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

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$36.50/lb
 

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$700/Yuan/MT
 

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

Friday, May 30
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • All daily inventory and official price information moved to morning update.
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 93 to 11,440. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Marketwatch report - NAPM Chicago Purchasing Index came out today at 49.1, above the 48.3 in April, but still below the 50 mark, which implies economic contraction. US Consumer Sentiment came in at 59.8, its lowest reading in 28 years. Germany reported a decline in retail sales of 1.7%, while the consumer confidence in France dropped to negative 41 in May, the lowest since the index was introduced in 1987. The NAPM-Milwaukee's monthly index of regional manufacturing fell to 45, from 48 in April, while U.K. consumer confidence dropped in May to the lowest level since 1990. Metals were for the most part traded slightly up today, except for nickel and tin, which both retreated again. For the day, week, and month, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $10.00/lb .   
  • Have a safe and restful weekend!

  Reports

  • BNP Paribas Markets Data Update - here

  Rusmet is quoting Metallurgical Bulletin as stating nickel buyers in China are taking a wait-and-see attitude toward nickel purchases these days, in expectation of further price drops. A Chinese trader accustomed to selling 100 tons of nickel a day interviewed for the piece, said sales had dried up and that users of nickel may stop producing if the decline continues.

  It is reported that low refined nickel prices and stricter government enforcement of environmental standards have cut into profits for Chinese nickel pig iron producers, forcing some to suspend production. - more

  We’ve all heard a great deal these past few weeks regarding the sentencing of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation members (now under appeal) resulting from a dispute between the community and the exploration company Platinex. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.02/lb  lower. Dollar is slightly up so far this morning, and the broad range of precious and base metals trading is mixed. Market trading thru yesterday continues to defy trendline's (chart here). It is possible the bulk of the traders have made final end of month adjustments to their portfolio's and are spending today watching to ensure the market takes no major turns.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Forbes - more

  Reports

  • KBC Commodities report - pdf here
  • Commodity Online Morning report - here
  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Kitco's 24 hour, 30 day, 60 day, 6 month, 1 year, and 5 year nickel price chart's, as well as 30 day, 60 day, 6 month, 1 year, and 5 year LME nickel inventory charts - here 

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "It was another tough session for the metal bulls yesterday. There were steep declines across the board, as the complex reeled in the face off a higher dollar and a much weaker energy complex. The dollar's recent strength has been due to a series of slightly better than expected macro readings, with yesterday's first quarter GDP revision being the latest number to surprise slightly to the upside. Although the recent US numbers are by not barnburners, they nonetheless are leading to significant dollar short covering given how negative the prevailing mood has been towards the US currency of late....The dollar is unchanged today after being somewhat stronger in earlier trading when it hit a high of 1.5463 against the Euro. This is allowing metals some breathing room, and most are recovering some lost ground as of this writing. In addition, several of our RSI readings are in our oversold territory, (see our column above), and so a modest bounce is not entirely surprising at this point.... We are still somewhat nervous about the energy markets, in that crude has yet to see a major correction. If prices are to crack, metals could undergo another round of weakness. However, recent declines in energy have usually been held in check, and prices have had a tendency to rally rather sharply after heavy selling, so the next day or so will be telling in this regard. ... Nickel is at $22,250, up $50 and quiet today, but charts still look very bleak. Having said that, nickel's RSI is the lowest in the group (at 22) so we would not be surprised to see a modest bounce here. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • From Ed Meir - As a reader of the MF Global Daily Metals Commentary, you are by now aware of our capabilities in the area of data reporting, news collection, and daily market commentary relating to LME metals. Our team has also authored several reports of interest on subjects such as technical analysis, in-depth market fundamental metals analysis, and hedge strategy mechanics, all freely available on our web site at www.mfglobalmetals.com (under the research/free downloads link, and viewable after registering). As we periodically have done in the past, MF Global also wishes to remind readers that it does offer more customized research products. This fee-negotiated service will be coordinated by Edward Meir of Madison Holdings, whose consultancy firm has been responsible for the production of our daily commentaries. We invite you to discuss with Edward research reports that are more specialized in nature and of particular interest to your company. Typically, a request could consist of an examination of relevant hedging strategies, longer-term price forecasts in support of the setting raw material costs, or a market study of a particular commodity. We believe this tailor-made approach will go a long way in addressing topics of interest that otherwise may not get adequately covered by our existing stable of research products. Edward can be reached at emeir@mfglobal.com if you would like to discuss this further. In the meantime, we thank you for your continued readership of our existing work and look forward to working with you more closely in the future.
  • ``The metals market at a certain point has to have a bit of correction,'' said Geoffrey Pazzanese, who helps manage $44 billion at Federated Investors Inc. in New York. - more

  Triggered by the slow demand and downstream mills asking for price cuts, Taiwan’s two main stainless steelmakers, Yieh United Steel Co. (Yusco) and Tang Eng Iron Works, have announced that they will adjust the domestic and export prices of 300 series stainless for June.  - more

  When the production activities of stainless steel at stainless steel companies of Japan in the calendar year (January - December) of 2007 have been traced, it is known that JFE Steel has specialized to produce chrome-based stainless steel products and, consequently, a ratio of Cr-based stainless steel products at JFE Steel shared 94.5% of their whole production of stainless steel in 2007. - more

  • Japan's stainless scrap purchasing price has been reduced by 30,000/ton in May. - more

  The significant decline in the nickel price, which occurred in May 2007, has slowed 2007 Southern African total stainless steel consumption to 197 070 t, a meagre 1,1% increase over 2006 Southern African total stainless steel consumption. - more

  The Madang provincial government is pushing to have work on the multi-billion-kina Ramu Nickel mine stopped until all outstanding issues, including that of the environment, are addressed. - more

  Global Steel Price Hikes Likely To Extend Into Third Quarter - US transaction prices continue to shoot up as the substantial hikes, planned by the mills for June deliveries, are implemented. - more

  The China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) has denied rumors that there would be a rise in steel export taxes as soon as this weekend. - more

  • Mongolia could soon overtake China as Asia's largest molybdenum oxide supplier to Japan, Japanese customs data showed Thursday. - more
  • Baoshan Iron & Steel Co plans to raise prices in the third quarter by around 5 percent, a smaller margin as the mill is heeding the central government's call for stable prices after the earthquake in Sichuan Province, said a source close to the company. - more

  Total US steel imports in April 2008 were 2.67 million mt, or 3.4% higher than in April 2007 when steel import volume was 2.58 million mt, according to preliminary data reported Wednesday by the Census Bureau of the US Commerce Department. - more

  For years, European makers of screws and steel fasteners watched as their sector struggled and factories closed, hit by fierce competition from China. - more

  Head of Interros and one of the main shareholders of Norilsk Nickel Vladimir Potanin has recommended the managers of the Russian mining and metallurgical company to launch a new round of talks with UC RUSAL on the divestment of energy assets into an independent company, the Russian businessman told journalists today. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Note!! The publishers of Metals Insider are on vacation this week. Next issue available June 2nd.
  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities Price - available here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Thursday, May 29
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Daily inventory and official price information moved to morning update.
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 102 to 11,347. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • US unemployment figures were higher than expected today, but the Fed revised the first quarter GDP to 0.9% growth, from an earlier 0.6%. While in the UK, housing prices dropped 2.5% in May, and retail sales fell for a second consecutive month. This helped the Dollar trade higher against the Euro, and precious and industrial metals were down. Even tin, which has been the favorite metal to be traded on the London Metal Exchange of late, lost over 10% of its value in today's trading. Others were down as well, although their slide was not nearly as extreme. As you can tell by the Sucden chart showing trading thru yesterday (here), nickel traders are trying desperately to find a floor, with sentiment obviously negative. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.07/lb .   

  Nickel and copper fall on demand worries - more

  Prokhorov & Deripaska Stymied As Potanin Forges New Alliance for Norilsk Nickel - more

  China's top steelmaker Baosteel Group hailed the first delivery of iron ore from Fortescue Metals Group Ltd on Thursday and said it aimed to further boost cooperation with the Australian group. - more

  Baosteel Group recently signed an agreement with Sinosteel Corporation in Beijing to launch a nickel- iron joint venture. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.14/lb lower. Indicator charts suggest nickel fell below $22,000/tonne earlier this morning, but prices have bounced back up over that mark. That would be its lowest traded level since July 7th, 2006. 
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  • SSINA Posts Corrected Market Data for February 2008 - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Commodity Online Base Metals Daily - here
  • Rand merchant Base Metals Weekly - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metals extended their losses yesterday, as a stable dollar and questions about Chinese demand exerted pressure on prices, but a recovering energy complex lifted values off their worst levels of the day. Today, we are seeing more selling, but things look more serious this time around, as some key support levels are in danger of being taken out. Copper, for example, is trading below the $8000 mark, and two closes below $8050 could lead to more deterioration in the charts. Aluminum is also in danger of closing below $2970 support for a second day in a row today, while tin has broken below its uptrend line at $23,000. Zinc too, has pierced $2140 support....Nickel is at $22,100, down $400 on continued concern about lackluster Chinese stainless demand. There is modest support at $19,000, and more major support at $17,000. Keep in mind that even though nickel prices are well off their peaks, they are still high on a historical basis; in fact, the average price for nickel for the 10-year period between 1996-2006 is only $8400.- (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • "There is a real problem with nickel. You have people trying to use less of it in stainless steel and in addition stainless mills are using more nickel-containing pig iron and buying less metal on the exchange," a trader in Singapore said. - more
  • Jinchuan Group Ltd, China’s largest nickel producer has reportedly lowered its price of nickel on Wednesday to RMB192, 000/mt from RMB208, 000/mt, the fourth price decrease this month.

  China’s main stainless steelmakers, Baosteel and Tisco, have announced that they plan to cut the production in June by 30 percent. - more

  Australia's Albidon Ltd announced on Thursday its Chairman Richard Potts will step down and hand over to a new chairman as the company starts production at its Zambian nickel project. - more

  Russian metals tycoons Vladimir Potanin and Alisher Usmanov agreed on Wednesday on to swap assets and invited the owner of aluminum giant RUSAL to join them to create the world's mining and metals leader. - more

  International mining giant, BHP Billiton, has reportedly started moving its equipment out of the mining area in Barangay Macambol, Mati City even before the court injunction order could be served anytime this week. - more

  Rio Tinto PLC (RTP) Chief Executive Tom Albanese said Thursday he sees mining companies in a "seller's market," with better opportunities to offload assets rather than make new acquisitions. - more

  Courtesy AISI - "In the week ending May 24, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,140,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 89.7 percent. Production was 2,121,000 tons in the week ending May 24, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 88.4 percent. The current week production represents a 0.8 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending May 24, 2008 is down 0.2 percent from the previous week ending May 17, 2008 when production was 2,146,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 89.9 percent."

  • Total US steel imports in April 2008 were 2.67 million mt, or 3.4% higher than in April 2007 when steel import volume was 2.58 million mt, according to preliminary data reported Wednesday by the Census Bureau of the US Commerce Department. Total steel imports in April were also 14.5% higher than a month earlier in March when volume was 2.33 million mt. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Note!! The publishers of Metals Insider are on vacation this week. Next issue available June 2nd.
  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities Price - available here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge.
Wednesday, May 28
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • All daily inventory and official price information moved to morning update.
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 24 to 11,245. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • The Commerce Department reported orders for U.S. produced durable goods fell 0.5% in April. Core durable goods orders actually rose for the first time this year. Analysts say the market is already preparing for a potential bad next week, with many reports to be issued that will give a broader picture of the overall US economy. US dollar increased again today, and with that, commodities, in general, slumped. Precious and industrial metals were no exception. The nickel chart we follow gives a good picture of what the overall market, and sentiment, is here. Indicator charts show nickel fell early, tried to climb back, but fell back again in late trading. Nickel traders appear to be in a very foul mood. The LME inventories continue to slump, and their outbound flow has picked up. Today's report showed one large inbound shipment into Singapore, but 5 outbound shipments. Even news from China that pig nickel production is having problems didn't seem to cheer the market up. Nickel is grasping for support, and the rate by which the metal has descended has apparently taken the market by complete surprise. Stainless steel producers and distributors, who loath volatility in nickel prices, are left to shake their heads in bewilderment once again. Nickel bought a few weeks ago, is now over-priced, which means the stainless steel it will be used to produce, stands a good chance of being over-priced. Metal inventories are once again losing value as they sit on worldwide shelves, although many metals distributors, having had their profits burnt royally last year, have kept their inventory levels low since. The questions of last May are back. Will it last? How long will it last? How low will the price go? Is this just a correction followed by an increase, or a new trend? Many questions, more opinions, but few answers. For today, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.19/lb .

  Nickel and copper fall on demand worries (Updates prices to mid-session, adds comment para 16 and 18) - more

  China's nickel prices are likely to continue their downtrend due to slight oversupply, but the slide will be limited by high production costs, industry insiders told Interfax today. - more

  Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel and Metalloinvest, the iron ore and steel firm founded by billionaire Alisher Usmanov, have suspended merger talks until further notice, Norilsk said on Wednesday. - more

  • Russian metals tycoons Vladimir Potanin and Alisher Usmanov agreed on Wednesday on a tie-up and an asset swap that will further complicate plans by aluminium giant RUSAL to win control of metals major Norilsk. - more

  The chairman of Nippon Steel Corp said demand in the global steel market has been stronger than expected and reiterated that its earnings forecasts for this business year were conservative. - more

  RIO Tinto - the world's third-largest mining company - has unveiled a 162 million tonne resource at its Sulawesi nickel project in Indonesia as a legal stoush brews over the venture. - more

  Mining companies have little choice but to invest in increasingly remote and politically risky regions to reap the rewards from ever scarcer reserves. - more

  Only a year ago, nickel prices were soaring into the stratosphere in the wake of the twin takeovers of former Canadian producers Inco and Falconbridge and amid a sense that China's rapid development would gobble up every available pound of the metal used to make stainless steel. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.23/lb lower . Indicator charts do not look at extreme as yesterday, and it is hard to tell how nickel will end the day. It appears to be in a recovery mode from earlier losses. Pig nickel production is starting to feel the squeeze. Metals Insider is on vacation this week, so their publication will not resume until next Monday. And Hoover's has discontinued hosting OsterDowJones news stories, and is available to Hoover subscriber's only.     
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Nickel and copper fall on demand worries - more

  • Copper Falls in London on Gain in Inventories; Zinc Declines - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals ended up mixed yesterday, as a rather sharp correction in energy prices derailed a stronger opening. Nickel continued to lose ground, with prices now down by over 10% since the start of the year. This morning, we are uniformly lower across the board, as the weakness in energy for a second day running is having a continued bearish impact on metals. ... With the dollar regaining a slightly firmer footing (at least so far this week), and the energy spiral finally showing signs of easing, metals will continue to be on the defensive. Rising metal stocks will also provide some headwind, as most inventories are either climbing or leveling off (with tin being the exception - see our charts at the end of the repot). Nonetheless, broad trading ranges should hold for now in copper and ali, as there are some legitimate supply concerns in both those complexes. Moreover, we do not see the same degree of speculative froth in them as we do in energy. However, many of the other metals could fall lower, as their poor fundamentals and wobbly chart patterns are prevailing negatives....Nickel is at $22,800, down $500 on continued concern about lackluster Chinese stainless demand. There is modest support at $19,000, and more major support at $17,000. Keep in mind that even though nickel prices are well off their peaks, they are still high on a historical basis; in fact, the average price for nickel for the 10-year period between 2006 is only $8400.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  Low refined nickel prices and stricter government enforcement of environmental standards have cut into profits for Chinese nickel pig iron producers, forcing some to suspend production. -  more

  • The Philippines' Berong nickel mine is unlikely to meet a goal of exporting 1.5 million tonnes of laterite ore this year due to shipping difficulties, a senior company official said in an interview on Wednesday. - more

  World market prices for chrome have increased. Average spot price for low-carbon ferrochromium (chrome content 68 - 70 %, carbon - 0.10 %) has gone up for the last days. - more

  Columbus Stainless of South Africa plans to increase its CR capacity to 600,000 tons/year by adding a new CR mill. - more

  Brokers put fingers in the dyke, as Kremlin takes fresh bite out of profit. According to the tale of Hans Brinker, the brave little Dutch boy stuck his finger in the Harlem dyke to save the Netherlands from being flooded. - more

