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Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices

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Wednesday, September 30

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 35 to 2,220. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Bank of Japan Said to Consider Ending Corporate Debt Purchases on Recovery // U.S. Steel, Nucor File China Trade Cases Before Recovery Erases Evidence // Asian Stocks Rise for Seventh Month on Economic Growth Optimism, NGK Gains // Lloyds Said to Face EU Pressure to Surrender 3.7 Million Checking Accounts // ECB Lends Banks $110 Billion in Second 12-Month Auction to Increase Credit  // German Unemployment Rose in September, Posing Challenge for New Government // U.K. Consumer Confidence Jumps the Most Since 1995 on Optimism for Economy // European Stocks Retreat, Trimming Best Quarter This Decade; M&S, UCB Drop //  Ameriprise to Buy Bank of America's Columbia Asset Unit for $1.2 Billion // Mortgage Applications Fall 2.8% From Four-Month High as Purchases Decline // Morgan Stanley's Mack Proposes Single Regulator to Oversee Banks Worldwide //  Greenspan Sees U.S. Economy Slowing in 2010 as Stock Prices `Flatten Out' // Chicago Purchasing Index, Job-Loss Data Signal Sluggish Economic Recovery // U.S. Stocks Drop as Purchasing Report Signals Weakness in Spending, Output
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, now by nearly 1/2 of 1%. NYMEX crude is up nearly 4% and over $69/barrel on increased demand of gasoline last week. Gold is up over 1-1/2% and back over $1000/ounce, while silver is up nearly 3%. Base metals all ended the day higher. Indicator charts show nickel traders were only interested in one direction today, up. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and month at $8.12/lb . Closing at $8.63/lb at teh end of August, nickel saw a $.51/lb drop for the month. Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses rose by nearly 500 tonnes overnight to set a new 21st century high of nearly 119,500 tonnes. The Baltic Dry Index jumped 35 points to 2,220. According to MarketWatch "The Chicago purchasing managers index fell to 46.1% in September from 50.0% in August, the Chicago-NAPM said Wednesday. New orders fell, inventories rose and supplier deliveries sped up." The ADP employment reports released this morning, showed private sector firms in the U.S. cut 254,000 jobs in September. And the Commerce Department reported things weren't as bad economically in the second quarter as originally feared. The U.S. economy contracted at a 0.7% annual pace in the April-June quarter, compared with a 1% estimated decline. Hopefully this makes all the unemployed people feel a little better. The South Pacific is getting hammered from all sides. Indonesia is suffering from a massive earthquake, American Samoa and Tonga are struggling to recover from an overnight Tsunami, Papua New Guinea is trying to contain a deadly epidemic, the Philippines is recovering from massive flooding last weekend, and the region is tracking 4 active tropical storms (here). Our thoughts are with those suffering.
  • If you have attempted to e-mail us over the last few weeks, we apologize if we did not reply. We were advised today of a sporadic forwarding problem that has been fixed.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Global Stainless Steel Production graph - here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Scotiabank Group economist Patricia Mohr - ‘"Base metals prices have already returned to profitable ‘mid-cycle' levels - a development normally taking several years following the end of a global downturn and a testimony to the resilience and growing importance of China and ‘emerging' Asia (including India) in the world economy."
  • IMF to raise world economic growth forecast: paper - more
  • Japanese Industrial Production - more
  • (SSY) Surface trade with Canada and Mexico sank 28 percent in July compared with a year earlier, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation reported Sept. 30. A weak month-to-month improvement of 1.6 percent clouded hints of recovery.
  • Home prices stabilized, but... - more
  • Does America Need "A Moral Revival"? - more
  • Combating the Crisis: How Have IMF Programs Fared? - more

  Ore War - If you can't buy it, build your own. That's China's latest tactic in a sometimes acrimonious relationship with Australian iron ore mining companies. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.17/lb but stalled, while other base metals are also higher on a lot of short covering. The Euro is nearly 3/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, helping commodity traders. NYMEX crude futures are up nearly 1-1/2% and over $67.50/barrel. Gold is up over 1% while silver is higher by over 1-1/2%. In overnight trading Asian markets ended higher, with China also higher for the first time in 4 days. European markets are higher this morning and futures show Wall Street may open higher. Inventories of nickel set a new 21st century record overnight, while the BDI rose.     
  • Reuters morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "We had a very lackluster session in metals on Tuesday, as copper lost modest ground, while the rest of the group pushed slightly higher. Yesterday’s performance should nevertheless have been reassuring to the bulls in that the market erased earlier losses for a second day in a row. More importantly, with the Chinese holidays starting tomorrow and expected to last for eight days-- followed by the LME week right after that-- we may see big moves coming out of metals over this period, since it would not take much to move prices in light volume. In fact, quite a sizable bounce seems to be on our hands right now, with copper up a stunning $187/MT and equally healthy percentage gains seen in the rest of the complex. There are a few reasons behind this increase. For one thing, Shanghai copper stocks levels finished lower on the week, a constructive sign given weakening local premiums and the still-healthy amount of metal that is coming in. More importantly, the dollar has weakened a full Euro overnight, and is currently trading at 1.4660. Thirdly, some end-of-the-quarter positioning may also be at work, perhaps with some hedge fund money moving back into short-dollar and long commodities types of trades. Lastly, we got a HSBC report on China showing that manufacturing expanded for a sixth month in September. (A government-backed purchasing managers’ index will be released tomorrow). Despite the expansion, the country’s State Council announced three-year bans yesterday on building new aluminum smelters and unspecified time restrictions on expansion in the steel industry. With overcapacity in both these sectors already apparent, we think the move is largely symbolic......  Nickel is at $17,450, up $310, but despite the move higher, the short-term down channel that stems back to mid-August seems to be intact, and we would wait for a close above $18,000 to turn friendly. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Korea’s Posco has announced that it will cut its domestic stainless price by 150,000 won/ton (US$126) for October, placing the blame on slipping raw material costs.
  • (Yieh) According to the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF), global stainless steel output has increased in the second quarter of 2009. China’s stainless steel output is up by 29.9 percent, is the highest among all. North America only increased by 1.9 percent, staying at the lower end.
  • (CMM) China's cabinet has laid out detailed plans to curb overcapacity in industries such as steel, cement and wind power, warning that the country's economic recovery could otherwise be hampered.
  • (SSY) According to SSY’s Capesize Iron Ore Port Congestion Index for China, average berthing delays at China’s leading iron ore discharge terminals have fallen to around 3 days compared with over 17 days in early July, the lowest level since mid-January. Meanwhile, the SSY Australian Combined Port Congestion Index has fallen to a 3-month low of around 7 days.
  • China Inc. Looks Homeward as U.S. Shoppers Turn Frugal - more
  • El Nino Status - more
  • 507 carat diamond found - more

  Oversupply Likely to Halt Stainless Steel Prices - European stockists and end-users of stainless steel have trimmed their inventories as far as possible since the onset of the current economic difficulties. - more

  World Output Of Crude Stainless Steel In First Half 2009 Decreased By 26% = Produced 10.848 Million Tons, Output In Apr. - Jun. Quarter Recovered - According to the data compiled and released in this week by International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF), the world output of crude stainless steel in the first half (January - June) of 2009 was 10.848 million tons, which had a considerable decrease of 26.7% compared with that (14.798 million tons) in the same period of 2008 and deepened an influence of the global recession arisen from September of 2008. - more

  Rio Tinto says finds huge molybdenum deposit - Miner Rio Tinto has discovered what may be the world's biggest deposit of molybdenum, a top official said on Wednesday. - more

  Nickel consumption to exponentially rise - Nickel this month showed good profit booking falling by around Rs.180/kg at MCX. There are concerns that Chinese stainless people have been producing too much and many mines have restarted their production which closed down some time back due to recession. - more

  HudBay says several employees injured and one protester killed in Guatemala dispute - HudBay Minerals Inc. says several of its employees in Guatemala were injured and one protester was killed during a confrontation relating to land owned by its subsidiary, Compania Guatemalteca de Niquel. - more

  Russia could introduce 5% nickel export duty from December 1 - A Russian government commission has proposed introducing a 5% duty rate on nickel exports from December 1, the government website said. - more

  • Russian miner Norilsk sees profit in H2 2009-CEO - Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel miner, lifted its forecast for 2009 output and said it expects to turn a profit in the second half. - more
  • Norilsk Expects Return of Nickel Export Duty in 2010 - - OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s largest mining company, expects the government to resume a 5 percent duty on nickel exports from next year, Chief Executive Officer Vladimir Strzhalkovsky said. - more

  Western Areas posts record nickel sales - Perth-based miner Western Areas has sold a record 2800 tonnes of nickel in the September quarter at an average price of $US7.90/lb. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, September 29

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 7 to 2,185. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Japan Consumer Prices Fall Record 2.4%; Deflation Return Threatens Economy // Vietnam's Economic Growth Accelerates to 5.8% as Stimulus Revives Lending // Baltic Dry Index to Rebound on China's Commodity Demand, Cosco's Kong Say // Singapore's GIC Says Investments Drop 20% on Stock Rout, Loss on UBS Stake // Asian Stocks Rise From Two-Week Low; Nissan, Taiwan Semiconductor Advance // Siemens Finance Chief Says 2009 Was Tough, Orders to Fall; Shares Decline // Sigurdardottir Says Iceland Wanted More European Union Support in Crisis // U.K. Economy Shrank 0.6% in Second Quarter, Less Than Previously Estimated // Mobius Says Russian Equities Look `Cheap' Versus World Even After Rebound // European Confidence in Economic Outlook Rose to 12-Month High in September // European Stocks Rise for Second Day; BNP Paribas, Legal & General Advance // FDIC Wants Banks to Prepay Fees Through '12 to Boost Its Depleted Reserves // Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Climb the Most in Four Years as Slump Abates // U.S. Stocks Retreat on Unexpected Drop in Consumer Confidence; AT&T Falls
  • The US Dollar continues to trade higher against the Euro, but by 1/3 of 1%. NYMEX crude is off 1/3 of 1% and over $66.50/barrel. Gold is up nearly 1/2 of 1%, while silver is up 2/10 of 1%. Base metals ended mixed but mostly higher as the Dollar waning strength helped boost most into positive territory. Base metals higher on a day where the Dollar traded higher could give a hint to possible bottoms. Indicator charts show nickel was on the climb for much of the day, only settling back in the last few hours fo trading. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended at $7.77/lb . Nickel has been trading within a $7.60/lb to $8.15/lb trend range for much of the last month. Stocks of nickel stored in LME authorized warehouses rose over the 119,000 tonne level overnight, but remain just shy of the record high. The Baltic Dry Index resumed its decline, after bumping up two consecutive days, down 7 points to 2,185. The China stainless steel index we monitor has now fallen below the 100 point level, and is at 99.84 today. In economic news today, the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index of 20 major cities rose 1.2% from June to a reading of 143.05. The market appears to be shaken by a Conference Board report that shows consumer confidence surrendered a 7 point gain in August and fell back 1.40 points to 53.1. Analysts had expected the number to rise, especially after other confidence indicators, ie the University of Michigan survey and the Rasmussen consumer index, rose during the month. In other news, the problems at the old Fenix nickel project in Guatemala continue. We have written extensively on the history of this mine in the past (here) so we won't go into further detail on why we believe this property is, and will continue to be, cursed.  This incident will probably not get as much media attention as the eviction of local squatter's off disputed territory by Skye Resources did, only because there weren't a bunch of NGO's in the area with camcorder's. But recent disruptions have not cost anyone their life, like this one apparently has, so this one may boil into bigger problems for current mine owners Hudbay.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • The coming Population Wars: a 12-bomb equation - more
  • America Digs Deeper Into Debt - more

  Mining mogul's racism claim - The Queensland mining billionaire Clive Palmer has called the Foreign Investment Review Board a ''racist body'' and has threatened to take the board's executive director to the High Court if he continue to stymie Chinese investment in Australia. - more

  Vandalized police station and hospital yesterday after conflict in El Estor - The riots that occurred yesterday in El Estor, Izabal, left one dead, several injured and damage in the police station and hospital in the town. - (translated version here) (original Spanish here)

  Resource-hungry China invests in Africa - Nigeria is talking with China about selling large stakes in some of its biggest oil blocks, according to a leaked document, in what executives say may be a bid to strengthen its hand with existing Western oil partners. - more

  Dry bulk market faced with oversupply - Despite yesterday’s slight upwards trend of the Baltic Dry Index (BDI), it’s becoming increasingly clear, that the market is coming face to face with the issue of oversupply of tonnage. - more

  • Baltic Dry to Jump on Chinese Bulk Demand, Cosco Says - The Baltic Dry Index, the main measure of shipping costs for commodities, may surge more than 80 percent by the end of the year on increased demand for shipments to China, according to China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.06/lb higher, with other base metals trading mixed and mostly lower. Nickel is starting to come off a recent bounce. The US Dollar is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher against the Euro, adding pressure to base metal trading. NYMEX crude futures are down nearly 1% and nearing the $66/barrel level.  Gold is down nearly 1/2 of 1% while silver is lower by nearly a full percent. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended solidly higher, although China ended slightly lower. European markets are slightly higher this morning, while US futures show Wall Street could open lower. LME nickel inventories rose slightly overnight, while the BDI fell slightly.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters metals report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal prices finished mixed yesterday, but recouped earlier losses, as a surprisingly sharp rally on Wall Street (albeit in light volume) helped the complex recover. A modest bounce in oil prices off the trading range low of $65 basis November WTI also helped metals. By the close, copper ended above the $6000 mark, and ali also finished higher, but not before hitting two-month lows earlier in the day. The dollar was not much of a factor, holding steady against the Euro, but it is fading against the yen, hitting eight-month lows at one point yesterday. The selling seems to be returning to metal markets this morning, with a stronger dollar the main reason behind the weaker tone. The greenback has broken through the 1.46 level against the Euro, and is also weighing on crude oil, which gave up earlier gains in Asian trading, and is now off by about $.30 a barrel. We suspect the weaker tone should prevail for the next day or two, at least until we get meatier macro numbers out of the US that could potentially give the dollar more direction. It is also important to note that the fourth quarter tends to be a seasonally weak period for metals, with copper especially vulnerable, particularly over the last three years, where it has consistently lost ground over the period..... Nickel is at $16,750, unchanged and where we were at this time yesterday. There is modest support between $16,150-$16,250, but below that, we are looking at next potential support in the mid -$14,000 range." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Bloomberg) Reed Resources Ltd. said Anglo American Plc. agreed to buy a 75 percent interest in the Bell Rock Range nickel and copper project in Western Australia by spending A$3 million.
  • (Dow Jones) Jones)--Posco, the world's fourth-largest steelmaker by output, said Tuesday it will cut stainless steel prices by up to 4.4% from next month due to slowing demand and falling raw material prices.
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s stainless steel maker, Yieh United Steel Corp. announced to cut 300 series stainless steel prices today. The company will cut NT$3,000/ton for domestic market and US$80~100/ton for export market in October.
  • (MB) China's nickel ore stocks at ports have risen to as much as 10 million mt due to the recent weakening in nickel prices and stainless demand, according to traders. The figure is far higher than the 6-7 million mt held from January to April, but is not expected to affect the market or nickel ore prices significantly, the traders said. The traders' estimate for nickel ore inventory at ports is also up from the 8.8 million mt estimated by Shaanxi Energy Metals & Minerals Resources Co chairman Zhong Yongqi, which traders felt was conservative.
  • (Yieh) According to the International Stainless Steel Forum, global stainless steel output has increased in the second quarter of 2009. China’s stainless steel output is up by 29.9 percent, is the highest among all. North America only increased by 1.9 percent, staying at the lower end.
  • (SSY) China imported a total of 21.97 Mt of iron ore from Australia during August, down by 20% from the record volume of 27.45 Mt set in July. The second largest supplier was Brazil, with 12.75 Mt of iron ore exports into China, up by 0.49 Mt month-on-month. Imports from India fell to a year-to-date low of 4.75 Mt in the month, posting a 33% decline month-on-month, U-metal reported.
  • Anglo American warns of double dip in Chinese commodities demand - There are still doubts about the recovery in commodity prices, according to the chief executive of mining giant Anglo American, who yesterday warned that the soaring price rises of some metals in the last few months is unlikely to be sustained. - more
  • 60 reasons to be bullish on China - pdf here
  • Commodities ETF Sidesteps the Hassles - more
  • Big non-profit organizations have highly paid leaders - more

  Anxiety For Listing Prices Of Molybdenum And Cobalt On LME Is Arising = Main Member Companies Of MMTA, To Fluctuate Largely Prices Of Mo And Co - London Metal Exchange (LME) is scheduled to list prices of molybdenum and cobalt for trading in futures from the 22nd February of 2010 but a voice to express an anxiety for listing prices of these commodities on LME is arising. - more

  Protest at HudBay Guatemalan mine leaves one dead - A long-running land dispute between local residents and a foreign-owned nickel mine in Guatemala exploded in violence over the weekend, leaving one man dead and thirteen others injured, police said on Monday. - more

  MMC Norilsk Nickel undertakes production modernization project worth Rub2.2 bln - OJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel implements a project of metallurgical production modernization at the OJSC Kola MMC site in Zapolyarny (Murmansk Area). - more

  -Japan Oct-Dec steel output seen down 4 pct yr/yr - Japan's crude steel output is set to recover in the October-December quarter to near its year-earlier level, driven by exports and a pick-up in the auto and construction sectors, the trade ministry said on Tuesday. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending September 26, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,392,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 58.3 percent. Production was 2,017,000 tons in the week ending September 26, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 84.5 percent. The current week production represents a 31.0 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending September 26, 2009 is up 0.5 percent from the previous week ending September 19, 2009 when production was 1,386,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 58.1 percent.

  Landore Resources: nickel, iron, gold and lithium mineral explorer advances closer to production - Canada-focussed AIM-listed Landore Resources has weathered the recent tidal waves in the capital and commodities markets very well, thanks to its diversified portfolio of iron, nickel, gold and other exploration assets, its experienced board, and its strong shareholder base. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, September 28

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 9 to 2,192. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) South Korea's Pension Fund Interested in HSBC London Headquarters Building // Asian Stocks Fall on Concern Over U.S. Economy, Yen Strength; Honda Drops // Darling Tells Britain's Biggest Banks to Stop Paying `Automatic Bonuses' // ECB May Miss `Once-in-Lifetime' Chance to Reshape Asset-Backed Bond Market // German Utilities Rise as Merkel Victory May Extend Life of Nuclear Plants // European Stocks Rise Most in Five Weeks on Merger Rebound, Merkel Victory  // Xerox to Buy Affiliated Computer Services for $6.4 Billion in Cash, Stock // Abbott's $7.1 Billion Solvay Drug-Unit Purchase Cuts Dependence on Humira // Unemployment Confronts Obama Rhetoric With Threatened Chronic Joblessness // `Black Swan' Author Taleb Asks Why Bernanke, Geithner Still Holding Posts // Johnson & Johnson to Take 18% Stake in Crucell, Form Flu-Vaccine Venture // Stocks in U.S. Advance on Mergers; Abbott, Affiliated Computer Shares Rise
  • The US Dollar was ahead this morning, fell gradually until it was behind the Euro, and has suddenly jumped into positive territory again. Currently, it is trading 4/10 of 1% against the Euro. NYMEx crude is nearly 2% higher and over $67/barrel. Gold is up nearly 3/10 of 1%, while silver is up a full percent. Base metals ended mixed, but mostly lower, and the Dollar's sudden gain has come to late in the day to further hurt the London traded commodities. Indicator charts show nickel started the week in the tank, and spent the day gradually trying to climb out. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.60/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses soared over the weekend, and now rest just 168 tonnes shy of the September 15th record high of 119,166 tonnes. The Baltic Dry Index gained 9 points to 2,192 but its 2 day upturn appears to already be in trouble. We waited till today to confirm it wasn't an error, but the Chinese stainless steel index we follow fell from 105.53 on Thursday to 102.06 on Friday. This puts the index back to pricing last seen in late July, and 13% lower than the 117.09 it registered on August 14th.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Canada-based metal-mining company Liberty Mines Inc. said Monday that it shipped 302.95 metric tons of concentrate last week to Xstrata PLC's nickel smelter in Sudbury, Canada.
  • (Reuters) China has 170 cities of more than 1 million people
  • Philippines 'overwhelmed' as new storm threatens after Ketsana - more
  • Dr. Doom sees no credit bubble in China - more

  Tati Nickel Boss In Court For 'Insulting' President - A manager at Tati Nickel Mining Company (TNMC) is before the courts after allegedly insulting the President of Botswana. - more

  Steel majors eye India as global demand slumps - A persistent demand slump that has seen steelmaking capacity idled worldwide for nearly a year is pushing top global producers to expand their footprint in India, which along with China is a rare bastion of growth. - more

  China's biggest bids stray from the mining domain - The recent record pace of acquisitions by Chinese companies shows no sign of abating. The latest is Sinochem's $2.8 billion bid for Nufarm yesterday. - more

  Anger, bitterness on the line - Eight striking Steelworkers at Vale Inco’s Frood-Stobie Complex stop talking and eye a stranger suspiciously Saturday when she approaches as they chat in their makeshift picket camp. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.10/lb lower, but climbing out of the cellar. All other base metals are lower, except lead, which is even. The US Dollar is trading 1/5 of 1% higher against the Euro, adding pressure to commodity trading this morning. NYMEX crude futures are dead even and at $66/barrel. Gold is up 16/100 of a percent, but remains $7 below $1000/ounce, while silver is off 1/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower with China down by over 2-1/2%. European markets are slightly higher this morning, while futures show US markets could open on the positive side in Wall Street on merger news.  Inventories of nickel soared over the weekend, almost setting a new record, while the BDI squeaked out another gain.  
  • Reuters morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals settled mixed on Friday, with copper, zinc, and lead eking out modest gains, while ali and nickel both lost ground. Macro data out of the US was inconclusive, and the dollar held steady against the Euro, so neither variable did enough to spark a more decisive push higher. US macro reports out on Friday showed September optimism among U.S. consumers reaching its highest level since January 2008, while new-home sales posted their fifth-straight month of improvement. However, the increase in home sales came in less than expected, and followed a more disappointing decline in the more important existing homes category seen last week. More of a negative, was a dip in durable goods orders data for August, (down by 2.4%), on account of a plunge in aircraft orders. Even excluding aircraft, orders still declined by 0.4%, adding to concern that recovery prospects in the US economy remain erratic at best. We are lower across the board this morning in metals, as the dollar has steadied slightly against the Euro, this despite a decisive center-right victory in Germany that should have been bullish for the Euro. Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democrats and her allies will now have a more solid mandate to put through tax cuts and labor reform. In addition to the slightly stronger dollar, a sloppy session in the Shanghai markets (which will be closed from October 1st-8th), coupled with lower oil prices, are also contributing to the weaker tone we are seeing in metals. ... Nickel is at $16,750, down $150. Nickel’s longer-term uptrend line stemming back to April was taken out some weeks ago, and now another shorter-term trend line is on the verge of being breached. There is modest support between $16,150-$16,250, but below that, we are looking at next potential support in the mid -$14,000 range."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) Jinchuan Group Ltd., China's largest nickel producer, has cut its ex-works refined nickel price for the fifth time in September to RMB 128,000 ($18,746.61) per ton, down 11.72 percent from RMB 145,000 ($21,236.4) per ton at the beginning of the month, according to Jinchuan Group's Web site on Sept. 28.
  • (JMB) Japanese market price of nickel series stainless cold rolled flat steel rebounded in Tokyo and Osaka for the first time in 2 years. The prince increased by 10,000 yen per tonne by end of last week when the dealers tried to increase the reselling price under higher makers' selling price and normalizing supply balance with lower dealers' inventory. However, the market is still uncertain when lower Chinese market price could impact on the domestic market.
  • (Yieh) Market participants said that the stainless steel price had very close relationship with the nickel price and most buyers were holding an attitude of waiting and seeing.
  • (ET) The American Trucking Associations announced today, Sept. 25, its advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.1 percent in August, matching July’s increase. The latest gain raised the SA index to 104.1, which was the best reading since February 2009.
  • (NB) Nyota Minerals Ltd (formerly Dwyka Resources Ltd) in an update on the drilling program and exploration progress at Muremera nickel project in Burundi, Africa said it has identified sulphide mineralised ultramafic bodies, a necessary step in the process of nickel sulphide deposits.
  • (AB) China’s Baosteel and Lianzhong Stainless Steel Corp (LISCO) have the intention to start maintenance amid the national holiday while Taiyuan Iron &Steel (TISCO) and Zhangjiagang Pohang Stainless Steel (ZPSS) had declared early.
  • Lakshmi Mittal, chairman of ArcelorMittal - "Maybe by 2012, we could come back to the pre-crisis level."
  • (CS) China's industrial output rose 8.1 percent in the first eight months from the same period last year, said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) Friday.
  • (SBB) European stainless tube outlook: dull with some bright spots
  • (AM) Fox Resources starts drilling at Baynton
  • Markets Hurricane Hunter - more

