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Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices

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Daily Nickel Market News & Stainless Steel Prices

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Monday, January 31

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 30 to 1,107. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Copper Set for Seventh Monthly Gain on Demand Outlook, Inflation // Asia Currencies Gain on Optimism Emerging Markets Growth Spurs Investors // Japan’s Industrial Output Gains Most in 11 Months // Queensland's Coast Threatened by Cyclones This Week After Flood Disaster // Stocks Extend Decline on Egypt Protests; U.S. Futures, Euro, Rice Advance // French, British Banks Have Most Exposure to Egyptian Loans, BIS Data Show // European Inflation Quickens to Two-Year High of 2.4% // Lonely Analyst Warns of 2015 Bank Crisis Amid `Upbeat' Davos // Egypt Opposition Plans Million-Strong Anti-Mubarak March as Police Return // Most European Stocks Drop; Lufthansa, Air France Fall as Greene King Gains // Growth Stocks May Fizzle in Rebound as Market Favors Value // Egypt Pits American Values Versus U.S. Interest: Albert Hunt // Fed's Lockhart Says Unemployment `Nowhere Near Acceptable,' Sees Recovery // U.S. Economy: December Consumer Spending Beats Forecast // Stocks in U.S., Euro Gain as Egyptian Bonds Drop; Brent Crude Passes $100
  • The Euro is up over 6/10 of 1% against the US Dollar at present. NYMEX crude is up nearly 2-1/2% and trading at $91.53/barrel. Dated Brent Spot is over $100/barrel today. Gold is down nearly 2/10 of 1% while silver is 1.3% higher. Base metals ended the session higher, with copper and tin at new record high's. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, was quiet for much of the morning and then began to climb higher as the afternoon progressed. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $12.41/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored worldwide in LME approved warehouses fell on Friday and now sit just over the 134,000 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel breaking free to the upside of the trend on Friday (chart here). While Ed Meir of MF Global is already thinking we may see $30,000 ($13.60/lb) as the next major main point of resistance, we still have a few other resistance points to breech before we need to start worrying about that higher climb, in our opinion. Sucden has technical resistance at $27,592 (2010 high point - $12.52/lb) and then $27,789. The Baltic Dry Index lost another 30 points to 1,107. Australia's QNI Nickel Ltd's Yabulu refinery located in Townsville, Queensland, Australia has so far escaped much of the problems ravaging the area, but that may be coming to an end. Tropical Storm Yasi is heading for Queensland and could be a major cyclone by the time it makes landfall (map here). The protests in Egypt continue, but for the most parts, markets are taking the disruption in stride. Oil is moving higher on concerns the protests may spread to other oil producing countries in the region. And finally, we bring you the story of the unluckiest terrorist in the world - story here. Happy New - Boom!!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Russian polar miner OAO Norilsk Nickel Monday said it its full-year nickel output was up 5.1% to 297,000 metric tons and said it sees a moderate increase in the metal production in 2011.
  • Economists React: ‘The U.S. Economy Is Back - more
  • U.S. National Debt Is Huge, but It's Not a Catastrophe - more
  • The Wal-Mart Decade - more
  • Productivity, Sources of Growth and Potential Output in the Euro Area and the United States - pdf here
  • How To Keep Up With the Latest News on Egypt - more
  • Underground world hints at China's coming crisis  - more
  • US Bank Failures To Date - chart here
  • Underappreciated Data - more

  Final day of voting on tentative contract for Voisey's Bay workers - It's the final day of voting for unionized workers at the Voisey's Bay nickel as they decide whether to accept a tentative agreement with mine-owner Vale. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.18/lb higher, with all London traded base metals higher. The Euro is currently trading 2/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar.  NYMEX crude is up over 4/10 of 1% and trading at $89.72/barrel. Gold is down over 1/2 of 1% and silver is off over 1/3 of 1%. In overnight trading Asian markets ended lower with China up 1.3%. European markets are presently trading lower, while US futures show Wall Street may open in a better mood. Nickel inventories fell open Friday.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals jump alongside inflation, demand forecasts - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper prices rose on Friday despite a lower than expected 3.2% increase in US 4th quarter GDP, as markets perhaps took heart from the fact that growth was still respectable, and that overall output is now back to its 2007 peak. Tin was again a star performer on Friday, getting to another all-time peak of $30,040 a ton, as supply concerns in Indonesia continue to spur buying. The unraveling political situation in Egypt also sparked a sharp rally in the overall commodity complex on Friday, particularly in oil and gold, while US stocks swooned, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing almost 170 points. Right now, metals are up again, although copper’s advance is the most notable, with the complex now only $100 away from retesting its recent highs. The other metals are showing more modest gains. Most other markets are keeping a wary eye on Egyptian developments, and we suspect we will see sharp swings this week, particularly in the oil and precious metals based on what could be any number of headlines. A Mubarak resignation, for example, could spark a modest decline in oil and gold prices, while a crackdown on the protesters, or the introduction of a national strike that could potentially close the Suez Canal, could lead to lead to a sharp rally. We may also see some decoupling in the markets, with commodity prices and the dollar possibly moving higher on the unrest, while equity markets remain on the defensive, as they seem to be doing right now. The biggest equity declines over the last few days, not surprisingly, occurred in the Middle East, where we saw a 6.4 % slump in Saudi stocks on Saturday, a 4% decline in Dubai, a 1.8% decline in Kuwait, and a 2.3% decline in Jordan. Money-market rates for developing nations are also moving sharply higher. The yield on JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s index of short- term debt in emerging markets rose to 2.5% percent on Friday, up from a record-low of 1.74% on Dec. 31st, while the extra yield on developing-nation dollar bonds over US Treasuries climbed to a two-month high of 2.77%. In other markets right now, the dollar is steady at $1.3700 against the Euro after being higher earlier in the day. Energy prices are up $.40, but gave up about a $1/brl in earlier gains. (Somewhat significantly, at least psychologically, Brent oil prices pierced the $100 level earlier today before retracing). US stocks are expected to open slightly lower after modest declines seen in Europe and Asia. ....  Nickel is at $27,065, up $445, and prices seem to be on track to take out last April’s high of $27,250. After that, the $30,000 mark seems to be the next logical target, although we think nickel will get quite overextended at that level. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Reportedly, driven by the continuously rising nickel prices which have soared exceed US$26,000/ton, Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) has decided to increase the steel prices for domestic and export market. Hence, the prices of 300 series hot rolled and cold rolled stainless steel have increased by NT$3,000~NT$6,000/ton; that of billet has soared by NT$4,000~NT$7,000/ton and that of 400 series stainless steel has hiked by NT$1,000/ton in Taiwan’s domestic market.
  • (CRU) China’s stainless crude steel output increased by 27.8% to 11.3mt in 2010, says the country’s stainless steel council CSSC.
  • (Dow Jones) Niger Uranium Ltd, a metals exploration and development company with a current focus on uranium interests in the Republic of Niger, Namibia and South America, said Monday its joint venture partner, Southern African Nickel, or SAN, will acquire 74% of Umnex Limpopo, the indirect owner of the Zebediela Nickel Project from Umnex Minerals Holdings Pty Ltd.

  Moly Surpluses & Price Volatility - Molybdenum forecasts for 2011 are mixed. Steel demand is cooling off in Asia, which helped support the price of molybdenum for the past few years. - more

  Key commodities to remain pricey in 2011, polls show - Sky-high commodity prices show no sign of easing, with supply shortages, swings in currencies and growth in emerging markets likely to keep key metals and grains on the boil in 2011, a suite of Reuters polls showed this week. - more

  Posco Gets Approval for $12 Billion Steel Complex in India After Six Years - Posco, the world’s third-largest steelmaker, received approval for its $12 billion factory complex in India, paving the way for the nation’s single-biggest foreign investment six years after it was proposed.  - more

  • POSCO cheers India decision, mining rights eyed - India's decision on Monday to approve construction of a $12 billion steel mill by South Korea's POSCO will help the world's No.3 steelmaker raise exports and gain access to low-cost iron ore, analysts said. - more

  Governor Beshear Announces North American Stainless to Make $30 Million Investment in Ghent Facility -  Gov. Steve Beshear today joined community leaders and executives of North American Stainless (NAS) to announce the company’s plans to invest $10 million for increased peeled bar production plus $20 million for additional equipment upgrades in its Ghent facility. - more

  Queensland's Coast Threatened by Cyclones This Week After Flood Disaster -  Australia’s Queensland state, recovering from its worst floods on record, faces a second, larger storm days after Tropical Cyclone Anthony hit the coast. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, January 28

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 49 to 1,137. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg)IMF's Zhu Warns Global Imbalances May Worsen on Chinese Exports // China Approves Property Tax Trials to Curb Prices // China's Stocks Advance, Capping Best Gain in Six Weeks as Automakers Surge // China Said to Plan to Raise Bank Capital Ratios Whenever Credit Excessive // Japan Evacuates Homes, Cancels Flights as Volcano Spews Ash Mile Into Sky // Hong Kong Is World's Most Expensive Place to Buy Home on Property Shortage // Asian Stocks Fall for First Day This Week After Oil, Gold Prices Decline // U.K. Consumer Confidence Plummets Most Since 1994, GfK Says // European Retail Sales Rise Most Since 2006, Led by French, German Demand // Egypt Restricts Internet, Mobile Phone Access Before Protests // IMF's Lipsky Says `Never Say Never' on Another Possible Euro-Area Bailout // European Stocks Erase Weekly Gain Amid Egypt Clashes; Sanofi Shares Fall // Geithner Says U.S. Economic Recovery Still Too Weak to Reduce Unemployment // Mozilo Predicted U.S. Housing Collapse as Fed Overlooked Risk // Ford Fourth-Quarter Profit Falls 79% on European Loss // U.S. Economy Quickens on Gains in Spending, Exports // U.S. Stock Futures, Dollar Gain
  • Oil Jumps, Stocks Retreat Amid Protests in Egypt
  • The Euro is now trading over 9/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is trading up 4% on Egyptian fears, and trading at $89.17/barrel. Gold is up over 2% and silver nearly 4%. Base metals ended higher as well. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, rose throughout the morning, then fell hard as US markets fell and it became obvious the curfew announced in Egypt was failing. For the session, three month nickel ended at $12.07/lb . Total of nickel stockpiled in LME approved warehouses slumped sharply yesterday and now stand just under the 134,300 tonne mark. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trying to make up a break out from a stalled channel (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index gave up another 49 points overnight. Markets are watching Egypt closely and video from Al Jazeera English is remarkable. (Al Jazeera English)
  • Have a safe and relaxing weekend.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Nomura analyst Jeff Largey - "And after several years of depressed demand, we believe stainless steel consumption is soon to enter an upswing in developed markets, particularly the U.S., while the catch-up opportunity in emerging market stainless per capita consumption presents a compelling medium-term demand driver."
  • (Reuters) Heavy rains over the past weeks have interrupted Brazilian miner Vale from shipping 600,000 tonnes of iron ore from Brazil and 500,000 tonnes of coal from Australia, a company director said on Thursday.
  • Farmers take the fight to thirsty miners - more
  • 99ers More Likely to Be Older, Married, Minority - more
  • Feeling the Heat: Comparing Global Inflation - more
  • Euro Zone inflation: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - more
  • Nearly 1 in 4 Nevadans who were foreclosed on could've made payments but chose to walk away - more
  • Coincident Indicators vs Real GDP (1959-2011) - more

  Crouching tiger, soaring cranes, rumbling doubts - In Chongqing, the new frontier of Chinese urbanisation, clusters of high-rise buildings sprouting among rice paddies and elevated highways and railways are draped over the countryside, with barely a thought for the mountains they punch through and river canyons they span. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.11/lb higher, with all London traded base metals higher this morning. The Euro is presently trading nearly 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up slightly at $85.67/barrel. Gold is up slightly while silver is down 1/4 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly lower, with China up 1/3 of 1%.European markets are slightly lower at teh moment, and US futures are quiet and only slightly higher. Nickel inventories slumped sharply yesterday.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Tin shatters records for fifth consecutive day - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  Copper prices rose again yesterday, while tin hit a new record high on fears of tightening supplies. Metals teed off mostly against the weaker dollar, which is now trading around $1.3720, and was at that level for much of yesterday's session as well. The complex also held up well despite some soggy US macro numbers; weekly initial claims, for example, surged last week to levels well above estimates, while total durable goods orders unexpectedly fell 2.5% vs. a consensus forecast calling for a rise of 1.5%. Somewhat on the brighter side, contracts for pending sales of previously owned homes rose faster than expected in December. Right now, metals are up again, with tin very much in the spotlight again, trading at just under the $30,000 mark. It remains to be seen how metals fare next week with the February holiday approaching in China. We suspect that the correction that set in earlier this week has likely run its course, and we could now start to push a bit higher towards the top end of various trading ranges. Moreover, none of the other markets seem to be under pressure at this point, reducing the likelihood of spillover selling, with the arguable exception of gold, which continues to struggle. In this regard, there was a good article in today’s Wall Street Journal of a “mini-Hunt” quietly at work liquidating massive losing positions in the gold market this week. It was reported that hedge fund SHK Asset Management sold about $850 million of the precious metal this week, more than 10% of the futures market, mainly in spreads, although there were some outright positions as well. As a result of the move, the number of gold contracts on the CME’s Comex division plunged by more than 81,000 on Monday, its biggest single fall ever. Gold is now at $1315, up roughly $2, and taking the news in stride, as obviously the selling has been already done .... Nickel is at $26,850, up $355; another close above $26,500 today will look rather bullish on the charts. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (SSCofC) The China Crude Stainless Steel Production of 2010 is 11, 256 ,000 metric tons, increased by 27.84% compared with 2009. The apparent consumption increased by 14.36% to 9,400,000 metric tons.
  • (SSCofC) China Molybdenum containing stainless steel production in 2010 is 315925 metric tons and the duplex stainless steel is 24455 metric tons increased by 62% and 50% compared with 2009, the highest level in China's history.
  • (JMB) Nickel , excess supply this year/ Supplies up 13% due to new operation
    (SBB) China FeCr import prices continue climb
  • (China) Side Effects foe Dealers - more (nice graph at bottom)

  Why Nickel price is soaring - With each passing day, inflation seems less and less a theoretical fiction, and more and more a genuine threat. - more

  Nickel Production In Japan In 2010 Increased Compared To That In 2009 = Output Of Nickel Metal Increased By 32%, That Of Ferro-Nickel Also Increased By 11% - The production activities of nickel metal and ferro-nickel in Japan in January - November of 2010 as well as in a single month of November were known in last week. - more

  Minmetals Plans to Spend at Least $2 Billion on M&A, CEO Michelmore Says - Minmetals Resources Ltd., a Hong Kong unit of China’s biggest metals trader, aims to spend at least $2 billion on acquisitions to build a global business as demand and prices surge. - more

  ArcelorMittal unit Aperam lists in Amsterdam - ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, listed its stainless steel division Aperam in Amsterdam on Wednesday, hoping to profit from surging emerging market demand. - more

  Bucko mine restart grows closer - Crowflight Minerals of Vancouver is making a $30-million private placement, part of which is earmarked for acquiring mining equipment and restarting the Bucko Lake nickel mine in the Thompson nickel belt near Wabowden. Part of the money is also to be spent to pay creditors and retire a portion of the company's convertible debenture. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, January 27

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 48 to 1,186. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) McDonald's No Match for KFC in China as Colonel Rules Fast Food // Further China Rate Increases Are `Necessary,' Central Bank Adviser Li Says // China Will Face Crisis Within 5 Years, 45% of Investors in Global Poll Say // Japan's Credit Rating Cut to AA- by S&P on Mounting Debt Burden // Yen Weakens, Stocks Fluctuate After S&P Cuts Japan Debt Rating // ECB's Bini Smaghi Says Imported Inflation Can't Be Ignored // European Economic Confidence Holds Near Three-Year Peak // European Stocks Advance as Allianz, Software Rally; Novartis, H&M Decline // Fed Closes Ranks as Improving Economy Won't Derail QE2 // New Yorkers Told to Stay Home as Snowfall Cloaks City // Business Investment Climbs, Housing Stabilizes // U.S. Stocks Fluctuate as Home-Sales Report, Qualcomm Offset Jobless Data
  • The Euro is now trading slightly lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is off more than 1./3% and trading at $86.18/barrel. Gold is off 1.8% and silver is down nearly 1.9%. Base metals ended the session higher, with only zinc steeping back on the day. Indicator charts show nickel traded in two halves - the first half was all gains, the latter half was giving most all of the earlier gains back. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $12.02/lb , up one cent. Stores of nickel stockpiled in LME licensed warehouses around the world gained a little yesterday, and stand just shy of the 135,200 tonne mark. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel sneaking out of the high side of the trendline yesterday (chart here). RSI and SStoch show the market in overbought territory but market appears to be on a run, so technicals join fundamentals as mere annoyances and greed takes over the market. Nickel appears to have 2010's trading high of $27,590/tonne in its sights as the next target to punch thru. This $12.51/lb peak of 2010 was reached on April 20th, and was the high water mark for the year. Charts show nickel was on a tear early this morning and had not looked over its shoulder until US reports came out at that were less favorable than expected. Then most gains were lost over the coarse of the afternoon. The Baltic Dry Index gave up another 48 points overnight. Just a few days after Vale announced it had temporarily shut down operations at its Voisey's Bay operation due to a leak, the 17 month strike, that was beginning to annoy the Canadian government, suddenly ended. Coincidence? Here is a quote from a Bloomberg article today. "The Federal Reserve kept its benchmark rate close to zero percent yesterday and maintained a pledge to hold lending costs “exceptionally low” for an “extended period.” Before today, copper declined 4 percent this month, partly on speculation that higher rates would hinder an economic recovery in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest metal user." If you would allow us to quote on this remark, we would just like to say "Bull!!". No one in the US has been forecasting, predicting, warning, or even mentioning the possibility of the Federal Reserve raising its rates anytime in the near future. However, this is a big concern for metals traders in regards to the largest user of copper. Then again, it's in print, so it must be true.   

