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

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Ferromolybdenum (65-70%)
$35.50/lb
 

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

Monday, June 30
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 10 to 9589. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Here are some figures for the half way point of 2008. MF Global puts nickel support at $9.75/lb and resistance at $11.75/lb. So far this year, cash nickel has averaged $12.40/lb and three month nickel has averaged $12.50/lb (thru 6/26). The high point for nickel this year has been $15.94/lb and the low point has been $9.69/lb. Last year nickel averaged $16.55/lb.
  • The US dollar started off quiet early and then rose on news that "the euro zone harmonised index of consumer prices rose a provisional 4.0 percent year-on-year in June compared with a year-on-year rise of 3.7 percent in May". Most analysts and traders are now betting the ECB will raise interest rates on Thursday from 4% to 4.25%. Metals were mixed and quiet on this last day of the quarter. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.93/lb . Today wraps up the second quarter of 2008 metals trading, and marks the 1/2 way point in the calendar year.  

  Reports

  • TD Bank Weekly Commodities Report - pdf here
  • ASSDA Summer 2008 Magazine - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Commodities are heading for their best first half in 35 years. The next six months may not be as rewarding because record prices for oil, copper and a dozen other raw materials may crimp consumption and encourage growth in supply. - more

  Two Chinese steel companies combined Monday to form the world's fifth-largest producer, the latest in a series of government-orchestrated deals aimed at creating globally competitive suppliers amid booming demand. - more

  JSC MMC Norilsk Nickel chairman Andrei Klishas said shareholders elected three independent directors to the new nine-member board, Interfax reported. - more

  • Billionaire Vladimir Potanin retained the largest representation on OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel's board after an investor vote, supporting his attempt to merge Russia's biggest mining company with two competitors. - more

  Canada’s Federal Government Making a Mess of Aboriginal Land Claims and Mining Issues - Gregory Reynolds - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.07/lb lower. Final day of the month and quarter, so we doubt much will happen in the last few hours of trading. Oil has already set a new record high today. Dollar started out soft this morning but has rebounded since.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more
  • Congratulations to Germany and Spain for making it to the European Cup finals this past weekend, and Spain for taking this years championship.

  No Significant Increase in Stainless Steel Output Expected This Year - Demand for stainless steel is weakening in most parts of the world. MEPS (International) Ltd forecasts global crude production virtually unchanged at 28 million tonnes in 2008. Western World output is expected to decline by 300,000 tonnes this year. - more

  Reports

  • BNP Paribas Markets Data - here
  • KBC Commodities report - pdf here
  • Haywood Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here
  • Nickel Week in Review - here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "LME prices ended mostly on a stronger note on Friday, with copper rising to two-month highs, boosted by impending strike action in Peru and another weak session for the dollar. In fact, the dollar’s poor finish against the Euro sparked a record run in energy, and also lead to good gains in precious metals. Equity markets continue to wilt, as the divergence with commodities widens. ... We are at $21,800 on nickel, down $150, and hovering just above key $21,500. A break below that level could prove serious, as our chart below shows."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • The Realities of this Secular Bull Market in Commodities - more

  World market price of chrome has continued to rise. Average spot price of low-carbon ferrochromium in the free European market has risen over the last days. - more

  China Increases Again Ratio Of 300 Series Stainless Steel Production = Reflecting Lower Nickel Price, Ratio Of 300 Series Products Is Anticipated To Share Level Of 60% In 2008 - more

  • Chinese media - #1 molybdenum, with a purity greater than 99%, was priced thru most of June in China for 520-560 CNY/kg. Last Thursday, the market price slumped to 490-530 CNY/kg.

  Provincial authorities in New Caledonia have agreed to begin talks with the French metals mining group, Eramet, on taking over its local unit. - more

  Finnish stainless steel major Outokumpu plans to invest Rs 1,000 crore for setting up a cold rolling (CR) mill in Western India with a capacity of 2.5 lakh tons. - more

  The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has granted an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to Citinickel Mines and Development Corp. in connection with its Pulot Nickel Mining Project in three barangays in Sofronio Española town in Palawan, according to a DENR press release. - more

  • Platinum Group Metals Corp. will spend $2 million for improvements in its two ferronickel smelting plants in Iligan City and Misamis Oriental. - more
  • Mining firm Platinum Group Metals Corp. is set to ship 450,000 metric tons of nickel ore to Australia from its mine sites in Surigao del Norte and Isabela in the third quarter. - more

  Global steel prices are set to fall steeply this year, bringing to an abrupt end a remarkable boom for the world steel industry, according to Peter Marcus, a leading industry consultant . - more

  Potanin and Vekselberg Teach Depriska the Classics - Trojan horse in reverse — Vekselberg & Potanin attack Rusal - more

  • Vladimir Putin is no slouch. So when he says that he advised BP and its Russian billionaire partners not to set up a 50-50 joint venture, you have to think he is on to something. - more
  • Kolskaya GMK, regional subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel in the Kola Peninsula, has completed the second development phase of its Severny Glubokii (“Northern Deep”) mine in Zapolyary, close to the Norwegian border. - more

  Indian-owned European steelmaker Corus has stepped up its campaign against BHP Billiton's attempt to take over mining rival Rio Tinto, complaining to the European Union about it. - more

  Vale Inco's demonstration hydrometallurgical plant in Argentia will close today. The company opened the plant in 2005 to study the hydromet technology for use at the proposed commercial nickel processing plant in Long Harbour. Many of the employees have been transferred to Vale Inco's other operations in Canada and New Caledonia. The company says it will maintain the Argentia plant for training purposes.

  • Canadians shouldn't be fooled by high commodity prices into thinking their economy is on the right track because, in fact, it is slipping badly in comparison with other rich countries, a report said on Monday. - more

  ANGLO American Corporation plc, the number one producer of platinum in the world says it is planning to invest a further US$400 million into Unki Platinum Mine in the Midlands Province. - more

  Kill bad breath with stainless steel lollipop - Nothing’ says clean breath like sucking on stainless steel. That’s right. Stainless steel. - more (We've posted about this concept before, now someone is marketing a product to capitalize.)

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jun 30 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Thank goodness - it's Friday, June 27
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 126 to 9,599. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Markets were quiet today, with the dollar apparently the catalyst to metals movements. You could almost flip the dollar chart over and get an idea of what the nickel indicator chart looked like. As the trading day in Europe came to a close, the dollar was rebounding, although still down, and metals were mixed...but just slightly. Nickel traded within an approximately $300/tonne range, up and down, and according to Dow Jones, three month nickel ended the day and week at $9.95/lb    
  • Have a safe and restful weekend!!
  • Australia's answer to the Budweiser frog? (rude and crude but humorous) - video here

  Top five destinations for Chinese cold/hot rolled stainless steel in May 2008 (according to Chinese media report)

  • Hot rolled - Italy, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Belgium
  • Cold rolled - Italy, USA, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea

  Increased global inflation and rising interest rates will crimp demand for base metals by the year end, but supply constraints, strong emerging market demand and high production costs will keep metal price floors at higher levels than ever before, Barclays Capital said on Thursday. - more

  Canada-based MBMI Resources has shipped 100,000 metric tons (MT) of nickel ore from the Alpha project in Palawan to China and Japan and is expected to ship 140,000 MT more to Asian markets. - more

  Making Sustainability part of Vale’s DNA by Renato Amorim – Vale Director of International Public Affairs - more

  • Rick Grylls - Local 598 President - Disputes Sudbury Soil Study by Bill Bradley - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around  $.02/lb lower. Dollar is lower, but very volatile. Metals are a mixed bag, with no major movements in any of them. LME nickel inventories take a big jump overnight, on the first large shipment received into Rotterdam in quite a few weeks.    
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

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

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metal prices raced higher yesterday mainly on the back of a weaker dollar, which fell for a second day in a row to three-week lows, this after the Federal Reserve's rather uncertain view (as reflected in Wednesday's policy statement) of when it intended to move on interest rates. This morning, the tone in metals is more restrained-- the group is holding steady, but so far, not resuming another sharp advance along the lines of what we are seeing in energy and precious metals, both of which are up much higher today. Sizeable stock increases on some of the LME metals are perhaps weighing on sentiment. .... We are at $21,800 on nickel, and unchanged, but hovering just above key $21,500, which held earlier this week. Cleary, nickel seems to be the weakest in the metals group." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  Russian media - Largest Chinese manufacturer of stainless steel, Taiyuan Iron & Steel, will keep prices unchanged on 300 and 400 grades of stainless steel in July. Production of crude steel in July will be decreased by 25% and will amount to 150,000 tonnes.

  Three of the biggest names able to attract mining speculators came together yesterday when Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest persuaded US investor Philip A. Falcone to put $US50 million ($52 million) into the Poseidon Nickel venture to try to build Australia's third-biggest nickel mine. - more

  (quote from investor update) A weakening in nickel prices, as well as for direct shipping ore (DSO) feedstock for Chinese nickel pig iron furnaces, was previously noted by Mindoro (news release dated May 27, 2008). Nickel prices seem likely to firm once the Chinese stainless steel industry resumes its anticipated strong growth later this year, and the option to commence a DSO operation, currently on hold, will be kept open. - more

  In our recent interview with Charles Swindon, chairman of the Minor Metals Trade Association, Mr. Swindon noted that - with the LME's board having appointed someone to look into this very question - cobalt, molybdenum and ferro-chrome were, indeed, "possibilities" for LME trading. - more

  • Molybdenum metal is not an exchange traded metal. This means that there is no central market, such as the London Metals Exchange (LME), where a buyer or seller of molybdenum can go to buy a contract for the future delivery or sale of molybdenum at a fixed or known price. - more

  China's iron ore imports surged during the first four months of this year as users sought to avoid anticipated higher costs, official figures show. - more

  • The China Iron and Steel Association said Friday it opposed the use of an iron ore index to determine prices for term contracts. - more

  Courtesy SteelGuru.com - "Statistics from China Nonferrous Industry Association showed that the domestic production of nickel concentrate was 7,792 tonnes in May up by 31.5%MoM. While the production of January to May 2008 was 27,204 tonnes down by 2.95% YoY as compared to January to May 2007. The nickel production was 6,100 tonnes in Gansu, increased by 2,202 tons, 390 tonnes in Jilin, 130 tonnes in Xinjiang and 172 tonnes in Yunnan."

  Eramet ruled out any change to the capital structure of its Societe le Nickel unit in New Caledonia, rejecting a call by the three provinces of the French overseas territory to increase their 34 percent holding to a majority stake.  - more

  Analyst History - How did they do?

  • Bloomberg Feb 5, 2007 - "When it comes to nickel, the best performing commodity the past 13 months, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is determined to prove Deutsche Bank AG is full of so much hot air...The market is ``over-inflated,'' says Jon Bergtheil, the head of global metals strategy at JPMorgan in London and an industry analyst for three decades. ``Nickel's fall will be worse than the pace copper has seen,'' dropping at least 25 percent this year, he said. Nonsense, says Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Lewis, who told customers on Jan. 12 that nickel is the favorite pick among industrial metals because producers can't keep up with demand. Germany's biggest bank raised its forecast for average nickel prices to about $31,500 in 2007 and to $31,000 in 2008. Nickel in 2006 averaged about $24,150. ``The ramp-up in Chinese stainless steel capacity in 2007- 08 is now expected to sustain strong demand growth for nickel at elevated levels,'' the bank said in a report"
  • So who was right? Both actually. On Feb 5th, when this article was published, 3 month nickel closed at $16.17/lb. It reached $23.50/lb 4 months later, and then plummeted, ending the year at $11.91/lb. So JP Morgan can claim they were right. However, had you sold when they forecast the collapse, you would have missed out on three more months of climbing prices. For the year of 2007, 3 month nickel averaged even higher than the more bullish Deutsche Bank forecast. So they too could claim they were not only right, but a little too pessimistic themselves. Had you held throughout the entire year, though, you could have seen most of your spring time gains evaporate by the end of the year.  

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jun 27 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Thursday, June 26
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  plus 229 to 9,473. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • The dollar started its most recent slide against the Euro after the Fed announcement yesterday, and continued that direction throughout today's trading session. Metals, both precious and industrial, traded in the green throughout the day. Nickel also ended up, although according to the indicator charts, stumbled sharply at one point. Rising nearly $450/tonne, it fell around $600 tonne in late afternoon trading, only to creep back into the green. According to Dow Jones, three months nickel ended the day at $9.89/lb . With Friday and Monday's trading rounding out the second quarter of trading, without some unexpected supply/demand news, we could see traders cleaning up their portfolio's over the next few days, which "usually" means a tamed market. That being said, "usually" carries little weight in today's market.  
  • Globe and Mail - more

  Commodity Comments

  • The price of commodities face a "correction" after a seven-year rally, which will help ease global inflation, reported Bloomberg quoting investment guru Marc Faber. "Commodity prices will come down in the next six months to one year," Faber, said at a briefing in Taipei today. Commodity prices will resume their gains after the correction, he said, with demand for oil doubling in the next 12 years. ..."It doesn't mean I am bearish about commodities. I think commodity bull markets will last about 20 years," he said. (source)

  Cia. Vale do Rio Doce fell for the first time in four days in Sao Paulo trading after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. said the world's largest iron-ore producer may revive its takeover offer for Xstrata Plc. - more

  A series of powerful explosions rocked the sites in Barangay Guinabon and Guisguis in Sta. Cruz, Zambales of a mining firm engaged in extracting chromite and ore in separate sites shortly before dawn Wednesday, police said Thursday. - more

  Honourable Kevin Kruger – British Columbia Minister of State for Mining – The Canadian Institute Keynote Address in Vancouver - more

  A three-year wage deal was reached between employers and unions in the metal industry, the Metal and Engineering Bargaining Council said on Thursday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.18/lb higher. This is how yesterday afternoon in the US ended - The Fed, as expected, kept its key, short-term interest rate at 2%, noting they expect slow economic growth ahead, while “upside risks to inflation and inflation expectations have increased.”. In Europe, the European Central Bank's president clarified some earlier comments on the continent's monetary policy by stating that interest rates may, or may not, rise in the months ahead. This bolstered the Euro, and the dollar took a nosedive in yesterday's afternoon trading. This is how this morning in Europe started. Marketwatch - "Algerian Energy Minister Chakib Khelil, who serves as president of OPEC, on Thursday said oil prices could jump as high as $150-$170 dollars a barrel this summer according to reports. However, he thinks crude will fall short of $200 a barrel. At a meeting in Paris, Khelil said a further fall of 1% to 2% of the dollar verses the euro could add another $8 a barrel to oil prices. He cited the weakness of the greenback as a major cause of spiking oil prices." Trading so far sees the metals complex trading green across the board, the dollar continues to slide, and oil is up. Market is trading for inflation, and indirectly, helping cause even higher inflation.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals all closed lower yesterday heading into the Fed statement, but we are making amends today, with the group broadly higher. Again, there is very little behind today’s improved tone, except for the dollar, which failed badly in the aftermath of the Fed decision late yesterday, thus setting up the stage for today’s advance after the Far East markets opened. ... In LME news, the exchange said that it would significantly extend prompt dates for aluminum, copper, zinc, nickel and lead futures from Sept. 29th.  ... The hope is that banks will now use the LME more than they are doing, and transfer more over-the-counter exposure that would normally sit on their balance sheets onto the Clearing House. ... We are at $22,150 on nickel, up $450, and seeing something of decent bounce today off key support of $21,500, which held earlier this week. However, we continue to remain cautious on nickel’s upside potential." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • On the other hand, in a single step tomorrow --- closing the Enron Loophole --- Congress and George Bush could create an overnight drop in oil prices of between 25 and 50 percent. This is according to testimony before a Senate Committee two weeks ago by Michael Greenberger, the former director of Trading & Markets for the Commodities Future Trading Commission (CFTC), the government board that oversees commodities markets. - more
  • A normal three-year cycle or a super-cycle in commodities that could last another 10 years? It's a big question in financial markets, which splits those who believe current commodities prices are a result of genuine scarcity and massive demand from emerging economies, and those who blame the enormous speculation in the market for pushing up prices and dislocating the real demand/supply picture. - more
  • THOSE pilgrim puritans are at it again, threatening to ban, regulate and smother all forms of risk-taking. After adultery, booze, ciggies and online poker, North Americans have invented a new vice, and its home is the New York Mercantile Exchange. - more

  The London Metal Exchange, the world's largest marketplace for copper, lengthened the maturity of some futures contracts to as much as 10 years. - more

  • The London Metal Exchange prompt dates for primary aluminium, copper, zinc, nickel and lead futures contracts have been extended from September 29, 2008. - more
  • Governments would be foolish to limit participation in commodity markets and curb speculation because prices were based on supply and demand, the London Metal Exchange (LME) chief executive, Martin Abbott, said yesterday. - more

  The price of steel-making raw materials such as iron ore, coal and scrap metal will continue to rise for several years, keeping pressure on manufacturers and consumers, the head of U.S. steel maker Nucor Corp. said Wednesday. - more

  Outokumpu Oyj (News) said it has agreed to acquire Avesta Klippcenter AB, a Swedish processor of stainless steel, for an undisclosed sum. - more

  Politicians in New Caledonia’s southern province are split over a suggestion to give the territory a controlling stake in the SLN nickel company, which is the largest private sector employer. - more

  • Harold Martin, president of of New Caledonia, said he wants Eramet unit Societe Le Nickel to be awarded the licence for a giant nickel deposit in the French overseas territory. - more
  • Couple of articles in French - here and here

  Soviet geologists were looking for oil when exploring this region 500 km (315 miles) south of Moscow. - more

  Big steelmakers in China on Tuesday shrugged off the impact of Monday's record rise in iron ore prices, but the higher prices could increase cost pressures on smaller mills and hasten consolidation in the industry. - more

  China Steel Corporation (CSC), Taiwan`s largest integrated producer of steel products, will call a third-quarter production/sales meeting to decide export prices tomorrow. It is expected the company will broadly raise product export prices at the meeting. - more

  International Power Plc and CIC Energy Corp. failed to agree on terms with a construction contractor, forcing them to consider cutting the size of a planned $9.5 billion power plant in Botswana and further pressuring electricity supplies in southern Africa. - more

  Ok here is your stainless steel test for the day. Take a look at this sculpture, make note of it's size, and then estimate what it might be worth. Photo here  Remember last last year, when we showed you the "Hanging Heart" sculpture by this artist that was sold for $23 million dollars, making Koons the world's most expensive living artist at auction. Well, according to Art Info, this piece is now his most profitable piece. Sold at a private auction in April, the stainless bunny brought a whooping $80,000,000. (source)  (comment - he is helping prove that stainless steel artwork is chic)

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jun 26 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Wednesday, June 25
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  plus 105 to 9,244. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • VEry quiet day ahead of the FOMC announcement. FX reports - "...the dollar maintaining its steady tone despite a continued barrage of hawkish ECB comments on inflation ahead of its policy meeting next Thursday (July 3)". Forex pros reports "Ahead of the release of the FOMC meeting results, the EUR/USD is trading inside of a tight range." The chart in our lower right hand corner shows the dollar off just a shade, with metals trading quietly mixed. The general consensus among the market is the US Fed will leave interest rates alone. They really can't afford to lower the rates anymore than they have, to combat the economic slowdown, or they will add more inflationary pressure. And they can't afford to address the inflationary worries, by raising interest rates, or they could do more damage to the struggling economy. If we see a change made in the interest rate either way, we can expect an immediate response from the market. The announcement will be made at 2:15 pm EST, after we post this wrap-up. Nickel opened trading higher today, and according to indicator charts, spent the day trading in a fairly tight range. According to Dow Jones, three month nickel ended the day at $9.94/lb .  
  • Reuters - more 

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Metals Insider -  China - "These continued high (nickel) ore imports levels suggest that there remains good demand from the nickel pig iron production sector, despite a lot of speculation that parts of it were closing due to a combination of lower nickel prices and government clampdown."