  Zambia's Munali Nickel Mine To Resume Output In Nov - Official - Zambia's Munali Nickel Mine is expected to resume output in November following the signing of a refinancing deal with Barclays PLC (BCS) last week, a company official told Dow Jones Newswires Monday. - more

  MMC Norilsk Nickel undertakes production modernization project worth Rub2.2 bln - OJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel implements a project of metallurgical production modernization at the OJSC Kola MMC site in Zapolyarny (Murmansk Area). - more

  Steel Prices in Developing Markets Continue to Increase in September - Turkish long product quotations stabilised in September. The upward movement in semi-finished steel and scrap values has been less pronounced. - more

  Indonesia unlikely to pass new mining rules in 2009 - Indonesia is unlikely to complete final regulations attached to a new mining and coal law this year, an official said on Monday, creating more uncertainty for a sector that is already struggling to attract new investment. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • China Gives In to Rio Tinto, Vale, BHP: Report - The Chinese steel industry has reportedly capitulated in price negotiations with the world's three biggest iron-ore miners -- a turn of events that, if true, would effectively result in a price cut of 33%, much less than the 45% and even 50% the Chinese had publicly desired. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, September 25

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 20 to 2,183. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Yen Strengthens on Speculation Japanese Companies Are Repatriating Profits // Japan Airlines Will Be Reorganized by Government, Avoid Bankruptcy Filing // Asian Stocks Fall on Nomura Share Sale, U.S. Home Sales, Commodity Prices  // G-20 Nears Agreement on Banker Pay, Policy Coordination as Crisis Recedes // Group of Eight Replaced by G-20 as Main Economic Forum, U.S. Official Says // European Stocks Drop, Extending Weekly Slide; Julius Baer, DSG Shares Fall // Unilever to Buy Sara Lee Unit for $1.88 Billion in Biggest Deal Since 2000 // Fed Rescue Strategy for Economy Lowers U.S. Bailout Tab to $11.6 Trillion // U.S. Durable-Goods Orders Unexpectedly Fall; New-Home Sales Miss Estimates // Problem Loans Up 174% Show Rally in Bank Stocks Too Optimistic, FBR Says // Stocks in U.S. Retreat on Durable Goods, Home Sales Data; GE, Alcoa Fall
  • The US Dollar and Euro are dead even at the moment, after an earlier rise by the Euro. NYMEX crude is also dead even. Gold is down 1/2 of 1%, verifying the world didn't all go home and leave us wondering what is going on. Silver is down nearly 1%. Base metals ended the session mixed. Indicator charts show nickel fell sharply after US reports came out les favorable than expected, then flattened out as the Euro started gaining ground. For the day and week, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.67/lb . LME approved warehouse inventories of nickel fell again overnight, and now rest just under the 177,300 tonne level and just shy of a 2000 tonne drop in the last 8 trading days. Sucden updated their day old chart showing nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index finally stopped falling and squeaked out a 20 point gain overnight, to 2,183. Nucor has filed for an anti-dumping investigation on steel fasteners imported from China and Taiwan. We warned readers to get with their distributors to take preventive action last year when a similar investigation was started on steel all thread rod. We are cautioning customers who buy Grade 5, Grade 8, and A325 structural bolts of the same now.  Talk to your distributors about how you can protect yourself against the inevitable huge price increase this will very likely bring down the road. US market news was less than favorable today, with durable good orders falling, and new housing sales stalling. The bright spot - consumer confidence is higher than its been in well over a year. Apparently debt ridden, unemployed, and homeless Americans feel better about the future. Have a restful and safe weekend!! 

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Treasury’s Wolin: Without Reform, Government Action May Have Made Things Worse - more
  • Bailout Costs Shrink to $11.6 Trillion - more
  • Saddled with Debt - more

  Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Petitions Filed Against Fastener Imports from China and Taiwan - The petitions allege average dumping margins for Chinese imports of 145%, and of 74% for imports from Taiwan. If successful, the petitions could lead to the imposition of special antidumping and countervailing duties on fasteners imported from China and Taiwan.- more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.05/lb lower, with other traded base metals mixed and quiet. The US Dollar and Euro are quiet as well, with the Dollar just a tad higher. NYMEX crude futures are up slightly, and under $66/barrel. Gold is up 2/10 of 1%, and silver is higher by 1/4 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended their week slightly lower. European markets are higher this morning, and futures imply Wall Street may open slightly higher as well. The words of the day for the markets so far are quiet and slightly. Inventories of nickel fell for the 8th straight day overnight, while the BDI was, you guessed it, slightly higher.   
  • Reuters morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal prices were pummeled yesterday, with copper prices falling to one-month lows and pulling the rest of the complex down with it. A number of factors hit the markets all at once yesterday, with the upside reversal in the dollar being the most important, as the greenback rallied all the way back to 1.4660 against the Euro. In addition, there continues to be lingering questions about the underlying strength in overall commodity demand, particularly from China, where the large overhang of inventories in several metal complexes has yet to be worked off.  ... As of this writing, metals are enjoying a modest bounce, except for aluminum, which is off. Sentiment improved slightly after the release of the Shanghai copper inventory numbers, which showed a higher than expected decrease in weekly inventories (see table above). However, with our RSI readings still some ways off from being oversold, we think the current bounce we are seeing is temporary, and additional selling could be back with us possibly by Monday. ... Finally, the LME said Thursday that shipbrokers could earn an extra $2 billion over the next decade if freight derivatives move to exchange trading from the current over-the-counter system. "We can confirm we've carried out a study into the benefits of creating a regulated investment exchange (RIE) for the (forward freight agreement) market," Liz Milan, commercial director at the LME was quoted as saying by Reuters. "A central transparent trading platform with regulatory oversight would increase market participation." The LME is currently working with the freight industry to create a regulated freight derivatives exchange, but its move has drawn criticism from many brokers using the Baltic Exchange. ... Nickel is at $17,140, up $40. Nickel’s technical momentum is flagging, as prices are on the verge of getting back below the down channel taken out earlier in the week (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Russia still gets plenty of attention from the loan market, mainly because of fears about how much of its debt will have to be restructured. But in the last few weeks there have been some small signs of improvement. Norilsk Nickel, the miner, has approached banks about a potential loan early next year. One of Russia’s premier credits, a successful deal for Norilsk would set a positive tone for the rest of the country’s borrowers. - more
  • The Association of American Railroads today reported 282,341 carloads for the week ending Sept. 19, 2009, down 9.6 percent compared with the same week in 2008. While the weekly year-over-year percentage decline was better than for the previous week ending Sept. 12, 2009, down 19.8 percent, this week in 2008 was impacted by service disruptions associated with Hurricane Ike. Regionally, carloadings were down 4.8 percent in the West and 15.8 percent in the East. - more
  • BHP mining commitment 'set in stone' - more
  • The Big Picture in Metals - more

  Nickel Productions In Japan For July 2009 Recovered Basically = Survey By METI, Output Of Ferro-Nickel In July Decreased By 10% From That In Same Month / 08 - According to the statistics concerning steels and metals compiled and released recently by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the quantities (on nickel content base) of nickel metal and ferro-nickel produced in Japan for July of 2009 were as per the table attached hereto. - more

  Zambia nickel mine to resume output next month - Zambia's Munali nickel mine will resume operations next month after the main shareholder secured financing for new equipment, a company official said on Friday. - more

  MEPS Global Steel Price Jumps 5.1 percent From August - Various sets of data, released during August, suggest that the US economy is starting a slow recovery. Raw steel output continues to climb steadily with capacity utilisation rates up to 58 percent in mid September. - more

  Rusina Mining receives European Nickel’s crusher at Acoje project - Rusina Mining, the Australian mining group behind the Acoje nickel-chromite project in the Philippines, has moved on to the next stage of constructing its heap leach pad and pilot plant on the site. - more

  Nyota Minerals closes in on nickel deposits at Muremera project - Nyota Minerals – the miner that changed its name from Dwyka Resources this week – has completed a drilling programme at the Muremera Nickel Project in Burundi. - more

   Defense Defies the Downturn - Demand for metals by military contractors is relatively unaffected by the change of administration and the poor economy. New programs for aircraft, ships and troop carriers promise long-term business for defense suppliers. - more

  American Nucor Steel alleged that US government shall start anti-dumping and countervailing investigation against fasteners from China and Taiwan. It’s said that the preliminary ruling will be given by The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) on November 9, 2009.

  Engineers Produce 'How-to' Guide For Controlling Structure Of Nanoparticles - Tiny objects known as nanoparticles are often heralded as holding great potential for future applications in electronics, medicine and other areas. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, September 24

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 12 to 2,163.   (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Non-Ferrous Bid for Rare Earths Producer Lynas Blocked by Australia // Most Asian Stock Markets Fall on Drop in Commodity Prices; Japan Advances // Germany Reduces Fourth-Quarter Debt Sales as Economic Conditions Improve // King Says Two British Banks Got Within Hours of Collapse on Oct. 6, 2008 // German Business Confidence Rose to 12-Month High in September, Ifo Shows // European Stocks Fall Most in a Month; Hennes & Mauritz, 3i, Total Decline // Age of Austerity Awaits G-20 as $9 Trillion Debt Haunts Rogoff, Greenspan // Fed Signals Return of U.S. Growth Insufficient to Withdraw Record Stimulus // TARP Had a `Significant Role' in Stabilizing U.S. Markets, Inspector Says // Initial Jobless Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Decreased to 530,000 Last Week  // Existing U.S. Home Sales Unexpectedly Fell in August to 5.1 Million Rate // Fed, Treasury Scale Back Emergency Lending Programs as Liquidity Returns // Stocks in U.S. Retreat as Home Sales Decrease; Alcoa, Caterpillar Decline
  • The Euro plunged after the National Association of Realtors reported existing home sales fell 2.7% in August, and is now trading over 1/4 of 1% lower against the US Dollar.  NYMEX crude is down nearly 4% and under $66.50/barrel. Gold is down 1% and under $1000/ounce, while silver is off nearly 3%. Based on the Euro taking a dive, it wasn't surprising to see base metals tumble today, all ending the session in the red. Indicator charts show nickel did edge higher after our morning update, but as soon as the US home sales report hit, the Euro dove, as did nickel.  It was showing some stabilization by the end of the session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.73/lb . We are just days away from the end of the third quarter so we are also seeing some selling by traders as they square up their portfolio's. Nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell slightly overnight, bringing the overall total just above the 117,400 tonne level, and 1,758 tonnes less than the record high of last Tuesday. The Baltic Dry Index slipped another 12 points overnight, but is showing signs of potentially bottoming out again. Speaking of bottoming out, it appears stainless steel prices in China may have done the same, at least for now, with the index we follow slowly rising over the last 4 days. Vale Inco's Clarabelle Mill received its first shipment of ore from the FNX stockpiles after a court ordered the striking union to release four trucks the union had blockaded from entry since last week, and ordered the union to allow future trucks free passage. Vale has announced it has begun limited production at the facility using non-union workers. Depending on whom you ask, support for the strike in Sudbury either remains strong, or is waning. Markets are down today for a couple of main reasons. First the Fed report yesterday was not entirely welcome news after Santa Claus threatened to pull a few presents from under the taxpayer funded Christmas tree. And this morning's existing home sales report came as a surprise to nearly everyone. We like how Market Watch put it, when describing the reaction of the writers of the report stating "... prompting the National Association of Realtors to again plead for more taxpayer subsidies for their business." Apparently the NAR misses the good old days when anybody, regardless if they could afford it or not, could purchase a house thru one of their realtors. What happened after the sales commission was paid? Apparently that has now become the taxpayers problem.        

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Commodities outperform in different periods of the economic cycle and inflation is one of those periods, said David Hemming, portfolio manager at asset management group Hermes.   "It looks like we are going into a period of high inflation and that's when commodities outperform," Hemming said at the S&P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index seminar in London.
  • (Dow Jones) Copper and nickel are the base metals that have the strongest upside left in 2009, says Barclays Capital chief commodity analyst Kevin Norrish. ... "We think that restocking process could be explosive for industrial metals over the next six months."
  • (GB) Finnish nickel producer Talvivaara has tapped investors for £71.3 million to boost annual production 50 per cent to 50,000 tonnes.
  • (JOC) Japanese trade with the world market slid deeper in August as exports tumbled 36 percent and imports plunged 41 percent, compared with August of last year. The decline in exports was the 11th in a row. Imports declined for the 10th consecutive month.
  • With scrap metal exported, local steel companies suffer - more
  • BLS Jobs Numbers Contradict BLS Jobs Numbers - more

  DJ Zambia Albidon, Barclays Agree On Refinancing Plan-Paper - Albidon Zambia Ltd., a unit of Albidon Ltd. (ALB.AU), and its majority shareholder, Chinese-owned Jinchuan Group Ltd., have agreed a restructuring plan with Barclays Bank Zambia Ltd. to facilitate the resumption of production at Zambia's Munali nickel mine, the Times of Zambia reports Thursday. - more

  EU impose duties on Chinese seamless steel pipe - The European Union on Thursday decided to slap five-year duties on steel pipe imported from China on alleged dumping charges. - more

  Sudbury's story valuable: Goodall - Sudbury is a perfect example of the success stories that inspire world-famous primatologist, environmentalist and humanitarian Jane Goodall to keep on working for positive change in the world. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.08/lb lower, but slowly edging higher, with all base metals in the negative but moving up. The Euro is trading 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, which is boosting commodities. NYMEX crude futures are down 8/10 of 1%, and under $68.50/barrel. Gold is 8/10 of 1% higher, while silver is up over 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, while China rose. European markets are lower this morning, while US futures are not giving any hint of a starting direction for Wall Street. Inventories of nickel slipped slightly overnight, as did the Baltic Dry Index. The Labor Department just reported initial jobless claims fell 21,000 to 53,000 for the week ending Sept 12th, their lowest level since July. The number of Americans receiving state jobless benefits fell 123,000 to 6.14 million.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal prices lost ground on Wednesday, as demand concerns dominated sentiment and relegated the impact of the weak dollar to the sidelines. Metal markets are perhaps belatedly discounting the impact of Tuesday’s August Chinese import data, which showed continued declines in a broad category of metals, a trend we expect to persist through the fourth quarter. There were no surprises from yesterday’s Fed meeting, with the central bank saying that the pace of economic activity has “picked up” since August, although it reiterated that it would keep short-term interest rates at historically low levels “for an extended period.” Ironically, the markets may have interpreted the statement to mean that the economic recovery is still too fragile to allow the Fed to step back, and could explain why US stocks finished lower yesterday. Equities are called to open lower again this morning. We are seeing more weakness in metals this morning despite the dollar holding relatively steady at 1.4770 against the Euro. Crude oil markets are also down, following a brutal session on Wednesday in the wake of bearish inventory data released by the EIA. Here too, investors sense that although energy demand is improving, it is not growing fast enough to make a dent in rapidly accumulating stockpiles. (US inventories of distillate fuels, for example, increased again last week and now stand at a 26-year high).... Nickel is at $17,575, down $305. Prices are still above the down channel that gave way earlier in the week, but are not doing a very good job pushing off it, as our chart below shows."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Kosovo-based ferro-nickel miner Ferronikeli resumed full output in August and is now working to increase it further as prices are currently double what they were a year ago, the company said Thursday. The miner ran at 50% of capacity from October 2008 to July, producing 350 metric tons a month.
  • (JMB) Japanese raw steel output increased by 8.5% to 8.311 million tonnes in August from July, which represented increases for 4 months in a row, announced by Japan Iron and Steel Federation on Friday.
  • (Yieh) It is predicted that Taiwan’s stainless steel mills may not lower their October’s benchmark price due to stable nickel price in recent days. Although nickel price kept falling in early September, it began to rebound after 15th and tends to remain at the level of US$17,500/ton.
  • (Bloomberg) Mikhail Prokhorov bought a majority share of the New Jersey Nets and a stake in the project to build the basketball team’s new Brooklyn arena to become the first Russian owner of a major U.S. professional sports franchise.
  • (Reuters) Seoul: Posco and South Korea’s chemicals-to-brokerage group Hanwha are studying a potential bid for Daewoo International, sources close to the companies told Reuters on Wednesday.
  • (SSY) According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), US steel imports in August fell by 14% from July to a 16-year low of 0.78 Mt, falling below 1 Mt for the fourth time this year. Year-to-date imports totalled 9.5 Mt. This marks a massive 51% decline year-on-year and represents the lowest level over the past 19 years.
  • (SBB) China nickel imports expected to ease
  • McKinsey: Growth Won’t Come From Developed Nations - more

  Vale Mulls Underground Nickel Mine to Extend Voisey’s Bay Life - Vale SA, the world’s second-biggest nickel producer, may build an underground mine at its Voisey’s Bay unit in Canada, extending the life of the deposit by 30 years.  - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 15th September 2009 = Crude Steel Production In China Is Being Maintained On High Level But Prices Of Raw Materials Are Still Weak - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 15th September of 2009 is as follows - more

  FNX begins shipping ore to Clarabelle - FNX Mining Company Inc. has begun trucking stockpiled ore that was mined on the surface of its Podolsky and McCreedy West mines to Vale Inco Ltd.'s Clarabelle Mill. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, September 23

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 71 to 2,175. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) New Zealand Emerges From Its Worst Recession in 30 Years; Currency Climbs // Zhou Says Currency Stability is Key as Exporters Seek to Delay Yuan Gains // Asian Consumer Stocks Advance; China Shipping Lines Decline on Cargo Rates // Dollar Trades at Lowest in Year Against Euro Before Fed on Recovery Signs // European Manufacturing, Services Industries Expand as Economy Strengthens // European Stocks Advance for Second Day as Burberry Gains; Shell Declines // Bullish Wall Street Estimates Fail to Keep Up With S&P 500 for First Time // U.S. MBA Mortgage Applications Index Rises 13% to Highest Level Since May // Obama Must Win Over Europeans on Bank Pay Limits, Capital Demands at G-20 // Stocks in U.S. Fluctuate as Declining Commodities Offset Fed Speculation
  • The US Dollar is trading higher against the Euro, by over 1/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude is tumbling, down nearly 4% and at $69/barrel after U.S. weekly data showed rising inventories and a sharp drop in demand. Gold is off 1/3 of 1% while silver is down 1-1/2%. Base metals ended the session lower, except for nickel. Indicator charts show nickel fell early to be near even with yesterday's close, but climbed late in the afternoon. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.11/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME authorized warehouses slipped slightly overnight and now rest just under the117,500 tonne level. The Baltic Dry Index dropped another 71 points to 2,175. Due to an excess of ships, this index has lost some of its effectiveness over years past, but is still interesting to follow as it gives a glimpse, albeit tainted, of the volume of raw material shipments worldwide. In economic news the day has kind of been on hold until the Fed announcement to be made this afternoon. Nothing much is expected, but the possibility of the Fed tightening its policies has traders somewhat apprehensive. Crude oil took a dive after a US report showed demand was down and inventories were up. In Canada, the court has ruled striking workers must let traffic flow freely in and out of the Vale/Inco complex. And FNX confirms it has shipped some of the ore originally destined for Vale to Xstrata processors. And finally, he is back in the news. The former nickel mine owner that became infamous when he was arrested in France for allegedly arranging prostitutes for his guests, only to come out smelling like a rose when he was forced to sell his stake in Norilsk NIckel, and was flush with cash when the market took a swan dive last year. This unique turn of events helped him become Russia's richest man, and the world's 40th richest, and now he wants to buy the American basketball team, the New Jersey Nets. If successful, it would be the first time a National Basketball Association team would come under foreign control although back in May, the Cleveland Cavaliers sold a minority stake to a Chinese group.

  Reports

 

  FNX Mining says completes ore delivery to Xstrata - FNX Mining Co Inc said it shipped about 157,000 tons of ore to Xstrata Nickel's Sudbury processing facilities by August end, completing its requirements under the temporary off-take agreement with the unit of Xstrata Plc. - more

  Vale Inco Strike: Agreement gives company timely access to all facilities - Striking Steelworkers at Vale Inco operations in Sudbury have been told they must let all vehicles across their picket line, regardless of what they are carrying. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around even , off earlier highs and looking for a direction. Other base metals are all lower at the moment. The US Dollar and Euro are trading nearly even with the Dollar having a slight edge currently. NYMEX crude futures are down 1/3 of 1% and around $71.50/barrel. Gold is off 1/5 of 1% while silver is down 1/3 of 1%. In overnight trading Asian markets ended slightly higher, while China fell over 2% for a second day. European markets are higher this morning, while US futures are slightly higher at the moment. Nickel inventories fell slightly overnight, while the BDI has yet to post their daily report. The Federal Reserve will make its announcement on monetary policy later this afternoon, but is not expected to risk destabilizing the market by tightening its policies.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals turned in a solid performance yesterday with copper leading the group higher, as a weaker dollar kept the buying in place. The dollar hit a one-year low against the Euro ahead of a two-day Federal Reserve meeting ending Wednesday. Sentiment seems to be crystallizing around the view that the Fed will adhere to loose monetary policy conditions well into 2010, thus keeping the pressure on the greenback intact. Yesterday’s firmer tone in metals has failed to lead to any follow-through buying today. In fact, metals are sharply lower as of this writing, continuing their roller coaster pattern. Although the dollar is holding relatively steady at 1.4782 against the Euro, investors seem to fretting about fundamentals this time, namely, whether demand will be strong enough to justify the current valuations, or alternatively, make a dent in rising inventories. We wrote in our longer-term outlook released a few weeks ago that the fourth-quarter could be a relatively sloppy one for metals, as it will likely be a period where markets will have to discount the inevitable slowing of Chinese import demand. As a result, it is perhaps advisable not to “buy the dips”, and instead, trade the broad trading ranges that will likely set in. Of course, the big wild card on the upside is the dollar, and should it resume weakening again, commodities will inevitably be pushed higher. However, with 1.50 looming as key resistance on the Euro, and with the dollar already massively oversold at this stage, we may see a slight pause in the descent of the greenback, allowing the less than friendly metal backdrop to exert itself. ... Nickel is at $17,600, down $150, and where we were at this time yesterday. The break above the recent down-channel highlighted yesterday seems to be intact, but we have our doubts that nickel will be able to single-handedly push higher."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) China’s Baosteel and Lianzhong Stainless Steel Corp plan to start maintenance during the national holiday while Taiyuan Iron & Steel nd Zhangjiagang Pohang Stainless Steel had announced early. Currently, only TISCO announced that its output in October would probably drop by 70,000 tons because of the maintenance.
  • (Yieh) Statistics show that for stainless steel hot rolled products, Korea purchased 22,000 tons of steels mainly from Japan, Russia, China and Taiwan from 1th to 15th this month. For cold rolled steels, import quantity also climbed by 11 percent to around 7,100 tons, mostly from China, Taiwan, India and Brazil.
  • (JOC) Total U.S. imports of steel declined 13.8 percent to 854,000 tons in August compared with 991,000 tons in July, based on preliminary reporting. August 2009 imports were 66.5 percent below levels of August 2008, the U.S. Commerce Department reported.
  • (DM) Canadian wholesale sales increased for the second consecutive month in July, mainly as a result of higher sales in the automotive products sector. Sales in current dollars rose 2.8% to $41.7 billion, according to the latest report from Statistics Canada. In volume terms, wholesale sales were up 2.6% in July, their fourth consecutive monthly increase.
  • (SSY) Ferrous scrap imports into China fell by 21% month-on-month to 1.02 Mt in August after increasing for six straight months, posting the lowest monthly volume since January 2009.
  • (MB) China's Jinchuan Group has cut its benchmark nickel price by another 2000 yuan ($293) per tonne, its fourth cut this month, as the market weakens further.
  • (Dow Jones) Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau (GGB) does not plan to raise its long steel prices before the end of the year, the Estado news agency reported Tuesday.
  • Eurozone Industrials Continue to Bounce off Lows - more
  • Mikhail Prokhorov Offers To Buy New Jersey Nets; Russian Billionaire Would Pay For Barclays Center - more
  • Are Commodities Still a Safe Haven? - more
  • Comment on commodity markets: BGF  - more
  • Defence blocks Chinese bid - more