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Manufacturing Mood Brightens Substantially - more
  • Parsing the Fed: How the Statement Changed - more
  • More troops lost to suicide - more
  • Financial Crisis Inquiry Summary - pdf here

  POSCO looks to become powerhouse in new material sector - Steel giant POSCO has aggressively expanded its business portfolio in the materials and eco-friendly sectors in a bid to seek new growth engines, and transform itself into a comprehensive material corporation. - more

  Home / News / Local News  - An Oregon District Court judge made no decision Tuesday on a request for an injunction that would prevent work starting on Oregon Resources Corp.'s chromite mine in the Seven Devils area until a lawsuit about ORC's mining permits is decided. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.14/lb higher, with other London traded base metals mostly higher. The Euro is presently trading slightly higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is off over 1/4 of 1% and trading at $87.09/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1% and silver is off 8/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 1.6%. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street should open in a good mood as well. Nickel inventories broke their streaks of losses and gained back some inventory yesterday.  The Voisey's Bay strike appears to be over as both parties have reached a tentative agreement. Interesting this comes 17 months after it began, but just a few days after a reported leak at the mine.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Copper leads most metals higher as rally continues, tin set new peak again - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Commodities had an impressive advance yesterday, as a technical rebound, coupled with favorable macro developments, spurred a host of complexes higher. In addition to the very decent bounce we had in metals, there were strong gains in energy and the ags. We are up again this morning in metals, with copper now recouping most of Tuesday’s losses, and trading at $9500. There are good gains in the rest of the group as well, (except for zinc), but crude oil markets gave up an earlier advance, and are now lower by about $.30 a barrel. We suspect the weaker dollar may have had a role to play in the recent recovery in metals, but perhaps what is more significant, is that the dollar is likely being perceived to continue to weaken over the short-term given recent developments. We refer to President Obama's State of the Union address delivered earlier in the week where, as we noted in yesterday’s note, was devoid of any significant spending cuts. More importantly, the Fed's policy statement, out yesterday, cannot be expected to offer much relief to the dollar either after the Fed said that it would continue its bond buying program. Although this was not unexpected, the surprise was in the fact that none of the governors dissented, a signal to the markets that, at least for now, there is not even token opposition to continuing the program. The Fed also said that the recovery is simply not strong enough to make a significant dent in unemployment, and that it is going to stand pat on rates. While it did acknowledge rising commodity prices, it suggested that the inflationary impact of this move higher will be minimal—again, not exactly a dollar-friendly interpretation of events. The dollar is now trading at $1.3720 against the euro. However, it is stronger against the yen (83) on account of an S&P downgrade of Japan’s debt to AA-. S&P said that Japan lacks a “coherent strategy” to address the nation’s debt, which is about twice the size of GDP, the highest among the developed countries. Out of China, the Shanghai Futures Exchange said yesterday that it will provisionally raise trading margins and intraday limits for all contracts around the Lunar New Year holiday, which starts next week. Also out of China, there was blunt talk from a Chinese central bank monetary policy committee member, Li Daokui, who said that the country needs to extend interest rate increases and allow the yuan to gain about 5% annually to fight inflation and avoid fuelling asset bubbles. “Rate increases are necessary,” Li said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “We should gradually increase rates in the first and second quarter" adding that rising real-estate prices are the “biggest danger” to China’s economy and “a thousand times worse than inflation.” However, he said that in the event of a rate increase, China won’t suffer a “hard landing” and that the economy will grow about 9.5% this year, with the average inflation rate likely to come in between 3.8%-4.0%. (For what it is worth, we find his projection on such a low inflation reading unrealistic). .... Nickel is at $26,850, up $350, and possibly preparing to take out resistance at $26,500; two days of closes above this mark will prove significant, but we have a hard time seeing nickel push beyond $30,000 that easily. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Reportedly, even the transactions of stainless steel are not very active in Taiwan’s domestic market by the coming of Chinese New Year holiday, market participants have still seen the positive outlook for the new quotes which will be released on January 28th for February delivery. It’s predicted that Taiwan’s stainless steel mills would increase the prices by NT$3,000/ton for February delivery, supported by the sharply rising nickel prices.
  • (Macquarie) Latest stainless steel data for 2010, which include substantial upward revisions to Chinese production, suggest an ongoing nickel market deficit in 2011, despite ongoing substitution to lower- and no-nickel-containing stainless steels.
  • (Interfax) China can expect to see weaker steel exports in 2011, according to a China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) market analysis report released on Jan. 26 and featured in state media the following day.
  • (SO) According to a statement issued by the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) on January 25, steel prices in China will continue their upward trend in 2011, though some fluctuations will be seen and the increase will be at a slower rate than previous.
  • (Reuters) China's 10 biggest steel mills produced 48.1 percent of the country's total crude steel output in 2010, up from 44.5 percent in 2009, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said at a briefing on Thursday.
  • (SBB) Asian stainless prices rise, further increases expected
  • (SO) Germany's iron ore import prices 98.4 percent higher than a year ago
  • (MB) Jinchuan nickel prices up 9% so far in Jan
  • South Korea to more than triple mineral investments - more

  Deal reached in Labrador nickel strike - Brazilian mining giant Vale has reached a tentative settlement in an 18-month-long strike with workers at its Voisey’s Bay nickel mine in Labrador. - more

  • Vale says has deal to end Voisey Bay strike - Vale SA and unionized workers at its Voisey's Bay mine in Atlantic Canada have reached a tentative deal end the 17-month strike, the Brazilian miner said on Wednesday. - more

  China’s Stainless Steel Output Rises 28%, Imports Fall - China, the world’s biggest stainless-steel producer, boosted output of the rust-proof metal by 28 percent last year, cutting imports as demand from home builders, auto manufacturers and appliance makers rose. - more

  • Steel industry plan forged - China's top 10 steel mills will be able to contribute 60 percent of the country's total steel output and 40 percent of the nation's steel production will come from coastal areas in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) period, said an official who was involved in working out the blueprint for the nation's steel industry, which is set to be finalized soon. - more

  Metals volumes traded on LME and SHFE - Following are data for the total number of futures metals contracts traded on the London Metal Exchange (LME) and the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) since the start of 2009. - more

  Norilsk Must Extend Rusal Offer to All Holders, Deripaska Says - Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, whose United Co. Rusal rejected a December bid by OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel to buy out its 25 percent stake in the nickel producer, said Norilsk should extend its offer to all holders. - more

  Soros Says Higher Commodity Prices Likely for ‘Couple of Years’ - A decade-long boom in commodities may last “a couple of years” longer before supply catches up with demand, billionaire investor George Soros said. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, January 26

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 58 to 1,234. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Fines Wal-Mart, Carrefour for Misleading Prices // China Lifts Minimum Down Payment For Second Homes to 60% as Prices Climb // China Stocks Rebound from 4-Month Low on Valuations; Kweichow Moutai Gains // Japanese Stocks Fall for First Time in Three Days on Commodities, Pharma // China Price Gains Pose Risk to Asia’s 2011 Growth, Fitch Says // Greece Default With Ireland Breaks Euro by 2016 in Global Poll // Pirate Attacks Spur 36-Fold Increase in Ransoms: Freight Markets // Egypt Bans Demonstrations After Tunisia-Inspired Rallies Leave Three Dead // Trichet Says Recent Data for Euro Zone Confirms Gradual Economic Recovery // European Stocks Gain Before Fed Interest-Rate Decision; Carmakers Advance // Roubini Says U.S. Risks ‘Train Wreck’ From Bond Vigilante Wrath // Storm Moves Up U.S. East Coast, Threatens Heavy Snow for New York, Boston // Sales of New Homes in U.S. Rose More Than Forecast // Stocks Rise, Dollar Falls After Home Sales; Egypt Shares Sink
  • The Euro and US Dollar are trading dead even at the moment. NYMEX crude is up nearly 3/4 of 1% and trading at $86.82/barrel. Gold is down over 1/10 of 1% and silver is up 3/4 of 1%. Base metals ended the session bullishly. Indicator chart show nickel opened higher this morning and rose throughout the session. Dow jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $12.01/lb . That is nickel's highest close since mid April 2010 and it's worth noting, that during all of 2010, nickel only closed above $12/lb for 8 consecutive days in mid April. Stockpiles of nickel stored worldwide in LME licensed warehouses slipped slightly yesterday and now stand just over the 134,650 tonne level. The Baltic Dry Index continues to tumble, losing another 58 points and registering one of those totals you could never forget if you cared to remember, 1,234. Interesting to read analysts and news articles stating European stainless demand these days is somewhere between 'soft' and 'starting to pick up', depending on whom you read. If true, it makes us curious about who is taking all the nickel from the Rotterdam warehouses over the past week. Demand in China is supposedly strong, but the warehouses there do not seem to have much call for their stockpiled nickel. Over 3,300 tonnes of nickel have shipped out of Rotterdam in the previous six days. Are European stainless steel producers stockpiling in anticipation of higher prices this year? Maybe.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Financial Crisis Was Avoidable, Inquiry Finds - more
  • Seeing across the income divide - more
  • Video: Roubini on Global Economy, Risks Ahead - more
  • A Look at Case-Shiller, by Metro Area - more
  • The Nation's Unemployed - more

  DJ Brazil's Vale Warned US Of Chinese Advance In Mining - Report - Executives of Brazilian miner Vale SA in 2007 warned the U.S. about Chinese plans to control South American and African mineral deposits and related transport networks, according to a Wikileaks document obtained by Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo and published Wednesday on the newspaper's website. - more

  Jo returns with fleet replacement order - Jo Tankers has ordered two 30,000 dwt stainless steel chemical tankers from Mingde Heavy Industries in China, for delivery from mid-2013. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.11/lb higher, with all London traded base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro is trading slightly higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude us up 2/3 of 1% and trading at $86.74/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1/10 of 1% and silver is 1/3 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China ended 1-1/3% higher. European markets are trading higher this morning and US future show Wall Street has no intention of being left behind. Nickel inventories fell slightly yesterday.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals rally on dip-buying, tin sets fresh record on supply worry - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals fell sharply yesterday, with copper falling to a one-month low, as investors cast a wary eye on rising interest rates and slowing growth. A surprising contraction in 4th quarter GDP out of the UK, coupled with a rate rise out of India, both set the stage for a negative start to the day, and markets never recovered after that. In addition, we had spillover weakness coming through from the energy sector, where prices fell for a sixth straight day, as well as from gold, which dipped to a three-month low. Once again, there was a noticeable disconnect between commodities and the currency markets in that the slightly stronger Euro had minimal impact in reversing the price weakness. Constructive macro data out of the US did not help much either; in this regard, a report showing consumer confidence rising by more than expected in January to its highest level in eight months similarly failed to impress. We are seeing a modest bounce set in today, with energy prices up $.75, and base metals all up across the board as well. The dollar is slightly weaker, now trading at just under $1.37 against the Euro, as investors sift through the policy repercussions of President Obama’s State of the Union speech. First impressions seem to be that there were not any bold initiatives on controlling the budget deficits, which may explain the weakness we are seeing in the greenback. US equities are called to open slightly higher. We don’t expect to see much action over the course of the day ahead of the Federal Reserve policy statement. The Fed is expected to maintain the pace of its bond-buying program in light of still high unemployment and sinking home prices, but it will be interesting to see what they say in terms of the recent pickup in growth, and the implication this may have on their rate policy going forward.  .... Nickel is at $26,200, up $300, and possibly preparing another shot at taking out resistance at $26,500. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) China produced 796.27 million tons of steel products in 2010, up 14.7 percent year-on-year, according to figures released by Shanghai-based Mysteel Information on Jan. 25.
  • (AP) A Chinese investor by way of its Indonesian unit PT Jillin HOROC plans to build a ferro-nickel plant in Indonesia's Konawe Utara Regency, Southeast Sulawesi. The plan of the biggest Chinese investor to build a ferro-nickel plant was revealed by Southeast Sulawesi Governor H. Nur Alam to the press Tuesday.
  • (ATA) The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.2 percent in December after falling a revised 0.6 percent in November. The latest improvement put the SA index at 111.6 (2000=100) in December, which was the highest level since September 2008. In November, the SA index equaled 109.2. .
  • (China) Overheating fears grow as local GDP targets set high - more

  Vale says Voisey's Bay leak fixed, operations halted - Brazilian miner Vale said on Tuesday it had repaired a faulty valve that caused a tailing leak its Voisey's Bay nickel project in Eastern Canada, but gave no indication as to when operations would resume at the mill. - more

  Ferrochrome Price May Rise in Second Quarter, IFM Chief Says - International Ferro Metals Ltd. Chief Executive Officer David Kovarsky is “cautiously optimistic” ferrochrome prices will rise in the second quarter compared with the first quarter. - more

  Consumption Of Nickel Metal In Japan For Nov. 2010 Decreased By 7.4% From That In Oct. = Consumed 4,387 Tons Of Nickel Metal In November - According to the statistics released on the 18th of January by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the quantities of nickel metal consumed by main sectors of Japan in November of 2010 were as per the tables shown below. - more

  MSCI: U.S., Canadian Metal Shipments Rebounded in 2010  - Final figures for 2010 show that shipments of steel and aluminum from service centers in the United States and Canada rebounded significantly during the year from depressed volumes in 2009, according to the December Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute in Rolling Meadows, Ill. - more

  Universal Stainless Reports 2010 Fourth Quarter Results - more

  AK Steel Reports Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2010 Results - more

  Allegheny Technologies Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2010 Results - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, January 25

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 53 to 1,292. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Stanley Ho Says Family Members Seize Gambling Empire Stake // China's Shanghai Composite Drops as Commodity Stocks, Smallcaps Decline // China's Banks Pay Record Deposit Rate for Government Cash; SHIBOR Climbs // BRIC Inflation Threatens Priciest Consumer Stocks as Food Bills Increase // La Nina Boosts U.S., China Crop Risks in 2011, Forecaster Says  // China’s Stocks Decline on Inflation, Smallcap Valuation Concerns // India Raises Benchmark Interest Rate to Two-Year High to Slow Inflation // Bank of Japan Raises Fiscal 2010 Growth Forecast to 3.3% on Global Rebound // Australian Consumer Prices Rise 0.4% in Fourth Quarter, Less Than Forecast // Risk of Riots Rising as Governments Cut Food Subsidies, UN's Sheeran Says // U.K. Economy Shrinks Unexpectedly as December Freeze Precedes Budget Cuts // German Consumer Confidence Gains on Drop in Unemployment, GfK Index Shows // Germany Overtakes U.K. as Top European Investment Pick of Property Funds // European Stocks Decline as U.K. Economy Shrinks, Spanish Lenders Retreat // Crude Oil Inventories Climb in Survey as Imports Increase: Energy Markets // Consumer Confidence in U.S. Rose More Than Forecast // U.S. Home Prices Now `Flat,' May See First-Half Rise, Economist Case Says //
  • The Euro is now trading slightly higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1-1/2% and trading at $86.58/barrel. Gold is down over 1/10 of 1% and silver is off 3/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session lower except for tin. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, got an afternoon boost from a climbing Euro, then fell back at the close. Dow jones reports three month nickel ended the session at $11.75/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses slipped for a sixth consecutive session yesterday and now stand just over the 134,950 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel has fallen into and up and down trend (chart here) and today's trading was no different. Reuters published its beginning of the year poll of metals analysts and their annual forecasts. The Reuters article, linked below, states "The consensus of 45 forecasts showed the cash nickel price this year would average $24,251 a tonne. For 2012 the average of 38 forecasts was $23,640 a tonne." This would compare to an average price of $22,390/tonne over the last 6 months of 2010.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (LCH PR) LCH.Clearnet Ltd has, after consultation with LME, set the London SPAN margin parameters marked in bold and italic on the attached document. The changes will be made effective from the close of business on Thursday 27 January 2011 and will be reflected in margin calls on Friday 28 January 2011. - more
  • Macquarie report - Benchmark stainless steel prices (304 2B 2mm sheet) have risen 10% over the last month to US$3,120/t (ex VAT), outperforming the 7.4% rise in LME nickel prices over the same period. Mills report full order books for 1Q11 and early indications for the rest of 1H11 also look promising, with most orders coming direct from end users rather than merchants and/or trader restocking.
  • Albanian Minerals press release - ... The inventories for copper, aluminum, chrome ore, nickel , ferrochrome and iron ore are at the lowe's level this year. Metal prices will rise sharply in 2011 do to the growing demand and higher energy costs. Stockpiles of copper monitored by the exchange have declined 30 percent to 355,000 tons, the lowest level . Albanian Minerals in New York is receiving a record new orders for row minerals, copper, nickel, chrome ore and iron ore for 2011. ...
  • Inevitable Inflation Fears - more
  • Survey Indicates Inflation Expectation Still Muted - more
  • Two-speed Global Recovery Continues - more
  • "Zero-Interest Policies as Hidden Subsidies to Banks" - more
  • China province faces worst drought in a century - more

  Nickel to see higher prices as demand strengthens - Prices of stainless steel material nickel are expected to rise this year as fast-growing demand runs into scarce supplies, which are likely to be curbed by the spike in coal prices, a Reuters poll showed. - more

  Arcelor shareholders back stainless steel spinoff - Shareholders of steelmaker ArcelorMittal have approved the spinoff of the company's stainless steel business. - more

