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Friday, July 30

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  plus 25 to 1,967. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Thailand's Industrial Production Growth Accelerates Amid Record Shipments // Japanese Stocks Drop on Lower Factory Output, Deflation; Kobe Steel Falls // China Construction Bank Gets Regulator's Approval for Planned Rights Offer // China Should Cut Foreign Ore to One-Third of Needs, Steel Association Says // China Declares Sovereignty in Southern Sea as U.S. Seeks Role in Disputes // Asian Stocks Decline on Japanese Economic Data, Macquarie Profit Outlook // Three U.S. Embassy Staff in France Are Poisoned by Incoming Mail, BBC Says // Iceland Says It's `Far From Defaulting' as Rating Nears Junk // European Inflation Jumps to 20-Month High, Jobless Holds at 10% //  European Stocks Close Little Changed; Benchmark Stoxx 600 Index Slips 0.1% // Yields Dropping to '04 Levels Spark Busiest July for Sales: Credit Markets // Moody's Says Spain May Lose Aaa Rating; U.S. Needs `Clear Plan' // Charles River Scraps Biggest Foreign Takeover of China Company // Recession in U.S. Was Even Worse Than Estimated, Revisions Show //  U.S. Economy Grew 2.4% in Second Quarter, Below Forecast //
  • The Euro is trading over 1/4 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down nearly 1/2 of 1% and at $77.98/barrel. Gold is higher by more than 1.1% while silver is more than 2% higher. Base metals all ended the session higher. Indicator charts show nickel was struggling early on, but the afternoon was all bullish. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day, week and month at $9.57/lb . This is its first close above $21,000/tonne since late May. Stockpiles of nickel held in LME approved warehouses rose for a third straight day, and now show at a level near 117,500 tonnes. While much of the credit for this gain is due to the arrival of Norilsk Nickel's new 'mega carrier' into the Rotterdam port, the last time we recorded three consecutive days of gains was on February 4th, 5th and 8th. The addition of 90 tonnes on the 8th of February helped that day become the all time record high of 166,476 tonnes. Since then, we have only recorded 16 days in the last 4-1/2 months, where inbound shipments exceeded those of outbound shipments. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel's bull run attempt had stalled (chart here), until today. We show our unofficial average cash price for nickel in July was $8.85/lb, up from $8.41/lb in June. Today was really no surprise. While the fundamentals aren't really changing, although the European PMI more than offset a negative Japan PMI reading overnight, the technicals were very bullish and it was only a matter of time before the bulls made a break-out. On the last day of July last year, the market rose nearly $800/tonne and pulled a market that had been trading in the $6-$7/lb range in the $8-$9/lb range for August of 2009. We will have two big market gauges releasing next week, the Chinese and US PMI. The Chinese will be watched more closely , we suspect, by nickel traders, but both will give us a strong signal  where the market is heading. Slow news day no the metals front. Vale reports they will have Sudbury nickel production back to 100% by September and are already running at 50%.  Have a safe and relaxing weekend and we will see you in August.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Natixis projects an average annual price of $20,994/ton for 2010 (nickel) --scaled back from its previous forecast of $24,000/ton--followed by an average price of $23,000/ton in 2011.
  • (Canadian Press) The United Steelworkers said Thursday that some 260 workers at the Endako Mines open pit and milling operations in northern B.C. have officially joined the union. The mine, which is owned by Thompson Creek Metals Co. Inc., produces molybdenum, which is used in the manufacture of metal alloys and stainless steel. The Steelworkers said the workers are now members of USW Local 1-424, based in Prince George, B.C.
  • Economists React: GDP Signals Companies More Optimistic Than Consumers - more
  • Goldman: Pullback by Government Set to Drag on Growth - more
  • Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims: Eight Months of Moving Sideways - more
  • A curious unemployment picture gets more curious - more
  • Germany’s Missing Link: Consumer Spending - more
  • The money-inflation connection: It's baaaack! - more
  • The Venus-Mars Split in Confidence and Shopping - more
  • Fed’s Bullard Raises Policy Concerns - more
  • The Fed Reports A Sluggish Economy - more
  • What would Republicans do for the economy? - more
  • Just how risky are China’s housing markets? - more
  • Hank Paulson: Blame it on FHA/GSEs - more
  • Guest Post: The Ruling Elite Called - more
  • Curbing Your Enthusiasm - more

  China Nickel Industry Report, 2009-2010 - The report starts from the development of nickel industry all over the world, and focuses upon analysis of nickel resource reserves, status quo of supply and demand in the market, import & export, price trend, substitutive product (ferro-nickel) and key enterprises etc in China. The nickel industry of China is characterized as follows - more

  A Strategic Analysis of South Africa's Ferrochrome and Manganese Mining Industry - Research and Markets has announced the addition of Frost & Sullivan's new report "A Strategic Analysis of South Africa's Ferrochrome and Manganese Mining Industry" to their offering. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.03/lb lower, with other base metals mixed but most trading slightly higher. The Euro is trading 4/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment.  NYMEX crude oil is down over 1/2 of 1% and trading at $77.93/barrel. Gold is trading 1/3 of 1% higher, while silver is off 4/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off 1/3 of 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning, and futures show US markets may open on the bearish side, as traders await second quarter GDP numbers. The Nomura/JMMA Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index fell to a seasonally adjusted 52.8 in July. Nickel inventories rose for a third straight day.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals trade sideways ahead of US GDP; dull inventory data and soft euro check rally  - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - This writer will be on vacation next week; our next daily commentary will be out on Monday, August 9th -- Metals continued to push higher on Thursday, as the Euro strengthened to a 12-week high against the dollar. We also believe that the continuous drip feed of declining stocks -both on the LME and in Shanghai - is taking a toll on the bears, particularly in copper, which is leading the way in this regard. Additionally, metals seem to be decoupling from the weaker-than-expected US macro numbers, like Wednesday’s poor durable goods reading. Instead, the complex seems more responsive to developments in China, where there has been increasing talk lately that the government may ease up on property and banking restrictions. The rhetoric - still unconfirmed -- has been fueling a nice bounce in the Chinese equity markets over the last few weeks. Metals are now basically flat, having erased earlier declines and shrugging off dual reports out of Japan that industrial production fell 1.5% in June, substantially more than the .2% increase expected, while unemployment climbed to a seven-month high. Of course, today's US GDP number may be too hard to ignore for any market. We noted in yesterday's commentary that MF Global's chief economist is forecasting a 3.5% number, well ahead of the consensus. If realized, such a figure should spark a decent rally, and perhaps set the stage for further gains next week. On the other hand, anything at or below 2.5% will likely set off a round of selling. Whichever way the number falls, there is no disputing the fact that growth prospects, particularly out of China, are now front and center in terms of market attention, with other variables, such as sovereign debt issues out of Europe, getting far less play.  ....  We are $20,600 on nickel, down $75, and very quiet. Our next upside target is now at $21,900. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (DJ) The global supply of nickel is expected to fall 20,000 tons short of demand in 2010, the chief executive of Anglo American PLC (AA.LN) said Friday.
  • (MF) Affected by strong rainfall, most molybdenum mills from Henan province have stopped production. Tight market supply may lead to rising price of molybdenum.
  • (China) Steel firms may face losses in H2 - more
  • Seven Faces of .The Peril.- Fed Reserve James Bullard - pdf here

  While Stainless Production Is Reducing And Nickel Price Is Rallying, Price Of Stainless Scrap Remains = Reduction Of Stainless Production In Jul.- Aug. Is Putting A Substantial Impact On Price Of Stainless Steel Scrap - Although LME nickel price has rallied to a level of US$20,000 per ton, the parties concerned are still watching carefully about further movements of nickel price and, accordingly, domestic price of nickel-based stainless steel scrap (new clippings) in Japan has remained unchanged at present. - more

  Norilsk Nickel’s vessel transports its first million tons of cargo - The Norilsk Nickel flagship of Norilsk Nickel JSC called and offloaded today at the Port of Rotterdam its first million ton the vessel has transported since her launch in April 2006, the company press release said. - more

  China's largest stainless steel maker invests in Myanmar nickel mine - Taiyuan Iron and Steel Group (TISCO) signed an agreement with China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group (CNMC) on July 26 to jointly develop the Tagaung Taung nickel mining project in Myanmar, according to an announcement on TISCO's Web site on July 29. - more

  Indonesian nickel miner Inco's H1 net profit up sixfold - PT International Nickel Indonesia, Indonesia's biggest nickel producer, reported on Friday first half 2010 net profit rose sixfold due to higher sales. - more

  Esperance nickel off to China - The first shipment of nickel concentrate from Western Area’s Forrestania project to be sold into China left Esperance Port on Tuesday night. - more

  Steel Prices Tumble Around The World in July - The MEPS Global Steel Price has fallen in July for the second consecutive month. Market demand is likely to be flat in the third quarter.- more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, July 29

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 41 to 1,942. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Investment Has 11.7% Global Return in 2009 as Commodity Bets Pay Off // China's Stocks Rally Will Wane on Inflation Outlook, HSBC's Mahendran Says // Chalco Invests $1.35 Billion in Rio's Simandou Iron Ore Project in Guinea // Indonesian Rupiah Climbs to 3-Year High as Improving Economy Spurs Inflows // Most Asian Stocks Fall as Fed Comments Spur Concern; Shipping Shares Gain // Turkey Stocks at Record Prices Lure Mobius With Market Discount // BAE Systems Targets Brazil, Civil Sales as U.K. Slashes Defense Spending // Russia Sells Longest Ruble Bonds Since October as Yields Fall // U.K. Banks May Post $13 Billion Profit on Declining Bad Debt // Santander Second-Quarter Net Falls 8%, Hurt by Decline in Spain // European Stocks Decline for Second Day; Stoxx 600 Index Closes 0.3% Lower // BP Fights U.S. Government, Oil-Spill Victims Over Venue for Gulf Lawsuit // Beneficiaries Can Bank Proceeds, Bypass Life Insurer Accounts // Jobless Claims in U.S. Declined by 11,000 to 457,000 // Stocks, Euro, Copper Rally on Earnings, Economic Optimism
  • The Euro continues to trade 2/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is now trading over 1% higher and at $77.81/barrel. Gold is trading nearly 1/10 of 1% higher while silver is up over 1/2 of 1%. Base metals ended the day all solidly in the positive. Indicator chart show nickel slumped on news of a second consecutive day of inventory growth, but a rally ing US market helped pull it back up, until it fell again late. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.38/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose for a second consecutive day, the first time we have seen this happen since May 26 and 27th. Since those two days, we have only recorded three days over the last two months where more nickel was received into storage than shipped out, two of those days being yesterday and today. This information had a similar effect on the market today as it did yesterday, with the market falling on the news. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here) , with technicals remaining in the bullish corner. The BDI gained for its 10th consecutive day, up 41 points. In Germany, economic sentiment rose, while in the US, initial jobless claims fell. Tonight and tomorrow, we get the Japanese PMI report, new US GDP numbers, the Chicago PMI numbers, US consumer sentiment, European employment, and German retail sales.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Placing the 2006/08 Commodity Price Boom into Perspective - more
  • Wanna See A Bullish Forecast For The US? Check This Out - more
  • SF Fed Official: Economy Suffering From Temporary Weakness - more
  • In Study, 2 Economists Say Intervention Helped Avert a 2nd Depression - more
  • The Beige Book report - more
  • End of the World Trade Unwind - more
  • Greek Government Resorts To Wartime Emergency Act - more
  • NOAA: Past Decade Warmest on Record According to Scientists in 48 Countries - more
  • Can You Correlate? - more

  Mittal warns on pace of global recovery - Lakshmi Mittal sounded a warning note over the pace of the world recovery, after ArcelorMittal announced a 146% rise in underlying profits in the second quarter, compared to a year previously. - more

  • Steel firms warn of slowdown - Leading global steel makers ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel Corp became the latest companies to warn slowing growth in China could hit profits, even as both posted strong quarterly earnings. - more

  Eramet eyes takeovers, sees volatile markets - Eramet, the world's sixth-largest nickel producer, is on the lookout for takeovers and expects volatile markets as customers reduce stocks and steel output slows, the French mining group said on Thursday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.06/lb higher and off earlier highs, with all base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro is trading 6/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, giving commodity trading a boost. NYMEX crude oil is bucking the trend, trading lower by nearly 6/10 of 1% and at $76.55/barrel. Gold is  trading lower by nearly 1/4 of 1% while silver is higher by the same amount. In overnight trading Asian markets ended flat, with China up 1/2 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures show wall Street may return to a bullish mood. Nickel inventories rose for a second consecutive day.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals surge to fresh multi-week highs on fund and technical buying, triggered by strong euro - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals pushed higher on Wednesday, with copper retesting its early May highs, as gains in the Euro and nervousness about falling LME stock levels kept the complex relatively buoyant. The group also managed to shrug off the day's major US macro release, which was the July durable goods reading. This came in at -1%, well below the 1% expected, and showing its largest decline since August. However, the headline number was somewhat misleading in that a separate category showed businesses continuing to buy equipment, suggesting that corporate investment still remains quite strong. Later in the day on Wednesday, the Fed's Beige Book also came out, and although the readings were mixed, they too did not derail the advance in metals, although they did generate some weakness in the US equity markets. The Fed survey saw economic activity continuing to increase (on balance) since last month's report, but among the districts reporting improvements, a few said that the increases were modest. Manufacturing activity continued to expand in most districts, although several reported a leveling off in activity. Commercial real estate markets, especially construction, remained weak, while banking conditions varied across districts; most reports showed credit standards remaining tight. We are seeing a decent advance across the board in metals right now, as a stronger euro (now trading at just under $1.31) and stronger European equity markets, are both contributing to the steadier tone. The Euro in particular, has benefited by a report out earlier showing Eurozone sentiment rising strongly in July, up to 101.3, a 28-month high, and well above consensus forecasts of 99. In addition, German unemployment fell for a 13th straight month in July, the lowest since November of 2008, as a number of German companies benefited from a surge in exports.  ...  We are $20,629 on nickel, up $224.The fact that we managed to close above $20,500 resistance for two days in a row, should set up the complex for further gains. Our next upside target is now at $21,900. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) has announced a price rise of US$100~150/ton for stainless steel exports for the first half of August.
  • (Dow Jones) Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Group) Co., also known as Tisco, said Thursday that it has signed an agreement with China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group Co. to jointly develop the Tagaung Taung nickel mining project in Myanmar.
  • (SBB) Chinese FeCr prices bottom out, see limited upside
  • (DJ) Eramet Says 1H Nickel Output +2%, But Sales -5%
  • The last gasp of government.com - more

  DJ Stainless Steel Production To Slow In 3Q - Eramet - Global stainless steel production is expected to slow in the third quarter compared with the average in the first half of the year, French metals and mining group Eramet SA said Thursday. - more

  Belvedere restarts Hitura production - Belvedere Resources Ltd. has successfully restarted its 100-per-cent-owned Hitura nickel mine in Finland. First concentrate has been produced well ahead of the scheduled restart of the mine in August and the mine and mill are now ramping up to full production. - more

  Coobina chromite mine set to re-open - Ukrainian billionaire Gennadiy Bogolyubov is poised to reopen the Coobina chromite mine in the Pilbara, creating 120 jobs for an operation that could generate about 2.5 per cent of the world's supply of the stainless steel ingredient. - more

  FeCr Situation In China Is Changing Drastically = China's Imports Of FeCr In First Half 2010 Decreased By 10% - The situation on supply and demand of ferro-chrome in China has had a considerable change in the last 2 - 3 months. This aspect has been accelerated by the movement, which major stainless steel mills in China commenced from July to reduce their production of stainless steel. - more

  Russian VEB dismisses plans to buy stake in Norilsk - Russia's state-owned lender VEB is not seeking to buy a stake in nickel producer Norilsk Nickel, the bank's chairman, Vladimir Dmitriev, told journalists on Wednesday. - more

  Ramu to be next ‘big mine’ - The Ramu nickel/cobalt mine in the Madang is shaping up to be the “next big mine” in Papua New Guinea with the eventual scaling down of operations at the Ok Tedi mine. - more

  • Ramu NiCo pursuing nickel project despite lawsuit - Despite a court injunction against the proposed deep-sea tailing system for the Ramu nickel project, project owner Ramu NiCo has decided to pursue other construction activities at the mining and refining sites. - more

  Russian steel sector invests in raw materials - Russian steel makers are increasing investment in raw material production assets as coking coal and iron ore prices rise. - more

  £100k reward after millions-of-pounds of metal stolen - A £100,000 reward is being offered after millions-of-pounds worth of copper and nickel were stolen from a warehouse at a Liverpool dock. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, July 28

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 32 to 1,901. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Could Jolt Markets on Aug. 1 With PMI Below 50, Westpac, SocGen Say // Japan's Slower Industrial Production May Build Case for Stimulus Extension // Cameron Urges India to Cut Trade Barriers, Boost Jobs // Asian Stocks Rise to 10-Week High on Earnings Hopes; Baoshan Steel Climbs // Europe Stress Relieved With Swap Gap Vanishing: Credit Markets // BoE's King Forecasts No Early Return to `Normal' Rate Level // ArcelorMittal South Africa Cancels Steel Surcharge After Kumba Supply Deal // Banks in Europe Rush to Sell Debt After Stress Tests Buoy Investor Demand // European Stocks, Oil Retreat on Economy; Dollar Slips Versus Yen // U.S. Stocks Retreat Following Unexpected Drop in Orders for Durable Goods
  • The Euro is now trading slightly higher against the US Dollar, but so far today, trading has been a wash. NYMEX crude is trading nearly 3/4 of 1% lower and at $76.94/barrel. Gold is up slightly while silver is off nearly 1%. Base metals ended mostly higher, with all except nickel pulling off a positive day. Indicator charts show nickel started the morning higher, but when daily inventory numbers were issued showing an unexpected gain, the price slid and was unable to recover. Dow Joones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.26/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose overnight. Yes, you read that correctly, they rose ovrenight. This would be the first time inventories gained more than they lost since June 8th. Total stockpiles now show reading above the 116,300 tonne level. Sucden's day old report show LME trading thru yesterday (chart here), with today's market opening with oversold indicators on both the RSI and SStoch. In our opinion, the upward trend for nickel remains intact, unless more unexpected news hits the market. Here is how Bloomberg headlined its story on the US Durable Goods release this morning "U.S. Capital-Goods Orders Ex-Aircraft Climb in Sign of Investment Pickup". MarketWatch's headline read "June durable-goods orders fall sharply". Same news, totally different spin. Whichever makes you feel better, the fact remains the report came in much lower than analysts had expected. The BDI, on the other hand, came in higher at plus 32 and day 9 of consecutive gains. Wall Street is fairly docile at the moment as the durable goods report threw bullish traders a curve ball.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Note to China: Economic Reform Doesn’t Produce Democracy - more
  • Housing, Rental Vacancies Flat From Year Ago - more
  • Credit Cards Take From Poor, Give to the Rich - more
  • Just how risky are China’s housing markets? - more
  • A Triple Dip? - more
  • Federal Debt and the Risk of a Financial Crisis - more
  • Social Security Policy Options - more
  • China and bust? - more

  FACTBOX-Iron ore swap contracts: Who's doing what? - Iron ore swap contracts have become increasingly popular since late 2008, as a bid by miners to create a more market-based pricing scheme has gained momentum after they abandoned the decades-old annual benchmark system. - more

  Russia's Severstal suspends steel production at U.S. plant - Severstal, Russia's largest steelmaker, has suspended production at its Sparrows Point plant in the United States due to falling prices and low demand for steel in the U.S., the company said on Wednesday. - more

  UAE emerging as the main hub for supply to MENA with base metal products - The Gulf has the largest concentration of energy resources in the world with oil producing countries in the region estimated to have spent approximately AED 182.5 billion (US$50 billion) to increase their current oil field production capacities or to develop new discoveries by the year-end. - more

   The day a 3/8" stainless steel liner saved a US noclear power plant from disaster - 2002 article here problem back in 2010 here local article here

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.02/lb , with other base metals trading mostly higher. The Euro is trading only slightly lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is down 2/10 of 1% and trading at $77.35/barrel.  Gold is trading only slightly higher, while silver is down over 2/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up nearly 2-1/2%. European markets are slightly higher this morning, and US futures are quiet and have yet to give a signal on what direction Wall Street might open. Nickel inventories rose overnight, for the first time in 7 weeks.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more
  • LME Morning - Metals race higher again on upbeat mood, copper sets pace - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals lost ground on Tuesday, as after six days of uninterrupted gains, copper's failure to close above $7050 resistance may have prompted some selling. In addition, reports that US consumer confidence fell to its lowest level in five months may have also sapped some buying enthusiasm. Despite the drop in confidence readings, we should note that July levels were only slightly below estimates, and certainly did not approach the plunge we had in the June reading a few weeks ago. More importantly, weaker confidence numbers do not necessarily translate into decreasing consumption. We wrote in yesterday’s note that while metals were in store for a pullback, the declines were expected to be short-lived, and that seems to be playing out today, as the group has recovered all of Wednesday's losses-- and then some. Once again, it is the firmer tone in the equity markets that is behind the turnaround, as Asian and European stock markets hit 10 and 12-week highs, respectively, earlier in the day. (Even China's battered Shanghai Composite Index rose to a two-month closing high). The stronger Euro also helped metals, as it pushed to an 11-week high of $1.3042 against the dollar, while also hitting a two-month high against the yen.  ... We are $20,500 on nickel, down $45. Despite nickel’s sluggish performance over the last few days, we did manage to close above $20,500 resistance for two days in a row, setting up the complex for further gains. Our next upside target is now at $21,900. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed Jinduicheng Molybdenum Co. Ltd. announced on July 27 that production at its molybdenum ore deposit and two processing plants in Hua County, Shaanxi Province has been suspended since July 24 due to heavy rainfall.
  • (MF) According to sources, China produced 362,800 tons of pig iron nickel in June of 2010, equaling to 17,700 tons of pure nickel. Pig iron nickel output of June increased by 32.89% y-o-y, down 3.76% m-o-m. Pure nickel output of June increased by 77.36% y-o-y, down 5.85% m-o-m.
  • (Interfax) Jinchuan Group Ltd. has again raised its ex-works refined nickel price, pushing it up RMB 2,000 ($295) to RMB 158,000 ($23,305) per ton and bringing it in line with international refined nickel prices, according to a Jinchuan Group Web site announcement.
  • (PR) The American Trucking Associations' advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 1.4 percent in June, although May's reduction was revised from 0.6 percent to just 0.1 percent. May and June marked the first back-to-back contractions since March and April 2009. The latest reduction lowered the SA index from 110.1 (2000=100) in May to 108.5 in June.
  • Universal Stainless Reports Strong 2010 Second Quarter Results - more
  • Allegheny Technologies Announces Second Quarter 2010 Results - more
  • Capital goods makers up against anti dumping duty on stainless steel - more
  • Nippon Steel gives cautious outlook, eyeing China - more
  • (China) Steel prices set to firm up - more
  • (China) Regulator sees no risks from local govt loans - more
  • Shipping Bottoming as China Steel Price Rebound Lifts Iron Ore - more

  £100,000 reward to catch Liverpool dock metal thieves - A £100,000 reward was today offered to catch a gang of crooks behind an audacious metal heist worth millions. - more

  Acerinox H1 net misses forecast on nickel provision - Acerinox, the world's largest stainless steel maker, swung to a first-half net profit thanks to a recovery in demand, though a provision to mark stock down to volatile nickel prices pulled it below forecasts. - more

  • ArcelorMittal Plans Stainless Steel Spin-Off - World's largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal (MT) said Wednesday it's seeking board approval to spin its stainless steel business off as a separately listed company, a move many said could spur the much needed consolidation in a market suffering from oversupply. - more

  Nickel miner moves into Chinese market - Goldfields' miner Western Areas has shipped its first load of containerized nickel to China. - more

  Xstrata to restart Sinclair nickel mine - Xstrata expects to start production from the Sinclair underground nickel mine near Leonora before the end of this year after resuming development work in light of improved market conditions. - more

  South African Government Strengthens Regulations For Safety At Platinum And Chrome Mines = Regulations Cause To Raise Costs And To Shorten Operations, This Measure Is Creating Stir In Mining Industry - The Government of South Africa has determined to strengthen the regulations for safety in operations at platinum mines and chrome mines, which have been concentrated on North West Province, and this measure is creating a stir in the mining industry of South Africa. - more

  ThyssenKrupp AG says no decision yet on stainless melt shop schedule - Some equipment's here, but that doesn't mean ThyssenKrupp AG's stainless steel melt shop has returned to the front burner. - more

  Courtesy AISI - Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that the U.S. imported a total of 1,982,000 net tons (NT) of steel in June, including 1,543,000 NT of finished steel (down 14% each vs. May final data).

