Talks With Xstrata PLC" - press release here
  Non magnetic stainless steel scrap prices - (US spot market - your local price will be different) - Retail $.80/lb (small quantity) - $.97/lb (LTL) - $1.29/lb (TL) 
  Dwyka goes for nickel - "Dwyka Diamonds is tapping the City for support for a potentially lucrative nickel project at Muremera in Burundi, central Africa." - Article here
  New Page - Charts and Graphs now posted here (nickel demand, supply, prices, uses, and molybdenum)
  Big commodity investors lost millions last year in a bear market - "But will they reap the rewards if they persevere this year, as some analysts are predicting a bull run?" - article here
  CVRD to invest US$ 6.3 billion in 2007 - pdf press release here (full description)
  Not everyone ends up making money in China - story here
  Australian Prospectors and Mining Hall of Fame - here   Nice presentation they did on where we use "mined" minerals in our daily lives here
  For the rock lovers - beautiful pictures of minerals from Australia and surrounding islands - translated into English here
  Bookmark - Goldman Sachs Australia The AXA Daily - pdf here (not specific to metals)
  Bookmark - Wachovia Weekly Economic Commentary - posted end of day Friday - link here (economic, not metals)
  Bookmark - European Confederation of Iron and Steel Industries - Market Report pdf here
  Bookmark - US Department of Labor Producer Price Index - pdf here
  Interesting Site - Geochemistry of Igneous Rocks - link here (this site dismisses the theory that Sudbury nickel is from an ancient meteorite)

Friday, Jan 26  Happy Australia Day to our readers down under! "For those who've come across the seas, We've boundless plains to share; With courage let us all combine, To Advance Australia Fair."
  LME nickel hit a new record high for the 8th consecutive day, before ending the day and week at $17.27/lb ($38,075/tonne). Officially, the closing price for 3 month nickel was $17.15/lb. (more here) Thankfully, it's Friday. So far my day has gone like a 'salmon day'. For those who don't know what a salmon day is - it is when you spend an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end. Hope you all have a nice weekend!
  From January 8 - Twenty-four walkout by Ramu contract employees - "Indigenous contract workers at the Ramu nickel mine project in Basamuk in Papua New Guinea’s Madang province, held a 24-hour strike on January 8 over low wages, poor working conditions and the lack of safety equipment. The strike ended after workers met with Ramu NiCo Management Limited, a subsidiary of China Metallurgical Construction Company (CMCC). Contract employees are only paid five kina day. This is far less than other site workers who receive 15 kina ($5.00US). While CMCC management claims to have reached an understanding acceptable to the workers, details of the arrangement are not yet known." copyright ICFI web site ($1.67 per day!)
  Nickel drives CVRD's record 2007 capex budget - "Brazil's CVRD , the world's biggest iron ore miner, said Friday it plans to invest a record $6.3 billion in 2007 which would be a $1.8 billion increase from 2006, mostly in nickel." - more here  (and) DJ Brazil Miner CVRD Sets 2007 Capex Budget At $6.3 Bln - more here
  DJ Brazil Miner CVRD CEO To Visit New Caledonia In Feb - "Brazilian mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (RIO), or CVRD, will present its plans to develop the Goro nickel mine to local communities in a personal visit, company President Roger Agnelli said Friday." - Article here
  Q1 ferrochrome deals signed at 75 c/lb - trade - "Contracts for the supply of ferro-chrome by South African miners to stainless steel makers in the first quarter were signed at 75 cents per lb, buyers and sellers said this week." - Article here
  Indications at 8:00 am CST were nickel was selling up by $.03/lb, after hitting another record earlier in the day. (more)
  Get Ready To Sell Nickel And Aluminium Stocks? - here
  Jyske Bank Commodity Update - pdf here
  Volume, volatility draw commodity risk takers - "Rising volatility and huge trading volumes across commodity markets are luring big money risk takers, even if record price rallies are over for now." - more here
  Dow Jones Headline - Brazil Miner CVRD: Goro Nickel Project Still Under Review
  GDP grows fastest in 11 years - "The economy turned in another sparkling performance last year, with gross domestic product (GDP) growing at the fastest clip in 11 years and inflation moving below 2 percent." - Article here
  The Economic Times - "Jindal Stainless has reported 440 percent jump in net profit for the quarter ending December 31, 2006."
  Yieh reports Taiwan's stainless steel mills will announce price increases on Monday.
  China's Refined Nickel Imports to Fall 11% in 2007 - "Refined nickel imports by China, the world's biggest consumer of the metal, may fall 11 percent this year as the country steps up production from low-grade nickel ores bought from the Philippines." - Article here
  Commodities: Heady Chinese growth burnishes nickel and copper - "Copper rose steeply Thursday and nickel reached another record high after China, the world's largest consumer of industrial metals, said that its economy expanded at the fastest pace in 11 years." - Article here
  Still no specifics but a little more on  the Venezuela/Cuba nickel deal - "Twelve new joint ventures, 16 agreements signed" - article here
  Six global nickel production in 2005 has been controlled 67.8% of the global output - translated article here (these translators have a lot to be desired when trying to translate Chinese)
  Metals upsets, offsets, and onsets in 2007 - "What are the smart plays on price?" - Jan 9th article here
  Damstahl Stainless Monthly Stainless Steel Report - pdf here (only opens externally, will not open in browser)
  Report condemns Philippines mining - Article here and pdf report here
  US low carbon ferrochrome prices jump on brisk trade - "Prices for low carbon ferrochrome rose sharply on brisk spot market trade and tight supplies, while export business has been heard on high carbon ferrochrome, which is adding further pressure on what is seen as an already tight market." - Article here
  Canadian News - "Nickel Rises to a Record After Xstrata Rejects Offer From Union" (here) "Xstrata Canada Labor Talks Have Yet to Include Money Issues" (here)  "Xstrata labor talks 'not making any headway'-union" (here) "Eleventh hour approaches for Xstrata contract negotiations" (here) and you can follow the latest news from the CAW site here
  Shanghai Metal Market - Prices moved to lower right column
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $18.73/lb - 3 month buyer - $17.24/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 72 tons =  4,878 tonnes  ( 45.51% cancelled warrants)

Thursday, Jan 25
  And finally to end today's breaking news, a non nickel story. For those of you who might invest in gold on the hopes of high jewelry sales, we bring you this Mineweb story - "Nip/Tuck Analysis: Will women choose Botox or boob jobs over gold?" (Comment - And no, while the 'Daily Boob Job and Buxom Bulletin' might make for an interesting website, we won't start it)
  LME nickel had another gainer day, ending at $17.30/lb ($38,145/tonne). The official closing for the day was $17.24/lb for 3 month.
  More Canadian articles on Sudbury talks - "Strike deadline at Xstrata Nickel Jan. 31" here "Nickel markets expect Xstrata strike: analysts; Coupled with extremely low inventories, price continues to climb" here
  Media Advisory - CVRD 2007 Investment Plan Web Cast - media release here
  Copper, Nickel Lead Metal Gains on Chinese Economic Growth - "Copper rose the most in two weeks in London and nickel traded at a record for a seventh day after China, the world's largest consumer of industrial metals, said its economy expanded at the fastest pace in 11 years." - article here
  Mining seen to boom on new investments - "The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines eyes some $500 million new money in the industry this year in addition to previous investments made by existing mining companies." - more here
  Cuba, Venezuela extending ties with new deals - "Cuba's vice president arrived in Venezuela on Wednesday to sign economic deals, including for an underwater telecommunications cable meant to bypass a U.S. embargo, extending ties between the two nations, which already sustain their anti-U.S. alliance with commercial accords." - article here (does contain info on nickel and stainless steel developments)
  It is forecast that 304 surcharges for US market will exceed $1.50/lb for March 2007, unless nickel drops substantially before the end of January. It was a approximately $1.30/lb this month, and will be a little over $1.40/lb in February.
  Comment - Planned and forseen nickel production disruptions in 2007 - BHP - closing world's third-biggest nickel refinery in March for 21 days for scheduled maintenance - Norilsk - May - typically the Port of Dudinka closes during May for about 4 weeks when spring floods and ice flows on the Yenisei River make shipping too hazardous. Norilsk is the world's largest nickel producer. Unforeseen disruptions - ??? Potential strike at Xstrata Sudbury, severe weather, emergency shut-down's, earthquake, geopolitical problems,  sinking ships (it wasn't the first time), etc plus an incredibly low LME inventory to start the year = very nervous market 
  Indications at 8:00 am CST US show nickel was trading up by $.31/lb. The fact that LME inventories fell below the psychological 5000 tonne mark today, with nearly 1/2 (45%) of that cancelled warrants (basically non existent nickel), with the Xstrata strike potential looming, has the market nervous. (more here)
  Mining Companies Asked to Increase Production - "The Department of Energy and Mineral Resources has asked that three gold and copper mining companies increase production." - more here
  Hard-liner threatens holy war against Indonesian police for killing Muslim militants - "An alleged Southeast Asian terror leader threatened to call for holy war against Indonesian police Thursday, days after an anti-terror squad shot dead 15 suspected Islamic extremists." - article here (this is worth watching as the island of Sulawesi where PT INco operates is big, but potentially not big enough)
  (comment - this is the first time we have seen anyone make the claim nickel is hard to find) - High nickel price supports stainless products - article here
  Commodity relief in sight - "In a report to clients, Dresdner Kleinwort reckons that metal prices may continue to decline, having already retraced 15% from peaks seen in May 2006. The main reasons for potential forward weakness are cited as increasing supply, a slowing US economy, and an increase in inventories." - article here
  Progress at Xstrata labor talks very slow -union - "Labor talks between Xstrata Plc and the union representing workers at its Sudbury nickel operations in northern Ontario are progressing "very very" slowly, a union representative said on Wednesday." - article here
  DJ BHP: Yabulu Nickel Costs 20% Above Budget - "Increased labor and materials costs have hiked costs by 20% to US$556 million at BHP Billiton's (BHP) Yabulu nickel refinery expansion in the Australian state of Queensland, a BHP spokeswoman told Dow Jones Newswires Thursday." - article here
  The factory of Doniambo starts its cure of youth - translated article here
  Record output for BHP, despite constraints - "BHP Billiton has posted record production in many of its metals and minerals, but says labour and equipment shortages are continuing to affect budgets and schedules." - Article here
  Antam's Nickel Output May Rise to 22,000 Tons in 2007 - "PT Aneka Tambang, Indonesia's second- largest nickel miner, said it may increase output of the metal by as much as 52 percent this year as with a new smelter contributing full-year production." - article here
  Merrill Lynch forecasts excellent nickel results - "Merrill Lynch analysts declared Wednesday that nickel still “has the best fundamentals of the industrial metals” and that “nickel companies should deliver excellent results during the reporting season.” - article here
  Shanghai Metal Market - 333000-338000 RMB/t  minus 1500 RMB/t (No. 1 electrolytic nickel 99.9%) and #1 Jinchuan Nickel 338000-340000 RMB/t plus 2000 RMB/t
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $18.69/lb - 3 month buyer - $17.17/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 66 tons =  4,950 tonnes  ( 45.45% cancelled warrants)