  China's Baosteel said on Tuesday it would nearly double the price it pays mining group Rio Tinto for iron ore, in a deal experts said underscored the Asian giant's lynchpin role in the commodity boom. - more

  A nickel mining partnership between BHP Billiton and an Indonesian firm in a protected island paradise has "strategic" importance and should proceed, Indonesia's investment chief said Wednesday. - more

  Nonferrous metallurgy is one of the most important industries for the Russian economy. It is probably the only area in which the country determines the world market situation. - more

  More Women Needed in the Mining Sector - more  (comment - since one of the nickel miner union's won free Viagra prescriptions in their last contract, these women may need combat pay)

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.09/lb higher.   
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Forbes - more
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  • MF Global Base Metals Outlook June 2008 - here (use Internet Explorer browser, Firefox does work properly)
  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • Germany - ThyssenKrupp Nirosta issues July surcharges - here
  • Germany - Deutsche Edelstahlwerke GmbH issues July surcharges - pdf here
  • Finland - Outokumpu issues July AAF - pdf here
  • Tropical Storm Fengshen has struck the Chinese mainland - current map

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "LME markets finished lower yesterday despite a struggling dollar, as a round of profit -taking set in and overrode the impact of the currency. Yesterday’s macro data did not inspire the markets much either, with US housing prices continuing to suffer record drops in April, while US consumer confidence readings plunged to 16-year lows....We thought the selling we saw yesterday in metals was somewhat justified in light of the good run higher we have had, particularly in copper and ali, both of which have been pushing higher in recent weeks despite rather comfortable supply/demand backdrops. Moreover, the Fed meets later today, and this undoubtedly sent many players to the sidelines yesterday, as it is doing right now, where we are seeing a mixed tone amid quiet conditions....As we wrote in yesterday’s note, we suspect that the Fed’s language will emphasize inflation dangers as opposed to weaker growth conditions, so we do not expect them to signal a possible resumption of interest rate cuts. If our analysis is correct, we suspect the dollar should strengthen in the wake of the meeting and result in additional pressure on metals for the balance of the week.... We are at $21,650 on nickel, up $150; support at $21,500 held yesterday, but just barely. Nickel looks like it is the weakest in the group, as demand remains extremely sluggish."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Dow Jones - "The base metals market is waiting for the U.S. Federal Reserve's statement on the economy due later Wednesday, with little activity expected prior to this......  Trading conditions on the London Metal Exchange are subdued as a result, with prices drifting sideways to lower through the session."

  One of China's biggest corporations admits that it has been on a steep learning curve since it began to build an $1 billion nickel mine in Papua New Guinea. - more

  It is reported that the Sichuan Tianyi Metallurgy Group has commenced construction on the first stage of its 200 000 tonne per year ferrochrome project in Qinghai province. - more

  South Korean steel giant POSCO said Wednesday that it is holding talks with North Korea on acquiring iron ore and other raw materials. - more

  Chinese government and steel industry officials are considering a boycott of iron ore imports from Australian miner BHP Billiton, the last bastion in term iron ore price negotiations, two informed Chinese sources said. - more

  US Steel has no near-term plans to acquire either a scrap processor or a majority stake in metallurgical coal, despite continued concern over raw material supply, said John Surma, chairman and CEO of the US-based steel producer. - more

  Xstrata Nickel and the Wahnapitae First Nation got it right last week when they signed an agreement to work together on a host of issues. - more

  Matt Cooke is chief executive of the Nhulundu Health Service in Gladstone, Queensland and was one of the speakers at the National Reconciliation Forum in Kalgoorlie-Boulder this month. - more

  Virtual tour of Valbruna Stainless Steel - here

  Fastener industry expert Phil Matten has delivered a hard-hitting analysis of the factors propelling the cost of all types of steel fasteners along the steepest inflationary track witnessed in decades. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jun 25 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Tuesday, June 24
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 72 to 9,139. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Consumer confidence slid further than expected and US housing prices continued their slide. While noted, metals traders have their eyes on the US Fed meeting report tomorrow. Marketwatch noted, "After two-day meeting wraps up Wednesday, Chairman Bernanke and fellow policy-makers will tread carefully in their statement on whether fighting a slowdown or inflation is No. 1 priority." On the back of the gloomy economic news, the dollar was down today. Metals did not follow, as higher commodity prices in general, seem to be giving some pause about the overall economic health and future demand. As we publish the afternoon wrap-up, only gold is ever so slightly higher, with the rest of the base and precious metals complex lower. Even a 438 tonne withdrawal from LME warehouses overnight could not keep nickel up, and according to Dow Jones, three month nickel ended the day at $9.75/lb   Interesting article below about Russia flexing its military muscles over Arctic resources. 44 days till the Beijing Olympics begin.  

  Reports

  • Behre Dolbear Global Mining News - here
  • American Stainless Pipeline News - pdf here

  South Korea's POSCO, the world's No.4 steel maker, said on Tuesday it would raise steel prices by up to 21 percent to absorb higher raw material costs and bring its prices closer to international levels. - more

  Mining major BHP Billiton Tuesday gave its clearest indication to date that it will move away from annually priced iron ore contracts in favor of an external reference index-correlated pricing system after its current agreements expire, attendees at a London briefing were told. - more

  The uncertainty on political horizon and upsurge in the period of power outages during the current year has affected all sectors of the industry in Pakistan and the stainless steel is one of the worst victims. - more

  Except Mayotte with about 10% of growth in 2007, New Caledonia distinguishes itself overseas in the. His/her/its economy is very well. Still thanks to the nickel. - translated article here original version here

  Russia's military is training its forces for combat in the Arctic to protect its claims to resources on the continental shelf. - more

  The Davao Oriental business sector has joined the clamor on calling for the start of the operations of the Pujada nickel project. - more

  Commodity Comments

  • China - POSCO's integrated stainless steel plant in the Chinese city of Zhangjiagang in Jiangsu Province is the third largest in China after the Taiyuan Iron and Steel and Baoshan Steel Works. The plant employs over 1,800 Chinese workers from 20 provinces.
  • Scotia Capital China Update - "We estimate the hike in both oil products and power prices will increase China’s average steel production costs by some RMB80 (US$11.60/tonne)....Latest data shows that in the first five months of 2008, China produced 68,055 tonnes of molybdenum (45% Mo), up 20.66% YOY. In terms of trade, China exported 2,022 tonnes of molybdenum (metal content) in May, the lowest level since October 2007....In May, China imported 11,037 tonnes of refined nickel, up 58.06% YOY. In the first five months as a whole, China’s refined nickel imports grew 24.49% YOY to 57,501 tonnes.. Despite high inventories, China’s low-grade nickel ore imports remained strong at 2.029 million tonnes in May. In the first five months, China imported 7.58 million tonnes of nickel ore, up 39.94% YOY. In terms of geographic breakdown, imports from Indonesia were at 5.28 million tonnes, up 115.65% YOY, while imports from the Philippines were at 1.95 million tonnes, down 21.16% YOY."

  Vietnam Ministry of Finance Tax Policy Department raised export tax on nickel and nickel powder to 20% effective June 16th.

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.02/lb lower. US dollar is lower against the Euro this morning, and while precious metals are trading higher, the base metals are lower. Sucden's graph shows yesterday's down trend - here   (If the constantly changing format has you trying to figure this chart out, you aren't alone. Apparently over the weekend, they have changed the chart to show candlesticks in two hour increments, not by day as before. While the changes can be confusing, it's still one of the best free charts we have found.)   
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more
  • Thomson Financial - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • TD Bank Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Weekly - pdf here
  • Fortis Metals Monthly - pdf here
  • Fortis Asian Metals Monthly - pdf here
  • BHP Steelmaking Materials Briefing - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "LME prices finished modestly lower yesterday, but in the case of ali and copper, prices still managed to take out key resistance levels for a second day in a row, solidifying the technical profiles somewhat further. However, the stronger dollar limited yesterday’s gains, as did a fading energy complex, which although closing higher, finished well off its earlier highs. This morning, we are lower again in a very quiet session. We do not expect to see much action over the next twenty-four hours leading up to the key Federal Reserve meeting tomorrow. ...We are at $21,800 on nickel, down $50, and fading towards the bottom end of the range; key support is at $21,500. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Sucden's Technical Analysis Nickel Chart thru yesterday - here
  • Chinese article from 6/18 - (we re-worded to make understandable) "Since the beginning of June, and the approach of the Olympic ceremonies, Chinese law enforcement agencies have begun a crack down on those illegally transporting dangerous goods in the country, such as explosives, and detonators. Since much of this is destined for mining operations, this crackdown could lead to tighter supplies of mineral raw material in the coming weeks. Some customers, in order to maintain normal production thru the Olympic period, have begun to stockpile these raw materials, further exacerbating increasing prices in all kinds of raw materials."

  Mysteel learned from their gathering meeting in Guangzhou on June 19th 2008 that the stainless steelmakers failed to make consensus on the extent of July EXW price rise. - more

  Due to volatility of nickel price in 2007, most stainless steel mills cut austenitic stainless steel output and instead increased ferritic stainless steel production by around 30 percent. Obviously, the issue on fluctuation of nickel price has made most mills unable to maintain their profitability. - more

  The two main unions representing workers at Eramet's Societe le Nickel unit in New Caledonia believe the company will be unable to reach its production target of 75,000 tonnes a year. - more

  Mirabela Nickel Ltd., building the world's third-largest open-pit nickel mine in Brazil, said construction of the project is 30 percent complete with first output expected in mid-2009. - more

  Courtesy AISI - "In the week ending June 21, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,076,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 87.0 percent. Production was 2,119,000 tons in the week ending June 21, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 88.6 percent. The current week production represents a 2.0 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending June 21, 2008 is down 1.1 percent from the previous week ending June 14, 2008 when production was 2,101,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 88.1 percent."

  2001 report by US EPA titled "Report on the Corrosion of Certain Alloys" - (stainless section starts at page 12) - 71 page pdf report here

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jun 24 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Monday, June 23
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 217 to 9,211. (chart) (article)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Sucden's Technical Analysis Nickel Chart thru yesterday - here (what does it mean - Candlestick Pattern Dictionary here / Intro to Candlesticks here )
  • The dollar started out in an up mood, as Germany's business-climate index dropped to 101.3 from 103.5 in May. It was the lowest reading since December 2005. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc's composite index of manufacturing and services industries fell to 49.5 this month from 51.1 in May. It's the first time in 5 years the gauge dropped below 50, indicating contraction. Metals took a thrashing today, with nearly all precious and industrial metals trading in the red. Aluminum and tin were the only metals to pull off a win, while nickel joined the others in the losers box. Market was only down around $200/tonne when we posted the morning update, but took a dive right after. According to indicator charts, it fell nearly $800/tonne of the daily high, before recovering nearly a third of that. According to Dow Jones, three month nickel ended the first trading day of the week, at $9.91/lb
  • And the big metals news for the day? "Rio Tinto secures 85 percent rise in 2008 iron ore contract prices" - more
  • We suspect Matt visit Rio Tinto. Might find a few partners there in the mood to join him today. Video here (Reminds us just how alike we inhabitants of this little planet really are)

  Nickel futures decline on poor demand - Nickel prices on Monday fell by 0.57 per cent in futures trading following poor demand. - more

  Rio agrees record iron ore price rises with China - Baosteel, China’s leading steelmaker, agreed on Monday to the largest ever annual increase in iron ore prices with Rio Tinto, the Anglo-Australian miner, in a move that is likely to reinforce fears about global inflation. - more

  Tropical Storm Fengshen "Frank" heads for Taiwan or China or will it squeeze between? - more

  • State of calamity declared in Western Visayas provinces - The provinces of Iloilo, Aklan and Capiz, Antique and Iloilo City were declared under a state of calamity as the death toll and reports of damage brought by typhoon "Frank" (international codename: Fengshen) in Western Visayas continued to rise. - more
  • 33,000 families evacuated in Eastern Samar - Over 33,000 families in Eastern Visayas were evacuated when floods caused by typhoon “Frank” (international codename: Fengshen) hit their areas. - more
  • Is the sky falling? Americans think so (Philippine Daily Inquirer)  Is everything spinning out of control? - more (never hurts to know what your friends see when they look at you. Mirrors usually only tell us what we want to hear)

  Groups sign joint resolution against offshore mining - A joint resolution opposing offshore mining here and calling on the government to stop an “imperialist act” that would lead to the destruction of the environment has been signed by foreign and local activists, a spokesman for a militant group has said. - more

  InfoMine's Mining Cost Data Center - here

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.09/lb lower.  Dollar is up this morning with Bloomberg reporting it rose "after a report showed German business confidence was worse than forecast in June, weakening the case for the European Central Bank to raise interest rates." The precious and base metals complex, except for tin, is trading lower. It appears Sucden analyst Nimit Khamar, has updated his chart thru Friday, which he now shows a TL1 and TL3 squeeze approaching.  (chart here) He also shows RSI rose to 41.9, which implies only slightly oversold.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more
  • Thomson Financial - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Haywood Metals & Mining - pdf here
  • Australian Commodities (Metals Forecasts) - pdf here
  • Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. Friday Scrap report - pdf here
  • June issue of magazine Steel world - articles in pdf format - more

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "LME metals continued to push upwards on Friday, with aluminum prices jumping to a three-month high on the Alcoa announcement that the Rockdale smelter is shutting down. In fact, aluminum was the primary driver for the group as a whole, where for a change on Friday, all the metals closed higher.  This morning, we are seeing modest across-the-board declines in metals on the back of a stronger dollar (up by about 60 points on the Euro) and less-than-inspiring Chinese related trade data. ...We are at $22,350 on nickel, down $50, and quiet. We seem to be trading down to test the bottom end of the range once again." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Courtesy Dow Jones - "Government's Australian Bureau of Agricultural & Resource Economics forecasts metal will average $27,000/ton in 2008, down 27% on-year, also down from average $28,770/ton in first 4 months of this year. "Rising nickel production at new mines, scheduled to commence from mid-2008 is expected to increase nickel supply in 2009," hence forecast price to decline to average $22,000 in 2009, it says."
  • Mr Peter Kaufmann, director of the International Stainless Steel Forum, to British Stainless Steel Association's conference - "We expect very little recovery in 2008 in demand. We see consumer and business confidence steeply down and there are serious worries about inflation.”

  POSCO says to cut stainless steel output in July - South Korea's POSCO said on Monday it would cut stainless steel output by 25,000 tonnes in July due to inventory build-up as buyers delay purchases on expectations of lower prices. - more

  TABLE-China May nickel, lead, zinc, tin trade - China's exports and imports of refined lead, zinc, tin and nickel as well as concentrates in May and the first five months of 2008, as reported in official customs figures. - more

  Union in New Caledonia calls for stability around SLN nickel company - New Caledonia’s USOENC union has called on the French government to intervene in a bid to ensure that the current financial structure behind the SLN nickel company remains stable. - more

  Henan Qingshan starts construction on SS slab project - It is reported that construction has started for a 400,000 tonnes per annum stainless steel slab casting project by Hennan Qingshan Jinhui Stainless Steel Company on June 10th 2008. - more

  Asian stainless steel may switch to rolling of carbon steel - It is reported that some East Asian stainless steel producers are considering switching some of their capacity to produce carbon steel as the sluggishness in the stainless steel market shows little sign of abating. - more

  China's Baosteel raises August prices - Baoshan Iron & Steel Co, China's largest steel maker, raised prices of some of its major steel products for August, a further boost to third-quarter prices, industry and company sources said on Monday. - more

  Iron ore trading quiet as market awaits Australian settlement - As sources awaited the outcome of iron ore contract negotiations between the Australians and the Chinese, buyers and sellers stepped back from the spot market. - more

  • Iron ore demand quiet because of sizeable buyer stocks - 62% Fe content iron ore fines was still reported around $170/dmt CFR China Friday, with deals agreed above and below this level. Meanwhile 63% Fe content iron was priced anywhere between $180-183/dmt CFR north China, sources said. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Base Metal Prices-Mumbai-Jun 23 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Friday, June 20
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 46 to 9428. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Dollar headed down at the beginning of today's trading, with metals heading the opposite direction. Nickel became the second most expensive metal traded on the LME as tin rose 3% and passed it. According to the indicator charts, nickel spent the day bouncing back and forth around the $22,500/tonne mark, and at one point early in the trading session, rose approximately $300/tonne over that mark. With no new supply/demand news to move the market, it appeared nickel traders took their cues from the dollar, and the low RSI. For the day, and week, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $10.16/lb . Depending on whether the bears or the bulls get the upper hand in the coming weeks, the market appears to be trying to trade in the $22,000 to $23,000/tonne range, where it began the month.   
  • Have a safe and restful weekend. 

