This page is archived news covering the period of September 2007
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Stainless Steel Prices and Nickel News

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

Weekend Review, Sept 29 & 30
  Steel Conference Participants Generally Positive On Price Outlook
  • Respected industry source Metal Bulletin recently held its sixth International Stainless and Special Steel Summit in Finland and analysts at Barclays Capital were present to note some points of interest from the meeting. - more here

  Metals prices to remain strong this year

  • It is reported that medium term risks, such as Chinese demand, production costs, the weakening US dollar and the slowing of the US economy will harm mining credit ratings in spite of strong metals prices. While Standard & Poor's anticipates that strong metals prices will continue for the rest of this year individual mining company risks will strain their credit ratings. - more here

  Scotiabank Commodity Price Index - pdf here

  China threatens death penalty for copper thieves

  • China is threatening the death penalty for people who steel copper wire, thereby destroying power lines and disrupting telecommunications, state media said Wednesday - more here

  Week in Review (different source used than for daily updates)

  • Trading opened the week at $14.83/lb, also the low for Monday, increased to a trading high of $15.16/lb, and close the day at $15.06/lb. Monday would turn out to be the only gaining day of the week, with momentum that had spilled over from the 13.6% gaining prior week, dwindling quickly. The next three days of trading, while ending lower, would prove to be rather uneventful. On Tuesday, the market began trading at $14.86/lb, rose to $14.90/lb, fell to $14.70/lb, where it ended the day. Wednesday's trading opened at $14.72/lb, rose to $15.06/lb, and closed again at its daily low point of $14.67/lb. On Thursday, trading began at $14.75/lb, rose to $15.01/lb, fell to $14.40/lb, and ended at $14.54/lb. With Friday being the end of the third quarter, a noticeable price shift was highly likely, and in this case the profit takers stole the momentum. Markets opened at $14.63/lb, rose to $14.74/lb, fell to $13.65/lb, and ended $13.86/lb. For the week, three month nickel fell 6.42%, for the month, 6.34% higher, for the quarter, 18.5% lower, and since January 1st, 8.95% lower. Most analysts seem as perplexed as we are at the last few weeks of trading. The evidence has yet to be shown, that proves the stainless steel industry is in revival. In the mean time, inventories of nickel stored in LME warehouses, continued to swell. The falling U.S. dollar, and the positive momentum still carrying over from the cut in US interest rates, seem to be the primary motivating support for nickel's gain over the last few weeks.   

  Credit Suisse (from Research Weekly)

  • Despite the price increases of the last 2-3 weeks, we continue to believe that the current price rally is more fragile than many market participants believe. Sentiment toward base metals improved a great deal after the Fed rate cut. However, in the end, prices are determined by the physical supply/demand balance....Nickel imports also declined. Since China is a large net-importer of these metals, declining imports should take away some of the upward pressure on prices that is currently observable.....At the same time, China should start importing more base metals again as the domestic destocking cycle nears completion. At that time, a more sustainable uptrend in prices should emerge. Copper, nickel, zinc and lead are likely to be the main beneficiaries of this development.

  Chinese H1 stainless exports up by 54% YoY

  • According to China Iron and Steel Association’s statistics, China's stainless steel outputs during January to June 2007 period amounted to some 3.5 million tonnes up by 54% YoY. China during January to June 2007 period totally imported 956.5 thousand tonnes of stainless steel, down by 25.45% YoY; exported 833.8 thousand tons of stainless steel up by 224.44% YoY. (courtesy/copyright SteelGuru)

  Merafe Puts R181m in Ferrochrome Venture

  • EMPOWERMENT mining company Merafe Resources, which is part of a ferrochrome joint venture with Xstrata, would take a 20,5% stake in an associated project for R181m, it said yesterday. - more here

  The Zhejiang merchant pursues rises nickel "the bull market" nearly 10 billion funds investments to welcome falls suddenly

  • (while the translation is terrible, this article appears to contain some very interesting information about the so-called pig nickel, including its history and most importantly, some clues to its true profitability level. Here is the translated version here and the original version here. If you know someone who can read Chinese, it might be worth your while to ask them what it actually says. And if you learn anything about the cost of producing, we would love to hear it.)

  Mining firms buying tribe support

  • Two foreign firms have won the support of tribal communities for mining exploration in ore-rich areas in Kasibu town through cash promises, documents showed. - more here

  Power blackout in Brazil halts operations at seven CVRD iron-ore pellet plant

  • Brazilian mining company CVRD (RIO/NYSE) said on Thursday a power blackout in Espirito Santo state on Wednesday halted operations at seven iron-ore pellet plants, causing it to cease production of 100,000 tonnes of pellets. - more here

  Nickel miners out of work? In this day?

  • Officials of Agusan del Norte province, led by Gov. John Erlpe Amante, members and officials of the League of the Municipal Mayors asked President Arroyo and Environment Secretary Jose "Lito" Atienza to help some 1,200 displaced workers of the local nickel mining and quarrying firms that shut down operations Sunday.

  Europe, US see rebound in steel prices

  • Europe and the US have witnessed a rebound in steel prices with China unexpectedly faulting on the prices as it records a moderate slowdown, going by the data made available by the World Steel Dynamics Steel Benchmarker. - more here

  National Mining Association Mining Week - pdf here

  John Authers: Go back to basics before you buy commodities

  • The first rule of journalism, some say, is: “Never be afraid to admit ignorance."  (opinion - if true, one can either be a journalist, or an analyst)

  Bookmarks

  • It is amazing what can be found on the internet. We found a site, which contains many new books and magazines in pdf format, only recently published. The site allows anyone to upload their pdf's for public viewing. Like many free services, much of the content is of an adult nature, but there is some good literature also posted. Need a copy of "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu? here Need classical sheet music? here or here Planning on doing some business in China? here  The Works of William Shakespeare? here   The Quran in Arabic here or English here Or search for your favorite among thousands here
  • Have a favorite food from a chain restaurant? The recipe, or a copycat, might be here (how about an Outback Bloomin Onion here or KFC Chicken here)

Friday, Sept 28
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Roundup
  • Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $14.06/lb 3 month buyer - $14.33/lb (5.4% lower than 1/1/07)
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 104 to 9,474.
  • LME nickel inventories - plus 168 tonnes into Rotterdam, Netherlands warehouse, minus 12 tonnes shipped from Rotterdam, plus 60 tonnes into Gothenburg, Sweden (haven't heard from them in awhile), and minus 78 tonnes from Busan, South Korea
  • Typically, the last day of a quarter sees some movement in nickel prices, and today was no different. For most of the morning, nickel was quiet on the plus side, but then profit takers took over and drove the price down. With new fund money looking for a home next week, we could see today as a momentary breather. But with prices almost falling thru the $30,000 tonne barrier, we could see that barrier re-tested again, although the price rebounded pretty hard when it got dangerously close. It's anyone's guess at this point. With China shut down and on holiday next week, we don't expect to hear much in the way of ground shattering news. October is also the time for mining companies to issue their third quarter earnings reports, which will also help guide the market. Yet for today, another quarter goes down in the history books, and three month LME traded nickel closed at  $13.79/lb ($30,400/tonne)
  • Dow Jones Closing Metals Report - here
  • Have a safe and enjoyable weekend! And to our readers on holiday for part or all of next week, our best wishes.

  Nickel falls 5% on producer selling

  • (blurb) “Producers think these are good selling levels given stocks and dubious global economic outlook,” analyst David Thurtell at BNP Paribas said. - more here

  Blurb from Financial Gazette

  • Global ferrochrome demand is expected to rise by about 5 percent a year for the next few years, driven largely by China's economic growth, which has seen demand soar for stainless steel for infrastructure development and consumer products. Ferrochrome provides the hardness to stainless steel. - more here

  Metals prices to remain strong this year but risks will strain mining credit ratings

  • Medium-term risks, such as Chinese demand, production costs, the weakening U.S. dollar, and the slowing of the U.S. economy, will harm mining credit ratings in spite of strong metals prices. - more here

  Commodities boom extends to obscure metals, too

  • If one deal in the mining industry raised eyebrows in recent years, it was molybdenum producer Blue Pearl Mining Co.'s $575-million acquisition of Thompson Creek Metals Co. last October. - more here

  South Africa: Exchange Rate Hits Tata Project

  • TATA's high-carbon ferrochrome plant under construction in Richards Bay is expected to start operating in January. - more here

  Why you NEVER, ever ask us for investment advise

  • CVRD was never on our radar screen until they suddenly popped up with their hostile bid for Inco during the nickel soap opera of August 2006. After completing the deal, and suddenly becoming an overnight player in the nickel industry, research into the company and their president, proved to us, that this was a company worth watching closely. Did we buy any stock, which at that time was running about $22/lb? Of course not.
    Earlier this year, the company announced that it had nearly paid off the entire debt incurred to take over Inco, thanks to high nickel prices. Very impressive. On July 19th, the price of nickel had plummeted, but a share of CVRD was worth $51.81/each. On that date, while making a forecast on future iron ore prices, we made a statement on a RIO board, that if the share should fall back to $42/share, we would break with our rule and buy in. Three weeks later, came the great mini-panic of August 2007. CVRD was caught in the sudden rush to turn stock into cash, and by August 16th, a share of RIO had plummeted to $34.00/share. Did we buy any stock? Of course not.
    The following day, the recovery began, and by Sept 13th, a share of CVRD was selling for $53.05/share. Then it split. This morning, a share of RIO was selling for $34.27, or equivalent to $68.54 for a share bought in August. At anytime during this period, did we buy any stock. Of course not.

    So if you ever wonder if you should ask us for stock advise, please think, "Of course not".  

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

  • Indications at 7:55 am CST show 3 month nickel selling down by $.23/lb . For the final day of the third quarter, we will probably see some profit taking. Next week could be interesting, as fresh fund money looks for a home.
  • Bloomberg - more

  TD Bank Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here

  Behre Dolbear Global Mining News - pdf here

  Copyright/courtesy MineWeb

  • (partial from article) "In a question and answer session, the subject of the nickel contract, and the LME's handling thereof was broached. One particularly interesting fact for the writer emerged from this is that Abbott reckons that a virtual bottom to the nickel price is attained at $30,000 a tonne (around $13.60 a pound) under the current supply/demand situation. This is the level at around which it becomes uneconomic for stainless steel manufacturers to switch to a pig nickel (iron with a nickel content) feed as a substitute for nickel itself - something that had been becoming a significant factor for nickel demand when it was trading around US$24 a pound in the middle of this year before falling back sharply. The nickel price has recovered some of this fall in recent weeks as supplies remain tight." - rest of article here

  Asian Steel Prices Rally To Keep Global Figures Steady

  • Customers' inventories are said to be lower now in Canada. Imports are minimal. Once the seasonal downturn is over, local producers expect to see a pick up in demand, although distributors report slow activity levels. However, delivery lead times remain short with some mills still willing to do deals in order to keep their operations busy. - more here

  China's stainless steel prices up

  • China’s major stainless steel mills, including Taiyuan Iron and Steel Co. (Tisco) and Baosteel, have announced to raise the price in October. The prices rise is aiming to meet the increasing demand and higher nickel prices. - more here

  China to introduce stainless alloy surcharges next year

  • An alloy surcharges system is expected to be introduced into the stainless steel sector as early as January of next year, a consensus achieved at a recent meeting of Chinese leading stainless producers. They have seen nickel price keeps soaring up from last year. Therefore, taking steps to reduce risk of surging raw material cost is on top of their agenda. - more here

  US to WTO: China boosts exports unfairly

  • AP reported that the United States has accused China of manipulating prices on the raw materials used to produce steel, chemicals, airplanes and automobiles, giving Chinese manufacturers a massive advantage over their American competitors. But a US trade official said that Washington voiced its objections to the World Trade Organization to get the issue on the record and not necessarily to prepare for a formal complaint. - more here

  Rio Tinto's Albanese Says Iron Ore Market Has Grown Tighter

  • Tom Albanese, chief executive officer of Rio Tinto Group, the world's third-largest mining company, comments on iron ore demand ahead of annual contract talks due to start next month. - more here

  Eramet, Vale's Goro, Not Hit by New Caledonia Quakes

  • Eramet SA, operator of the world's largest ferronickel plant, and Cia. Vale do Rio Doce, building the world's largest nickel mine, said their operations in New Caledonia were not affected by two earthquakes earlier today. - more here

  Rusina Mining Nickel Shipments From Acoje Ready Next Month

  • Rusina Mining Limited Friday announced that ongoing construction progress for the first nickel laterite ore shipments from its Acoje project in the Philippines, with local partner DMCI advising that the main pier at the Santa Cruz export port will be ready next month. - more here

  800 Chinese State-owned enterprises active in Africa, covering every country

  • In 1418, the prosperous coastal towns and cities of East Africa were visited by a tremendous fleet, spearheaded by the biggest sea-going ships ever built up to that time, from the mightiest ocean-going navy in the world – that of Imperial China. - more here

  Breakthrough Absorption Study of Migratory Nickel in Fine-Grained Soil

  • ABSTRACT: The present study was conducted to evaluate the breakthrough curve for nickel absorption in fine-grained soil from a nearby ash pond site of a thermal power plant. Nickel was found to be the major polluting solute in the ash sluicing wastewater. The absorption of nickel by vertical soil column batch test and horizontal migration test was carried out in the laboratory. - more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - plus 138 tons = 32,442 tonnes (2.22% - 720 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 31,722 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at 274000-275000 RMB/t, minus 6500 .
Thursday, Sept 27
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Roundup
  • Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $14.74/lb 3 month buyer - $14.83/lb (1.8% below 1/1/07)
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 111 to 9,370.
  • LME nickel inventories - plus 816 tonnes into Rotterdam, Netherlands warehouse, minus 246 tonnes shipped from Rotterdam
  • Nickel trading on the London Metal Exchange started out positive this morning, but by late mid morning was in retreat. We are seeing a whole lot of analysts being totally puzzled by what is happening with nickel, and this is one of those rare occasions we actually agree with them. It is doubtful that you would find anyone, who watches this market closely, that would not agree that the stainless steel market will recover from the demand destruction it has experienced after nickel prices began to plummet in May. The big question currently being asked, and bet on, is when this began or will begin to happen. Apparently traders have taken some things that have been said recently, and decided that the market has started its revival. And there are an equal number of us who watch the market, who wonder whether they are acting on a hunch, rather than reacting to market fundamentals. In the last 3 weeks we have seen official prices trade within a $3/lb range, and actual trading fall within in a $4/lb range. That's nearly $4,500/tonne, or a 13% jump. The dwindling confidence in the US dollar has played a role. The lowering in the US prime rate also gave the market a boost of confidence. Even Interfax stated yesterday that hearing reports of recovery in stainless steel production in China. Chrome, another key ingredient in stainless is up in China. And so in Jinchuan nickel. Asian producers, who have been announcing cut backs during the last few months, are quietly raising prices this month. Shipments into Busan and Singapore seem to have quieted down, although outbound shipments from either location have yet to pick up. Clues in other parts of the world are harder to find. Metal centers in North America still have extremely low inventories, and have yet to return to the buying side. Europe is quiet, except for the LME Rotterdam warehouse, that continues to add additional stock nearly every day. So.... is the market recovering? We remain skeptical, but open to real evidence. It would be difficult to believe buyers are ready to jump back into the game with market volatility so high. At $12/lb, the price of nickel spent a period trading in a $1/lb range that could have sparked some interest, as producers felt a new pricing floor had been established. Now, with prices $3/lb higher, the skepticism and anxiety of when to buy has returned. With one day left in the 3rd quarter, 3 month nickel ended the day at $14.40/lb ($31,750/tonne)  
  • Dow Jones Closing Metals Report - more

  New grades help cut uncertainty in the machining of stainless steel

  • Machining stainless steels subjects the cutting edge to higher levels of temperatures and cutting forces, smearing and work-hardening than associated with many other workpiece materials. - more here

  Norilsk Nickel

  • ...is about to invest $830 mln in African assets over the next 3 years in order to double nickel output and phase in Activox technology, Norilsk Nickel International CEO Peter Breeze said, according to the metal maker's press release. Norilsk Nickel Africa's assets involve an 85% working interest in nickel producer Tati Nickel Mining and a refinery, Botswana Metal Refinery, in Botswana, with the other 15% stake owned by the Republic of Botswana.  (courtesy FINAM)

  Top mining guns fuelled by steel sector

  • From iron ore to steel, from molybdenum to coking coal and nickel, one story that’s set to run up for years. - more here

  Update -  Dow Jones Newswire - LME Fines Sucden GBP80,000 Over Control Of Nickel Warrants  

  • The London Metal Exchange fined Sucden U.K. Limited GBP80,000 after the company failed to report in mid-May that it had effective control over nickel warrants, the LME said Thursday. - more here

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

  • Indications at 7:55 am CST show 3 month nickel selling up by $.11/lb . Inventories are up, cancelled warrants are down, no disruption to worldwide production, but there are stories surfacing that stainless steel production in Asia is picking back up. And on this speculation, and no real evidence yet to prove the claims, 3 month nickel has gained nearly $4/lb in the last few weeks, and hangs on. Go figure!!
  • Bloomberg - more

  Courtesy/copyright Dow Jones

  • LME nickel could slip lower if it fails to move back above the $32,500 a metric ton level, says a London-based broker. Notes the market has made strong progress and a period of sideways trade is needed to consolidate gains, but adds that risks remain to the downside given a still slow demand picture.
  • LME Nickel Seen Lower As Stocks Outweigh 4Q Demand - more here

  Expert: Nickel prices will surpass expectations

  • In spite of projections that worldwide nickel demand would fall in 2007 and that supply would increase 7%, "nickel producers fear a supply shortage due to maintenance issues," the director of Colombia's mining information website IMCPortal and mining expert, Jairo Herrera, told BNamericas. - more here

  Japan's stainless steel scrap prices hike

  • South Korea's Posco has increased stainless steel scrap price by 10,000/ton to 255,000/ton on 19 September. - more here

  Copyright/courtesy Business Standard

  • Indian iron ore exports to China has fallen by 26.5 percent in August to 4.59 million tons, hitting the lowest monthly level since October 2006, according to the data of China Iron and Steel Association (CISA). The decline continued after the Centre imposed an export tax in March.
  • In the next three to four years, demand for iron ore is expected to go up by 7 percent, or up to 55 million tons, as Chinese steel output grows, a Goldman Sachs analyst said. A 'small' drop is expected in 2010.

