This page is archived news covering the period of January 2020
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Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices


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Friday, January 31

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Thursday's trading session at $5.72/lb ($12,620/tonne). Indicators at 6:05 am CST today show nickel trading around $.07/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses rose on Thursday and started this last trading day of January just over the 195,900 tonne level. Traders appear to be having a little more success keeping nickel prices off session lows today, but there are still a few hours of trading remaining. China is back in business on Monday, at least much of it will be. How will traders there react to this weeks retreat in nickel prices? This virus isn't concentrated half way around the world like it is for most of us; it's in their backyard. Nothing abridged about this Friday's update - lots of news. Besides the China virus scare, Britain leaves the EU today. At one time, Brexit frightened world markets, but now, the virus is taking care of that. Death toll has risen to 213, with confirmed cases numbering 9,709. The US and Europe both reported their first person to person transmission cases yesterday. On a much brighter note, we want to thank our January sponsor, Mr. Schiavoni, President of Duraloy Technologies, for helping keep this page updated in 2020. We encourage you to visit their website and see what services and product they can offer you.We hope each of you has a safe and relaxing weekend. And finally, "Go Chiefs"!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.17/lb
  • LME nickel chart - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper on course for biggest monthly fall in over 4 years - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - closed this week
  • Moody's - Coronavirus May Be a Black Swan Like No Other - pdf here

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Thursday's market review - Copper slides to five-month low on China demand angst - Copper prices sank to five-month lows on Thursday as funds sold on expectations of slowing demand in top consumer China, where a coronavirus outbreak has raised the prospect of an economic slowdown. - more

      Iconic symbol to Ontario mining to disappear - Known for its giant ‘nickel’ five cent coin, symbolising nickel mining, the other landmark is a truly gigantic smokestack from a smelting facility. - more

      Column: Nickel and copper are bull stand-outs in base metals poll - Nickel and copper are the bull stand-outs in the latest Reuters poll of base metals analysts, with both set to rise in price over the next two years thanks to supply constraints and expected market deficits. - more

      Universal Stainless Announces Shape Bar Base Price Increase -  Universal Stainless & Alloy Products, Inc. (Nasdaq: USAP) today announced a base price increase of 5% to 25% on all flat, square and hex bar products manufactured at its Dunkirk facility.  - more

      Thousands on virus lockdown at China-backed plant in Indonesia - More than 40,000 workers at a vast Chinese-controlled industrial complex in Indonesia have been quarantined over fears about the spread of a deadly coronavirus strain which has killed more than 200 people in China, it said Friday. - more

      China's stainless steel production capacity to be released more intensively in 2020 - It was reported that China's stainless steel production capacity will be further released this year, and the pace of production capacity launch will speed up. - more

      Eurofer cuts 2020 EU steel consumption outlook on weaker-than-expected 2019  - Eurofer cut its 2020 EU apparent steel consumption outlook to an increase of 1.2% at 159 million mt from a 1.4% forecast in its fourth-quarter 2019 report, the trade association said Thursday. - more

      2019 was difficult for the steel industry, 2020 is expected to be better - the coronavirus introduces more uncertainty - more

      Webinar from Steel Construction Institute - Designing in stainless steel - 56 minutes long (bookmark for a slow day) - here

      Is It Time To Turn Bullish On Battery Metals? - One of the most prevalent current trends concerning mined commodities is the shift, driven by the effort to reduce our carbon footprint, is towards the electrification of the global transportation system. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • China virus death toll tops 200 as WHO declares global emergency - more
  • Stocks Decline as Virus Spreads; Treasuries Climb: Markets Wrap - more

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
Thursday, January 30

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Wednesday's trading session at $5.69/lb ($12,550/tonne). Indicators at 6:15 am CST today show nickel trading around $.06/lb  higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses rose slightly on Wednesday and started today just under the 194,600 tonne level.  Nickel continues to trade choppy and for the most part, sideways.  The overall trend appears to be moving lower as the daily highs and lows are slightly lower each day. Today's virus numbers are over 7700 confirmed cases and 170 deaths. The bad news is this virus is spreading much faster than the SARS virus did. But, on the positive side, SARS was far more deadly based on infections versus deaths. We heard this morning that the movie Contagion has moved back into a top 10 movie rental, reflecting an undertone of fear out there. On the news side, it's much quieter today, although we did link to a bunch of new reports. Enjoy your Thursday - you have two days left to complete the month.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.19/lb
  • LME nickel chart - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper slides to 5-month low on China demand angst - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - closed this week
  • BMO The Goods - pdf here
  • BMO Commodities Outlook - pdf here
  • Desjardin's Commodity Trends - pdf here
  • ING Australia - trial by fire - pdf here
  • State Coincident Indexes - pdf here
  • EV Sales Markets Roundup - December 2019 - more

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Wednesday's market review - Copper extends losses as coronavirus spreads - Copper prices fell on Wednesday, taking losses over the last seven trading days to 10% as an outbreak of coronavirus in China curtailed economic activity and threatened to reduce metals demand. - more

     How will the coronavirus affect oil, gold, metals and Bitcoin? - As the death toll from coronavirus rises above 130, the main question on everyone's mind is if the outbreak can be contained. - more

       End of the road for Merafe Resources? - Merafe Resources, once a punters’ favourite, may be at the end of the road as power cuts and low prices bite - more

      The South African billionaire apologizes for loving Trump Africa - South Africa’s leading black industrialist and billionaire, Patrice Motsepe, apologized for saying that President Donald Trump at a dinner in Davos, Switzerland said that Africa loves him. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • Climate risk and decarbonization: What every mining CEO needs to know - more
  • Stocks Drop, Bonds Gain on Fears Over Virus Impact: Markets Wrap - more

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
Wednesday, January 29

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed yesterday's trading session at $5.82/lb  ($12,825/tonne). Indicators at 6:15 am CST today show nickel trading around $.04/lb  lower. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses rose on Tuesday by over 2200 tonnes and started the day just over the 194,500 tonne level. Nickel is trading choppy this morning, and as we publish today's update, its on the upswing. But it has already bounced off the $12,600/tonne level ($5.72/lb) twice this morning, so it is yet to show any trend. The bulls are making an attempt to build a floor, and time will tell if they are successful. With China markets closed, it is hard to know how Chinese traders are reacting to the coronavirus outbreak. As of last evening, there were over 6000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and the death toll has more than doubled since Sunday to 132. Lot of industry news today, with Reuters publishing its experts 'average' forecast at $6.95/lb. That compares to our readers average forecast of $6.53/lb. It will take another 11 months to see who was closer.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.21/lb
  • LME nickel chart - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Industrial metals stabilize after coronavirus shock - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - closed this week
  • Modern Casting January 2020 - online here
  • Barchart 304 SS Scrap Index - $.258/lb
  • NAB Monthly Business Survey: December 2019 - pdf here
  • U.S. Imports of Stainless Steel Mill Products - more

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Yesterday's market review - Copper extends rout as China virus death toll climbs - Copper fell to a near four-month low on Tuesday, extending losses triggered by fears that a deadly virus in China could worsen and impact the top metal consumer’s economy. - more

      Uptick in world growth, supply constraints to lift copper prices - (excerpt) The LME cash price of nickel is expected to average $15,325 a tonne this year, up 22% from the latest price. - more  (note - this is $6.95/lb. The average 2020 estainlesssteel 2020 price forecast of ess readers was $14,400/tonne or $6.53/lb.)
  • Uncertainty to cloud global nickel market outlook in 2020 - more
  • Nickel demand set to rise in 2020 along with growth in electric vehicle sales - more

      Gold Rises As Coronavirus Spreads, But Don’t Forget Other Metals - Gold has been rising amid continuing worries over the Wuhan coronavirus. But, at the risk of sounding heartless, there could be better investment returns on offer from a sector of the commodity market which has been taking a battering: industrial metals. - more

       Firm Quarantines 3,000 Chinese Workers at Indonesian Plant over Coronavirus Fears - A Chinese- regulated firm claimed Tuesday it had actually quarantined all 3,000 of its Chinese staff members that function at a commercial facility in Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi district, amidst fears that the brand-new coronavirus can spread out right here after thousands of brand-new workers got here from China recently. - more

       The Buses Just Stopped Running in China’s Biggest Steel Town - Public buses have been ordered off the roads in Tangshan, the biggest center for steel in the world’s largest producer.  - more

       Nickel prices go from red hot to ice cold - Nickel, the world's hottest commodity in 2019, is having a poor start to 2020, dropping this week to its lowest level since July. - more

      Steel Imports Down 17 Percent in 2019 - Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that the U.S. imported a total of 1,553,000 net tons (NT) of steel in December 2019, including 1,347,000 net tons (NT) of finished steel (down 0.5% and up 1.2%, respectively, vs. November final data). - more