Wednesday, Jan 24
  After its 6th straight day of record breaking trading, LME nickel calmed down in the afternoon, to end the day at  $16.96/lb ($37,400/tonne). The official close for the day for 3 month nickel was $17.17/lb. (more)
  Sprott Asset Management - "Has the Matador Slain the Commodity Bull" pdf here
  World steel output hits record in 2006 - "World steel production surged 8.8 percent last year to a record 1.239 billion tonnes, powered by Asian and Chinese output, the International Iron and Steel Institute disclosed." - article here
  Commodities and resource companies: To invest, or not? - "Investors considering investing in commodities or resource companies are advised to be selective in their choice of metals and to steer clear of those frequented by speculators." - article here
  China's Base Metal Production Up in 2006 - "China produced 2.925 million tonnes copper in 2006, an increase of 17.8% from a year earlier. Aluminum production hit 9.19 million tonnes, up 19.7%, according statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics yesterday. " - article here
  Steel Price to Rise Stably in China - "China is likely to see its steel price rise 5% this year and 2% next year, due to diminishing reserves and declining production capacity, according to JP Morgan Chase, a globe leading financial services firm." - more here
  Nickel price knows no bounds - "Nickel prices seem unstoppable with the spot price not only blasting through the $US40,000 a tonne level in one night but continuing on to a breathtaking $US41,000." - article here
  Beaches Near Shipwreck in Southern England Sealed Off to Prevent Looting - article here (well so much for that rock collecting vacation idea)
  A follow-up to my theory published Saturday, that CAW wouldn't strike against Xstrata. According to an article published in Hoovers today,  and quoting Tom Dattilo, national representative of the Canadian Auto Workers division, the new owners Xstrata, are using the same head negotiator that led talks for Falconbridge in 2004. Those talks ended in a strike. So much for my theory of a fresh start!
  At 7:45 am CST, indications are nickel is selling up by a mere dime so far today. ($.10/lb) It's 1:45 pm in London, with 3 hours of trading remaining. (more here)
  DJ BHP Nickel Refinery Scheduled Shutdown Known Since Dec -Co - "A scheduled maintenance shutdown at BHP Billiton Ltd.'s (BHP) Kwinana nickel refinery for three weeks during the March quarter has been known to the market since December, a BHP spokeswoman said Wednesday." - Article here
  Allegheny Technologies Announces Strong Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2006 Results - press release here  and "Wider loss at AK Steel; shares rise" - article here
  World Steel Production Up By 8.8% in 2006 - World steel production surged 8.8 percent last year to a record 1.239 billion tonnes, powered by Asian and Chinese output, the International Iron and Steel Institute disclosed. It was the third consecutive year that production had surpassed a billion tonnes. Asia accounted for 53.7 percent of world output in 2006, compared with 41.6 percent in 2001 and 38.4 percent in 1996. China was the leading national producer, turning out 418 million tonnes, more than a third of the global total. The other major producers were Japan, 116.2 million tonnes, and the United States, 98.5 million tonnes, followed by Russia, South Korea, Germany and India.
  FOCUS-China to cut some steel export rebates amid trade pressure - analysts - "China will cut export tax rebates on low-margin steel products to ease mounting trade friction but it will not reduce payments on high value items as it wants to climb the steel value chain, analysts said." - more here
  High flying nickel price lifts producers - "Continuing supply concerns have pushed the price of nickel over the $US40,000-a-tonne barrier, a move that has helped several local producers to record share price highs." - more here
  Headline only - China produces 467 mln tons steel products in 2006, up 24 percent and South American crude steel production totals 45.3Mt in 2006
  Historical Quote - "The continuing crisis in the nickel market, which has brought prices to record levels and sent nickel consumers scrambling for cover, again has called into question the use of the London Metal Exchange as a market barometer and led to new calls for fixed producer prices to replace LME-based contracts." - quote from American Metal Market March 16, 1988 Nickel began trading on the London Metal Exchange on April 23, 1979
  Stainless Steel Bar from Brazil, India, Japan, and Spain: Continuation of Antidumping Duty Orders - update here
  Customs duty on capital goods cut to curb prices - "Alarmed by inflation touching a two-year high of 6.12 per cent, the government today reduced customs duty on a host of items such as cement, raw materials and capital goods to lower the cost of manufacturing and infrastructure development." - more here
  DJ Kothari Metals: Hedge Funds Exaggerate Nickel Tightness - "Nickel consumers are importing directly from producers and aren't facing the tight supply side conditions that some hedge funds would like the market to think exist, according to a senior executive at Indian metals importer Kothari Metals Ltd." - more here
  Posco Increases Stainless Steel Prices as Nickel Costs Surge - "Posco, the world's third-largest steelmaker, will raise the price of its stainless steel products for the first time this year after seven increases last year as the cost of nickel, a key raw material, surged." - more here This comes a day after Yieh reports "China to consume more nickel as stainless output up" - article here. Also, Jinchuan raised stainless prices yesterday.
  Nickel Climbs to Record for 6th Consecutive Session on Supply - "Nickel climbed to a record for a sixth consecutive session in London on continued concern that supply of the metal used in stainless steel won't meet demand this year. Tin advanced to an 18-year high for a second day." - Article here
  Shanghai Metal Market - 334000-340000RMB/t  plus 8000 RMB/t (No. 1 electrolytic nickel 99.9%) and #1 Jinchuan Nickel 334000-340000 RMB/t plus 7500 RMB/t
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $18.41/lb - 3 month buyer - $17.01/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 48 tons =  5,016tonnes  (37.92% cancelled warrants)

Tuesday, Jan 23
  LME nickel ended the day at $17.12/lb ($37,750/tonne). The official close for the day, for 3 month nickel, was $17.01/lb. The official close for "cash" nickel was over $40,000/tonne for the first time in history today.  (more here from Bloomberg)
  News from the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, home of PT Inco - Indonesia Newmont boss says no complaints on mining (article here) and for those of you who don't have any radical terrorist groups in your backyard, PT Inco does according to this article (article here)
  Brazil the Next China Like Miracle - "Just a few years ago, suppose you had known that China, a backward, deeply impoverished communist country, would quickly transform itself into the fastest-growing capitalist economy on the planet. And suppose you had invested $10,000 in the leading Chinese companies." - more here
  RobTV - 9:50 AM ET Market Morning with Lisa Oake / interview with Ken McCord, president and CEO, Webb Asset Management here
  At 8:00 am CST, indications show nickel is trading $.33/lb higher.
  Metals Insider - Week in Review for Nickel - pdf here
  Reuters Metal Weekly - pdf here
  Behre Dolbear - Global Mining News - pdf here
  Rand Merchant Bank Base Metals Report pdf here
  BMO forecasts commodity bull run decline, flat metals prices - "BMO (Bank of Montreal) Financial Group has forecast the end of the four-year bull run for commodity prices, and declared that “the outlook for commodity prices in 2007 is mixed.” - more here
  Stainless price up on hiked nickel cost - "As the global market demands and metal surcharge in different countries, the up or down trend of stainless steel price is various. The main factor which brings up the stainless market price is the continuously increased nickel price. The stainless steel price in the global market can be summarized as below :" - more here  (also, from a quote another Yieh report - "The demand for the nickel was believed to increase sharply in the near future when China's mills are expected to consume 200,000 tons of nickel this year.")
  AK Steel will release 4th quarter and year end results today at 11:00 am EST over a  live webcast here
  Molybdenum Outlook 2007, Part One - "This past Tuesday, molybdenum traded at $24/pound when a Chilean copper commission spokesperson forecast the metal would drop to an average $20/pound this year. But on Thursday, Platts Metal Daily reported molybdenum oxide trading higher: $24.80 to $26/pound." - more here
  China to Complete Reform of Mining Industry - "China will complete its reform of the mining industry by the end of 2008 to ensure only one company is allowed to exploit one mine, according to a central government statement." - Article here
  While lithium batteries are getting much of the attention for future hybrid automobiles, this article may concern nickel mining companies - "What's in store for EEStor?" - article here  (has not hit mainstream media yet so many are skeptical of blog reports)  Another article here
  China Plans to Shift Use of Foreign Exchange Reserves - "China, the world's biggest consumer of coal and metals, will use its foreign exchange reserves to buy ``strategic'' resources, Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan said." - more here
  Shanghai Metal Market - 328000-330000RMB/t  plus 10,500 RMB/t (No. 1 electrolytic nickel 99.9%) and #1 Jinchuan Nickel 329000-330000 RMB/t plus 10,500 RMB/t
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $17.51/lb - 3 month buyer - $16.56/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 12 tons =  5,064tonnes  (25.59% cancelled warrants)

