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LME nickel prices and news

Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices

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Daily Nickel Market News & Stainless Steel Prices

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Nickel Prices

Friday, March 30

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 4 to 934. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China’s Stocks Rise, Capping Best Quarterly Gain in Year on Bank Earnings // European Governments Limit New Lending to $666 Billion in Crisis Firewall // U.K. Consumer Confidence Fell in March Amid Government Squeeze // Ireland Buys More Time on Bond Market Return after Debt Accord // India and China Skirt Iran Sanctions With ‘Junk for Oil’ // Spain Will Lower Spending While Raising Corporate Taxes to Reduce Deficit // Stocks in Europe Climb as Finance Ministers Agree on Bigger Bailout Fund // The Era of Big Box Retail Dominance Is Coming to an End // Republicans Tampered With Court Audio in Obama Attack Ad // Consumer Spending in U.S. Tops Forecast Amid Improved Job Outlook: Economy // Stocks, Euro Rise as Officials Set Bailout Aid Limit, U.S. Spending Gains
  • The Euro is now trading 3/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is nearly 3/4 of 1% higher and trading at $103.52/barrel. Gold is 1/3 of 1% higher and silver is over 1/2 of 1% higher. Base metals ended the session mostly higher, with nickel being the day's big gainer. Indicator charts show nickel jumped early, stabilized for much of the day, and then spiking nearly $350/tonne late. For the day, week, and month, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.09/lb .  Nickel avoids a second day close below key support. For the quarter, nickel was the London Metal Exchange's biggest loser, dropping 4.7%. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell slightly on Thursday and now total just under 98,900 tonnes. For the week, stockpiles rose by 2,142 tonnes. Markets are higher today as Europe  strengthened its firewall against further spread of the sovereign-debt crisis. And in the US, consumer spending rose in February, consumer sentiment is running at its best in a year, and the Chicago PMI, while recording its fifth straight decline, remained well in positive growth territory.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Is Mega Millions’ $540 Million Jackpot a Good Bet? - more
  • Low Rates Put U.S. Company Pension Deficits at Record - more
  • Jobless Claims Trend Lower, Even With Revisions - more
  • GDI: An Alternate Measure Showing Stronger U.S. Growth - more
  • Four Numbers Add Up to an American Debt Disaster - more

  Austenitic stainless steel prices reductions are imminent: MEPS - The vagaries of the LME nickel market have once again exaggerated the stop-start nature of stainless steel supply chains. - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:50 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.17/lb higher, with other London traded base metals trading higher a swell. The Euro is trading 1/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are up nearly 6/10 of 1% higher and trading at $103.37/barrel. Gold is up over 1/3 of 1% while silver is nearly 9/1-0 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China up nearly 1/2 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures show a higher opening as well. Nickel stockpiles fell slightly overnight.
  • Reuters morning - Copper up, on track for 11 pct quarterly gain - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals gain on book-squaring as end of Q1 nears - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Copper prices reversed impressively yesterday after a decent-sized decline set in over much of the Asian and European sessions. We did not see anything behind the abrupt about-face other than a slight strengthening in the Euro and likely short-covering. Despite the higher close, other metals struggled, with aluminum looking particularly weak, especially after key support at $2150 was taken out. Most other commodities finished sharply lower yesterday, with energy prices shedding between $2-$3 a barrel and nudging the CRB index towards its biggest daily decline in 3-1/2 months. Looking back over the first quarter, copper has had a very good run and is on track to finish with a 10% increase, this despite the significant demand headwinds emanating from China. Tin leads the group in terms of being the best performing metal, up 17% on the quarter, followed by zinc and aluminum at 8% and 6%, respectively. The biggest losers were lead (down 3%) and nickel (down 6%). Right now, metals are higher across the board, with copper back over $8400. There are decent advances in lead and nickel as well, both of which hit multi-month lows earlier this week. Energy prices are up by about $.80 a barrel, while the Euro is firmer, now trading at $1.3360. US stocks are expected to open higher after losing ground for three straight sessions, but are nevertheless on track to close out a stellar first quarter. .... Out of China, official PMI numbers are expected to be released on Sunday, and should set the trading tone for early next week. The indicator is expected to decline to 50.8 in March from a four-month high of 51.0 in February. ..... Nickel is at $17,505, up $355. Support at $17,300 was taken out yesterday, but prices seem to be back over this level today, thus preventing two days of closes below support, an indication of a more serious technical breach. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco), one of the largest stainless steelmaker in Taiwan announced its April list prices on March 29th. The company decided to cut the domestic prices of 300 grade stainless steel products by NT$5,000/ton; while it remained the domestic prices of 400 grade stainless steel products unchanged for April deliveries.
  • (Interfax) Brazil's rainy season along with freight difficulties dampened China's iron ore imports from the South American country in February, while shipments from Australia and India saw increases.
  • (WSJ) Philippine Finance Minister Cesar Purisima said new rules governing mining in the country—home to some of world's richest deposits of copper, gold, zinc and nickel—are likely this summer, but that the government won't block contracts from going forward in the interim.
  • Besides, Yusco also cut the export prices of 300 grade stainless steel products by US$150~US$170/ton for April shipments; while it kept the export prices of 400 grade prices unchanged.
  • Copper Traders Most Bearish in Two Months on China: Commodities - more
  • Analysis: Brazil commodity exporters under friendly fire in "currency war" - more
  • China driving US exports - more

  Norilsk sees average nickel prices near $20,000/t in 2012 - Global average nickel prices this year will be slightly less than $20,000 per metric ton, which is almost equal to the average level for the first quarter, Norilsk Nickel's head of marketing Viktor Sprogis said at the Reuters Mining and Metals Summit. - more

  Doomsday Is the Theme as Nickel Miners Meet in Bali - While students and unions protested a proposed fuel subsidy cut in the capital and other cities across the country on Thursday, a small group of nickel miners gathered on Bali to voice their own concerns. - more

  Stainless steel business in Baosteel - Baosteel Co Ltd held the temporary shareholders' meeting on March 15th, reviewed and passed The Bill on selling the relevant assets of the Stainless steel bar division. - more

  Struggling Mirabela takes hit on nickel price - Mirabela Nickel shares slid to fresh seven-and-a-half year lows yesterday, with investors waiting for signs the nickel miner's aggressive cost-cutting plans are bearing fruit. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 29

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 8 to 930. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Chinese Stocks Slump to 10-Week Low as Sany, Zijin Fuel Earnings Concern // Asia Stocks Fall Second Day on U.S. Factory Orders, China Earnings Concern // Euro-Region Economic Confidence Unexpectedly Declines as Economy Struggles // Euro Compromise to Raise Aid Ceiling Seen as Political Cover for Germany // Stocks in Europe Fall a Third Day as S&P Sees Further Greek Restructuring // Global Takeovers Drop for Third Straight Quarter as Bankers See Revival // Best Buy Plans to Close 50 Stores After Sales Trail Estimates; Shares Fall // First-Time Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall to Lowest Level Since 2008: Economy // Stocks in U.S. Decline as Unemployment Claims Exceed Economists’ Estimates
  • The Euro is now down 1/3 of 1% in trading against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down nearly 2% and trading at $103.36/barrel. Gold is off 2/3 of 1% while silver is 2/10 of 1% lower. Base metals ended the session mixed, with most quiet, and tin a big winner, and nickel spending another day in the big loss column. Indicator charts show tried to rally early, fell, steadied, then fell again late. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.78/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell slightly on Wednesday and now total just over 99,900 tonnes. Keep in mind, this is the lowest nickel has traded since late November last year, when it bottomed at $7.60/lb on December 1st. That was the lowest level we had seen nickel trade since December 2009, and the market only closed under $8/lb for eight sessions before rebounding. In our opinion, this really shouldn't be happening in March. December, maybe, but not during spring. Nickel's highest official cash price ever was on May 16th, five years ago, when it hit $24.58/lb. While that was the extreme, it does reflect the general optimistic nature with which traders typically greet spring nickel traders. This year, however, world markets are starting to get the springtime jitters, and nickel prices are getting hit especially hard. Where this is going is anyone's guess.

  Reports

  • Damstahl Stainless Steel Report March 2012 - pdf here
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • States Post Uneven Gains in Income - more
  • Treasury to Cut Costs by Remaking Coins, Replacing Paper - more
  • J.P. Morgan: Sustained Job-Market Recovery Is Here - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.04/lb lower with other London traded base metals lower as well. The Euro is trading 1/4 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are down nearly 1/2 of 1% and trading at $104.93/barrel. Gold and silver are both down over 2/10 of 1%. In overnight trading,Asian markets ended lower, with China down over 1-1/4%. European markets are trading lower this morning, with US futures lower as well. Nickel stockpiles fell slightly overnight.  
  • Reuters morning - Copper on track for 10 pct quarterly rise - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals soften, investors adopt risk-off attitude - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Copper fell more than 2% yesterday, dragging the rest of the metals down with it. Other markets were caught up in the retreat as well, typical of a “risk-off” type of trading day that left bulls with few places to hide. For a change, crude oil was lower, as the complex was pressured by growing talk of an imminent massive release from western inventories. .... We are seeing more selling hit metals today, with aluminum being particularly weak, and now crashing through support at $2150. Copper is hovering around $8300, but still in a trading range, although we think it is a matter of days at most before the bottom end of the range is seriously tested and possibly taken out. Oil prices are off by about $.50 right now, and despite yesterday’s wobble, the complex has yet to undergo a major correction. High energy prices in our view still have the capacity to retard future growth prospects, while boosting inflation (and possibly interest rates), particularly in emerging market economies.  ..... In other news, Bank of China International Global Commodities, a unit of Bank of China, has applied for membership to the LME, the exchange said. If approved for a category 2 membership, it could trade in the electronic LMESelect and telephone markets, but not in the ring. This will mark the first time a bank from China has become a member of the exchange. The bank expects to receive approval by the end of the first quarter. .... Nickel is at $17,488, down $87. Next support is at $17,300 (see red line in our attachment), with $16,500 below that. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (NAS) North American Stainless will increase the fuel surcharge to 36% for stainless flat and long products shipping in the month of April 2012. The surcharge rate is considered a maximum level for April and will be reviewed monthly.
  • (Yieh) According to report of China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), the medium-large -size steel enterprises in China realized margin losses of RMB548 million in this February, slumping by 106.62% from that in the same period of a year earlier.
  • (MBN) Full output expected at Lockerby nickel -copper mine in 2012
  • (Interfax) Northwest China's Shaanxi Province has published a five-year development plan for metals and new materials in the period up to 2015 which aims to further develop local iron ore resources and create a leading nonferrous firm to oversee the expansion of its flagship titanium and molybdenum industries.
  • Analysis: Commodities shunned as investors take on more risk - more
  • CEOs Expects Marked Economic Improvement This Year - more
  • Hard landing possibility slim for China - more

  Filipino rebels threaten new attacks on mine firms - Philippine communist guerrillas warned three mining companies Wednesday that they may be attacked again if they continue to use methods the rebels say harm the environment. - more

  Vale construction drives Long Harbour real estate market - The influx of thousands of workers helping build Vale’s new nickel processing plant in Long Harbour is having a big impact on the small town's economy — especially the housing market. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 28

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 5 to 922. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China’s Stocks Fall Most in 4 Months as SocGen Sees No 2012 Profit Growth // S&P Says Ratings Aren’t Foolproof in ‘Can’t Sue Me’ Defense of AAA Notes // Asian Stocks Fall, Led by Gome, Amid Concern China Earnings Growth to Slow // Libor Review Panel Includes Banks That Are Being Probed for Manipulation // Italy Sells Treasury Bills at Lowest Rate in Year After Progress on Crisis // Rio, BHP Lose Faith in Diamonds Even as Prices Rise: Commodities // Europe Rescue Funds to Be Raised to $1.3 Trillion for a Year, Draft Shows // Italy Sells Treasury Bills at Lowest Rate in Year After Progress on Crisis // European Stocks Decline for Second Day; Total, Popolare di Milano Drop // Pentair Will Merge With Tyco Flow Control Division Valued at $4.53 Billion // Climbing U.S. Durable-Goods Orders Signal Manufacturing Strength: Economy // Unemployment in U.S. May Drop to 6% by Mid-2013, New York Fed Study Finds // Stocks Fall as Oil Decline Drags on Energy Shares; Treasuries Erase Drop
  • The Euro is now trading nearly 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down nearly 2.2% and trading at $105.01/barrel. Gold is down 1.3% and silver is off 1.9%. Base metals ended the session lower as well, as part of a much larger sell off. Indicator chart show nickel opened in positive territory, but spent the last 2/3 of the day in a slide. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed below $8/lb for the first time since Dec 1, 2011 and at $7.97/lb . For a second day, stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses jumped and now total just 40 tonnes shy of the 100,000 tonne level. Levels have not been this high since they fell below the 100,000 tonne mark on September 8th, 2011. Markets are in a bad mood today. Commodities took a hard hit, with equities around the world faring little better. The Dow is presently trading just shy of 100 points lower. Nickel fell below $8/lb today, which it did last November for a few weeks. It never closed below $7.69/lb though in that cyclical bottom, so it is doubtful we will see much more downside potential. Then again, we have been wrong before. We are in the territory now where pig nickel production in China starts, or already has become, unprofitable. Lot of speculation on where the break even point actually is, but no one seems to know for sure. At these price levels we could see cancelled warrants start moving back up - unless demand just isn't there. Stay tuned. April suddenly looks interesting.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (PR) The Ramu Nico project, Papua New Guinea (a project in which MCC-JJJ Mining Development Company Limited, a 61%-owned subsidiary of MCC, holds 85% equity interest) invested, designed and owned by Metallurgical Corporation of China Ltd. ("MCC") has formally kicked off the single-series feeding trial run, which produced nickel cobalt mixed hydroxides on 19 March 2012.
  • (Dow Jones) It's "hard to justify" a significant rally in nickel prices from current levels, says Standard Bank, given high levels of both reported and unreported stocks and the unlikelihood of an Indonesian ore ban coming into force.
  • Bernanke Tells ABC Economic Recovery Has ‘Long Way To Go’ - more
  • The Ubiquitous Mr. Bernanke - more
  • Consumer Concerns Shift From Jobs to Gas Prices - more

