This page is archived news covering the period from September 1, 2006 to September 30, 2006.
If you are looking for current daily market news, please visit this page.

Up to date information on worldwide nickel market pricing, stainless steel prices and metals market trends, analysis, and forecasts

Stainless Steel & Metals News.

Daily Nickel Market Prices

September 2006

(Nickel prices are followed here daily as they are responsible for up to 60% of the cost of stainless steel)
(Molybdenum prices are for molybdenum oxide, an ingredient and major price factor in 316 stainless)

(all ton listings are metric tons = 2204.6 pounds - what we use to determine closing - see bottom of page)

9-29

And finally, something to help start the weekend. If you've been living under a rock, or haven't got a teenager in the house, you may not have seen this short video. According to the Wall Street Journal, the display made by these 101 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke and 523 Mentos, rivals that of the Las Vegas Bellagio. Turn on the sound and enjoy here   Have a safe weekend!
*    LME nickel ended the day, week, month and quarter at $13.35/lb ($29,395/tonne)
*    Deutsche Bank forecast a cash nickel average of $10.36/lb in 2006, 26 % higher than its previous forecast.
*    In an Sept 22nd article in Platts Metals Daily Comex Report, and printed in a Sucden report, Derek Benham explained to the Recycling Industries Nickel Stainless Roundtable last week, why he feels fund speculation has driven LME nickel prices so high. While he makes a good argument, there is one section in particular worth quoting. "Benham also argued that there was no shortage of physical nickel on the US and European markets, adding that when customer have wanted nickel, they had been able to buy it. But he said that if nickel demand remained as strong in 2007 and continued rising, then nickel prices next year could make "the prices of 2006 look like child's play".
*    Point to Ponder - "The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent." - John Maynard Keynes (1883 - 1946)
*    Radio New Zealand - "The New Caledonian Kanak Rheebu Nuu group says it plans a peaceful rally in Noumea tomorrow to show its disapproval with the Goro Nickel project."
*    Yieh reports China’s Taiyuan Iron and Steel (Tisco) has become the world's largest stainless steel producer.
*    Merafe forecasts ferrochrome price to stay at $ .74/lb for fourth quarter of 2006.
*    Today is the last day of the quarter... look for funds to make last minute minor changes to their portfolios - doubtful market will make significant move in either direction.
*    Yesterday's official closing - $14.10/lb - 3 month buyer - $13.20/lb
*    LME nickel inventory today - minus 102 tons = 5,460 tons

9-28

Aluminum was the big gainer on the LME today, up over 3%. Nickel gained and ended the day at $13.14/lb ($28,950/tonne).
*    Radio New Zealand reports Goro operations have been reduced as CSTNC union begins 5th day of a general strike. CSTNC leader Sylvain Nea has demanded that all Filipino employees working on the Goro project be sent home, which the President of the territorial government, Marie Noelle Themereau, has refused, stating such a move would not only jeopardize the construction of the Goro project, but any future mine at Koniambo. Koniambo is now an Xstrata project, and Xstrata has asked the New Caledonia government for time to review its future plans.
*    Article - Nickel and its dramatic effect on stainless steel fasteners here
*    Yieh reports Taiwan stainless steel wire rod producer Yieh Hsing raised price on stainless steel  wire rod effective October 1.
*    Article - High nickel prices unconstructive for producers-Norilsk here
*    Yesterday's official closing - cash - $14.13/lb - 3 month buyer - $12.93/lb
*    LME nickel inventory today - plus 390 tons = 5,562 tons

9-27

LME nickel ended the day up at $12.89/lb ($28,400/tonne)
*    Article - The changing face of commodities here
*    As expected, Voisey's Bay union votes to accept Inco's latest offer, ending a strike that began July 28th.
*    High nickel prices not only making mining company CEO's look good, but they also pay better. Charles 'Chip' Goodyear, CEO of the world's largest miner BHP, was paid $6.5 million for the fiscal year ending in June, up 33% from the prior year, according to a blurb in The Citizen.
*    Update on New Caledonia strike against Inco's Goro project here
*    Yieh reports Taiwan's stainless mills Yusco and Tang Eng have raised prices on all stainless steel product, effective October 1.
*    Nickel way up in early morning trading
*    Yesterday's official closing - cash - $13.82/lb - 3 month buyer - $12.73/lb
*    LME nickel inventory - minus 552 tons = 5,172 tons