  Reports

  • Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. Market report - pdf here
  • ScotiaBank Commodity Price Index - pdf here
  • Bob Garino's Weekly Metals Commodities Report for the week ending June 20, 2008 - more

  Commodity Comments

  • Economic Times - China's decision to freeze thermal coal prices is an attempt to avert possible power shortages this summer, but could exacerbate the situation if coal miners decide to curb supply further. Late on Thursday night, China said it would cap thermal coal prices at Thursday's level through the end of the year. - more
  • Cadiz Green Specialised Asset Management mining analyst and senior portfolio manager Peter Major stated at the Africa Mining Congress that the current high commodity prices were unsustainable. - more

  Kermas to Buy Rest of South African Ferrochrome Producer Mogale - Kermas Ltd., which controls the world's second-biggest ferrochrome producer, will buy the rest of a smaller South African rival, Mogale Alloys, after securing a majority stake. - more

  Rusal Not Buying Votes Ahead Of Norilsk Mtg - Alexander Bulygin, chief executive of aluminum titan United Co Rusal, said his company is not buying votes ahead of the upcoming shareholders meeting of the board of Russia's mining giant OAO Norilsk Nickel. - more

  Duplex pipes resist corrosion - Sandvik SAF 2205 offers a high resistance to stress corrosion cracking in chloride bearing environments and those containing hydrogen sulphide. - more

  Ecological fears over venture between BHP and Indonesian miner - Anglo-Australian giant BHP Billiton and an Indonesian firm announced Thursday a massive nickel mining partnership that has environmentalists raising concerns about a protected island paradise. - more

  Russia the third worst polluter in the world - Climate and the environment will again dominate the agenda when G8 leaders meet on Lake Toyako in Japan on July 7-9.  - more

  Material Safety Data Sheet's on scrap material - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.20/lb higher. Dollar is down and metals, both precious and industrial, are trading in the green, across the board. Nickel is up also, although after the last two days decline, these may turn out to be no more than what the traders call a "dead cat bounce". Both Ed Meir with MF Global, and Nimit Khamer with Sucden, put the RSI of nickel in the18 to 19 percentile range, which implies  the metal, as of close of business yesterday, was heavily oversold. Overnight LME inventories record a slight gain.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Economic Times - more
  • Thomson Financial - more
  • The Guardian - more

  Reports

  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • Production of Canada's Leading Minerals Monthly Publication - April 2008 - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - " Most of the rest of the metals-- weighed down by more bearish fundamentals-- lost ground on the day yesterday, with nickel looking particularly weak. ... On the US macro front, there is no news out today; the dollar is weaker, and again over the 1.55 Euro mark, helping explain the stronger tone we are seeing in many commodities today. ... We are at $22,650 on nickel, up $450. Nickel continues to struggle, as weak stainless demand and high LME stocks restrain the market."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Courtesy Dow Jones - "Even though the steel destocking has gradually been fading out, this has only to a limited extent fed through into a substantial recovery of nickel demand, says Lehman Brothers' Michael Widmer. This explains why reported nickel inventories have remained relatively flat and average physical premia have stayed rangebound, he notes."

  World's crude steel output up 5.8% to 119.5 mil mt in May: IISI - World crude steel production for the 66 countries reporting to the International Iron and Steel Institute was 119.5 million mt in May, up 5.8% from the same month last year, according to a statement from the institute Friday. - more

  Chinese chrome ore import market weakens - It is reported that chrome ore import market weakens lately with plenty of resources and dull transactions. And Chrome ore stockpiles amount to some 600,000 tonne at seaports. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 16th June 2008 = Yen Prices Of Bulk Ferro-Alloys To Be Contracted With EF Mills / Japan Are Influenced By Weakened Yen Rate - more

  China power fee hike to raise metals costs - China's power fee hike will increase costs at electricity-hungry aluminium smelters and have a smaller impact on copper and zinc smelters, smelter officials and analysts said on Friday. - more

  • China Power Stocks Gain as Government Raises Tariffs - Chinese power stocks, led by Huaneng Power International Inc., a unit of the nation's largest electricity producer, rose in Shanghai trading as an imminent tariff increase boosts the industry's earnings outlook. - more
  • China's new power tariff policy to further squeeze profits of aluminum smelters - analysts - Profits of Chinese aluminum smelters are expected to be further squeezed as the government has lifted power tariffs for industrial use by RMB 25 ($3.62) per megawatt hour (MWh) on average, effective July 1, but according to some analysts, higher electricity prices may support a rise in aluminum prices.
  • China raises prices of oil, electricity - Petrol will cost 0.8 yuan (12 cents) and diesel 0.92 yuan more for a liter from today, and electricity charges for commercial units will go up by 0.025 yuan ($0.4 cents) per kWh from July 1. - more

  Greek nickel producer Larco up for sale - Local media reported that the Greek state is in search of a strategic partner for the state controlled nickel producer Larco. The company produces nickel, electric furnace slag and aggregates. - more

  Chihong Zinc and Germanium subsidiary acquires stake in Australian nickel miner - An Australian-based subsidiary of Shanghai-listed Yunnan Chihong Zinc and Germanium Co. Ltd. (Chihong Zinc and Germanium) recently purchased 10 million shares in Australian-listed Condor Nickel Ltd. (Condor Nickel) for AUD 2 million ($1.89 million) in a share placement, Condor Nickel announced Wednesday. - more

  (Part 4 of 4) Pollution Prevention Avoids Future Problems – (Digging Through the Sudbury Soils Study) – By Bill Bradley - more

  Want to earn more? Go Colorado military or mining. - Want to earn more? Go into the military or mining in Colorado. That strange conclusion would appear to follow from this extract of a report on personal income gains since the forth quarter of 2007 - more

  Servicing the commodity boom - Images of giant ships lined up off the East and West Coast ports of Australia provide for a spectacular view and underlie what is turning into a generational windfall for the Australian economy. - more

  SA a preferred destination for Chinese mining investment - In terms of number of projects, South Africa currently ranks joint second among African countries regarding Chinese investment in mining. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Base Metal Prices-Mumbai-Jun 20 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Thursday, June 19
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 37 to 9,474. (chart) article w/forecast
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Dollar was higher today on news that the Swiss National Bank had decided to keep interest rates steady, and news that oil prices were down in today's trading. Dollar leveled out after US markets opened with numerous reports issued. Marketwatch reported the "Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported factories in the region weakened in June for the seventh month straight, with more manufacturers saying business is getting worse rather than better. At the same time, the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators rose slightly in May for a second straight month, potentially indicating the economy might begin turning a corner early next year."  The Labor Dept reported that weekly first-time jobless claims dropped by 5,000 to stand at 381,000, while the four-week average climbed to 375,250. Metals were mixed, with precious mostly trading higher, and base metals all trading lower, albeit some of them just barely. Nickel lead the losers today, after the INSG disputed yesterday's report by the WBMS that the nickel market remained in a deficit.  The title by Bloomberg said it all "Nickel Posts Widest Surplus in Eight Months in April." Sucden's chart thru yesterday shows where market sentiment was heading into today's opening (here), and it continued, if not accelerated according to indicator charts. Nickel took a healthy slide in later afternoon trading, and according to Dow Jones, ended the day at $10.05/lb . Weren't we bouncing around the $10/lb mark a few weeks back?  

  Reports

  • Standard Bank Commodities Weekly - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Philip Sushchikhin, a market analyst with Russia's Norilsk Nickel, the world's leading nickel producer, at an industry conference - "After 2009, if there is no technological breakthrough in the process of nickel pig iron production that would lead to the net cost dropping below its current level of $25,000 per tonne, we can expect the possibility of a complete withdrawal of nickel pig iron from stainless steel production. This will strongly influence nickel market supply, mainly in China, resulting in increased nickel imports to China"
  • INSG today - " In China, the largest buyer of the metal (nickel), demand was 30,500 tons in April, unchanged from March and up 13 percent from a year earlier."

  Gloomy economy seen weighing on stainless steel demand - Stainless steel demand is likely to remain sluggish for the rest of the year as a gloomy economic outlook dampens demand, an industry expert and producers said on Thursday. - more

  Eskom Hike To Add ZAR90M-100M To Costs - Implats - A hike this week to energy tariffs in South Africa will add about 90 million-100 million rand ($11.21 million-$12.46 million) to Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd.'s (IMPUY) costs, a spokesperson said Thursday. - more

  Steel, Aluminum Shipments Fall in the U.S and Canada – Steel and aluminum shipments from metals service centers, which rose from year-ago levels in April, were lower again in May in the United States and Canada, the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute shows. Customers appear to be operating very close to the vest with no discernable momentum building in either direction. - more

  Vale says not in acquisition, financing talks - "Brazil's Vale, the world's largest iron ore miner, said in an e-mail that it is not in acquisition talks with any company and is not discussing acquisition financing with banks. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around  $.11/lb lower. Indicator charts show nickel started lower this morning, and is struggling there. Traders are digesting the INSG report today, which comes on the back of the WBMS report yesterday.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Nickel Posts Widest Surplus in Eight Months in April - Nickel oversupply grew in April to the widest in eight months as demand shrank for a third month, according to International Nickel Study Group figures. - more

  Reports

  • BMO Commodities - The Goods - pdf here
  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - more

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "The dollar did not play much of a role yesterday, as it recovered earlier losses to close pretty much flat on the day. However, a sharp reversal in energy prices did help, as crude tacked on another $2.50 on the day after being down by an equivalent amount earlier. ... We are off to another mixed start in metals today, with gains seen in copper and ali, but the rest of the group is lower.  ... We are at $22,800 on nickel, down $200. Nickel continues to look weak, despite constructive news on the supply side. Participants instead seem to be more concerned with weak stainless demand and the fact that LME stocks show no sign of declining."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Copyright/courtesy Dow Jones - The nickel market is swinging from a surplus and looks likely to be extremely finely balanced in '08 and '09 due to production problems in Australia, says Macquarie Bank. This will create a move back up to the $13 a pound to 14/lb range in the short term for nickel prices, Macquarie notes, from around $10/lb currently. "The elimination of virtually all of that anticipated surplus is likely to cause prices to make further gains in the near term," the bank adds."

  China nickel pig iron output falls on demand, cost - China's production of nickel pig iron is expected to fall this year on weaker-than-expected demand and higher production costs, which could help drive up world nickel prices, producers and analysts said on Friday. Producers have been asking overseas suppliers to delay term imports of laterite ore, the raw material of nickel pig iron, due to arrive in the second half to next year, and seeking to re-export ore stocks. - more

  Price Of Domestic Ni-Based Stainless Scrap Rebounds Owing To Active Purchases And Scarce Cargoes = Current Price Of This Scrap In June Has Risen To Higher Level Than Yen 225,000 / Ton - more

  Stainless steel market improves as nickel prices shoot up - Taiwan’s stainless steel market seems to be improving as the nickel price has remained stable at US$24,000/ton since last week. - more

  • Asian stainless producers may switch business to carbon steel - According to a market source, Asian stainless steel producers are thinking of switching business to carbon steel because the weak demand has dried up business profits. - more

  Nippon rejects Samancor demand for 30% hike for FeCr -It is reported that Japan's largest stainless steel producer Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel Corp has called Samancor Chrome's demands for a 30% increase in Q3 ferrochrome prices unacceptable and is exploring other suppliers. - more

  Australia's Richest Man, Woman in Iron Ore Mine Fight - Politicians beat engineers to the punch on the question of lake disposal of mine tailings - "It would seem a simple debate with clear answers: to dump tailings into lakes or to build above-grade impoundments. - more

  MINING TECHNOLOGIES PART ONE: NICKEL & COAL - In this two-part series, The Australian Journal of Mining examines Australia's leading technologies and research in the advancement of our major minerals commodities - in terms of exploration, extraction, processing and in the case of coal, combustion. This first part of the series will focus on nickel and coal mining with a special investigation of clean coal technologies. The second part of the series, to be published in the next edition, will examine the same for copper, iron ore, gold and technologies crossing over multiple commodities. - more

  (Part 3 of 4) It Will Follow (Digging Through the Sudbury Soil Study)-By Janet Gibson - more

  Australia's richest man Andrew `Twiggy' Forrest and its wealthiest woman Gina Rinehart are battling over the right to mine one of the nation's largest undeveloped iron ore deposits. - more

  BHP Billiton, Indonesian miner agree massive nickel venture - Indonesian state mining firm Antam and Anglo-Australian giant BHP Billiton agreed Thursday to a massive joint nickel mining venture in eastern Indonesia, Antam said. - more

  London Freeloat Vote to Decide Russian Mining Tussle - W.E. Johns, the favourite novelist of English schoolboys, wrote 104 books about Biggles – Flight Captain James Bigglesworth, a World War I air ace. The boys’ demand for his adventures was so great, Johns had to press him back into service against the Luftwaffe in World War II. - more

  WB raises China 2008 growth forecast to 9.8%- In view of China's strong growth of its service sector, the World Bank raised its forecast for China's 2008 economic growth to 9.8 percent in a report released on Thursday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Base Metal Prices-Mumbai-Jun 19 - more  
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jun 18 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Wednesday, June 18
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  plus 24 to 9,437. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • With the dollar continuing its up and down movement throughout the day, it sent no clear signals to the metals trading market. So, based on other news, most of the metals complex was trading higher today. In fact, all of the precious and base metals we track were up today ... except nickel. Nickel took a dive in late afternoon trading, according to indicator charts, and for the day, thanks to a Dow Jones report, ended at $10.43/lb .  
  • Sucden's nickel graph thru yesterday here
  • Apparently my father forgot to mention this when he sent me into the business world - "Bad boys get more sex: study" - here

  Reports

  • World Bureau of Metal Statistics Monthly Metals Briefing - pdf here (comment - we have been known to take a swipe or two at the WBMS' findings in the past, which have shown the world nickel trade in deficit even during periods when LME inventories of nickel were swelling. And while LME stored nickel is only a couple hundred tonnes more today than it was at the beginning of the year, this figure does not reflect potential stockpiles that may have been held by mines, smelters, and/or customers. So we qualify the digs by acknowledging that they have been around since 1947, and are respected as industry statisticians. But we would like to note that in their briefing this month, they state the reason for a drop in pig nickel production is "due to lower availability of imported feed materials." Imports of low grade laterite ore into China are reportedly down, due to heavy rains in the Philippines and New Caledonia. We have also read numerous stories from China that refer to the huge stockpiles of this ore sitting in their country, that they can't sell. We have also read a few reports that certain Chinese importers of this type of nickel ore would like to temporarily halt some shipments, but are contractually bound to take them. We, and numerous analysts have been stating over the past few months, other reasons why pig nickel production is currently down in China. But according to the WBMS, we all missed the real reason. Or did they?)

  Commodity Comments

  • Courtesy Dow Jones - "Global nickel market is likely to face supply constraints after 2009 driven partly by Chinese demand, resulting in substantial increase in prices, said an analyst at Russian mining firm Norilsk Nickel Tuesday. The market scenario will change from the current conditions of oversupply. (What? Didn't the WBMS just report today the market continues to be in a deficit?) "From 2009-2012, China nickel consumption growth will probably be faster than that of China's production, for Chinese imports will likely to grow", said Philipp Sushchikhin with Norilsk Nickel (Asia) Ltd. Beijing office. The estimate is based on the assumption that China's nickel pig iron output will stabilize at 100,000 metric tons per year, said Sushchikhin in a speech at the 4th Asian Stainless Steel Conference.
  • Quoted from report issued by HM Treasury titled Global Commodities" - "Futures markets can signal expectations about the future direction of prices and can influence a producer’s decision whether to hold on to stocks. This can, in turn, feed through to the spot price. It is therefore necessary to test the available evidence to understand better the relationship between investment activity and prices: • the data show no consistent relationship between rising investment activity and prices across commodities. For example, the price of nickel has fallen by half recently, but at the same time investment activity in the metal has increased; while the scale of net buyers in oil is similar to last July when prices where half of what they are today. So there appears to be no clear correlation between investment activity and prices. • a comparison of the prices of metals which are exchange-traded and non-exchange traded (and so cannot be easily influenced by investment activity), shows little difference in price performance, suggesting that other non-financial or structural factors are driving prices in metals....... "(full report here)

  Stainless steel prices may ease a bit - Stainless steel prices are expected to soften in the next two to three months due to slackening construction work on the onset of monsoon and also because prices of nickel, a high-priced input of finished steel, are likely to remain more or less stable for the next few months, analysts said. This would result in increased consumption of nickel in the country from the current 40,000 tonnes a year. - more

  Henan Qingshan starts construction on SS slab project - It is reported that construction has started for a 400,000 tonnes per annum stainless steel slab casting project by Hennan Qingshan Jinhui Stainless Steel Company on June 10th 2008. - more

  Bolt Materials and Terms - Aircraft quality fasteners, Inconel fasteners, yield and tensile strengths - what do they all mean? - more (please note the yield and tensile given in the article "reference guide" is apparently for a special class of 300 series stainless steel, and not your standard off-the-shelf 304 SS fastener. Selling a common 304 stainless steel bolt and representing it as equivalent to, or greater than, the strength of a Grade 5 steel fastener, is incorrect.)

  STANDING on the beach at remote Varanus Island off the West Australian coast two weeks ago, looking down at the tangled mess of charred and ruptured steel that used to be Apache Energy's main pipeline to the mainland 116km away, it was abundantly clear that the west's sudden energy shortage was not going to be measured in weeks. - more

  BHP to file in June for China anti-trust on Rio - Miner BHP Billiton Plc/Ltd is due to file with Chinese competition authorities this month for its planned $170 billion takeover of Rio Tinto Plc/Ltd , but lawyers said a new anti-monopoly law threw up uncertainties. - more

  China buys a copper laced mountain in Peru - article and video here

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.16/lb lower. Nickel began a stair step slump early on but has since taken a small bounce. With markets watching the dollar for direction, the dollar is up and down this morning, giving no clear signal. Except for nickel, most base and precious metals are trading higher.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more
  • Thompson - more

  Reports

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers Report - Mine: As good as it gets? - "pdf here (68 pages)
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • Association of Steel Distributors Summer News & Views - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Although the stall in the dollar seems to be driving the metals higher, we would be wary as to how much more this latest currency-induced bounce could take us from here, given that most metals are facing uninspiring supply/demand backdrops. In this regard with the exception of tin and possibly nickel, the other four metals we follow all face surpluses for both this year and next, while stocks in five of the six metals are also clearly on the rise. ....We are at $23,700 on nickel, down $495. We do not see anything to account for the move lower in nickel today, the only metals down on the day.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Japan's stainless steel producer Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel Corp called Samancor Chrome's proposed increase of 30% for the third quarter of 2008, "completely not fair" and insisted this type of increase would be nearly impossible to pass on to customers.

