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Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices

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Daily Nickel Market News & Stainless Steel Prices

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Thursday, May 31

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 27 to 923  (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Indicator charts show nickel rose early, but as US economic reports began to be released, it fell, recovering some late. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.36/lb . Nickel stockpiles rose on Wednesday and now total just over the 107,100 tonne level.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin, the owner of just below 30% stake in the mining giant OAO Norilsk Nickel, said Thursday he isn't seeking control of the company.
  • China Goes for (a Little Bit of) Growth - 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 higher, with other London traded base metals mostly higher. Nickel stockpiles rose overnight.
  • Reuters morning - Copper gains, but on track for third monthly fall - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals edge higher, track currency movements - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • After yesterday’s implosion, markets are breathing a bit easier today, but we are not seeing any kind of a notable snap-back. Base metals are modestly higher, as are precious metals and energy, but trading remains extremely thin as markets wait for US macro numbers out later today and key unemployment data out tomorrow. Things are slightly better in the European credit markets today, where the cost of insuring Spanish government debt retreated from a record high, while the Euro has inched back, reclaiming the $1.24 mark. Ireland votes on the EU’s austerity package later today and polls show that supporters of the "Fiscal Stability Treaty" will come out ahead. Moreover, a Greek poll shows the pro-bailout New Democracy part is edging ahead of other parties in the upcoming June 17 election. Out of China, stories of more government spending continue to makes the rounds. The New York Times reported today that projects worth $150 billion or more are being approved or fast-tracked, among them hydropower stations, four new airports, and three renovations or expansions of steel mills. In addition, there are accelerated approvals for at least two airports and a subway in Nanjing.  ..... Heading into Friday, key employment data awaits us out of the US, but we suspect that the markets obsession will continue to be with Spain. The country still has the capacity to further undermine sentiment, especially if Spanish 10-year yields approach the 7% mark, at which point the country could conceivably be frozen out of the credit markets. Moreover, although policy deliberations must be taking place at the highest levels over what to do, we are concerned that the scope of the response will be too limited. In fact, one analysis we came across, reproduced here, makes the case that Spain will likely exit the Euro before Greece. We’ll see, but certainly, a crowd seems to be forming at the door. ..... Nickel is at $16,425, up $125; we have taken out support at $16,500 yesterday and are watching to see whether this will be confirmed on a two-day closing basis. Despite all the talk about reduced ore exports coming out of Indonesia, the market does not seem to be too alarmed. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) It’s reported that Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco), one of the major stainless steel producers in Taiwan announced its price policy for June on May 30th. The company decided to cut the domestic prices for 300 grade stainless steel products by NT$1,500/ton, considering to current market situation, in spite of higher input costs.
  • (Yieh) Reportedly, South Korean Posco Specialty Steel (Posco SS) announced to cut the domestic prices of its austenitic stainless wire rod and bar for June contracts in response to lower nickel prices.
  • (Reuters) South Korea bought 200 tonnes of nickel from Glencore International AG at a premium of $750 per tonne over London Metal Exchange (LME) prices, the state-run Public Procurement Service said on its website
  • (China) Experts warn on stimulus - more

  Nickel Slump Seen Ending as China Faces Ore Import Curbs - After slumping more than any other industrial metal, analysts and traders say the worst may be over for nickel as restrictions on shipments from Indonesia, the biggest producer, diminish a worldwide glut. - more

  Japan Nickel Metal Consumption; Q1-2012 = 10,430 tons, down 10.8% from the same quarter of 2011 = According to the data released by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, consumption of nickel metal during the Q1 (January - March) of 2012 was as per the table attached hereto. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, May 30

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 36 to 950  (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Indicator charts show nickel slid most of the trading session, recovering a little late. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.39/lb . Technical warning - this is the second close for nickel below a key support level. Stockpiles of nickel rose sharply on Tuesday and now sit just over the 106,750 tonne level.

  Reports

  • A presentation from Port Jackson Partners on 'The threat rising costs pose to Australia’s mining boom' - more
  • Commodities Daily - here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) State-controlled miner PT Aneka Tambang said in a statement Wednesday that it has received approval from the government to export 2.275 million wet metric tons of nickel ore and 50,000 tons of bauxite ore over the next three months to customers in Japan, Europe and China.

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.03/lb lower, with other London traded base metals lower as well. Nickel stockpiles rose sharply on Tuesday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper falls on weak euro, China stimulus in focus - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals sell off, Spanish banking crisis in spotlight - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Copper ended with a minimal gain yesterday after giving up a much sharper advance, while the rest of the group finished mixed. There were more pronounced reversal in precious metals, with gold losing about $22/ounce by the end of the COMEX session after being up $13/ounce at one point in the day. US stocks held on to close higher despite another 10% drop in Facebook shares-- now quickly losing their novelty factor. (Reuters calculates that since its market debut on May 18, the company has shed approximately $25 billion in value -- roughly equivalent to the market capitalization of Morgan Stanley). Given the about-face that took place on Tuesday, it is perhaps no surprise that the selling has accelerated going into the current session. We are now sharply lower across the board in practically all markets, except for gold, which seems to be donning its “safe-haven” mantle today. Copper got to a low of $7520 at one point earlier, while aluminum has now breached the $2,000 mark. There are sharp losses evident in lead and zinc as well. In the energy space, WTI has taken out the $90 mark and we suspect that it is only a matter of time before Brent similarly takes out the $100 level. US stocks are expected to open sharply lower, with Dow futures indicating a 100-point opening decline.  ..... We do not see much change in the negative sentiment in the markets at least until European policy makers band together and send some reassuring signal to the markets. In the least, we should see another summit meeting sometime soon, at least at the finance minister level. In the meantime, there are signs of more aggressive policy being proposed; the European Commission said today that the proposed European stabilization fund (incredibly, still not in operation) should be allowed to lend to banks and not just to governments, a proposition that will likely rankle the Germans to no end. However, in situations like this where this is no clear policy direction, it will be market forces that ultimately will drive the politicians towards consensus, and so in this regard, we could be heading towards a selling climax which, in turn, could pave the way forward towards some major policy initiatives. .... Nickel is at $16,380, down $170; we have taken out support at $16,500 and are watching to see what happens here on a two-day closing basis. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to statistics released by China’s customs, the country’s exports of stainless steel flat products totaled 128,184 tons in April, decreasing by 14% from 148,988 tons in a month earlier.
  • (Yieh) Reportedly, South Korean Posco Specialty Steel (Posco SS) announced to cut the domestic prices of its austenitic stainless wire rod and bar for June contracts in response to lower nickel prices.

  China Ferroalloy Exports Up 7%; April 2012 = Exports in a steady recovery to 57,164 tons, imports sharply dropped to 138,052 tons = According to China's Customs Statistics, exports and imports of ferroalloys in April 2012 as well as during the first four months of 2012 were as per the tables attached hereto. - more

  Voestalpine sees waning demand and steel price wars - Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine said prospects for a European sector upturn were fading as demand wanes in the car and energy sectors and excess capacity triggers "destructive price wars". - more

  Vale looks for some help -  Vale Ltd. is embarking on an aggressive campaign to hire more than 40 engineers and hundreds of other employees by "selling" the quality of life in the Nickel City and the opportunities for advancement with the giant miner. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending May 26, 2012, domestic raw steel production was 1,961,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 79.4 percent. Production was 1,778,000 tons in the week ending May 26, 2011, while the capability utilization then was 72.7 percent. The current week production represents a 10.3 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending May 26, 2012 is down 1.4 percent from the previous week ending May 19, 2012 when production was 1,976,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 80.0 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Tuesday, May 29

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 26 to 986 (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Indicator charts show nickel was doing very little until late in the session when the Euro began to drop, and then the price of nickel dived. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.48/lb , it's first close below the $7.50/lb level since December 2009. Stockpiles of nickel fell slightly on Monday and now total just over 106,100 tonnes.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - here

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading unchanged , with other London traded base metals mixed. Stockpiles of nickel fell slightly on Monday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper higher on dollar, Europe worries cap gains - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals little changed despite Chinese stimulus speculation - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Markets continued to sell off over the course of last week, with copper approaching a 4-1/2-month trough and not far off the 2012 low of $7445 hit on January 9th. Other metals were also on the defensive, with aluminum giving up earlier gains and closing just above the $2000 mark. Precious metals lost ground as well, as did US equities, but the Euro was the biggest casualty of the week, collapsing to a two-year low of $1.2496 at one point on Friday. Most markets stabilized a touch on Monday, but trading was quiet in light of the US Memorial Day holiday. Right now, markets have opened the new week in very quiet fashion, with both base and precious metals mixed. The Euro is not doing much, now trading at $1.2530. US stocks are called to open higher following a steadier tone in Europe. In the energy markets, the Iranian talks with the "P5 plus 1” ended inconclusively in Baghdad last week, but the various sides agree to meet yet again in Moscow in mid-June. This must be seen as a sign of progress, although markets are not as convinced, with the recent slide in oil leveling off over the course of the last week. .... Despite this gloomy backdrop, we think a number of markets could potentially move higher as we approach the Greek elections on June 17th. We say this in view of our expectation that the Greek electorate will likely return the pro-bailout parties to power, giving them enough seats so that they could form a government without enlisting the help of more left-of center-parties. Indeed, the latest polls show that the two mainstream parties pulling slightly ahead in the polls and potentially delivering the outcome investors prefer. Although a pro-bailout victory will go a long way in reassuring the market and boost the Euro in the process, the initial gains may prove transitory, as investors may conclude that returning Greece to the euro fold will only buy more time for the Europeans to plug the various leaks in the Euro boat. ..... Nickel is at $16,950, down $50 and still looking quite weak on the charts.  ..... China’s 2012 stainless steel demand is expected to grow at the slowest rate since 2001, the assistant general manager of Baosteel Stainless tells Bloomberg. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to statistics, the inventory of stainless steel totaled 130,008 tons in Chinese Foshan market in the second 10 days of May, increasing by 5.63% from 10 days earlier.
  • (TEX) Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel and Sumitomo Corp. announced on 22nd that both companies agreed to establish a joint venture of cold-rolled stainless steel mill in China together with Sichuan Xinan Stainless Steel of China. The name of a JV is J S Stainless Steel of which shareholding ratio is 40% by Xinan, 35% by the Sumitomo Group, and 25% by NSSC.
  • (ETCN) China imported a total of 714 mt of molybdenum ores and concentrates in April, down 25.5% year on year, figures released on May 22, 2012 by the General Administration of Customs showed.
  • (CT) China imported a total of 714 mt of molybdenum ores and concentrates in April, down 25.5% year on year, figures released Tuesday by the General Administration of Customs showed.
  • (Interfax) Efforts to restructure China's crowded steel industry and ease a supply deficit in the manufacturing heartland of the south took a step forward last week after the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) granted long-awaited approvals for two major projects.
  • China eyes on deep-sea mining technology - more
  • The American Forest & Paper Association released its April 2012 U. S. Containerboard Statistics Report today. Containerboard production lost 1.9% over the same month last year. Production was down 8% compared to March 2012, and the month over month average daily production decreased 5%.

