This page is archived news covering the period of July 2008
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Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices

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6/27 Market Prices

Ferromolybdenum (65-70%)
$35.25/lb
 

Moly Oxide (>51%)
$33.00/lb
 

Ferrochrome(60-65%)(HC)
$2.12/lb
 

Ferrochrome (LC)
$5.00/lb
 

6/27 Scrap Prices

Stainless Steel (LTL/ton)
$.91/lb
 


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Updated twice daily before 8:00 am CST and by 1 pm CST

Thursday, July 31

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 47 to 8341. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (large java chart here)
  • Metals started higher for the most part today, with the dollar slipping backwards. When the US woke up, the data it released was not well received. U.S. initial jobless claims jumped 44,000 to 448,000 - higher than expected. Then the US Commerce Department said growth rose 1.9% in the second quarter, lower than the 2.3% economists had forecast. Metals ended the day mixed, with base and precious mostly higher on the day. Nickel slid thru much of the day and Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and month at $8.32/lb . Nimit Khamar from Sucden got excited by yesterday's gain, and added an up-trend line (TL3) on his daily chart here. Indicator charts show it was no more than a one day wonder, but you can't blame him for trying. We have gone quite a spell since we have had any trend lines on the chart heading any other direction than south. LME inventories got a break from the most recent flotilla of nickel carrying cargo ships, and registered a slight drop overnight.    
  • Crude oil was kind of an interesting commodity story yesterday. Early in the day, the US reported gas inventories unexpectedly fell. This helped crude rise a little, but it soon backed off. But as you can see by this chart (java chart), something caused quite a little jump in the afternoon trading. What caused the sudden interest? Was it a hurricane? Terrorist attack? Refinery explosion? No. Right about the time you see prices jump, this was the hot news release "A bill that would put new limits on speculative trading in energy commodities failed to get the required two-third majority of votes to pass the House on Wednesday." The nearly $5 jump? We don't call that speculative buying. We call it market driven supply and demand. Uh-huh!  

  Commodity Comments

  •  Russia's OAO Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel producer by production volume, said Thursday its second-quarter nickel output fell 3% to 68,835 metric tons, down from 71,000 tons for the year-earlier period. They were quick to add nickel output rose 13.7 percent to 143,407 tonnes in the first half of 2008 from the same period in 2007.
  • Anglo America expects production of nickel and metallurgical coal to double over the next three years. Anglo produced 45,000t of nickel in 2007 and forecast a CAGR of 22% for its output of the metal between 2008 and 2016.
  • Rusal has denied a deal is being negotiated for a merger with Norilsk Nickel.
  • According to preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, imports of stainless steel products in June fell 4.78% from May

  AK Steel has been entertaining sale talks with multiple parties, sources familiar with the situation told dealReporter. The company is interested in an all-cash transaction, and has informally been on the block for a couple of months, according to two sources with knowledge of discussions. - more

  Shareholders of PT International Nickel Indonesia INCO.JK, one of the world's top nickel producers, have approved a sharply higher cost estimate for a planned hyroelectric power plant, the company said on Thursday. - more

  Australia's Albidon Ltd. plans to expand its concentrator at its Zambia nickel mine after it is fully commissioned in 2009, the company said on Thursday. - more

  SA's International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) has begun antidumping investigations into stainless steel sink imports from China and Malaysia after local manufacturers claimed that almost half the product value of these imports came from state incentives. - more

  China will cancel export tax rebates on cadmium products and nickel-cadmium batteries from August 1, the State Administration of Taxation said on Thursday. - more

  Nippon Steel Corp and four other major Japanese steel makers have reached an agreement with Xstrata for a roughly 3.6-fold price hike for low-grade metallurgical coal, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.02/lb lower. Dollar is lower this morning, and except for nickel, which is just slightly in the red, the metals complex is trading in the green. News is very light today. Eramet announced its 2008 nickel shipments from New Caledonia would be about the same as last year, at 55,000 tonnes. Considering the strike the SLN mines suffered during the latter part of all last year, this news must be disappointing to stockholders.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Upturn in Global Stainless Steel Demand May Not Come Until Early 2009 - Demand is traditionally weak at this time of year, especially in Europe, as the stainless steel industry’s major customers close down for their summer holidays. - more

  Reports

  • Oakvale Capital Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource Plus - here
  • FDC Daily Monitor - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Base metals ended mixed yesterday in what was a fairly choppy session. .. Like zinc and lead before it, nickel staged a good short-covering rally, gaining more than 5% on the day. ... This morning, we are higher, but this time the strength is spread evenly across the board. .. We are at $18,800 on nickel, up $50, and quiet so far today after a solid day higher yesterday on what seemed to us to be a short-covering rally."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  La Societe Le Nickel, or SLN, Eramet S.A.'s subsidiary in New Caledonia, Thursday said it has lodged an application to mine a giant nickel deposit on the French-controlled island in the South Pacific after a French court in May annulled a permit held by Brazil's Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (RIO). - more

  On July 14, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced plans to protect at least 225,000 km² of the boreal forest in Northern Ontario. “Protect” will mean permanently removing the declared area from mineral exploration, mining and forestry. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • (Metals Insider has discontinued publishing until Aug 11)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - July 31 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, July 30

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 46 to 8,388. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Dollar got a boost after a private-sector jobs report showed unexpected growth in US employment during July, and then fell back later as crude oil prices rebounded, on weekly data showing a smaller-than-expected drop in inventories. Indicator chart shows nickel spent most of the day climbing, with only a slight settling before the close. Sucden's daily chart showed nickel RSI fell below the 30 mark, implying heavily over-sold, but the analyst had forecast the day's trading would see the market head lower. (chart here). Delphi appears to have been a day early, when it wrote in yesterday's morning report  "This could break to a new higher level, coinciding with renewed interest in upside volume." Ed Meir, with MF Global, had nickel's Relative Strength Index even lower than Sucden at the start of the day, with a reading of 27, but reiterated he sees a test of $7.71/lb in the near future. Nickel inventories rose again overnight, and as we warned, the second wave of ships containing nickel from Russia is now arriving in European warehouses. Since last Thursday, inbound shipments, some rather large, have been recorded. Today was an apparent technical move, but traders are still reeling from Outokumpu's quarterly report from last Thursday that stated "Global growth in demand for stainless steel slowed towards the end of the second quarter and markets moved to oversupply. The quarter's apparent consumption of stainless steel is estimated to have remained almost flat in Europe and globally compared to I/2008. Market conditions were weaker in both Europe and Asia. In the US, demand for stainless continued to be at a low level.” Erkki Vesola, an analyst at eQ bank in Helsinki, commented on the quarterly report to a Bloomberg  reporter "The bigger disappointment was the guidance for the third quarter. It's hard to see any positives." Traders found at least one positive today, and Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.50/lb

  Reports

  • TD Bank Quarterly Commodity Price Report  - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Citigroup Commodity Heap - "Producers have been seeking a by-product credit for pig iron. We believe they have captured ~6% of the value of by-product credit which lowers smelting costs by ~US$60/t (or 10%). If the full value for pig iron was captured Ni-in-pig would be a negative cash cost producer. We believe stainless mills wish to maintain Ni-in-pig supply and could pay increasing iron by-product credits to maintain supply....We estimate Ni-in-pig costs are now US$7.75/lb and set to move lower. We expect nickel to remain in surplus, forecast prices to average US$10.00/lb in 2009 and US$6.00/lb in 2010."

  Aa assembled panel of nuclear medicine experts says that new reactors and better communication are needed to ensure that Canada doesn’t repeat last year’s mistakes and risk the global supply of medical isotopes. - more

  China’s customs have called on to further strengthen the control over steel exports into a higher international steel market. China exported 21.72 million tons of steel products during the first five months, down 20.8% year-to-year, according to customs. - more

  Australia-based miner Mirabela will increase the size of a nickel mine under development in Brazil to yield 40 percent more nickel after it starts up next year, the company said on Wednesday. - more

  Rusina Mining NL said it has made three shipments of 160,418 wet metric tonnes at 1.7 percent nickel during the quarter ended June 28. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.11/lb higher. Dollar is trading higher, oil is quiet waiting on reports, and except for tin and nickel, base and precious metals are lower. What are not lower are nickel inventories stored in LME warehouses. The second wave of Russian nickel carrying ships began arriving in European ports this week.   
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • Oakvale Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Standard Bank Market Commentary - here
  • FDC Daily Monitor - pdf here
  • AISI Press Release - June imports up 7% - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Base metals fell on Tuesday, (except for lead), giving up most of Monday's gains, as the dollar abruptly switched course, and rose to a one-month high against the euro. Weakness in energy prices and a rally in the US stock market did not help matters much either, reinforcing the notion that the air was coming out of the commodity bubble. ... Metals are down again at the time of this writing, as the dollar is holding on to its gains, and trading just below 1.56 against the Euro. ...  We are at $18,424 on nickel, up $374, and quiet so far today; we are still looking for an eventual downside test of $17,000."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • China's stainless steel market has seen a slump this year on oversupply and a slowdown in downstream consumption, Jinchuan Group Ltd., Asia's largest nickel producer, said in a statement on July 29
  • The conventional wisdom on Australian miners is that because of the Chinese demand for resources, our mining stocks will perform well despite the tough times in Western economies. - more

  Nicked by Nickel Stainless Recovers - Following the collapse of nickel pricing and unprecedented worldwide liquidation of stainless inventories, specialty metals producers and distributors see healthy demand in most end-use markets going forward. - more

  Global Steel Prices Starting to Plateau - Autumn Correction Probable - more

  The metallurgical plant Goro Nickel in New Caledonia will enter well into production by the end of 2008, confirmed Monday one of the leaders of its parent company, the Brazilian mining group Vale, despite protests from opponents of the project. - translated article here

  Mining group Xstrata posted mixed first-half production data on Wednesday, with slightly weaker output in two key metals, but forecast a strong rise in the second half. - more

  • Company press release - here

  BHP Billiton Starts Operation At Cliffs Mine / Australia To Produce 360,000 Tons / Year Of Nickel Ore = Manganese Project At Gemco / Australia Is Scheduled To Commence Production In 2nd Half 2009 - more

  Record-high metals prices have done little to slow production of steel-intensive mining equipment. Experts say surging global demand for coal, iron ore and other commodities should fuel mining—and the need for giant earthmoving equipment—for years to come. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • (Metals Insider has discontinued publishing until Aug 11)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - July 30 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Tuesday, July 29

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 79 to 8434. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • The market was fairly quiet until the US Conference Board announced consumer confidence unexpectedly rose in June (here). This gave a boost to the dollar, and this coupled with falling oil prices, put downward pressure on the metals complex today. Only lead was able to pull off a finish in the green. Equity stocks were back up today on the above news, and we found this statement by Kevin Giddis, managing director of Morgan Keegan & Co to MarketWatch to be especially inspiring, "Oil is falling, the stock market is rising and the dollar is getting stronger. These are good things and when you combine that with relatively low rates, maybe we can be happy at least one day this week." Not quite the inspirational speech you would expect from someone like a Winston Churchill, but it does reflect the uncertainty of the times we live in. If it wasn't for the billionaires fighting amongst themselves over Norilsk, the nickel industry would have little to talk about. They fight, and somehow, it's still the little guy that ends up bleeding. Some analysts seem to be convinced that when the magical price for pig nickel profitability is finally reached, perfumed pigeons, sprinkling gold dust, will suddenly appear, and all will be well in the land of Nickel Refineous. It is interesting to note on Ed Meir's daily report, that he posts the high and low point for nickel over the past few years. In 2007, nickel traded within a range of $24,800 to $51,800, a 52% difference. So far this year nickel has traded within a range of $18,180 to $35,150, a range of 48%. It is also worth noting on Sucden's 10 year chart, located at the bottom of the page here, that nickel spent the better part of 2004, 2005, and the early months of 2006 in a 'bull market', trading between $4.74/lb and $8.05/lb. Where is it heading? Don't ask us. We are still pouting our $10/lb forecast didn't hold. It was a nice quiet, round number, that everyone was either happy with, or could have grown to love. But traders can't make money in a sideways market, so it was not to be. Dow Jones reports today, that three month nickel ended the day at $8.16/lb

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • (Metal First) - Power supply for China's ferrochrome production has been reduced recently, while sales remain brisk. Potential exists for further price increases if plant stocks are depleted.  
  • What happened to my commodities boom? Didn't Jim Rogers promise me wealth beyond the dreams of avarice, if only I believed? - more

  European stainless surcharges continue to drop, at least for austenitic grades. For 304 Stainless, margins that averaged 1636-1887 € / ton in July, are set at 1554-1747 € / ton in August. Outokumpu AAF prices for August can be found (pdf here) ThyssenKrupp Nirosta posts theirs here, and provides historical prices back to 2003 here

  Oleg Deripaska’s bid to take control of Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s premier mining company, came to an end on Monday at a meeting in Moscow.  - more

  • Norilsk Nickel's largest shareholder has offered an old ally of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin the post of chief executive at the world's largest nickel miner, an official said on Tuesday. - more
  • The head of the Russian state tourism agency has consented to a provisional offer from Norilsk Nickel to become chief executive of the metals giant, the agency said on Tuesday. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:45 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.14/lb lower. For the most part, precious and industrial metals are lower in trading so far today.    
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  • Oakvale Capital Market Report - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • FDC Daily Monitor - pdf here
  • Canada Commodity Price Update - pdf here
  • TD Bank Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Base metals were steady on Monday, with lead and zinc leading the way, and pulling the rest of the group higher. Lead continued its stunning advance, up another 5% yesterday, as LME stocks fell to six-week lows, while there was also a sharp rise in cancelled warrants. Zinc, on the other hand, pushed higher in what seemed to be a massive short-covering rally. Nickel was also stronger, as with an RSI of 28 yesterday, it was technically oversold. ...There is not much change in the dollar so far today, which is holding steady against the Euro. ... We are at $18,635 on nickel, down $115. Charts still look weak despite yesterday’s rally, and we are looking for an eventual downside push to $17,000." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  Demand For Stainless Steel In Western Europe May Turn Round To Raise = View By Acerinox, Net Profit At This Spanish Company For 1st Half / 08 Decreased By 62% - more

  Jinchuan Group Ltd., Asia's biggest producer of nickel, may expand into stainless-steel production to boost sales. - more

  OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel may replace the chief executive officer appointed this month with an associate of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as Russia's largest mining company seeks to secure government support. - more

  • Norilsk Nickel 's largest shareholder has offered an old ally of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin the post of chief executive at the world's largest nickel miner, an official said on Tuesday.  - more

  China's domestic steel market has seen soft demand recently with coming of a dead season for construction steel consumption, dragging the prices slightly down. But according to the analysts, the enterprises' production cost, international price surge and other factors would restrict the downward room for future steel price. - more

  Courtesy AISI - "In the week ending July 26 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,142,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 89.8 percent. Production was 2,059,000 tons in the week ending July 26, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 87.0 percent. The current week production represents a 4.1 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending July 26, 2008 is up 1.4 percent from the previous week ending July 19, 2008 when production was 2,114,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 88.6 percent."

