Nickel Averages Oct - Dec 2002
October 2002 - $3.09/lb
November 2002 - $3.32/lb
December 2002 - $3.26/lb
10/1 - LME trading was extremely light as China was closed for a national
holiday. LME nickel closed at $4.56/lb, down a penny
10/2 - After a day of heavy buying upon news that Norilsk Nickel was predicting
prices would increase by another 10% by mid 2004, LME nickel closed at its
highest point yet this year, $4.68/lb. LME inventory
is at approximately 34M metric tons, which is the largest known excess stockpile
in the world, and is about an 11 day supply. This is increasing the belief
that supply and demand are running about even, and with worldwide economies
growing, a deficit could be possible in the future.
10/3 - On surprisingly positive news from the US, all metals traded on the
London Metal Exchange gained. At one point LME nickel was trading at its
highest in 13 years, before settling down and closing at
$4.74/lb. Inco CEO reports world nickel demand running
about +7% over last year.
10/6 - Traders expect a quiet week as LME celebrates LME week and most economic
date will come out next week. Nickel closed higher, however, at
10/7 - The market has not turned out to be as quiet as traders had hoped,
as many metals near multi-year highs. After breaking another 13 year high
at $4.83/lb earlier, LME nickel closed at $4.78/lb.
Inco reports all major nickel producers are running at capacity with no new
supplies of any magnitude coming on board in the near future. With demand
rising as world economies recover, they say conditions are similar to 1988-89
when nickel ran about $6 per pound. None of this is good news
for the stainless steel consumers.
10/8 - Inco reports to its stockholders that its cost for mining and processing
nickel is now running about $2.05/lb, compared to $1.45/lb last year.
10/8 - LME nickel scored a big raise today, closing at a 13 year high.
$4.87/lb has not been seen since Sept 1990.
10/9 - Theage.com.au is printing a story that quotes Macquarie Bank commodity
strategist Jim Lennon. He advises that worldwide nickel inventory levels
could become chronically low in the next six to nine months, and that prices
could easily double again. He is predicting nickel could be selling in the
area of $9.00/lb in the next 15 months, due mostly to a ravenous Chinese
nickel market and recovery in Europe and US markets.
10/9 - Nickel soared again today, leaving traders speculating how high and
leaving many of them shaking their heads. Expecting a slow week, they have
seen just the opposite. The speculators that had thought an adjustment was
over due, are now being silenced by those predicting further gains. Since
the first of the month, nickel has now gone up by 9%, closing today at
$4.95/lb. This is another 13 year record. Aluminum
also rose, setting a 2-1/4 year record.
10/10 - Numerous articles appeared in the world press yesterday as nickel's
bull run gets overdue attention. Early trading at LME Friday took a breather
and fell slightly, on news that China's State Reserves Bureau had put nearly
4,000 tonne on the market. And while the market seems to be taking the long
overdue correction that traders have been predicting, no one is saying the
peak had been hit. Reuters reports the International Nickel Study Group is
still predicting nickel production to only increase 2.8% in 2003, while
consumption is expected to increase 6.9%. The news for 2004 is less pessimistic
as production is expected to increase 5.3% and consumption only expected
to gain 4.6%. This still leaves the 2003 and 2004 markets in deficit by 30M
tonnes in 2003 and 2004. Reuters also reports steel makers in Japan alone
could come up short by 20M tonnes of nickel this year.Taiwan's largest stainless
steel producer reports that it has already started producing lower nickel
content stainless, known as 200 series. And South Korea's third largest steel
maker is predicting prices to stay in the $5/lb range over the next year.
Traders are advising the release by the Chinese Reserves reflect the shortage
of nickel for stainless steel producers in that country.
10/10 - The overdue correction that many have said must come, did not
materialize. After an initial drop in morning prices, LME nickel ended at
a new 13 year record, closing the week at
10/10 - Courtesy
Products - Market Monthly Averages -
- LME nickel rose in early trades, breaking thru the 11M tonne barrier ($5/lb).
However, midday markets received news that Norilsk announced its 2003 production
would increase from 220M tonnes last year to 300M tonnes this year.