  Minara Resources Ltd., Australia's second-largest nickel producer, said the A$300 million ($288 million) expansion of its Murrin Murrin nickel project will reach full production by the March quarter 2010. - more

  Ecuadorean authorities have said that the country would be particularly careful to stress in any future mining concessions that the priority for the use of water in the country is for agriculture, which takes preference under any circumstance over mining adding that it will prevent water pollution at all costs. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Note!! The publishers of Metals Insider are on vacation this week. Next issue available June 2nd.
  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available in this daily report under nickel here (charts and archives)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days  available this daily report under nickel here (archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities Price - available here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only
Tuesday, May 27
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • All daily inventory and official price information moved to morning update.
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 196 to 11,269. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • The Fed issued a number of reports today, and the Dow bounced around with each announcement. The market started out with a surprise when new home sales increased 3.3% in April, its first increase in 1/2 a year. Then the Case-Shiller home price index  reported the price of a home in 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas had fallen by record 14.4% over the last year. The the government reported US consumer confidence for May fell to 57.2 from a reading in April that was revised up to 62.8 from a prior estimate of 62.3, a new 16 year record low. With this the market, up earlier, slumped. Dollar gained earlier, but stalled on the consumer news out of the US. Metals trading was a mixed bag, with most slightly lower. Nickel was also down, but using the term slight, would do it an injustice. According to indicator charts, nickel was selling by more than $1000/tonne lower at one point but managed to rebound a little before closing. According to Dow Jones, three month nickel ended the day at $10.57/lb .  
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones - more

  Update 5-Nickel slips 4 pct on demand worries - more

  Commodity Comments

  • Copyright/courtesy Metal First member- Statistics released by Customs in China show that in April China imported 663,000MT of chrome ore, a new monthly record, this despite chrome ore inventories at Lianyun, Shanghai and Tianjin being above 600,000MT.
  • Copyright/courtesy Metal First member - According to Customs Statistics of China, China import volumes of nickel ores is 1.99 million mt in April, increased by 35.7% compared with that of last month. Imports volumes from Indonesia, Philippine, New Caledonia, Australia and Botswana are 1.41 million mt, 0.48 million mt, 50,000 mt, 17,000 mt and 14,000 mt separately. China imports nickel ores of 5.55 million mt in the previous four months 2008, rose by 44% compared with the same period of 2007. At present, nickel ores inventories of each port have reached 7.8 million mt in China.
  • Copyright/courtesy Dow Jones - "Fundamentally, the market is factoring in an increase in supply over the next 18 months amid a failure of stainless steel demand to pick up, said analyst Stephen Briggs of Societe Generale. "The market has been banking on a turnaround in stainless steel (demand) and this has really proved very slow to come," he said. Demand has not bounced back to the extent that the market was hoping for so the market has had to confront "this harsh reality" of an increase in supply in the next 18 months or so, he said."
  • International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) - "The market share of CrNi steels (300 series) decreased to just 50% of total stainless steel production in the fourth quarter according to ISSF estimates. Just a few years ago CrNi steels accounted for up to 80% of all stainless steel."
  • Had a reader advise us that MMTC of India had reportedly increased their price of friable chrome ore (48-50 grade) from 510 USD/ton to 715 USD/ton for second quarter
  • Commodity Cycle History - graph here

  Decreasing nickel demand from stainless steel mills have raised market speculation that domestic nickel prices will continue to slide, industry insiders told Interfax last Friday. - more

  Spain's Acerinox, the world's biggest stainless steel producer, said on Tuesday demand for its products had not been hit by global economic turmoil, but added that prices had stopped rising and would be stable. - more

  Prices of nickel, widely used for electro-plating and in stainless steel, fell marginally in the domestic futures market on absence of any trigger from the US and European metal markets. - more

  China’s Steel Production in April 2008: 44,675,600 tons - more

  • According to Baosteel, stainless steel demand in China is projected at 9.54 million tonnes in 2012 as 6.76 million tonne in 2008. - more

  Philippine authorities remain hopeful that an ongoing conflict between BHP Billiton (BHP) and a local joint venture partner will be resolved despite a court decision that would seem to rule out further cooperation, an industry official said Monday. - more

  China mining giant JinChuan Group Ltd. backed out from a proposed $1-billion joint venture with Philnico Industrial Corp. (Philnico) to revive the shuttered Nonoc nickel plant in Surigao due to disagreements on ownership sharing. - more

  • The Jinchuan Group Ltd., China’s largest nickel producer, is talking to other local nickel firms for possible joint venture arrangements after failing to clinch a deal with Philnico Industrial Corp. for its planned billion investments in the Nonoc nickel plant. - more

  A coal train from Colombia's Cerrejon coal mine was derailed by a bomb attack early Tuesday morning and export and transport operations will be affected, Carbones de Cerrejon said. - more

  Russia's United Co. Rusal, the owner of 25%-plus-two shares in Russian mining giant OAO Norilsk Nickel, wants changes to Norilsk's board structure and an independent chairman, while questioning current Norilsk policy and strategy. - more

  Update - Metals - Copper firm but nickel slides over $1,000/tonne amid demand fears - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.63/lb lower . Yes the bears are back and not interested in the bulls attempt to move the market higher on Friday. The trendline on the chart we follow can't seem to keep up as the market tanks here.   
  • Reuters morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Bloomberg - Nickel Extends Drop in London on Oil, Economy; Copper Climbs - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Haywood Securities Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here
  • Behre Dolbear Global Mining News - here
  • BNP Paribas Markets Data - here
  • The International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) has published four new brochures during its twelfth Annual Conference (ISSF-12) in Paris, France. The brochures are: - more

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -"...Other metals saw a modest bounce on Friday, with nickel and zinc recovering somewhat after being in extremely oversold territory for much of last week. This morning, we are higher after a long holiday weekend on both sides of the Atlantic. Prices are up on a slightly weaker dollar, gains in energy, and concerns about several aftershocks in China, culminating in a powerful 5.8 magnitude quake hitting Sichuan province once again on Sunday, and reportedly damaging more than 70,000 homes. More ominously, Chinese officials warned that 69 dams in the province damaged in the original quake could be in danger of bursting their banks. ... Nickel is at $23,200, down $900, but we really do not see any support on the longer-term charts until much lower levels. We did see a decent bounce on Friday after nickel’s RSI plunge to a heavily oversold 22, but today’s move lower despite a stronger overall complex shows just how vulnerable the complex still is....* Premiums for uncut nickel cathode have remained steady this month vs. last, with quotes around $150-250.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Courtesy Interfax - "Decreasing nickel demand from stainless steel mils have raised market speculation that domestic nickel prices will continue to slide, industry insiders told Interfax last Friday."

  Due to tight supply from South Africa and strong demand, the ferro-chrome price is predicted to reach above US$4/pound in the third quarter of 2008. - more

  • Market players attending the ICDA’s annual meeting in Paris said that the ferrochromium price could rise above USD 4 per pound in the third quarter of 2008 on tight supply from South Africa and strong demand. - more

  Japanese stainless steel production from domestic major 7 mills was 455,655 tons in April, decreased by 2.8 percent from last month.- more

  • The production activities of stainless steel at 10 major stainless steel companies of China in the calendar year (October - December) of 2007 were as per the table attached hereto. - more

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

  Rio Tinto Indonesia said Monday it has filed a suit in Central Sulawesi administrative court requesting nullification of licenses the regional government issued to local companies to develop a mineral deposit. - more

  In the month of April the world crude steel for the 66 countries who report to the International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI) was 116.4 million tons (mt). This figure was 5.6 percent higher than that registered during the same month last year. - more

  Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Japan's largest nickel smelter, is increasing efforts to develop copper and nickel mines overseas because of rising ore costs. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - check this daily report under nickel here (charts)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - check this daily report under nickel here
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities Price - available here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. If the information you seek is not available, please contact us  and we will see if we can assist you e-mail us
Monday, May 26 (US markets closed Monday for Memorial Day. London markets closed for Spring Bank Holiday. LME closed.)
  US and London markets closed on Monday for Memorial Day and Spring Bank Holiday. Updated reports will return on Tuesday.

  Commodity Comments

  • "On top of that, metals prices, including nickel and copper, have been under pressure in the past few days, on signs of a build up in stocks. Charles Cooper at Evolution Securities said: "With seasonal closures in Europe during the third quarter of 2008, nickel prices could fall before recovering later in the year. A brief recovery in prices could be helped by the Chinese government's intention to close a large number of small blast furnace producers of nickel pig iron located around Beijing in the weeks before and during the August Olympics, which could lead to a tightening of supply during late summer." - more
  • Future "swing'' production of nickel pig iron predominantly by China, would eventually "smooth out'' volatility in world nickel prices by better balancing supply and demand,'' Mr Wilson said. - more
  • Nickel lost more than 8 percent on Thursday. The metal used to make stainless steel has come under pressure in recent months on expectations of growing supplies as more mining output comes onstream. "We don't see nickel falling too much further because nickel pig iron costs have been rising quite sharply since the end of last year and that should provide support to nickel prices at lower levels," Berry said. - more
  • The metal used to make stainless steel has come under pressure in recent months on expectations of growing supplies. "The probability of considerable acceleration in mine supply and substitution will continue to pressure prices," JPMorgan analyst Michael Jansen said in a research note. - more
  • "Inflation hedge" is the buzz word dominating the commodities world presently. Fear of rising inflation in the US,Europe,Japan,China,middle-east nations,etc. has brought huge fund inflows into the commodities. - more
  • Report - Natixis - What would happen if commodity prices continued to rise at a rapid pace? - pdf here

  It is reported that Baosteel with turn deficits into profits in 2008 with turning around of its stainless steel business. - more

  • It is reported that Sinosteel Binhai Industry Company Limited and Baosteel Resources Company Limited recently signed an agreement on constructing China's largest modern ferronickel project in Bohai New Development Zone in Hebei's Cangzhou. - more

  The OECD's steel committee in a release said that World steel market will remain strong while global steelmaking capacity will rise from 1,560 million tonnes in 2007 to 1,849 million tonnes in 2010, representing an 18.6% increase. - more

  Spanish stainless steel producer Acerinox has announced to raise its stainless steel surcharge in June 2008. - more

  It is reported that Yieh Hsing Enterprise Company expanded carbon wire rod and stainless wire rod output due to the strong demand and stable nickel price. - more

  When it comes to nickel, investors should be aware there are two distinct types: sulphides and laterites. - more

  World's Largest Iron Ore Producers, end 2007, World's Largest Flat Product Producers, end 2007, World's Largest Steel Long Product Producers, end 2007 - listed here

Friday, May 23 (US markets closed Monday for Memorial Day. London markets closed for Spring Bank Holiday. LME closed Monday.)
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • All daily inventory and official price information moved to morning update.
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 183  to 11,465. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  •  Marketwatch reported "The National Association of Realtors reported that the inventory of unsold homes jumped 10.5% to 4.55 million in April, an "uncomfortably high" level, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the real estate trade group." Oil was back up before the three day holiday weekend, and this took the gas out of the dollar (pun intended). With the dollar down, metals were mostly up. The nickel bears apparently had a great last few days, and may have snuck out a little early for the holiday weekend. The bulls, on the other hand, stuck around, and took the market higher before the end of trade. Even if the down-trend in nickel pricing continues, most agree the last two day decline was a little too steep, too fast. Market was over-sold, and buyers were back in force today. For the day, and week, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $10.91/lb .
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones - more

  Copper steady, nickel rebounds from 2-yr low - more

  "Jinchuan Group Co., Asia's biggest nickel producer, lowered the price of the refined metal by 4.6 percent today. That's the second price cut within a week.The price was cut by 10,000 yuan to 208,000 yuan ($29,949) a metric ton, according to a statement on the Web site of the Gansu, western China-based company. The last reduction was on May 15." - more

  Chinese molybdenum oxide prices have edged up to $32.60-33.00/lb CIF Rotterdam this week on the back of tighter raw material supplies, industry sources said. Prices were quoted at $32.50-32.60/lb a week ago.  - more

  Acerinox SA, which owns Africa's biggest stainless steel mill, plans to expand cold-rolled production at its Columbus mill in South Africa by 25 percent. - more

  BHP Billiton Ltd chairman Don Argus says the $2.3 billion Ravensthorpe nickel mine highlights that the mineral is a key part of the resource giant's commodities mix. - more

  A MAKATI Regional Trial Court (RTC) has issued a writ of preliminary injunction against foreign-owned mining corporation, BHP Billiton, barring the company from operating in the Pujada Nickel mining site in the City of Mati, Davao Oriental. - more

  London-listed European Nickel said on Friday it had invested $48 million in nickel- laterite projects in the Philippines. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.02/lb lower.  Ed Meir with MF Global lower nickel support to $7.71/lb and resistance to $11.75/lb. Someone needs to headline their article today, "Nickel Prices Dive on Low Demand, New Mega Supply Source Announces Official Opening".
  • Reuters morning metal news - more
  • AFX News - more

  Bloomberg - Nickel Heads for Biggest Weekly Loss Since July on Lower Usage - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Ernst & Young Mining Eye - Quarter 1 2008 - pdf here
  • Karvy Comtrade Metals Insight - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "We had a down day across the board yesterday, as weakness in much of the secondary metals (zinc, lead, and nickel) dragged the overall group lower. The strong dollar was also a negative, as commodity markets start to focus on the fact that there not be any more interest rate cuts on the horizon in light of rising US inflation. Nickel was the big loser yesterday, off more than 8% on the day while lead shed 7%. We have been warning in recent commentary about the weakening technical picture in this secondary group, and apart from nickel, which we thought would do a better job of holding trend-line support at $25,900, we were, on the whole, not surprised by yesterday’s retreat. ... This morning, we opened lower, but have now pushed slightly higher on most of the metals. More interestingly, we are seeing a disconnect between metals and energy, as the former is being weighed down by prospects of slowing growth and a rising dollar, while the later still seems to be caught up in a speculative bubble, immune to practically just about everything else around it for now....With the dollar not doing much of anything today, and some of the metals being extremely oversold (nickel and lead are both sporting RSI readings in the low to mid 20’s) we would expect today’s gains to hold over the course of the day. ... Nickel is at $23,550, up $50, but with $25,900 support taken out on a two-day closing basis, we really do not see any support on the longer-term charts until the $17,000 level (that is no typo!). Very short-term, nickel could stabilize a bit, as it is quite oversold, with an RSI reading at 22."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  Spanish stainless steel producer Acerinox has announced to raise its stainless steel surcharge in June. - more

  Thainox Stainless Plc (INOX), the largest stainless steel maker in Southeast Asia, has completed its four-year expansion to lift annual production capacity to 300,000 tonnes from 120,000 tonnes. - more

  BHP Billiton, the world's top miner, said on Friday it will be at least two years before its Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia reaches full capacity of 50,000 tonnes a year after a series of delays and $1.2 billion in cost overruns. - more

  • BHP Billiton Ltd is confident that its $2.3 billion Ravensthorpe mine won't mirror the past failures that have plagued the nickel laterite sector in Western Australia. - more

  A leading stainless steel company in Japan decided to reduce their price of nickel-based stainless steel scrap (new clippings) to be purchased from domestic sources by Yen 10,000 per metric ton, effective from the 19th of May. - more

  Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp. told the Philippine Stock Exchange that it incurred losses during the first quarter due to lower nickel sales from its subsidiary, Berong Nickel Corp. (BNC). - more

  (any nickel experts out there have a comment?) Beware of household goods in a "drug effect" - translated version here

