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Friday, October 30

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 90 to 3,103. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Bank of Japan to Stop Buying Corporate Debt as Stimulus Measures Unwound // Sony, Panasonic Project Narrower Losses After Cutting Jobs, Closing Plants // China Will Sustain Economic Rebound, Top Growth Target, Central Bank Says // Asian Stocks Rise as Earnings, Japan Jobless Data, Stoke Growth Optimism // New York Eclipses London as Best Financial Center in Global Bloomberg Poll // Barclays Resumes Equities Trading in Europe After 12 Years in Global Push // German Retail Sales Unexpectedly Decline as Companies Reduce Working Hours // European Stocks Post Biggest Drop in Four Months; Alcatel, Siemens Decline // Bankers Expect Rising Bonus Pay to Break Records in Bloomberg Global Poll // U.S. Consumer Spending, Sentiment Fall on Concern Over Mounting Job Losses  // U.S. Third-Quarter Labor Costs Rise 0.4%; Wage Gains Smallest Since 1982 // Stocks in U.S. Extend Weekly Decline on Economic Reports, Concern Over CIT
  • The US Dollar continues to trade higher against the Euro, up over 1/2 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude si down nearly 2-1/4% and a little over $78/barrel. Gold is down 3/4 of 1% and silver is off 2-2/3%. Not hard to figure out what happened to base metals today, All of the euphoria in markets yesterday totally evaporated early, with all base metals being hit doubly by the rising Dollar and market pessimism. Indicator charts show nickel never stood a chance and stair stepped downwards the entire session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day, week and month at $8.28/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose by over 1000 tonnes overnight and now rest well over the 126,500 tonne level. The Baltic Dry Index rose 90 to 3,103. So what has the market in a foul mood today? Consumer spending - down 0.5%. Personal income - unchanged. Core PCE price index 0.1%. Employment cost index - up 0.4 percent. Chicago PMI - up to 54.2. Consumer confidence - flat at 70.6. The Dow, showing some life at the moment, but still down over 200 points. European stocks - biggest one day drop in 4 months. It's been a wild week, and looks like more of the same in store for the markets!!
  • Have a safe and relaxing weekend!! 

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Bloomberg - yesterday) The number of people receiving jobless benefits declined by 148,000 to 5.8 million in the week ended Oct. 17, the lowest since March 21 and biggest weekly drop since July, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Initial jobless claims fell by 1,000 to 530,000 in the week ended Oct. 24, from 531,000 the prior week ..... The continuing claims figures don’t include the number of Americans receiving extended benefits under federal and state programs. The number of people who’ve used up their benefits and are now collecting extended payments dropped by 21,713 to 3.37 million in the week ended Oct. 10 from the prior week, today’s report showed.
  • The Baseline Scenario - more

  Norilsk cuts '09 nickel output forecast, ups palladium - Russian metal company Norilsk Nickel, said on Friday it had cut its nickel output forecast for 2009 to 284,000 tonnes from 285,000-300,000 tonnes but gave no reason. - 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 lower, with all base metals trading lower. The US Dollar si trading higher against the Euro, by nearly 1/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude futures are down 3/4 of 1% and around $79.25/barrel. Gold is down 1/4 of 1% and silver is over 8/10 of 1% lower. In overnight trading the US GDP numbers helped Asian markets end higher, as did China. European markets are only slightly higher at the moment, with US futures showing a lower opening. Nickel inventories rose by over 1000 tonnes for a second day.  Market Watch just reported "U.S. consumer spending fell sharply in September after the government's cash-for-clunkers program ended, the Commerce Department estimated Friday. Real (inflation-adjusted) consumer spending dropped a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in September after a 1% gain in August. Real disposable incomes fell a seasonally adjusted 0.1%, the fourth decline in a row."   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals rallied sharply higher on Thursday after data showed the U.S. economy growing somewhat more than expected in the third quarter for the first time in more than a year. There were stellar gains in the energy markets, as well as in US equities, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average tacked on almost 200 points for the day, its biggest percentage advance in three months. Although we were directionally right on the GDP number, we were quite wrong on the consequences of what we thought the stronger-than-expected figure would generate (i.e., a stronger dollar). In fact, just after the release of the GDP figure, the dollar was trading on either side of 1.4750 against the Euro for quite a while before investors, somewhat surprisingly, pushed it lower to around 1.4830 by the end of the day. Despite Thursday's sharp rebound (which one fund manager termed as the "bears' Waterloo'), we would argue for a pause here before switching allegiances completely to the buy side. Simply put, we have trouble seeing how investors are going to reconcile a reviving US economy with a weaker dollar. If anything, markets should come around to the more likely conclusion that the dollar should strengthen going forward in the wake of reviving US growth, especially now that the Fed will have to start a countdown to roll back some of the stimulus that it has pumped into the economy. Secondly, with regard to the impressive 3.5% GDP number itself, digging deeper into the data reveals that a good deal of the growth was generated by substantial government assistance. As examples, the "cash for clunkers" stimulus package contributed 1.47% of the 2.36% points that personal consumption added to GDP. In addition, the first-time homebuyers tax break was instrumental in jump-starting construction activity and boosting realtors' incomes, which accounted for a full third of the increase in the residential investment component. The key question now is how the US economy will fare without the big dollop of government money. We will have to wait and see on that one, but this is a legitimate question that was not on the radar screen in Thursday's exuberant push higher, as the focus was very much on the overall GDP number. We are modestly lower in quiet trading in metals as of this writing, with zinc faring the worst after a big surge in weekly Shanghai inventories, down $53 on the day and already giving up more than half of yesterday’s gains. The dollar is holding steady at 1.4815, but the fact that it is no longer weakening seems to have put at least a damper on yesterday’s solid advance. Crude oil prices are down as well (off by $.30 a barrel), while US stocks are expected to open with modest losses. .... Nickel is at $18,575, down $115, and not doing very much today after yesterday’s solid run higher.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (SSY) According to World Steel Dynamics’ SteelBenchmarker, the world export price for hot rolled band has slipped by $42/t month-on-month to $503/t, representing the lowest level since June. US and EU HRB prices are both down from their year-to-date highs in September to stand at $592/t and $588/t respectively
  • (AAR) The Association of American Railroads today reported that rail traffic remains down year over year for the week ended Oct. 24, 2009. U.S railroads reported originating 276,357 carloads, down 14.8 percent compared with the same week in 2008 and 17.3 percent from 2007. It was around this time last year notable declines in rail carloads and rail intermodal traffic showed the first significant signs of the nation’s economic downturn. Therefore, the AAR will be reporting 2009 weekly rail traffic with year over comparisons for both 2008 and 2007 going forward.
  • China muscles deeper into global commodity markets - more

  Kloppers warns of China pullback  - "China has been the major and sometimes only source of demand for commodities in the second half of 2009,'' he said in a speech overnight at the London annual general meeting of the world's largest mining company. - more

  Stainless steel prices to stay stable: JSL - Stainless steel prices are likely to remain stable in coming months, according to stainless steel producer JSL Ltd. - more

  Indonesia's Antam Q3 profit falls on nickel price - Indonesia's state-owned miner PT Aneka Tambang Tbk , posted a 56.7 percent fall in its third-quarter net profit, based on Reuters calculations, hit by lower nickel prices from a year ago. - 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

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • 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.
  • We're a good citizen: Vale CFO - Vale Inco Ltd. is in complete compliance with its obligations to Investment Canada and the people of Canada in regards to its purchase of the former Inco Ltd. three years ago, says the parent company's chief financial officer.  - more
  • New Caledonian unions back Canada's striking Vale workers -Unions representing workers at the Vale Inco nickel mine in New Caledonia have agreed to back strike action taken by their counterparts in Ontario, Canada. - 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

Thursday, October 29

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 27 to 3,013. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Nintendo Lowers Full-Year Profit Forecast, Citing Price Cut of Wii Console // Japan Air Starts Third Turnaround Plan in Three Months for Bailout Funds // Bollard Says New Zealand Rates on Hold Until Late 2010; Currency Declines // Asian Stocks Extend Global Slump on ANZ, PetroChina Earnings; Yen Advances // Investors Sensing Rout in Global Poll as Stocks Gain Most in Seven Decades // European Economic Confidence Rises More Than Forecast, Highest in a Year // Stocks Climb in Europe as U.S. Economy Grows More Than Forecast; KBC Gains // Exxon Posts Fourth Straight Profit Decline After Crude Oil Price Tumbles // Economy in U.S. Expands for First Time in More Than a Year Amid Stimulus // Fed Completes Treasury Purchases That Held Down Yields, Stabilized Housing // Shell, Exxon Profits Tumble as Recession Reduces Demand for Oil, Gasoline
  • The US Dollar got whacked today, thanks to a higher than expected GDP reading out of the US. At present it is down nearly 1% against the Euro. NYMEX cruse is up over 3-1/2% and back over $80/barrel. Gold is up nearly 2% and silver up over 3-1/3%. Base metals loved the falling Dollar and economic news from the US and all rose. Indicator charts show nickel was already heading up when the GDP numbers were released, and just kept climbing thru the session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.48/lb  . Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses took a huge jump overnight, by nearly a 1500 tonne gain , and now rest well over the 125,500 tonne level. The Baltic Dry Index returned to the black, gaining 27 points to 3,013. The Gross Domestic Product numbers for the third quarter were released today for the US (here) and came out slightly better than expected. We watch this part closely "Private businesses decreased inventories $130.8 billion in the third quarter, following decreases of $160.2 billion in the second quarter and $113.9 billion in the first." This isn't necessarily good news. Business' are still lowering inventories, which reflects a lack of confidence by business owners part. This lack of confidence extends well beyond inventories and affects other spending, and employment numbers. The bulls will tell you the good part of this is when it starts to go up, this will be very good for the economy The bears would agree, but remind you they haven't started going up yet.  But the economy grew for the first time in a year, so lets enjoy the news and hope it continues. Some economists reactions - Nomura Global Economics - "The most important “surprise” was the larger-than expected drop in inventories. That implies that businesses are further along in their drive to realign stocks with current demand and suggests they must soon rely more heavily on current period production to satisfy on-going growth in demand. Score that as a positive for the outlook." Steven Ricchiuto, Mizuho Securities - "The fact that the economy exceeded expectations of a 3% rise means that the growth bulls will maintain their 3.5% fourth quarter growth assumptions; however, the stress line in the economy showing through in the latest data still keeps my double dip scenario alive." Guy LeBas, Janney Montgomery Scott - "The final handful of dirt on the Great Recession’s grave: today’s data provides a needed psychological end to seven quarters of shrinking economic output. While there’s a great deal of uncertainty as to conditions for the coming few quarters and years, at least we can say the last few months have been good ones for output. We remain very much concerned, however, that the pace of consumer activity will slow sharply now that government spending incentives are expiring. Our overall impression on today’s data was positive, however." Paul Ashworth, Capital Economics - "We expect economic growth to continue at about the same pace for the next few quarters, as pent up investment demand is released, inventories are restocked and the boost from the fiscal stimulus continues. Our concern, however, is that all those positive factors will fade badly in the second half of next year. If consumption growth remains unusually lacklustre, then GDP growth would slow to a crawl again." Millan L. B. Mulraine, TD Securities - "All things considered, this was a very good report, and suggests that the U.S. economy has finally shaken off the shackles of the deep economic recession and is beginning the economic recovery process. However, with the significant fiscal and monetary stimulus providing the main impetus for this sharp rebound, we expect GDP growth in the coming quarters to be less robust as their impact wanes, though we do expected the recovery process to remain intact." Joshua Shapiro, MFR Inc.- "The most important factor limiting growth will be households continuing to struggle with ravaged balance sheets and lingering labor market weakness. Moreover, many negatives related to sour commercial real estate loans, consumer lending, commercial & industrial loans, non-subprime mortgage lending, etc. are yet to be felt as far as banks and other creditors are concerned, while soft demand and substantial spare capacity will weigh on any recovery in capital spending." Gee whiz. After a ll that cheery talk, one might wonder why the stock market is going up so much today.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (AP) Hebei Iron & Steel Group, China's second largest steel producer by output, announced on Wednesday that it would slash building-steel prices by 50 to 200 yuan/ton in November.
  • (G & M) Russia unveiled its eighth interest rate cut since April, as lower inflation enabled it to press on with the easing campaign aimed at setting the recession-struck economy firmly on to recovery path. The central bank reduced all key rates by 50 basis points effective from Oct. 30, taking the benchmark refinancing rate down to a historic low of 9.5 per cent.
  • Copper's View of the Recovery: No Real Growth This Year - more
  • Goldman, J.P. Morgan Economists Debate Shape of Recovery - more

  BHP Billiton:Ravensthorpe Restart Or Sale Decision By Yr End - BHP Billiton Ltd will decide by year-end whether to sell or return to production its idled Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia, the chief executive said Thursday. - more

  Vale CFO says company "absolutely" complying with Investment Canada Act - Vale Inco Ltd. is in complete compliance with its obligations to Investment Canada and the people of Canada in regards to its purchase of the former Inco Ltd. three years ago, says the parent company's chief financial officer. - more

  Commodities demand to rebound 2010: BHP - Resources giant BHP Billiton Ltd expects underlying demand for its commodities to rebound in the middle of 2010. - more

  S.Korea Hyundai Steel lowers steel product prices - South Korea's Hyundai Steel will lower steel product prices by up to 6.8 percent from November, expecting rising imports of lower-priced steel products from China, the firm said in a statement on Wednesday. - 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 higher, with other base metals mixed and mostly quiet. The US Dollar is currently trading nearly 2/10 of 1% lower against the Euro. NYMEX crude futures are 1/2 of 1% higher, and just under $79/barrel. Gold is over 1/2 of 1% higher with silver 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China down nearly 2-1/2%. European markets are slightly higher, with US futures showing a slightly higher opening for Wall Street. Nickel inventories took a big jump overnight. All of the above information was recorded before the US GDP numbers were released. We are waiting to post for the report to see what any immediate reaction to the Dollar and metals might be. Bloomberg reports the median forecast is for a 3.2% increase. Report advises 3.5% - Euro jumps, nickel jumps, Wall Street futures jump. Looks like a day for the bulls.    
  • Reuters morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals sold off sharply yesterday, with copper hitting one-week lows, as a surging dollar hit the complex hard. In this regard, the Euro broke the 1.47 mark at one point in the day, while the broader six-currency dollar index notched up its fifth straight daily gain, its longest winning streak since July. The US stock market was of no help to metals either, falling for a third straight session on an unexpected dip in new home sales and only an in-line increase noted for September durable goods. We think today's session will be equally action-packed, and suspect we may get one more one leg lower in commodities before the week is through, particularly if the US GDP figure surprises to the upside, as we suspect it might. This scenario will surely boost the dollar and pressure markets lower, as it will convey the message that the Fed's "countdown" towards tighter money and higher rates may soon begin. Some other banks are already out of the gate in this regard; we noted yesterday that the Norwegian central bank raised rates yesterday, as did Australia some weeks ago, and New Zealand also indicated that it would push rates higher by the second half of next year. ... Nickel is at $18,100, up $300. We were much weaker earlier in the session, with prices selling off to $17,650 at one point. Another close below $18,070 today will result in further deterioration in the chart picture." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (CD) Industrial enterprises in China's 22 regions reported a combined profit of 1.55 trillion yuan ($227.5 billion) in first nine months, down 9.1 percent year-on-year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Wednesday.
  • (WSJ) Hotel occupancy increased in Asia in September for the first time since October 2007, according to STR Global, the widely used hotel industry data collector.
  • Is the Recession Over ? (Extended Transition Phase) - more
  • Decline and fall of the U.S. dollar - more

  ArcelorMittal: China Steel Inventories To Fall In 4Q - Underlying Chinese steel demand remains strong but China is building up excessive inventories and is likely to need to destock in the fourth quarter, ArcelorMittal (MT), the world's largest steelmaker, said Wednesday. - more

  • China’s Steel Production Cause for Alarm - Why does China produce almost as much steel as half of all other countries (including the United States) put together? - more

  Vale Profit Beats Estimates as Recovery Spurs Rising Ore Demand - Vale SA, the world’s biggest iron- ore producer, reported third-quarter profit that beat analysts estimates and said a quicker-than-expected end to the global recession is prompting increased demand for metals. - more

  • Vale's profit drops in third quarter - Nickel, copper and cobalt production dropped in the third quarter of 2009, Brazil's Vale mining company said Wednesday, as it reported a huge drop in profits for the quarter. - more

  Sherritt 'confident' on Ambatovy project schedule – Toronto-based Sherritt International does not have any concerns at this point with meeting the scheduled timeline for its Ambatovy nickel project, in Madagascar, CFO Dean Chambers said on Wednesday. - more

  -Indonesia's Inco says Q3 net profit up 3.21 pct - PT International Nickel Indonesia Tbk reported a 3.21 percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Thursday thanks to a recovery in nickel prices. - more

  Philippines aiming to join China's resource boom - The Philippines is aiming to be one of the next nations to cash in on China's insatiable appetite for resources, with the Asian neighbours working to build closer mining ties, officials from both sides say. - 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, October 28

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 27 to 2,986. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Tightens Rules on Personal Loans to Cool Stock, Property Speculation // Asian Stocks Drop on National Australia Loss, Canon Earnings; Yen Advances // SAP Cuts Full-Year Sales Forecast as Customers Reduce Spending on Software // Glaxo Third-Quarter Profit Jumps 30%, Beats Estimates, on Currency Gains  // European Stocks Fall Most in Three Weeks on SAP, Arcelor Earnings Setbacks // New-Home Sales in U.S. Unexpectedly Fall as End of First-Time Credit Nears // U.S. Durable-Goods Orders Rise Fourth Time in Six Months in Recovery Sign // Biggest Banks Would Bear Bulk of Future Bailout Costs Under House Proposal // Stocks in U.S. Extend Global Drop on Economy Concern; Oil, Metals Retreat
  • The US Dollar continues to trade higher against the Euro today, after poor economic data in the US was released, and the GDP release jitters build. At the moment, the US Dollar is trading over 6/10 of 1% higher. NYMEX crude is down nearly 2-1/3% and under $78/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1.2% and under $1030/ounce. Silver is off 3-1/4%. Base metals ended the day sharply lower, courtesy a tumbling Dollar. Indicator charts show nickel slumped early, tried to regain some lost ground early in the afternoon, but was beaten badly in the last part of the day. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.07 . Inventories of nickel now rest well over the 124,000 tonne level, after seeing a large gain overnight. We know you are tired of hearing it, so we won't say it again today. The Baltic Dry Index fell for a second day, down 27 points to 2,986. Two main economic reports out of the US today. The Commerce Department reported a 1% increase in durable goods in September, which follows a 2.8% decline in August and a 4.8% increase in July. But the report that has the analysts scratching their heads, and traders nervous, was the report by the Commerce Department, that new home sales fell 3.6% in September. Considering this is possibly the last month for the first time home buyers tax credit to be used (unless Congress extends it), a drop in last month's sales, a first in 6 months, was not expected. Apparently first time home buyers are buying existing homes, which hit their highest number in two years in Spetember. Tomorrow will be a big day, with the US GDP third quarter numbers coming out. The consensus seems to be the plus 2-4% range, after a 0.7% decrease in the second quarter. When released we could see a big move in the US Dollar, which could be favorable to metals, or less so.    

  Reports

  Stainless Steel Prices Unsettled Due to Volatile Input Costs - The steady rise in austenitic stainless steel transaction prices in Europe over the past five months has been arrested - mainly due to a reduction in alloy surcharges in October. Basis values in most EU countries are unchanged this month. - more

  Century Peak given Peza perks for smelting facility  - Newly listed mining company Century Peak Metals Holdings Corp. has secured government approval to register its subsidiary Century Hua Guang Smelting Inc. as an ecozone export enterprise which grants the firm tax benefits among other incentives. - more

  Eramet 4Q Nickel Hedging Program Covers 4,200 Tons - French metals and mining company Eramet SA said Wednesday that its hedging program for the fourth quarter of the year has covered 4,200 metric tons of nickel at a minimum price of $6.73 a pound, net of premiums. - more

  Taiwan Manufacturer Becomes New Player In Global Stainless Steel Market - Yuen Chang recently integrated an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system into its operations to enhance management at its Chinese subsidiary, Ningbo Qiyi Precision Metals, which began commercial runs in the second phase of a new production line. - more

  Cashed-up Metals X on lookout for investments - Cashed-up diversified miner Metals X is on the hunt for nickel and gold projects after amassing a war chest of almost $100 million. - more

  Sherritt 3rd-quarter earnings fall - Canada's Sherritt International Corp said on Wednesday its third-quarter earnings fell 58 percent, due to lower realized prices on its nickel, cobalt, coal and crude oil sales. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.11/lb lower, with the entire base metal spectrum lower. The US Dollar is trading 1/10 of 1% higher against the Euro, but off earlier highs. NYMEX crude futures are 2/3 of 1% lower, and at $79/barrel. Gold is more than 1/2 of 1% lower and silver is off 1-2/3%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower with China up nearly 1/2 of 1%. European markets are lower this morning and US futures show Wall Street may open lower. MarketWatch has reported this morning "Orders for U.S.-made durable goods rose in September, rising 1.0% on stronger demand for machinery, defense and capital goods, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday." New home sales will be released later with the all important US third quarter GDP numbers out tomorrow morning. Nickel inventories took a big leap overnight, while the BDI numbers have yet to be published.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals prices closed modestly lower on Thursday, but on the whole, the complex did well to finish where it did given the sizable upward move in the dollar. In fact, the dollar rallied to a two-week high against the Euro, gaining ground despite a worse-than-expected US consumer confidence readings and breaking the recent pattern of selling off on weak macro news. We suspect the large number of dollar shorts out there are still in the process of moving to the sidelines in advance of the key Q3 GDP data out on Thursday, and so we expect the dollar to continue its run between now and then. Right now, the dollar is up, trading at 1.4790 against the Euro and exerting pressure on metals in the process. We suspect metals have somewhat more to go on the downside, as having pushed higher on the back of the weak dollar to begin with, the complex has hardly given up any of its currency-induced gains.... Nickel is at $18,347, down $303, and very quiet. Charts remain neutral for the time being." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Run-up in metals prices raises bubble fears - more
  • (SO) According to the data issued by the Russian Special Steel and Alloys Consumers and Suppliers Association, in September this year Russia's imports of stainless steel products increased by 71 percent month on month to 10,800 mt, which is the highest monthly result registered since the beginning of 2009.
  • MNP - Miner Western Areas has continued its strategy of farming into nickel prospective exploration tenements with a deal over Great Western Exploration’s Forrestania project.
  • (JMB) Japan Stainless Coil Centers' Operation Recovers around 80%
  • Brazil has let expire an anti-dumping duty on ferro-chrome from Russia that has been in place since October 11, 2004 which added $1.99 per pound on ferrochrome.
  • Ilene Gordon of Corn Products International Inc. from Q3 2009 Earnings Call Transcript - "But if you look at the data that's comes out form the Fibre Box Association, volumes continue to decline year-over-year and that even year-to-date box shipments are down 9.8%, though I will say that September was down 4.8% year-over-year, though I understand September 2008 was a particularly low year. So while in the summer we thought we saw some glimmer of those shipments coming up, I continue to see weakness in that whole industrial area. If you look at the beverage and food area, of course we're seeing some improvements in high fructose corn syrup as you know, especially with shipments down into Mexico because of high sugar prices. But when I look at shipments of our other products into the food industry, I still see not a lot of improvement. "
  • (CD) The value of Hong Kong's total exports of goods dropped by 16.2 percent year-on-year, with the September exports falling 8.6 percent from a year earlier, said Hong Kong's Census and Statistics Department (CSD) on Tuesday.
  • (SSY) South Korea’s GDP rose by 2.9% quarter-on-quarter in the 3q09, the fastest pace since 1q02 and up from 0.6% compared with the same period last year after three consecutive quarters of negative year-on-year growth.
  • Pimco's Gross calls top of rally in risky assets - more
  • A regular commentary on the El Niño-Southern Oscillation - more