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • (Metals Insider has discontinued publishing until Aug 11)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - July 29 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Monday, July 28

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 124 to 8,513. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • It appeared it would be another day of bleeding for nickel, with indicator charts showing nickel down early this morning US time, and early afternoon London time. But the same charts show at around the $8.30/lb mark, buyers took interest and drove nickel back into the green, where it held. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.48/lb . The day's trading began with fundamentals reporting the market was oversold. MF Global had RSI at 27 this morning, while Sucden placed it at 31.9, both fairly strong indicators of an oversold position. Lot of speculation on what effect these prices are having on Chinese pig nickel production again. Besides the analysts, we posted a story below directly from China, and although its hard to read (translated that is), it is interesting. Pig nickel has made quite an impression in its short two year history. Had you listened to most of the analysts in 2006, it was nothing more than a stop gap measure that would soon disappear, and have no impact on the world market. Had you listened to the analysts over the last few years, then at $16/lb, then $14/lb, then $12/lb, then $10/b, pig nickel production would become unprofitable and disappear. Now, as we near the $8/lb mark, some are saying it could be any day now. There could be hope for the analysts yet, although from outside factors. Over the weekend, China held the official opening to the Olympic Village, and while the grand ceremony went off without a hitch, it gave the world a peek into what was coming. And everyone was staring into the smog covered sky and wondering if a peek was all they might get. China has already taken some huge measures to cut down on air pollution in Beijing for these games, and after this embarrassing incident, we expect them to take even more drastic measures. Smog is all the media has been talking about for months and this weekend's episode, isn't going to help shift their attention. If it's energy intensive, polluting, not necessary for the Games, and located where it "might" feed smog into the area around Beijing, China, it has to be in jeopardy of being shut down. Anyone ever heard of an entire country shutting completely down during an Olympics?     

  Commodity Comments

  • (IHT) - "We're in a commodities liquidation mode," said Richard Feltes, senior vice president and director of commodities research for MF Global in Chicago. "People are heading to the sidelines, basically saying 'let's see how this turmoil is going to shake out.'"
  • (Platts) - William Adams - "At these levels nickel pig iron production is likely to be curtailed significantly and with LME stocks now trending lower again, prices do seem to be getting increasingly oversold."
  • (Dow Jones) - "A significant portion of nickel pig iron production in China will be suffering losses based on current prices, says Barclays Capital, especially given high cost pressures. Expects a dramatic cutback in production over the coming months, with the "crunch point" being how much can be cut back before the market begins to tighten. Nickel pig iron represents about 10% of all nickel output but is at the top end of the cost curve."
  • (MarketWatch) - Gary Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, believes the credit crunch will continue for several quarters and could still get worse, according to an interview with the Financial Times newspaper. Stern said that with its core interest rate at 2%, the Fed is well-placed to cope with further weakness in the economy, but is less well-positioned to cope with further increases in inflation, according to the newspaper. He added that headwinds to the economy haven't diminished and are possible getting worse, setting the stage for a lengthy period of weakness like that seen in the early 1990s, the report added.
  • Philip Falcone, who heads the $US23 billion ($A24 billion) US hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, has declared he remains bullish on commodities. - more
  • If you were long silver, wheat and base metals at the start of 2008, you have my deepest sympathy. - more

  Japan's Kobe Steel Ltd. and other steelmaking and plant engineering companies are changing the way they charge clients to better reflect the rising cost of basic materials, the Nikkei reported on Monday, without citing sources. - more

  China and Myanmar reached a production sharing contract in Nay Pyi Taw Monday to produce nickel in Myanmar's northern Mandalay division. - more

  The current price of electrolytic nickel prices lower than the nickel-iron - translated article here

  Price volatility, intensified by tight supplies, is expected to persist for base metals over the short-to-medium terms. However, mining costs are taking their toll on margins. - more

  Frustrated in bidding against global rivals over costly iron ore assets, South Korea's POSCO is taking a different approach to diversification -- looking to buy up one of its biggest customers to secure future demand. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.05/lb lower. Sucden's chart tells the story thru Friday, as nickel traders continue to sell the market lower (here). Sucden has support at $17,750/tonne and $17,050/tonne, while MF Global has it at $17,000/tonne. Nickel inventories took another huge jump overnight, with European warehouses starting to show evidence of a second wave of inbound shipments arriving. We are once again in that period where stainless steel users/distributors/producers step back to let the nickel traders figure out where the price of nickel will settle. Large investments in stainless steel stock carries extra risk when raw material prices are declining, and after being burnt badly last year, and in years past, stainless steel distributors buy as they need during price swings.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • Oakvale Capital Market Report - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource Plus - here
  • FDC Daily Monitor - pdf here
  • Haywood Securities Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here
  • August 2008 Scrap Metals Market Watch - here
  • India bulls Daily Metals & Energy - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "We had another mixed session on Friday, with nickel hitting a two-year low and lead losing ground as well, but copper and ali both managed to end up in positive territory despite nagging fears about slowing demand. ... The dollar is weaker today, while crude oil prices are higher on a spate of geopolitical headlines. Against this backdrop, we could see metals end up on a steady note for the balance of the day, but we still suspect that we have not completely exhausted the downside probe of the trading ranges just yet, particularly in copper and ali...We are at $18,265 on nickel, down $185, with the selling picking up in the last thirty minutes or so, and resulting in earlier gains being wiped out. We look quite weak on the charts, as we note, and are still looking for an eventual downside push to $17,000. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • SG - China remained the world's number one producer of stainless steel in 2007 accounting for more than one quarter of 27.6 million tonnes of global output. China had overtaken Japan as the world's biggest stainless steel producer in 2006 with 6.6 million tonnes in 2006 up by 21.7% YoY. Japan followed China as the second largest producer in 2007 with an output of 3.7 million tonnes. In 2006, China's per capita stainless steel consumption hit 4.6 kilograms, rising above the world average of 4.3 kilograms. China produced 7.206 million tonnes of stainless steel in 2007 up by 1.906 million tonnes or 35.96% YoY.
  • Comment - If you missed it, the official opening of the Beijing Olympic Village was held yesterday, and all the media could talk about was the thick smog that encompassed the ceremony. Despite the measures that have been taken to cut down on pollution, this incident may force the government to take even more drastic action.
  • Steelguru - China's biggest maker of the rust resistant alloy Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Co said that it plans to produce more goods with a low nickel content. Outokumpu Oyj also said that distributors postponed purchases because of the nickel price decline and softening demand in construction.

  Nickel had its biggest weekly decline in London in four months as stainless-steel mills, the biggest users of the metal, said demand is weakening. - more

  China Securities Journal reported that China's domestic steel market has seen soft demand recently with coming of a dead season for construction steel consumption, dragging the prices slightly down. But according to the analysts, the enterprises' production cost, international price surge and other factors would restrict the downward room for future steel price. - more

  Anglo American plc announced that it is on schedule to complete its Barro Alto nickel project by early 2010. - more

  It is reported that China ferromolybdenum export to different countries during June 2008 total 628 tonnes while in January to June 2008 reach 4,223 tonnes. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • (Metals Insider has discontinued publishing until Aug 11)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - July 28 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Friday, July 25

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.34/lb .
  • Apologies for the short and/or delayed wrap-up's the last few days. Battling a painful illness, although yet undiagnosed, and time online during the day has been extremely limited. Hopefully, we'll be back to par on Monday and can resume normal coverage. Hope you all have a restful and safe weekend!  

  Prime Advantage, a buying consortium for midsized industrial manufacturers, announced the findings of its second Group Outlook Survey, revealing the top economic concerns for the second half (H2) of 2008. - more

  Russian miner Norilsk Nickel will challenge an outgoing executive over ownership of several metals deposits he plans to take with him to a new company created by former Norilsk co-owner Mikhail Prokhorov. - more

  OAO Mechel, Russian billionaire Igor Zyuzin's coal and steel producer, declined to comment on a rebuke by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that wiped $6 billion off the company's market value. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.0/lb unchanged. After starting lower, indicator charts show nickel has climbed back to near where it started. Market nickel bears have been brutalized the last few days, and apparently their animal cousins are taking revenge on one group of miners. If you are having one of those Friday's where the weekend just can't come quick enough, it can always get worse. "Bad weather is thwarting efforts to rescue a group of mine workers trapped by hungry bears in Russia's wild far eastern region of Kamchatka. The bears have already eaten two of the workers." - more (this is just wrong!)
  • Nickel trims losses after touching 2-yr low - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 135 to 8637. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)

  Nickel Heads for Biggest Weekly Drop Since May as Demand Slumps - "Nickel headed for the biggest weekly decline in London since May as stainless-steel mills, the biggest users of the metal, said demand is weakening." - more

  Reports

  • Oakvale Capital Financial Report - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - here
  • FDC Daily Monitor - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Base metal prices were pounded yesterday, with nickel taking the lead, and falling to a two-year low to finish below $19,000/MT. Deteriorating chart patterns and continued concern about weak stainless demand weighed on the complex. In the latter regard, stainless steel producer Outokumpu said it expected delivery volumes in the third quarter to fall, and expressed concern about the outlook for 2009. Not helping matters either, was another set of dismal US housing figures, where existing home sales in June fell to a 10-year low.... This morning, we are slightly higher in most metals, but this seems to us to be a technical bounce after yesterday’s deep selloff. We suspect that we have further to go on the downside, as some of the key support levels within broad trading ranges have yet to be reached. ... We are at $18,800 on nickel, up $25, and quiet after yesterday’s sharp selloff. We still expect our $17,000 target to be eventually achieved on the downside. "(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Reuters - "Jinchuan Group, China's largest nickel producer, cut spot prices by 11 percent to 155,000 yuan a tonne on Friday, reflecting the lower international prices. But Chinese nickel prices are still higher than international prices, implying that imports could pick up in the near future. Chinese nickel imports have already risen 21 percent in the first half of the year, as steadily falling international prices allowed traders and consumers to restock."

  In order to offset losses in its stainless steel business, Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp will begin production of carbon steel plate in June and expect receiving orders next month. - more

  Kazakh Deputy Finance Minister Daulet Ergozhin said investors risk losing licenses should they fail to pay taxes as the government seeks more revenue from commodity industries. - more

  Vietnam's recent decision to increase the tax levied on nickel concentrate exports to 20 percent will probably not have much effect on China's nickel industry, though some Chinese investments, such as Jinchuan Group Ltd.'s Ban Phuc project, will be impacted, an analyst told Interfax on July 25 - more

  New nickel projects to be proceeded in Western Australia are scheduled to use laterite ore and, therefore, many cases aim to industrialize the projects by application of PAL process but, owing to the steeply risen price of sulfuric acid in the international market emerged from the beginning of 2008, the estimated cost for nickel production is being changed by an unforeseen occurrence. This matter has been multiplied by a fall of the international market price of nickel at present. - more

  The Chinese Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) Ramu Nickel Cobalt Limited has overcome its final hurdle by executing the financing documents to fund the billion-kina Ramu project. - more

  The so-called divorce of Mikhail Prokhorov and Vladimir Potanin has reached the court. ONEXIM chief Prokhorov lodged a suit to the Moscow Arbitration Court, seeking protection for his business reputation. - more

  Have a reader requesting today's cost per ton of 9% nickel steel. Reader is involved in the construction of barges and LNG ships here in the US. If any suppliers reading this can shoot me a number, I will forward to the reader along with your contact info. Please title your e-mail "Nickel steel", as we have intermittent problems with our e-mail.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • (Metals Insider has discontinued publishing until Aug 11)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - July 25 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, July 24

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 85 to 8771. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.50/lb 

  Nickel Falls Most in Two Months in London as Mills Cut Usage - more

  • Nickel Drops for Third Day in London as Steel Mills Cut Usage - more

  Commodity Comments

  • Bloomberg - "Consumers are waiting to buy nickel at about $15,000 a ton, according to Charles Cooper, a mining analyst at Evolution Securities Ltd. in London."
  • Bloomberg - "Shangxi Taigang slashed output of crude stainless steel by half in May, and is keeping production unchanged at 170,000 tons a month in June and July, the company said."

  Outokumpu Oyj, the world's fourth- biggest stainless steel maker, declined the most in at least 18 years in Helsinki trading after profit missed analyst estimates and it said construction demand is weaker. - more

  Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov's Onexim Group said Thursday that it would invest $10 billion over the next five years in a new company, Intergeo, to develop the mining assets he received from former partner Vladimir Potanin. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.29/lb lower. Dollar is slightly higher this morning, with metals mixed. LME warehouses nickel stores gained overnight for the first time in nearly two weeks. Japanese ferronickel producer has shut down its plant after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake strikes Japan, but so far this has done nothing more than halt nickel's morning price decline. You can see by Sucden's bi-hourly chart, where the sentiment turned yesterday (here) You can also tell by the chart that the Relative Strength Index shows 9.6, which implies significantly oversold, and the Slow Stochastic numbers (SSK & SSD) also reflect market is oversold. The technicals are bullish, but the market refuses to listen. Nimit Khamar has support at $18,950 ($8.60/lb) while Ed Meir from MF Global has it at $17,000 ($7.71/lb)
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - "Nickel Falls 3rd Day in London; Stainless-Steel Mills Cut Usage" - more

  Reuters - Nickel hits 2-year low on soft stainless steel demand - more

  Reports

  • Oakvale Capital Financial Markets Report- pdf here
  • KBC Commodities report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - here
  • FDC Daily Monitor - pdf here
  • GFMS Nickel Market Analysis - here
  • Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. Market Report - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "We had another mixed session yesterday in base metals, with copper, ali, nickel and tin, all falling sharply, while lead and zinc bucked the downward trend to close higher. ... We are off to a generally lower start in metals today, with nickel and tin looking the weakest in the group, while the rest of the metals are not doing much of anything. Nickel has pierced the $20,000 mark and is headed lower in our view, while tin has failed to take out key $23,750 resistance despite repeated attempts, and has been looking sluggish for some time now. ... We are at $19,525 on nickel, down $425, and quiet. Charts still look weak to us, and we expect the $17,000 target to be eventually achieved on the downside. Keep in mind that nickel prices have averaged $9600 during the 10-year period between 1996-$2006, and so prices, while off sharply from their 2007 highs, are still relatively high."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • China's nickel ore imports will slow further in the second half of the year as domestic nickel pig iron producers cut back production, an industry analyst told Interfax July 24. - more
  • China Metallurgical Construction Group Corp., a state-owned construction company, agreed to borrow $1.37 billion to finance the Ramu nickel mine in Papua New Guinea, its Australian mining partner said. The project remains on schedule to start operations in the first half of 2009 and produce about 31,150 metric tons of nickel annually. - more

  Japanese ferronickel producer Pacific Metals has closed its ferronickel production plant located in the Hachinohe City in northeastern Japan following an earthquake early Thursday, the company said. - more

  • Rescue teams searched in dense fog and rain Thursday for victims of a powerful earthquake in northern Japan that left more than 120 people injured, some of them seriously. - more
  • A powerful earthquake struck Japan on early Thursday morning injuring as much as 102 people and wrecking 31 buildings in the northern regions of the island, authorities said. - more
  • USGS Map and Report - here

  Outokumpu Oyj, the world's fourth- biggest stainless steel maker, declined the most in at least 18 years in Helsinki trading after profit missed analyst estimates and it said construction demand is weaker. - more

  Philippine nickel ore exports to China, the world's biggest consumer of the metal, plunged 80 percent in June as lower prices of refined nickel and energy shortages cut production of nickel pig iron. - more

  Jindal Stainless Ltd. of India announced in 5 years ago the project to construct a new plant in Vishakhapatnam of Orissa State for production of ferro-chrome (with its final phase to produce 150,000 tons / year) but the wall for this project is how to secure chrome ore as raw material and the project has faced a difficulty. However, the materialization of this project is supposed to have taken a step forward. - more

  The EU flat products' market continues to be characterized by supply tightness and rising prices in a climate of relatively flat demand. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • (Metals Insider has discontinued publishing until Aug 11)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - July 24 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, July 23

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 48 to 8856. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Forgive us if we seem to be mumbling today. The 'Kentucky Fried Crow' we are eating for lunch today, is a tough bird to swallow. For the first time since June 2006, cash nickel fell below the $20,000/ton level. Nickel started off trading only slightly down, and for a while, it appeared it might hold onto our support level of $20,500/tonne for another day. As of yesterday, we were still holding the line (chart here) But as the dollar continued to climb, nickel finally buckled to the pressure and slumped sharply in afternoon trading. And except for lead and zinc, the rest of the metals complex traded down as well. Nickel stored in LME inventories slipped again overnight, falling to their lowest level since November 21st of last year. The 43+ thousand tonnes still in storage however, reflects a very healthy stock. Considering Ed Meir and Nimit Khamar both showed the RSI in the upper 30's range this morning, reflecting the market started the day oversold, we are a little surprised at the rate of decline today. Ed has strong support at $7.71/lb, while Nimit had a support of $9.06/lb posted this morning. That will probably be changed, as Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended today at $9.05/lb 
  • Commodities Fall to 7-Week Low as Investors Shun Energy, Metals - more

  Reports

  • Piping Equipment Stainless Steel Market News - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Bloomberg - "Nickel is headed for a second consecutive annual drop, after last year's 21% decline as stainless steel mills resorted to products containing less nickel. Mr Charles Cooper an analyst at Evolution Securities Ltd said that prices may have to fall to about USD 15,000 a tonne to lure back consumers."

