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Wednesday, June 30

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 41 to 2,406. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Wen Says Economy Heading in Right Direction, `Relatively Fast' Growth Seen // China's Communist Party Pledges More Openness Amid Increasing Labor Unrest // Bond Sales Plunge as Cash Hoards Allow Debt to Beat Equity: Credit Markets // China Stocks Drop Signals 65% Rally to Morgan Stanley  // Merrill Sees Flaws in `Not-So-Leading' China Indicator After Stocks Tumble // Japanese Stocks Fall to Seven-Month Low as U.S. Consumer Confidence Drops  // Polish Central Bank Keeps Key Rate Unchanged at Record Low for 12th Month // Europe Inflation Slows More Than Economists Forecast as Energy Prices Drop // Dollar Weakens on U.S. Recovery Doubts; Yen Retreats From Eight-Year High // European Stocks Fall on Weaker-Than-Forecast U.S. Jobs Report; Rio Slides // Foreclosed Homes in U.S. Sell at 27% Discount as Distressed Supply Grows // U.S. Two-Year Note Yields May Soon Mimic Bills, Ira Jersey Says: Tom Keene // Business Activity in U.S. Expanded for Ninth Month //
  • The Euro is trading higher by nearly 2/3 of 1% against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is trading higher by 3/4 of 1% and at $75.38/barrel. Gold is trading slightly higher while silver is up nearly 1/4 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mixed but mostly higher. Indicator charts show nickel started higher, then fell into the red until it crossed Sucden's resistance line of $19,000 and then after a period of hesitation, nickel was off to the races, with a jump over around $800 tonne from low to high point. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and second quarter of 2010 at $8.95/lb .  We put our unofficial average price of cash nickel at around $8.41/lb for June, down from $9.98/lb in May (our numbers, not official). This would lead us to believe the stainless steel surcharge for August will be lower than July's. Stockpiles of nickel stored worldwide in LME approved warehouses continue to slump overnight, and now sit just over the 124,000 tonne level. Sucden's day old nickel chart shows yesterday's huge sell-off (chart here). It is no surprise to see the RSI and SStoch now in deeply oversold territory. Ed Meir's chart, in his daily report, put the resistance line of $19,200 tonne, and although it fell thru this today, it did hold, which would imply 'technically' that this mini-rout is over, and we could see a bounce (which we saw late today), albeit no more than a dead cat bounce if the economic news remains negative. Traders and funds start a new quarter tomorrow so we could see some fresh investment in nickel. Then again, nickel is coming off a fairly bad quarter, and may not look as desirable to fund investors. The Baltic Dry Index continues to tumble, down another 41 points. We understand all the controversy over the usefulness of the BDI as an effective economic gauge with a surplus of shipping, but it is hard for us to see returning to a path of consistent and notable recovery without the BDI laying out some positive numbers. In other words, twenty three straight drops is no "green shoot". The mediated talks in Canada between Vale and the striking USW have ended, with the fate of eleven striking workers the impasse that neither side could agree on. Instead of leaving the question of the eleven to Canada labor laws and Canadian courts to resolve, the union leadership has chosen to keep the other 3000 plus members out on strike to protest their dismissal. At midnight tonight, the first half of 2010 will be history.     

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Insider - pdf here
  • Platts Asian nickel demand to outpace supply (podcast) - audio here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • China backstops commodities pricing - more
  • Recovery Faces Tough Road, Double Dip or Not - more
  • Video: Robert Shiller Wary on Economic Outlook - more
  • Economics is Easy; Comedy is Hard - more
  • MBA: Mortgage Refinance Applications increase, Purchase Applications near 13 Year Low - more
  • Ferguson, Roubini vs. Krugman: Slowdown or Depression for The U.S.? - more
  • It's 1937 Again! - more
  • Cleveland Fed Estimates of Inflation Expectations - more
  • No double-dip for global economy: IMF chief - more
  • Governments Move to Cut Spending, in 1930s Echo - more
  • In Ireland, a Picture of the High Cost of Austerity - more
  • Dark Cross History - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.15/lb  higher, but showing signs of peaking already, with other base metals mixed. The Euro is trading 6/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, with it too showing signs of possibly peaking earlier. NYMEX crude oil is up 3/4 of 1% and at $76.50/barrel. Gold and silver are both trading about 1/1 0 of 1% higher this morning. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off more than 1%. China began yesterday's rout but so far, other world markets are not following its lead today. European markets are slightly higher, and US futures show Wall Street could open higher. Nickel inventories continued to slump overnight and the talks in Sudbury between Vale and the USW have collapsed over the fate of eleven fired strikers. It is the final day of the quarter for commodity and equity traders.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals slumped badly on Tuesday, with copper hitting a one-week low and practically erasing half of this month’s gain in only one session. The rest of the group was also hit badly, with the selling being particularly fierce in zinc, lead, and aluminum. The bearish action also spilled over into the energy markets and US stocks, where the Dow shed almost 270 points. The weaker tone all emanated in Asia yesterday after the release of the revised economic index from China, but the selling was exacerbated later in the day by a report showing US consumer confidence dropping by almost 10 points in June to 52.9, down from the revised 62.7 in May. Economists had been expecting the reading to dip to 62.8, but instead, the markets were stunned by the biggest decline in confidence readings since February. The stronger dollar was also instrumental in triggering some selling yesterday, as it rallied to $1.2148 against the Euro, its highest level since mid-June. The greenback was responding to jitters emanating from Europe, this time having to do with investor unease about the fact that the ECB was calling in about €442bn in one-year loans made to a number of banks, all of it due today. Banks would now have to roll over their debt in three-month installments as opposed to the one-year tranche (now no longer available to them). This morning’s action in Europe was therefore very important, as it would give us a sense of how many institutions would be lining up for three-month money, how many will pay the debt off, and how many of the weaker banks opt to borrow from each other at the much higher inter-bank rate. As it turned out, the European Central Bank said it lent banks €131.9 billion for three months, much less than economists forecast, and a sign that funding needs were not as pressing as feared. This is has given the Euro a shot in the arm, with the currency now trading at just under $1.23, and lifting most other markets up along with it. Along with higher base metals and energy prices, a firmer tone in European equities is leading to a higher call for US stocks, and that is indeed welcome news, as our S&P chart in our attachment shows just how precariously poised the index is, with prices resting on nine-month support around the 1030-1050 level. ..... We are $19,470 on nickel, up $395. Despite yesterday’s sharp decline, prices are holding support at $19,000. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (DJ) Talks between Brazilian miner Vale SA. and the United Steelworkers union to end an 11-month-old strike at Vale's nickel operations in Ontario have been terminated, as the two sides were deadlocked, the government-appointed mediator said Tuesday. The two sides reached an impasse over the legal avenues available to eight of nine employees that were let go during the strike, mediator Kevin Burkett said in a statement received by Dow Jones Newswires.
  • (Yieh) Chinese stainless steel mills would probably cut the output in July because of the slack demand. Some stainless steel mills like Jisco have showed the intention to cut the output while Tisco still has not showed the attitude. Besides, nickel pig iron producers have also started to cut production as prices and demand reduced.
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) announced to cut its July’s domestic stainless steel price by NT$2,000~3,000/ton and its export price to drop by US$50~80/ton. Yusco has slashed its 300 series domestic price by NT$2,000/ton and for 400 series price to lower by NT$3,000/ton.
  • (AP) Indonesia's North Maluku legislative assembly (DPRD) has asked two nickel mining companies in East Halmahra regency to immediately stop their mining activities for illegal operations in North Maluku. The two companies respectively PT Kemakmuran Inti Utama (KIUT) and PT Kemakmuran Pertiwi Tambang (KPT) are no longer entitled to carry out mining operations in North Maluku.
  • (JMB) Japanese raw steel demand to meet steel products shipment will decrease by 4.3% to 26.82 million tonnes in July-September from April-June, which decreases for the first time in 2 quarters, announced by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Tuesday.
  • Commodity Slump Means Worst Quarter in More Than a Year on Growth Outlook - more
  • China stocks continue downward trend Wednesday - more
  • (AP) South Korea's industrial output grew for the 11th straight month in May, a sign that the economy is rebounding fast from the global downturn, a government report showed Wednesday. According to the report by Statistics Korea, production in the mining and manufacturing sectors expanded 21.5 per cent last month from the same month a year earlier.
  • Analyst Interviews: Steel Industry Review And Outlook - more
  • Russian Bosses Eye Mining Investments in Indonesia - more

  Talvivaara says production ramp-up on track - Talvivaara Mining Co Plc said on Wednesday the ramp-up of production at its mine in Finland was on track and it had agreed credit line to boost financial flexibility.  - more

  Truce over Norilsk Nickel collapses - Moscow is bracing for a clash between two of its richest men as a Kremlin-brokered ceasefire broke down in spectacular fashion. - more

  Negotiations With Mining Industry Over Tax Are Constructive, Gillard Says - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she’s encouraged by discussions over the fate of a proposed mining tax amid newspaper reports that a compromise may be in the works. - more

  EU fines steel makers 518mln euros for price-fixing - The European Commission fined 17 steel producers a total of 518 million euros (635 million dollars) on Wednesday for running a price-fixing cartel, with industry giant ArcelorMittal hit the hardest. - more

  2nd SAfrica union rejects Eskom offer, plans strike - Members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) rejected a new pay offer from state-owned utility Eskom and plan to strike next week during the World Cup, a union spokesman said on Wednesday. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star // Northern Life.ca
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • Vale Sudbury strike talks called off by mediator - Mediated talks aimed at ending a nearly year-long strike at Vale's Sudbury, Ontario, nickel and copper mining operations have been called off due to a dispute over fired workers, a mediator said on Tuesday. - more
  • Labour Minister to meet Vale and striking Sudbury workers - Ontario Labour Minister Peter Fonseca said late on Tuesday he will meet with Vale and the union representing its 3 000-plus striking Sudbury workers by the end of the week, after the latest round of talks fell apart. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, June 29

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 35 to 2,447. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg)  Sri Lanka Plans Biggest Budget-Deficit Reduction in Eight Years for Growth // China Leading Index Gain Cut to Smallest in Five Months, Hammering Stocks // Global Markets Face `Renewed Turbulence' on Deficits, Aberdeen Asset Says // Japan Jobless Rate Unexpectedly Rises, Spending Drops // China Stocks Decline Most in Six Weeks on Slowing Economic Growth Concern // Asian Stocks Fall to Two-Week Low on Chinese Growth Concerns // Greeks Walk Off Job to Protest Overhaul to Pensions, Labor Laws // Alex to Become Hurricane as Swells Reach Gulf Spill // Ulyukayev Warns of Ruble Volatility, Says Strengthening Period Is `Over' // Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, BayernLB Pass Stress Test // German Bonds Rise as Signs of Economic Slowdown Boost Demand for Refuge //  European Shares Retreat on China Growth Concern, Slump in U.S. Confidence // Treasuries Rise on Flight to Safety as Two-Year Yield Falls to Record Low // Consumer Confidence in U.S. Fell More Than Forecast // S&P 500 Index Sinks Below Year's Low on China, Consumer Confidence Data // U.S. Stocks Slide on Consumers, China
  • The Euro is currently trading over 6/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down over 3.2% and at $75.73/barrel. Gold is higher by nearly 4/10 of 1% on safe haven buying, while silver is off  more than 9/10 of 1%. Base metals , for the most part, got flogged today, all ending lower. Indicator charts show nickel started off well lower than yesterday, and after US markets opened, they fell even further. Dow Jones reports three day nickel ended the day at $8.64/lb , dropping nearly $1500/tonne. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses worldwide fell to just under the 124, 700 tonne level, after another day of multiple large withdrawals with no inbound shipments being recorded. Norilsk announced its first two ships would leave Dudinka the 6th or 7th of July, after a longer than normal closure due to spring flooding.  It will be interesting to watch inventories when Norilsk resumes shipments of nickel into Europe. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). This is the third chart we have seen that shows nickel never got as high as the Dow reported it closed yesterday, so take yesterday's closing price with a grain of salt. The Baltic Dry Index continues to slump, after doing a head fake at the 2500 level. Unless a trader was short today, the markets were just plain mean to them. Consumer confidence, according to the Conference Board, plunged in June. The talk about the possibility of a double dip recession has moved out of the corner whispers and off the pages of the doom and gloom papers to mainstream media and normal conversation. Marketwatch issued an investor alert early on "Street abuzz with 'double dip' chatter". And for the technical traders, the future isn't looking all that better (article). Today has so far, been pure ugliness.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MFG) RUSAL boycotted the election of a chairman at Norilsk Nickel yesterday after winning one fewer seat on the Norilsk board than co-owner Interros. RUSAL said in a statement that the outcome of the board election was "the result of manipulation of Norilsk Nickel shares." The boycott may signal a new battle for control between RUSAL's Oleg Deripaska and Interros's Vladimir Potanin. Each group controls slightly more than a quarter of Norilsk. RUSAL said it is seeking to convene an extraordinary general meeting to discuss the issue.
  • Chicago Fed: Best Days Behind Us? - more
  • Recession Warning - more
  • Fiscal Crises of the States: Causes and Consequences - more
  • Fed Governor Kevin Warsh speech yesterday - more
  • Economists React: Nongovernment Wages Starting to Rise - more
  • First-Time Homebuyer Traffic Nose-Dive - more
  • Europe Double-Dip May Bring Correction: Roubini - more
  • The Chinese (Reporting) Bubble - more
  • The three biggest lies about the economy - more
  • Economists React: Sustained Upturn in Confidence Remains Elusive - more
  • Home Prices Rose Sharply in Final Days of Tax Credit - more
  • The letter of the day is W - more

  Vale ramping up Long Harbour work - Mining giant Vale is preparing to hire hundreds of more workers to finish a gigantic nickel processing plant in southern Newfoundland. - more

  Son Ha exports 2,000 tones of stainless steel pipe in first half - Son Ha Group has exported 2,000 tones of stainless steel pipe valued at VND 145 billion during the first half of this year, according to Harry Lee, International Sale Manager for Son Ha Products Exports. - more

  EU to fine steel cartel for price fixing-sources - European Union antitrust regulators will this week fine steel companies, including world leader ArcelorMittal, for operating a cartel, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Monday. - more

  Russian steelmakers see US demand supporting prices - Russian steelmakers expect U.S. steel demand to support prices for the rest of the year despite recent weakness in China and a soft Eurozone economy, the top two Russian producers said on Monday. - more

  Court to decide limits on retaliation ban - The Supreme Court will decide whether a company can legally retaliate against an employee's friends, relatives or spouse for the employee's filing of a discrimination claim. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.31/lb lower, with all base metals following worldwide equity markets lower. The Euro is trading 6/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, adding additional pressure on commodity traders. NYMEX crude is down nearly 2.2% and at $76.54/barrel. Gold is down 1/3 of 1% and silver is off by 2/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower with Shanghai down a whooping 4.3%. Europe is trading much lower this morning, and US futures, at the moment, show a 100 plus point drop in store for Wall Street.  Nickel inventories fell hard again overnight. Markets were apparently taken off guard by the big drop in China overnight, and traders are scrambling to sell, while analysts struggle to explain it. With China the prime driving force behind the worldwide recovery, any trading panic there is sure to spread.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices ended higher yesterday, but were off the day's best levels. The positive close nevertheless looked suspect in light of a stronger dollar and receding energy prices. US equity markets also failed to inspire, closing mixed, as the macro numbers out yesterday failed to ignite much buying. In this regard, personal income rose 0.4% in May, while spending climbed 0.2% (both in line with estimates), but a rise in the US savings rate to 4% overshadowed these gains, indicating that consumers are still not spending freely. In addition, some investors were concerned about a weekend pledge by G20 nations to halve their deficits by 2013 and stabilize their debt by 2016, implying that the days of freewheeling stimulus spending may be over. However, when one considers how much of the various Western budgets are mandated by law, it will take more than a G-20 declaration to make real progress on this front, and we would therefore not read too much into this communiqué. Although the bearish bias on display yesterday did not derail the advance in metals, it is doing so with a vengeance today. The weakness started in the Asian markets, where another poor showing in the Chinese equity market (down 4% on the day) spilled over into metals. Chinese stocks slumped on account of a large IPO and after the release of a newly unveiled US-based Conference Board economic index that was revised to show the smallest gain in five months for April. The April index reading showed an increase of .3%-- less than the 1.7% gain initially reported on June 15. Although the Conference Board attributed much of this revision to an error made in the previous calculation, that was of little comfort to Chinese investors, who proceeded to dump some of their equity holdings on growing concern about slowing Chinese growth. The dollar is also contributing to the weaker tone we are seeing in metals, with the greenback now at $1.2190, and reaching its strongest level against the Euro since mid-June. Crude oil prices are buckling as well, off by about $1.80. Along with the bearish impact of the stronger dollar, the recent storm-induced gains in energy are apparently being rolled back as well. US stocks are expected to open sharply lower. ...  We are $20,000 on nickel, down $650. Prices are above the breakout line we displayed in yesterday's chart, but are likely to break below it. We look for further erosion to the low $19,000 mark.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) The first two vessels carrying Norilsk Nickel's export metal to the world markets will leave the company's Dudinka port on the Yenisey River between July 3 and 6, opening this year's summer navigation, the port authority said Tuesday. Winter navigation ended May 21, and the port has remained idle, waiting for the ice to break and clear into the Arctic Ocean.
  • (Yieh) Currently, European stainless alloy surcharges are expected to fall slightly for July with price gap €190/ton from a month ago. Meanwhile, Outokumpu has announced to cut its based stainless steel for European market in July due to weak demand as nickel price continues to drop further.
  • (AP) Indonesian coal firm PT Dayaindo Resources International and South Korean firm Chungrim Global Co Ltd plan to build a nickel smelter in Sulawesi, worth $60 million, in which each party will contribute 50 percent, said Dayaindo's president director Sudiro Andi Wiguna, adding the new smelter is expected to operate next year.
  • (MB) Taigang keeps stainless prices flat despite higher nickel prices\
  • (LCM) Zhang Xiaogang, general manager of Liaoning-based Chinese steel producer Anshan Steel (Angang), has stated that in July many Chinese mills may incur losses, and thus more and more domestic steel producers will choose to cut or halt production.
  • (PT) RUSAL accuses Norilsk Nickel mgmt of board vote manipulation
  • China's stocks decline to 14-mth low - more
  • MDM - The Chicago Fed National Activity Index edged lower to +0.21 in May from +0.25 in April. Production indicators continued to make strong contributions to the index in May, while weaker contributions from employment- and housing-related indicators accounted for the slight decrease in the index from April.

  Stainless Steel Market Becalmed - Seasonal effects on demand have combined with a fall in nickel prices to bring about a lull in stainless steel sales. Customers are attempting to control their inventories around the period of subdued activity. - more

  SMM Exclusive: China's NPI Metal Output in May Reaches 18.8kt - According to data from SMM, China's NPI physical output in May were 376.9kt, or 18.8kt of metal output after conversion. China's NPI physical output was up 51% YoY and down 3.8% MoM. China's metal nickel output, after conversion, was up 103% YoY and down 6% MoM. - more

  Cuba, Venezuela to build joint ferronickel plant - Cuba and Venezuela began constructing a US$700-million ferronickel plant in western Cuba, the official weekly Trabajadores reported on Monday. - more

  China to Keep Minor Metals Export Limits, Industry Ministry Official Says - China, facing a trade probe by the World Trade Organization on raw material export constraints, will continue to curb shipment and production of minor metals to conserve resources and limit pollution, an official said. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending June 26, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,763,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 72.9 percent. Production was 1,123,000 tons in the week ending June 26, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 46.9 percent. The current week production represents a 57.0 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending June 26, 2010 is down 2.5 percent from the previous week ending June 19, 2010 when production was 1,808,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 74.8 percent.

