This page is archived news covering the period of January 2023
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Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices



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Tuesday, January 31

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Monday's trading session at $13.31/lb ($29,350/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.05/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell on Monday and ended that session just under the 49,400 tonne level. Nickel rose across the board - ending higher on the LME yesterday, and at 222,540 y/t on Shanghai's overnight market. Reuters published the consensus of metals analysts it polled for 2023 forecasts and came up with a price of $24,000/tonne as an average price for 2023 cash nickel and $22,000/tonne for 2024, with a surplus of 123,000 tonnes forecast. Considering nickel has traded between $26,000 and $31,000/tonne in the first four weeks of this year, it would appear that analysts are betting the volatility of nickel will eventually push it southwards. LME nickel has been in a bullish trend since July of last year, and while the week and half dip to start this year appeared concerning at first, it has turned out to be little more than a minor correction - so far. We leave you with a caution if you use Federal Express. Memphis is under an ice storm alert and this has historically, and could effect any Fed Ex package you send or are expecting over the next few days. Just a thought if you need to receive or send something that "must" be there the next day. Stay safe out there and have a great day!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $12.78/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper prices ease; Fed meeting, China rebound in focus - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Daily Comments - more
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Monday's market review - Copper under pressure, China demand worry dominates mood - Copper prices dropped on Monday as worries about the outlook for demand in top consumer China dominated sentiment ahead of data from the country’s manufacturing sector, while a softer dollar provided some support. - more

     China’s stainless steel exports & imports increase in 2022 y-o-y - In 2022, China’s stainless steel imports were about 3.29 million tons, increasing by 12.2% year on year. - more
  • Composite PMI of Stainless Steel Sector in Contraction Zone in Jan due to Holiday Factor - more
     EU's tariffs on Indonesian stainless steel curtailed exports, Jakarta says - The European Union's anti-dumping tariffs on Indonesian stainless steel had cut exports severely, an Indonesian trade ministry official said on Tuesday, explaining the country's decision to complain to the World Trade Organisation. - more

     US longs prices fail to pick up despite rising costs - Price trends in the US long product segment traditionally do not scale the heights or plunge to the depths of those for flat rolled steel. - more

     Philippines' proposed tax on nickel ore exports could 'kill' industry - group head - The head of the Philippine nickel mining industry warned on Tuesday that the government's plan to impose an up to 10% tax on nickel ore exports could force local producers to close up shop. - more

     Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska May Have Probed Vladimir Potanin Using Ex-FBI Agent Who Was Thorn In Trump’s Side - The indictment alleges that Deripaska retained a former FBI agent and a former Russian diplomat to investigate the assets of a rival oligarch, which Forbes found likely refers to Vladimir Potanin, Russia’s second-richest person. - more

     Galapagos of Asia at Risk Because of Nickel Mining - Residents of Sibuyan Island in Romblon are asking for a pause of mining exploratory activities there because they believe that nickel mining will ruin the "Galapagos of Asia." - more

   Other News

  • Egg and poultry price inflation - more

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Monday, January 30

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Friday's trading session at $13.10/lb ($28,875/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.30/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses rose for the first time in 2023 on Friday, and started today's session just under the 49,700 tonne level. Shanghai nickel traders returned in a positive mood, ending today's trading session at 219,960 y/t. We apologize for the problem with Friday's update. We were having a few problems with our server last week, and hopefully these are resolved., The archived copy updated fine so not really sure what happened. LME nickel closed lower on Friday, but has recovered much of what it lost this morning. And LME stockpiles, having fallen below the 50,000 tonne level, gained on Friday. This happened back in November, so it will be interesting if it repeats itself. Acerinox posted an update below, and the article contains a few interesting statistics. Two trading days left in January and so far, nickel is averaging slightly lower this month, $12.75/lb down from $13.05/lb in December. Stay safe out there and have a great day!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $12.75/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper falls as traders gauge hopes of China demand improvement - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Daily Comments - more
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more
  • University of Michigan: Consumer Sentiment - more

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

     Friday's market review - Copper stumbles on stronger dollar, doubts about Chinese demand - Copper prices slumped on Friday, pressured by a firmer dollar and uncertainty about how soon Chinese metals demand will rise after the country dismantled strict COVID-19 controls. - more

     Philippines May Tax Nickel Exports to Follow Indonesia's Success - The Philippines is considering taxing nickel ore exports among options to push miners in the world’s second-biggest supplier of the metal to invest in processing instead of just shipping raw minerals, a route that top nickel producer Indonesia has taken and succeeded in. - more

      Prices of Ferrochrome and Chrome Ore Rose after the CNY Holiday - Today, the high-carbon ferrochrome in Inner Mongolia was quoted at 9,000-9,100 yuan/mt (Cr50%) today, up 200 yuan/mt (Cr50%) from the previous trading day. - more

     POSCO expects slow market recovery in 2023 after big drop in annual profit - POSCO Holdings, parent of South Korea's biggest steelmaker POSCO, on Friday reported a 46.7% drop in operating profit for 2022 due to a four-month suspension of its major steel plant in the country following a typhoon and flooding in September. - more

     Acerinox Set to Revolutionize North American Stainless Steel Capacity - Ghent (U.S.): Acerinox, a Spanish-based metals producer, has recently announced plans to expand North American Stainless (NAS) mill in Ghent, Kentucky by 200,000 metric tons per year. - more

     To get to net-zero, we will need to make mining 'nature-positive', says mining council chief - The field of sustainable business is littered with apparent oxymorons: “clean coal”, “ethical tobacco”, “responsible gambling”, and now, the latest in this illustrious list, “nature-positive mining”. - more

     Courtesy AISI - In the week ending on January 28, 2023, domestic raw steel production was 1,635,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 73.1 percent. Production was 1,735,000 net tons in the week ending January 28, 2022 while the capability utilization then was 79.8 percent. - more

   Other News


  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Friday, January 27

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Thursday's trading session at $13.29/lb   ($29,300/tonne). Indicators at 6:30 am CST today show nickel trading around $.05/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel slipped back below the 50,000 tonne level on Thursday and started today's session just over the 49,500 tonne level. We spent about 5 consecutive trading days below the 50,000 tonne level in November, before the numbers began to rise. 49,470 tonnes was the lowest measured then. Lot of news today as the markets prepare to welcome back to the market. At the moment nickel is trading on the LME about where it was last Thursday, which would have been the last trading before Shanghai opened its final day of trading. So unless something major happens today, or Chinese traders come back in a mood, we don't suspect anything big to happen on Shanghai's first trading day. The Biden administration has been touting the need to be more mineral independent on one hand, and forbidding a new copper/nickel mine in Minnesota on the other. and there is an article below about the LME hiring four new members to its nickel "market" committee and in it, the exchange states ""The LME’s immediate priority is to work with industry participants to ensure nickel pricing and trading meets their evolving needs as we look to reopen nickel trading in Asian hours and build up liquidity in the contract."" Excuse us for wondering 'WTF' but we would think that the LME's first priority would be to make every effort necessary to regain the credibility they have lost. These people seem to live so far above the clouds that they do not realize the money they cost traders by intervening when they did, left some serious doubt in the market about who exactly they were protecting - and why. Until they can convince the market their was no hidden agenda and that their arbitrary decision was necessary to protect "all" traders, they should worry less on "marketing" and more on "quality and damage control". Stay safe out there and have a great weekend!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $12.73/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper steady as hopes for Chinese growth underpin market - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Daily Comments - more
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more
  • US Economic Indicators: Durable Goods Orders & Shipments - pdf here

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Thursday's market review - Copper stuck in a rut as China holiday slackens demand - Copper prices rose on Thursday as supply concerns mounted but gains were limited by the week-long Lunar New Year holiday in top consumer China, which has reduced market activity and demand for metal. - more

     LME expands nickel committee to help improve contract, dwindling volumes - The London Metal Exchange has added four new members to its nickel market committee to widen the range of views on how to improve its nickel contract, where volumes have crashed after the trading mayhem last March. - more

     U.S. blocks mining in parts of Minnesota, dealing latest blow to Antofagasta's copper project - The U.S. Interior Department on Thursday blocked mining in part of northeast Minnesota for 20 years, the latest blow to Antofagasta Plc's Twin Metals copper and nickel mining project but a step officials said is needed to protect the state's vast network of interconnected waterways. - more