  Power cuts threaten SA mining - Electricity supply constraints and the effect of strikes would erode mining output this year, adding to the factors that would curb growth in the economy, analysts said on Tuesday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around no change with other London traded base metals mostly lower. The Euro is trading 2/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are down nearly 9/10 of1% and trading at $106.41/barrel. Gold is down 1/4 of 1% and silver is off 3/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China down over 2.8%. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures are higher. NIckel stockpiles saw a second day of large gains.
  • Reuters morning - Copper falls ahead of U.S. manufacturing data - more
  • LME Morning - Metals unsettled in thin trading conditions and economic uncertainty - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Copper prices finished with a modest gain yesterday in very quiet trading, failing to build on the prior day's 2% rally, as a slight uptick in the dollar and growing concern about macro issues helped keep the buying in check. We also suspect that investors are perhaps having second thoughts about the trigger behind Monday’s move, concluding that should Ben Bernanke follow through with another quantitative easing program, that this could mean the economy is indeed in worse shape than it actually is. “It’s far too early to declare victory,” Bernanke told ABC News yesterday. “The recent news has been good. But I think we need to be cautious and make sure this is sustainable. And -- we haven’t quite yet got to the point where we can be completely confident that we’re on a track to full recovery.” Asked if another round of quantitative easing remains “on the table,” the Fed chief said, “we don’t take any options off the table”, adding that “We have to be prepared to respond to however the economy evolves.”  .... Right now, metal markets are generally lower, with copper giving back about half of its recent gains. Energy prices are also down, as is the precious metals group. Although the dollar is practically unchanged against the Euro, we have to suspect that some of Monday’s Bernanke-induced move is being reexamined in light of sluggish demand prospects, particularly out of China. In this regard, Reuters ran a story yesterday saying that commercial copper stocks in the country could now be as high as one million tons (inclusive of the 223,000 tons held in Shanghai), levels not seen since 2009. All in all, it very much feels that the “Sell in May and go away” mantra may indeed hold true this year, especially if the spiral in energy prices is not broken and we continue to see growing signs of slow-down emanating from China. ..... Nickel is at $17,785, up $5. The $17,800 level will be vulnerable on a two-day closing basis if we finish below it again today. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (SC) Toledo Mining has turned down a bid for its Ipilan nickel operation in the Philippines. The firm said that together with its joint venture partners it had concluded an offer by Chinese group Jinchuan was "wholly unacceptable".
  • (Yieh) According to Metals Service Center Institute’s (MSCI’s) specialty metals, though the global stainless demand is weak since this year, it is still rising slowly. It predicted that the growth rate of the global stainless steel demand would slow down to 4% in 2012 from 8% in 2011, mainly from Brazil, Russia, India and China.
  • (ATA) The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.5% in February after falling 4.6% in January.
  • Revolving credit: the beating heart of China's metal trade - more
  • (China) Biggest profit drop strikes in three years for manufacturing industry - more
  • (China) Rich get richer, choosier - more

  China HCFeCr Market - Mills Are Slow = Quotes from stainless steel mills may delay into April = Producers and users are in a standoff over the price of high-carbon ferrochrome under the continued pressure blocking it to go up. - more

  Indonesia's Nickel Export Ban May Spur Local Investment - Indonesia’s ban on exports of nickel ore may encourage investment in processing facilities in the country, according to Deutsche Bank AG. - more

  Chinese-driven resources boom doomed: Dow chief Andrew Liveris - Australia was too reliant on selling mineral resources to China, Dow Chemical's chief executive, Australian-born Andrew Liveris, warned yesterday. - more

  Norilsk Challenged by Ural Mining in Home Region, Interfax Says - OAO Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s largest mining company, is competing for a license in the Taimyr region, where it was founded, with billionaire Iskandar Makhmudov’s Ural Mining & Metallurgical Co., Interfax said. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 27

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 5 to 917. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China to Ban Public Purchases of ‘High-End’ Alcohol // Obama Says Too Many ‘Bad Actors’ Trying to Get Hands on Nuclear Material // China Leadership Acts Against Bo Xilai Legacy as Chongqing Official Fired // China’s Industrial Company Profits Decline 5.2% on Slowing Exports, Curbs // Indonesia Set to Exit Junk as Growth Holds Up Amid China Slowdown: Economy // Asian Stocks Rise as Nikkei Erases Quake Loss Before Report on U.S. Confidence // French Consumer Confidence Jumped by Most in Five Years in March: Economy // Russia Planning to Sell 30-Year Eurobonds at Record-Low Yield, Banker Says // European Stocks Decline After Report Showing U.S. Consumer Confidence Fell // Goldman Sachs Trading Diaspora Falters as Flamand Hedge Fund Loses Money // MF Global’s Counsel Resisted Giving JPMorgan Assurances on Fund Transfers // Russia-Sized Mistakes Driving Corn Prices to Limit: Commodities // Improving U.S. Job Market Keeps Consumer Confidence at Year High: Economy // Treasuries Strengthen With the Dollar as U.S. Stocks Trade Little Changed
  • The Euro continues to trade less than 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is trading just slightly higher and at $107.05/barrel. Gold and silver are both trading lower by 3/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mixed and most quietly, All except nickel that is. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, but began a decline that paused mid day, then picked up steam in the latter half. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.06/lb , and its lowest close this year. Stockpiles of nickel stored on LME approved warehouses rose to a new 2012 high on Monday and now total just over 99,200 tonnes. This one day increase of over 1500 tonnes hurt nickel prices today, as growing stockpiles once again bring a potential world surplus into focus. So far this year, nickel has proven to be the ugly stepchild of base metals trading, much to the chagrin of nickel miners and stainless steel producers alike. Prices ended January around the $10/lb range, ended February near the $9/lb line and it appears the market has the $8/lb mark in view as it ends March. US consumer confidence slipped in March, most likely due to higher gas prices, and US housing prices fell again. US equity markets have so far spent the day in limbo as traders are finding it difficult to capitalize on yesterday's big rally.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • China Juggles Cyclical and Structural Challenges - more
  • Bernanke: Unemployment Benefits Don’t Keep Jobless Rate High - more
  • Prospects for the U.S. Labor Market - more
  • The Rich Get Even Richer - more
  • Whither Europe? - more

  Mining boom in Michigan: economic boost or environmental nuisance? - Demand for metals on the world market is prompting a mining boom in Michigan's rural Upper Peninsula, where jobs are scarce. - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.02/lb lower, with other London traded base metals lower as well. The Euro is trading over 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are up 1/10 of 1% and trading at $107.14/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1/4 of 1% and silver is down over 1/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China down 1/3 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, with US futures flat and giving no clues to an opening direction. Stockpiles of nickel rose sharply on Monday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper steadies after rally, dollar weakness helps - more
  • LME Morning - Metals slightly higher, look to capitalise on Bernanke boost - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • We should have known that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was going to be speaking yesterday -- always a good indication that a relatively large move in either direction is bound to follow. This time around, Bernanke’s remarks resulted in a cascade of buying across most markets, with good gains seen in base and precious metals, the Euro, and US equities. Energy prices sat out of the rally, as they had already moved quite significantly the week before. The key phrase in the Bernanke remarks igniting the buying was the following: “Further significant improvements in the unemployment rate will likely require a more rapid expansion of production and demand from consumers and businesses, a process that can be supported by continued accommodative policies”. The language seemed to suggest that in addition to low rates, “QE III”, which was perceived to be off the table not too long ago, was now, if not exactly back on the table, perhaps lingering on its edge. The notion of another QE program gained further credibility after Bernanke downplayed the significance of recent employment gains, saying the labor market was still “far from normal”. Interestingly, the chairman’s remarks were almost the reverse of what he said on February 29th when he doused expectations of further easing, sending a number of commodities, notably precious metals, off a cliff. Despite Monday’s “reinterpretation” of Bernanke’s remarks, we find the upside staying power emanating from his speech somewhat limited. For one thing, Bernanke did not directly refer to an easing program along the lines of QE III, and even if he did hint at it, the implication of another massive ease should be cause for concern, not celebration. We should remember that we already have had four years of easy money, coupled with a massive expansion in the Fed’s balance sheet. Neither has been successful in pushing the economy into a higher gear of 4-5% growth, a level that will likely make more of a dent in the unemployment rate and allow the Fed to finally remove its monetary crutch from underneath the economy. Instead, growth seems to be mired between 2-3%, just under the historical norm, and the worry is that even this relatively modest expansion will be difficult to sustain in light of soaring energy prices. In fact, recent macro data coming out of the US over the past week seem to suggest that growth could be “topping out”, particularly as far as housing is concerned. On Monday, we saw February pending home sales sliding 0.5% from the prior month (confounding expectations for a 1% rise), and extending the month-over-month declines also seen in existing and new home sales. Later today, we will be getting the Case-Schiller housing price index where another substantial price decline in most metropolitan cities is expected. March consumer confidence readings (expected at 70) follow later in the day. Right now, metals are mixed, with both copper and aluminum showing slight losses, but the rest of the metals are hanging on to modest gains. Energy prices are lower, while the euro has eased slightly, now trading at $1.3338. We expect the firmer tone in the commodity complex to remain in place for at least another day or two, although we eventually do see the markets rolling back most of the “Bernanke spike”, as focus quickly reverts to the reality of a slowing world economy.  .... Nickel is at $18,087, down $58. The $17,800 level seems to be next support. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to statistics, the inventory of stainless steel in Chinese Wuxi market in mid-March totaled 212,030 tons, decreasing by 4.6% from a half month earlier.
  • (China) Middle income group grows - more
  • (China) US firms see slower growth in China - more
  • The 2011–12 La Niña reaches its end - more

  India Alters Cr Ore Export Duty = To 30% of the ore value from the current rate of Rupee3,000/ton, a big rise based on the prevailing price = The Indian government announced on March 16 that it altered the export duty of chrome ore to 30% of the ore value from Rupee3,000 per ton of the ore. - more

  Sumitomo eyes New Caledonia, Philippines for nickel - Sumitomo Metal Mining Co is looking to increase nickel supplies from New Caledonia, the Philippines and the Solomon Islands to make up for a shortage expected to hit Japan once Indonesia bans unprocessed nickel exports from 2014. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending March 24, 2012, domestic raw steel production was 1,947,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 78.8 percent. Production was 1,834,000 tons in the week ending March 24, 2011, while the capability utilization then was 75.0 percent. The current week production represents a 6.2 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending March 24, 2012 is up 1.8 percent from the previous week ending March 17, 2012 when production was 1,913,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 77.4 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 26

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 4 to 912. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China’s Soft Landing Still May Be Hard for Countries Selling Commodities // Obama Warns North Korea Rocket Endangers Negotiations // China’s Money Rate Jumps Most in a Month as Banks Hoard Cash // Merkel Says Germany May Allow European Rescue Funds to Run Simultaneously // Monti Warns of Spanish Euro Contagion Risk as EU Readies Stronger Firewall // BOE’s Cohrs Says Bank Risk Culture Needs to Change for Financial Stability // Greek Bond Traders Overestimate Risk of Second Restructuring, Cavallo Says // Business Confidence in Germany Unexpectedly Rises on ECB Stimulus: Economy // European Stocks Gain as German Business Confidence Unexpectedly Increases //Bernanke Hesitates to Extol Economy Knowing Consistent Policy Put at Risk // Plosser Says U.S. Economy Doesn’t Need Additional Stimulus to Fan Recovery // Bernanke Says Accommodative Policy Is Needed to Reduce U.S. Unemployment // Pending Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Held Near a Two-Year High in February // Stocks Rise on Euro Bailout Optimism, Bernanke Speech; Treasuries Retreat
  • The Euro is now trading over 4/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up slightly and trading at $106.95/barrel. Gold is up 1/35 and silver is up 1.7%. Base metals ended the session quietly higher for the most part. Indicator charts show nickel traded around its starting point all day, and in the end, ended just slightly lower. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.23./lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell on Friday and now total just shy of 97,700 tonnes. Apparently learning from an earlier mistake, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told the National Association for Business Economics Policy Conference this morning that the US recovery is far too fragile for the Federal Reserve to consider dropping its "accommodative monetary policies". To back this up, he told the audience that the current improvement in the labor market might not be able to be sustained. The dovish comments by Bernanke hit the US Dollar, which fell against the Euro, and in turn made base metals more valuable.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Russia's stainless steel products imports in February increased by 28.47%, compared with February 2011, to 19,476 metric tons, the national association of special steels producers Spetsstal reported Monday.
  • Number of the Week: What if Young Adults Don’t Want to Leave Home? - more
  • Fed’s Lockhart: Economy Appears to Be Gaining Traction - more
  • The American Recovery - more
  • Mild Winter Weather and Payroll Employment - more
  • Water wars between countries could be just around the corner, Davey warns - more
  • Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockeys - more
  • Facebook says it may sue employers who demand job applicants' passwords - more

   China's moly export rules expected to stay unchanged in 2012 - China's restrictions on molybdenum product exports, consisting of an export quota, licensing and tax, are unlikely to change in 2012, Jia Hongyan, general manager of local industry publication MolyWorld, said Sunday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.03/lb higher, with other London traded base metals mixed. The Euro is presently trading 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are down 1/10 of 1% and trading at $106.76/barrel. Gold is down 1/4 of 1% while silver is off 4/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, while China gained 1/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning while US futures show US markets should open higher as well. Nickel stockpiles fell slightly on Friday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper dips in cautious trade, China weighs - more
  • LME Morning - Metals easier as initial rally falters, sentiment softens - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Copper prices rose on Friday, supported mainly by a stronger Euro, which pushed to a three-week high. COMEX copper volumes remained on the lighter side, with about 52,000 lots trading, about a quarter below the 30-day average. However, for the week as a whole, the metals group was lower, unable to shake off growing concerns about an impending slow-down in China. In this regard, numbers released last week out of China showed the HSBC flash purchasing managers index shrinking in March for a fifth successive month to 48.1, with new orders sinking to a four-month low. Of course, this is the big question hovering over metals right now, namely just how acute will the looming slowdown in China be, and will the authorities be able to successfully guide the economy into a “soft landing”. China optimists argue that the government has both the fiscal and monetary tools to jump-start growth if needed, but others counter that these measures will do little to alter expectations that are now increasingly focused on falling real estate prices just as energy-related pricing pressures start to impact other sectors of the economy. We are leaning more towards the second scenario playing out -- it is one thing to ease lending requirements or “prime the pump”, but quite another to get people to start spending again, as our own experience here in the US amply demonstrates. If we are correct in our assessment, we should see more downside pressure materializing in metals over the next two months, but this will unlikely take the form of a sharp plunge, but rather of a slow grind lower.  .... Right now, metals are firmer, with copper the best performer in the group and up more than $100/ton in very quiet trading. Energy prices are slightly higher as well, building on a solid performance last week after prices moved up on reports of a noticeable decline in Iranian oil exports in March. .... Nickel is at $18,225, up $50. Charts look poor, with the short-term downchannel that first started to take shape in early February still firmly in place. The $17,800 level seems to be next support (red line). (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) It’s reported that the European stainless makers cut the April alloy surcharges for stainless steel flat products by 6.5% average, due to declined nickel prices
  • (Interfax) China's iron ore exchange is expected to open for trading on May 8 after undergoing a test run on March 29, according to Xu Xu, chairman of Minmetals Group and the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals and Chemicals Importers and Exporters (CCCMC).
  • Nonoc and the future of mining  - more
  • Vale: A Solid Mining Investment For 2012 - more
  • China Soft Landing May Be Hard for Commodity Exporters - more

   China Nickel Market - Weakening = Nickel metal price has been dragging down; ferronickel price also weakening despite producers' resistance = Reflecting the LME fluctuations since January, prices of nickel metal and ferronickel in China went up in steps during January/February, but started decline in March partly due to the self-adjustment of the market. The resistance of ferronickel producers to maintain the price does not seem to have been very successful. - more

   Japan's Sumitomo eyes Philippines for nickel - Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., a major Japanese nickel producer, is looking to increase nickel supplies from New Caledonia, the Philippines and the Solomon Islands to make up for a potential supply shortage after Indonesia implements a ban on exports of unprocessed nickel from 2014. - more

   Bosowa secures electricity supply for nickel smelter - PT Bosowa Metal Industri, a subsidiary of diversified business group Bosowa Corporation, has secured supplies from state-owned electricity company PT PLN for its nickel smelter to be built in Jeneponto, South Sulawesi. - more

  Deripaska ready to buy RUSAL's Norilsk stake-source - Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska is ready to buy RUSAL's 25 percent blocking stake in Norilsk Nickel to resolve a shareholder dispute at the world's largest aluminium producer, a source close to the RUSAL board said on Monday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 23