10/13 - In other market news, Scrap.org reports that speaker Larry Pryor
commented to the Nickel/Stainless Steel Roundtable September meeting in
Pittsburg, PA, that the ferrochrome market remains to be bullish and that
indications are that the 2004 deficit may be in the area of 50M tonnes. If
stainless steel production remains strong he predicted prices, currently
in the 49 cents per pound range (27 cents at the end of 2001), could reach
80 cents per pound next year. This could be mean bad news for stainless steel
consumers and future pricing. South African producers, supplying over 50%
of the world's ferrochrome, are being charged a new shipping surcharge, presently
at $3/tonne but expected to possibly go to $8/tonne next year.
10/13 - LME metals all rose, with nickel gaining a new 13 year high. LME
nickel closed at $5.11/lb.
10/13 - Price graphs of stainless steel ingredients, courtesy
10/14 - A Taiwanese website is reporting the growth in the stainless steel
industry is out pacing the growth in steel. Steel is growing approximately
1-2% with population while stainless is growing 5%. It is unclear by the
article if this is a worldwide trend, or strictly regional.
10/14 -The International Stainless Steel Forum has adjusted its projection
for 2003 stainless steel projection and now predicts it will grow by 5.8%,
lead primarily by China. This is 1.8% higher than previously predicted and
will help keep nickel prices up. Worldwide production during the first half
of 2003 was 8.2% higher than last year. They also predict a shortfall of
30M tonnes of nickel supply/demand in 2003 and 2004.
10/14 - After hitting a new 14 year high, profit takers jumped in and in
what one trader called a healthy correction, fell to
10/15 - LME nickel held steady at $4.99/lb. Stainless
steel fastener import prices remain stable, and have been since early spring
2003. Probable reason - pricing war amongst Far East fastener manufacturers.
While this is good for fastener users in the short term, it is not necessarily
positive in the long term as smaller factories, that force the larger factories
to stay competitive, could be put out of business. For the year so far, the
summer saw the stainless steel producers eat the increases in nickel and
ferrochrome, due to slow economic growth, and their own price war. Now that
the economy is improving, these producers are passing on the higher costs
in rod and wire, and the fastener manufacturers overseas are eating the increases
in material. In light of historical precedence established
over years of stainless steel pricing closely following the up's and down's
of nickel costs, the importer, distributor and end-user of stainless steel
fastener's have so far enjoyed a "fortunate" year.
10/16 - Reuters reports
states "Maybe it is safe for the children to come out to play with many traders
feeling that a price above $11,500 ($5.22/lb) is unobtainable and although
we may not see the price much below $10,500 ($4.76/lb) over the near term
the upside is becoming more predictable."
10/16 - LME nickel closes at $5.01/lb. JP Morgan
is forecasting nickel to average $4.05/lb in 2003 and $4.55/lb in 2004. They
also predict a 28,300 metric ton shortfall in 2004.
10/17 - LME nickel selling at $4.89/lb after a Friday over profit-taking
and what some traders said was an overdue adjustment. Closes at
10/17 - Falconbridge, the world's third largest producer of nickel, forecast
a surplus of nickel for 2003 by 13M tonnes, but also predicts a 33M tonne
deficit for 2004. This pessimistic forecast echoes those mentioned above.
10/20 - Analysts predict nickel shortage could continue until Canada's Voisey
Bay mine becomes fully operational sometime in 2006. There is general agreement
that should anything happen to negatively affect the production or transportation
of nickel, and demand continue to remain positive, then we could see further
dramatic increases in nickel pricing. South Korea's POSCO has announced plans
to jointly build a $700 million dollar stainless steel plant in China,
adding this is in response to predictions that stainless steel demand will
grow about 20% annually in China. LME nickel closed trading at
10/21 - Nickel continues to recover the small drop from last week, closing
10/22 - LME nickel closes at $5.16/lb.
10/23 - Copper prices dropped dramatically today, pulling the rest of LME
metals with it. Nickel closed at $5.06/lb.
10/24 - With copper continuing to fall, nickel speculators nervously bailed
on nickel also, ending the week at $4.93/lb. JP
Morgan revised its predictions for future nickel prices this week. The predict
nickel will sell at an average of $5.65/lb for 2004 and $5.75/lb for 2005.