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, July 27

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 28 to 1,869.   (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Regulators, Officials Aim to Ease Local Finance Vehicle Loan Concern // Reserve Bank of India to Hold Meetings Every Six Weeks to Manage Inflation // India Raises Benchmark Rate More Than Forecast in Battle to Rein in Prices // Thai Earnings Growth to Help Stocks Withstand Turmoil, Aberdeen Asset Says // Asian Stocks Climb on U.S. Home Sales; James Hardie, Seiko Epson Advance // Russia's Drought Raises Bondholder Risk on Prices // BP Replaces Hayward, Quickens Asset Sales on Record Loss // Deutsche Bank Profit Rises 6.4%, Helped by Consumer Banking // Danone Profit Margins Weaken on Commodity Costs // European Stocks Up for Sixth Day; UBS, Deutsche Bank Gain //  FedEx, UPS Signal Export-Led U.S. Growth Momentum // Dow Erasing `10 Loss as S&P 500 Tops Moving Average Fuels Bulls // DuPont Reports Higher-Than-Estimated Profit, Increases Full-Year Forecast // Oil Supplies Falling to Four-Month Low in Survey on Storm: Energy Markets // Consumer Confidence in U.S. Fell in July to a Five-Month Low // High-Yield Debt's Best Rally Since March Entices Borrowers: Credit Markets //  Apartment Rentals Surge in U.S. on Home Foreclosures, Job Gains // U.S. Stocks Fluctuate on Earnings, Drop in Consumer Confidence
  • The Euro is presently trading nearly 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is trading lower by over 1-1/2% and at $77.73/barrel. Gold is off nearly 2% and silver is lower by over 3%. Base metals also ended the day mostly lower, after US consumer confidence numbers zapped the market. Indicator charts show three month nickel was trading slightly higher for much of the morning until the confidence numbers hit and nickel fell, where it did not start recovering until late in the session. DOw Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.32/lb . So far this year, our highest close was on April 15th at $12.58/lb and the lowest was $7.72/lb on February 5th. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell yet again, and sit just under the 116,000 tonne level. While outbound shipments were higher, we did see at least two more inbound shipments recorded overnight. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel traders attempting to break out of rangebound trading (chart here). Note the RSI and SStoch numbers reflect a market not yet in the overbought range, leaving the bulls some technical room to run. The Baltic Dry Index rose for the eighth straight session , gaining another 28 points. That does this tell us? Depends on who you believe. Some analysts say it is because shipping companies have taken ships out of service due to a glut, thus driving the market higher. Others will tell you it implies more commodities are shipping around the world. One is a false signal, one is positive. Pick your poison.In the US, home prices rose slightly in May, while consumer confidence fell to its lowest level since February

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Bloomberg) Merafe Resources Ltd. said ferrochrome production from its venture with Xstrata Plc during the six months through June rose 149 percent from a year earlier.
  • AK Steel Beats, But Iron Ore Still Weighs - more
  • Economists Try to Measure Uncertainty’s Impact on Growth - more
  • Q&A: Rethinking U.S. Poverty Measure - more
  • Retailers Pay More to Get Cargo (No Guarantee) - more
  • Economists React: European Stress Tests Leave Unanswered Questions - more
  • Presimetrics: How Democratic and Republican Administrations Measure Up on the Issues We Care About - more
  • The Recession Dating Game - more
  • Mysteries Of Deflation (Wonkish) - more
  • The U.S. Economy’s Lost Decade - more
  • Wall Street's death wish: Venus vs. Alpha-males - more
  • Something has to give - more
  • The New Deflation - more

  Oleg Deripaska Ordered By Kremlin To Sell Out of Norilsk Nickel - Yury Humber and the Bloomberg bureau in Moscow run by Bradley Cook have a special relationship with United Company Rusal. - more

  80 Chinese miners detained - Philippine police said on Tuesday they had detained 80 Chinese nationals illegally working at a mine site north of Manila. - more

  Interesting set of articles this past week in Chinese press about the problem of "fake" stainless steel.  Here are a few articles speaking about the problem, including fake stainless steel chopsticks.  I am posting the links to three Chinese websites - you will need to use your own translation service to read them in English. (article 1 in Chinese) (article 2 in Chinese) (article 3 in Chinese)

  Deep Underground, Miles of Hidden Wildfires Rage - Three blistering fires are blazing through Wyoming's scenic Powder River Basin, but firefighters aren't paying any attention. - more

  Obama Wants Global Mining Transparency Standard - Disclosure requirements for mining and energy companies included in the newly enacted U.S. financial reform law should become a global standard for corporate transparency, the Obama administration said on Friday, but an Australian resources company focusing on Africa warned that it is likely to squeeze tantalum supplies and increase prices. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.04/lb with most base metals slightly lower this morning. The Euro is trading 1/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is trading nearly 2/3 of 1% higher and at $79.47/barrel. Gold and silver are both slightly lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended mostly higher, with China off over 1/2 of 1%. European markets are trading is trading higher this morning, and futures show Wall Street has no intention of ending its bull run. Nickel inventories fell overnight.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals pause for breath but mood remains cheery - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Although somewhat overextended technically, metals opened the week with another solid gain, with copper extending its advance to a 10-week high. The complex was boosted by a weaker dollar, as well as by the stronger tone in the US equity markets, where stocks pushed higher on account of both new home sales coming in better than expected, as well as a spate of decent earnings reports from the likes of Federal Express. The company beat earnings and moved its guidance higher, strongly implying that the US economic recovery remains on track, at least viewed through the prism of shipments. More broadly, out of the 175 S&P 500 companies that have reported through last Friday, 78% have beaten estimates, with leadership coming from technology, financials, and the industrial sectors.  Metals are mixed right now, erasing earlier losses in Asian trading. We still expect the complex to retrace slightly over the next day or two, but any decline should be used a buying opportunity, particularly if the macro numbers out of the US come in better than expected. Later today, we get July consumer confidence readings, which could be important, as last time around, an unexpected plunge in one of these readings helped send a number of markets sharply lower. We do not expect a repeat this time around, and so we will likely see relatively stable markets in place for a little while longer, with any expected retracement proving short-lived. The big item this week will be the second quarter GDP report on Friday, which likely will influence the tone going into next week as well. ... We are $20,758 on nickel, down $42. Surprisingly, we did close above $20,500 resistance yesterday, and another close above this mark today could set up the complex for further gains. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (MFG) Reuters ran an interesting piece today saying that reduced demand for nickel in China is prompting owners of refined nickel stored in bonded warehouses to re-export the metal. One analyst at research group Antaike estimates that nickel exports could be 60,000 tons this year after the country has exported 33,000 tons over the first half. In addition, abundant supplies of stainless steel in China is weighing on domestic prices, as is increased use of nickel pig iron, where production is expected to come in at 150,000 tons this year, about 50% higher than previous Antaike estimates. However, NPI production may fall in the second half, partly due to higher costs for electricity and coal, a producer in southern China told Reuters.
  • (Bloomberg) Wuhan Iron & Steel Group, China's third-biggest steelmaker, said it will buy iron ore from Corp. Venezolana de Guayana at a lower price than what Vale SA , the world's largest supplier, is charging.
  • (AMM) Melting-grade nickel premiums have fallen as smaller traders offer material at discounts amid fears of further pressure ahead of the restart at Vale’s Sudbury, Ontario, operations.
  • (DJ) China's Jinchuan Raises Refined Nickel Price 1.3% To CNY158,000/Ton
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) considers increasing its August prices if LME nickel prices can keep above US$20,000/ton in the rest of July.
  • (DJ) Xstrata: 1H Refined Nickel Output 45,458 Tons, +8.3% On Year
  • (Yieh) According to related statistics of the Custom, China’s import and export of stainless steel coils reached 56,931 tons and 99,889 tons respectively in June.
  • Synalloy Corporation Announces Second Quarter Results - more
  • Horizonte buys Brazil nickel project, shares jump - more
  • Jim Rogers: The Stress Tests Were A Huge PR Gimmick And Now More Problems Are Coming - more
  • 22 Statistics That Prove The Middle Class Is Being Systematically Wiped Out Of Existence In America - more
  • Sixteen Dow Recoveries: Update - more
  • The Consumption Gap - more

  Posco To Maintain July Stainless Steel Prices In August - Posco will maintain stainless steel product prices at July's levels in August, in a signal to the market that prices have bottomed, the company said Tuesday. - more

  London Metal Exchange Trading in First Half Climbs Almost 8% to a Record - London Metal Exchange trading was a record in the first six months this year, led by gains in lead. - more

  Price Of FeCr For Shipments To Japan In Q3 / 10 Is Reduced By 6 US-Cents Per Lb. Of Cr = New Benchmark Price Is 138 US-Cents Per Lb. Of Cr CIF - It was known on the 21st of July from Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel that the benchmark price of South African charge chrome for shipments to Japan in the third quarter (July - September) of 2010 has been settled between major producers in South Africa and leading stainless steel companies in Japan by a reduction of 6 US-Cents per lb. of Cr. - more

  Taiwan`s Steel Firms Slash Output to Weather Downtrend -To weather the volatile steel-market, Taiwan`s listed steel firms, including Chien Shing Stainless Steel Co., Yieh United Steel Corp., Tang Eng Iron Works Ltd. and China Steel Corp., are cutting production or suspending operations. - more

  The Inco men are back - The Inco name may have disappeared from the Canadian mining scene, but the team behind the once iconic firm is back with ambitious plans to build one of the biggest single nickel mine operations in the world. - more

  No cigars: embargo lift wouldn't do much for Cuba's paralyzed economy - While a chorus of voices in the U.S. increasingly demand that the Obama administration completely drop its economic embargo and 'normalize' relations with Cuba, such an event would not necessarily positively impact the Communist island – at least not in the near-term. - more

  China's largest nickel producer Jinchuan Group Co. plans to use Albidon Ltd. to acquire overseas nickel assets, Dow Jones Newswires quoted the Australian miner as saying on Monday. - more

  Deripaska, Potanin Hurt Norilsk Value in Battle for $14 Billion - OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel’s billionaire owners, split over use of a $14.3 billion cash pile, are damaging the value of Russia’s biggest mining company as their quarrel distracts from growth. - more

  Karnataka bans iron ore exports from 10 ports - Karnataka, the country's second largest producer of iron ore, has banned exports of the steelmaking ingredient from 10 of its ports, government sources said on Tuesday. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending July 24, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,742,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 72.0 percent. Production was 1,255,000 tons in the week ending July 24, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 52.4 percent. The current week production represents a 38.8 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending July 24, 2010 is up 1.0 percent from the previous week ending July 17, 2010 when production was 1,726,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 71.4 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, July 26

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 15 to 1,841. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Euro Rises Versus the Dollar as Most Banks Pass Stress Tests // Global Economy Slowing to 3.25% From 4.7% Recent Average // Asia Stocks Hit One-Month High on Bank Stress Test Results // EU Stress Tests May Be `Missed Opportunity' to Fortify Banks // BP Said to Prepare Dudley as CEO as Board Looks for Recovery // European Stocks Decline as Drugmakers Retreat // Deficits Don't Matter as Geithner Growth Gets Lowest Yield // Utility Companies `Just Exhausted' After Defeat on Cap-and-Trade Measure // June Sales of U.S. New Homes Climb More Than Forecast // U.S. Small-Business Aid May Create $300 Billion of `Junk' Loans // U.S. Stocks, Oil Advance While Treasuries Fall on Housing Data
  • The Euro is trading 2/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, and at a 3 month high. NYMEX crude is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% lower, but gaining on a stronger Euro. Gold is down nearly 1/2 of 1% as traders take profits, while silver is trading 1/3 of 1% higher. Base metals ended the session all higher. Indicator charts show nickel bounced early but was slowly losing ground, when the US new home sales drove the US Dollar lower, and nickel spiked upwards. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.43/lb , its highest close since June 28th. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses continue to fall, and now sit just under the 116,300 tonne level. Sucden's day old nickel chart shows traders latest attempt at a bull run (chart here). The Baltic Dry index gained 15 points but one of the three sub indexes (Cape index) read negative. US reported new home sales bounced off a record low in June - to their second lowest reading. But the bounce was higher than economists had expected. This came a few hours after the Chicago Fed reported economic activity slowed in June. The stainless steel index we follow in China crawled back over the 104 point level for the first time since June 4th, but we fell this is being caused by the increase in the price of nickel and is too early to be seen a possible pick up in demand. World markets are generally in a bullish mood today.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Steel prices may have hit bottom for now and should pick up on a global basis in the coming weeks, says Steel Market Intelligence.
  • Notable quote - Lourenço Gonçalves, president and chief executive of Metals USA Inc., Fort Lauderdale, Fla - “We always keep our stainless inventories close to the vest, even in boom times, because we know that anything affected by commodities that trade on the London Metal Exchange is unpredictable and doesn’t necessarily follow true life. You never know what speculators are thinking.”
  • (MB) Outokumpu plans ferrochrome self-sufficiency from 2013
  • (AMM) China ferrochrome imports plummet to 17-month low
  • Number of the Week: Tax Cuts and Debt - more
  • 2011 Tax Calculator under 3 scenario's - more
  • Lost Income, Lost Friends -- and Loss of Self-Respect - more
  • Congress Ranks Last in Confidence in Institutions - more
  • In ’08 Downturn, Some Managed to Eke Out Millions - more
  • So Much For "Restoring" Confidence: Benchmark 3 Month Euribor Wider Post Stress Test - more
  • Who Cooked the Planet? - more
  • Fastenal may be sued for $9.5M - more
  • Revenge of the Balance Sheets - more
  • Chicago Fed: Economic activity declined in June - more

  World steel scrap use seen rebounding this year - World steel scrap usage is set to rebound in 2010, after a fall last year, as global crude steel production bounces on the back of improved demand, a leading industry official told Reuters on Friday. - more

  Russia to keep protectionist measures in steel - Russia's Economy Ministry said on Friday it saw no need to lift protectionist measures in the steel industry despite such calls from other sectors, including the country's pipeline monopoly. - more

  China Jinchuan plans IPO in H1 2011 -paper - China's top nickel producer Jinchuan Group Ltd plans to launch an IPO in the first half of next year, the China Securities Journal said on Monday. - more

  China to limit nonferrous metals production by '15 - China will limit production of 10 kinds of non-ferrous metals to a combined annual output of about 41 million tons by 2015, the China Securities Journal reported, citing Shang Fushan, vice chairman of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association. - more

  For our fastener industry readers out there, came across a rather interesting tidbit of information this weekend. According to this article, the average employee in the screw making business in China makes between $73 and $118 - a MONTH. (source)

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.05/lb but fading from earlier highs, with other base metals mixed and mostly higher. The Euro is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is off 3/4 of 1% and trading at $78.38/barrel. Gold is down over 2/10 of 1% and silver is off over 4/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up nearly 2/3 of 1%. European markets are trading slightly lower this morning, and US futures have yet to determine an opening direction. Nickel inventories continue to fall.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals inch up on cautious market optimism, technical strength - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals were higher again on Friday, with copper up for a fifth straight day, and racking up its biggest weekly gain since February. Tin was also very strong, hitting its highest level since September 2008, while aluminum, lead and zinc rose to two-month highs. A slightly weaker dollar and a firmer tone to the US equity markets helped metals finish in the black, although crude oil gave up an earlier advance to finish lower. The focus in most markets on Friday was on the European stress tests. If anything, the results were less stringent than what the markets were bracing for-- analysts were expecting up to European 20 banks as being capital-deficient, with total shortfalls ranging from €30 billion to €90 billion, but only seven banks flunked the tests, coming up short by only a combined €3.5 billion. Despite worries about the health of French, Irish, Italian, and Portuguese banks, no banks from any of these countries failed the tests. Moreover, two of the seven banks that were flagged —Germany's Hypo Real Estate Holding AG and Greece's ATEbank—are institutions that have already been nationalized, making their capital shortfalls relatively meaningless. Market reaction to the tests was muted on Friday, telling us that investors did not necessarily view the tests as being sugarcoated. The Euro gained ground against the dollar after the results were announced, and the Dow dropped initially only to rally by the close. (Shares of big European banks traded in the US followed the same path). While the tests were arguably somewhat “light”, investors were nevertheless assured by a greater measure of transparency. In this regard, most banks (with the notable exception of the German ones) revealed their holdings of European government bonds for the first time. These disclosures were in our view more important than the tests themselves. Metals are mixed as of this writing, with several breaching key resistance levels earlier in the day, but the gains have since been rolled back. We expect that with the stress tests now likely fully discounted, metals could retrace slightly over the next day or two, as focus reverts back to macro variables. ... We are $20,545 on nickel, up $190, and although prices are nosing above $20,500 resistance, we don’t expect to see the complex close above this level for two days in a row just yet. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (MW) As third-quarter steel production may fall 12%, nickel consumption could drop some 8% to 340kt, according to BMO (BMO Capital Markets Global Mining Research). "Overall, the uncertainty surrounding global economic growth and slowing demand for steel products will pressure the nickel price," Melek advised. "The possibility of a substantial decrease in global steel output is also supportive of the bearish case for nickel over the near-term horizon." BMO's nickel price forecast has dropped from $9.78/lb to $9.28/lb for 2010.
  • China - 'Double dip' recession unlikely in H2 - more

  First Nickel, union meet - Bargaining teams for First Nickel Inc. and Mine Mill Local 598/CAW are negotiating to settle a new collective agreement for about 140 production and maintenance workers -- even though there may currently be no jobs for them at the junior miner. - more

  Chinese investors keen on Atlas’ nickel project - A number of Chinese firms have expressed interest in partnering with Atlas Mining and Development Corp. to develop its nickel mine in Palawan. Alfredo Ramos, Atlas president, said the company is negotiating with possible partners for its mine in Berong, Palawan. - more

  Specialty Steel Outlook -  While still not where suppliers would like it to be, the market for stainless steel and other specialty metals is in a better place than it was about a year ago. - more

  Nickel Productions In Japan For May 2010 Decreased Compared To That In April = Total Output Of Nickels In Jan. - May / 10 Increased Compared With That In Same Period 2009 - The quantities of nickel metal and ferro-nickel produced in Japan in January - May of 2010 as well as in a single month of May were known on the end of last week. Namely, in May of 2010, Japan produced <> 3,096 tons of nickel metal and <> 5,819 tons of Ni (27,419 tons on material base) in ferro-nickel.- more

  Mechel Announces Launch of a New High Quality and Stainless Steel Production Complex by the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Plant - Mechel OAO, one of the leading Russian mining and metals companies, announces that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin launched a high quality and stainless steel production complex in the arc-furnace melting shop #6 of Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Plant . - more

  Record High Levels of Iron and Steel Production Forecast for 2010 and 2011 - MEPS remains quite upbeat about the prospects for global iron and steelmaking this year and next. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, July 23

