This page is archived news covering the period of September 2008
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Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices

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


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

Tuesday, September 30

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 287 to 3,217. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines and leaders from today - (MarketWatch) U.S. home prices down 16.3% in past year, Case-Shiller says (Reuters) The Conference Board's U.S. consumer confidence index rose to 59.8 in September from 58.5 in August, the private business research group reported on Tuesday. (CNN)  Russian stock exchanges suspended trading for several hours Tuesday after shares plummeted soon after markets opened. (MarketWatch) Monday's market plunge may have been the worst point drop ever for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, but in percentage terms it came nowhere close. It dropped 7% on Monday, or just one-third as much as the 22.6% decline in the 1987 crash.(MarketWatch) The U.S. dollar rallied against most major currencies Tuesday, as mounting woes in the European banking sector battered the euro, while the greenback was boosted by hopes that the proposed $700 billion rescue package for the U.S. financial sector may be passed soon in some form.
  • After being told for nearly a week, that a bail-out was absolutely necessary to keep the US out of depression-like conditions, markets were floored yesterday, when Congress rejected the plan. The Dow took a dive and over $1.3 trillion dollars in value was lost before dusk. World markets had seemingly already traded the prior evening in anticipation of just such an event, and while mostly down, did not take quite the hit Wall Street did in overnight trading. The Dow is rebounding today, as bargain hunters snap up what they hope will be good deals. The US dollar is trading nearly 2% higher against the Euro today, as traders bet the US Congress has no choice but to pass something, and more European banks show their own problems. Oil is trading higher, by nearly 3-1/2%, after falling $10/barrel yesterday. Metals ended mixed today, with precious trading lower, with base ended mostly lower. Indicator charts show nickel traded in an approximate $600/tonne range today, but never showed signs of breaking into the green. While Sucden's day old chart (here) show the market opened with very low RSI and SStoch reading's, implying the market is seriously oversold, the dollar's gain and fundamentals weighed heavy, and took the price of nickel lower. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.19/lb . Ed Meir from MF Global, in his daily report, shows support for nickel at $15,500/tonne ($7.03/lb), while Sucden's Nimit Khamar started the day with $16,450/tonne and $15,800/tonne as his support limits. The $16,450 support collapsed early in today's trading, and while the early trading drop in price may have pierced the $15,800/tonne support line, it held for the rest of the day. Nickel inventories gained again overnight, and have now gone over the 56,000 tonne level. The Baltic Dry Index, on the other hand, continues to slump. The world is suffering from a plague of pessimistic fear, and until stability and trust return, the coming days will probably prove no different than the last. And thus ends September trading, with nickel beginning this month's trading at $9.15/lb.    

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • What's Brewing Between China, Vale, and the Baltic Dry Index - more
  • When it comes to oil, gold and base metals, probably the best advice on offer is not to do anything until we see how this turmoil plays out over the week. - more
  • China's slowdown in economy takes toll on global prices of commodities - more
  • Why American Banks Are Insolvent...Or Maybe Not - more

  India's iron ore exports are set to fall by as much as a third in the year to March due to poor global demand, and overseas sales will be at a lower average price, a senior mines ministry official said on Tuesday. - more

  World market prices for ferrochromium decreased. According to Metal Pages, average spot price of low-carbon ferrochromium (content of chrome 65 %), and high-carbon ferrochromium (on the basis of 60 % of chrome) in the market of Europe for the last month has decreased. - more

  Mining honeymoon may be over - Australia's mining boom is looking vulnerable now the US Government's $US700 billion financial rescue package has been struck down, analysts warn. - more

  China's Shagang Ends Bid For Brazil Ore Co Namisa - Report - A Chinese consortium led by steelmaker Shagang has abandoned its attempt to buy Brazilian iron ore miner Nacional Minerios, the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper reported Tuesday.  - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.15/lb lower . Meals are quiet and mixed this morning, while crude oil is trading about a buck a barrel higher. US dollar is trading higher against the Euro. World markets reacted to yesterday's Congressional rejection of the economic bail-out plan (chart here), although European markets rebounded off session lows. Many analysts expect the Dow to get a bounce today, after yesterday's historic drop. Eyes remain on Washington DC, and it looks to potentially be a quiet day with Congress unable to take any further definitive action until Thursday at the earliest, according to press reports.    
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Nickel Drops to 2 1/2 Year Low on Outlook for Slowing Demand - Nickel slumped to the lowest in two and a half years on speculation slowing global economies will further cut demand, after the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a $700 billion plan to rescue the financial system. - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Monday, September 29th, will be remembered as one of the more memorable days in the annals of trading history, as we saw a record one-day point drop in the US stock market (wiping out a staggering one trillion dollars), and the second sharpest decline in crude oil prices. Base metals also took a severe beating, with copper sinking to nine-month lows, although gold managed to finish higher, benefitting from its status as a safe haven in times of upheaval.  ... We may be seeing signs of such a turnaround in today’s trading. Stock markets around the world have reversed course and are now higher, with equities in the US also called up at the time of this writing. The dollar is a tad stronger this morning against the Euro, but not doing as much damage as it did yesterday to commodities. Energy is up by about $1.5, while base metals are mixed. Once again, all eyes will be on Washington, where talk now is that another measure and/or vote could be taken up by tomorrow. Against this dismal backdrop, the outlook for base metals does not look promising going forward. ... We are currently at $16,200, down $200/MT. We sank to just above our support level of $15,500 on an intraday basis earlier today (to $15,588), but have since bounced back. Still, the complex looks weak, weighed own by a weakening stainless sector. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Angel Commodities - The base metals pack is expected to trade on a volatile note as the US Dollar is showing strength. Since the markets are currently digesting the implications of the bailout, base metals could remain under pressure. On the macroeconomic front, the US is expected to announce data on Chicago PMI and Consumer Confidence today. Consumer confidence is expected to decline in times of financial turmoil and even Chicago PME is expected to fall. Base metals may not receive cues from this data as overall economic scenario is gloomy.
  • Economists say the next president will face a slow-growth economy teetering toward recession, according to 527 buyers polled by Purchasing magazine. - more
  • Commodities prices were on Monday heading for their biggest quarterly drop in more than 50 years on concerns that the US economic slowdown is hitting China, the world’s engine of raw materials demand. - more

  Since nickel and stainless steel prices have dropped a lot in Taiwan’s domestic market, Taiwan’s Ta Chen International, Inc. said that they can only wish that the stainless steel market will have the chance to revive in the first quarter of 2009. - more

  "Base metals prices (especially zinc and nickel) have lost considerable ground in recent months and are expected to move irregularly lower over the next several years alongside slower global growth and new mine development," Scotiabank economist Patricia Mohr predicted Monday. - more

  The head of China's leading steel company says the Chinese economy and steel industry are both "heading for a downward slide", as hopes fade that China can insulate Australia's resource-dependent economy from the widening global downturn. - more

  • China's massive steel industry is expected to rebound next year as a feverish pace of construction returns, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd executive director Graeme Rowley says. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending September 27, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 1,986,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 83.2 percent. Production was 2,047,000 tons in the week ending September 27, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 86.5 percent. The current week production represents a 3.0 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending September 27, 2008 is down 2.1 percent from the previous week ending September 20, 2008 when production was 2,027,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 85.0 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Sep 30 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Monday, September 29

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 242 to 3,504. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines and leaders - (Reuters) -  World stocks set for biggest 1-day loss in 20 yrs (see world chart here) (Reuters) "The Commerce Department said consumer spending was flat in August after barely edging up by a revised 0.1 percent in July, a much weaker outcome than forecast by Wall Street economists surveyed by Reuters who had expected spending to rise 0.2 percent." (Reuters) Central banks around the world on Monday unveiled a coordinated effort to pump massive amounts of cash into the global banking system in a bid to restore confidence shaken by the credit crisis. (MarketWatch) Dow industrials down 300-plus points (Globe and Mail) Bad credit card debt will hit in early 2009 (article here) (MarketWatch) Vote nears on federal bailout (Ours) Chicken Little Mauled in Exit Stampede of Bulls
  • Except for gold, the metals complex sold lower today. Dollar was trading about a percent higher at update time, while oil was selling under $100/ barrel and down around 7-1/2%. Indicator charts show nickel spent most of the day in a quiet slide, until late when it dipped hard. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.44/lb . The US House is debating the government bail-out plan today and it is expected to pass later today, then it will head to the Senate. The longer this plan takes to get thru Congress, the more time the market has to think about its ramifications, and the more the resistance grows. World markets appear to be gripped by fear, and in some cases, out right panic, and some are now stating this bailout is a band-aid for a severed artery. In other world news, China markets are closed this week for a national holiday. Taiwan is cleaning up from a Typhoon that kept their markets closed today. In the US, screen legend Paul Newman died at 83 and Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, on their fourth attempt, got a rocket into orbit (here). Pirates from Somali picked the wrong boat to hijack over the weekend. Apparently they boarded a ship carrying 33 Russian made T-72 tanks, destined to Kenya from Russia, and have demanded a $20 million dollar ransom. The U.S. Navy has them encircled, and Russia, reportedly, has a war ship on the way. Whoops!

  Reports

  • Canada Commodity Price update - pdf here
  • TD Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Standard Bank analyst Leon Westgate - "The global economy is looking ropey...In the short term, with the month and quarter ending, investors are trying to shore up balance sheets and given poor liquidity, cash is being favored"
  • Daniel Brebner, global head of commodities at UBS  - "It's de-leveraging, risk aversion, fund selling, economic growth concerns...All of these clearly reflect a tremendous amount of negative sentiment, negative momentum."
  • (CNW) - After seven consecutive record highs, Scotiabank's Commodity Price Index, which measures price trends in 32 of Canada's major exports, dropped by 8.9 per cent month-over-month in August. However, the All Items Index was still 33.9 per cent above a year ago and remains above a year earlier in September, despite further slippage this month.
  • September 2008 Guinness Atkinson Asia Brief - pdf here
  • Commodities prices were heading for their biggest quarterly drop in more than 50 years on concerns that the US economic slowdown, is hitting China, the world’s engine of raw materials demand. - more

 The Cuban nickel industry is still operating at below capacity more than three weeks after taking a direct hit from Hurricane Ike, according to local media from the nickel region of eastern Holguin province. - more

  Finnish miner Talvivaara reiterated on Monday that output at its Sotkamo nickel mine in northern Finland would begin next month. - more

  VALE do Rio Doce, the world's biggest iron ore producer, says it has almost no stockpiles of the steelmaking raw material at its ports, signalling possible delays in shipments. - more

  The head of China's leading steel company says the Chinese economy and steel industry are both "heading for a downward slide", as hopes fade that China can insulate Australia's resource-dependent economy from the widening global downturn. - more

  Indian iron ore exporters on Monday warned that demand from steel mills in China had fallen sharply over the past month and that Chinese buyers were defaulting on contracts with suppliers. - more

  Global Steel Price Down by 10% Since July  - In the US, underlying demand from the manufacturing and building industries is weak. Customers started to hold back from placing orders in August, expecting transaction prices to erode. - more

  Norilsk Nickel’s conflict between its two biggest shareholders – Interros of Vladimir Potanin and Rusal of Oleg Deripaska - continued to dominant headlines in Russia. - more

  Will the Ontario Government Strengthen or Hold Back the Province’s Booming Mining Sector - by Gregory Reynolds - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around  $.12/lb lower. Another day, and another 1200+ tonne gain in LME warehouse inventories. BDI continues to slide, down another 242 points. Dollar is trading over a percent higher against the Euro, while oil is trading nearly 5% lower. The metals complex is lower across the board.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Copper, Nickel Falls in London on Speculation Growth Will Slow - Copper fell, wiping out this year's gain, and nickel dropped for a third day on speculation economies worldwide will slow and curb demand for industrial metals.  - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metal prices finished sharply lower on Friday, as commodity markets hunkered down in face of the relentless pressures generated by the credit crisis. Congress went into the weekend feverishly working on the details of a bailout plan, and as of this writing, the preliminary outlines of a package seem to be taking shape and will likely be voted on later today. ... Much will be written about the plan in the days ahead, but we will try to maintain our focus on the price impact expected on both commodities and currencies. To start, we suspect that trading will remain extremely volatile in the days ahead, but suggest that the dollar should strengthen over the next few weeks, as the markets digest the implications of the bailout. This may be a surprising conclusion, as on the surface, an increase in one’s deficit should be construed as bearish for the currency. However, since the dollar is the world’s reserve currency, the markets will cut it some slack, especially under the current circumstances, where without the US economy lubricated by free-flowing credit, many foreign economies and credit markets themselves will seize up. The dollar’s upward move, therefore, could come on the heels of a “relief rally” as opposed to a sell-off that would be typically more justified under “normal” circumstances. This is what seems to be happening so far today-- the dollar is sharply higher against the Euro, and as a result is pounding a variety of commodities, from energy to metals. Not helping matters much either, is the fact that just as the US seems to be putting out its various fires, new ones are beginning to test the Europeans (and the Euro). Thus far, the response in Europe has been more "ad-hoc" in nature as opposed to the centralized coordinated assault we are seeing in the US.... Although the jury is still out as to whether the bailout package will work, there is much less debate about the fact that the macro stats coming out of the US and the rest of the world continue to look very bleak. That is why this week’s US numbers are important, as they will give us a better idea of how quickly the US economy is resuming its downward slide.  ..We are currently at $16,750, down $250/MT, and continue to trickle lower, as evidenced by our longer- term weekly continuation charts. There should be some mild support around current levels, ($16,700), but should this level break, we don’t see anything below it until the $15,500 mark. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • The price of iron ores imported by China fell sharply, with the plunge of ocean freight of iron ores on the global market, according to gz-metal.cn, a South China metal market information website. The freight of iron ores from Brazil to China dropped 22.422 USD/ton, or 32.6 percent from the beginning of September, and the freight of those from Western Australia fell 11.41 USD/ton, or 43 percent.
  • Angel Commodities - "Nickel prices on LME continue to drift sideways within a range of $16500 - $17500 levels Nickel, Earlier, stocks rose by 546 tonnes to 54,342 tonnes, the highest since June 1999 amid stagnant demand from the stainless steel sector."
  • (Dow Jones) The London Metal Exchange on Monday officially launched extended prompt dates for its aluminum and copper contracts out to ten years, and out to five years for its zinc, nickel and lead contracts. The exchange expects the extension will draw more participants away from the over the counter market, especially at a time of growing concerns over counterparty risk, exchange officials said at a press briefing in London.

  China's nickel consumption in 2008 is expected to decline from last year due to falling production of stainless steel with high nickel content, a senior official at an industry association said on Friday. - more

  • It is reported that the start of autumn witnessed price cuts by a list of steelmakers, including Baosteel and Shagang the top domestic steel producer and the largest private one followed by the traders' markdown in selling. - more

  The Goro Nickel company in New Caledonia has signed a landmark agreement with the Kanak population and the activist group, Rheebu Nuu.  - more

  Price Of Domestic Ni-Based Stainless Scrap Is Reduced By 30,000 / Ton In 2nd Half September = Stainless Steel Mills, In Order To Cope With Sharp Fall Of Nickel Price - more

  Macquarie Bank has announced downgrades to its metal forecasts, cutting copper's outlook by 8 per cent to $US3 a pound because it expects a more severe downturn in US and European metals demand than previously anticipated. Copper demand growth for next year may slow to 2.3 per cent from 4 per cent expected earlier, leaving the market with a 500,000 tonne surplus. - more

  • Citigroup Inc. slashed its 2009 nickel price forecast by 40 percent as new mines will open when demand from stainless steelmakers drop. - more
  • Standard & Poor's says the credit outlook in the European mining and steel sectors is becoming negative, "pressured by vulnerable prices, higher costs, and tightening liquidity." - more

  Speaking in Shanghai at the Third Baosteel Biennial Academic Conference, Clare Broadbent, Manager Life Cycle Assessment of the International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI) issued an appeal that governments need to work together with the steel industry to utilize life cycle thinking as the most effective holistic approach that considers potential impacts on the environment from all stages of manufacture, product use and end-of-life. - more

  The Bubble Metric Index (BMI) is a measure of the distance between the fantasy of money and financial reality. - more

  Reports that China will reduce or end iron ore imports from Brazil are nonsense, the chairman of the world's largest mining company said Friday. - more

  Listed Widespread Portfolios’ largest investment, Asian Mineral Resources, has suspended the development of its Ban Phuc nickel mine in Vietnam. - more

  • Tin and nickel company Stonehenge Metals has abandoned plans to acquire an 85 per cent stake in an Indonesian nickel project, deciding competing claims to the project represented an unacceptable risk to shareholders.- more

  IG Metall - the most powerful union on the Continent - has demanded a hefty 8 per cent pay increase for 3.6 million workers in the metallurgy and electronics industries. - 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 (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - Sep 29 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Friday, September 26

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 417 to 3746. (chart)  (article 1) (article 2)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines and leaders from this morning - (MarketWatch) The U.S. economy was not as strong in the second quarter as previously believed, held back by weaker spending by consumers and businesses alike, the Commerce Department reported Friday. (Reuters) Downward revisions to final U.S. second quarter GDP indicate that a recession is a foregone conclusion and interest rate cuts are imminent, says Ashraf Laidi, chief strategist at CMC Markets. " (Bloomberg) The Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment declined to 70.3, lower than forecast, after a reading of 73.1 in early September. The measure was still higher than the August reading of 63, reflecting lower gasoline prices. The gauge of sentiment averaged 85.6 in 2007. (MarketWatch) Washington Mutual customers withdrew $16.7 billion in cash from the thrift in the past nine days, a huge outflow that led to the largest bank failure in U.S. history, the institution's regulator said Friday. (RTT) France's consumer confidence indicator improved to minus 44 in September from minus 47 in July and minus 46 in June. (RTT) Friday, a preliminary report showed the German inflation slowed in September. Earlier in the day, the statistical office reported Germany's import price inflation remained stable in August at its highest level in nearly eight years on higher energy prices.
  • Much like the rest of the week, the markets appear to be on hold, waiting for something to develop in Washington, in reference to the $700 billion proposed bail-out. While it looked like a deal was a done deal yesterday afternoon, House Republican's squashed earlier agreements. President Bush held a news conference this morning and assured the markets a deal "would happen", and Wall Street is so far holding off making any major moves. Baltic Dry index slipped under the 4000 mark today, reflecting a slowdown in raw material shipments. We posted two article above with differing reasons why the BDI is dropping so hard. Oil is trading around 3% lower, while the Dollar is trading about 1/3% higher against the Euro. Sucden's day old chart reflects the lack of activity with nickel in the last few days (here), with  indicator charts showing today's activity of trading within a tight $300 tonne range, won't change the graph much. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $7.71/lb , giving back four of the five cents it went up yesterday, and ending four cents higher than last Friday.
  • Have a safe and restful weekend!