  First Quantum Minerals Ltd. today provided the following update on its expansion and development objectives for its operating mines and growth projects. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.24/lb lower, with all London traded base metals lower as well. The Euro is trading nearly 1/3 of 15 lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crud eis down nearly 1-1/2% and trading at $86.58/barrel. Gold is down 3/4 of 1% and silver is off over 1.2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher, with China off over 1/2 of 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning, and so far, US futures show Wall Street may give back some of yesterday's gains. Nickel inventory numbers dropped again yesterday.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Copper tumbles below $9,300 as traders take off risk - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  We had something of a disjointed session yesterday, with copper pushing higher on nothing more than lingering buy-side conviction, while the rest of the metals ended lower, except for tin, which ended up in record territory. However, Monday’s mixed performance is being followed by a sharp correction today. Copper is off by a little more than 2%, and is now hovering around last week's intraday low, as is ali. The rest of the metals are also down, except for tin, which is off more modestly. In other markets, oil prices are off for a sixth day in a row on bearish comments attributed to Saudi's oil minister, who said that prices should remain relatively stable this year, implying that OPEC could ease up on supply. Gold markets are also off sharply, with the precious metal now at a 10-week low and in a downward funk since the start of the year. The Euro is unchanged against the dollar, (now at $1.36), but it is not doing much to lift the commodity class, a disconnect that has been apparent for some weeks now. There is no particular reason we see for today's sell-off in metals, but it seems that the infatuation with commodities may be coming off the boil given some of the macro headwinds that face the group going into 2011. Moreover, we should point out that we saw a sharp commodity-wide sell-off at this time last year as well following equally sharp gains that were notched up during much of December 2009 and into early January 2010. Going forward, we suspect that we could start to see some range-based patterns replace the upward price trajectories that many metals were on. However, we won't know where the bottom end of the range is until prices make a low and then bounce off it a number of times. In the case of metals, this downward probing may still have more room to run before the bottom end of the range is defined, but we suspect that in copper’s case, we are looking at $8800-$8900 for a near-term bottom, about $1000 off the peak, and a reasonably-sized pullback. In US macro news, we get January consumer confidence readings (expected at 53.5), as well as President Obama’s state of the Union speech televised later tonight. Out of Europe, a surprise contraction in fourth-quarter UK GDP growth by about .5% sent European shares lower, and is setting up a lower opening on Wall Street. In other macro news, the IMF came out with its outlook today, saying that the global economy will likely expand 4.4% this year, a touch higher than the 4.2% forecast in October. It expects growth of 4.5% in 2012. However, it said that Europe needs to strengthen its financial rescue fund to reduce the risk of renewed global instability, while inflationary pressures may force a number of emerging economies to raise rates. China should also look to revalue the Yuan sooner rather than later, something that presumably will not sit well with the Chinese, and is in stark contrast to what French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Monday, namely that it was not his job to tell China what to do on its currency. But Europe was the IMF’s main area of concern, with the Fund saying that "Problems in Greece, and now Ireland, have reignited questions about sovereign debt sustainability and banking sector health in a broader set of euro area countries and possibly beyond”. The IMF added that Europe's banks needed further stress-testing to ensure they could withstand any future shock, while non-viable banks should be closed. ..... Nickel is at $25,800, down $350, and seems to backing away from key resistance around $26,500. We are looking for somewhat lower values from here. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (MB) Jinchuan raises nickel prices by 1.5%
  • (BW) Further drilling by Canadian firm Mindoro Resources Ltd. in its Bolobolo property in Surigao del Norte confirmed potential mineralization in the area.
  • World Economic Outlook Update, January 2011 - more

  Intl Ferro Metals Q2 sales surge on Asia demand - International Ferro Metals said sales of ferrochrome more than doubled in its second quarter on strong Asian demand for the stainless steel ingredient. - more

  China's Steel Prices May Rise After Holiday, CISA Says - Steel prices in China, the world's biggest producer and consumer, may rise after the Lunar New Year holiday because of increasing demand from social housing construction and railway expansion, an industry group said. - more

  Output Of Moly In Concentrates By Kennecott / USA In CY 2010 - According to the production activities in the calender year (January - December) of 2010 as well as in the fourth quarter (October - December) of 2010 released on the 18th of January by Rio Tinto, which is the parent company of Kennecott Utah Copper (Kennecott) of the USA, the quantities of Mo in molybdenum concentrates produced by Kennecott in these two periods were as per the table attached hereto. - more

  Nickel mine directors win 5yr court battle - Two directors from Goldfields' nickel miner, Western Areas, have successfully appealed against a decision that would have seen them hand over $65 million worth of shares to a company they formerly managed. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending January 22, 2011, domestic raw steel production was 1,766,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 73.0 percent. Production was 1,552,000 tons in the week ending January 22, 2010, while the capability utilization then was 64.2 percent. The current week production represents a 13.8 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending January 22, 2011 is up 1.8 percent from the previous week ending January 15, 2011 when production was 1,736,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 71.8 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, January 24

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 25 to 1,345. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Bond Sales Beat Stocks in Busiest Start to a Year on Record: China Credit // Super-Cycle Leaves No Economy Behind Before Davos Summit // Australia, Hong Kong Among World's Priciest Housing Markets, Survey Shows // China's Stocks Decline on Inflation Outlook, Smallcap Valuation Concerns // Dollar Strengthens on Growth Outlook; European Stocks, Irish Bonds Decline // Spain's Progress on Deficit Creates Cushion for Savings Banks: Euro Credit // Metals Traders Worth $3 Million at Wall Street Banks // European Stocks Rise as Bid Rivalry Lifts Northern Foods; Philips Declines // Halliburton Profit Rises as Oil Prices Boost Demand // Fed Signals Seen Raising Treasury Yields 60 Basis Points in `11 // U.S. Stocks Rise on M&A, Buybacks; Micex Tumbles After Bombing
  • The Euro is presently trading over 2/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is lower by more than 1-1/2% and trading at $87.73/barrel. Gold is up 1/10 of 1% while silver is 8/10 of 1% lower,. Base metals ended the session mixed but mostly lower. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher early, and fell early. The rest of the session saw choppy up and down trading, with the day ending on the downturn. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended a penny lower than Friday, at $11.86/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses continued to slip on Friday and now total just under the 135,200 tonne level. Nearly all of the outbound activity over the last week has been limited to the Rotterdam warehouse. Where this nickel is headed when it leaves Rotterdam could answer a lot of questions. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel ending last week on the upturn (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index continues to slide, down another 25 points. The disconnect between world economic growth and the Baltic Dry Index is mind boggling. The BDI readings lately imply nothing but worldwide economic desolation, and it would appear the skewing of the numbers that shipping experts have been claiming for sometime now, would explain its lack of worthiness as an economic gauge. Inflation concerns are starting to rise again.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Reuters) Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel and palladium miner, on Monday said 13.8 million shares were tendered following its buyback offer, less than the maximum, meaning it will purchase all of the shares.
  • Number of the Week: Americans Dipping Into Savings - more
  • Top World Economic Concerns in 2011 - more
  • The Competition Myth - more
  • Cumulative Bank Failures - chart here
  • Congress Passes Socialized Medicine and Mandates Health Insurance -In 1798 - more
  • Supreme Court says fiancee of complaining worker protected from retaliation - more
  • Old-timer gets ax 'over 24 cents' - more

  As Food, Raw Materials Soar, Europe’s Central Bank Head Warns on Inflation - Inflation fears—fueled by spiraling food, oil and raw material prices—are mounting around the globe, prompting the head of the European Central Bank to signal that it could raise interest rates in the future even though some countries have been weakened by the Continent’s debt crisis. - more

  RUSAL co-owner says expects new Norilsk offer - UC RUSAL, the world's top aluminium producer, expects a new offer from Norilsk Nickel for its 25 percent stake in the nickel giant, RUSAL co-owner and board chairman Viktor Vekselberg said on Monday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.05/lb higher, with other London traded base metals mixed and mostly higher. The Euro is trading 1/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is down 2/3 of 1% and trading at $88.54/barrel. Gold is up nearly 1/2 of 1% and silver is nearly 2/10 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended  lower, with China off 1%. European markets are currently trading lower, while US futures show Wall Street may open in a better mood. Nickel inventories fell Friday.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals lose steam as dollar recovers - more
  • Reuters - Copper up on China demand outlook, tin at record - more

  Reports

  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Morning Montra - pdf here
  • Daily Overview - pdf here
  • Market Drivers - pdf here
  • Metals Insight - pdf here
  • SSINA Releases Market Data for October 2010 - pdf here
  • World crude steel output increases by 15% in 2010 - more
  • Weekly Scoreboard - pdf here
  • Robry Weekly Economic Assessment - more
  • SMM Nickel Price Forecast - more
  • ThyssenKrupp Nirosta February Stainless Surcharge - more

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals had a wobbly period last week before recovering some ground later in the week. Copper fell back to an intraday low of $9281 at one point, while aluminum gave up difficult terrain north of $2500 to retrace back down to $2374. It was interesting to see this retrenchment setting in despite a bullish metals backdrop, typified by the release of fairly decent Chinese import data for December (particularly on the scrap side), a surging Euro, (which scaled a two-month high against the dollar), and strong macro numbers showing fourth quarter Chinese GDP clocking in with a 9.8% gain. Ironically, the Chinese growth figures were perhaps too strong, as they raised renewed fears about higher inflation readings down the road. In China's case, consumer prices rose 4.6% in December year-on-year and 3.3% for the whole of 2010, breaking the government's 3% inflation ceiling. Producer prices were up more sharply, rising by 5.9%. We suspect that the actual numbers in both categories are even higher, as some of the individual components used in the pricing indices tend to underreport pricing pressures. Be that as it may, the authorities have acted, raising the benchmark interest rates twice and the reserve requirement ratio seven times since January of 2010. However, the markets correctly sense that they are still behind the curve and that more tightening lies ahead, which is why we suspect the upside in base metals is now starting to get fairly sticky. Inflation warnings are coming out from elsewhere as well; Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the ECB, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal ahead of this week's annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos that pricing pressures in the euro zone must be watched closely, and urged central bankers everywhere to ensure that higher energy and food prices don't gain a foothold in the global economy. Of course, Europe has yet to move on the rate front, but we do not rule out this possibility, as growth, particularly in Germany, looks very strong, with a business sentiment index released last week surging to a 20-year high. This morning, the European authorities reported in a Euro zone’s service survey of around 2,000 businesses that activity rose to 55.2 from 54.2 in December, comfortably beating expectations. Short-term, we believe that metals are still overextended, and due for a more convincing pullback. Some commodities, like gold, have already decoupled from the upward spiral for some weeks now, as investors may be sensing that the easy-money policies driving the precious metal may no longer be as accommodative heading into 2011. We are also seeing the weaker dollar failing --more often than not --in providing its traditional ballast for the commodity complex. ..... Nickel is at $26,150, down $10, and looking far better on the charts than several of the other base metals in that it hardly corrected in the wake of last week’s selloff. There is good resistance, however, around the $26,500 level, which if taken out, could lead to a breakout on the charts. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Besides, Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group (Tisco) and Posco have announced to increase the stainless steel prices for February delivery.
  • Affected by these factors, it’s predicted that the Taiwan’s stainless steel mills such as Yieh United Steel Corp.(Yusco) and Tang Eng would probably hike the prices by NT$3,000/ton.
  • (Interfax) China produced 51.52 million tons of crude steel in December 2010, or 44.36 percent of the total global output in the month, the World Steel Association (WSA) announced Jan. 21
  • (Interfax) Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed Baoshan Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. (Baosteel) plans to raise its crude steel production capacity from 26 million tons to 33 million tons within the next five years, state media reported Jan. 21.
  • (MF) Japan’s steel mills’ consumption of high-carbon ferrochrome was 61,807 mt in November, slightly down from 62,351 mt a in October, and up 12.2% from 55,074 mt a year ago, according to MITI.
  • (CD) China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 4.6 percent in December year on year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced Thursday.
  • China More Expensive Than the U.S.? - more

  New Caledonia’s Goro nickel plant under scrutiny - A global commodity analyst with the financial service firm Citi, Alan Heap, says world nickel markets are closely watching Vale’s plant at Goro in New Caledonia, which has about a quarter of the world’s nickel reserves. - more

  Japanese Tinplate Export Talks On Q2 Asian Deals =Baosteel's Domestic Tinplate Markup For March Shipments - Japanese integrated steelmakers are expected to start negotiations from late January on their deals of tinplate exports to the rest of Asia for shipments in the April-June quarter. - more

  China may reduce export tax rebates - China is drawing up plans to either scrap or reduce export tax rebates on some of the country's energy-intensive and high-polluting industries, a local paper reported on Monday, citing unidentified sources. - more

  Rampant Steel Price Rises in EU Market - Although consumption has changed very little, domestic producers are attempting to lift second quarter offers because of raw material price developments and energy cost increases.

  Metals Traders Worth $3 Million at Wall Street Banks - After a year when U.S. President Barack Obama signed a law curbing risk-taking on Wall Street and pay at banks fell, metals traders are reaping bonus bonanzas. - more

  Sarkozy lays out G20 agenda, targets commodities - French President Nicolas Sarkozy called in a speech laying out his G20 agenda on Monday for new rules to curb commodity price volatility, warning that the world risks food riots and weaker growth if leaders fail to act. - more

  • Sarkozy urges regulation of commodity markets - The French President says the world's top economies must agree new measures to curb volatility in commodity markets. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, January 21

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 23 to 1,370. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Shanghai's Mayor Says Home Prices Are `Too High,' City Preparing for Tax // China Rural Incomes Rising Most Since '84 Show Lure for Job-Seeking Obama // China's Stocks Rebound From Four-Month Low as Property Developers Advance // Deflation Diminishing in Bond Market as Food Prices Increase: Japan Credit // Japan Raises Economic Assessment for First Time Since June on Production // High-Deficit European Nations May Default, Restructure Debt, Pimco Warns // German Bond Yields Suffer as Bailout Costs Echo Reunification: Euro Credit // BOE's Posen Sees U.K. Inflation Slowing `Well Below' Target After Surging // European Stocks Climb After German Confidence Report; ArcelorMittal Gains // Mortgage Investors Are Duped by False Owner-Occupancy Claims, Study Finds // BofA Reports Loss on Costs Tied to Bad Loans, Mortgage Unit // Eat-What-You-Kill Brokers Starved as Banks Gorge on Bailout Cash //
  • The Euro is presently trading 9/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down over 1/3 of 1% and trading at $89.26/barrel. Gold is down nearly 2/10 of 1% and silver is off over 4/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mostly higher, with tin hitting a new record high today. Indictor chart show nickel opened higher early, spent most of the fist part of the trading session in a see-saw up and down movement, and gaining as the Euro climbed in the afternoon. Dow Jones reports three month nickle ended the session and week at $11.87/lb . That's a new high close for the year and highest since April 2010. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses took a dive on Thursday, as a large withdrawal in Europe took the level down to its low point for the year. Totals now show just under the 135,700 tonne level. Canceled warrants remain above 5%. Sucden did not update their day old nickel trading chart, so we have not provided a link. The Baltic Dry Index dropped 23 points to 1,370. Nickel ended the week with its latest bull run safely entrenched. If you are still puzzled about why nickel is on the climb, and trading in the $11/lb range under similar world conditions as it did when it traded in the $6/lb range, here is a quote from someone besides us on the matter. In a quote from a Newsweek article entitled 'Here Comes $4 Gas, $5 Cups of Coffee', Dan Dicker of thestreet.com states, "It is clear now that we will instead be witness to the highest prices for commodities ever, fueled by the biggest influx of profit-driven trading and investment ever, unstanched even in the slightest by the hopes of financial regulation legislation." Nickel would have to more than double from its current trading level to hit an all time high, but copper and tin have both done so in the last few weeks. While precious metals show signs of a potential correction, base metals do not.
  • Have a safe and restful weekend!!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Vale) Vale today announces that it has finalized negotiations with the Workers Union representing employees at the company's mining and processing operations in Indonesia on a new two-year collective labour agreement. This marks the 14th labor agreement successfully negotiated between the company's Indonesian operations (PT International Nickel Indonesia Tbk) and the Workers Union. Vale is pleased to have reached this latest agreement without a work stoppage, which provides further evidence of the company's strong commitment to its employees and its willingness and ability to work with the unions who represent them around the globe.
  • Taxes on Overseas Income Take Center Stage at House Hearing - more
  • ECB: Crisis Had Lasting Effect on Growth Potential - more
  • Local Revenues Climb as Economy Recovers - more
  • Will We Have US State Bankruptcies? - more
  • Path Is Sought for States to Escape Debt Burdens - more
  • World Air Traffic 24 Hour Period - more

  Iron molybdenum vanadium iron weekly U.S. markets calm - U.S. iron and vanadium iron molybdenum prices remain unchanged earlier this week, the United States three days after the holiday,Lead Powder exporter, the market trading slightly hesitant. - more

  Posco, IMFA JV; to set up unit in Orissa - The world's third largest steel maker Posco today said it has tied up with Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys (IMFA) to set up a ferrochrome making unit at Orissa in which it will hold 24 per cent stake. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb higher, with all London traded base metals higher.  The Euro is nearly 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar this morning. NYMEX crud eis up 1/3 of 1% and trading at $89.89/barrel. Gold is down slightly and silver is off 2/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower while China closed 1.3% higher. European markets are trading higher this morning as business confidence in Germany unexpectedly rose, and US futures show Wall Street should open higher. Nickel inventories fell sharply yesterday.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals rebound, tin soars to new record - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Please note that there will be NO Daily Metals Commentary this week as our analyst Ed Meir is travelling. The next report will be published on Monday Jan. 24th, 2011.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (AP) Indonesia's largest nickel producer PT International Nickel Indonesia (Inco, JSX:INCO) is accused of being incompliant to the law and facing termination of operation in the country. The subsidiary of the Canadian-based Vale Inco has exported nickel in raw material and operates in forest land without proper license in Southeast Sulawesi, said Nur Alam the provincial governor said.
  • (JMB) Japanese raw steel output increased by 25.2% to 109.6 million tonnes in 2010 from 2009, announced by Japan Iron and Steel Federation on Thursday.
  • (Interfax) Mirroring China's iron and steel industry, the nation's nonferrous metals sector grew stronger in 2010 as the global economy continued to recover.
  • FACTBOX-Ships held by Somali pirates - more (JAHAN MONI: Seized on Dec. 5. Merchant ship was 1,300 miles east of Somalia en route from Indonesia to Greece via Singapore carrying nickel ore. 26 crew.)
  • (China) China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 4.6 percent in December year on year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced Thursday. (more)
  • Here Comes $4 Gas, $5 Cups of Coffee - more

   TISCO ranks world No.1 in stainless steel production in 2010 - Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Group) Co., Ltd. (TISCO) in north China's Shanxi Province maintained its world leading position in stainless steel production, which rose 9.68 percent year on year to 2.72 million tonnes in 2010, the company said in a statement Tuesday. - more

  INCO Asked to Leave South Sulawesi - Governor Nur Alam has asked PT International Nickel Indonesia to cease operating in the province due to negligent practices, while new investors are already queuing to replace the nickel miner. - more

  LME Nickel Price Recorded Backwardation And Arises Forecast To Rise To US$26,000 / Ton = At Market On End Last Week, Information Of Troubled Nickel Production Has Backed Up Nickel Price - LME nickel price in the morning market on the 14th January of 2011 recorded its backwardation. LME nickel price in the afternoon market on the same day returned to its contango but many of the parties concerned have anticipated that LME nickel price will rise to a higher level than US$26,000 per ton. - more

  ThyssenKrupp on track to meet goals for year - ThyssenKrupp said it was on track to meet its goals for the year as demand at home helped the German steelmaker navigate global price pressures and slowing Chinese growth.- more

  MMC Norilsk Nickel develops its port fleet - OJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel informs that the construction of 1,110 t fuel bunkering vessel ordered by the Company was started by OJSC Krasnoyarsk Shipyards. - more