Some analysts feel the recent small drops reflect an overdue correction in
nickel prices and an anticipation of the flurry of deliveries made by producers
in anticipation of potential winter delivery troubles. Norilsk, the largest
nickel producer in the world, has been plagued in the past by harsh Siberian
winters and frozen waterways. Now that they have direct control over nearly
every phase of production and transport (from power generation to nuclear
icebreakers and the ports of Dudinka), the chances of future transport problems
are lessened. Molybdenum averaged $5.67/lb for the third quarter of 2003,
which compares to $4.71/lb during the same period of 2002.. Moly was selling
at $5.87/lb yesterday and is an ingredient in Type 316 Stainless Steel.
10/27 - After what one trader called a "very slow, and very nervous" day.
LME nickel rose to $5.07/lb. Pessimism seemed to
rule the day, as the overdue correction that began last week, keep trading
low key today. Reuters reports one analyst claimed "we could be at the beginning
of the end of the bull market". Europe's economic recovery has not grown
with the speed many had hoped. Another analyst stated nickel would probably
see further correction before reboundung with any longetivity, but he predicted
it would not fall below $4.53/lb anytime this year.
10/28 - Less pessimistic traders voiced their optimism for future price gains
today as nickel climbed in early trading. All eyes are on the US as US durable
goods data for Sept will be released later this morning. While the market
is very nervous, positive news from the US could cause another surge in prices.
Nickel pricing is responsible for up to 60% of stainless steel pricing. Others
still expect a period of correction and increased volatility before a long
upward trend that most agree is coming, will be established.
10/28 - Once again, the nay-sayers ruled the day. While economic news from
the US was better than expected, usually a springboard for activity, the
metals market remained quiet, many wondering if prices were already too high.
LME nickel closed up at $5.09/lb.
10/29 - LME nickel closed at $5.15/lb.
10/30 - LME nickel closes at $5.32/lb on news the
US GDP jumped to a 20 year high for the third quarter.
10/31 - LME nickel closed the week at $5.39/lb reaching
new record highs after early week pessimists predicted an overdue correction
had begun (see 10-16). Even month end profit taking which usually takes
place on the last day of trading, was muffled>
11/3 - LME nickel hit a new 14 year record in early trading, selling at $5.45/lb
or $12,000/tonne. Early afternoon trading saw the metal prices slip back
to $5.36/lb. European, Japanese and Korean steel producers announce new price
increases for stainless steel cold roll exports. Closed the day at
$5.29/lb as investment funds liquidations drove
all metals down.
11/4 - MacSteel keeps an up to date page on current and historical 304 Stainless
Steel surcharges - and their reasons. See the
MacSteel Service Center Metals Update page. LME nickel
slightly lower in early morning trading on profit taking, while fundamentals
remain strong. Chinese steel makers are the most recent of the world producers
to become verbally nervous about the availability of nickel and the price
increases they are being forced to pass on in stainless due to the increase
11/4 - LME nickel surges in afternoon trade and closed at a new 14 year record
high of $5.54/lb.
11/5 - LME nickel dropped a little in early morning trading as traders remain
jittery about the recent sudden gains.
Update - In stainless steel fastener news, importers are beginning to see
the first hints of price increases. While still involved in a competitive
price war, many of the overseas manufacturers are beginning to pass on a
small part of the increases they have been seeing in stainless rod. So far,
the increases are minor, but importers such as Marine Fasteners, are being
advised we could see huge increases in the first quarter of 2004. While these
claims have been made before, with the absolute opposite happening, if nickel
remains stabile or only loses a little ground in the coming months, we could
very well see the increases the manufacturers are claiming. The last large
increase seen in stainless steel fastener prices was in the year 2000, with
nickel being the driving force of that increase. Nickel prices failed to
hit the highs in 2000 that it has this year. While at this time making any
long term prediction is a "crap shoot", it is extremely doubtful we will
see any decreases in stainless steel fastener prices in the coming months,
and the more likely bet is we could see some substantial price increases
in the near future. Blanket orders commitments are a fairly safe bet at this
time, and very possibly a smart move.