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, June 28

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 19 to 2,482. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Emerging-Market Stocks Snap Four-Day Drop, Currencies Rise on Deficit Plan // Tata May Lure Hyundai, Suzuki Buyers as India Ends Gasoline Price Control // Bond Market Returning 3.4% in Best Year Since '05 Amid Concern Rally Over // Tackling China's Local-Government Debt May Hurt Nation's Growth, CICC Says // Gillard Flexibility on Australia Mine Tax Revives Labor's Election Chance // Toyota, Nissan, Honda Lead Rebound in Japan Auto Production on U.S. Demand // Most Asian Stocks Decline; Japanese Banks Drop on Mizuho's Share-Sale Plan // Italian Bond Spread Widens as European Nations Auction $13 Billion in Debt // Silver Posting Best Streak Since Hunts No Matter Which Way Economy Turns // Standard Chartered Slides as European Sovereign Debt Crisis Slows Revenue // Rally in Europe for First Time in Five Days // Robert Byrd, Longest Serving U.S. Senator, Dies at 92 // Obama's Budget Office Puts $3 Billion in U.S. Technology Contracts on Hold // Alex Gains Strength, May Become Hurricane in 48 Hours // Aflac Sells Entire Holding of Greek Sovereign Debt for a $67 Million Loss  // Debt Distress Rises as Goldman, JPMorgan Vary on Defaults: Credit Markets
  • The Euro is presently trading nearly 2/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1%, gold is 1-1/3%, and silver is off over 1.8%. Base metal traders disregarded the beat up Euro today and drove most base metal prices higher. Indicator chart show nickel traded strong thru most of the day, with the days upward trend holding intact. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.37/lb , while indicator charts don't show it ever made it quite that high. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses continue to slump, now sitting just over the 125,300 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru last week (chart here). The Sucden analyst put resistance at the TL2 line and $20,550/tonne, the both of which were breached in today's trading, according to the closing the Dow Jones is reporting. And even though the RSI and SStoch show a market that opened this morning in an overbought status, nickel traders apparently believe the deficit reducing action taken by many of the G-20 nations, will have a positive action on long term nickel investment. IE, the speculators are back. The Baltic Dry Index fell for the 21st consecutive session, and below the 2500 level. This one took us by surprise as the decline had slowed to a crawl and it looked like the 2500 level could be the turnaround point. While the Reuters and the University of Michigan. survey reported Friday that American's consumer sentiment was at its highest level in two year, but the Commerce Department reported this morning that the US savings rate rose to an eight month high. MarketWatch reports "The savings rate rose to 4% from 3.8%. Households are saving three times as much out of their disposable incomes as they did just before the recession began in late 2007." While we tend to agree with those who feel American's will soon forget most lessons learned during this recession, as in living beyond ones means, the increase in savings does show that at least for now, uncertainty remains among many. Employment remains one of the biggest concerns, and weekend newspaper articles questioning "just how bad this week's report might be', do s little to instill confidence.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Reuters) A measure of future U.S.economic growth rose slightly in the latest week, but its annualized growth rate continued to fall, indicating the economy is about to slow, a research group said on Friday.The Economic Cycle Research Institute, a New York-based independent forecasting group, said its Weekly Leading Index rose to 122.9 in the week ended June 18, up from 122.4 the prior week, originally reported as 122.5.
  • RBS tells clients to prepare for 'monster' money-printing by the Federal Reserve - more
  • Ben Bernanke needs fresh monetary blitz as US recovery falters - more
  • BIS Warns Central Banks Against Keeping Rates Low for Too Long - more
  • Thatcher-Reagan Reforms Come Under Fire - more
  • The Third Depression - more
  • Are Home Prices Too High — or Too Low? - more
  • Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About An Israeli Attack On Iran - more
  • Will We Have Inflation, Deflation, or Hyperinflation? Part 3 - more

  Blackout on environment law - Papua New Guinea has banned all reporting and public discussion of controversial environment law amendments which could allow a Chinese miner to pump waste out to sea, outraging a civil rights group. - more

  Steel Dynamics sees fits-and-starts 2nd half growth - U.S. steel demand should continue to grow at a gradual pace for the foreseeable future, but summertime seasonal factors will likely cause an industry lull in July, said Steel Dynamics Inc Chief Executive Keith Busse. - more

  China slaps final anti-dumping duties on EU steel fasteners - China slapped final anti-dumping duties on steel fasteners imported from the European Union on Monday in a tit-for-tat battle over trade in nuts and bolts worth hundreds of millions of euros. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.23/lb higher, with other base metals all trading higher. The Euro is not giving commodities much help this morning, trading nearly 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down nearly 6/10 of 1% and at $78.41/barrel. Gold is down 1/10 of 1% and silver is down slightly less than that. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China down over 7/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning , and US futures show Wall Street may open slightly higher. LME nickel ended last week at $8.96/lb , up from Thursday's close. LME nickel inventories continue their decline.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals rallied to their highest levels in nearly one month on Friday, led mainly by copper, which gained almost $200 on the week, and is now closing in on the $7000 mark. There was no one reason that was behind Friday’s robust move, but we have to suspect that the surge in crude oil prices due to weather-related jitters in the US Gulf must have generated some impact. Gains in the US equity markets also helped the firmer tone, particularly after a compromise agreement was reached in Congress on new regulations governing the financial sector. The new bill is quite complicated, and extends the reach of government into a variety of sectors, but there was a palpable sense of relief by many in the banking community that some of the more stringent proposals were left out. The legislation sparked a decent rally in many of the financial stocks on Friday, although the broader averages still finished mixed. Highlights of the bill are summarized in a Bloomberg article that can be highlighted by clicking on the link in our attachment. We think some of the rally's underpinnings were also laid out last weekend on news that China will let the renminbi drop slightly in value against the dollar, something we suggested was a distinct possibility when writing about the Chinese currency in earlier commentary. Although the renminbi ultimately fell on the day after the announcement was made (after rising initially), the authorities were likely intervening to try to control its potential appreciation and limit expectations for future gains. Nevertheless, we suspect the Chinese currency is on an upward path, and that further appreciation is not only in the cards, but will likely provide a measure of support to imported commodities, including many of the nonferrous metals and almost all the non-ferrous metals. At the G-20 meeting in Toronto this weekend, President Obama reiterated the importance of letting the Chinese currency depreciate further, and welcomed China's recent decision to loosen its trading band. He did emphasize, however, that further gains are expected, adding that the US will be "watching very closely in the months ahead.” In related developments, the G-20 said it has endorsed targets to cut deficits at least by half by 2013, and will also attempt to stabilize debt-to-output ratios by 2016. We have been relatively positive about metals in recent commentary, having expressed the view that much of the recent decline was somewhat overdone and overly influenced by the obsession with the falling Euro, whose decline, we think, is necessarily not that bad for European growth prospects. With the euro now stabilizing, a measure of buying has set onto the commodity markets, as the emphasis has shifted back towards global growth prospects. In energy's case, legitimate hurricane-related worries are spurring prices higher as well. Having said that, US macro numbers released last week seem to be pointing to signs that US growth seems to be decelerating, and we are therefore quite interested to see what this week’s macro statistics will show in this regard. .... We are $20,235 on nickel, up $575. Prices have bounced around the short-term downchannel (marked in red in our chart) for several days this month, but last week’s move seems to have definitely lifted values over the line. We look for further gains, with a move to $21,800 possible. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Market participants said that the nickel price will probably not rebound much in a short time and stainless steel market would remain quiet for some time.
  • (MB) EU, UK stainless steel scrap prices stable amid softer nickel and tight supply
  • (Interfax) Baoshan Iron and Steel Group (Baosteel Group) announced on June 28 that it aims to expand production capacity to more than 66 million tons and generate a sale revenue of RMB 440 billion ($64.81 billion) by 2015.
  • (ATA) The American Trucking Associations' advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 0.6 percent in May, which was the first month-to-month drop since February of this year. This followed an upwardly revised 1 percent increase in April. The latest reduction put the SA index at 109.6 (2000=100).
  • Hu: cautious on stimulus exits - more

   POSCO to lower stainless steel prices for July - South Korea's POSCO , the world's No.4 steelmaker, said in a statement on Monday that it would lower prices of major stainless steel products by 300,000 won ($246.9) per tonne for July to narrow the price gap with imports. - more

  Successful ramp-up of Norilsk Nickel underground mine - For the first time in the mine’s history, ore production at Severny-Gluboky mine of OJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel («Norilsk Nickel» or «the Company») was brought up to the rated capacity of 500 ktpm or 6 Mtpa. - more

  Europe feels the chill of a future built on metal - The European Commission, worried about supply, has produced a study of the resources it regards as critical. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, June 24

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 13 to 2502. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Taiwan to Sign China Pact, Deepening Trade Ties as Relations Thaw Under Ma // Yuan Gains on Speculation China Will Allow Appreciation Before G-20 Meets // Most Asian Stocks Rise; Australian Mining Stocks Advance // French Strike Over Pensions Reform Starts to Disrupt Rail, Air Services // European Union Is Said to Delay Vote on Hedge Fund Rules Until September // European Industrial Orders Increase for Third Month on Intermediate Goods // Greece Sovereign Bond Risk Rises to Record, Credit-Default Swaps Indicate // European Stocks Fall for Third Day; Greece, Portugal, Spain Lead Retreat // Mortgage Bonds Rise to `Insane' Highs as Refinancing Drops: Credit Markets // US Economy: Orders Show Investment Picking Up, Claims Drop // US Durables Orders Minus Transportation Rose 0.9% // U.S. Stocks Fall as Greece Swaps Surge to Record//
  • The Euro is now trading over 4/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, having bounced higher in the last hour. NYMEX crude oil is down 2/3 of 1% and at $75.84/barrel. Gold is up nearly 8/10 of 1% on renewed safe haven buying, while silver is up nearly 1-1/2%. Base metals ended in  the green, thanks in part to a stronger Euro. Indicator charts show nickel trading was choppy today, albeit within a $400/tonne range. Indicator charts show nickel slumped early, jumped mid day, fell back and then gained toward the end. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.80/lb , but it added nearly another $.10/lb gain in after market trading. Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses continue to fall, and now sit somewhere between the 126,200 to 126,600 tonne range depending on the report you believe. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The SStoch and RSI were reporting an oversold market, so those who trade technically had a signal to buy early in today's session. The Baltic Dry Index fell for its twentieth consecutive time overnight, down 13 points to 2,502. The descent is slowing though and its very possible we could see this losing streak end in the next few sessions. For those who follow and still believe in the BDI as an early warning sign to the overall world economy, this descent has been unnerving and a turnaround in the loss will be welcomed.  The Big Picture addressed the BDI today ion its blog (here). The Commerce Department reported durable good orders fell 1.1%, its first decline in six months and largest decline since August 2009. First time jobless claims fell last week, but the market has its eyes on European sovereign debt problems again, and is down as of this posting.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (PR) European Nickel PLC is pleased to advise shareholders that the Turkish President has ratified the new Mining Law and it has been enacted through its publication in the Official Gazette today. European Nickel has now commenced the process for the re-issuance of European Nickel's forestry permit.
  • Halfway Back to Lehman: New Report Shows Financial Conditions Tightening Sharply - more
  • Parsing the Fed: How the Statement Changed - more
  • Reagan Revolution Home To Roost -- In Charts - more
  • How Many Taxpayer Dollars Will Fannie Mae Spend Punishing Homeowners? - more
  • DOT: Vehicle Miles Driven increase in April - more
  • New Home Sales collapse to Record Low in May - more
  • A Closer Look at the Second Leg Down in Housing - more
  • Against The Super-Asinine, The Gods Themselves Contend in Vain - more

  Sudbury safe from nickel pig iron 'threat' - The threat that Chinese-produced nickel pig iron poses to Sudbury's nickel producers is overblown, according to mining analyst Raymond Goldie. - more

  Expect a deficit Nickel market for next two years - London Metal Exchange (LME) nickel inventory levels are down 20% from their peak in February and the latest International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) production data suggests that the nickel market will remain in deficit for 2010 and 2011. - more

  South African unions warn of power strike over pay - Unions representing about three-quarters of workers at South Africa's state-owned power company Eskom threatened on Thursday to call a strike over pay, potentially disrupting electricity supply during the World Cup. - more

  In honor of the new Australian Prime Minister, we share this short video with you (courtesy an Australian reader)

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.01/lb higher, and off session highs, with other base metals mixed. The Euro is trading 1/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, and also off earlier highs. NYMEX crude oil is down 2/3 of 1% and at $75.85/barrel. Gold is down 2/3 of 1% while silver is down nearly a full percent. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended quiet and slightly lower, with China much the same. European markets are trading lower this morning, and US futures show Wall Street may open bearishly. Nickel inventories fell overnight.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report this week
  • (Yieh) Japanese export price of nickel-bearing stainless scrap to China dropped to US$1,938/ton last weekend, which is the lowest price since August, 2009.
  • (MB) BHP's Cerro Matoso will adapt FeNi furnace to cope with lower Ni content
  • (MP) U.S. ferro-chrome prices remain under pressure on slowing demand
  • (China) Rebate removal to be hard on steel mills - more
  • Futures-Trading Curbs May Hurt Commodities, UN Says - more

  Nickel LME Inventories Fall Sharply, Putting Nickel Miners on Investor Radar - London Metal Exchange (LME) nickel inventory levels are down 20% from their peak in February and the latest International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) production data suggests that the nickel market will remain in deficit for 2010 and 2011. - more

  Miner finds nickel deposit in Surigao - Canadian miner Mindoro Resources Ltd. has found nickel deposit in its Agata mining project in Surigao del Norte in Mindanao. - more

  Mining applications ‘frozen’ after protest in Philippines - Six hundred indigenous people and farmers took to the streets on Palawan Island in the Philippines on June 7, to protest against plans to mine nickel on their land. - more

  Anti-Posco agitators take out rallies in Paradip - Anti-Posco protesters observed a ''black day''. - more

  Australia's first woman PM an old-school Labor leader - Australia's new prime minister, Julia Gillard, has become the first woman to lead her country, but her leadership style evokes the past, not the future. - more

  • New Australia PM pledges to listen to miners on tax - Critics of Australia's 40 percent mining tax proposed under former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd may see some of its sting removed after the country's new leader Julia Gillard signalled a willingness to negotiate a compromise. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, June 23

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 32 to 2,515. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Euro Near 1-Week Low Versus Yen on Speculation Global Recovery Will Stall // Toyota Halts Output at China Plant After Supplier Hit by Strike // China Won't Increase Interest Rates This Year, According to Morgan Stanley // Vegas Sands Targets Asia for 90% of Revenue as Mainlanders Return to Macau // Asia Millionaires Match Europe for First Time, Merrill Says  // Asian Stocks Drop Most in Two Weeks on U.S. Home Sales // BOE Was Split on Rate as Sentance Made First Push for Stimulus Withdrawal // European Stocks Drop for Second Day; CRH, HeidelbergCement Lead Decline // Iceland Cuts Benchmark Interest Rate to 8% as Krona Gains, Inflation Eases // Emirates Growth Splurge Rattles Long-Haul Rivals // Europe Manufacturing, Services Expansion Slows, Indicating Recovery Easing // Sales of U.S. New Houses Plunge to Lowest Level on Record //  Junk Bonds Revive on Bernanke `Sub-par' Economy: Credit Markets
  • The Euro is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, after record low new home sales stunned the market. NYMEX crude oil is down nearly 2-1/2% and just under the $76/barrel level. Gold is down nearly 1/2 of 1% and silver is off 1.6%. Base metals ended the session mostly lower. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher but spent much of the day sliding until it started a slight recovery a few hours before close. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.73/lb , its lowest close since the 10th. Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses slipped again overnight, with no inbound shipments  reported yet again. The overall total now sits just over the 127,400 tonne level. Life has returned to the research department of Sucden and they have finally updated their nickel day old nickel chart (chart here). The chart shows nickel trading doing a big fat nothing over the past week. The Baltic Dry Index fell for its nineteenth straight session overnight, down another 32 points. Some economists are worried by the BDI numbers - see "Freight fright *alert*" here. The big news for the day was China cutting export tax rebates on numerous non ferrous items. As far as nickel goes, China is a net importer, and exports very little nickel, so the impact here should be minimal. The impact to the industry, however, will come in the Chinese stainless steel industry and its exports. Already saddled with numerous anti dumping duties against them, the most recent by Russia just this week, this could slow stainless steel exports from the country. In light of a worldwide recovery that is suddenly showing evidence of someone having hit the pause button, this is not good news for Chinese exporters, but will be welcomed by worldwide stainless steel producers.  Sales of new homes fell 33% in May after a US government subsidy ended, far worse than economists expected. Wall Street is waiting on the wording in the Fed statement to be released later, as no hike in interest rates is expected for quite some time.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) India's steel imports from China will likely fall as the East Asian nation is proposing to withdraw an export incentive to its steelmakers, which would also lead to the metal's price rising, said Atul Chaturvedi, steel secretary for the South Asian country Wednesday.
  • Societe Generale - Nickel prices are expected to rebound in the fourth quarter on a re-acceleration in demand after the seasonal summer slowdown. Nickel prices are forecast to average $26,385/t in the fourth quarter.
  • Economists React: ‘Next Few Months Will Be Tough’ for Housing - more
  • Understanding German fiscal policy - more
  • On the Relative Strength Within Europe - more
  • S.&P. Warns of Rising Corporate Defaults - more
  • US Ranks Last among Seven Countries on Health System Performance - more
  • Tomgram: Michael Klare, The Coming Era of Energy Disasters - more
  • Two Opposing Opinions On The Yuan Depegging - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.02/lb lower, and off session highs, with other base metals trading mixed and quiet. The Euro is trading slightly higher against the US Dollar, and off session highs. NYMEX crude futures are down slightly and at $77.73/barrel. Gold is up 1/3 of 1% and silver is up 6/10 o f1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off moran than 9/10 of 1%. European markets are trading slightly lower this morning, and US futures show Wall Street could open higher. Nickel inventories fell again overnight.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report this week
  • (Dow Jones) Standard Bank - "The background of steadily declining LME stocks have helped support prices, with nickel appearing to have now built a solid base around $19,500 following the selloff seen in early June."
  • (Yieh) Japanese seven major stainless steel mills have produced around 325,000 tons in April, compared with last month's 333,000 tons.
  • (Interfax) The Chinese government has decided to cancel export tax rebates on certain steel and nonferrous metals products, effective from July 15, according to a June 22 announcement from China's Ministry of Finance.
  • (SC) Following the US, Russia has started cracking down on the steel export from China. The Russian Industry and Trade Ministry decides to collect a 29.9% anti-dumping duty from Mainland China's biggest stainless steelmaker, Taiyuan Iron and Steel (Group) Co., Ltd. (TISCO).
  • Odds firm for a La Niña event in 2010. - more
  • Wall Street's Invisible Gorilla is killing America's soul - more
  • Double dip -- or double take? - more

  Productions Of Nickels In Japan For Jan. - Apr. 2010 Increased Considerably Compared To That In 2009 = Output Of Ferro-Nickel Increased by 21%, That Of Nickel Metal Also Increased By 29% - The quantities of nickels produced in Japan in the first 4 months (January - April) of 2010 were known in last week. - more

  Solomons' Isabel Gets Nickel Advisory Board - The Minister of Mines, Energy and Rural Electricity, David Day Pacha has appointed members of an Isabel Nickel International Tender committee. - more

  Zapolyarny mine at full capacity - The new underground mine ”North deep” has reached its planned production of 500,000 tons of ore per month. - more

  Bulk ferroalloys may see fourth-quarter spike if demand rebounds - While bulk ferroalloys are under downward pressure in the US amid some evidence that US steel production will experience a seasonal slowdown in the third quarter, prices could be set for a major rebound when consumers start buying fourth-quarter requirements, market participants said Tuesday. - more

  US Steel sees industry comeback, costs crimp growth - United States Steel Corp, one of the largest U.S. steel producers, thinks the worst of the steel industry's downturn is over, but sees the high cost of raw materials used to produce the metal as having an inhibiting impact on profitability. - more

  ThyssenKrupp Ramps Up for Production in Alabama - July will mark the start-up of steel production at ThyssenKrupp's 3,500-acre site near Mobile, Ala. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star // Northern Life.ca
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • Vale, Sudbury union making progress -mediator - Mediated talks aimed at ending a nearly year-long strike at Vale's Sudbury operations have made significant progress and will continue, the mediator said on Tuesday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, June 22

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 54 to 2,547. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) As Chinese Wages Rise, Machines Replace Migrant Workers // Recovery Work Resumes in Congo After Sundance Plane Wreck Found // Yen Strengthens Most in Two Weeks on Concern Over European Banks' Funding // Yuan Falls Most Since December 2008 // Lowest Ship Rates Since 2005 Boost LNG Stored in Tankers: Energy Markets // Asian Stocks Fall for First Time in Nine Days on Europe Concern // German Business Confidence Unexpectedly Increases // Oil Declines as Optimism Fades Over Boost to Global Economy From Yuan Plan // Osborne Intends to Eliminate Britain's `Structural' Budget Deficit by 2015 // U.K. 2010 Economic-Growth Forecast Cut to 1.2% This Year, 2.3% Next Year // Merrill Lynch Says Markets `Overreacted' on European Sovereign Debt Crisis // Central Banks Show Euro Losing Reserve Status as Loonie Gains  // European Stocks Drop, Ending Nine-Day Rally // S&P 500's Retreat After 50% Recovery Signals Caution to Technical Analysts //  Bank Failures Through 2014 Projected to Drain $60 Billion From FDIC Fund // Geithner Says Credit Access Improving, May Aid Growth //
  • The Euro has erased many of its earlier losses and is now trading less than 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is trading flat at $77.81/barrel. Gold is up 2/3 of 1% while silver is higher by over 1/1%. Base metals ended the session mixed. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, climbed into the green late, before falling back. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.89/lb, but we feel it was more like $8.94/lb . Either way it was a lower close. Inventories of nickel continued to slide overnight, with stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses now standing at just under the 128,200 tonne level. For a fifth straight session, no inbound shipments of nickel were recorded. We reported yesterday that refined nickel imports into China were down for the year, but imports of laterite nickel ore, used in the production of pig nickel, continues to rise. In May China imported 2,014,620 kt of nickel ore, primarily from Indonesia and the Philippines. This compares to 1,847,443 kt last month and only 1,073,383 kt in May of last year. It appears Russia is about to slap a pretty healthy anti-dumping tariff on Chinese and South Korean stainless steel. China has become the target of a multitude of anti-dumping claims, some enacted and some still in an investigative status, from countries around the world including the US, Europe, and India among others. Speaking if Russia, we expect to hear Norilsk will resume shipping nickel from their Dudinka port any day now, after annual flooding shut the port down on the 26th of May. The mediator between Vale and USW Local 6200 reports a lot of progress was made in negotiations over the past four days, which means the 11 month old strike there may be nearing an end. Chances are good that if the Sudbury USW settles, the Voisey's Bay unit will follow.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Talks between Brazilian miner Vale SA (VALE) and the United Steelworkers union to end an 11-month-old strike at Vale's nickel operations in Ontario have stretched into a fourth day and will continue Tuesday, the government-appointed mediator said Tuesday.
  • G20 Still Challenged By Global Imbalances, Courtesy Of Europe - more
  • Fed May Be More Cautious This Month - more
  • You've seen the stimulus. Now, meet the anti-stimulus. - more
  • A Colossal Fracking Mess - more
  • U.S. Profit-Margin Outlook `Extremely Bad': Chart of the Day - more
  • Why China’s Currency Announcement is Hokum - more
  • China, Day One - more
  • The Undeserving Unemployed - more

