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Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices

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Daily Nickel Market News & Stainless Steel Prices

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Thursday, September 30 (final day of 3rd quarter)

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 22 to 2,246. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Buffett Expects `Large Investment Opportunities' in China // Taiwan Raises Benchmark Interest Rate to 1.5% After Home Price Increases // China’s Stocks Rise, Capping Quarterly Gain; Developers Rally // Japan Factory Output Unexpectedly Fell in August, Adding to Signs of Slump // South Korean Manufacturers' Confidence Falls to Eight-Month Low in Index // Asian Stocks Slump as Banks Decline on European Concern; Nintendo Plunges // Spain's Credit Rating Cut One Level by Moody's; Bonds Rise // Ireland Faces $68 Billion Bank Rescue to Prop Up Allied, Anglo // Portugal Plans to Cut Wages, Raise Sales Tax to Reduce Budget Deficit // Russia Sells Nuclear Reactors Decades After Chernobyl Accident // European Stocks Decline for Fourth Consecutive Day; Allied Irish Tumbles // Fed Presidents Are Far From Unanimous on Need for Further Monetary Easing // Distressed Homes Sell at 26% Discount in U.S. as Supply Swells // Whitney Says U.S. Will Face Bailout of States in Next 12 Months on Revenue // U.S. 30-Year Mortgage Rate Declines to Record 4.32%  // U.S. Postal Service Denied Rate Increase by Regulator // Business Activity in U.S. Unexpectedly Accelerates // U.S. Stocks Fall as Technology, Industrial Shares Lead Declines
  • The Euro is now trading less than 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up over 1.8% and trading at $79.29/barrel. Gold is 2/10 of 1% lower and silver is lower by nearly 3/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session  lower, except for nickel. Indicator charts show nickel opened lower, gained thru morning trading, fell sharply as US markets tumbled, then recovered late, only to begin falling again in after market trading. For the day and month, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.61/lb . The price of three month nickel ended the month of August at $9.39/lb. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME authorized warehouses took a breather after six straight gainer's and slipped yesterday, now totaling just over 102,550 tonnes. For the month, stockpiles grew by 3,894 tonnes over August's last reading. Cancelled warrants for the month averaged somewhere in the mid 3% range. Rumors abounded during the month about who was secretly buying up large stakes of the stockpiles, and the market has been trading in backwardation for much of the month. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here).  For a second day, the Baltic Dry Index slumped, falling another 22 points to 2,446. For the month, the BDI closed down 267 points from its August ending. Tomorrow begins the final quarter of 2010.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index Rebounds - more
  • Three Fed Officials, Three Divergent Views - more
  • Moody's Downgrades Spain To Aa1, As Goldman Rushes To Explain How It Was All Priced In - more
  • TARP Is Gone – But May Soon Be Back - more
  • Florida’s Foreclosures Nightmare - more
  • U.S. Consumers' September Spending Matches 2010 Low -  more
  • U.S. Economic Confidence Remains Steady at 2010 Low - more

  SAfrica ferrochrome production seen rising by 2015 - South Africa's production of ferrochrome, a steel-making ingredient, is forecast to more than double to 4.6 million tonnes by 2015 compared with the output for 2009, a senior industry official said on Wednesday. - more

  CISA suggests iron ore prices and steel prices linked - The China Iron & Steel Industry Association (CISA) suggested that iron ore prices should be linked to steel prices instead of iron ore indexes. - more

  IMF says Australia should tax more miners - The International Monetary Fund on Thursday called for a broader tax on Australia's resources industry, saying it should take in more producers. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.02/lb lower, but recovering, while most other base metals are trading slightly lower as well. The Euro is trading less than 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude is up 9/10 of 1% and trading at $78.55/barrel. Gold is up 1/4 of 1% and silver is up 2/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher, with China up over 2%. European markets are trading lower this morning, while US futures are slightly lower at the moment. Inventories of nickel slipped yesterday.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Complex stays bullish but doubts linger on fundamentals - more

  Reports

  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Morning Montra - pdf here
  • Daily Overview - pdf here
  • Metals Insight - pdf here
  • Steel Producers Issues in Today’s Economy presented at the National Slag Association, by Thomas A. Danjczek, President, Steel Manufacturers Association - more

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals prices finished higher yesterday, with copper taking out its 2010 high of $8043, and lifting other metals up along with it. The dollar fell for a fourth straight session, hitting a five-month low against the euro on growing perceptions that further US monetary easing could possibly be announced at the Fed’s Nov. 2-3 meeting. Metals are mixed as of this writing, but well off earlier lows. The earlier declines in Shanghai were sparked when the government announced new property rules, this time telling the banks to secure a down payment of at least 30% from all mortgage applicants as part of a new effort to rein in soaring property prices. However, metals seem to have regained their footing since then. The weaker dollar is providing key support in this regard, as it has distinctly failed to rally for much of this week despite grim headlines coming out of the European debt markets. In yesterday’s developments, for example, Moody's downgraded Spain's credit rating by one notch to Aa1, citing the country's weak growth prospects, low productivity levels, and inflexible labor rules. Out of Ireland today, the government disclosed a "final" price tag of nearly 40 billion Euros for bailing out its distressed banks, and said it would have to make more drastic budget cuts. There was no negative reaction in either the Spanish or Irish markets to these announcements, as the news was likely expected and thus discounted. This is best reflected in the buoyant Euro, which continues to march higher, even getting to a high of $1.3676 earlier today. In other markets, oil prices are higher again today, adding to yesterday’s gains, but US stocks are expected to open lower. Given the solid run we have been seeing of late in metals, we could be in store for a modest pullback, as some complexes are now technically overbought. In this regard, RSI readings on copper, ali, and tin are now all in the low to mid-70’s. Having said that, we do need to see a trigger that could induce such a sell-off, and although a stronger dollar or a weaker US stock market could do the trick, we do see another issue that could potentially inflict damage. In this respect, we refer to the increasing US-Chinese tensions over the Yuan. Late on Wednesday, the House of Representatives, by a wide margin, passed legislation to penalize China on its foreign-exchange practices. Under the measure, the Commerce Department would be directed to consider whether Chinese currency practices amount to an unfair subsidy, and if it makes such a determination, it could assess levies on Chinese goods. The Obama administration did not endorse the measure, but the bill gives it a tool to pressure the Chinese should it decide to use it. This is certainly one to watch, and we would not be surprised to see the Chinese take some retaliatory measures in response. ... Nickel is at $23,325, down $25 and quiet, although we are in close range of $23,670 resistance. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) has announced to lift the stainless steel price in October. As expected, the domestic price for grade 300 series rises by NT$3,000/ton and the export prices is up by US$100~120/ton. However, the price for grade 400 series remains unchanged in October.
  • (Yieh) Posco has announced to hike its stainless steel price by around US$131/ton for October. The latest price for 300 series HRC is about 370 million won/ton and 300 series CRC is about 397 million won/ton. However, the price for 400 series remains unchanged for October.
  • (JMB) Japanese raw steel demand for steel shipment will decrease by 1.5% to 26.98 million tonnes in October-December from July-September, which is the first drop in 2 quarters, announced by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Wednesday.
  • (Interfax) Steel product prices fell by an average of 0.7 percent in the period of Sept. 20 to Sept. 26 when compared to the previous week, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced Sept. 28.
  • (Reuters) German steel sector employers and labour unions agreed on Thursday to a 3.6 percent pay rise from October for 85,000 workers in the sector, averting further strikes.
  • China to continue moderately easy monetary policy - more
  • Germany finally pays off WWI debt - more

  Effective with orders entered on or after October 1, 2010, ATI Allegheny Ludlum is increasing base prices by 5% to 10% for specialty stainless steels in sheet product forms including: - pdf here

  Nickel developer in PNG willing to wait before launching tailings construction - lawyer - The operator of Papua New Guinea’s Ramu nickel project has assured landowners it won’t construct its marine tailings pipeline until a new legal application for a injunction on the project is heard. - more

  • Ruling pleases Highlands Pacific - Highlands Pacific Limited (HPL) has expressed relief over the lifting of the interim injunction by the Madang National Court on the Ramu nickel project, saying it was “a great outcome for all stakeholders”. - more

  Price Of Low Carbon FeCr To Import Into Japan For Shipments In Q4 / 10 Is Reduced = To Be Reduced To 193 - 195 US-Cents Per Lb. / Cr CIF For Carbon 0.1% Material - The negotiations with regular consumers (special steel companies) in Japan on price of low carbon ferro-chrome for shipments in October - December quarter of 2010 are being taken place from last week and are thought as of the end of last week to be in the direction to reduce the price. - more

  Price Volatility Has Started To Take Hold In Developing Markets - In the Russian Federation, shipments to domestic customers have continued to exhibit signs of improvement. - 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  
  • 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 29

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 36 to 2,468. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Manufacturing Accelerates for Second Straight Month, HSBC PMI Shows // Toyota Forms Task Force on Rare Earth Metals Amid China Export Ban Report // Yuan Forwards Rise Most in Week on Signs Gain to Quicken Before U.S. Vote // China's Stocks Fall, Erasing Gains; Developers Drop, Coal Producers Climb // Japan's Tankan Sentiment Index Climbs Least in Six Quarters // Asian Stocks Rise to Five-Month High; Elpida Memory, Shinsei Lead Advance // European Economic Confidence Unexpectedly Improves // Bond Yield Falls to Three-Week Low on Portugal, Ireland Financial Concern // Spain Has First General Strike in Decade as Europe Marches // European Stocks Fall as H&M Misses Earnings Estimate; BP, Beiersdorf Climb // Lockhart Says Need for More Fed Easing Not Foregone Conclusion // U.S. Stocks Fluctuate; Hewlett-Packard Climbs as Forecast Beats Estimates
  • The Euro is now trading 1/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 1-2/3% and trading at $77.42/barrel. Gold is up slightly and silver is nearly 1% higher. Base metals ended the session higher on the weaker Dollar. Indicator charts show nickel was in trouble most of the session, opening higher but gradually falling until late, when a spike happened that took the market back positive. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.58/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME licensed warehouses rose for a sixth consecutive session yesterday, and now sit just over the 122,600 tonne level. Of 21 working days so far this month, inventory gains now exceed inventory loser days by 11 to 10, and warehouses now hold more inventory than they have had since July 5th. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The growth in nickel stockpiles this month must be concerning to traders, who have heard some analysts predict a 'shortage' of nickel supposedly on the horizon. With pig nickel production slowed in China, imports of refined nickel into China should be on the increase - but there is no evidence that those numbers are swelling at a rate the producers can't easily cover. After two positive readings, the Baltic Dry Index fell 36 points to 2,468. As we still like the BDI as a economic indicator, we see this as discouraging. It would appear the overall world economy is entering a state of flux - or stalling out. This has been happening since mid-summer, and although we never joined the chorus of economists calling for a double dip recession, we must say the land of limbo is getting tedious. Here in the States, we don't really expect to see anything happening positive until after the November election. Never mind who wins or loses, but an end to the constant barrage of negative campaign adds could potentially have a positive effect on the spending psyche of the American consumer. The HSBC China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 52.9 in September from 51.9 in August, its strongest showing in 5 months, and MarketWatch quoted HSBC’s chief economist for China, Qu Hongbin as saying "The upbeat reading ... implies that China’s growth slowdown is slowing" What? Even the Chinese are getting into the 'less bad" reporting style.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Global Debt Comparison - interactive graph here
  • Employers Aren’t Trying Hard to Hire - more
  • CEOs Grow More Pessimistic - more
  • MBA: Mortgage Applications Purchase Index increases slightly - more
  • The Return of the Short Sale - more
  • Economics Is not a Morality Play - more
  • The United States of income inequality - more
  • Consumer Confidence Index Slips Lower - more

  Nickel mine mints $13.3m - Albidon Limited has realized US$13.3 million from the sale of 14,257 tonnes of Nickel concentrates from the Munali Nickel Project in Mazabuka. - more

  -Vale sees China steel demand revival by early 2011 - Steel demand growth in China, the world's biggest steel market, will revive by early 2011, Jose Carlos Martins, executive director of ferrous metals at the world's top iron ore miner Vale, said on Wednesday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around no change , with other London traded base metals trading higher. The Euro is trading over 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is up over 2/10 of 1% and trading at $76.34/barrel. Gold is down slightly and silver is up over 1/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China lower by 2/10 of 1%. European markets are slightly lower at the moment, and US futures show Wall Street has yet to decide how it will open today. Nickel inventories rose again yesterday.   
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals sail higher as dollar implodes again, copper above $8,000 at 5-1/2-mth high - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals pulled back early in the US session yesterday, but then regrouped to end up with decent gains by the end of the US session. The main reason for this abrupt turnaround was the sharp reversal in the euro, which managed to rally from below $1.34 to just under $1.36 over the course of the day. Copper finished near a five-month high, and not far off the psychologically important $8000 mark. Right now, we our building on yesterday’s gains and pushing higher on the back of constructive Chinese data. This time around, copper has managed to take out the $8,000 mark, and even got to an intraday high of $8038, only $5 shy of its 2010 high. The main catalyst for today’s surge was the HSBC China Purchasing Managers' Index, which rose to a five-month high in September for its consecutive increase. The weaker dollar is also aiding the advance in metals, as the Euro is now trading above $1.36, while the yen is also pushing higher, now at 83.64 and not far off intervention levels that brought the Bank of Japan in a few weeks ago. All this is fueling another record rally in the precious metals market, with gold now trading at $1312, its 10th record in 12 sessions, while silver is at a 30-year high. US stocks are expected to open lower. .... Nickel is at $23,025, down $150. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) US stainless steel output fell in Q2 due to weak demand. Even the output increased substantially and the demand rebounded obviously in Q1, steel mills noticed that the demand went down in Q2. Therefore, makers aimed at the market to adjust the productivity.
  • (JMB) NSSC Lowers Stainless Wire Rod Price for Sep-Nov Contracts
  • (Interfax) While the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) has accepted the introduction of a quarterly pricing system for iron ore, the association's secretary general, Shan Shanghua, said on Sept. 28 at the 10th China International Steel & Raw Materials Conference that the pricing index is unreasonable.
  • (PR) The Nickel Institute has announced the successful REACH registration of all 13 substances covered by the Nickel REACH Consortia. - more
  • (CIDN) Construction work begins on 100,000-ton nickel alloy project in Fujian
  • (MB) Police and private investigators are still searching for the remaining nickel and ferrochrome owned by BHP Billiton that was stolen earlier this month from a port terminal in Baltimore.
  • (SMR) Steel demand growth in China, the world's biggest steel market, will revive by early 2011, Jose Carlos Martins, executive director of ferrous metals at the world's top iron ore miner Vale, said on Wednesday.
  • Outlook upbeat for Chinese iron ore demand - more
  • How Fastenal Plans to Drive Operating Margins Higher - more
  • La Niña event expected to continue through 2010 - more
  • (ATA) The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index fell 2.7 percent in August, which was the largest month-to-month decrease since March 2009. The latest drop lowered the SA index from 110 (2000=100) in July to 106.9 in August.

  Steel mills in Hebei start to resume production - It is reported that having been suspended for over 20 days, the steel mills in Wu’an an important steel making town in South Hebei Province have started to resume operation across the board since September 27th. - more

  Steel, Aluminum Shipment Growth Rate Rebounds in August - The rate of growth of steel and aluminum shipments from North American service centers rebounded in August, according to the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute, Rolling Meadows, Ill. Inventories of both metals changed very little during the month in both the United States and Canada. - more

  Nickel to see correction on high inventories - Nickel yesterday traded with the positive node and settled 0.24% up at 1045.4. Some pressure had been seen from the LME stock also which came up by 1176mt, the total stock at LME is now at 122208mt. - more

  Japan Oct-Dec steel output seen down 1.5 pct -METI - Japan's crude steel output in the October-December period is expected to fall for a fourth quarter in a row as a drop in domestic car sales and a fall in exports will depress steel demand, the industry ministry said. - more

  The MEPS September Global Price is Steady But Is Likely To Slip Soon - US flat product transaction values continued their sharp decline during August but, more recently, the negative trend has reversed. - 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  
  • 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 28

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 53 to 2,504. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Shanghai's Stocks Decline on Property Tightening, Interest-Rate Concerns // Asian Stocks Fall on Renewed European-Debt Concern; Takefuji Plunges 32% // Ireland Leads Surge in Sovereign Default Swaps on Bailout Costs // Anglo Irish Cost May Exceed 35 Billion Euros, S&P Says // U.K. Growth Fueled by Jump in Government Spending // U.K. Retail-Sales Index Increases to Six-Year High, CBI Says // Berlusconi Sees Italian Yields Rise on Threat of Early Election // Ken Fisher Dubs New Normal `Idiotic,' Sees `Great' Decade Ahead // Toys 'R' Us to Hire 45,000 Employees for Holidays // Morgan Stanley Said to Freeze Investment-Bank Hiring for 2010 // Case Says U.S. Housing Market Will Grow Slowly After Free-Fall: Tom Keene // U.S. Consumer Confidence Fell More Than Forecast
  • The Euro is now trading nearly a full percentage higher against the US Dollar, after consumer confidence numbers out of the latter sank. NYMEX crude oil is up 210 of 1% and trading at $76.68/barrel. Gold is up over 1.1% and silver is higher by 1.3%. Base metals ended the session higher, thanks to the stronger Euro. Indicator charts show nickel was in trouble early, but as soon as the US consumer confidence numbers were released, nickel began to climb right alongside the Euro. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the session at $10.51/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses soared over night and now total just over 122,200 tonnes. This is the highest number recorded since July 5th, and well off the 2010 recorded low of 115,668 tonnes on August 19th. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index rose 53 points to 2,504, rebounding sharply after turning positive yesterday.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (PR) Outokumpu implements a major energy saving project in Tornio Works production site in Finland. A total of 50 separate refrigeration compressors in the cold rolling plant will be replaced with a new centralized district cooling system. As a result, the annual electricity consumption is reduced by 11 GWh. Additionally, the new system decreases carbon dioxide emissions by 6 700 tonnes.
  • More Americans Expect Recovery Will Take Years - more
  • Chicago Fed: Cars Drag Down Midwest Manufacturing Activity - more
  • Forecasting Growth over the Next Year with a Business Cycle Index - more
  • Atheists, agnostics most knowledgeable about religion, survey says - more

  Alfa Invests $15M in Cuban Nickel - Alfa Group's A1 unit said it would invest $15 million in a 49 percent stake in its venture with Cuba's Commercial Caribbean Nickel. - more