  2009 Global Stainless Output Down, But Recovering - The International Stainless Steel Forum, a global trade association for stainless steel producers, reports that first-half 2009 output of the specialty metal declined by 26.7% compared to the first six months of 2008. Total production for January-July 2009 was 10.8 million metric tons. - more

  Vale Is Restarting Some Operations at Sudbury Nickel Plant - Vale SA has restarted some operations at its Sudbury nickel plant in Canada amid a strike, said Tom Paddon, a general manager at the company’s nickel unit. - more

  Nickel plant draws conference - Opportunities for business in the Placentia and Long Harbour areas is increasing with the start-up of construction this spring of the Vale Inco hydromet nickel processing plant in Long Harbour. - more

  Metals X secures JV deal with Rio Tinto - Metals X Limited through its wholly owned subsidiary Austral Nickel Pty Ltd ("Austral") has entered into a farm-in and joint venture agreement with Rio Tinto Limited subsidiary Rio Tinto Exploration Pty Ltd to earn an initial 51% interest in South Australian exploration licence E3932 (Mt Davies). - more

  Collapsed nickel explorer set to bounce back - Australian nickel miner, Albidon, is set to resume exploration under its Selebi- Phikwe prospecting licence after a six-month hiatus caused by the fall in global nickel prices. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Inco strikers bring beefs, nickels to Bay St. - Vale Inco workers are hoping an appeal directly to the mining giant's board of directors will help bring their increasingly bitter conflict to an end. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, September 22

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 72 to 2,246. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Singapore Investment Fund Cuts Citigroup Stake, Realizes $1.6 Billion Gain // China Investment Buys 15% Noble Stake for $850 Million to Gain Commodities // China Appeals WTO Ruling That Curbs on U.S. Books, Films, Music Are Unfair // Asian Stocks Advance; Samsung Climbs on Price-Estimate Upgrade, Rio Falls // Cadbury Said to Have Asked Takeover Panel to Force Kraft to Submit Offer // Vivendi May Decide to Sell Its 20% Stake in NBC at October Board Meeting // European Stocks Rise on Economic Forecasts; ST, Carnival, BHP Shares Gain // Bank of America to Pay for Merrill Guarantees as SEC to Sue Over Bonuses // Bernanke Effort to Accelerate Growth May Be Undermined by Loan Contraction // Ford Said to Build Third China Factory as Economic Growth Spurs Car Sales // Billionaire Eike Batista Says He May be Interested in Acquiring Vale Stake // Home Prices in U.S. Increased 0.3% in July, Less Than Economists Estimated // Putnam Seeks to Curb Retirement Fund Risk With Absolute-Return Strategy // Stocks in U.S. Advance, Extending Global Rally, as Dollar Falls, Oil Gains
  • The Euro is trading by 3/4 of 1% over the US Dollar, as yesterday's downturn quickly evaporates. NYMEX crude is up 2-3/4% and over $71.50/barrel. Gold is higher by 1-1/10 of 1% and silver is up by 1.8%. Base metals ended higher, thanks mainly to a weaker Dollar. Indicator charts show nickel started strong, suffered a mild setback in early afternoon trading, and then took off again.  Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.05/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME authorized warehouses took a big hit overnight, and now rest very near the 117,500 tonne level. Sucden's day old nickel trading chart has been updated and shows trading thru yesterday (chart here). It is worth noting that Ed Meir of MF global noted nickel broke above his down trend lines today, which could imply the downturn for nickel prices may be over for now. The Baltic Dry Index continues to fall, down another 72 points to 2,246. This is the 8th straight decline for the BDI index. Scott Hand, the old Inco CEO, is back in the nickel game. He became Chair of the Board of Directors for Royal Nickel yesterday. According to a statement by Scott, "Royal Nickel is taking the necessary steps to allow us to realize the tremendous potential of the Dumont Nickel Project, which is one of the largest undeveloped nickel sulphide projects in the world." More on Royal here. China reported imports of refined nickel rose 236% YOY to 22,703 tonnes in August, compared to August 2008, although the few agencies that are reporting the fact, are reporting it as a 55% drop from the prior month. In July, China imported 47,754 tonnes, only importing 22,703 tonnes in August. For the year, China has imported 132.13% more refined nickel than it did this time last year. The ISSF reports stainless steel crude steel production decreased in the first half of 2009 by 26.7%, compared to the first six months of 2008, but is recovering nicely.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Reuters) Nickel imports to China, which consumes about a fifth of the world's nickel, fell 52.5 percent on the month to 22,703 tonnes in August versus July's record inflow of 47,754 tonnes. About 130,000 tonnes of nickel, nearly a third of the country's consumption this year, was estimated at private and public warehouses. Overseas suppliers who were storing unsold nickel in bonded warehouses in Shanghai to wait for Chinese ah hoc orders had reduced shipments to China last month, a trader in Shanghai said, who had expected August's imports around 28,000 tonnes.
  • (Dow Jones) Brazil mining mammoth Vale SA (VALE) has officially opened an iron-ore pellet plant, capable of producing seven million metric tons of pellets a year, in Minas Gerais State, southeastern Brazil, the company said in a statement Tuesday.
  • (Xinhua) Steel plants should take the initiative to cut production before excessive stockpiles are rendered, said Wu Xichun, an advisor of China Iron & Steel Association (CISA), at the fourth Conference of Chinese Steel Traders. Current indicators suggest that the domestic steel supply will strongly outstrip demand from the fourth quarter until next year, said Wu. "However, most steel mills haven't begun limiting production since prices surged from April to early August due to government projects."
  • (Bloomberg) ThyssenKrupp AG, the German shipbuilder and steelmaker, canceled contracts with Greece yesterday for the construction and maintenance of submarines after the country failed to pay for the vessels.
  • The three pseudo bulls on Wall Street - more
  • A couple of Bullish Views - more

  China import figures for July 2009

  • Imports of nickel ore - Imports of nickel ore into China during the month of July were over 29% higher than June. The top three sources of imports into China were (1) Philippines 64% (2) Indonesia 34% (3) Australia .008% followed by Zambia, South Africa and Taiwan
  • Imports of ferronickel - Imports of ferronickel into China during the month of July were nearly 25% higher than in June. The top three sources of imports into China were (1) Colombia 23.3% (2) Japan 22.8% (3) New Caledonia 15.1% followed by South Korea, Egypt, and Brazil
  • Imports of ferrochrome - Imports of ferrochrome into China during the month of July were over 16% lower than in June. The top three sources of imports into China were (1) South Africa 52.6% (2) Kazakhstan 21.7% (3) India 11.6% followed by Turkey, Netherlands, and Mozambique
  • Imports of chrome ore - Imports of chrome ore into China during the month of July were 57% higher than in June. The top three sources of imports into China were (South Africa 33.5% (2) Turkey 21.2% (3) India 13.6% followed by Oman, Australia, and Pakistan 

  Stainless steel production for first half of 2009 down – but recovering strongly - Preliminary figures released by the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) show that stainless steel crude steel production decreased in the first half of 2009 by 26.7% compared to the same period of 2008. Total production for the first six months of 2009 was 10.8 million metric tons (mmt). All major regions showed lower production volumes in the first half year 2009. Only China reported an increased production volume during the period. - more

  Collapsed nickel explorer set to bounce back - Australian nickel miner, Albidon, is set to resume exploration under its Selebi- Phikwe prospecting licence after a six-month hiatus caused by the fall in global nickel prices. - more

  Brazil Billionaire Batista Interested in Vale Stake - Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista said he may be interested in acquiring a stake in Vale SA, the world’s biggest iron-ore producer, after a stockholder in the company said he had approached it about buying their shares. - more

  Steelmaking restarts are undercutting sheet price hikes - Steel producers worldwide were too quick to restart idled capacity, says the chairman of the International Steel Trade Association in London, who notes that global demand remains weak, increased supply is sitting in distributors' inventory and market prices again are under downward pressure. In a nutshell: There's too much steel out there. - more

  In the week ending September 19, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,386,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 58.1 percent. Production was 2,017,000 tons in the week ending September 19, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 84.5 percent. The current week production represents a 31.3 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending September 19, 2009 is up 1.0 percent from the previous week ending September 12, 2009 when production was 1,373,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 57.5 percent.

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.16/lb higher, as the US Dollar slumps and all base metals climb higher. The Euro is much stronger against the US Dollar this morning, up 2/3 of 1%. NYMEX crude futures are up 2% and over $71/barrel. Gold is up 1-1/3% while silver is higher by 2-1/3%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, while China fell over 2%. European markets are higher this morning, while US futures shows Wall Street should open stronger. Inventories of nickel slumped hard overnight, and the BDI continues to tumble.     
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "We are sharply higher in metals as of this writing, as another fade in the dollar (back to 1.48 against the Euro) is giving the complex a shot in the arm. Crude oil is also benefitting from dollar weakness, with WTI up by about $1.10, and making up almost half the ground it gave up yesterday. We suspect that the dollar will remain the dominant price-setting variable for the balance of the week. Although we are bearish on its prospects over the longer-term, we are not sure the short-covering rally in the greenback has run its course. As a result, we would be reluctant to chase the current bounce in metals, mindful of another potential snap-back in the dollar perhaps later in the week. ... Nickel is at $17,625, up $225; prices seem to have broken out of their recent down-channel, (see our chart below) but they now need to build on this break and push higher, or there is a danger we could fade back below the line."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • Barclays Capital - "Given the level of production cuts, including the ongoing strike at Sudbury and Voisey's Bay mines in Canada, we believe the nickel market is currently tighter than recent price moves would reflect and will be exacerbated further in 4Q as stainless sector restocking ramps up in 4Q this year."
  • Bloomberg - China nickel purchases dropped for the first time in five months, tumbling by more than 50 percent from July, while tin imports declined 23 percent.
  • (Yieh) Berong Nickel Corporation said that its closed nickel mine in southwestern Philippines would not resume until nickel price raise to US$18,000/ton.
  • Commods rally won't last unless demand recovers - more
  • The Conference Board Leading Economic Index™ (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.6 percent in August, following a 0.9 percent gain in July, and a 0.8 percent rise in June.
  • China set to swing from trade surplus to trade deficit - more
  • It’s all over: The banks have won - more
  • U.S. mortgage delinquencies set record - more
  • Retirements in Peril - A tightrope about to snap - more

   Metals Imports by China Slump in August on Prices - Copper and aluminum imports by China, the world’s largest consumer and the third-biggest economy, slumped for a second month in August as stockpiles and overseas prices increased. - more

  Ex-Inco executives join Royal Nickel - Scott Hand and another former senior Inco executive have joined Royal Nickel Corp. as the Canadian mining company receives a $21.8-million investment from a major Chinese metal distributor. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, September 21

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 38 to 2,318. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Can't Get Enough Treasuries as Dollar No Deterrent to Foreign Buyers // Asian Stocks Fall Amid Valuation Concerns; BHP, Brilliance China Decline // Lloyds to Issue $4.7 Billion of Mortgage-Backed Debt, First Sale in a Year // European Shares Fall on Concern Rally Overdone; BHP, RBS, K&S Lead Decline // G-20 Push on Banking Capital Threatens Profits From Goldman to Barclays // Krugman Says `End of the World Postponed' as U.S. Economy Exits Recession // U.S. Economy to Add Jobs by End of This Year, Barclays Capital's Maki Says // Chrysler's Estate Lost $12.1 Billion in Three Months Following Bankruptcy // Stocks in U.S., Europe, Asia Drop on Valuations as Dollar Gains, Oil Falls
  • While the US Dollar continues to trade higher against the Euro, it is by much less than earlier. Presently it is 1/4 of 1% higher, and most commodities reacted sharply to the downturn. NYMEX crude was not one of them, now down 3-3/4% and under $69.50/barrel. Gold is back over $1000/ounce and down 1/2 of 1%, while silver is off 1%. Base metals ended the session mostly lower, with a few bucking the trend. Indicator charts show nickel was falling hard most of the morning, until the Dollar's strength began to wain, and nickel climbed as the Euro did. Dow jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.01/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses fell for the 4th consecutive day this morning, coming in under the 118,500 tonne level. The Baltic Dry Index lost 38 points to 2,318. The China stainless steel index we follow is showing possible signs of bottoming out, and has seen its first two day consecutive increase since early last month. It's at 104.80 today, up from 104.37 last Thursday. The World Steel Association reported world output of steel rose to an eleven month high in August, despite a 5.5% lower total than it recorded last August. Last week, Mel Wilde, chairman of UK-based International Steel Trade Association (ISTA) warned members "Producers around the world very quickly ramped up their production, overfeeding the market." The Platts Steel Markets Daily managing editor  Joseph Innace also cautioned its readers "In short, the steel sector -- globally and in most regions -- had a decent summer, but now things look iffy again." Mr Li Shijun the chief analyst of the China Iron and Steel Association told reporters last week that overcapacity was the dominant issue for China steel industry. Until tomorrow.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (John Reade, UBS) - "The return of participants to commodity markets has continued over the past fortnight, after something of a summer lull. While the recent increase in open interest has been concentrated in gold and silver, overall positions across the eight commodity markets we track are remarkably similar: on average, traders increased positions by 30% from the lows seen late last year, and are about 20% from the all-time highs of earlier last year. We attribute the selloff in commodities last year to a sudden withdrawal of financial market liquidity, forcing deleveraging. If we are correct, then the recovery in open interest this year is a sign that liquidity has returned, and that traders have rebuilt positions that they were forced to cut last year. The risks of another deleveraging event in commodity markets has thus increase, we believed, although positions remain well off the absolute highs seen in 2008."
  • (Dow Jones) China's steel prices have stepped down for six consecutive weeks, but the fall slows down these days, according to the latest date. Last week, domestic steel prices went on declining 0.5% from a week earlier, but the decrease narrowed for straight three weeks, said mysteel.com, a supplier of steel industry information.
  • (FT) RBC Capital Markets - This is one metal that they are not too excited about. In the short term, labour troubles in Sudbury should provide support to prices. But given high inventory levels, they do not think this rally is sustainable unless demand outside of China picks up. They expect prices to fall in the fourth quarter, and remain constrained as idle capacity around the world comes online. Their long-term forecast is US$7.50 a pound.

  World steel output rises to 11-month high - Global crude steel production rose to its highest level in almost a year in August, figures from the World Steel Association showed on Monday, as steel mills restarted idled capacity due to increased orders. - more

  Will INcreased Supply Undermine Fourth Quarter Steel Prices? - Transaction prices for most steel products increased in September in northern Europe. Producers have restricted their output since the onset of the international financial crisis, while stockists and end-users have reduced their inventories to a minimum. Delivery lead times have increased as the steel makers’ reduced capacities have become full. - more

  No start date in sight for Guatemala nickel mine - No start date has been set for the reopening of the Fenix nickel project in Guatemala, owned by HudBay Minerals, although economic conditions are improving, the company's Guatemalan partner said on Thursday. - more

  Murder crushes Philippine mining hopes - Attempts by the Philippines to revive foreign investment in mining have fallen flat following the shooting death of a security contractor at the Didipio gold/copper project, owned by Melbourne-based OceanaGold. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.17/lb lower, with all base metals trading lower this morning. The US Dollar is trading nearly 6/10 of 1% higher against the Euro, adding pressure to commodities. NYMEX crude futures are off over 2% and around $70.50/barrel. Gold is down 9/10 of 1%, slipping under $1000/ounce, while silver is off nearly 1.9%.  In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly lower, with China ending slightly higher. This morning, European markets are trading lower, while US futures imply a lower opening for Wall Street. As our afternoon update was delayed Friday, Dow Jones reported LME nickel closed the week at $7.78/lb  on Friday, for those who missed it. This morning, nickel inventories reportedly slumped again, while the Baltic Dry Index continues to slide.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters update -  more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metal prices were thrashed on Friday, as an impressive rebound in the dollar took its toll on prices. The greenback gained more than a full Euro on the day, closing just around 1.47 from 1.48. Copper prices also fell on worries about slowing Chinese imports and swelling inventories. Also losing ground on Friday, although certainly not as much as base metals, were both energy and gold. US stocks closed modestly higher. We are seeing another round of selling hit most markets today. The dollar is up overnight, gaining against the Euro, and now trading at 1.4650. This time, its strength is producing a more direct hit on energy, which is down by about $1.60, and on gold, which has sunk to one-week lows. Given how short practically everyone has been on the dollar of late, we suspect the current short-covering rally could run for at least a few more days, and should therefore exert continued pressure on metals. However, we eventually see the greenback weakening again, in which case we would be looking to scale down purchases on select metals as we near their support levels..... Nickel is at $16,900, down $250, and continues to struggle, with its down channel still very much in place"  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (MetalBiz ) - "The Asia-largest nickel producer, Jinchuan Group, Gansu in the recent days takes place in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the company. At present, Jinchuan's nickel output ranks No. 4 all over the world, cobalt yield rating No. 2 throughout the world, and the international status and the competiveness significantly pick up. In 50 years, the company produced accumulatively nickel for 1.374mln tons, copper for 1.901mln tons, cobalt for 42,000 tons, platinum for 26.3 tons,..."
  • (Yieh) In the first half of September, with the continuing declining nickel price, the stainless steel market witnessed the few transactions in Taiwan. Last week, the nickel price seemed to stabilize at over US$17,000/ton on the LME, both the sellers and buyers were waiting and seeing the market trend.
  • (AFPA) According to the American Forest & Paper Association’s August 2009 U.S. Containerboard Statistics Report released today, total containerboard paper production fell 9.0% in August compared to August 2008. Total production was flat, dropping just 16,000 tons or 0.6% when compared to July 2009. For the year to date, production was down 12.3% compared to 2008.
  • Russian nickel output in January-August fell by 6.2% on the year, the Federal Statistics service reported Monday.
  • Income for the Masses Not Keeping Up... For 40 Years - more
  • From Bear to Bull - more

    Miner raises funds for nickel plant in Zambales - Australian miner Rusina Mining, Ltd. has secured a total of A$5.75 million from British investors for the development of a nickel plant in Zambales. - more

  Mining equipment under hammer in Perth - A treasure trove of dozers, dump trucks and excavators from the suspended Cawse nickel mine near Kalgoorlie goes under the hammer in Perth this week.- more

  Stainless steel fair to be held on Jan 2010 in Ahmedabad - "INDINOX-2010", the world's first-ever stainless steel and application fair, will be held at Ahmedabad from January 16 to 19, 2010 to promote the Indian stainless steel industry at the domestic as well as the international level. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, September 18

   Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $7.78/lb

  DJ Private Investors In China Stockpile Copper, Nickel - Analysts  - Individuals in China have stockpiled large sums of base metals in the past year, with nickel and copper of particular interest, analysts said Friday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.10/lb  lower, with all base metals trading lower. The US Dollar is stronger against the Euro this morning, up nearly 2/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude futures are down 4/10 of 1% and hovering over the $72/barrel level. Gold is fighting to hold onto its bull run, up over 1/10 of 1% while silver is down nearly 6/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, led by a sharp fall in China. European markets are lower this morning, and futures have Wall Street tipped slightly to the positive side. Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses slipped again overnight, but remain above the 118,500 tonne level. The Baltic Dry Index fell 34 points to 2,356. Our afternoon update will be delayed today.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals ended mixed on Thursday after an earlier attempt to rally fizzled. Ali was the exception, continuing to gain ground on a possible Rusal/Glencore tie-up. Copper and lead fared the worst, with the latter losing almost 4% on the day, while copper retreated after approaching its recent high of $6480. The macro data out of the US yesterday did little to spur prices higher, possibly because of caveats within the figures. As examples, the US Labor Department said the number of workers filing for jobless claims dipped to a six-week low of 545,000 last week from 557,000 the previous week, but those filing for continuing claims increased to 6.2 million, slightly above forecasts. Separately, the Commerce Department said housing starts increased by 1.5% in August to their highest level in nine months amid a jump in apartment building, but the figure was largely in line with estimates. (It also begs the larger question of whether we need to be increasing new housing supply at this particular stage of the cycle). In a more positive development, the Philadelphia Fed’s index of regional manufacturing conditions rose to 14.1 in September from 4.2 in August, handily beating estimates, and reaching its highest reading since June of 2007. As of this writing, metal prices are down. The dollar has recovered some ground in overnight trading against the Euro, (now trading at 1.4707), thus increasing pressure on the commodities in general. We do not expect much to happen today, as there are no major macro releases out of the US. Participants instead will likely be watching the dollar and trying to trade the metals accordingly as they wait for a clearer direction to emerge. ... Nickel is at $17,392, down $183, and fairly quiet, with a tight trading range in place." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) LME base metals are trading lower weighed by a stronger dollar, but prices won't fall too much, says Calyon analyst Robin Bhar.
  • UBS: Cancelled Warrants - The lack of increase in cancelled warrants of base metals that trade on the London Metals Exchange suggests no imminent restocking of these metals from global industrial users, and so provides no fundamental evidence of tightening that could lift base metal prices. We watch LME cancelled warrants as a leading indicator of future stock withdrawals from the LME's network of warehouses globally, and note how the rally in prices this year was first preceded and then accompanied by an increase in the proportion of LME stocks that had seen warrants cancelled. Since the start of May, however, the proportion of cancelled warrants has fallen off sharply, and is now near its lows of the past few years. The accompanying chart shows the proportion of cancelled warrants for all six LME metals, and shows the same calculations for five base metals. Aluminium is excluded due to the huge stocks of this non-scarce metal: the 4.6 million tonnes of aluminium at LME warehouses makes up 82% of total metal weight held in all warehouses, and thus distorts any total. Base metal prices have lost upward momentum over the past month as traders and investors have become more concerned about slowing Chinese loan growth and slower commodity imports in the second half of the year, something our equity colleagues have written a lot about recently. We acknowledge the prospects for much slower Chinese imports in the second half of the year, but we expect to see restocking of base metals from the rest of the world as economic growth improves, albeit languidly. But in the absence of an increase in LME cancelled warrants, there is no market-derived data to suggest that re-stocking is imminent. Anecdotal conversations with some equity analysts have confirmed that companies with which they have spoken have deemed September disappointing in terms of metals demand.
  • (Citigroup) But it’s different in China — In China excess inventories of finished goods appear to have been absorbed already, but inventory has built elsewhere in the pipeline – at the government, producer, and speculator. There are now signs that inventory building in China has ended, and imports and production are slowing as a consequence.
  • (Yieh) Japan’s crude steel output in August rose by 8.5 percent month-on-month for the fourth month straight increase on improved demand from automakers. Total output in August was 8.31 million tons, according to Japan’s Iron and Steel Federation (JISF).
  • (SC) Mwana Africa (MWA) is on course to restart production at its Freda Rebecca gold mine in Zimbabwe after completing the first phase of a refurbishment of the mine. The company is also poised to restart production at its Bindura Nickel operation in response to rising market prices for nickel.
  • (Reuters) Berong Nickel Corp will not reopen its nickel mine in southwestern Philippines, suspended since February, until nickel prices rebound to at least $18,000 per tonne, a senior official said on Thursday.
  • (Interfax) TISCO's stainless crude steel output up 49.02 pct year-on-year in August
  • (Interfax) China's steel product output up 10.4 pct year-on-year in first eight months
  • Top 500 China's iron and steel enterprises in 2009 - translated list here

  Baosteel aims to produce 1.4 mln tons of stainless crude steel in 2009 - Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed Baoshan Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. (Baosteel) has raised its stainless crude steel output target for 2009 to 1.4 million tons, up from its previous expectation of around 1 million tons at the beginning of this year, a Baosteel employee told Interfax on Sept. 18. - more