  Brazil prosecutor seeks halt of Vale nickel mine - Brazilian federal prosecutors in the country's state of Para have asked a court to suspend operations at Vale's Onça Puma nickel project in the Brazilian Amazon, alleging Vale failed to meet obligations to two native tribes in the region. - more

  World’s Top Refined Nickel-Producing Countries in 2011 - Following is a table of the world’s 10 biggest producers of refined nickel in 2011 by country, compiled by Lisbon-based International Nickel Study Group. - more

  China Cr Ore Imports Marginally Down - April 2012 = 748,386 tons, down by 1.4% from March; two major sources South Africa and Turkey both down = According to China's customs statistics, details of the imports of chrome ore in April 2012 as well as during the first four months of 2012 were as per the table attached hereto - more

  Minmetals to sell nickel mine - Minmetals Resources Ltd, the publicly traded unit of China's biggest metals trader, is seeking a buyer for the Avebury nickel mine in Australia, saying it will be better run by another company. - more

  Worldwide Nickel Output Reached 1.589 Million Tons in 2011 - According to a new research report published by Reportlinker.com, the global nickel output increased 10% year-on-year (YoY) to 1.589 Mt in 2011 due to the VALE’s Onça puma and Anglo American’s Barro Alto nickel projects put into production and an enhanced output of nickel pig iron in China. - more

  Sandvik says construction weak spot in robust markets - Swedish engineering group Sandvik said on Tuesday demand was holding up strongly across its businesses in the second quarter apart from construction where the European market was showing some impact from the euro zone crisis. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Friday, May 25

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)
  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.03/lb lower, with other London traded base metals mixed and mostly quiet. Stockpiles fell on Thursday and now total just over 105,150 tonnes.
  • This is our final report for the week and since Monday is a national holiday in the US, our next report will be next Tuesday. Have a safe and relaxing weekend.
  • Reuters morning - Copper up on euro rebound; seasonal slowdown eyed - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals trade sideways, some bargain hunting expected - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Next report posted next Tuesday

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to report, the European alloy surcharge for austenitic grade will increase a slightly in June, after continuous declines in the past few months.
  • (Interfax) China's imports of nickel ore and concentrate increased for a third month in April as smelters stepped up purchases ahead of new export taxes in Indonesia, China's largest supplier.
  • Think commodity fundamentals look grim? Check out the charts - more
  • Analysis: Deeper metals price falls needed to spark closures - more

  Pacific Metals to Increase Ferro-nickel Output by 21% This Year - Pacific Metals Co., Japan’s largest ferro-nickel producer, said it plans to increase output by 21 percent this year after an earthquake and tsunami disrupted production in 2011.- more

  China Molybdenum Q1-2012 Trade Balance; Export Surplus = Exports 5.2 million pounds; Imports 3.6 million pounds = Imports of molybdenum during the Q1 (January - March) of 2012 were 3.63 million pounds, while exports were 5.20 million pounds in a continued export-surplus trend from the preceding year. - more

  UMMC obtained control of the nickel deposit in the Voronezh Region - The Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company obtained control of the copper-and-nickel deposits - Yelanskoye and Yelkinskoye. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, May 24

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 42 to 1,058  (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Indicator charts show nickel opened higher and trended higher thru most of the day. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.76/lb . Stockpiles of nickel rose on Wednesday and now total just over 105,500 tonnes.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - here

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.10/lb higher, with other London traded base metals trading higher as well. Nickel stockpiles rose overnight
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Rises on China Demand Speculation, Producers’ Struggles - more
  • Reuters morning - Copper up from 4-1/2 month low, EU data weighs - more
  • LME Morning - Most metals edge higher, investors remain jittery - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • next report due next Tuesday

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Interfax) Leading Japanese steelmakers Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel (NSSC) and Sumitomo Corp. have agreed to form a joint venture (JV) with Sichuan Southwest Stainless Steel to produce cold-rolled stainless steel, Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Wednesday.
  • (Reuters) South Korea bought 500 tonnes of aluminium from LG International Corp at $188 per tonne over London Metal Exchange (LME) on a cost, insurance and freight (CIF) basis, the state-run Public Procurement Service said.
  • (PR) Search Minerals Inc., is pleased to announce that the Company and PT ANTAM Tbk have signed a Heads of Agreement to cooperate in developing a Starved Acid Leach Technology plant to apply the Company's SALT technology in processing low grade saprolite nickel ore from ANTAM's mining permits in one or more of Halmahera, Pomalaa or other mining projects located within Indonesia. Subject to satisfactory results of the parties respective due diligence and evaluation, Search will design, construct and operate the plant in Indonesia and ANTAM will commit to a long term ore supply capable of supporting a 30 year mine plan for each Indonesian project that ANTAM and the Company mutually agree on for the implementation of SALT, once proven. Subject to studies, the initial supply is anticipated to be approximately 2 million dry tonnes of ore per year.

  Norilsk suspends Arctic shipments for seasonal halt - Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel suspended shipments from its Arctic port of Dudinka a few days ago as flooding prompted a seasonal halt. - more

  Norilsk to Buy Vietnam Nickel Deposit Operator for $22 Mln - Russia's largest nickel maker, Norilsk Nickel, plans to acquire Asian Mineral Resources (AMR) Limited, which is developing the Ban Phuc nickel deposit in Vietnam, for $22 million, the company said on Thursday. - more

  Indonesia to regularly review base price for mineral export duties - Indonesia will review mineral base export prices every three months to calculate duties on ores subject to new export regulations, the director general of foreign trade said on Thursday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, May 23

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 27 to 1,100 (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Indicator charts show nickel opened lower but was gaining ground until US markets opened lower, which drove nickel lower. Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.60/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell on Tuesday and now totals just over 105,150 tonnes.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - here

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

  • Indicators at 6:50 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.01/lb lower, with other London traded base metals lower as well, some down over 1-1/2% at the moment. Nickel stockpiles fell on Tuesday.
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Slumps as Euro-Area Crisis May Threaten Chinese Growth - more
  • Reuters morning - Copper drops to 4-1/2 month low on debt crisis fears - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals slump as investors dump risky assets, euro drops to 21-mth low - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Call it a palpable lack of conviction--that seems to be an accurate description of what seems to be ailing the markets these days, as there simply are too many short-term imponderables preventing investors from taking a decisive view in any one of the complexes. We are seeing this play out in today’s session, where after several days of relatively modest gains in a number of markets, prices are being rolled back quite significantly. In the case of base metals, there are sharp losses across the board led mainly by copper. There is also a sizable retreat in precious metals, along with a more modest setback in energy prices. Equities are down as well in Europe and Asia, with technology stocks likely to come under pressure today when the US markets open in the aftermath of a weak earnings reports coming out of Dell. Mining stocks are also on the defensive. In the European credit markets, German yield continue to plunge to record lows, although we are not seeing any kind of notable spike in Spanish rates. ... Given this gloomy backdrop, we expect that markets will continue to be on the defensive for much of this week, at least until we see more specifics coming out from the EU policy meeting. We also should be watching the energy markets closely, as the “P5+1” talks get underway in Baghdad this week. If there is progress made, we think oil prices will have another sharp break lower, ultimately a bullish proposition for global economies. More importantly, a decline in energy prices, coupled with a Greek vote that returns a pro-Euro government to power, could combine to provide a sizable upside boost to the markets by late next month. Sadly for the bulls, we are not there just yet. (complete report here) Ed is traveling the holiday weekend and next report will be filed next Tuesday.