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 6 to 902. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Banks Said to Underestimate Risk of Local Government Loan Defaults // Copper Bear Streak Extends as Manufacturing Shrinks // China’s Stocks Decline, Capping Biggest Weekly Loss in 3 Months on Economy // Bank of Japan’s Stimulus Spat Fueled by Nomination of BNP’s Kono: Economy // China National Nuclear in Talks With Areva to Buy Stakes in Uranium Mines // Asian Stocks Post Biggest Weekly Drop This Year on Global Economic Concern // Putin’s Spending May Cripple Medvedev as Kudrin Eyes Russian Premiership // French Sentiment Rises as Sarkozy Lifts Growth Forecast: Economy // European Stocks Are Little Changed; Commodity Shares Rise, Utilities Fall // Credit Suisse Ends Curb on VIX Note After Month of Swings Whipsaws Holders // Fed’s Bullard Sees Years of Elevated Inflation From Mistimed Stimulus Exit // U.S. New-Home Sales Decline for a Second Month in Uneven Recovery: Economy // Oil Rally Helps Stocks Reverse Decline as Treasuries Rise for a Fourth Day
  • The Euro is currently trading over 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 1-1/2% and trading at $106.95/barrel. Gold is up over 1% while silver is higher by over 1.8%. Base metals ended their week ending session mostly higher - except for nickel. Indicator charts show nickel  trended lower thru most of the session, and for a change, did not see a session ending spike. For the day and week, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.24 . Stockpiles of nickel held in LME licensed warehouses fell slightly overnight and now totals just under 97,750 tonnes. From a week ago, stockpiles are up 318 tonnes, but 276 tonnes lower than they were one month ago today. US markets are currently trading higher on a less than stellar housing report.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Bernanke Denies Fed Rate Policy Caused Housing Bust - more
  • Summers, DeLong Push for More Government Spending - more
  • The rich versus the seething masses - more
  • A technical recession in the eurozone? - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.08/lb lower, with other London traded base metals trading higher. The Euro is trading 1/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are up nearly 1/4 of 1% and trading at $105.59/barrel. Gold is up 2/10 of 1% while silver is down slightly. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China down 1.2%. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures are lower are well. Nickel stockpiles fell slightly overnight.
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Gains as Recent Drop Seen Excessive Amid Lower Stockpiles - more
  • Reuters morning - Copper up on softer dollar but weekly loss beckons - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals bar nickel recoup losses on euro rebound - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • next report on Monday, March 26th

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) Reportedly, Indian government announced to change the export duty rule for chrome ore. The export duty will become 30% of the ore prices instead of INR3, 000/ton.
  • (JSC) The stainless steel stocks totaled 165,522 tonnes in Chinese Foshan market in the first half of March 2012, decreasing by 5.66% from a half month ago.
  • (Interfax) China's imports of nickel, lead, zinc and tin all rose in February on the back of a seasonal recovery in demand following the Chinese New Year holiday in January, show customs data released Tuesday
  • Japan 2012/13 steel output seen down 2 pct -industry group - more
  • Copper Bear Streak Extends as Manufacturing Shrinks - more
  • (China) Economic growth could slow further - more
  • (China) US probes on Chinese stainless steel sinks - more
  • Survey: Optimism Returns to Global Economic Outlook - more

   China mine hunt turns to Africa, S.America, Asia - Chinese firms are on the prowl for mining investments in Africa, South America and central Asia as they look to feed ever expanding domestic demand for key commodities, but are switching away from Australia and Canada, which are getting too expensive. - more

  Japan Imported Ferroalloys Market Report; March 16, 2012 = Q2 (April - June) prices of bulk ferroalloys for EF mills to rise = Market outlook in Japan of the imported ferroalloys as of March 16, 2012 is as follows: - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 22

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 6 to 902.   (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) AgriBank Posts First Drop in Profit Since Listing as China’s Economy Slows // China Manufacturing Report Boosts Case for Easing by Signaling Contraction // Asian Stocks Pare Gains as China PMI Survey Tempers Surprise Japan Exports // S&P’s Kraemer Says Italy Risks Are Main Focus for European Policy Makers // European Economy Gauge Shows Deeper Contraction Than Economists Forecast // European Crops Damaged by Winter Freeze Now Face Drought // Stocks Drop for Fourth Straight Day in Europe as Manufacturing Contracts // Days of Big Spending Should End at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Watchdog Says // Austerity or Stimulus? What We Need Is Growth // U.S. Leading Indicators Index Climbed More-Than-Forecast 0.7% in February // Stocks in U.S. Decline on Global Economic Concern as FedEx Shares Retreat
  • The Euro is trading 3/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 2.4% and trading at $104.69/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1/2 of 1% while silver is off 2-1/4%. Base metals ended the session lower as well. Indicator charts show nickel in a session long downtrend with a near $200/tonne jump at the end of the session looking the a mere bump in the road, and not a spike as it has recently. Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.37/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell slightly overnight and now total just under the 97,800 tonne level. Markets opened to news out of China that HSBC’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for March fell to 48.1 from 49.6 in February. Any number below 50 signals manufacturing in contraction. Economic reports out of Europe today have been equally depressing, showing services and manufacturing output there has fallen more than economists forecast. US jobless claims fell on a weekly basis, but the four week average only fell 1,250 to 355,000 claims. Markets around the wrold were and are sour over the news.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Housing Is Still ‘Shadowed’ by Excess Supply - more
  • The Cleveland Financial Stress Index: A Tool for Monitoring Financial Stability - more
  • Bernanke: Stress Tests Showed Banks Aren’t Hiding Potential Huge Losses - more
  • The Demographics of the Jobs Recovery - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.12/lb lower, with other London traded base metals lower as well. The Euro is trading 7/16 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are down 1% and trading at $106.18/barrel. Gold and silver are both trading around 1% lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China over 1/10 of 1% lower. European markets are trading lower this morning and US futures show Wall Street may open the morning in a foul mood as well. Nickel stockpiles fell only slightly on Wednesday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper falls as China factory data, euro zone PMI weigh - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals easier, hindered by risk-off attitude after poor global data - more

  Reports

  • Steel Founders' Society Of America Casteel Reporter - pdf here
  • AK Steel Stainless Steel Surcharge - pdf here
  • ThyssenKrupp Nirosta April Surcharges - more
  • Reuters Inside Metals - pdf here
  • Commonwealth Daily Alert- pdf here
  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Metals Insight - pdf here

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • next report on Monday March 26th

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to statistics, China’s nickel output in February totaled 21,391 tons, down by 2% in comparison of 21,841 tons in January, touching the lowest level over the past four months.
  • (YIeh) According to data released by customs, Taiwan imported 83,430 tons of stainless steel in February, surging by 41% from a month earlier.
  • PNG ranks poorly - more
  • (Interfax) China's share of global crude steel output increased to 46.89 percent in February, up from 44.63 percent in January, as production picked up following the week-long Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, according to data released Tuesday by the World Steel Association (WSA).
  • (Australia) Mining boom to shift into overdrive with $60bn export surge - more
  • China Manufacturing Contraction May Worsen, Data Show - more
  • (China) Domestic consumption takes driver's seat - more

  Chinese traders reluctant to sell below $14/lb - Chinese traders were reluctant to make spot sales of molybdenum oxide powder below $14/lb on a CIF/in-warehouse basis this week, although spot deals have been closing at $13.80-13.90/lb CIF, sources said Thursday. - more

  China Ferroalloys February Production Up 21% = From January of low output due to the Holidays = Reportedly according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, total output of ferroalloys in February 2012 was 2.3 million tons, up by some 20% from 1.9 million ton output in the preceding month. - more

   MSCI: Service Center Shipments Up Sharply in February - Service center shipments of aluminum and steel rose sharply in February, compared to the same month in 2011, in both the United States and Canada, according to the latest Metals Activity report from the Metals Service Center Institute, Rolling Meadows, Ill - more

  U.S. Steel Industry Driving the American Manufacturing Renaissance - A recently released study titled, “Economic Impacts of the American Steel Industry,” conducted by Dr. Timothy J. Considine, SER Professor of Energy Economics at the University of Wyoming reveals that the U.S. steel industry is helping lead our nation’s manufacturing post-recession resurgence by supporting more than one million U.S. jobs and adding billions of dollars to the economy. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 21

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 12 to 896. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China’s Closed-Door Politics Risks Blindsiding Traders After Bo // U.S. Exempts Japan, 10 EU Nations From Iran Oil Sanctions // Record Profits at Chinese Banks Set to Be Overshadowed by Loans Going Bad // China’s Stocks Advance on Pension-Fund Buying Speculation; Chalco Surges // Outgoing PBOC Adviser Urges More Power for China’s Central Bank: Economy // U.K. Budget Gap Almost Doubles as Tax Revenue Declines, Spending Jumps // German Bunds Fall as Greece Wins Bailout Vote, Traders Prepare for Auction // Icelandic Central Bank Increases Benchmark Rate to 5% to Contain Inflation // Spain Risking a Default on Debt Now More Than Ever, Buiter Says: Tom Keene // Most European Stocks Fall on U.S. Data as Adidas, TeliaSonera Lead Retreat // Buffett Seizes Lead in $1 Million Bet on Stock Index Beating Hedge Funds // Sales of Previously Owned U.S. Houses Hold Near a Two-Year High: Economy // Bernanke Says Higher Energy Prices Constitute a Threat to the U.S. Economy // Stocks in U.S. Little Changed as Home Sales Report Points to Slow Recovery
  • The Euro is now trading 2/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up nearly 1% and trading at $107.08/barrel. Gold is down slightly, while silver is off 1/4 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mostly lower. Indicator charts show nickel fell early, did little all day until the late session spike happened. This time the late day jump did not hold. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.53/lb . Stockpiles of nickel rose on Tuesday and now total just shy of 97,850 tonnes. The International Stainless Steel Forum reported today that stainless steel production in 2011 grew by 3.3% to a record 32.1 million metric tonnes. This followed a 25% increase in 2010 and you can find the full report in this morning's articles below. Base metals markets traded sideways today, following major equity markets. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and dashed any misbegotten hopes that the European debt crisis was over. A less than stellar housing report also put US markets in a weary mood.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Bernanke: China’s Dollar Peg Like Being on Gold Standard - more
  • Watch Prof. Bernanke Explain the Fed - more
  • No-Growth Capitalism’s post-crash manifesto - more
  • Economists offer more pessimistic view on manufacturing in upcoming report - more
  • Some Perspective… - more

   The mining sector is one of Canada's most productive industries and a major contributor to the country's ongoing economic prosperity. - In 2003, the mining and mineral processing industries contributed $40.8 billion to the Canadian economy, an amount equal to 4.0% of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - more

  ENRC eyes fresh blood for board as costs bite - Kazakh miner ENRC plans to add "fresh blood" to its board as it seeks to draw a line under governance troubles that have hit its shares. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.09/lb lower, with other London traded base metals mixed and mostly quiet. The Euro is up 1/10 of 1% against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are over 4/10 of 1% higher and trading at $106.54/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1/10 of 1% and silver is currently over 1/2 of 1% lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China up just over 1/10 of 1%. European markets are trading flat at the moment, and US futures are slightly higher at the moment. Nickel stockpiles rose overnight.
  • LME Morning - Base metals post slight recovery, sentiment still shaky - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Copper prices finished with their sharpest decline in two weeks yesterday, as the dollar strengthened and concerns about the scale of China's slowdown exacerbated the selloff. Attention now is focused on just how deep a slowdown China is going to experience, with the debate centering on whether this will be a “soft” or “hard” landing. The discussion prompts us to recall a quote from a business executive who said that in all his years of seeing business cycles come and go, he never recalled being in a “soft landing” type of situation. Time will tell what will happen in China’s case, but we suspect that the slowdown there will be sharper and last longer than what the consensus view is currently calling for. Yes, China does have money to throw at the problem or enough in the way of monetary stimulus to cushion some of the recent deceleration, but inflation is still a major issue, and as we found out from our experience here in the US, fiscal and monetary tools can only do so much (or sometimes nothing at all) to change expectations - the key driver for growth. Having said that, we find ourselves slightly higher in most markets today. Metals are enjoying a slight bounce, although all are off their earlier highs. Oil prices, which lost more than $2/brl yesterday, are up right now, with Brent at $124.38, while the Euro has bounced back as well, now at $1.3230. US stocks are called to open slightly higher. ...... Nickel is at $18,850, down $200. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Bloomberg) Nickel Asia Corp., the largest Philippine producer of the metal, rose 11 percent to 28.30 pesos, the highest close since the stock began trading in November 2010. The shares climbed on speculation the company will benefit from Indonesia’s move to implement a ban on nickel-ore sales sooner than planned to boost output of refined nickel, according to CitisecOnline.com. “Philippine nickel ore companies will benefit most from this export ban,” George Ching, analyst at Citisec, said.
  • (Yieh) Reportedly, the European stainless steelmakers have sought to stabilize the stainless steel sheet prices, in spite of reduced demand and lower alloy surcharge for stainless steel products. Traders indicated that the stainless steel inventory has remained high in European market due to sluggish buying in the beginning of this year and the April alloy surcharge for stainless steel products decreased
  • Murilo Ferreira CEO of Vale SA - "I believe that either this or next year we'll surpass the largest global [nickel] producer."
  • (Interfax) U.K.-based Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. Plc (ENRC) has signed a five-year framework agreement to supply high-carbon ferrochrome to China's largest stainless steel producer, Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Co. Ltd. (STSS).
  • PT Aneka Tambang Tbk : Antam's 2011 Audited Net Profit Increases 14.5% To Rp1.93 Trillion - more
  • (China) Business confidence increases, survey says - more

  Stainless production grows 3.3% in 2011 - The International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) has released preliminary data which indicates that stainless steel production grew by 3.3% in 2011. - more

   Indonesia's nickel-ore, bauxite shipments may dive - Nickel-ore and bauxite shipments from Indonesia, the top supplier to China, may plunge 75 per cent this year as a ban on metal-ore sales comes into force in May, two years earlier than scheduled, said an industry group. - more

  Japan Hot-Rolled SUS January Production Slightly Recovers - According to the data released by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on March 14, details of the output of hot-rolled stainless steel during January 2012 were as per the table attached hereto. - more

 China looks for nickel assets overseas - CDB International - China is targeting copper, uranium, iron ore, coking coal and nickel resources overseas, a China Development Bank International executive said on Wednesday. - more

  Zambales folk resist mining - Mineral-laden red soil becomes fertile ground to people’s resistance against destructive mining. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 20