  Growth of China's stainless steel production to support nickel consumption - analyst - Annual growth of China's stainless steel production is expected to linger around the 10 percent mark from 2008 to 2010, which will provide firm support for the country's nickel consumption, an analyst with Norilsk Nickel said yesterday in Shanghai. - more

  Low Inventories to Support Metals Prices, Lehman's Widmer Says - Metal inventories are set to remain well below historical averages this year following relatively healthy demand and insufficient supply additions, which should support prices, according to Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. - more

  Minara runs nickel mine at two-thirds capacity - Minara Resources Ltd, said on Wednesday it was running its nickel operations at two-thirds of full production levels due to a shortage of gas supplies in Western Australia state. - more

  BHP, Aneka Tambang Agree to Study Indonesian Nickel Deposits - BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's largest mining company, signed an agreement yesterday with PT Aneka Tambang to study two nickel deposits in Indonesia. - more

  China steel group warns of rampant iron ore imports - China's steelmakers will suffer heavy financial losses unless they curb spot iron ore imports, the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) warned on Wednesday. - more

  South Africa Approves 27.5% Power Price Increase for This Year  - South Africa's government allowed the state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings Ltd. to raise prices by 27.5 percent this year, adding to inflation pressure. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Base Metal Prices-Mumbai-Jun 18 - more
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jun 18 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Tuesday, June 17
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 6 to 9,413. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Looking at the line-up of metals and monitoring whether they were up or down this morning and this afternoon, and we see a near complete flip-flop happened.  In our morning update, the dollar was higher, and metals were mostly in the red. This afternoon, the dollar has slumped, and the majority of the traded precious and industrial metals are in the green. Why the sudden turnaround? Bloomberg reported early "The euro erased gains against the dollar as a gauge of investor confidence in Germany fell to the lowest in more than 15 years." Then American markets opened and Marketwatch reported "Housing starts fell 3.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 975,000 in May, the lowest level since March 1991.". And the Associated Press reported "Industrial production in the United States dipped in May, underscoring the strain on factories from the deep housing slump. The Federal Reserve reported Tuesday that output at the nation's factories, mines and utilities fell 0.2 per cent in May, following a 0.7 per cent decline in April." This news drove US markets lower and took the fire out of the dollar. Even nickel, which saw 42 tonnes added to LME inventories overnight, only its second plus day this month, was able to squeeze out a gain by the end of the trading day, after an earlier drop. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the days trading at $10.97/lb . Tomorrow is Third Wednesday on the LME, and while its possible we have seen the shorts already cover their bets, this day can sometimes hold surprises. Stay tuned.

  RUSAL rejects Norilsk offer of full merger talks - "United Company RUSAL rejected a proposal by Norilsk Nickel's management to discuss a full merger as the two Russian metals giants geared up for a showdown over the election of a new board at Norilsk." - more

  Mining start-ups face challenges, warns report - "A report has found that the best years for new mining operations to get started may have passed." - more

  • Mining boom set to flatten - "The rapid growth characterizing the mining boom may be over, as soaring operating costs and power shortages eat into the earnings of the industry." - more

  Seven lives 70 Questions (Digging Through the Sudbury Soil Study) – Janet Gibson - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.14/lb lower. Dollar is up this morning, and for the most part, metals, both precious and industrial, are lower. Nickel is no exception, with the surprise factor of the recent BHP closure announcement, wearing off. BHP might declare "force majeure" at its Kalgoorlie smelter; which could potentially slow down any slide the market may put itself into.   
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • Behre Dolbear Global Mining News - here
  • The World Bank Commodity Markets Review - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - All the other metals closed higher as well, except for nickel, which finished with a modest loss. This morning, we are seeing a modest retracement setting in. ...We are at $23,900 on nickel, down $50, and quiet today. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Courtesy Dow Jones - Higher nickel inventories amid declining demand and a continued underperformance of the stainless sector mean the impact of supply disruptions is limited, says Lehman Brothers' analyst Michael Widmer.
  • Courtesy Dow Jones - Nickel's short covering rally has come to an abrupt halt on news that supply problems in Western Australia aren't as serious as was first thought, says UBS analyst John Reade. Notes the positive feeling about the metal has abated although the market is battling to hold its recent gains.

  Stainless steel prices rebound in China - "China’s stainless steel prices soared last week due to nickel price increase." - more

  China's nickel pig iron production to slide this year -analyst - "China's nickel pig iron production this year is expected to stand 8 percent lower annually at between 80,000 tons and 85,000 tons due to sluggish demand from stainless steel mills and low nickel prices, an industry analyst told Interfax today." - more

  Executive: Nickel prices to continue rising - Brazil - Long-term nickel prices should continue to rise, according to the CFO of Brazilian mining giant Vale (NYSE: RIO), Fabio Barbosa. - more

  Resistance to New Caledonia Goro pipeline continues - "Environmentalists in New Caledonia say there’s still strong resistance against a Goro Nickel waste pipeline." - more

  Update on Chinese steel, iron ore and coal output in May 2008 - According to latest data released by the National Bureau of Statistics China's crude steel production in May up by 10.5% YoY to 46.01 million tonnes and 216.11 million tonnes for the first five months up by 9.4% YoY - more

  New Caledonia wants control of Eramet nickel subsidiary - report - "The president of one of the three provinces of New Caledonia wants local authorities, which hold 34 percent of the Eramet subsidiary that mines nickel in the Caillou region, to take control of the unit, La Tribune reported without naming a source." - more

  Courtesy AISI - "In the week ending June 14, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,101,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 88.1 percent. Production was 2,119,000 tons in the week ending June 14, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 88.6 percent. The current week production represents a 0.8 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending June 14, 2008 is down 1.5 percent from the previous week ending June 7, 2008 when production was 2,134,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 89.4 percent."

  Radioactive scrap nickel could bring in millions - The U.S. Department of Energy has revived a plan to salvage millions of dollars from radioactive scrap culled from old uranium enrichment operations in Kentucky and Tennessee.

  Mechel spins off mining and ferroalloy units to deter attack - A series of new executive appointments, announced this week by Mechel, suggests that the group's controlling shareholder, Igor Zyuzin, is preparing for the possible, much rumoured sale of the Mechel steel division to the state-owned RusSpetsStal ("Russian Special Steel", RSS) group. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Base Metal Prices-Mumbai-Jun 17 - more
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jun 17 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Monday, June 16
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 227 to 9,419. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • It was another day for the dollar to guide metals trading, as the Guardian reported "a jump in euro-zone annual inflation to a record high sealed the case for a European Central Bank interest rate hike next month.". This drove the dollar lower, and metals, for the most part, traded higher. Nickel appeared for much of the afternoon to buck this trend, having taken a nose dive before official price for the day were set, then spent the rest of the afternoon climbing back out of the hole. Interfax reported the sinking barge this morning was carrying nearly 3000 tonnes of copper from Norilsk, not nickel. Reuters reported shipments from Dudinka would resume within the week. While the "official price" of nickel was lower today, according to Dow Jones, three month nickel actually ended the trading day a tad higher than Friday's close, at $10.86/lb .  
  • Update - Tiger Woods leads Rocco Mediate by 1 at the 9th tee-off at the USGA play-off. Sneak a look? live here

  Reports

  E-mail statement today - "Yildirim Group will shutdown two furnaces in total at their Turkish and Swedish plants, limiting the FeCr supply and this may send prices of the metal higher. Vargon Alloys will shut down out its 105 MVA-furnace for a furnace relining starting from August for 12-16 weeks. This furnace will start to produce Standard grade (60% min Cr content) HC FeCr instead of charge chrome starting from December 2008. Vargon Alloys has produced about 90k charge chrome in 2007 and Vargon Alloys will end its charge chrome production in Q3 and become a sole HC FeCr producer. Vargon Alloys will loose about 30k tons of FeCr due to this temporary closure. Eti Krom will also shut down its 30 MVA closed-type furnace down for refurbishing purposes after the idle second 30 MVA-closed-furnace was demolished in May 2008. SMS Demag will install two new semi closed type furnaces to be installed in August 2009. Eti Krom will produce about 50k tpy until the new furnaces will be inaugurated. Eti Krom will loose about 30k tons of high quality HC FeCr during the refurbishment of the furnaces.

  Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel said on Monday it expects its main export outlet, the Arctic port of Dudinka, to send the first cargo ship within a week after a seasonal halt caused by flooding. - more

  Groupe Eramet said it denies holding any talks to cede majority control of nickel miner SLN in New Caledonia to fellow shareholder - more

  Mineweb reports the production of nickel in Zimbabwe in January thru March of this year, has amounted to a record 1536 tons, 80.5% more than the previous year of 851 tonnes. Over the weekend, Zimbabwe's President Mugabe warned that he would not loose next week's run-off election against the opposition, under threat of military violence.

  China's industrial-production growth accelerated on rising exports, signaling that the world's fourth-biggest economy is weathering a global slowdown. - more

  There is some excellent information on the history of mining activities in the Sudbury area in the first background study of the Sudbury Soil Study finished in January 2008, that can be downloaded at their website. - more

  Russia's billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov will file a lawsuit against his former business partner Vladimir Potanin to defend his business reputation, Prokhorov's Onexim company said in a statement on Monday. - more

  Rio Tinto is spending US$371 million on automating its iron ore railway over 1,300km worth of track in WA's Pilbara, in a move that will herald the advent of driverless trains. - more

  Beginning in about 3,000 B.C. concentrations of copper, nickel, lead and zinc in the sediments began to rise, indicating the onset of Bronze Age in ancient China, the researchers found. In the late Bronze Age (475 B.C. to 220 A.D.), an era corresponding with numerous wars, sediment concentrations of copper increased 36 percent and lead by 82 percent. Copper and lead were used extensively to make bronze tools and weapons. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.18/lb lower. The indicator charts show the market was actually in the green earlier, but within the last hour, has plummeted by around $750/tonne. We are a little surprised, considering the news that potentially another 2500 tonnes of nickel may have been lost to the sea in Russia. Article does not state exactly which metal from Norilsk sank, and maybe London traders have confirmed its not nickel... but if it is, the sudden market loss this morning doesn't make a whole lot of sense.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Officials at the port of Dudinka, Norilsk Nickel's only export outlet, Monday said a barge loaded with 2,500 metric tons of export metal sank while transporting the metal to a vessel offshore. - more

  Reports

  • Haywood Securities Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - more

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metals ended mixed on Friday, with copper pushing higher on what looked to us to be a short-covering rally sparked by a belated reaction to the Shanghai stock numbers. Nickel gave back some of its recent gains after markets digested the BHP-Billiton announcement that it would be exporting nickel concentrate despite shutting its Kalggorie smelter for four months ... There is not much we can see behind today's rise in metals. The dollar is slightly weaker today and we suspect that this is encouraging some commodity-based buying, as currency markets were perhaps expecting something more bullish on the dollar coming out of the G-7 finance meeting over the weekend. ... We are at $23,525 on nickel, down $475. We see on our charts that nickel has retraced back to broken support at the $25,000 level, but has backed off that level. For now, the BHP-Billiton news may have succeeded in shifting nickel’s trading range, but the fact that the company will have concentrates for export has dulled the impact of its initial announcement. Moreover, the nickel market still needs to work off its inventory build, and this can be done only by a revival in demand. We would be neutral on the complex for now pending a clearer definition of the trading channel. " (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Courtesy Dow Jones - "The nickel market is swinging from a surplus and looks likely to be extremely finely balanced in '08 and '09 due to production problems in Australia, says Macquarie Bank. This will create a move back up to the $13 a pound to 14/lb range in the short term for nickel prices, Macquarie notes, from around $10/lb currently."

  As its fundamentals have continued to deteriorate nickel has been the worst of the base metals complex in recent months as the 3-month price fell to a 2-year low of US$22,000 per tonne early this month, which was a fall of more than 50% in year-on-year terms. - more

  Samancor Chrome Ltd., the world's second-biggest ferrochrome producer, will demand a 30 percent increase in third-quarter contract prices for the stainless- steel making ingredient. - more

  BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's largest mining company, and PT Aneka Tambang may spend $4.5 billion or more building a nickel smelter in Indonesia, the government said. - more

  The administrative court of call of Paris annulled the permit of research definitely on Prony Ouest, granted to Goro Nickel some 2003. This decision puts back on the market the 4 millions of tons of nickel of the site. The appetites are already sharpened, notably in the SLN. - translated article here

  The first new, high-hard steel armor developed in America since the Vietnam conflict was introduced to the defense market today by Allegheny Technologies Incorporated. It offers a modern means of protection – backed by unsurpassed manufacturing capabilities – at a time of critical demand for land, sea and airborne systems. - more

  Apache Corp., provider of a third of Western Australia's natural gas, may take two to three months to restore half of the output lost after a plant explosion in the state's northwest. - more

  China's central bank on Saturday ordered lenders to set aside more money as reserve, the fifth such move this year. It was the latest effort to enhance liquidity management in the banking sector. - more

  According to a new report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., worldwide sales of industrial fasteners are projected to exceed US $50.3 billion by 2010, driven by an economic recovery in leading regional markets, particularly in Asia and Latin America. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Base Metal Prices-Mumbai-Jun 16 - more
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Jun 16 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Weekend, June 14 & 15
  One comes with sharp suits, annual bonuses, fancy-schmancy offices, homes with European appliances in the kitchen. The other comes with ... no, no, you don't want to know. But we have one thing in common: you're just as likely as not to get a bum steer whichever option you choose. - more


Courtesy Damstahl Stainless Steel of Germany


Courtesy Damstahl Stainless Steel of Germany


Courtesy ME Steel

  Botswana's Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources has regretted its decision to suspend the construction of the Activox plant, admitting that the "uneasy" and "painful decision" was reached after intense scrutiny by shareholders, Botswana Metals Refinery (BMR) and Norlisk. - more

  (comment) - Producers of the so-called pig nickel in China, are experiencing a very bad year. Energy intensive, heavily polluting, and expensive to process, smelters of low grade laterite ore filled an important void in late 2006 and early 2007, when the world situation of nickel supply was running in a serious deficit, and LME inventories had dwindled to no more than a single days worth of supply. Demand was ferocious, primarily in China, and nickel miners and smelters worldwide, were producing as much nickel as they possibly could to keep up. Once discarded as waste material, China turned to low grade laterite ore out of desperation to ensure supply, and in an attempt to gain some control over the price. The world is a different place today. While this week's announcement by BHP of an unscheduled smelter shutdown casts new doubt on the world supply/demand figures, the inventories stocked by the London Metal Exchange exceed 47,000 tonnes. The world's largest miner, who has been unable to ship for the last three weeks, will begin shipping into European warehouses in the next few weeks. European stainless steel producers, who have seen recent sales maintaining in the good to very good range, are now entering their traditional slow period - the summer months. China, who has been reporting stainless steel production cut-back's for the last two months, will probably not give  the world a clearer picture of the reasons behind this slowdown, until after the Olympics are over (typically fall is the slowest season for Chinese stainless production).  In the US, as well as the rest of the world, stainless steel distributors know surcharges will be lower in July than June, hindering any possible thoughts of stocking up. Thus demand for nickel by stainless steel producers, depending on your geographical location, has been hurting, is hurting, or most likely will be hurting. The destruction in demand has caused the price of nickel to fall, and this has seriously squeezed the profit margin's of producers of pig nickel. China is overflowing with stockpiles of low grade laterite ore, and smaller pig nickel producers have already shut down. With the Olympics games just weeks away, the government has taken measures to shut down many of the most polluting smelters. Once necessary to ensure a reliable source of nickel, the necessity for pig nickel production is now in question, and this has made them easy targets for a government working hard to clean its air. In Shandong province, home to a good number of pig nickel producers, the provincial government allowed utilities on Thursday, to raise peak-hour power tariffs on industrial users about 13%, to lessen the threat of summer brown-outs. Judy Zhu, a commodity analyst at Standard Chartered, said it best in an investor note on Friday "This will certainly force some nickel pig iron producers to shut down". The implications? Chinese analysts had forecast pig nickel production in China to exceed 85,000 tonnes this year. These numbers are now in doubt, which could easily mean more refined nickel imports into China. More demand for refined nickel by China, especially at a time when reputed demand is low, could add upward pressure to nickel pricing. We were touting pig nickel production as a legitimate threat to the nickel industry, when many others were dismissing it as nothing more than an idle threat by a frustrated China. Our reason? We had no more facts or figures than the professional analysts had. In fact, in the early days, there was little more to base an opinion on than the "threats" from China. But we do bear a healthy respect for the innovative spirit of the Chinese people to persevere. We recommend this book, in which we believe the author makes a very good case on why the world is in debt to China for its innovative spirit. - The Genius of China: 3,000 Years of Science, Discovery, and Invention by Robert Temple. Did Henry Bessemer really discover the process of refining iron into steel? Read the book and you decide. In the mean time, stay tuned to this site for daily updates about the stainless steel market and the metal ingredient's it needs. The price of nickel has proven one thing over the past few years. It does not like to stay in one place, for very long.

  Watch worldwide TV channels online for free - here (linked to low resolution live coverage channel of the Euro 2008 games)

  As of Saturday, there are 72 days remaining until the "end" of the Beijing Olympic Games. Sorry China, we are looking forward to your games, but we are also very interested in seeing what happens, from a nickel and stainless steel standpoint, "after" the games.  