  Chinese steelmakers brace for new ore pricing regime - Top iron ore buyer China faces being led for the second year in a row on new payment option paths as key suppliers look to take advantage of tighter supplies and near record high spot prices. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, January 20

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 18 to 1,393. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's Quickening Economic Growth Fans Speculation Interest Rates to Rise // China's Stocks Drop to 4-Month Low as Inflation Outlook Fuels Rate Concern // Copper Shortage to Be Worst Since 2004 Amid Economic Recovery, Kamoo Says // Asian Stocks Drop as China Economic Reports Prompt Tightening Speculation // EU Leaders Must End Default `Taboo,' CDU's Lauk Says // Turkey's Central Bank Unexpectedly Cuts Benchmark Interest Rate to 6.25% // Irish Emigration Is Forecast to Accelerate, Exceeding Worst Years of 1980s // Greek Bondholders Unlikely to Get Paid Back in Full, Goldman's Wilson Says // European Stocks Fall on Concern China May Cool Inflation; EasyJet Tumbles // Morgan Stanley Profit Misses Estimates as Trading Revenue Falls // Insider Trading Defendants Avoid Prison in 44% of New York Cases // Home Sales, Leading Index Show Recovery Widening // Stocks, Commodities Decline on China Rate-Rise Concern; Treasuries Slide
  • The Euro is now trading nearly 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is off 2.4% and trading at $88.70/barrel. Gold is down 1-1/2% and silver is off nearly 4%. Base metals joined the bear and ended mostly lower. Except for nickel that is. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, climbed, then took a dive. Then just as sharply, it made a bull run, and ended on the rise. For the day, three month nickle ended the day at $11.69/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell for a third day and now show totaling just over the 137,100 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel traders have entered the uncertain zone (chart here), as Chinese markets prepare to close for New Years celebrations in a few weeks. While we feel the nickel bull is not in danger of being butchered anytime soon, as the market will continue to rise without any fundamental justification, the way ahead is strewn with electric fence and the periodic shock for the trader who gets too rambunctious. Cancelled warrants remain in the high 5% range. The Baltic Dry Index lost another 18 points today. Rather strange day in world markets. China reported its economy grew faster than it had planned in 2010, and the media this morning, used that 'horror' to explain why nickel and other metals were declining in price earlier. The reasoning was that China would now be forced to take more action to slow down their growth, which could potentially hurt future nickel sales. For awhile that claim didn't taste too bad and the market apparently bought  into it, and the price of nickel fell. But by mid afternoon, any trader that may have been swayed by this reasoning, suddenly realized that nickel has been doing nothing but going up ever since the last time China made an attempt to slow down its economy, and started asking themselves why did fundamentals suddenly matter again? It took the market about 45 minutes to completely recover from the $550/tonne drop it had taken over the previous two hours. And speaking of baloney, once again a few of our newer readers wrote yesterday, and asked us to explain the reasoning behind the WBMS figures. Time does not permit us to answer you individually, but long time readers will tell you of our passionately held views on this report and how we gave up trying to explain any statistics they publish a long, long time ago.   

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • WSJ/NBC Poll: U.S. Losing Ground to China - more
  • Underemployed vs. Unemployed - more
  • Crowd sourced map: Chinese labor unrest - more
  • Specs Fuel “Bizarro” World of Live Cattle Futures - more
  • More storms ahead for flood-ravaged Queensland - more

  Sudbury calls the shots, says Pollesel - The head of Vale's North Atlantic operations isn't putting much stock in rumours that Roger Agnelli could be on his way out as chief executive of Vale's parent company in Brazil. - more

  POSCO seals ferrochrome joint venture with Indian firm - POSCO, South Korea's largest steelmaker, said Thursday that it has signed a deal to set up a ferrochrome-producing joint venture with an Indian firm. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.03/lb lower, with other London traded base metals lower as well. The Euro is currently trading slightly higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down nearly 9/10 of 1% and trading at $90.08/barrel. Gold is down 1/2% and silver is off 2.2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off nearly 3.3%. European markets are also lower, and US futures show traders here may follow suit. Nickel inventories fell for a third day.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals under pressure as Chinese growth outstrips forecasts - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Please note that there will be NO Daily Metals Commentary this week as our analyst Ed Meir is travelling. The next report will be published on Monday Jan. 24th, 2011.
  • (Reuters) The World Steel Association (Worldsteel) appointed ArcelorMittal's Edwin Basson as its new director general replacing Ian Christmas from Aug. 1, the association said in a statement on Thursday.
  • (Yieh) Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) will release the new quotes for February on January 28th. Driven by the sharply rising nickel prices, it’s predicted that Yusco would increase the stainless steel prices by NT$3,000/ton for February.
  • (Interfax) China's daily crude steel output stood at an average of 1.66 million tons in December 2010, a dip of 0.6 percent from the previous month, according to a Jan. 20 National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report.
  • (MB) Taigang raises stainless prices by up to $182
  • (Reuters) China - Monthly refined nickel production rose 6.6 percent in December to a record 21,753 tonnes. In 2010, the output surged 24 percent on the year to 214,086 tonnes. Antaike has expected 2011 nickel output, including refined, ferronickel and nickel-pig-iron, to rise by above 8 percent.
  • (Interfax) Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed Ji'en Nickel Industry Co. Ltd. announced on Jan. 20 that it will deploy $9 million to establish a wholly-owned Hong Kong subsidiary.
  • CASS - North American freight activity in terms of both expenditures and volume declined in December, yet remained higher than December 2009 and 2008 levels. Freight activity for the last four months surpassed levels for the same period during the previous two years, but have slowed considerable from the increases experienced in the third quarter of 2010.
  • China's economy grows 10.3% in 2010 - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 14th January 2011 = To Check Risky Factors Relating To Prices Of Ferro-Alloys In New Year - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 14th January of 2011 is as follows - more

  U.S., Canadian Metals Shipments Rebounded in 2010 - Final figures for 2010 show that shipments of steel and aluminum from metals service centers in the United States and Canada rebounded during the year from depressed volumes in 2009. - more

  Japanese Stainless Steel Export Offers At $3,500-3,600 C&F In Asian Deals - Japan's stainless steel manufacturers are expected to offer prices of US$3,500-3,600/ton C&F when they start negotiations this week on their export deals of nickel-based stainless CR sheets for March shipments to Asian destinations, mainly to China. - more

  Posco to Set Up Ferrochrome Joint Venture in India - Posco, the world’s second-biggest maker of stainless steel, said it will jointly produce ferrochrome in India with Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Ltd. as it seeks to secure stable supplies of the raw material. - more

  European Nickel to start drilling at Acoje nickel project in May 2011 - European Nickel plans to start drilling programs on the Acoje nickel project and the Zambales chromite deposit in the Philippines in late May 2011, with preparatory work beginning immediately. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, January 19

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 21 to 1,411. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China May See `Significantly Lower' Growth, Yu Yongding Writes in the FT // Australian Consumer Confidence Falls to 7-Month Low on Queensland Flooding // China's Stocks Advance Most in Five Weeks on Speculation Inflation Cooled // Asia Stocks Rise a Second Day on U.S. Profit Report, China Growth Optimism // U.K. Jobless Claims Decline to Lowest in 21 Months // King Called to Task as Inflation Fears Fill Lawmakers' Mailbags // Cowen Stays as Leader of Ireland; Challenger Martin Resigns // Germany Should Ready for Greek Default, Feld Tells Handelsblatt // European Stocks Decline Most Since November as Swatch, ASML, Kesa Retreat // Goldman Sachs's Earnings Drop 52%, Matching Estimates // Stocks, Dollar Fall as Housing Starts Slow; Goldman Sachs Drops
  • The Euro is presently trading 2/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down nearly 2/10 of 1% and trading at $91.21/barrel. Gold is up 1/4 of 1% while silver is down 1/4 of 1%. base metals ended the session lower as nervous traders took profits the day before China reports inflation figures. Indicator chart show nickel opened higher, but spent the day in a slow and gradual decline. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.64/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses slipped for a second day yesterday, and now come in at just over the 137,200 tonne level. Cancelled warrants jumped over the 5-1/2% level yesterday and remain there in today's LME report. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index has resumed its decline, after taking a momentary break. While we still watch this, the argument that it has lost its forecasting ability for the worldwide economy and is skewed by an over abundance of shipping, is becoming more and more evident as the worldwide economic recovery solidifies while it freefall's. China's market appears to be betting China's inflation numbers tomorrow won't be to bad, while LME traders area apparently not as sure.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) The global nickel market recorded a deficit of 20,100 metric tons in January to November 2010, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said Wednesday.
  • (AT) Barclays notes that the first physically backed base metal ETFs for copper, nickel and tin have seen very muted inflows over the last two months and have yet to account for even 1% of LME stocks. They believe these ETFs will not live up to the success of their precious-metal cousins, saying they are not viewed by investors as safe-haven assets or an alternative currency.
  • Consumers and the Economy, Part II: Household Debt and the Weak U.S. Recovery - more
  • MBA: Mortgage Purchase Application decline in latest survey - more
  • No Job? No Income? No Problem for Consumers: Caroline Baum - more
  • Unemployment: The Problem is the Labor Market, not GDP - more
  • Oil shocks and economic recessions - more
  • Honey Bee Extinction - more

  London Metal Exchange's Asian reach continues to expand - Asian participation on the London Metal Exchange continued to grow last year, especially in the most liquid three-month contracts, and is likely to continue expanding with the introduction of Asian benchmark prices and Singapore-based cash-settled contracts. - more

  Norilsk Nickel ready to renew bid for RUSAL’s 25% stake - source - Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel is ready to renew its bid for a 25% stake in the company, which is controlled by aluminum giant UC RUSAL, a source close to Norilsk Nickel’s board of directors said Wednesday. - more

  EU, China seek appeal delay in WTO fasteners case - The European Union and China are jointly seeking an extension of the deadline to lodge an appeal in a World Trade Organization dispute panel ruling condemning EU duties on Chinese screws and bolts. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.05/lb higher, with most base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro is trading nearly 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is higher by nearly 6/10 of 1% and trading at $91.91/barrel. Gold is up over 1/2 of 1% and silver is up over 1.6%. In overnight trading Asian markets ended lower, with China up 2-1/4%. European markets are down slightly this morning and US futures show Wall Street could open on the plus side. Nickel inventories fell for a second day and cancelled warrants came in over 5%, also for a second day.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals off highs as dollar cuts losses, copper off record peak - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Please note that there will be NO Daily Metals Commentary this week as our analyst Ed Meir is travelling. The next report will be published on Monday Jan. 24th, 2011.
  • (Interfax) President Luiz Meriz of Brazilian iron ore miner Vale announced on Jan. 18 the company aims to increase iron ore output by 50 percent to 450 million tons in 2015 in order to meet demand from China, state media reported the same day.
  • (MB) First Nickel Inc will reopen the Lockerby nickel mine in Sudbury, Ontario, this coming summer
  • (MB) Jinchuan raises nickel prices by another 1%
  • (SBB) Taigang raises stainless output to retain world No.1 spot
  • China shuts down 284 illegal mines - more
  • (SM) According to the American Forest & Paper Association's December 2010 U.S. Paperboard Report released today, total boxboard production increased by 7.3% compared to December 2009, and was flat compared to last month. Year-end production was up 3.7% over 2009.
  • La Niña continues to dominate in the Pacific - more

   European Nickel top two execs quit; Caldag ops doubtful - European Nickel said its chairman and deputy chairman will step down, a month after the UK-based miner suspended work at its flagship Caldag mine in Turkey. - more

  Intl Ferro Metals output hit by furnace shutdown - International Ferro Metals (IFM) said second-quarter output was below its maximum capacity, after the ferrochrome producer was forced to shut down operations at its two key furnaces for repairs.- more

    European Nickel To Fast Track Definitive Feasibility Study At Acoje - European Nickel PLC, a company involved in identification, acquisition, development and exploitation of nickel deposits announced Wednesday that it has resolved to focus its resources and expertise on fast tracking the Definitive Feasibility Study or DFS at its Acoje project on the island of Luzon. - more

  Rusal Defends Refusal to Sell Norilsk Nickel Stake as Share Price Climbs - United Co. Rusal, facing investor questions for refusing to sell its stake in nickel producer OAO Norilsk Nickel to cut debts, said it continuously benefits from the shareholding. - more

  China Is Supposed To Have Made Round Of Domestic Sales Of Ferro-Alloys For Realization = Heavy Snowfall In Huanan District Caused Confusion Of Transportation, Price Of Ele-Mn-Met Has Risen - The risen prices of ferro-alloys in domestic market of China turned to weaken on a basic tone from the middle of November of 2010 but, in view of a change of the monetary situation which Chinese enterprises managed necessary funds to tide over the year-end, the parties concerned are moving to feel that the current prices of Chinese ferro-alloys in domestic market will soon bottom out. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, January 18

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 7 to 1,432. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Wen Targets Abnormal Lending at Start of Year as China Battles Inflation // Foreign Direct Investment in China in 2010 Rises to Record $105.7 Billion // Yields Signal Inflation Threat as Growth Probably Above 10%: China Credit // Fidelity's Bolton Bets on China Stocks Rising Amid Growth as UBS Sees Drop // Record Food Prices Causing Africa Riots Stoke U.S. Farm Economy // Asian Stocks Rise as Report Fuels Chip-Price Speculation; Steelmakers Drop // EU Seeks Stronger Safety Net as AAA Nations Mull Cost // Inflation in U.K. Accelerates More Than Forecast as Pressure Mounts on BOE // European Stocks Climb to Two-Year High on EU Debt Pledge; Daimler Advances // Fed Officials Signal Growth Pickup Won't Alter Bond Purchases // Hu Gets Full State Honors as Visit Displays Obama's Dueling Views of China // Manufacturing in New York Area Grew at Faster Pace in January // Global Stocks Gain on EU Rescue Pledge; U.S. Equities Fluctuate
  • The Euro is currently trading over 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up only slightly and trading at $91.57/barrel. Gold is up nearly 1./2 of 1% and silver is higher by nearly 2.1%. Base metals ended their session mixed, with Copper and nickel the big gainers for the day. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, spent the morning on the rise, floundered in early afternoon trading, then slumped the rest of the session. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $11.83/lb , it's highest close since April 2010.  For a short time in mid day, nickel was trading over $12.lb. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell back off their 2011 high yesterday, and now sit just over the 137,350 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel taking a break from its bull run, while market indicators turned bearish (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index, after halting its fall for a few days, resumed it today with a 7 point drop to 1,432. Markets are higher today, as traders welcome news that European countries are committed to doing whatever is necessary to save the Euro. We have added multiple quotes below from metals reports that should totally confuse our readers, and show the deep divide amongst metals analysts in forecasting what nickel will do this year.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (SG) INSG estimates that the world consumption of primary nickel in 2011 will come up to 1,530,000 tonnes by an increase of 100,000 tonnes from that of 1,430,000 tonnes in 2010 but, owing to an expansion of nickel production, the world supply of primary nickel in 2011 will have an excess of 80,000 tonnes.
  • (PI) Despite data from the International Nickel Study Group that showed global nickel production in November rose 9.6% year-on-year, leaving a market surplus in the region of 7,000 tonnes, nickel is one of the few base metals showing any significant movements today, trading at an 8-month high around $26,400/tn.
  • (Citigroup) Any dips in the nickel price below $22,000 should be aggressively bought: Chinese NPI production is likely to be curtailed in the short term, and if the new nickel supply projects struggle to get anywhere near their revised ramp-up schedule during 2011, the market will record significant monthly deficits and stocks will fall. We place a high probability on the High Pressure Acid Leach (HPAL) projects continuing to disappoint their owners.
  • (Macquarie) For nickel, we are generally positive over the next three to six months, though 2H11 should see the market move into surplus and prices ease into the end of the year.
  • (SMW) Horizonte Minerals has agreed an all-share deal for the Vila Oito and Floresta nickel laterite projects in northern Brazil from Lara Exploration. The consideration for the acquisition will be the issue of 8.5 million new shares in the company.
  • David Rosenberg - “The economy remains on government-assisted life support, and the government has been very successful in creating the illusion of economic prosperity. It is doing this to buy time and help preserve social stability as the adjustment towards housing deflation, consumer deleveraging, and chronic unemployment takes its toll on the growth rate in organic final demand.”
  • CFTC aims for speculative commodity limits in Q1 2012 - more
  • AK Steel Wins Lawsuit - more
  • 4 accused of using stolen semi to steal 80k worth of metals - more
  • The puzzle of China’s rising household saving rate - more
  • 2010 in Review: Pushing the Costs Down the Road - more
  • The incredible shrinking dollar - more

  Industrial commodities to shine this year: Analysts - Industrial commodities, including base metals and bullion, are likely to continue their upward march this year on the back of supply concerns and higher demand. - more

  Euro and Nickel Charts over the last year

LME Nickel Since Jan 2010

Euro vs US Dollar since Jan 2010

  Brazilian industry angry over cheap Chinese imports - The label "Made in China" is stirring an ever-greater backlash in Brazil as cheap imports ravage local manufacturers, putting pressure on new President Dilma Rousseff to fight back. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.24/lb higher, with most base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro is trading nearly 3/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down nearly 1/4 of 1% and trading at $91.34/barrel. Gold is nearly 3/4 of 1% higher, while silver is up 1.7%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 1/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning and US markets appear to be headed for a higher opening. Nickel inventory numbers fell back yesterday.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - Nickel Rises to Eight-Month High on Stronger Chinese Usage; Copper Gains - more
  • LME Morning - Copper races above $9,700/t on dollar weakness - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Please note that there will be NO Daily Metals Commentary this week as our analyst Ed Meir is travelling. The next report will be published on Monday Jan. 24th, 2011.
  • (Bloomberg) Nickel usage in China gained 20 percent from a year earlier to 45,000 metric tons in November, the International Nickel Study Group said in a report yesterday. Demand increased 3.4 percent from October, it said. Global usage of nickel, used to protect stainless steel against corrosion, climbed 12 percent from the prior year, it said.
  • (Bloomberg) Demand for nickel will rise as much as 7 percent in the first quarter from the prior three months to a record 390,000 tons on steelmaker usage, VTB Capital analyst Wiktor Bielski said in a report today. Supply will run short of demand by between 15,000 and 20,000 tons in the period, and prices may reach $27,500 a ton in the next few weeks, he said.
  • (Standard Bank) “There is evidence that suggests a significant amount of metal is sitting around in bonded warehouses. You have the potential for Chinese destocking - you might see the metal migrating out of China back to the LME."
  • (CommerzBank "The market is underestimating supply and this is dampening the fundamental situation in the case of nickel. In our opinion, much positive news should be already priced in. We therefore see no further upside price potential from a fundamental perspective."
  • (Reuters) The outlook for the steel sector is stable, and "the worst should be behind for the industry", ratings agency S&P's Andrey Nikolaev said on Tuesday.
  • China's NBS sees 4% inflation in 2011 - more
  • (SM) The American Forest & Paper Association released the December 2010 U.S. Containerboard Statistics Report today. For the fourteenth straight month, containerboard production rose over the same month a year ago. Total production saw an increase of 40,300 tons or 1.5% when compared to December 2009.