11/5 - LME nickel closed down as traders resisted the $12,000 tonne peak
for the second time in as many weeks. Markets closed with nickel at
$5.35/lb in light trading. In other news, Barclay's
metal analyst Ingrid Sternly revised his earlier predictions for 2004 nickel
price averages, raising his estimate 25% to $5.55/lb.
11/6 - One Taiwanese trade periodical announced today that stainless steel
billet prices have gone "sky-high" because of nickel and producers are forcing
end-users to pay it. LME nickel closed up. In late trading nickel closed
11/7 - LME nickel ends the week at $12M/tonne or
$5.44/lb. Taiwanese and Chinese steel makers follow
other nations by announcing further stainless price increases for December.
Macquarie Research has now adjusted their official predictions and is now
projecting an average nickel price for 2004 and 2005 at $6.00/lb. They stated
many reasons including the protracted strike at Inco, the underestimation
of Chinese and Asian demand, the economic recovery of US and European
markets, a foreseen shortfall in supply, and a possible work stoppage at
Falconbridge in the coming 3 months
(contracts ends on
1/31/2004). Stainless steel scrap dealers are seeing the highest prices
for stainless scrap they have seen since 1995.
11/10 - LME nickel steady in early morning trade.
11/10 - Union contracts to watch in 2004 with possible effects on nickel
production - Falconbridge in Canada has a contract with the CAW ending 1/31/2004
and with the USW ending 2/28/2004. Sherritt Inc of Canada has a contract
with the CEP ending 3/31/2004.
There is 56 lbs of stainless steel in the typical family
vehicle. In 1977, the typical vehicle had only 26 lbs of stainless. (source
- American Metal Markets).
11/10 - LME nickel closed down, after all metals were dragged down by a heavily
traded and losing day for copper. LME nickel closed at
11/11 - LME nickel rebounds and recovers its losses from Monday closing
11/12 - Merrill Lynch fund managers announced today that China's appetite
for metals, which they refer to as voracious, shows no signing of slowing
thru 2008. This is good news for those producing metals, not necessarily
good for those of us that use or sell stainless product.
11/12 - Fastener Update Marine Fasteners
senior purchasing agent advises he is seeing large price increases from fastener
manufacturers in the past few days. As the price war among foreign manufacturers
appears to be falling apart, the market could see significant increases in
the next few months. If that news isn't bad enough for users of stainless
fasteners, LME nickel hit a new 14 year record high today at $12,325/tonne
before settling down to close at $5.56/lb.
11/13 - Nickel had a rocky day, climbing early in the trading day to a new
14 year record high of $12,400/tonne before profit takers stepped in and
drove it back down. Closed at $5.48/lb.
11/13 - Inco's asst vice president of marketing, Brent Rochon, told a Seoul
seminar that the supply of nickel will not be able to keep up with demand
at least through 2006, according to an article by Forbes. He also expected
prices to continue to rise in 2004, to help curb some of the demand. With
worldwide producers running at maximum to take advantage of record prices,
Rochon saw very little room for increased production in 2004. Rochon also
advised China's imports of nickel increased 210% so far this year and domestic
Chinese production of stainless steel was supplying less than 25% of that
11/13 - 2 pages of interesting data on nickel production in the world. The
1st shows the largest producers in 2002, by country and company,
located here. The second similar information, including
world stainless production thru 2002,
11/14 - LME nickel bounced higher to new record levels in early morning trading,
reaching $5.64/lb. Analysts now see the $12,500/tonne ($5.67/lb)as the next
psychological target to beat.
11/14 - LME nickel continued to soar most of the day, before easing back
a bit at the close. After rolling over the $12,500/tonne mark, LME closed
at $5.66/lb - another 14 year record high.
11/17 - LME nickel feel today, on heavy profit taking. No one seems to be
predicting this as anything more than an overdue adjustment, but stainless
steel producers welcome any downturn, however momentary. LME nickel closed
at $5.47/lb, negating the record breaking gains
of last week.
11/17 - Interesting article about one of the complainant nations in the Bush
steel tariff case,
India and its interpretation of the free trade.