   (comment) It was another week of surprise news that serve to remind all how easily and quickly things can change, when a market operates in a situation where supply and demand figures run so close together. Merrill Lynch analyst Tom Price told clients yesterday, that the June 3rd explosion at the Apache natural gas plant in Australia, had so adversely affected nickel production in the area, that the forecasted 2008 nickel market surplus of 13,000 tonnes, now looked more like a worldwide deficit of around 10,000 tonnes. Apache reports they will return to service in two months, while UBS AG is reporting the supply of natural gas to the area mines/ refineries might not return to normal until sometime in October. BHP has yet to declare force majeure, but we could see that announcement coming shortly. This is all happening in Australia, which is not only one of the largest sources of nickel to the world, but also one of the most reliable. With much of the world's nickel being produced in countries that bear a much higher risk factor, primarily due to geopolitical and/or geographical concerns, this week reminded those who had breathed a sigh of relief when South African power problems recently spared the nickel industry, that without a reliable source of cost efficient energy, the technologically advanced modern mine, suddenly becomes nothing more than a large hole in the ground. And energy sources are not only vulnerable to the elements, and their own types of emergencies, but they are also a favorite target of insurgents (here) In the right column of this page, you will see a link to a page we call "World Disaster Information". You will find numerous links to worldwide sites monitoring weather, natural, geological and manmade disasters, as well as this one - following daily energy crisis' worldwide here

    Commodity Online Weekly Base Metals Report - here

  • Bob Garino's Weekly Metals Commodities Report - more
  • PMPA Material Impacts - pdf here

  India on Friday raised export duties on long steel products and iron ore to boost local supplies but scrapped export duties on flat-rolled products, the finance ministry said in a statement. - more

  • Bombay Metal Exchange metal prices - here

  The polluting melting plant in Nikel, Murmansk Oblast, will probably be shut down, and the Kola Mining Company says they will not need the 38 million EUR which Norway has granted for environmental improvements of the plant. - more

  When China's largest nickel miner welcomed the Beijing Olympics this week, it mobilised thousands of children in a mass ceremony of precision and pride. - more

  Southern African Stainless Steel Development -  What Makes Stainless Steel Stain-less. - here

  Effects of high-pressure hydrogen charging on the structure of austenitic stainless steels - here

  • Melting Points of Stainless Steel - pdf here

  What would you do with 7 tons of stainless steel Erector set pieces? - video here

  • A short Reuters story from September showing the re-opening of the Ferronikeli mining and smelting complex in Kosovo - video here
Friday, June 13
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 496 to 9,646. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Bloomberg reported that "U.S. consumer prices rose 0.6%, the fastest pace in six months, in May, bolstered by surging energy prices, the Labor Department reported Friday." The core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, rose 0.2%. This was in line with expectations, and the Dow responded favorably. Reuters reports a draft of a letter from the G8 warns "For a long time the world economy enjoyed a combination of robust growth and low inflation, but it now faces headwinds....Elevated commodity prices, especially of oil and food, pose a serious challenge to stable growth worldwide...(and) may increase global inflationary pressures". (more) With inflation back in the news, one might expect the dollar to fall, and metals to rise. Instead the dollar rose, and for the most part, metals trading was split between winners and losers.  Nickel joined the losing column today, as investors decided BHP's promise to ship more nickel ore, would help offset some of the loss caused by the closure of one of their refineries, announced yesterday. Indicator charts show nickel stair-stepped its way down most of the trading day, after a slight bump early. From a technical view, Ed Meir from MF Global, in his morning report, showed the RSI on nickel at 50 today, while Sucden put it at 69.2 (here). The higher number implied nickel was over-bought, and the market reacted as such today. Dudinka shut down on the 19th of last month, and could re-open next week. The inflow into Rotterdam will be followed closely in the weeks to come. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week, at $10.84/lb .   
  • FX Street - Base Metals: Slightly Higher As US Econ Sentiment Improves more
  • Have a safe and restful weekend!! We leave you with a brief story from Turkey. Donkey power is back, yet expensive. here  

  Nickel retreats as market reviews disruption - "Nickel prices retreated from three-week highs on Friday after the market scaled back its expectations of supply disruptions in Australia, while lead hit a 16-month low." - more

  Commodity Comments

  • Courtesy Dow Jones - BHP Billiton's (BHP) nickel refinery closure in Western Australia is expected to cut 2% of world production, removing the buildup in LME stocks of 47,200 tons during the past year, noted Evo Mining.
  • Courtesy Alibaba - German crude steel output should hold steady at around 48.5 million tonnes this year and next, the head of the country's steel federation said. India's iron ore prices have dropped 8-11 percent due to a rise in stockpile at Chinese ports and slowdown in demand, the head of a trade body said. Steel producer Steel Dynamics Inc. on Thursday raised its second-quarter guidance, citing improving market conditions.
  • US economic indicators to be released in the coming week (potentially affect the dollar/euro) - more
  • Senator to unveil plan to limit funds' commodities purchases- more

  Charles ``Chip'' Goodyear, the former chief executive officer of BHP Billiton Ltd., said mining companies may find it harder to invest in new projects because of accelerating inflation and higher borrowing costs. - more

  Just months after talks to acquire Anglo-Swiss group Xstrata PLC broke down, Brazilian mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, or Vale, announced Tuesday its return to the mergers and acquisitions arena. - more

  • Cia. Vale do Rio Doce, the iron-ore producer that shelved a takeover bid for Xstrata Plc in March, is seeking to ``increase its exposure'' to the global metals market and sees acquisitions as a ``complement'' to internal growth. - more

  The Dept. of Energy has issued a draft environmental assessment on plans to get rid of about 15,000 tons of radioactively contaminated nickel that's stockpiled at Oak Ridge and Paducah, Ky. The proposal is to allow private industry to use the material in a "controlled manner" to make products for radiological applications only. - more

  Honourable Michael Gravelle - Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines - OMA Conference Speech - Ontario Mining - The Best is Yet to Come - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around  $.02/lb higher. Initially up, indicator charts show nickel may be losing some of its steam, as traders square their books for the weekend.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - Nickel extends gains on supply cutback - more
  • FX Street & Dow Jones - more

  Bloomberg - Nickel advanced for a second day to a three-week high and is heading for the biggest weekly gain since September, after BHP Billiton Ltd. said it will shut down facilities that produce about 2 percent of world supply. - more

  Reports

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

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - LME metals finished lower yesterday, as the impact of the stronger dollar could not be shaken off, especially after US retail sales came out for May showing a much stronger than expected increase. Nickel was the exception, bouncing impressively on the back of the BHP-Billiton production cutback announcement. ... The dollar is higher again today, (and on track to rack up its best weekly gain against the euro in three years), and with the energy market down as well, we expect to see the current gains in metals (led by copper) fade over the course of the day.... We are at $24,600 on nickel, up $100. The BHP-Billiton news has given nickel a shot in the arm. However, the recent price gains could stall in light of the fact that some of the lost production could be recouped through increased concentrate exports, which BHP-Billiton has said it will have more of now that its smelter is down. The company declined to say how much nickel concentrate is involved, but we suspect it will be substantial and most likely head to China."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Courtesy Dow Jones (yesterday afternoon) - "The exception to the rule was LME nickel which climbed over 5% on short covering to $24,600 a metric ton, said traders, following this week's news that gas supply disruptions in Western Australia has affected nickel production at BHP Billiton's Kalgoorlie smelter. A close at these levels "might see a move up toward $25,500 a metric ton or $26,000/ton tomorrow," said one London trader."
  • Courtesy The Australian - "BHP Billiton news to move 2008 nickel market into deficit of around 10,000 tons from 13,000 tons surplus, says Merrill Lynch analyst Tom Price"
  • Goldman Sachs issues now nickel forecasts here
  • WSJ - The world's major mining companies are operating with little slack in their production systems, making them vulnerable to interruptions and their customers subject to price spikes.
  • MF Global - China's production of nickel pig iron is expected to fall this year on weaker-than-expected demand and higher production costs, Reuters reported today. Apparently, around 8 million tons of imported laterite ore are stored in warehouses, making up what could be about 100,000 tons of nickel, but off-take remains sluggish.

  BHP Billiton has brought forward a four-month shutdown of its Kalgoorlie nickel smelter, freeing up gas supplies for its Worsley aluminium refinery as industry continues to grapple with Western Australia's energy crisis. - more

  • BHP Billiton Ltd hopes to export more nickel concentrates to other processing plants over the next four months while its Australian nickel smelter and refinery is closed for repairs, the miner said on Friday. - more

  Electricity-hungry aluminium smelters and nickel pig iron mills in Shandong province may consider reducing output after the provincial government raised power prices, analysts said on Thursday. - more

  South Korea's ferromolybdenum producer Samsun suspended spot offers for exports Thursday because of the strike planned by truck drivers Friday to protest against high diesel prices, a company official said. - more

  It is reported that South African ferrochrome producers have announced that they had closed their smelting operations in order to reduce electricity demand to a minimum. - more

  A key shipping index measuring drybulk vessel activity posted its largest one-day drop Thursday, dragged down as rates for the sector's biggest ships lost significant ground. - more

  • The Chinese government yesterday urged all domestic ports to report their iron ore stockpile reduction plans by June 20 in order to efficiently solve the nation's continuing high iron ore stockpile problem, four government departments jointly announced yesterday. - more
  • Northern China's Tangshan Iron and Steel Group (Tanggang) received its first shipment of 170,000 tons of iron ore from Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) yesterday, a Tanggang official told Interfax today. - more

  The Southern African Stainless Steel Development association (Sassda) has proposed to standardise the Sassda Development Levy on domestic and imported grades at 11c/kg with effect from September 1. - more

  Daily Times reported that Pakistan’s federal board revenue has imposed 25% regulatory duty on the exports ferrous and non ferrous, to enable the local steel industry to get cheaper raw materials. - more

  Courtesy Jiji Press - Japan's Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. said Thursday it will raise prices in June of seamless stainless steel pipes for the domestic market by 10 pct because of a sharp rise in the price of chrome. If the price of chrome, a raw material used in the manufacture of steel piping, continues to rise, the company will consider further price hikes, it said. Seamless stainless steel pipes are used in electric power plants and oil refineries.

  Ruukki Group of Finland announced on the 5th of June that the Group has entered into a preliminary agreement with Kermas Limited ( Samancor Chrome ), which has been operating chrome production in South Africa, to launch chrome business and will invest Euro 200 million ( US$309 million ) in this project. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Thursday, June 12
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 963 to 10,142. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • BDI got hammered yesterday, falling nearly 10%. Thanks to a surprising rise in US retail sales, helped in part, or entirely by the stimulus checks Americans are getting, the dollar rose against the Euro today. This hurt commodities, like oil and metals, which, for the most part, dropped. Except for nickel, again. The news from Australia that BHP was shutting down the Kalgoorlie Nickel smelter for a furnace rebuild, at the expense of 28,000 tonnes of nickel production over the next 4 months, sent a shock wave thru the market. Coming on the back of news of other smaller disruptions, by Minara and Anglo, the market began to look at the 47,000 tonnes of LME stored inventory, as not nearly as comfortable a cushion, as it seemed just days ago.
  • There are many things in play right now. From the demand side, the news is mostly from China and about the their cut in production. This is reported as being caused by demand destruction. Or it could be they are faced with over-production. Or it could be they are shutting down in compliance with government requests to cut smog for the Olympics. Hard to know with 100% certainty what is going on in China. Even though this is bearish news, whatever the cause, the bullish part of this equation, is if it is due to the Olympics, or demand destruction, then these will correct themselves. The other bullish point to note, is even with all this bad news coming out of China, we are still seeing LME nickel inventories go down. Riding a wild horse is a little easier when they are hobbled, but if someone takes off the restraints, watch out. Nickel is still pouring into China, both in laterite ore from and refined nickel, at levels higher than last year. And this while they are slow?!
  • From the supply side, besides the news we mentioned above, we have Norilsk in their third week of not being able to ship from Dudinka, due to the floods. This will end shortly, but we have no guarantee's that a huge stockpile of nickel is waiting to hit the boats. Pig nickel production, by all reports, has taken a serious beating with the lower price of nickel. Do they become a factor again, as prices climb, or once again, do we see the Chinese government extend their hiatus for the Olympic games?
  • If we had 51,432 tonnes of stored LME nickel on May 1st, and have 47,238 tonnes today, it seems logical to surmise the market has been running in a deficit. Inventories are falling and when you add news of new disruptions in the supply chain, you've suddenly renewed traders interest in nickel. The market is not only waiting to see how much Norilsk will ship into Europe when they can ship again, it 'needs' to see these inbound shipments. Without them, even with this reported Chinese slowdown, we could easily see nickel inventory numbers fall as low as they were in the early part of last year. Back when nickel got up to $23.50/lb! Do we think it will happen? Honestly, no. But we also think the market has tensed up over the past week, and can't take anymore disruption news, without the expectation of another strong reaction. Nickel may not be in a pickle yet, but it suddenly caught a whiff of vinegar. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.07/lb .
  • Sucden's new chart format here (activity thru yesterday) 

  Asian Mineral Resources Limited announced today that the Vietnamese government issued a decree increasing effective June 16, 2008 the export tariff on a number of minerals, including nickel. - more

  A government representative, Nestor Castro, told acn that the industry is currently producing more than 76,000 tons of nickel plus cobalt annually, mostly in the northeastern part of the island, in the province of Holguin, where there are three plants in operation and one under development. - more

  China is unlikely to buy into BHP Billiton, Australia's largest iron ore miner, despite foreign media reports that a Chinese consortium consisting of large steel mills is looking into making such a purchase, industry analysts told Interfax yesterday. - more

  Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll - Amsterdam GRI Conference Speech - Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Reporting – A Business Perspective - more

  RNCOS has recently added a new Market Research Report titled, "Global Nickel Market Analysis" to its report gallery. The report has been made analyzing the macroeconomic factors associated with global nickel consumption. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.32/lb higher. Remember those words we used on Monday - "and without some major supply disruption news that will obviously have a negative impact on LME stored inventories". Well that is about all we have had ever since. It started with Minara confirming that last week's gas explosion would hit their production numbers. It continued on Tuesday with news that Anglo American's first quarter production of nickel was down by nearly 1/4th. But you put the total potential loss of these two together, and you get more of a ho-hum moment, than any sense of supply urgency. Minara's Murrin facility produced 27,586 tones last year, and Anglo produced a total of 45,100 tonnes in 2007. So a small fractional loss by both, while concerning, was not "overly concerning", in light of the current inventories stored in LME warehouses. No, that news came today. With the BHP announcement that they were shutting down a furnace for four months, and a potential loss of 28,000 tonnes of nickel over the next 4 months, suddenly the market was paying attention. Nickel prices were up in pre-market trading and have been there ever since. The rest of the base and precious metals are down this morning, as the dollar recovers from its loss yesterday and is gaining against the Euro.   
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - see below

  Bloomberg - Nickel Rises to Three-Week High as BHP Shuts Australian Smelter - more

  • Forbes - Nickel up 6 pct on supply disruption, copper eases - more
  • MarketWatch - LME nickel gets new bullish lease of life - more
  • BHP to Shut Nickel Furnace for Revamp Ahead of Plans - BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's largest mining company, will shutdown a nickel smelter and refinery in Western Australia for four months, limiting supply and sending prices of the metal higher. - more

  Reports

  • KBC Commodities report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - more
  • The World Bank - Commodity Markets Review - pdf here
  • Fortis Metals Monthly - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals turned in a mixed performance yesterday, as a softer dollar provided some lift to both copper and ali. Nickel and tin held steady, while the metals with the poorest chart patterns - lead and zinc - continued to lose ground. Overall, the LME complex fell well short of duplicating the strong across-the-board rally evident in the energy markets, where prices continued to forge higher, finishing just shy of record territory. It seems commodity bulls are sidestepping base metals these days, as the supply chain is no longer as tight as it once was, while there continues to be lingering questions about demand.... Things are off to a uniformly lower start this morning; energy prices are by about $1.5/brl and there are steep declines in all the metals, except for nickel, which is rallying on the unexpected announcement that BHP Billiton will shut down its 100,000 ton Kalgoorlie nickel operations in Western Australia for four months of repairs. This will reduce the company’s overall nickel sales by some 28,000 tons, and substantially change nickel’s supply/demand prospects going forward, as we discuss in our nickel section. ... We are at $23,830 on nickel, up $630. The BHP-Billiton news should give nickel a shot in the arm, or at least provide something of a floor for nickel prices. Given that such a substantial tonnage will be taken out, nickel’s global supply/demand surplus could swing from a minor surplus for 2008 of about 11,000 to a 17,000-ton deficit. We therefore could see prices move higher from here, and an upside target to $30,000 by the start of the fourth quarter no longer seems unreasonable." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd. (Sumitomo Metals) has begun negotiations to revise domestic pricing of seamless stainless steel pipes for all domestic customers, due to a surge in prices of chrome, an important raw material for these pipes. - more

  Country's third largest steel maker JSW Steel's profit margins have been eroded by up to 10 per cent over the last three months due to cap on prices and rising raw material costs. - more

  Shanghai Securities News reported that the stainless steel market will become brisk again with gradual digestion of the stainless steel capacity launched in recent three years and completion of industrial consolidation. - more

  BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's largest mining company, and PT Aneka Tambang will sign a joint venture agreement to build a nickel smelter in eastern Indonesia next week, Aneka Tambang said. - more

  Prime industrial ferrous scrap approached the $800/lt mark in a tight market as its upward move widened the pricing gap with other gauges of ferrous scrap. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Wednesday, June 11
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 304 to 11,105. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • The dollar was back in play today, down against the Euro. Oil grabbed the headlines, as inventories came in lower than expected, and the price of  a barrel of crude roared back to life. With the dollar down, metals commodities went green, nearly across the board. Nickel, which was lower in morning trading, got a boost from the declining dollar, and while ending lower on the day, held up respectably to yesterday's bull run. Sucden changed their daily chart a little, and you can see where the market sentiment appears headed (here). (If the new format is confusing, look on the lower right hand side of the first graph, and you will see the O-Opening price, H-High, L-Low, C-Closing price.) In a daily briefing to their clients, CommerzBank said the increase in stainless steel exports, on the back of slowing pig nickel production, favors nickel. Credit Suisse told their clients, they believed short covering in nickel was the primary reason for yesterday's increase, but they acknowledge that continued concerns about Australian production, keeps the upside risk present. Our friend at MF Global warned his clients that yesterday's increase was "more of a technical move higher." Ed graciously allowed us to post a report he filed last week on nickel, which you can find in the morning report section. Michael Jansen at JP Morgan told clients "While the ongoing trend of LME stock outflows and reduced output at Murrin Murrin are supportive, nickel prices remain weighed by a market surplus ... and subdued stainless steel demand." For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $10.52/lb .

  Reports

  • Standard Bank Commodities Research Weekly - pdf here
  • Team Stainless June 2008 Newsletter - more
  • Stephen Barnett, President, The Nickel Institute Interview - video here
  • The Nickel Institute - Making Your Life Better - video here

  Courtesy Dow Jones - U.S. nickel imports rose 20.8% in April from last month, and were up 17.3% from the previous year. Nickel exports rose 23.6% in April from the previous month, and were up 47.9% from the previous year.

  The stainless steel market has swung into oversupply and is lacking a “feel-good factor”, the BIR Stainless Steel & Special Alloys Committee meeting in Monte-Carlo was told by familiar guest speaker Markus Moll, Senior Market Analyst at Austria-based Steel & Metals Market Research. - more

  • The era of cheap scrap has long passed,” declared BIR Non-Ferrous Metals Division President Robert Stein of US-based Alter Trading in his opening address to a well-attended divisional meeting in Monte-Carlo. - more

  Courtesy Rusmet - " South Korean giant Samsung Group plans to construct its first stainless steel plant in China in Pinghu, Province of Zhejiang, valued at $ 49.9 million. The plant will produce flat rolled stainless steel. Construction of the plant should be completed in two years."