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 25 to 1,826. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Clinton Signals U.S. Role in China Territorial Disputes After Asean Talks // North Korea Considers `Physical Response' to Planned U.S. Naval Maneuvers // GIC Says Risk of Shocks May Trigger World Recession `Sooner Than Expected' // Japan Says Yen Climb May Hurt Economy, Increasing Policy-Intervention Risk // Thailand Economy May Expand Most in 7 Years on Exports, Central Bank Says // Asian Stocks Rise on Microsoft Earnings, Commodity Prices; Komatsu Climbs //  Euro Climbs as German Sentiment Outweighs Stress-Test Worries // Banks Use Russia Default Relic for Bonds Amid Stress Tests: Credit Markets // German Business Confidence Unexpectedly Surges // Bank Stress Test Success Hinges on Data, Not Failure Count // U.K. Economy Grows Most in Four Years as Recovery Ignites // Seven EU Banks Fail Stress Test, Face $4.5 Billion Shortfall // Euro Falls as Stress Test Said to Only Consider Trading Losses // European Stocks Advance as Mining Stocks Rally // Tropical Storm Bonnie Accelerates Toward Florida Keys // Ford Posts $2.6 Billion Second-Quarter Profit on Pricier Cars // Senate Passes U.S. War Bill Without State Aid for Teachers Sought by House // Oil Futures Exodus Biggest Since Lehman on Recovery Unease: Energy Markets // Euro Pares Loss, Treasuries Drop, Stocks Gain on Stress Tests
  • The Euro is trading over 1/2 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, but trading has been choppy since the European bank stress tests were released. NYMEX crude is off 8/10 of 1% and trading at $78.66/barrel. Gold is off over 1/2 of 1% and silver is slightly higher. Base metals ended the session mixed but mostly higher. Indicator charts show nickel traded choppy today, within a $400 tonne range, ending near the bottom of that range. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $9.23/lb , up from a week ago, month ago and year ago today. Stockpiles of nickel stored in worldwide LME approved warehouses now stand just over the 116,800 tone level, after falling again overnight. Sucden failed to update their day old chart. No warehouse has registered an inbound shipment since the three that were recorded on Monday, and one last Wednesday.  Outbound's have ben steady with cancelled warrants running over 4% for the entire month so far. Most outbound shipments have come from the Rotterdam and Singapore warehouses, although shipments have been recorded around the globe.  The Baltic Dry Index continues to put out a small beacon of hope, adding another 25 points to read 1,826. After 35 consecutive daily declines, the string of gainers this week has come as welcome news and might, we emphasis the word 'might', might imply commodity shipments are starting to pick back up. With no headlines of its own today, US markets looked to the European stress tests for news today, and now that they have been released, analysts and the markets are scrambling to figure out what it all means.
  • Have a stress-free and safe weekend!!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (SG) Reuters reported that the term price for ferrochrome to Japan for the Q3 fell 6 cents per pound or 4% from the previous quarter to USD 1.38.
  • Fewer Americans See College as Good Investment - more
  • Bernanke: Lowering Interest Rate on Excess Reserves Could Threaten Market Functioning - more
  • Bernanke: An ‘Excellent Thesis’ on Business Uncertainty - more
  • Japan – Past the Point of No Return - more
  • Where and Why are Businesses Closing? - more
  • The British are Coming... Back - more
  • Addicted to Bush - more
  • Bernanke Post Mortem - more
  • Leading Indicators... More Fed Please - more

  Brief History of Ontario Mining - Ontario has become one of the most fortunate and richest regions of the world primarily for two reasons. It has vast natural resources including mineral deposits of untold potential. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb but sliding, with other base metals mixed and quiet. The Euro is trading slightly higher against the US Dollar at the moment and also sliding off earlier highs. NYMEX crude is down more than 1/2 of 1% and trading at $78.87/barrel. Gold is trading over 2/3 of 1% higher and silver is up nearly 8/10 of 1%. Asian markets ended higher overnight, with China up over 4/10 of 1%. European markets are slightly higher this morning, awaiting bank stress reports, and US futures show Wall Street would like to add to yesterday's bull charge. Nickel inventories fell overnight.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals pause on profit-taking ahead of stress test result - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals extended their gains into a fourth day on Thursday, with copper rallying to its highest level in more than two months, as did zinc and lead. However, some of the gains faded by late in the session as a number of metals ran into key resistance points. In copper's case, prices backed off after hitting resistance of $7050, while aluminum had trouble maintaining gains above $2050, both levels capping the top end of the trading ranges. A number of factors were behind yesterday's advance including a surprising recovery in the US stock market, weather concerns in the Gulf of Mexico that fueled the energy complex, and constructive macro releases out of both Europe and the US. Of the three, the recovery in the US equity market was perhaps the most dominant variable, as the magnitude of the rally must have caught shorts flat-footed, particularly after Wednesday's dramatic sell-off. It seems that equity investors staged an "about-face" after refocusing on a slew of relatively decent earnings reports. In this respect, Dow component Caterpillar reported higher sales and earnings due to better sales of mining and infrastructure equipment, while fellow component 3M also saying that 2010 profits will exceed earlier targets. In addition, although Fed Chairman Bernanke spoke again at a House hearing, his testimony was not much different from what he said the day before, thus allowing the markets to regroup somewhat.  .... We expect to see further gains later in the day in most markets, including metals, as results of the European bank stress tests get released around 6pm Brussels time. In the meantime, Swiss regulators are expected to give a clean bill of health to both Credit Suisse and UBS; Swiss bankers claim their tests are twice as tough as those being conducted by Brussels.  ..... We are $20,465 on nickel, up $210, and building on yesterday’s decent gains. We are approaching $20,500 resistance, which was breached briefly earlier today, so we could see further gains if this level is successfully taken out on a two-day closing basis. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (BS) The Ratan Jindal-run JSL Stainless Ltd (formerly JSL Ltd) has reported a flat bottomline for the quarter ended June 2010.
  • (Interfax) China's apparent consumption of ten major nonferrous metals is expected to reach a total of 43.80 million tons in 2015, a senior official from China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNIA) said at a July 23 conference.
  • (Dow Jones) Most of the base metals are just below technical resistances, and could improve their outlook if they rise and close above them, says a London-based trader.
  • (Interfax) Shanxi Province-based Taiyuan Iron and Steel (Group) Co. Ltd. (TISCO) announced on July 22 that it produced approximately 1.41 million tons of stainless steel and 4.97 million tons of crude steel in the first half of the year, up 20.61 percent and 5.93 percent year-on-year, respectively.
  • (DJ) Chinese steelmaker Anshan Iron & Steel Group Corp. said Friday that it has signed a cooperation framework agreement with Jilin Horoc Nonferrous Metal Group Co. to secure nickel resources.
  • (DJ) Russia's flat stainless steel roll imports in June this year fell by 5.1%, compared with May, to 11,502 metric tons, the special steels producers' association Spetsstal reported Thursday. The amount of flat stainless steel roll imported in June was 3.4% more than in June 2009, Spetsstal said.
  • (XC) China Jinchuan raises refined nickel price by 2 pct to 156,000 yuan/t
  • (JMB) NSSC Launches World First Ferritic Stainless with Sn, FW Series
  • (MCN) From the Editor - more

  A new war of words - From rank-and-file members to the international president, United Steelworkers are outraged at comments from Vale president and chief executive officer Roger Agnelli about the year-long strike in Sudbury and Port Colborne. - more

  Output Of Crude Stainless Steel By Major 7 Companies / Japan In May / 10 Continued To Decrease = Produced 303,000 Tons In Total On Crude Steel Base, Expansion Was Short Of Breath - more

  Russia Said to Consider Buying Norilsk Nickel Stake Amid Ownership Battle - Russia is considering buying a stake in OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the country’s biggest mining company, amid an ownership battle between major shareholders, three people familiar with the matter said. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, July 22

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 20 to 1,801. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Yen Rises on Concern Over U.S. Slowdown, Europe's Banks // China's Car Dealers Cut Prices, Hand Out IPods as Sales Slow // Japanese Officials Step Up Concern About Rising Yen's Threat to Exporters // China's Stocks Post Longest Stretch of Gains in 5 Months on Policy Outlook // Japanese Stocks Decline for Fifth Day After Bernanke Testimony; Sony Drops // Europe's Services, Manufacturing Growth Accelerates // Euro Passes Stress Test as Debt Panic Ebbs, Bank Exams Loom // U.K.'s Second Quarter Economic Rebound `as Good as it Gets' Amid Slowdown // Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Said to Pass EU's Stress Tests // European Stocks Rise for Third Day on Economy; Unibail, Vestas Lead Gains // Bernanke Avoids Pledging Action Even as Outlook `Uncertain' // Credit-Card Reform Succeeds in Ending Many Deceptive Practices, Pew Finds // Index of U.S. Leading Economic Indicators Fell 0.2% // Jobless Claims in U.S. Increase More Than Economists Forecast to 464,000 // (MW) Existing-home sales fall 5.1% as tax credit ends // Geithner Sees Basic Confidence in Economy Even With `Tight' Credit Market // Stocks, Commodities Gain on Earnings, Economy
  • The Euro is trading nearly 1.2% higher against the US Dollar on a positive manufacturing index released today in Europe. NYMEX crude oil is up nearly 2.8% and trading at $78.69/barrel. Gold is higher by 9/10 of 1% and silver is 2.6% higher. Base metals all traded solidly in the green as trader euphoria swept across the continent and ocean. Indicator charts for nickel show a slow steady climb throughout the entire session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.19/lb, its best close this month but still shy of June's high point by around $400/tonne. Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell again overnight, and now sit just over the 117,200 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows yesterday's rise and the start of the bulls trying to force nickel out of a channel (chart here). The BDI saw day 5 of consecutive gains, adding another 20 points overnight. By no means setting any records, but the turnaround has so far proven not to be a fluke.  Markets are in a bullish mood today, after the European PMI came out at a number higher than expected. News from the US was not so good, with existing home sales falling, unemployment claims rising, and leading economic indicators showing a slowdown. But the bulls are firmly entrenched and in charge of trading today, and at last check the Dow was trading higher by around 200 points.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Fed’s Dudley Sees Only ‘Slight Risk’ of Double Dip - more
  • Testimony Highlights: Bernanke on the Hill - more
  • How housing slumps end - more
  • Running in Place on Trade - more
  • Americans Are Increasingly Insecure - more
  • The bailouts continue: The Economic Populist - more
  • We’re In A One-and-a-half Dip Recession - more
  • The Federal Budget Deficit So Far This Year—About $1 Trillion - more

  Canada and Sudbury are Very Important to Vale – by Vale CEO Roger Agnelli - more

  The Vale Inco Strike of 2009-2010 Leaves a Bitter Legacy in Sudbury (16 Tons and What do you get?)- by Michael Atkins - more

  China's Domestic Iron Ore Production Rises to Record in June, HSBC Says - Iron ore production in China, the world’s largest consumer of the commodity, rose to a daily record last month, helping steelmakers cut imports, according to HSBC Holdings Plc. - more

  China's Commodity Demand to Be `Very Volatile,' Credit Suisse's Tao Says - Commodity demand from China, the world’s biggest metals consumer, will be “very volatile” as the nation’s economy slows, Credit Suisse Group AG said.  - more

  Last chance for Palawan tribe to stop mining - The Palawan tribe of the Philippines have one more chance to stop companies from mining on their land. - more

  Dairy Farmers Can Fight Johne's Disease Threat with Chlorine and Stainless Steel - Two tips for preventing Johne's disease on dairy farms: Use stainless steel water troughs and add chlorine to the water. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.16/lb higher, with all base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro is helping commodities today, up over 8/10 of 1% against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher and at $76.92/barrel. Gold is trading slightly higher and silver is up nearly 7/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended flat, with China higher by 1-1/4%. European markets are trading higher this morning, on news that industrial orders in the 16-nation euro zone rose 3.8% in May . US futures show Wall Street may open in a very bullish mood, after yesterday's comment by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke that the economic outlook was "unusually uncertain" threw markets for a loop. Nickel inventories continue their fall.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters metals morning - more
  • LME Morning - Metals renew upside momentum as dollar drops on bright euro data - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper hit three-week highs on Wednesday, taking the rest of the metals up along with it, as reports of Chinese buying and falling stockpiles helped spark the buying. However, given the late-day meltdown in several markets (notably crude oil and US equities) taking place in the aftermath of Chairman Ben Bernanke's congressional testimony, we were expecting to see metals sell off in Asian trading, which in fact they did. However, the early losses did not linger around too long, and there has been a rapid recovery since then, with prices now higher across the board. Other markets are bouncing back as well; crude oil prices are up by about $.60 a barrel, recovering more than half of Wednesday's losses, and the US stock market is called to open higher. The Euro is also higher, now at $1.2855 after sinking to $1.2732 at one point yesterday. ... As we start the US session, focus will be on June existing home sales out later in the day (expected at 5.4 mln units) and the June index of leading economic indicators (-.4%). The US equity markets will remain busy with earnings from the likes of Caterpillar, the Travelers, UPS, Amazon, AT&T, Eli Lilly, and Microsoft, all scheduled for release today.  .... In macro news out of Europe, data released today shows that growth in Europe’s services and manufacturing industries unexpectedly accelerated in July, with a survey of Euro-area purchasing managers increasing to 56.7 from 56 in June. Economists had projected a drop to 55.5. .... We are $19,827 on nickel, up $332, with prices on track to test $20,500 resistance.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Taiwan's small screw sales has declined by about 30 percent from a month ago. It is expected the fourth quarter of 2010 will be the worst for the export of small screw.
  • (Interfax) In the first six months of 2010, China's imports of refined lead, zinc, tin and nickel all dropped on an annual basis, according to figures released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC) on July 21.
  • (VOCM) The leader of the NDP is calling on the Premier to help settle the Voisey's Bay dispute. Talks between Vale and the United Steelworkers broke off Tuesday evening. Both sides are blaming the other for the break down in negotiations.
  • (CEBM) A Rebound in Steel Sector is Constrained by Oversupply and Uncertain Outlook: The unprecedented amount of steel inventory will continue to be a threat to steel market stability. Production cuts pressed by the steel market and initiated by some mills have been insufficient to reverse the oversupply situation in the near term, so a steel price rebound is constrained by excess inventory and limited production cuts.
  • (MW) Nippon Steel Corp. and JFE Steel Corp. plan to curb domestic crude steel production due to waning exports to China, which accounts for nearly half of global steel demand, according to a report Wednesday.
  • (AMM) U.S. spot nickel premiums are expected to fall gradually and significantly as new nickel supply from Vale SA’s Sudbury, Ontario, operations hit the market in a couple of months, market participants warned.
  • Mass Disturbances in East China over Land Acquisition Spread - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 15th July 2010 = Spot Price Of Manganese Ore Is On Basic Tone To Fall - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 15th July of 2010 is as follows - more

  DJ Mincor Plans To Increase Nickel Production By Up To 16,000 Tons - Australian nickel producer Mincor Resources NL Thursday outlined plans to increase nickel production to between 15,000 metric tons and 16,000 tons in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012. - more

  Russia may introduce new nickel export duty rate scale in 2011 or earlier - Russia may introduce a new scale of nickel export duties in 2011 or earlier, head of tax and customs at the Russian Finance Ministry Ilya Trunin said on Wednesday. - more

  Outokumpu Declines 4.2% After Operating Profit Misses Analysts' Estimates - Outokumpu Oyj, a stainless-steel producer in Finland, fell the most in more than two months in Helsinki trading after second-quarter earnings missed analyst estimates. - more

  Small miners mull restarting ad campaign against the new mine tax - Small miners have raised alarm bells over the Greens' views on mining and are assessing whether to restart the anti-mine tax ad campaign. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, July 21

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 20 to 1,781. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Hong Kong Luxury Home Prices Will Increase in Second Half, Jones Lang Says // Malaysian Inflation Accelerated to 1.7% in June, Fastest Pace in 13 Months // China Stocks Rise for 3rd Day on New Energy, Domestic Consumption Policies // Asian Stocks Rise on Apple Profit, Commodity Prices; Japanese Shares Drop // Germany Fails to Attract Bids for All Four-Billion Euros of 30-Year Bonds // European Bank Stress Tests Said to Describe Three Scenarios // Bank of England Considered Expanding Economic Stimulus // Lack of Sales Leaves Dubai Property Buyers Guessing on Prices // Clegg Calls 2003 U.S.-Led Invasion of Iraq `Illegal' in Split With Cameron  // European Stocks Rally on Apple, Fiat Earnings // Obama Signs Finance Bill as Political, Regulatory Battles Await // Apple Climbs as Revenue Forecast Tops Analysts' Predictions // SEC Proposes More Disclosure, New Rules on Mutual Fund Fees for Investors // Iraq's Political Impasse Raises Concerns in Congress About Troop Drawdown // Most U.S. Stocks, Oil Fall; Treasuries Gain Before Bernanke
  • The Euro is trading over 1/2 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is down over 1/2 of 1% and trading at $77.17/barrel. Gold is trading only slightly higher, and losing ground, while silver is up over 1/2 of 1%. Base metals shrugged off a weakening Euro and choppy equity market to end solidly in the green today, with fresh fund money forcing shorts to cover. Indicator charts show nickel started off the morning gaining, and kept up the positive momentum for much of the day. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.84/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses continue to fall to levels not seen since last September, while the WBMS reports only a 5,000 tonne deficit so far this year. Totals now read just shy of the 117,800 level. Sucden's day old chart shows rangebound nickel trading (chart here). China reported imports of refined nickel rose slightly in June while imports of nickel ore also rose. Refined nickel imports rose from 10,719 tonnes in May to 12,618 tonnes in June. This is well off last June's figure of 47,754 tonnes. Nickel ore, used in the production of the so called pig nickel, June's figure of 2,246,464 tonnes was higher than May's 2,014,620, and well over last June's total of 1,700,927 tonnes. The Baltic Dry Index gained 20 points overnight, day four of consecutive growth.    

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Reuters) A case in point is nickel, which along with tin was the star performer in the first part of the year. The median average forecast is now $20,225 per tonne in calendar 2010, down 4.7 percent from an average of $21,213 per tonne in H1 2010. (see Metals Insider for more)
  • (Dow Jones) Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. is keeping a close watch on molybdenum market conditions to determine when to restart its Climax project, the U.S. producer said Wednesday. Construction was suspended at Climax in October 2008 in response to market conditions and is still on hold.
  • (SMR) South Korea has bought a total of 3,000 tonnes of grade A copper cathode and 300 tonnes of nickel cathode all for Sept. 15 arrivals via tenders closed today, the state run Public Procurement Service (PPS) said.
  • CNBC - U.S. mortgage applications jumped last week as demand for loans to purchase homes rose for the first time in five weeks, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday.
  • Interest Rate Drops Spur Refinance Applications in Latest MBA Weekly Survey - more
  • Survey: Americans Remain Wary of Stock Market - more
  • Wages Fail to Keep Pace With Inflation - more
  • Double dip looks doubly certain - more
  • Long-Term Unemployed Put Less Pressure on Wage Inflation - more
  • In Crisis, Foreigners Turn to $100 Bill - more
  • Deficits Do Matter, But Not the Way You Think - more
  • Opinion: America's Unquenchable Defense Spending - more

  Specialty Steel Outlook - While still not where suppliers would like it to be, the market for stainless steel and other specialty metals is in a better place than it was about a year ago. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.10/lb higher, with other London traded base metals also higher. The Euro is not helping base metal traders, trading nearly 1/2 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is trading 2/3 of 1% higher and at $78.09/barrel.  Gold is higher by nearly 2/10 of 1% and silver is up nearly 7/10 of 1%. In overnight trading Asian markets ended higher with China up 2/10 of 1% on higher commodity prices and earnings reports. European markets are higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street will make an attempt at extending a two day bull run. Nickel inventories fell overnight, and markets are preparing for Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee today.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals target mid-month highs on short covering, buoyant equities - more
  • Reuters metals morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Apart from aluminum, metals rallied impressively yesterday, with copper leading the way after it tacked on almost 2% on the day. Once again, it was the stronger tone seen in the US equity markets that was behind the rally, as stocks reversed earlier losses to close higher despite mixed macro data. In this regard, we had housing reports showing June building permits and housing starts coming in at 586,000 and 549,000, respectively (vs. forecasts of 560,000 and 570,000). This was no major surprise, and continues to point to a housing sector that remains fairly weak. Earnings also continue to pour in, and although many companies have come in light in one category or another, we sense that investors are concluding that they are at least reporting year-over-year earnings growth, while sitting on piles of cash to boot-- not exactly a sign of tougher times ahead. We are sharply higher once again in metals this morning on no particular news, just the fact that equity markets seem to be improving in both Asia and Europe, while a higher opening is expected here in the US as well. Investors are waiting for stress results out of Europe later this week, and the early word is that the regulators plan to detail three scenarios on which the tests would be constructed; banks will publish their estimated Tier 1 capital ratios under a “benchmark for 2011”, an adverse scenario, and a third test that includes a “sovereign shock”, this according to a template obtained by Bloomberg. In the last scenario, banks must write down the value of sovereign loans only if there is serious doubt about a state’s ability to repay its debt, but for now, the “sovereign-shock” scenario does not assume any European nation will default. The banks will also publish how much they need to raise in terms of capital if their Tier 1 ratio falls below 6% in the event of the third scenario. We will see how all this plays out in the days ahead, but certainly, the Euro is not doing much today, and holding steady at $1.28. Nevertheless, we suspect markets will breathe somewhat easier over the course of the week once these tests are behind us, and expect the firmer tone we are seeing in most to stay in place at least through Friday. .... We are $19,380 on nickel, up $255, with prices possibly on track to test $20,500 resistance (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (WBMS) The world refined nickel market was in a 5,000-metric-ton deficit in the first five months of the year, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said Wednesday.
  • (Yieh) According to data, crude stainless steel output in Europe 12 countries decreased in the first quarter. The output totaled 1.96 million tons in the first quarter and 1.97 million tons in the second quarter. It is expected the output in the third quarter will be further down.
  • (JMB) Cold-rolled Ni stainless steel/ Distributors' inventory end-June/ Increases by 5% due to decline in sales
  • Nickel Institute - “The Nickel Advantage is an essential technical resource for all users of stainless steel” - more
  • China - Chances of a 'double dip' in doubt - more
  • Pacific Ocean in early stages of a La Niña event - more
  • The manufacturing recovery continues to trend upward and has rebounded from severely depressed levels in 2009, according to the quarterly Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI Survey on the Business Outlook -- June 2010. The index rose to a record high 81% from 78% reported in the March 2010 report. - more

  Steel, Aluminum Shipment Growth Rate Accelerates – The rate of year-over-year growth of U.S. and Canadian metals service center steel and aluminum shipments accelerated in June, while inventory-to-sales ratios declined. - more

  Vale talks break off in Labrador - Contract talks between Vale and about 130 striking mine and mill employees represented by the United Steelworkers at the company's operations in Voisey's Bay, N.L., have broken off without a deal. - more

  • Vale Voisey's strike talks break off over bonus - Vale and the union representing striking workers at its Voisey's Bay nickel mine in eastern Canada have broken off talks aimed at ending the year-long stoppage, the United Steelworkers said on Tuesday. - more

  Chien Shing suspends operation on downturn in stainless steel market - The company did not give an exact date when operation would resume, reported Central News Agency yesterday. - more

  POSCO to hike stainless steel production in Vietnam - South Korea's POSCO said on Wednesday its Vietnamese unit would expand cold-rolled stainless steel production capacity through 2014 to enhance its business in Southeast Asian markets. - more

  BHP cautious on global growth - BHP Billiton Ltd says its petroleum and iron ore divisions have both achieved annual production records, but the mining giant continues to be cautious about the short-term outlook on the global economy. - more

  EU Steel Prices - So far, there has been a dearth of third quarter orders for the European flat product producers. Customers are staying out of the market for as long as possible, citing poor demand and the approach of the summer holiday period for the lack of buying activity. - more

  Chinese buyers learn to dig, scoop global mining assets - Buyers from China accounted for 40 per cent of inbound mining deals in Australia last year, and their global presence keeps growing. - more

  China's June ore imports from India drop 21 percent - China's iron ore imports from India in June stood at 8.29 million tonnes, down 21 percent month on month as a result of lukewarm demand and supply disruptions brought about by the Indian monsoon season, customs data showed on Wednesday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, July 20

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 29 to 1,761. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Passes U.S. as World's Biggest Energy Consumer, IEA Says // China's Three Gorges Says Yangtze Flooding Exceeds 1998 Level // Taiwan's Export Orders Advanced More Than Economists Estimated in June // Australia to Use European Stress Tests, Inflation as Rate Gauge // Asian Stocks Gain on Outlook for China's Economy; Yen Weakens //  Hungary Debt Risk Soars, Forint Drops Most in Six Weeks as IMF Halts Talks // U.K., Europe to Have Warmer Temperatures Than Average Next Month, WSI Says // Cameron Raids Dormant U.K. Accounts as Minister Attacks Banks // Most European Stocks Drop as Cable & Wireless Plunges; Mining Stocks Rally // BP Authorized to Keep Well Shut Another 24 Hours as Leak Probed // Bunning's Pitch to Curb Jobless Benefits Lures Converts Among Republicans // Treasury Auction Bids Rise 18% to Record as Investors Surpass Bond Dealers // Halliburton Profit Rises as Onshore Drilling Increases After Gulf Oil Leak // Payrolls Fall in 27 U.S. States, Led by California // U.S. Housing Starts Drop to Lowest Level Since October // U.S. Stocks Drop on Earnings Reports
  • The Euro is now trading around 1/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, and off session lows. NYMEX crud eis up over 7/10 of 1% and at $77.09/barrel. Gold is up 2/3 of 1% and silver is up 4/10 of 1%. Base metals ended higher on the day. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, then fell as the Euro fell, but as the Euro began to recover, nickel traders jumped in and took nickel higher. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.66/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses around the world slipped again overnight, and now sit just over the 118,200 tonne level. After 3 inbound shipments were recorded yesterday, 3X what we have seen since June 15, there were none today. Sucden's day old chart shows rangebound nickel unable to break free (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index is finally sending a positive economic signal, gaining for the third consecutive day, and up another 29 points. Nothing in the news to account for base metals trading higher today. Dow Jones noted ""The rise was a bit of mystery to me because the numbers (economic data) were bad," said a senior trader in London. "I think it was just some contrarian investors sweeping the markets (higher)."" Whether closing up or down these days, nickel continues to trade within a narrow band and appears to be rangebound, with the bulls limited by economic concerns and the bears kept in check by falling inventories. .

