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Daily Nickel Market News & Stainless Steel Prices

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Monday, November 30

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 87 to 3,887. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Wen Says Yuan Pressure Is `Unfair' as Europe Fails to Secure Currency Gain // India's Economic Growth Accelerates to 7.9%, May Spur Stimulus Withdrawal // Shirakawa Pledges Action Against Deflation as Output Slows, Wages Decline // Asian Stocks, Currencies Rise on Optimism Dubai World Losses Won't Spread // Europe Consumer Prices Rise for First Time in Seven Months, Led by Energy // London Luxury Homes Post Their First Gain in 17 Months as Bankers Return // Armani, Cavalli, Ferragamo Target Online Shoppers to Boost Holiday Sales // European Stocks Decline as Dubai Support Pledge Fails to Assuage Investors  // In-Geithner-We-Trust Market Brings Lowest Treasury Yields With Record Debt // Holiday Sales Will Drop 1% in U.S. as Forecasters See `Disciplined' Buying // Natural Gas Glut Overwhelms Speculators as Market Defies Wall Street Rally //Hedge Funds Buy Stocks as Individuals Sell in Signal S&P 500 Gains Persist // Business Activity Expands a Second Month in Sign Recovery Is Strengthening // Stocks in U.S. Fall as Americans Spend Less for Holiday; Bonds Pare Losses
  • The US Dollar has strengthened since this morning and is now trading higher against the Euro, up slightly. NYMEX crude oil is still quiet, a tad over $76/barrel. Gold is down 1/3 of 1% while silver is 1/3 of 1% higher. Base metals all ended higher, the US Dollar's sudden gain coming too late to hurt metals trading. Indicator charts show nickel fell much of the day, with a sudden near $400/tonne bounce coming late in the session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended November at $7.44/lb , higher on the day, but down from October's last close of $8.28/lb. Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouse rose nearly 2000 tonnes over the weekend, after rising by more than that amount on Friday. In all, nickel inventories have risen by 4,224 tonnes in the last three business days, and now sit well over the 137,000 tonne level. These numbers use to mean a lot more than they do currently, as the market is apparently being guided by factors other than market fundamentals these days. Sucden's day old charts shows last week's trading (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index fell another 87 points today, after falling 260 points on Thursday and Friday last week. It will be a busy week for US government reports. On Tuesday, we will see ISM numbers, as well as motor vehicle sales and construction spending numbers. On Thursday, we will get the most recent jobless claims numbers, as well as ISM nonmanufacturing numbers. On Friday we see nonfarm payroll numbers, with unemployment rate and average hourly earnings reports, and factory orders numbers. Dubai was the story to end last week, with world markets falling in response to Dubai's state-backed conglomerate Dubai World, asking creditors for a standstill on its debt. While the situation has not eased, the momentary panic the news caused has apparently eased. US markets are down on lower Black Friday sales.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MarketWatch) The National Retail Federation's survey, conducted over the weekend, found that 195 million shoppers visited stores and Web sites, up from 172 million last year, but the average spent was about $343, down from about $373 a year ago. For the weekend, the total spending figure is an estimated $41.2 billion.
  • The Frugal Republic - “China makes, the world takes.” For decades, that has been the motto of the Chinese economy, which is built on providing an endless supply of goods for the rest of the world to buy. - more
  • Cash is king for holiday shoppers - more

  Judge hands down restrictions on striking Vale Inco workers - Striking Vale Inco miners in Sudbury, Ont., have new restrictions on their picket lines. - more

  Tiny magnetic discs may kill cancer - Tiny magnetic discs just a millionth of a metre in diameter could be used to used to kill cancer cells, according to a study. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.01/lb higher, with all base metals slightly higher this morning. The US Dollar is trading 1/3 of 1% lower against the Euro at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are flat at $76/barrel. Gold is down 1/3 of 1% and silver is off 1/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up nearly 4%, recovering from Friday's Dubai scare. European markets are lower this morning with Dubai worries lingering, with US futures showing Wall Street has yet to decide how it will open. Inventories of nickel rose over the weekend by another huge amount, and rose by large quantities both Thursday and Friday. The Baltic Dry Index fell both Thursday and Friday, and has yet to publish today's numbers. Dow Jones reports three month nickel closed Thursday at $7.52/lb and Friday at $7.30/lb.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - next report will be posted Tuesday, 12/1
  • (Dow Jones) "Unlike all other base metals that were able to book gains, nickel has been trending downwards for the last few weeks," Commerzbank says. Says to date, LME nickel inventories rose to 137,280 tons, the highest level since February 1995.
  • (SO) According to the data issued by the Russian Special Steel and Alloys Consumers and Suppliers Association (Spetsstal), during the first ten months of this year Russia's output of stainless steel products decreased by 49.4 percent to 56,500 mt, its exports of stainless steel products went down by 50.2 percent to 4,600 mt, while its imports of the products in question declined by 47.6 percent to 70,900 mt, all compared to the same period last year. "For the Russian stainless steel market, the current year could be certainly called a failure," reads the company's statement.
  • (Yieh) The stainless steel 304 price in China market has increased to more than RMB 20,000/ ton from RMB 18500/ton earlier a week. It’s said the price increased mainly resulted from production cut in December. The major stainless steel producer, Tisco, announced on November 16th that the company may consider cutting production to keep current price stable.
  • (SBB) Asian stainless prices slide another $50/t
  • (SSY) The price of Chinese hot-rolled band has maintained its recent rise, according to figures released in World Steel Dynamics’ SteelBenchmarker today. The HRB price in China now stands at $453/t compared with $407/t recorded six weeks ago. Despite the latest upward push, the HRB price is still below the year-to-date high of $508/t.
  • China's Jan-Oct industrial profits down 3.4% - more
  • Uncertainties still weigh on China's economy - more

  MEPS forecasts a 2 million tonne drop in stainless steel output in 2009 - Global crude stainless steel production in 2009 is expected to decline to 23.9 million tonnes. This equates to a 9.2 percent reduction on the outturn in the previous twelve months. - more

  S.Korea POSCO to lower stainless steel prices for Dec - South Korea's POSCO will lower prices of stainless steel to be released in December by 200,000 won per tonne, the company said on Friday, in response to weakening home and global steel prices. - more

  World Main Bases Are Entering Into Structure To Reduce FeCr Production = Following South African Producers, FeCr Producer In Turkey Is Also Moving to Reduce Their Production - The movements to reduce production of ferro-chrome (high carbon ferro-chrome and charge chrome) are enlarging. Both companies of Assmang and Samancor Chrome in South Africa have entered into the structure to reduce their production of ferro-chrome and, following these reductions in South Africa, Eti Krom of Turkey has also moved to reduce their production of ferro-chrome. - more

  Eramet / France Promotes Projects To Rationalize Facilities For Nickel Production In New Caledonia = Aiming To Reduce Cost For Nickel Production By US$1.00 Per Lb. Of Ni - Eramet of France announced on the 19th of November that, in order to strengthen a power for nickel production at SLN (Societe Le Nickel) in New Caledonia, a subsidiary of the Eramet Group, Eramet has decided to carry out a series of the projects for rationalization of its facilities during the next several years. - more

  Antam Targets Rise in Ferronickel Production - PT Aneka Tambang Tbk targets ferronickel production by 18.5 thousand tons in 2010. - more

  Domestic Consumption Of Nickel Metal In Japan For Jan. - Sep. / 09 Decreased By 40% - According to the steel statistics compiled and released on the end of last week by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, the quantities of nickel metal consumed by Japan in January - September of 2009 as well as in a single month of September were as per the table shown below. - more

  Construction of Century Peak's Leyte smelting plant secures environmental clearance - The construction of its subsidiary’s Leyte smelting facility will no longer need an environmental compliance certificate (ECC), Century Peak Metal Holdings Corp. said. - more

  A U.S. mine debate centers on water, jobs - Standing on the marshy ground at Eagle Rock in the remote woods of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, it's hard to imagine that beneath one's feet is a lump of nickel worth billions of dollars. - more

  ThyssenKrupp reports loss of euro1.87 B ($2.8 B) - German steel maker ThyssenKrupp AG reported a loss of euro1.87 billion ($2.8 billion) for the 2008-9 fiscal year and announced plans Friday to cut 5,000 jobs and sell divisions employing another 15,000 people. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • Vale Voisey's talks hinge on Sudbury, union says - Striking workers at Vale's Voisey's Bay nickel mine in eastern Canada will not resume bargaining with the company unless Vale also agrees to sit down with striking workers at its Sudbury, Ontario nickel operations, the union said on Friday. - more

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (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 25

  US markets are closed Thursday, November 26, for Thanksgiving holiday. The London Metals Exchange is open, and will be trading. We will attempt to update this site on Thursday and Friday, if time allows.

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up

  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 106 to 4,234. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Aussie Dollar, Metals Rise on Evidence of Economic Rebound; Stocks Advance // Vietnam Devalues Dong, Raises Interest Rates to Curb Inflation, Trade Gap // Japanese Exports Fall By Least in a Year as Global Stimulus Boosts Demand // Malaysia Credit Quality Better Than Estimates on Economic Growth, RAM Says // German Banks May Have to Write Off Another $136 Billion, Bundesbank Says // GM Said to See No New Bidders for Saab as Board Decision Nears on Shutdown // U.K. Economy Contracted 0.3%, Less Than Prior Estimate, in Third Quarter // European Stocks Rise on U.S. Jobless, Housing Data; Compass, Vivendi Gain // Deere's 2010 Profit Forecast Trails Analysts' Estimates as Farm Sales Drop // Fed Officials Say Zero Interest Rates May Be Fueling Undue Risk in Markets // Consumer Spending, New-Home Sales in U.S. Top Forecasts as Economy Revives // Fixed 30-Year Mortgage Rates in U.S. Fall to 4.78%, Match April Record Low // Pessimism on U.S. Stocks Hits Five-Year Low as S&P 500 Gains, Survey Shows // Stocks, Commodities Gain, Dollar Falls on Optimism Recovery Strengthening
  • The US Dollar continues to trade lower against the Euro, by 8/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude futures are up over 1-1/3%. Gold is up nearly 1-1/2%, shattering record highs. Silver is up 1.3%. Base metals all ended the day higher on a weak Dollar and positive economic news from the US. Indicator charts show nickel was positive early on and took off when US reports came out better than expected. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.73/lb ., it's highest close since the 9th. Stored inventories of nickel in LME approved warehouses slipped overnight, but stayed slightly above the 133,000 tonne level. The Baltic Dry Index slipped 106 points to 4,234. In US reports, durable goods orders fell in October, while first time jobless claims fell under the 500,000 level for the first time in over a year. US consumer spending rose in October, disposable income rose, and the savings rate fell.  New home sales rose better than expected in October, and consumer confidence was better in October. Tomorrow will be the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, with most business' closed the following Friday. We will attempt to make updates when possible over the next two days. We are very thankful for our daily readers, and hope each of you has a safe, enjoyable, and relaxing weekend!

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Adults Moving Home in Recession; Delaying Marriage, Kids - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.06/lb higher with all base metals trading in the green this morning. Based on the base metals trend this morning, it is obvious that the Euro is trading higher against the US Dollar, up nearly 8/10 of 1% at the moment and over the $1.50 level again. NYMEX crude oil futures are up 3/10 of 1%, and over $76/barrel. Gold is up over 3/10 of 1% while silver is down nearly 6/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 2.3%. European markets are higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street should start in a bullish mood. Inventories of nickel slipped overnight. The US market gets a slew of reports today, before it breaks for the Thanksgiving holiday. This morning, durable goods orders, personal income and jobless claim numbers will be released. Later consumer sentiment and new home sales numbers will be released.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning metals report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal prices fell modestly on Tuesday, finally decoupling from the weaker dollar and responding more appropriately to the macro numbers out of the US where the pace of recovery remains very much an open question. Following Monday's strong existing home sales number, we took a step backwards on Tuesday after revised numbers for third-quarter GDP showed growth coming in at +2.8%, slightly worse than estimates and well below the 3.5% rate initially reported. Consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of U.S. economic activity lagged behind forecasts as well, and a wider trade deficit also contributed to the downward revision. One bright spot was that corporate profits remained strong, rising by 10.6% in the July-to-September period, the biggest increase in five years.  ... The weaker GDP number seems to confirm our view put forth in recent commentary that the US recovery, while underway, may not build up the head of steam widely expected by the markets. This is because the severe headwinds facing us as we move forward-- high unemployment, weak consumer spending, and a still lethargic housing market--will likely make the recovery both sluggish and uneven. Of course, investors have yet to focus on such a possibility, as they seem to be bidding up prices on the back of a weaker dollar amid a general infatuation with hard assets.  ... Nickel is at $16,725, down $25. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (SBB) China's Taigang lifts stainless list prices by $15-29/t
  • US sets countervailing duties on tubular goods from China - more
  • A regular commentary on the El Niño-Southern Oscillation - more

  World Production Of Ferro-Chrome In Jul. - Sep. / 09 Quarter Improved Considerably = Returned To Scale Of 15% Reduction From That In Same Quarter 2008 - It was known that the world output of ferro-chrome in July - September quarter of 2009 recovered up to a scale of 15.2% reduction compared with that actually produced in the same quarter of 2008. According to a preliminary report compiled and released recently by ICDA (International Chrome Development Association), the quantity of ferro-chrome produced in the world for July - September quarter of 2009 was 1,849,000 tons, having decreased by 15.2% compared to that (2,181,000 tons) for the same quarter of 2008. - more

  MCC, Minara To Launch Joint Bid For Ravensthorpe - Two major nickel miners will launch a joint bid for BHP Billiton Ltd.'s (BHP) idled Ravensthorpe nickel mine, a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday, signaling support for future metal demand. - more

  • Beijing leads race for Ravensthorpe nickel mine - China is one of the lead bidders for BHP Billiton's failed Ravensthorpe nickel plant and mine in Western Australia, with a joint offer from China Metallurgical Group (MCC) and local nickel miner Minara Resources seen as the front-runner - more

  Nickel refinery fears closure under ETS - One of north Queensland's largest private employers fears the emissions trading scheme (ETS) will force it to close. - more

  Rio shares hit by rumours Chinalco to sell stake - Shares in Rio Tinto are down amid rumours its biggest shareholder, Chinese giant Chinalco, is selling down its stake in the global mining giant. - more

  The MEPS global carbon steel price drops 3 percent in November - Raw steel output continues to climb steadily in the US. Mill utilisation rates were up to almost 65 percent in the first week of November. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • Soft nickel market points to long strike - If Vale Inco and the Steelworkers don't sit down soon and hammer out a deal, strikes that began in the summer could last as long as a year, a market analyst warned Tuesday. - more
  • Vale sues for $25M - Company says it's losing $7 million US a day in production - more

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, November 24

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 83 to 4,340. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's Five Biggest Banks Said to Hand Capital-Raising Plans to Regulator // Yen, Dollar Rise as U.S. GDP Concern, Asia Stock Drop Boost Safety Demand // Malaysia Keeps Benchmark Interest Rate at Record Low 2% to Spur Recovery // German November Business Confidence Tops Forecasts, Rises to 15-Month High // Russia Cuts Key Interest Rate to Record Low 9% to Galvanize Bank Lending  // Lehman's U.K. Administrator Proposes to Return $11 Billion to Creditors // GM May Shut Saab After Koenigsegg Terminates Talks to Buy Swedish Carmaker // ECB Is Said to Debate Putting Adjustable Interest Rate on 12-Month Loans // European Stocks Drop After U.S. Consumer Spending Data; UBS, Legrand Fall  // Fed Said to Ask Stress-Tested Banks to Submit Plans for Repaying U.S. Aid // Gross Increases Total Return Fund Holdings of U.S. Debt to Five-Year High // Economy's Slower Expansion Rate Raises Concerns About Recovery's Strength // Hedge Fund Money May Account for 40% of Bank Capital, Morgan Stanley Says // US Airways Delays Deliveries of 54 Airbus Planes, Obtains 2010 Financing // Global Stocks, Oil Retreat on U.S. Consumption Data; Bank Shares Decline
  • The US Dollar is now trading higher against the Euro, but by less than 1/10 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude is off 2% and under $76/barrel. Gold is slightly higher at the moment, while silver is off nearly 910 of 1%. Base metals ended all lower in a quiet trading day. Indicator charts show nickel was slowly declining until the Dollar started gaining, then it too followed, opposite of its typical course of action. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.60/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouse jumped over the 133,000 tonne level overnight, setting a new 21st century record high. Sucden's day old chart shows the nickel market remains stalled as traders look for a direction (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index is correcting itself after a large gain, down 83 points overnight to 4,340. The US Commerce Department corrected an earlier report, stating the GDP during the third quarter rose only 2.8%, not the 3.5% it had earlier reported. The The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index of 20 U.S. cities rose for the 5th straight month. The Conference Board consumer confidence index rose to 49.5 from  last months 48.7. But the news that has made the market nervous today is this from the BI - "China's top banking regulator has warned banks to make sure they comply with capital adequacy ratio (CAR) requirements, or else face strict sanctions." Chinese markets fell over 3% on the news, and world markets are mostly lower. And how about nickel fundamentals? Well, a Dow Jones article put it best today when it stated "Traders said the dollar and equities remain the key drivers for base metals near term, as the metals are in general disconnected from the current fundamentals. " Analysts like Societe Generale analyst David Wilson agree, who stated in his daily report "I still think they're [traders] reflecting assumptions on future fundamentals."

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Angel) Nickel prices have slumped 8% in the month of November and are hovering around $16,700 on the LME. But in the last week, the metal managed to end in the green with week-on-week gains of 3%. But the fundamentals remain weak and direct towards a weak price scenario for Nickel. ... The problem is that the widely expected increase in demand from the stainless steel sector has, with the exception of China, simply failed to materialize. Another factor that is bearish for Nickel is that stainless steel demand is expected to remain weak and demand for primary nickel will be constrained further as mills switch to using an increasing proportion of secondary material in their feed. The stainless steel market is expected to recover gradually in 2010. But a number of producers have said that there are no signs of pick-up in underlying demand and investment plans are being cancelled or deferred. On the back of these negative factors we have a bearish view on Nickel for the short-term.
  • (CO) With a production capacity of 30,000 tonnes a year, SNNC Co Ltd, an affiliate of Korean steel maker POSCO now has the largest ferronickel plants in the world. The plant was designed and delivered by kawasaki Plant Systems, Ltd. The plant is set up close to POSCO’s Gwangyang Works. After signing a contract with SNCC back in August 2006, K Plant finished work on the plant approximately three months ahead of schedule. The plant went into operation in early October 2008 and performance tests were conducted in April and late September 2009. The tests verified that the plant met all the performance requirements specified in the contract.