Monday, Jan 22 (for the moment, electricity and internet service seemed to have returned to normal - thank you for your patience)
  Week in review quickie. The good news - the sinking ship didn't sink and didn't have as much nickel onboard as originally reported. The 4 month strike in New Caledonia is over. The bad news - nickel inventories held in LME warehouses continue to slide and Xstrata and its union are still in talks to avoid a strike next week. That being said, LME nickel ended the day at  $16.92/lb ($37,295/tonne). The official closing price for 3 month nickel today was $16.56/lb.
  Sudbury labor talks at critical point - Xstrata - "Talks between Xstrata Plc and the union representing workers at its nickel operations in Sudbury, Ontario, are reaching a critical point in talks surrounding contract language, the company said on Monday." - more here
  Another Record Day for Nickel - pdf report here
  Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries - Market Report - pdf here
  Antam sees nickel output up in 2008 - "PT Aneka Tambang (Antam), Indonesia`s second-largest ferronickel producer, said it expects to increase output by 58% to 22,000 t/y in 2008 after its new FeNi III smelter reaches full capacity." - more here
  Nickel hits new record high, copper slips - more here
  China's Nickel Demand to Remain Strong Amidst High Prices - "China's demand for nickel might not be hampered by high global prices, some analysts say." - Article here
  At 8:00 am CST, indications were nickel was selling up by $.45/lb - more here
  Nickel price up on low supply, Chinese stainless steel output - Numis - " Demand for nickel is principally linked to the production of stainless steel which makes up around 62 pct of nickel usage worldwide, particularly the 300 series with a 8-12 pct nickel content. China last year tried to push a lower grade nickel 200 series into the market due to high nickel prices -- a move rejected by consumers as low grade stainless reduces anti-corrosive properties, the note said." - more here
   Japan Q1 ferrochrome price unchanged at 83c - "The term price for ferrochrome to Japan for the January-March quarter has been set at 83 cents a pound, unchanged from the previous quarter, a Japanese company official said on Monday." - Article here
  Kanak activists from New Caledonia may go to Brazil to talk with mining giant - more here
  Shanghai Metal Market - 317000-320000 RMB/t  plus 2000 RMB/t (No. 1 electrolytic nickel 99.9%) and #1 Jinchuan Nickel 318000-320000 RMB/t plus 1500 RMB/t
  Friday's official closing prices - cash - $16.87/lb - 3 month buyer - $16.08/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 126 tons =  5,052 tonnes  (22.21% cancelled warrants)

Weekend Review, Jan 20-21
  Quote from China article titled "Nickel prices vulnerable to rising long-term imbalance between supply and demand is difficult" - "In summary, although the effects of global macroeconomic control in different areas gradually became apparent, it also poses greater pressure on commodity markets. However, due to the strong fundamentals of nickel shown to the independent movements, the growth of the supply expected in the coming year is less likely. There is no significant decline in demand. A dual role of the tight supply situation will be difficult to improve significantly, therefore, in times of high prices, nickel prices rise difficult or easy." Also, from another article we mentioned Thursday "Sumitomo Metal mining official said, "China's demand for nickel has grown by 20% compared with the past few years, and we expect this data will be maintained in 2007."
  World's largest nickel mine returning to state control? - "The Jeweled Nickel" - "More likely than not, the negotiations will ultimately result in establishing the state control over the metal giant, the more so that the Kremlin is said to be studying possible methods of returning Norilsk Nickel back into the state ownership." - more here
  Flooding halts effort to rescue 29 Chinese miners - "Rising water levels have forced the suspension of efforts to rescue 29 Chinese miners trapped for three days in a flooded iron ore pit, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday." - more here
  Molybdenum Outlook 2007: Metal Lacks the Price Hysteria of Uranium - "This past Tuesday, molybdenum traded at $24/pound when a Chilean copper commission spokesperson forecast the metal would drop to an average $20/pound this year. But on Thursday, Platts Metal Daily reported molybdenum oxide trading higher: $24.80 to $26/pound." - article here
  Bank expects SA mine output to rise in 2007 - "International specialist banking group Investec expects that South African mining production will improve in 2007 as new projects come on stream." - more here
  Nickel Institute - Nickel Consortia to be Launched - "Producers, users and importers of nickel are launching the Nickel Consortia, in order to efficiently meet all its requirements under Europe’s new chemicals policy Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals – REACH." - More here  and more on EU "REACH" effective June 1, with video introduction - here
  Commentary - (disclaimer - this is a personal opinion only, and based on no insider information) The history of negotiations between the former Falconbridge and Mine Mill & Smelter Workers - Local 598 of the Canadian Auto Workers Union was, to say the least, contentious. The last three times these two met to negotiate a three year contract, the talks ended in strikes ranging from weeks to months. Xstrata's buy-out of Falconbridge, and the introduction of a new management team, offers both parties the opportunity to put any old animosities aside, and gives both, a fresh pool to swim in. For Xstrata, who successfully negotiated the end to a four day strike at its Altonorte copper mine in Chile in December, it allows an opportunity to establish an environment of diplomacy that will set the tone for years to come. For Local 598, it offers a chance to put history with a company that allegedly tried to break their union once in the rear view mirror, and establish an environment of compromise that benefits both their membership, and the long range profitability of their employer. As I have grown older, I have come to appreciate what unions have done, for all of us. Simple employment 'facts' that we all take for granted today, were gained at the expense of hard fought sacrifices made by our union forefathers. One only has to travel to some third world countries today to see conditions similar to those our ancestors worked in, until unions were formed and demanded employers recognize employees were more than a disposable commodity. For the sacrifices they have made, and the hard fought "rights" they have gained for all union and non-union members alike, they are owed a debt of gratitude by all of us. That said, there seems to be a stigma attached to unions that, at least in my area, their leaders never saw the forest because of the tree they planted themselves behind. I say saw, because in the last 30 years, union membership in my part of the state has been decimated by plant shutdown's. In the present negotiations, and from the Local 598's own web site, the two sticking points appear to be vacations and postings. (see press release dated yesterday). Since I am thousands of miles away and have no little bird telling me the inside scoop here, I can only guess this is about job postings and annual vacation scheduling, which, on the same site, appears to have been complaints Xstrata has inherited.(see here)

So why do I think Xstrata and Local 598 will avoid a strike? First, and most importantly, everyone involved in the nickel mining industry is making 'extra' money right now. That includes the stock-holders, the managers, and the guys down in the mines. Production at most mines is going 'flat out', with every pound of nickel mined selling for seven times what it did just a few years ago. Allowing a strike to stop production at this point carries multiple risks, especially when nearly half of your corporate production could be affected. While prices would likely go even higher with a strike, if you are shipping less nickel, you aren't reaping the benefits of the current windfall, and you could watch your competitors reap the new windfall your strike would bring about. (that would be kind of like CSTNC striking against SLN when their complaints were against a competitor, CVRD-Inco, frustrating to say the least) And secondly, declaring force majeure at this point of the bull ride, carries extra risks. Many of those who follow the market closely, are forecasting 2008 could look a lot different than 2007, when it comes to available supply of nickel. We are witnessing the part of the cycle when, as prices rise, new money pours into exploration and new site development, and inevitably, this rush will bring on a period when supply exceeds demand and prices will falter. With new suppliers coming on the scene in the near future, hungry for customers, now is not the best time to annoy those customers you have, by putting them in the position to scramble for nickel, when it isn't in surplus.(For those who would use Inco and last years strike at Voisey's Bay to dispute my theory, I would saw the situation was much different, and that Inco, with their 'new' source of nickel, was not in the same predicament Xstrata is. And what about the strike vote? Of course, they gave their leadership a strike mandate. The strike mandate is the union telling Xstrata we can play hardball if we need to. If you didn't, it would be like a used car salesman telling you "this is our absolute and final best offer.....but it's negotiable" ) Thirdly, with mines worldwide suffering from a lack of trained employees, any union representing experienced miners and smelter professionals, especially one in Canada with the nearby Oil Sands projects offering great wages, should carefully consider whether its membership's loyalty to its union, is as strong as their commitment to putting food on the table for their family. Thus, in this case, especially in this case, it is in both sides mutual interest to find common ground. Therefore, it is my humble opinion, that negotiations will go down to the wire (no use settling early when you know the price of nickel will probably drop as soon as you settle), but that before the current contract expires, the two sides will reach an agreement. (Then again, I predicted nickel would peak at $6/lb, no not $16, six - so you get what you pay for) (For those who wish to take issue with this, please remember opinions are like armpits. We all have a couple, and if they smelled half as good to those around us, as we think they should, there would be no need for the billion dollar deodorant industry! And you can take that from a guy who lost water for a week!!)
  The cargo ship we mentioned earlier this week, that had been abandoned and was reportedly sinking, will be run aground to keep it from sinking. BUT the company has told Reuters that there is only 160 tons of nickel on board, not the 1000 tons as they reported earlier. More here
  We post links to, what we think, are the best nickel related daily reports in our left column. But there are reports out there that we do not, or can not, link to daily. Some of you might find them helpful so we will periodically give you some on the weekend updates. This blog is free and therefore, only links to sites and articles that are free. Please bookmark those you like.
  This one is a base metals must have. You can read this daily report with a subscription to the "pay" metals sites, or you can sign up to get a copy e-mailed to you everyday for free here (We highly recommended it.) And speaking of reports available to "subscribers", we have added a link to the left where you can read the "Sucden Morning Market Report" for free.
  Daily Osaka nickel prices link here   (and)   the Central Japan Commodity Exchange here
  We mentioned this once before and asked if anyone wanted added to the daily's. No one asked, so we offer it to you as a bookmark. here
  This one is for those who want to follow other worldwide economic factors - this page gives you multiple links to daily reports - FX Street Market Analysis here 

