This page is archived news covering the period of May 2011
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LME nickel prices and news

Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices

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Daily Nickel Market News & Stainless Steel Prices

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 Nickel Prices

Tuesday, May 31

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 6 to 1,480. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Raises Power Prices for Business, Farmers as Summer Shortage Looms // China Stocks Rise for First Time in Nine Days, Paring Month Loss // Japan Faces Debt Downgrade as Jobless Rise // Australia GDP Likely Shrank on Floods // Asia Stocks Rise on Optimism Over Greece Aid Package, Japan Output Rebound // Euro-Area Inflation Slowed in May // Greek Aid Package to Be Decided by June // ECB’s Draghi Says Inflation Risks Are Rising, Policy Remains Accommodative // German Unemployment Declines in May // Stocks Climb in Europe on Greek Aid Prospects; Alpha Bank, EFG Lead Gains // Dollar Bears Cut Bets Most Since December // Defense Spending No Longer ‘Sacred Cow’ to Republicans Searching for Cuts // Consumer Confidence Slumps to 6-Month Low // Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Fall to 8-Year Low // Chicago Purchasing Managers Index Falls to 56.6 in Sign Expansion Slowing //
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, up 2/3 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude is up nearly 1.5% and trading at $102.07/barrel. Gold is off 2/10% and silver is up 2/10%. Base metals ended the session mostly higher. Indicator charts show nickel was up, then down, and then up again to end the day higher. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.70/lb , up from its Friday close of $10.47/lb. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses continues to slip, and now read just over the 114,100 tonne level. Norilsk has announced it will resume shipments from its port in Dudinka over the next few days, after seasonal floods forced the port to close in April. Based on history, this means we should see some rather large inbound shipment hit warehouses by mid-June. You are going to hear the term double dip being thrown around a lot in the media today. For the most part, this is a reference to the current condition of the housing market in the US, and not a reflection on anything else. The economy is hitting what some analysts are calling a 'soft patch', and we suspect we may be seeing a repeat of last year  - when after a slowing summer, analysts were debating whether a double dip recession was coming. It didn't, but it does look like the economy will slow down during the summer again this year.    

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • China's commodities imports to stage comeback - more
  • Mysterious Montoya raises stake in European Nickel to over 12 per cent - more
  • Number of the Week: Glut of Vacant Homes Complicates Recovery - more
  • Economic Soft Patch Creates Political Problems - more
  • Less Income, More Layoffs - more
  • Oil price manipulation - more

  Stainless steel Prices on Downward Trend - The long-awaited pickup in stainless steel purchasing activity has not materialised. On the contrary, the expected seasonal summer lull in consumption appears to have arrived early in many parts of the world. - more

  Pacific Metals sees H1 nickel output down 59 pct yr/yr at 8,305T - Pacific Metals Co , Japan's largest ferro-nickel producer, said it expects output to plunge to 8,305 tonnes in the April-September first half, down 59 percent from the same period last year due to damage to its plant from the March 11 earthquake. - more

  Nickel trouble for steelmakers - Inventory cost of imported raw materials like nickel, scrap and molybdenum weighs heavily on producers. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.03/lb higher, with most London traded base metals higher at the moment. Nickel appears to be losing gas and off earlier highs. The Euro is trading 7/10 of 1% higher against teh US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 1-1/2% and trading at $102.09/barrel. Gold is off 2/10 of 1% while silver is up 1-1/4%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher on Greek debt aid settlement, with China up 1.6%. European markets are higher this morning and US futures show a bullish opening for Wall Street. Nickel inventories fell again.  
  • LME Morning - Base metals stable but off day's highs, weak dollar supports - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices have risen quite noticeably since our last report out a week ago and are up again this morning, with copper hitting a four-week high earlier in the day. Reviewing the headlines for the time we have been away, it seems markets have been buoyed by an upbeat growth assessment put out last week by the OECD, which stated that the global recovery was "becoming self-sustaining and more broad based”. In the currency markets, renewed concern about Greece's debt did not significantly impact the Euro much this past week, allowing a measure of strengthening to set in as well. In fact, the euro is now at a three-week high against the dollar (at $1.44) after a Wall Street Journal report stated Germany is considering dropping its push for an early rescheduling of Greek bonds. In addition, Bloomberg reports that European Union leaders may decide on an aid package for Greece by the end of next month. On the metals side, there has not been much change in the way of the LME stocks positions this past week, but we continue to see rather significant declines in Shanghai inventories, with both copper and aluminum stocks falling by roughly 7,800 tons and 23,500 tons, respectively, this past week. Although the tone in the metal markets has clearly improved this past week, none of the variables we have cited has the “staying power” to keep metal prices on a higher trajectory. Most critically, one variable remains a key weakness in the bullish argument, and that is the fact that despite the OECD’s somewhat surprising growth assessment, more recent data is pointing to a clear deceleration in economic growth across a number of regions, particularly in China. Of course, many investment houses and organizations have already scaled back Chinese growth projections, but critically, the inflation picture remains elevated, suggesting that further tightening -- and slowing of the economy—has yet to be discounted by the markets. Certainly, this was the clear impression we were left with listening to Chinese corporate and association economic assessments this past week in Shanghai. The situation could be aggravated over the summer months when the brunt of power shortages --expected to be the worst in some seven years -- are expected to hit the economy. In this regard, state-owned Chinese utility companies could be making matters worse by deliberately reducing the amount of electricity being produced as a protest over government measures to control electricity prices. (In fact, an article we came across in the New York Times quotes the chairwoman of one of the country's largest utilities as warning that 1/5 of the country's power plants could face bankruptcy if price controls were not lifted). In a modest concession, Chinese regulators announced this week that they would allow electricity rates to rise in half of China’s provinces by an average of 2.2%, but that residential users would be insulated from these increases. However, the price hikes have a long way to go before they make up even a portion of soaring input costs, such as coal, where prices are up a staggering 36% since the start of the year.  (Daily Metals Report here)
  • MF Global Daily Metals Report backup link from MF Global site here - (typically posted between 8 and 10 am EST)
  • (Reuters) POSCO , the world's third-biggest steelmaker, will lower prices of its major stainless steel products by 300,000 won ($275.36) a tonne for June, a company spokesman said on Friday, reflecting a recent fall in nickel prices.
  • (Yieh) According to China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), the country’s crude steel demand is predicted to reach between 670 million and 750 million tons in 2015, which is 11.8%~25.1% higher than that in 2010.
  • (Interfax) China's crude steel output is expected to exceed 680 million tons in 2011, an increase of 8.63 percent year-on-year, state media reported May 27.
  • (SBB) Yusco to cut June 300-series export prices by up to $200/t
  • Commodities Snap Best Winning Streak Since 1980 on European Debt, China - more

  Nickel prices expected to remain stable - Nickel prices may be moving down world markets, but they will stay high enough for Vale and Xstrata to keep producing in Sudbury, a Toronto mining analyst says. - more

  Norilsk to resume Arctic shipments after seasonal halt - Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel plans to resume shipments from its Arctic port of Dudinka in the next few days after flooding prompted a seasonal halt. - more

  Surplus output to hit stainless steel industry - India’s stainless steel industry may have 1.3 million tonnes of surplus output by the end of next calendar year on the back of massive capacity additions by domestic producers. - more

  30/05/2011Stainless Steel & Special Alloys Committee: Stainless rides the rollercoaster - Most experts are anticipating a record-high global stainless steel production of more than 35m tonnes this year compared to approximately 33m tonnes in 2010, the BIR Stainless Steel & Special Alloys Committee meeting in Singapore was informed on 23rd May 2011 by its Chairman, Michael Wright of ELG Haniel GmbH. - more

  Domestic Price Of Ni-Based Stainless Scrap Is Being Reduced Endlessly Like Early Summer Rain = Reduced By Yen 15,000 - 25,000 Per Ton Compared To That In Last Week - Reflecting a steep fall of LME nickel price started from the 12th of May, the domestic price of nickel-based stainless steel scrap (new clippings) in Japan is being shaken considerably. In the course of last week to this week, major stainless steel companies of Japan have been reducing endlessly their purchase price of nickel-based stainless steel scrap like an early summer rain.- more

  Philippines' Atlas says resumes operations at nickel mine - The Philippines' Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp said on Tuesday its unit plans to ramp up nickel ore output to 100,000 wet metric tonnes (wmt) monthly at its mine in southwestern Palawan province after operations recently resumed. - more

  China stokes mining boom with 25pc surge in steel production - China's steel production is expected to soar by up to 25 per cent over the next five years, removing any fears of a decline in demand for Australian iron ore and coking coal in the medium term. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, May 27

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)
  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.16/lb , with all London traded base metals higher. The Euro is trading 2/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, so far this morning. NYMEX crude is up over 4/10 of 1% and trading at $100.66/barrel. Gold is ip 1/2 of 1% and silver is up 2%. In overnight trading Asian markets ended higher, with China off 1/2 of 1%. European markets are higher this morning, and Wall Street has yet to decide. Nickel inventories fell yesterday. We are traveling today so there will be no afternoon update. Have a safe and relaxing weekend, and US markets will be closed on Monday for Memorial Day.  
  • LME Morning - Metals ease back from highs but hold in positive territory - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - next copy issued on May 31st - Ed in China (Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • (Interfax) Iron ore stockpiles at China's 30 major ports grew 3.13 percent from May 20 to 92.45 million tons on May 27, including 15.2 million tons of Indian iron ore stockpiles that rose 11.11 percent, according to May 27 figures from Shanghai-based Mysteel Information.
  • (Prime) Potanin refuses to sell 30% in N Nickel to investors - sources
  • (AMM) Chinese steel output sets new CISA record despite power shortage
  • (AMM) China's exports of stainless steel flat products are expected to continue falling into May and June after dipping 19% in April, as demand headed south alongside nickel prices
  • (PR) Further to the announcement of 7 April 2011, Toledo is pleased to announce that the mining plan for the Berong nickel mine has now been finalised with its joint venture partners. Berong Nickel Corporation ("BNC") has mobilised equipment to site in preparation of ramp up to full production by mid June 2011. BNC is targeting production of 500,000 wet metric tonnes ("wmt") of nickel ore by 31 December 2011 and aims to ship 300,000wmt by 31 September 2011 when the shipping window closes. The remaining target of 200,000wmt, planned for production in the last quarter of the calendar year, is targeted for shipping from 1 March 2012 when the shipping window reopens. As previously advised, BNC will use the proceeds from the sale of the existing stockpile to provide working capital to support the resumption of operations.The first shipment of 50,000wmt of nickel ore from the existing stockpile at the Berong mine is scheduled to begin loading the week commencing 6 June 2011.

  POSCO to lower stainless steel prices for June - POSCO , the world's third-biggest steelmaker, will lower prices of its major stainless steel products by 300,000 won ($275.36) a tonne for June, a company spokesman said on Friday, reflecting a recent fall in nickel prices. - more

  SDI says China is cheating on tariffs - The leader of Fort Wayne-based Steel Dynamics Inc. on Wednesday asked the federal government to investigate whether steel imports are dodging tariffs. - more

  Potanin dismisses NorNickel offer - Billionaire Vladimir Potanin has declined a $19.2 billion bid for a 30 per cent stake in Norilsk Nickel from RusAl co-owners Viktor Vekselberg and Leonard Blavatnik, Vedomosti reported. - more

  Vale awards $600M Long Harbour contract - Vale has awarded a two-year, $600 million contract for mechanical, electrical and instrument work at the Long Harbour nickel processing plant it is building in Newfoundland. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, May 26

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 21 to 1,467. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Central London’s New-Homes Market Dominated by Asian Buyers for First Time // China Luring Crude From U.S. as Ecopetrol Targets Asia for Surge in Output // China Tops India as Asian Country Most Likely to Maintain Economic Growth // Euro Rises on Speculation China Will Support Bond Demand, Easing Crisis // ECB May Have Leeway for Greek Restructuring // Serbia Arrests War Crimes Fugitive Mladic // G-8 Calls Commodity Price Surge a Threat to Growth, Pledges Deficit Cuts // German 10-Year Yield Declines Below 3%; IMF May Not Give Greece Assistance // Most European Stocks Decline on Concern IMF May Withhold Aid From Greece // Greece Is ‘Insolvent,’ Unlikely to Honor Debt, ECB Economist Issing Says // Fed Gave Banks Crisis Gains on $80 Billion Secretive Loans as Low as 0.01% // Distressed Homes in U.S. Sold at 27% Discount // Consumer Spending Cools More Than Estimated // Savers to be Hobbled for Years: Gross // Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Rose Last Week // Slide in U.S. Consumer Confidence Ends as Gas Falls, Bloomberg Index Shows //
  • The Euro is now trading less than 3/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1.1% and trading at $100.20/barrel. Gold is off nearly 2/10 of 1% and silver is down 1.2%. Base metals ended the session mostly lower. Indicator charts show nickel spent nearly all of the session in a slow slide. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the session at $10.35/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell again on Wednesday and now sit just over the 114,500 tonne level. Sucden has apparently discontinued their day old chart as the page they update daily now is empty of any charts. Commodity markets, as well as equity markets in general, seem to be confused and nervous about the recent economic news, with erratic trading patterns. Wall Street opened lower on negative news, but has regained positive territory as the bulls refuse to relinquish their run.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Factories’ Breather Will Resonate Through Economy - more
  • Comparing Wages Across the U.S. - more
  • CBO Says Stimulus Boosted Growth, Will Add More to Deficit - more
  • Seasonal Factors Skewing Durables Numbers - more

  New nickel supply to weigh on market, not swamp it - A plethora of nickel projects starting up in the next two years will not cause huge supply surpluses, as some schemes will take time to ramp up and demand will grow, so the metal's prices are not about to drop much. - more

  SA seeks to cut power demand - South Africa is in talks with energy intensive users to reduce demand by 5,000 MW or around 13 percent and prevent blackouts, although a loss in output and jobs were a concern, the energy minister said on Thursday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.13/lb lower, with most London traded base metals lower and quiet. The Euro is up 2/3 of 1% against the US Dollar, which would typically be giving a big boost to commodity pricing. NYMEX crude is down over 1/2 of 1% and trading at $100.75/barrel. Gold is down 1/3% and silver is off nearly 1.9%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, which China down 4/10 of 1%.  European markets are down slightly, while US futures are currently up slightly. Nickel inventories fell yesterday. News is quiet as America readies itself for an extended weekend and the unofficial beginning of summer vacation season.
  • Bloomberg morning - more
  • LME Morning - Metals firm struggle to take out overhead resistance - more

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Daily Overview - pdf here
  • Metals Insight - pdf here
  • BMO The Goods - pdf here
  • US Imports of Stainless Steel Mill Products - more
  • U.S. Imports for Consumption of Steel Products April 2011 - more

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report today - next report May 31st (Daily Metals Report here)
  • (SMM) Jinchuan Group Raises Ex-works Nickel Prices to RMB 175,000/mt on May 26
  • (ATA) The American Trucking Associations' advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 0.7 percent in April after gaining a revised 1.9 percent in March 2011. March's increase was slightly better than the 1.7 percent ATA reported on April 26, 2011. The latest drop put the SA index at 114.9 (2000=100) in April, down from the March level of 115.6.