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 5 to 884. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Increases Fuel Prices for Second Time in Two Months After Crude Gain // Mercedes Record 25% Discount Leads Shrinking Luxury Margins in China: Cars // China’s Stocks Drop for First Time in 3 Days on Fuel Prices, Profit Slump // Thailand May Hold Key Interest Rate as Asia Gauges Risks from China to Oil // Container-Ship Owners Losing After $11.4 Billion Battle for Boxes: Freight // U.K. Inflation Slows Less Than Forecast on Cost of Alcohol, Food: Economy // European Stocks Decline as BMW, Daimler Retreat on China // Bernanke Stands to Gain Financial Market Experts in Fed Board Nominees // Mets Owners Settle Madoff Trustee Case for $162 Million // Fed’s Bond Portfolio Generated $75.4 Billion for U.S. Treasury Last Year // Stocks Fall With Commodities as China’s Growth Slows; Treasuries Halt Drop
  • The Euro is currently trading flat against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1-3/4% and trading at $106.21/barrel. Gold is down 2/3 of 1% and silver is down nearly 2.1%. Base metals ended the session mostly lower... except nickel.  Indictor charts show nickel spent most of the first half of today's trading in a decline, then stabilized for most of the rest of the day. That is, until the end, when once again we saw a sudden jump of around $200 tonne in just a few minutes. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.64/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell on Monday and now total just over 97,000 tonnes. Markets appear to be taking some profits today as China raises it fuel prices for a second time in six weeks and an official with a Chinese auto group reports the industry will likely miss earlier growth forecasts.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Global crude steel production rose 1.9% on year in February, buoyed by higher output in China which helped more than offset lower steel output from the European Union.
  • $5 gas prices would tank consumer: Wilbur Ross - more
  • Fannie: Job Market, Income Trends May Help Housing Market Turn Corner - more
  • Confused About China? So Is Credit Suisse - more
  • In Times of Crisis, Ignorance Is Bliss - more
  • The Food Stamp Explosion - more
  • Vital Signs: Continuing Manufacturing Expansion - more
  • The Truth Behind America’s Unemployment - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.09/lb lower, with other London traded base metals also trading lower. The Euro is down 3/10 of 1% against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are down nearly 6/10 of 1% and trading at $107.47/barrel. Gold is down over 1% and silver is off by 2.2%. In overnight trading, Asian marekts ended lower, with China off nearly 1-3/4%. European markets are trading lower this morning and US futures are lower as well. Nickel stockpiles fell on Monday.
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Drops as High Stockpiles in China Signal Weaker Demand - more
  • Reuters morning - Copper falls on China demand concerns, currency - more
  • LME Morning - Metals retreat; upside momentum on hold, optimism fades - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Metals finished higher in very quiet trading yesterday, as relatively compressed range-based trading continues to dominate. Volume was light once again, with a little more than 42,500 lots trading on COMEX, down about 40% from the 30-day average, this according to Reuters estimates. Volatilities have been dropping as well, something that is particularly evident in the US equity markets. One market that is experiencing a free-fall of late however, is the US treasury market, where yields have climbed by a whopping .5% in the past 10 days alone, as the rally in US equities and evidence of a solid (if not exactly robust) recovery in the US economy, have both begun to nudge rates higher. Whatever gains we saw yesterday in metals are being rolled back today, further evidence of the inconsistent tone that has been in place for some time now. Copper is now down by more than $170 ton, with the selling picking up in the last 30 minutes and leading the overall group lower. Energy prices are off by about $1.50 and the Euro is retreating as well, now trading at $1.32. US stocks are called to open lower ahead of a sloppier tone in Asian and European trading. ..... In other news, the Financial Times reported today that the world of big-bank commodities trading has been "shaken up" after Barclays Capital suffered one of its worst performances in a decade last year, apparently hit by a large loss trading copper and aluminum. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley remain at the top of the rankings, with revenues of about $2bn and $1.5bn, respectively, while JPMorgan was at $1.3bn-$1.5bn. Deutsche Bank closed its best year to date in commodities, with revenues of around $1bn. .... Nickel is at $18,810, down $240. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to statistics, the stainless steel stocks totaled 165,522 tons in Chinese Foshan market in the first half of March, decreasing by 5.66% from a half month ago. Among them, the inventory of cold rolled stainless steel products totaled 72,165 tons, down by 2.57%; that of hot rolled stainless steel products amounted 92,357 tons, declining by 7.95%, both compared to that in a half month earlier.
  • Police Log: Nickel Embezzlement  - more
  • (China) Fuel prices raised by 6.5-7% - more
  • IMF: Hard-landing concerns exaggerated - more

   Growth Momentum Increases in February - February service center shipments of aluminum and steel were up sharply from the same month in 2011 in both the U.S. and Canada. - more

   Nickel-Ore, Bauxite Exports From Indonesia to Drop on Ban - Nickel-ore and bauxite shipments from Indonesia, the top supplier to China, may plunge 75 percent this year as a ban on metal-ore sales comes into force in May, two years earlier than scheduled, said an industry group. - more

  Australia's miners sees China iron ore demand flattening - Australian iron ore miners, key beneficiaries of China's modern-day industrial revolution, on Tuesday signaled demand growth was finally slowing in response to Beijing's moves to cool its economy. - more

   Courtesy AISI - In the week ending March 17, 2012, domestic raw steel production was 1,913,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 77.4 percent. Production was 1,834,000 tons in the week ending March 17, 2011, while the capability utilization then was 75.0 percent. The current week production represents a 4.3 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending March 17, 2012 is down 2.3 percent from the previous week ending March 10, 2012 when production was 1,959,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 79.3 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 19

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 5 to 879. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Soft Landing Seen by IMF’s Zhu Even as Property Prices Fall: Economy // China’s Stocks Rise to Highest in Week on IMF’s Outlook for China Economy // RBA’s Stevens Sees China’s GDP Surpassing Europe, Matching U.S. in Decade // Echo Boomers in Japan Signal Economic Lift as Homebuying Climbs: Mortgages // Greek Debt Insurance Allocated Initial 78.25 Cents per Euro Payout Value // UPS to Acquire TNT Express for $6.8 Billion to Compete With DHL in Europe // Monti to Meet Italian Labor Unions Amid Warnings of Continued Euro Crisis // European Stocks Little Changed Near Eight-Month High; Misys Jumps on Deal // Bernanke Seen Not Knowing Jobless Rate Falling Faster Than Fed Predictions // Dollar Bulls Beat Bears in Futures for Longest Stretch Since ’99 on Growth // Volatility Falls Most Since FDR as Valuations Sink Like 1995 // Dudley Says U.S. Economy Not Yet ‘Out of the Woods’ From Housing, Gasoline // Bank of America Tops $10 for First Time Since August After Fed Stress Test // U.S. Stocks Gain as Apple Rallies on Dividend While Treasuries Extend Loss
  • The Euro is now trading over 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is also up 1/2 of 1% and trading at $107.58/barrel. Gold is up 3/10 of 1% while silver is 1.3% higher. Base metals ended the session mostly higher as well, helped in part by a strengthening Euro. Indicator charts show nickel started higher, fell quickly and traded most of the session in a narrow band, before jumping higher late. For teh day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.64/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses slipped on Friday and now total just over 97,300 tonnes. Trading for nickel looked somewhat erratic again today. Industry news was very quiet.

  Reports

  • Robry Monday Morning Economic Assessment - more
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Kazakhstan-focused miner Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. PLC said Monday it has signed a five-year agreement with China's largest stainless steel producer, Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Co. to supply high-carbon ferrochrome.
  • Inside the Chinese Boom in Corporate Espionage - more
  • Gas Prices: The Kim Kardashian of Inflation - more
  • The worst of all worlds - more

  No easy fix for ferrochrome conundrum - South Africa exported 4.7 million tonnes/year (Mtpa) of chrome ore last year to China. - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.02/lb lower, with other London traded base metals mostly higher. The Euro is trading over 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar this morning. NYMEX crude futures are up nearly 1/10 of 1% and trading at $107.15/barrel. Gold is down 1/3 of 1% and silver is off 7/16 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China closing up 1/4 of 1%. European marekts are trading lower this morning and US futures are slightly lower at the moment. Nickel stockpiles fell on Friday.
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Swings Between Gains, Losses on Chinese Housing, Stocks - more
  • Reuters - Copper steady, U.S. recovery offsets China demand woes - more
  • LME Morning - Metals hardly moving, dull ranging continues - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • It seems we have not missed much while attending the CRU aluminum conference last week in Miami, as both copper and aluminum have been very quiet over the past few days. On Friday, copper sold off from an intraday high of $8690 to finish at $8510 on the back of disappointing macro data out of the US. Ali hardly did any better, closing modestly higher on Friday, but trapped within a $20 trading range for much of the day. Volumes were light, with Reuters reporting that copper COMEX turnover was running at about 20% below the 30-day average. ..... Right now, metals are slightly higher, coming off a listless open. Energy prices are off by about $.30/brl on Brent, while the Euro is trading at $1.3160, where it was on Friday. The yen is stronger, now trading at about 83, and gaining a full cent since Friday. Precious metals continue to struggle, with both gold and silver just above key support at $1650 and $32.50, respectively. .... We do not see expect to see metals do much over the short-term; although the US recovery seems to be on track, it is showing tentative signs of topping out. More of a concern is the slowdown in China, which we suspect is actually worse than the official numbers suggest. This was the feeling we also got from some of the delegates presenting at the CRU conference last week; although most are projecting Chinese demand to remain robust in the longer-term, there was little dispute that they current slowdown is real and likely intensifying, something that does not make the bullish case for base metals that convincing over the short-term. ..... Nickel is at $18,850, down $50, and unlike the rest of the metals, is showing signs of deterioration on the charts. ..... The global nickel market saw a supply surplus of 7,100 tons in January 2012, the latest monthly bulletin from INSG showed. A 70,000 ton surplus is expected for 2012, up from a 19,300 surplus in 2011, INSG said. ..... Domestic nickel premiums in Brazil remain at around 20 and 30 cents per pound, the lowest level since July 2009, as Vale actively pursues orders after returning to full capacity, this according to AMM. Plating-grade premiums are also low, between 55 and 75 cents per pound, a more than two-and-a-half year low. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Rare earths - rare truthfulness - pdf here
  • Fitch : Commodity price volatility to persist in 2012 - more
  • (Yieh) It’s reported that Taiyuan Iron&Steel Group (Tisco), the largest stainless producer in China announced to cut the export prices of its 300 grade stainless products by US$100/ton for May delivery in response to declined nickel prices and sluggish Asian market. - more
  • (JSC) According to statistics, in the end of January 2012, Japan's inventory of stainless steel products amounted to 125,286 tonnes, increasing by 2.1% MoM.
  • (Interfax) Nickel has performed poorly so far this year and analysts maintain a pessimistic outlook on the metal after weak demand and growing stockpiles continued to put pressure on prices this month.
  • Madness This Week: Markets Up, Economy Improving, Recession Still Coming - more
  • China to be world's biggest importer soon - more

   Elimination of import duty on Nickel ore is welcome : Ushdev International - In general, it is a lack-lustre budget. The budget has anyway given some leeway for Dividend Distribution Tax at one level when the companies have many upstream companies/holdings and were taxable at every level. - more

  Rusal’s Norilsk Writedown Underlines Deripaska Board Tension - United Co. Rusal, the world’s biggest aluminum producer, recognized a $1.4 billion drop in the book value of its OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel holding, the subject of a boardroom spat that led to the chairman quitting last week. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 16

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 8 to 874 (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Chinese Companies Forced to Falsify Economic Data, Statistics Bureau Says // China Adds Treasuries for First Time Since July Amid European Debt Crisis // China Stocks Rise, Paring Weekly Loss, as Consumer Companies Extend Rally // India Increases Tax on Gold Imports for Second Time; Bullion Price Drops // Japan Debt-Financing Concern Clouds BOJ’s Bond Buying: Economy // Liikanen Signals European Governments Shouldn’t Expect Further ECB Action // European Stocks Rise for Fourth Day as Subsea 7, Insurance Companies Climb // Bank Whistle-Blower Wins $18 Million Payday as Part of Foreclosure Deal // Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Weakens on Increase in Gasoline Prices: Economy // Best Treasury Forecaster Chris Low Says 10-Year Yield to Drop From Highs // Treasuries Extend Slump as S&P 500 Index Poised for Its Best Week of Year
  • The Euro is trading 3/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is over 1% higher and trading at $106.18/barrel. Gold is now over 1/10 of 1% lower, while silver is down slightly. Base metals ended the session mostly lower, after a surprising turn south in the US consumer confidence spooked the market. Indicator charts show nickel was in trouble early, and even with a higher Euro, slumped throughout today's session. For the day and week, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.57/lb , down a penny for the week. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose for second consecutive day and now total just over 97,400 tonnes. Two things in the last two days is pressuring nickel. Yesterday, it was announced that Ramu nickel had started load commissioning and today, Goro announced it would produce 20,000 tonnes of nickel this year. This news came as nickel stockpiles rose for a second consecutive day as well. February ended with a string of inventory gains that appeared would take totals over the psychologically important 100,000 tonne mark fairly easily in March, but since then the last two days of gains were only the second and third gains posted. Traders are already nervous about what is, or more importantly, what isn't happening in China. Today's drop in US consumer confidence took the market by surprise, and sent another ripple of concern thru the market. US markets have been encouraging the last few months, but we are approaching the spring period that last year, took a big bite of last year's early economic brightness. Equity markets remain vary bullish, but guarded.

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Increase in Rates Won’t Trip Up Recovery - more
  • Vital Signs: Rising Cost of Imported Oil - more

  Indonesia's New Mining Policy Does Little to Dent Enthusiasm - Global companies led by Vale and Newmont Mining plan to invest in Indonesia’s mines, undeterred by a new regulation cutting foreign ownership, as they hunt for resources in the world’s biggest exporter of tin and thermal coal. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb higher, with other London traded base metals mostly higher. The Euro is trading only slightly lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are up 1/3 of 1% and trading at $105.50/barrel. Gold is down 2/3 of 1% and silver is 8/10 of 1% lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China up nearly 1-1/2%. European markets are trading higher this morning and US futures show Wall Street should open higher as well. Nickel stockpiles rose for a second consecutive day.
  • Reuters morning - Copper firms on US data; Shanghai stocks weigh - more
  • LME Morning - Metals meander sideways, little-changed trend continues - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • no report posted today

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to statistics, the inventory of stainless steel products totaled 222,248 tons in Chinese Wuxi market in the first half of March, up by 2.31% from a half month ago.
  • (JSC) POSCO announced to remain the March 2012 list prices of its stainless steel products unchanged due to volatile nickel prices, aiming to activate the sluggish market demand.
  • (Interfax) China's steel product output slipped in the first two months this year as capacity utilization rates among producers remained low and the week-long Chinese New Year holiday reduced production in January
  • Australian iron ore ports shut as cyclone threatens coast - more
  • Mining the Last Frontier - video here
  • (China) Fourth straight monthly fall in FDI - more

   FeCr Price Twisted Between Europe And China = Price in Europe rose from likely output cut in South Africa, while price in China softened = The proposal from ESKOM, a parastatal power company in South Africa, to buy back power allocated to ferrochrome smelters in order to urgently cope with the expected power shortage was accepted by, so far, 6 ferrochrome producers out of 8. - more

  New Caledonia’s Vale poised to launch nickel plant - New Caledonia’s Vale nickel company says it expects to produce 20,000 tonnes of nickel this year after retesting its plant in Goro. - more

  Ramu project gets under way - Australian nickel developer Highlands Pacific on Wednesday announced that its A$1.5-billion Ramu nickel project in Papua New Guinea had started load commissioning and was currently treating material through one of three autoclave circuits. - more

   Nickel firm accused of land confiscation - A group of eight villagers representing 66 families from Central Halmahera, North Maluku, aired strong protests on Thursday against foreign mining company PT Weda Bay Nickel, which they accused of having confiscated 800 hectares of land through mining activities. - more

   Aussie carbon tax unconstitutional, says mining magnate - The carbon tax circus is not yet over. Mining magnate Clive Palmer announced he will challenge Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s carbon tax to High Court saying it is unconstitutional. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 15