  China to scrap export rebates despite yuan rise - China will scrap tax rebates to exporters of dozens of commodities including key steel products, corn starch, rubber products and ethanol, the finance ministry said, while they also face a rise in the yuan. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.19/lb , with most base metals trading lower this morning. The Euro is trading 4/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, as the yuan jump yesterday wears off. NYMEX crude oil is down 1% and at $76.78/barrel. Gold is up nearly 2/10 of 1% and silver is slightly higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower with China up 1/10%. European markets are trading lower this morning, for the first time in nine sessions, and US futures show Wall Street may open lower after ending slightly lower yesterday. Nickel inventories continue their slide.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - MF Global reports no daily reports this week
  • (Interfax) In the first five months of 2010, China's imports of refined lead, zinc, tin and nickel all dropped on an annual basis, according to figures released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC) on June 21.
  • (Interfax) The Russian Industry and Trade Ministry is proposing anti-dumping duties of 39.1% on Chinese and 62.8% on South Korean stainless steel, the ministry says on its website in the results of an anti-dumping investigation.
  • (Dow Jones) The Russian Industry and Trade Ministry said Tuesday it has put a proposal to the government that a five-year, anti-dumping import tax on nickel-containing steel roll imported from China, South Korea, Brazil and South Africa be imposed..... The Industry and Trade Ministry is proposing a five-year 39.1% import tax on nickel-containing steel roll from China, except for that produced by Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Co, which will incur an import tax at 29.9%.
  • (Dow Jones) Australia's production of base metals has fallen during 2010 due to the after-effects of the financial crisis and project problems but will recover in the year to June 2011, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics said Tuesday. Abare saw aluminum production down 3% in 2010, nickel down 11%, copper falling 10%, and zinc down 6%.
  • (SBB) Ferro-chrome market slows as European holidays approach
  • Commodity Gains on Yuan May Be ‘Knee-Jerk’ Move, StanChart Says - more

  Stainless steel remains weak on volatile nickel and soft demand - From insiders, stainless steel in Nanhai is unlikely to rise sharply in the short run, despite the ever rally in the past one week. - more

  Nickle pig iron - What has a pig got to do with nickel and iron? - more

  Eti Krom / Turkey Enters Into Reduction In Production Of Ferro-Chrome = Exports Of Chrome Ore From Turkey Will Come To Standstill For Regulations By Turkish Government - Mr. Robert Yuksel Yildirim, who is President & CEO of Eti Krom Inc. as a leading producer of chrome ore and ferro-chrome in Turkey, announced on the 15th of June that, following ferro-chrome producers in South Africa (Xstrata and Samancor Chrome), the Company has decided to reduce from the 1st of July its production of ferro-chrome at plants in Turkey and Sweden. - more

  S.Korea POSCO raises steel prices 6 pct from July - South Korea's POSCO said it would raise prices of its benchmark steel products by a less-than-expected 6 percent from July, but the increase would not be enough to cover higher raw materials prices. - more

  Rosspetsplav plans to raise chrome, alloy output - Rosspetsplav, a Russian minor metals and alloys producer, said it aimed to raise output after a drastic decline caused by the economic slump and was considering expansion in the Democratic Republic of Congo. - more

  Goldman Cuts Three-Month Copper, Aluminum, Zinc Target on Europe, China - Goldman Sachs Group Inc. lowered its near-term price forecasts for copper, aluminum and zinc as markets remain “fragile” on concerns that the Europe debt crisis may hamper growth and as China moves to cool its economy. - more

  Australia revises up most metals export forecasts - Australia on Tuesday pushed up forecasts for key commodity exports next year, citing rising world demand for iron ore, copper, nickel and other industrial staples as more economies outside Asia shake off remnants of the global financial crisis. - more

  Mining industry mourns Sundance deaths - The mining industry is mourning the loss of respected industry veterans, who were killed in the Sundance plane crash in West Africa.  - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending June 19, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,808,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 74.8 percent. Production was 1,123,000 tons in the week ending June 19, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 46.9 percent. The current week production represents a 61.0 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending June 19, 2010 is up 0.3 percent from the previous week ending June 12, 2010 when production was 1,803,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 74.6 percent.

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, June 21

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 93 to 2,601. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg)  Yuan Climbs Most in 20 Months as China Signals End to Peg; Forwards Jump // South Korea Sees Risks in China Yuan Move Hailed by Thailand, Philippines // China's Hu Buys Time at G-20 With Yuan Announcement // Asian Stocks Climb on Speculation Yuan Policy Change Will Bolster Growth // Gilt Sales to Decline 28% Next Year as Osborne Tames Deficit, Dealers Say // Trichet Says Deficit Offenders May Lose Voting Rights // Lehman Appeal Over Segregated Funds May Cut Some Creditor Payouts in Half // Gold Gains to a Record on Buying From Investors Seeking to Protect Wealth // European Stocks Climb for Ninth Straight Day After China Relaxes Yuan Peg // China Backs Obama as Treasury Holdings Rise to $900 Billion // NBC Stations Agree to Back Comcast Deal After NFL, Olympics Vow // Fed Says Review Finds `Deficient' Pay Practices at Many Banks // Stocks, Commodities Climb, Treasuries Fall on China Yuan Move
  • The Euro is currently trading over 4/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, after opening higher. NYMEX crude oil is now trading just a trace higher, and at $77.25/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1-1/4% and silver is off nearly 2%. Base metals ended the session higher, but well off session highs. INdicator charts show nickel opened higher early, but spent the day in a slow gradual decline. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $9.00/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses took another 4 digit hit over the weekend and now sit just under the 128,800 tonne level. No inbound shipments were recorded, and multiple large outbound were made. This either shows nickel users are building up inventories due to an increase in demand, or are stockpiling due to a lack of faith that nickel prices will stay low much longer and a belief they most likely will not fall much lower. The Baltic Dry Index continues to tumble, down another 93 points. Nickel opened high early on, but spent most of the trading session in a gradual decline, as the falling Euro overrode the news that China was unpegging the yuan. The decision, when and if it ever actually affects the value of the yuan, should help exports into China by making them less expensive to Chinese buyers. This helps commodities as China is already the single largest buyer of many base metals already. It will also make exports out of China more expensive. Thus, the export driven economy of China could cool a little because of this decision. Imports of refined nickel is already cooling, with figures released by Chinese Customs today showing imports into China slumped over 57% in May compared to May 2009. For the year, they are down 4.78%. The World Steel Association reported worldwide steel production ran nearly 10% higher this May over last. Dow Jones is reporting that the plane carrying Australian Ken Talbot and five other Australian mining executive among 11 passengers on west Africa, has been found, with no survivors. Today is the summer solstice north of the equator, making today the longest day of 2010. For those 'down south', today marks the shortest day of the year.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Global crude steel production rose 29.1% on the year in May to 124 million metric tons, surpassing levels seen in May 2007 when demand was robust and untouched by the financial crisis, the World Steel Association said Monday. World crude steel production in May 2010 was 9.9% higher than in May 2007, the association said in a statement.
  • (Dow Jones) Rescuers have found the wreckage of a missing plane carrying an Australian mining tycoon and 10 other foreigners, Cameroon's information minister told AFP Monday, adding that there were no survivors.  
  • (SMM) Base metal price trend has a close correlation with RMB movement. Ever since the RMB exchange rate reform in July 2005, RMB versus the US dollar fell below significant level of 1:8 and 1:7 consecutively. From the 2H 2008 till now, RMB exchange rate had moved stably at 1:6.8. During those RMB exchange rate fluctuation periods, Base metal prices also experienced violent movements. It can be seen that Shanghai metals had gradually entered bull market since July 2005, which was mainly attributed to influx of large amount of hot money, causing ample liquid enter into equity and commodity markets and causing an enormous economic bubble in 2007 in China. In contrast, when RMB ceased to appreciate in August 2008, base market prices plummeted and didn’t bottom out until the government adopted an extremely loose monetary policy. In this context, if RMB continues to appreciate, a similar ripple effect like the case from 2005 will be triggered again, and the impact from hot money on Chinese economy will undoubtedly pass on to base metal markets.
  • (YH) POSCO, South Korea's leading steelmaker, said Monday that it has suspended negotiations to take over Thainox Stainless Plc. due to political unrest in Thailand. "Due to political situations, negotiations have been suspended," POSCO said in a regulatory filing.
  • Further Reform the RMB Exchange Rate Regime and Enhance the RMB Exchange Rate Flexibility - more
  • Number of the Week: Americans Defaulting on Foreigners - more
  • China Moves. Or Not. - more
  • As China Aids Labor, Unrest Is Still Rising - more
  • China Yuan Depeg: Much Ado About Nothing - more
  • Eurobank “Stress Test” Disclosure Likely to Increase Jitters - more
  • US Private Sector Debt Relative to GDP - chart here
  • Now and Later - more

  Global steel output surges 29%: trade body - Global steel production surged 29 percent in May from the level in May 2009, as output exceeded levels before the economic crisis depressed demand, the World Steel Association said on Monday. - more

  Churches rejoice at ban on open pit mining in Philippine province - Leaders of the local Catholic Church hierarchy in the Philippine province of South Cotabato have joined with environmental and human rights groups in welcoming a ban on open pit mining. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.22/lb higher, with all London traded base metals trading higher. The Euro and US Dollar are trading nearly even at the moment, with the Euro having a slight edge but slipping. NYMEX crude oil is up over 1-1/2% and at $78.40/barrel. Gold is up 1/4 of 1% and silver is 1.2% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended  higher, with China up over 3% on the China Central Bank's yuan currency flexibility decision. European markets are trading higher, and US futures show Wall Street welcomes the Chinese decision. Nickel inventories fell over the weekend.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - No MF Global report this week
  • (Yieh) Affected by slack demand for stainless steel, Posco has decided to cut its production for July and August roughly by 10%. For Taiwanese stainless steel mills, Yusco is going to reduce in line with Posco by around 15~20% if orders are deficient. However, Tang Eng said they don’t consider declining output recently because their capacity utilization has reached about 80%.
  • (MB) Sharp falls in LME nickel prices saw China’s imports of refined nickel fall for a second month in May.
  • (JMB) Ni stainless steel bar/ Kanto market prices rise by 30 thousand yen
  • A Reason for Optimism - more
  • The Chinese relaxation of the yuan grabs attention in the absence of fundamentals - more
  • Unions set deadline for Eskom - more

  Vale appears untouched over acid spill in New Caledonia lagoon - Time appears to have run out for legal action against the Vale New Caledonia nickel company in New Caledonia. - more

 Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 15th June 2010 = Reduction In Production Of Stainless Steel Will Influence On International Prices Of Special Ferro-Alloys - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 15th June of 2019 is as follows - more

  POSCO says talks over Thainox temporarily halted - South Korea's POSCO, the world's No.4 steelmaker, said on Monday that its talks to acquire Thainox Stainless Pcl are temporarily on hold, with no decisions made. - more

  Crews comb area for missing plane with Australian executives - Air and ground crews scoured through harsh terrain in west Africa on Monday after a plane carrying Australian mining executives went missing over the weekend. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, June 18

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 90 to 2,694. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Yuan Forwards Advance as Appreciation Calls Mount Ahead of G-20 Meeting // Toyota China Supplier Workers Strike as Labor Unrest Spreads Beyond Honda // Bank of Japan's Shirakawa Sees Chinese Bubble Risk as Economy Strengthens // Stocks Advance in Europe, Asia as Recovery Gathers Pace; Yen Strengthens // Gold Climbs to Record on Concern Debt-Cutting Measures Will Stifle Growth // MasterCard Tale of Two Europe's Echoed in Stocks as Consumers Keep Spending // U.K. Budget Deficit Narrower Than Forecast as Growth Improves Tax Revenue // HSBC Said to Raise $3.4 Billion in Biggest Perpetual Bond Sale Since 2008 // European Stocks Gain for Eighth Straight Day; BBVA, Santander Lead Advance // Citigroup Looking Past Volcker Seeks $3 Billion for Hedge Fund, LBO Unit // Greenspan Says U.S. Debt Near Limit, Is at Risk of Rise in Long-Term Rates // BP Credit Rating Cut Three Levels by Moody's to A2, Remains Under Review // Treasury, Geithner to Be Given Expanded Powers in U.S. Financial Overhaul // Bank of America, JPMorgan Debt Sales Show Contagion Ebbing: Credit Markets // Stocks Fluctuate on Options Expirations, S&P 500's Quarterly Rebalancing
  • The Euro is trading 2/10 of 1% lower against the US dollar at the moment and has been fairly docile today. NYMEX crude oil is now trading 1/4 of 1% higher and near $77/barrel. Gold is up 1/2% and at a new record high, while silver is nearly 2-1/2% higher. Base metals ended the session lower. Indicator charts show nickel traded in about a $500 tonne range today, with the high coming first, then the days low, followed by some recovery and choppy stagnation. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.88/lb . For the week ,nickel ended up $.29/lb, and considering the last 4 sessions have been losers, you can tell when the weeks gains came. Inventories of nickel stockpiled in LME approved warehouses took a big hit overnight, and now sit just under the 129,800 tonne level. For the third straight day, all movement amongst the warehouses were limited to outbound shipments, with no receipts arriving. The Baltic Dry Index continues to slide as well, down another 90 points. This week of 4 losing sessions follows a week with four gainers. For the moment at least, nickel appears to have stalled. Have a restful and safe weekend!!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Economists Give Japan a B minus - more
  • J.P. Morgan Pushes Back Rate Hike Forecast to Late 2011 - more
  • On the Treasury “Bubble” - more
  • China's stimulus spending created infrastructure projects that may not be needed - more
  • That ’30s Feeling - more
  • A Double Dip Recession? - more
  • China The Black Box - more
  • Gallup Daily: U.S. Consumer Spending - more

  Norilsk Nickel May Fall on Metal Outlook - Despite a supply deficit during the first four months of 2010, we anticipate nickel prices to decline during 2010 on demand concerns and supply additions. - more

  P474-M nickel ore mining project gets gov’t perks - The Board of Investments (BoI) had approved the application of Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. for incentives on its proposed P474-million project to mine nickel ore in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur with projected capacities of up to 800,000 wet metric tons per year. - more

  'People left powerless' by new resources laws - The Papua New Guinean government has passed controversial legislation to protect resource projects from delays caused by environmental challenges. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.18/lb lower, with all London traded base metals lower. The Euro is trading less than 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, adding some pressure to commodities. NYMEX crude oil is down 1.4% and  at $75.71/barrel. Gold is up 1% on safe haven buying and in record high territory, while silver is over 1-1/2% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher, with China closing down 1.7%. European markets are just slightly higher this morning and futures show an uncertain opening for Wall Street. Nickel inventories took a big hit overnight.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals slumped to a one-week low yesterday, shrugging off a surging Euro, and focusing instead on mixed US macro data. In this regard, latest US weekly initial claims numbers rose to 472,000, coming in well above estimates of 450,000, while continuing claims increased to 4.571 mln from 4.483 mln. The numbers clearly indicate that firms still remain uneasy about hiring in the face of a tepid demand outlook. In addition, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's June index of business activity in the Mid-Atlantic area plunged to 8.0, from 21.4 in May, far below the 21 reading expected. Even inflation data caused some concern after a CPI report showed May prices falling by 0.2%, double what was expected, and clearly a sign of possible deflation lying ahead. Lastly, the index of leading economic indicators came in at .4%, continuing a string of monthly increases (14 in a row) but nevertheless falling slightly short of forecasts. Interestingly, the Euro remained strong all day yesterday, even pushing past $1.24 at one stage after the successful Spanish debt auction, but in what was obviously different from recent action, the stronger tone in the Euro failed to spark either the metals or the US equity markets. Investors are obviously now less focused on currency and more on the US growth picture, where manufacturing seems to be doing relatively well, but the labor and housing sectors are still struggling. Metal prices are lower again as of this writing, again ignoring the Euro, which is holding steady at $1.2365. We do not expect to see anything new today given that metals have had a good run higher over the past week, and are likely going to remain confined with their trading ranges for the time being. Moreover, with nothing in terms of US macro data out today, we likely will get more direction next week when more numbers come out. .... We are $19,400 on nickel, down $400, and quiet.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Because of the difficulty in stainless steel export, South Korea’s Posco decided to cut the output in July and August this year. Yusco is considering cutting the stainless steel output as well and will probably cut the production by 15 percent.
  • (Interfax) In a bid to reduce emissions, China's State Council announced on June 17 that the government will not allow the construction of any new steel-making facilities before the end of 2011.
  • (CK) Last month, China's average daily crude steel output was 1.81 million tons, down 1.95% from 1.85 million tons in April, yet still standing at the second place in history. Based on the monthly growth, China's annual steel output may hit 656 million tons in 2010.
  • (SSY) Europe’s second largest steel maker ThyssenKrupp Stahl has announced it will reduce 10% of finished steel (hot strip) production in the 3q10 to allow maintenance in Bochum and Duisburg, Bloomberg reported. In 2009, TKS produced 11 Mt of crude steel.
  • (AL) Japan's crude steel output surged 50.2 percent in May from a year earlier to 9.73 million tonnes, the highest since October 2008, powered by robust exports to other Asian countries.
  • (CCR) China's National Energy Bureau said that China's power consumption in May was 348 billion kWh, up 20.8% year on year, down 2.3 percentage points month on month. According to statistics released by the authority, China consumed 1.66 trillion kWh of electricity in the first five months of 2010, up 23.3% from the same period of last year.
  • (TCB) The Conference Board Leading Economic Index®(LEI) for the United States increased 0.4 percent in May, following no change in April, and a 1.4 percent rise in March. - more
  • WB predicts 9.5% growth for Chinese economy - more
  • Elliot Wave predicts triple-digit Dow in 2016 - more

  Japan Produced 265,881 Tons Of Stainless Steel Products In April 2010 = Decreased By 2% From That In March, Both Quantities Of Cr And Ni Based Products Had A Decline - According to the steel statistics released on the 14th of June by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the quantities of stainless steel products (hot-rolled products) produced in Japan in April of 2010 and broken down by kinds of stainless steel were as per the table shown below. - more

  Stainless Steel Wire Rod from Italy, Japan, the Republic of  Korea, Spain, and Taiwan: Continuation of Antidumping Duty Orders - more

  Russia's Norilsk looking to sell Australian assets - Russia's Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest palladium and nickel miner said it had received an offer for some of its Australian assets, and that it planned to proceed with plans to divest them. - more

  High Indian coking coal bids discarded; Australian spot slips - Spot Australian coking coal slipped Thursday, after high bids by Indian users reported to Platts Wednesday were dismissed by other market participants as unrealistic and above market value. - more

  Mining Deals Plunge in Australia After Rudd Tax Plan  - Mining takeovers in Australia, the biggest shipper of iron ore and coal, are set to fall to a five- year low after government plans to increase tax on the industry kicked up a hail of protest from the world’s biggest producers. - more

  Northern Europe Steel Prices Have Peaked - Prices for third quarter flat products contracts in Northern Europe will be considerably higher than those set for the April-June period. - more

  S.Africa union delays power strike threat - South African electricity workers gave mediators three more days on Friday to resolve a pay dispute with employers and avert power cuts during the World Cup. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, June 17

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 109 to 2,784. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Japanese Companies Join U.S. in Stockpiling Cash as European Crisis Brews // BP's Gulf Spill Fuels Australian Opponents to Deepwater Drilling for Oil  // Macquarie Loses Head of U.S. Equity Capital Markets Rossman, Four Analysts // Asian Stocks, Metals Drop on U.S. Housing Data; Yen Strengthens on Spain // BP Rebounds After Scrapping Dividend in Deal to Pay for Spill; Swaps Slide // BP Bonds Escape Distressed List, Trade as Junk; Gross Buys: Credit Markets // Putin Deputy Shuvalov Says Easy Money Should Stay Away From Russian Stocks // Spain Sells Maximum Target at Government Debt Auction; Bonds Rise on Sale  // U.K. Retail Sales Rose More Than Estimated in May on Wide-Screen TV Demand // EU Vows to Disclose Bank Stress Test Details, Rebuffing Industry Concern // European Stocks Advance for Seventh Day as Spain Sells Bonds, BP Rallies // Swiss Parliament Approves UBS Tax Agreement With U.S., Avoiding Referendum // U.S. Economy's Expansion Creates Little Job Growth as Inflation Controlled //  Jobless Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Increased 12,000 Last Week to 472,000 // Stocks in U.S. Halt Global Rally; Treasuries, Gold Gain on Economy Concern
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, up 1/3 of 1% and off earlier highs. NYMEX crude is down 1-3/4% and at $76.33/barrel. Gold is up 1-1/4% and silver is higher by more than 1.6%. Base metals all ended the session. Indicator charts show nickel started much lower, climbed for much of the morning, then fell on the Philly Fed report. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.98/lb , its first close below $9 this week. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell overnight and now sit just over the 131,000 tonne level. For a second consecutive day, warehouse registered no inbound shipments, and only outbound. Outbound shipments slowed in yesterday's report, but picked back up in today's. Cancelled warrants have remained above the 6% level all week.  The Baltic Dry Index continues to sink, down another 109 points overnight and down 1,425 points from its May 26 recent high of 4,209. US markets got hit with a couple of pieces of bad news early this morning. New jobless claims unexpectedly rose and the Philly Fed manufacturing index took a dive in June. While the gauge still reflects expansion, the reading of plus 8 was far less than expected and well off May's 21.4. A similar report for the New York area was more positive, earlier in the week, showing expansion increased from 19.11 in May to 19.57 this month.  In Europe, the Spanish bond sale sent a sigh of relief thru the markets.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Economists React: Housing Starts ‘Fuel That Pessimistic Fire’ - more
  • Economists Ponder Ideal Reform Of Finance Oversight - more
  • Economists See Continued Modest Growth, ‘Painfully’ Slow Job Gains - more
  • “Saving” Social Security - more
  • Spain is About to Make Trouble for German and French Banks - more
  • More Calls of Alarm About Eurozone Austerity - more
  • The End of Free Checking?  - more
  • Avoiding a death sentence - more
  • Is Spain Next? - more
  • Interactive Map: Where Americans Are Moving - more
  • Deep Global Recession, Only Moderate Recovery - more