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - (check this daily report under nickel here) (charts)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes -  (check this daily report under nickel here)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities Price - available here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. Hoovers not working for moment.
Thursday, May 22
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • All daily inventory and official price information moved to morning update.
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 123 to 11,648. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Can you spell correction? Nickel prices are correcting. No particular good reason to put to it, but if you look at how yesterday showed up on today's chart (here), it might give you an idea. At one point, nickel was down yesterday by nearly $3000/tonne ($1.35/lb), which none of the indicator charts we follow showed. We have to remember that a lot of the trading is down by computers who analyse charts and crunch numbers all day and night. Maybe the computers still have last May's 'correction' in their memory banks. Then nickel began a plummet that would eventually see 1/2 of its record peak wiped away. Or maybe yesterday's plummet and rebound, have opened up the cellar door. Whatever is causing the sudden trader exit, it appears to be a hasty one. Dow Jones reported today "LME nickel prices, pressured by signs of lackluster demand from the stainless steel sector, will "no doubt" trade down towards $18,000/ton and $20,000/ton, said JP Morgan analyst Michael Jansen." If Mr Jansen proves true, then we will see nickel lose nearly 1/2 of its March peak of nearly $16/lb. Much of the media reports blame the slowdown in China for the downturn. There are also concerns about what eventual impact the high oil prices will have on world economy's. We can understand the oil concern, but we have really never seen where China has ever shown signs of recovery after last years plummet in nickel prices. Now we will find out what part pig nickel has truly played in keeping prices where they have been. Many analysts have stated that nickel couldn't fall below the $12/lb range because that would make pig nickel too expensive to produce. Eliminate that source, and refined nickel demand increases. Now we will see. Pig nickel producers in China are already hurting from low demand and sky rocketing costs. It will be interesting to watch LME inventories. Do stainless steel producers buy what they can on the fear prices may rebound hard? Or do they wait the market out and see if the floor has yet to be found? Stay tuned. The nickel market just got very interesting again. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $10.65/lb
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones - more
  • Our morning update from Ed Meir from MF Global was delayed this morning and here is why - video here (ok he's talking about oil)

  Copper slips on firmer dollar, nickel down 8 pct - Nickel fell more than 8 percent to $23,250 a tonne,... - more

  Reports

  • Presentation by Eti Krom to ICDA Conference - "Chromite Ore: The Global Market Situation" - pdf here
  • Fortis Metals Monthly - we linked to this on Tuesday but its getting some media attention today so we thought we would re-post - pdf here

  Forget copper, tin or nickel: the really hot commodities are shares in the London Metal Exchange, the world's largest base metals market. - more

  Sherritt International Executive Chairman Ian Delaney said on Thursday he is concerned about a cost "blow-out" at the $3.3 billion Ambatovy nickel project in Madagascar. - more

  The 5th Annual CHINA NICKEL 2008 - next week in Shanghai - more

  Commodity Comments (late entry - Ed was on Bloomberg TV this morning)

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Four of the six metals we followed slipped on Wednesday despite a weaker dollar, as participants were concerned with rising stocks and questions about demand. Some of the secondary metals in the group, namely, lead, zinc, and nickel, were particularly weak. In fact, lead prices hit a one year-low yesterday, while nickel slid to levels last seen in August.  ... We are off to a mixed start this morning, with copper and ali both slightly higher, but the rest of the group is seeing modest losses. Chinese trade data, (see the end of our report for the summary) was released overnight. ... Nickel is at $24,550, down $650, another close below $25,200 support today (likely at this stage) will look negative for nickel, and we may see prices sink even lower. Our longer-term chart depicts the gravity of the situation should we break down. "(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around - indicator charts we follow are giving quite a spread this morning, which usually indicates market is volatile. We show indicators which show three month nickel anywhere from down $.14/lb to down $.29/lb. Whichever is true, the market continues to look for a bottom. Indicator charts aren't the only thing in a state of discombobulation this morning. The Hoover search engine is not working properly this morning, and we have not yet received MF Global's morning report. Maybe the 3 day American holiday has already begun for some. For those residing outside the States, US markets are closed on Monday for Memorial Day.     
  • AFX morning metal news - more
  • Forbes - more

  Bloomberg - "Nickel Falls to Lowest in Almost Two Years as Surplus Continues" - more

  Reports

  • Chrome - Merafe Resources presentation to ICDA conference - pdf here (good information)
  • Standard Bank Commodities research Weekly - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - (have not received today's report yet) (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Investors in the metals sector shouldn't expect big changes to the overall market following last week's earthquake in China, as the need for materials to rebuild the ravaged areas should keep the sector strong despite any short-term problems. - more

  Juha Rantanen, CEO of Outokumpu indicated that the company plans to raise ferritic stainless steel output by 40 percent from current 600,000 tons per year at Tomio Works. - more

  American nickel scrap exports totaled 2,698 tons in March, reduced by 35.4 percent from February. - more

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

  Steelmakers are confident they can meet the expected increase in demand for their products in the post-quake reconstruction work. - more

  • China's crude steel production in April 2008 increased 10.2% year on year to 44.68 million mt, according to latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics, China. - more
  • According to International Stainless Steel Forum, Chinese stainless raw steel output has increased by 36% YoY to 7.206 million tonnes in 2007, keeping the top producing country position for 2 years in a row. - more

  Book Quote - "It's Your Ship" by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff, former commander, USS Benfold (Warner Books, 2002) - "A sailor told me we repainted the ship six times a year. It was a huge waste of time and effort, mental as well as physical, and a drain on morale to boot. The sailor suggested a better way: use stainless steel bolts and nuts to replace the ferrous-metal ones that streaked rust down the side of the ship. Great idea, I said. Then we checked the Navy supply system. Sorry, no stainless steel fasteners in stock. Pushing the envelope, we went shopping at Home Depot! Once installed, they got us out of painting for nearly a year. By the way, the entire Navy has now adopted stainless steel fasteners for installation on every ship."

  Chinese companies looking for overseas mining assets could benefit from the US credit crunch and the rising yuan, while before going global, unseasoned firms still have to do more to succeed as challenges intensify. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available here (if not check this daily report under nickel here) (charts)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days here (if not check this daily report under nickel here)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities Price - available here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only
Wednesday, May 21
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • All daily inventory and official price information moved to morning update.
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 22 to 11,771. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Oil rolling over $130/barrel got the blame today for the Dow heading lower, but we think it has more to do with the most read story on Marketwatch (Megabubble waiting for new president in 2009 - 'Numbers racket' exposes potential disaster for economy, market' - here). The book the article talks about is here, if interested. One of Bloomberg's top stories today was (Freddie Mac Suffers Bout of Temporary Insanity: Jonathan Weil- here). Very discouraging news, even for those weary of the fear mongers. In Europe, news of an unexpected rise in German sentiment figures gave the Euro a boost against the dollar. Metals were mixed, with precious trading up, and base metals trading steady. That was, except for tin, which closed up, and nickel, which closed down. JP Morgan analyst Michael Jansen  was quoted in a Forbes article this morning, 'The underlying cost drivers for the base metals are favourable for headline prices this morning, with crude oil over $130 a barrel and the US dollar softer... However, the base metals are trading in a mixed fashion with demand concerns carrying slightly more weight today than the other factors.'. Dow Jones quoted him as stating "LME nickel moved below important support around $25,700/ton as demand remains "quite weak,"... Says Chinese imports of cathode have been robust, but there is too much cathode around generally, while demand for cathode from traditional stainless producers is muted due to still reasonable stainless steel stocks." Remember the statement we made this morning - 'Typically, when a support level is punctured, the market will re-coil, so we could see the market close higher than it is now, but most likely in the red for the day.'. We shy away from making long range forecasts religiously on this site. This allows us the freedom to poke fun at those who do. But predicting what the market would do in the remaining 4 hours of today's LME trading, you'd think that was a safe bet, right? Yeah, right. Boy, did we 'screw the pooch'. Market was down about $.23/lb then, but it ended closer to $.42/lb lower. Kitco's indicator chart in the right column gives a fair idea of the ski slope nickel trading took today. Considering the WBMS report earlier, the fire at the Thompson mill, and the Norilsk news earlier in the week, we have to admit we are surprised by the degree of the correction nickel is seeing. Here is what Metals Insider wrote today about the Norilsk news "It is a sad state of affairs when even the annual ‘news’ of the closure due to flooding of Dudinka fails to trigger some buying in nickel. While this event occurs every May without fail, some ‘newbies’ to the metals market invariably react to the newswire headlines, but not this time." While nickel looks for a place to land, and we munch on some 'Crow ala King' for lunch, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.43/lb .
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones - more

  The global nickel market recorded a deficit of 9,300 metric tons in January to March 2008, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said Wednesday. - more

  The chairman of a Senate oversight committee has said he is considering legislation limiting large institutional investors in commodities markets that have seen record prices this year in agricultural products and oil. - more

  Vale Inco was examining damage at its nickel mill in Thompson, Manitoba, on Wednesday after a fire forced the evacuation of the facility, a spokesman said. - more

  China's Iron and Steel Association has urged its members to control iron ore imports as port stocks have surged to a record high, undermining Chinese steel mills' position in price talks with Australian miners. - more

  WBMS: Global Nickel Market In 9,300 Ton Deficit In Jan-Mar

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.23/lb lower. Indicator charts show nickel has been whacked pretty good this morning, while the rest of the metals complex, precious and industrial, is mixed. If indicator charts are correct, three month nickel has fallen below the $25,600 threshold on this chart (here), and below the $11.75/lb support that Ed at MF Global has published. Typically, when a support level is punctured, the market will re-coil, so we could see the market close higher than it is now, but most likely in the red for the day.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • AFX - more
  • Forbes - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metal prices managed to end mixed yesterday, as the group came back from wider losses seen earlier in the day. A surging crude complex and a weakening dollar pulled base metals off its lows, but rising stocks and questions about demand kept the upside somewhat in check. A very weak US equity market did not help matters much either, with many of the mining companies under pressure. Moreover, there are increasing signs that metal production is creeping back up in China's quake-stricken province of Sichuan, and the most extreme estimates of how much zinc production was lost or temporarily displaced is now being revised downwards. Despite the same confluence of factors in evidence today, (i.e., a weaker dollar and higher oil prices), we have started lower in metals again today, but seem to be starting a modest climb higher. However, even if we do push into positive territory, we do not see an explosion to the upside anytime soon, similar to what we are seeing in oil (where crude just crossed the $130 mark). Unlike in energy, market perceptions in metals are not centered on tightening supply chains. Conversely, stocks are leveling off or going up in most of the metals, and there is legitimate concern about more supply coming into the market over the months ahead. In addition, there are growing questions about the durability of demand, certainly in the US, and to a lesser extent in China.... Nickel is at $25,750, down $250; two days of closes below $25,900 could prove troubling to the bulls." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Courtesy Bloomberg - "Valuations for the mining industry are ``at the highs of the past three to four years, and at a level which has triggered past corrections,'' London-based Morgan Stanley analyst Wiktor Bielski wrote in a note outlining reasons to sell mining stocks. They have outperformed commodities and metal prices could ``remain soft over the next few weeks,'' he wrote."
  • Copyright Reuters - ""The earthquake had quite a significant impact on the nickel pig iron producers, so while I am quite bearish on nickel overall, that would help to support prices," Standard Chartered's Smith said."
  • Macquarie Research analyst Adam Rowley to International Chromium Development Association Conference May 2008 - forecasts nickel to be trading at $12.00/lb in May 2009, and ferrochrome, currently selling at $2.25/lb, to be selling at $3.00/lb in May 2009
  • In 1980, the Hunt brothers cornered the silver market, causing an epic price spike and then a bust. Crude oil is close to $130 a barrel. Is something similar at work? - more

  Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. plans to spend about 200 billion yen ($1.93 billion) to develop a nickel mine in the Solomon Islands, followed by construction of a refinery, a power plant and port facilities by 2012, Nikkei English News reported, without citing anyone. - more

  The Australian Stainless Steel Development Association (ASSDA) is running a workshop on fabricating stainless steel to avoid corrosion. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 15th May 2008 - (article contains good info on chrome & ferrochrome) - more

  Vale Inco's nickel facilities in Thompson, Manitoba, are expected to be back in operation on Wednesday after a minor fire, a spokesman said on Tuesday. - more

  EU prices continue to increase. The mills are insisting that they must go up again in period three to reflect the rising costs of production. - more

  • Flat-rolled steel prices continued to gain Tuesday in the US market for product from domestic mills. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available here (if not check this daily report under nickel here) (charts)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days here (if not check this daily report under nickel here)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities Price - available here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only
Tuesday, May 20
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • All daily inventory and official price information moved to morning update.
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 84 to  11,793. (chart) article
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Associated Press reported - "The dollar slipped Tuesday in Europe after the U.S. Labor Department's Producer Price Index showed that wholesale inflation increased by 0.2 % in April following a 1.1 percent jump in March.... The PPI report showed that gasoline costs fell by 4.6 percent. However, that decline reflected the government's seasonal adjustment methods. Since gasoline prices rose less than they usually do in April, that translated into a decline in the government's figures." There you have it America. Quit whining about $3.50+/gallon gas because the price increase in April was less than it usually is. Another example of why we say traders have gotten suspicious of these government reports lately.  The story here really isn't the numbers, but how the market reacted by falling nearly 200 points. What exactly were they expecting the figures to show today? That we aren't suffering inflationary pricing? These traders should get their heads out fo their Wall Street journals and go pump some gas, or go shopping for food. They need some serious real world time. While the report got much of the blame for the market stumble this morning, oil hit another record high and investors are growing increasingly nervous about the drag higher fuel costs are having, and going to have on the overall economy, as household disposable income evaporates. Metals were mixed, with some falling on news China metals production will not likely be hurt as bad as originally thought by last weeks 7.9 earthquake. Indicator charts show nickel fell out of the chute this morning, but climbed back to spend most of the afternoon trading about $.05/lb down. And according to the Dow Jones report below, three month nickel ended the day at $11.77/lb .
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones - more
  • AFX - more

  Reports

  • ISSF Annual Review - pdf here
  • IISI - April 2008 Crude Steel Production - more

  Commodity Comments

  • Speculation in commodities has or has not played a major role in the run-up of global energy and food prices depending on which regulator, economist or trade group you ask; that was the conclusion of a Senate hearing today. - more
  • Commodities markets, which have attracted more than $165bn (€106bn) in investment through indices since the beginning of 2006, may face a sharp correction around the end of this year, according to Lehman Brothers. - more
  • The commodity boom may be turning into a bubble that could burst around the end of the year, according to a special report from Lehman Brothers in New York. - more

  BHP Billiton Ltd's $US2.2 billion ($A2.31 billion) Ravensthorpe nickel laterite project in Western Australia may prove a shining light in a sector that has been plagued by failure and disappointment. - more

  International Ferro Metals' (IFM's) interim results show that ferrochrome producers are being buffeted by the same winds as platinum producers. - more

  • (excerpt) In this quarter the market price of ferrochrome has risen to $1,92/lb from $1,21/lb in the March quarter. IFM said prices for ferrochrome were expected to remain strong. Two separate sources were forecasting ferrochrome prices would average $2,50-$3,00/lb this year, rising to $3,50-$4,00/lb later this year or early next year. - more
  • The cost to South Africa's economy of extended shutdowns of parts of its mining industry due to safety issues is potentially huge. - more

  A delay in construction of a waste pipe at Vale Inco's massive Goro nickel project in New Caledonia has so far had no effect on the timetable or capital cost estimates for the project, a company spokesman said on Tuesday. - more

  Digging for chromite has become a popular vocation in the central province of Thanh Hoa. - more

  (From the "What?!" department) They are countries so rich in oil and gas that they would never want for fuel to drive their booming economies and the lavish lifestyles of their rulers. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around  $.03/lb lower. Indicator charts show nickel climbing back from an early morning plunge of around $400/tonne. As we warned last week, Norilsk has announced it will halt shipments today from the port of Dudinka due to seasonal flooding. Typically, this shut down last 3-4 weeks. Typically, unless the inventory numbers are incredibly tight like this time last year, news of this event is usually met with a yawn by the market. We are also used to seeing a little extra nickel being received into LME warehouses right before this annual event, as Norilsk ships what it can before it can't for a month. We did not see that happen this year.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • Fortis Metals Monthly - pdf here
  • TD Bank Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here
  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Haywood Securities Metals & Mining - pdf here
  • Karvy Comtrade Metals Insight - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "LME metals started the week on a down note yesterday, as rising LME stocks (see our charts on page 3), and concern about demand weighed on prices at the expense of almost everything else. The dollar was not much of a factor yesterday, as it rose against the Euro early on before ending practically unchanged later in the day. A slightly better than-expected US release on the macro side, (the index of leading economic indicators) helped steady the greenback, but the upside surprise was so modest, (+.1%), that we would not read too much into it.  At the time of this writing, we are lower again on the LME despite the dollar being much weaker today, as it approaches 1.5650 on the Euro. The modest selling over the past two days has brought both copper and ali close to support of $8250 and $2970, respectively, and it will be interesting to see if these levels hold on a closing basis.... Nickel is at $26,000, down $100, and hovering just above support at $25,900; very quiet otherwise."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Courtesy Commodity Watch Weekly Review - "Nickel consolidated near the lows as LME nickel inventories declined and positive tone prevailed in entire base metals pack. ... Nickel prices may show increased volatility due to demand uncertainties from stainless steel makers and expected improvement in prices of other base metals."