Friday evening, Jan 19 (first day above freezing in a week and powerlines snapping again. Tomorrow, sleet or freezing rain, and 4-8 inches of snow forecast. Can somebody send one of those Global Warming experts to my house? I think I missed part of their theory. Sheesh!)
  And finally, we found something besides copper that might actually be going down in price. Or should we say something besides nickel may be rising soon in China? Headline - "Pfizer loses Viagra trademark suit in China"
  LME nickel ended the day and week at $16.37/lb ($36,100/tonne). Friday's official close for 3 month was $16.08/lb.
  Nickel Rises to Record for 3rd Day in London on Supply Concern - "Nickel rose to a record for a third consecutive day in London on speculation that supply disruptions will further erode stockpiles." - Article here
  Moly Prices : $ U, Down, Sideways? - commentary here
  Commodity bull run to take a breather in '07: BMO - "The torrid pace of commodity price increases that's been a hallmark of the last four years is likely over, BMO Financial Group forecasts in its latest outlook." - more here
  Quote - "When inventor Stanford Ovshinsky first opened ECD Ovonics in 1960, he had a lofty goal—to use science to change the world completely. Over the past four decades, he's done just that, inventing everything from the flexible solar cell to the nickel-metal hydride batteries that power every hybrid car on the market." - More on ECD Ovonics here
  State Development and Reform Commission - China produced 500 million tons of stainless steel in 2006, to become the world's largest producer of stainless steel. It became the world's largest consumer of stainless in 2001.
  According to Kommersant, Mikhail Prokhorov may be asked to resign as CEO of Norilsk Nickel this spring. If you want to know why, read last Friday's and Saturday's news.
  Nickel became the first base metal to exceed $1/ounce yesterday
  (Nickel next?) 'Bumpy ride' ahead as miners contemplate future cuts - "The rolling power outages that affected most of South Africa after generation capacity was cut following technical problems at Eskom, have affected the production of several local miners, sparking some uncertainty about future impacts." - Article here and Article here
  The Failure of Nea - "The strike thus ended with the SLN after 116 days. Sylvain Néa affirms to want to assume his failure. But whereas it negotiates its departure of the company, which really will pay the full price of this adventure of which practically everyone brings out loser?" - translated article here
  Outokumpu Technology to modernize flash smelter for Norilsk Nickel - press release here
  Dwyka announced that it has acquired the Muremura nickel project located in Burundi. The project is located within 2 km distance of the world-class Kabanga nickel deposit. - pdf press release here
  South Korea's Posco has forecast their output of crude stainless steel will be 1.99 million tons this year, slightly less than the output of 2.01 million tons in 2006
  MSC Napoli towed towards coastline with 1,000T nickel - "The container ship MSC Napoli, with at least 1,000 tonnes of nickel on board, was being towed towards Devon's coast, the British coastguard told Reuters on Friday." - Article here  (update - successfully run aground off Devon)
  Shanghai Metal Market - 315000-318000 RMB/t  0 RMB/t (No. 1 electrolytic nickel 99.9%) and #1 Jinchuan Nickel 317000-318000 RMB/t plus 500 RMB/t
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $16.56/lb - 3 month buyer - $16.01/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 144 tons =  5,178 tonnes  (14.83% cancelled warrants)

Thursday evening, Jan 18 (electricity returns to the house - woohoo!! Internet access is another story)
  LME nickel ended the day at $16.19/lb ($35,700/tonne) on fears of walking nickel miners and mined nickel taking a bath (see below). The official close for the day was $16.01/lb for 3 month nickel. 
  Fortis Metals Monthly - January 2007 - pdf here
  Industrial metals likely to take strain - "The commodity price boom, which started in late 2001, leading to surging metal prices, is expected to slow down this year, as commodities, in particular industrial metals, have started the year on the defensive." - article here
  An Industry Is Aborning: Nickel Mining in Michigan - "Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has recommended that a permit be issued for the construction of what is to be the only primary nickel mine in the United States to the Kennecott Eagle Minerals Company, an operating entity of Utah’s Kennecott Minerals, which is itself a wholly owned subsidiary of Britain’s Rio Tinto Group." - more here
  Dow Jones Newswire quote - "...Commonwealth Bank of Australia's view prices "remain in orbit." Bank says market clearly struggling to keep up, with potential strike at Sudbury mine "means buyers have to go to great lengths to woo sellers." As a result, $US40,000/ton "being discussed again,"..."
  Possible concern to Inco and PT Antam - Strengthening monsoons could mean increased droughts in Indonesia, Australia - article here  (and we missed this) Jakarta Post quote  from Jan 10 "Profit at PT Aneka Tambang, the country's second largest nickel maker, may slump next year should the government bar the export of unprocessed ores under a new mining law, Merrill Lynch & Co said. Antam, as the company is known, may earn Rp 2.18 trillion (US$ 242 million) in 2008, 18% lower than forecast 2007 net income, analyst Daisy Suryo said in a report. The drop may be as steep as 41% should there be a ban of overseas shipments of mineral ores, she said. Indonesia, a resource rich archipelago that counts copper, gold, tin and nickel as key exports, is debating a draft mining law that may be passed in March."
  Steel Times quote - "China will see a balance of supply and demand for steel in 2007, with the steel price remaining close to last year's level, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)."
  Reuters quote - "LME nickel rallied in electronic trading to a record peak of $35,975, equivalent to over $1 an ounce, and at 0745 GMT was at $35,800 a tonne, from $35,500 on Wednesday.
  Burden SLN: Sylvain Néa throws sponge - "The conflict opposing the CSTNC to the SLN is finished. It is Sylvain Néa itself which announces it in an official statement, yesterday evening diffused." - translated article here
  Yieh Corp - "According to Steel Business Briefing, the UK stainless coil price will up by 9 percent in January, 2007."
  Ship With Chemicals, Nickel May Sink in Channel - "A container ship carrying chemicals, nickel and other goods was in danger of sinking in the English Channel after being abandoned by its crew in storm conditions." - More here  (late news - U.K.-based Zodiac Maritime Agencies Ltd says MSC Napoli and its 1,000 tonnes of nickel cargo has very good chance of being recovered intact)
  Commodities: Nickel hits record on concern over a possible strike - "Nickel rose to a record Wednesday on concern that a looming labor dispute would put more pressure on dwindling stockpiles of the metal." - Article here  and  "Nickel Falls After Earlier Rising to a Record for a Second Day " - more here
  "Metals prices will drop 10% this year" from the Purchasing Magazine - article here (comment - "Will" drop? This magazine will probably never give up forecasting price drops because they know eventually, the odds are in their favor, they will be proved right someday.)
  Xstrata, CAW moving forward in labor talks - union - more here
  We gave up forecasting on this site, after embarrassing ourselves a few times when we predicted nickel prices couldn't climb much higher. If that had been a forecast we made last year, we might be excused. But those predictions were given back in 2004 and 2005. You remember back then? Nickel had doubled into the outrageous $6/lb range. Oh well, we weren't alone, but decided for the benefit of our readers, we would save them from further pricing pontifications made by us. We will continue to supply you with others forecasts, though. It is much easier and more fun to play Monday night quarterback anyway. But if you will allow us, we would like to publish our reasons this weekend why we believe the CAW will not strike against Xstrata.
  Shanghai Metal Market - 315000-318000 RMB/t  plus 6500 RMB/t (No. 1 electrolytic nickel 99.9%) and #1 Jinchuan Nickel 316000-318000 RMB/t plus 6500 RMB/t
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $16.27/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.42/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 6 tons =  5,322 tonnes  (13.98% cancelled warrants)

Wednesday evening, Jan 17 (Wi-Fi update again)
  LME nickel ended the day at $16.10/lb ($35,500/tonne). The official close for 3 month nickel was $15.42/lb, which implies there was no movement until the afternoon when a new record was set. Considering the news that the 4 month strike in New Caledonia was over, the saber rattling in Canada apparently spooked the market late in the day.  "Nickel hits new record high, aluminum easier" - article here  
  Commodities rally is intact, says Deutsche Bank - "Deutsche Bank AG, Europe’s biggest securities firm, said falling commodities prices in the past month don’t indicate the end of a rally that began five years ago, in contrast to a forecast from rival ABN Amro Holding NV." - Article here
  Universal Stainless & Alloy Products, Inc. announced today that Kenneth W. Matz has been named President of the Company. He succeeds Clarence M. (``Mac'') McAninch, who assumes the new title of Chairman of the Board. Mr. McAninch will also continue to serve as Chief Executive Officer, a post he has held since founding the Company in 1994.
  The International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) today announced it has launched an advertising campaign jointly with the Nickel Institute. The campaign is designed to inform the public that stainless steel is one of the world’s most recycled materials and that it is recycled more than paper or glass. - release here
  Headline only China Media - " China to produce 462 million tons of steel in 2007, up 10% - NDRC"
  Xstrata, union schedule labor talks for weekend - (quote from article) "Late on Tuesday, union members voted in favor of giving the CAW a mandate to strike should it reject a new labor contract offer from the company." - Article here
  Japanese Sumitomo Metal Mining (SMM) forecasts a nickel deficit of 12,000 tonnes for 2007.
  The 4 month CSTNC strike against the SLN mines is finally over - translated article here and here
  Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) will release its 2006 earnings on Wednesday, March 7, 2007 after market close. CVRD will host a conference call and webcast on Thursday, March 8, 12:00 p.m. Rio de Janeiro Time, 10:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and 3:00 p.m. British Standard Time. 
  Japanese stainless price to up as hiked FeNi - more here
  FNX Forecasts 42% Increase in 2007 Ore Production - pdf press release
  Ok Tedi keeps haunting BHP - "MINING giant BHP Billiton may have cut its links with the environmentally devastating Ok Tedi copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea five years ago but the legal suits are still coming." - Article here
  CVRD begin development of its $1.48 billion Onca Puma nickel project - mentioned here
  Shanghai Metal Market - 309000-311000 RMB/t  plus 500 RMB/t (No. 1 electrolytic nickel 99.9%) and #1 Jinchuan Nickel 310000-311000 RMB/t plus 250 RMB/t
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $16.30/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.42/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 90 tons =  5,316 tonnes  (16.7% cancelled warrants)