  • U.S. Imports for Consumption of Steel Products (FT900A) - December 2019 - more

       ‘Wiggle room,’ deleted emails, and a controversial phone call: What we learned after five days of testimony in the PolyMet hearing - In March of 2018, staff at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency were slammed.  - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • Psychology of Sales in the Metals Industry - more
  • Bacteria in gowns, stainless steel at hospitals can lead to severe illness - more
  • Stocks Advance as Focus Shifts to Earnings, Fed: Markets Wrap - more

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
Tuesday, January 28

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Monday's trading session at $5.72/lb ($12,615/tonne). Indicators at 6:15 am CST today show nickel trading around $.02/lb  higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell slightly again on Monday and started today's session just over the 192,300 tonne level. After three straight sessions that saw drops in inventory, we are now off yearly highs by .... (drum roll please) .... 588 tonnes. Maybe when China comes back from holiday break they will need some because the rest of the world  apparently doesn't. Then again, would you buy with the price in a free fall? Lot of unknowns out there right there. Corona virus spreading worldwide, Brexit happening in Europe this weekend, and we shouldn't forget the fires in Australia. The only thing we think is certain is the US President will not be impeached by the Senate.  Nickel made an attempt to recover the $13,000/tonne level after we posted yesterday, but the attempt was unsuccessful and all that was gained, was immediately lost. For the last two days, $12,600 is setting itself up as temporary support, but time will tell if it holds. A bullish attempt earlier today has proven unsuccessful as well, but it did not carry the enthusiasm as yesterday's charge.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.24/lb
  • LME nickel chart - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper extends losses as China virus death toll climbs - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - holiday break
  • Scotiabank The Contagion of Fear - pdf here
  • Sherritt Presentation - pdf here

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Monday's market review - Copper in longest losing streak for six years on China virus fears -  Copper fell for a ninth consecutive session on Monday, the longest losing streak in six years, as investors worried that a spreading coronavirus outbreak in China would hit demand in the world's biggest metals consumer. - more

       Global crude steel output increases by 3.4% in 2019 - Global crude steel production reached 1,869.9 million tonnes (Mt) for the year 2019, up by 3.4% compared to 2018. Crude steel production contracted in all regions in 2019 except in Asia and the Middle East. - more

      Indonesia’s 2019 nickel ore output surges, 2020 output to slow - Indonesia's 2019 nickel ore output stood at 52.8 million tonnes, Director of Minerals Yunus Saefulhak at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources said on Thursday, more than double production of 22.1 million tonnes a year earlier. - more

      Courtesy AISI - In the week ending on January 25, 2020, domestic raw steel production was 1,919,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 82.3 percent. Production was 1,871,000 net tons in the week ending January 25, 2019 while the capability utilization then was 80.4 percent. The current week production represents a 2.6 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending January 25, 2020 is down 0.5 percent from the previous week ending January 18, 2020 when production was 1,928,000 net tons and the rate of capability utilization was 82.7 percent. - more

      Understanding nickel usage in lithium batteries - This Insight focuses on current nickel use in the battery sector, how it has changed in recent years, what is driving these changes and what our base case demand forecasts for nickel are. - more

      Supporting presentation for lecturers of Architecture/Civil Engineering Chapter 05: Corrosion Resistance of Stainless Steels - pdf here

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • Stocks Pull Back on China-Hong Kong Travel Curbs: Markets Wrap - more

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
Monday, January 27

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Friday's trading session at $5.89/lb  ($12,975/tonne). Indicators at 6:10 am CST today show nickel trading around $.15/lb  lower. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell slightly again on Friday and started this week just under the 192,500 tonne level. Nickel fell nearly 7% last week as the market prepared for China to shut down this week as they celebrate Lunar New Year. On Friday, the traded price fell below the psychologically important $13,000/tonne level, as well as a major technical line of support. With trades down over 2-1/2% more just this morning, it is safe to say the bear  is making a major move. Nickel is not alone as the trading board is a sea of red this morning, save the safe haven precious metals. It is becoming more apparent that coronavirus concerns are impacting markets worldwide. As of Sunday evening, death toll numbers had risen to 80, with 2700 confirmed cases, nearly 6000 suspected cases, and 51 cured cases (according to the Guardian). 51 cured and 80 deaths? Concerned yet? As China suspends more operations (all schools nationwide are closed until further notice) and puts more cities under quarantine (4 at last count), the potential for economic disruption becomes more evident. China reported 769 new cases on Sunday alone.... from all parts of their nation. So we enter the week with a big unknown hanging over the markets. We hope this last week of January is a good one for you, and you reach those short term goals you set a few weeks ago. If not, you still have a week left. Go get em'.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.27/lb
  • LME nickel chart - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - China virus concerns push copper to near 8-week low - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • Barchart 304 SS Scrap Index - $.259/lb
  • Wells Fargo Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary - pdf here
  • NAB US Economic Update – January 2020 - pdf here

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Friday's market review - Copper posts steepest weekly drop since 2015 on virus fears - Copper prices recorded their biggest weekly fall in five years on Friday on concerns that the spread of the coronavirus could hit the Chinese economy and metals demand.  - more

      Trump increases tariffs on derivative steel, aluminum products from some countries - U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation increasing tariffs on derivative steel products by an additional 25 percent and boosting tariffs on derivative aluminum products by an additional 10 percent.  - more

      EU widens tariff threat on steel from China, Taiwan, Indonesia - The European Union ordered its customs officials to register flat-rolled stainless steel imports from China, Taiwan and Indonesia, widening the threat of tariffs on the shipments. - more

      Chinese-owned miner in Morowali stops worker influx from China amid coronavirus outbreak - Nickel Miner PT Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park (IMPI) in Central Sulawesi has stopped incoming foreign workers from China amid the fast-spreading coronavirus originating from the city of Wuhan in Hubei province. - more

      Greece to sell troubled nickel producer Larco's assets, says minister - Greece plans to liquidate Larco, one of Europe’s biggest nickel producers which is struggling under heavy debt, and then look for an investor for some of the company’s assets, its energy minister said on Friday. - more

      Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/105 of 23 January 2020 making imports of certain hot rolled stainless steel sheets and coils originating in the People’s Republic of China and Indonesia subject to registration - pdf here

      Commerce Finds Dumping of Imports of Fabricated Structural Steel from Canada, China, and Mexico, and Countervailable Subsidization of Imports of Fabricated Structural Steel from China and Mexico - pdf here

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • British Steel sale to Jingye 'firmly in sight' after deal with unions - more
  • Virus Fears Drive Sell-Off in Stocks, Oil, Yuan: Markets Wrap - more

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart

Friday, January 24

LME nickel prices  Abbreviated Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed yesterday's trading session at $6.06/lb ($13,350/tonne). Indicators at 6:10 am CST today show nickel trading around $.03/lb lower. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses  fell slightly on Thursday and started today just under the 192,800 tonne level. Shanghai nickel inventories rose 498 tonnes this week and ended the week at 36,932 tonnes. Next week may be quiet with China celebrating the Lunar New Year, a week long holiday. Nickel fell sharply yesterday, for a second consecutive day, and is within a few hundred dollars per tonne of testing another line of strong technical support. For the most part, the commodity trading board is a sea of red this morning, and most news outlets are blaming the virus spreading in and from China. Speaking of China, except for the three cities on lock down, nearly 3 billion Chinese will be traveling over the next week. Considering the number of confirmed cases of the Corona virus rose from 200 to 600 just this week, one can understand why governments are concerned and why China is reacting so strongly. Media is also reporting one of the 26 deaths was reportedly an otherwise healthy person in their 30's. On that cheerful note, we leave you with today's news and our hopes the weekend finds you healthy and relaxed.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.29/lb
  • LME nickel chart - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper set for sharpest weekly drop in near 19 months amid virus scare - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • MINE Magazine - online here

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Yesterday's market review - Copper slides further as China virus fears grow - Copper prices fell to their lowest in more than six weeks on Thursday as the rising coronavirus death toll heightened fears over the outbreak’s potential impact on the Chinese economy. - more

      Vale's restructure in New Caledonia likely to cost more than 100 jobs - The planned restructure of the Vale nickel plant in New Caledonia is expected to result in at least 100 employees losing their jobs. - more

      World’s biggest nickel miner has a plan for its crisis-ridden border town: here could come a hub for Arctic tourism - Nornickel might invest up to 10,5 billion rubles (€153 million) in the development of a tourism cluster in Pechenga, the municipality located along border to Norway and Finland.  - more

      Private equity fund GSOL eyes takeovers to expand ferronickel business - The Global Special Opportunities Ltd (GSOL) fund aims to boost its output of 50,000 tonnes a year of ferronickel both by expanding its current two operations and possible takeovers, Marcos Camhis said. - more

      Mining watchdog expected to have a few choice words to say about ferrochrome smelters - MiningWatch co-founder Joan Kuyek will be delivering a primer to Sault Ste. Marie residents on the “true social and economic costs” of the mining industry in Northern Ontario. - more