  • Biden administration cancels Twin Metals' leases to mine near BWCA - more
     European steel price rise that began in January will be short-lived - MEPS - By mid-January, several large European steel producers announced significant price increases to the market, citing cost increases. - more
  • Steel producers’ pricing policy squeezes distributors - more
     Kentucky stainless steel plant to expand, create 70 new jobs - North American Stainless is going forward with a $244 million expansion at its location in Ghent. - more

     Ravensthorpe nickel operation becomes latest WA mine to push ahead with wind power switch - The owners of the Ravensthorpe nickel mine on WA's south coast have become the latest in a string of resource companies to embrace wind power in an effort to lower carbon emissions. - more

     Location of ferrochrome smelter still up in the air, says Ring of Fire Metals CEO - While Sault Ste. Marie was identified in 2019 as the preferred site for a ferrochrome facility, Ring of Fire Metals, which owns several of the mineral deposits about 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, says its still considering its options. - more

     Ecuador says illegal mining is national security threat - Ecuador's government said on Thursday it has declared illegal mining a national security threat, saying it has connections to money laundering and arms trafficking, and said it will take actions to combat it. - more

   Other News

  • The Alarming Continued Rise of Modern Slavery in Supply Chains: How Procurement Can Help Reverse the Trend - more
  • Study: U.S. Will Run Out of Anti-Ship Missiles in a Fight With China - more
  • Indonesia embraces resource nationalism - more

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

  • U.S. Steel Import Monitor - here
  • SIMA Melt & Pour Dashboard - here
  • US Economy At a Glance - more
  • US Economic Indicators - more
  • US Economic Activity - (every Monday) - pdf here
  • US Fed NY Weekly Economic Index - more
  • FX Street Economic Calendar - more
  • Iron Ore Price Graph - 1  2  3 
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
  • COVID By The Numbers - here
  • How is your state faring? - more
  • What time is it in....? - more
  • Euro/US Dollar chart - here
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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Thursday, January 26

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Wednesday's trading session at $13.28/lb  ($29,285/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.03/lb lower. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell on Wednesday and sit just under the 50,400 tonne level. Shanghai markets remain closed for their holiday. LME nickel started the year in a bearish mood, but bottomed on the 11th and has been bullish since.Industry news is very light, but should pick up next week. Stay safe out there and have a great day!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $12.71/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper steady in thin trade as focus shifts to U.S. data - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Daily Comments - closed
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more
  • Commodity Prices - pdf here

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Wednesday's market review - Copper loses more momentum with China absent for Lunar New Year - Copper prices edged lower for a second day on Wednesday, weighed down by weak demand due to the absence of China, the biggest consumer, where markets are closed for a week-long Lunar New Year holiday. - more

     UK watchdog still probing LME nickel trading suspension - Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) told Reuters this week that it is still investigating the London Metal Exchange's decision to suspend nickel trading on March 8 after prices soared to records in disorderly trade. - more

     China eyeing nickel market of Indonesia - Mining nickel is a key ingredient in electric vehicle batteries.Southeast Asia's biggest economy, Indonesia is keen to leverage its world-leading reserves of the metal and develop a domestic EV industry, reported Nikkei Asia. - more

   Other News


  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Wednesday, January 25

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Tuesday's trading session at $13.09/lb ($28,850/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.02/lb higher (bring back memories of when the market was 'boring'?) Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell on Tuesday and started today just over the 50,500 tonne level. Shanghai markets remain closed. Little more news today than yesterday, with some opinion pieces, so we leave you with it. Stay safe out there and enjoy your hump day!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $12.69/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - none posted
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Daily Comments - closed
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Tuesday's market review - Copper slips on firmer dollar, demand uncertainty -  Copper prices crept lower on Tuesday, pressured by a firmer dollar, amid uncertainty over a potential global recession and demand in top metals consumer China. - more

     The World’s Largest Metals Market May Never Return To Its Former Glory - Doomsters have predicted the end of the LME before. Still, after 146 years and counting, the LME is still with us and the go-to nickel price point. - more

     Russian metals producer Nornickel finds new rail operator for Finnish plant - Russian metals producer Nornickel on Tuesday said it had resolved an issue in delivering semi-ready materials to its Finnish Harjavalta plant, finding a new partner after Finnish railway operator VR stopped providing this service. - more
  • Russia's Nornickel forecasts output drop in 2023 due to planned maintenance - more

     Indonesia's FDI jumps in 2022, led by mineral processing -  Indonesia's foreign direct investment surged 44.2% on a yearly basis in 2022, with the base metals sector drawing in the biggest inflows, the investment minister said on Tuesday, noting 2023 would be a more difficult year to attract investment. - more

  • FOIA lawsuit suggests Indonesian nickel miners lack environmental licenses - more

     Steel producers’ pricing policy squeezes distributors - By the middle of January, several major European steel producers had signalled significant price rises to the market, citing increased input costs. - more

     OPINION | Stainless steel as an enabler of sustainable tomorrow - Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General jerked us from a collective slumber when he concluded the 2022 COP27 with this statement – the world is on a highway to climate hell with its foot on the accelerator writes Vijay Sharma, Director, Jindal Stainless. - more

     Courtesy AISI - In the week ending on January 21, 2023, domestic raw steel production was 1,620,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 72.5 percent. Production was 1,735,000 net tons in the week ending January 21, 2022 while the capability utilization then was 79.8 percent. - more

   Other News


  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Tuesday, January 24

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Monday's trading session at $12.76/lb ($28,140/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.15/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell on Monday and started today's trading session, just under the 50,700 tonne level. Shanghai markets remain closed and the bulls are working hard to keep their momentum going, or at least take the momentum away from the bears. The bears had control of the market until the 11th, then the bulls grabbed control. It hasn't been pretty since, but so far, the bulls are in control. This could have something to do with annual fund dispersals, which are set, in part, based on last years performance. Nickel ended very well for bullish traders, and thus, this past performance is used by some to bet on the future. Stainless steel surcharges we follow are posted for February, and increased - again (here). And that is about it for the day. Stay safe out there and have a great Tuesday!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $12.71/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper slips on firmer dollar and demand uncertainty - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Daily Comments - closed
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more
  • Truck Tonnage Index - chart here

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Monday's market review - Demand recovery hopes help copper towards seven-month high - Copper prices rose on Monday, heading back towards the seven-month highs seen last week on improving prospects for demand in top consumer China, low inventories and a weaker dollar. - more

     U.K. Steel Industry a Whisker Away From Collapse Says Union - The UK steel industry, which supports thousands of jobs, is "a whisker away from collapse", the Unite union says. - more

     Metals, mining industry execs pessimistic about global growth, CRU study finds - More than half (52%) of global commodities business intelligence company CRU’s clients in the metals and mining industries expect global gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by no more than 1% this year, according to its yearly macroeconomic survey of clients, which polled global clients from the metals and mining industries in December. - more

     5 Ways Distributors Can Compete with the B2B E-Commerce Giants - In a market where big B2B e-commerce players dominate, it’s understandable why smaller distributors may feel like the odds are stacked against them. - more

  • Businesses Expect Job Cuts in '23 Amid Recession Fears - more
  • Flat-Rolled Outlook Caution Abounds - more

   Other News

  • Different patterns in the recovery of the self-employed - more
  • Worst Avian Flu in U.S. History Is Hitting Poultry - more
  • Boy Falls Asleep in Container and Ends Up Traveling 1,600 NM - more

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Monday, January 23

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Friday's trading session at $13.06/lb ($28,795/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.34/lb lower. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell on Friday and starts this week just over the 50,800 tonne level. China is shut down this week for their celebration of the Lunar New Year. Nickel poked its head above the $29,500 tonne level on Thursday and has been in decline since. This most recent 'bump' began when LME nickel fell below the $26,000/tonne level. And that describes the market over the last week and a half. News is typically light during China's holiday so we expect our updates might be light this week. Stay safe out there and have a great week!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $12.69/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper drifts lower as China kicks off Lunar New Year holiday - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Daily Comments - closed
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more
  • Metalforming Magazine - online here
  • Modern Metals Magazine - online here

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Friday's market review - Copper drifts lower as China kicks off Lunar New Year holiday - Copper prices edged lower on Friday as investors sought to balance a potential boost to metals demand from the reopening of China against weak short-term signals of consumption as the country celebrates the Lunar New Year. - more

     Indonesia's Bakrie Group seeks nickel mine, partners up for $9 bln EV project  -  Indonesian conglomerate Bakrie & Brothers is looking to acquire a nickel mine in the resource-rich island of Sulawesi to supply a planned integrated industrial park to produce electric vehicle batteries, an executive said on Friday. - more