  Orissa to hire advisor to restructure Idcol Ferrochrome, Kalinga Iron Works - Even as two Central PSUs- Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and National Aluminium Company (Nalco) have evinced interest in picking up stakes in two firms run by Industrial Development Corporation of Orissa Ltd (Idcol)- Idcol Ferrochrome and Alloys Ltd (IFAL) and Idcol Kalinga Iron Works Ltd (IKIWL), the Orissa government has decided to appoint a transaction advisor for restructuring of these two firms. - more

  Rio says move to monthly iron ore prices "destabilising" - Changing to a monthly iron ore pricing system would be destabilising for the steel industry, a senior iron ore executive at Rio Tinto said on Tuesday. - more

  Russia's RUSAL sues Norilsk in Russia over AGM - Russia's UC RUSAL has filed a lawsuit against Norilsk Nickel (GMKN.MM: Quote), the world's largest nickel and palladium miner, to overturn a disputed board vote, RUSAL said on Tuesday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.12/lb lower, with only tin trading higher this morning in London. The Euro is currently trading less than 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 8/10 of 1% and trading at $75.90/barrel. Gold is down 1/2 off 1% and silver is off nearly 1.2%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off more than 8/10 of 1%. European markets are trading slightly lower at the moment, while US futures show Wall Street may open on the bullish side. Nickel inventories rose sharply yesterday. US traders have the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index and the Conference Board's consumer confidence index reports to look forward to this morning.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals remain on a back foot as last week's bullish sentiment wanes - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals erased earlier gains in very quiet trading yesterday, and we saw uneventful sessions in other markets as well, with crude oil finishing practically unchanged, while the US stock market ended with a modest loss. The pause we are seeing in metals, particularly on copper, may be due to the fact that copper is nearing its 2010 high of $8043, and because a longer-term double top is now evident on the charts, there is some technical hesitancy to push higher. Of course, a double-top formation can either signal the sign of an impending move lower, or prices could push right through it in a breakout formation. Given how strongly the market has been behaving of late, we have to suspect that after the current pause is over, prices may yet mount another push higher. However, an upside spark will be needed, and that could come later in the week in the form of constructive macro indicators released out of the US or China. In the meantime, we are seeing another modest sell-off as of this writing, with all metals down right now with the exception of tin. Oil prices are off as well, but US stocks are expected to open higher. The dollar is holding steady at $1.3460 against the Euro, this despite further jitters out of Europe that first surfaced yesterday. In this regard, S&P was reported to have warned that it might cut Ireland's credit rating due to the rising cost of recapitalizing nationalized Anglo Irish Bank, and credit-default swaps tied to Irish bonds jumped to a record high. In addition, there are rumors that Moody’s could cut Spain’s triple-A rating this week. This has pushed the Spanish/German bond yield spread to the widest since mid-July. These developments need to be closely watched, and could be a downside game-changer for commodities if they continue to deteriorate. So far, the Euro does not seem to be exhibiting much alarm about the latest developments, as it remains fairly steady.  ... Nickel is at $22,830, down $260, and continuing to retrace away from resistance at $23,670. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) Construction has begun on the first phase of Fujian Tonghai Nickel Industry and Technology Co. Ltd.'s nickel alloy project in Jiangle County, Fujian Province, according to a Sept. 22 Sanming Daily report
  • (Interfax) China's refined lead, zinc, tin and nickel imports all dropped on an annual basis in the first eight months of 2010, according to Sept. 21 figures from the General Administration of Customs
  • (MB) Asian stainless prices poised to fall in Oct
  • (JMB) NSSC Lowers Stainless Wire Rod Price for Sep-Nov Contracts
  • (MBN) Posco hikes 300 series list prices by $130 for Oct

  Outokumpu Makes Commitment to Stainless Plate Production in the U.S. - This Finnish specialty metals producer recently completed $58 million worth of upgrades at its facility in Indiana, its only quarto plate operation in the Western Hemisphere. - more

  Regulations For Productions Of Ferro-Alloys In China See Differential Between Districts = Regulations Attach Its Importance To Thermoelectric Power Generation By Coal - In order to reduce exhaust of carbon dioxide, the Central Government of China has enforced from September of this year the regulations for this purpose specified by industries and attached the most importance to productions of ferro-alloys and silicon carbide. - more

  China's big steel vows to tame iron ore trade - China reopened its war of words with global iron ore miners on Tuesday as the spokesman for the country's big steel mills vowed they would not be bullied into accepting unfavorable pricing systems. - more

  Rusal Takes Norilsk To Local Court Over Board Voting - Russian aluminum giant United Co. Rusal PLC filed a lawsuit with a local court Monday seeking to invalidate the election of the board of miner OAO Norilsk Nickel, in which Rusal owns a 25% stake. - more

  New Suit Filed Against PNG Mine Waste Plan - Landowner efforts to halt construction of a pipeline to dump waste into the sea off Papua New Guinea’s northeast coast will continue despite last week’s lifting of an injunction on the project. - more

  Australia mining tax still far from settled - Australia is set to reignite debate on its mining tax proposal next month when it consults miners on the controversial plan for a 30 percent tax on iron ore and coal. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending September 25, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,712,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 70.8 percent. Production was 1,486,000 tons in the week ending September 25, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 62.1 percent. The current week production represents a 15.2 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending September 25, 2010 is down 0.2 percent from the previous week ending September 18, 2010 when production was 1,714,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 70.9 percent.

  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  
  • 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 27

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 7 to 2,451. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Hong Kong's Exports Unexpectedly Jump Most in 18 Years on Chinese Demand // Yuan Climbs to Strongest Level Since 1993 Before U.S. Vote // China's Charm Blitz in `Shambles' Over Regional Spats // China Industrial Firm Profits Climb 55%, Helping Economy Maintain Momentum  // Asian Stocks Rise to Five-Month High on U.S. Capital Goods; Canon Advances // Roubini Sees High Risk of a U.S. Recession, Says Japan `Anemic' // Euro Falls From Five-Month High on Concern Over European Banks // Trichet Sees Moderate Growth in Euro Zone, Signals Interest Rates on Hold // Fed Model for Treasuries Shows Diminishing Returns // JPMorgan Sees 75% Chance of More Quantitative Easing By the Fed This Year // Dow `Super Boom' Will Drive Average to 38,820, Stock Trader's Almanac Says // U.S., European Stocks Fall as Euro Weakens on Concern Over Irish Bank Debt
  • The Euro continues to trade lower against the US Dollar, but presently at less than 1/10 of 1%. NYMEX crude is now lower by over 1/2 of 1% and trading at $76.06/barrel. Gold is flat, while silver is slightly lower. Base metals ended the session mostly lower, after a lackluster return to markets by Chinese buyers, and equity markets under pressure. Indicator charts show nickel traded choppy early on, then fell in afternoon trading, before recovering much of that late. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.47/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in worldwide LME approved warehouses rose for a fourth consecutive session Friday and now sit just over the 121,000 tonne level. Of the 19 trading days thus far this month, days where stockpiles fell outnumber growth days by only 10 to 9. Inventory totals, however, show a net gain of 2,370 tonnes so far this month, and are at their highest since early in July. After 10 straight days of declines and a loss of 551 points, the Baltic Dry Index gained back 7 points overnight. The Chinese released August import figures for nickel today. In refined nickel imports, the 18,227 tonnes recorded for this March compared to 14,399 tonnes in July, and 22,703 tonnes last August.  Nickel ores imports came in at 2,030,080 tonnes, compared to 2,510,246 last month and 1,449,221 tonnes in August 2009. Ferrochrome prices will remain at $1.30/lb for the 4th quarter. The third quarter of 2010 ends this Thursday, so traders will be reviewing their exposures and refining their investments over the next few days.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Unemployment May Be Headed Up Despite Growth - more
  • Number of the Week: When Job Creation Is Troubling - more
  • Mortgage Delinquencies Drop, as Foreclosures Jump - more
  • Is Andy Xie Blaming The Chinese Government For Ruining His Property Crash Prediction? - more
  • Roubini Sees High Risk of a U.S. Recession, Says Japan `Anemic'  - more
  • What Structural Unemployment Looks Like - more
  • Satyajit Das: Chinese Contradictions - more
  • China limits land bidding  - more
  • Tracking Bank Failures - more

  Drop anti-dumping probe on stainless steel imports: Utensil cos - Upset over a probe into whether anti-dumping duty should be imposed on imports of certain types of stainless steel products, utensils manufacturers today said any tax on the items would hurt an industry that employs over three lakh people. - more

  China steel cuts, ore outlook focus at Dalian meet - China's steel production cuts which hurt iron ore demand and prices at the start of a usually peak season this month will be in focus at this week's global steel and iron ore conference at the port city of Dalian. - more

  Zimbabwe: Beijing Eyes Local Mining Industry - Closer economic and diplomatic ties between China - the world's second biggest and fastest growing economy - and Zimbabwe have had wide and far-reaching effects. - more

  IFM loss narrows on higher volumes, prices  - South African ferrochrome producer International Ferro Metals Ltd (IFM) posted a narrower loss for the full year on higher volumes and sales prices, but said it was cautious on the short-term market outlook. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.11/lb higher, with other London traded base metals mixed. The Euro is trading slightly over 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar this morning. NYMEX crude is trading 1/3 of 1% higher and at $76.74/barrel. Gold i sup 1/5 of 1% and silver is higher by more than 6/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets returned from holiday and finished higher, with China up 1-2/3%. European markets are trading slightly higher at the moment, and US futures hint Wall Street may open on the positive side as well. Nickel inventories rose again Friday.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals tread water, but trends look strong  - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals pushed higher on Friday, as copper closed in on the psychologically important $8,000 mark. In fact, prices in most markets were driven higher by a robust 200-point rally on Wall Street, which is on track for its best September since 1939. Stocks took off after US August durable goods reading came out earlier in the day, and although overall orders were down 1.3%, investors were pleased to note that they actually rose 2% when the volatile transportation sector was excluded. We had expected gains in Shanghai metal markets overnight, as the Chinese markets caught up with the LME after being off for the last three days. However, LME prices themselves are mixed right now, and so far at least, failing to build on last week’s strong gains. The dollar has edged up from five-month lows against the Euro (now trading at $1.3477) but is starting to look wobbly against the yen, now trading at 84.20, and not far off from the 82.80 level that sparked a heavy round of intervention by the Bank of Japan earlier in the month. Asian stocks have soared to their highest level in more than two years in response to Friday’s US rally, while US stocks are expected to again open higher later this morning. Oil prices are up slightly again today and at two-week highs, while gold and silver prices have pushed to fresh highs as well.  .... Nickel is at $23,100, up $200; prices still need to do more work here, as they have to clear recent resistance at $23,670. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Merafe) Shareholders of the Company are advised that the European benchmark ferrochrome price has been settled at $1.30 per pound for the fourth quarter of 2010, a rollover from the $1.30 per pound price in the third quarter of 2010.
  • (Yieh) According to statistics, US exported 2,743 tonnes of stainless steel scrap in July 2010, down by 21.2% MoM. Meanwhile, the average export price of US stainless steel scrap in July 2010 reached to USD 3,821 per tonne, up by 25.6% MoM.
  • (MFG) POSCO confirmed Monday that domestic prices for its key steel products in the fourth quarter will remain unchanged from the third quarter. POSCO had delayed its fourth-quarter pricing announcement amid pressure on the company from the government, which is concerned that small businesses may be not be able to cope with higher steel prices.
  • (AP) Indonesian state-owned miner PT Aneka Tambang said it will increase its stake in PT Weda Bay Nickel to 40 per cent from 10 per cent at present.
  • (CCR) China's power consumption reached 397.5 terawatt hours in August, up 14.69% year on year or 2% month on month, according to the statistics released by the National Energy Administration.
  • (Xinhua) Industrial profit in China rose 55 percent in the first eight months of 2010, compared with the same period of last year, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday.
  • Smallest Commodity Moves Since 1996 Signal Gold Gain - more
  • Chicago Fed National Activity Index - more

  Break taken in Voisey's Bay strike talks - Both sides in a long-running strike at Voisey's Bay Nickel's mine in northern Labrador have adjourned talks for a week. - more

  Quantities Of Nickels Produced In Japan In July 2010 Had Increased From Those In 2009 = Increased By 46% For Nickel Metal And Also Increased By 16% For Ferro-Nickel - The quantities of nickel metal and ferro-nickel produced in Japan in January - July of 2010 as well as in a single month of July were released in last week and the contents were as per the table shown below. - more

  Fresh legal application to halt waste pipeline from PNG’s Ramu mine - Landowner efforts to halt construction of a pipeline to dump waste into the sea off Papua New Guinea’s northeast coast will continue despite last week’s lifting of an injunction on the project. - 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  
  • 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 24

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 17 to 2,444. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Yen Weakens on Speculation Japan Is Intervening to Curb Gains // Singapore's Industrial Output Growth Unexpectedly Cools to Nine-Month Low // Japan Prosecutors to Release Chinese Boat Captain, End Bilateral Dispute // German Business Confidence Unexpectedly Increases // Portuguese Bonds Lead Euro Peripheral Debt Declines on Austerity Concern // French Second-Quarter GDP Growth Revised Up on Domestic Demand // Spain Raises Taxes on Higher Earners, Cuts Spending to Contain Budget Gap // Texas, Iowa Attorneys General Probe Foreclosure Actions by Ally's GMAC  // Demand for U.S. Capital Goods Rebounds as Spending Holds Up // New U.S. Home Sales Hold at Second-Lowest Level Ever // Fed Dissenter Hoenig Wages Lonely Campaign Against Easy Credit // Stocks Rally, Treasuries, Dollar Drop on Durable Goods Data
  • The Euro is now trading over 1.2% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is up over 1.6% and trading at $76.39/barrel. Gold is up over 1/3 of 1% but under the $1300/ounce mark, which it hit earlier today. Silver is up nearly 1/3%. Base metals had to increase today, considering the lower Dollar and positive economic news. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, and ended the same way. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $10.70/lb , its highest close since May 4th. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose for a third consecutive day and now sit just under the 120,600 tonne level. Warehouse numbers have grown by over 1700 tonnes in the last three days. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index's slide slowed again, dropping 17 points and with one of its three sub-indexes turning positive. US markets are way up today on the news that durable goods came in better than expected. Excessive options trading on the VIX tell us some traders expect next week to be volatile. In the mean time, have a safe and relaxing weekend!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Mortgage Delinquencies Drop, as Foreclosures Jump - more
  • Reasons for Skepticism About Structural Unemployment - more
  • Volcker Spares No One in Broad Critique - more
  • Inflation Fears of Rich, Poor Diverge - more
  • Economists React: Not Start of ‘Sustained Recovery’ in Housing - more
  • FDA will Ban Food Makers from Telling the Truth about Non-GMO Foods - more
  • Housing Envy: Soaring Prices Create Divide - more
  • Inside Job: A Movie Wall Street is Sure to Hate - more

  One tough job

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb higher, with all London traded base metals higher this morning. The Euro is trading 7/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar, at the moment. NYMEX crude is up nearly 1/2 of 1% and trading at $75.52/barrel.  Gold is nearly 4/10 of 1% higher and in record territory and silver is at a 30 year high and up over 1%. In overnight trading, those Asian countries trading, ended slightly higher, with Australia dn New Zealand lower, and India higher. European markets are trading slightly lower this morning and US futures show Wall Street may open higher. Nickel inventories rose for a third consecutive day yesterday.     
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals strong, most around five-month highs as soggy dollar fans sentiment - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Base metals pushed higher yesterday in quiet trading, as prices ignored a late-day fade on Wall Street. Metals followed copper's lead, with aluminum, zinc, and lead, all hitting highs not reached since the spring. In addition, inventories continue to fall, with declines now spreading more broadly across metal classes. Yesterday, for example, stocks fell in four of the six metal categories and a similar ratio is in evidence today.  .... We are higher again as of this writing in metals, as a number of technical breakouts are evident on the charts. In other markets, oil prices are flat, and have now been trading between $70-$80 for six weeks running. The euro is stronger today, now trading over $1.34, after favorable European macro data was released earlier, but the dollar is holding up against the yen at 84.40. The US stock market is called to open higher ahead of August durable goods readings out later today (expected at -1.3% on the overall rate) and August new home sales (expected at 290,000). However, as far as metals are concerned, investors will likely be more interested in the reopening of the Shanghai markets next week, where we will have to see whether copper will be pushed over its 2010 high of $8010. Given the momentum apparent in the complex, our thinking is that this is likely going to happen. ..... In other news, Reuters reports that US pension fund Calstrs is planning to invest $2.5 billion in commodities in the next three years, one of the largest institutional allocations planned for the sector. Strategists at the firm are apparently recommending that the pension fund not just put money into more traditional commodity indexes, but also look into actively-managed hedge funds and physical commodity investments. Calstrs' foray into the space is expected to come under its Absolute Return Asset Class, which is allocated about 5% of the roughly $132 billion the fund has under management.  ...... Nickel is at $22,805, up $55, as prices are not doing all that much today.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (CMJ) Commercial production levels have been attained at the Shakespeare nickel mine belonging to Ursa Major Minerals of Toronto. The mine is located 70 km west of Sudbury.
  • (TN) Tata Steel has decided to purchase a South Africa-based ferrochrome mine for captive utilization of its ferrochrome processing facility, Tata Steel KZN in that country. Mr. Nerurkar, company's MD said, "The ferrochrome unit is currently buying its raw material. We have to acquire some mines to make it more competitive."
  • Commodities Outlook Is ‘Constructive,’ Barclays Says - more
  • Steel Stocks: What Will Drive Them Higher? - more
  • Palladium Explodes to the Upside - more

  Police arrest 2 in $3.5M theft - Baltimore City Police have arrested two men in connection with a $3.5 million theft. Detectives say four shipping containers storing forty-eight, two metric-ton bags of nickel briquettes and two shipping containers storing approximately 114,000 pounds of ferrochrome were stolen on September 10 from a business in the 3500 block of E. Biddle Street. - more

  N. America Yawns At Potential ArcelorMittal, TK Stainless Spinoffs - ArcelorMittal SA and ThyssenKrupp AG have both expressed interest in spinning off their stainless steel divisions, although the moves will have little direct impact on the North American market, industry sources said. - more

  Indonesia's Antam to up stake in Eramet nickel project - Indonesian state miner PT Aneka Tambang Tbk will boost its stake to 40 percent in a nickel project run by Eramet in eastern Indonesia, from 10 percent currently, Antam's president director said on Friday. - more

  Alfa Group sets up JV in Cuba to process nickel tailings. - Palmira Resources Limited, a subsidiary of Russia's Alfa Group financial-industrial conglomerate and Cuba's Commercial Caribbean Nickel S.A., have set up a joint venture to process nickel tailings on the island, Alfa Group's Alexei Mikhailovsky said on Monday. - more