  Japan Produced 243,000 Tons Of Stainless Steel Products In March 2011 = Decreased By 6% From That In Feb., While Output Of Nickel- Based Products Increased - According to the steel statistics released on the 19th of May by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the quantities of stainless steel products (hot-rolled products) produced in Japan for March of 2011 were as per the table attached hereto. - more

  Albania Ferrochrome Plant to Start Production Soon - Production in the ferrochrome plant in Burrel, Albania is expected to start soon. According to DCM-ACR experts activity will resume within 45 days, daily Shqip reported on Wednesday. - more

  Macquarie to fight tax avoidance claim - Macquarie Group will fight the Australian Taxation Office over claims it used a private-equity related tax avoidance scheme in regards to about $95 million of tax, the Australian Financial Review reported. - more

  Rusal ‘Believes’ in Norilsk Nickel, to Keep Stake, Sokov Says - Russia’s United Co. Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer, will keep its stake in OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel even as shareholders feud for control of the world’s largest producer of nickel. - more

  China considering domestic iron ore index - CISA official - China's steel industry body is considering launching a domestic iron ore price index to compete with the likes of Metal Bulletin and Platts, an official told Reuters on Thursday. - more

  US imports of steel products gain 22% on year: Census Bureau - The US imported nearly 2.3 million mt of finished and semi-finished steel products in April, up 22% from 1.89 million mt in April 2010, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the US Census Bureau. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, May 25

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 48 to 1,446. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Chanos Misses Out as Chinese Stocks in U.S. Plunge on Accounting Concerns // World’s Biggest Dam Opens Sluices to Refill China’s Parched Yangtze, Lake // China’s Stocks Fall for 4th Day on Growth, Inflation Concerns // Asian Stocks Fall as Europe Debt Crisis, U.S. Economy Spur Profit Concerns // Lagarde Declares Candidacy for IMF Head // Dollar, Swiss Franc Strengthen on Debt Crisis, Growth Concern; Euro Slides // European Stocks Rise for Second Day; Intesa Sanpaolo Leads Gain in Banks // Tornadoes, Thunderstorms Sweep Across U.S., Killing at Least 15, Hurting 60 // Food Prices Rise on Higher Wholesale Costs // Durable Goods Orders Fall the Most in 6 Months // Commodities, Stocks Rise; Dollar Erases Gain
  • The Euro is trading less than 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is up 1-1/4% and trading at $100.81/barrel. Gold is currently trading 1/10 of 1% higher, while silver is over 3% higher. Base metals ended the session higher as well, with indicator charts showing nickel retracing yesterday's steps of early morning gains and afternoon  settling. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the session at $10.59/barrel. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell again yesterday and now sit near the 114,750 tonne level. Totals have flip flopped a little since hitting a low of 113,976 tonnes on May 16th. That was the lowest total reported since August 2009. Base metals have risen sharply for the last two days, but in our opinion, it is too early to say the correction has run its course.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Three-Quarters of Employers Plan to Hire New Graduates - more
  • Food Prices Rise on Higher Wholesale Costs - more
  • Why the Rich Love High Unemployment - more
  • "Antidumping in Action" - more

  Lawmakers alert watchdog on LME warehousers - Anti-competition authorities may probe activity by large traders on the London Metal Exchange that also own warehouses, including investment bank JP Morgan, after lawmakers raised concerns. - more

  • LME to take fresh look at warehousing bottlenecks - The London Metal Exchange is due to take further steps this week to address warehousing bottlenecks that critics say have unfairly allowed aluminium to be locked up and helped inflate prices. - more
  • OFT considers metals market inquiry - The Office of Fair Trading is considering an investigation into whether the market for metals trading is anti-competitive after MPs raised concerns that many of the warehouses used in the industry were owned by big commodities traders. - more

  China trade data do little for bull narrative - The bull narrative for base metals prices this year has started to look distinctly frayed at the edges in recent weeks. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.25/lb higher, with all London traded base metals higher as well. The Euro is presently trading over 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down just over 1/10 of 1% and trading at $99.46/barrel. Gold is slightly higher, while silver is up 1.9%. In overnight trading, Asian stock fell, with China off 1.2%. European markets are trading higher at the moment and US futures show Wall Street has yet to decide how it wants to open. Nickel inventories continued to fall yesterday.    
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Advances for Second Day as Demand Outlook Turns Positive - more
  • LME Morning - Metals mostly advance, momentum buying seen again - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report today - next report May 31st (Daily Metals Report here)
  • (Interfax) China's refined lead and nickel imports rose in April when measured on an annual basis, while refined zinc and tin imports fell, according to May 24 figures from the General Administration of Customs (GAC)
  • (JMB) LME/ Nickel price continues to fall to close to 10 dollars
  • (SMM) China's imports of nickel concentrate and nickel ore in April 2011 were 2.45 million mt, up by 50% YoY, and up by 16% MoM. China's total imports from January to April were 8.08 million mt, up by 45% YoY.
  • (SO) Chinese stainless steel market remains on a weak trend
  • 2010-11 La Niña comes to the end of its reign - more

  ATI Allegheny Ludlum Releases Nickel Alloy and Premium Melted Alloy Price Announcement - Effective with orders acknowledged beginning May 24, 2011, ATI Allegheny Ludlum is increasing base prices by 4 to 6% for nickel-based alloys, high nickel bearing stainless steels, .... - pdf attached

  DENR shuts down Philnico nickel mining  - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has stopped the nickel mining operations of Philnico Industrial Corp. in Surigao because of its failure to pay the government $263.8 million in debts. - more

  US bulk ferroalloys market quiet after barge congestion eases  - Spot market demand for bulk ferroalloys in the US has eased as barge movements on the Ohio River are slowly getting back to normal, just over a week after the reopening to navigation of a key lock and dam following record flooding, market sources said Tuesday. - more

  Steel output may fall as power cuts loom - The production of crude steel in China may start to drop in June, after peaking in early May, because of an impending power shortage, industry analysts said. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, May 24

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 29 to 1,398. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Economic Growth Estimates Lowered as Wen’s Monetary Tightening Bites // Slumping China Stocks May Extend Declines, ICBC Credit Suisse, Goldman Say // Asian Stocks Rise as Goldman Advises a Return to Commodities; Sony Climbs // ECB’s Noyer Says Greek Restructuring a ‘Horror’ // Germany’s Ifo Business Confidence Remained Unexpectedly Unchanged in May // Greek Restructuring Would Leave Banks Tied to ECB for Funds, Moody’s Says // Storms May Sweep Across U.S. Plains After Tornado That Killed at Least 116 //
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, by 1/3 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude is up 6/10 of 1% and trading at $98.29/barrel. Gold is up nearly 4/10% and silver is up 2-3/4%. Base metals ended the day higher, boosted by a weaker Dollar and some bounce after yesterday's deep drop. Indicator chart show nickel popped early, climbed for the first half of the session, then held firm for the last half. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.38/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses slipped yesterday and now sit just over the 114,900 tonne level. Markets are trying hard to recover from yesterday's slide, but so far, none have pulled it off with any vigor yet.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Reuters) China's exports of steel products in the second half of 2011 are likely to be at a similar level to the first half, Wang Jing, vice president of Chinese steelmill Baosteel , said.
  • Nearly Half of Americans Are ‘Financially Fragile’ - more
  • Neither the U.S. Nor Europe Is Dealing With the Real Problem - more
  • Troubled banks rise to highest level in 18 years - more

  UK lawmakers ask watchdog about LME warehousers - A UK government committee said it has brought the warehouse activities of large dealers on the London Metal Exchange, including JP Morgan <JPM.N>, to the attention of the Office of Fair Trading about an allegation of anti-competitive behaviour. - more

  • UK government committee: the likes of JP Morgan could impede ‘the correct functioning of the [metals] market’ - For more than 6 years now, Max has been telling listeners of our various programmes on radio and television that precious metals would provide a hedge against the inflation and currency instability that would follow the epic crime wave wrought upon us by banksters. - more

  Zimasco to Get U.S.$300 Million Boost - Sinosteel Corporation will spend over US$300 million in expansion programmes at its local ferrochrome unit, Zimasco, as the Chinese multinational plans to double output in the next three years. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.14/lb higher, with all London traded base metals trading higher so far this morning. The Euro is currently trading nearly 1/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is higher by more than 1.1% and trading at $98.82/barrel.Gold is up 1/4 of 1% and silver is up nearly 1.9%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher with China up 1/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning and  futures show Wall Street may open in a better mood. Nickel inventories fell yesterday.   
  • LME Morning - Metals tick higher as risk appetite returns - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals were battered yesterday, with copper losing more than 3% on the session, while lead, nickel, and tin also fell sharply. US equity and energy markets were also hit hard yesterday, although gold benefitted, racing to a two-week high. In our markets, base metals were hit by a double-whammy of a stronger dollar and clearer signs of decelerating economic growth now becoming evident from a number of regions. In this respect, we noted in yesterday's note that the European purchasing managers index came out at a seven-month low, but more bearish, was a similar reading out of China showing the latest manufacturing index dropping to its lowest level in some 10 months. However, the "input price gauge" was at its lowest level since August 2010, signaling that the slower pace of growth may be curtailing pricing pressures. Nevertheless, Chinese equity markets were not impressed with either number, losing almost 2% on Monday for their steepest decline in four months. In the currency markets, the Euro's woes continue, as the dollar pushed to a two-month high on a spate of sovereign debt worries. On top of a downgrade of Greece's debt that took place on Friday, S&P said that it might cut Italy's A+ credit rating, sending Italian bond yields to a four-month high. In addition, and as mentioned in yesterday’s note, there are ongoing concerns about Spain. Most alarming, there does not seem to a unified voice coming out of the EU that could give the markets reassurance that some of these various fires could be put out. Instead, policy differences are being publicly aired out, contributing to the overall nervousness and reinforcing perceptions that the European countries, as one analyst aptly put it, “feel like a group of climbers roped together””. We are seeing a much stronger tone set in over most markets as far as today’s action in concerned. Part of the rally is attributable to Goldman Sachs putting out a bullish call for commodities going forward, with the bank raising its Brent crude price forecast for 2011 and 2012 on expectations that demand growth will dip into inventories and strain OPEC's spare oil output capacity. The Wall Street bank raised its year-end Brent forecast to $120 per barrel from $105 a barrel, and its 2012 forecast to $140 from $120. The bank also said that current copper prices offer an attractive opportunity, although it did note the recent weak data raises "some caution” and that “we recognize … China may experience some further economic weakness before comfortably resuming a growth trend." Finally, Goldman noted that "While a sharp decline in world economic growth remains a downside risk to commodity prices, we see the current slowdown in economic growth as part of a normal mid-cycle pause, partially driven by higher commodity prices, and therefore not a reason to expect commodity prices to decline substantially," the report said. While we agree with Goldman on the long-run outlook, we think the short-term outlook remains murky, meaning that the current downdraft may still not be over.  ... Nickel: $22636 +$311 (Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • MF Global Daily Metals Report backup link from MF Global site here - (typically posted between 8 and 10 am EST)
  • (Yieh) The prices of Chinese stainless scrap 300 series drop sharply by RMB500~RMB600/ton from early May due to decreasing nickel price at LME and sluggish stainless steel market in China.
  • (MBN) China's nickel ore imports at 2011 high in April
  • (SBB) Chinese stainless 304 export offer prices drop $200-300/t

  Elwood Haynes, The Man Of Stainless Steel - It seemed like a good idea. Elwood Haynes, a young Indiana tinkerer, wanted to mate an early gas engine with a carriage to improve on the horse and buggy. - more

  Iron Ore-Spot prices stagnant as Chinese traders stay quiet - Iron ore prices on the Chinese spot market were largely unchanged on Tuesday, with traders still unwilling to risk making purchases as they try to determine underlying demand in the coming months. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending May 21, 2011, domestic raw steel production was 1,821,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 74.5 percent. Production was 1,808,000 tons in the week ending May 21, 2010, while the capability utilization then was 74.8 percent. The current week production represents a 0.7 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending May 21, 2011 is up 0.6 percent from the previous week ending May 14, 2011 when production was 1,810,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 74.0 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, May 23

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 20 to 1,369. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Manufacturing May Slow on Tightening Steps // Sony Profit Forecast Misses Estimates on Japan Earthquake, Hacking Attack // Asian Stocks Drop to Two-Month Low on Greek Debt Concern; Canon Declines // Iceland Volcano Ash May Reach U.K. This Week // Greece Readies Crisis-Fighting Steps // Merkel’s Party Drops to Third in Bremen Elections Won by Social Democrats // Stocks Sink in Europe as Debt Concern Deepens; Commerzbank, Santander Drop // Tornadoes, Severe Storms Kill at Least 91 // Stocks Tumble, Euro Weakens on Debt Concern
  • The Euro continues to trade lower against the US Dollar, by nearly 9/10 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude si down more than 2.4% and trading at $97.66/barrel. Gold is slightly higher, while silver is down 2/3 of 1%. Base metals ended the session lower, with indicator charts showing nickel opening lower and spending the entire session in a slow and gradual slide. For the day, three month nickel ended the session at $10.26/lb , its lowest close since November 29th of last year. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose sharply on Friday and now sit just under the 115,100 tonne level. Although four warehouses recorded outbound shipments on Friday, one warehouse recorded a huge inbound gain, which accounted for the large increase. Reuters chart show trading thru Thursday (chart here).  Markets worldwide are down today, as Greece and its debt take center stage. Commodities continue to tumble. In your author's neck of the woods, a nearby community lost at least 89 of its citizens yesterday to the wrath of a tornado that cut the town of 50,000 in two. If you have never experienced a tornado, you might check out the video here.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Number of the Week: 95 Days to Wipe Out 2011 Growth - more
  • Most States Post Drop in Unemployment - more
  • Rocket Scientists, Part 2 - more
  • When Austerity Fails - more
  • FDIC Bank Closures to date - chart here

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.42/lb lower, with all London traded base metals lower. The Euro is nearly 9/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is down over 2.6% and trading at $97.47/barrel. Gold is down 1/4 of 1% and silver is down 1.2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off more than 3%, on Greek debt concerns. For the same concerns, European markets are trading much lower this morning and US futures show Wall Street, at least for the moment, shares the worlds concerns. Nickel inventories rose sharply on Friday.    
  • LME Morning - Metals sink to multi-month lows, firm dollar and receding risk appetite weighs - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper prices broke out to a two-week high on Friday, as the market withstood both a brutal selloff in energy prices earlier in the day, as well as a sharp rally in the dollar. However, most of the other metals ended up with more subdued gains, with aluminum prices ending up flat, while nickel and tin actually losing ground. Despite copper’s good showing and the fact that it regained the $9000 mark, we suggested on Friday that additional gains (particularly above $9200) would likely prove difficult to sustain given the current fundamentals, and today’s rather substantial sell-off seems to vindicate our view. Metals are reeling right now, as a strong dollar is once again weighing on commodities. The greenback is trading at a seven-week high against the Euro on growing concerns about Europe, with Greece and Spain back in the spotlight. In Greece’s case, restructuring talk (i.e. extending Greek debt maturities) was dealt a setback on Friday when Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann, a member of the European Central Bank Governing Council, said that the ECB may not be able to accept Greece’s sovereign debt as collateral if its bond maturities are extended, underlining growing division between more conservative bankers and the more aggressive politicians. Fitch also cut Greece’s long-term debt rating on Friday to B+ (four notches below investment grade) and said that even a voluntary extension of the bond maturities would be “a default event.” In the meantime, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is set to endorse additional deficit cuts and asset sales, but despite the announcement, the cost to insure Greek debt against default rose to a record today, while the yield on Greek 10-year bonds shot up to a Euro-era high. .... Nickel is at $22,559, down $981, as the market continues to weaken after breaking through $24,000 support, while also taking out key trend line support in the process (See our chart). We could see an eventual drift lower to $21,000.  (Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • MF Global Daily Metals Report backup link from MF Global site here - (typically posted between 8 and 10 am EST)
  • (Reuters) LME nickel falls to lowest since end-November
  • (SMM) Jinchuan Group cut ex-works nickel prices by RMB 6,000/mt to RMB 178,200/mt on May 23.
  • (AMM) China's massive nickel pig iron (NPI) capacity is the "invisible hand" in the global nickel market, according to Markus Moll, md and senior market analyst at SMR
  • (Yieh) Because of the dropping nickel price and price drop for stainless steel issued by Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group (Tisco), Taiwan’s stainless steel market has been seen to keep quiet this week.
  • (SO) The construction of a new stainless steel production base has been completed at Minsheng Industrial Park in Shawan in China's Sichuan Province, as reported by local newspaper Leshan Daily.
  • (SBB) Vale's new CEO Murilo Ferreira is rejecting the possibility of selling the company's 60000 tonnes/year nickel project in New Caledonia known as VNC - formerly Goro....
  • China's power shortage may be worse than 2004 - more
  • China and Copper—A Dangerous Carry Trade - more

  Global stainless crude steel production in quarter 1/2011: New all-time-high - Based on preliminary numbers, the global stainless crude steel production in quarter 1 of 2011 was 8.4 million metric tons (mmt) according to the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF). - more

  April Crude Steel Production 2011 - World crude steel production for the 64 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (worldsteel) was 127 million metric tons (mmt) in April 2011. This is 5.0% higher than in April 2010. - more

  China Steel to Tap Taiwan`s Stainless-steel Market - China Steel Corporation (CSC), Taiwan`s largest integrated producer of steel products, will tap the NT$100-billion a year domestic stainless-steel market. - more

  Norilsk analyst sees 2011 nickel output up 10 pct - Global nickel consumption will grow by more than 5 percent in 2011 and output will expand by 10 percent, bringing the market into balance from a deficit a year ago, the chief analyst for Norilsk Nickel said on Monday. - more

  New Vale CEO sees growth with better gov't ties - The incoming chief executive of Brazilian mining giant Vale owed on Friday to maintain the company's booming growth while improving the frayed ties with government leaders that forced the ouster of his predecessor. - more

  Japan Apr steel output drop not as deep as expected - Japan's earthquake hit steel production in April but not by as much as was expected, which, with demand hit more, stirred concern over too much supply. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, May 20

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 20 to 1,349. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China PBOC’s Zhou Says High Savings Rate May Cause Overheating, Bubbles // Looming Iron Ore Market ‘Bubble’ Will Force Down Prices, Baosteel Says // Bank of Japan Refrains From Adding Stimulus // Tepco President Resigns After Record Loss // Asian Stocks Drop for Third Week as Commodities, Japan Utilities Decline // Christine Lagarde Is Favored to Head IMF // Spain’s Socialists Head for Vote Defeat // Greece’s Extension of Bond Maturities Would Amount to Default, Fitch Says // European Stocks Decline; Banks Retreat as Fitch Lowers Greece Debt Rating // LinkedIn More Than Doubles on Debut in First IPO by a U.S. Social Network // U.S. Stocks Drop as Euro Slides; Gap Tumbles
  • Abbreviated update - Indicator charts show nickel spent the day in a long slow slide, with someone deciding in the closing moments, they did not want another losing days and nickel made an over$400/tonne bounce in ten minutes. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the session and week at $10.68/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell yesterday and now sit just over the 113,500 tonne mark. Reuters two day old nickel chart shows nickel trading thru Wednesday (chart here). And Dow Jones reports Murilo Ferreira has officially taken over as the new president at Vale.
  • Have a safe and restful weekend! 