  Reports

  • Fortis Metals Monthly September 2008 - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Frank Raiter says his former employer, Standard & Poor's, placed a "For Sale'' sign on its reputation on March 20, 2001. That day, a member of an S&P executive committee ordered him, the company's top mortgage official, to grade a real estate investment he'd never reviewed. - more
  • Wall Street's five biggest firms paid more than $3 billion in the last five years to their top executives, while they presided over the packaging and sale of loans that helped bring down the investment-banking system. - more
  • (Metal First) Japan's largest stainless steel producer Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel Corp has called Samancor Chrome's demands for a 30% increase in Q3 ferrochrome prices unacceptable and is exploring other suppliers. (Q4 calendar year)
  • South Korean media reports August sales of stainless steel rose by 3.2% to 6.8058 million tons.
  • It’s the "teach a man to fish" theory of steelmaking: Buy iron ore from someone else, and you have it for a day (actually, 365 days, since iron ore is sold in year-long contracts), but buy your own mine, and you have iron ore for life. - more
  • A Workable, Private Bank Assistance Plan or Why President Bush Should Fire Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson - more

  Roger Agnelli, the chief executive of Brazilian miner Vale, said on Friday his company would be able to manage the world financial crisis and push ahead with term price negotiations with Chinese steel mills. - more

  Baosteel Group, China's top steel maker, expects its crude steel output in 2008 to rise nearly 5 percent to 30 million tonnes, the group's chairman Xu Lejiang said on Friday. - more

  Mechel has launched in Kazakhstan one of the world’s largest chromium ore facilities worth USD 250 mn and intends to build a ferrochrome plant there worth up to USD 800 mn. - more

  Outokumpu of Finland, a global leader in stainless steel, is to set up a high-tech service centre near Mumbai - billed as the first of its kind in India. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.06/lb   higher. Marketwatch 's main headline this morning "Bears sharpen their claws". Congress' inability to reach, what appeared for most of the day, to be an inevitable agreement yesterday, put many traders in an foul mood, and when news that Washington Mutual had been seized by U.S. regulators later that evening, in what will be the U.S. largest-ever bank failure, the mood went from foul to down-right ugly. World markets are mostly down (chart here). Dollar is a tad higher, oil is trading 2% lower, and metals are mixed. With the news of a BHP smelter firing back up, and news that indonesia plans to increase nickel production, nickel inventories stored in LME warehouses grew by more than 400 tonnes for the fourth day in a row. The Baltic Dry Index continues to fall, down another 417 points today.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  China's Nickel Demand Falls on Stainless Steel Output  - China's stainless steel producers, the largest in the world, will buy less nickel this year as demand for their products is weak, an industry official said. - more

  • China's crude steel output in 2008 may fall below 500 million tons dragged down by the domestic demand decline, Xu Lejiang, president of Baosteel Group Corp said last week. - more

  Nickel Falls After BHP Reopens Australian Smelter; Copper Drops - Nickel fell for a second day in London after BHP Billiton Ltd. reopened its Australian nickel smelter, adding to increasing supplies. - more

  • BHP has restarted operations at the Kalgoorlie nickel smelter in Western Australia after a major rebuild. - more

  Reports

  • AIST Industry Stats - World Crude Steel Production as of July 2008 (in thousand metric tons) - pdf here
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Metals Fundamental Report - pdf here
  • Morning Montra - pdf here
  • Metals Commentary - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - " Although equity and oil markets were up sharply yesterday in anticipation of an apparently imminent agreement on a proposed $700 billion bailout deal, metals were not swept up by their push higher. Perhaps the dismal macro numbers coming out of the US took the complex aback. In this regard, August durable goods orders-- after notching up three months of increases-- dropped by 4.5% in the latest month, much more than expected. On the housing side, the pace of new August home sales fell yet again, this time to its lowest level in 17 years. The sales number was down 11.5% from July levels, and also came in well below the consensus forecast. Surprisingly, the inventory of unsold home actually increased despite a 5.5% decline in median home prices. Stats on the labor front showed that weekly initial claims ending Sept. 20th jumped 32,000 to 493, 000, also well above the consensus. One gets the sense that economic growth is not only turning sharply lower in the US, but that is spreading globally as well, with the alarmingly tight credit conditions providing little relief. This is not necessarily a backdrop where metals -- or most other commodities-- can thrive in. ... The big news today, of course, is that yesterday’s imminent bailout deal itself seems to be “bailing out”, as apparently, there has been some last-minute opposition to the proposed terms by some Republican lawmakers. In response, the mood in the financial markets has darkened again, with stock futures giving up most of yesterday's gains, as has oil. Metals are also down slightly in sympathy, as markets wait for Washington to cobble together a package. (Also unknown at this stage, is if we are going to have a presidential debate tonight). ... We are currently at $17,118, up $43/MT, and quiet. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Base metal prices lack direction but are consolidating around their lower levels, said Barclays Capital analyst Gayle Berry. "People are uncertain, so they are sitting on their hands," Berry said, adding metals could have a "knee jerk" reaction higher if a plan is approved, but given the deteriorating global macro-growth prospects, metals will have a hard time gaining amid lower consumption rates.
  • The recent financial crisis in the US has hit sentiments in the commodity markets with open interest reducing drastically in the last few months, said Mr Paul Horsnell, Managing Director-Head (Commodities), Barclays Capital, the third largest commodity player after Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. - more
  • Shanghai Futures Exchange is closed until 6th of October for the National holidays.
  • (Reuters) "It will be a nervous weekend while people are waiting to see how the bailout plan goes," said Nick Moore, commodities strategist at RBS. "Metals are moving in hand with equities, so if we get stabilisation and the market returns to something like a normality, that will be good news."
  • It is reported that China steel product export to different countries during January to August 2008 total 41,793,344 tonnes with Italy at the top. - more
  • The case for the resource believers is reinforced constantly through the bullish sentiment from the media, stockbrokers and resource company executives. - more
  • Macquarie has cut its commodity price forecasts due to financial problems and a slackening of Chinese demand. - more
  • Commodities, set for the biggest quarterly loss in at least five decades, may rebound on demand for food and industrial materials from nations including India and China, according to Barclays Capital. - more

  The president director of PT Aneka Tambang (Antam), Alwinsyah Loebis, said here on Thursday the company planned to increase its nickel production from 17,000 tons to 18,000 tons to anticipate a drop in the sale value as a result of declining prices. - more

  Alloy surcharges on European flat rolled stainless steel will rise for austenitic grades in October for the first time in months, figures so far announced indicate. - more

  China has been buying into Australia's resource-rich projects in an ad hoc manner but the nation is at fault for not setting firm rules to address the aggressive push for control of sought-after commodities. - more

  China will not import iron ore from Brazil-based Vale in the short term, a finance newspaper reported today. - more

  International steel markets seem to be stable for now and the steel prices have logically declined from the abnormal highs, said Zaigham Rizvi, Director Projects, Tuwairqi Steel Mills Limited . - 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 (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 26 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, September 25

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 326 to 4,163. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines - (MarketWatch) New orders for U.S.-made capital goods decreased in August by the largest amount since the beginning of the year, signaling that businesses may be getting more cautious in their outlook. (MarketWatch) U.S. weekly jobless claims shot to their highest level in seven years in the latest week, the Labor Department said Thursday, as people in the hurricane-hit states of Louisiana and Texas filed for benefits. (Reuters) Sales of new U.S. single-family homes in August fell to its lowest point in more than 17 years while prices hit four-year lows, a government report on Thursday showed, in a sign of continued weakness in the housing sector.
  • The dollar and oil reversed course since this morning's report. The dollar is now trading higher against the Euro by nearly the same percentage it was down in our morning update. Oil is trading higher, by nearly 2-1/2%. Metals were, for the most part, quiet, with precious trading lower, and base trading slightly higher. Except for nickel. Indicator charts show nickel traded in an approximate $300/tonne range, and was erratic in morning trading, while afternoon trading was more subdued. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day a nickel lower than yesterday, at $7.75/lb . Sucden's chart shows nickel activity thru yesterday (here). Update on SW Pacific Tropical Storm's (here). Wall Street is up this morning in anticipation of passage of the $700 billion dollar bail-out, never mind the discouraging economic news released today. CNN just reported that law-makers from both the House and Senate have reached an agreement and are heading to Paulson's office. The world watches and waits, and in the mean time, the economy continues to soften. With today's news that unemployment has reached a 7 year high, do not let your company offer you a "promotion" to CEO of their new India branch. (article here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Commodities, set for the biggest quarterly loss in at least five decades, may rebound on demand for food and industrial materials from nations including India and China, according to Barclays Capital. - more
  • Fundamentals Driving Commodity Prices, Not Speculation - more
  • ThyssenKrupp VDM opens service center in China: Stainless group expands its range in Guangzhou to include nickel alloys - more
  • Will a Crisis Create a Scandal? - more

  The annual report that BHP Billiton sent to shareholders this week is dripping with dollars, crowded with cash, a towering edifice of financial strength, and so on and so forth. But the nickel market is sliding to a point that threatens to generate a blot on the next balance sheet. - more

  Inco’s Sudbury Nickel Mines were Critical During World War Two (Part 1 of 7) by Stan Sudol - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.08/lb   lower. Indicator charts show nickel is trading within a slim price band, but very choppy so far today. Rest of the metals complex is mixed, but trading appears to be light again, as the world awaits a U.S. Congressional decision. In our opinion, the administration has left Congress with little option but to pass something, as testimony and leaks over the last few days, have made the economic situation look bleak. America's Joe Six-pack is confused, nervous, and angry. He doesn't understand why Main Street is being asked to bail out Wall Street, nervous what might happen either way, and mad the whole mess was allowed to happen.  Dollar is trading by 1/2% lower this morning against the Euro, while crude oil is also down. BDI continues to fall, and nickel inventories continue to rise.    
  • Reuters morning metal news - more

  Nickel Decreases as Stockpiles Climb to 9-Year High; Tin Gains - Nickel fell on the London Metal Exchange as stockpiles at a nine-year high heightened speculation that demand isn't strong enough to erode a global glut. Tin rose. - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Copper prices fell slightly yesterday, (off by $75 on the day) although the rest of the metals held up somewhat better. However, market attention seems to be elsewhere, with investors in a state of heightened anticipation as they wait for the final details of the bailout bill currently snaking its way through Congress.  ... Until the bailout proposal becomes law, investors will remain reluctant to take big positions in a number of commodity complexes. The dollar, for one, has been particularly directionless over the past 24 hours, as it stalls around the 1.4650-1.4700 level against the Euro. Its next big move -- either towards or away from the 1.50 level --will be critical in setting the short-term trend in a number of commodity complexes. LME metals are lower today despite a slightly stronger dollar... We are currently at $17,100, down $100/MT, and quiet. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Bogle's Bets: Pros Offer Advice on Investing Now - more
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to Joint Economic Committee Wednesday, in reference to the possibility of Congress not approving the Paulson $700 billion dollar plan - "This is not an inconvenience. What that is going to do, is effect spending and economic activity and it will cause the economy as a whole to decline and be much weaker than it otherwise would be. It will affect the unemployment rate. It will affect job creation. It will affect real incomes. It will affect everyone's standard of living. It is much more than car loans. It is really about the overall performance of the U.S. economy, perhaps over a period of years."
  • Even MINExpo is dominated by one question: will the current US economy meltdown affect mining? - more
  • The six-year surge in iron ore prices may come to a dramatic slowdown in 2009 if steelmakers continue to reduce output in a slowing world economy and the global credit crisis. - more
  • (Ferro Alloy) At present, ferrochrome market is still in the doldrums. For prices still remains low , many people take a wait-and-see attitude to the market. The market is not clear enough, with big price gap. A European trader said that because steel plants still have a large number of stocks and have a weak demand for the high-carbon ferrochrome.
  • (Recycling International) Having exceeded US$ 50 000 per tonne in the first half of 2007, nickel prices have subsequently endured a rocky ride. However, recent times have produced a return above US$ 20 000 per tonne. On September 1, Rotterdam prices for 304 stainless steel scrap have risen to US$ 2280 per tonne, while 316 scrap has upped to US$ 3400. Both Ferritic 430 scrap (17% chromium) 409 scrap (13% chromium)were stable at US$ 750 and US$ 650 per tonne respectively.
  • Riding Out the Storm -- Lawrence Roulston, September 23, 2008 Investments are down across the board and around the world, but the worst damage was inflicted on commodities. - more
  • In line with the general trend on the steel market, Mechel has reduced domestic prices for hot-rolled steel. - more

  Sino-Platinum Metals Co., a Chinese maker of precious metals, will shut a nickel unit for three months for maintenance after prices plunged and costs rose.  The unit, Yuanjiang Nickel Co., will be closed from Oct. 1, reducing concentrate and metal output, the Kunming, Yunnan province-based company said in a statement to the Shanghai stock exchange, without giving details of the affected production.- more

  Eti Krom / Turkey Reduces Price Of Chrome Ore For Shipments In Q4 / 08 = Eti Krom Views As Fundamentals For Chrome Will Still Maintain Firm Tone - more

  The Bubble Metric Index (BMI) is a measure of the distance between the fantasy of money and financial reality. In the past month, it has been weighing unusually heavily on the oligarchs who own pieces of Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s largest mining company. - more

  It is anticipated that China was initially expected to increase the production of crude stainless steel in 2008 by 20% from that in 2007, but this expansion of the production will retreat to a considerable extent. - more

  • China Mining reported that affected by sluggish market demand for iron ore and rapid increase in supply, China's iron ore market as plunged into a sluggish state of price drop and bleak transaction. - more

  All three Cuban nickel plants were back in operation, state-run radio reported on Thursday, just short of three weeks after taking a direct hit from Hurricane Ike. - more

  Brazil's mining giant Vale will stick to demands for higher prices for the iron ore it exports to China, its CEO Roger Agnelli told local media, adding many firms already had accepted the price rise. - more

  • Cia. Vale do Rio Doce Chief Executive Officer Roger Agnelli said some Chinese steelmakers already have accepted an increase in the price of iron-ore, Epoca reported. - 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 (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 25 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, September 24

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 293 to 4,489. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • (Reuters) Prices of existing homes in the United States suffered a record drop in August while the sales pace slowed and the overstock of homes shrank, the National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday. (Reuters) The pace of existing home sales in the United States fell in August to a 4.91 million-unit annual rate while home prices suffered a record drop and the overstock of homes shrank, the National Association of Realtors said in a report on Wednesday.(FX Traders) Data released in the U.S. today saw the Richmond Fed’s September manufacturing index worsen to -18 from -16 in August .... In eurozone news, the EMU-15 PMI survey fell to 47.0 in September from 48.2 in August, its lowest reading since November 2001. (RTT News) The German business confidence deteriorated to a three year low in September as firms were dissatisfied with their current business situation, results of a survey revealed. A monthly survey from the Munich-based Ifo research institute showed that the business sentiment fell for the fourth straight month to 92.9 in September from 94.8 in August. The indicator stood below the expected reading of 94.1 and was the lowest since May 2005.
  • Markets appear to be in a wait-and-see attitude, wondering when and if the bailout will make it thru the US Congress, and what the implications might be, either way. At update time, the Dow was dipping up and down over its starting point, with no major moves being made either way. Oil was trading even, while the Dollar was trading at only .14% higher against the Euro. Metals, both precious and base, were also subdued, trading mixed with no major moves. Indicator charts show three month nickel traded in about a $300/tonne range, and Dow Jones reports nickel ended the days trading at $7.80/lb , two pennies higher than yesterday's close. In other news, the Philippines, Taiwan and China are eyeing a Tropical Storm and a Tropical Depression that appear to be playing cat and mouse with each other as they approach landfall (map here). And if this whole economic mess has your panties in a bunch, Hanes announced today, it was closing 9 plants and laying off 8,100 workers, as it shifts underwear production to China.