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • ECB Economists on Why Austerity Is Better Than Stimulus - more
  • Double Dip? Seven Reasons Why Not - more
  • The low-interest-rate trap - more
  • Small-Business Formations Decline - more
  • Poll: Faith in Social Security system tanking - more
  • Why the economy isn't recovering - more
  • The Bush Deficit Bamboozle - more

  Yuzhuralnickel reduced net losses. - The IIQ net losses of Yuzhuralnickel (RAS) came to 211.5mln rub. which is 10% less prior year figures- 235.66mln rub., the company informed. - more

  Steel Dynamics' Outlook Grows Murkier - Steel Dynamics offered a murky view of the fragile U.S. economic recovery when it reported second-quarter earnings that fell slightly below analysts' expectations.  - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.02/lb higher, off session highs, with other base metals quiet and mixed. The Euro is trading 2/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, adding pressure to commodity trading. NYMEX crude is off nearly 1/2 of 1% and trading at $76.18/barrel. Gold is off 1/3 of 1% and silver is down nearly 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 2.2%. European markets are trading lower this morning, and futures show Wall Street may open in a bearish mood. Nickel inventories continued their slide overnight.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals relinquish some gains, euro retracement checks upside moves - more
  • Reuters morning metals report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals ended mixed on Monday in very quiet trading, following the lead of the US equity markets, which stabilized a bit after Friday's drubbing. Equities held up despite a barrage of earnings announcements from the likes of IBM, Texas Instruments, and Steel Dynamics that all came in with numbers that fell somewhat short of estimates in some categories. Later today, we get earnings reports from Goldman Sachs, Bank of New York Mellon, and Apple. We do not have much to add from to what we wrote in Monday's note. We suspect metals should continue to remain range-bound in very quiet trading for the time being, as markets work through earnings and a relatively light week on the US macro front. Later today, we get June building permits and housing data (expected at 560,000 and 570,000, respectively), but we are not expecting any major fireworks here given the sluggish numbers we have seen in a number of related housing indicators. On Monday, for example, the NAHB/Wells Fargo housing market index fell more than expected in July to its lowest level since April 2009 after a popular tax credit for homebuyers expired.  .... We are $18,825 on nickel, up $25, and very quiet, with a $200 trading range in place.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) The total output of crude stainless steel in Japanese seven main stainless steel companies has been down to 303,000 tons in May, declining by 6.8 percent from April.
  • (AMM) Brazil’s Vale SA has restarted labor talks at its operations in Voisey’s Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, even as the plant ramps up to full capacity using non-striking unionized staff and replacement workers.
  • Defining ‘Criticality’: Mostly Metals - more
  • China dismisses IEA analysis of it being world's top energy user - more
  • (SM) According to the American Forest & Paper Association's June 2010 U.S. Paperboard Report released today, total boxboard production increased by 3.0% compared to June 2009, but 2.0% from last month. Year-to-date production was up 4.1% over 2009.
  • Chart of Day: $4 Trillion Hangover - more

  June 2010 Crude Steel Production - World crude steel production for the 66 countries reporting to the World Steel Association was 119 million metric tons (mmt) in June. This is 18% higher than June 2009. - more

  Because Of Curtailing Stainless Steel Production, China Faces Turning Point For Ni-Contained Pig Iron = Being Multiplied By Depressing Nickel Price At LME - The production of nickel-contained pig iron in China was able to continue on a favorable tone since the beginning of 2010 but is supposed to be moving to face a turning point. - more

  Ramu NiCo upset over court ruling - Ramu NiCo as manager of the Ramu Nickel Joint Venture has expressed disappointment over the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to not to lift the injunction restraining the company from installing and operating the deep sea tailing disposal facility. - more

  • How will the Chinese fight back now? - Three months ago, following the court injunction that stops the Chinese building a marine waste dumping system for their Ramu nickel mine, we asked the question where do the Chinese go next? - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending July 17, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,726,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 71.4 percent. Production was 1,255,000 tons in the week ending July 17, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 52.4 percent. The current week production represents a 37.5 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending July 17, 2010 is up 0.2 percent from the previous week ending July 10, 2010 when production was 1,722,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 71.2 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, July 19

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 12 to 1,732. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Wheat Prices Peaking as Two-Year Glut Overwhelms Best-Performing Commodity // China Should Reduce U.S. Dollar-Reserve Assets, Former Adviser Yu Writes // China Export Growth May Halve to 16% on European Debt Crisis, Tax Changes // China's Stocks Advance Most in Week on Housing Investment, Demand Outlook // Asian Stocks Slump Most in Two Weeks on Growth Concerns; Aquarius Tumbles // Philips Declines After Forecasting Revenue Growth Will Slow in Second Half // Hungary Debt Risk Soars, Forint Drops Most in Six Weeks as IMF Halts Talks // Iceland Foreign Loan Ruling Likely to Derail Bank Recovery, Fitch Warns // European Stocks Retreat for Fourth Straight Day; BP, Electrolux Lead Drop // Bunning's Pitch to Curb Jobless Benefits Lures Converts Among Republicans // Bombardier Says World Economy Clouds CSeries Jet Order Outlook // New York City Is on Track to Post Hottest July on Record as Heat Continues // U.S. Stocks Fluctuate on Earnings Optimism, Homebuilder Report
  • The Euro is trading 1/5 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, and off session highs. NYMEX crude oil is up 1/3 of 1% and trading at $76.27/barrel. Gold is down nearly a full percent while silver is lower by 1.4%. Base metals had another quiet day, most ending higher. Indicator charts show nickel started the session higher, but took a sizeable dip mid-day that it was unable to recover from. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.53/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell again over the weekend with a large outbound shipment from Europe measuring greater than two inbound shipments recorded, both in Europe and Asia. We saw the first inbound shipment recorded last week since June 15th, and the two shipments today, double last weeks total. Totals now stand just over the 118,500 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel suffering a sell off Friday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index gained for a second consecutive day, albeit weakly, adding another 12 points. In the week ahead, 128 of the S & P 500 report earnings, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify before Congress about the economy, and Europe will release bank stress test reports. For the most part, earning released in the US so far have been strong, but Wall Street's bull run got knocked down Friday by a dismal Consumer Confidence report. Today the National Association of Home Builders threw a monkey wrench early when it reported "Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes declined for a second consecutive month in July to its lowest level since April of 2009, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. The HMI fell two points from a downwardly revised number in the previous month to 14 for July". Most of the morning's earning reports have looked positive, however, and Wall Street is higher as we publish.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Calculated Risk - Goldman Sachs lowered their Q2 real annualized GDP growth estimate to 2%, and put the odds of a technical double-dip recession at 25%-30%.
  • Companies Step Up Hiring Plans in Latest NABE Survey - more
  • Number of the Week: Unemployment Extension Delay - more
  • Let Inflation Run Wild? Some Say Bring It On - more
  • Death by a Thousand Irish Cuts - more
  • Economists React: How Big a Threat Is Deflation? - more
  • The Pundit Delusion - more
  • Cities Rent Police, Janitors to Save Cash - more

  No plan to curb India iron ore exports now: Official - India has no plans to curb iron ore exports, a senior government official said on Monday, easing concerns of an imminent hike in export duty. - more

  What’s going on right now in dry bulk shipping? - Is it true that this is the first time dry bulk carriers have been taken out of the market since the start of the global recession in late 2008? - more

  • Does the new foreign trade record from China support shipping demand? - Strong export figures from China prove that the global economy is out of the emergency room and has been moved into the recovery room. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.09/lb lower, well off session highs, and bouncing off the session low. Other London traded base metals are trading mixed and quiet. The Euro is presently trading nearly 1/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up over 4/10 of 1% and trading at $76.34/barrel. Gold is trading lower by more than 4/10 of 1% and silver is lower by 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended mostly lower, with China up over 2-1/2%. European markets are slightly higher this morning, and US future show Wall Street could open to the positive side after a huge sell off Friday. Nickel inventories fell.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Copper leads base metals higher on supply woes, short-covering - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals fell sharply on Friday, with copper tumbling to its lowest level in about two weeks after a sell-off in the US equity markets -- the steepest since May -- hit the complex. The equity decline was surprising in that not only did a number of bank earnings come in somewhat better than expected, but the markets also seemed to shrug off the news that Goldman Sachs had at last settled with the government. Instead, it seems sentiment soured once focus shifted to the significant revenue misses by the banks, an indication that the lending part of their business has yet to pick up. On the macro side, a plunge in the latest University of Michigan survey to 11-month lows in June did not help matters much either, and neither did a dip in the latest consumer price readings, which fell for a third straight month and only reinforced perceptions of deflation. The euro pulled back from a two-month high versus the dollar.  ... We are $18,780 on nickel, down $170, and very quiet, with a $250 trading range in place for today. Charts continue to show little short-term direction and more range trading likely to be in store for us. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) South Korea’s Posco has opened the second factory of POSCO-VHPC. POSCO-VHPC will have 150,000 tons of production capability. On 24th, December 2009, Posco announced that they will build the second stainless steel processing mill in Vietnam.
  • (Interfax) The Stainless Steel Council of China Special Steel Enterprise Association (CSSC) announced on July 16 that construction work has begun as part of Fujian Haihe Industry Co Ltd.'s 200,000-ton high nickel alloy and 500,000-ton stainless steel project in Fuan City, Fujian Province.
  • (AP) A nickel smelting and processing plant will soon rise at Leyte Industrial Estate (Lide), 47 kilometers west of this city. This was revealed by Lide Management Corp. General Manager Engr. Amos Calda who said the plant will produce pig-iron raw materials, an ingredient in the manufacture of stainless steel.
  • (SO) On July 16, the US Department of Commerce (DOC) announced its decision to postpone the deadline for its final determination in the 2008-2009 antidumping (AD) duty review of stainless steel bar from India. The DOC said that the review deadline has been extended by 45 days from July 13, 2010 to August 27, 2010.
  • (SM) The American Forest & Paper Association released its June 2010 U. S.Containerboard Statistics Report today. For the eighth straight month, containerboard production rose over last year. Total production saw an increase of 47,100 tons or 1.7% over June 2009. Total production amounts decreased compared to May 2010, however the average daily production was up 1.6%. Year-to-date 2010 production has increased 10.6% over 2009. The containerboard operating rate for June 2010 rose 6.0 points over June 2009 to 96.7%.
  • Demand Net Rising Index - more

  Severe overcapacity in China's stainless steel industry - China's stainless steel industry is facing severe overcapacity due to sluggish demand and lack of high-end product manufacturers, the China Business Daily reported Monday. - more

  Billion dollar PNG nickel mine project under threat after failed court bid - The management of the huge Chinese financed Ramu nickel mine project in Madang Province in Papua New Guinea say its viability is under threat. - more

  Copper and Nickel ETFs: Higher Prices Soon? - If a wave of heists in which robbers steal the metals in the United Kingdom is any indication, copper and nickel exchange traded funds (ETFs) are becoming a hot commodity. - more

  Mining returns to Ravensthorpe - The Western Australian community of Ravensthorpe has cautiously welcomed the return of mining to the region. - more

  Miners ponder return to ad war over tax - Mining companies left out of this month's tax deal with the Government are considering a resumption of hostilities backed by a new national advertising campaign. - more

  Courtesy AISI - The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that for the month of May 2010, U.S. steel mills shipped 7,345,455 net tons, a 4.1 percent increase from the 7,057,660 net tons shipped in the previous month, April 2010, and a 71.6 percent increase from the 4,281,986 net tons shipped in May 2009.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, July 16

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 20 to 1,720. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Interest-Rate Swaps Decline to One-Year Low on Slower Growth Outlook // Williams Sees China as Next `Fallen Angel' After Japan, Nasdaq // Most China Stocks Climb, Led by Moutai, Consumer Companies; Zijin Declines // Thailand's Economy Shows `Resilience,' May Expand 8% This Year, IMF Says // Asian Stocks Retreat as U.S. Factory Output Falls, Google Misses Estimates // Russia Eurobonds Rebounding to Profit After Worst Slump on Global Recovery // RBS Said to Reserve Right to Take Action After Goldman Settlement With SEC // Anglo American's Kumba Demands ArcelorMittal Prepay for Ore as Talks Stall // BP Advances After Halting Oil Flow From Gulf of Mexico Well for First Time  // European Stocks Extend Losses as U.S. Consumer Sentiment Misses Forecasts // Goldman Settlement `Victory' Ushers Change to Wall Street // Toyota Educates Customers as Floor Mat Alert Ignored // Confidence Slides, Heightening Risk of a Slowdown // Stocks Tumble on Revenue Concerns, Weak Confidence
  • The Euro is now trading nearly 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down 1.2% and at $75.70/barrel. Gold is down 1-1/2% and silver is lower by over 2-3/4%. Base metals got zapped by the economic news from the US, and all ended the session in the red. Indicator charts show nickel was struggling to keep its head above water early on, even with a stronger Euro, but as US markets opened, everything seemed to head south. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $8.60/lb , down for the day, week and month, but slightly higher than this date six months ago, and a full $1.37/lb higher than one year ago today. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses now stand just over the 119,000 tonne level after falling  again overnight. Sucden's day old chart shows LME trading thru yesterday (chart here). After 35 consecutive losses the Baltic Dry Index gained 20 points today. US markets were busy digesting numerous earnings statements published this morning when it was reported consumer prices fell for a third month. This sent the market lower, but was showing signs of rebounding when the Reuters and the University of Michigan consumer confidence index was published, falling to 66.5 in early July from 76 in late June. This zapped any enthusiasm in the market and the Dow is currently down over 200 points. Ugly day, but we will stay encouraged by that 20 point gain in the BDI and hope it sticks. Have a safe and relaxing weekend!!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Economists Express More Optimism Than General Public - more
  • Europe vs. U.S.: The Post-Recession Productivity Divide - more
  • Back to Trend Growth, Not Trend - more
  • Jobless Claims: Take the Latest Drop with a Grain of Salt - more
  • Yellen: Job Creation Is Main Focus of Monetary Policy Right Now - more
  • Franklin Raines on Deficit Reduction: More Advice from the Folks That Wrecked the Economy - more
  • The Last Bubble: The Problem of Unresolved Debt in the US Financial System - more
  • The $4 Trillion Dollar Question - more
  • A Curious Unemployment Picture Gets More Curious - more
  • Redo That Voodoo - more
  • More misleading reports of "smaller farms" - more
  • Raids are increasing on farms and private food-supply clubs - more

  Short side of commodity market becomes crowded -Every successful trade and correlation contains the seeds of its own destruction. Imitators pile in and the trade becomes crowded, competing away the gains. - more

  China steel almost in the red as prices fall -CISA - China's massive steel sector, which has begun cutting production in the face of falling prices and softening demand, is nearing the break-even point, the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) said on Friday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.04/lb in fairly quiet trading so far, with other London traded base metals mixed but mostly higher. The Euro is presently trading over 1/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is up 1/10 of 1% and trading at $76.70/barrel. Gold is down more than 1/2 of 1% and silver is 2/3 of 1% lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended mostly lower, with China up nearly 3/10 of 1%. European markets are currently trading lower, while US futures is digesting a lot fo big earnings reports this morning, and is slightly higher at the moment.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning- Base metals simmer; new gains in euro underpin markets - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals ended modestly lower yesterday in quiet trading, as investors presumably sifted through a slew of economic figures coming out of both China and the US, and likely concluded that there was not much new to warrant a round of aggressive position taking in either direction. We already discussed some of the Chinese numbers that came out in Thursday's note, but out of the US, we had several more readings that also made the case for slowing growth. In this regard, it was reported that June industrial production rose yesterday, but the increase was a paltry .1%, only slightly better than the unchanged reading forecast, and well off the 1.3% gain seen in May. In addition, regional manufacturing gauges, such as the New York Fed’s Empire State Index, fell to 5.1 in July, its lowest level so far this year, while the Philadelphia Fed’s general economic index dropped to 5.1 in July, its lowest since August of 2009. Other reports showed initial jobless claims declining, reflecting a smaller number of factory closings for this time of the year, but producer prices dropped more than forecast, off .5% vs. the -.1% expected, reviving deflationary concerns in the process. .... In term's of today's action, metals are mixed, and we do not expect much to happen for the balance of the day given the lack of any substantial macro news out of the US or elsewhere. Going somewhat unnoticed this past week, is the surprising strength in the Euro, now just under $1.30, and not too far off the levels we were at when the Euro crisis first erupted. Having said that, its impressive recovery has noticeably failed to spark any concerted buying in either metals or energy. It will be interesting to watch what will happen next week when results of the so-called European stress tests will be released. Out take is that most markets could rally modestly heading into the date if investors get a sense that the tests are transparent and credible, and that the problem loans uncovered are deemed manageable.  .... We are $19,286 on nickel, down $114, and very quiet. Charts show little short-term direction. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) There are currently no positive impulses for nickel, says Commerzbank, which adds that it is skeptical about Sumitomo Metal Mining's predictions of a 40,000 metric ton supply deficit in 2010. It says growth in China should slow down within the next months. "The first deficit since 2006 is not yet discernible. Quite the opposite is true.... "
  • (Interfax) China produced 398.68 million tons of steel products in the first six months of 2010, up 26.1 percent year-on-year, according to figures released by Shanghai-based Mysteel Information on July 16.
  • (WP) Baosteel is in talks with PT Aneka Tambang, an Indonesian nickel producer, to build a ferronickel plant in the country, Xu said, without providing the possible investment value. Dow Jones reported July 13 that the two partners will sign a $1.2 billion agreement this month for the project.
  • (AP) A nickel smelting and processing plant will soon rise at Leyte Industrial Estate (Lide), 47 kilometers west of this city. This was revealed by Lide Management Corp. General Manager Engr. Amos Calda who said the plant will produce pig-iron raw materials, an ingredient in the manufacture of stainless steel.
  • (JMB) China's crude steel production in June/ Increases by 9% to over 53,770 thousand tons/ Declines month-on-month by 2,500 thousand tons

  Nickel mining company, Direct Nickel, has received an injection of capital from the CSIRO Australian Growth Partnership (AGP) program to work with CSIRO’s Minerals Down Under Flagship towards unlocking Australia’s nickel laterite reserves. - more

  World Bank, Ngos Spar Over Indonesian Mine Project - The World Bank's Board of Directors said studies for a potential mining project in Indonesia could move forward Tuesday but civil society groups, citing studies that have already been done, condemned the decision. - more

  Surigao del Sur town denies permit to mining firm - Mayor Genito Guardo has denied the application of a mining company to extract nickel ore from this town, citing the need to protect the environment from possible destruction. - more

  Rusal Says Norilsk Refuses to Provide Voting Papers - United Co. Rusal, a shareholder in OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, said the management of the nickel company violated Russian federal law by refusing to provide it with voting papers from a June 28 annual general meeting.  - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, July 15