  China January thru June 2008 import and export nickel statistics

  • Exports of refined nickel - Statistics show China exported 72.91% less refined nickel during the first six months of 2008. The largest destination of Hong Kong has seen a 20.26% drop, while much smaller destinations of Singapore and Thailand have seen 465.72% and 403.61% increases. South Korea hs seen a 98.39% drop in Chinese exports.
  • Imports of refined nickel - Statistics show China imported 21.1% more refined nickel during the first six months of 2008. China's primary source is Russia, which has seen a 150.88% increases, while its second largest source, Canada, saw a 5.67% decrease. #3 Australia showed a 27.58% decrease. The largest increase in imports came from South Africa, at 206.57%, which supplies only about 11% of what Russia does, which supplies about 1/3 of all refined nickel exported into China.
  • Imports of nickel ore - Statistics show China imported 26.07% more nickel ore during the first six months of 2008. The largest supplier, Indonesia, saw its exports to China increase by 85.28%, while #2 Philippines, saw their exports shrink by 26.03%. #3 New Caledonia, also saw a decline of 48.03%. Two thirds of nickel ore imported into China originates in Indonesia.

  (excerpt) BHP did not break out the production figures for Ravensthorpe since it produces an intermediary product, but the Herald understands it produced 9100 tonnes of contained nickel in the year to June 30. - more

  Recently, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty made an announcement concerning the launch of the Far North Planning Process. A land use plan for the Far North has been requested by various groups for years and the lead up to this announcement has taken some time. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:40 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.09/lb lower. Dollar continues to gain this morning, which is putting downward pressure on both the industrial and precious metals complex. Indicators show all except lead and zinc are trading lower at press time, and those two are just slightly higher. 
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • The Economic Times - here
  • The Guardian - here

  Reports

  • Oakvale Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - here
  • FDC Daily Monitor - pdf here
  • Price WaterhouseCoopers - Intertwined: the physical and the financial - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metals ended mixed yesterday after the dollar turned over the course of the day and pushed higher. The about-face came about on remarks made by a Federal Reserve official suggesting that U.S. interest rates may have to rise sooner rather than later. Not helping matters either, was a struggling energy complex, as prices saw steep declines when Tropical Storm Dolly, (now upgraded to a hurricane), veered well clear of the US refinery belt. ... This morning, we are broadly lower in all the metals except in zinc, as a stronger dollar and crashing oil prices weigh on the complex. ... We are at $20,450 on nickel, down $50, and quiet. We are still holding above $20,000 mark, but charts still look weak." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Jim Lennon, analyst at Macquarie Bank - "We see weaker stainless steel demand coming through and we see the nickel pig iron producers in China still ramping up production"
  • Bloomberg reports that Cia Vale do Rio Doce "Vale" had its profit estimates cut by Citigroup Inc because of lower nickel prices.
  • Base metals have broken free of any bullish trend affecting the complex as a whole. Fundamentals dominate – prices in tight markets remain firm, while the price of metals with easing supply conditions has weakened. - more

  Philippine nickel ore exports to China, the world's biggest consumer of the metal, plunged 80 percent in June as lower prices of refined nickel and energy shortages cut production of nickel pig iron. - more

  Posco plans to increase crude steel output by 29 percent to meet rising demand from shipbuilders and automakers, seeking to overtake Nippon Steel Corp. as the world's second-largest steelmaker. - more

  Highland Pacific will receive $US1.37 billion from its joint venture partner for the Ramu nickel project in Papua New Guinea. - more

  Jindal Stainless Ltd. of India announced in 5 years ago the project to construct a new plant in Vishakhapatnam of Orissa State for production of ferro-chrome (with its final phase to produce 150,000 tons / year) but the wall for this project is how to secure chrome ore as raw material and the project has faced a difficulty. However, the materialization of this project is supposed to have taken a step forward. - more

  BHP Billiton Ltd., trying to buy Rio Tinto Group for $150 billion, forecast iron ore production would rise 23 percent this fiscal year after reporting record quarterly output today because of demand driven by China. - more

  Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has filed a defamation suit against former business partner Vladimir Potanin and The Moscow Times to defend his business reputation, a spokeswoman for the Moscow Arbitration Court said Tuesday. - more

  • Karnataka Department of Mines and Geology Officials busted an alleged racket of illegal transportation of iron ore using fake documents had seized about 48 trucks and arrested 43 persons in this connection at Surathkal, about 20 km from here yesterday. - more

  Two members of Plug Power Inc.'s board of directors are stepping down by the end of the month. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • (Metals Insider has discontinued publishing until Aug 11)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - July 23 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Tuesday, July 22

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 57 to 8904. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • It was very quiet on the news front today, and for the most part, so were the markets. The dollar slumped early against the euro, where it was nearing record levels when we published our morning update. Then Charles Plosser, President of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank, told a Philadelphia business group, that the US interest rate hikes should be given serious consideration in the near future. This turned the dollar around and quickly into the green, which in turn, helped take crude oil prices lower, which in turn helped push the Dow higher, even though higher interest rates are typically frowned on by Wall Street. Another victim of the rising dollar was metals, which ended the day mostly lower. Nickel was no exception, but it fought to maintain its grip on our invisible support line of $20,501/tonne (chart here). Note - Yesterday, Sucden added a new support line at $20,395/tonne. Indicator charts show nickel traded in a very narrow band today, with another fair sized reduction in LME warehouse stocks overnight, the primary bullish news of the day. LME nickel inventories had fallen 8.7% this year, as of last Friday, although they remain very high. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.30/lb , two cents lower than yesterday's close.  

  Reports

  • Canada Commodity Price Update - pdf here

  Speculation that Cuba's relations with Venezuela, its closest ally, might cool when Raul Castro became president has disappeared as the countries have forged even deeper and broader ties. - more

  Courtesy AISI - "In the week ending July 19 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,114,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 88.6 percent. Production was 2,059,000 tons in the week ending July 19, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 87.0 percent. The current week production represents a 2.7 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending July 19, 2008 is up 1.6 percent from the previous week ending July 12, 2008 when production was 2,081,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 87.2 percent."

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $ (no change) . Indicator charts show nickel was up earlier, but has since backtracked. Except for tin, the rest of the metals complex is trading in the green this morning, thanks in part to the dollar, which is near a record low against the Euro. Considering the support the dollar should be giving nickel this morning, and its inability to hold an early morning rally, nickel could be in trouble. No daily comment or report from Ed Meir at MF Global. And we featured two forecasts, from opposite points of view, so pick your poison.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Nickel Prices to Fall as Steelmakers Cut Purchases - "Nickel prices may average as much as 46 percent lower this year as steelmakers increased production of low-nickel content products, said Jindal Stainless Ltd., India's largest stainless steel producer." - more

  • Nickel expected to rally above $30,000/ton in Q4 - "Summer vacations are not only dragging down market demand but also market sentiment remains poor with the global economy badly impacted by the sky-high oil price which is triggering soaring global inflation today." - more

  Reports

  • Haywood Securities Commodity Price Revisions - pdf here
  • Oakvale Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • BBVA Commodity Observatory - pdf here
  • TD Bank Weekly Commodity Price report - pdf here
  • India Metals & Energy Commentary - pdf here
  • FDC Daily Monitor - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no metals commentary from MF Global today
  • Cash nickel is also seen falling further than forecast at the start of the year, as stocks of the metal have risen and demand from the stainless steel market has fallen behind expectations. - more

  Spanish steelmaker Acerinox expects stainless steel demand to pick up in September, it said on Monday after reporting a 62 percent tumble in first-half net profit due to weaker base metal prices. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 15th July 2008 = Producers Have Intention To Rise Price Of Charge Chrome For Shipments In Q4 / 08 - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • (Metals Insider has discontinued publishing until Aug 11)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jul 22 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Monday, July 21

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 51 to 8,961. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • US markets opened higher this morning after yet another large bank announced its quarterly profits had not fallen as low as the experts had predicted. But later it retreated, as investors tried to figure out what the market was doing. Robert Pavlik, chief investment officer at Oaktree Asset Management, told Marketwatch, "A lot of people are skeptical about what is going on in the overall market". And noteworthy to commodity investors, he added "Last week's uptick in financials, a gain of 11.4%, coincided with an 11.4% loss in the energy sector. It is telling you that money is being shifted around in the stock market, rather than new money coming in." More and more analysts have been suggesting recently, that the stock markets and commodities markets are fighting over some of the same investment dollars lately, and Pavlik's comment does suggest there maybe a slight correlation building, even if limited to equities. It would be interesting to know how many millions, if not billions of dollars, in American 401K plans have been pulled out of funds in recent months, and have been sidelined until holders feel the bleeding is over. Dollar was trading up and down today, but was falling as we published this wrap-up. Oil was up nearly $2 barrel after Iranian nuclear talks ended with no change. Metals were mostly trading in the green today, with only platinum in the precious, and tin in the industrial, showing slightly in the red. With the next support level set at $17,000/tonne, nickel traders appear to be aggressively trying to hold onto the $20,500/tonne mark. As you can see on this chart by Sucden thru Friday (here), the indicator lines all point south, but the market has spent most of the month trading between $20,395 and $21,500/tonne. We thought we were going to be dining on crow ala mode today, after indicator charts show the $20,501 line fell Friday, but those same charts show we have climbed back to, or over, that level today. The market is giving the appearance of a struggling swimmer trying to keep their head above water, but for every shark in the water, there are just as many lifeboat's. And any farmer worth his salt, will warn you to never turn your back on a bull, or for that matter, a bear. Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses slipped again overnight, although by much less than in recent days. Indicator charts show three month nickel jumped nearly $400 tonne in early morning trading, then slipped back to half that, where it spent the rest of the day rangebound. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $9.32/lb .    

  Commodity Comments

  • Australia's third largest listed nickel producer, Mincor Resources NL, has started production at its eighth mine in the Kambalda district of Western Australia, the McMahon nickel mine.

  Mining heavyweight Compania Vale do Rio Doce (RIO) expects continuing strong demand for its products thanks to solid growth in emerging countries, which it hopes will help it weather the slowdown in the U.S. - more

Nice graph from International Ferro Metals Limited 5/2008 report showing why stainless steel prices are NOT falling as fast as nickel is

Entire Report with more graphs - pdf here

  Bookmark - Designer Handbook - Stainless Steel Fasteners - pdf here

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.09/lb higher. Traders appear to still be fighting to hold the $20,501/tonne mark we keep harping on, but it is beginning to appear the analysts may be right, and it may not hold. Dollar was down early, and while still selling down against the Euro, it appears to be recovering some lost ground. Indicators show tin the only base or precious metal not selling higher this morning.    
  • Forbes morning metal news - more

  Nickel Gains in London as Stockpiles Decline to 8-Month Low - "Nickel rose in London, rebounding from a two-year low, as stockpiles of the metal used in stainless steel declined to the smallest in eight months, indicating supply is slowing." - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here (Friday)
  • Oakvale Capital Financial Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • South Africa Iron & Steel Institute 2nd Quarter 2008 - pdf here
  • July 2008 Molybdenum Letter - pdf here
  • Canada Mineral and Metal Commodity Reviews - Nickel 2006 - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - This morning, we are off to a mostly higher start in metals, as a weaker dollar and higher oil are both pushing prices higher.... Despite the early strength in metals, most charts patterns remain uninspiring. Moreover, if oil prices start to fade again, (likely in our view despite the current bounce), the downward pressure on metals could resume. .. We are at $20,600 on nickel, up $200, and still holding above $20,000 mark. However, our charts suggest that we could push lower from here if that psychological level gives way. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Lehman Brothers forecasts nickel to average $25,480/ton in 2008, down from a previous estimate of $27,580/ton
  • Japanese Iron and Steel Association statistics show that in May, Japan's exported 123,700 tons of stainless steel materials. 10.% higher than April and 4.3% higher than last year.
  • According to customs, China exported 5.22 million tons of steel products in June, down 340,000 tons or 6.1% from May and 1.14 million tons or 17.9% year-on-year, exported 20,000 tons of billet and 1.5 million tons of coke.
  • Christopher Knight of Delphi Metals - "Nickel's short term direction - Base building (watch for upside breakout)"
  • The State Grid Corp. of China said that the thermal coal stockpiles slipped by 8 percent over two weeks, thus worsening a nationwide electricity shortfall. (more on coal's bright future - here)
  • Are Commodities Reversing or Consolidating? - more

  OZ Minerals Ltd., the world's second- largest zinc producer, started output of nickel concentrate from its Avebury mine in Tasmania state. - more

  The Indonesian government and PT International Nickel Indonesia are renegotiating royalty on nickel produced by the subsidiary of the Canadian-based INCO Limited. - more

  The chairman of BHP Billiton has issued a veiled warning to the Australian government that its natural resources could end up being owned by the Chinese if regulators do not allow the miner to take over Rio Tinto. - more

  Armed with nothing more than a rod and reel, Andy Murphy is an unlikely environmental warrior, waging a fight against a plan to dump thousands of tonnes of mining waste into a trout pond in southeastern Newfoundland. - more

  China's nonferrous metals industry will remain downbeat in the second half of this year, with rising costs and weak consumption, according to a report by the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNMIA) released July 17. - more

  World crude steel production for the 66 countries reporting to the International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI) was 118.8 million metric tons (mmt) in June. This is 5.9% higher than the same month last year. - pdf report here

  (not nickel, but potentially related) Armed men raided a foreign-controlled copper-and-gold mine in the southern Philippines, burning a drill rig, the owners said Monday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • (Metals Insider has discontinued publishing until Aug 11)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jul 21 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Friday, July 18

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 47 to 9,012. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Dollar was slightly higher today, which put extra pressure on commodities. Metals were all trading in the red at press time, except for gold, which was up just a hair. Nickel had been holding above the $20,501 mark fairly solid the last few days (chart), and we were fairly confident it would hold longer. Did it? Not today. Indicator charts show nickel was lower most of the day, and was starting to climb back by its close. For the day, and week, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $9.23/lb  Market was very interesting this week, and not one a teacher of stock trading would likely pull out as a fitting example of the norm. On Monday and Tuesday of this week, the only thing traders were buying were tickets on a SS Dow-tanic lifeboat, as the markets slumped badly on a near financial sector panic. On Wednesday and Thursday, while it appeared nothing had really changed from an economic standpoint, meaning the ship was still taking on water, traders suddenly started jumping out of the lifeboats and crawling back aboard the ship. Today, everyone appears to be too tired and wet to care much what sinks and what floats. The Dow has been trading slightly up and down all morning, with oil, the one trigger that could potentially awaken the market, also taking a breather, spending much of the morning, only slightly higher.  It was a week that seemingly annoyed both the bears and bulls, with the only content traders being those in sailboats; riding, and not fighting the winds of change. And nickel? There are reasons to be bullish, and there are reasons to be bearish on short and long term nickel prices. The easiest answer to explain  what is going on with nickel these days might be that it has lost much of its sex appeal to traders. Copper gets a lot more press, and since tin knocked it out of the most expensive LME metal, it has just kind of blended into the metals crowd.  Will it come back? See you next week and we will find out together.
  • Dow Jones - more
  • Have a safe and enjoyable weekend!!