  Reports

  • Damstahl Stainless Steel Report - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Tangshan Stainless Co., Ltd. stainless steel smelting works began operation in Tangshan City in Hebei Province, China yesterday. The $2 billion yuan project has a 600,000 tons of stainless steel capacity.
  • (Dow Jones) LME nickel inventories have risen to their highest in 11 years at 53,358 tons, with most of the recent deliveries occurring in European LME warehouses, says Barclays Capital.
  • (Scotia) In August, China imported 497,323 tonnes of low-grade nickel ore, down 6.3% MOM and 70.76% YOY. This represents the first time China’s nickel ore imports are below half a million tonnes since December 2006. We note that low-grade nickel ore inventory remained very lofty at Chinese ports, at over 8 million tonnes.
  • (Metal First) In August 2008, China imported 6,748 mt of unwrought nickel, down 4.4% from 7,058 mt imported in August 2007, and also down 30.5% from the 9,703 mt imported in July 2008. Total unwrought nickel imported in the first eight months was 82,050 mt, up 17.9% from 69,586 mt imported a year earlier.... Total moly powder exported in the eight-month period was 5.29 million kg, up significantly from the 2.89 million kg exported in January-August 2007. Total imports in the first eight months of 2008 were 171,179 kg, which was a 30% rise from the 131,632 kg imported a year ago.
  • (Scotia China Update) As our readers go through the rest of this report, we would not be surprised to hear some investors becoming even more bearish for the raw materials and energy sectors from a China perspective, and for very good reasons. ... With so much bearish developments, why do we still maintain our bullish view for the global raw materials and energy sectors from a China perspective? Two reasons. (1) First, we are trying to be forward looking. We expect the market in China to tighten up for key commodities like copper and steel in Q4/08, as construction activities should turn up seasonally after the summer lull. And the strength of the upcoming seasonality should be helped by the government’s more pro-growth policies, the potential stimulation plan, the 5% increase in new loan quota, and the rebuilding efforts of the Sichuan earthquake region. All of these positive factors have yet to play out, but they should, in our opinion. (2) Second, everything has a price tag. After the market selloff, a lot of the slowdown risks have already been priced into the global raw materials and energy sectors. As we wrote at the beginning of this section, the market expectation for the Chinese economy, as indicated by the Chinese yuan NDF markets, is a lot more pessimistic than our own judgment. Allow us to repeat some of our comments from last week. We are a secular bull, a cyclical bear, and a seasonal bull for both China’s demands for key commodities and the global commodities-related sectors. In our opinion, the bullish secular trend, driven by the ongoing urbanization process, should put higher floor prices for key commodities. After the recent market selloff, the commodities sectors should now find solid support from the underlying secular trends. And the stronger seasonality going into Q4/08 should facilitate a tradable rally for quick money investors."
  • (Dow Jones) Rio Tinto PLC (RTP) Chief Executive Tom Albanese Wednesday said the outlook for commodities remained strong despite financial market turmoil. "The strong outlook for commodity markets has not fundamentally changed," Albanese said in a presentation at a Credit Suisse metals and mining conference in London.... "Reduced availability of finance will add to supply-side constraints in commodity markets," Albanese said.
  • Shock and awe - Commentary: Five things you need to know about our current state of affairs - more
  • Since July, commodity bulls have been trampled during the worst credit crisis in history. The entire complex has gone from being extremely overbought in June to heavily oversold in late September. - more 
  • Commodity traders and hedgers are in a fix over volatility in commodities, particularly in precious metals and grains. - more
  • Even if the Bush administration's $700 billion bailout works, the United States still faces the longest and most severe economic stretch since the Great Depression, according to one economist.- more

  Economist see nickel demand improving as year ends - Flagging nickel demand should pick up slightly by the end of 2008, senior economist David Wilson of producer Norilsk Nickel tells a recent metals conference in London sponsored by consultancy GFMS Ltd. But, he admits this probably won’t force a rebound in nickel’s price since the demand bump will be marginal against this year’s global production increases. - more

  Data released recently, in particular indicators of leading significance, indicate that the country’s economic growth is declining. - more

  • It is reported that at present, domestic FeMo market weakens continuously and rare deals are closed, which caused sliding FeMo quotations in the Northeast. - more

  China’s Slumping Steel Industry Angry over Vale's “Extortion” - In answer to the boycott staged against its price hike by Chinese steelmakers, Brazilian iron ore miner Vale has employed its trump card- refusing to provide ore. - more

  Seven mining projects are expected to start production next year despite likely delays in the infusion of additional investments into some of these ventures because of the global financial crisis, according to Mines and Geosciences Bureau data. - more

  Scientists from around the world have joined forces in what they call a "Molybdenum Offensive," to work out strategies by the end of this year that will boost demand for the resilient metal. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.03/lb lower. Besides nickel, the other base metals are even or slightly higher this morning. Dollar is trading slightly lower against the Euro, oil is higher before inventories are announced. BDI falls again, and nickel stored in LME warehouses records another large gain. Most world equity markets are trading higher today (chart here).   
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "The dollar strengthened on the day, and was said to be a factor in the decline, but we suspect that the bulk of the selloff was attributable to the uncertainty caused by the bailout proposal now weaving its way through Congress. Listening to Treasury Secretary Paulson and Fed Chairman Bernanke testifying before the Senate Banking committee yesterday, we were astounded by the number of objections - if not outright opposition - to the package, suggesting that approval for such a measure will likely drag out for many more days, if not weeks. What this could mean for commodity markets in general and for metals, in particular, remains to be seen. On the one hand, further wrangling could result in more weakness in the equity markets, and unhinge the commodity markets, just as we saw last week. On the other hand, a delay could also weaken the dollar, and send sidelined money towards hard-asset inflation hedges, like metals. Given the choice, we suspect the latter scenario will prevail, i.e., the ongoing back-and-forth takes its toll on the dollar, which in turn, should be constructive for commodities. Of course, when the bailout is confirmed, the dollar could strengthen markedly, and we could see a broad-based selloff in the complex. The next week or so, will therefore be very whippy. There are simply too many balls in the air--each with a different bias on prices -- to allow participants a clearer read on where prices are heading. In such a treacherous environment, it may be best to opt for the sidelines, as these types of markets generate trading losses and form the basis for poor hedging decisions. .. LME metals are higher today, as the dollar remains unchanged against the Euro, and hovering just under 1.4700. ... We are currently at $16,950, down $250/MT, and fairly quiet."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Commodity prices will stay ``stronger for longer'' as financing becomes a real constraint on supply growth because of the global credit turmoil, Goldman Sachs JBWere Pty said.  - more
  • (Yieh Corp) It is reported that Korea’s Hyundai Steel and BNG Steel have cut stainless steel HR coil purchasing quantity by a large range.  With Korea’s current economic weakness and the falling nickel price, stainless steel sales have been greatly reduced. Besides, after BNG Steel had restarted its stainless steel CR mill on September 19. Hyundai stopped purchasing from Posco in June, and BNG Steel is facing the same situation. The reasons for stopping purchasing include poor sales and increasing stocks.
  • (Steel Guru) It is reported that the first stage construction of the 0.5 million tonnes per year alloy steel project for Anhui Jinzhai-based Jinan Stainless Steel Casting Co has recently completed after 10 months strenuous working.
  • (Steel Guru) It is reported that Nickel futures tumbled sharply for its biggest weekly fall in almost 4 years in the trades on MCX and LME. On MCX, the benchmark September expiry contract Nickel for delivery in 3 months plummeted by INR 73 kilogram to INR 742 kilogram as against INR 845 per kilogram on September 15th 2008 the start of the week.
  • LCH Clearnet, which clears trades for the London Metal Exchange, has cut margins for nickel today. - more
  • MSCI Steel, Aluminum Shipments Continue to Lag in 2008 - more

  China's unwrought nickel exports in August stood at 363 mt, which was a sharp fall of 75.2% from a year ago, and a 52.7% decrease compared with the 767 mt exported in July, the latest figures from the General Administration of Customs of China showed. - more

  Oversupply Of Nickel In China Is Caused By Decreased Production Of Stainless Steel = Jinchuan Nickel Turns To Reduce Nickel Production And To Increase Copper Production - more

  China's crude steel production in August increased 1.3% year on year to reach 42.57 million mt, according to latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics of China. Crude steel output for the first eight months of the year totaled 351.09 million mt, up 8.3% from a year ago. - more

  India's largest integrated stainless steel producer Jindal Stainless on Wednesday said it has received approval from the Registrar of Companies to rename the company as JSL Ltd. - more

  A second Cuban nickel plant opened on Tuesday in Moa Holguin, state-run radio reported, as the country's most important export industry works to resume full production after taking a direct hit from Hurricane Ike two weeks ago. - more

  Russian metals producer Mechel said late Monday that it has commissioned a new mining and processing plant at the Voskhod chrome ore deposit of Kazakhstan. - more

  Russian tycoons Vladimir Potanin and Mikhail Prokhorov are close to a final asset split deal involving stakes in metals giant Norilsk Nickel and gold miner Polyu, Kommersant business daily reported on Wednesday. - 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 (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, September 23

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 167 to 4,782. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke to Senate Banking Committee hearing this morning - "Action by the Congress is urgently required to stabilize the situation and avert what could otherwise be very serious consequences for our financial markets and for our economy. Global financial markets remain under extraordinary stress..... If financial conditions fail to improve for a protracted period, the implications for the broader economy could be quite adverse." In the same hearing, Christopher Dodd, chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, stated "This proposal is stunning and unprecedented in its scope and lack of detail."  MarketWatch headline posted after the hearings  were underway "The biggest financial bailout in American history hit a speed bump Tuesday on Capitol Hill as members of the Senate began to balk at quick action to pass the measure, saying such a massive proposal requires more careful discussion and consideration." In response, the Dow has dipped into the red, after spending all morning in a paused green mode. The Bernanke Bounce has not materialized today - at least so far. The State Street Investor Confidence Index slipped more than 2 points in September to 70.7, one of its lowest levels in 10 years of data, while investor confidence was weakest in Asia, but stronger in Europe. In other news, Reuters reports "Over the 12 months ending in July, U.S. home prices fell 5.3 percent, according to the seasonally adjusted monthly House Price Index from the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight." Bloomberg reported "The dollar rose against the euro for the first time in five days on bets the greenback's biggest decline since January 2001 yesterday was too big to sustain.", while AFP reported "Crude oil trades lower after biggest one-day gain". Metals traded lower today, nearly across the board, with nickel taken back by a 700+ tonne gain overnight in inventories. Sucden's day old chart shows the minor bounce nickel witnessed yesterday, which ended today (here). Indicator charts show a big drop in nickel prices in the early morning session, a hard fought climb, followed by another late retreat. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.78/lb .
  • Reuters - more

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Traders said with market players uncertain over the bailout package's final form, the metals market will continue to monitor how financial markets react to the package's progress through Congress. "There are so many outside influences, and pretty far down that list is the demand for metals," said a London-based broker.
  • Is China Buying Africa? – by Paul Stothart - more
  • China imported 720,000 tons of chromium ore valued at 313.257 million US dollars in July 2008. The import in January-July reached 4,200,000 tons valued at 1,554.392 million US dollars, up 24.9 percent and 104.1 percent respectively year on year
  • (Financial Times) Mr Moon (Moon Jung-up at Daishin Securities) predicted that the downward trend is not likely to be reversed until the end of first quarter next year, despite output cuts by global steelmakers.
  • Spend Matters author Jason Busch - "I live in a country that's full of hypocrisy. A capitalist society that socialized more for-profit institutions in a single week than Lenin did over his entire reign...."

  In recent years, Chinese GDP maintains a 10% increase rate. The rapid economic growth pushes forward the construction of the infrastructure such as subway, road, and road guardrail, as well as activates the consumption market, which brings a great prosper to our stainless market. - more

  Why stainless steel prices are NOT dropping as fast as nickel - in simple terms. The easiest way is to do a comparison. Here is our unscientific formula. 304 Stainless Steel contains a minimum of 18% chrome, 8% nickel, and around 70% iron. It takes two tons of iron ore to make a ton of iron. Thus, in 100 pounds of 304 stainless steel, we have at least 8 pounds of nickel, 18 pounds of chrome, and around 140 pounds of iron ore. Using this formula, we can determine that a combination of these three items would have cost a total of $78.70 in January 2006 when nickel was $6.60/lb, chrome was $.5388/lb, and iron ore was $255/GT. In January of this year, nickel was $12.56/lb, chrome at $1.75/lb, and iron was $420/GT. The cost of these three items in 100 lbs of 304 would have run $158.65. Thus in two years, the material cost of these three items had nearly doubled. In August, the most recent month we have monthly averages of the ingredients to work with, nickel was running $8.59/lb X 8, chrome was at $2.2463 X 18, and iron ore was running $860/GT div 2204.6 X 140, giving us a total of $163.78... a total higher than that of January this year. Although nickel has dropped this year, from January's average of $12.56/lb to August's $8.59/lb, the increase in iron ore and chrome have more than offset. Obviously this is a very crude formula. And it explains why we follow iron ore, ferrochrome, and molybdenum news closely.

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.24/lb   lower.  Dollar is higher, oil is lower, and metals are mostly trading in the red. LME nickel inventory's record a huge gain overnight.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • SteelWorld - Trends in Stainless Steel Industry - pdf here
  • Canada Commodity Price Update - pdf here
  • Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Metals Fundamental Report - pdf here
  • Morning Montra - pdf here
  • Commodity Observatory - pdf here
  • AIIS September 2008 Steel Import Market Survey - here

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Copper rallied to two-week highs yesterday, pulling the rest of the sector up along with it, with the advance being spurred mainly by a surge in energy prices and the severe decline in the US dollar. The greenback slumped to almost 1.48 against the Euro yesterday, as investors fretted over the details of a planned $700 billion U.S. bailout -- i.e., whether the money earmarked will be enough, what riders will be attached to the bill, and perhaps most importantly, will various banks be able to sustain capital erosion once government-sponsored “settlement prices” are negotiated for some of the more trickier mortgage instruments. These are all legitimate concerns, but we have to suspect that if the markets get a sense that Congress is close to “sealing a deal”, we could see a substantial reversal in the dollar and a subsequent easing in metal prices. Whether the dollar’s gains will last given the enormous deficits that are being generated, remains an open equation, but for now, the path of least resistance in commodities remains higher still. Metals are lower at the time of this writing, as the dollar has strengthened slightly from yesterday’s 1.48 level against the Euro, and is now at 1.4750. Oil prices are also lower after yesterday’s record one-day gain on the expiring October contract.  ... We are currently at $17,425, down $50/MT, and fairly quiet." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Gretchen Morgenson writes the MarketWatch column for the Sunday New York Times.  Interview with Bill Moyers - "The ugly thing about this is this is privatizing gains and socializing losses. So when things are going well, the managements make out, the shareholders make out, the counterparties are fine. All the private sector people do well. But when something goes wrong, when decisions are made that turn out to be bad decisions, the U.S. taxpayer has to take on the problem. And there's something very wrong about that. Because all of those people that made all that money are running off here into the distance with the money, carrying it in their bags. And the United States taxpayer is on the hook." - New York Times business and financial columnists Gretchen Morgenson and Floyd Norris discuss who wins and who loses in the financial turmoil. - here
  • (Interfax) China's refined lead, zinc, nickel and tin exports all fall in first eight months
  • (China Mining) A possible growth slowdown is hanging over China's iron and steel industry as surging production costs and banks grudging credit support squeeze steel makers' profitability, said Xu Lejiang, President of Baosteel Group Corporation. At a recent merger and acquisition forum, Xu said that previously demands-driven growth has fainted out of sight in China and steel producers are resorting to restructuring and acquisition to counter the shrinking domestic demands and volatile global economy. Steel output in August increased only 1.5 percent year on year while its demands sank six percent as against a 8.9 percent rise in July.

  Bangkok Post reported that Thainox Stainless Steel Plc expects to revise down its sales volume target this year to 180,000 tonnes as clients are reluctant to place orders due to volatile stainless steel prices. - more

  A five-year cooperation agreement has been signed by the Murmansk Sea Trade Port and mining and metallurgy major Norilsk Nickel. - more

  Russia's Mechel plans to build a ferroalloy smelter in Kazakhstan, capable of producing 240,000-250,000 tpa of ferrochrome at a cost of $500 million-$800 million by 2012-2013, Alexei Ivanushkin, the general director of Mechel Ferroalloys, told reporters. - more

  Albidon Ltd., an Australian metals explorer, rose the most in almost four years in London trading after reporting a gain on the closure of its nickel hedge book and shipping the first nickel-concentrate from its Munali mine. - more

  China's crude steel production in August increased 1.3% year on year to reach 42.57 million mt, according to latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics of China. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending September 20, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,027,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 85.0 percent. Production was 2,047,000 tons in the week ending September 20, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 86.5 percent. The current week production represents a 1.0 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending September 20, 2008 is down 1.4 percent from the previous week ending September 13, 2008 when production was 2,055,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 86.1 percent.

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 23 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Monday, September 22 (Fall begins in Northern Hemisphere)

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 26 to 4,949. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines and first lines -  (AP) It was the end of an era on Wall Street as the Federal Reserve granted permission for the last two major investment banks — Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — to become bank holding companies in order to stay in business. (MarketWatch) The Fed's move is the latest milestone in a jaw-dropping couple of weeks for Wall Street and American business. (MarketWatch)  Stocks traded lower on Monday, as the market mulled available details on a $700 billion government plan to take the bad assets off of ailing financial firms' balance sheets to try and stem the year-long credit crisis. (Thomson) Spot gold above $900 as investors flee to gold - U.S. crude futures up more than $5 on dollar slide  - US Dollar Dives As Improvement in Investor Confidence Quickly Fades. The last three headlines from Thomson tell the story for commodities today. Metals were solidly higher, as the dollar slumped against the Euro(down nearly 2% at update), and oil raced higher (over 6% at update). Indicator charts show nickel was bullish throughout the day, with only one momentary correction, and ended during an upward curve. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.92/lb .
  • Did you miss the NY Times headline Friday? "Congressional Leaders Stunned by Warnings" Here is a quote from the article "As Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and Chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, put it Friday morning on the ABC program “Good Morning America,” the congressional leaders were told “that we’re literally maybe days away from a complete meltdown of our financial system, with all the implications here at home and globally.” - more  Let's see. "Another" $700 billion bailout to save us from a meltdown, i.e 'a weapon of mass destruction', divided by 305,225,747 population = $2,293 for every American man, woman and child. The U.S. 'current debt' stands at $9,671,654,191,506.59 divided by the same 305,225,747 = already owe $31,687 for every American man, woman and child. And what assurance do we have from the government that this will work? President Bush Saturday - "...require us to put a significant amount of taxpayer dollars on the line. But I'm convinced that this bold approach will cost American families far less than the alternative." Back in 2004, President Bush said this "One thing is for certain, though, about me, and the world has learned this: When I say something, I mean it. And the credibility of the United States is incredibly important for keeping world peace and freedom." We are guessing invading Martian's will start landing any day now.