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 11 to 866. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Data Show Economy Already in ‘Hard Landing,’ JPMorgan’s Mowat Says // China’s Stocks Decline After Investment Slump Adds to Economic Concerns // China’s Foreign Direct Investment Falls for Fourth Month as Economy Slows // Global Food Prices Set to Drop as Demand Growth Slows, United Nations Says // Spanish Stocks Left Out of Global Rally on Rajoy Budget Deficit Skepticism // Swiss National Bank Interim Chairman Thomas Jordan
  • SNB Keeps Franc-Euro Ceiling as Growth Shows Signs of Stabilizing: Economy // Greek Restructuring Delay Helps European Banks as Risks Shift to Taxpayers // Norway Invites Krone Speculation Testing Resolve as Rate Cut Shocks Market // European Stocks Extend Highest Level Since July; H&M, Aixtron Lead Advance // Treasuries Extend Longest Decline Since 2006 as Stocks Are Little Changed // Jobless Claims in U.S. Decrease, Matching Four-Year Low // S&P 500 Index Rises Above 1,400 on Economic Data; Treasuries Pare Decline
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, now by more than 1/2 of 1%. NYMEX crude futures are down 1/3 of 1% and trading at $105.05/barrel. Gold is up over 8/10 of 1% and silver is up over 1.4%. Base metals ended their session mostly higher, getting a boost from the rising Euro. Indicator charts show nickel was very choppy today, falling early, then making a near 200 point rise and a over 130 point drop in the matter of 2-1/2 hours. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.79/lb . For only the second time this month, stockpiles of nickel rose overnight, and now total just over 97,150 tonnes. Traders seem to be playing quite the tug of war with nickel pricing this week, and erratic and large jumps sometimes reflect desperation on one side or the other. Did not see a report from Ed Meir today but he has been pretty consistent on a belief nickel was in a downtrend, irregardless of this weeks increase. We may be seeing the bulls running out of gas. As far as industry moving news, there really isn't any, nor has there been any in awhile. Analyst remain split on what the future will be and while US economic numbers remain strong, a lot of metal traders are far more concerned about what is happening in the worlds largest consumer of nickel - China. Some of the news coming out is not positive and a JP Morgan analyst stated today that he believed China was already suffering from an economic hard landing. Hopefully he is wrong, because the one thing China can not afford, is to give millions of its citizens jobs and a taste of the good life, followed by unemployment and a sense of desperation.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Treasury to Auction Off Small Banks’ Stock Acquired Under TARP - more
  • U.S. Current Account Deficit Likely to Go Wider - more
  • Germany Fails To Meet Its Own Austerity Goals - more
  • The Villain - more

  Sacked Ravensthorpe nickel manager got three months' salary - The general manager sacked by BHP Billion Nickel West within days of the Ravensthorpe nickel mine being shut down was offered three months of his annual $288,000 salary, a move his lawyer told the Supreme Court in Perth yesterday was designed to discourage legal action. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.13/lb lower, with other base metals trading mostly higher. The Euro is currently trading 2/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are up nearly 1/4 of 1% and trading at $105.67/barrel. Gold is up 3/10 of 1% while silver is higher by nearly 9/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets rose, with China falling 3/4 of 1%. European markets are slightly higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street may make it seven straight gaining days. Nickel stockpiles rose on Wednesday, for the first time in the last ten sessions.
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Swings Between Gains, Losses on China, U.S. Demand - more
  • Reuters morning - Copper flatlines; eyes on dollar, China - more
  • LME Morning - Metals range narrowly, lack of incentives stifle interest - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Did not receive a report today

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) It’s reported that China’s export prices of austenitic stainless steel products have dropped by US$50~US$100/ton in the middle of March, due to declined nickel prices and sluggish demand.
  • AK Steel said today that it will increase current spot market base prices for all carbon flat-rolled steel products by $50 per ton, effective immediately with new orders. - more
  • Challenger Quarterly Index - more

  New Caledonia Mine Strike Called For Safety Issues - The main union at New Caledonia’s Societe Le Nickel (SLN) nickel company has issued a strike notice. - more

  Chan says mining meet an eye-opener - Mining Minister Byron Chan said the mining resource convention in Toronto last week was an “eye-opener” for him. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 14

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 11 to 855. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Rusal Declines as Russian Billionaire Shareholders Clash: Hong Kong Mover // Wen Says Restrictions Still Needed to Avoid Housing-Market Chaos: Economy // China Stocks Fall Most in Three Months as Wen Says Housing Curbs to Remain // India Inflation Accelerates to 6.95%, Reducing Scope for Interest-Rate Cut // Merkel Says Europe Making Good Progress on Crisis, Not Over Mountain Yet // U.K. Joblessness Rises More Than Forecast to Belie Recovery Signs: Economy // Italy’s Three-Year Borrowing Costs Fall to Lowest Since 2010 at Bond Sale // Europe Stocks Climb a Second Day on U.S. Outlook; Eon Rises, Arkema Slips // Stress Tests Show How Fed Drove U.S. Banks to Bolster Their Balance Sheets // Bernanke Signals Easing Still an Option While Upgrading Economic Outlook // Growth in U.S. Will Strengthen as Jobs Boost Consumer Sentiment: Economy // El-Erian Says Results of Fed’s Bank Stress Tests Are Good Sign for Economy // Treasuries Drop on Economic Outlook as Dollar Gains; Stocks Little Changed
  • The Euro is now trading 1/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1/5 of 1% and trading at $106.48/barrel. Gold is down 1.6% while silver is off 3-1/4%. Base metals ended the session mostly lower. Indicator charts show nickel traded within a $250/tonne range today, in very choppy trading. Near the end of the session, nickel bounced nearly $200 tonne within just a few minutes after hitting a daily low point. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the session at $8.88/lb , to claim the sole gainer for the day. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell slightly on Tuesday and now totals just under 96,750 tonnes. Nickel may have gotten a boost from news that miners on New Caledonia are preparing to strike. Other metals seem to be more concerned with rumors of slowing production in China.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Fed Releases Stress Test Results, 15 of 19 Pass - more
  • Jobless Rates Fall in Most States - more
  • Vital Signs: Italy’s Falling Borrowing Costs - more
  • How the Depression Made Keynesians of Capitalists: Echoes - more

   Outlook Unclear Amid Risk Appetite Trends - Commodity prices produced mixed results in the aftermath of yesterday’s FOMC policy announcement. Ben Bernanke and company upgraded their outlook for the US economy while maintaining a pledge to keep rates low at least through late 2014. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.03/lb higher, with other London traded base metals lower. The Euro is currently trading over 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down nearly 2/10 of 1% and trading at $106.52/barrel. Gold is nearly 1.3% lower and silver nearly 1-1/2% lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China down over 2.8%. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street should open higher as well. Nickel stockpiles fell slightly overnight.
  • Reuters morning - Copper slips on China concerns, stronger dollar - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals trade lower on strong dollar and Chinese demand concerns - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Commodity markets diverged yesterday, with base metals and energy moving higher, while precious metals limped to a modest loss. However, volume was very light and things only started to move when the Fed policy statement came out late in the day.  .... Overnight, we had reports that the Shanghai Composite finished 2.6% lower, it sharpest one-day decline in almost 4 months, led by a sharp selloff in property stocks, this after Premier Wen reiterated the government's commitment to cool the nation's housing market, and warned of problems if controls were relaxed prematurely. Although the rhetoric was not particularly new, it did reinforce perceptions that easier lending conditions in the red-hot property market were likely not going to materialize anytime soon. More important as far as base metals are concerned, is what is happening on the ground, and in particular on the factory floors. In this regard, we hear from f our sources in China that the largest appliance maker in Guangdong province is running at 50% of capacity, and reportedly will be laying off some 32,000 people! Other tube processors we are in touch with report that demand is off some 40% since Christmas alone. With a backdrop like this, it is hard to get too excited about copper’s upside prospects, the recent uptick notwithstanding. We suspect that were it not for consistently eroding levels of LME stocks, we likely would be much lower in copper, and so the market is setting itself up for a retracement if in fact the declining trend in LME inventories is perceived to be ending. Right now, base metals are lower, losing roughly half of yesterday's gains. In other markets, there is a sharp selloff going on in the precious metals group, with gold shedding a whopping $42, and now nearing critical support at $1650. If US growth starts to falter, the precious metals group will certainly revive as hopes for more easing emerge, but for the moment, the complex is clearly on the defensive, as the strengthening US recovery and the surge in the dollar (particularly against the yen), seems to be throwing the gold bugs off balance. In other markets, the Euro is weaker right now, trading at $1.3060, while energy prices are off a touch. US stocks are expected to open mixed. .....  Nickel is at $19,440, down $10. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (MNP) The Chinese built $US1.5 billion ($A1.4 billion) Ramu nickel cobalt mine in Papua New Guinea has started load commissioning with the ramp up to full production expected to take place in 12 to 18 months.
  • (Yieh) According to statistics, the US exported 1.422 million tons of scrap in this January, surging by 16.2% year on year while decreasing by 14.6% from a month earlier.
  • (PI) Toledo Mining said today this year's first shipment of nickel from its Berong mine in the Philippines had departed for China.
  • (Interfax) China's crude steel production in the first two months this year saw a double-digit increase from the preceding two months, due largely to steelmakers delaying output reports from 2011 as they tried to meet emission reduction targets.
  • Ceridian UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index - pdf here
  • Taiwan fastener exports hit record high in 2011 - more

  Strike threatened at New Caledonia nickel plant - The main union at New Caledonia’s SLN nickel company has issued a strike notice. - more

  Fly in, fly out and hope for work - Tradespeople told unions, employer committed to local then national hires at Long Harbour - more

  Tough call: Showcasing high-art stainless steel on its 100th anniversary - The down-to-earth stainless steel has travelled a long way into its 100th year as an industrial metal for manufacturing everything from kitchenware to surgical equipment to aircraft and also serving as a medium for sculpture and niche designs. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 13

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 7 to 844. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Money Rate Rises Most in Two Weeks as Central Bank Boost Repo Sales // Rusal Chairman Quits, Sees ‘Deep Crisis’ at Deripaska’s Aluminum Producer // China Stocks Gain, Erasing Losses, on Optimism Over Policy Support Outlook // Australia’s Weaker Housing, Business Confidence May Slow Hiring: Economy // Japan Sets up $12 Billion Program for Dollar Loans, Increases Growth Fund // German Investor Confidence Surges on Signs Debt Is Crisis Easing: Economy // Spain Faces Call for Deeper Deficit Cuts as Juncker Calls Rajoy Plan Dead // French Inflation Unexpectedly Declines for Second Month as Economy Slows // Greece Has Ratings Upgraded by Fitch on Distressed Debt Exchange // Europe Stocks Gain as German Investor Confidence Rises More Than Forecast // Obama Takes Aim at China With Plan for WTO Case on Rare-Earth Export Caps // Retail Sales in U.S. Climb the Most in Five Months Amid Recovery: Economy // Dow Average Advances to Its Highest Level Since 2007 on Retail Sales Rise
  • The Euro continues to trade 1/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 4/10 of 1% and trading at $106.78/barrel. Gold is down 6/10 of 1% while silver is down slightly at the moment. Base metals ended their session higher. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, slumped, then rebounded and gained ground going into its close. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickle closed at $8.82/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell for the eighth straight session and now totals 96,750 tonnes. US markets are over triple digit points higher at the moment.

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • The end of cheap China - more
  • Small-Business Optimism Hits New Four-Year High - more
  • Fed to Release Stress Test Results Thursday Afternoon - more
  • Fighting for Answers From China’s Central Banker - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending March 10, 2012, domestic raw steel production was 1,959,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 79.3 percent. Production was 1,834,000 tons in the week ending March 10, 2011, while the capability utilization then was 75.0 percent. The current week production represents a 6.8 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending March 10, 2012 is up 0.6 percent from the previous week ending March 3, 2012 when production was 1,947,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 78.8 percent.

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.09/lb higher, with other London traded base metals higher as well. The Euro is trading 1/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is 4/10 of 1% and trading at $106.77/barrel. Gold is down 3/10 of 1% while silver is close to 4/10 of 1% lower. In overnight trading, Asian marekts ended higher, with China up 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, with US futures higher as well. Nickel stockpiles fell overnight.
  • Reuters morning - Copper up ahead of Fed meet on macro optimism - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals rangebound, FOMC meeting eyed - more

  Reports

  • U.S. Exports of Stainless Steel Mill Products - more
  • Inside Mining: Nickel on 'Born to be Wild' - more
  • Reuters Inside Metals - pdf here
  • Commonwealth Daily Alert- pdf here
  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Metals Insight - pdf here

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Copper fell slightly yesterday, it first decline in four days, as the complex was pressured by a sharp rise in the dollar and renewed focus on deteriorating macro readings, particularly out of the emerging market economies. The Chinese trade figures -- out yesterday -- was the main macro headline that troubled the markets in this respect, this after the government reported its highest trade deficit in some 10 years due to a surge in imports. One may ask what exactly is the problem with this kind of trend, since the Chinese finally seem to be buying more, just as the West has been asking them to do all along. We would argue that while the rise in imports is indeed welcome, the export sector plays a more important role in driving the economy. In this regard, Chinese local consumption as a percentage of GDP is actually lower now (around 35%) than it was some 10 years ago (about 50%). This is because government spending has increased its share of the economic pie dramatically, elbowing out domestic consumption in the process. The contribution of exports to total GDP, on the other hand, has remained relatively constant over the same period. Right now, we seem to have snapped back across the board in metals, with copper once again above the $8500 mark; the rest of the metals do not look as perky and are up by far more modest amounts. Energy prices are modestly higher right now, but the Euro continues to struggle, now trading at a shade above $1.31. US stocks are expected to open higher. .... Finally, it was reported yesterday that the US scrap recycling industry grew by around 30% in 2011 from the year before, reaching $100 billion, this according to preliminary data gathered by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. The total amount of scrap processed in 2011 included 51.7 million tons of commodity-grade material that was exported to nearly 160 countries, a 14% increase from 2010, ISRI said. US scrap exports totaled brought in a record $39.2 billion last year, up 32% from 2010. China received $11.5 billion worth of the scrap exports, followed by the European Union at $4.5 billion, Canada at $3.7 billion, Turkey at $2.4 billion, South Korea at $2.1 billion and Taiwan $1.9 billion, the data showed. ..... More Chinese stainless steel mills are deciding to reduce output in March due to the sluggish domestic market. Baosteel Stainless will cut its crude stainless steel production by nearly 10% over the month, according to Metal Bulletin sources. In addition, Tsingshan Group has scheduled a 10-day maintenance stoppage at its plant in Qingyuan City, Guangdong province which will reduce its production by one-third or nearly 10,000 tons of its monthly capacity of 25,000-30,000 tons. Xinan Stainless has also chosen to carry out maintenance which will cut its production by 12,000 tons for the month. ..... Nickel is at $19,395, up $135, with the downchannel remaining in place. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) Reportedly, the Taiwanese stainless steel market remained sluggish last week, affected by dropped nickel prices and soft demand.
  • (Interfax) Baosteel's prices for major steel products will remain unchanged in April, the leading Chinese steelmaker said Monday, indicating an optimistic outlook for demand as the peak consumption season arrives.
  • Zimbabwe: We Declare All Minerals to Govt, Says Zimplats - more
  • Rusal Chairman Quits After Disagreement With Board, Clashes With Deripaska - more
  • (China) Room for further RRR cuts - more
  • Small Business Optimism Slightly Better in February - more
  • La Niña nears its end - more

  Miner plans to boost nickel stake - Western Areas says it plans to spend $1.5 million to increase its stake in the Forrestainia nickel project - more

  Spot interests pick up on ferromoly buy tenders - Spot buying interests for molybdenum oxide powder picked up during Asian trading hours on Tuesday after two steelmakers issued buy tenders for a total of 150 mt of ferromolybdenum for April, sources said. - more

