This page is archived news covering the period of November 2008
If you are looking for current daily market news, please visit here.

Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices

Free comprehensive information on worldwide nickel market pricing, stainless steel prices and metals analysis and forecasts


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

Weekend Review, November 29 & 30

  Reports
  • Commodity Price Index - pdf here
  • BNP Markets Data - here
  • The Chart Store Weekly Scoreboard - pdf here
  • The Chart Store Monthlyly Scoreboard - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Chris Weafer, head strategist at Uralsib investment bank - "Norilsk Nickel appears to be heading into state control. The administration has never made any secret of its desire to create a national champion company in the metals and mining sector . . . The debt problems at Rusal have presented the government with an unexpected opportunity to fill this gap and it seems that they are going for it." - more
  • (SG) International demand for FeCr has fallen sharply due to the global financial crisis. FeCr exports to Europe and the US from South Africa, India and Kazakhstan have all fallen significantly.
  • (Religare Commodities) Markets are bearish ahead of a severe recession that is expected to remain during FY2009 and hurt demand prospects. China, the major driver of base metals demand also witnessed a slowdown in buying as it felt the impact of global slowdown. The trend in base metal remains down as overall financial market sentiments are weak on the backdrop of a global recession.
  • (MJ) Commodities exchanges may introduce iron-ore futures contracts by April as buyers and sellers turn to publicly traded securities to manage price risk in a volatile market. Five exchanges in Asia, Europe and North America are studying contracts for iron ore, said Steven Randall, managing director of The Steel Index.

  Extreme prudence for extreme times -  (Ambatovy or "Hill of Fire" nickel mine and processing plant) Corporate strategy Sherritt preserves funds by mothballing a major mine project, focuses on boosting cash flow from other areas. - more

ThyssenKrupp Sees ‘Significant’ Sales Drop, Costs Cut - ThyssenKrupp AG will cut costs by more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) this fiscal year as a weakening of demand from carmakers and builders leads to a “significant” drop in sales. - more

  Mining industry contracts sharply as prices crash - Commodity prices are falling at their fastest pace in decades, cutting a swath through the economy as tumbling crude puts Alberta oilsands projects on ice and crashing base metal prices shutter mines across the country. - more

  After record profits, big drop shakes steel - Just weeks after posting record profits, steel makers are facing a harsh new reality: dwindling orders, production cuts, layoffs. And tougher times lie ahead, analysts say. - more

  Harsco Inks Deal with Chinese Stainless Steel Producer - Harsco Corp. has signed a letter of intent with Shanzi Taigang Stainless Steel Co., China's largest stainless steel producer to develop a new working relationship for the treatment and utilization of stainless and carbon steel slag in China. - more

  • Dry bulk rates to rise as China restocks iron ore - Dry bulk rates are likely to recover when China replenishes its dwindling iron-ore inventory and demand for thermal coal starts to pick up. - more

  Hyundai makes second steel price cut in 1 month - South Korea's Hyundai Steel said on Friday it would cut steel prices by 11 percent, its second price cut in a month, due to weakening demand from the construction sector and falling prices of raw materials such as scrap metal. - more

  Mexico aims to shrink coins - Mexico wants to shrink the size of some of its coins and use stainless steel to make them instead of copper, zinc and nickel alloys, which have hit record prices in recent months. - more

  China Scrap Importers Renegotiate Contracts On Plunging Prices -Chinese scrap importers have said the plunging steel market is forcing them to renegotiate contracts with U.S. exporters, as smaller mills close and importers turn to cheaper Japanese shipments. - more

  BHP head to focus on downturn after Rio failure - BHP Billiton Chief Executive Marius Kloppers will likely use the same pragmatic resolve to grapple with a collapse in metals markets that he did in ditching a mega takeover of mining rival Rio Tinto. - more

Friday, November 28

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 18 to 715. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • The US Dollar continued to trade about 1-1/2% higher against the Euro, while crude oil traded down 4-1/2% lower on reports OPEC may not cut production. While most of the base metals ended the day lower than they started, tin bucked the trend, as did the precious metals. Indicator charts show nickel started lower, slid to about $500/tonne lower, than rose back to where it had begun the day, only slightly lower than Thursday. Dow Jones reports for the day, week, and month, three month nickel ended at $4.62/lb  , down a whole penny for the day. For the week, nickel gained eight cents, but for the month, it fell from October's close of $5.47/lb. European markets ended mixed, with the FTSE closing higher, and the Dow, which closed early today, also ended higher.  It was a good week for many of the world's equity markets, some setting records, others having their best week in decades. Will it last going into December? And how will nickel respond? History tells us if nickel follows the pattern of the last fifteen years, we could see it hit an annual low in December. But that remains to be seen. Stay tuned.
  • Have a safe and relaxing weekend!!

  Commodity/Economic Comments

(Reuters) Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel said on Friday its first nine months of 2008 nickel output was 218,474 tonnes, compared to some 219,000 in the same period of 2007..... A year-ago Norilsk report did not include output of its units in Finland, Australia and Africa.

  Stainless steel importers against curbs on import of alloy - For importing items under the ‘restricted´ category, companies need to take licence from the government - more

  Reality bites the world - After a year of wrangling, the global financial crisis and European regulators combined this week to scupper the world's biggest resources merger - and everyone seems relieved, writes Jamie Freed. - more

   BHP warns of possible cutbacks - Low-cost mines not immune from slowdow - BHP Billiton says that while its mining operations have held up better than most in the face of economic adversity, it won’t be immune from the effects of slowing demand. - more

  Russia's RUSAL nominates Prokhorov to Norilsk board - Russia's aluminium major RUSAL said on Friday it had added its major shareholder Mikhail Prokhorov to its list of candidates for the board of metal giant Norilsk Nickel. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.14/lb  lower. Except for platinum, all base and precious metals are lower this morning. The US Dollar is trading 1-1/4% higher against the Euro, while crude oil is trading flat, awaiting news on further potential OPEC production cuts. Except for China, Eastern Pacific rim countries equity markets ended higher, while European countries are trading mostly lower. US futures reflect a quiet opening on Wall Street, only slightly lower. China's possibly looking to stockpile some or all of the base metals is not helping the price of base metals this morning, yet.    
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "After a weaker finish yesterday, LME prices are down again today, and in most complexes, prices are nearing their 2008 lows. Markets are under pressure on account of the bearish macro backdrop, which is directly manifesting itself through rising LME stock levels. We are seeing more evidence of this today, with stocks in all six of the base metals we follow up for a second day in a row. This upward trend suggests that the severe production cutbacks being ushered in by various producers have still not stabilized the supply/demand picture, as demand is still falling at a faster pace than what producers are doing to cut production. In terms of news, it is interesting to note that metal markets hardly showed any enthusiasm on reports out of China that the government may look to buy base metals for its commercial reserves in order to take advantage of low metal prices. There are reports that Beijing may either consider buying all base metals, or just copper and aluminum . ... We are currently at $9,900, down $350; LME stocks were up again today.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • LME three month nickel ended yesterday's trading at $4.63/lb . The BDI yesterday was down 30 to 733.
  • (Dow Jones) Base metals on the LME slipped further Friday as the U.S. dollar strengthened against the euro. The euro weakened after the euro-zone inflation rate posted its biggest ever drop in November.
  • (Dow Jones) Nickel production cuts continue and project development work has also slowed, but that is not enough to prevent a substantial surplus next year, says Alan Heap, a Citi commodity analyst. Says total production losses from sulphide, laterite and nickel-in-pig to date will reduce 2009 production by roughly 130,000 tons or about 8%. Says with 35% of nickel mines currently unprofitable production curtailments will continue.
  • Commodities Near Bottom on Consumer Rebound: Chart of the Day - more
  • (AP) ArcelorMittal SA, the world's largest steelmaker, said Wednesday it is looking to cut 9,000 jobs through voluntary agreements, shedding around 3 percent of its global workforce in response to the economic downturn. In a statement from its Luxembourg headquarters, the company said most of the cuts would likely come from non-production sectors like sales and administration as it aims to reduce costs by $1 billion.
  • Commodity prices decline at historic pace - more
  • Why This Crisis Will Send Inflation Soaring - more
  • (Japan Metal Bulletin) Nisshin Steel announced on Thursday the firm expands the output reduction of nickel series stainless cold rolled flat steel to more than 40% at Shunan plant in November from original plan while the operation reduced the output by 30% before. The firm tries to improve the supply balance when the users' activity decreases along with the buyers' holding stance for new order with expectation for lower price. The stainless steel making operation should decrease from current 10% cut.

  China looks at buying metals for reserves-sources - China is looking at buying base metals as state or commercial reserves to take advantage of the lowest prices for years and bolster weak demand, industry sources said on Friday. - more

  • China's Baosteel cuts prices as slowdown weighs - Baoshan Iron and Steel Co Ltd, the listed unit of China's largest steelmaker, will cut some steel prices in January and hold others steady after slashing them in an unscheduled mid-month cut in December. - more
  • Spot nickel prices to extend slide - MOFCOM - Prices of nickel on the domestic spot market are expected to continue falling over the next few weeks as demand from the downstream stainless steel industry slumps further, according to a Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) report released on Nov. 26 - more

  Input Cost Deflation Not Improving Stainless Steel Demand - Orders on the stainless mills continue to fall despite massive production cuts. Suppliers of raw materials - nickel, chromium, molybdenum and scrap - have all reduced their selling prices in an effort to stimulate the market but to no avail. - more

  Potential nickel output losses in 2009 - Sharp falls in nickel prices and demand from the key stainless steel sector have forced several producers to curb output or defer projects. - more

  Chile Escondida delays $120 mln molybdenum project- Global miner BHP Billiton has delayed plans to build a $120 million molybdenum processing plant at the giant Escondida mine in Chile after prices for the metal were slashed on global markets. - more

  Mineworkers go on the rampage after losing jobs - A policeman removes a tyre set alight by mineworkers who protested after they were told that they were going to be laid off . More than 500 workers at a nickel mine in Mpumalanga face a bleak Christmas after they were told they no longer have job. - more

  Botswana: Gloomy Christmas for BMR Workers As Activox Shuts Down - At least 133 employees of the Botswana Metal Refinery (BMR), a subsidiary of the Tati Nickel Mine, will lose their jobs on December 31 when the 'suspended' Activox project closes for good. - more - more

  Philippine, Chinese firms to build nickel plant - The Philippines' second biggest mining firm Atlas said on Friday it will build a nickel-cobalt leaching plant southwest of the capital with its partners in a profitable nickel mine and China's Jiangxi Rare Earth & Rare Metals Tungsten Group - more

  Hyundai makes second steel price cut in 1 month - South Korea's Hyundai Steel said on Friday it would cut steel prices by 11 percent, its second price cut in a month, due to weakening demand from the construction sector and falling prices of raw materials such as scrap metal. - more

  No drama at BHP Billiton's annual meeting - BHP Billiton's annual general meeting in Melbourne yesterday was a surprisingly run-of-the-mill affair. ... Chairman Don Argus and chief executive Marius Kloppers faced no calls to step down, or even criticism over their failed bid for fellow mining giant Rio Tinto.- more

  • BHP Billiton’s Chairman Don Argus came under attack yesterday at the Company’s Annual General Meeting in Melbourne. Several board members questioned the longevity of Argus after reading various reports that BHP was preparing itself for the retirement of its long-standing chairman within the next couple of years. "As a result of BHP Billiton’s takeover bid for Rio Tinto withdrawal, there has been some speculation in the press about how long Don will remain on the board,” one attendee said - more
  • Who's sorry now? Not Kloppers - "It was not an easy decision. In fact, it was a tough decision." With those simple words BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers brought the curtain down on the once bold ambition to create a global mining colossus by taking over Rio Tinto. - more
  • Rio purchase would have created unacceptable risks: BHP Chairman - The purchase of Rio Tinto would have created "unacceptable financial risks" for BHP Billiton shareholders amid an almost unprecedented global economic crisis, BHP Chairman Don Argus said Thursday at the company's annual general meeting in Melbourne. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 28 - more
  • 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, November 27

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 2 PM in London)
  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.12/lb but quiet. Metals are all trading lower this morning. Crude oil is trading a little over 2% lower, and the US Dollar is slightly lower against the Euro. Worldwide equity markets either closed in the green or are trading in the green. US markets are closed for Thanksgiving, and India markets were closed after terrorist attacks on their financial capital of Mumbai. We will be taking the rest of the day off to visit with family, and our next update will be tomorrow morning. Happy Thanksgiving! 
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals rose sharply yesterday, shadowing an improving US equity market, where the Dow Jones closed with a triple digit gain for the third time in four sessions, this despite a slew of macroeconomic numbers that showed the economy slipping deeper into recession.... We are seeing a modest price retreat at the time of this writing despite a weaker dollar, as mounting stock levels on the LME (particularly in ali, where stocks surged by a staggering 44,000 tons today), and lingering reminders that the global macro outlook remains bleak, are both combining to roll back some of yesterday's gains. With US markets shut down for the Thanksgiving holidays, things should be relatively quiet. Indian markets also shut due to the horrific terrorist attacks in Mumbai overnight. ... We are currently at $10,300, down $300, and quiet; stocks were up again today.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Asia Pulse) PT International Nickel Indonesia (Inco) said it will go ahead with plans to build three major projects valued at US$1.7 billion despite the sharp fall in the price of that metal. Corporate secretary Indra Ginting said Inco is set to start next year the construction of a 90-megawatt hydroelectric plant needed by its nickel mining industry in South Sulawesi.
  • Expect commodities to come back - more
  • According to statistics from the China Iron and Steel Association, the whole Chinese steel industry has cut outputs an average of 30%.
  • (JMB) Japanese major 5 steel makers' output reduction could expand to 4-5 million tonnes in second half year to March 2009 while the makers planned around 2 million tonnes of production cut before. Nippon Steel and JFE Steel announced additional output reduction and indicated further cut depending on the market when the financial crisis impacts on industrial activity broadly. Sumitomo Metal Industries, Kobe Steel and Nisshin Steel also revise the production plan for further production cut.
  • The Bureau of International Recycling welcomes the fact that the Russian government has recently suspended import duties on ferrous scrap, which formerly were of 5%, for a period of 9 months.
  • China's economic downturn deepens - more

  Nickel producers cut output - The country's two biggest nickel producers have cut 2009 production targets as nickel prices have plunged while the global economic downturn has reduced demand. - more

  Business chamber up-beat about BHP nickel operations - (excerpt) Ravensthorpe  -"Before they close it they've got to get it working properly and I'm extremely confident that within the next 12 months BHP will be focusing on getting the plant up to its operating speed" - more

  • Chinese steel production to drop - BHP Billiton expects Chinese steel production to drop 17 per cent year-on-year amid the financial crisis, but says emerging economies, particularly China, will drive natural resources demand growth - more
  • BHP Escondida mine may delay moly project-paper - Global miner BHP Billiton is reviewing whether to build a $120 million molybdenum processing plant at the giant Escondida mine in Chile, the Diario Financiero reported on Thursday. - more

  Freight collapse helps Brazil close gap with Australian iron ore - Australian iron ore is in danger of losing its price competitiveness against Brazilian ore, as the freight differential between the two origins has shrunk to less than $5/mt compared with around $60/mt just two months ago, according to Peter Malpas, Asia market research manager for shipbroker Braemar Seascope speaking at Metal Bulletin's Australian Iron Ore conference in Perth Wednesday. - more

  Scrap - Meltdown of non-ferrous metal market - Slow industrial growth and credit crisis are contributing factors - Slower economic activity and reduced demand has impacted all non-ferrous commodities, leaving none exempt from current market trends. - more

  • Scrap Metals Market Watch - here

  Actual Quantities Of Molybdenum Supplied And Consumed In Japan For First Half 2008 = Output Of Special Steels Increased By 4.5% But Molybdenum Consumption Remained Unchanged - more

  Production cuts by major global steel firms - Following is a timeline of announcements of output reductions made by steel companies in recent weeks: - more

  Ex-Kremlin chief of staff nominated to Norilsk Nickel board - Interros, owned by Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin, nominated on Wednesday a former Kremlin administration chief as independent director of the new board of Norilsk Nickel.- more

  • Heard On The Street: Kremlin Wins Nickel War - A long-running feud between two of Russia's most powerful businessmen has ended -- predictably enough -- in a victory for the Kremlin. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • 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, November 26

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 41 to 763. (chart) (lowest level since January 1987)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (AP) New home sales, prices fall again in U.S //  (Bloomberg) US Durable Orders Fall Twice as Much as Forecast // Consumer Spending in US Falls 1%, Most in 7 Years // China's Biggest Rate Cut in 11 Years Signals Alarm at Job Losses, Slowdown // EU Proposes $259 Billion Plan to Stimulate Economy, Limit Effect of Crisis // European Stocks Climb as Raw-Material Shares Gain; BHP Advances, H&M Falls // German Inflation Falls More Than Forecast, Giving ECB Room to Reduce Rates
  • Metals ended much like they were trading this morning, with base mostly trading higher and precious mostly lower. Crude oil was trading 4-1/4% higher at 12:00 am CST, while the Dollar was nearly 1-1/4% higher against the Euro. Indicator charts show nickel took a bounce early, lost all of this by early afternoon, even falling into the red zone for a few minutes, before regaining some late. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $4.80/lb . European markets ended mixed, and the US market has gone green after another Obama economic press conference bounce. So far, he is saying and doing things that Wall Street likes. The question is, how long will the love affair last? With the Dollar higher, and the FTSE ending slightly lower, base metal traders appeared to be looking across the pond for inspiration. The EU stimulus package, and lower interest rate in China, also sent a signal governments are working hard at trying to reverse the current economic trend. Another nickel mine in Zimbabwe is down. While LME nickel inventories gained overnight, copper inventories, which have been growing steadily, took a large hit, raising a few eyebrows this morning. Baltic Dry Index dropped again, to its lowest level since January 1987. The only thing it seems helping this industry these days is the threat of piracy in the India Sea. Of course, if the India Navy keeps sinking hijacked ships, we might see shipping companies start sending empty ships into the Indian Ocean flying the skull and crossbones on the hopes they might collect an insurance check. Bloomberg had an interesting first line today. "The Federal Reserve's new $800 billion effort to combat the financial crisis is designed to make credit more accessible to shaken consumers who aren't sure they want more debt."
  • While the US markets will be closed tomorrow for the Thanksgiving holiday, the London Metals Exchange will be trading. We will be posting a morning briefing only tomorrow.  To our American readers, we wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!!  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Dow Jones) LME base metals will likely return to the downtrend once the current short-covering correction passes, says a London-based trader. Observes the EU stimulus package is a short-term boost to sentiment, but the stimulus won't be felt for some time.
  • (Dow Jones) Stockpiles of metal are starting to accumulate outside on land adjacent to ports and near to official London Metal Exchange warehouses as producers and merchants store surplus material more cheaply, warehousers and merchants told Dow Jones Newswires Wednesday. While this isn't illegal, it could mean the build-up of large tonnages of metal that don't show up in official LME stock data and distort market fundamentals, which are already in bad shape. - more

  Palawan govt issues 25-year mining halt - The local government of Palawan issued a 25-year moratorium on issuance of large and small scale mining permit amid reported violation on mining regulations. - more

  Rio to wield the axe after BHP pulls out - Rio Tinto has set out to ease market concerns that it is financially vulnerable after BHP Billiton abandoned its $105 billion takeover bid. - more

  • Rio Tinto says on track on major asset sales - Global miner Rio Tinto Ltd said on Wednesday it was confident it could sell assets worth billions of dollars to pay down massive debt, despite concerns about a lack of buyers, a day after rival BHP Billiton Ltd dropped a bid for the firm. - more

  Chinese steel industry welcomes BHP merger withdrawal - China's steel industry has broadly welcomed BHP Billiton's decision to drop its merger bid for Rio Tinto, industry sources have reported to Platts. - more

  Glencore Says CSN Defaults on $105 Million Purchase - Glencore International AG, the world’s biggest commodity trader, said Brazilian steelmaker Cia. Siderurgica Nacional SA defaulted on a purchase of $105 million of steelmaking raw materials. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:40 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.01/lb higher, but currently in a down trend from an earlier morning jump. MEtals are mixed this morning with base metals mostly higher, and precious metals mostly lower. Crude oil is 1-1.4% higher on OPEC production cut concerns, and the US Dollar is 1/2 of 1% higher against the Euro.  In the Far East markets, Japan and Australia ended lower, with the rest ending higher overnight. In Europe,  markets are trading mostly lower. And US futures show the Dow could start lower. US markets will be closed tomorrow for the Thanksgiving holiday, so trading could be subdued today. US traders are waking to news that (MarketWatch) "Orders for U.S.-made durable goods fell 6.2% in October, the largest decline in two years, the Commerce Department estimated Wednesday, as orders for transportation goods fell 11.1%." Base metals got an early morning jolt this morning on news that China had cut its interest rate, hoping it would stimulate some demand. Zimbabwe's nickel mine is shutting down due to the low price, and there is speculation in Australia that BHP may shut down Ravensthorpe.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metals finished mixed yesterday, mirroring the choppy session we had in the US equity markets. ... Despite the grim macro and credit backdrop, metals are arguably seeing an element of support from two diverse variables. The first is the fact that the dollar has stopped going up, and indeed has been receding of late against the Euro. We suspect currency markets are perhaps beginning to question what implications the unfettered liquidity creation we are seeing will have on the greenback. The other supportive element has to do with mining companies slashing production drastically, as they struggle to lower breakeven costs. Both these variables could flatten the rate of descent we are seeing in metal prices, but for the complex to start a period of long-term “basing” prior to pushing higher, it would need to see signs that the US economy --as seen through the prism of the US stock and bond markets-- has indeed stabilized, and that credit is flowing again. With respect to today's action, metal prices are higher across the board on news of more stimuli, this time from markets outside of the United States. Most prominent are moves announced by China, where the government announced its biggest interest rate cut in a decade. ... We are currently at $10,675, up $175, and quiet; nickel stocks continue to push higher, keeping rallies somewhat in check and prices within a trading range for now(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Commodity fall fuels deflation fears, for now - more
  • U.S. Pledges Top $7.7 Trillion to Ease Frozen Credit - (excerpt) The money that’s been pledged is equivalent to $24,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. - more
  • (MF Global) Indonesia's state miner, PT Aneka Tambang expects its 2009 ferro-nickel output to fall to 11,500-12,000 tons, against a target of 17,000 tons in 2008, this according to the company's president.
  • (MF Global) China's steel demand is likely to bounce back by the second quarter of 2009 as a surge in domestic infrastructure spending takes hold, UK-based consultants CRU International said on Wednesday. By the end of next year, CRU expects to see Chinese demand rising by 5-6%. CRU also your right added that global steel prices are unlikely to decline further because of production cuts by mills across the world.
  • (Canadian Press) U.S. Steel Canada is planning about 100 layoffs at its Lake Erie facility at Nanticoke, Ont., as the crisis in the steel industry worsens, union leaders say
  • China slashes interest rate by 1.08 percentage points to boost growth - more
  • Commodities markets are facing years of depressed pricing as users of everything from Malaysian tin to South African platinum see orders dry up and cancel raw material shipments, BlackRock World Mining Fund, the world's largest commodities fund, said on Tuesday. - more
  • How to invest in 2009 - Commodities: Bulls in a China shop - more
  • (JMB) Nippon Steel's president Shoji Muneoka said on Tuesday the firm expands the output reduction to more than 2 million tonnes in the second half year to March 2009 compared with the original plan.
  • (RBC) Norilsk Nickel and a group of western financial institutions have signed an agreement on the opening of a credit line worth EUR 278.8m covered by the worldwide leader in credit insurance Euler Hermes Kreditversicherung AG.