11/18 - LME nickel closed up slightly at $5.48/lb
after a wild up and down day of trading. Traders are beginning to pay closer
attention to upcoming labor talks at Falconbridge (see 11/7). Nickel could
still use some more market adjustment, but overall market showing
11/19 - LME nickel spent another day of bouncing up and down before settling
down at $5.47/lb.
11/20 - Fastener Update - One of Taiwan's largest manufacturers of
fasteners finally succumbed to rising wire rod prices and advised its worldwide
distributors it could no longer honor past quotes, thus negating all prior
quotes. New quotes, usually valid for 30 days, would be valid for a period
of 5 days only. This company had been instrumental in keeping overseas stainless
fasteners prices in check, even while the large increases in nickel have
been raising prices on stainless steel wire and rod for the past 3 months.
Prices have been on the increase for the past few weeks from other manufacturers,
and this company's change is seen as further bad news for consumers of stainless
steel fasteners worldwide. LME nickel was trading at $5.33/lb at noon in
11/20 - LME nickel closed at $5.37/lb.
11/20 - Norilsk Nickel is in negotiations with a Finnish company to
purchase 4 ice breaking ships. This would help alleviate Norilsk's dependance
on Murmansk Sea Shipping to clear shipping routes during the winter months.
The Melbourne Hearld Sun, in an article yesterday, polled international resource
experts attending the JP Morgan Metals and Mineral Conference on which metals
they felt would most likely outperform during the next year. Nickel received
the majority of the votes with 37%, with zinc at 20% and copper at 17%. The
Thailand Stainless Steel Association posted an appeal calling for more stainless
steel fabricators to assist it with domestic demand. Projecting demand of
stainless steel would hit 18.5% this year, and an estimated 20% next year,
an advisor to the organization called for an additional 1000 fabricators.
11/21 - LME analysts tell Reuters the next few weeks could be interesting
for nickel as the room is still open for further correction, but that all
signs indicate nickel is in an upward market. LME nickel closed at
$5.34/lb after a day of up and down trading.
11/24 - While little movement is expected this week, LME nickel closed up
on speculative buying at $5.48/lb. Flaconbridge announcd
today it will begin formal negotiations with its largest union on December
11/25 - ThyssenKrupp of Germany, the world's largest producer of stainless
steel, announced that while China is the single largest consumer of stainless
steel, it could soon beat Europe as the single largest continental user.
Combined usage of European countries is approx 3.3 million tons per year,
while China is currently using approx 2.6 million tons. With the anticipated
growth in China expected to exceed 7%, Europe, which has always lead the
way in stainless steel production and usage, could become second to China.
LME nickel was selling up this AM.
11/25 - LME nickel closes at $5.42/lb.
11/26 - In anticipation of the US Thanksgiving holiday, trading was light
in all LME metals today. Nickel rose to $5.46/lb
on better than expected economic news from the US. Taiwan's Industrial Fastener
Institute advised its members that a recent trip to the US revealed fastener
inventories were low and with the recovering economy, they anticipated exports
of fasteners to increase in the coming months. They also predicted the
presidential election would help stimulate further growth in the economy.
Our next update will come 12/1. Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers!.
12/1 - LME nickel regained all of its adjustment over the past few weeks
and closed at the $12,500/tonne range. This puts the closing price at
$5.66/lb - only a few pennies shy of the highest
peak its hit this year and the 14 year record. Traders are nervously watching
the Falconbridge union negotiations which started today with the union making
threats in the media.
12/2 - LME nickel kept climbing, closing today at
$5.69/lb. It is now only $35/tonne shy of a setting
a new 14 year record.
Stainless steel and specialty steel consume 90% of world
processed ferrochrome. South Africa accounts for 60% of the world's
12/3 - LME nickel had an erratic day, rising, then falling, then rising again.
At day's end, nickel closed at a new 14 year high, ending at
12/4 - After breaking a new record high yesterday, LME nickel settled down
today and closed at $5.76/lb. Nickel averaged $3.26/lb
12/5 - On news both parties at the Falconbridge negotiations were talking
tough, LME nickel rebounded and closed at
12/8 - LME nickel soared in early morning trading, jumping to its highest
level since May 1989, hitting the $13M/tonne mark ($5.89/lb).