  Global Stainless Steel Production To Recover By 2012 - Global stainless steel production will recover to 2008 levels by 2012, Markus A Moll, managing director of Austrian-based stainless steel consultancy SMR GmbH said Thursday. - more

  Output Of Stainless Steel Products In Japan For July / 09 Recovered To 233,000 Tons = All Times Of Ni And Cr Based Products Increased its Output, Following Those In June - According to the steel statistics released on the 14th of September by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the quantities of stainless steel products (hot-rolled products) produced in Japan for July of 2009 and broken down by items were as per the table shown below. - more

  Cost containment biggest risk for mining companies: Ernst and Young - Cost containment, industry consolidation and access to capital are the major challenges facing mining companies this year, according to an Ernst and Young survey published Thursday. - more

  Steel service center shipments rise slightly in August - Steel service center data for August shows that distributors continued to reduce inventory in the face of marginal growth in shipments to cautious buyers at end-use companies. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, September 17

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 25 to 2,390. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Bank of Japan Sees `Downside' Risks to Economy, Keeps Rate Target at 0.1% // Chavez Seeks to Boost Oil Output With $16 Billion China Deal Over 3 Years // Asian Stocks Climb to One-Year High as Commodities Gain on Growth Optimism // Allied Irish Climbs as Government Buys Bad Loans, Capital Increase Planned // London Financial Job Openings Record Biggest Increase in 2009, Survey Says // World Faces a Shortage of Metals, According to Former BHP Chief Gilbertson // Swiss Central Bank Leaves Rate Unchanged, Pledges to Counter Strong Franc // U.K. Retail Sales Growth Unexpectedly Stalls as Shoppers Reduce Spending // European Stocks Advance for Third Day; Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Rise // Initial Jobless Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Decreased to 545,000 Last Week // Americans Will Limit Spending on Concern Economy Won't Improve, Poll Shows // Household Wealth Rose by $2 Trillion Last Quarter as U.S. Recession Eased // Volcker Sees `Long Slog' for U.S. Economy, Seeks Limits on Biggest Banks // Job Market Still in `Severe Bleeding' Mode, Bank of America's Harris Says // BlackRock's Fink Sees Dollar as the Best Currency for Long-Term Investors
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, but still not by much. NYMEX crude is off more than 1/10 of 1% and under $72.50/barrel. Gold is off 1/3 of 1% while silver is lower by 8/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the day mixed, but mostly lower. Indicator charts show nickel spiked early, and then started stair stepping downwards, with the biggest fall coming in after market trading. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.97/lb , but all of the days gains evaporated in after hours trading. Inventories of nickel stored in approved LME warehouses slipped overnight, falling under the 119,000 tonne level, and 360 tonnes shy of Tuesday's record high. Sucden's day old chart shows the trend over the last three days has started upward (chart here), although the RSI and SStoch numbers are starting to show the market is entering overbought territory. The Baltic Dry Index continues to slip, down another 25 points overnight. Most of the economic news out of the US today was positive. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's index on manufacturing (teh Philly index) rose to 14.1 from 4.2 in August, its first positive reading in nearly a year. And for the first time in two years, household net rose by $2 trillion in the second quarter. Good news? Maybe not. This reveals that those Americans who could be spending money on extra things, are not. And when over 2/3 of the US GDP depends on people spending all they can, this news isn't exactly warming Wall Street's hearts today. Here is a news flash for those living on Wall Street. People out here in the real world are still scared to death. Maybe fewer of them are buying rifles and digging shelters in their back yards, but even those who are working are wondering if they will be next. Continuing claims fell by 5,500 to 6.18 million last week. That's good news? OK, yes it could have been worse, but one out of 1,124 people getting a job last week, while the other 1,123 did not is not really something to pop the champagne over. Are Americans alone? We found it incredibly interesting today to read the following in reference to the confirmation of something we reported weeks ago - that Chinese farmers are stockpiling copper and nickel. From this Bloomberg story (here) , we learn why. "The metals holdings by pig-farmer investors and other private speculators give “the impression that there is strong demand in China,” said Jiang at Shanghai Oriental. “But it is actually those who take a pessimistic view of the economy and are looking to preserve their wealth who are buying.” There you have an interesting observation. In the country that many believe will do the most to help bring the world economy back to full steam, pig farmers are collecting copper and nickel, for the same reason many Americans hoard gold and silver.    

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Finnish steelmaker Outokumpu Oyj is ramping up its ferrochrome production in anticipation of winter weather when its ferrochrome facilities need to operate at 100% to prevent frost damage, the company's chief executive said Thursday. Speaking during an analyst conference in London, Juha Rantanen said the company was already in the process of ramping up production in preparation for the winter. With "ferrochrome, you either run (operations at) 100% or zero. In the winter time it needs to run at 100% otherwise it would freeze," he said.
  • Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research - The path going forward is likely to be one in which rising commodity prices and import prices do put some upward pressure on the overall inflation rate, with at least some of the price pressure showing up in the core indexes. This will have two important implications for the recovery. First the higher inflation, even if it still modest, may lead to growing fears in financial markets that could send interest rates higher. Ironically, the source of inflation has nothing to do with expansionary fiscal and monetary policy, but any uptick in inflation may increase political pressure to tighten policy. The other problem is simply that higher inflation will erode wages, leaving workers with less money to spend. In the context of an economy that is likely to be losing jobs at least into the first months of 2010, the prospect of declining real wages does not augur well for consumption growth.
  • David Greenlaw, Morgan Stanley - The recent trend in the core CPI data, together with the performance of unit labor costs, points to further disinflation ahead. However, given the increasingly widespread indications that the US economy has bottomed, we continue to believe that outright deflation is highly unlikely. While some economists believe that the size of the output gap is the main driver of underlying movements in inflation, our own view is that the historical evidence suggests that the direction of change in the output gap is also quite relevant. So, we expect core inflation to level off later this year.
  • Weekly Railfax - more
  • China's 'cancer villages' bear witness to economic boom - more
  • When Will the Economy start to add Jobs? (III.) Industrial Production & duration of Unemployment - more

  Former BHP Chief Gilbertson Says World Faces Shortage of Metals - Brian Gilbertson, the veteran dealmaker who helped build BHP Billiton Ltd. into the biggest mining company, said the world faces a metal shortage as banks curb funding for projects and demand recovers from a slump. - more

  LME says planning to open office in Singapore - The London Metal Exchange is planning to open an office in Singapore as a significant portion of its business comes from Asia, a spokesman for the exchange said on Thursday. - more

  South African mining giant gets 20% in Zim Alloys - South African based mining company Metmar has snapped a 20 percent stake in ZimAlloys and its subsidiary company Chrome Corp. - more

  ENRC mulling $950 mln cash bid for CAMEC  - Kazakh mining group ENRC may use some of its cash pile to buy junior miner CAMEC for about $950 million and expand into mineral-rich Africa, ENRC said on Wednesday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.13/lb , with other base metals mixed. The US Dollar is trading lower against the Euro, but only slightly and off earlier highs. NYMEX crude futures are down 2/3 of 1% and at $72/barrel. Gold is down more than 1/10 of 1%, while silver is steady. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with European markets trading higher this morning. US futures are leaning to the bullish side, but have yet to show how Wall Street will open. The US Labor Dept has just announced initial jobless claims fell by 12,000 last week, their lowest since July 11th. The number of people collecting regular state benefits rose by 129,000 to a seasonally adjusted 6.23 million, while continuing claims fell 5,500 to 6.18 million. And the Commerce Department has just reported housing starts increased 1.5% in August. The two reports could give the bulls a reason to run another day, but we will have to wait and see. LME inventories slipped under the 119,000/ tonne level with another decline, and the BDI declined again as well.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -  "Metal prices soared yesterday, and in so doing, have relegated the recent correction to the dustbin, at least in the case of copper and zinc, both of which are now knocking against their recent highs. The rest of the metals also advanced sharply, but our charts show that they still are some ways off from their highs. Once again, there was nothing significant to spark the advance, except for the dollar, which took out the 1.47 level against the Euro, and sank to a one-year low against a more general basket of currencies. In addition, metals benefited from constructive macro numbers out of the US, where August industrial production rose by 0.8%, more than the 0.6% expected. Even after stripping out the bullish impact of the motor vehicle sector from the data (which benefited from the “Cash for Clunkers” program), we should note that manufacturing production still rose a healthy 0.4%. We wrote in yesterday’s commentary that the bullish impact arising from the struggling dollar has to be balanced against the simultaneous weakness we are seeing in the fundamentals in a number of metal complexes, typified by rising LME stocks and a deceleration of Chinese import growth. We suggested that the latter will ultimately prevail, but given the action of the last few days, it is obvious that the dollar is the more dominant of the two, at least for now. We have to wait and see whether this latest currency-induced spike will have what it takes to push metals past their recent highs and towards another leg higher. It is a hard question to answer, as the fundamentals argue that prices should ease, but the dollar is proving to be quite a counter-force. More importantly, the greenback’s near-term prospects do not look that good, as chartists are now likely gunning for the 1.50 mark against the Euro. In addition, the dollar is now being used to fund carry trades, something that previously was the domain of the yen. (In carry trades, investors borrow low-yielding currencies and reinvest the proceeds in higher yielding ones, putting yet more pressure on the currency being borrowed). Indeed, the rate structure makes this a sensible thing to do given that three-month dollar Libor rate is now below comparable Japanese rates for the first time in 16 years. ... Nickel is at $17,650, up $350. Despite the recent move higher, nickel still has some work to do on the charts, and needs to break the $18,000 mark to look more constructive."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Korea’s Posco is planning to remain its stainless steel export prices unchanged for October and November shipments as they see the market demand healthy. But the company will cut its domestic stainless prices slightly. Posco increased its stainless steel products prices by 13 percent in September.
  • (Yieh) In August, Taiwan's stainless steel coil and plate imports reached 45,266 tons, while exports hit 96,027 tons, both increased by 15 percent and 23 percent compared with last month.
  • (Dow Jones) Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde SAA, said Wednesday that it plans to restart its molybdenum circuit this month. "The molybdenum operations will restart in September due to an increase in demand," it said in a filing to the Peruvian securities commission.
  • (PM) Nickel prices peaked this summer near $9/lb and are likely to fall for the rest of this year, says Pekka Pera, CEO of Finnish miner Talvivaara. But, looking ahead, prices could pick up in the second half of 2010, he says, as various government stimulus efforts finally rekindle demand for stainless steel.
  • (Sino) United States Steel Corp., headquartered in Pittsburgh as the largest fully integrated steel producer in the US, recently submitted a complaint to the US Commerce Department, asking the department to impose anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties of up to 90 percent on some steel pipes imported from China.
  • (AMM) Members of the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) posted higher steel shipments in August while continuing to reduce their inventories to record lows.
  • CNR (02889) buys ferro nickel alloy biz at RMB196M  - more
  • Mantega urges Vale to invest more in Brazil-report - more
  • Astmax Tops Rogers With Commodities Minus Contango - more
  • The woos and woes of mining terminology - more

  China’s Pig Farmers Amass Copper, Nickel, Sucden Says  - Private investors in China, the world’s largest metals user, have stockpiled “substantial” quantities of copper as the government ramps up stimulus spending to spur the economy, according to Sucden Financial Ltd. - more

  Nickel mine restart hinged on prices-Manila's Atlas - Berong Nickel Corp will not reopen its nickel mine in southwestern Philippines, suspended since February, until nickel prices rebound to at least $18,000 per tonne, a senior official said on Thursday. - more

  China Becomes Most Important Country To Purchase Molybdenum Produced In Chile = Exports Of Roasted Ore From Chile To China In First Half / 09 Increased By 216 Times From That / 08 - Japan was so far the largest country for Chile to export molybdenum but China is supposed to have become the most important country in 2009 for exports of molybdenum produced in Chile. - more

  Nickel Is Set to Decline on Lower Chinese Imports, CRU Says - Nickel is set to decline in coming weeks as China, the world’s biggest consumer, imports less of the metal after building up stockpiles, researcher CRU said. - more

  Railways gives a leg-up to stainless steel industry - Despite the lull in the business activities owing to slowdown in the economy, the stainless steel industry is looking up, piggybacking on the increased demand from the railways. - more

  China Eyes Mining Deals  - With China’s economy again showing signs of robust growth, Beijing is now encouraging Chinese firms to aggressively pursue mining projects in the Philippines to support its projected hike in demand for minerals and metals, Zhengping Wu, economic and commercial counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Manila, said. - more

  Commerce Announces Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review on Stainless Steel Bar From India - On March 6, 2009, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) published the preliminary results of the administrative review of the antidumping duty order on stainless steel bar (SSB) from India. - more

  World steel demand to recover driven by emerging mkts: Mittal - The world's largest steel maker, ArcelorMittal, sees global steel demand returning to about a 5 per cent growth rate after the crisis is over led by emerging markets, including India, which holds significant potential.  - more

  Tight Supply Helps To Strengthen EU Steel Prices - While stock replenishment has boosted flat product sales recently, underlying consumption remains relatively weak. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Vale Uses Own Vessels for Iron-Ore Exports, List Says - Vale SA is using its own vessels for all iron-ore exports to China and Europe, Lloyd’s List said, citing an unidentified senior charterer at the head office in Rio de Janeiro. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, September 16

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 16 to 2,415. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Global Confidence Index Holds at Record High on Signs Recession Has Ended // Dollar Pessimism Grows Deeper as Borrowing Costs in U.S. Drop Below Japan // Asian Stocks Rise Most in Three Weeks; Exporters Gain on U.S. Retail Sales // U.K. Unemployment Rises to Highest Level Since 1995 as Slump Erases Jobs  // FSB Chief Draghi Says Banker Pay Now in Realm of Regulators as G-20 Looms // European Stocks Rise to 11-Month High; BHP Billiton, KBC, Inditex Advance // Stock Sentiment Falls as MSCI World Index Valuation Reaches Six-Year High // Buffett Says Economy Has Bottomed Out, Doesn't See `Double Dip' Recession // Goldman Says 10-Year Treasury Yields May Drop to 3% on Slowing Inflation // Stocks, Commodities Gain on Speculation Global Economy Returning to Growth
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, by 1/3 of 1% and off earlier highs. NYMEx crude is up over 1% and over $71.50/barrel. Gold is up1% while silver is higher by 2%. Base metals had a very bullish day, across the board. Indicator charts show nickel spent most of the morning climbing, but slipped after the Federal Reserve announced factory output in August rose 0.8%, the price of nickel slumped about $150/tonne, where it spent the rest of the day rangebound. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.82/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell slightly overnight, but remain above the 119,000 tonne level. Sucden has updated their day old nickel trading chart showing trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index continues to flounder, down 16 points to 2,415. In what can best be described as another head scratcher, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics announced today, that from January to July, our little planet experienced a 1,700 tonne surplus of nickel. Considering on January 2, 2009, the LME warehouses held 78,822 tonnes of nickel and today, hold over 119,000 tonnes worth of nickel,  the second largest amount it has held since, well yesterday, and before that 1994, we honestly feel the WBMS should invest in a new calculator, or hire a new research team. Apparently this agency assumes stainless steel producers had huge stockpiles in December (nearly 40,000 tonnes worth), that are now gone, or nickel producers had huge stockpiles of nickel in December (nearly 40,000 tonnes worth), that are now gone, or aliens have been secretly stealing ore and leaving crop circles in return. But hey - they are the industry professionals and we aren't, so if they claim we only produced two extra boatloads of nickel in the first 7 months of this year than we used, then we can just roll our eyes and smile. Kind of like the reaction you give at grandpa's house when he starts re-telling you a story he just got done telling 5 minutes prior. The last two days have seen nickel rising, but as MF Global's Ed Meir noted this morning, the downward trend is still intact. If we remember the old trading saying correctly, it went something like "the trend is your friend". On the flip side, there is a rodeo saying that goes "only a clown jumps in front of the bull". Pick your poison.       

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Sinocast) China will witness a new round of steel markup, because the inversion between domestic refined oil price and the international crude oil prices does not exist now, deemed analysts. The China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) estimated that Chinese steelmakers' profits for last month would slip, but they could be profitable in the entire 2009. Since their profits are currently lingering at a mediocre level, there is little space for the dive of steel prices.
  • (Market Watch) "Until we see a reason to sell off there is enough money sitting on the sideline asking every day, where's the top, am I missing this? Equity markets are seeing this money flow back in to some extent," said Bruce Shalett, managing partner of Wynston Hill
  • Sandra Close, an analyst from Surbiton Associates to BBC - "Gold's rising price is due to uncertainty all the way from personal investors right through to institutions ... There are questions out there over the health of economies, where interest rates are going. All that encourages gold hoarding."
  • Kaeppel's Corner: Is It Time to Jump on the Gold Bandwagon?  - more

  Vertical Landscaping Ecologically Sustainable Stainless Design - With the population boom leaving less open space available for traditional garden beds, stainless steel is helping to reintroduce Mother Nature to an increasingly unnatural environment. - more

  BHP says some China iron ore talks still underway  - BHP Billiton Ltd/Plc has yet to fully sign off on this year's long-term iron ore price contracts with steel mills in China, where strong economic growth could level off, marketing officials said on Wednesday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.23/lb higher, as the bull returns to the base metals market on speculation U.S. markets have returned to growth. All base metals traded in London are solidly higher this morning. The Euro is slightly higher against the US Dollar, by around 1/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude futures are off 1/3 of 1% and under $71/barrel. Gold continues its run, up 1% to nearly $1020/ounce. Silver is up nearly 1-1/2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, while China fell. European markets are higher this morning, and US futures imply Wall Street will open higher. Inventories of nickel fell overnight, while the BDI did the same. The Labor Department just reported U.S. consumer prices increased a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in August, thanks primarily to a 9.1% increase in gas prices. Core consumer prices rose 0.1% in August. The WBMS reports the global nickel market was only in a 1,700 metric tonne surplus from January thru July. Go figure.     
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "After several days of sloppy trading, metal prices staged an impressive bounce on Tuesday, teeing off a struggling dollar, which neared the 1.47 mark against the Euro. The mood also brightened considerably after the release of US retail sales for August, which jumped by 2.7%, substantially higher than the 1.9% estimate for its highest increase in some 3 1/2 years. Although the “Cash for Clunkers” program gave the figures an extra boost, we should note that even excluding car sales, sales were still up a respectable 1.1% compared to the 0.6% decrease seen in July. Also helpful, was data showing manufacturing activity in New York State rising to its highest level in almost two years in September and a statement issued late in the day by Chairman Ben Bernanke saying that the recession was technically over. However, the bullish impact arising from favorable macro data and the weaker dollar seem to be bumping against the weaker fundamentals we are seeing in a number of metal complexes, typified by rising LME stocks and a deceleration of Chinese import growth. These offsetting factors should theoretically make the case for a trading range type of market, but we suspect that the fundamentals will tip the balance somewhat and lead to slightly lower prices over the September/October time period. For the moment, however, the bulls seem to be in the driver’s seat, with metal prices up sharply again today on very little news, except for currency. The dollar is at its recent lows against the Euro, briefly crossing the 1.47 mark this morning before recovering. The broader dollar index (traded on ICE), dropped to the lowest level since September of 2008, while gold has pushed to 18-month highs.... Nickel is at $17,200, up $450. Despite the recent move higher, nickel’s downtrend is still intact, and would not be taken out until we cross above the $18,000 mark." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) The global nickel market was in a surplus of 1,700 metric tons in January-July, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said Wednesday. Global refined nickel production was 3.4% lower on the year at 767,300 tons. Global refined nickel consumption was 4.9% lower on the year at 765,600 tons. Global nickel mine production was 4.4% lower during the period at 826,900 tons. (source)
  • (Yieh) Due to the decreased LME nickel price, Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp. (YUSCO) has announced it too would reduce its list price for the second half of the month. It was the first time that stainless steel prices have witnessed a correction since April. The price of 300 series stainless steel products was decreased by NT$5,000/ton for the domestic market and US$150/ton for the overseas market.
  • (FT) BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest mining group, has predicted that global steel demand will double in the next 15 years and the advanced “upswing” evident in China will be followed by a rebound in growth from developed nations in 2010. Speaking on Wednesday ahead of an analysts presentation in Sydney, Tom Schutte, BHP president of marketing, said China’s recovery had been stronger than expected and there was little sign that momentum had stalled.
  • (CB) Simpfendorfer and other analysts note, though, that once demand evens out, numerous supply problems still constrain most commodities. Metals, in particular copper and nickel, will be expensive in the coming few years, according to Simpfendorfer, as mines are slow to reopen and exploration of resources gradually picks up again after stagnating through the crisis.
  • China’s Metal Demand Returns in ‘Big Way,’ CLSA Says - more
  • China to Speed Overseas M&A, Chinalco’s Xiong Says  - more
  • (WSJ) Prices for hot-rolled steel have dropped about 8% since the end of August. Steel makers have been increasing production over the past several weeks -- a move experts say may have been premature
  • Everyone Has a Stock Market Forecast - more

  China's stainless steel mills plan to reduce production, but not in Taiwan - -Due to the sluggish demand, China' s major stainless steel manufacturers including Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel and Baosteel Stainless Steel planed to stop production to maintain, therefore, China' s stainless steel business is expected to reduce production significantly next month. - more

  Commodity demand unlikely to return to highs, BHP Billiton says - A return to the commodity boom is unlikely, but demand should be more predictable in the year ahead, BHP Billiton Ltd says. - more

  Prices Of FeCr For Shipments In Q4 / 09 Are Asking To Rise = Prices For Japan Will Be Risen To 185 US-Cents For Low Carbon And By 20 - 30 US-Cents For High Carbon - The time to negotiate with consumers on prices of ferro-chrome for shipments in October - December quarter of 2009 is coming. - more

  DJ BHP Billiton, Asiaticus To Meet On Stalled Nickel Proj-Official - Discussions between BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and its local partner to resolve differences over a nickel project in southern Philippines are now moving forward, a senior mining official said Wednesday. - more

  • DJ Philippines May Soon OK 3 Foreign-Backed Mining Projs-Official - The Philippines is expected to soon approve three separate mining permits that will allow large-scale foreign mining operations in the country, a senior government official said Wednesday. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, September 15

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 19 to 2,431. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Chinese Response to U.S. Tire Tariffs Won't Spark Trade War, Obama Says // Dollar Trades Near Weakest Level This Year on Record Low Borrowing Costs // China's Stocks Rise; Best Global Performers a Year After Lehman Bankruptcy // Asian Stocks Recover Losses a Year After Lehman Failure Sparked Collapse // German Investor Confidence Rose to Three-Year High in September, ZEW Shows // Europe's Two-Speed Economy Complicates ECB's Job as Spain, Ireland Slip // Bank of England Considering Lowering Deposit Rate for Reserves, King Says // European Stocks Rise After U.S. Retail Sales Top Estimates; Xstrata Gains // Citigroup 34% Stake Sale by U.S. as Soon as October Discussed at Treasury // Manufacturing in New York Area Expands at Fastest Pace in Almost Two Years // Bank of America Chief Says Economic Rebound May Be Stronger Than Expected // Bernanke Says Recession `Very Likely' Has Ended, Economy Will Feel `Weak' // Retail Sales Rise 2.7%, Biggest Advance in Three Years on Clunkers Program // U.S. Stocks Fluctuate Amid Health-Care, Credit-Card Concern; Kroger Falls
  • The Euro has gained momentum recently and is trading 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude has stalled, up 8/10 of 1% and shy of the 69.50/gallon level. Gold is up 4/10 of 1% and silver is higher by more than 2%. Base metals ended the day higher. Indicator charts show nickel was climbing early, got set back when US retail numbers gave a boost to the Dollar, but recovered late as the Dollar's jump faded. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.60/lb . LME stored inventories of nickel took another big jump overnight, and now sit over the 119,000 tonnes level. The Baltic Dry Index lost 19 points to read 2,431. For those of you who follow the BDI, the numbers are getting skewed somewhat lately because of the surplus of shipping. If you missed the article we posted in comments this morning (Revealed: The ghost fleet of the recession - more) check out the picture of the ghost fleet. News out of China of a surplus of stainless steel again. This was bound to happen, as producers rushed back into production on signs the economy was turning, but even in China, too much, too fast, will cause a log jam. The daily index we follow is down to 104.92 today, after peaking at 116.76 on the 6th of August. Now we are reading some Asian producers may shut down stainless steel lines for maintenance. News out of the US that retail sales came in better than expected, even without the Cash for Clunkers skewing the data (report here). The initial reaction was a jump in the value of the US Dollar, but that lasted about as long as it took to write this sentence. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says the recession is most likely over. Apparently he missed our announcement last month. He did warn that the economy would appear to be very weak for some time.  The news yesterday that Toyota was sticking with nickel batteries over lithium-ion is good news for the nickel industry. Toyota, and nickel, got some bad press in early 2007 when a report from CNW marketing attempted to prove the Prius was more environmentally damaging than the Hummer, thanks primarily to its nickel battery. This report was quickly refuted by numerous agencies, least of which being the environmental NGO, Sierra Club (here). Yesterday's announcement made it clear that the decision, made after 3 years of tests, was made primarily upon the economical advantage of nickel batteries. That's it for today - oh, one more thing. Tomorrow is the "100 days till Christmas" point.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Naroff Economic Advisors - But the surprising data in the report was that people also bought a whole lot of other things as well. They visiting the malls again, spending money at department stores and buying sporting goods, health care products, clothing, appliances and electronics. Only furniture and building supply retailers were left behind. It also looks like food is in again as we gave up our diets to go to restaurants and supermarkets. Feeding one’s face is a nice way to treat yourself well.
  • Ian Shepherdson, High Frequency Economics - But our measure of core sales, which excludes autos, gas and food, rose by 0.6%, the biggest gain since February… Clearly, welcome news but we need more data to see if this is sustainable or just noise; note that much bigger core gains in Jan/Feb were reversed, and the income and credit constraints on consumers remain intense.
  • Chinalco says still keen on overseas deals - more