  Commodity Comments

  • (Dow Jones) LME base metals could reverse gear and give back gains if risk aversion returns to financial markets, says Barclays Capital. "With sentiment still fragile and price action extremely volatile, we would caution that these gains are not concrete and could crumble if the market gets nervous."
  • The worst may be over for commodities after the steepest rout since at least 1956 drove out speculators and the U.S. government unveiled a plan to end the worst credit-market seizure since the Great Depression. - more
  • One readers stock investment alert - pdf here (whether you agree or not, it's worth the read)

  The second of three Cuban nickel plants was scheduled to open this week, according to local radio reports, as the industry struggles to resume full production after taking a direct hit from Hurricane Ike two weeks ago. - more

  The mining sector is confident it can withstand the ill effects of the current global financial crisis and credit crunch, which will be felt for only a short period, Chamber of Mines of the Philippines president Philip Romualdez said at a news briefing. - more

  VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam’s proposed up to six-fold royalty tax increase could push foreign miners to the wall. - more

  What are the metals that constitute your mobile phone? Don’t be surprised, it contains iron, nickel, aluminium, copper and the precious metal gold. How much of this is wasted if old unused mobiles were simply kept at home or thrown into a landfill? - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around  $.18/lb higher. All metals, precious and base, are trading higher this morning. Crude oil is trading higher, around $106 per barrel. Dollar is lower against the Euro. Sucden's day old nickel chart shows trading activity thru Friday - here. Nickel inventories fell for only the second time this month, while the BDI slumped.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Nickel May Drop 14% in 2009 on Lower Demand, Bureau Forecasts - Nickel prices may average 14 percent less than estimate because of slowing demand in North America and Europe, Australia's commodity forecaster said. - more

  • UPDATE 2-Australia cuts zinc, nickel outlook but stays upbeat - more
  • The value of Australia's commodity exports is expected to increase this year, according to official estimates issued today. - more
  • Australia cut its estimate of annual zinc output by 12 percent on Monday, citing falling prices and mine closures, but said iron ore and copper production would top earlier forecasts despite a months-long disruption in natural gas supply. - more
  • Full ABARE report articles refer to above -  pdf here

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metal markets closed stronger on Friday, as the “feel-good” bounce emanating from the US equity markets continued to sweep through commodities. The rally was sparked by a proposal -- formally put forward to Congress over the weekend-- that the government would create a massive reserve fund designed to soak up to $700 billion of mortgage instruments in an effort to get capital flowing more freely through the banking system.  ... We have been quite negative on metals for some time now, but think that this latest rally, which is extending into today’s session, may have some legs to it, as the recently announced industry bailout has changed the commodities landscape to some degree. In particular, the mammoth spending program announced could, in the least, reverse the bearish impact of the rising dollar on commodities and push the deteriorating macro situation somewhat to the backburner for now. In fact, the greenback is now just under 1.46 against the Euro and has lost substantial ground over the past few days. We think an eventual test of 1.50 against the Euro cannot be ruled out. In addition, as we will see in our charts that follow, some of the metals held their recent lows last week, and by not taking them out, could very well encourage sidelined money to bet on a further upward advance into the trading range.  ... We are currently at $17,320, up $370/MT on nickel, but need to do more work on the charts before the complex starts to look better. In the least, prices need to recover back over the $18,000 support that held for several weeks before breaking. We would remain neutral on the complex for the time being."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • What's $1 trillion between friends? - more
  • Outokumpu Oyj will close a stainless steel plant in Sheffield, UK, laying off all 230 workers in the process, due to oversupply.
  • World crude steel production for the 66 countries reporting to the International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI) was 112.2 million metric tons (mmt) in August. This is 2.9% higher than the same month last year.- more  chart here (complete pdf report here)
  • China Securities Journal reported that the sluggish steel demand is here to stay as a result of the moderated economic growth and the weakening housing market in particular. - more

  Panic gripped global financial markets this week in the wake of US investment banking giant Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy announcement Monday, with physical nickel trade in Europe grinding nearly to a halt as consumers took a step back to wait for a clearer picture of the fallout to emerge. - more

  It is reported that investment banking and broking group Numis Securities has exchanged its commodity preference of steel making bulk commodities for base metals as it believes pessimism on commodities will soon spread to steel. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 16th September 2008 - more

  • Spot prices of bulk ferroalloy imports from China into Japan fell this week as Japanese steelmakers postponed their fourth quarter purchases due to delays in pricing settlements amid high inventories, market sources said Thursday. - more

  Sudbury fire crews spent much of Friday fighting a stubborn blaze at the Steelworkers Hall -- one of Sudbury's landmarks. - 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 (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 22 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Friday, September 19

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 17 to  4,975. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • World markets got good news this morning (MarketWatch) "Saying government intervention is "essential" to stemming the financial market crisis, President George W. Bush said Friday that a broad-ranging U.S. plan will get the financial system moving again, but cautioned that it will put "significant" amounts of taxpayer dollars on the line." Also Marketwatch reported "The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission early Friday issued an emergency order temporarily banning short selling in the shares of nearly 800 financial institutions." On this news, Wall Street roared back to life, up 400 points, after a 300 point gain late yesterday. Gold had its biggest drop in 25 years early on, but has since rebounded. Oil toyed with the $100/barrel line all morning, and continues to do so. Bush's warning that the government rescue plan would put "significant" amounts of taxpayer dollars on the line.", jolted the dollar. It traded lower against the Euro, by around 3/4% at our update, and all base and precious metals responded by going green. Indicator charts show nickel went positive shortly after our morning update, and never looked back. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.67/lb . The morning's response, in general, was a knee jerk reaction to seemingly good news, and it will be interesting to see how the market trades next week, after traders have had the weekend to debate what the government's plan will really mean.
  • Have a safe and restful weekend!!

  Commodity Comments

  • (UBS) "We believe the spot nickel price is below the marginal cost of production of Chinese nickel pig iron producers."
  • Watch the Awareness Test above - it has strong business implications
  • (Did he really say that?) "We are interested in further attraction of foreign investment. Although of course we expect mutuality: the readiness of foreign partners to accept investment from Russia. We don't understand it when barriers are raised strictly on a political basis, that have no grounding in economics," Putin said on Friday at the Sochi-2008 economic forum.
  • (Interfax) Shares in MMC Norilsk Nickel fell on Friday in connection with an on-going shareholder dispute at the metals giant while the rest of the stock market posted strong gains.

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.05/lb . Indicator charts show extreme volatility in nickel trading already this morning as the bears and the bulls play rough. At present nickel is down, and having broke support, if it can't get a least a dead cat bounce today, the price could head farther south. All other base metals are trading higher, as are most precious metals. Oil is playing cat and mouse with the $100/ barrel line and the dollar is also slipping up and down against the Euro.
  • Reuters - more

  Nickel Heads for Biggest Weekly Drop in 4 Years on Stockpiles - Nickel headed for its biggest weekly drop in almost four years as stocks of the metal rose to a nine- year high, signaling weak demand. - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments  - "Metal prices raced higher yesterday, but by the close, gave back most of their gains to finish mixed. At one point early in the day, aluminum dropped to its lowest since last December, (as did copper), while nickel was at its weakest level since April 2006, before rebounding slightly.... LME prices are up today, particularly in copper, which has tacked on about $130/MT. There are more modest gains in the rest of the group, but we have yet to make up much of the ground lost earlier in the week. Oil markets are up sharply today as well, and back over the $100 mark, as is the dollar, now at 1.42 against the Euro. The stronger greenback is perhaps keeping the rally in metals somewhat in check. .. We are currently at $16,800, up $50/MT; we failed to hold $17,050 support yesterday, and now see prices on track to head towards the $15,500 range. The recent slippage in steel prices, (somewhat late in the game compared with what we have been seeing in nonferrous prices), could be contributing to the recent declines we are seeing in nickel, zinc, and tin-- three metals that are more directly impacted by the fortunes of the steel sector."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) Shanghai-listed Baoshan Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. (Baosteel) will lower some of its steel product ex-works prices by up to RMB 800 ($117.17) per ton in November, as demand from downstream users continues to weaken, industry insiders told Interfax on Sept. 19.
  • (India - Navneet Damani, research analyst-base metals, Anand Rathi Commodities) - “Drying stainless steel demand continues to weigh on nickel prices. $17,000 is seen as a crucial support for LME prices. If nickel fails to show a rebound from this level, there could be a considerable decline in prices. In this scenario, September contract on MCX could fall towards Rs 720 per kg.”
  • Strange as it may seem, the worsening credit crunch that most recently sank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. may have a silver lining for miners. - more

  Japan's stainless steel manufacturers find themselves in rising inquiries from China's wholesalers that want to import Japanese stainless CR sheets. Chinese wholesalers may have concluded that the stainless CR sheet market in East Asia has bottomed out, suggest Japanese steel industry sources. - more

  • Japanese steelmakers are not considering cutting output as demand from shipbuilders and construction machinery makers is solid, the head of an industry body said on Friday, but he added that recent financial turmoil was a concern. - more

  Finnish Outokumpu said on Friday it would close its loss-making thin strip steel business in Sheffield, Britain due to market oversupply, and take a hit of 65 million euros ($94.3 million) this quarter. - more

  POSCO, the world's No.4 steelmaker, expects steel prices to stay firm, amid rising concerns that falling prices in China on weak domestic consumption may spread across the world, a senior official said. - more

  China's Iron and Steel Association (CISA) said yesterday that Brazilian iron ore giant Vale's decision to raise its prices by as much as 20 percent was "unreasonable" and threatened the international pricing mechanism. - more

  • China could stop using Vale's iron ore if the Brazilian miner insists on a price rise, industry officials, who forecast a slowdown in steel demand this year, 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) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 19 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, September 18 (100 days till Christmas)

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 102 to 4,958. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Markets appear to be in a dash for cash mood again today, as markets don't appear to be showing any signs of normalcy quite yet. Here are some news headlines from today (Reuters) The index of leading U.S. economic indicators fell by a larger-than-expected 0.5 percent in August to 100.8, showing a grim economic outlook amid financial market turmoil, the Conference Board said on Thursday. (MarketWatch)  The debt burden of U.S. households grew at the slowest pace in at least 56 years during the second quarter and American families saw their net worth fall for the third straight quarter, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday. (MarketWatch) Britain's Financial Services Authority on Thursday announced the unprecedented move of banning short-selling and forbidding any increase in new positions. (Dow Jones) Housing starts fell 6.2% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 895,000 in August, the lowest in 17 years.  (Reuters) The global financial crisis is 'very serious' and is causing 'considerable shockwaves', German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck was quoted as saying on Thursday.  (AFP) Trading on the Russian stock market was suspended for a third day on Thursday after the worst plunge in share prices since the 1998 financial crisis, a market spokesman told AFP.  (Canadian Press) The United States will endure a severe recession lasting a year but avoid a multi-year depression because troubled financial companies will quickly be purged, merged or bought, a National Bank economist predicted Thursday.; and finally, (Associated Press) Eager to show that he feels people's pain, President Bush scuttled a political fundraising trip Thursday to tell the country his administration is working feverishly to calm turmoil in the financial markets. (well now that last one just makes us feel all warm and cozy inside).
  • Dollar traded lower today against the Euro (about 3/4% at update time), and oil has dropped back below $100 to reflect only a few pennies gain at update time. Metals ended mixed with precious mostly higher, and industrial or base mostly lower.  Indicator charts show nickel was quiet early, made an afternoon charge, which failed late. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.60/lb . In other news, the Paralympics in Beijing officially ended Wednesday. This means Beijing and surrounding areas can return to a sense of normalcy. Unknown what effect this might have, if any, but finding someone bullish on the market isn't easy these days. These days, it's a debate between the "don't panic's" and "the sky is falling" groups that are making the most noise.  Stainless steel producers, who started losing buyers as nickel prices increased dramatically early last year, lost even more as the price collapsed later that summer, and now with nickel trading in a $7-$8/lb range, a price most producers would be happy to pay, stainless steel demand from distributors and end users has been stung by the worldwide economic slowdown. BDI up for the third consecutive day, and LME nickel inventories rose, as they ever every day this month, except yesterday.      

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Nickel Institute Brochure - Nickel Enabling Sustainability - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • (Dow Jones) "There is a sense of calm returning to the base metals markets, although that was the sense Wednesday before equity and credit markets experienced another afternoon wobble, and dragged base metals down, says JP Morgan analyst Michael Jansen. Says overall the macroeconomic news remains bearish for the base metals, but this has to be mitigated by the fact that investors are aggressively short of these base metals."
  • Stephen Briggs, commodity strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland to Reuters - "“Economic prospects globally have deteriorated. People will be busily revising down their economic growth forecasts and metals demand forecasts.”
  • Mining stocks are discounting as much as a 50 percent decline in commodity prices as the market factors in ``a significant cyclical downturn,'' Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. said. - more
  • LME Metal Prices Not Done Falling Despite Bounce - more
  • The financial crisis that began 13 months ago has entered a new, far more serious phase. - more
  • Ex-SEC Official Blames Agency for Blow-Up of Broker-Dealers - more
  • Wondering where it’s all going to end? Or who’s going to be left standing once the dust settles from this latest round of financial collapses? - more

  Spain's Acerinox, the world's biggest producer of stainless steel, has yet to see the pick-up in demand that it has been expecting to occur this month, a senior company official said on Thursday. - more

  Chromium: More Than Fancy Trim - Some things have not changed over the last couple of hundred years. - more

  China, the world's largest consumer of iron ore, said Brazil's Cia. Vale do Rio Doce has stopped loading the raw material on ships bound for the Asian country, leading to losses for its steelmakers. - more

  India's largest integrated stainless steel producer Jindal Stainless will float a subsidiary company Jindal Venture PTE Ltd in Singapore, which will control all its global mining operations. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around  $.07/lb  higher. Metals trading seems to be in a holding pattern this morning, with precious and base mostly trading slightly higher. Dollar is down by 1% against the Euro this morning, on concerns more financial institutions may be in trouble and "after the world's biggest central banks said they will act jointly to revive financial markets, easing demand for the U.S. currency." (more) Oil is trading above $100/barrel again, up around 4%. On Sucden's day old chart, you can see we busted below Nimit's support line in yesterday's trading (here). Edward Meir with MF Global is back from a conference with his daily report. Of the world markets that have closed or are presently trading, most are in the red (here), although US futures are up in pre-trading. But this was just released in the U.S. - "First-time jobless claims increase to 455,000 in latest week, up 10,000".    
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Since we last wrote about metals on Monday, the world seems to have changed, as financial markets continue to unravel at dizzying speeds. In fact, global equity markets have plunged by such alarming amounts, that the Russians found it preferable to shut their markets down entirely rather than watch the carnage on a minute-to-minute basis. As stocks fell, yields on US government paper soared. ... All this turmoil is taking its toll on commodities in varying degrees. Base metals seem to have taken it worse than other complexes, such as gold, which saw its biggest one-day jump ever yesterday, rising by about $83/MT on the day. Oil too, has not fared as well, despite yesterday’s uptick, and is still well below the $100 mark. Although, the dollar is now just over 1.44 against the Euro, losing about 3.5% in the space of a week, its weakness has hardly steadied base metals either. Instead, base metals sentiment seems to be negatively influenced by perceptions, (legitimate in our view), that the current turmoil is bound to slow global growth further, particularly in China. In this regard, Chinese authorities this week lowered rates and reserve requirements for the first time in years, a tacit admission that things are decelerating. (Interestingly, metals hardly reacted to the news).  ... We are currently at $17,200, up $195/MT; the nickel chart looks grim, as a band of support around the $18,000 mark seems to have given way. A hold above $17,050 today will prove critical." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Barclays Capital analyst Gayle Berry - "The demand outlook has deteriorated... The market is concerned about the strength of Chinese consumption."
  • Neil Buxton, managing director of GFMS Metals Consulting predicting nickel to average $14,000/ton in 2009 - ($6.35/lb)
  • (Dow Jones) - "The world refined nickel market was in a deficit of 17,200 metric tons in the January to July period, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said Thursday. World refined production dropped 5% on the year to 807,100 tons, mostly due to declines in China and Japan. World refined demand was 1% lower at 842,300 tons. In July, nickel smelter output was 115,900 tons, below demand at 120,500 tons."
  • Taiwan’s Yieh Hsing Enterprise Co., Ltd, one of main wire rod producers in Taiwan, has announced to cut carbon wire rod production around 1000~2000 tones per month at it Kaohsiung plant. However, Yieh Hsing has produced carbon wire rods around 5000~10000 tones per month in its Kaohsiung plant. Meanwhile for stainless steel wire rods production are quite stable around 6000~7000 tones per month. - more
  • (Interfax) China may boycott iron ore from the world's largest iron ore supplier, Brazilian-based Vale, if the company tries to impose mid-contract price hikes on its Asian customers, a senior official with the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) told Interfax Sept. 18.

  Prices Of Ferro-Chrome Are Being Blown With Cool Wind And Weaken For Next Quarter = Low Carbon Fe-Cr Will Propose To Reduce Its Price In This - Next Weeks - more

  There has been very little movement in strip mill product prices since July. However, demand over the holiday period has been slower than normal for the time of year because of the current poor economic climate. - more

  In the world of base metals, molybdenum has traditionally been considered simply a byproduct of copper. But with the boom of the steel market, this alloying metal has seen unprecedented growth in its demand and prices in recent years. - more

  Mincor says nickel prices could soar if projects deferred - Kambalda miner Mincor Resources, Australia's third largest listed nickel producer, says the price of the commodity could "go through the roof" in two years if large laterite projects are deemed uneconomical and deferred. - more

  Steel shipments by metals service centers in the United States and Canada declined at double-digit rates in August, and aluminum shipments fell sharply as well, as economic uncertainty reduced orders to the minimum amounts required. Inventory-to-shipment ratios rose to higher levels for steel in both countries and in aluminum in the United States. - more

  • The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that for the month of July 2008, U.S. steel mills shipped 9,175,000 net tons, a 3.8 percent increase from the 8,844,000 net tons shipped in July 2007 and a 0.4 percent increase from the 9,136,000 net tons shipped in the previous month, June 2008. - more

  Jindal Stainless, India's largest stainless steel producer, sees 7-8 percent growth in output and 20 percent growth in sales volume for the current financial year, despite sluggish global production. - more

  Concerns that the European Union's new REACH regulations will disrupt metal and chemical supply could begin to be realized by the end of this year if importers don't take action to comply, tin research body ITRI said in a statement Wednesday. - more

  Russpetstal (”Russian Special Steel”, RSS), the steel affiliate of the state-owned Russian Technologies holding, has decided to acquire up to 4 new operating mills if the price is right, and it can raise the finance from Russian state banks. - 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 (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 18 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, September 17

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 96 to 4,856. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Marketwatch reports - "Outright fear gripped the U.S. financial sector on Wednesday and investors aggressively sold off shares of the two largest remaining U.S. investment banks, signaling the rapidly waning confidence in the structural integrity of the nation's financial system."  "Home building tumbled again in August, with the number of new building permits for single-family homes dropping to a 26-year low, the Commerce Department estimated Wednesday." In England, Reuters reported "British unemployment registered its biggest jump in 16 years in August, factory orders fell at their sharpest rate in more than two years this month, and the country's biggest mortgage lender might soon be taken over.". With offsetting dismal news, the dollar lost a little against the Euro today, down about 2/3 of 1%. Oil was up 3% at update time. Precious metals traded mostly higher today, gold up 10% and silver nearly 12%, while base metals were unable to hold on to their early morning gains. Indicator charts show nickel held a slight gain until late into the afternoon, when it took a dive of around $700 a tonne. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.71/lb . The $85 billion dollar takeover, or takeout, or rescue (pick your poison) of AIG last night, rocked world markets, with most trading in the red (here) Russian markets were especially hard hit, where trading was actually halted for an hour, to calm nerves. The Dow was selling around 300 points lower at update time, after falling as much as 400 points earlier in the day. The US government loan to AIG was unprecedented, but the "necessity" for the government intervention, had traders wondering who might be next. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs saw their stock plummet as nervous attention shifted there way. Marketwatch reported ""The Fed is trying to provide liquidity as quickly as it can, but there seems to be an endless supply of 'moles' and only one mallet," said Kevin Giddis, managing director, Morgan Keegan & Company Inc. "Credit is seizing as we speak. The banks aren't really lending to each other." Morgan reported profits last night that exceeded expectations, but even a sound financial company appears to be vulnerable to the panic mindset. While the bulls are proclaiming there are bargains to be had, and the bears claim the end of the world as we know it is just around the corner, the independent trader appears to be unwilling to risk reaching for a falling knife, and may be content to cash out and wait for fundamentals to come into play again. In the mean time, possibly unjustified, but understandably, fearful emotions appear to be in control of the world's markets.