late Tuesday, Jan 16 (living in the now Federally declared National Disaster Area of SW Missouri, we sincerely apologize for the lack of updates. Not only did the three (yes 3 ice storms over 3 days) kill ours and nearly everyone's  electricity, it eliminated access to the internet for the region. This is being posted from one of the few functioning, yet time limited, Wi-Fi spots, and I am not sure how often we will be able to do further updates this week. Please bear with us and use the daily reports in the left column for updates until we can get back on our feet.)
  Sorry folks - that's all the time they will allow us. Not sure when we will be able to post another report. The house hasn't had power since Saturday so we abandoned it today and started staying in a motel, that has electricity and a hot shower but no phone or internet service. If you have e-mailed us, time limitations do not allow us time to answer until we can get some dependable and unrestrained service.  
  LME nickel ended today at $15.25/lb ($33,600/tonne) Official close today for 3 month was $15.42/lb, while today's cash official close was at $16.30/lb (Bloomberg report here)
  Commodities rally is intact, says Deutsche Bank - "Deutsche Bank AG, Europe’s biggest securities firm, said falling commodities prices in the past month don’t indicate the end of a rally that began five years ago, in contrast to a forecast from rival ABN Amro Holding NV." - more here
  Xstrata workers threaten walkout in Sudbury - "Union wants details about plan to process ore with CVRD Inco in joint venture" - Article here
  Molybdenum Prices May Fall 19 Percent in 2007, Chile Group Says - "Prices of molybdenum, an element used to toughen steel, may fall 19 percent in 2007 as production catches up with demand, a Chilean research group said." - article here
  Reuters Metal Weekly - pdf here
  Behre Dolbear - Global Mining News - pdf here
  Rand Merchant Bank - Base Metals Report - pdf here
  Metals Insider - Week in Review - here
  Canada Commodity Price Update (pdf here)
  Shanghai Metal Market - 309000-310000 RMB/t  plus 1000 RMB/t (No. 1 electrolytic nickel 99.9%) and #1 Jinchuan Nickel 309500-311000 RMB/t plus 1000 RMB/t
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $16.03/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.10/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 270 tons =  5,406 tonnes  (22.75% cancelled warrants)

Weekend Update, Jan 13-14 (updated periodically during the weekend if the ice storm doesn't kill the electricity)
  Scotia Bank in their Global Economic Research Market Trends forecast 2007 nickel to average $13.50/lb. Most of the forecasts for 2007 are on our December 2006 page - link at bottom. pdf here
  Deutsche Bank forecasts nickel prices in 2007 at $14.28/lb and $14.06/lb for 2008. Also, non metal related, their "Outlook 2007 - China and India Drive Global Growth" report pdf here
  China's Jinchuan in talks over nickel treatment plant in New Caledonia nickel - "Nickel exporter Societe Miniere du sud Pacifique (SMSP) has begun talks with China's Jinchuan on building a nickel treatment plant, SMSP chief Andre Dang said." - Article here
  The outlook for metals in 2007 - "Are you still a commodities bull? A number of analysts are becoming more wary of them — particularly copper, which could just fall another 18 percent in 2007." - Article here
  More on the Prokhorov arrest - Russian playboy 'flew in callgirls' (article here) - Russian CEO 'organised' sex ring (article here) - French Judge Said to Free Russian Tycoon (article here) - Prosecutor: French judge frees Russian billionaire in prostitution ring investigation (article here) - Gold Diggers on parade for Mikhail Prokhorov (article here)

Friday, Jan 12
  A puzzle for your Friday afternoon. Many of you may have seen this last year, but if you didn't, it will either be easy - or frustrate you. Here are the rules. "Everybody has to cross the river". The following rules apply: Only 2 persons on the raft at a time. The father can not stay with any of the daughters without their mother's presence. The mother can not stay with any of the sons without their father's presence. The thief (striped shirt) can not stay with any family member if the Policeman is not there. Only the Father, the Mother and the Policeman know how to operate the raft. To move the people click on them. To move the raft click on the pole on the opposite side of the river. Now go (here) and push on the big blue circle on the right. Be warned - it can frustrating. And, after you figure it out, take it home and make that know-it-all teenager solve it! Have a nice weekend!  
  The morning started to look like the last few on the London Metal Exchange, with all metals down except for nickel. But the afternoon saw a complete reversal, as the drag of the other metals caught up with nickel, and traders took some profits. Here are your 3 month prices for the day. Official closing (set after AM ring) - $15.49/lb. LME nickel actually closed the day at $14.72/lb ($32,445/tonne). Weather is predicting an ice storm this weekend so if I have electricity, we will give you a Sunday update. 
  RobTV - Commodities Report with Patricia Mohr, vice president of economics, Scotiabank and Bill Belovay, vice president and portfolio manager, Jones Heward Investment Counsel video here
  Hand set to leave CVRD Inco post- "Scott Hand is expected to step aside as the head of CVRD Inco Ltd. in the next few weeks, according to sources, who said Brazil's Companhia Vale do Rio Doce is preparing to name a fresh management team to lead its new nickel division." - Article here (on the 2nd we posted news, that was never confirmed, that stated Murilo Ferreira had been appointed Mr Hand's successor - see Jan 2 entry for details)
  Toledo Mining Corp - Delay to First Shipment - more here
  Fortis Metals Monthly January 2007 - pdf here
  Minara nickel production boost - "Minara Resources Ltd, Australia`s second-largest nickel producer, said that nickel production at its Murrin Murrin mine rose 6.1% for the December quarter." - Article here
  Apparently the Russian article we linked to yesterday was incorrect about his release - Russian Billionaire Held In Sex Sweep - article here
  Scotia Mocatta Report - Metal Matters - pdf here
  The London Metal Exchange will continue to close its ring trading at 1700 GMT.
  French court hears CVRD Inco appeal on Goro plan - "A French court on Friday heard CVRD Inco's appeal to overturn a ruling that requires it to stop work on a section of its Goro nickel project in French overseas territory New Caledonia, an the company said a decision was due on Feb. 2." - Article here
  Ambatovy Financing Update - pdf press release here
  Indications at 8:00 am CST show nickel is trading up by $.23/lb, while other metals are holding or slumping  (more)
  World Commodity Forecasts Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge - Italy overtakes Germany in 2006 to become largest consumer of nickel in EU. and "We estimate that global consumption of nickel reached 1.3m-1.4m tonnes in 2006(plus 4.4%), having enjoyed a faster rate of increase than in the two previous years of over 4%." per Economist Intelligence Unit
  Base metals mood turns decidedly gloomy - "Has the base metals boom gone bust?" - More here
  Commodities May Attract Another $25 Billion in 2007, Fimat Says - "Commodities may attract as much as another $25 billion of investment this year, with most of that going into funds tracking indexes, said Fimat USA LLC, a securities and commodities brokerage." - Article here
  Big reserve upgrade for Nkomati nickel mine in South Africa - more here and ARM, LionOre lift nickel reserves - more here
  The trends of the world steel market in 2007. - translated article here
  Ferro-chrome spot price rises, China tax cut - "Ferro-chrome spot prices have risen in response to demand from Chinese stainless steel mills, but Beijing's recent import tax cut has not yet affected the market, traders said on Monday." - More here
  Shanghai Metal Market - 310000-311000 RMB/t  plus 1000 RMB/t (No. 1 electrolytic nickel 99.9%) and #1 Jinchuan Nickel 310000-311000 RMB/t plus 1000 RMB/t
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $15.99/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.24/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 384 tons =  5,916 tonnes (29.11% cancelled warrants)