  POSCO to hold Nov stainless steel prices steady - South Korea's POSCO said on Wednesday it would maintain its November stainless steel prices at this month's levels, expecting domestic demand to pick up slightly up next month for restocking. - more

  Eramet to Break Even in Second Half as Metals Recover - Eramet SA, operator of the world’s largest ferronickel plant, said it will break even at an operating level in the second half after a recovery in nickel and manganese demand. - more

  • Stimulus Plans, Stocks Boost Apr-Sep Nickel Demand - Eramet - Stimulus programs, especially in China, and changes in inventories helped boost global nickel demand in the second and third quarters of 2009, French metals and mining company Eramet SA said Wednesday. - more

  CIC Seeks Commodities, Property as Hedge, Lou Says  - China Investment Corp., the country’s sovereign wealth fund, said it has $110 billion for overseas investments and will focus on buying into commodities companies and property as a hedge against accelerating inflation.- more

  • China prices recover, but sustainability in doubt - Chinese spot steel prices inched up 3 percent on the week, having gained nearly 3 percent in October after a seventh consecutive weekly fall until early this month, partly due to cost pressures in the country's steel mills. - more

  Metal stockpile selloff unlikely - Chinese investors holding metal inventories are unlikely to sell them quickly because of adequate levels of cash on hand, a senior executive at Sucden Financial Ltd said yesterday. - more

  ArcelorMittal sees profit after 3 quarterly losses - ArcelorMittal SA, the world's largest steel maker, on Wednesday posted a $903 million profit in the third quarter, its first after three consecutive quarterly losses, as it saw the first signs of a gradual recovery in demand. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • How far off is new iron ore pricing negotiation mechanism? - China is seeking to establish a new iron ore pricing negotiation mechanism, said an official at the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) at the Steel and Raw Materials Conference 2009 held in Qingdao on October 15 - 17. - 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

Tuesday, October 27

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 31 to 3,013. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Honda Raises Full-Year Profit Forecast on Japan, China Stimulus Measures // China Reports Jump in Investment Overseas, Predicts Surge in Production // Chalco Posts First Profit in Four Quarters as China Stimulus Boosts Demand // Asian Stocks Fall on Commodities, Hong Kong Property Curbs; Innotek Slumps // Daimler Sees Profitable Fourth Quarter After Closing Plants, Cutting Hours // Norway Poised to Be First Central Bank in Europe to Raise Interest Rates // ING Stock Suspended on `Huge Concentration' of Order Volume, Euronext Say // Most European Stocks Fall After U.S. Confidence Drops; Banks Pace Declines // How New York Fed's Secret Decision on AIG Swaps Cost Americans $13 Billion // Consumer Confidence in U.S. Unexpectedly Fell in October on Job Concerns // Foreign Banks Would Face Tax for Hiding Accounts Under Baucus-Rangel Plan // Ford Mustang Plant in Michigan Becomes Fifth Factory to Reject Concessions // U.S. Stocks Climb After IBM Increases Buyback; Oil Lifts Energy Producers
  • The US Dollar is trading over 1/2 of 1% higher against the Euro, adding stress to commodities for a second day. NYMEX crude is up nearly a percent and closing in on $79.50/barrel. Gold is unchanged at the moment, while silver is down 2%. Base metals ended mostly lower, but not by much. Indicator charts show nickel had a mountain peak day, climbing in the morning and falling in the afternoon, the moves compliments a Dollar/Euro shift. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.44/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose after taking a 3 day break, and now sit a new record level for the 21st century. The Baltic Dry Index, after gaining for eight consecutive days, slipped 31 points. Not much in the way of metals news today. In US economic reports, the Conference Board's consumer confidence index fell to 47.7 in October from an upwardly revised 53.4 in September (report). Wall Street didn't like the news, US Dollar traders did, and metals paid the price. The Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller home price index reported the market value of U.S. homes in 20 major cities rose by 1.2% in August compared with July.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) AK Steel Holding Corp.  posted a 97% tumble in third-quarter profit as shipments plunged 29% amid continuing weak demand. .... Chairman and Chief Executive James L. Wainscott said ".... Recent higher operating rates have been attributed to customers simply replacing inventory rather than any real demand surge."
  • (Globe & Mail) United States Steel Corp. X-N said Tuesday it lost money for a third straight quarter as the global economic downturn continued to dampen demand for the metal. But the company said its steel production and shipments rose significantly, and that it expects improved results in the fourth quarter. Still, it forecast another loss for the October-December period
  • (JOC) Box traffic fell only six percent in the third quarter at terminals operated by DP World, signaling a recovery from steep falls in the first half of the year. This left volume in the first nine months of 2009 down around eight percent from a year ago, the Dubai-based company said in a trading statement. It did not say how many containers it handled.
  • (Dow Jones) China will account for around 70% of seaborne iron ore trade this year, up from 58% last year, despite the global economic slowdown, an executive at Italian ship broking and shipping service group Banchero Costa said Tuesday.  .
  • Goldman's 'Chainsaw Massacre' Halloween party - more

  How far off is new iron ore pricing negotiation mechanism? - China is seeking to establish a new iron ore pricing negotiation mechanism, said an official at the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) at the Steel and Raw Materials Conference 2009 held in Qingdao on October 15 - 17. - more

  Investment in mining sector hampered by late regulations - Indonesia may have to wait for a potential massive inflow of new investment into the mining sector due to delays in preparing the implementing regulations needed to make the revised mining law effective. - more

 US Stats           # of workers … Avg. Debt … Avg. Income … % of Income (unconfirmed / from blog)

  • 1980............106,940,000 …... 3,740 ......… 12,538 …......... 29.8%
  • 1990............125,840,000 ...… 6,357 …...... 18,187 .........… 35.0%
  • 2000............142,583,000 …... 11,222 .....… 25,012 ........… 44.9%
  • 2009............154,287,000 ...… 16,852 …..... 31,928 …........ 52.8%

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb , with all base metals higher but off earlier highs. The US Dollar is slightly higher than the Euro at the moment, and off earlier lows. NYMEX crude futures are up nearly 1/4 of 1% and just under $79/barrel. Gold is slightly higher, while silver is down 7/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China down nearly 3%. European markets are slightly higher at the moment, while US futures indicate a slightly higher opening on Wall Street. After falling for 3 straight days, nickel inventories rose to yet another record high, while the BDI daily figure has yet to be published.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "The rest of the complex closed mixed. Not surprisingly, the catalyst behind the selling was the dollar, which finally corrected sharply over the course of the day, gaining about two Euros in the span of several hours. The dollar also took its toll on energy prices, which buckled more decisively than metals did, with crude finishing about $2 a barrel lower.  Metals opened lower in Asian trading on Tuesday, but are now slightly higher on the day. The dollar is holding steady at 1.4890, while US stocks are pointing to a slightly lower opening. We suspect we will see a little more weakness in metals before the week is through. As we wrote yesterday, we believe the greenback should continue to gain strength going into the key third-quarter GDP report out on Thursday. ... Nickel is at $18,700, up $50, and still relatively restrained; prices could not poke into the $20,000 territory yesterday, although we did come close. " (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) According to report, China’s stainless steel imports in September were down by 8 percent from October to around 116,800 tons, a 25 percent drop month-on-month for its net imports.
  • Western Areas NL said Tuesday its first quarter nickel production was 2,066 metric tons, down 15% on the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009. - report here
  • (MB) Chinese stainless mills cut weekly list prices on sluggish sales
  • (SSY) According to World Steel Dynamics, Chinese wire rod FOB prices have increased by $20/t (+4%) from their recent 6-month low of $479/t set in early October to the current level of $499/t, the highest level over the past five weeks.
  • (M2) Allegheny Technologies Inc acquires Crucible Compaction Metals and Crucible Research for USD40.95m
  • (MB) Jinchuan cuts nickel by $586 on weak sales, lower LME
  • (JMB) Japan Ni Stainless Cold Rolled Steel Export Price Drops by 10%
  • (StatMill) The September 2009 Recycled Paper Monthly report was published today by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA). According to the report, total U.S. industry consumption of recycled paper was 2.4 million tons, a 1.8% increase from last month, but a decrease from September 2008 of 13.8%. Over the same nine months of 2008, consumption is down 15.5%.
  • "Nickled and Dimed" author takes on positive thinking - Author Barbara Ehrenreich thinks it's time for Americans to get angry. - more
  • "The Weakest Recovery in Modern Memory"? - more
  • Chinese railways and speculating pig farmers - more
  • WSJ Quarterly Housing Survey: More Pain to Come - more

  New Caledonia’s Vale-Inco could be in for a rough start says analyst - An analyst says one of the biggest mining projects in the world, New Caledonia’s Vale-Inco, could be in for a rough start should production begin next year. - more

  Steel Inventories in China Jump 10% in Nine Months - Steel inventories held by large Chinese companies jumped 10 percent in the first nine months of the year, adding to evidence of rising oversupply in the world’s largest producer of the metal. - more

  • Chinese Unlikely to Sell Metal Stockpiles Quickly  - Chinese investors holding metal inventories are unlikely to sell them quickly as they have adequate levels of cash on hand, an executive at Sucden Financial Ltd., said today. - more

  EU Average Steel Price Down 2.5 Percent in October - An ongoing lack of end-user demand is creating negative price pressure in the EU market. Restocking by the distributors caused a brief, temporary upturn in mill sales during the third quarter. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending October 24, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,507,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 63.2 percent. Production was 1,682,000 tons in the week ending October 24, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 70.5 percent. The current week production represents a 10.4 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending October 24, 2009 is up 2.3 percent from the previous week ending October 17, 2009 when production was 1,473,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 61.7 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, October 26

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 1 to 3,044. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) South Korea's Economy Expands at Fastest Pace in Seven Years on Exports // Hatoyama Says Japan Jobless Rate May Increase; Recovery Is `Unpredictable' // Singapore Output Falls for First Time in Three Months on Lower Drug Sales // Central Banks Hitting Asset Bubbles Reveal No Faith in Greenspan Economics // Asian Stocks Rise on Toyota Industries Profit, South Korea Economic Growth // Pound Poised for Goldman Sachs Rally Not Helping Brown With U.K. So Cheap // European Stocks Retreat; Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index Drops, ING Shares Fall // Ford Plant Workers in Missouri Reject Labor Givebacks, Union Official Says // U.S. First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Probably Won't Be Extended, ISI Says // Stocks in U.S. Fall, Led By Banks, on Concern Homebuyer Tax Credit to End
  • The US Dollar is currently trading stronger against the Euro, up 3/4 of 1%. This sudden shift hammered commodities traders today, driving most lower. NYMEX crude oil is down 2-1/4%,  and under $79/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1.2% and silver is off over 2-1/4%. Base metals ended the session mixed. Indicator charts show nickel started strong, on some short buying in Asia was the rumor, but began to fall in mid session. As the Dollar suddenly took off, nickel took a nose dive. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.46/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses slipped for a third consecutive session over the weekend, but still remain above the 123,400 tonne level. The BDI was up 1 point to 3,044. China reported imports of nickel surged in September. Refined nickel imports were up 96.38%, while year to date imports have seen a 128.27% increase. Concentrated nickel ores saw a 323.89% increase in September, while YTD numbers are up 13.81%. Nickel ore imports are much higher thanks primarily to imports of laterite ore used in the production of the so-called "prig nickel". This has a good news-bad news effect on the nickel industry. Increased production of pig nickel will hurt Chinese demand for refined nickel, but the surge in refined nickel imports show China is still buying and stockpiling. With so much uncertainty about the future, we so no reason for this to end anytime soon. V shaped, W shaped, double dip, whatever type of recovery/recession is ahead, the purchasing and stockpiling of commodities offers China a degree of investment security buying items they will eventually need to feed their industrial needs, a hedge against any worldwide inflationary risks, and protection from further declines in the US Dollar. Whether this activity justifies the current price of nickel, when considering the market is producing more nickel than the world needs at the moment, remains to be determined by traders. US markets bounced early, up 100 points for a moment, but are now trading in the red. MarketWatch reports "The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reported its production index came in at -8.0 from -0.5 in September, while new orders index fell to -2.8 from 8.0." We think most of what is happening in today's market is being caused by the increasing Dollar and the market sending Congress a message about its displeasure over the Bloomberg report "Senate leaders are negotiating to extend and gradually reduce an $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers through 2010, Senator Bill Nelson said. The credit was set to expire at the end of November." Wall Street likes when Congress spends taxpayer money and this news has not been welcomed, even though it could potentially extend the expenditure beyond the November deadline. If you need to buy an appliance and haven't been able to qualify for any of the other government give-away's, might hold off making the purchase. The appliance rebate is coming and about a month away.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Nouriel Roubini: Big Crash Coming - more
  • Non-Manufacturing Layoffs Continue to Rise - more
  • Reckless strategies doomed WaMu - part one part two
  • Class Claims Lender Destroyed Records - more

  Cobalt, molybdenum seen on different paths as LME contracts near - Molybdenum and cobalt will soon emerge as the London Metal Exchange's first minor metal contracts, but that could stand as the only similarity shared by the two materials in upcoming years. - more

  MMG cautious on Avebury despite nickel rebound - Short-term concerns about the strength of the rebound in nickel prices has caused the Chinese-owned Minerals and Metals Group to hold off on committing to an earlier restart of the mothballed Avebury nickel mine in Tasmania. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.12/lb higher, with all base metals higher on news of higher China imports.  At the moment nickel is in a dive and off earlier highs. The US Dollar is trading a tad lower against the Euro, with the Euro having renewed trouble breaking thru the $1.50 level. NYMEX crude futures are down 1/3 of 1%. Gold is off 1/4 of 1% and silver is down nearly 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China markets flat. European markets are slightly higher and falling, while US futures show a slightly higher opening for Wall Street is possible, but off earlier highs. Nickel inventories fell slightly for a third consecutive time over the weekend, while the BDI has yet to publish today's number.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals pushed upward on Friday, with copper climbing to its highest level in 13 months, while zinc shot up to an eighteen month peak and is now up by more than any other LME metal in October (+17%). Decent industrial production numbers out of Europe and a sharp 9.5% uptick in US existing home sales helped sentiment early on. However, we should note that metals finished somewhat off their earlier highs on Friday, while both energy and equity markets conspicuously sat out the rally. This may be due to the fact that investors sized up US home sales as perhaps being exaggerated by the November expiration of first-time home buying tax credits. Also restraining enthusiasm, was the Euro’s inability to pull away from key $1.50 resistance against the dollar. We are sharply higher once again today in metals, as the dollar is retesting its Friday lows, and is now at $1.5045. However, as we have written in previous commentary, commodity bulls have a lot to lose if the dollar corrects, as we suspect it will rather shortly. In this regard, we see from our Euro/dollar chart on the next page that the Euro is quite overbought at current levels as measured by our RSI, and consequently reiterate our caution about going long metals at current levels. In addition, some of the US macro numbers due for release this week could spark a dollar turn. The most important weekly statistic will come out Thursday, where we get our first glimpse into third-quarter GDP (expected at 3.2%). Should the number come out on the stronger side of consensus-- as we suspect it could-- it will ignite a dollar rally and lead to a long overdue sell-off in metals. .... Nickel is at $19,300, up $305, and still relatively restrained; charts show modest resistance at $20,200 and more substantial double-top resistance at $21,500 (red line). "    (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) China's Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Tisco) has raised its stainless steel export price to Korea by US$80/ton for December delivery. Now Posco's price for HR 304 is 3.25 million won/ton; CR 3.52 million won/ton. Although China’s stainless steel market supply is greater than demand, the price still was able to remain on the high side due to the nickel price being above US$18,000/ton.
  • (Interfax) China's steel market uncertain despite price rebounds
  • (MNP) Thundelarra Exploration says nickel-copper concentrate from the mothballed Copernicus nickel mine has been sold to Jinchuan Group.
  • (AB) Minmetals acquired the Century operation when it bought the zinc, copper and nickel-mining assets of Australia's OZ Minerals earlier this year. Mr Michelmore said commodities markets were showing signs of improving but not enough to restart a nickel mine Minmetals owns in Australia that was mothballed in 2008. Nickel will need to sell for $US20,000 a tonne or more for a sustained period before the company would restart its Avebury nickel mine, Mr Michelmore said.
  • (MW) Russian steel producer Severstal said Monday its third-quarter production of crude steel rose 19% to 4.52 million tons from the previous quarter. However, crude steel production tumbled 25% compared to the same quarter a year ago.
  • There have been 106 U.S. banks now seized by the FDIC so far in 2009
  • (SM) According to the American Forest & Paper Association’s September 2009 Kraft Paper Sector Report released today, the total Kraft paper shipments were 132.2 thousand tons in September, and an increase of 3.5% from last month. The total Kraft paper inventory dropped 900 tons to 72.2 thousand tons.
  • (MB) China's nickel ore imports more than doubled month-on-month in September due to a surge in shipments of laterite ores for nickel pig iron ore production
  • (JOC) The small railroads of North America had their lowest new cargo loadings last week since May 30, according to the RMI RailConnect Index, which is built from reports by 340 short lines or regional carriers. RMI said those lines had 83,816 originations of carload and intermodal units in the week ending Oct. 17, with declines across nearly all cargo categories. The total was down 9.5 percent just from one week earlier, when the carriers picked up 92,646 loads. The week included a big drop in hauls of chemicals, which is the largest source of short line traffic. Those fell to 14,064 tankcar loadings in the Oct. 17 week, from 15,798 in the seven days through Oct. 10.
  • (PRN) The American Trucking Associations' advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 0.3 percent in September, after increasing 2.1 percent in both July and August. The latest decline lowered the SA index to 103.9 (2000=100). The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 107.9 in September, up 2 percent from August. Compared with September 2008, SA tonnage fell 7.3 percent, which was the best year-over-year showing since November 2008. In August, the index was down 7.5 percent from a year earlier.

  Testing the mettle of stainless steel - Cold, sterile stainless steel has been a playful medium in the hands of designers since its official premiere around 1913, when British scientist Harry Brearley proved that the low-carbon iron and chromium alloy did not corrode like regular steel. - more

  Warning Of Mood To Increase FeCr Production Has Been Raised = By Mr. Yildirim Of Eti Krom / Turkey, Key Is China - Owing to a recovery of prices for ferro-chrome, producers of ferro-chrome, mainly in South Africa, are showing a strong tendency to increase their production but, on the assumption that this expansion in production of ferro-chrome continues further, a warning of endangering the prices of ferro-chrome, which have been at last improved, has been already raised from the chrome industry. - more

  MEPS Forecasts Global Steel Production in 2010 - MEPS forecasts global steel production at 1200 million tonnes in 2009. - more

   Fuel spill at New Caledonia nickel plant - The operator of New Caledonia’s Goro nickel plant, Vale-Inco, says last week’s diesel spill at a power unit near its main site caused only minor pollution. - more

  JFE cautious on Asia steel outlook, despite profit - JFE Holdings Inc, the world's No.6 steelmaker, reckons Asia's steel market is still too fragile for it to upgrade its annual profit forecast, despite a return to profit in the last quarter that beat its own forecast. - more

  Tata Steel, MMTC forms JV to acquire, develop mines - Tata Steel and state-run MMTC signed an agreement to set up a joint venture to acquire, develop, operate mines and process minerals and metals. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Probe into Rio Tinto executive extended: official - Chinese authorities have extended their investigation into a Rio Tinto executive arrested for alleged spying, but the full case against him remains unknown, an Australian official said Friday. - 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