     India: Ferro chrome prices rise on an improved demand - Indian ferro chrome prices increased by INR 2,700/t w-o-w on good export demand. Meanwhile, production cuts in South Africa and Zimbabwe due to electricity supply shortage... - more

     How The EV Supply Chain Is Responding To The Inflation Reduction Act - The recently passed IRA and IIJA will direct billions of dollars toward EVs and EV infrastructure over the next decade. - more

     Nornickel management proposes 76% dividend cut - sources cited by RBC - The management of Russian mining giant Nornickel has proposed slashing its annual dividend for 2022 to $1.5 billion from the $6.3 billion paid out for 2021, the economic news outlet RBC reported on Saturday, citing three sources close to the board of directors. - more

  • Potanin says sanctions constrain Nornickel, force it to adjust strategy - more

   Other News

  • UK is ready to give 300 million pounds to save British Steel - more
  • Increased use of embargoes ‘a major concern’ for rail regulators - more
  • Steel mill price hikes appear to be sticking - more
  • China reports thousands of Covid deaths in 1 week, amid estimates 80 per cent of population has been infected - more

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Friday, January 20

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Thursday's trading session at $13.36/lb ($29,450/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.21/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell on Thursday and started today's session just over the 51,750 tonne level. Nickel rose nearly 6% yesterday on the LME, and while Shanghai rose overnight, it did not attempt to match this spike, ending at 219,240 m/t. Be advised the Shanghai price we provide each morning should not be considered the closing price of any particular contract, and in order to protect non subscribers from tracking a contract, they periodically close free access to different contracts. The price is published to give our readers a general idea of what Shanghai nickel is doing. The same is with the London Metal Exchange. We use Reuters initial unofficial closing price, and in order not to violate LME rules, Reuters pulls this number at a different time each evening to publish a base metals summary article, which we link to below. Anyone who needs a consistent source for actual "official" numbers from either of these two trading houses, must subscribe thru an authorized clearing house. That said, there will be no Shanghai prices next week, as the so called "largest annual human migration" takes place over the next few days, as millions of city dwelling Chinese head home to the country to celebrate their Lunar New Years with family.  Reuters published an article that is below that shows why it thinks EV battery makers and stainless steel producers do not need to worry about adequate sources of nickel in the future. Stay safe out there and have a great weekend!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $12.67/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper set for weekly gain on China demand, recession fears linger - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Daily Comments - more
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Thursday's market review - Copper dips on recession and Chinese demand fears - Copper prices eased on Thursday on worries about weak demand as top metals consumer China prepares for a holiday and other economies slow down under the weight of high interest rates. - more

     Column: Exchanges diversify as base metals trade shrinks in 2022: Andy Home - The London Metal Exchange's (LME) nickel meltdown in March has cast a long shadow over trading activity on what claims to be the world centre for industrial metals pricing. - more

     Plentiful nickel supplies for electric vehicle industry - Electric vehicle makers don't need to worry about nickel supplies because accelerating production in Indonesia means the world is heading for years of surpluses, which will keep prices subdued. - more

     Continuously rising molybdenum prices may lead to higher prices of 316 stainless steel - China’s molybdenum prices hit a 15-year high at the end of 2022, and the price continues increasing due to growing demand and tighter supply caused by the Russia-Ukraine war and China’s production cuts. - more

     Talon Metals strikes new nickel-copper mineralization in Minnesota - Canada's Talon Metals Corp TLO.TO said on Thursday it had intercepted new high-grade nickel-copper mineralization in the Tamarack mine project in Minnesota. - more

  • Talon Metals Investor Presentation - pdf here

     JJN: Nickel Is A Critical Metal In Coming Energy Transition - The JJN provides exposure to nickel metal through tracking a commodity futures index. - more

     What is steel scrap and how can it help us reach net zero? - From bridges to cars to paper clips, steel is ubiquitous in our material world. - more

   Other News

  • Fastenal Sales Rose 16% in 2022 - more
  • CHINA DATA: 2022 power demand growth eases to 3.6% in 2022 from 10.3% a year earlier - more

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

  • U.S. Steel Import Monitor - here
  • SIMA Melt & Pour Dashboard - here
  • US Economy At a Glance - more
  • US Economic Indicators - more
  • US Economic Activity - (every Monday) - pdf here
  • US Fed NY Weekly Economic Index - more
  • FX Street Economic Calendar - more
  • Iron Ore Price Graph - 1  2  3 
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
  • COVID By The Numbers - here
  • How is your state faring? - more
  • What time is it in....? - more
  • Euro/US Dollar chart - here
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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Thursday, January 19

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Wednesday's trading session at $12.63/lb ($27,850/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.19/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell on Wednesday and started today's session just under the 52,000 tonne level. Shanghai nickel jumped overnight to 214,420 y/t, apparently following LME's lead from yesterday. Chinese markets are closed next week for the New Year holiday break, so Chinese traders are apparently gambling LME prices will not see-saw lower as they have been. After making a run at the $29,000 tonne level, nickel has since slipped and the bulls are fighting to keep the $28,000 tonne level. In other news, the CEO of the LME, who still has his job, says changes are coming, sooner than later. China reports steel production fell there for the second year in a row. Lot of reports and industry related 'other news'. Based on the trend of boxes and fasteners, U.S. manufacturing is showing only minimal signs of a slight slowdown. This is contradictory of the PMI, which shows the last two months have been in decline. Higher prices could explain some of the high box and fastener numbers. Sales quota's are much easier to hit when inflation pressure has forced sales prices above normal. Stay safe out there and have a great Thursday!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $12.66/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper falls on firmer dollar, low demand ahead of China holiday - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Daily Comments - more
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more
  • US Economic Indicators: Manufacturing Production & Capacity by Major Industries - pdf here
  • US Economic Indicators: Industrial Production - pdf here
  • Manufacturers Sales - chart here
  • Producer Price Index by Industry: Truck Transportation - chart here
  • Producer Price Index by Commodity: Externally Threaded Fastener - chart here
  • Producer Price Index by Industry: Corrugated and Solid Fiber Box Manufacturing - chart here
  • SFSA Casteel Reporter – January 2023 - more

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Wednesday's market review - Copper hits highest since June on China optimism, low inventories - Copper continued its rally on Wednesday, rising to its highest levels since June as speculators bet that low inventories and rising Chinese demand will lift prices. - more

     Davos 2023-LME CEO says nickel reforms to be implemented 'relatively quickly' - The London Metal Exchange (LME) will implement recommendations on accountability and position limits “relatively quickly” from an independent review of last year’s nickel crisis to prevent market distortions and improve risk monitoring, its chief executive officer said on Wednesday. - more

     European stainless flat steel market stagnates - The European stainless flat steel market remains uncertain and slow to restart after the winter holiday break. - more
  • Molybdenum price in Europe hits record high - more
  • Brexit: Ministers clash with MPs over plan to scrap EU laws - more

     China's crude steel production in 2022 falls for the second year in a row - Chinese steel production is forecast to recover between the end of February and March. - more

  • Industrial output of China’s steel sector rises by 1.2 percent in 2022 - more
     Taiwan's stainless steel prices may increase after Chinese New Year holidays - The London Metal Exchange (LME) nickel price stopped increasing and remained at the US$27,000/ton level these days. - more

     Italian crude steel production down 11.5 percent in 2022 - 2022 ended on a downward trend for crude steel production in Italy. - more

     Outokumpu restarts the third ferrochrome furnace earlier than planned but continues to optimize ferrochrome production capacity - On February 15, 2023, Outokumpu will restart one of its three ferrochrome furnaces. - more

   Other News

  • About 1,400 misclassified drivers awarded $5.6 million: Labor Dept. - more
  • Inside Sales Exemption Misunderstood by Many Employers - more
  • Predictions for Manufacturing in 2023 – Part I - more
  • Predictions for Manufacturing in 2023 – Part II - more
  • Rural Households Hit Hardest by Inflation in 2021-22 - more