  Base metals rebound after China rate cut decision - Base metal futures on MCX rose by an average 3 per cent after the People's Bank of China lowered lending rate by 108 basis points to 5.58 per cent on Wednesday. - more

  Ravensthorpe mine could close: analysts - A mining analyst says the falling price of nickel could prompt BHP to abandon its Ravensthorpe mine. - more

  • Investors furious as BHP pulls plug on costly pursuit of rival Rio Tinto - BHP Billiton’s hostile pursuit of Rio Tinto, its mining rival, ended yesterday, bringing to a halt an extraordinary bonanza for advisers who have reaped more than £400 million in fees and other payments from the failed bid effort . - more
  • (excerpt) Why then is it that the media is so fixated on iron ore prices? The reported price for delivered iron ore fines into China has fallen by about the same percentage amount as the fall in the price of nickel and not much more than the price of crude oil, yet you don't read daily about the impending demise of the nickel industry or the oil business, like you do for the iron ore sector. - more

  Commodities May Fall Further Before Rebound, ANZ Bank Forecasts - Commodity prices may fall a further 10 percent to 15 percent before nearing the end of their decline next year as a faltering world economy stifles demand for raw materials, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group forecast.- more

  • Analysts: Massive base metals cutbacks could only be months away -  With the economic crisis deepening its footprint into the iron and steel industry with continuous cutback announcements in recent days, if metals prices keep falling it is only a matter of months before nonferrous base metal producers begin a generalized trend of production curtailments, two London analysts agreed. - more
  • CRU - Nickel - The dismal state of demand, coupled with the supply surplus now overhanging the industry, points to a prolonged spell of price weakness stretching well into the new year. // Ferrochrome - Sharp contractions in demand have resulted in minimal buying activity. In an attempt to balance the market, the supply response has been to slash output.// MOlybdenum - The failure of the recovery in stainless steel, coupled with sudden slowdown in carbon steel, has stifled moly demand and prompted dealer liquidation 

  Mwana Africa shuts its Zimbabwe nickel mines - African mining firm Mwana Africa Plc said on Wednesday it had shut down its nickel mines in Zimbabwe due to low prices and operating problems. - more

  Forecast Of Prices For Chinese Ferro- Alloys Is Still Opaque In Spite Of Strengthened Cutback = The Stocks At Chinese Steel Mills Decreased Considerably But Crude Steel Production Has Been Depressed - more

  • China Baosteel cuts Jan steel prices -sources - China's Baoshan Iron and Steel Co Ltd (Baosteel) will cut its sales price for major hot-rolled steel products for January 2009 by 500 yuan ($73.22) per tonne compared with the December prices, trade sources said on Wednesday. - more
  • China Steel to cut output to cope with demand slump - China Steel Corp, the nation’s largest and only integrated steelmaker, said yesterday it would cut output next year. - more

  Indonesia's Inco may cut '09 nickel output 20 pct - PT International Nickel Indonesia Tbk, one of the world's top nickel producers, said on Wednesday it might slash its output by a fifth next year if prices remained weak.- more

  • Indonesia's Antam sees lower '09 ferro-nickel output - Indonesia's PT Aneka Tambang Tbk ANTM.AX expects its 2009 ferro-nickel output to fall to 11,500-12,000 tonnes, against a target of 17,000 in 2008, President Director Alwin Syah Loebis said on Wednesday. - more

  Kloppers' authority to suffer in wake of failure - t will be a while before Marius Kloppers recovers from the failure of his Rio Tinto bid. It has dominated his tenure as chief executive of BHP Billiton, having been launched just five weeks after he took the job last year. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 26 - more
  • 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, November 25

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 20 to 804. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (AP) S&P: U.S. home prices see sharpest drop on record // Britain cuts national sales tax (MarketWatch) Fed unveils $200 billion plan to bolster consumer lending // U.S. consumer confidence rises on lower gas prices (Bloomberg) Fed Commits Up to $800 Billion in New Programs to Unfreeze Credit Market // U.S. Home-Price Decline Accelerates, GDP Shrinks as Crisis's Grip Tightens // Asian Stocks Jump as Commodity Prices Rally on Citigroup Rescue; BHP Soars // Yen Gains on Speculation Deepening Global Recession to Unwind Carry Trade // Volkswagen, Porsche Halt Production as Slump Hits Europe's Auto Heartland // European Stocks Rise for Second Day // Libor's Decline Stalls as Concern About Bailout Spurs Banks to Hoard Cash (Reuters) GDP contraction deeper than first thought
  • The Euro and dollar have flip flopped from this morning, with the Dollar now trading lower by about 1/2 of 1%. Crude oil has not, now trading nearly 6% lower. Metals, both precious and base, ended mostly lower, but not by much, thanks to a strong European equity market and the dollar turnaround. Indicator charts show nickel spent a day of sharp up and down trading, all in the red zone. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $4.71/lb . Lot more news already out this week about supply disruptions, which at the moment, doesn't mean much to the overall fundamentals, but will become significant, when demand picks up. And while the small miners are the most noticeable affected when it comes to the pain of low prices, the big boys, that are not limited to just nickel mining, are starting to let the cat out of the bag just how bad they are feeling the pinch. BHP, after announcing its offer for Rio Tinto was off, let it be known that its Ravensthorpe mega nickel mine was running in the red. Ok, not in those exact words, but that is what we saw being implied 'between the lines'. Sherritt, partners in the construction of the mega nickel mine in Madagascar, announced it was taking steps to reduce its costs, although it wasn't specific on how. Falcondo said yesterday it has no immediate plans to re-open. Norilsk shut down two small nickel mines in Australia. And that is just the news from teh alst two days. This is part of the cycle that has gone on for years. Price is low, mines are not build, demand picks up, price soar as miners struggle to catch up with demand, new mines are built as everyone wants to get a piece of the action, demand drops, price collapses, some mines close, no more mines are built, and we are back to the beginning of the cycle. China threw a major curve into the cycle this year, accelerating the demand needs. This helped nickel hit record high's last year. It also helped some come to believe that the bull market would last for years. Inevitably, history proved that regardless of new economic theories, such as world decoupling, or depleted world sources, the established cycle of good and bad times can not be broken. And thus, we are back to where we have been before, and most likely will see a few more times before each of us start pushing up daisies. Demand will pick up. History tells us it will. It just doesn't tell us when.     

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Charles Cooper at Evolution Securities - "The withdrawal of the bid (BHP for Rio) paints a very gloomy picture that the global economy is worse than it seems ...The outlook for commodities is set to remain weak, inventories will build and prices will fall."

  The sun sets on BHP's bid - An audacious attempt by BHP Billiton to get control of Rio Tinto has fallen apart - more

  • Steelmakers worldwide cheer BHP/Rio bid collapse - Steel makers across the globe welcomed the collapse of BHP Billiton's$66 billion bid for rival Rio Tinto that had threatened to create an iron ore powerhouse with tight control over pricing - more

  Sherritt reducing costs at Madagascar nickel project - Sherritt International Corp. and its partners are "initiating steps" to significantly reduce the cost of the $3.2-billion Ambatovy nickel project in Madagascar. - more

  Norilsk Nickel must complete buyback - MMC Norilsk Nickel must complete its share buyback, Vladimir Potanin, the mining and smelting giant's board chairman, said at joint press conference with Oleg Deripaska, the core owner of United Company RUSAL. - more

  • No Norilsk-RUSAL merger for 3 years - Norilsk Nickel and one-quarter shareholder United Company RUSAL will not discuss a merger within the next three years, UC RUSAL majority owner Oleg Deripaska told a news briefing on Tuesday. - more
  • Norilsk Nickel's 2 tycoon shareholders call off corporate fight - The CEO of Norilsk Nickel said Tuesday that he and a rival tycoon who owns 25 percent of the company have ended their feud over how to run the world's largest nickel and palladium company. - more
  • (note to Reuters - you're far better than this nonsense) The Russian billionaire who saw the crisis coming - "In a few short months, Russia's business elite have seen their billion-dollar fortunes crumble." - more (long time readers of this site know the real reason why this former Norilsk Nickel owner has so much cash these days)

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

  • Indicators at 7:40 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.18/lb lower and so far, in a choppy downward trend.  Metals are trading mostly lower this morning, with nickel taking the biggest hit so far. The news that BHP had abandoned its hostile takeover bid of Rio Tinto, has sent a shock wave of doubt thru the market. Crude oil is trading down 4-1/2%, and the US Dollar is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher against th Euro, after taking quite a hit yesterday. Asian/Pacific markets ended mostly higher, with China and India markets bucking the trend. European markets are mostly higher this morning, and US futures show a potentially positive opening. Equity market movements appear to be what base metals traders are using as a guide these days.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Financial Times - more

  Nickel Falls in London; 9-Year High Stockpiles Show Weak Demand - Nickel fell in London as stockpiles at the highest in nine years show demand is weakening. - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal prices surged yesterday, with copper soaring to a 10-day high on account of a robust rally on Wall Street. In fact, US stocks posted their best two-day gain since 1987, while on the other side of the pond, the FTSE finished with its largest one-day gain in some 20 years. As we wrote in yesterday's note, the move higher in equities was spurred t by weekend news of government assistance provided to Citigroup in the form of both a capital infusion and guarantees extended towards its illiquid assets. It is quite a bizarre situation we find ourselves in that the stock market rallies on news that the government is guaranteeing a good chunk of the balance sheet of one of the country's largest banks. Having said that, after days of horrendous declines, beleaguered bulls will take whatever rally comes their way, difficult as it is to rationalize ... It remains to be seen how the recent rallies in metals will fare today. As of this writing, a good portion of yesterday’s gains are being rolled back in copper after a decent finish in Shanghai, triggered mainly by the unexpected news that BHP Billiton will abandon its mega-bid for Rio Tinto ... We are currently at $10,300, down $375, and quiet. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Radio New Zealand) New Caledonia’s nickel production is being cut in the face of the economic slump.
  • (SG) According to latest figures from National Bureau of Statistics of China, China's crude steel production for October 2008 dropped by 17% YoY to 35.9 million tonnes. Crude steel output for the first 10 months of 2008, however, totaled 427.29 million tonnes, up by 3.9% YoY.
  • (Barclays Capital) China - Reduced imports of low-nickel concentrate reflect sharply lower nickel prices, and high costs of coke and power that have eaten into domestic nickel pig iron production, the note said. Net refined nickel imports were down 23% on year
  • (Reuters) The world's largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal told its steelworkers union that it could eliminate 16 percent of its U.S. work force, beginning in January, due to lower demand for automobiles, appliances and machinery, the Wall Street Journal said. It would be the largest single layoff of steelworkers in the U.S. in the current downturn, the paper said.
  • (Arab Business) Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) has seen steel orders from within Saudi Arabia drop up to 15 percent due to a slowdown in the construction sector, a senior manager told Arabian Business on Sunday.
  • (Xinhua) China's iron ore prices are currently higher than the imported ore prices, causing great pressure on domestic iron ore producers.
  • (China Daily) China's annual economic growth is expected to slow to 7.5 percent next year, the lowest rate since 1990, but the country has "adequate tools" to keep the economy going at a healthy level, according to the latest World Bank quarterly report on China.
  • Analyst: Steel prices to continue falling - more
  • (BHP) "The impairment of the Ravensthorpe and Yabulu operations is mainly due to the significant deterioration in the nickel market, which has seen a dramatic fall in demand, coupled with changes in the rate of production ramp up for Ravensthorpe and the projected sustaining capital expenditure."
  • Major commodity fund sees start of China recovery - more
  • (SBB) Chinese steel scrap prices have increased in line with a production recovery at some mills, Steel Business Briefing learns from market sources.... However, scrap supply is still tight. A steel mill official believes that scrap suppliers are hoping prices will continue to rise and are not actively trying to sell. “In fact it is hard to say when the steel market will recover; we feel that current scrap prices have increased too much and too quickly,” he says.

  BHP dumps Rio mining mega-bid as downturn bites - BHP says risks outweigh rewards as prices, demand slide - more

  • Collapse of BHP Rio deal hits miners, dents FTSE - more
  • BHP drops $103bn bid for Rio - In a move which will stun the sharemarket, BHP Billiton has tonight effectively abandoned its $US66 billion ($103 billion) offer for Rio Tinto. - more
  • BHP takes $2.1bln nickel charge, sets ore plan - Top global miner BHP Billiton will take an approximately $2.1 billion pre-tax impairment charge on two Australian nickel mines and approved a nearly $5 billion iron ore expansion, it said on Tuesday just moments after dropping its bid for Rio Tinto. - more

  Harsco Enters New Relationship With China's Largest Stainless Steel Producer - Worldwide industrial services company Harsco Corporation announced today it has signed a Letter of Intent with China's largest stainless steel producer to develop a new working relationship for the treatment and utilization of stainless and carbon steel slag in China. - more

  No Asian Deals Of Japanese Stainless Exports For Dec Shipments - Japan's stainless steel manufacturers stay noncommittal to CR sheet export deals with wholesalers and stainless steel rerollers in Asian destinations for December shipments. On the part of those customers, they favor taking a wait-and-see position so far. As a result, there are no moves from the sellers and buyers for conducting new deals between them. - more

  Ferrochrome group halts production - International Ferro Metals added to the gloom in the steel-making sector on Tuesday, saying it would cease production for ferrochrome, used in making stainless steel, until demand recovers. - more

  • IFM temporarily suspends ferrochrome output, halts sales to China - International Ferro Metals has temporarily suspended production at its two ferrochrome furnaces in South Africa response to falling demand, the company said Tuesday. Ferrochrome sales will continue to be supplied from the company's inventory, which at October 31 stood at 38,076 mt, it added, though ferrochrome sales to China will immediately be suspended. - more

  (submitted by reader - from report by Imarex dated yesterday. Only source we have seen with this type of info)  It’s hard getting excited about anything dry these days, but at moment I’m all CAPS and exclamation points!!! Last week, China fixed an impressive nine Supramaxes and four Panamaxes to haul iron ore from India. For those of you who don’t obsessively track Indian iron ore fixtures [I envy you] that is a lot. Today, four more vessels were fixed to take Indian ore to China – with one Supramax going for $10,000/day (average of the Supramax time charter routes is $6,692/day). This is good news – but we of course need much more of it. It’s not surprising to see China take ore from India after the Indian government cut export taxes – what is surprising is the sheer quantity. Rough estimates point to China fixing 750,000 tons of Indian iron ore last week and another 240,000 tons today. So what’s it all mean? China could be showing they have more iron ore and steel demand than most currently believe. Or, they could just be building up stocks to ensure 2009 contract prices are secured at a hefty discount (port stockpiles fell 1.3 million tons last week to 68.8mt). Whatever is the case, Supramaxes rates are coming up and fewer vessels of that class will soon be available.

  Rio Tinto Consider Funding For Sulawesi Project - Rio tinto Indonesia a subsidiary of the Anglo-Australian mining giant is considering funding plan on its nickel mining contract in Sulawesi in the wake of the global financial crisis. - more

 Cuts may not be announced until 2009 - Rio Tinto says - Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto Monday said it may hold off until early 2009 the release of details of any capital spending cuts that had been prompted by the global economic slowdown. - more

  • Falling prices haunt iron miners - The world's biggest iron ore miners are hoping that recent big capacity cuts are enough to help them in annual price negotiations with steel mills, but they may need to get out the knives again. - more

  ThyssenKrupp stainless unit extends Xmas shutdown - ThyssenKrupp, one of the world's leading producers of stainless steel, will extend the Christmas holiday break at its largest stainless cold-rolled unit, Germany's Nirosta, a spokesman said on Tuesday. - more

  The MEPS November Global Steel Price Falls 15% - Demand in the US has fallen to such an extent that the mills are currently only producing at 65 percent capacity, compared to 91 percent in August this year. Service centres report that business has come to a virtual halt, leaving them with substantial volumes of high cost stock, that they are selling off as quickly as possible at very low prices - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending November 22, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 1,348,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 56.5 percent. Production was 2,110,000 tons in the week ending November 22, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 88.5 percent. The current week production represents a 36.2 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending November 22, 2008 is down 3.8 percent from the previous week ending November 15, 2008 when production was 1,400,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 58.7 percent.

  Defective fasteners installed on Boeing 737's - The Federal Aviation Administration is taking a close look at a problem affecting of hundreds of Boeing-made jets. - more

  • Chinese fastener exporters warn against imminent EU anti-dumping duties - Chinese exporters warned Monday that a possible decision made by the European Union (EU) to imposeanti-dumping duties on Chinese-made fasteners will hurt both sides and may fuel tensions between the two trading powers. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 25 - more
  • 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, November 24

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 12 to 824. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Citigroup Gets $306 Billion U.S. Rescue From Toxic Assets, Cash Infusion // U.S. October Home Resales Fall; Price Drop Is Record // Asian Stocks Decline; Financial Shares Drop on Profit Concern // Indonesia Will Cut Bond Sales, Rely on World Bank // Europe Stocks Rise on Citigroup Rescue; Deutsche Bank, BHP Gain // German Business Confidence Slumps to 16-Year Low (Reuters) Britain's FTSE posts record rise
  • While most everything else was on the rise today, the US dollar took a dive, trading nearly 2% lower against the Euro. Crude oil is trading 9% higher. Metals all ended in the green, some quite handily, helped by rising equity markets, and the dollar. Indicator charts show nickel started in the cellar but took a big bounce at the opening, and after softening in mid afternoon trading, reclaimed much of its earlier gains late.  Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $4.83/lb . So, anything to this? Very doubtful. Robin Bahr of Calyon probably said it best, when describing today's activity to Dow Jones "It was a relief rally. It was helped by the equity market surge and feel good market reaction. But we have had this before and it didn't last."  To give some credence to Robin's statement, we remind our readers that nickel ended at the exact same price this Monday, as it did last. Nickel has been trading this entire month in the high $4/lb to low $5/lb range. Norilsk announced today it has shut down two more nickel operations in Australia, taking another 10,000 tonnes of annual supply off the market. Stores of LME warehouses nickel rose over the 62,000 tonne level with another gain reported this morning. And a Dominica Republic newspaper quotes Falcondo officials as stating no decision has been made about when that operation might re-start.  

  Reports

  • Canada Commodity Price Update - pdf here
  • Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • BMO - "BMO expects further supply rationalizations by industry that will limit the downside and bring the market back into balance. The nickel market is therefore expected to be relatively tight in the years to come with the sector operating at high utilization rates in order to meet the demand growth on the margin."
  • (Dow Jones) The bounce in base metals Monday is a correction in a downtrend, but more confident sentiment in the equity markets could push copper to $4,000 a metric ton before the relief rally reverses, says Robin Bhar, analyst at Calyon.
  • (Dow Jones) Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel has put its Waterloo and Silver Swan nickel mines in western Australia on care and maintenance, the company said Monday, citing rising costs and falling market prices. The two mines produced approximately 10,000 metric tons of nickel contained in product over the last 12 months. The decision won't affect Norilsk's open cut operations at Black Swan, nor the Lake Johnston operation, which continue to perform in line with expectations, it said.
  • (FT) Xstrata, the world’s biggest producer of ferrochrome, will suspend six of its furnaces in an attempt to prop up the price of the alloy used to make stainless steel.
  • (Dominica Republic paper) Xstrata/Falcondo status - "Under the context of these assessments, the Management of Falcondo has met with government officials to review various possible scenarios," the company explained, to ensure that "it has not made any decision regarding the time for the resumption of operations de Falco."

  Steelmakers, not credit, triggered the current cycle: Nusser - Steel producers are using the financial crisis as an alibi for a sharp downturn in prices which they themselves triggered with aggressive pricing earlier this year, Juergen Nusser, president of the European association of steel service centers and of the European federation of steel, tubes and metal distributors, told Platts Monday.

  CNR Adjusts Production - CNR (China Nickel Resources) said domestic demand for stainless steel has weakened since the beginning of the fourth quarter, hence the group has resolved to reduce the production of stainless steel base materials by advancing the overhaul schedule for certain production equipment, in the hope that the production operations will emerge with better efficiency when market corrections are over and that the production system will be able to respond to market changes with flexibility in future. - more

  Depressed Metal Prices Threatens BCL's Viability - Depressed global metal prices pose a serious threat to BCL mine's continued viability as the copper and nickel producer begins to feel the effects of the slump in prices. - more

  Times may be hard but Rio Tinto continues to refuse persistent suitor - Rio Tinto chairman Paul Skinner has shot down suggestions the global financial crisis could force the group to take a more conciliatory approach to BHP Billiton's hostile takeover bid. - more

  Tight squeeze in Port of Ghent  - The 37 meter wide ship with a cargo from Brazil for steel company ArcelorMittal is the biggest ship ever to sail into the port. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.18/lb higher. Commodities are having an up day on news that the US government will rescue Citigroup. Precious and base metals are all solidly trading in the green, as is crude oil, up about 2%. The US Dollar is currently lower against the Euro by about 1%. Asian markets ended mostly lower overnight, while European markets are in the green... so far. US futures show the Dow should open higher.   
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "This morning, metal prices have pared earlier losses, are up sharply on news that the U.S. government would provide Citicorp with $20 billion in cash, adding to the $25 billion the company already received last month under the TARP. ... We are currently at $10,450, up $450, but still seem to be within a trading range (marked by our red lines) after prices bounced off key $8850 support in late October. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Robin Bhar, Calyon base metals analyst - “The rally in equities on the back of the Citigroup news has helped lift a very volatile and thinly traded commodities market. There’s a sense that for the moment the markets have averted catastrophe.... The rise is clearly unsustainable and we’re going to head low again. The demand slump for commodities can only continue as the global recession deepens.”
  • (Bloomberg) The world's largest ferronickel plant operator's SLN nickel mining unit is making losses and consuming cash ``in the short term'' amid falling demand, La Tribune reported, citing Eramet Chief Executive Officer Patrick Buffet. Eramet fell 52 cents, or 0.5 percent, to 100.54 euros.
  • (Yieh) China’s Baosteel Stainless has stopped its stainless steel-making. It is not clear when this cessation may be reversed.
  • Xinjiang Xinxin Mining Industry Co., Ltd. says today that it will buy three nickel-copper mines in Hami City, Xinjiang Autonomous Region, West China, for CNY 542 million in total, under recent agreements. - more
  • DJ Eramet Reviews Investments,Likely To Delay Some Projects -CEO - more
  • Weekly Forecast by SMM Specialist - more

  China October nickel, lead, zinc, tin trade - China's exports and imports of refined lead, zinc, tin and nickel as well as concentrates in October and the first 10 months of 2008, as reported in official customs figures. - more

  • China Oct crude steel output falls 17% on year to 35.9 million mt - China's crude steel production for October dropped 17% year on year to 35.9 million mt, according to latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics of China. - more

  Brazil's Biggest Company Vale Gloomy about Global Economy in 2009 - Vale, the world's largest iron ore exporter and Brazil's biggest private enterprise, expects the acute phase of the global crisis to last at least until March 2009, with demand on global markets frozen amid uncertainty. - more

  World iron ore price drop looms despite output cuts - The world's biggest iron ore miners are hoping recent massive capacity cuts are enough to provide a leg up in annual price negotiations with steel mills, but they may need to get out the knives again. - more

  Steel Prices Tumble on Mine, Factory Slowdown - ArcelorMittal SA will slash steel prices for a third month running next month as demand plunges because of the global economic downturn. - more

  Severstal shuts down Murmansk plant - Russian steel major Severstal has closed down its Olcon plant in Olenegorsk due to low demands.- more

  • Deripaska Urges Russia to Buy Metals Stockpiles, Revive Demand - Oleg Deripaska, the billionaire owner of the world’s biggest aluminum producer United Co. Rusal, said Russia’s government should buy metals as the world recession saps demand, absorbing stockpiles that may cripple economic growth. - more

  Courtesy AISI - The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that for the month of September 2008, U.S. steel mills shipped 7,920,000 net tons, a 6.8 percent decrease from the 8,492,000 net tons shipped in September 2007 and a 10.7 percent decrease from the 8,860,000 net tons shipped in the previous month, August 2008. A year-to-year comparison of year-to-date shipments shows the following changes within major market classifications: service centers and distributors, up 5.6 percent; automotive, down 4.4 percent; construction and contractors’ products, down 2.9 percent; and oil and gas, up 4.9 percent.