Friday, October 23

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 42 to 3,043. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Construction Bank Earnings Increase 19%, Beating Analyst Estimates // Malaysia Lowers Tax for Second Year, Reduces Spending as Economy Recovers // Yuan Pegged Spurs China Exports Luring Pimco to Forwards as Dollar Sinks // Asian Stocks Rise as Earnings Boost Outlook for Recovery; Wesfarmers Gains // U.K. Economy Unexpectedly Contracts, Extending Longest Recession on Record // German Business Confidence Rises to 13-Month High as Recovery Accelerates  // JPMorgan Takes Lead in Revival of European Asset-Backed Securities Marke // Bank of England Likely to Expand Bond Purchases After Unexpected GDP Slump // European Stocks Fall, Erase Weekly Gain; Elan, Repsol, Energy Shares Drop // U.S. Existing Home Sales Jump as Buyers Seek Tax Credit Before Expiration // Stocks in U.S. Retreat as Oil Drop Hurts Producers; Microsoft, Amazon Gain
  • The US Dollar and Euro continue to trade places for top spot this morning, leaving the currency currently flat.  NYMEX crude is down 6/10 of 1% and under $81/barrel. Gold is down 1/4 of 1%, having teh same problem with $1060/ounce that the Euro has with the $1.50 level. Silver is 2/10 of 1% higher. Base metals ended the week mixed, with copper and zinc continuing to hit record high's for the year. Indicator charts show nickel was in fair shape until traders began to take profits in the afternoon. Dow jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.61/lb , up 1.8% for the week, and 5.7% for the month. Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses slumped by a small amount for a second day, slipping just a few tons under the 123,500 tonne level. Sucden's day old nickel chart shows trading this week thru Thursday (chart here). Note the market entered today's session with the RSI and SStoch in oversold territory. The Baltic Dry Index rose 42 points to 3,043. Lot of analysts and traders don't give much credit to this index these days, as it is skewed by an over supply of ships around the world, but we still watch it closely, as it still offers a peek at raw materials shipments around the world, albeit skewed. First time home buyers, scrambling to beat a tax credit deadline, and the slow, quiet return of real estate "flippers", helped existing home sales rise last month. The World Steel Association published production numbers for  September. And depending on which headline you saw, you might be led to believe it was good or bad. One headline read "Global crude steel production down 0.6% in September", another read "World crude steel output drops marginally in Sept", another "Global steel output rises to 107Mt in September", and from China "Steel output may 'continue' to peak". All were true, as steel production is lower than this time last year, but up for the 6th consecutive month, thanks primarily to China, which accounted for 47% of the total production.
  • Have a safe and relaxing weekend!!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) China, the world's largest steel producer, accounted for about 47% of the world's total crude steel output in September. The nation produced 50.7 million tons in September, up 28.7% on the year but down 3.1% from the record high set in August. Chinese steel production still hit a daily record high of 1.7 million tons a day once the monthly figures are adjusted for number of days in a month. Excluding China, global crude steel production increased 4% on the month but was still down nearly 18% on the year in September at 54.2 million tons.
  • China’s Steely Mother-in-Law - more
  • Freddie Mac’s Secrecy Pacts Face Court Test - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.13/lb higher, with all base metals trading higher. The US Dollar and Euro are trading about even at the moment, but the Euro has slipped off earlier highs. NYMEX crude futures are only slightly higher and over $81/barrel. Gold is slightly higher and silver is up 8/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets traded higher, with China ending nearly 2% higher. European markets are higher, even after economists were shocked to learn the GDP for the UK unexpectedly contracted in th3 3rd quarter. On the other hand, German business confidence rose to a 13-month high. US futures are slightly higher at the moment. Inventories of nickel slipped overnight for a second day, by a small amount. The BDI registered its 7th straight gain, up 42 points.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals ended mixed on Thursday, as another choppy session in the dollar weighed on the markets. The greenback opened up stronger, but gradually weakened over the course of the day to once again push above the 1.50 mark against the Euro. This allowed metals to recover some of their earlier losses, and also pushed energy prices close to unchanged by the close of Thursday trading. Metals are up as of this writing, as the dollar is again under pressure, now trading at 1.5050 against the Euro. Also helping the upside, is news of an unexpected fall in Shanghai copper stocks--down by 4,241 tons this week. However, we would not read too much into one week’s figures, since the overall trend in Shanghai copper stocks is higher, as our charts at the end of the report show. Moreover, LME copper inventories continue to mount, up by another 3,000 MT overnight. While we continue to remain bearish on the dollar's longer-term prospects, we suspect that we are quite oversold in the short-term. We therefore would be wary about chasing this current bounce in metals, enticing as it looks on many of the charts. .... Nickel is at $19,402, up $247; nickel has not really participated in the rally much this week, but charts have shown enough to take prices possibly towards $20,200."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Goldman forecasts nickel to average  $17,410/ton from an earlier estimate of $17,420/ton over the next 3 months. On a 12 month basis, Goldman raised its forecast for nickel to $18,800/ton from an earlier $18,580/ton estimate.
  • (Dow Jones) US dollar weakness against the euro continues to drive investors into base metals and another "strong close" Friday will attract more buying next week, says Calyon analyst Robin Bhar.
  • (Dow Jones) Global crude steel production in September dropped 0.6% on the year to 107 million metric tons, but registered a sixth consecutive month-on-month increase, the World Steel Association said Friday.
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) and Tang Eng are expected to hike their prices again for November, based on the higher LME nickel price.
  • (DF) Vulcan lifts resources at Kuhmo Nickel Project
  • Russia's second largest nickel producer, Ufaleynikel, reports that furnace #4 and #5 are repaired and will be ready for production this winter.
  • (JMB) Japan Steel Export Drops by 11.1% in 1H F2009
  • (SMM) China's biggest nickel producer Jinchuan has lifted its benchmark price by another RMB 2,000/mt (USD 293/mt) today, tracking higher LME prices.
  • (JOC) The Association of American Railroads said the few regional carriers that report to it and U.S. operations of the Class I lines picked up 275,545 bulk carloads of commodities, finished equipment and intermediate supplies in the week ending Oct. 17. That was up from 273,429 a week earlier, down from 277,734 as of Oct. 3 and well below the year’s high of 285,580 the week of Aug. 29.
  • (AAR) The Association of American Railroads today reported that rail traffic remains down year over year for the week ended Oct. 17, 2009. U.S railroads reported originating 275,545 carloads, down 15.4 percent compared with the same week in 2008. Regionally, carloads were down 14.2 percent in the West and 17 percent in the East. It was the same week last year that notable declines in rail carloads (2.4 percent) and rail intermodal (2.8 percent) traffic showed the first significant signs of the nation’s economic downturn. Therefore, year over comparisons for weekly rail traffic may appear to improve going forward.
  • (ML) Like last month, estimates for total 2009 import cargo volume at major U.S. container ports have been revised upward, according to the monthly Port Tracker report by IHS Global Insight and the National Retail Federation (NRF). The report indicates 2009 volume will total 12.7 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units), up from 12.5 million TEU and 12.3 million estimates in September and August, respectively. Despite the revised forecast, the Port Tracker report indicates 12.7 million annual TEU would be a 16.6 percent decline from 2008's 15.2 million TEU and the lowest level since 2004's 14 million TEU.
  • What the ‘Middle-Class’ Recession Means for Bankruptcies - more
  • Death of 'Soul of Capitalism': Bogle, Faber, Moore - more

  Stainless steel production hits all-time low after nine years - The International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) released preliminary stainless steel production figures, which indicated that the first-quarter production for 2009 was the lowest first-quarter production since 2000. - more

  AAC Increases Nickel Production For Outlook To Expand Nickel Consumption = Berro Alto Nickel Project In Brazil Is Being Promoted - In view of a trend, which the world consumption of nickel is on a basic tone to expand for the future, Anglo American Corp. (AAC) has decided the policy to increase nickel production to a scale of 500,000 tons per annum by 2020. - more

  PolyMet takes next steps for controversial mine - Plans are moving ahead for a copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota, a type of mining new to the state, but in other parts of the world similar mines are polluting rivers and lakes. - more

  China offers opportunity to global mining sector: China Minmetals - China has promoted the recovery of the world's mining sector with increases in ore demands and robust investment, Zhou Zhongshu, president of China Minmetals Corp, said at the 2009 China Mining Conference concluded in Tianjin Thursday. - 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, October 22

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 84 to 3,001. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Toyota, Honda, Nissan May Boost Overseas Production After Yen Strengthens // Hyundai Motor Profit Triples on Weaker Won, U.S. `Cash-for-Clunkers' Sales // China's Economy Expands 8.9%, Increasing Pressure for an End to Stimulus // Asian Stocks Fall as Bank Loan-Loss Speculation Raises Valuation Concerns // Credit Suisse Posts Third Straight Quarterly Profit on Gains From Trading // U.K. Banks Should Hold More Capital, Write `Living Wills,' FSA Report Says // EU Says National Governments Should Start to Trim Budget Deficits by 2011 // Anglo American to Cut Jobs, Sell Units as Xstrata Scraps $42.8 Billion Bid // European Stocks Drop; Ericsson, Air Liquide, Gemalto, Credit Suisse Fall // Executive Pay Cuts at Bailed-Out Firms Stoke Debate on Washington's Reach // Delta Air Lines Reports Loss as Passenger Revenue Declines Amid Recession // 3M Profit Beats Estimates, Helped by Job Cuts; Full-Year Forecast Raised // Leading Economic Indicators in U.S. Rise More Than Forecast in Growth Sign // International Paper Will Shut Down Three Mills, Affecting 1,600 Employees  // Nucor, U.S. Steel, Reliance Drop on Concern Price, Output Growth May Stall // Credit-Card Defaults Fell to 10.72% in September From High, Moody's Says // Initial Jobless Claims in U.S. Rose More-Than-Forecast 11,000 Last Week
  • The US Dollar is slightly higher against the Euro as traders are having a hard time breaking thru the $1.50 level for a second day. NYMEX crude is off 1-1/4% , while gold is a little over 1/10 of 1% and silver is off nearly 9/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the day mixed. Indicator charts show nickel was shadowing the Dollar/Euro trades for much of the day until late in the afternoon, when it fell hard, not showing signs of stabilisation until after market trading. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.69/lb .  Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses slipped overnight slightly, but remain above the 123,500 tonne level. The Baltic Dry Index gained 84 points, and crept over the 3,000 level. The news for our industry wasn't necessarily good today. First, Outokumpu Chief Executive Juha Rantanen told analysts "Stainless steel markets have not seen any major improvement. Underlying demand continues to be weak and the purchasing behaviour of steel distributors is very much driven by short-term developments in the nickel price." And the price of nickel, as Ed Meir of Sucden noted this morning, is "It is becoming almost imperative to trade metals from the perspective of the dollar these days, as nothing else seems to count for very much." Pat Hassey of Allegheny Technologies is a little more upbeat but cautious tone, told a UBS analysts yesterday ".... the real test is going to be what we see going into the first quarter. The consensus across most people, what we hear from our distributors is that we’re seeing demand firming, everybody is cautious, we are not going to put a lot of inventory in right now, we can operate this way because the mills are keeping good product toward the end of the supply chain in some cases in finished form, so they’re going to use the mills inventories for a period of time. At some point if demand stays there and we’re going to see that move, and we’re going to see that lot less caution, I would think as we move past the end of the year and into the next fiscal year." We broke the news earlier this week that the New Caledonia mine Goro was now scheduled to fire up its processing plant by January, and had begun mining nickel. Positive news for the investors that saw $3.2 billion go into its construction, but the market really doesn't need the extra nickel these days. And there is more new nickel coming. The Indonesian North Maluku integrated nickel project announced it would start producing a year earlier than expected, by 2011 according to owner PT Aneka Tambang. With inventories growing even with the strike in Sudbury and Voisey's Bay stopping or slowing the flow out of these two mega mines, more nickel supply isn't necessarily comforting news to nickel producers, or the buyers of nickel, who now must wonder if the price could plummet when all this new nickel hits. The European steel industry body Eurofer reported this morning that "the EU steel market will remain stuck in slow motion for the time being". IN US reports the Conference Board reported U.S. leading economic indicators rose 1% in September, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported U.S. home prices fell a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in August, and the Labor Department reported new jobless claims rose to a seasonally adjusted 531,000 last week.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Jon Bergtheil at Citigroup - "The long relationship between inventory and price has broken down... the real question is whether those very spot prices have risen too vigorously too early in the cycle."
  • Is China's rebound for real? - more
  • The Next Financial Crisis Hits Wall Street, as Judges Start Nixing Foreclosures - more
  • "The Growing Case for a Jobless Recovery" - more
  • Homebuyers' Handout -- Worse Than Cash for Clunkers - more
  • Homebuyer Tax Credit Scrutinized - more
  • Meriwether is Back, and So is Risk - more

  Ferrochrome - Signs of recovery - The fortunes of SA's ferrochrome industry may be changing after a dire final quarter of 2008 and first half of this year, when demand vaporised and producers idled much of their capacity. - more

  BHP chairman tells China: Game on -  Global miner BHP Billiton acknowledged on Thursday that it and other iron ore producers had at times upset their major customer China and said that Beijing realized it had “to play with the big boys”. - more

  China steel output holds firm, iron ore leaps to high - China's daily steel production matched the previous month's record in September while iron ore output jumped to an all-time high, underscoring Beijing's challenge in reining in industrial overcapacity. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.06/lb lower, but is climbing as the Euro recoups earlier losses. Other base metals are higher. The US Dollar is trading flat with the Euro, but the Euro is climbing giving a boost to commodities. NYMEX crude is down less than 1% and over $80.50/barrel. Gold, not God as we incorrectly typed yesterday, is down less than 1/10 of 1% and silver is lower by less than 8/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off over 1/2 of 1%, on speculation China will pull back on its stimulus after China's GDP rose 8.9% in the 3rd quarter. European markets are lower this morning, while US futures show a potential opening to the positive. Nickel inventories fell slightly overnight, while the BDI rose over the 300 level, up 84 points.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - It is becoming almost imperative to trade metals from the perspective of the dollar these days, as nothing else seems to count for very much. This was best illustrated by the action in the markets on Wednesday, where metals reversed course to finish sharply higher once the dollar crashed rather effortlessly below the psychologically important resistance of $1.50. In addition to fueling a sharp run in metals, the weaker dollar also set off a rally in the crude oil markets, where prices finished more than $2 higher on the day. Some of these gains are being rolled back today, especially in energy, which already has given up about a quarter of Wednesday’s gains. Metals are doing somewhat better, and have recouped earlier losses on account of the dollar weakening again after bouncing back to 1.4944 earlier in the day. It is now at 1.4990.... Nickel is at $19,575, down $165; another close above $19,300 today (likely at this stage) could see prices move out of the trading range, and set up a push to the $20,200 level. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Demand for base metals in the fourth quarter won't be as strong as in the third because China, which dominated metal demand during the first half of the year, will "digest" the material it imported, said Investec Asset Management Wednesday.
  • (Yieh) China’s stainless steel production totaled 522,670 tons in September. Among them, output of cold rolled stainless steel was 289,000 tons and 233,000 tons for cold rolled stainless steel product. Output of 400 series was 198,000 tons; 300 series 242,000 tons and 200 series 74,880 tons.
  • (SG) According to a senior official of Hebei Iron & Steel Group the second largest steel producer in China, China steel industry may suffer loss next year in view of the massive supply glut which exerts heavy pressure on market prices.
  • (Interfax) Jinchuan Group Ltd., China's largest nickel producer, has raised its ex-works refined nickel price by RMB 2,000 ($292.95) to RMB 136,000 ($19,920.32) per ton, in line with international refined nickel prices, according to Jinchuan Group's Web site on Oct. 22.
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s Walsin Lihwa Corp has given a contract to SMS Concast to revamp its used electric arc furnace at its Yen Shui plant in southern Taiwan. This will prompt Walsin's production capacity on stainless steel, reported from a senior officer of the company
  • (TS) Jaguar Financial Corp.says it opposes a proposed $192-million takeover of nickel mine developer Canadian Royalties Inc. by Jien Canada Mining Ltd. Jaguar says holders of Canadian Royalties debentures should receive all of their principal plus a premium, not 80 cents on the dollar as proposed by Jien. Canadian Royalties shares lost three cents to 76 cents.
  • BHP - “Despite the low metals inventories in developed economies, there is little evidence yet of sustainable demand for metals emerging post the northern [hemisphere] summer,”
  • (China Daily) China's fixed-assets investment up 33.4% in first nine months // China's retail sales up 15.1% in Q3 / China's industrial output up 12.4% in Q3 / China's GDP growth accelerates to 8.9% in Q3 - more
  • (MW) Mining giant Anglo American said Thursday that it will reorganize its business into seven units: platinum (South Africa), Copper (Chile), Nickel (Brazil), Metallurgical Coal (Australia), Thermal Coal (South Africa), Kumba Iron Ore (South Africa) and Iron Ore Brazil (Brazil).
  • Sylvania Resources: implementing a sensible business model to become a low cost platinum and ferrochrome player - more
  • (KN) The Y-12 nuclear weapons plant has transferred 20 tons of stainless steel - valued at more than $1 million - to the U.S. Army's Research, Engineering and Development Command at Picatinney Arsenal in New Jersey. The transfer is part of the Oak Ridge plant's effort to get rid of legacy materials no longer needed while modernizing facilities and reducing the size of the physical plant. Y-12 originally procured the high-grade steel in the 1980s for a construction project that got cancelled.
  • (CCR) China power generation in September grew 9.5 percent from last year to 320.3 billion kWh, according to the data released by National Statistics Bureau on Thursday. However, the power output in September slid 7 percent from the previous month.

  Chinese production figures (In 000 MT)

  •           Sept      yr/yr     Aug    mo/mo Jan-Sept    yr/yr
  • Nickel 20,419 47.7 18,853     8.3     157,589    15.7

  Outokumpu sees weak demand; Q3 misses f'casts - Finnish stainless steel maker Outokumpu said it saw no signs of an upturn in demand for the metal after third quarter sales and profits slumped, but it stuck to its goal of breaking even at year-end. "Stainless steel markets have not seen any major improvement. Underlying demand continues to be weak and the purchasing behaviour of steel distributors is very much driven by short-term developments in the nickel price," Outokumpu Chief Executive Juha Rantanen said in a statement. - more

  Minmetals Seeks Assets in Canada, Australia, Asia  - China Minmetals Corp., the nation’s largest metals trader, is seeking assets in Canada, Australia and Southeast Asia, a company official said in an interview in Tianjin today. - more

  Vale says Goro nickel plant to start in January - Brazil's Vale has begun mining ore at its Goro nickel mine in New Caledonia and expects the processing plant to begin production early next year, a company spokesman said on Wednesday. - more

  State Aid Sought in New China Trade Row - SA's ferrochrome producers are calling for government support against their Chinese counterparts in what has emerged as another trade skirmish between the two countries. - more

  Movements On Supply And Demand Of Ferro-Chrome In Japan For Apr. - Jun. 2009 Quarter = Owing To Reduction In Stainless Steel Production By 50%, FeCr Consumption Decreased To Half Of That / 08 - Let us trace the movements on supply and demand of ferro-chrome in Japan for April - June quarter of 2009. Following the largest reduction in production of stainless steel for January - March quarter of 2009 as recorded in its history, the quantities (on material base) of ferro-chrome consumed in Japan for April - June quarter were <> high carbon ferro-chrome : 108,926 tons (compared with 204,119 tons for the same quarter of 2008) and <> low carbon ferro-chrome : 7,026 tons (compared to 13,670 tons for the same quarter of 2008), both of which decreased to the half of those for the same quarter of 2008. - more

  Eramet, Mitsubishi To Develop US$4.6 BLN Nickel Mine in Maluku - France's Eramet, Japan's Mitsubishi and Indonesia's PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) will build a US$4.6 billion nickel project in North Maluku, a report said. - more

  China exports risk to steel market-Voestalpine - China could damage the delicate stabilisation in the steel market by ramping up its exports even more, the chief executive of Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine said on Thursday. Chinese steel production last year was equal to that of the next eight producing nations combined. - more

  EU steel market "stuck in slow motion" - Eurofer - The European Union steel market remains subdued even after a likely return to growth in the overall EU economy during the third quarter, European steel industry body Eurofer said on Thursday. - more

  Talvivaara expects to hit production targets - Talvivaara Mining is confident it will hit targeted production volumes following the commissioning of additional ore hauling capacity early next year. - 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, October 21

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 85 to 2,917. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Pledges to Stick With Stimulus Policies as Growth Beats Expectations // Thai Central Bank Keeps Benchmark Rate at Five-Year Low to Support Economy // China's `Growth on Steroids' Risks Next Slowdown as Lending Binge Subsides // Asian Stocks Fall on China Mobile, China Telecom Profit; Samsung Declines // King Opens Rift With Brown, Call for Banks to Be Split to Limit Bailouts // Deutsche Bank Profit Rises Threefold, Beats Analyst Estimates on Tax Gain // U.K. Financial Bonuses May Soar 50% to $9.9 Billion This Year, CEBR Says // Russia Warns of Reduced Access to Credit, Signaling Cut in Interest Rate // European Stocks Rise After Morgan Stanley Earnings Beat Analyst Estimates // Morgan Stanley's Profit Beats Estimates on Higher Investment-Banking Fees // Boeing Posts $1.56 Billion Loss on Charge for Delays in 787, 747 Programs // Nevada, Florida Report Record Unemployment as 23 States Keep Losing Jobs// Dollar Weakens Beyond $1.50 for First Time Since August 2008 on Recovery // Lehman Brothers Said to Return to U.S. Mortgage Market Through Aurora Unit //
  • What a difference a few hours make. The Euro is now trading higher against the US Dollar, by 1/2 of 1%. It has also broke thru a psychological important barrier of $1.50, which will worry exporters to the US. The Globe and Mail explained "The dollar tends to trade inversely to stocks. When traders receive better than expected news on the economy or corporate results, they often buy equities or other countries' currencies. Those are considered riskier than the U.S. dollar, traditionally thought a safe haven, but can also give higher yields." NYMEX crude took the Euro bump, up nearly 2-1/2% and over $81/barrel. God is up 3/4 of 1% and silver is higher by  nearly 1-2/3%. Base metals all ended higher, and in some cases, much higher. Copper and zinc hit record highs for 2009, and nickel was in no mood to be left far behind. Indicator charts show once the Dollar began to fall, nickel began to climb, at a rate of ascent that could frighten a rock climber. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.95/lb . If the chart was pointed in the other direction, we would call it a crash, so you can decide what the best adjective is to describe the climb today. Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose to yet another record high overnight, and now sit comfortably over the 123,500 level. The Baltic Dry Index rose 85 points to 2,917. In another head scratcher, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics reported the global nickel market was in a deficit of 12,100 metric tons in January to August. Long time readers of this site know our less than kind opinion of this agency's reports. Only days after the Brook Hunt metals analysts, an agency that publishes reports worth reading, warned that nickel producers would need to cut production to offset record stockpiles of nickel, the WBMS reports the growth of nickel in LME warehouses, that have gone from 79,822 tonnes on January 1st to well over 123,500 tonnes today, is actually a reflection of a market in deficit?!! The deficit, dear hacks at the Worthless Bunch of Mumbling Scribbles, is there is plenty of nickel around but no demand. So if there is no demand, what happened to the price of nickel today? Depends on who you ask. Dow Jones gave two different versions. In one they stated "The LME base metals are gathering momentum as brokers race to cover shorts for proprietary trading books following steady momentum from the systematic black box community, notes a broker. "Most of the street proprietary books were leaning quite heavily to the short side" after bearish comments during the annual London Metal Exchange week meetings last week, he says. But the markets have failed to deteriorate and have seen bullish news, leading to panic short-covering, he adds." In another report they stated "Technical and fund trading is boosting LME base metals, with copper at a new high for the year, says a London-based trader. "It's a sentiment thing," he says." The key word neither report used was speculation.  The market is climbing back toward $20,000/tonne, which is about where we were a few months ago. Traders are apparently confident that stainless steel producers are, and will continue to do, better than they say they are, or are estimating they will be. So they force the keg ingredient higher, and make it even more difficult for the producer to compete. The naivety of the market is truly perplexing.
  • PBS broadcast their show "Frontline - The Warning"  last evening and if you missed it, it's worth watching - video here.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Allegheny Technologies - Demand for most of our standard stainless products remained low, yet improved 7% compared to the second quarter 2009. In addition, average prices for standard stainless products increased 14% compared to the second quarter 2009 primarily due to higher base selling prices and raw material surcharges.
  • (Bloomberg) - World nickel consumption beat output by 7,100 metric tons in August, the first production shortfall since February 2008, the International Nickel Study Group said. Usage rose 5 percent to 115,300 tons, the highest level since April 2008, the Lisbon-based group said today in an e- mailed report. Production from smelters fell to 108,200 tons, down 2.3 percent in the month. Nickel for delivery in three months has gained 64 percent this year on the London Metal Exchange. Producers' stockpiles of the metal dropped to 89,900 tons in July, down 12 percent from January, according to the INSG. Consumption declined almost 30 percent in the first eight months compared with a year earlier in Europe and the U.S., the group said. China, the world's largest user of the metal, posted consumption growth of almost 16 percent at 282,500 tons.
  • Comparing Rallies: 2009 vs 1974-75 vs 1938-39 - more