  Over 1,000 residents express support to mining proponents in Brooke’s Point, Palawan - Over a thousand residents of the southern Palawan town of Brooke’s Point staged a rally Wednesday to express support to three corporate giants that are proposing to operate nickel mining. - more

   JSL Stainless expects price hike in 5-7% range by yr-end - In an interview with CNBC-TV18, NC Mathur of JSL Stainless, spoke about the latest happenings in his company and sector. - more

  Judge disappointed over waste of time as plaintiffs in PNG’s Ramu case withdraw - The Judge presiding over the Papua New Guinea legal case about a marine tailings disposal system for Madang Province’s Ramu nickel mine has granted the three plaintiffs leave to withdraw from the case. - more

  • Judge ok's Chinese nickel waste dump - A Papua New Guinea judge has lifted a court injunction that blocked a Chinese nickel mine from dumping waste into the sea off the country's northeast coast. - more

  Russia plans 10 pct copper, nickel export duty-Ifax- The Russian government sub-committee for tariff policies on Thursday approved a proposal to raise nickel and copper export duties to 10 percent, Interfax reported citing Norilsk Nickel's CEO. - more

  Big celebration at nickel plant - The Yonga Boys Dance Troupe performed at Nickel West’s celebrations. The Yonga Boys Dance Troupe performed at Nickel West’s celebrations.- more

  Regulations For Carbon Dioxide Adopted By Chinese Government Cause To Continue Confusions = Inner Mongolia Government Has Stopped Electricity Supply To Enterprises, Having Exceeded Specified Allocation - In order to maintain the national prestige, the Central Government of China has been proceeding drastically to materialize the achievement of the reduction in exhaust of carbon dioxide (to save energy) but this action is causing to arise many disturbances. - 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  
  • 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 23

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 25 to 2,461. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg)  Wen Says 20% Gain in Yuan Would Cause Social Upheaval // New Zealand Economic Growth Lags Forecast; Currency Declines // Asian Mining Stocks Advance After Metal Prices Gained, While TSMC Declines // European Services, Manufacturing Growth Slows Again // German Bunds Rise as Debt Target Cut; Irish Bonds Drop on Growth Outlook // French Unions Protest Pension Reform, Trains Disrupted // Retirees Duped by Derivatives With Structured Notes Sale Surge // Fed Reduces Counterparty Asset Requirement by Half for Money Market Funds // Jobless Claims in U.S. Increased 12,000 to 465,000 Last Week //  Index of U.S. Leading Economic Indicators Rose 0.3% in August // U.S. Stocks Rise as Technology Rally Overshadows Jobless Claims
  • The Euro is now trading 4/10 fo 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil has reversed course and is now trading nearly 4/10 of 1% higher and at $75.00/barrel. Gold is up nearly 1/3 of 1% and silver is up over 4/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session higher, bucking the pressure from the lower Euro. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher, slid thru mid afternoon, and then raced higher during the last hours of trading. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.30/lb .
  • Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose yesterday, and now sit just over the 120,000 tonne mark. This is the fourth time levels have fallen below, or risen above the 120,000 tonne level since July, with three of those moves coming this month alone. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading over the past week thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index slipped for a ninth consecutive day, down 25 points, and may be losing its downward momentum. US markets opened lower this morning but have recovered thanks to rising home sales and an increase in the leading economic indicators. Employment, remains the fly in the ointment, and first time claims rose gain last week.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Insider - pdf here
  • MF Global Monthly Commodity Class Review and Outlook - pdf here
  • MF Global Fund Flows Takeaway - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (PR) AK Steel reached a new milestone this month, marking 100 years of innovation at its research facility in Middleton, Ohio. The company's predecessor, Armco, announced the creation of a research department on September 22, 1910.
  • American Bankruptcy Institute Interactive Charts - more
  • Fed May Get Some Help From Weakening Dollar - more
  • Renewed Asset Purchases a Fraught Endeavor for Fed - more
  • Man's home sold out from under him in foreclosure mistake - more
  • After The Recession: What Next For the Fed? - more
  • Lehman Black Hole Update: It’s Gotten Bigger! - more
  • Eurozone economy signals surprise slowdown - more
  • Irish economy contracts by 1.2% - more
  • What makes the US health care system so expensive – Introduction - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.04/lb higher, but off session highs, with other London traded base metals mostly marginally higher. The Euro is down over 1/2 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, adding pressure to commodity traders. NYMEX crude oil is down over 9/10 of 1% and trading at $74.03/barrel. Gold is trading 1/4 of 1% lower while silver is dow over 1%. In overnight trading, most Asian markets were closed for holiday, but Australia closed slightly higher, while India closed lower. European markets are trading lower this morning after a report showed European manufacturing is slowing. US futures show Wall Street may open lower, as well. Nickel inventories rose yesterday.     
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals show resilience despite grim European data - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals pushed higher yesterday, with copper soaring to its highest level in some five months and pulling the rest of the group up along with it. Once again, we observed a rather uneven performance in the various markets. Crude oil prices were down, as was the US stock market, but metals were going their separate ways, teeing off instead against the weaker dollar. It remains to be seen what metals will do once Chinese participants come back next week, but if history is any guide, the Shanghai markets usually tend to reinforce the existing trend, so we very likely could see copper prices take a shot at the $8000 mark by then. More broadly, we suspect that metal bulls are feeling somewhat more comfortable with the state of affairs these days-- Chinese metal import demand is picking up as per the latest data, while the government there seems to be slowing the economy down a notch with without adversely impacting metal consumption. In the West, macro readings clearly have decelerated from what was evident earlier in the year, but investors have nonetheless moved away from the recessionary fears that were so prevalent back in August. Right now, metals are up, but off earlier highs. A rebound in the dollar on the back of Eurozone readings showing services and manufacturing activity slowing down more than expected this month, is pressuring the Euro, which is now trading at 1.3340, well off the $1.3440 high it got to at one point yesterday.  .Nickel is at $22,600, up $25, but has yet to take a stab at taking out key resistance at $23,670...  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Because LME nickel stands on high level and furthermore Typhoon hit southern Taiwan seriously, Taiwna’s Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco) announced to stop production temporarily. At the same time, Yieh Hsing also announced temporary production suspension because the equipment of stainless steel wire rod was broken by flood.
  • (Reuters) Stainless steel maker JSL Stainless Ltd's new 800,000 tonne per annum plant in Orissa will become operational three-six months ahead of the schedule of March 2012, a top company official said.
  • (SO) Taiwan's industrial production index in August this year climbed by 23.4 percent as compared to August 2009, after rising by a revised 20.93 percent year on year to a record level in July, and was down 0.5 percent month on month, according to the country's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).
  • China denies blocking metal exports to Japan - more
  • Euro Zone Manufacturing and Services Expansion Ease, Raising Concerns Recovery is Losing Momentum  - more
  • China's Industrial Power Gobblers Get the Ax - more

  Vale Completing Commissioning of Nova Caledonia, Onca Puma - Vale SA said it is concluding the commissioning of its Nova Caledonia and Onca Puma mining projects, and Onca Puma should be commercially operable by January. - more

  PNG Judge To Decide Future of Murky Mine Lawsuit – The three plaintiffs who disappeared in Papua New Guinea before pulling out of a court battle to stop a mine dumping waste into the sea have reappeared. - more

  • Court to rule on new Ramu NiCo plaintiff - The National Court in Madang is expected to make a decision this morning as to whether it will allow another plaintiff to join the proceedings which have been filed against Ramu NiCo (MCC) Limited. - more
  • Tensions boil over in PNG mine row - There have been ugly scenes outside a court in Papua New Guinea during a case that could decide the future of a $1.9 billion nickel mine. - more

  Russian miner buys stake in Mindoro project - Russian steelmaker OAO Severstal has acquired a 21.7-percent stake in Norwegian miner Intex Resources ASA, a company whose main project is a nickel mine in Mindoro. - more

  Russia's government avoids Norilsk Nickel battle - Russia's government and entrepreneurs have taken steps to improve the country's global image as a reliable business partner, but some recent events must have given them a headache. - 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  
  • 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 22

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index -  minus 76 to 2,486. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's Wen Threatens Japan With More Action Over Jailed Captain // Asian Stocks Rise to Five-Month High on Growth Outlook; Sun Hung Kai Gains // BOE Signals Moving Closer to More Stimulus as Growth Slows // Solar Doubling, Gas Glut Drive Down German Power Prices: Energy Markets // U.K. Government Bonds Soar on Speculation Central Bank May Ease With Fed // European Stocks Retreat for Second Day; Santander, Daimler Slide // Fed's Concern Over Inflation Broadens Rationale for More Easing // Mortgage Applications Index in U.S. Declines for a Third Week // U.S. Home Prices Fell 3.3% in July From Year Earlier // Bonds, Gold Gain as Dollar Declines on Speculation Fed to Buy More Assets //
  • The Euro continues to trade over 8/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down nearly 9/10 of 1% and trading at $74.30/barrel. Gold is up nearly 2/10 of 1% after setting another record high earlier. Silver is up 3/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session higher. Indicator charts show nickel slumped early, but rose steadily thru the afternoon. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.24/lb . Stockpiles of nickel rose yesterday, and now sit just shy of the 119,600 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart show rangebound nickel's slump yesterday (chart here). Nickel is benefitting in part by a rebounding Euro, which makes the purchase of the metal less expensive. Commodity markets are still trying to decide how to take yesterday's Fed report. The Baltic Dry Index fell 76 points, and another day of acceleration in the declining number. China is on holiday for the remainder of the week for the Mid-Autumn Day Festival.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Economists React: Fed Prepares for ‘Gnarly Ride’ - more
  • Parsing the Fed: How the Statement Changed - more
  • August Unemployment Rates, by State: Stagnant Labor Market - more
  • Secondary Sources: Recession End, Hard Times, Individualism - more
  • MBA: Mortgage Purchase Activity declines slightly - more
  • Seven More Years of Hard Times? - more

  Jinchuan prepares US$2 billion to build nickel plant - Jinchuan Group Ltd, the largest mining company in China, plans to spend US$2 billion on a nickel plant in Halmahera, North Maluku. - more

  The manipulation of iron ore prices - Who does fix the prices of iron ore? Steelmakers across the globe, but particularly the ones in China hold the triumvirate of Vale, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto responsible for manipulating ore prices to its advantage. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.04/lb lower, with most other London traded base metals higher. The Euro is trading over 8/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crud eis up 3/4 of 1% and trading at $75.54/barrel. Gold is trading over 1/2 of 1% higher while silver is up the same. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher, with China markets closed for the remainder of the week for a holiday. European markets are lower this morning, while US futures show Wall Street could open lower. Nickel inventories rose overnight.     
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals supported by weaker dollar, but are thee bigger issues at stake - more
  • LME inventories stable while equities drop, dollar snaps back - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - The various markets digested quite a bit of news yesterday, and then ended up doing mostly… nothing. Metals ended slightly lower on the day, with the start of the Chinese holidays likely adding to the lackluster tone. The US stock market finished narrowly mixed as well, after the long-awaited Fed statement came out showing the central bank not doing anything -- pretty much in line with consensus thinking. What the central bank did say, was that it was prepared to take new steps to bolster the recovery if necessary, as it still characterized growth as being “modest". However, officials deferred any action for now, apparently still debating whether to restart a program of securities purchases aimed at driving interest rates even lower. Inflation was referenced as being below the Fed's long-run comfort level of between 1.5-2%, with prices up just 0.9% in August vs. a year ago. .... Short-term, we suspect that many metals are somewhat toppy at these levels given that they are trading on the higher end of their ranges, and need something to trigger a further breakout. The crumbling dollar may provide the fodder for such a move higher, but working against that, is the continued unease about growth prospects going forward, particularly here in the US. Nevertheless, longer term and into 2011, we are generally friendly towards most of the metals group, and see a higher trading range set in over the group as outlined in our longer-term piece released yesterday. .... Nickel is at $22,435, up $80, and ticking over into positive territory just in the last thirty minutes after being down all day. The $23,670 mark remains key resistance. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)

  Global nickel market seen in deficit of around 85,000t this year - The global nickel market will be deficit of about 85,000 tonnes this year and will return to a demand/supply balance from next year due to new capacity coming on stream, a leading analyst said earlier this month. - more

 Arcelormittal Announces Appointment of New Chief Executive of Its Stainless Division - ArcelorMittal today announces that Mr Bernard Fontana has been appointed Chief Executive of its Stainless Division, which is currently being assessed for a potential spin-off. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 15th September 2010 = Panic Of Ferro-Silicon Arisen In China - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 15th September of 2010 is as follows - more

  PNG landowners summoned to court to explain apparent backdown on tailings disposal - Reports from Madang in Papua New Guinea indicate that legal action to stop the Chinese owned nickel producer, Ramu NiCo, from building an offshore tailings disposal system is being dropped. - more

  • Three Papua New Guinean villagers have been summoned to appear before Madang’s National Court tomorrow when the legal case over the validity of the planned Ramu nickel mine marine tailings system could be decided. - more

  Nickel mining firm adopts a mountain in Palawan - Berong Nickel Corporation (BNC), a nickel mining conglomerate in southern Palawan engaged in the exploration, development, and mining of nickel laterite deposits, has adopted a mountain in the town of Quezon for a tree planting project as part of its commitment to the environment. - more

  BHP Billiton chairman Jac Nasser concerned for fragile recovery - BHP Billiton believes its key Asian market remains robust, but it is concerned about the fragile state of the global economy. - more

  • BHP Billiton chief given 9% pay rise - BHP Billiton Ltd chief executive Marius Kloppers was handed a nine per cent rise on his pay package last year, to $US11.3 million ($A11.86 million). - 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  
  • 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 21

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 66 to 2,562. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China May Unveil Property Tax Measures Around October to Cool Home Prices // Yuan Climbs to Strongest Since 1993 as Obama Criticizes China // China Says Calls to Strengthen Yuan `Unwise' in Response to Obama Remarks // China to Boost Minimum Wage 20% Annually for Five Years, Morning Post Says // U.S. Loses No. 1 to Brazil-China-India Market in Investor Poll // Bridgestone, Goodyear Face Worst Rubber Shortage in Four Years // Most Asian Stocks Dip as Copper Falls, Yen Rises; Technology Shares Gain // Ireland Sells Bonds, Calms Concern That Bailout Needed // Greece Aims for Return to Bond Market as Budget Deficit Shrinks // European Stocks Decline as Nokia, Deutsche Bank Retreat; Wellstream Surges // Fed Under Pressure Amid Confusion Over New Easing // Durbin Wants Focus on Jobs, Not Deficit, Until U.S. Jobless Rate Under 9% // Housing Starts in U.S. Increased More Than Forecast in August // Payrolls Decrease in 36 U.S. States in Sign Labor Recovery Will Take Time //
  • The Euro is now trading slightly over 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down over 2.4% and trading at $73.05/barrel. Gold is off more than 4/10 of 1% and silver is lower by nearly 9/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mostly lower and quiet. Indicator charts show nickel spent the session in  slow and gradual decline. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.14/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell under the 118,900 tonne level overnight, but the total remains within the 116-120,000 tonne range it has been in since mid July. Sucden has not updated their nickel trading chart since the 16th.  China Customs released numbers today showing exports of refined nickel from China were down 30.06% in August compared to August 2009, while year to date numbers show a 406.05% increase. Imports of refined nickel into China during August fell 20.35% compared to the same month in 2009, and for the year, imports are down 36.84%. The World Steel Association reported world crude steel production for August was up 4.2% compared to August 2009, while China's production was 1.1% lower during the same period. The Baltic Dry Index slipped by 66 points and reversed its slowing momentum. World markets are on hold today in anticipation of what actions the US Fed may or may not take.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Insider - pdf here
  • MF Global LME Metals Market Outlook for 2011 - pdf here

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Reuters) Barclays Capital declined on Monday to comment on market talk that it has a significant long position on the London Metal Exchange's nickel contracts for October delivery. Latest LME data showed there is a long position holding more than 40 percent of nickel futures contracts for delivery on the third Wednesday of October.
  • (Kitco) Base metals should rise as the last quarter of the year starts soon, as industrial activity traditionally picks up. These metals had a “surprisingly resilient” summer and the fall should be even more robust, says Credit Agricole.
  • Fed Debates Further Action - more
  • Watching Wal-Mart at Midnight - more
  • Chartbook: The Depth of the Downturn - more
  • 10 Things Making Me Nervous - more
  • The Stagnating Labor Market, 2: What Can the Employed Tell Us About the Unemployed? - more
  • Steve Keen: Deleveraging With a Twist - more
  • Is the Recent Productivity Boom Over? - more
  • Job Change Post-Recessions - more
  • Guest Post: Is America Today In Worse Shape Than Japan During Its Lost Decade? - more

  Cuba Fires Industries Minister for Inefficiency, Failure to Lure Investment - Cuban President Raul Castro replaced the island’s minister of basic industries, citing mismanagement and a failure to attract investment. - more

  Severstal Buys Stake In Nickel Miner - Russian miner and steelmaker Severstal is diversifying into nickel, and has bought a 21.7% stake in Norwegian mining and development company Intex, via its subsidiary firm, Lybica Holding. The deal is estimated at $12.5m (€9.55m). - more

  A standard solution to corrosion resistance - In nuclear, medical, food and pharmaceutical engineering, corrosion resistant linear motion is a major requirement. ..... If you are seeking maximum corrosion resistance in a linear motion system, stainless steel is clearly the best option. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.10/lb lower and declining, while other London traded base metals are mostly lower. The Euro is trading 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down more than 1-1/4% and trading at $73.91/barrel. Gold is trading lower by 3/10 of 1% and silver is off nearly 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher , with China up over 1/4 of 1%. European markets are slightly higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street has yet to determine an opening direction. All eyes are on the Fed today and traders wait word if the Fed will take anymore action to stimulate the recovery. Nickel inventories fell yesterday.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more
  • LME Morning - Metals drag before crucial Fed meeting despite dollar weakness - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals had a strange day yesterday in that earlier advances were rolled back just as other markets picked up steam. Crude oil, for example, snapped a four-day losing streak to finish higher, while the US stock market hit 4 1/2 month highs, partly on news that the National Bureau of Economic Research, (the official arbiter when it comes to judging when recessions start and end), declared the US recession to have officially ended in June of last year. This makes the 18-month downturn that started in December 2007 the longest contraction since the Great Depression. The NBER also acknowledged the risk of double-dip setback in its statement, but said "The committee decided that any future downturn of the economy would be a new recession and not a continuation of the recession that began in December 2007. The basis for this decision was the length and strength of the recovery to date”. Markets are not doing very much as of this writing, with metals mixed on account of a three-day Chinese holiday that already started, while crude oil prices are slightly lower after yesterday's good run. US equity markets are called to open lower as well. Investors are waiting for August housing starts and building permit data out of the US later today (expected around 545,000 annualized) as well as the more important Fed policy statement that comes out in the afternoon. The statement will give investors a chance to see whether the central bank is contemplating any new action in an effort to kick-start the economy. The consensus view, according to one "Fed-watching" website we access, is that the Fed will lower its economic growth projections, but will hold off expanding its balance sheet for the time being. Fed-watchers will also want to see whether Kansas City Fed President Hoenig remains the lone dissenter on easier money. ... We present highlights of the Chinese data in the table contained in our attachment (see pdf report). .... Nickel is at $22,925, down $150, with prices having trouble breaking above $23,670 resistance. If they do, we could have another technical breakout on our hands.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Taigang Stainless Steel Co. Ltd announced its new prices of stainless steel. The prices of 304 grade and 430 increased by RMB300/ton and RMB200/ton respectively.
  • (MB) Chinese nickel imports up 27% in Aug on better demand
  • Base Metals Likely to Trade Rangebound - more
  • Bullish on Commodities - more
  • EU targets commodity speculation - more
  • Defaults Account for Most of Pared Down Debt - more

  August 2010 Crude Steel Production - World crude steel production for the 66 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (worldsteel) was 113 million metric tons (mmt) in August. This is 4.2% higher than August 2009. - more

  Australia's Nickel Production To Rise 15% In 2011 - Abare - Australia's nickel production will rise 15% to 188,000 tons over the coming year due to the ramp-up of Western Areas N.L.'s (WSA.AU) Flying Fox and Spotted Quoll mines, a government forecast said Tuesday. - more

  Villagers’ withdrawal from court could decide PNG’s Ramu nickel case - Three Papua New Guinean villagers have been summoned to appear before Madang’s National Court tomorrow when the legal case over the validity of the planned Ramu nickel mine marine tailings system could be decided. - more

  • NG villagers fear after court no-show - Three Papua New Guinean villagers are missing after informing a court via fax they want to drop their legal challenge against the construction of a controversial nickel mine near Madang. - more

  Hebei Iron to cut steel output by 1.5 mln tons for Sep-Dec - Sep. 21, 2010 (China Knowledge) - Hebei Iron and Steel Co Ltd, formerly known as Tangshan Iron & Steel Co Ltd, on Sep. 15 announced that it plans to reduce raw steel output by around 1.5 million tons in the period from September to December, and the amount will account for 6% of sales goal for 2010. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending September 18, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,714,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 70.9 percent. Production was 1,486,000 tons in the week ending September 18, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 62.1 percent. The current week production represents a 15.4 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending September 18, 2010 is down 1.8 percent from the previous week ending September 11, 2010 when production was 1,744,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 72.1 percent.