      Anglo American delivers on 2019 production targets - Diversified miner Anglo American delivered on its production targets across the business for the year ended December 31, CEO Mark Cutifani said on Thursday with the release of the group’s unaudited production results for the fourth quarter and the full-year. - more

      Indonesia to have four new smelters this year as mineral ore export ban nears - The government expects four smelters with a combined annual input capacity of 2.07 million tons and output capacity of 200,923 tons to begin operations this year. - more

      Steel News: Will 2020 be a Better Year for Steel Mills - 2019 was a challenge for steel suppliers, with both demand and pricing on a downward slope for the first three quarters of the year. Although it’s still early, signs suggest that 2020 could prove to be a better year for the steel industry. - more
  • Tube & Pipe Market Update: Manufacturing outlook improves - more
      From sulphur to solar: A big idea for Sudbury’s Superstack - Sudbury’s story is inextricably linked to our Superstack. The story is not just environmental degradation.  - more

      Leaked e-mail comes under scrutiny at PolyMet hearing - Testimony by the email's author, a former MPCA assistant commissioner, and questioning by a lawyer for the mine opponents dominated the day.  - more

      China Locks Down 40 Million People as Anger Grows Over Virus - more

Thursday, January 23

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Wednesday's trading session at $6.19/lb ($13,640/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.12/lb lower. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses rose yesterday and started today just over the 192,900 tonne level. While we are always very weary about giving any reasons for why the market is moving in one direction or the other, we tend to believe you can't tease the market with a slowdown in inventory gains, then hit the market in a sour mood because of the spreading virus, with a one day gain of 2 tonnes less than a 5000 tonne gain, and expect traders to welcome it with open arms. Add Brexit being approved for next week and you add more skepticism to the day. LME inventories seem to be in a flux, spending a few days not knowing what they want to do, then getting hit with unexplainable big shipments. Cancelled warrants stay in the 30% range. Regardless of the up and down daily movements, the inventory trend remains in an accelerated growth mode. We are less than 8000 tonnes from the psychologically important 200,000 tonne level, and it appears some traders are already planning for that level being hit. This is the second day this week, where LME nickel was trading 2% lower when we started updating this site. Look for the next major line of technical support to be around the $13,000/tonne mark, where the trading price bottomed out on the 9th of December. Lots of nickel industry news, so we leave it to those interested.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.31/lb
  • LME nickel chart - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper hits 6-week low on rising inventories, China virus scare - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • U.S. Imports of Stainless Steel Mill Products - more

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Wednesday's market review - Copper falls to a near 3-week low as virus death toll rises in China - Copper fell to a near three-week low on Wednesday as the rising death toll from the Wuhan virus outbreak deepened concerns over potential damage to economic growth and metals demand. - more

      First shipment marks progress for Ravensthorpe Nickel Mine restart - The first of ongoing shipments of sulphur destined for the First Quantum Minerals Ravensthorpe Nickel Operation arrived at the Esperance Port on January 17, signifying a major step forward for the re-opening of the mine. - more

      Nickel market records deficit in January to November 2019 - The nickel market was in deficit during January to November 2019 with apparent demand exceeding production by 38.8 kt. In the whole of 2018, the calculated deficit was 98.7 kt.  - more

      Sherritt lifts 2020 nickel guidance - Nickel and cobalt producer Sherritt raised its 2020 nickel production guidance from the previous year at its Moa joint-venture in Cuba, while cobalt output expectations were unchanged. - more

      Indonesia 2019 nickel ore output surges, 2020 output to slow - official - Indonesia's 2019 nickel ore output stood at 52.8 million tonnes, Director of Minerals Yunus Saefulhak at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources said on Thursday, more than double production of 22.1 million tonnes a year earlier. - more

      Stainless Metal Trade Seeks 0 Accountability on Ferro-Nickel, Scrap in Upcoming Price range -  Forward of the finances, chrome steel avid gamers have sought some healing measures like elimination of import responsibility on key uncooked fabrics ferro-nickel and chrome steel scrap. - more

      Former EPA official: Minnesota regulators wanted PolyMet critiques kept out of public comment to avoid ‘press’ - A former federal official testified in court on Tuesday that state regulators asked his office to shield criticism of a key water permit for the PolyMet copper-nickel mine in part to avoid news coverage. - more

      BHP's Iron, Copper Production Up, Retains Fiscal 2020 Guidance - BHP Group (BHP) released production details for the first half of fiscal 2020 (ended Dec 31, 2019) and also stated that it is maintaining production and cost guidance for fiscal 2020. - more

  • Is it time for the miners to take control at BHP? - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • Close To 1.18 Million Plug-In Electric Cars Were Sold In China In 2019 - more
  • Stocks Slip, Bonds Gain on Virus Fears; Oil Slides: Markets Wrap - more

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
Wednesday, January 22

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Tuesday's trading session at $6.20/lb ($13,665/tonne). Indicators at 6:10 am CST today show nickel trading around $.05/lb  higher. Stockpiles of nickel gained a little more than they lost yesterday and started today's session just over the 187,900 tonne level. Nickel got whacked yesterday, closing at its lowest this year, and below support of $6.21/lb. Today, traders have climbed back over the technical level of support, but has stalled after slipping from early morning highs. Sentiment appears to have turned negative and it is possible the concerns over the spread of the deadly coronavirus in China. With that country about to break for a week long holiday, and the busiest travel day of the year in that country, officials are expressing deep concern over its spread. US media is reporting America's first confirmed case. Industry news has quieted back down. It's hump day.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.32/lb
  • LME nickel chart - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper touches 2-week low as virus death toll rises in China - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • Barchart 304 SS Scrap Index - $.262/lb

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Tuesday's market review - Copper hits two-week low on China virus and inventory jump - Copper prices slumped on Tuesday as investors liquidated recent bullish positions over fears that a new strain of coronavirus in China could hit economic growth in the world’s top metals consumer. - more

       OSHA seeks $132,600 penalty from refinery - (excerpt) The piece of piping that failed had a high nickel and copper content—carbon steel with a higher percentage of nickel and copper corrodes at a faster rate than carbon steel with a lower percentage when used in a process with hydrofluoric acid. - more

      PolyMet opponents accuse Minnesota regulators of destroying evidence - The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) was accused Tuesday morning of destroying computer records on a controversial water permit for PolyMet Mining Corp. as a Ramsey County judge opened a hearing on alleged irregularities in the handling of the permit. - more

      Low-flying helicopters to measure minerals around Queenstown - A specially adapted helicopter is completing the third part of an aerial survey over Queenstown this month. - more

      Readers Write: PolyMet mine, Trump supporters, primary voting, Mississippi River projects - In the past two weeks, with the PolyMet permitting process being reviewed in the courts, you have been given the opportunity to hit the “reset” button on copper-nickel mining in northeastern Minnesota.  - more

      Is this nickel player Norm Seckold’s next payday? - Santana Minerals has landed itself a highly prospective exploration project that has all the hallmarks of China’s largest nickel mine and is backed by successful mining investor Norm Seckold. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • U.S. Futures Gain as China Moves to Contain Virus: Markets Wrap - more

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
Tuesday, January 21

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed yesterday's trading session at $6.36/lb ($14,020/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.08/lb lower. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell for only the second time this year and started today just over the 186,300 tonne level. Nickel is lower this morning, but off earlier lows, while the commodity board in general, is bathed in red. Shanghai Metals Market ended about .75% lower. This is a week to watch Chinese markets as traders jockey for a comfortable position before next weeks week long holiday shut down. More than once the market has made some significant moves on LME markets while the Chinese were on their break. So how they react this week this week, could have less to do with playing follow the LME leader, and more on their hunches what LME nickel will do next week. It will also be interesting to see what LME inventory numbers start doing, as Chinese buyers place orders for future shipments. We saw a nearly 1500 tonne lowering today ..... have we turned a corner yet or are we destined to see more growth in LME stockpile numbers? Stay tuned.
  • Anyone who is a fan of the NFL, or lives in San Francisco, is well aware of who the quarterback for the Super Bowl bound 49er's is. For the rest of the world it is Garapa-who? Let's be honest, Garoppolo does not roll off the tongue like Brady or Mahomes,  Brees, Rivers, Ryan, Rodgers, Wilson, Mayfield, Foles or Jackson. And he doesn't get the 'attention' from national sports writers other quarterbacks do like .... well nearly all of them. Last year, his peers rated him the 90th best NFL football player in the Top 100 Players of the NFL. 90th! This guy already has two Super Bowl rings, as the bench warming backup for Tom Brady of the Patriots. Now it's his turn. And yet, when sportscasters talk about the 49er's, they usually want to talk about the teams defense. Think he has something to prove in two weeks? Many employees can be successful, without being in the spotlight all the time. There are those employees that are very good at self promotion, and those that aren't. There are those who attract attention from others, while most don't. There are those who shy away from being in the spotlight, while others need it. You have heard many times that there are talkers and there are doers. As a society, we tend to give our attention to the noise makers, even when others are scoring more touchdowns. Regardless, both play a role,and both are necessary for a business to succeed. But we suspect the quiet quarterbacks in your office will be rooting for that Garap-a-guy.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.32/lb
  • LME nickel chart - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Industrial metals decline as China virus scare hits sentiment - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • Manufacturing Outlook for January 2020 - online here
  • thyssenkrupp Annual report - pdf here
  • Asian Metals Market Update: January-21-2020 - more