  • After record profits, steel shaken by sudden drop - Just weeks after posting record profits, steel makers are facing a harsh new reality: dwindling orders, production cuts, layoffs. And tougher times lay ahead, analysts say. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 24 - more
  • 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

Weekend Update, November 22 & 23

  Commodity/Economic Comments
  • Bloomberg - Prices of nickel and zinc are probably too low to cover costs for half of the world's production of the metals, Eugen Weinberg, an analyst at Frankfurt-based Commerzbank AG, told reporters today. Production cuts will help stabilize prices of industrial metals for the next three to six months and ``as soon as China's demand picks up, prices will pick up,'' he said
  • Shock and ore as credit crunch bites - more
  • The Global Shipping Halt: Is The Great Unwind Disrupting The Freight Market? - more
  • More than 80,000 jobs lost worldwide in just one week - more
  • Wanted: catalysts for buying - more
  • The global financial system remains fractured and more US blue-chip companies are struggling despite a solid bounce on Wall Street that is expected to provide short-term momentum for regional equities and credit markets. - more
  • (SG) Mr Tony Lockley chairman of Lockley Stainless, speaking at the 7th International Stainless and Special Steels Summit, said that increased co operation between European stainless steelmakers and independent stockists and distributors would help both parties survive the current market difficulties.

  Reports

  • The Chart Store Weekly Scoreboard - pdf here

  Analysts - Commodities Up, But Probably Not For Long - Raw materials and mining stocks get a one-day reprieve in Europe, but it's unlikely to last. - more

  • Lloyds remains upbeat about global steel market - A chief economist at UK-based bank Lloyds TSB has predicted that the steel industry will remain buoyant because of an increase in public projects planned for next year. - more

  Nickel - Holguin Nickel Company Surpasses Production  - Workers at the "Comandante Pinares" Nickel Industry Construction and Repair Company of Moa, Holguin, have accomplished their 2008 production plan a month ahead of estimates. - more

  • Chinese company’s development of PNG nickel mine chaotic says affected landowner - A landowner in Ramu in Papua New Guinea’s Madang province has described the development by the Chinese operators of the massive nickel mine project as chaotic. - more

  Iron Ore - 2009 may be pivotal year for iron ore price index  - With plummeting world demand for steel, more mills may opt to link future iron ore supply contracts to over-the-counter market prices rather than traditional term contracts, Deutsche Bank's director of metals trading said in an interview. - more

  • BHP Billiton reduces Brazil iron ore pellet output - BHP Billiton Ltd.'s Brazilian operations will reduce iron ore pellet production due to weak demand, the Australian resources company said. - more
  • BHP's JV cuts iron ore output - BHP Billiton has moved a step closer to production cuts in its own right after its Brazilian joint-venture iron-ore pellet operation flagged a 65 per cent cut in output for at least the next eight weeks, "in response to current weak market demand". - more
  • Metalloinvest slashes iron ore output, retain steel output levels - Metalloinvest, Russia's largest iron ore miner, has slashed output of the steel making raw material as clients have fallen over USD360 million into payment arrears, its chief executive said on Thursday. - more

  Steel - Moody's cuts its outlook for steel industry to "Negative" from "Stable" as economy weakens - Moody's Investors Service on Friday cut its outlook for steel to "Negative" from "Stable" because of weakened economic conditions, declining demand, falling prices and the industry's high costs - more

  • Arcelor Mittal warns of layoffs at US plant -Arcelor Mittal, the world's largest steelmaker, has warned that as many as 2,444 employees at a steel plant in northwestern Indiana could be laid off indefinitely in January. - more
  • China's move on export tax may negate steel duty cut - The 5% import duty levied by the government on steel products may not help domestic steel-makers by bringing down imports.  - more
  • Russia:Steel production down by 50 pct since September at Severstal - CFO - more
  • China:Baosteel cuts sales price for cold-rolled steel products for December by USD142 per ton - more
  • Voestalpine to cut steel production by 3-5 pct in an effort to cut costs amidst global crisis - more

  Scrap metal - Sims forecasts profit to rise - Sims Group Ltd, the world's largest scrap metal recycler, expects first half net profit to increase by as much as 37 per cent as metals prices rise from their recent lows on renewed customer demand. - more

  • (Blurb) Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries recently said that Chinese scrap metal buyers have reneged on about USD 1 billion in contracts from US merchants as the market for the steelmaking raw material collapsed.

  Ongoing Soap Opera - Warring oligarchs bring their battle for nickel mines to shareholders in London - Russian oligarchs Oleg Deripaska and Vladimir Potanin will continue their battle for control of Norilsk, the world's biggest nickel producer, with investor roadshows in London and New York. - more

  • Russia's aluminium major RUSAL will pay on time a deferred $700 million tranche to billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov for the purchase of his stake in mining giant Norilsk Nickel, RUSAL co-owner Oleg Deripaska said on Saturday. - more

  Sponsors - This site remains free to readers thanks to our sponsors. If you would like your stainless steel related company to gain additional exposure to potential customers during this economic downturn, please consider becoming a site sponsor. For further information, please contact us

Friday, November 21

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 11 to 836. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Goldman Slashes U.S. Growth Forecasts, Says Recession Deepens // Fed's Lacker Says Economy May Regain Momentum in 2009 // New Zealand Faces Prolonged Recession as Exports, Tourism Slow // Europe's Services, Manufacturing Recession Worsens // European Stocks Tumble on Economy; Stoxx 600 Slides 50% in 2008 (Reuters) Bush signs law extending unemployment insurance (MarketWatch) Friday cliffhanger on Wall Street
  • The volatility index hit a record high late yesterday, and is showing little signs of calming anytime soon (here). And the volatility extends beyond this index. The US dollar is still trading lower against the Euro, by about 8/10 of 1%, while crude oil is trading 1-1/2% higher. Both have flip-flopped at least once since our morning update. Metals looked like they might be in for a big day earlier, but ended mixed. Precious metals traded higher, while base were up and down, with tin the only major mover. Indicator charts show nickel traded higher throughout the day, but gave up much of its gains late. For the day and week, three month nickel closed at $4.54/lb , or $10,000 per tonne. Last Friday, nickel ended the week at $11,000/tonne. European markets ended mostly lower, which added late day pressure to London metals trading. US equity markets opened strong, the Dow gaining about 150 points, then falling into the red by about 100 point, marching back to a 150 gain, and is currently trading in the green by about 30 points. We did mention volatility, didn't we?  Global decoupling was a popular buzzword being tossed around last year, but this year the reality has returned. As one of our Asia Pacific readers put it yesterday, "America has sneezed and the world has caught the cold".
  • Have a safe and restful weekend!!      

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Dow Jones) LME nickel inventories will likely rise to 70,000-80,000 tons by the end of 2008, possibly driving nickel prices to October's low of $8,850/ton, says a London-based nickel trader. LME nickel stocks Friday rose 390 tons to 61,794 tons, up 39% since August and highest since 1999. Says deliveries have been "a combination of producer selling and consumer sellbacks." Adds, stainless steel makers will have no appetite to buy raw materials until 1Q 2009, when steel production should pick up "because (it) can't get any worse." That may trigger a rally towards $12,000-$13,000/ton
  • (Dow Jones) Spot iron ore prices are trading below annual contract prices in thin trading. Spot iron ore prices have tumbled to around $68-$72 a metric ton, according a Fairfax report citing Metals Bulletin, from a peak of more than $180 a ton over the summer.

  Chile Molymet sees molybdenum around $10/lb in 2009 - Chile's Molymet, one of the world's top processors of molybdenum concentrates, on Friday forecast the price of the metal used to harden steel would remain around $10 per lb in 2009, and that demand would fall 20 percent next year. - more

  Project delays, mine shutdowns and cutbacks - list to date

  Steel production cuts start to hit coking market - The coking coal market is starting to experience the same signs of deterioration that hit the iron ore market last month, raising fears producers will be forced to cut production and prices. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.16/lb higher as the Euro trades nearly 1-1/2% higher against the Dollar, and crude oil trades over 3% higher, after closing below the $50/barrel point last evening. If metals, which are all trading higher, are looking to the equity markets for a cue this morning, they are fishing. European markets are mixed, after most Austral-Asian markets ended quietly higher. US futures imply the US market will open higher, more on a technical bounce than any fundamentals change over night. Lot of psychological barriers that collapsed over the last few days. The Dow closes below 8,000 on Wednesday, and nickel falls below 10,000 yesterday. There are numerous others, but you get the picture. Today we are seeing a correction to the plummet of the last few days, and if it sticks, it could be a good day for traders. It appears the bottom caller's have given up for now, so we can only wonder how far this cat can bounce?   
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Commodity Index Drops 50% From July Record as World Demand Sags - Tumbling prices for crude oil, aluminum and soybeans sent the Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of 19 raw materials down more than 50 percent from a record in July as the global recession sapped demand.  - more

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Metals Fundamental Report - pdf here
  • Morning Montra - pdf here
  • Morning Bell - pdf here
  • India's October non-ferrous metal output - more
  • October Largo Letter - pdf here
  • SteelWorld Ferro Alloys and Stainless Steel Producers on Crossroads - pdf here
  • SteelWorld Downturns in Stainless Steel Market and Steel projects - pdf here
  • SteelWorld Focus on Indian Stainless Steel Industry - pdf here
  • Merafe Resources presentation (with ferrochrome facts) - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Aluminum and copper both sank to three-year lows yesterday amidst a general retreat engulfing most markets. The predicament Detroit's automakers find themselves in hit the commodity and US stock markets hard for a second day running, with the Dow Jones Industrial average losing another 440 points yesterday -- or a staggering $1.2 trillion in value in the last two days alone. ... We are currently at $10,300, up $350. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (WSJ 11/19) Some (steelmakers) want suppliers to cancel or postpone deliveries. Others are simply refusing deliveries and buying their coal, iron ore and scrap steel on the spot market, where prices have fallen below long-term contract prices. ... Iron ore, for example, currently sells for about $US70 a tonne on the spot market. The contract price is about $US90 a tonne. That looked like a good deal when the contract was negotiated earlier this year and strong demand put the spot price at about $US180 a tonne.
  • Global crude steel production in October fell by 12.4% on the year to 100.5 million tons, this according to the World Steel Association, down 6.9% on the month. For the first 10 months of 2008, production was up 2.9% at 1.14 billion tons. China's crude steel production for October 2008 was 35.9 million tons, down 17% from the same month last year, and off by 9.4% on the month. Output for the first 10 months of the year was up 3.9% at 427.3 million tons.
  • Eramet to slash nickel production in New Caledonia - more in French  more in English
  • (SS World) Japan's stainless steelmakers cut production in September 2008. The stainless steel output in September was around 274,429 tonnes, of which 131,152 tonnes was 400 series, 143,277 tonnes was 300 series, and 10,187 tonnes was special steel.
  • (TR) In Thailand, Sahaviriya Steel Industries PCL (SSI) is said to be operating at 10% of a normal level. SSI finds it impossible to sell HR coils at home even after the company has lowered the asking price by the equivalent of US$200/ton to a level of US$800/ton.

  Baosteel cuts prices - Baoshan Iron and Steel Co, China's biggest steel maker, slashed cold-rolled product prices for next month by 22 percent, the biggest cut this year, as the economic slowdown damped demand from car makers and builders. - more

  China's steel market still dragged by heavy stock despite huge stimulus package - Despite the huge economic stimulus package announced by the central government, it will take times for China's steel market to see a substantial recovery since it is still dragged by the current heavy stock and weak demand in winter. - more

  New Caledonia’s SLN nickel company opens a new mineral ore treatment plant - New Caledonia’s SLN nickel company has opened a new mineral ore treatment plant in the territory’s north aimed at boosting production at its main smelter. - more

  It’s official: Nunavik nickel mine “in hibernation” - Canadian Royalties placed its troubled Nunavik Nickel Mine project in "hibernation" this week, one day after a devastating business report surfaced, chairman Glenn Mullan has confirmed. - more

  Govt undecided on nickel export move - The Western Australian Government says it has not decided whether to endorse the Esperance Port's move to end the bulk export of nickel. - more

  Norilsk Nickel looks for Government to step in - The new boss of the world's biggest nickel miner wants the Government to buy into Norilsk Nickel then sell out when the credit crunch ends. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 21 - more
  • 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, November 20

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 12 to 847. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (MarketWatch) Philly factory conditions deteriorate further in November // Leading economic indicators fall 0.8% in October // Treasury's jump as jobless claims tip deeper problems (Bloomberg) Jobless Claims Approach Highest Level Since 1982 as U.S. Recession Deepen // Copper Futures Fall to Lowest Since July 2005 on Demand Concern  // Taiwan's Economy to Enter Recession; GDP Shrinks for First Time Since 2003 // Swiss Central Bank Unexpectedly Cuts Benchmark Rate One Percentage Point // Corporate Bond Risk Surges to Record With Credit Markets in `Crisis Mode' (Reuters) European stocks close at lowest level for 5-1/2 yrs // Nikkei falls over 5 pct, banks and auto fears weigh
  • The Euro is currently trading higher against the US dollar by a little over 1/2 of 1%, and crude oil, which traded as low as $50.19/ barrel earlier, is now trading 4-1/2% lower. Like yesterday, gold was the only metal winner, the rest ending in the red. Indicator charts show nickel never stood a chance today, opening much lower, falling around noon, and climbing back to not much higher than it had opened. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $4.51/lb .  Sucden's day old chart shows the trend of nickel trading (chart). European markets joined their Asian counterparts and ended lower (chart). US markets are currently trading slightly lower, but very volatile (VIX). We wouldn't be surprised to see them close much higher than yesterday, or much lower. We are leaning higher only because that's the way the flipped coin said it would. This same coin has the the 1 and 9 Kansas City Chiefs football team, with a forecasted record of 7 and 2 to date... so it's not necessarily our favorite coin. Bloomberg is reporting that "A group of U.S. senators have reached a bipartisan agreement on aiding U.S. automakers". For those of you who missed it yesterday, the testimony by the automakers before the Congress was, in our humble opinion, an appalling example of stupidity at its finest. Not only were the auto-makers, having all flew in on their private jets to beg for tax payer money, unwilling to give any specifics on what they would do with the taxpayer "bridge loan", but when asked, could not provide specifics on when they actually needed the money, other than they were going broke without it. Even more shocking than the CEO's testimony, was some of the verbiage coming out of the mouths of the U.S. Congressmen. Attempting to justify their view of the political hot potato, and most wanting to appear as annoyed as their constituents back home are, some of the things being said about the future of this country being in serious jeopardy and doubt, had to have played a part in the stock market falling below 8000 late yesterday. And this was only their second day back on the job!! If our politicians want to truly understand why the only things selling these days in America are guns, goats, and fruit trees, it's because some of them, like little children, would be far better off "seen and not heard".  

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (JMB) Cold-rolled Ni stainless steel sheet/ Kanto market price, down 30 thousand yen/ Sluggish cargo movement
  • (RosBusiness) Norilsk Nickel expects its profit to drop fourfold in 2009, the Russian nickel producer's General Director Vladimir Strzhalkovsky told a press conference today
  • (MF) Chrome ore market is still dull in China with over-packed inventory at ports, and quotations from some traders are suspended. Although current price shows a slow drop, there is little transaction in spot market. Many ferrochrome plants have shut down.
  • (MB) Molybdenum prices could bottom out by the end of this week after six weeks of heavy selling, market participants told MB on Wednesday
  • (MarketWatch) From the October 2007 highs of 1,565, to yesterday’s close of 806.58, the S&P 500 market capitalization lost $6.69 trillion dollars
  • According to the Japan Iron and Steel Institute statistics, Japan imported 10,600 tons of stainless steel materials in September, a 11.8% decline from August, up 33.1% for the same period last year.
  • (Reuters) Specialty steel and tool maker Sandvik said on Thursday demand for its products had fallen sharply in recent weeks, forcing it to cut production and thousands of jobs and sending its shares down about 5 percent.
  • Can Central Bankers Prevent the Great Depression? - more
  • (Steel Guru) Mr Heinz Joerg Fuhrmann CFO of German steel maker Salzgitter AG said that it expects steel markets to pick up in the third quarter of 2009. Mr Fuhrmann said that the first quarter of 2009 will be a tough period for the steel industry. He added that "The second quarter may be slightly better and in the third quarter at the latest we should see an improvement, but perhaps this will not be as steep as the one we have seen in February 2008." He also said that destocking in the steel market has begun in light falling demand. He added that "This might come to an end late in the first quarter of 2009 or in the second quarter, if it has the same velocity as currently. We are talking about further increases."

  Norilsk Nickel eyes metals plant project in Cuba - Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel is considering the possibility of becoming an operator in a metals plant construction project in Cuba, the company's CEO said on Thursday. - more

  Norilsk Nickel may cut overseas production - Russian mining company Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel and palladium producer, may temporarily close down some of its overseas units amid a global slowdown for commodities, the chief executive said Thursday. - more

  • Norilsk CEO: no 2008 dividends, lower profit - Russia's Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest producer of the metal, will not pay dividends in 2008 and expects full-year profits to fall due to the financial crisis, its chief executive said on Thursday. - more

  Chinese ferromolybdenum market stops falling - As some consumers are back to the market purchasing ferromolybdenum, and major suppliers adjust their offers up a little bit this Tuesday, Chinese ferromolybdenum appears to have bottomed out for the first time after two months' continuous price crash. - more

  • Asian metal Chinese ferromolybdenum market stable - As more consumers are back to the market to purchase ferromolybdenum this week, participants report that there are more buying activities, and the market tends to stable. - more
  • Jinchuan Group Slashes Nickel Price to CNY90,000/ton - Asia's largest nickel producer Jinchuan Group Limited sharply reduces its ex-work price of nickel from CNY 96,000 per ton to CNY 90,000 from November 18. - more

  Prices in world market for ferrochromium last month decreased - Prices in the world market of chrome have decreased. According to Metalindex.ru, for the last month average spot prices of ferrochromium in the markets of Europe, the USA and China have decreased. - more

  Local mines weather storm of falling metal prices - Local mining projects are weathering the storm of falling metals prices caused by the global financial crisis, with varying effects from none to a temporary shutdown of exploratory drilling. - more

  Fortescue in huge ore deal with China - Fortescue has announced that a mystery Chinese steel mill has agreed to boost its offtake agreement for 2009. - more

  • Chinese package no cure-all for steel - China's $900 billion stimulus package will not rescue the steel industry from its decline, with one analyst listing all steel stocks as a sell. - more

  World crude steel production declines 12.4%: Worldsteel - World crude steel production was 100.5 million mt in October. This is 12.4% lower than the same month last year and 6.9% below September 2008, according to the World Steel Association in Brussels. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.20/lb lower. Base metals are trading lower this morning, while precious are mixed. While the US Dollar/Euro trading is quiet and unchanged this morning, crude oil is trading 5.5% lower. Asian markets ended down sharply overnight (here), while European markets are having no better luck (here). US futures indicate the under 8000 close yesterday, may get worse before it gets better (here). And this just posted -  (MarketWatch) First-time filings for unemployment benefits shot up to their highest level since July 1992 last week, rising to a seasonally adjusted 542,000 to punctuate the struggling state of the U.S. labor market, government data showed Thursday.  ... The number was much higher than the 503,000 that had been expected by economists."
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metals sold off sharply yesterday, with ali prices hitting a three-year low, while copper threatened to take out key technical support at $3590. .. Unfortunately, markets are not waiting around, and things have turned ugly again. World equity markets have plunged following yesterday's 470-point drop in the Dow, with non-US indices now at five-year lows. ... We are currently at $9,949, down $301, as LME stocks continue to push higher.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) One of China’s largest stainless steel producers, Guangzhou Lianzhong Stainless Steel Corp (Lisco), has announced it will raise the prices of 200 series stainless steel by RMB600/ton, effective November 17.
  • (MNP) Nickel miner Albidon has called a trading halt while its board does the numbers on the company’s finances.
  • (Interfax) Ji'en Nickel Industry Co. Ltd., a Shanghai-listed refined nickel and nickel salt producer, recently signed an agreement to acquire a 50 percent stake in a Canadian nickel-copper-platinum deposit run by Goldbrook Ventures Inc., a company official told Interfax on Nov. 19.
  • (Interfax) The outlook for China's steel product prices is still uncertain due to various macroeconomic factors, such as government policies, domestic demand and market confidence, the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) said in a report released on Nov. 19.
  • (Dow Jones) Brazilian mining company Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (RIO) has obtained a credit line worth $1 billion from South Korea's Eximbank, company President Roger Agnelli said Wednesday, quoted by the local news agency Agencia Estado. According to Agnelli, the credit line will be used for investments in Brazil and for export of minerals to South Korea.
  • (SG) Mr Gianpaolo Villa sales director of SAMA Group, while addressing at the 7th International Stainless and Special Steels Summit, said that the extreme volatility of the nickel price and the present economic situation has favored an increase in the use of series 200 stainless steels. He said that the volatile nickel price has also seen an increase in the use of duplex grades for stainless steel wire.
  • (SG) Taiyuan Steel Co has reduced its stainless steel export price by USD 750 per tonne for January 2009 shipments to South Korea.... That is to say, export quotations for 304 HR and CR have dropped by USD 2020 per tonne and USD 2070 per tonne respectively, a fall on consecutive seven months.
  • Norilsk Nickel asks government to buy out 25% stake from Rusal
  • Jinchuan Group Slashes Nickel Price to CNY90,000/ton
  • (Platt's) Japan's JFE Steel has tripled its cut in crude steel output to 1.5 million mt over September 2008-March 2009, just a month after announcing a cut of 0.5 million mt for the period due to the automotive slowdown, a company spokesman said Thursday.  
  • Commodity volatility now favoured by hedge funds - more
  • Do hedge funds and mutual funds invest in commodities in high inflation environments? - more
  • Steel Industry Urges U.S. Government to Stand Up to China - pdf here

  Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel miner, may cut production at non-Russian assets in response to slower demand during the financial crisis, its chief executive said in an interview published on Thursday. - more

  • Russian steel industry seeks financial help from government banks - The impact of worsening of steel markets on the Russian steel industry's balance sheets has forced several producers to seek financial backing from state-owned banks in recent days. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 14th November 2008 = Infirmity To Support Prices As Seen From Steep Fall Of Molybdenum Prices - more

  India imposes 5% tax on steel imports to protect local producers - The Indian government has imposed a 5% import duty on iron and steel  products, a government statement said Wednesday. - more

  US, Canada steel inventory de-stocking continues in October: MSCI - At the end of October, US service center steel inventories totaled about 10 million tons, or 4.3% below year-earlier totals, the Metals Service Center Institute reported Wednesday. This is equivalent to a 2.8-month supply at current shipping rates, said the trade group. - more

  • Steel, Aluminum Shipments Decline Sharply in U.S., Canada - Steel shipments from metals service centers in the United States and Canada fell sharply during October from year-earlier levels, the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute shows. - more

  Weak demand, excess stocks to keep Chinese steel prices low: MOC - China's Ministry of Commerce expects domestic steel prices to remain low in the near future amid the soft market demand and excessive reserves of steel plants, the China Mining Association reported Wednesday in its website. - more

  Less iron. - Some Russian metallurgists believe that the crisis will finish in few months. Victor Rashnikov, the Chairman of MMK, expects rally in the 2nd quarter of 2009 and recovery in summer. - more

  • Barclays feels commodity slump will stay for a while - Commodities - long considered to be an efficient asset diversifier - have not been spared in the recent global financial market mayhem.- more
  • Outlook bleak for commodity prices - The outlook remains bleak for commodity prices with more falls expected next year for coal, iron ore and base metal prices.- more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 20 - more
  • 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, November 19

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 6 to 859. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Reuters) US prices drop at record pace, China wary of unrest // US October housing starts, permits at record low // US October consumer prices, home starts plummet // European stocks close at lowest level for 5-1/2 yrs (Financial Times) UN warns economic crisis could cause Asia unrest (Bloomberg) Stocks in U.S. Decline on Price, Housing Data; S&P Sinks to Five-Year Low // U.S. Consumer Prices, Housing Starts Fall, Signal Worst Slowdown Since '83 // Merrill Lynch Strategists Expect `Sharp' Deceleration in Brazil's Economy // Asian Stocks Drop for Third Day; Banks, Commodity Producers Lead Declines // Russia Suffers Plummeting Reserves in Defense of Ruble as Growth Declines
  • Except for gold, the rest of the metals complex closed lower. While selling much lower at one point earlier in the day, the US dollar is currently trading higher against the Euro, by about 1/3 of 1%. Crude oil is trading 1-1/2% higher. European markets closed lower (chart) and this helped drag metals lower. Gains in LME nickel inventories overnight, took the total of on hand stock to over 61,000 tonnes. Indicator charts show nickel never really had a chance today, after falling into the red early, stabilizing thru much of the afternoon, then buckling in late trading. Dow jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $4.64/lb . For the most part, metals news was quiet today. A topic of interest to us, and quite possibly becoming much bigger news down the pike, is the stories of civil unrest coming out of China. While the incidents are very limited in scope so far, this is a potential problem we spoke about a few years back. While the economy was going good, the communist government in China looked like heroes to the majority of their 1.3 billion population, as new wealth of untold magnitude was suddenly made available to once poverty stricken people. Now with the world economy suddenly turning south, the government must be nervous about the potential political dissatisfaction that is doubtless to follow. Those who have, want to keep what they have, and those who do not, want the opportunity to have what the others already have. There will be little tolerance for a sudden inability on the government's part to keep these options available, whether it is their fault or not. Unlike their American counterparts, the majority of the Chinese people stick much of their wealth into savings, which will go a long way to assist them thru these difficult times. And while government's worldwide may have to contend with an unsatisfied and potentially, angry public, those who do not offer elections to help vent some of the anger, could find themselves in a dangerous pressure cooker. Hopefully we are well past the type of response to dissension we witnessed in the Tiananmen Square in 1989, but the Chinese government is very sensitive to their foreign policy of "we don't butt into your internal affairs, don't butt into ours". Potentially difficult and dangerous days ahead - for the world.  