  China unlikely to increase steel export taxes further this year

  • A senior China Iron and Steel Association official told Interfax at the 2007 China Steel Export Summit held in Beijing on September 20th 2007 that the Chinese government is unlikely to impose any further restrictive polices on steel product exports in the remaining months of this year, due to the success of the current policy in curbing steel product export growth. - more here

  Market price based royalty on iron ore mining recommended

  • It is reported that a government report has recommended that royalty rates for iron ore be fixed at 10% of the market value to boost the states’ share of revenues, as international prices of the commodity soar. - more here

  BHP, Rio Tinto, Vale May Increase Iron Ore Prices 30%

  • Cia. Vale do Rio Doce, Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's three largest iron-ore exporters, may increase prices by 30 percent next year as demand driven by steelmakers in China outpaces growth in supply. - more here

  Merafe joins Xstrata chrome project

  • MERAFE Resources Ltd said today it had agreed to take a stake in a plant producing chrome pellets with partner Xstrata Plc and issued 40-million shares to help pay for it. - more here

  Plant coming soon, Voisey's Bay Nickel tells Long Harbour

  • Voisey's Bay Nickel insists it will honour its previous owner's commitment to process nickel in a southern Newfoundland community. - more here

  Market/Work Holiday's next week

  • Monday - Australia for Labour Day
  • Monday thru Friday - China for National Day / Golden Week
  • Tuesday - India for Gandhi Juyanti
  • Wednesday - South Korea for National Day

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - plus 570 tons = 32,304 tonnes (2.51% - 810 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 31,494 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at 280000-282000 RMB/t, minus 3000 .
Wednesday, Sept 26
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Roundup
  • Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $14.85/lb 3 month buyer - $15.06/lb (.003% below 1/1/07)
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 44 to 9,259.
  • LME nickel inventories - plus 750 tonnes into Rotterdam, Netherlands warehouse, minus 66 tonnes shipped from Rotterdam, and plus 96 tonnes into Singapore
  • Three month nickel ended the day at $14.70/lb ($32,400/tonne)
  • Dow Jones Closing Metals Report - here

  Copyright/courtesy Bloomberg

  • Jinchuan Group Co., Asia's biggest nickel producer, raised the price of the refined metal for a third time this month on increased demand from stainless steel producers in China.

  Copyright/courtesy Dow Jones Newswire

  • LME nickel prices are likely to be capped above $35,000/ton and a move back towards $25,000/ton appears likely, says UBS analyst Robin Bhar. Says nickel supply looks plentiful both from primary and secondary, or scrap, sources with additional nickel units from strong growth in Chinese nickel pig-iron production. But adds that higher stainless production is expected in 4Q with recent output cuts reversed, which should mean demand for nickel picks up.
  • LME nickel price rise will likely be limited until LME warehouse inventories make continuous falls, says BaseMetals analyst Will Adams. Adds that in the fourth quarter stainless steel producers are expected to start restocking nickel after the heavy summer draw down in stocks.

  US Shoots Foot with Cuba Nickel Ban

  • Cuba is unable to sell its nickel production to US companies due to the economic, trade and financial blockade imposed by Washington almost five decades ago. - more here

  Recycling International - Market analysis: Nickel and Stainless, September 2007 - pdf here

  Major stainless steel producers to increase product prices in October

  • Major stainless steel mills have agreed to increase the prices of core products in October in response to growth in market demand and the rise in the price of nickel, a source close to the situation told Interfax today. - more here

  Sinosteel buys Zimbabwe ferrochrome mining company

  • Chinese mining and trading group Sinosteel Corp. agreed to buy Zimasco Consolidated Enterprises Ltd, the holding company for Zimbabwe's largest ferrochrome producer, for an undisclosed amount, Sinosteel said. - more here

  Asian Steel Prices Rally To Keep Global Figures Steady

  • Customers' inventories are said to be lower now in Canada. Imports are minimal. Once the seasonal downturn is over, local producers expect to see a pick up in demand, although distributors report slow activity levels. However, delivery lead times remain short with some mills still willing to do deals in order to keep their operations busy. - more here

  Imports Put Kink in Standard Pipe

  • Domestic producers of welded standard pipe are hoping their trade case, now before the U.S. Commerce Department, will provide some relief from predatory pricing of Chinese imports. - more here

  Steel Inventories Decline to Lowest Level in 17 Months

  • Inventories of steel and aluminum products continued to fall at U.S. and Canadian service centers in July, reflecting sluggish summer demand and the uncertain economic environment, according to the latest Metals Activity Report from the Metals Service Center Institute, Rolling Meadows, Ill. - more here (1/2 way down page)

  Mining Association of Canada -  Facts and Figures - pdf here

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

  • Indications at 7:30 am CST show 3 month nickel selling up by $.20/lb .
  • AFX - more
  • Bloomberg - more

  (special thanks to a reader) Lloyds Economics Weekly - pdf here

  Reuters Metals Weekly - pdf here

  Scotia China Commodities Weekly - report here

  Commodity prices unlikely to be affected by the credit crisis

  • Commodity prices seem to be holding up remarkably well to the crisis in the financial markets. Is this because it is only a matter of time before they get impacted, or because the financial problems are overstated insofar as they will affect economic growth or is it that growth in the emerging market economies is so strong that it can shrug off any slowdown in the developed economies? - more here

  Stainless steel to spur nickel

  • Prices of nickel are likely to bounce back to $35,000 a tonne on the LME and Rs 1,400 a kg on the MCX on growing demand from the stainless steel sector, according to the latest report by India Infoline. Nickel on the LME is currently quoted at $32,650 a tonne, while it trades at Rs 1,298 a kg on the MCX. - more here

  SS demand weakening in Europe

  • YIEH reported that after continuously price rising since last year, the demand for stainless steel products is falling and the prices are gradually becoming weaker in Europe. Because the nickel price falls sharply and the demand keeps weaker, the stainless steel market changes its conditions from June 2007. - more here

  US steel import in August dip by 22% MoM

  • Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute has announced that the US imported a total of 2,558,000 net tons of steel in August 2007, including 2,034,000 net tons of finished steel down by 22% and 18% respectively against July final data. - more here

  Stainless steel output of Japan's main steel mill down in August

  • The production of stainless steel crude steel of Japan's main seven stainless steel mills was 420,000 tons, decreasing by 12.1 percent than the same time of last year. - more here

  ARM, Norilsk to raise Nkomati nickel mine output by almost 300%

  • Diversified South African mining company African Rainbow Minerals and Norilsk Nickel, equal joint-venture owners of the Nkomati nickel mine in South Africa's Mpumalanga Province, have announced a Rand 3.2 billion ($448 million) expansion which is set to increase average annual nickel production to 20,500 mt, from 5,500 mt and, extend the life of mine by 18 years to 2027, according to a statement released on Wednesday. - more here

  SMSP Is Interested To Develop Low Grade Ores As Next Phase Of Koniambo Nickel Project

  • While the Koniambo nickel project has been supported by Northern Province Government of New Caledonia to develop it, SMSP ( Societe Miniere du Sud Pacifique ), which is a major mining company of nickel ore in New Caledonia and has shared 51% of capital investment in this project, announced recently to finance US$1,500 million, corresponding a 50% of the total expenditure to develop the Koniambo nickel project, and, therefore, this nickel project has been finally determined to go ahead and to materialize. SMSP held on the 7th of September the Board of Directors and decided this financing. - more here

  India's iron ore export to China plunges 26% in August

  • India's iron ore export to China has slumped by 26.5 per cent in August to 4.59 million tons, lowest monthly level since October last year, as compared to July, continuing the decline after the Centre imposed an export tax in March. - more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - plus 780 tons = 31,734 tonnes (3.18% - 1008 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 30,726 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at 283000-285000 RMB/t, minus 5000 .
Tuesday, Sept 25
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Roundup
  • Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $14.74/lb 3 month buyer - $14.88/lb
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 133 to 9,215 .
  • LME nickel inventories - plus 462 tonnes into Rotterdam, Netherlands warehouse, minus 108 tonnes shipped from Rotterdam, minus 60 tonnes from Singapore
  • Three month nickel ended at $14.76/lb ($32,545/tonne) 
  • Dow Jones Closing Metals Report - here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - plus 294 tons = 30,954 tonnes (3.41% -  1056 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 29,898 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at (not recorded - updated later)
Monday, Sept 24
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Roundup
  • Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $14.81/lb 3 month buyer - $14.97/lb (138% higher than 1/1/06)
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 126 to 9,082 .
  • LME nickel inventories - plus 690 tonnes into Rotterdam, Netherlands warehouse, minus 42 tonnes shipped from Rotterdam, minus 42 tonnes from Singapore, and minus 18 tonnes from Busan, South Korea warehouse.  
  • Lot of bullish news out over the last week, although we stick to our guns, and like the little old lady in the Wendy's commercial and ask "Where's the beef?". If any of you doubt our remarks over the last few weeks about how we aren't seeing the news of a stainless steel turnaround that the traders seem to be banking on, you might want to download the report from Metals Insider here and read their comments under the nickel section. They say the same thing.  AFX reported this morning that "Nickel's fundamentals is likely to depress the metal below 30,000 usd 'imminently', said Bank of America analyst Anatol Feygin." But apparently traders aren't listening to the analysts and instead, betting on a wing and a prayer, keep driving nickel prices higher. We show nickel went green from the bell this morning and never looked back. Three month nickel ended the first day of the last week of the third quarter at $14.99/lb ($33,050/tonne) 
  • Dow Jones Closing Metals Report - here

  LCH.Clearnet cuts LME clearing fees

  • The cost of clearing contracts executed on the London Metal Exchange (LME) will fall by an average of 15 per cent in 2008 under new fee reductions to be implemented by LCH.Clearnet. - more here

  Brazil Nickel Production Seen More Than Tripling By 2011 -Grp

  • Brazil should produce upwards of 286,000 metric tons of nickel by 2011, up from 82,492 tons produced in 2006, thanks to $7.7 billion in investments by the sector's top mining companies, the Brazilian Minerals Institute, or Ibram, said Monday. - more here

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

  • Indications at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling up by $.23/lb . Up nearly $1000/tonne earlier in morning, that gain has now been cut in half.
  • Bloomberg - more

  Courtesy/copyright Dow Jones

  • "The bull market for LME nickel will start to flag soon due to the current rise in LME warehouse inventories, says Commerzbank."
  • LME nickel likely to struggle to retain recent gains as stainless steel market still oversupplied, scrap feed abundant, nickel demand weak, says Goldman Sachs JBWere. Notes nickel's strong rally last week surprising, as fundamentals show no discernible improvement, likely mostly consequence of short-squeeze "as speculators rushed to cut stale short positions in a relatively illiquid market.
  • LME nickel needs to rally above $35,000/ton to draw out more short-covering, as recent bout of panic short-covering over now, prices less volatile, says Triland Metals.

  Weekly Forecast by SMM Specialist - more here

  Haywood Securities Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here

  Stainless demand falling in Europe

  • After continuously price rising since last year, the demand for stainless steel products is falling and the prices are gradually becoming weaker. - more here

  Interfax

  • China imported 69,586 tons refined nickel in the first eight months of this year, up 16.2 percent when compared to the same period last year, according to statistics released by the General Administration of Customs today. (more to follow)

  CISA warns Australian iron ore miners over prices

  • It is reported that China has warned BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto not to abuse Australia's position as the preferred source of iron ore to force price increases on its steel mills, which are desperate for scarce supplies. - more here

  Acesita sees 6% per year growth in SS demand in Latin America

  • Brazilian specialty steel maker Acesita said that stainless steel demand in Brazil and South America is due to grow 6% per year through 2011 above the world average. - more here

  BHP holds key to nickel surge

  • AFTER more than two years in charge of Australia's best nickel assets during a period of rising commodities prices, BHP Billiton believes it might finally have the key to unlocking the nickel production chain built by WMC Resources. - more here

  China's Imports Of Raw Materials In July 2007 - more here

  International Iron Ore Prices May Dip in 2009

  • Global iron ore prices would show downward trend in 2008 with possible slump in 2009, forecasted experts on the second forum on raw material & fuel market of China's steel and iron sector. - more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - plus 768 tons = 30,660 tonnes (3.70% -  1134 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 29,526 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at 281000-283000 RMB/t, minus 1250 .
Weekend Review, Sept 22 & 23
  Mining industry will feel pinch 'big time' in Q3
  • While the high Canadian dollar has caused chaos in the manufacturing and forestry sectors, there has been little to no impact in the mining industry. However, that is expected to finally change. - more here

  The growing demand for molybdenum can be satisfied with the new industries

  • It is expected that the growth of world demand for molybdenum in the coming years will be 4.5%, mainly due to China and the CIS countries. As Terry Adams from Adams Metals Ltd., at the annual general meeting of International Molybdenum Associations, held in Denver (USA), to meet this demand should increase production and the opening of new businesses since 2011 - translated article here

  Paswan demands Chiria ore

  • Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) should be given rights for one billion tonnes of iron ore from Chiria mines in Jharkhand immediately, said Union minister for steel, Ram Vilas Paswan. - more here

  Escalating freight cost increase tensions for iron ore talks

  • China Business News cited Mr Luo Bingsheng deputy director of China Iron & Steel Association as saying surging freight cost could result in a lengthy tussle between Chinese steel mills and iron ore producers for the upcoming round of iron ore price negotiations. - more here

  US steel HRC prices forecast to hit USD 600 per short tons in Q4

  • Platts citing Mr Mike Locker president of New York based Locker Associates, who spoke at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries' Ferrous Scrap Roundtable Commodities Forum in Chicago, reported that US hot rolled coil prices are forecast to hit USD 600 per short tonnes ex works. - more here

  China Pig Nickel Pricing for 2007, thus far...

  • One of the signs of a possible recovery in the Chinese stainless steel industry would be an increase in the selling price of pig nickel. With LME nickel prices once again well over the thought to be break even point of $12/lb, the stage has been set for an increase in low grade laterite ore.... but only if the demand has returned. Here is the history of a few grades of "pig-nickel prices" during the current year.
  • The lowest grade we monitor is laterite ore from Indonesia with a grade of .9 to 1.1% nickel, and 30% H2O. In December of 2006, the price of this ore was selling for $48-$50/MT. The price for this grade rose throughout the spring, and by June, was selling for $98 to$105/MT. The price then collapsed and for the last 3 months has been selling for $48-$55/MT.
  • Another grade we monitor is laterite ore from the Philippines, containing 1.7 to 1.9% nickel and 35% H2O. In December of 2006, this grade of ore was selling for $67-$70/MT. By June of 2007, the price had risen to $208-$220/MT. In July, the price collapsed and has been selling for $110-$120/MT since August.
  • As of last week, these prices have recorded no change. Besides analyst statements, the only metal reports we have been able to find that are reporting a rebound in the China steel and stainless steel industry this month is Japan's 'The Tex Report'. Here (9/3) and here (9/11)  

  China Minmetals buys into SA chrome

  • China Minmetals Development Company, the Shanghai-listed arm of Chinese state-owned trading firm the China Minmetals Group, is to buy the exploration rights to a South African ferrochrome deposit for R45.7-million. - more here

  BHP news

  • NORMALLY a metal price-slump would be enough to take the wind out of the sails of any mining operation. - more here
  • BHP Billiton's chief executive, Chip Goodyear, is fond of pointing out that the ability to move dirt - and lots of it - is one of his company's key competitive advantages. - more here
  • BHP Billiton is expected to announce this week that it has uncovered what is potentially the largest gold resources in the world at its Olympic Dam mine in South Australia. - more here

  Steel: Building on Asia’s strengths

  • Increasing demand for stainless steel has been witnessed from users across construction, transport and several industrial sectors, and steel use is set to grow by leaps and bounds in India and China, though the latter’s per capita consumption of the metal is far higher than the former’s, says N. C. MATHUR. - more here

  CVRD ban shouldn't affect Brazil pig iron exports

  • Brazil's pig iron exports should not suffer as a result of mining giant CVRD's plan to cut off iron ore supplies to producers whose operations are not fully legal, sector experts and players said. - more here

  China may work out more restrictions to curb steel export

  • China may come up with more restrictions to curb steel exports, including imposing licenses to export companies, restricting steel projects in the processing sector, a senior official with the country's top economic planner said recently. - more here

  Substitution of low-nickel stainless steel grades finds momentum

  • Increased use of low-or no-nickel steels continues to erode the market share of nickel-bearing 300-series stainless grades, the workhorse of the industry, at a time when the collapse of world nickel prices to half what the alloying metal cost in May has disrupted the global stainless steel marketplace. - pdf here

  The ferro-nickel iron merchant sudden wealth myth is disillusioned

  • (very difficult translation to read, but interesting story of boom to bust for one nickel importer) Only month time, the Zhejiang Jiasha County's ferro-nickel iron producer increases suddenly from original 10 to 50. "The sudden and huge profits are the radical actuation factor." However, when the Jiashan ferro-nickel iron merchant on a large scale enters, has even affected the world nickel price when the certain degree, actually encounters the nickel price large diving - more here  (without translation here)

  Global scrap trade in 2006 and H1 of 2007

  • UK based Iron and Steel Statistics Bureau reported that International trade of ferrous scrap, which fell by 4% YoY in 2005 to 90 million tonnes, saw steady trade in 2006 and estimated only a very small fall of around 1% for 2006 in full. - more here

  CISA sees down turn in iron ore price in 2008 due to weak demand

  • China Iron & Steel Association official gave a projection, in a recent steelmaking raw materials conference held in Yinchuan, that global iron ore supply and demand looks set to move towards better equilibrium next year and prices would therefore fall back. - more here

Comment - "If you haven't heard, Chinese steel makers and the Big 3 producers of iron ore are currently in negotiations to establish iron ore contract prices for October thru December. Keep this in mind as you read "news" about steel making in China until negotiations are over." 