  Cash nickel over the last 90 days

  Allegheny Technologies' profit plunges, sales down by half - Allegheny Technologies Inc. said Wednesday that its third-quarter profit fell to a mere hundredth of what it earned a year earlier, hurt by a sharp drop in sales of its specialty metals and alloys to customers reluctant to replenish inventories until they see further strengthening of the global economy. - more

  Vale Canada Workers Plan Protests in New York, London  - Vale SA striking miners from Canada plan to demonstrate in New York and London this week as they seek an improved offer from the company on pay and conditions. - more

  China Steel cuts Dec prices, but sees better '10 - China Steel, Taiwan's top steel maker, will slash its domestic product prices by 4.5 percent in December from the October-November tag, but it expects a better outlook for 2010 as global economy recovers from a downturn. - 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 lower, with most base metals lower but quiet. The US Dollar is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% higher against the Euro, adding pressure to commodities. NYMEX crude futures are down 1-2/3% to under $78/barrel. Gold is off nearly 3/10 of 1% while silver is lower by 2/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower with China ending slightly lower on technology earnings disappointments. European markets are lower  this morning, as are US futures. Nickel inventories rose to another record high overnight regardless of today's World Bureau of Metal Statistics report that stated the global nickel market was in a deficit of 12,100 metric tons in January to August.  Today's BDI numbers have yet to be published.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metals staged a modest retreat yesterday, but not before some in the group (copper and zinc in particular) hit fresh 2009 highs. Metals were tracking the dollar almost to the tee yesterday, and when the dollar failed to break the $1.50 mark against the Euro, it may have prompted a bout of mild short covering. We suspect the greenback will knock against the $1.50 level several more times before ultimately taking it out. It may be then that the European Central Bank will mobilize support for some sort of intervention in the currency markets. Already, the rhetoric from Europe is sounding more urgent, with a counselor to President Sarkozy saying that the $1.50 mark would be "a disaster for the European economy and manufacturing” while the French Finance Minister also pleaded for a stronger dollar. ECB President Jean- Claude Trichet is planning to head to China by year-end where he will likely make yet another plea for further appreciation in the Yuan. (In our view, the Yuan is the logical "safety valve" that could absorb the relentless selling in the dollar if only the authorities would let it). In the meantime, the dollar continues to hold steady as of this writing, now at 1.4929, and exerting some pressure on commodities. Crude oil is off by about $.90 a barrel, (not helped by a set of bearish inventory data out yesterday), while metals have lost earlier gains, and are now mostly lower. ... Nickel is at $18,710, down $140; charts are showing a sideways stall for the moment. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) The global nickel market was in a deficit of 12,100 metric tons in January to August, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said Wednesday. Global mine production in the period was 6.4% down year-on-year at 932,400 tons, while global refined nickel production was 3.4% lower on the year at 874,600 tons, WBMS said. Global refined nickel consumption was 1.4% lower on the year at 886,700 tons. In August, nickel smelter production was 108,600 tons and consumption was 112,000 tons.
  • (Yieh) The global market is predicted hard to achieve a 5 percent growth in consumption in 2010. Therefore, the CRU expects that China is going to have to reduce its production in the fourth quarter.
  • (WAM) "There could be trouble ahead for aluminum, nickel and zinc. Ultimately it comes down to over supply," Julian Kettle, head of metals research at Brook Hunt, the metals arm of consultancy Wood Mackenzie, said in an interview. Kettle said total reported stocks of aluminum stood at 95 days of consumption and he expected them to peak next year at 110 days worth. Nickel inventories were already at over 100 days of demand, he added.
  • On October 20, the US Department of Commerce (DOC) announced the rescission of its countervailing duty administrative review on stainless steel plate in coils from Belgium.
  • (Dow Jones) Zambia Min: Munali Nickel Mine To Start Producing End-2009
  • (MNP) Metals X has agreed to sell its BHP Billiton Mt Keith and Kingston royalties to Franco-Nevada Australia for $A20 million.
  • Paul Stecko, Chairman and CEO of Packaging Corporation of America - "Last Friday, the Fibre Box Association reported that industry corrugated product shipments for September were down 4.8% compared to last year, but were up 3.3% over this August."
  • Kill the wasteful home-buyer tax credit - more
  • PBS "The Warning" - video here

  Vale Inco nickel plant in New Caledonia to open in January - New Caledonia’s Vale Inco nickel processing plant is now to be up and running in January. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 15th October 2009 = Strengthened Exchange Rate Of Yen / US$ Is Shifting Its Strain To Distribution Sector - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 15th October of 2009 is as follows - more

  Nickel: Metal of future - It seems nickel is the metal to watch for now after the gold rush. And, Nickel has the added appeal of high recyclability and in every sense, is the ‘metal of the future’. - more

  S. Africa Ferrochrome Producers Want Ore Export Curb - South African ferrochrome producers called on the government to restrict exports of unprocessed chromite, arguing that measures are needed to curb increased competition from China. - more

  African Eagle makes progress in Tanzanian project - Minerals explorer African Eagle Resources had made considerable progress at its 450m Dutwa nickel project in Tanzania, chairman John Park said yesterday. - more

  Mindoro nickel project gets green light from DENR - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has issued an environmental compliance certificate for a nickel mining project of the Norway-based Intex Resources on Mindoro Island. - more

  Two thousand jobs to be created - Over two thousand jobs are expected to be created after Chinese investors take over the Munali Nickel Mine and Luashya Copper Mines. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • Vale's Cancellation of Investor Events Raises More Questions; Prompts Additional Global Protest Actions - The United Steelworkers (USW) criticized Vale's recent decision to cancel planned investor events in New York and London as more evidence of a company in disarray. - more
  • Vale's use of replacement workers OK: labour board - The Ontario Labour Relations Board Tuesday dismissed a bid by striking workers at a Vale Inco nickel mine in Sudbury to stop the company using non-striking office employees to fill in for picketing mill and mine workers. - more

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Iron ore talks get off to a bad start - The debate over the next year’s iron ore benchmark prices has got off to an acrimonious start with China seeking to separate its negotiations from other countries while global giant miners refuse to budge downwards on prices. - 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

Tuesday, October 20

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 66 to 2,832. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Mobile's Profit Rebounds as Subscriber Numbers Surpass 500 Million // Australia Central Bank Signals Tolerance of Further Currency Appreciation // Asian Stocks Climb on Growth, Profit Speculation; Challenger, Rio Advance // Barclays Drops as Eight-Month Stock Rally Takes Qatar to $1 Billion Profit // Europe Officials Concerned on Dollar, Call Euro Gain ‘Disaster’ // European Stocks Decline From 12-Month High; Barclays, Autonomy Shares Drop // Caterpillar Lifts Profit Forecast as Third-Quarter Earnings Beat Estimates // Housing Starts in U.S. Rise Less Than Forecast as Incentives Seen Expiring // Producer Prices in U.S. Unexpectedly Decline 0.6% on Lower Costs for Fuel // Housing Starts, Wholesale Prices Signal Low Rates to Ensure U.S. Recovery // U.S. Stocks Retreat as Housing Starts Report Overshadows Company Earnings
  • The US Dollar is trading higher against the Euro, by nearly 4/10 of 1%. This turnaround had an immediate impact on commodities. NYMEX crude is down nearly 1-3/4% and nearing the $78/barrel level. Gold is down 2/3 of 1%, while silver is off 1-3/4%. Base metals ended mixed, with a few still managing a gain on the day. Nickel would not be one of them. Indicator charts show three month nickel held its own most of the morning, but as the Dollar began to rise, nickel started to fall. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.55/lb , about where it was a week ago today. Inventories of LME stored nickel rose to yet another record high, and sit nearly at the 123,500 level. The Baltic Dry index rose 66 points, as numerous shipping companies announced reductions in service. Markets were looking pretty positive this morning, until new housing starts were reported in the US. And they came in much worse than expected. Bloomberg tried to put a positive spin on the news by titling an article "Producer Prices in U.S. Unexpectedly Decline 0.6% on Lower Costs for Fuel // Housing Starts, Wholesale Prices Signal Low Rates to Ensure U.S. Recovery". That's kind of like saying "There are no jobs to be had - unemployment checks will continue to ensure most don't starve"! The double dip recession talk has gone from whispers to mumbling as more worry that world traders have over speculated on a speedy recovery. China steel mills are producing at record levels, but many inside and out of China, worry that this is far more than they can use - or sell abroad without dumping. US steel companies are producing more and more each week, but how much of it is re-stocking and how much of it is real demand is questionable. Yesterday's report by Germany's Damstahl was down right depressing and they even mentioned the "double dip recession" scenario as a distinct possibility. It appears in the rush to crowd on the road to recovery, we have entered the log jam stage.  Too many cars on too narrow a road, all trying to get to the same place too fast. In the US we call that a traffic jam.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Sino) As the steel supply has exceeded the market demand, steelmakers in China's Mainland are expected to cut the production. In early October, the daily production of crude steel was as many as 1.69 million tons, versus 1.68 million tons and 1.64 million tons in August and September, respectively. Based upon this, the crude steel output in China might reach 560 million tons in the whole year of 2009, versus 500 million tons a year ago. In this way, there will be 100 million tons of excessive supply of the crude steel this year, according to industry experts.
  • FRBSF: The Economic Outlook - more
  • (JOC) Japanese export ship orders sank for the 12th consecutive month in September on a year-on-year basis, tumbling 75.5 percent to 543,500 gross tons, according to figures released by the Japan Ship Exporters' Association on Tuesday. The year-on-year pace of decline in September quickened from 66.8 percent in August and was the fastest in four months.
  • Keith Wirtz, chief investment officer at Fifth Third Asset Management Inc - "The market at these valuation levels is susceptible to news flow each and every day.”
  • Could copper fall to $1,500 a tonne by mid-decade? - more

  Good signs for long-term nickel price - At the Paydirt Nickel conference in Perth last week, it was tipped that the long-term nickel floor price has “turned the corner” and would continue to rise over coming decades. - more

  Vale Boosts Brazil Spend as Agnelli Appeases Lula  - Vale SA, the world’s largest iron- ore producer, will spend almost two-thirds of its $12.9 billion budget in Brazil next year as Chief Executive Officer Roger Agnelli seeks to ease political tensions over its investments. - more

  Chinese interest in Ravensthorpe mine: Premier - The WA Premier Colin Barnett says he knows of at least two Chinese companies that are looking to buy the Ravensthorpe nickel mine. - more

  • Foreign buyers eye BHP's Ravensthorpe mine - At least two Chinese groups are interested in buying BHP Billiton's defunct Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia, which was mothballed this year in a shock move that cost up to 1800 jobs. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.01/lb lower, with other metals mixed and quiet. The Euro is trading less than 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, and choppy so far this morning. NYMEX crude futures are down only slightly and above $79.50/barrel. Gold is up 4/10 of 1% and silver is slightly lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher with China up nearly 1-1/2%. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures are also higher. Inventories of nickel hit yet another record high overnight, while the BDI numbers have yet to be published.
  • Reuters morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper surged to a one-month high on Monday and also came close to knocking out the 2009 intraday high of $6549 reached in late August. The main driver fueling the run in commodities for much of the last week has been the weaker dollar, now hurtling towards the psychologically important 1.50 mark against the Euro. In addition, strong gains on Wall Street also helped the upbeat tone in the markets yesterday, particularly after third quarter earnings seem to be coming in well ahead of estimates.  ... Metals seem to be taking a breather as of this writing, with only modest gains evident, except for lead, which is up by $46 on the day. Investors are waiting for September US producer prices out later, as well as September housing starts and building permits, both expected to come in around the 600,000-unit mark. However, it will be the dollar that will be the most closely watched. Should the key 1.50 level break, expect to see a greater degree of reaction by the Europeans, who undoubtedly are becoming increasingly concerned by the possibility that a soaring Euro could effectively thwart the modest recovery that seems to be setting in. A round of central bank intervention designed to dent the growing ranks of the dollar shorts would also not surprise us, but at this stage, this is still a somewhat distant possibility, leaving the upside momentum intact at least for a little while longer. ... Nickel is at $19,225, down $50. The short-term down channel still seems to be intact, and will be taken out with a close above $19,300. More significant, is double-top resistance around $19,500."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Damstahl Germany - "Most European mills have planned to return to normal working hour schemes in October in expectation of a further increasing order intake. But weak Q4 orders could lead to a re-thinking of these plans. After ending the 'short hour' work sequence (closing for a number of days per month) most producers plan reduce their capacity through eliminating the number of shifts per week (e.g. no weekend production). Further lay-offs at European mills and fabricators (e.g. tube mills) in addition to already decided workforce reductions have to be expected after the expiration of short term work schemes..... Surprisingly, economic indicators (see next page) speak a different language. According to these, the crisis is basically over. But the PMI-climate is much better than the ‘real’ economic situation. (for complete report see archives for yesterday's linked reports)
  • China's steel sector pushed production back towards the record level set in August, data from the China Iron & Steel Association seen by Reuters revealed on Tuesday. The figures show daily crude steel output rising to 1.692 million tons in the first 10 days of October, up from 1.646 million tons in the last 10 days of September. Early October's production was equivalent to annual output of 618 million tons compared with 500 million tons in 2008.
  • (Yieh) According to the data in the first 8 months, China’s stainless steel cold rolled steel import quantity hit the highest record in history. Although domestic mills increased their production quantity, the main mills’ output in August was nearly 100 percent of capacity.
  • (LMI) China - According to market research, trades in local stainless steel scrap market remain at a relatively low level these days. For one, due to high stock, many local recyclers are reluctant to make large purchases in this sensitive market. For another, many traders and middlemen prefer taking a wait-and-see attitude now on concerns about weak consumption. Furthermore, pressured by poor sales, many domestic stainless steel mills also cut their orders for the scraps, which also leads to a further decline of the price. However, the prices (local stainless steel scraps) don’t plunge sharply, buoyed by the support from the cost.
  • (JMB) Japan Stainless Scrap Export Drops by 54.9% in August
  • (JT) Crude steel output in Japan in the April-September first half of fiscal 2009 fell 29.6% from a year earlier to 43.33 million tons, marking a 40-year low on a six-month-period basis, an industry body said. That was the lowest output since the 40.97 million tons registered in the first half of fiscal 1969, the Japan and Steel Federation said.
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) and Tang Eng have kept their domestic price unchanged in the second half of October while the buyers still hesitated to purchase. However, market participants said that the stockists would probably purchase soon for replenishing the stock.
  • (AP) Posco Vietnam Ltd., Co. under the Republic of Korea's Posco Group, put into operation the first phase of a laminated steel plant in the Phu My II Industrial Zone in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. The plant is designed to have an annual capacity of 1.2 million tonnes with over half of that serving the auto industry.
  • European Nickel extends Endeavour bridge loan while it finalises Caldag nickel project financing - more
  • MarketWatch - "The third-quarter earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 improved to negative 22.6% from negative 24.6% last week, "due in part to better-than-expected earnings from a number of companies in the financial sector," said John Butters, director, U.S. earnings, at Thomson Reuters. "The financial sector is anticipating the highest earnings growth rate for the quarter, while the energy, materials and industrials sectors are expecting the lowest," Butters added."
  • (TW) After manufacturing steel products since 1917, the Sand Springs steel mill -- now operated by Gerdau Ameristeel but commonly called Sheffield Steel by locals -- has laid off all but 30 of its workers.
  • The Oct Nat'l Assoc of Home Builders index, an index measuring home building sentiment, was 18, 2 pts below forecasts and down from 19. Present conditions fell 1 pt while future expectations fell 2 pts.

  Total Output Of Crude Stainless Steel By Major Companies / Japan In Aug. / 09 Remained Unchanged = Reflecting Favorable Exports, Production Was Maintained On Similar Scale, Anxious Factors For Oct. Afterwards - When the production activities of stainless steel at seven major stainless steel companies in Japan for August of 2009 are traced, reflecting the active exports of stainless steel products from Japan, the output in August was maintained on a similar scale to that in July, when the production recovered. - more

  • Japanese Stainless Export Expectations After Guangzhou Trade Fair - Japan's stainless steel producers have expectations in their export deals of nickel-based CR sheets for shipments to China in January next year after the Guangzhou trade fair that is scheduled to open in Guangdong province in the third and fourth weeks of October this year. - more

  Headaches continue to add up for Vale Inco in Canada - The headaches continue to add up in Canada for Vale Inco Ltd. - more

  Xstrata-Merafe JV chrome output down 47 pct - South African ferrochrome producer Merafe Resources said on Tuesday output at its joint venture with Xstrata fell 47 percent between January and September compared with the same period last year. - more

  Ferro alloys in Troubled Waters - Ferro alloys, the intermediate products used in the making of steel as deoxidants and for rust proofing, have seen their fortunes take a steep dive since October 2008. Some recent improvements in their prices are not proving enough to balm the wounds of manufacturers. That the prospects for ferro alloys are linked to steel are stating the obvious. - more

  African Eagle Resources upbeat on progress at Dutwa nickel project - Mark Parker, the managing director of mining group African Eagle Resources, today said the company was making significant progress at its Dutwa Nickel Project in Tanzania. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending October 17, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,473,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 61.7 percent. Production was 1,682,000 tons in the week ending October 17, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 70.5 percent. The current week production represents a 12.4 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending October 17, 2009 is up 1.9 percent from the previous week ending October 10, 2009 when production was 1,446,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 60.6 percent.

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • CM - China will firmly oppose a price rise for iron ores in the impending iron ore talks for 2010, said Shan Shanghua, secretary general of China Iron and Steel Association (CISA). Shan said it is unreasonable for the suppliers to raise the price, as steel plants are losing money and iron ores are currently suffering oversupply.

  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, October 19

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 38 to 2,766. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Yuan Forwards Strengthen for Fifth Day as Recovery Fuels Appreciation Bets  // Asian Stocks Rise on Oil Prices, China Growth Speculation; Asustek Climbs // European Stocks Advance on Earnings Outlook; Shell, National Express Gain // Treasuries Demand Shows No Lost Appetite as Dollar Sinks With Zero Returns // Won Crushes Yen as Dollar Substitute in Best Asian Rally Since 1998 Crisis // CEOs Showing Remorse Underestimating Shares Stifling '09 Convertible Sales // Icahn Offers CIT Group $6 Billion Loan, Calls Lender's Board `Incompetent' // Bernanke Says U.S. Should Save More, Asia Spend More to Reduce Distortions // Stocks in U.S. Extend Global Rally on Earnings Outlook as Dollar Retreats
  • The US Dollar is now trading 1/3 of 1% lower against the Euro. NYMEX crude is up over 1/4 of 1% and over $78.50/barrel. Gold is 1/3 of 1% higher, while silver is up 8/10 of 1%. Base metals all ended higher today, thanks to a lower Dollar and higher equity markets. Indicator charts show nickel bounced early, stalled, then bounced again later in the afternoon. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.74/lb . Sucden's day old chart shows the rangebound pattern nickel has fallen into (chart here), which has been going on basically since early August. Inventories of LME stored nickel rose to another record high over the weekend and the Baltic Dry Index gained 38 points to 2,766. CommerzBank titled their Commodities Daily today "Prices driven up mainly by speculators".
  • FRONTLINE Presents "The Warning" Tuesday, October 20, 2009, at 9 P.M. ET on PBS - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (JOC) Container volume declined at the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles in September, but the contraction was only slightly worse than historical seasonal variations, said analyst J.P. Morgan. Combined inbound volumes declined 17.4 percent; outbound volumes decreased 8.6 percent; total volume fell 14.8 percent, according to the Morgan report.
  • Market Watch - (ref China GDP) Thailand-based economist Marc Faber said in September he doesn't trust the government's numbers. In reality, he believes, the mainland economy is growing at around 3%.
  • Abuse claims against Peru police guarding British firm Monterrico - more

  Ban brokers: Cosatu - Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) members on Friday threatened a sit-in if the Hernic Ferrochrome mine in North West failed to ban labour brokers. - more

  Japan steel output recovery stalls in September - A rapid recovery in Japan's crude steel output stalled in September after a blast furnace at Japan's top maker Nippon Steel Corp was halted, but output will resume rising in October, an industry body said. - more

  Sudbury miners take Vale fight to labour board - Striking workers at a Vale Inco nickel mine in Sudbury have taken their fight against the miner to Ontario's Labour Relations Board. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.10/lb higher, with other base metals also trading slightly higher. The US Dollar is trading slightly lower against the Euro, by less than 1/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude futures are down slightly, and under $78.50/barrel. Gold is up 4/10 of 1%, while silver is flat. In overnight trading, ASian markets ended higher, with China up over 2-1/2%. European markets are higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street should open the week in a bullish mood. Three month nickel ended Friday and the week at $8.46/lb. Inventories of nickel are up again today, while the BDI is also higher. Bloomberg reports "Today is the 22nd anniversary of “Black Monday,” when an increase in U.S. interest rates and slowing economic growth sparked a slump that sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 23 percent and the S&P 500 20 percent lower in one day."
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "It seems we have not missed much in terms of market action over the past week. Despite a midweek sprint higher, most metals finished the week roughly unchanged or slightly lower. This uneventful action was to be expected given that attendance at the LME this past week was heavy. Our take on the dinner found sentiment to be mixed. The Chinese seemed to be most bullish, as they see little evidence that demand for metal in the country is slowing, while supply is also becoming a problem. One Chinese aluminum producer pointed out, for example, that the cost of production for aluminum ingots is far too low given subsidized power rates that are bound to move higher in the months ahead. He estimated that about one half of the country’s aluminum smelters are barely breaking even with the cost of power where it is, so it is quite likely that there will be further consolidation in the sector as rates rise. Many of the Western producers we talked to were cautiously optimistic, although not as bullish as their Chinese counterparts given the uncertainty about Western growth prospects. Nevertheless, they too cannot ignore the compelling Chinese growth rates in place. Rio Tinto for example, expects metals consumption to double over the next 15-20 years on account of China, implying sustained pressure on both capital and people. The merchants and trading companies were, on balance, more negative on the outlook, viewing prices to be quite overbought short-term and overly reliant on Chinese buying instigated mainly by the government. Most everyone we talked to pointed out the interrelationships between markets, as commodities are now increasingly viewed as an asset class prone to sharp swings. There was also a great deal of respect shown to fund flows, as their orders have been instrumental in setting short-term trends. Indeed, at a client presentation given by Fred Demler, the head of commodities at our firm, it was noted that the uptick in fund money into metals over the last few months as coincided nicely with the recent rally (particularly in copper). Finally, if there was one overriding theme to this year’s LME affair, it was relief that so many people had survived after last year’s unprecedented financial meltdown, where the fate of many companies, if not the entire economic system, hung in the balance.... Nickel is at $18,850, up $150, and very quiet; the short-term down channel still seems to be intact, and will be taken out with a close above $19,300. Discussions we had with various people on nickel during LME week, painted a rather subdued picture, as growing surpluses in stainless production (estimated to be around 1.5 million tons for thus year), are thought to keep the upside action somewhat in check going forward."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Jones)--Finnish mining company Talvivaara will produce around 30,000 tons of nickel next year and 50,000 tons for the next 40 years after that, the Mail on Sunday reports, citing the company's chief executive Pekka Pera. Talvivaara has pioneered a new process for purifying low quality nickel ore in the north of Finland, which is expected to turn the company to profit, the Mail on Sunday says.
  • (Yieh) ArcelorMittal is going to restart its Genk plant's stainless steel electric furnace which located in Belgium. This electric furnace plant had stopped its operation since this January and one of this plant's officer said that ArcelorMittal Genk is going to restart part of its No.2 electric furnace's production around this November or December.
  • (Yieh) According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japanese nickel metal output in August and ferronickel output dropped by 10.9 percent and 18.8 percent than the same time of last year. Output of nickel in August was 2,722 tons, down by 10.9 percent than 3,056 tons in the same time of last year. Ferronickel output in the same month was 23,642 tons.
  • Mr Robert Yuksel Yildirim president & CEO of ETI Krom - "The European alloy steel and stainless steel output has still not yet fully recovered, so we see no reason today to build up FeCr stocks. We try to watch very closely the developments and demand at the market. We are reviewing our current strategy according to current market indications and eager to run our furnaces at half capacity."
  • (AP) Weda Bay Nekkel a local unit of France's Eramet will invest around US$4 billion in a nickel mining venture in North Maluku, an Indonesian government official said.
  • The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 0.7 percent in August from its July level, the second consecutive monthly increase, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported Thursday.
  • The Association of American Railroads today reported that for the week ending Oct. 10, 2009, rail traffic remains down – originating 273,429 carloads, down 17.2 percent compared with the same week in 2008. Regionally, carloads were down 15.4 percent in the West and 19.7 percent in the East. Intermodal traffic, while down 11 percent from the same week last year, showed slight signs of improvement this week. U.S. railroads reported originating 208,941 trailers or containers for 2009 – the highest weekly intermodal volume for 2009. In the year over year comparison, however, container volume fell 4.6 percent and trailer volume dropped 34.9 percent.
  • (JMB) Japan Stainless Flat Steel Order Rises by 5% in August
  • Prices of European Steel Products Rises in September - more