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Wednesday, January 18

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Tuesday's trading session at $12.13/lb ($26,750/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.52/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell on Tuesday and ended that session just under the 52,400 tonne level. Remember the days when the market would be trading by a few pennies higher or lower when we published each morning? Not since last March, but more often than not before then. Some of this trading appears to be desperation on the part of the bulls to recapture the momentum. While it is far too early to say the bullish run of late 2022 is over, it is showing early signs of stress. Shanghai, which has changed their evening comment to a western timed morning comment, reports nickel closed higher at 205,670 y/t. To give you a better idea of what the market is doing, from a far less volatile Shanghai market, nickel closed the first trading day of 2023 at 228,820 y/t. Lot of reflection going on in Indonesia over last weekend;s nickel riot. Another possible LME casualty of the March debacle is announced. And BASF and Eramet announce a partnership to produce nickel in Indonesia. Eramet has a long history of mining and refining laterite nickel - in New Caledonia. Stay safe out there and have a great hump day!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $12.68/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper steadies at seven-month high on demand optimism, supply headwinds - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Morning Comments - more
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more
  • U.S. Imports for Consumption of Steel Products - pdf here

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Tuesday's market review - Copper rally extends despite weak Chinese data - Copper prices rose to a seven-month high on Tuesday as speculators bet Chinese demand will rise later in the year, but weak economic data underlined how low consumption remains in the near term. - more

     LME Group General Counsel Tom Hine to step down - The London Metal Exchange said on Tuesday its General Counsel and head of enforcement Tom Hine will step down at the end of January after 17 years at the exchange. - more

     Mega Miners Are Hunting for Deals After Decade on the Sidelines -  In the rush of the 2000s commodities boom, the world’s biggest miners earned a reputation as swashbuckling dealmakers, taking on rivals in an onslaught of hostile offers, massive mergers and vicious bidding wars. - more

     Indonesia continues expanding international stainless steel market - Indonesia’s stainless steel mills invested and built by Chinese enterprises have been put into operation one after another in recent years, making Indonesia become the second-largest stainless steel producer in the world, with a continually expanding international market. - more

  • The Morowali nickel tragedy - more
  • PT GNI clash regrettable, given bad image: Minister - more
  • Workers Clash at PT GNI Nickel Smelter May Harm Investment Climate: Minister - more
  • Deputy minister to oversee agreement between PT GNI, workers - more
     BASF, Eramet plan $2.6bn nickel smelter in Indonesia - BASF and Eramet plan to spend as much as $2.6-billion building a nickel/cobalt refinery in Indonesia, expanding a wave of investment in the Southeast Asian nation aimed at feeding growing demand from electric vehicles (EVs).- more

    Courtesy AISI - In the week ending on January 14, 2023, domestic raw steel production was 1,602,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 71.7 percent. Production was 1,735,000 net tons in the week ending January 14, 2022 while the capability utilization then was 79.8 percent. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • Indonesia close to EV deals with BYD Group and Tesla - minister - more

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

  • U.S. Steel Import Monitor - here
  • SIMA Melt & Pour Dashboard - here
  • US Economy At a Glance - more
  • US Economic Indicators - more
  • US Economic Activity - (every Monday) - pdf here
  • US Fed NY Weekly Economic Index - more
  • FX Street Economic Calendar - more
  • Iron Ore Price Graph - 1  2  3 
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
  • COVID By The Numbers - here
  • How is your state faring? - more
  • What time is it in....? - more
  • Euro/US Dollar chart - here
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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Tuesday, January 17

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Monday's trading session at $12.36/lb ($27,255/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.01/lb lower. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses rose sharply on Monday and started today's session just above the 52,600 tonne level. Shanghai nickel rose overnight, to 204,800, while LME nickel is slightly lower on news the closed smelter in Indonesia has reopened. China has reported their GDP rose 3% in 2022, while their population fell for the first time since 1961. Stay safe out there and have a great Tuesday!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $12.73/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper dips as weak China growth highlights demand challenge - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more
  • U.S. Economy in a Snapshot - more

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Monday's market review - Copper rally falters as focus shifts back to weak demand - Copper prices came under pressure on Monday as focus shifted back to weakening demand, particularly in top consumer China, while negative sentiment was reinforced by a firmer dollar. - more

     Electricity constraints force Canada's first LNG terminal to delay renewable shift - Shell PLC's LNG Canada export project in British Columbia plans to start building its proposed second phase with natural gas-powered turbines and switch to electricity as more renewable power becomes available, a top executive said, a decision that means the expansion project will initially generate high greenhouse gas emissions. - more
  • James Bay lithium mine wins federal approval amid Trudeau's push to make Canada an EV player - more
     Global production of molybdenum falls, usage is static - International Molybdenum Association (IMOA) shows that global production of molybdenum fell by 1% to 142.4million pounds (mlbs) in Q3 2022, whereas global usage of molybdenum in Q3 2022 remained broadly static at 160.4 mlbs. - more

     Chinese-owned nickel smelter operational after a Chinese and an Indonesian worker died during riot - A Chinese and an Indonesian worker died, while vehicles and dormitories were torched during clashes at the PT Gunbuster Nickel Industry (GNI) smelter - more
  • Production resumes at Indonesian nickel smelter after deadly clash - more

     EU imposes provisional AD duty on China’s stainless steel refillable kegs - According to an announcement on January 12, 2023, the European Commission decided to impose a provisional anti-dumping (AD) duty on imports of stainless steel refillable kegs originating in China. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • Russian crude flows to India, China proving a boon for other Asian oil importers - more
  • China’s Population Falls, Heralding a Demographic Crisis - more

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Monday, January 16

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Friday's trading session at $12.14/lb   ($26,765/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.26/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses rose by 1 lot on Friday and remain just under the 53,300 tonne level. Nickel may be up this morning in part, due to a riot that killed two workers at an Chinese operated Indonesia nickel smelter. Details are sketchy this morning, but the smelter has temporarily ceased operations, and traders may be betting on a long term closure. Shanghai markets were not concerned in overnight trading, and closed lower at 203,250 y/t. Up until last week, China had reported less than 6,000 of its citizens had died from covid since its beginning in November 2019. This weekend, officials admitted over 60,000 Chinese have died since they dropped their zero case policy. Most believe these numbers are too low, but it shows the staggering effect on the Chinese citizenship over the last 6 weeks. Stay safe out there and have a great Monday!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $12.78/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper slips from 7-month high as physical demand remains weak - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more
  • BTS November 2022 Freight Transportation Services Index - more
  • Boyd Metals - Understanding the CRU Index and Steel Prices - more

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Friday's market review - Copper set for big weekly gain on China optimism and weaker dollar - Copper prices paused their rally on Friday but were set to end the week with a 7% gain thanks to a weaker dollar and hopes that China’s dismantling of COVID-19 restrictions will lift demand. - more

     Violence at Indonesia nickel smelter protest kills 2, dozens detained - Two workers were killed in clashes and rioting at an Indonesian nickel smelting facility at the weekend, officials said on Monday, after violence erupted during a protest by a labour group demanding better pay and safety. - more

  • Indonesia deploys security forces after nickel smelter protest turns deadly - more

     The Accumulative Pace of Stainless Steel Inventory Slowed Down as Enterprises Took Holidays in Advance - In the first half of January, the stainless steel market remained poor. The transaction of 200 series stainless steel was relatively light, and the export orders were also sluggish. - more

     Column: Base metals start the new year with depleted inventory - The London Metal Exchange's (LME) global warehouse network held 654,345 tonnes of metal at the end of December, less than half the tonnage registered at the close of 2021. - more

     LME nickel price expected to remain volatile and rising - The LME nickel futures dropped slightly by US$26/ton yesterday (January 12), reaching US$27,013/ton. At the same time, the LME nickel inventory decreased by 576 tons, coming to 53,418 tons. - more

     Merafe reports 1.3% increase in chrome production for 2022 - Although Merafe’s attributable ferrochrome production from the Glencore Merafe Chrome Venture decreased by about 5% for the quarter ended December 31, 2022, output for the full year increased by about 1.3%, compared with the year ended December 31, 2021. - more

     Mining is best way to address threat of foreign mineral cartel - America needs to adopt a bold strategy to ramp up mining. The aim should be to solve a major problem in the fight against climate change — a shortage of minerals vital to clean energy technologies like electric cars and transmission systems for renewable power. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • China’s spike in COVID-19 cases strains factories - more
  • China coronavirus: 60,000 Covid-related deaths in just over a month - more
  • Report: Russia is Losing $170M a Day Due to Oil Price Cap - more