  China shuts down 18.4 million tonne capacity in H1

  • China's National Development and Reform Commission announced that the China shut down 18.4 million tonnes of iron and steel production capacity in the H1 of 2007 to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. - more here

  India to import record Nickel this year

  • It is reported that increasing consumption of stainless steel in the wake of India’s construction and economic boom may force the country to import more nickel this year. - more here

  Euroland: Purchasing managers more negative

  • The FLASH PMIs published today fell more than expected and now signal that growth in Euroland is approaching trend. The composite PMI index fell from 57.4 to 54.5, which is the largest fall since August last year ? and the lowest level for two years. - more here

  Metals face negative sentiment

  • Scorching prices of base metals are likely to cool down this week on low Chinese demand and the prevailing negative sentiment in the US economy despite the Fed rate cut. - more here

  Week in Review (different source used than for daily updates)

  • It was a good week if you were a nickel producer, not so good for the stainless steel producer. Nickel trading opened Monday at $12.97/lb, rose to $13.27/lb, fell to $12.86/lb, and ended at $13.13/lb. On Tuesday, nickel opened at $13.09/lb, its low, and rose to $14.00/lb, the high and ending point for the day. Wednesday, trading opened at $14.11/lb, also its low for the day, rose to $15.60/lb, and closed at $15.28/lb. On Thursday, nickel opened at $15.24/lb, rose to $15.47/lb, fell to $14.74/lb, and ended at $14.79/lb. On Friday, the market opened at $14.76/lb, rose to $14.90/lb, fell to $14.46/lb, and ended the week of trading at $14.74/lb. For the week, nickel ended selling up by 13.6%, and since the beginning of the year, less than 1% lower.   

  U.S. November Surcharge Forecast

  • Based on averages prices thus far this month, the estimated stainless steel surcharge for both 304 and 316 stainless steel will be higher for November, than those already established for October. This is subject to price averages of nickel, chromium, and molybdenum not dropping dramatically during the next week.

  Copyright/courtesy Credit Suisse

  • Commodity prices rallied following the 50 bp cut in the US Fed funds rate. While the general market sentiment toward commodities has improved significantly, we believe the rally in base metals and energy prices might be more fragile than many market participants think. The FOMC cut rates in the USA to safeguard economic growth and limit the risk of recession in an environment of increased uncertainty. If the Fed believes that a 50 basis point rate cut is necessary to achieve this, there is the strong possibility that we might see some negative macroeconomics news for the USA in the weeks ahead......In light of the Fed rate cut, the current metal price rally comes as no surprise, as speculators are covering their short positions. Nevertheless, we believe that the speed of the current rally is unsustainable and that momentum will decline soon....In a nutshell, we think that the current rally is mainly a short-term reaction to the rate cut, and remains fragile and vulnerable to macro data from the USA, in particular. In this regard, volatility is likely to stay elevated. Nevertheless, investors should watch for price dips, since we expect a better entry opportunity during the fourth quarter, when the seasonal slump in demand comes to an end and China is expected to import more metals.

  National Mining Association Mining Week - pdf here

  TD Bank Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here

  ASA Material Market Digest - pdf here

  August Largo Letter - pdf here

  Metal Shipments, Inventories Still Dropping

  • North America's metals service centers report further declines in shipments and inventories for steel and aluminum during August, continuing a series of year-on-year and year-to-date decreases. - more here

  Stainless Steel Producers Slash Output Amid Sluggish Demand (headline from Nikkei Net - subscription article so unable advise content)

  Sukinda chromite mines in Orissa leading to poisoning

  • SNS reported that Sukinda chromites mine in Orissa is becoming main threat to the lives of local people as over 0.275 million people in the are have suffering from some form of chromium poisoning because of the untreated water discharged by the mines into the Damasala river. Sukinda contains one of the largest open cast chromite mines in the world. - more here

  Copyright/courtesy The Indian Express 

  • Trying their best to avoid fixation of iron-ore royalty on ad-valorem basis, the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (Fimi) has proposed to continue with royalty on tonnage basis with a hike of 100% of the present rate. Royalty rates currently range between Rs 16-27 per tonne depending on the grade of iron-ore.
Friday, Sept 21
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Roundup
  • Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $14.79/lb 3 month buyer - $14.83/lb (135.8% higher than 1/1/06)
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 337 to 8,956.
  • LME nickel inventories - plus 192 tonnes into and minus 54 tonnes from Rotterdam, Netherlands warehouse, and minus 6 tonnes from Singapore.
  • Dow Jones reported this morning "LME nickel trade is muted as the market's recent volatile activity takes its toll on sentiment and leaves participants sitting cautiously on the sidelines, says a London trader." And that is how trading went for much of the morning. A dip, then a recovery, then into positive territory, and finally, profit taking. Another uneventful news day, so traders went by sentiment, and apparently some felt the market had reached a little too far, and decided to take their profits before the weekend. Some positive news coming from Outokumpu, as Deutsche Bank reports their order book for the fourth quarter is starting to get interesting. Shanghai prices slumped overnight, and inventories resumed gaining. For the last day of the trading week, 3 month nickel ended at $14.65/lb  ($32,300/tonne) While still lower than the year started out, nickel climbed 13% for the week.
  • Dow Jones Closing Metals Report - here

  Evidence, or hope??

  • In a research note published this morning, the analyst mentions that there is significant upside to the target price, given the company’s current share price. Outokumpu Oyj’s current order book indicates that a turnaround in the stainless steel market is likely to begin in 4Q07, the analyst says. Alloy surcharge in December is likely to be higher than that expected for November, Deutsche Bank adds.

  BHP hopes Ravensthorpe will move to Brazilian rhythm

  • IT is a safe bet that former CVRD executive turned BHP Billiton nickel king Marcelo Bastos has lost something in the translation when he declares that Australian workers are a disloyal bunch. - more here

  Sumitomo Metal Mining sees growth in nickel

  • Sumitomo Metal Mining Co (5713.T: Quote, NEWS , Research), Japan's most aggressive investor in overseas metal resources, said on Friday its 10,000 tonnes-a-year Coral Bay nickel plant in the Philippines will come fully on line in September 2009, six months after the start of operations. - more here

  Westpac Commodity Capers 9/5/2007 - pdf here

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

  • Indications at 7:55 am CST show 3 month nickel selling up by $.09/lb
  • Bloomberg - more  "Nickel gained on speculation steelmakers will resume purchases in the fourth quarter. Stockpiles, which have increased almost eightfold since May, will be ``largely offset by renewed drawdowns in the fourth quarter,'' RBC Dominion Securities Inc. analysts including H. Fraser Phillips in Toronto wrote in a report yesterday."

  Metals - Nickel, copper up as weak dollar spurs buying

  • Nickel erased earlier losses and rose along with copper, supported by US dollar weakness, which made the metals cheaper for those trading in other currencies. - more here

  TD Bank Weekly Commodity Report - pdf here

  Courtesy/Copyright Dow Jones

  • LME nickel prices likely to rebound as demand from Chinese stainless steel producers improving, says Craton Capital Management analyst Peter Richardson. Fall in LME nickel stocks in Busan since start September most likely due to Chinese buying, as Busan "is a first resort for Chinese suppliers or consumers," he says. Adds LME nickel stocks should start declining, reversing steady increases that precipitated 52% plunge in nickel price to mid-August low of $26,800/ton. Adds stock withdrawals should improve fund sentiment towards nickel; funds oversold nickel earlier when prices tumbled.

  Copyright/Courtesy Metal Bulletin

  • Recent signs of a recovery in the Asian stainless market appear to have been dashed, at least in the short term, as prices tumble another $100-300 per tonne on weak demand, traders said.

  Analyst Forecasts

  • Copper Forecasts Raised, Nickel Estimates Cut by RBC Dominion  - more
  • Credit Suisse Cuts Forecast for Nickel, Zinc; Raises Copper - more
  • Barclays Lifts Commodity Price Forecasts - more

  Copyright/courtesy Stainless Steel World

  • Hyundai Steel was announced that it has restarted production of austenitic cold rolled coil at its Incheon works west of Seoul early on 17 September, after a five-day shutdown. The stoppage was the Korean mill's fourth in as many months, deemed necessary because of falling sales in the wake of declining nickel prices. Posco announced on 29 August that it will cut austenitic stainless output at its Pohang works by 25,000t for the month of September, also due to declining nickel prices and the dent this has placed on orders. Hyundai Steel says operations at its subsidiary, BNG Steel, continue as normal at the Changwon plant near Busan because BNG only produces stainless. - source

  Global context for commodity fund-buying

  • WHAT kind of world are we living in where the price of nickel can rise 12% in a day – as it did on the LME on Wednesday September 19? Not long ago that kind of rise might be regarded as quite decent over a year. - more here

  Stainless steel prices set to head north in Oct.

  • Nickel price on the LME recently rose by 10 percent and the settlement price rebounded to U$30,000/ton, it suggests that the stainless steel mills may raise their prices for October shipments. - more here

  Copyright/courtesy Interfax

  • Henan Qingpu Alloy Materials Co. Ltd. recently commenced production at a 300,000-ton nickel pig iron facility in Xuchang City in central China's Henan Province, a company official told Interfax today.

  CISA estimates Chinese 2007 crude steel output at more than 500 million

  • Mr Li Shijun vice secretary general disclosed to 21st Century Business Herald that China Iron & Steel Association has released its forecast for crude steel output at 510 million tonnes to 550 million tonnes this year. The figure is 50 million tonnes more than 460 million tonnes predicted by National Development & Reform Committee in February 2007. - more

  Commodity boom won't last: Manuel warns

  • Commodity-rich African countries should act wisely in order to benefit from the prevailing global boom for the sector, because it will not last, South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has warned. - more

  Ibram foresees strong iron ore demand till 2015

  • BNamericas quoted Mr Paulo Camillo Penna president of Brazilian mining institute Ibram as saying that “Worldwide iron ore demand is expected to remain accelerated until at least 2015. From that date we do not know what could occur." - more here

  Courtesy/Copyright Forbes

  • Chinese steel makers have warned Australian mining companies against exploiting their position when iron ore price negotiations begin next month, the Australian Financial Review reported Friday. Australian miners have won a 189 percent increase in the price of iron ore since 2002 as they have worked to meet a surge in demand from Asia. But the chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association, Zhang Xiaogang, told the Australian Financial Review that mining companies such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto should not abuse their advantage.

  Koniambo in boiling

  • The preliminary works with the large power site of North advance at speed large V. After the installation of the RT1, the networks are under installation. The base life known as pionnière and her 220 beds should partially enter in service at the end of October. - translated article here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - plus 132 tons = 29,892 tonnes (3.93% - 1176 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 28,716 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel - 282000-284500 - minus 3750
Thursday, Sept 20
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Roundup
  • Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $14.95/lb 3 month buyer - $15.10/lb (140% higher than 1/1/06, exactly the same as the price on 1/1/07)
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 190 to 8,619.
  • LME nickel inventories - plus 228 tonnes into and minus 24 tonnes from Rotterdam, Netherlands warehouse, minus 228 tonnes from Busan, South Korea warehouse and minus 12 tonnes from Singapore.
  • LME 3 month nickel closed the day at $14.79/lb ($32,600/tonne)
  • Dow Jones Closing Metals Report - here

  Westpac - Commodity Capers - pdf here

  China Stainless Steel Industry Report, 2007

  • In 1994-2007, the global consumption of stainless steel was 1.43 times than that of carbon steel, while that was 1.57 times in China. During the same period, the world's consumption of stainless steel was 1.6 times than GDP growth and, that was 2.5 times in China. In addition, China's consumption of stainless steel was 1.70 times that its GDP growth in 2002-2006, which is nearly the same as that of carbon steel. - more here

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

  • Indications at 7:55 am CST show 3 month nickel selling down by $.14/lb
  • Bloomberg - more
  • Reuters - more

  Copyright/courtesy Dow Jones Newswire

  • Demand for nickel picking up in Asia, recovery in nickel prices over past 3 weeks suggests possible short-term bottom, prompting buyers to restock, say traders. Taiwan-based trader notes buyers had been buying hand-to-mouth until recently as they didn't know how much nickel price would decline, but its steadiness since bottoming near $25,000 in mid-August has stimulated consumer buying, says Taiwan-based trader. However, some stainless steel producers still saddled with inventories built up earlier in year, may not buy again until October, November, says Seoul-based trader.

  CVRD Inco’s new COO

  • CVRD Inco has appointed Parviz Farsangi as the company’s new chief operating officer. Farsangi will replace Mark Cutifani who has taken the chief executive operating position with AngloGold Ashanti in South Africa. - more here

  Jinchuan raises nickel price as steel producers increase orders China

  • It is reported that Jinchuan Group Company Asia's biggest nickel producer raised the price of the refined metal for a second time this month on increased demand from stainless steel producers in China. - more

  Indonesia News (courtesy/copyright Reuters)

  • Asia Pulse reported that PT Aneka Tambang Tbk (Antam) will team up with BHP Billiton Limited (BHP) to develop a nickel reserve in Buli, East Maluku. Antam and BHP will have a 50% split in a joint venture to be set up to handle the project. The construction is expected to begin in 2009 and completed in 2011. Meanwhile, Antam plans to build its fourth unit of ferronickel plant with an annual production capacity of 30,000 tons in the mining complex with an estimated cost of US$650 million. (more from Bloomberg here)
  • PT Aneka Tambang Tbk announced that it expects the repair on its FeNi III smelter plant to finish and the plant to operate again in the first week of September 2007. The Company has also revised its fiscal year 2007 ferronickel production down to 16,000 tons from 20,000 tons.

  India to import record Nickel this year

  • Increasing consumption of stainless steel in the wake of India’s construction and economic boom may force the country to import more nickel this year. - more here

  China unlikely to further lift steel product export taxes this year

  • The Chinese government is unlikely to impose any further restrictive polices on steel product exports in the remaining months of this year, due to the success of the current policy in curbing steel product export growth, a senior China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) official told Interfax at the 2007 China Steel Export Summit held in Beijing today. - more here

  China economy driven by overinvestment; steel growth too rapid - state planner

  • China's rapid economic growth is driven partly by overinvestment, said Hu Chunli, president of the Industrial Development Research Institute under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). - more here

  US steel hot-rolled coil prices forecast to hit $600/st in Q4

  • US hot-rolled coil prices were forecast to hit $600/st, ex-works, Wednesday by Mike Locker, president of New York-based Locker Associates, who spoke at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries' Ferrous Scrap Roundtable Commodities Forum in Chicago. - more here

  Africa: Mining Has Not Benefitted Africa - Aimes

  • Africa Initiative on Mining, Environment and Society (AIMES) have observed that although foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa's extractive sector has significantly increased over the last few decades especially with the new entrants such as China, India, as well as the US involvement in the oil extraction in Gulf of Guinea, this have not led to improvement in poverty reduction, environment protection, and respect for human rights in Africa. - more here

  Doomed: The Global Boom Will End in Gloom

  • For the first time in the 200-year history of capitalism, there is a synchronized global economic boom, leading to rising commodity prices, shifts in growth and an increase in wealth inequity. - more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - plus 24 tons = 29,760 tonnes (3.17% - 942 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 28,818 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel - 286000-288000 - plus 14500
Wednesday, Sept 19
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Roundup
  • Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $14.54/lb 3 month buyer - $14.65/lb (133% higher than 1/1/06, only 3% lower than 1/1/07)
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 116 to 8,429.
  • LME nickel inventories - plus 192 tonnes into and minus 78 tonnes from Rotterdam, Netherlands warehouse, and plus 18 tonnes into and minus 354 tonnes from Busan, South Korea warehouse. Second day of gross drop, although inventory net inventory is still gaining.
  • Comment - The World Bureau of Metal Statistics reported today that the nickel market remained in a world deficit by 2600 tonnes for the first 6 months of 2007, for the second month in a row. We phrase it that way because no one else seems to be. In August, the WBMS reported the deficit for the first 5 months of the year was 2600 tonnes. In July, the WBMS reported the deficit at that time was 8700 tonnes for the first 4 months of the year. In July, on the date of their report, LME nickel inventories stood at 10,824 tonnes, in August, 20,446, and today, they stand at 29,736. So while nickel inventories have grown in LME warehouses by about 10,000 tonnes for the last two months, somehow, the worldwide picture remains in a deficit?? Love to know what methodology they use.
  • For those who have written and asked us what the heck is going on with nickel pricing the last few days, we can only shrug our shoulders. You'll have to ask one of those analysts who get paid to give the media reason's for the unreasonable. On the supply side, even the WBMS verifies that supply has increased. No present, pending, or foreseen disruptions in the pike. On the demand side, we see no signs that stainless production is picking back up, of any significance - yet. Yes, Posco did say they see good times coming again, with a disclaimer by adding, down the road, China's Jinchuan is raising their prices, and we aren't seeing the weekly reports that Asian mills are cutting back on stainless steel production. But, we also are still seeing fairly steep inflows of nickel into LME warehouses, so where are the buyers? We see that the cost of pig nickel ore in China has stabilized over the past weeks, but yet to see them increase, so where are the buyers? We would like to think that nickel trading got caught up in the euphoria over the 1/2% interest rate cut, where everybody is "getting while the getting is good", before reality returns. Nickel was up 12% at one time during the day, its largest one day gain in nearly 20 years. So while the nickel producers may be dancing again, so are those who mine pig nickel, as they are about to become popular again. And for those who make stainless, stock stainless, and sell stainless, once again they are reminded, why it is they aren't stocking up more than necessary. For those making money off this volatility, congratulations. For those, who will must explain this to their customers, good luck. Tell them it's like O.J. Simpson - a nightmare that won't go away. Whatever the reasons and excuses given, LME nickel closed the day at $15.30/lb ($33,750/tonne)
  • Dow Jones Closing Metals Report - here
  • Bloomberg - more

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

  • Indications at 7:55 am CST show 3 month nickel selling way, way, way up by $1.60/lb . (that is nearly $3500/tonne folks). Well, we did break with our rule a month ago, and said that when nickel found a floor, that we thought it would trade in the $12 - $16./lb range. However, we did not predict that it would trade within that range, all in one week!! If nickel keeps going like it has the last few, our forecast will be deemed bearish. We still can't find a good reason for what is going on. US dollar is at record lows, which is always good for base metals. Its Third Wednesday, so some of this may be covering former short bets, and others making them pay dearly for their mistake. Some of it probably has to do with the euphoria that brought the trading world to life yesterday with the announcement of an aggressive 50 point cut in the prime by the Fed. And the WBMS report out today that claims the world nickel supply was still in a deficit for the first 7 months of this year, probably has traders all worked up. We would be surprised if dock workers at the Rotterdam or Helsingborg or Pusan or Liverpool LME warehouses would agree with the WBMS, as they have all been taking much more in than they have been shipping out since June, but we will leave that for later.  
  • Bloomberg - Nickel, Copper, Zinc Advance in London After U.S. Rate Cut more

  Global Nickel Market In 13,000 Ton Deficit In Jan-July

  • Mine production in January to July was, at 876,100 tons, 7% above the 2006 total. Refined nickel production was 13.4% above the comparable total for 2006 with output increases in China, Finland and Canada accounting for most of the rise, WBMS said. - more here

  China's Output of Stainless Steel Will Have a Share of 1.56% in Total Production of Steel Materials in 2007

  • In 1994-2007, the global consumption of stainless steel was 1.43 times than that of carbon steel, while that was 1.57 times in China. During the same period, the world's consumption of stainless steel was 1.6 times than GDP growth, and that was 2.5 times in China. In addition, China's consumption of stainless steel was 1.70 times that its GDP growth in 2002-2006, which is nearly the same as that of carbon steel. - more here

  Interfax News

  • China produced 10,388 tons of refined nickel in August, climbing 31.4 percent from the same period last year, according to an update from China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released yesterday.
  • The world's 67 main crude steel producing countries produced a total of 108.08 million tons of crude steel in August, up 5.3 percent from the same period last year, with production from China accounting for 38.47 percent of the global total, according to a press release from the International Iron and Steel Institute received by Interfax today.