  Reports

  • Hoodless Brennan Free AIM Mining Companies Review - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Roca Mines Production Review - It remains management's belief that molybdenum prices should remain significantly greater than historic values for the foreseeable future due to production problems globally, ii) the reduction of by-product production related to copper mines and iii) the inability of new mines to achieve financing. In real terms, recent events have seriously eroded the global supply of molybdenum and management believes that a realization of supply and demand fundamentals in the medium-term will result in positive changes to pricing. ... Molybdenum oxide currently trades in the US$10/lb. range.
  • Stocks Of Steel: 3 Infrastructure Plays - Mark Parr of KeyBanc Capital Markets says one thing that investors can count on in this fragile economy is the infrastructure build-out, both domestically and globally.- more
  • Vale Poses 59% Potential Gain Despite Reduced Target - more
  • 30 reasons for Great Depression 2 by 2011 (updated) - more

  Japan's crude steel output down 2.7 pct in October - Japan's crude steel output fell 2.7 percent from a year earlier to 10 million tonnes in October, marking the first year-on-year decline in 29 months, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said on Wednesday. - source

  Job loss imminent if steel prices not tamed - Nearly 1,000 people have lost their jobs while the fate of over two lakh hangs in the balance as some units of the domestic forging industry face a threat of closure due to high steel prices, an association of steel consuming firms said. - more

  Asian slowdown worse than expected and will bite commodities says analyst - A leading commodities analyst has warned the prices for base metals, oil and iron ore will fall even further as China's manufacturing sector slows. - more

  Greenland’s largest mining project on hold - The Canadian mining company Quadra Mining has postponed plans to begin construction of a molybdenum mine in East Greenland, reports Berlingske Tidende. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.12/lb lower. Precious metals are trading higher this morning, while the base metals complex is getting whacked. Dollar/Euro are trading even this morning, as is crude oil. Except for Hong Kong, world markets are trading in the red (here). News out of the SU this morning include (Market Watch) "The core consumer price index fell 0.1%, the first fall in the core rate since 1982."  and (Market Watch) "Housing starts fell to a record low in October, a fall of 4.5%, driving new construction to its lowest level since just after World War II." On this news, US futures show a negative opening (chart). The US auto-making Big Three went to Congress yesterday with hat in hand, begging for a piece of the bailout money. Wonder how long it will be before the steel companies start asking? They have gone from the same feast to famine crash.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  LME metals ended mostly in the black yesterday, erasing earlier intraday losses. The most impressive reversal was in copper, which despite breaking $3590 support, managed to close above it, thus preventing further technical deterioration in the charts. The big loser on the day was tin, which buckled on yet another LME stock increase, as stock holdings continue to build. ... The general malaise and another surge in LME inventories is causing a price retreat as far as today's metals action is concerned.  ... On another issue, investors are obviously following the ups and downs of the stock market these days (mostly downs), and are trying to assess what role hedge funds are playing. ... We are currently at $10,500, down $250, and off today on account of another uptick in LME stocks. Total holdings are now over 61,000 tons.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Mirabela Nickel Limited September 2008 MDA and Interim Financial Report - Nickel has traded lower since the quarter end, following the lead of developments in the US where economic indicators remain soft and economic growth has slumped post the sub-prime crisis and the ensuing freeze in credit markets. Sentiment for the nickel price remains weak in the short term, weighed by the large stock build-up and weak demand. The nickel market remains in surplus, with LME nickel stocks at the end of September 2008 of 53.8Kt close to historic highs. Recent indicated demand, in particular from China, has been weaker. Significantly, supply growth has also slowed, with weaker the nickel prices and escalating producer input costs having led to western producers deferring projects and expansions and reportedly 95% of nickel pig iron production having now been ceased. ... Management is of the view that the nickel price may trade around the average cost of production in the short term, but in the longer term will trade in a range at or above marginal cost levels, which is strong relative to historic long-term average prices, given the fundamentals of supply and demand for the metal.
  • (Metal Center News)  (quote) The outlook for AK Steel’s two other main products, stainless steel and electrical steel, are more positive. Stainless inventories at service centers reached an 11-year-low in September, so at some point they will need to be replenished. - more
  • (MarketWatch) Standard & Poor's said Tuesday early figures show that third-quarter operating earnings for the S&P 500 declined 21.6% from the year-ago period. ... "Without Energy, the third quarter operating earnings for the S&P 500 would have hit an all-time low."
  • (Dow Jones) Jones)--The global nickel market recorded a larger surplus in the first nine months of 2008 with output exceeding demand by nearly 43,000 metric tons, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said Wednesday. Mine production in January to September 2008 was 5.6% than the same period in 2007 at 1.0999 million tons. Refined production, however, was 4.9% below the 2007 total with output reductions in China and Japan accounting for the decline.
  • World demand was 3.1% lower than the previous year.
  • (Interfax) BHP Billiton, the only iron ore giant still sticking to its original annual production goal, is likely to cut output soon, as more Chinese steel mills are requesting that deliveries be delayed, an analyst told Interfax on Nov. 18.
  • (SG) Mr Michael Wright CEO of ELG Haniel Metals, while speaking at Metal Bulletin’s 7th International Stainless & Special Steels Summit, said that stainless steel production in 2009 is set to fall back to 2005 levels. ELG Haniel Metals anticipates a 4 million tonnes cutback in traditional nickel bearing stainless steel production.
  • (SG) It is reported that global stainless steel mills are looking to limit the quantity of ferrochromium that they will take in the fourth quarter as the market for stainless steel deteriorates and demand for raw materials falls.
  • (MB) Japan's Oct crude steel output down 3% yoy
  • Look for Commodities' Super Cycle in 2010 - video here
  • Should You Be Buying Mining Stocks? - more
  • Recycling Today - Misery Loves Company - more
  • The Battle Of The Batteries - more
  • Cars And Metal, Metal And Cars - more

  Major EU concerns over BHP Billiton bid for Rio Tinto - Europena Union antitrust authorities have expressed significant concern that a BHP Billiton takeover of Rio Tinto would impede competition, especially in iron ore and coking coal markets, according to a person who has seen an EU document on the proposed merger.- more

  Boom in mining, energy exploration - Australia's mining and energy industries continue to boom - but it's too early to tell what impact the global financial crisis might have on the resources sector. - more

  The brand "Norilsk Nickel" is worth $235 mln - Interbrand international company (Interbrand Zintzmeyer and Lux) has published its regular rating called "The Best Russian brands-2008" in which Norilsk Nickel occupies 16th place (up from the 17th in 2007). - more

  China's Shanxi coke producers to cut production by up to 70 pct - report - Coke producers in northern China's Shanxi province plan to cut production by up to 70 pct to bolster prices, the official Shanghai Securities News reported, citing the Shanxi Coke Industry Association. - more

  World freight prices collapse amid financial crisis - Freight shipping prices for transporting dry raw materials collapsed in November, slammed by the global financial crisis, slowing economic growth and falling commodity prices, industry experts said. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending November 15, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 1,400,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 58.7 percent. Production was 2,110,000 tons in the week ending November 15, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 88.5 percent. The current week production represents a 33.7 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending November 15, 2008 is down 10.1 percent from the previous week ending November 8, 2008 when production was 1,556,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 65.2 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 19 - more
  • 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, November 18

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 9 to 865. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Market Watch) Gold futures erase earlier losses as dollar weakens (Reuters) US home prices fall 9.0 pct in Q3 from year-ago-NAR // IMF says more countries seek help, banks struggle // No US turnaround till mid-2009-Bank of America CEO // For homebuilders, 2009 shaping up worse than '08 (Dow Jones) October Producer Prices Off A Record 2.8%; Gasoline Plummets (Bloomberg) American Express Co. had its highest monthly increase in credit-card delinquencies on record in October as jobless claims rose, according to FBR Capital Markets.
  • The dollar and Euro have been flipping back and forth all day, and in the time it took us to type this, it flipped again. So we will leave it at no change. Crude oil is trading 3/4 of 1% higher. Precious metals ended mixed, and base metals, except tin, ended in the green. According to indicator charts, nickel was trading in the basement until US equity markets went positive, and this helped European equity markets, which  in turn, helped lift nickel into positive territory. The DOW has since moved into the red, too late to have any further affect on today's LME trading. According to Dow Jones, three month nickel ended the day at $4.88/lb . Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart). We replaced the BBC metals link in the far right hand column with a Sucden metals report. This report is posted at the end of each London business day, and has about all the information you could need for tracking LME metal trading. For those who got used to the BBC report, it is still on the November archive page. European markets ended mixed (chart). Media reported late yesterday that Citigroup's announced lay-off of over 52,000 jobs yesterday, was the second largest lay-off announced in US history, second only to the 60,000 employee cut that IBM announced in 1993. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson were on the hot seat this morning, as the House Financial Services Committee, sometimes contentiously, challenged the pair on its handling of the TARP funds. The FDIC proposal to help save some families from foreclosures happening, got a lot of heated attention (the FDIC plan), but the committee was advised the money for any such proposal would have to come from elsewhere, as would any financial help for the auto industry.   

  Commodity/Economic Comments\

  • Scotia China Update - We are now looking for a 30% drop in 2009 annual iron ore contracts. We expect the coking coal 2009 contract price to drop to US$145/tonne. We expect the potash 2009 China contract to increase to US$750/tonne. - more
  • China Watch - Steeling Home - video here
  • The End of Wall Street's Boom - here
  • Is the US too big to fail? - more

  Chinese steel import applications to Europe stay high in October - Applications made in October for imports of Chinese steel products into the EU covered 1.18 million mt of material, the highest monthly volume applied for since August 2007, according to official EC data obtained by Platts. - more

  Severstal halves output in Russia - Severstal halved output at its Russia-based plants in November compared to August-September, Sergei Kuznetsov, the company's deputy chief executive for finances and economics, said during a conference call - more

  Mount Gibson selling ore at cost - Mount Gibson Iron says the iron ore market slump and contract defaults will have a material impact on its 2008/09 profitability but its first quarter profit is strong. - more

  Goldman Sachs JBWere downgrades most commodities price forecasts - Despite a dire outlook for commodities prices, Goldman Sachs JBWere analysts say copper is their preferred base metal because of severe production constraints and the potential for Chinese restocking. - more

  Global director of steel, Francis Browne, and Platts Steel Markets Daily managing editor, Joe Innace, discuss a dichotomy in the global iron ore markets, focusing on the price differential between Australian and Indian iron ore; seasonal effects on and the resulting need for buffer stocking of various grades of iron ore in northern China; and review events at the American Institute for International Steel annual conference held November 10. - video here

  • Iron Ore May Drop 25% in 2009 on Steel Cuts, RBC Says - Contract iron ore prices, at a record after six years of gains, may decline 25 percent next year amid cuts in steel production and a slump in cash prices, RBC Capital Markets said. - more
  • Vale says rival poses iron ore index to steel co.s - An executive for Brazil's Vale, a major iron ore producer, said one of the company's rivals has proposed that steelmakers switch to paying for ore based on a fluctuating index rather than the current system of term contracts based on a benchmark price, a local paper reported on Tuesday. - more

  Xstrata, union meet over job cuts - Representatives of Xstrata Nickel and its largest union, Mine Mill Local 598/CAW, met for four hours Monday to discuss plans to reduce the company's workforce by 250. - more

  Chinese president in Cuba on leg of Latam tour - Chinese President Hu Jintao was on a triumphant tour through Havana on Tuesday as his country expanded its already extensive economic relationship with the communist-run island. - more

  South Africa: Chinese Balm for Country's Miners - Despite throwing heaps of money at the problem, so far there's no sign that the US and Europe can avert recession, which could lead to depression. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:45 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around  $.06/lb lower, but quiet. The Euro is trading higher against the Dollar, by 1/3 of 1%, and crude oil is quiet and slightly higher. Except for tin, which is being hit hard today, the rest of the metals complex appears to be subdued. World markets show nearly all trading in the red (here) , while US futures imply the same out of US markets (chart). Volatility remains very high in US markets (here)
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Abbreviated comment: We had another weak session in metals yesterday, with copper tumbling by more than 5%, while aluminum sank to a three-year low. News that Japan joined the Eurozone by tipping into recession did not help matters and neither did a slumping equity market. Out of the US, industrial production readings came out at +1.3%, somewhat more than expected, but the downward revision in September was startling, with production contracting by 3.7%, its steepest decline since World War II. ... There is no doubt that we are now entering the steepest part of the global recession, as country after country reports negative readings in economic activity. The key question, of course, is how long the current slump will last, and whether the recession will be depressingly "L"-shaped (as per the drawn-out Japanese slump of the 1990’s), optimistically “V”-shaped (where we see a sharp snap back after an equally sharp decline), or more normally, “U”-shaped, (where the economy recovers on a gentle trajectory after a prolonged flat period of activity). (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Japan’s stainless steelmakers had cut production in September. The stainless steel output in September was around 274,429 tons, of which 131,152 tons of 400 series and 143,277 tons for 300 series and 10,187 tons of special steel.
  • (Yieh) The price negotiations between Japanese stainless mills and Asian distributors and re-rollers are still pending; it is difficult for mills to publish their prices due to big changes in the exchange rates, consecutive decreases in the LME nickel price, and reduction of global stainless steel output. However, the buyers are also taking a wait-and-seeing attitude.
  • (Platts) China's Jinchuan lowers domestic nickel prices by $879/mt
  • (Interfax) Northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the country's largest ferroalloy production base, has temporarily lowered power fees for local ferroalloy producers by RMB 0.08 ($0.012) per kilowatt hour (kWh), to help cushion the impact of slowing economic growth, the provincial government said in a report on Nov. 17.
  • Hedge Funds May Fall to $1 Trillion by Mid-2009, Citigroup Says - more
  • Tepper, Barakett Abandon Stocks as Funds Cut Holdings - more
  • Cars And Metal, Metal And Cars - more
  • Asian slowdown worse than expected and will bite commodities says analyst - more
  • 30 reasons for Great Depression 2 by 2011 - more
  • Prices may fall another 5-10%, feel brokerages - more
  • The liquidity trap and commodity prices: John Kemp - more

  Steel importers oppose any duty hike on stainless steel - Mumbai, Nov 17(UNI) Process plant machinery manufacturing and exporting units using imported high-end stainless steel, currently not being manufactured in the country, have strongly opposed any move by the Union Finance ministry to levy import duty on stainless steel products. - more

  Australia mine shuts as nickel price tumbles - Australia's Copernicus nickel mine has been shut indefinitely pending an improvement in nickel prices, one of the mine's owners, Thundelarra Exploration Ltd, said on Tuesday. - more

  • OneSteel set for slowdown - Onesteel has joined the chorus predicting a tough 2009, as it flags production cuts to its iron ore arm. - more
  • Rio adviser leads the BHP gloom sayers - (quote) It now expects BHP's nickel division to lose $US535 million ($825 million) before interest and taxes this year. - more
  • Miners under a pall of gloom - If delegates to the Australia Mining Congress in Sydney yesterday were hoping for respite from the gloom and doom surrounding equities and commodities markets, they probably walked away disappointed. - more

  500-plus jobs are cut from mines in S. Ariz. - In summer of last year, Arizona miners were getting signing bonuses and incentives such as free housing to work in Safford. - more

  PNG administration pressured over Chinese workers, says newspaper - Reports from Papua New Guinea say some politicians have been exerting pressure on government departments dealing with the more than 220 Chinese workers who were detained in Madang. - more

  Macquarie researchers declare force majeure on metals supercycle - The supercycle in commodities is now on hold until global growth reaccelerates, according Macquarie Research, which released a 112-page commodities outlook report Monday.  - more

  • Commodities Face Pressure for 18 Months, UBS Says - Commodities will be under pressure for as long as 18 months, with UBS AG predicting lower prices next year for all bar four of the 28 raw materials it forecasts following a collapse in credit for industry. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 18 - more
  • 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, November 17

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 15 to 856. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Dow Jones) Japan enters into first recession since 2001 (Market Watch) U.S. stocks start steeply lower; Citigroup to layoff 50,000 // Industrial output comes back part way from storms - But excluding energy, output falls 0.1% in October, Fed says (Reuters) NY state manufacturing falls again in November // Forecasters: US in 14 month recession, Q4 looks rough (AFP) Oil leads retreat for commodity markets (Bloomberg) New York Manufacturing Index Fell to Record Low in November  // Dollar Declines Against Yen, Euro Before Manufacturing Report  (Daily Mail) Citigroup axes 50,000 jobs as the CBI warns that Britain's recession will be 'deeper and longer' than previously thought
  • And how about a some partially good news for a change - (The Sun News) Georgetown workers set to return to steel mill: Meeting to be held Thursday for those who remain laid off - (more)
  • US dollar is currently trading around 1-1/2% lower against the Euro, while crude oil is quietly trading lower, but only slightly. Metals ended much the same as we reported they were trading this morning, with only palladium bucking the down trend. Indicator charts show nickel started trading in a slide early, recovering much of the loss in the early afternoon, and then surrendering most of the recovery late. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $4.83/lb . London metal traders appear to have been watching the equity markets for clues today, as the falling dollar, which typically gives metals a boost, apparently was dismissed. Total inventories of nickel stored in London Metals Exchange official warehouses, rolled over the 60,000 tonne level, with the addition of 414 tonnes over the weekend. That would amount to a day over 2 weeks of worldwide usage in a typical market, but we are not currently in a 'typical' market.  The Baltic Dry Index, like the ships it monitors, appears to be stopped in the waves, slowly rocking back and forth between slightly positive and slightly negative readings. Sucden's day old chart show nickel trading thru Friday (here). Ed Meir of MF Global did not publish a report today, for those who might be missing it. The G-20 met over the weekend and accomplished nothing. US markets fell much lower this morning, but are at present, only trading lower by about 60 point. The news that Citigroup was laying 50,000 employees off came as an early morning shock to the market. European markets closed lower (here).  

  Reports

  • Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here
  • Canada Commodity Price Update - pdf here
  • US Import/Export Price Indexes All Commodities - here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Calyon metals analyst Robin Bhar - "The focus has been on the G20 meeting on the weekend, which wasn't specific on what actions would be taken ... That's probably disappointing the markets, and we're seeing some weakness in equity markets."
  • Society Generale - "The limited supply response is being overshadowed by the deteriorating demand environment, hence the continued rise in LME stocks."
  • (Reuters) The U.S. economy fell into recession last spring and will contract sharply this quarter as more than 200,000 workers per month are added to the rolls of the unemployed, a survey said on Monday. ... The Philadelphia Fed's survey said the U.S. economy entered a recession in April and that it will last 14 months. (more)
  • Deregulator Looks Back, Unswayed  - more
  • (NY Times) The number of personal bankruptcy filings jumped nearly 8 percent in October from September, after marching steadily upward for the last two years, said Mike Bickford, president of Automated Access to Court Electronic Records, a bankruptcy data and management company. Filings totaled 108,595, surpassing 100,000 for the first time since a law that made it more difficult — and often twice as expensive — to file for bankruptcy took effect in 2005. That translated to an average of 4,936 bankruptcies filed each business day last month, up nearly 34 percent from October 2007.
  • Somali pirates hijack VLCC off Kenya - more
  • 3,770 export items for tax rebate rise announced - more

  Palmary closes mine, sacks staff - Palmary Enterprises, controlled by Ukrainian billionaire Gennadiy Bogolyubov, will halt work at its Australian nickel project and curb operations at a chromite mine, sacking 182 miners, because of plunging metal prices. - more

  More Chinese Steel Mills May Defer Iron Ore Shipments - With global iron ore prices widely expected to fall next year after six straight years of gains, more Chinese steel mills are expected to differ iron ore imports until the next contract year starting April 1, analysts in China said Monday. - more

  From boast to roast as steel slip comes home to roost - BHP now looks like the cock that crowed too soon. When the price of coking coal trebled this year, BHP Billiton boasted having a much larger exposure to the commodity than its takeover target, Rio Tinto.

  • China looks at Fortescue alliance - Chinese steel mills are considering injecting cash into Fortescue Metals Group in exchange for a sizeable stake in the company.