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Yesterday's market review - Zinc hits two-month high as technicals trigger buying - Zinc prices rose to two-month highs on Monday after a break of key technical levels triggered a flurry of buying and as the market worried about historically low inventories.  - more

      South African chrome firms warn of more than 1,200 job cuts - South African chrome firms on Monday warned of more than 1,200 potential job cuts, citing power cuts, rising electricity tariffs and increased competition from overseas. - more

  • Looming jobs bloodbath roils unions - more
      Australia's Western Areas wins contracts to supply nickel to BHP unit, Jinchuan - Australian nickel miner Western Areas on Tuesday said it has won new contracts to supply high grade concentrate from its Forrestania operations to BHP unit Nickel West China’s Jinchuan Co Ltd. - more

      Courtesy AISI - In the week ending on January 18, 2020, domestic raw steel production was 1,928,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 82.7 percent. Production was 1,871,000 net tons in the week ending January 18, 2019 while the capability utilization then was 80.4 percent. The current week production represents a 3.0 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending January 18, 2020 is up 0.3 percent from the previous week ending January 11, 2020 when production was 1,923,000 net tons and the rate of capability utilization was 82.5 percent. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • Stocks Decline With U.S. Futures; Treasuries Rise: Markets Wrap - more

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
Monday, January 20

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Friday's trading session at $6.31/lb ($13,910/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.02/lb  higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses returned to their huge growth cycle on Friday and started the week just shy of the 187,800 tonne level. Cancelled warrants in the 32% range for a second session. Nickel was unable to climb back above the $14.000/tonne level on Friday, and appears to be in a holding pattern since. Bulls may be gaining momentum for another run, but they have to be careful. Since the first of the year, nickel has passed over the $14,000/tonne level on three occasions, but has been unable to hold any of the tries. The last try, last Wednesday, did not last two complete days, and thus technical signals could quickly change from neutral to bearish if another try falls short. We are somewhat surprised they haven't already turned bearish. After a single day this year of LME nickel stockpiles falling, they were up over 4800 tonnes on Friday. We are now seeing numbers last seen in late March 2019. Shanghai Futures Exchange only reports nickel inventory numbers on Friday's and for last week, they fell by 469 tonnes to 36,434 tonnes. The traded price of stainless steel on the same exchange went from 14205 on the 10th, to 14055 Friday.  Good start to the week for industry news, but little of it will matter much to the average distributor and consumer of stainless steel. It's Monday, a fresh week and a fresh start. Good luck!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.33/lb
  • LME nickel chart - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - London copper steady around 8-month high on solid China data - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • Barchart 304 SS Scrap Index - $.263/lb
  • U.S. Economy in a Snapshot January 2020 - more
  • Polymet Mining Presentation - pdf here

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Friday's market review - Chinese data holds copper near eight-month high - Copper prices hovered near eight-month highs on Friday as expectations of stronger demand from top consumer China were boosted by better than expected economic data and optimism for a U.S.-China trade agreement. - more

      Measures to boost domestic stainless steel production - To augment domestic manufacturing, the domestic stainless steel industry body, Indian Stainless Steel Development Association (ISSDA), has recommended some curative measures to the government ahead of the Union budget 2020. - more
  • Budget 2020: Stainless Steel Sector Seeks Zero Duty On Ferro-Nickel, Scrap - more
      Good morning Vietnam – Blackstone hits 60m nickel zone - Blackstone Minerals has revealed its most impressive drill result to date at its Ta Khoa nickel project in Vietnam with 60m grading 1.3% nickel and another 11.9m intersection further down-hole grading 1.09% within a 142m mineralised intersection that also showed 0.22% copper and 0.29g/t PGM plus gold. - more

      Severstal's Q4 steel output, sales fall on quarter on furnace works - Russian mining and steel company Severstal said Friday its steel output and sales both fell in the fourth quarter, compared with Q3, due to short-term maintenance on steelmaking furnaces at its Cherepovets Iron and Steel Works, although annual sales remained unchanged. - more

      Request for Comments on Indonesia Market Access under the Country Practice Review of the Generalized System of Preferences  - letter from AISI to  Erland HerfindahlDeputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Generalized System of Preferences  Office of the U.S. Trade Representative - reference nickel ore export ban - more

      85 FR 3014 - Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews - pdf here

      Cameras will be allowed at PolyMet mine hearing, judge rules - News organizations will be allowed to have cameras in the courtroom next week at a hearing on the handling of a key environmental permit for PolyMet Mining Corp., a judge has ruled. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • 12-time champion forecaster sees U.S. economy easing in 2020 - more
  • Europe Stocks Slip; Crude Rises on Supply Concerns: Markets Wrap - more

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
Friday, January 17

LME nickel prices  Abbreviated Friday Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Thursday's trading session at $6.25/lb ($13,775/tonne). Indicators at 6:05 am CST today show nickel trading around $.05/lb  higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouse, for the first time in 2020, fell a few tonnes and started the day just over the 182,900 tonne level. Cancelled warrants are near the 33% level. Wow - what a busy Friday. China's economic growth for 2019 was reported as 6.1%, its lowest this century, but within the 6 to 6.5% range the government targeted. Crude steel production in that country had another record breaking year, gaining 8.3% and totaling just shy of 1 billion tonnes. Below, you will find an article by former LME trader, now Reuters reporter, Andy Home on nickel. We also have a link for the seriously bored amongst you - the entire "phase one" agreement China and the U.S. just signed. We also post some EV sales news and finally, we look at the inspirational message about life and business, that can be found in last week's Kansas City Chiefs victory. Thank you for sharing a moment of your Friday with us, and we invite you back next week. Have a safe and relaxing weekend.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.33/lb
  • LME nickel chart - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper edges up as key China data lifts sentiment - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - more

     Thursday's market review - Copper hovers around 8-month highs as market weighs trade deal - Copper touched an eight-month high on Thursday after the United States and China inked an initial deal in a prolonged trade dispute, boosting hopes for a revival in metals demand. - more

      LME stock surge grounds high-flying nickel, but for how long? Andy Home -  Nickel, the best performer among the base metals last year, is currently getting a reality check in the form of surging exchange stocks. - more

      China 2019 crude steel output jumps 8.3%, sets 2nd straight annual record - Crude steel production in China climbed to a record just shy of 1 billion tonnes in 2019, boosted by a resilient property market and robust demand as Beijing beefed up infrastructure spending in a bid to weather a slowdown in economic growth.  - more

      Glencore to restructure SA ferrochrome following “material losses” at Rustenburg smelter - HIGH electricity tariffs, interruptions and deteriorating conditions in the ferrochrome market have forced Glencore and its joint venture partner, Merafe Resources, to consider restructuring at its Rustenburg smelter, Glencore today announced. - more

      Economic and Trade Agreement Between the United States of America and the People's Republic of China - Phase One - 94 page agreement online here

      PolyMet will appeal permit ruling to Minnesota Supreme Court - PolyMet Mining Inc. said Thursday it will ask the Minnesota Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that canceled three permits needed for its proposed copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota. - more

      Trucker.com - The November Freight TSI 0.1% increase was narrowly based with increases only in pipeline and rail carloads, with trucking, water, air freight and rail intermodal declining.

      Battery nickel price regains premium over metal - Much like prices for cobalt, lithium and graphite, nickel feedstock for battery manufacture ended 2019 on a weak note, as a retreat in Chinese electric vehicle sales in the second half of the year and slower than expected transition to nickel-rich battery chemistries hurt demand. - more

    Using numbers supplied by Inside EV's - Worldwide sales of electronic vehicles rose each of the first seven months of 2019 over the same month in 2018. Beginning in August, and each month since, 2019 worldwide sales were less than the same month in 2018. Total sales for December 2019 have yet to be tabulated. For example, November 2019 sales were 176,500+ vehicles. During November 2018, 237,500+ EV's were sold.

   21-0. If you turned the TV off after the first quarter of last week's Chiefs-Titans football game, you might have wondered why the Chiefs were even in the play-off's. The team looked like they could do nothing right and with a 24-0 lead early in the second quarter, the Texans were heading to the next round. The game was pretty much over for the Chiefs. But wait a moment, the second quarter wasn't over, and neither was the rest of the game. KC roared back in record breaking fashion and when the dust finally settled, the Chiefs had won 51-31. In a moment, a team that could do nothing right, suddenly could do nothing wrong. In a moment, a team destined to failure, was conquering. In a moment, a team with every reason to give up, chose not to. ......... Down 24 - 0? One can give up or watch for that moment - to pounce.