  Mincor Resources on verge of new discovery - Mincor Resources has tipped it's on the verge of new discovery at its Kambalda ore bodies. - more

  Demand for 'Moly' Can Only Rise - In last year’s Tax Day blog, “Good Golly Miss Moly,” I wrote about how molybdenum (aka Moly to industry insiders) would be a metal to watch in the coming years as it’s a major component in steel. - more

  Shortages Are The Main Driver For higher EU Steel Prices - According to MEPS double digit steel price hikes have been recorded for the July to September period in EU flat products sector. Most of them have occurred in recent weeks as customers started to reorder after the August summer break. The increases have not been generated by significantly higher real demand. The main driver has been a shortfall in supply. - more

  Steel contractors bidding 'below cost', warns Billington boss - The shrinking market for structural steel is leading some fabricators to bid for work below cost, according to Billington Structures managing director Steve Fareham. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:25 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.10/lb higher, with all base metals trading higher at the moment. The US Dollar isn't't helping commodities this morning, up slightly against the Euro. NYMEX crude futures are up 3/4 of 1% and nearing the $69.50/barrel level. Gold is down 1/10 of 1% and silver is off 3/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher, while European markets are slightly higher on news German investor confidence has risen to its highest level in more than three years.  US futures are quiet and have yet to signal a starting direction for Wall Street. Inventories of nickel jumped again overnight, while the BDI numbers have yet to be published.     
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals weakened across the board again on Monday, as the complex overlooked the weakening dollar (now trading over 1.46 against the Euro), and focused instead on concern about lackluster metals demand and rising stocks both on the LME and in Chinese exchanges. Ali and nickel were particularly weak yesterday, falling to July lows. Things are very quiet in most markets as of this writing with metals up a tad, as some likely short covering is setting in. Given that the dollar is not doing that much today either, we suspect the current strengthening could start to fade, particularly if the macro data out of the US fails to beat expectations decisively this week. On deck for today, we get August PPI readings, (expected at .8% on the overall rate), followed by the more important August retail sales number (expected at 1.9%). ... Nickel is at $16,800, up $160; charts still look shaky and we could push lower to the $15,600 mark." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (SMM) In light of falling stainless steel prices, sluggish demand, and growing stocks, some large stainless steel mills plan to shut down units for annual maintenance in order to maintain current prices. Private stainless steel mills are believed to have similar plans, but unconfirmed. Production cuts at stainless steel mills will directly influence purchases of raw materials, and prices for NPI, nickel, and other raw materials will face downward pressure in the future as a result.
  • (Dow Jones) Nickel prices will continue the trend lower for the time being, says Commerzbank. Adds nickel demand will remain subdued in the coming months, indicated by rising inventories. And says there are market forecasts predicting global stainless steel output to fall for the second consecutive time this year.
  • (Interfax) Planned maintenance by domestic stainless steel producers including Taiyuan Iron and Steel (Group) Co. Ltd. (TISCO) and Baoshan Iron and Steel Group (Baosteel Group) is expected to give little support to falling domestic prices, Chinese industry analysts told Interfax.
  • (JMB) NSSC Raises Ni Stainless Cold Rolled Sheet by 20,000 Y/T
  • (MDM) July U.S. manufacturing technology consumption totaled $149.51 million, according to AMTDA, the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association, and AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTC program, was up 9.2% from June but down 55.3% from the total of $334.14 million reported for July 2008. With a year-to-date total of $910.42 million, 2009 is down 68.3% compared with 2008.
  • (CCR) In the first eight months of 2009, China’s net generation of electric power increased 0.8 percent to 2,329.32 billion kilowatthours (kWh) from 2310.7 billion kWh in 2006.
  • Revealed: The ghost fleet of the recession - more
  • China starts dumping probe on US goods - more

  Vale Inco restarts Thompson nickel ops - Vale Inco has restarted its Thompson, Manitoba, nickel mining and processing operations following a one-month maintenance shutdown, a spokesman said on Monday. - more

  Mine output drop eases in Q2 - The value of local mineral production dipped by a slower 0.54% in the second quarter from year-ago levels amid lower prices of copper and nickel, Mines and Geosciences Bureau data showed. - more

  •  Intex to fund $2.4-B RP nickel project in 2010 - Intex Resources ASA plans to raise funds for a $2.4 billion nickel project in the northern Philippines possibly through bank loans or a bond issue in early 2010, the president of the Oslo-listed miner said on Tuesday. - more
  • Philippine Mining Projs Have Potential To Get $15 Billion Invest -Executive - Mining investments will continue to rise and may reach $15 billion in a few years as Philippine projects continue to attract investors, an industry executive said Tuesday. - more

  Macquarie ups base metals outlook, favours copper - Australia's Macquarie Bank raised its 2009 and 2010 outlook for most base metals by double digit percentages on Tuesday to reflect a surge in Chinese buying in 2009 and the prospect of a demand recovery elsewhere in 2010. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending September 12, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,373,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 57.5 percent. Production was 2,017,000 tons in the week ending September 12, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 84.5 percent. The current week production represents a 32.0 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending September 12, 2009 is up 2.3 percent from the previous week ending September 5, 2009 when production was 1,342,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 56.2 percent.

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • China May Lack Iron Ore Without Formal Contract, Macquarie Says - China, the world’s biggest steel producer and user, may lack iron ore after annual contract talks foundered and demand for the raw material increased, according to Macquarie Group Ltd.  - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Monday, September 14

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 18 to 2,450. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Starts Probe of U.S. Auto, Chicken Imports After Obama Tire Decision // Asian Stocks Fall as Yen Strengthens, Commodities Decline; Japan Air Rises // Fed Raising Rates Before ECB in Futures Market Means Funds Beat Treasuries // EU Estimates Europe's Economy Probably Returned to Growth in Third Quarter // Stiglitz Says U.S. Has Failed to Fix Banking System Since Lehman Failure // European Stocks Fall, Ending Seven-Day Rally; SocGen, BHP Billiton Decline // Recovery for U.S. Slowest Since World War II Even When Optimists Are Right // Dollar Diminishing Makes U.S. Trader Favorite for Funding High-Yield Bets // Chaumel Stocks Worth Buying See No V-Shaped Recovery as Food Trumps Banks // Systemic-Risk Monitor Role Will Be Given to Council, Not Fed, Frank Says // U.S. Stocks Fluctuate as Shares of Utilities, Industrial Companies Advance
  • The US Dollar and Euro continue to swap the top spot, with the Euro slightly higher at the moment. NYMEX crude is off by more than 8/10 of 1% and under $69/barrel. Gold is off 1/2 of 1% as traders fight to hang onto the $1000/ounce level, and silver is down 9/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session lower, except for lead. Indicator charts show nickel was done recovering from earlier losses right after our morning briefing and fell sharply thru the afternoon, recovering slightly late. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.55/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose over the 118,500/tonne level over the weekend, while the Baltic Dry Index slipped 18 points to 2,450. Sucden updated their day old trading chart for nickel (chart here), with the SStoch showing trading opened today technically oversold. On the eve of the one year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse, President Obama warned Wall Street that "We will not go back to the days of reckless behavior and unchecked excess at the heart of this crisis, where too many were motivated only by the appetite for quick kills and bloated bonuses." Nice words, but rather meaningless, as greed is what fuels the entire Wall Street system. China is upset over the most recent anti-dumping finding by the US government. After adding a dumping tax to steel pipes from China last week, the administration announced late Friday another one on tires imported from China. This has infuriated China , who has  threatened economic reprisals. Tropical Storm Koppu is heading for Hong Kong and expected to become a Category 1 Typhoon before it hits the mainland - more.
  • Monday is half over and if you are already in need of a smile, we share a video that we can just about guarantee will make you chuckle - video here

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (CSJ) From January to August, the Rizhao Port imported 4.6 million tons of nickel ore breaking, ranking the forefront of the nation's coastal ports. As the volume of imports of large, full range and diversity, the Rizhao Port, import prices of nickel have also become the country's nickel market pricing weathervane.
  • (Sino) The talks about iron ore prices in the 2010 long-term supply contracts will start in October 2009, although no progress has been made in the 2009 negotiations between Chinese steelmakers and overseas iron ore suppliers yet.
  • (US Customs) The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 1.6% in July from its June level, the first monthly increase since February and the largest increase since January 2008, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported on September 10. BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the Freight TSI declined in nine of the last 12 months, but it has remained steady or increased in the last two.
  • (JOC) The year long decline in Asia-Europe container traffic has slowed significantly, in a major boost for carriers attempting to push through higher ocean freight rates on the world's biggest liner trade. Shipments from Asia to Europe fell 17.1 percent in July from a year ago, down from a 22 percent drop in the first half of the year, the European Liner Affairs Association said in its latest monthly traffic report.
  • Disappearing into the Sunset - more
  • (Reuters) The H1N1 pandemic flu virus spread in June to several hog farms in the Western Canadian province of Manitoba, but the hogs later recovered and there was no cause for concern, the province's chief veterinary officer said on Wednesday.

  BHP won't persevere with plans for nickel mine - BHP Billiton has quietly abandoned plans for its Perseverance Deeps underground nickel mine in Western Australia, which was intended to extend the life of its Leinster operations, as part of the reconfiguration of its Nickel West business. - more

  IFM sees ferrochrome prices above $1/lb in Q4 - London-listed ferrochrome producer International Ferro Metals (IFM) took a beating in its financial year 2009, but is positive about the future of the company for the coming months. - more

  Iron ore talks due despite China deadlock - Discussions with the Chinese about iron ore pricing for 2010 are scheduled to begin next month, even though no benchmark prices have been set for this year. - more

  Mugabe to Ask Investors to Dig Mines, Forget Farms - Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe will this week ask investors to plow their money into platinum, chrome and gold projects to help the country recover from a decade-long recession.- more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.16/lb lower, but slowly climbing this morning, with other base metals mixed and mostly lower. The US Dollar is trading slightly higher against the Euro this morning, but also showing signs of weakening. NYMEX crude futures are down 3/4 of 1% and under $69/barrel. Gold is lower by 2/3 of 1% while silver is down nearly 1-1/2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets were lower, while China ended higher. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures imply Wall Street could open lower. Bloomberg is carrying an article this morning with a byline "The U.S. recovery may be the slowest since World War II to regain all the ground lost during the recession, even if economists’ more optimistic forecasts for expansion turn out to be right."  This will be a busy week on Wall Street with numerous government reports being issued, along with 3 Federal Reserve members giving speeches that will be watched closely. Nickel inventories in LME warehouses grew again over the weekend, while the Baltic Dry Index slipped.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - " Metals closed down for a third straight day on Friday after an early rally buckled, with zinc and lead performing the worst. For much of the last several weeks, it seems metals have been pushed higher by exogenous variables, namely the weaker dollar, (now at a one-year low versus the Euro and a nine-month low against the yen), and relatively steady US equity markets. However, at times, these variables have not been enough to sustain the advance, allowing the complex’s less inspiring fundamentals to come through. These include the fact that LME stocks are pushing higher, Chinese import levels are receding, while the global economic recovery is still tepid and fraught with much uncertainty. Metal prices are down again today, as the dollar has strengthened a tad, with nickel and ali at seven-week lows, while copper and zinc are at two-week lows. Energy and equity markets are also a little lower this morning adding to the selling pressure. Markets are also keeping a wary eye on trade developments, where over the weekend, President Obama placed 35% tariffs on $1.8 billion of automobile tires imported from China after complaints were raised by the United Steelworkers union. China said it “strongly opposes” the decision and may refer the case to the World Trade Organization. In the meantime, it announced retaliatory probes into subsidies for imported US chicken and auto products. ... Nickel is at $16,547, down $403, and continues to weaken, particularly after prices took out $17,400 support last week. More alarmingly for the bulls, the major uptrend line in place since last March is also showing early signs of being taken out, and we could now retreat to $15,600. If that does not hold, the $14,000 mark could be the next logical downside target. Obviously, the Antaike update on nickel (out overnight and summarized below) failed to result in any buying, as the overhang of unsold inventories noted in the report muted the enthusiastic projections on nickel consumption."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) BHP Billiton (BHP) has abandoned plans for its Perseverance Deeps underground nickel mine in Western Australia, as part of the reconfiguration of its Nickel West business, The Australian reported on its Web site Monday, citing company data.
  • China's Economy Continues To Grow, But All The Old Doubts Remain - more
  • Commodity exchanges tempt big traders - more
  • Rare earths become rare - more
  • China Power Output graph - here
  • 3 more down: Bank failure tally hits 92 - more

  Toyota Sticks With Nickel After Lithium Prius Test - Toyota Motor Corp., the biggest seller of hybrid cars, is sticking with nickel as the preferred battery material for most of the vehicles after three years of secretly testing Prius hatchbacks with lithium-ion packs. - more

  World Production Of Stainless Steel Is Reviewed For 1st Half / 09 And Forecasted For 2nd Half = Global Scale On Production In 2009 Is Anticipated To Decrease By 6.6% But Expected To Recover In 2nd Half - The first half (January - June) of 2009, when a historical and huge reduction in production of stainless steel had attacked stainless steel mills in the world, was over and the production activities of stainless steel in the second half of 2009 have been currently watched. - more

  China nickel use to grow 25 pct in '09 - Antaike - China's real consumption of nickel is expected to rise 25 percent on the year to 404,000 tonnes this year, a senior analyst at government-backed research group Antaike said on Monday. - more

   Sumitomo Metal to Start Philippine Nickel Project  - Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Japan’s largest nickel producer, will start construction of a $1.3 billion project in the Philippines as global demand increases. - more

  • S'tomo Metal to start Taganito output in 2013 - Japan's Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd, a copper and nickel producer, said it would start commercial production of nickel at its Taganito plant in the Philippines in August 2013, a year later than planned. - more

  International Ferro Posts Loss on Lower Output, Price  - International Ferro Metals Ltd., a producer of ferrochrome in South Africa, reported a fiscal full- year loss after output of the stainless steel ingredient fell, while forecasting a sustained recovery in prices this year. - more

  Desperately Seeking Moly - Of all the radioactive isotopes used in medical diagnostics, none plays a more pivotal role than technetium-99m. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Pres. Lula says Vale should buy Brazilian ships - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has called on the country's iron ore miner Vale, the world's largest, to favor local industry in the purchase of large items such as ships to create more jobs in the South American country. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Friday, September 11

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up

  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 24 to 2,468. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's Recovery Strengthens as Industrial Production, New Lending Advance // Japan's Economy Grew 2.3% Last Quarter, Less Than Initially Estimated 3.7% // Mongolia Plans Sovereign Wealth Fund to Invest $30 Billion of Mine Income // Asian Stocks Advance on Chinese Economic Data; Japanese Shares Fall on GDP // Italian Government Bond Futures to Offer Proxy to Hedge Greek, Irish Debt // European Stocks Advance for Seventh Day; BG, Repsol, BHP, TNT Shares Rise  // Economic Growth in U.S. Forecast to Slow After End of `Cash for Clunkers' // U.S. Consumer Sentiment Rises More Than Forecast as Pace of Job Cuts Slows // Stocks in U.S. Retreat, Halting S&P 500 Index's Five-Day Rally; Gold Rises
  • The US Dollar is currently trading higher against the Euro, but not by much.  NYMEX crude is down 2-2/3% and under $70/barrel, after reports showed inventories were building on lower demand. Gold is up nearly 9/10 of 1% and looks to close above the $1000/ounce level. Silver is up 1./4 of 1%. Base metals all ended lower, with some large base metal production and supply numbers coming out of China this week, spooking the market. Indicator charts show nickel trading was a series of up's and down's most of the session, until late. The market was treating the $7.76/lb mark as a support line, bouncing off it on three separate occasions, until it fell thru late, and the market fell hard. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $7.68/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose again overnight, while the Baltic Dry Index fell 24 points. The Reuters/University of Michigan index reported consumer sentiment rose, up to 70.2 from 65.7 in early August. The Commerce Department also reported wholesale inventories declined 1.4% in July, while wholesale sales rose 0.5 %. All in all, a rather quiet week on the metals front. Here in the States, the Dow hit a new 2009 high yesterday, while in London, nickel fell to its lowest price level since July, erasing all of the gains made since. Inventories continue to build, while mines remain shut due to economic or labor issues. Have a safe and enjoyable weekend! 

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) LME base metals appear to be susceptible to a "strong" price correction, says Commerzbank. .... Adds the base metal market in general appears to be noticing the "warning signals" such as the falling Baltic Dry Index, increasing metal inventories worldwide and expanding mining production.
  • China’s exports fall 23% in August - more

  Recession is over but steel prices are all over the map - It’s been a not-so-busy week for major economic releases; also, most of the recent news has been generally positive.As reported by NAM, for example, of the 12 major reports that came out last week, seven were positive, four were negative (but improving) and “just one worsened” - and that would be the unemployment rate that hit 9.7% last month — a 26-year high. - more

  U.S. steel sector wary about post-clunkers demand - The 700,000 cars sold in the cash-for-clunkers program prompted U.S. automakers to boost 2009 production after a long period of inventory cuts, spurring North American steelmakers to restart idled mills. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.01/lb lower, and the market is coming off a short bull run. Other base metals are mixed, but quiet. The Euro is trading slightly higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude futures are down 1/2 of 1% and hanging around the $71.50/barrel level. Gold is trading higher by over 4/10 of 1% and back over the $1000/ounce level, while silver is up nearly 8/10 of1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher, with China leading the charge. This morning, European markets are higher, while US futures indicate the bull run isn't over yet in Wall Street. LME stored nickel inventories rose again overnight, while the Baltic Dry Index numbers have yet to be published.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - LME prices turned sharply lower yesterday, with copper losing 3%, nickel and zinc off by 5% each, and lead getting thrashed--down by 12% on account of the Antaike outlook we referenced in yesterday’s note. It was also interesting to note that metal prices remained weak all day despite a weakening dollar, firmer energy prices, and stronger US equity markets. This suggests that investors are finally starting to “disconnect” from the exogenous variables that have been responsible for much of the recent gains in and looking, instead, at the sector’s underlying fundamentals, which as we noted yesterday, remains somewhat uninspiring over the short-term. Although metals demand is recovering, it is far more normal. In addition, stocks continue to rise, and most importantly, the Chinese import bias is now trending lower. In fact, latest August Chinese import data released overnight confirms this view, (see table below) when it was revealed that copper imports during the last month were some 20% below July levels. In addition, copper stocks on the Shanghai Futures Exchange also shot up by 10,000 this week, the highest level in more than two years, with the rise far greater than expected. (See table above on stock the weekly stock breakdowns).  .... Nickel is at $17,200, and unchanged; another close below $17,400 today could lead to further deterioration in the chart patterns. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Xinhua) Jiangxi to Build a 20 ktpa Nickel Project - Xingwang Group's 20 ktpa Nickel Project Breaks Ground
  • (TTO) The Department of Transportation’s freight transportation services index fell year-over-year in July by the most in 20 years, but showed an increase from June, DOT said Thursday. The 13.5% decline in the TSI from July 2008 was the biggest in the decline in the 20 years in which the index has been calculated, DOT said in its monthly report.
  • (AAR) The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported that while U.S. freight rail carloads declined in August, down 16.4 percent (at 1,116,182 carloads) compared with the same month last year, the percentage decline for the month was the lowest since February. In the Rail Time Indicators Report issued today, AAR released monthly traffic data framed with other key economic indicators to show how freight rail ties into the broader the U.S. economy.
  • (BT) China's output of electricity was 334.3 billion kW-hours in August, expanding 9.3 percent from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Friday.
  • (CD) China's foreign trade figures continued to fall in August, but their downward rate slowed, the General Administration of Customs (GAOC) said Friday. The total value of imports and exports for August was $191.7 billion, a decrease of 20.6 percent compared with the same month last year, but a 2.3 percent increase from July.
  • (SSY) There are now some 60 fewer Capesize vessels waiting to berth at China’s iron ore ports compared with mid-June, according to information received from local sources. A total of 27 Capesize vessels are currently waiting to berth. This week SSY’s Capesize Iron Ore Port Congestion Index for China indicated that average waiting time at major China’s iron ore discharge ports has fallen to an 8-month low of 4.8 days.
  • (CD) China's consumer price index (CPI), a major gauge of inflation, dipped 1.2 percent in August from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Friday.
  • (Dow Jones) Corus, the European arm of India-based Tata Steel Ltd (500470.BY), is restarting one of its two blast furnaces at its Port Talbot steel plant in South Wales, a company spokesman said Friday.
  • (MarketWatch) The first year of recession took a toll on household incomes, drove 2.6 million more people into poverty, and cost 1 million people their employer-provided health care, the government reported Thursday.