  Talley Metals, a subsidiary of Carpenter Technology Corporation, has announced that it will increase base prices approximately 3% on all stainless products to help off-set rising manufacturing costs. The increase is effective on all shipments beginning July 1, 2008. - more

  (excerpt) - Kirby grabbed paperwork to show how one supplier of "hard drawn" wire made from carbon steel wants a 25-percent price increase over the prior month; Midstate needs 5,000 pounds of this wire every month. Producers of stainless steel hit Kirby in April with a surcharge of $1.65 per pound above the product price to offset their rising costs for raw materials, such as nickel. This surcharge is more than three times higher than a similar 52-cent surcharge in April 2006." - more

  It is reported that the recent quotation prices of 300 series stainless steel from TISCO to Korea were USD 3,000 FOB per tonne for hot rolled products and USD 4,050 per tonne for cold rolled products in May 2008, which dropped by USD 170 per tonne and USD 220 per tonne as compared April 2008. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending May 17, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,146,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 89.9 percent. Production was 2,121,000 tons in the week ending May 17, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 88.4 percent. The current week production represents a 1.1 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending May 17, 2008 is up 0.4 percent from the previous week ending May 10, 2008 when production was 2,136,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 89.5 percent.

  Courtesy Yieh - "Japanese production of stainless steel increased to 290,466 tons in March, up by 6.7 percent from February."

  Norilsk Nickel, the world's top nickel miner, will suspend on Tuesday shipments from its Arctic port of Dudinka due to seasonal flooding, the company said on Tuesday. - more

  We put a spotlight on supply and demand of nickel in Japan for the calendar year (January - December) of 2007, in order to trace domestic production, domestic sales, imports and exports of nickel in the year. - more

  BHP has reportedly charted 17 bulk carriers to ship iron ore between Western Australia and China, following the boycott of rival Rio Tinto on the spot market. - more

  • China's government plans to cut record iron ore stocks at Chinese ports, industry sources said on Tuesday, which may help lower domestic prices and strengthen the country's bargaining position with Australian miners. - more

  (opinion - with the threat of exploding lap-top's last year, it was thought nickel would replace lithium as the benefactor for the new wave of electric car batteries. Apparently not) Nissan Motor Co. hopes to leap-frog rivals by starting mass production of lithium-ion batteries for low-emission vehicles next year as it plays catch-up in the green car race. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available here (if not check this daily report under nickel here) (charts)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days here (if not check this daily report under nickel here)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities Price - available here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only
Monday, May 19
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • All daily inventory and official price information moved to morning update.
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 250 to 11,709. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • The Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators rose 0.1% in April, matching March's gain, and lead most to believe the US economy was not in recession, but very weak. US markets responded positively. The dollar was down early, but the Conference Board report turned it around, and base metals slumped, all trading in the red. Nickel was no exception, and according to Dow Jones, closed the day at $11.83/lb
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones - more
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  • Karvy Comtrade Metals Insights - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Courtesy Commodity Online - "China is the biggest risk to base metal prices, not only in its role as a leading consumer, but also in its status as the world’s largest refined producer of every base metal except for nickel." - more
  • Courtesy Barclays Capital - 'Commodity Investor' - "We expect nickel prices to firm in late Q2 in line with a pick-up in stainless steel activity and overall we expect less volatile prices this year." - more
  • Courtesy Platts - "The slowing stainless production in Japan is causing prices of ferrochrome, at record high levels, to soften in Asia, traders said. The quarterly production for all stainless steel types was down, except for ferrite chrome-molybdenum stainless that rose 6% to 57, 573 mt."
  • Courtesy myfinances.co.uk - "Ryan Kneale, market analyst at City bookmaker BetsForTraders.com, said: "Today's gains are being lead by commodity stocks, with the oil majors and the mining sector contributing some strong advances as commodity prices continue to sky rocket. "A commodity bull run like this just isn't sustainable in the long term and we expect a hefty correction in commodity prices before the year is out."

  Global stainless steel producers expect crude steel output to recover this year thanks to growing industrial consumption, but a sharp increase in input costs poses a possible danger to demand. - more

  21st Century Business Herald quoted Mr Jianlong executive of Tangshan Steel as saying that Hebei provincial government has already convened a meeting to discuss the output reduction and 42 small companies from steel, cement, glasses sector are to be shut down during the Olympic Games. - more

  Integrated ferrochrome producer International Ferro Metals said ferrochrome production for the year is expected to be below its capacity. - more

  It is reported that the earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan province might leads to supply shortfalls in the province and nearby and pushes up the market price for ferrochrome. - more (note - we have read Chinese media reports that ferrochrome production in the area has been affected, primarily by power outages, lack of water and transportation infrastructure destruction.)

  Russia's environmental regulator Rosprirodnadzor said Monday it has launched a $184-million lawsuit against Russia's largest metals producer, Norilsk Nickel for alleged river pollution. - more

  Forget digging and tunnelling – deep sea exploration and mineral mining could be the next step in recovering metals in the face of rising commodity values. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.09/lb lower this morning. Metals are a mixed bag this morning, with base metals mostly down, and precious metals mostly up.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • AFX - more
  • Reuters - more
  • Suddenly, China Seems Not So Far Away - more

  Reports

  • Fortis Asian Metals Monthly - pdf here
  • BMO Capital 'The Goods' - pdf here
  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Canada Metals & Minerals Statistics - March 2008 - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "LME metals were sharply higher again on Friday, as aluminum, zinc, and lead took charge in driving the complex upwards amid mounting fears over pinched supplies from China and concern about damaged infrastructure in Sichuan province. The weaker dollar did not help matters much either, as the greenback hit two-week lows against the Euro and tumbled against the yen on reports that US consumer confidence readings hit 28-year lows. ... We are seeing metals giving back some of Friday’s gains today, this despite a slightly weaker dollar. Instead, markets are off on the back of higher stocks, where we had good-sized blips in ali, zinc, and copper. ... Given the light week macro week out of the US news-wise, we expect metals to resume teeing off the dollar once the current selling plays itself out, and perhaps work higher by mid-week. However, we still see most metals trapped within relatively broad trading ranges, as the number of countervailing forces we alluded to in previous commentary (a weak dollar, South American labor issues, and the Chinese quake on the bullish side, and rising stocks and questionable demand levels on the bearish side) will prevent a major breakout in either direction on most metals. ... Nickel is at $26,100, down $300, and once again resting on key channel support (see our red line)." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • The Case for Resources and Molybdenum - pdf here
  • Tackling the Skills Shortage - pdf here

  The International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) expects that stainless steel crude steel production in 2008 will recover after the decrease in production during 2007. Based on massive, and never seen before stock draws after the crash of nickel prices in May 2007, global stainless crude steel production decreased by 2.6% for the full year 2007. - more

  • The International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) has elected two new members and one new affiliated member during its twelfth Annual Conference (ISSF-12) in Paris, France. ISSF now has 73 members in 26 different countries. The new company members are Carpenter Technology Corporation (USA) and BNG Steel Co., Ltd. (Korea). The new affiliated member is PASDER from Turkey.

  According to the latest Metals Activity Report from US based Metals Service Center Institute, US and Canadian metals service centers rebounded in April from unseasonably low levels in March, with year over year shipment increases in nearly all metals categories. - more

  • SteelBenchmarker™ reported that the U.S. HRB spot price for May 12 surged 5.2 percent to $1,154 per ton, FOB the mill, for the thirteenth consecutive rise totaling $577. - more

  Canada Border Services Agency has initiated a re investigation of the normal values and export prices of certain stainless steel wire originating in or exported from the South Korea, Switzerland and US and the amounts of subsidy of certain stainless steel wire originating in or exported from India. - more

  Ufaleynikel, Russia's third-largest nickel producer, raised output of the metal to 14.144 tonnes last year from 13,773 tonnes in 2006, the company said in a statement seen by Reuters on Monday. - more

  Commodity analysts for French bank Natixis reckon that recent experience of markets in some base metals highlights that it only takes a minor change in sentiment/fundamentals to generate a very different price environment. - more

  The CNRT nickel is officially born Friday in Nouméa. It is about a national center of research and advice, that gathers scientific, industrial and public powers. 18 other CNRT exist in Metropolis, often dedicated to the industry, but none in the rest of the overseas. - translated version here

  China's crude steel production increased by 10.2% year on year to 44.68 million mt in April 2008, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China web site.- more

  • Chinese ferrochrome market has slowed down in recent 3 weeks, owing to sluggish downstream stainless steel market. - more

  Japan's big Sumitomo Metal Mining company plans to build a High Pressure Acid Leaching plant in the country if there’s viable limonite ore deposits. - more

  It feels like Christmas here every day. Everybody is in a rush. And everybody seems to have money to spend. - more

  • Up a winding road off the Trans-Canada Highway, then down a hill and tucked into the corner of a Sudbury industrial park, is a mining-equipment plant where a city's boom flourishes. - more

  Stop worrying about demand. Look to the supply side to see why copper, iron, oil, natural-gas and fertilizer stocks all have more boom times ahead. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available here (if not check this daily report under nickel here) (charts)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days here (if not check this daily report under nickel here)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities Price - available here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only
Friday, May 16
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • All daily inventory and official price information moved to morning update.
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 392 to 11,459. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • The University of Michigan/Reuters consumer sentiment index fell to 59.5 in May from 62.6 in April. Housing starts showed a surprising jump in April, but with every report coming out "seasonably adjusted", traders are taking a much closer look at these reports than before. A recent report that stated gas prices had fallen 2% in April, and an earlier report, that stated that unemployment in construction in the US was stronger this year than last, has forced traders to wonder about how much of these reports are valid, and how much they might be politically flavored. In both of the cases mentioned above, the initial reaction of the market was to bounce up, then back off when they started reading the find print. An economist was quoted in the Wall Street Journal site "The headline increase in starts means nothing; it is all due to a rebound in the hugely volatile, but essentially trendless, multi-family sector, where starts plunged 35.1% in March and then jumped 36.0% in April." (more)Traders apparently agreed, and the Dow was down after the news. All the negative news out of the US took the dollar lower, which helped money stir its way into commodities. While the recent streak of daily breaking records by tin came to an end on profit taking, the rest of the base metals and precious metals were mostly green. Nickel climbed into positive territory, even after the LME recorded its first inbound shipment of nickel in a few weeks. According to Dow Jones, three month nickel ended the day at $11.95/lb . For the week, nickel ended 1.24% lower.
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones - more
  • As can be seen by these official reports from the USGS, earthquakes continue to rock the Sichuan region here. 9 so far today, 5 of which have been 4.5 or stronger. More photo's (latter pages show more damage and less graphic photo's) 1 2 3 4 5 photo showing quakes since May 12 in region here Tropical Storm Halong is heading for Japan here

  21st Century Business Herald quoted Mr Jianlong executive of Tangshan Steel as saying that Hebei provincial government has already convened a meeting to discuss the output reduction and 42 small companies from steel, cement, glasses sector are to be shut down during the Olympic Games. - more

  Finnish stainless steel group Outokumpu Oyj said on Friday (16 May) that it has decided to invest EUR10m in new equipment at its long products finishing facility in Sheffield, in the UK. - more

  In the bull market across industrial commodities (and more recently the soft commodities), the role of the individual fundamentals can sometimes get "lost". - more

  Gladstone Pacific Nickel Ltd., planning a A$3.65 billion ($3.5 billion) nickel refinery and mine in Australia, may seek to sell a stake to its Chinese partner to speed development. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:45 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.01/lb higher. Dollar is trading lower, and except for tin, base and precious metals are selling in the green this morning. Indicator charts show nickel sentiment appears to want to go higher, but is so far having a hard time finding solid footing to base any climb. Rotterdam received a shipment of nickel in overnight, but not enough to take inventories back to the 50,000 tonne level.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Forbes - more
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - " LME metals were higher yesterday, as the weaker dollar and the unfolding ramifications from the Chinese earthquake lent a firmer tone to the markets.  ... We are seeing much the same story today, as the dollar is weaker once again, while continued concerns about the Chinese quake is lending underlying support to metals.  ... In the meantime, the quake’s toll continues to mount, with estimates on the number of dead now at 50,000, as the country mobilizes a national rescue effort on an unprecedented scale. With this tragedy dominating the headlines for a while, we would have to suspect that the firmer tone in metals will continue at least into next week, until such time that the markets get a better sense of how much production is lost, and more importantly, when the sidelined production will come back on stream. ... Nickel is at $26,400, up $95, and quiet." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC) forecasts that there will be no big ups and downs in nickel price this year - Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC) forecasts that there will be no big ups and downs in nickel price this year, but the price is likely to rebound slightly in the short term. The nickel price will maintain low for a long time. Compared with sharp fluctuation in 2007, the nickel price will be general steady this year, MOC said." - more

  It is reported that South Africa is considering imposing a US$50/ton export duty on chrome ore. - more

  Universal Stainless & Alloy Products, Inc. today announced base price increases of 3% to 5% on all stainless and high-strength low alloy grade products manufactured at its Bridgeville and Dunkirk facilities. The increase will be effective with all new orders entered on June 1, 2008. Current material and energy surcharges will remain in effect. - more

  • Carpenter Technology Corporation today announced that it will increase base prices an average of 7 percent on all premium-melted alloys and 3 – 6 percent for specialty stainless steels in all product forms. - more

  Jinchuan Group Limited, the largest nickel producer in Asia, lowered the nickel price from 228,000 yuan/ton to 218,000 yuan/ton on May 15, Shanghai Securities News reported. - more


Nickel price 2008 thru May 15

  Opponents of the Goro Nickel project in New Caledonia’s south now say they are prepared to negotiate an agreement with the company leaders by mid-July. - more

  China's chrome ore and nickel markets Review and Outlook (from 4/4/08) - translated version here (if page freezes, push translating... link)

  Steel companies for now continue to raise prices and forecast more increase in the rest of the year. ArcelorMittal is asking for 720 euros per ton for flat carbon steel and ThyssenKrupp hinted another price hike if raw material prices keep rising. - more

  • ThyssenKrupp AG. expects to substantially raise steel prices during the third and fourth quarters to offset spiraling raw material costs, chief financial officer Ulrich Middelmann said. - more

  There are four fronts in the battle for pricing power in the iron ore market: BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Fortescue, and spot market for iron ore. It's hard to tell who is winning...or what losing really means. - more

  Mining Week in British Columbia is a celebration of the contribution this industry makes to the well being of all British Columbians. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available here (if not check this daily report under nickel here) (charts)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days here (if not check this daily report under nickel here)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities Price - available here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only
Thursday, May 15
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • All daily inventory and official price information moved to morning update.
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 418 to 11,068. (chart) (this is a new record high, beating the old record of 11,039 - article and another)
  • Live dollar trading today - here (in java) (chart of dollar index)
  • Federal Reserve reported industrial production dropped 0.7 percent last month, more than double the decline that economists had expected. In part of this report, output in the U.S. mining sector declined by 0.8 percent. Labor Department reported that for the week ending May 3, the total number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits had risen by 28,000 to 3.06 million, the third straight week that this figure has been above 3 million. In Europe, the statistical agency Eurostat put Eurozone 1st quarter GDP growth at a sequential rate of 0.7%, faster than 0.4% recorded in the final quarter of 2007. This helped the Euro gain on the Dollar. Then the European Central Bank President Jean-Claude stated that the second quarter numbers would be "less flattering". This hurt the Euro, and much of the earlier gains evaporated (more). Metals stayed green though, except for nickel, which indicator charts show most of the day in the red zone. As you can see by Sucden's chart (chart), nickel has leaned heavily on the $26,450/tonne support line over the past few days, but based off today's closing as slipped below. According to Dow Jones, three month nickel ended the day at $11.93/lb .  
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones - more
  • Reuters - more
  • China Earthquake - Situation Map (from 13 May) - pdf here China agency reported today that death toll from this weeks earthquake may reach 50,000. Tuhigh.com is a Chinese version of Flickr and is carrying many photo's of the earthquake aftermath. Be warned though. Some of these photo's are very graphic and shows scenes we in the West find 'uncomfortable' or 'offensive' here. One especially painful photo for any parent to see very graphic