9-26

LME nickel ended the day at $12.55/lb ($27,650/tonne)
*    International Stainless Steel Forum (IFFI) "announced that world stainless crude steel production in the first six months of 2006 stood at 13.9 million metric tons (mmt). This is 6.5% higher than for the same period of 2005. All regions have contributed to this strong growth." Press release here
*    China's statistics chief Qiu Xiaohua told a Hong Kong newspaper The Standard yesterday, he thinks the government will not take any further steps this year to cool down China's economy. 
*    Article - Mining boom will slow down: forecaster here
*    Voisey's Bay union to vote and ratify a new contract today. 
*    Australia's ABARE predicts nickel prices will average $9.98/lb this year, and $8.58/lb in 2007.
*    Indonesian nickel producer PT Aneka Tambang has revised its expected production of nickel for the year down to 14,500-15,000 metric tons due to a problem with its #3 smelter. The mine began the year with a 19,000 tonne annual goal.
*    So, who is the world's largest exporter nation? China, Japan, the United States? Nope, it's Germany. But even the Germans admit, they won't be holding that spot for much longer. An organization that represents 3.5 million German companies, DIHK, reports that China could overtake Germany within 18 months. 
*    Yesterday's official closing - cash - $13.29/lb - 3 month buyer - $12.32/lb
*    Today's LME nickel inventory - minus 312 tons = 5,724 tons

9-25

Even with the news of an agreement being reached at Voisey's Bay, the price of nickel ended the day at $12.66/lb.
*    Article - Tough times for commodity bulls, but they should hold on here
*    Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines announces nickel production fell by 5% (285 tonnes) in the first 7 months of this year, compared to last. Usually, this small of an amount would mean very little to the world market, but with inventories so low, this was not taken well by traders today.
*    CVRD extends Inco takeover offer till October 16
*    Just when you thought the bears had completely taken over the media, a bull says not yet here
*    Australian Bureau of Resource and Agricultural Economics lowers its forecast for mineral exports, saying the "runaway commodities boom is coming off its peak". It predicts nickel consumption will slip from an expected 7% growth this year, to 3% next year. report here (pdf)- nickel section page 533
*    Tally Metals raises surcharge on nickel to $.38/lb effective October 1. Tally is a subsidiary of Carpenter Technology.
*    Inco board recommends shareholders accept CVRD's offer, which was originally set to expire Thursday. The offer still has not received EU regulatory, or Canadian government approval.  
*    Reuters reports Inco and the USW representing Voisey's Bay workers reached a tentative agreement on Saturday. The agreement still has to be ratified by the 120 members, with a vote tentatively scheduled for tomorrow.
*    Friday's official closing - cash - $13.82/lb - 3 month buyer - $12.79/lb
*    LME nickel inventory today - plus 6 tons = 6,036 tons

9-22

And finally two articles - First "What's Really Propping Up the Economy" by Business Week here  And the last article might be good to know, when you read the next one here Isn't that just special!?  For all you fellow "none" billionaires, have a nice weekend!
All metals were up early, but profit taking took most metals to slightly below levels they began the day with. LME nickel ended the day and week at $12.55/lb ($27,650/tonne)
*    Purchasing Magazine - Commodity-price spikes may be over here
*    Eramet says 2006 nickel supply/demand to be in balance here
*    Three reasons why Stephen Roach is bearish on commodities here
*    Financial Times - Commodities report here
*    Yesterday's official closing - cash - $13.09/lb - 3 month buyer - $12.34/lb
*    LME nickel inventories today - minus 48 tons = 6,030 tons

9-21

LME nickel ended the day at $12.41/lb ($27,350/tonne)
*    Fed left interest rates alone, as expected, and their statement revealed nothing new. Nickel trading will be more affected by inventory and Inco's lowered production forecast yesterday, than anything Bernanke said yesterday.
*    USW representative Ken Dawson tells Reuters they are in the second day of exploratory talks with Inco, in reference to the Voisey's Bay strike.
*    Analysts say Inco's announcement of its expectation of record breaking profits for the third quarter, were released in the hopes of an attracting a 'white knight' to make an opposing bid against CVRD, who has an unsolicited offer pending. CVRD's offer expires in a week.
*    New disclaimer added, thanks to this article here
*    World Bureau of Metal Statistics state global nickel market experienced a 51,000-metric-ton deficit during January thru July of this year. In July, world production stood at 102,600 tons and demand was 115,900 tons.
*    Yesterday's official closing - cash - $12.61/lb - 3 month buyer - $11.91/lb
*    LME nickel inventories - minus 312 tons = 6,078 tons