  World Production Of Stainless Steel Is Reviewed For 1st Half / 09 And Forecasted For 2nd Half = Global Scale On Production In 2009 Is Anticipated To Decrease By 6.6% But Expected To Recover In 2nd Half - The first half (January - June) of 2009, when a historical and huge reduction in production of stainless steel had attacked stainless steel mills in the world, was over and the production activities of stainless steel in the second half of 2009 have been currently watched. It is anticipated that the world output of crude stainless steel in the calendar year (January - December) of 2009 will be inevitable to be 24.30 million tons, decreasing by 6.6% compared with that in the preceding year of 2008 and coming down to the scale recorded in 2005. - more

  Ni-Based Japanese Stainless Export Deals For Nov Shipments To China Price Bargainings With Customers To Focus On $3,000 C&F Level - Japan's stainless steel producers are scheduled to start negotiations this week on their exports of nickel-based CR sheets to China for November shipments. It is likely that the negotiations with local customers will focus on a price level of US$3,000/ton C&F in the wake of a fall in China's domestic stainless steel market. - more

  New warnings about New Caledonia’s Vale Inco plant - A New Caledonian union group, FO, has given a file about alleged problems at a major nickel plant to the territorial government and the administration of the southern province. - more

  Commodity gains are sustainable, argues Citi - Concerns have been raised that once the impact of fiscal stimulus measures passes, commodity prices could fall back. But David Thurtell, metals strategist at Citi, believes that private sector buying will take up the baton. - more

  Light at the End of the Tunnel? - MCN editors polled service center executives for their views on demand, inventory levels, pricing and their expectations for the second half. - more

  Upswing tipped for slumping nickel industry - The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) has forecast a more promising outlook for the nation's nickel industry. - more

  Hernic returns to full ferrochrome output - Hernic Ferrochrome, a unit of Mitsubishi Corporation, said on Friday it had returned to full capacity output from 60 percent in the spring following a rise in global demand for ferrochrome. - more

  Batista Bid For Brazil Vale Stake Rejected - Report - Brazil's Banco Bradesco SA (BBD), which controls Bradespar SA , rejected a bid by billionaire businessman Eike Batista to buy Bradespar's stake in Vale SA (VALE), the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper reported Thursday. - more

  LCH.Clearnet May See New Owners, New Products - Clearing house LCH.Clearnet sees a possible new ownership structure, new services for credit default swaps and access for buy-side participants in its interest rate swaps business, Michael March, business development director for LCH.Clearnet told Dow Jones Newswires Friday. - more

  Patnaik government faces illegal mining storm again - Five years after the Naveen Patnaik government was embarrassed by the controversy over chromite mining at Tangarpada in Orissa's Dhenkanal district, the government is now being pressured by opposition parties to order a CBI probe into 'illegal' mining and mines lease to industrial houses and individuals. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Iron Ore Imports by China Drop 15% to a Six-Month Low  - Iron ore imports by China, the world’s biggest buyer, dropped to the lowest level in six months as mills and traders cut purchases on declining steel prices. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, September 10

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 1 to 2,492. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Wen Says China `Cannot, Will Not' Pull Back From Economic Stimulus Policy // Asian Stocks Rise on Profit Growth Speculation; China Yurun, Elpida Gain // GM Board Said to Recommend Magna as Buyer for Opel, Agreeing With Germany // Bank of England Keeps Rate on Hold, Maintains Stimulus as Economy Wallows // U.K. House Prices Gained 0.8% in August From Previous Month, Halifax Says // Speculative-Grade Defaults to Peak at 15% in Europe This Year, S&P Say // European Stocks Rise, Paced by Technology Companies; ASML, Eurotunnel Gain // Jobless Claims in U.S. Fell to 550,000 Last Week, Lowest Level Since July // Foreclosure Filings in U.S. Jump Above 300,000 For Sixth Straight Month // Health Insurers Say Obama's Misportrayal Misses Source of Medical Expenses //  `Lackluster' Recovery to Be Hobbled by Market Strains, Fed's Lockhart Says // Stocks Advance on Higher Crude Oil Prices, Decrease in Unemployment Claims
  • The Euro has recently taken the lead against the US Dollar, up over 1/4 of 1% at the moment. NYMEX crude is quiet and only slightly higher, and back under $71.50/barrel. Gold has jumped with the Dollar's dip, and is trading nearly 4/10 of 1% higher, while silver is over 2% higher. Base metals got bushwhacked today, and the Dollar deciding to fall, came to late in the session to offset earlier drops. Indicator charts show nickel fell thru much of the day, with two upturns, one coming after our morning briefing and the other late in the day. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $7.80/lb , it's lowest close since the end of July. Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose overnight, rising above the 118,000 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index gained one point, and appears to be losing what little bit of steam it had built over the last week. Stainless steel prices in China are sliding. The China daily stainless steel index we follow crested on August 6th at a 116.76 reading, and has since fallen to today's 105.94 reading. Still much higher than a June 1st reading of 97.68 though.  US stainless steel surcharges for October are all higher and you can find a monthly comparison and additional links (at the bottom) to most all US stainless steel producers here. Nickel fell today primarily thanks to an exodus in shares of lead, after China reported stocks well above expectations, and lead traders jumped ship, leading that metals lower by over 10% today. With near panic selling going on in the room, nickel was bound to feel the heat. We like how Stephen Briggs, analyst at RBS Global Banking and Markets put it, "There is going to be a debate for a long time about the pace of recovery ... Metals had been pricing in the best of all possible worlds so there are always going to be periods where people have to stand back and say 'hang on, are we pricing in a bit too much'."MarketWatch reports "The U.S. trade deficit widened by 16.3% in July to $32.0 billion, the Commerce Department said Thursday. This is the biggest percentage increase in the deficit since February 1999." The US Labor Department reported "In the week ending Sept. 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 550,000, a decrease of 26,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 576,000. The 4-week moving average was 570,000, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average of 572,750..... The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Aug. 29 was 6,088,000, a decrease of 159,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 6,247,000."

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel imports rose 60.4% in July from last month, but was down 60.9% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel exports rose 34.9% in July from the previous month, but was down 22.5% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
  • (Taipei Times) - China Steel Corp (), Taiwans largest mill, said it intends to delay the maintenance of a furnace by about a month because of a steel shortage. Regular repairs on its No. 1 furnace, which can produce 1.9 million tonnes of steel annually, will probably start in January - more
  • China protests against U.S. steel pipes tariffs  - more
  • Top 1 Percent of Americans Reaped Two-Thirds of Income Gains in Last Economic Expansion - more
  • Tracking the Consumption Decline - more
  • 10 Bubbles In The Making - more

  No stories worth posting but just so you know we are looking, here is an old joke for you....

  • A Marine Drill Sergeant noticed a new recruit and barked at him,  "Get your ass over here ! What's your name"?
  • "Paul, the new recruit replied".
  • "Listen up, I don't know what kind of bleeding-heart, pansy-ass, bull-s--t you have heard, but I don't call anyone by his first name", the sergeant scowled. "It breeds familiarity, and that leads to a breakdown in authority". "I refer to my recruits by their last names only --- Smith, Jones, Baker. I am to be referred to only as Sergeant". "Do I make myself clear"?
  • "Yes, sir, Sergeant"!
  • "Now that we've got that straight, what's your last name"?
  • The recruit sighed "Darling, My name is Paul Darling".
  • "Okay, Paul, here's what I want you to do"

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.23/lb lower, but showing possible signs of bottoming out for the session. Other base metals are also lower. The US Dollar is currently trading higher against the Euro, but not by much and losing steam. NYMEX crude futures are up nearly 1/2 of 1% and over the $71.50/barrel level. Gold is off 1/2 of 1% and silver is down 2/3 of 1%. In overnight trading Asian markets ended higher, with China lower. European markets are slightly lower this morning, and US futures show Wall Street has yet to decide a direction yet. LME stored inventories of nickel edged over the 118,000 tonne level overnight, while the Baltic Dry Index has gone back to sleep. So far its another slow news day for metals.   
  • Reuters morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Prices ended modestly lower on Wednesday in very quiet trading, and in fact, most other markets did not do much either. US stocks ended slightly higher after the Federal Reserve issued its Beige Book report saying that businesses in most US districts were reporting a "cautiously positive" about economic activity. OPEC also announced that its production targets would stay unchanged, but prices finished mixed nevertheless, as the news was well discounted by then. Markets seem to be going their separate ways on Thursday, with metals sharply lower, as an overdue correction sets in, while oil prices head higher on account of bullish inventory data issued late last night by the American Petroleum Institute. The dollar is not doing much today, and is slightly stronger against the Euro following several days of steady declines. We expect the current correction in metals to last for the balance of the week, but like the one before it, it could be fairly shallow in scope, as technical chart patterns in copper remain constructive, while the dollar will also likely provide support. Having said that, as metals shift their gaze away from the dollar and focus more on the fundamentals, the recent price advances should give way to trading range markets. We say this in view of the fact that copper stocks are on their way up, Chinese physical premiums are struggling, and markets have yet to discount the latest Chinese import data. When released next week, these will likely show continued declines in the rate of imports into a market that remains a key price driver for the complex....  Nickel is at $17,420, down $530, charts look negative and taking out $17,400 support on a closing basis could lead to further declines." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Norilsk Sold 30,000 Tons Nickel To China In 1H '09 - Company
  • (ACNB) Xstrata Nickel sells out of Northern Star
  • China's crude steel output hits record high in August - more
  • (MNP) BHP Billiton has given the nod to the development of the $US152 million ($A177 million) Talc Redesign project at its Mt Keith nickel mine in Western Australia.
  • China to lead world out of global economic gloom, says Schwab - more
  • Misdiagnosing the crisis: The real problem was not real, it was nominal - more
  • The Money Masters - How International Bankers Gained Control of America - more

  Price Of Moly Oxide Has Fallen To US$15 / Lb. By Successive Drops For 3 Weeks = Moly Purchases By China Are Currently Sluggish, Dealers Have Taken Position To Sell - Price of molybdenum oxide has fallen. The international price of molybdenum oxide on the end of the 3rd week of August reached a peak of US$17.75 per lb. of Mo but, after that, turned to fall and recorded the low price of US$15.50 as of the end of last week, having fallen successively for the last 3 weeks. - more

  Hernic Ferrochrome Starts Furnaces, Supports 30-Cent Price Gain - Hernic Ferrochrome Ltd., the fourth-largest ferrochrome producer, restarted two furnaces to meet improving demand for the steelmaking raw material and said it’s supporting moves to raise fourth-quarter contract prices by 30 cents a pound. - more

  Norilsk Nickel fleet commenced direct cargo transportations to European ports - The Arctic fleet of OJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel (hereinafter – MMC Norilsk Nickel or the Company) consisting of five ice-reinforced Arctic vessels has commenced direct cargo transportation from the Dudinka port to the ports of Europe (Hamburg and Rotterdam). - more

  EU ends tax threat on steel tubes - The European Union, or EU, ended the threat of tariffs on steel tubes from Turkey, Ukraine and Belarus after the recession prompted EU producers to withdraw a complaint alleging price undercutting. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Late monsoon to delay iron ore exports - India's iron ore exports will resume by mid-October, a month later than normal because monsoon rains are continuing longer than usual and because of repair work at Goa port, the head of a trade body 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)
  • Today's almost official prices here  /  Yesterday's actual LME official prices here or here (chart)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel price - available here   (charts)
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

Wednesday, September 9

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 29 to 2,491. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Growing 9.5% Evident With New Vehicles Exceeding U.S. for First Time // Australia's Retail Sales, Home Starts Fall, Easing Pressure for Rate Rise // Asian Stocks Fall on Share Sales; Alibaba Slumps as Chairman Reduces Stake // Commerzbank Sued for $49 Million by Bankers Over Unpaid Bonuses, Interest // Greenspan Says Britain Will Take `Long While' to Recover From Contraction // European Stocks Rise for Fifth Day, Paced by Carmakers; Renault, BMW, Gain // Inflation Fear Pushes U.S. Endowments Deeper Into Commodities, Real Estate // Wealthy Families in U.S. Resort to Bankruptcy, Dragged Down by Real Estate // Record Plunge in U.S. Consumer Borrowing Signals a Slow Recovery in Demand // Lehman Bailout May Have Led to a Bigger Failure, Goldman's Blankfein Says // Taxpayers Unlikely to Recover GM, Chrysler Aid, Congressional Panel Says // U.S. Stocks Gain, Sending S&P 500 Index Above Highest Close in 11 Months
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, by nearly 2/3 of 1%. NYMEX crude is up 1-2/3% and over $72/barrel.  Gold is down slightly, the market apparently spooked after rolling over $1000/ounce yesterday. Silver is up 1/5 of 1%. Base metals had a bad afternoon, and ended mostly lower. Indicator charts show nickel's day was full of up's and down's, with a large down in the afternoon costing it earlier gains. After market trading shows nickel jumped back into the green. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.14/lb , a whole $5/tonne lower than yesterday's close. While we can be accused of sounding like a broken record, LME stored inventories of nickel broke another 2009 record with an overnight gain, that took levels to very near the 118,000 tonnes. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thur yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index gained 29 points overnight. Nothing much noteworthy to mention in the nickel or stainless steel industry today, except, well, more nickel is entering the supply chain with Vale's Thompson resuming production after a maintenance shut down. So anything else worth talking about? Not to us so we will leave you with this? Time Magazine has an article titled "Walmart's Project Impact: A Move to Crush Competition". (here). And here is the news on Wal-Mart from China - "Wal-Mart Workers Beat Customer To Death" - more (memo to Chinese workers - "crush the competition you idiots, not the customers!")

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • New Highs in Unemployment Insurance Claims - more
  • Can You Name These 14 Bubbles? - more

  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

  Vale Says It Resumed Some Canada Nickel Output  - Vale SA, the world’s second-biggest nickel producer, resumed production at its Thompson mine and refinery in Manitoba after maintenance as world nickel prices declined because of slackening demand. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending September 5, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,342,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 56.2 percent. Production was 2,017,000 tons in the week ending September 5, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 84.5 percent. The current week production represents a 33.4 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending September 5, 2009 is up 2.4 percent from the previous week ending August 29, 2009 when production was 1,311,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 54.9 percent.

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.09/lb higher, and very wavy so far. Other base metals are mixed but mostly higher. The US Dollar is trading 4/10 of 1% lower against the Euro, adding support to commodity trading. NYMEX crude futures are up 2/3 of 1% and over the $71.50/barrel level.  Gold is up 1/4 of 1% and playing with the$1000/ounce level, while silver is up 1/3 of 1%.  In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, while China finished higher.  European markets are slightly higher this morning, while US futures have yet to determine an opening for Wall Street.  Inventories of nickel rose to a new record overnight, while the BDI also saw a slight gain. While Wall Street ended higher yesterday, the attention late in the day was drawn to a consumer credit report issued by the Federal Reserve. Bloomberg reported "A record $21.6 billion drop in borrowing by Americans added to evidence that consumer spending will be slow to recover as banks and credit-card companies tighten lending standards and households pay down debt. Consumer credit fell by 10 percent at an annual rate in July to $2.5 trillion...." 
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters metals news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal prices soared on Tuesday, with copper hitting one-week highs, while lead and zinc exploded to 16-month and 12-month highs, respectively. A retreat in the dollar to one-year lows ignited a burst of buying in a variety of complexes, with gold prices pushing past the $1000 mark, and crude oil posting its largest gain in a month. The stock market did not participate as enthusiastically in the rally, as commodities are the more traditional domain of inflationary expectations. Of course, there is hardly any sign of inflation on the horizon right now given the immense slack seen in both labor and manufacturing capacity. However, because financial markets are forward-looking animals, the specter of massive deficits and loose money is clearly driving investors away from the dollar and into hard assets. We are trading in very quiet fashion as of this writing, with modest losses noted. For the moment, the markets seem fixated on the dollar (slightly weaker again today) as the primary price driver, and with $9 trillion of deficits projected over the next decade, these concerns are well founded. However, at some stage, focus needs to revert to the market’s fundamentals, and here we see a need for caution, at least in the short-term. .... Nickel is at $17,990, up $40, and very quiet; a $400 trading range is in place today." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) According to report, Japan’s Nissin Steel may increase crude stainless steel production in the fourth quarter to meet domestic demand. The company observes thee demand recovery in domestic market in auto making and home appliance manufacturing sectors starting in May this year. However, the demand from construction sector remains sluggish.
  • (Interfax) China's average daily crude steel output reached a high of 1.67 million tons in August, the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) reported on Sept. 9.
  • Michael Hutchinson To Leave RBS Sempra Metals - CEO - more
  • Chinese firms eye smaller miners in Australia - more
  • Daido Steel to Hike Stainless Wire Rod Price
  • (NFIB) The Index of Small Business Optimism gained 2.1 points in August, rising to 88.6 (1986=100), 7.6 points higher than the survey’s second lowest reading reached in March. Seven of the 10 Index components posted gains or were unchanged, three declined.
  • Declining health care coverage: the worst is yet to come - more
  • Yet Another Bailout: Housing’s Hair of the Dog - more
  • Greed Is Bad, Gekko. So Is a Meltdown.  - more
  • Start building the bunker - more
  • A Rude Interruption - more
  • "Ugly Truths About Housing" - more

  DJ China Nickel Prices To Stay Firm On Demand, Restocking -Barcap - Some 40,000 metric tons of capacity in nickel pig iron production has been in operation so far this year, but current consumption levels have kept domestic nickel prices firm, Barclays Capital said in a report late Tuesday. - more

  Antam to Resume Nickel Output at Plant, Sees Higher Gold Sales - PT Aneka Tambang, Indonesia’s second-biggest nickel producer, will resume output at one of its ferronickel plants next week as prices recover. - more

  Production Activities Of Nickels In Japan For First Half 2009 = Ferro-Nickel Production Had Decline Of 18% As Underpinned By Active Exports - According to the monthly statistics on steel and nonferrous metals compiled and released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, the quantities (on content base) of nickel metal and ferro-nickel produced in Japan for the first half (January - June) of 2009 were as per the table attached hereto. - more

  Goldman Raises Metals Forecasts on Economic Recovery  - Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised its forecasts for most industrial metals prices as a recovery in the world economy reduces spare capacity and boosts output costs. - more

  Amur Minerals set their sights firmly on nickel production at Kun-Manie - Interim results from Amur Minerals, out this morning, make clear the company’s change of emphasis from exploration to mining. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, September 8

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 33 to 2,462. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Japan Bank Lending Slow for Eighth Month on Company Spending, Unemployment // Asian Stocks Rise on Australian Business Confidence, Computer Chip Prices // German Industrial Output Unexpectedly Dropped in July After Rising in June // Corporate Bond Market `On Fire' in Europe as Debt Sales Top $1.23 Trillion // European Stocks Rise for Fourth Day; BHP Billiton, Deutsche Telekom Climb // Anything-But-Treasuries Gains as Credit Rebounds After AIG Death in China // Switzerland Replaces the U.S. as Most Competitive Global Economy, WEF Says // Stocks Cheapest Since '89 Show Why Analysts Say Economists Wrong on Growth // Dollar Falls to Lowest Level Against Euro in 2009 as Stocks Gain Worldwide // Nobody Liking Dollar With U.S. Deficits Makes Rogoff Favorite for Traders // U.S. Stocks Advance a Third Day as Gold Tops $1,000 an Ounce, Dollar Falls
  • The Euro continues to trade higher against the US Dollar, up by 1-1/3% at the moment. NYMEX crude is up over 5% and now heading for the $72/barrel level. Gold is up 1/4 of 1% and back under the $1000/ounce level, while silver is 1-1/2% higher. Base metals ended the day higher, but off earlier highs. Indicator charts show nickel headed up at the opening bell, until it peaked in med-afternoon trading, only to fall sharply at the close. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.14/lb , and appears to be rangebound. Inventories of nickel stored in approved LME warehouses, climbed over the 117,500 tonne level overnight, setting a new record for both 2009 and the 21st century. Considering so much nickel production is out of commission at the moment, this consistent growth continues to be a head scratcher. Cancelled warrants took a jump, from around 1./2 of 1% to over 2%. Sucden's day old chart shows trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry index finally made a move, up 33 points to 2,462. Back to the confusing inventory growth trend, we have some numbers to throw out there,. The all time record for nickel inventories stored by LME warehouses was back in 1994, at 151,254. This was caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the flooding of Russian nickel into the world market. Today they stand over 117,500 tonnes, 7% higher than they did when Vale Sudbury employees went out on strike,. Using 1st quarter figures, we estimate the 57 day long strike has cost Vale Inco about 13,992 tonnes of nickel. This does not include Voisey Bay numbers, nor the ore processed from other mines. Not does it include other mines closed for maintenance, or those who have yet to re-open after closing late last year. So where is up with stockpiles building? Can't blame Russia. Dow Jones reported Russia has exported 4.2% less nickel this year than it did from January to July of last year. The Sudbury Star, shortly after the Vale/Inco strike began, carried a story with the beginning sentence "Workers at nickel miner Vale Inco's Sudbury operations hit the picket lines Monday, believing they can force a quick end to their contract dispute as the company's supply of the metal is slowly strangled off." As the days have passed and the numbers have not panned out, there appears to be some waning in enthusiasm for the strike from younger workers. We base this off reading newspaper forums in the Sudbury area, and while by no means a reliable gauge, and more typically a way for the extremists on both sides to spew, we have noticed an apparent shift in enthusiastic support. This is not to say that there still isn't strong support among employees and the community, rather a hesitation on the part of  some of the younger workers, who might feel like they were talked into striking by their more experienced union counter parts. Vale appears to be seeing the same potential rift, and with their announcement last week to start limited production using non union help, Vale has decided to take a big gamble. Will the younger workers put more pressure on the union to settle, or will the hardliner's be able to use this to keep younger union members motivated? Will the union decide that now is not the best time to strike, or Vale decide the same. Whichever happens, if these two parties don't return to the table soon, and start talking, this whole situation runs the risk of turning real ugly.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Russia exported 20.945 million metric tons of steel in January-July, 22.5% less than in January-July 2008, the federal customs service reported Tuesday.
  • (Dow Jones) LME nickel is likely to extend its rally in the near-term and reach a one and a half-week high of $19,000/ton, says a London-based trader. "I think nickel's bound to go higher just based on the movements of other metals." Comments the 1,824-ton increase in LME nickel canceled warrants Tuesday doesn't signal a new trend of sustained drawdowns of inventories and was likely "just a bit of physical buying for some clients."
  • (Dow Jones) German steel and metals distributor Kloeckner & Co SE's Chief Executive Thomas Ludwig Tuesday said he expects to see a "sustainable recovery" in steel demand and output over the coming quarters, but warned producers not to increase prices too fast to avoid "early setbacks".
  • Regency Mines completes 1st stage of exploring Botue-Mambare project, results highly encouraging - more
  • Brazil miner Vale plans 10-year $1 bln bond - more
  • When Wall Street nearly collapsed - more

  Allegheny Technologies Announces New Long-Term Agreement - Allegheny Technologies Incorporated announced that it has signed a ten-year sourcing agreement with Rolls-Royce plc for the supply of nickel-based superalloy disc-quality products for commercial jet engine applications. - more

  • Allegheny Technologies wins $1 billion contract - Allegheny Technologies Inc. has signed a 10-year contract with Rolls-Royce plc worth up to $1 billion to supply the aircraft engine maker with nickel-based products for commercial jet engine applications. - more

  'Anti-mining protests sending wrong signals to investors' - The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, Inc. (CMP) warned yesterday that continued protests by some anti-mining groups “would send a wrong signal to investors interested in putting capital not only in mining, but in other ventures as well.” - more

  Back to the Past in Booming Papua New Guinea - Old antagonisms are returning to Papua New Guinea politics as the stakes grow higher with the ever-increasing likelihood that the country—or at least its capital Port Moresby—will become awash for a few years in cash trickling, perhaps even streaming, from the biggest ever single deal the Pacific region has ever landed: a $A15.6 billion liquefied natural gas project. - more

  China's top nickel producer planning IPO - China's top nickel producer, Jinchuan Group Ltd, is looking to expand overseas and prepare for an initial public offering (IPO) by the end of this year, according to a Reuters report Monday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.23/lb higher, with all base metals trading solidly in the green. The US Dollar is trading nearly a full percentage point lower against the Euro, which is giving a big boost to metals trading.  NYMEX crude futures are up over 2-1/2% and closing in on the $70/barrel level. Gold is up 3/4 of 1% and over $1000 ounce, while silver is up over 2-1/2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with European markets following suit this morning.  Futures show Wall Street should open solidly higher after its 3 day break. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended yesterday's trading at $8.03/lb . LME stored inventories of nickel set another record high overnight, while the Baltic Dry Index gained 33 points.     
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metal prices finished modestly higher yesterday in extremely quiet trading on account of the US Labor Day Holiday, but we are more than making up for this today, as values are sharply higher across the board. The dollar is fueling this latest rally, as it has crumbled to 1.45 against the Euro, while gold is also exerting some influence, pushing through the $1,000/ounce psychological barrier and now on target to hit last year's record high of $1,030.80. Oil prices are up by about $1.70/barrel ahead of the OPEC meeting tomorrow, where the cartel is expected to leave things as they are. We do not have much to add to what we have said in recent commentary-- amid a generally improving macroeconomic backdrop, metal prices should remain steady over the short-term, and investors will likely use corrections to position themselves on the long side. In addition, given the impressive recovery in equity markets, the dollar is losing its “safe haven” status, and should weaken further in view of the large out-year deficits stacked in front of it, providing yet another bullish prop for commodities going forward. Ironically, some of the fundamentals in the various metals themselves are looking slightly less bullish than they were a few months ago. The Chinese, for example, are widely expected to decrease the rate of imports for a number of metals over the coming months, and physical premiums for a variety of spot metals are under pressure amid comfortable inventories. In addition, many LME stock positions are pushing higher, particularly in copper, where stocks were up by another 4,600 tons again today, bringing the one month increase to just over 23,000 tons. None of these factors seem to be on the market’s radar just yet, as the focus is very much on exogenous variables such as the macro recovery and the resumed weakness in the dollar..... Nickel is at $18,500, up $800. After lingering uneventfully for much of the last few weeks, nickel prices are finally responding to the upside and are on the verge of taking out the down channel evident on the charts. Should we close above this line, which we figure is at $18,700, we could push higher still, with an eventual target of $20,300 likely." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Dow Jones) Global nickel market to remain oversupplied for foreseeable future, says Goldman Sachs JBWere, adding nickel price has run ahead of fundamentals, in for significant correction. Notes signs of improving demand from most regional markets, not just China. Still, global nickel consumption in 2009 expected about 15% lower than 2006. "Even with a strong rebound in stainless steel production in 2010 and beyond, we believe that global nickel consumption will not revisit the 2006 level until 2012," says GS.
  • (Yieh) It's reported that China's largest stainless mill, Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Tisco) announced new prices for delivery of September 8~21, cutting RMB1,500/ton for 304 cold rolled and hot rolled and RMB500/ton for 430 cold rolled.
  • According to the Japan Iron and Steel Federation (JISF), Japan imported 10,700 tons of stainless steel in July, up by 18.4 percent than 9,070 tons in June. The stainless imports totaled 60,900 tons during the first months. On the other hand, Japan exported 110,500 tons of stainless steel, up by 27.1 percent than last month.
  • (Interfax) Norilsk Nickel delivers more than 20 pct of total nickel output to China in H1
  • (JMD) Market of cold-rolled Ni stainless steel sheet/ Hits ceiling for Asia
  • (CM) Steel prices in China have continued to drop for the fourth straight week (August 31 to September 4), with the decline smaller than that in the previous two weeks, according to the latest market report by the industry information provider MySteel.com.
  • (GFMS) Stainless steel production, which represents almost two-thirds of nickel demand, has been picking up since the start of Q2. As highlighted in previous reports, output from a number of mills has been increasing. Higher alloy surcharges, triggered by the higher nickel price on the LME, has also encouraged the restocking process. We understand that the availability of in-house scrap remains tight, which in theory means stainless mills are boosting the amount of primary nickel in their melts. Below, we highlight some stainless activity that has taken place in the past month or so.
  • (China Daily) Sales of domestically made automobiles in China totaled 1.14 million units last month, up 81.68 percent from a year earlier, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said Tuesday.
  • Baltic Dry Index declines for fifth straight week - more

  Supply And Demand Of Stainless Scrap In South Korea For Jan. - Mar. Quarter / 09 = Reflecting Considerable Reduction In Production Of Stainless Steel, Consumption At Mills Decreased By 41% - Korea Iron and Steel Association (KOSA) compiled the data on supply and demand of stainless steel scrap in South Korea for the first quarter (January - March) of 2009 and the contents were as per the table shown below. - more

  China to release consolidation guidelines for metals industry by year'send - MIIT  - China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced on Sept. 7 that it expects to release and implement consolidation guidelines for the steel and nonferrous metals industries by the end of the year. - more

  Metallurgical Corp. to Raise $2.8 Billion in Shanghai  - Metallurgical Corp. of China Ltd. plans to sell as much as 19 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) of stock in Shanghai to fund construction of steel plants in China, property development and an overseas nickel mining project.- more

  Severstal books Q2 loss of $290 million  - Russia's largest steelmaker Severstal posted Monday a $290 million loss in the second quarter, a sharp fall from profits last year but better than the previous quarter, as the slump in global demand hit a bottom and showed some signs of picking up. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Weekend & Monday, September 5-7

  US markets are closed Monday for the Labor Day holiday.