  China Iron & Steel Association Thursday asked domestic steel mills and iron ore traders to boycott Rio Tinto PLC's (RTP) spot iron ore sales, as the company isn't fully meeting its long-term contract supply obligations with Chinese firms. - more

  • Rio Tinto last night slammed Chinese steelmakers over increasingly aggressive negotiating tactics, after the China Iron & Steel Association called for its members to boycott the Anglo-Australian mining group's spot sales of iron ore. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.05/lb lower. Dollar is edging down against the Euro, and except for nickel, indicators show all the other metals are trading in the green this morning. Tin has already set a new price record, its 6th in the last 8 trading days.    
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Forbes - more
  • AFX News - more

  Reports

  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. Market Report - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "LME metals closed lower yesterday, as markets drifted into a "wait and see" mode with respect to the ramifications of the earthquake in China on metal production. The group's main drivers from earlier this week- lead and zinc - both lost ground yesterday. The dollar was not much of factor, giving up earlier gains after a CPI report showed that prices rose by 0.2% in April, less than the 0.3% gain expected. This morning, we are swinging back towards the upside, but trading lacks conviction, with prices hemmed in within narrow trading bands in most of the metals. A weaker dollar is supporting the complex, but a distinct lack of buying out of China, especially on the copper side, is keeping the upside potential in check. ... Nickel is at $26,600, up $50, and quiet.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  The Seamless Stainless Tube Trade Action Committee (SSTTAC) today released a report titled "Rigging the Game: A Report on Chinese Government Subsidies to Seamless Stainless Steel Tubing Producers." - more  (The SSTTAC authorized 'Stainless Steel News' to post the 75 page report and you can download it here)

  Because of the higher import price of stainless scrap and weak demand for stainless steel, major stainless steel mills in China plan to reduce their output in May. - more

  Officials of New Caledonia, a nickel-rich French territory, are in the country to seek economic cooperation with the Philippines to augment its needs for human resources for the establishment of another $4-billion nickel plant and other infrastructure requirements. - more

  Over the last 3 decades, premature deterioration of reinforced concrete structures has become a serious problem worldwide due to corrosion of the embedded steel. The estimated cost of repair is in excess of USD 550 billion. - more

  China's steel mills and trading companies on Thursday were urged to boycott iron ore mined by Rio Tinto Ltd/Plc and sold in spot markets as negotiations drag on over long-term contracts. - more

  Philippine authorities are trying to iron out differences between BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and a local joint venture partner over the development of a nickel mine in the country, Mines and Geosciences Bureau director Horacio Ramos said Thursday. - more

  Average steel prices will likely top 100,000 yen ($952.47) a ton for the first time, leading to more expensive cars, electronic appliances and other products, sources said Wednesday. - more

  (comment - watch the dollar. This kind of talk hurts the dollar which typically boosts commodity prices) Americans are feeling a lot more economic pain than the government's official statistics would lead you to believe, according to a growing number of experts. - more

  • The Overnight Report: Cookin' The Books - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available here (if not check this daily report under nickel here) (charts)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days here (if not check this daily report under nickel here)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities Price - available here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only
Wednesday, May 14
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • All daily inventory and official price information moved to morning update.
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 295 to 10,649. (chart) (article)
  • Live dollar trading today - here (in java) (chart of dollar index)
  • Dollar gained against the Euro today, and metals responded accordingly. Nearly all were trading in the red, with nickel no different. According to indicator charts, our morning report that nickel was attempting a recovery held true, and while gaining back around 1/2 of its earlier losses, that was about all it could pull off. Reports show LME inventory numbers took another hit, and while there is a long way to go before the figures would get overly concerning, considering the demand is down, and supply channels are apparently running full bore, it is puzzling. For the day, according to the Dow Jones report below, three month nickel ended the day at $12.02/lb    
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones - more
  • AFX - more
  • Forbes - more
  • Reports out of China this morning say dangerous cracks have been discovered in the Zipingku Dam, and 2000 troops have been dispatched to patch it. Here is a Google Map photo of the dam here. The number reported killed in the earthquake so far is officially 14,886, but this number is expected to pale in comparison to those yet to be removed from the rubble. Thousands are yet to be accounted for. The official toll from the Burmese cyclone was updated today to 38,491 killed with 27,838 still missing. With so many suffering, the price of nickel just does not seem to be that important today.  

  Reports

  • Standard Bank Commodities Research Weekly - pdf here
  • Rand Merchant Bank Base Metals Weekly - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here

  Vale, the world's biggest iron ore producer, will enhance its presence in Japan and other Asian countries by improving logistics to vie with its key rivals BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Ltd., Vale Chief Executive Officer Roger Agnelli said Wednesday. - more

  Nickel - Major market developments in April - Rising supply, high stocks and lower than expected consumption from the key stainless steel industry point to weaker nickel prices in the coming months, analysts say. - more

  Landless Brazilian peasants ended their blockade of a railroad run by mining company Vale on Wednesday after a daylong protest that caused trade losses worth at least $22 million. - more

  Planned expansions by major iron ore producers will not be enough to curb prices as China raises steel output and steel sector margins are big enough to pay more for raw materials, an industry conference has heard. - more

  (comment - here is a problem American builders wish they had) The resources boom has pushed up residential property prices in some mining towns by more than 44 per cent in the past year. - more

  Tim Jones argues that the intrinsic value, solidity and aesthetics of metals is being overlooked. It’s time we valued metal. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.12/lb lower. Inventories continue to slide, but so does the Euro against the Dollar, and thus the bounce of yesterday has fizzled. Indicator charts show nickel was sliding hard until recently, and has since began to recover some of its morning losses. News that even pig nickel producers in China are complaining about it being slow. We have added a photo we found in Shanghai Daily last night. Little difficult to see, but its a single photo that says so much about the pain and suffering of the Chinese people in general, and one family, in particular. The death toll has climbed to nearly 15,000, and expected to go much higher, but the much of the world's attention has been focused on the crumpled school and concern for the 900 trapped children.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • AFX News - more
  • Photo - A mother cries for help for her child trapped in debris at Hanwang Township - article and photo here

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - here
  • GFMS Market Analysis: Nickel - here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "LME prices finished higher yesterday expect for a surprising fade in copper, which lost about $130/MT over the course of the day to close about $40/MT in the red. However, the rest of the group held on, with zinc looking particularly strong, up $130 on the day, as it was the hardest hit by China’s earthquake. ... This morning, we are selling off in metals, and even zinc has given up earlier gains to trade lower after a limit-up session in Shanghai. ... The dollar is stronger today, taking its toll on precious and base metals, but energy markets are down only modestly. Mining shares are up sharply in the UK, particularly BHP’s stock, which rose 7% today on rumors that Chinese buyers were accumulating a 10% stake. ... Nickel is at $26,600, down $450. Charts still look weak, and we will likely push lower from here." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Scotia Capital China Update - "Some clients asked us why we take a neutral view on nickel while we remain more positive for the rest of the base metals. The latest development in China’s stainless steel market could partially answer this question. Last week, China’s main stainless steel mills were cutting prices in order to realign themselves with the weaker market. Taiyuan Iron and Steel cut its 304-grade stainless by RMB1,300-RMB1,500/tonne month over month, or about 4.5%. China’s two largest stainless steel mills, Taiyuan and Baosteel, as well as the Chinese units of Posco, recently announced a 50% cut of the supply of 300-series products to agents and distributors in May compared with April in an attempt to reduce market surplus pressure. In contrast to the 300-series, which uses nickel, the ex-works price for other products, such as 400-series cold-rolled sheet and hot-rolled sheet, was raised by some RMB300-RMB500/tonne on May 1 due to the firmness of ferrochrome prices. Other than the sluggishness in China’s 300-series stainless steel market, we cannot get excited about nickel because of the increasing use of low-grade nickel ore. As we reported earlier, Chinese users have significantly improved the efficiency of ore processing by using electric furnaces."

  China's ferronickel companies, suppliers of main material of stainless steel, are pessimistic about the market due to the low demand for stainless steel.- more

  Albidon's Munali nickel project in Zambia will produce its first concentrate this weekend and production will reach 10,500 tonnes per year by 2010, Managing Director Dale Rogers said. - more

  The actual quantities of chrome ore and ferro-chrome imported by China in the first quarter (January - March) of 2008 were known and the increased imports from South Africa are remarkable. - more

  The world iron ore industry is dominated by three major international suppliers: Brazil's Companhia Vale do Rio Doce and two Australian producers BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. These three contribute around 80 percent of the world's sea-borne iron ore that are shipped into emerging markets such as China. - more

  The economic slowdown in the US is not expected to affect the global steel market or Brazilian steelmakers, according to Renato Vallerini, director of sales to external markets for Belo Horizonte-based integrated steelmaker Usiminas. - more

  Blurb - The industrial output of China's major enterprises grew 15.7 percent year-on-year in April, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Wednesday.

  The mining industry could top last year's record number of mergers and acquisitions with more than US$250 billion ($325 billion) worth of takeovers this year as demand from Asia inspires an unprecedented land-grab in the sector. - more

  The country's boreal forest and mining communities are on the brink of environmental devastation unless mining companies and senior levels of government act now, say two mining industry watchdogs. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available here (if not check this daily report under nickel here) (charts)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days here (if not check this daily report under nickel here)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities Price - available here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only
Tuesday, May 13
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • All daily inventory and official price information moved to morning update.
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 134 to 10,354. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading today - here (in java) (chart of dollar index)
  • The dollar was up against the Euro as US retail sales figures came in better than expected. Zinc prices jumped around 7% today, in part on news that China had ordered mines in the quake area shut down, and in part, because of a strike in Africa. Other metals were mixed, except for tin, which hasn't needed a new reason to break its price record daily. Copper traders are watching Peru and Chile closely for more strike potential. Nickel apparently got a morale boost overnight, when inventories stocked in LME warehouses fell under the 50,000 tonne level for the first time since March 31st. While the overnight decline was less than 1% of the total, the 50,000 tonne level was treated as a psychological price mover when inventories were rising, so we can expect traders to treat it equally on the way down. Inventories have now fallen nearly 4-1/2% since April 23rd. We find it concerning that inbound nickel shipments have dried up recently. So far this month, Rotterdam has seen the sole inbound shipment of 24 tonnes. It would be easy to play the conspiracy theorist and accuse nickel miners of stockpiling, but we feel that anyone muttering that allegation in this market, would be an absurd accusation. Although we have seen no announcement, Norilsk should be facing its annual month long shutdown of nickel shipments because of flooding on the Yenisey River at anytime now. In years past, we have seen a surge of inventory arriving into LME warehouses right before this shutdown. That trend has not repeated itself this year, which could mean the supply/demand picture is much tighter than originally thought.  For today, three month nickel ended the day at $12.25/lb , according to the Dow Jones report below.
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones - more

  Comments

  • (opinion) There are a few cases ongoing that are setting an incredibly dangerous precedent and mining companies, specifically US, should keep a weary eye on what is unfolding. Last year, Chiquita revealed to the US government that it had been forced to pay extortion money to both left and right-wing paramilitary group's in Colombia. After paying a fine to the US government, relatives of people killed in Colombia are now suing Chiquita. (here) And this week, the US Supreme Court was unable to overturn a lower court ruling allowing South African victims to sue 23 U.S. multinational corporations on the grounds that the companies collaborated with the policy of apartheid. (here) Neither of these cases are new (the South Africa case has been tied up in court for at least 5 years), but they both appear to be potentially going to trial soon. Now that this can of worms is open, are there any corporation doing business overseas that are safe? If you invest billions into a mine in Indonesia, and all of a sudden the military in that country says you will need to pay a tax for protection, do you become responsible for the actions that military takes by paying? Or if the military is non-existent in the area and a terrorist group take control, do you pay them to leave you alone, or do you shut down the mine? Are there not mining companies today, that are alleged to have paid, and possibly still paying, this type of "tax" (extortion) to foreign military's? And what define's a terrorist organization? One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, and if the balance of power in that country switches, was the terrorist of yester-years, now the legitimate government of today? If successful in the US, will 'victims' begin to look to other country's corporations for compensation?   

  London-based Natixis Commodity Market's latest quarterly metals review has forecast a mixed bag for base metals in 2008 with zinc and nickel prices likely to come down by 27.7 per cent and 30.1 per cent, respectively, from their average last year. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.03/lb higher this morning. Indicator charts show nickel has recently peaked out  a daily high, and is currently retreating. In other metals, precious metals are all trading down, while the entire base metals complex is up, tin setting yet another record high.    
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Forbes - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • TD Bank Weekly Commodity Price report - pdf here
  • EDC Weekly Commodity rice Report - pdf here
  • Reuters Metal Weekly - pdf here
  • Desjardins Commodity Trends - pdf here
  • Bombay Metal Market Month in Review - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "LME prices rose sharply yesterday on the back of a weaker dollar and an overdue technical bounce after several days of weakness. Moreover, news of a massive earthquake hitting China ’s Sichuan province also sparked some short covering yesterday. More color on the quake situation is coming our way today. In this regard, Chinese research firm Antaike said overnight that some zinc smelters in China have halted production in the aftermath of the quake, and that up to 500,000 tons of zinc capacity has been impacted. This contrasts with initial reports out yesterday that the province was mainly agrarian, and not heavily dotted with smelter facilities. Nevertheless, it is quite understandable for metal markets to get nervous given that a staggering 12,000 people may have died, not to mention the innumerable logistical problems caused by blocked roads and downed telephone lines. This morning, LME metals are higher despite a stronger dollar and lower energy prices. The relative laggards of recent weeks-- zinc and lead -- are particularly strong today. ... After today’s initial burst higher, we expect most metals to settle into a sideways drift, as the various crosscurrents at play should prevent a decisive move in either direction. Although the Chinese disruptions are supportive in the short-term, they could lose their potency over the course of the week as the impact of the initial shock dissipates, and focus returns on recovery/restart efforts, not to mention Chinese metals demand prospects, which still seem spotty at best. ... Nickel is at $27,000, up $450. Despite today’s move higher, charts still look weak, with nickel really being dragged higher by the rest of the group." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Quote from book - 'The International Nickel Trade by By Simon Clow published by Woodhead Publishing 1992' - "The early stages of industrialisation are normally accompanied by a sharp rise in nickel consumption expressed per unit of GDP. As industrialisation advances, the consumption growth tends merely to match the growth in GDP. In more mature economies, nickel consumption per unit of GDP starts to slip as demand in the economy is focused increasingly on the service sector."

  Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (Freeport) of the USA announced that the Company is scheduled to produce 75 million lbs. per annum of molybdenum in molybdenum concentrate in the calendar year (January - December) of 2008, increasing by 5 million lbs. compared with that in the preceding year of 2007, but has already sold 85% of the output of molybdenum in concentrate as planned to produce in 2008 on the basis of yearly contracts or quarterly contracts. - more

  The Koniambo nickel site in the north of New Caledonia has again been blocked by local truck drivers who are upset about not getting contracts. - more

  Brazilian mining and metals giant Vale is considering building two new steel plants in northern Brazil's Pará and Maranhão states, a company official said Monday. - more

  India's government may scrap levies on steel-product exports after the companies agreed to lower prices to help cool the fastest inflation in more than three years. - more

  Courtesy AISI - "In the week ending May 10, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,136,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 89.5 percent. Production was 2,121,000 tons in the week ending May 10, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 88.4 percent. The current week production represents a 0.7 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending May 10, 2008 is up 1.8 percent from the previous week ending May 3, 2008 when production was 2,098,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 88.0 percent."