  RUSAL defers $700 mln Norilsk payment again- paper - Russian aluminium major RUSAL has agreed with billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov to defer again a $700 million tranche for the purchase of his stake in mining giant Norilsk Nickel, a newspaper said on Monday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:45 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.16/lb   lower.  Except for palladium, traded metals are mostly lower so far in today's trading. Crude is trading lower by 1%, while the Euro is trading higher against the US dollar by 1%. World stock markets trading, or are trading lower (here) , and US futures forecast a quiet opening for US stocks (here). US markets could be dicey this week, with numerous government reports to be issued that could sway market sentiment. CitiBank announcing 50,000 job cuts this morning will not help, and neither will news that Japan has officially entered its first recession since 2001.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  none posted yet (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (SG) Bloomberg quoted Mr Fabio Barbosa CFO of Cia Vale do Rio Doce as saying that Vale sees no further erosion in global demand for industrial metals. The report quoted Mr Fabio Barbosa as saying that “Market deterioration has stopped, though it is still too early to say if we now face a rebound from the global credit crisis.”
  • Physical nickel premiums in Europe have been falling during the second half of this year as demand from stainless steel producers continues to decline, traders said.  - more
  • Russian mining and metallurgy giant Norilsk Nickel in Mid-November takes over its new ice-protected Arctic tanker. The vessel – the company’s third of the kind – will be able to operate along Arctic routes without icebreaker assistance. - more
  • (Reuters) World No. 3 iron or miner said it has received requests from some customers to defer up to 5 percent of this year' total production, about 6 million tonnes, the latest big miner to feel the effects of declining global steel production. BHP had no plans to cut production following the requests and was looking at ways to minimize the deferrals over the remainder the business year to June 30, 2009, a company spokesman said.
  • (Interfax) The European Union has imposed temporary anti-dumping duties of between 2.1 percent and 52.2 percent on non-alloy steel wire imports from China, according to a report by the Official Journal of the E.U. on Nov. 15.
  • (Dow Jones) Macquarie Monday cut its forecast for the 2009 benchmark coking coal price to US$140 a metric ton, down 60% from its previous forecast.
  • Weekly Forecast by SMM Specialist - more
  • Another reported ferrous scrap bounce in US, but can it last? - more
  • Japanese spot ferromoly demand returns, attracted by low prices - more
  • Abu Dhabi steel prices fall for third month in row  - more
  • The Indian steel industry , which is currently bearing the twin impact of a sharp fall in demand and a cut in production, could likely face a bigger blow post December, when China plans to lift export tax on steel. - more

  Ferroalloy makers cut output on freeze in orders from steel cos - “The offtake of ferrochrome by stainless steel companies has totally stopped and consequently, most of the (Indian) ferrochrome producers have shut production and are focusing on liquidating their inventory,” said Rahhul Aggarwal, analyst with the Mumbai-based equity research firm Pinc Research. - more

  Papua New Guinea’s government has indicated that the Ramu nickel mine in Madang province will not start production until comprehensive assessment is carried out on the project’s planned waste disposal system. - more

  BHP, Vale lead struggle amid slowdown in China - Mine giants that couldn't dig minerals out of the earth fast enough a few months ago are now struggling to climb out of a very deep hole. - more

  ConsMin staff slashed on deteriorating market condition - As many as 182 staff and contractors for Consolidated Minerals Ltd (ConsMin) face retrenchment or redeployment at two of its Western Australia mines because of the deteriorating global outlook for minerals. - more

  • Fortescue denies talks with China fund - Australian miner Fortescue Metals Group, which relies solely on sales of iron ore to China's steel sector, on Monday denied a report it was in talks to sell a stake in the company to a Chinese sovereign wealth fund. - more

  Imbalances in Supply and Demand Send EU Steel Prices into Freefall - Demand for steel in the EU has collapsed. Current price levels are, however, hard to verify because very few forward orders are being placed. - more

  Macquarie cuts commodity price f'casts by up to 60 pct - Investment bank Macquarie said on Monday it had cut its 2009 forecasts for base metals, coal and iron ore by up to 60 percent to reflect the deteriorating global economic outlook. - more

  • Iron-ore contract prices, at records after six years of gains, may halve next year as demand from China slumps, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. said.  - more

  Heads They Win, Tails You Lose - Mining companies have long built up Guatemala's nickel deposits as among the largest and highest grade in the world, but operations in the small Central American country have been plagued with serious problems since the get go. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 17 - more
  • 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, November 14

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 3 to 841. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Hong Kong Slips Into First Recession Since 2003 SARS Epidemic // China Sees `Formidable Challenge' to Prevent Slump as Investment Weakens  // Bernanke Says Central Bankers Ready for More Actions // U.S. Consumer Sentiment Index Stays Near 28-Year Low // U.S. Retail Sales Drop in October by Most on Record // Europe Economy Falls Into First Recession in 15 Years
  • At press time, the US dollar is trading higher against the Euro by about 2/3 of 1%, while crude oil is down by 2-1/2%. Metals ended mixed with precious all trading higher, and base metals 50-50. Nickel was one of the losers for the day, and indicator charts show it really never stood a chance after yesterday's leap (day old chart by Sucden). Starting higher, the trading price of nickel slid gradually down all day, with some attempts at recovery unable to stick. Dow Jones reports the month nickel ended the day and week at $4.99/lb . The daily news of mine closures, lay-off's and expansion delays, helped give nickel a boost yesterday, but today's addition of over 1000 tonnes of nickel into LME warehouses, mellowed any hopes of a possible shortage down the road. With nickel ending last week a whole penny a pound lower than today, this week's trading ended flat. It is interesting to note that we have witnessed the "are we really in a recession" argument disappear in most circles this week. The volatility index (VIX) is off yesterday's high's but rising (here), and this is reflected in the Dow's 300 point retreat thus far today. Morgan Stanley's Stephen Roach was quoted in a Bloomberg article yesterday, that the commodity bubble has burst - (more below in comments). Technically speaking, in reference to nickel, we can see his point, but feel he is overlooking one very important factor. And while the list is long of those who would disagree with us, we believe the withdrawal of fund money has played the single greatest role in why the rice of nickel has collapsed so hard over the last few months. Yes, the fundamentals of supply and demand did trigger the retreat. And when demand starts to recover, and regardless of the fact that mega mines Goro, and Ravensthorpe, and Onca Puma, among numerous smaller mines, sit ready to fire up new nickel supply, should the fund money choice to return, we could see ourselves right back in a smaller "bubble". Norilsk's head of market development Anton Berlin told Reuters in an interview today that "First the speculative demand fell, speculators closed positions... That is pushing the market down." Right now, the fund money is mostly gone, and traders worldwide are nervous and looking everywhere for clues to answers. And depending on the day, they are looking elsewhere for inspiration. At one point, inventory levels actually meant a great deal to the trading price of nickel. Now, with levels of stored nickel about where they were when nickel was trading for $13/lb, do they really? The dollar/euro equation means a great deal, on most day. On other days, it means little. One day the reason, the excuse the next. Technicals guide many computer decisions, but these days it seems as if someone is sitting on the over-ride button. In the last few months we have seen analysts credit the US equity market for inspiring moves on the London Metal Exchange, which we have never seen before. Fact is, no one knows what is around the bend, or what the future holds. The bulls can make as good an argument for patience, as the bears can for a serious recession - or worse. These are truly confusing times we live in. But today is Friday, and for the majority of us, the beginning of a weekend rest. May each of you have a safe and relaxing one. It all starts over on Monday.  

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Barclay's - "In light of the gloomy macroeconomic environment, sustained price recoveries look highly unlikely, in our view."
  • Citi Global Commodities Strategy - "... recent price falls in base metals occurred faster than in prior cycles ...Such price falls will result in accelerated production curtailments and reduced inventory overhang in the event of any demand recovery,"
  • Worst effects of fading commodities yet to come: BMO - more
  • Commodities to Be `Under Pressure', Morgan Stanley's Roach Says - (quote) ``It was a bubble,'' Roach said. ``Commodity prices have a history of some of the most violent fluctuations of any markets in the world, and they have lived up to their reputation.'' The last raw material bubble was in the early 1970s when ``you had the same type of global growth boom that we've had in the last four and a half years,'' he said. ``The boom has gone to bust. The global economy is now growing at 2 to 2.5 percent, less than half the pace that we've been running at.''  - more

  Russia Norilsk sees demand falling, level off in '09 - Russian miner Norilsk Nickel expects the financial crisis to continue sapping demand for its products this year but it will not get any worse in 2009, a company executive said on Friday. - more

  ConsMin staff slashed on slowdown - As many as 182 staff and contractors for Consolidated Minerals Ltd (ConsMin) face retrenchment or redeployment at two of its Western Australia mines because of the deteriorating global outlook for minerals. - more

  BHP drops mega nickel project with Antam - The world largest's mining company BHP Billiton has dropped its plan to develop a US$4.5 billion nickel laterite project with Indonesia's second-largest nickel producer PT Aneka Tambang (Antam). - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.06/lb lower. Metals are mostly trading higher this morning, although indicator charts show nickel recovering from a recent sharp drop. The Dollar is trading about 1% higher against the Euro, after taking a pretty good hit yesterday (here). Crude oil is trading flat. The metals bounce is being credited to a positive reaction to yesterday's late afternoon bounce in the Dow. The bounce is being called a "technical" bounce, although we tend to think it was as much a reaction to falling below the 8,000 mark, as anything. Technical or not, world wide markets are reacting favorably (chart), although US futures do not reflect an early morning continuation (here). US markets will be opening with this headline just published "Retail sales plunge record 2.8% in October". Could be a long Friday.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Metals rally on equity market bounce - Base metals rallied on Friday, boosted by a surge in Asian and US equity markets and news of further output cuts, but oil remained under pressure amid a gloomy outlook for global demand. - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals staged a modest recovery yesterday, with prices bouncing on the back of a ferocious snap-back on Wall Street, where stocks erased a 300-point deficit to close 550 points in the black. .... With US stocks now being the short-term driver for commodities, it remains to be seen whether yesterday's gains in equities will hold. We believe that since Thursday's move in equities was mostly technical in nature with no fundamental substance behind it, it may not. This, in turn, could reverse the recent gains we have seen in metals. ... The dollar is slightly stronger today, but has not been much of a factor in recent action. ... We are currently at $11, 425, down $25, and holding up relatively well considering that LME stocks rose by a hefty 1,300 tons today, bringing total holdings to just under 60,000 tons." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Barclays Capital estimates that nearly 30% of nickel producers are operating at a loss at current market prices while just over 15% of zinc producers are operating at a loss at current market prices.
  • (BaseMetals analyst Will Adams) "Overall given how washed out the metals are and now with production cutbacks seemly being announced daily, we would not be surprised to see some bases established on the base metals."
  • Barclays Expands Commodities Team, Expects More in `Bull Cycle'  - more
  • Belvedere upgrades and increases resources by 31% at the Hautalampi nickel cobalt copper project, Finland - more
  • Rio Tinto postpones its planned market briefings to better assess current situation - more

  ArcelorMittal suspends taking delivery of ferroalloys - ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, has told its ferroalloys suppliers that it will not accept any more deliveries of ferroalloys "until further notice," in a letter, a copy of which has been obtained by Platts. - more

  ConsMin staff slashed on slowdown - As many as 182 staff and contractors for Consolidated Minerals Ltd (ConsMin) face retrenchment or redeployment at two of its Western Australia mines because of the deteriorating global outlook for minerals. - more

  • BHP to send fewer ships to China as ore demand falls - BHP BILLITON'S shipping agent for its iron ore sales to China says it expects fewer vessels to be headed to that destination in coming weeks, even though the miner has not announced production cuts. - more

  Rebate hikes a boon for steel exporters - An increase in export tax rebates on its products announced yesterday will provide some relief to China's steel industry as it struggles against declining global demand , analysts said. - more

  Xstrata mines closing early over nickel prices - The crash in nickel prices is forcing Xstrata PLC to close its only two operating mines in Sudbury earlier than expected, raising questions about the viability of a pair of new mines planned for next year. - more

  U.S. Steel lays off 677 workers in Canada and US because of lower demand - U.S. Steel says it is laying off 677 workers in Canada and the United States because of weakening customer demand, another sign of trouble for Canada's blue-collar manufacturing sector. - more

  Japanese spot ferromoly demand returns, attracted by low prices - Domestic trading activity for ferromolybdenum was active in Japan this week, as consumers appear attracted by the recent fall in prices, local trade sources said Thursday. - more

  Too early for guidelines on PNG marine disposal of mine tailings, says environmentalist - An environmental lawyer in Papua New Guinea has warned that it’s too early to approve guidelines for ocean dumping of mine tailings.- more

  Ministry Of Commerce / China Proposes Composition Adjustment Of Ferro-Alloy Enterprises = To Reduce Facilities By 24% In 2010, Having Capacity To Produce 20 Million Tons / Year Of Ferro-Alloys - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 14 - more
  • 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, November 13

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 14 to 838. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (MarketWatch) Euro steadies after German recession news // U.S. foreign trade slows sharply in September  // Dow industrials fall below 8,000 // Citi, Bank of America sink to more than 10-year lows (Reuters) Jobless claims hit 25-year high, imports plunge // US subprime delinquencies spike as jobless climbs // Libor dollar rates rise after TARP turnaround // Fed's Plosser: US economy faces significant stress // Foreclosures up 25 percent: RealtyTrac (Bloomberg) Stocks in U.S. Slump on Economy; S&P 500 Falls to Lowest Level Since 2003 // Bernanke Must Reveal Who Got $2 Trillion Loans, Investors, Congressmen Say
  • Another depressing in the markets, unless you were in metals today. Thanks to a lower dollar, down 1/5 of 1% against the Euro, base metals bucked their trend and gained today. Crude oil is trading lower by nearly 2%, and precious metals, for the most part, traded lower. Indicator charts show nickel started lower, but headed higher in afternoon trading. News that Xstrata was closing two mines earlier than expected, on the back of BHP's news, that it was backing out of an Indonesian project, helped lift nickel prices. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $5.19/lb . Tension levels are building again, which isn't good for the markets. The volatility index (VIX) is heading north once more (graph). Sucden's day old chart shows trading thru yesterday, with today's trading of nickel, bucking the recent trendline (chart). We are back in the $5/lb range today, but wouldn't suggest you get too comfortable. This market appears to favor the higher $4/lb range to trade in, and with nickel inventories continuing to climb, mine closures and delays are not going to do much to help bring prices up with any staying power. At least not in the short term.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • U.S. Imports for Consumption of Stainless Steel Products - final - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Dow Jones) "Base metals on the London Metal Exchange got a boost Thursday from short covering as commodities across the board were higher, while equities were mixed and the dollar slightly weaker. ... Nickel prices got an additional push higher from production cuts and project delay news Thursday. Xstrata PLC said that it will shutter two Canadian nickel mines ahead of schedule as it focuses on ramping up lower cost operations at a time of low nickel prices."
  • (The Nikkei) Brazilian iron miner Companhia Vale do Rio Doce SA has withdrawn its request to raise prices again this fiscal year for shipments to Nippon Steel Corp. (5401) and other major steelmakers, The Nikkei learned Thursday.
  • Barclays Capital - "Significant deterioration in momentum of Chinese industrial production bodes ill for metals consumption."
  • Doug Kass - “Anyone notice that it took the CRB (CRB/Jeffries Commodities Index) four and a half years to go from 252 to 478 but it took only four months to go from 478 to 252 !”
  • An Angry World Tries To Find Its Footing - more
  • The Commodities Buzzword Of The Moment: Support  - more
  • China Relights the Torch for Commodities - more
  • Gallery: 11 economies in decline - more
  • When Will The Chinese Economic Agenda Be Noticed In Washington? (Part I) - more

  Xstrata Nickel to cease end-of-life operations at Sudbury ahead of schedule to focus on new lower cost mines  - Xstrata Nickel today announces plans to cease operations at Craig and Thayer-Lindsley nickel mines ahead of schedule, both of which are approaching the end of their productive lives. - more

  Minor Metals Slump As Steel Prices Collapse - Producers of metals mainly used to make steel are cutting production as demand weakens, and analysts expect further reductions to follow, especially by ferrochrome and molybdenum producers. - more

 What do base metals project cutbacks mean for future supplies? - If we are in for a period of recession rather than a global depression, then it looks as though announced production cutbacks by mining companies are far more severe than the demand situation would justify. - more

  Idling of AK Steel furnace a blow to Ashland's psyche - For decades the blue-hot flames that belch from the blast furnaces at the steel mill here have meant good jobs, prosperity and security for this proud old factory town. - more

  Commodities crash burns scrap dealers - The record high prices for copper and other metals that had thieves stealing statues and electrical wires are no more. Commodities prices have crashed, creating a big problem for scrap dealers. Jeff Tyler reports. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:40 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.14/lb higher and trading is choppy. Media reports show metals were lower in early trading, but are nearly all trading in the green at the moment. Probably helped by the fact the Euro is trading 3/4 of 1% higher against the Dollar. Crude oil is trading nearly 1% higher. World markets have or are trading mostly in the red, but some European markets give a glimmer of green (chart). Dow futures show a quiet, and uncertain opening for US markets. In your headlines this morning, Germany is officially in its first recession since 2003 and first-time filings for state unemployment benefits in the US, hit their highest level since September 2001 last week. China reports factory output in that country is at a 7 year low.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals held relatively steady yesterday, holding above the late October lows, which we thought was an impressive achievement considering that the bottom fell out in most other markets, including energy and equities. ... However, the weakness apparent in most other markets yesterday hit metals more forcefully, at least earlier today. ... We are currently at $10,690, up $190, and quiet.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • China factory output hits 7-yr low; steel, power weak - more
  • Crisis chokes China metals output, spurs refiners - more
  • (Interfax) China's steel product exports are unlikely to be spurred by the State Council's decision to scrap the export tax on certain steel products because demand from the international market will continue to weaken, an analyst told Interfax on Nov. 13.
  • CPI inflation calculator from the US Dept of Labor - here (example $1 in 1913 had the same buying power as $22.10 in 2008)
  • US Import/Export Price Indexes - all commodities import here  non agriculture commodities export here

  BHP scraps eastern Indonesia nickel plan - BHP Billiton Ltd has ended a study into a potential integrated nickel development in eastern Indonesia. - more

  Newfoundland nickel plant gets go-ahead - Mining company Vale Inco Ltd. announced plans Wednesday to build a nickel processing plant in southeast Newfoundland following a lengthy process that tested the economic and technical feasibility of the project. - more

  Projects In World Countries To Expand Facilities For Chrome Production May Be Reviewed = In South Africa, India, Kazakhstan, Turkey, And So On - 2 parts - Part 1 here - Part 2 here

  Zambia nickel mine builds own power line - Zambia is on track to complete the construction of a dedicated power supply line to its first nickel mine where production of 8,600 tonnes of nickel will commence mid-year, an industry official said. - more

  IFM to cut ferrochrome output by 40% on weak demand, high stocks - International Ferro Metals plans to cut its ferrochrome production and defer expansion plans in the face of weak demand and growing inventories, the South African producer said Wednesday. - more

  Struggling in Downturn - With major metal prices slumping in both domestic and overseas markets, China’s non-ferrous metal industry is facing an unprecedented challenge, with all companies suffering losses in September and October. The situation shows no sign of changing before the end of this year. - more

  Steel buyers will see more imports in 2009 but growth still uncertain - Global metalworking activity has weakened, setting the stage for excess steel supply in the months ahead. - more

  RUSAL backs bigger Kremlin role at Norilsk - United Company RUSAL is lobbying for the Kremlin to replace rival shareholder Vladimir Potanin as the power behind Norilsk Nickel, as the world's largest nickel miner prepares to elect a new board of directors. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • 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, November 12

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  plus 6 to 824. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Dow Jones) Dlr, Euro, Pound Fall Sharply As Risk Trades Unwind (MSNBC) Euro pares gains on weak data, stg down on BoE (Reuters) ECB's Stark says financial crisis wreaking havoc  (Bloomberg) Canada's Dollar Falls for Third Day as Oil Touches 20-Month Low // Oil Falls on Forecasts of Lower Global Demand, Higher Supply // Paulson Shifts Focus of Rescue to Consumer Lending // Ford Says 9 Plants to Be Idled by 4th-Quarter Production Cuts (IHT) Russia allows ruble to fall, adding more uncertainty
  • This day went from a bad start to worse. European markets that were mixed this morning, ended solidly in the red (chart), after European Central Bank Executive Board member Juergen Stark commented in a speech, that "the current financial crisis is wreaking havoc on markets, and the financial sector is likely to shrink significantly." Euro is trading higher against the Dollar, by about 1/3 of 1%, signifying that as bad as things are in Europe, traders are betting today they are worse in the States. Either that or we are seeing some profit taking after the dollar's recent run. Crude oil is trading nearly 4% lower on lower demand expectations. Months ago, Iranian leaders could sneeze and the price of oil would jump by $5. These days, they can fire off as many missiles as they want, and the market yawns. Base metals decided not to take their cue from equity markets today, and looked to the Euro for some encouragement. While precious metals ended lower, base metals ended mixed, in subdued trading. While Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day lower at $4.76/lb , indicator charts show that late trading saw the price of nickel actually recover into the green. Another rough day around the world for traders. US Dow has been trading in the negative 200 to 300 range most of the morning. While the VIX remains high (chart) here in the States, we are noticing words like uncertainty, nervous, and near panic back in the vocabulary of various worldwide media outlets, describing their individual markets. Do traders have the same suspicions as we do, that we are not being told the whole story? Just how bad are things? Surely we have no reason to question the complete and forthright honesty of our government officials (that was hard to write, even as a joke). Little matters like "we are not trading arms for hostages", "read my lips, no new taxes", "I did not have sex with that woman", and "weapons of mass destruction", were mere oversights and surely not meant to mislead the public. So, what do we believe? Who do we believe? Again, we must ask. With world governments so worried, how bad are things - really?
  • If you missed it, BBC ran an interesting report awhile back on what started this mess. Youtube has it in 7 segments, less than 10 minutes each. If you have an hour, its worth watching. Part 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (MB) Siemens suspends two nickel-pig iron projects in China on low nickel prices
  • (Barclays) "The current macroeconomic environment characterized by recessionary conditions continues to weigh on prices and sentiment."
  • (Dow Jones) ref Baltic Dry Index - "... a London-based broker says. Points out if rates move down much beyond the current $5,000/day figure, "ships are operating at a loss." Notes owners have said "they'd rather just lay them up" than fix below these levels, meaning the BDI is looking at the floor."
  • Why traders watch the TED Spread - here  TED spread here - chart

  Commodity traders stare at big losses - Countless Indian traders have been trapped by a brutal commodity market. Consider these examples: A small-time importer in Coimbatore is fighting bankruptcy after placing an order for two shiploads of iron scrap. - more

  China Oct Steel Products Exports At 4.62 Mln Tons - China exported 4.62 million metric tons of steel products in October, preliminary data provided by the General Administration of Customs showed Tuesday. - more

  • China's Mining Companies Struggling in Downturn - With major metal prices slumping in both domestic and overseas markets, China’s non-ferrous metal industry is facing an unprecedented challenge, with all companies suffering losses in September and October. - more
  • China cuts nickel production as demand weakens - China`s refined nickel output is forecast to fall nearly 10% to around 130,000t this year from a previous estimate as demands weakens, industry officials said on Tuesday.  - more

  Brazil's mining giant to adjust iron-ore supply in face of financial crisis - Brazilian mining giant Vale will adjust iron ore supply to some of its clients due to the ongoing global financial crisis, the company announced Tuesday. - more

  China metals tax hike hits miners - Mining stocks, already under pressure amid fears of falling demand from China, were dealt a further blow today after China announced plans to raise the VAT on metal ores from January 1. - more

  Crash casts shadow on Russian investment climate - Two Russian billionaires are battling over the world's biggest palladium and nickel company, and so far there has been one major casualty: Russia's reputation as a place to invest. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:45 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.06/lb higher. At present only zinc and nickel are trading higher, with the rest of the base metals trading lower. Precious metals are mixed as well, with gold and silver lower, but platinum and palladium higher. Crude oil is trading around 1-1/2% lower, and has fallen below $58/barrel already once this morning. The Dollar is trading slightly lower against the Euro, by about 1/3 of 1%. Far Eastern markets ended down overnight and European markets are mixed this morning (chart). LME traders may be looking to US markets for direction today, but so far, US futures show only a quiet opening in the red (graph). Here is a look at the LMEX London Metals Index (chart).
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal prices got battered again yesterday, with copper off by about 6% on the day and dragging the rest of the group down with it. In fact, prices were hovering just above the October 2008 lows in several metal complexes, with the key question being whether these support levels will hold. That question has been partly answered this morning, where we have seen fresh lows made in both ali and copper, although the rest of the metals are holding above the October lows. ... Despite the weakness in ali and copper, it is somewhat reassuring for technicians hoping to trade a possible rebound that prices did not plunge through the earlier lows, but instead bounced back slightly. Nevertheless, the overall mood remains fragile-- apart from a short covering technical move, there is little to make the case for sustained move higher. At this stage, the best we can hope for, is for the various metals to enter a prolonged, sideways drift, an indication that participants are finally concluding that the worst of the declines are behind us. ... We are currently at $10,751, up $46, and still within a sideways drift for the time being" (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Scotia Commodity Update - “Chinese nickel pig iron producers began scaling back production in early September this year as stainless steel factories suspended operations due to falling prices of stainless steel. Currently, around 95% of nickel pig iron processors have stopped production,” according to Antaike, a local industry consultancy. .. Meanwhile, the shutdown of nickel pig iron facilities has led to large stockpiles of nickel laterite, from which nickel pig iron is made. “Nickel laterite stocks in Chinese ports currently stand at about 9.0 million tons and are still increasing,” Antaike said." - more
  • Various - AK Steel Holding Corp., the fourth- largest U.S.-based steelmaker, will cut production at two plants to contend with "sharply lower demand" for its products. The plants in Mansfield, Ohio, and Ashland, Ken., produce flat-rolled steel used in exhaust systems and other auto components, West Chester, Ohio-based AK Steel said. The two plants will remain idle until early to mid-January. "A small number" of the nearly 1,500 employees at the two sites will continue working. The capacity is being idled because of "the recent unanticipated and major downturn in the economy, which has resulted in sharply lower demand, the company said.
  • (Interfax) China's stainless steel output will amount to 7.12 million tons this year, down 6.6 percent from 2007 due to weaker consumption stemming from slowing economic growth, industry insiders forecast at a forum on Nov. 11.
  • (BNA) Brazil's flat steel imports in January-September 2008 exceeded exports, the first time that has happened in roughly 20 years
  • POSCO denies that it is in talks to buy a controlling stake in the Thainox Stainless PCL
  • (MF Global) Physical nickel premiums in Europe are falling, "There is no question that stainless is dead and people are wondering what to do," one trader told Reuters. Premiums are said to be around $50-150 per ton for uncut nickel cathode, compared with $100-200 at the end of July. Premiums for cut nickel cathodes are around $350-$450 a ton compared with $400-$500 in July.