9-20

After falling as low as $11.82/lb, nickel traded on the London Metal Exchange ended the day at $12.23/lb ($26,955/tonne). Tomorrow we will witness the effects of what we call the "Bernanke Bump" - market swing will be heavily dependent on what he says later today
*    Inco reports strike at Voisey's Bay has effected its production of copper, but so far, not nickel.
*    Favorite places - See how your local gas prices compare nationally here and for our Canadian readers here
*    Experts predict Federal Reserve will leave interest rates alone when it meets today.
*    Inco forecast a higher than earlier expected return for its third quarter, estimating net earnings will be between $610 and $630 million. If true, this would exceed third quarter 2005 earnings by triple. Inco also announced due to production problems at its Manitoba, Indonesian and Ontario operations, its estimated nickel production for this period will be about 17,000 tonnes less than earlier forecast.
*    Yesterday's official closing - cash - $12.89/lb - 3 month buyer - $12.24/lb
*    LME nickel inventories - plus 240 tons = 6,390 tons

9-19

Media seems to be controlled by the bears, but the bulls apparently still control the market - LME nickel ended the day at $12.41/lb ($27,350/tonne)
*    Sucden is reporting the New Caledonia activist group, Rheebu Nuu, is calling for demonstrations against Inco's Goro mine on 9/24 with a general strike called for 9/25.
*    Commodities super-cycle under way, says Merrill here
*    The Coming Industrial Metals Downturn here
*    Platts reports the president of the German Steel Federation told a CRU World Stainless Steel Conference yesterday, that the compound annual growth of crude stainless steel production was 6.18% from 1990 thru 2005, and he predicted it would slow to 5.56% a year thru 2010. Source
*    Chicken Little's Got It Wrong here (quote from editorial - "Funds managers might have found better places to go and play but that does not mean China suddenly needs less oil or iron ore or copper or coal or nickel or zinc.")
*    MiningMX.com reports "Merrill Lynch analyst David Hall sees commodity prices strengthening in the next couple of months on rebounding Chinese demand, strike fears and northern hemisphere demand. In the longer term, the super-cycle will be fuelled by the urbanization and industrialization of China and India."
*    Australia's Allegiance Mining NL, in a letter to shareholders, stated continued industrial growth in China and India will drive nickel prices and because of a lack of exploration and new mines, prices will remain above average for some time. They also stated it takes a typical mine 8 to 10 years to begin producing nickel after discovery. 
*    Universal Stainless follows Carpenters announcement yesterday and raises nickel surcharge from $.30/lb to $.38/lb effective October 1.
*    Yesterday's official closing - cash - $12.43/lb - 3 month buyer - $11.93/lb
*    LME nickel inventories - minus 288 tons = 6,150 tons

9-18

It was fairly quiet on the London Metal Exchange early today, and while traders were for the most part in a holding pattern, some late bargain hunting drove prices higher to end the day at $12.06/lb ($26,600/tonne)
*    All eyes on Voisey's Bay union and Inco talks, scheduled to resume tomorrow
*    World economy off the boil but commodities still solid buys here
*    Stephen Roach on China and the Commodities Cyclical Bear Case here
*    Commodities Fad Could Soon Fade here
*    What's Behind the Meltdown in the Commodities Market here (nickel has not seen any signs of a  meltdown yet - this is just fyi)
*    In an unusual move, The Daily Yomiuri reports Tetsuhiro Hosono, director general of Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, during a visit to Beijing today, "demanded" that China cut its steel production capacity.
*    Carpenter Technology announces nickel surcharge increase for its metals from $.30/lb to $.38/lb effective October 1.
*    Friday's official closing - cash - $13.22/lb - 3 month buyer - $12.59/lb
*    LME nickel inventories - minus 270 tons = 6,438 tons

9-15

Someone apparently thinks the bears have a point and nickel took a 6% drop today. It ended the week at $11.57/lb ($25,500/tonne) Will the slide continue? Tune in next week for another exciting episode of "As The Nickel Turns". Have a nice weekend!
*    More news from the bears here
*    Yesterday's official closing - cash - $13.81/lb - 3 month buyer - $13.14/lb
*    LME nickel inventories - minus 102 tons = 6,708 tons

9-14

LME nickel ended the day down at $12.72/lb ($28,050/tonne)
*    Norilsk says more mergers coming here
*    More mergers to come in Sudbury's future, or wishful thinking? here
*    Rio Tinto forecasts molybdenum price to stay high here
*    The commodity bears make their case here
*    One week after forecasting metals prices could fall by 60% over the next 5 years, International Monetary Fund forecasts the global economy will expand 5.1% this year and 4.9% in 2007
*    Inco and USW agree to resume negotiations over Voisey's Bay strike
*    Yesterday's official closing - cash - $14.24/lb - 3 month buyer - $13.29/lb (backwardation back to $.95/lb)
*    LME nickel inventories today - minus 108 tons = 6,810 tons