  Reports

  China Backs Away from Stainless Scrap in 2010 - Mills in China produced as much stainless steel in 2010 as they did the two previous years, but they did so while using much less imported stainless steel scrap. - more

  The Next Commodities Bubble Is Coming Sooner Than You Think - To hear the mainstream media tell it, the commodities bubble has burst. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.06/lb lower, with other London traded base metals mostly higher.  The Euro is presently trading nearly 6/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 3/10% and trading at $99.73/barrel. Gold is up 1/10 of 1% and silver is down nearly 1/4 of 1%. In overnight trading Asian markets ended lower, with China up only slightly. European marekts are slightly higher this morning, while US futures show Wall Street may open in the basement. Nickel inventories fell yesterday.   
  • Reuters morning - Copper up, investors look to China signals - more
  • LME Morning - Tug-of-war price action continues in base metals - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals retreated on Thursday, unable to build on the momentum left over from the previous session's sharp rally, as another round of relatively weak macro data out of the US suggested that growth is stalling. In this regard, we had reports that April existing home sales came in much lower than expected, falling 0.8% to an annual rate of 5.05 million units. Shortly after that, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said that its business activity index -- a gauge of factory activity in the Mid-Atlantic region -- dipped to a seven-month low. The flow of orders and shipments slowed significantly, although employment readings did pick up. Finally, the index of leading economic indicators also fell more than expected in April, coming in with a .3% decline vs. the unchanged reading expected. Despite the soft numbers, the US equity markets still managed to eke out a modest gain yesterday, as investors were pleased to see that weekly initial claims fell 29,000 to 409,000 last week, coming in better than expected. Nevertheless, we still believe that the recent spate of US numbers are pointing to a significant deceleration in growth and this is bound to keep commodity rallies in check, especially since there are similar concerns about growth prospects emanating from emerging countries-- many of whom have already pushed through several rounds of interest rate hikes as well. This morning, we are seeing a slightly steadier tone set in over most markets, but trading conditions are very quiet. Copper is leading the base metals group higher on account of a sharp drop in Shanghai stock levels to a seven-month low. (See our table). However, we would treat the recent declines in Shanghai copper stocks with some caution, as it is quite likely that some of this metal is being exported and not necessarily used locally. (For what its worth, March trade data out of China showed an outflow of some 37,000 tons). Ali stocks also fell over the week as well, but zinc inventories soared to a record high.  ... Nickel is at $23,433, down $122, as $24,000 support that marked the downside of a longstanding congestion band has given way on a two-day closing basis. We are now resting at key trend line support, which if taken out, could result in further declines. (See chart in our attachment).  (Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • MF Global Daily Metals Report backup link from MF Global site here - (typically posted between 8 and 10 am EST)
  • (Yieh) According to statistic, Japan’s crude stainless steel production in major mills reached 935,173 tons in the Q1, increasing by 9.9% year on year.
  • (SBB) Nickel market tight but prices may experience downside in H2
  • (JMB) SUS 304 Scrap Declines by 10,000-15,000 yen/t in Osaka
  • China issues guideline for rare earth industry - more
  • Understandings Earnings Estimates - more

  DoF wants Philnico operations stopped - Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima is urging the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to stop Philnico Industrial Corp.’s mining operations, as the firm has not paid government interest worth hundreds of millions of dollars for a Surigao mineral reserve. - more

  Indian steel cos plan strategic tieups with global majors - Indian companies are planning to form strategic tieups with global majors such as ArcelorMittal and ThyssenKrupp to access new markets, instead of bidding for these large units which will be expensive. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 16th May 2011 = In China, Shadow Of Regulations For Electricity Supply Is Already Stealing In - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 16th May of 2011 is as follows  - more

  China daily crude steel output at record high early May - Daily output of crude steel in China reached 1.9467 million tonnes in the first 10 days of May, with production at record levels despite worries about power shortages and the impact of Beijing's monetary tightening policies. - more

  Norilsk Nickel President Klishas to Resign, Run for Parliament - Andrei Klishas, OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel’s president, plans to resign from Russia’s biggest mining company to start a career as a lawmaker in Russia’s lower house of parliament. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, May 19

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  plus 58 to 1,359. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China’s Zhejiang Province to Impose Punitive Prices on Heavy Power Users // Hong Kong May Ask Lenders to Set Aside More Reserves on Loan Default Risks // China Mobile’s Wang Is ‘Very Confident’ About Outlook Even as Stock Falls // China Stocks Fall on Inflation Concern as Developers, Power Producers Drop // Japan Falls Into Recession After Economy Shrinks 3.7% // Fukushima May Have Leaked Radiation Before Tsunami // Asia Stocks Retreat as Japan GDP Contracts; Samsung Drops on Market Share // Strauss-Kahn Quits IMF, Kicking Off Succession Contest // U.K. Consumer Confidence Falls as Economic Concerns Damp Spending Plans // European Stocks Climb; BP Gains, Pandora Slumps, Glencore Debuts in London // Fed Nears Agreement on How to Exit Stimulus // Existing-Home Sales in U.S. Unexpectedly Fall // U.S. Index of Leading Economic Indicators Falls // Philadelphia Area’s Manufacturing Expands at Slowest Pace in Seven Months // U.S. Mortgage Foreclosures Fall From Record // Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall More Than Forecast
  • The Euro is currently trading over 4/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down over 1% and trading at $99.03/barrel. Gold is down 1/4 of 1% while silver is lower by 3/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session lower, despite a stronger Euro.  Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, slid slowly thru most of the session, before taking a significant dip at the end of the session. For the day, three month nickel closed at $10.59/lb . That would be the lowest that nickel has closed this year. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell slightly yesterday and now total just under the 114,000 tonne level. Reuters two day old chart shows trading thru Tuesday (chart here). The bear is obviously on the prowl and considering the news today, one can not blame them. We would call this a falling day. The Philly Fed manufacturing index fell - not good. Jobless claims fell last week - not bad. Conference Board leading economic indicators fell - that just sucks. April existing home sales fell - unexpected but is anyone really surprised. Mortgage rates fell last week for the few suckers still buying houses that are losing value daily. Foreclosures during the first quarter fell from their record high the prior quarter. Hopefully that one will make you all warm and fuzzy outside. Now go spend some money. If you haven't heard, 89 year old minister Harold Camping of Family Radio has forecast May 21st to be Doomsday. Yep. The big one, the last hurrah, wars, pestilence, floods and fire, lions and lambs sleeping together, Yankees and Red Sox fans hugging and kissing , real Revelation type stuff. So with only 48 hours left till mankind becomes extinct anyway, go spend some money. You can't take it with you.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Economic Effects of Japanese Quake Ripple - more
  • Most Common Jobs Among Lowest Paid - more
  • Patting Themselves on the Back? - more
  • What Do You Know, the Recession Is Actually Serious Bad News - more
  • Geithner: “The Size Of The Shock Was Larger Than What Precipitated The Great Depression” - more
  • Don’t Buy A House In 2011 Before You Read These 20 Wacky Statistics About The U.S. Real Estate Crisis - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.20/lb lower, with most base metals lower at the moment. The Euro is currently trading lower than the US Dollar, but by less than 1/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude is higher by more than 1/10% and trading at $100.22/barrel. Gold is down 3/10 of 1% while silver is up 1.2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended  lower after it was reported Japan had fallen into a second recession, and China was down 6/10 of 1%. European markets are higher this morning, while US futures are waiting for the jobless claims report before moving in any direction. Nickel inventories fell slightly yesterday. 
  • LME Morning - Copper holds above $9,000 but looks vulnerable, rest of complex mixed - more
  • Reuters morning - Copper falls on dollar, ahead of jobs data - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - It seemed that after weeks of steady declines across the commodity board, investors just got plain tired of selling and, instead, decided to pile onto the long side in practically every market yesterday. In fact, the Reuters-Jeffries CRB index headed for its biggest daily rise in two months, with oil prices climbing by more than $3/brl to a two-week high, while gold had a very strong session as well, although the action in silver was more lackluster. Grains soared, needing little prodding anyway given the growing concern about wet weather in the US and the dry conditions in Europe. US stocks also had a good day as commodity-related equities led the market higher. The dollar weakened slightly, but was not much of a factor in sparking the rally. In the case of base metals, copper posted its biggest one-day advance in two months yesterday, while zinc and lead each chalked up impressive 5% gains. This morning, we are seeing a more mixed tone set in, with modest losses across the board except for lead. Energy prices are slightly higher, and the Euro has given up earlier gains and is now flat, trading at $1.4245. Earlier today, we had reports that the embattled IMF chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has finally resigned. There is talk that the very impressive French finance minister, Christine Laggard, may become the new head and the IMF’s first female chief. However, China is angling for a candidate from the emerging markets, so we will have to see what happens in this regard. We think the generally stronger tone we saw yesterday is quite suspect and is already showing signs of fraying. This is not particularly surprising, since there really was no upside catalyst that sparked the rally in the first place. In the absence of any such bullish trigger, we have to suspect that yesterday’s move was nothing more than a gigantic technical "relief rally" in what is still a down market in most commodities. Moreover, the size of Wednesday's rally should not fool us either, as the increased volatility we have been seeing in recent weeks will make these kinds of moves par for the course going forward. ... Nickel is at $24,265, down $410, and still very quiet amid range-bound conditions. (Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • MF Global Daily Metals Report backup link from MF Global site here - (typically posted between 8 and 10 am EST)
  • (Yieh) Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group (Tisco) released the new price policy for stainless steel for June delivery. The company decided to cut the ex-factory prices of 304 series cold rolled (CR) stainless steel and hot rolled (HR) stainless steel by RMB1, 300/ton and RMB500/ton respectively.
  • (SBB) China's NPI output could reach 300kt this year
  • (MP) Nickel to swing into oversupply - Macquarie
  • (Interfax) China will remain the world's largest consumer of nickel throughout the period of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), an industry expert said at a May 18 conference.
  • (SO) Xiamen City, Fujian Province-based Chinese stainless steel producer Ganghong Stainless Steel Co., Ltd has signed an agreement with the government of Wuping County, Longyan City, Fujian Province to establish a stainless steel processing center in Wuping.
  • (SM) The American Forest & Paper Association released its April 2011 U. S. Containerboard Statistics Report today. Containerboard production fell when compared to March 2011, with month over month average daily production down 0.6%. The containerboard operating rate for April 2011 was down 1.9 points over April 2010 to 93.4%.

  Output Of Crude Stainless Steel In Japan For Q1 / 2011 Increased By 10% = The Quantity Produced By JFE Steel (Chiba) In March Had A Considerable Decrease - The total quantity of crude stainless steel produced by seven major stainless steel companies of Japan in the first quarter (January - March) of 2011 came up to 935,173 tons, which had a substantial increase of 9.9% compared with that (850,860 tons) in the same quarter of 2010. The quantities of crude stainless steel produced by these seven major companies of Japan in January - March quarter of 2011 were as per the table attached hereto. - more

  Negotiations On Ni-series Stainless Cold For Asia Face Difficulty - According to a Japanese mill, export negotiations on cold rolled Ni-series stainless steel sheets/coils for Asia including China face difficulty to conclude. Offering prices of the Japanese mills are around $3,800 C&F but the price in the market is less than that level because the mills of other countries like Korea and Taiwan are offering at less than $3,700 C&F. - more

  Brazil aims to become key nickel exporter as new plant opens - Brazil has set its sights on making the most of its nickel deposits and is being helped by iron ore giant Vale in reaching higher targets to influence the global nickel markets. - more

  China warns importers about low-quality Indian iron ore - Chinese importers need to pay more attention to the quality of Indian iron ore after an inspection revealed that more than a third of deliveries to a key eastern province were substandard, the country's quality watchdog said on Thursday. - more

  PNG's controversial Ramu Nickel allows journalist visit - Radio Australia reporter Jemima Garrett has become the first journalist to be allowed to inside the processing plant of the controversial Chinese-owned Ramu Nickel project in Papua New Guinea. - more

  Norilsk Candidates Named - Norilsk Nickel's various owners nominated 25 candidates for next month's election of the board, according to company documents Bloomberg obtained. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, May 18

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 3 to 1,271. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China April Home Prices Gain as Smaller Cities Defy Curbs to Cool Market // China’s Stocks Rise to One-Week High; Banks, Consumer Staples Shares Gain // Billionaire Burman’s Dabur Sees Africa as ‘Epicenter’ for Earnings Growth // Asian Stocks Increase on Takeover Speculation, Tokyo Electric Nuclear Plan // Europe Aims to Keep IMF Job After Strauss-Kahn // BOE Voted 6-3 to Hold Rate on Consumer Risks // ECB Rejects Greek Restructuring in Policy Clash // European Stocks Rebound; Basic-Resource, Real Estate Companies Lead Gains // Dollar Drop Boosts Tourist Spending in U.S.// High Earners Not Rich Yet Spend Little to End Federal Reserve’s Easy Money // Deere Raises Forecast on Crop Rally // Commodities Rally; Stocks Gain
  • The Euro is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 3-3/4% and trading at $100.53/barrel. Gold is up more than 7/10 of 1% and silver is higher by over 4%.  Base metals ended the session higher, following a general surge in commodity buying today. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, stalled early, but spent the afternoon in a climb. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the session at $11.18/lb . Stockpiles of nickel held in LME approved warehouses fell on Tuesday and now sit just over the 114,000 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart hasn't been updated in nearly a week, but Reuters two day old chart shows trading thru Monday (chart here). A day of speculative risk taking for commodities. We will soon learn if the bear has taken a break, or has gone back into hibernation.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) WBMS: Global Nickel Market In 6,300-Ton Surplus Jan-March
  • Geithner Offers Fiscal Facts - more
  • Housing Weakness Is Mixed Blessing - more

   Global 2011 Nickel Supply Surplus Likely 10,000 Tons -Metalytics - Global primary nickel demand is likely to rise 7.7% to 1.58 million tons this year, while supply growth is expected at 10.1%, leaving the market with a supply surplus of 10,000 metric tons, the director of consultancy at Metalytics Australia said Wednesday. - more