  Only 15% of Queensland coal mines fully operating - Only 15 percent of the 57 coal mines in Australia's Queensland state are in full operation after devastating floods, while 60 percent are operating under restrictions and 25 percent are yet to resume operations, the Queensland Resources Council said. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending January 15, 2011, domestic raw steel production was 1,736,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 71.8 percent. Production was 1,552,000 tons in the week ending January 15, 2010, while the capability utilization then was 64.2 percent. The current week production represents a 11.9 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending January 15, 2011 is up 0.8 percent from the previous week ending January 8, 2011 when production was 1,722,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 71.2 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, January 17

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - no change to 1,439. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's Property Prices Rise, Spurring Tightening Concerns; Stocks Decline // China Stocks Fall Most in Two Months After Ratio Increase, Property Gains // Australian Dollar Falls on Floods, China Slowdown Concerns; Kiwi Advances // Coking Coal Prices May Jump to $300 a Ton as Australian Floods Curb Supply // Asia Stocks Fall as Anti-Inflation Policies Pose Growth Threat // EU Begins Rescue Revamp as Germany Signals Flexibility //Euro Weakens on Debt Crisis Concern as Finance Ministers Prepare to Meet // French Bakers to Raise Baguette Prices on Wheat Costs // Most European Stocks Retreat as Finance Chiefs Meet on Debt; ARM Declines
  • The Euro is presently trading 7/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is  not trading today so our morning report was Friday's close. Gold is down slightly while silver is off 2/3 of 1%. Base metals ended mostly lower, but quietly. Indicator chart show nickel started lower, climbed over the $26,000 tonne mark, then fell back a little. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the session at $11.72/lb , down a couple of pennies from Friday. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose significantly Friday and now sit just over the 137,750 tonne level. This would be the highest amount reported since May of last year. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru Friday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index looked like it may have turned a corner on Friday with its first positive reading in forever, but today followed up with a no change reading, the first time we have seen that happen. Markets were rather quiet today with US markets closed for holiday.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Reuters) "Nickel has been quite interesting. There has been a discussion about the effect of the Queensland floods on the market -- the complementary nature of nickel and coking coal --though I am not entirely sold," Westmore said. Chinese nickel pig iron producers also said so far they were seeing little impact from the devastating Australian floods, as they tended to source fuel domestically. Technically, nickel has moved above a triple top resistance near $24,900, chartist Daryl Guppy of Guppytraders.com said.
  • (MEPS) The MEPS – World Average Carbon Steel Price is forecast to exceed $US 1000 per tonne in the third quarter, according to preliminary analysis by the company. This figure compares with an annual average in 2010 of $US 733 per tonne and an ‘all-time’ high in 2008 of $US 1160.
  • Number of the Week: Big Banks Gobble Up Market Share - more
  • Treasury: 159 Million People to Benefit From Payroll Tax Cut - more
  • Binge and Purge Cycle in Retail Sales? - more
  • The Role of the Dollar: Who Cares? - more
  • How accurate are property records? - more
  • Can A Sovereign Debt Crisis Happen Here? - more

  New Caledonia's SLN says to resume full nickel mining Tuesday - New Caledonia's Societe Le Nickel (SLN), which supplies almost 5 percent of the world's nickel, expects mining to return to normal by Tuesday following a cyclone that passed over the South Pacific island on the weekend, a company spokeswoman said on Monday. - more

  Outokumpu restructures for more efficient production of special stainless - As of March 1, Outokumpu's Specialty Stainless operations will have a new organisation. The new business units Special Coil and Special Plate will replace the former units Special Coil & Plate and Thin Strip. - more

  Supermetal opens its first U.S. plant in York County - Jeffrey Pate was on a sales trip to Charlotte when he got the phone call: Check out the former Worthington Industries plant on Hall Spencer Road near Lesslie. The plant had just appeared that day on a website marketing industrial facilities. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.04/lb higher, with other base metal mostly higher but quietly floundering. The Euro is trading over 1/2 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down nearly 1/2 of 1% and trading at $91.10/barrel. Gold is down nearly 9/10 of 1% and silver is lower by 9/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China off 3.8%. European markets are trading slightly higher this morning, while US markets are closed for Martin Luther King Day. NIckel inventories took a big jump on Friday,  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Prices soften as euro tails lower, January date pricing looms - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Ed's reports will be posted as soon as we receive (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Nickel enjoyed a near-5% rise last week to close at $25,875/ton Friday, the highest close since last April on supply fears from Australia's Queensland floods and Tropical Cyclone Zella bearing down on New Caledonia, the world's sixth-largest nickel producer, though an update Monday from Australia's Bureau of Meteorology shows Zella is passing to the islands' south. Barclays Capital points to a tightening of nearby spreads and strong support for the metal; Triland argues that a strengthening EUR/USD helped keep $25,300 support for nickel Friday, while cash buying left $10 backwardation between LME cash and 3-month contracts, an indicator of perceived supply tightness.
  • (Bloomberg) Stainless steel and heat-resisting crude steel production climbed 29 percent in the first nine months last year from the same period a year earlier, the International Stainless Steel Forum said in a statement.
  • (Yieh) Taiyuan Iron&Steel Group (Tisco) announced to press on January 16th that it will increase its annual production capacity of stainless steel to 3 million tons.
  • (Reuters) TECHNICALS - LME nickel to rise to $28,275/T in four weeks
    (RFCM) Sale of Norilsk Nickel ’s stock to Trafigura fraudulent – Rusal
  • (JMB) POSCO to Increase 400 Series Stainless Steel Output in Pohang
  • (Interfax) Shanxi Province-based Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Group) Co. Ltd. (TISCO) increased stainless steel production 9.68 percent year-on-year in 2010 to 2.72 million tons, retaining its title as the world's largest stainless steel producer, according to a report in China's state media on Jan. 16.
  • Aperam - here
  • (CD) China's electricity consumption rose 14.56 percent year-on-year to well over 4.19 trillion kWh in 2010, the China Electricity Council (CEC) said Monday.
  • SMM Nickel Price Forecast - more

  All-time-high quarter 3 stainless steel production – but declining growth rates - Preliminary figures released by the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) show that the world-wide stainless steel crude steel production has increased after the first nine months of 2010 by 29% compared to the same period of 2009. - more

  New Caledonia SLN resumes nickel mining, eyeing new cyclone - New Caledonia's Societe Le Nickel (SLN) has begun to resume mining operations after cyclone Vania passed over the South Pacific island over the weekend, but was monitoring a second storm in the region, a company spokeswoman said on Monday. - more

  Norilsk-Nickel wants to bring more pellets to Kola - The company has prepared a request to the Russian government to tender a new nickel deposit in the Voronezh region. The pollution on the Kola Peninsula could increase. - more

  Vale Canada Nickel Output Recovering Well -Macquarie - Vale SA nickel production from its Canadian operations is bouncing back towards 2008 levels, Macquarie Bank said in a report Monday. - more

  Nickel supplies may be hit - Indian steel manufacturers are bracing themselves for the worst as they fear disruption in the supply of nickel , the main raw material for speciality stainless steel, as tropical storm Vania nears the south Pacific island of New Caledonia, which is home to the world’s largest nickel deposits. - more

  South Africa Is Anticipated To Deepen Serious Shortage Of Electricity Supply In March = Heavy Rainfall Caused Short Supply Of Coal, Electric Power Generation Plants Have Faced Troubled Operations - The supply situation of electric power in South Africa is anticipated to deepen a seriousness of the shortage for the time being. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, January 14

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 1 to 1,439. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Raises Bank Reserve Ratio as Foreign Holdings, Loans Jump // China's Rising Inflation May Ease U.S. Pressure on Yuan at Hu-Obama Summit // China Overtakes U.S. as Biggest Economy When Measured by Purchasing Power // Queensland's Floods May Cost Insurers, Reinsurers Record $6 Billion Costs // Asian Stocks Retreat From 2 1/2-Year High on Anti-Inflation Policy Concern // EU Bailout Rates May Need to Drop for Irish Rescue to Succeed: Euro Credit // ECB's Weber Says Inflation Risks `Could Well Move to Upside' // Most European Stocks Decline as China Moves to Cool Growth; Xstrata Slides // Commodity Options Traders Make Record Bearish Bets After Oil, Metals Rally // Dollar Heads for Biggest Weekly Drop Since September on Retail, Sentiment // Stocks in U.S. Halt Global Drop as JPMorgan Shares Gain; Treasuries Climb
  • The Euro is now trading nearly 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar and off earlier highs. NYMEX crude is trading flat at $91.41/barrel. Gold is down over 1.1% and silver is off 1.6%. Base metals ended the day mostly higher as bottom feeders took advantage of yesterday's setback, on the gamble the bull run is not over. Indicator chart show nickel opened lower, but spent the day in a solid climb. For the day and week, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the session at $11.74/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored worldwide in LME licensed warehouses fell yesterday and now sit just over the 136,300 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel traders pause yesterday (chart here). A little history for nickel. This time last week, nickel ended at $11.11/lb. This time last month, nickel closed at $10.97/lb. This time a year ago, nickel traded at $8.30/lb and LME inventory numbers were at 161,550 tonnes. Five years ago today, nickel was at $6.6.8/lb with 36,216 tonnes in inventory and a decade ago today, with only 3,018 tonnes of stock, nickel was trading at $3.99/lb. Barry Ritholtz, of The Big Picture business blog, quoted his former boss as saying "Fundamental Analysts: You don’t need them in a Bull market, and you don’t want them in a Bear market.”
  • Have a safe and restful weekend.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (SMH) Australia's QNI Nickel Ltd, which feeds its 30,000-tonnes-per-year Yabulu refinery with nickel ores from New Caledonia has managed to build ample supplies to ride out any disruption to shipments stemming the storm, according to a company spokesman.
  • (MB) Queensland Nickel (QNI) is running normally and has not declared force majeure as a result of the widespread flooding in the Australian state
  • More on Erik Hurst and FT Alphaville on Structural Unemployment - more
  • European Banks Addicted to ECB Lending - more
  • Skepticism and wealthy investors - more
  • The debt ceiling and default - more
  • A Tale of Two Moralities - more
  • Shifting to Autopilot - more

  Top ten reasons why nickel ended 2010 at US$11 - A peek at the most significant events that combined in 2010 to keep the price of nickel rolling along, putting the majority of producers in a position to make a profit. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.02/lb lower, with most base metals trading lower this morning. The Euro is currently trading over 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1% and trading at $90.48/barrel. Gold is down nearly 6/10 of 1% and silver is off over 8/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China off over 1-1/2%. European markets are trading lower this morning and US futures show Wall Street could open lower as well. Nickel inventories slipped yesterday, and  New Caledonia is getting pounded by Tropical Storm Vania this morning (chart here), with tropical Storm Seven building behind it (chart here). .
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals under pressure as China hikes lending rate - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Ed's reports will be posted as soon as we receive (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Citigroup Commodity Heap) Rising coking coal prices may curtail NPI  - The nickel price could be an unlikely beneficiary of the supply disruptions inflicting the coking coal market. Floods in Queensland have pushed coking coal prices above $300/t, with further price rise likely. At these price levels, a huge share of the nickel pig iron industry may become un-economic, thus forcing closures. Prices now look well supported at $25,000/t. If upcoming projects fail to deliver (see Nickel’s project pipeline under pressure, 8 December 2010), we believe prices closer to $30,000/t ($13.60/lb) are a distinct possibility in 2011. ..... Chinese BF NPI may become un-economic — We estimate this rise in coking coal prices could make over 25% (or at least 30kt) of the industry uneconomic. With China also a net importer of coking coal, availability may also be an issue. With NPI producers being some of the most responsive and price sensitive producers in the market, we suspect output would fall relatively quickly once these issues start making an impact.
  • (Reuters) ThyssenKrupp Chief Financial Officer Alan Hippe is leaving the company earlier than expected, two German newspapers reported, citing sources.
  • (Yieh) China Steel Corp. (CSC) has announced to raise its domestic prices by 2.9% for March period. At the same time, the company has decided to remain the prices of wire, bar, EG and CRNGO unchanged.
  • (Interfax) The year 2010 continued to witness the global economic recovery. It was the final year of China's Eleventh Five-Year Plan, and saw preparation beginning for the Twelfth Five-Year Plan, to be released in March 2011. For China's iron ore and steel industries, it was a year of great changes and challenges, but also of opportunities.
  • (MF) Currently, China’s ferrochrome market is steady. Although quotations are high, average transaction price is RMB8,900-9,100/bmt in most production areas.
  • (TASS) Customs: Russia’s nickel exports down 1% in January–October
  • CR Index: Consumers face fewer financial woes at start of 2011 - more

  Eramet’s SLN Suspends New Caledonia Nickel Mining, Reuters Says - Eramet SA’s Societe Le Nickel unit suspended nickel mining on New Caledonia before an approaching cyclone expected to hit the island tomorrow, Reuters said, citing an unidentified spokeswoman for the company. - more

  Cyclone, floods hit Asia-Pacific commodities - A tropical cyclone forced five mines in New Caledonia producing 4 percent of the world's nickel to shut on Friday, while flooding in Australia shut in millions of tonnes in coal and aluminium exports. - more

  Yusco Constructs New Plant To Produce Ferro-Nickel In Fujian Province / China = To Start This Construction In 2011, In Line With Strengthening Facilities For Stainless Steel Production - In line with the project to strengthen the facilities for production of stainless steel in China, Yusco has been proceeding the measures to secure raw materials and is scheduled to construct a new plant to produce ferro-nickel in Ningde area of east-south part of Fujian Province. - more

  LME metals trading at record 2.83 bn tons - The London Metal Exchange registered new records for volume and value of trading in 2010, consolidating its position as the world’s leading metals exchange. - more

  BHP starts auctioning spot iron ore shipments to China-paper - Mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd has begun auctions for spot iron ore shipments to Chinese steel mills, local media reported on Friday, marking the latest shift in its pricing strategy to cash in on rocketing prices. - more

  RUSAL files court papers to halt Norilsk deals - Oleg Deripaska's aluminium major RUSAL filed lawsuits on Friday to annul three deals in a bid to weaken rival tycoon Vladimir Potanin's hand in a battle for control over Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel. - more

  • Norilsk Nickel 2010 net profit expected at over $5 bln - CEO - Russia's Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel producer, expects 2010 net profit to exceed $5 billion, General Director Vladimir Strzhalkovsky said on Friday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, January 13

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 15 to 1,446. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's Economic Growth to Slow to 8.7% in 2011 From 10%, World Bank Says // China Turning to Seller of Kan's Debt as Yen Strength Fades: Japan Credit // Americans Say China, Not U.S., Now World's Top Economic Power, Poll Finds // Nickel Supply to Swing Back to Surplus in 2011, Sumitomo Metal Mining Says // Singapore Imposes More Housing Curbs as Residential Prices Rise to Record // Asian Stocks Rise to Highest Since June 2008 as Commodity Producers Gain // EU's New Drive to Contain Euro Debt Fire May Still Fall Short // ECB Keeps Rate at 1% as Crisis Tests Monetary Policy // BOE Holds Stimulus as Cameron's Spending Squeeze Looms // Merkel's Pledge to Defend Euro Region Risks Revolt by Germany's Lawmakers // Trichet Moves to Inflation-Fighting as EU Bats Crisis // German Bonds Slide, 2-Year Yield Jumps as Trichet Warns of Inflation Risks // Euro Rallies on View EU Will Move to Contain Debt Crisis; Dollar Declines  // European Stocks Retreat From 28-Month High; Nestle, Dixons Retail Decline // Top Forecaster Herrmann Sees Consumers Aiding U.S. Growth // Trade Deficit in U.S. Unexpectedly Narrows to 10-Month Low // Commodity Speculation Limits Divide CFTC With Dodd-Frank Deadline Looming // Stocks in U.S. Fluctuate as Earnings Temper Concern Job Recovery Weakening
  • The Euro is currently trading 1-3/4% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is flat at $91.84/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1/4 of 1% and silver is lower by nearly 1.2%. London traded base metals all ended today's session lower. We did mention the Euro is trading nearly 2% higher, right? Indicator charts show nickel traded in an up and down choppy fashion for the entire session, all within a little over $400/tonne range. Dow jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.59/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses nearly gained back all of the last three days of losses in one sweep and now sit just over the 136,650 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel's two day bull run (chart here). Metal Bulletin is reporting there are rumors floating around the LME floor that the flooding in Australia may cause at least one nickel producer to declare a force majeure. With this rumor out there, and a cyclone heading for New Caledonia nickel deposits, one might suspect the price of nickel would have gone even higher today, these being matters that could affect the fundamentals of supply and demand. Citibank wrote in a recent note "Worth considering is the potential impact on nickel from the floods in Australia as 50 per cent of Chinese nickel pig iron producers use coking coal, which has seen a large rally in prices recently." Fear not Citibank. Speculation and short covering is what controls the markets these days. Throughout much of 2010, a 1/10 of 1% change in the Euro/US Dollar trading ratio could cause nickel prices to either jump or fall. If the Euro was slightly higher, nickel prices rose, and vise versa. Today, the Euro traded at nearly an astounding 2% higher ratio, and nickel fell. Did we mention nickel fell? So what happened? While this metals agency blamed this and the other blamed that, we feel it mostly happened because the technical signal, the SStoch and RSI (see Sucden's chart above) were in way overbought territory this morning, after yesterday's extreme speculative leap, and the market, run by computers, started flashing the caution signal. You have to feel sorry for these poor guys and gals who try to 'explain' why the market is doing what it is doing on a daily basis. Anyone of the four signals above, flood, cyclone, pig nickel, or Euro ratio could have and 'has been' blamed in the past for driving prices higher. But today, in light of all this, the market gave up a fraction of the huge gains it made yesterday. Fundamentals? Or pure speculation?