  The hottest metal you've never heard of reignites Ring of Fire - U.S. miner plans to develop huge chromite play near James Bay after buying Freewest - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.09/lb with all base metals trading quietly lower. The US Dollar is trading 1/10 of 1% lower against the Euro, and only recently fell lower, which could embolden metals traders. NYMEX crude futures are down 1/4 of 1%, and just under $77.50/barrel. Gold is 3/10 of 1% higher, while silver is flat at the moment. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China down over 3%. European markets are slightly higher this morning, while US futures show Wall Street may open slightly higher. Nickel inventories rose to record levels overnight, while the BDI fell for a third consecutive day. US third quarter GDP has just been revised down to 2.8% from an earlier estimated 3.5% and consumer confidence numbers are due out later today.     
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metals closed higher on Monday, (with aluminum being the notable exception), as prices pushed higher on account of a weaker dollar and a surprising surge in US existing home sales for October. Sales rose by 10% to a two-year high and substantially exceeded estimates. The number sparked a sharp rally in energy markets and US equities as well, but some of the earlier gains faded by the close, as a slight dollar recovery off $1.50 resistance against the Euro and growing perceptions that the housing number could have been skewed by tax credit uncertainties pushed prices off their highs. The most dramatic turnaround was in crude oil, which lost about $2.50 in gains over the course of the session to close practically unchanged. Metals seem to be catching up to where energy left off yesterday, as we see modest declines across the board. We have been cautious on metals for some time now, and continue to maintain this view. Not only are LME inventories rising sharply despite a demand pickup, but Chinese import trends seem to be in a “deceleration mode”, and thus may not provide as much upside momentum as they did earlier in the year. Indeed, we have mentioned in previous write-ups that thanks to the recent Chinese import binge, there is considerable amount of metal being stored by a variety of entities in China. In copper's case for example, Antaike projected last week that up to 1.6 million tons of metal is sitting in stockpile, theoretically meaning that China would not need to import any copper for all of 2010 were it to decide to work off these units. Similarly large stockpiles exist in aluminum and nickel as well. ... Nickel is at $16,711, down $194, and very quiet today, with a $300 trading range seen over the course of today’s session thus far. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. PLC expects a "challenging" market for ferrochrome next year as excess capacity across the industry makes sustainable price increases unlikely, a senior executive said during a presentation Monday.   But longer term, rising demand from China, supply constraints and rising costs for South African producers should support prices for the commodity, said Jim Cochrane, ENRC's head of sales, marketing and business development. Ferrochrome is a key ingredient in stainless steel production.
  • (Yieh) China’s Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Tisco) has announced its new price for the forty-eighth week (November 24~ November 30). The price of 304 hot rolled and cold rolled coils and sheets increased by RMB200/ton, and the price of 430 hot rolled and cold rolled coils and sheets was up by RMB100/ton.
  • (MB) China imported around 1.5 million tonnes of nickel ore in October, nearly 50% lower than September, but still up 117% year-on-year
  • (Yieh) Xingtai Iron & Steel Corporation Limited, one of China's largest high end wire rod producer, owing the country's most advanced wire rod production line, the biggest auto cold forming and deformed parts lines and wire welding line is said to officially start a RMB1.2 billion stainless steel project recently.
  • (MB) According to the import and export statistics from Customs, the stainless steel plate export of TISCO Stainless Steel broke 20,000 tons in October, to 22,900 tons, up 23.12% month on month. It is the best performance made by TISCO Stainless in export in the first ten months.
  • (SBB) Euro stainless prices down despite better economic sentiment
  • (PR) The American Trucking Associations' advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 0.2 percent in October, following a 0.3 percent contraction in September. The latest decline lowered the SA index to 103.6 (2000=100) from the revised 103.8 in September.
  • (DM) The Chicago Fed National Activity Index was -1.08 in October, down slightly from -1.01 in September. A decline in the contribution of production and income indicators offset small improvements in the other three broad categories of indicators that make up the index.
  • (SSY) The Capesize Iron Ore Port Congestion Index for China has doubled in the last month to 7.3 days, with 46 Capesizes waiting to discharge at the country’s ore ports, according to local sources. Meanwhile, the SSY Australian Coal Port Congestion Index has surged above 14 days for the first time since May 2008.
  • (NABE) The National Association for Business Economics has released its November 2009 Industry Survey, in which NABE panelists have increased their expectations for growth in 2010. "While the recovery has been jobless so far, that should soon change," said NABE President Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University. "Within the next few months, companies should be adding instead of cutting jobs."
  • (MFG) The Wall Street Journal reports today one out of four US home owners now owe more on their mortgages than their property is worth.

  BHP Said to Seek $500 Million for Ravensthorpe Nickel Mine - BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, aims to raise as much as $500 million selling its shuttered Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia, a person familiar with the process said. - more

  Cliffs to go into the ferrochrome business - U.S. firm expects to be processing chromite ore by 2015 - Cliffs Natural Resources of Cleveland is buying three chromite deposits in northern Ontario from Freewest Resources Canada of Montreal and will spend $4 million to start development of a ferrochrome plant along the north shore of Lake Superior in Canada. - more

  Norilsk Nickel says it will boost production, cut emissions - Nickel mining will over the next two years be boosted and emissions at the same time radically cut, General Director of the Norilsk Nickel Vladimir Strzhalkovsky said when visiting Zapolyarny, the mining and metallurgy town located near the border to Norway. - more

  Manila says may cancel Intex's $2.4 bln nickel project - The Philippines may cancel a mining permit for a $2.4-billion nickel project by Norway's Intex Resources ASA if a probe shows local communities were not consulted about it, a top official said on Tuesday. - more

  Downward pressure continues on steel in the developing nations - Purchasing activity remains subdued in the Turkish market. Downward pressure has continued to be exerted on negotiated finished steel prices. Market participants are presently trying to maintain manageable inventory levels. - more

  Creation of important nickel ore deposits linked to ancient atmosphere - Using geochemical clues from rocks nearly 3 billion years old, a group of scientists have made the surprising discovery that the creation of economically important nickel ore deposits was linked to sulfur in the ancient oxygen-poor atmosphere. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending November 21, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,540,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 64.5 percent. Production was 1,209,000 tons in the week ending November 21, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 50.7 percent. The current week production represents a 27.4 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending November 21, 2009 is down 1.1 percent from the previous week ending November 14, 2009 when production was 1,557,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 65.3 percent.

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, November 23

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 84 to 4,423. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Thailand Economy Shrinks 2.8%, Least in Year on Global Recovery, Spending // Taiwan's Export Orders Increase for First Time in 13 Months on Electronics // Asian Stocks, European Futures Gain on Economy Outlook; Gold Hits Record // Dollar Slump Persisting as Most Accurate Forecasters See No Bottom in 2010 // British Would-Be Borrowers Resist Approved Bank Credit as Loan Demand Dips // European Stocks Rise Most in Five Weeks; BHP, Renault Lead Gain  // Bills Yielding Zero as Stocks Soar Give Investors Bernanke Moment of 1938 // Caterpillar Beating Komatsu as Dow Industrials Climbs on Dollar Index Drop // Aluminum Bubble-in-Making Concerns Mount as Global Surplus Seen Rising 29% // Existing U.S. Home Sales Jump to Highest Level Since 2007 on Tax Incentive
  • The Euro continues to trade stronger against the US Dollar, now by nearly 8/10 of 1% and closing in on the $1.50 level again. NYMEX crude is up 9/10 of 1% and over $78/barrel. Gold is up over 1.4%, setting new record highs, while silver is up 8/10 of 1%. Base metals ended mostly higher, only aluminum ending lower. Indicator charts show nickel survived an early morning bounce, with much of the rest of the day's trading, drifting slightly lower. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.67/lb . Inventories of nickel took a large hit over the weekend, and still remain above the 132,500 tonne level, but just barely. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel traders looking for a direction (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index took a second hit in as many days, down 84 points to 4,423. Reports from China today, show imports of refined nickel into that country are slowing from earlier record levels, but that the imports of nickel ore, much of which is used in the production of the so called "pig nickel" continues to grow. Nickel producers were hoping the lower nickel prices would keep the production of Chinese pig nickel to a minimum, while the numbers aren't showing that to be true. The China stainless steel index we follow in China is showing signs of potentially bottoming out, but it's too early to state that as fact.  The Euro PMI moved slightly higher, but most of the world's market reaction today, is most likely courtesy a dropping Dollar and record breaking gold pricing.

  Reports

  China’s oil demand slips, metals demand slides in October - China's oil demand edged down in October but appetite for base metals slumped as the country’s economic recovery proved more supportive of some sectors than others, customs data showed today. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.16/lb , with most base metals trading higher this morning.  The US Dollar is trading lower against the Euro, down over 7/10 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are up 1.3% and near $78.50.barrel. Gold hit a new record high this morning, up over 1%, while silver is also up over 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher with China up nearly 1%. European markets are higher with US futures showing a positive opening in store for Wall Street. Nickel inventories took a drop over the weekend, with the BDI down 84 points. For Friday, the BDI fell 154 points, while nickel ended last weeks trading at $7.51/lb.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices rebounded on Friday despite sluggish US equity markets and a stronger dollar, which closed higher for a second day running. The resiliency in metals is really quite surprising in that we have yet to see a decent correction set in despite legitimate questions about end-user demand and rising inventory levels. ... Metals are sharply higher once again today, but all in all, it is quite difficult to make the case for being long at current levels, as apart from the "weak-dollar prop", we cannot justify prices being where they are. Certainly, in copper’s case, the resolution of the various strikes and the easier tone seen in the Chinese import figures argues for near-term caution.  ... Nickel is at $16,951, up $351, but still having trouble breaking decisively through the downtrend channel that is evident in our charts. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • LCH.Clearnet cuts margins for nickel - rate change announcement
  • (PR) Mirabela Nickel Limited is pleased to announce that the commissioning of the Santa Rita processing plant has progressed to expectations with only minor rectification issues identified to date. All mechanical and electrical components have run to the current installed nameplate capacity of 4.6 million tonnes per annum.
  • Assmang became the second South African charge chrome producer to take capacity offline. The company will take off its #5 furnace at Machadodorp at the end of November--the unit produces about 45,000-50,000 mtpy--for maintenance and depressed market conditions. The shutdown will be reviewed monthly and there are no immediate plans to reopen the furnace. Machadodorp has been operating its four furnaces at less that full power. With the furnace switched off, Machadodorp will be running at about 60% of capacity.
  • (SM) According to the American Forest & Paper Association's October 2009 U.S. Containerboard Statistics Report released today, total containerboard paper production fell 3.5% in October compared to October 2008. Total production rose, increasing 100,400 tons or 3.7% when compared to September 2009.
  • (SM) According to the American Forest & Paper Association's October, 2009 Paperboard Report released today, total production increased from September totals by 25,100 tons or 2.3%. Total paperboard production decreased by 6.2% in October, 2009 compared to October, 2008.
  • (AAR) The Association of American Railroads today reported that freight rail traffic was down for the holiday week ended Nov. 14, 2009. U.S. railroads reported originating 281,218 carloads for the week, down 8.9 percent compared with the same week in 2008 and down 17 percent from the same week in 2007. Rail carloads showed slight improvement, up 2.3 percent from the previous week. In order to offer a complete picture of the progress in rail traffic, AAR will now be reporting 2009 weekly rail traffic with year over comparisons for both 2008 and 2007. Note that each of the 2007 and 2008 comparison weeks to Nov. 14, 2009 included the Veterans Day Holiday.
  • (TCB) The Conference Board Leading Economic Index™(LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.3 percent in October, following a 1.0 percent gain in September, and a 0.4 percent rise in August.
  • Macquarie Sees Steady Recovery in Commodity Demand - more
  • Commodities to Get Record $60 Billion, Barclays Says  - more
  • Roubini sees bubble as money chases commodities - more
  • Zambia faces electricity rationing - more
  • Pig Farmers are Making Brent Nervous - more
  • What if a Recovery Is All in Your Head? - more
  • How Overrated is Sentiment in Economics? - more
  • Geography of a Recession - flash here

  October Base Metals Figures - Imports of nickel ore up 116.58% MOM and up 18.97% YOY. Refined nickel imports up 36.3% MOM and up 120.67% YOY. Refined nickel exports up 713.63% MOM and up 271.86% YOY.

  French Eramet company to reduce staff at SLN in New Caledonia - The French Eramet company has restated its intention to reduce staff numbers at its nickel-producing SLN subsidiary in New Caledonia. - more

  Miner hikes estimate for Surigao property - Canadian-led Mindoro Resources, Ltd. has increased by almost half the estimated mineral resource of its nickel and cobalt project in northern Mindanao. - more

  How Nickel Was First Minted - Nickel is one of today's most popular metals, and chances are that, as we speak, you have at least a few nickel coins in your pocket. But, in spite of its massive use in several industries, no one really knew for sure, until just recently, how the metal came to form on our planet. - more

  • Earth’s mineral ores a lucky accident of ancient atmosphere - A team of researchers recently made a surprising discovery: much of the Earth’s most valuable mineral ores exist thanks to an ancient atmosphere that was oxygen-poor but higher in sulphur. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, November 20

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)
  • Indicators at 7:05 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.11/lb , with other base metals trading mixed. The US Dollar is trading 7/10 of 1% higher against the Euro, pressuring commodity traders. NYMEX crude futures are down 1-1/3% and under $76.50/barrel. Gold is higher by 1/10 of 1% and silver is down over 1/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China down nearly 1/3 of 1%. European markets are lower, with US futures lower. Inventories of LME stored nickel fell overnight, but remain well above the 132,500 tonne mark. Once again, our afternoon update will be delayed due to traveling. Yesterday's (Thursday) close for three month nickel was $7.70/lb , and yesterday's BDI ended up 18 to 4,661 yesterday. We will post Friday's close later.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices fell on Thursday, as did a host of other commodities in what could be best described as a modest, but long overdue correction. Crude oil prices lost a little more than $2 a barrel, with both gold and the US stock market also down sharply. We are off to another mostly negative start in Friday’s US session after earlier gains out of Shanghai failed to spill over into Europe. We suspect metals will continue to struggle over the balance of the day, as the dollar again seems to have held its ground against the Euro around the $1.50 level and is now trading around $1.4830.  ... Commodity bulls should also be somewhat wary about the fact that the recent bath of US macroeconomic numbers have been coming in on the weaker side. In Thursday's data for example, the Conference Board's Index of leading indicators for October came in at +.3%, below the .4% expected, but the rate of increase slowed dramatically from September's 1% jump. Looking somewhat better, was the Philadelphia Fed business outlook index, which rose to 16.7 in November after posting a reading of 11.5 in October, but this is a relatively minor regional reading and does not provide a good reflection of national manufacturing activity, which has actually been slowing of late. In addition, housing continues to struggle, with a report out yesterday showing that a record one in seven U.S. mortgages were in foreclosure or at least one payment past due in the third quarter. .... Nickel is at $16,770, down $205. Prices failed to poke above the down-channel, and now seem to be resuming their downtrend. A test of $16,000 support is likely (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Japanese Kawasaki Plant Systems, Ltd (K plant) said that it has completed a ferronickel production for SNNC Co., Ltd, which is affiliated with South Korean Posco. The plant close to Posco’s Gwanyang Works with annual capacity of 30,000 tons is one of the largest ferronickel plants in the world .... With this new plant, Posco becomes the first stainless steel mill in the world with its nickel production.
  • (MFG) Global crude steel production rose 13.1% year-on-year to 112.177 million tons in October, figures from the World Steel Association showed on Friday. China's crude steel output surged 42.4% in October from the same period a year ago to 51.747 million tons.
  • (Interfax) Jinchuan Group nails down 10-year nickel supply
  • (MNP) Mirabela Nickel says the processing plant at its flagship Santa Rita nickel mine in Brazil is moving from commissioning to the ramp-up and optimization phase.
  • (CD) China's economy is forecast to grow 9.4 percent next year on the growth of domestic consumption and improving exports, said a report released Friday by the Beijing-based Renmin University of China.
  • Commodities May Be ‘More Challenging’ in 2010, Merrill Says  - more
  • China Will Face Its Own Bubble, Pimco’s Gross Says - more

  Buyers ready bids for BHP nickel cast-off - BHP Billiton is on the verge of selling its Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Australia, ending a disastrous $2 billion foray into specialty nickel mining. - merge

  Mirabela Santa Rita production update - Mirabela Nickel Limited is pleased to announce that the commissioning of the Santa Rita processing plant has progressed to expectations with only minor rectification issues identified to date. All mechanical and electrical components have run to the current installed nameplate capacity of 4.6 million tonnes per annum. - more

  Zambia nickel mine to delay output until 2010 - Zambia's Chinese-owned Munali nickel mine will delay restarting production to early 2010 from October due to negotiations over working capital with a Chinese bank, a senior company official said on Friday. - more

  Panoramic extends nickel offtake deal - Panoramic Resources has secured a 10-year extension to its offtake agreement with Jinchuan Group and Sino Nickel for all of the nickel produced at the Savannah operation in the east Kimberley. - more

  Mindoro gov’t has last say on mine project, says Atienza - Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Jose Atienza Jr. said Friday the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) issued to a Norwegian mining firm specifies the conditions that need to be completed before the start of a project, but the local government units in Mindoro will have the last say on the contested mining project. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 16th November 2009 = Domestic Prices Of Ferro-Alloys In China Are In Atmosphere To Stop Its Falls - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 16th November of 2009 is as follows - more

  Norway's pension fund drops Russian mining group Norilsk citing pollution concerns - Norway's Finance Ministry says it has dropped Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel from the country's pension fund because of ethical concerns related to pollution. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  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)
  • Industry In Crisis - Nickel Mine Closures - 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 19

  Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)
  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb , with all base metals lower on a higher Dollar. The US Dollar is trading 7/10 of 1% higher against the Euro, adding pressure to commodity trading. NYMEX crude futures are trading nearly 1% lower, and under $79/barrel. Gold is up 1/4 of 1% and silver is up 3/4 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China up 1.3 of 1%. European markets are lower this morning, with US futures implying a lower opening as well. The afternoon update will be delayed as we are on the road today.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metals saw modest gains on Wednesday, but the group retreated from higher intraday levels, with zinc even closing lower on the day. The US dollar helped sustain the advance, as it once again neared resistance of $1.50 against the Euro. However, other macro news items were not as constructive, namely, data showing that US housing starts and permits both came in lower than expected in October, continuing the string of "misses" we have been seeing for much of this week in some key indicators. Should the macro numbers out over the next several weeks continue to come in on the weaker side, markets will have to focus on the possibility of a double-dip recession, in which case many of the high flying commodity complexes could correct rather sharply and finally decouple from the weaker dollar. Metals are lower today as sharp rises in copper and aluminum stocks weigh on sentiment. The dollar is also stronger, now at $1.4860 against the Euro, and contributing to weaker tone seen in oil and gold as well. .... Nickel is at $17,000, down $150. Prices broke above the down-channel earlier this week, but just barely, so the current pullback is pulling price back below the channel once again, not a technically inspiring sign." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Bloomberg) Eramet SA unit Societe Le Nickel said it’s targeting annual nickel production of 65,000 tons in five years. The company said in a statement that it expects savings of 90 million euros by 2012.
  • (Yieh) World Steel Dynamics (WSD) said that because the investment pace on fixed assets, the Chinese crude steel output would probably go up mildly next year. WSD mentioned that the Chinese steel output would probably reach 608 million tons, higher than the previous expectation of 584 million tons.
  • (AISI) The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that for the month of September 2009, U.S. steel mills shipped 5,793,000 net tons, a 3.9 percent increase from the 5,570,000 net tons shipped in the previous month, August 2009, and a 26.9 percent decrease from the 7,920,000 net tons shipped in September 2008.
  • (Bloomberg) Assmang would switch off the No. 5 furnace at its Machadodorp Works this month on a lack of demand, before reviewing the market again in February, the metals producer said yesterday. "The stainless steel market started showing signs of picking up, but there's not enough demand," said executive director Jan Steenkamp. The Machadodorp plant would operate at 70 percent capacity after closing. Two other furnaces at Assmang's Cato Ridge site would stay shut because of refurbishment rather than the demand shortage, Steenkamp added.
  • (MFG) Reuters reports that an estimated 50,000-100,000 tons of privately held nickel stocks could be released into the domestic market in China by year’s end, which in turn could lead to a decrease in imports and lower domestic prices. Privately owned nickel stocks in China are estimated at 130,000 tons and are expected to reach 153,000 tons by the end of the year.
  • (India) Nickel traded in the positive zone with gains of up to 0.37 per cent in futures trading at the Multi Commodity Exchange today, supported by short-covering on a firming trend in the spot markets but overnight weakness at the London Metal Exchange (LME) capped the upside.
  • (PI) Botswana Metals will commence a 2000 metre drill program on three of its Botswana exploration tenements planned for early December. Three anomilus targets for nickel, copper and platinum group metals are the focus of the drill program at the Sampowane, Cresent and Airport Prospects.
  • (Bloomberg) The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development doubled its growth forecast for the leading developed economies next year and predicted a further acceleration in 2011 as China powers a global recovery.
  • Commodities popularity at highest in four years - more
  • Commodities are en vogue with fund managers - more
  • Interactive: State-by-state numbers for the 'cash for clunkers' program - more

  Quantities Of Molybdenum Produced At Major Moly Mines In Jan. - Sep. 2009 = Output In North - South America Decreased By 11%, Special Procurements From China Sustained Mo Production - The quantities of molybdenum in molybdenum concentrates produced at major molybdenum mines in the western world (North America and South America) for the first 9 months (January - September) of 2009 were as per the table attached hereto. - more

  Munali Nickel delays resumption of underground production - Munali Nickel Mine has delayed resumption of underground production after shareholders approved the refinancing deal with Jinchuan Group of China, care and maintenance manager Shaun Vokes said yesterday. - more

  Voestalpine Q2 beats estimates, keeps outlook - Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine swung back to an operating profit in the three months to September and held on to its outlook, citing signs that the downturn had bottomed out and that sectors had stabilised. - more

  Entrepreneurs can set up steel plants anywhere in the country: Singh - The Union Government on Thursday announced that entrepreneurs are free to set up steel plants anywhere in the country except in restricted locations based on their commercial judgment. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  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)
  • Industry In Crisis - Nickel Mine Closures - 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 18

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 262 to 4,643. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Oil Rises for Third Day as U.S. Supplies Drop; Asia Stocks Decline on HSBC // China Faces Dangers of Asset Bubbles as Economy Expands, PBOC Adviser Says // Delta, SkyTeam Ready $1 Billion Japan Airlines Offer Rivaling American Bid // Bank of England Splits Three Ways on Bond Plan as Panel Mulls Deposit Rate // Hershey May Offer to Buy Kraft-Target Cadbury, Is Reviewing Options on Bid // Air France Has $220 Million Second-Quarter Loss on Slump in Traffic, Fare // European Stocks Fall for Second Day, Led by Bayer, Morrison; Xstrata Gains // Paulson & Co. Bets Bank of America Stock Will Almost Double by End of 2011 // GMAC's Carpenter, Survivor of Wall Street Crises, Takes Car Lender's Wheel  // Yamada, Mendelson Say Trading Slowdown Heralds More Gains for U.S. Stocks // Homebuilding in U.S. Unexpectedly Drops on Tax-Credit, Employment Concerns // Geithner Says Small Business Loans Key to `Self-Sustaining' U.S. Recovery // Stocks in U.S. Fall as Autodesk, Salesforce.com Outlooks Hurt Tech Shares
  • The US Dollar continues to trade lower against the Euro, down over 6/10 of 1%, showing some strength lately. NYMEX crdue futures are up 6/10 of 1% and falling toward $79.50/barrel. Gold is only slightly higher at the moment, while silver is up over 2/10 of 1%. Base emtals ended the day mixed. Indicator charts show nickel took an early bounce on the dipping Dollar,  peaked in early afternoon, before stumbling and giving back much of its gains late. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.76/lb , but was weakening in late trading. Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses, which apparently mean absolutely diddle to those at the World Bureau of Metal Statistics, rose slightly overnight, just shy of the 133,000 tonne level. And while they have grown from 78,822 tonnes on January 2nd of this year, or a gain of 54,108 tonnes, the WBMS reports the world operated in a deficit situation for the first 9 months of this year - consuming 21,000 tonnes of nickel more than it produced. Long time readers of this site know our less than positive feelings about this agency's monthly report and its findings, although the market appears to care so we post the nonsense. Sucden's day old chart shows an apparent bottoming of nickel's recent tumble (chart here). And the Baltic Dry Index jumped 262 points overnight. Every consecutive positive reading for the BDI puts us into 2009 record highs, as does consecutive nickel gains.  The Commerce Department began the US business morning with news that new housing starts unexpectedly fell, and fell sharply in October, to their lowest level in six months. US stock futures had been positive until this report was issued, and the market opened lower, where it remains. Posted an article below on where to send a check if you feel bad for the country's debt. The article does not answer the most obvious question. Since the US government is obviously a not for profit establishment, and couldn't if it tried, is your gift tax deductible? And economist J Bradford DeLong, who has been saying the chance of a depression was nill, has now re-considered.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • How Does the ‘09 Rally Stack Up Against ‘82 Bull Market? - more
  • Bernanke Offers Broad Definition of Systemic Risk - more
  • Goldman Expects Labor Data to Drive Markets - more
  • Worried about U.S. debt? Send your donation here - more
  • Chance of Great Depression Now 5%... - more
  • Single Housing Starts - more

  Commodity Outlook for Nickel by Kedia commodity - China's nickel consumption is expected to grow 5% in 2010 to 470,000 metric tons. - more

  Comparing Brass Versus Stainless Steel - Harder isn’t better when it comes to threaded inserts. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.18/lb higher, with all base metals higher this morning. The Euro is trading nearly 6/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar this morning, adding momentum to metals trading. NYMEX crude futures are up over 9/10 of 1% and nearing $80/barrel. Gold is up nearly 1/2 of 1% while silver is nearly 1.2% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up nearly 1.9%. European markets are higher this morning, and US futures imply Wall Street should continue its bull run today. Nickel inventories should have fallen overnight, but squeaked out a slight gain. And the BDI took a big jump, up 262 points.
  • Reuters morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals ended mixed on Tuesday, but did well to end up as they did, since the complex had to fight off a recovering dollar that pulled away from $1.50 resistance against the Euro. On occasion, we do see sessions like Tuesday's, where commodities hold up despite a stronger dollar, but these sessions tend to be more the exception than the norm. In today’s trading, the metal-dollar relationship has reverted back to its more traditional role, as further weakness in the greenback has resulted in another sprint higher in metals. Copper is at fresh 2009 highs, and trading just under $7000 after Shanghai markets tacked on good gains overnight. Gold has hit a new record high, and oil is back over the $80 mark. It seems that the infatuation with commodities continues despite less than stellar fundamentals. In copper’s case, for example, LME stocks are now at their highest level since April, while inventory in Shanghai warehouses are at 5-1/2-year high. Similarly, LME zinc stocks are at 4-year highs, tin stocks at 6-year highs, while nickel stocks are at record highs.  ...  Nickel is at $17,285, up $385. Prices seem to have broken above the down-channel we highlighted in yesterday’s commentary, but like aluminum, we suspect nickel will be a relative laggard in the group." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) The global nickel market was in deficit by 21,000 tons between January and September, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said Wednesday. Nickel demand fell 0.3% to 1.006 million tons in the first nine months of the year compared to the year-earlier period, while refined production dropped 3.4% on year to 984,400 tons during the period.
  • (Yieh) In the second half of this month, Yieh United Steel Corp. and Tang Eng, two big stainless steel maker in Taiwan, both kept the price unchanged. Recently, because of the fluctuating nickel price, most buyers are holding an attitude to wait and see. With few real transactions, the market confidence has fallen to a low level.
  • (Yieh) Japanese stainless steel output in September totaled 250,630 tons, dropped by 154 tons than 250784 tons in August and down by 8.7 percent than 274,429 tons in the same time of last year.
  • (Reuters) Chinese investors seen unloading nickel stocks soon
  • (Dow Jones) Zambia Munali Nickel Mine To Resume Output - Report

  Nickel mine shuts down temporarily - Firm 'screwed up' technology - Manitoba's Bucko Lake nickel mine shut down this week after only nine months in operation, with operator Crowflight Minerals admitting "we screwed up" on the mineral extraction technology. - more

  Things are heating up for the SLN - The grumbling at the gates of the SLN is the Pac, the famous plan to improve competitiveness and job cuts, which must be presented tomorrow. If everyone agrees on the need to act for the survival of the company, management and unions differ on the method. Tour d'horizon. Overview. - translated version here original French here

  Manila freezes Intex's permit for $2.4 bln nickel project - The Philippine government on Wednesday suspended a mining permit given last month to the $2.4 billion nickel project of Norwegian firm Intex Resources ASA following opposition from local communities. - more

  BHP Billiton Is Cautious on World Economic Outlook  - BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, remains “cautious” on the global economy in the short- to medium-term, Chief Executive Office Marius Kloppers said today. - more

  • Australia approves Chinese Hanlong's investment in molybdenum mining company - Australian regulators have given the green light to a Chinese entity to take control of molybdenum mining hopeful Moly Mines Ltd for 200 million U.S. dollars. - more

  Downward trend in North European steel prices to continue - MEPS (International) Ltd. has observed steel prices decreasing for most products in northern Europe in November. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, November 17

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 161 to 4,381. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Japan Government Considers Paring Election Spending Promises to Aid Bonds // Obama Calls on Hu to Heed China's Commitment to Let Currency Appreciate // Asia Stocks, Commodities Fall as Bernanke Says Economy Faces `Headwinds' // U.K. Inflation Rate Rises for First Time in Eight Months; Prices Add 1.5% // U.K. Inflation Rate Rises for First Time in Eight Months; Prices Add 1.5% // Bundesbank Offers $1.2 Billion of Lehman Mortgage Notes at 70% Discount // Swiss Release Fraud Criteria for Handing Over UBS Account Holders to IRS // Russian Stocks May Rise Another 10% This Year in Record Rally, Troika Says // European Stocks Fall From 13-Month High; Irish Life, Enterprise Inns Drop // Bernanke Signals `Extended Period' May Be Even Longer as Joblessness Rises // Home Depot Quarterly Profit Falls as Customers Cut Spending Amid Recession // GM Turnaround Pivots on Sales After Henderson Slashes Costs in Bankruptcy // Obama Targets Financial Fraud in Executive Order Creating U.S. Task Force //
  • The US Dollar continues to trade higher against the Euro, up over 8/10 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude is up over 4/10 of 1% and over $79/barrel. Gold is down nearly 3/10 of 1% and silver is off more than 2/10 of 1%. Base metals has a quiet day, ending mixed with no major gainers or losers. Indicator charts show nickel slumped early, but came back in the afternoon and ended looking strong. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.67/lb . Yesterday, we reported inventories of nickel were just shy of the 132,000 tonne level. Today, they are even closer to the 133,000 tonne level after a large increase overnight. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel's rise yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index continues its bullish run, up 161 points to 4,381 and a new high for 2009. US industrial production rose 0.1% in October according to a Federal Reserve report today, after an average gain of 0.9% in the prior three months. Manufacturing output  reportedly fell 0.1% in the past month, after a jump of 0.8% in September. Bloomberg tried to put a positive spin on otherwise bleak news with its article "U.S. Industrial Output, Price Reports Show Fed Has Room to Keep Rates Low".

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (11/16) Crowflight Minerals Inc announces today that the Company will be temporarily suspending all production mining and milling operations at the Bucko Lake Nickel Mine (Bucko) located in the Thompson Nickel Belt near Wabowden, Manitoba for three months, effective immediately to complete ramp development, accelerate mine development and upgrade the backfill plant.
  • (CP) Vale SA says it has settled contracts with 14 labour unions representing 40,000 Brazilian employees, including workers at the Onca Puma nickel laterite project in Para State, Brazil. A two-year deal was accepted by 87 per cent of the unions' membership, said Cory McPhee, vice-president of corporate affairs for Vale Inco Ltd., the Canadian arm of the Brazil-based Vale.
  • Fed Officials Wondering Aloud: Should We Ever Raise Rates to Burst a Bubble? - more
  • Immelt, BofA Executives Predict Second Stimulus - more
  • Rural U.S. towns struggle as big employers shut down - more
  • What Would a Rout of the Dollar Look Like? - more
  • Bank of America Foreclosure Shenanigans? - more

  Brazil Miner Vale: No China Iron Ore Talks Yet -Report - Roger Agnelli, president of Brazilian mining colossus Vale SA, said negotiations with China over 2010 iron ore term prices had not yet begun, the Valor newspaper reported Tuesday. - more

  Japan steelmakers see CO2 credit yield drop by 3 mln T - Japanese steel makers now calculate carbon credits they have bought from abroad at 56 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, a business lobby said on Tuesday, down 3 million tonnes from their previous estimate. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.05/lb lower, with most London traded base metals lower in quiet trading. The US Dollar is adding pressure on base metals, up 6/10 of 1% against the Euro, as Bernanke's remarks about "significant challenges ahead" causes Dollar buying. NYMEX crude oil futures are off 6/10 of 1%, and under $78.50/barrel. Gold is down this morning, down 3/4 of 1%, while silver is off nearly 9/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly lower, with China closing slightly higher. European markets are lower this morning, and US futures show Wall Street will need some good news from US reports today to go green. Nickel inventories experienced another big jump overnight. The first report of the day is out and MarketWatch reports "U.S. wholesale prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% on higher food and energy costs, the Labor Department reported Tuesday." Industrial production for October and the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market index are due out later.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals were on a tear yesterday, with copper rallying to its highest level in 13-1/2 months on Monday by adding a stunning $335/MT on the day. Extended losses in the dollar continued to propel commodity complexes higher, with gold hitting record highs, while crude oil tacked on $2.50/barrel. US stocks pushed forward on better-than-expected October retail sales data, although the New York Empire manufacturing index came in with its first decline in four months. Also helping the advance in metals, were weather concerns in northern China and lingering unease about protracted strike action at a number of mining cites. However, the dollar was the most instrumental among the variables cited, as markets began to conclude that there was little any of the governments on President Obama's Asian itinerary will do in the short-term to stem the decline in the dollar. As we wrote in Monday's note, the ASEAN communiqué disappointed in this regard, omitting any mention of a weak dollar and despite President Obama’s arguments to the contrary, the Chinese are not showing much interest in allowing the Yuan to appreciate on a faster schedule either.  ... Nickel is at $16,630, down $170, but nickel still has much work to do before it breaks out of its down-channel."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s major stainless steel producer, Yieh United Steel Corp. (YUSCO), announced to remain its price unchanged for the second half of November even though the nickel price has declined to current US$16,000~17,000/ton. The company said that nickel average price for first half of November is US$17,360/ton which is closed to the average price for October.
  • (SG) It is reported that Chinese stainless steel output during January to September 2009 was 6.569 million tonnes up by 37.5% YoY.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke - Monday - ".Today, financial conditions are considerably better than they were then, but significant economic challenges remain. The flow of credit remains constrained, economic activity weak, and unemployment much too high. Future setbacks are possible..... My own view is that the recent pickup reflects more than purely temporary factors and that continued growth next year is likely. However, some important headwinds–in particular, constrained bank lending and a weak job market–likely will prevent the expansion from being as robust as we would hope." (excerpt from speech on November 8, 2007 by Mr Bernanke) “We have not calculated the probability of a recession. Our assessment is for slower growth, but positive growth going into next year. We think that by the spring, early next year, that, as these credit problems resolve and as, we hope, the housing market begins to find a bottom, that the broader resiliency of the economy, which we are seeing in other areas outside of housing, will take control and will help the economy recover to a more reasonable growth pace.” (Let's all hope he has gotten better at forecasting in the past two years.)
  • (JOC) The U.S. Postal Service lost $3.8 billion in its fiscal year 2009, in what the chief financial officer called “one of the most challenging (years) in the history of the Postal Service.”
  • China Plans Factory Closures, Rejects $29 Billion of New Plants - more
  • Europe's Best And Worst Unemployment Rates - more
  • Buy gold, not miners: Jim Rogers - more

  AK Steel Announces Stainless Steel Price Increase - AK Steel said today that it will increase base prices for all 200, 300 and 400 series flat rolled stainless steel products by 6% to 9%, depending upon the grade and product form, effective with shipments on January 3, 2010. - more

  Vale SA settles contracts with Brazilian workers - Vale SA says it has settled contracts with 14 labour unions representing 40,000 Brazilian employees, including workers at the Onca Puma nickel laterite project in Para State, Brazil. - more

  25 Mangyans, priests on hunger strike to protest Norwegian nickel mine - Twenty five Mindoreños, mostly members of the indigenous Mangyan community, on Tuesday launched a hunger strike to call for the immediate revocation of a mining clearance issued by Environment Secretary Lito Atienza to a Norwegian nickel mine on Mindoro island. - more

  China to Sustain Steel Output Growth for 5 Years, Analyst Says - Steel production growth in China will hold above an annual 10 percent for the next five years, Chinese research group Steelhome.cn said. - more

  • China's Imports Of Molybdenum In Aug. - Sep. / 09 Deepen Tendency To Decrease = Balance On Imports And Exports Of Moly By China In Jan. - Sep. / 09 Had An Excess Of Imports - According to the customs-statistics released in China, a balance on imports and exports of molybdenum by this country in the first 9 months (January - September) of 2009 has still indicated an excess of the imports but a trend to import molybdenum into China is in the direction to decrease from July. - more

  Baosteel Group scores steady supply of Indian ferrochrome - Baosteel Resources Co. Ltd., the wholly-owned subsidiary of China's top steel mill Shanghai Baosteel Group Corp., has entered into a long-term agreement with India's Facor Group to procure ferrochrome, Baosteel Group announced on Nov. 17. - more

  The MEPS - EU Average All Products Steel Price Dips Again in November - The EU producers are currently facing low order intake as the flurry of activity in early September has tailed off now that distributors have restocked to appropriate levels. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending November 14, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,557,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 65.3 percent. Production was 1,209,000 tons in the week ending November 14, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 50.7 percent. The current week production represents a 28.8 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending November 14, 2009 is up 0.9 percent from the previous week ending November 7, 2009 when production was 1,544,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 64.7 percent.