Thursday, January 16

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Wednesday's trading session at $6.50/lb ($14,320/tonne). Indicators at 6:20 am CST today show nickel trading around $.02/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses was back to its 4000+ tonne gains yesterday and started today reading just over the 183,000 tonne level. Cancelled warrants are jumping as well, and are reading just shy of the 30% level. This means while nickel is flowing in, over the last few days, the market is seeing commitments  against some of the inflows. As we learned the hard way in December, that doesn't mean its actually being 'sold' to be used, and can merely be an investment on the hopes prices will go up in the future, making the purchased nickel profitable to sell. In the meantime, LME stockpiles have nearly tripled since mid November. We have tried to write an analysis of the price predictions we received last week from readers, and no matter how we write it, it comes out disappointing. So, even though we had some great reasoning shared behind the price predictions, we are not going to use them at the present time, but reserve the right to possibly use them later. At least from those who did not request anonymity. We can, however, share the average price forecast with you today. The lowest prediction was $13,000/tonne ($5.90/lb), and the highest $16,535/tonne ($7.50/lb). The average 2020 estainlesssteel 2020 price forecast of ess readers is $14,400/tonne or $6.53/lb. We have listed some price predicitons below that we have found online. Reuters usually does a poll of metals analysts sometimes in late January. As can be seen, our readers are a whole lot more pessimistic about the annual price than many of the 'experts'. And we join with our readers. Our personal forecast for the average LME cash price of nickel for 2020 is even more pessimistic - $14,000/tonne or $6.35/lb. (Also, we are expecting an ice storm tomorrow morning so power outages are expected. If we haven't updated in a timely manner, that might explain why)
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.32/lb
  • LME nickel chart - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper eases after U.S.-China trade deal as doubts linger - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • SMM - So SMM expects nickel prices to remain volatile and weak before the festival, rebound after the festival or stabilize, and run weakly in the second half of the year.
  • NIN - FocusEconomics’ panel of analysts projects that the price of nickel will fall in the coming months. Prices are forecast for US$15,856 in Q4 2020, while the average price for Q4 2021 is set at US$15,344.
  • Stockhead - S&P Global forecast that while nickel prices had come off its September highs, it expected the metal to average $US16,500 per tonne in 2020.
  • AMM - “We are currently trying to speculate how low nickel prices will go,” Mothersole (HIS Markit)  said, stating that after overshooting on the upside at about $18,000/tonne due to the panic buying, he believes that about $15,500/tonne is a defensible average price for 2020.
  • MP - Fastmarkets' analysts forecast an average London Metal Exchange nickel cash price of $16,375 per tonne in 2020....
  • ABARE - Prices are forecast to increase to US$15,800 a tonne in 2020, before rising to US$16,500 a tonne in 2021
  • U.S. Imports of Stainless Steel Mill Products - more
  • US Exports of Stainless Steel Mill Products - more
  • Blog: Making steel in the 2020s - more
  • Nickel and Its Alloys (1958 copy) - pdf here
  • Mine Australia Jan 2020 - pdf here

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Wednesday's market review - Copper retreats from 8-month high on profit-taking, China deal - Copper retreated on Wednesday as
investors cashed in on a rally that took prices to an eight-month peak after doubts set in over a U.S.-China trade deal. - more

      5 Factors to Consider When Selecting a Grade of Stainless Steel - Stainless steel is a commonly used material in applications ranging from medical instruments or chemical storage to transport or power generation because of its high corrosion resistance, hygiene, and strength. - more

      China’s nickel sulphate output up in 2019 - Production rose by 21pc from 2018, to 560,000t, showed data by the China non-ferrous metal industry association. - more

      Ferroalloy production grows in Kazakhstan - According to energyprom.kz ferroalloy production has grown in Kazakhstan. - more

      Proposed federal legislation bans copper-nickel mining near Boundary Waters - Proposed federal legislation could have significant ramifications on the proposed Twin Metals mine in northern Minnesota. - more

  • Jobs for Minnesotans - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • US removes China from 'currency manipulator' as talks progress - more
  • U.S. Futures Climb; Europe Stocks, Bonds Fluctuate: Markets Wrap - more
  • The $95 Billion Centerpiece of the Trade Deal Is Already In Doubt - more

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
Wednesday, January 15

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Tuesday's trading session at $6.29/lb ($13,870/tonne). Indicators at 6:15 am CST today show nickel trading around $.09/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses rose yesterday, but for the first time this year, the amount was just under the 1000 tonne level. Today's numbers started just under the 178,600 tonne level. Nickel has bounced sharply this morning, but has yet to recover completely from yesterday's dive. At the moment, nickel is trading around the $14,100 tonne level with technicals sending a buy signal.Another quiet day in industry news.Today is the half way point of January, the first month of the 2020 decade. Have you planted the seeds you told yourself you would at the first of the year? The Chinese have a proverb "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is today." We leave you with this thought and question. If not today, when?
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.32/lb
  • LME nickel chart - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper recoils from 8-month high on profit-taking, China deal - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • Recycling Today Jan 2020 - online here

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Tuesday's market review - Strong Chinese trade data pushes copper to 8-month high - Copper prices reached their highest in eight months on Tuesday as better-then-expected trade data in China, the world’s largest metals consumer, pointed to a modest recovery in demand and the yuan strengthened. - more

      Indonesia exports 3.04 million tons of nickel ore in the last month before the ban takes effect - Indonesian statistics released data on Wednesday showing that the country exported 3.04 million tons of nickel ore in December, up from 2.7 million tons the previous month (up 12.6 per cent from the previous month) and up from 1.62 million tons in the same period in 2018 (up 87.8 per cent from a year earlier). - more

       In review: ‘PolyMet is the precedent’ - State appeals court decision could have a ripple effect across industries  - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • U.S. will keep in place tariffs on Chinese imports for now -Mnuchin - more
  • Stocks Struggle Before Trade Accord; Bonds Gain: Markets Wrap - more

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
Tuesday, January 14

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Monday's trading session at $6.39/lb ($14,095/tonne). Indicators at 6:15 am CST today show nickel trading around $.17/lb  lower. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses rose by over 4000 tonnes  for their second consecutive  Monday and started today's  trading session around the 177,600 tonne level, with cancelled warrants up to the 22% range. Lot of interesting info there. First nickel is down over 2%, which is a big movement regardless of the direction. Secondly, stockpiles now register where they did last April. And thirdly, cancelled warrants moved up nearly 5 points even with the huge increase in stockpiles. In industry news, US courts rejected some Polymet permits, putting up another roadblock for the company, which has been fighting in courts for years, in an effort to open a copper.nickel mine in northern Minnesota. New Caledonia is allowing Eramet to ship more nickel ore to China, which will help partially fill the void caused by Indonesia's ban on exports of the same. And Ravensthorpe hopes to produce between 15 and 20,000 tonnes of nickel this year, as it fires back up after being in mothballs for years. Nickel is testing that weak support level we mentioned yesterday, its Jan 6th trading low, a $600 tonne drop thus far today.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.33/lb
  • LME nickel chart - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Strong Chinese trade data keeps copper near 8-month high - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - more

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Monday's market review - Copper hits eight-month high ahead of Chinese data - Copper prices on Monday hit their highest since May as traders awaited the signing of a U.S.-China Phase 1 trade deal and Chinese data that will show whether a pick-up in economic activity has been maintained. - more

      Minnesota court rejects three PolyMet permits, sends them back to DNR for hearing - Plans to build Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine suffered a major setback Monday when the state Court of Appeals reversed three permits issued to PolyMet Mining Corp. and kicked them back to state regulators for additional review. - more

      Ravensthorpe to ramp up - First Quantum Minerals, owner of the previously mothballed Ravensthorpe nickel operation in Western Australia, has set its production targets for the mine as it is now coming online - more

      New Caledonia tightens biosecurity, bans pork from China - (excerpt) At its weekly meeting, the government today also decided to approve some nickel ore sales to China and Japan. - more

      Courtesy AISI - In the week ending on January 11, 2020, domestic raw steel production was 1,923,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 82.5 percent. Production was 1,871,000 net tons in the week ending January 11, 2019 while the capability utilization then was 80.4 percent. The current week production represents a 2.8 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending January 11, 2020 is up 1.3 percent from the previous week ending January 4, 2020 when production was 1,898,000 net tons and the rate of capability utilization was 82.0 percent. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • U.S. Futures, Europe Stocks Edge Down; Bonds Rise: Markets Wrap - more