  Investors remain jittery, all eyes on financials / Metals under pressure as speculators sell, seeking cash - more

  Commodity Comments

  • Macquarie Bank analyst Max Layton - "Base metals are weighed down by the view that the Chinese economy, and the construction sector in particular, will not recover until the second half of 2009."
  • Gayle Berry at Barclays Capital - "'This fall is because of the continuation of risk reduction. What we're seeing here is, despite all these metals have different fundamentals, everything's coming under pressure....People don't want to establish fresh long positions at a a time when the macroeconomy and financial markets are as uncertain as they are."
  • (LME trader to Reuters) "People need cash at the moment and the banks have a tough time financing so it is not strange that we see metal turning up in warehouses -- there will be more."
  • (WBMS) The nickel market was in deficit by 17,200 tonnes between January and July 2008
  • (Dow Jones)  - Jindal Stainless Ltd. ), India's biggest stainless steel company by sales, won't cut its product prices in the immediate future because of prevailing higher input costs, its vice chairman and managing director said Wednesday.
  • (Scotia Daily Edge) A senior official from China Molybdenum Co. said last week that, “since May’s earthquake, which devastated parts of Sichuan province, the Chinese government is now insisting that stronger, higher specification steel containing molybdenum and vanadium-based alloys are used in the construction of bridges, schools, and other buildings.”
  • (Purchasing Magazine) Turkey’s Eti Krom, a major chrome ore supplier, has forecast a 30% decline in prices in 2009 to an average annual price of 23.5¢/lb due to an oversupplied market....Analyst Jim Lennon at Macquarie Research in London says Etikrom is blaming the expected price slide on “an unstoppable ore flood” coming from South Africa and Oman into China.
  • (numerous) Monday - With the 504-point slide of The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Monday, about $700 billion evaporated from retirement accounts, government pension funds and other investment portfolios.
  • A major objective of many investors active in the natural resources sector is to diversify away from the fiat-based world of finance and credit-dominated sectors such as banking, insurance and retail. - more
  • Citigroup’s (C) chief U.S. equity strategist Tobias Levkovich this morning says that the crumbling of commodities prices, and commodities stocks, “another six or nine months of pain and underperformance,” including coal, mining, machinery, energy equipment and services, engineering & construction, as well as fertilizers. - more

  The Indian stainless steel industry is looking ahead to a 10 per cent growth this year, with the Railways keen on the increased use of the material for its rolling stock. - more

  Despite the current financial crisis, bulk commodity pricing continues to remain strong. In fact, BMO suggests that the correction of some metals commodities may be overdone. - more

  The world's largest steel maker, ArcelorMittal, said on Wednesday it planned to cut production as much as 15 percent to support prices. - more

  Australia's mining boom may be fuelling an alarming rise in HIV infections among cashed-up heterosexual outback miners and businessmen in resource-rich states who holiday in Asia, say researchers. - more

  Jindal Stainless, India's largest stainless steel producer, sees 7-8 percent growth in output and 20 percent growth in sales volume for the current financial year, despite sluggish global production. Jindal, which changed its name to JSL Ltd on Tuesday, said strong domestic demand will help it to achieve a net profit and sales growth of 20 percent in the year ending March 2009. - more

  The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has started a local emphasis program in Kansas and Eastern Missouri aimed at reducing workplace health hazards associated with exposure to hexavalent chromium in general industry and construction. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.09/lb  higher.  Sucden's day old nickel graph shows a market starting the day in an oversold position (chart here), with a RSI of 31 and a Stochastic average reading of 27.2. At press, the dollar was basically trading flat against the euro, while oil had rebounded by nearly 4%. Metals are mostly green, although their gains appear to be only slight. CNN reports what is helping the market today "In an unprecedented move, the Federal Reserve Board is lending as much as $85 billion to rescue crumbling insurer American International Group, officials announced Tuesday evening."

  Nickel Advances in London as AIG Rescue Eases Market Concerns - Nickel rose in London as the Federal Reserve bailed out American International Group Inc. to avert a collapse of the biggest U.S. insurer. Aluminum and lead gained. - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - next report on Thursday as Ed is at conference
  • RIO Tinto and rival BHP Billiton are in-line for a seventh consecutive annual price rise for the bulk commodity, analysts say. - more
  • (China Mining) According to China's National Development & Reform Commission steel prices in the major markets of 30 provinces and cities slid down in August from a month before by 3.31% or climbed up 40.06% from the same period last year to stand at CNY 6056 per tonne....It's predicted the steel prices will keep a downward course in September amid continued growing output. In the first seven months, the nation's cumulative crude steel, pig iron and steel products increased 9.30%, 7.60% and 11.70% to 308.292 million tonnes, 288.942 million tonnes and 351.797 million tonnes respectively. Slowing growth in fixed asset investment, especially the property industry, which constrains the demand, and stabilizing coke price resulted from higher export tax effective as of August 20th are also behind the forecast of price trend."
  • Mining stocks down, but financial crisis could be good news for precious metals - more
  • Downturn Starts to Hit Emerging Economies - more

  Jinchuan Group Ltd., Asia's largest nickel producer, has lowered its ex-works price for nickel on the back of diving global prices, a company official told Interfax on Sept. 17. - more

  Because the unstable global economy has weakened demand, Korea Posco and Japan's Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel Corp. (NSSC) have cut production to reduce the market supply in an effort to stabilize the market. - more

  In its first official response to Vale's request for higher iron ore prices, China's steel industry group said the mining giant should immediately stop such unreasonable behavior that would hurt long-term interests between the two sides. - more

  The fall in prices of industrial metals such as copper, zinc, aluminium, lead and nickel is likely to benefit steel, construction, electrical equipment, cable and battery manufacturers, besides transportation and packaging industry. - more

  Steelmakers responded swiftly to a class action lawsuit filed September 12 in US District Court, Northern Illinois, seeking damages under the antitrust laws of the United States. - 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 (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 17 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Tuesday, September 16

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 13 to 4,760. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Marketplace - ""It's the end of the world as we know it. We're now dealing with a problem that is probably much larger than we think. There is $1 trillion of assets in AIG. It's much bigger and much more profound than a broker dealer in New York. It will affect Main Street as well," said Marino Marin, managing director at Gruppo, Levey & Co." World markets spent the evening trading in the red as the financial woes of the US spread (here). Dollar was in a stalemate this morning, as forex traders watched to see if the Fed might actually cut interest rates today, but after CNBC reported U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson had canceled a scheduled speech to focus on insurer American International Group's financial problems and hinted government money would be involved, the dollar rose (java chart), as did the Dow. Reports from the Gulf are that numerous oil rigs were seriously damaged by Hurricane Ike. It is also reported an explosion at a Nigerian pipeline was from an attack, but oil has bear on the brain, and oil traded lower yet again (java chart). Metals were all trading in the red today, both precious and industrial. Indicator charts show nickel fell early, and attempted an unsuccessful afternoon charge. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.89/lb . Official LME nickel inventories went over the 51,000 tonne mark overnight, and with the news yesterday, that the ISSF reported crude stainless steel production decreased in the first half of 2008 by 1.8%, nickel traders appear to be bewildered.   

  DJ BASE METALS: LME Metals Decline As Cash Favored, Financials Weigh - "Base metals on the London Metal Exchange were lower Tuesday as market uncertainty continued to pressure markets lower with the future of American International Group still in flux." - more

  Reports

  • The Long-Term Sustainability of Recent Commodity Price Strength - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • UBS analyst John Reade - "Investors in commodity indices are increasingly aware that they do not actually own hard assets, but rather they have an investment in commodity futures - or a total return swap on an index of commodity futures - with counterpart risk. This realization may be adding to deleveraging pressure on commodity index investments."
  • Barclays Capital - "In the current environment of financial market woes, macroeconomic concerns and risk reduction we expect base metals to remain under pressure."

  Unionized workers at Vale Inco Ltd's Thomson, Manitoba, nickel operations voted in favor a new three-year contract deal that would see pay increases and cost of living adjustments. - more

  BHP Billiton has warned that its profits are negatively exposed to any economic slowdown in China. The warning was contained in the group's US annual report and breaks with the habit of the past five years of talking up the strength of Chinese demand. - more

  Liberty Mines Inc. is pleased to announce that pre-production has commenced at the McWatters nickel mine from the 65m level. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.16/lb lower.  The Fed is meeting today, and a possible rate cut that wasn't being predicted by economists last week, is now being viewed as a possibility. This after the Dow lost over 500 points yesterday, as the financial crisis grows.  This kind of speculation has the dollar trading flat so far this morning, while oil continues to fall; at one point this morning trading at $90.81 per barrel. Sucden's day old chart reflects yesterday's drop here in nickel pricing. A contract resolution at Thompson, a report by ISSF reporting world stainless steel production was lower in th first half of 2008, a Cuban nickel mine resuming production, a daily continuation in LME inventory growth, and a general nervousness over the financial woes in the US, all combined to pressure nickel lower yesterday.     
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Reuters - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Nickel hit a recent intraday low of $17,300 on August 6. Break below $17,000 would take metal to levels last hit in April 2006. Nickel is down 66% from its all time high of $51,800 hit in May 2007."
  • (Dow Jones) The London Metal Exchange will launch minor metals contracts for molybdenum and cobalt in the second half 2009, the exchange said in a statement Tuesday.
  • Financial turmoil leads to broad retreat in commodities - more
  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - no comments until Thursday as Ed Meir is at a conference
  • China's spot prices of iron ore have been dropping since May, according to China Iron and Steel Association. - more
  • Universal Stainless & Alloy Products Inc reported that it has agreed with Local 9531 of the United Steelworkers to continue operations at the Company's Bridgeville facility while negotiations of a mutually acceptable labor agreement continue.
  • (Interfax) China produced 351.09 million tons of crude steel in the first eight months of this year, up 8.3 percent year-on-year, while crude steel output for the month of August stood at 42.57 million tons, down 5.17 percent from the previous month, according to statistics released by Mysteel on Sept. 16.
  • Ten Ways to Protect Your Finances From the Crisis - more
  • Bailouts Will Push US into Depression: Manager - more

  Nickel '08 surplus seen at 26,000 tonnes-Sumitomo - Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd, a top Japanese smelter, said it expects a global surplus in nickel this year of 26,000 tonnes, citing a slow recovery in stainless steel demand.- more

  It is reported that India has set an export quota of around 90,000 tonnes of chromium ore and concentrate for August to September 2008 period. Chromium ore is likely to account for 12,000 to 15,000 tonnes of the quota. - more

  Courtesy AISI - "In the week ending September 13, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,055,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 86.1 percent. Production was 2,047,000 tons in the week ending September 13, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 86.5 percent. The current week production represents a 0.4 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending September 13, 2008 is down 0.4 percent from the previous week ending September 6, 2008 when production was 2,062,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 86.4 percent."

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

  • London Metal Exchange inventory figures/changes - (for today's figures see MF Global report above) (charts and archives)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 16 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Monday, September 15

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 53 to 4,747. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Not that anything else much mattered today after Lehman's announced bankruptcy, but the Fed reported "industrial production decreased 1.1 percent in August and was revised down in June and July to show smaller gains of 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent respectively." (report) The Federal Reserve Board also reported US production capacity was at 78.7% in August, lower than expected, and the NY Empire State Manufacturing Index for August fell into the red, much lower than expected. In western Europe, new car sales fell 17 percent to 714,700 vehicles in August, and European Central Bank policy maker Yves Mersch told a German daily "We should not underestimate the fact that core inflation remains very high. It is above the level associated with price stability".  And while things in American must appear dismal, it apparently looked worse elsewhere, because the dollar traded higher, while oil was down nearly 5%. Precious metals were mostly up today, while base metals were down. Indicator charts show nickel fell in early trading, but stabilized in afternoon trading. Overnight inventory numbers showed another large gain, and the agreement at Vale's Thompson gave no one reason to believe that will end anytime soon. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.21/lb , and reversed its Friday mini bull run (day old chart here). Dow has been selling in the -200 to -300 range most of the morning, while most of the rest of the world ended down (list here). In a surprise move, China cut its interest rate late Monday, which could help Asian markets tomorrow.

  Industrial metals tumbled on Monday as investors dumped positions to seek refuge in safer assets after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, raising worries over the stability of the U.S. financial system. - more

  Stainless steel output down further in H1, but recovering: ISSF - Stainless steel crude steel production decreased in the first half of 2008 by 1.8% compared with the same period of 2007, but the downturn is slowing, according to preliminary figures released Monday by the International Stainless Steel Forum. - more

  Reports

  • Canada Commodity Price Update - pdf here
  • TD Weekly Commodity Report - pdf here
  • A Report On The State Of Canadian Mining industry - pdf here
  • China's Non-Ferrous Metal Industry -Its trend and impact for future outlook - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • (Analyst John Reade) "We doubt many investors and traders will be adding to risk in the short term, so position reduction will probably be the dominant theme. Based on an analysis of open interest and price, we believe the most significant shorts lie in copper, nickel and zinc, although the market is probably short in all base metals to some degree."
  • (Resource Investor) Molybdenum - "Why, some might say, is there this level of interest in an old-technology metal? Well, it's not so old-tech. It's important* in the chemical, lubricant, and metallurgical industries. Moly has uses as catalysts, paint pigments, corrosion inhibitors, smoke and flame retardants, dry lubricant (molybdenum disulfide) on space vehicles—with its resistance to high loads and temperatures, lighting, and electronics. As the requirements for ever-cleaner petroleum-based fuels increase, moly catalysts for desulfurization will see greater use. The U.S. Geological Survey's closing comment on moly's applications, "Few of molybdenum's uses have acceptable substitutions." And, as an example in electronics, when you see red on a flat-screen display it's likely moly-based; and moly has applications in high-definition TV as well."
  • After five years of tightening monetary policy to fight inflation, China abruptly reversed course on Monday, cutting interest rates and easing bank lending restrictions in response to signs that growth in the Chinese economy was slowing. - more

  Australian mining giant BHP Billiton has announced that it has no plans of pulling out from the multi-million Pujada Nickel Project in Mati City, Davao Oriental even as it continues to mire in a deadlock with its Filipino partner company, Asiaticus Mining Corporation (Amscor). - more

  A Congresswoman from the nearby province of Davao Oriental blamed indiscriminate mining by small-scale miners as the reason behind the landslides in Maco, Compostela Valley that killed 26 people and injured 29 more. - more

  Sustainability the Key for Vale Inco’s Vice President and COO Parviz Farsangi in Sudbury Speech - by Bill Bradley - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.52/lb lower. While gold is up a hair this morning, the rest of the precious and base metals complex is in the red... some quite handily, including nickel. Dollar is up a little over 1% against the Euro, oil is down nearly 5%. Wall Street is expected to tumble lower on the news of Lehman's bankruptcy, but the AIG and Merrill news may calm the markets. If not, it could be a bad day for shareholders and those with investments.   
  • Financial Times morning metal news - more
  • Forbes - more

  Nickel Leads Metals Lower in London on Stockpiles, Falling Oil  - "Nickel Leads Metals Lower in London on Stockpiles, Falling Oil Nickel fell, leading all industrial metals down in London trading, as increased stockpiles fueled concern a housing and construction slump is hurting demand. Tin and lead also slid as crude oil pulled commodities lower." - more

Nickel tumbles more than 5 pct in metals sell-off - "Nickel prices tumbled more than 5 percent on Monday as investors sold-off metals amid financial turmoil after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy." - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Base metals continued to rally impressively on Friday on the back of a much weaker dollar, but those gains, (and more), have since been given back in what is turning out to be the “Mother of all Mondays”. The day is starting off with a Chapter 11 filing by Lehman Bothers, this coming after a weekend of talks that failed to see the firm bought by any of its prospective suitors.  ... When markets are teetering on the brink of financial Armageddon, it is hard to make the case for holding practically anything other than cash, and not surprisingly, we are seeing a broad retreat in most commodities. The dollar has reversed earlier losses, and as a clear beneficiary of the rush to safety, is now at 1.42 against the Euro, up from 1.44. Despite the current gloom, we think that should the fallout from Lehman stay ring-fenced over the course of the day, metals could recover their stride, in line with firming equity markets. ... We are currently at $18,050, down $1200/MT; there is some support around current levels, (red line), but if things break below here, there is little else apparent on the charts "(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Reuters) Sept 12 - Chinese steel mills have yet to agree on a response to a demand for higher payment for iron ore from Brazilian miner Vale, despite three days of intense meetings in Beijing, industry sources said. Mills arguing that the Chinese industry should refuse to cave and rely instead on existing iron ore stocks have failed to persuade some of the larger mills, which fear that in the long term they cannot do without high-grade Brazilian iron ore.
  • (SG) In China, the stainless steel industry remains largely quiet and purchasers of stainless steel scrap are reluctant to commit to large purchases of material from overseas. Stainless steel mills said that the high prices demanded by US and European suppliers of scrap make such purchases unfeasible in present market conditions. They prefer to stay away from the volatile international market and buy from domestic sources.
  • Tashan iron ore mine tailings disaster  death toll rises to 254.
  • (Steelguru) India's MMTC announced that it will hold the price of chrome ore unchanged by the end of September 2008 after 2 consecutive price hikes in March and May 2008.

  LCH.Clearnet said on Monday it had declared Lehman Brothers a defaulter after the U.S. investment bank filed for bankruptcy. - more

  The US Department of Commerce is conducting an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on imports of corrosion-resistant flat carbon steel products from Korea in response to a request from US Steel, Nucor and ArcelorMittal USA. - 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 (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 15 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Weekend updates, September 13 & 14

  (comment) Nickel prices traded higher Friday, mostly due to the falling dolllar. Stainless steel users dodged a bullet Friday when Vale and the local USW in Thompson, Canada agreed to a new tentative contract.  