  Commodity Comments

  • On July 17, China's Jinchuan Group reduced the price of nickel to RMB163,000-166,000/mt.
  • JP Morgan analyst Michael Jansen - ""Aluminum and copper feel the softest right now while there is bottom picking underway in nickel, lead and zinc."

  China's nonferrous metals industry will remain downbeat in the second half of this year, with rising costs and weak consumption, according to a report by the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNMIA) released July 17. - more

  BHP Billiton Ltd., trying to buy Rio Tinto Group in a hostile $150 billion takeover bid, said rising commodity prices aren't in an "Asian bubble'' and China's demand for resources will remain high. - more

  (excerpt) Nickel's downturn is also raising questions about the viability of those higher up on the cost curve, analysts said. - more

 World crude steel production was 118.8 million mt in June, the International Iron and Steel Institute reported Friday. That was 5.9% higher than the same month last year. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.11/lb lower. Another large outbound shipment from LME warehouses, with yet another day of no inbounds, puts another dent in total numbers stored. According to indicator charts, our $20,501/tonne support level is being tested hard this morning. Dollar trading against the Euro has been up and down so far today, and at present, is flat.  Metals both precious and industrial, are all in the red, with only a few down enough to be in a 1% lower range. It's Friday, and without some unexpected news, the metals market should finish the week quietly.     
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • Oakvale Financial Markets - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - here
  • Canadian Production of Leading Minerals June 2008 - pdf here
  • GFMS Quarterly Newsletter - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Base metals ended mixed yesterday, with aluminum being the stand-out, and shedding ground on the back of lower energy prices, and more importantly, amid growing doubts that the recently announced Chinese production cutbacks will come in as announced.  ... We are off to a lower start today in metals despite the dollar being slightly weaker. We attribute today’s decline to a rise in Shanghai stock levels (see our table above), as well as data out of China showing local production for a variety of metals continuing to grow briskly, thus making the case for less imports down the road.  ... We are at $20,585 on nickel, down $190, and still holding above the psychologically important $20,000 mark. However, our charts suggest we could push lower still." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Copyright/courtesy Dow Jones - "Given the current economic backdrop and normally weaker steel demand during the summer months, there may not be substantial demand-led upside for LME nickel prices in the near term, says analyst Michael Widmer of Lehman Brothers...."Nickel demand remains subdued in all the main regions of the world," says Widmer. Still, nickel is somewhat oversold at present, and Widmer expects prices to perform seasonally better in 4Q 08."
  • Interfax - "China's nonferrous metals industry will remain downbeat in the second half of this year, with rising costs and weak consumption, according to a report by the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNMIA) released July 17."
  • Tex Reports - "China's steel production is forecast to fall by a total of 6,000,000-7,000,000 tons in crude steel equivalent in the next three months as Shoudu Iron & Steel Co and other steelmakers in Hebei province have taken a system of reducing iron and steel production each since July 8 for three months before an Aug 8 opening of the Olympics Games in Beijing, according to information made available in Tokyo. At the beginning of July, the municipal government of Tangshan city, Hebei province requested a total of 270 local companies to stop operations of their plants by July 8 for an improved atmospheric environment toward the opening of the Beijing Olympics. - more

  Continued deterioration of economic conditions added to seasonal and cyclical weakness for metals shipments in June. - more

  Toledo Mining Corp. may double a nickel supply contract with BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's largest mining company, to 1 million metric tons of ore per year to help offset weakening Chinese demand, an executive said. - more

  In its latest monthly review of the metals markets, Fortis Bank (which produces the study in conjunction with VM Group) comes up with a series of price forecasts over a range of time horizons. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (charts and archives)
  • (Metals Insider has discontinued publishing until Aug 11)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jul 18 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, July 17

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 33 to 9,059. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • The U.S. Labor Department reported that the number of people signing up for first time unemployment rose by 18,000 last week to 366,000, lower than economists had expected. The U.S. Commerce Department reported housing starts were actually up in June by 9.3%, but upon closer examination it turned out this was because of a rule change. In reality, construction of single-family homes fell by 5.3%, its slowest pace in 17 years. MarketWatch then reported "Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region weakened for the eighth straight month in July while a key inflation gauge rose to the highest level in 28 years, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said Thursday." While this less than encouraging news was mostly shrugged off by American traders, who took the Dow higher, overseas traders were less impressed and the the dollar fell of the trading green into the red against the Euro. In turn, the dollar dropping gave a boost to metals trading, with most moving into the green. Nickel was no different, and  indicator charts show it had an upwards stair step trading day. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.41/lb . In other news, we have removed the site links to the daily Metals Insider report, as the editors announced this morning that they had joined forces with Reuters and would not be publishing the report for the next month. While Ed Meir from MF Global is reporting that the $20,000 tonne mark is providing a formidable psychological point for nickel traders, we still are watching the $20,501 tonne support line that he abandoned earlier. Yesterday, it was not looking good, but that line has held once again. We may be eating 'ala crow' by weeks or months end, but we still feel this line should not have been replaced so quickly. We will call it a weak support with a history of holding. RSI was showing the market was oversold when the markets opened this morning, so some of today's buying could have been technical. LME inventories ended down, with no inbound, but a whooping 858 tonne shipment from Singapore that probably raised some eyebrows.

  Commodity Comments

  • China's actual growth rate is now irrelevant: like all statistics its essentially a backward looking system of measuring growth in Gross Domestic Product. - more
  • RTT News - International Ferro Metals Ltd. said Ronnie Barnard resigned from the position of chief operating officer and from its Board of directors, effective July 17, to pursue other interests.

  China's spot molybdenum oxide prices moved marginally higher this week with indications mostly within a range of $33.60-33.70/lb on a CIF basis as prices are supported by supply concern in China, local sources said Thursday. Prices were at around $33.40-33.60/lb quoted a week ago. - more

  China produced 263 million tons of crude steel in the first six months of 2008, up 9.6% year-on-year, though the growth rate came in 9.3 percentage points below that recorded for the same period last year, the National Bureau of Statistics reported on July 17. - more

  • China produced 1.82 million tons of refined copper during the first half of 2008, up 19% on an annual basis, while production in June only edged up 2.22% from May to 331,000 tons, according to preliminary figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics on July 17. - more (the Google ad covers much of the chart on this article. Here are the numbers for nickel - June output 13,798 / Monthly change - N/A - YOY change +35.4% - Output in Jan thru Jun 2008 - 70,752,000 - YOY change - +17.6%)

  High in the monsoon mists in eastern India there is place called Golgola where witchdoctors still make sacrifices to the gods and where the tribes believe the hills are sacred, but where they fear their way of life is under threat. - more

  Talks between BHP Billiton and a joint venture partner in the Philippines over development of a nickel mine in the country are advancing and the two may soon finalise a deal on the issue, according to Philippine Environment Secretary Jose Atienza. - more

  Current high steel prices provide no incentive for producers to hedge risks, leaving newly launched futures badly short of liquidity, and it may be months before a bear market returns to stimulate trade. - more

  Xstrata Nickel´s Fraser/Thayer Lindsley mine rescue team captured the top prize in the 2008 competition, which was held in Sudbury. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $ .00/lb steady. At press, dollar was slightly higher but floundering, with the metals complex mixed, and seemingly on hold. Nickel was up and then down earlier, but currently holding at no change. LME nickel inventories took another big hit overnight. Since the mini-flood of Russian nickel stopped piling into the European warehouses two weeks ago, LME inventories have fallen by 2,532 tonnes in the last 10 business days... over 5%. Considering demand for stainless steel production is reportedly low, the degree of descent here is concerning. While we still expect another stream of stockpiled shipments to arrive from Murmansk in the near future, the overall rate of withdrawals for 2008 remains higher than any inbound rate, and bears keeping an eye on. Four years ago, we had analysts telling us that the sudden growth in China was no more than preparations for the 2008 Olympics. Those Olympics are now less than a month away, and while no one has dared repeat the ridiculous forecasts of the past, the Olympics itself is partly to blame for the slowdown in China recently. What will happen after the games are over, and the world has gone home remains to be seen. The fourth quarter could prove to be interesting, unless economic confidence remains in doubt.         
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Nickel Rises in London on Lower Stockpiles; Copper Erases Gain - "Nickel climbed in London as withdrawals from stockpiles signaled demand may be strengthening." - more

  Reports

  • BMO Monthly "The Goods" - pdf here
  • WBMS January to May 2008 Metal Balances - pdf here
  • Fortis Asian Metals Monthly - pdf here
  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Oakvale Financial Markets Update - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Base metals finished lower yesterday, although a late-day recovery lifted the complex off the worst levels of the day. In fact, most commodities were down yesterday, as a blistering rally in the beleaguered US equity markets, (with a good part of the surge attributable to short-covering), sent money out of the sector. ... We are slightly higher this morning, but, except for lead, which is off slightly. There is no real news behind today’s action. The dollar is slightly weaker today, and could explain some of the bounce we are seeing, but with energy prices weak again today, and questions about metals demand still very much a key factor overhanging the markets, we still favor see a downward bias in metals over the next few days. ... We are at $20,525 on nickel, up $125, and barely holding above the psychologically important $20,000 mark. However, charts still point lower."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  Taiyuan Iron and Steel Group (TISCO), China's largest stainless steel producer, plans to raise spot prices for its 400-series stainless steel by between RMB 300 ($44) and RMB 500 ($73.33), a company official told Interfax July 17. - more

  Government should not tamper with how speculation works in commodities markets, says the CEO of the London Metal Exchange. - more

  According to China Metal Raw Materials Trade Organization Stainless Steel Consortium on July 14th2008, Chinese refined nickel output excluding nickel pig iron would reach 158,000 tonnes in 2008 as Compared with the output 115,772 tonnes in 2007 up by 36.5% YoY. - more

  China's crude steel output rose 9.6 per cent in the first half of 2008, to 263 million tonnes, industry website Umetal has said, implying that June output hit a fresh monthly record. - more

  In order to reduce the cost for production of stainless steel, it seems to be better for mills to purchase more nickel-based stainless steel scrap, because the current price of nickel contained in nickel-based stainless steel scrap corresponds to a lower level than half of LME nickel price. - more

  The steel industry could be in for another shock with the government now considering banning exports of flat steel products with a view to check rising inflation. - more

  The Department of Commerce has issued a preliminary determination that imports of stainless steel plate in coil from Belgium have been sold in the U.S. at less than fair value from producers receiving subsidies from the home-nation government. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jul 17 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, July 16

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 58 to 9,092. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Marketwatch announced the news as US markets opened - "A double-digit increase in gasoline prices helped push the nation's consumer price index higher by 1.1% in June, the biggest increase since Hurricane Katrina nearly three years ago, the Labor Department reported Wednesday." Typically, news like this would drive the Dow lower. But today, another press release got more attention. Again, Marketwatch "Output of the nation's factories, mines and utilities increased 0.5% last month, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday. This followed a 0.7% drop in April and a 0.2% decline in May." While the positive news is primarily attributed to the ending of a strike affecting GM production, the news came on the heels of more good news. The Wells Fargo bank reported its second quarter profit's declined by 23%. Good news? Ok maybe not wonderful, but considering the market has been bailing out of financial stock quicker than roaches at a Raid convention, the mere fact the bank made a profit, was apparently good enough news for stock traders. As one forum writer put it "I quit trying to figure out the why's of this market a long time ago. I just trade with the flow." The dollar was up today, on news that US inflation had hit a 26-year high, and oil fell for a second day after a rise in inventories was reported. Metals started out mixed this morning, but by our noon update, were all trading in the red. Nickel slumped from the outset, and by afternoon, was trading in a narrow range, albeit still in the red. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.25/lb . It appears MF Global's Ed Meir was correct, and the $20,501 support level, that held before, did not this time.
  • And if you are having a bad day, read the first line of this news story just published. "Zimbabwe's inflation rate, already the world's highest, hit an astronomical 2.2 million percent Wednesday after Robert Mugabe's re-election in a one-man poll critics had said the nation could ill afford."

  Reports

  • Standard & Poors Commodity Perspective - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Copyright/courtesy Scotia Capital China Update - "In addition to “going electric,” another trend in the nickel pig iron industry is that stainless steel mills are increasingly building their own nickel pig iron facilities to supply their own needs. By doing this, the steel mills benefit from the iron content in the finished product, either nickel pig iron or low-grade ferro-nickel. In the past, the iron content was considered free, but after the sharp increase in iron ore prices over the past two years, the iron content in nickel pig iron has become increasingly valuable for stainless steel producers. In fact, we would argue that if adjusted for the value of iron content, the break-even point for the nickel pig iron industry in China, on a refined nickel equivalent basis, has fallen at least US$3/lb to US$8-$13/lb, even with this year’s sharply higher coke cost."
  • Rusmet reports that even with the price of nickel on the decline, Chinese production of pig nickel iron rose by 42% in the first five months of 2008. Rusmet is reporting the cost of profitable production of pig nickel is now less than $15,500/tonne ($7.03/lb). Reported production for all of 2007 was approximately 75-80,000 tonnes, with 40,000 tonnes being processed thru May of this year.
  • US government data released show overall imports of stainless steel during the first five months of 2008, is down 11% compared to the same period in 2007, primarily due to a drop in stainless pipe and tubing. (graph - here)
  • Miners have joined the banks in the doldrums, as leading UK shares remain in the red despite a rise on Wall Street. - more
  • In the end, a falling oil price came to the rescue of the UK market, but investors were still left feeling rather battered by the day's twists and turns. - more
  • "People have little confidence in the future. Right now, we are in the deer-in-the-headlights phase of the economic cycle." - more

  China's steel maker Shougang Group expects its output to fall 49% to 4.2 million mt/year in 2008, down from 8.2 million mt/year in 2007, the official Xinhua News Agency said over the weekend, quoting a company source. The lower output is expected as it moves to cut pollution from its plants by 70% for next months' Olympic Games in Beijing. - more

  Ferrochrome prices have edged lower as demand from stainless steel mills has softened partly because of the traditional summer production slowdown and partly because of the continued collapse in sales to makers of residential construction and automotive end products. - more

  Iron ore and coal freight rates have steadied at historically high levels as the market continues to defy seasonal trends, leading to predictions that new records will again be set in the fourth quarter. - more

  A big anti-mining protest, expected to draw 5,000 citizens of Brooke’s Point town in Palawan, will be held Thursday starting between 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the town’s plaza. - more

  The deputy CEO of Russia's metals giant Norilsk Nickel Tav Morgan said on Wednesday he had tendered his resignation days after his boss Denis Morozov was sacked. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.11/lb   lower. Dollar is trading higher so far this today, and metals are trading mixed. Base metals are currently all lower, while precious metals are both up and down. Market appears to be wanting to re-test the 20,501/tonne mark, which Sucden has also now abandoned as a key support line (chart here)
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • Fortis Metals Monthly - pdf here
  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Oakvale Capital Financial Markets Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • India Daily Metals Commentary - pdf here

  Copyright/courtesy Dow Jones - "The world nickel market was in a 7,100 metric ton surplus during January to May 2008, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said Wednesday. Refined production for the five months totaled 579,000 tons, while consumption stood at 572,000 tons. Mine production in January to May 2008 was at 612,000 tons, 6.9% below the comparable 2007 total."