  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  
  • 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 20

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 48 to 2,628. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Nissan Plans to Almost Double China Capacity by 2012, Ghosn Says // Yuan Advances to Strongest Level Since 1993 on U.S. Pressure on Currency // Typhoon Fanapi Makes Landfall in South China's Fujian Province // China Stocks Drop to Five-Week Low on Economic Growth, Loan Curbs Concern // Thailand Exports Rise for 10th Consecutive Month, Weathering Baht Strength // Singapore, Malaysia Will Change Land-Swap Agreement to Improve Relations // China Suspends Ministerial-Level Talks With Japan Over Boat Clash // Asian Stocks Rise on Profit Speculation; Taiwan Semiconductor, BYD Climb // Europe Debt Crisis Abates as Traders See Yield Spreads Narrow // Escaping Double Dip to Growth Recession Means No Job Relief // Pimco Buys Bank Debt as Default Protection Costs Slump // Six Banks Fail, Community & Southern Acquires Three // Homebuilder Confidence Holds at Lowest Level in a Year as Tax Credit Ends // Treasury Yield Curve Flattens on Speculation Fed to Be More Accommodative // U.S. Stocks Advance on Lennar, IBM; Irish, Portugal Yields Jump
  • The Euro is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is up 1-2/3% and trading at $74.90/barrel. Gold is up nearly 4./10 of 1% and silver is trading flat. Base metals ended the session mostly lower as traders took profits ahead of the Fed meeting in the US tomorrow. Indicator charts show nickel slid thru most of the day. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.46/lb .  Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses feel Friday, and now sit just over the 119,200 tonne level. While days reporting more declines than gains are ahead 2 to 1 this month, LME warehouses still are stockpiling more nickel than they have had since mid-July.  The Baltic Dry Index slipped for its 6th consecutive session, down 48 points, but the rate of decline is decelerating. It's official. The Great Recession, has it is now being called, only lasted from December 2007 till June of 2009, which means we have been out of it for nearly 15 months now. As Rex Nutting from MarketWatch noted "There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what the words “recession” and “expansion” mean. To an economist, the meaning is technical: A recession is a period of declining economic activity and an expansion is a period of increasing activity. To be in an expansion does not mean that everyone is employed, nor does it mean that milk and honey flow endlessly from the Big Rock Candy Mountain." The International Stainless Steel Forum reported this morning  that "stainless steel crude steel production has increased in the first half of 2010 by 44.3% compared to the same period of 2009." Prety impressive figure!

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Commodities Near a New All-Time High - more
  • (Natasha Boyden) We suggest that the trend of smaller Chinese steel mills closing to meet energy efficiency goals is continuing to put negative pressure on iron ore import volumes. However, we note that iron ore inventory stocks at Chinese ports have fallen dramatically in recent weeks, which could be a source of marginal demand if Chinese mills decide to restock.
  • (Scott Burk) China produced 99.6M tons of iron ore in August, according to data from the Chinese General Administrations of Customs. Domestic ore output reached a record of 101.6M tons in June and output over the January-August period stood at 685M tons, up 28.4% compared with the first eight months of 2009. Steel output in August was largely unchanged compared to July at 51.6M tons, but iron ore imports fell 13% on a monthly basis to 44.6M tons. China has been ramping up domestic production to help reduce its reliance on imports from the three major miners. However despite rising prices, large steelmakers such as Baosteel have indicated that they will continue to use higher quality imported iron ore for the foreseeable future.
  • Its Official: Recession Ended June 2009 - more
  • Defaults Account for Most of Pared Down Debt - more
  • Economists React: What Are Risks of Deflation? - more
  • The Angry Rich - more
  • For the Unemployed Over 50, Fears of Never Working Again - more
  • The Stagnating Labor Market, 1: Dropping Out Of The Labor Force - more
  • FDIC Bank Closings - more

  The battle for Russia's metal giant - In the escalating battle for control of Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s biggest mining company, the scales may have temporarily tipped in the direction of Oleg Deripaska – after prosecutors found “procedural violations” in the elections for its board of directors. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.06/lb higher but fading, with all base metals trading slightly higher this morning. The Euro is trading 1/3 of 1% higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil is down 1/10 of 1% and trading at $73.59/barrel. Gold is trading higher by 1/2 of 1% and silver is up 2/3 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher, with China off 4/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street should open in a bullish mood. Nickel inventories fell Friday.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more
  • LME Morning - Metals hold gains on dollar weakness, Chinese monetary policy - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Copper finished higher again on Friday, hitting nearly five-month highs and pulling the rest of the metals up along with it. (COMEX copper notched up its best weekly gain in seven). US data showing consumer sentiment unexpectedly worsening in early September to its weakest level in more than a year did not seem to affect the complex much, although it did help trim gains in the US stock market, while sending crude oil prices lower for their fourth consecutive loss. Right now, we are higher in metals on very little news apart from continued dollar weakness. US equity markets are called to open higher, while commodities, in general, seem to be back in vogue, with gold and silver marching to record highs each day. Not to be outdone, the grains complex is also on a tear, with corn at a two-year high and soybeans at a fourteen-month high. .... Trading in metals may be slow this week due to a market holiday in Japan on Monday and Chinese holidays from Wednesday to Friday. (China will also be off for a week starting on October 1st ). In the meantime, the mood remains quite “buyerish” as a weak dollar, steadily declining stock levels, and more encouraging macro growth readings that are moving us away from recessionary possibilities, all helping the fairly buoyant tone. ..... Nickel is at $23,350, up $150, as prices close in on next resistance at $23,670 (red line). Should we take that level out, the upside looks wide opened on the charts, and we could climb to $25,800. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (MSN) Analysts said besides strong demand at spot markets from alloy makers, firming trend in copper and other base metals at the London Metal Exchange after a weak dollar boosted demand for the raw materials as an investment option, raised the nickel futures prices here.
  • (AP) Indonesian state mining company PT Aneka Tambang said it wants to team up with Jinchuan Group Ltd from China to develop a nickel mine on the island of Gag off Papua.
  • (FA) Tsinghai Tianyi Smelting Co., Ltd was required to shut two ferrochrome furnaces with 200,000-ton annual capacity, which badly polluted the surrounding air environment in test operation period.
  • (JMB) Japan Iron and Steel Federation's chairman Eiji Hayashida said at the monthly press conference on Thursday Japanese raw steel output could decrease several percent in October-December compared with April-September level.
  • (SMM) A SMM survey of output at NPI producers in August reveals that China’s physical output of NPI was 334,391 mt in August, up by 1.95% MoM or equaling 18,261 mt of metal output after conversion, up by 30.9% MoM. Almost 59% of metal output is from (10-15%) NPI, 28% is from (4-6%) NPI, and 13% of metal output is from (1.7-1.8%) NPI.
  • (SM) According to the American Forest & Paper Association's August 2010 U.S. Paperboard Report released today, total boxboard production increased by 3.9% compared to August 2009, and but dropped 0.8% from previous month.
  • (MP) Vale-union talks to resume in hopes of ending Voisey’s Bay nickel strike

  Stainless steel production for first half of 2010: More than 40% increase - Preliminary figures released by the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) show that stainless steel crude steel production has tremendously increased in the first half of 2010 by 44.3% compared to the same period of 2009. - more

  AK Steel Announces Price Increases for Certain Stainless Steel Products - AK Steel said today that it will increase transaction prices for specialty flat-rolled stainless steel products in the 200, 300 and 400 series, as well as duplex and precipitation hardening grades, effective with shipments on November 1, 2010. - more

  ‘Mining’ Stainless Steel - Stainless steel is first a product; and, after a useful life, often measured in decades, it becomes a resource. This is true of all types of stainless steels but especially the nickel-containing grades which make up 55-60% of all stainless steel. - more

  Steel, Aluminum Shipment Growth Rate Rebounds - The rate of growth of steel and aluminum shipments from North American metals service centers rebounded in August, the Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute shows. Inventories of both metals changed very little during the month in both the United States and Canada. - more

  OMC not to supply ore to new projects in Orissa - At a time when the demand for iron ore and chrome ore in Orissa is growing significantly due to the rush of investment proposals in the steel and mines sector, the state government owned Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) has categorically stated that it would not be able to supply these two ores to any new MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) signed player in the near future. - more

  Delay in PNG Ramu trial as landowners sued for security over costs - The trial in a Papua New Guinea court case which has halted the Ramu Nickel project in Madang province has been delayed a day due to last minute motions filed by the Government and the mine operator. - more

  Alfa Group sets up JV in Cuba to process nickel tailings - Palmira Resources Limited, a subsidiary of Russia's Alfa Group financial-industrial conglomerate and Cuba's Commercial Caribbean Nickel S.A., have set up a joint venture to process nickel tailings on the island, Alfa Group's Alexei Mikhailovsky said on Monday. - more

  Cuba fires minister in charge of oil and nickel - Cuba fired Basic Industry Minister Yadira Garcia, in charge of the oil and nickel industries, on Sunday and said the first vice minister would stand in until a replacement was named. - 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  
  • 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 17

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 61 to 2676. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • The Euro is currently trading nearly 3/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down 1-1/2% and trading at $73.46/barrel. Fold is up over 1/10 of 1%, having set a new record high today, and silver is up 3/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the day quietly, coming off earlier highs to end mostly higher. Indicator charts show nickel rose early and fell late. By the end of the session, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $10.52/lb , down $.02/lb on the day, but $.31/lb higher for the week.  Sucden's day old chart shows trading thru yesterday (chart here). Have a safe and relaxing weekend!!

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.08/lb higher, with all London traded base metals higher this morning. The Euro is presently trading slightly lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down over 2% and trading at $74.45/barrel. Gold is up slightly and silver is trading nearly 3/10 of 1% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up over 1/10 of 1%. European markets are trading higher at the moment, and US futures imply Wall Street will open on the positive side. Nickel inventories fell overnight. Our afternoon update may be delayed today. 
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals continued to push higher yesterday in a session that was quite unusual in that the various markets all went their separate ways. Oil, for example, continued to tumble, falling for a third straight day. Gold remained steady, while US equity markets made up earlier losses and closed slightly in the black. The dollar was mixed, weakening against the euro, but holding firm against the yen, as traders remained wary about intervention by the Bank of Japan. Macro data out of the US was also mixed, and did not help sentiment one way or another either. Weekly initial claims were better than expected, but a Midwest manufacturing gauge issued by the Philadelphia Fed came in on the weaker side. This morning, we are higher once again, with copper trading at just under $7800 resistance, a four-month high. Continued erosion in LME stockpiles, coupled with further weakness in the dollar, particularly against the euro, are both combining to provide underlying support. Oil prices are also participating on the upside today, up about $.60/barrel, while gold has hit a new record high of $1280.  .... Nickel is at $23,430, up $190, as prices continue to gain ground; we are looking for two closes above $23,000 resistance level to justify another leg higher (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Bloomberg) Nickel rose 1.1 percent to $23,495 a ton after reaching $23,570, the highest intraday price since May 10. The market moved into a so-called backwardation for the first time in more than a year on Sept. 14 as immediate-delivery nickel traded at a premium to three-month metal. Cash nickel traded at a premium of $7 a ton to the three- month contract yesterday, widening from $5 in the prior session, according to the latest LME figures. Cash metal was at a discount of $6 on Sept. 13.
  • (MF) Affected by macro-economic control and power rationing, the output of Chinese crude steel and imported iron ore appeared the recession in August. According to National Bureau of Statistics of China, the production of crude steel in August cut down by 595,000 tons from a year ago to 51.64 million tons.
  • (Yieh) According to statistics, Japan's stainless steel output in July decreased to 259,859 tons, down by 6.4 percent compared to June.
  • (Yieh) The Korean Trade Commission has initiated an investigation of antidumping on stainless steel plate from Japan.
  • (JMB) Japan Iron and Steel Federation's chairman Eiji Hayashida said at the monthly press conference on Thursday Japanese raw steel output could decrease several percent in October-December compared with April-September level. He said steel demand slows in Asia while the domestic demand decreases for automobile due to finished subsidiary for eco-friendly vehicle and the demand recovers for shipbuilding and construction machinery slightly.
  • (AP) Two nickel mining companies in Bunta and Masama subdistricts, Banggai regency of Indonesia's Central Sulawesi, have started exploiting the mineral this year. Head of geological and human resources control of the Banggai mining and energy agency Mahmud said in Luwuk Thursday one of the companies in Bunta will even start exporting nickel in the middle of next year.
  • (Interfax) The price of iron ore has been cited as the most important factor in determining the profitability of China's steel mills. As pricing negotiations between China's steel mills and the three global iron ore giants remain at an impasse, China has embraced consolidation of the steel industry as a means of strengthening its bargaining position.
  • Christopher Burton, senior portfolio manager for the Credit Suisse Total Commodity Return Strategy - "In this type of environment, the potential that inflation will rise at greater than expected levels could pose a significant concern for investors. We believe investors will continue to seek the diversification benefits provided by commodities, along with their potential inflation hedging abilities."
  • (Dow Jones) The dollar is under pressure, as the market fears more quantitative easing is on the way, making the dollar-denominated metals cheaper for other currency holders.
  • Commodities ETFs “easy target” for criticism - more
  • Doomsday warnings of US apocalypse gain ground - more
  • U.S. Economy "Gradually Deteriorating," Levy Says: Recession Likely in 2011 - more

  Stainless steel demand to bounce back - Chief executive of Finland’s Outokumpu expects stainless steel demand in Europe to fall 10-20 percent in the third quarter from the previous quarter and pick up later this year. - more

  Palawan gov dismayed over DENR-issued ECC to nickel mine - Palawan Governor Abraham Kahlil Mitra has expressed dismay over the issuance of an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to MacroAsia Corporation which operates the Infanta nickel project in Brooke's Point, Palawan. - more

  • Groups seek repeal of mining policies - Various groups have called on the government to ban mining activities in the country due to supposed missed targets in the areas of employment, environmental protection, and indigenous peoples’ rights. - more

  Japan Aug crude steel output down 3rd straight month - Japan's crude steel output fell for a third straight month in August as growth in exports slowed and mills cut back, hit by price corrections in China. - more

  China's imported iron ore prices drop in Q4 - The world's three largest iron ore mining giants BHP Billiton Ltd, Rio Tinto PLC and Vale S.A. cut the contracted prices of iron ore for Chinese steel makers in the fourth quarter, and the prices were 10% to 13% lower than that of third quarter, sources reported. - more

  Should iron ore be a state asset? - The Karnataka High Court on Thursday ordered issuance of notices to both state and central governments and mining companies with regard to a Public Interest Litigation seeking a declaration that iron ore in the state be declared as a state / national asset. - 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  
  • 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 16