Thursday, Jan 11
  LME nickel had another wild ride today, at one point hitting $15.83/lb, falling just short of a new record high. Here are your 3 month prices for the day. Ending price (after 2nd session) - $15.17/lb ($33,450/tonne). (We are adding the official closing for our Oceania/Asian readers - we will give closing cash tomorrow morning as usual.) Official closing price (set after AM trading) - $15.24/lb.  (more here)
  Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes is carrying a story today that says 95% of Sylvia Nea's union have left CSTNC and joined the USOENC union. More here - translated to English
  Land Occupations End at Fenix Project - "Skye Resources Inc. confirmed today that the national police force of Guatemala had completed enforcement of court ordered evictions to remove squatters who had been illegally occupying lands at its Fenix Project site." - Article here
  'Industrial metals to lead commodity slowdown in 2007' - Quote from article - “In our view, we are witnessing the definite end of the commodity price boom that began in late 2001. Prepare for a down year for commodities as markets move towards increasing supply surplus.” Article here
  China's National Development and Reform Commission reportedly discussing possible quota's on exports of molybdenum products. China exports about 20,000 tonnes of ferro-molybdenum and about the same amount of moly oxide per year.
  Jinchuan Group economic record high last year - translation here
  India chrome ore export restrictions will adversely affect China - "Indian Ferroalloy Association appealed to the government to ban exports of chrome ore and concentrate export restrictions. Analysts said a move is bound to adversely affect Chinese imports of chrome ore." English translation here
  UPDATE: French confirm Russian tycoon arrest in prostitution case - "Prosecutors in France confirmed Thursday that Russian metals tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov and several of his compatriots are being held in custody over alleged involvement in prostitution-related activities." - More here Update - French police do not consider Russian tycoon to be a ponce article here  More on Prokhorov here
  BHP Billiton tipped for 30% gain - "THE international share price of BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining group, suddenly took off in London and Australia last week – definitely creating a new opportunity for South African investors." - Article here
  Indications at 8:00 AM CST show nickel was selling by $.73/lb higher (more here)
  Nice charts from a personal blog - Nickel charts here   and Molybdenum charts here
  Metals Forecast Chartbook - 1st Quarter 2007 - pdf here
  Newmont Indonesia boss rejects pollution charges - "The president director of the Indonesian unit of Newmont Mining Corp. told a court in a high-profile pollution trial on Thursday that the U.S. mining firm did not contaminate a local bay." - Article here (this isn't nickel related but being watched closely by nickel miners)
  Eramet Cuts Nickel Sales, Uses Stockpiles Amid Strike - "Eramet SA, operator of the world's largest ferronickel plant, said it limited sales to customers and used inventories to cope with a three-month-old strike that has cut production by almost a third." - Article here (I read on a French blog last evening that strikers had abandoned their blockade at the largest mine last week)
  CVRD Inco appeals court ruling on Goro project - "CVRD Inco has appealed a court order that requires it to stop clearing land in a section of its Goro nickel project in French overseas territory of New Caledonia in the South Pacific." - More here
  China's steel exports hit record high last year - "China's steel exports hit a record high in 2006 despite government cooling measures and anti-dumping investigations launched by trade partners, according to customs figures released Tuesday." More here  US response "Steel and National Defense" pdf here
  Shanghai Metal Market - 309000-310000 RMB/t  plus 5750 RMB/t (No. 1 electrolytic nickel 99.9%) and #1 Jinchuan Nickel 309000-310000 RMB/t plus 5250 RMB/t
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $14.91/lb - 3 month buyer - $14.27/lb (this reflects no movement on 3 month from Tuesday - since this price was set after the second ring in the morning session, most of the activity was in the PM sessions - today's official closing will show 3 month at $15.24/lb)
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 156 tons =  6,300 tonnes (30.19% cancelled warrants)

Wednesday, Jan 10
  People were too busy trading to write stories about the market today, or the only thing happening was in London on the exchange.  LME nickel rebounded, ending the day at $14.74/lb ($32,500/tonne). (article here) (The increase for the afternoon trading was stronger than the morning, so the official closing price, which is established by committee after the second ring of the morning session, may only reflect about 1/2 of the days increase.) There are probably a few people out there holding mining stock breathing a little easier today, and a few who bought short, or have to buy stainless steel, that are mumbling a few expletives.
  Quote - “We are seeing a recovery in nickel and zinc…the two that had been hit the hardest by the selling over the last few days,” analyst Kevin Norrish at Barclays Capital said. “It is sensible to be cautious this week, the re-weighting and hedge selling will last until Monday of next week so we wouldn’t rule out further volatility,” he said." - (Source unknown - taken from a blog who does not credit the author of the article they copied titled "Copper, nickel and zinc up but seen vulnerable" - unable to locate article)
  Headline only - Dow Jones Newswire - DJ Eramet New Caledonia Nickel Loss 5,000 Tons From Strike (strike since Sept 25)
  At 8:00 AM CST, indications were nickel may have found bottom and was selling up by $.25/lb.
  DJ New CEO For New Caledonia Goro Nickel Project - Phil du Toit to replace Ron Renton - here
  Rand Merchant Weekly - Base Metals Weekly Report - pdf here
  Reuters Week In Review - Asia Metals pdf here
  Jyske Commodities Update - pdf here
  Nickel mine in the US? - more here
  Commodity outlook 2007 – Copper, Precious Metals, Industrial - "Commodity demand will be supported by modest but continued growth momentum in the global economy and continued investment interest in 2007." - More here
  Haywood picks top gold and base metals juniors for 2007, predicts gold to test $850 - Quote "Haywood increased its nickel price assumptions to $13.50 per pound for this year and $12.50 per pound in 2008, up from $9 and $7, respectively." - Article here
  Brazil Miner CVRD: New Goro Study In Two Months - "Brazilian miner Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (RIO), or CVRD, is evaluating how best to proceed with the development of its Goro nickel project in the French territory of New Caledonia, a CVRD executive said Tuesday." - More here
  Platts reports US steel production for the first week of January was down 13.1% from the same week last year.
  UBS - Metals Daily - here (to be added to daily in left column today)
  Shanghai Metal Market - 303000-304500 RMB/t down 500 RMB/t (No. 1 electrolytic nickel 99.9%) and #1 Jinchuan Nickel 304000-304500 RMB/t down 250 RMB/t
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $14.88/lb - 3 month buyer - $14.27/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 234 tons =  6,456 tonnes (31.04% cancelled warrants)

Tuesday, Jan 9
  LME nickel ended the day at $13.70/lb ($30,200/tonne). Many blame the rebalancing of the DJ-AIGCI, which began Tuesday and will be fully implemented on the 16th, as having the most effect on this weeks nickel trading.
  Scrap theft is extremely dangerous and we have published many stories over the years. In the news today, the BBC is reporting two stainless steel drums that were stolen, contain toxic waste, which could prove dangerous to those who stole them. Two weeks ago a man was killed near Tyler, Texas, when he tried to make off with a downed power line, not realizing it was still live. And a Canadian man couldn't wait for any lines to come down, so he climbed an electrical tower to steal the copper wires from it. May he rest in peace. 
  In 2006 Chinese stainless steel profession ten important matters - article here (translated by WorldLingo to English)
  Who Owns The West - Database of Western US Mining Claims - here
  Land invasions dog Guatemala nickel project - "Shattered glass, stripped wires and charred plastic signs are all that remain of a Guatemalan hospital, recently refurbished by a Canadian nickel miner, after an angry mob burned down the building last month." - Article here (article is 2 weeks old but we just learned of it) In an update, police move in - article here
  SA, China to benefit from ferrochrome duty cut - "SOUTH African ferrochrome producers and Chinese steel makers are expected to benefit from the halving of Chinese import duty on ferrochrome purchases, announced last week." - More here
  At  8:00 am CST indications show nickel was trading  down by $.43/lb (more here)
  Weekly Behre Dollar Mining News pdf here
  Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries - Market Report - pdf here
  Labor talks at Xstrata Sudbury operations progress - " Labor contract talks at Xstrata Plc's nickel operations in Sudbury, Ontario, are progressing, a union representative said on Monday." - Article here
  Mining bill could be delayed for another year - "The House of Representatives is set to miss its target of passing the much-awaited mining bill by March 2007 as the committee handling it has only managed to discuss 84 of the total of 414 articles listed in the draft" - More here
  Quotes - Barclays Capital on Monday - "Positive macroeconomics and fundamentals will inevitably translate into a robust price recovery before too long, though for the time being, metals markets are likely to remain under pressure" UBS on Monday - "Further weakness looks assured this week as the DJ-AIG index is reweighted with heavy selling of nickel and zinc in particular expected."
  Weekly Commodity Price Update - pdf here
  2007 will remain a bullish year for many industrial raw materials, says the Economist Intelligence Unit - Press Release here
  Ferro-chrome spot price rises, China tax cut - "Ferro-chrome spot prices have risen in response to demand from Chinese stainless steel mills, but Beijing's recent import tax cut has not yet affected the market, traders said on Monday." - Article here
  Uranium, Nickel Prospects Buoy Cornerstone's Hopes for 2007 - Last year was a good year for Mount Pearl’s Cornerstone Capital Resources, and management expects 2007 to be an even better one. - More here
  UBS - Metals Daily - here
  Shanghai Metal Market - 303500-305000 RMB/t down 5750 RMB/t (No. 1 electrolytic nickel 99.9%) and #1 Jinchuan Nickel 304000-305000  RMB/t down 6000 RMB/t
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $15.06/lb - 3 month buyer - $14.70/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 108 tons =  6,690 tonnes (22% cancelled warrants)

Monday, Jan 8
  Nickel spent the day looking for solid ground on the London Metal Exchange, as the liquidation from Friday continued. LME nickel ended the day at $14.24/lb ($31,400/tonne).
  And in not nickel or stainless related news - World's Smallest 'Country' for Sale - details here and photo's from a blog  article titled "Scariest accident ever" here
  Metals tipped to shine in 2007 - "Commodities have soared for five years, but you may have to tread more carefully in 2007. Philip Scott offers some advice" - Article here
  Global Markets Face `Severe Correction,' Faber Says - "Marc Faber, who predicted the U.S. stock market crash in 1987, said global assets are poised for a ``severe correction'' and says it's time to sell." - Article here  (video link also on page)
  Metals Insider 'Week In Review' is back - here
  At  8:00 am CST indications show nickel was trading down by $.20/lb (more here)
  Metal prices to consolidate - "THE expectation for metal prices in 2007 is that though correction is in the air, the so-called ‘super-cycle’ remains intact. But the term super-cycle needs qualification: this means metal prices will be higher than their long-term averages, an outlook not discounting blips along the way." - Article here
  Indonesia's mining industry at critical point - commentary - here
  Desjardins - Monthly Review of Prices of Commodities - pdf here
  UBS - Metals Daily - Zinc And Nickel To Be Heavily Sold This Week - article here
  China Commodities Weekly - Chinese nickel production surges from an unexpected source - Article here
  Shanghai Metal Market overnight - 309000-311000 RMB/t down 1500 RMB/t (No. 1 electrolytic nickel 99.9%) and #1 Jinchuan Nickel 310000-311000  RMB/t down 2000 RMB/t
  Friday's official closing prices - cash - $15.79/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.38/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 714 tons =  6,798 tonnes (21.54% cancelled warrants)