  Vale’s Canadian Unit Sued Over Nickel-Sale Royalties  - Vale Inco, the Canadian unit of Vale SA, underreported the value of Newfoundland and Labrador nickel sales, resulting in underpayments of royalties, International Royalty Corp. said. - more

  Steel Shipments, Inventories Inch Higher in U.S., Canada  – With steel shipments from metals service centers slowly rising, inventories of the metal, in decline since early last year, rose slightly in the United States and Canada, the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute shows. Shipments of aluminum products also rose slightly, but inventories of the light metal continued to decline in both countries. - more

  Norilsk Nickel Profit Falls 84% on Lower Metal Prices  - OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the world’s biggest producer of nickel and palladium, said first-half profit fell 84 percent after metal prices declined in line with a downturn in the global economy. - more

  Japan September steel output at 80 pct of last yr level  - Japan's crude steel output recovered to about 80 percent of last year's level in September on continuing strong demand for exports and a pick up in car production at home. - more

  The ‘Great Recession’ is over, so Q4 steel prices won’t collapse - Just in case you missed it: “The Great Recession is over,” according to the National Association for Business Economics’ latest survey, taken Sept. 2-Sept. 24. - more

  ThyssenKrupp to slash up to 20 000 more jobs - German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp will cut up to 20 000 more jobs in the next fiscal year after already eliminating 12 000 positions due to the financial crisis, a report said on Saturday. - 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, October 16

Morning Briefing (8:00 AM CST is 1PM in London)
  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.09/lb lower, with most base metals trading lower. The US Dollar is trading stronger against the Euro, up over 4/10 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are off 4/10 of 1$ and above $77/barrel. Gold is down 6/10 of 1% and silver is off over 8/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, although China squeezed out a slight gain. European markets are lower this morning, after GE missed earnings expectations and Bank of America reported another quarterly loss. US futures imply a lower opening on Wall Street, with Dow futures below the 10,000 level. Inventories of nickel rose to another record high overnight, while the BDI rose for a second day. Lot of iron ore news this morning, posted in the iron ore section. Our afternoon update will be delayed until late, so here are some daily figures. The Baltic Dry Index jumped 40 points to 2,728 and LME stored inventories of nickel climbed over the 123,000 tonne level last evening, and yes, that is a new 2009, 21st century, whatever you want to call it, record high.
  • Reuters morning base metal news - more

Reports

Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no reports filed this week
  • (Dow Jones) The near-term outlook for most of the metals is relatively neutral, but nickel has the most potential for some gains, says a London-based trader. .... Nickel, though, could quickly rally to $20,000/ton if it breaks above $19,000/ton following last week's break above $18,000/ton. Adds, the market also expects Norilsk Nickel's exports of nickel will slow in coming months.
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) has announced a price rise of US$60~100/ton for stainless steel exports in the second half of October. The company’s domestic prices remained unchanged, but a rise of NT$1,500/ton is expected in November.
  • (Yieh) Korean stainless steel import slid slight in early October, 2009. The total quantities of stainless steel were 9,700 tons during October 1~11, 2009. In details, hot rolled stainless steel imports were 7,345 tons, down by 56 percent compared with the same period of September. Meanwhile, cold rolled stainless steel imports decreased by 63 percent to 2,333 tons, in which 1,100 tons from Taiwan and 727 tons from China
  • (CD) The US government said on Thursday that China did not manipulate its currency against the US dollar and has made significant contribution to the world economic recovery during the first half of 2009.
  • Jien Canada and Canadian Royalties Sign Definitive Support Agreement - more
  • Benguet Corp. may list nickel firm in PSE - more
  • Canadian Royalties Inc. reports the results of an initial resource estimate commissioned specifically to evaluate the scenario of potentially mining its wholly-owned and near-surface Puimajuq deposit using open pit mining methods. - more

Indonesia's Antam sees jump in 2010 nickel output - Indonesia's state-owned miner PT Aneka Tambang Tbk forecast on Thursday its nickel output would jump 42 percent next year after restarting its third ferronickel smelter and on expectations of demand picking up. - more

China September Steel Production Falls From August - Steel production in China, the world’s biggest maker, dropped in September from a month ago as a price decline prompted mills to cut output. Daily steel output was 1.64 million metric tons, down 40,000 tons from August, Shan Shanghua, secretary general of the the China Iron & Steel Association, said today at a conference in Qingdao. - more

Hebei Steel warns China mills may make loss in 2010 - China's steel industry, the world's largest, may end up losing money next year as excess supplies weigh on prices, a senior official at the country's second-biggest mill warned on Friday. - more

Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • BHP Agrees to Buy Iron Ore Explorer for A$204 Million - BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, agreed to buy United Minerals Corp. for A$204 million ($188 million), countering a bid by China to take a stake in the iron ore explorer. - more
  • Mining giants confuse the issue with marketing body - That the uber-clever $100 billion Pilbara joint venture designed by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto could father a new, third force in their iron ore marketing was never going to be a concept easily embraced by either customers or market regulators. - more
  • Iron ore stockpiles at Chinese ports slide to 69.64 mln tons by Oct. 16 - Iron ore stockpiles at China's 22 major ports decreased by 0.64 percent from Oct. 9 to 69.64 million tons on Oct. 16, of which there were 13.53 million tons of Indian iron ore stockpiles, down 8.07 percent, according to figures released by Shanghai-based Mysteel Information. - more
  • China Seeks to Set Iron Ore Prices as Biggest Buyer - China is seeking to set iron ore prices separately from the rest of the world to exercise its bargaining power as the largest buyer of the steelmaking ingredient. - more

Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here / Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here (charts)
  • 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, October 15

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - up 91 to 2,688. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China House Prices Climb, Investment Inflows Surge on Stronger Recovery // Australia Can't Be `Too Timid' in Raising Key Interest Rate, Stevens Says // Asian Stocks Advance on Earnings Speculation; Treasuries, Dollar Decline // Trichet Says U.S. Policies Must Support `Strong Dollar,' Avoid Volatility // Nokia Posts First Loss Since 1996 on Siemens Networks Joint Venture Costs // European Stocks Advance, Extending 12-Month High; Sainsbury, Swatch Surge // Citigroup Posts Profit After Adding Reserves at Slowest Pace in Two Years // Goldman Sachs's Earnings Surge Falls Short of Previous Quarter's Record // Consumer Prices in U.S. Climb at Slower Pace in Sign Inflation Not Threat // U.S. 30-Year Mortgage Rates Climb to 4.92% in First Increase Since August //
  • The US Dollar traded higher against the Euro all morning, but just recently fell lower. NYMEX crude is up over 2-1/2% and over $77/barrel. Gold is down over 1-1/10 of 1% while silver is off 2-3/4%. Base metals ended in the green, and that was without support from a falling Dollar, which only in the last few minutes went red against the Euro. Indicator charts show nickel was in trouble during early trading, but as US economic reports came out with positive news, nickel went green and continued to climb throughout the remainder of the session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.50/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses rose to another record high overnight, and now sit well over the 122,50 tonne level. The Baltic Dry Index jumped back into the positive, up 91 points to 2,688. In U.S. economic news, initial jobless claims fell last week  by 10,000 but reaming above the 500,000 level. The number of people collecting state benefits fell below 6 million in the week ending October 3, which is a seasonably adjusted number and the lowest since March. The New York Bank's Empire State Manufacturing index jumped to 34.6 in October from 18.9 in September, with over half of the manufacturers polled reporting conditions had improved, while another 17% said conditions had grown worse.(report). RealtyTrac reported filings for foreclosure were up 23% in the 3rd quarter YOY, and up 5% from the 2nd quarter. And the Labor Department reported the consumer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in September, allaying some inflation fears. The Dow rose over the psychological 10,000 level yesterday and traders show no signs of allowing it to be given back, although their hold is tenuous at the moment.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Mwana Africa PLC said Thursday it is considering restarting operations at its nickel complex in Zimbabwe as the country's switch from its own currency to the U.S. dollar has improved the mining investment environment.
  • Fed’s Tarullo Says Markets Improving but Far From Healed - more
  • Q3 Foreclosure Activity Increases 5% in Q3, Highest Ever Recorded By RealtyTrac - more

  TABLE-Reuters survey of base metal price forecasts - Reuters has surveyed 28 analysts for their forecasts of long-term, 2009 and 2010 prices of industrial metals used in applications from construction to the auto industry to steel. - more

  Australia’s nickel sector is ‘well worth protecting’ – Poseidon - Australian nickel explorer Poseidon Nickel CEO David Singleton on Thursday said that Australia’s nickel sector should not drop the impetus behind its research and development (R&D), in order to protect an inground resource worth over half a trillion dollars against potential loss of market overseas. - more

  Guatemala: Killings of indigenous rural workers must not go unpunished - Amnesty International calls on the Guatemalan authorities to thoroughly investigate the killings of two indigenous rural workers shot and killed in separate incidents in the last two weeks. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:35 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.14/lb lower, with all base metals trading lower. The US Dollar is adding downward pressure on commodities, by trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher against the Euro. NYMEX crude futures are down slightly and remain above $75/barrel. Gold is down 1-1/4%, while silver is off over 2-1/2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, as did China. European markets are slightly lower this morning after Citigroup Inc. reported a third-quarter loss. US futures are slightly lower after a day that saw the Dow crawl over 10,000 for the first time in a year. Nickel inventories hit yet another record high overnight, while the BDI numbers have yet to be published.

  Live Blog from London Metal Exchange Week 2009 - here

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  no reports this week
  • (Dow Jones) PT Aneka Tambang, or Antam, has restarted its third ferronickel plant in Central Sulawesi, which was shut down for maintenance in April, a company official said Thursday.
  • Xstrata Drops 29.6 Billion-Pound Anglo American Offer  - more
  • (SO) On October 14, the US Department of Commerce (DOC) announced the rescission of its antidumping duty administrative review on stainless steel plate in coils from Belgium.
  • (CD) Fresh lending by banks in September breached the 500-billion-yuan mark, beating economists' estimates, according to China's central bank.
  • (CD) China's power consumption in September continued to rise with a faster increasing rate, according to China's National Energy Administration on Thursday. Power consumption in September rose 10.24 percent from the same month last year to 322.41 billion kWh last month. The increasing rate was 2 percentage points up from that of August. Accumulative power consumption in the first nine months topped 2.66 trillion kWh, an increase of 1.4 percent over the same period last year
  • (SO) The revised data from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry show that, compared to the previous month, in August this year Japan's seasonally adjusted industrial production index increased 1.6 percent, the country's shipments of industrial output increased by 0.6 percent, while its inventory index rose 0.1 percent.
  • Three Government Reports Point to Fiscal Doomsday - more
  • Wall of worry still strong - more

   Nickel is the metal of the future, analyst - The long-term nickel floor price has ‘turned the corner’ and will continue to rise over coming decades, according to resources adviser Martin Pyle, Principal of Perth-based Martin Pyle Consulting. - more

  • Nickel history lessons - History doesn’t so much as repeat but lessons from the previous century may be useful in understanding the future of the nickel price, according to one resources consultant. - more

  Indonesia's Antam sees jump in 2010 nickel output - Indonesia's state-owned miner PT Aneka Tambang Tbk forecast on Thursday its nickel output would jump 42 percent next year after restarting its third ferronickel smelter and on expectations of demand picking up - more

  Mirabela expects first nickel concentrates from Brazil mine in Nov - The new Brazilian nickel mine owned by Australia’s Mirabela Nickel has the potential to deliver 4% of total global production and become a “significant world producer”, MD Nick Poll said on Thursday. - more

  LME WEEK:Metals Have Upside Despite Risks-Deutsche Executive - Base metals have performed well so far this year and still have room to rise, although the threat of excess production capacity starting too quickly remains an issue, Raymond Key, the global head of metals trading at Deutsche Bank said Thursday. - more

  Increasing Nickel Demand In China Causes To Balance Nearly Its Supply And Demand In 2009 = Nickel Demand In China For 2009 Is Estimated At 400,000 - 470,000 Tons / Year - China is anticipated to produce 8.50 - 9.00 million tons per annum of crude stainless steel in 2009 by an increase of 20 - 30% from that in 2008 and, accordingly, the actual demand for nickel in China is on a basic tone to increase. However, the quantities of nickel to be consumed in China for 2009 as forecasted by the specialists concerned have differed to a large extent. - more

  Steelmakers’ Forecast Sees 2009 Demand Falling -8.6% - From its annual meeting, the trade association representing the world’s leading steelmakers has issues a near-term steel demand forecast, anticipating that 2009 global steel consumption will fall by -8.6% to 1.1 billion metric tons. - more

  Inco Says Pollution Case May Lead to More Lawsuits - Every Canadian industry will be at risk of being sued if residents of Port Colborne, Ontario, win damages for losses tied to 60 years of emissions from an Inco Ltd. nickel refinery, a lawyer for the company said. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • BHP, Rio scrap plan to jointly market some iron ore - Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton , Australia's top two iron ore miners, have scrapped a plan to co-market some iron ore from a proposed Australia joint venture that has drawn criticism as being anti-competitive. - more

  (Yieh) It’s reported that anti-dumping duty rate on Taiwan’s fasteners to the U.S. might be lower than China’s, because China exported more quantities at lower price. Taiwan’s average price of fastener to US is US$2.566/kg, but China’s is only US$1.724/kg. On the other hand, Taiwan exported about 160,000 tons of fasteners to the U.S., but China exported about 200,000 tons.

  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, October 14

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 49 to 2,597. (chart) (article)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's Export Decline Slows, Lending Grows as Global Economy Strengthens // Thai Stocks, Currency Slump on Speculation King's Health Is Deteriorating // Posco Raises Full-Year Profit Forecast 23% as Steel Market Demand Improves // Asian Stocks Rise as Intel's Sales Forecasts Beat Estimates; Samsung Gains  // Global Economic Confidence Gains for Third Month as Production Increases // BASF Says Sales, Earnings Are Better Than Expected as China Leads Recovery // Investor Pessimism Increases on Stocks as Valuations Rise, Earnings Begin // European Stocks Rise to Highest in 12 Months After Intel, JPMorgan Results // JPMorgan Profit Rises More Than Estimated as Fixed-Income Revenue Surges // Retail Sales in U.S. Drop Less Than Forecast in Sign of Emerging Recovery //
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, now by 1/4 of 1%. NYMEX crude is up nearly a full percent and approaching the $75/barrel level. Gold is down a little over 1/10 of 1%, and silver is higher by nearly 1/2 of 1%. Base metals ended mostly higher, on news of higher copper and iron ore imports into China. Indicator charts show nickel started the session much higher, but spent most of the day sliding, until a late afternoon rally saw the price jump back up. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.41/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose to a new record level overnight and now rest just shy of the 122,000 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart). The Baltic Dry Index slipped another 49 points to 2,597. Bloomberg reported "U.S. retail sales dropped 1.5% in September after the government's cash-for-clunkers subsidy ended, while sales excluding autos rose at a healthy pace, the Commerce Department reported..." On the back of some higher earnings posted late yesterday, world markets were and are trading mostly in positive territory today. The Dow is trading within 11 points of the 10,000 level at the moment.
  • Our briefing and afternoon update may be slightly delayed over the next two days.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • USGS 2009 Mineral Commodity Summaries - Nickel - pdf here
  • USGS 2009 Mineral Commodity Summaries - Molybdenum - pdf here
  • USGS 2009 Mineral Commodity Summaries - Chromium - pdf here
  • Report On INSG October 2009 Meetings - more
  • Non-Corrosion Properties of Stainless Steels – Book of Applications - more

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Christopher Low, chief economist at FTN Financial on today's retail sales numbers - "We’re likely to see unexpected strength in consumer spending through the end of the year. At some point we need to transition from government spending to consumer spending and hopefully, this’ll be the beginning."
  • (Kedia Commodities) Nickel prices won't rise too much from current levels because production of cheaper nickel pig iron will increase and weigh on prices.
  • Debunking the “Too Big To Fail” Myth - more
  • The rumours of the dollar’s death are much exaggerated - more

  Rudd policy on China 'set by BHP' - A former senior Treasury official has accused the Rudd Government of caving in to the wishes of BHP Billiton over Chinese investment in Australia, contributing to a serious deterioration in relations with Beijing. - 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 other base metals mixed on news copper imports into China rose for the first time in 3 months in September, surprising everyone. The US Dollar is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% lower against the Euro, also adding support to commodities. NYMEX crude futures are up over 6/10 of 1% and over $74.50/barrel. Gold is off 1/3 of 1% while silver is a tad higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China also higher on reports that the decline in exports from that country slowed. Europe is higher this morning on results from Intel Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., both beating analysts’ estimates, and US futures show this news will help Wall Street open much higher. Based on futures we could see the Dow hit 10,000 today. Nickel inventories hit a new record high overnight, while the BDI fell for a second day.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning metals report - more

  Live Blog from London Metal Exchange Week 2009 - here

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  no daily reports this week
  • (Yieh) China’s Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Tisco) and Lianzhong Stainless Steel (Lisco) have announced to keep the stainless steel price unchanged from the last month. Because the nickel price on the LME enjoyed a soar last week, Taiwan’s stainless steel mills have planned to lift the stainless steel price in the second half of this month. After consideration, with surplus stock on the market, Chinese mills gave up the plan to lift the October price.
  • (MW) Martin Pyle who runs his own consultancy told the opening day of the Australian Nickel Conference in Perth that the bottom line is that the nickel price has grown between 5 to 6% -- on average - for the past decade and he does not see a differing of this course going forward. .... I am expecting that the long-term price, though influenced by the short-term spot price, will be in the top end of the range of between US$6-US$7.50 per pound - and that does not fully account for the emergence of a new super cycle driven by demand growth from China.
  • (Interfax) China's steel product exports rise to 2.47 mln tons in September
  • (CK) China's steel inventory recently hit 11.91 million tons, a new peak for this year, according to statistics collected by the Shanghai Securities News Agency, sources reported. Although the steel inventory is large, key domestic steel enterprises still have no plans to cut production in the remaining months of this year.
  • (AAP) Nickel miner Western Areas has upgraded the mineral resource at its Flying Fox project by 11 per cent. - more
  • (JMD) NSSC Increases Nickel Stainless Cold Rolled Price by 5,000 yen in October
  • (SBB) Global stainless output down for third year in a row
  • (SSY) China’s imports of iron ore surged to an all-time high of 64.55 Mt in September, according to preliminary customs data released today.
  • (Xinhua) China's foreign trade continued to fall in September, but the rate of decline slowed sharply, the General Administration of Customs announced Wednesday. The total value of imports and exports for September was $218.94 billion, down 10.1 percent from the same month last year. In August, the drop was 20.6 percent compared with the same month last year.
  • (Xinhua) China's business climate index, a main measurement of macro-economic outlook, rose by 8.5 points in the third quarter from the previous quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Tuesday. The quarterly business climate index climbed from 115.9 in the second quarter to 124.4 in the third quarter, the NBS said.
  • A regular commentary on the El Niño-Southern Oscillation - more

  Nickel at $18,000-$19,000 a Ton ‘Fair,’ PT Inco Says - Nickel between $18,000 a metric ton and $19,000 a ton is a “fair” level for the company, said Arif Siregar, president director of PT International Nickel Indonesia, the nation’s biggest producer of the metal. - more

  • Indonesia's Inco says may resume deal with Antam - PT International Nickel Indonesia may resume its nickel supply agreement with state mining firm PT Aneka Tambang Tbk (ANTM.JK), possibly this year, president director Arif Siregar said on Wednesday. - more

  Metal Users Curb Hedging After Orders Drop, Deutsche Bank Says - Consumers of copper, aluminum and other industrial metals are hedging less of their future purchases this year after orders were decimated by the financial collapse, Deutsche Bank AG said. - more

  Acceleration To Produce FeCr On Full Scale In South Africa May Revive Problem For Electricity = Eskom Has Warned This Matter, Electricity Consumption In August Kept High Level - By taking into account of a basic tone to be reviving the economic activities in industries of South Africa, which are (1) the consumption of electric power in August of 2009 had only a slight decrease of 1.6% from that in the same month of 2008 and maintained an unexpected high level, although August is winter time in South Africa., (2) owing to the rebounded prices of ferro-chrome, South African producers are moving to expand their production of ferro-chrome and this action is causing to increase the consumption of electric power in this country, and so on, Eskom, Electric Power Corporation in South Africa, announced on the end of last week a warning that the supply of electric power in South Africa is anticipated to enter again into a critical situation. - more

  Heron Resources seeks Australian backers - Heron Resources Ltd is seeking Chinese and Australian backers to help develop its billion tonne Kalgoorlie nickel project in Western Australia. - more

  China to Curb Steel Production to Reduce Oversupply - China, the world’s largest steel producer, is working on plans to curb excess capacity as the nation faces “severe oversupply,” according to the nation’s third-largest mill. - more

  Layoffs at N.L. nickel facility - Some workers building a new nickel processing facility for Vale Inco in Long Harbour, in eastern Newfoundland, say they were abruptly laid off Tuesday evening. - more