  Saving industry needn't pit sentiment against machismo - There's something sensual about steel. The other day I went to see smoke, sparks and sweat: industry as it ought to be, raw metal pounded and sliced. - more

  Merger of Rusina Mining, European Nickel all set - Australia's Rusina Mining NL said in a disclosure that court orders had formalized a merger that would pour huge capital and a world-class processing technology into the Acoje nickel project in Zambales. - more

  Rio Still Complaining - Rio Tinto has stepped up its attacks against the proposed new Federal mining tax. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.13/lb lower, with all London traded base metals lower this morning. Nickel is trading off morning lows and stalled. The Euro is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down nearly 2/3 of 1% and at $77.19/barrel. Gold is up 8/10 of 1% and silver is higher by 6/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher, with China down nearly 6/10 of 1% its first day back from a three day holiday. European markets are trading higher this morning after Spain sold 3.5 billion euros ($4.3 billion) of bonds easing debt payment concerns. Futures show a higher opening for Wall Street. Nickel inventories continued their slide overnight.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - LME metals lost modest ground yesterday in rather listless trading after mixed US macro data. In this regard, May US industrial production rose more than expected, up 1.2% on the month, and coming in well ahead of the .8% increase forecast. On the negative side, housing starts fell by 10% month-over-month, substantially lower than estimated. Building permits also declined to a one-year low, with single-family home starts suffering their biggest drop since 1991. However, it was hard to know how bad the housing numbers actually were, since some of the decline was attributable to the termination of the homebuyers' tax credit. The weaker tone in metals is picking up pace in today's action, where we are seeing modest declines across the board. The Euro is surging once again, now trading at just under $1.24, but obviously failing to spark any buying interest in either metals or energy for that matter, where prices are also lower on the day. Despite the softer tone, we maintain our view that most commodity markets are still on track to push slightly higher, with the Euro and the US equities likely providing leadership in this regard.  .... We are $19,750 on nickel, down $290. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Because of the difficulty in stainless steel export, South Korea’s Posco decided to cut the output in July and August this year. Yusco is considering cutting the stainless steel output as well and will probably cut the production by 15 percent.
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) announced its new price for the second half of June. The domestic price dropped by NT$5,500/ton due to the falling prices of nickel.
  • (Interfax) China produced 326.29 million tons of steel products in the first five months of 2010, up 27.5 percent year-on-year, according to figures released by Shanghai-based Mysteel Information on June 14.
  • (AP) A Papua New Guinea government member has quit in protest over environmental law changes that protect a controversial Chinese-run nickel mine. MP Ken Fairweather left government ranks on Wednesday and criticised the recent amendments that prevent land owners challenging approved resource projects, saying it will cause irreversible damage to his electorate.
  • (JC) Molybdenum mines in north China's Liaoning province, a key moly mining and processing region, were facing losses on the back of declining concentrate prices, market sources said last week. In addition, a few small mines have been forced to suspend operations due to the weakness, the sources said.
  • (AP) The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) recently approved the application of Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation to mine nickel ore in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur with capacities of up to 800,000 wet metric tons (WMT) per year. Under the 2009 Investments Priorities Program (IPP), Surigao del Sur is categorized as one of the country's 30 poorest provinces.
  • (WSS) The Russian Special Steel and Alloys Consumers and Suppliers Association (Spetsstal), has reported that the Russian stainless steel market is actively rebounding, with the country's consumption of the main stainless steel products increasing in Q1 2010 by 63.7% year on year to more than 58,300mt.
  • (AISI) The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that for the month of April 2010, U.S. steel mills shipped 7,057,660 net tons, a 7.7 percent decrease from the 7,646,938 net tons shipped in the previous month, March 2010, and a 74.6 percent increase from the 4,042,457 net tons shipped in April 2009.
  • Zambia foreign miners seek stable mining laws - more
  • Yuan is overvalued, not undervalued: report - more
  • China may see 'severe' job losses next year, CICC says - more
  • US - Industrial production advanced 1.2 percent in May after having risen 0.7 percent in April. Manufacturing output climbed 0.9 percent last month, its third consecutive monthly gain of about 1 percent, and was 7.9 percent above its year-earlier level.

  May 2010 Metals Volume Continues Recent Trend – U.S. and Canadian metals service center shipments of steel and aluminum products rose in May at double-digit rates from depressed year-ago levels, the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute shows. Inventories were flat or rose during the month. - more

  Chinese Nickel Mine Threatens to Leave PNG  - Concerns have intensified over the possible closure of the Ramu nickel project and attempts have been made to get the people who have taken out the injunction on developers to withdraw their case. - more

  Outokumpu to invest EUR100 mln in Degerfors to increase capacity of stainless steel plate production  - Outokumpu invests EUR 104 mln to increase capability and capacity of stainless steel quarto plate production in Degerfors(Sweden). - more

  Price Of Ni-Based Stainless Scrap In Japan Has Fallen To Lowest Since August Last Year = Stainless Steel Mills Enter Into A Considerable Reduction In Production Of Stainless Steel From July - The domestic price of nickel-based stainless steel scrap (new clippings) in Japan has still continued to fall. - more

  EU Steel Coil Producers Face Higher Input Costs As Demand Collapses -Market sentiment has been knocked by the recent economic turmoil and sovereign debt issues in the eurozone. - more

  Explorer’s faith in nickel shored up by Tanzanian estimates - African Eagle Resources MD Mark Parker on Tuesday defended a continuing focus on nickel mining, despite the soaring prices of other metals, after the AIM- and JSE-listed exploration company said a key deposit in Tanzania had a resource almost double the size previously estimated. - more

  Baosteel Agrees to 23% Iron Ore Price Increase - Baosteel Group Corp., China’s second-biggest steelmaker, agreed to accept a 23 percent increase in iron ore prices from Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton Ltd., said research company UC361.com. - more

  China sets consolidation target for top 10 steel mills - China aims to put more than 60 percent of its total steel capacity in the hands of its top ten steel mills by 2015, up from 44 percent in 2009, the country's cabinet, the State Council, said on Thursday. - more

  Never been better for miners: Ferguson - Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has claimed in question time that the outlook for the Australian mining sector has never been better. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, June 16

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 127 to 2,893. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Record Hong Kong Home Sale Collapses as Buyers Pull Out of Henderson Deal // Russia Preparing to Buy Canadian, Australian Dollars to Diversify Reserves // Bank Indonesia Unveils Steps to Manage Capital Flows, Currency Volatility // Mongolia to Offer Some of World's Richest Resources Through Overseas IPOs // Asia Stocks Gain for Fifth Day; Dollar, Metals Rise on U.S. Growth Outlook // BP Swaps Imply 39% Chance of Default as Bonds Extend Slide: Credit Markets // Spanish-German 10-Year Bond Yield Spread Rises to Highest Since Euro Debut // BP Said to Agree $20 Billion Payment Into Fund for Oil Spill Compensation // European Stocks Close Little Changed; Irish Life Advances, Nokia Declines // FedEx's Annual Earnings Forecast Trails Estimates Amid Sluggish Recovery // Fed Officials May Trim Forecasts for U.S. Growth on European Debt Crisis // Manufacturing Powers U.S. Economic Recovery as Housing Is Mired in Slump //
  • The Euro continues to trade lower against the US Dollar, but only by 1/4 of 1% currently. NYMEX crude is up over 1% and at $77.76/barrel. Gold is down 3/10 fo 1% while silver is off more than 4/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mostly lower, but off session lows. Indicator chart show nickel bottomed out about the same time we published our morning briefing and spent the remainder fo the day in a sluggish recovery. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.09/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell yet again overnight, although the activity was much lighter than it has been the last few days. Inventories now total just over the 131,700 tonne level. Sucden is not updating its nickel chart again, so we will resume linking to it when it is updated. The Baltic Dry Index slipped under the 3000 point threshold, dropping another 127 points to 2,893. Since May 26, when the BDI peaked out at 4,209, it has fallen by nearly 32% in 14 sessions. You can read more about the BDI and what is going on in Cotzias Friday report here. Barclays Capital analyst Nicholas Snowdon noted "With market fundamentals still in a constructive positioning for the majority of base metals, further price gains are likely in the short term given the apparent increasing resilience of sentiment to previous weighty macro uncertainties." Ed Meir at MF Global added in his morning report about nickel "we are still laboring to take out the short-term downchannel". China re-opens for business tomorrow, so we will see if this shakes some life back into the market, although European sovereign debt problems just won't seem to take a back burner.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Reuters) China's Minmetals is working with its Australian arm, MMG, to identify merger and acquisition targets this year, the company said on Wednesday, adding it was confident in the long-term outlook for global base metals markets. The firm said it would look internationally as well in Australia for growth opportunities, using MMG as its international growth platform.
  • (WSJ) Assets on the Fed’s balance sheet contracted a bit in the latest week, falling to $2.314 trillion from $2.318 trillion. The bulk of the decline came from a reduction in liquidity swaps to allow foreign central banks access to dollars.
  • Double Dip Recession Talk Bustin’ Out All Over - more
  • Oil Spill May End Up Lifting GDP Slightly - more
  • MBA: Mortgage Purchase Applications increase slightly, near 13 Year Low - more
  • Lenders go after money lost in foreclosures - more
  • Hesitation by leaders drove cost of Europe's crisis higher - more
  • Food prices to rise by up to 40% over next decade, UN report warns - more
  • Banks Getting Worried About Rising Challenges to Foreclosures? - more
  • Eye of the financial storm - more

  Mining firm bullish about exporting nickel this year - A Filipino mining company is bullish about producing nickel ore for export this year, noting an almost 900-percent increase in the metal’s price. - more

  Marcventures allots P470-M for nickel mine ops - Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. is investing P474 million for a nickel mining project in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur. - more

   Can ThyssenKrupp pass on costs to clients? - ThyssenKrupp, Germany's biggest steelmaker, is seeking price increases for third-quarter deliveries amidst a declining price trend in China, the world's top steel producer. - more

  Steel going strong  - Valbruna Nordic operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Acciaierie Valbruna based in Italy. Delivering the widest portfolio of stainless steel bar products in the industry, the company is one of the most recognised suppliers in the Nordic and Baltic regions. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.22/lb lower, with most London traded base metals lower this morning. The Euro is trading 1/2 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, adding pressure to commodity trading. NYMEX crude futures are down more than 6/10 of 1% and just under $76.50/barrel. Gold is trading flat in what has been very choppy trading, and silver is also trading flat, off earlier highs. Asian markets ended higher overnight, with China re-opening after a three day holiday tomorrow. European markets are slightly lower this morning on speculation Spain may need a bail-out, and US futures show Wall Street may take back some of yesterday's gains. Inventories of nickel fell overnight and it appears a base metals relief rally is losing steam.     
  • Reuters morning metals report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper prices rallied for a sixth straight day yesterday, as concerns about European debt problems eased after successful debt auctions took place in Spain, Belgium, and Ireland, boosting the Euro and offsetting the negative impact of the plunge in German investor confidence readings reported earlier by the ZEW Center. In yesterday’s note, we suggested that some of the recent gains in metals could be rolled back on account of possible equity weakness related to BP developments. We obviously were wrong on this score, as judging from Tuesday's US robust session, investors felt otherwise, looking past BP's problems and President Obama’s speech, and pushing values higher on upbeat earnings expectations for Q3. There were no particular surprises coming out of the President’s speech last night either, and certainly no colossal figures thrown at BP (at least not yet) in terms of a dollar allocation they would need to put into an escrow account. The equity markets are called to open slightly lower today, but stocks may very well regroup later in the day, perhaps pulling metals up along with it. Right now, metals are lower in very quiet trading, but despite the impressive gains of the last few days, none of are technically overbought, with the highest RSI reading we see in our table being at a relatively neutral 43. Lots of US macro data is on tap for today, including May building and housing starts (expected at 655,000 and 631,000 respectively), May PPI (expected at -.5%), and May industrial production (expected at .8%). Of the three, the latter will prove to be the most consequential for metals. Oil markets are down by about $.60 after several days of good gains, and the Euro is holding steady at $1.2270 ..... We are $19,700 on nickel, down $525; we are still laboring to take out the short-term downchannel, (see chart in our attachment), which if we do, could set up a test of next resistance at $22,000.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Global nickel supply was 16,000 metric tons short of demand during the first four months of the year, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said Wednesday.  This compared with a surplus of 16,100 tons for all of 2009.
  • Castillian Resources to sell Kagera nickel project to Innovance - more
  • (Yieh) According to Taiwanese screw mills, many customers are adopting a wait-and-see attitude and reluctant to place orders recently because China Steel Corp. increased the bar and wire rod prices for July/August shipments.
  • (SM) The American Forest & Paper Association released its May 2010 U. S.Containerboard Statistics Report today. For the seventh straight month, containerboard paper production has risen sharply when compared to last year. Total production saw an increase of 238,100 tons or 9.1% over May 2009. Total production amounts increased compared to April 2010, with average daily production up 0.3%. Year-to-date 2010 production has increased 12.6% over 2009. The containerboard operating rate for May 2010 rose 12.2 points over May 2009 to 95.2%.
  • China leading indicator rises the most in 14 mths: Conference Board - more

  Freight Rates Ready to Spike - A recovering economy and a trucking industry scarred by bankruptcies and fleet cutbacks will soon lead to a shortage of trucks and a substantial price increase for shippers. - more

  Mincor says finds more nickel at Miitel mine - Australia's Miitel nickel mine could be bigger than previously estimated, owner Mincor Resources Ltd said on Wednesday, citing new exploration data which has revealed a possible second nickel deposit. - more

  Australia’s Resource Tax Will Be 40%, Ferguson Says  - Australia’s resource tax rate will be 40 percent and won’t be set at different levels for various commodities, Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said as companies look for a compromise on how the levy will be applied. - more

  • Mining giants push demands on Rudd over resources super-profits tax - Mining giants have complained after a meeting in Canberra today that their demands on tax are still not being acknowledged by the government - even as Kevin Rudd confirms he is considering requests for special treatment from different resources sectors. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, June 15

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 95 to 3,020. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) BOJ Initiates $33 Billion Program Even as Shirakawa Hails Japan Recovery // China's Bank Regulator Warns Risks Growing From Real Estate `Chain Effect' // India Clears Plan to Sell Coal India, Hindustan Copper Stakes; Shares Jump // Singapore's Employers Added More Jobs Than Estimated as Economy Rebounded // South Korea's Yoon Signals Shift in Stance on Rates as Rebound Accelerates // Spain, Portugal Need More Cuts, Debt May `Snowball,' EU Draft Report Says // Murdoch's $11.5 Billion Offer for Rest of BSkyB Is Rejected by Broadcaster // German Investor Confidence Drops More Than Forecast on Europe Debt Crisis // Greek Bonds Drop After Moody's Downgrade to Junk; Irish, Spanish Debt Fall // Euro Turmoil Drives Borrowers to Issue in Loonies, Francs: Credit Markets // European Stocks Rise for Fifth Day; BSkyB Paces Gains on News Corp. Offer  // New York Fed's Enhanced Power May Come at Expense of Reduced Independence // Best Buy's First-Quarter EPS of 36 Cents Misses Estimates; Shares Retreat // Fed Sells $1.15 Billion of Term Deposits in Test of Credit-Tightening Tool // Manufacturing in U.S. Sustains Recovery as Homebuilder Confidence Declines // Stocks, Oil Advance on New York Manufacturing Growth; Greek Bonds Decline
  • The Euro is now trading nearly 9/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is up nearly 2% and over $76.50/barrel. Gold is up over 1% and silver is higher by 2.2%. Base metals ended the session mostly higher, but subdued. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower this morning, spiked higher, then drifted. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.17/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses were reported by a couple of different news sources as completely different, but our best guess is that inventories remain over the 132,000 tonne level, but by how much, we can not report. With cancelled warrants over 7% yesterday, outbound activity remains very high. Stainless steel producers are apparently betting the market has seen the bottom of the dip. And unless equity markets take another strong dive, we see no reason to believe the odds are working against them. Some are now predicting the price of nickel could work sideways for the rest of the year. This, in our opinion, is about as likely as the sun imploding. Traders don't make money unless nickel goes up and down, and unless nickel suddenly takes a back seat to all other investments, it is highly unlikely we will see nickel trade sideways for any extended period of time, especially for a six month period.   

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Roubini Sees No Double Dip In US, Spars With El-Erian - more
  • Credit Card Defaults Fall for Fifth Straight Month - more
  • Demand for Educated Workers May Outstrip Supply by 2018 - more
  • U.S. Income Losses Could Hurt Housing Demand - more
  • Another view of the structural versus cyclical unemployment question - more
  • Debt Default: It Can Happen Here - more
  • Real GDP per Capita Recovery... a Ways to Go - more
  • Obama's call for economic stimulus, jobs spending a tough sell in Congress - more
  • Double Dip Recession Talk Bustin’ Out All Over - more
  • U.S. data point to wobbly recovery - more

  DJ Rio Tinto To Invest $469M In Developing Kennecott Eagle Mine - Rio Tinto PLC , an international mining group, said Tuesday it will invest $469 million in constructing the Kennecott Eagle nickel and copper mine in Michigan's Upper Peninsula following receipt of final environmental approvals. - more

   Miners consulted on super-profits tax since '08: PM - Kevin Rudd fought back today against charges that the mining industry had not been properly consulted over the proposed super profits tax, arguing the tax had been on the table since August 2008. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb lower, with other base metals mixed and very quiet. The Euro is currently trading nearly 1/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil futures are trading 2/3 of 1% higher and at $75.62/barrel. Gold is trading 1/3 of 1% higher, while silver is up nearly 1-1/4%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended flat with China markets closed until Thursday. European markets are trading slightly higher this morning, while US futures show Wall Street will try to shrug off yesterday's loss that came after Moody's Investor Service cut Greece's government-bond ratings by four notches to a junk-grade rating. and should open this morning.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper rose to one-week highs yesterday on renewed optimism about growth prospects. The European industrial production number we referenced in yesterday’s note was particularly important in pushing prices higher, as it was the largest year-over-year gain in some 20 years. There were solid gains in the rest of the metals as well, with nickel hitting a two-week high. Some of these gains were rolled back after more news came out of Europe, this time having to do with Moody's downgrading Greece's debt by several notches to junk status. In addition, the chairman of Spain's second largest bank had to publicly deny German newspaper reports that Madrid was negotiating a Greek-style financial rescue with Brussels. Spanish paper sold off sharply on the news, as well as on reports that Spanish companies were having difficulties raising funds. The stories took their heaviest toll on the US equity markets, which gave up earlier gains to close modestly lower. Metals started the Asian session on a weaker note overnight, as we suspect the latest European jitters impacted sentiment, but the complex has since regrouped, with copper and aluminum practically unchanged on the day. There is not much in terms of fresh news, but we could see rather turbulent trading conditions over the next day or two ahead of President Obama's speech on BP and the Gulf crisis scheduled for later tonight. The administration's plan is to now ask the oil giant for a massive allocation to be placed in escrow (a figure of $20 billion is being bandied about) so that claims and/or damages can be paid expeditiously without having to check with the company. We suspect that BP will have little choice but to go along, but depending on the amount and other details, we could see US equity markets back off somewhat over the next two sessions, perhaps trimming some of the recent gains we have been seeing in commodities as well.  .... We are $20,144 on nickel, down $156, and fairly quiet. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh)  It is reported that ArcelorMittal has restarted a stainless cold rolling mill in Northern France at its Isbergues plant. However, it will not be operated by full capacity as it has been planned for reduced three working shifts.
  • (JMB) Tokyo Steel Cuts All Steel Items by 7,000-9,000 yen/t
  • (MDM) April U.S. manufacturing technology consumption totaled $222.36 million, according to the Association For Manufacturing Technology and the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTC program, was down 15.6 percent from March but up 102.7 percent from the total of $109.69 million reported for April 2009. With a year-to-date total of $783.03 million, 2010 is up 50.6 percent compared with 2009.
  • China's bank regulator sees growing real estate risks - more
  • 'Doomsday Capitalism:' Local virus? Global pandemic? - more
  • German ZEW economic sentiment index drops - more
  • The Chances of a "Double-Dip" are Essentially Nil - more
  • China's Daya Bay nuclear plant says it suffered leak in May - more
  • Nasa warns solar flares from 'huge space storm' will cause devastation - more
  • Failing Successfully - more

  Outokumpu Oyj: Outokumpu opens new stainless bar and rebar plant in Sheffield, UK - A new stainless steel bar and rebar facility is being officially opened today in Sheffield, UK. - more

  African Eagle doubles resource at Tanzania project  - African Eagle Resources Plc has more than doubled the size of the resource estimate at its Dutwa nickel project in Tanzania, the firm said on Tuesday. - more

  BIR Stainless Steel & Special Alloys Committee Was Held In Istanbul / Turkey = ELG, World Production Of Stainless Steel In 2010 Will Be 30 Million Tons - BIR Stainless Steel & Special Alloys Committee was held last week at Istanbul of Turkey and guest speakers commented on their outlook for production of stainless steel in 2010 and in the future. The main points are summarized as follows - more

  Buoyant outlook for commodity prices: Credit Suisse analysts - Credit Suisse's New York team says the shocker month for commodities in May is likely to have created a buying opportunity. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending June 12, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,803,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 74.6 percent. Production was 1,123,000 tons in the week ending June 12, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 46.9 percent. The current week production represents a 60.6 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending June 12, 2010 is up 1.0 percent from the previous week ending June 5, 2010 when production was 1,785,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 73.8 percent.