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 9 to 1,700. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Bill Yield Declines for First Time in Six Weeks After Growth Slows // Foreign Investment in China Rises to Highest Level in More Than Two Years  // China Economic Growth Slows After Credit Cuts // China Stocks Fall Most in 2 Weeks as Growth Slows; Agricultural Bank Gains // Philippines Keeps Main Interest Rate at Record-Low 4% as Inflation Slows // Asian Stocks Drop as Fed Cuts Forecast, Retail Sales Fall // Russian Banks Cut Bond Holdings for First Time Since 2008 to Fund Lending // European Banks May Need $109 Billion in Capital After Tests, Barclays Says // Euro Rises as Spain Sale Attracts Greater Demand; Yen Gains, Aussie Falls //European Stocks Drop Most in Two Weeks; Rio Tinto, Gartmore Lead Retreat // JPMorgan Profit Rises, Beating Estimates // Dollar Declines to Two-Month Low Versus Euro as Manufacturing Growth Slows // Boeing Says First 787 Delivery Could Move Into 2011 // U.S. Manufacturing Contracts, Wholesale Prices Decline //
  • The Euro is currently trading more than 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are down more than 1/2% and trading at $75.82/barrel. Gold is trading slightly higher, while silver is up over a third of a percent. For the most part base metals ended where they started, teh strengthening Euro unable to offset slowing reports from US and China. Indicator charts show nickel was choppy within about a $350 range, starting higher, falling lower, then climbing back. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.80/lb , only $5/tonne higher than yesterday's close. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell yet again overnight, and now total just over 119,500 tonnes total. This puts the total inventory numbers about where they were last September 30th. Sucden's day old chart shows LME trading of nickel thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index's drop slowed overnight, and only fell 9 points to read 1,700. One of the the three sub-indexes, the Panamax Index read positive, while the Cape and Supramax Index were down slightly. This implies we could finally see the end of the long drop, or it could mean no more than another head fake.  China reported a GDP slightly lower than expected, but still at a number that makes the rest of the world green with envy. They also reported their output of nickel in JUne was at 17,799 metric tonnes, which is 2.9% higher than May, and 16.1% higher than June of last year. Overall, nickel output is up 17.4% on the year over last. This implies the production of pig nickel for the month was higher than some had forecast. US reports were equally less than encouraging with three separate reports published by the Fed showing manufacturing is slowing down. Wall Street is not happy with the results and is lower at the moment.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MB) Chinese daily nickel output unexpectedly rose 6% in June
  • (MW) Manufacturing activity grew in the New York region in July, but at a much weaker pace than in June, according to the Empire state survey released Thursday by the New York Federal Reserve Bank. The Empire state index fell to 5.1 in July from 19.6 in June. Readings over zero indicate growth, with higher numbers indicating more firms were growing.
  • Inland Empire: Increased Activity at Warehouses From Ports - more
  • Big Box Stores Don’t Produce Big Tax Gains - more
  • Illinois: Higher Default Risk than Iceland - more
  • Lack of Demand, Not Lack of Confidence, Is the Reason that Businesses are Not Hiring - more
  • The capital tsunami is a bigger threat than the nuclear option - more
  • Shadow Housing Inventory: Two Houses for Every One for Sale - more
  • Plants 'can think and remember' - more

  IFM sees no fall in ferrochrome Q4 contracts price - An end to de-stocking coupled with rising demand will ensure ferrochrome contract prices do not fall below current levels for the fourth quarter, South African producer International Ferro Metals (IFM) said on Thursday. - more

  URSA Major Minerals Incorporated is pleased to announce that the Shakespeare Nickel Mine has achieved the full budgeted output and grade since resuming operations in June. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading flat and off session highs, with other base metals mixed and quiet. The Euro is over 2/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, which typically gives a boost to commodities but the mixed Chinese data is offsettign any push. NYMEX crude oil is up 2/10 of 1% and at $77.20/barrel. Gold is trading 1/2 of 1% higher, while silver is over 3/4 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off 1.7% after reports show China's growth is slowing. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street should open higher. Nickel inventories fell overnight.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals mostly move higher with euro, mixed data injects caution - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals finished with modest losses in Wednesday's session in very quiet trading, tracking a slight fade in the US equity markets that set in after the Federal Reserve's June minutes were released. The minutes revealed that the Fed is now calling for growth to fall between 3-3.5% this year, down from earlier forecasts of 3.2%-3.7%, and bringing its numbers closer in line with private forecasts. The Fed governors also expect little change in the stubbornly high unemployment rate for the balance of the year, prompting some members to suggest that the central bank should be ready to consider additional steps to boost the economy if the outlook takes a turn for the worse. However, with rates pretty much close to zero already, it does not leave the Fed with too many options in this regard. June retail sales also came in worse than expected; sales decreased by 0.5%, slightly worse than the -0.2% rate forecast, but better than May's -1.1% drop. However, the core reading -- which excludes the highly volatile motor vehicle, building materials, and gasoline station sales -- rose 0.2% in June after falling 0.2% in May. Furthermore, some of the overall sales decline may have been the result of price decreases (as opposed to quantity of sales) for things like gasoline, where prices fell by 3.6% in June. In term's of today's action, markets were eagerly awaiting GDP and other macro results out of China overnight, but judging from an unchanged metals session in Shanghai, and generally mixed readings we are seeing in metals right now, we have to conclude that the numbers contained no major surprises. In this regard, the Chinese said growth eased to 10.3% in the second quarter from 11.9% in the first, and that industrial production also grew less than forecast in June, rising to 13.7%, lower than all but one of 27 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey. The slight leveling off in the growth trajectory could signal a diminished risk of overheating, and is leading to talk that the government could loosen quotas on lending. However, with inflation likely to push higher in light of recently announced wage increases, we think the government will make few changes to its current policy, allowing the economy too cool off somewhat further. The implications for metals is that we may not see substantially higher prices in the months ahead, but by the same token, a collapse to fresh lows is also unlikely. ... We are $19,380 on nickel, down $20, and very quiet. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) t is reported that China has announced to cut the production of nickel pig iron due to stagnant nickel price. Meanwhile, Chinese stainless steel producers will set the equipment maintenance during this period. According to some of speculators, the production capacity of nickel pig iron is about 180,000 tons in May, down by 6 percent from April. Meanwhile, the total production of nickel-based pig iron is expected to reach about 80,000 tons in the first half of 2010.
  • (TEX) The designed annual capacity at the Doniambo refinery in New Caledonia is able to produce 65,000 tons of nickel in ferro-nickel at present but Eramet is scheduled to expand this capacity in the near future. The Doniambo refinery has planned to produce 55,500 tons of nickel in ferro-nickel in 2010 but is scheduled to increase the output to 60,000 tons in 2012 and 65,000 tons in 2014 respectively.
  • (DJ) Goldman raised its 12-month forecast for nickel by 167% to $20,000/ton. Rising demand will more than offset the resumption of nickel production at Vale SA's Ontario operations, where a one-year strike ended last week, it said.
  • (AMM) Nickel premiums softened this week due to seasonal factors, but have not yet been impacted significantly by the end of the Vale strike in Ontario, market participants told AMM.
  • (BBC) Chinese nickel project in Papua New Guinea said losing millions daily
  • (Interfax) China's daily crude steel output reached an average of 1.79 million tons in June, down 1.1 percent month-on-month, according to a July 15 National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report.
  • (SSY) German steel production fell by 5% from the 23-month high of 4.1 Mt last month to 3.86 Mt in June, which also represents a 54% increase year-on-year, according to the German Steel Federation. Steel output in the first half of this year reached 23.33 Mt, a remarkable 9.5 Mt above the year-ago level.
  • The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) fell 0.4 percent in May from its April level, declining after two consecutive monthly increases, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1). - more
  • China's economy slows moderately - more
  • MDM/Baird 2Q Survey: Distributors Share Hiring Plans - more
  • Despite June Slip, Pulse of Commerce Still Strong - more
  • AAR Rail Time Indicators July Report - pdf here

  Merafe sees return to profit in first-half - South African ferrochrome producer Merafe Resources said on Thursday it expects to report a return to black for the six months to the end of June after it boosted production on the back of rising demand. - more

  China's June crude steel output up 9pct on year - China's crude steel output rose 9 per cent to 53.77 million tonnes in June from a year earlier, but fell 4.2 per cent on the month after hitting an all-time high in May, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday. - more

  PNG Landowners Somare Offered Bribe To Drop Case - The Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare is alleged to have offered a substantial amount of money to have disgruntled landowners drop their court challenge which has stopped development of the deep sea tailing placement project in Basamuk by Ramu NiCo Limited (MCC). - more

  The following table lists China’s production of copper and other non-ferrous metals in June and in the first six months of the year. - more

  Province seeks mining \’Ring\’ master - The province is still trying to find a senior bureaucrat to oversee the government‘s role in the big Ring of Fire chromite project north of Thunder Bay, even though the Cleveland-based iron-ore giant likely to build the mine appears to be going full-steam ahead without any help. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, July 14

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 81 to 1,709.   (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Thailand Raises Interest Rate for First Time Since 2008 as Risks Subside // China Loans Are `Distorted,' 28% Higher Than Official Numbers, Fitch Says // Oil Imports Dropping From Record as China Curbs Refining: Energy Markets // Hebei Iron & Steel Expects First-Half Net Income to Increase Much as 737% // Asian Stocks Advance; Samsung Climbs on Intel's Record Revenue // Euro Declines Versus Yen on Evidence of Slowing Growth, Spain's Borrowing // Ex-IKB CEO Convicted of Misleading Investors About Bank's Subprime Risks // European Inflation Slows, Industrial Output Advances Less Than Forecast // Euro Rises to Two-Month High Versus Dollar as U.S. Equities Erase Losses // Treasury Yield at Highest in Two Weeks After Intel Reports Record Sales // Intel Tops Analysts' Estimates, Says Recovery Has Legs // California May Cut Pay, Illinois Holds Bills to Bar Downgrades // Americans in 70% Majority See More Jobless as Deficit Widens // Sales at U.S. Retailers Fell for a Second Month in June // U.S. Stocks Advance as Intel Helps S&P 500 Extend 7-Day Rally //
  • The Euro is currently trading nearly 1/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, erasing earlier losses. NYMEX crude oil is trading 3/4 of 1% higher and at $77.73/barrel. Gold is down more than 1/2 of 1% and silver is trading flat. Base metals ended the session mixed, with not much change on the day for most. Indicator charts show nickel started off strong, then slowly collapsed thru much of the session, the stronger Euro offering no help. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.80/lb . Inventories of nickel stored worldwide in LME approved warehouses fell again overnight, and now sit just under the 119,800 tonne level. We did note a 270 tonne shipment arriving into a Korean warehouse, the first in nearly a month. Dow Jones reported the theft of several hundred metric tonnes of nickel and copper from a Henry & Bath warehouse in Liverpool. We should hear more on this in the coming days. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading on the LME exchange thru yesterday (chart here).  The Baltic Dry Index will not let up in its descent, down another 81 points today to 1,709. We get some important Chinese trade report numbers overnight, which could give the base metals market some direction. Traders appear to be nervous and looking for some positive numbers to negate all the double dip talk. It could be worse. Anyone with access to the internet these days can claim their five minutes and now the BP Gulf disaster, could mean the end of the world according to one writer (more). Makes us wonder if that $20 billion dollars BP set aside would cover end of the world claims?

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Fairfax) High-carbon ferrochrome prices have fallen below the $1.30/lb level, with the Platts price for 60-65% being set on July 7 at $1.25-1.28/lb FOB. Global stainless steel destocking will mean that uncertainty over where stocks will end up will reduce purchasing demand as buyers do not want to end up with excessive stock. .... Nickel - Supply disruptions from resolved labour disputes and continued demand from China is expected to lead to a widening deficit. World demand is estimated to exceed supply by 40,000 tons this year. The price of Nickel has fallen 28% to $19,550/t after touching a two year high in April. Output in China, the biggest user may increase 7% while consumption may advance 13%.
  • (SC) This year continues to “shape up well” for Rio Tinto, though the mining heavyweight today warned investors to expect further volatility in commodity prices on fears of a double-dip recession and concerns about Chinese demand. In a second quarter update, chief executive Tom Albanese said operations are close to capacity and markets for most products are strong and the overall long term demand outlook is positive.
  • Llust for local's nickel mantle  - more
  • Trade Data Lead to Cut in Second Quarter GDP Forecasts - more
  • Boston Fed’s Rosengren: Growth Slowing, Deflation Is Emerging Risk - more
  • MBA: Mortgage Purchase Applications lowest since December 1996 - more
  • How Bad is the Job Situation? - more
  • Wall Street Fix Seen Ineffectual by Four of Five in U.S. - more

  Norilsk expects lower Q3 metals demand - Russia's Norilsk Nickel, the world's biggest producer of nickel and palladium, expects demand for its metals to fall in the third quarter after a strong first half, but prospects for next year are still hazy. - more

 Cunico to raise nickel output to 32,000 T in 2011 - Mining and metal processing company Cunico Resources plans to raise output to around 32,000 tonnes of nickel in ferro-nickel at its two Balkan plants next year, company officials in Macedonia and Kosovo said. - more

  Xstrata Shifts Focus from M&A to Project Execution - We're paring our fair value estimate on expectations Australia's mining tax will be implemented as presently conceived - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.04/lb higher, with other London traded base metals mostly slightly higher. The Euro is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is down 3/4 of 1% and at $76.58/barrel. Gold is down 4/10 of 1% and silver is off by nearly 8/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 7/10 of 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures show Wall Street could open higher. Nickel inventories continued to fall overnight.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals erase losses as dollar bounces, equities rise - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals ended higher on Tuesday, but the gains were not as impressive as the surge we saw in both the US equity markets and energy. Even the dollar, which weakened against the Euro to trade just under $1.27 at one point during the day, failed to spark metals that much. The generally firmer tone in the US stock market was attributable to a spate of solid US corporate earnings reports. We already wrote about the better-than-expected Alcoa and CSX numbers in yesterday's note, but this was soon followed by Intel's blowout numbers posted after the close of trading on Tuesday. The stock is up almost 7% in pre-market trading, and has boosted Asian and European equity markets, thus insuring another likely higher opening today here in the US. Metals are up slightly as of this writing, but just like yesterday, the gains are fairly modest. This tells us that the markets are still a little on edge after the release of the Chinese trade data out earlier in the week. Funds may also be keeping their powder dry ahead of the Chinese second quarter GDP and industrial production numbers that come out later in the week. However, our inclination is not to get too short in metals for the balance of the week, as we would not want to fight the headwinds of a stronger US equity market and a possible surprise in the Chinese data. (Incidentally, we have outlined our medium term thoughts on the metals group and the general macro in the monthly recap on commodities report sent out to readers yesterday). ....  We are $19,700 on nickel, up $150, and quiet. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) The theft of several hundred metric tons of nickel and copper from a warehouse in the U.K.'s north west will end up being an expensive crime for a couple of metals brokers, because they weren't insured against the burglary, persons familiar with the matter told Dow Jones Newswires..... The burglary, which took place May 31, was from a shed in Liverpool's Huskisson Dock owned by warehousing company Henry Bath & Son. Each ton of nickel--used to make steel and worth around $21,000/ton when it was stolen--would have cost just $14-$16 a year to insure.
  • (Dow Jones) Nickel and gold producer PT Aneka Tambang and Shanghai Baosteel Group Corp. will soon sign a $1.2 billion agreement to develop a ferronickel plant in Kalimantan, an official with Indonesia's state agency for investment told reporters Wednesday.
  • US Imports of Steel Mill Products FOR All Stainless Products - more
  • URSA Major Minerals Achieves Full Budgeted Nickel/Copper Ore Production and Grade at Its Shakespeare Nickel Mine in Sudbury Area, Ontario - more
  • (CCR) China's June power use rose 14.14 percent from a year ago, the government said on Jul 14, the second-slowest monthly growth rate this year as Beijing moved to clamp down on power-guzzling heavy industries.

  Nickel Supply Deficit Seen Greater Than Expected This Year, Sumitomo Says - The nickel market may swing into a greater deficit than expected this year because of supply disruptions and greater Chinese demand, which could boost prices, said Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., the biggest producer in Japan. - more

  First Quantum Hiring Workers for Australia’s Ravensthorpe Mine - First Quantum Minerals Ltd., the Canadian mining company that bought BHP Billiton Ltd.’s failed West Australian nickel mine, is hiring 600 workers and plans to restart the operation ahead of schedule. - more

  US high-carbon ferrochrome prices may have reached a floor - US high-carbon ferrochrome prices may have found a floor for now, having eased in recent weeks, although little spot market or longer-term activity is expected to occur during the summer months until consumers start buying requirements for the fourth quarter, market participants said Tuesday.  - more

  No respite from Chinese uncertainty: Rio Tinto - Rio Tinto says it sees no respite from uncertainty about Europe and China that has been buffeting global markets recently but, as always, remains optimistic about the long-term outlook for commodities. - more

  Hyundai Corp. / S. Korea Acquires 2% Interest In Ambatovy Nickel Project / Madagascar = Through KORES / South Korea, Prime Bidder For Indirect Acquisition - It was known that Hyundai Corporation of South Korea has acquired through Korea Resources Corporation (KORES) the right for prime bidder, enabling to obtain 2% interest in the Ambatovy nickel project in Madagascar. This is one of the arrangements to relate with natural resources adopted by the Korea Government. - more

  EU screw makers suspend Malaysia, India complaints - European fastener producers have dropped complaints that rivals in India and Malaysia are receiving illegal state aid and dumping screws and bolts in the European Union, but said they could file new allegations. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, July 13

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 50 to 1,790. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Posco Plans to Raise $1.7 Billion After Profit Almost Triples on Prices // Philippine Exports Climbed at Faster Pace in May, Boosting Economic Growth // Asian Stocks Fall as China Reiterates Policies to Curb Property Prices // Greek Banks Drive Bill Rates Below EU Loans in Post-Crisis Sale // BMW Raises Sales, Earnings Forecast as Global Automobile Market Recovers // IEA Forecasts World Crude Oil Demand Growth Will Slow to 1.6% Next Year // German Investor Confidence Drops for Third Month as Bank Stress Tests Loom // Dollar Falls to Two-Month Low as Corporate View, Greek Debt Sale Buoy Risk // European Stocks Rise for Sixth Day as BP Surges // Alcoa Profit Surprise Bodes Well for Economy, Stocks // States Show First Revenue Growth Since 2008, Rockefeller Institute Reports // U.S. Regulatory Bill Nears Passage With Republican Support // Import Surge Points to Acceleration in U.S. Spending, Morgan Stanley Says // Americans Are More Optimistic About Economy Than Own Finances, Survey Says // George Steinbrenner, Yankees' Win-or-Else Boss, Dies //
  • The Euro is presently trading over 9/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, seeing a big rebound today. NYMEX crude oil is up 2-3/4% and at $77.00/barrel. Gold - up nearly 1-1/2%. Silver - up over 2.1%. Base metals - all ending higher. Indicator charts show nickel was slightly higher when the Dollar began to drop, and this helped it move higher. Considering the jump in the Euro and equities today, nickel's increase looked rather unimpressive. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.87/lb .  Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell again overnight, and now sit just under the 120,000 tonne level. The total has fallen nearly 28% from the Feb 5th all time record high of 166,386 tonnes. We have not documented a single inbound shipment since June 15th. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). Today's session began with Stochastic and Relative Strength Index numbers showing the market was in oversold territory. The Baltic Dry Index continues to fall, down another 50 points today, and its 33rd consecutive daily drop.  Equity markets are higher on higher earning reports and commodities await important Chinese data out Thursday.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel exports fell 45.8% in May from the previous month, but was up 128.9% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
  • (Dow Jones) Russian polar miner OAO Norilsk Nickel's First Deputy General Director Valeriy Matvienko has tendered his resignation, the company's spokeswoman told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday.
  • (Yesterday) Portugal’s government bond ratings were cut to A1 from Aa2 at Moody’s Investors Service today.
  • Small Businesses Get More Pessimistic - more
  • Bernanke Urges Small-Business Lending - more
  • Fighting Unemployment With a Stick - more
  • U.S. Stripped of AAA Credit Rating...By China?!  - more
  • Deficit Chicken Hawks vs Ronald Reagan - more
  • The Meaning of Credibility - more
  • (PR) The Consumer Reports Trouble Tracker Index has shown a decline this month, pointing to fewer troubles for consumers, dropping to 57.6 in July from 63.5 in June. The most notable improvement was in the proportion of Americans that missed a mortgage payment, down to 2.4% from 3.9% the prior month.
  • (MW) Consumption of diesel fuel by U.S. trucking companies dropped sharply during June after having risen in May, but analysts said this reflected a decline usually seen around the Memorial Day holiday. The Ceridian-UCLA pulse of commerce index fell 1.9% in June, a reversal from May's 3.1% increase. The index is designed to measure the daily consumption of diesel by shipping companies.