  Taiwan's stainless steel scrap price continues to soar

  • The price of Taiwan’s stainless steel scrap continues to surge since August. - more here

  China Nickel Resources to construct special steel plant in Indonesia

  • China Nickel Resources Holdings Co. Ltd. (CNR), a Hong Kong-listed special steel producer formerly known as China Special Steel, intends to construct a special steel plant in Indonesia's Kalimantan, which was previously known as Borneo, a company official told Interfax today. - more here

  Global crude steel production in August up by 5.3% YoY

  • International Iron and Steel Institute reported that the total crude steel production in August 2007 for the 67 countries is 108.1 million tonnes up by 5.3% YoY as compared to August 2006. The global crude steel production in January to August 2007 is 869.710 million tonne up by 7.5% YoY. - more here

  China likely to slow down iron ore imports

  • China’s iron ore imports are expected to increase at a slower pace because of rising domestic supply and decline in the growth of steel output capacity, say industry insiders. - more here  (negotiations are underway this week between the Big Three iron ore producers and China steel producers over 2008 iron ore contracts)
  • China's import of iron ore in July 2007- more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - minus 222 tons = 29,736 tonnes (2.54% - 756 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 28,980 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at (markets closed due to typhoon)
Tuesday, Sept 18
  Update - Shanghai is being evacuated due to an approaching typhoon and markets are forecast to be closed tomorrow. (more)

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Roundup

  • Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $13.25/lb 3 month buyer - $13.34/lb (112% higher than 1/1/06)
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 17 to 8,313.
  • LME nickel inventories - plus 192 tonnes into and minus 84 tonnes from Rotterdam, Netherlands warehouse, and minus 114 tonnes from Busan, South Korea warehouse. Small shipment received and two outbound means the first drop since August 30th.
  • Ok...who let the bulls out of their pen - again? LME nickel was up today, way up. It broke thru the $30,000/tonne barrier, and didn't stop to take a breath until it hit $31,000/tonne. So what is up? The analyst's that the various media outlets interviewed said it was due to the Chinese stainless steel industry firing back up. We aren't seeing the reports they apparently are, but Jinchuan nickel is definitely throwing out some clues. We have some test graphs posted on this page here. While over the years we have noticed Jinchuan nickel tends to play follow the leader with the London Metal Exchange, in the last week it has apparently taken the lead. Jinchuan nickel, which we post each morning, has been on the gaining side since September 11th, with the LME not really kicking up a gear until last Friday. Most believe we have hit bottom on the summer's stainless steel demand destruction, but we must add, we have yet to see the evidence ourselves, in Chinese media, that things are picking back up of any substantial degree. They should be, based on the season, but we just aren't seeing the reports yet. When we do, we will post them.  Dow Jones, on the other hand, affirms what we stated yesterday about days preceding Third Wednesday trading, "LME nickel jumps 5.6% as fund players take advantage of thin conditions to bid prices higher in a general short covering rally, a London-based trader says." So was today based on facts LME traders are privy too, short covering, or speculation based on what is happening on the Shanghai Security with Jinchuan nickel? Whichever proves to be the truth, for today, 3 month nickel ended today's trading at $13.92/lb ($30,700/tonne), after hitting $14.06/lb near closing (highest ending since July 31).
  • Dow Jones Closing Metals Report - more

  Nickel Rises to 7-Week High as China's Use Grows; Copper Gains

  • Nickel rose to a seven-week high in London on demand growth in China, the largest consumer of the metal used in stainless steel. Copper and lead also gained. - more here

  World Bank Commodity Price Data - pdf here

  Damstahl Stainless Steel Solutions - 52 page September report - pdf here (very extensive European report)

  IISI Crude Steel Production - August 2007 - pdf here

  Billions more dollars headed for commodities - AIG

  • Money is still flooding into commodities investments to diversify portfolios despite financial market turmoil, and more pension funds are looking at commodity investments, especially in southern Europe. - more here

  Saudi Arabia: 1,270 mining licenses in 2006

  • A total of 1,270 mining licenses were existent last year including 196 new ones issued for various activities such as quarrying, reconnaissance, prospecting and mining. - more here

  Made in China by the Government of China

  • China's unprecedented economic growth machine relies overwhelmingly on an export-driven model that is fueled by numerous governmental policies which give certain industries ? including the stainless steel industry ? an unfair edge in the world marketplace, according to remarks made today by David A. Hartquist at an event sponsored by American Metal Market. - more here

  The golden future of commodities

  • The global infrastructure boom has lifted the demand and prices of industrial metals such as iron ore, nickel, aluminum, zinc and copper. Some Wall Street analysts have also reiterated their positive view on these commodities. - more here

  Commodity Currencies: Why Are Exchange Rate Futures Biased if Commodity Futures Are Not

  • This paper adds to the well-documented puzzle of the forward bias of exchange rates. While the exchange rate of a small commodity-exporting economy, such as Australia, can be closely tied to commodity prices, this paper demonstrates empirically that a portfolio of commodity futures exhibits little, if any, bias. - 14 page pdf report here

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

  • Indications at 7:55 am CST show 3 month nickel selling up by $.45/lb .
  • Bloomberg - more  "Nickel Rises to 2-Week High as China's Use Grows; Copper Gains"
  • Forbes - more
  • AFX News - more

  Behre Dolbear Global Mining News - pdf here

  Reuters Metal Weekly - pdf here

  Commodity Price Update - pdf here

  Copyright/Courtesy Bloomberg

  • "Jinchuan Group Co., Asia's biggest nickel producer, raised its price for a second time this month on demand from Chinese steelmakers, it said today on its Web site. China's nickel use jumped 35 percent in the first seven months of 2007, Macquarie Bank Ltd. said, citing International Nickel Study Group data."  (more)

  Copyright/courtesy Dow Jones

  • LME nickel is getting a boost from reports out of China that the stainless steel sector is coming back into the market to restock, says Will Adams of BaseMetals. Adds if nickel can break above $30,250 a metric ton then it could extend its rebound.

  India's nickel consumption to rise 10 pct - industry

  • India's nickel imports are set to rise 10 percent this year, helped by a sharp fall in world prices and rising consumption of stainless steel in the fast growing economy, a top industry official said on Tuesday. - more

  Shanghai Security News

  • According to a report by the Shanghai Security News, China's Jinchuan is denying reports, published last week, that it has sought the assistance from the Philippine government, in securing an agreement with Philnico for the Nonoc nickel project in that country. It also advises that since talks broke down with Philnico last January, they have not sought any agreement over this mine.  (see next story about possible future to Nonoc project)

  Surigao execs vow to protect marine life ...

  • (excerpt) Philippine Nickel Corporation (Philnico) President Ernesto Narvaez which currently operates Nonoc nickel mines announced during his recent visit to this city said that a new Chinese group of investors from China are ready to sign contract with Philnico to rehabilitate Nonoc Mines before October this year. - more here  (and an article from 2 weeks ago here)

  Philippine Rebels Target Miners, Foiling Drive for $6.7 Billion

  • Jasper, a 28-year-old medic in the New People's Army, says he's been fighting Philippine government forces since he was 13. Now he has a new enemy: international mining companies. - more

  Russian nickel junior -- buy it before it goes!

  • Russia's second nickel miner shows upside potential if Kremlin decides against takeover - more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - minus 6 tons = 29,958 tonnes (3.71% - 1,110 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 28,848 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at 267000-268000RMB/t, plus 5500 .
Monday, Sept 17
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Steel Roundup
  • Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $12.72/lb 3 month buyer - $12.90/lb (105% higher than 1/1/06)
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 9 to 8,296.
  • LME nickel inventories - plus 792 tonnes into and minus 144 tonnes from Rotterdam, Netherlands warehouse, and plus 162 tonnes into and minus 36 tonnes from Busan, South Korea warehouse.
  • Monday is typically a slow news day, but this week could prove to be an interesting one on the London Metal Exchange. Most importantly to the market, is the Fed' meeting tomorrow to discuss possible changes to the interest rate. The sentiment seems to be edging toward a small cut, and we are watching a vote being tallied by metals investors on the Investor Village forum. At last count it was 46 investors who believe a 25 point cut will be announced, 2 investors forecast a more aggressive 50 point cut, and 14 others believe the Fed will leave interest rates alone. Whatever happens, you can expect some sort of reaction from the markets tomorrow, which could have a psychological effect on nickel trading. Secondly, we have Third Wednesday prompt this week. This usually drives prices and inventories higher, as traders are forced to cover short bets made in the past. We may have already seen most of this take place during the latter part of last week, as the market calmed down today. And finally, inventory levels are on the brink of going over the 30,0000 tonne mark. We will be curious to see what kind of reaction the market has to this, when/if it is breached. For today, markets went red early, recovered, then went green in the afternoon. LME 3 month nickel ended todays trading at $13.13/lb ($28,950/tonne)
  • Dow Jones Closing Metals Report - here

  Haywood Securities Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here

  Courtesy MetalBiz


(source)

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

  • Indications at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling up by $.02/lb . Don't expect to see much movement in the market today. Traders are watching and waiting for any news of an interest rate cut out of Washington tomorrow, and we have Third Wednesday this week.
  • Bloomberg - more
  • Financial Times - more

  Weekly Chinese analyst poll

  • Results from weekly forecasts by Shanghai Nonferrous analysts - Of 32 responding, 26 (81%) felt the price of nickel would rise this week,  only 2 felt it would drop (6%), while the remaining 4 (12%) felt the price would stay the same.  

  Nonferrous market lacks conviction up or down;insiders await definite U.S. macro indicators...

  • Nickel/Stainless Steel Roundtable of September 6, hosted by the Pittsburgh Chapter of ISRI (Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries) offered complimentary views on nickel and cobalt, along with a market perspective from an Upstate New York-based service center…more here

  Asian Development Outlook 2007 Update

  • Developing Asia's prodigious growth continued through the first half of 2007, setting the scene for another bumper year. The region is now expected to expand by 8.3. But this Asian Development Outlook 2007 Update cautions that the prognosis for 2008 is now hazy. Although growth in 2008 is seen slowing gently to 8.2%, the likelihood of a more abrupt deceleration is increasing. - more and complete report here

  Copyright/courtesy Dow Jones Newswire

  • Base metal markets can expect a short-term lift if the Federal Reserve concur with market expectations of a 25 basis point interest rate cut next Tuesday, but a cloudy outlook for the U.S. economy still spells softer prices for some metals, analysts said Friday.

  Global steel markets to remain strong - POSCO CFO

  • POSCO, the world's fourth-largest steel maker, said it expected global steel markets would remain strong through next year backed by buoyant demand from shipbuilding and steady economic growth. - more here

  Hyundai Steel to halt stainless CR production continuously

  • The weak steel demand has forced South Korea's Hyundai Steel to stop stainless CRC production for the fifth time this year. Hyundai Steel will cut its output by halting the line in Incheon plant for 5 days from September 12 till September 17. - more here

  Finnish stainless steel maker Outokumpu invests €550 million in Swedish unit

  • Finnish metals and technology group Outokumpu Oyj said Monday it will invest €550 million (US$760 million) to more than double stainless steel production in Sweden. - more here

  EU Flat Products Steel Price Upturn - Delayed to 2008

  • Activity is slowly returning to the EU market after the dormant Summer holiday period. The quantities of imported strip mill products arriving in Southern Europe dropped during August. Customers are expecting import price offers to be higher during the Autumn because of an anticipated decline in availability from China and a need to recover escalating raw material costs. - more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - plus 774 tons = 29,964 tonnes (3.78% - 1,134 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 28,830 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at 261500-262500 RMB/t, plus 3500 .
Weekend Review, Sept 15 & 16
  Precious Metal Smuggling
  • During 2004 and 2005 , we were fascinated by, and recorded, numerous stories of worldwide metals theft brought on by the price increases in base metals, some of which were incredibly bizarre. The overnight disappearance of a complete steel bridge in Russia is still our favorite, although local officials were not nearly as amused as we were. These days we find stories of nickel smuggling equaling unusual. We have already reported a few instances, and today, New China net is recording the seizure of 3,600 kilograms of, what it calls, the precious metal, nickel. Hidden inside a spatial car axle, the nickel was discovered alongside 7200 liquid crystal displays for cell phones. The report advises officials have seized 4,807 kilograms of nickel in three separate incidents this year, carrying a "street" value of $1.39 million HK dollars. Smugglers, if convicted, face a maximum fine of $2 million HK dollars and 7 years in prison.

  China Quarterly Update - September 2007 - pdf here

  Week in Review (different source used than for daily reports)

  • Last week was the first week in the last four where nickel prices retracted, but this week would prove not to be a repeat. Three month nickel opened on Monday at $12.20/lb, rose to $12.34/lb, saw a low of $12.04/lb, and ended trading at $12.16/lb. Monday would prove to be the only day nickel prices fell. On Tuesday, the market opened at $12.25/lb, saw a high of $12.56/lb, a low of $12.17/lb, and closed at $12.34/lb. On Wednesday, the market would open at $12.36/lb, reach a high of $12.43/lb, fall to a low of $12.11/lb, and end at $12.36/lb. On Thursday, LME trading opened at $12.29/lb, see a low of $12.22/lb, reach a high of $12.75/lb, where it would end the day. Friday, markets continued to buy, with nickel opening at $12.72/lb, fall to $12.66/lb, reach a high of $13.04/lb, and end the week at $12.97/lb. Nickel ended the week 5.3% over last Friday's close, down 4.16% on the month, and down 22.37% since January 1st, 2007.

  BMO Capital Market September edition "The Goods" - pdf here

  Standard Bank Commodities Weekly - pdf here

  China Statistics

  • China imported nickel 7.798 tons in July, down 1.2% from one month ago and imported 3,767 tons ferronickel, lifting 39% compared with the same time in June. The nation imported 7,956 tons nickel ore, up 48.8% from one month ago. The export volume of nickel was 1,421 tons, down 16.5% compared with the same period in June. The main suppliers of nickel are Australia (1,898 tons), Canada (2,685 tons), and Russia (2,144 tons). The import volume totaled 617,000 tons in the first seven months 2007. The main suppliers of nickel ore are Philippines (1,391,000 tons), Indonesia (684,000 tons) and New Caledonia (197,000 tons)
  • It is reported that China’s chrome ore imports climbed in January to June 2007 to 2.834 million tonnes valued at USD 620 million up by 38.3%YoY and 86.3%YoY respectively as compared with the same period of 2006. Import price averaged USD 219 per tonnes up by 34.7%. South Africa and Turkey are the top exporters with 802,000 tonnes and 558,000 tonnes respectively up by 140% YoY and 88.4% YoY. The two countries provided 48% of China's total imports during the period. Imports from India dropped dramatically by 32.8% YoY to 521,000 tonnes owing to export quota and export tariff.
  • China's export of rolled steel in July 2007 - more here
  • China's export of pig iron in July 2007 - more here

  Esperance authorities now tackling nickel dust

  • AUTHORITIES are finally tackling nickel dust contamination in Esperance after a decade of it blowing over the town and into rainwater tanks at unsafe levels. - more here

  Mineral expansion rollout unchecked

  • THE PROSPECT of a slowdown in the world economy is an obvious threat to the mining industry, which has been growing its output capacity at a fair clip. But London-listed Bateman Engineering, a business with strong South African origins, believes there’ll be no slowdown in project implementation. - more here

  Vena says metals sector ripe for takeovers

  • Volatile commodities prices have cut the share values of mining companies and should encourage acquisitions in the sector, the chief executive of junior miner Vena Resources said on Thursday. - more here

  Who Will Feed the Chinese Monster?