  • U.S. Steel, Aluminum Shipments and Inventories Rise  – Shipments of steel and aluminum products from metals service centers in the United States rose in October from September levels, and inventories for both metals rose slightly, the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute shows. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • VALE SA: Mining giant says Steelworkers trying to sully its global reputation - Vale SA is retaliating against what it charges is a deliberate attempt by the United Steelworkers to discredit the Brazil-based mining company's reputation around the world. - more

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, November 16

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 109 to 4,220. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg)  Japan Third-Quarter Economy Expands Faster-Than-Estimated 4.8% Annual Pace // China, Japan Policymakers Say Fed's Low-Rate Policy May Fuel Asset Bubbles // Obama Questioned on Trade, Fails to Win Backing for Stronger Yuan at APEC // Hitachi May Raise More Than $4.5 Billion in Stock, Bond Sale; Shares Drop // Asia Stocks, Currencies, Gold Rise on APEC Stimulus Pledge; Dollar Weakens // Cisco Raises Offer for Tandberg to $3.4 Billion, Extends Acceptance Period // JPMorgan Said to Be in Talks to Buy Rest of Cazenove in Overseas Expansion // UBS Debt Trading, Cause of Near Collapse, Is Key for Bank's Profit Revival  // EADS Says Super-Jumbo Jet Remains `Matter of Concern' as Deliveries Stall // European Stocks Climb to 13-Month High on Economy; BHP, ThyssenKrupp Rise // GM Posts $1.15 Billion Quarterly Loss After Exiting Bankruptcy on July 10  // Lowe's Profit Meets Estimates as U.S. Housing Market Shows Recovery Signs // Bernanke Says Reduced Bank Lending, Labor `Headwinds' Restraining Growth // Gains in U.S. Retail Sales, Manufacturing Ease Concern Recovery Will Cool // U.S. Stocks Extend Global Rally on Retail Sales, APEC Pledge
  • Off session highs, the Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, now by 3/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude is higher by over 3% and nearing $79/barrel. Gold hit another record high today, and is currently trading nearly 1-1/2% higher. Silver is nearly 5%. Base metals ended the session solidly in the black, with no intention of missing out on the worldwide equity rally. Indicator charts show nickel started the morning well in the green, drifted a little and then strengthened again by the end. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.60/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose yet again over the weekend, and now stand near the 132,000 tonne level. Every gain is record territory, to levels not seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Sucden's day old chart shows trading thru last week (here), showing a down trend and and RSSI and SStoch readings fairly balanced. The Baltic Dry Index, after gaining 35% in a week, rose another 109 points to 4,220. While the Dollar's dip helping base metals today, the primary driver, in our opinion, was news of a huge snowstorm in China (here). This is in the mining region of China and any disruption to Chinese production, could help build demand on otherwise, growing world inventories of base metals. Much of today's spike was a knee jerk reaction to the news, and unless the news out of China grows desperate, we expect the market will resume its pattern of following the Dollar. The US Commerce Department reported U.S. retail sales increased a seasonally adjusted 1.4% in October, thanks to the cash-for-clunkers program. Without vehicle sales, retail sales rose 0.2% in October. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke just finished a speech in New York (full text here). The bull has broke out of his pen today.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Reuters) Analysts as VTB Capital said that should nickel prices fall significantly below $16,000, Chinese nickel pig iron output will start to fall and be replaced by increased imports of refined nickel. "Nickel prices are likely to find a floor soon, close to current levels, and regain their upward momentum before the end of the year," they added.
  • (Dow Jones) European steel makers are complaining to regulators about an iron ore joint venture BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto PLC are planning in Western Australia. The two mining giants, which were in takeover talks last year, are planning to jointly produce iron ore at adjacent mines in the region.
  • The Worst is yet to Come: Unemployed Americans Should Hunker Down for More Job Losses - more
  • The Coming (already came) Land Recession (now depression), Pt I  - more
  • The Coming (already came) Land Recession (now depression), Pt II - more
  • The World's Worst Trader? - more
  • World Out of Balance - more

  Treading Carefully - Nonferrous markets must be on the rebound, as there has been a noticeable increase in the number of reported metals thefts. This unfortunate phenomenon, which seemed to explode when copper, aluminum, stainless steel and other metals climbed to record highs, was greatly reduced when markets cratered at the end of 2008. - more

  Stainless steel makers face tough time on export deals for Dec. shipments  - Japan's stainless steel manufacturers face limited contract volumes so far in their export deals of nickel based CR sheets under negotiation for December shipments to the rest of Asia, mainly to China. - more

  Flurry of projects seeing big bucks from investors through mid-2009 - From juniors to producers, growing numbers of mining firms are having more and more success in capturing the imagination of investors and tapping into a new-found confidence in the financial markets. - more

  Steel makers ask EU to block mining deal - European steel makers called Monday on EU antitrust regulators to block a joint venture between the world's No. 2 and No. 3 iron ore miners, BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto PLC, that they claimed could hike prices for iron ore. - more

  Before nickel, Poseidon was a race for gold - When anyone mentions the world "Poseidon" you tend to think of 1969 and nickel. - more

  Steel sector cautious about emerging Chinese behemoth - India has reacted cautiously to the proposed consolidation of steel industry in China. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.20/lb higher, with most base metals higher this morning. The US Dollar is trading 1/2 of 1% lower against the Euro this morning, giving a boost to commodity trading. Base metals are also getting a boost of news of a giant snowstorm in northern China that could affect base metal production in that country. NYMEX crude futures are up 1-1/4% and over $77/barrel. Gold is up nearly 2/3 of 1% while silver is 1-3/4% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher on strong Japanese third quarter growth figures, with China up 3%. European markets are higher this morning, as are US futures. Nickel inventories continue to climb, as does the BDI number.    
  • Reuters morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal prices closed on a stronger note on Friday after bouncing around uneventfully for much of the session. A weaker tone to the US dollar helped usher in some buying, as the greenback faded to close just over 1.49 against the Euro. We are seeing more dollar weakness once again today, with the currency now trading at $1.4960 against the Euro and leading to another round of good buying in commodities. Metals are sharply higher, led by copper. ... Nickel is at $16,584, up $479, and seeing a good bounce after days of steady selling. However, we did get two closes below $16,300 last week that suggests further weakness ahead.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Russian media) Recall that not so long ago, analysts "Royal Bank of Scotland" (RBS) Stephen Briggs, Nick Moore and Daniel Major, expressed the view that in China over the past 15 months have accumulated substantial amounts of non-ferrous metals, which have not been recorded in economic coverage. Analysts believe that the hidden reserves of nickel accounted for 34% of the total. In their view, the price of nickel over the next year could fall by 10%, because due to uncommitted reserves total accumulated volume reached 19 weeks of consumption.
  • (Yieh) Affected by the snowstorm in the Northern China, many major projects have fallen to a stoppage. It is expected that stainless steel demand will probably witness another snowstorm with surplus stock. Because the nickel stock remains at a high level and Northern Hemisphere has welcomed the winter, it is really hard to see the improvement in demand for stainless steel.
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s screw exports have rebounded for two consecutive months. The export in September was 86,100 tons, hitting the monthly record high in 2009. However, the export to the US dropped by about 36 percent to only 34,200 ton compared with September in 2008. US has been the biggest importer of Taiwan’s screw over the years, but its screw imports declined sharply in the recent time due to economic downturns
  • Nickel mining company PT Inco Tbk has provided assistance including stoves with fuel, equipment for bathing and washing, condensed milk, sardine, sanitary napkins, including betadin, to Indonesian landslide victims here. The company handed over the aid to relieve the burden of the landslide victims in Battang Barat village, Palopo municipality, on Saturday.
  • (Interfax) China's steel product output up 15.4 pct in first ten months
  • (China Daily) China's industrial output is expected to grow by about 16 percent year-on-year this month and in December and the full year industrial output growth could reach around 10.5 percent, Minister of Industry and Information Technology Li Yizhong said on Saturday.
  • (CCR) China's National Energy Administration (NEA) announced Friday that the country's power consumption in October rose 15.87 percent year on year to 313.42 billion kilowatt-hours (kwh), up for the 5th consecutive month since June. The growth is 5.63 percentage points higher than the September figure. Accumulative power consumption in the first ten months totaled 2977.5 billion kwh of electricity, up 2.97 percent over the same period last year.

  Antaike revises China nickel consumption estimate upwards - China's real consumption of nickel may be higher than expected and rise 39.7 percent year on year to 447,000 tonnes this year, a senior analyst at state-backed research group Antaike said on Friday. - more

  China Metallurgical Group to bid for BHP's nickel mine - China Metallurgical Group, the parent of China Metallurgical Co Ltd, will bid for BHP Billiton's failed Ravensthorpe nickel operation in Western Australia State, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing sources with knowledge of the matter as saying. - more

  • Poseidon quiet on Ravensthorpe mine - Poseidon Nickel is remaining tight-lipped over its intentions regarding BHP Billiton's Ravensthorpe nickel operation as Canada's First Quantum Minerals declines to confirm its in the race. - more
  • Canadian firm quiet on Ravensthorpe bid - Canada's First Quantum Minerals has declined to confirm reports it wants to buy BHP Billiton Ltd's mothballed Ravensthorpe nickel laterite mine near Esperance in Western Australia. - more

  Highlands Pacific reports Ramu nickel cobalt project commissioning, on schedule - Highlands Pacific has confirmed construction and pre-commissioning activities at the $US1.4bn Ramu nickel cobalt project in Papua New Guinea are on track as per previous guidance. - more

  Wartime mines cleared from New Caledonian waters ahead of nickel giant’s new port - The opening of new port by the Brazilian Vale Inco nickel company is the impetus for an international operation to clear New Caledonian waters of hundreds of wartime mines. - more

  Mining firms in dispute over Palawan properties - Platinum Group Metals Corp. has threatened to ask the court to cite the operating unit of listed Oriental Peninsula Resources Group for contempt if it tries to stop PGMC from operating nickel mines in Narra and Sofronio Espanola, Palawan. - more

  Century Peak unit completes 2nd nickel shipment to China - The unit of listed Century Peak Metals Holdings Corp. has completed its second shipment of nickel ore from a mine in the Dinagat Islands to China. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, November 13

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 157 to 4,111. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Obama in China Can't Avoid Immovable Renminbi as Weak Dollar Sinks Asians // Bernanke's Rate Stance May Spark Next Crisis, Hong Kong's Tsang Suggests // Japan Air Seeks $1.4 Billion Loan by March, Debt Freeze After Posting Loss // Hong Kong Economy Grows Less-Than-Forecast 0.4% as Export Shipments Slide // Asia Commodity Stocks Fall, Bonds Rise; China Shares Rally on Yuan Outlook  // Euro-Region Economy Returns to Growth, Expanding Less-Than-Forecast 0.4% // ThyssenKrupp Posts Full-Year Loss of $2.8 Billion After Slump in Demand // British Airways, Iberia Agree on Merger to Form $7 Billion Global Carrier // European Stocks Advance for Third Day; Richemont, Bulgari, KBC Groep Gain // U.S. Treasury Confident Congress Will Increase $12.1 Trillion Debt Ceiling // Dollar Overwhelms Central Banks From Brazil to Korea as Reserves Increase // Liberty Global to Buy Germany's Unitymedia in Deal Valued at $3 Billion // U.S. Consumer Sentiment Unexpectedly Falls a Second Month on Job Concerns  // Gross Says Overvalued High-Yield, Mortgage Debt Make Treasuries Attractive // Stocks in U.S. Extend Second Weekly Gain on Disney, Abercrombie Earnings
  • The US Dollar took a recent dip against the Euro, down 1/2 of 1% with most of the activity coming in the last half hour. NYMEX crude is trading even, off earlier lows. Gold is up 1-1/4% while silver is trading 1-1/10% higher. Base metals ended the session mixed, but have taken an after market bounce since the Dollar took a dive. Indicator charts show nickel struggled for footing early, fell in the afternoon, before recovering in after market trading. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.30/lb , but has since risen into the green. For the week, nickel prices were down 9%. Sucden's day old chart shows trading thru yesterday (here). Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses rose by a tiny amount overnight, adding 1,686 tonnes for the week. A large increase, but a little over half the 3,240 tonnes it gained in the first week of this month. During the entire month of October the total grew by 5,910 tonnes. The Baltic Dry Index added another 157 points, closing at 4,111 for the week. Those who follow the BDI closely are reporting the increase in the index is due to renewed activity of raw material shipments globally, and building port delays for shippers. The index may be skewed by an abundance in ships, but the increase in activity is good news for the world economy. The Commerce Department reported that imports rose faster than exports during September and the U.S. trade deficit widened by 18.2% to $36.5 billion. The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer confidence index unexpectedly fell for a second month, down to 66 from 70.6. In response, Wall Street is up over 100 points as we publish. Go figure.
  • Have a safe and relaxing weekend!!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Angel Commodities)  We expect base metal prices to trade with a negative bias. Nickel prices could remain under pressure as inventories are rising amid soft stainless steel demand. But a sharp downside in copper prices will be protected by the ongoing labour issues. There is a lot of uncertainty over the economic recovery and that could lead to risk aversion in the financial markets, thereby deteriorating the demand for higher-yielding and riskier investment assets.
  • Canadians cry foul as Buy American policy hits home - more
  • Eurozone GDP Breaks Through Zero... Concerns Still There - more
  • Home-Purchase Index in U.S. Plunges to Lowest Level Since 2000 - more
  • Economists See 1-in-3 Chance of Another Bubble - more
  • How Well Prepared Are Americans for Retirement? - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading unchanged , with other base metals barely higher and quiet. The Euro is trading less than 1/10 of 1% higher against he US Dollar this morning,  adding a slight boost to commodity trading. NYMEX crude is more than 4/10 of 1% lower and at $76.60/barrel. Gold is nearly 1/2 of 1% higher while silver is 1/3 of 1% higher. On overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher, with China up 1/2 of 1%. European markets are also slightly higher on news Europe emerged from teh recession in the third quarter, although not as much as expected, while US futures are following suit, just slightly higher at the moment on news Disney profits were higher than expected. Inventories of nickel are slightly higher, and bucking the "slightly" trend, the BDI made another 157 point jump. It is Friday the 13th, for those who missed the memo.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal prices ended lower on Thursday, weighed down by a rebound in the US dollar and growing concerns about rising LME inventories, particularly in copper, where stocks nudged above the 400,000 ton mark. Nickel was the biggest casualty of the day, with prices down by some 5%. Nickel inventories have now pushed above 131,000 tons to their highest level since early 1995. However, it was the bounce in the dollar away from key resistance at $1.50 against the Euro that exerted the greatest downside pressure on metals, with gold and crude oil also joining the sell-off. What seemed to have triggered yesterday's dollar rally were reports that several Asian countries are starting to buy the US currency in an effort to improve their competitiveness against the yuan-dollar peg. In this regard, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that central banks in India, South Korea, Thailand, and Taiwan were all stepping up purchases to keep their currencies from appreciating against the Yuan. In fact, we would not be surprised to see the Europeans also jump into the fray, particularly if the Euro busts through the $1.50 mark in more decisive fashion. As of this writing, the dollar has eased up a bit, now trading at $1.4875, and allowing a measure of strength to set into the various commodity markets. Copper is up by about $10/MT despite another rise in LME stocks and there are modest gains in most of the other metals. Crude oil is up by about $.10 a barrel, after tumbling sharply yesterday, and US stocks are called slightly higher. .... Nickel is at $16,120, down $70; another close below $16,300 today will warrant another downward shift in our support levels. High LME stocks continue to bear down on the complex, negating the bullish comments on stainless demand put forth by Antaike overnight."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • SSINA Releases Market Data for July 2009 - pdf here
  • (Interfax) Crude stainless steel output at 6.57 mln tons at end of Q3 - China's crude stainless steel output reached 6.57 million tons in the first nine months of 2009, up 37.25 percent year-on-year, according to a report from the Stainless Steel Council of China Special Steel Enterprises Association (CSSC) on Nov. 10.
  • (MB) Jinchuan cuts nickel price 2% on poor sales
  • (Antaike) China's Jien Nickel announced on Thursday that its acquisition of Canadian Royalties Inc. has been approved by two thirds of the latter's shareholders and convertible debt holders.
  • (SO) Indian industrial production up 9.1 percent in September
  • (JMB) POSCO to Increase Ferronickel Output to 150,000T for 2010
  • (DJ) China 2009 Nickel Consumption To Rise To 447,000 Tons -Antaike
  • (SSY) The world export price for hot rolled band fell for the third consecutive month, down by $7/t from two weeks earlier to a 5-month low of $496/t, according to World Steel Dynamics’ SteelBenchmarker. US and EU HRB prices are both down from two weeks ago to stand at 3-month lows of $570/t and $577/t respectively. In contrast, Chinese HRB prices rose for the second straight month to the current level of $437/t.
  • (CD) China will overtake the United States as the world's largest construction market by 2018, according to a forecast by Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics on Thursday.
  • Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Fell 0.5% in September from August - more