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal prices were walloped yesterday during an across-the-board retreat in most commodity sectors. Crude oil prices saw their biggest dollar decline in some 17 years, tumbling by about $7/brl on the day. And for the first time in a while, the weaker dollar failed to work its upside magic on the markets, as focus instead shifted to the alarming meltdown we are seeing in global equity markets and the sobering inflation outlook put forth by Chairman Ben Bernanke in prepared remarks to Congress. It seems that commodity markets are coming around to the view that one cannot have a situation of ever-rising prices just as the pillars supporting international growth are being eroded by higher global inflation rates and tighter money.... We are at $20,725 on nickel, down $125, and still looking weak. We do not see any technical support until the $17,000 mark."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • German-based ELG Haniel GmbH has acquired Utica Alloys based at Utica in New York.  ELG is involved in the trading and recycling of a range of metals for the stainless steel industry.
  • MB - European nickel premiums have fallen in Europe on seasonally slow demand and poor market sentiment, market participants told MB on Tuesday
  • German-based Primex and ArcelorMittal have reached an agreement whereby ArcelorMittal Stainless International is acquiring the 35% stake in Uginox Sanayi ve Ticaret Ltd Sirketi ("Uginox") which was owned by Primex.

  China’s Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Group) Co., Ltd. (Tisco) and Baosteel are mulling an increase of RMB300~500/ton on 400 series spot prices. - more

  Nickel mining firm Platinum Group Metals Corp. (PGMC) has asked the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) to investigate publicly-listed Oriental Peninsula Resources Group Inc. and suspend the trading of its shares for persisting to conduct mining operations in Palawan despite legal impediments. - more

  Australia's two leading iron ore producers, BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd, have settled on a 71 percent rise in iron ore contract prices with European steel mills, an Australian newspaper reported on Tuesday. - more

  A top researcher who has done extensive studies on the Gende people of the Yandera and Ramu nickel/cobalt mine area in Papua New Guinea has asked why these people are not benefiting from the mining activities. - more

  The noise from the resources boom continues to get fainter as another high cost Australian base metal mine is to be shut, the third decision to curtail production and/or development work in a week because of weakening world metal prices. - more

  The subject to control a nickel company by New Caledonians is thought to be unable to materialize for the time being. - more

  Strong raw material demand from China saw miner Rio Tinto produced record amounts of iron ore and aluminum in the second quarter. Tom Albanese, CEO of Rio Tinto, spoke to CNBC about the outlook. - video here

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Base Metal Prices-Mumbai-Jul 16 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us
Tuesday, July 15
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 31 to 9,150. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • It was reported early this morning, that investor sentiment in Europe's largest economy, Germany, fell to a record low. The Euro, however gained ground, and hit a new record high against the dollar. How come? Apparently, no matter how bad confidence might be in the European economy, it's not nearly as bad as the confidence, or the growing lack thereof, there appears to be in the US economy. RTT News reported "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offered a bleak economic outlook to Congress Tuesday, saying that downside risks to economic growth have increased while at the same time the upside risks to inflation have intensified since he last testified in February." This type of news would typically hurt the dollar, but the Euro actually backed off its record high. President Bush held a news conference this morning, and while he acknowledged the economy was "slow", he failed to take the opportunity to threaten Iran, which helped oil prices drop. This decline, in turn, helped the Dow recover from an earlier 200+ point drop. The rest of the days news wasn't entirely encouraging. The U.S. producer price index rose more than expected, retail sales, boosted by the $150 billion dollar stimulus package, rose a mere .1% instead of the .5% the analysts had forecast, and business inventories grew less than expected. Home prices in Canada slipped in June for the first time in 9 years. It is also worth noting that a month ago, the Fed issued a statement that said the downside risks to growth had "diminished somewhat". Today, Fed chief Bernanke, stated there are "significant downside risks" to economic growth. Metals were mostly down, both industrial and precious. Nickel held its own though, while it looked earlier like it could suffer another rough day. Indicator charts show nickel started out trading below yesterday's close, briefly climbed into the green, then fell back where it traded much of the rest of the day in the red. Indicator charts also show nickel traded in a range that spanned over $1000/tonne. However, by the end of the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel actually ended the day at $9.43/lb , two pennies higher than yesterday.
  • Interesting article below called "Chickens coming home to roost with Inco contract - more" about the potential of a strike at Vale-Inco Canada next year. While it is written as one person's opinion on the situation, it does us well to remember that the history of nickel mining has a strong track record of strikes at key mines turning otherwise calm nickel markets very bullish, very quickly. And while the Vale-Inco contract talks in Sudbury in 2009 are major negotiations to keep in mind, we have two others yet to be decided this year, that bear equal consideration. The union at Vale-Inco's Thompson Mine, Smelter, and Refinery in Canada will see their current contract expire on September 15 of this year. And at Xstrata's Dominican Republic ferro-nickel operation, Falcondo, their union contract expires on November 30th.  
  • Globe & Mail - more

  Commodity Comments

  • Barclays - "Refined nickel consumption in May at 110,900 metric tons - the lowest monthly figure since December last year...Looking ahead we expect nickel demand to stay subdued until Q4 which will continue to weigh on prices and cap any significant upside price momentum."
  • Press release - AK Steel Holding Corp. said Tuesday it is raising spot market prices for its carbon steel products by $50 per ton for all new orders, effective Sept. 1. The U.S.-based steel company said that the price hike stems from increased demand for carbon steel products, as well as the need to recover increases in steelmaking inputs.
  • Investors should sell commodities stocks because a slowing global economy will cut demand for raw materials such as copper, nickel and corn, according to strategists at Merrill Lynch & Co. and Morgan Stanley. - more

  Steel product prices in China will continue their current strong trend into the second half of the year, on the back of strong consumption and rising production costs, industry analysts said July 14. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.04/lb lower. Dollar is lower against the Euro this morning, but metals have not yet responded as one might typically expect them to. For the most part, the base metals are trading in the red, except for tin. Indicator charts show nickel has already spent the morning trading within a $500/tonne range, but at the moment, appear to be quiet. Many traders will be watching Bernanke testify before the US Senate this morning. If you like reports, we always have a number of them on Tuesday. Tomorrow is Third Wednesday prompt on the London Metal Exchange. LME inventories down on no inbound shipments.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • CommerzBank Commodity Spotlight - pdf here
  • Oakvale Capital Financial Markets Report - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - here
  • Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. Market Report - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Weekly - pdf here
  • Economic and Steel Market Outlook 2008-2009 - The July ’08 Report from EUROFER’s Economic Committee - here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Base metals ended modestly mixed yesterday, with nickel faring the worst and losing about $650/MT on the day. ... The second big factor overhanging the markets this week is the US dollar. It is getting pummeled today, hitting record lows against the Euro and now trading over 1.60. Curiously, metals are not responding much to this weakness, and are in fact generally lower today, (unlike energy). ..We are at $20,800 on nickel, up $50, and still looking weak. The $20,000 level could provide some psychological support, but we do not see any technical support until the $17,000 mark. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Marketwatch - ""Reality is setting in. The news over the weekend regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was good -- but also bad in that it's confirming what the market feared all along," according to Peter Cardillo, chief market at Avalon Partners."

  (excerpt) The Public Procurement Service also bought 300 tons of nickel ingots in another tender today from Glencore International AG at a premium of $395 per ton over LME official cash settlement prices, Lee Il Hyung, an official in charge of nickel purchases, said by phone. - more

  According to the statistics, Japanese stainless steel output was 298,611 tons in May, increased by 180 tons from April.  - more

  Project To Construct Fe-Ni Plant In Fujian / China Is Proceeding With Its Completion In 2009 = To Introduce Technology For This Production From Ukraine - more

  Chickens coming home to roost with Inco contract - more

  The consignment was later thought to have included war scrap from Iran. This led to the government considering a complete ban on the use of scrap metals from war zones in this trade, but four years on, the law is yet to be implemented. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending July 12 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,081,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 87.2 percent. Production was 2,059,000 tons in the week ending July 12, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 87.0 percent. The current week production represents a 1.1 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending July 12, 2008 is down 0.8 percent from the previous week ending July 5, 2008 when production was 2,096,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 87.8 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jul 15 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us
Monday, July 14
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 49 to 9,181. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • The US equity market continued in disarray with investors turning their attention from the Fannie/Freddie near panic of Friday, to wondering which bank might follow IndyMac's lead into a government takeover. While those with less than $100,000 in a bank are protected by the FDIC, stockholders are not, and thus the market is trying to decide who might be next. This has overshadowed the rumors of Friday, and the news on Sunday that the government was taking steps to insure Freddie and Fannie stay afloat. The dollar started out strong this morning as overseas investors looked at the Fed announcement in a positive light. Even US investors were initially enthusiastic, but the worries about more bank closures eventually drug the Dow into the red, where it is presently trading. This reversal on the part of the Yanks, concerned dollar traders, and earlier gains against the Euro began to dwindle. Metals had started the morning in the red on the strengthening dollar, but with the dollar reversal, many climbed back to near break even or went green. In base metals trading, there was one clear winner, and one clear loser for the day. Since passing nickel to become the most expensive traded metal on the London Metal Exchange, tin has refused to give up the distinction. It ended up about 1%. Nickel, on the other hand, had a rough day. Indicator charts show nickel opened around $200/tonne higher than it closed Friday, but then went into a tail-spin, at one point falling by over $1000/tonne. With the dollar reversal, the negative trend reversed itself slightly, but the bears refused to give up. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.41/lb .  MF Global's Ed Meir repeated his warning of a possible test of his $17,000/tonne support level this morning. That would put nickel under $8/lb?!. Sucden has support at $9.29/lb ($20,501/tonne), which held the last time it was tested, but even Mr Khamar has now added a TL4 chart line that indicates Mr Meir's number wasn't a number he just drew from a hat (chart here). To see where Ed got his number, he posts his chart each morning in his daily report - pdf here 
  • Forbes - more

  Reports

  • TD Economics Weekly Commodity Report - pdf here
  • Daily Metals & Energy Commentary - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Russian media source SOGRA is reporting that Patrick Buffet, head of French nickel miner Eramet, is forecasting that 2008 global nickel production will exceed demand by 20 thousand tons. This is much lower than the 68 thousand ton surplus the industry recorded last year. Using the Japanese metals newspaper 'Japan Metal' forecasts, world production of nickel is projected to grow 1.3% to 1.455 million tons, while demand is expected to grow 4.9% to 1.435 million tons.
  • Barclays Capital - "Looking ahead we expect nickel demand to stay subdued until Q4 which will continue to weigh on prices and cap any significant upside price momentum."
  • Citigroup - "Corrections of 20 - 30% have occurred with regularity in the mining/metals since the start of the Supercycle. While the macro landscape now indeed seems bleaker, the micro indicators have proven sound stock-picking signals. We recommend focusing on inventories, imports/exports, scrap prices, merchant premia etc. These are positive for Copper, Steel, Coal, mixed/improving for Aluminum, and poorer for Lead, Zinc, Nickel."
  • Brook Hunt - (nickel) The forecast is for a metal deficit of 6 kT in 2008, reverting to a surplus of 42 kT in 2009 and 87 kT in 2010

  Botswana Metal Refinery (BMR) general manager, Wayne Venter has not ruled out the possibility of the Russian-based Norilsk Nickel International relocating the Activox Refinery technology to Russia. - more

  • After a year as chief executive officer of Russian mining group, Norilsk Nickel International, Peter Breese has called it quits to pursue other interests. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:45 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.39/lb lower. As Ed from MF Global stated in his report, after the weekend announcement by the Fed to ease investor concerns over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the dollar is much stronger this morning, which in turn is hurting the metals complex. All industrial and precious metals are trading lower. Nickel saw a substantial decline in LME stored inventories overnight, as European warehouses shipped, but did not receive, and an Asian LME warehouse finally had an outbound shipment recorded.    
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Forbes - "Metals - Base metals supported by supply jitters, safe haven buying" - more

  Reports

  • Oakvale Daily Financial Report - pdf here
  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Bank Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • Haywood Security Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here
  • World Bank - Commodity Markets Review - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Base metals prices pushed higher on Friday, led mainly by ali, which rose on continued concerns about supply cutbacks in China, but the gains were pared back somewhat by the close. A weaker dollar and surging oil prices also helped the advance, while imploding equity markets sent more money into commodities as well. ... Things are moving with breathtaking speed as we open the new trading week.  ... We are at $21,050 on nickel, down $550, and still looking very weak. Charts suggest that a move lower from here is still likely, possibly to the $17,000 mark. (Red line in our charts)(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Investors are being warned not to view commodities as a safe haven despite their recent relative success compared with equities and bonds.- more

  MB's 1st South African Ferro-Alloys Conference has revealed that China's stainless demand is viewed as the key to the recovery of the global stainless market following the end of the summer vacation period. - more

  • China’s Lianzhong Stainless Steel (Lisco) has decided to have further cut on its 201 grade stainless production in July to sustain the current weak market. - more
  • Deflecting the fact that major stainless steel mills of China have been continuing to decrease their production of stainless steel, the market price of high carbon ferrochrome in China is falling. - more

  (excerpt) ... as Liberum Capital highlighted the "growing evidence of a slowdown in the steel segment". "Spot ferrochrome prices are sliding and we worry that the disappointing ferrochrome contract of Monday may turn out to be this cycle's peak," the broker said." - more

  Jindal Stainless (JSL), the country's largest stainless steel manufacturer, is close to acquiring chrome ore and manganese mines in West Asia to cater to its project in Orissa. - more

  "We say clearly," said Raphael Mapou, "No, there was no agreement between the Rheebu Nuu committee and the representative of Vale Inco. No, there was no agreement on the hose for dumping at sea "  - translated version here - original French here

  • Ferro-Nickel Plant As Joint Venture By Posco And SMSP Starts To Operate From September 2008 = New Caledonian Government Grants Permission To Export Nickel Ore For South Korea - more

  It  was not the best of weeks, for one reason or another. We'll get to some quite positive pointers for investors in a moment - trends that may be your friend, in other words - but let's get the gloomy stuff out of the way first. - more

  China's drive to reopen thousands of small coal mines is failing, deepening the country's worst power crisis in years as local officials still fear Beijing's wrath if they suffer high-profile disasters. - more

  Despite a brace of judicial rulings from the English courts against blackening reputations as a business tactic, United Company Rusal has reacted to the defeat of its candidates for the Norilsk Nickel board with this blistering ad hominem attack: - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jul 14 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us
Friday, July 11
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 83 to 9,230. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • For the metals complex, the day ended much the same as it started. Dollar was trading down, and metals were trading up. Except for nickel. Nickel trading started out well into the green, with indicators showing at one time it was up by around $500/tonne. By afternoon, those gains had evaporated, and the price continued to slide. For the day, three month nickel ended at $9.80/lb . For the week, nickel gained 5.15%. That is for the bulls. And for the bears, three month nickel is down 1.3% for the month, and 16.2% for the year. Now everyone can start their weekend happy!  
  • Bloomberg - more
  • Have a safe and enjoyable weekend!!

  Commodity Comments

  • Courtesy/copyright Dow Jones - U.S. nickel imports fell 6.5% in May from last month, but was up 14.7% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Friday. U.S. nickel exports fell 25.7% in May from the previous month, but was up 25.9% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Friday.
  • Edward Meir, commodity analyst at MF Global Ltd., talks with Bloomberg's Betty Liu about the factors affecting oil prices and outlook for the energy market. - video here

  China's spot molybdenum oxide prices this week moved up to around $33.40-33.60/lb on a CIF basis compared with $33.20-33.40/lb quoted a week ago, as producers and traders sold less, local sources said. - more

  Turkey's exports of chrome ore continue to climb. Official statistics released earlier in the week, show January thru June exports totaled 1,024,777 tonnes, compared to 662,092 tonnes in th same period of 2007. While China remains the top destination for chrome ore from Turkey, accounting for 60% of their exports, number two destination, Russia, and number 3, Sweden, show the greatest annual increase. During the first 6 months of 2007, Russia imported 19,500 tonnes and Sweden imported 209,346 tonnes. This year, Russia imported 209,346 tonnes and Sweden 139,299 tonnes. In the same period China saw its imports increase from 595,494 tonnes to 617,264 tonnes.