  China's largest steelmaking province, Hebei, yesterday announced it would merge its two main mills into a new Hebei Iron & Steel Group, which will have the biggest capacity in China, surpassing Shanghai-based Baosteel Group. - more

  There was considerable underlying optimism at the World Mining Investment Congress organised by Terrapinn in London last week, with a clear consensus that long term demand growth for most commodities is virtually guaranteed, and that finance is currently available to invest in the right projects. - more

  Yadira Garcia Vera, Minister of the Cuban Basic Industry (MINBAS), toured the eastern region of Moa in Holguin, to check production in the nickel processing plants based here as well as the ongoing investment program. - more

  (excerpt) Company profits are getting squeezed by rising costs. Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Co., China biggest maker of the rust-resistant alloy, said first-quarter profit fell 24 percent because of rising raw-material prices. - more

  Positive trends for Kazakh mining group Eurasian Natural Resources Corp Plc in the first three months have fed through into the second quarter, the firm said on Wednesday. - more

  (excerpt) That would have been the brilliant Swedish chemist Karl Scheele. In the 1750s, he devised a way to manufacture phosphorus in bulk, helping Sweden to become a leading producer of matches, something it still is. Along the way, he discovered eight elements — chlorine, fluorine, manganese, barium, molybdenum, tungsten, nitrogen and oxygen. However, he may have been somewhat lacking in judgment, according to a paragraph on his life written by Bill Bryson: “Scheele’s one notable shortcoming was a curious insistence on tasting a little of everything he worked with, including such notoriously disagreeable substances as mercury, prussic acid, (another of his discoveries) and hydrocyanic acid. Scheele’s rashness eventually caught up with him. In 1786, aged just 43, he was found dead at his workbench surrounded by an array of toxic chemicals, any one of which could have accounted for the stunned and terminal look on his face.” - source

  See the new skyscraper in New York - built out of Meccano (built entirely of stainless steel) - here

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

  • Indicators at 7:45 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.22/lb lower. For only the third time since May 1st, LME nickel inventories recorded an increase overnight, and while the additional 78 tonnes was small, it had the effect of reminding nickel traders they still have over 47,000 tonnes of nickel stored. Norilsk should be resuming nickel shipments from the port at Dudinka in the next few weeks. The bulls ran out of gas overnight, and the news that Minara is suffering the same problem, isn't saving them today.   
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Guardian - more

  Reports

  • SSINA Releases Market Data for March 2008 - pdf here  (HTML here)
  • ABARE Australian Mineral Statistics June 2008 - pdf here
  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • MF Global Nickel Report - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Commodities have been riding the “weak dollar” to new highs for much of the last 18 months, but these days we are seeing the action move rather briskly in the other direction. A surge in the dollar to four-month highs against the Euro has pressured a number of commodity complexes lower in recent days, base metals being among them. All the LME metals closed lower yesterday, with the exception of nickel, which jumped 7% on concern about a modest output cut at the Murrin Murrin facility in Australia due to pinched gas supplies...We are lower across the board in metals today despite the dollar being slightly weaker against the Euro.... We are at $22,900 on nickel, down $490, and giving back some of yesterday’s large gain, which seems to have been more of a technical move higher. Support at $21,500 is key for now, and should we take that level out, we do not see much on the charts until the $17,000 level.."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Scotia Capital China Update - "We are now bullish on the coking coal, iron ore, steel, copper, zinc, aluminum, molybdenum, oil, methanol, DAP, urea, soybean, and hardwood pulp sectors. We are neutral on wheat, corn, potash, ethylene, and nickel."
  • Xinhua - "China - Nickel Output Grew by 8.6% in Jan-Apr, While Consumption up by 23.5%"
  • MF Global - "China said it exported 5.56 million tons of steel products in May, up 16% from April levels, the China Customs Administration said on Wednesday. The May exports were the largest since July 2007. However, steel product exports in the first five months of the year fell 20.8% from a year earlier."

  China's Steel product exports in May hit their highest monthly level since July 2007, showcasing a modest return of heavy outflows after the world's biggest steel maker raised export taxes early this year. - more

  It is reported that Asian specialty steelmakers continued their steady purchase of stainless steel scrap from US suppliers although shipments from the USA to some European consumers dropped slightly. - more

  Impact of gas cuts on key Australia miners - more

  • After four days, Jason Manifis is three-quarters of the way through driving his weekly 1600-kilometre loop around northwestern Australia, selling frozen fish to hungry iron-ore miners. - more

  The fast developing Indian steel industries are continuing beyond what most believed was possible. - more

  China's Hebei province has formed a company that overtakes Baosteel Group Corp. as the nation's biggest steelmaker. - more

  • Sinosteel Corp., China's second- largest iron-ore trader, may build a natural gas-fired power plant to extend its ferrochrome capacity in South Africa beyond the current $450 million expansion. - more

  Entity of the giant industrial Vale, majority shareholder of Goro Nickel, the factory of Alunorte alumina production, in the north of Brazil, has an unit of treatment of the sewages and a dismissal in river. - translated version here

  Rio Tinto PLC said Wednesday that it will invest $270 million in the construction of a molybdenum autoclave process facility at its Kennecott Utah Copper Bingham Canyon operation in Salt Lake City. - more

  Greenpeace warns sea-bed mining could have a huge negative environmental impact. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Tuesday, June 10
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 125 to 11,409 . (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Courtesy Thompson Financial - "The dollar steadied after rallying throughout this morning following last night's hawkish speech by Federal Reserve President Ben Bernanke. Bernanke said that 'the risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so' and that the Fed 'will strongly resist an erosion of longer-term inflation expectations,' suggesting interest rates may actually be raised later this year. Analysts said this speech could well signal the start of a sustain rally in the U.S. currency, as the U.S. central bank tries to talk-up its currency in a bid to push down import-price inflation." (source)  This kind of news does not bode well for commodities, and in response, most of the traded base and precious metals traded lower today. If the US Federal Reserve begins to shift its attention off recessionary worries, and begins to address inflationary concerns, then we could see base metal trading take on a negative shift.  At the very least, we could see less speculation, and witness trading return to the market fundamentals. Yeah right. Ok, it sounded good. So, the dollar was up today and metals took a beating, as was to be expected. Whoops. Did we mention nickel? Was it the "major supply disruption news" that we mentioned yesterday coming from Minara, who themselves officially acknowledged the gas explosion last week, would adversely affect their annual production. Or was it the charts?  Ed Meir from MF Global advised this morning that the $21,500 support level had held, which is confirmed by the $21,450 mark on Sucden's chart, reflecting trading thru yesterday(here). In his report this morning, Ed shows the RSI on nickel started the day at 26, which implies the market was oversold. Did the computers take over and buy? Or did someone bring a fresh batch of home baked cupcakes into the exchange and put traders in a really bullish mood? Who knows for sure? Based on the indicator charts, which do not reflect actual prices, nickel may have seen a spread of nearly $1800/tonne today, from its lowest to highest point. And while it appeared the price dipped quite a bit toward the end, its last turn for the day, was pointing back up. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.61/lb And yes, to those of you in the stainless steel industry, that might have just muttered an expletive, you are forgiven. That $10/lb mark we mentioned we were wrong about yesterday - might just make it thru the summer yet. The only thing we can say with certainty, is that no one brought any cupcakes to our office this morning!     
  • Reuters - more 

  Reports

  • American Stainless Market Analysis - pdf here

  Ladies and Gentlemen. It is an honour for Norilsk Nickel to present at this conference. This is our first major corporate presentation in China. - more

  The world's number two and three iron ore suppliers, Australia's Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, have demanded a 100 percent price hike this year from East Asian buyers including POSCO, Nippon Steel and Baoshan Iron & Steel. - more

  (excerpt) Posco is building a cold-strip annealing, pickling and finishing line, designed for the annual processing of around 400,000 metric tons of austenitic and ferritic steel grades. - more

  Brazilian mining giant Vale said Tuesday it was preparing a share offering worth up to $15-billion (U.S.) to help finance organic growth and potential acquisitions, but denied it was in talks on an acquisition. - more and another

  • Cia. Vale do Rio Doce, the world's biggest iron-ore producer, may invest $1 billion in an iron-ore pellet plant in Southeast Asia in the next two years to meet increasing demand for steel in the region. - more

  Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin held a 29.78 percent stake in Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel miner, as of May 26, Norilsk said in its 2007 annual report seen by Reuters on Tuesday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.36/lb higher. Has not been a boring morning on the nickel battle-front. Before London trading officially began, indicators showed nickel had slumped by around $400/tonne in pre-market trading. But the bulls suddenly began a counter-attack, that as we post our morning briefing, is still going strong. Their momentum appears to have carried them too deep into bear territory, to continue the charge much longer, but it is definitely keeping the market interesting. Dollar is up, which means the weather is not good for making such an all out attack, and we expect to see any retreat to be equally sharp. But the bulls like to hear that the lower price  of nickel is endangering some smaller nickel operations and forcing some pig nickel production to cease. They also like to hear confirmation that Minara's production will be adversely affected by last week's gas explosion, and see that LME nickel inventories continues to slide. For the moment, they have the momentum.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Resource analysts are predicting some of Western Australia's smaller nickel operations may struggle to remain afloat if the price of nickel continues to fall. - more

  Reports

  • Haywood Securities Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here
  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • TD Bank Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • Reuters Metals Insight -pdf here
  • June 2008 Molybdenum Letter - pdf here
  • Bombay India May Metal Prices - pdf here
  • Behre Dolbear Global Mining News - here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metals closed mixed yesterday, but we were rather surprised prices held up as well as they did given the surging dollar, which had its best move against the Euro in more than a month.  ... The dollar is up sharply again this morning, and this time, taking its toll on metals, although energy prices are not reacting as much, and are up slightly on a mixed batch of IEA supply/demand numbers. Given the quiet conditions in terms of news, we expect the price bias in metals to be on the downside over the next few days, as the dollar should continue to gain ground. ... We are at $22,500 on nickel, up $505, and salvaging short-term support at $21,500 for now. However, should we take that level out, we do not see much on the charts until the $17,000 level." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  China's small steelmakers will accept a 95 percent increase in annual iron ore prices by Rio Tinto, but bigger steel firms such as Baosteel are seen holding out for a better deal, industry sources said on Tuesday. - more

  Last week, China’s stainless steel market price showed a little drop, mainly caused by weakening nickel influence. - more

  China Securities Journal as quoted by Reuters - "Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Co 000825.SZ, China's largest stainless steel producer, is expected to post a marked increase in second-quarter net profit compared with the first quarter due to gains in its carbon steel business, an analyst said."

  Minara Resources Ltd., Australia's second-largest nickel producer, cut its full-year output forecast by as much as 23 percent after natural gas supplies were reduced. - more

  Let us view a summary of the chrome industry in Turkey. At the Annual Conference held by ICDA (The International Chrome Development Association) at Paris in May of this year, Mr. Robert Yuksel Yildirim, President and CEO of Eti Krom as a leading chrome enterprise in Turkey belonging to the Yildirim Group, explained about the chrome situation in Turkey and also the projects to expand the facilities at their chrome mines and ferro-chrome plants. - more

  The Kazakh government plans to introduce an extraction tax on mining companies as it seeks to derive more revenue from its natural resources. - more

  OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the biggest producer of nickel and palladium, reported an unexpected drop in 2007 profit after slashing almost $2 billion off the value of mining and power companies it bought last year. - more

  • The Tschudi Shipping Company invites Russian metallurgy giant Norilsk Nickel to take use of its terminal and port facilities in Kirkenes on the Norwegian Barents Sea coast. - more

  Courtesy AISI - "In the week ending June 7, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,134,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 89.4 percent. Production was 2,119,000 tons in the week ending June 7, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 88.6 percent. The current week production represents a 0.7 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending June 7, 2008 is up 0.9 percent from the previous week ending May 31, 2008 when production was 2,114,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 88.6 percent."

  An attack by Maoist rebels who blew up power lines could put India’s NMDC’s Bailadila iron ore mining complex pout of action for seven to ten days. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here / Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Monday, June 9
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 78 to 11,534. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • US stock markets were up as bargain hunters took advantage of the Friday bloodbath. Oil retreated after its huge gains last week, and the dollar was up in afternoon trading after after Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson stated in a TV interview that he would never take the option of foreign exchange market intervention off the table. Metals were either trading in the red, or just slightly higher. We really felt the $10/lb mark would hold through the summer, but it is starting to appear, that we could be wrong. If $10 was the bull's line of defense, they are going to have to fight to get it back, and without some major supply disruption news that will obviously have a negative impact on LME stored inventories, they don't appear to have the ammunition necessary to stave off the bears incessant attack. The gas plant fire that affected production at Australia's Murrin Murrin facility, and news that Norilsk was suspending plans to build a nickel refinery in Botswana last week, only seemed to give the market a few days pause in its weekly decline. With the demand news from China being almost all negative, and no real reason to believe it will get any better until "possibly" after the Olympic games, the battle has been a fairly lop-sided affair of late. After a day of back and forth trading, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.97/lb . If you missed Ed's comments this morning, based on his chart, he puts "$17,000 as the next technical target on the downside." If that mark is hit, that would be $7.71/lb. Here is Sucden's chart thru Friday here 

  Commodity Comments

  • Leon Westgate of Standard Bank - "Base metals have lacked direction and have been looking for exogenous factors, such as the dollar, for direction."
  • The Fed, we remind new readers, has a "dual mandate." It is supposed to do two contradictory and incompatible things at once – protect the dollar - more

  During this second most powerful expansion in commodity prices since World War II, Scotiabank Group is confident that some high metals prices are sustainable, during what they termed “the commodity price supercycle.” - more

  Our report - Official statistics released from Turkey show that country's export of chrome ore has increased by +43% in the first five months of 2008, over the same period of last year. Exports in May more than doubled from 96,628 tonnes in 2007, to 197,273 tonnes in 2008. China remains the largest destination, although YOY figures reflect a slight decrease from 2007 figures. 62% of chrome ore leaving Turkey is destined for China. The biggest single gain is credited to the second largest importer, Russia. Having only imported 13,500 tonnes in the first five months of 2007, Russia has imported 155,508 tonnes in the first five months of 2008. #3 Sweden has also shown a large increase, with imports growing from 14,600 tonnes in the January thru May period of 2007, and 103,750 tonnes in the same period this year. These three destinations account for 95% of the chrome ore exported from Turkey in the first five months of this year.  

  Nisshin Steel Co. has decided to not pursue a plan to manufacture stainless steel in India, because the demand for high-grade components in furniture and electronics is unlikely to grow as fast as expected there. - more

  In a shocking development, Norilsk Nickel International announced Wednesday that it was halting construction of the multi-billion Pula Tati Activox Refinery with immediate effect. - more

  What do the City of Greater Sudbury and North Bay have in common that make them unique within the global mining context? - more

  • Here is the formula for a crystal ball. Take a cube of derived demand, add a book from a Singapore scholar, stir in some used predictions and a sprinkling of judgment. - more
  • Last month, I had the pleasure of participating in the 16th Annual Sudbury Mining Week, not as President and CEO of FNX Mining, but as the event’s Honorary Chairman. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.09/lb lower. Friday's end of the market tank continued this morning, with indicators showing the price of nickel fell by over $700/tonne in early trading, but has been stair-stepping its way back ever since. Dollar is lower this morning, as well are most precious and industrial metals.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Forbes - more
  • Reuters - more
  • Thomson Financial - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Commodity Online Week in Review - more
  • Commodity Online Base Metals Report - more
  • The Daily Resource - more

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "LME metals rose sharply on Friday, with copper gaining 3% and hitting a week-long high in the process, while aluminum soared by 2%. The dollar lost ground after US jobs data came out showing a rise in US unemployment. ....We have opened somewhat higher this morning, but trading remains rather subdued given that it is a holiday in China. Energy markets are lower today, and for now, the two complexes seem to be going their separate ways, as the gains in energy on Friday were in our view way overdone. With the dollar unchanged today from Friday’s levels, and energy retracing some of its heady gains, we think that the modest gains we are seeing in metals could fizzle over the course of the day. In addition, the failure to break through key resistance levels on copper and ali could incline some to take their profits as well.....We are at $21,850 on nickel, down $150. Nickel never participated in Friday's rally, and is weak again today; our chart below shows that prices are close to sinking below short-term $21,500 support, thus opening up a test to much lower levels. In this regard, we see $17,000 as the next technical target on the downside.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  China's nickel price reached a record low of CNY 206,000 per ton last week, down 3.3 percent from the week before last and 14.3 percent from the April-end, said the Ministry of Commerce (MOC).- more

  Analyst said that the outlook for nickel is not quite as firm but prices should still hold around current levels - more

  BHP runs the Kalgoorlie nickel smelter in Western Australia, one of the world's largest, churning out 100,000 tonnes of the steel-alloying metal each year.  - more

  According to Philippine official data, Philippine metals output fell by 10% in value in the January to March 2008 period, after at least five straight quarters of growth, due to low production at the country's mines. - more

  POSCO, the world's fourth-largest steelmaker, denied Monday local newspaper reports that it would raise product prices soon to reflect higher raw material costs and a price gap with competitors' offerings. - more

  • Posco may raise steel product prices by about 15 percent as early as this month to offset higher material costs, Mail Business Newspaper reported today, citing unidentified industry officials. - more
  • Posco may raise prices to offset higher raw-material costs, potentially approving a third gain this year after two previous increases boosted the steelmaker's benchmark hot-rolled coil by 35 percent. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities 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.
Friday, June 6
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 77 to 11,612. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Friday turned out to be a reality check for the market, as the US unemployment rate jumped to 5.5% and took traders off guard. For those trying desperately hard to believe the worst economic news is behind them, the news of the biggest percentage-point gain in unemployment rates since 1986 came as a shock. The US stock market reversed its one day upturn, and fell hard. With the dollar on the dive, on the back of this newest hint of US recession potential, and with inflationary concerns growing, all of the precious and base metals spent the day trading in the green. Well, almost. The nickel bulls had tried another charge in early trading, but by our morning briefing, had fallen back to about where they started. After spending the early afternoon quietly jockeying for position, the bears attacked, and the bulls, tired from their earlier failed charge, succumbed and fell back hard. The chart we follow daily here, will look much different on Monday, when today's collapse in the price of nickel is recorded.  The morning charge, while potentially led by those tyring to cover short bets, was an ill advised attempt, and left those trying to drive the market higher, wide open and vulnerable for a counter attack. Military talk? Trading talk? Some days, there isn't much difference. And on many days, the parallel's between business and warfare can make a strikingly similar metaphor. That Bloomberg headline this morning about nickel heading for its first weekly gain in six? Forget it. It didn't turn out that way, at least, not this week. For the day and week, according to Dow Jones, three month nickel ended at $9.98/lb , slightly lower than last Friday.  
  • Have a safe and restful weekend! 