  Eskom power tariff hike cut down - The energy regulator said on Friday it has cut the increase in electricity rates for power utility Eskom to 16% for the 2012/13 financial year from a previously approved hike of 25.9%. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 12

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 13 to 837. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Slowdown Bolsters Case for Monetary Easing as Yuan Slides: Economy // China Yuan Reference Rate Falls Most Since August 2010 After Trade Deficit // Easiest Credit Worldwide Shows No Signs of Abating as Fear Index Plummets // Asian Stocks, Commodities Decline on Chinese Export Slowdown; Yuan Weakens // Euro Weakness Waning as Draghi Cash Prompts Forecasters to Drop Bear Views // Sovereign Bond Risk Climbs to Eight-Week High After Greek Swaps Triggered // Greece’s College Students Fighting Stray Dogs as Austerity Deepens Despair // Monti Targets Italy Labor Law Revamp as Jobless Youth Join Trapped Firemen // Stocks Fall in Europe on China Exports Report; Monte Paschi, Temenos Drop // Banks Buying Treasuries at Seven Times 2011 Pace as Deposits Beat Lending // Outlook for U.S. Consumer Spending Brightens on Employment Gains: Economy //
  • At noon CST, the Euro is trading 2/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down over 9/10 of 1% and trading at $106.40/barrel. Gold is down nearly 9/10 of 1% as well, while silver is off over 2.1%. Base metals ended the session mixed and for the most part, quietly. Indicator charts show nickel traded in a V cycle today, lower in the morning, recovering in the afternoon. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.74/lb , down a penny. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell for a seventh consecutive sessions and now total just over 96,850 tonnes. For the next few weeks London markets are trading an hour later than US market typically see, as US markets saw Daylight Savings Time begin this past weekend, where London won't change their time until the 25th. traders don't appear to know how to react to China's release of base metals import/export data on Sunday. As we stated earlier, January and February numbers are seriously skewed as the weeklong New Years holiday was held in February of last year, and January of this year. Thus trying to compare either of these two months to the same month of last year, is futile. Adding the two together - or waiting for March, will give us a better idea of what is going on in China. Two reported developments today that don't quite add up. First Vale announced it would produce 50,000 more tonnes this year than last, at its Indonesia mine. Then Societe Generale cautioned that the nickel surplus most everyone expects this year, may not be as big as some had feared. You can read both stories below - and pick your won poison. US markets are trading higher today, still bolstered by last Friday's positive employment numbers. People with jobs spend money. Neighbors with jobs builds confidence. Neighborhoods with jobs spread hope. Let's all hope we are seeing the start of a domino effect that is too strong to be stopped again like last spring.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Robry Monday Morning Economic Assessment - more

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • China Could Trigger a U.S. Recession - more
  • Number of the Week: Most Borrowers Not Paying Down Student Loans - more
  • Where Will 2012 Jobs Growth Come From? - more
  • Jobs Data Improve, but Growth Picture Darkens - more
  • One Measure Puts February Job Creation at 879,000 - more
  • Crisis, Response, Improvement, Complacency, Repeat - more

  Nickel supply rise in 2012 to be lower than expected: Societe Generale - The potential increase in nickel supply for 2012 will be lower than previously forecast, Societe Generale said Monday. - more

  Minding the Gaps - The unmistakable slowdown in China’s economy once again prompted some fairly heavy selling in the commodities’ space overnight and this morning on the heels of the largest cut in bullish positions by speculators since the summer of 2008. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.09/lb lower, with other London traded base metals mostly lower. The Euro is trading slightly lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are 1% lower and trading at $106.29/barrel. Gold is down nearly 9/10 of 1% while silver is 1.3% lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off 1/3 of 1%. European markets are trading slightly lower this morning and US futures are flat. Nickel inventories fell on Friday.  
  • Reuters morning - Copper snaps 3-day rally; China concern weighs - more
  • LME Morning - Most base metals drift lower as Chinese demand concerns weigh - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • The release of generally mixed Chinese macro data earlier in the day on Friday did not seem to impress the metals markets and the US nonfarm payroll number that followed, while very decent, didn’t cause much of a stir either. In fact, most markets were drifting for much of the day on Friday, and it was not only until late in the day did an unexpected surge set in, with copper finishing with one of its largest one-day gain in nearly three weeks. Metals are slightly lower right now, apparently unimpressed by weekend numbers out of China showing that February imports of a number of key commodities posted a surprising rise versus last month. February iron ore imports rose 9.5% to nearly 65 million tons, a third higher than the month prior, with this increase likely due to the uptick we saw in Chinese crude steel runs this past month. Crude oil imports also hit a new record, perhaps on account of refiners buying more oil than they need given the growing tensions with Iran. Imports of copper climbed to 484,569 tons, 17% higher than January and also an impressive advance considering the rise in Shanghai inventories and depressed physical premiums. One of two explanations lies behind the increase; either the Chinese are already building up more stocks ahead of the expected seasonal demand uptick expected over the next two to three months, or higher imports are being made in an attempt to circumvent tight bank lending requirements. Another reason the markets are not reacting more positively to the Chinese commodity import data, is that the overall trade picture looks grim. In this regard, China's trade balance was $31.5 billion in the red during February, as exports were off sharply, posting one of their lowest month-on-month growth rates since the mid 1990s. Import growth, on the other hand, was almost 40% higher than last year. Having said all this, we may not want to read much into this month’s data given that the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday may have skewed the statistics.  ....  Short-term, we don’t suspect to see metals doing much over the next few days, as the fact that we are not building on last Friday’s gains is considered disappointing. Moreover, most charts suggest that the sideways mode will remain intact for a little while longer. .... Nickel is at $19,041, down $259, and has crept back slightly from last week’s lows, but the downchannel still remains very much in place. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Reuters) China's refined copper production rose 1 percent during the shorter month of February after the Lunar New Year holiday lowered output in January, reflecting producers' expectations that domestic demand would pick up after the seasonal slowdown. ..... Weak domestic demand slowed production of nickel to 21,391 tonnes in February compared with 21,841 tonnes in January and 26,552 tonnes in December.
  • (ID) Mining firms plan to develop 40 nickel smelters in Sulawesi, Kalimantan and Maluku in the next one or two years with a total investment of around $500 million, said Shelby Ihsan Saleh, chairman of the Indonesian Nickel Association (ANI). He said all smelters would have a total capacity of up to 10 million tonnes per year. (Investor Daily p.8)
  • (TA) China's soft landing could have a bruising impact on Australia, bringing a much sharper fall in bulk commodity prices than anyone is expecting.
  • US Imports of Stainless Steel Mill Products - more
  • Global Mining 2011 Deals Review & 2012 Outlook - pdf here

  Vale Indonesia to Boost Nickel Output, Undeterred by New Law - PT Vale Indonesia, a unit of the world’s second-biggest nickel producer, said it plans to boost output by 64 percent in eight years and won’t be deterred by a new law that may reduce its hold over domestic mines. - more

  2011 Molybdenum Market Trends and 2012 Market Outlook - The molybdenum market of 2011 was the very definition of tumultuous, with prices slowly increasing in the first quarter of 2011 but decreasing for the remainder of the year; with the average price slightly higher than that of 2010. - more

  Rusal's action against Norilsk Nickel won't be reconsidered - The Supreme Commercial Court held against Rusal's appeal to reconsider the Krasnoyarsk Territory Commercial Court's ruling on a transaction between Norilsk Nickel and the Third Generation Company of the Wholesale Electricity Market. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 9

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 12 to 824. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China’s Slowing Inflation, Factory Output Aids Case for Stimulus: Economy // India’s Central Bank Cuts Reserve Ratio as Cash Squeeze Threatens Economy // Asian Stocks, Copper Rise on Greece Debt, Chinese Inflation // Euro Weakens as Stocks Pare Gains After Debt Swap; Italian Bonds Advance // Greece Pushes Bondholders Into Record Swap to Forgive $132 Billion of Debt // European Stocks Post Weekly Drop; Enel, Peugeot, Salzgitter Lead Decline // Rich-Poor Division Widest in Republican-Leaning States, U.S. Census Shows // Trade Deficit in U.S. Widens to Largest Since October 2008 on Import Gains // U.S. Payroll Gain Caps Best Six-Month Job Growth Streak Since ’06: Economy // Stocks Advance With Dollar as Treasuries Retreat on U.S. Employment Growth
  • The Euro is now trading nearly 1.2% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up over 8/10 of 1% and trading at $107.48/barrel. Gold is up nearly 8/10 of 1% while silver is up nearly 1-1/2%. Base metals ended their session mostly higher as well, as the US payroll report trumped a lower Euro in traders eyes. Indictor charts show nickel was mostly quiet until the US report came out, and shortly thereafter, the price spiked over $500/tonne. For the day and week, Dow Jones reports three month nickle closed at $8.75/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell for a sixth consecutive session on Thursday and now total just under 97,150 tonnes. After a +$550 tonne gain recorded on March 1st, stores have now fallen by nearly 1900 tonnes since. Considering the beating the Euro took, the nickel chart looked impressive today, but maybe a little too impressive. China reported their inflation fell to 3.2% in February, down from 4.5% in January. With trade balance data from China being released tomorrow, and Greece's sovereign debt rating being downgraded  to restricted default by Fitch Ratings today, traders may be gambling that China may be forced to add even more stimulus to their economy. The stainless steel news from China isn't all that inspiring either, as the Chinese stainless steel index we follow daily, slipped under the 100 point threshold today for the first time since one day in late January, and mid December before that. Some of this is being caused by the retreat in nickel prices, but demand is playing a part. How much is difficult to determine.
  • Have a safe and relaxing weekend.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow  Jones) U.S. nickel imports rose 41.4% in January from last month, and was up 6.5% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Friday.
  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel exports fell 19.7% in January from the previous month, and was down 54.2% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Friday.
  • (SMM) The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index tracking rates for ships carrying dry commodities rose for the eleventh straight day on Thursday, on steady gains for panamaxes due to fresh grain and coal cargoes in the Atlantic.
  • Some Problem Banks May Never Exit Federal Bailout - more
  • Draghi Defends ECB Balance Sheet Expansion - more
  • Consumer Most Upbeat Since Fall 2008, RBC Survey Says - more
  • Foreclosures will probably rise in 2012 — and that could be a good sign - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.05/lb higher, with other London traded base metals mixed and mostly quiet. The Euro is trading over 4/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are up 1/4 of 1% and trading at $106.84/barrel. Gold and silver are both trading just slightly higher at the moment. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up nearly 1.1%. European markets are trading slightly higher this morning, and US futures are flat, awaiting a February job numbers report. Nickel inventories fell on Thursday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper gains on China easing hopes, Greek bond deal - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals cautiously up, market quiet ahead of US jobs data - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Metals finished higher yesterday, although off earlier highs, as a perverse euphoria of sorts set in, this having to do with the successful culmination of the Greek bond swap deal. Other markets also pushed up, with good gains seen in precious metals, the Euro, and US equities. .... In other news, latest metals production data out of China on Friday showed copper output in February rising to 437,000 tons, up slightly from 433,000 tons in January. Reuters reports that copper output should rise in March, although the scale would depend on scrap supply and prices. We present the data in our report: .... Nickel is at $18,801, up $1. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • CPM Group forecasts molybdenum to average $15/lb in 2012
  • (FAN) European stainless steel melt production will remain relatively flat in 2012, but global stainless output will grow by 6%, according to South African ferro-chrome producer Merafe Resources.
  • (FAN) Eskom is turning off energy-thirsty [ferrochrome] smelters as it struggles to keep the lights on. But the power utility is paying companies handsomely to shut down smelters for periods of up to three months....  
  • Xstrata's CEO Discusses Preliminary 2011 Earnings and All-Share Merger of Equals of Glencore International PLC and Xstrata PLC Conference Call Transcript - more
  • (China) China's consumer confidence drops in Feb - more
  • (China) China's CPI growth falls to 3.2% in Feb - more

   Indonesia to renegotiate all mine deals, include divestment - Indonesia's new rule requiring foreign firms to divest majority ownership of mines applies to every miner and will form part of a planned renegotiation of all existing contracts, senior government officials said on Friday. - more

   2011 Mo Production By 9 Western World Majors Up 6.56% Y-O-Y = Up 7.1% in North America, and up 6.0% in South America = Total production of molybdenum in concentrates in 2011 (calendar year) by 9 major miners in the western world, excluding China, was 287.31 million pounds, up by 6.56% from 296.6 million pounds in 2010. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 8

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 14 to 812. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Boeing Expects About 200 Orders From China for 737 MAX Airplane This Year // China’s Output Gains Probably Neared Two-Year Low in Case for Wen Stimulus // China’s Stocks Advance for First Time in Four Days Before Economic Data // Asia’s Expansion Faces Headwinds as Greece Debt Deal Moves Closer: Economy // Asian Stocks, Commodities Advance on Japan Economy, Greece; Yen Declines // German Industrial Output Rises More Than Forecast on Construction: Economy // Greece Readies Record Debt Swap With At Least 60% of Investors Committed // Draghi Lays Groundwork for ECB Stimulus Exit as Inflation Takes Spotlight // U.S. to Sell $6 Billion of AIG Shares at $29 Each to Reduce Bailout Stake // Hedge Funds Poised for 20% Tax Deduction in Republican Small-Business Bill // Initial Jobless Claims in U.S. Rise to 362,000 as Labor Market Recovering // Stocks Advance With Commodities Before Greek Debt Swap; Euro Strengthens
  • The Euro is trading over 8/10 of 15 higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 6/10 of 1% and trading at $106.80/barrel. Gold is up 8/10 of 1% while silver is 1% higher. Base metals ended their session mostly higher. Except for nickel. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher early, but spent the day in a steady decline. For the day Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.53/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell on Wednesday and now total just over 97,900 tonnes. Today's nickel trading was ugly, when one considers the Euro strengthened during the session. Cancelled warrants jumped over 5% yesterday, and remains there today. We still aren't ready to say yesterday was a dead cat bounce, but it does appear now that Tuesday's $8.50/lb close may not prove to be the floor we thought it could become. Once the whole Greece bond swap is over later today, traders will most likely turn their attention to labor figures coming out of the US tomorrow.  Have bulls established a new floor, or will the bears continue to drag the market lower? Stay tuned.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Exports Make Up 10% of Economic Activity in Largest Metro Areas - more
  • Surging Student Debt Pushes Up Overall Consumer Credit - more
  • Oil prices and the U.S. economy - more
  • CFOs Expect to Boost Hiring - more
  • Is A Recession Still Coming? - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.06/lb higher, with other London traded base metals higher as well. The Euro is trading 3/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are up 2/3 of 1% and trading at $106.86/barrel. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 1-1/4%. European markets are trading much higher this morning as the market stops worrying about the Greek debt swap, and US futures are higher as well. Nickel stockpiles fell for a fifth straight session on Wednesday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper rises on Greek deal hopes, weaker dlr - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals gain ground; developments in Greece, China, US in focus - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Copper finished slightly higher yesterday, but other metals struggled, with aluminum being particularly weak. The group is up more impressively today on growing optimism that a Greek debt-restructuring deal is going to pass. We are seeing good advances in energy and precious metals as well, and equities are also trading higher. The Euro is up, now trading at $1.3250, and up more than a full cent from yesterday’s levels. We wrote in yesterday’s commentary that the issue with the Greek bond swap was something of a red herring in that most bond-holders will likely tender their bonds. A few are holding out, hoping to collect the full amount from credit default swaps, which, in turn, will be triggered only if collective action clauses are enacted by the Greeks. However, there is immense pressure on everyone to participate; funds going it alone have to navigate through potentially unfriendly Greek courts, not to mention the pariah-like status they will assume if they decide to stand aside.  .... The next key inflection point for the markets will come tomorrow when weekly US nonfarm payroll numbers are released; a decent number (expectations are at 220,000) could give commodity complexes further momentum, while a worse-than-expected figure will generate fears that the slowdown evident in much of the rest of the world is possibly starting to spread to the US. .... Nickel is at $19,040, up $140, but the short-term down channel remains intact. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to report, Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless (NSSC) said yesterday and it will increase the domestic prices of austenitic cold rolled coil (CRC) for March orders by ¥5,000/ton to reflect higher nickel prices.
  • (Interfax) Fujian Haihe Industry Co. Ltd. plans to bring on-stream the first phase of a RMB 3 billion ($474.68 million) nickel alloy and stainless steel project at the end of this month in Fu'an City, Fujian Province, Interfax learned on Monday.
  • Indonesia says mine rules not just aimed at Freeport - more
  • (China) Consumption 'set for driving role' in growth - more