  Merafe Resources Ltd., a producer of ferrochrome in South Africa, gained the most in four months in Johannesburg trading after saying first-half profit jumped because of higher metal prices. - more

  • Merafe's attributable saleable ferrochrome production for the year is therefore expected to be approximately 307,000 tonnes, an increase of 8% over the previous year.
  • European benchmark ferrochrome prices have increased from $1.00/lb in the fourth quarter of 2007 to $2.05/lb in the third quarter of 2008, an increase of 105%.
  • Production costs are rising for all ferrochrome producers due to increased prices of oil, electricity, reductants and high mining sector inflation.
  • While stainless steel production has slowed due to, inter alia, the traditional seasonal slowdown and some destocking, we believe that this is a short-term situation and that stainless steel production in Europe and China will recover and that ferrochrome prices will remain strong with further price increases expected.
  • (source)

  Given the global hike in steel prices, Indian steelmakers may be forced to hike prices in the next couple of months. - more

  Goro Nickel : Tous d'accord pour le tuyau - French version only here (online translators butcher this story badly)

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around  $.02/lb higher. Dollar is slightly weaker, and most metals are trading solidly in the green. It is worth noting MF Global's Ed Meir morning comments today, and what he says about nickel. Considering Ed has been rather bearish on nickel lately, his warning that funds might possibly target nickel and tin next for a rally will raise a few eyebrows. Sucden's Nimit Khamar is predicting today's action will be mostly consolidation in the $9.75/lb and $10.16/lb range. JP Morgan analyst Michael Jansen told readers "The clear themes have been de-leveraging - favoring the under-performers over the out-performers". Triland Metals analyst Michael Khosrowpour warned his readers that profit taking could hit the LME market soon. Worth noting that for a third day in a row, European LME warehouses have not received any additional nickel in. If anyone knows how long it takes an empty barge to sail from Rotterdam to Dudinka, reload and return, we would be interested in that information.   
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Thomson Financial - more

  Domestic Price Of Ferro-Chrome In China Is Weakening For Decreasing Production Of Stainless Steel = Price Of Charge Chrome At End June Has Fallen To US$1.87 Per Lb. Of Cr - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "We had another blistering rally in metals yesterday, although trading was extremely choppy and many in the group gave back a portion of their earlier gains. ... Commodities are on fire once again today. Oil is up again, and is now hovering just below record highs on a variety of headlines, all having to do with possible supply disruptions. The dollar is weaker against the Euro, and trading close to 1.58...We are at $21,800 on nickel, down $100, as nickel sits out today’s higher move. We are still neutral on nickel, although the price rotations we see suggest that funds could target nickel (and tin) next, as they have both been relative laggards." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Courtesy Bloomberg - "Commodity assets under management rose 19 percent to $270 billion in the second quarter, a ``sub- optimal performance,'' Barclays Capital said."

  It is reported that Chinese ferrochrome market, which has dropped for a long time, came back after two major steelmakers set higher purchase prices for high carbon ferrochrome. - more

  South Korea's POSCO, the world's No.4 steelmaker, said on Friday current strength in global steel prices would continue for at least two to three quarters, driven by strong growth in Asia. - more

  Beijing Shougang Group, one of China's leading steel makers and the capital's major polluter, is fulfilling its commitment to cut output and pollution by 70 percent for the Olympic Games, a company source said today. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jul 11 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us
Thursday, July 10
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 41 to 9,313. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Dollar started in a gaining mood this morning, but metals appeared to not care. On the heels of the record setting performance of aluminum, and an influx of fund money, shorts were forced to cover early on. As the afternoon trading proceeded, the dollar suddenly took a dive into negative territory. Instead of adding fuel to the metals fire though, a few of the base metals began to lose their earlier momentum, with a few actually ending in the red. Nickel was not one of these, and Dow jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.93/lb . While up for the day, the late afternoon trading sentiment for nickel had shifted to negative, and much of the early afternoon gains had been lost.  Indicator charts show that nickel was selling over $10/lb at one point in the day. Nimit Khamar of Sucden, in his chart this morning (here), stated the "break above $9.30/lb is positive and should lead furthers gains up to $22,400/tonne mark, which was higher than his $9.98/lb resistance. This has appeared to have played out, but after cresting the $10.16/lb mark, the price of nickel has apparently back tracked rather rather quickly.  

  Commodity Comments

  • Copyright/courtesy Dow Jones - "The updraft in aluminum triggered fresh buying by funds, said traders, forcing a few large short-holders in lead, zinc and nickel to cover......A better close for LME nickel Thursday has set it up to challenge $25,000/ton resistance, said one London technical analyst."

  International Ferro Metals Ltd (IFM) boosted ferrochrome production by 16 percent in its fiscal fourth quarter to end June and said on Thursday prices were expected to keep pushing higher. - more (more quotes from article below)

  • Although the current quarter was slow in stainless steel, the main market for ferrochrome, this was only a temporary issue and prices were due to extend their rise in the final three months of the year, the firm said. An increase of 10 percent is very realistic," Chief Executive Stephen Turner told a conference call after the firm released a trading statement.
  • IFM, 26 percent owned by China's Jiuquan Iron and Steel Group Company, suffered a shortfall in third-quarter output, producing 52,422 tonnes, due to power shortages and water problems.

  Mirabela Nickel Ltd., building the world's third-largest open-pit nickel mine in Brazil, said it is in talks to sell half of the project's concentrate to OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel or Jinchuan Group Co. - more

  Samancor Chrome and Hernic Ferrochrome are considering building a coal-fired power plant in an effort to offset the power shortages that are forecast to remain a feature of South African business for years. - more

  The mining boom has boosted job levels just as the country's economic prospects are being swamped by a wave of negative news. - more

  (excerpt) ....The latest victim of the violence was a 70-year-old woman, who was beaten and thrown onto a cooking fire in the northern nickel-mining town of Bindura, the MDC said in an e-mailed statement today. - more

  Business at Blue Ridge Metal Recycling is 10 times what it was four years ago. But so are the hassles that have come as states nationwide scramble to cut down on dramatic increases in metal thefts, Traub said. - more

  World Average Carbon Steel Prices - Latest Forecast From MEPS - here

  Production of Stainless Steel: Part One - here

  • Production of Stainless Steel: Part Two - here
  • The above articles are from a pay site but many articles on this page are free - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around  $.27/lb higher. Dollar is up, but so are metals, across the board. Some of the analysts are blaming short covering, some are crediting the move to technicals. We believe its a little of both. The bulls really have nothing to base any long term run on except maybe traders may feel the market is oversold. Sucden put the RSI at 85.3, which implies nickel is actually over-bought, while MF Global has the RSI at 42, signifying slight oversold. These numbers mean more to traders than those of us in the real world, and in the supply/demand picture the only 'out-of-the-recent-norm' is news that for the second time this month, Europe did not receive a large shipment of nickel into one of its warehouses. On the other hand, the highly respected Heinz Pariser told a Johannesburg metals conference that stainless steel users, the largest single customer for nickel, may use nearly 10% less nickel this year, thanks to substitution. While we would like to pretend the market realized it had fallen below our $10/lb forecast, and is currently just trying to correct its grievous error, this will probably turn out to be no more than one of those mini rallies, and we doubt it lasts very long.     
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Forbes - more

  Nickel Use in Stainless Steel May Drop 9.5%, Heinz Pariser Says  - Stainless steel makers, who consume more nickel than any other industry, may use 9.5 percent less of the metal this year, metals research firm Heinz H. Pariser said. - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "The dollar is slightly stronger today, but not doing much to stem the advance in metals; energy prices have reversed earlier losses and are up a tad, while US stocks are called slightly higher after another drubbing they took yesterday.  ... We are at $22,000 on nickel, up $550, and steady. We seem to be moving back into at the trading range that was broken earlier in the month, but would still be neutral on nickel here.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • China's consumer confidence index dropped in the second quarter, reflecting an expected cool down in the country's economy.
  • CPM Group, New York, forecasts molybdenum to average $34/lb this year compared to $30.89/lb in 2007. For 2009 they forecast the price at $32.25/lb.

  Beijing Antaike Information estimated in early 2008 that Chinese domestic stainless crude steel output may reach 9 million tonnes in 2008, according to annual production plans in stainless steelworks in China. However, stainless steel market is out of expectation, so Antaike revised their forecast for stainless steel production in 2008. - more

  Jinchuan Group Co., Asia's biggest nickel producer, raised the price of the refined metal to reflect the increase in global rates. - more

  In its latest molybdenum market study, CPM says tight credit markets and other developments have caused molybdenum’s forward supply curve to shift over the past year. - more

  The Goro Nickel mining company in New Caledonia says Unesco made the reef a world heritage site with the full knowledge of there being an industry in the area. - more

  The all-Russian union of nickel, cobalt and platinum metals workers has asked the board of directors at MMC Norilsk Nickel to appoint Mikhail Prokhorov as CEO of the company. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jul 10 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us
Wednesday, July 9
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 125 to 9,272. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • The US dollar started out lower today on news Iran had test fired nine missiles overnight, one of which has the capability of reaching Israel. This news helped oil regain some of its fall over the past few days, which in turn hurt the dollar. Later, the US reported that its crude oil inventories had fallen more than expected, and the dollar continued its slide. Metals were all trading in the green at press time. Both precious and base. And nickel? Indicator charts show nickel was up slightly and trading in a very narrow band during the morning. But the last four hours saw the bulls take charge. While Ed at MF Global lowered his support for nickel to $7.71/lb, his old $9.30/lb support has held once again.  Sucden credited yesterday's mini rally to short covering, so we will have to wait to see what the analysts credit today's bump to. Technicals are starting to give a slightly mixed picture. Technically, based on the trendline, there was no reason to believe the $20,100 support would hold, having been beaten once, and today's jump, if it turns out to be something besides short covering, could indicate the $9.30/lb support might hold longer than expected. Nimit Khamar, from Sucden in his daily report and chart, showed a preference for prices staying in the $20,501 to $21,500/tonne range today, and it appears that, at least for today, he got it right (here). Inventories fell again, and Europe received no inbound nickel for the first time this month. Without having European spies at our disposal, we can only assume this means one of two things. Norilsk has cleaned out their 4 week built stockpile and will resume normal shipments, or, even more likely, there are a bunch of empty barges heading back to Dudinka to reload for round two. Time will tell. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day's trading at $9.30/lb     

  Commodity Comments

  • Copyright/courtesy Dow Jones - "Meanwhile, LME nickel stocks posted a 138 ton drawdown this session, while canceled warrants rose for a third day and now constitute 6.1% of stocks, noted Barclays Capital. "However, with demand conditions from the key end-use sector, stainless steel still weak, prices are unlikely to make great headway to the upside," BarCap said."
  • Copyright/courtesy Reuters - "China's steel product exports in June retreated unexpectedly from the previous month's 10-month peak, as worries about trade conflicts and a possible export tax hike restrained Chinese mills from shipping overseas, traders said."
  • Copyright/courtesy Reuters - "A key measure of Australian consumer confidence fell to 16-year lows in July as record petrol prices and a sliding share market hurt family finances, in just the latest sign of spreading economic weakness."

  (excerpt) But the main reason exports fell was minus 171.4 precent loss in the price of ferronickel, which last year represented more than half of the national sales abroad, but reduced in the first five months. Between January and May 2007, US$475.4 million worth of ferronickel was exported, whereas in the same period this year they fell to US$303.9 million.- more

  There has been a global shift from austenitic to ferritic stainless steel grades with high nickel prices acting as a trigger for this shift, German firm Heinz H Pariser Alloy Metals & Steel owner Heinz Pariser said on Wednesday. - more

  Nickel Magazine, June 2008 -- Pulp and paper mills use many speciality chemical additives in the process of creating the paper products we use every day. - more

  • Primary nickel production is energy intensive but, put in perspective, it accounts for less than one-tenth of one percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. That makes us a small part of the problem. - more

  Perth entrepreneur Peter Harold, 45, is not alone when it comes to riding the wave of economic success in Western Australia. His rags-to-riches story is reflected in the growing list of billionaires and millionaires claiming corporate fame and riches in the west. Mr Harold built his fortune on the back of the resources boom through the company he helped to establish, nickel miner Panoramic Resources, and his future remains stellar. - more

  Hidili Industry International Development Co., southwestern China's largest producer of coking coal, said purchases by steelmakers for rebuilding after the May earthquake will keep prices at a record through 2009. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.06/lb higher. Metals, both industrial and precious, are selling mostly in the green this morning, as the dollar retreats on news Iran test fired a Shahab-3 missile overnight, which in turn, sent oil higher after two days of correction.  Europe saw no inbound shipments for the first time in over a week, but Rotterdam did ship out, so LME inventories show a new loss for nickel.   
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Report - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • 124 page report - Safe Use of Nickel in the Workplace - pdf here
  • India Daily Market Commentary - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Not helping matters either yesterday, was the strengthening we saw in the dollar. At this time yesterday, the dollar was unchanged against the Euro, but subsequent remarks made by Chairman Ben Bernanke that the central bank would extend credit to investment banks well into 2009, helped boost the greenback. ... This morning, we are off to a mixed session in metals; a decent rebound in the energy markets (up $2/brl on crude) is breathing some life into our markets, while the dollar is slightly weaker against the Euro, allowing the recovery some breathing room. Nevertheless, we have our doubts that the downside is fully played out in many commodity complexes, and so would not be buying into this tentative rebound. ... We are at $20,650 on nickel, up $50, and quiet. Charts still look poor and we are looking for an eventual break to $17,000....  Support: $17000 / Resistance: $22500" (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Xinhua  reports that Jinchuan Group Ltd., Asia's largest nickel producer, lowered its ex-works nickel prices by RMB 14,000 ($2,039.86) per ton to RMB 171,000 ($24,915.49) yesterday.
  • Courtesy Commodity Online - "The London Metal Exchange (LME) announced that its trading volumes in first half of 2008 had risen 17.5 percent compared to corresponding period in 2007. Over 54 million lots traded on the Exchange from January to the end of June across Futures and Options. This represents a turnover of $5.6 trillion in national value....Nickel volumes grew 31.6% to 2.58 million lots.