  Brazil’s Vale wants to become world leader in nickel production - The project has an annual production capacity of 220,000 tons of ferronickel, containing 53,000 tons of nickel, a highly valued product in the steel industry. Total investment in Onca Puma is approximately 2.84 billion US dollars. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.15/lb higher, with all London traded base metals higher for now. The Euro is currently trading slightly lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 1-1/4% and trading at $98.13/barrel. Gold is up nearly 3/10 of 1% and silver is up 1-2/3%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher , with China up 3/4 of 1%. European markets are slightly higher at publication time, while US futures show Wall Street may open higher. Nickel inventories fell yesterday.  
  • LME Morning - Metals firm but bearish overtone persists - more
  • Reuters - Soft dollar fuels copper's rally to one week high - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals ended lower yesterday, pressured by disappointing US macro data that pointed to further signs of slowing growth. Other commodities also finished down, with losses seen in precious metals and energy as well. The day began with a greater-than-expected decline in German investor sentiment readings and the high UK inflation readings, which we noted in yesterday’s report, but markets took a big step back once US macro data was released. In this regard, we saw April housing starts and permits both coming in much weaker than expected, but the big surprise was in industrial production, which fell to an unchanged reading vs. the +.5% increase expected. Manufacturing output, which makes up 75% of the IP total, fell 0.4% in April, breaking nine straight months of gains, as supply disruptions from Japan's earthquake hit auto production. The fact that there was a ready explanation for the sharp decline may be why most markets came back later in the day, as investors likely concluded that the manufacturing disruption was unlikely to be repeated. On the currency side, the Euro was all over the place yesterday, but finished slightly stronger in light of the weak US macro data. The continued concern about Greece is preventing the currency from mounting a more serious recovery, as is the leadership void at the IMF. In fact, PIMCO's Mohamed El-Erian told Bloomberg that the probability of Greece defaulting or restructuring its debt has increased since the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. “Don’t underestimate how important [he] was in coordinating action” El-Erian, said. “It’s the worst possible time to lose your general. You need the IMF to coordinate this global healing.” (That, and plenty of cash). Right now, after several days of some rather sharp declines, most commodity markets are higher, with copper leading the advance in base metals, and now trading at just under $9,000. This level has been approached several times this week, but prices have backed off each time, so it remains to be seen whether we can push through this time around. There are good gains in lead and zinc as well, recouping most of the losses sustained yesterday. Energy prices have also snapped back, with crude now up by about $1.40, while gasoline, which has lost a whopping $.55c a gallon since early May (don't bother looking for an equivalent decline at the pumps) is up by about $.04/gallon right now. US stocks are called to open higher on account of a steadier tone in the European and Asian markets. The dollar is flat today, now trading at $1.4220 against the Euro despite news out of Europe that European Central Bank officials have ruled out a Greek debt restructuring proposal that would entail a haircut or delayed payment on Greek bonds, an idea first put forward by EU finance ministers over the weekend “A Greek debt restructuring is not the appropriate way forward -- it would create a catastrophe,” one ECB member was quoted as saying, while another said that a “solution for reducing debt but not paying for it will not work”.  ... Nickel is at $24,500, up $350, and clinging to support at $24,000 for now. Charts continue to show an uneventful sideways drift.  (Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • MF Global Daily Metals Report backup link from MF Global site here - (typically posted between 8 and 10 am EST)
  • (SO) Affected by heavy rain in Australia, the nickel output of Australian miner BHP Billiton only amounted to 34,600 mt in the first quarter of the current year, falling by 20 percent quarter on quarter.
  • (HDT) TransCore's North American Freight Index showed a 14 percent decline in spot market truckload freight volume for the month of April compared to March, but a 12 percent increase compared to April 2010. Freight volumes in the South and Midwest were negatively impacted by the extreme weather conditions, including an outbreak of tornadoes, the regions experienced during April. The month-to-month decline was the first instance in 15 years where spot market freight volume dropped from March to April.
  • Gas Price - bet your neighborhood station isn't falling as fast as this (chart)

  DJ Beijing Antaike: China 2011 Nickel Demand Up 16% At 599,000 Tons - China's demand for nickel will likely reach 599,000 metric tons this year, up 16% from last year, the chief nickel analyst at state-controlled metals consultancy Beijing Antaike said Wednesday. - more

  After Successive Holidays In Early May, Price Of Ni-Based Stainless Scrap Is Reduced By Yen 10,000 = Following A Reduction Of Scrap Price In South Korea And A Fall Of LME Nickel Price - The movement on domestic price of nickel-based stainless steel scrap (new clippings) for deliveries in May is subject to a fluctuation of LME nickel price as forecasted in advance of successive holidays held on an early part of May. LME nickel price fell by about 8% during the successive holidays in Japan held for a period of the 29th of April to the 5th of May - more

  Steel Shipment Growth Rate Slows in U.S., Canada -  The rate of growth of steel shipments from metals service centers in the United States and Canada sagged during April, the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute shows. Steel shipments from U.S. service centers rose 11.3% during the month, down from 19% year-over-year growth recorded in March. - more

  China shafts Philippine mines - While the Philippines needs foreign investment to spark its struggling economy, a recent wave of Chinese outlays in the country's under-developed mining sector has raised hackles among regulators. - more

  Advice puts nickel refinery on course for 25% improved energy efficiency - A nickel refinery is on track to achieve 25% improved energy efficiency by 2012. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, May 17

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 17 to 1,274. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Trims U.S. Bond Holdings for Fifth Month as Debt Approaches Ceiling // Australia Central Bank Foresees Need for Higher Rates to Contain Inflation // HSBC Says Hong Kong Mortgage Rates to Keep Rising as Liquidity Tightens // Yen Slumps the Most in Six Weeks; BOJ Chief Says Economy in ‘Severe’ State // U.K. Inflation Accelerates More Than Forecast to Fastest Pace Since 2008 // EU Sees Possible Greek Debt ‘Soft Restructuring’ // Finance Ministers Back IMF as Discussions Turn to Strauss-Kahn Successor // European Stocks Fall to Lowest in Four Weeks as U.S. Housing Starts Drop // Wal-Mart First-Quarter Profit Rises on International // Home Depot Profit Meets Analyst Estimates // California Cash Crisis May Loom Even as Brown Adds $6.6 Billion to Budget // Mississippi River Diversion Reduces Threat to Cities, Crude-Oil Refineries // HP Cuts Forecasts as Consumers Hold Back // Production Stalls on Autos, Housing Starts Fall // Stocks Retreat on Hewlett-Packard, Economy
  • The Euro is presently trading only slightly higher against the US Dollar, and off session highs and lows. NYMEX crude is down 1.3% and trading at $96.09/barrel. Gold is down 2/3 of 1% and silver is down 2/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mostly lower. Indicator charts show nickel was very choppy in morning trading, with wide swings, but fell in afternoon trading and was unable to recover. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the session at $10.93/lb , it's lowest close since the first week of January. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses recorded an increase yesterday for only the second time this month. Inventory totals now sit just over the 114,200 tonne mark. Reuters chart shows nickel trading thru Friday (chart here). Markets were/are in a cranky mood today after US economic reports were less than enthusiastic. It's a full moon and traders are a little spooked as the commodity correction continues. The Dow is currently trading lower over 100 points.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • New Manufacturing Data Show Weaker Factory Recovery, Deeper Recession - more
  • CFOs Expect Modest Recovery - more
  • Top 10 Thriving Industries - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending May 14, 2011, domestic raw steel production was 1,810,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 74.0 percent. Production was 1,808,000 tons in the week ending May 14, 2010, while the capability utilization then was 74.8 percent. The current week production represents a 0.1 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending May 14, 2011 is up 0.5 percent from the previous week ending May 7, 2011 when production was 1,801,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 73.7 percent. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.05/lb higher, with most London traded base metals higher at this time. The Euro is currently trading over 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is flat at $97.36/barrel. Gold is up nearly 2/10 of 1% and silver is up 1-1/3%. In overnight trading Asian markets fell, while China ended higher by 1/2%. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures show Wall Street may open on the positive side. Nickel inventories rose yesterday.    
  • LME Morning - Metals perk up, copper leads as support holds - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper recovered earlier losses to end up for a third straight session in a row, as a slightly steadier Euro helped sentiment, but concerns about slowing global economic growth and an another sharp sell-off in the energy markets kept the advance from gathering any serious momentum. Other metals ended mostly lower, with ali continuing to deteriorate technically, as the 100-day moving average was taken out. Tin sank to a four-month low. The relatively minor US macro data we got yesterday was not that constructive; in this regard, manufacturing growth in New York State slowed much more than expected in May, coming in at an 11.9 reading versus the 18 expected. The NAHB Housing Market Index for May came in line with estimates, but was largely a nonevent. Later today, we get more meatier readings out of the US, including April industrial production and housing data. On the currency front, the Euro steadied yesterday, but not by much, as investors remain anxious about the Greek situation and, specifically, whether the Europeans are going to come up with a rational package that could address the country's increasingly burdensome debt load. In addition, the bizarre trouble that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the embattled head of the IMF is facing in New York, weighed on the currency as well, since investors felt that a new head at the IMF at this time may introduce an element of uncertainty at a time when the Euro could least afford it. Strauss-Kahn's number two is now at the helm, but given the gravity of the charges against his boss (where bail was denied), we would not be surprised to see him resign. In the meantime, there are reports out on Bloomberg that some European finance ministers have coalesced around the idea of getting bondholders to participate in what was called a “reprofiling” of Greek bond maturities. Previously, European governments had ruled out such bond write-downs, so this will be the first time that private bond-holders may be called to share in some losses, but from what we have been able to glean, not all the finance ministers are on board, which may explain why the Euro has not been doing much since the announcement. Right now, markets are off to a very quiet start, with modest gains seen in both energy and base metals. The dollar is weaker, now trading at just under $1.42 against the Euro and providing the markets with some lift. However, conditions are fairly quiet and trading ranges are rather tight. US equity markets are expected to open slightly higher, shrugging off earlier weakness seen in Asian and European stocks.  ... Nickel is at $24,350, down $5, as prices maintain support above $24,000.  (Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • MF Global Daily Metals Report backup link from MF Global site here - (typically posted between 8 and 10 am EST)
  • (Yieh) Recently, Asian traders have been facing the difficulty in 300 series cold rolled (CR) steel export market. Asian buyers have taken wait-and-see attitude toward the market as the nickel prices have sharply dropped recently.
  • (Interfax) China's demand for steel will maintain a growth rate of 5 percent year-on-year in 2011and 2012, according to a May 16 report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
  • (Interfax) China produced 280.67 million tons of steel products in the first four months of 2011, up 12.6 percent year-on-year, according to figures released by Shanghai-based Mysteel Information on May 17.
  • (SO) The outlook for the global steel industry is promising, with global demand forecast to increase by an annual six percent in both 2011 and 2012, according to industry and government officials at the OECD's Steel Committee meeting in Paris held on May 12-13. But downside risks remain, including further rises in steel raw material prices, continuing sluggish growth in advanced economies and high oil prices.
  • (Reuters) Germany's second biggest steelmaker Salzgitter is not interested in the businesses put up for sale by rival ThyssenKrupp, its chief executive said.
  • (MBN) Taigang cuts stainless offers for June by $200
  • (China) Energy crunch looming - more

  China refined nickel imports to drop sharply as NPI production grows in two years: Industry - China's imports of refined nickel will drop sharply as new nickel-pig-iron projects come online in the next two years, boosting production of the cheaper replacement by as much as a quarter this year and doubling it by 2013, industry watchers said on Tuesday. - more

  China encourages imports of molybdenum and antimony ores - China encourages firms to import molybdenum and antimony ores and natural uranium, a statement jointly released by three ministries said on Tuesday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, May 16

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 15 to 1,291. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China’s Stocks Drop on Concern Over Inflation, Slowing Growth // Central Bank Adviser Calls Financial Crisis ‘Inevitable,’ Caijing Reports // Japan Machine Orders Unexpectedly Rose in March, Withstanding Quake Impact // Asia Shares Drop on Greek Debt, Goldman Cutting Japan, Korea Stock Ratings// Pakistan Rejects Challenges to Its Sovereignty in Fight Against Terrorism // Greece Aid May Be Clouded by Strauss-Kahn Arrest // Greek Government Bonds Fall as EU Mulls Extra Bailout; German Notes Drop //  Euro Rises on Greece, Portugal Debt Talks, Inflation; Stocks Erase Decline // Euro Rises on Greece, Portugal Debt Talks, Inflation; Stocks Erase Decline// Nasdaq Drops NYSE Bid on Regulatory Obstacles // Gold Coins Show Bull Market Unbowed in Commodities Decline // Second-Largest U.S. Refinery Threatened as Mississippi Floods In Louisiana //
  • The Euro is now trading 2/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1.4% and at $98.26/barrel. Gold is down nearly 2/10 of 1% while silver is down 3-1/2%. Base metals ended the session mostly lower, but well off session lows. Indicator charts show nickel fell hard early but as the Euro did a turnaround, so did the metal. For the day, three month nickel ended at $11.05/lb , flat against Friday's close. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses continues to fall, and now shows totaling just under the 114,00 tonne mark. Sucden has not updated its day old chart since the 11th. Reuters chart shows nickel trading thru last Thursday (chart here). Market appears to be still trying to determine if the bearish correction is over for now - or there is still some bite left in the bear. Ed Meir's of MF Global is guessing the bear has some life left in him.  We will see.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Insider - pdf here
  • Robry Weekly Economic Assessment - more

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Inflation Definitions: Through the Ages - more
  • Goods Prices Increase, as Services Costs Lag - more
  • Americans Turn to Credit to Deal With High Oil Prices - more
  • The Economy Is Sliding Into A Stagflationary Spiral - more
  • ECRI - Based on our Long Leading Index of global industrial growth, we expect a downturn to start by summer. Beforehand, prominent shorter-leading indicators of industrial growth, like JoC-ECRI industrial commodity price inflation, will start weakening.
  • Debt Ceiling Limits Through the Ages (1939- 2011) - more
  • Study Inadvertently Draws Blueprint for Strategic Defaults - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.17/lb lower, with all London traded base metals lower at this time. The Euro is trading only slightly higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is trading 1-1/3% lower and at $98.30/barrel. Gold is trading slightly higher and silver is down nearly 2.2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets fell on a Citigroup downgrade of Japan and Korean stocks, with China down nearly 9/10 of 1%. European markets are trading lower as well this morning, while US futures show Wall Street may open in a bearish mood. Nickel inventories continue to fall. On Friday, Dow Jones reported three month nickel closed lower than Thursday, at $11.05/lb.     
  • LME Morning - Metals ease as risk-averse investors pause for breath - more
  • Reuters - Copper slips, focus on China tightening - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper finished higher on Friday, reacting to upbeat macro data released from both the US and Europe. Still, despite the positive close, prices shed over 5% on the week for a second-straight weekly decline and even sank to a five-month low at one point. A weaker dollar and some constructive macro data from a number of countries helped the tone somewhat, particularly early on when both Germany and France reported first-quarter growth that came in well above forecast. Germany's economy grew by some 1.5% in the first quarter, with overall activity now back over a 2008 peak. France announced a 1% rise in its GDP for the same quarter, while across the Eurozone, activity expanded by 0.8%. Even Greece, where a €110bn international bail-out is running into trouble, came in with a positive surprise, reporting GDP growth of 0.8% after four consecutive quarters of contraction. Out of the US, May Michigan consumer sentiment readings rose to 72.4, its highest reading since February and a pleasant surprise given that the impact of soaring gasoline prices (at least from earlier in the month) seems to have been ignored. However, inflation readings were not as reassuring, with the April CPI hitting its highest level in 2-1/2 years. Price inflation at the consumer level is now running at 3.2% on an annualized basis, and with the Federal Reserve still holding short-term rates at practically 0, the gulf between the two readings is glaringly apparent. In the least, this discrepancy cries out for more urgent action from the Fed on the rate front in order to prevent inflationary expectations from setting in, meaning that companies will be raising prices month after month with relative impunity. In a related item out of Europe, we have reports that higher energy costs have pushed up euro zone inflation in April, meaning that another interest rate hike could be in the cards. The EU’s statistics office said that consumer prices in the 17 Euro countries rose 0.6% month-on-month, with a 2.8% year-on-year rise on the year. In addition, a senior advisor to the People's Bank of China said today that China needs to raise interest rates further to rein in high inflation, while out of India, wholesale prices rose by an annual rate of 8.66% in April, above the median forecast. This morning, we are seeing another negative session in most commodities led by declines in crude oil (off by $1.00) and gasoline (off by $.05/gallon). Metals are down as well, with aluminum looking particularly weak as a key uptrend line as given way, while backwardations are flaring out along the nearby curve, pressuring premiums in the process. (We will have more to say about this in our ali section). The dollar (now at $1.41 against the Euro) is not helping matters much, as the currency has been strong on worries that European finance ministers may fail to prop up Greece as it attempts to restructure its debt In this regard, markets seem to be bracing for the worst, with 85% of international investors surveyed by Bloomberg believing that the Greeks will ultimately default. We also have to suspect that a weekend story about the head of the IMF head being detained by New York Police on sexual assault charges is not proving that inspirational for the Euro either.  ... Nickel is at $24,050, down $351, as prices continue to test support at $24,000. We suspect this will eventually give way after last week’s failed attempt and set up a retracement to $23,570, the December 2010 low.  (Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • MF Global Daily Metals Report backup link from MF Global site here - (typically posted between 8 and 10 am EST)
  • (MNP) - Owners of the $US1.5 billion ($A1.41 billion) Ramu nickel project in Papua New Guinea will have to wait another month to hear whether they can proceed with subsea tailings development after being advised of a four week judgment extension by the Madang National Court.
  • (SBB) Asian stainless prices slipped again last week after nickel prices plunged by close to $3000/tonne.
  • (Interfax) Baoshan Iron & Steel Group's (Baosteel Group) Shanghai base has been directed to limit its energy consumption levels this summer, state media reported May 14.
  • EU revives threat of duties on Indian stainless steel fasteners - more
  • (CEN) China's power consumption rose 11.2 percent year on year in April to 376.8 billion kilowatt hours (kwh), but the growth rate was 2.21 percentage points lower than March, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said Saturday.
  • China's Sinosteel president dismissed - reports - more
  • Congressman Grimm: Corporations are the Heart and Soul of our Public - more

  ThyssenKrupp may keep part of stainless unit-source - ThyssenKrupp would keep some shares in its stainless steel business if it decided to divest the unit via a flotation, a person on the company's supervisory board said. - more

  CISA sees Chinese steel output to be dented by power cuts - An official from the China Iron and Steel Association said that China's total steel output growth is set to fall in the coming months amid a worsening power shortage, in turn causing the country's coking coal demand to ease. - more

  Baosteel Maintained Previous Domestic Price For June - According to a source familiar with the matter, China's Baoshan Iron and Steel (Baosteel) seemed likely to announce steel prices of June shipment for the domestic on 10th. For May shipment, Baosteel decreased their prices of most items like hot and cold rolled coils by 200 to 300 CNY ($31 to 46), and non-oriented electrical steel by 200 to 400 CNY ($62) except for grain oriented electrical steel which was increased by 1,500 CNY ($231). - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, May 13

 We are on the road for the rest of today so there will be no afternoon update. Have a safe and restful weekend!!