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
Monday, January 13

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Friday's trading session at $6.44/lb  ($14,190/tonne). Indicators at 6:20 am CST today show nickel trading around $.04/lb  higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses continue to grow by thousands of tonnes daily and started the week just over the 173,500 tonne level. Cancelled warrants finally moved up to the 19+% level. Stockpiles have risen by 22,812 tonnes since the first of the year and we still have three business days to go before the month is half way over. If we see them grow to 192,528, then they will have tripled since November 14th. Two months ago today, we were reporting on stockpile numbers at 64, 194 tonnes, with cancelled warrants running over 40%. Nickel is off morning highs, but remains positive on the day. $6.55/lb still looks to put up some resistance, while $6.23/lb shows minor support. Weekend industry news remained weak. It's Monday - a fresh week, a fresh start, a fresh opportunity.  The canvas is empty and you have been given the pain and brushes. What you do with them this week is entirely up to you. What you will end up will depend on how hard you work to overcome the fact you were not born with the name Rembrandt. Yet, even he, had to pick up the brush to discover that he had a gift. Have a great and successful week.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.31/lb
  • LME nickel chart - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - London copper rises ahead of U.S.-China trade deal - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • Barchart 304 SS Scrap Index - $.253/lb
  • S & P Rethinking Commodities - pdf here
  • SFSA CaSteel Reporter - more
  • Primetals Metals Magazine - pdf here

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Friday's market review - Strengthening dollar curbs copper rebound - Copper was up by more than 1% for the week on Friday as fears of conflict in the Middle East diminished and exchange inventories continued to dwindle, though prices were kept in check by a stronger dollar. - more

      Brazil pushes plans for mining on tribal lands to European diplomats - Brazil's government on Friday said it was pushing ahead with plans to allow mining on tribal lands, briefing European diplomats on proposals that have drawn criticism from indigenous advocates in Brazil and overseas. - more

      US slaps new sanctions on Iranian steel and metals in tit-for-tat action -  The US has imposed new sanctions on Iran's steel and metals exports, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at a press conference at the White House Friday. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • U.S. Futures Gain, Europe Shares Drift; Bonds Slip: Markets Wrap - more
  • Brighter EU long steel demand outlook expected in 2020 - more
  • Top 10 Best-Selling Plug-In Electric Cars In U.S. - 2019 Edition - more

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
Friday, January 10
   Reader's 2020 Price Forecast - Last day!!
  • This week only we are inviting our readers to participate in a price forecast poll.  Forecasting the price of nickel is, for a better phrase, a nearly impossible task in a volatile market, so your guess could easily be as good as your neighbors. We have added a special email address for this poll estainlesssteel (at) yahoo.com. Here are the three questions - you are welcome to answer only number one or preferably, all three.
  • What do you think the average price of LME cash nickel will be for the entire year of 2020 (in US $).  (We determine by taking the average for each month, totaling, and using that number to determine the annual average)
  • Do you have a reason behind your forecast of the price being lower/higher than 2019?
  • If applicable, can we use your forecast and/or comment, or would you rather remain anonymous? No answer to this question, will automatically put you in the anonymous column.
  • Per special request, here are the LME cash averages for the last 4 years - (2019 $6.42/lb) - (2018 $5.95/lb) - (2017 $4.73/lb) - (2016 $4.36/lb)
  • Sorry, no prize unless someone out there wants to sponsor one - but bragging rights for the closest answer - which we won't know for 12 months. We encourage all of our readers to participate. Let's see how men/women from the industry do against the number crunchers. Thank you for participating!
  Abridged Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 
  • Nickel closed Thursday's trading session at $6.39/lb ($14,085/tonne). Indicators at 6:35 am CST today show nickel trading around $.02/lb  higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses rose yet again on Thursday and started the day just under the 171,100 tonne level. Cancelled warrants remain stuck in the 17% range. $14,250/tonne is giving nickel some resistance, as nickel tried and failed four times over the last two days to break thru that level. Going into the weekend with a little more news than we have had the last few days. Either we missed it, or US media overlooked it, but terrorists attacked and killed a group of miners in Burkina Faso last week. Not nickel, but still an industry we all benefit from daily. We want to thank those of you who have taken part in the nickel forecasting poll we have been/are taking this week and hope to have something with the results in the next week or so. Nickel had a bullish first full week of the 2020's decade and we hope your second weekend is both relaxing, and safe.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.31/lb
  • LME nickel chart - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper inches higher, set for weekly gain on inventory slump - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • QMA 2020 Outlook and Review - pdf here
  • First Quantum Minerals Announces 2020-2022 Guidance - pdf here

     Thursday's market review - Copper touches highest in a week on easing trade and Middle East tensions - Copper prices scaled one-week highs on Thursday, supported by easing tensions in the Middle East, China confirming it would sign a preliminary trade deal with the United States next week and expectations of stronger Chinese demand. - more

      As metal trade shrinks, exchanges fight back with new products: Andy Home - Base metals trading volumes shrank on all three major global exchanges last year as trade war uncertainty and range-bound markets dampened speculative activity. - more

      China's steel production likely to grow by 4-5% this year: analyst  - Official forecasts for China's steel production in 2020 vary between a contraction of almost 1% and growth of 1.2%, but Alfa Bank's Boris Krasnozhenov says the country's investment in infrastructure would back less conservative predictions, pegging growth of up to 4%-5%. - more

      First Quantum to ramp up Ravensthorpe operations - First Quantum Minerals has set a production guidance for the previously mothballed Ravensthorpe mine in Western Australia. - more

      Q&A: making nickel mining greener with Norilsk - Russian nickel mining company Norilsk has recently taken steps towards reducing emissions at its operations on the Russia-Norway border, and has collaborated with the UN to explore environmentally-sound mining technologies. - more

      Billionaire pledges to donate $48 million to fire relief in Australia -  Australian billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest has pledged 70 million Australian dollars ($48.1 million) in aid for the country's brushfire crisis, joining a growing list of celebrities chipping in to fight the fires. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • US-China Trade Deal May Be Little More Than A Truce – OpEd - more
  • AISI Releases December 2019 SIMA Imports Data - more
  • Many still missing after ambush of Canadian mine workers kills 37 and injures 60 in worst attack in Burkina Faso in years - more
Thursday, January 9
   Reader's 2020 Price Forecast - only 1 more day
  • This week only we are inviting our readers to participate in a price forecast poll.  Forecasting the price of nickel is, for a better phrase, a nearly impossible task in a volatile market, so your guess could easily be as good as your neighbors. We have added a special email address for this poll estainlesssteel (at) yahoo.com. Here are the three questions - you are welcome to answer only number one or preferably, all three.
  • What do you think the average price of LME cash nickel will be for the entire year of 2020 (in US $).  (We determine by taking the average for each month, totaling, and using that number to determine the annual average)
  • Do you have a reason behind your forecast of the price being lower/higher than 2019?
  • If applicable, can we use your forecast and/or comment, or would you rather remain anonymous? No answer to this question, will automatically put you in the anonymous column.
  • Per special request, here are the LME cash averages for the last 4 years - (2019 $6.42/lb) - (2018 $5.95/lb) - (2017 $4.73/lb) - (2016 $4.36/lb)
  • Sorry, no prize unless someone out there wants to sponsor one - but bragging rights for the closest answer - which we won't know for 12 months. We encourage all of our readers to participate. Let's see how men/women from the industry do against the number crunchers. Thank you for participating!

LME nickel prices   Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed yesterday's trading session at $6.37/lb ($14,050/tonne). Indicators at 6:15 am CST today show nickel trading around $.08/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses rose on Wednesday and started today's session just over the 167,900 tonne level. Nickel closed above the psychological resistance level of $14,000/tonne yesterday and looks to  do so again today. This puts $6.62/lb as the next line of resistance, the high point of a bullish attempt back in November. Minor resistance could show at $14,500/tonne, the high point of the most recent bull run, that peaked on December 23rd. Just for the record, we really aren't one of those that puts a lot of faith in these 'technical' signals. They are, however, something to talk about when there isn't anything else - like industry news. It is possible traders are taking nickel higher on the hopes the 'Phase One" agreement to be signed January 15th, will help kick start both economies. Or they may be hoping that stockpiles will stop climbing and evidence of the Indonesia nickel ore export ban will start showing up in the statistics. Or they could just be trying to make a few bucks doing a little riding of the most recent bull run. This is a challenging way to make a living however, as nickel runs have a tendency to be wild, and bare back riding has a way of unseating the rider with a hard fall. If you have been in the stainless steel or nickel industry for longer than 13 minutes, you know that what goes up will come down. Tomorrow is Friday so our update can post a little later. And tomorrow is our last day to collect your best guess for the 2020 nickel average. Responses so far have been very limited in number, so we encourage you to make an anonymous guess.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.29/lb
  • LME nickel chart - here

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Most base metals gain as Iran, U.S. de-escalate standoff - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • US Exports of Stainless Steel Mill Products - more
  • U.S. Imports of Stainless Steel Mill Products - more