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, June 14

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 173 to 3,115. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) India Inflation Unexpectedly Quickens, Adding Pressure for Rate Increases // South Korea's Won Advances on Tighter Forwards Curbs, Risk of Intervention // Yen Weakens for Third Day on Global Economic Recovery Signs; Euro Advances // Asian Stocks, Commodities Rise on Improving Economic Outlook; Yen Weakens // Currency Collapse May Stimulate a Resumption of Economic Growth, BIS Says // Emergency Powers to Ban Naked CDS Trades Proposed by European Commission // AIG Rescue Spared European Banks From Raising $16 Billion, U.S. Panel Says // U.K. Deficit Narrower Than Forecast; Budget Office Predicts Weaker Growth // U.K. Has Bigger Fiscal Gap to Fill Than Labour Forecast, Watchdog Reports // Euro Volatility Signaling Weakness as Traders Lose Confidence in Currency // European Stocks Gain for Fourth Day; BHP Billiton, Weir, Axa Lead Advance // Believing in Free Markets Shows U.S. More Than Compensates Bond Vigilantes // U.S. Housing Market Recovery Depends on Job Growth, Harvard Says in Report // Stocks Beating Bonds in Relative Value After S&P 500 Earnings Yields Surge // Stocks, Oil Rally on Economic Optimism; Yen Weakens, U.S. Treasuries Fall
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, and at present, up 1-1/3%. NYMEX crude oil is up nearly 2-1/2% and at $75.57/barrel. Gold is off 6/10 of 1% while silver is higher by nearly a full percent. Base metals all ended solidly in the green today, most up in the 2-3% range. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher this morning, hovered for much of the morning, then spent the afternoon gaining ground. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.21/lb and climbed back well over the $20,000 tonne level. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses experienced another heavy day Friday with outbound's leading inflows, and inventories now sit just over the 133,300 tonne level. Considering the number of outbound shipments, it appears some stainless steel producers are betting the price of nickel has bottomed and are grabbing cheaper nickel while they can. Sucden's day old price graph shows nickel trading thru Friday (chart here). Cancelled warrants were over 5% the last three days of last week and outflows from LME warehouses are higher. If you skip all the articles today, make sure you read "A breakthrough in China, another blow for Sudbury". It answers a lot of questions about the pig nickel mystery. And Antaike's report that some pig nickel producers were shutting down because of nickel's lower price, helped push nickel higher today. China is on holiday celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival and will re-open on Thursday.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Commodity Markets Adversely Affected by May Market Uncertainty; Recent Price Weakness May Offer a Favorable Entry Point into the Asset Class - more
  • U.S. Identifies Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan - more
  • India - Inflation touches double digits at 10.16 per cent - more
  • Bullard: U.S. Economic Recovery Insufficient For Rate Increase - more
  • Q&A: ECB’s Orphanides Dismisses Concerns of Greek Default - more
  • Number of the Week: Default, Not Thrift, Pares U.S. Debt - more
  • US/China Rhetoric Escalates Over Rise in Chinese Exports - more
  • Satyajit Das: The Year of Wishful Thinking - more

  Chinese team tagging copper, nickel-rich areas - A team of Chinese geochemical surveyors will start mapping out copper and nickel-rich zones which is expected to further stir interest in Philippine mining. - more

  Tokyo Steel Cuts Prices for First Time in Six Months  - Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co., Japan’s largest electric-furnace mill, cut prices by as much as 12 percent for July contracts, the first reduction in six months, as price competition with Asian mills intensified and costs fell. - more

  Tax cut on Brazil steel imports to hurt sector-Vale - Brazil's government must think carefully before reducing taxes on imported steel to avert leaving local steelmakers vulnerable to foreign competition, Vale Chief Executive Roger Agnelli said on Friday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.16/lb higher with all base metals trading higher. The Euro is trading over 1.1% higher against the US Dollar, boosting commodity prices. NYMEX crude futures are up 2-1/4% and near $75.50/barrel. Gold is down 1/3 of 1% while silver is nearly 8/10 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher. European markets are trading higher and futures show Wall Street will open higher. Nickel inventories fell over the weekend.  First two articles below have to do with nickel pig iron and worth reading.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper retreated from one-week highs on Friday, but still managed to close the week on a positive note. Macro data was mixed, but not enough to derail the advance. May US retail sales, for example, unexpectedly dropped by 1.2%, reviving concerns about the US economy, but consumer sentiment improved in early June to its strongest level in nearly 2 1/2 years. Numbers out of China showed industrial output rising 16.5% from a year ago, coming in slightly short of expectations. Urban fixed asset investment in the January-May period was up 25.6% from a year earlier, while May producer price inflation was at 7.1%, a 19 month high. All in all, Chinese growth still remains very strong, and the government's efforts to rein in the economy are still a long way off from achieving any credible results. We are sharply higher in today's trading in metals, as there is widespread weakness seen in the dollar against most currencies. The Euro is now at $1.2240, while sterling is at $1.4740. There are good gains in energy prices as well, and US stocks are expected to open sharply higher on the back of solid gains in Europe and Asia. Chinese markets are closed today for a holiday. After weeks of steady price falls, we suspect most markets are stabilizing here, and we could be in store for a relatively good run to the upside over the June/July period. Our upcoming monthly report on the various commodities (due out shortly) outlines our reasoning on the issue in greater detail, but generally, we believe the recent stabilization in the Euro and the modest deceleration evident so far in China, is allowing the commodity markets to decouple from currency and concentrate instead on the global growth picture, which despite its patchy nature, remains largely on track.  .....  We are $19,914 on nickel, up $369, and prices have salvaged the earlier breach of the trend line marked in red. Two days of closes above this mark (likely) could result in further gains.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (AMM) More than 100 tonnes of nickel and copper has been stolen from a Henry Bath & Son Ltd. warehouse in the northern England port city of Liverpool, according to market sources.
  • (Dow Jones) Jinchuan Group Co., the world's fourth largest nickel producer, expects the ongoing overhaul of its nickel flash smelter to be completed in mid-October, the company said in a notice on its website Saturday. "We plan to resume output [sometime during] October 10-20," it said.
  • (Bloomberg) Posco may this week tentatively agree to a price increase of 25 percent to 30 percent for iron ore for the third quarter, the Korea Economic Daily reported today, without citing anyone.
  • (JC) Most Chinese ferromolybdenum smelters have suspended production due to the rapid decline in prices and downstream demand, against the backdrop of a weak European market. The shutdowns are particularly in the key production base of Liaoning province, where at least 60-70% of ferromolybdenum producers in Huludao have suspended their smelters.
  • (Dow Jones) cHina Jinchuan Raises Refined Nickel Price To CNY153,000/Ton
  • (SG) According to an appraisal by Spetsstal Association, stainless steel output in Russia rose 108.3% YoY to 26139 tonnes in the first quarter of 2010 as compared to the same period last year.
  • (SO) According to the latest data issued by China's National Bureau of Statistics, in May this year China's crude steel production increased by 20.7 percent year on year to 56.14 million mt. The average daily output in May was 1.811 million mt.
  • (Nikkei) Orders for ordinary steel products rose for the seventh straight month in April, up 39.8% year on year to 6.352 million tons, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said Monday.
  • (China Daily) China's May electricity consumption growth slowed from April despite a year-on-year increase of 20.8 percent, indicated statistics released by National Energy Administration (NEA) Sunday.
  • Copper Bounce Now Likely  - more
  • 3 Key Drivers for Stocks, Commodities, Forex, June 13 - 18, 2010: Outlook Remains Bearish - more
  • Stock Market Internals Are Pre Crash Unhealthy, Sitting on a Precipice - more
  • Saudi Arabia gives Israel clear skies to attack Iranian nuclear sites - more

  A breakthrough in China, another blow for Sudbury - No longer just a low-wage workshop, China is reshaping world markets through innovation - including a revolutionary alloy that takes aim at Canada’s nickel belt - more

  China’s nickel pig iron makers curb output - Nickel pig iron producers in China, the world’s largest consumer of nickel, have started to idle capacity as prices slump and demand weakens, according to Beijing Antaike Information Development Co. - more

  Supply And Demand Of Main Ferro-Alloys In Japan In Jan. - Mar. 2010 = Consumption Was Considerably Improved From That In Q1 / 09 But Still Unable To Reach Scale In 2008 - The actual quantities of main 8 ferro-alloys supplied and consumed in Japan in the first quarter (January - March) of 2010 were traced and the contents were as per the tables (1) and (2) shown below. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, June 11

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 135 to 3,288. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at and week at $8.86/lb , with indicators showing all of the day's gains coming early in the session.

  Copper ends up, has biggest weekly gain in 2 mths - Copper retreated from one-week highs on Friday, but still managed to score its largest weekly gain since early April, as demand expectations rose on generally positive macro readings in the United States and China -- the world's top 2 consumers. - more

  Nickel’s nice but oil is the China card - The Chinese economy is developing at a blistering pace, and the country is acquiring a talent for producing things it once needed to import. From cars to telecommunications equipment to steel products, China has arrived on the world stage. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.20/lb higher, with all base metals trading higher this morning. Nickel is showing signs of possibly peaking for the day, having spent the last 2-1/2 hours of trading flatlined. The Euro is trading a little over 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, and climbing, which could give nickel another boost if it continues to climb. NYMEX crude futures are down 1/3 of 1% and at $75.21/barrel. Gold is up 1/2 of 1% and silver is up 1/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 1/3 of 1%. European markets are trading slightly higher this morning, with US futures showing a slightly higher opening for Wall Street. Nickel inventories fell again overnight and now sit just under the 133,800 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel attempting to establish a bullish turnaround (chart here). Traders get a look at the ECRI U.S. Long Leading Index today around 10:30 EST. This report has a good track record of forecasting future economic strength and with the worries of a potential double dip resurfacing, this report will likely be scrutinized. You can find the update here when it is posted (here). We will be on the road this afternoon so our afternoon update will be delayed till this evening. We hope each of you has a safe and enjoyable weekend! 
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report today (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel exports rose 10.5% in April from the previous month, and was up 857.6% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel imports fell 11.5% in April from last month, but was up 26.8% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
  • (PR) Talvivaara Mining Company Plc is pleased to announce that the second production line at its metals recovery plant was successfully commissioned on 9 June with zinc sulphide precipitation, followed by nickel sulphide precipitation on 10 June. The production line is currently operating well and will be ramping up towards its full capacity during the upcoming months.
  • (MA) Following in Australia’s footsteps, China is now considering increasing its resources taxes. China has taken steps towards imposing the tax, which the country sees as a way to slow the depletion of resources and the damage to the environment while rebalancing the nation’s economy.
  • (Interfax) Shanghai-listed Jilin Ji'en Nickel Industry Co. Ltd. has commenced operations of its 5,000-ton refined nickel facility, the company announced on June 9.
  • (Yieh) Outokumpu has announced to invest about €104 million to increase its stainless steel quarto plate production capacity in Degerfors plant.
  • (JC) Western World Q1 Molybdenum Output Up by 21.8% YOY compared to the first quarter of 2009.
  • (TSI) The Freight Transportation Services Index rose for the third straight month, with a 0.3 percent boost in April over March, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The index increased 4.8 percent from April 2009.
  • (China) CPI hits 19-month high but not all see tighter policy - more
  • (EC) UK Manufacturing Drops While Producer-Price Pressure Eases .... But manufacturing data released today pointed to a decline to -0.4% from the revised 2.2%, and industrial production plummeted to -0.4% from 2.0%. Details revealed that seven of the 13 categories components constituting manufacturing, slumped, where the sharpest decline was seen in cars, food, drink and tobacco, and electrical and optical equipment.

  Nickel May Fall Almost 29%, Stellakis Says: Technical Analysis - Nickel may drop to $13,600 a metric ton, implying a 29 percent slide from current prices, after falling through a trend line, according to technical analysis by independent analyst Jim Stellakis. - more

  • New wave of gains seen for commodities - Copper and oil prices could leap on strong industrial demand in coming months and gold may rise further on inflation-linked buying, suggesting a new wave of gains for commodities. - more
  • Commods may surprise to upside: Goldman's Cohen - The recent sell-off in industrial commodities may have been sharper than investors expected but they could stage an equally surprising rebound if emerging nations continue to rapidly build infrastructure, a strategist for top commodities trader Goldman Sachs said on Wednesday. - more

  Metallica Says May Scrap Nickel Mine on Planned Tax - Metallica Minerals Ltd., studying a A$700 million ($592 million) nickel project in Australia’s Queensland state, may scrap the mine because of the proposed resource super profits tax. - more

  Minara to resume normal nickel output next week - Australia's second biggest nickel miner, Minara Resources, will resume normal nickel production next week following repairs to its Murrin Murrin mine, it said on Friday. - more

  First Quantum says new projects may double revenue - First Quantum Minerals' revenue could double once new production from recently acquired copper and nickel projects comes on line in the next three years, the company's president said on Wednesday. - more

  China May steel output hits record 56 mln T - China's crude steel output reached a monthly record of 56.14 million tonnes in May, rising 1.3 percent from April and 20.7 percent year on year despite industry concerns about narrowing margins and uncertain demand. - more

  Xstrata Says Mine-Tax ‘Tinkering’ Won’t Curb Damage - Xstrata Plc, which halted investment in A$6.6 billion ($5.6 billion) of Australian mining projects after the government proposed a new tax, said “tinkering” with the levy won’t be sufficient to prevent damage to the industry. - more

  • Australian PM, BHP knock down quick mine tax deal - Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd denied on Friday talk of a swift deal with miners over his controversial mining tax, as global miner BHP Billiton rejected a rumoured compromise affecting the nation's top export sector. - more

  Sulfuric Acid, Copper Byproduct, Peaks on Demand View, CRU Says - Prices for sulfuric acid, used to dissolve metal ore and produce fertilizer, have peaked amid expectations of weaker demand, researcher CRU said. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, June 10

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 91 to  3,423. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Exports Jump 48.5%, Property Prices Surge as Overheating Risk Grows // Japan's First-Quarter Growth Revised Higher on Consumer Spending, Housing // Goldman Sued for $1 Billion by Australian Hedge Fund Over Timberwolf CDO // Asia Weathers Europe Crisis as China Exports, Korean Jobs Exceed Forecasts // Asia Stocks Rise on Japan GDP, Australia Jobs; Kiwi Gains on Rate Increase  // Trichet Says Interest Rates Are `Appropriate' as ECB Combats Debt Crisis // BP Trades as Junk Bond Amid Credit-Default Swap Inversion: Credit Markets // Van Rompuy Says EU Will Expand $905 Billion Rescue Package If More Needed // `Liquidity Seizure' May Drag World Into Recession, Nomura's Schulte Says // Bank of England Keeps Stimulus Program as Cameron Prepares to Cut Spending // European Stocks Rise on Global Growth; BHP Billiton Gains, BP Pares Losses // Trade Deficit in U.S. Widens to Highest Level in a Year as Exports Decline // U.S. Home Seizures Jump 44% to Record as Foreclosures Climb in All States // Brazil's Meirelles Repeats `Aggressive' Rate Increase to Contain Inflation // Revalue Renminbi or Congress Will Unleash Dogs, Patterson Says: Tom Keene // SEC Approves Circuit-Breaker Rules for 10% Movements in Individual Stocks // Stocks Rally on Economic Outlook; Alcoa, Caterpillar, Bank of America Gain
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, by nearly a full percent. NYMEX crude oil is up nearly 1.2% and at $75.25/barrel. Gold is down 2/3 of 1% as safe haven buying quiets, and silver, is up nearly 1.3%. Base metals ended the day mixed. Indicator charts show nickel floundered early, suddenly got some strength and bounced by nearly $650/tonne, then just as quickly, nose dived. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.59/lb , giving up about 1/2 of yesterday's gains. Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell overnight and now sit just over the 134,600 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). Nickel went back to looking weak today, after showing some teeth the last two. Technically speaking, the day started with teh RSI and SStoch readings showing the market was over bought. This added selling pressure even in light of the increased trading value that nickel was gaining with the days rising Euro.  Fundamentally nothing really changed from yesterday. The market had been tipped off exports from China had nearly doubled from the prior year, and this was officially confirmed today. Imports fell in CHina, reflecting an attempt to cool things down there and a big drop in iron ore imports. Other reports from Australia and Japan are helping equity markets bounce back today, which typically is a plus for nickel trading as well. But the great unknown remains. Our US economy, like an old car, initially jumped into motion as the recession came to an end. As it moved faster, the engine needed to shift. And in our opinion, that is where we are at economically right now. In the middle of a shift. The sudden drop in rpm's has many spooked, but history shows, an experienced driver rarely stalls the engine. Not all the news is good to be sure, and our start hasn't broken any records. In some observer's eyes, a turtle could act as our pace car. And there are suddenly a lot of new faces in the crowd betting against us. But so far, the good news is out-weighing the bad, and if this ratio stays intact, our old car/economy will continue to move forward. That is, as long as European debt problems don't put us into the wall, or the Chinese tires we are running on don't burst, or we run our of gas, or.... well, like we said. It's an old car.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Steel company OAO Severstal , which has recently been relying on profits from its core Russian business, Thursday warned that there could be "serious change" in the steel industry as buyers favor cheaper imported steel over its local production. Severstal's U.S. and European mills have been operating at a loss - the company has already put Italy-based Lucchini SpA up for sale, and said in its annual report that it will seek to profit from "further market consolidation" in North America.
  • Rising Global Imbalances Likely to Precipitate New Crises - more
  • Government Workers Cost More to Employ - more
  • Bernanke Takes Cautious Tone in Congressional Testimony - more
  • RealtyTrac Reports Foreclosure Activity Over 300,000 For 15th Straight Month As REOs Set New Monthly Record - more
  • AIG's problems far greater than Bush officials told public - more
  • Jobless benefit rolls drop sharply; new claims dip - more

  Nickel producer to scale back under mining tax - Mid-tier nickel producer Western Areas believes Kevin Rudd's proposed mining tax will stifle any development of the next phase of its high-grade Forrestania project in Western Australia. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.09/lb lower and choppy, with other London traded base metals mixed and quiet. The Euro is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment, but weakening. NYMEX crude futures are up nearly 1% and over $75/barrel. Gold is trading nearly 6/10 of 1% lower, while silver is down nearly 9/10 of 1%. In overnight trading Asian markets ended slightly higher, with China off more than 1%.  European markets are trading higher this morning thanks to strong economic reports from China and Australia. US futures imply Wall Street should open in a good mood. Stockpiles of nickel fell overnight.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper prices rallied on Wednesday, building on the gains coming from the Far East in the wake of constructive Chinese export data, coupled with relatively upbeat comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that the US recovery remains on track. Most other commodities rallied as well, with the Reuters-Jefferies CRB index posting its biggest daily gain in two weeks. The Euro also continued to gain ground, breaking above the $1.20 level, where it is right now. We are seeing a quiet day so far today, with trading ranges relatively tight despite a plethora of news. On the macro front, we had a slew of Chinese indicators out overnight that investors will be digesting over the course of the day. In this regard, it was reported that Chinese industrial output rose 16.5% in May from a year earlier, but fell slightly short of expectations calling for 17.1% growth. Urban fixed asset investment in the January-May period was up 25.6% from a year earlier, while producer price inflation ran at 7.1% in May. From all accounts, the Chinese economy is still very strong, and signs of a slow-down are incremental at best, even when considering the latest metals trade data, which was also released. In this respect, it was reported that May copper imports came in at around 397,000 tons, slightly below forecasts, but this level is still pretty high compared to March and April numbers, which were the second-highest and third-highest on record, respectively. On an aggregate basis, copper imports in the first four months of this year are now at 1.61 million tons, up from 1.34 million tons in the same 2009 period. More importantly, the relative high level of imports is not being picked up in visible inventories in that stocks on the Shanghai Futures Exchange have actually fallen over the last month, dovetailing a similar decline on the LME. All this tells us that barring imported metal going into hidden stocks or private stashes, actual demand for copper in China remains quite healthy.  .... We are $19,081 on nickel, down $189. Charts suggest an eventual push towards $19,500, previous support, and now resistance. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (CM) According to market sources, the market price is not optimistic, Sichuan Chongzhou Shu Ye Xing Electrical Co., Ltd. has recently suspended sales of nickel iron, but the production continues. According to reports, Shu Ye Xing Electrical Co., high-nickel-iron output each month of 1000 tons, due to lower procurement of active, approaching the cost of the purchase price line, in view of its limited inventory, so now is the fence.
  • (CM) Kinds of steel giant Tate Ltd has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary - Si Xin Metallurgy, Inner Mongolia Chemical Co., Ltd. officially announced the opening of the company annual output of 40,000 tons of nickel iron.
  • (SMM) Jilin Ji En Nickel Industry Co. is conducting trial production at a refined nickel project, the China Business News reported on its website Thursday..... The company is expected to start ferronickel production this month.
  • (Yieh) China's Wisco and Angang Steel slashed their HRC prices for July by RMB300/ton and RMB350/ton respectively after Baosteel announced to cut July price.
  • (Interfax) China's steel product exports increased to 4.94 million tons in May, up 14.62 percent month-on-month, according to preliminary statistics released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC) on June 10.
  • (J) Eramet SA, operator of the world’s largest ferronickel plant, plans to raise nickel output at its Doniambo smelter by 7.5 percent this year.
  • (Yieh) Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel Corp. which is largest stainless steel producer in Japan has announced to increase its price of SUS304 stainless steel wire rod by $714/ton for June to August. Due to strong demand, Japanese JFE has temporarily stopped exporting its SUS400 series at this moment.
  • (BNA) The production of Venezuelan state steelmaker Sidor is down 80% to May this year, compared to the same period in 2009
  • (Reuters) South Africa's manufacturing output rose by a higher-than-expected 8.7 percent year-on-year in volume terms in April compared with a revised 6.6 percent expansion in March, Statistics South Africa said on Thursday. Compared with March, factory production in volume terms fell by a seasonally-adjusted 1.0 percent in April. Output was up 0.8 percent in the three months to April compared with the previous three months, also on a seasonally-adjusted basis.
  • China exports surge but Europe debt crisis looms - more
  • Is the Plunge in Commodities a Bear Market Signal for Stocks? - more
  • Hussman: Markets Aren't Worried About Greece Or Hungary, But Rather The Next US Mortgage Crisis - more
  • China's home prices rise 12.4% in May - more
  • Fair Warning - more