  • At least for a while, the headline above might have said, "Hu Will Feed the Chinese Monster?" - more here

  National Mining Association Mining Week - pdf here

  Interest rate raised for 5th time this year

  • The central bank raised interest rates for the fifth time this year on Friday as part of its continuing efforts to arrest the rising inflation graph and prevent the economy from overheating. - more here

   Video games train miners in Peru

  • Giant video games with throaty diesel engines powering monster-sized earth movers, excavators and dump trucks have hardened miners at a metals conference this week in Peru giggling like children. - more here

  Iron ore prices may rise by 25% in 2008- JP Morgan

  • Leading global financial services firm JP Morgan Chase & Co, after increasing its earlier 10% estimate, said that iron ore contract prices may gain 25% in 2008 as miners fail to match the increase in demand. It added that prices would probably rise by 10% in 2009. - more here

  (older report but good info) Developments in the World Stainless Steel Industry and the Implications for Nickel Consumption - pdf here

  Man electrocuted in Ohio copper theft

  • A 50-year-old South Side man died 11 hours after being released from the county jail when his bolt cutters unleashed 23,000 volts of electricity into his body during a copper theft at an Ohio Edison substation. - more here

  Interesting News / Sites

  • Dubai tower now world's tallest free-standing structure - "The world's tallest building, still under construction in the booming Gulf emirate of Dubai, has become the world's tallest free-standing structure, its developers said on Thursday." - more here
  • A glass of wine can help find new mineral deposits - "The key to finding new mineral deposits in Australia could be to start looking with a glass of wine or a soft drink." - more here
  • Shipping locations worldwide - more here

Friday, Sept 14
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Roundup
  • Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $12.67/lb 3 month buyer - $12.77/lb (103% higher than 1/1/06)
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 38 to 8,302.
  • LME nickel inventories - plus 792 tonnes into Rotterdam, Netherlands warehouse, plus 18 tonnes into Singapore warehouse, minus 180 tonnes shipped from Rotterdam
  • (comment)  Obviously, no one on the LME listened to our comments yesterday. Or if they did, we got the "big bird". A day of market stability, it was not. Prices started out green this morning, dipped into the red in early afternoon trading, and then went back into the green, in a big way. Kitco's daily graph on this page, gives a good reflection of today's market activity. Economic news from the US was mixed today. Standard Bank analyst Mike Skinner told AFX news "The data was not that much weaker than expected and these days you have to take what you can get. Everyone positions themselves hoping for the worst from US and when it doesn't come as bad as expected they take cover." Fortis Bank, in their report we posted below, said they felt the end of the nickel collapse was at hand, and stainless steel producers were returning to a buying mode. If true, we should see the LME inventory numbers start reflecting something besides daily gains, and cancelled warrants numbers pick up. Today ended higher, with 3 month nickel ending the week at $12.95/lb ($28,550/tonne), up 6.1% over last Friday's close.  
  • Dow Jones Closing Metals Report - here
  • Weekend Humor - Video "In The Know: Are America's Rich Falling Behind The Super-Rich?" here
  • Have a safe and restful weekend!!

  Japan's moly prices decline, but consumers still not keen to buy

  • Spot molybdenum product prices fell in Japan this week, but a majority of Japanese consumers were still not interested in buying as they think current price levels are too high, trade sources said. - more here

  Kosovo's Nickel Plant starts production

  • According to representatives of the British Alferon, a company that privatized Kosovo's Nickel Plant "Ferronikeli" a year ago, over 25 million EUR were invested in the plant since then and additional 30 million EUR are planned by January 2008. - more here

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

  • Indications at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling up by $.32/lb . According to Bloomberg, producers are buying nickel again? Someone knows something we don't, because we aren't seeing any substantial increases in purchases of nickel - yet. Busy news day already.
  • Bloomberg - "Nickel Rises on Renewed Buying From Steelmakers; Copper Drops" - more

  Minara Expects Nickel Prices To Rise In Remainder Of 2007

  • Minara Resources Ltd. (MRE.AU) said Friday that nickel prices will continue to be volatile but will rise in the final quarter of 2007 and remain strong in 2008 and 2009. - more here

  Fortis Metals Monthly - Sept 2007 - pdf here

  • Copyright/courtesy Dow Jones Newswire - (ref above report) "The collapse in nickel prices may be at an end as stainless steel producers might take advantage of lower prices and start restocking, says Fortis Bank. But adds "a hasty return to the heady heights of May is unlikely" amid the biggest stainless producers planning output cuts in September due to weaker demand and high producer stocks. Longer-term, Fortis sees nickel prices nudging towards $40,000/ton, before new mine supply begins to catch up. Adds there is little prospect of that happening before the end of '07. In the short-term, LME nickel is seen at $29,000/ton."

  TD Bank Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here

  Chinese production update for January to August 2007 - more here

  Tisco reduced the price of stainless steel

  • Due to the weak demand of stainless steel in the domestic market of South Korea, South Korean Posco has lowered its price of 300 series for fourth time by 500,000 wow/ton(about US$533.6/ton)earlier. - more here

  Environment Watchdog to Demand Compensation From Norilsk Nickel in Court

Natural resources watchdog Rosprirodnadzor intends to demand compensation for environmental damage by MMC Norilsk Nickel (RTS: GMKN) via the courts, Oleg Mitvol, the agency's deputy chief, told Interfax. - more here

  Ire over ore as 126 iron mines get go-ahead

  • The green brigade is up in arms in Goa. Its anger is directed at the Centre for having approved more iron mines in Goa at a time when the state Government itself has sought legal opinion on mining. - more here

  Hyundai Steel to halts stainless CR production continuously

  • The weak steel demand has forced South Korea's Hyundai Steel to stop stainless CRC production for the fifth time this year. Hyundai Steel will cut its output by halting the line in Incheon plant for 5 days from September 12 till September 17. - more here

  Sumitomo Metal Mining sees growth in nickel

  • Sumitomo Metal Mining Co , Japan's most aggressive investor in overseas metal resources, said on Friday its 10,000 tonnes-a-year Coral Bay nickel plant in the Philippines will come fully on line in September 2009, six months after the start of operations. - more here

  As annual price talks begin, BHP expects demand for iron to be strong

  • BHP Billiton, the world's biggest mining company, said there is strong demand for iron ore as mining companies and steel makers prepare for annual price negotiations later this year. - more here

  China, India in battle of Bowen

  • THERE is no better example of a head-to-head confrontation between India and China for control of an Australian resources asset than the growing showdown for market minnow Rocklands Richfield. - more here

  Are the Philippines going sour on mining....again? (from end of August)

  • "The ongoing nickel ore rush in southern Palawan may have attracted all sorts of mining investors big and small, dubious and legit. But the roads leading to the reddish brown soil that Palawan’s landscape is famous for just ended at the entrance to Puerto Princesa City, the province’s capital and host to wide areas of high grade nickel ore." - more here
  • "At least six crewmembers of a cargo vessel have been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle thousands of metric tons of nickel ore." - more here (note - well established mine and government feuding over taxes - not a case of smuggling)

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - plus 786 tons = 29,190 tonnes (2.82% - 822 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 28,368 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at 258000-259000RMB/t, plus 5250 .
Thursday, Sept 13
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Roundup
  • Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $12.25/lb 3 month buyer - $12.36/lb (96.5% higher than 1/1/06)
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 81 to 8,340.
  • LME nickel inventories - plus 774 tonnes into Rotterdam, Netherlands warehouse, minus 114 tonnes shipped from Rotterdam
  • (comment) Nickel went green on the board this morning and never looked back. While we are sure there are some trading reasons why the rock, that was worth a certain value yesterday, was worth so much more in traders eyes today, the fundamentals did not change. And they really haven't changed for awhile now. Nickel inventories are growing in LME warehouses, quite simply, because demand, primarily stainless, has fallen off. And although we are in the downstream stainless industry, we aren't really sure what the stainless steel producers are waiting on. Unless it's that uncomfortable period after the market has re-established a floor and everyone is waiting for the other guy to blink first. Yes, as we stated yesterday, we believe a floor has been established. Has the market turned from volatile to consistent? No. But we really see no reason for nickel to fall any further. What are the variables as they stand today? On the demand side, stainless steel metal centers are still buying only what they need, and not re-stocking. After being burnt so bad over the last few months, it's a financial wound that may be hindering their return to the buy side. Stainless steel producers are faced with a downturn in demand, and also watching a market price for nickel jump back and forth by thousands of dollars daily. This makes it very difficult for them to buy, not knowing what the next day will bring. On the supply side, things are running smoothly. Nickel miners are all mining full stream, with no disruptions to hinder their production. No new major sources are set to come online until sometime next year. Even the new fly in the punchbowl, pig nickel is having its problems, and while proving to be an effective equalizer, it is not the salvation from high nickel prices the Chinese stainless steel industry was hoping for. We are reading media reports from China where they are now complaining they have tons of low grade laterite ore sitting on their docks, that was purchased under contract, or at market value, at prices excessive to what it is worth at today's market prices (here). Eliminating some of the smaller producers that were processing it, and add excessive and over-priced inventory, and the so-called pig nickel has its own set of problems right now. So what is going to have to happen for the market to break loose? First, the talk of recessionary concerns brought on by the mortgage scandal is going to have to work itself out. While stockholders may be confident that a bullet has been dodged, the constant recession talk and foreclosures has many spooked. Until distributors and producers feel that threat has lessened, demand-in-force could remain on the sidelines. And, in our opinion, when the market starts deciding that what happens in the U.S. isn't nearly as important as it used to be, and China, India, Brazil, Russia, Dubai, etc are where real growth is happening, then things might change. Second - we feel the traders on the LME need to calm down and let the market stabilize. Buying nickel on the part of a producer, who needs to purchase 30,000 tonnes at a time, shouldn't be a garage sale process. Yes, when the market was exploding, and when it went into the toilet, this is a poison pill that every nickel buyer must swallow. But by leap frogging prices one week, only to bail out the next, for no real explainable reason, the LME traders are playing tug a war with themselves, and putting the system in a situation where it is becoming its own worst enemy. Today, nickel ended the day at $12.65/lb ($27,900/tonne)          
  • Dow Jones Closing Metals Report - more

  Indonesia Map showing recent earthquake locations and arrow pointing to Sulawesi Island and region where most of nickel is mined

  Nickel Price Rise Caused By Investment Community - Economist

  • "The extreme rise in nickel prices is the result of the activity of the investment community, David Wilson, senior economist at Norilsk Nickel told GFMS Ltd.'s metals seminar Thursday." - report here

  Nickel pig iron production to peak in 2007/08-Norilsk

  • "Nickel pig iron production will peak this year or next and will ease over the coming years, the world's biggest nickel producer Norilsk Nickel said on Thursday." - more here

  China and Iran enter into long term agreement for chrome ore

  • "Chinese media is reporting that the Asian Energy Development Company, Limited (AEDC) has entered into a long term supply agreement with an Iranian company, in which Iran will ship high grade chrome ore to China, for the use in ferrochrome production, and China will ship coke to Iran for its iron industry."  

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

  • Indications at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling up by $.18/lb
  • Bloomberg - more

  ‘Commodity prices will rise over next 10 years’

  • "The boom in commodity prices, in which oil tripled and copper doubled in the past five years, probably will last another decade as economic growth in China and India continues at record pace, said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at Global Insight Inc. a US-based financial and political consultancy firm." - more here

  Steel Prices to Rise on `Tight' Supply, Merrill Says

  • "Steel prices will rise this year and next in most regions, allowing producers to claw back higher costs for raw materials including iron ore and coking coal, Merrill Lynch & Co. said." - more here

  Substitution of low-nickel stainless steel grades has accelerated

  • "Increased use of low-or no-nickel steels continues to erode the market share of nickel-bearing 300-series stainless grades, the workhorse of the industry, at a time when the collapse of world nickel prices to half what the alloying metal cost in May has disrupted the global stainless steel marketplace." - more here

  Chinese SS output in H1 cross 3.5 million tonnes

  • "China Iron and Steel Association statistics shows that China produced 3.5 million tonnes of stainless steel in the H1 of 2007 up by 54% YoY. Meanwhile stainless steel imports and exports registered 956,500 tonnes and 833,800 tonnes respectively down by 25.45% YoY and up 224.44% YoY as compared to H1 of 2006." - more here

  Chinese steel exports cross 50 million tonne in 8 months

  • "According to the latest customs data released, China's exports of finished steel products registered 5.38 million tonnes in Aug 2007, down by 560,000 tons or 9.4% MoM from 5.94 million tonnes in July 2007. China exported some 45.08 million tonnes of finished steel products in the January to August 2007 up by 83.9% YoY." - more here

  China chrome ore import in 7 months up by 38.3% YoY

  • "It is reported that China’s chrome ore imports climbed in January to June 2007 to 2.834 million tonnes valued at USD 620 million up by 38.3%YoY and 86.3%YoY respectively as compared with the same period of 2006. Import price averaged USD 219 per tonnes up by 34.7%." - more here

  World Production Of Nickel In First Half 2007 Increased (Part 1 - here) (Part 2 here)

  Stainless automobiles

  • "The “Next Generation Vehicle" project, an alliance of leading stainless steel producers and automotive OEMs was launched at the end of 2004 with the aim of identifying potential for the use of stainless steel in auto construction." - more here

  Stainless wire rod price fluctuant lately

  • "Due to rapid rebound of nickel price on LME, stainless steel market has a surge of purchase in replenishing the stock, especially the stainless wire rod mills." - more here

  Jinchuan wants to away from unstable Nickle price risk

  • "The China's largest producer of nickel, Jinchuan Group Ltd, is planning to develop high-quality stainless products to away form the reliance of the nickle's price." - more here

  Acesita: Stainless steel demand to grow 6%/y thru 2011 - Brazil

  • "Stainless steel demand in Brazil and South America is due to grow 6% per year through 2011, above the world average, Sérgio Mendes, commercial and services director at Brazilian specialty steelmaker Acesita, said in São Paulo." - more here

  Nonoc talking to 3 groups for nickel deal

  • "Philnico Industrial Corp., the owner of one of the Philippines' largest nickel mines, is talking to three foreign companies about forming a joint venture to reopen the Nonoc lode." - more here

  To the metals price boom... and beyond

  • "SINCE 2003, the resource sector has benefited from strong metal prices that have reached historic nominal highs in almost all cases, of which nickel’s stellar rise to US$24/lb in 2007 is the most astonishing example." - more here

  Watchdog accuses Norilsk Nickel of pollution at Polar division

  • "Natural resources watchdog Rosprirodnadzor has completed an inspection of how MMC Norilsk Nickel (RTS: GMKN) is fulfilling the requirements of water-use legislation, the agency said in a statement." - more here

  Top Ten World's Worst Polluted Places - Blacksmith Institute Issues Report

  • "U.S.-based Blacksmith Institute, an independent environmental group, in partnership with Green Cross Switzerland, today issued their Top Ten list of the world's most severely polluted places. The sites lie in seven countries and severely impact the health of more than 12 million people." - more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - plus 660 tons = 28,404 tonnes (3.06% - 870 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 27,534 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at 253000-253500 RMB/t, plus 2750 .
Wednesday, Sept 12
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Roundup
  • Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $12.25/lb 3 month buyer - $12.34/lb (96.2% higher than 1/1/06)
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 47 to 8,421.
  • LME nickel inventories - plus 648 tonnes into Rotterdam, Netherlands warehouse, minus 132 tonnes shipped from Rotterdam, and minus 18 tonnes from Busan, South Korea warehouse. Cancelled warrants slipped below 3% - first time since mid-August 
  • Added some excerpts from interesting articles below. Chinese media quotes a US west coast stainless steel service center manager as saying pretty much what we did some time back - "If nickel price before year's end can stabilize about 12 US dollars/pounds, the market can be very good." Another article about how the Japanese have figured out a way to use low grade iron ore effectively. Reports coming in today of the overnight 8.2 earthquake in Western Indonesia, will apparently having no effect on nickel mining in that country. Nickel is predominantly mined from the island of Sulawesi, which is farther east. Nickel trading was rather ho-hum today. Started the morning selling up a little, then in early afternoon, took a dip, and spent much of the rest of the afternoon trading, climbing out of the hole. By day's end, 3 month nickel was trading at $12.29/lb ($27,100/tonne)   
  • Dow Jones Closing Metals Report - more

  Metal mart awaits Fed rate decision

  • "The Fed’s decision on the US interest rates on September 18 will be crucial for the movement in base metals. An anticipated cut of 25 basis points may end the short-term bearishness, while unchanged rates may push the market into doldrums." - more here

  International Ferro says 2 furnaces disrupted; sees FY output down by 11 pct

  • "International Ferro Metals Ltd said it expects a reduction in its full-year ferrochrome production by up to 30,000 tonnes following a temporary disruption of production in two furnaces." - more here

  Mining Journal publisher Rob Barrowman reports from the Excellence in Mining conference, Sydney Australia

  • "As the cream of the Australian mining world homed in on Sydney for the Excellence in Mining and Exploration Conference this week they were joined by Presidents Bush, Putin, (Australia’s Prime Minister) Howard and 16 other world leaders." - more here

  American in October the stainless steel extra charge glides down (extra charge is surcharge)

  • (excerpt) "The continuing decline the extra charge to cause the service center the stock depreciation, some service centers stated, the present selling price has been lower than at that time picks the purchase price. West seacoast manager indicated that,“the hope nickel price is stable. If nickel price before year's end can stabilize about 12 US dollars/pounds, to the market can be very good.”A south service center estimated that,“future several months nickel price will not be able largely to overshoot, but along with steel mill beginning, the nickel price rise probability will have to be bigger than the probability which will fall.”East seacoast service center manager estimated that,“the nickel price will stop falling. Since August 22, the nickel price has started about 12.5 US dollars/pounds to undulate, on 3rd returns to 13.4 US dollars/pounds. Therefore we thought in November nickel price will rise again.”But he also indicated,“although estimate in November the extra charge will rise, but he will not be able massively to buy up in October. Because market trend not bright, we also will maintain the lower stock level.” - poorly translated article here

   Longbow Aerospace Supply Survey (found on investor forum)

  • "After completing our 3Q07 Aerospace Metals Survey, we conclude that demand and pricing fundamentals for titanium and nickel based alloys have softened in 3Q07, which was driven primarily by weakness in distributor and fabricator shipments to commercial aerospace OEMs. " - more here

  Copyright/courtesy Steel Trade Today

  • "The Yomiuri Shimbun reported that Nippon Steel Corp's Yahata steel works at Kitakyushu will use only low quality iron ore from around 2010 as it now has the technology to use the low quality ore to cut costs. The report added that Nippon Steel also plans to increase the proportion of low quality iron core used at other plants to increase competitiveness.For the process of solidifying iron ore before it is placed in a blast furnace, Nippon Steel has developed a new ingredient to replace calcium oxide to prevent low quality iron core from breaking up, allowing the firm to cut costs by about 40%. As from October 2004, Nippon Steel used the iron ore at the Yahata factory and has raised the proportion used to 50%. After ensuring the low quality material is not affecting the quality of the final steel products, Nippon Steel will increase the ratio of low quality iron core used at Yahata to 100% by around 2010. Low quality iron ore is difficult to use as a material, and steel makers have found it a challenge to find good uses for the ore, which accounts for 80% of iron ore reserves and only about 20% of iron ore reserves are high quality.With demand for steel growing due to the economic growth in rapidly developing countries including China, prices for a ton of high quality Australian iron core have surged in last 5 years." (from 8/15/07)

  Copyright/courtesy Economic Times

  • "A building boom in China is under way as the country gets ready to host the 2008 Olympic Games, but its appetite for steel is expected to grow unabated long after the flame is doused at the closing ceremonies. From the showpiece Bird’s Nest stadium to a light-rail connection for Beijing‘s airport too new hotels in far-away cities, steel beams are clanging non-stop at construction sites nationwide. With just a ear to go before the games begin, analysts say the development of China’s provincial cities should sustain steel demand even after the athletes go home. “Right now China is adding a lot of infrastructure, like subways, for instance. That type of demand might fall off”, said Xu Aihyua, an analyst at Beijing Metals consultancy Antaike. “ In other areas residential building might be nearing a peak. But there is a lot of demand still not satisfied, and in categories like light industry, demand is still rising . Olympic preparations have directly accounted for between 2 million and 3 million tonne of steel, spread out over more than four years, analysts say. That is a drop in the bucket compared with an estimated nationwide demand of 446 million tonne of crude steel this year. Crude steel equivalent demand will reach between 5.07 million and 5.6 million tonne in 2010, implying a slow down in demand growth from 12% this year, data from the China Iron and Steel Association showed. “But if annual GDP growth remains around 11% crude steel demand will maintain the possibility of further increases”, CISA vice chairman Luo Bingsheng said on Monday to on growth to 2010." (from 8/6/07)

  Is Canada for sale?