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel imports fell 33.9% in November from last month, and was down 12.5% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel exports rose 49.2% in November from the previous month, but was down 72.5% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
  • Fisher: Fed Has Done Enough, Now Congress’s Turn - more
  • Fed Beige Book Supports Cautious Optimism - more
  • Mark Steel: We owe it to bankers to feel their pain - more
  • Deepening crisis traps America's have-nots - more

  South African Chrome, Coal Trains Derailed After Rain - Heavy rains in South Africa derailed trains carrying coal and chrome and shut lines used to move corn and fuel, state-run rail and port operator Transnet Ltd. said. - more

  Clive Palmer's helicopter saves 60 from floods - Queensland mining giant Clive Palmer was forced to use his private helicopter to pluck up to 60 people from treacherous floodwaters in and around his horse stud in south-east Queensland. - more

  • Trainer sat on roof watching horses drown - "This is the worst day of my life! I'm sitting on my roof watching horses and cows drown in front of me as they get washed away. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.04/lb , with all London traded base metals lower this morning. The Euro is currently trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up slightly and trading at $91.89/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1/2 of 1% and silver is down nearly a full percent. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China down slightly. European markets are down slightly this morning and US futures are quiet. Nickel inventories bounced yesterday.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Path of least resistance to the upside for base metals - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper closed sharply higher for a second consecutive day yesterday, and came within striking distance of taking out its recent high. There were good gains in the other metals as well, with nickel-- long a laggard--hitting an eight-month high. The commodity complex in general was fairly buoyant; oil prices tacked on good gains for a third straight session on Wednesday, with Brent nearing the $99 mark, while grains shot up on the back of surprisingly deep cuts made in crop estimates by the USDA. Two markets sitting things out yesterday were gold and silver, neither of which gained much ground. More broadly, the Reuters-Jefferies CRB is up 3% so far this week, more than erasing last week's 2.7% loss. Much of yesterday's rally in metals was dollar-driven, as the greenback sold off to around the $1.3150 against the Euro (almost 2 cents lower on the day). The weakness was sparked mainly by a somewhat cheerier outlook emanating from Europe following a successful Portuguese bond auction. This, in turn, triggered a good round of buying in banking stocks on both sides of the Atlantic, leading to a good finish for equity markets. There are more auctions scheduled for Italian and Spanish paper that will take place today and tomorrow, and if the markets greet these placements with similar enthusiasm, the Euro should gain further ground and perhaps push metals even higher. However, the Euro's short-term climb seems suspect to us given that the European authorities have yet to present a convincing and comprehensive approach to the funding issues confronting their more vulnerable members. Instead, they find themselves scrambling to put in place ad hoc solutions in order to placate the restless markets. The latest plan, referenced in yesterday's note seems to be another example of such thinking, and may sound adequate to deal with the immediate crisis, but could fall short if another country, like Spain, becomes the next to wobble. Spain falling, incidentally, is no small matter; Nobel Prize-winning economist Christopher Pissarides said yesterday that the EU simply does not have the resources to rescue it, and that it very well could be the tipping point that could conceivably bring down the Euro system. For now, the Euro seems to be holding on to its gains, now trading at $1.3150 and unchanged on the day, but the reaction in the commodity markets has been mixed; oil prices are off slightly, but we are seeing a mild sell-off in metals, with copper losing a little more than a third of yesterday’s gains. US stocks are expected to open lower. ... Nickel is at $25,750, down $50, but holding up well in light of the impact the Australian floods have had on coking coal exports, used by Chinese pig iron producers. New Caledonia is also bracing for a severe cyclone today. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Many analysts expect nickel supply to increase this year as new nickel laterite mines come onstream, capping prices, but thus far there are no signs of this new supply, according to physical traders. Furthermore rising coal prices due to the Queensland floods have the potential to raise the cost structure of Chinese nickel pig-iron production, a key factor that balances the market within China. Alongside generally positive sentiment on base metals, and expected seasonal strength after the Lunar New Year as stainless steel mills re-stock, shorts are now being forced to cover. Standard Chartered says technically nickel looks likely to gain further; the house tips the next resistance at its 2010 high of $27,590/ton.
  • (Dow Jones) DJ China's Jinchuan Raises Refined Nickel Price 2nd Time In Two Days
  • (Interfax) Shoudu Iron and Steel Group (Shougang) plans to produce a total of 40 million tons of crude steel in 2015, an increase of 28 percent from 2010, according to a Jan. 12 company announcement
  • WB predicts China to grow 8.0% in 2011 - more
  • (SBB) Ferro-chrome in Europe still slow, but price pushing up
  • (MB) China Steel raises March prices nearly 3%
  • World Bank sees risks to global economy in 2011 - more
  • Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Fell 0.3% in November from October - more
  • China icy weather hits metal smelters in Henan, Guizhou - more

  Nickel-rich New Caledonia braces for cyclone - New Caledonia, home to the world's largest nickel deposits, was on alert on Thursday as tropical cyclone Vania was expected to hit the eastern part of the island sometime early on Saturday with wind gusts of up to 170 km per hour. - more

  • New Caledonia on alert as Cyclone Vania approaches - New Caledonia’s Loyalty Islands are on high alert as Cyclone Vania makes its way slowly south from Vanutu. - more

  China's Jinchuan Raises Refined Nickel Price 2nd Time In Two Days - Jinchuan Group Co. has raised its refined nickel price by CNY6,000 ($909), or 3.2%, to CNY195,000 a metric ton, effective Thursday, or one day after another CNY3000/ton price hike in the previous day. - more

  Orissa mulls curbs on iron ore & chrome ore exports by pvt miners - Following the footsteps of Karnataka, the Orissa government is mulling to formulate a policy that will enforce curbs on iron ore and chrome ore exports by private miners from the state. - more

  ArcelorMittal shareholders to get stake in stainless spinoff Aperam - ArcelorMittal shareholders are to receive one ordinary share of Aperam, the newly created company that will run the stainless steel division of the Luxembourg-based steelmaker once it is spun off later this month, for every 20 shares ArcelorMittal shares held, ArcelorMittal said Wednesday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, January 12

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 27 to 1,453. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's `Cheapest in the World' Banks Will Rebound, Guotai Junan's Li Says // Copper `Not Supported' by China Power Grid Buying, Scotia Adviser Liu Says // World's ATMs Pump Billions Into Wrong Places: William Pesek // German Tainted-Food Scandal Widens as China Halts Pork Imports // Japan May Buy More Euro-Area Bailout Bonds to Help Recovery, Officials Say // Euro Declines Versus Most Counterparts as Sovereign-Debt Concern Persists // Shipping Rates Poised to Plunge 32% on Glut Off Australia: Freight Markets // EU Crisis Plan May Feature Portugal Aid, Buybacks, Debt Rules // Portugal Sells 10-Year Bonds, Borrowing Costs Fall at Auction // Spanish Bank Debt Costs Spur Doubt on Ability to Sustain Profit // Merkel Says Germany Ready to Do `Whatever Needed' to Save Euro // European Stocks Climb as Banks Gain on Completion of Portuguese Bond Sale // JPMorgan's Dimon Says He Expects More Municipal Bankruptcies // Housing's Anemic Rebound Gives Little Boost to U.S. Economy // Snowstorm Blankets New York, U.S. Northeast; Some Flights, Trains Canceled // Import Prices in U.S. Rise 1.1% in December, Led by Fuels, Food // U.S. Stocks Advance Amid Easing Concerns About Europe, Upgrade of Banks
  • The Euro is presently trading nearly 9/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 1% and trading at $92.03/barrel. Gold and silver are both up 2/10 of 1%. Base metals all ended another day very bullishly. Indicator chart show nickel opened higher and except for a rest period where it didn't do much in late morning trading, prices headed up all day. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the session at $11.70/lb . That's nickel's highest close since last April, and within striking distance of 2010's highest close of $12.38/lb on April 20, 2010. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell sharply for a second day and now show at just under the 135,100 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel's bull run beginning on Tuesday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index continues to slump, down another 27 points to 1,453. If we see another high close tomorrow, watch out for the strong potential of $12/lb pricing coming up. Technically speaking that is. Fundamentals, of course, mean little these days. Unless of course, you redefine fundamentals on a monthly basis.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • What’s the Unemployment Rate for Your Profession? - more
  • Two Regional Fed Banks Want Higher Discount Rate - more
  • Chamber of Commerce Sounds Positive Note on Economy - more
  • Rising Chinese Inflation to Show Up in U.S. Imports - more
  • European Commission: The U.S. is Worse - more
  • China Vice Fgn Min: Would Welcome US Comment on Asset Safety - more

  Nickel Supply Will Swing Back to a Surplus This Year, Sumitomo Metal Says - Nickel supply will outpace demand this year as new projects start and demand growth in China slows following the government’s tightening monetary policies, said Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Japan’s top producer.  - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.19/lb higher, with all London traded base metals trading higher at the moment. The Euro is trading slightly lower against the US Dollar, and off earlier highs. NYMEX crude is slightly higher and trading at $91.16/barrel. Gold and silver are both down over 1/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up over 1/2 of 1%. European markets are much higher this morning and US futures show Wall Street should open higher as well. Nickel inventories dropped sharply again yesterday.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals advance on euro strength, follow-through covering - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper prices snapped a five-day losing streak yesterday in impressive fashion, finishing with a 2% gain, as we saw the commodity price advance resume in a number of complexes. The dollar helped, weakening slightly against the Euro, and not hindering the advance. US stocks also finished slightly higher yesterday on the back of strong earnings reports. In this regard, in addition to Alcoa's rather upbeat outlook out on Monday, homebuilder Lennar said it expects a profitable 2011. As of this writing from a very snowy New York, metals are up again today, but pushing higher on their own accord, as despite the relatively successful Portuguese bond auction that took place earlier in the day, the dollar is unchanged, now trading at $1.2970 against the Euro. However, oil prices are not participating in the rally, and are off by about $.10 after a very strong week so far. US equities are expected to open higher. The macro news we are seeing so far is mixed. Out of Asia, India’s industrial production grew at its slowest pace in 18 months in November, but despite this, surging food prices will likely prompt the authorities to raise interest rates next month. Out of Thailand, the government raised its interest rates for the fourth time in seven months, and signaled it will boost borrowing costs further in order to contain inflation. Out of Europe, industrial production advanced more than forecast in November, rising 1.2% from October levels. Much of this increase is attributable to the strong performance in Germany, which officially confirmed today that its 3.6% GDP increase in 2010 was the highest in more than two decades. It remains to be seen whether the current advance has what it takes to send copper back for a retest of its recent intraday high of $9754, and pull the rest of the metals up along with it. Our sense is that we seem to be stuck in a congestion band that lacks the same degree of upside intensity that was evident last month. Moreover, despite the successful Portuguese bond auction, the European funding crisis continues to fester, and still has the potential to weaken the Euro. In fact, Bloomberg reports today that European authorities are considering a $78 billion aid package for Portugal, debt buybacks, lower interest rates on rescue loans, and guarantees against certain debt as part of a new approach to head off another attack. The plan will apparently be discussed next week, although the debate is so sensitive, particularly in Germany, that the final decision may have to wait until a scheduled summit of political leaders on Feb. 4 ....  Nickel is at $25,150, up $450, and briefly took out key resistance of $25,200 before receding. Nickel has been firm of late possibly on account of the fact that the Australian floods have had a major impact on coking coal exports, a key ingredient used by about 50% of Chinese pig iron producers. A rising cost profile for pig iron, which is a nickel substitute in some applications, may in turn explain the recent strength we are seeing in the nickel. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) Jinchuan Group Ltd., China's largest nickel producer, raised its ex-works refined nickel price by RMB 3,000 ($453.67) per ton to RMB 189,000 ($28,580.93) per ton, in line with international refined nickel prices, according to a Jan. 12 online announcement by the company.
  • (MF) Major Chinese mills have finished setting Feb. purchasing prices of HC ferrochrome, and purchasing prices were basically RMB8,900/bmt. Mainstream quotations of most ferrochrome producers were steady at RMB8,900-9,000/bmt. The overall transactions were still plain.
  • (SO) According to the data issued by the Russian Special Steel and Alloys Consumers and Suppliers Association (Spetsstal), in November 2010 Russia's stainless steel product imports saw an insignificant increase of 0.1 percent month on month to 18,066 mt.
  • (AMM) Vale SA has withdrawn from the domestic spot nickel market thus far this year, market participants told AMM.
  • (MF) As tight supply and great demand, ferromolybdenum prices lifted in European market recently. Ferromolybdenum was traded at USD42.50-43.50/kg on January 7tt in the market.
  • (JMB) Japan Ni Stainless Cold Rolled Sheet Dealers Face Difficulty for Price Hike
  • (Reuters) The south Pacific island of New Caledonia, home to the world's largest nickel deposits, is on alert on Wednesday ahead of a tropical depression expected to hit the French territory on Thursday.
  • Gloom but not doom among small-business owners - more
  • US more responsible for commodity price rise than China - more
  • Cyclone brews off Australia's oil & gas, iron ore region - more
  • New Caledonia on cyclone alert - French government - more

  Yabulu record-breaker - The Yabulu nickel refinery is continuing to break production records as well as starting to refine semi-finished metal sent from a troubled new refinery in Goro, New Caledonia. - more

  Stainless Imports Up 70% Through September - Imports of specialty steel totaled 593,200 tons through the first nine months of 2010, a 69.9 percent increase compared to 2009, according to the Specialty Steel Industry of North America, Washington, D.C. - more

  Is High Cost of Scrap Here to Stay? - Steel mini-mills, designed to remelt scrap in electric arc furnaces, took off in the ’80s and ’90s by leveraging their raw material cost advantage—an advantage that may be disappearing, said John Anton of IHS Global Insight in his remarks at ASD’s December meeting in Chicago. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, January 11

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 15 to 1,480. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's Biggest Lenders Said to Expect Loan Growth Limit of 14% This Year // China's 2011 Inflation May Top Target, Citigroup, BoCom, Guotai Junan Say // China's Currency Reserves Rise to Record, Domestic Lending Exceeds Target // Japan Joins China in Assisting Europe in Debt Crisis // Longest Bonds at Lowest Rates Buoy `Edge of a Cliff' Budget: Japan Credit // Philippines Overtakes Indonesia as Southeast Asia's Worst Terror Hotspot // Portugal Dismisses Bailout Speculation as Socrates Sees Lower 2010 Deficit // Stocks in Europe Climb to 28-Month High as Japan Pledges to Purchase Bonds // Job Openings in U.S. Decrease for Third Time in Four Months // New York, Northeast May Get 14 Inches of Snow From New Storm // Stocks, Euro Rise on Earnings, Japan's Pledge to Back Bailout
  • The Euro is currently trading 1/10 of1% higher against the US Dollar, but off earlier highs. NYMEX crude is up over 2% and trading at $91.07/barrel. Gold is up nearly 1/2 of 1% and silver is up 1-2/3%. Base metals all ended higher. Indicator charts show nickel opened much higher this morning and spent the session in a slight but consistent uptrend. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.20/lb ,  the market refusing to give up the $11/lb level for more than a few days at a time. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses slumped to their lowest level this year yesterday, and now register just over the 135,850 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here) with technicals screaming for a reversal, which came on strong today. The Baltic Dry Index lost another 15 points. We have mentioned the devastating floods going on in Australia recently and the potential implications to the metals market. But the human toll of this disaster really hasn't been getting the international attention it should. Here is a video we found this morning, one among many, that shows the terrifying power of these flash floods. Flash flooding (if you have a teen driver, show them this video) We wish our Aussie readers the very best during these difficult times.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Would Washington, Fed Be Able to Say No to Strapped States? - more
  • Downturn's Ugly Trademark: Steep, Lasting Drop in Wages - more
  • Is Inflation About to Burst the Chinese Bubble? - more
  • Consumers and the Economy, Part I: Household Credit and Personal Saving - more
  • Economists React: China Trade Surplus - more
  • Interpreting the employment numbers - more
  • Small-Business Sentiment Takes Step Back - more
  • Judges Berate Bank Lawyers in Foreclosures - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.31/lb higher, with all London traded base metals rebounding this morning. The Euro is trading slightly higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is up nearly 6/10 of 1% and trading at $89.76/barrel. Gold is up 4/10 of 1% and silver is up over 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China up over 1/2 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning and US futures show Wall Street should open bullishly. Nickel inventories slumped hard yesterday.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals revive, underpinned by bullish trend - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper fell for a fifth straight session on Monday, its longest losing streak since June, as the stronger dollar and some question about Chinese demand reflected in yesterday’s relatively retrained December copper import numbers, continue to dog the market. Still, the retreat has been orderly thus far, mainly because the market has not been hit with a bearish “game-changer” in terms of news, meaning that we could regroup rather quickly after the downward run exhausts itself. This seems to be happening today, with copper up sharply and pulling the rest of the metals up along with it. In other markets, the Euro continues to struggle, now at $1.2975 against the dollar despite the Japanese coming out earlier in the day and saying they would buy Euro bonds. Yesterday, the ECB tried to do its bit by purchasing Portuguese debt, but it remains to be seen whether such intervention will be enough to stave off further attacks on the country's paper. A crucial test will come tomorrow, when Portugal is scheduled to sell €750 million to €1.25 billion of three-year and nine-year bonds. (Italy, Greece, and Spain will also be in the bond market later this week). For what its worth, interest yields on Portuguese 10-year bonds rose to around 7.18% on Monday before dropping to about 6.93% on account of the ECB’s buying. However, we doubt the central bank will have an insatiable appetite for such paper going forward, and it will eventually have to call on the EU to cobble together a more serious package for the country. Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates rejected the need for a bailout earlier this morning, but we should note that the Irish were similarly defiant before finally signing up to one. In other markets, energy prices are up $.20 after adding about $1.30-$2.30 in yesterday’s trading on account of the Trans-Alaska pipeline suspension. The problem with the pipeline is expected to be remedied by the end of the week, but cold weather currently gripping parts of the Southeast and the East coast of the US continues to prop up energy prices.  ...   Nickel is doing well today, now at $24,585, up $710, as prices bounced off trading range support highlighted yesterday.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s major stainless steel mills have announced to remain price unchanged at this moment to compete against the imports, considering to the correction of nickel prices and strong NT dollars against the US dollars
  • (Yieh) According to data, Japan exported 103,829 tons of stainless steel in November, 2010, hiked by 8.7% in comparison of 95,494 tons in November, 2009; while, it was down by 0.6% compared to 104,435 tons in October, 2010.
  • (Interfax) Baoshan Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. (Baosteel) announced Jan. 11 it will raise ex-works prices for major steel products by RMB 100 ($45.31) per ton in February.
  • (SS) Recently, TISCO officially becomes the member of ITCO organization which is the first domestic steel company in China. TISCO joining to ITCO marks that TISCO production technology, technical specifications and etc of tank used wide cold-rolled stainless steels have got European and American customers recognition, and build a solid foundation for continuously developing domestic and international market.
  • (MDM) November U.S. manufacturing technology consumption was $318.18 million, according to the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association and the Association for Manufacturing Technology. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTC program, was down 17.7 percent from October but up 81.1 percent when compared with the total of $175.68 million reported for November 2009.
  • Major commodity prices to stay higher this year : Standard & Poor - more
  • Queensland floods force another coal mine closure - more
  • Commodities 'bubble' threatens US economy  - more
  • Commodities are Not Done Yet - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 28th December 2010 = Resumed To Produce Ferro-Silicon In China, Bearish Attitude For Sales To Gain Funds - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 28th December of 2010 is as follows  - more