  Stainless Steel Bar From France: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review - more

  • Certain Forged Stainless Steel Flanges from India; Preliminary Intent to Rescind New Shipper Review - more
  • Stainless Steel Plate in Coils From Belgium: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review - more

  An Interview With Charles Swindon at Minor Metals Trade Association - more

  Modern Industries (WA) in Western Australia is a business that lives up to its name. Modern recently completed a major contract for BHP Billiton’s Ravensthorpe Nickel Project using new generation ferritic stainless steel 445M2 from Austral Wright Metals and Nisshin Steel, Japan, for cladding insulation at the sulphuric acid plant at Ravensthorpe. Modern Industries have built an enviable track record in Australia and South East Asia providing construction and maintenance services to the mining, energy, oil and gas industries, particularly thermal and acoustic engineering solutions – based on delivering on promises, and working out how to do it better. - more (A nickel miner advertising they used a nickel free grade of stainless on their nickel smelter? Someone in their PR department should be looking for a new job today.)

  Three Russian women, who were arrested in France last year for supposedly being prostitutes, won’t be allowed to sue the policemen responsible, according to Russian news agency ITAR-TASS. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.03/lb higher. Dollar took a dip this morning and precious and base metals are all trading on the plus side. Bulls made another charge this morning, and raised the price of nickel substantially, but it failed to hold. Market actually fell into the negative on the retreat, but has regained its threshold and appears to be getting a sudden boost from the dollar, which just took a sudden dive after unemployment figures were released in the US this morning showing a bigger jump than expected (more).
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • AFX - more
  • India - Economic Times - more
  • Reuters - more

  Nickel Heads for First Weekly Advance in Six on Supply Concern - "Nickel headed for its first weekly gain in six in London as power disruptions in Western Australia and declining stockpiles increased concern about adequate supply. Copper gained the most in five weeks." - more

  Reports

  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Commodity Online Base Metals Report - here
  • The Daily Resource - here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Most metals ended lower yesterday, but saw a late day bounce after the dollar dropped sharply after the ECB left rates unchanged and indicated that it may have to raise interest rates to fight inflation. This sparked a ferocious rally in the energy markets, which really kick-started metals higher, although oddly, gold finished lower on the day. We are seeing more of the same today-- the dollar is weaker as of this writing against the Euro, although it has not lost as much ground as it did yesterday. Energy prices are up again by another $2/brll. Metals are up sharply as well, teeing off a stronger Shanghai market, which rose partly on declining Shanghai exchange stocks (see our table above). The Chinese markets will be closed on Monday for a national holiday...There is little doubt that the dollar be will be the main driver in most commodity groups over the next few days, but gauging its direction is difficult, as there are many crosscurrents in play. Our own view is that, bearish as the ECB statement was for the dollar yesterday, the currency markets seem to be forgetting that the US may very well be on the same page as the Europeans are with regard to inflation and interest rates, and so we would not want to write off the dollar just yet. In this regard, we should recall remarks made earlier in the week by Fed Chairman Bernanke about the ‘unwelcome’ impact the weak dollar is having in stoking inflation. More importantly, after displaying an alarming degree of neglect with respect to the greenback, the Fed Chairman can now not afford to sit on his hands and watch the dollar unravel just after calling urgent attention to its plight. We therefore think it is important to take Bernanke at his word, and would not be surprised to see some tougher policy statements follow shortly, perhaps out of the G-8 meeting this weekend or from another speech hinting that the recent round of US interest rate reductions may very well may be over. Alternatively, if the dollar sell-off resumes with a vengeance, the Fed may very well have to engineer a round of central bank intervention to prop up the currency. As a result, we would not be looking to chase metals here as a weak-dollar play. Trading ranges still seem to be the order of the day, at least for the two benchmarks, copper and ali....Nickel is at $22,850, up $50, and off its highest levels of the day ($23,800). We are seeing a gradual recovery in nickel, but the longer -term downtrend is still intact.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Merrill Lynch & Co. - Nickel will average $11.65 a pound this year, a 20 percent drop from the previous forecast. - more
  • Xinhua - Four large stainless producers declared to cut the output by 50 percent in May. Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Group) Co., Ltd. and Baosteel will slash their output by 30 percent in June. The stainless production has also been affected by the devastating earthquake in Southwest China's Sichuan P
  • ThyssenKrupp Materials plans to invest about 5 million euros in the construction of steel service centers in Nizhny Novgorod.
  • Aluminum and nickel prices to rise, zinc to fall, Daiwa Research says
  • World finished stainless steel output will grow by 4% this year compared with 2007, but the only country/region showing a significant rise is China, with a 7% year-on-year increase, analyst Markus Moll of SMR, Austria, told this week’s BIR convention in Monte Carlo. However, this is a much smaller percentage increase than in 2007 when output rose by 36% compared to 2006.
  • Noting that the nickel price has dropped to $10/lb from a recent rage of $12-$14/lb, Hacking asserts that cuts in Chinese stainless steel production may be the reason. - more

  Apache Corp. (APA) Friday said it will take at least two months to restore partial gas supplies after a fire and explosion ripped through its gas processing plant off the coast of Western Australia state, forcing mining companies to seek costly energy alternatives. - more

  Chinese-origin molybdenum oxide prices this week moved up to $33-33.30/lb on a CIF basis compared with $32.65-33.20/lb a week earlier, as more consumer interest returned to the market, local sources said. - more

  According to well inform source, Baosteel has already revised steel prices for Q3, fixing on the new prices in secret with its strategic customers and the direct users respectively rather than unveiling to the public. - more

  New Caledonian nickel ore (saprolite ore) is scheduled to be shipped on the 20th - 22nd of June from New Caledonia to the Kwangyang nickel refinery in South Korea, which was constructed as the joint venture between SMSP of New Caledonia and Posco of South Korea. - more

  The Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) envisages a slowdown in China’s import of iron ore, partly due to constraints from domestic factors like increase in rail freight rate and restriction by ports in handling ore. - more

  • Major fluctuations in commodity prices of iron ore gradually have given way to more stable, but slight gains, according to China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC). - more
  • A steep increase in the cost of transporting iron ore by rail is damaging India’s export competitiveness. Miners complain that this may result in country ceding ground to rivals from Brazil and Australia. - more

  Courtesy AISI - "In the week ending May 31, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,114,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 88.6 percent. Production was 2,121,000 tons in the week ending May 31, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 88.4 percent. The current week production represents a 0.3 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending May 31, 2008 is down 1.2 percent from the previous week ending May 24, 2008 when production was 2,140,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 89.7 percent."

  Steel wire rod transaction prices have moved to about $985/st in the US following multiple price increases from mills over the past few weeks. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Thursday, June 5
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 66 to 11,689 . (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Dollar dropped on news the ECP may raise interest rates to combat inflation (more). By looking at the dollar graph in the lower right hand corner of this page, it isn't hard to tell when the remark was made. And even though the dollar was down, metals ended mixed today, both in precious and base. Nickel, having reversed a downtrend the last few days, fought to hold on after spiking early, and then retreating hard. As can be seen by the Sucden chart here thru yesterday, the 'overall' trend still shows a metal in retreat, so it remains to be seen if the recent reversal is a desperate stand doomed to failure, or the bulls have re-grouped, with the battle about to shift. Of course, using a military analogy, we may have just seen the bulls fall back to a new line of defense, which they have every intention to hold and use as a new springboard of attack.  Today's sudden charge failed, but the line held. For Thrusday, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.35/lb (up a whole penny).
  • Video - Bank security camera records a tornado destroying a bank in Iowa - here  

  Commodity Comments

  • Courtesy Dow Jones - "Nickel and zinc fundamentals are bearish as supply growth in both markets looks likely to accelerate into 2H 2008 and 2009, says Barclays Capital."

  Japan's fair trade watchdog slapped Nippon Steel Corp, JFE Steel Corp and Kubota Corp with a fine for price-fixing, bringing the industry under fresh scrutiny after admissions of lax product testing. - more

  Hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue could be wiped from the balance sheets of mining companies affected by the shutdown of Apache Energy's Varanus Island gas processing plant in Western Australia. - more

  Metmar's announcement that it is selling its indirect 11.8% stake in the Mogale Alloys business for R390.3m not only turns a handsome profit for itself, it represents another major investment in SA by the powerful but little-known Kermas group. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.03/lb higher. It appears by the indicator charts, nickel might have bit off a little more than it could chew this morning, when it rose sharply by nearly $800/tonne, before retreating. The decision by Norilsk to suspend plans to build a nickel refinery in Botswana is still being digested by traders for possible long range implications. Reports from China that pig nickel production in that country is running at 60% capacity and falling.  Murrin Murrin is using the downtime caused by the Varanus Island explosion to move forward some maintenance work it had planned. Reports from Australia do not give an estimate on how long it will take for repairs on the gas lines to be completed.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Axcess News - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • The Daily Resource - here
  • Reuters Metals Weekly - pdf here
  • GFMS Market Monthly Analysis: Nickel - more
  • UBS Commodity Connections (4 weeks old) - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Apart from tin and zinc (comment - think Ed meant nickel and zinc), all other LME base metals fell yesterday, as the group continues to come under pressure in the wake of a stronger dollar, buckling energy prices, and concern about slowing demand. The dollar edged higher yesterday after U.S. service readings came in at 51.7, and ahead of the 51.0 reading forecast. This is the latest of a string of statistics we have seen over the past week where actual readings have exceeded estimates. More selling is hitting the commodity complexes again today, with gold hitting three-week, lows, crude oil barely unchanged after being up by a dollar earlier in the day, while base metals are also down (except for tin and nickel). Copper is faring particularly badly, off by about $105/MT at this writing...Nickel is at $22,800, up $5, and seeing a measure of support after the brutal selling taking place over the last few weeks. Nickel has been the most oversold in our group, and so a modest bounce here will not be entirely surprising. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • It's estimated that China's ferronickel industry recorded less than 60 percent of operation rate in the first quarter. - more

  Russian miner Norilsk Nickel said on Wednesday it had postponed a project to refine nickel in Botswana as costs had escalated beyond an earlier estimate of $498 million. - more

  India’s MMTC, the Union public sector company, has decided to raise its chrome ore price again by US$205/ton, after a rise of US$100/ton in March. - more

  Jiji Press reported that Nisshin Steel Co confirmed that it had shipped 550,000 stainless steel pipes without conducting required nondestructive testing for detecting defects and tests for ability to withstand hydraulic pressure and air pressure. - more

  • Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 30th May 2008 - more

  Apache Corp., operator of the Varanus Island natural gas plant off Western Australia, will need to replace parts of pipelines damaged in a June 3 fire as it seeks to restore supplies. - more

  • Australian governments should deregulate port and rail infrastructure, BHP Billiton CEO Marius Kloppers said today. - more

  Finnish industrial group Ruukki Group Plc said on Thursday (5 JUne) that it has entered into a preliminary agreement with Kermas Limited to acquire Kermas Limited's chrome ore operations in Turkey and related sales operations in Malta. - more

  China's Baoshan Iron and Steel Co has notified customers of steel product price hikes for the third quarter, with the amount of the increase varying for different customers, the official China Securities Journal said on Thursday. - more

  • Baoshan Iron & Steel Co., China's biggest steelmaker, canceled plans to charge customers more in the third after the government ordered domestic mills to hold prices at the same level as before the May 12 earthquake. - more

  The international charity Oxfam has called for the appointment of an independent ombudsman to monitor mining and development projects in the Pacific region. - more

  • The Governor of Papua New Guinea’s Madang province says a dialogue is underway to address landowner concerns regarding planned waste disposal by Ramu Nickel mine operators. - more

  A Canada-based mining company operating in southern Palawan reported that it has shipped 99,000 dry metric tons of laterite nickel material to buyers in China and Japan. - more

  Steel producers have said the 15% export duty on iron ore would not bring down metal prices in the short term as they had already reduced prices of steel by Rs 4,000 a tonne last month. - more

  US producers of carbon and alloy steel-wire rod expressed overall satisfaction with the US International Trade Commission's decision Tuesday to maintain antidumping orders on carbon and certain alloy steel-wire rod from Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Moldova, Trinidad and Tobago, and Ukraine.  - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities 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.
Wednesday, June 4
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 120 to 11,623. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • The Institute for Supply Management's reported their index of non-manufacturing businesses fell to 51.7 from 52 in April. Anything above 50 is growth. Dollar was a tad higher as we post the daily wrap-up. Precious and base metals were, for the most part, trading lower today. That is, except for zinc and nickel. Indicator charts show nickel was trading in the loss column early, then climbed back to where it started, and then it took a sudden bounce at the end of the day. Traders may have decided the fuel explosion that was hampering production at Minara's Murrin Murrin nickel project, might have more of an effect than earlier thought. Murrin produced 27,586 tonnes of nickel last year, and they had hoped to produce 34-38,000 tonnes this year (more). In the big picture, this mine plays a minimal role on overall supply to the world nickel trade, but with the market's recent sell-off, any potential supply disruption gives reason for pause. Especially when LME inventories remain robust, but slowly and consistently slipping backwards. And speaking of disruptions, big news out of Norilsk today, as they announced they are suspending a nickel project in Botswana, due to skyrocketing cost estimates. Is this the first casualty of lower nickel prices? Norilsk stated "At current cost levels, recovery of nickel from ore using Activox is not economically justified.'' Considering when the price of nickel bounced today, this announcement may have been the actual catalyst that brought the bulls back in to play today. Nickel's Relative Strength Index or RSI remains low, with Ed Meir at MF Global putting it at 24, and Sucden's daily chart (here) putting the number around 20.9. Many traders look at anything below 30 as being oversold. According to Dow Jones, three month nickel ended the day at $10.34/lb  
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones -

  North American Average Stainless Steel Prices - Latest Forecasts from MEPS - here

  OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the largest producer of the steel additive, postponed indefinitely a project in Botswana that sought to process raw material into nickel without using a refinery. - more

  It is reported that China’s domestic prices for chrome series alloy continue weakening with big price gap between offer price and transaction price. Demand remains low amidst thin transactions. - more

  WA's biggest resources players readied emergency power sources and curbed energy use yesterday after a pipeline explosion cut off 40 per cent of the state's gas supply. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around  $.09/lb lower. Dollar is slightly lower but Bernanke's speech yesterday is still ringing in traders ears, and most appear to be planning for a strengthening dollar, usually bad news for base metals. Power problems in Zambia and fuel problems in Australia don't seem to be helping nickel too much this morning. As we post this morning briefing, only zinc is slightly up, with the rest of the metals traded in London down. Sucden's nickel trading chart thru yesterday here  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • AFX News - more
  • Economic Times - more
  • Business Spectator - more

  Reports

  • U.S. stainless steel surcharge page updated with July surcharges - here
  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Commodity Online Base Metal report - here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metals ended generally higher yesterday, but copper prices receded late in the day after the US stock market and the energy complex both began to weaken noticeably. In addition, metals were prevented from moving too much higher yesterday after the dollar began to move on comments made by Fed Chairman Bernanke. Bernanke said that the dollar has contributed to an “unwelcome rise” in US inflation rates, adding that the central bank is “attentive to the implications of changes in the value of the dollar for inflation and inflation expectations and will continue to formulate policy to guard against risks” to price stability and sustainable growth. Whether this means that the successive round of interest cuts are over, and rates are now on the rise from here remains to be seen, but we would not rule it out, especially if the economic growth now starts to level off. The dollar also moved higher yesterday after the release of US April factory orders, which came in at +1.1% for April, ahead of the modest decline expected; this continues a recent pattern where macro numbers have all come out better than forecast. We are slightly lower in metals once again today, as the complex is finding it hard to fight the headwinds of a steady dollar (largely unchanged against the Euro at 1.5450) and a weak energy complex, where crude is off by another $1 today after dropping by more than $3/brl yesterday. We suspect that the odds of energy staging a V-shaped bounce to new highs any time soon are pretty much over, as the complex instead seems to be settling into a trading range. However, while the top side of the range seems to be defined for now, the bottom end is still a work-in-progress. This means that because energy has yet to find a floor, potentially sharper corrections lie ahead of us, which potentially could rock the metals complex some more....Nickel is at $22,150, down $155, and not reacting to possible supply disruptions out of Australia ). (Minara Resources, Australia's second-largest nickel producer, said gas supplies to its Murrin Murrin mine has been temporarily suspended when an explosion late on Tuesday at the Varanus Island gas processing plant operated by Apache Energy ruptured two gas pipelines. The duration of the interruption was not immediately known, and a company spokesman could not say if production runs were affected. Other miners in the state said their production was mostly unaffected ) (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Commodities will become ``much, much weaker'' after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke signaled support for the U.S. dollar, Dennis Gartman, economist and editor of the Gartman Letter, told clients. - more
  • BASE and precious metals prices firmed slightly on Friday after tracking downwards for several days on a range of factors. - more

  Our report - According to a post on their corporate website yesterday, China's largest producer of nickel, Jinchuan Group reported Chinese consumption of stainless steel continued to grow in the first four months of 2008, albeit at a slower rate than 2007. New governmental regulations on the building decoration trade is adversely affecting consumption, as is the appreciation of the Yuan, and the end of Olympic project construction. Jinchuan expects the largest increase in stainless demand to come from the heat-resistant, high performance stainless steel. - poorly translated report here

  • Jinchuan Group Co., Asia's biggest nickel producer, has suspended preparatory work for an initial public offering after China's benchmark index slumped 40 percent from its October peak and nickel prices dropped. - more

  Delegates attending the recent International Chromium Development Association conference in Paris have agreed that ferrochromium prices will remain strong in the third quarter of 2008, backed by strong demand and tight supplies from South Africa. - more

  AK Steel Holding Corp. said Tuesday it will add surcharges to invoices of various products because of higher raw-material and energy costs. - more

  • AK Steel reports following averages prices for May 2008 - Chrome $2.4438/lb   Nickel $11.6732/lb   Molybdenum $32.67/lb Iron $705/GT

  Taiwan's Yusco and Tang Eng, both major stainless steel producers, announced lower prices in response to the decline in nickel prices. 300 series stainless steel will be reduced by NT $3000 - $6000 (US $ 99 - $188)/ton. Prices for 400 series stainless steel remains teh same as May. Export prices of 300 series will be reduced in the range of $130 - $180 / ton.