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • The Next Commodities Boom: Around the Corner? - more

  The European Union will not impose anti-dumping duties for now in the first of three investigations into Chinese steel imports, sources familiar with one of the most sensitive EU-China trade cases said on Friday. - more

Friday, September 12 (abridged)

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 93 to 4,800. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Bloomberg - "Crude oil was little changed after falling below $100 a barrel in New York today for the first time since April on signs that a slowing global economy will curtail energy demand and as Hurricane Ike takes aim at Texas refineries.... The euro rose as much as 1.5 percent against the dollar." Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.70/lb Updates on Ike - here

  Base metals on the London Metal Exchange were up sharply Friday as U.S. dollar weakness inspired buying across the complex, helped by reports of decent Asian buying, but many traders and analysts said this is likely just a temporary short-covering rally. - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "The metals complex for the most part chalked up a solid gain yesterday, with the price advances coming through despite wobbly energy markets, a stronger dollar, and an initially weaker US equity markets. The fact that metals withstood this barrage of exogenous negative influences was impressive, and should have prompted us to conclude that that the bounce from oversold conditions has yet to run its course...We are sharply higher again as of this writing, but this time with good reason. The dollar has rebounded back over the 140 mark, and is now trading under 141, unleashing strong buying in commodities. ...We are currently at $18,900, up $400/MT  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Commodities led the investment pack in the first half of the year, but in recent weeks the tide of bad news for investors in the asset class has been seemingly endless. - more
  • Jinchuan Group Will Reduce 10,000 to 20,000 tons Nickel Production This Year
  • (Dow Jones) Jones)--U.S. nickel exports rose 10.0% in July from the previous month, and was up 95.9% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

  Vale Inco has reached a tentative contract deal with unionized workers at its Thompson, Manitoba, nickel operations, the United Steelworkers union said on Friday. - more

  Zambia's sole nickel mine is stockpiling nickel and cobalt concentrate to export to China before the end of the year, the mine's owners said on Friday. - 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 (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 12 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, September 11 (abridged)

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metals rebounded yesterday, but rather surprisingly, did so without the help of energy, which finished lower after a very choppy session, or the dollar, which ended slightly higher on the day. Instead, we seemed to have had a technical bounce after some rather oversold readings were reached, particularly on copper, and ali, where as we noted in yesterday’s note, the RSI’s were in the low 30’s to high 20’s.  ... Metals are mixed as of this writing, having recovered from earlier modest losses. However, we suspect the sellers will revisit more forcefully later in the day given the strength of the dollar, which is now trading at 1.3904 against the Euro, and obviously taking out the psychological 1.40 level. ... We are currently at $18,500, unchanged, and quiet.(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel imports fell 9.0% in July from last month, but was up 17.2% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
  • (Dow Jones) Nickel prices are trading near the marginal costs of production, which should limit any significant downside risk, says Barclays Capital. Rallies are unlikely in the current environment, though, as high nickel inventories, dollar strength and negative sentiment in broader financial markets continue to weigh on base metals in general.
  • Eric Sprott, chairman, chief executive and portfolio manager at Sprott Asset Management - letter to clients last month - “We believe the bizarre action in the markets during July and August does not portend of a new trend. In our opinion, oil, gold and other real assets shall remain in a bull market and the faux-rally in financials will die the death of a thousand cuts.”
  • In recent weeks, we have seen the worst sell-off of commodities in the history of commodity trading. - more
  • (Reuters) The European Commission slashed its economic growth forecasts for Europe on Wednesday in an admission that a downturn which began in the United States is hitting far harder than many imagined six months ago.
  • To hear Donald Coxe tell it, the commodity selloff ripping through Canada's stock market is no accident. - more
  • Commodities bull markets should be measured in terms of decades versus yearly trends that most investors cling to, as market economist Nikolai Kondratiev argued back in the 1920s. - more

  As the Korean currency dropped sharply recently against the US dollar, the difference between Posco HR price and that of other Asian countries, such as Japan and China, has become bigger and bigger. - more

  Mr Lou Dingbo chairman of Special Steel Enterprise Association of China said that "One remarkable change in the stainless steel industry in China is that the advanced production capacity has acquired the leading position. - more

  Western Areas NL, an Australian nickel producer that's tripled sales, is studying acquisitions as this year's drop in the price of the metal may force competitors to look for buyers as margins get squeezed. - more

  Roger Agnelli, the chief executive of Brazilian iron ore miner Vale, said on Wednesday the company's current price negotiations with Asian steel mills would not take effect until 2009. - 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 (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 11 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, September 10

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 229 to 5,026. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Markets appear to be drifting today, not knowing which way to go. The dollar has spent much of the morning trading up against the Euro. Under 'bear market sentiment' in the dictionary, you could find "crude oil traders appear to be wondering what effect yesterday's announced OPEC cut will have, or whether Ike in the Gulf will have any affect, or whether the drop in inventory reported by the EIA today might have, or whether the earthquake near Iran's biggest oil port this morning will have an effect", therefore oil is trading lower? Metals were mixed, with precious all trading lower, and base mostly trading slightly higher. Indicator charts show nickel traded in about a $400/tonne range today, and while Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.30/lb ,  it could be argued that the trading appeared to favor the bulls in the latter half of the day. Nickel traders appear to be in limbo, waiting on news, or even a rumor out of the Vale-USW talks going on in Thompson, Manitoba, Canada. LME nickel inventories gained again overnight. Sucden's day old chart reflects the overall bearish pressure on the market (here), and today's trading will reflect a continuation of this. Cuban officials advise their nickel operations should be back up and running in a few days, after Hurricane Ike passed thru. Ike is a Category 1, in the Gulf, and heading for southern Texas (updated map here) Tropical Storm Sinlaku now looks to be a potential problem for Okinawa and southern Japan (map here) The death toll from yesterday's collapsed iron ore waster reservoir in China, now stands at 128. Iran is reporting 4 killed this morning  from a 6.1 earthquake, near its largest oil port.

  Commodity Comments

  • Chinese media sources report ferrochrome FeCr55C1000(50%) is selling in Tianjin for 13,200/RMB ton today compared to 14,000/RMB ton a week ago.  It also report ferromolybdenum FeMo60 is selling in Wuhan 270000/RMB ton, same as last week. High carbon ferrochrome HC FeCr min C6-8.5% is listed as selling for $1.80-$2.00/lb FOB China port, down from $2.00-$2.10/lb a week ago. Low carbon ferrochrome LC FeCr C0.025% Si1.0-1.5% is listed as selling for $4.55-$4.75/lb, no change in the past week.
  • (China Mining) Sinosteel recently signed a frame contract with the Laibin city government, Guangxi to merge with Guangxi Bayi Ferroalloy (Group) Co., Ltd. According to the deal, Sinosteel will invest about 10.4 billion yuan to help the group form a ferroalloy capacity of 1.08 million tons per year and a stainless steel capacity of 800,000 tons; create an annual sales revenue of more than 20 billion yuan and a profit and tax of about 4.5 billion yuan.
  • The pricing of listed stocks indicates further falls for dollar metal prices of gold, aluminium, copper, and silver. - more
  • The liquidation last week of Ospraie Management LLC’s flagship hedge fund made big news internationally but was perhaps a bit underplayed here in South Africa. - more

  The Cuban nickel production, a major source of foreign currency on the island, has been temporarily suspended due to Hurricane "Ike", informed the ministry of basic industry. - translated version here

  Mainstream Media Ignorance About Mining - Especially Waste Disposal - by Marilyn Scales - more

  At least 128 people were killed and many more were feared dead in north China after a huge reservoir of iron ore waste, illegally maintained and turned to sludge by heavy rain, buried a bustling marketplace in tons of suffocating mud. - more

  Russian government declared plans to combat monopoly in the commodity segments of MMC move into action. - translated version here

  To keep down steel prices, the central steel ministry has recommended an additional five percent duty on iron ore exports. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling with no change . Precious metals are trading lower this morning, while base price appear to be very quiet. Oil is slightly higher in response to OPEC announcing a cut in output. Dollar appears to be headed for another up and down day against the Euro.
  • Dow Jones morning metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metal prices sank once again yesterday, although they did recover off their worst levels. Copper and ali both fell to 7 month lows, while the balance of the group, with the exception of nickel, also sold off sharply. Apart from an initial burst higher approaching the 1.40 level against the Euro yesterday, the dollar did not have much to do with yesterday’s selloff, as it was holding at weaker levels for much of the day. Rather, it was continued economic malaise, coupled with very soft energy prices that kept metals on the defensive for much of the day yesterday.  ... This morning, we are off to a much calmer start amid tighter trading ranges, but the mood remains fragile.  ... We have been negative on the metal markets for some time now, but we expect to see a modest short-covering bounce set in as early as today. We think energy markets could move somewhat higher over the course of the day, as the OPEC announcement has yet to fully play itself out on the upside given the element of surprise it brought to the table. A stronger energy market, coupled with a possible Lehman “reprieve”, could see metals regroup somewhat and move higher in sympathy. The dollar is not doing much today, and is holding steady against the Euro.  ... We are currently at $18,500, unchanged, and quiet." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Steel Guru) It is reported that China's export of finished steel products surged to 7.68 million tonnes in August, setting a fresh all time high after hitting 7.21 million tonnes in Jul up by 6.5% MoM.
  • (Interfax) China exported 7.68 million tons of steel products during August 2008, up 6.52 percent from the previous month, while steel exports over the first seven months of this year fell 7.2 percent year-on-year to 41.84 million tons, according to statistics released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC) on Sept. 10.
  • The long-term contract price for global iron ore is projected to rise 30 percent, according to Citibank. - more

  Cuba said on Tuesday that Hurricane Ike did no serious damage to its nickel mines and processing plants and it expected to restart production of its top export in a few days. - more

  Supply And Demand Of Main Ferro-Alloys In Japan For Apr. - Jun. 2008 Quarter = Production Of Manganese Ferro-Alloys In First Half 2008 Increased - more

  More than 50 people were killed and hundreds more may be missing in north China after a reservoir of mining waste collapsed, burying cars and homes under a wall of sludge. - more

  - David Singleton, the chief executive officer of Poseidon Nickel Ltd., an exploration company chaired by Andrew Forrest, Australia's richest man, says nickel prices will recover as China increases its steel-making capacity.  - 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 (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 10 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Tuesday, September 9

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 237 to 5,255. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Dollar dipped today on profit taking, and oil traded lower. In world economic reports issued today, pending home sales fell more than expected in the U.S., while wholesale inventories rose faster than expected. Machine tool orders in Japan are down 14.2% YOY, Germany's trade surplus fell much lower than expected, and industrial production in the UK fell more than expected. As far as Dollar-Euro fundamentals went today, it was a case of pick your poison. The good news for the day came from Canada, where housing starts were stronger than expected. The metals complex ended in the red, with lead taking a special beating, down nearly 4%. Indicator charts show nickel traded quietly again today, much the same as Sucden's day old chart reflects yesterday's trading went (here), and Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.39/lb . It is worth noting that LME nickel inventories have grown by nearly 15% since July 21st, and rolled back over the 50,000 mark for the first time since May 12th. Latest on Hurricane Ike here And the government announced the deficit for this year will more than double to $407 billion. These numbers do not include the taxpayer cost of the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

  Nickel-Major market developments in August - "Rising supply and disappointing demand from the key stainless steel sector will continue to pressure nickel prices, some analysts say." - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • RBS Global Banking & Metals analyst Stephen Briggs - "The market is starting to realize you can't say globalization and decoupling in one breath and not be inconsistent."
  • Comrades Bush, Paulson and Bernanke Welcome You to the USSRA (United Socialist State Republic of America) - more

  (excerpt) A hefty 76.1 percent growth was posted in mining and quarrying as a result of the continuing increase in nickel production. - more

  Stainless Steel Bar From India: Notice of Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review - more

  Courtesy AISI - "In the week ending September 6, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,062,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 86.4 percent. Production was 2,047,000 tons in the week ending September 6, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 86.5 percent. The current week production represents a 0.8 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending September 6, 2008 is down 1.2 percent from the previous week ending August 30, 2008 when production was 2,087,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 87.5 percent."

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.09/lb . While the dollar is trading slightly higher and base metals are all trading in the red this morning, nickel has some extra pressure coming from a staggering 1020 tonnes of nickel received into LME warehouses overnight. Nickel inventories stored in worldwide LME warehouses went back over the 50,000 tonne mark with today's gain, for the first time since May 12th.    

  Nickel Falls in London as Posco Cuts Stainless-Steel Output - Nickel fell in London as Posco, Asia's largest maker of stainless steel, plans to extend output cuts for a third month, indicating weaker demand for the metal. - more

  • Posco, Asia's largest maker of stainless steel, plans to extend an output cut this month on weak demand following similar reductions in July and August. - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metal prices gave up earlier gains yesterday, with copper closing modestly lower, apparently unable to withstand the surge in the dollar and the sharp rally in the US equity markets. Energy markets also relinquished about $3/brl in gains seen in Sunday night trading to close modestly lower by Monday. However, by far and away, the dollar remains the main factor pressuring metals. Some technical analysts are suggesting that having broken 1.43 support against the Euro, the dollar could now rise to the 1.32 level by year-end. We don’t rule out such a target, as with a new US administration elected in less than 60 days, we could see a more positive psychology develop towards the dollar. More importantly, the US slowdown now seems to be spreading around the world with alarming speed, making the case for holding the dollar significantly more attractive. By the same token, this would only increase the pressure on commodities heading into Q4. As far as today’s action is concerned, LME metals sold off sharply in Asian trading before recovering somewhat at the time of this writing...We are currently at $18,750, down $100, and fairly quiet today.. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) Jinchuan Group, the country's largest nickel producer, will not deviate from its original plan to produce 120,000 tons of nickel this year, despite market reports that it has cut back its production goal, a company official told Interfax on Sept. 9.
  • (Steel Guru) Japanese July SS scrap exports up by 7.2% MoM. According to the statistics of Japan Iron & Steel Federation, Japan has exported 22,539 tonnes of stainless steel scrap in July 2008, up by 7.2% MoM as compared to 21,008 tonnes in June 2008. Japan exported 183,018 tonnes during January to July 2008 period.
  • (press release) Sherritt International Corporation ("Sherritt") reported today that precautionary measures were implemented at all of its facilities in Cuba in anticipation of Hurricane Ike. As a result, at the Moa Nickel facilities no injuries occurred on site and an initial assessment indicates relatively minor damage. The Moa Nickel facilities are currently idling and are waiting for utility services to be fully re-established. Finished nickel and cobalt production from the Fort Saskatchewan refinery is not expected to be impacted in 2008 due to this hurricane, subject to the duration of the production interruption at Moa Nickel.
  • Religare Commodities - "Strengthening US Dollar is making base metals look unattractive for holders of other currencies. The base metals pack is in the middle of a seasonal slowdown in demand. Although demand has slowed down and is expected to come down further, the most important factor i.e., supply will help to hold prices higher."

  Falling world nickel prices due to a supply glut will persist until more producers cut supplies, the head of Mincor Ltd, Australia's third largest nickel miner, said on Tuesday. - more

  Mirabela Nickel Ltd., building the world's third-largest open-pit nickel project in Brazil, agreed to sell 50 percent of the $387 million mine's concentrate output to OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel until the end of 2014. - more

  Production Activities Of Ferro-Alloys And Ores At ENRC In 1st Half 2008 = Fe-Cr Production Increased By 11% From That In 2007, Output Of Cr-Ore Also Increased - 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 (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 9 - more
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Monday, September 8

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 171 to 5,492. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • After the U.S. government seized mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Sunday to prevent trillions of dollars in mortgage-backed securities from defaulting, markets around the world responded favorably (here). As one consultant told Market Watch " "Whether this is the beginning of the end or merely the end of the beginning is yet to be determined," said Paul Nolte, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates. "However, it is certainly the hope that this move will begin to calm the housing market and allow mortgage money to once again flow." UBS warned its readers "The Fannie and Freddie takeover may provide initial relief to bank stocks and brokers, but credit, liquidity and economic issues remain." The news also helped the dollar, which, after faltering on Friday, is trading nearly 2% higher against the Euro at press time. Oil trading was up earlier on Ike concerns, but has since fallen into the minus column. Metals ended mixed, with precious metals falling into the red, and base metals ending mixed. Nickel bucked its negative sentiment trend of the last few days (seen here) and with an RSI under 30, the market held steady today. Indicator charts show the metal traded quietly, within a $.10/lb range. Concerns over potential damage to Cuban nickel production from Hurricane Ike, were balanced by yet another very large influx of inventory into LME warehouses. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.53/lb . We have posted our thoughts on this week's negotiations going on in Thompson, Canada, between the USW and Vale. We hope we are wrong, but we think the risk of a strike is high. Hurricane Ike update here

  Reports

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

  Commodity Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Nickel prices may rebound sharply if stainless steel producers restock as expected in 4Q, as the decline in LME nickel prices has shuttered about 10% of global production capacity, says Morgan Stanley. "If this does indeed materialize when 10% of production capacity is off-line, the price reaction could be rapid and intense."
  • (Dow Jones) Jones)--Russia exported 139,600 metric tons of nickel in January-July, 0.8% more than in January-July 2007, the federal customs service reported Monday
  • Higher demand for commodities, which is driving material new investment in the mining sector, could be adding exuberance to the operations of construction companies such as Aveng. - more
  • Nickle in a Pickle - Of the six major base metals, nickel has been the most volatile performer over the past several months. - more

  Chinese spot molybdenum oxide prices fell this week on weaker demand, with offers down to $33.45-33.70/lb on a CIF basis from $33.80-34/lb CIF last week, industry sources said. - more

  One of China’s biggest corporations admits it has been on a steep learning curve since it began to build a A$1 billion nickel mine in Papua New Guinea. - more

  What is the universe made of? How did it come about, and how come we exist? Scientists have no clear answers to these questions. - more

  The boom in the commodity cycle in the past few years has put the spotlight on the steel sector. But within this bigger industry, the smaller segment of stainless steel is less talked about. - more

  Commonly in Aug and Sep, under the influence of high temperature and abundant rain, China domestic steel transactions and demand are in off-season in this period. - more

  The head of Eramet SA said the French government sees the mining group as a strategic interest and wants to keep a French shareholding base. - more

  The very high demand for natural resources from China and India has caught global mining markets off guard, Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) governor Glenn Stevens says. - more

  (Opinion) Next Monday, September 15th, the current contract between USW Local 6166, representing the Thompson mine, smelter and refinery workers, and Vale-Inco company will expire. The last two times this membership sat down with their former owners, Inco, in 2002 and 2005, new contracts were ratified without any strike action taken. But this time, things are a tad different; with new owners and an entirely new market. We feel there is a very strong chance we may see a strike here, not because we have any insider information, but because Vale may have market motivation not to be as cooperative as they might have been in the past.

Since becoming owners of Inco, Vale has suffered a USW strike at Sudbury, when an action by USW Local 2020 ended after one day, after USW Local 6500 miners refused to cross the picket line. On that day, nickel traded at $45,600 tonne, and was destined to reach $50,000/tonne just 3 days later. The timing came as nickel was reaching peaks it had never seen before, and no nickel miner in their right mind, could afford a day of non-operation with such profit potential beckoning. The results would have been financially disastrous, and shareholders would have wanted someone's head on a platter. After the miners agreed not to cross 2020's picket line, thus directly affecting production, the game was over.