  • "Many of Canada's best-known companies have been bought by foreigners. Even easygoing Canadians are wondering what can be done about it. Fortune's Erik Heinrich reports." - more here

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

  • Indications at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling down by $.02/lb
  • Bloomberg - more
  • FX News - more

  Chinese nickel producer Jinchuan eyes more developments in stainless steel

  • "In order to attain its downstream expansion, China's largest nickel producer Jinchuan Group starts to develop high-quality austenitic stainless steel by its Nickel-Cobalt New Material Engineering Technology Research Center. Also this project is welcomed for cooperation with outside parties." - more here

  CISA advises to stop investment in stainless steel sector

  • "As per a Beijing Business News report, Mr Wu Jianchang deputy director of China Iron & Steel Association has suggested not to invest more in China's stainless steel sector as it is facing overcapacity following plague of the same over crude steel." - more here

  MF Global Daily Report

  • "We had a thunderous rally in the metals markets yesterday, as the complex pushed higher, along with a host of other markets, including global equities, precious metals and energy." - more here   (Mr Edward Meir has graciously agreed to allow estainlesssteel to post his new daily report. We will be adding a link to the left column where you will find the current daily report. As Mr Meir is a very respected name in the commodities field, we are pleased to be able to offer you this daily report - free of charge.)

  ABARE Economics

  • Mineral Statistics Quarterly - Sept 2007 - pdf here

  Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.

  • "Today, LME copper is moving tentatively higher, helped along by the weaker dollar...aluminum, nickel, lead and zinc, however, are trending lower...traders look for Comex December copper to open lower...." - pdf report here

  Chinese Steel Production Driving Demand for Australian Iron Ore

  • "In 2007 Australia is exporting iron ore-and coal, and gold, and other commodities-to the tune of $117 billion in earnings, according to the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics (ABARE)." - more here

  DB optimistic on precious, base metal prices

  • "Deutsche Bank (DB) has issued a generally optimistic forecast for precious metal prices next year on expectations of a weak US dollar, with positive but more moderate predictions for industrial metals." - more here

  US Nickel Reports thru July

  • US Jul Nickel Imports +0.7% From Jun, -13.4% From Yr Ago - more here
  • US Jul Nickel Exports -7.8% From Jun, +103.2% From Yr Ago - more here

  Income from mines must trickle down to host communities - DENR

  • "That the economic progress derived from mining activities must trickle down to the host communities, was President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's advice to Australian mining giant BHP Billiton and other mining firms operating in the Philippines." - more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - plus 498 tons = 27,744 tonnes (2.98% - 828 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 26,916 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at 250000-251000 RMB/t, plus 1250 .
Tuesday, Sept 11
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Roundup
  • Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $12.11/lb 3 month buyer - $12.32/lb (95.9% higher than 1/1/06)
  • Baltic Dry Index - minus 9 to 8,468.
  • LME nickel inventories - plus 762 tonnes Rotterdam, Netherlands warehouse. 102 tonnes out of Busan, South Korea warehouse, 66 tonnes out of Rotterdam warehouse, 60 tonnes out of Singapore warehouse, and 48 tonnes out of Liverpool, UK warehouse
  • Trading went green in London this morning on all base metals, and while some momentum was lost in late afternoon trading, nickel stayed in the plus column. Reports that imports of copper into China surged over the past month, gave some of those who trade in nickel hope that the same statistics may be coming for nickel. We would be skeptical of that materializing to the same degree copper witnessed today. Great piece from a Scotia report below. Gives some hope to the bulls, and ammo to the bears so pick your poison. The trading market seems to have grown comfortable with $12/lb as a new floor for nickel. Traders don't appear to want to fall below it, although they are trying hard to climb above it. For the day, 3 month nickel ended the day at $12.22/lb ($26,950/tonne)  
  • Dow Jones Closing Metals Report - here
  • Yahoo News - more

  Metals - Base metals up across the board as confidence returns on rate cut hopes

  • "Base metal prices rose across the complex in London as returning investor confidence on expectations of a rate cut by the US Federal Reserve allowed market players to refocus on commodity fundamentals, away from the turmoil fostered by the subprime mortgage crisis." - more here

  Commonwealth Research - The HARD Line -  pdf here

  Behre Dolbear Global Mining News - pdf here

  Copyright/courtesy Scotia Capital Daily Edge - China Update

  • "Last week, major stainless steel producers in China, such as Baosteel and Tisco, resumed placing orders for refined nickel, nickel pig iron, and stainless steel scrap. In addition, they also increased their intake of stainless steel feed,which is essentially nickel pig iron with low phosphorous content and 8% or higher nickel content. We understand that many nickel pig iron producers are racing to upgrade their facilities to further process their nickel pig iron to stainless steel feed, usually through a converter and multi-stage casting process. The technology was initially developed by Zhejiang Huaguan, a pioneer nickel pig iron producer in China. The behaviors of the stainless steel producers are hardly surprising, as spot prices for stainless steel rebounded sharply over the past two weeks. ...On the negative side, in a bid to reduce nickel use, Baosteel stated last week that it plans to raise the share of ferritics to 50% of its stainless steel production in the second half of the year from 41% in the first half and 28% in 2006. In addition, an official from Baosteel recently told Interfax that the company currently relies on nickel pig iron for approximately 100,000 tons of stainless steel production capacity." Source (thanks to a reader)

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

  • Indications at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling up by $.28/lb .
  • Bloomberg - more
  • CNN - more

  Stainless steel price tends to stabilize in September

  • "After a sharp drop of stainless steel price in the last quarter, the market seems to stay stable in September. Main reasons contribute to the current price stabilization are buyers' low stocks and revived nickel prices." - more here

  Metal mart awaits Fed rate decision

  • "The Fed’s decision on the US interest rates on September 18 will be crucial for the movement in base metals. An anticipated cut of 25 basis points may end the short-term bearishness, while unchanged rates may push the market into doldrums." - more here

  No more investment in stainless steel industry

  • "It is unwise to invest more in the stainless steel industry, said Wu Jianchang, deputy chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association, the Beijing Business Today reported." - more here

  Haywood Securities Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here

  Canada Commodity Price Update - pdf here

  Reuters Metal Weekly - pdf here

  World Production Of Nickel In First Half 2007 Increased

  • "Russia And China Increased Their Nickel Production, Enhancing Pressure Of Nickel Supply From Eastern Side" - more here

  Deutsche Bank hikes base metals price forecasts

  • "Germany`s Deutsche Bank has revised up its forecasts for long-term base metals prices because of rising production costs and lower quality ore." - more here

  Xstrata to decide on phase two of Project Lion by mid-2008

  • "Diversified mining giant Xstrata is expected to make a decision on the 360 000 t/y phase two of its Project Lion ferrochrome operation in the first half of next year, an official told Mining Weekly Online on Tuesday." - more here

  Courtesy /copyright Stainless Steel World - source

  • "Australian Stainless Steel Development Association (ASSDA) has outlined new and emerging stainless steel grades, which may be considered as alternatives to the traditional and widely known varieties. Users are seeking cost effective alternatives to both chromium and molybdenum austenitic 300 series grades. Austenitic 200 series, duplex stainless steels and ferritic grades can all be used instead of 304 and 316, if they are selected, designed, fabricated and used appropriately. The alloying elements in stainless steel contributing to corrosion resistance are chromium and molybdenum. Within each of the alternative groups there are grades with different corrosion resistance resulting from the chromium and molybdenum contents. The well-known austenitic 300 series grades contain the highest levels of nickel. According to ASSDA, these grades are austenitic despite their lower nickel because they have more manganese. Manganese is about half as effective in forming austenite as nickel, so for every 1% of nickel left out, about 2% of manganese has to be added at the same level of chromium, which suppresses the formation of austenite. Half the nickel in these grades has been replaced by manganese and the price of manganese is also rising strongly. The lower chromium 200 series grades are generally suitable for use with mild acids and alkalis including most foods (pH not less than 3). They are satisfactory with 20C potable water and are suitable for indoor exposure. They are used extensively for cookware and serving bowls applications where the corrosion conditions are not severe since the utensils are washed and dried. The formability and deep draw ability of the 200 series are especially useful for these applications."

  Mining M&A To Continue; Mega-Deals Less Certain

  • "Despite a global credit crunch, analysts still expect mining sector consolidation to continue as companies with deep pockets and solid balance sheets seek out new takeover targets." - more here

  Industrial output value of China's mining industry reaches $89 bln last year

  • "China's Ministry of Land and Resources recently announced China's mining industry, excluding the oil and gas sector, achieved a total industrial output value of RMB 670.97 billion ($89.11 billion) in 2006, up 20.06 percent from the previous year." - more here

  AK Steel may face competition from Russia

  • "AK Steel Corp. executives and union officials worry that if the state offers incentives to lure a Russian steel company's $1 billion plant to Ohio, it could hurt AK and its peers." - more here
  •   Norilsk appoints CEO for new international division
  • "Norilsk Nickel the world`s largest nickel and palladium miner, has appointed Peter Breese as chief executive of its new international mining and metallurgical division, the company said on Tuesday." - more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - plus 486 tons = 27,246 tonnes (3.24% - 882 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 26,364 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at 248500-250000 RMB/t, plus 750 .
Monday, Sept 10
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Roundup
  • * Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $11.94/lb - 3 month buyer - $12.07/lb (91.9% higher than 1/1/06)
  • * Baltic Dry Index - plus 67 to 8,477 .
  • * LME nickel inventories - plus 114 tonnes into Chicago, USA warehouse, 504 tonnes into Rotterdam, Netherlands warehouse, 360 tonnes into Singapore warehouse. 24 tonnes out of Busan, South Korea warehouse, 120 tonnes out of Rotterdam warehouse, and 6 tonnes out of Singapore warehouse
  • * London Metal Exchange lowered the margin rate for nickel traders, from $25,692 (set back on Aug 16th) for a 6 tonne lot, to $24,348 ($4,038/tonne).  Another large influx of nickel into LME approved warehouses, further dampening hopes of a quick demand recovery. Markets worldwide have been in a sour mood since the surprising employment figures released by the US Friday, and have been nervous since the U.S. sub prime debacle hit. With so much negativity floating around, from a psychological stance, nickel never had a chance today. LME nickel ended the first trading day of the week at $12.12/lb ($26,725/tonne)
  • * Dow Jones Closing Metals Report - here

  Metals - Base metals continue to fluctuate as investors fear US recession

  • "The base metals complex continued to fluctuate in a narrow range as market players remained fearful of a possible recession in the US dampening demand across the board." - article here

  The Chinese metallurgy construction group will supply to Taiyuan Steel Works contains the nickel pig iron

  • "According to report, Taiyuan Steel Works already with Chinese metallurgy construction group company (MCC) the subsidiary company signed contained the nickel pig iron the long-term public contract." - poorly translated article here

  Chinese rebate changes drive up fastener prices

  • Market prices for many standard fastener products are set to increase substantially during the third quarter of 2007, says the secretary of the British Association of Fastener Distributors. “Following the decision by the Chinese government on 1 July to reduce the tax rate on exported fasteners from 13% to 5% most factories in China are demanding immediate price increases before they will ship existing orders to United Kingdom fastener importers. “The move was part of a radical reduction in support across more than one-third of products exported from China with particular emphasis on high energy-consuming, high pollution, and resource-intensive goods. The severity of the reduction, in relation to tight export margins, mean that prices for new orders have reflected the anticipated rebate cut for several weeks with some suppliers already factoring in the probability of a further rebate reduction to zero by the autumn.

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

  • Indications at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling down by $.18/lb
  • Bloomberg - more
  • Reuters - more
  • Forbes - more

  Stainless steel price tends to stabilize in September

  • "After a sharp drop of stainless steel price in the last quarter, the market seems to stay stable in September. Main reasons contribute to the current price stabilization are buyers' low stocks and revived nickel prices." - more here

  Weekly Nickel Forecast

  • 34 metals analysts responded to this weeks Shanghai Nonferrous Metals poll for. Of those responding, only 4 (11%) felt the price of nickel would rise this week, 10 (29%) felt the price would stay the same, and 20 (58%) felt the price would fall.

  Quantum Direct - Weekly Commodity Update - pdf here

  China's output of iron ore in July 2007 - info here

  Cheaper nickel to aid stainless steel firms

  • "Large Indian stainless steel manufacturers such as Jindal Stainless are expected to see an improvement in their operating profit margins due to a 48 per cent drop in prices of nickel, the key input, on the LME over the last four months." - more here

  Commodities boom may go on for five more years

  • "THE global commodities boom is expected to continue for at least another five years, thanks to the growing supply and demand imbalances worldwide as well as huge demand from emerging economies like China and India." - more here

  U.S. groups polling members on Chinese HSS problems

  • "Steel Business Briefing has reported that two groups that represent different segments of the steel market now are polling their members in an effort to gauge concern and problems that have arisen with allegedly substandard hollow structural sections (HSS) imports from China." - more here

  New Caledonia Koniambo Updates

  • Two out of three key players have now approved the latest plan for the northern New Caledonia Koniambo nickel project. - more here
  • The New Caledonian SMSP mining company has given its final approval to the latest version of building a nickel plant in the mainly Kanak north of the territory. - more here

  China shuts down 18m tons of iron, steel capacity in 1st half

  • "China closed down 18.4 million tons of outmoded iron and steel production capacity in the first half of the year in an effort to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, said the National Development and Reform Commission on Friday." - more here

  Prokhorov buys up 3% of Norilsk Nickel, reports say

  • "Former OJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel chief executive Mikhail Prokhorov raised his stake in the company to 29 pct from 26 pct last month by purchasing shares on the open market, Kommersant reported, citing two industry sources." - more here

  US to file anti-dumping review against Sweden-imported steels

  • "The US Department of Commerce would publish the final results of the anti-dumping review against the imports of stainless steel wire rod ("SSWR") from Sweden." - more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - plus 828 tons = 26,760 tonnes (3.30% - 882 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 25,878 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at 248000-249000 RMB/t, no change .
Weekend Review, Sept 8 & 9
  From Russia media
  • Production of nickel in concentrate in China fell by 3.8% to 38,987 thousand for the first seven months of this year compared with the same period in 2006 according to statistics released by the China Nonferrous Metals Association .... Production of refined nickel in the country, in contrast, rose sharply in January-July current year – at 24.8%, compared with the rate in the seven months of 2006, primarily due to small pig nickel producers.
  • Export shipment of nickel from Russian for the first 7 months fell to 139.6 thousand tonnes from 143.9 thousand tonnes during the same period last year. Proceeds from the sales increased 2.2 times to $5.521 billion from $2.553 billion last year.

  From China media

  • The September 18/8 stainless steel scrap price has been published at $2,107 per lt. This works out to$9.25 per lb for nickel; 14¢ per lb for iron and 56¢ per lb for chrome. The price in June was $4,030 per lt, which worked out to $20.10 for nickel, 12.5¢ for iron and 57¢ for chrome. (the article does not state which country these prices were published for - American Recycler has published September stainless steel scrap prices for US market here)

  Falling US dollar a saving grace for tumbling metals

  • "Worsening economic news from Washington and Germany should have meant more erosion for everything from aluminium to zinc, but another steep fall in the US dollar - in which the metals are traded - cushioned their decline." - more here

  Weekend Nickel Price Review (different source used than for daily)

  • After three weeks of price gains, three month nickel backtracked this week. Worldwide stainless steel producers have yet to crawl out of their slump, as many had expected to begin happening in mid August. While outbound shipments from the London Metal Exchange warehouses have picked up, the inflow continues to exceed the demand. Overshadowing the fundamentals of the market, are the potential economic ripples being caused by the U.S. sub-prime problem, the unknown long-term effect it might have, and the concern it is causing stockholders.
  • On Monday, nickel opened at $13.56/lb, saw a high of $13.70/lb, a low of $13.43/lb, and ended flat at $13.54/lb. On Tuesday, the market opened at $13.51/lb, rose to $13.54/lb, fell to $12.79/lb, and ended down at $12.90/lb. Wednesday, the price opened at $12.95/lb, rose to $12.97/lb, fell to $12.35/lb, and ended down at $12.41/lb. On Thursday, nickel opened at $12.50/lb, fell to $12.12/lb, rose to $12.52/lb, where it also closed the day flat. On Friday, nickel opened at $12.47/lb, rose to $12.53/lb, fell to $12.19/lb, and closed down at $12.32/lb. For the week, nickel ended down 9.7%. From the beginning of the year, 3 month nickel has fallen 22.6%, but is still 95.9% higher than it started 2006 at.

  Norilsk moves to focus on nickel

  • "RUSSIAN mining giant Norilsk Nickel has revealed plans for its West Australian assets, with its Thunderbox gold project likely to get the chop as it increasingly focuses on nickel." - more here

  From China media

  • Antaike reports South Korea's Pohang has announced further cuts in 300 series stainless steel production for September, while maintaining production of 400 series stainless. According to the report, Pohang 's South Korean mill produces approximately 167,000 tons of stainless per month, while it's new plant located in Suchuan, Japan, produced 57,000 tons in June (60% 300 series, 40% 400 series). Many Chinese, Taiwanese, and South Korean stainless mills have reduced production  since the price of nickel began to fall in May, and this is the fourth suspension announced by Pohang this year. A decision has yet to be made about production in October. 