   Antam reopens Maniang nickel mine - State-owned mining company PT Antam has reopened its nickel mine and processing facility on Maniang Island, Southeast Sulawesi, after substandard ore led the company to halt operations in 2009. - more

  Korean firm opens second stainless steel plant in Vietnam - The Korean Posco Vietnam Stainless Steel (Posco VST) company opened its second stainless steel cold rolling mill on March 7. - more

   Metals plant coming to Chester - Rolled Alloys, a Michigan-based specialty metals company, is opening a new plant in Chester. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 7

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 11 to 798. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China’s Stocks Fall for Third Day on Concern Over Global Economic Slowdown // World’s Richest Lose $11.3 Billion as Lakshmi Mittal Falls Out of Top 20 // Australia GDP Grows at Half the Pace Economists Forecast; Bond Yields Drop // German Factory Orders Unexpectedly Fall on Slump in Export Demand: Economy // SocGen Joins UniCredit Among Banks Signing Up to $270 Billion Greek Swap // German Banks Are Likely to Join Insurers in Taking Part in Greek Debt Swap // Europe Stocks Advance on U.S. Hiring Report, Greek Debt Swap; Cobham Jumps // Bernanke Seen Accepting Faster Inflation as Fed Seeks to Boost Employment // Finance Chiefs See Pickup in U.S. Hiring as Confidence in Economy Improves // Productivity in U.S. Cools as Labor Costs Jump // Stocks Rise as Treasuries Retreat on Increase in U.S. Hiring, Greek Swap
  • The Euro is now trading just over 2/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 1.1% and trading at $105.87/barrel. Gold is up 1/2 of 1% and silver is 1.4% higher. Base metals ended the session mixed, mostly higher, and mostly quiet. Indicator charts show nickel spent the day bouncing within a $300/tonne range, spiking late. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.57/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell for a fourth consecutive day on Tuesday and now total just over 98,000 tonnes. European and US markets traded, and are trading higher today, as fears of a Greek default recede. US markets got an extra bump mid morning after "the Wall Street Journal reported Federal Reserve officials were considering a new type of bond-buying program to subdue worries about future inflation". Is this QE3? Will be interesting to see if nickel prices saw a dead cat bounce today, or if traders have found a new bottom.

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • China steelmakers warn of tough outlook - more
  • A New Twist for the Fed? - more
  • Global Oil Demand Projected to Rise 1.2% in 2012 - more
  • A tale of two depressions redux - more

   2011 Molybdenum Market Trends and 2012 Market Outlook - The molybdenum market of 2011 was the very definition of tumultuous, with prices slowly increasing in the first quarter of 2011 but decreasing for the remainder of the year; with the average price slightly higher than that of 2010. - more

  Kagara sacks 130 workers - Copper, Zinc, and Nickel producer Kagara says it will cut 130 workers from its permanent workforce in Perth and North Queensland to stay profitable. - more

  Sacked boss sues BHP for $2 million - The former manager of BHP Billiton's Ravensthorpe Nickel West Project is suing the company for $2 million over unfair dismissal claims. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading unchanged at the moment, but has been trading higher most of the morning. Most other London traded base metals are slightly lower. The Euro is trading up nearly 1/10 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are up almost 4/10 of 1% and trading at $105.10/barrel. Gold and silver are both trading 3/10 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China down 7/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures are higher at the moment. Nickel stockpiles fell again on Tuesday.
  • LME Morning - Base metals post modest recovery but market remains cautious - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Markets got crushed yesterday, as a long-overdue round of profit-taking that first surfaced on Monday in light of Premier Wen Jiabao downgrading China's 2012 growth outlook to 7.5%, picked up steam. By the close of the session, LME copper was off a stunning $215/ton, dragging the rest of the group down with it. Precious metals were also off by anywhere between 1.86% (on gold) to almost 5% (on palladium), with the rest somewhere in between. .... Right now, metal markets are lower (except for tin and nickel) as an earlier more broadly based advance faded over the last hour. Precious metals are up, as is energy, while the Euro is pretty much unchanged on the day, trading at $1.3120. However, the tone still feels very tentative and we would not be surprised to see the markets remain on the defensive for the balance of the week, at least until Friday’s nonfarm payroll number provides more direction. .... Nickel is at $18,853, up $108; there is not much in terms of downside support at least until $18,430 (red line). ..... (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) Even though the major stainless steel producers in Asia mostly remained or cut the prices for March, Asian stainless steel buyers have taken wait-and-see attitude due to volatile nickel prices.
  • (MF) Japan’s stainless steel exports dip by 14% m-o-m in January
  • Kagara plunges after bad news - more
  • (China) China, US trade imbalance questionable - more

  Rejigged Ravensthorpe nickel mine set for 33,000-36,000/T yield - Australia's Ravensthorpe nickel mine, shut down in 2009 because of low metals prices, will yield between 33,000 and 36,000 tonnes of nickel in 2012 after resuming commercial production, First Quantum Minerals Ltd said on Wednesday. - more

  Indonesia law to generate more funds from mining sector -min - Indonesia's new mining law is aimed at generating more funds for government from the mining sector, the energy and minerals minister said on Wednesday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 6

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 5 to 787. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China May Expand Property-Tax Trials Beyond Cities of Shanghai, Chongqing // Australia Holds Key Rate as Shock Potential From Europe Lingers: Economy // Asia Stocks Drop for Third Day on Slowing Economy; Copper, Spanish Bonds Fall // Syria’s Assad May Lose Key Backers as McCain Calls for U.S.-Led Airstrikes // Billionaires Buying Gasoline Tankers as Fuel Demand Accelerates: Freight // Private Investors Holding About 20% of Greek Debt to Participate in Swap // U.K. Retail Sales Decline for Second Month as Demand for Clothing Weakens // Private Investors Holding About 20% of Greek Debt to Participate in Swap // European Stocks Decline Most Since November; Banks Retreat With Carmakers // U.S. Insurers Face $2 Billion in Claims From Tornadoes, Risk Modeler Says // S&P Blocked by Banks in CMBS Market After Derailed Goldman Deal: Mortgages // FHA Plans to Lower Mortgage Insurance Premiums for Borrowers Who Refinance // S&P 500 Poised for Worst Drop of Year; Commodities Fall, Treasuries Climb
  • The Euro is now trading 8/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is over 1-3/4% lower and trading at $104.83/barrel. Gold is down 2-1/3% and silver is off 4.1%. Base metals ended the session lower as well. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, and trended lower throughout the session. A second close below support signals that further weakness is a strong possibility. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.50/lb . It was a 1.65% drop for nickel but compared to some other base metals, nickel held its own. Copper was down 2.5%, and aluminum 2.3%. Tin was hit with a 3.2% drop today. Stockpiles of nickel held in LME approved warehouses fell for a third consecutive day and now total just over 98,300 tonnes. Metals traders are still trying to grasp yesterdays surprise announcement that China was lowering its official growth forecast. These new concerns are compounded by the nagging European problem, that just won't go away. US markets are becoming increasingly nervous about fuel price increases, and the impact they will have on the economic recovery. Based on history, this is a legitimate concern. Thursday's Greek bond swap and the uncertainty of what might happen has markets talking about a Greek default again, just weeks after nearly everyone was convinced the new bail-out would fix that problem - at least for the time being. Apparently the 'time being' has ended - or at least been moved to the back burner temporarily. The Dow is presently trading over 200 points lower. Ugly trading day.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Reuters - Copper falls to 2-week low on dollar, China demand - more
  • INTL FC Stone Commodity Overview - pdf here
  • As Many as 1 in 5 Consumers Shop at Store, but Buy Online - more
  • Economists Expect More Than 200,000 Jobs Created Last Month - more
  • The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States - pdf here
  • Consumer Reports Index: Consumer Sentiment Drops After Three Straight Months of Improvement - more

   PDAC2012 Coverage by Kitco

  • China's Economy Should See 'Soft-Landing'; Supportive For Base Metals – Scotiabank - China's government should be able to engineer a "soft-landing" for its economy and that should support base metals prices as the country looks to make its economic growth more sustainable, an economist at a leading Canadian bank said Monday. - more
  • Interview: U.S., Europe Debt Loads More Worrisome Than Chinese Slowdown – S. Australian Mining Official - China's growth slowdown does not concern South Australia but the high sovereign debt loads of the European Union and the U.S. are worrisome and could cause economic problems, an official with the South Australian government said Monday. - more

  Lower output weighs on Merafe - Lower attributable production of ferrochrome weighed on Merafe Resources' earnings for the year ended December 2011. - more

  Russian vote thrusts tycoon Prokhorov into spotlight - Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov can claim a victory of sorts in Russia's presidential election, he may have done enough to win a permanent role in Russian politics despite finishing third with less than 8 percent of the vote. - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.10/lb lower, with other London traded base metals mostly lower. The Euro is trading 1/2 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are down 1/2 of 1% and trading at $106.20/barrel. Gold is down 1% and silver is off 1.8%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off more than 1-1/2%. European markets are trading sharply lower this morning, and US futures show Wall Street could open much lower as well. Nickel stockpiles fell on Monday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper falls for third day on dollar, China demand - more
  • LME Morning - Metals retreat again, downside momentum accelerates as sentiment sours - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Metals lost ground yesterday, never really recovering from the official pronouncement out of China downgrading the country's growth prospects for this year. While 7.5% growth is certainly nothing to sneeze at, we did read an account of the Chinese economy sometime back saying that a minimum growth rate of at least 8% would be needed in order to generate enough jobs for the country's booming work force. We have not seen that study resurface in recent days, so we are not sure if that thesis still applies. Nevertheless, the problem is that a 7.5% growth rate, low as it is on a relative basis, is not guaranteed either just because it is targeted; business cycles frequently take their own course and do not necessarily conform to the path that economists or Chinese central planners expect them to follow.  .... Nickel is at $18,880, down $195; there is not much in terms of downside support at least until $18,430.  (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Dow Jones) LME nickel trades at its lowest level since early January, having fallen through its 100-day moving average amid signs of easing on the global nickel market, says Commerzbank.
  • (Yieh) According to Beatrix Nowak, the analyst of Heinz H. Pariser Alloy Metals & Steel Market Research said in the stainless steel conference in Moscow, the global stainless steel output is expected to continue to rise by 6% to reach 36 million tons in 2012, contributed by China and India.

   PDAC-Rising costs expect to support metal prices - Rising costs may prove a blessing, not a curse, for the global mining industry, threatening fresh supply and all but assuring that metal prices will keep climbing even as companies scramble to protect profit margins. - more

   Japan Imported Ferroalloy Market Report; February 29, 2012 = Indian silico-manganese price jumped = Market outlook in Japan of the imported ferroalloys as of February 29, 2012 is as follows: - more

  SNC-Lavalin to manage emission-control project at Vale's Sudbury nickel operation - Construction and engineering giant SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (TSX:SNC) has been chosen to manage a $2-billion environmental upgrade in northern Ontario for Brazilian mining giant Vale SA. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending March 3, 2012, domestic raw steel production was 1,947,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 78.8 percent. Production was 1,803,000 tons in the week ending March 3, 2011, while the capability utilization then was 75.2 percent. The current week production represents a 8.0 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending March 3, 2012 is up 0.9 percent from the previous week ending February 25, 2012 when production was 1,930,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 78.1 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 5

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 11 to 782. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Cuts Growth Target to 7.5% as Wen Seeks Sustainable Growth: Economy // China’s Second-Richest Man Says ‘Monopoly’ State Needs More Entrepreneurs // China Auto Sales Seen to Have Worst Start in Seven Years as Economy Cools // Stocks Drop as China Seeks Slower Growth; Italian Bonds, Commodities Fall // China Raising 2012 Defense Spending to Cope With Unfriendly ‘Neighborhood’ // Greek Debt Swap Deadline Will Test Europe Efforts to Close Crisis Chapter // BlackRock Sees World’s Best Bond Rally at Risk After Orban’s EU Defiance // Putin Denounces Rivals Who Claim Fraud Helped Him Win Presidential Polls // European Services Output Declines More Than Initially Estimated: Economy // Coelho Won’t Follow Spain in Seeking More Room for Portuguese Deficit Goal // Stocks Drop in Europe as China Cuts Forecast for Growth; Rio Tinto Falls // Angry Birds Boom Spurs U.S. Employment Revival on Mobile Software Demand // U.S. Service Industries Unexpectedly Expand to a One-Year High: Economy // Stocks Cheaper Than Any Peak in 23 Years in U.S. as Puts Highest Since ’07 // U.S. Stocks Fall on Concern About Slow Growth
  • The Euro is currently trading 1/4 of 1% higher against the Euro. NYMEX crude is down slightly and trading at $106.65/barrel. Gold is down over 2/3 of 1% while silver is off 3%. Base metals ended the session lower as well. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, and trended lower throughout the session. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.64/lb . Stockpiles of nickel held in LME approved warehouses fell slightly on Friday and now total just over 98,600 tonnes. China put world markets on edge early today, when its leader dropped the country's growth forecast for 2012. MarketWatch carrying articles titled "China super cycle is over" isn't helping the mood (article here). The enthusiasm that started 2011 began to fizzle in April of that year, and traders have to be questioning whether the positive economic news coming from the US is the real deal, or another flash in the pan. The unemployment numbers for February will get a lot of attention later this week. Nickel fell thru Ed Meir's support line today, and if holds below it tomorrow, it would signal nickel could see further weakness in the days ahead.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Number of the Week: Legalize Pot to Make Roads Safer - more
  • Housing Still Drowning in Underwater Mortgages - more
  • Job Market Toughest for New Entrants - more
  • More Than 1 in 7 Use Food Stamps in U.S. - more
  • Fed Shrugged Off Warnings, Let Banks Pay Shareholders Billions - more
  • Taiwan Fastener Ind. Sees Exports Hit New High of NT$31B. in Q3, 2011 - more