  Commods may surprise to upside: Goldman's Cohen - The recent sell-off in industrial commodities may have been sharper than investors expected but they could stage an equally surprising rebound if emerging nations continue to rapidly build infrastructure, a strategist for top commodities trader Goldman Sachs said on Wednesday. - more

  Western Areas officially opens new mine - Nickel miner Western Areas NL has officially opened the Tim King open-pit mine and the Stage 2 expansion of its Cosmic Boy nickel concentrator in Forrestania, Western Australia. - more

  Asian Stainless Steel Market Conditions Marking Time - Stainless steel market conditions in Asia are caught in a continued wait-and-see sentiment on the whole. - more

  Moly Oxide Price Rebounds At LME But Falls On Physical Trade = Oxide Price On Physical Trade Has Broken Level Of US$15 Per Lb. / Mo And Continued On Basic tone To Fall - The price of molybdenum oxide quoted at LME on the end of last week has considerably differed from that transacted on physical trade. - more

  Kalgoorlie makes dreaded property list - It's an unusual way to measure the state of the property market, but it's also the list no one wants to be on. - more

  ANZ issue new China Commodity Trade Report - China: Cooling demand appears to be confirmed:A softer import report for May, with talk of government cooling initiatives potentially having an impact. - more

  European Nickel slashes interim losses, set to complete financing for Caldag nickel project - Laterite nickel specialist European Nickel said H1 marked “progress on all fronts” after completing a merger with Rusina Mining to secure enough funds to complete project financing of the Caldag nickel project in Turkey and recommence work on the feasibility study at the Acoje nickel project in the Philippines. - more

  POSCO CEO sees domestic market oversupply in H2 - South Korea's POSCO expects a difficult business environment in the second half because of oversupply in the domestic market and increasing steel imports, its chief executive said. - more

  Steel usage goes up 12% in May - India’s steel consumption rose 12% in May, the fastest in at least one year, backed by strong demand from automobile, consumer durable and infrastructure sectors, as per the provisional data of the steel ministry. - more

  DENR hit for giving ‘midnight’ contract to Canadian mining firm - Antimining groups expressed concern that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is fast-tracking the awarding of a mining contract to a big company in the province of Palawan. - more

  A better way to extract metals? - Pulling precious metals out of the earth has always seemed a crude and destructive process. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, June 9

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 65 to 3,514. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) IMF Says Global Risks Are Rising, Policy Makers Have Limited Room to Act // South Korea to Tighten Capital Controls `Soon,' Not Ready to Raise Rates // Morgan Stanley's Asia M&A Chief Edward King Said to Leave to Join Barclay // China's Exports Jump 50%, Inflation Accelerates to 3.1%, Reuters Reports // Asian Stocks Fall, Yen Strengthens on Concern Europe Crisis to Curb Growth // BP Slumps to 20-Month Low as Obama, Congress Raise Pressure Over Oil Spill  // Greek Default Seen by Almost 75% in Poll of Investors Doubtful on Trichet // Volkswagen Will Build Plant in Foshan Amid Plan to Double Chinese Capacity  // Bunds Fall as Record Low Yields Pare Demand for Europe's Safest Securities // European Stocks Climb After China Exports Report; Inditex, STMicro Advance // Fed Rate Increase Pushed to 2011 as Inflation Ebbs, Bloomberg Survey Shows // Limit-Down Alternative to Stock Halts Proposed in SEC Letters for Selloffs  // Bernanke Says Federal Reserve Will Take `Necessary' Steps to Aid Recovery  // Stocks in U.S. Advance on Bernanke Comments, Report China's Exports Surged
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar,  up 6/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude oil is up 4% and nearing $75/barrel. Gold is down over 1/2 of 1% and silver is off the same. Base metals liked the stronger Euro and the export news from China, albeit an unofficial report. Indicator charts show nickel climbed most of the day only taking a break late. Dow Jones reports thre emonth nickel ended the day at $8.74/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell overnight and now sit just under the 135,200 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel attempting to find its footing (chart here). Commodities got a nudge from not only a stronger Euro today, but also a Reuters report that a senior government official has stated China exports rose 50% in May from the prior month. The official report from China is to be released tomorrow.  News on the metals front was light today, but traders jumped on the China export news and drove commodity prices and equities higher, with a little extra Bernanke bounce hellping US equities.   

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (BW) The Internaitonal Finance Corp. (IFC) of the World Bank group plans to invest up to $1.98 million on a Surigao del Norte nickel mine, operator Mindoro Resources Ltd. of Canada announced yesterday.
  • Economists Strive For Better Forecasting Regime - more
  • Fed’s Evans: European Troubles Likely to Lower U.S. Growth - more
  • China’s not the answer for the Eurozone - more
  • MBA: Mortgage Purchase Applications decline 35% over last four weeks - more
  • ‘The Time We Have Is Growing Short’ - more
  • Social Security's defenders wary of deficit reduction commission - more
  • Stimulus Talk Yields to Calls to Cut Deficits - more

  Teck CEO says metal demand steady despite selloff - Base metals demand has remained steady despite a recent dive in prices, the chief executive of Teck Resources, Canada's biggest base-metals miner, said on Tuesday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.20/lb higher, with all base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro is trading 4/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are up 1-1/2% and over $73/barrel. Gold opened slightly lower while silver is up nearly 3/10 of 1%. In overnight trading Asian markets ended lower, while China ended over 3% higher. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures show a higher opening for Wall Street. Nickel inventories resumed their falling trend overnight.    
  • Reuters morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper ended up higher for the first time in seven sessions on Tuesday, pulling the rest of the metals up along with it. Zinc was particularly strong, as it was among the most oversold in the group. The group was lifted by both a bounce in the Euro and a late-day rally on Wall Street, where stocks finally broke a string of depressing fade-outs heading into the close. Equities rose primarily on comments made by Fed Chairman Bernanke that the US economic recovery is still on track. Furthermore, the National Federation of Independent Business said confidence among US small businesses rose in May to its highest level since September 2008, while jobs advertised in April jumped by 300,000 to 3.1 million, the most since December of 2008. Still, job openings are well below pre-recession levels, with 5 jobless people per opening, well above the pre-recession level of 1.8. We are sharply higher again in today's metals session, as the bounce off oversold levels continues. Strength emanated out of the Far East, when markets jumped on leaked Chinese trade figures showing a surge in exports -- up by some 50% from a year ago. The news was enough to trigger a sharp advance in the Chinese equity markets, which, in turn spilled over into commodities. It remains to be see how much further the current advance could take us given that the Euro is still holding steady right now at just under $1.20 and has not added much to yesterday’s gains. Much will ride on what the US equity markets do today; right now stocks are called to open slightly higher, but there will not be much in the way of macro news until Friday when we get May retail sales data (expected at +.2%). Oil prices are higher as well, participating in the general rebound we seem to have on hand. .....  We are $18,940 on nickel, up $470. Charts suggest an eventual push towards $19,500, previous support, and now resistance. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) According to the statistics from SPETSSTAL Association, Russia imported 14,240 tons of stainless steel products in April, down by 6.3 percent month-on-month. The total stainless steel export during Jan-Apr was 49,166 tons, increasing by about 65 percent year-on-year.
  • Afnat Resources, Rio Tinto Team Up For Mozambique Exploration - more
  • NFIB - The National Federation of Independent Business Index of Small Business Optimism gained 1.6 points in May with a reading of 92.2. Although not a strong sign of recovery, it is headed in the right direction.
  • ENSO Wrap-Up: Tropical Pacific Remains Neutral. Increased chance of La Niña in 2010. - more
  • Consumer pessimism - more

  Outokumpu to spend over $725 mln to hike output - Stainless steel maker Outokumpu Oyj said it would spend over 540 million euros ($725 million) to hike ferrochrome and stainless steel plate output, thawing plans previously frozen by the economic downturn. - more

  • Outokumpu Oyj: Outokumpu to double ferrochrome production - Outokumpu has decided to restart the project to double the Group's ferrochrome production capacity in Finland. - more

  Minara to finish nickel repairs by weekend - Australia's No. 2 nickel miner, Minara Resources , will complete repairs at its Murrin Murrin mine by the weekend, with a return to normal production rates shortly afterwards, Chief Executive Peter Johnston said on Wednesday. - more

  Ramu nickel a must - PM - Papua New Guinea will be liable to repay the Chinese Metallurgical Construction Company (MCC) and its partners if the Ramu nickel/cobalt project does not proceed as scheduled. - more

  Steelmakers may cut production on weak demand - Slower demand may prompt smaller makers to default on iron ore contracts in the third quarter, Baosteel Group Corp Chairman Xu Lejiang said on Tuesday at the Bloomberg Businessweek Green Business Summit in Shanghai. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, June 8

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 154 to 3,579. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Sun Hung Kai's $1.4 Billion Bid Sets 13-Year Peak for Hong Kong Land Sale // China Hiring Plans Rise to Six-Year High on Economic Recovery, World Expo // New Zealand's Bollard May Increase Rates for the First Time in Three Years // Foxconn's Gou Says Personal Issues, Not Salaries, Drove Workers to Suicide // Noda May Bring Spending Discipline as Ninth Japan Finance Chief Since 2006 // Asian Stocks Advance as the Fed's Bernanke Eases Economic Growth Concerns // JPMorgan May Pay More Than RBS to Sell $716 Million CMBS: Credit Markets // Estonia to Adopt the Euro as EU Finance Ministers Override ECB's Concerns // U.K. Retailers Say Sales Increase on Items for Warmer Weather, World Cup // Cameron Must Deepen Cuts in Formidable Debt Task, Fitch Says; Pound Drops // European Stocks Drop on Debt Crisis; German Utilities, Tesco Lead Retreat // Goldman Sachs Deserves Scrutiny by Regulators in Bloomberg Subscriber Poll  // Bernanke Says Fed Likely to Increase Rates Before Full Employment in U.S. // McDonald's May Same-Store Sales Increase of 4.8% Beats Analysts' Estimates // Small-Business Confidence in U.S. Hits 20-Month High as Recovery Quickens // Bernanke Says Unemployment Rate in U.S. Likely to Stay High `for a While' //
  • The Euro is currently trading over 4/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar.NYMEX crude oil is up over 1% and over $71/barrel. Gold i sup 1/3 of 1% and off all time record highs set earlier in the morning. Silver is up nearly 1.4%. Thanks to a stronger Euro showing today, base metals all ended the session higher today. Indicator charts show nickel was in trouble early, the only base metals trading lower against a higher trading Euro. The first half of the day was spent on the slide, while the latter half of the session was on the rise thanks to an increasingly stronger Euro. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.38/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose slightly overnight and now rest just under the 135,500 tonne level. It was the first gain recorded this month. Cancelled warrants took a big jump - to over 5% today. The Baltic Dry Index fell 154 points to 3,579. After a rising from 3,707 on May 10th to 4,209 on May 26th, the BDI has now slipped back to under 3,600. While the BDI has always been a rather reliable gauge of world trade activity, it has become somewhat skewed due to excess container ships. So is the recent falter a reaction to a general drop in world equity markets - or is the gauge showing us evidence of a general worldwide slowdown in shipping? While it managed to squeeze out a gainer today, nickel trading did not appear to be as healthy as yesterday.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Brazilian miner Vale SA (VALE) and the union representing striking workers at Vale's nickel operations in Ontario have adjourned strike talks and will reconvene Jun. 19. Progress was made in the talks over the weekend but the two sides couldn't negotiate a new collective agreement in the allotted time set for talks, said Kevin Burkett, the government-appointed mediator for the talks in a statement.
  • (quote) As China swiftly expands its reach across Latin America, Mexico is experiencing a flurry of new Chinese investments in traditional targets like nickel mines and in newer areas like car-part factories and electronics. - more
  • Small-Business Optimism Increased in May - more
  • World-Wide Hiring Set to Pick Up - more
  • Chicago Fed Auto Conference Survey Predicts Continued U.S. Growth - more
  • Tax Hikes and the 2011 Economic Collapse - more
  • Managers have worst month since November 2008: data - more
  • Why Governments Hate Gold - more
  • Consumer borrowing up slightly in April - more
  • Bernanke see recovery gaining traction - more
  • The bad news - bad news on jobs - more
  • In Brutal Job Market, More Than a Million Quit Looking - more
  • The G20 Votes for Global Depression - more
  • Chinese Labor Markets Tight Since Last Year - more
  • Three Chinese shot dead at North Korea border - more
  • BMO Go To Cash - pdf here

  Chinese Steelmakers to Cut Output, Baosteel Says - Chinese steelmakers are likely to cut production in the third quarter because of “weak” demand from auto and appliance makers, according to the nation’s second- biggest mill. - more

  Asian steel winces as miners prepare for Q3 pain - Months after sowing the seeds of a more flexible iron ore pricing system, Asia's steel giants are preparing to reap the whirlwind in the form of big cost rises, just as steel product prices show signs of flagging. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.08/lb lower, with other base metals trading higher this morning. The Euro is trading 2/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are down 1/10 of 1% and at $71.37/barrel. Gold opened 2/10 of 1% higher while silver is 8/10 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher with China up 1/10 of 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures show Wall Street may open to the positive. Nickel inventories gained ever so slightly overnight, and in spite of a higher Euro this morning, looks weak in LME trading this morning.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals tumbled once again to fresh lows yesterday, unable to mount any sort of technical bounce despite being quite oversold. Other markets did not help out much either. The Euro, for example, hit fresh four-year lows earlier, but recovered on the back of news that German factory orders unexpectedly jumped for a second month in April. However, this about-face did little to turn sentiment around in metals, as the bounce was perceived to be yet another ill-fated rally in what remains a bear market for the Euro. In other developments, news out of the Gulf that BP was finally collaring the spill by soaking up to 11,000 bpd of oil into its dome steadied the company's stock and had a stabilizing effect on the US stock market early on, but a bout of selling nevertheless hit stocks hard going into the final hour. In other news, European authorities announced that they have started putting the finishing touches on their previously announced stabilization fund by setting up a "special purpose vehicle" that will, in effect, be a "go-to" facility enabling countries to borrow up to E526 billion. Member countries are formalizing the necessary debt guarantees to fund the vehicle and the fund should be ready for use later this month. (Another E60 billion managed by the EU's executive commission "is available to cover urgent financial needs were it to arise", while the IMF will provide another E250 billion). In the meantime, German Chancellor Merkel vowed to "set an example" by laying out plans to save E80 billion through 2014 by instituting budget cuts, including cutting 15,000 government jobs and delaying construction projects. The EU's Economy Commissioner also urged other European countries to prepare more budget reductions, while the IMF also urged Eurozone countries to shun "delayed or half-hearted" budget cuts and work towards achieving current deficit targets. In other markets, things to be rather quiet today. Oil prices are slightly lower, but gold is in record territory, now at $1250. European stocks fell for a third straight day although Asian shares advanced. US stocks are called to open slightly higher, and the Euro is holding steady, now trading at $1.1930. .... We are $18,010 on nickel, down $190, and the only metal in the group that is lower today, a mirror image of what we saw yesterday. Charts suggest an eventual push towards $17,000.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Calyon metals analyst Robin Bhar - "Investors are just so nervous they'll continue to focus on any bad news and ignore all the good news. They're convinced the financial system is at its weakest, liquidity is drying up and the banks are in danger."
  • (Yieh) According to the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), the global stainless steel production output is expected to increase by 25 percent compared to the same period last year.
  • (Yieh) According to the statistics, Japan’s stainless steel exports totaled 108,000 tons in April, up by 5.8 percent on last year. The export volume of Japanese stainless steel product saw an increase of 45 percent in April compared to the previous month, marking the recovery of Japanese export on stainless steel product.
  • (MB) Taigang cuts stainless prices for a second week
  • AAR Rail Time Indicators Report - pdf here
  • Commodity Price Drops Signal A Double-Dip Recession Ahead - more
  • Home Sales Collapse w/o Government Support - more
  • Markets About to Turn Nasty, Buy Barbed Wire: Advisor - more
  • The Best Introduction to Economics in Print - more
  • How we invest is a political question - more
  • China - Developers Cut Prices, Edging Toward a Cliff - more

  Economic atmosphere still not clear - Markets are continuing to “react dramatically” to an economic atmosphere which is still “not overly clear”. - more

  Japan's Exports Of Nickel-Contained Raw Materials For China, Keeping Level Of Fe-Ni Shipments = Exports Of Ni-Based Stainless Scrap Decreased To 1/5 Of Peak As Retreated Considerably - According to the statistics released by the Ministry of Finance, the quantities of ferro-nickel exported from Japan to the four countries in Asia in the first 4 months (January - April) of 2010 were as per the tables (1) and (2) attached hereto. Japan has succeeded in having developed the market for ferro-nickel in China and, as a matter of fact, Japan exported approximately 31,500 tons of nickel in ferro-nickel in the calender year (January - December) of 2009.  - more

  Tough times ahead for China steel companies - Chinese steel mills are facing a precarious situation in the third quarter due to falling product prices and rising raw material costs, forcing many of them to scale back output or opt for maintenance shutdowns, leading industry experts said on Monday. - more

  Russia's Severstal to idle operations at US plant - Severstal, Russia's largest steel maker, said it planned to idle the primary steelmaking facilities at its Sparrows Point, Maryland plant for 30 days later this month because of weak demand. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending June 5, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,785,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 73.8 percent. Production was 1,095,000 tons in the week ending June 5, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 45.7 percent. The current week production represents a 63.1 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending June 5, 2010 is up 1.1 percent from the previous week ending May 29, 2010 when production was 1,766,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 73.0 percent.