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available here (if not check this daily report under nickel here) (charts)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days here (if not check this daily report under nickel here)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities Price - available here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only
Monday, May 12
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 17 to 10,220. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading today - here (in java) (chart of dollar index)
  • Markets were watching news out of southwest China closely after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake did extensive damage. Many  thousands have been killed and injured. (China Daily) (Shanghai Daily) (USGS Earthquake Monitor) All the talk about the Fed potentially raising interest rates to combat inflation, seemingly evaporated over the weekend, as the talk shifted back to concerns they make actually need to cut rates more to stimulate the U.S. economy. With that kind of speculation, the dollar fell against the Euro.
  • On the chart we have been following (here) nickel has clearly fallen out of the squeeze, and below the top 3 trend lines. The squeeze had forecast a major movement, but not which way the price would go. Now we know. The only remaining trend line is for $23,100/tonne ($10.48/lb), which is very low. We may see the chart trend lines updated over the next few days. Ed Meir, of Sucden, puts a new support at $11.75/lb and resistance at $12.61/lb. Indicator charts show nickel had a tumultuous ride today, going up, then down, and repeating this action much of the day. Late in the day, RBC was quoted in Forbes "After the large systematic selling seen last week, traders have started to buy back some of their short positions, causing prices to edge higher,' said analysts at RBC Capital Markets". This wasn't enough to pull nickel out of the basement. Dow Jones reports below that three month nickel ended the day at $12.02/lb  
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones - more
  • Opinion - Our thoughts are with the Chinese people today, and they have our very best wishes and hopes.

  Reports

  • Behre Dolbear Global Mining News updated - here

  Commodity Comments

  • Copyright/courtesy Reuters - " Analysts said that while risk appetite had picked up, many investors stayed cautious about the health of the global economy and financial systems. "Maybe some participants are thinking that they have priced in a bit too much weakness in the U.S.," said Citigroup currency strategist David Pais in London, adding: "Our own sense is that the slowdown in the U.S. is going to be a lot worse because it's very much the epicenter of the financial market problems and the housing market problems."
  • Molybdenum - (had a reader send us a  quote from Blackmont Capital's Commodity Price Update report from April.) "We continue to believe the price of moly will move up strongly from the current $33/lb level and reach $50/lb. However our $50/lb average for 2008 is too aggressive. Consequently, we are revising our 2008 forecast to $40/lb. This level requires an average price of $42.40/lb for the rest of the year. We continue to be positive on the moly market, especially now as China has implemented an export tax (20% on ferro-moly and 15% on other moly products) and export quota system (approximately 58 mm lb moly for 2008) on the metal. Antaike, a major metal research group in China, estimates that moly exports from China in 2008 will be approximately 66 mm lb (higher than the quota due to some contracts that were signed before the quota), i.e. 10% lower than 2007. Longer term, we expect the RMB’s appreciation to curtail Chinese expansion. As China produces approximately 30% of the world’s moly supply, we have increased our long term moly price, starting in 2012, by $1/lb or 7% to $16/lb."

  Chinese state-owned steel firms reportedly want to buy a stake in Australian iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd, the latest overture by Beijing to wield more control over raw material supplies from the Australian outback. - more

  • The first ship to load iron ore produced by Fortescue Metals Group will dock on Thursday at Port Hedland in Western Australia. It will leave with 170,000 tonnes of ore, bound for Baosteel in Shanghai. - more

  The Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda) will this year again organise the stainless steel industry’s flagship biennial event: The Stainless Steel Awards. - more

  Coal in Eastern U.S. spot markets climbed to a record for a fifth consecutive week as European power producers sought additional supplies and domestic utilities began replenishing inventories. - more

  Nippon Steel Corp. and four other Japanese steelmakers will more than double cost cuts this fiscal year amid a surge in raw materials prices, the Nikkei English News reported, citing industry officials it didn't identify. - more

  March 2003 - Approving locations for LME warehouses - here

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around  $.05/lb lower. Metals are trading in another mixed bag this morning. Indicators show precious mostly lower, with base metals mostly higher. Indicator charts show nickel attempted to make a come back after an early morning slump, and while it did make it into the green for a time, it has since retreated. With the news of last week that stainless steel production is being curbed in China, and not because of the Olympics, traders will find it difficult to turn the market bullish without a major supply disruption. The single slightly bullish news? Nickel inventories stored in LME warehouses continue to decline, and could fall below 50,000/tonnes this week.    
  • Forbes morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • Natixis Metals Review - pdf here
  • Haywood Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here
  • Brook Hunt Monthly Nickel Report - here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - here
  • The World Bank Commodity Markets Review - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "LME metals came under pressure again on Friday, with prices never really recovering their form after the massive stock increases noted in copper earlier in the day. Once again, metals ignored both a weaker dollar and soaring energy prices to finish lower. Lead was particularly weak, falling to an 11-month low, while zinc dipped to a six-month trough. There was weakness in nickel as well, but tin and ali held on to modest gains. This morning, we are stronger across the board despite a stronger dollar and weaker energy prices. The dollar is up fractionally against the Euro, but has made more noticeable gains against both the Australian and New Zealand currencies. ... We suspect that with the relatively neutral Chinese trade data behind us, the strength we are seeing in metals so far today could recede over the course of the day, as a slightly stronger dollar exerts itself over the complex. In addition, energy prices are down modestly this morning, as the sector is severely overbought, so a likely correction here could unleash more selling in metals. ... Nickel is at $26,800, up $125; we have breached support at $27,800 for two days running, and now could see prices test support at $25,900, which lies along the support line extending back almost one year.. Support $25,900 and Resistance $27,800. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  Cr series alloys markets have been running on a high track since the year beginning and ferrochrome price has presented overwhelming upswings in the January to April 2008 period, spurred by both robust demand and increased cost. - more

  Stainless steel maker Jindal Stainless has signed a joint venture agreement with Indonesia-based PT Antam Tbk to develop a nickel smelting and stainless steel facility in North Konawe, South East Sulawesi at an investment of Rs 3000 crore.. - more

  China imported 541,000 tonnes of chrome ore concentrate in March 2008, generally the same as that in March 2007 and up by 3.6% MoM. Total chrome ore imports in the January to March 2008 quarter amounted to 1.66 million tonnes up by 15.7% YoY. - more

  Japan's Imports Of Stainless In March 2008 Remained On Similar Level To That In Feb. / 08 - more

  The Goro Nickel company in New Caledonia says it will wait for another two months to see if an agreement to complete its project can be reached. - more

  Sudbury paying environmental price for ongoing mining activities; City not reaping enough financial benefits from mining boom, watchdogs say - more

  HS Frech Hoch AG of Switzerland announced that it supplies 136 containers, made from Outokumpu stainless steel, for a Swiss railway tunnel to house electromechanical equipment under demanding environmental conditions. - more

  Waiting in their cars or on broken sidewalks, the blue-jeaned crowd has turned out for a parade. But they could pass for mourners at a funeral. - more (note - hours after this story was posted, the little town of Picher, OK was nearly wiped out by a deadly F-4 tornado)

  Though campaigners are pleased that Prime Minister Helen Clark raised human rights issues with Philippines president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during a brief visit to the country earlier this month, the fight goes on against the mining companies accused of some of the abuses. New Zealander Paul Finlayson is at the centre of the protests in one remote area.  - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available here (if not check this daily report under nickel here) (charts)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days here (if not check this daily report under nickel here)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities Price - available here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only
Friday, May 9
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 16 to 10,237. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading today - here (in java) (chart of dollar index)
  • The Associated Press reported today - "The U.S. trade deficit narrowed sharply in March as demand for imports fell by 2.9%, the largest one-month decline since December 2001..." The dollar weakened in response, but not by much, as the world market began to speculate that U.S. interest rates might be raised to combat inflation. Typically, a weaker dollar would be good for commodities trading, but except for oil going over $126/barrel for the first time ever earlier in the day, metals trading remained mixed. Base metals, except for record breaking tin, were mostly lower, with nickel spending another trading day in the cellar. For the day, according to the Dow Jones report below, three month nickel ended the day, and week, at $12.10/lb .
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones - more
  • Have a safe and restful weekend!

  Soft demand drags metals lower, tin at new peak - more

  Commodity Comments

  • "Nickel headed for the biggest loss in seven weeks as demand weakened in China, the world's largest user of the metal." - "Jinchuan Group Co., Asia's biggest nickel producer, lowered the price of the refined metal by 3 percent because of slowing demand for Nickel use in stainless steel, the Gansu, western China-based company said today on its Web site."  - more
  • Courtesy/copyright Dow Jones - "A weaker dollar and record-high crude oil prices failed to arrest a slide in base metal prices that began overnight in Asia Friday .... LME nickel is trading lower due to follow-through technical selling after the poor close on Thursday, says a London trader. Adds "looks like it wants to try lower" having already fallen as much as 6.7%."

  ThyssenKrupp AG. is expected next Wednesday to release second-quarter net profit of 480 million euros, down 38 percent year on year on a profit slump in its stainless steel division. - more

  Russia's largest steel producer Severstal said Thursday it had finalized a deal to purchase the US-based Sparrows Point steel mill from ArcelorMittal for $810 million. - more

  The ceiling price on steel will be abolished effective Monday. - more

  The new rankings are out and Pittsburgh has been rated No. 1 when it comes to being sooty. The American Lung Association said the Pittsburgh area has the most polluted air in the nation, beating out the old standby smog capital of Los Angeles. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.27/lb   lower. The move we said should happen, is happening. Although we have to be honest, the market has been finding a 'reason' to break higher for so long, we are surprised it has started to accept the reality of the supply and demand picture and started to retreat. Indicator charts show the market has moved below the TL3 line already this morning (chart), and Ed Meir's from MF Global is already working on establishing a new support line. Nickel buyers will now most likely take a wait and see attitude, and let the downward shift find a new footing. We have linked to the 6 month Kitco nickel chart below, to give you an idea where we are in relation to the last 6 months. For nickel and stainless steel users, the months prior to this chart are a nightmare involving $23.50/lb nickel, and one they would like to forget.        
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Guardian - more

6 month nickel spot chart

1 year chart here / 5 year chart here

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "It was a peculiar day in the LME markets yesterday in that base metals finished mostly on a down note, (apart from tin) with copper prices falling to a one-week low, while lead lost $100 on the day. We say peculiar because the dollar receded from its highs, oil recovered from earlier losses, and even the US stock market finished higher as, ironically, it was the natural resource sector that lead equities higher. ...Although base metals are mixed at the time of this writing, we think the tone as it unfolds over the course of the next day or two will be lower, but this time with good reason.... The dollar is weaker today against the Euro today and this, along with firmer energy prices, is preventing what seems to be a more negative tone from setting in on metals.... Nickel is at $26,890, down $560; another close below $27,800 today (likely) will warrant a shift in our trading band as the charts indicate that the recent congestion band (within a larger congestion band ) has been decisively broken."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  Global prices of low carbon ferro-chrome have continued their climbing trend. - more

  Whether China’s stainless steel CR market could regain its strength since May, is the main focus for Japan stainless steel mills. - more

  • According to the latest figures, Japan exported 153,276 tons of stainless steel in March, up by 13.1 percent year-on-year but the figure decreased by 31.1 percent from last month. - more

  China's steel product exports jumped 14.9 percent month-on-month to 4.78 million tons in April 2008, according to preliminary statistics released today by the General Administration of Customs. - more

  Thompson Creek Metals said on Thursday its first-quarter profit eased slightly as higher molybdenum prices were offset by rising costs .... Cash costs per pound were $10.54 in the quarter, up from $8.59. - more (comment - for those hoping for $4/lb molybdenum again some day, we added the sentence about what it costs to mine now)

  Xinhua reported that Baosteel and Sichuan Mingda Group have signed long term cooperative agreement to jointly build ferrochrome strategic supply chain. - more

  Goro Nickel, owned by Brazilian mining giant Vale, has given itself until June or July to reach an agreement with opponents of its planned mine in New Caledonia. - more

  It is important to keep South Africa's mines at their highest possible production levels, which means reducing their power consumption from current levels is not an option, Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin said on Thursday. - more

  European Commission announces anti-dumping investigations on imports of wire rod from the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Moldova and Turkey - more

  Small and medium enterprises doubt if the latest decision by the steel producers to cut prices would bring any immediate benefit to them. - more

  The Indian government on Wednesday agreed not to enforce its earlier decision to impose export duties on steel and steel products. - more

  US-based mini-mill Steel Dynamics announced Thursday that its wholly owned subsidiary OmniSource and Recycle South have executed a definitive agreement whereby OmniSource will acquire the remaining equity in Recycle South for about $500 million. - more

  We can wait no longer to publicly address the impending minor metals crisis in the North American market. - more

  (headline only) Sinosteel to construct 500,000-ton nickel ore mine in Indonesia

  • (headline only) China's PPI surges 8.1 pct year-on-year in April
  • (leader only) It is reported that construction steel market, which has been flourishing in China since February has seen an evident decrease and the market is likely to start its correction. - MySteel

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available here (if not check this daily report under nickel here) (charts)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days here (if not check this daily report under nickel here)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Commodities Price - available here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only
Thursday, May 8
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • For all pricing and inventory numbers, see our morning update for links
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 117 to 10,221. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading today - here (in java) (chart of dollar index)
  • From yesterday afternoon, US consumer credit increased by $15.3 billion for the month to $2.56 trillion. Bloomberg stated "Consumers are turning to credit cards after banks tightened standards for home-equity loans and other borrowing. The March figures brought U.S. consumer borrowing in the first quarter to $34 billion, the most since the first three months of 2001, when the economy entered its last official recession."." Borrowing more on credit cards, losing value in their homes, and inflation running rampant. Sounds like a simple recipe for more tough economic times ahead. But hey, 2 of the 3 US Presidential candidates want to cut your 18.4 cents a gallon federal gas tax for three months to make life a whole lot better this summer. Sheesh! Today, March wholesale trade inventories were expected to rise 0.5%, but fell 0.1%. New unemployment claims were expected to come in at 370,000, but came in lower at 365,000. Discount retailers and warehouse wholesalers came in with sales better than expected for April, helped by an extra day. As expected, the European Central Bank left interest rates alone, which caused the dollar to retreat, after trading earlier in the day at an eight week high. And oil backed off a tad today, after OPEC got nervous about the price escalation and possible economic backlash, and reassured the markets it could produce more if necessary. Expect more food crisis' globally as the Myanmar disaster drove rice even higher.
  • Metals were a mixed bag today, with precious trading up, and except for tin, base metals sold lower. Nickel had an especially tough day, due in part to the news we posted on Tuesday, showing Chinese stainless steel producers were cutting production. The bulls had apparently been hoping the news would go away, but the bears pulled it out of the deck and played the card today. Nickel inventories give both a bearish picture, with a hint of bullishness. Since April 23rd, when LME warehouses recorded 52,308 tonnes on hand, a high for the year, they have slumped by 2-1/2%. This is bearish in the fact we simply have this much inventory, the most this century. The hint of bullishness comes from the fact that even with stainless steel producers not doing that well, the inventory is showing a consistency in its decline. It begs the question to be asked - where would inventories be if stainless steel production was going strong? Thus, the inventory numbers are starting to catch up with the bullish trader, at a time when the numbers are giving ever-so-slight hints of bullish behaviour. We do, however, disagree with the statement that an analyst at Barclay's made to Bloomberg this morning. We do not share his optimism that we will see a "recovery until late second quarter". Indicator charts show three month nickel slumped thru much of the day, and according to the Dow Jones report below, ended the day at $12.43/lb .   
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • (from this morning's Bloomberg report) "``Only European stainless-steel mills showed a demand pickup, not China and the U.S.,'' said Gayle Berry, an analyst at Barclays Capital in London. ``We don't expect a recovery until late second quarter.''

  (excerpt) The European Union executive said in the bloc's Official Journal it was investigating imports of steel wire rod from China, as well as from Moldova and Turkey, after a complaint from European manufacturers that they were being unfairly hurt by the competition. - more

  Kazakhstan's natural resources group Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. PLC said Thursday it has acquired a 50% stake in Xinjiang Tuoli Taihang Ferro-Alloy Co. Ltd., a Chinese ferroalloys producer, for $14.5 million in cash. - more (from press release - "ENRC is the holding company of a leading diversified natural resources group with integrated mining, processing, energy, logistical, and marketing operations. It is the world’s largest producer of ferrochrome, based on chrome content, the world’s sixth largest iron ore exporter by volume and world’s fifth largest supplier of traded alumina by volume (CRU and Heinz H. Pariser, 2006 data). For further information please see the Group’s website at www.enrc.com.)