  Nickel Will Drop 8% by Year-End as Demand Weakens, CRU Says - Nickel, heading for its worst week in two months, will decline 8 percent by the end of the year as demand weakens, research group CRU said. - more

  Antaike revises China nickel consumption estimate upwards - China's real consumption of nickel may be higher than expected and rise 39.7 percent year on year to 447,000 tonnes this year, a senior analyst at state-backed research group Antaike said on Friday. - more

  PNG's Ramu nickel mine output delayed to June-exec - Production from the Ramu nickel mine in Papua New Guinea will likely be delayed until June of 2010, an executive with the mine's developer told Reuters on Friday. - more

  Three bidders remain for BHP's failed Ravensthorpe mine: Sources - Final bids for BHP Billiton's failed Ravensthorpe nickel operation in Western Australia are due November 25, two people familiar with the situation said today. - more

  Project To Strengthen Facilities For FeCr At Mogale Alloys In South Africa Is Unofficially Investigating = Present Capacity To Produce 100,000 Tons / Year Will Enlarge To Produce 450,000 Tons / Year For Future - The media in South Africa informed in last week that the Ruukki Group of Finland, which is the parent company of Mogale Alloys (Pty) Ltd. in South Africa as a producer of ferro-chrome, has been unofficially investigating to reform and enlarge the facilities to produce ferro-chrome at Mogale's Krugersdorp plant. - more

  • ENRC: Doesn't Expect Material Increase In Ferrochrome Price - Eurasian Natural Resources Corp.doesn't expect any material increase in ferrochrome prices into 2010 as unused capacity across the industry may outweigh rising demand, the company's chief financial officer said in a conference call transcript published Friday. - more

  FNX Mining "ready to grow", could add assets-CEO - Canadian nickel and copper miner FNX Mining is ready to focus on growth after a challenging year, and could look to add more assets in the Sudbury, Ontario metals mining area, the company's chief executive said on Thursday. - more

  • Current nickel price not 'realistic' – FNX chief -  The nickel market is skewed at the moment by a strike at Vale Inco's Sudbury, Ontario, and Voisey's Bay operations, which raises questions over the sustainability of the current price, FNX Mining CEO Terry MacGibbon said on Thursday. - more

  ThyssenKrupp Loss Misses Estimates After Steel Demand Tumbles - ThyssenKrupp AG, Germany’s largest steelmaker, posted its first full-year loss since the company was formed in a merger a decade ago, missing analyst estimates after demand tumbled. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, November 12

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 206 to 3,954. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Bonds Gain as Emerging-Market Stock Rally Ends on Economic Growth Doubts // Geithner Lauds APEC's Currency Flexibility as China Praises Peg to Dollar // Australian October Employment Unexpectedly Rises 24,500; Jobless Rate 5.8% // Global Confidence Drops as Central Banks Begin to Exit Emergency Stimulus // UBS, JPM, Deutsche Bank Should Face Trial for Milan Swaps, Prosecutor Says // Daimler Chief Zetsche Says New Car Model Push to Increase Mercedes Profit // European Stocks Rise for Second Day, Extending Three-Week High as BT Gains  // Walmart Earnings Advance 3.2%; Fourth-Quarter Revenue Seen Little Changed // Mortgage Applications Drop to Lowest Level in Nine Years on Credit Concern // Geithner Sees `Early Signs' Global Economy Is Rebalancing Spending, Saving // Wall Street Faces `Live Ammo' as Congress Tries to Dismantle Biggest Banks // Initial Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall More Than Estimated to a 10-Month Low // Fed Prohibits Overdraft Fees on ATM, Debit Cards Unless Consumers Opt In // U.S. Stocks Retreat as Decline in Energy Shares Offsets Technology Rally
  • The US Dollar continues to gain ground on the Euro, up nearly 8/10 of 1% as we update, after U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the government wouldn't need to borrow as much as they originally thought to get thru the economic crisis. NYMEX crude is down over 2-3/4% and about to fall under $77/barrel. Gold took a pause today, down 1% and silver is down 2%. Base metals ended lower as well. Nickel spent the entire day on the slide, recovering a touch at the end of the session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.34/lb , its lowest close since July 22nd. Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses rose only slightly overnight, with cancelled warrants stuck below 1%. Sucden had their technical support for nickel at $7.38/lb on their day old chart (here), and since we fell thru that today, it will be interesting where they set it tomorrow. The Baltic Dry Index gained 206 points to 3,954, its highest level since June 22nd. The Labor Department reported that for the 52nd consecutive week, over 500,000 people filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending November 7th. The number was 12,000 lower than the prior week, and continuing claims declined 139,000 to a seasonally adjusted 5.63 million, its lowest number since March. Interesting interview with Outokumpu below.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (JOC) The output of the freight transportation industry declined 0.5 percent in September from August, blunting a three-month long recovery, according to a report Thursday from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The agency’s Freight Transportation Services Index, which includes data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight, fell to 95.7, the lowest level for September since September 1996 when it was 87.7.
  • Commodities Weekly: A Year-End Puzzle - more
  • Why Jim Rogers Isn't Buying The Equity Rally - more
  • Gold Price Won’t Drop Below $1,000 an Ounce Again, Faber Says - more
  • Retail Sales Stable, but Remain at Low Levels - more

  Interview -Big nickel price rises unlikely soon-Outokumpu - Nickel prices are unlikely to rise strongly in the next two year because of weak fundamentals, Finnish stainless steel maker Outokumpu said on Thursday. - more

  Ruukki says metal demand to rise slowly, outlook hazy - Demand for products such as iron ore and zinc used to make steel will rise slowly, but the outlook is cloudy and forecasting future needs is difficult, Finnish steelmaker Rautaruukki told Reuters on Thursday. - more

  China's refined copper output rises in first 10 months - (excerpt) China's refined lead, zinc, and nickel production from January to October also saw year-on-year increases, up 19.4 percent, 5.8 percent, and 17.9 percent respectively to 3.16 million tons, 3.52 million tons, and 176,651 tons. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.21/lb lower, with most metals lower on a rising Dollar. The US Dollar is trading over 4/10 of 1% higher against the Euro at the moment, adding pressure to commodities. NYMEX crude futures are off nearly 1% and around $78.50/barrel. Gold is off 3/10 of 1% while silver is lower by more than 4/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China pulling off a slight gain. European markets are trading slightly lower this morning, while US futures show Wall Street is slightly bearish this morning. Nickel inventories rose slightly overnight, while the BDI made another large jump. Wal-Mart reported third quarter profits rose by 3.2% but advised "on a comparable-store basis, sales excluding fuel fell 0.5%, short of the company's original forecast of sales in the range of flat to up 2%."
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report today (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) LME nickel is leading the base metals lower as warehouse stocks continue to rise and output in China increases, says Citigroup analyst David Thurtell. Nickel output in China for October was up 40.7% from the year earlier and "stocks keep relentlessly rising," he adds
  • (Reuters) Outokumpu is taking new actions to restructure its stainless tubular business unit. To optimize production and cut costs the company intends to close its production site in Veteli in Finland.
  • (SBB) China stainless output surges 37% in Jan-Sep
  • (SMM) China's nickel output is expected to fall further this month after dropping 6.7% in October on weak demand from the stainless steel sector.
  • (JMB) Nisshin Steel to Increase Stainless Cold Rolled Sheet Price by 10,000 yen in November
  • (AAR) The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported that freight rail carloadings were down 15.3 percent in October 2009 (at 1,100,714 carloads) compared with the same month last year, marking the twelfth straight month of double-digit declines.
  • (MW) The volume of mortgage applications filed to purchase homes last week hit the lowest level in nearly nine years, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Thursday.
  • (CD) China's industrial output rose 16.1 percent in October from a year earlier, as the economy saw a consolidated recovery of growth with massive government spending.
  • Credit Suisse bullish on commodities in 2010 - more

  Stainless Steel Production In Europe Is Receding To Recover = Spot Price Of High Carbon FeCr Has Inclined To Weaken - A revival in production of stainless steel products in Europe was once expected but the recovery in October - December quarter of 20009 is supposed to be difficult to materialize. In Europe, where has postponed an expectation to recover production of stainless steel to the next year of 2010, many negative factors, which major stainless steel companies have planned to reduce their production and the stocks of stainless steel products held by stockists are unable to decrease, have been sporadically seen at present. - more

  Ferrochrome users landed with SA energy costs - Prices of ferrochrome, the key ingredient in stainless steel, will have to rise to accommodate increasing power tariffs in South Africa, and in coming years there may be a capacity shortage because of electricity constraints in the country, said David Kovarsky, CEO of LSE-listed International Ferro Metals Ltd (IFL) - more

  Negotiated Sales Limited In Dec Japanese Exports Of Ni-Based Stainless Steel - Japan's stainless steel manufacturers face limited contract volumes so far in their export deals of nickel-based CR sheets under negotiation for December shipments to the rest of Asia, mainly to China.  - more

  ENRC output to return to 2008 levels, wary on 2010 - Kazakh mining group ENRC will return output next year to 2008 levels, but is still wary about the outlook for 2010 as it posted a 2.1 percent fall in third-quarter output of ferrochrome, a key product. - more

  • ENRC: 2010 Iron Ore, Ferrochrome Output Seen Nr 2008 Levels - Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. PLC Thursday said production of its main commodities had nearly returned to pre-financial crisis levels, though the Kazakh miner cautioned that risks of volatility in prices and output remain. - more

  Mining executives among top earners - Two executives from the Australian mining industry have placed among the top five highest paid company executives in the country. - more

  • Mincor confident about future - Nickel miner Mincor Resources NL says it has weathered the storm of the global financial slowdown and looks to the future with confidence with a robust balance sheet and well-performing mines. - more

  FNX Mining posts wider Q3 loss - Canadian nickel and copper miner FNX Mining Co reported a wider third-quarter loss, hurt by an extended maintenance shutdown and ongoing labour interruption at its third-party processing facilities in Sudbury. - more

  Salzgitter sees fragile European steel market - Salzgitter, Germany's second-biggest steelmaker, warned on Thursday that overproduction could smother a tentative recovery in the European steel market. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • Vale Inco retraining workers to replace striking colleagues - Nickel miner Vale Inco Ltd. is training replacement workers so it can re-open a smelter that has been idle since workers went on strike in July. - more

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • China extends Rio Tinto probe 2 months: Australia -  China has extended an investigation of detained Rio Tinto mining executive Stern Hu by two months, Australian officials said Thursday, calling for a quick resolution to the long-running case. - more
  • China reaffirms principle of investigation of Rio Tinto case - China will handle the Rio Tinto case according to Chinese law and the China-Australia Consular Agreement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular news briefing on Thursday. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (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 11

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 133 to 3,748. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China to Base Yuan Reforms on Capital Flows, Major Currencies, PBOC Says // Dollar Falls to 15-Month Low on Bets Fed Target Rate Will Stay Near Zero // ADB's Kuroda Calls on China to Let Yuan Rise, Joining Calls from Europe // Japanese Machinery Orders Rise 10.5%, More Than Twice as Much as Estimated // Asian Stocks, Currencies Rise on Japan, China Economic Data; Gold Advances // King Says BOE Still Has `Open Mind' on Bond Purchases, Won't End Stimulus // Global Confidence Drops as Central Banks Begin to Exit Emergency Stimulus // European Stocks Advance on Earnings, Economy; Credit Agricole, Holcim Gain // Fed Faces Biggest Blow to Authority, Independence in Dodd Banking Measure // Geithner Says a Strong Dollar Is `Very Important' to U.S. Economic Health // Bear Stearns Juror Says U.S. Case So Weak She Would Invest With Defendants // S&P 500 Climbs to 13-Month High as Commodities Rally on Chinese Production
  • The US Dollar is now trading slightly higher against the Euro, after spending much of the morning in the cellar. NYMEX crude is up 1/3 of 1%, and under $79.50/barrel. Gold is up 7/10 of 1%, while silver is up by 8/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mixed, with most ending slightly higher. Indicator charts show nickel made a run early this morning, thanks in part to the falling Dollar, but well before the Dollar got into trouble, nickel had given up all its morning gains. In fact, the Dollar dip actually saw nickel increase a little. In the end, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.62/lb , a penny less than yesterday's close, and after market trading saw nickel climb back into the black. Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses rose overnight, climbing over the 131,500 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday and the recent downtrend is obvious (here). Market opened this morning with the RSI and SStoch numbers reflecting a seriously oversold market. The Baltic Dry Index gained another 133 points to 3,748. Another quiet day on the stainless and nickel fronts.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Finnish miner Talvivaara CEO Pekka Per said Talvivaara remained confident that the ramp up towards production levels of about 30,000 tonnes of nickel per annum in 2010 remained on track.
  • (JMB) Japanese major 8 nonferrous metal smelters posted year-to-year lower sales and profits for the first half of fiscal 2009 (April-September) due to price down of base metals and demand decline for nonferrous metal products. Market prices of base metals currently returned to the level as high as before global economy deterioration and demand for nonferrous metal products recovered to 70-80% level compared with the first half of fiscal 2008. Meanwhile, demand recovery is delayed in several fields and yen exchange rate keeps strong.
  • Black Friday Becomes Black November - more
  • U.S. Unemployment Rate Headed to 12%-13%, Economist Says - more
  • As Unemployment Rises, Kids’ Future Dims - more
  • Fed Officials Say Recovery Will Be Hampered by Unemployment - more
  • The Job Market and Equities - more

  Toledo Mining hit by off-take cancellation from Berong mine - Toledo Mining, the AIM listed nickel mining company working in the Philippines, has been hit by news that one of the buyers of nickel laterite ore from its Berong mine has terminated its contract. - more

  Barrick May Consider Selling Some Assets in Tanzania  - Barrick Gold Corp. Chief Executive Officer Aaron Regent said the world’s largest gold producer will consider selling some assets including the Kabanga nickel mine in Tanzania. He spoke today at a conference in London. - more

  Colin Barnett threat to BHP-Rio Pilbara merger - West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has warned BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto he could spike their contentious plan to merge their Pilbara iron ore operations by not passing vital legislation if they do not agree to pay raised royalties. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.15/lb , with all base metals trading solidly in the green. The US Dollar is trading 3/10 of 1% lower against the Euro, giving commodities a boost. NYMEX crude oil is trading 4/10 of 1% higher and over $79/barrel. Gold doesn't seem to care what direction the Dollar is heading these days, and is up nearly 9/10 of 1%, while silver is up nearly 2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China down nearly 1/4 of 1%. European markets are higher this morning on news Japan’s machinery orders rose, China’s industrial production accelerated and South Korea’s unemployment fell. US futures show the bull is firmly in control on Wall Street, with a stronger opening expected. Inventories of stockpiled nickel rose again overnight.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices finished mixed on Tuesday amid very quiet conditions across practically all markets. Nickel was perhaps the weakest in the group, hitting seven-week lows after support at $17,600 gave away earlier in the week. The fact that the dollar stalled around the $1.50 mark against the Euro had a lot to do with the lackluster session, especially since we had nothing out of the US in terms of macro news. Metals are higher right now after an uneventful Shanghai session, as the dollar is struggling once again, now at a recent high of $1.5035 against the Euro. Crude oil prices are also up by about $.50 despite rather bearish API inventory numbers out last night, while US stocks are expected to open higher after yesterday’s listless session.  ... As the markets digest the impact of these contradictory Chinese figures, it will primarily be up to the dollar to dictate the pace of market conditions in the very short-term. This is not saying very much new of course, but metals along with energy and gold, have become default trading proxies for those seeking to capitalize on a weaker currency. ... Nickel is at $17,174, up $349, but charts still look weak, and we are sticking to our downside target of $16,300 for now." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) According to the data from Japan Iron & Steel Federation (JISF), Japan imported 13,316 tons of stainless steel products in September, up by 12 percent compared to the last month.
  • (MF) Nickel producer Eramet plans to raise capacity by only 3% to 55,000 tons next year, Eramet’s executive vice-president told Reuters. He added that he thought nickel prices are at manageable levels for both producers and consumers. "We don't want to have too low prices as we have seen in the past, and we don't want to see too high prices also because it creates a false situation” where volatility would be “detrimental”.
  • (FT) Global miners strengthened their hand in their critical annual iron ore negotiations with steelmakers after spot prices rose above $100 a tonne on Tuesday for the first time since the summer.
  • China's imports, exports drop 10.7% in Oct - more
  • Commods returns seen strong another 2 yrs -Goldman - more
  • A regular commentary on the El Niño-Southern Oscillation - more
  • (NFIB) The Index of Small Business Optimism gained 0.3 points, rising to 89.1 (1986=100), 8.1 points higher than the survey’s second lowest reading reached in March (the lowest reading was 80.1 in 1980:2). In the 1980-82 recession period, the Index was below 90 in only one quarter. In this recession, the Index has been below 90 for six quarters, indicative of the severity of this downturn.
  • (MD) September U.S. manufacturing technology consumption totaled $153.55 million, according to the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association and the Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTC program, was up 17.8% from August but down 69.3% from the total of $500.57 million reported for September 2008.
  • World Bank chief warns of U.S. troubles - more

  Miner Talvivaara Q3 loss deeper, sticks to target - Finnish nickel and zinc miner Talvivaara posted a deeper third-quarter loss on Wednesday due to weak output, but said it was over the worst of its production problems - more