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • US Imports of Stainless Steel Mill Products - more
  • (FAN) It is learnt that current stainless steel prices are lower than production costs, individual stainless steel producers have expressed to reduce the outputs and control market supply....
  • (MB) Chinese nickel pig iron producers may significantly cut production from June on persistently weak demand from the stainless steel sector and expectations that nickel prices will slide further, market participants told Metal Bulletin.
  • (SBB) Chinese nickel pig iron producers have started trimming output but the cuts are not sufficient to boost nickel prices in the near-term, said Macquarie Commodities....
  • Mining Slump Feeds M&A as Projects Overrun Budgets: Commodities - more

  POSCO to up resources self-sufficiency - POSCO, the world’s third largest steelmaker, plans to raise its self-sufficiency ratio for iron ore, coal, nickel and other minerals to 50 percent by 2014 through investments in more overseas mines. - more

  Talvivaara birds died of poisoning - A number of birds found dead in a process liquid pool at the Talvivaara mine in Sotkamo were found to contain abnormally large amounts of nickel, manganese, zing, and iron. - more

  Environmentalists Launch Campaign Against Mining - Environmental groups are launching a campaign ahead of the summer vacation season against plans for copper, nickel and precious metals mining in northeastern Minnesota. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Tuesday, May 22

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 390 to 105,732  (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Indicator charts show nickel traded mostly lower until it made an attempt to get into the black, which caused the price to collapse late. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.67/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell on Monday, and now totals just over 105,700 tonnes.  

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - here

  Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Inoxum by Outokumpu in stainless steel sector  - The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the proposed acquisition of Inoxum, the stainless steel division of ThyssenKrupp of Germany by the Finnish stainless steel company Outokumpu. - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.06/lb lower, with other London traded base metals quietly mixed. Stockpiles fell overnight.
  • Reuters morning - Copper falls as dollar firms, debt crisis weighs - more
  • LME Morning - Metals turn lower, rally attempt falters - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Metal prices finished mixed on Monday, with copper and nickel closing with a good gain, but ali and lead both lost substantial ground. A statement out over the weekend by the Chinese premier calling for extra measures to boost growth helped stabilize the complex and there are reports out today that a number of infrastructure projects will now be fast-tracked. Trading remained on the light side on Monday, with COMEX copper volumes still running at about a third below the 30-day average. Other markets were generally higher, with good gains seen in energy, platinum, and palladium, although both gold and silver lost ground. Right now, we are seeing a slightly lower tone in most markets, as earlier gains have dissipated. Base metals are lower, as is the precious metals group. Energy prices are also down slightly on reports that the U.N. nuclear watchdog chief said he expected to sign a deal with Iran soon to allow inspectors to resume work on the country’s nuclear program. The agreement comes on the eve of a Baghdad meeting with the Iranians and could lay the ground-work for a critical week in the oil markets.  ..... We suspect the markets will be in wait and see mode for the next day or two, as investors seek to assess what policy measures the Europeans will come up between now and the Greek elections. We are reading that the French are planning to push hard for a Euro-bond proposal at the next mini-summit leadership meeting that starts tomorrow. The idea would involve “mutualizing” European debt by replacing or guaranteeing various local bonds with a pan-regional issue. The French apparently have the support of the Italy and Spain, as well as the European Commission, but Germany opposes the idea (along with Netherlands and Finland) on grounds that there first needs to be better coordination in terms of fiscal policies between countries so as not to imperil the fiscal health of the region. .... Nickel is at $17,050, down $135 and still looking quite weak on the charts despite a decent move higher yesterday. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Dow Jones) The first nickel-cobalt produced from the Ramu mine in Papua New Guinea will be shipped to China within the next two months, a senior executive from one of the project's stakeholders said Tuesday.
  • (Yieh) According to statistics, the inventory of stainless steel totaled 123,082 tons in the Chinese Foshan market in the first 10 days of May, soaring by 7.06% from 10 days earlier.
  • (Interfax) China's share of global steel production increased in April on the back of record daily output during the month amid higher steel prices and seasonal demand.
  • Neutral conditions persist in the tropical Pacific - more

  Global, China steel output growth sluggish - Global and Chinese crude steel production growth was sluggish in April as steelmakers adjusted their output to weaker demand and falling prices in what should be the most active period of the year, data from an industry body showed. - more

  New evidence of eco-damage from Ramu nickel mine - The controversial Ramu nickel mine near Madang in Papua New Guinea has come under fire for new claims of environmental damage. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending May 19, 2012, domestic raw steel production was 1,976,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 80.0 percent. Production was 1,778,000 tons in the week ending May 19, 2011, while the capability utilization then was 72.7 percent. The current week production represents a 11.1 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending May 19, 2012 is down 1.4 percent from the previous week ending May 12, 2012 when production was 2,005,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 81.1 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Monday, May 21

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  plus/minus 0 to 1,141 (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Indicator chart show nickel opening higher early, rising then falling back before spiking late. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.80/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses slipped on Friday and now total just under 17,200 tonnes.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - here

  Competing for Nickel in Sulawesi - :Environmental damage in the waters off mining areas has been identified in areas of Sulawesi. - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.04/lb higher, with other London traded base metals mixed. Stockpiles fell slightly on Friday.
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Climbs for Second Day as China Pledges to Boost Growth - more
  • Reuters morning - Copper up but Greek contagion fears weigh - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals drop back, confidence wanes - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Copper finished slightly higher on Friday, but had a dismal week overall, losing about 4.5% of its value over the period. The rest of the metals were mixed, with ali, lead, and tin all up on the day, while nickel and lead continued to lose ground. All six metals, however, (with the exception of ali) finished the week lower. Other markets were all over the place on Friday; the dollar lost ground against the Euro, selling off to $1.2780 at one point, and helped gold achieve its best two-day gain since October. Silver also impressed, actually outpacing gold on a percentage basis, but the bounces in both palladium and platinum were far more restrained.  ..... We are off to a quiet start to the new week, with copper up about $70/ton on the day, but the rest of the metals are mixed, with ali and tin lower. Brent is higher by about $.70 a barrel, but the markets will likely not do much until there is more clarity on the Iranian meeting later this week. The dollar is unchanged against the Euro, now trading at $1.2760, while precious metals are modestly lower. Chinese stocks finished higher after Premier Wen Jiabao said focus would now be on bolstering growth. US stocks are expected to open higher, with the Dow called to open up 80 points. ...... What is more worrisome is the problem of bank runs we have been seeing take place in varying degrees over the last few weeks across Europe. Earlier this month, we had bank withdrawals in the aftermath of the Greek elections, and shortly thereafter, there were rumors of money leaving the partially nationalized Spanish bank Bankia. Meanwhile, it seems that British customers withdrew about £200 million from the U.K. arm of Banco Santander on Friday following a downgrade of the bank's credit rating. Those that who have not pulled their money could do so at a moment’s notice; the Wall Street Journal reports today that 30% of Spain’s household and commercial deposits are held on an overnight basis, while in Italy, about 48% of domestic deposits can be withdrawn quickly, as can 21% of the deposits in Portugal; this illustrates the danger of pushing the Greeks out of the Euro without the proper contingency plans being put in place. We suspect that the largely mixed tone we are seeing right now could turn to be more sellerish as the day wears on as the European problems cannot be papered over by well-intentioned communiques. Moreover, given that the G-8’s “wish-list” was not backed up any explicit policy prescriptions or financial commitments, investors will realized that they are basically “on their own” until the Greek elections take place on June 17th. Prior to that date, it is also quite possible that we could see the crisis escalate to such a degree that it will force a more explicit policy response. Either way, we should expect to see more uncertainty and volatility in the weeks ahead, hardly a bullish backdrop for most markets. ...... Nickel is at $16,850, up $25 and still looking quite weak on the charts, with prices not far off key support at $16,500. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Global crude steel production rose 1.2% on the year in April, buoyed by higher output from Asia and North America, which more than offset declines in the European Union, South America, and the Commonwealth of Independent States, figures from the World Steel Association showed Monday.
  • (Yieh) According to the statistics, Japanese stainless steel output totaled 244,792 tons in March, up by 1.6% from a month earlier.
  • SMM Weekly Forecast on China Nickel Metal Market - more
  • The Economy Grows Under The Shadow Of Recession - more

  Chinese Iron Ore Buyers Defer Imports Cargoes, Mirae Says - Iron ore and coking coal buyers in China are seeking to defer importing cargoes as domestic steel mills reduced output amid lower prices, according to Mirae Asset Securities Co. - more

  • Chinese buyers default on coal, iron ore shipments-trade - Chinese buyers are deferring delivery or have defaulted on coal and iron ore deliveries following a drop in prices, traders said, providing more evidence that a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy is hitting its appetite for commodities. - more

  Japan Imported Ferroalloy Market Report - May 15, 2012 = Mn-group ferroalloy market is tested by low ore output and ore price rises = Market outlook of the imported ferroalloys in Japan as of May 15, 2012 is as follows: - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Friday, May 18

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 4 to 1,141 (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Indicator charts show nickel opened lower but was able to crawl back slightly into profitability, until the end of the session, when it collapsed. Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at a new low for the year, $7.62/lb . That is a $.18/lb drop on the day and week, and $.38/lb drop from one month ago. Last year on this date, nickel closed at $11.18/lb. Stockpiles rose overnight nd now sit just shy of 106,200 tonnes.
  • Have a safe weekend!