  China 2007 Steel Output to Rise by 58 Mln Tons

  • Total steel output in China is expected to rise by 58 mln tons from 2006 to 480 mln this year, said Li Shijun, secretary-general of the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA).
  • 'China's annual stainless steel consumption is projected to rise to nine mln tons by 2010 from 5.3 mln in 2006, while the country's total capacity of the product was around 13 mln tons last year.'

  Courtesy China Daily

  DJ Two Workers Die In Accident At Norilsk Nickel Plant

  • "Two workers died after a steam pipe burst at the Nadezhdinsky Metallurgical Plant, owned by Russia's OAO Norilsk Nickel (GMKN.RS), a spokesman for the company told Dow Jones Newswires Friday." - article here

  A new retirement program introduced by MMC Norilsk Nickel: Defined Contribution pension plan

  • "MMC Norilsk Nickel offers its employees a broader opportunity in non-governmental retirement assurance by launching a defined contribution pension plan (DCPP) at the key production operations of the Company. "- more here

  Undeclared goods seized from vessel

  • "CUSTOMS agents in Madang boarded a foreign vessel and impounded several undeclared goods on Monday which they believe the crew attempted to smuggle into the Ramu nickel mine. But the customs agents, mostly women based in Madang, were threatened by the Chinese crew of the vessel, who attempted to stop them." - more here

  The SMSP will pay half of the factory of North

  • "Blow of theatre in the financial arrangement of the factory of North. The SMSP, which was to bring only the layer of Koniambo, will finance 51 % of the construction of the factory whose great work must begin in a few months. Xstrata will assume only 49 % of the cost of the building site instead of 100 % initial." - translated article here

  From China media

  • China will shut down and eliminate small, energy consuming factories with an ironmaking capacity of 100 million tons, and with steelmaking capacity of55 million tons by 2010. This action will save the country 10,000 tonnes of standard coal, reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide over 40 million tons, and save 100 million tons of water. So far this year, it has shut down factories with the steel production capacity 18.42 million tons. Domestic steel production in China will reach 500 million tons in 2007.

  From China media

  • In 2006, China imported 25% less stainless than in 2005 (680,000 tons compared to 770,000 tons). As the world's largest producer of stainless steel, China's production capacity now far exceeds domestic consumption demand.

  Standard Bank 2008 Metal forecasts

  • Nickel to average $15.88/lb, Copper to average $3.11/lb, Aluminum at $1.19/lb, and Lead at $.86/lb. See all of the nickel forecasts we have recorded here

  Now it's Chinese Stainless Steel's Turn

  • (comment - If you don't have kids and don't worry about the ongoing lead paint fiasco, and don't use tainted Chinese toothpaste, or don't have a pet that might have died, here is a new one that isn't getting much media attention - yet. If you use silverware, you might want to read.)
  • My city exports the stainless steel product qualified rate is 78% - " Newspaper news (Reporter Chen Jingying Report Zhou Qi Ling) stainless steel tableware artistic durable, but the trace element exceeds the allowed figure is also harmful to the human body." - poorly translated article from Wednesday here

  National Mining Association Mining Week - pdf here

  China's 1H07 Iron Ore Imports By Discharge Port

  • "According to China's statistics on iron ore imports in the first half of 2007, imports to Qingdao during the period continued to stand first with 52.9 million tons (Mt), which accounted for 28.1% in the total" - more here

  China's Stainless Steel Producers Up Domestic Sales Prices

  • "China's major stainless steel manufacturers such as Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group Co and Ningbo Baoxin Stainless Steel Co have announced domestic price increases on after another for September shipments of stainless CR sheets. They are believed to have reacted to a rising domestic market for stainless CR sheets." - more here

  Bekaert and Mukand (India) sign strategic cooperation agreement

  • "Today Bekaert signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Indian steel company Mukand. Both partners will set up a 50/50 joint venture and invest Rs. 100 Crores (€ 18 million) in a new factory to be built in Maharashtra (India) for the production of stainless steel wires. These wire products are used around the world in components for the automotive industry and all sorts of other industrial applications." - more here

  Can anyone help us identify the location in China, or name of the book in this photo?


Click to enlarge

Friday, Sept 7
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Roundup
  • Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $12.38/lb - 3 month buyer - $12.52/lb (99% higher than 1/1/06)
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 140 points to 8,410 .
  • LME nickel inventories - plus 540 tonnes into Rotterdam (same as yesterday), minus 78 tonnes shipped from Rotterdam, minus 60 tonnes shipped from Singapore, and minus 18 tonnes shipped from Helsingborg, Sweden
  • The official prices above show 3 month nickel was selling up for a time, but it was apparently the only time of the day. Markets started the day down, bounced into the positive during the second AM ring, then surrendered to the downward pressure of the day. The daily Kitco graph gives a fair reflection of the days activity. Markets closed last Friday at $13.51/lb, and this week fell 10.7%, ending Friday trading at $12.20/lb ($26,900/tonne)
  • Dow Jones Closing Metals Report - here
  • Have a safe and restful weekend!

  ISM Steel Buyers Forum Monthly Survey - pdf here

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

  • Indications at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling down by $.07/lb
  • Bloomberg - more
  • Reuters - more

  August 2007 Manufacturing ISM Report On Business

"The national report's information reflects the entire United States, while the regional reports contain primarily regional data from their local vicinities." - report here

  Average Prices Of LME Nickel In August 2007 Fell For Successive 3 Months

  • "The average prices of LME nickel in August of 2007 were known. Namely, the average prices had fallen for the successive 3 months from June." - more here

  TD Bank Weekly Commodity Price Report - pdf here

  Indian Railways to go in for stainless steel wagons

  • "It is reported that the central railway workshop at Golden Rock near Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu would soon start manufacturing goods wagon out of stainless steel sheets instead of the conventional mild steel." - more here

  China to raise reserve requirement ratio

  • "China will raise the reserve requirement ratio by 0.5 percentage points for commercial banks as of September 25, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) announced on Thursday." - more here

  Change in product mix has China Nickel net soaring

"China Nickel Resources Holdings (2889), which is mainly engaged in the production and sale of nickel-based stainless steel base material, bearing steel and spring steel, said net profit soared, after it changed the product mix." - more here

  Philippines leader talks up Aussie miners' prospects

  • "APEC could turn into a bonanza for the mining industry as regional leaders including Philippines President Gloria Arroyo hold meetings with top executives from firms such as BHP Billiton." - more here

  Brazil Lula brushes off CVRD renationalization bid

  • "Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva ruled out on Thursday the renationalization of mining giant CVRD, playing down the importance of this week's informal vote on the subject." - more here

  Japanese stainless steel import in July up

  • "According to the Japan Iron and Steel Federation (JISF), Japan imported 23,506 tons of stainless steel products in July, a 8.4 percent increase compared to last month’s 21,678 tons, and a 87.8 percent up year-on-year." - more here

  Iron Ore in Australia: A History of Red Gold in the Pilbara

  • "Fifty-five years ago, the Hammersley Basin of Western Australia was a scenic but sleepy 127,000 square kilometre area of rust-red gorges and mesas, cut by the occasional river or creek. " - more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - plus 384 tons = 25,932 tonnes (3.91% - 1,014 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 24,918 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at 248000-249000 RMB/t, no change .
Thursday, Sept 6
  Daily Nickel/Stainless Roundup
  • Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $12.08/lb - 3 month buyer - $12.12 (92.7% higher than 1/1/06)
  • Baltic Dry Index - plus 180 points to 8,270 .
  • LME nickel inventories - plus 540 tonnes into Rotterdam, minus 6 tonnes shipped from Rotterdam, minus 72 tonnes shipped from Busan, South Korea
  • Nickel trading on the London Metal Exchange looked like it was going to be another down day, with 3 month nickel edging up early, then bottoming out just as official prices for the day were set. In afternoon trading, the price headed north, and by days close, ended in the plus. Three month nickel ended the days trading at $12.39/lb ($27,325/tonne)
  • Dow Jones Closing Metals Report -  here 

  China to continue driving base metals demand-analyst

  • "China is expected to continue driving demand for base metals in the next few years, buoyed by its resource hungry industries and a strong local currency, a South Africa Standard Bank analyst said." - more here

  Table from Macquarie Research report

  World Steel Statistics - July 2007 - pdf here

  Brazil Pres Lula: Govt Not Discussing Nationalizing CVRD

  • "Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said in a radio interview Thursday that the government was not discussing the nationalization of miner Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (RIO)." - more here

  Indonesia Won't Compensate When Revising Mining Work Contracts

  • "The government will not provide incentives or compensation for mining contractors currently holding a contract of work when revision of a contract is to be made, an official said." - more here

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

  • Indications at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling down by $.20/lb . Cash and 15 month are down further.
  • Bloomberg - more
  • AFX News - more
  • Reuters - more

  Nickel prices dip under $13/lb on LME

"World nickel prices in the spot market remain under $13/lb this week on the London Metal Exchange (LME) as stainless steelmakers globally have continued to reduce production and cut prices because of weakening demand and overstocked inventories." - more here

  Behre Dolbear Global Mining News - pdf here

  Long-Term Metals Prices To Keep Pace With Costs, Merrill Says

  • "Merrill Lynch on Wednesday upgraded long-term price forecasts for a range of industrial metals and related commodities, citing rising capital-spending and structural costs due primarily to China's continuing ravenous appetite for these materials." - more here

  Iron ore imports likely to slow down

  • "China's iron ore imports are expected to increase at a slower pace because of rising domestic supply and decline in the growth of steel output capacity, say industry insiders." - more here

  Copyright/Courtesy Dow Jones Newswire

  • "Merrill Lynch ups longer-term base metals price forecasts with preferred picks nickel and aluminum. Nickel now 50% retraced from May's record high with re-stocking to start in 4Q; price next year to average $26,450/ton, for 2009 $24,245, +10% on previous forecast."

  Maoists plan to attack mining facilities in the Bailadila hills

  • "According to Chhattisgarh police sources, Maoist guerrillas are planning to step up attacks on iron ore mining facilities in the Bailadila hills in Chhattisgarh, which are known for one of the largest and finest quality iron ore stocks in the world and account for 18% of India's estimated 24 billion tonnes of iron ore deposits." - more here

  (Blurb) Interfax - China has eliminated a total of 9.69 million tons of iron smelting capacity and 8.73 million tons of steel smelting capacity in the first half of this year, accounting for 43 percent and 36 percent respectively of this year's planned elimination volume, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner, announced yesterday.

  China's spot iron ore prices to decline in near future - industry insiders

  • "China's spot iron ore prices have surged rapidly to record highs in recent months on the back of strong demand from steel mills and soaring iron ore freight costs, although according to industry insiders, spot prices may see downward corrections in the coming months." - more here

  Steel price surge spurs scramble for iron ore

"Chinese steel prices are soaring despite a cut by the country's top mill, prompting a scramble for spot iron ore cargoes from India and pushing the raw material's prices to record highs almost every day." - more here

  Chinese Government Prohibits To Convert Small Blast Furnaces to Produce Nickel Pig Iron (old news but well written article)

"The Central Government of China ( National Development and Reform Commission ) announced on the 29th of August that small blast furnaces to be objective to scrap down are prohibited to be converted to produce nickel-contained pig iron and ferro-alloys ( ferro-chrome and ferro-manganese )." - more here

  Russian metallurgical companies

  • "Experts assure us that the Russian economy is booming nowadays, and the increasing number of companies planning IPO in the nearest future is a sharp evidence of it." - more here

  (Blurb) - "DESPITE the nickel price dropping overnight on the London Metal Exchange, Albidon managing director Dale Rogers remains bullish and believes the metal's price will be on an upward trend later this year."

  Rio Tinto shares rise on speculation of bid from BHP Billiton, CVRD

  • "Rio Tinto Group, the world`s third-largest mining company, rose in Sydney trading to its highest in more than six weeks on speculation rivals BHP Billiton Ltd. and Cia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) may make a joint bid" - more here

  Macroasia, Toledo to develop Palawan nickel prospects

  • "Publicly listed Macroasia Corp. signed Wednesday a memorandum of understanding with Toledo Mining Corp. on joint development of two nickel projects in the western island province of Palawan." - more here

  Thailand's Thainox Stainless Plc. (INOX): Slump in stainless and nickel prices with high stocks will continue to hurt 2H07 earnings

"Section: Stocks - Thainox Stainless (INOX) announced at an analyst's meeting yesterday (Sep 4) that stainless steel and nickel prices have slumped since June 2005 with no current signs of recovery." - more here  (mis-print in article - should read June 2007)

  Cutifani's appointment criticized by South African minister

"Mark Cutifani's recent appointment to AngloGold Ashanti has come under some fire from Sandile Nogxima, director-general of the Department of Minerals and Energy in South Africa, according to a news story by Business Report, a business news website run out of Johannesburg, South Africa." - more here

  (Blurb) THE 2007 calendar year budget for Papua New Guinea's Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) has been boosted to 18 million kina ($A7.3 million), three times the usual annual allocation.

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - plus 462 tons = 25,548 tonnes (3.85% - 984 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 24,564 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at 248000-249000 RMB/t, minus 4,000 .
Wednesday, Sept 5

  Daily Nickel/Stainless Roundup
  • Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $12.57/lb - 3 months buyer - $12.70/lb (101.9% higher than 1/1/06). Baltic Dry Index broke thru the 8M mark today, gaining another 183 points to total 8,090. Nickel inventories stored in LME warehouses gained again yesterday. Inbound shipments came into Rotterdam, Netherlands with 570 tonnes, and 18 tonnes arrived in Singapore. Singapore and Rotterdam also shipped 6 tonnes each, and Busan, South Korea shipped 300 tonnes. Nickel had another down day, peaking into the plus a few times, but collapsing by days end. When the dust had settled, 3 month nickel ended the day at $12.38/lb ($27,300/tonne)

  Metals hit by weaker equity markets, U.S. data

  • "Industrial metals lost ground on Wednesday after worse-than-expected U.S. jobs data triggered further selling in global equity markets and escalated worries about the resilience of the U.S. economy." - more here

  Analyst: Mo prices seen at US$30/lb in 2007, down in 08 - Regional

  • "Molybdenum prices will likely stay at around US$30.00-31.00/lb this year and start descending in 2008, along with other base metals, Stefan Ioannou, an analyst with Haywood Securities, told BNamericas." - more here

  Metals Insider - "China’s appetite for nickel ore still huge"

  • "The latest trade figures for July showed that China’s appetite for nickel laterite ore—the input for the country’s booming nickel pig iron production—is as huge as ever." -  more here (you need to sign up for a free password to read the complete article)

  Iron Ore Benchmark Price Unlikely to Fall Next Year

  • "China's benchmark iron ore price is unlikely to fall next year as the country's demand for iron ore is still increasing, albeit at a slowing rate, a senior official from the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Importers and Exporters (CCCMC) announced at the 2007 International Iron Ore Market Seminar, held in Shanghai today." - more here

  Million-Dollar Man March

  • "In the largest chauffeur-driven protest in Washington's history, hedge-fund managers take to the streets." - more here

  Follow-up to this statement made yesterday about molybdenum

  • " One paper said there were rumors floating around that a stockpile was being put into place in Rotterdam, with much of the exports from China heading there". We did some research into this last night, and determined, that more than likely there is stockpiling of molybdenum by the Chinese going on in Rotterdam, but not for the reason given by the Chinese author we were quoting. Back in February 2002, the EU slapped China with a 5-year 22.5% anti-dumping duty on molybdenum. In October this duty was given a temporary reprieve, and was temporarily suspended until Jan 31, 2008, when it should be determined if the duty will be abolished, or extended for another 5 years. Apparently, Chinese producers fear it may be extended, and are stocking up their European warehouses just in case.   

  Indications at 7:50 am CST show 3 month nickel selling down by $.29/lb  (Bloomberg - more)

  Stainless Steel and Nickel Price Forecasts from MEPS

  • "Stainless selling prices are set for a hard landing as alloy surcharges will show significant month on month declines until at least October." - more here

  Brook Hunt Nickel Monthly Report - here

  Desjardins Monthly Review of Commodity Prices - pdf here

  Commonwealth Research - The HARD Review - pdf here

  National Australia Bank - Quarterly Mining Survey - pdf here

  Goldman Forecast - (found posted on investors blog)

  • "Strong demand from BRICs power our metal price increases. Despite market uncertainty over US credit concerns, GS economists believe the global economy remains relatively healthy, driven by BRICs economies, led by China. We have raised our metal price forecast for copper, molybdenum, aluminum, zinc, nickel, silver and iron ore on the back of higher Chinese growth forecasts, factoring a 2008 GDP growth of 10.9% (versus 10% previously). Our economists believe that headwinds in the US are unlikely to precipitate a sharp slowdown due to the “decoupling” of the US economy with BRICs and other economies. We favor metals that China requires for its continued infrastructure build, but is forced to import due to lack of natural resource endowment, namely copper and iron ore. Nonetheless, we believe our metal consumption growth expectations have improved zinc and aluminum fundamentals, because the supply surge seen in these metals in 2007 is unlikely to be repeated in 2008-2009."