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

  • Indicators at 7:35 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.07/lb higher, with most base metals trading higher. The US Dollar is trading 1/4 of 1% lower against the Euro, which is helping commodities this morning. NYMEX crude futures are up over 1% and nearing $69/barrel. Gold is up 1/4 of 1%, while silver is 2/3 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with European markets higher as well this morning. US markets are closed. The Baltic Dry Index gained 14 points to 2,429, and inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouse, rose to a new record high over the weekend. Since it is a holiday here in the US, our next update will be tomorrow morning.
  • 14 points to 2429  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals closed higher on Friday, as a weaker dollar and stronger US equity markets helped boost sentiment. The widely awaited nonfarm payroll number was rather mixed; the overall figure came in slightly better than expected, although more disturbingly, the unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 9.7%, a 26-year high. Zinc was particularly strong, and although we see no news behind the rally, there are some justifiable fears that zinc smelters may be the next ones to come under scrutiny by the Chinese government following the recent shutdowns of some lead refiners on pollution concerns. As of this writing, we are seeing Friday's gains extend into the current session, but conditions are rather quiet and trading ranges remain tight. International equity markets are stronger, apparently reassured by comments from G-20 finance ministers that the economic stimulus measures in place are here to stay until the international recovery finds a firmer footing..... Nickel is at $17,830, up $230. Nickel prices have not really advanced along with the rest of the metals of late on account of rising LME inventories and talk of a possible settlement of the strike at Vale’s Canadian operation."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (ABN) Brazil-focused Mirabela Nickel has entered the top 200 club as Standard & Poor's conducts its quarterly rebalancing of Australian equity indices. Mirabela Nickel, which is developing its Santa Rita nickel project in Brazil, entered the S&P/ASX 200 along with Graincorp, replacing PMP and Sunland Group.
  • (ABS) Century Peak Metals Holdings Corporation has met the requirements of the Philippine Mineral Reporting Code, or PMRC, becoming the first mining applicant company to comply with the Code as a pre-requisite for initial listing in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). .... Century Hua Guang Smelting Inc. is a joint venture of CMPHC with the owners of Zhejiang Hua Guang, a privately-held Chinese corporation and one of the largest nickel pig iron producers in China, to establish a blast furnace facility in the Philippines with the purpose of producing nickel pig iron. Under the partners’ agreement, the owners of Zhejiang Hua Guang will spearhead the construction and development of the Smelting Plant on a turnkey basis and provide personnel who will be responsible for the plant’s operation.
  • CFTC sheds new light on funds in commodities - more
  • Deutsche warn on the liquidation risk facing commodities - more
  • Editorial: Mining review is worth doing - more
  • EaglePicher hires company to look at Joplin plant - more
  • Gold shines as China dumps greenback - more
  • (China Daily) The money-earning capability of China's top 500 enterprises has exceeded that of their United States counterparts for the first time, as the sweeping financial crisis pummeled many US firms while China is already entering an economic recovery.
  • Int'l mining trade center built in Yunnan - more
  • Indago sells projects to Lumacom for $3m - more
  • (Yieh) According to Stainless Steel Council of China Special Enterprise Association statistics, China's stainless crude steel output was 2.2985 million tonnes in the second quarter of 2009, up by 29.9% QoQ as compared to the first quarter. Among them, Cr-Ni steel (300 series) output increased 348,500 tonnes, up by 40.6% QoQ and that of Cr steel (400 series) climbed 93,600 tonnes, up by 17.5% QoQ and that of Cr Mn steel (200 series) going up 87,600 tonnes, up by 23.1% QoQ.
  • (Interfax) Jinchuan Group Ltd., China's largest nickel producer, aims to expand its total nonferrous metals production capacity to 1 million tons by the end of 2015, according to a company announcement on Sept. 4

 New Charcoal To Make Fire Is Arising In Relation To Nickel Production / New Caledonia = As Countermeasures For Rationalization, SLN Is Intending To Reduce Employees - New charcoal to make a fire in relation to labor problem is arising in New Caledonia. SLN (Societe Le Niquel), which is a subsidiary of Eramet in France and has been producing ferro-nickel in New Caledonia, has determined the basic policy to reduce employees gradually in order to rationalize nickel production in New Caledonia from a long point of view and is scheduled to reduce gradually 500 employees (including retirees under the age limit). - more

  How Xstrata won Falconbridge - Mick Davis was alone when he arrived at Falconbridge Ltd.'s Toronto headquarters on Bay Street on Aug. 23, 2005. The chief executive of Xstrata PLC, which had just bought a 20% stake in Falconbridge from Brascan Corp., took the elevator to the company's third-floor offices, passed Falconbridge lawyers and advisors waiting in the hall, then entered the boardroom for the first time as a significant owner - more

  Impact of strike minimal - An eight-week strike at Sudbury's largest employer is not packing the economic wallop on the community it would have three decades ago - more

  • Union upset over Vale Inco plan to restart production using clerical workers  - Representatives of the United Steelworkers and Vale Inco Ltd. are expected to sit down at the table again within the next couple of business days - but it won't be to resume contract negotiations. - more

  Norilsk launches direct metal shipments to Europe - Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel miner, plans to cut delivery times to western Europe by around 10 days after launching direct shipping routes from the Arctic port of Dudinka to Hamburg and Rotterdam. - more

  ThyssenKrupp Cuts Planned Capacity Two-Thirds at Unit  - ThyssenKrupp AG, Germany’s largest steelmaker, reduced planned capacity at a unit of its Alabama stainless project by more than two-thirds to help curb costs. - more

  • ThyssenKrupp could push back most of Calvert stainless unit by 2 years - ThyssenKrupp AG said Friday that it could delay startup of a key part of the stainless steel operation at its $4.65 billion Calvert complex by as much as two years, to late 2014, unless the market for stainless rebounds. - more
  • ThyssenKrupp will process German steel as mill operations begin in U.S. - When ThyssenKrupp AG's carbon steel operation at Calvert begins production next spring, it will use raw steel slabs imported not from Brazil, but from Germany. - more

  Vail Passes: Environmental impact apparent on Fremont Pass - Human impact is starkly evident on the summit of Fremont Pass, located about 11 miles southwest of Frisco on CO 91.  - more

Friday, September 4

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 1 to 2,415. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Japanese Companies Cut Capital Spending for Ninth Quarter as Profits Slump // Lead Surges to 16-Month High as China Vows to Shut Substandard Smelters // China to Raise Limit on Stock Investments by Foreign Funds to $1 Billion // Asian Stocks Fluctuate as Seven & I, Hynix Slump on Brokerage Downgrades // Stocks, Bonds Seen in `Sweet Spot' as G-20 Officials Shun Stimulus Exit // Lloyds, RBS Reduce Lending Even as U.K.'s Treasury Presses for Increase // European Stocks Rise for a Second Day; Lonmin, Kazakhmys, Peugeot Advance // Unemployment Rate in U.S. Climbed to 9.7% as Job Losses Slowed to 216,000 // Joblessness to Hinder `Sustainable' U.S. Recovery, Pimco's Crescenzi Says // Stocks in U.S. Advance After Job Losses Fall Short of Analysts' Estimates
  • The US Dollar has weakened since this morning, and is now trading 4/10 of 1% lower against the Euro. NYMEX crude has backed off to a small gain, and falling back to the $68/barrel level.  Gold continues its bullish run, up 1/4 of 1%, while silver is higher by 2/3 of 1%. Base metals ended mixed, the falling Dollar helping the winners, and keeping the losses in check for the others. Indictor charts show the only turn up in a long day of sliding, came at the very end and did very little to help. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $7.98/lb , it's very close below $8 since the end of July. Inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses grew again overnight, and now stand at a 2009 record level, and closing in on the 117,000 tonne level. The Baltic Dry Index has done little in the last few days, up another single point overnight. The US Labor Department reported the US unemployment rate jumped to 9.7% in July, a 26 year high. It's been a long week, and we in the States will be on holiday Monday for Labor Day. Have a relaxing and safe weekend!! 

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Reuters) Germany's largest steelmaker ThyssenKrupp said it has rejected the option of seeking tie-ups for its stainless steel business and would now pursue instead a stand-alone concept.

  AK Steel Announces October 2009 Surcharges for Electrical and Stainless Steels - AK Steel has advised its customers that a $185 per ton surcharge will be added to invoices for electrical steel products shipped in October 2009. - more

  ThyssenKrupp rejects consolidation for stainless - Germany's largest steelmaker ThyssenKrupp said it has rejected the option of seeking tie-ups for its stainless steel business and would now pursue instead a stand-alone concept. - more

  Will nickel recover its former lustre? - Nickel prices have doubled off their March 2009 lows but remain at less than half peak levels - more

  LME announces new launch date for minor metals - The the launch of the London Metal Exchange (LME) new minor metals contracts for molybdenum and cobalt has been delayed until February 22 2010. - more

  Report: ThyssenKrupp trimming Mobile stainless steel operation - ThyssenKrupp, the German steelmaker, said today it has reduced the planned capacity of a unit at its Alabama stainless steel mill development to 100,000 metric tons a year at the start of operations as it seeks to curb costs. - more

  Strong demand is in the pipeline for Queensland mining engineers - Peter Knights has a message for those considering a career as a mining engineer: Don't believe the doom and gloom. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.08/lb lower, with a well established gradual downtrend seen so far this morning, with other base metals mixed but mostly lower. The Euro is trading higher against the US Dollar, but not by much at the moment, with the trend moving lower. NYMEX crude is up over 1% and closing in on $69/barrel. Gold is off 1/10 of 1% while silver is down 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with European markets trading higher this morning. US futures imply Wall Street will open for a second day in a good mood. The Baltic Dry Index continues to drift, while LME nickel inventories rose to a new 2009 high overnight.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals closed higher yesterday after two days of rather modest selling, as a firmer tone in US equities and a weaker dollar saw buyers return to the markets. Yesterday's batch of US macro numbers came out pretty much in line with estimates, with both ISM services and weekly initial claims not causing much of a stir. However, investors were encouraged by stronger-than-expected sales by key retailers in August, and even those that failed to see rises, reported volumes that declined slightly less than expected. ... Nickel is at $18,050, down $150, and still fairly sluggish. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) In the beginning of August, the Chinese stainless steel plate price enjoyed a pick-up on July. While due to the slack demand for the end-users, the stainless steel price suffered a drop in the late of August. Currently, most purchasers are waiting and seeing for the market trend and it is estimated that the stainless steel market would be gloomy in September. Analysts said that with the decreasing nickel price on the LME, the stainless steel price would probably see a correction in September.
  • (AP) Baoshan Iron & Steel , the listed arm of China's largest steel maker, made a turnaround from losses to gains in its stainless steel business during the first half and expects it to profit this year, said Lou Dingbo, the company vice general manager. Lou attributed the success enjoyed by Baosteel's stainless steel business to its control of raw materials stocks, especially nickel.
  • Lions Gate Metals strikes deal to acquire Australian nickel explorer - more
  • AAR) The Association of American Railroads today reported that rail traffic continues to register incremental gains on a week-to-week basis, but remains down year over year. Rail carloadings were at their highest level since the week ended Dec. 13, 2008. For the week ended Aug. 29, 2009, U.S. railroads reported originating 285,580 cars, down 16.2 percent compared with the same week in 2008. Regionally, carloadings were down 16 percent in the West and 16.6 percent in the East.
  • Death toll from epidemics in PNG soars to more than 400 - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 31st August 2009 = Fever In China Is Being Poured By Cold Water, Price Of Moly Oxide Continues To Fall - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 31st August of 2009 is as follows - more

  • Profits of Chinese stainless steel producers may improve in 2009 - Chinese stainless steel mills are expected to witness larger profits this year than in 2008 due to rising domestic prices and increasing output, industry insiders told Interfax on Sept. 2. - more

  Nickel price set to rebound 9pct in FY2010: Minara chief - The nickel price is expected to rise by about nine per cent in the 2010 financial year amid signs of recovery in China's stainless steel market, Minara Resources Ltd chief executive Peter Johnston says. - more

  China Steel raises prices for third time this year - Growing demand has led steelmakers to restart plants they had idled during the recession and analysts expect demand to keep increasing next year - more

  • The current Taiwan stainless steel market is unclear -The nickel price this month returned to US$18,250 per ton again since the nickel price climbed to US$20,000 in July. - more

  JSW Steel production up 53% in August - JSW Steel, the country’s largest private sector steel maker by domestic capacity, on Friday said its production rose 53% to 5.21 lakh tonnes in August on robust demand from consumers like the automobile sector, construction and white goods. - more

  Total Steel Import Permits Decline Slightly, but Sheets Register Significant Increase - 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 952,000 net tons (NT).  - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  • Sudbury Star
  • Vale/Inco offer // Vale/Inco Company Site
  • Union Strike Site //  USW  Local 6500
  • Sudbury TV // Sudbury Northern Life Videos
  • Vale Inco reiterates will use own staff in Sudbury restart - Brazilian-owned nickel-miner Vale Inco will use its own non-striking employees to resume operations in Sudbury, Canada, a spokesperson repeated on Thursday. - more
  • Vale Miners Resuming Work - Yesterday, Brazilian miner, Vale S.A., announced the resumption of its work in many of its idled mines. The mines were closed when the company experienced a considerable decrease in demand from Japanese and European steelmakers due to the economic crisis. - more

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • How China's Steel Mess Was Forged - Is the Rio Tinto case interesting? The question is a little churlish. For Rio employees Stern Hu, Liu Caikui, Ge Minqiang and Wang Yong, five weeks' detention—two days short of the statutory 37-day maximum—at the pleasure of the Shanghai branch (reputation particularly unpleasant) of China's State Security Bureau is almost certainly the most interesting thing that has ever happened to them. - more
  • Rio Tinto suspends iron ore talks with China - Rio Tinto says iron ore price talks with China suspended, no idea when they might resume - more
  • Asia Iron Ore-Falls about 8 pct, trades down - India iron ore prices slid by about 8 percent on Thursday over the previous week on absent Chinese demand and traders said they were braced for more falls ahead. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Thursday, September 3

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 1 to 2,414. (chart) (article)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Indonesia Refrains From Cutting Interest Rates as Inflation Risks Emerge // South Korean Economy Expands 2.6%, Faster Than Initial Government Estimate // Asian Mining Stocks Advance on Gold, Alcoa Forecast; Honda Declines on Yen // European Central Bank Keeps Benchmark Interest Rate at Record Low 1.00% // European Union Seeks `Stronger Muscles and Sharper Teeth' to Curb Bonuses // Trichet Predicts `Uneven' Recovery, Signals No Rush to Withdraw Stimulus // European Stocks Advance, Led by Raw-Material Producers on Copper, Alcoa // Geithner Says It's Too Early to Begin Removing Economic-Stimulus Measures // Service Industries in U.S. Contract at a Slower Pace as Recession Recedes // More Americans Than Anticipated File Jobless Claims as Companies Cut Costs //
  • The US Dollar was getting beat up early on, but is now trading nearly even with the Euro. This about face has added downward pressure on commodities. NYMEX crude is trading 1/5 of 1% higher, and over $68/barrel. Gold is making a move worth watching, up over 1%, while poor man's gold, silver, is over 3% higher. Base metals ended the session higher. Indicator charts show nickel fell hard after our morning briefing, only to get a positive spurt before closing. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.23/lb , a few pennies higher than yesterday. LME stockpiled nickel levels rose again overnight, and levels are close to Monday's 21st century high of 116,268 tonnes. Sucden's day old chart shows yesterday's downturn (chart here). The BDI remains directionless, gaining 1 point overnight. Not a lot of news out today, so thought we would do a little ranting about salt spray testing.
  • In our humble opinion, salt spray tests are "worthless". Yes we said it.... without much value.  And when we have the over zealous salesperson visit us with their new miracle coating that will make the need for stainless steel obsolete, we always have our copy of ASTM B117 Standard Practice for Operating Salt Spray (Fog) Apparatus all prepared for them. And if you are a buyer or seller of stainless steel, or of a coated or plated product,  you should get a copy. Better yet, here is a copy of an older version someone posted online (pdf here). If you have never read this, let me direct you to page 1, which ASTM themselves have online here. Here is what ASTM themselves says about salt spray testing .... "Significance and Use 1.This practice provides a controlled corrosive environment which has been utilized to produce relative corrosion resistance information for specimens of metals and coated metals exposed in a given test chamber. 2. Prediction of performance in natural environments has seldom been correlated with salt spray results when used as stand alone data. 3. Correlation and extrapolation of corrosion performance based on exposure to the test environment provided by this practice are not always predictable. 4. Correlation and extrapolation should be considered only in cases where appropriate corroborating long-term atmospheric exposures have been conducted. 5. The reproducibility of results in the salt spray exposure is highly dependent on the type of specimens tested and the evaluation criteria selected, as well as the control of the operating variables. In any testing program, sufficient replicates should be included to establish the variability of the results. Variability has been observed when similar specimens are tested in different fog chambers even though the testing conditions are nominally similar and within the ranges specified in this practice." Now I know we maybe stirring the blood pressure of some of our older readers, but here the ASTM, who mandates how salt spray tests are to be administered, states clearly "Prediction of performance in natural environments has seldom been correlated with salt spray results when used as stand alone data." Here is what thesaurus.com uses as other words/phrases for the adverb "seldom" - "a few times, every now and then, from time to time, hardly, hardly ever, in a few cases, inhabitually, irregularly, little, not often, not very often, occasionally, on and off, once in a blue moon, once in a while, rarely, scarcely, scarcely ever, semioccasionally, sometimes, sporadically, uncommonly, unoften, unusually, whimsically". Salt spray tests should be used as a tool, period. Their findings are not gospel, nor are they the Holy Grail of truth. Far from it, in fact. We are not engineers, but we can read. And we hope everyone would be a tad bit more nervous about making a major decision based on a test that even the regulators devote a entire chapter to, that does nothing but describe its worth .... or should we say, it's worthlessness.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones)... interviewing an unnamed London trader - ""Maybe we're getting to a level where new fresh money isn't coming in," he says. Adds investors are "taking a breather" and trying to get a feel for what will be the next driver for prices. He says at the moment, base metals are trading ahead of supply and demand fundamentals, but prices haven't corrected because investors are willing to go along with the recent rise in investment flows into metals."
  • (AMM) German steel exports sag to 13-year low in first half
  • So what’s the difference between a recession and a depression? Geography. - more
  • Heading in Different Directions - more

  ArcelorMittal Restarts Gijón Blast Furnace - ArcelorMittal has restarted blast furnace B at its works in Gijón, northern Spain after being shut down for almost 4 months, the company tells Steel Business Briefing. However, the company is not divulging what capacity the works are at now, but local sources claim it is at 70% capacity. - more

  China allays fears over Rio Tinto case - China has sought to ease worries over the arrest of an Australian mining executive after a European business group said firms were concerned their employees could unwittingly face similar probes. - more

  Asia Iron Ore-Falls about 8 pct, trades down - India iron ore prices slid by about 8 percent on Thursday over the previous week on absent Chinese demand and traders said they were braced for more falls ahead. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.09/lb higher, but drifting, with all base metals trading higher. The US Dollar is trading over 4/10 of 1% lower against teh Euro, helping commodities. NYMEX crude futures are up 1-1/2%  and over $69/barrel. Gold is up over 1/2 of 1%, while silver is over 2-1/3% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China seeing a big gain. European markets are also higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street may open in a much better mood that its been lately. US Labor Department just reported initial jobless claims fell by 4,000 last week, but continuing claims rose 92,000 to 6.23 million. Taking out the government seasonal adjustment, 9.65 million Americans were collecting benefits last week. The BDI remains stalled, while inventories of nickel rose by nearly as much as they fell yesterday.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Copper prices bounced off near two-week lows on Wednesday, pulling the rest of the group higher. Metals tracked recovering US equities, which although finishing lower for their fourth consecutive session, still made up ground by the close, as well as the Euro, which pushed slightly higher against the dollar. US macro numbers out yesterday were mixed, and did not lend much direction to any of the markets..... We are seeing a rather good bounce in metals today, as a sharp advance in Chinese equity markets (apparently the biggest one-day jump in six months) and a slight retreat in the dollar to around 1.43 against the Euro is contributing to the firmer tone. Lead, once again, is particularly strong, hitting fresh 2009 highs, and it is worth noting that it has hardly suffered much in this week’s correction.  ... Nickel is at $18,450, up $350, and fairly sluggish. We need to hold above $18,200 support for another day today to ensure that the bottom end of the congestion banned stays in place."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Xinhua) China stainless steel production forecast to exceed 7 mln tons in 2009 - China produced 317.31 million tons of crude steel in the January to July period of this year, up 2.9 percent year on year, according to statistics from the Ministry of Industry of Information Technology.
  • (WED) Although Wenzhou fastener exports declined dramatically with export volume of 4629.6 tons and value of 9.37 million US dollars from January to June, a drop of 64.72% and 59.75% respectively, the output value of some fastener companies in Wenzhou still saw modest growth, for the fastener industry in Wenzhou is mainly based on domestic sales and the benefits from the favorable policies such as deduced vehicle purchase tax on some passenger cars, and auto subsidy program for the rural areas in the first half of the year.
  • The Case of Steel  - One of the bizarre consequences of the Competition Commission's investigation of the steel industry is that SA is now one of the few countries in the world that no longer has statistics on its steel output. - more
  • (JMB) Japanese raw steel production could reach 90 million tonnes in fiscal 2009 ending March 2010.
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s screw export market has been getting better in the past three months.Meanwhile, it’s said that the current demands in Europe market is better than in US market. However, market analyst said that Taiwanese screw export couldn’t fully recover until US demands thoroughly revived, since US is the largest importer of Taiwan’s screw, which purchased 47 percent of Taiwanese screw exports.
  • (SSY) - Latest information from China’s iron ore ports indicate that a total of 30 Capesize vessels are waiting to berth compared with a peak of 88 in mid-June. As a result the number of Capesizes waiting to berth at iron ore ports in Australia, Brazil and China (as well as coal ports in Australia) has fallen from 154 in mid-June to 109 this week.
  • (China Daily) Chinese equities climbed Wednesday after the country's securities regulator said it would take measures to promote the steady and healthy development of the market.
  • China limits metal exports to boost price - more
  • Calculating the Clunkers’ Real Cost to Taxpayers - more