  Resellers caught speeding by commission-hungry traffic cops could turn the situation into a sales opportunity, thanks to a new rugged removable RAID storage product being distributed by Hammer. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.36/lb lower. Nickel is getting hit hard today.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • Metal Investments Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - more
  • New Cantech Ventures Monthly Moly Letter - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal prices receded yesterday, taking their cue from a stronger dollar and ignoring, for the moment, yet another surge in crude oil markets where we saw prices tack on another $2/brl despite a set of rather bearish EIA inventory figures. The rise in energy prices has truly been remarkable, and is leading the general charge higher in a number of commodity sectors. Although some commodity groups occasionally divorce from the underlying upward trend in energy, as was the case with metals yesterday, it is hard to see a sustained divergence lasting for long.... The dollar is stronger once again this morning, hitting two-month highs against Euro and last trading at $1.5340. This is taking its toll today on both energy (down slightly by about 25c) and on metals, which have given up earlier gains and are now broadly lower.... Nickel is at $27,800, down $745; we have breached support at $27,800 and are watching to see the next two days of closes before adjusting our trading bands.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  Nickel fell for a second day in London as mining companies ramped up production, adding to a surplus, and stainless-steel makers cut back on purchases. - more

  According to Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association, South African stainless steel industry grew by just over 1% in 2007 to a total apparent consumption of 197,070 tonnes as against 194 916 tonnes in 2006. SASSDA said that after a strong first half of 2007, growth in apparent consumption has slowed as a result of higher stock and material price levels and nickel price volatility. - more

  ArcelorMittal Inox confirmed the news that the company will increase its stainless steel price by 30 percent in response to increasing raw material costs, such as iron ore, nickel and coal, over the next six months.  - more

  Official figures out today are expected to show the thriving mining sector has delivered another boost to Australia's employment boom.... The Commonwealth Bank's Chief Economist, Michael Blythe, says the overall strength of the economy has caused unemployment to fall to its lowest level in more than 30 years. - more

  Morning Statistics

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures - most days available here (if not check this daily report under nickel here) (charts)
  • London Metal Exchange inventory changes - most days here (if not check this daily report under nickel here)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  (charts)
Wednesday, May 7
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 249 to 10,104. (chart)
  • Nickel inventories - if interested in learning about yesterday's movements in LME stored nickel inventories, you can find the statistics here and here
  • News today - The president of the Kansas City Fed reportedly stated in a speech earlier that the threat of inflation might force the Fed to raise interest rates soon. This hint was good for the dollar. The European Central Bank meet tomorrow and are expected to hold interest rates steady. If they do, it will be good for the Euro. Euro zone retail sales fell . Good for the dollar. Manufactured orders in Germany and UK factory production down. Good for the dollar. US pending home sales down 20.1% so far this year. Bad for the dollar. UK consumer confidence fell. Good for the dollar. And what is good for the dollar these days, is not so good for metals. Metals traded lower today, across the board. Indicator charts show nickel fell into the red early, and was never able to pull itself out. For the day, according to the Dow Jones report below, three month nickel ended the day at $12.95/lb
  • For those frustrated by our inability to post the official prices daily, we have discovered that the BBC Daily Metal Price that we link to in the right column, posts "an" official price each day, very early in the day. They apparently post a number somewhere between the ask/bid price which for those who want a general number to track daily, is an excellent substitute for the real thing. We posted the bid price when we used to post, so if the bid was $25,000, the ask was typically around $25,050. BBC will post $25,025 as the official price. Divide this by 2204.6 and you have a very good official price per pound for the day. For those who actually buy nickel, and must know the exact price, apparently this is one price tag, you have to pay to see. Information is not only power, but in some cases, expensive.   
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones - more

  Reports

  • Standard Bank Commodities Weekly - pdf here

  Courtesy Rusmet - Imports of raw nickel into China in March, amounted to 9,808 tonnes. This is lower than February's totals of 13,052 tonnes, but higher than March of last year (7737 tonnes). In the first quarter, imports of raw nickel amounted to 35,688 tonnes, higher than the 29,559 it recorded in the first quarter of 2007.

  The U.S. Demand for metal may be “bottoming out,” according to analysts at Desjardins Securities, who add there have been “several positive signs” that the worst may be over for the American economy. - more

  Despite sluggish buying, cold-rolled sheet, Type 304, could rise 10% this month to $4270 per ton, 18% higher than it was in December. - more

  Turkey customs has released chrome ore export figures for the first 4 months of April 2008. For the first 1/3 of 2008, Turkey has exported 590,165 tonnes of chrome ore, compared to 453,056 tonnes during the same 4 month period of 2007. The largest increase's were seen in shipments to Russia (+107506 tonnes), Sweden (+60,150 tonnes), and Germany (+13,468 tonnes). This offset decreases seen in exports to China (-44,596 tonnes) and India (-4,419 tonnes). For April, the countries receiving the most exports were China (106,394 tonnes), Russia (118,006 tonnes) and Sweden (15,500 tonnes). Turkey shipped a total of 175,861 tonnes of chrome ore in April of 2008. (TY CO)

  Japan's Chubu Electric is expected to agree to a 94 percent price hike for thermal coal deliveries from China's two largest coal miners, industry sources said on Wednesday. - more

  Russian miner Norilsk Nickel has appointed seven banks as bookrunners to arrange a $1.3 billion, three-year syndicated loan that will partly refinance a $6 billion loan it secured last year to back its acquisition of Canadian nickel mining company, LionOre Mining International, banking sources said. - more

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

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.13/lb lower. Precious and base metals are all trading in the red this morning, with the US dollar gaining on the Euro.     
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Forbes - more
  • Guardian - more

  Reports

  • Metal Investments - US Dollar Which Direction - report here
  • Standard Bank Market Comment - here
  • Rand Merchant Bank Base Metals Weekly report - pdf here
  • Wachovia Commodity Prices in Historical Perspective - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Buyers flowed back into the commodity markets yesterday thanks mainly to a resurgent crude complex and a flagging dollar, but it is really energy that is setting the pace. In fact, prices have been on a tear so far in May, (up almost $10/brl this month alone), and against such a backdrop, it is difficult to envision any of the commodity complexes going the other way. ... On the US macro front, we get first quarter productivity readings out later today, followed by a March pending homes index, as well as consumer credit readings (expected at $6 billion). Out of Europe, we had reports that retail sales fell by their largest amount on record in March, down some 1.6% from a year earlier, and almost double the prevailing estimates. (This could be what is behind the stronger dollar today). Things look particularly grim in the UK, which reported another big decline in manufacturing today, followed by a series of equally disappointing figures out earlier in the week.... Nickel is at $28,400, down $500, and quiet today." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  Stainless steel surcharges for June were announced by AK Steel yesterday. Surcharges for 304 stainless steel fell from $1.6886/lb to $1.6701/lb, and 316 stainless steel surcharges fell from $2.6612/lb to $2.5978/lb. AK Steel issued the following average prices for April. Chrome rose from $2.2813/lb in March to $2.425/lb in April. Nickel fell from $33.40/lb in March to $32.85/lb in April. Molybdenum fell from $33.40/lb in March to $32.85/lb in April. Iron rose from $420/GT to $590/GT. more

  PT Sinosteel Indonesia Mining, a subsidiary of China's state-owned Sinosteel Corp., is in the initial stages of developing a 500,000-metric-ton nickel mine in central Sulawesi, with plans to mine nickel ore by the end of the year, a senior company official said Wednesday. - more

  India plans to boost 4.5 million tons stainless steel production capacity over the next five years and become the second largest stainless steel producer after China.  - more

  One liners

  • Low grade laterite nickel ore imported into China from the Philippines and Indonesia have seen their prices drop over the past week.
  • Japanese imports of stainless steel scrap dropped by 48.9% YoY to 10,727 tonnes in March 2008 as compared to March 2007.

  The North American steel industry has made significant gains in recent years but is now at a crossroads, says Keith Busse, the new chairman of the American Iron and Steel Institute. - more

  A drama which has occurred yesterday morning, to the mine of the Camp of the fir trees, came endeuiller the village the Thio one and the SLN. Yannick Mapéri, mechanic, were crushed by a back-digging shovel, then qu’it was in the car. L’employed died on the blow. - translated version here (original French here)

  Despite the credit crunch hitting large sections of corporate activity and global trade, the metals and mining sector is rolling ahead at full speed and the financing is moving with it. - more

  London Metal Exchange inventory figures - available here (charts) Yesterday's official prices here (chart)

  Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - 235000-239500 plus 500 (charts)

Tuesday, May 6
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • LME official prices - (since the London Metal Exchange apparently decides on a day to day basis whether it will update its site with the day's official prices either when it closes in the evening, or when it opens the next day, we have moved the day old price link to the morning update.)  
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 274 to 9,855. (chart)
  • Nickel inventories - if interested in learning about yesterday's movements in LME stored nickel inventories, you can find the statistics here and here
  • Here are some morning bylines that set the metals trading stage - Bloomberg -"Business bankruptcy filings in the U.S. increased 49 percent in April from a year earlier, the biggest gain so far in 2008, as the slowing economy prompted more companies to shut down." Guardian - "Fannie Mae on Tuesday cut its dividend and set plans to raise $6 billion in fresh funds to weather the severe U.S. housing market slump, driving its shares and the broader U.S. stock market lower. The company, the largest provider of U.S. home financing, also posted a deeper-than-expected quarterly loss, its third in a row, and said it expected more trouble ahead." Australian Business - "Here, and abroad, the risks are that inflation is re-emerging from its lengthy hibernation." Hemscott - "Dollar weakness has encouraged some investors to buy into hard commodities of late, in a bid to hedge against weakness in the U.S. currency and rising inflation." AFP - "Oil prices hit a record high 122 dollars on Tuesday as the market was driven by recent unrest in key producer Nigeria and a struggling US currency, traders said."  RTT News - "The U.S. dollar extended previous session's losses versus most of its major counterparts during early New York trading Tuesday."
  • With the dollar down, it was to be expected that base and precious metals would probably trade well, and except for tin, they did not disappoint. Indicators shows nickel was trading nervously in the green for most of the morning, when it took a nearly 500 point dive in mid afternoon trading, before returning to the green. Supply hindering news that Xstrata's production of nickel dropped 15% last quarter apparently offset the demand hindering news from China that stainless steel production was being cut during May. Market appears to be trading between the TL2 and TL3 lines now, having fallen from the 'squeeze zone' here. Ed Meir of MF Global has resistance at $15.42/lb and support at $12.61/lb. Trading appears to be gearing itself up to test support. For the day, Dow Jones advises that three month nickel ended the day at $13.11/lb .
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones - more
  • Thomson Financial - more

  Reports

  • Patersons Nickel Sulphide Miners - pdf here (posted by Minesite - first 3 pages of info for investors, balance has some good info for nickel users)
  • Behre Dolbear Global Mining News - here

  Commodity Comments

  • (excerpt) "We are loathe to be long base metals in general at the moment as prices are elevated by speculative length and the prospects of ongoing production disruption and consumer demand is soft," said UBS analyst John Reade." - more
  • Scotia Capital in their 'China Commodities Weekly' stated the following - in reference to China's outlook for the second half of 2008 , they stated, "The short answer is: we remain “nervous” for 2H/08. Although it might be too early to talk about the downside risk for Chinese economy and the global raw materials sectors, the risk should no longer be totally beyond investors’ radar screen." and for materials, they stated, "On sectors, we are now bullish on coking coal, iron ore, copper, zinc, aluminum, molybdenum, oil, methanol, DAP, urea, soybean, and hardwood pulp. We are neutral on wheat, corn, potash, ethylene, steel, and nickel." - more

  Balasore Alloys Ltd, a major player in the international Ferro Chrome market, has notched up an impressive growth of 435.59% in its net profit at Rs. 3329.11 lacs for the 15 months period ended 31st March, 2008,... - more

  • Balasore Alloys Ltd has announced that the Board of Directors of the Company at its meeting held on April 30, 2008, has unanimously given their consent for the expansion plan. - more

  We are a Chinese company in Beijing, we have many long-term customers who need stainless steel waste material (304#) for long-terms, so we import the stainless steel waste material for long times. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.02/lb higher . Indicator charts also show the trading of nickel has been erratic this morning , with sharp rally's followed by equally sharp drops. Market appears to be trying to find its legs after the holiday break. Reuters prints an article below confirming the stainless steel production cut-back's in China. Australian media is once again reporting China is ready to accept an 85% increase in iron ore from BHP and Xstrata, 20% more than China and Vale agreed to earlier.    
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • S&P Commodity Perspective April 2008 - pdf here
  • Canada Commodity Price Update - pdf here
  • Reuters Commodity Week in Review - pdf here
  • Steel Founders' Society Of America Casteel Reporter - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "LME metals rallied strongly on Friday, ignoring the stronger dollar, and focusing instead on better then expected macro news out of the US. In this regard, April non-farm payroll numbers fell by 20,000 jobs, substantially less than the 75,000 expected. In addition, factory orders rose by 1.4%, also better than the .2% forecast....The dollar is slightly weaker today against the Euro, and has been trapped in an extremely quiet trading range over the past two days. ..Nickel is at $28,525, up $125. We are still congesting within a very narrow range, but held the bottom of the range around $27,800 support on a closing basis. One gets the feeling that nickel is poised to move dramatically --one way or the other --after this prolonged period of sideways drift is over."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • "Steel Market and Trade Outlook for the US in 2008" by David Phelps President, American Institute for International Steel -  here

  China's stainless steel makers are cutting output and building stocks this month as weak demand squeezes profits, and many big producers are chopping spot sales for May in half compared with April, trade and company sources said. - more

  India's stainless steel demand will expand by a slower-than-expected 5-7 percent in calendar year 2008 due to a spike in prices of key inputs like manganese and chrome, a senior industry official said on Tuesday. - more

  World market of nickel faces new recession. The average price of cash metal at LME has decreased. Stocks of nickel on LME warehouses for the last month have increased. - more

  Xstrata, the fifth largest mining company by market value, posted mixed first quarter output results for its two most important metals on Tuesday as copper output gained 2 percent and nickel production fell by 15 percent. - more

  As April ended, published sources such as World Steel Dynamics have No.1 heavy metal scrap at $500/gross ton; shredded scrap at $557, and No.1 busheling's at $587, delivered to the mills. - more

  Five Chinese steel majors announce Q1 results - more

  German metals group Cronimet is considering setting up a chrome smelter in South Africa following its purchase of South African chrome mining deposits, CEO Guenter Pilarsky said on Monday. - more

  Indonesia will clamp down on the suspected smuggling of minerals including bauxite, nickel and copper, by enforcing strict inspections of exports with effect from July, a senior trade official said on Tuesday. - more

  Another 5% hike in steel prices is on the cards for next month, bringing total steel price increases for the year to date to a whopping 65%. - more

  Copyright/courtesy AISI - "In the week ending May 3, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,098,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 88.0 percent. Production was 2,117,000 tons in the week ending May 3, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 88.4 percent. The current week production represents a 0.8 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending May 3, 2008 is down 0.9 percent from the previous week ending April 26, 2008 when production was 2,118,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 88.8 percent."