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • China: Does 8% Growth Cause Less Satisfaction? - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:50 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.01/lb higher, with other London traded base metals higher as well. Stockpiles of nickel rose on Thursday.  
  • Reuters morning - Copper bounces; eyes third weekly loss - more
  • LME Morning - Metals bounce as covering emerges, euro off four-month lows - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Metals finished mixed yesterday, with copper ending up modestly higher after four straight days of losses, but lead and zinc remained under pressure. Other markets seemed to go off in different directions, breaking the synchronized move lower we have been seeing all week. In precious metals, for example, we had a sharp short-covering rally set in amid oversold conditions, with gold having its best one-day advance since January. Brent, however, continued to lose ground, particularly in the forward contracts, while the Euro remained steady, hovering on either side of the $1.27. In the equity markets, US stocks got hammered, with the Dow falling 156 points for its fifth consecutive losing session. The technology-rich NASDAQ index also retreated despite the hype surrounding the Facebook IPO which will price later today at the higher end of its indicated range, giving the company a whopping $100 billion valuation. Right now, we are seeing more of the same type of differentiated markets. Both the base and precious metals groups are higher, but Brent is struggling and hit its lowest level of the year earlier today ($110.41). The Euro also hit a fresh low of $1.2645 earlier today before recovering somewhat. Equity markets closed weaker in Asia, and stocks are off slightly in Europe, but we are expecting a higher open in the US.  .... Price-wise, markets will likely not do very much over the course of today’s session. The gains we are seeing in metals will likely stay in place, as a round of short-covering amid oversold conditions plays out for a little while longer. However, we think the selling may return next week, as Europe will continue to weigh on the markets and pressure commodities lower by keeping the dollar well bid. In addition the slowing macro environment will be another negative metals have to deal with, at least for the next few months. ..... Nickel is at $17,151, down $44 and the only metal that is in the red today.  (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to statistics released by the Specialty Steel Industry of North America (SSINA), North America’s stainless steel consumption totaled 201,672 short tons in February, rising by 7% year on year.
  • (Yieh) Reportedly, Taigang Stainless Steel, the largest stainless steel producer in China announced to cut the contract list prices of 300 grade stainless steel products by RMB300/ton for June deliveries, due to poor demand and lower nickel prices.
  • (SO) According to the State Information Center of China, China's industrial production has indicated reduced growth due to the withdrawal of domestic economic stimulus policies and the slowdown of economic growth in Europe, the US, Japan, and other countries. Accordingly, China's industrial production in the second quarter is expected to grow by just 10.5 percent year on year.
  • Strong Dollar Spells Death for Commodities - more
  • ENK and a world class nickel deposit in the Philippines - video here
  • China home prices fall again in April - more

  Analysis: China's towering metal stockpiles cast economic shadow - When metals warehouses in top consumer China are so full that workers start stockpiling iron ore in granaries and copper in car parks, you know the global economy could be in trouble. - more

  ENRC Q1-2012 Ore/Ferroalloy Production = 755,000 tons of Chrome Ore and 176,000 tons of Manganese Ore = Results of production by ENRC (Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation PLC) during the Q1 (January - March) of 2012 were released last week. - more

  LME CEO Abbott may gain millions in sale deal - London Metal Exchange Chief Executive Martin Abbott may pocket millions from a sale of the 135-year-old institution, possibly a big chunk from as much as 21 million pounds. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, May 17

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus/minus 0 to 1,137  (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Indicator charts show nickel opened lower but rose during the latter half of its trading session. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.80/lb , with other base metals trading mixed and quiet. Stockpiles of nickel slipped overnight and now total just over 105,550 tonnes.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - here

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.03/lb lower, with only copper trading slightly higher on the London Metal Exchange. Stockpiles of nickel fell slightly on Wednesday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper rebounds from four-month lows, Greek worries caps gains - more
  • LME Morning - Metals drift as early run-up stalls, euro situation dominates - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Metal prices continued to weaken yesterday, with lead and zinc suffering particularly badly. There were declines in precious metals, energy, and US equities as well, while the euro hovered at $1.27, close to a four-month low. Trading volume was light, with just over 67,000 lots changing hands in late afternoon Comex trading in New York, well below the 30-day average. There was not much new out of Europe yesterday except for more of the same dreary headlines. Although French President Hollande and German Chancellor Merkel pledged to forge a joint approach ahead of an EU summit next month, we are still not seeing any kind of policy initiatives that could reassure markets. Instead, the authorities seem to be in “wait-and see” mode, resigned to the outcome of the Greek elections, which, according to the polls, could now be even more inconclusive than the first time around. In the meantime, the Greeks continue to pull money out of their bank accounts; the Financial Times reported yesterday that $800 million was yanked out on Monday alone. In addition, the ECB said it has stopped funding operations for some Greek banks because they had not been adequately recapitalized. .... At this stage, many commodity complexes are severely oversold (and nowhere is this more evident than in silver, which has now dropped for eight straight days and has an RSI reading of 19). However, markets need a headline to tee off on, and so far, there has not been much in the way of encouraging news out of Europe that could provide the necessary short-covering trigger. ...... Nickel is at $16,975, down $30. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to data released by the Department of Commerce, the US imported 100,853 tons of stainless steel in April, up by 7% from 93,892 tons in March, reaching 12-month high.
  • (AIST) U.S. steel mills shipped 8,512,825 net tons for the month of March 2012, a 1.3% increase from the 8,407,343 net tons shipped in the previous month according to the latest release from AISI.
  • Experts see crude & nickel as safe haven, expect weak gold - more
  • (SBB) Major Chinese mills cut stainless export prices by $50-100/t
  • (JMB) Jindal Stainless to Double Production Capacity Soon
  • Bucko Lake operations suspended - more
  • China Slowdown to End in Third Quarter, Survey Shows - more
  • Stainless Steel Grades Datasheets - more

  No tarnish on prospects for stainless steel - The stainless steel industry in China will continue to expand during the country's 12th Five-Year-Plan (2011-15) as a result of incentives stemming from ongoing urbanization and construction, experts said on Wednesday. - more

  Nickel Prices Move to the Lowest Level of 2012 on Oversupply - Nickel prices have suffered from the same downward drift that afflicted the majority of the complex over the past month. - more

  Some Chinese steel mills defer iron ore shipments: sources - Some Chinese steel mills have postponed delivery of iron ore from miners including top supplier Vale as a slow steel market cuts demand for the raw material and producers expect a further drop in prices, sources at mills and traders said on Thursday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, May 16

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 7 to 1,137  (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, but rose on positive US economic reports. Then news of a possible Greece bank run surfaced, and the Euro fell, dragging nickel with it. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.71/lb , down a whole $5/tonne. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell on Tuesday and now total just over 105,600 tonnes.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) The global nickel market was in surplus by 6,200 metric tons in January to March, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said Wednesday. This compares with a 8,600-ton surplus over the whole of 2011.
  • (Dow Jones) PT Aneka Tambang, or Antam, intends to pass to customers extra costs arising from a government plan to slap a 20% export tax for several unprocessed minerals, the company said Wednesday.

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.03/lb lower, with most London traded base metals lower as well. Stockpiles fell on Tuesday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper hits 4-month low on Greece turmoil, dollar - more
  • LME Morning - Metals fall to fresh multi-month lows, eurozone uncertainty rages - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • We suggested yesterday that in view of oversold market conditions and the fact that the Greeks were in serious discussions with regard to forming a new government, that investors close out short positions, or in the least, watch things from the sidelines. Shortly after our commentary came out, news broke that the Greek talks had in fact collapsed, sending the country towards fresh elections, now set for June 17.
  • The failure to reach an agreement reversed the relatively modest gains we were seeing, sending fresh shorts out in full force. Although metals did not sell off dramatically, there were substantial reversals in precious metals, energy, and US equities. The most significant decline occurred in the European debt markets, where both Spanish and Italian yields soared; Spanish 10-year rates, for example, pushed to 6.42%, and are now inching towards the critical 7% barrier, at which point local debt markets tend to seize up as investors begin to discount the possibility of an imminent default. We are seeing more of the same downside pressures forming today. Copper is off by about $100 a ton, but the rest of the group is holding up fairly better after working earlier lows. Gold and silver, however, are off sharply, as are energy prices, while the Euro remains under pressure, now trading at $1.2740 after breaking down to $1.2681 earlier in the day. Bloomberg reports that investor George Soros has started nibbling in gold by increasing his holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust. The same article suggests that John Paulson has maintained his gold positions, likely meaning that his funds will report big losses once again. As the European turmoil starts to spread, we are hearing surprisingly little from the Europeans themselves, who again seemed to have gone AWOL. There is, for example, very little in terms of coordinated actions and nothing being announced in the way of an emergency summit or any kind of preemptive measures that could be taken by either the ECB or the IMF. What we are getting instead are conflicting statements from various officials as to what the Greeks should or should not do, and whether the Euro regime will survive a Greek exit from the common currency.  .... At this point, the nervous tone still evident in the markets are telling us that the Europeans need to embark on a series of stabilization initiatives, including ones that could buffet the systems from the shock of a likely Greek exit from the Euro. Simply waiting for the results of the June 17th Greek elections may be too late and risks widening the contagion into Spain and Italy. In the meantime, one thing that at least is going right is that the Euro is selling off; this will make exports out of Europe – and those idyllic Greek island vacations – both more attractive. In corporate news, Reuters reports that BHP Billiton said it expects commodity markets to cool down in the years ahead and in this regard, has put the brakes on a plan announced by Chief Executive Marius Kloppers in 2011 to spend $80 billion over five years to expand its iron ore, coal, energy and base metal operations. “It is all about appropriate allocation of capital. When Marius (Kloppers) talked about the $80 billion, the environment was different," Chairman Jacques Nasser told Reuters. .... Nickel is at $17,030, up $35, but charts suggest a push down to the mid-$16,000 mark. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to statistics, the inventory of stainless steel in Chinese Wuxi market totaled 199,454 tons in the first 10 days of May, falling by 4.17% from 10 days ago.
  • (FAN) Taigang Stainless has cut its 300-series stainless export offers for July deliveries by $50 per tonne, tracking falling nickel prices and a weak Asian market.
  • Oryx Stainless - Nickel is not always centre of the universe - more
  • (Interfax) China's steel product output edged down on a monthly basis in April but daily production was at a record high on stronger steel prices and seasonal demand.
  • Steel Founders' Society Of America Casteel Reporter - pdf here
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2012 Global Metals and Mining & Steel Conference - Xstrata presentation - pdf here
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2012 Global Metals and Mining & Steel Conference - BHP presentation - more here