  China's manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers index) dropped 5.9 percentage points to 53.3 percent in May this year, according to the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP). - more

  Sandmeyer Steel Company has added SSC-6MO (UNS N08367) to its extensive line of corrosion-resistant stainless steel and nickel alloy plate and plate products. SSC-6MO is a “superaustenitic” stainless steel containing in excess of 6% molybdenum. - more

  OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the biggest producer of the metal, faces a weakening profit outlook as falling nickel prices add to concerns about a battle over control of the company, UralSib Financial Corp. said. - more

  Steel makers will honour their commitment to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to hold prices for three months, but rates will go up thereafter, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of JSW Steel Sajjan Jindal said on Tuesday, after taking over as Assocham President.  - more

  PT International Nickel Indonesia (Inco) is expected to go ahead with plan to expand its annual production capacity despite price fall. - more

  • Rio Tinto announced on the 28th of May that the Company is scheduled to materialize the project to produce 46,000 tons per annum of nickel in Sulawesi Island of Indonesia from 2015 and already carried out from 2000 a basic investigation of nickel deposit in Sulawesi Island with testing laterite ore to be molten and refined. - more

  Sumitomo Metal Mining revised the nickel surplus estimation downward to 37,000 tonnes for 2008 compared with original 54,000 tonnes.- more

  • Japan's biggest steelmaker Nippon Steel Corp. and second-ranked JFE Steel Corp. plan to use very large ore carriers, or VLOCs, to drive down shipment costs and boost the competitiveness of their steel products in the global market, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Wednesday without citing sources. - more

  Industrial users across Australia's biggest mining region were hunting for alternative fuels on Wednesday after an explosion at an offshore gas plant knocked out more than a third of normal gas supplies. - more

  Zambia's Copperbelt Energy Corp. (CEC), which supplies power to the country's copper and cobalt mines, has cut back supply following disruptions in electricity imports, a senior CEC official said on Wednesday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities 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.
Tuesday, June 3
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • All daily inventory and official price information moved to morning update.
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 45 to 11,503. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • US Commerce Department reported orders for U.S.-made factory goods climbed 1.1% in April, better than expected. The big news that drove the markets today was Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke defending the dollar in a speech this morning, telling a bankers forum, that he was uneasy with the weak currency's ramifications for the outlook for inflation (more). If you look at the lower right hand corner of this page, and look at the dollar graph, you can see the spike caused at the moment he made these remarks. With the sudden turn-around in the dollar, and Bernanke's sudden interest in controlling inflation, many traded metals saw earlier gains evaporate.
  • Comment - Indicators show nickel traded in one of those skyscraper landscape days, with the market starting in the green, and staying there after an up and down fight thru much of the trading session. Lot of pessimistic forecasts suddenly coming from the analysts, but we aren't ready to bite yet. The market is obviously pessimistic, and as Ed Meir from MF Global has stated, an increasingly strengthening dollar will add more pressure to base metals, but in our opinion, nickel appears to have shook much of the market fat off. At least for the time being. We wouldn't dare be so bold as to predict we've seen the last of a price retreat, but we don't expect nickel to lose much more of its current value, if any. Demand by stainless steel producers is reportedly way down in some areas, although we think it's more of a decrease in the anticipated increase than an actual decrease from last year's production levels. It is interesting to see Baosteel express concerns about a potential glut of stainless steel production in China. We expressed the same concern about China quite awhile back. And while Bao says its coming, we think it may already be upon them. No matter how much growth you experience in stainless steel consumption, if production grows faster than demand, somebody is going to get burnt. Besides, with prices dropping nearly every day last month (until Friday), why should we expect a nickel buyer to buy anymore than they have to, when they are back in one of those "gambling-every-day" cycle's. We saw massive de-stocking last year when nickel started the big slide in May, and LME traders may not have learned anything from that episode, but stainless steel users sure did. But what do we know.
  • LME nickel inventories have been slipping backwards fairly consistently, albeit slowly, except for a few large shipments that came into Shanghai right after the price decline accelerated. It will be curious to watch outflow over the next week, as prices suddenly show hints of stability. We can't post the numbers, but if we see anything out of the normal, we'll keep you advised.
  • Will buyers of nickel decide a bottom has been established and place orders before it goes back up? Or will they sit on the sidelines, hoping the market returns to its losing ways? Or are those who are proclaiming the demand has dried up, right? And if outflows do pick up, will the price punch up and kill further buying interest? Stay tuned. For the day, Dow Jones reports that three month nickel ended the day at $10.12/lb .   
  • Reuters - more

  BIR CONVENTION: Mostly Sunny for Stainless - After experiencing a volatile 2007, the stainless steel industry is likely to enjoy a less turbulent 2008, according to industry analyst Markus Moll of SMR in Austria. - more

  Commodity Comments

  • Barclay's Capital - "Further nickel price losses should be limited since nickel is now below the highest cost nickel pig iron producers, which are Chinese blast furnace producers, with estimated cash production costs of around $25,000/ton"
  • William Adams of BaseMetals.com to Dow Jones -  "The question now is whether the prices have fallen far enough to entice consumers off the sidelines or are they prepared to continue on a hand-to-mouth basis in the hope prices will fall further. Given little shortage across the board, other than in copper, it may well be that they can afford not to rush back in, in which case further disappointed liquidation selling may follow some consolidation."
  • Courtesy Scotia Captial China Commodities Weekly - "Low refined nickel prices, high coke prices, and stricter government enforcement of environmental standards have cut into profits for Chinese nickel pig iron producers, forcing some to suspend production. Stocks of laterite ore, which generally contains low grades of nickel and significant amounts of iron, are climbing at Chinese ports as nickel pig iron producers reduce purchases. “Plants around Linyi in Shandong have all been shut down. In other places, the government is shutting down plants too,” one trader working for a Southeast Asian miner told Reuters. “The government intervention is too powerful.” China’s top planning body, the NDRC, last August issued a circular forbidding small blast furnaces from being used for nickel pig iron. The current campaign, spearheaded by the State Environmental Protection Agency, or SEPA, is targeting blast furnaces with a volume of between 128 cubic metres and 380 cubic metres."
  • "Hedge fund investor George Soros said Tuesday the investment flood into commodity indexes bears eerie similarities to the craze for portfolio insurance which led to the stock market crash of 1987. "In both cases, the institutions are piling in on one side of the market and they have sufficient weight to unbalance it," said Soros in testimony prepared for a Senate panel on energy manipulation." - more

  Nearly 150 years after white miners attacked their Chinese counterparts at Young in southwest NSW, cashed-up Chinese companies are set to return to the region and take control of one of Australia's biggest untapped nickel deposits. - more

  Kazakhstan plans to impose export and production taxes on all oil, gas and mining companies from Jan. 1, Interfax reported. - more (special note of thanks to a reader from the Middle East who wishes to remain anonymous but sends this site some very valuable links and reports. Thank you!)

  It is reported that the price of high carbon ferrochromium continued to fall in the Chinese market during the past week as a result of slow demand. - more

  ArcelorMittal South Africa, the continent's biggest steel-maker, on Tuesday confirmed that it would increase its prices for flat and long steel products for confirmed delivery from July 1 by between 4% and 6%. - more

  Global commodity derivatives market has surpassed physical markets in the last five years and continues to grow by leaps and bounds amidst widespread allegations about speculation and manipulation in commodity futures markets. - more (note - this statement is incorrect = "Prices of many commodities such as .., nickel, .... have reached record highs in early 2008.")

  Last month, we celebrated Mining Week in Greater Sudbury, an annual event designed to promote the importance of the mining and processing industry to the community at large. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.18/lb higher. Dollar is down this morning, and except for those metals selling flat, the rest are trading in the green. Nickel is working on day 3 of establishing a floor and putting a halt to the recent price collapse. As can be seen by the Sucden chart here, the trend has stabilized since Friday. Whether it will last, has yet to be seen, but it's a fair bet the traders will try hard to make this stick.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Commodity Online Daily Base Metals Report - here
  • Brook Hunt Monthly Report - here
  • Scrap Metals Market Watch for June - here
  • Canada Commodity Price Update - pdf here
  • Reuters Metal Weekly - pdf here
  • Merafe Resources Ltd presentation - pdf here (large file, mostly investors info, but good ferrochrome info also)

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "All in all, yesterday’s recovery in metals was impressive, coming as it did in the wake of a stronger dollar, which rallied on news that the US ISM Index for May rose to 49.6-- slightly ahead of consensus estimates of 48.5. Separately, construction spending for April also showed a smaller-than-expected -.4% decline....We have opened higher this morning as several of the secondary metals that were oversold last week are staging a bit of a recovery. Nevertheless, with questions about Chinese demand persisting across a broad swath of metals, we think most will have trouble mounting sustainable advances. The dollar is also weaker today and lending some support to the group. The greenback lost ground against both the Yuan, which reached 2008 highs overnight, and the Euro, which strengthened on relatively upbeat macro date out of Europe and continued credit woes. In the latter regard, Lehman Brothers is the latest corporate entry seeking more capital, this according to today’s Wall Street Journal. The investment bank was thought to have warded off the latest credit seizures by doing a relatively good job in selling off assets to raise equity, but apparently, this has not been enough....Nickel is at $22,600, up $400, and seeing a bit of a bounce after oversold conditions yesterday. However, rallies still look vulnerable, especially as we approach the $25,000 mark." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  Baosteel claims that China’s oversupply of stainless steel will become more apparent in the coming years, despite an anticipated 9% increase in demand. - more

  Jinchuan Group Ltd., China's dominant nickel producer, said Tuesday growth in the country's stainless steel consumption in the first four months of this year slowed from the same period last year. - more

  POSCO, although privatized in 2000, is still represented as South Korea's symbol of national pride, as much of the once underdeveloped country's economic development was driven by steel-based industries. - more

  • It is reported that POSCO has stopped producing series 200 stainless steel. - more

  Metals group Outokumpu plans to invest €420 million to double ferrochrome production in Finland to 530,000 tons a year. - more

  According to the recently released information by Chinese custom authorities, Chinese ferrochrome exports during April 2008 amounted to 45,683 tonnes. - more

  • It is reported that the price of high carbon ferrochromium continued to fall in the Chinese market during the past week as a result of slow demand. - more

  UK stainless steel scrap prices have fallen by GBP 70 per tonne, following the drop in nickel prices on the LME. - more

  With 25 billion tonnes in reserves, India is among one of the world's iron ore-rich countries. - more

  After rejecting a share-buy by a Potanin ally, Prokhorov makes a counter-bid to start new share price spiral. - more

  Rising raw material costs for steel have pushed prices higher and with a lack of liquidity in the financial system projects in Asia are being put on hold, industry leaders told a conference. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities 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.
Monday, June 2
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • All daily inventory and official price information moved to morning update.
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 18 to 11.458. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • UK's manufacturing sector is showing signs of a potential recession, when the Chartered Institute of Purchasing Managers' manufacturing index fell to 50.0 in May from 50.8 in April. In the US, the Institute for Supply Management's factory index rose to 49.6 from 48.6 in April (more). Dollar traded up then down against the Euro, and appears it may end up as a wash for the day. While the dollar was giving no clear direction, oil was back on the climb today, stoking inflation worries. Metals were mixed, with precious mostly up and base either barely backwards, to up. Nickel and tin have been taking a shellacking lately, and today they regained a little. The market obviously is struggling to find a floor, and whether Friday's and today's attempt is successful or not is yet to be seen, but its the first semi-solid footing the market has had in nearly a month. You can see Friday's pause in Sucden's chart here. According to Dow Jones, three month nickel ended its first day of June trading at $10.07/lb .  
  • Economic Times - more

  We welcome a new site sponsor this month - molybdenum producer Roca Mines. Site sponsors help keep this site free for all of our regular readers and visitors. Roca Mines' MAX Molybdenum Mine is the first new primary molybdenum mine in Canada and is located near Revelstoke, British Columbia. The 50 million+ tonne resource at MAX contains over 110 million lbs. of molybdenum and includes a high-grade zone of 280,000 tonnes grading 1.95% MoS2 (1.17% Mo equiv.) which is the focus of initial production at MAX. The development of the mine was built over an 18-month timeframe which included Phase II development work designed for the delivery of 5 million lbs. of molybdenum production annually for the next 3 years. Roca produces a molybdenite concentrate which is sold via an offtake agreement with a European buyer. Roca estimates its current and near-term production costs to be well below US$10/lb. so with molybdenum prices currently in the US$33-34 range, the profitability margins are substantial. Further exploration work on MAX, which is open at depth, will be undertaken with a view to expanding the resource base. Tungsten mineralization has been discovered on the MAX property which, along with Roca's other exploration projects in British Columbia, will have exploration programs conducted on them this year.

  Commodity Comments/Reports

  • JP Morgan analyst Michael Jansen - "Although base metals' prices represent value for the medium term now, other factors suggest further retracement could be in order."
  • TD Bank Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here

  Strong gold and base metals prices have been key to the Toronto Stock Exchange's winning formula, but the continuing upward creep of mining costs has put the brakes on bigger gains. - more

  A review of the multi-billion kina Ramu nickel mine has been deferred for another month. Mining Minister and acting Prime Minister Dr Puka Temu, in Madang last Friday [23 May], has deferred the mining review to accommodate growing dissatisfaction by landowners and the provincial government. - more

  The fight by mining municipalities to win fair tax treatment from the Ontario government is entering a new phase. The drive is spearheaded by the two largest mining communities in Canada, Sudbury and Timmins. - more

  The boom in nickel production could be extended to include Young in NSW under a deal by Melbourne-based junior Jervois Mining with a Chinese consortium headed by construction giant China Railway Group. - more

  Not stainless/nickel related but for those of you who may have co-workers who don't think safety glasses are important, Gateway Safety documents an interesting case - pdf here

  A power deficit of around 8 mln kilowatts is expected in the southern provinces of Guangdong, Guizhou and Yunnan during the peak summer demand season, the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) said. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.12/lb lower. Indicator charts show nickel was quiet thru much of the pre-trading hours but plunged nearly $600/tonne in early trading, and is now attempting to recover. Macquarie is reporting pig nickel producers are shutting down in China as nickel price falls below their profitability level. We have seen some reports from China that pig nickel producers were hurting from lack of sales well before the price of nickel began its most recent price collapse, so this is very probable.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Financial Times - more
  • Reuters - more

  DJ Nickel Pig Iron Output Shutdowns To Support LME Price - Macq - "Cuts in stainless steel production and the sharp fall in nickel prices have forced the closure of significant parts of China's nickel pig iron production, key swing producers for the stainless steel ingredient, and that should support nickel prices around current levels, Macquarie Monday said in a report." - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Commodity Online Week in Review - here
  • Haywood Security Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here
  • Germany - Damstahl Stainless Steel Report - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Base metals ended mixed on Friday, with copper and ali reversing some of their previous losses on decent stock data, but the rest of the group extended their declines. The weaker dollar did not have much of an impact. As of this writing, we are sharply lower amidst very quiet conditions. About the only items we see affecting metals today, is a slightly stronger dollar and a struggling energy complex, of which the latter is figuring more prominently. In this regard, is interesting to note that we have not seen any of the sharp upside reversals that have typically followed other previous downturns in crude oil prices. Instead, the energy sector has never really recovered from last Wednesday’s drubbing despite some attempts to rally. This suggests that we very well may have entered a trading range in crude, and that a near-term top has been formed. Moreover, energy is not getting any upside help from any of the other commodity complexes either. This is best illustrated in the chart on the next page, where we see that the S&P GSCI nonenergy commodity index has turned south quite sharply of late, while the energy index seems to be hanging on somewhat on its own. We expect that something will have to give here, as the two complexes will eventually have to re-synchronize. If energy prices fail to push higher, they most likely will catch up with the rest of the group and move lower instead, thus exerting even further downward pressure on commodities in general....Nickel is at $22,050, down $50, and here too, charts still look bleak. Having said that, nickel's RSI is the lowest in the group (at 21) so we would not be surprised to see a modest bounce here, but selling the rallies still seems to be the operating strategy for now." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Copyright/courtesy Dow Jones - "Nickel prices remain reliant on stainless steel demand, and that continues to disappoint indicating prices could be weaker longer term.  ....What is "more interesting," is the rising discount of 27-month nickel relative to cash nickel indicating an increasingly bearish mood for the long term, BNP Paribas says."

  BASE and precious metals prices firmed slightly on Friday after tracking downwards for several days on a range of factors. - more

  Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Co., China's biggest maker of the rust-resistant alloy, and its parent will develop an 8.8 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) iron-ore project in the northern province of Shanxi to secure raw materials. - more

  China's steelmakers are likely to reach a deal with Australian iron ore miners this month in price talks long deadlocked over the miners' demand for a freight premium, a senior Chinese steel official said on Monday. - more

  It is reported that most of the big new nickel developments around these days are on nickel laterite deposits, relatively plentiful, but difficult to process with few coming on stream without major start up problems in their complex and enormously expensive, hydrometallurgical extraction plants. - more

  Government is believed to have decided to impose 15 per cent export duty on iron ore, used for making steel, which has seen a 50 per cent increase in prices since January, thereby fuelling inflation. - more

  • India will consider steelmakers' demand to ban iron ore exports, Press Trust of India reported, citing R. S. Pandey, the top bureaucrat in the steel ministry. - more

  The U.S. Department of Commerce will impose an amazingly high import duty of about 700% on major Chinese steel pipe producers, according to sources. - more

  Funeral bells may have sounded for two of Latin America’s top gold projects after mineral-rich Venezuela warned it will not issue permits in a forest reserve, part of a slow campaign grinding away at private miners. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities 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.

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All prices shown on this page are indications only. "A Guide To LME Trading"...pdf here "The ABCs of a Metals Exchange" ...pdf here (Molybdenum prices are for molybdenum oxide, an ingredient and major price factor in 316 stainless) (all ton listings are metric tons = 2204.622 pounds ) Updated daily before 8 am CST and before 1 pm CST weekdays - Disclaimer Original content and opinions copyright www.estainlesssteel.com. Note - For real time and official LME prices, LME requires a reader to subscribe to an authorized LME vendor.

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