  Inco Pollution Suit Tests Ontario Environmental Laws - Vale SA’s Inco Ltd. must compensate residents of an Ontario town for polluting properties near a nickel refinery for decades, a lawyer said at the start of a trial that tests the province’s environmental laws. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Australian minister urges China to speed up Rio case - Australia's climate change minister said on Wednesday she had urged China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang to expedite the case of four employees of mining giant Rio Tinto, currently held on suspicion of corporate espionage. - more
  • China rewrites iron import rules - China, the world's biggest iron ore importer, would soon introduce new rules to regulate imports of the commodity and would seek a greater say in its pricing, the head of the country's chief iron ore price negotiator said yesterday. - 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

Tuesday, October 13

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 50 to 2,646. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's Monthly Car Sales Top 1 Million for First Time; Subsidies May End // Bank of Japan May Wind Up Corporate Bond-Buying Program as Markets Recover // Asian Stocks Gain as Yen Weakens, Brokerages Recommend JFE, Commonwealth // German Investor Confidence Unexpectedly Drops as Economy Remains `Fragile' // Euro Rises to Highest Level Against Dollar Since Before Lehman Bankruptcy // U.K. Homes Market Strengthens as Most Surveyors Since 2007 See Price Gains // Lloyds Banking's Exit From Toxic-Asset Plan Is Said to Cost $3.2 Billion // European Stocks Decline as German Investor Confidence Drops; Lloyds Falls // J&J Profit Rises on Higher Device Sales, Cost Cutting; '09 Forecast Raised // Goldman Downgraded as Meredith Whitney Abandons Last `Buy' Recommendation // Gold Climbs to Another Record as Dollar, Outlook for Inflation Spur Demand // Obama Dollar Retreats Most Against Commodity Producers in Wealth Transfer // Treasuries Rise on Speculation Fed Won't Raise Rates Until Late Next Year // Bank of America Will Turn Over Merrill Papers, Refueling Disclosure Probes
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, off session highs and up nearly 4/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude is up 1/2 of 1% and back under $74/barrel. Gold is up 6/10 of 1% and off session highs, but above $1060/ounce. Silver is up nearly 1/2 of 1%. Base metals ended the day softer, brushing off a stronger Euro. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, but began a steep decline in early afternoon hours, before stabilizing thru much of the remainder of the session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.24/lb . Inventories of nickel store in LME approved warehouses slipped overnight, slipping below the 121,500 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index ended its mini bull run and fell 50 points to 2,646. Interesting to watch nickel this morning as we did not see the immediate turn around in nickel we would normally see when the Dollar suddenly fell. Typically, they work hand in hand, and when the Dollar makes a sudden move like it did this morning, we expect nickel to at least act like it noticed. But no, as the Euro shot up, nickel continued to slide, finally stabilizing. This adds evidence to our note yesterday that sympathy appears to have turned negative on nickel due to something being bantered around behind closed doors or over drinks at LME Week.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Nickel prices will rise next year due to increased stainless steel sector activity, despite the possibility of mines restarting production they cut this year due to low prices, Barclays Capital said Monday. The nickel market will be in a deficit of 12,000 metric ton in the second half of 2009 and will see a 3,000-ton deficit in 2010, Barclays Capital analyst Nicholas Snowdon said at the London Metal Exchange Metals Seminar.
  • China in a Bull Shop - more
  • Why the weak greenback is a threat - more
  • Why Buy Gold When it's So High? - more
  • How Much Gold Does the US Have In Its Reserves? - more

  Nickel Likely To Rally In 2010 - SocGen Analyst - Nickel prices will likely rally going into 2010 as the market switches into a deficit, Societe Generale SA metals analyst David Wilson said Tuesday. - more

  U.S. Steel: A Question of Demand - As investors seek companies likely to benefit from a global economic recovery, many are betting on United States Steel . Shares of America's largest steel producer have soared more than 160% in recent months, to about 44, from a mid-March low of 16. - more

  • U.S. scrap surcharge to decrease U.S. $30 yuan per short ton in November - After the rising of surcharge for several months, Nucor, the leader of long products market in America announced that the surcharge of most long products and the scrap decreased by U.S.$30 per long ton to U.S.$260 per long ton from U.S.$290 per long ton. - more

  Bankers upbeat on metals but consumers cautious - Base metal analysts are upbeat over what they see as signs of a nascent global economic and demand recovery, but consumers and producers are still cautious about next year's prospects. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.06/lb lower, with most base metals trading lower, although some are recovering. The US Dollar started the morning stronger but has recently dipped hard against the Euro, trading 6/10 of 1% lower at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are up nearly 1-1/2% and over $74/barrel. Gold is up 2/3 of 1% and trading in record territory, while silver is up over 1%.  In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up nearly 1-1/2%. European markets are lower this morning after German investor confidence unexpectedly declined for the first time in three months. And US futures imply a slightly positive opening on Wall Street. Nickel inventories slipped again overnight, while the BDI  fell.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning news - more

  Reuters LME Week Blog - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no report this week
  • (Yieh) Due to the rebounding nickel price on the LME lately, Taiwan’s stainless steel makers intend to increase the stainless steel prices for the second half of October. According to the buyers, demand is still not strong enough. Buyers don't want to take a risk at the present time by making purchases.
  • (JMB) Nickel price continues to rise to upper 8 dollars/ Speculative buying again, supply-demand loosens
  • (Yieh) Although the nickel price seemed to rebound, most buyers still hesitated to purchase due to the slack demand. Current stainless steel market remained comparatively stable. 
  • (Alibaba) Japan's largest nickel producer, Sumitomo will start to build a US$1.3bln project in Philippine, The company stated that the nickel and cobalt sulfide plant is expected to be set up in Taganito, northeastern of Mindanao island in March, 2010, put into production in August, 2013, with estimated three decades' operation. The project will produce the middle products of nickel and cobalt, and then the products will transported to Japan's Niihama to be processed.
  • IGE Nordic confirms discovery of a new area of nickel mineralization and good prospects to improve the potential of the Rönnbäcken nickel project. - more
  • (JMB) NSSC Accepts 14% Higher FeCr Price for October-December
  • (Dow Jones) Jinchuan Group, China's largest nickel producer by output, is a bidder for Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP)'s Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday.
  • (MB) China's stainless list prices unchanged for 2 more weeks
  • NABE Outlook - Is the Recession Over? - here

  Composition On Supply And Demand Of Ferro-Alloys In Japan For Apr.- Jun. / 09 = Reduction In Crude Steel Production Caused To Decrease Consumption And To Decline Imports - When the composition on supply and demand of six main ferro-alloys in Japan for the second quarter (April - June) of 2009 is analyzed in comparison with those for the same quarter of 2008, the following characteristics have come up ; (1) owing to a reduction in production of crude steel, the consumption of six ferro-alloys decreased to half, (2) in view of an increase of the stocks at consumers, the imports were reduced considerably to adjust the stocked quantities, (3) reflecting a decline of the consumption, the output of ferro-alloys in Japan decreased by 30%, and so on.  - more

  Nickel prices surge - Western Australia’s Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Norman Moore, will open the country’s largest nickel conference in Perth on Wednesday as the price for the metal – a critical steel additive – continues to surge. - more

  Land dispute threatens major Guatemala nickel project - Protests are threatening a $1 billion nickel project in Guatemala and clashes over land rights have killed a man, putting one of Central America's biggest mineral investments in limbo. - more

  JFE Rises as Goldman Turns ‘Maximum Bullish’ on Steel - JFE Holdings Inc. led gains among Japanese steelmakers in Tokyo trading after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said it is turning “maximum bullish” on Asia’s steel sector and an industry group forecast demand will recover. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending October 10, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,446,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 60.6 percent. Production was 1,682,000 tons in the week ending October 10, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 70.5 percent. The current week production represents a 14.2 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending October 10, 2009 is up 2.2 percent from the previous week ending October 3, 2009 when production was 1,415,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 59.3 percent.

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Iron ore imports 50M tonnes over demand - China's iron ore imports have exceeded actual demand by about 50 million tonnes so far this year and the oversupply leaves no room for further price rises, a senior official of the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) said on Monday. - 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, October 12

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 1 to 2,696. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Singapore Raises 2009 Economic Forecast, Strengthening Regional Recovery // Dollar Reaches Breaking Point at Banks Shifting Record Reserves Into Euro // China Wealth Fund to Keep Raising Stakes in Nation's Three Largest Banks // Asian Stocks Fall on Earnings Concern; Refiners, China Steelmakers Drop // Philips Posts Unexpected Profit as Consumer Unit Earnings More Than Double  // Stiglitz Says Large Banks Should Face Derivatives Trading Ban, Citing Risk // European Stocks Advance After Philips Reports Profit; Allied Irish Climbs // Rallying S&P 500 Never Cheaper to International Investors as Dollar Drops // California Borrowing Unnerves Investors as Tax Revenue Plunges $2 Billion // U.S. Corporate Issues Surpass $1 Trillion in 2009, Fastest Pace on Record // Stocks in U.S., Europe Advance on Earnings Outlook; Oil, Metal Prices Gain
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, now over 4/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude is up over 2% and above the $73/barrel level. Gold is up nearly 7/10 of 1% and silver is higher by 1/2 of 1%. Base metals ended mostly higher, as LME week began this morning. Indicator charts show nickel spiked in early, then spent the afternoon in a fall, leading us to believe unpublished rumors around the weekly LME festivities and meetings are causing concern among some traders. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.54/lb , but it appears to have fell further in after market trading. Inventories of stored nickel in approved LME warehouse slipped slightly over the weekend, while the Baltic Dry Index is showing signs of losing gas, gaining 1 point to 2,696. Watching the market during LME week can be frustrating, especially when there is no overshadowing trend, like now. There are a lot of 'off the record' conversations going on in London among the biggest players in base metals trading, and the market direction can change back and forth on how meetings go, conversations over drinks go, etc. We are looking forward to seeing if an analyst in Germany's forecast made a few weeks back comes true, that this Friday could be a very dicey trading day. US markets act as if they won't even consider a correction until they hit 10,000, and we will see some pretty important reports out this week. China is back to work, so we will all be watching to see how they react in the coming weeks.  

  Reuters LME Week blog - here live Twitter here

  • LME Metals Seminar 2009 today's schedule - here

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • SG - After being perhaps the best performer amongst base metals during Q3, boosted by recovering stainless steel production, the nickel market now looks to be under pressure. Rumours of stainless production cutbacks abound, while visible nickel stocks continue to edge upwards. Are further corrections likely?
  • Natixis Commodity Markets - We expect the market will swing into deficit next year, amounting to approximately 15,000 tonnes. Although we remain of the view rising production will partly offset gains in consumption, as global economic recovery seems to be gathering momentum, we now expect that increases in the latter will overshadow those in the former. Despite this fact, reported stocks of the metal will continue to weigh on prices and our forecast sees the average far below recent peaks of $17,700/tonne in 2010. We would be surprised if ventures above $20,000 tonne over the course of the year, were sustained for anything more than short periods.
  • Comtex - The surplus in the world refined nickel market will likely grow to 70,000 metric tons in 2009, and further expand to 90,000 tons in 2010, the International Nickel Study Group said Thursday.
  • (AFP) India's industrial output surged by a better-than-expected 10.4 percent in August, official data showed Monday, which analysts say could raise pressure on the central bank to hike interest rates. The strong year-on-year figures came on the back of double-digit growth in the manufacturing, mining and electricity sectors.
  • (AFP) Australian officials Sunday announced a new warning for "catastrophic" bushfires, under which residents would be urged to abandon their homes rather than stay and fight the flames. The scrapping of the controversial "stay or go" policy, which left homeowners to make their own decision on whether to flee, follows February's so-called Black Saturday Black Saturday fires in which 173 people died.
  • The Case For Withdrawing Nickels - more
  • A second Great Depression is still possible - more
  • Gore Vidal's United States of fury - more

  BHP don't comment on nickel project - BHP is refusing to comment on a report that suggests that first round bids for its Ravensthorpe nickel project close today. - more

  Worst over for steel industry; optimistic about BRIC: Mittal - Asserting that the worst is over for the global steel industry, steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal expressed optimism about emerging markets' recovery including India but is cautious about the prospects in the developed world. - more

  Chinese authorities extend Rio probe by a month - China has extended by a month a probe into suspected corporate espionage by employees of Rio Tinto, a defence lawyer said, a case which strained ties between Australia and its second-largest trade partner. - more

  Xstrata likely to walk away from Anglo: top investor - Mining group Xstrata has told a top-10 shareholder that it would likely abandon its pursuit of rival Anglo American, the investor said on Monday. - more

  China Baosteel cuts Nov steel prices by 9-13 pct -Umetal - China's Baoshan Iron and Steel Co Ltd (Baosteel) has cut prices for its major steel products by 9-13 percent for November sales versus the October tag, industry consultancy Umetal said on Saturday. - more

  London's venerable metal exchange - The London Metal Exchange (LME) was formed in the last quarter of the 19th century to serve industrial Britain's insatiable appetite for metals. - more

  World Steel body sees full demand recovery in 2010 - Global steel consumption will rebound by more than 9 percent next year, recovering after this year's 8.6 percent decline, which was less severe than earlier expected thanks to strong China growth, a global body said on Monday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.08/lb  higher, with most base metals trading higher. The US Dollar is trading nearly 1/4 of 1% lower against the Euro, boosting commodity sympathy.  NYMEX crude futures are up nearly 1-3/4% and at $73/barrel. Gold is up nearly 1/2 of 1% and silver is up over 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly lower, with China down slightly. European markets are higher this morning, while US futures imply Wall Street will open higher. Nickel inventories fell back a trace over the weekend, while the BDI is up a single point. It's LME week in London, where analyst ED Meir from MF Global is, so we won't see a report from him this week. Canadian markets are closed today for their Thanksgiving holiday.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  no report this week
  • Dow Jones - BHP Billiton (BHP) is understood to be closing the first round of bids for its Ravensthorpe nickel laterite operations Monday, with both Chinese nickel group Jinchuan and Minara Resources Ltd. (MRE.AU) expected to be included among the bidders, The Australian Financial Review reported in its Street Talk column, without citing sources.
  • Dow Jones - LME WEEK: Nickel Price To Average $21,500/Ton In '10-BarCap
  • Reuters - Kosovo ferro-nickel raises output as prices rise
  • JMB - Japan Stainless Steel Export Steadily Recovers in August
  • Clif Droke: A Look at Producer Expectations for Gold, Base Metals Prices - more
  • To answer my own question, we’re in the eye of the greatest social, economic, political and spiritual storm ever to hit America. While the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” crowd has given the “all-clear” signal, IMHO we’re just months away from seeing the other side of the storm. The fact that little or no real changes have taken place during the lull comes as no surprise to me. I find most Americans just “hoping” things get better. - more
  • Fed's Bullard warns on inflation, unemployment - more

  Nickel Demand to Rise 4% a Year, Beating Other Metals, CPM Says - Nickel demand will rise 4 percent a year through 2013, fastest among the main industrial metals, according to Jeffrey Christian, managing director of commodities researcher CPM Group. - more

  ENRC wants to build mining giant in emerging mkts - Kazakh miner ENRC , which recently sealed the takeover of African-based CAMEC, wants to build a mining powerhouse along the lines of acquisitive Xstrata , but focus on higher risk emerging nations. - more

  Minara Resources may acquire Ravensthorpe nickel operation from BHP Billiton - According to Bloomberg, Australian Financial Review reported that Minara Resources, Ltd. may acquire Ravensthorpe nickel operation from BHP Billiton Limited, a diversified natural resources group. - more

  • BHP Says Merrill Lynch Helping With Study of Ravensthorpe Mine - BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, said Bank of America Corp.-Merrill Lynch & Co. is helping the company study options for its shelved Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia. - more
  • BHP Billiton Closing 1st Round Ravensthorpe Bids Mon -Source - BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) is closing the first round of bidding for the idled Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia on Monday, a person familiar with the matter said. - more

  Century Peak unit makes first nickel shipment - Listed Century Peak Metals Holdings Corp. told the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday that its unit has delivered its first shipment of nickel ore from a mine in Dinagat Islands to China. - more

  Steel Demand to Rise 9.2% Next Year, World Steel Says - The global steel market has bottomed and will grow by 9.2 percent next year as demand rebounds in the U.S., Europe and Japan, the World Steel Association said. - more

  Minara cautious about world nickel prices - Australia's second-largest nickel producer, Minara Resources, remains cautious about where prices are headed because inventories are high and stainless steel markets in Europe and the US are soft. - more

  Price Of Charge Chrome For Shipments To Europe In Q4 / 09 Is Settled By Rise Of 14 US-Cents / Lb. = A Substantial Rise Of The Price Asked By South African Producers Was Not Successful In Materialization - The price of South African charge chrome for shipments to Europe in October - December quarter of 2009 has been settled by a rise of 14 US-Cents per lb. of Cr from that fixed for the preceding quarter of July - September and new price for October - December quarter is 103 US-Cents per lb. of Cr. Major producers in South Africa had initially aimed at a considerable rise and negotiated with major stainless steel companies in Europe but this proposal was already rejected by European side. - more

  4 killed, 1 injured in mining dispute - Four were killed and one was injured during a gunfight arising from a dispute among security personnel manning a chromite mining company in Bukidnon province. - 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, October 9

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 48 to 2,695. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Bank Regulator Liu Says It's Too Soon to Talk of Exit From Stimulus // General Motors Said to Be Close to $150 Million Hummer Sale to Tengzhong // Australian Interest Rates to Rise Again as Unemployment May Peak Below 6% // Latvia Close to Ending Standoff With Bailout Donors, Premier's Office Says // Italian Tax Evaders Are Repatriating Funds at Record Pace Amid Recession // Stocks in Europe Fall; Vedanta, Antofagasta, BAE Systems Lead the Decline // Bernanke Says Fed Will Be Ready to Tighten Policy When Economy Improves // Manufacturers Say U.S. Loans Needed to Ease Credit Crunch Stifling Rebound // Summers Rejects `New Normal' of Slower U.S. Economic Growth, Unemployment // Unemployment Over 10% Will Suppress U.S. Consumer Spending, Survey Shows // California Considers $4 Billion Refinancing of Schwarzenegger Deficit Bond // Dollar Rises, Bonds Fall on Bernanke Interest-Rate Outlook; Copper Slides
  • The US Dollar continues to trade higher against the Euro, now up 2/3 of 1%. This put pressure on commodities in today's trading. NYMEX crude is down nearly 3/10 of 1% and hanging around $71.50/barrel. Gold is down more than 6/10 of 1% and just slipped under the $1050/ounce level. Base metals all ended lower on the higher Dollar today. Indicator charts show nickel's decline came early with most of the rest of the session spent in a gradual decline, until late, when it dropped hard again. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.50/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses rose yet again overnight, setting another record for 2009 and the 21st century. Inventories have now risen over the 121,600 tonne level. The Baltic Dry Index continues to rise, up 48 points to 2,695. Wall Street is up on news (MarketWatch) "The Commerce Department U.S. deficit in international trade of goods and services decreased 3.6% to $30.71 billion from a downwardly revised $31.85 billion the month before." Commerz Bank in their "Commodities Daily" echoed our thoughts with their title "Positive sentiment defies bearish fundamental data".
  • Have a safe and relaxing weekend!

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Statistical Summary October 2009 - China - pdf here
  • Statistical Summary October 2009 - Global - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel exports rose 70.8% in August from the previous month, and was up 47.0% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Friday.
  • (Dow Jones)  U.S. nickel imports rose 53.7% in August from last month, but was down 39.9% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Friday.
  • (MarketWatch) The number of job openings at U.S. companies declined slightly from 2.41 million in July to a seasonally adjusted 2.38 million in August, the lowest on record dating to 2000. With official unemployment at 14.9 million, there were a record 6.25 unemployed people for each job opening. During the boom, there were about 2 unemployed people for each opening.
  • Paul Tudor Jones: This Is A Ski-Jump Recession - more
  • Gold will hit $2,000 an ounce within decade, says Jim Rogers - more

  Norilsk Nickel seeks to diversify export markets - Russia’s leading metals company Norilsk Nickel will diversify its export markets increasing supplies to China and India, the company’s director-general, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, told the Vesti news channel on Friday. - more

  Volatile and sliding steel scrap prices dominate marketplace chatter - Following last week’s payrolls report, many are thinking that the so-called V-shaped recovery may have lost its upward thrust. When it comes to consumer spending, fear of unemployment is almost as bad as actual joblessness…- 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 lower, with all base metals trading lower on a stronger Dollar. Speaking of the Dollar, it is currently trading 1/4 of 1% higher against the Euro but off earlier highs. NYMEX crude is off 1/2 of 1% and remains over $71/barrel. Gold is down nearly 1/2 of 1% but still about $1050/ounce, while silver is off  2/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher after China's market re-opened and played some bull run catch-up after a week off, ending over 5% higher. European markets are lower this morning, and US futures have yet to decide which direction Wall Street will open. In an attempt not to sound like a broken record, can we just say nickel inventories - another record high, and leave it there until this afternoon. And the BDI gained another 48 points. In the news shocker this morning, President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metals finished sharply higher again on Thursday, with copper rallying to a three-week high, while zinc hit a 15-month peak after soaring by 8% at one point in the day. Lead also shot up to a recent high of $2285, but a bout of late-day selling forced prices lower by the close. Aluminum gained 4%, continuing to benefit from Alcoa’s constructive earnings announcement. Markets also pushed higher on news that US weekly unemployment claims dropped to a nine-month low last week, bolstering confidence that the labor market is in the process of stabilizing. However, the main driver behind the rally on Thursday was the weak dollar, which plunged to a one-year low of 1.4820 at one point against the Euro. Clearly, the knives are drawn against the dollar, and we suspect they will remain that way until we get to the 1.50 mark. At that point, we could see official concerns about dollar weakness become somewhat louder, and barring a surprise Fed rate increase, a round of central bank intervention cannot be ruled out, if for no other reason than to wrong-foot the growing army of dollar shorts. Shanghai markets just opened, and unlike last year, where they were plunging in line with collapsing LME markets, we are seeing strong gains this time around, as prices catch up with the LME. LME prices themselves are somewhat lower as of this writing, on concern that the heady advances of the past two days are perhaps more than enough for the time being. However, with our RSI indicators far from overbought, and little in the way of macro news for Friday’s session, we suspect this current dip will likely be bought into. ... Nickel is at $18,850, down $645, and giving back a good chunk of yesterday’s gains.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Analysts said that the stainless steel price would probably begin to rebound in the second half of October but it would still depend on the market situation and nickel price.
  • (Dow Jones) A slowdown in China metals demand and still weak demand in the West will likely drag base metals 5%-10% lower in 4Q, says JP Morgan.
  • (Dow Jones) LME cash nickel will likely average $17,700/ton in 2010, 23.5% higher than the expected 2009 average of $14,330/ton, says Natixis.
  • The coming food shortage: Potash as fuel for food - more
  • AAR Reports Rail Traffic Continues to Reflect Down Economy - more
  • Mining in a downturn: what's in it for China?  - more