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.11/lb higher in choppy morning trading, with all London traded base metals higher at the moment. The Euro is currently trading over 1/4 of 1% higher against the US Dollar.  NYMEX crude is higher by nearly 3/4 of 1% and trading at $99.69/barrel. Gold i sup nearly 2/10% and silver is higher by more than 2-3/4%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher with China up nearly 9/10 of 1% on speculation China may temporarily back off further steps to curb inflation. European markets are trading slightly higher and US futures show Wall Street may open higher. Stockpiles of nickel held in LME approved warehouses fell again overnight and now stand just over the 114,400 tonne level.  
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Gains Most in Two Weeks as European Growth Fuels Demand Speculation - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals continue to fall as bearishness dominates - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper bounced off a five-month low to finish slightly higher yesterday, leading most of the group higher as well, with zinc being the sole exception. In addition, a number of other commodity markets reversed course, with precious metals, energy, and the Euro, all finishing up on the day, as did the Dow, which erased a 100 point loss to finish up 66. Sitting out the rally was gasoline, where prices shed another $.07/barrel after the $.26 drubbing prices took the day before. There was a host of US macro data investors sifted through on Thursday, with most not being particularly constructive. Weekly initial claims for jobless benefits, for example, fell 44,000 to 434,000 from the latest week, but the reading was not only above expectations, but still uncomfortably above the 400,000 mark. Retail sales rose 0.5%, just below consensus estimates calling for a 0.6% rise. However, stripping out the automobile/gasoline component, sales were up a meager .2%, their lowest increase in some nine months. Producer prices were also higher than expected, coming in at .8%, while the core rate edged up 0.3%. Most of the overall increase in the PPI, not surprisingly, was attributable to the recent surge in energy prices.
  • This morning, we are seeing another positive session in metals, with copper taking the lead and now over $8900. Lead and zinc are sporting good gains as well, but the advance in the rest of the group is far more restrained. Oil prices are up by about $.80/barrel, and the Euro is higher (now at $1.4280) on data showing that growth in the 17-nation Euro zone accelerated to 0.8% from 0.3%, beating a median forecast of 0.6%. Later out of the US, we get April CPI (expected at .4%), along with Michigan consumer sentiment readings (expected at 69.8, and unchanged from the month prior). We are not so sure how sustainable the current advance in metals is, as the underlying scenario of rising inflation and higher interest rates are still going to be generating considerable headwinds for the complex going forward. In addition, there are serious questions about how growth in China will fare given the push to wring inflation out of the system. However, for now, it seems most commodity groups want to push a little higher, punctuating (at least briefly) the severe downdrafts we have seen for much of the last 10 days.  ...  Nickel is at $24,774, up $224. The price break below $24,000 which we pointed out in yesterday’s note turned out to be a false move lower, as we suspected it would. (Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • (Interfax) Indonesia, a major nickel ore trading partner with China, is to raise nickel ore export standards as of 2014, Shanghai-based nonferrous metals industry portal smm.cn (Shanghai Metals Market) reported May 12
  • (SBB) Brazilian mining giant Vale shipped the first nickel cargo from its March-commissioned plant Onça Puma, located in Pará state.

  Guest Column: High steel prices poised for decline - China's policy to curb power consumption in energy intensive industries and a recent drop in steel product stocks are the main factors presently affecting the country's steel industry. As a result, the most traded October 2011 rebar contract grew to nearly $5,000 per ton as of early May. - more

  N.L. shouldn't impose labour contracts: employers - The Newfoundland and Labrador Employers Council doesn't like a recommendation from the commission of inquiry into the Voisey’s Bay strike that calls for the provincial labour board to have the power to impose a contract to end a protracted labour dispute. - more

  • Another long strike looms at Voisey's Bay if labour laws aren't changed: union -A union leader says another long strike is inevitable at the Voisey's Bay nickel mine in Labrador as unresolved grievances pile up amid "horrible" working conditions. - more

  China's Exports Of Molybdenum In Q1 / 2011 Increased By 28% Compared To Same Quarter / 2010 = Contrarily, Imports Had A Considerable Decrease Of 63.8% - The illusion, which China will transform again to the country to import molybdenum with net quantity, is supposed to be better to turn out. Because of the fact that China imported an extraordinarily large quantity of molybdenum in 2009, the parties concerned in the western countries have been stimulated by the illusion, which China is the country to import molybdenum with net quantity. However, since the beginning of 2011, China has been exporting molybdenum on the most favorable conditions. On the contrary, China has been decreasing their imports of molybdenum to a substantial extent. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, May 12

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 14 to 1,320.   (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Orders Banks to Set Aside More Cash // China Inflation Spreading Beyond Food Shows Wen to Persist With Tightening // Down-Under Hypocrites Bet All on China’s Boom: William Pesek // China Raises Reserve Requirement by 0.5 Percentage Point Effective May 18 // Indonesia Refrains From Raising Rates for Third Month to Boost Slow Growth // China’s Yuan Convertible by 2016 in Global Poll Marking Big Investor Shift // Glencore Said to Gain Double Orders for IPO // Greeks Blaming Speculators Sure Sign of Panic: Jonathan Weil // Investors Shifting to Cash From Commodities // Euro-Region Industrial Output Declined in March // European Stocks Decline as Commodities Extend Rout; BHP Billiton Retreats // Goldman Sachs Viewed Unfavorably by 54% in Poll // Foreclosure Filings Drop to 40-Month Low as U.S. Lenders Delay Processing // Retail Sales in U.S. Rise on Fuel, Food // Plosser Says Federal Reserve Should Tighten in ‘Not-Too-Distant Future’ // U.S. Stocks, Commodities Recover
  • The Euro is now trading 3/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, and its midday turnaround helped push many commodities out fo the loss column. NYMEX crude is off 4/10 of 1% and trading at $97.81/barrel. Gold just turned higher while silver is down nearly 1-1/2% after being down as much as 9% earlier. Base metals ended the day mostly higher. Indicator charts show nickel opened in the cellar, and after US economic reports came out, and Wall Street shook off its huge opening drop, nickel began to climb. For the day Dow Jones reports nickel ended at $11.11/lb , and still climbing. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses continue to slide, and now read just over the 114,700 tonne level. Sucden did not update its day old chart today. The Euro finally started showing some signs of recovering against the US Dollar, and this helped commodities grab back some of their losses.  We still think we are seeing some of what we saw last spring and things should calm down soon. That is - if there is any such thing as calm in the nickel trading world.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Kocherlakota Explains Fed Focus On Stock Market - more
  • Falling Home Prices More Than Erase $8,000 Tax Credit for Many Buyers - more
  • More Than 3 Million Job Openings in March - more
  • A gadget’s life: From gee-whiz to junk - more
  • Rent or Buy, a Matter of Lifestyle - more

  ThyssenKrupp, labour agree on stainless plan -source - ThyssenKrupp, Germany's biggest steelmaker, has struck a deal with the labour side on its strategic revamp, clearing the way for the supervisory board's nod to a stainless steel spin-off, a workers' representative told Reuters on Wednesday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.24/lb lower, with all London traded base metals lower for a second day. The Euro is presently trading over 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar.  NYMEX crude is off over 2.3% and trading at $95.91/barrel. Gold is off nearly 1% while silver is down over 5.2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets fee, with China off nearly 1.4% after China took further credit restraint steps to curb inflation. European markets are lower this morning, and US futures, which haven't had a good track record fo foretelling the day's market moves, is forecasting a lower opening for Wall Street. Nickel inventories continue to fall.  
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper, Lead, Zinc Drop on Expectation for More China Monetary Tightening - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals continue to fall as bearishness dominates - more
  • Reuters - Copper tumbles to 5-month low on growth blues - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper prices collapsed to a six-month low yesterday, as increased worries about slowing growth amid rising inflation, coupled with a sharp retracement in energy markets and a relatively stronger dollar, all combined to hammer the group. In the broader commodity world, the Reuters/Jefferies CRB index slid 3% in a session that felt very much like last Thursday's 5% rout. Perhaps garnering the most attention here, was the action in gasoline, where by the close of the NYMEX session, prices finished 26c/gallon lower on the day and even reached limit-down levels at one point, forcing a halt in trading. Silver was also quite weak, as were some of the grains. We are seeing more selling set in today, particularly in the last hour on news that China has raised bank reserve requirements by 50 bps. This is the eighth increase since October, and will raise the ratio to a record 21% for the country’s biggest banks. The increase will take effect from May 18. Right now, copper is off sharply, sinking through modest support at $8690, and there are sizable declines in nickel, lead, and zinc as well. Energy markets are off by another $2 after losing $5 yesterday, as earlier advances in Asian trading have reversed course. Gold and silver prices are lower, with silver tumbling more than 6% at one point. .... Summing up, we are now seeing the stark consequences (and the ugly side) of excessive bullish enthusiasm that quite often runs unbridled in the commodity markets, with rallies frequently egged on by many on Wall Street. While at times these bullish forecasts are certainly credible, problems arise when prices rise too far and too fast, in which case they inevitably create the seeds of their own destruction, i.e., higher inflation, higher interest rates, a slowdown in demand, and depending on the commodity involved, a push towards substitution or alternatives. We are seeing all these variables play out in one shape or another, with base metals proving to be no exception.  .... Nickel is at $24,046, down $700, and prices have broken through key trend line support at $24,000 earlier. This could be a false move lower, and it is conceivable that prices could snap back above the line just as they did in November of 2010, (circled on our chart in the attachment), so we would watch the action here for another day or so before turning more negative. (Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • (UCLAA) The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index™ (PCI), issued by the UCLA Anderson School of Management and Ceridian Corporation fell 0.5 percent on a seasonally and workday adjusted basis in April, marking a continuation of the see-saw economic performance experienced over the past twelve months. Though down in April, the decline offset only a fraction of the exceptional 2.7 percent gain posted in March, which was sufficient to drive continued growth in the three month moving average of the PCI.
  • (RITA) - The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry increased 1.9 percent in March from February to reach the highest level since July 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics' (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) released today (Table 1). The March increase followed a decline in February.
  • China raises bank reserve requirements, more expected - more
  • (China) Inflation 'set to increase further' - more

  Japan's Exports Of Ferro-Nickel In March 2011 Decreased Considerably = Influenced By Gigantic Earthquake Disaster In East Japan, Exports For South Korea Had Sharp Decline - According to the statistics released by the Ministry of Finance, the quantities of ferro-nickel exported from Japan to overseas countries in March of 2011 and broken down by shipping ports were as per the tables (1) and (2) attached hereto. - more

  Price of chrome ore is expected to increase on high growth steel production - Price of chrome ore is expected to increase on high growth steel production. Steel demand in China, the world's top producer of steel,will grow at a 6 percent pace in the next two years to 605 million tonnes in 2011 and 635 million tonnes in 2012. - more

  Report on bitter strike at Voisey's Bay recommends labour law changes - A new report on a strike that lasted 18 months at Voisey's Bay nickel mine in Labrador calls for labour law changes to help settle future disputes. - more

  Royal Nickel has big hopes for Quebec mine - Nickel doesn’t have the same credentials as Dr. Copper and hasn’t been the centre of any heated takeover battles for quite some time, but the practical metal is still reaping the benefits of strong demand. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, May 11

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 10 to 1,334. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Inflation Signals More Tightening to Come // China’s Commodity Takeovers Dropping 30% This Year as Oil, Copper Advance // China’s Stocks Decline as Inflation Signals More Interest-Rate Increases // Asian Stocks Rise a Third Day on Commodity Prices, Japan Earnings Reports // BOE Signals Rate Increase This Year Amid Inflation // Euro Falls as Greek Aid Concern Deepens; Pound Slides on Inflation Outlook // South Africa Unemployment Still 25% Despite Autos // European Stocks Advance for Second Day; Maersk, Hermes Gain After Earnings // FDIC’s Bair Says U.S. Money Funds ‘Unstable’ in Crisis // Trade Deficit in U.S. Widened in March on Oil Imports // Commodities, Stocks Drop on Inflation Concern
  • (abbreviated version) Indicator charts show nickel spent most of the day in a slow and graual decline. After falling below $11/lb, the price did bounce - but only slightly. For the day, three month nickel ended the session at $11.14/lb  . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell again on Tuesday and now sit just under the 115,000 tonne level. This is the lowest amount recorded since August 2009. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel apparently has found its footing since last weeks price collapse (chart here).   

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel exports rose 127.9% in March from the previous month, but was down 17.2% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel imports rose 28.7% in March from last month, but was down 11.4% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
  • Fed’s Lacker: Policy May Need to Tighten Even Amid High Unemployment - more
  • Why do voters care most about the prices politicians can’t change? - more
  • (MBA) The Refinance Index increased 9.0 percent from the previous week, and is at its highest level since the week ending March 18, 2011. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 6.7 percent from one week earlier.