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, June 7

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 111 to 3,733.   (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Agricultural, Communications Share Sales May Miss Target on Market Slump // Hon Hai Falls as Foxconn Unit Doubles Workers' Wages After China Suicides // Hong Kong Land Auction Estimates Cut as Caution Grows on Home Sales Drop // Bangkok Protests, Ash Cloud May Lead to Thai Airways Loss, Piyasvasti Says // Asian Stocks, Euro Tumble on U.S. Jobs Report, Hungary Debt; Bonds Rally // Merkel Seeks `Decisive' German Budget Cuts, Putting Her at Odds With U.S. // Euro Stronger Than Deutsche Mark Proves Trichet Currency Remains Credible // German Bond Yield Falls to Low as Risk Aversion Increases on Debt Crisis // G-20 Policy Coordination Fails as World Faces `Sub-Potential' Growth Rate // German Manufacturing Orders Unexpectedly Jump by 2.8% for a Second Month // European Stocks Decline as Basic-Resources Companies Retreat; Adidas Rises // Economic Rebound in U.S. Seen Slowing Most Since 2002 on Europe Debt Woes // Hoarding Treasuries Helps Bond Dealers Sleep as Europe Debt Woes Increase // Spreading European Fiscal Deficit Crisis Hurts Bank Swaps: Credit Markets  // Goldman Sachs Documents Subpoenaed by U.S. Financial-Crisis Investigators // Bear Market Options at Record as Wien Insists U.S. Stocks Poised to Rally
  • The Euro is presently trading only slightly lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crud eis trading 2/3 of 1% higher and near $72/barrel. Gold i sup over 1-1/2% on safe haven buying and silver is up nearly 4%. Except for nickel, base metals ended the day lower. Indicator charts show nickel started higher, then turned volatile but held its ground as the Euro strengthened, then lost some steam. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.26/lb , its first daily increase in six sessions. Inventories of stockpiled nickel stored in LME approved warehouses continue to fall and now sit just over the 135,400 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru last week (chart here). We feel nickel prices have the chance this week to show a little technical bounce potential for a couple of reasons. First, the SStoch and RSI show nickel is showing nickel technically oversold. For those who trade by charts alone, this gives them a purchase alert, although as .Ed Meir noted this morning "Nevertheless, with key support at $19,500 taken out last week, effectively bringing to an end the last upchannel evident on the charts, we are now looking at an eventual push towards $17,000". Secondly, as we hover just over the $8/lb mark, we are trading dangerously close to the break even point for many China pig nickel producers. The possibility that a few of the majors may close or shift their production to another metal, could encourage traders. The negative pressures on nickel are however, more obvious, which makes our bounce idea more of a guess than anything else. China demand is dropping with the China stainless steel price index we follow still declining and now at 102.47, a new low for the year (see below for last 12 months). The sovereign debt problems in Europe and the pressure on the Euro is adding downward pressure to base metal trading. Nickel didn't seem to be held as hostage to the Euro's up and down swings today. The economic recovery in the US has never been as strong as we have been led to believe, with forward momentum spotty and sector driven. Now we are being warned the fiasco in Europe will most likely have a negative and spreading  impact on world recovery. At the very least it has shaken confidence worldwide, and confidence will drive the worldwide recovery more than any single factor. A reader brought something to our attention and while we have yet to speak with anyone at AK Steel about it, it would appear they have changed their stainless steel surcharge program. The listed surcharges for July show two separate surcharges depending on the thickness of the stainless. The stainless steel surcharge for 28 gauge and thicker stainless steel did in fact fall from the flat surcharge in June. BUT the new surcharge lists a separate price for stainless 29 gauge and thinner, and that surcharge actually increased from June surcharges. June's 304 SS surcharge was $1.2748/lb. July surcharge for 28 gauge and thicker 304 shows the July surcharge dropping to $1.131/lb, but the 29 gauge and thinner surcharge rising to $1.3007/lb. The very frustrated stainless steel enduser who brought this to our attention also asked, will Allegheny and North America follow suit? We are unable to advise because we were unable to contact a spokesperson for any of the three companies this morning. But stay tuned. Like the airline industry and their "fees", the steel companies tend to follow each others footsteps in new pricing structures.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Global Stainless Steel Cycle Exemplifies China’s Rise to Metal Dominance (Nov 09) - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Insider - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Number of the Week: U.S. Debt Nears Key Threshold - more
  • Duration of Joblessness Continues to Increase - more
  • A U.S. Rock And a European Hard Place - more
  • Regime Change - Jim O'Neill, Meet Humility: Ten Reasons To Be Bearish From The World's Biggest Permabull - more
  • Unemployment During the New Deal - more
  • Double Dip — Or Just a Soft Patch ? - more
  • Cumulative Bank Failures - chart here
  • Diminishing Marginal productivity of Debt in the US Economy - image here

  China Stainless Steel Index (last 12 months)

  Asia's steel demand seen up 8-9 pct - Tata Steel - Strong economic growth could boost steel demand in Asia by 9 percent annually in the coming years, an executive with Tata Steel said on Monday. - more

  Forum of steel firms calls for stricter anti-dumping norms - The Indian Stainless Steel Development Association, whose member companies have had to lower prices by as much as Rs 10,000 per tonne in the last couple of months, has called for more stringent anti-dumping me­asures and a higher excise levy on import of stainless strips by China by an additional 5 per cent. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb higher, with other base metals trading lower this morning. The Euro is trading 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are down 1/3 of 1% and at $71.28/barrel. Gold opened lower by 6/10 of 1% and silver is off nearly 2/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower with China off 1-3/4%. European markets are trading only slightly higher this morning, while US futures are showing no change at the moment. Nickel inventories fell over the weekend, and Morgan Stanley stated in a morning report "Base metals continued to be influenced by broader market sentiment that remained negative last week courtesy of fresh concerns from Europe and a poor reading from the U.S. jobs report..... We believe the complex will remain hostage to global macroeconomic themes in the coming weeks and may also struggle against the onset of the seasonal slowdown."
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - A weaker-than-forecast US jobs report pummeled the metals markets on Friday. Copper hit a four-month low, zinc dipped to a 10-month low, nickel and tin both sank to four-month lows, aluminum slipped to an eight-month low, while lead fared the worst, down to its lowest level in almost a year. On the equity side of things, things were just as ugly, with Friday's 300-plus point plunge on the Dow constituting the biggest drop on a monthly jobs report since 1998. The report showed jobs increasing by 431,000, but this was well below estimates, and more alarmingly, all but 20,000 of the additional hires were attributable to the government's temporary hiring of census workers. Markets also buckled under the weight of renewed weakness in the euro, which took out key psychological support at $1.20 on rumors that Hungary could be in trouble. The jitters came about when a government minister in the newly installed administration compared the country's financial profile to Greece, while also implying that the previous government had lied about the country's finances. The comments triggered a 4.8%, two-day drop in the forint, and although the Hungarians quickly backtracked on the statement, this did little to undo the damage. As we start the new week, indications are that the bears are picking up from where they left off on Friday. Metals are down once again, feeding off a limit down session in Shanghai, although they have staged a modest bounce off much lower levels. Moreover, the Euro is once again under siege, now trading at $1.1950, although it did get to $1.1877 at an earlier point in the day. Asian equity markets ended the day lower as well, as Friday's sloppy close in the US left them little choice. We expect synchronized selling to continue in practically all the markets going into Monday's session, with the exception of the US dollar and treasuries, which will revert to their role as safe havens. However, things are getting quite oversold in a number of metal complexes, with four of the six metals we cover showing RSI’ running in the 20’s, possibly indicative that a technical bounce is imminent. .....  We are $18,145 on nickel, up $195, and the only metal that is higher today. Nevertheless, with key support at $19,500 taken out last week, effectively bringing to an end the last upchannel evident on the charts, we are now looking at an eventual push towards $17,000.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Tata Steel forecasted the steel consumption in Asia may grow by 9 percent based on the inference that steel consumption growth rate is estimated at 1.3 times GDP growth in developing countries.
  • (SS) Albidon Zambia Ltd, Zambia's Chinese majority owned Munali Nickel Mine produced more than 78,000 tons of ore with 81% nickel quality during the first 3 months of 2010, barely 3 months after it resumed production.
  • (Yieh) China Steel Corp. (CSC) said that its allocation in July and August for domestic customers has been fully booked and so has July’s allocation for export. Now only export allocation for August is available but it may be running out soon after the company announce new price later this month.
  • (Interfax) A molybdenum deposit with proven resources of 300,000 tons has been discovered in the city of Hami in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, state media reported on June 5.
  • (AP) Trust Bearing Investment Pte Ltd of Singapore has acquired 35% of PT Asia Natural Resources which has nickel mining concession in Bombana, Southeast Sulawesi.
  • (JC) Molybdenum prices have continued to fall in recent days as traders liquidate long positions, June stainless steel mills order books look tepid and the Chinese have moved from being buyers to sellers.
  • (XECI) Jinchuan cuts refined nickel price by 7 pct to RMB156,000 /t
  • Cass - May's freight expenditures and shipments both increased from the previous month's activity. This is the fourth month in a row that both indices have increased over the previous month's activity. This is also the first time shipments are above 1.0 since November of 2008.
  • 50 Statistics About The U.S. Economy That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe - more

  Stainless Steel & Special Alloys Committee: Markets still fragile - Global production of stainless steel is likely to exceed 30m tonnes this year compared to less than 24m tonnes in 2009, with 50% of this output likely to be from emerging markets such as China, India, the Middle East and South America, the BIR Stainless Steel & Special Alloys Committee meeting in Istanbul was informed by its Chairman Michael Wright of ELG Haniel GmbH. - more

  Colombia's Cerro Matoso sees fall in nickel output in Q1 - Nickel production at BHP Billiton's Cerro Matoso mine in Colombia fell 11.5 percent in the first quarter due to lower ore extraction and the repair of a transport system, the company said. - more

  Molybdenum Production In Western World Is Moving To Increase, Output In Q1/10 Increased By 22% = Reflecting Recovered Moly Consumption At Steel Mills And Substantially Improved Profitability - When we traced the production activities of molybdenum in the western countries in the first quarter (January - March) of 2010, it was known that the total quantity of molybdenum produced by the western countries in January - March quarter of 2010 had a considerable increase of 21.8% compared with that in the same quarter of 2009. - more

  Tan firm starts Palawan nickel mine rehab project - Macroasia Corp., a listed aviation support company led by tycoon Lucio Tan, has started pre development activities in line with a plan to revive a nickel mine in Southern Palawan. - more

  Lawmakers Support Revision for Inco South Sulawesi Mining Contract - Regional representatives (senate) supported the regional administration of South Sulawesi to evaluate mining contract of Brazilian Vale-Inco unit in the province in a meeting between the representatives and regional administration in the provincial seat of Makassar Makassar today (7/6). - more

  Steel exports may falter after policy change - Chinese steel exporters may see hurdles later this year, as the country is set to limit exports in high polluting, high energy-consuming, and resource sectors, according to media reports Monday. - more

  BRIC Nations driving steel market - During a two-day meet in Moscow between President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, the two nations signed a ‘strategic partnership plan’ that includes cooperation programs on agriculture, humanitarian issues, military matters, international information and communication security, and protection of intellectual property copyright. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, June 4

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 89 to 3,844. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Dollar Trades Near Four-Year High Against Euro; Won Falls on War Concern // Japan's Recovery to Slow as Politics Takes Pressure Off BOJ, Feldman Says // Morgan Stanley to Double Private Bankers in Asia in 3 Years to Tap Wealth // Mukherjee Says Spread of Europe's Credit Crisis Would Hurt Indian Economy // Indonesia, Philippines Leave Rates at Record Lows as Asia Watches Europe // Hungarian Economy Is in `Grave Situation,' Prime Minister's Spokesman Says // Euro Weakens to Less Than $1.21, Trading at Lowest Level Since April 2006 // EU-Backed Rival to Moody's, S&P Faces `Uphill Struggle' to Win Credibility // Caja Credit Squeeze Spells More Pain Ahead for Spanish Companies, Workers // G-20 Officials Indicate They'll Delay Forcing Banks to Meet Capital Rules  // European Stocks Drop as Debt Concern Mounts, U.S. Payrolls Trail Forecast // Payrolls in U.S. Climb Less Than Estimated as Confidence in Recovery Wanes // Gross Says Treasuries Are `Least Dirty Shirt' in World of Debt: Tom Keene // Fisher Says Fed Policy Tightening May be `Getting Closer' as Economy Grows // Obama's Drilling Ban May Trigger Job Losses, Slow U.S. Employment Gains // Stocks, Commodities Drop; Euro Falls Below $1.20 for First Time Since 2006
  • Another very ugly day so far, after US payrolls disappoint traders. The Euro is currently trading nearly 1.3% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down more than 3-1/2% and under $72/barrel. Gold is up 2/3 of 1% on safe haven buying, while silver is down over 2.6%. Base metals got whacked again today, with tin getting hit the worst, nearly 10%. Indicator charts show nickel was a stair step downward day, with four attempts of recovery, met with four stronger declines. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the first week of May at $8.14/lb . The year began with nickel closing at $8.62/lb the first day of January, with a decline to a low close of $7.72/lb on February 5th, when prices began to gain again. Today's price puts up back to February 10th levels. Inventories of nickel stockpiled in LME warehouses fell again overnight, and now sit just under the 136,000 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows trading thru yesterday (chart here). We have never tried to hide our cynicism at the price increase we witnessed in nickel over the last few months. We felt it was unjustified and mere speculation by funds and large investors. But, having said that, we are quite surprised at the pace the price of nickel has declined this week. Technical watchers will tell us that it was too be expected with major lines of support being broken. And while this is true, we would like to think there is a little more involved with the price of nickel than a bunch of charts and indicator lines on a computer screen. Support, resistance, trend lines - they all have been around for while and some trade off them exclusively. Do fundamentals, or at least our individual interpretation of them, mean nothing anymore? We were scorned by a few readers for reminding them that while inventories were falling, in April, they were still near all time record high levels. Did this justify the price of $12/lb+ for nickel? If it did, I remind them we have a lot less nickel stockpiled today than we did then. And Norilsk is not shipping this month. And Vale workers are still on strike. Downstream, stainless steel users don't know whether to laugh or cry. These constant and sharp up and down swings have huge repercussions on their bottom line and they have no idea what tomorrow will bring. Without some degree of certainty, the last few years have taught them that the risk takers usually get holding the short end of the straw - or the over priced inventory. End users, who get tired of the same uncertainty and week to week shifts in price, begin to consider other options. Unemployment numbers out today in the US were flat horrible. We told you yesterday we didn't see the big gains everyone was hoping for, but this was ugly. One sentence from a MarketWatch article sums up how bad. "Excluding 411,000 temporary Census workers, payrolls rose by 20,000 in May." That number was even depressing to the "told you so" doomsayers. Let's hope it is a very "long" census. The Dow is currently trading down in the negative 250 range.
  • Have a safe and relaxing weekend. You survived another week.    

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Insider - pdf here
  • Use of Stainless Steel in the Construction Industry - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Most Primary Dealers Agree Fed Rate Increase Won’t Come Soon - more
  • The High Cost of Exceptionally Low Rates - more
  • Europe Is Wayward Caboose Threatening to Derail Recovery Train - more
  • States Shrink ‘Unaffordable’ Benefits to Bridge $1 Trillion Gap - more
  • Bernanke says job scarcity a concern - more
  • What is an Investment in Hedge Funds? - more
  • ‘The Time We Have Is Growing Short’ - more

  No deal yet, but some progress at Vale strikes - Strikes that have crippled production at Vale's Canadian mining operations appear to be finally edging towards a resolution, although lingering disputes over pensions and a prized "nickel bonus" mean the already 10-month-long dispute could stretch into summer. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.10/lb lower, with other base metals trading mixed and subdued. The Euro is trading 8/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are down more than 1/2 of 1% and at $74.20/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1/2 of 1% while silver is off by nearly 1-1/4%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly lower, while China ended up nearly 1/3 of 1%. European markets are trading slightly lower while US futures are showing Wall Street may open in a bearish mood. Nickel inventories fell overnight. We delayed our morning update to show the all important employment report release this morning, which will give all open markets a direction to trade in for the rest of the day. Posted here (not as good as expected)
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - LME metals fell sharply on Thursday; copper was off by some 3%, falling to its lowest level in two weeks, while lead and zinc got pummeled as well. The decline surprised us, as it occurred despite steady US equity markets, another sharp advance in oil prices, and relatively decent macro numbers out of the US. Although the Euro did fade over the course of yesterday's session and could have been partly responsible for the weakness, we should note that even when the Euro was higher earlier in the day, metals failed to respond. The fact that the group has decoupled from relatively constructive exogenous markets so far this week, suggests that that the metals complex is focused more on China than anything else. In this regard, the lower-than-expected purchasing index out earlier in the week seems to be casting a long shadow. We are not sure how much credence to place into this one particular number, as seasonal influences may have depressed the reading somewhat, and so we would rather wait for further readings before having a better sense on whether China’s economy is slowing. However, the fact that the authorities continue to tighten conditions certainly seems to be making the case for a slowdown, as are the bevy of reports on residential and commercial office space sitting empty. Metal markets are down again as of this writing, but the declines are not as extensive as they were yesterday. Having said that, both copper and aluminum are approaching support levels at $6400 and $1950 respectively, but lead and zinc look in far worse shape on the charts, having broken through short-term congestion bands earlier in the week. Nickel has also finally taken out key tend line support at $19,500, so the deteriorating technical picture in many complexes is only reinforcing the legitimate worries about China. Later today, markets will be bracing for the key non-farm May payroll readings, estimated at 500,000 jobs (including census workers). MF Global’s chief economist, Jim Sullivan, is forecasting a 515,000 rise in total payrolls, including a 415,000 boost from hiring for the decennial census. We also should note that Goldman Sachs has raised its forecast yesterday to around 600,000. Expect a lot of volatility around this release. ..... We are $18,360 on nickel, down $315. Nickel took out support at $19,500 yesterday, effectively bringing to an end the last upchannel evident on the charts. (See below). We are now looking at a push towards $17,000. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) The Bureau of Geology and Mineral Exploration of Anhui Province of China announced the discovery of a molybdenum deposit with more than 500,000 tons of proven reserves in Jinzhai County.
  • (Yieh) Mr. Yu-Lon Chiao, Chairman and President of Taiwan’s Walsin Lihwa said today that it will build up a new stainless steel hot rolled pickling plant in Taichung Harbor which is estimated to complete within three years.
  • (Interfax) aoshan Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. (Baosteel), the Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed subsidiary of China's leading steelmaker, Baosteel Group, will cut its July ex-works prices for major steel products by between RMB 200 ($29.29) and RMB 500 ($73.23) per ton, Baosteel announced on June 4.
  • (JMB) NSSC to Increase Ni Stainless Steel Wire Rod by 65,000 yen/t
  • (MB) Europe's stainless long product mills urgently need to consolidate but it's unlikely to happen because most of them are privately owned, said Markus Moll
  • (SBB) Stainless market grinds to a halt as buyers await price cut
  • (BR) Steel merchant group Argent Industrial expected headline earnings and earnings a share to fall by between 85 percent and 95 percent for the year to March, the group said in a statement to the JSE yesterday.
  • (CM) China's apparent consumption of stainless steel, the main driver of the country's nickel demand, is expected to rise by five percent in 2010, Lou Dingbo, president of Shanghai-based steelmaker Baosteel stainless steel Business Unit, said on May 25.
  • (MP) Stainless cutbacks weigh heavily on Chinese ferro-chrome prices
  • (PR) Xstrata Nickel is pleased to announce that it has presented a cheque in the amount of Cdn$7.7 million to the Makivik Corporation, representing its share of the profits generated in 2009 by the Raglan nickel mine operation, located in the Nunavik Territory of Northern Quebec.
  • Minara slumps as fault prompts production query - more
  • Jim Rogers Lays Out a Grim Future - more
  • Chinese exporters ditch wounded euro for dollars - more

  MEPS North American Composite Stainless Steel Pries Doubles Year on Year - The MEPS North American composite stainless steel selling figure has climbed significantly since the beginning of 2010. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 31st May 2010 = Reflecting Weakened Rupee Ex. Rate, Indian Si-Mn Has Taken Offensive To Sell At Discounted Price The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 31st May of 2010 is as follows  - more

  N.L. mine will replace strikers: Vale - Brazilian mining giant Vale says it will continue to use replacement workers at its Voisey's Bay nickel mine in northern Labrador. - more

  'Several flaws' in Rudd super-profits tax, says Future Fund chairman David Murray - The Rudd government refused to back down on its proposed resource super-profits tax today despite the chairman of its $68 billion Future Fund joining calls for the tax to be changed or scrapped. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, June 3

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 108 to 3,933. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Xstrata Suspends $495 Million of Spending in Australia on Government Tax // Kiwi Favorite of Speculators With Bollard Under Pressure to Increase Rates // Indonesian Central Bank Leaves Benchmark Interest Rate Unchanged at 6.5% // Kan Learns Fiscal Discipline From Debt Crisis as Japan Leadership Beckons // Asian Stocks Rise, Default Risk Falls on U.S. Home, Car Sales; Yen Weakens // BP's Alaskan Crown Jewel May Be Sold to Finance Cleanup of Gulf Oil Spill // JPMorgan Fined Record $49 Million by U.K.'s FSA Over Client Money Failure // Insurers Raise Deep-Water Oil Rig Prices 50% After BP Spill, Moody's Says // Covered Bond Sales Surge, Transocean Falls, GE Buys CMBS: Credit Markets // G-20 Central Banks Delay Stimulus Exit as Euro Debt Concerns Rattle Market // European Stocks Rise for Fourth Day on Speculation Recovery Is Broadening // Fed's Lockhart Says Interest Rates May Rise With Unemployment Still High // U.S. Service Industries, Factory Orders Expand as Recovery Generates Jobs // Unemployment Rate May Fall Below 8% in a Year, First Trust's Wesbury Says // Target, Discount Stores Report Sales Gains as U.S. Shoppers Seek Bargains // Stocks in U.S. Drop as Europe, China Concerns Overshadow Economic Optimism
  • The Euro is now trading 2/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1/3 of 1% but still over $72.50/barrel. Gold - down 1/4%. Silver - down 2-1/3%. Base metals - got whacked today. Indicator charts show nickel spent most of the day in a near free fall, only finding its footing in the last hours. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended $1000/tonne lower than yesterday, at $8.46/lb . For those who still believe commodity pricing is a precursor to the economy at large, we hope you are wrong because this is ugly. Inventories of nickel stockpiled in LME approved warehouses continue to slide, and now register just over the 136,800 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The price of nickel is now 2/3 of what it was just 7 weeks ago, when it ended the 15th of April at $12.58/lb. The China stainless steel index that we refer to periodically, fell to its lowest level this year overnight, at 104.11 after starting the year at 105.95. Wall Street is lower at the moment after US data implied the economic growth in the US was showing signs of slowing. US factory orders rose 1.2% in April, lower than expected, but take out transportation goods and new orders fell .05%. Last weeks new jobless claims fell 10,000, but the 4 week average rose for the third consecutive week. Retail sales rose 2.6% in May, with discounters and high end stores faring the best. The market is very nervous about the big report tomorrow - the May unemployment number. After a surprising rise in April, economists are betting on a 100,000+ increase in new jobs in May. The ADP report out today states 55,000 new jobs were created, while the unemployment roles and Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. layoffs report imply a virtual dead heat from April numbers.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (TS) The global nickel market will be in a slight deficit this year, metal consultant Metalytics Ltd reported Wednesday. Primary nickel consumption is likely to climb 9.5 percent in 2010 to 1.435 million tons, while primary nickel supply is only expected to rise 5.3 percent to 1.4 million tons, resulting in a deficit of 35,000 tons. ..... But even with economies picking up, Barkas said,"the world is relying on China for the next stage of large (nickel) growth."
  • Monster Employment Index Points to Further Jobs Gains - more
  • U.K. Urges Euro Banks Stress Tests - more
  • Decline in Bankruptcy Filings May Be Temporary - more
  • Why Aren't Banks Foreclosing More Often On More Homeowners? - more
  • Research: 270 Days is Optimal Time in Foreclosure - more
  • Largest Consensus Guess Ever For May Payrolls. What Does It Mean? - more
  • The Maginot Line Illusion - more
  • Explained: Knightian uncertainty - more
  • U.S. Mint runs out - more
  • Econophysicist Accurately Forecasts Gold Price Collapse - more

  Metals volatility sparks opportunity - When iron ore pricing moved in March from its historic benchmark pricing structure to the spot market, users warned that prices could double. - more

  Asia Steel-China prices dip 2 pct on demand fears - China steel prices slumped this week in a torpid market, with traders still fretting about long-term demand after a number of medium-sized steel mills decided to make production cuts going into June. - more