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 103 to 2,737. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's Stricter Capital Rules Will Curb Loans, Goldman Says // Geithner Says U.S. Examining Ways to Push China on Yuan Rise // Hong Kong's Jobless Rate Slides to 20-Month Low of 4.2%, Aiding Recovery // Container Lines Show `Strong Interest' in Using Derivatives, Group Says // China Stocks Drop Most in Three Weeks Amid Bank Loan Restriction Concerns // BOJ Becomes `Wild Card' as Kan May Push for More Japan Stimulus // India Raises Interest Rates a Fifth Time to Contain Inflation // Zimbabwe Says Posco Is in Mining Talks as South Korea Seeks Raw Materials // Asian Stocks Fall, led by Banks, Mining Shares; Japanese Exporters Advance // Gold Rises to Record on Increased Demand for Wealth Protection // Inflation Expectations Climb to Highest Since August 2008, Beating Target // European Exports Declined in July on Global Economic Slowdown // Global Economy Is Poised to Skirt Second Recession, Fidelity's Bolton Says // FedEx Reports Profit That Trails Estimates, Announces Job Cuts // U.S. Home Seizures Reach Record for Third Time in Five Months // Dow May Advance 23% by June on Economic Rebound, Acampora Says // Small Business Can't Get Loans From Bailed-Out Banks in U.S. // Kraft CEO Rosenfeld Says U.S. Recovery Progressing Slower Than Expected // Jobless Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Fell Last Week to 450,000 // Manufacturing in Philadelphia Area Shrank This Month // U.S. Poverty Rate Climbed to 15-Year High in 2009 as Recession Took Toll // Stocks Retreat on FedEx Forecast, U.K. Sales; Gold Advances
  • The Euro is trading just shy of 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down over 2.1% and trading at $74.40/barrel. Gold is up nearly 4/10 of 1% and silver is up over 2/3 of 1%. Base metals ended the day mostly higher, although it was not a smooth drive for most. Indicator charts show nickel was very choppy today, with the stronger Euro offsetting less than encouraging economic news. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.54/lb .
  • Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME warehouses slipped overnight and now stand just over the 119,750 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday and an uptrend that remains intact (chart here). The International Nickel Study Group reported this morning that refined nickel production exceeded demand by 6,500 tons in July. This came a day after the WBMS reported nickel stood at a 51,000-metric-ton deficit from January thru July of this year. This chart, posted by a foreign newspaper, shows the INSG stats since 2005 (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index fell another 103 points overnight, but based on yesterday's 100 point drop, the fall rate slowed, at least for today.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) Nearby spreads in nickel continue to tighten, with the Oct/Nov spread moving further into backwardation, says Standard Bank. .... Says it sees the market tightening up more in 4Q compared to 3Q.
  • Employee Tenure in 2010 - more
  • Don’t Worry About China, Japan Will Finance U.S. Debt - more
  • Germany’s Anti-Deflation Weapon? Oktoberfest - more
  • Allure of Home Ownership Dims, Fannie Mae Survey Shows - more
  • Retail Sales Rise .4% from July - How Far to Pre-recession Levels? - more
  • The Distribution of Income in OECD Countries - more
  • The Economics of Mass Destruction - Part I - more
  • Philly Fed in negative territory for second month - more
  • Guest Post: When Japan Collapses - more
  • Total NICS Background Checks - pdf here
  • Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009 - more
  • SNAP Data - more
  • Now There Are 11 Signs That We Won't Have A Double Dip Recession - more

  Lower nickel prices on the way - Consumption of refined nickel is likely to outpace production in 2010, leading to a small supply deficit with new supply side production eventually oversupplying the market in 2011. - more

  Downstream jobs hostage to high steel price in SA - Approximately 60 percent of downstream steel firms said they would increase employment by more than 10 percent if steel prices were 30 percent lower, the portfolio committee on trade and industry was told yesterday. - more

  Osborn wins crusher orders for Russian ferrochrome - Reflecting the inroads it is making into the Russian market, Johannesburg-based bulk materials handling and minerals processing specialist, Osborn (part of Astec Industries), has won an export order for three of its Hadfields double-toggle jaw crushers for at a ferrochrome crushing plant at Chelyabinsk. - more

  U.S. steelmakers warn economy still slow - Three top U.S. steelmakers are warning of depressed third-quarter results, signaling that the economy may not be rebounding from the recession as quickly as originally believed. - more

  Asia Steel-China prices unmoved by supply cuts - Steel prices on the Chinese spot market dipped slightly this week, with traders unmoved by claims that a nationwide energy-saving campaign would reduce supply. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.03/lb higher, with other base metals trading mostly higher. The Euro is trading nearly 6/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is trading 1% lower and at $$75.26/barrel. Gold is up over 1/2 of 1% and at new record highs. Silver is up 1/2 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off nearly 2%. European markets are lower this morning, and US futures show Wall Street may open lower . Nickel inventories slipped overnight.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals pause on US macro data, Chinese demand worries - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments -Metals ended with modest losses on Wednesday in a very quiet session, as dollar steadiness against the yen, concern about tightening in China, and lukewarm macro reports out of the US, all held the complex somewhat in check. On the US macro side of things, August industrial production numbers came out at .2%, only slightly below the .3% consensus, but the markets were likely more troubled by the revision to the previous month's reading, where a solid 1% gain was trimmed to .6%. This is yet another indication that the US economy is indeed decelerating. In addition to the IP numbers, the New York Empire manufacturing index came out at 4.1, slightly below the 6.4 reading expected. This morning, we are modestly higher in metals, except in lead, where we see a slight loss. Energy markets are lower for a third straight session, while the dollar is mixed -- down against the euro, but higher against the yen, as currency traders remain wary about yen selling by the Bank of Japan. A few headlines out today arguably make the case for short-term sloppiness in a number of markets. The main one, in our view, is the ratcheting up of pressure on China by the Obama administration to revalue its currency more aggressively, and the potential steps the US may take to prod the Chinese to move along. Treasury Secretary Geithner, in separate hearings before the House and Senate, plans to acknowledge on Thursday that China has kept the value of the renminbi artificially low, and has largely failed to improve things as it promised to do so in June. (In fact, the Chinese currency has appreciated only 1% since that time). “We are concerned, as are many of China’s trading partners, that the pace of appreciation has been too slow and the extent of appreciation too limited,” Mr. Geithner plans to say, according to excerpts of his statement released Wednesday night. In addition, Mr. Geithner is not expected to rule out declaring China a currency manipulator, a finding that could lead to retaliatory trade measures. In the meantime, the US has stepped up taking up other trade actions, and just yesterday, brought two more cases to the World Trade Organization accusing China of improperly blocking imports of a specialty steel product and denying credit card companies access to its markets. Should we continue to see an escalation over this matter, it is only a matter of time before sentiment in the US equity markets will turn negative and potentially impact metals, as trade issues form a critical underpinning in most markets, particularly those having to do with China. ... nickel is at $23,216, up $11; another close above $23,000 later today could set the stage for a further advance on the charts.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (MFG) Refined nickel production was 116,500 metric tons in July, exceeding demand of 110,000 tons, the International Nickel Study Group said today. This is the fourth month of surplus in a row.
  • (Dow Jones) Yesterday - The world nickel market was in a 51,000-metric-ton deficit between January and July, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said Wednesday.
  • (Yieh) In spite of the fact that nickel price hit the new level, Taiwan’s Yieh United Steel Corp. (Yusco), Tang Eng and Walsin will remain their prices unchanged for the second half of September.
  • (Interfax) China's central government is unlikely to issue policies in the near future that could further curb steel product exports, an official with the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said at a Sept. 15 conference in Shanghai.
  • (AP) Japan's Mitsui & Co. said Wednesday that it will participate in the Taganito nickel smeltering project being developed by Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. in the Philippines. ... Mitsui will buy a 15 per cent interest in Taganito HPAL Nickel Corp., a wholly owned Sumitomo Metal Mining subsidiary undertaking the project, for an undisclosed amount via a private placement of shares. Nickel Asia Corp. -- a Philippine nickel mining company in which Sumitomo Metal Mining has a 25 per cent interest -- will take a 22.5 per cent stake.
  • (SM) The American Forest & Paper Association released the August 2010 U. S. Containerboard Statistics Report today. For the tenth straight month, containerboard production rose over same month a year ago and posted the highest production amount since August 2008. Total production saw an increase of 195,400 tons or 7.0% when compared to August 2009 and rose slightly 0.9% over July 2010. The month over month average daily production reflected a similar change. Year-to-date 2010 production has increased 9.4% over 2009. The containerboard operating rate for August 2010 rose 10.8 points over August 2009 to 98.9%.
  • China's economic stimulus creates 22m jobs - more
  • Job outlook worsens according to Consumer Reports Index - more
  • Back to the Future: U.S. Consumers Returning to "Normal" Habits - more
  • Banks take over record number of US homes in August - more

  ThyssenKrupp stainless revamp may precede spin-off - ThyssenKrupp is headed for a major overhaul of its weak stainless steel business, clearing the way for a possible spin-off that could stimulate long-awaited sector consolidation in Europe. - more

  Norilsk-Nickel sails to Asia via Arctic - The first shipment sailed from Murmansk on Wednesday and will follow the Northern Sea Route to Shanghai. - OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s largest mining company, sent its first metals shipment to Southeast Asia via the Arctic. - more

  AK Steel braces for red ink in 3Q - AK Steel Holding Corp. is projecting a key profitability measure to slide to the red in the third quarter on higher raw material costs and a fast-tracked plan to idle one of the company’s furnaces. - more

  Russia mulls 10 pct nickel, copper duty from Nov-IFAX - Russia could introduce a 10 percent export duty on copper from November and raise the duty on nickel to 10 percent from 5 percent, Interfax reported on Thursday citing an Economy Ministry official.- 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  
  • 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 15

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 100 to 2,840. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Said to Consider 15% Capital Ratio for Biggest Lenders // Foreign Investment in China Climbs for 13th Straight Month to $7.6 Billion // China Stocks Fall Most in a Week as Government Curbs Fuel Profit Concerns // China Yuan Jumps to Record High Since 1993 on Inflation, Foreign Pressure // Steel Output Cut in China Spurs Prices, Has `Big' Impact, Tokyo Steel Says // Yen Weakens as Japan Intervenes for the First Time Since 2004 // Naked Short-Sellers, Derivatives Traders Face EU Restrictions // U.K. Jobless Claims Increase for the First Time Since January // European Inflation Eases, Led by Energy; Payrolls Stagnate // German Financial Workers Most Pessimistic on Finding New Jobs, Survey Says // European Stocks Fluctuate Near Four-Month High; Peugeot Rallies // Pimco Makes $8.1 Billion Bet Against `Lost Decade' of Deflation // U.S. Home Prices Face Three-Year Drop as Inventory Surge Looms // Production in U.S. Cooled in August as Automakers Scaled Back // Greenspan Says Fiscal Stimulus Has Been Less Effective Than Anticipated // Manufacturing in New York Expanded at Slower Pace //
  • The Euro is trading slightly higher against the US Dollar at the moment. NYMEX crude oil continues to trade 1-1/2% lower and at $75.66/barrel. Gold is down more than 1/10 of 1% and silver is 1/3 of 1% higher. Base metals ended the mid week session mostly lower, except for tin. Indicator charts show nickel traded quietly lower in the morning, but rose after US markets opened, only to turn choppy late. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.52/lb . Stockpiles of nickel rose over night and now stand just shy of the 119,900 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index turned south three days ago, and instead of resembling a slight correction, the pullback has picked up steam with each passing day.  Overnight, it registered another 100 point drop. Nickel inventories have stalled now for two months, with today's figures resembling those of July 16th. Yesterday's close was nickel's best showing since May 4th. Bloomberg has a piece, posted below, that reports nickel has moved into backwardation on the fears of a shortage in nickel. This is being caused by some unknown trader owning over 1/3 of the LME inventory. In other words, its called a huge gamble - or in laymen's terms, manipulation of the market. Totally legal, but we will see how it works out for them. In the mean time, stainless steel producers nd users get to pay for this little experiment.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) WBMS: World Nickel Market In 51,000-Ton Deficit Jan-Jul
  • (ADP) Steel output in Spain jumped by 32% year-on-year to 8.95 million tonnes in the first half of 2010, data of the Spanish steelmakers association Unesid showed yesterday.
  • (Fairfax) Bindura Nickel Corporation: finance options being worked through. Loan funds for a substantial portion of the funding are said to be available probably as part of an offtake agreement. Work has started at the Trojan nickel mine at the smelter site.
  • (Nordea Weekly) Chinese steel mills to close down and Vale financing. The Chinese government has told 30 steel mills in the Hebei province to reduce output of steel, potentially for the remainder of the year. Further, another 18 mills were told to close down production for up to a month. Several other provinces have introduced similar schemes. The effect is two-fold: reduce steel output and conserve energy following recent energy outages.
  • (AP) Japan's Toyota Tsusho Corp. (TSE:8015) on Monday announced that it has taken a stake in India's Kuma Stainless Tubes Ltd. The Japanese trading firm purchased 30 per cent of the Indian manufacturer's outstanding stock from leading shareholder Maruichi Steel Tube Ltd. (TSE:5463), which had held a 95 per cent stake in the Indian firm.
  • (MBA) he Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending September 10, 2010. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 8.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. This week's results include an adjustment to account for the Labor Day holiday. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 27.4 percent compared with the previous week.
  • Report Blames Big Banks for Payday Loan Growth - more
  • U.S. Home Prices Face Three-Year Drop as Inventory Surge Looms - more
  • The Case Against Homeownership - more
  • Gold fever strikes mom and pop prospectors in US West - more
  • Yen Intervention - more
  • What’s Holding Back Small Businesses? - more

  Steel Output Cut in China Spurs Prices, Has `Big' Impact, Tokyo Steel Says - Steel production cuts by China, the largest maker of the metal, is having a “big” impact on the market and is boosting prices, said Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co. - more

  Chromite opponents question air safety - Most people at an air-quality hearing for Oregon Resources Corp.'s Bunker Hill plant in Coos Bay remained skeptical after hearing a state Department of Environmental Quality regulator describe dust-control measures. - more

  Norilsk Nickel gives 8.5 pct of shares to pension fund ahead of EGM - Norilsk Nickel, the world's top nickel producer, is giving 8.5 percent of its shares to its pension fund ahead of the company's extraordinary general meeting on October 21, Norilsk Nickel General Director Vladimir Strzhalkovsky said on Wednesday. - more

  Pensions could use clout with miners in people issues - Pension funds should use the clout they have to persuade miners to consider environmental concerns and local people, as that could help boost investment returns from the sector, F&C Asset Management said on Wednesday. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.07/lb lower, with most London traded base metals lower. The Euro is trading over 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down 1-1/2% and trading at $75.66/barrel. Gold is down just slightly and silver is off nearly 3/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China 1-3/4% lower. European markets are lower this morning and US futures show Wall Street could open lower. Nickel inventories rose overnight.     
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals edge lower after yen intervention lifts the dollar - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Base metals finished slightly higher yesterday, erasing a good portion of their earlier losses. Sentiment was boosted by a sinking dollar, which got to $1.30 at one stage against the euro, while the yen also gained ground, pushing to 83 at one stage, a 15-year high. (In fact, the Japanese government intervened in the currency markets this morning for the first time in six years in an effort to stem the yen’s rise). With the dollar crumbling, gold prices took off yesterday, and hit a record high of $1274-- its biggest one-day gain in four months. The final piece of constructive news came out of the US, where August retail sales increased more than expected, registering their best monthly gain in some five months. This morning, we are seeing a slight pullback in metals, as the steadier dollar has led to some selling in commodities. Oil prices are off by about $1.20 after putting in a surprisingly weak performance yesterday. Talk out of China from the country’s banking regulator that it may consider raising capital adequacy ratios at banks deemed "systemically important" could be behind the more restrained tone we are seeing today. ....  Nickel is at $23,200, down $150, but has been relatively firm this week. In fact, prices closed at a four-month high yesterday, while the cash to three’s spread tipped into a slight backwardation of $2/ton earlier today.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) Last week, the stainless steel price increased on the Chinese domestic market. Market participant said that with the recovery of demand recently, the Chinese stainless steel market would probably turn better.
  • (MNP) Nickel rose above a four-month high on the London Metal Exchange overnight, surging $US500 to reach a price of $23,350 a tonne.
  • (CD) Baoshan Iron & Steel Co (Baosteel), China's biggest publicly traded steelmaker, announced on Tuesday it would raise the prices of its major products by 100 to 380 yuan per ton for October bookings.
  • (Xinhua) China's power consumption in August reached 397.5 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), up 14.69 percent year-on-year, the National Energy Administration (NEA) announced Tuesday.
  • Reuters Survey - Highlights -Asia Q3 business sentiment by sector - more
  • Kobe Steel publishes factbook and sustainability report online - more
  • (MF) Taiwan’s wire rod imports surged by around 3.8 times to 230,000 tons during January to July. Due to the good performance for screw industry since early of this year, the imports of wire rod increased sharply.
  • Double dip unlikely, says IMF official - more
  • Ceridian-UCLA Index - pdf here

  Nickel Market Moves Into Backwardation for First Time in a Year in London - Nickel for immediate delivery traded at a premium to three-month metal in London for the first time in more than a year, potentially signaling concern about scarcity. - more

  New Caledonia court gives suspended jail terms to 32 Rheebu Nuu members - The criminal court in New Caledonia has sentenced 32 members of the environmentalist Rheebu Nuu group to suspended jail terms for their role in clashes with police near the construction site of the Vale nickel plant in 2006. - more

  Chinese to pursue RP nickel project - China's Jinchuan Group Ltd. has renewed its interest to pursue a proposal to invest as much as $1.5 billion in the rehabilitation of the Nonoc nickel mines in Surigao province, according to an industry official. - more

  Mitsui joins Sumitomo Metal Mining nickel project - Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co said on Wednesday it will join a $1.3 billion nickel project that Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd is developing in the Philippines. - more

  BHP boss warns government not to alter mining tax  - BHP boss Marius Kloppers sent a clear signal to Julia Gillard to resist calls to change the structure of the mineral resources rent tax. - more

  Norilsk shareholders meeting made procedural violations says prosecutor - Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel producer made violations in corporate governance regulations during its annual shareholders meeting in June, Russia's Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika said on Wednesday.- more

  Anshan Steel Proceeds With China's First Steel Mill Project in the U.S. - Anshan Iron & Steel Group signed an agreement with Steel Development Co. to jointly build a plant in the U.S., the first by a Chinese steelmaker in the nation - 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  
  • 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 14

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 36 to 2,940. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) Wen Says China's Economy in `Good Shape,' Cautions on Property // Yuan Surges to Highest Level Since 1993 Before U.S. Hearing // Conference Board's Leading Economic Index Rises for Third Month to 147.6 // China Plans to Introduce Credit-Default Swaps by Year-End, Official Says // China's NDRC Expects Production Materials Prices to Be Stable to October // Most China Stocks Drop After Wen Comments; Developers Retreat, SAIC Gains // Japanese Yen Advances to 15-Year High Against Dollar as Kan Wins DPJ Vote // Japan Premier Kan Defeats Ozawa, Re-Elected Ruling Party Head // German Investor Confidence Fell to 19-Month Low in September // U.K. Inflation Unexpectedly Exceeds 3% on Air Fares, Food // Citigroup Tumbles in European Rankings as Dealmakers Depart // European Stocks Drop; Philips, E.ON Shares Lead Stoxx 600 Lower // U.S. Small-Business Index Increases for First Time Since May, Survey Shows // Bernanke 2011 Outlook May Swing Fed Decision on Bond Purchases // Veterans Agency Made Secret Deal With Prudential Over Benefits // Retail Sales in U.S. Increase for a Second Month // Stocks, Treasuries, Gold Gain on Fed Bond-Purchase Speculation
  • The Euro reversed coarse today and is now trading over 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is up nearly 1/2 of 1% and trading at $77.57/barrel. Gold is up 2% and hit a record high earlier, while silver is up 1.9% and trading near record highs. Base metals ended the day mostly higher, thanks to the higher Euro. Indicator charts show nickel was struggling early in the day, but after US retail sales rose and the Euro began to rise, nickel was off to the races again. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.59/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in worldwide LME approved warehouses rose overnight and now stand just over the 119,000 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart reflects nickel's recent uptrend (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index fell for a second consecutive day, down 36 points to 2,940. Based on the daily official cash price of nickel, we show cash has averaged $10.05/lb during the first ten business days of September, compared to $9.71/lb for August. Reuters has a nice chart showing the last few months of nickel trading here. So far, the uptrend in the price of nickel remains intact.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • Economists React: Consumers Buying ‘When Necessary’ - more
  • Small-Business Optimism Recovers Slightly - more
  • Who Chooses to Work? Who Doesn’t? Who Can’t? - more
  • Market Still Deluding Itself That It Can Escape The Inevitable Dénouement - more
  • Goldman's Kostin Turns Bearisher, Suggests More Defensive Mix Of Stocks - more
  • Global Economic Crisis: Impacts, Transmission, and Recovery Papers - more
  • The US economy: why it matters what sort of crisis we're in - more