  Sumitomo joins Nickel Asia project - Nickel Asia Corp., the country’s biggest nickel producer, sealed an agreement with shareholder Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd., detailing the Japanese company’s participation in its gold exploration subsidiary, Cordillera Exploration Co. Inc. (Cexci). - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.16/lb lower, with all London traded base metals lower this morning.  The Euro is trading 1/3 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1% and trading at $102.83/barrel. Gold is down slightly while silver is off 1.1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, while China closed 1/4 of 1% lower as economic data showed more Chinese credit tightening is to come in light of high inflation concerns. European markets are trading higher, while US futures are higher as well. NIckel inventories continued to fall yesterday.
  • LME Morning - Traders in no rush to seek out base metals bargains - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper ended higher for a third straight day yesterday, but the increase was relatively modest as metals received mixed signals from the Chinese trade figures. Despite the three-day winning streak through yesterday’s session, copper prices are still hovering close to the bottom end of the recently broken trading range, and have yet to snap back with the same degree of authority that they have in the past. Other metals were similarly subdued in yesterday's action, with the exception of aluminum, which tacked on $40 a ton on the day. Right now, metals are lower, with the selling intensifying just in the last twenty minutes. Oil prices are also down despite the dollar being slightly weaker today, now trading at just under $1.44 against the Euro. We think today’s weaker tone is attributable to the release of more macro numbers out of China, showing that while inflation seems to have moderated slightly in April, it still remains uncomfortably high. In this regard, despite frantic government efforts to rein in prices, the benchmark consumer price index rose 5.3% in April from a year earlier, less than the 5.4% reported in March, but still above forecast and well above Beijing’s full-year target of 4%. Politically-sensitive food prices rose 11.5% from a year earlier, likely the most concerning number as far as the authorities are concerned. With inflation still remaining high, there were also signs that overall growth was moderating. April industrial output came in at 13.4% higher than a year earlier, but was well off March’s 14.8% increase, and constituted the sharpest month-over-month pullback since mid-2010, this according to analysts at IHS Global Insight. If anything, today’s figures suggest that even more tightening remains in the cards, and while the a growth slowdown seems to be gathering momentum-- something the government would welcome-- we suspect it would not sit as well with commodity bulls. .... Nickel is at $24,503, down $347, and very quiet today, with only a $400 trading range in place. Trend line support at $24,000 still is holding. (Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • (Yieh) According to report of the Japan Iron and Steel Federation (JISF), the country exported 134.33 thousand tons of stainless steel in March, soared by 15.2% from 116.56 thousand tons in February. Furthermore, Japan’s stainless steel exports in March increased by 31.3% from 102.28
  • (MB) Chinese refined nickel output rises 9% in April
  • (Interfax) China's daily crude steel output increased 2.6 percent month-on-month in April to an all-time high of 1.97 million tons, according to a National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report released May 11.
  • (JMB) Nippon Yakin Kogyo announced the financial results on Tuesday the firm posted consolidated operation profit for fiscal 2010 ended March 2011, which was the first profit in 3 years, while the firm posted recurring loss. Other Japanese major 3 stainless steel makers posted recurring profit. Nippon Yakin Kogyo and Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel (NSSC) posted more than 10 billion yen of net loss. Three makers of the 4 majors failed to disclose the outlook for fiscal 2011 under uncertainty for stainless and the raw materials market.
  • (SO) German crude steel output sees first year-on-year drop in 20 months
  • (AMM) China’s stainless steel output is likely to fall back from more than three million tonnes in the last quarter, due to a weak spot market and a power-limitation policy operating over the summer, delegates at industry meeting in Sichuan province said.
  • (Interfax) Baoshan Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. (Baosteel), the Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed subsidiary of leading Chinese steelmaker Baosteel Group, announced May 10 that it will leave its ex-works prices for major steel products unchanged in June.
  • (CR) The Consumer Reports Sentiment Index fell significantly in the May report to 45.7 from 50.2 the prior month, and is once again in negative territory. Along with the decline in consumer sentiment, the Trouble Tracker Index was up slightly to 48.3 from 44.5 in April, which means consumers faced more financial difficulties in the past month. - more
  • (IBD) The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index released Tuesday rose 2 points to 42.8. That's still below 50, indicating pessimism. The six-month outlook rose 3.5 points to 42.3. Both were up from their July 2008 lows.
  • (China) China's April CPI up 5.3%, PPI up 6.8% - more
  • La Niña near its end - more

  World Aspect On Production Of Stainless Steel Is Transforming With Retreat In Europe And Japan = Production In USA Is Remaining On Same Level, Activities In China And India Are Expanding Rapidly - Let us trace the world activities in production of crude stainless steel during 2007 to 2010. It goes without saying that China has expanded remarkably their production of stainless steel in the last 4 years. - more

  Japan steelmakers bullish in output plans after quake - Japanese steelmakers are bullish in their output plans for this quarter, counting on demand related to post-quake reconstruction to mostly offset weakness in the auto sector, a government survey showed on Tuesday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, May 10

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 4 to 1,344. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Exports Fuel Wider-Than Estimated $11.4 Billion April Trade Surplus // Wang Calls for Shift in China Growth Model as Surplus Jumps // China’s April Net Crude Oil Imports Rise as Factories Increase Fuel Demand // Quake to Spur Biggest Japan Home Building Boom in 15 Years, Sekisui Says // Microsoft Agrees to Purchase Skype for $8.5 Billion to Add Internet Calls // ECB Rejects Restructuring as Greece Struggles to Repay Debts // Stocks Rise in Europe on Earnings, Led by InterContinental, Deutsche Post // Bernanke’s QE2 Averts Deflation, Spurs Rally, Expands Credit // Crop Damage From Weather Growing as Cost of Grains Advances // U.S. Wholesale Inventories Increase 1.1% // U.S. Stocks Rise on Higher-Than-Estimated Earnings, Microsoft's Skype Deal
  • The Euro is nearly 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, while NYMEX crude is up 6/10 of 1% and at $103.16/barrel. Gold is nearly 1/4 of 1% higher while silver is up nearly 1.9%. Base metals ended the session mostly higher as well. Indicator chart show nickel rose for much of the morning, then fell to a session low and then bounced to a new session high, a range of over $400/tonne with a matter of 45 minutes. After that volatility, nickel calmed down and ended the session on the gaining side. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $11.27/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses continue to slump, and today sit just over the 115,550 tonne level.  Sucden's chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). Nickel was incredibly volatile this afternoon, but considering the Euro lost value and the metal gained, showed its bullish strength. Traders will be watching China inflation numbers being released tomorrow very closely.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Commodities Will Be Banking’s New Battleground: Matthew Lynn - more
  • IMF Official: U.S., Europe At Turning Points, Must Address Debt Problems - more
  • What’s the Difference Between Onions and Corn? No Speculators - more
  • Consumer Credit Making Progress, NY Fed Report Shows - more
  • GS: $100 Billion Rout in Commodities “Only Temporary” - more
  • Small-Business Pessimism Deepens - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.18/lb higher, with all London traded base metals higher this morning. Nickel is already off session highs, but charts look more solid than yesterday - so far. At the moment, the Euro is trading slightly lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is off 3/4 of 1% and trading at $101.77/barrel. Gold is up 1/3 of 1% and silver is higher by 2-1/3%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher with China up 3/4 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures imply another bullish start for Wall Street. Nickel inventories continue to fall.  
  • LME Morning - Metals advance as dollar pegged back, mood still wary - more
  • Reuters - Copper rises on risk appetite following China data - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals finished higher yesterday, as some stability returned to the commodity markets following energy's very strong rebound. In fact, the 19-commodity Reuters-Jefferies CRB index was up almost 2% on the day, heading for its largest one-day gain since mid-March. Crude oil prices were up about $6, reclaiming roughly a third of the $17/brl in losses sustained last week, while gasoline prices practically recouped most of last week’s losses. (So much for lower prices at the pump). There were some variables that kept yesterday’s bounce – at least in base metals – somewhat restrained. One was the stronger dollar, which soared to a three-week high against the Euro on news that S&P downgraded Greece's debt to junk status. Despite reports of yet another restructuring package being in the works for the Greeks, S&P said that the country needs far more radical measures to make its debt load sustainable, likely involving reducing the face value of its bonds by up to 70%. The downgrade pushed European debt issues back to the forefront just as questions are being asked about the strength of the global economy,\ where many countries are now grappling with soaring inflation and rising interest rates. Also keeping metals somewhat in check yesterday, was nervousness ahead of the Chinese trade numbers released this morning. The figures were something of a surprise in that exports hit a record high, while imports eased more than expected. The overall surplus came in at $11.4 billion, nearly four times greater than expected, following a rare deficit in the first quarter of the year. Exports grew by almost 30% in April from a year earlier to $155.7 billion, while imports climbed by about 22% on the month, well short of the 28% market estimate.  ..... Nickel is at $24,812, up $437, and where we were at this time yesterday. Trendline support at $24,000 still seems to be holding. (Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • (Yieh) Though analysts predicted that the performance of Chinese stainless steel market in the Q2 would be better than that in the Q1; Chinese mills have still cut the prices due to oversupply and weak demand.
  • (Interfax) China's steel product exports fell 2.85 percent month-on-month in April to 4.77 million tons, according to preliminary statistics released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC) May 10.
  • Allegheny - Effective with orders acknowledged on or after May 9, 2011, ATI Allegheny Ludlum is increasing base prices by five percent in plate-mill-plate on the following nickel-based alloys: ATI 625™, ATI 718™, ATI HX™, ATI 276™, ATI 22™, ATI 59™, ATI 200™, ATI 201™, ATI 825™ and ATI 690™ and high nickel bearing stainless steels: ATI 20™ and ATI A286™.
  • China to cut copper, steel, aluminium capacity in 2011 - more
  • (Reuters) REFILE - Nickel outlook least promising due to supply - BNP ParibasChina) Consumption set to rise - more

  Aperam warns of stainless steel pricing pressures - Stainless steel maker Aperam reported a higher than expected profit in the first three months of the year but warned that margins were coming under pressure from a mix of factors in the second quarter. - more

  Nickel outlook least promising due to supply -BNP Paribas - BNP Paribas on Tuesday singled out nickel as the lone price under performer this year among base metals commodities, despite seeing a supply deficit for the second year running. - more

  China to break ground on huge Burma mine - A trial operation will begin in July on the giant Tagaung Taung nickel mine in northern Burma run by the world’s largest steel manufacturer, but environmentalists have warned of “toxic” consequences. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 28th April 2011 = Forecast To Weaken Prices Of Manganese Ferro-Alloys Is Spreading - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 28th April of 2011 is as follows - more

  Japan steelmakers bullish in output plans after quake - Japanese steelmakers are bullish in their output plans for this quarter, counting on demand related to post-quake reconstruction to mostly offset weakness in the auto sector, a government survey showed on Tuesday. - more

  Second mining boom to drive economic growth, says Swan - Labor is banking on a massive spike in business investment, primarily in the booming mining sector, to help offset a sharp drop in company tax receipts and drive the next leg of economic growth.  - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending May 7, 2011, domestic raw steel production was 1,801,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 73.7 percent. Production was 1,808,000 tons in the week ending May 7, 2010, while the capability utilization then was 74.8 percent. The current week production represents a 0.4 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending May 7, 2011 is up 0.7 percent from the previous week ending April 30, 2011 when production was 1,788,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 73.1 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, May 9

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 8 to 1,348. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) U.S. Will Urge China to Boost Interest Rates as Talks Start // Singapore Stocks, Currency Gain as Ruling Party Retains Power in Elections // South Korean Won Rallies From Two-Week Low as Bahk Named New Finance Chief  // German Exports Surged to Record $141.4 Billion in March, Boosting Growth // Euro Holds No. 1 Spot as EU Shows Resolve on Greece Debt // Irish Confidence Falls on Rising Bank Bailout Costs, Job Losses // reece Joins Belarus as Europe’s Lowest-Rated as S&P Cuts // Stocks in Europe Decline as Banks Fall on Greek Concern; Centrica Retreats // U.S. ‘Underwater’ Homeowners Increase to 28 Percent, Zillow Says // Commodities Rally, Europe Stocks Drop on Downgrade // Manufacturing Booms as Deere Exemplifies Surge in Productivity Across U.S.// New York Startups Rise as Talent Forsakes Wall Street for Bondage Earrings // Fed Says U.S. Household Debt Increases 0.3% in First Quarter
  • The Euro is now trading nearly 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, after S & P lowered Greece's credit rating. NYMEX crude is up over 3.6% and trading at $100.69/barrel. Side note - gas is back up to $3.25/gallon today but did anyone see that $.40/gallon decline at the pumps over the weekend? (chart) Gold is up 8/10 of 1% while silver, which lost 25% last week, is up over 5/1% today. Base metals, for the most part, rallied. Indicator charts show nickel crept higher early in the session, only to take a long dive during the early part of the afternoon, after which it turned choppy, rebounding some of its losses. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $11.05/lb , but gained in after hours trading. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell on Friday, and now sit just shy of the 115,900 tonne level. Today we are seeing some of the money that poured out of commodities last week, start rolling back in as traders bargain hunt.  Wall Street opened in a very cagey mood, but bullish trades took over while many were out to lunch, and the Dow is up 60 after being negative earlier. Is the commodity correction over - or in the early stages with more to come. Impossible to know for sure - traders are betting against it today. Stay tuned.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Insider - pdf here
  • Robry Weekly Economic Assessment - more

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Number of the Week: Class of 2011, Most Indebted Ever - more
  • Commodity Rout Lends Credence to Bernanke’s Inflation Outlook - more
  • Consumers Increase Credit-Card Debt - more
  • Fed’s Dudley: Economy’s ‘Soft Patch’ Is Temporary - more
  • The Unwisdom of Elites - more
  • Current Job Losses in Historical Context - chart here

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.09/lb higher with all London traded base metals in the black this morning. The Euro is up nearly 6/10 of 1% against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is up 3% and trading at $100.08/barrel. Gold is up 6/10 of 1% while silver is currently higher by 4.3%.  In overnight trading, Asian markets rose, with China up 1/4 of 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures show Wall Street should open open the bullish side. Nickel inventories fell on Friday.    
  • LME Morning - Metals sustain corrective bounce, pace of advance slows - more
  • Reuters - Copper rebounds, helped by weaker dollar - more
  • Bloomberg - Commodities, U.S. Futures Advance; Euro Strengthens as Greek Bonds Decline - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Base metals turned slightly positive on Friday, but it was still a very bloody week for the commodity bulls, with the Reuters-Jefferies CRB finishing 9% lower over the period, its biggest weekly decline since December 2008. Crude oil prices had their biggest weekly loss ever (off by some $17/brl) while copper and aluminum lost about $400/MT and $160/MT, respectively. Precious metals were also hammered-- led by silver -- as were the grains, although they fell by a far lesser extent. The impact of the stronger dollar also made its impact felt on the commodity markets for much of last week, with its surge partly attributable to rumors that Greece or Germany - or even both -- would pull out of the Euro. Of course, both countries denied these stories, but a weekend European finance minister meeting did acknowledge problems in the current aid structure, admitting that that some terms in the Greek aid package need to be revised. However, ministers are still debating what Greece must do in return, with some proposing that it posts more collateral in advance of any restructuring. We suspect things would have been far worse last week if Friday’s US nonfarm payroll number came out weaker than expected, but instead, the number came out at +244,000, well ahead of estimates. The unemployment rate, however, inched up to 9%. As far as today's action is concerned, we have opened higher across the board, with oil prices up some $3/brl, while copper is up roughly 1%, and now trading as just under $8950. Gold is back over the $1500 mark (up $15), while silver has tacked on a $1.20, now trading at just under $37. The dollar is slightly weaker today against the Euro (now at $1.44), while US stocks are expected to open higher. If there is anything constructive about last week's decline for the bulls, it is the fact that the price descent has been so steep, that markets could reach rather reasonable valuations in fairly short order. This assumes, of course, that global macro readings do not deteriorate much further from here. That is a big if, as the impact of higher energy prices and interest rates (at least in emerging market economies) have yet to fully manifest themselves. We will have to wait and see what happens going forward, but given the technical damage evident in a number of commodity complexes (including base metals) and the heightened volatility that has returned to the markets, we do not expect a V-shaped bounce in most markets. Most importantly, the likelihood that global growth over the second balance of the year will likely fall short of what was seen in the last six months will also weigh on commodities going forward, and may even prevent some of them from revisiting their 2011 highs. Some metal producers are coming around on the growth story. In this regard, Reuters reports today that BHP Billiton sees the global economy remaining “fragile” in the near term and warned that economic growth could slow in the medium term, echoing recent comments from rival Rio Tinto.  ....  Nickel is at $24,850, up $245, and although prices have taken out the bottom end of their trading range (marked in blue), we are still hovering above trend line support. We will be watching this channel closely, where support is at $24,000.(Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • Vale Posts Record Quarterly Profit on Higher Iron Ore Production, Prices - more
  • Goldman Sees Commodity Recovery as Slump Erases $99 Billion - more

  Brazil's Vale Says It's Trying To 'Fix' Goro Nickel Project - Brazilian mining giant Vale SA (VALE, VALE5.BR) on Friday said it is trying to 'fix' its Goro nickel mine project in New Caledonia in order to start production within two months. - more

  Price Of Stainless Scrap In Japan For May Delivery Marks LME Nickel Price After Successive Holidays= Posco / South Korea Reduces Their Purchase Price For May Shipment By Won 130 Per Kg. - Many of the parties concerned have anticipated that domestic price of nickel-based stainless steel scrap (new clippings) in Japan will nervously move hereafter but, after all, a key point of this matter is supposedly grasped by LME nickel price to be seen after the successive holidays in May were over. - more

  Limited refinery capacity dents beneficiation drive - The recent re-introduction of a ban on chrome ore exports by Zimbabwe government will hit small-scale miners the hardest as they lack beneficiation capacity. - more

  Vale appeals landmark environmental ruling - Lawyers for Vale SA head into a Toronto courtroom on Monday to appeal a groundbreaking class-action ruling that ordered the company to pay homeowners in Port Colborne, Ont., $36-million in compensation for decades of pollution from an Inco nickel refinery. - more

  Mwana Africa still hunting for BNC capital - Pan African mining group Mwana Africa Plc is still hunting for US$26 million it requires to finance the phased restart of its Zimbabwean-based Bindura Nickel Corporation. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, May 6