  Minara Nickel Output Rises 14%; ‘Cautious’ on Demand - Minara Resources Ltd., Australia’s second-largest nickel producer, said third-quarter production rose 14 percent, putting it on track to meet its annual target. - more

  Mirabela Nickel starts commissioning at Santa Rita - Mirabela Nickel Ltd. has begun commissioning at its Santa Rita nickel sulphide mine in Brazil. An operating licence has been awarded for the mine by the environmental authorities, which reflects practical completion of the project.- more

  Jim Rogers predicts that commodities boom could last 20 years - Jim Rogers, the bullish commodities investor, has predicted that demand for raw materials will outstrip supply for the next two decades, fuelling an extended boom. - more

  Live from London Metal Exchange Week 2009 - The great and good of the global metals industry gather for London Metal Exchange week — the flagship event for the industry. - more

  Restarts of idled mines and metal plants - Encouraged by higher prices, some metal producers have started to reverse earlier cutbacks and project delays, prompted around mid-2008 by plunging demand. But for metals such as aluminium and nickel, where more cuts are still needed, such moves come on top of on-schedule start-ups of new operations and threaten to keep the market in surplus for longer than most.- more

  DMCI to operate Benguet nickel mine - DMCI Mining Corp., a subsidiary of listed Semirara Mining Corp., has signed a deal with Benguet Corp. for mining operations in a nickel mine in Zambales. - more

  Salzgitter CEO attacks rivals for boosting output - The chief executive of Germany's second-largest listed steelmaker sharply criticised rivals like Arcelor Mittal for plans to increase production in the middle of a structural crisis in the industry. - more

  Price Of Charge Chrome For Shipments To Europe In Q4 / 09 Is Settled By Rise Of 14 US-Cents / Lb. = A Substantial Rise Of The Price Asked By South African Producers Was Not Successful In Materialization - The price of South African charge chrome for shipments to Europe in October - December quarter of 2009 has been settled by a rise of 14 US-Cents per lb. of Cr from that fixed for the preceding quarter of July - September and new price for October - December quarter is 103 US-Cents per lb. of Cr. - 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, October 8

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 101 to 2,647. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Gold Rises to Record for Third Day; Copper, Rubber Lead Commodities Rally // Dollar Declines to Two-Week Low Versus Euro Amid Signs of Global Recovery // Australia's Unemployment Falls, Driving Bets of Second Interest-Rate Rise // Asian Stocks Rise on Australian Jobs Report, Alcoa Earnings; Alumina Gains // ECB Leaves Key Interest Rate at Record Low to Nurse Economy as Euro Gain // Bank of England Will Spend Remainder of Bond Plan to Drive Home Recovery // Norwegian Fund Calls On Volkswagen to Cancel `Unacceptable' Porsche Merger // Deutsche Bank Board Members Cleared Over Shareholder Spying; Probe Opened // European Stocks Climb After Alcoa Earnings; Xstrata, Antofagasta Advance // U.S. Jobless Rate May Reach 10.5% by the End of 2010, Goldman Sachs Says // U.S. Government's 2009 Deficit Totals $1.4 Trillion, Budget Office Reports // Initial Jobless Claims in U.S. Decrease 33,000 to 10-Month Low of 521,000  // Retail Sales in U.S. Climb for the First Time in 13 Months on Discounting // Thirty-Year Mortgage Rates in U.S. Drop to Near-Record 4.87%, Freddie Says // U.S. Stocks, Commodities Rise on Alcoa Earnings, Decline in Jobless Claims
  • The US Dollar continues to slump against the Euro today, now down over 8/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude is up over 3-1/2% and over the $72/barrel level. Gold is up 1-1/4% and nearly $1060/ounce, while silver is up 1-1/3%. Base metals all ended the session solidly in the green. Indicator charts show nickel shot up early, slipped a little in early afternoon trading as the Dollar showed signs of strengthening, but roared back later as the Euro regained steam. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.84/lb . LME approved warehouse stores of nickel rose again overnight, setting another record high for 2009 . Sucden's day old chart shows the beginning of another running of the bulls (chart here) that continued in today's trading. Nickel is being boosted by news that base metals had a great return on investment in the third quarter, news of nickel smelter investments in Indonesia and Philippines, doubts the Vale/Inco strike will end anytime soon, news of a possible purchase of Ravensthorpe, and renewed interest by the fund markets. Lot of money rolling into nickel's future, and investors are betting this bodes well for pricing. Meanwhile, the fly in the punch bowl, continues to be the known levels of nickel inventory, and the great unknown levels of stored nickel, primarily in China. Lot of estimates being made by analysts on just how much physical nickel could potentially be stored in China, but obviously no one really knows for sure. The Baltic Dry Index jumped by triple digits again overnight, and is now up 462 points in the last seven trading sessions. Considering past bull attempts came in short bursts after a period of the market stalling, whether the BDI numbers these days are skewed or not, this turnaround is seen as positive to the world economy and could - could potentially signify some renewed buying in China as they prepare to return to business after a week long holiday. In US jobless claims figures released today, the number of people claiming jobless benefits in the week ending September 19th, was 9.36 million, down from 9.42 million the previous week. US Dow is less than 200 points shy of 10,000.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Krakatau Steel to Build New Factory - more
  • Paul Krugman: In Trade, ‘It’s Not the Great Depression — It’s Worse’ - more
  • U.S. housing hasn't bottomed: Roubini - more
  • An interview with Alan Greenspan - more

  Mitsui optimistic for metal demand outlook in 2010  - Mitsui Bussan Commodities (MBC) is "cautiously optimistic" for industrial metals demand in 2010, as global economies react to government stimulus measures and strategic Chinese purchases drive growth. - more

  • DJ Mitsui Bussan Sees Recovery In Metals Demand In 2010 - The outlook for metals demand in 2010 is improving as global economies react to the coordinated impact of government stimuli, according Thursday to Mitsui Bussan Commodities. - more

  China pays 77pc more for iron ore after failed talks - Chinese steel makers paid an average 77 per cent more than their competitors for iron ore during the September quarter, due to failed contract negotiations. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.28/lb , with all base metals solidly in the green. The US Dollar is trading 1/2 of 1% lower against the Euro, boosting commodity trading. NYMEX crude oil futures are trading nearly 1% higher and over $70/barrel. Gold is on fire, up nearly 1% and at a record high of $1055/ounce. Silver is also up 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher without China, which remains on national holiday. European markets are higher this morning, while futures imply a solidly higher opening for Wall Street, after aluminum giant Alcoa announced a surprise return to profit for the third quarter. Nickel inventories hit yet another record high last night,  while the BDI saw its second day of triple digit gains.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Copper finished lower on Wednesday, but the rest of the metals tacked on modest gains in very quiet trading, as Chinese investors wrap up their week-long break and drift back to the markets. However, next week many traders will be in London for the LME dinner, and we therefore expect the same thin market conditions to persist, likely leading to exaggerated moves. We did see something of a decoupling between metals and crude yesterday, with the latter falling sharply on yet another bearish set of inventory data out of the EIA. Also yesterday, the dollar recovered some of the lost ground it gave up on Tuesday, but we are weaker as of this writing, (currently at 1.4770 against the Euro). As a result, we are seeing strong gains across the metals board today, and in addition to the weaker dollar, a better tone to international equities is also helping. In particular, investors are cheering Alcoa's announcement out yesterday that it made an unexpected third-quarter profit, benefiting from higher aluminum prices and aggressive cost cutting. ... Nickel is at $19,350, up $700, and if we manage to close above $18,700 today, we could see an eventual move into the low $20,000 range."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Mitsui Bussan tips nickel prices to average $16,466/ton in 2010, around 14% below current levels with stainless steel production still lagging 2007, 2008 levels. "Until global annual stainless steel production breaks 7.5 million metric tons per quarter on a consistent basis, the nickel market is destined to be subject to the vagaries of the restocking cycle and strategic decisions to cut supply and/or build inventories." Estimates 120,000 tons of nickel held in inventory in China, "not least by powerful private investors - those of Wenzhou city who have around $26 billion in investment funds are believed to hold significant quantities of nickel."
  • (Yieh) China's major stainless mills, Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Tisco) and Baosteel will plan to cut stainless steel production due to facility maintenance in the fourth quarter. On the other hand, China’s nickel stocks have been surplus at the moment. It’s said that nickel stocks in China of August 31, 2009 were 139,000 tons and China is planning to run full production capacity to increase nickel output.
  • (Yieh) Japan imported 12,000 tons of stainless steel products in August, which is 10 percent higher than that in last August.
  • For young people, recession offers deals of a lifetime - more
  • Commodities Spike Starting a Long-Term Bull Market: Expert - more

  Dingxin, Bintangdelapan set up nickel joint venture - Stainless steel producer Dingxin Group of China and nickel mining company PT. Bintangdelapan Mineral of Indonesia have agreed to form a joint venture company in Central Sulawesi to mine and process nickel. - more

  • Mining to attract $6b: BKPM - Indonesia’s mining sector could expect investment of up to US$6 billion in the 2010-2012 period, in part because of a greater degree of certainty following the enactment of the mining law, the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) says. - more
  • Sulawesi Mining to Build Factory for Smelting Nickel - Company of PT Sulawesi Mining Investment will build a factory for smelting nickel in Central Sulawesi next year. - more

  Analysis -Restarts may bode ill for nickel, aluminium - Miners and smelters of some industrial metals may have been too hasty restarting capacity in response to higher prices and tentative signs that the worst of the global economic crisis is behind us. - more

  Innovative Diaphragm Coating For Sensor Resists Highly Abrasive Nickel Ore Slurry - Highly abrasive nickel ore slurry flow at a Canadian Xstrata nickel ore processing mill caused serious erosion of metallic diaphragms in pressure transmitters -- even when retrofitted with a protective rubber pad. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • Partial Resumption Of Operations At Sudbury / Canada Causes To Weaken Nickel Price = Vale Inco, To Operate Again Part Of Facilities From This Week - Vale Inco resumes from this week to operate part of facilities at the Sudbury Division in Ontario Province of Canada. Vale Inco already performed a preliminary operation for 48 hours in last week. The top executive of Vale, the parent company of Vale Inco, suggested in August this preliminary operation and the matter to resume partial operation of facilities is moving to be materialized. - more
  • Company vows to 'break the cycle'  - Vale Inco Ltd. officials are determined to restructure the company so it can break out of the boom-and-bust cycle and succeed regardless of the price of nickel per pound. - 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, October 7

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 105 to 2,546. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) GM Says Talks to Sell Its Hummer Brand to China's Tengzhong Are `On Track' //  Walters, Only Economist to Tip Australian Rate Rise, Convinced a Month Ago // Sony Can't `Breathe'; Samsung Profit Surges as Yen Strengthens Versus Won // Gold at Record to `Ruin' Festive Jewelry Demand in India, Top Maker Say // Asian Stocks Gain on Commodity Prices; Newcrest Advances on Record Gold // Europe's Economy Shrank More Than Estimated in Second Quarter on Exports // RBS Faced Risk of Full Seizure by Brown at 2008 Crisis Climax, Gieve Says // Stocks Drop in Europe for First Time in Three Days; Sainsbury, Metro Fall // Gold Buyers Can't Believe Wall Street Inflation Outlook at $1,045 an Ounce // Mortgage Applications Index Rose 16% Last Week to Highest Level Since May // Wall Street Overhaul May Not Get Past Congress This Year, FDIC's Bair Says // Recession in U.S. May Erase Previous Expansion's Jobs, Goldman Sachs Says // Family Dollar Profit Rises 13% as Customers Seek Low Prices Amid Recession // U.S. Stocks Fall as Homebuilders Drop on Tax-Credit Concern; Exxon Slides
  • The US Dollar continues to trade higher against the Euro, up by 1/3 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude is down 2-1/3% and nearing the $69/barrel threshold as gasoline inventories climb more than expected. Gold is up 1/10 of 1% and above $1040/ounce, while silver is 8/10 of 1% higher. Base metals ended the day mixed, with nickel coming out the main gainer. Indicator charts show nickel spiked on short covering early, with the rest of the session spent in a slow downward slide. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.46/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses rose to a new record high for 2009, and well over the 121,000 tonne level. Worth noting that nickel did not succumb to the Dollar's strength today, and except for some positive remarks from Anglo yesterday, who is trying to get investors interested in its Barro Alto nickel project, the market really had no news to guide it today. Inventory numbers were pessimistic and disregarded, once again proving the market is more interested in what it hopes will come true, over what reality states is true at the moment. And while the bulls will argue, that means speculation is towering over market fundamentals these days. The Baltic Dry Index rose by 105 points to 2,546. Asian buyers were in the news today, with reports that China's Jinchuan is looking at BHP's mothballed Ravensthorpe nickel operation, and South Korea's POSCO is looking at Thailand stainless steel producer Thainox.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Market Indicator - Hindenburg Moon - (article translated from German here)
  • 2008: A Lean but Expensive Year - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.08/lb higher, with other base metals mostly higher, but only slightly. The US Dollar is trading higher against the Euro at the moment, up 1/4 of 1%.  NYMEX crude futures are 1/3 of 1% higher and over $71/barrel. Gold is down 1/10 of 1% but still above $1040/ounce, while silver is down 1/10 of 1% also. In overnight trading, without Chinese markets which remain closed for a national holiday, Asian markets ended higher. European markets are lower in trading this morning, while US futures imply an uncertain opening for Wall Street. Inventories of nickel rose to a new record high overnight, while the BDI  saw a double digit increase.

  Reports

  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Metals Fundamental Report - pdf here
  • Morning Montra - pdf here
  • Metals & Energy - pdf here
  • Market Drivers - pdf here
  • Commodity Outlook - pdf here
  • PMPA Material Impacts - pdf here
  • Presentation Current situation and forecast on Chinese nickel industry”- pdf here
  • Presentation on Nickel Pig Iron in China. - pdf here
  • World Steel Statistics Monthly Commentary - more

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals caught fire yesterday, as a slumping US dollar ignited the commodity complex, although crude oil put in a more subdued performance, finishing with only a modest gain. However, gold hits new highs, and US equities fed off the strength in commodities by closing higher for a third straight day. The dollar weakened after a surprise interest rate hike by Australia yesterday, and erroneous, but nevertheless damaging talk of Gulf producers pricing oil away from the dollar. Although the greenback did recover some ground later in the session, it hardly was enough to dent the advance in metals. We are off to a much quieter start this morning in the US, as the dollar is struggling again, (now at 1.4720 against the Euro) although it has yet to reach the lows it got to yesterday. .... Nickel is at $18,369, up $239, and quiet. Charts continue to point to a sideways trading range. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) The gross domestic product of the 16 countries that use the euro shrank 0.2% between April and the end of June on the quarter. Economists weren't expecting a revision to the figure, which previously showed a 0.1% quarterly drop in the second quarter.
  • (SSY) Japan’s crude imports fell 13.5% y-o-y in August to average 3.58m b/d, as imports fell from all Mideast suppliers except two, reports Energy Intelligence
  • Indonesia may seek new partner for Antam-RUSAL jv - more
  • U.K. Production Slumps to 1992 Levels - more
  • Federal Pre-emption of State Anti-Predatory Lending Laws Led to More Mortgage Defaults - more
  • Forget gas, batteries — pee is new power source - more
  • Risks of Reverse Mortgages - more

  POSCO in talks with Thainox to buy -co source - South Korean steel maker POSCO is in talks to buy Thainox Stainless PCL, the largest stainless steel producer in Thailand, but nothing has been decided yet, a company source said. - more

  Jinchuan Appoints Advisors for Ravensthorpe Bid, Review Says - China’s Jinchuan Group Ltd. may have appointed Gresham Partners and Sino Resources Capital as advisers for a possible bid for BHP Billiton Ltd.’s Ravensthorpe nickel operation, the Australian Financial Review said. - more

  Japan to Explore for Nickel and Platinum in Botswana  - Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp., a government agency helping resource companies, signed a contract with Australia’s Discovery Metals Ltd. to jointly explore for platinum and nickel in Botswana as demand increases. - more

  Philippines - Sumitomo Metal Mining to Donate ¥10 Million for Typhoon Ondoy Relief Efforts - The Philippine Embassy in Tokyo received a pledge from Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd (SMM) for a ¥10 million (approximately P5 million) donation as humanitarian assistance for those severely affected by Typhoon Ondoy in the Philippines. - more

  Average Prices Of LME Nickel In September 2009 Fell To Level Of US$7.9 Per Lb. = Being Influenced by Weakened Ex. Rate Of US$, Once Fell To US$16,600 / Ton, Stocks Approached 120,000 Tons - The average prices of LME nickel in September of 2009 were known as US$17,473.18 per ton (US$7.926 per lb.) for cash and US$17,517.73 per ton (US$7.946 per lb.) for three-month futures. After having continued to rise LME nickel prices for the successive 5 months, these nickel prices had at last turned to fall. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Vale Inco VP says mining giant remains committed to Sudbury, Ont. community - Vale Inco Ltd. officials say they are determined to restructure the company so it can break out of the boom-and-bust cycle and succeed regardless of the price of nickel. - 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

Tuesday, October 6

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 79 to 2,441. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Australia's RBA Unexpectedly Raises Interest Rates, Signals More to Come // Yen's Strength Reflects Japan's Economic Prospects, IMF Deputy Kato Says // Sony's Chubachi Says Yen May Further Strengthen, Sapping Japan's Exporters // Asian Stocks Rise as U.S. Services Report Fuels Economic Growth Optimism // U.K. Manufacturing Output Unexpectedly Slumps to Lowest Level in 17 Years // HSBC Chairman Green Says Worst of Slump Is Over, World `Back From Abyss' // European Stocks Climb; BHP Billiton, Credit Agricole, SocGen, Dexia Gain // Obama Weighs Spending, Tax Cuts to Stem Job Losses Without Second Stimulus // Fed's Dudley Signals Concern About Risks of Slower Increase in U.S. Prices // Stocks Extend Global Rally After Australia's Rate Increase; Gold Advances
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, up by around 6/10 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude is up nearly 1-7/10 of 1% and over $71.50/barrel. Gold is up over 2% and in record high territory, but off earlier high's. Silver is up nearly 4%. Base metals ended the day solidly higher on the Dollar's continuing weakness. Indicator charts show nickel roared out fo the chute early, calmed during much of the afternoon, before climbing before the close. The best the bears could do was slow the advancement. Dow Jones reports three month nickel $8.22/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell slightly overnight, while the Baltic Dry Index took a nice bounce, up 79 points. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). Australia set the tone for the trading day around the world by unexpectedly raising interest rates. With China shut down for a national holiday, the economic news from around the world had been mixed over the last few days, but this news gave the bulls a jolt of energy. The Dow was seeing well over a 100 point gain at update time, and in our opinion, bullish investors are trying very hard to get the Dow to the 10,000 threshold, before they even want to think about a serious correction. In weather news, the Philippines appears to be in the path of yet another Typhoon, while another is heading toward Japan.(graph) Have not heard how this rash of typhoons might be tieing up laterite nickel mining or shipments in that country, but typically production and shipments are reduced or curtailed entirely during the rainy period.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Anglo American PLC head of nickel, Walter De Simoni - "The nickel market is forecast to benefit from strong demand fundamentals over the medium to long term, though demand will follow the pronounced stainless steel cycle."

  Century Peak to put up P7-B smelting facility - Having just listed by way of introduction on the Philippine Stock Exchange on Tuesday, mining firm Century Peak Metals Holdings Corp. is wasting no time in bringing operations up to speed as it expects to start the construction of its P7-billion smelting plant soon. - more

  Strike at Canadian nickel mine enters its 12th week - After months of unresolved bargaining a strike began on July 13th at the Sudbury mine in northern Ontario, Canada, after employers Vale Inco refused to alter its original demands for concessions. - more

  US Steel Buyer Sentiment Inching Up - With small signs of a slight recovery in the economy, sentiment from steel buyers in the US is increasing ever so slightly, according to the Institute for Supply Management's September steel buyers survey. - more

  Fastener Distributors - if you sell or have customers that buy steel fasteners, do yourself and them a favor and read this. This will be the single biggest event that has happened to the fastener industry since the Fastener Quality Act of the last century.

  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 solidly higher on a weak Dollar and surprise interest rate hike in Australia. The US Dollar is trading 1/2 of 1% lower against the Euro this morning. NYMEX crude futures are up 1-1/2% and nearing $71.50/barrel. Gold continues to climb, up over 1% and nearing $1030/ounce. Silver is up over 2-1/2%. In overnight trading, with China markets still closed for holiday, Asian markets ended higher. European markets are higher this morning, with futures showing Wall Street could open much higher.  Nickel inventories fell by a trace amount overnight, while the BDI number has yet to be reported. 
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals ended mixed on Monday, with copper, nickel, and tin eking out modest gains, while the rest of the complex struggled before finishing lower. Copper seemed to capitalize on a technical short-covering bounce, a weaker dollar, and a constructive US report on services. In the latter case, it was reported that service activity in September expanded for the first time since August 2008, with good upticks also noted in sector employment.
  • (Dow Jones) DJ Russia Jan-Aug Nickel Exports 7% Down On Year
  • We are off to a firmer start this morning, but there is little behind the advance other than the dollar, which has crumbled to the 1.4730 against the Euro on reports that Gulf Arab states are considering pricing oil in a currency other than the greenback. Although the story was denied almost immediately, it nevertheless hit the dollar hard, resulting in the current advance we are seeing in both metals and crude..... Nickel is at $17,975, up $425, and fairly quiet today. Charts continue to point to a sideways trading range." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Although China is on national holiday now with no transactions on the steel market, stainless steel traders or distributors have cut the price again. Chinese stainless steel price enjoyed a soar after the second and third quarter while suffered a plummet at the end of the third quarter.
  • Mr. Sylvain Bintein , DG Environment, European Commission, Brussels, made a presentation on The EU Approach to Nickel Classification and its Consequences. - pdf here
  • World Bank’s Lin on Why China Stimulus Is More Effective - more
  • Commodities priced in financial recovery -Goldman - more
  • Capesize oversupply a disaster waiting to happen - more

  AK Steel Announces November 2009 Surcharges for Electrical and Stainless Steels - AK Steel has advised its customers that a $210 per ton surcharge will be added to invoices for electrical steel products shipped in November 2009. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 30th September 2009 = Steeply Strengthened Ex. Rate Of Yen Is Causing To Fill With Weak Tone, Fallen Domestic Prices In China - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 30th September of 2009 is as follows  - more

  New Source of Stainless Steel for Global Market -- Taiwan Leading Manufacturer - Yuen Chang Steel Materials Co., Ltd. is a reliable Taiwan stainless steel manufacturer with expertise of manufacturing stainless steel sheets, stainless steel plate, stainless steel coil, stainless steel 304, and stainless steel strip. - more

  Courtesy AISI - "In the week ending October 3, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,415,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 59.3 percent. Production was 1,850,000 tons in the week ending October 3, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 77.5 percent. The current week production represents a 23.6 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending October 3, 2009 is up 1.7 percent from the previous week ending September 26, 2009 when production was 1,392,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 58.3 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, October 5

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 5 to 2,362. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Roubini Says Stocks, Commodities Have Risen `Too Much, Too Soon, Too Fast' // Dollar Falls Versus Euro as G-7 Leaders Refrain From Criticizing Weakness // Fujii Says He May `Take Action' on Yen as G-7 Seeks Currency `Stability' // Indonesia's Central Bank Keeps Rate Unchanged as Inflation Risks Increase // Asian Stocks Decline as Roubini, U.S. Data Stoke Economic Growth Concerns // European Manufacturing, Services Industries Grew in September, PMI Shows // Banks in Europe Need to Raise $78 Billion in Capital, JPMorgan Estimates // ArcelorMittal Ready to Look at Alternative Sites for Steel Mills in India // Stocks in Europe Rise for First Time in Four Days; Telenor, Iberia Advance // Greenspan Opposes New Stimulus Even as Jobless Rate Forecast to Reach 10% // Commodity Swaps Abroad Would Come Under U.S. Regulator in Frank's Measure // U.S. Service Industries Expand for First Time in a Year as Recovery Widens // Stiglitz Says Markets Are `Irrationally Exuberant' About Economic Recovery // Frank Urges Using $2 Billion Repaid to TARP on Foreclosure Aid for Jobless  
  • The US Dollar continues to trade lower against the Euro, down 1/2 of 1%. NYMEX crude is down 1.2%. Gold is up 1/4% while silver is nearly 2% higher. Base metals ended the session mixed with most ending slightly lower. Indicator charts show nickel jumped early, stabilized for much of the day before getting a late afternoon bounce, which was still going into after hours trading. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.96/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose to yet another record high over the weekend, and now sit well over the 121,000 tonne level. Sucden finally updated its day old nickel trading chart  showing with the up's and down's, nickel remains rangebound. (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index may see its positive run come to an end this week, up only 5 points to 2,362. US markets are higher as investors gamble upcoming earnings reports will prove favorable after a year of serious cost cutting measures, and economic stabilization in many quarters..