Putting aside the cooperative nature of the local union, there is a strong economic factor overshadowing this round of negotiations. While in the past 6 years it has been in the benefit of companies to bend a little more than normal to keep production rolling, that motivation may not be as prevalent this time. Using an entirely unscientific process of our own, we come up with the following. If we were to assume the Thompson mine was going to produce 8000 tonnes of nickel in the third quarter (better than recent quarters), we would place production at approximately 615 tonnes a week. At $8.50/lb, this means Vale could lose approximately $11.5 million dollars a week by a shutdown. A strike at a well established mine, such as Thompson, could easily cause the price of nickel to rise. Using the 1st quarter production report from Vale-Inco, where Thompson produced 6700 tonnes, the other Vale nickel facilities produced 54,100 tonnes. If nickel prices did not move, the other production facilities, at comparable production levels of 4,161 tonnes per week, would still see make Vale around $78 million dollars in sales per week. If the price of nickel rose $.50/lb because of the strike, the company could see $82 million in sales, and if nickel rose by $1/lb, to $9.50/lb, the company could see $87 million in sales. If nickel were to rise to $9.75/lb, where it did on August 21st, two days after Xstrata announced the Falcondo closure, Vale sales could be $89.5 million, and thus, cover the potential losses of a Thompson strike. Any price above this could mean the Thompson closure would actually 'make' Vale money. With Falcondo shut down, and BHP's Kwinana nickel refinery still out of action, and Cuba suffering unknown damage this week because of Hurricane Ike, it is entirely possible that prices could rise into the $10/lb range on news of a strike. So, while Canadian nickel miners have had the upper hand in prior years, the market fundamentals have changed, and could arguably be in the company's favor. No matter what happens, USW Local 6500, representing workers in Sudbury, Local 6200 in Port Colburne, and Local 6480, representing workers at Voisey's Bay, will all be watching. All see contracts with Vale expire next year.

On a personal note, both parties should keep in mind why Xstrata has been putting up such 'stiff' competition lately. Might have something to do with that Viagra clause their union won in February 2007. And while one proud Inco worker wrote us at the time, claiming Inco miners 'didn't need Viagra' like their Xstrata counterparts, we can only hope nickel prices aren't the only thing that have gone flaccid this year. Good luck to both Vale and USW Local 6166 members in these negotiations.  We will be very happy if you prove us dead wrong on this prediction.

  iPods, Environmental Groups and the Mining Sector – by Paul Stothart - more

  The management committee of Russian miner Norilsk Nickel has decided to recommend its board spin off just one power generator, OGK-3, and sell its remaining electricity assets, Norilsk said on Monday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.07/lb higher. Ike is rolling across Cuba, after entering the country near Holguin, the country's nickel mining region. Damage is expected to be heavy,  but nickel trading is somewhat subdued as LME warehouses record yet another large inbound flow of nickel overnight. Dollar is trading higher, by a full percent as we post. Oil is also up on Ike concerns, and metals, both industrial and precious, are all trading in the green. Equity markets worldwide are responding positively to the news of the US government takeover of Fannie and Freddie, and Wall Street is expected to be in a good mood today.  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  • Haywood Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here
  • Danske Commodities Monthly - pdf here
  • Chart Store Weekly Scoreboard - pdf here
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Commodities Daily Analysis - pdf here
  • Commodities Comment - here
  • Morning Montra - pdf here
  • Morning Bell - pdf here
  • World Steel Review Iron & Steel Statistics Bureau, September 2008 - pdf here
  • Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.Friday Report - pdf here
  • Presentation - Jim Lennon - Steel Raw Materials and Relevant Issues - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "LME prices were hammered on Friday, with copper leading the way and tumbling to a seven-month low, as demand worries and a hefty rise in stocks triggered a sharp sell-off. ... It is a different story this morning, as we are seeing a firmer tone across the board. Energy prices are up, as Hurricane Ike pushes towards the Gulf of Mexico, while equity markets are surging, (with Dow futures up 250 points), on weekend news that the Federal Housing Finance Agency will take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under a so-called conservatorship. ... We suspect that fund money may leave commodities over the next day or two, especially in light of the stronger equity markets. In addition, with the dollar pushing higher, there will be further pressure on metals as well.  ... We are currently at $18,687, up $87, but not doing much on the charts, as we are seeing a modest sideways drift keep within an overall downtrend. " (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • September is off to a dismal start (for investors) with some thinking that the wheels have fallen off commodities in general, and base metals in particular, what with the firmer dollar, and mostly negative assumptions about global economic growth. - more
  • Harry Kazazian built his business on sleeping bags that are made in China and shipped across the ocean to the United States, but he realized recently that the math doesn't work anymore. - more
  • (MF Global) Jinchuan Group, China's top nickel producer, said it has cut its nickel production target after delays resulting from switching to a new smelter, a company official told Reuters on Monday. Nickel production will now be cut by 10,000 to 20,000 tons, to an overall annual production target of 100,000 tons to 110,000 tons.
  • (MF Global) Russian nickel exports to non-CIS countries rose by 0.7% to 140,200 tons in the first seven months of this year, this according to federal customs data.

  Mybuxiu analyst revealed in a report that, by conducting a survey of the domestic stainless makers' planned production and existing output, it is found that the stainless industry has presented an increasing oversupply. - more

  • It is reported that the sharp slowdown of the growth in the domestic construction and real estate industries and the rising raw materials costs in the first half have driven steelmakers to cut their output, carry out maintenance in advance or even halt production. - more

  Fishermen and residents in central Philippines have held a river protest in the Cebu-Bohol Strait today to protest the offshore mining activities of the Australian firm NorAsia. - 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 (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 8 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Sunday Flash, September 7

  Hurricane Ike, having regained Category 4 strength on Friday, is forecast to strike Eastern Cuba sometime Sunday evening. On its current expected path, Ike could cause damage to Cuba's nickel producing operations.  Map here  NOAA info here  Ike is also forecast to enter the Gulf, which could cause oil commodity prices to rise in early week trading, and potentially influence the dollar and base metal trading.  Then again, the attitude toward commodities is so incredibly bearish these days, we may see a repeat of Gustav, where a potentially damaging hurricane in the Gulf actually saw the price of oil decline. Oil prices may get a boost after the rhetoric heated up between Russian and the US over Georgia this weekend. One Russian official was quoted in today's 'The Australian' as saying ""What seemed impossible before is more than possible now when our friends become our enemies and our enemies our friends. What are American ships doing off our coast? Do you see Russian warships off the coast of America? Russia will respond. A number of possibilities are being considered, including hitting America there where it hurts most - Iran." The Australian reports the Kremlin is discussing sending teams of Russian nuclear experts to Tehran and inviting Iranian nuclear scientists to Moscow for training, according to sources close to the Russian military. The Ike and Iran factors could potentially give the oil bulls some bite this week. And in other major US economic news, The Fed has officially seized control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Update: Reuters "Ike was set to come ashore in Holguin, home of the nickel industry, Cuba's most important export, then move westward over the heart of the sugar industry. Holguin's mines and three processing plants in the mountains were shut down."

Friday, September 5

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 211 to 5663. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines today - (MarketWatch) Unemployment rate unexpectedly soars to 6.1% - Nonfarm payrolls fall by 84,000 in August, more than expected" (Reuters) U.S. home foreclosures and the rate of homes entering foreclosure rose to record highs in the second quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Friday. (Reuters) Property fund managers and analysts have written off all hope of a British commercial real estate recovery in the next year-and-a-half, consensus data showed on Friday (Reuters) German industrial output fell by a bigger-than-expected 1.8 percent on the month in July, undershooting all forecasts, preliminary data showed on Friday. (Reuters) The economic outlook continues to weaken for the world's seven major economies, according to July leading indicators published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Friday. (Reuters) Oil prices fell more than $2 on Friday as flagging demand in the United States and other consumer nations extended crude's losses to 8 percent this week. (Reuters) Metals fall on demand worries, inventory rise. It appeared this morning that forex traders felt the economic picture in America was worse than Europe, which put a halt to the Dollar's rise. But by press time, the dollar was trading higher again. Most of the precious and base metals spent the day trading in the red. Nickel was no exception and Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.44/lb . Down for the week, but as can be seen by Sucden's day old chart here, prices are are about what they were before the news of Falcondo shutting down broke. Apparently traders, once encouraged by the potential for new supply disruption's, on the back of others already reported, have also watched LME inventories grow, reflecting a stronger destruction in demand.  Nickel is also caught up in this dump commodities movement, as the media continues to guide sentiment with its alarms of a 'commodities bust'.
  • For those who partake of the suds this weekend, here is a short video about how to keep from getting sick. Have a safe and relaxing weekend!!  

  Metals fall on demand worries, inventory rise - "Industrial metals were hammered on Friday, with copper tumbling to a seven-month low as demand worries and a hefty rise in inventories triggered a sell-off." - more

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Making steel by UK Steel - here

  Commodity Comments

  • S&P Primary Credit Analyst Donald Marleau and Secondary Credit Analyst Alex Herbert forecasts a base-case nickel price of $7.25/lb for this year, $6.50/lb for 2009, $6/lb in 2010, $5/lb in 2011 and $4/lb in the long term - more
  • Falling prices of base metals provide traders on Indian exchanges a window of opportunity to earn handsome rewards on investment. - more
  • Stephen Dennis speaks from experience when he says laying off staff is one of the hardest things a boss could ever do. - more
  • The combination of the secular growth story of China and the other "BRIC" nations in combination with a weaker US dollar have been the driving force of the commodities boom of recent years, but the recent correction in prices across the energy and metals sectors on the back of a stronger greenback has shown how quickly confidence in the sector has been lost. - more

  This week we review the Chinese nickel pig iron industry year to date, following the recent sharp fall in global nickel prices. - more

  World market prices of nickel were increasing till August, 21, 2008 and started to decrease afterwards. Stocks of nickel on controllable London stock exchange of metals warehouse for the last month have increased. - more

  Panoramic Resources Limited is pleased to announce that BHP Billiton Nickel West has formally accepted additional ore tonnage from the Lanfranchi Project in 2008/09 in excess of the contracted 350,000 tonnes per annum. - more

  We are reaching a point where the mining supply industry in Sudbury and Northern Ontario is as important for the global mining industry as the orebodies. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.30/lb  lower. Precious metals are mixed, while base metals are all trading in the red. Wall Street is waking up to news that nonfarm payrolls decreased by 84,000 according to a Labor Department report issued this morning. After the 3% drop in the Dow yesterday, hard to tell if this news will keep the market southbound, or if traders will feel the market is oversold. The dollar, at the moment, is trading lower against the Euro, while a barrel of oil continues to drop.    
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "The strong dollar/slow growth backdrop argues for continued weakness in commodities going into the year-end, as one of the most spectacular prices runs we have seen in some time --rivaling the mania of the internet bubble in some respects-- seems to be ending, at least for now.  ... We are currently at $18,600, down $605--with little news out; nickel seems to be sitting out the worst of the selling. " (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Rusmet) According to the statistics of Japan Iron and Steel Federation (JISF), Japan exported 135,541 tons of stainless steel in July, increased by 25.2 percent than 108,221 tons in the same time of last year.
  • (Financial Times) Growth in Chinese steel consumption is expected to slow markedly in the second half of this year amid weakening demand from the construction, household appliance and automobile industries, according to industry experts.
  • (BG) Nickel's global surplus will be 6,000 tons this year, down from 31,000 tons forecast in January after low prices led to output cuts, analysts from Macquarie Group Ltd. said yesterday
  • (Ferroalloy) New Caledonia nickel cobalt producer,Goro Nickel plan to produce 16,000 tons of nickel metal in 2009,which is the first year of mine production. The spokesman said that Goro Nickel's new ore processing plant has recently been put into production. They plan to operate one of the total three production line in 2009.
  • (FN News) Nickel currently has the highest level of LME stocks, but supply cutbacks in recent weeks have improved sentiment and lowered stockpiles, with some recovery in stainless steel demand likely, Standard Chartered expects double digit price gains in the second half when compared to the first six months of this year. This optimism should prove to be short-lived though and it sees prices falling from a forecast average of US$24,208 per tonne this year to US$22,250 per tonne in 2009. Barclays Capital has an almost identical outlook for the market and expects stronger prices over the next few months, but then a decline into 2009. Its forecasts are US$24,173 per tonne this year and US$21,500 next year.
  • (Dow Jones) Standard Bank technical analyst Darran Graham maintains view that nickel is forming a base for move higher, recommends keeping long bias; "renewed gains beyond $21,500 will yield a test of $22,440 and, once this barrier is breached, the topside opens up for a retest of the $24,900 corrective high recorded on June 13." Warns break below $18,000 would undermine bullish scenario.(

  Nickel Supply Is Being Whirled In Minus Factors = China Reduces To Produce Ni-Contained Pig Iron And Fe-Ni, Progresses Of New Nickel Projects Are Marked - more

  BHP Billiton will continue development work at a Philippine nickel project despite a long-running dispute with its local partner, the minister in charge of the mining sector said on Friday. - more

  Brazil's Vale, which offers cheaper iron ore to Chinese steel makers than BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, wants to lift its prices to match what Australian mines have won. - more  

  • Chinese steel mills yesterday prepared to rebuff top iron-ore miner Vale’s demand for an unprecedented price increase halfway through the annual contract cycle. - more
  • Vale's demands for an unprecedented mid-cycle hike in term iron ore prices could stem a slide in the Indian spot market, which offers cheap supply for Chinese mills seeking to undermine the Brazilian miner's position. - more
  • BHP Billiton Ltd/Plc suspended all its iron ore mining in Australia on Friday, shutting in a third of the country's production after the second mine worker death in the past 10 days, raising broader safety concerns in its mines. - more

  China's Ministry of Commerce said on its website this week that Chinese ferroalloy exporters are allowed to approach their local authorities to apply for export licenses beginning September 1. - more

  The government of Kazakhstan has proposed to set mineral extraction tax rates for oil producers at 7-20 percent of crude's market value from 2011, with higher rates applied to larger producers, according to a draft law. - 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 (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 5 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Thursday, September 4

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 272 to 5,874. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Forex - "The euro fell to its lowest level against the dollar since January on Thursday after the chairman of euro zone finance ministers Jean-Claude Juncker said that the single currency was still effectively overvalued."  MarketWatch - "The Labor Department reported jobless claims rose last week to a seasonally adjusted 444,000, up 15,000 from the prior week. The data marked a shift after three weeks of declines, and surprised analysts who expected a slight drop." MarketWatch - "U.S. private-sector employment fell 33,000 in August, according to the ADP employment index released Thursday." Wall Street was put it into an immediate bad mood with the employment news, and at press was down nearly 300 points. Oil and the dollar did an about face since our morning update, with oil falling and the dollar climbing, resuming the sentiment of late. Metals were all green across the board this morning, but they all ended either mostly flat or down. Nickel was one of those who fell today, and indicator charts shows the metal was holding an earlier morning gain till mid afternoon, when it succumbed to the dollar rally. Tin actually gained a few bucks on the day, and once again, edged nickel out for the most expensive metal slot. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.71/lb   . In other news, Russia's central bank sold up to $4 billion on Thursday to stop the rouble's fall. IMF spokesman Masood Ahmed told a news briefing "We have been below the consensus forecasts this year and we do think there are risks to the outlook this year, but we do see the beginning of a gradual recovery in 2009." A study released today found no link between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) and autism. The Washington Post reports - "The Yale School of Medicine have linked a chemical found in everyday plastics to problems with brain function and mood disorders in monkeys -- the first time the chemical has been connected to health problems in primates." Vice President Dick Cheney is in Ukraine today as part of a tour of several former Soviet republic's. Speaking of things that just won't go away, Tropical Storm Hannah (here), Hurricane Ike (here) and Tropical Storm Josephine (here) are all headed west.
  • For our Australian readers, who will begin their weekend before we are back, we are posting a video that is being passed around the world as real. This is actually a "spoof" of an Australian interview and the legislator in the interview, is actually an actor! Very funny bit though.      

  The London Metal Exchange will start trading cobalt and molybdenum futures next year, offering manufacturers of iPods, laptops and steel products protection from price swings through an exchange for the first time. - more

  Commodity Comments

  • (Chinese metals site) Chinese price comparison - HC FeCr min C6-8.5% Chrome alloy   May 7, 2008 $3.00-$3.20/lb FOB China main port / July 3, 2008 $2.85/lb-$2.95/lb / Sept 3, 2008 $2.00/lb-$2.10/lb  

  CLSA said spot ore prices fell by 17% month-on- month by the end of August as more than 74mt of imported ore continued to congest China's   major ports. - more

  The toll Eskom's electricity crisis took on SA's mining industry went largely unnoticed amid substantial profit increases, based on strong metals prices in the first half of this year, that companies posted recently. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.07/lb higher. In a switch from the last few days, the dollar is trading lower this morning, after the European Central Bank kept its benchmark interest rate at 4.25 percent as expected. Crude oil is trading a tad higher as Hurricane Ike strengthens to a category 4 and shows a possibility of working its way into the Gulf (here). .  
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more
  • Forbes - more

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Metals & Energy Report - pdf here
  • Daily Resource Plus - here
  • Morning Montra - pdf  here
  • Commodity Bell - pdf here
  • Brook Hunt - "Headlines From The Latest Nickel Monthly Report" - here
  • Molybdenum Monthly Report - pdf here
  • The Steel Weekly - pdf here
  • AK Steel October Stainless Surcharge - pdf here
  • Allegheny Ludlum October Stainless Surcharge - here
  • Germany's Edelstahl September Stainless Surcharge - here

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - " Copper managed to hang on to its gains yesterday, ad did other metals, but ali was on the defensive, and has still been unable to post any notable advance of late. Outside of ali, the stronger dollar kept the breadth of the modest rallies somewhat in check, as did falling oil prices and rising LME stocks. However, the big "bear in the room" is the uncertain outlook for global commodity demand, a variable we suspect is gaining in prominence as the US slowdown starts to spread into other corners of the world. We did not see any unusual volatility following the news that Ospraie was shutting its fund after severe losses. We suspect that most of the funds' positions (except for the more illiquid ones) were already closed out, and so the announcement itself was a non-event as far as commodity markets were concerned. Metals are broadly higher today as a slight dip in the dollar and an uptick in energy prices is giving the complex some upside breathing room. However, we remain cautious about the advance, and would rather be selling into rallies as opposed to buying the dips. ... We are currently at $19,685, up $100, and fairly quiet."(read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (China report) Due to the weak demand in stainless steel, HC ferrochrome prices are forecast to stay at current levels in September. China's volume of ferrochrome imports was 99.133 metric tons in July, a 0.73% decrease compared to June levels. China's imports of chrome ore increased by 170,000 tons and stock in ports is adequate. Chrome ore prices are expected to drop slightly in September.
  • (Dow Jones) Brazilian mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce's (RIO) appetite for acquisitions has faded since the company's failed pursuit of Anglo-Swiss group Xstrata PLC (XTA.LN), Vale's CEO told the Estado news agency late Tuesday. In an exclusive interview with Estado, Vale Chief Executive Roger Agnelli said that "today, for us, Xstrata is in the past."
  • (Dow Jones)  Jones)--Brazilian mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (RIO) said Wednesday that it was "unaware" of a proposed 20% iron-ore hike that a report said the company requested from Chinese steelmakers.