Weekend Review, Sunday, Jan 7
  Commentary - The first week of 2007 was a wild ride for nickel, and the second, and first full trading week, could be another nail-biter. Have the bears finally awoke from a long slumber, or will they remain in hibernation? Will the bulls continue to roam freely, or will they be retired to a fenced pasture? Or are we just at another crossroad in the middle of a mountainous range of peaks and valleys, still far from the plains beyond? Stay tuned.   
  Wachovia - Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary - pdf here
  UBS Metals Daily - Rebalancing The DJ-AIG Commodity Index - here
  We will probably add this to "Other Daily Reports" links soon. Appears to give LME official prices after business day closing. This will give our overseas readers the info faster than this blog can - Financial Times - pdf here
  China further cools sizzling economy - "China stepped up efforts Friday to cool its sizzling economy by tightening bank credit for the fourth time in seven months." - Article here
  BHP Reopens Nickel Mines, Reveals Smelter Stoppage - "BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's largest mining company, reopened two Australian nickel mines as the weather improved and said it lost two-half days of output at its Kalgoorlie smelter after heavy rain." - Article here
  Commodities slide; weak start to 2007 as oil prices crumble - "Global crude oil prices plunged in the first week of 2007, hit by the prospect of lower US demand, while a strengthening US currency hit other dollar-denominated commodities." - Article here
  FOCUS: Funds Change Commodities Strategy But Still Invest - "Investment funds may be changing their strategies towards commodities, industry participants said Friday, but their love affair with these markets isn’t over." - Article here
  Brazilian Stocks Fall on Commodity Rout: World's Biggest Mover - "Brazilian stocks had their biggest drop in six months, led by Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as global growth concerns drove commodity prices to their lowest levels since 2005." - Article here
  Is it time for the wise investor to cut and run? - "Is the party over? I doubt it. But after sustaining hefty losses this week, investors have every reason to wonder whether the commodity-driven, four-year-old TSX bull market cycle is history."  - Article here
  Market Watch - "Commodities to set market tone next week/Stocks will be hurt if the carnage in the energy and metal pits continues" - Article here
  Blurb - Bisnis Indonesia & Investor Daily, 19 Dec 2006 - (reference PT Aneka Tambang) "With the operation of its Feni III plant in December, the total nickel production next year is estimated to increase to between 22,000 - 24,000 tons from between 7,000 - 8,000 tons this year."
  The problems that exist in the development of China's stainless steel - "Recently, Lee, president of China's Special Steel Enterprises executive branch stainless steel stainless steel industry in the development of China, pointed out the problems that exist. " - Translated to English article here
  Another forecast by China Federation of Mining Network, gives nickel demand at 1.45 million tons in 2007, with production to reach 1.46 million tons, and a 7,000 tonne worldwide surplus. The author also predicts nickel inventories will ease in the latter half of the year as stainless steel production enters its seasonal downturn. "Source : Mining Network"
  Last week we linked to a French paper which questioned if Eramet was open to offers. Here is an article from last week with a little background - translated from French here 
  Mining companies are generally blamed for everything from acid rain to 'you-name-it'. But this is the first time we've seen them blamed for higher sugar prices - here
  Small Canada miners find workers a scarce resource - "A prolonged staffing squeeze is hitting small Canadian mining companies harder than senior producers because they often don't have the connections or cachet to lure workers, industry players say."  - Article here
  New web-radio site offering "Interviews and stock market commentary from top executives and experts in mining, oil & gas and alternative energy." here
  April 2005 - 'An Investor Guide To Commodities' by Deutsche Bank - 70 page pdf here
  The Center for International Securities and Derivatives Markets - "Benefits of Commodities" - pdf here
  Zimbabwe: Illegal Gold Miners Turn to Chrome - "SOME illegal gold miners are turning to chrome mining as they can no longer withstand the pressure from law enforcement agents fighting illegal activity." Article here
  Currently under construction in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the Burj Dubai Skyscraper will become the world's tallest building, as well as the world's tallest man-made structure, when it is completed in 2009. At 808 meters tall, it will dwarf the 553 meter tall CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, and the 509 meter tall Taipei 101, in Taipei, Taiwan. It will also be completely clad with aluminium and 316 stainless steel panels with vertical tubular fins of 316 stainless steel". Burj Dubai info here and construction photo's here 
Non-nickel or stainless related links

 Russian Energy: Redrawing the World’s Geopolitical Map - "The mighty Russian bear is back, and energized as never before. Under President Vladimir Putin’s stewardship, Russia may now be more powerful than at any time it its history, including its peak during the Cold War. However, the West is only beginning to wake up to this new reality. World events will no longer be directed without Russia’s explicit approval." - Article here
 Sneak peak at the world's tallest Hindu Temple here

Friday, Jan 5
  LME nickel closed the day and week at $15.00/lb   ($33,075/tonne). Stay tuned - there is evidence around that next week could be even more volatile, as copper's continued fall , and fund selling, is making the market increasingly nervous.
  ANALYSIS-Commods investors refining play, not running - "Massive losses in commodity prices since the start of 2007 has raised talk again that the asset class is losing its touch after three years of magical gains, but analysts say investors are reallocating, not fleeing." Article here
  Think we have figured out the coding error on some of the translated pages we link to. The few posted this month have been repaired.
  Indications at 7:45 am CST were nickel was selling down by $.24/lb.
  Intersuisse Morning Notes - pdf here (if anyone finds this helpful, we can add a permanent link to the left column - been watching it for a week, not much in the way of commodity news)
  New bill aims for mining-sector integration - "To promote greater integration in the mining industry, a new minerals bill will requires investments in the sector to include the establishment of complete upstream-to-downstream processing plants, an official says." - Article here
  China has sights on mines in Australia - "Chinese companies are among those that applied for mining exploration licenses in Australia's Northern Territory, a government official said yesterday." More here
  BHP, Minara resume WA ops - "BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's largest mining company, reopened two Australian nickel mines as the weather improved and said it lost two-half days of output at its Kalgoorlie smelter after heavy rain." More here
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $15.40/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.04/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 150 tons =  6,084 tonnes (28.3% cancelled warrants)

Thursday, Jan 4
  The market does not like to hear of any potential supply disruptions to the nickel supply chain. While Sherritt's Moa Bay operations shut down for heavy rain last month, the word didn't reach the market until after operations resumed, and the market did not react. Today's news that Australia's main producers of nickel had to shut down for similar reasons, on top of the news from Indonesia and Canada, spooked the market and spurred some fund interest. LME inventories started 2006 at 35,742 tonnes, fell below 10,000 tonnes on July 4th, and have basically fought to stay in the 4 - 7000 tonne range ever since. While the other metals fell, nickel trading on the London Metal Exchange ended the day at $15.49/lb ($34,150/tonne)
  LME expanding to see off competition - "The London Metal Exchange (LME) aims to cement its position as the pre-eminent metals bourse by launching new contracts to double its volumes in the next three to five years, chief executive Martin Abbott said on Thursday." More here
  China headline only - "China January-November year-on-year increase of 36.8% nickel products to 24,000 tons" (reference exports - Source : Mining Network)
  Indications at 7:45 am CST were nickel was selling $.26/lb higher More here
  Repair of Data Cable Delayed - "The efforts to repair the undersea data cable, which was cut due to an earthquake in Taiwan on Tuesday last week, will be delayed." More here
  102 days of conflict to the SLN and 11 billion lost - "The launched general strike 102 days ago by the CSTNC disturbs today hardly than the SLN which, with always chaotic provisioning, comes to cross the course of the 11 billion loss of earnings." Translated into English article here
  Yieh Corp reports "Main China’s stainless steelworks have decided to remain their January cold rolled prices unchanged from last month."
  Proposed Indonesian mining law to mandate domestic metals smelting - "Indonesia’s Director General of Mining Wednesday told the news media that the government is hoping Parliament will approve a new mining law in March that will force the mining industry to process concentrates in Indonesia." Article here
  Consolidation, costs and China to impact on metals producers in 2007 - "Consolidation, higher costs, China and fund activity will influence the performance of metals producers in the next year." Article here
  BHP, Minara Halt Output at Australian Nickel Mines - "BHP Billiton Ltd. and Minara Resources Ltd., Australia's two largest nickel producers, halted output at mines after heavy rain, which may add to supply shortages that have driven prices to a 19-year high." Article here And more from Mining Journal here
  PT Inco Says Low Rain Cuts Power, Hurts Nickel Output - "PT International Nickel Indonesia, the country's largest producer of the commodity, says weekly output of so-called nickel-in-matte is 130 tons below normal as low rainfall cuts power output from its hydro-electric dam." Article here
  Mediator involved in Xstrata's Sudbury labor talks - "A mediator started on Wednesday to help Xstrata Plc and the union at its Sudbury, Ontario, nickel operations negotiate a new labor contract." More here
  AK Steel publishes Feb 2007 stainless steel surcharges pdf here January 2007 to compare pdf here
  Weekly BMO Nesbitt Commodity Comment pdf here
  Canadian idea, thickened tails, now worldwide success - " In an industry that is consistently trying to minimize its risk exposure while simultaneously driving down unit costs, the management of mine tailings has provided an ongoing concern to mine managers and owners." Article here
  For those new to metals trading, we found this blog run by a metals dealer from Singapore which hopes "To introduce and educate retail investors on alternative asset class, ie commodities futures." We give it no endorsement, just passing on the link to anyone who might be interested here. (If you have any questions about how metals trading works, the author "might" be a good person to ask.)
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $14.96/lb - 3 month buyer - $14.52/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 336 tons =  6,234 tonnes (23.29% cancelled warrants)