  Iron Ore-Indexes stay at 8-mth high, Baosteel to raise prices - Spot iron ore prices in Asia remained strong on Tuesday on Chinese buying and firmer steel prices which kept key indexes at eight-month highs. - more

  China steel output up in Dec as mills resumed ops - China's daily crude steel output in December rose 5 percent from November after many steel mills in the northern province of Hebei resumed operations but analysts fear output could fall again in January as demand weakens and winter power shortages bite. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending January 8, 2011, domestic raw steel production was 1,722,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 71.2 percent. Production was 1,552,000 tons in the week ending January 8, 2010, while the capability utilization then was 64.2 percent. The current week production represents a 11.0 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending January 8, 2011 is up 2.3 percent from the previous week ending January 1, 2011 when production was 1,683,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 69.6 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, January 10

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 24 to 1,495. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Stays World's Largest Auto Market as 2010 Sales Jump 33% on Stimulus // Reserves Set for $2.8 Trillion to Spur `Intense Tightening': China Credit // China's Home Prices Rising in Line With Incomes, Isn't a Bubble, CLSA Says // China Reports Smaller Trade Surplus as Obama Prepares to Press Hu on Yuan // Asian Stocks Fall on Anti-Inflation Policy Concern, U.S. Employment Report // Euro Trades Near a Four-Month Low as Funding Concern Clouds Debt Auctions // Japan, S. Korea Agree to Deepen Military Ties, Condemn N. Korea // Queensland Floods Within Capacity of Insurers as Australia Deluge Worsens // Credit Suisse Defers Bonuses for More Employees as Criticism of Pay Mounts // Italy `Unfairly Punished' as Debt Crisis Drives Yields Higher: Euro Credit // Portugal, Ireland Lead Surge in Sovereign Credit-Default Swaps to Records // European Stocks Fall for Second Day on Concern Debt Crisis Poised to Widen // Wall Street Dumps Most Treasuries Since 2004 on Growth // Alaskan Pipeline Shutdown Cuts Oil Output, Pushes Crude Higher // Analysts Prove Perilous as Contrarian Stocks Rise 165% // Fed Pays Record $78.4 Billion to U.S. Treasury on Income from Securities // Stocks Fall, Bond Risk Rises to Record Before Europe Debt Sales
  • The Euro is now trading 3/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 1.1% and trading at $88.98/barrel. Gold is up over 1/10 of 1% and silver is up over 1%. Base metals ended lower, with a late gaining Euro unable to swing the downtrend. Indicator chart show nickel opened lower, traded in a $200/tonne range, until late in the afternoon, when momentum was lost, and it fell. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the session at $10.83/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell slightly on Friday and now sit just over the 136,800 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel has fallen into a noticeable downtrend (chart here). Markets are quiet and bearish today.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (DJ) Brazilian mining giant Vale SA may appoint a new executive president to replace Roger Agnelli in March, when Agnelli's mandate expires, Brazilian business newspaper Valor Economico said Friday.
  • Number of the Week: Interest Payments on Federal Debt - more
  • Economists Say Europe Faces Low Growth for a Decade - more
  • Top Economists Question Continued U.S. Dominance - more
  • China SAFE Offl: Fed Policy Could Fuel Global FX Intervention - more
  • Gasoline prices' rise evokes 2008 - more
  • Climate of Hate - more

  Tribal folks denounce mining in ancestral domain - The Mamanwa tribe of Agusan del Norte has denounced the encroachment of a Canadian mining company into their ancestral domain. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb lower, with all base metals trading lower this morning. The Euro is trading 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up over 1% and trading at $88.93/barrel on an Alaskan pipeline shutdown. Gold is 1/4 of 1% lower, while silver is flat. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off nearly 1.9%.  European markets are lower this morning and US futures show Wall Street may open in the red. Nickel inventories dropped slightly on Friday.  So far this morning, world markets appear to be trading on the bearish side.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Price weakness seen across complex - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper ended down for a fourth consecutive session on Friday after mixed US jobs data contributed to the sluggish performance. In this regard, December nonfarm payroll numbers grew by 103,000 in December, much less than expected. However, the two previous payroll gains were revised, with November’s gain bumped upwards to 71,000, while October was increased to 210,000, adding a combined 70,000 jobs to the 2010 total. Also positive, was the fact that the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 9.4% -- its lowest level since May 2009. However, the market's focus clearly was on the nonfarm payroll number, and because US equities failed to rally on this release, many commodities struggled in its wake, with gold and oil both hard hit. We are down again this morning in metals, as the dollar continues to gain ground on weekend reports that Germany and France are pressuring Portugal to take a loan package in order to stave off further attacks on its debt. The Portuguese have denied that any such move is underway, and also said that they are not planning to ask for assistance at this time. Nevertheless, this kind of back-and-forth is not sitting sit with the currency markets, and drove the Euro to $1.2860 at one point earlier in the day before a slight recovery now has it at $1.29. In other markets, after having one of its sharpest weekly declines since May, gold is holding steady and is unchanged from Friday’s levels. Oil markets are up by about $.85/brl on reports of delivery suspensions on the Trans-Alaska pipeline that started this weekend, while US stocks are expected to open lower. We likely will see continued dollar-related weakness stay in place in most commodity complexes, at least through the early part of the week. In US macro news, it will be a fairly light week. Nothing comes out until Wednesday when we get the Fed's "Beige Book" on economic conditions. Weekly initial claims comes out on Thursday (expected at 420,000), as does December PPI (expected at +.7% on the overall rate). Friday brings us the December consumer price index (expected at .4%), December retail sales (expected at +.7%), December industrial production (expected at +.4%), and January Michigan sentiment readings (expected at 75, and slightly higher than the previous month). .....  Nickel is at $24,050, down $150, and moving towards the bottom end of the trading range, where there is more notable support. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) According to report, China’s Jiuquan Iron and Steel (JISCO) reported its stainless steel production has increased by 58% to 843 thousand in2010. The output rise was from its commission of its second stage expansion.
  • (Yieh) It's reported that Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel (Yusco) has announced to release new prices based on monthly quote, starting from January, 2011 due to stable nickel prices. It’s known that Yusco started to adjust steel prices based on weekly quote as nickel prices increased sharply after the global economic crisis in 2008.
  • (Interfax) China's steel product exports fell to 2.85 million tons in December 2010, down 2.06 percent from the previous month, according to preliminary statistics released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC) Jan. 10.
  • (Trub) In 2010, China increased its exports of steel products compared with 2009 by 73%, to 42.56 million tons
  • Economists sees US decline, China's ascension - more

  Panamanian vessel loaded with chromite ore seized off Zambales mine site - Port authorities seized a Panamanian vessel on Thursday for allegedly carrying undocumented chromite ore, according to a belated report that reached the Philippine Daily Inquirer. - more

  Report on Voisey's Bay strike flawed, Vale says - Brazilian miner Vale SA said a government report on a 17-month strike at Vale's Voisey's Bay nickel mine in Newfoundland and Labrador reflects an "incomplete analysis" and that it will not agree to a contract expiration date proposed in the report. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, January 7

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 25 to 1,519. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Backs Europe, Euro for Investing Reserves // China's Stocks Advance, Capping Weekly Gain; Banks, Developers, Autos Rise // Indonesia Stocks Set for Biggest Two-Day Loss in Seven Months on Inflation // Asia Stocks Drop as Commodity Prices Fall, Samsung Profit Misses Estimates // Trichet Says ECB No Substitute for Government Irresponsibility // Gold May Drop as Haven Demand Is `Shrinking,' Dollar Gains, Survey Shows // European Economy Expands 0.3%, Less Than Estimated // European Stocks Decline After U.S. Economy Adds Fewer Jobs Than Forecast // Bernanke Sees Slow Drop in Joblessness Even With Growth // Banks Lose Pivotal Massachusetts Foreclosure Case // U.S. Stocks Drop on Jobs Data, Concern Over Foreclosure Suits
  • The Euro is now trading 7/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is off nearly 8/10 of 1% and trading at $87.69/barrel. Gold is down nearly 3/10 of 1% and silver is down over 8/10 of 1%. Base metals ended lower as the lower Euro pressured heavily. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, trended higher into early afternoon, then crumbled as the Euro fell. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the first week of 2011 at $10.97/lb , surrendering the $11/lb level yet again. Stockpiles of nickel slipped yesterday and now stand just under the 136,900 tonne level. For the first four days of 2011, total LME recorded stockpile numbers have seen a net gain of 6 whole tonnes. The Baltic Dry Index dropped another 25 points to read 1,519. Markets are disappointed in a strong, but not as strong as expected employment report in the US today.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Economy continues to tease us - more
  • Henry Paulson Urges Debt Limit Increase Vote - more
  • Euro Zone Inflation Expectations Flashing Yellow - more

  Report into 17-month Voisey's Bay strike in Labrador recommends 4-year deal - An industrial inquiry called to help end the 17-month strike at the Voisey's Bay nickel mine in Labrador recommends a four-year agreement with wage hikes for workers. - more

  • First report from Voisey’s Bay Industrial Inquiry Commission released - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.10/lb lower, with all London traded base metals lower this morning. The Euro is trading over 1/4 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, adding pressure to commodity trading. NYMEX crude is up nearly 6/10 of 1% and trading at $88.88/barrel. Gold is down nearly 9/10 of 1% and silver is off over 2.1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher, with China up 2/10 of 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US markets are in limbo, awaiting the payroll report due out in a few minutes. Nickel inventories fell yesterday.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals take a beating as dollar soars - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices finished mixed yesterday, with copper all over the place before ending slightly lower, while ali held on to some surprising gains. Most other commodities lost ground on the back of an impressive surge in the dollar, which looks like a different currency these days, as it barreled through the $1.30 mark against the Euro, and is about to close out one of its strongest weeks against the European currency in some time. Other markets were also sluggish on Thursday, with oil markets losing another $2/brl, precious metals finishing mixed, while grains also ended lower, as did US stocks. The selloff in metals seems to be on again today, although it is not very deep. Copper and zinc are faring the worst, and although ali is down as well, it is, significantly, still holding above $2500. The stronger dollar is once again behind the current weakness, with the greenback now at $1.2970 against the Euro and at 83.50 against the yen. Oil markets are holding up (up $.60) after shedding about $5/barrel in two of the last three days. Gold is off, and is now at a six-week low. We expect a relatively subdued tone to persist in most markets until the US non farm payrolls report comes out later in the day. Consensus expectations have now risen to about +162,000 from +132,000 seen earlier in the week, but MF Global's chief economist is sticking with a number on the lower side of the range (140,000) citing the weak employment component in the recent ISM reading for his more cautious view. Should the nonfarm payroll number indeed come in on the light side, we could see the dollar weaken substantially from its $1.30 "pivot point" against the Euro, and perhaps allow a decent short-covering bounce to set in over most commodity markets. On the other hand, a sharply higher number will send the dollar decisively below the $1.30 mark, unraveling the "long commodity/short dollar" trade, and raising legitimate fears that the Federal Reserve's easy-money stance will now have a more diminished shelf-life. On balance, we are still biased to the downside going into today and next week. What makes us somewhat nervous here, is that the US stock market has still not had a decent round of profit-taking in some time, and a rate-induced sell-off (or a disappointing nonfarm payroll number) could very well act as a catalyst to set off a correction that could impact commodities. Although many equity analysts suggest that rising bond yields may not be necessarily be a bad thing for stocks, as it could conceivably send fleeing bond money into equities, it is also possible these funds may temporarily head for the safety of cash, thus depriving the stock market of some needed support. We will have to wait and see what happens, but the next few days could be rather interesting. ..... Nickel is at $24,350, down $215, and is still having trouble taking out $25,000 resistance cleanly.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here) (dated for yesterday but is today's)
  • (AP) Turkey's Kibar Holding signed Thursday a deal with South Korea's Pohang Iron and Steel Company (POSCO) and its affiliate Daewoo International to team up for a stainless steel cold rolling plant in northwest Turkey. The 350 million USD green project will build Turkey's first stainless steel cold rolling plant in Kocaeli province to meet country's increasing demand for stainless steel. The plant is expected to be completed in 2013.
  • (Xinhua) Baosteel to Take Over Desheng Nickel
  • (ACN) Forge Group wins $23m Ravensthorpe nickel contract
  • Commodities prices to crash in 2011? - more

  Talks between Vale and Steelworkers union in Voisey's Bay end without deal - The union representing striking workers at the Voisey's Bay nickel mine in northeastern Labrador will recommend employees support a settlement package backed by a provincial industrial inquiry into the dispute. - more

  South Africa Facing a Power Deficit of as Much as 2,000 Megawatts in March - Electricity supplies in South Africa, the continent’s largest economy, will become more constrained during the next two months, resulting in a possible shortfall of as much as 2,000 megawatts in March, the state-owned power utility said. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, January 6

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - (unconfirmed) minus 77 to 1,544. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Will Crack Down on `Hot Money' Inflows, Currency Regulator SAFE Says // Hong Kong Agrees to Minimum Wage as Top 40 Billionaires' Wealth Jumps 21% // PBOC Extends Biggest Cash Crunch Since Lehman to Curb Prices: China Credit // China's Stocks Decline for Second Day on Inflation Concern; Ping An Drops // Australian Floods Mean Asian Steelmakers May Pay 33% More for Coking Coal // German Factory Orders Surged in November on Export Demand // Euro Depreciates on Regional Sovereign-Debt Concerns, EU Bondholder Plan // U.K. Service Industries Contracted Unexpectedly During December, CIPS Says // Portuguese, Spanish Government Bonds Decline Amid Debt-Auction Speculation // European Stocks Climb for Fourth Day as ARM, Lagardere Gain; Banks Decline // Fewer Americans Filed Jobless Claims Over Past Month // December Retail Sales Damped by Snow as Estimates Missed //
  • The Euro is down over 9/10 of 1% against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is off 2% and trading at $88.48/barrel. Gold is down 3/10 of 1% while silver is up over 1/10 of 1%. Base metals ended mixed and mostly slightly lower. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher early, but spent the day in a downward trend, with a large afternoon dip. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.14/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose yesterday and now stand just over the 137,000 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index shows dropping another 77 points but we were unable to verify this number with a second source. The commodities sell off continues, albeit slower, with most of the blame over the past few days going to a sinking Euro, which is now trading at a month low. Interesting article below about shipping laterite nickel ore from Indonesia and China for so called pig nickel production. Pig nickel is the great equalizer in the nickel market and any disruption in the flow of this nickel ore from Indonesia and /or the Philippines to China, could carry serious price implications. Indonesia has already thrown a monkey wrench into the works with its announcement it only wants processed nickel shipped from that country in years to come. In the mean time, China processors are fine tuning the process to make it more economically feasible, so we have an interesting situation approaching. China is going to have increased demand, but supply, already limited to two primary country sources, may have new limitations placed on them. Could the great equalizer today become the great de-stabilizer someday? It will be interesting to watch.   