  China to shut steel mills with capacity below 1 mln T - China plans to step up consolidation of its steel sector this year by closing small mills and improving production standards, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Tuesday. - more

  Independent review points to Weda Bay Nickel plans as cause for major concern - Global civil society rallies against MIGA endorsement for an Indonesian nickel mine project due to substantial social and environmental concerns. - more

  Baltic index hits fresh low, China slowdown bites - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index .BADI, which tracks rates to ship dry commodities, fell to its lowest level in over 14 months again on Monday as weak Chinese demand put the brakes on cargo activity. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.06/lb higher with other base metals trading mixed and quiet. The Euro is currently trading 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is up 1.2% and trading at $75.84/barrel. Gold is up more than 1.1% and silver is over 1.2$ higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off more than 1-1/2%. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street likes what it sees so far in earnings reports. Nickel inventories fell overnight.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals erase losses as dollar bounces, equities rise - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper ended lower on Monday, snapping a five-day winning streak and dragging the rest of the group lower, as the complex never managed to shrug off uninspiring Chinese import data released earlier in the day. A modest upside reversal in the US equity markets failed to reverse the declines, and a firmer dollar did not help matters much either. As we wrote in Monday’s note, most of the focus was on the 17% decline in June’s unwrought copper import levels, with expectations calling for a 5-7% increase. Leaving less of an impression, was the fact that year-to-date import levels were practically unchanged from last year's blistering pace, while scrap imports also ticked higher. We also think that with investors aware of the fact that copper stock levels are falling on both the LME and in Shanghai, heavier selling pressure was fended off. Right now, we are looking at slightly lower markets once again, but prices are off their worst levels of the day. Energy prices are up slightly, while the dollar is holding steady at just under $1.26. The US equity markets are looking to open higher, likely teeing off on the fact that Alcoa’s earnings numbers came in better than expected. The company reported late yesterday that revenues were up 22%, this despite lower aluminum prices. Additionally, the company’s CEO raised demand readings for both this year and next, and sees average consumption growth of 6% over the next 10 years. The company’s stock is up some 3% in pre-market trading. In another good earnings report, also from the manufacturing side, US railroad CSX Corp posted a 36% rise in second-quarter profit, citing sharp jumps in shipments of cars and metals.  There are no macro releases out of the US today, although out of Europe, the German ZEW institute's July headline index came in lower than expected. In addition, Moody's downgraded the sovereign debt rating of Portugal by two notches, but this does not seem to be stirring the same degree of turmoil we had seen in the wake of prior downgrades. Looking further forward, a major pivot point in most markets will be the upcoming Europeans stress test results slated for July 23rd. EU regulators are examining the strength of 91 banks to determine if they can survive potential losses in an attempt to reassure investors about the health of financial institutions. For what its worth, equity markets rallied here in the US when stress tests were being carried out by the Treasury last year, so this should be an interesting lead-up period to when the actual results are announced. ...  We are $19,349 on nickel, up $150, and not doing very much.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) South Korean POSCO has decreased domestic price of 300 series long products for July. Currently Posco's price of 300 series wire rod has fell by 180,000 won/ton. In addition, 300 series round bar price has also dropped by 200,000 won/ton
  • (Reuters) China Steel, Taiwan's top steel maker, will cut domestic prices by an average of about 4 percent for September over July-August because of reduced demand for home construction materials in China, a company executive said on Tuesday.
  • (CD) China's steel output in 2010 might hit a new high of 620 to 630 million tons, a 10 percent increase year-on-year, Minister of Industry and Information Technology Li Yizhong forecast at a forum Monday. - more
  • (DJ) LME: Delisted Inco Nickel Pellets Brand
  • (MDM) May U.S. manufacturing technology consumption totaled $178.34 million, according to the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association and the Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTC program, was down 22.9% from April but up 58.6% from the total of $112.42 million reported for May 2009. With a year-to-date total of $966.63 million, 2010 is up 52.9% compared with 2009.
  • (AT) Effective with shipments beginning September 1, 2010, a surcharge of $458 per ton ($22.90/cwt) is being added to grain-oriented electrical steel invoices. This surcharge is subject to monthly adjustment.
  • The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index™ (PCI) by UCLA Anderson School of Management, adjusted for season and for monthly workdays, fell 1.9% in June, taking away two-thirds of May’s 3.1% gain. This release comes in the midst of a string of other disappointing releases that have raised concerns about future growth and ignited fears of a double-dip recession. - pdf here

  Minara Nickel Output Drops 15% After Pipeline Failure at Australian Plant - Minara Resources Ltd., Australia’s second-largest nickel producer, reported second-quarter production dropped 15 percent after a pipeline failure at the Murrin Murrin plant in Western Australia  - more

  Japan's Exports Of Stainless Steel Products In May 2010 Increased To 120,000 Tons = Exports For China Decreased But Shipments To Taiwan, South Korea And Thailand Increased - Japan Iron and Steel Federation compiled the data on exports of stainless steel products from Japan in May of 2010 on the basis of the statistics released by the Ministry of Finance and the contents were as per the table attached hereto. - more

  PM leads talk on nickel project settlement - There is every likelihood that an out-of-court settlement will be reached on the current court case which has stopped the development of the deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) project in Basamuk Bay, Madang, by Ramu NiCo. - more

  Baoshan Steel Cuts Prices for a Second Month as Automobile Demand Weakens - Baoshan Iron & Steel Co., the biggest publicly traded Chinese steelmaker, cut prices for a second month amid weakening demand from makers of automobiles and appliances. - more

  • Wuhan, Anshan Steel to Shut Plants for Maintenance on Prices, UC361 Says - Wuhan Iron & Steel Group, China’s third-biggest steelmaker, and Anshan Iron & Steel Group may carry out plant maintenance this month after prices dropped, researcher UC361.com said. - more

  POSCO: net profit almost tripled in second quarter - South Korea's top steelmaker POSCO said Tuesday its second-quarter net profit had almost tripled to 1.19 trillion won (981 million dollars) due to price rises and growing demand as the world economy improved. - more

  • POSCO warns H2 profit to fall as steel prices crumble - POSCO, the world's No.3 steelmaker, warned its second-half profit would fall by 30 percent after posting its second-best ever quarterly profit on Tuesday, as steel prices crumble on weak Chinese demand. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending July 10, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,722,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 71.2 percent. Production was 1,254,000 tons in the week ending July 10, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 52.4 percent. The current week production represents a 37.4 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending July 10, 2010 is down 1.8 percent from the previous week ending July 3, 2010 when production was 1,752,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 72.4 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, July 12

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 62 to 1,840. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Uranium Bottoming as China Boosts Stockpiles // Yuan Forwards Strengthen After China's Record June Exports Signal Recovery // Volkswagen's First-Half China Sales Rise 46% After Introducing New Models // China Wins Higher Debt Rating Than U.S. in First Report by Chinese Company // China Inflation Threat May Recede on Slower Loan Growth, Property Prices // Most Asian Stocks Decline After Japanese Election; Mining Shares Advance // Polanski Won't Be Extradited From Switzerland to U.S. // Russia to Boost Debt Sales, Considers Eurobond After Falling Behind Target // Greek Woes Make Italy Yields Irresistible to Baring as Pimco Shuns Europe // UK Economy Grew 0.3% in First Quarter on Services; Current Account Gap Widens // EU Under Pressure to Spell Out Stress Tests // European Stocks Gain for Fifth Day as BP Rallies; Zodiac Aerospace Rises // Alcoa Earnings Won't Recover for Years, Analysts Say // Treasury Yields Near Two-Week High as Easing Europe Concerns Damp Demand // Bank Swaps Show Reduced Stress-Test Fears as Bonds Rally: Credit Markets // Bernanke Says `Creditworthy' Small Businesses Can't Get Loans // U.S. Stocks Fluctuate Before Alcoa Starts Earnings Season
  • The Euro continues to trade lower against the US Dollar,  currently trading more than 4/10 of 1% lower. NYMEX crude oil is down nearly 1.1% and at $75.27/barrel. Gold is down 1.1% and silver is lower by 1-1/3%. Base metals ended lower in thin trading, as traders digested Chinese reports. INdicator charts show was lower but fairly docile until late in the afternoon, when it took a noticeable dip and was unable to recover much of the lost ground buy closing. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.71/lb . Inventories of nickel stockpiled in LME approved warehouses fell over the weekend, and now sit just over the 120,200 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru last week (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index continues to fall, down another 62 points. Markets are coming off a big week and traders will be watching earnings and government reports closely for direction.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MW) India's industrial output expanded 11.5% in May from the same month a year earlier, slowing sharply from April's revised growth of 16.5%, according to official figures released Monday.
  • 7 Equities Likely to Be Impacted as Steel's Decline Continues - more
  • Number of the Week: Euro Zone Debt Is Coming Due - more
  • The Feckless Fed - more
  • Biggest Defaulters on Mortgages Are the Rich - more
  • Ahead of a Busy Week - more
  • Debunking Eurozone Optimism - more
  • Stephen Roach: The Alan Greenspan of China? - more
  • Corporate America’s Pile-O-Cash - more
  • Fed’s Lacker: Economy Is Recovering Despite Weak Data - more
  • China shrugs off global fears with export strength - more

  Asia steelmakers' profits face China slowing threat - China's tightening and a new pricing scheme for raw materials could lead to Asian steel companies' earnings peaking this quarter and weakening thereafter. - more

  Geovic says may start Cameroon cobalt mine in 2010 - Canada-listed Geovic Mining may launch its Nkamouna cobalt, nickel and manganese project in Cameroon as early as this year, the firm said on Monday, accelerating a timetable that had been delayed until 2012. - more

  China’s tax may hit profits of Asian steel majors - China's tightening and a new pricing scheme for raw materials could hit Asian steel companies which are already reeling under pressure to recover from last year's recessionary trends. - more

  Afghan mineral bonanza is bogus - There's a great deal of chatter in the press and online about the tremendous US$1-trillion-dollar mineral "discovery" in Afghanistan headlined by The New York Times recently. - more

  Rural metal thefts up in Central Valley  - After a significant lull in metal theft following passage of statewide legislation to deter it, rural crime detectives report that theft of metal and copper wire is on the rise again. - more

  Russia's TMK sees Q2 EBITDA up, pipe demand strong - TMK, Russia's largest producer of steel pipes for the oil and gas sector, said on Monday second-quarter core earnings would be slightly above first-quarter levels thanks to strong market conditions. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.11/lb lower, with all London traded base metals lower this morning. The Euro is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is down 1/3 of 1% and trading at $75.85/barrel. Gold is  down 3/4 of 1% and silver is off over 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended flat, with China up 1%. European markets are slightly higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street may open slightly lower. Nickel inventories continue to fall.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals fall on weaker Chinese copper imports, soft euro - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper prices rallied to their highest level in nearly two weeks on Friday, feeding off the stronger tone seen in the US equity market, which had its best weekly showing in about a year. Prices were also bid up ahead of the Chinese import data released over the weekend. As it turned out, the numbers were somewhat of a disappointment for the bulls. Imports of unwrought copper fell 17.3% from May levels, coming in the opposite of expectations calling for an increase, although copper scrap imports were up 7% on the month, and may blunted the negative impact of the unwrought decline. There was a 21% decline in aluminum imports, but a much more modest drop (-4.5%) in aluminum scrap imports. Alumina imports were down sharply, off some 70% from a month ago, and down 73% year-to-date. Iron ore imports also were down, but surprisingly, crude oil imports hit a record high, suggesting that we are at least not in complete slowdown mode. The numbers are tabulated in our attachment, with more precise breakdowns coming out later in the month. The trade numbers did trigger a modest sell-off in metals in early Asian trading, and these losses have built somewhat as we head into the US session. In addition to the slowing growth concerns conveyed by the numbers, markets are also nervous about US earnings, which start today after Alcoa kicks things off. In other markets, oil prices are off, and the dollar is a touch stronger today. Stocks are expected to open lower. Despite the weaker tone we are seeing now on account of the Chinese numbers, we think metals are not doing that badly, and maintain our view that the mid-June lows should hold. The likely slow-down in Chinese growth must be juxtaposed against the fact that metal prices have already declined sharply this past quarter, and thus may have discounted a slowing in the Chinese economy.  ... We are $19,251 on nickel, down $250, and not doing very much. The Vale settlements have not had much of an impact on the market, likely because LME stocks continue to push lower.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Bloomberg) China’s steel production may reach 630 million metric tons this year, the official Xinhua News Agency said today citing Li Yizhong, head of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The government won’t approve any new steel capacity plans before the end of 2011, it said.
  • (Yieh) Chinese domestic demand for steel production has been declining quickly with ever increasing velocity post announcement of rebate reduction.
  • (Yieh) According to the statistics from some Austrian metal research institution, the stainless steel market will probably perform well in 2010. It is estimated that the global stainless steel demand in 2010 would back to the level before the global financial crisis. In the past two years, the global stainless steel demand suffered a drop of 6 percent and 8 percent respectively.
  • (Min) Big Chinese companies Wuhan Iron & Steel Group and Anshan Steel stop rolling capacity informs Metallservis
  • (MT) Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese said "resource nationalism" may curb supplies, with governments seeking to increase their share of mining profits. Albanese said the approach may spread as governments around the world seek to boost their share of mining profits, potentially constraining supply.
  • Roca Mines Inc. is pleased to announce that its wholly owned subsidiary, FortyTwo Metals Inc., has received an amendment to its operating permit M-226, approving an increase in production to its planned Phase II, 1,000 tonnes/day throughput rate from the British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources.
  • Toledo Mining Corporation PLC is pleased to announce that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Jinchuan Group Limited, the largest nickel producer in China, pursuant to which Toledo and Jinchuan intend to form a strategic alliance for the exploration, mining, processing and sale of nickel products from Toledo's nickel interests on Palawan Island, Philippines.

  Steel Ministry for banning iron ore exports - The Steel Ministry today voiced for "completely banning" export of iron ore, saying the mineral is a non-renewable resource like coal and petroleum products, and should be preserved. - more

  China makes strategic moves in preparation for downturn - China is cutting back on its commodities binge through a series of recent investment choices that signal a change in strategy as its economy slows. - more

  Balance On Molybdenum Trade By China In May /10 Changed To Country To Export With Net Quantity = Balance On Moly Trade In Jan. - May / 10 Still Remained On Country To Import With Net Quantity - According to the customs-statistics released in China, a balance on exports and imports of molybdenum by China in May of 2010 changed China to the country to export molybdenum with net quantity as the first case since last year. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, July 9

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 38 to 1,902. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's Wholesale Car Demand Grew 19% in June; Slowest Pace in 15 Months // Asian Swap Rates Rise Most in Three Months as Central Banks Cool Economies // China Stocks Rise, Capping Biggest Weekly Advance This Year; Miners Climb // Japanese Stocks Fluctuate; Sony Advances, Fast Falls  // Producer Prices Drop for First Time in 19 Months; May Trade Deficit Swells // Commodity Shipping Slumps for Longest in Almost Nine Years on China Steel // European Stocks Climb, Extending Biggest Weekly Gain in a Year // U.S. Says No Country Manipulates Currency, Yuan `Undervalued' // Wholesale Inventories in U.S. Increased 0.5% in May // Stocks in U.S. Fluctuate as Investors Await Earnings Season
  • The Euro is trading over 4/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is up slightly and trading at $75.58/barrel. Gold is up 1% and silver is up over 8/10 of 1%. Base metals shrugged off the lower Euro and looked to rising equity markets for motivation today, all ending quietly higher. Indicator  chart show nickel opened higher, fell thru much of the morning, then reversed themselves and climbed back to the higher opening. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.84/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell yet again overnight. Fastmarkets reports "Inventories fell for the 23rd successive day, dropping 666 tonnes to 120,660 tonnes, a fresh low since the end of September last year, although cancelled warrants dropped 540 tonnes." Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). Fundamentals seem to be driven by a 'feel good' or 'feel bad' factor about the future of the worldwide economic recovery, while the end of the Vale strike and resumption of Norilsk shipments will add more nickel to the supply equation. The BDI reading continues to slide, although its rate of descent is slowing again. Are we about to see a bottom, or are we seeing another head fake like two weeks ago? Equity markets, and for the most part, commodity markets turned bullish this week, after a disappointing second quarter. There really was no 'news' per se, to cause the turnaround and it appears it was more of a shift in attitude and a tiring of all the double dip talk. Whether it lasts or not is anyone's guess. US markets start seeing a flood of earnings report next week, and traders are betting they will look good. Have a safe and restful weekend.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • U.S. Love Affair With Credit Cards Cools Off - more
  • Hiking Interest Rates Now So You Can Cut Them Later - more
  • Consumer Borrowing Dropped Again in May - more
  • Pity the Poor C.E.O.’s - more
  • Biggest Defaulters on Mortgages Are the Rich - more
  • Roubini, Bremmer and Whalen: Fixing the Financial System and Double Dipping - more
  • The Crisis & the Euro - more
  • Kass: Fear Makes a Comeback - more
  • Insane Bulls And Bears - more

  Steel seals the deal  - Picket lines that went up July 13 last year at Vale Ltd. Ontario operations were to be dismantled last night after a five-year collective agreement was ratified by 75.5% of members who voted in Sudbury and 74% in Port Colborne. - more

  United States, chromium and silicon manganese alloy market outlook gloomy. - According to market participants of said ferroalloy prices further loosening of the United States, traders worried about their summer vacation season, the market will be more depressed than expected. - more

  Moly Price Action: Summer Slowdown Or Market Reaction To China? - As the old market cliche goes, ‘sell in May, and go away,' may be indicative of many metals markets performance as of recently. - more

  Asia iron ore prices dip 7% in a week - Prices have fallen 33 per cent since the end of April as demand from China weakened. Iron ore prices in Asia fell 7 per cent from a week ago, and traders said a further decline could be expected, with Chinese steel mills indicating a cut in production. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb , while other London traded base metals are slightly higher. The Euro is trading 4/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is up slightly and trading at $75.56/barrel. Gold is trading nearly 4/10 of 1% higher, while silver is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended their week higher, with China up over 2-3/4%. European markets are slightly higher this morning, while US futures show Wall Street might open slightly lower, with the MSCI World Index looking like it will have its biggest weekly rally in a year. Nickel inventories continued their fall overnight, and the big news of the day, is the Sudbury and Port Colborne nearly year long strike is over.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals hold strong but momentum stalls ahead of key Chinese data - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals finished the day with modest gains yesterday, although prices were off their best levels. A slightly weaker dollar and a steady US stock market, (which importantly did not give up Wednesday's robust gain), helped keep the advance on track. Better-than-expected weekly claims data helped the market early on, and even though two other US macro indicators came in mixed, they did not throw things off that much; June sales at the 30 largest US chains rose 3.1% after a 2.7% gain in May, and although this was the 10th consecutive increase in monthly sales, it came in a little shy of the 3.5%-3.8% gain expected. More of a negative, was a report showing that US consumer borrowing dropped more than forecast in May, slipping by $9.1 billion following a $14.9 billion slump in April-- itself revised from a $1 billion increase. Consumer credit has now declined 11 of the last 13 months. Metals are higher again right now ahead of Chinese trade data coming out over the weekend, where June copper exports are expected to have risen for the first time in three months. Also helping the tone across most markets, but going rather unnoticed, was a rather significant announcement out of the US yesterday (and not the one made by LeBron James) that the Treasury Department will not fault China for manipulating its currency. This was significant for the markets in that it avoids-- at least for now-- a potentially destabilizing escalation with the Chinese over the issue. The Treasury did say, however, that China’s yuan “remains undervalued”, and that it needs to rise some more, but acknowledged that China took a “significant step” in moving in the right direction by loosening their band.  ....  We are $19,281 on nickel, down $199, and likely lower on news that Vale’s Sudbury strike has been settled late yesterday. The question now hanging over the nickel market is whether prices can easily absorb the resumption of production from the various Vale facilities. Reuters estimates that potentially another 140,000 tons of annual production could eventually come onto the market under normal operating conditions from the various mines that were all on strike up to now. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) According to statistics, Japan's stainless steel exports in May hit around 120,000 tons, compared with April's 108,200 tons, up by 11 percent and up by 85.5 percent year on year.
  • (Interfax) China Nonferrous Metal Mining (Group) Co. Ltd. announced on July 9 that it signed an agreement with the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Regional government the previous day to develop the nonferrous metals industry in the region.
  • (SG) SMS Siemag, Germany, has received an order from TNK Kazchrome JSC, Kazakhstan, to build a new ferrochrome works in that country. The works Meltshop No 4 will be erected at the Aktobe location.
  • (SP) It is seen that this round of steel price decline in China has lasted for 11 weeks, far exceeding the previous prediction.
  • (Reuters) Technicals-LME nickel may rise to $21,279/T over next 4 weeks
  • China reduces rare earth export quota by 72% - more
  • IMF raises global economic growth forecast - more
  • Cass Freight Index update - here

  Vale workers in Ontario vote to approve new contract at former Inco operations - Workers at international mining giant Vale in Ontario have approved a new labour agreement, ending a year-long strike. - more

  • USW members ratify new five-year contract with Vale - One of the longest and most acrimonious labor disputes in Canada's mining history ended on Thursday, after a majority of unionized workers at two of Vale's operations in Ontario voted to ratify a new five-year contract. - more
  • Steelworkers Ratify Five-Year Collective Agreement With Vale - United Steelworkers (USW) members in Sudbury and Port Colborne, Ont., voted today to end their year-long strike against mining giant Vale, approving a new collective agreement.- more

  Nickel prices—heading up or down? - Slower global growth—and to a lesser degree, the resolution of a year-long strike by Vale workers—will keep nickel prices on a downward trend until the fourth quarter, according to Patricia Mohr, vice-president of economics and commodity markets specialist at the Scotiabank Group. - more

  Showcase projects in the USA: ThyssenKrupp Nirosta and Christian Pohl GmbH fit out three high-rises with stainless steel elements - Three major projects were recently completed in the USA in which stainless steel played an important part: they involved a tower in Portland and two skyscrapers in Chicago. Construction on all three began in 2008. - more

  Material Matters: Nickel No Target, Gold Finding Support, BHP Meets Brokers - With base metal prices well down from the highs of three months ago, GSJB Were has taken a look at the nickel market not from an investor perspective but from a corporate point of view. - more

  Commodities Demand in Asia is `Structural,' According to LME Chief Abbott - Growth in demand for commodities including metals in Asia is surging as nations ramp up infrastructure spending, according to the head of the London Metal Exchange, the biggest marketplace for industrial metals. - more

  Bad tax lesson for world leaders: Rio Tinto CEO - Rio Tinto has warned other countries looking to introduce a new mining tax to learn from the mistakes made by the Australian government. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, July 8