  Nickel Mining: Redstone, McWatters mines go down - Edmonton-based Liberty Mines is the latest company to announce that is mines must be placed on care-and-maintenance. The decision affects both the Redstone and McWatters nickel mines near Timmins. The Redstone concentrator is also affected. - more

  Chinese steel makers may reduce output - Chinese steel makers, the largest producers in the world, may cut output by 20 percent next year even with China's 4-trillion-yuan (US$586 billion) stimulus plan, Shougang Corp has said. - more

  International Ferro Metals slashes output, spending - International Ferro Metals will slash output and delay investment in the business due to a slump in stainless steel demand that meant the company sold less than half of what it produced in recent months. - more

  Russian chrome producer cuts output on low demand - Russia's Klyuchevsky Ferroalloys Plant, the world's top chrome producer, has been forced to reduce output as the global financial crisis cuts demand for the metal used in household goods. - more

  Indonesia to pass mining law mid-Dec -lawmaker - Indonesia's parliament expects to pass a long-delayed mining law by the middle of next month, a legislator said on Wednesday, a move that could provide more certainty for firms considering investing in the mining sector. - more

  German union holds talks in bid to prevent strike - Germany's biggest industrial union began a new round of talks with employer representatives on Tuesday to reach a wage deal and stave off a full-fledged strike. - more

  Fastener News

  • Chinese exporters regret EU anti-dumping duties on Chinese-made screws, bolts - Chinese exporters expressed their deep regret on Sunday at a European Commission's decision to propose anti-dumping duties up to 87 percent on Chinese-made screws and bolts. - more
  • Small Fasteners Cause Big Problems for Boeing - Boeing has sold more than 900 787 Dreamliner commercial jets without ever having flown one, but with delays stacking up like holiday traffic over O'Hare you have to wonder if all those customers aren't feeling some buyer's remorse. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 12 - more
  • 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, November 11

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 2 to 818. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Oil Falls to 19-Month Low, Gasoline Tumbles, on Demand Outlook // U.S. Stocks Drop on Concern Economy Worsening //  World Bank to Lend $100 Billion to Poor Nations Over 3 Years (MSN) Europe shares slip as deep recession concern mounts (Market Watch) Weekly chain-store sales tick up - On a week-over-week basis, sales dropped 1%. // Downgrade hits life-insurance sector (Reuters) Merrill Lynch & Co Chief Executive John Thain said the global economy is in a deep slowdown and will not recover quickly, and the environment recalls 1929, the advent of the Great Depression.
  • What an ugly day! A few Baltic states were a little less pessimistic than the rest of the world (chart), but not by much. The Dow has been trading around minus 250 all morning. Dollar is now trading at 1-1/2% higher against the Euro, and crude oil is trading over 5% lower. Metals ended in a sea of red, although tin came close to gaining today. Indicator charts show nickel opened in the red and after spending much of the morning in the $200-$400/tonne negative range, it dropped harder in late trading. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the days trading at $4.85/lb . Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart). Not much breaking news out today for the metals sector. After yesterday's rash of mine and smelter closures, coming on the heels of so many announced over the past few weeks, companies and stock holders were catching their breath in stunned disbelief. No matter how many mines announce they are ceasing operations, traders can not seem to keep nickel out of the $4/lb range. And with fearful pessimism having gripped world markets, they appear to be fighting to maintain a good hold on that dollar range.  Until tomorrow...  

  Metals tumble as economic gloom resurfaces - Industrial metals tumbled on Monday, with copper falling around 4 percent, as persistent economic gloom dented the demand outlook. - more

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Dow Jones) First steel companies started to cut back output as demand from the construction industry buckled under the credit crisis and the economic slowdown, then came iron ore producers, and now coking coal miners are likely to find themselves on the chopping block. "You cannot have significant steel cutbacks, which we are seeing at least in the short term, and expect no impact for the coking coal market," said Michael Dixon, executive general manager at AME, the Australia-based minerals consultancy
  • (The Nikkei)  Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. has decided to push back construction of a nickel ore processing plant in the Philippines by one year, postponing plans that originally called for breaking ground early next year, The Nikkei learned Tuesday.
  • Now Are We In Recession? - more
  • Video - The Crash of 1929 - video here (PBS American Experience)

 Ferrochrome woes - The level of concern about trends in ferrochrome prices has escalated sharply, after a record price settlement of $2,05/ lb was achieved in the September quarter. - more

  Moly plunge hits investors - Even in an environment of declining metal prices, the sudden and violent drop in molybdenum prices has left investors in shock. - more

  Metal prices could spike as supply set to fall - Metals prices could spike when slowing demand eventually recovers because the time lag in raising mining output would limit supplies, a mineral resource consultant and policy adviser said on Tuesday. - more

  US steel mills operating at only 65% of capacity: AISI - Raw steel production in the US declined for the 12th consecutive week and dropped to levels not seen since the country's last recession in 2001, according to data reported Tuesday by the Washington DC-based American Iron and Steel Institute. - more

  Mining stocks a hugely mixed bag - Since around mid-May 2008, the world's top 100 mining stocks, measured by value, have lost two-thirds of their market value, measured on a weighted basis. This is equal to a contraction of $1,7trn. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:45 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around  $.11/lb  lower. Except for tin, metals, both precious and base, are trading in the red at the moment. The US dollar is trading higher against the Euro, but only slightly. Crude oil is trading about 4% lower, and has fallen under $60/barrel. World markets are trading mostly lower, with US futures lower. We suspect LME traders are watching to see what kind of mood US traders will be in today. The TED Spread fell below 2 yesterday, and stands at 1.75 (here). This is another reading commodity traders keep an eye on. Nickel inventories rose last night, though still seeing some decent outflow, and the BDI continues its stabilizing pattern, down a whole 2 points today.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Stainless industry says market not yet bottomed out -- conference - Stainless steel industry participants believe that the financial crisis which has hit the globe is likely to get worse, according to a poll taken at Metal Bulletin's 7th International Special and Stainless Steel Summit in Marbella, Spain, on Monday. - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metal prices ended up yesterday, but prices closed well off earlier highs, as some of the enthusiasm about China's stimulus plan faded, while a wobbly US stock market also weighed on sentiment. No doubt, there was some good short covering going on as well, particularly in nickel, which notched up a 13% gain at one point during the day. ... Monday's rebound has given way today in most (but not all) metals, as grim recessionary stats continue to roll in from all corners of the world, thus undermining any fledgling rallies. Today’s slew of negative reports come from China, Japan and Britain.  ... We are currently at $11,100, down $205, and still hanging on to yesterday's hard-fought gains. We seem to be in a sideways drift for the time being." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Macquarie Bank) In any other environment, such a mass of production cuts would be hugely bullish, but right now, with demand virtually non-existent, these cuts are simply preventing producers from ending up with uncomfortably large stocks. Producers in most commodities would echo the comments of Hernic, which stated, “The market [for ferrochrome] is dead. The bottom fell out about three or four months ago.”
  • Metal outlook remains grim despite brief rally in prices - more
  • (Xinhua) China Jan-Oct steel product export down 1.2 pct on year to 53.12 mln tons, China Jan-Oct steel product import down 5 pct to 13.47 mln tons (more)
  • (Rusmet) German crude steel output is set to fall around 2 percent this year as economic turmoil curbs demand, the country's steelmakers said on Friday, but added domestic producers were in better shape than foreign rivals.
  • (Interfax) China should adopt nickel production quota to protect domestic resources-MLR official
  • TIMELINE-Production cuts by major global steel firms - more
  • (SG) Korea Times reported that POSCO is in talks with Thailand's largest stainless steel producer Thainox to take over a controlling stake as part of efforts to beef up its global business.
  • (MB) Toledo suspends Berong nickel mine on low prices
  • (Canaccord) Running into a steel wall. The steel market has fallen off a cliff and is now showing the power of its demise by taking down the price of moly, a steel-hardening agent. According to Metal Bulletin, moly prices dropped as low as $10 per lb on Friday amid talk that prices will fall to single figures within a week. Drummed molybdic oxide fell to $10-15 per lb from US$25-27 per lb previously as deals were reported at both ends of the new Metal Bulletin range. One trader was quoted as saying, “The sniff on moly is that it’s going into single digits - there’s just so much of the stuff around.” While Metal Bulletin highlighted that traders estimated prices will fall to around $7 or $8 in the short term, but they admitted that it is increasingly hard to know where to offer amid continued panic selling. “It’s plummeting - I just don’t know what to tell people, I don’t know what to say to my customers,” one market source told Metal Bulletin.
  • (MF Global) China's primary nickel output, including content in nickel pig iron, is expected to fall 6% to 200,000 tons in 2008, this according to state-run research group Antaike. Primary nickel consumption in China is forecast to stay flat year-on-year at 315,000 tons. The state-owned research group previously forecast that China's nickel output would rise 6% to 228,000 tons this year. Nickel pig iron plants would account for 80,000 tons and refined metals from smelters for another 148,000 tons .... China is expected to produce 7.8 million tons of crude stainless steel in 2008, up just 2%, after growth of 38% last year.
  • Global Recession, Waning Local Demand Pulling Non-ferrous Metals Growth in China - pdf here
  • Weekly Forecast by SMM Specialist - more

  Outokumpu Oyj starts personnel negotiations  - Finnish stainless steel group Outokumpu Oyj said on Monday (10 November) that it will start personnel negotiations on temporary layoffs at the Tornio plant in Finland. - more

  Molybdenum Prices Fall To Lower Level Than US$20 Per Lb. / Mo, Returning To That In Spring / 04 = Owing To Suspension Of Moly Purchases For Long Period And Financial Situation At Consumers - more

  China cuts nickel production as demand weakens - China's refined nickel output is forecast to fall nearly 10 per cent to around 130,000 tonnes this year from a previous estimate as demands weakens, industry officials said. - more

  • China Jinchuan cuts nickel output one-third - sources - Jinchuan Group Ltd, China's top nickel producer, has cut its production by a third in October and November and may further reduce output next month, as demand weakens, a company source and a trade source have said. - more

  Noble Says Commodities Are Bottoming, Will Rebound  - Noble Group Ltd., the commodity supplier that more than doubled third-quarter profit, forecast a rebound in demand for metals and grains over the next 12 to 18 months as government investment programs boost economic growth. - more

  Anglo secures $644 mln loan for Brazil nickel - Brazil's Development Bank will lend mining group Anglo American Plc 1.4 billion reais ($644 million), about half the amount it is investing to expand nickel output, the bank said on Monday. - more

  Norilsk Nickel, Cubaniquel sign geological prospecting deal - Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel and Cuba's Cubanique have signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in geological prospecting in Cuba, the Russian company said on Monday. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending November 8, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 1,556,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 65.2 percent. Production was 2,110,000 tons in the week ending November 8, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 88.5 percent. The current week production represents a 26.3 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending November 8, 2008 is down 3.1 percent from the previous week ending November 1, 2008 when production was 1,605,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 67.3 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 11 - more
  • 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, November 10

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 9 to 820. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Reuters) US Sept machine tool demand up from Aug, off from year ago (Globe and Mail) Canadian corporate confidence dives again (Dow Jones) US Sep Wholesale Inventories Down As Sales Slide (Bloomberg) China Announces $586 Billion Stimulus Plan, Tax Cuts to Boost the Economy // AIG Gets Expanded Bailout, Posts $24.5 Billion Loss // U.S. Stocks Retreat as Earnings Concern Overshadows Stimulus // HSBC Sets Aside $4.3 Billion More for U.S. Loan Losses, Sees Deterioration // Deutsche Post's DHL to Cut 14,900 Jobs, Close Bulk of U.S. Delivery Unit
  • The afternoon looks much different than the morning. Everyone got caught up in the euphoria of the China stimulus package, and green was the color on the charts early on. But much of that has now changed, as the US equity markets failed to join the party. Here is where we are at. The US dollar is now trading higher against the Euro, by about 1/2 of 1%. Crude oil is now trading lower, by about 1%. Metals, which were solid green this morning, ended mixed, with precious still gainers, and base metals ending 50-50. Reuters, in an article this morning, stated that "Nickel rallied more than 13 percent," and it credited the China stimulus package and short covering for the gain. And early on, it did gain, but after US markets opened, indicator charts show the trading price turned south, and did not appear to find its footing until late in kerb trading. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $5.13/lb , still up over Friday's close, but lower than last Thursday's close. The headlines today were the closures. Ferrochrome and molybdenum mines have now joined the crashenda of closures caused by the plummet in metals prices. Stainless steel prices look to fall sharply in December. There are a few things to keep an eye on though, before planning the funeral for all of these stainless steel ingredients. The Baltic Dry Index, or the BDI, has potentially found a bottom, after plummeting from May's record high. The BDI is used by some traders to gauge the activity of raw material shipments between the countries. If the bottom holds, it could give us a gauge that activity is no longer falling. Then again, it might just tell us that carriers have reached their profitability level, and are dry docking until the economy picks back up. The last few days have seen LME nickel inventories slip by small numbers, but the reason they are, is different than it has been recently. Warehouses, in particular Rotterdam, are still receiving large daily shipments of nickel, but we are seeing large outflows also. Considering stainless steel producers have let stockpiles dwindle and are buying 'hand-to-mouth' these days, the movement's are interesting. It is also possible that neither of these two points carry any significance, and that we are as guilty as the traders for trying to find something positive amongst this mess. The collapse in molybdenum prices over the last few weeks has been stunning. This has been the one metal that stainless steel producers had grown accustomed to not being so volatile, albeit at high prices, and the drop to nearly 1/3 of where it was just a few weeks ago, is a jaw dropper. Then again, the entire degree of this commodity implosion has been a stunning development to most      

  Reports

  • Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here
  • Canada Commodity Price Update - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (SP) Global Insight projects that the 2008 annual average price of Type 304 sheet will slide to USD 4,156 per ton this year from USD 4,863 in 2007, a drop of almost 15%. They project the 2009 price at USD 4,027. ... Purchasingdata.com projects a 2008 annual average of USD 4,120 and a 2009 annual price of USD 3,996.
  • (Dow Jones) Base metals on the London Metal Exchange faded Monday after China's $586 billion fiscal stimulus package provoked an early rally.
  • (CommerzBank) - The main reason for the nosedive on the nickel market is the very weak nickel demand for some months. Unlike other base metals, this trend is not limited to the industrial countries; even in China, by far the largest consumer accounting for nearly a quarter of global demand, consumption in August was due to WBMS figures 30% down on May. Although this decline may have been exaggerated by the closure of facilities during the Olympic Games, the demand trend is definitely weak. The key to this trend lies in the stainless steel industry, absorbing nearly two thirds of nickel supply: production here has been falling in the year-on-year for several quarters..... In our view, nickel is strongly oversold at present. Huge outflows of investors’ money from the commodities market, rapid deterioration of the overall economic conditions for industrial commodities, high risk aversion, the sell-off of risk investments (so-called de-hedging) and partial involuntary liquidations have resulted in nickel prices nearly halving since the start of September. This price slump is exaggerated in our opinion, with a large part of nickel production now unprofitable. LME stocks, which have recently climbed to their highest level since May 1999, do not reflect the fundamental picture in our view, as stock inflows are due more to the higher counter-party risks in off-floor trading and stronger reduction of stocks by metal traders and producers. But times will change: the dramatic price fall will prompt more suppliers to cut production levels or cause planned new projects to be substantially delayed. Thereby, forecasts of a strong increase in supply in 2009 should prove to be too optimistic."

  Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. Announces Molybdenum Production Curtailment and Plans to Defer Restart of Climax Molybdenum Mine - Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. announced today in response to the recent sharp decline in molybdenum prices plans to reduce production from its Henderson primary molybdenum mine and to defer the restart of the Climax molybdenum mine. - more

  • Hundreds will lose jobs after firm scraps plans to reopen Leadville mine - The mountain town of Leadville, where optimism has soared over the past year about the reopening of the Climax molybdenum mine, received bad news today, when mining company Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc. announced it has abandoned the plans because of a drop in the price of the mineral. - more

  Xstrata cuts ferrochrome output on weak demand - Xstrata and its chrome partner Merafe Resources said on Monday they would suspend six ferrochrome furnaces in South Africa due to weak demand, cutting output by 80 000 tonnes this year. - more

  Outlook weakens for moly companies - It was not long ago that molybdenum (or moly, as it's called) emerged as one of the surprising stars of the commodity boom. But how things have changed in a very short time. RBC Capital Markets analyst Fraser Phillips wrote that prices have dropped from US$32 a pound at the end of September to just US$11 a pound today. - more

  Stainless steel importers oppose import duty; seek FM's help - Stainless steel importers, including utensil manufacturers, have urged Finance Ministry P Chidambaram not to impose import duty on the alloy, saying it would lead to a monopoly of low-quality domestic products in the market. - more

  Botswana: Metal Price Crunch Hits Tati Nickel - Tati Nickel Mine is feeling the impact of falling global metal prices resulting from the global economic downturn. - more

  China courts Cuban and Latino comrades - Most of China’s dealings with Latin American countries are motivated by its pursuit of oil and other resources.  - more

  • Russia, Cuba to sign documents on cooperation when Raul Castro visits moscow  - Cuban leader Raul Castro is expected to visit Russia early next year. - more

  Analysts again are revising 2009 nonferrous price forecasts; downward even further - If you can believe it, analysts are again revisiting their 2009 commodity forecasts for base metals. - more

 

  • LatAm Mining Crash Effects: Losers and Bigger Losers - Some countries are relatively unaffected by the metals price retreat. The ones largely immune, or unconcerned, are Argentina, Venezuela and Paraguay - more

  NACE International 2007 Glossary of Corrosion-Related Terms - pdf here

  • Weights of different types of metal sheets - pdf here

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.64/lb higher. China's surprise announcement that it would stimulate its economy with a $586 billion dollar boost over the next few years, has traders salivating. World equity markets are all trading in the green, US futures are in the green, metals, both precious and base, are trading in the green, crude oil is trading in the green (by about 7%), and the Euro is trading 3/4 of 1% higher against the US dollar.    
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Financial Times - more

  Reports

  • Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here (in depth report on nickel today)
  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Metals Fundamental Report - pdf here
  • Morning Montra - pdf here
  • Morning Bell - pdf here
  • Base Metals Monthly - pdf here
  • The Chart Store Weekly Scoreboard - pdf here
  • Metals Report - pdf here
  • GFMS Nickel Report - here
  • Broadening the Statistical Search for Metal Price Super Cycles to Steel and Related Metals - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metals closed on a miserable note last week, losing more ground on Friday, as the steady drip-feed of gloomy macro news took its toll on the complex. Despite the rather gloomy day on Friday, things are decisively more upbeat as we start the current week. This is due mainly to news out of China that the government is planning to put forward a $586 billion stimulus plan, equivalent to almost a fifth of China's $3.3 trillion GDP. ... While such an injection of cash is certainty constructive, we are skeptical about the "staying power" of this move on metal prices, and doubt it will be enough to propel the complex to a higher trading range. Keep in mind that the money will be doled out in stages and not completely spent until the end of 2010. Moreover, we should remember that Japan spent the same amount of money, (if not more), on a variety of public works during the 1990's in a futile attempt to jump-start its economy. ... We are currently at $12,206, up $1231 and having a robust move off the Chinese news. The current advance-- should it continue-- could take nickel to just under $14,000, where we expect things to stall.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Itar-Tass) - Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin has had a long meeting with Cuban leader Raul Castro in Havana, local sources said on Sunday. ... The sides signed a number of trade and economic documents, which pledged further cooperation in the production of oil and nickel, transport and Russian investments.
  • (China Knowledge) Export orders of iron and steel products has dropped by about 50% in the fourth quarter of this year, according to an official with the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA).
  • (Newswire) Win-Eldrich Mines Limited announces that the world selling price for molybdenum concentrate, which is produced from its 40% owned Ashdown Project LLC mine in Nevada, had dropped during the recent turmoil in the commodities markets from the $33 to $ 34 range to the $ 11 to $ 13 range.
  • (Reuters) Europe's second largest steelmaker Corus said on Friday that it decided to extend the production cuts it announced last month beyond December. - more
  • (JMB) Global supply-demand of nickel for 2009/ Excess supply - to increase to 89 thousand tons/ Development projects can be halted/ Forecast by Sumitomo Metal Mining
  • UC RUSAL early repaid of the $4.5 bln loan provided by a syndicate of foreign banks in April 2008. The loan was used to finance the acquisition of a 25% plus two shares stake in MMC Norilsk Nickel.

  Outokumpu taking action to adjust to the weak stainless steel market - As Outokumpu stated in the outlook of its third quarter interim report, the stainless steel demand is currently weak and the company expects its fourth quarter delivery volumes to be at about the same level or slightly above the volumes in the third quarter, which is clearly below the company's full production capacity. - more

  Xstrata suspends ferrochrome furnaces on weak demand - Xstrata and its chrome partner Merafe Resources said on Monday they would suspend six ferrochrome furnaces in South African due to weak demand, cutting output by 80,000 tonnes this year. - more

  No respite for the molybdenum market as prices move lower again - Molybdenum prices in Europe registered another sizable drop this week as the selloff, which has seen both moly oxide and ferromoly prices shed around 60% of their value since the beginning of October, showed few immediate signs of abating. - more

  Chinese company’s development of PNG nickel mine chaotic says affected landowner - A landowner in Ramu in Papua New Guinea’s Madang province has described the development by the Chinese operators of the massive nickel mine project as chaotic. - more

  • 120 more ‘illegals’ held - The number of non-citizens working “illegally” with the Ramu nickel mine has gone up to 223 after 120 more Chinese “illegals” were arrested at the Basamuk refinery site in Madang last Friday. - more
  • Talks over work permit issues continue between RamuNico and PNG govt - Talks over work permit issues between Papua New Guinea’s department of Labour and Employment and the Chinese company building the Ramu nickel mine continue in Port Moresby today. - more
  • Blames government on permit delays of up to a year – The Chinese-owned Ramu nickel project in Papua New Guinea is five months behind its development schedule, due mainly, it says, to delays in the work permit process. - more

  Goldman Sachs Cuts 2008 Forecast for Copper, Nickel, Platinum - Copper, nickel and platinum will average less than previously expected this year after owners of stockpiled metal sold their assets to raise cash, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said. - more

  • China Infra Boost To Help Commodities; Slowdown Drags  -China's decision to boost its economy with a massive two-year $586 billion infrastructure and social welfare spending program should help commodity markets but there are doubts about how far the spending can offset poor demand in developed economies, analysts said Monday. - more

  Global Nickel Market to Reach 2.5 Million Tons by 2015, According to New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. - Global demand for nickel is being primarily driven by the rising production of stainless steel in emerging economies. The global nickel market is projected to reach 2.46 million tons by the year 2015. - more

  Rio, Fortescue cut iron ore output as China weakens - Rio Tinto Ltd/Plc, the world’s No. 2 iron ore miner, will slash output by as much as a third for the rest of this year, joining its Brazilian rival in trying to stem a fall in prices as Chinese steel demand slumps. - more

  • Rio Tinto output cut shows depth of financial crisis - Rio Tinto's resolve to cut Pilbara iron ore production is a clear indication that the global financial crisis is creeping into our real economy. - more

  Financial market crisis requires strong response of the EU to secure viability of the EU steel industry - Steel demand globally - and in the EU in particular - has hugely declined as the financial crisis has pushed the economy to recession. - more

  • Disturbing market conditions and dramatic price cuts - At this year’s BIR Spring Convention in Monte-Carlo, there had been evidence of optimism and even bullishness, according to Ferrous Division President Christian Rubach of Interseroh Hansa Recycling GmbH of Germany. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 10 - more
  • 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, November 7

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 10 to 829. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Jobless Rate in U.S. Jumps to 6.5%, Highest Since 1994, as Payrolls Tumble //  Dollar Declines Against Euro as Jobless Rate Rises to Highest Since 1994 (CNN) Ford Pushes Cost Cuts After $7.7 Billion 3Q Cash-Burn // Fed programs pour hundreds of billions into banking system, lowering rates, but banks still hesitant to lend. Bonds fall ahead of jobs report. (Reuters) Chrysler cash drains away as crisis deepens (MarketWatch) GM posts $2.54 billion loss as revenue tumbles
  • Apologies for the late delay - internet access problems. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $4.98/lb .