  Asian average carbon steel prices - Latest forecasts from MEPS - An increase of approximately $US40 per tonne was recorded in the MEPS – Asian All Products Composite steel price in May. Advances were noted in both flat and long categories this month. - more

  Australia plays down prison transfer for Rio Tinto's Hu - Canberra on Wednesday downplayed the prospect of a prison transfer from China to allow former Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu to serve out his bribery and trade secrets sentence in Australia. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.17/lb , with other base metals mixed and mostly quiet. The Euro is trading slightly higher against the US Dollar at the moment, and off earlier highs. NYMEX crude futures are trading 1/2 of 1% higher and over $73.25/barrel. Gold opened over 1/2 of 1% lower, and silver is down more than 4/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China 3/4 of 1% lower.  European markets are trading higher this morning and US futures show Wall Street should open higher. Nickel inventories continued their decline overnight.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper hit a two-week low at one point yesterday, while the rest of the metals struggled as well-- zinc tumbled to its lowest since September 2009, nickel fell by more than 5% to hit a near four-month low, while lead sank to a 10-month low. Although the group did manage to regain some ground by the close, the failure to recover more decisively was surprising given the sharp rebound in US equity markets and the modest rebound we had in crude. This morning's performance also looks disappointing, with the metals complex largely mixed, this despite a follow-up rally in Asian and European stock markets and a slight recovery in the Euro. Even news out overnight that that Xstrata is suspending almost $1 billion in coal and copper mining projects in Australia largely on account of Canberra's onerous new mining tax, has failed to rally copper, now only mildly in positive territory, and off its intraday high of $6774. Given another expected strong open on Wall Street, coupled with the fact that the Euro is holding steady at $1.2247, we have to suspect that metals will regroup and attempt to push slightly higher over the course of the day and leading into tomorrow's key nonfarm payroll number. If they do not, they will be in effect reacting poorly to a relatively constructive exogenous atmosphere, and this could bode poorly for the complex heading into next week. However, we suspect that with the short-term pendulum now swinging upwards, metals should follow, the current disconnect notwithstanding.  ....  We are $19,625 on nickel, down $25. Nickel did breach key trend line support at $19,500 yesterday, but managed to close above it. This point is being closely watched, as a convincing break below it will effectively end the last upchannel evident on the charts. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group, a major copper smelter, plans to develop a large-sized molybdenum deposit in Anhui Province, domestic media reported on June 2.
  • (Interfax) China's stainless steel output is expected to increase by 10 percent year-on-year in 2010 to nearly 10 million tons, a senior official from the Stainless Steel Council of China Special Steel Enterprises Association (CSSC) told Interfax at a June 1 conference in Tianjin.
  • (Dow Jones) Mincor CEO: Miitel Mine May Produce First Nickel This Month
  • (JMB) NSSC Reduces Ni Stainless Steel Sheet, Plate by 40,000 yen/t
  • (SBB) Tang Eng cuts stainless output, drops export prices $300/t
  • (AISI) Based on the Commerce Department’s most recent Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that steel import permit applications for the month of May totaled 2,148,000 net tons (NT).
  • US shocker for Chinese steel gratings - more

  Russia April Stainless Steel Products Imports -6.3% On Month - Russian imports of stainless steel products in April fell by 6.3%, compared with March, to 14,240 metric tons, the special steels producers' association Spetsstal reported Thursday. - more

  Increased Exports Of Chinese Molybdenum Are Causing To Improve Rapidly Trade Balance In China = Transformed The Balance To Export : 1 Against Import : 1.8 - The exports of molybdenum from China are suddenly increasing from the beginning of 2010. Consequently, the trade balance on molybdenum in China for January - April of 2010 has transformed its composition to export of 1 against import of 1.83. - more

  Industry to seek restrictive duty on steel alloy imports from China - Stainless steel makers on Wednesday said they will approach the Commerce Ministry for imposition of anti-dumping duty on certain grades of the alloy from China to protect the domestic mills from cheap imports. - more

  Merafe to close furnaces for maintenance,cut output - South Africa's Merafe Resources said on Monday it will close 10 furnaces for routine maintenance in the next three months, which will see the company reducing its operation capacity. - more

  Firm pushes Palawan nickel project - Toledo Mining Corp Plc, a London-registered mining company with nickel projects in Palawan, said the development of its prospect in Barangay Ipilan, Brookes Point in Palawan, could start as early as 2011. - more

  No room for compromise in Rudd's super-profit tax, says Ian Smith - The Australian government's handling of its proposed resource super-profits tax leaves no room for compromise with industry, Newcrest chief executive Ian Smith said today. - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, June 2

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 33 to 4,041. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Prudential's Failed AIA Bid May Cost Company $660 Million, Thiam His Job // Thailand Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged as Political Unrest Hurts Growth // Honda Aims to Resume China Operations Today After Strikes Shut Production // Japan Stocks Fall, Yen Weakens as Hatoyama Quits After Popularity Plunge // Asian Stocks Drop, Yen Weakens as Hatoyama Quits in Japan; Metals Decline // BP's Future at Risk as Oil Spill, Share Plunge Prompt Takeover Speculation // Spanish Consumer Confidence Plunges Most on Record Amid Austerity Measures // Iran Selling 45 Billion Euros of Reserves for Dollars as Currency Weakens // European Stocks Close Little Changed; Food Companies Gain, Banks Decline // Announced U.S. Job Cuts Tumbled 65% From a Year Earlier, Challenger Says // Chrysler's U.S. Vehicle Sales Increase 33%, Beating Forecast for 21% Gain // New-Issue Market Remains Shut as Bank Default Swaps Rise: Credit Markets // Pending Sales of Existing U.S. Homes Rose 6% in Last Month of Tax Credit
  • The Euro is presently trading 2/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 1-1/2% and over $73.50/barrel.  Gold is down 1/3 of 1% and silver is off more than 9/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session lower, but off earlier lows. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, collapsed around lunch time, and then crawled back to about where it started by the end of the session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.91/lb , its lowest close since Feb 16th, which came only a week after the year's lowest close of the year at $7.72/lb and the all time record high for LME stockpiles of nickel, at 166,476 tonnes. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell sharply overnight, and now show totaling just over the 137,400 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows LME nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). Cancelled warrants continue to hover around the 4% level. Nickel appeared to have little life to it today, getting a so-so push in late afternoon trading from a rising Euro and played follow the equity markets. The daily stainless steel index we follow in China continues to fall, down to 104.78 compared to 118.92 on April 21st, and we are receiving reports that chrome and moly prices are declining in China. AK Steel announced July surcharges today and they are linked to below. All in all - a quiet day. (so far)

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • AlJazeeraEnglish - New Caledonia reef under threat - video here
  • World-Wide Factory Activity by Country - more
  • Evidence of a housing ATM effect? - more
  • Understating the Benefits of Avoiding Low-Probability Disastrous Consequences - more
  • Does Washington care about unemployment? - more
  • Moneyless man reveals how to live a cashless life without starving - more
  • What We Don’t Know, and Perhaps Can’t - more

  Munali mine in $6m nickel output - Munali Nickel Mine has mined 78,200 tonnes of nickel ore with 0.81 per cent nickel quality during the first quarter of this year, recording a cash position of more than US$6 million, company secretary Daniel Davis has said. - more

  Gerdau to Buy Out Ameristeel Shares for $1.7 Billion - Gerdau SA, the largest Brazilian steelmaker, said it plans to buy the shares it doesn’t already own of U.S. unit Gerdau Ameristeel Corp. for about $1.7 billion to gain greater control over its North American operations. - more

  Vale CEO: Quarterly Iron Ore Pricing System Is Best - The quarterly pricing model is the best method for iron ore, Roger Agnelli, president and chief executive officer of Brazilian miner Vale S.A. (VALE), said Tuesday. - more

  • Vale says iron ore prices set by market, not miners - Brazilian mining giant Vale has already set contract iron ore prices for the third quarter of this year and offered them to its customers, the company's ferrous metals director, Jose Carlos Martins, said. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.28/lb lower, with all base metals trading lower, The Euro is trading less than 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are up 1/10 of 1% and at $72.66/barrel. Gold has opened nearly 6/10 of 1% lower, while silver is down nearly 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China ending 1/2 of 1% higher. European markets are trading lower this morning, with US futures showing Wall Street may start in the positive. Nickel inventories fell overnight.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals lost ground yesterday, but values finished off their worst levels of the day, as a bounce in the Euro from a four-year low of 1.2111 alleviated some of the selling pressure. Constructive macro data out of the US also helped trim the losses. In this regard, we had reports that US manufacturing grew for a 10th straight month in May and came in slightly more than expected, while April construction spending increased by its fastest pace in nearly 10 years. However, the numbers were not enough to turn the commodity complex around entirely, partly because of another late-day fade in the US equity markets. Stocks lost ground on renewed weakness in the energy sector after the Justice Department announced a criminal probe into the Gulf spill. Although metals ticked slightly higher in early Asian trading overnight, those gains have since fizzled, and we are now lower across the board, although not as sharply as of this time yesterday. The Euro is relatively steady right now, trading at 1.2227. Crude oil markets are down, off by about $.50 a barrel, but US stocks are called to open higher, although we would not be surprised to see another fade set in as the day goes by. At this stage, there are too many headwinds preventing a number of commodity complexes --including metals-- from mounting a credible recovery. Chief among them: the fact that the Euro has yet to bottom out, while the US equity market has been derailed as a positive force in establishing upward momentum. There are also ongoing concerns about the global recovery slowing in the wake of the uncertainties in Europe and steadily tightening credit conditions in China.  ....  We are $19,950 on nickel, down $550, and breaking one of two support level identified in yesterday's commentary. We now expect prices to test $19,500, a point that lies along a key upchannel. A convincing break below that mark will effectively end the last upchannel evident on the charts. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) JISCO aims to keep production costs down by using nickel pig iron as the raw material in its production of stainless steel, a senior JISCO employee said at a June 1 conference.
  • (BBC) The Ramu nickel cobalt project jointly operated by Metallurgical Corp of China (MCC), Highlands Pacific Ltd (HPL) and other smaller miners is forecast to produce 143m tonnes of high-grade minerals over its lifespan of more than 27 years. The reserves boast of 1.01 per cent nickel and 0.1 per cent cobalt, chief executive John Gooding told an annual general meeting last week in Port Moresby. He told shareholders the Ramu project was a "world-class project that will have greater returns".
  • (RN) Third-quarter charge chrome price negotiations have begun but instead of starting in Europe, the leading South African smelter is talking with Asian consumers first.
  • (MB) Nickel pig iron is increasingly being produced in China via electric arc furnaces (EAF), which are able to turn a profit at an even lower nickel price
  • (JMB) Ni stainless steel scrap/ Market price in Kanto continues to drop by over 5 thousand yen
  • Rusina closer to European Nickel merger - more
  • Baosteel still in merger talks with Baogang - more
  • (MDM) Construction spending in April 2010 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $869.1 billion, 2.7 percent above the revised March estimate of $845.9 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce. The April figure is 10.5 percent below the April 2009 estimate of $971.4 billion.

  More workers join Voisey's Bay strike - More than 50 maintenance workers at the Voisey's Bay nickel mine in northern Labrador have walked off the job, further complicating mine owner Vale's efforts to ramp up production. - more

  Record global stainless steel production forecast in 2010 - Global crude stainless steel production for 2009 turned out at 24.6 million tonnes, a fall of 5 percent compared with 2008. - more

  China Apparent Consumption Of Nickel To Increase In 2010: Baosteel - China's apparent consumption of stainless steel, the main driver of the country's nickel demand, is expected to rise by five percent in 2010, Lou Dingbo, president of Shanghai-based steelmaker Baosteel stainless steel Business Unit, said on May 25. - more

  Cliffs Natural Resources makes hostile offer for Spider Resources - In its relentless pursuit of Canada's “Big Daddy” chromite deposit, Cleveland-based Cliffs Natural Resources has made good on its threat to attempt a hostile takeover of Ontario-based Spider Resources, which owns a stake in the deposit that would give Cliffs control over Big Daddy. - more

  Landowners slam Papua New Guinea for amending environment law - Papua New Guinea’s government has upset conservationists, landowners and parliamentarians after amending environmental laws last Friday that will make it harder to prosecute mining projects that damage the environment. - more

  Citinickel wins court battle vs. Platinum Group - The mining unit of Oriental Peninsula Resources Group Inc. won a court decision that will allow the company to finally conduct mining operations in its nickel-rich mine sites in southern Palawan. - more

  IGE AB: IGE enters strategic partnership for Rönnbäcken nickel project - IGE Resources AB announced that the Company today has entered into a strategic partnership with Mitchell River Group (MRG) of Australia for its Rönnbäcken nickel project in Sweden. MRG has a strong value development track record in nickel projects. - more

  Tax tipped to halt new mines - Billions of dollars of new gold, nickel and copper mines would be scrapped because of the planned resources super profits tax, a report compiled for the Minerals Council of Australia predicts. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending May 29, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,766,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 73.0 percent. Production was 1,026,000 tons in the week ending May 29, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 42.8 percent. The current week production represents a 72.2 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending May 29, 2010 is down 1.2 percent from the previous week ending May 22, 2010 when production was 1,787,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 73.9 percent.

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, June 1

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 4 to 4,074. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Real Estate Sales Slump in Shanghai, Beijing on Government's Curbs // Nomura Triples Pay to Top Executives After Bouncing Back From Record Loss  // Russian IPOs Fail to Lure China's Skeptics as Deripaska Seeks More Sales // Asia Stocks Drop as China Manufacturing Growth Slows; Euro, Ringgit Weaken // BP Drops Most Since 1992 After Abandoning Attempt to Plug Leaking Oil Well // Euro Weakens Against Dollar on Speculation Crisis Hurting Region's Economy // Prudential Fails in Bid to Reduce Price of AIA Takeover, Jeopardizing Deal // German Unemployment Drops Faster Than Forecast as Exports Bolster Recovery // Most European Stocks Decline on Slowing Manufacturing, BP Oil-Leak Failure // Bond Selloff Yields `Gems' for Tepper as T. Rowe Buys Junk: Credit Markets // Commodities' Biggest Collapse Since Lehman Fell Signals Bear Market Ahead // Caterpillar Buys EMD for $820 Million From Berkshire Partners, Greenbriar // Manufacturing in U.S. Expands Faster Than Forecast as Export Orders Climb // U.S. Stocks Fluctuate as Economic Reports Offset Slump in Energy Producers
  • At the moment, the Euro is trading less than 1/4 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is recovering from earlier losses and is now only down a little over 1/2 of 1%. Gold is nearly 3/4 of 1% higher while silver is lower by nearly 1/2 of 1%. Base metals all ended lower, but most off earlier session lows. Indicator charts show nickel had a down day, falling, stabilizing , slightly gaining, then collapsing late. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.28/lb , its lowest close since February 25th. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses slipped slightly over the weekend, and now rest just under the 138,400 tonne level. Sucden's day old nickel chart shows nickel trading thru last week (chart here). Cancelled warrants rose over 4%. Nickel looked unimpressive today, for a third straight day, as the gain in the Euro did not appear to help nickel at all. After making two strong runs last week, that did not hold, nickel bulls seem to have lost their fight momentarily. Our unofficial estimates put cash nickel at $9.98/lb average last month, $.60/lb lower than April's average. This would be the first time since February cash nickel has averaged below the $10/lb level. Allegheny has announced July stainless steel surcharges here. 304 stainless steel surcharges show as falling $.19/lb from June to July. AK Steel has yet to announce. We have updated our monthly world PMI tracker here.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • No Quick Fix for Copper - more
  • Fed Officials Upbeat On U.S. Recovery - more
  • The ‘Financialization’ of Commodities - more
  • Census Hiring Set to Go Supernova - more
  • Walk Aways, NYT Version - more
  • Chinese Monetary Official: Housing Risk Greater Than in US, UK Pre-Crisis - more
  • Despite U.S. deficit concerns, investors still pour money into Treasury bonds - more

  Voestalpine warns upswing may be short-lived - Austrian steelmaker voestalpine warned robust demand in the next few months could be short-lived if China's uptrend proves unsustainable and European debt woes cut short its recovery. - more

  PNG law to shield resource giants from litigation - The Papua New Guinea parliament has passed legislation that shelters resource projects from all litigation over the destruction of the environment, labour abuse or landowner exploitation. - more

  Russia mulls revising metals duties – Minister - Russia's economy ministry is looking into revising some base metals export tariffs, but no dates for any changes have been discussed, Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina said on Tuesday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.34/lb lower, with all base metals starting the new month trading in the red. The Euro is trading over 1.1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment adding pressure to commodity trading. NYMEX crude futures are down 2.4% and just over $72/barrel. Gold is up nearly 1% and silver is down over 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian marekts ended lower, with China off 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning, and US futures show Wall Street could open in a bad mood. Nickel inventories fell slightly over the weekend.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper prices retraced on Friday, unable to bust through key $7000 resistance and selling off on the back of another sloppy session in the US equity markets. Stocks lost ground shortly after Fitch downgraded Spain's credit rating by one notch, saying that the country's economic recovery will be "more muted" than government forecasts due to recently announced austerity measures. On the macro side, US numbers out Friday were not that inspiring either, with consumer spending turning unexpectedly flat in April even though real disposable income showed it biggest increase in nearly a year. In addition, the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago said its index of Midwest business activity fell in May vs. the month prior, and also came in slightly lower than forecast. Finally, although the latest US consumer sentiment readings were up in May from April levels, they edged out forecasts by only a slight amount, and did not deliver a significant upside surprise. We are seeing more selling this morning, but the pace is much stronger than what we saw on Friday, as a barrage of bearish events are hitting the markets. To start, the Euro has plunged to a fresh low, hitting $1.2111, and now within easy reach of the key $1.20 level. Investors were unnerved by a report out of Europe yesterday showing an index of executive and consumer sentiment falling to 98.4 from 100.6 in April, well below the unchanged reading forecast. In addition, the ECB said in a bi-annual survey (also out yesterday) that euro area banks might see another 90 billion Euros in net write-downs this year. (This figure strikes us as relatively light, as we have come across other estimates that are much larger than that). However, perhaps the most important reason behind today’s sharp sell-off is news out of China that the country’s May manufacturing output expanded at a slower pace than estimated. A purchasing managers’ index fell to 53.9 from 55.7 in April, less than the median 54.5 estimate, while a separate index released by HSBC and Markit Economics dipped to 52.7, its lowest level in a year. Although the size of the first miss is not that great, and both indices are still in the positive territory given that their readings are well above 50, the decelerating trend is clearly casting a distinct bearish shadow on base metals, many of which were being driven higher solely on the notion that Chinese buying will grow unabated.  ... We are $20,640 on nickel, down $710, with prices perched on key support here (see blue line) and a level that held up each time over the last few weeks. A decisive break below $20,500 could set up a quick test of $19,500, nickel’s last bastion of support, and one that lies along a key upchannel (marked in red) (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Seasonal lows in Chinese and European base metal demand in the third quarter could cool demand and prices further, says SEB Commodity Research. "In the medium term, we would expect more muted growth in European demand [for base metals] due to reduced growth and austerity measures. The crisis also threatens Chinese demand for metals as metal intensive exports to Europe may be affected," SEB says.
  • (Yieh) Affected by the plummeting nickel price, Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) announced to cut the stainless steel domestic price and exported price by NT$1,000-4,500/ton and US$80-150/ton for June, respectively.
  • The American Trucking Associations' advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased for the sixth time in the last seven months, gaining another 0.9 percent in April. This followed a 0.4 percent increase in March. The latest improvement put the SA index at 110.2 (2000=100), which is the highest level since September 2008. Over the last seven months, the tonnage index grew a total of 6.5 percent.
  • (AP) Papua New Guinea's parliament has passed laws that will outlaw third party lawsuits against resource projects in Papua New Guinea. The amendments to the Environment Bill, which was passed 73-0, meant that the restraining order preventing the Ramu nickel cobalt (Ramu NiCo) mine project in Madang from operating would be lifted and operations to resume.
  • (SSI) The International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) has elected two new
  • members during its fourteenth Annual Conference (ISSF-14) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. ISSF has now 72 members in 27 countries. The new company members are the United Stainless Steel Company (USCO) from Bahrein and Villares Metals from Brazil.
  • China's May manufacturing expands at slower pace - more

  China taps commodities stockpile in bearish signal - China appears to be eating into some of its commodities reserves, a potentially worrying near-term trend for producers and investors, analysts said. - more

  Global Stainless Steel Cycle Exemplifies China's Rise to Metal Dominance - pdf report here

  Palawan nickel mine dispute nears ‘resolution’ - A bitter dispute between two firms over the ownership of several lucrative nickel mines in Palawan is nearing a resolution, with production and shipment of the commodity set to begin in the coming months, according to the head of Oriental Peninsula Resources Group. - more

  3 mining giants to increase iron ore prices by 30% - BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and CVRD, the three mining giants, plan to increase the prices of the raw materials for making steel, including iron ore and coking coal, according to overseas media groups.  - more

  Sudbury/Voisey's Bay Nickel Strike Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

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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 Candlestick Pattern Dictionary here / Intro to Candlesticks here Original content and opinions copyright www.estainlesssteel.com. Note - For real time and official LME prices, LME requires a user subscribe to be an authorized LME vendor.

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5/17 Market Prices
not official prices

ferrochrome and chromium prices

Moly Oxide (>51%)
$17.10/lb
 
Source

Ferrochrome(60-65%)(HC)
$1.36/lb
 

5/17 Scrap Price

Stainless Steel (LTL/ton)
$1.03/lb
 ferrochrome prices and molybdenum prices

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$.75/lb
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