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Yesterday's market review - Zinc near eight-week high as Iran-U.S. fears ease - Zinc prices hit the highest in nearly eight weeks on Wednesday as fears of further Iran-U.S. military escalation eased, while concerns about short-term supplies of the metal, mainly used for galvanizing steel, increased. - more

      Indonesia approves environmental study for battery-grade nickel plants: minister - Indonesia has approved environmental impact studies for factories to produce battery-grade nickel chemicals in Morowali, Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan said on Wednesday.  - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • U.S. Futures Climb on Mideast Calm; Gold Slides: Markets Wrap - more

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
Wednesday, January 8
   Reader's 2020 Price Forecast
  • This week only we are inviting our readers to participate in a price forecast poll.  Forecasting the price of nickel is, for a better phrase, a nearly impossible task in a volatile market, so your guess could easily be as good as your neighbors. We have added a special email address for this poll estainlesssteel (at) yahoo.com. Here are the three questions - you are welcome to answer only number one or preferably, all three.
  • What do you think the average price of LME cash nickel will be for the entire year of 2020 (in US $).  (We determine by taking the average for each month, totaling, and using that number to determine the annual average)
  • Do you have a reason behind your forecast of the price being lower/higher than 2019?
  • If applicable, can we use your forecast and/or comment, or would you rather remain anonymous? No answer to this question, will automatically put you in the anonymous column.
  • Per special request, here are the LME cash averages for the last 4 years - (2019 $6.42/lb) - (2018 $5.95/lb) - (2017 $4.73/lb) - (2016 $4.36/lb)
  • Sorry, no prize unless someone out there wants to sponsor one - but bragging rights for the closest answer - which we won't know for 12 months. We encourage all of our readers to participate. Let's see how men/women from the industry do against the number crunchers. Thank you for participating!

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Tuesday's trading session at $6.32/lb ($13,935/tonne). Indicators at 6:15 am CST today show nickel trading around $.04/lb  lower. Stockpiles of nickel store in LME licensed warehouses rose by over 4600 tonnes on Tuesday and started today's session just under the 166,100 tonne level. That's the highest recorded since late June 2019. Another day with not a lot to report. Iran fired some ballistic missiles as US bases in Iraq but based on the President's late night tweets, it was no big deal. Will President Trump escalate or leave alone? Business media is reporting the Iranian reaction is having an effect on European markets, and thus might be having some affect on LME traders, but we doubt it. We would like to think traders are becoming concerned about the growth in stockpile numbers. For a period in 2018, and likewise, for a time in 2019, it looked like LME stockpiles of nickel could be depleted by sometime this year. Not so much these days. Indonesia miners shipped as much nickel ore as they could to China before the ban was implemented on January 1st. This could be having some effect on supply/demand, but we suspect it has more to do with the demand, than the supply these days. Technically, nickel appears to remain in bearish territory. We will see. Please send us your best guess for the nickel average for 2020 - you will remain anonymous unless you answer #3 in the positive (see above).
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.29/lb
  • Nickel (day old) price chart and history - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper steadies after Iran missile attack; low stocks lend support - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • Mirae Asset Weekly Commodity Alerts - pdf here
  • U.S. Imports for Consumption of (Stainless inc) Steel Products November 2019 - pdf here

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Tuesday's market review - Copper closes higher as investors take stock and look to China - Copper prices clawed higher on Tuesday as U.S.-Iran tensions eased and investors expected leading metals consumer China to extend its stimulus policies. - more

      Base metals hope for manufacturing recovery in 2020: Andy Home - Well, at least there was nickel. Looking back on 2019 it was nickel that provided most of the thrills and a fair share of the spills in the base metals complex. - more

      Nickel bulls press abort button on 2020 run - (excerpt) S&P Global forecast that while nickel prices had come off its September highs, it expected the metal to average $US16,500 per tonne in 2020. - more

      FPX Nickel's shares shoot up on nickel recoveries announcement - Successful leach testing of high-grade nickel concentrates from Vancouver-based explorer FPX Nickel’s Decar nickel district, near Fort St James, British Columbia, has confirmed nickel recoveries up to 99.5% in producing a high-concentration nickel/cobalt chemical solution suitable for the electric vehicle (EV) battery supply chain. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • U.S. Futures Turn Higher as Trader Nerves Settle: Markets Wrap - more

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
Tuesday, January 7
   Reader's 2020 Price Forecast
  • This week only we are inviting our readers to participate in a price forecast poll.  Forecasting the price of nickel is, for a better phrase, a nearly impossible task in a volatile market, so your guess could easily be as good as your neighbors. We have added a special email address for this poll estainlesssteel (at) yahoo.com. Here are the three questions - you are welcome to answer only number one or preferably, all three.
  • What do you think the average price of LME cash nickel will be for the entire year of 2020 (in US $).  (We determine by taking the average for each month, totaling, and using that number to determine the annual average)
  • Do you have a reason behind your forecast of the price being lower/higher than 2019?
  • If applicable, can we use your forecast and/or comment, or would you rather remain anonymous? No answer to this question, will automatically put you in the anonymous column.
  • Per special request, here are the LME cash averages for the last 4 years - (2019 $6.42/lb) - (2018 $5.95/lb) - (2017 $4.73/lb) - (2016 $4.36/lb)
  • Sorry, no prize unless someone out there wants to sponsor one - but bragging rights for the closest answer - which we won't know for 12 months. We encourage all of our readers to participate. Let's see how men/women from the industry do against the number crunchers. Thank you for participating!

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed yesterday's trading session at $6.27/lb ($13,820/tonne). Indicators at 6:20 am CST today show nickel trading around $.04/lb  higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses rose on Monday and started today's session just over the 161,400 tonne level. Nickel turned higher late yesterday and we see $14,000/tonne putting up minor resistance, with somewhere around $6.56/lb - $6.60/lb a stronger line of resistance. LME stockpiles continue to grow and now nearly match where they were on July 2nd - except nearly 37% of the inventory back then was committed, while only a little over 17% is today. We find these numbers particularly discouraging, as the market deficit we have been lead to believe the market is in, appears not to be as bad as someone wanted everyone to believe. Or doesn't exist at all. Either nickel production is more than capable of keeping up with demand, or demand is suffering as the world economy slows much faster than we feared. Lot of noise filling the news cycles while the negative economic news is getting buried. If you haven't checked lately, world manufacturing PMI's look rather dismal (here). We all are quick to blame the trade war between the US and China for it, but economies operate in cycles and since the Great Recession, we have been in one of the longest lasting bull markets in history. We are overdue for a slowdown and evidence is out there, that it may be time to start tightening our belts. Or not. The bull could have plenty of room left to run. It's obvious some traders hope that, with nickel fighting the tide to push nickel higher. We started 2019 with 206,400 tonnes of nickel stored in LME stockpiles and started this year with 153,318 tonnes. For that 25% drop, we saw the trading price of nickel swing wildly thru the year. S0 what will 2020 bring - stay tuned.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.29/lb
  • Nickel (day old) price chart and history - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper edges higher as investors take stock and look to China - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - more

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Yesterday's market review - Copper resilient despite weaker China data and Mideast tensions -  Copper edged higher on Monday as a rise in oil prices offset softer Chinese economic data and an escalation in tension between the United States and Iran, analysts said. - more

      Santa Rita restart moves along - Atlantic Nickel has sold the first concentrate from its Santa Rita nickel sulphide open-pit project in Bahia, Brazil - more

      Mincor seeking superlatives for latest Kambalda nickel find - Mincor Resources has again struck pay dirt at its Cassini deposit near Kambalda. - more

      PolyMet hires new director to build Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine - PolyMet Mining announced Monday that it hired Richard Lock as its new senior vice president and project director for the proposed NorthMet copper-nickel mine near Hoyt Lakes. - more

      Courtesy AISI - In the week ending on January 4, 2020, domestic raw steel production was 1,898,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 82.0 percent. Production was 1,861,000 net tons in the week ending January 4, 2019 while the capability utilization then was 79.4 percent. The current week production represents a 2.0 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending January 4, 2020 is up 1.2 percent from the previous week ending December 28, 2019 when production was 1,876,000 net tons and the rate of capability utilization was 81.1 percent. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • U.S. Futures, Stocks Shrug Off Iran Fear; Oil Dips: Markets Wrap - more
  • The Evolving Market for U.S. Sovereign Credit Risk - pdf here

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
Monday, January 6
LME nickel prices  Reader's 2020 Price Forecast
  • This week only we are inviting our readers to participate in a price forecast poll.  Forecasting the price of nickel is, for a better phrase, a nearly impossible task in a volatile market, so your guess could easily be as good as your neighbors. We have added a special email address for this poll estainlesssteel (at) yahoo.com. Here are the three questions - you are welcome to answer only number one or preferably, all three.
  • What do you think the average price of LME cash nickel will be for the entire year of 2020 (in US $).  (We determine by taking the average for each month, totaling, and using that number to determine the annual average)
  • Do you have a reason behind your forecast of the price being lower/higher than 2019?
  • If applicable, can we use your forecast and/or comment, or would you rather remain anonymous? No answer to this question, will automatically put you in the anonymous column.
  • Sorry, no prize unless someone out there wants to sponsor one - but bragging rights for the closest answer - which we won't know for 12 months. We encourage all of our readers to participate. Let's see how men/women from the industry do against the number crunchers. Thank you for participating!