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 78 to 1,940. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Malaysia Raises Interest Rate a Third Time This Year as Growth Accelerates // China to Extend Resources Tax to Entire Nation to Fund Government Spending // Asian Currencies Advance, Led by Won, as U.S. Sales Data Spurs Risk-Taking // China Stocks Fall For First Time in Three Days; Industrial Companies Drop  // China Buys Japan Bonds at Record Pace, Helps Yield Drop to Seven-Year Low // Asian Stocks Rally as Growth in U.S. Retail Eases Concern // Euro Advances Third Day Versus Yen, Dollar on Stock Gains, Recovery Signs // Bank of England Keeps Rate, Bond Holdings Steady as Inflation Debate Grows // U.K. House Prices Declined 0.6% in June on Increased Supply, Halifax Says // German Industrial Production Increased 2.6% in May, Exceeding Forecasts // Trichet Faces Market Rate Threat as Debt Crisis Hurts Growth  // ECB Keeps Rate at 1% as Crisis Threatens to Derail Recovery // European Stocks Gain for Third Day as IMF Raises Growth Outlook // IMF Raises 2010 Growth Estimate, Sees Greater Risks  // Apartment Vacancies in U.S. Drop From 30-Year High, Reis Says // Record Cash Weighing on U.S. Stock Market Returns: Roben Farzad // Retail Sales Rise in June as Warm Weather, Bargains Spur Buying // U.S. 30-Year Mortgage Rates Decline to 4.57%, Third Straight Weekly Drop // U.S. Stocks Erase Early Rally as Financial, Energy Companies Turn Lower
  • The Euro is currently trading nearly 2/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is higher by nearly 1.3% and over $75/barrel. Gold is down nearly 3/4 of 1% and silver is off more than 1%. Except for tin, base metals ended the session slightly higher. Indicator charts show nickel traded choppy today, albeit within a $250/tonne spread. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.80/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses now sit just over the 121,300 tonne level after registering another decline overnight. Sucden's day old chart shows LME nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here).  Nickel appears to have little momentum behind it besides the Dollar.Euro ratio and the suddenly bullish, equity market. The Baltic Dry Index for its 30th consecutive session, down 79 and under the 2000 level. USW Local 6500 workers in Sudbury and USW Local 6200 workers in Port Colborne should be wrapping up voting on a new five year contract with Vale shortly, and with only 5 days remaining to make this officially a one year strike, it is expected to pass. A positive conclusion to this strike would leave only the Voisey's Bay strikers on the picket lines. While Vale may see one of its headaches end, yesterday's $36 million judgment against them, by Port Colburne, Canada residents, who had claimed 60 years of emissions had lowered their property values, could now enter the appeal stage. And media reports from Russia say Oleg Deripaska does not have the support of the Kremlin in his dispute over the loss he suffered on the Norilsk Nickel board.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (PR) The total value of minor metals traded at the London Metal Exchange has passed the USD$100m mark. This milestone has been reached in just under 3 months following the Exchange's launch of the world's first exchange-traded futures contracts for cobalt and molybdenum on 22 nd February
  • Barry Ritzhold, author of macroeconomics blog The Big Picture - (yesterday) "As an aside, we updated our ECRI logit model and it is suggesting that we have 52% odds of an outright recession, up from 48% last week."
  • Fed’s Fisher: Confusion Leading to Slower Growth - more
  • Cutting Off Unemployment Benefits Could Worsen Deficit - more
  • Bankers Group Reports Fewer Loan Delinquencies - more
  • Global Economy: Continuing Recovery But Clouds on the Horizon - more
  • The Aussie Miracle Continues - more
  • Global Pension Heat Rising - more

  Striking Vale workers asked to approve watered-down version of original proposal - Workers at Vale's mining operations in Sudbury, Ont., are voting today on a watered-down version of the company proposal that prompted a year-long strike. - more

  Oleg Deripaska Fails to Win Support of the Kremlin in Norilsk Nickel Dispute - According to RUXX Report, Russian and international investors follow the dispute of the two main stakeholders of the world's largest nickel producer MMC Norilsk Nickel -- Rusal, controlled by Oleg Deripaska, and Interros, controlled by Vladimir Potanin, over the company's new Board election. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.11/lb higher, with most base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro is trading over 1/10 of 1% higher against teh US Dollar at the moment.  NYMEX crude oil is trading 3/4 of 1% higher and at $74.64/barrel. Gold is down 1/3 of 1% and silver is down 1/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China off nearly 2/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures are slightly lower at the moment. Nickel inventories slipped overnight. USW Sudbury workers continue voting on a proposed contract from Vale and we could see the official end of a strike that would have lasted a full year, come next Tuesday.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals retreat from overnight peaks, well supported on cheery macro sentiment  - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals prices were modestly higher yesterday, but what was more interesting about Wednesday's session, was that we saw synchronized advances in a host of other markets, (something of a rarity in recent weeks), including sharp advances in energy, US equities, and grains. The dollar also weakened yesterday, adding to the overall gains, but we believe the US equity market was the main driver, especially after the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged by more than 270 points, while the S&P 500 reclaimed broken support at the 1050 mark. The rise in the US stock market was partly in anticipation of strong third-quarter earnings reports scheduled to start next week. Investors got an early glimpse of what may lie ahead, particularly for the financial sector, when State Street announced that it handily beat earnings forecasts. In today's action, metals are pushing higher once again, and although the advances are modest, we expect the firmer tone to stay in place at least through the balance of the week. Over the weekend, the Chinese release latest metals import data for June, expected to show an increase over May levels, likely in the order of about 7%. Channel checks with our Chinese customers seem to support this likely increase, as some of our fabricator accounts tell us that they have seen no real slowdown in their order flow over the last month.  .... Out of Japan, it was reported that machinery orders fell the most since August 2008, a sign that the rebound in Japanese business investment may be flagging. Orders slid 9.1% in May from April levels, the first decline in three months and exceeded the 3% drop forecast. In other news, the International Monetary Fund raised its 2010 global growth forecast on Thursday, citing an expansion in Asia and in US demand. The IMF upgraded its 2010 global growth forecast to 4.6% from 4.2% after a fall of 0.6% in 2009. The Fund sees the likelihood of a double-dip recession as being unlikely. ....  We are $19,420 on nickel, up $270. The short-term downchannel on the charts is showing signs of fraying, as we seem to be pushing slightly higher, but we would prefer to remain on the sidelines for the time being.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) China's Jinchuan Group Co. has started operating a nickel-sulfate production line with expected annual capacity of 30,000 metric tons, China Nonferrous Metals Network reported Thursday. This will raise Jinchuan's nickel sulfate output capacity to 45,000 tons a year, making it the world's largest producer, according to the report.
  • (Yieh) Japanese nickel-based stainless scrap price is likely to fall by ¥170,000~175,000/ton in July, though the price in late June was slightly up to respond to rise in raw material cost. Meanwhile, stainless steel price may keep soft as stainless steel production is expected to reduce in July and August and nickel price is predicted to drop.
  • Raw Materials Weigh Against Double-Dip: Chart of the Day - more
  • (EP) ECB policy makers left interest rate at its historical low of 1.00% in July, in line with the previous and median estimates.

  Vale's Sudbury nickel workers to vote on proposed contract - After an acrimonious year-long strike, nickel workers in Ontario employed by Brazilian mining giant Vale SA will vote on a proposed labour deal, but terms of the pact suggest neither side is a clear winner in the dispute. - more

  Inco case: legal fees in the ‘millions’ - Vale SA’s Inco Ltd. must pay $36-million to Ontario residents near a former refinery, the biggest award in Canadian history in an environmental damages case, according to a lawyer. - more

  • Vale to appeal Canada's biggest environmental fine - Brazilian mining giant Vale said Wednesday it is appealing an Ontario Superior Court decision that awarded $36-million to residents in the town of Port Colborne, Ont., who claimed discharge from a Vale nickel refinery contaminated their land and devalued their properties. - more

  Price Of FeCr For Shipments To Europe In Q3 / 10 Is Reduced By 6 US-Cents Per Lb. / Cr = A Sudden Change Of Market Situation In Europe Hastens To Settle The Price By A Reduction - The negotiations with major stainless steel companies in Europe on price of South African charge chrome for shipments in July - September quarter of 2010 were taken place by the end of last week and finally settled by a reduction of 6 US-Cents per lb. of Cr, resulting in new benchmark price of 130 US-Cents per lb. of Cr - more

  Steel prices seen dipping further as demand stalls - Too much production and not enough demand is driving U.S. steel prices down again, while there is concern over rising Chinese imports, analysts and industry experts say. - more

  London Metal Exchange Opens Asia Office, Discusses Singapore Cooperation - The London Metal Exchange has entered discussions with Singapore Exchange Ltd. on the possibility of cooperation, the U.K. bourse said today, as it opened its first overseas office. - more

  Mining the deep: China seeks sulfides in international seas - Last month, the International Seabed Authority adopted regulations for mining international sea bottoms for polymetalic sulfides. - more

  Norilsk shareholder Interros opposes new board vote - Interros, owner of a quarter of shares Norilsk Nickel, said on Thursday it will not support another election for the Russian metals giant's board as called for by the owner of an equal stake, UC RUSAL. - more

  Steel Import Permits Decline 15% - Based on the Commerce Department’s most recent Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that steel import permit applications for the month of June totaled 1,955,000 net tons (NT). - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, July 7

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 109 to 2,018. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Bajaj Seeks 70% of Sales Outside India, Challenging Honda in Latin America // Gold Demand in China Jumps on Stock Slump, Cooling Measures, Exchange Says // Singapore Wealth Fund Set to Reclaim Peak as Asia Bets Win // Nissan's Waiting List Swells in Bangkok as Car Demand Surges // China Stocks Gain for Second Day; Consumer Companies Climb, Banks Decline //  Most Asian Stocks Drop as U.S. Services Report Fuels Concern // EU Parliament Approves Law to Limit Bankers' Cash Payout to 30% of Bonus // Iceland's EU Entry Talks Urged by European Parliament Amid Bank Standoff // German Factory Orders Unexpectedly Fell 0.5% in May; April Growth Revised // European Exports, State Spending Lead Growth; Household Consumption Drops // Cabinet Approves German Budget Cuts as Euro Governments Struggle With Debt // European Stress Tests May Include 17% Haircut on Greek Bonds  // European Stocks Advance as Spanish Banks Rally; Santander, Popular Climb // Treasury Yields Hold Near 2010 Lows on Signs of Slowing Economic Growth // Allstate CEO Says U.S. State, Local Borrowing `Out of Control' // U.S. Shopping Center Vacancies Near Record as Consumer Confidence Weakens //  Talon's Diamond Says Pessimism Creating a `Stock Picker's Market' in 2010 // Fed's Hoenig Says Central Bank Should Increase Target Interest Rate to 1% // U.S., European Stocks Rally on Shopping Optimism
  • The Euro is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar and off earlier highs. NYMEX crude is up 2.2% and trading at $73.56/barrel. Gold is up 1/3 of 1% and silver is higher by nearly 1./2%. Base metals ended mixed and for the most part, quietly. Indicator charts show nickel spent much of the day in a slow gradual climb, only taking a hit toward the end of the session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the session at $8.68/lb . Stockpiles of nickel continue to fall and now sit just over the 121,700 tonne level. With Vale's Sudbury strikers voting today and tomorrow on a new proposal, and Norilsk resuming shipments, and stainless steel production slipping in a seasonal slowdown, it will be interesting to see if this slide continues. Sucden's day old chart shows London nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index continues to also fall, and shows no sign of stopping, losing 109 points. It has now lost over 50% of its May 25th reading. While we constantly have to constantly remind ourselves why the 'experts' say this once well used economic barometer is seriously skewed these days,  we can not help but wonder if even tainted bad news, is still bad news for the overall worldwide economic recovery. There is a lot of negative statistics floating around out there, but this is one of the few that have us deeply concerned. Until the BDI adding points, we feel much of the recovery momentum has stalled. Norilsk announced it has resumed shipments of nickel from its Dudinka port and media reports the shipment is bound for Europe, so we will see if any nickel shows up in Rotterdam in the next few weeks. USW workers in Sudbury are voting on a contract proposal by Vale and should be back to work next week. The USW Voisey's Bay striking union is expected to follow Sudbury's lead and agree to a proposal soon. And the Norilsk power struggle is offering the industry a little comic relief.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (TBP) The June ISM services index fell to 53.8 from 55.4, was below the estimate of 55 and is at the lowest since Feb. The overall level though still remains a touch above the 10 yr average of 53.0 and still implies expansion. Business Activity fell 3 pts to a still high 58.1. New Orders dropped to 54.4 from 57.1 while Backlogs fell .5 pt to 55.5.
  • Unemployment Extension Could Boost Jobless Rate - more
  • Is Service Sector Dropping the Jobs Baton? - more
  • Why is the American Jobs Machine Broken? - more
  • “Will abandoning the dollar peg help China rebalance its economy?” - more
  • ‘Save Us From These Bankers, Fast’ - more
  • Crib notes for G7 unemployment rates - more
  • Liquidate, liquidate, liquidate - Commentary: Some inconvenient facts about fiscal austerity - more
  • Can the Crowd Forecast a Double Dip Recession? - more

  North american Stainless Steel Prices - Latest Forecast  - As predicted, MEPS – North American stainless steel transaction values moved up considerably in early June. These rises were due to hikes in alloy surcharges of $US380 per tonne and $US475 for grades 304 and 316 respectively. - more

  Inco case: legal fees in the ‘millions’ - Vale SA’s Inco Ltd. must pay $36-million to Ontario residents near a former refinery, the biggest award in Canadian history in an environmental damages case, according to a lawyer. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.04/lb higher, with other London traded base metals trading lower. The Euro is trading 1/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher, and at $72.31/barrel. Gold is lower by 4/10 of 1% and silver is down 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China up nearly 7/10 of 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning, with US futures showing Wall Street may open lower as well. Nickel inventories fell again overnight.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals lose ground, pressured by sagging euro and equities - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report received today (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Russia exported in January-May 92,600 metric tons of nickel, 1.54% more than in the same months of 2009, when 91,200 tons were exported, the federal customs service reported Wednesday.
  • (Interfax) Falling steel prices on China's market are expected to force some large-sized steel mills to reduce production, analysts told Interfax on July 6
  • (Yieh) According to report, Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless (NSSC) would cut domestic prices of austenitic CRC by about ¥25,000/ton. However, it raised its ferritic CRC by ¥10,000/ton for July deliveries due to the higher costs of raw material including iron ore and coal.
  • (LG - China) The high concentration in upstream industries and the stable price of iron ore material have always been identified as the main supporting factors of Chinese steel price. However, since the late April, following the sharp fall of steel price, the upstream iron ore price has also begun to loosen. According to analysis, that steel price and iron ore steel price falling in succession is a signal of the market’s downward trend to the bottom.
  • (MPA) Chinese steel mills prepared for further cutbacks
  • (AMM) U.S. nickel market participants are anticipating lower premiums after Vale SA and union leaders reached an agreement Sunday that could end a year-long strike at nickel operations in Sudbury and Port Colborne, Ontario.
  • (MP) Guatemala nickel drilling raises Anfield hopes
  • Sponsored by Team Stainless and produced by SCI, four new case studies (5 through 8) present different applications of structural stainless steel - more
  • Trend towards La Niña continues. - more

  Striking Vale employees begin contract vote - Roughly 3,000 Vale employees begin voting Wednesday on a proposed collective agreement that could end a strike that's dragged on for almost a year. - more

  Norilsk resumes shipments after a seasonal halt - Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel said on Wednesday the first ship with a cargo bound for Europe had left the Arctic port of Dudinka, its main export outlet, after a seasonal halt caused by flooding. - more

  Vale's Inco Ordered by Judge to Pay for Environmental Damage in Ontario  - Vale SA’s Inco Ltd. must pay C$36 million ($34 million) to Ontario residents near a former refinery, the biggest award in Canadian history in an environmental damages case, according to a lawyer. - more

  Oleg Deripaska vows to fight Vladamir Potanin 'to the death' over Norilsk Nickel - Oleg Deripaska, the Russian metals billionaire, has declared he will "fight to the death" to prevent any candidate nominated by rival oligarch Vladamir Potanin taking over at the world's largest nickel company. - more

  Quantities Of Molybdenum Produced by Divisions Of Codelco / Chile In CY 2009 = El Teniente Mine Increased Moly Output By 13%, Codelco Increased Whole Moly Production By 5% - According to the annual report for the business activities in the calender year (January - December) of 2009 released by Codelco of Chile, the quantities (on content base) of molybdenum in concentrates produced by divisions of Codelco in 2009 were as per the table attached hereto. - more

  ACCC suspends date for finding on Pilbara JV between BHP, Rio Tinto - The competition regulator has again suspended the date for a ruling on the planned iron ore joint venture between BHP and Rio Tinto.  - more

  US steel firm defends Chinese investment - A US venture capital steel company that received an investment from a Chinese State-owned firm fought back on Tuesday against national security concerns raised by US lawmakers. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending July 3, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,752,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 72.4 percent. Production was 1,279,000 tons in the week ending July 3, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 49.3 percent. The current week production represents a 37.0 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending July 3, 2010 is down 0.7 percent from the previous week ending June 26, 2010 when production was 1,763,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 72.9 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, July 6

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 89 to 2,127. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) IMF Raises South Korea's Economic Growth Forecast, Calls for Rate Increase // Malaysia's Growth May Slow in Second Half Amid External Risks, Najib Says // China Property Market Beginning Collapse That May Hit Banks, Rogoff Says // Australia Lifts Bar for Further Rate Increases as World Economy Moderates // China Stocks Lead Asian Markets Higher; AgBank to Price $20.1 Billion IPO // Asian Stocks Rise Most in Two Weeks on Valuations; Taiwan Semi, HTC Climb // European Banks' Hidden Losses May Threaten EU Stress Tests // Russia Credit Swaps Surpassing Turkey Keep Kudrin Waiting for Debt Upgrade // Sovereign Default Risk Rose 30% as European Debt Crisis Deepened, CMA Says // Yen, Dollar Fall Versus Euro as Rally in Stocks Reduces Demand for Refuge // Spain's ACS, CVC Said to Be in Talks to Borrow $8.8 Billion for Abertis // European Shares Advance Most in Five Weeks; BHP Billiton, Santander Climb // Treasuries Show 12% Chance of Double Dip to Fed as Yields Near Record Lows // U.S. Banks Risk `Untold Problem' as Muni Holdings Advance to 25-Year High // Copper Shortage Looms in 2011 for Macquarie as Freeport Sees Supply Limits // Novartis Salespeople Covered by Wage Laws, Deserve Overtime, Court Rules  // U.S. Stocks Rise on Speculation Earnings Will Trigger Rebound
  • The Euro is now trading nearly a full percentage point higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is trading 1/2 of 1% higher and at $72.51/barrel. Gold is down 1-1/4% and silver is up nearly 4/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session all higher. Indicator chart show nickel opened higher and spent the rest of the session trading a $200/tonne band. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.53/lb , putting us back to where we ended last week. Inventories of nickel stored in worldwide warehouse approved by the LME continue to slide, and you have to go back to June 8th to find the last day of gains. We don't show any inbound shipment of nickel into a LME warehouses has been recorded since June 15th. Stockpiles now total just under the 122,200 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows London trading was quiet yesterday (chart here), but the market opened with a SStoch reading in the heavily oversold position. After dropping 64 points yesterday, the Baltic Dry Index lost another 89 points overnight, and now sits at 2,127. On May 26, the BDI read 4,209, and if we see another 23 point loss, the BDI will have lost 50% of its value from just six weeks ago.    

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Russian aluminum giant United Co. Rusal PLC said Tuesday it is confident it can restore its position on the board of OAO Norilsk Nickel following a power struggle that saw the chairman ousted. "We believe we can restore the Rusal position on the board of Norilsk and most importantly, we have a government request to restore Alexander Voloshin as the chairman of the company... Voloshin will be elected at the next shareholder meeting," Chief Executive Oleg Deripaska said in London.
  • Number of the Week: Could Walk Away Stimulus Be Waning? - more
  • June Sees Big Drop in Bankruptcy Filing Rate - more
  • Economists React: Is Economy Deer in Headlights or Roadkill?- more
  • The legitimacy of tax - pdf here
  • Are Profits Hurting Capitalism? - more
  • Double-dip decision time - more
  • Bernanke Created Half of 234 Years’ Worth of Money Supply - more
  • Slouching Toward a Double Dip or a Lousy Recovery at Best - more

  Union official hopeful deal also close for Voisey's Bay - Steelworkers District 6 director Wayne Fraser said he hopes a strike at Vale's Voisey's Bay mine in northern Labrador will end now that workers in Sudbury and Port Colborne, Ont. have a collective agreement, according to media reports. - more

  Cliffs Natural Resources wins majority control of Ontario chromite deposit - The U.S.-owned Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Monday won the battle for majority control of the Big Daddy chromite deposit in Northwestern Ontario, though the precise extent of its ownership may not be known till tomorrow or even later. - more

  China sentences U.S. geologist to 8 years - American officials reacted with dismay and puzzlement Monday to the eight-year prison sentence imposed on an American geologist because he bought a database on China's oil industry. - more

  Kloeckner: Cut steel output to meet lower H2 demand - European steelmakers should cut output to stabilise prices during a likely slowdown in demand in the second half, Europe's biggest independent steel trader, Kloeckner & Co, said. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.12/lb higher, with other London traded base metals all higher this morning. The Euro is trading 3/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is trading nearly 1% higher and at $72.85/barrel. Gold is trading down 3/10 of 1% and silver is down 1/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher with China up 2%. European markets are trading higher this morning and US futures show Wall Street could begin the trading week taking their cue from other markets and open higher. Nickel inventories continue to drop and USW local 6500 will vote on the Vale offer tomorrow and Thursday.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals follow equities, euro higher amid brighter mood - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals prices edged higher on both Friday and Monday in very quiet trading, helped by general dollar weakness and somewhat steadier equity markets. Of the two, the dollar has likely been the more instrumental in contributing to the firmer tone, as it is now at a near two-month low against a currency basket. Its fall against the Euro has been particularly noteworthy, as it sank to just over $1.26 on Friday after hitting a 2010 high of $1.1877 only one month ago. We do not have much to add to what we have been writing in previous commentary-- we still are of the opinion that metals will likely defend their early June lows going into the July/August time period. Although growth prospects both in the US and around the world clearly seem to have downshifted a notch or two, we are not looking for a double-dip contraction. More importantly, metals have discounted a deceleration in growth by falling already over the past few months, with some in the group dropping so much, that it is leading to talk of production cuts. LME stock levels are also trending lower in a number of complexes, while the percentage of cancelled warrants is fairly high. This tells us that the level of demand is still high enough to prevent surpluses from accumulating on exchange. Having said that, the ongoing macro uncertainties should limit the upside, and we therefore will likely be in a trading range type of market for some weeks to come. .... We are $18,990 on nickel, up $315, and relatively quiet, but unlike some of the other metals, charts show that nickel’s short-term trend seems to be lower still. The fact that $19,000 support has also given way suggests that we could sell off to $18,000 as the likely next stop.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) South Korea's Posco will cut stainless steel products prices by 300,000 won/ton (about US$245) to narrow the price gap between imported products in July.
  • (Bloomberg) Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group, China’s biggest stainless steelmaker, is in talks to buy Zhongyu Iron & Steel Group, China Daily reported, citing Guo Juncai, vice director of development and planning at Taiyuan Steel.
  • (JMB) NSSC Lowers Ni Series Flat Stainless Steel Prices in July

   Local 6500 to vote on contract from Vale July 7-8 - Both Vale and Steelworkers Local 6500 are tight-lipped about details of a five-year tentative deal reached between the two parties July 4. - more

  Yieh United Cuts Stainless Steel Output by 20% - Due to sagging nickel prices and purchase of stainless steel, Yieh United Steel Corp., Taiwan`s leading manufacturer of stainless steel, has cut production by 20%. - more

   MEPS latest forecast Asian average stainless steel prices - Asian Average stainless steel transaction values dropped in June. This was the first reduction since October 2009 and occurred slightly earlier than we had anticipated. - more

  Chinese steel mills may cut production on continuous price fall - According to Mr Wang Dayong secretary general of Hebei Association of Metallurgical Industry, the domestic steel price has fallen for ten weeks in a row, with the average loss posted at some CNY 400 per tonne and the deepest drop for certain products exceeding CNY 1000 per tonne. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 30th June 2010 = Prices Of Steel Products In China Have Weakened, Throwing Its Shadow On Prices Of Ferro-Alloys - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 30th June of 2010 is as follows - more

  Tata Steel says India sales flat in June quarter - India's Tata Steel , the world's eighth-largest steelmaker, said on Tuesday sales from its Indian operations stood at 1.4 million tonnes in the April-June quarter, nearly flat compared with the same period last year. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, July 5

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.47/lb .