Wednesday, Jan 3
  LME metals were quiet again today, as traders await any large fund allocations that are typical at the beginning of the year. So far it's been fairly quiet. LME nickel ended the day at $14.86/lb ($32,750/tonne)
  And in our "not related to metals" section, here is the story of a gathering of people so large, it could be seen from space here
  BHP's Ravensthorpe project is preparing for a different kind of blow-out, as a "storm of the century" heads its way here
  The January Effect on Mining Companies - "While the efficiency of the markets has arbitraged away many of the most popular seasonal investing trends, the so-called “January Effect” continues to exert a powerful effect on the markets." Article here
  Canada Weekly Commodity Price Update pdf here
  Weekly Behre Dollar Mining News pdf here
Couple of graphs for you. First is courtesy Damstahl Stainless Ltd (10 year history of the price of stainless steel sheet)
and the second is the history of nickel over the last four years
  At 7:45 am CST, indications were nickel was selling down at $.12/lb. Nickel is having a hard time finding positive footing with copper continuing its slide. Yesterday copper was at a 9 month low. More from Financial Times here
  Commodity fund can put pressure on nickel and zinc - "Nickel and zinc prices could come under pressure by the end of this week as the second largest commodity index fund re-balances its portfolio." Article here
  No confirmation or reaction from CVRD or its Inco affiliate about the story yesterday from Business News Americas that new management would be put into place over its nickel division. Either the story was wrong, or the cat got out of the bag. Or maybe they were waiting on this - "Shareholders seal CVRD's takeover of Inco" article here
  China steel sector still bullish; 2007 output to rise 10%: report - "China's steel industry can expect a comparatively optimistic future, the China Daily reported on Wednesday, quoting an analytical report by Xinhua economic analysts. The report said that strong demand in both domestic and international markets, could see output of crude steel hit 420 million mt in 2006, and reach 462 million mt in 2007, marking an increase of 10% year on year." Article here  Or from China News - with just the numbers "China's steel industry should be optimistic" Article here
  Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes reports an administrative court has ruled the work continuing at the Goro project is not in violation of a French court order. Here (English translation by Google)
  Base metals prices to moderate in 2007 - "Base metals prices will moderate in 2007, but remain at “favourable” levels that will allow producers to generate excess cash flow." Article here
  Want to know where nickel is going? Check out this news release from TISCO, China's largest mainland producer of stainless steel and the 8th largest in the world - release here (English translation by Google)
  China changes effective January 1 - nickel import duty to 1%, ferrochrome import duty to 1%, 10% export duty on stainless steel. 15% export duty on molybdenum and chromium, among others.
  Short video introduction to stainless steel from Euro Inox here and another short one on the "Self-Passivation of Stainless Steel and Types of Corrosion" here
  Yesterday's official closing prices - cash - $15.21/lb - 3 month buyer - $14.97/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 24 tons =  6,570 tonnes

Tuesday, Jan 2
  LME nickel ended the day at $14.73/lb ($32,475/tonne).
  Sinosteel founds joint venture in South Africa - "Sinosteel Corporation has made a big breakthrough in its overseas expansion by establishing a joint venture with the world's largest chrome ore owner in South Africa." Here
  Allegheny Ludlum 304 stainless surcharges, past, present, future. Dec 2006 - $1.3369/lb January 2007 - $1.3141/lb February 2007 - $1.4106
  No confirming press release has been issued from CVRD at the time this was reported but according to Business News Americas, the following changes are being made at CVRD-Inco effective mid January - Murilo Ferreira is replacing Scott Hand as CEO and Leonardo Moretson is new CFO. According to the CVRD web site, Murilo de Oliveira Ferreira is currently Executive Director for Equity Holdings and Business Development for CVRD. More on Mr Ferreira can be found here
  Banks pay top dollar to secure commodity talent - "Commodity traders, once the overlooked Cinderellas of the financial trading world, are being offered multi-million-dollar lock-in payments reminiscent of the early dotcom boom, when banks were also desperate to expand into new areas by offering guaranteed payments to key staff." More here
  China tax cut on nickel unlikely to spur imports - "SHANGHAI/HONG KONG: A tax reduction on imports of refined nickel in China is unlikely to spur inflow because of high world prices, trading sources said on Thursday." Article here
  From Platts 1 Dec 2006 Daily Report - "The bank (Merrill Lynch) noted that in the last 15 years, nickel had been the worst performing base metal in the month of January, falling in 10 of those years."
  Major Base and Precious Metals all up in 2006. Where to in 2007? - "Last year saw yet another bullish performance overall from the metals markets with gains registered all round over the course of the year; this article is intended to provide a brief round-up of the metals’ activities." Full article here
  Indications at 8:00 am CST show nickel selling down by $.14/lb - and a Bloomberg market update from an hour ago here
  China Jinchuan`s success - "China`s top nickel producer, the state-owned Jinchuan Group, announced that its nickel and refined copper output has increased 12% and 29% respectively last year." Article here
  Nickel Shines In 2006 - "Base metals finished the year with strong gains underpinned by strong supply/demand fundamentals which attracted buying from investors and speculators. The strongest performer was nickel which registered gains of 140%, followed by zinc (120%), tin (73%), lead (55%) and then copper (43%)." More here
  Mirabela wins Brazilian Mine Approval - "Brazil-focused base metals explorer Mirabela Nickel, which is planning to develop a nickel mine in the Brazilian state of Bahia, has won environmental approval for the Santa Rita nickel sulphide project." Article here
  Indonesia's Inco cuts weekly nickel output by 130 T - "The Indonesia unit of Canadian nickel producer Inco Ltd (N.TO: Quote, Profile , Research) said it had cut weekly output by around 130 tonnes (300,000 pounds) as dry weather had caused low reservoir levels at its hydro-electric power plant." Article here
  Most US markets closed as part of the official day of mourning for former President Gerald Ford.
  Friday's official closing prices - cash - $15.51/lb - 3 month buyer - $15.10/lb
  Today's beginning nickel inventory - minus 54 tons =  6,594 tonnes (13.74% cancelled warrants)

Weekend Review
  Make a resolution to be more social and make more contacts this year? Some people were born sales people, most need training. But life is sales. If you aren't selling something to somebody, you are selling yourself. If you need some helpful networking hints, the The Perth Women in Mining Networking group received a talk at their September 2006 meeting by Rio Tinto's Ron Gibson called "The Art of Networking". The talk was so informative that they put it online, in four parts, in pdf. "How to Work a Room" "Starting Conversations" "Concluding Conversations" "Networking Questions"
  Big money for mines in 2006 - "Mining companies - some still yet to sell anything - provided the biggest returns to investors, according to a Smart Money analysis of members of the All Ordinaries index of the 500 biggest companies." Article here
  Boom times to continue - "The year '06 was as action-packed as it can be for the commodity markets across the world. Though a lot of commodities witnessed volatility in prices, metals and bullion stole the show in terms of gains within a year." Article here
  List of nickel mines throughout the world with descriptions of deposits here
  CVRD-Inco continues work at Goro nickel project - "CVRD-Inco continues to work on the Kwe Ouest area of its Goro nickel project in the French overseas territory of New Caledonia, the company said on Friday, weeks after receiving a court order to stop clearing land there." Article here
  Thought this might be interesting to some of you - "Protecting Your Wealth From Inflation & Investment Losses" by Christopher G. Ciovacco Chief Investment Officer Ciovacco Capital Management here
  Business big shot: Mick Davis - "Mick Davis is the man who turned coal into gold — and copper, and nickel, and zinc. With a market capitalisation of £24 billion, Xstrata is closing in on Anglo American in terms of size and the mining industry eagerly awaits “Big Mick’s” next audacious move." Article here
  China's Steel Industry Undergoes Key Changes - "The year 2006 has witnessed major changes in China's iron and steel industry, in areas such as the national distribution of plants, the regrouping of companies, the upgrading of products and the ownership of enterprises, observers have said." Article here
  Commodities mixed at end of record-breaking 2006 - Article here
  If you support the mining industry, or would like to hear an opposing side to the daily propaganda you hear from the "there is no such thing as a good mine" crowd, you should consider owning a copy of the documentary Mine Your Own Business. (The 'Institute of Public Affairs' of Australia wrote "As Mr McAleer documents in Mine Your Own Business, unsubstantiated accusations from environmentalists can appear compelling. Their claims may be false, but they command the moral high ground. Yet sadly in the end, by hindering or stopping development, they condemn the world's poorest to a life of subsistence." Another blogger wrote "Using a style reminiscent of Michael Moore, whose film Fahrenheit 9/11 lampooned the Bush administration, Mr McAleer lured environmentalists into making statements that were false or patently ridiculous.") Visit the website, and buy your copy here

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All prices, unless marked official closing prices, are indications only of LME traded prices and courtesy IFS.
(Molybdenum prices are for molybdenum oxide, an ingredient and major price factor in 316 stainless)
(all ton listings are metric tons = 2204.6 pounds - unless marked official, nickel prices are indications only)
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(average annual price)

2001 $2.70/lb
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