  Indonesia extends export duty to 21 metal ores - Indonesia will apply an export duty of 20 percent to 21 metal ores and concentrates, the finance minister said on Wednesday, extending a list of 14 metals proposed earlier this month to be subject to the duty. - more

  Shipments Show Small Bounce Back in April - April shipments of aluminum and steel were up slightly in both the U.S. and Canada, an improvement from the year over year declines seen in March. - more

  Indonesia Nickel-Ore Ban Sends Sumitomo Looking for Supply - Restrictions on nickel-ore exports by Indonesia may force Japan, the world’s third-largest producer of refined metal, to source raw material from other suppliers or reduce output, Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. said. - more

  Japan Ni-Alloyed SUS Scrap May Price Down Yen5,000/Ton = NSSC presented the price cut based on the lower nickel price = NSSC cut its purchasing price for nickel-alloyed stainless steel scraps (new clippings) for May deliveries by Yen5,000/ton from the price for April, effective May 8. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Tuesday, May 15

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 2 to 1130 (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Indicator charts show nickel was trading above the $17,000/tonne level, when Greece announced it was unable to form a coalition government and would need new elections. This announced whacked the Euro and nickel struggled in the latter half of the day, looking strong in spite of the heavy drop in the Euro. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.71/lb , with most other base metals ending lower. Stockpiles of nickel held in LME approved warehouses fell on Monday and now total just over 105,750 tonnes.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - here

  German Steelmakers Give Grim Outlooks After Difficult Quarter - Germany's two largest steelmakers Tuesday forecast sharp drops in full-year operating profits as a fragile economy continues to weigh on demand and prices for their products. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.08/lb higher, with other London traded base metal mixed and mostly quiet. Nickel stockpiles fell on Monday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper hits 4-month low as EU concerns mount - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals flat, market unconvinced on eurozone stability - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Metal prices continued to sink yesterday, as did many other commodity prices. In fact, the Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index fell more than 1% to below 290 -- its lowest level since October 2010. Equity markets were also under pressure yesterday, with US stocks still unable to shake off the lingering aftershocks of the JP Morgan trading loss. Needless to say, the Greek situation remains front and center in terms of investor worry right now, as the politicians there have yet to make the necessary progress to form a government. Late in the day yesterday, the country’s president said he would continue talks with all the parties through to Thursday, at which point if no agreement is reached, fresh elections would be called. The president is attempting to cobble together a coalition comprising mostly of technocrats from the various parties, thus hoping to sidestep the politically charged atmosphere and the power of personalities. ..... As we wait for the results of the talks, there is a welcome pause in the selling. Metals are mixed right now; although copper is down slightly, most of the rest are showing modest gains. Precious metals are flat, while energy prices are higher, as is the Euro, now trading at $1.2850, US equity markets are also called to open higher..... Very short-term, we would probably want to lighten up on short positions here, as many markets are extremely oversold and prone for a rather sizable short-covering rally should the Greeks surprise us and emerge with a coalition deal. As we noted above, if the fourth and smaller party joins up with the other two pro-bailout parties, Greece would have a government and the tone in the markets could undergo a dramatic shift. The Europeans are also trying to help, with Bloomberg reporting that the EU has hinted it would allow Greece extra time to meet budget-cut targets, as long as the its politicians put together a ruling coalition committed to austerity. Of course, should the talks fail, we could see yet another leg lower set in, at which point the European authorities will likely fast-track exit strategies to get Greece out of the Euro altogether.  .... Nickel is at $17,080, up $205. Another close below $17,125 will confirm the downside breach of the trading range. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to report of Macquarie Commodities Research, the statistics of China’s stainless steel output in the Q1 released by the country’s Stainless Steel Council (SSC) was under-reported. Macquarie estimated that China’s Q1 stainless steel output totaled 3.7 million tons, rising by 6% year on year, in comparison of SSC’s report of 3.443 million tons, soaring by 11.6% year on year.
  • Hefty duties on Chinese imports to aid SA firms - Imports of screws from China have been slapped with a hefty antidumping duty this month after an investigation by a South African trade authority found they were causing local manufacturers "material injury". - more
  • FDI in China falls for sixth month - more

  The Global Stainless Steel Prices Are Rising - Chinese ferrochrome producers have raised offer prices since last week on steady May 2012 purchase prices from major stainless steel bar mills. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending May 12, 2012, domestic raw steel production was 2,005,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 81.1 percent. Production was 1,778,000 tons in the week ending May 12, 2011, while the capability utilization then was 72.7 percent. The current week production represents a 12.8 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending May 12, 2012 is up 2.1 percent from the previous week ending May 5, 2012 when production was 1,963,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 79.4 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Monday, May 14

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 6 to 1,132 (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Indicator charts show three month nickel fell below the $17,00/tonne threshold early and fought for much of the day to stay above it, only to loose that battle late. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.64/lb . This is nickel's lowest close since December 2009. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell on Friday and now total just over 106,200 tonnes.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) The current weakness in base metals prices is likely to continue in the short term, but is creating an opportunity to position for second half strength, says Barclays.
  • (Dow Jones) LME base metals are softer, taking their cue from slowing growth in China as weaker demand there dampens, particularly for copper, says RBC Capital Markets.

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.05/lb lower, with other London traded base metals lower as well. Nickel stockpiles fell slightly on Friday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper hits 4-month low on China, euro zone worries - more
  • LME Morning - Copper drags base metals lower, dollar commodities hit by sell-off - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • (Writer’s note: The table we carried in Friday’s report was incorrect and pertained to data from earlier in the week.) Metals fell on Friday, with copper losing ground for a second week in a row, as apart from tight LME copper stock positions and lingering backwardations, there was little in the way of bullish news that could justify a sustained advance. Continued unease about Greece, concern about Spanish long-term yields, and data showing decelerating macro trends out of China (and elsewhere), all combined to pressure the complex lower. In addition to the weaker tone seen in metals, energy, precious metals, and ags, all lost ground as well. In fact, the latest CFTC data shows that hedge funds and money managers slashed their bullish bets on commodities by 20%, or nearly $18 billion, last week. Crude accounted for the lion’s share of the drop, losing about $7 billion of length, while gold had the second largest outflow, dropping nearly $4 billion to around $14. ..... Needless to say, markets are sharply lower right now and even left unimpressed with weekend news out of China that the country’s central bank lowered reserve requirements by 0.5%, its third cut in the last seven months. The government also said it will cut taxes for small firms in order to help them cope with a credit squeeze and weaker exports. Neither item is doing much for metals, as investors are concluding that easier money is not necessarily going to reverse the slowing trend in the Chinese economy, nor will it do much to change the fact that the EU - China’s biggest export market - is mired in recession. ...... Nickel premiums have dropped to multiyear lows as extensive supply continues to over-shadow demand, this according to AMM. "The nickel ore price is falling in conjunction with the LME price, which is lowering their (NPI producers’) costs," one trader said. ..... Nickel is at $16,975, down $220, and we could see a further retreat to the mid-$16,000 level (red line) if previous support at $17,125 (shorter red line) gives way on a two day closing basis. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) Germany-based Heinz Pariser Alloy Metals & Steel Market Research said that the global stainless steel production was expected to continue to rise to 36 million tons in 2012, driven by the growth in China and India. It predicted that the global stainless steel output would rise by 6% in 2012. Among them, China’s stainless steel production would surge to 15.5 million tons, surging by 8.5%; India’s would increase to 2.6 million tons, jumping by 15%, both compared to that in a year earlier.
  • (Interfax) China's daily crude steel production hit a record high in April on higher steel prices and seasonal demand, though consumption is likely to weaken this month after prices started dropping and as the summer weather arrives.
  • (RI) Global: Global apparent steel use will increase by 3.6% to 1.422 billion tonnes this year and a further 4.5% to around 1.486 billion tonnes in 2013, the World Steel Association (WSA) has predicted in its latest short-term outlook.
  • Bullish Wagers Plunge Most in 2012 on Greek Impasse: Commodities - more
  • U.S. Exports of Stainless Steel Mill Products - more
  • Trade warning to Philippines - more

  Vale New Caledonia unable to meet supply contract - The Vale New Caledonia nickel company has declared force majeure after revealing that production has been halted because of an incident at its acid plant last Tuesday. - more

  Cliffs may export 40 per cent of chromite from Ont. Ring of Fire for processing - The Liberals are rejecting an NDP demand that Ontario force Cliffs Natural Resources to process all the chromite it takes from the Ring of Fire inside the province. - more

  Japan SUS Products March Imports Sharply Up = Up by 36%; large increases from major origins = The Japan Iron and Steel Federation compiled the import statistics released by the Ministry of Finance into the table attached hereto with regard to the imports of stainless steel products in March 2012 as well as during the first three months of 2012. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Friday, May 11

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 8 to 1,138  (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Indicator charts show nickel opened lower but got a boost from US consumer confidence numbers and after a day of fairly choppy trading within a $200/tonne range, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.80/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell slightly on Thursday and now total just over 106,30 tonnes.
  • Enjoy your weekend!

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Nickel prices could be at risk of substantial volatility in 2012 as the impact of Indonesia's new mining regulations is felt, particularly on major consumer China, says Natixis Metals.