  Japan’s Sumitomo to pursue $1.3B Taganito nickel mine in Surigao Norte - Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd. is pushing through with the $1.3-billion Taganito nickel mining project in Surigao del Norte, which it targets to complete within three years’ time. - more

  Premier visits Aksu Ferroalloy Plant in Pavlodar region - Within the framework of a working trip to Pavlodar region Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov has visited the Aksu Ferroalloy Plant - branch of "TNC "Kazchrome" JSC. - more

  Higher world prices boost 1st half mineral output value - Mineral production value went up by over 50% to P49.83 billion in the first half due to higher prices and demand, a development which government and industry officials said should encourage miners to hike output and investments. - more

  Garnaut can be proud of his record in PNG - Everyone enjoys pouring scorn on hypocrites. Ross Garnaut, who has built an enviable reputation as one of Australia's leading public intellectuals, might seem a natural target. The higher the profile, the further the fall. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.01/lb with other base metals mixed and quiet. The Euro is trading nearly 3/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is down over 4/10 of 1% and trading at $76.85/barrel. Gold is trading over 1% higher, while silver is nearly 1-1/2% higher. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher with China up nearly 1/10 of 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning, and US futures reflect Wall Street may open slightly lower.  Nickel inventories gained overnight.    
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals lack direction, doubts resurface on strength of recovery - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - This morning, we are mixed, as an earlier round of losses has reversed itself. Copper is down on the day, as is lead, but the rest of the metals are slightly higher. The dollar has bounced back after falling yesterday by its sharpest amount against the Euro in over two months, and may be behind the more restrained tone we are seeing. Pressure on the Euro is coming from reports out earlier in the day that German investor confidence fell to a 19-month low in September. In addition, we also had reports that European industrial production unexpectedly stagnated in July after rising in June. In other news, Bloomberg reports that China will introduce credit-default swaps by year-end, but will restrict their use to avoid the problems the US credit markets experienced. For one thing, it will limit the amount of leverage used, and will not permit contracts to be written on high-risk assets. Investors in the derivatives will also be required to own the underlying security. The derivatives are being introduced to help manage risk in the nation's growing domestic bond market, where volume has grown sharply over the past several years. Speaking of derivatives, Reuters reported yesterday that UK-based ETF Securities has established an account with the LME's electronic transfer system for stock warrants, leading to talk that physically backed base metal ETFs were likely to be introduced fairly shortly. .... Nickel is at $22,875, up $25, and very quiet.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) China’s Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Tisco) has announced to remain its new prices unchanged for 38th week (September 14th – 20th).
  • (FF) Falling production in China has lead Baoshan Iron and Steel, China’s largest publically traded steelmaker to raise prices for the first time in 5 months. Output had fallen to a six month low as companies sought to reduce over production. Pressure on companies to reduce power usage as the government tries to hit emissions targets will likely continue to impact output in China for the rest of the year. Benchmark Chinese steel prices gained 5.6% on average in August from July
  • (Interfax) Baoshan Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. (Baosteel), the Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed subsidiary of Baosteel Group, announced Sept. 14 it will raise its October ex-works prices for several steel products by between RMB 150 ($22.26) and RMB 300 ($44.52) per ton, an analyst told Interfax the same day.
  • (JMB) Chinese raw steel output decreased by 0.2% to 51.64 million tonnes in August from July, which decreased for 3 months in a row, announced by Chinese government on Saturday. Chinese major steel makers reduced the production while smaller makers apparently increased the production.
  • (Dow Jones) China's Jinchuan Group Ltd. has revived negotiations to develop the Nonoc nickel mines in the southern Philippines region of Mindanao and construct a refinery at the mine site, a senior industry official said Tuesday.
  • (Dow Jones) Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. has begun developing a $1.3 billion nickel refinery in the southern Philippines, an executive at the Japanese company's local unit said Tuesday.
  • (Yieh) Although the price of wire rod in China has surged slightly, it still cannot attract more orders for Taiwanese screw industry. So far, the decreasing price of iron ore by 10~14 percent and soft market demand are the main reasons to determine the performance of screw industry in Taiwan.
  • (Allegheny) Effective with shipments beginning November 1, 2010, a surcharge of $409 per ton ($20.45/cwt) is being added to grain-oriented electrical steel invoices. This surcharge is subject to monthly adjustment.

  FeCr Demand Is Expected To Revive In Q4 / 10 And Its Prices Are Anticipated To Improve = A View By Yildirim CEO Of Eti Krom / Turkey, Who Came To Japan In Last Week - Mr. Robert Yuksel Yildirim, President and CEO of Eti Krom Inc. as a major chrome producer in Turkey, came to Japan and had an interview with our pressman (Mr. Hideo Saitoh) on the 3rd of September at The Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. - more

  Nomura Lowers 2010 Copper Price Forecast, Raises Gold, Nickel, Palladium - Nomura Holdings Inc. lowered its 2010 copper estimates and raised them for gold, nickel and palladium. - more

  Gold, base metals and iron ore prospects under microscope - Physical demand looks set to push gold prices higher in the view of Barclays Capital, as the group suggests consumers are now realigning their price expectations for the metal. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending September 11, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,744,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 72.1 percent. Production was 1,486,000 tons in the week ending September 11, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 62.1 percent. The current week production represents a 17.4 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending September 11, 2010 is up 2.1 percent from the previous week ending September 4, 2010 when production was 1,708,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 70.6 percent.

  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  
  • 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 13

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 19 to 2,976. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China's `Solid' Demand May Weaken Case for Holding Back Yuan // Yuan Gains to Highest Since 1993 After Manufacturing, Inflation Accelerate // China Stocks Rise Most in a Week on Signs of Strengthening Domestic Demand // Taiwan to Increase Minimum Wage First Time Since 2007 to Narrow Income Gap // China Swap Rates Rise to 1-Month High as Economic Slowdown Concerns Ease // Asian Stocks, Oil Rise as China Output Boosts Economic Optimism; Yen Falls // EU Lifts Europe Growth Forecast, Sees Moderate Second Half // Recovery May Not Create Job Growth, IMF's Strauss-Kahn Says // Bank Stocks Climb as Basel Gives Firms Eight Years to Comply // European Stocks, U.S. Futures Rise; Banks, Mining Shares Gain // U.S. Accelerates in 2011 as Demise of Consumer Is Exaggerated // Hurricane Igor Becomes Atlantic Season's Most Powerful Storm // Boehner Says He Won't Vote Against U.S. Middle-Class Tax Cuts // Crude Futures Form `Golden Cross' of Moving Averages: Technical Analysis
  • The Euro is now trading nearly 1-1/2% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is nearly 9/10 of 1% higher and trading at $77.11/barrel. Gold is trading flat, while silver is over 1.3% higher. Base metals ended the session higher, with good reports from China driving traders to take on more risk. Indicator charts show nickel leapt early, then calmed thru the afternoon. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.36/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses fell over the weekend, after a surprise increase on Friday. Totals not sit just over the 118,800 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru last week (chart here). The Baltic Dry Index slipped 19 points. Base metals got a bounce from a sharply rising Euro and news that China’s industrial production rose 13.9 percent in August from a year earlier. With China making efforts to shut down heavy energy users like pig nickel producers, traders are speculating that China will need to import a lot more refined nickel.  

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Insider - pdf here
  • Robry Weekly Economic Assessment - more

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Reuters) Another plus for base metals was news that UK-based ETF Securities has established an account with LME's word, the LME's electronic transfer system for stock warrants. This has reignited talk over the potential launch of physically-backed base metal ETFs. Traders said talk over a nickel-backed ETF was supported by the backwardation or premium for material to be delivered in october compared with material to be delivered in November, given that demand from stainless steel mills is lacklustre.
  • (ASFR) Some 600 workers are being recruited by First Quantum, which has reopened the Ravensthorpe nickel mine from which BHP Billiton withdrew in January 2009.
  • Number of the Week: Hiding Europe’s Unpleasant Details - more
  • Think Small Business Is Job Engine? Think Again - more
  • Bullard: Fed Ready for Further Action if Necessary - more
  • A Productivity Boom-in-Waiting? - more
  • Corporate Tax Rates and Unemployment - more
  • China, Japan, America - more
  • Why the Eurozone Bomb Has Not Been Disarmed Yet - more

  Material management – why it’s hard to be in stainless - Flagging? As the stainless community gathered in Rome, raw materials topped the agenda. The formula for stainless steel prices is simple: just look at raw materials.  - more

  Stainless Steel Demand to Witness Astounding Growth in India - The construction and transportation industries in India will trigger stainless steel demand to grow at a CAGR of around 8.1% during FY 2011–FY 2013, says RNCOS. - more

  The European Crisis in 3 minutes

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.27/lb higher, with other London traded base metals also trading higher. The Euro is trading over 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is up 2/3 of 1% and trading at $76.95/barrel. Gold is down 2/10 of 1% and silver is up 1/4 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up over 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning  and US futures show Wall Street should open bullishly. Inventories of nickel fell overnight. Dow Jones reports LME nickel ended last week at $10.21/lb.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals sweep higher; mood picks up on upbeat Chinese data, firm euro - more

  Reports

  • Daily Market Report - pdf here
  • Commodities Report - pdf here
  • Morning Montra - pdf here
  • Metals & Energy - pdf here
  • Market Drivers - pdf here
  • Metals Insight - pdf here
  • Weekly Scoreboard - pdf here
  • SMM Weekly Nickel Price Forecast - more
  • U.S. Exports of Stainless Steel Mill Products - more
  • US Imports of Stainless Steel Mill Products - more

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - After having had rather uneventful sessions over the past few days, metals have opened the week sharply higher. This is likely due to the constructive macro readings out of China over the weekend, suggesting that the economy remains strong enough to generate a continued demand-side pull on commodities. In this regard, the authorities reported that August industrial production was up 13.9% from a year earlier, and was also up from July levels. Other reports show banks extending about $80.5 billion in new loans in August, up from July, while money supply also increased -- up by 19.2% from a year earlier. Urban fixed-asset investment, a good indicator of capital spending, beat expectations as well, up 24.8% from a year earlier for the January-August period. Somewhat of a negative, was the inflation picture; August consumer prices rose 3.5% from a year earlier, and in fact, inflation is now higher than what the Chinese banks are paying on deposits, meaning that real savings are stagnating. At some point, the authorities will have to address this mismatch, but so far, they have been reluctant to move on the rate front. Another source of support for the metals this morning is coming from the currency side, where the dollar is down by a full Euro on reports of a tentative global banking agreement that would raise capital requirements across G-20 banks, but which markets perceive will benefit the European banks the most. ...  China also reported its latest local production output levels for August summarized in our attachment. We note that refined copper production inched down 0.3% in August, a second straight fall from the June peak, but for the first eight months of the year, output was up 17.5% from a year earlier. Aluminum output was also down month over month, but is running at about 37% higher on a year-over-year basis. ... Nickel is at $23,000, up $500; two consecutive closes above $23,000 resistance could lead to a decent breakout on the charts.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) The stainless steel mills in Taiwan are expected to adjust up their list prices by NT$3,000~4,000/ton for the second half of September.
  • (MF) According to a market analyst organization, shortage of nickel supply will rise to 85,000 tons this year, but the nickel supply and demand will return to balance after new productions start operation within 5 years. This year, the nickel production was estimated to reach 1.4 million tons, according to Mr. Jim Lennon, the analyst in Macquarie Securities. He also predicted that nickel price would keep high at above US$20,000 through 2010 but subsequently slide to US$15,000~20,000/ton in next 5 years after new nickel productions start to put into operation.
  • (JMB) Orders for stainless steel plates/sheets/ In July, declined by 27% to 142,300 tons/ Ni steel sheet exports decline steeply
  • (SC) Stainless steel production appears to have stabilised and this has helped push nickel inventories lower, while Deutsche notes the marginal cost of production at present is around 33% below spot prices. Near-term the broker expects a deficit in the nickel market but the longer-term view remains one of a surplus, meaning nickel's fundamentals are not as positive as for copper. As with nickel, zinc's current fundamentals are supporting the price as stocks are declining and smelting margins are coming under pressure in Deutsche's view.
  • (AMM) Nickel premiums in the United States are holding steady even after the emergence of a backwardation on the nearby spread on the London Metal Exchange, market participants told AMM.
  • (MF) According to the Japanese Iron and Steel Institute, Japan's stainless steel exports in July was 109,860 tons, down by 7.7 percent compared with that of last month, but sliding by 0.5 percent year-on-year.

  Output Of Nickel-Contained Pig Iron In China For July 2010 Decreased = Produced 13,400 Tons On Ni Content Base As Decreased By About 10% From That In June - According to an information from China, the quantity of nickel-contained pig iron (including low grade ferro-nickel) produced in China in July of 2010 came down to 328,000 tons on material base, corresponding to 13,450 tons on Ni content base, which decreased by 9.6% on material base and by 21% on Ni content base in comparison with those in the previous month of June. - more

  China Aug iron ore output 2nd biggest, steel steady - China's iron ore output rose 2 percent in August to the second highest on record and steel production stagnated, but this might not be enough to stop iron ore imports recovering in coming months. - more

  Miner hikes nickel resource estimate for Surigao project - Canadian miner Mindoro Resources Ltd. has increased the mineral resource estimate for its Agata nickel project in Surigao del Norte. - 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  
  • 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 9

  We are on the road tomorrow and Friday so we are unable to advise when, or even if, we will be able to update the site Thursday or Friday. We apologize for the inconvenience and will make every effort to update if time and conditions permit.

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel imports rose 25.2% in July from last month, and was up 194.4% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
  • (Dow Jones) U.S. nickel exports rose 6.1% in July from the previous month, and was up 160.7% from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
  • BDI gained 13 points to 2,988
  • Nickel stored in LME approved warehouses lipped overnight and now stand just under 119,000 tonnes.
  • Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.31/lb after a late day rally was unable to cover early session declines.
  • MF Global is not publishing a daily update until Monday Sept 13
  • LME Morning - Metals bounce off earlier lows as equities turn positive - more
  • (TTN) The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 0.4 percent in July from its June level, rising for the second consecutive month, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today.
  • Reuters Metals Insider - pdf here

Wednesday, September 8

  We are on the road tomorrow and Friday so we are unable to advise when, or even if, we will be able to update the site Thursday or Friday. We apologize for the inconvenience and will make every effort to update if time and conditions permit.

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up

  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 57 to 2,975. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China `Tightening' Speculation Follows Property Surge // Mexico Beats China as Cessna Shows Low Wages Converge With Easier Shipping // Maersk Line Says Box Shippers May Cut Capacity as Demand Growth Declines // China's Stocks Decline on Property Tightening, Bank Profitability Concerns // Japan Machine Orders Gain, Backing BOJ Pause on Adding Stimulus // China Supplants U.S. at Top of Ernst & Young Ranking for Renewable Energy // Malaysia Challenging U.K. as Finance Hub for Shariah Law: Islamic Finance // German Industrial Production Rises Less Than Forecast // Most European Stocks Fall, Led by Banks; Ericsson Shares Rally // Homebuilders Revive Stalled U.S. Projects as Banks Unload Lots // Record-Low Rates Should Prompt Debt Sales to Pay for Buybacks, Tilson Says // Job Openings in U.S. Rose in July by 178,000 to 3.04 Million // U.S. Stocks Rise as Concern Eases Over Europe Debt Crisis; JPMorgan Gains
  • The Euro is trading over 1/2 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. Nymex crude is higher by 1-1/2% and trading at $75.21/barrel. Gold is up slightly and silver is up 2/3 of 1%. Base metals ended mostly higher, with only aluminum lagging. Indicator charts show nickel spent the day on the incline and except for a couple of pauses during the session, it never looked back. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.39/lb , it's highest close since May 10th. Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouse slumped for a 4th consecutive day and now sit just under the 119,300 tonne level. While the lowest for the month, this total remains higher than anytime in August or since July 15th. Sucden's day old charts shows nickel's most recent bull run (chart here) thru yesterday's trading. September trading is starting to look like August's, when traders took nickel to $10.34/lb on the 9th, when it began to slide. This slide ended on August 25th, and we have been on the upswing ever since.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MB) Stainless steel end users expressed their concerns about the current volatility in nickel prices to delegates at the MB stainless and special steel conference in Rome. They also told delegates that stainless steel substitution is a serious possibility.
  • (MFG) Chinese steel production remained high in August, but could slow down in the months ahead after several provinces ordered steel mills to limit production. China produced 1.7 million tons of crude steel in August, higher than an average 1.66 million tons produced in July.
  • What Salary Buys Happiness in Your City? - more
  • Kansas City, Dallas Feds Called for Rate Increase - more
  • Employment: Is this Time Different?  - more
  • Summer Rerun: Why the Happy Talk About the Credit Crisis? - more
  • Wall Street Firms to Cut 80,000 Jobs in 18 Months, Whitney Says - more

  Outokumpu sees Q3 Europe stainless steel demand down - Stainless steel demand in Europe is expected to fall 10-20 percent in the third quarter from the previous quarter and pick up later this year, the chief executive of Finland's Outokumpu said on Tuesday. - more