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Goldman Sachs' chief commodity analyst Jeffrey Currie  - "The story in commodities is very predicated on a global recovery."
  • Analyst Leon Westgate of Standard Bank - In the absence of any real fundamental drivers at the moment, base metal warehouse activity will remain an important signal for clues regarding the state of the underlying markets.
  • (MMR) A fire at the Middleton (Ohio) Works of AK Steel Corp. Friday was caused by an apparent failure of a tuyere on the blast furnace.
  • (SG) Proactive Investor reported that the exclusivity period agreed with Sydney based Direct Nickel Private Limited in connection with assessing the possible joint development of Regency’s Mambare nickel cobalt project in Papua New Guinea has been extended indefinitely by mutual agreement.
  • Roubini Interview on Markets, Global Economy - more
  • 3 more bank failures bring U.S. tally to 98 in 2009 - more
  • Wealthiest Americans Rebounding - more

  Base metals seen strongest amongst commodities - Metals markets are set for a short-term retracement before a recovery led by copper, zinc and lead, Four Elements, a boutique hedge fund based in Singapore, said this week. - more

  Government to consider chromite export applications - Government will soon consider applications from new players in the exportation of chromite in an effort to meet the overwhelming demand for the mineral, a Cabinet minister has said. - more

  Canadian Arrow prepares to drill nickel projects - Canadian Arrow Mines Limited having recently completed a $1.83M financing is pleased to provide an update on the exploration programs planned on its nickel-copper properties located in northwestern Ontario. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.05/lb higher, with other base metals quiet and mixed. The US Dollar is trading over 1/5 of 1% lower against the Euro this morning, after G-7 leaders took no measures over the weekend to strengthen it. NYMEX crude futures are down over 1% this morning and hovering over the $69/barrel level. Gold is over 1/10 of 1% higher, while silver is up over 4/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower on US data, with China markets still closed. European markets are higher this morning, while futures imply a stronger opening for Wall Street. Inventories of LME stored nickel soared to a new record high over the weekend, while the BDI's bull bump appears to be in trouble, up only 5.    

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Copper prices hit two-month lows on Friday, this time sinking on dismal US September nonfarm payroll numbers that continue to reflect deteriorating conditions in the labor markets. The latest data showed employers cutting a deeper-than-expected 263,000 jobs in September, lifting the unemployment rate to a 26-year high of 9.8%. An absence of Chinese activity also contributed to the light conditions seen in the metals markets, meaning that little was needed in terms of order flow to push prices towards any particular direction.
  • We are off to a very quiet start as of this writing, with none of the metals doing particularly much. Oil markets are lower, weighed down by negative fundamentals and a noticeable easing in some of the geopolitical tensions emanating from both Iran and Nigeria. The weaker dollar is providing some support to metals, as it weakened slightly after the G-7 finance ministers, (meeting in Istanbul), omitted any mention of the currency’s weakness in its final communiqué. Also helping the Euro slightly, (now at 1.4620 against the dollar), was a continental manufacturing and services industries report showing activity expanding more than initially expected in September. ... Nickel is at $17,300, up $15, and very quiet today, with only a $300 trading range in place. Charts show little in terms of direction; the recent downchannel in place since mid-August seems to be giving way to a sideways trading range." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Due to the depreciation of the nickel price, Taiwan's Yieh United Steel Corp. and Tang Eng have cut their export price for 300 series stainless steel products for the first half of October, causing Taiwan’s stainless steel price level to continue to slide. Nevertheless, it still hasn’t attracted buyers as they have adopted a wait-and-see attitude. Meanwhile, China’s stainless steel market is currently facing an oversupply problem as well as plunging prices.
  • Three Government Reports Point to Fiscal Doomsday - more
  • Roubini Says Stocks Have Risen ‘Too Much, Too Soon, Too Fast’ - more
  • Commodities speculation to hurt recovery - France - more

  Merafe Says 4th-Quarter Ferrochrome Prices Rise 16%  - Merafe Resources Ltd., a producer of ferrochrome in a South African joint venture with Xstrata Plc, said European ferrochrome prices rose 16 percent this quarter. - more

  Reducing Production Of Stainless Steel Is Causing To Increase Nickel Stocks In China = Imports In August Decreased To Half Of That In July, Nickel Stocks Are Viewed To Reach 140,000 Tons - It was known that, for the purpose of implementing maintenance for facilities in October - December quarter, two major stainless steel companies in China (Taiyuan Iron & Steel and Baoshan Group) are entering into the structure to reduce their production of stainless steel. - more

  Chinese firm injects $2.7m into Heron - Heron Resources says the first tranche of a project joint venture deal with Ningbo Shanshan has been completed, with the Chinese entity injecting $2.7 million into the West Perth-based explorer. - more

  Guatemala: killings linked to Canadian mineral interest? - Two Qeqchi Maya leaders were shot and killed and over a dozen wounded this week near the site of a shuttered nickel mine in Guatemala. - more

  Asian Average Carbon Steel Prices - Latest Forecasts From Meps.- Asian Average Hot Rolled Coil transaction value increased by approximately $US10 per tonne in September 2009. - 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, October 2

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 73 to 2,357. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Japan Jobless Rate Unexpectedly Falls From Record, Consumer Spending Rises // Toyota Is `Grasping for Salvation' Ahead of Record Loss, President Says // Asian Stocks Fall to One-Month Low on Growth Concerns; BHP, Panasonic Drop  // G-7 Finance Ministers Push for `Strong Dollar' Before Meeting in Istanbul // U.K. House Prices Increased for Fifth Month in September, Nationwide Says // European Stocks Decline for Third Day on U.S. Jobs; Xstrata, Repsol Fall  // Banks With 20% Unpaid Loans at 18-Year High as Doubts Over Recovery Deepen // Stiglitz Deflation Threat Pushes Bernanke to Keep Rates at Zero Next Year // Job Losses Point to Slower U.S. Recovery as Unemployment Climbs to 9.8% // U.S. Stocks Drop as Jobless Report, Factory Orders Spur Recovery Concern
  • The US Dollar has weakened in today's trading, and is now trading 1/3 of 1% lower against the Euro. NYMEX cruse is down 2-1/4%. Gold is up 2/10 of 1% as traders attempt to hold onto the $1000/ounce level, and silver is off 1-1/4%. Except for tin, base metals prices took a hit for a second day.  Indicator charts show nickel slipped much of the morning, tried to make a run out of the cellar in early afternoon, but by the trading end, was unable to do so. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $7.84/lb . Inventories of nickel store din LME approved warehouses slipped a little overnight, and rests just shy of 121,000 tonnes. The Baltic Dry Index rose for a third consecutive day, up a respectable 73 points. AK Steel announced surcharges for November, which are lower than October's (graph here, only AK has posted Nov #'s). Another day of dismal economic recovery news. The Commerce Department reported new factory orders fell 0.8% in August. They also revised last weeks report on orders for durable goods, stating they decreased 2.6% in August, not the previously reported 2.4%. And the Labor Department reported nonfarm payrolls fell by a greater-than-expected 263,000 in September, driving the unemployment rate to a 26-year high of 9.8%. Guy LeBas, of Janney Montgomery Scott commented on the report "The slight retreat in weekly hours from 33.1 to 33.0 is a bit troubling, as it shows a lack of “pre-hiring” activity. Particularly as the current recovery remains somewhat shaky, we expect many firms will prefer lower risk ways of ramping up production, including using under-employed workers to take up slack before hiring new ones. Such a trend should in theory be evident in the weekly hours numbers some months before it shows through in actual payroll gains, but we’re seeing no evidence of an improvement in employee capacity utilization, if you will." Nigel Gault, of IHS Global Insight, commented "The leading indicators in the report were not promising. The workweek fell, and is now back at its June low. And temporary help jobs — while declining only fractionally — still haven’t moved into positive territory. There was nothing to support the view that the economy will be adding jobs before the end of the year. And nothing to support the view that the consumer can sustain the spending increases that we saw in August — employment and hours worked were down, and hourly earnings only inched higher, implying that wage and salary incomes fell." Later to the Wall Street Journal Nogel added “Today tells us employment’s going down, hours worked are down, incomes are falling — so how can we sustain robust growth in consumer spending in that environment? The consumer doesn’t have to lead the expansion, but the consumer has got to be part of it.” And a big congratulations goes to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, who will be hosting the 2016 Olympics, the first time a South American country has won the honor to host an Olympic game.
  • Have a safe and restful weekend! 

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (AAR) The Association of American Railroads today reported 271,659 carloads for the week ending Sept. 26, 2009, down 17.1 percent compared with the same week in 2008. The traffic numbers were affected by severe flooding in Tennessee and Georgia which halted freight shipments in those areas from Sept. 21-23. Flooding also impacted the western freight carriers who operate through Atlanta. At this time, freight rail operations have returned to normal. Regionally, carloadings were down 15.5 percent in the West and 19.3 percent in the East.
  • (SM) According to the American Forest & Paper Association’s August 2009 Printing-Writing Paper Report, total printing-writing paper shipments decreased 10.9% in August compared to August 2008. For the year to date, shipments were down 20.2% – all four grades recorded the lowest year to date decline when compared to 2008 for the second consecutive month.

  AK Steel Announces November 2009 Surcharges for Electrical and Stainless Steels - AK Steel has advised its customers that a $210 per ton surcharge will be added to invoices for electrical steel products shipped in November 2009. - more

  Russian non-ferrous exports seen down until 2012 - Russian non-ferrous metals exports are likely to keep declining in the next two years due to a fall in demand caused by the global economic crisis, the Economy Ministry said in a report. - more

  Xstrata must clarify Anglo bid plans by October 20 - The UK takeover panel executive has announced that Xstrata must by October 20 either announce a "firm intention" to make an offer for Anglo American or say its doesn't intend to make an offer, Anglo said on Friday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.01/lb lower but very quiet, as are most of the base metals. The US Dollar is trading only slightly higher against the Euro at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are down 1-1/2% and back below $70/barrel.  Gold is down 3/4 of 1% while silver is off over 1-1/2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower with China markets closed. European markets are markedly lower this morning, and futures imply Wall Street will open in another bad mood today. Nickel inventories dropped slightly overnight, and the BDI has yet to report.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters report here - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals ended sharply lower yesterday, practically giving up most of the prior day’s gains, as a stronger dollar and plunging US equity markets, (the biggest decline in three months), took a toll on the complex. In addition, the metal bulls ran into disappointing US macro data on Thursday, as both ISM manufacturing readings and weekly initial claims numbers came in weaker than expected. Surprisingly, the dollar strengthened on these reports, and although it failed to push crude oil prices lower, it did punish base metals and gold.  ... As of this writing, metals are down again in quiet trading. Just how quiet, is illustrated by a Reuters story that picked up on the fact that now that the Chinese markets are closed, Asian trading volume stood at 242 lots at one point in the day vs. the usual turnover of 2,000 lots. Participants are likely to move towards the sidelines elsewhere as well ahead of the key US nonfarm payrolls number, expected to decline by 175,000 jobs. We expect the figure to disappoint somewhat, aggravating the current weakness we are seeing. ... Nickel is at $17,200, down $225, and holding up fairly well in quiet conditions." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) U.S. preliminary August steel imports were down 13.2% from the previous month, to a seasonally adjusted level of 0,775.2 thousand metric tons, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced.
  • (Yieh) Chinese nickel stock is predicted to increase as stainless steel mills will continue slashing their outputs due to weak market. It’s reported that nickel stocks in China’s market in late August has reached 139,000 tons which is able to supply the entire China for 141 days, and nickel stocks is predicted to rise if mills keep cutting their production.
  • (Yieh) Russian government announced to impose a 28.1 percent of import tax rate on stainless steel pipe with OD 426mm for 3 years. This action is believed to have great impact on steel pipes from Brazil, China and Taiwan in the future.
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s Yieh Hsing Enterprise has announced to cut its stainless steel wire rod domestic prices by NT$3,000/ton for October. The company said it will remain its price unchanged for carbon steel wire rod.
  • (MB) The fourth-quarter charge chrome contract price between South African producers and European steelmakers has settled at $1.03 per lb
  • (JOC) The Cass Freight Index for shipments grew 2.8 percent from August to September, the fourth month-to-month increase in the last five months, and the 10.6 percent decline compared to September last year was the smallest year-over-year drop since May 2008.
  • Samoa journalist keeps dreadful diary - "A Day I'll Never Forget" - more

Basic Tone To Fall Domestic Prices Of Ferro-Alloys In China Is Strengthening = Having Felt Repugnance For Fallen Prices Of Steel Products, Market Has Turned To Weaken - Domestic prices of ferro-alloys in China have weakened. From the beginning of September, domestic prices of main ferro-alloys in China have continued to fall. - more

  Industrial commodities set to rise next year - Renewed demand from major buyers to fuel consumption of metals such as copper, aluminium, lead and steel. Industrial commodities may rise in 2010 on renewed demand from major consuming nations, as the resurgence in economic activity is likely to fuel all-round consumption. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • China bent on flexing muscle in iron ore price talks - China will kick off its next round of iron ore price talks hoping finally to extract some advantage from its position as the world's top steel consumer by squeezing a better deal out of reluctant iron ore miners. - more
  • Rio's Stern Hu in 'good spirits': Crean - Detained Australian Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu is in "good spirits" despite being held by Chinese authorities for almost three months, the federal government said. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • 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, October 1

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 64 to 2,284. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) IMF Raises 2010 Global Forecast to 3.1% From 2.5% as Asia Leads Recovery // India's Export Decline Eases, Manufacturing Expands as Economy Recovers  // Asian Stocks Fall as Tankan Survey Fuels Growth Concern; Advantest Slumps // RBS, Lloyds Send `Shocking' $4.5 Billion to Plug Irish Real-Estate Losses // Cisco Systems Agrees to Buy Norway's Tandberg for About $3 Billion in Cash // European Unemployment Rises to 9.6%, Highest Level in More Than a Decade // European Stocks Fall After Steepest Quarterly Rally in 10 Years; BAE Drops // Lewis Resigns After Betting Bank of America on America When America Broke // Initial Jobless Claims Rose More-Than-Forecast 17,000 to 551,000 Last Week // U.S. Consumer Spending Jumps Most in Almost Eight Years in Recovery Sign // Manufacturing Growth in U.S. Is Less Than Estimated; Jobless Claims Climb // Ford, Nissan U.S. Vehicle Sales Declined After `Cash for Clunkers' Ended // Stocks in U.S. Slide on Manufacturing, Jobless Reports; Caterpillar Falls
  • The US Dollar continues to trade around 2/3 of 1% higher against the Euro. NYMEX crude is off 1-1/4%. Gold is down 2/3 of 1% and flirting with the $1000/ounce level again, while silver is off 1%. Base metals all ended lower on the strength of the Dollar today, as new quarterly fund money investment failed to materialize. Indicator charts show nickel did exactly the opposite of yesterday's gradual climb, instead, slowly falling throughout the day. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.90/lb , and remains within trendline's. Inventories of nickel stored in approved LME warehouses rose to nearly 121,000 tonnes overnight, setting a new record for the year. Considering all the inventory of nickel that is reportedly being physically held by investors in China, this number should be concerning to investors, although it apparently isn't. The Baltic Dry Index made an impressive move upwards, adding 64 points to 2,284. World markets are in a foul mood today after US reports came out that painted a less than rosy recovery picture. Chief among these was the Institute for Supply Management report showing a monthly drop in its index(we track 4 PMI indexes here). While the US manufacturing sector continues to grow, its second month of growth slowed in September. The Labor Department reported first-time jobless claims rose 17,000 to 551,000 the week ending Sept 26th, and the prior estimated drop in the prior week was lessened. The number of Americans receiving state jobless benefits fell 70,000 to 6.09 million in the week ending Sept. 19th, which was the sole good news in the report. The National Association of Realtors reported its pending-home-sales index rose 6.4%, its highest level in two years. And the disposable income numbers from the Commerce Department report this morning is causing concern among traders. It looks to be a rough start to October, at least for day one.

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • RBS - "We expect price progress in 2010 and into 2011 to be much more modest than its excellent performance in 2009 to date."
  • (AFGM) South Africa - The local steel manufacturing sector is looking increasingly red-faced after the Competition Commission's announcement yesterday it had discovered evidence of collusion in the mining roof bolts market.
  • Commodities: Which do well in the fourth quarter? - more
  • (GT) India successfully launched seven satellites including six from foreign countries on Wednesday, officials said, underlining the country's ambitions in the space business.
  • Q&A: Shiller Sees 5 Years of Stagnant Home Prices - more
  • Tumble in State Tax Revenue Has Broad Implications - more
  • Post-Recession Employment Arithmetic - more
  • China’s 60th anniversary : Live - more

  DMCI selling port in Zambales nickel mine - After suspending its nickel operations last July, Consunji-led DMCI Holdings, Inc. is selling its port in Zambales, leaving analysts to speculate that the conglomerate might soon exit nickel mining. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.09/lb lower, with all base metals trading lower this first day of the final quarter of 2009. The US Dollar is trading 2/3 of 1% higher against the Euro, putting pressure on commodities. NYMEX crude futures are down 1-1/3% and remain under $70/barrel. Gold is off 1/2 of 1% but remains above $1000/ounce, while silver is lower by the same. In overnight trading, Asian markets were lower, with China markets closed for a national holiday. European markets are lower this morning, while US futures imply a lower opening for Wall Street. Inventories of nickel soared again overnight, while the BDI took a nice jump upwards. The Commerce Department has just reported consumer spending on durable goods rose 5.3% in August, thanks to the cash for clunkers program. Personal incomes edged higher by 0.2%, while disposable incomes fell 0.2%.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - We had an extremely impressive rally in the metal markets on Wednesday, as participants looked past the uneven fundamentals and focused instead on a sharply weaker dollar, which lost almost a full Euro over the course of the day. Trading conditions were exaggerated further by relatively thin volume and likely end-of-the-quarter position taking by hedge funds. Despite yesterday's move, it is important to note that we are still mired on the bottom or in the middle of broad-based trading range in most of the metals, so yesterday’s advance is certainly not breaking any fresh technical ground. In fact, moves of this magnitude are sometimes followed by equally sharp corrections, and so we would not be surprised to see some of yesterday's gains rolled back over the course of the week. One factor that is a negative so far this morning is the dollar, which has been extremely jumpy of late, and now trading at 1.4560, higher on the day. We find its recent stability rather puzzling in light of its poor fundamentals and a noticeable worsening in the tone of the latest US macro data. To wit, yesterday’s September Chicago PMI came out at 46.1, much lower than the expected 52, with the index now back in contraction mode. The September ADP employment report also disappointed, coming in at -254,000 vs. the -200,000 expected, pointing to continued weakness in the labor markets. Moreover, there was little relief from weekly initial claims data out in the last half an hour. On the plus side, final revisions to Q2 GDP came in at -.7% vs. an expected -1.2%, perhaps a precursor of a decent bounce that is widely expected to set in for Q3. ... Nickel is at $17,750, down $145. We still would like to see a close above $18,000 to turn friendlier.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Russian miner OAO Norilsk Nickel is considering a revamp of its overseas assets, which may result in some asset sales and further acquisitions outside Russia, Chief Executive Vladimir Strzhalkovsky said Wednesday.
  • (SSY) The world export price for HRB steel fell by $1/t from a month earlier to the current level of $545/t, down by $6/t from the year-to-date high of $551/t set two weeks ago, according to the latest SteelBenchmarker issued by World Steel Dynamics. Meanwhile, HRB prices in the EU and China have declined to $416/t (-27% m-o-m) and $415/t (-10% m-o-m) respectively. However, the US HRB price has risen by 9% from a month ago to a year-to-date high of $616/t.
  • (MB) Glencore International has signed an offtake deal with Queensland Nickel, the operator of the Yabulu nickel and cobalt refinery in Queensland
  • (JMB) Sumitomo Metals Naoetsu Raises Stainless Shape by 15%
  • (SG) China Knowledge reported that Taiwan based Formosa Plastics Group will build a stainless steel mill in Vietnam. The steel mill will have a capacity of 2 million tonnes.
  • Happy Fiscal New Year - Remembering 2009 By The Numbers - more
  • What's Our Real Economic Condition? - more
  • Poll: Majority of Americans Have Personal Connection to Recession - more

  Vale Says Sudbury to Resume Nickel Production Today Amid Strike - Vale SA, the world’s second-biggest nickel producer, said it will restart partial production today at Sudbury, its largest nickel unit in Canada, amid a strike. - more

  Asia's Cautious Stainless Market Sentiment; Chinese Foundation Anniversary Nearing - A cautious sentiment is predominating in Asia's stainless steel market conditions at a time when China's 60th Anniversary of its Foundation and the subsequent consecutive holidays are drawing near. - more

  Recent killings linked to Canadian-owned nickel mine in Guatemala - Two Qeqchi leaders were shot and killed and over a dozen wounded this week near the site of a shuttered nickel mine in Guatemala. - more (please be aware that while we are critical of the mining industry's history in Guatemala and doubt this mine will ever re-open, the author of this article is extremely biased in her reporting of this mine)  

  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

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