  Update on Berong Nickel Operation - Toledo Mining Corporation plc wishes to advise that Berong Nickel Corporation, the Philippine registered company in which Toledo has a 56.1% economic interest, has received notice from Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd to terminate the contract between the companies whereby QNP is required to purchase a minimum of 300,000 wet metric tonnes of nickel laterite ore per annum from BNC until mid-2012. - more

  Japanese steel maker warns of Chinese investment - The chairman of one of Japan's biggest steel producers has warned that state-controlled Chinese investment in WA's resources must be monitored carefully because of its potential to create "intense strain" with nations in the region competing for Australian minerals. - more

  China's daily crude steel output remains high in October - China's daily crude steel output reached an average of 1.67 million tons in October, lower than the 1.69 million tons recorded in September, according to a report released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Nov. 11. - more

  • China's commodity output surges - China's production of metals, fuel and power stayed at record levels last month as industrial output hit a 19-month high, but falling imports of copper and iron ore fuelled doubts whether it really needed so much material. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • Vale Intends to Restart Sudbury Smelter Amid Strike  - Vale SA, the world’s second-biggest nickel producer, intends to resume partial operations at the metals smelter at Sudbury, its largest nickel and copper mine in Canada, amid a strike. No talks with strikers are planned. - more

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, November 10

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 135 to 3,615. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China to Overlook Calls for Stronger Yuan as Exports Fall, Researchers Say // Asia Must Study Stimulus Exit Strategy `Carefully,' Singapore's Lim Says // Asian Stocks Rise as Exports Gain; Pound Declines on U.K. Rating Concern // Lloyds Banking Will Cut 5,000 Jobs in Operations, Insurance, Retail Units // German Investor Confidence Drops for Second Month on Stimulus Expiry, Jobs // HSBC Third-Quarter Earnings Are `Significantly' Higher; Provisions Decline // European Central Bank May Raise Growth Forecast in December, Mersch Says // Stocks in Europe Decline as Barclays, CRH Drop; HSBC Rallies on Earning // Tighter Bank Lending Standards Reinforce Fed's Decision to Keep Rates Low // Dodd Proposes Measure That Would Strip Fed, FDIC of Bank Regulation Roles // Buiter Says Don't Buy Treasuries as Fed May Raise Interest Rate Next Year // Goldman's Blankfein Defends Bank Against Breakup Advocates in Rules Debate // Stocks in U.S. Retreat as MBIA, Fluor, Exxon Shares Drop; Dollar Rebounds
  • The US Dollar continues to trade higher against the Euro, by 3/10 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude is down 1-2/3% and a little over $78/barrel. Gold is now trading lower, by 2/10 of 1%, and silver is off 2%. Base metals ended the session mixed, with nickel the only major mover. Indicator charts show nickel slumped early, and was never able to crawl out of the cellar. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.63/lb . Nickel stored in LME approved warehouses saw stock numbers rise overnight, but only slightly. The Baltic Dry Index rose yet again, up 135 points to 3,615. Most will tell you that with an over-supply in shipping, these numbers do not mean what they used to, but after solid gains over the last few weeks, we are encouraged by the increase. This number helps track shipments of raw material globally.  Markets are docile today and not much news. So we leave you with a clip from a Reuters article below .... "A number of those who took part in the poll said issues remained over volatility, with speculators rather than supply and demand dictating price direction. "We don't want another nickel," said one conference delegate. He said stainless steel prices were low "but nickel prices have gone through the roof and it's all speculative driven." What??? Speculative??? Say it ain't so!!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Citi analyst David Thurtell  - "Stainless steel producers in China have probably backed away in the market. .... Stainless steel demand in the last month or two has fallen away a bit...but world demand should pick up so nickel's downside from here should be relatively limited."
  • Rockefeller Center - State Tax Revenues Show Record Drop, For Second Consecutive Quarter - pdf here
  • Can gold hit $1,500? - more

  Ferro-alloy delegates say to use new LME contracts - Many delegates at the international ferro-alloys conference in Monte Carlo plan to use soon-to-be launched London Metal Exchange minor metal contracts, but doubts about the benefits persist, a straw poll showed. - more

  Chromex to restart mining operations at Stellite Mine in December, shares jump - investors reacted warmly to an update from South Africa focused chromite produce, Chromex Mining, which reported today that it was continuing to generate positive cash flow and announced the acquisition of additional chrome assets in Zimbabwe. - more

  Industries demand action over scrap metal thieves - Selling scrap metal for cash could go the way of the rag and bone man if a proposal from the utilities and transport industries is adopted as the latest tactic against scrap metal thieves. - more

  MMCZ lifts ban on chrome ore export - The Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) has lifted the ban on the export of chrome ore and chrome fines. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.26/lb lower, with most other base metals only slightly lower. The US Dollar is trading 2/10 of 1% higher against the Euro, adding pressure to commodity trading. NYMEX crude is only slightly lower at the moment and just under $79.50/barrel. Gold is up over 1/2 of 1% while silver is up over 1%.  In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up nearly 1/4 of 1%. European markets are lower this morning no news German investor confidence fell for a second consecutive month. And US futures show a slight drop this morning is possible for Wall Street. Nickel inventories rose slightly overnight. The International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs reported chain-store sales rose 2.9% last week, down 0.1% from the week prior. The ICSC forecasts November sales could be up 5% to 8% against November 2008, when sales fell by a stunning 7.7%.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals closed higher on Monday, as a weakening dollar and a 15% increase in physical copper premiums passed on by Codelco to its Asian customers, both combined to reassure the longs. However, of the two variables, it was the dollar that was the key upside driver, particularly after the greenback fell to a 15-month low against a basket of currencies on Monday. Perhaps just as importantly, currency markets are watching to see how the greenback will fare now that it is hovering around the $1.50 mark. As we noted yesterday, should it pull away from this level entirely, it could turn the $1.50 area into new support, and trigger another round of buying in a number of commodities, particularly in gold, which seems to be setting new highs every day. So far in today's action, the dollar seems to be holding steady, now trading at exactly $1.50, and having weakened from the $1.4950 level seen earlier. Its relatively unchanged performance has allowed a measure of selling to set into the markets, particularly in copper and nickel. A weak Shanghai session, coupled with stock increases noted in a number of complexes, are also contributing to the lackluster session thus far. Energy prices are down slightly, after a good advance yesterday, while US stocks are also called to open slightly lower as well.....  Nickel is at $16,950, down $480. A second consecutive close below $17,600 yesterday has contributed to further technical weakness, and we now see next support at $16,300. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) China's Taigang Stainless Steel's Q3 financial report showed a good performance compared with 2008 same period. According to its Q3 report, the company reached RMB716 million net profit in the period, up by 72.66 percent from the same period of last year.
  • (Reuters) China's crude steel output in October rose from the month before to an estimated 51.55 million tonnes, close to a record of 51.65 million tonnes in August, industry consultancy Custeel said on Tuesday, citing industry figures. China's daily crude steel output in October was 1.663 million tonnes, up 0.85 percent from 1.649 million tonnes in September but below the record 1.666 million tonnes in August, Custeel said, citing estimates from the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA).
  • (Fortis) We are confident that nickel will benefit handsomely during the restocking phase - when that arrives - but for now its supply-demand fundamentals are poor and this ought to deter any rash speculative investment interest from diving in. Much of the metal that has built up in the LME has derived from Russia, suggesting that there is little appetite from European mills to ramp up stainless steel output, despite orders rising slightly over the past two months. This nickel producer discipline is critical to ensure prices remain stable by matching demand, and could be supportive to the nickel price next year, if inventories begin to fall. Short-term LME three-month price: $16,000/t-$19,500/t.
  • (JMB) NSSC Slightly Raises Ni and Cr Series Stainless Sheet Prices
  • (JMD) Cold-rolled Ni stainless steel sheet/ For Asia, wait-and-see stance
  • (SSY) Meanwhile, port congestion at China’s iron ore terminals still appears to be on the increase, with an estimated 43 Capesizes now waiting to berth compared with 22 three weeks ago. According to SSY’s Capesize Iron Ore Port Congestion Index for China, average berthing delays at China’s leading iron ore discharge terminals have increased to around 6 days, the highest level since end-August.
  • The American Hardware Manufacturers Association’s AHMA Home Improvement Industry Confidence Index’s Current Situation Index remained at 45.8 in October (the same reading as September), while the Future Expectations Index moved up to an all-time high of 201.7 from 191.4 in September.
  • (SBB) Weak stainless demand dragging nickel back to reality
  • Outokumpu Stainless Corrosion Handbook - more
  • IEA "whistleblower" says peak oil nearing: report - more
  • Financial innovation is Wall Street's new 'soul sickness' - more

  Chrome output must rise 50 pct in next decade -ENRC - Chrome production will need to increase by around 50 percent within the next decade to keep up with Chinese stainless steel demand, Kazakh miner ENRC said. - more

  SC favors PGMC on Palawan nickel claims - The Supreme Court (SC) has denied motions for reconsideration filed by the operating unit of the Oriental Peninsula Resources Group and upheld its earlier decision favoring Platinum Group Metals Corp. (PGMC) in all 4 cases arising from the firms' fight for control over nickel mines in Palawan. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending November 7, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,544,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 64.7 percent. Production was 1,209,000 tons in the week ending November 7, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 50.7 percent. The current week production represents a 27.7 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending November 7, 2009 is up 3.3 percent from the previous week ending October 31, 2009 when production was 1,495,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 62.7 percent.

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, November 9

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 87 to 3,480. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China May Curb Leverage in Real-Estate Purchases, Shanghai Official Says // Japan Tops China Buying Treasuries as Lost Decade Survivors Debunking Pond // India May Lead G-20 in Fiscal Stimulus Exit as Singh Signals Withdrawal // Asian Stocks Gain on G-20, Axa Takeover; Gold Rises to Record on Dollar // G-20 Splits on Tobin Tax, Signals Banks Must Foot Bill of Future Bailouts // Trichet Undermined by German Exports as European Nations Seek Weaker Euro // Euro Advances Versus Yen, Dollar as Reports Signal Economy Is Recovering // European Stocks Rise for Fourth Day; Allianz, BHP, Continental Shares Gain // Cadbury Rejects Kraft's $16 Billion Unsolicited Takeover Offer as Too Low // Geithner Saying Be Like Bullish Buffett Can't Make JPMorgan Boost Lending  // Buffett Says `Credit Crisis Has Abated' After Berkshire's Profit Triples // Dollar Being Used to Fund `Carry Trade,' May Still Be Overvalued, IMF Says // Dollar Being Used to Fund `Carry Trade,' May Still Be Overvalued, IMF Says // American Air CEO Says Japan Air Oneworld Alliance Exit Would Be `Very Bad' // Tishman BlackRock Near Restructuring or Sale of New York's Stuyvesant Town // Stocks Advance After G-20 Nations Maintain Stimulus Steps; Citigroup Rises
  • The US Dollar is getting hammered today, down over 1% against the Euro. NYMEX crude oil is up over 3% and nearing $80/barrel again. Gold is up 3/4 of 1% and over $1010/ounce, while silver is higher by more than 1.2%. Base metals ended mixed and did not react to the Dollar dip as they have in the past. Indicator charts show nickel trading was choppy, but ended lower. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.91/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approves warehouses swelled again over the weekend, and now sit well over the 131,000 tonne level. Sucden's day old charts shows nickel trading on the London Metal Exchange last week, and the weakness Friday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index gained 87 points, to 3,480. Nickel appears to be in trouble, with the Dollar not giving it the upward pressure that it normally does. We fell below Ed Meir's support on Friday, which now places nickel's overall trend in the negative. The fastener distribution industry got some good news Friday, when the U.S. trade panel rejected an investigation into imports of Taiwan and Chinese steel fasteners. We have seen some reports that steel prices in China are moving upwards. The index we follow concurs with that, but not by much, and its still shaky. We can advise that the Chinese stainless steel index we monitor, is still sliding, although its been only slightly now for the last month.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Economists Seek to Fix a Defect in Data That Overstates the Nation’s Vigor - more
  • G20 ministers agree on nothing - more
  • Civilian Hours vs. Real GDP - more

  German steel body sees recovery only by 2011 - There will be no recovery for Germany's steel industry until at least 2011, following a "very difficult" 2010, the country's steel federation said on Monday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.02/lb higher, with all base metals slightly higher this morning. The US Dollar is trading over 9/10 of 1% lower against the Euro, which should be giving a big boost to commodity trading. NYMEX crude futures are up nearly 1-1/2% and over $78.50/barrel. Gold is up over 1%, while silver is up over 1/8%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher with China up 1/3 of 1%. European markets are stronger this morning, and US futures show Wall Street will open in a very bullish mood.  Nickel inventories took another big leap over the weekend, while China's Jinchuan will no loner be considered in the possible sale of Ravensthorpe.  The BDI rose by 87 points.
  • Reuters morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices ended up modestly lower on Friday, although the selloff was not as sharp as what we saw in energy, where investors reacted more negatively to the grim US unemployment news. In this regard, the jobless rate jumped to a 26-1/2-year high of 10.2% in October, while 190,000 jobs were also cut during the month, more than the 175,000 expected. The sorry state of consumer spending was brought into sharper focus as well, with a much higher than expected decline reported for September consumer credit. Indeed, credit fell by 7.2%, its eighth straight monthly decline, and constituting the longest declining streak since the Federal Reserve started keeping records in 1943.  We are more than making up for Friday’s declines as of this writing, with the metals complex sharply higher on account of a plunging US dollar and a buoyant energy complex. It remains to be seen how the greenback will fare as it pushes against the $1.50 mark against the Euro, which it is where it is now. It did breach $1.50 earlier in the morning, but should it pull away from this mark, this would be a technically very negative sign and could result in another across-the-board commodity advance. .. Nickel is at $17,402, up $52, but chart patterns look uninspiring, with a short-term down channel (marked by the red line) still in place. More importantly, we closed below the $17,600 support mark on Friday, and are watching to see if this repeats again today for a second consecutive time.
  •  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Patrick Lamarque, the CEO of the Ugitech Corporation, said that the stainless steel demand and price will probably not rebound in the fourth quarter of this year. He also said that stainless steel sales enjoyed a short rebound in September but fell again after September. Lamarque reckoned that the market situation would turn better in 2010 but the pace of recovery would be very slow.
  • (MNP) Chinese nickel producer Jinchuan group says it is no longer in the running to buy the Ravensthorpe project and is instead focused on other opportunities, according to Metals X.
  • (Dow Jones) Western Areas: Target To Double Nickel Output In 2010
  • (JMB) Ni Stainless Cold Rolled Price to Increase in Tokyo
  • (CD) China's passenger cars sales in October surged 75.8 percent from a year earlier, official data showed, extending the explosive growth in recent months as government incentive policies continued to lure customers.
  • (EP) Today, Germany released another upbeat data after the buoyant news released recently; marking that the worst is over and the largest economy in the euro area will lead growth in the third quarter as it did in the second quarter. The Euro Zone's gigantic economy released its Industrial Production showing improvement in September coming in at 2.7%, higher than the revised 1.8% and median estimates of 1.0%. Also, on the year the reading inclined to -12.9% compared with the revised -16.5% and expectations of -14.4%.
  • The Freight Transportation Services Index as a Leading Economic Indicator - more
  • Bank of China chairman warns fellow lenders - more
  • NFP/Unemployment Charts Get Fugly - more
  • Even More Unemployment Charts - more

  DJ China Built Up 'Significant' Unreported Base Metal Stocks -RBS  - Significant unreported stocks of base metals have built up in the last 15 months in China, adding to supply headwinds for a recovery in prices, the Royal Bank of Scotland said in a note Saturday. - more

  China's Jinchuan out of race for BHP's Ravensthorpe nickel mine - CHina's largest nickel producer, Jinchuan Group, has been kicked out of the next stage of BHP Billiton's process to sell its mothballed Ravensthorpe mine in Western Australia's south. - more

  Nickel mining project nixed - Local officials of Mindoro are up in arms over the granting of an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to a nickel mining project in the area that could threaten Tamaraw conservation areas and the popular Puerto Galera resort. - more

  • SC upholds Platinum Group on Palawan nickel claims - The Supreme Court has denied the motions for reconsideration filed by Oriental Peninsula Resources Group and favored Platinum Group Metals Corporation in all four cases arising from relentless attempts to deprive Platinum of its rights over nickel mines in Palawan. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, November 6

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 58 to 3,393. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) RBA Says Australia Growth to Beat Forecasts, Rates to Rise; Currency Gains // World's Central Banks Signal End to `Largesse' as Depression Threat Fades // Japan's Bonds Heading for Longest Losses Since June 2008 on Recovery Signs // Asian Stocks Rise on Australian Growth Outlook, U.S. Productivity Report // Nomura, Barclays Lure Hundreds of Bankers as Rivals Cut Jobs, Cap Bonuses // JPMorgan Said to Detect Kiener's K1 Fraud That Stung Banks, Bought Planes // RBS Has Quarterly Loss on $5.5 Billion Bad Loans, Credit-Market Writedowns // European Stocks Climb for Third Day; Allied Irish, British Airways Advance // AIG Posts $455 Million Profit as Catastrophe Claims Decline; Shares Tumble // Fannie Mae Is Fifth-Biggest Lehman Creditor With $15.8 Billion in Claims // U.S. Unemployment Rate Jumps to 10.2% as Payrolls Fall More Than Forecast
  • The US Dollar is trading over 2/10 of 1% higher against the Euro, jumping after the US employment report came out.  NYMEX crude is down over 3% and near the $77/barrel level. Gold is up 4/10 of 1% while silver is 1/10 of 1% lower. Gold is at $1093/ounce, but hit $1100/ounce earlier today for the first time ever. Base metals all ended lower after the Dollar gained on news unemployment rose more than expected in October. Indicator charts show nickel started in the positive this morning, but once the US unemployment report came out, it hit the slide for the remainder fo the session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.01/lb , down over 3% for the week. Inventories of nickel stored in LME authorized warehouses climbed over the 130,000 tonne level, setting yet another record high. The Baltic Dry Index continues to climb, up another 58 points to 3,393. The unemployment numbers were unwelcome news this morning, with the official unemployment number now at 10.2%. MarketWatch also reported "An alternative gauge of unemployment, which includes discouraged workers and those forced to work part-time, rose to 17.5%, the highest on record dating to 1995." After an initial dip, Wall Street is trying desperately to hold onto the 10,000 level, which it regained yesterday. Been a tough week. We hope your weekend is a relaxing and happy one.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Guest Post: Was it “Nobody Saw It Coming” or “Everybody Who Saw It Coming Was a Nobody”? - more
  • Obama to sign homebuyer, jobless bill assistance - more