9-13

LME nickel ends the day at $13.18/lb ($29,050/tonne)
*    And finally, for the nut and bolts readers among you, the age old question of "how many astronauts does it take to unscrew a bolt" has finally been answered. It takes 3 here
*    Bloomberg advises yesterday's rise in LME nickel price was the biggest one day gain since December 2004.
*    The Commodity Correction is Here? -  Daily Wealth says not so fast here
*    Australia Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) reports Australian nickel mine production fell 10% during the 2005-06 fiscal year, ending in June, compared to the 2004-05 year. Refined nickel class 2 fell 30% during the same period. Report here
*    Ferrochrome in over-supply? here
*    Investing in molybdenum? Here's how and also info on where the market looks to be going here  Moly is a key ingredient in 316 stainless steel
*    Anger brewing in Canada over the loss of Inco and Falconbridge here
*    Yesterday's official closing - cash - $13.83/lb - 3 month buyer - $12.93/lb
*    LME nickel inventories - minus 72 tons = 6.918 tons

9-12

Nickel ended up - way up for the day, ending at $13.29/lb ($29,290/tonne)
*    Japan's largest stainless producer, Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Corp, announced a 11-1/2% price increase for September shipments. Bloomberg reports prices have risen 58% so far this year.
*    Newfoundland government offers mediation for Voisey's Bay strike, while labour minister announces striker mine workers deserve wages equitable to Sudbury, Ontario workers. This forces Inco's hand and puts them on the defensive.
*    Russia reports it exported 5.7% more nickel in first 6 months of 2006, compared to the same period last year
*    Yieh reports stainless scrap has doubled in price over last 3 months in Taiwan
*    Analysts split over what will come next  - example here
*    Yesterday's official closing - cash - $13.29/lb - 3 month buyer - $12.57/lb
*    LME nickel inventories - minus 42 tons = 6,990 tons (only 4,638 open)

9-11

LME nickel ends the day at $12.48/lb ($27,500/tonne)
*    Lot of US economic data to be released this week. Market will be paying attention, more so than in recent months.
*    United Steelworkers delegation from Canada representing Inco miners, heads to Brazil to confer with trade union leaders currently working for CVRD.
*    Not exactly sure why Canadians are down on Teck CEO Lindsay, but he defends himself in this article here
*    Friday's official closing - cash - $13.69/lb - 3 month buyer - $12.81/lb
*    LME nickel inventories - minus 18 tons = 7,032 tons
*    Never forgotten.

9-8

Monday marks the 5th anniversary of the attack on the NYC Trade Towers. If you have the opportunity, I recommend the documentary airing on CBS Sunday night, called 911. I leave you this week with a short 5 minute video posted on Youtube - the final few moments of one man's life, told in his own words that day. Video May the weekend be a safe one, for all those who call this little planet home.
Nickel continued its retreat, ending the week at $12.68/lb. ($27,950/tonne)
*    Barclays analyst Phil Roberts tells Platts, that if nickel fell below its 21 day average (it did today), we may see nickel trading as low as $10.44/lb or $23,000/tonne soon. here
*    Allegheny Ludlum raises surcharge price of 304 stainless from $1.0952/lb to $1.2571/lb for October
*    MiningMX - Merrill Lynch raised its nickel price forecasts saying the supply of the metal would fail to match demand for the next five years, Bloomberg News reported. (nothing further is given - will post forecast when confirmed)
*    Yesterday's official closing - $13.70/lb - 3 month buyer - $12.92/lb
*    LME nickel inventories today - plus 378 tons = 7,050 tons

9-7

LME nickel ended flat today, closing at $12.90/lb ($28,440/tonne)
*    Purchasing Magazine publishes article titled "Nickel forecast to crash in '07" here (commentary - The company's forecast upon which this article is based on, is a much different prediction than this same company made on May 9th, but closer to one that one of their counterparts made that same day. As a consumer of stainless steel, I sincerely hope they are right, but based on the record of many of the professional metals forecasters during the last few years, I take it with a grain of salt. To make my point, see the next entry)
*    
FN Arena News - "Metal prices - The Song Remains the Same" here
*    Korea Resource Corp announces it has teamed up with Inco to explore for nickel in Inari, Finland region
*    Universal Stainless announces 3% increase in its base price, effective Sept 11.
*    International Monetary Fund warns metals prices could fall by 60% over next 5 years. The report was published in a chapter of its World Economic Outlook entitled, "The Boom in Commodity Prices — Can it Last?", due to be released next week. In the report, the authors noted that "as a whole", metals prices had surged 180% in real terms since 2002. Report is here (pdf)
*    Blue Pearl Mining forecasts molybdenum prices to average $20/lb in 2007 and $15/lb in 2008.
*    Yesterday's official closing - cash - $13.59/lb - 3 month buyer - $12.79/lb. (backwardation spread down to $.80/lb)
*    LME nickel inventories today - plus 312 tons = 6,672 tons