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

  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.04/lb lower, with other London traded base metals lower as well. Nickel stockpiles fell on Thursday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper eases as China data, EU debt weigh - more
  • LME Morning - Metals retreat as Chinese data underwhelms, nickel and tin set multi-month lows - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Copper finished higher for the first time in six sessions yesterday, and most other markets did better as well. A stronger session in the Spanish equity markets and a slight easing in the number of weekly US initial claims both helped sentiment, as did a likely round of mild short-covering from relatively oversold conditions. It’s a far different story today, with the bears back in charge. Copper is now back below the $8,000 mark and there are sharp declines in lead and zinc in particular. Precious metals are also getting hammered, with gold off another $16/ounce, but oil prices are down by only about $1/brl. The Euro has escaped so far, holding relatively steady at $1.2920, although equities are lower across the board. Today’s downside catalysts can be traced not only to the usual suspects, but to JP Morgan’s stunning admission late yesterday that it incurred a $2 billion trading loss this past quarter after what apparently were hedging mismatches and other “errors, sloppiness and bad judgment”. JP Morgan’s stock is down some 7% in pre-market trading, contributing to the expected 56 point opening decline in the Dow. ..... We are expecting a relatively sloppy session today, but many markets are quite oversold and due for a bounce. Unfortunately for the bulls, there are no headlines that could make the case for a sustained run higher. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Dow Jones) China's production of key metals in April fell from a month ago, in line with broad weakness in the country's industrial complex, as policy curbs on the property sector, high inventories and monetary tightness weighed steelmaking and copper smelters, National Bureau of Statistics data showed Friday...... Crude steel output fell 1.6% to 60.58 million tons. Downstream steel product production also fell 2.7% to 81.1 million tons.
  • (Yieh) Reportedly, Nippon Steel and Sumikin Stainless Steel Corp. (NSSC), the largest stainless steel producer in Japan announced to hike the base prices for austenitic sheet and plate by ?5,000/ton for June deliveries in response to higher energy costs. Also, this is the first time that the company raises the base prices for austenitic sheet and plates over the past eight months. However, NSSC cut its alloy surcharge for austenitic sheet and plate slightly by ?5,000/ton for June due to lower nickel prices.
  • (Reuters) South Korea purchased 6,000 tonnes of aluminium and 200 tonnes of nickel via tenders, the state-run Public Procurement Service said.
  • (SBB) China's Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel increased its bid price for high carbon ferro-chrome for May deliveries to RMB 7600/tonne ($1204/t) with VAT on Thursday.
  • China's inflation eases to 3.4% in April - more

  Vale Declares Force Majeure At New Caledonia Nickel Plant - Brazilian mining company Vale SA said it declared force majeure, effective Thursday, on some nickel sales from its Vale New Caledonia nickel operation. - more

  20% Export Tax Levied On Indonesian Ni Ore = Effective May 6, on 14 mineral products exported from Indonesia, causing increase in costs for China/Japan = The Indonesian government enforced an export tax system effective May 6, 2012 in which a 20% export tax is levied on 14 mineral products of Indonesian origin including nickel ore. - more

  Indonesia plans to limit miners' exports at 2009-10 volume -  The Indonesian Trade Ministry on Friday announced plans to set a new quota for mineral exports, limiting mining companies to their 2009 or 2010 export volumes. - more

  Dodworth residents' joy after nickel site plan withdrawn - Plans for a nickel recycling factory in South Yorkshire have been withdrawn following a campaign by residents who feared it could impact on health. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, May 10

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 10 to 1,146  (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Indicator charts show nickel opened slightly higher, but fell at the opening, rose as US equity markets opened higher, and then fell again late. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.79/lb , down $25/tonne on the day. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose on Wednesday and now total just over 106,350 tonnes.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel imports fell 15.3% in March from last month, and was down 21.9% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
  • (Dow Jones) The countdown has started to find a buyer for the commodities brokerage business of Natixis now the French bank has publicly stated the division is for sale.
  • (Chinese media) Jinchang City is located in northwestern Gansu Province at the north foot of the Qilian Mountains and known for its vast land, natural resources, dry climate, and rich sunshine. The city is also the home to China's largest nickel deposits. Proven reserves of nickel in Jinchang are around 5.5 million tons which is 90% of China's nickel reserves and the third largest in the world.
  • (Bloomberg) New supply of nickel from current projects and the availability of nickel pig iron, an alternative to the refined metal, should hold prices below $20,000 a metric ton until 2016, according to Paul Dewison, a director at Intierra.
  • The End of the Mining Boom - more
  • Good and Bad in Credit-Card Binge - more
  • China cancels tours to Philippines over South China Sea dispute - more

  Ironworkers locked out - Ironworkers who were locked out of their work site at the Vale nickel processing facility construction site in Long Harbour on Tuesday were told to be back on the job Wednesday, according to business manager for the Ironworkers Local 764, Tom Woodford. - more

  New Legal Challenge Filed Against UP Nickel Mine - A private club in Michigan's Upper Peninsula has filed a federal lawsuit to halt construction of a nickel and copper mine, saying Kennecott Eagle Minerals Co. did not obtain necessary federal permits. - more

  Aperam suffers in Q1 as nickel falls - Results from Aperam fell short of consensus in the first quarter, the Luxembourg-based stainless steel maker said on Wednesday, as it suffered from the low cost of nickel, and forecast that profit would remain flat for the next few months. - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading unchanged with other London traded base metals mixed, but quiet. Nickel stockpiles rose on Wednesday.  
  • Reuters morning - Copper pressured by weak China data, Eurozone debt - more
  • LME Morning - Metals turn lower, early corrective bounce stalls - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Metals fell again on Wednesday, led by copper, which fell to its lowest level in three week. However, just like the decline on Tuesday, prices managed to pick up off their lows, and in copper's case, reclaim the $8000 mark. Most other markets also lost ground, although the extent of the selloff was not as pronounced as what was seen earlier in the week. The Euro fell for an eighth straight day, closing well below $1.30, but Brent bucked the trend, finishing higher. ..... Metals are mixed right now, erasing earlier losses brought on by disappointing Chinese trade data. In this regard, the government reported that copper imports by China declined for a second month in April, coming in at 375,258 metric tons,19% lower than in March, but still higher than the 262,676 tons from a year ago. Scrap copper imports totaled 370,000 tons in April, compared to 430,000 tons in March. ..... In the broader trade category, Reuters reports that the annual growth rate in Chinese imports during April was just 0.3%, far below an expected 11% increase, while exports were up 4.9% vs. expectations for an 8.55% increase. Exports to emerging economies fell alongside those to Europe, but it is the stall in imports that is more worrying, as it suggests that consumer demand is not picking enough to offset the softness in exports. ..... We don’t have much to add to what we have written in recent commentary and still expect prices to drift lower in the days ahead. Having said that, many complexes, particularly the precious metals group and equities, are getting quite oversold, with RSI’s in the low 30s. Therefore, there is the possibility of some sort of short-covering rally setting in, but we would need to see a headline triggering it. One possibility could be if the PASOK party in Greece him surprises the markets and stitches together a governing coalition. However, we would not want to bank on such an outcome too much, as the more likely scenario is one where the whole process grinds on towards yet another election, meaning more uncertainty for the Euro and the markets at large. ..... Nickel is at $17,211, up $16, but we did get to a low of $17,054 at one point in the day.  (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to data released by the Japan Iron & Steel Federation (JISF), Japan imported 17,971 tons of stainless steel in March, surging by 35.7% from a month earlier and increasing by 20.9% year on year.
  • (Interfax) Chaoyang Haotian Nonferrous Metal Co. Ltd. (Haotian Nonferrous) has signed an agreement with authorities in Liaoning Province's Beipiao City to invest RMB 2.50 billion ($396.22 million) in expanding refined nickel capacity, the firm's parent, Jilin HOROC Nonferrous Metal Group (HOROC), said Wednesday.
  • (JSC) In April 2012, Baosteel Stainless produced around 105,000 tonnes of crude stainless steel, decreasing by 5,000 tonnes from a month earlier. It is reported that Chinese Baosteel Stainless has announced to cut the domestic prices of 304 and 430 grade stainless steel coils by CNY 200 to CNY 400 per tonne respectively for May 2012 deliveries, affected by weak market prices in the domestic market.
  • (MW) While in recent years the nickel market has grown at a healthy rate, virtually all of this growth has been taken by nickel pig iron, leaving the main suppliers with what is, in effect, a flat market. In the near term, according to Intierra Resource Intelligence, the nickel industry faces an era of relatively low prices, certainly in relation to the cost of new production. Against this background, the upsurge in production from new projects raises fears that available supply cannot be absorbed by the market.
  • (PR) AK Steel said today that it will increase current spot market base prices for all carbon flat-rolled steel products by $40 per ton, effective immediately with new orders.
  • China foreign trade growth slows in April - more

  Japan SUS Product Exports On Fast Recovery - March 2012 = Up by 20% from February; quick recovery in exports to Taiwan and Thailand = Japan Iron and Steel Federation compiled the Trade Statistics released from the Ministry of Finance into the table as attached hereto with regard to Japan's exports of stainless steel products during March 2012. - more

  Brighter metals prospects for PNG - A series of significant mineral finds in Papua New Guinea have highlighted the role exports are set to play in the nation’s economic future. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, May 9

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 9 to 1,156 (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Indicator charts show nickel fell sharply early on but recovered some of its losses late. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.80/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose on Tuesday and now total just under the 105,800 tonne level. The potential implications of what happened in last weekend's elections are still sending shock waves thru world markets. Commodity traders have not escaped.  