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Friday, January 13

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Thursday's trading session at $12.34/lb ($27,200/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST this Friday, the 13th, show nickel trading around $.22/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses continued to fall in 2023, down to just under the 53,300 tonne level. Shanghai nickel jumped overnight, up to 208,370 y/t. LME traded nickel closed sharply lower on Thursday and is rebounding some this morning, but still under the $28,000 tonne level at the moment. Indonesia announced it will limit new nickel smelters being built there to insure they follow "green principles" in the production process. The timing of this announcement comes suspiciously close to a rumored announcement of an agreement between Indonesia and Elon Musk. Nickel mining and processing in Indonesia does not have a reputation of being a "green process" but if Elon can help clean things up for the Indonesia people, more power to him. Turning low content laterite nickel into high grade nickel necessary to power EV's, is an extensive process, making it a less 'green' process than using sulphide nickel. When we started this daily news site, low grade laterite nickel, while cheaper to mine, was mostly discarded into mountains of unusable rock because it was way too expensive to process. But as supplies tightened and prices rose, China introduced new technologies to process these low content rocks into usable "pig nickel". It was expensive and very dirty, so when Indonesia announced if you want our nickel you have to smelt the nickel here, China did not complain and agreed to move this smog generating process to Indonesia. It will be interesting to see how "green" they can actually make this process. Stay safe out there and if you survive the 13th, have a great weekend!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $12.84/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper set for weekly gain on China demand, slower Fed rate hike bets - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more
  • Consumer Price Index - 6.5% - pdf here
  • Fastener Distributor Index - more

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Thursday's market review - Copper hits 7-month peak after U.S. inflation data - Copper prices touched a seven-month high on Thursday after U.S. consumer prices unexpectedly fell, brushing aside worries by some investors that recent gains had been overdone amid lackluster physical demand. - more

     Metals prices could spike with markets so tight, Trafigura says - Geopolitical shocks could trigger a surge in metals prices because the market has never been tighter, according to Trafigura Group. - more

     China's steel industry PPI down 14.7% in Dec, falls by 5.8% in 2022 - In December last year, China's producer price index (PPI) for its ferrous metal smelting and rolling sector declined by 14.7 percent year on year, .... - more

     Indonesia details plans to limit development of nickel smelters -report - Indonesia will limit construction of nickel smelters to ensure new plants produce high-value products and follow green principles in the production process, state news agency Antara reported on Friday, citing the country's investment minister. - more

     Metals and mining: Unleashing the power of technology in commodities trading - As commodities markets evolve, embracing digital can help metals and mining traders enhance competitiveness by streamlining operations and finding new sources of value—but they need to move fast. - more

     Stainless Steel Mix and Match – Some Do’s and Don’ts - Can you mix stainless alloys in the same construction? What guidelines are there for mixing and matching alloys for success? Some factors to consider include: corrosion compatibility, weldability, strength, toughness, hardness, etc. Let’s look at a few cases. - more

  • Which Is More Sustainable: Stainless Steel or Single-Use Systems? - more

   Other News

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

  • U.S. Steel Import Monitor - here
  • SIMA Melt & Pour Dashboard - here
  • US Economy At a Glance - more
  • US Economic Indicators - more
  • US Economic Activity - (every Monday) - pdf here
  • US Fed NY Weekly Economic Index - more
  • FX Street Economic Calendar - more
  • Iron Ore Price Graph - 1  2  3 
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
  • COVID By The Numbers - here
  • How is your state faring? - more
  • What time is it in....? - more
  • Euro/US Dollar chart - here
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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Thursday, January 12

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Wednesday's trading session at $12.63/lb  ($27,850/tonne). Indicators at 5:45 am CST today show nickel trading around $.58/lb lower. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell on Wednesday and started today's session just over the 53,400 tonne level. Shanghai nickel dropped overnight, to 203,530 y/t. And this morning, it appears LME traders are following suit. Once again, bullish traders were unable to hold the $28,000 tonne level, and this morning, LME nickel has slipped under $27,000/tonne. That's the lowest it has traded since November. The nickel market is buzzing with comments on the LME report. We reviewed it and have posted some quotes from it below, as well as news that LME's plan to reopen Asian trading has been denied. Russian stainless imports are up, while Tesla is rumored to be close to a deal with Indonesia to open a plant there. Stay safe out there and have a great "pre"- Friday.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $12.96/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper retreats as investors focus on near-term weak demand - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more
  • The Commodities Feed: Markets await CPI data - pdf here

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Wednesday's market review - Copper rises above $9,000 for first time since June - Copper prices rose above $9,000 a tonne on Wednesday for the first time since June on hopes that Chinese demand will rebound after the country removed its COVID-19 restrictions. - more

     Exclusive: UK watchdog blocks LME plan to restart Asian hours nickel trade-sources - Britain's financial watchdog is blocking the restart of London Metal Exchange nickel trade in Asian hours due to doubts about the LME's ability to run an orderly market in that time zone, three sources with knowledge of the matter said. - more

     COLUMN-Four shorts and a long at the core of LME nickel meltdown: Andy Home - Four big short position-holders and one financial player on the long side were at the core of the London Metal Exchange’s (LME) nickel meltdown last March. - more

     Global stainless steel market to grow at CAGR of 3.38% in 2022-2027 - According to a report, the global stainless steel market was expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.38% during the period from 2022 to 2027. - more

     Russia’s stainless steel imports up 11.4 percent in Dec from Nov - In December last year, Russia’s stainless steel imports totaled 30,100 mt, up by 11.4 percent compared to November, according to Russia-based SpetsStal Association. - more

     Tesla nears deal to build production facilities in Indonesia - Bloomberg News - Tesla Inc is nearing a preliminary deal to build production facilities in Indonesia with a capacity of one million units, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter. - more

     We went thru the report on the LME yesterday and post below some highlights we thought might be of interest to some. The link to the full report can be found in yesterday's post.

Background of nickel market
Nickel is a non-ferrous metal predominantly used in the manufacture of stainless steel, and non-ferrous alloys and plating (64% and 13% of demand respectively). Nickel is also a key component in certain battery types, which today accounts for 15% of nickel demand, and is expected to grow due to use in electric vehicle production. Nickel occurs in two ore types: sulphides and laterites, which are processed into a range of nickel products and intermediates. High purity Class 1 refined nickel such as briquettes and cathodes makes up 25% of supply, predominantly used in Europe and the Americas. Almost all the growth in nickel supply over the last 10 years has been in nickel pig iron (NPI), a type of ferronickel (FeNi) of between 3–14% purity, developed in China as an alternative to pure nickel in stainless steel production. Today, NPI accounts for 50% of worldwide nickel supply. Higher-purity FeNi alloys which contain around 35% nickel by mass account for another 11% of supply.Nickel matte, mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) and products that are involved in the battery supply chain, with th ir supply expected to grow in coming decades. Extraction of nickel is concentrated in Indonesia (48%), the Philippines (14%), and Russia (6%) – with Indonesia and the Philippines expected to remain the main sources of supply over the next decade. Refined nickel is stable and easily stored. However, other nickel products can present handling and storage challenges, ranging from being bulk commodities (NPI, FeNi) to hard to store powders (nickel sulphate and matte). The LME has had a physically settled nickel contract based on high purity nickel (>99.8%) since 1979. An LME traded nickel lot constitutes 6 metric tonnes, must be in cathode, pellet, briquette, or round form and be of an LME-approved brand. LME volume reports show that in 2021, nickel comprised 12% of the non-ferrous metal futures and options volume on the LME, compared to 42% for aluminium, 22% copper, and 16% for zinc.

(Friday March 6)
During the afternoon, the price reached close to $30,000/t, for the first time since 2008, with the final trade on the day executing at $29,130/t – a 7.6% increase from the opening price. That price move was large, but not unprecedented for a metal which has seen 13 days with price moves greater than 10% since 2002. Total margin calls generated (largely due to mark-to-market losses on LME nickel contracts2) were over $3.5bn – of which $2.6bn was called during the trading day. This was higher than the aggregate margin called in any day in the prior five months, and around three-and-a-half times the average level over the same period. The market closed for the weekend with significant short positions still in place and worsening liquidity. Holders of these positions had seen their available liquid financial resources depleted by large margin calls. While traded volume on March 4 was high, (17.6k lots traded on the 3month contract versus an average daily volume of around 11.3k lots in 2022) the bid-ask spread exceeded $250/t at times – compared to an average of $15/t for the prior six months. The price impact of a single buy order on LMEselect had begun to materially increase as well.