  What's mine(d) is mine... - As a result of a “Beneficiation Policy” existing pre-1994, South Africa moved from being a primary Chrome Ore exporter in the 70’s to the world’s biggest Ferrochrome producer in the 80’s with output of ferrochrome reaching a peak in 2004, never realising the full revenue potential of the resource boon that ended towards middle 2008. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.14/lb higher, with other London traded base mixed and mostly higher. The Euro is trading nearly 2/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is lower by 1/4 of 1% and trading at $73.91/barrel. Gold is nearly 1/10 of 1% higher and silver is up nearly 2/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended lower, with China off slightly. European markets are trading higher this morning, while US futures show Wall Street may open higher. Nickel inventories fell overnight.     
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals turn mixed as risk aversion offsets strong fundamentals - more
  • Reuters morning news - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices fell yesterday, as there was a general retreat across most markets in light of renewed suspicions about the integrity of the European stress tests and questions about an adequate capital cushion for the German banks. The concerns led to the dollar pushing higher against the Euro, another source of downward pressure for commodities. Moreover, many metals were approaching the top end of their trading ranges already, and so the stage was set for a pullback of sorts to set in. In terms of today’s trading, we are seeing metals moving into positive territory after erasing earlier declines. Oil markets are also slightly higher, and US equity markets are called to open up as well after a disappointing session yesterday. The dollar is slightly weaker, but European worries have not dissipated; Irish bond spreads hit fresh peaks today as the country extended its guarantees for short-term bank liabilities. .... Nickel is at $22,400, up $205, but nearing resistance at $23,000. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Interfax) General Manager of Chinese nickel producer Jinchuan Group Ltd., Wang Haizhou, said on Sept. 6 that the company is actively seeking overseas mineral resource acquisitions in order to increase its nickel and copper output, state media reported the next day
  • (CD) "Jinchuan is looking for overseas nickel resources in Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, South Africa, Canada, Cuba and Australia and also investing in copper projects in Chile, Peru, Kazakhstan, Congo and the Philippines, to secure raw materials and cash in on the growing demand," he said.
  • (AP) Chinese nickel producer Jinchuan Group Ltd plans to expand its nickel and copper output through overseas acquisitions, Wang Haizhou, president of Jinchuan Group, told China Daily on Tuesday. The company will increase its nickel output from 130,000 tons last year to 200,000 tons by 2015 and boost its copper production by 45 per cent to 600,000 tons in two years.
  • (SSC) On 28 August Chengwei Stainless Steel Inc. signed an agreement with Wuxi Industrial Park in Luxi County, Hunan Province regarding the construction of a new 350,000tn annual capacity stainless steel mill.
  • (MB) MB Stainless Steel Conf:Outokumpu unhappy with nickel volatility will introduce more ferritic stainless steel grades- Rantanen
  • Mirabela Nickel to raise up to $181m - more

  Jinchuan hits acquisition trail - Nickel producer Jinchuan Group Ltd plans to expand its nickel and copper output through overseas acquisitions, Wang Haizhou, president of Jinchuan Group, told China Daily on Tuesday. - more

  Italy 2010 stainless steel demand seen up 20 pct - Stainless steel demand in Italy, Europe's second-biggest market after Germany by consumption, is expected to rise about 20 percent this year, recovering after a drop in 2009, a leading product distributor said on Tuesday. - more

  Courtesy AISI - In the week ending September 4, 2010, domestic raw steel production was 1,708,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 70.6 percent. Production was 1,441,000 tons in the week ending September 4, 2009, while the capability utilization then was 60.2 percent. The current week production represents a 18.5 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending September 4, 2010 is up 0.6 percent from the previous week ending August 28, 2010 when production was 1,698,000 tons and the rate of capability utilization was 70.2 percent.

  Rusal Launches 'Save Norilsk Nickel' Website to Promote its Action Plan to Enhance Value for all Shareholders - more (and the website)

  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  
  • 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 7

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 37 to 2,918.   (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) U.S. Outlook Prompts Warnings by Japan, Australia Central Banks // China Industrial Output Slowdown Will Deepen in Second Half, Ministry Says // Buffett-Backed BYD Falls After August Vehicle Sales Decline // China Stocks Rise to 4-Month High as Material Producers Rally; Banks Drop // Asian Stocks Fall for First Time in Five Days; Japanese Automakers Decline // German Factory Orders Unexpectedly Declined in July on Exports // Europe's Banks Stressed By Sovereign Debts Regulators Ducked // French Unions to Strike as Sarkozy Pension Bill Debate Starts // European Stocks Fall as Banks, Basic-Resources Shares Decline // Unemployment in U.S. May Rise Toward 10% on `Feeble' Growth // Wall Street Needs `Off-the-Charts' September to Rescue Quarter // Gold's Most-Accurate Forecaster Hitzfeld Raises 2011's Estimate to $1,400 // Burry, Predictor of Mortgage Collapse, Bets on Farmland, Gold // U.S. Stocks Decline on Concern European Debt Crisis May Worsen
  • The Euro is now trading 1.15% lower against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is down 1.14% and trading at $73.75/barrel. Gold is up over 8/10 of 1% and flirting with a new record high, while silver is up just over 1/10 of 1%. Base metals ended the session mixed and mostly lower, as most metals were unable to beat the higher valued Dollar. Indicator charts show nickel was in trouble early on, but as US markets opened, it began a climb that only lost steam late in the session. For the day, Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.07/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses lipped overnight and now total just under 119,500 tonnes. Sucden did not update their day old nickel chart today. Nickel traders are apparently betting that the news that pig nickel producers being shut down in China will more than offset the news that steel producers in China are also being shut down, due to power restraints. The former news will tend to lead one to believe China will be forced to import more refined nickel. The latter would much of the former, but traders apparently are betting not very much. The China stainless steel price index we follow is at 107.10 today, compared to 105.73 last Tuesday. Deciding whether that is demand driven or a reaction to higher nickel, is not immediately clear.  

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (TET) Annual growth in Chinese factory output will slow to 10 percent in the second half of this year, a government official said on Tuesday.
  • Jim Rickards Tells His Clients To Get Out Of Stocks And Discusses The Fed's Final "Golden" Bullet - more
  • European Stress Tests and more - more
  • Index Points to Slowdown in Hiring - more
  • U.S. Job Creation Improves Slightly in August - more
  • A Visual Guide to Inflation - more
  • Tracking Rural Stimulus Dollars - graph here

  Acerinox sees stainless steel demand recovery in Q4 - Currently sluggish global demand for stainless steel is expected to recover in the last quarter of 2010, the chief executive of Acerinox, the world's largest stainless steel maker, said on Tuesday. - more

  Nickel contango at LME declines - In the month of August, nickel prices on LME fell by 2.13% to $20700/Mt but gained by 1.68% to Rs.970/Kg on MCX, owing to weaker rupee.  - more

  Demand for Steel Supports South Africa's Ferrochrome and Manganese Mining Industry - The ferrochrome and manganese mining industry is primarily driven by the global demand for steel, which is the largest end-user sector for the alloy. - more

  Tata Steel in Talks to Sell South African Unit KZN, Managing Director Says - Tata Steel Ltd. is looking for a buyer for its South African unit after agreeing to sell its Teesside operations in the U.K., as India’s largest steelmaker seeks to reduce debt. - more

  Allegheny Ludlum shuts down Natrona melt shop - Allegheny Ludlum's 8-7 Department -- better known as the Natrona melt shop -- now exists only in the company's history. - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around  $.21/lb lower, with all London traded base metals lower this morning. The Euro is trading nearly 1% lower against the US Dollar, adding pressure to commodity trading. NYMEX crude oil is down nearly 1.9% and trading at $73.21/barrel. Gold is trading over 1/10 of 1% higher while silver is down over 3/4 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended slightly higher, with China up nearly 3/10 of 1%. European markets are trading lower this morning as renewed banking worries drive the Euro lower. US markets, closed yesterday, may have missed out on yesterday's gains, and presently show in futures trading that they will open lower. Nickel inventories fell overnight.  
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • Reuters morning report - more
  • LME Morning - Base metals retreat on dollar bounce, renewed risk aversion - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals finished with slight gains on Monday following a modestly positive close on Friday when the US nonfarm payroll report came out showing August private payrolls climbing by 67,000. The July gain was revised to +107,000, also more than initially estimated. Although the bullish impact of these releases were blunted by the worse-than-expected ISM-services reading, which dipped to 51.5 in August and is now getting uncomfortably close to the contraction point below 50, most markets still managed to hang on to decent gains. US stocks, in particular, had a particularly impressive finish on Friday. Last week’s euphoria seems to be fading today, as we are sharply lower against the board, mainly as a result of the stronger dollar, now at $1.2760 against the Euro. The greenback is soaring on account of reports casting some doubt about the viability of the European stress tests and required capital cushions. In this regard, the Wall Street Journal reported that the recently conducted tests understated some bank holdings of potentially risky government debt, as some institutions did not provide a comprehensive picture of their holdings. Some banks excluded certain government bonds, while others reduced the sums held to account for short positions —-facts that neither regulators nor the banks disclosed when the test results were published in late July. "Because of the limited nature of most banks' disclosures, it is impossible to gauge the number of banks that excluded portions of their sovereign portfolios from their disclosures, or the overall effect of that practice", the article says. Also causing some nervousness, is a report by Germany's banking association that the country's 10 biggest banks may need 105 billion Euros of additional capital under revamped “Basel II” rules. Although both these news items came out yesterday, they seem to be doing the most damage today, pulling equity markets in Asia and Europe lower, and delivering the sharp losses we are seeing in both metals and energy. US equity markets are expected to open lower as well after four days of gains.   ....  Nickel is at $21680, down $470, and had a good run higher last week, taking out the short-term down channel that was in place, (red line), but we seem to be coming back for another test.   (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) China’s Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Tisco) has announced new price for the 37th week (September 7 – September 13). The ex-work price of 304 hot rolled and cold rolled stainless steel coils was up by RMB400/ton.
  • (SBB) China stainless prices stable, market cautious - European stainless sheet prices roll over, volumes firming
  • (AP) China's top nickel producer the Jinchuan Group has raised the price of refined nickel by 2,000 yuan (US$294.69) metric ton (tonne) to 169,000 yuan/tonne starting from Monday, according to information from its website. The company lowered the refined nickel price by 4,000 yuan tonne to 167,000 yuan/tonne on August 23, the first price cut since early June.
  • (Interfax) China's central government on Sept. 6 released guidelines on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) within several industries, including the steel, aluminum and rare earth industries.
  • Potential for Double-Dip Recession Seems Small - more

  China orders steel output cut, steelmakers surge - Asian steelmaker shares soared as China intensified a curb on mill output, though analysts warn more work is needed to trim oversupply in the world's top producer. - more

  Posco / South Korea Moves To Produce Stainless Steel At Full Capacity From September = Commenced To Increase Purchases Of Stainless Steel Scrap - Posco of South Korea has moved to produce crude stainless steel at full capacity from September. - more

  Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 31st August 2010 = Indian Silico-Manganese Has Taken Offensive To Reduce Its Price - The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 31st August of 2010 is as follows - more

  Australia's Government Committed to Mining Tax, Swan Says - Julia Gillard’s government is “determined” to press ahead with its election promise to introduce a mine profit tax in Australia, Treasurer Wayne Swan said after the Labor party won support to form government. - 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  
  • 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 6

  Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $10.02/lb

  World Steel Consumption Forecast to be over 1470 million tonnes in 2014 - Global consumption of finished steel in 2010 is expected to be approaching 1260 million tonnes. - more

  North China steelmakers told to close for a month - Eighteen steel mills in Wuan district of Hebei province in north China have been ordered to shut down operations for up to one month, the China Securities Journal reported on Monday. - more

  Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals finished with slight gains on Friday, but closed off their best levels of the day. Initial bullish enthusiasm was generated by the nonfarm payroll report showing private payrolls climbing by 67,000 in August, while the July gain was revised to +107,000, also more than initially estimated. Overall employment fell 54,000 for a second month, (much less than the 120,000 decline expected), but the unemployment rate ticked higher to 9.6%, as more people entered the labor force. However, this bullish release lost some of its steam after the ISM-services reading came out showing the index slipping to 51.5 in August from 54.3 in July, and getting uncomfortably close to the contraction point below 50. We are slightly higher today in metals in very quiet trading. A solid close in Shanghai has led to the firmer tone we are seeing, as are gains seen in Asian and European stock markets. The dollar is holding steady at $1.29 against the Euro, although energy prices are down by about $.30.

  The Baltic Dry Index - +5 to 2,881

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

  • Indicators at 7:10 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.18/lb higher, with other base metals all trading higher. The Euro is trading over 1/10 of 1% lower against the US Dollar, which is typically negative for base metals trading, but not during a bull run. NYMEX crude oil is lower by nearly 1/2 of 1% and trading at $74.26/barrel. Gold is up 4/10 of 1% and silver is down slightly. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up nearly 1.9%. European markets are higher this morning, while Wall Street is closed for Labor Day. Nickel inventories fell over the weekend, and now sit just under the 118,900 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru Friday and the big up and down day on Friday (chart here). The afternoon collapse in Friday's earlier gains did help push the RSI and SStoch out of overbought territory and technically speaking, the bulls have room to run again. It is a holiday here in the States so we will give periodic updates thru the morning.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning -Base metals rise on strong equities, bullish Q4 outlook - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • (Yieh) Regardless of low inventory, Taiwan’s stainless steel market remained depressed this week amid unstable nickel price and weak demands from end users. Currently, buyers only purchased small quantities for urgent usage, so stockiest don’t want to take risk to buy large quantities for replenishment.
  • (DJ) China Jinchuan Ups Refined Nickel Prices By 1.2% To CNY169,000/Ton

  LME Inventories Data- 6 Sep 2010 - more

  European nickel business returns, but premiums hold steady - Physical nickel premiums in Europe held steady in the first week of September despite an increase in demand for the alloy metal as most participants returned to the market. - more

  New Caledonia’s Koniambo nickel project moves into new phase - The first four Chinese-built modules have been shipped to New Caledonia’s north as plans for the new multi-billion dollar Koniambo nickel smelter project appear to be on track. - more

  Mining promotion to focus - In the midst of controversies over the ban on open pit mining, the Board of Investments (BOI) is revising the list of mining projects that it will sell to investors, focusing only on those which do not face problems, especially community opposition. - more

  Friday evening - Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day and week at $9.79/lb , down $.01 from Thursday after the knee jerk reaction to the US payroll report fails to hold.

  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  
  • 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 3

  Next update Monday morning - have a safe and restful weekend!

   Nickel trading over the $10/lb mark on 'not as bad as expected' US employment data. Baltic Dry Index up 41 points to 2,876.

  (US) Nonfarm payroll employment changed little (-54,000) in August, and the unemployment rate was about unchanged at 9.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Government employment fell, as 114,000 temporary workers hired for the decennial census completed their work. Private-sector payroll employment continued to trend up modestly (+67,000). The number of unemployed persons (14.9 million) and the unemployment rate (9.6 percent) were little changed in August. From May through August, the jobless rate remained in the range of 9.5 to 9.7 percent. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men (9.8 per-cent), adult women (8.0 percent), teenagers (26.3 percent), whites (8.7 per-cent), blacks (16.3 percent), and Hispanics (12.0 percent) showed little change in August. The jobless rate for Asians was 7.2 percent, not season-ally adjusted. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) declined by 323,000 over the month to 6.2 million. In August, 42.0 percent of unemployed persons had been jobless for 27 weeks or more. - more (Euro and nickel spike higher on the news)

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

  • Indicators at 7:20 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.11/lb higher, with other London traded base metals mixes and quiet, as the world nervously awaits August payroll numbers from the US. The Euro is trading over 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is lower by 3/4 of 1% and trading at $74.46/barrel. Gold is slightly lower, while silver is also slightly lower. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended the session higher, while China fell slightly. European markets are higher this morning, and US futures are quiet ahead of the payroll report. Nickel inventories fell overnight and now sit just over the 120,350 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel's bull run this week (chart here). We will be on the road this afternoon, so will be unable to offer an afternoon update. We will add a note in a few minutes on the payroll report and its apparent effect on metals trading, and update the BDI number. At the moment, nickel is off earlier high's and its trend over the last few hours has been stalled to just slightly lower.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals consolidate just below highs while market awaits key payrolls data - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals prices finished higher yesterday, rising on the back of a weaker dollar and retaining a more sure-footed tone after a string of data out this week dispelled doubts that the US economy might be tipping back into a recession. In addition to the better-than expected ISM readings out Wednesday, yesterday’s reports did surprise as much, but nevertheless came in on the respectable side. In this regard, although July factory orders came in less than forecast, rising by only .1%, this was still the first increase since April. In addition, sales of existing houses unexpectedly climbed by 5.2% in July from a record low, and came in well ahead of estimates. Lastly, the number of first-time filers for unemployment insurance fell for a second straight week last week to 472,000, down 6,000 on the period, and coming in a little less than forecast. Claims have been stuck in the mid- to upper-400,000 range for about nine months now, spiking above 500,000 for the first time since November recently, but have since been falling back.  Metals are modestly higher right now, but conditions are very quiet, as markets brace for today’s key nonfarm payroll report out in the next half an hour. About 42,000 jobs were expected to have been created in the private sector this past month, while the overall reading (including government jobs) is expected to show a loss of 120,000. ISM services readings also come out later in the day (expected at 53.2). .... We remain cautious about the short-term outlook in metals, since many complexes are at the top end of their trading ranges, and could get knocked back in the event that the nonfarm payroll number disappoints. However, it is likely we will have to wait until next week before a clearer picture emerges. ...... We are at $21,900 on nickel, up $250, with prices working methodically higher, but there are chart resistance points close by that could make further advances somewhat more difficult.  (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (TAA) JSW Steel and Ispat Industries have raised prices this month citing firm global rates and rising input costs.
  • (MNP) Two of the five plaintiffs involved in an injunction to stop the construction and operation of a deepsea tailings placement system at the $US1.4 billion ($A1.5 billion) Ramu nickel development in Papua New Guinea, have pulled out of the court action.
  • (Interfax) Iron ore stockpiles at China's 22 major ports fell 1.04 percent from Aug. 27 to 71.05 million tons on Sep. 3, including 15.59 million tons of Indian iron ore stockpiles that fell 1.52 percent, according to Shanghai-based Mysteel Information's Sep. 3 figures
  • (MF) According to newest sources, Linyi Sanhui Fuel Co., Ltd, located in Shandong province, is a renowned ferronickel producer, specializing in 6-8% ferronickel. Its daily output is 60-70 tons and monthly output is 2,000 tons around. It current production has been already ordered and inventory is very limited. When nickel alloys market is on uptrend, its capacity could be 6,000 tons around. As Linyi government implements backward capacity elimination policy, local pig iron nickel producers would be badly affected. In early Sept, Sanhui Fuel would turn one furnace to produce pig iron nickel to relieve tight supply.
  • (Macquarie Research) Chinese production and net trade in commodities for July suggest that while China's influence on global demand has clearly diminished compared with last year, net trade and production have remained at steady levels over the past few months. With destocking in the first half of this year appearing to have come to an end, the fall in Chinese apparent demand is likely to have stabilised and should be rising in Q4.
  • (JMB) NSSC Increases Ni Stainless Sheet, Plate by 10,000 yen
  • (SBB)
  • (Dow Jones) The Russian Economy Ministry will insist on a formula to calculate nickel export duty which would effectively remove extra profit margin earned by exporters, especially when prices go above $15,000-$17,000 per metric ton, Deputy Economy Minister Alexey Likhachev said at a briefing in Moscow Thursday, as quoted by the ministry's press service.
  • (China) Steel industry outlook still hazy - more