  Indigenous company to run iron ore mine

  • "An indigenous company which won a $300 million contract to run an iron ore mine in Western Australia's north says the move will help the area's indigenous people break free of government welfare." - more here

  Dry bulk freight costs at record high

  • "The cost of dry bulk carriers, the traditional ship for transporting wheat and other grains, has surged to a record high, forcing some countries to import cereals in containers more usually used to carry electronic goods and clothes." - more here

  Less risk for mining investors

  • "Mining investment in Papua New Guinea carries less risk than it did a year ago, the recent World Risk Survey 2007 in Resource Stocks reported." - more here

  Aussie firm told to stop mining exploration in Vizcaya

  • "Environment Secretary Joselito Atienza on Thursday ordered an Australian mining firm to stop hauling equipment to its mining exploration site in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya." - more here

  Rio hints at iron ore price rise

  • "MINING giant Rio Tinto has indicated iron ore prices may rise in 2008, saying the world appeared to want greater production." - more here

  Berong Nickel in 5-year Billiton supply deal

  • "The Philippines' Berong Nickel Corp. has bagged a 5-year deal to supply laterite ore to Australia's Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd (QNPL), a unit of BHP Billiton." - more here

  WA Premier welcomes Russian acquisitions in WA

  • "Western Australia's premier Alan Carpenter today welcomed the takeover of LionOre Mining International Ltd by Russia's largest mining company, Norilsk Nickel." - more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory

  • London Metal Exchange - plus 282 tons = 25,086 tonnes (3.52% - 882 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 24,204 net stock level)
  • Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at 252000-253000 RMB/t, minus 6,000.
Tuesday, Sept 4

  Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $12.70/lb - 3 months buyer - $12.93/lb (105.6% higher than 1/1/07). The Baltic Dry Index continues to show no signs of slowing down, gaining 124 points and registering a record high of 7,907. Activity in LME warehouses was limited to one location, with Rotterdam, Netherlands, taking in 540 tonnes of nickel, and shipping 60 tonnes. After a ho-hum day of trading yesterday, three month nickel ended today's trading at $12.97/lb ($28,600/tonne) (Dow Jones - here)

Comment - We thought we started seeing signs a few weeks ago, that stainless steel production may be showing signs of recovery. Maybe we were guilty of reading a little too much into LME warehouse activity. We spent some of the holiday weekend, researching Chinese media, and have determined that clear signs of a recovery are not there yet - at least for that region of the world. In fact, there are strong signs that we are still in a production slump. The rise in prices of nickel last week may have also tempered any hopes of a quick recovery, as it puts doubt of stability back into the minds of buyers. The trading price of nickel ranged from a low of $11.69/lb on Monday, 8/20, to a trading high of $13.77/lb last Friday. This may not seem like much, but a spread of $5000/tonne in one two week stretch, defines market volatility. Posco spokesman Ko Min Jin told media last week, while announcing further cuts in stainless steel production, "Customers are hesitant to place buy orders on expectations that the falling price of nickel will pull down the price of stainless steel." Just propaganda? LME traders didn't think so today, after Posco announced yet another stainless steel price cut this morning. Selling stainless steel product ourselves, we understand the frustration of the producer. Customers require, more than anything, price stability. With the cost of the key ingredient in constant flux, it puts those who sell stainless in the position of crap-shoot pricing, rather than properly servicing customers.   

  Allegheny Ludlum announced October surcharges - listed here. October surcharges dropped 21% for 304 and 15% for 316 stainless steel. Since their high in July, 304 stainless steel surcharges have fallen by 75%, and are now back to October 2006 levels. On 316, the surcharge has dropped 59% and is now around December 2006 surcharge levels.  

  Haywood Securities Metals & Mining Weekly - pdf here

  Molybdenum statistics for July 2007 - Chinese FeMo exports - plus 53% (2,097 mt compared to 2,366 mt in July 2006). From January to July - exports plus 26% (13,015 mt compared to 10,289 mt in 2006). Moly exports for July - minus 38% (1,598 mt compared to 2,557 mt in July 2006). From January to July - exports minus 1-1/2% (16,434 mt compared to 16,693 mt in 2006). (note - exports from China were expected to decrease during latter half of 2007 after export quotas were put into place. One paper said there were rumors floating around that a stockpile was being put into place in Rotterdam, with much of the exports from China heading there) 

  ThyssenKrupp sees 10 pct China sales growth - "Germany's ThyssenKrupp expects to maintain its roughly 10 percent annual sales growth in China over the next three to five years, banking on a strong economy to fuel demand for industrial products from elevators to auto parts." - more here

  China's producer turns spender - "The Chinese worker driving the export-led boom in the world's fourth-largest economy is fast becoming the Chinese spender." - more here

  South Africa: Chinese Riddle for Ferrochrome - "Future consolidation trends in SA's ferrochrome industry prompted by a desire for price stability will have to take into account the growing investment in local producers by China." - more here

  Copyright/courtesy Associated Press - (excerpt) "MF Global analyst Edward Meir said in a report that he expects trading of base metals trading to be shaky in the days leading up to the Federal Reserve's Sept. 18 meeting on interest rates, as investors make bets about the direction of the Fed's benchmark federal funds rate. Analysts now widely expect a rate cut. "Assuming we do get a cut, the dollar could come under renewed pressure, and this could theoretically kick-start some upside action in a number of metal complexes," Meir wrote. "However, between now and then, trading in metals should remain nervous and prices will remain confined to broad trading ranges."

  Indications at 7:55 am CST show nickel selling down by $.63/lb . Another large gain, and the fact the subway system is not operating in London, apparently has put London metal traders in a foul mood.  (Bloomberg - more)

  Reuters Metal Weekly - pdf here

  Commonwealth Research - "The HARD Line" - pdf here

  Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. Market Report - here

  Nickel Prices To Recover As Demand Improves - Analysts - "Nickel prices are starting to stage a recovery after a selloff over the last several months, supported by a perception that the downside might have been overextended and demand from the stainless steel industry is set to pick up, analysts said Tuesday" - more here

  High and fluctuating nickel prices encroach on Chinese stainless steel industry's profitability - "China's recent high and fluctuating nickel prices are mainly the result of profit taking on the London Metal Exchange (LME), which has put negative pressure on domestic stainless steel mills, a senior Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Co. Ltd. official, said at the 5th China International Stainless Steel Congress 2007, held in Shanghai today." - more here

  Baosteel's stainless steel production for 2007 to remain unchanged from last year - "Shanghai-listed Baosteel's stainless steel production for this year is set to remain unchanged from 1.35 million tons last year, but the proportion of ferritic stainless steel produced will increase to 50 percent of the company's total stainless steel production, a Baosteel official told Interfax at the Fifth International Stainless Steel Congress 2007, held in Shanghai today." - more here

  Tisco secures nickel pig iron from MCC - "YIEH reported a subsidiary company of China Metallurgical Construction Group Co has singed a long term agreement with China’s biggest stainless steelmaker Taiyuan Iron & Steel to supply nickel pig iron." - more here

  The employees of the SLN want a better share of the cake - "Three hundred and fifty employees of Nickel expressed in front of their direction, yesterday morning in Doniambo. According to five trade unions, the benefit record of the company do not reflect themselves in the premiums of  profit-sharing. A meeting takes place this morning." - translated article here

  Rio hints at iron ore price rise - "Rio Tinto's Iron Ore chief executive Sam Walsh said the market was extremely tight, a situation that would normally signal a price rise when negotiations with steel mills begin next month." - more here

  Zim’s nickel giant loses toll contracts - "BINDURA Nickel Corporation (BNC) could have lost about US$4 million in potential revenue after some toll contracts were terminated last year." - more here

  Chinese stainless steel mills to raise price - "China’s major stainless steelmakers, Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group (Tisco) and Ningbo Baoxin Stainless, already announced to increase the price for September shipment." - more here

  Posco lowered hot-rolled stainless steel price by 13% in August - "South Korea's Posco lowered the domestic price of its hot-rolled stainless steel products by 13% last month due to weak nickel prices, the company said Tuesday." - more here

  Brazil court rejects CVRD anti-trust restrictions appeal - "Brazil's Federal Appeals Court rejected an appeal by iron-ore and nickel producer Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD). " - more here

  Inco gets forestry permit to build hydropower plant - "Publicly listed nickel firm PT International Nickel Indonesia (Inco) announced Tuesday that it had received a permit from the Forestry Ministry to build a hydropower plant in a forest near its mining location in South Sulawesi." - more here another article here

  Toledo Mining signs long term laterite ore supply deal with BHP unit - "Toledo Mining Corp PLC said it has signed a long term laterite ore supply agreement with Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd, a BHP Billiton group company, for minimum contract volume of 500,000 wet metric tons per year at a nickel grade of greater than 1.5 pct Ni." - more here

  Brazil groups push for renationalization of CVRD - "One of the radical groups organizing an informal Brazilian plebiscite this week said it expects up to 10 million to vote in favor of annulling the privatization of the world's No. 1 iron ore miner, CVRD." - more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 480 tons = 24,804 tonnes (4.09% - 1014 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 23,790 net stock level) Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at 258000-259000 RMB/t, plus 1,000.

Monday, September 3

  Today's official LME nickel closing prices - cash - $13.34/lb - 3 months buyer - $13.44/lb (113.6% higher than 1/1/06). The Baltic Dry Index broke another record today, gaining 81 points to register 7,783.  Nickel inventories were active in LME warehouses Friday. One large shipment was received - 630 tonnes into the Rotterdam, Netherlands warehouse. Outbound, Rotterdam shipped 48 tonnes, Singapore shipped 12 tonnes, and Busan, South Korea shipped a respectable 372 tonnes. Commerzbank told the Dow Jones Newswire that 80% of LME's cancelled warrants for nickel were being held by "two market players". Apparently the cancelled warrant figure, which is supposed to be inventory sold and waiting to ship, is still being used by large nickel traders to affect the market. Commerzbank is also forecasting nickel will settle back to the $25M/tonne range, while Triland believes the recent price slide to that level was overdone and prices will stay higher. AFX Asia is reporting "Indonesia forestry ministry grants permit for PT Inco power project." We will post more when we have it, but if this has to do with the Karebbe dam project, this will put a year old problem behind the company and remove a major hurdle to Inco's expansion plans in Indonesia. Canadian and US markets were closed today, so trading was tamed. On the other hand, in China, while most base metals were down, Jinchuan nickel jumped 3% on the Shanghai market. In London, three month nickel began September trading by ending the first day at $13.49/lb ($29,750/tonne)  

  Average price of nickel for August 2007 - cash mean - $12.54/lb (down from $15.16/lb in July) - 3 month mean - $12.63/lb (down from $15.12/lb in July).  

  (thanks to a reader) Citigroup exhaustive report "The World of Metals & Mining" - (week old report) - pdf here

  Breaking down the world's biggest diamond - "We’d like to ask, but we’re pretty sure we can’t afford it." - more here

  Indications at 8:10 am CST show nickle selling up by $.05/lb   (Bloomberg - more) (Reuters - more)

  Metal analysts for Shanghai Nonferrous Metals responded to a weekly forecast poll with the following results - Of 35 responding, 13 (37%) expect the price of nickel to rise this week, 6 (17%) expect the price to stay the same, and 16 (45%) forecast the price to fall.  

  Copyright/courtesy Dow Jones Newswire - "Rising LME warehouse nickel inventories should limit the metal's recent rise and push prices back towards $25,000/ton in the next few weeks, says Commerzbank. Adds another technical advance, as seen on Friday, cannot be ruled out given the "market is still highly concentrated and is vulnerable to a short squeeze." Says just two market players hold more than 80% of all LME warrants." "LME nickel prices are starting to firm with prices support by a perception that the downside might have been overextended and that demand from the stainless industry is going to pick up, says Triland's Herwig Schmidt." "LME nickel's slide since May may have been overdone, as demand from stainless steel industry appears to be recovering, says Triland Metal. However, signs of rising demand counterbalanced by rising LME nickel stocks in past week, abundance of scrap nickel. JP Morgan notes LME market becoming less short, rising open interest in option calls; adds, China's decision to limit nickel pig iron output by small producers modestly bullish short-term."

  RBC says iron ore prices could spike 35% - "According to a new report from RBC Capital Markets, iron ore prices could rise as much as 35% in 2008 due to booming demand from steelmaking regions in Asia." - more here

  "State owned miner PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) reported on Tuesday (28/8/07) its first half net profit rose more than five-fold, boosted by soaring metal prices....Antam has also suffered production problems. The firm had said its ferronickel output in the second quarter rose a lower-than-expected 6% because of a leak in its third smelter. Antam produced 4,394 tons of ferronickel in April-June, and may not meet its 2007 production target of 20,000 tons as smelter repairs could take longer than anticipated." (original author not given)

  Nornickel will invest $588.6 M in Botswana and South Africa - "Nornickel (Russia) announced its intention to invest $588.6 M in two LionOre (Canada) nickel projects in Botswana and South Africa." - more here

  Today's beginning nickel inventory - plus 198 tons = 24,324 tonnes (3.85% - 936 tonnes cancelled warrants/ 23,388 net stock level) Shanghai Jinchuan nickel closed at 257000-258000 RMB/t, plus 7,000.
Sunday, September 2

  While not a public holiday, Australia's National Flag Day is September 3rd. Since 1988, one of the most spectacular display's of this nation's flag has been atop the Parliament House in Canberra. 22 flags spend 2-3 week shifts flying 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, over the Parliament. These flags measure 12.8m by 6.4m, and the size is commonly defined as around half the size of a tennis court, or about the size of a double decker bus. They fly atop the largest free-standing stainless steel structure in the southern hemisphere, and one of the largest stainless structures in the world. Weighing 220 tonnes, the 81 meter (266 feet) tall flagpole/staff, is made entirely of stainless steel. To our Australian readers, we salute you on your National Flag Day. Video


  Week in Review (different source used for daily updates) - It was a short trading week for nickel, with the London Metal Exchange closed for a national holiday on Monday. Tuesday morning, markets opened at $12.56/lb, rose to $12.72/lb, fell to $12.13/lb, and ended about where they started the day, at $12.56/lb. On Wednesday, market opened at $12.50/lb, fell to $12.38/lb, rose to $12.67/lb, and closed at $12.66/lb. Thursday, the market opened at $12.61/lb, fell to $12.61/lb, rose to $12.88/lb, where it also ended the day. On Friday, the market opened at $13.00/lb, its low for the day, rose to $13.77/lb, and ended at $13.51/lb. Ending at $12.56/lb last week, nickel was up 3-1/2% for the week, down 5.5% for the month, and down 20.2% for the calendar year. One year ago, nickel ended August 2006 7.6% lower than this year, at $12.56/lb, and two years ago, nickel ended August at $6.70/lb, 101.6% lower than Friday's close. Nickel inventories ended August 2006 at 5,172 tonnes.  

  Sub-prime crisis may bring recession - "THE fallout from the sub-prime mortgage crisis could cause the US to fall into recession, with "devastating effects" on the world economy, according to new economic research." - more here (report here)

  The China Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 54 from 53.3 in July, according to the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing

  Eramet doubles profits in H1 but feels effects of industrial action and hedging strategy - "Eramet, the French non-ferrous metals group, doubled its profits in the first half of this year, but would have done even better without the extensive hedging carried out by the group and strikes at its plant in New Caledonia." - more here

  Chinese importers increase iron ore imports from India to take advantage of lower freight per tonne - "Prices of high-grade iron ore in India have increased by about 60 percent during Jan-Aug 2007." - more here

  Copyright/courtesy The Financial Times - "During Apr-Jul 2007, India imported 1.45 million tonnes of finished carbon steel, representing an increase of 60.2 percent from 0.905 million tonnes during Apr-Jul 2006. The production of finished carbon steel touched 15.55 million tonnes during Apr-Jul 2007, up 4.1 percent from 14.943 million tonnes in Apr-Jul 2006."

  The THESE fact the point on the factory of North - "Joined together Friday, the Economic and Social Committee had invited the SMSP to give a progress report on its activities and the progress report of its metallurgical projects." - translated article here

  Sylvain Néa: "We are always there" - "Its supporters seems fewer. But Sylvain Néa did not lose anything of his gouaille. He made his return, microphone in hand and cap on the head, yesterday morning with the doors of the SLN, for briguer a new mandate with the head of the CSTNC." - more here

  Top 500 Enterprises 2007 take up 84% of GDP - "The combined business revenue of China's top 500 companies accounted for 83.5 percent of the gross domestic product in 2006, almost six percentage points higher than the previous year." - more here

 Outgoing Mintek chief Jourdan sees commodities boom extending 15 to 20 yrs - "With the global demand for almost all commodities continuing to rise, State-owned minerals and metallurgy researcher Mintek's outgoing CEO Paul Jourdan was optimistic that the global commodities boom would last for “at least another 15 to 20 years”." - article here



  A couple of video's to share with the little ladies of the house - video 1 video 2


August Archives


Daily Comparison         (* = per lb) or (+ = per tonne)

Date

LME Stock Level +

Cancelled Warrants

Net Stock Level

Official Cash Close *

Official 3 months close *

Day's Ending *

9-28

32,442

2.22%

31,722

$14.06

$14.33

$13.79

9-27

32,304

2.51%

31,494

$14.74

$14.83

$14.40

9-26

31,734

3.18%

30,726

$14.85

$15.06

$14.70

9-25

30,954

3.41%

29,898

$14.74

$14.88

$14.76

9-24

30,660

3.70%

29,526

$14.81

$14.97

$14.99

9-21

29,892

3.93%

28,716

$14.79

$14.83

$14.65

9-20

29,760

3.17%

28,818

$14.95

$15.10

$14.79

9-19

29,736

2.54%

28,980

$14.54

$14.65

$15.30

9-18

29,958

3.71%

28,848

$13.25

$13.34

$13.92

9-17

29,964

3.78%

28,830

$12.72

$12.90

$13.13

9-14

29,190

2.82%

28,368

$12.67

$12.77

$12.95

9-13

28,404

3.06%

27,534

$12.25

$12.36

$12.65

9-12

27,744

2.98%

26,916

$12.25

$12.34

$12.29

9-11

27,246

3.24%

26,364

$12.11

$12.32

$12.22

9-10

26,760

3.30%

25,878

$11.94

$12.07

$12.12

9-7

25,932

3.91%

24,918

$12.38

$12.52

$12.20

9-6

25,548

3.85%

24,564

$12.08

$12.12

$12.39

9-5

25,086

3.52%

24,204

$12.57

$12.70

$12.38

9-4

24,804

4.09%

23,790

$12.70

$12.93

$12.97

9-3

24,324

3.85%

23,388

$13.34

$13.44

$13.49

3 month nickel averaged $11.01/lb for all of 2006, $6.69/lb in 2005 - Cancelled warrants are goods sold


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All prices, unless marked official closing prices, are indications only of LME 3 month buyer traded prices and courtesy newswire services. To understand what our prices mean, see "A Guide To LME Trading"...pdf here or "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 = 2204.6 pounds ) Updated daily before 8 am CST and before 1 pm CST weekdays, with some weekend updates - Disclaimer Original content and opinions copyright www.estainlesssteel.com

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