(Monday March 7 - day before market hits $100,000/tonne and is halted during fall)
By the close of trading, large short positions remained in the market– with the top 5 short-holders still holding 57k lots compared to 61k lots held by the top 5 short holders at the start of March 4. With prices having breached $50,000/t, the need to cover those shorts was even more pronounced. Member data analysed following the events indicates that of the missed OTC margin calls on March 7 and 8, over $2bn can be attributed to only two clients.....
By the time LMEselect closed at 19:00, nickel was trading at $50,300/t, up 69% from open. Measured on a 20-year time frame, this was a twenty-five standard deviation price move, and over three times the largest price move it had ever experienced. This was in stark contrast to other major metals, including aluminium,which ended March 7 down 4.3%.

(Tuesday, March 8 - debacle day)
Following early morning media reports containing market rumours about member liquidity challenges and missed margin calls, the nickel price increased to over $100,000/t before retracing to around $80,000/t. ...
While volumes were not markedly higher than in other periods, incremental buy orders in the early morning had an enormous impact on the price. The average price impact of trades (see exhibit 12) between 05:30 and 06:00 was over $225/t, and bid-ask spreads on LMEselect reached $5,500/t. Almost a thousand lots traded at a price over $95,000/t between 06:00 and 06:26. The two main buyers that had been risk-reducing during the run-up, both stopped placing orders as the price crossed $100,000/t. Following this pause in short-covering, the price fell back to $80,010/t in 7 minutes, by 06:33. While net short covering through the morning only amounted to around 1,400 lots, the price impact was so high that prices accelerated even further. The price then traded around $80,000 until the session was suspended.

Two factors contributed to the price spiral:
• The LME’s price volatility controls did not control price volatility during the events. While the LME had static price bands, they did not ultimately stop the run-up in prices. Effective volatility controls could have provided market participants with time to reflect, secure financing, or seek ways to manage large positions off-exchange.
• Eventually, market participants perceived that members may have been insufficiently robust to withstand the events. In particular, media reporting of market rumours overnight on March 7 claiming a member had failed to pay a margin call was seen by participants as adding to market pressure. Members in fact met margin calls of nearly $16bn over the period. Nonetheless, unique aspects of the LME Clear model – including mechanisms that support credit provision to clients – and the composition of the membership can give the perception that the clearing system is less robust than elsewhere.

LME Group and market participants were not able to fully assess the risks associated with large short positions, which were fragmented across multiple counter parties and sometimes between OTC and on-exchange positions. ..... On average, the ten largest short positions were held across five members.

Amongst numerous recommendations
A principle followed is that LME Group is not directly responsible for prices on the exchange, which should be driven by market forces. Rather, the LME and LME Clear should have clear and transparent rules that they believe would prevent foreseeable causes of market distortions, recognising that these rules may influence the price but in a way that the market understands.

The market as a whole was not well prepared to respond to large client defaults, particularly where they could impact OTC trades and multiple counterparties. This led to certain members seeking to cover their positions directly on the exchange, exhausting market liquidity and exacerbating liquidity withdrawal due to the uncertainty on what the total close-out interest was.

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • Chinese fret over elderly as WHO warns of holiday COVID surge - more

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Wednesday, January 11

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Tuesday's trading session at $12.47/lb ($27,500/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.20/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell again on Tuesday and started today's session just under the 54,000 tonne level. Nickel rose on Tuesday, but by $30/tonne isn't really anything for the bulls to brag about.  It's back up  around the $28,000 tonne level this morning, but we will have to wait and see if the bulls are any more successful holding that level today. Shanghai nickel rose overnight, up to 209,530 y/t. The independent audit of the LME debacle is in and, as one business news site titled their article, issues a 'damning verdict' of the LME. There are articles below, as well as a link to the report itself for those who care to read it. The LME responded it will make rule changes by the end of the first quarter in response. The scope of their review includes "The review analysed a wide range of factors that could have contributed to the events, including underlying risks, processes and controls, and market structure, and assessed whether they drove, exacerbated, or failed to mitigate the events. In line with its scope, the review did not look at decision-making and governance at the LME Group as these matters are the subject of regulatory reviews being undertaken by the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority. In addition, the review does not address whether or not there may have been suspicious trading behaviour. If any was identified, it would have been flagged to the LME who would then assess whether to undertake their own investigation."  The report is long and detailed, but for those who might like to understand how the LME operates, and how nickel is traded on the exchange, it's there to read. Stay safe out there and have a great day!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $13.03/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper holds near 6-1/2-month high on China economic prospects - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more
  • Cleveland Cliffs Investor Presentation - pdf here
  • Eramet Investor Presentation - pdf here
  • Recycling Today Jan 2023 - online here

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Tuesday's market review - Copper hits 6-1/2 month peak on hopes for China demand - Copper prices extended their gains on Tuesday, touching the highest in 6-1/2 months as investors bet the reopening of China combined with fresh stimulus will fuel metals demand. - more

     LME to decide nickel reforms by end of first quarter - The London Metal Exchange (LME) said on Tuesday it will set out by end-March how it will implement recommendations to prevent market distortions and improve risk monitoring after a review into the nickel crisis last year. - more
  • HKEX-owned London Metal Exchange should tighten rules to prevent further market distortions: Oliver Wyman review - more
  • Long-awaited report delivers damning verdict on LME nickel chaos - more
  • Independent nickel market review - more
     China’s stainless steel demand to recover slowly - In China, daily products and the construction industry are the top two stainless steel terminal consumers, accounting for 23% and 21%, respectively. - more

     Lower European iron and steel output hits demand for pellets, raw materials - Weaker iron and steel production in the EU have led to reduced demand for raw materials in the fourth quarter of 2022 and early 2023, particularly for high-grade iron ore and pellets, while coking coal demand was supported by strong energy prices through 2022 and trade restrictions on Russian coal, according to an analysis by S&P Global Commodity Insights Jan. 9. - more

     Surging molybdenum price adds weight to new year rally for copper producers - Copper prices started the new year with a bang – touching fresh six-month highs on Tuesday. - more

     North America's top mining CEOs anticipate turbulent year ahead - Top executives from North America’s biggest metals producers are bracing for a turbulent 2023 marked by recession, geopolitical risks and an uncertain investment climate that could change the face of mining. - more

     Courtesy AISI - In the week ending on January 7, 2023, domestic raw steel production was 1,595,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 71.3 percent. Production was 1,735,000 net tons in the week ending January  7, 2022 while the capability utilization then was 79.8 percent. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • High inflation disproportionately hurts low-income households - more
  • Five Ways Distributors Can Block Out — or Tune Out — Economic Noise - more

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Tuesday, January 10

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Monday's trading session at $12.46/lb ($27,470/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.30/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses have yet to increase this year, and ended yesterday's session just over the 54,300 tonne level. Shanghai nickel joined LME's bearish turn overnight, down to 206,020 y/t. LME nickel is trading higher this morning, with bullish traders regaining the $28,000/tonne level that they lost yesterday. Xiang Guangda, the Chinese billionaire that is rumored to have benefited greatly from the LME stepping in and halting nickel trading back in March of last year, is reportedly shaking up the market yet again (see below). China Steel reports a year on year decline of 2.2% of crude steel production in their country. Funds are busy re-indexing during the first few weeks of the new year, so its hard to determine what effect that is having on the market. With China closing the last full week of the month, we don't see January helping those peering into crystal balls for pricing trends much. Stay safe out there and have a great day.
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $13.12/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - LME copper slips from 6-month high as demand outlook in focus - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Monday's market review - China's reopening helps to propel copper to six-month high - Copper prices hit their highest in more than six months on Monday, driven higher by an improving demand outlook after top consumer China reopened its borders, with a lower dollar reinforcing positive sentiment. - more

     Nickel markets brace for nail-biting threequel - Chinese tycoon Xiang Guangda, notorious for disrupting the London Metal Exchange’s nickel trade last year and the year before, may have done it again. - more

  • Nickel Market Faces New Shock as ‘Big Shot’ Boosts Metal Output - more
     SunSirs: China Iron and Steel Association: China's Crude Steel Production Declined Year-on-year in 2022 - Qu Xiuli, vice president and secretary-general of the China Iron and Steel Industry Association, said on the 8th that according to the China Iron and Steel Association's forecast, China's crude steel output will be about 1.01 billion tons in 2022, a year-on-year decrease of 2.2%. - more