  Chile's worst drought in five decades and power rationing from South Africa to China mean the price of aluminum, gold, copper and platinum will keep climbing as the lights go out in the world's biggest mines. - more

  London Metal Exchange inventory figures - available here (charts) Yesterday's official prices here (chart)

  Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - 235000-239000 plus/minus 0 (charts) (primary source not reporting, using back-up source)

Monday, May 5 (London markets closed today)
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - London markets closed today for holiday (chart)
  • Nickel inventories -  London markets closed today for holiday (chart)
  • “We're in a recession,” Bloomberg news agency reported Mr. Greenspan stated in a television interview. “But this is an awfully pale recession at the moment. The declines in employment have not been as big as you'd expect to see.” With that said, US markets retracted from the last week's late rally and started out trading this week in the red. The dollar also slumped and precious metals traded in the green. London markets were closed today for an Early Bank Holiday, so base metals news was lean today. Shanghai nickel was down, while India nickel was up. Nickel prices could be effected this week by news from China that some stainless steel producers are considering cutting production this month. Nickel has been lucky to escape some of the supply problems other base metals are having. Strikes and power problems are affecting some metals, while too much rain was causing problems last month. Nickel's most recent supply concern, a strike at Cerro Matoso in Colombia ended in March. These supply disruptions are having a supportive affect on not only the metals directly affected, but the other traded metals, including nickel. With nothing much else to watch, the dollar will probably be watched closely this week by nickel traders.    
  • Metals Report from AFX - more

  Reports

  • CommerzBank Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • TD Bank Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here

  Macquarie Forecast Articles

  • (excerpt - bottom of article) Power problems in early 2008 in South Africa, where up to 45 percent of global ferrochrome is produced, will continue to boost prices for the ingredient used in stainless steel for rust- proofing, the report said. - more
  • Prices of coking coal, a steelmaking raw material, will stay at records next year because of rising demand for the alloy and as higher costs delayed the construction of new mines, according to Macquarie Bank Ltd. - more
  • (thank you CO)

  According to a report by Rusmet, the reported 22% increase in first quarter nickel production, was thanks to their foreign acquisitions. Norilsk Finland increased production by 75%, Norilsk Australia up 4%, and Norilsk Africa, up 38%. According to the report, its Russian facilities saw lower production. According to another Rusmet article, "Norilsk Nickel is the second-largest nickel producer in Australia".

  Thermal coal prices at Australia's Newcastle port, a benchmark for Asia, rose to a 10-week high amid speculation some producers could switch sales toward coal used by steelmakers and other types commanding higher prices. - more

  Chile's worst drought in five decades and power rationing from South Africa to China mean the price of aluminum, gold, copper and platinum will keep climbing as the lights go out in the world's biggest mines. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel not selling today, as the London markets are closed. Trading in Shanghai resumed today, and played its typical follow-the-LME role. Interesting story below by Steel Guru reporting some Chinese stainless steel producers are considering a substantial cutback in stainless steel production for May. We have seen references to some whispering going on in Chinese media, but this is the first time we have actually seen a figure in print. If true, or should we say, if traders don't dismiss it tomorrow, this could add more negative pressure on nickel prices. A pressure that reveals itself in the latest Sucden chart here 
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • Haywood Securities Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here
  • KBC Commodities Report - pdf here
  • NZSSDA April Newsletter- pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report posted this morning
  • courtesy/copyright Associated Press - 'That's an indication that the credit market tightness is being alleviated,' said Tom Pawlicki, commodities analyst with MF Global Research in Chicago. 'At this point I think we're probably in the early stages of a weakening commodities market, a strengthening dollar and more risk appetite.'

  It is reported that since weak domestic market, China’s main stainless steel producers may cut the output down to 50% in May 2008. The suggestion was submitted in a conference. - more

  China’s ministry of commerce has recently published additional prohibited commodities catalogue for the processing trade for 2008 on the basis of the catalogue released on Apr 5th 2008. Imports of stainless and alloy steel and semi finished products as well as exports of some hot rolled stainless coils are prohibited. - more

  As mining and metals enter a critical period, as physical/fundamental support will be tested by the unwinding of the commodity re-flation trade, Citigroup forecasts that copper will be supported at $3.40/lb while aluminum will be above $1.20/lb. - more

  China ferrochrome import from different countries in January to March 2008 quarter reached 413,544 tonnes. Details of China ferrochrome import from different countries in January to March 2008 quarter is as follows - more

  According to the Customs data, Beijing's efforts to rein in steel export and appreciating CNY are bearing fruit, as China’s steel export fell by 19.3% YoY to 11.39 million tonnes in the first quarter although March shipment rebounded from February to 4.16 million tonnes but still down by 22.6% YoY from March 2007. - more

  The International Nickel Study Group ( INSG ) held on the 21st and 22nd of April its Spring General Meeting at Lisbon of Portugal and, at this meeting, the discussions on an outlook for production and consumption of primary nickel in 2008 were taken place. - more

  It is reported that Chinese SS major TISCO has recently developed new stainless steel products and filled the domestic gap. - more

  Work will begin in a month in the north of New Caledonia on a port and canal for the 3.3 billion US dollar Koniambo nickel project. - more

  Copyright/courtesy Novosti - "Norilsk Nickel made a net loss of $916.4 million calculated to Russian Accounting Standards (RAS) in the first quarter of 2008, the world's largest nickel and palladium company has said in a statement. Norilsk Nickel posted on Wednesday a preliminary output report saying its nickel production increased 22% to 74,572 metric tons in the first quarter of 2008 year-on-year. Norilsk Nickel accounts for over 20% of global nickel output. It also produces more than 10% of the world's cobalt and 3% of global cooper. The company produces around 96% of Russian nickel, 55% of the country's copper and 95% of its cobalt."

  (comment - ironic that a Congo copper mine can't produce because thief's stole power lines for scrap copper) - here

  London Metal Exchange inventory figures - markets closed (charts) Friday's official prices here (chart)

  Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - 235500-239000 minus 1250 (charts)

Friday, May 2
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 142 to 9,581. (chart)
  • Nickel inventories - if interested in learning about yesterday's movements in LME stored nickel inventories, you can find the statistics here and here
  • Economists had been forecasting a loss of 80,000 jobs in the US during April, so when the Fed reported only 20,000 jobs were lost, the market responded positively for a second day. Overseas, the dollar continued to gain against the Euro, as investors bet that the US economy will dodge the recession bullet. For those of us who observe the market from the sidelines, it has proven to be a week where 'bad but not horrible' news had the effect of a cup of water in the middle of a desert.  Let's go back to the dollar. Reuters reported "the euro fell 1.3 percent against the dollar" for the week, and the Street.com said "the US dollar is trading at its best levels since late March against the euro" (dollar index graph here). Compare that to Sucden's nickel price chart that we have been talking about lately here. If the dollar does keep increasing, to say $.77, will we witness a potential set back of nickel pricing to the $25,000 - $29,500/tonne range ( $11.34/lb - $13.38/lb) or will the 8% increase in nickel inventories we have seen so far this year, add additional downward pressure? Or does it really matter? Has the US economy bottomed out, as some believe? If so, will the anticipated increase in business give traders a reason to expect greater usage of nickel, and thus, drive the price of nickel up? Or will the economic news turn dismal again, drive the dollar down, and.... you get the picture. And what happened to the inflation that hasn't gone away and the hedge commodities offer? Anyone who thinks they knows what will happen in this market, is pulling your leg.  
  • It appears nickel fell below MF Global's $27,800/tonne support level today, and also broke below Sucden's TL2 support line to the TL3 support line (here) during today's trading. But according to the indicators, much of nickel's early fall did not last the day. For the day and week, three month nickel ended at $12.84/lb , according to the Dow Jones report below.
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones - more
  • Have a safe and enjoyable weekend!!

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.27/lb lower. Base metals were mostly green this morning, with nickel trading in the red. London markets will be closed Monday, while much of Asia and Europe is already shut down, so we don't expect much to happen today.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "In yesterday’s note, we could have been too hasty to judge the Fed’s interest rate decision as being unsupportive of the dollar, since the markets obviously felt otherwise-- this despite the initial selling that hit the greenback in the aftermath of the Fed move. Nevertheless, leaving the choppiness aside, our view expressed earlier in the week that commodities could see a substantial sell-off in the wake of a dollar rebound was still vindicated. As the dollar soared yesterday, hitting five-week highs against the Euro, commodity prices plunged across the board, with crude, base metals, precious metals, and agricultural, all losing ground. The selling was particularly fierce in metals, with copper falling 3% on the day and lead also getting hammered....This morning, metals are slightly higher, as are energy markets, with the dollar giving back some of yesterday’s gains, and currently trading at $1.5470 against the Euro....Nickel is at $27,850, down $500. We are still congesting within a very narrow range, but need to hold $27,800 support on a two-day closing basis, or prices could see their first breakdown below the range in several weeks." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  The International Nickel Study Group ( INSG ) held on the 21st and 22nd of April its Spring General Meeting at Lisbon of Portugal and, at this meeting, the discussions on an outlook for production and consumption of primary nickel in 2008 were taken place. - more

  Within 5 years India plans to add about 4.6 million tonnes per year of stainless steel capacity, which could make it the world’s second largest stainless producer after China. - more

  Mingtuo Group is planning to expand its ferroalloy production from 200,000tpy to 1 million tonnes per year and build a 1 million tonne per year stainless steel mill, over the next 5 years, in Inner Mongolia, China. - more

  Manufacturing in China, the world's biggest maker of steel and cement, expanded at the fastest pace on record, spurred by new orders from domestic customers as export demand eased. - more

  Chinese steel mills around Beijing are holding out for subsidies in return for agreeing to shut down or reduce operations during the Olympic Games in August, the head of the China Iron and Steel Association said on Tuesday. - more

  Scrap metal thieves have struck again, causing another electric high-tension wire pylon to collapse. - more

  Jindal Stainless has declared its results for the quarter ended March 2008 (Q4). The company's net sales were at Rs 1496.3 crore versus Rs 1432.4 crore (Up 4%).  - more

  London Metal Exchange inventory figures - available here (charts) Yesterday's official prices here (chart)

  Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - closed for holiday (charts)

Thursday, May 1
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Official LME nickel prices , which had been posted on LME's web site at the end of their business day, have for the last few days, not been updated till the following morning.
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 83 to 9,439. (chart)
  • Nickel inventories - if interested in learning about yesterday's movements in LME stored nickel inventories, you can find the statistics here and here
  •  An excerpt from Thomson Financial said it all today - "Initially, the dollar weakened on disappointment the Fed's accompanying statement did not signal more clearly the easing cycle has ended. But it bounced higher in European trade as the market concluded the U.S. economy has turned a corner, with firmer-than-expected U.S. consumer spending data released this afternoon giving further impetus to its climb." Dow Jones reported later "The dollar is getting a bid as markets realize ECB will likely cut before the Fed does; that's taking down the price of oil, gold and other commodities fast." If metals were moving fast today, we must have missed it. While all base and precious metals were trading in the red, none of them were moving 'fast', in our opinion. The market appears to be in a "scratching its head" kind of mood's, everyone trying to out-guess the other on where the economy is taking us. Anyone who buys gas or food, knows that inflation hasn't gone anywhere. And the dollar has quite a ways to go before it makes a sizeable dent in its late February free fall (dollar index), although it did hit a month high at one point today. So where is the price of nickel going? Who knows! Some of the other base metals traded on the LME appear to have some room for correction available. If this happens, nickel could be pulled lower. The trading squeeze remains (here), but without any major news on supply/demand to drive the market, traders seem to be fixated on the dollar. For the first day of the second month of the second quarter, three month nickel closed at $12.86/lb , according to the Dow Jones report below. While many markets are closed, London trading will take place tomorrow, and the LME will be closed on Monday for a Bank Holiday. If we have gotten any of our readers interested in our "squeeze" theory, we address some more on the chart we link to daily, below.
  • Closing Metals Report from Dow Jones - more
  • We received an enquiry from a reader on the chart we have been watching (here), and the reader wanted to know what the RSI meant (1st line under the price graph). This number also appears daily is Ed Meir's report we refer to below. Well, we know very little, to be quite honest. We know it stands for Relative Strength Index. And according to Investopedia, "An asset is deemed to be overbought once the RSI approaches the 70 level, meaning that it may be getting overvalued and is a good candidate for a pullback. Likewise, if the RSI approaches 30, it is an indication that the asset may be getting oversold and therefore likely to become undervalued." Here is another article on it here.
  • And the 2nd line under the price graph is the SStoch, which stands for the Slow Stochastic. Here is a description - "The Stochastic Indicator, therefore, takes the form of two oscillators. The %K and the %D always fall in the range of 0 to 100, like the RSI. A reading near 80 is generally regarded as overbought and 20 as oversold. Remember that all signals from any momentum indicator should be used as an alert or warning of an impending trend reversal. Momentum measures velocity, not price trends. Price measures price trends. Divergence between the %D and price are similar to the RSI Indicator. Additional signals are made when the %K crosses above or below the %D similar to the Moving Average Indicator." Investopedia writes "The theory behind this indicator is that in an upward-trending market, prices tend to close near their high, and during a downward-trending market, prices tend to close near their low. Transaction signals occur when the %K crosses through a three-period moving average called the "%D"." (comment - please remember we are not traders, so we aren't training, just sharing. Our sources are responsible for their own content)
  • Interesting story about the cause of the sub-prime debacle - here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  (posted late due to an e-mail transmission problem) Although the Fed signaled yesterday that it was in “pause mode” on interest rates, its policy wording was so hedged, that we thought it missed a golden opportunity to make its case more forcefully and perhaps bolster the dollar in the process. Instead, currency markets gave an equal hearing to the Fed’s emphasis on persistently weak economic conditions, and concluded-- correctly in our view-- that the door to further rate reductions was not entirely shut. The dollar, which was stronger all day, did not move immediately after the Fed announcement, but then proceeded to sell off in late-day trading. On cue, many commodity markets strengthened as well, with metals holding their ground, while crude oil tacked on about $1.20 in late day trading, while gold moved higher as well. ...We are seeing a mixed start in metals today in quiet trading despite the dollar being a touch stronger. With the Fed having missed its chance to talk up the struggling greenback, metals should regroup and work higher for the balance of the week....Nickel is at $28,750, up $200, and quiet. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Copyright/courtesy Thomson Financial - "A stronger greenback makes dollar-priced commodities such as industrial metals more expensive for holders of other currencies."Going forward it does look as though the course of the dollar is going to be all-important for most of the metals," said RBC Capital Markets analysts." - more
  • Copyright/courtesy Dow Jones - "With the economic growth outlook looking poorer and the dollar rebounding, people can no longer rely on dollar weakness to prop up further price gains, said RBS analyst John Kemp.   "There's growing uncertainty with the economic environment with the dollar no longer weakening. It's forcing a more cautious approach to commodities," he said.

  (excerpt) The expansion will see China Steel Australia's production of nickel pig iron grow from 45,000 metric tonnes per year to about 140,000 metric tonnes per year. - more

  Atlas Steel Products President and CEO Lawrence J. "Bo" Burr died Monday (April 28) at home with his family in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, following a seven-month battle with cancer. He was 63. - more

  The Ontario government appears to be boxing itself in when it comes to the issue of map staking. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.11/lb lower. The squeeze continues (here) and the FOMC announcement did not spark the knee jerk reaction we thought it might. The dollar (chart) has risen to a five-week high against the euro already this morning (live prices), which has put strain on commodities.   
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Forbes report - here
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  • The ISSF have released the final Stainless and Heat Resisting Steel Crude Steel Production statistics for 2007 - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no daily report issued as of morning update. If published today, will add to afternoon update.

  The MEPS World Average price for type 430 cold rolled coil in April is at an historic high. The figure is forecast to rise to near $US2500 in June this year. - more

  It is reported that the sluggish stainless steel market in China has forced some traders to stop buying from major stainless steel mills. This is due to the fact that some merchants refuse to pick up stainless steel from their suppliers, given the severe losses in recent months. - more

  Indonesia's PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) said on Thursday it expects to meet its 2008 nickel output target despite shutting one of its smelters for repairs.- more

  Rio Tinto PLC (RTP) controls a vast vein of the world's most valuable iron ore in this remote Brazilian wetland, and rising prices makes mining it potentially profitable. - more

  Mr. Subhrakant Panda, who is Managing Director of Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Ltd. (IMFA) as the largest producer of ferro-alloys in India, came to Japan and had an interview with our pressman (Mr. H. Saitoh) on the 15th of April at the headquarters of Marubeni Corporation in Tokyo, which is the agent in Japan for sales of ferro-alloys produced by IMFA. - more

  Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp. announced on Wednesday that its net income grew six times last year, buoyed primarily by the ore shipment of its subsidiary, Berong Nickel Corp - more

  London Metal Exchange inventory figures - available here (charts) (also, LME finally updated their official prices for 30 May here)

  Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - closed for holiday (charts)


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All prices are indications and courtesy newswire services. To understand what our prices mean, see "A Guide To LME Trading"...pdf here or "The ABCs of a Metals Exchange" ...pdf here (Molybdenum prices are for molybdenum oxide, an ingredient and major price factor in 316 stainless) (all ton listings are metric tons = 2204.622 pounds ) Updated daily before 8 am CST and before 1 pm CST weekdays - Disclaimer Original content and opinions copyright www.estainlesssteel.com.

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