  PDAC 2012: Nickel price slide likely to continue, research firm says - The five-year losing streak for nickel prices is likely to continue for at least one more year, as several major long-delayed projects come online potentially flooding the market with excess supply, research firm Wood Mackenzie said at PDAC Monday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.08/lb lower, with other London traded base metals mostly lower as well. The Euro is trading nearly 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar this morning. NYMEX crude futures are nearly 1/10 of 1% lower and trading at $106.63/barrel. Gold is down 4/10 of 1% and silver is down nearly 9/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China down nearly 6/10 of 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning,a dn US futures imply a lower opening for Wall Street as well. Nickel inventories fell slightly on Friday.
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Falls for Second Day as China Lowers Target for Growth - more
  • Reuters morning - Copper falls as China shaves growth forecast - more
  • LME Morning - Metals retreat as short-sentiment turns sour, China growth downgrade weighs - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Most metals fell slightly on Friday, pressured by weakness in the Euro and lackluster showing's in the US equity markets. In addition, copper in particular, has been looking quite toppy on the charts for much of last week, unable to decisively punch through to fresh highs. However, what we think is troubling all the markets right now, is the fact that investors have spent most of January and February discounting the improving situation in Europe, which included both the recently concluded Greek debt accords and two rounds of massive ECB lending programs. However, with both these factors now out of the way, markets are refocusing their attention to other things, and in this regard, China is again moving to the front and center. Here, however, the story is not as bullish. Metals demand in China is decelerating, best evidenced by the goings-on in the copper market, where Shanghai inventories have been rising steadily, now at 10 year highs. In addition, physical premiums have shriveled, with Reuters reporting that cathode premiums are now at +$60 in bonded warehouse Shanghai, although some traders have put the number as low as $35 a ton, or even $20/ton. In the meantime, the arbitrage remains locked, and copper imports are likely going to drop again in February following January’s dip. ... Right now, metal markets are lower dragged by the Chinese growth revisions and the soggy numbers out of Europe. The Euro is off slightly higher, now at $1.3210, but the looming Greek bond decision could keep the currency somewhat on the defensive at least through to Thursday. Oil prices are off, but only a tad, as tensions with Iran dominate the headlines. US stocks are expected to open slightly lower, with Dow futures pointing to a 48-point opening drop. Precious metals are down as well.... Nickel is at $19,280, down $195, and remains on the defensive. Nickel has the dubious distinction of being the worst performing metal so far in 2102. Prices remains below their 200-day moving average, lending further resistance.  - complete report here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Dacapo Stainless - Price stability in sight - more
  • (Yieh) According to statistics, the inventory of stainless steel totaled 217,238 tons in Chinese Wuxi market in the end of February, up by 0.74% from a half month earlier.
  • (JMD) LME/ Nickel inventories increase by 20% in 3 months
  • Tiny "bugs" may bring bonanza to Canadian miner - more
  • (RITA) The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry rose 3.9 percent in December from November, the largest monthly rise in 17 years, which brought the level of freight shipments to an all-time high, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) released today (Table 1).
  • Job Creation Breaks Even in February, But Hiring Plans Look Grim - more
  • China cuts GDP growth to 7.5% in '12 - more

   Effective with shipments beginning April 2, 2012, ATI Allegheny Ludlum is increasing prices for all ATI 300 series cold-rolled sheet and strip products and cold-rolled tubular-quality sheet and strip products, excluding ATI 301™ stainless. This price increase is achieved by reducing the functional discount by two percentage points. In addition, base prices for ATI 316™ stainless and ATI 316L™ stainless are increasing to $1.98/lb. as shown on the tubular quality and cold-rolled stainless sheet price schedules ...

    World’s 10 Biggest Refined-Nickel Producers in 2011 - Following is a table of the world’s 10 biggest producers of refined nickel in 2011 by output, compiled by London-based metals consultancy CRU. - more

  Glencore 2011 nickel production 30,000 mt, up 6% - Switzerland-based commodities trader Glencore has reported a 6% increase in nickel production, the company said in its 2011 preliminary results Monday. - more

  Glencore sticks to its guns on Xstrata merger terms - Commodities trader Glencore brushed aside Xstrata investors asking it to improve an agreed $37 billion bid for the miner, saying its existing offer was fair to all shareholders and emphasising its own growth pipeline. - more

   Sherritt pursues Cuban nickel - Canadian mining company Sherritt International is turning its attention to expanding its nickel joint venture with the Cuban government as a $5.5-billion mine in Madagascar nears startup. - more

   Kagara sells Lounge Lizard for $68m - Kagara has confirmed the sale of its Lounge Lizard nickel mine 400km east of Perth to Western Areas for $68 million in cash. - more

  Anti-mining crusade mushes through Duluth - Frank Moe, a former Minnesota legislator turned courier with a cause, will leave Duluth today behind a team of panting dogs pulling for the state Capitol. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 2

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 8 to 771. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Stocks Rise, Head for Longest Weekly Winning Streak Since July 2009 // BRIC Investors Losing as State Companies Forgo Earnings Amid Slower Growth // BOJ Openings Give Noda Chance to Push Japan Stimulus as Deflation Persists // Asian Job Growth Withstanding Europe Seen Limiting Policy Easing: Economy // German Bonds Rise on Surprise Drop in Retail Sales; U.S. Futures, Oil Fall // EU Leaders Declare Crisis Turning Point as Focus Starts Shifting to Growth // Italian Deficit Narrows More Than Forecast on Spending Cuts, Tax: Economy // Stocks Rise in Europe as Benchmark Stoxx 600 Index Wraps Up a Weekly Gain // Buffett’s Insurance Engine Set to Stall After 45 Years of Berkshire Growth // BofA’s Clash With Fannie Intensifies as Insurers Reject More Loan Claims // Best U.S. Wage Gains in Almost Five Years Signal Higher Consumer Spending // Euro Weakens, German Bunds Advance on Spain Target as S&P 500 Index Drops
  • The Euro is presently trading 3/4 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 2.1% and trading at $106.53/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1/2 of 1% and silver is off 2.2%. Base metals ended their session mostly lower on the weaker Euro. Indicator chart shows nickel was trading higher for most of today's trading session but fell below the breakeven point late. For the day and week, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.83/lb , down a penny on the day, down $.32 for the week, and $.64/lb lower than a month ago today. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell on Thursday and now total just over 98,600 tonnes. Considering the beating the Euro took today, nickel looked fairly strong. Traders do not like being below the $9/lb mark so expect to see more attempts next week to recover that level.
  • Have a safe and relaxing weekend.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • For Lasting Recovery, Savings as Important as Spending - more
  • Prices Cut Into Household Incomes - more
  • Bernanke: Money Market Funds Still at Risk of Runs - more

   Group slams critics, says mining eases poverty - The Chamber of Mines has debunked the “disinformation” campaign of anti-mining groups and claimed large-scale mining companies are in fact helping alleviate poverty in the countryside. - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.01/lb higher, in choppy trading, with other London traded base metals mixed. The Euro is trading 2/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down nearly 1% and trading at $107.79/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1/2 of 1% and silver is down 1-2/3%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 1-3/4%. European markets are trading lower this morning, and US futures imply Wall Street may open lower as well. Nickel stockpiles fell on Thursday.
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper steadies, focus on Chinese demand - more
  • LME Morning - Metals settle back, seen ranging narrowly in short term - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC - Copper prices recovered strongly yesterday, more than recouping some of the previous day's losses and leading most of the rest of the group higher. Stability in precious metals and relatively calm conditions in the European debt markets ushered in the buying. Later in the day, there was another burst of buying on the back of higher energy prices after reports surfaced from Iranian media of a large explosion at a Saudi oil pipeline. The Saudis were slow to respond, contributing to a $5 spike in Brent at one point, but when they finally did deny the story, prices gave back about one third of their earlier gains.  ... Right now, metal markets are mixed, having erased earlier losses, but the tone remains tentative. Energy prices are down by about $1.5, as they continue to roll back some of the Saudi-induced spike that set in yesterday, while the Euro is struggling, now at $1.32. Reports out of Germany that retail sales declined 1.6% in January from December levels may be weighing on the currency, as estimates were calling for a 0.5% increase. Furthermore, we suspect that it will be harder for the Euro to rally much beyond the mid $1.30 level –and thus act as a potential source of support for commodities – especially now as the Greek issue starts to fade and as investors focus on other potential problem countries, like Spain and Italy. .... Nickel is at $19,510, up $15, but hovering close to support at $19,250. Nickel has generally sat out the copper-induced bounce that has pulled most of the metals higher over the past two weeks. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to statistics released by the Stainless Steel Council of China Special Steel Enterprise Association (CSSC), China’s output of crude stainless steel totaled 12.591 million tons in 2011, rising by 11.86% year on year. However, the growth rate of stainless steel output slid obviously in 2011. It’s known that China’s crude stainless steel output increased by 27.84% year on year to reach 11.256 million tons in 2010.
  • Copper Bull Streak Extends to Longest Since October on Demand: Commodities - more
  • S.Korea buys aluminium, lead, nickel; seeks copper - more

   Philippines miners see red on higher taxes - The Philippines will release this month a new mining policy that would raise tax revenues and overhaul rules but which miners said on Friday will drive away investors in the largely untapped $1 trillion resource base. - more

   (Customs Statistics) Japan's Imports Of Nickel In January 2012 - more

   Stainless steel consolidation pushing Aperam to act - Pressure is mounting on Aperam to restructure or seek a partner, as a proposed tie-up between two rivals, Outokumpu and Inoxum, could soon make the Luxembourg-based company Europe's least competitive major stainless steel producer. - more

   Investment in 4th Kazchrome high-carbon ferrochrome plant to exceed $ 1 bln - Investment in the fourth high-carbon ferrochrome plant of JSC Transnational Company Kazchrome will exceed the planned amount of USD 700 million, - more

   Putin’s Biggest Threat: Billionaire Playboy Mikhail Prokhorov - Playboy billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov may not win in Sunday’s election, but his threat to Putin’s power is real and growing. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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, March 1

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 13 to 763. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China, India Manufacturing Gains Show Asia Maintaining Momentum: Economy // China’s February Home Prices Fall Most in 19 Months on Curbs, SouFun Says // North Korea Pledges Nuclear-Test Halt as U.S. Lauds ‘Modest Step’ Forward // China Posts First Annual Decline in Holdings of U.S. Treasuries on Record // Asian Stocks Enter Bull Market as Central Banks Pumping Cash Spur Recovery // Euro Finance Ministers Set to Approve Greek Rescue Plan as Leaders Gather // Europe Factory Report Shows Region Trailing as Joblessness Rises: Economy // ECB Bolsters Demand as France Joins Spain Selling $16.7 Billion of Bonds // Swaps Committee Rules No Greece Credit Event on ECB Debt Swap Agreement // European Stocks Rise as Spanish, French Borrowing Costs Drop; Veolia Jumps // Bernanke Quells Talk of Fresh Fed Stimulus to Tackle Elevated Jobless Rate // Manufacturing in U.S. Unexpectedly Expands at a Slower Pace as Orders Cool // GM Reports Surprise U.S. Sales Gain as Automakers Beat Monthly Estimates // Stocks Rise as Treasuries Drop for Third Day; Metals Pace Commodity Gains // Global Manufacturing Sees Uneven Recovery
  • The Euro continues to trade lower against the US Dollar, but less than 1/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude is up 9/10 of 1% and trading at $108.03/barrel. Gold is 1/2% higher and silver is trading 1-3/4% higher. Base metals ended the session mostly higher, bolstered by a China PMI that moved into positive growth territory in February. Indicator charts show nickel rose sharply at the opening, settled into a flat trend for much of the day, then fell back at the close. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.84/lb . LME approved warehouses saw stockpiles of nickel increase on Wednesday and now total over 99,000 tonnes. Nickel rose today primarily on news that the Chinese PMI had moved into positive growth territory. This number is somewhat skewed from the fact the Chinese New Year was held in January of this year, and in February last. March should give us a more reliable number. US manufacturing slipped a little but remains in a growth mode. Nickel stockpiles are at a six month high and could roll over the 100,00 tonne level for the first time since September of last year. The number carries a psychological importance, but does reflect a growth of 15,870 tonnes from a low in November.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) The emerging reality of a 2014 Indonesian ore export ban "has the makings of a game-changing constraint" on the nickel pig iron sector, says Barclays Capital. The ban, signed into law in February, is slated to ban the export of unprocessed ores from the country. Since Indonesian ore supplies 50% of China's nickel pig iron sector, genuine constraints in Indonesia would significantly impact Chinese stainless steel producers, it says.
  • Income Revisions Suggest Consumers Have More Cash - more
  • Student Loan Debt Hits Home for Bernanke - more
  • World’s Extreme Poverty Cut in Half Since 1990 - more
  • US Consumer Confidence & Jobs  - more

   Global nickel surplus may constrain stainless steel pricing - The global stainless steel market is exhibiting the positive signs that are customary at this time of year. - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.24/lb higher, with other London traded base metals mostly higher. The Euro is trading around 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude futures are currently flat and trading at $107.07/barrel. Gold is up 1% while silver is 1/4 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China down slightly. European markets are trading higher this morning and US futures show Wall Street should open higher as well. Nickel stockpiles rose on Wednesday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper up on signs of China economy resilience - more
  • LME Morning - Metals rebound after Bernanke-fuelled sell-off, cautious optimism seen - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Copper finished lower for the first time in four days yesterday, as an unexpected rout in gold and silver unhinged the stronger tone evident early on. In fact, gold was holding steady for the initial part of the day yesterday, and it was not until Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke started to speak around mid-morning that the complex started to reverse course with a vengeance. The sell-off was exaggerated by technical selling, with COMEX gold seeing a total turnover of 240,000 lots, on track for one of its busiest sessions in six months. Moreover, a whopping 30,000 lots of April gold traded in a five-minute span just before 11 a.m. Silver also got crushed, giving up more than 7% at one point.  .... Thanks to the relatively positive Chinese manufacturing reading, coupled with a somewhat steadier tone evident in precious metals, base metals are steady right now, with the exception of zinc, which is slightly lower on the day. Energy prices are slightly higher, while the euro is steady, now trading at $1.3320. Short-term, our feeling is that we could start to move a little higher from here in base metals, as the precious metals sell-off that triggered a round of weakness in most markets yesterday happened too quickly and with too little in the way of news to justify the full extent of the decline. As precious metals begin to recover, we could see some of the other complexes falling into line as well. .... Nickel is at $19,842, up $587 and looking a bit perkier today. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Interfax) China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) released the 12th Five-Year Plan (2010-2015) for industrial energy efficiency on Wednesday which sets targets for energy-intensive industries including steel and nonferrous metals.
  • China's PMI rises to 51% in Feb - more
  • EU, China Agree on Fastener Tariff Timeline - more

   North American Stainless will increase the fuel surcharge to 35% for stainless flat and long products shipping in the month of March 2012. The surcharge rate is considered a maximum level for March and will be reviewed monthly.

  • Effective with shipments April 1, 2012; North American Stainless is increasing prices for all 300 grade cold rolled products, with the exception of 301 grades. The increase will be achieved by reducing the functional discount by (2) discount points. - more

   Outokumpu shareholders approve Thyssen deal - Finnish group Outokumpu's shareholders approved a 2.7 billion euro ($3.6 billion) acquisition of ThyssenKrupp's stainless steel business on Thursday, a deal aimed at boosting profitability and fending off Asian rivals. - more

  Negotiations On Ni-series Cold Stainless Sheets For Asia/Europe = They are installed in a wait-and-see situation for Asia while in good shape for Europe - Negotiations on cold-rolled Ni-series stainless steel sheets look more hopeful after a long interval for the Japanese mills. - more

   Posco Eyeing New Ventures in Indonesia - South Korea's steel giant Pohang Iron and Steel Company wants to invest in nickel smelter industry in Indonesia. - more

   Steelworkers union says fallen miner warned Vale in email - A report following an eight-month investigation by Steelworkers Local 6500 alleges nickel mining giant Vale failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent the deaths of two miners last June in Sudbury, Ont. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • 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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