   Investors look for green ways to cash in on battery metals boom - Tainted by decades of environmental disasters, shattered communities and ravenous water consumption, mining companies — including those that dig up battery metals — are not traditional darlings of the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) crowd. - more
  • Top 50 mining companies in 2022: coal, lithium win big, China investors lose out - more

    Commodities forecast: Which markets will surge in 2023? - Throughout 2022, the market was observed as a roller-coaster ride. Russia's attack on Ukraine caused most commodities to peak in the first three months of 2022. - more

  • Nickel Prices to Fluctuate with some Declines in the Near Future - more
     POSCO restarts CR stainless steel mill No. 2 and electrical steel mill No. 1 - South Korean steelmaker POSCO Group has announced that it has restored and restarted its cold rolled stainless steel mill No. 2 and electrical steel mill No.1 in Pohang after suspension in September last year due to the fire caused by the Hinnamnor typhoon. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • (Un)Natural gas prices in Europe - more

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Monday, January 9

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Friday's trading session at $12.78/lb ($28,180/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.12/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell on Friday and started the week just over the 54,800 tonne level. Shanghai nickel ended higher overnight, at 212,110 y/t. LME closed higher on Friday and is currently trading higher this morning, and yet, far short of the $30,000 tonne level that the bulls have been fighting to hard on to since mind November. China's reopening has markets around the world buzzing with optimism, and the high risk of recession appears to have been moved to the back burner by many traders. The reality, at least for January, is China will be shutting down in a few weeks for its week long New Years holiday and production will be tempered in that country at least until they return. And covid will remain a legitimate threat to their supply chain for a while. Stay safe out there and have a great week!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $13.29/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - China's reopening helps propel copper to 6-month high - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more
  • How changes in consumption caused by COVID-19 affected inflation - more
  • S & P Top 10 economic predictions for 2023 - more
  • US Economic Indicators: Durable Goods Orders & Shipments - pdf here
  • U.S. Imports for Consumption of Steel Products - Nov 2002 - more
  • LSE Global Supply Chain Pressure Index: The China Factor - more

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Friday's market review - Copper hits 3-week high on China hopes, weaker dollar - Copper prices touched their highest in more than three weeks on Friday due to a weaker dollar and hopes that demand will pick up in China with new efforts to lift its troubled property sector. - more

     New year, new nickel market after LME's 2022 meltdown? Andy Home - March 2022 will go down in the history books as the moment the global nickel market broke down. - more

     China’s stainless steel mills significantly cut production in Jan - In January 2023, the scheduled crude stainless steel production of 33 sample stainless steel mills in China totaled around 2.28 million tons, decreasing by 20.2% compared to the previous month and by 4.6% from the same month a year earlier. - more
  • Exclusive: China's Metals Output in December - more
     What to Watch as China Gives Commodities a Wild Start to Year - Commodities are having a volatile start to the year as China’s virus tsunami and policy shifts leave investors scrambling to calibrate expectations for 2023. - more

     U.S. Trade Numbers for nickel - more / for stainless steel products - more  / use search bar on previous pages to check your item of interest

     French stainless scrap prices increase - Stainless steel scrap prices in France are increasing by some €50/tonne ($53) month-on-month, less than initially expected. - more

     Chinese firm to manufacture lithium batteries in Zim - Chinese steel manufacturer Dinson Iron and Steel Company (DISCO) says it intends to locally produce lithium-ion batteries as Zimbabwe has all the raw materials required in the production process. - more

   Other News

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here
       The Metals Price Boom of 1987-8 - pdf here

Friday, January 6

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Thursday's trading session at $12.60/lb ($27,770/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.14/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell on Thursday and started today's session just over the 54,800 tonne level. LME nickel ended trading nearly 7% lower yesterday and is trying to regain and hold on to the $28,000 tonne level this morning. Shanghai nickel closed lower overnight, down to 210,200 y/t. It would be curious to see how the market reacts to the news that the first female board chairman in the history of the LME is stepping down in the wake of the March debacle. The two may have nothing to do  with each other, but the immediate impression of the men's club picking the female to be the sacrificial lamb for a royal screw up is hard to overlook. Like we said, we hope they have nothing to do with each other, but the appearance is there. Who made the call to halt trading and cancel trades already placed? Did the call come from London - or China? Taiwan has banned the export of stainless steel plate to Russia and Belarus which could potentially be used to build weapons for use in its invasion of Ukraine. And worldwide production of molybdenum was down slightly in the third quarter of 2022. Stay safe out there and have a great weekend!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $13.57/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper rises on China demand hopes; Shanghai nickel hits 1-mth low - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more
  • Distributor's Link Magazine Winter 2023 - online here

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Thursday's market review - Copper bounces as China investment news spurs short-covering - Copper prices bounced on Thursday to snap a four-session losing streak, as bearish speculators reversed their positions after news about fresh investment in top metals consumer China. - more

     LME Chair Gay Huey Evans to step down this year - The London Metal Exchange (LME) said on Thursday that Gay Huey Evans will step down as LME Chair and that subject to regulatory approval Martin Fraenkel and Pierre Vareille will be appointed to the board of directors. - more
  •  Gay Huey Evans Chairman, London Metal Exchange - more
     Global production of molybdenum falls while usage remains the same in Q3 2022 - Figures released today by the International Molybdenum Association (IMOA) show that global production of molybdenum fell by 1% to 142.4million pounds (mlbs) in Q3 2022 compared to the previous quarter, a 2% fall when compared to the same quarter of the previous year. - more

     Taiwan imposes ban on 304 and 316 stainless steel plate exports to Russia & Belarus - According to an announcement from Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs on January 4, 2023, in order to prevent Taiwan from exporting high-tech goods to Russia and Belarus for the production of military weapons.... - more

     Aperam hikes European stainless steel alloy surcharges for Jan - Aperam, a stainless steel manufacturer based in Luxembourg, averagely hiked the alloy surcharge for its European austenitic stainless steel flat products by EUR 200/ton for January compared to the previous month. - more

     S&P: Russia will continue to dominate the steel export market in the Black Sea region - Russian steel exporters, still active on the Black Sea spot market, are cutting production, increasing domestic sales, or trying to export more to Asia and maintain their strong position in the Turkish market, where the impact of Western sanctions is indirect. - more
  • Russian stainless steel production increases in Jan-Nov 2022 y-o-y - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • China allows four firms to resume Aussie coal imports - sources - more
  • AISI Releases December SIMA Imports Data - more
  • South Korea's SK On plans a new, lower cost EV battery by 2025 - more

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

  • U.S. Steel Import Monitor - here
  • SIMA Melt & Pour Dashboard - here
  • US Economy At a Glance - more
  • US Economic Indicators - more
  • US Economic Activity - (every Monday) - pdf here
  • US Fed NY Weekly Economic Index - more
  • FX Street Economic Calendar - more
  • Iron Ore Price Graph - 1  2  3 
  • India MCX Nickel Price - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - chart
  • COVID By The Numbers - here
  • How is your state faring? - more
  • What time is it in....? - more
  • Euro/US Dollar chart - here
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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Thursday, January 5

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Wednesday's trading session at $13.51/lb ($29,785/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.47/lb lower. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell on Wednesday and ended that session just over the 55,000 tonne level. Shanghai fell sharply overnight, down to 220,290 y/t. After attempting to force a short to cover a bet, the longs are now in trouble, with nickel trading at mid December levels. Regardless of who is winning the daily trading game, the volatility makes it difficult for down stream buyers to plan. We start 2023 with some of the same challenges we started 2022 with. Covid is still in the headlines and while China has finally abandoned its zero covid policy, their people are now catching every bug out there, including covid. We suspect their little ones will suffer greatly, as will their elderly. The possibility of a recession looms, and yes we were talking about this at the beginning of last year. Being an election year, some of that might have been political scare tactics, but economists seem to generally agree - we are on the knife edge. The war in Ukraine is a new challenge and with Russia being a major source for nickel - especially the grade that EV battery producers need - that challenge caused prices to rise last year, even in the face of sufficient inventory. We see no reason to believe we won't be talking about this conflict next year. And if that is true, then the energy crisis and economic slowdown in Europe may still be in the headlines for the remainder of this year. These are some of the major challenges facing the nickel industry as we begin a new year, with many other smaller challenges always present. Indonesia is prime real estate for nickel, as well as earthquakes, volcanoes, droughts, and typhoons. As are other island nations holding laterite nickel. But with every challenge comes an opportunity. Drive a car while staring into the rear view mirror (the past) and you'll crash and burn. The larger windshield reveals the future, so buckle up and hammer down. Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel and regardless of the bumpy road ahead, we will get to the finish line safely. Stay safe and have a great day!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $13.82/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper bounces as China investment news spurs short-covering - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Wednesday's market review - Copper hits two-month low as demand fears dominate - Copper prices slipped to two-month lows on Wednesday as the market focused on slowing economic growth and demand while the dollar recovered from early losses. - more