  Reports

  • International Nickel Study Group Press Release - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Dow Jones) The German steel association Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahl Friday lowered its 2008 steel production forecast, citing a weaker fourth quarter. The association now expects 2008 crude steel production of 47.5 million tons, down from 48.5 million tons previously.
  • (Dow Jones) The stronger dollar is putting pressure on base metals, which have lost their earlier gains and are trading near fresh lows, says Standard Bank analyst Leon Westgate.
  • (Dow Jones) South Africa's Hernic Ferrochrome (Pty) Ltd is to cut production by around 40% or 168,000 metric tons from Dec. 5 and will assess future production plans on a monthly basis, a company executive told Dow Jones Newswires Friday.
  • (Bloomberg) Hurricane Paloma strengthened over the Caribbean and may grow more powerful before hitting the island of Cuba, which is still recovering from the impact of Ike and Gustav. (graph)
  • Chinese manufacturing in free fall as export markets collapse - more
  • Marc Faber on the recent government rebate - "'The federal government is sending each of us a $600 rebate. If we spend that money at Wal-Mart, the money goes to China. If we spend it on gasoline it goes to the Arabs. If we buy a computer it will go to India. If we purchase fruit and vegetables it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. If we purchase a good car it will go to Germany. If we purchase useless crap it will go to Taiwan and none of it, will help the American economy. The only way to keep that money here at home is to spend it on prostitutes and beer, since these are the only products still produced in US. I've been doing my part."

  World Scrap Congress: Russian Duties Limit Trade - Scrap flows from Russia are likely to remain tepid, as the nation’s leaders continue to impose 30 to 50 percent export duties on outbound scrap.

  Downturn in metals market expected to continue - The president of the British Metals Recycling Association, Michael Wright, has told the autumn meeting of the Bureau for International Recycling's Stainless Steel and Special Alloy Round-table that stainless steel production and associated demand for raw materials is not expected to improve until the second quarter of 2009 "at the earliest". - more

  ThyssenKrupp on track to start up steel processing plant in 2010 - A year after breaking ground on its massive steel processing project in southwest Alabama, ThyssenKrupp says it has completed a number of milestones and is poised to start up the facility on schedule in 2010. - more

  State Officials Lay Claim To Prime Positions at Norilsk - A squad of state officials will join the management and board of Norilsk Nickel to “ensure the interests” of Vneshekonombank, after the lender took a stake in the mining company as collateral for a loan, United Company RusAl said Wednesday. - more

  '60 Minutes': Following the trail of toxic e-waste - When 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley and his crew went to China to record the black market dismantling of electronic waste, or e-waste, the experience was almost as hazardous for the 60 Minutes team as working with the toxic material is for poor Chinese workers. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:40 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.01/lb higher. Indicator charts show nickel took a decent bounce in pre-trading, but has since retreated and faltering. Metals are mixed and subdued this morning. Crude oil is trading a little over 1% higher, and the Euro is trading higher against the Dollar by a little over 1/2 of 1%. Asian markets ended mostly lower, while European markets are trading higher. US futures shows a positive start for the Dow, but this may not last. MarketWatch headline this morning "Unemployment rate leaps to 14-year high 6.5% - Payrolls fall 240,000 in October; September losses much worse than thought." It could be traders have anticipated this report coming out worse than economists expected, and this has already priced into the market after two days of serious drops. The Pending Home Sales report out in an hour or so, may come in better than expected and give the market some gas. Dow appears to be in an oversold situation, so the reports may mean little today. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart).    
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "LME metal prices fell sharply yesterday, as fears continue to mount about both the depth and duration of the current downturn. On this topic, the IMF issued a report yesterday saying that growth in the developed countries during 2009 will come in at its lowest level since World War II, and given the depressing statistics we are seeing of late, we would have to agree. The IMF now says it expects 2009 global economic growth of 2.2%, down a whopping 0.8% from its October forecast. Metals were also buffeted yesterday by another meltdown in the US equity markets, where stocks have given up about 800 points in the last two days alone, as a combination of weak economic data, hedge fund selling, and poor corporate earnings reports weigh on sentiment. Declines in interest rates -- once a sure trigger for a stock market rally -- are hardly packing much of a punch either, best illustrated by the fact that European stocks fell yesterday despite aggressive rate cuts put through both by the Bank of England and the ECB. Some are suggesting that the British rate cut was so steep, that it actually backfired in terms of impact, leading participants to conclude that the Bank may be running scared. ... We are slightly higher at the time of this writing in very quiet trading, as commodities are seeing a slight bounce due to a weaker dollar and some likely short-covering after two days of rather aggressive selling. However, these are still very fragile markets, and rallies remain vulnerable.  ... We are currently at $11,500, up $95 and quiet."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Bloomberg) Eighteen of 27 analysts, investors and traders, or 67 percent, surveyed by Bloomberg News said copper will decline, the most negative response since the week ended July 25. (copper sometimes sets the tone for other base metal prices if movement is hard)
  • (Yieh) The international demand for steel is likely to slip by 5 percent in 2009 due to the intensified economic recession. According to Peter Marcus, the managing partner of World Steel Dynamics (WSD), the global apparent steel demand will be down by 3 percent in 2008, and the new orders for steel in all regions of the world have been declined.
  • (Xinhua) China's coal consumption will reach 2.74 billion ton in 2008, up 4.5% YOY, marking a 5% slide as compared with last year's growth, said Jia Fusheng, an official of the National Development and Reform Commission.
  • (Xinhua) China's steelworks now are complaining that they only received halved export orders for the fourth quarter due to the weakening demand caused by global financial crisis and wait-and-see attitude of foreign buyers, said Luo Bingsheng, vice chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA).
  • (MB) Russian nickel producer Ufaleynickel slammed the London Metal Exchange's plans for cobalt and molybdenum contracts on Wednesday, saying that the launch of the minor metals on the exchange could attract unwelcome volatility and manipulation by financial players
  • (FT) Oleg Deripaska's UC Rusal said yesterday the Russian government could soon gain a presence on the board of Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel miner, after it received $4.5bn in state bail-out funds to pay off western creditors.
  • Obama May Want to Demand a Recount  - more
  • (Dow Jones) Russia exported 181,500 metric tons of nickel in the first nine months of the year, 0.7% more than in January-September 2007, the federal customs service said Friday. The exported nickel was worth $4.152 billion compared with $6.575 billion a year earlier.

  Chinese Mining Company Denies PNG 'Racket' – The Chinese mining company, Ramu Nickel, has hit back at reports claiming there may be another racket of corrupt officials admitting Chinese, for a fee and stating "Ramu project" as their destination, and "engineer" as their occupation.- more

  • Ramu cries foul - The Chinese company, Ramu Nickel, has hit back at reports claiming there may be another racket of corrupt officials admitting Chinese, for a fee and stating “Ramu project” as their destination, and “engineer” as their occupation. - more

  58000 workers needed to sustain mining industry to '20 - An additional labour force of 58,000 will be required by 2020 if Australia is to maintain its current share of commodities, says the Director, Environment and Social Policy at the Minerals Council of Australia, Melanie Stutsel. - more

 Japan takes hard line over BHP’s Rio bid - Japan has threatened BHP Billiton with legal action if the mining giant does not provide confidential details of its proposed $144 billion takeover bid for arch rival Rio Tinto. - more

  • Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 31st October 2008 - = Japan Commences To Decrease Crude Steel Production And Holds Back New Purchases Of Ferro-Alloys - more

  Cambodia's nascent mining industry faces new challenges as commodity prices plummet and the global financial crisis puts the squeeze on capital - A BHP Billiton truck is pictured at a mine in the Pilbara region of West Australia. BHP Billiton is exploring for bauxite on a 97,373-hectare concession in Cambodia’s Mondulkiri province. - more

  Mining industry eyes China and Dubai for investments - The Philippine mining industry is targeting China and Dubai for investments amid the slowdown in western markets due to the ongoing financial crisis. - more

  China Closes down Overseas Mining Investments - Beijing wants to focus resources on investing at home – an unwise idea - China is adding to recessionary forces and damaging its own interests by turning off the foreign investment tap after asset prices have plunged. The Asia Sentinel has learned that that the central government has issued a directive to mainland mining and mineral processing companies to freeze all overseas investments until they see a pick up in global business - more

  Kiev May Take Over RusAl Plant - Ukraine may renationalize the Zaporozhsky aluminum plant, controlled by United Company RusAl, if it does not resume production and do more to modernize the facility, Fuel and Energy Minister Yury Prodan said Tuesday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 7 - more
  • 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, November 6

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 13 to 839. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (MarketWatch) The number of U.S. residents collecting state unemployment benefits reached the highest level in 25 years, rising by 122,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.84 million in the week ending Oct. 25, the Labor Department reported Thursday. // Record-low consumer confidence haunted retailers in October, as most missed already-lowered monthly sales expectations, signaling a dreary outlook for the crucial holiday season.(Bloomberg) The Bank of England led European central banks in reducing borrowing costs to counter the worst financial crisis in almost a century, cutting its key rate by 1.5 percentage points to the lowest level since 1955.  (CNN) Dow falls below 9,000 in accelerated selloff
  • Markets were in a sour mood today, with few gainers. The US dollar is trading higher against the Euro by 1-1/3% higher, while crude oil is trading 6-1/2% lower. Metals, both precious and base, which was all traded lower, except for palladium, which ended barely in the green. Indicator charts show nickel was rebounding out of the basement during our morning update, but that fell part quickly. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $5.17/lb .  The Bank of England's 1.5% cut today, took traders by surprise and started many to wondering just how bad things really were. According to Barron's, "continuing claims for unemployment insurance surged 122,000 in the Oct. 25 week to a 25-year high of 3.843 million, the biggest headline in the weekly claims report and pointing to continued contraction in the labor market." Without jobs, Americans don't have disposable income to spend. With so many neighbors out of work, a lot of those who still have jobs, hold onto to what disposable income they still have, out of fear of losing their jobs. This was reflected in the drop in retail sales reported today. After peaking out on October 27th, and falling since, the volatility index has been rising since election day, reflected renewed nervousness in the market.       

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (MF) Eti Krom will look to acquire ferro-chrome assets in China in 2010 once the stainless steel market has rebounded
  • (MF) Indonesia's PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) plans to shut down 15000 tpy ferro-nickel smelter to redesign it so it can produce at capacity

  Two more mines to shed staff as price falls - The global financial crisis has resulted in yet more casualties in the local nickel sector. - more

  Russian metals firms cut output, capex - Steel and metals producers in Russia have announced widespread cuts in production and capital expenditure plans to cope with a slowdown in demand and the need to refinance loans during the global financial crisis. - more

  Falling global commodity prices to affect IDCOL units - The falling commodity price in the global market has badly hit the operation of two manufacturing units of the state owned Industrial Development Corporation of Orissa Limited. - more

  Vale CEO sees no price negotiations without ore demand - The chief executive of Brazilian iron ore miner Vale, Roger Agnelli, said Thursday he sees no start to term price negotiations with steel companies until the global financial crisis eases and normal demand for ore returns. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.27/lb lower, but rebounding.  Precious metals are trading mostly higher, while base metals are all lower. US dollar is trading by about 1% higher against the Euro after the Bank of England cut its key lending rate by a record 1.5 percentage points to 3%, double the cut expected. Crude oil is trading 2-3/4% lower. As we post, world equity markets are nearly all trading lower, and US futures show a lower opening.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  Stainless prices falling on weak demand, lower nickel tags - Plunging nickel prices and weakening demand are combining to send stainless steel prices down further by the end of the year, according to Global Insight economists. - more

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metal prices dropped sharply yesterday, giving up practically all of Tuesday's solid gains, as the US pre-election bounce that lifted most financial and commodity markets over the last few days seems to have run its course. ... The dollar started the day off stronger, and although it sold off over the course of the session, it did not stabilize prices much. Neither did the US stock market, which had another bad day yesterday, finishing almost 500 points lower on earnings worries and poor macro data. ... All this angst is spilling over into today's session. We had limit down moves in Shanghai, setting the stage for the negative session we are seeing now. ...We are currently at $11,850, down $450 and quiet.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • China's fastest-changing cities - more
  • (Yieh) Due to the slow demand and reducing orders, the production cut by Southeast Asia’s main stainless steel mills is expected to be around 50 percent.
  • (MNP) The plummeting nickel price has claimed another scalp with Scandinavian-focused Dragon Mining suspending development of its Vammala nickel project in light of grim nickel projections.
  • (CM) The downward trend of China's steel prices gradually entered a period of leveling off last week (Oct.24~31), according to a recent research by Mysteel, an accounting agency for steelworks.
  • (JMP) Sumitomo Metal Mining announced on Wednesday the firm extends feasibility study on nickel project in Mindanao, Philippines for another 1 year while the firm planned to finish the study in late 2008

  Commodity Price Drop Overdone, Anglo Chairman Says - The recent drop in commodity prices and mining shares in response to the global financial crisis was overdone, Anglo American Plc Chairman Mark Moody-Stuart said. - more

  • Rio, BHP May Cut Iron Ore Prices by 15%, Analysts Say - Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's second- and third-largest iron ore exporters, may be forced to cut prices by 15 percent next year, ending six years of gains, because of slowing demand from steel mills in Asia. - more

  The Chinese Government company building the Ramu nickel plant in Papua New Guinea’s Madang Province says it had been waiting, in some cases for more than a year, for more than 200 work permits to be processed. - more

  • Another 41 non-citizens, all from mainland China were apprehended yesterday at Malolo Lodge outside Madang Town and Basamuk area for breaches of Papua New Guinea labor and immigration laws. - more

  Commodity crunch drawing attention print this article - Despite a dramatic drop in prices for commodities such as oil and nickel, Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale doesn’t see it as a threat to at least two megaprojects in this province. - more

 Government’s silence deafening as BMR saga intensifies - The Botswana government has been slammed for its deafening silence over the collapse of Norilsk Nickel Botswana Metal Refineries Activox project. - more

  Manila says falls short of 08 mining investment goal - The Philippine government will not meet its target of attracting $1 billion in investments to its mining sector this year as companies rethink their plans due to the global financial crisis, a senior official said on Thursday. - more

  • Cargo thru PPA ports posts 3rd monthly drop - (excerpt) Nickel shipments through Nasipit and nickel silicate ores and coal from Surigao also declined. - more

  Deripaska's Rusal Tries to Contest Norilsk Nickel Minorities' Buyback After the Fact - United Company Rusal, the metals conglomerate owned by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, is attempting to reverse the buyback of Norilsk Nickel after the court order freezing the buyback had come too late. - more

   Molybdenum Takes On A Dozen Zincs - Pushing the known boundaries of bonding in transition-metal compounds, a European research team has synthesized a highly coordinated complex containing a MoZn12 core. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 6 - more
  • 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, November 5

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  plus 11 to 826. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Canadian Press) Toronto home sales, prices plunge (Dow Jones) US Mortgage Applications Fell 20.3% Last Week: MBA // US Sep Factory Orders Fall More Than Expected  (RTT) Wednesday morning, the Institute for Supply Management released its report on activity in the service sector in the month of October, showing that activity in the sector contracted at a slower than expected pace. // US dollar weakens against most majors following ISM non-manufacturing survey report
  • US markets opened lower, following European markets. Dollar switched positions on the ISM report, and is now trading lower against the Euro, by about 4/10 of a percent. Crude oil doesn't seem to be getting the falling dollar bounce today, and is now trading 5-1/2% lower. Metals ended much like they were trading earlier, Precious, except for gold, were higher, while base metals, except for tin, traded lower. Indicator charts show nickel opened in the basement, climbed its way into the green in early afternoon trading, before falling back into the cellar late. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $5.57/lb . Traders appear to still be watching the dollar, crude oil, and equity markets for direction. Without any signs of economic recovery, and inventories of metals still building, there is little else to base an investment on. Amongst the economic bad days today, there was a slight uptick in Baltic Dry Index. Whether its downward trend has turned or not, we will have to wait and see. Nickel inventories fell a little overnight, and cancelled warrants stayed under 1-1/2%. Posted an article below that is a little of topic, but interesting. Apparently European wine has been found to have too much nickel in it. Why so late with this valuable news? Can you imagine how useful this information would have been last year, when you couldn't find nickel unless you were stealing it? "Honey, the boys are meeting down at the bar to filter some nickel - be back when I can walk again." Probably best we keep this information quiet. This kind of news gets out and we can already see wineries adding a nickel surcharge to each bottle!!

  Reports

  • The Steel Weekly - pdf here
  • Danske Commodity Monthly - more

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Commodities in recession as speculative bubble bursts - but the purge is over - more
  • AK Steel Announces December 2008 Surcharges for Electrical and Stainless Steels - our page
  • Heavy Metals Found in Wine - Red and white wines from most European nations carry potentially dangerous doses of at least seven heavy metals, U.K. researchers find. - more
  • 20,000 Chinese Thermoses Confiscated in Argentina - According to Diarios y Noticias, the stainless steel flasks contained excessive levels of magnesium, chrome, nickel, and possibly lead. - more
  • (CM) The 2008 China New Stainless Steel Materials and Corrosion Resistant Alloys Exposition & International Forum is scheduled to be held between November 23-25 in Foshan city in Guangzhou province, South China.

  Base metal outlook weak, but will improve - The "stronger-for-longer" demand picture for base metals is now taking a backseat to the global credit crisis, according to Wellington West Capital Markets analysts Steve Parsons and Catherine Gignac. - more

  Hit by slowdown, Orissa steelmakers seek bailout - Orissa's sponge iron industry has been hit hard by the economic slowdown, notwithstanding a rush for new projects in the state, forcing existing players to cut production and downsize workforce, government and industry officials said. - more

  Chinese workers charged over PNG permits- Authorities in Papua New Guinea have charged sixty Chinese nationals over a breach of immigration and labour laws. - more

  Asian Average Carbon Steel Prices - Latest Forecast from MEPS - Financial problems across the region are expected to negatively affect demand over the coming months. - here

  Rusal to appeal over Norilsk Nickel buyback -  The worlds largest aluminium producer Rusal, which is a 25% stakeholder in Norilsk Nickel, has announced it intends to ask the Federal Financial Markets Service to investigate 26 Billion Rubles worth of purchases made by Norilsk on October 29 after an injunction granted by the Krasnoyarsk region arbitration court. - more

  People working in mines, plating factories, cement industries are mainly exposed to chrome substances, hexavalent chromium has been implicated for its toxic effect on the nasal mucosa. - medical study cost and info here

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.16/lb  lower.  Base metals, except for tin, are trading lower, while precious metals, except for gold, are trading higher. US dollar is trading 8/10% higher against the Euro, while crude oil is trading 3% lower.     
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more Asian markets responded favorably to the Obama Presidential victory overnight, while European markets aren't so optimistic this morning. U.S. futures show an opening in the red. And MarketWatch has just reported "Companies in the U.S. private sector shed 157,000 jobs in October, according to the ADP employment report released Wednesday. The report comes two days before the Labor Department reports on nonfarm payroll growth for October. The report suggests that the job report could be very weak."
  • Reuters - more

  BIR Autumn Round-Table Sessions - Market improvement not before second quarter of 2009 - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "America has a new president in what was a clear victory for Barack Obama. Financial markets, however, still seem to be in the midst of discounting this historic event. The dollar rallied initially on the news and the Japanese stock market finished higher on the day, but the greenback is now starting to lose ground, while US stocks are expected to open somewhat lower as of this writing. The commodity markets are broadly lower, this coming after a solid day yesterday where we saw an impressive push higher across the board. We believe that most markets are still grappling with the ramifications of the US election and it may be dangerous to read too much into things at this early stage.... We think we are going to have quite a choppy day today, but suspect that metals could lift somewhat from where they are now over the course of the session, especially if US equities gain ground. For the time being, we still are of the opinion that metals are in the midst of carving out a trading range. This implies that a bottom has been reached in a number of complexes and that a sideways drift may lie ahead. ... We are currently at $12,350, down $550 and quiet after a very strong day yesterday. " (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Xinhua) The Purchase Management Index (PMI) of China's manufacturing sector dropped to 44.6 percent in October, down 6.6 percentage points from the previous month, according to the latest report released by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP).
  • (Interfax) Jinchuan hikes refined nickel ex-works price
  • Nickel – where to from here? - more
  • The Good And Bad News About Base Metal Prices - more
  • (Reuters) HudBay Minerals said Tuesday it would delay construction of its Fenix nickel project in Guatemala due to falling metals prices and economic uncertainty. HudBay acquired Fenix through its recent takeover of Skye Resources.
  • Allegheny Ludlum announced surcharges on stainless steel for December 2008 on Tuesday. The surcharge on 304 stainless steel drops from $1.12/lb to $.71/lb, and on 316 stainless steel, the surcharge drops from $1.94/lb to $1.32/lb. AK Steel has yet to publish.