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • The Nickel Institute is again publishing its Nickel Magazine. If you would like to see if you qualify for a free subscription, sign up here - Nickel Magazine

  Indonesia To Tax Some Raw Mineral Exports At 20% - Indonesia will impose a flat 20% tax on the export of 14 mineral ores by some miners, a Finance Ministry official confirmed Tuesday, adding some clarity to a policy change that has kept mining companies and regional importers in the dark for months. - more

  Sudbury wins prized smelter - Greater Sudbury has been formally selected as the site of Cliffs Natural Resources' prized $1.8-billion ferrochrome smelter, QMI Agency has learned. - more

  MEPS Predicts Record High Stainless Steel Output In 2012 - Worldwide stainless steel output is forecast to grow by almost 6 percent, year-on-year, in 2012, to give another new record total of 34 million tonnes, despite global economic gloom. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:00 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.12/lb lower, with other London traded base metals lower as well. Stockpiles rose on Tuesday.
  • Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed Tuesday's trading day at $7.84/lb , with a growth in nickel stockpiles to just under 105,650 tonnes.
  • Reuters morning - Copper drops to 2-week low on weak euro, Greek worries - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals slump, eurozone concerns knock sentiment - more

  Reports

  • Economic & Steel Market Outlook 2012-2013 - more
  • CSSC Released China Stainless Crude Steel Production for the First Quarter of 2012 - more
  • Reuters Inside Metals - pdf here
  • Commonwealth Daily Alert- pdf here
  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Metals Insight - pdf here
  • DNB Metals Weekly - pdf here
  • Mico Metals Weekly - pdf here  
  • Alpha Commodities Daily - pdf here

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • The "Sell in May and go away" season is upon us, and it seems to have started right on cue. The selling picked up with a vengeance on Monday after the results of the Greek and French elections came out. Markets plunged across the board on Monday, and although some buying lifted them off their worst levels by the close, the mood remained very tenuous. Indeed, we are back in the red once again as we start Wednesday's trading session here in the US. As we noted in the introduction to our latest monthly report, which came out late Monday night (readers can email this writer if they did not get it) the French election results, while significant, were not unexpected, but the Greek elections were a total surprise and managed to derail the markets in a way that the French results did not. .... If the troubles in Greece were not enough, Spain is causing the markets fresh worries today; the yield on Spanish 10-year bond climbed to 6% for the first time since late April, driving its premium to the benchmark German bunds to its highest level since late November. In addition, credit-default swaps on Spanish paper rose to 506, not far off the record closing price of 510.5 reached on April 16. In the meantime, the Spanish government is asking banks to set aside another $45 billion against real estate loans. Earlier in the week, the country’s third largest lender was bailed out. ..... For the moment, markets are clearly being driven by the fallout from the Greek elections. We expect big surges (both up and down) in the days ahead, as waves of selling could be interrupted by significant short-covering rallies, especially on signs of perceived progress from Europe, short-lived as this may turn out to be. For the moment, the name of the game is to sell into the rallies; the twin combination of uncertainty in Europe, coupled with the specter of slowing global growth (the recent data from Germany notwithstanding) makes this a formidable bearish combination to confront. .... Nickel is at $17,112, down $243, and about to take out the bottom end of the trading range at $17,125, which could set up a further retreat to the mid-$16,000’s. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to statistics, the stainless steel stocks totaled 208,143 tons in Chinese Wuxi market in the last 10 days of April, up by 1.37% in comparison of that in 10 days ago.
  • (TEX) Sherritt International says in its quarterly report for the Q1 (January - March) of 2012 that output of first metal at Ambatovy Nickel Project in Madagascar has been delayed from the Q1 to the Q2 (April - June)
  • (MBN) Baosteel cuts May nickel pig iron offers by 5%
  • (NFIB) The Small Business Optimism Index gained 2 points to 94.5 in April, a nice gain on an absolute basis. This month's Index is the highest reading since December 2007, the peak of the last expansion
  • (China) Policy 'storm' on horizon - more
  • Tropical Pacific ENSO-neutral, but warming slowly - more

  The following speakers made presentations at the INSG Meetings, which were held in Lisbon, Portugal in 23 and 24 April 2012: - more

  DJ Taiyuan: Loss Of Indonesian Nickel Ore Not Necessarily Bad For China Stainless Steel Industry - The loss of nickel ore exports from Indonesia may not necessarily hurt China's stainless steel industry, as it may turn to other substitutes, Li Xiaobo, chairman of China's largest stainless steel producer Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group, said Tuesday. - more

  Japan Imported Ferroalloy Market Report - April 27, 2012 = Return of cheerful growth in China's crude steel production = Market outlook of the imported ferroalloys in Japan as of April 27, 2012 is as follows: - more

  BHP merges hard-pressed nickel,aluminium units - BHP Billiton on Wednesday said it was merging its nickel and aluminium units into a single group in the hopes of improving their efficiency. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending May 5, 2012, domestic raw steel production was 1,963,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 79.4 percent. Production was 1,788,000 tons in the week ending May 5, 2011, while the capability utilization then was 73.1 percent. The current week production represents a 9.8 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending May 5, 2012 is down 1.7 percent from the previous week ending April 28, 2012 when production was 1,997,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 80.8 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Friday, May 4

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus/minus 0 to 1,157. (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Indicator charts show nickel started higher, then slumped, but bounced toward the end of the session. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.96/lb , up $.12/lb on the day, but down $.35/lb on the week. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose on Thursday and now total just under 104,300 tonnes. The London Metal Exchange is closed on Monday for Early May Bank Holiday and your author will be traveling on Tuesday. Our next update will be Wednesday, May 9th.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - here
  • Open Briefing MD on Ramu Production and Outlook - pdf here

  Analysis: LME draws the line on metal warehouse shenanigans - The London Metal Exchange (LME), while appearing to tolerate storage strategies that have distorted the aluminum market, is unlikely to permit banks and trading houses to manipulate its warehousing rules to create distortions in other metals. - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:50 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.10/lb higher, with other London traded base metal mixed and mostly quiet. Stockpiles of nickel rose on Thursday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper steady ahead of U.S. non-farm payroll data - more
  • LME Morning - Metals mostly retreat, bears take control ahead of US jobs report - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • We had a very strange day to say the least yesterday, as practically everything was down. Even the dollar -- traditionally a safe haven during market declines --did not do much, finishing pretty much unchanged against the Euro. In the case of base metals, markets recouped earlier losses after US initial claims readings came in well below last week’s figure, but by the time the ISM-services report came out an hour and a half later, these gains were reversed. In this regard, the April services fell to 53.5 from 56.0 in March, a five-month low. Turnover was light, with COMEX copper volume at around 50,000 lots, more than a third below the 30-day average. We are likely going to see very little action until the non-farm payroll numbers comes out in a few minutes. Current estimates have job growth at +167,000, but we suspect the number could be on the light side, in which case we could see base metals under more pressure heading into next week. ...  The Euro is lower now, trading at $1.3120, and precious metals are also off after yesterday’s drubbing. US stocks are expected to open lower. ...... Nickel is at $17,440, up $155, and about where we were at this time yesterday; charts continue to look weak. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Insight: The market squeeze, metals traders beat regulators - more
  • (Yieh) Taiwanese Tang Eng has announced to decline its stainless steel 300 series flat product domestic prices by nearly US$60/ton for May, but still keeps unchanged for export prices.
  • (Yieh) According to statistics released by the Japan Iron & Steel Federation (JISF), Japan’s stainless steel exports totaled 127,550 tons in March, rising by 20.2% from a month ago.
  • (CO) The bauxite and nickel markets are the most likely to face some supply disruptions if Indonesia proceeds with a planned ban on exports of raw materials, with exemptions only for miners that plan to build local processing facilities, said Barclays Capital in a daily commodity research note.
  • (Interfax) A raft of new policies designed to support small and micro-sized enterprises (SME) could benefit China's fragmented nonferrous processing sector, an analyst told Interfax Friday.
  • (China) Index suggests less purchasing activity in April - more
  • The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index® (PCI®) issued by the UCLA Anderson School of Management and Ceridian Corporation rose 0.1 percent in April following the 0.3 percent increase in March and the 0.7 percent increase in February - pdf here

  Indonesia to impose 20 pct export duty on metal ores - Indonesia will impose a 20 percent export duty on all metal ores under new regulations to be applied from May 6 and will work on export policy plans for its coal industry in the next month, senior government officials said on Friday. - more

  Indonesia tax on metals risks China shipments - New Indonesian taxes on metals and curbs on raw mineral shipments are likely to hit exports of nickel and bauxite to China, an industry source said on Friday, highlighting concerns over the impact of the policy changes by Southeast Asia's biggest economy. - more

  Australian billionaire says to build nickel freight fleet - Australian businessman Clive Palmer on Friday said he plans to build and operate a fleet of four freighters to import nickel ore to a nickel refining plant purchased from BHP Billiton. - more

  LME Wants Warehouses in China as Asia Growth Lifts Demand - The London Metal Exchange expects to receive multiple takeover offers when a deadline closes on May 7, and shareholders may assess the bids on price as well as the advantages a potential buyer may bring, the chief executive said. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, May 3

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 8 to 1,157. (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Base metals ended lower after a disappointing ISM services index fell. Indicator charts show nickel traded choppy thru most of the session, but fizzled out upon the ISM report. For the day Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.84/lb , a fall of $5/tonne. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses fell on Wednesday and now total just over 103,750 tonnes.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - here