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed yesterday's trading session at $6.24/lb ($13,755/tonne). Indicators at 6:15 am CST today show nickel trading around $.02/lb  lower. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses rose again on Friday and started this week over the 159,400 tonne level. This now puts LME nickel stockpiles higher than they were on September 30th, 2019, when numbers began to decline rapidly, and in large shipments. In fact, stockpile numbers are now back to where they were the first week of July 2019. We now have circumstantial evidence that supply has been exceeding demand for some time now. Nickel got whacked on Friday, and remains in trouble today, after world markets reacted negatively to news US forces had assassinated a leading Iranian military figure. We see December's low of around $5.95/lb as support and we will worry about resistance if the market looks to head that direction. It's the first full week of 2020 and we hope its a great one for you!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.30/lb
  • Nickel (day old) price chart and history - here
  • The PUC Monthly Report - pdf here

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper steady; zinc rises on demand boost ahead of Phase 1 trade deal - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • Barchart (US) 304 Stainless Scrap Index - $.252/lb
  • Wells Fargo Weekly Economic Commentary - pdf here

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Yesterday's market review - Copper falls after U.S. kills top Iranian commander - Copper dropped more than 1% on Friday and other industrial metals fell as the killing of a top Iranian commander by the United States sent shockwaves through markets, pushing oil prices sharply higher. - more

      Technical working group to draft national nickel industry roadmap - The Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA) is initiative the creation of a technical working group (TWG) to draft the national nickel industry roadmap to propel the growth of sustainable mining in the Philippines, PNIA Executive Director Cha Olea said. - more

      Certain Carbon and Alloy Steel Cut-to-Length Plate From Taiwan: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Final Determination of No Shipments; 2016-2018 - The Department of Commerce (Commerce) finds that producers or exporters of certain carbon and alloy steel cut-to-length plate (CTL plate) from Taiwan sold subject merchandise at less than normal value during the period of review (POR), November 14, 2016 through April 30, 2018. - pdf here

      Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip From the People’s Republic of China: Rescission of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2018 - The Department of Commerce (Commerce) is rescinding the administrative review of the countervailing duty (CVD) order on stainless steel sheet and strip (SSSS) from the People’s Republic of China (China) for the period January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018. - pdf here

      For your records - Hexavalent Chromium Is Not present In Stainless and Specialty Steels - EU ROHS Statement from SSINA - here

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • U.S. Futures Slide on Iran Fallout; Brent Hits $70: Markets Wrap - more
  • China's steel and manufacturing PMIs weaker in December - more

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
Friday, January 3

LME nickel prices  Abridged Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Thursday's trading session at $6.47/lb ($14,260/tonne). Indicators at 6:20 am CST today show nickel trading around $.23/lb  lower. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses started the new year as they ended the old, and started today's trading session just under the 156,400 tonne level. Typically we do not join with other media sites and attempt to explain the unexplainable, but today, with all LME metals trading lower, and precious metals trading higher, it is apparent the market is spooked by the death of the Iranian general late yesterday, and what retaliatory, if any, measures Iran might take. As we have discussed before, the markets dislike the unknown interfering with their reality, and thus, uncertainty is hurting 'production' metals, while boosting the 'safe haven' rocks. Other than the news from Iraq, and the heart wrenching videos of desolation in Australia, there is little to talk about in the nickel and stainless steel industry. We hope you have a safe and relaxing weekend and invite you to join us next week for the first 'full' week of 2020.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.38/lb
  • Nickel (day old) price chart and history - here
  • Barchart (US) 304 Stainless Scrap Index - $.246/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper falls after U.S. kills top Iranian commander - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here
  • SMM Evening Comments - more

     Thursday's market review - Copper climbs towards eight-month high after China eases policy - Copper prices rose towards eight-month highs on Thursday as demand expectations were boosted by economic measures in China and optimism that the world’s top metals consumer would also sign a preliminary trade deal with the United States. - more

      Union rejects restructure of nickel company in New Caledonia - A New Caledonian union has rejected the planned restructure of the Brazilian-owned Vale nickel company. - more

      Student Falls Victim to Machete Attack after Anti-Mining Protest -  A student of the Halu Oleo Kendari University, Muhammad Iksan, fell victim to a machete attack by an unknown person on Thursday, January 2, after participating in a protest against the disarray surrounding the nickel mine at North Konawe. - more

      Meteor now believed to have caused local explosion, flash of light - (excerpt) Dr. Rapson said the bolides are made up of iron and nickel. She said the iron will produce a yellow glow in the sky, and the nickel is what likely contributed to that flash of green reported by so many. - more

     The five environmental stories to watch in 2020 - Next year will be a pivotal one for many of Minnesota’s most controversial environmental debates, from mining to climate change and the 2020 elections. - more

   Other News


Thursday, January 2

   Due to a server change by the company hosting our site, our email did not function on Tuesday and Wednesday. If you sent us an e-mail on either of these two days, please resend. And please put stainless steel in the header.

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed yesterday's trading session at $6.36/lb ($14,025/tonne). Indicators at 6:20 am CST today show nickel trading around $.08/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses rose on the last day of 2019, and started the new year just over the 153,300 tonne level. This now puts LME nickel stockpile higher than they were on October 1st, after the first 5,850 tonne shipment had been taken, in what would become a near 91,000 tonne depletion thru the month of October 2019. 157,986 tonnes on September 30th remains a pivotal amount in this whole suspected market manipulation ploy that were bad. If inventory levels grow beyond this level, then this will mean stockpiles numbers grew 'without' the whole manipulation deal having taken place. As it stands the whole up and down over the last three months is rather mute as stockpiles have done little - after bouncing around a lot. Next week, once we are confident our email is working 100% again, we want to give our readers an opportunity to forecast. There will be three questions asked. #1 What do you think will be the average price of nickel for 2020? #2 Do you have a comment on why you think the price will be higher or lower than 2019? #3 Do you wish to remain anonymous or can we use your name and/or comment if applicable? We really do not have a prize for the most correct answer, so the closest guesser will have bragging rights only. We are doing this for a couple of reasons. First, for fun. Let's see how market followers, the guys and gals working with stainless steel and nickel every day, do against the metals analysts. Second, we will post the group average, which buyers who read our news daily, might find useful, as they consider what others are thinking. Let's start this on Monday, so please be thinking about it over the next few days. We will run it for a week, and then post the average later in the month. It's a new year.... a new decade. Day numero one. We wish you a great year and hope it brings you above all other things, health and happiness. And that Australia will get a whole lot of rain.
  • Nickel prices ended 31% higher for the year of 2019.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $6.26/lb (December average)
  • Nickel (day old) price chart and history - here 

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper rises on China policy easing, trade deal hopes - more
  • Reuters Daily Inside Metals - pdf here 
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • Barchart (US) 304 SS Scrap Metal - $.25/lb

Stainless steel 21st century metal   Why Stainless Steel

  • Alloyed for Lasting Value video - here
  • Self Repairing for Lasting Value video - here
  • 100 Years of Stainless Steel Video - here
  • Stainless steel: The role of nickel - here
  • The Life of Nickel - pdf here

     Yesterday's market review - Metals upswing hangs on U.S.-China trade war truce - A thawing in the U.S.-China trade war could fuel a rally in base metals in 2020 after the prolonged conflict largely kept a lid on prices in 2019. - more

    Jakarta flooding deterred NPI shipments - Several vessels carrying nickel pig iron have been deterred from leaving Indonesia, as its capital city—Jakarta—is suffering the worst flooding in years, SMM learned from a market participant. - more

   Global EV Sales In November 2019: Down 26% Year-Over-Year - While the general plug-in car market shrunk significantly, Tesla is pushing forward - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • Stocks Rally in Bullish Start to Year; Bonds Mixed: Markets Wrap - more
  • Asia's flashpoints: What could go wrong in 2020 - more
  • Trump sets date for signing US-China 'deal' - more

  Morning Nickel Prices

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here 
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here 
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange Stainless - here
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart

December Archives


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(all ton listings are metric tons = 2204.622 pounds ) Updated Monday thru Thursday before 7 am CST, Friday version before 8 am CST - Disclaimer Original content and opinions copyright www.estainlesssteel.com. All prices shown on this page are indications only. Please note - for real time and official LME prices, LME requires a user subscribe to an authorized LME vendor.



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