  Chinese Metal Stockpiling Is Coming To An End - A new report from RBS attempts to gauge the extent and duration of China's infamous metals stockpiling - more

  BIR Report: Nonferrous crowd more update than ferrous folks - Not much in the way of positive ferrous news to report, given the consensus views shared at last week’s Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) meeting in Amsterdam. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.08/lb higher, with the rest of base metals trading mixed and quiet. The US Dollar is trading stronger against the Euro at the moment, by less than 1/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude is down more than 4/10 of 1%, but over $79/barrel. Gold is up over 1/4 of 1%, and silver is higher by nearly 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher with China up over 1/2 of 1%. European markets are slightly higher this morning, while US futures imply a slightly stronger opening but the market is waiting on employment numbers this morning, expecting a rise to 9.9%. Nickel inventories climbed over the 130,000 level overnight, and the BDI gained 58 points. And the Labor Department just reported unemployment reached 10.2% in October, worse than expected.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "It was a strange day in the markets yesterday, as the relatively constructive macro news out of the US that ignited an upward charge in the US equity markets hardly did anything to lift commodities. Instead, investors in both base metals and energy stood aside and watched as the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared to a 200-point gain, pushing above the 10,000 mark in the process. The dollar also weakened slightly over the course of the day, but did not to do much for metals either. ... This morning, we are up modestly ahead of the nonfarm payrolls data that comes out later in the morning. We are not looking for any positive surprises in the data, and suspect that most markets -- including stocks-- will turn modestly lower on a worse-than-expected figure. The dollar is holding steady at 1.4870 today, and cannot be seen as contributing much to another upside push in metals at this stage either. Moreover, stock data was not that friendly either, with inventories rising sharply in Shanghai for the week in all three metals.  ... Nickel is at $18,050, up $290. For now, prices seem to be bouncing off support every time they get down to the $17,600 mark, but the upside action, in turn, is not that convincing. " (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (AM) Due to weak demand and low prices of chrome ore, ETI KROM has suspended their chrome ore offers, expecting the price of lumpy chrome ore 42% to go up to over USD300/t CFR CMP again. The company reported to Asian Metal that since winter comes to Turkey and it snows on the mountain regions, there won't be adequate material in the coming months.
  • (Prime Tass) Customs: Russia’s nickel exports down 3.9% on year in Jan–Sep
  • (Dow Jones) China is unlikely to buy more base metals in the near term unless prices fall much more, says Citi analyst David Thurtell. Says "China stepped back but investors stepped up." Physical demand in general is poor right now and China, both from official sources and private speculators, appears to be well stocked now, Thurtell says. Adds China will probably hold onto the metal.
  • (JMB) Japan Stainless Scrap Price Levels Off
  • Thompson Creek announces 30% increase in molybdenum mineral reserves and new 16-year mine plan for Thompson Creek Mine - more
  • Regency Mines and Direct Nickel sign JV agreement over Mambare deposit - more
  • (AAR) The Association of American Railroads today said that freight rail traffic remains down for the week ended Oct. 31, 2009. U.S. railroads reported originating 275,439 carloads for the week, down 13.7 percent compared with the same week in 2008 and down 18.2 percent from 2007. In order to offer a complete picture of the progress in rail traffic, AAR will be reporting 2009 weekly rail traffic with year over comparisons for both 2008 and 2007 going forward
  • Emu Nickel NL Confirms New Nickel Sulphide Zone (6.3% Ni) At Binti South - more
  • Commodity assets rise $2.2 bln in Oct -Barclays - more
  • Secular Cycles in the S&P Composite - more
  • Americans trading clunkers for clunkers?  - more
  • China to launch anti-dumping, anti-subsidy probe into US autos - more
  • China: the new big buddy on our block - more

  Junior chrome producers up in arms - A group of junior chromite ore producers are preparing to lobby South Africa’s parliament to counter a request by major producers for the state to impose quotas and a duty on ore exports. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 30th October 2009 = Electricity Fees Are Moving To Raise In Main Bases / China To Produce Ferro-Alloys - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 30th October of 2009 is as follows - more

  S.Africa miner Exxaro seeks to mine nickel, copper - South African diversified miner Exxaro Resources plans to expand into nickel and copper mining in Africa, its Chief Executive Sipho Nkosi said on Friday. - more

  Jien Canada's Current Offers Are Full and Final - Offers will expire on November 10, 2009 if the required two-thirds minimum support conditions from both the shareholders and debentureholders are not received - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, November 5

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 41 to 3,336. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Toyota Narrows Loss Forecast to $2.2 Billion as Clunkers Cash Boosts Sales // Chinese Official Yao Warns Against `Excessive Growth' as Inflation Threat // Astellas Cuts Annual Profit Forecast on Stronger Yen, Drug Research Costs // Asian Stocks Fall as South Korea Fuels Growth Concern; Doosan Heavy Drops // Bank of England Boosts Bond-Purchase Plan Less Than Forecast in Third Step // ECB Holds Rate at 1%, May Signal It's Closer to Ending Emergency Stimulus // BNP Paribas Third-Quarter Net Rises 45% on Fortis Assets, Investment Bank // Zurich Declines Most in Six Months After Quarterly Profit Misses Estimates // Trichet Says ECB to Phase Out Emergency Measures as Economy Resumes Growth // European Stocks Rise for Second Day; BNP Paribas, Delhaize, Ahold Advance // Fed Signals Return to Growth Alone Doesn't Warrant Interest-Rate Increase // CVS Caremark Profit Climbs 39%, Surpassing Estimates, on Pharmacy Revenue // Rogoff, Johnson, Rajan Say G-20 and IMF May Fail to Curb Global Imbalances // Boeing May Lose $1 Billion Oman Air Order to Airbus If 787 Further Delayed // Stocks in U.S. Rally on Drop in Unemployment Claims, Cisco's Sales Rebound
  • The Euro and US Dollar have been trading up and down all morning and at the moment, the Dollar has a slight lead. NYMEX crude is down 2/3 of 1% and under $80/barrel. Gold is off 1/4 of 1%, while silver is down 3/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the day quietly, with the Dollar/Euro stats offering no motivation either way. Nickel spent the day in the cellar in quiet, but choppy trading. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.05/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose yet again overnight, to a new record high, but shy of the 130,000 tonne level. Sucden's day old nickel chart shows trading over the last week (here). The Baltic Dry Index rose 41 points to 3,336. It appears analysts from MF Global and Sucden have their major support levels fairly close together. Ed Meir has it at $17,600/tonne ($7.98/lb), while Brenda Sullivan of Sucden has it at $17,582/tonne (also $7.98/lb). In technical trading, support levels are important because if the price falls below this level, the overall trading trend shifts lower. On the flip side, when gold moved thru resistance last week, the overall trend moved higher, and in gold's case, it moved a lot higher. MarketWatch reports "The number of people filing initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell by 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 512,000 in the week ending Oct. 31, the Labor Department reported Thursday." And the Labor Department reported productivity in the US workplace soared at an annual rate of 9.5% last quarter. The report (here) also stated non farm hours worked fell 7.5% during the quarter, while unit labor costs in nonfarm businesses fell 5.2 %. Thus, those Americans fortunate enough to still have a job, worked harder for less money. You would think this would be bad news, considering so much of the economy depends on Americans spending money. We are seeing in this report that those with jobs are losing more and more of their disposable income. But apparently Wall Street is more excited about the productivity figures and unemployment numbers than they are with the details. But there is good news working harder for less people. It appears the first time home buyer tax credit will be extended, worth up to $8000, and on any house selling for up to $800,000.  But wait. Made too much to qualify before? The income levels to qualify have been raised - to $250,000 for a couple. Still miffed because you own a home?? Tried to play by the rules, did you? You sap! Well never fear - this is Congress we are talking about. The term "first time homebuyer" has now been re-defined. Now you can qualify for a $6500 rebate if you have been in your current residence for a consecutive five-year period in the past eight years, and want to be a "first time" homebuyer. Ok America - there is this weeks carrot. Before they repossess your teeth, you better bite. In our opinion, this whole recovery process is fast becoming a joke.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • High-Tech Companies Face Shortages as China Hoards Metals - more
  • Senate votes to renew tax credit for first-time home buyers - more
  • Lending must support the real economy - more
  • The Periodic Table of Finance Bloggers - more

  Ruukki to quadruple SA capacity - Ruuki Group is completing a study into growing ferrochrome smelting capacity in South Africa to around 400,000 tonnes annually over the next four years, growing a division that is now headed by Danko Koncar. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.05/lb lower, with all London traded base metals slightly lower. The Euro is trading slightly higher against the US Dollar, only recently going positive. NYMEX crude futures are down 1/3 of 1% and over $80/barrel.  Gold is down 2/10 of 1% and silver is off nearly 2/10 of 1%. With the Euro now stronger, commodity prices are moving higher off earlier lows, but if the Dollar strengthens, we see these gains evaporating. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, although China was slightly higher. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures imply a slightly higher opening on Wal Street. Nickel inventories continue to rise, closing in on the 130,000 tonne level. And the BDI gained 41 points overnight.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices rose sharply yesterday, as investors had a chance to react to the long-awaited Fed announcement. In its statement, the Fed expressed confidence that the economic recovery was gaining traction, but stuck to earlier language keeping interest rates "exceptionally low" for "an extended period", and also refrained from offering any hints of impending tightening. Its language weakened the dollar and enabled metals and energy to build onto their pre-announcement gains, although US equity markets entered a slow fade in the last hour. Yesterday’s dismal close in the US stock market may be weighing on sentiment today, where we are seeing declines in other equity markets. The dollar has also bounced back slightly, now trading at 1.4837 against the Euro after weakening to 1.4900 at one point yesterday. Metals prices are lower as a result, as are energy prices, with crude back below the $80 mark. ... Nickel is at $17,875, down $25. Yesterday’s sharp gains faded by the close, and we are now hovering close to support at $17,600."   (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) It’s reported that about 80 percent of new nickel production projects has been delayed in 2009 due to global economic recession. Only two new project, Posco SMSP’s Kwangyang ferronickel project and nickel sulfide project of Sumitomo Metal Mining in Philippine, have been completed in 2009. ....  It’s said that there will be 5~6 new nickel production finished in 2010, and the global annual output is estimated to rise to 71,000 tons then.
  • (MNP) Nickel miner Western Areas says a 24% jump in contained nickel at the Flying Fox deposit, part of the Forrestania nickel project in Western Australia, has confirmed the mine as one of the most continuous and highest-grade nickel mines in the world.
  • (Interfax) China's production of nickel pig iron, an alternative raw material to refined nickel used in stainless steel, is expected to reach 100,000 tons in 2009, thanks to recovering refined nickel prices and demand from stainless steel mills, industry analysts told Interfax on Nov. 5.
  • (CB) Fitch Ratings has today revised Russia-based OJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel's Outlook to Stable from Negative
  • (AISI) Based on the Commerce Department’s most recent Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that steel import permit applications for the month of October totaled 1,491000 net tons (NT).
  • Roubini Says Rogers’s $2,000 Gold ‘Utter Nonsense’ - more

  South Korea to Decide on Anti-Dumping Duties on Stainless Steel - South Korea’s trade commission is meeting companies to review a possible extension of anti-dumping duties on stainless steel bars from Japan, India and Spain. - more

  The lucky man of mining - Just six years after starting FTSE 250-listed Talvivaara, using largely untried techniques to extract nickel, Pekka Pera is becoming a major player in the mining industry. - more

  Domestic Prices Of Normal Ferro-Alloys In China Remain Unchanged In October = Main Areas To Produce Ferro-Alloys In China Are Moving To Raise Electricity Fees - The domestic prices of normal ferro-alloys in China for October of 2009 have continued on a weak tone, following the same in September. - more

  U.S., Canadian Steel Inventories - With steel shipments from service centers slowly rising, inventories of the metal, in decline since early last year, rose slightly in the United States and Canada, according to the September Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute, Rolling Meadows, Ill. - more

  Mining boom to return to Australia by 2011: BIS Shrapnel - Australia's commodity sector will be back to mining a rich seam within the next three years, fuelled by the recovery of Chinese demand, according to a new report. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (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 4

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 48 to 3,295. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Disney Wins Approval for Shanghai Park to Tap World's Biggest Population // China Must Avert Asset Bubbles Fueled by Record Lending, World Bank Says // Nissan Narrows Loss Forecast as Government Support Increases Sales in Asia // Asian Stocks Rise for First Day in Three on Profit Optimism; Toyota Gains // Trichet's `Black List' Fails to Deter Weber as ECB Debates Exit Strategy // Societe Generale Third-Quarter Profit Doubles on Investment Bank Earnings // General Motors Battles Worker, German Resistance in Attempt to Rescue Opel // Russia May Halve Planned 2010 Debt Sale After Oil Rally Bolstered Economy // European Stocks Advance; Societe Generale, Marks & Spencer, Renault Climb // October Job Cuts in U.S. Tumble 51%, More Than Estimated, Challenger Says // General Motors to Keep Opel in Second Break From Post-Bankruptcy Strategy // Berkshire Hathaway AAA Rating May Be Cut by S&P After Burlington Takeover // U.S. Service Industries Expand at Slower Pace as Job Concerns Cut Spending // Stocks, Gold Rally as Dollar Drops on Speculation Fed Will Keep Rates Low
  • The US Dollar is trading 8/10 of 1% lower against the Euro as the market awaits the US Fed announcement. NYMEX crude is up 1-1/10% on reserve withdrawals. Gold is up 4/10 of 1% at the moment, and hanging around the $1090/ounce level. Silver is higher by more than 1-1/10%. Base metals ended this options expiration day mostly higher, thanks to a weaker Dollar. Indicator charts show nickel was trading strongly in positive territory for much of the day, before taking an unusually strong dip in later afternoon trading. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.10/lb , but showed some unusual weakness in late trading considering the Euro was strengthening at the time. Inventories of nickel rose back over the 129,500 tonne level to another new record high overnight. The Baltic Dry Index gained 48 points to 3295. The Institute for Supply Management reported their nonmanufacturing index fell to 50.6% from 50.9% in September, but the market received the less than stellar news optimistically. What this report says is that less respondents felt business was improving this month than those who felt it was worsening, compared to September, but the level remained above the 50 level, so the market ran with it. Wall Street is also being helped by the falling Dollar. Market is awaiting the all important Fed announcement to be made later today.    

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Jim Rogers v. Nouriel Roubini - more
  • Fed Likely to Have Trouble With Exit Strategy - more
  • What to Expect from President Obama's Visit to China - A Primer - more
  • Fears of a New Bubble as Cash Pours In - more
  • The Fed Thoughtfully Strokes Its Beard, Flaps Its Gums - more
  • The Coming Collapse of the Municipal Bond Market - more
  • The economist's new clothes - more

  Major joint mining project testifies to milestone in China, Papua New Guinea cooperation - Visiting Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday attended a ceremony to celebrate crucial progress made on a major joint mining project between China and Papua New Guinea. - more

  HudBay could take on partner for Fenix project - HudBay Minerals will consider taking on a joint venture partner to help finance construction of its Fenix nickel project in Guatemala, which could get the go-ahead by the middle of next year, the company's CEO said on Wednesday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.22/lb higher in choppy trading, with all base metals trading higher this morning. The US Dollar is trading lower by 1/3 of 1% against the Euro, helping commodities. NYMEX crude futures are up nearly 1% and over $80/barrel. Gold is up 3/4 of 1% and over $1090/ounce, while silver is up nearly 2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended  higher, with China up 1/2%. European markets are trading higher this morning, with US futures showing Wall Street should open higher. The ADP employment report released  this morning shows the US continues to lose jobs, down 203,000 in October. The good news in the report, if any, was that this was the fewest jobs lost since July of last year. Nickel inventories rose overnight to a new record high.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals had another mixed close yesterday with only modest changes noted, but the market's tone was very impressive in that earlier losses were made up quickly despite a strengthening dollar. In fact, with commodities either recovering or pushing higher yesterday despite the stronger dollar, the more normal inverse relationship between these two camps was thrown off. We have to wait and see what today brings when the pivotal Fed announcement comes out later. Any hint that the Fed is looking to roll back some of its recent stimulus could have a profound upward impact on the dollar, and likely result in another down move in commodities. However, should the Fed not change anything, we could see the selling pressure on the dollar resume, perhaps leading to further gains going to the close.  ... Nickel is at $18,400, up $600, and held support around the $17,600 level yesterday. Prices now seem to be pushing back to work higher inside the range, but we still would be neutral on the complex pending clearer definition on the charts.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Jones)--China's Jinchuan Group and Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer have exited the sales process for BHP Billiton Ltd.'s failed Ravensthorpe nickel operation in Western Australia, people familiar with the situation said Wednesday. However, one of the people said China Metallurgical Group Corp., or MCC, is among potential buyers that remain in the running for the giant nickel laterite project.
  • (NB) Breakaway Resources Ltd commenced a 2,000m diamond drilling program on its high priority Saints nickel target in its 100% owned Scotia project 70km northwest of Kalgoorlie.
  • (Reuters) The United States said on Tuesday it has set preliminary duties ranging from 2 percent to 438 percent on hundreds of millions of dollars of imported steel wire decking from China to offset government subsidies. It was latest in a growing list of actions against imports from China, the United States' second largest trading partner.
  • China recovery fuels E Asia's rebound: WB - more
  • Why China Hates the U.S. and What It Means for Your Portfolio - more

  Stainless Steel & Special Alloys Committee: - Market remains fragile - The forecast for global stainless steel production in 2009 has been reduced to around 24m tonnes “but it is debatable whether this will be achieved”, the BIR Stainless Steel & Special Alloys Round-Table was warned in Amsterdam by its Chairman, Michael Wright of ELG Haniel Metals in the UK. - more

  Heron Starts Initial Talks for $1.5 Billion Nickel Mine Partner - Heron Resources Ltd., planning to build a $1.5 billion nickel mine in Australia, has held initial talks with groups in China, Japan and South Korea as well as global mining companies to help fund development. - more