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.09/lb higher, with other London traded base metals mostly trading lower. Nickel is getting a nudge this morning on news that indonesia will proceed with a ban on exports of nickel ore on Saturday. Stockpiles fell on Wednesday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper at one-week low as global growth worries weigh - more
  • LME Morning - Metals buckle as bearish mood deepens, worries over economies - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Copper prices fell to their lowest level in a week yesterday as ongoing concerns about slowing EU, Chinese, and to a lesser extent, US growth, all weighed on the market. In fact, for some time now, metals have been trading in lackluster fashion, unable to get anything meaningful going on the upside given the increasingly dour set of macro statistics that have been coming through. However, we are not seeing a price collapse either, as the US economy is still chugging along, while Chinese demand, while reduced, is still a force to be reckoned with. In copper’s case, severe supply constraints and declining inventories are helping prop up prices, providing ballast for the rest of the metals. The exception seems to be nickel, which although up today, is looking extremely poor on the charts and close to breaking down to fresh lows. ..... Right now, metal prices are off slightly, and we are seeing modest declines in both energy and precious metals as well. US stocks are expected to open higher on account of a steadier tone in Europe and an impressive recovery in the Chinese stock market, which managed to close at a 7-week high partly on hopes of further easing. The Euro is weaker, trading at $1.3140 after the ECB left rates unchanged, but ECB head Mario Draghi warned that the Eurozone outlook still has downside risks..... Nickel is at $17,505, up $220, and about where we were at this time yesterday; charts continue to look weak. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (First Quantum) Nickel production from the Ravensthorpe nickel operation exceeded plan with steady state operation of the complete circuit and lower C1 costs as a result of the steady state operation of the sulphuric acid plant and lower input costs.
  • (Yieh) According to the report released by Finnish Outokumpu, the company’s shipments of stainless steel products totaled 399,000 tons in the first quarter of this year, surging significantly by 23.5% in comparison of 323,000 tons in a quarter earlier and rising by 5% from 380,000 tons in the same period of a year earlier.
  • (China) Non-manufacturing sector fell in April - more

  Indonesia Ban on Unprocessed-Metal Exports to Proceed as Planned - Indonesia will proceed with a ban on exports of raw minerals, with some exemptions for miners that plan to build local processing facilities, and will publish details of the rule May 6. - more

  Ambatovy mining project begins nickel production - The Korea Resources Corporation, South Korea’s state-run resources explorer, said Thursday it successfully launched nickel production in a mine in Madagascar. - more

  Guidelines for Use of Stainless Steel in the Ground - Stainless steel can provide excellent service underground. It is stronger than polymers and copper and its resistance to chlorides and acidic acids is significantly better than carbon or galvanised steels. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, May 2

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 3 to 1,149. (chart)
  • Dollar trading graph - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Base metals ended lower today and indicator charts show nickel was in a fairly steady downtrend for most of its trading session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $7.84/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell slightly and now total just under 103,900 tonnes.

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.11/lb lower, with other London traded base metals lower as well. Stockpiles of nickel fell slightly on Tuesday.
  • Reuters morning - Copper slips on weak euro, China demand concerns - more
  • LME Morning - Metals mostly retreat, sluggish European data undermines mood - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Copper pushed higher in light trading yesterday, buoyed mainly by the April ISM number out of the US, which was a total upside surprise given the spate of weaker regional readings released over the past week. The number came in at 54.8, about 1.8 points above estimates and clocking in at its fastest pace in almost a year. Stronger auto production was a key factor behind the increase. Last quarter for example, cars sold at their fastest pace in four years, and although the pace moderated somewhat going into April, sales were decent enough to persuade at least GM to lift its full-year 2012 car and truck sales outlook to between 14-14.5 million, up from its previous range of 13.5-14 million. Right now, metals are lower across the board, with copper in particular having a substantial decline on account of a noticeable easing of the backwardations and more poor data out of Europe. More importantly, we suspect that the markets are still troubled by what is going on in China. Although yesterday's Chinese PMI showed a modest uptick, there were issues within the readings, as discussed in yesterday’s report. In addition, the release of the HSBC purchasing managers index out earlier today (which focuses on smaller firms) came in at 49.3 in April, and although it was up from 48.3 in March, the number remains mired in contraction territory...... Nickel is at $17,470, down $235, and looking quite weak. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) According to Acerinox, the parent company of North America Stainless (NAS), the US stainless steel consumption rose by 8% year on year in the first quarter of this year, helping the company to raise the base prices in January and April.
  • (Merafe) Shareholders of the Company are advised that ferrochrome production volumes in the first quarter of 2012 were 21% lower than the 2011 comparative period, mainly due to the re-scheduling of maintenance programmes and power buy-back deals with Eskom, the South African national electricity supplier, in a rather soft market.
  • (FAN) Ferro-chrome production at Xstrata Alloys fell 20% year-on-year in the first quarter, as a result of maintenance rescheduling and power buyback deals with South Africa's state power group Eskom.
  • China Manufacturing Improvement Signals Growth Rebound - more
  • Factory activity indicator expands - more
  • The crush of too much  - more

  South African ChCr Q2 Benchmark For Japan Also Up US$ 0.2/lb = To US$ 1.43/lb Cr based on tightening supply due to continued low output from South Africa = The benchmark for South African charge chrome shipped to Japan during the Q2 (April - June) of 2012 was agreed to increase it by US$0.2/lb Cr to US$1.43/lb Cr. - more

  A Tale of Two of Indonesia's State-Owned Base Metal Producers - Earnings results at Aneka Tambang and Timah, two of Indonesia’s state-controlled base metal producers, provide what might seem a contradictory picture. - more

  Nickel Ore Miner Tripling Production - Nickel ore miner Oriental Peninsula Resources Group recorded a net income of R498 million during its first year of commercial operations, a turnaround from the loss of R7.04 million it incurred in 2010. - more

  Court asked: Stop annulment of mining permit - A Palawan-based mining consortium has asked the Court of Appeals (CA) to stop Malacañang from annulling permit granted by the Arroyo administration to operate a large-scale nickel mining exploration together with its Canadian partner in three mining sites. - more

  Priest cited for advocacy vs nickel mining in Philippines - A Roman Catholic priest’s advocacy against nickel mining has earned for him an international recognition. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Tuesday, May 1

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Sucden's day old nickel chart - (here).
  • Baltic Dry Index - closed for holiday (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Base metals needed trading today mixed, after a positive US PMI helped steer most higher. Indicator charts show nickel lagged early on news that the Chinese PMI was less than optimistic and never recovered. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed at $8.03/lb . Stockpiles recorded no change on Monday, possibly due to early May Day holiday's.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Xstrata earnings report - Nickel output rose 8% on the first quarter of 2011, to 26,381 tons due to the start up higher output from its Integrated Nickel Operations and the ramp up of its Falcondo ferronickel operation in the Dominican Republic. Production of nickel and zinc metal accounted for 11% and 10% of last year's operating Ebitda.
  • Mikhail Prokhorov: Putin's Controversial Adversary - more

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

  • Indicators at 6:55 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.10/lb lower, with other London traded base metals mostly lower. Stockpiles recorded no change no Monday.
  • Bloomberg morning - Copper Extends Decline as Chinese Data Reduce Easing Speculation - more
  • Reuters morning - Copper dips on economy concerns, China data supports - more
  • LME Morning - Metals modestly higher, May Day closures crimp interest - more

  Reports

  Ed Meir of INTL FC Stone Daily Metals Commentary

  • Metals finished modestly lower yesterday in very quiet trading, with copper breaking a five-day winning streak. We did not have much going on in terms of news except for a number of macro releases out of the US that came in mixed. On the negative side, business activity in the US as measured by the Chicago purchasing managers’ index decreased to 56.2, its slowest pace since November 2009 and coming in much lower than the 60 level expected. On the positive side, both US consumer spending and incomes climbed in March; spending was up .3% after a revised .9% gain in the prior month, while incomes advanced 0.4%, the most in three months. Right now, metals are mixed in uneventful trading as a number of markets, including that of China's, are closed on account of the May 1st holidays. However, we did get China's official purchasing managers' index released overnight, which came in at 53.3, up from 53.1, although it did fall short of the 53.6 forecast. The manufacturing output sub-index component rose as well, but many individual sectors that make up the reading remain weak, among them chemicals, equipment, autos and oil refining. New export orders edged up to 52.2 from 51.9, but the sub-index for all new orders slipped to 54.5 from 55.1. Not surprisingly, the cross-currents evident in the report did not do much to boost the markets. ..... Nickel is at $17,646, down $249, and not participating in the stronger tone we have seen in most metals over the past week. (complete report here)

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Mining company Kagara has been placed in voluntary administration after reportedly failing to reach a new finance agreement, leaving more than 300 jobs at risk. - more
  • China manufacturing expands in April - more

  North American Stainless will maintain the fuel surcharge at 36% for stainless flat and long products shipping in the month of May 2012. The surcharge rate is considered a maximum level for May and will be reviewed monthly. - source

  Power tariff hike hits ferro alloys units - The recent power tariff hike announced by the government is showing its impact on ferro alloys units in the State as they have slashed their production by almost 40 per cent. - more

  3 mining firms question Aquino cancellation of FTAA in Palawan - Amid the debate over mining, three firms have petitioned the Court of Appeals to reverse its resolution, which upheld President Benigno Aquino III’s authority to cancel the “midnight deal” they entered into with the Arroyo administration that allowed them to conduct large-scale mineral exploration in Palawan. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending April 28, 2012, domestic raw steel production was 1,997,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 80.8 percent. Production was 1,814,000 tons in the week ending April 28, 2011, while the capability utilization then was 74.2 percent. The current week production represents a 10.1 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending April 28, 2012 is down 0.3 percent from the previous week ending April 21, 2012 when production was 2,003,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 81.1 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

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4/17 Market Prices
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