  Europe’s stainless steel alloy surcharge of 304 stainless has decreased in July amid dropping nickel prices. - more

  It is reported that Shougang will cease steel production for the most part in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games and will then wind down its 8 million tonnes of capacity before the deadline of 2010. - more

  Ferrochrome firms fear rivals will gain from power crisis - more

  Resource-hungry South Korea plans to triple its base metal reserve stockpiles to ease tight domestic supply as manufacturers struggle to secure raw materials due to soaring commodity prices, the government said Wednesday. - more

  World Output Of Crude Stainless Steel In Jan. - Mar. 2008 Recovered = Increased By 6.5% Compared To Oct. - Dec. 2007 But Decreased By 2.9% From That In Same Quarter 2007 - more

  Toledo Mining Corp., the owner of nickel mines in the Philippines, agreed to develop a nickel- cobalt leaching plant in the country with Jiangxi Rare Earth & Rare Metals Tungsten Group Co. Ltd. - more

  • Platinum Group Metals Corp. will start shipping nickel ores to Australia this quarter and increase production by year-end to take advantage of rising metal prices in the world market. - more

  New Caledonia's lagoons and reef ecosystems have been added on Monday (Canada time) to the UNESCO's prestigious world heritage list, in the natural environment category, the United Nations Education Science and Culture organisation confirmed. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jul 9 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us
Tuesday, July 8
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 183 to 9147. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Marketwatch reported this morning "The Federal Reserve should have a much larger role in supervising investment banks to prevent and limit financial market turmoil, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday, endorsing an expansion of the central bank's authority into new territory." This news drove the dollar higher, which in turn, sent commodities lower. In general, just about every commodity traded today was in the red (here). Did you catch what Ed Meir from MF Global wrote about nickel this morning? "We are looking for an eventual test of $17,000 on nickel." If true, that will be $7.71/lb, and a price we haven't seen since March of 2006. Sucden is still holding major support at $9.30/lb, but has added additional support levels at $9.06/lb and $8.60/lb. Indicator charts show nickel bulls never stood a chance today, with negative sentiment slowing pulling the price lower throughout the trading day. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.34/lb .   

  South African ferrochrome producer Hernic said on Tuesday it expects prices for the metal to rise more than 10 percent in the fourth quarter. - more

  • South African ferrochrome producers expect little change in output until at least 2012 as power shortages curb output of the metal used in stainless steel. - more
  • South African ferrochrome producers faced losing credibility as suppliers, as customer confidence took a dip because of the electricity cuts that producers are being asked to make, said Merafe Resources CEO Steve Phiri. - more

  The global commodities boom will likely help insulate the Australian economy from recession over the next five years, although commodities prices are expected to trough in either 2010 or 2011, a report from BIS Shrapnel released Tuesday said. - more

  • Mining and energy investment in Australia, the world's biggest shipper of coal and iron ore, may remain historically high until 2023, driven by demand from China for metals and energy, BIS Shrapnel says. - more
  • News release from BIS - pdf here (the actual report is yours for a mere $12,650)

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.08/lb lower. Trading appears to be somewhat restrained this morning, with metals mixed. World stock markets are mostly lower here  Sucden's chart of LME nickel trading shows yesterday's break with the trendline here  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Forbes - more

  China Nickel Pig Iron Makers Switch to Electric Ovens - Tsingshan Holding Group, a top Chinese nickel pig iron producer, is building electric furnaces to make the nickel substitute and said its rivals are doing likewise after coking coal prices jumped on shortages. - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - more
  • Canada Commodity Price Update - pdf here
  • TD Bank Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Weekly - pdf here
  • India Bull Daily Metals Commentary - pdf here
  • Longbow Research Steel Weekly - pdf here
  • BBVA Commodity Observatory - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal prices were sharply higher yesterday, steered mainly by aluminum, which rallied to a fresh record high both on strong technicals from last week, and on concern about escalating power problems in China...We are seeing a largely down day in metals thus far...The dollar is not doing much today, after hitting 10-day highs against the Euro yesterday...We are at $20,711 on nickel, down $214, and charts still look very negative. We are looking for an eventual test of $17,000 on nickel" (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • The great oil shock of 2008 is bad enough for us. It poses a mortal threat to the whole economic strategy of emerging Asia. - more

  New Caledonia’s reef becomes Unesco world heritage site - The reef and lagoon in New Caledonia have been made a Unesco world heritage site. - more

  • The Goro Nickel mining company in New Caledonia says it welcomes and fully supports a UNESCO world heritage listing of the territory’s reefs. - more
  • Activists in New Caledonia say they are happy that its reefs and lagoon have been made a Unesco World Heritage Site. - more
  • South Korean metals giant Posco, the world's third largest steelmaker, has received approval for the development of five nickel mines in New Caledonia, a spokeswoman for the company told Platts Monday. - more

  No Japanese Offers In Chinese Deals For Ni-Based Stainless Exports - Japan's stainless steel manufacturers have given up the idea of offering what they sell in their export deals of nickel-based CR sheets for August-September shipments to Hong Kong and mainland China. The standoff from offers is a reaction to a wait-and-see position predominating among local customers. - more

  • Price Of Charge Chrome For Shipments To Europe In Q3 / 08 Rises By 13 US-Cents Per Lb. = South African Product, New Price Comes To 205 US-Cents Per Lb. / Cr, Rising For Successive 4 Quarters - more

  The recent resignation of the Tati Nickel General Manager, Piet Kotze, and the early retirement of Divisional Manager Mining, Thuso Dikgaka, has raised eyebrows in some quarters, with some saying that the duo were pushed out of their lucrative positions as the mining giant’s top brass - more

  Courtesy AISI -In the week ending July 5 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,096,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 87.8 percent. Production was 2,059,000 tons in the week ending July 5, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 87.0 percent. The current week production represents a 1.8 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending July 5, 2008 is down 0.6 percent from the previous week ending June 28, 2008 when production was 2,108,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 88.4 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jul 8 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us
Monday, July 7
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 110 to 8,964. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Indicators show three month nickel started out the morning in trouble, but before official prices were set for the day, the market had turned green. Ed from MF Global was out today so we have yet to see his new support level, if he changes it, and Sucden has not updated their chart since Friday, when their $20,501 support was beaten. It seems that analysts don't surrender a support level until it has been beaten on two consecutive days though, and if that is the case, the $20,501 has held, at least for now. The news that some smaller Australian mines are hurting because of the lower cost surely came as good news for frustrated bulls, although the markets turn today may turn out to be no more than a "dead cat bounce". Large shipments of nickel continue to arrive daily into European warehouses, and if had not been for a larger outbound shipment from Rotterdam and a smaller one from Tyne & Wear, today's numbers would have reflected a sharp gain, instead of a slight decrease. We warned last month that Norilsk might have stockpiled a lot of nickel during their four week lull, but have to admit, that we are surprised at how much has arrived into Europe so quickly. So will today turn out to be no more than the beginning of a sucker's rally, a mini bull run, or will the $20,501 support level face more tests? We'll have to wait and see, but nickel under $10/lb has surely got a few buyers smiling, and some miners groaning. According to Dow Jones, three month nickel ended the day at $9.48/lb .      

  Commodity Comments

  • Courtesy CitiGroup - "Nickel demand is weakening further as Japanese and Chinese stainless mills continue to cut production in high nickel 300 series stainless and shift to low nickel 200 & 400 series stainless products. The ratio of high nickel stainless production fell from 75% to 55% in 2007, a reversion of this trend was expected in 2008 (supporting nickel demand) but this is not occurring. As nickel prices fall below $10/lb supply destruction will occur. However, we remain cautious given Ni-in-Pig production costs could drop as low as $7/lb with new technologies and continued shifts toward electric arc furnaces production. However, soaring sulphur prices have increased cash costs. However substantial new projects such as Ravensthorpe, Onca-Puma, Niquelandia and the further delayed Goro will add to supply in 2009."
  • Courtesy Dow Jones - Russia exported in January-May 104,400 metric tons of nickel, up 2% on the year-earlier period, the federal customs service reported Monday.

  Costs at Australia's two biggest nickel mines, owned by BHP Billiton and Minara Resources, are expected to soar as Chinese demand for sulphur, a key input, pushes prices to a record. - more

  Venezuela and Cuba have joined forces to establish a 500,000mt/year steel company in Venezuela's Monagas state, the Bolivarian News Agency said Monday. - more

  Two top mangers of copper-nickel mining giant Tati Nickel have tendered their resignation letters. - more

  (not nickel, but could nickel and stainless producers be also affected?) The Shanxi provincial government recently asked local aluminum smelters in northern China's Shanxi Province to cut production capacities by 50 percent due to power shortages, an industry insider told Interfax on July 7. - more

  Vladimir Potanin, the largest single shareholder in Norilsk Nickel, has been elected chairman of the board of the Russian mining giant, Itar-Tass news agency reported on Monday, citing an unnamed source.- more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.05/lb higher. The news out of Fox would appear to be the warning signs of things to come, which depending on the side of the fence you stand, could be seen as bullish, or bearish. As the price of nickel declines, it begins to wear on the mines with higher production costs. This will eventually cause a "thinning" of the more expensive miners, which leads to a decline in overall supply. The more that close, the more pressure it adds to the supply/demand picture. While the slowdown on the demand side has relieved the tension on the supply side, any sudden change in either could throw the scales out of balance.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Forbes - more
  • CNBC - more

  Nickel Falls to 2-Year Low in London as Open Interest Jumps - "Nickel fell a two-year low on the London Metal Exchange as open interest, or outstanding contracts, jumped to the highest in at least three years." - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • Haywood Securities Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here
  • Brook Hunt Headlines From The Latest Nickel Monthly Report - here
  • National Australia Bank Commodity Reports "Base Metals at a Glance" - pdf here
  • KME Monthly Metal Report - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - next report on Tuesday, July 8
  • Courtesy/copyright Dow  Jones - "The shutdown of Chinese steel mills ahead of and during the Olympic Games will likely result in output losses of 4 million-5 million metric tons, having a minor overall impact on the industry, analysts said Friday. "
  • Courtesy/copyright Recycling International - "Second quarter price fall for nickel and 300-series. While nickel values recorded a significant decline in May, prices for the 300-series stainless steel scrap qualities followed, but to a lesser extent than the prices of the 18% Chrome and the 74% Fe which rose considerably in the second quarter. Price firmness is also in evidence among a proportion of the special alloys owing to higher demand and reduced production."

  The falling nickel price has hit Perth companies Fox Resources Ltd and Australian Mines Ltd, which have been forced to either wind down operations or defer capital development. - more

  • Fox Resources Ltd has been forced to wind down underground mining at its Radio Hill operation in Western Australia and defer a key nickel growth project after a drop in commodity prices. - more

  POSCO has acquired the rights to a nickel mine in New Caledonia for 30 years, which the Korean steel maker expects to help it tide over price fluctuations on international markets, a POSCO spokesman said Monday. - more

  • New Caledonia’s provinces look set to have a difficult time persuading a French company to sign over a controlling stake in the SLN nickel company. - more

  Fujian Desheng Nickel Products Co., Ltd. recently got 800 million yuan credit line from Fujian Branch of the Bank of China for building China's largest nickel alloy production base. - more

  Skullduggery in scrap to grab ferrochrome giant, writes Simpiwe Piliso. The high-stakes fight for Samancor — one of the world’s biggest ferrochrome producers — has turned nasty with the theft of secret documents at the heart of the deal. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us
Friday, July 4
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus to . (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • According to Dow Jones, three month nickel ended the day and week at $9.32/lb .  

Commercial first, then clips from an economic briefing from the US Government you won't see on the nightly news. You got to feel sorry for this guy - hasn't taken the "how to put lipstick on a pig" course yet! Very funny presentation.

  Reports

  • Worldwide Crude Steel Statistics 2008 - here

  Commodity Comments

  • Courtesy/copyright Dow Jones - Lead, nickel and zinc now look increasingly oversold and more vulnerable to a short covering rebound, says BaseMetals analyst Will Adams. But unless stocks start to fall by meaningful amounts there is probably little to trigger a rebound, he notes.
  • Courtesy/copyright Dow Jones - Weak prices for LME zinc, lead, nickel are relatively accurate reflection of their fundamentals, as funds not as involved in these metals at the moment, says Hong Kong-based LME trader. "Zinc, lead and nickel have a more fundamental look to them these days, rather than the sheer weight of cash behind copper." With less fund involvement, metals should be less volatile, track fundamental news.
  • Courtesy/copyright Dow Jones - There is a growing sense that the slump in equity prices will be short-lived, with investors waiting for the markets to bottom before coming back in to pick
  • up lower valued assets. The expectation is for commodities to suffer as a result, traders said, as investors pile back into equities. "There will be an extremely rapid turnaround in equity and asset valuations in which private, institutional and some sovereign investors will compete to purchase better quality assets at knock-down price levels," said Fairfax analyst John Meyer.
  • Financial Times - All the base metals ended the week down, apart from aluminium, which rose 1.5 per cent to $3,166 a tonne. Lead collapsed 12 per cent on the week to $1,565 a tonne. Tobias Merath, of Credit Suisse, said the lead market, which benefited from production outages in Australia in late 2007, faces an increase in supply.
  • Metal First headline - High-carbon ferro-chrome prices continued to fall in the Chinese market this week on weak demand from stainless mills.

  Commerce Preliminarily Finds Countervailing Duties on Circular Welded Austenitic Stainless Pressure Pipe from the People’s Republic of China - pdf here (comment - this was announced early this week, but we don't think it is the last we have head on the subject. China's reaction to this has not been good, and we are finding indications in Chinese media this could cause difficulties down the line)

  Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has called for the creation of a $100bn Russian mining champion, ahead of an intense boardroom battle with former friend and business partner Vladimir Potanin tomorrow. - more

  Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias reported that Venezuela and Cuba signed an agreement to create a joint steelmaking company called Aceros del Alba CA, which will make stainless steel products in Venezuela.- more

  The Rudd Government will scrutinize Chinese investments in Australian mining companies, particularly if a controlling stake is sought. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 8:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.23/lb lower. Shipments of nickel are still arriving into European warehouses, but outbound numbers were larger than inbound over night. Cancelled warrants is running +5% for the second day, implying a potential pick-up in interest by buyers. Technicals indicate nickel prices could be in serious trouble, having met little reluctance to break below the $21,500/tonne support level earlier in the week. Ed from MF Global has yet to establish a new support line, but Sucden has strong support at $20,501/tonne ($9.30/lb). According to indicator charts, traders are testing that new level today. We will try to update the closing price for today, sometime tomorrow. Hosting a big shindig today, so we will be a little busy. Happy Fourth to our American readers, and a safe and restful weekend to our worldwide readers.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Forbes - more
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 71 to 8854. (chart)

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "There will be no metals commentary on Monday, July 7th; we wish all our readers a very pleasant weekend....We are seeing more selling today. With the Euro again weaker, and now trading below 1.57, there are sizable declines in base metal prices, and unlike the mixed sessions we saw for most of this week, we are down across the board this time. The holiday in the US today should thin out trading conditions, and perhaps exaggerate the degree of the selling today, so we will need to wait until next week for the markets to enjoy more liquidity. ... We are at $20,750 on nickel, down $100, and nickel is starting to emulate the very negative chart patterns we see on both lead and zinc. We are looking for an eventual test of $17,000 on nickel based on the charts alone. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Moody's Economy.com said in a report on trends in the global economy that rising prices of commodities have created a shift in terms of trade in developed and emerging countries, that some governments are slashing subsidies and others tightening interest rates to contain inflation and after slowing through 2008, the global economy will see a tepid recovery in 2009. - more

  Terra Nostra Resources Corporation, a majority owner of two joint venture companies in the copper and stainless steel industries in China, announced that based upon recent industry analysis, it anticipates sustained strong domestic demand for stainless steel in China. - more

  BHP Billiton Ltd/Plc has matched takeover target Rio Tinto Ltd/Plc with a near doubling in contract iron ore prices, ending months of talks and speculation it may get more. - more

  • Baosteel Group, China's largest steelmaker that led domestic steel mills in the annually contracted benchmark iron ore price negotiations, announced July 4 that it settled on price hikes between 79.88 percent and 96.5 percent with Australian miner BHP Billiton. - more

  New Caledonia’s Goro Nickel company has seen the departure of its general manager, Phil du Toit, a year after he replaced Ron Renton.- more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 30th June 2008 = Steeply Risen Prices Of Chinese Ferro-Alloys Have Temporarily Calmed Down - more

  Fujian Desheng Nickel Products Co., Ltd. recently got 800 million yuan (US$116.8 million) credit line from Fujian Branch of the Bank of China for building China's largest nickel alloy production base. - more

  Continuing its crackdown on the South African steel industry and investigating alleged price-fixing and exclusive dealing, the Competition Commission has raided the premises of Cape Town Iron and Steel Works, Highveld Steel and Vanadium Corporation, and the premises of the South African Iron and Steel Institute (Saisi), in Pretoria. - more

  Leading Economic Indicators Warn of China Downturn - "Looking to the future in 2007, China’s central government set out the “two prevents” principle: prevent the economy from overheating and inflation from growing. Since then inflation has risen over the 8% mark, though it fell back below that a bit in May. But now Beijing is worried about a possible economic downturn and is hesitant about maintaining a tight credit policy to curb inflation." - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Base Metal Prices-Mumbai-Jul 5 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us
Thursday, July 3
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 214 to 8925. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • The dollar gained after the U.S. payroll data hinted the job market was not as bad as many had feared, while the European Central Bank's president sounded less aggressive about future rate hikes. Metals were all trading in the red, with nickel no exception. Dow Jones reports three months nickel ended the day at $9.46/lb   
  • MSN News - more
  • Tomorrow is Independence Day in the US, so our next scheduled update will be next Monday. If we can sneak one in tomorrow, we will do our best.