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Geithner says debt limit may be hit by March 31 - more
  • Recovery May See Producers Pass On Commodity-Price Inflation - more
  • Why California’s Budget Gap Isn’t as Bad as Low-Tax Arizona’s - more
  • Fed’s Hoenig Defends Role of Dissenter - more
  • Was 2010 a bear market rally for commodities? - more
  • Generally Positive - more

  Intercargo warns on iron ore and nickel cargoes - Intercargo, the dry bulk shipowners association, has called on shippers / cargo interests to conduct an urgent review into the testing and safety processes involved in shipping iron ore fines and nickel ore following a spate of accidents and fatalities. - more

  Talks to end Voisey's Bay strike continue - Talks aimed at ending the Voisey's Bay, Labrador nickel mine strike will continue Thursday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.05/lb higher, but the morning trend has been downward. Other base metals are mixed and off earlier highs. The Euro is trading over 4/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is off 1/10 of 1% and trading at $90.20/barrel. Gold is trading lower by 3/4 of 1% and silver is down 9/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly lower, with China off 1/2 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures show Wall Street may open higher as well. Nickel inventories rose yesterday.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals mixed, cautious as early enthusiasm dented by steadier dollar - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Building on Tuesday's weakness, metals continued to sell off early into Wednesday’s session in what looked like the start of an overdue correction. However, the ADP payroll numbers were a significant game-changer in that the release came in with a massive upside surprise, showing an estimated 297,000 jobs being created in the private sector last month, well ahead of the 100,000 expected and the largest increase in the history of the indicator. Job gains were registered in small (117,000), medium (144,000), and large (36,000) businesses, and across all sectors, with the service-producing sector (270,000) accounting for nearly the entire increase. This is certainly welcome news, and undoubtedly a bright spot in what otherwise has been a very dreary labor market. We also had reports that the ISM non-manufacturing index (services) index jumped from 55.0 in November to 57.1 in December, well ahead of the 55.7 consensus, and is now expanding at its fastest pace since May of 2006. The new orders index strengthened for the fourth consecutive month, and although the order backlogs index contracted for the first time since September, the report was nevertheless very constructive. Right now metals are slightly higher, and off earlier highs. The big question for investors over the short-term is how the markets will fare if the dollar continues to strengthen, particularly if Friday's non-farm payroll reading also comes in on the stronger side. Usually, a stronger dollar puts downward pressure on metals, but if its rise is triggered by strong macro data as opposed to a flight-to-safety run, its rise seems to boost metal prices, as yesterday’s action illustrated. The jury is out as to what metals will do this time around, as sentiment seems fluid, but our take is that the market will likely give up slight ground if the dollar takes out the $.130 level against the Euro, which at this rate it could happen as early as tomorrow. (We are currently at $1.31,up some 3.5 Euros since the beginning of the week). .....  Nickel is at $24,800, up $50, and is still hovering close to resistance at $25,000.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Trading volumes on the London Metal Exchange rose 7.4% in 2010 to 120.3 million lots, equivalent to 2.83 billion metric tons of material, the exchange said Thursday.
  • (Yieh) The domestic sales volume of steel from Posco in South Korea slumped to only 35,000 tons this Monday, affected by lasting strong snow storm last week. In general, the total steel volume produced by Posco is about 90,000 tons per day, with 60,000 tons for domestic and 30,000 tons for export. However, strong snow storm recently has a great impact on land transportation for Posco’s domestic sales.
  • (RBC) Investment company Interros does not plan to participate in the buyback of Norilsk Nickel's shares, head of the mining and metallurgical company's PR department Andrey Kirpichnikov told RBC. "We have no intention to increase our stake in Norilsk Nickel," he stated.
  • (JMB) NSSC Hikes Ni Stainless Steel by 10,000 yen/t in January
  • (CRU) Crude steel output in US rises 38% in 2010
  • (SO) Accordingly, in Tangshan, all blast furnaces below 400 m3 and steelmaking converters and electric furnaces under 30 mt are planned to be eliminated by the end of 2011.
  • Chinese farm produce prices rise on holiday demand - more
  • World food prices at fresh high, says UN - more

  Nickel May Drop to $22,509, According to Commerzbank: Technical Analysis - Nickel may decline as much as 9.4 percent to $22,509 a metric ton after failing to record a weekly close above $25,000, according to technical analysis by Commerzbank AG. - more

  OMC to reserve 70% iron, 80% chromite ore for local units - In a bid to ensure uninterrupted supply of raw materials to industry in the state, the Orissa government today asked Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) to reserve 70 per cent of the iron ore and 80 per cent of the chromite ore excavated from its mines for local units. - more

  Asia steel makers fret over long-term flood effects - Asian steel makers risk an extended period of raw material shortages and high costs they may not be able to recoup with price rises as flood-hit coal mines in Australia face weeks of recovery. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, January 5

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 72 to 1,621. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Stocks' Best Forecaster Predicts Slump in 2011, Defying CICC, Mobius // Indonesia Keeps Interest Rate at Record Low Even as Price Pressures Climb // Swollen Rivers Force Evacuations as Australia Floods Spread, Waters Rise // Coking Coal Price May Exceed $300 as Australian Floods Cut BHP, Rio Output // Asian Stocks Fall on Commodity Prices, Fed Comments; BHP Billiton Declines // Euro Falls on Concern Governments Will Struggle to Raise Funds // Rogoff Says Greece May Yet Face Default on Its Debts // European Services, Manufacturing Growth Remains Steady // Most European Stocks Fall on Concern Debt Crisis May Worsen; Danone Drops // Bond Flight Means U.S. Investors Overlook Riskier Debt for Higher Yields // U.S. Services Expand at Fastest Pace Since 2006 // Treasuries Fall, Dollar and Stocks Gain on Jobs, Services Data
  • The Euro is currently trading nearly 9/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, but off session lows. NYMEX crude is up 1.3% and trading at $90.56/barrel. Gold is off 1/3 of 1% and silver is down 1-3/4%. Base metals ended mostly lower, but well off session lows in most cases. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, fell early, then entered into a choppy, but well defined uptrend for the remainder of the session. For the day, three month nickel closed at $11.20/lb , a new low for the year. (Ok - maybe it's only the second day, but we have to find our excitement where we can.) Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses took a tiny dip yesterday, and still total over 136,850 tonnes. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru the holidays (chart here). Technicals show the morning started with the uptrend favored, but nickel is being caught up in the global commodity sell off. In our opinion this is being caused primarily by the fund re-allocating that happens this time of year, and the nervousness that accompanies that move, is being compounded by a falling Euro. The two are making for a volatile cocktail, and nickel at present, is going with the flow - which today, meant starting south but recovering thru the afternoon. Is the mini-rout, or correction, or dip over? If not, it is showing evidence of winding down.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Insider - pdf here
  • A Barrel of Oil or a Bottle of Wine: How Do Global Growth Dynamics Affect Commodity Prices? - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (TRI) PT Aneka Tambang controls 100% shares of PT Antam Jindal Stainless Indonesia, after buying a 45% stake of AJSI of JSL Stainless Limited. AJSI is a JV established by the company with JSL in an effort to develop a nickel ore into nickel pig iron with the project site located in the district of North Konawe southeast Sulawesi province.
  • Predictive Power Of A Divergent Baltic Dry Index - more
  • Looking at 2011 Economy, Optimists Double Pessimists - more
  • Fed Minutes: High Bar for Changes to QE2 - more
  • Corporate Self-Regulation: How did that work out? - more
  • Fed May Keep Easing at `Full Throttle' Until Jobless Rate Falls - more

  China's steel industry captive of costs - Rising prices of raw materials have made steel manufacturers captive of the once bubbling profits they enjoyed. - more

  EU Flat Products Stainless Steel Price - Forecast by MEPS - As anticipated, MEPS - EU Average austenitic grade transaction values decreased by approximately €50 per tonne in December 2010. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.23/lb  lower, with all base metals trading lower. The Euro is trading 2/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar presently. NYMEX crude is down 1-1/3% and trading at $88.17/barrel. Gold is off 1/4 of 1% and silver is down nearly 1.9%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China lower by more than 4/10 of 1%. European markets are lower this morning, while US futures are also lower. Nickel inventories barely moved yesterday, with a slight decline recorded.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals extend losses on strong dollar, copper subsides ahead of option expiry - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices ended down yesterday, as copper reversed earlier gains from yet another record high to finish lower. The decline extended to most commodity classes, with the Reuters-Jefferies CRB index dropping 2% for its sharpest one-day fall since mid-November. The selling continues today, and in fact, is picking up steam in base metals, a group that did not fall as much as some of the other commodities did yesterday. We are not particularly surprised by this move, as we have been arguing recently that things are quite overextended in a number of markets, and that a pullback was long overdue. It remains to be seen how long this current slide will last, but given that there are no major news triggers at the forefront of the selling, we suspect the correction may be relatively brief, and not the “real thing”. In other news, the Federal Reserve released mid-December minutes yesterday revealing that members were unfazed by the rise in long-term interest rates, noting instead, that the increase was partly because the US economy was getting stronger. The Fed also expressed its commitment to continue its controversial $600 billion Treasury bond-buying program, as it felt that the “change in the [economic] outlook was not sufficient to warrant any adjustments". We will see how this assessment will change in the weeks ahead as more data is released, with Friday’s key non-farm number being particularly important. On the macro scene, reports out yesterday showed that US November factory orders rose unexpectedly in November, led by gains in demand for capital equipment. Out of China, Bloomberg reported overnight that China’s central bank will examine lending and capital levels at domestic banks each month to determine whether reserve requirements are adequate, this according to a story in the China Securities Journal. China is grappling with its highest inflation in more than two years amid record credit expansion. We suspect that the authorities will have no choice but to tighten further if they are to get ahead of the inflation threat, which at this point, is both an economic and social problem. ...  Nickel is at $24,700, down $555, and failing to take out resistance at $25,200; we look for a slight pullback into the trading range. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Iron ore spot prices to hit record in 2011 - more
  • The Real Test for Commodities Now - more
  • Commodities outlook for 2011: $100 oil and $1,500 gold - more
  • Strong La Niña persists - more

  Output back to normal at BHP Australia nickel plant - Production at the Kwinana nickel refinery in Western Australia has returned to normal, global diversified miner BHP Billiton aid on Wednesday. - more

  Voisey's Bay talks resume under new pressure - Mining giant Vale and the United Steelworkers are poised to resume talks Wednesday aimed at ending a 17-month-long strike in northern Labrador, while a potentially embarrassing report is set to be released later this week. - more

  Allegheny Technologies Nickel Alloy Price Announcement - Effective with orders acknowledged after January 4, 2011, ATI Allegheny Ludlum is increasing base prices by 7 to 9% for nickel-based alloys and high nickel bearing stainless steels in the sheet, plate and Precision Rolled Strip® product forms including, but not limited to the following: ATI 625™, ATI 718™, ATI HX™, ATI 263™, ATI X-750™, ATI 276™, ATI 22™, ATI 59™, ATI 200™, ATI 201™, ATI 400™, ATI 600™, ATI 601™, ATI 800™, ATI 825™, ATI 20™, ATI 36™, ATI A286™ and ATI 904L™.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, January 4

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 80 to 1,693. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Australia Forecasts More Rain as Floods Isolate Thousands, Shut Down Mines // China to Slow Yuan Gain in 2011, Top Forecasters Say // Beijing-Shanghai Highspeed Railway to Start Operation in June, CCTV Says // U.K. Manufacturing Expands at Fastest Pace Since 1994 // German Unemployment Climbs on Early Winter Onslaught // European Stocks Climb for Second Day as FTSE 100 Tops 6,000; Xstrata Gains // Sales at U.S. Retailers Increased 3.6% Last Week // Orders to U.S. Factories Unexpectedly Increased in November // Oil, Copper, Gold Slump as Dollar Gains; U.S. Stocks Retreat
  • The Euro is currently trading over 4/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down over 3% and trading at $88.63/barrel. Gold is off 2-2/3% and silver is down by 4%. Base metals ended the session mostly higher, as London traders returned to play a little commodity bull run catch up. Indicator charts show nickel was very choppy today, with a $400 tonne range, and was up and down all day. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.41/lb , but was lower in after market trading. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses rose yesterday, and now register just under the 136,900 tonne level.  This is the highest level recorded since early June 2010. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). Sucden's chart not only shows LME trading over the past week, but also gives the reader some interesting technical information for today's trading. The Baltic Dry Index continues to slump, losing another 80 points to begin the new year. This is the time of year we see re-indexing, or re-balancing, of commodity funds take center stage, with some of the bigger commodity winners of 2010 taking a step back, and some of the others taking a step forward. These movements, and the general nervousness amongst traders surrounding the actions, will tend to taint nickel trading over the next few weeks.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Personal Bankruptcies in 2010, by State - more
  • The New Speed of Money, Reshaping Markets - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.17/lb higher, with all London traded base metals playing catch up from yesterday. The Euro is trading nearly 1/4 of 1% higher at the moment. NYMEX crude is up more than 1/3 of 1% and trading at $91.90/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1/2 of 1% while silver is up 1/5 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets closed higher, with China up nearly 2%. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures show another bullish day could be in store for Wall Street.  Nickel inventories rose sharply yesterday.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals solid, consolidate as copper holds near fresh all-time peak - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - LME copper prices busted through to another record high in Shanghai yesterday, ignoring news that Chile's Collahuasi, had resumed copper concentrate exports via an alternative port after its main port was closed more than two weeks ago. The rest of the metals are also up, but are not as strong as copper is. The few macro items that have been released thus far over the past few weeks have been mixed in tone, and strangely, the weaker numbers are -- for a change-- coming out of Asia. In this regard, the US and Europe both reported constructive manufacturing data, with the US ISM manufacturing index rising for a seventh straight month, and positing its seventeenth straight positive reading. US construction spending also rose for a third consecutive month in November, with the increase beating expectations. Out of Europe, manufacturing activity grew more than initially estimated in December, powered by Germany’s expansion, while the UK reported that its December manufacturing grew at its fastest pace in some 16 years. Out of China, we had reports out last week that the country's manufacturing sector grew at its weakest pace in three months in December. In this regard, the latest purchasing managers’ index reading fell to 53.9 from 55.2 in November-- the first decline in five months. A separate manufacturing index released by HSBC on Dec. 30 also fell for the first time in five months. Finally, out of Australia, Bloomberg reported yesterday that Australian manufacturing contracted in December for a fourth straight month, while India’s manufacturing growth dipped to a three-month low in December. Later today, we get November factory orders out of the US (expected at .4%%), followed by the Fed's interest rate decision and policy statement. Wednesday brings us the December ADP private payroll report (expected at 100,000), to be followed by December ISM services data (expected at 55.7). Weekly initial claims readings come out on Thursday (expected at 405,000, this following a breach of the 400,000 level seen last week). Friday is arguably the most important day of the week, with December nonfarm payroll data numbers out (expected at 132,000, following last month's disappointing 39,000 job increase).  ... Nickel is at $25,100, up $350, but bumping against resistance at $25,200, (red line). If cleared, we could see the complex push higher.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (AD) POSCO, South Korea's leading steelmaker, expects its group-wide sales to reach 200 trillion won (US$177 billion) by 2020, its chief executive officer said Monday.
  • (Xinhua) China's nonferrous metals imports and exports rose 46.5 percent year on year to US$108.48 billion in the first 11 months of this year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said yesterday.
  • Commodities: The bull that just won't die - more
  • Consumer bankruptcies rose 9% in 2010 - more

  AK Steel Announces February 2011 Surcharges for Electrical and Stainless Steels - AK Steel has advised its customers that a $350 per ton surcharge will be added to invoices for electrical steel products shipped in February 2011. February 2011 surcharges for the broad range of stainless steel products that AK Steel produces can be found on the company's web site at http://www.aksteel.com/. - more

  Vale, union head back to bargaining table - Mining giant Vale and striking workers in Labrador are heading back to the bargaining table, just as a potentially embarrassing report is about to be made public. - more

  Stainless steel scraps in bullish sentiment - According to market research, Nanhai stainless steel scraps are little impacted from the previous fluctuations of nickel price, instead it continues the steady and slightly upward tone. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending January 1, 2011, domestic raw steel production was 1,683,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 69.6 percent. Production was 1,492,000 tons in the week ending January 1, 2010, while the capability utilization then was 62.3 percent. The current week production represents a 12.8 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending January 1, 2011 is up 2.1 percent from the previous week ending December 25, 2010 when production was 1,648,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 68.1 percent.

  Australia floods 'to hit global steelmaking' - The Queensland floods could have a "significant long-term effect" on the global steel industry, the premier of the Australian state has warned. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, January 3

  The London Metal Exchange is closed Monday for holiday and will re-open Tuesday.

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up

  • Baltic Dry Index - (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's Inflation May Cool With Factory Slowdown // Asia Stocks Rise for Sixth Day on China PMI as U.S. Employment Seen Rising // Queensland Starts Military Airlift Amid `Biblical' Floods // Euro Falls Most in Two Weeks on Concern Debt Crisis to Hamper Fund Raising // European Manufacturing Expands Faster Than Estimated, Led by German Gains // European Stocks Jump on Economy, Profit Speculation; U.S. Futures Advance // Mishkin Says U.S. Strength Makes More Fed Asset Buying `Much Less Likely' // Stocks Rally, Treasuries Tumble on Economic Outlook
  • The Euro and US Dollar are trading fairly even at the moment, with the Euro getting a slight edge. NYMEX crude is up nearly 9/10 of 1% and trading at $92.19/barrel. Gold is down over 1/10 of 1% and silver is over 4/10 of 1% higher. Base metals did not trade on the London Metal exchange today. Markets will re-open tomorrow and business will be back to normal for awhile. Nickel climbed back over the $11/lb mark last week, as flooding in Australia led to concerns about possible supply disruption, and traders speculation that $10/lb was too cheap. The Chinese PMI number came in lower than  expected, but remains positive and thus, should add very little, if any, negative pressure on nickel. In our opinion, the single biggest threat to nickel prices at the moment is copper's bubble. Should it pop, and we see no evidence that it will anytime soon, the pressure on other base metals could be too great. For now, with half believing inflation will soon become a problem, and the other half believing recovery is strong, commodities are apparently the no lose trading gamble.  With London re-opening tomorrow and the holidays officially behind us, we are hopeful the daily reports and news releases we post will return to normalcy.

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • U.K. Think Tank Sees 20% Chance Of Euro’s Survival - more
  • 2010 Racks Up Most Bank Failures Since 1992 - more
  • 17 Statistics That Prove We Have Sold Our Grandchildren Into Perpetual Debt Slavery - more
  • Searching for the Truth in an Age of Disingenuousness - more

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

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel not trading today due to New Years Holiday celebration in London. The Euro is presently trading over 1/4 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is trading over 8/10 of 1% higher and trading at $92.15/barrel. Gold is up slightly , while silver is trading over 8/10 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets were mostly closed due to New Years. Those markets open in Europe are mostly higher this morning, while US futures show Wall Street wants to start 2011 very bullishly. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended 2010 at $11.23/lb, with stockpiles standing at 135,672 tons on the last day of  the year.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Ed's reports will be posted as soon as we receive (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel (Yusco) has released the latest prices of stainless steel for January that the local prices of 300 series and 400 series keep unchanged but the export prices will surge by US$50~160/ton.
  • (Interfax) China produced a total of 28.75 million tons of ten major nonferrous metals in the first 11 months of 2010, up 21.4 percent year-on-year, according to a Dec. 30 report from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
  • The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing Saturday said its purchasing managers index (PMI) fell to 53.9 in December from 55.2 in November, the Associated Press reported. It was the first decline in five months, the AP noted.

  Nickel May Struggle to Hold Gains in 2011, Along With Some Other Base Metals - Nickel’s strong price-performance in 2010 likely won’t be repeated in 2011 as high supply levels and cheaper alternatives will pressure prices. - more

  Customs Bureau seizes stainless steel from Taiwan - Eight container vans of stainless steel from Taiwan were seized by the Bureau of Customs on Wednesday for having been misdeclared as containing ordinary steel coils. - more

  Mining booms as commodity prices rally - The Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe says 2010 was a bullish year for the country’s resources sector as all leading minerals except asbestos and coal reported a systematic ramp-up, buoyed by firming global commodity prices, which are expected to sustain the rally through this year. - more

  Australian floods submerge towns,coal exports hit - Military aircraft ferried supplies to an Australian town slowly sinking beneath swollen rivers on Monday, as record flooding in the country's northeast severed roads and ports, curtailing coal exports and devastating farmland. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

December Archives


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