  NGO researcher says PNG Mining Minister trying to intimidate - A researcher with the newly-formed State Crime Initiative says Papua New Guinea’s Mining Minister has made a poorly veiled effort to intimidate NGOs battling the Ramu nickel mine’s deep sea tailings disposal system. - more

  Ruukki studies 250 MW plant to supply Mogale Alloys - Finnish company Ruukki plans to start a feasibility study for a proposed 250-MW power plant to provide its Mogale Alloys venture in South Africa with reliable electricity supply, by the fourth quarter of this year. - more

   Solidarity accepts wage offer  - Trade union Solidarity on Thursday accepted a 5.5 percent wage increase offer from the Columbus Stainless Steel plant in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, the company said. - more

  Deripaska on US mission - Oleg Deripaska, chief executive of Rusal, the Russian aluminum monopoly, is preparing a series of presentations to institutional investors next week in Boston and New York, chaperoned by one of his largest creditor banks, BNP Paribas. - more

  How Stainless Steel Is Made

  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  
  • 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 2

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 94 to 2,835. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Doesn't Face Inflation Risk This Year, Former PBOC Advisor Fan Says // Yuan Rises Most in Two Weeks on Reference Rate Reflecting Dollar Declines // China's Property Market in `Very Big Bubble,' StarRock's Jiang Hui Say // Asian Stocks Rise to Two-Week High on U.S. Manufacturing; Ping An Climbs // ECB Keeps Key Interest Rate at 1%, May Maintain Crisis Mode Into Next Year // U.K. House Prices Decline Most in Six Months, Nationwide Says // European Exports, Investments Spur Economy's Recovery // EU May Limit Naked Shorts of Stocks, Government Debt // European Stocks Decline; Pernod Ricard, Yara International Fall // Hurricane Earl Strengthens, Bears Down on North Carolina Coast // Economy Avoids Recession Relapse as Data Can't Get Much Worse // Pending Sales of Existing Homes Unexpectedly Increase in July // Bernanke Says Federal Reserve, Regulators Could Have Tackled Risks Better // Most Stocks Gain, Treasuries, Dollar Drop
  • The Euro continues to trade 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is up over 4/10 of 1% and trading at $74.23/barrel. Gold is up over 1/2 of 1% and silver is higher by more than 1.1%. Base metals ended the second trading day of September higher, on speculation the economy is doing better than many reports show. Indicator charts show nickel opened higher and spent the session in a gradual climb. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.81/lb . Stockpiles of nickel stored in LME approved warehouses rose again overnight, and now sit just over the 120,510 tonne level. Sucden's day old chart show nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). The SStoch reading showed nickel in overbought territory this morning, while the RSI number showed traders still had technical room to rise. Nickel got an additional boost from a Reuters report that China is cracking down on heavy energy users and polluters, including pig nickel producers. The Baltic Dry Index continues to climb, up another 94 points. We posted a link to AK Steel's October surcharge's this morning, and have added North American Stainless and Universal Stainless this afternoon. Allegheny has yet to post.

  Reports

  • Commodities Daily - pdf here
  • Reuters Metals Insider - pdf here
  • North American October Stainless Steel surcharge - here
  • Universal Stainless October Stainless Steel surcharge - pdf here

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.17/lb higher, with other London traded base metals also trading higher, albeit more reserved. The Euro is trading nearly 1/10 of 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude oil is lower by nearly 9/10 of 1% and at $73.26/barrel. Gold is trading nearly 1/2 of 1% higher, while silver is up more than 7/10 of 1%. In overnight trading, Asian markets ended higher, with China up 1.3%. European markets are slightly lower at the moment, and US futures show Wall Street has yet to decide a direction. Nickel inventories rose again overnight. According to the AK Steel October 2010 stainless steel surcharge form, linked to below, the average price of nickel rose from $8.853/lb in July to $9.7194/lb in August, molybdenum from $14.075/lb to $15.44/lb, and chrome fell from $1.235/lb to $1.2058/lb.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - Metals extend advances, copper and zinc hit four-month highs - more
  • Reuters - Copper firm, but Friday's jobs number worries - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metal prices soared on Wednesday, teeing off a strong ISM manufacturing figure out of the US that followed the relatively strong Chinese purchasing managers’ release from earlier in the day. The dual reports sparked the broader CRB index to its best single-session gain (+1.6%) in more than a month, while the US stock market staged its biggest one-day rally in eight weeks. Moreover, with participants showing a willingness to hold riskier assets, the dollar had its worst daily showing in a month, while US treasury yields pushed markedly higher.  .... As of this writing, we are higher once again in a number of metal complexes, with the weaker dollar (now at $1.2830 against the Euro) the likely factor behind today’s push. However, energy markets are off slightly after a good run yesterday, while US equities are called to open flat, so metals are somewhat on their own at this stage. Despite yesterday’s sharp move and the current bounce higher, we remain cautious about the short-term outlook. Technically, many metals have pushed near the top or outside of their trading ranges, arguing for caution going forward. Moreover, the positive ISM number that sparked yesterday’s move reminds us of the better-than-expected industrial production figure released a few weeks ago that similarly triggered a sizable rally in a number of markets only for the gains to fizzle out in the weeks ahead on a lack of follow-through. Therefore, a lot will ride on what happens with the US macro numbers rolled out over the balance of the week, with Friday's key nonfarm payroll figures being especially critical. Early indications are that the number could disappoint given that the private sector ADP payroll report (out yesterday as well) came in on the negative side, showing 10,000 jobs being lost versus the 13,000 gain expected.  ....  In other news, trading volumes on the London Metal Exchange's steel futures contract hit a record high in August for the sixth month in a row, exceeding 1.6 million tons for the first time ever, the exchange said on Wednesday. August was the first full month that the exchange merged its two regional steel futures contracts. The August figures bring the total volume generated on steel since the start of 2010 to just over 100,000 lots equivalent to about 1.1% of the global billet market. ..... We are at $21,460 on nickel, up $410, and fairly quiet within the trading range. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Reuters)  Reuters reports that output of nickel pig iron is set to drop in China as the government steps up efforts to cut energy consumption. NPI plants consume quite a bit of energy as they use low-grade laterite ores. Apparently, some 11-12 tons of laterite ores are smelted to produce one ton of NPI with 12-14% nickel content.
  • (MB) Nickel pig iron (NPI) smelters in China's Shanxi province have been ordered to close for at least a month to save energy and meet Beijing's emission targets
  • Manufacturing figures ease fears of slowdown - more
  • (MF) Shaanxi Head-Moly Industry Co., Ltd. has stopped production for more than 10 days. We don’t know the concrete reason, but we think that it is related to current weak market on moly.
  • (MB) NSSC raises 300-series price on higher nickel, stronger yen
  • (Yieh) Although the global economy is slack recovery, Taiwan's fastener export volume still grew to about 655,000 tons in the first seven months of 2010, sharply increasing by 64 percent from a year ago.
  • Euro Zone Expands One Percent in the Second Quarter - more
  • Is major crash in offing for Dow Jones? - more

  Strategy Of FeCr Price For 4th Quarter 2010 Has Already Moved = South African Producers Intend To Rise The Price, Wall Is Cooled Down Market In Europe - Since major producers in South Africa intend to rise price of charge chrome for shipments in the fourth quarter (October - December) of 2010, they have already moved to underpin spot price of high carbon ferro-chrome (charge chrome). - more

  Mining companies discount as steel output falls - The price of steelmaking commodities iron ore and coking coal will drop next quarter by 12 per cent and 7 per cent respectively as reduced steel production prompts mining companies Vale, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton to offer discounts. - more

  AK Steel Announces October 2010 Surcharges for Electrical and Stainless Steels - AK Steel has advised its customers that a $350 per ton surcharge will be added to invoices for electrical steel products shipped in October 2010. October 2010 surcharges for the broad range of stainless steel products that AK Steel produces can be found on the company's web site at www.aksteel.com. - more  (AK Steel October surcharge - pdf here)

  Mine opponents have the right to protest - In the past few years, an area on state land about 20 miles away from Marquette has caught the eye of a mining company called Kennecott. The area is called Eagle Rock in the Yellow Dog Plains, and is expected to yield 250 to 300 million pounds of nickel and about 200 million pounds of copper, as well as several other minerals. - more

  Putin opposes Deripaska's Norilsk dividend plan - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said shareholders of Norilsk Nickel had moved forward to resolve a dispute and called for nickel and copper export duties to be linked to global 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  
  • 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 1

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Wrap-up
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 28 to 2,741. (chart)
  • Dollar graph in lower right corner of this page - (chart of dollar index) (live java chart)
  • Headlines & leaders - (Bloomberg) China Manufacturing Quickens From Weakest Since 2009 // China Stocks Drop on Concern Over Property Tightening, Small-Cap Valuation // China's Commerce Ministry Says U.S. Tariff to Upset International Trade // Yuan Drops Third Day on Signs China Seeks Stability Versus Currency Basket // Typhoon Kompasu Strengthens, Forecast to Hit Korean Peninsula // China, Japan Lead Asia's August Car-Sales Surge on Incentives // Australia Growth Quickens to Fastest Pace in Three Years // Asian Stocks Rise on China Manufacturing, Australian GDP Data; BHP Climbs // Europe Manufacturing Growth Slows as Germany, Italy Ease // German Retail Sales Unexpectedly Fall a Second Month // European Stocks Gain on China Manufacturing // Fed Minutes Signal Renewed Large-Scale Asset Purchases May Not Be Imminent // Hurricane Earl Powers Toward U.S. as Emergency Agencies Prepare // New York Mortgage Agency Borrowing Costs Fall 30% as Bonds Catch on `Fire' // GM Sales Fall 25% as Unemployment Wards Off Consumers // Manufacturing Index for U.S. Increased in August // ADP Estimates Companies in U.S. Unexpectedly Cut Jobs // Construction Spending in U.S. Declined Twice as Much as Forecast in July //
  • Stocks Rise, Treasuries Decline as Manufacturing Reports Boost Confidence
  • The Euro continues to trade nearly 1% higher against the US Dollar. NYMEX crude is up 3% and trading at $74.08/barrel. Gold is lower by 1/10 of 1% and silver is off 3/10 of 1%. Base metals started the month of September in the winner's circle. Indicator charts show nickel  jumped early on China PMI data, got an extra boost from US PMI numbers, then calmed some before closing. Dow Jones reports three month nickel ended the day at $9.54/lb , not quite recovering all of yesterday's loss. Stockpiles of nickel store in LME approved warehouses took a big jump overnight, gaining over 1400 tonnes and totals now rest just shy of the 120,100 tonne level. Inventories now sit about where they did on July 13th of this year, and this level was last seen prior to that in September of 2009. Sucden's day old chart shows nickel trading thru yesterday (chart here). Although nickel jumped today, it appeared to be a weaker gain than could be expected considering the positive PMI numbers from both China and the US, and the stronger Euro. Maybe traders are just a little gun shy to buy into some rare good news, to the inventory gain today kept any knee jerk reaction in check. The Baltic Dry Index continues to gain, adding 28 points today. US reports were a mixed bag, containing mostly bad news, but the trump card was the unexpected improvement in the PMI reading. We chart PMI numbers for 4 countries (here). With that, and the early boost from a rising China PMI number, most world markets went positive, and most remain so. In nickel and stainless news, if it wasn't for the soap opera in Russia, which itself took a break today, there wouldn't be much to talk about.

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Articles and Comments

  • (MB) Nickel pig iron (NPI) smelters in China's Shanxi province have been ordered to close for at least a month to save energy and meet Beijing's emission targets
  • (Platou Markets) Drybulk market tracking Chinese domestic steel prices, weekly decline continues. Domestic steel prices in China have declined for a second consecutive week, signaling the market continue to be well supplied. Despite some Chinese steel mills announcing price hikes of up to CNY 1000 per tonne from September, price increases have started to normalize and momentum appear to be stalling. Baosteel which has played a role of Chinese price trend setter have not announced material price hikes and kept the benchmark HRC price unchanged. Steel prices are still off from their yearly highs by 10-15% amid challenges pertaining to Chinese policy matters of tighter curbs on the property market, restricted exports and high inventories. Latest data from China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing said this morning that Chinese steel inventories currently are at 81 mt vs 90 mt at all time high earlier this year. This equals an inventory turnover of 1.2 months compared to the 25 days said to be a normal level. It is therefore still a risk that the drybulk market and the Capesize segment in particular may see slow iron ore demand until steel inventories are drawn down further. Once inventories are drawn down, we believe steel prices could see a stronger trend and as iron ore and coking coal prices for Q4 seems to be lowered from Q3 (Vale rumoured to cut prices iron ore prices 10-11% while BHP is rumoured to offer coking coal at 4-5% lower prices to Japanese buyers), steel margins may improve again later this year/ early in 2011 and trigger renewed momentum in steel output.
  • Australia’s MasterChef Effect - more
  • Fed Discussed Reinvesting in Mortgages - more
  • Amid Downturn, Divorce and Infidelity Decrease - more
  • Lowering the heat around raising retirement age - more
  • What Makes America Great: Layoffs! - more
  • The Great Depression in Economic Memory - more
  • MBA: Purchase Application activity - more
  • If Only China Were More Like Japan - more

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

  • Indicators at 7:15 am CST show 3 month nickel trading around $.12/lb higher, with all London traded base metals higher on a stronger Euro and positive China PMI data. The Euro is trading nearly a full percent higher against the US Dollar this morning. NYMEX crude is up nearly 1% and trading at $72.58/barrel. Gold is up nearly 1/2 of 1% and silver is slightly higher. In overnight trading, most Asian markets ended higher, while China fell 2/3 of 1%. European markets are trading higher this morning, and US futures show Wall Street should pen bullishly. Nickel inventories rose overnight. In weather, Korea braces for the arrival of  Kompasu (here) while the US watches Earl (here), and La Niña strengthens in the Pacific - more.
  • Bloomberg morning base metal news - more
  • LME Morning - China's manufacturing data pushes base metals higher - more

  Reports

  Commodity/Economic Comments

  • Edward Meir of MF Global Morning Comments - Metals lost ground yesterday, but finished off their worst levels of the day after a spate of US macro reports came in somewhat on the positive side. The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index for June rose more than expected, as did August consumer confidence readings, with both releases having an almost immediate impact on US equities and metals. The August Chicago PMI was in line as well. Considering the misses we had in a number of macro indicators in recent weeks, Tuesday's batch of statistics has to be viewed as relatively reassuring. However, the Fed minutes, which were also released yesterday, did raise concerns about slowing growth, particularly for the second half of the year, keeping the advances somewhat in check. Commodity markets look very different this morning, with crude oil prices recouping about one third of yesterday’s steep plunge, while metals are sharply higher across the board. Copper is at four-month highs, and we are seeing good gains as well in both zinc and lead. The dollar is weaker this morning, trading around $1.28 against the euro, and making up modest ground against the yen. US equity markets are also expected to open higher. The trigger behind this morning’s rally is attributable to a decent macro report out of China showing the official purchasing managers' index rising to 51.7 in August from 51.2 in July, with the rise in the new order component seen as being especially supportive. Also helping, is the fact that LME inventories continue to decline, with copper’s break below the 400,000-ton mark earlier this week on the LME being especially notable. Later today out of the US, we get the August ADP employment report, (13,000 jobs expected to have been created), as well as the August ISM report (expected at 53).  ...  Despite today’s China-induced bounce, we think the tone in the metals market will still be primarily influenced by this week’s US macro data, and given the very choppy trends of late, we would not jump in on the long side just yet, preferring to see how the balance of this week’s data plays out. ... We are at $21,000 on nickel, up $300, and fairly quiet. (read Ed Meir's complete morning base metals report here)
  • (Yieh) According to TISCO’s semi-annual report on stainless steel product in 2010, the output of stainless steel was about 1.4 million tons in the first half of this year with net profit around RMB1.8 billion, which increased by 8.7 percent from a year ago.
  • (Interfax) Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed Baoshan Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. (Baosteel) has stated that the prices for iron ore and steel products are set to fall in the fourth quarter of the year (Q4), according to an Aug. 31 company announcement.
  • (MF) Currently, ferrochrome price has been steady in Chinese market. .... There are two main reasons contributing to stable ferrochrome prices. Firstly, mills have already ended purchasing raw materials and no leading price could stimulate ferrochrome market; secondly, overseas quotations are more or less the same with domestic, which can’t give supportive effect on Chinese market.
  • Talvivaara ramps-up sales and production - more
  • China's PMI of manufacturing sector rises to 51.7% in Aug - more
  • Seven lean years: No recovery till 2016 - more

  Ravensthorpe nickel still on track - First Quantum's forced abandonment of its $US226 million ($A252.1 million) Frontier copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo should not affect its planned reopening of the Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia. - more

  Antofagasta / Chile Completes Project To Expand Molybdenum Production = To Produce 20 Million Lbs. Of Moly At Los Pelambres Mine In 2010 - Antofagasta of Chile had been proceeding the project to expand the capacity at Los Pelambres Mine and, consequently, completed this project on the end March of 2010 within budget as scheduled. By this completion of the expansion, Los Pelambres Mine has planned to produce copper : 400,000 tons and molybdenum : 9,200 tons on Mo content base in the calender year of 2010. - more

  Mine boss embarrassed by conviction - A mining industry chief trying to raise $600 million to build Australia's first stainless steel refinery has a criminal conviction. - more

  Putin confident over Norilsk's future - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday the northern city of Norilsk will not face the recent fate of another single-industry town, where residents blocked a major highway to draw attention to difficulties caused by the closure of three plants. - 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  
  • Please let us know if any of these links stop working, stop carrying info, or become available to subscriber's only. We encourage our readers to use the services of those companies who supply reports and information free of charge. Contact us

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

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ferrochrome and chromium prices

Moly Oxide (>51%)
$15.00/lb
 
Source

Ferrochrome(60-65%)(HC)
$1.23/lb
 

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$1.01/lb
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$.65/lb
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