  AK Steel said Thursday that it has advised its customers that a $905 per ton surcharge will be added to invoices for electrical steel products shipped in August 2008. - more

  Kazakh mining group ENRC is pleased with recent Q3 price increases in ferrochrome, its most important product, and is surprised at the recent tumble in its shares, its chief financial officer said on Thursday. - more

  On July 1, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) announced its affirmative preliminary determination in the countervailing duty (CVD) investigation on imports of circular welded austenitic stainless pressure pipe (stainless pressure pipe) from the People’s Republic of China (China). Stainless pressure pipe is a commodity product generally used as a conduit for liquids or gasses. - more

  The gold, silver and bronze medals that will hang around the necks of athletes at next month's Olympics were formally handed over Thursday to the organizers of the Beijing Games. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $ no change . Indicators show cash is selling lower, but three month is quiet. More inventory has arrived into Europe, with totals figure jumping back over the 47,000 tonne mark. ECB hikes rates 1/4 of 1% this morning as expected, so dollar traders will be looking to US reports released today to get direction.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Forbes - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • S & P Commodity Perspective June 2008 - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - We are at $21,150 on nickel, unchanged; we are looking for another close below $21,500 today before nickel could potentially start another leg lower. There is not much on the charts below $21,500 until the $17,000 mark. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Yieh reports China's largest stainless steel producer, Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Tisco) will hold domestic list prices for 300 and 400 series stainless prices steady for July.
  • AK Steel publishes June 2008 averages - Chrome - $2.445/lb, Molybdenum - $33.35/lb, Nickel - $10.2281/lb, Iron - $775.00/GT

  Steel and most base metal prices in China will be supported by domestic demand over the next 12 months, weathering lower offtake from developed nations, particularly the US whose housing sector is still in the doldrums, analysts said. - more

  French miner Eramet said on Thursday that it estimates nickel ore stocks amounting to 8.5 million tonnes could be found in warehouses in Chinese ports because of poor profit margins to produce the metal. - more

  Indonesia plans to renegotiate existing mining contracts to seek more revenue for the country, the country's energy minister said on Thursday, a move analysts said would hurt investment in the mining sector. - more

  • Rio Tinto Group may have to share its nickel concession on Sulawesi island with companies awarded rival mining licenses over the same area, Bisnis Indonesia reported, citing Mangantar Marpaung, a director at the mining ministry. - more

  Nommé the year passé , Phil of the Roof yields his armchair of director gé né ral with Michel Sylvestre, before responsible for a Canadian mine. This change “ traditional ” according to Goro Nickel, mê causes very; me some questions. - poorly translated version here   original version here

  Nornick Shareholders Prefer the Devil They Know - more

  • The four years of Vladimir Putin's presidency were very favorable for the Russian metallurgy industry. Growth began in earnest in 2001, when a surge of investments was recorded. - more

  International Iron and Steel Institute, in a recent report, has unveiled the ranking of top 80 steel producing companies in the world with comparison to their ranking and output in 2006. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Base Metal Prices-Mumbai-Jul 3 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us
Wednesday, July 2
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 240 to 9,139. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • U.S. ADP jobs data showed U.S. companies shed 79,000 jobs in June, far more than had been forecast. This helped pull the dollar lower. With the dollar falling, we usually see commodities prices rise, but the metals picture was mixed today, with worldwide economic slowdown concerns overshadowing the higher inflation. The sudden return of Norilsk nickel arriving into European LME warehouses is souring nickel traders. With demand down, and nickel inventories suddenly on the rise, nickel's support level crumpled today. Traders are suddenly having a hard time finding any beef in their bear salad. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended today's session at $9.59/lb   
  • Reuters - more

  Commodity Comments

  • Bloomberg reports three month nickel averaged $10.29/lb in the month of June. They also report three month nickel traded at a high of $11.13/lb and a low of $9.85/lb during the month.
  • While the US economy appears to have survived the brunt of the credit crisis, high food and energy prices are threatening to deliver a second blow that could significantly delay any recovery, Federal Reserve Board Governor Frederic Mishkin told an audience in Israel today. - more

  (excerpt) London-based investment group Fairfax said in its morning note to clients yesterday that spot prices for high carbon ferrochrome appeared to be easing and were about $2,40-$3,00/lb compared with $2,45-$3,15/lb last week. - more

  Brussels regulators are taking the unusual step of looking at long-term effects of miner BHP Billiton's $170 billion bid for rival Rio Tinto, according to people who have seen an EU questionnaire. - more

  International Mineral Resources, controlled by billionaires Patokh Chodiev, Alijan Ibragimov and Alexander Machkevitch, will pay $1.5 billion to form a venture with China's Jiuquan Iron & Steel Group to tap the world's biggest steel market. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.09/lb lower. According to indicator charts, three month nickel appears to be testing the $21,500/tonne mark this morning.  Analysts have been in agreement that this is an important support, so it will be interesting to see how nickel reacts to it. Typically, when we approach a major support like this, we will see the price fall below it, bounce back, fall below again, etc. Usually we do not see a major movement until the market decides if the line will fail, sharp drop usually follows, or hold fast, sharp bounce usually follows. LME inventory numbers gained again overnight, with two more significant shipments received into European warehouses. With traders nervous about low demand reports, this could be the straw the breaks the camel's back, and cripples the $21,500 support line. The ISSF reports stainless steel production recovered in the first quarter of 2008. Not a surprise considering the dismal decline the market witnessed in the latter half of last year.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Thomson Financial - more
  • Guardian - more
  • Reuters India - more

  Global stainless steel production in the first three months of this year rose by 6.5 percent to 7.36 million tonnes versus the final quarter of 2007, the International Stainless Steel Forum said on Wednesday. - more  (report here)

  Reports

  • Scrap Metals Market Watch July 2008 - here
  • ISSF - Global stainless steel production recovers in first quarter - pdf here
  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • Damstahl Stainless Steel Monthly Report - pdf here
  • June 2008 SFSA Casteel Reporter - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Interestingly, we saw a number of commodity-based stocks drop sharply yesterday amid growing doubts --at least in the equity markets-- that commodity prices will not be able to sustain such high prices given spreading signs of slowing growth. In principle, we agree with this perception, but short-term, we think that both energy and base metals could see further gains in the wake of the ECB rate decision out tomorrow. We suspect that in addition to hiking rates, the ECB's tone will remain hawkish, thus keeping the pressure on the dollar and increasing the likelihood that we could retest dollar lows over the next few weeks. This should keep commodities fairly well bid for a little while longer. At some point, weakening demand will override the impact of the dollar, especially if it leads to substantial inventory builds.  ... We are at $21,600 on nickel, up $50, and the only metal up today. Nevertheless, we are hovering perilously close to key support at $21,500.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Bloomberg - ArcelorMittal Chief Executive Officer Lakshmi Mittal said June 24 that the world may be facing its first steel shortage in decades because of accelerating demand and a lack of investment in production.
  • Posco announced it has discontinued production of 200 series stainless steel.

  Australian nickel explorer and producer Western Areas NL is on track to meet its production target of 35,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate a year by 2011, Managing Director and CEO Julian Hanna told investors at a recent presentation. - more

  The SMSP group and the Korean Posco, first rustproof steels producer to the world, seal today their partnership on the land. The first monthly delivery of 150 000 tons of ore, to the industrial center of Gwangyang, gets ready in the North in Téoudié. - translated article here original here

  The MEPS World All Products Steel Prices 7% in June - here

  Soaring commodity costs are seeping through Asian factories to the world's consumers, slicing into Japanese manufacturers' profits and stoking inflation in China and India, surveys showed Tuesday. - more


Nickel last month


Nickel this year thru June 30

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jul 2 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us
Tuesday, July 1
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 210 to 9,379. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • (comment) The primary news for the stainless steel industry today was not nickel, but the settlement of third quarter ferrochrome prices at $2.05/lb. While analysts had been predicting a larger increase, and traders took ferrochrome producer stocks lower today to reflect their disappointment in that fact, this means yet another increase in the raw material cost for stainless steel producers. Earlier, ferrochrome producer Merafe had forecast the average annual price for ferrochrome could average $1.82/lb this year. If this proves true, 2008 ferrochrome prices will average 5-1/2 times what they did in 2001, after only averaging a little over 2-1/2 times the 2001 price last year. Nickel in 2007 averaged 6 times what it did in 2001, and is currently trading about 4-1/2 times the 2001 level. Molybdenum in 2007, averaged about 12-1/2 times the average price of 2001, and has yet to make any major moves off that mark. This does not include the huge increases seen in iron ore, other minor raw materials, coal, freight, or energy during this period... or just in the last 6 months. And did we mention that the demand for stainless steel is at best, humdrum for most. When looking for good news these days, $10/lb nickel is about the only spark of hope in an otherwise, stormy environment for stainless steel producers. Imagine, $10/lb nickel is good news? How the world has changed!! 
  • The dollar was down today, with most of the precious metals trading up, and industrial metals trading either slightly up, or slightly down. Nickel was quiet thru much of the trading session, until in late afternoon, indicator charts show it dropped to near a major support line. Nickel traders have to be concerned about the sudden influx of nickel showing up in LME warehouses. Thru the month of June, while Norilsk could not ship from its Dudinka port, LME warehouses saw a total of 2 shipments arrive into European warehouses for a total of 108 tonnes. Singapore was responsible for keeping nickel inventories numbers from falling too much during June, receiving 5 shipments totalling 864 tonnes. That was until last Friday. In the last three trading days, the European warehouses of Rotterdam, Gothenburg, and Helsingborg have received 5 shipments totalling 1044 tonnes of nickel. We strongly suspect this is part of the nickel that was stockpiled by Norilsk during their 4 week shipping hiatus. If much more arrives, it will add further pressure to a market that was desperately looking to the BHP smelter shut down as a reprieve from inventory numbers growing further. For the first day of the second half of 2008, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.78/lb .  
  • Reuters - more
  • Meet North Dakota's ‘overnight' oil millionaires - more  

  Commodity Comments

  • Michael Rawlinson at Liberum Capital - (reference stock declines in ferrochrome producers today) "The news has been taken badly by the market which has been ignoring some of the signs we have seen that to our mind show steel raw materials markets are peaking."

  The China Iron and Steel Association said it approves of the 2008 iron ore contract prices agreed between Baosteel Group Corp and Rio Tinto but opposes the use of a price index to determine annual rates as proposed by BHP Billiton. - more

  • As talks between BHP Billiton and Chinese steelmakers on 2008 iron ore prices passed an informal June 30th deadline, the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) again warned it opposes the use of BHP Billiton's proposed iron ore price index system - more
  • The last Asian steel mills holding out on long-term iron ore contracts with Rio Tinto have accepted price hikes in line with Baosteel Group's settlement with the Australian miner last week, Asian steel mills told Interfax today. - more

  Oleg Deripaska’s United Company Rusal won a third of the seats on Norilsk Nickel’s nine-man board at its annual meeting, strengthening the Russian billionaire’s position in a battle to lead a merger to create one of the world’s biggest metals and mining groups. - more

  A Jeff Koons sculpture resembling a balloon model has sold for a record £12.9m at Christie's in London. - more

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $ (no change) . Dollar is having an up and down day, with its chart looking more like a mountain range landscape than a trading graph. Metals are mostly trading in the green, although most just barely. Nickel is presently unchanged. LME nickel inventories over the last 3 days have seen large shipments received into European warehouses. We never saw an actual confirmation that Norilsk was again shipping from Dudinka, but the size of the shipments that are now arriving into Rotterdam and Helsingborg, is a fair clue it's them.   
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Behre Dolbear Global Mining New s- here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • Canada Commodity  Price Update - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Weekly - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "We are at $21,867 on nickel, down $83, and quiet; for now, $21,500 support seems to have held yesterday." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Courtesy AP - "Barclays Capital analyst Amrita Sen said demand for the commodity has yet to peak -- which means this year's price increases will likely be followed by more such gains. "The recent surge in steel prices can in no sense be seen to have peaked, given the tightness in the scrap and raw material market," the analyst wrote.Courtesy Reuters
  • Analysis: Commodities rally to soften as demand and output respond to record prices - more

  "South Africa's Merafe Resources said on Tuesday that European benchmark ferrochrome price were settled at a record level of $2.05 per pound for the third quarter of 2008, up from $1.92 per pound in the second quarter of 2008. Merafe had in March said the outlook for ferrochrome prices in 2008 was positive, with demand forecast to rise about 9 percent. But supply-side constraints on South African producers because of the power outages and rations are expected to result in a supply deficit this year. " - more

  • Merafe Resources Ltd., a producer of ferrochrome in South Africa, fell the most in five months in Johannesburg trading after agreeing to raise third-quarter prices for the steelmaking ingredient by 6.8 percent. - more

  Philippine nickel ore exports to China, the world's biggest consumer of the metal, fell in May as prices of refined nickel used in making stainless steel dropped, reducing the appeal of the cheaper raw material. - more

  Australian and London-listed Albidon Ltd. announced today that its nickel sulfide project in Zambia has commenced production and is expected to produce 10,000 tons to 10,500 tons of nickel concentrate by early 2009 for Jinchuan Group Ltd, its off-take partner and China's largest nickel producer. - more

  China's manufacturing expanded in June at the slowest pace in almost three years as growth in export orders weakened for the third month, a survey of purchasing managers showed. - more

  • China will not face major power shortages this summer but some regions may see blackouts, according to the country's electricity regulatory body. - more
  • Steel prices in China will see some upside going forward due to an expected slowdown in growth of domestic capacity as well as quake-related rebuilding demand, Fitch Ratings said. - more

  Nippon Steel Corp. and other leading Japanese steelmakers accepted a 96.5 percent increase in Australian iron ore prices from Rio Tinto mining group, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported from Tokyo in its Tuesday online edition. - more

  While iron ore spot sellers were seeking higher prices, buyers were standing firm expecting business to remain steady. Indian iron ore fines 63-62% Fe was heard trading late last week at $184/dmt CFR China. - more

  • South Korean steel firm Posco has agreed to pay Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto at least 80% more for iron ore, the company said Tuesday. - more

  Lakshmi Mittal, head of steel giant ArcelorMittal, is looking to enter the takeover battle for Rio, according to a report. - more

  Courtesy AISI - "In the week ending June 28, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,108,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 88.4 percent. Production was 2,119,000 tons in the week ending June 28, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 88.6 percent. The current week production represents a 0.5 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending June 28, 2008 is up 1.5 percent from the previous week ending June 21, 2008 when production was 2,076,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 87.0 percent."

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jul 1 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.

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