  China's Imports Of Nickel Ore In July 2008 Decreased To Half Of That In June = Sharp Fall Of Nickel Price Caused Considerable Reduction On Production Of Ni-Contained Pig Iron - more

  The European Commission's anti-trust review into BHP's bid for Rio Tinto has been suspended pending further details from the miners. - more

  Molybdenum prices have averaged $30/lb for the past 3 ½ years, reflecting tight inventory levels, production cost increases and surging consumption of specialty steels that are made with the alloying metal. Between 1982 and 2004, the alloying metals had cost an average $4/lb. - more

  The Indian Railways: A Mighty Market for Stainless Steel - pdf here

  2007 was a successful year for the whole CIS steel sector. CIS countries produced about 124 mt of rolled steel products, thus reaching former USSR production levels not seen since the end of the 1980s. - more

  Chinese steel mills prepared on Thursday to rebuff top iron ore miner Vale's demand for an unprecedented price increase halfway through the annual contract cycle. - more

  International steel producer ArcelorMittal on Wednesday said that it was certain global steel pricing would continue to remain structurally strong, owing to the cost increases in raw materials and steel equipment. - more

  Based on the Commerce Department’s most recent Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported today that steel import permit applications for the month of August totaled 2,363,000 net tons (NT). - 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 (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 4 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, September 3

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 320 to 6,146. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • MarketWatch - "The Commerce Department reported factory orders rose by 1.3% in July, better than the 0.8% forecast by economists." - " The weak euro-zone outlook was underlined by a larger-than-expected 0.4% monthly drop in July retail sales, which made for a 2.8% annual decline. Market expectations were for a 0.2% monthly drop and a 2.1% year-on-year fall. Second-quarter euro-zone gross domestic product data saw second-quarter gross domestic product unrevised with a 0.2% quarterly drop, while the annual figure was revised down to 1.4% growth from a previous estimate of 1.5%." On this economic news, the dollar traded higher, and crude oil lower. Last Thursday we wrote "The path of the dollar appears to be guided by fears of who is economically worse off these days - the US or Europe. Economic news from both regions is ugly, and depending on which is worse for the day, benefits the others currency." Today, MarketWatch reporters William Watts and Lisa Twaronite wrote, "The dollar's strength against major counterparts has come largely amid indications the rest of the world is succumbing to the global slowdown, rather than ideas the U.S. economic outlook has turned decidedly rosy, strategists said." I guess professional "strategists" don't use the word "ugly" to describe economic conditions! Oh well, we tried. Metals were mixed today, with precious metals trading lower, and base metals trading higher, save aluminum. Indictor charts show the nickel trading trend spent much of the day bullish, and ended that way. The day old Sucden chart shows the negative sentiment that we saw yesterday (here). Nimit Khamar showed the RSI at a 10.1 reading, which reflected today's market opened seriously oversold. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.87/lb , and only $.09/lb higher than tin, which appears to want the most expensive base metal slot back. In France, the 35 hour work week, the envy to the rest of the world, is under attack here. Russia says it will withdraw from Georgia only after international peacekeepers are in place. Tropical storms Hannah, Ike and Josephine are inbound in the Atlantic. And Andy Xie, a Chinese commentator writing in the Chinese periodical 'Caijing', "China's stock market is a big failure. The Shanghai A-shares index surged from 1,000 to 6,000 in two years and then dropped to 2,400 in one year. You can't blame people for thinking that China's is a Mickey Mouse market. China should completely revamp its market to prevent future crisis like this one. The most important change should be to disentangle the government from micro interventions in the market. When laws are laid down, the market should function on its own. It is the only way to have a healthy market." Did we mention that was written in China, not Wall Street?

  Jinchuan Group Co., Asia's biggest nickel producer, may lower its 2008 production target by 4 percent after prices plunged, according to Macquarie Group Ltd. - more

  Brazilian miner Vale has demanded that Chinese iron ore customers pay an additional 20 percent for iron ore from Sept. 1, the Steel Business Briefing reported on Wednesday, citing a company e-mail. - more

  Ferroalloy prices in China are likely to fall further on a weak steel market before stabilizing later this year, Zhang Zengchan, secretary general of the China Ferroalloys Industry Association, said Wednesday. - more

  Xstrata Plc has tabled its offer to some Japanese utilities for thermal-coal term contracts starting in October at $175 a tonne, up 40 percent from April, prompting some firms to balk at the hefty increase.

  Courtesy AISI - "In the week ending August 30, 2008, domestic raw steel production was 2,087,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 87.5 percent. Production was 2,075,000 tons in the week ending August 30, 2007, while the capability utilization then was 87.7 percent. The current week production represents a 0.6 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending August 30, 2008 is down 1.8 percent from the previous week ending August 23, 2008 when production was 2,125,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 89.1 percent."

  Firms such as aluminium giant Rusal want to change how business views Russia. But corporate governance and corruption problems dog their progress. - more

  Some of my readers are in the fastener distribution industry, so here are some articles of  possible interest.

  • DXP Enterprises Inc., a supplier of industrial equipment and services to the oil and gas industries, has completed its $65 million purchase of PFI LLC. - more (you may not have heard of DXP but you probably have PFI. They own Vertex Stainless) (DXP locations map - here)
  • Industrial and construction supplies distributor Fastenal Company, Winona, MN, has agreed to settle a class action wage-hour lawsuit that claims Fastenal misclassified Fastenal employees as assistant managers and as a result those employees were denied overtime as required under the Fair Labor Standards Act and several state statutes. - more
  • In August, Lawson Products Inc. settled a pending lawsuit with the federal government by agreeing to a $30 million payment. - more
  • Fastener Discussion Blog - here

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.06/lb higher. Crude oil is trading lower and US dollar is trading higher, much the same as it has recently. Precious metals are lower, while base metals are mostly slightly higher and quiet. Indicator charts show nickel sentiment has been mostly positive early, but recent price spikes have made the market vulnerable to a sharp correction.    
  • Reuters morning metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "LME prices dropped yet again on Tuesday, weighed down by sagging oil prices and a strengthening dollar. However, values rebounded off their worst levels of the day as oil recovered. ... Nevertheless, with LME stocks increasing, the dollar rising, and global macro economic data remaining weak, each bounce in metals, mainly in copper, seems to mark successively lower highs. This is not particularly healthy, and suggests further technical weakness ahead. In addition, we suspect that on a fundamental basis, metals will again be vulnerable once a potentially new variable is added to the existing bearish mix and starts getting discounted-- namely, that Chinese demand will not be seeing the post-Olympics bounce many are courting on.  ... This morning we are off to a mixed start in LME metals, with copper slightly higher, but ali and zinc both off. There are modest gains in the rest of the complex, but trading is quiet, with trading ranges relatively narrow. ... We are currently at $19,475, up $45, and fairly quiet." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) China's ferrochrome prices will remain steady at current high levels in the fourth quarter on high production costs from chrome ore and power, while rebounding demand from the downstream stainless steel industry will also support ferrochrome prices for the remainder of the year, industry insiders told Interfax on Sept. 2.
  • (Dow Jones) Despite production cuts by major producers Tisco, Baosteel and Posco in June and July, China's 2008 stainless steel production is still expected to rise by around 8% to 8.2 million tons vs 7.6 million tons reported in 2007, says Macquarie Research."
  • The decline in commodities prices to a 6 ½ month low claimed its first big victim on Wednesday, as Ospraie Management said its flagship commodities hedge fund had collapsed due to the falling value of its energy and mining holdings. - more
  • (Interfax) The United States is likely to levy a 22.03 percent anti-dumping duty on imports of China's circular welded austenitic stainless steel pressure pipe, however, Chinese producers and exporters will not feel too much heat from the move, industry analysts told Interfax on Sept. 3.

  China's Imports Of Nickel Ore In July 2008 Decreased To Half Of That In June = Sharp Fall Of Nickel Price Caused Considerable Reduction On Production Of Ni-Contained Pig Iron - more

  Review of Chinese nickel pig iron and stainless steel output - "Chinese recoverable nickel from pig nickel up Jan to July but expected to be unchanged for the full year, while some steel prices reduced and iron ore prices fall. Stainless steel output still rising." - more

  Philippine nickel ore exports to China, the world's biggest consumer of the metal, plunged 96 percent in July as lower prices of refined nickel and energy shortages cut production of nickel pig iron. - more

  Capesize spot iron ore freight rates took a further dip this week in the absence of spot cargoes, ship brokers said Tuesday. - more (BDI down another 320 points today)

  World No. 2 iron ore miner Rio Tinto Ltd/Plc has declared force majeure on some of its iron ore shipments after an accident involving a rail car damaged an ore dumper at an Australian port, the company said on Wednesday. - 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 (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, September 2

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 225 to 6,466. (chart)
  • Live dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • Oil traded lower today, selling at update time around $109/barrel. With the oil trading as low as $105.50 this morning, the US dollar gained. And with oil down, Wall Street opened very bullish, although since the ISM manufacturing report was issued, showing the index slipped to 49.9%, its first decline below 50% since May, the market has backed off from some of its initial exuberance. Metals, precious and base, traded lower.... except for nickel. Sucden's day old chart (here) shows yesterday's fire sale pushed the market in to a heavily oversold situation, according to the RSI and Stochastic readings. Indicator charts show there was an early afternoon spurt, which mostly faded by days end. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the days trading at $8.81/lb . Indicator chart is also somewhat bearish leading into tomorrow, with sentiment in the negative for much of today's late trading. Nickel, however, appears to want to retain its most expensive LME metal, now that it has reclaimed that title. Gustav, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's "storm of the century", turned out to be, well let's be nice about it, not quite that bad. And now that it is gone, attention shifts back to the Atlantic where Tropical Storms appear to be lining up, with Hanna, Ike, and Josephine forming. (here)
  • Reuters - more

  Austenitic Stainless Steel Prices to Stay Low Through 2008 - "Stainless steel prices have had a very turbulent twelve months. Since August 2007, cold rolled coil type 304 transaction values in North America have dropped by approximately $US1650 per tonne, EU figures have plunged by over $US1150 per tonne and Asian numbers have moved down by almost $US800 per tonne. Hot rolled coil and plate recorded similar declines in all regions, with the exception of Europe where basis values for plate reduced by a greater amount." - more

  Reports

  • Haywood Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here
  • TD Bank Weekly Commodity Prices - pdf here

  Commodity Comments

  • Weaker Commodity prices and higher costs are starting to take a toll on the mining industry as the billions of dollars being spent on new projects could take years to recoup. - more
  • (Stuart Burns) - The so called decoupling of emerging markets from developed markets, that concept much bandied about in the press a year back has been shown to be just another bright idea, with little foundation in reality. With the many benefits that globalisation has brought to both developed and emerging markets on the back of improved communications, logistics and supply chain management has also come the close alignment of economies around the world.
  • 10 secrets that millionaires keep - more

  Continued deterioration of economic conditions added to seasonal and cyclical weakness for metals shipments in June. - more

  It seems that an expectation to rise price of South African charge chrome for shipments in October to December 2008 quarter has receded. Depending on a further movement of the market situation, stainless steel mills are supposed to negotiate with suppliers on a request to reduce the price. - more

  A Canadian judge delayed by 13 months the trial of a lawsuit claiming nickel producer Inco Ltd. polluted the properties of Ontario residents, a lawyer for the plaintiffs said. - more

  The world-wide boom in commodities has seen profits for Canadian mining companies soar and shareholders are loving it. - more

  • In a bid to encourage economic development and defend Canadian sovereignty throughout the North, the federal government announced a new program of geo-mapping for Canada’s Arctic. - more

  Take a convicted heroin dealer, a part-owner of the Perth Glory and an ageing rock star. What could the three men possibly have in common? - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.02/lb   higher. Nickel traders are playing tug of war this morning. After yesterday's decrease, indicator charts show the market has so far this morning, slumped by around $300/tone, then increased by around $700/tonne, and has since slipped back to where it started. Crude oil continues its slide this morning, while the dollar continues to gain against the Euro. Dow Jones reports "Euro Dips Below $1.4500 - First Time Since Feb 12". The rest fo the metals complex is down as well.
  • Bloomberg morning metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "The wheels seem to be coming off the commodity markets, with base metals down again today after selling off sharply yesterday--this despite the US Labor Day holiday that had many players away. Crude oil is leading the retreat, as Hurricane Gustav failed to live up to its earlier billing. Hyped to be the “mother of all storms” at one point during the weekend by New Orleans’s mayor no less, the system finally made landfall yesterday as a category 2 system, and apart from causing isolating flooding and power disruptions, it finished as only a pale shadow of Katrina. As a result, crude oil prices have lost some $7/brl since Friday, and there are steep losses in product and natural gas prices as well. Not helping the commodity bulls either, is the fact that the dollar’s advance is resuming, with the greenback now below 146 against the Euro.... Many LME metals, as our charts show, are preparing to retest key support levels, and depending on how things go, there is a chance we could bust through them. ... We are currently at $19,250, down $250. Similar to lead, our chart shows that nickel has broken above a downchannel, (in red), but now seems to be heading back down for another retest of the line." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Vale) The company's second quarter output was 69,000 tons nickel, reflecting an increase of 11% over the same period last year(62,500 tons).

  BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, has scaled back operations at a nickel project in the Philippines due to a dispute with its local partner, Lito Atienza, secretary for environment and natural resources, told Reuters. - 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 (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 2 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Monday, September 1 (US markets closed for Labor Day)

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 118 to 6,691. (chart)
  • Live dollar trading graph now in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index)
  • (Marketwatch) "Crude oil fell to its lowest in more than four months after Hurricane Gustav weakened, easing concern of widespread damage to drilling rigs and refineries." (Forbes) "The British pound dropped sharply against the dollar after U.K. Chancellor Alistair Darling said the country's economic environment was the most difficult in 60 years. Darling said in a Saturday interview with The Guardian that the current economic times were "arguably the worst they've been in 60 years. And it's going to be more profound and long-lasting than people thought." The Euro was also weaker against the dollar. (Forbes) "Numbers released on Monday show euro zone manufacturing activity shrank slightly less rapidly last month than in July when it hit a five-year low, but the sector was still hurt by the strong euro and high energy costs. 'The data run ... has been, if anything, slightly better than expected but this reflects the pessimism of expectations more than anything with all still implying a significant state of underlying weakness,' said Nomura's Maloney." All metals were down, some heavier than others. Tin fell sharper than nickel, and nickel moved back to being the most expensive metal traded on the London Metal Exchange. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.75/lb .

  Copper falls as dollar gains, nickel down 5.2 pct - "Copper futures fell 3.2 percent on Monday under pressure from gains in the dollar, rising London Metal Exchange stocks and worries about demand. - more

  Commodity Comments

  • (Bloomberg) Manufacturing in China contracted for a second month in August, underscoring the risk of a slump in the world's fourth-biggest economy. The Purchasing Managers' Index was a seasonally adjusted 48.4, unchanged from July, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said today in an e-mailed statement. - more
  • (Dow Jones) - A retreat in crude oil prices, a stronger dollar and a weaker-than-expected Chinese manufacturing data pressured base metals lower Monday.
  • (Dow Jones) - Nickel prices are unlikely to rebound until 4Q as LME inventories continue to rise and demand has yet to recover in the stainless steel market, says Barclays Capital. Notes LME stocks come in up 1,206 tons Monday to the highest level in two months. Stock increases are more than offsetting the supportive impact of recently announced delays in nickel projects and expansions."

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

  • Indicators at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling around $.26/lb   lower. With a gain over 1200 tonnes of nickel arriving in LME warehouses since Friday's report, traders have soured on nickel once again. And while nickel is being hit with a sell-pff, the base metals complex as a whole is lower, with tin selling off faster, and thus nickel has returned to the most expensive metal traded on the LME.  At least, for the moment. Sucden's chart was giving no clear directional indicators coming into the day (here), and metals seem to be taking their cue from today's stronger dollar. U.S. markets are closed for Labor Day.
  • Bloomberg morning report - here
  • Reuters - here

  Reports

  Commodity Comments

  • Ed Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - LME prices fell modesty on Friday, as worries over Chinese end-user demand, coupled with rising stocks, weighed on prices. However, declines were the sharpest in lead, where prices came off by about 5% after several days of gains. With US market closed today, trading volumes are on the light side, but LME prices are nevertheless lower, as the complex comes under pressure from lower energy prices and a stronger dollar. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Deutsche Bank said in a note that a fourth quarter resurgence in global stainless steel production was in the offing, and this would prompt a rebound in the nickel price in the near term. "Inventories at global distribution centers are running low of higher quality stainless brands, and we believe they will seek to restock, as many end-use applications require these qualities," the note said Deutsche tips the nickel price to track back up to $24,000/ton, the level where production of Chinese nickel pig iron, a primary nickel substitute, will become profitable again."
  • (Dow Jones) Nickel Likely To Trade In $17,640-$22,050/Ton Range-Macquarie - Nickel prices could be rangebound going forward, with any tightness in the market likely to be short-lived due to the ability of Chinese nickel pig iron producers to ramp up production quickly if prices rise, Macquarie Research said in a report dated Monday."
  • (excerpt) OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest producer of the metal, has said it may halve the 11,400 member work force at one of its two largest Russian units to cut costs. - more
  • Prices of ammonium nitrate, used in making explosives for the mining industry, and fertilizers, have risen 65% to just under $550 a metric ton since the start of the year, and are likely to stay at elevated levels for the long term, UBS said in a note Monday. - more
  • The stainless steel crude steel production output at Japan’s seven major manufacturers in July 2008 saw a decrease of 9% MoM as compared to June 2008. - more
  • Nickel prices could plunge another 25 percent by the end of this year, unless orders from stainless steel producers in Europe pick up in the next two to three weeks, industry sources and analysts say. - more
  • UBS believes that lower commodity prices could prove attractive to consumers, resulting in a modest recovery. Compounded with continuing supply growth concerns, higher metal prices may be realized. - more

  Taiwan’s major stainless steel manufacturer, Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco), has announced that its domestic and export 300 and 400 series stainless steel prices will remain unchanged for September. - more

  BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) said Monday work on the proposed Hallmark nickel laterite project in the Philippines has been interrupted due to a dispute with a local shareholder. - more

  Management at the Ramu Nickel project in Papua New Guinea’s Madang province denies that there’s been a work stoppage at the mine site. - 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 (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • India Metals Prices - Delhi - September 1 - here
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

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

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