  Taiyuan Seeks Australian Iron, Nickel Investment, Chairman Says - Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group, China’s biggest stainless-steel producer, is looking to invest in iron ore and nickel resources in Australia and other countries, Chairman Li Xiaobo said. - more

  • DJ China Jinchuan To Produce 150,000 Tons Nickel In 2010 -Exec - Jinchuan Group, China's largest nickel producer and among its largest makers of base metals, expects to produce 150,000 metric tons of nickel in 2010, a company executive said Thursday. - more
  • Q2 China stainless steel output rose by around 30% m-o-m - In the recent days, Stainless Steel Council of China Special Enterprise Association released China's inland stainless steel production data in the second quarter and in the first half year of 2009. - more

  Price Of Ni-Based Stainless Scrap Is Carried Over To Next Month On High Level As Remained The domestic price of nickel-based stainless steel scrap (new clippings) in Japan has risen further after summer holidays were over and has currently remained on the high level of Yen 180,000 - 185,000 per metric ton. - more

  ArcelorMittal Brazil Stainless Steel Output Grows -Report - Stainless steel production at ArcelorMittal's Brazilian mill has risen to 80% of installed capacity, the Valor newspaper reported Wednesday. - more

  Outokumpu to improve the efficiency of its tubular product business -  Outokumpu is restructuring its Stainless Tubular Business Unit (OSTP) to improve efficiency and cut costs. As a result of the strategy process the company is selling parts of the production in Jakobstad in Finland and optimizing the utilization of the production lines within the unit. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Spot iron ore sales to China at 9-mth low in Aug  - Spot iron ore vessel bookings to China in August by the world's two biggest exporters, Australia and Brazil, fell to a 9-month low, indicating strong demand from the world's top steel maker may be slowing as steel prices slump. - more
  • Vale Restarts Idled Mines on Europe, Japan Demand - Vale SA, the world’s largest iron ore exporter, is restarting idled mines on demand from Japanese and European steelmakers.- more
  • Fortescue Finds a 'China Price' for Iron Ore - The big winner at this year's iron ore price talks with China certainly was not Rio Tinto -- the Australian-British mining giant that recently saw four employees arrested by Chinese authorities on industrial espionage charges. It was Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., a company that wasn't even at the negotiating table. - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Wednesday, September 2

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 10 to 2,413. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Australia Economic Growth Unexpectedly Accelerates to 0.6%; Currency Rises // Yen Climbs to Seven-Week High as Drop in Stocks Spurs Demand for Safety // South Korea's Outlook Raised to Stable by Fitch; Sovereign Rating Affirmed // Asian Stocks Fall as Seven & I, Sekisui House Lower Earnings Forecasts // BP Makes `Giant' Oil Discovery Almost Seven Miles Beneath Gulf of Mexico // Euro-Region Consumer Spending Rises, Export Drop Slows as Recession Eases // Oldest Swiss Bank Tells Clients to Sell U.S. Assets or Leave on Tax Issues // European Stocks Drop for Third Day; Alcatel-Lucent, Old Mutual, Aviva Fall // Companies Cut More U.S. Jobs Than Forecast to Further Pare Costs, ADP Says // Mortgage Bankers Push for U.S. to Guarantee Private Home-Loan Securities // U.S. Stocks Fluctuate as Energy Shares Offset Drop in Consumer Companies
  • Another day of flip flop with the US Dollar, which saw earlier strength evaporate and is now trading 4/10 of 1% lower against the Euro. NYMEX crude was up earlier but is now trading 4/10 of 1% lower, and under $68/barrel. Gold is up over 2%, while silver is higher by the same. Base metals did a turnaround from earlier steep losses, thanks to a stronger Euro, and ended the day mixed. Indicator charts show nickel made an early run, lost it, then started climbing as the Dollar fell in late afternoon trading. A little of this was lost at the end of the session. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $8.21/lb . Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell by a decent chunk overnight, and now are well under the 116,000 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry index continues to drift, down 10 points to 2,413. Last week ended with numerous announcements of steel plants firing back up, and the news so far this week, has been mostly over concerns about China's potential slowdown. It is a legitimate concern. We have the same question as many others have. How much of the current uptick is emotionally based, and how much is actual. We have yet to find a steel or stainless CEO say that "true" demand has picked back up, with most of the new business coming to re-stock distributors, who themselves are living hand to mouth. Ed Meir of Sucden this morning, forecast nickel could test the $7.94/lb level. Everyone guesses about what is happening in China, but no one really knows for sure. Things just don't seem to be adding up right now. China has been importing nickel like there is a fire sale going on, but now stainless prices are dropping there. What role is pig nickel production playing? And now you can add the possibility of China cutting back on its free for all lending of the last few months and the effect that might have. We have major nickel producing mines out of action right now, for numerous reasons, but we are still watching inventory levels grow. And lets not forget the big mines ready to start producing in the next 6-12 months. Will we need them when they are ready? Vale doesn't appear to be in any hurry to get back to the negotiating table with its striking Inco workers, and with inventories growing, this takes the pressure off the company and puts it on the back of the strikers. The price of nickel has been primarily based on speculation and the cost of the Dollar, with some emotional pushes in either direction from the world equity markets. Regardless of what our personal opinions are about what is taking place, it is truly an interesting, albeit, confusing period. The market needs to add some meat to its optimism. We just keep thinking of the old Burger King commercial with the elderly lady yelling "Where's the beef?"   

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Reuters) Spot iron ore prices in China extended their slide, falling 9 percent in the past week to a more than two-month low on Tuesday and towards the level of annual term prices that Chinese mills reject as being too high. Spot prices of iron ore, a key steelmaking ingredient, have gyrated recently -- doubling in four months from April lows and then losing about a quarter of their value in less than one month, as China, the world's top steelmaker, moves to rein in credit lending and its massive steel overcapacity.
  • Unemployment: The Harder You Look, The Uglier It Appears - more
  • Healthcare Rationing Is Good - more
  • Bailout Propaganda Begins - more

  South Africa: Xstrata, Merafe Venture Stokes Up Furnaces - The Xstrata-Merafe joint venture had returned more furnaces to production in response to strengthening demand, it said yesterday. - more

  Timing A Stainless Steel Recovery - It's been a tough twelve months for stainless steel. Steel industry consultant MEPS reports that from August 2008 to now transaction values for cold rolled coil type 304 stainless steel in North America were down by approximately 60%, by 52% in Europe and by 47% in Asia. Not a good year by any standards. - more

  Vale Inco miners brace for long strike, eye prices - A small group of striking workers stand by the entrance to Vale Inco's enormous Copper Cliff smelter in the shadow of the now silent Inco Superstack, Sudbury's most visible landmark and the second tallest structure in Canada. - more

  • Canada: Vale Inco unveils strike breaking operation - As 3,100 striking miners in Sudbury, Ontario enter their eighth week on the picket lines in a dispute with mining giant Vale Inco, company management is preparing to launch an unprecedented strike breaking operation at the world's largest nickel, copper, and precious metals mine. - more

  Unusual Stock Accumulation in China Will Be Key to Molybdenum Market Evolution - According to Pablo Bascur, MolyExp managing partner, the incipient recovery of moly prices is not a response to an increase in consumption, and that China will play a key role in upcoming quarters. - more

  Fall in Commodity Prices May Help Indonesia's Antam Reduce Project Expenses - State miner PT Aneka Tambang said it was seeking to trim investment on two major projects currently worth a total of $700 million by renegotiating their construction costs with developers. - more

  Beijing steel giant says annual output to reach 30 mln tonnes - Shougang Iron and Steel Group expects its annual steel output to reach 30 million tonnes by 2012,two years after its Beijing facilities are to be shut down, the group's chairman said Wednesday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.20/lb lower,  with all base metals trading lower, and nickel sliding from an earlier bump. The US Dollar is trading higher against the Euro, by a little over 1/10th of 1%. NYMEX crude futures are up nearly 8/10 of 1% and over $68.50/barrel. Gold is quiet while silver is down 3/4 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, although China ended higher. European markets are trading lower this morning, and US futures have yet to decide a direction for Wall Street's opening. The BDI dropped a tad, and LME nickel inventories fell also.  
  • Reuters morning base metal news - more

 Nickel Declines to a One-Month Low in Asia on Liquidity Concern - Nickel dropped to a one-month low, pacing a decline in industrial metals, on speculation that slower bank lending in China may trim demand for commodities, including steel. - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Metals ended sharply lower yesterday, as weakness in US equities reversed the initial steadiness. A stronger dollar did not help either, as the “flight-to safety” bid was resurrected.  ... Things are off to a weaker start once again this morning, with copper at a near-two week low, and zinc also down, although the rest of the metals seem to be holding their ground. Not surprisingly, global equity markets were all off overnight in the wake of Wall Street's sharp selloff. Investors are justifiably nervous about this being September, which historically, is the worst month for US equities. We ourselves are not that pessimistic going into the month, and although we believe the current correction may have a bit more to go, we suspect the strong macro data that we have been getting from practically around the world, will keep the prospect of a more serious decline somewhat in check. In fact, the mood could brighten noticeably as early as Friday, when key nonfarm payroll numbers come out--a better-than-expected reading will go a long way in changing the current psychology.  ... Nickel is at $17,900, down $350, and now below $18,200 support. Given the deterioration in the chart picture, we are looking for an eventual test of $17,500."  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) Refined nickel prices likely to stay around current level for remainder of 2009 - Jinchuan Group employee - Refined nickel prices on the domestic and international markets are unlikely to follow recent price tumbles of other commodities and will remain mostly unchanged for the remainder of the year, a senior Jinchuan Group Ltd. employee told Interfax at a conference on Sept. 2.
  • (Yieh) Taiwna’s Yieh Hsing Enterprise has decided to lift NT$2,000/ton for 304 stainless steel wire rod price for September. Yieh Hsing increased its price by NT$10,000/ton in the second half of August. Meanwhile, Walsin Lihwa also rises NT$12,000/ton for domestic price.
  • (Yieh) China’s Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Co. said it may rise its output by 34 percent this year on improved demand driven by government’s stimulus plan, especially on construction and auto making sector.
  • (Yieh) Since the nickel price soared to US$20,000/ton in July, it has fallen to US$18,250/ton yesterday. Because of the domestic slack demand, Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp. (YUSCO) and Tang Eng have decided not to lift 300 series price for domestic market.
  • (AP) AK Steel said Tuesday it will raise prices for all new steel orders. The West Chester-based steel maker said base prices will increase by $40 per ton hot-rolled products, $50 per ton for cold-rolled products and $60 per ton for coated products.
  • South Africa - Four local steel producers face fines for collusion - more
  • Chinese miner Jinchuan buys 70% stake in Tiomin Kenya - more
  • EU urged to restrain anti-dumping measures - more
  • Resource estimate in Mindoro nickel mine hiked - more
  • Mustang Advances its Maskwa Nickel Project - more
  • Common flu mystery killer in Papua New Guinea’s Morobe Province - more

  ThyssenKrupp poised to seal stainless future-sources - ThyssenKrupp is on the verge of a deal to trim but retain its stainless steel business, two works council sources told Reuters, seeming to end speculation about the future of the loss-making division. - more

  Baoshan Steel May Cut Nickel Use in Stainless Steel  - Baoshan Iron & Steel Co., China’s largest mill, may cut nickel use in its stainless steel production to cut costs and boost profit, an executive said. - more

  • Steel Output Growth in China May Slow on Credit Curb  - Steel production growth in China, the world’s largest maker, may slow for the rest of the year as tightening credit could restrain building expenditure, the China Iron & Steel Association said.  - more
  • Taigang Stainless Production May Rise 34% to a Record  - Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Co., China’s largest producer of the rust-proof metal, may increase output by 34 percent this year as the nation’s stimulus spending spurred demand. - more

  Global Supply And Demand Of Nickel In First Half / 09 Got Away From Worst Time = Survey By INSG, World Consumption Of Nickel In Q2 / 09 Improved By 17.9% From That In Q1 - INSG (International Nickel Study Group) compiled recently the data on actual quantities of nickel supplied and consumed in the world for the first half (January - June) of 2009 and the contents were as per the table attached hereto. - more

  EU Average Stainless Steel Prices  - Alloy surcharges for austenitic grades are set to move up significantly in September. - more

  UBS upgrades base metals - With the world recovering from last year's economic collapse, UBS Securities analysts Brian MacArthur and Onno Rutten have made major upgrades to their commodity price forecasts and mining stock valuations. - more

  Ban on scrap imports revoked - In a move to ease the supply of secondary non-ferrous metals, the government has revoked the month-long ban on scrap imports. The decision will help in clearing about 1,000 containers clogging ports without any customs official’s intervention. - more

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

Tuesday, September 1

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 2 to 2,423. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's Manufacturing Expands at Fastest Pace Since April 2008 on Lending // Australia's Central Bank Keeps Key Interest Rate at 3% to Gauge Recovery // Asian Stocks Advance on Hon Hai Earnings, China Manufacturing; Rio Rises // British Consumers Repay Debt, Rein In Spending as Manufacturing Contracts // Manufacturing, Unemployment in Europe Signal Region's Recession Is Easing // European Manufacturing Contraction Eased More Than Estimated Last Month // European Stocks Drop for Second Day; Philips, Eiffage, Fresenius Decline // U.S. Cities' Budget Woes Worsen as Economy Recovers, Finance Officers Say // Ford's August U.S. Sales Rise 17% on `Clunkers' as Chrysler's Decline 15% // Pimco Says Avoid `Black Holes' in High-Yield Bonds as Recovery Rates // Banking Shares Lead Drop in U.S. Stocks on Concern Over Losses; AIG Falls
  • The US Dollar continues to trade higher against the Euro, now by over 2/3 of 1%. NYMEX crude has succumbed to the Dollar pressure and is now  down nearly 1-1/2% and under $69/barrel. Gold is still trading slightly higher while silver is down 1/3 of 1%. Base metals ended the day lower, across the board. Indicator charts show nickel steadied awhile after our morning briefing, then fell further late. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the first session of September 2009 at $8.28/lb , a lower close than any day in August. Inventories of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose by a staggering number over the weekend, by nearly 3,000 tonnes. This now puts total numbers over 116,000 tonnes and a new record high for 2009 and this century. Considering the number of mines that remain closed due to economic shut-down's, maintenance, and strikes, this number is hard to believe. The Baltic Dry Index continues to drift, adding two points overnight. The Institute for Supply Management released its highest reading since June 2007, with an ISM of 52.9% for July. Other world PMI's were equally positive (here). And in typical scratch your head fashion, all the good news fully explains why the Dow is down nearly 200 points at the moment. Read an interesting article in Metal Center News, which we will link to, as soon as it is posted online. In an article interviewing Dr Don McNeeley, president of Chicago Tube & Iron and economist and professor at Northwestern University, Don was asked why employment is worsening even as the economy shows signs of recovery. He states that last year, his company had 24 people that announced they would retire this year. After the crash hit their 401k's hard late last year, 18 of these employees have rescinded their retirement plans. Think about that. 75% of the men and women in this small company, who planned to be retired by Christmas of this year, no longer can afford to. Multiple that across the nation and the long term fallout from this recession is numbing. And if you are over the age of 50, thinking about retirement, or over the age of 18 and looking for a job, or in your 30's and 40's looking to advance, news like this should be very concerning. May not be metals related and maybe you don't care, but we were just stunned by this, and had to pass it along. And speaking of stunning, did we mention nickel inventories rose by nearly 3,000 tonnes over the weekend?   

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MB) Stainless steel producers should avoid using London Metal Exchange nickel contracts due to the fluctuating raw material costs at the exchange, stockholders told delegates at MB's 8th International Stainless & Special Steel Summit in Düsseldorf.
  • (BN) Panoramic Resources' net profit has slumped 89 per cent to $5.6 million for the year to June 30, down from $53.3 million the previous year after the company's revenues receded on the back of lower nickel prices.
  • China Development Bank starts $5.1bn arm to target private equity deals - more
  • Madagascar crisis talks collapse - more

  S.Africa ferrochrome producers raise output - Ferrochrome companies in South Africa, the world's largest producer, said on Tuesday they would raise output to match stronger global demand for the alloy that is a key ingredient in stainless steel. - more

  Top China mills cut steel prices, Baosteel to follow - Several major Chinese steel mills cut their product prices for September sales by up to 19 per cent from their August levels on Tuesday, industry consultancy Umetal said, as spot prices continued to fall on weak demand. - more

  View of the Day: Tipping point for commodities - It’s been a good few weeks for metals and miners, says Jon Bergtheil, metals and mining analyst at Citi. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.24/lb lower, with all base metals trading lower this morning. Nickel is showing signs of possibly bottoming out however. The US Dollar is trading over 1/10 of 1% higher against the Euro, adding pressure on commodity traders. NYMEX crude futures are higher by 4/10 of 1% and just over $70/barrel. Gold is trading slightly higher, and silver is 2/3 of 1% lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, while European market s are lower. US futures show Wall Street may open slightly lower. New fund money allocation will take place this week, so it will be interesting to see how much of the new money base metals grab. The BDI is still stalled, while LME stored nickel inventories rose by a ridiculous number and now stand at a new record high for the 21st century.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - "Commodity prices closed with heavy losses on Monday, with copper especially hard hit on COMEX, losing more than 4% on the day. The weakness spread to equity markets as well; although US stocks lost only modest ground, Chinese equities were hammered, falling another 7% in Monday’s session. The widespread losses were largely attributable to a Chinese magazine report out over the weekend stating that state companies may default, on derivative contracts entered into with a number of banks that had provided them with over-the-counter hedging products. A government official said later in the day that a ministerial bureau was handling the issue, but there was no word on what exactly was going on, further contributing to the unease.  ... In the meantime, metal prices are sharply lower today, but some of these complexes are basically catching up to where markets left off on Monday. ... Nickel is at $18,410, down $620, and is off by more than $1000 from its intraday high reached on Friday ($19,500). Prices seem to be pushing towards $18,200 support, which is the lower end of the congestion band marked by our red line. A break below this level could result in an eventual test of $17,500, which lies along the intermediate uptrend line (longer red line)." (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (China Daily) The purchasing managers' index (PMI) compiled by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) rose to a 16-month high in August of 54.0 from 53.3 in July as output, new orders, imports and employment all showed strength.
  • (UBS) Our 2010 forecasts for nickel, copper, aluminium and zinc prices have been raised by 40%, 32%, 19% and 13%, respectively. Hard coking coal and iron ore prices have been lifted 17% and 9% above our previous 2010 forecasts..... We make these upgrades conscious of concerns about the sustainability of Chinese growth and its materials consumption, and about the strength and durability of RoW recovery. We remain cautious on materials (and equities) where supply response can be rapid and significant, principally steel and aluminium.
  • (AP) Jinchuan Group, one of the largest nickel producers in China and even in the whole Asia, lately decided to buy 70% of Tiomin Kenya Ltd. from the Canadian mining company, Tiomin Resources Inc.
  • (AP) The net profit of Indonesia's publicly traded mining company PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) shrank 84.73 per cent year-on-year to Rp223.77 billion in the first half of this year on falling prices of its commodities. The state company, which produces nickel, ferro nickel, gold, silver and copper, recorded Rp1.46 trillion in net profit in the same period last year. .
  • (MB) Jinchuan cuts nickel prices by 2.7%
  • (JMB) Japan Iron Ore Import Increases by 17% in July
  • Supply In The Spotlight - more
  • (China) Boom and gloom - more
  • Court OK's Lakeside, union standing in U.S. Steel case - more
  • 87 now dead in two separate outbreaks of diseases in PNG’s Morobe Province - more

  Analysis - According to our records, LME traded cash nickel averaged $8.91/lb in August, 22-1/2% higher than July, and 202-1/2% higher than March's average. LME inventories grew 7.13% during the month. One year ago today, LME nickel closed at $8.75/lb and was trending lower, and inventories stood at 48,228 tonnes and trending higher. To be fair, one year ago today, we were all starting to wonder if the world economies would survive. The high point for trading in August came on the 13th when three month nickel hit $9.67/lb, and the low point was on the 1st, when nickle fell to $8.12/lb. Nickel trading went into backwardation on August 21st, and has traded there ever since. The last time nickel was in backwardation for more than a week, was from April 2006 till Jun 2007. During that period, three month nickel started at $8.42/lb, rose to a record $23.76/lb on May 5th, 2007, and then fell to $17.11/lb.  

  Stainless Steel Prices to Rise in 2010 - Stainless steel prices have recorded large declines over the last twelve months. However, the bottom of the price cycle was reached early in the second quarter of this year. - more

  Reduction In Nickel Production For First Half / 09 Permeated Into Market On Worldwide Scale = Sudden Increase Of Nickel Demand From China Became Factor To Relieve Nickel Price - In view of the facts that nickel producers in the Western Countries reduced their nickel production by 13,000 tons in total for the first half (January - June) of 2009 and also Russian producers reduced their nickel production for the same period, a reduction in nickel production for the first half of 2009 permeated accordingly into the markets on the worldwide scale. - more

  Merafe Increases Ferrochrome Output on Renewed Demand  - Merafe Resources Ltd., which produces ferrochrome in South Africa in a joint venture with Xstrata Plc, said it increased output of the stainless-steel ingredient in response to strengthening demand.  - more

  Steel firm to push exports - Speciality steel-trading firm Thelfer will focus heavily next year on boosting its exports of stainless steel to existing markets abroad and increasing domestic sales of brass ingots, to offset declining sales of speciality steel. - more

  Chinese Steel Prices to Rebound, Baoshan Steel Says  - Baoshan Iron & Steel Co., China’s largest steelmaker, expects steel prices in the nation to recover from its recent declines because of increasing demand from manufacturers. - more

  • Hebei Steel Cuts Rebar Prices by 19% for September  - Hebei Iron & Steel Group, China’s second-biggest steelmaker, cut prices of reinforcing bars by 19 percent, the first reduction since April, according to Umetal Research Institute. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending August 29, 2009, domestic raw steel production was 1,311,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 54.9 percent. Production was 2,158,000 tons in the week ending August 29, 2008, while the capability utilization then was 90.4 percent. The current week production represents a 39.3 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending August 29, 2009 is up 0.6 percent from the previous week ending August 22, 2009 when production was 1,304,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 54.7 percent.

  Sudbury Nickel Strike Coverage

  Iron Ore News // Talks / Spy Scandal Coverage

  • China Daily Special Coverage
  • SINA
  • Chain of Events
  • Lower China sales may hurt iron ore exports - China’s stockpiles of iron ore to make steel are at 75 million tonnes (mt), just 0.6% below levels in September, when they rose to the highest since at least 2006 - more

  Morning Nickel Inventory and Price Statistics & Figures

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

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