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

  • This is a revised morning briefing as it is a holiday here in the States. The big news of the morning is the tentative agreement that will end the strike between the USW and Vale in Sudbury and Port Colborne Canada.  We suspected this might happen after we read an article earlier in the weekend that reported the Ontario Labour Minister had demanded the two return to the table immediately and finalize the sole remaining issue - the fate of the nine fired employees. Obviously the Canadian government was upset the two could not find common ground, and the tone of the 'request' was understood by the negotiators. No details of the agreement have been released as of yet, but it would appear the USW finally relented on the matter of the nine and is leaving it to the courts to decide their fate. At 7 pm CST nickel was trading just slightly lower, off session highs, and for the moment, showing a possible recovery attempt, with other base metals mostly higher but quiet. With support being broken late last week, technicals now add downward pressure on the price of nickel, and with the strike coming to an end, fundamentals will also add some negative pressure on nickel traders. The Euro is down 1/3 of 1% against the US Dollar.
  • For our American readers , a day late -  a card

  Metals steady as stocks fall across the board; wider markets drift - Metals continued to tread water on Monday morning after an LME stocks report that showed declines for all major contracts but macroeconomic worries dragged on sentiment in wider markets, which is expected to contain upside attempts for now. - more

  Vale reaches tentative deal with Sudbury miners to end historic strike - Year-long strike by former Inco workers has cost $4-million a week in lost payroll and raised questions about foreign ownership of Canadian resources - more

  • Agreement on Terms of Bad Faith Complaint, Ratification Votes Set - The USW is pleased to announce that it has come to an agreement with Vale on the terms of a bad faith bargaining complaint that will be heard by the OLRB. - more

Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Yieh) It is reported that the output of stainless steel in China in May dropped by 1.06% MoM to 663,750 tonnes from April. Due to the impacts on European debt crisis and housing policy in China, the price of nickel and chrome is difficult to climb, swaying with the stainless steel market.
  • (Interfax) Huifu Stainless Steel Co. Ltd. and Jinhai Stainless Steel Co. Ltd. have signed contracts with the Changzhou district government in Wuzhou, Guangxi Province to invest amounts of RMB 70 million ($10.34 million) and RMB 100 million ($14.77 million) respectively in two cold-rolled stainless steel sheet production facilities, state media reported on July 3.
  • (Dow Jones) A South Korean consortium led by Hyundai Corp., a local trading company, was picked as the prime bidder for a 2 per cent stake in a nickel mine in Madagascar, Hyundai said Monday. The consortium, which was formed with Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., will buy the stake in the mine in Ambatovy, Madagascar, from the state-run Korea Resources Corp. (KORES), Hyundai said.
  • Reuters - Technicals -LME nickel may drop to $15,000/T over next 4 weeks
  • Report - Robry Sunday Night Economic Assessment - pdf here
  • Report - Weekly Scoreboard - pdf here
  • Report - SMM nickel forecast - more
  • China June power demand growth slows sharply - more

  Commodity prices could correct: JP Morgan - In an interview with ET Now, Adrian Mowat, Chief Asian and Emerging Market Strategist, JP Morgan says that there could be further downside in emerging market equities due to the correction in commodities. Once the correction has occurred, this is going to be a historic buying opportunity. - more

  US lawmakers urge probe of Chinese steel investment - A bipartisan group of 50 U.S. lawmakers called on Friday for an investigation into whether a Chinese investment in the U.S. steel sector should be blocked on national security grounds. - more

Friday, July 2

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 71 to 2,280. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) BHP, Xstrata, Rio's Australian Tax Win May Revive Mining // China's Stock Index Advances, Trimming Biggest Weekly Decline in 16 Months // Hong Kong Retail Sales Increased 19.7% by Value in May From a Year Earlier // Malaysia Exports Rise at Slowest Pace Since February as Asia Rebound Cools // Most Asian Stocks Fall on Chinese Growth Concerns // Hedge Funds Shutting in Europe as Energy Slide Accelerates Investor Exodus // Mercedes, BMW Sales Rise as Luxury Automakers Target Middle-Class Shoppers // Europe Risks Renewed Recession on Spending Reductions, Pimco's Mather Says // European Unemployment Holds at 12-Year High of 10% Amid Reluctance to Hire // Commodity Funds Change Strategy to Challenge Index Money, Man Group Says // European Stocks Rebound From Five-Week Low; BHP, Dana Petroleum Advance // U.S. Economy: Private Payrolls Grew Less Than Forecast in June // Gross, Rosenberg Say Employment Growth for June Is an Illusion: Tom Keene // Treasuries Fluctuate After U.S. Loses Fewer Jobs Last Month Than Forecast // Orders to US Factories Declined in May More Than Forecast
  • The Euro is trading nearly 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, and well off earlier highs. NYMEX crude oil is down 1-1/3% and trading under $72/barrel. Gold is trading over 9/10 of 1% higher and silver is trading flat.  Base metals ended mostly higher but well off session highs. Indicator chart show nickel was the sole loser today, opening higher, but spending most of the session in a downward trend, only bouncing off the bottom at the end of the day. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $8.53/lb . Inventories of nickel stockpiled in LME approved warehouses fell again overnight, and now sit just over the 123,400 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel closing just over the resistance line yesterday (chart here). Nickel got a boost opening higher this morning on a stronger Euro, but saw all of these gains evaporate during the day as the Euro lost ground. The Baltic Dry Index continues to concern, falling another 71 points. AK Steel announced stainless steel surcharges for August, showing $8.7946/lb as the average price of nickel for June. This is higher than our estimate, primarily due to US premium charges on nickel. AK also shows chrome averaging $1.319/lb in June, molybdenum at $14.163/lb, and iron at $450/GT. AK shows their surcharges on 304 stainless steel 28 gauge or thicker will fall $.1698/lb in August, and $.3753/lb on 316 stainless steel. The jobless report for June came in about where economists expected, although a few indicators raised eyebrows. The average workweek for all employees on private NFP decreased by 0.1 hour to 34.1 hours while the workweek for manufacturing employees decreased by 0.5 hour to 40.0 hours. New factory orders fell 1.4% in May, much more than expected, and following a 1% gain in April. US markets will be closed Monday as part of the Independence Day holiday weekend. Have a safe and restful weekend!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Survey Finds Fewer Layoffs, but Lower Compensation - more
  • World-Wide Factory Activity by Country - more
  • Jobless recoveries - more
  • The Chinese Economy’s Secret Recipe - more
  • CBO Scores Social Security Policy Options - more
  • Middle class families face a triple whammy - more
  • Auerback: The ECB is the New “United States of Europe” - more
  • Myths of Austerity - more
  • Slowing Growth or Recession? - more
  • S&P500 Head & Shoulder Formations - more

  Ferrochrome price falls 4 percent in Q3 settlement - Ferrochrome producers in South Africa, the world's largest producing nation, agreed to a less-than-expected fall of 4 percent in the third-quarter contract price, boosting share prices on Friday. - more

   Finnish Steelmaker Invests €544 Million to Expand Production - Outokumpu Oyj (Espoo, Finland), a leading Finnish steelmaker, has decided to invest €544 million ($669.45 million) on the expansion of the company's steel production and ferrochrome manufacturing facilities. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.02/lb higher, but well off session highs, with other base metals also trading higher but sagging. The Euro is trading a little over 1/4 of 1% higher but declining, thus accounting for the session declines in base metals. NYMEX crude oil is trading flat at $72.97/barrel. Gold is trading nearly 3/10 of 1% higher, while silver is up over 1/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China up 1/3 of 1%. European markets are trading slightly higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street may open in a better mood. Nickel inventories continue to slide. US markets are awaiting the jobs report for June and begin a three day weekend tomorrow, with markets closed on the 5th for Independence Day.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals recover as euro strengthens, US jobs report to set tone later - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices fell sharply to kick off the third quarter, with copper selling off to two-week lows. A barrage of weak macro data hit the markets throughout the day, not allowing most markets to regain their footing. We discussed some of the soft Asian macro numbers in yesterday's note, but weak numbers also followed from the US, where the Institute for Supply Management reported its manufacturing index for June fell to 56.2 from 59.7, coming in well below estimates of 59.0. However, the ISM cautioned against reading too much into the report. "We are now 11 months into the manufacturing recovery, and given the robust nature of recent growth, it is not surprising that we would see a slower rate of growth at this time," the director of the survey said. The ISM said its new orders index hit 58.5, from 65.7 in May, while the production index fell to 61.4 from 66.6. Inventories contracted, but hiring continued to grow. Not impressing the markets either, was the weekly US jobless claims reports, which increased by 13,000 to 472,000 in the week ending June 26th vs. expectations for a slight decrease. The previous week's level was revised upward as well. And following three months of solid gains, the National Association of Realtors reported that US pending home sales plunged 30% in May, somewhat to be expected given that this was the first month after the expiration of a tax-credit program. About the only good number released Thursday, was one showing May US construction spending falling less than expected, with a decline in private sector building partially offsetting rising public construction. We are sharply higher in the metals group this morning as we await the nonfarm payroll number, but crude oil markets are down slightly, while US equity markets are expected to open flat. Net job losses of some 100,000 is expected in this morning’s report, but the swing into negative territory is attributable mainly to the fact many census worker have been terminated. Focus will instead be on how many jobs the private sector has created, and here, payrolls are expected to have risen by about 125,000 in June, better than the anemic 41,000 seen in May, and slightly higher than the monthly average of 100,000 generated so far this year. (Speaking of jobs, there is a provocative op-ed piece on Bloomberg written by Andy Grove, co-founder of Intel, about the state of the labor market in the US and what should be done to preserve the manufacturing base of this country. The piece can be accessed by clicking on this link in our attachment). In addition to the jobs report, markets will also take in a reading on factory orders expected to decrease by 0.6% in May after rising 1.2% in April. ...  We are $19,200 on nickel, up $200, and quiet, with only a $300/MT trading range in place. The $19,000 support level held on a closing basis. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) China's Shandong province will permanently shut 920,000 metric tons of ferronickel capacity by the end of the year as part of its effort to eliminate outdated metal capacity, China Nonferrous Metals Network reported Friday. The facilities to be shut are mainly ferronickel and nickel pig iron smelters in the city of Linyi, the report cited the province's economic and information technology committee as saying.
  • (PR) Shareholders of Merafe Resources are advised that the European benchmark ferrochrome price has been settled at $1.30 per pound for the third quarter of 2010, a decrease of 4% from $1.36 per pound in the second quarter of 2010.
  • (AMM) U.S. nickel premiums might have peaked amid signs that they will fall from their record highs as buying volumes drop due to the summer slowdown and supply improves amid an influx of imports.
  • (PR) AK Steel has advised its customers that a $385 per ton surcharge will be added to invoices for electrical steel products shipped in August 2010.
  • (FM) On June 29, MMC Norilsk Nickel has fully repaid a 3-year collateral-free syndicated loan of USD 1.5 bn, without use of any extra credit resources. NorNickel’s debt as of 31 December 2009 totaled USD 5.32 bn. By 30 June 2010, the company to repay USD 1.83 bn out of internal funds.
  • Euro zone unemployment beats market estimates and inline with downwards revision - more
  • Global recovery may take time: RBI - more
  • Outlook turns darker for US economy  - more

  Merafe Says 3Q European Ferrochrome Prices Fall 4% - European prices for ferrochrome, a key ingredient in stainless steel, have been agreed 4% lower than in the prior three-months, Merafe Resources said Friday. - more

  China's Stainless Steel Majors Cutting June Production? - There is speculation that China's major stainless steel manufacturers may have opted for June production cutbacks at their works toward a recovery of domestic market conditions for stainless steel products. - more

  • Anshan Steel Buys Stake In Jien Nickel - Anshan Iron and Steel, the parent company of Angang Steel, subscribed to 157 million yuan worth of shares in Jien Nickel Industry's (600432) private placement, reports China Securities Journal, citing an announcement by Jien Nickel. - more

  User industry 'shocked' over govt anti-dumping probe on steel - Steel users on Wednesday took objection to the Commerce Ministry's move to review anti-dumping duty on certain stainless steel products, saying the duty has adversely impacted the domestic industry. - more

  Minor metals drift lower as summer lull hits prices - Many minor metals mostly drifted lower over the last week, as persistent uncertainty regarding the economic outlook weighed, with volumes down ahead of an expected summer lull. - more

  Protesters over controversial PNG environmental law liable to be prosecuted - The Governor of Papua New Guinea’s Madang province says organisers of a protest against the controversial environmental law amendment are liable to be prosecuted for being in contempt of court. - more

  • Environment, a higher calling - I rise today for a simple purpose. I want to bring a cautionary tale to this debate on environment. I want to bring a cautionary tale to the Parliament, the country of Papua New Guinea and our people on rights to live in clean natural environment and in peace. - more

  Australia's new resource tax vs "super profit" tax  - Australia ended a damaging dispute with global miners on Friday by dumping its proposed "super profits" tax for a lower resources rent tax backed by big miners, clearing a major hurdle to call an early election.- more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, July 1

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 55 to 2,351. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Is New `Axis of Power' for Investment Banking as Europe Income Drops // Food Inflation Drops to 8-Month Low, Manufacturing Growth Slows in India // Asia's Manufacturing, Export Growth Slows as Data Signal Peak of Rebound // China Economy's `Soft Landing' Roils Global Markets // Asian Stocks Fall on China Manufacturing, Spain Rating // Swedish Riksbank Raises Rate, Forecasts More 2011 Increases Than Predicted // Europe Naphtha Exports to Asia to Tumble on China Slowdown: Energy Markets // European Banks Not Out of the Woods Yet After ECB Tender, Investors Say // Merkel Averts Disaster as Wulff Wins German Presidency Vote // European Stocks Sink to Five-Week Low; Daimler, BHP Billiton Lead Retreat // Greenspan Tells CNBC U.S. Economy Undergoing `Typical Pause' in Recovery // Announced U.S. Job Cuts Decline 47% From a Year Earlier, Challenger Says // Treasury Yield Curve Flattest Since October on U.S. Jobs, Factory Reports // Lack of U.S. Stocks at Lows May Be Bullish Market Sign: Technical Analysis // GM, Ford June Vehicle Sales Trail Estimates; Chrysler Exceeds Expectations // Mortgage Rates on 30-Year U.S. Loans Fall to Record // Stocks, Commodities, Dollar Drop on Concern Recovery Is Slowing
  • The Euro is presently trading 1-2/3% higher against the US Dollar. Typically commodities would sky rocket on this kind of news - but not today. NYMEX crude oil is down nearly 3-3/4% and at $72.82/barrel. Gold - down more than 2-3/4%. Silver - down 4.4%. Base metals - all in the red. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, fell even lower in afternoon trading, and in after hours trading, managed to crawl back up over support. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day, and started the third quarter of 2010, falling to $8.61/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouse now sit just under the 123,800 tonne mark after falling yet again overnight. Sucden's day old chart shows an erratic market over the last few days (chart here). Sucden and Ed Meir with MF Global have major support within $10/tonne of each other, around $19,000/tonne, which was breached today, and held - but just barely. Tomorrow now becomes more important to nickel's immediate short term future - in that support must hold again. If it is breached again, we could see prices tumble again sharply. If it holds for a second day, we could see prices start to sneak back up. The fundamentals are pressuring the technicals though - so we will have to wait and see. The Baltic Dry Index dropped another 55 points and very concerning. New jobless claims rose last week, here in the States, both the US and China manufacturing PMI indexes fell in June (we follow four indexes here), 30 year fixed rate mortgages keep setting record lows in an attempt to draw in buyers, pending home sales plummeted in May and tomorrow many are dreading the June unemployment report. And did you see the cute little redhead that the FBI arrested and accused of spying for the Russian's? Apparently the Feds arrested the whole gang when they got reports this little lass was checking out and heading home. Can't help but wonder if the agents assigned to follow her knew as soon as she skipped town, they were going to be assigned to following some suspected Mohammed Blowsomethingup somewhere and wanted to stall that eye sore as long as possible.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist - "Interest rates on fixed-rate mortgages and the 5-year hybrid ARM fell once again to all-time record lows this week in a period where the economy struggles to gain momentum and inflation remains very low."
  • Online Job Postings Climbed in June - more
  • Using Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts to Track Economy - more
  • Did a China Indicator Lead the Market Down? - more
  • The G20’s China Bet - more
  • The Conundrum of Commercial Real Estate Stocks - more

  Papua New Guinea strips communal land rights protections, opening door to big business - On May 28th the parliament in Papua New Guinea passed a sweeping amendment that protects resource corporations from any litigation related to environmental destruction, labor laws, and landowner abuse. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.19/lb lower, with all base metals trading lower this morning. The Euro is supporting commodity trading, up nearly 3/4 of 1% against the US Dollar, but Chinese PMI figures have cast a bearish shadow over the market this morning. NYMEX crude oil is trading more than 1.4% lower and at $74.55/barrel. Gold is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% lower, while silver is over 1/2 of 1% lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off more than 1.4%. European markets are trading lower this morning and US futures show Wall Street could open the third quarter lower. Nickel inventories fell overnight.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals managed to eke out a modest gain yesterday, but closed the second quarter out with a loss. Copper was off 17% over the period, snapping a string of five consecutive quarterly gains, while zinc had the dubious distinction of being the worst performer in both metals and the broader commodity index, losing 25% in Q2 after slipping by 7.2% in Q1. Despite the single-day gain seen yesterday, the rest of the markets were not pulling in the same direction, suggesting that the advance was on shaky ground heading into Thursday. Indeed, we are now lower in all the LME metals, with Asian stocks and energy markets down as well. News that China's purchasing managers’ index expanded for the 16th straight month in June, al beit at a slower pace --52.1 in June from 53.9 in May-- is behind today's declines, and may be a sign that Beijing's tightening measures are gaining traction. Of the PMI's 11 categories, only one rose in June compared with May. Key sub-indexes for new orders, new exports orders, input prices, and imports all fell. It is surprising to us that with 10 out of the 11 components falling, and declining components being in key categories, that the index even belongs over 50, which typically signals continued expansion. Be that as it may, China was not alone in reporting decelerating manufacturing activity; reports out of India and Taiwan also showed purchasing-manager indices falling last month, although they remained in expansion mode. In addition, South Korean exports grew at a slower pace in June, as did Indonesia’s, where May exports eased for a fourth straight month. Bucking the largely lower trend we are seeing in a number of markets today, the Euro is stronger, now trading at $1.2370. The ECB has made another overture to the banks this morning by agreeing to lend them 111.2 billion euros for six days in order to tide them over the expiry of their 12-month loans this week. (Banks asked for 131.9 billion euros in three-month loans yesterday, less than expected, further steadying the currency in the process). Talk that Moody's may place Spain's credit rating on review (out yesterday) does not seem to be troubling the Euro much either.  ....  We are $19,400 on nickel, down $345, and where we were at this time yesterday. Support is at $19,000. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) It is reported that the price of ferro-molybdenum has increased by US$3/kg. The main reason is that because of Sadaci plant's production problem, the ferro-molybdenum has supply shortage.
  • (Yieh) South Korean Posco announced to cut its stainless steel prices by 300000 won/ton (US$247) for July.
  • (Interfax) Chinese steel mills are unlikely to abandon their quarterly contracts with global iron ore suppliers despite lower spot iron ore prices at present, several analysts told Interfax on June 30 after an article quoting a top Rio Tinto executive caused a flurry of speculation over the pricing system.
  • (AP) Jinchuan Group Co., China's largest nickel producer, completed 49.9 per cent of its annual nickel output target for 2010 in the first half of this year, the company said Thursday on its website.
  • (SO) According to the new data issued by the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), in mid-June (June 11-20), Chinese average daily crude steel production was 1.767 million mt, down 17,000 mt from the early June period and also registering a decrease of 106,000 mt compared with the late April daily output of 1.873 million mt, which is the highest level reached so far this year.
  • China's manufacturing expands at a slower pace - more

  China's Nickel Ore Inventories Set New High - Up to July 1st, China's total nickel ore inventories in Lianyungang, Rizhao, Lanshan, and Tianjin ports have reached 10.01million mt, setting a new record high. - more

  Global Steel Price Falls 5.1% in June - After climbing steadily for months, US flat product transaction values have started to decline as the market slows for seasonal reasons. - more

  Price Of Low Carbon FeCr For Shipments To Regular Consumers In Q3 / 10 Rises  = For Japan, Following Firm Tone In Europe, To Rise By 13 - 16 US-Cents Per Lb. / Cr - The negotiations with regular consumers in Japan on price of low carbon ferro-chrome for shipment in July - September quarter of 2010 are being taken place on a line to rise from that settled for the preceding quarter of April - June. - more

  PNG Protest March Planned Despite Warnings - Despite advice from police and Madang Governor Sir Arnold Amet against today’s protest in Madang on the amendments to the environmental law, organizers say the event will go ahead. - more

  • Madang residents protest - More than 500 people - including tertiary students - took to the streets of Madang yesterday to protest the changes to the environmental law. - more

  State OKs mining - Oregon Resources Corp. has cleared its last significant regulatory hurdle and is moving ahead with its chromite mining operations. - more

  Julia Gillard and miners strike deal to end resources super-profits tax impasse - Miners and the government will announce tomorrow that they have struck a deal to end the bitter standoff over the mining tax. - more

  • Details on reported deal on Australia mine tax - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

June Archives


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