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 26 to 1,340. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Paying ’Close Attention’ to U.S. Debate on Debt Level // Drought to Persist in China, U.S. Europe Wheat Areas, U.K. Forecaster Says // Glencore May Seek Xstrata Merger in 11 Months, Bernstein Says // Commodities Slide for Fifth Day as Oil, Silver Drop; U.S. Futures Advance //  Asia Inflation Fight Spreads as Philippines, Malaysia Raise Interest Rates // Australia Prepares to Tighten Fiscal Policy in Hit to Consumers Aiding RBA // Trichet’s Dollar Comments Hint at Motivation for Rate Restraint // Spanish Economy Grew 0.2% From Previous Quarter, Bank of Spain Estimates // European Stocks Gain After U.S. Adds More Jobs Than Forecast; RBS Rallies // Goldman BRIC Fund Among Most Hurt in ‘Panic’ Commodities Selling // Prostate Exam Deaths Tied to ‘Superbug’ Ills Spur Inquiries on Cancer Test // U.S. Payrolls Grew 244,000 in April; Unemployment at 9% // Stocks Climb on U.S. Jobs as Commodities Recover; Treasuries, Franc Drop
  • The Euro is currently down over 1% against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is off over 1/2 of 1% and trading at $99.25/barrel. Gold is up 1% while silver is up 2%. Base metals ended the session higher, after taking a thrashing the last few days. Indicator charts show nickel fell sharply early, but froze after falling below $11/lb, its lowest level this year. Upon the release of US employment figure, nickel rose nearly $1000/tonne to just shy of $25,000/tonne, before giving back about 1/2 that late. In the end, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $11.16/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell again Thursday and now sit just under the 116,250 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel's losses over the past two days (chart here). The US added more jobs in April than it had in a year, but as we mentioned earlier in the week as a strong possibility, the overall unemployment rate rose. Markets liked the growth in job numbers however and equities and commodities rebounded on the news. Speculators seen leading commodities crash - more
  • Have a safe and restful weekend!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Brazilian mining giant Vale SA on Friday said it is trying to 'fix' its Goro nickel mine project in New Caledonia in order to start production within two months. "Goro continues a matter of concern" to the company, Vale Strategies Director Jose Carlos Martins said on a conference call. The hydrometallurgical production route chose to produce nickel at Goro has led to delays and has been a "bigger" challenge to Vale than originally expected, according to Martins.
  • (MW) Applications for U.S. jobless benefits surge - Claims climb to 474,000, the highest level since August
  • Bill Would Allow States to Use Unemployment Funds for Other Purposes - more
  • Without Jobs, U.S. Consumers Have No Strength - more
  • What does Jim Rogers think about the silver crash? - more
  • Commodity Corrections - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.08/lb  lower, but showing signs of rising after falling below $11/lb earlier. At the moment, all base metals except tin are trading in the red, but recovering. The Euro is trading 1/4 of 1% lower against the US Dollar currently. NYMEX crude is down nearly 2-1/2% and trading at $97.35/barrel. Gold is up 4/10 of 1% while silver is down 2-1/2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended the session lower, with China down only slightly. European markets are trading slightly higher at  the moment, while US futures show Wall Street will wait and see what the jobs report says before determining an opening direction. Nickel inventories fell yesterday.
  • LME Morning - Base metals pare losses but downside risks remain - more
  • Reuters - London copper extends heavy losses, US jobs eyed - more

  Commodities Plunge for a Fifth Consecutive Day on ‘Panic’ Among Investors - Commodities fell for a fifth day, extending the biggest rout since December 2008, as investors cut their holdings in oil, silver and industrial metals amid concern that economic growth will slow. - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Thursday was one of those days for the record books; the Reuters-Jefferies CRB index closed with its biggest loss in some two years, as oil, base metals, and grains all plunged amid widespread liquidation and a general unwinding of the "commodity trade". It was, as one writer put it, like watching a slow motion version of last year's "flash crash" in the equity markets-- except that there was no computer glitch to blame the decline on. As is usually the case with these things, there are two lessons that can be learnt. The first is that markets fall much faster and harder than they do when going up, while secondly, bigger sell-offs are not necessarily triggered by any one headline, but are rather a culmination of events that finally come together to burst the bubble in question. Certainly, we have had our fair share of "pinpricks" that have been nipping at overbought commodity sectors for some time now, but perhaps most alarming, was the disconcerting complacency regarding ever-higher prices. Little thought was given to the fact that as prices soar, there are consequences in the real world, with higher inflation and interest rates, slower growth, and food riots being ones that immediately come to mind. In addition, rising commodity prices sow the seeds of their own destruction through demand retrenchment or outright substitution. In the case of base metals, the bullish euphoria did not sweep the markets in such eye-popping fashion as was the case with other high-fliers, like silver and cotton, both of which have crashed and burned in recent days. Nevertheless, there was ample justification for a pullback in many of the metals as well, since some in the group were clearly overbought amid questionable fundamentals, with copper, ali, and tin coming to mind. Moreover, much of the “play” in metals is a bet on China, but with the government there tightening the screws in order to get control of inflation, there are legitimate concerns as to whether the authorities will press too hard. Certainly, the more subdued nature of some of the global macro readings we have been seeing in recent weeks should give the markets reason to pause, and for this reason, we do not think we are going to see a V-shaped bounce setting in. The recent macro data in the US is of most concern, with renewed weakness in the labor markets and real estate again moving to the forefront. Perhaps most troubling in this regard, was this week’s plunge in service activity to a level (52.8) not far off from contraction territory. Later today, we get the nonfarm payrolls (expected at +200,000) and coming in on the heels of a slightly weaker ADP report released earlier in the week and recent initial claims readings that have been unimpressive. A poor jobs number could lead to yet another round of selling in the commodity space, while an in-line reading may moderate, but not necessarily reverse the selling pressure. We will have to see what happens, but this week’s action clearly suggests that many of the “commodity chickens” have come home to roost -- that is not necessarily a bad thing for the long-term health of the global economy. .... Nickel is at $24,448, down $77, and has deteriorated chart-wise over the past two days by taking out its trading range and likely setting up a move towards the mid-$23,000 mark. (Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • (DJ) Russia Jan-March Nickel Exports Up 4.1% On Year At 53,100 Tons
  • Commodity rout no threat to Australia mine projects -- yet - more
  • (AMM) Chinese mills poised to cut FeCr bids for fourth month in June
  • (CASS) The Cass Freight Index for both shipments and expenditures increased only marginally in April, over March figures, pointing to an economic slowdown that is confirmed by many other economic indicators. Shipments in April climbed .45% from March, while expenditures were up 2.6%. Year-over-year shipment volume increased 12%, while expenditures have risen almost 35%.

  Indonesia Inco says Q1 nickel output down 8 pct, but eyes growth - Production at International Nickel Indonesia (Inco) fell 8 percent to 16,501 tonnes in the first quarter against the previous quarter, but the firm aims for annual output of 90,000 tonnes, up 23 percent versus the last five-year average. - more

  Panorama On Supply And Demand Of Nickel In Japan For CY 2010 = Domestic Production Increased By 18%, Imports Also Increased By 56%, Exports Had Slight Decline - Let us trace the panorama on supply and demand of nickel in Japan for the calender year (January - December) of 2010.  - more

  China Daheishan to up moly ore processing capacity 33% to 20,000 mt 2015 - China's Jilin Daheishan Molybdenum, a subsidiary of the Jilin HOROC Nonferrous Metal Group, expects its moly ore processing capacity to reach 20,000 mt/day by the end of the Twelfth Five-Year-Plan Period (2011-2015), up 33% from 15,000 mt/day, the producer based in Yongji county of Jilin province in northeastern China said Friday. - more

  ThyssenKrupp $14 bln sale plan flags consolidation - ThyssenKrupp shares jumped on Friday after the German steelmaker unveiled a 10 billion euro ($14 billion) divestment plan that could spur consolidation in Europe's overcrowded stainless steel sector. - more

  • ThyssenKrupp Soars on Planned Asset Sales, Stainless Spinoff - ThyssenKrupp AG, Germany’s largest steelmaker, surged the most in two years in Frankfurt trading on plans to sell or spin off units making up about a quarter of its sales and valued at an estimated 6 billion euros ($8.7 billion). - more

  Vale Posts Record Profit as Base-Metals Sales Boost Revenue - Vale SA, the world’s largest iron-ore producer, posted a record quarterly profit as revenue doubled, fueled by higher sales of metals such as nickel and copper. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, May 5

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 12 to 1,314. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg)  China May Levy Resource Tax of 10 Percent on Oil and Gas, Securities Says // Hong Kong’s Home Sales Decline to Two-Year Low on Interest Rate Concerns // Glencore IPO Shows Unregulated Traders Beating Goldman Sachs // Indonesia Economic Growth Slows, Providing Room to Extend Rate-Rise Pause // Asia Stocks Fall on Concern U.S. Economic Recovery Waning; Bharti Slides // BOE Holds Interest Rate at 0.5% on Signs Recovery Is Fading // Euro Rises Toward 17-Month High Before ECB Meeting; Aussie Dollar Weakens // German Manufacturing Orders Unexpectedly Declined in March // European Stocks Slide for Third Day; Lloyds, SocGen Tumble After Earnings // Oil Price Controls Are Advocated by UN in Proposal for G-20, OPEC Accord // GM First-Quarter Net Income Triples as U.S. Sales Climb // Regulators Must Avoid ‘Burdensome’ Rules: Bernanke // US Stocks Decline a Third Day as Commodities Plunge; Euro Weakens
  • Commodity trading was awash in red today. The Euro is now trading nearly 1-3/4& lower against the US Dollar. This stoked an already roaring commodity sell off. NYMEX crude is off over 6% and trading at $102.37/barrel. God is down nearly 2/2% and silver is lower by 7-1/3%. Base metals saw a second day of decline. Indicator charts show nickel spent most of the day in a slow, but firm down trend. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $11.12/lb , down 11% in two days. Nickel has only closed lower one day this year, than on January the 10th. Stores of nickel stockpiled in LME approved warehouses fell slightly yesterday and totals now read just over 116,350 tonnes. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel getting bushwhacked yesterday (chart here). Keeping this move in perspective, prices fell last May and bottomed out in June, stabilized during the summer, and then began to increase in the fall. You remember last fall, don't you? After a slow summer, analysts and economists were chattering about a double dip. But nickel rose, despite the doomsayers.  And this year, with article title's like this one on today's MarketWatch "Double-dip recession is now undeniable", the cheery bunch is back earlier than expected. (article) Wall Street was initially shocked by the increase in job seekers last week, then responded positively to news that (MarketWatch) "The productivity of U.S. businesses rose at a slower rate in the first quarter while hourly wages of workers adjusted for inflation fell by the largest amount in almost three years, according to government data." If you are feeling a little poorer today, you have good reason. More of you are out of work - again - and those of you who have jobs - are doing more for less - again. Enjoy your day. 

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Commodity Surge Need Not Boost Total Inflation, Fed Research Says - more
  • Fed’s Rosengren Says Recovery Weak, Policy Just Right - more
  • Global Growth Slowdown? - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.42/lb lower, with all base metal getting zapped for a second day. Nickel has already lost 2/3 of what it did yesterday, but is showing signs of a possible bottom bounce. The Euro is trading nearly 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down nearly 2-1/2% and trading at $106.58/barrel. Gold is off 2/3% and silver is down nearly 3-1/2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off 1%. European markets are trading lower as well this morning, and US futures show Wall Street may continue yesterday's bearish run. Nickel inventories fell slightly after an active transfer day.  
  • LME Morning - Base metals slide to multi-week lows, commodity sell-off continues - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Another price rout is spreading in the commodity markets today, with energy off by another $2.50, while precious metals, led by silver, are off sharply as well. In fact, Reuters calculates that this week's decline in silver has been the worst in some 20 years, as fund liquidation and a series of margin increases (the fourth increase being introduced yesterday) is hitting the market hard. In addition, managers of the physical-based silver ETF's are unloading physical holdings as fast as they can on the back of incoming sell orders. Gold has not had as much trouble; although it is off as well, now trading at $1515, its decline has been far more moderate. US stocks are also called to open lower, but not by a large degree. Base metals are deeply in the red today. Copper has now sunk past its mid-March lows, and has taken out the $8944 level that marked the bottom end of its trading range in the process. The carnage was worse in Shanghai, where prices have now dipped to a five-month low. The sell-off in copper has hit other metals quite sharply, bringing down many that have been holding up fairly well up to this point, (i.e., ali, nickel, and tin). Once again, the weaker dollar is not doing much to stem today’s selling, as investors are looking past currency influences and reacting instead to concerns about rising inflation and interest rates, both precursors of slowing growth. One macro release out of the US that was particularly troubling to the markets in this regard, was the April ISM services reading out yesterday. This number came in at 52.8, substantially below the 57.4 estimate, and perilously close to the 50 delineation mark below which activity is considered to be contracting. Service readings were also released out of the UK today, showing activity growing less than expected in April after hitting a 13-month high in March. However, investors are clearly fretting most about China, were concerns about another round of tightening that could come in as early as this month continues to hammer both Chinese-based commodities and stocks. The downward momentum we are seeing will likely continue over the short-term, as the deteriorating technical picture will likely trigger more sell stops. Furthermore, the fact that we have plowed through the bottom end of the trading range in copper so effortlessly does not bode well for the bellwether in the metals group. In terms of macro news, we get weekly initial claims data later today, (expected at 400,000), as well as first-quarter productivity readings (expected at 1%). Key nonfarm payroll numbers come out tomorrow. Yesterday, the ADP employer report showed that U.S. private employers added 179,000 jobs in April, slightly shy of expectations calling for a gain of 200,000.  ... Nickel is at $24,800, down $1025, and has sunk to the bottom end of its trading range in almost one feel swoop. We have already briefly pierced the $24,675 March 15th low earlier today, and will likely go through it during the next round of selling. Prices could then stabilize around $23,000.  (Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • (FM) Traders hammered nickel to its cheapest since January on the LME on Thursday morning when broken technicals prompted large investors to liquidate holdings alongside those of other base metals. Three-month metal traded as low as $24,600 per tonne - down more than 11 percent since its close on May 3 - surpassing its previous low of $24,674 hit on March 15.
  • (Interfax) The National Reform and Development Commission (NDRC) directive for local governments to submit plans for "orderly electricity consumption" in order to mitigate power shortfalls is likely to reduce China's steel output by five percent this year, according to a May 3 industry report.
  • (Yieh) According to the data from Japan’s Ministry of Finance, Japan’s stainless flat products exports stay strong to 224,691 tons in the Q1, a rise of 21% year-on-year.
  • Taiwan Raise Local Screw Prices - more

  Metals: Ferrochrome prices to rise by 20% in Q3 and Q4 in 2011 - Ferrochrome production is falling due to reduced operating capacity and higher energy costs . Ferrochrome producers worldwide settled benchmark price at USD 1.35 to USD 145 per pound for the Q2. - more

  German metal traders see demand growth - German new and scrap metal demand is growing in 2011 but at a slightly lower rate than in 2010, the association of German metals traders VDM said on Thursday. - more

  India set to become global steel powerhouse - The rise of India and the issues, challenges and opportunities for the global steel sector are examined in a new Ernst & Young report, Global steel – 2010 trends, 2011 outlook. - more

  China's steelmakers diversify amid profits squeeze - China's steelmakers - battling to stop their profit margins from further decreasing -- are diversifying into sectors unrelated to steel, including wine production, robot manufacturing, and real estate. - more

  Global Nickel Market Analysis - The global nickel market overall has witnessed strong growth in production as well as consumption during 2010 after recovering from the economic downturn. During H2-2010, nickel market began recovering from the economic downturn and accounted for an increased demand levels. Although consumption levels increased across the world, China exhibited one of the largest growth rates. This phenomenal growth has made China, the world's largest consumer of nickel and the country is anticipated to account for a larger share in the coming years. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, May 4

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 10 to 1,302. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China’s ‘Hawkish’ Central Bank May Tighten Even as Economic Growth Cools // China Stocks Drop Most in 2 Months as ‘Critical’ Inflation May Boost Steps // Glencore May Get $61 Billion Value in London, Hong Kong IPO // Asian Stocks Decline as Raw Material Producers, Australian Banks Retreat // Euro Approaches 18-Month High Versus Dollar Before ECB Decision // Spain’s Thousands of Illegal Homes Sour Development Minister’s Sales Pitch // Grains Wilt in Dry Europe as England Posts Its Hottest April in 352 Years // Glencore Chief Glasenberg Poised to Become Firm’s Biggest Owner After IPO // Announced U.S. Job Cuts Decline 4.8% in April, Challenger Says // Services Expand at Slowest Pace in Eight Months // Fed’s Rosengren Sees ‘No Reason’ to Raise Interest Rates Amid Higher Oil // U.S. Stocks, Commodities Drop, Treasuries Gain on Economic Data
  • The Euro is now trading over 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, and off earlier highs. NYMEX crude is down 1.8% and trading at $109.06/barrel. Gold is off 1.7% and silver is down a staggering 5.6%. Base metals also ended lower, some getting whacked pretty hard. Indicator chart show nickel climbed early, but then begin a decline that picked up steam as the afternoon passed. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the session at $11.71/lb  , losing $1500/tonne in twenty four hours. This will make the eleventh time nickel has closed crossing the $12/lb mark since early March. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses slumped by nearly 1400 tonnes yesterday and now sits just over the 113,350 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows yesterday's bull run (chart here), which today fizzled. China markets fell hard because of inflation concerns, while European markets fell due to growth concerns. US markets are down after a few economic reports turned out to be not as good as expected. In our opinion, the service report is getting the lion's share of the blame but the ADP jobs report, if true, could signal April's unemployment numbers may have actually risen. We will find that out Friday. Here is a piece of trivia that will make you happy you are not a buyer today. Yesterday, 1,398 tonnes shipped from a European warehouse. Strictly using the closing price, had the buyer or buyers of this particular nickel waited two days longer to order, the $1,490 tonne drop today made the shipment total a difference of over $2 million dollars less. A trader at a console has the luxury to react to a trend, and he or she can bail immediately, taking a small loss. A buyer can't do much about a shipment full of nickel somewhere on a boat or truck that he/she bought the day before the market dropped.   