9-6

LME nickel ended the day at $12.89/lb ($28,400/tonne). Falling oil prices may be attracting new fund interest.
*    European regulators to decide on CVRD takeover of Inco by October 5th.
*    For the non-traders among us, while prices remain incredibly high, and inventories are critically low, there is a positive sign in the trading picture, that could "potentially" hint that the worst may be over, at least in the short term. The backwardation "spread" is growing smaller. In a balanced market, 3 month prices would be selling at a little higher than cash prices, to cover storage fees. Right now, the cash premium is higher than 3 month. But if you will notice the difference between yesterday and Monday's official closing, while 3 month cost moved up a little, the cash premium fell, thus the "spread" is growing less. The spread over these two days has fallen from a $1.41/lb difference to $.90/lb. Back on August 22nd, the date of the most recent record high, the spread was $2.30/lb. I wouldn't make any long term plans based on this, but it makes the next few weeks worth watching.       
*    Yesterday's official closing - cash - $13.95/lb - 3 month buyer - $13.05/lb
*    LME nickel inventories today - plus 474 tons = 6,360 tons

9-5

LME nickel ended the day up, but not as bullish as other metals - ended the day at $12.66/lb ($27,900/tonne)
*    My worthless prediction - Inco really has no reason not to settle the Voisey's Bay strike - payroll obligations will be CVRD's problem soon.
*    www.phelpsdodgeinco.com closed.
*    Inco and Phelps Dodge have terminated their agreement, and Inco will pay Phelps $125 million dollar break up fee today, with another $350 million dollars owed if Inco shareholders accept another offer within 1 year. This leaves CVRD's cash offer as the lone remaining takeover offer for Inco. Phelps Dodge seemed to lose interest within days after making its original offer for Inco and Falconbridge, when Xstrata increased its hostile offer for Falconbridge. (thanks Blair)
*    Yesterday's official closing - cash - $14.38/lb - 3 month buyer - $12.79/lb
*    LME nickel inventories today - plus 342 tons = 5,886 tons

9-4

LME nickel ended the day down to $12.52/lb ($27,600/tonne)
*    August 30 letter from Ben Bernanke to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby - chance of economic crisis in China "very low". ...little "evidence of widespread overheating. Inflation is still quite low" ... source Reuters
*    Yieh reports South Korean steelmakers raise stainless steel prices to new record high 
*    Yieh reports international ferrochrome prices are increasing due to tight supplies in Russia
*    Friday's official closing - cash - $14.63/lb - 3 month buyer - $13.06/lb
*    LME nickel inventories today - plus 186 tons = 5,544 tons

9-1

LME nickel ended the day at $12.93/lb ($28,500/tonne)
*    CVRD reports it has received clearance from Canadian and US regulatory agencies for its offer of Inco. Only European regulators are left.
*    Yieh reports South Korea’s BNG Steel has raised their cold rolled stainless steel prices effective today.
*    Escondida copper strike ends
*    Yesterday' official closing - cash - $14.27/lb - 3 month buyer - $12.55/lb
*    LME nickel inventories today - plus 186 tons = 5,358 tons

All prices, unless marked official closing prices, are indications only of LME traded prices. LME does not allow their actual prices and closing prices to be published until the next trading day.
The author states that no one has any real idea what's going to happen in the future, and hereby declares that any prediction or forecast made on, or linked to, from this blog, is merely a wildly unsupported speculation (source)

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Nickel charts do not reflect official prices

Nickel Graph Temporarily Down

1 and 5 year nickel chart


Molybdenum - $26.25/lb


Dow Jones (delayed)

Numerous Metals/Mining Charts


Nickel
(average annual price)

2001 $2.70/lb
2002 $3.07/lb
2003 $4.37/lb
2004 $6.28/lb
2005 $6.69/lb

Molybdenum
(average annual price)

2001 $2.36/lb
2002 $3.59/lb
2003 $5.21/lb
2004 $15.92/lb
2005 $32.51/lb

Ferrochrome
(average annual price)

2002 $ .30/lb
2003 $ .47/lb
2004 $ .68/lb
2005 $ .73/lb


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