  Recently, the Chinese stainless steel market has seemingly rebounded from its weakness during the last period, under steel mills’ policies. - more

  The Koniambo nickel mine and smelter is slated to start first production in 2011 and doesn't need a $7-a-pound nickel price to break even, said Xstrata's joint venture partner, the government-backed nickel miner La Societe Miniere du Sud Pacifique. - more

  A joint special operation with officers from the Labour and Foreign Affairs departments and members of the Trans-National Crime unit detained 84 Chinese at the Ramu nickel mine, in Madang Province. - more

  Sumitomo Mining may delay Taganito nickel project - Sumitomo Metal Mining Co (5713.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Japan's largest nickel producer, said on Wednesday it may delay the start of its Taganito nickel project in the Philippines to explore the possibility of cutting project costs. - more

  ArcelorMittal SA, the world's largest steelmaker, on Wednesday reported third-quarter profit rose 29 percent but said it would cut output by nearly a third as a sharp economic slowdown dampens demand for steel used in houses and cars. - more

  BHP bid for Rio Tinto draws fire from EU, Japan - BHP Billiton's $US78 billion hostile bid for Rio Tinto has come under fire from competition regulators in Europe and Japan amid concern that the deal would result in higher iron ore, steel and copper prices. - more

  • BHP’s Rio Bid: Happy Birthday - more

  India And China Are Key Countries To Reduce Production Of Ferro-Chrome - Prices In Europe Are Falling, Measure To Decrease Production Only In South Africa Has Limitation - more

  Japanese Conglomerate Takes $40-million Stake in Junior Canadian Explorer's Promising Alaskan Nickel Property - Pure Nickel Inc. is extremely pleased to announce that it has entered into an exploration and option agreement with ITOCHU Corporation, a multi-billion dollar Japanese conglomerate.  - more

  Allegheny Technologies to lay off 700 workers - Allegheny Technologies Inc. is laying off workers at plants in the Pittsburgh area, including its Midland facility. - more

  Seventh class-action lawsuit filed against US steelmakers - A seventh class-action lawsuit was filed October 29 in US District Court of Northern Illinois, seeking damages from eight US steelmakers under US antitrust laws. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 5 - more
  • 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, November 4 (US Election Day)

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 12 to 815. (chart) (article)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) September Factory Orders in the U.S. Slumped More Than Forecast (Reuters) China stocks slip to 26-month closing low (MarketWatch) The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its cash rate by a larger-than-expected three-quarters of a percentage point Tuesday, citing the effects of the global slowdown, falling commodity prices and a likely downturn in domestic spending. // Oil climbs past $70 a barrel on dollar weakness (AP) World markets surge as America votes  (Reuters) The dollar endured its biggest one-day drop against a basket of currencies in 13 years on Tuesday with investors betting global interest rate cuts, which would typically boost the U.S. currency, will stimulate growth and alleviate the global financial crisis. // Dollar 3-month Libor at lowest in five months
  • Metals got a triple punch of positive news throughout the trading day, and reacted accordingly. Most importantly, the US dollar is presently trading 3% lower against the Euro, a huge drop for one day. Second, crude oil is trading 10% higher than yesterday. And lastly, world equity markets, and the Dow in particular, traded higher. This helped to light a fire under metals which all ended higher. Indicator charts show nickel started in pre-market trading in the cellar, took a huge bounce, but by our morning update, had settled back down. Since then, nickel has been on the rise, an accent that did not end until they kicked the traders off the floor. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day 8% higher, at $5.85/lb . Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday and today's trading stayed above the TL5 trendline Mr Khamar shows (chart here). Nickel inventories stored in LME warehouses rose again overnight, and cancelled warrants remain within the 1-2% range. The TED Spread, an indicator of perceived credit risk in the general economy, continues to decline (here). Today, the world awaits news on who will become the next President of the United States. Based upon media reports we have seen, and e-mail's that we have received from overseas readers, it appears if the world had a vote, Obama would be the decisive choice. We will have to see what vision the majority of American's hold.

  Reports

  • China Commodities Weekly for the Week of October 27-31, 2008 - more

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • China - Yuanjiang Nickel official - "Prices of various types of nickel metal have been low, leading the company to record losses, which we hope to reduce via the production cutback. We suspended refined nickel sales after spot prices fell below CNY 150,000 per tonne, and have now amassed stockpiles of approximately 200 tons. Considering the current spot price of around CNY 140,000 per tonne, we would lose approximately CNY 60,000 per tonne from selling each ton of refined nickel. As such, we would rather wait for prices to improve than sell at a loss."
  • Patrick Astre - Certified Financial Planner, Enrolled Agent, Registered Financial Consultant - There are no clear defining lines from recession to boom. It isn't like throwing on a light switch in a room. It's more of a slow, gradual dawn lighting up the eastern sky, taking its time to arrive. We want to find trends, not sudden eruptions from good to bad … we want to go from bad to just a little less bad. It's different this time: Sure it is, and the check's in the mail and you're my one and only. Don't believe what you hear from the economic pundits. Economics was invented to make astrology look good. In the late 50s and early 60s we had an economic boom partly based on new technologies like transistors. The "nifty fifty" stocks reigned supreme and surely it was different this time. Then along came the early 70s and the Arab oil embargo. We were going to run out of oil in eight years, they said … it was different this time. Then we had the inflation and high interest rates of the late 80s, stock market crash of 1987, the 90s Internet boom, technology meltdown of 2000 followed by 9/11 and now the sub-prime crisis. Every down turn was followed by an economic boom and vice versa. It's never "different this time" and this is no exception.  (s)
  • Jim Rogers: America is bankrupt (English version) - more
  • Global recession has begun: John Kemp - more

  Arbitrator Sets Implementation Period in U.S.-Mexico Steel Dispute - On October 31, the World Trade Organization (WTO) released the report of an arbitrator regarding the reasonable period of time for the United States to implement the recommendations and rulings of the Dispute Settlement Body in the case “U.S.-Final Anti-Dumping Measures on Stainless Steel from Mexico” (DS344). - more

  Stainless steel sector seeks import duty hike - Stainless steel industry has sought imposition of up to 20 per cent import duty on the alloy to check cheaper shipments from China, Korea and Taiwan amid slackening demand and volatility in raw material prices. - more

  Miner Plans Share Sale and Job Cuts - Mount Gibson Iron, an Australian mining company facing defaults on iron-ore purchases from Chinese buyers, said Monday that it would issue shares to raise more capital and temporarily cut a third of its work force. - more

  • Vale chief attacks rivals' ore sales - Iron ore earnings forecasts for Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton could be set for a cut after it emerged the miners may not be receiving the full benchmark price for all their shipments. - more

  EU says "no comment" on Rio-BHP objections - The European Commission said on Tuesday it would not comment on BHP Billiton's announcement it had received a statement of objections from the EU executive over plans to take over rival Rio Tinto. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.03/lb  lower. The Euro is trading nearly 2% higher against the Dollar, and crude oil is also trading nearly 2% higher. Metals are mostly higher, both precious and base, with nickel and aluminum bucking the current trend, but only slightly. According to indicator charts, nickel has already traded within a $1000/tonne range n pre-market trading to afternoon trading. Markets have closed, or are currently trading n the green, with US futures also stronger. We've posted some research below that we did over the weekend that some might find useful. Use the information at your own risk.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Other metals ended mixed, as rising LME stocks and dismal macro news out of the US weighed on values. In this respect, we had the ISM October manufacturing index falling at its fastest clip in some 26 years yesterday.... Of course, the next major event awaiting the markets is the US election, with voters going to the polls all day today. Although an Obama victory seems increasingly likely given what we can see, what remains a major unknown is how many seats the Democrats can pick up in the House and Senate. This could perhaps constitute the next major “move” that awaits the markets short-term. However, a push in either direction (we think up in the event of a working majority) will likely not take shape until tomorrow’s trading.  ... Metals are off to a mixed start this morning, with copper up while the balance of the group (with the exception of tin) is sporting modest losses. Later today, we get US September factory order readings (expected at -1.5%). ... We are currently at $12,025, up $75 and quiet. We may be establishing the start of a trading range here, as the dizzying drop of the last few weeks seems to be letting up. Stocks, however, continue to rise, and are a lingering negative." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Due to the nickel price rebounding, China’s stainless steel 300 series price increased sharply by RMB1,300~1,600/ton last week. In addition, the price of 200 series and 400 series also increased slightly by RMB200/ton. In the Foshan market, the price of Tisco’s stainless steel 304 material with thickness of 2.0mm was up by RMB1,300/ton.
  • Don Coxe - "When The Markets Took Fright, The Fed Took Flight” - here
  • Commodities and the Great Conundrum - more
  • Inside a USD 500bn commodities stocks recovery - more
  • Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp (Yusco) has cut its export prices for 300-series hot rolled and cold rolled stainless sheets and coils by $450-550/tonne for the first half of November.

  Stainless steel importers up in arms against local producers - Prices of essentially imported raw materials such as nickel and ferrous melting scrap has come down to $11,000 a tonne and $300 per tonne from their peek, earlier in the year - more

  Baosteel Group, China's largest steel maker, will cut output in December by delaying reopening a blast furnace that was shut for maintenance, as it faces weak demand, the official China Securities Journal said on Tuesday, citing sources close to the situation. - more

  The metal market is unlikely to see a robust recovery in the near-term with the real economy under pressure, according to Bart Melek, the global commodity strategist of Canadian financial services firm, BMO Capital Markets. - more

  Consolidated Minerals latest mining company to lay off workers - Ukrainian-owned Consolidated Minerals (ConsMin) has joined a growing list of mining companies that have been forced to sack staff as the global financial crisis deepens. - more

  • Production cuts support commodities - Commodities prices were little changed on Tuesday depressed by fears about a slowdown in global economic activity but supported by producers cutting output in response to earlier prices falls. - more

  BHP gets EU objections document on Rio bid - BHP Billiton has received a document from European regulators detailing anti-trust hurdles to the company's $78 billion takeover bid for Rio Tinto, BHP said on Tuesday. - more

  Iron Miners Brace For Price Concessions - Big iron-ore miners, in a swift reversal of fortune, are privately bracing for significant price cuts in coming contract negotiations with the world's steelmakers as demand for autos, construction infrastructure and appliances weakens. - more

  • China expects iron ore price cut: report - China expects international iron ore prices to plummet next year amid falling demand from its steelmakers stung by the global economic downturn, state media reports. - more

  • Vale cut puts eyes on BHP and Rio - BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, the world's third- and second-largest iron ore suppliers, are being watched closely after Brazilian rival Vale said it would slash iron ore production by 10 percent as the global financial slowdown hit home. - more

  • BHP Billiton says no plans to cut iron ore output - Mining giant BHP Billiton said Monday it will maintain its iron ore production, even as Brazilian rival Companhia Vale do Rio Doce cut output last week. - more

  • Iron ore prices into China stable as decreases appear to pause - The recent decline in prices of imported iron ore into China appears to have paused, a number of sources said, agreeing that the market had stabilized. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending November 1, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 1,605,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 67.3 percent. Production was 2,112,000 tons in the week ending November 1, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 88.5 percent. The current week production represents a 24.0 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending November 1, 2008 is down 4.5 percent from the previous week ending October 25, 2008 when production was 1,680,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 70.4 percent.

  SA mining body calls for electricity supply emergency protocol - South Africa's Chamber of Mines has demanded the development of a protocol for handling electricity supply emergencies, the Chamber said Tuesday. - more


Special Report
Formula based strictly on nickel's official high cash close/official low cash close during a calendar year over the past 19 years

We are not metals analysts, nor mathematician's. This started out of curious boredom and should not be used by any person for reasons other than informational and/or entertainment purposes. Not responsible for errors.  

First, here are your high/low points for the years under consideration
Year High Point Low Point
1989 January/February - $8.71 December - $3.76
1990 September -  $5.41 January - $2.68
1991 December  - $4.18 March - $3.19
1992 February  - $3.73 November - $2.39
1993 January - $2.87 September - $1.82
1994 January  - $4.18 May - $2.36
1995 January  - $4.68 May - $3.05
1996 February - $3.91   December - $2.85
1997 March - $3.69   December - $2.65
1998 March - $2.71   December - $1.69
1999 December - $3.83 January - $1.76
2000 March  - $4.76 December - $3.23
2001 May - $3.42 October - $2.01
2002 July - $3.51 January - $2.55
2003 December - $7.56 January - $3.27
2004 January - $8.06     May - $4.78
2005 May - $8.05 November - $5.22
2006 December - $16.08   January - $6.13
2007 May - $24.59 December - $11.57
2008 March(so far)  - $15.10 October - $3.99(so far)

First, using the above months/numbers, we looked at the period between the typical high points from one year to the next. For instance, it would be 19 months between the high point of 1989 and the high point of 1990. Any period of 3 months or less was discarded as part of the same "mini-bull" run. Based on this, the average period between annual high points is 14 months. If a person were to disregard all of the economic turmoil and supply/demand fundamentals and go strictly off this information, our next high point might  come somewhere around May of 2009.

Second, we ranked the months. Which had the most high points for a calendar year, and which had the most low points? January and December stood out. Of 40 possible finding's, January had 5 high and 5 low points. December had 4 high points and 6 low points. These two months account for 50% of months registering an annual high or low point. The next most active month was May at 15%, with 3 high points and 3 low. In fourth place came March with 3 high (and possibly a 4th this year) and 1 low point. February had 2 high, 0 low, while November had 0 high and 2 low. July had 1 high point, and October had 1 low point, with possibly a second this year. April, June, and August have never had a high or low point during any calendar year. If a person were to disregard all of the economic turmoil and supply/demand fundamentals and go strictly off this information, we stand a better chance of hitting a new low point for 2008 in December, or possibly January of 2009, than the present October.

Third, and probably the most interesting finding - Based on our first finding above, assuming March will remain 2008's high point, we came up with May 2009 as a next possible high point. And even more startling, we reviewed other years where March bore the high point for a year. It has happened three times before, in 1997, 1998, and 2000. In all three of these years, the low point for those years came in the following December.


  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 4 - more
  • 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, November 3

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 24 to 827. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (MarketWatch) Factory sector weakens sharply in October - ISM index hits 38.9%, lowest since 1982, marking second straight big drop (Bloomberg) Ford, Toyota October U.S. Sales Fall as Loans Tighten // Dollar Libor Falls to Lowest Since Lehman Failure on Rate Cuts (Reuters) US construction spending down slightly in Sept. // Euro zone factory PMI at record low, prices ease (WSJ) South Korea Plans $11 Billion in Tax Cuts, Other Stimulus
  • US dollar is now trading higher against the Euro, by about 9/10 of a percent. Crude oil is trading by nearly 5% lower. Metals ended mixed, with some of both precious metals ending up and down. Nickel ended lower, and indicator charts show the price fell early and was never able to regain a clear footing. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $5.40/lb . Not much to comment on today. Metals sent no clear signal today, nor are the American equity markets. The Dow is currently up but has been flopping around like a fish out of water all morning, as traders watch, wait and see what November might bring. There is also that little matter of an election in the U.S. tomorrow, which most feel is a foregone conclusion; but without the doubt, there would be no suspense. BDI continues to squeak out down days, and nickel inventories rose in LME warehouses. If you are a buyer, seller, trader, or interested party in nickel prices, you might want to be sure and stop by this site tomorrow. We did a little research over the weekend and came up with some surprising historical precedence that "could" tell us where the price of nickel is heading the next few months. We approached it a little differently than the professional analysts do, and while we wouldn't dare encourage anyone to make any bets based on the findings, it could make for some interesting reading, and might raise a few eyebrows.     

  Reports

  • October 2008 Manufacturing ISM Report On Business - more

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Interfax - More than 95 percent of China's nickel pig iron producers have halted production as demand from downstream stainless steel mills has dried up, industry insiders told Interfax on Nov. 3.
  •  Barclays Capital - "... the demand outlook now much weaker, we view such rallies as an opportunity to sell into many of the metals ..... the scale of the slowdown in demand the market is facing, we believe that some markets such as nickel, aluminum and zinc still need more cutbacks."

  Nickel Output Cutbacks Not Enough, '09 Surplus Possible - Nickel miners have cut production by just under 140,000 metric tons so far this year because of a poor demand outlook as well as unplanned disruptions, but there is still the potential for a market surplus next year, Macquarie Bank said in a note dated Monday. - more

  Stainless steel ind seeks hike in import duty to stay afloat - Stainless steel industry has sought imposition of up to 20 per cent import duty on the alloy to check cheaper shipments from China, Korea and Taiwan amid slackening demand and volatility in raw material prices. - more

  CISA forecasts steel exports fall in near future - It is reported that China's steel export has fallen sharply in the first three quarters of this year resulted from the sub prime and financial crisis in US. And China Iron & Steel Association predicts that China's steel products export will fall further in the coming months. - more

  • Fall in Chinese steel demand sees price of iron ore buckle - Chinese steel production has been dropping along with the steel price for weeks. - more

  Vale is giving "no discounts" on ore prices - CEO - Brazilian iron ore miner Vale is not giving any discounts to clients on iron ore prices, Chief Executive Roger Agnelli said on Monday. - more

  • CEO denies Vale pays freight costs for China ore - Brazilian iron ore miner Vale is not paying for freight costs for ore shipments to Chinese clients, Chief Executive Roger Agnelli said on Monday. - more

  Lower metals demand could cool mining - The government may have to wait for a few more years to get the full benefit of mining, which it has been touting as one of the saviors of the economy, with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) warning that many operations may have to be delayed due to the global financial crunch. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.18/lb  lower. So far this morning, base metals are trading lower, while precious metals are trading higher. Crude oil is trading 1.5% lower, while the Euro is trading 1/5 of 1% against the US dollar. World markets are mixed (graph), and US futures are quiet.
  • Reuters morning metal news - more

  Nickel, Copper Decline on Inventories; Aluminum Erases Advance - Nickel and copper declined on the London Metal Exchange as stockpiles expanded and demand growth from China, the world's biggest user, slowed. - more

  • Metals prices start month higher, outlook stays weak - Metals markets rose in London and Shanghai on Monday, with copper gaining around 3 percent after its weakest monthly performance in at least 35 years in October, but dealers said the outlook remained pessimistic. - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Copper prices ended lower on Friday, although we did recover off the worst levels of the day. The reversal in some of the other metals was more impressive, with nickel, for example, ending modestly in the black after being sharply lower earlier in the day. Nevertheless, Friday's mixed tone did little to alter the fact that metals chalked up one of their worst monthly declines on record in October, as did many any other commodity complexes for that matter.  ... Over the very short-term, we believe metals will continue to shadow US equities, which have had a much better tone to them in recent days. We suspect the US stock market will remain strong through Wednesday, the day after the US elections. However, any election-induced gains in metals will be short lived, with selling possibly resurfacing by the end of the week, as funds again are “set straight” by the recession realities still out there. .. We are currently at $12,093, down $7. Nickel prices rebounded impressively on Friday, erasing earlier losses to finish higher. We believe the market is potentially in the early stages of establishing a trading range given that prices are now at, or below, the cost of production for many producers.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • The Great depression of India and China is here – India abruptly lowers rates, Chinese manufacturing collapses - more
  • China's factories suffer sharp contraction -PMI - more
  • India, China Step Up Protection From Global Crisis - more
  • Is the Commodities Bull Really Over? - more
  • Commodity prices tipped to stay down - more
  • Is the metals commodities bear market over or is there grief still to come? - more
  • Commodities Post Biggest Monthly Drop in 52 Years on Economy - more
  • Wen sees worst year for growth - more
  • China to focus on domestic consumption amid global uncertainties - more

  POSCO starts nickel smelter amid easing metal prices - South Korea's POSCO said on Monday it had launched a nickel smelting plant, as the world's No.4 steelmaker seeks to secure a stable supply of raw materials and prices of the metal used to make stainless steel tumble. - more

  • New Plant Will Supply 50% Of Our Annual Nickel Use - more

  Commodities Send Sell Signal Before Long Recession - A record plunge in commodities may signal the U.S. is headed for the longest recession since 1981, just after Ronald Reagan became president and the economy began a 16-month slump. - more

  China September Metals Trade Data "Reasonably Healthy"-Barcap  - Barclays Capital says China's September trade data gives a "reasonably healthy" picture of commodity demand from the world's biggest consumer. - more

  • China Sep Base Metals Table Of Trade Data  - more
  • Rio Tinto Chief Says Slowdown in China Is Worsening - Rio Tinto Group Chief Executive Officer Tom Albanese said the economic slowdown in China, where the company makes 17 percent of its sales, is quickening and demand won't rebound until 2009. - more

  Vale Withdraws Demand for Iron Ore Price Increase - Cia. Vale do Rio Doce, the world's largest iron ore supplier, withdrew demands for a 12 percent price increase from Chinese steelmakers as economic growth slows, customer Baosteel Group Corp. said. - more

  • Brazil Miner Vale Output Cuts No Surprise, Seen As Positive - Brazilian mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce's (RIO) announcement Friday that it would cut production in several segments was hardly a surprise in light of slowing demand, and should help the company weather the current economic storm. - more

  Stainless steel ind seeks hike in import duty to stay afloat - Stainless steel industry has sought imposition of up to 20 per cent import duty on the alloy to check cheaper shipments from China, Korea and Taiwan amid slackening demand and volatility in raw material prices. - more

  Global Steel Production - Global Crude Steel Production falls four months in a row from a record 121 million tonnes in May to 108 million tonnes in September. - more

  EU tipped to raise iron ore concerns in BHP's Rio bid - European regulators are this week expected to threaten to stop the proposed takeover of Rio Tinto by BHP Billiton because of the dominance the pair have over the world's supply of iron ore. - more

  Steel Production Halted At Cleveland Mill - Steelmaking is on hold at the ArcelorMittal plant in Cleveland due to a drop in business. Both blast furnaces were idled this week, and the company plans to offer voluntary layoffs with partial pay starting next week. About 1,450 union members work at the plant. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Nov 3 - more
  • 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

Previous day / October Archives


Chart Info Delayed 1 Day

Chart temporarily down

Chart temporarily down


Translate this page to French | German | Spanish | Italian | Portuguese | Chinese | Japanese | Korean | Russian


All prices shown on this page are indications only. "A Guide To LME Trading"...pdf here "The ABCs of a Metals Exchange" ...pdf here (Molybdenum prices are for molybdenum oxide, an ingredient and major price factor in 316 stainless) (all ton listings are metric tons = 2204.622 pounds ) Updated daily before 8 am CST and before 1 pm CST weekdays - Disclaimer Candlestick Pattern Dictionary here / Intro to Candlesticks here Original content and opinions copyright www.estainlesssteel.com. Note - For real time and official LME prices, LME requires a user subscribe to an authorized LME vendor.

Site Sponsors

Your banner here

Daily Reports

Platt's
UBS Daily
MF Global
BNP Paribas
Macquarie Bank
Reliance Money
Commonwealth Bank

10/27 Market Prices
not official prices

Ferromolybdenum (65-70%)
$34.50/lb
 

Moly Oxide (>51%)
$24.25/lb
 
Source

Ferrochrome(60-65%)(HC)
$1.80/lb
 

Ferrochrome (LC)
$5.10/lb
 

10/27 US Scrap Price

Stainless Steel (LTL/ton)
$.63/lb
 

Media

Bloomberg TV
Bloomberg Asia
CNBC TV18
CNBC Metals
Resource Radio
Korelin Economics

Other Sites

US Stainless Scrap Prices
Baltic Dry Bulk Index
Nickel Mining Stock
Stainless Steel Videos
World Economic Calendar
US Economic Calendar
USGS Mineral Reports
Industrial Metals Index
Nonferrous Metals Index
China Commodities Index
Live Commodity Prices
World Stock Markets
World Disaster Info
Investor Guide
TED Spread
LMEX Index
VIX Index
US Futures

Price of Nickel

Nickel Graph Temporarily Down

1 and 5 year nickel chart

BBC Daily Metal Price
Sempra Delayed Price
Daily Commodity Prices

Site Pages

Nickel Price Charts/Forecasts
Stainless Steel Graph/Charts
Stainless Steel Surcharge
Nickel/Stainless Research
Stainless Steel Literature
Make your own charts
Nickel Price Archives
Ferrochrome Facts

Prices/Analysis


Shanghai
Shida Morning Post
Shanghai Metal Price Index


India MCX
Karvy Metals Insight

Archives

2014
January February March
April
2013
January February March
April May June July August
September October
November December
2012
January February March
April May June July August
September October
November December
2011
January February March
April May June July August
September October
November December
2010 and prior

2014
January February March
April
2013
January February March
April May June July August
September October
November December
2012
January February March
April May June July August
September October
November December
2011
January February March
April May June July August
September October
November December
2010 and prior






Stainless Steel MSDS
USGS Nickel Information
USGS Chromium Information
USGS Molybdenum Info
Tariff Codes (many countries)

Nickel Publications at Amazon

ASTM F593C, F593D, F593G, F593H,
304 and 316 Stainless Steel Hex Bolts
and ASTM F594 Stainless Hex Nuts
In stock - contact the author for current pricing and availability

Contact author  /   EStainlessSteel Home Page

Your free daily news source for nickel, molybdenum, ferrochrome, chromium, iron ore and stainless steel market prices and news.

Any reproduction in whole, or in part, without permission from the author is prohibited.
© 2003-2013