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • States to Tax Businesses to Shore Up Unemployment Insurance - more
  • About 1 in 7 in U.S. Receive Food Stamps - more
  • Barclays, RBS, Goldman sued over US mortgages - more
  • U.S. Business Has High Tax Rates but Pays Less - more
  • Flood unease builds south along the Mississippi - more
  • (MBA) Mortgage applications increased 4.0 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending April 29, 2011.

  Merafe says Q1 output up 3.8 pct y/y - South Africa's Merafe Resources, the country's largest ferrochrome producer, said first-quarter production rose 3.8 percent, but said the company would operate at a lower rate during June to August. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.23/lb  lower, with all London traded base metals lower at the moment. The Euro is trading over 310 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, typically good news for commodity traders. NYMEX crude is off 2/3 of 1% and trading at $110.33/barrel. Gold is down just slightly and silver is off 1-2/3%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off over 2-1/2%. European markets are trading lower this morning and US futures show Wall Street could open lower. Nickel stockpiles fell hard yesterday.
  • LME Morning - Base metals vulnerable, test underlying support - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals recovered early losses yesterday and closed slightly higher over the course of the day, as a slight fade in the dollar, coupled with the release of strong US factory orders data, (up 3% for March for the fifth monthly increase), led to the change in tone. Interestingly, yesterday’s action also suggested that metals have decoupled from energy given that the almost $3/brl selloff in oil prices yesterday had no spillover impact on metals, and may have even been viewed as a net positive for metals. We seem to be at a point where metals are viewing rallies in crude oil prices negatively, (and declines positively), given the inflationary and potentially dangerous impact that high oil prices could have on global economies. In any event, whatever gains we may had yesterday in metals have faded completely today, with copper, nickel, and tin, particularly weak. Outside of metals, we are continuing to see a growing number of commodity complexes struggle, as investors begin to appreciate that the macro environment going into the second half of the year -- one marked by higher inflation and interest rates -- will be far less hospitable for the asset class. Evidence of this comes is coming in almost every day. Yesterday, for example, India increased its interest rates by a hefty 50 basis points in order to fight off growing inflationary pressures. Out of China, talk continues to swirl about another imminent rate hike, likely why Chinese equities have sunk to a two-month low overnight. Out of Europe, we have reports out today that continental retail sales declined by their greatest amount in almost a year in March, as higher oil prices and growing austerity measures curbed consumer spending. Sales fell a sizable 1% from the previous month after a revised 0.3% increase in February, and well exceeded the 0.1% decline projected. In the meantime, the Euro is at an eighteen month high now against the dollar (currently trading at $1.4860) and at a one-year high against sterling ahead of speculation that ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet will signal further rate increases after policy makers meet tomorrow.  ...  Nickel is at $26,800, down $505. Prices remain stuck between the $25,000-$28,000 trading range in uneventful fashion.(Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • CSSC - China Stainless Steel Production in the first quarter is 3.07 million tons. CSSC released the stainless steel production in the first quarter on April 29. The stainless steel production increased by 26.34% to 3.07 million tons in the first quarter. thereof, the production of 300 series stainless steel is 1.85 million tons increased by 49%, the production of 200 series stainless steel is 528.6 thousand tons increased by 34%, the production of 400 series is 695.1 thousand tons increased by 13%.
  • BHP Presentation - Growth and evolution of commodities demand - pdf here
  • Minara Presentation - Laterite Nickel Producer - pdf here
  • SBB - China stainless production growth to slow in Q2
  • Stainless Vision - more

  Hunan Nonferrous Metals plants unaffected by China power shortages - Plants under the control of Hunan Nonferrous Metals Corp Ltd have not so far been affected by power shortages in China's Hunan province, for now, General Manager Li Li said on Wednesday. - more

  LME considers forming own clearing house - The London Metal Exchange is considering building its own clearing system, it said on Tuesday, a move market participants said could help it boost earnings although it would incur significant start up costs. - more

  Inco's Indonesian investment to rise 27 pct in 2011 - International Nickel Indonesia (Inco) will invest an estimated $232 million at its Sulawesi mines in 2011, up 27 percent from the previous year, the firm said on Wednesday. - more

  Xstrata Total Nickel Production Increases 6% In First Quarter 2011 - Total nickel production in the first quarter of 2011 increased by 6% compared to the same period in 2010 as the 50% capacity restart of the Falcondo ferronickel operation in the Dominican Republic offset marginally lower refined nickel production from the Integrated Nickel Operations (INO). - more

  China's Baosteel to buy stake in Canadian nickel explorer Noront - Chinese steelmaker Baosteel Group's resources unit has agreed to invest at least C$17.4 million ($18.2 million) for a 9.9% stake in Canadian nickel explorer Noront Resources, the Canadian company said Monday. - more

  World Steel Demand to Hit New Record in 2012 - The Brussels-based World Steel Association forecasts that apparent steel use will increase by 5.9 percent to nearly 1.36 billion metric tons in 2011, following 13.2 percent growth in 2010. In 2012, it forecasts that world steel demand will grow a further 6.0 percent to reach a new record of 1.44 billion tons. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, May 3

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 23 to 1,292. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Australia Keeps Interest Rate at 4.75% as Record Currency Contains Prices // China April Home Prices Rise as Premier Wen Is ’Determined’ to Cool Them // China Swaps Decline Most in 3 Weeks After April Manufacturing Growth Slows // China Stocks Rise for Second Day, Led by Utilities Shares, Shenhua Energy // Asia Stocks Decline as Oil, Copper Prices Fall; ANZ Bank Drops on Earnings // Europe Producer-Price Inflation Unexpectedly Accelerates on Jump in Energy // Russian Manufacturing Falls Most Since 2008 as Ruble Strength Hits Exports // European Stocks Fall, Snapping Eight-Day Winning Streak; Volkswagen Drops // Geithner Extends Debt-Ceiling Deadline to August // Morgan Aligned With Commodity Bulls as Goldman Says Sell // Bin Laden Death Adds to Bulls’ Clout After Weathering Europe, Japan Crises // Deutsche Bank Faces U.S. Fraud Lawsuit Over Mortgage Lending // U.S. Stocks Pare Losses as Factory Order Growth Tops Forecasts
  • The Euro is now trading nearly 2/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, and off session highs. NYMEX crude is off nearly 1.1% and trading at $112.44/barrel. Gold is off 3/10 of 1% and silver is down 2-1/2%. Base metals ended the session higher after the Euro gained strength. Indicator charts show nickel fell early, bounced off the $12/lb mark for much of the morning, until it shot higher, with a bump from the Euro. For the day,. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $12.38/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose over the holiday weekend and now sit just over the 117,750 tonne mark. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru the end of April (chart here). For the second time in a week, traders have recoiled from falling below the $12/lb level, giving that mark a strong support signal. Nickel only ended stronger than today, twice during the entire month of April - so it will be interesting to see if the bulls can break out of a nearly two month long rut - or if the bears were just taken off guard today, and will continue to pull the average price lower.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) The London Metal Exchange is giving serious consideration to the possibility of building its own clearing house, its chief executive said Tuesday. Martin Abbott said the exchange's decision to examine self-clearing is part of a strategic move "in a world where the horizontal clearing model is being steadily eroded."
  • Economists React to Bin Laden Killing: ‘John Wayne’ Back in the Saddle? - more
  • Number of the Week: Millions Set to Lose Unemployment Benefits - more
  • As Food Stamp Recipients Hit New Record, 400 Americans Account For 10% Of Capital Gains - more
  • Crude Worries: Oil Prices Top CFOs’ List of Concerns - more
  • Personal Income: Earned & Borrowed - more
  • Chart of the Day: National Gasoline Prices - more
  • Word of the Day: Disconfirmation Bias - more

  Turnover has gone up by 74%, PAT up by 28%: Subhrakant Panda, Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys - In an interview with ET Now, Subhrakant Panda , Managing Director, Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys , talks about the company's earnings and future plans - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.16/lb lower, with all London traded base metals except lead, trading lower. The Euro is currently trading 3/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, adding pressure to commodity trading. NYMEX crude is off 9/10 of 1% and trading at $112.49/barrel. Gold is off 4/10 of 1% and silver is down 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets finished lower, with China up nearly 6/10 of 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures show Wall Street may open lower as well. Nickel inventories rose the last day of April.    
  • LME Morning - Traders primed to 'sell in May and go away' - more
  • Reuters - LME copper falls on dollar; US econ data looms - more

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Morning Montra - pdf here
  • Daily Overview - pdf here
  • Metals Insight - pdf here
  • Weekly Scoreboard - pdf here
  • Robry Weekly Economic Assessment - more
  • The US Dollar since 1983 - more
  • SMM Nickel Price Forecast - more
  • Global Mining Newsletter - pdf here
  • AK Steel Stainless Steel Surcharges - more
  • Allegheny Ludlum Stainless Steel Surcharges - more
  • 2010 Taiwan Top 50 Export Countries for Fasteners - more

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - After a two-day LME holiday, metals have opened lower, as have a host of other commodities. For a change, crude oil is leading the group down, as the impact of the Osama bin-Laden hit on Sunday has triggered a round of profit-taking. Weakness in silver, where prices were off by some 10% yesterday, exerted additional pressure on both energy and on base metals, while the dollar did not help matters much either, holding relatively steady against the Euro after hitting a three-year low last week. The fact that more commodities are now actually weakening after weeks of dizzying advances (with cotton, sugar, and several of the grains also off since late last week) is telling us that the bullish impact of the weaker dollar may be getting overplayed -- at least in these complexes -- by more bearish fundamentals and concern about slowing growth amid higher inflation and interest rates. These worries are surfacing foremost in the Chinese markets, especially after a Friday report came out showing that a key manufacturing index declined in April, indicating that the several rounds of interest rate and reserve requirement increases may be finally slowing things down. In this respect, a key purchasing managers’ index fell to 52.9 from 53.4, coming in below the 53.9 consensus forecast. And although China's purchasing managers index for services rose in April, the sub-index for the property sector, a key user for copper, dipped below 50, a level that no longer indicates expansion. These readings will likely ease concern that the Chinese economy is overheating and may also help douse inflationary pressures in the short-term, but we suspect that the markets are correctly perceiving that the authorities will need to see much more evidence of a slowdown before they abandon their tightening campaign. On the currency side, the Yuan strengthened beyond 6.5 per dollar for the first time since 1993 last week, and will likely help the inflation fight as well, but here too, the appreciation in the Chinese currency has been marginal at best given the massive current account surpluses accumulated over the years. In today's action, copper fell to its lowest level since mid-March earlier in the day on lingering concert about a slow-down in growth. Manufacturing data-- this time out of the UK--showed activity growing less than expected in April and falling to its weakest point in some seven months. Russian manufacturing growth also slowed in April to its weakest level since November. Elsewhere, European manufacturing growth unexpectedly grew in April, driven by higher output in Germany and France. However, this was accompanied by inflation readings that have accelerated at their fastest pace in two and a half years. US manufacturing is also doing well, with the April ISM manufacturing index coming in at 60.4 yesterday, well ahead of estimates. Japanese data, on the other hand, does not look pretty, and is finally reflecting the full impact of the March 11th disasters that hit the country. In this regard, March factory production fell by 15.3% from February levels, a record decline, and described as a “stunning statistic” by the economy minister. Another Japanese report showed household spending plunging 8.5% from a year earlier. We continue to remain cautious about metals and expect more weakness in the weeks ahead, as we suspect that the full impact of higher energy prices and its impact on accelerating inflation has yet to play itself out. This will likely leave policy makers little choice but to raise interest rates even further heading into the second half of the year, not exactly a conducive environment for a runaway bull market in metals. ... Nickel is at $26,700, down $150. We continue to see very neutral looking charts for the moment, as prices remain stuck between the $25,000-$28,000 trading range.  (Complete Daily Metals Report here)
  • (CRU) Posco ups carbon steel offers but cuts stainless steel prices
  • (MB) Hunan shuts all ferro-alloy smelters to conserve power
  • (MBN) Yusco cuts export prices by $100-150
  • (China) Economy threatened by aging demographic - more

  Four Pirates Killed During Release of Singapore Flagged Bulk Carrier - On May 1, pirates received a ransom for the release of the Singapore flagged MV SINAR KUDUS. Pirates had been holding the vessel and crew since March 16. - more

  DJ Zambia's Miners' Unrest Hits Munali Nickel Mine Operations - A workers' strike paralyzed the operations of Zambia's sole nickel producer, Munali Nickel Mine, over the weekend following a dispute with management over a labor contract, a union official told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday. - more

  Global molybdenum usage to rise 4.5%/year through 2019: IMOA - Global molybdenum usage is set to grow by 4.5%/year between 2009 and 2019, with the power generation, building and construction and transportation markets driving consumption, according to a survey for the International Molybdenum Association. - more

  New Record High Stainless Steel Output at 33 Million Tonnes in 2011 - The total global outturn for crude stainless steel in 2010 has been provisionally reported at 30.685 million tonnes. - more

   Baosteel forecasts China 2011 steel capacity to rise by 40 mln T - China's total crude steel production capacity is likely to rise by 40 million tonnes this year, a senior Baoshan Iron and Steel Co Ltd official said on Tuesday. - more

  European Nickel starts Acoje heap leach trial - European Nickel has started the fast tracking of the Acoje project on the island of Luzon, Philippines. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending April 30, 2011, domestic raw steel production was 1,788,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 73.1 percent. Production was 1,840,000 tons in the week ending April 23, 2010, while the capability utilization then was 75.2 percent. The current week production represents a 0.9 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending April 30, 2011 is down 2.1 percent from the previous week ending April 23, 2011 when production was 1,840,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 75.2 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, May 2

  No trading on the London Metal Exchange today - markets closed for May Bank holiday.

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel not trading, with London markets closed for holiday. Trading of nickel will resume tomorrow. The US Dollar is currently trading 2/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1-1/2% and trading at $112.21/barrel. Gold is down more than 8/10 of 1% and silver is off 1.1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets that were open rose, with China closed for holiday.  European markets are higher this morning and US futures show Wall Street is looking for a Bin Laden bounce at the opening. With London markets closed today, there will be no afternoon update.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report today
  • (Yieh) According to report of Stainless Steel Council of China Special Steel Enterprise Association (CSSC), China produced 3.07 million tons of crude stainless steel in the Q1, up by 26.34% from a year earlier.Among them, the output of 300 series totaled 1.85 million tons, soared by 49% year-on-year; that of 400 series was 695.1 thousand tons, down by 13% from a year ago; that of 200 series was 528.6 thousand tons, climbing by 34% year-on-year.
  • (SBB) Posco cuts May local 300-series stainless prices by $90/t
  • Commodities Beat Financial Assets for Fifth Month in Best Streak Since ’97 - more
  • How Goldman Sachs Created the Food Crisis - more
  • (China) PMI reveals 'appropriate adjustment' in growth - more

  Vale May Face Tough Labor Talks At Canada Nickel Mine -Union - Brazilian miner Vale SA may face difficult negotiations on renewing a collective labor contract at the Thompson, Manitoba, nickel mine and smelter in Canada when it expires in August or September, United Steelworkers' Union official Wayne Rae said. - more

  Mining License Remain Invalid - Solomon Islands Government official, Alfred Sasako, says the suspension of the prospecting license for Australian nickel mining company, Axiom still remains. - more

  India says Posco should not export iron ore from Orissa plant - South Korean steelmaker POSCO , which wants to build a $12 billion steel plant in eastern India, should not export raw materials, including iron ore, from the proposed project, India's environment minister said on Monday. - more

  Steel giants move closer to merger - Nippon Steel Corp. and Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. are expected to formally apply for a Fair Trade Commission review of their merger plan in mid-May, at the earliest. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

April Archives


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