  • Shanghai copper hits 2-month low on China COVID worries - more
     Global Commodities Holdings to launch nickel trade platform in February - UK-based Global Commodities Holdings (GCH) said its planned physical nickel trading platform will launch in late February, and expects it to eventually offer an alternative to the London Metal Exchange’s (LME) nickel futures contract. - more

     Taiwanese stainless steel mills' export orders soar due to order diversions - After China's lockdown policy was loosened, the epidemic spread, and many factory employees were absent from work due to the diagnosis. - more

     Outokumpu completes divestment of majority of long product business - Finland-based stainless steel producer Outokumpu has announced that it has completed the divestment of the majority of its Long Product business operations to Italy-based Marcegaglia Steel Group for €228 million, to focus on its core business of flat stainless steel products.The transaction has strengthened Outokumpu’s financial position. - more

     US manufacturing PMI declines again in December - Economic activity in the US manufacturing sector contracted in December for the second consecutive month following a 29-month period of growth, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • Baltic Dry Index Falls Further After Record Drop - more

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Wednesday, January 4

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Tuesday's trading session at $14.06/lb ($31,005/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.43/lb lower. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell on Tuesday and ended that session just under the 55,200 tonne level. Nickel is back down today, after yesterday proved to be little more than longs trying to force the short bettors to buy nickel to cover their bets. Apparently one large short comes due later this month and the longs decided to try to force their hand. In other words, March on a much smaller scale. At least this time the LME did not feel the need to step in an freeze the market. This happens all the time, usually on a scale that is as dramatic as the March debacle, and even now, the volume of players is so much lower than prior to March, that these type of trading games are far more obvious than they would have been prior to March 2022. And while frustrating for downstream users of nickel, we must look at these type of short term moves as 'noise'. Shanghai nickel ended higher at 229,420 y/t. Stay safe out there and enjoy your hump day!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $14.15/lb

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Copper subdued as Fed minutes in focus - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more
  • Global Economic Indicators: Global Manufacturing PMIs - pdf here

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Tuesday's market review - Demand prospects dominate copper sentiment while nickel jumps - Copper prices traded in a narrow range on Tuesday, but sentiment was negative owing to a stronger dollar and deteriorating demand prospects because of weak growth in top consumer China and other major economies. - more

     ISSF: Global crude stainless steel output falls in Q1-Q3 y-o-y - According to preliminary statistics from the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF), global crude stainless steel output totaled 12.79 million tons in the third quarter of this year, which fell by 12.3% compared to the previous quarter. - more

     Persistent Supply Shortage due to Restricted Production on Sudden Power Rationing in Inner Mongolia Keeps Ferrochrome Prices Stable - As of January 3, high-carbon ferrochrome in Inner Mongolia was quoted at 8,600-8,800 yuan/mt (Cr50%), flat from the previous trading day. - more
  • SS Contract Rose for Several Trading Days, But the Fundamentals were Weak - more
  • China’s steel sector PMI increases in December - more
  • SunSirs: Import and Export of Stainless Steel and Main Raw Materials in China from January to November 2022 - more
     10 Biggest Nickel Mining Companies in the World - In this article, we discuss the 10 biggest nickel mining companies in the world. To skip the industry analysis, you can go directly to the 5 Biggest Nickel Mining Companies in the World. - more

     Commodities 2023: China likely to tone down domestic steel capacity, targets ASEAN nations - China would aim to contain its steel production growth in 2023 and focus more on environmental-friendly capacity swaps, but it remains keen on making capacity investments in ASEAN countries to keep its behemoth steel industry running, information gathered from sources by S&P Global Commodity Insights show. - more

     Indigenous extraction of nickel can earn huge socio-economic benefits for Pakistan - Islamabad-Pakistan has sizable deposits of nickel – a silvery white, hard, and ductile transitional metal with a slight golden tinge. - more

     Courtesy AISI - In the week ending on December 31, 2022, domestic raw steel production was 1,602,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 71.8 percent. Production was 1,768,000 net tons in the week ending December 31, 2021 while the capability utilization then was 80.1 percent. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • Manufacturers strain to attract talent as more than 740K jobs go unfilled - more
  • Shanghai Continues as Largest Container Port Handling 47M TEU in 2022 - more
  • Coronavirus: Beijing decries ‘political’ curbs on Chinese travellers, threatens to reciprocate - more

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here

Tuesday, January 3

LME nickel prices  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Briefing 

  • Nickel closed Friday's trading session at $13.59/lb ($29,960/tonne). Indicators at 6:00 am CST today show nickel trading around $.52/lb higher. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell on the last trading day of 2022, and started 2023 just under the 55,400 tonne level. Nickel ended lower in Shanghai overnight, down to 228,820 y/t. And even though the Euro is down sharply against the Dollar this morning, LME nickel is trading over $1000/tonne higher. Bullish traders found the $30,000 tonne level difficult o reach and hold in 2022, and having done so on the last few days of the year, all news for 2023 will gauge nickel's performance off that year end level. We read reports over the weekend that covid cases have possibly peaked in many major Chinese cities with rural surges just beginning. With the Chinese New Year holiday and migration home beginning in just four weeks (week of January 22nd), the rural surge could potentially feed another city surge for February. The next few months could be challenging for China, but hopefully, without the introduction of a deadlier variant, life could return to a new sort of normalcy by spring there. It's the first issue of a new year and we welcome those who have joined us , and invite you to drop by daily as we post updates each morning on news that potentially affects the worldwide stainless steel industry. This means we post a lot about the nickel industry, and some on the EV industry, which by turning the nickel industry on its head, is affecting the price on all down stream industries, including stainless. Stay safe out there today and we hope you have a great ,,,,, year!
  • Average price of LME traded cash nickel so far this month - $13.09/lb (Dec average)

  Reports

  • Reuters metals morning - Shanghai metals fall as COVID surge in China unsettles traders - more
  • Refinitiv Inside Commodities - pdf here
  • SMM Evening Comments - more
  • ING The Commodities Feed - daily here
  • 304 SS Scrap Prices Local (updated bi-weekly) - more
  • Global Economic Indicators: Global Manufacturing PMIs - pdf here

   Shanghai Metals Market

  • SHFE Stainless Steel  Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Nickel Futures (yuan) - more
  • SHFE Inventory (updated each Friday) - more
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price -  here

  London Metals Market

  • Yesterday's LME official prices here
  • LME nickel chart - here 

    Friday's market review - Demand angst puts copper on track for largest drop since 2018 - Copper prices fell on Friday, heading for their first annual drop since 2018 due to worries about demand created by surging COVID cases in top consumer China, a global growth slowdown and rising inventories. - more

     China’s stainless steel imports & exports grow in Jan-Nov y-o-y - According to statistics from Stainless Steel Branch of China Special Steel Enterprises Association, China’s stainless steel imports totaled 3.05 million tons in the first 11 months of this year, up by 14.7% compared to the same period a year ago. - more

    Growth constraints to shackle industrial metals for a few more months - Industrial metals markets hoping for improving demand and a price rally may have to wait a few more months with the headwinds of slow growth likely to dominate the economic landscape for some time. - more

     Battery metal binge outweighs cost hikes at PolyMet copper-nickel project in Minnesota - Surging demand for battery metals is offsetting increased costs to build PolyMet Mining’s copper-nickel project in northeastern Minnesota, according to new estimates. - more

     China's Lockdowns are Over, but its Shipping Outlook is Still Mixed - Beijing’s on-and-off COVID lockdowns created serious challenges for shipping in 2022, and even though pandemic-era controls have eased, the trade outlook for China looks mixed. - more

   Other News

  • Reuters The Day Ahead - pdf here
  • Ukrainian Billionaire & Former MP Arrested In French Ski Resort - more
  • A Mad Rush to Build More EV Factories, But Where are the Minerals? - more
  • Indonesian ‘island auction’ to go ahead despite concerns over permits - more

  Economic Stats and Prices (posted in Friday edition)

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
  •   Слава Україні! - more
  • Market Briefing - Commodity Prices - pdf here


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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