  China's Imports Of Chrome Ore In September / 09 Recorded Largest In Its History = Imported 944,000 Tons In Sep., Imports In Jan.- Sep. / 09 Totaled To 4,710,000 Tons - According to the customs-statistics released in China, this country imported 944,564 tons of chrome ore in September of 2009, which recorded the largest quantity in its history and had an increase of 35% from that in the previous month of August. Also, the imports in September of 2009 increased by 20.4% compared with that (784,371 tons) in the same month of 2008. - more

  EU Average Stainless Steel Prices - Latest Forecast from MEPS - Our forecasts are little changed from last month. Transaction values for all products are expected to continue on their downward path in the short term. - more

  Mittal plays down China steel output impact-paper  - The head of ArcelorMittal has played down in a German newspaper interview the threat that rising Chinese steel output would swamp global markets. - more

  • China Seeks to Create Two Large Steelmakers by 2015, Paper Says - China is seeking to create one or two steelmakers with annual capacity of 100 million metric tons by 2015 through encouraging industry consolidation, the China Business News reported, citing an official it didn’t identify. - more

  Steel production needs to be doubled: Minister - India needs to double its steel production from the current 55 million tonnes in five years if it wants to bridge the demand-supply gap, Minister of State for Steel Prathap Annayyagari said here Wednesday. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, November 3

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 62 to 3,247. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Australia Raises Key Interest Rate to 3.5%, Second Increase in Four Weeks // China Said to Plan Review of Developer Loans on Concern at Surging Prices // Yen Rises Against Dollar, Euro as Bank Woes Dent Higher-Yield Currencies // Hong Kong's Home Sales Fall 35% to Lowest Since April on Bubble Concerns // Asian Stocks Fall on Stimulus Concerns, UBS Loss; Sino Land, Suzlon Drop // RBS, Lloyds Banking Get $51 Billion From U.K. Taxpayers in Second Bailout // UBS Drops Most in Six Months as Private Bank's Net Falls, Withdrawals Rise // Euro Economies to Grow 0.7% in 2010 as Unemployment Rises, Commission Says // Stocks in Europe Fall to One-Month Low; Royal Bank of Scotland, BMW Drop // Berkshire Hathaway Agrees to Purchase Burlington Northern for $34 Billion // Johnson & Johnson Says It Plans to Eliminate Up to 7% of Global Workforce // Bernanke's Housing Gamble May Bring Pressure From Congress to Keep Fed Aid // Factory Orders in U.S. Climb a Fifth Time in Six Months on Recovery Signs  // Ford, Nissan U.S. Sales Climb as Automakers Shake Off `Clunkers' Hangover // Stocks in U.S. Extend Global Drop as Bank of America, Intel Shares Decline
  • The US Dollar continues to trade higher against the Euro, by a little less than 6/10 of 1% at the moment, and off earlier highs. NYMEX crude is over 1-1/2% higher and over $79/barrel. Gold is higher by 2-1/3% and over $1080/ounce, while silver is higher by over 3-1/2%. Base metals recouped early morning losses, but still ended the day lower overall. Indicator charts show nickel had a lackluster day, falling, then recovering, then falling again, showing a pattern of no clear direction except an effort to stay above $8/lb. Market has its eyes on the FOMC announcement tomorrow for some encouragement. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.05./lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses finally took a rest after gaining over 6000 tonnes in the last 5 sessions, falling back under the 129,500 tonne level overnight.  The Baltic Dry Index rose 62 points to 3,247. Allegheny and AK announced December stainless steel surcharges. Up for 304 stainless and down for 316 stainless, thanks to a dip in molybdenum costs. We track 304 and 316 from these two producers here.Markets are a little lackluster today, as attention turns to the Fed meeting going on in Washington and their scheduled announcement tomorrow. No action is expected with interest rates, but the language used in their statement will be monitored closely. In US reports today, the ICSC-Goldman's weekly chain-store index which rose 0.1 percent for a year-on-year pace of plus 1.9 percent, well down from 2.4 percent and 2.8 percent in the prior two weeks. And Barron's reports "Factory orders rose 0.9 percent vs. a 0.8 percent decline in August. September's gain was led by durable goods orders which rose 1.4 percent, data revised 4 tenths higher from the advance durable goods report issued last week. The non-durable goods component, boosted by chemical prices, rose 0.6 percent. Given October's gains in energy prices, the non-durables component is likely to show another gain in next month's issue of this report. But the slowing in the ISM's new orders index in yesterday's manufacturing report points to a smaller gain for October's durable goods component."

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Bloomberg)  China Metallurgical Group and Minara Resources Ltd. are frontrunners to Buy BHP Billiton Ltd.'s Ravensthorpe mine in West Australia, the Australian Financial review reported, without saying where it got the information.
  • Debt Deflation October 2009 - pdf here

  AK Steel declares USD185 per ton surcharge for electrical steel products - AK Steel , a provider of flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steels, said on Monday that the company has informed its customers that a USD185 per ton surcharge will be added to invoices for electrical steel products shipped in December 2009.

  The MEPS Global Steel Price Forecast To Fall Next Month - US transaction values for some products are a little higher than a month ago. However, the last round of proposals for higher prices do not appear to have been implemented, so far. - more

  JSW Steel cuts prices by up to USD 1,400 a tonne - Leading steel maker JSW Steel today cut prices of its products by up to Rs 1,400 a tonne, mainly due to the softening global trend. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.10/lb lower, with all base metals lower in London morning trading. The US Dollar is trading over 8/10 of 1% higher against the Euro, adding pressure to commodity trading. NYMEX crude futures are down nearly 9/10 of 1% and under $77.50/barrel. Gold is up over 1.8% and over $1061/ounce, while silver is slightly lower at the moment. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower for a second day, with China bucking the trend and gaining over 1%. European markets are much lower this morning and US futures show Wall Street will open in a cranky mood. Inventories of nickel finally took a break from huge daily gains, and slipped a little overnight. In our opinion, much of the increase in the Dollar and gold is a return to safe haven buying from Europe, as RBS and Lloyds take a second bank bailout , and UBS reports wealthy clients continue to pull money out of their bank.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metal prices did not do much of anything yesterday, this despite a trio of macro reports out of the US that came in better than expected. In this regard, the ISM manufacturing index rose to 55.7 in October, the highest since April 2006, and also came in well ahead of estimates. The data from the ISM sub-indices were interesting as well, in that although new orders expansion slowed from 60.8 to 58.5, employment showed its first sign of expansion in 14 months. Pending home sales also increased for the eighth consecutive month in September, as the index grew 6.1%, coming in much better than the unchanged estimate expected. Finally, total construction spending jumped 0.8% in September, vs. an expected decline of -0.2%. We suspect that none of these numbers had much of an effect on prices since they were perceived to be exaggerated by the impact of government stimulus or incentive measures. In fact, a study we came across suggests that about 80% of the 3.5% gain in third-quarter GDP growth could be linked to the effect of government programs. Undoubtedly, the markets are aware of this, and this should keep price responses to better than expected data rather restrained in the week ahead. The exception will be the nonfarm payroll numbers out on Friday and the Fed policy statement out tomorrow, where even minor changes in phraseology could have a major impact on the markets. Metal prices are sharply lower as of this writing, as a revival in the dollar -- now trading at 1.4650 against the Euro -- is pressuring the complex..... Nickel is at $17,800, down $260. Nickel does not have any short-term upchannels that remain intact, so we suspect that pressure will continue to mount on the downside. There is modest support around the $17,600 level, (approached earlier in the day), but things look pretty wide open below that if that level does not hold."   (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • China's economic growth to exceed 10% in Q4: CCB - more

  Mirabela Produces First Nickel From Santa Rita In Brazil - Mirabela Nickel Ltd. said Tuesday it has produced first nickel concentrate from its flagship A$462 million Santa Rita project in Brazil. - more

  How minor metals have gained importance - Why should all metals not traded on the London Metal Exchange (LME) be called minor metals? Six base metals and contracts on steel introduced not very long ago, after much doubts and deliberations, leave a large family of metals in the so called minor box. This no doubt is a misnomer and a burden from the past, calling for correction. - more

  Steel Output in China May Rise 10%, Association Says  - Steel output in China may rise 10 percent this year, worsening a domestic oversupply in the world’s largest producing nation, the China Iron & Steel Association said today. - more

  Minara Seeking to Acquire Ravensthorpe Asset From BHP  - Minara Resources Ltd., Australia’s second-largest nickel producer, is seeking to acquire BHP Billiton Ltd.’s shelved Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia. - more

  • Resource tax threat could cost the state billions - Queensland would lose control over billions of dollars in mining royalties under a proposed federal resources tax. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending October 31 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,495,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 62.7 percent. Production was 1,682,000 tons in the week ending October 31, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 70.5 percent. The current week production represents an 11.2 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending October 31, 2009 is down 0.8 percent from the previous week ending October 24, 2009 when production was 1,507,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 63.2 percent.

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Rio Tinto softens stance on ore talks - Rio Tinto, the world's second-largest iron ore miner, has softened its stance regarding iron ore prices to Chinese steel mills, with negotiations just around the corner and both sides trying to test how far the other would bend in the crucial talks. - more
  • CISA: Upside For 2010 Iron Ore Term Price 'Small, Difficult' - The upside for iron ore benchmark prices remains "small" and "difficult," a senior China Iron and Steel Association official 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)
  • 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

Monday, November 2

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 85 to 3,185. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Dollar, Yen Fall Versus Euro as Recovery Signs Spur Higher-Yield Demand // China's Manufacturing Expands at Fastest Pace in 18 Months, HSBC PMI Shows // Asian Stocks Fall on Yen, U.S. Consumer Spending Report; Mitsubishi Drops // Royal Bank Says EU May Force More Asset Sales Than Planned to Approve Aid // U.K. Home Prices Climb a Third Month Amid Supply Shortage, Hometrack Says // Bank of England May Choose Risk of More Bond Purchases to Fight Recession // Commerzbank Reports Loss of $1.56 Billion, Including Dresdner Bank Costs  // European Stocks Rise After U.S. Manufacturing Report; Rio, Kazakhmys Gain // Ford Has Earnings of $997 Million, Says 2011 Will Be `Solidly Profitable' // CIT Files for Bankruptcy; U.S. Is Unlikely to Recoup $2.3 Billion Bailout // Pandit's `Near Death' Cash Hoard Signals Lower Profits Ahead at U.S. Banks // Manufacturing in U.S. Expands at a Faster Pace as Factories Propel Growth // Mutual Fund Fees Divide High Court as Justices Consider Investor Lawsuits // Bank of America Joins China as Treasuries Buyer While Fed Bailout Unwinds // U.S. Stocks Advance After Ford's Profit, Economic Data Exceed Projections
  • The US Dollar continues to trade approximately 1/3 of 1% higher against the Euro, but off earlier highs as Forex traders jockey for position. NYMEX crude continues to trade 1% higher, while gold is also 1% higher and silver is up over 9/10 of 1%.  Base emtals ended the session mostly higher, but nickel did not join the parade today. Indicator charts show nickel rose early, but succumbed to the lower Dollar and in our opinion, the inventory numbers sent a jolt thru the market. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at  $8.19/lb . Inventories of nickel swelled over the weekend, gaining over 2700 tonnes, and now rest over the 129,500 tonne level. And yes, that would be a new record for the year, as is nearly any gain these days. Analystss like to push this fact to the side, but the constant growing of these numbers in light of the restrcitions on supply the industry is facing, have to be very concerning to those who are hoping desperately this whole supply/demand situation does not repeat history. Sucden's day old chart shows LME trading thru last week (here). The Baltic Dry Index grew 85 points to 3,185. Today, China's and the US' PMI numbers were in focus, and both came in positive.  We track the numbers here.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • US future econ growth index up in latest week--ECRI - more
  • Dr. Doom Predicts “Biggest Coordinated Asset Bust Ever” - more
  • "A Shaky Start" - more
  • Priced to Go - more
  • Too Little of a Good Thing - more

  Global steel prices to drop in 2010 - Two analysts, one from the U.S. and the other from Germany, see reduced world steel demand and lower prices through next year. Their views would contradict a recent World Steel Association forecast that world steel demand will grow 9.2% in 2010 after falling by an estimated 8.6% in 2009. - more

  Rio Tinto warns Chinese mills on 'unfair' prices - Rio Tinto says iron ore sales to China could be priced differently to other markets in 2010 but the resources giant will resist any attempts by Chinese steel mills to set unfair benchmark prices. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.08/lb lower, with other base metals mixed and quiet. The US Dollar is trading 1/3 of 1% lower against the Euro this morning. NYMEX crude futures are 1% higher and under $78/barrel. Gold is over 1% higher and silver is up by over 1-1/3%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with CHina ending higher by nearly 3-1/2%. European markets are slightly lower and quiet, while US futures imply a positive opening for Wall Street. Busy week for economic reports in the US, with the negative reaction caused by the weekend bankruptcy of the CIT bankruptcy, being overshadowed by positive reaction to the China PMI numbers. Nickel inventories had a holy cow weekend ... meaning when we saw the amount nickel inventories grew over the weekend, our first reaction was "holy cow". More in our afternoon update.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "In a stunning reversal on Friday, metal prices ended sharply lower, as did energy and US equity markets, with all the markets giving up Thursday's robust gains. We cannot say we were very surprised by the sell-off, as we expected something like this to take place on Thursday in the wake of the stronger GDP numbers and what we thought should have been a corresponding strengthening in the US dollar. That sell-off, of course, never materialized as the dollar weakened instead, setting off the strong across-the-board rallies. However, Friday's about-face illustrates just how deceptively treacherous these markets can be, with the lesson to be drawn here being that one must not get swept up in the initial "knee-jerk" price reaction to key economic data. Friday's sell-off was exacerbated somewhat by reports that US consumer spending fell in September for the first time in five months; the fact that the decline matched estimates did not seem to matter much to markets that were already jittery going into the figure. That may also explain why the Chicago PMI and the Michigan consumer sentiment readings -- both of which came in higher than expected as well-- were similarly shrugged off. Metal prices are slightly higher as of this writing, responding to the weaker dollar, which having gotten to a high of $.1.4685 at one point in Asian trading, is now off by a full Euro, and trading at $1.4780. The dollar will take its cue from several key data points and announcements due over the course of a very busy week here in the US. Later today, we get September construction spending (expected at -.2%), as well as October ISM manufacturing .... Nickel is at $18,200, down $50. Stocks were up by another 1,000 tons today, bringing the two-day increase to some 3,700 tons. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Although Yieh United Steel Corp. and Tang Eng kept the domestic prices unchanged for 300 series stainless steel product in November, most local buyers thought their prices are still higher than their expectation.
  • (JMB) Japan Raw Steel Output to Rise by 10.5% to 25.775 million tonnes in Oct-Dec
  • (JMB) Japan 4 Major Stainless Steels Post Recurring Loss for Fiscal 1H
  • The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) of China's manufacturing sector rose to 55.2 percent in October, up 0.9 percentage points from the previous month, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) said on Sunday.
  • (FN) Russia Oct manufacturing PMI falls to 49.6
  • Halloween Special: 5 Economic Scenarios to Keep You Up at Night - more

  Present Circumstances And Near Future Pictures Of Deferred Nickel Projects = Economic Crisis Has Caused To Postpone 80% Of Nickel Projects, 40,000 Tons Will Be Newly Produced In 2009 - It has passed one year after the world economy has entered into an unprecedented crisis originated from the monetary emergency at Lehman Brothers of the USA. This problem has put a substantial impact on the world economy. - more

  Minara Seeking to Acquire Ravensthorpe Asset From BHP  - Minara Resources Ltd., Australia’s second-largest nickel producer, is seeking to acquire BHP Billiton Ltd.’s shelved Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia. - more

  • China Metallurgical Group Bidding for Australian Nickel Mine - China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) becomes one of the front-runners to buy the Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia, which is under the control of the world-known mining giant BHP Billiton. - more

  China Commerce Ministry Sets '10 Export Quotas On Some Metals  - China's Ministry of Commerce said Friday it will cut the quotas on export of tin and antimony for next year, in a sign Beijing is stepping up control over what it considers strategic metals. - more

  • Baoshan, Chinese Mills Rebound Stalls on Overcapacity - - Baoshan Iron & Steel Co. and Angang Steel Co., posting the best quarterly profit in at least a year, now face slower growth as oversupply in the world’s largest steel-producing nation reduces prices. - more
  • Chinese steel market to face uncertainties till 2009 end - The high inventories and the imbalance between supply and demand have affected market players’ confidence to Chinese steel market. But the rebound in the middle of October is given a positive impression to players, though it just remains a short time, especially the increase of HR price. - more

  Govt lifts ban on chrome ore, fines exports - Government has lifted the ban on chrome ore and chrome fines exports, the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe has said. - more

   Firm gets ecozone incentives as nickel pig iron exporter - Perks is Century Hua Guang Smelting Inc., a subsidiary of Century Peak Metals Holdings Corporation, recently signed a Registration Agreement with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority as endorsed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to officially become an Ecozone Export Enterprise. - more

  Universal Stainless profit dips by 90 percent - Universal Stainless & Alloy Products Inc. reported today that its third quarter profit dropped nearly 90 percent, as sales of stainless and tool steels each fell substantially. - more

  Scrap prices likely to remain volatile - The strength and sustainability of the much-discussed economic upturn preoccupied speakers at the BIR Ferrous Round-Table in Amsterdam. - more

  Kloppers warns of China pullback - BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers sees signs of a "pullback" in demand as China finishes rebuilding its inventories of raw materials. - more

  Steel prices under negative pressure in most developing nations - Negotiated prices remained unchanged in Turkey until mid-October. Local steel producers refused to revise their domestic quotations.- more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • About 3,050 hourly rated production and maintenance workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 6500, have been on strike since July 13. Another 130 USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne are also on strike. About 450 members of USW Local 9508 in Voisey's Bay have been on strike since Aug. 1.
  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • More picket line trouble - Greater Sudbury Police Service is still investigating an incident that occurred on the picket line at Vale Inco Ltd.'s Clarabelle Mill on Friday night during a Halloween party and rally by about 60 costumed and masked Steelworkers. - more
  • MPs call on Vale to release deal info - Greater Sudbury's two New Democrat MPs are calling on Vale to publicly release the agreement it made with Industry Canada when it acquired Canadian-owned Inco in 2006. - more

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

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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 be an authorized LME vendor.

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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

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