12/8 - LME nickel closes day at $5.83/lb.
12/9 - Unless you own a nickel mine, the daily news of 14 year record high
prices for nickel, can become redundant and depressing. In early trading
this AM, LME nickel hit $5.99/lb, with some analysts looking at $6.80, as
a very attainable selling price in the future. While molybdenum is more stabile,
having witnessed smaller increases in the last month, 316 stainless steel
prices are also rising, in lieu of their nickel content.
12/9 - The Cru
Monitor is advising ferrochrome prices will increase an additional
7cents/lb in the first quarter of 2004, due in part to continued depreciation
overseas of the US dollar. They advise molybdenum is also approaching the
$7.00/lb mark again, due in part to disruptions in supply.
12/9 - LME nickel remained strong throughout the trading day, closing at
12/10 - LME nickel scored another 14-1/2 year record high, selling at
$13,415/tonne before settleing down to close at
Ludlum Products announces revised stainless steel
raw material surcharges to offset steep climb in nickel.
12/11 - LME nickel was quiet in early morning trading today. Markets are
keeping a keen eye on union negotiations at Falconbridge. With supply so
tight and analysts still predicting a 30M tonne deficit in nickel production
next year, the mere thought of a possible strike at Falconbridge, which supplies
5% of the world's nickel, has traders very jittery.
12/11 - LME nickel traded quietly today, closing at
12/12 - In early morning trading, LME nickel regained a few pennies from
yesterday. Molybdenum at $6.85/lb.
12/12 - LME nickel ended the wekk by - no surprise - breaking a new record
high. LME nickel closed the week at $6.12/lb as
traders are getting more edgey about the union talks at Falconbridge.
12/15 - LME nickel stayed put, closing at $13,500/tonne or
$6.12/lb. While traders do not expect too much to
happen in this market before the first of the year, much hinges on the
Falconbridge union negotiations. One trader told Reuters fundamentals looked
strong to as high as $16M/tonne.
12/15 - Taiwan is starting to see the first signs of extreme nervousness
in the stainless steel industry, though in no way limited to stainless fasteners.
As stainless products continue to increase dramatically in price, end users
are beginning to order heavily. In turn, this forces the manufacturers to
go back to the mill for more stainless wire and rod. This week, major stainless
rod producers in Taiwan announced they were running at full tilt, and were
not quoting additional wire rod orders. Even those manufacturers offering
higher prices are being turned down. Further increases in prices for stainless
steel products coming from the Far East are a safe bet. Delays in shipments
is now a real possibility. 2004 is taking shape to be a difficult year, at
least in the first half, for stainless steel products, including fasteners.
12/16 - If you are in the minerals business, you are a very happy person.
If you use minerals or any of their end products, you've seen better days.
Nickel has done nothing but go up since the fall of last year, and it continues
today, reaching another 14 year record high at $14, 350/tonne before cooling
off to close at $6.48/lb, in itself a new record
closing price. One analyst warned that this huge increase was too far from
reality and that the market was setting itself for a huge drop. (webmaster
opinion - While this may be true, the fundamentals still are very strong
and with a looming deficit predicted in nickel for next year, any forseeable
drop due to a quick agreement at Falconbridge or other reason would not be
below November levels - thus ensuring a continuation of higher stainless
prices.) The National Post, in an article published today, quotes
analysts with Canaccord CapitalCorp and Merrill Lynch predicting average
prices for 2004 to be $5.45 and $5.15/lb respectively. This compares to $3.23/lb
in January 2003.
12/17 - LME nickel started another trading day, literally out of control.
As a fresh input of speculative fund buying hit early morning trading,
nickel soared to $15,138/tonne before calming down a little to $15M/tonne
($6.80/lb). - note the all time record high for nickel was $8.17 in April
1988. Nickel's historical effect on
- LME nickel closes at $6.62/lb.
12/18 - LME nickel traded higher this morning, but unlike the first 3 days
of this week, did not appear to be going to break another 14-1/2 year record.
Stainless steel production in 2004, already planned to grow next year, will
now grow higher, as another country fast becomes a major player. The Indian
Stainless Steel Development Association was advised by the Indian Army that
it has plans to use stainless steel in some major architectural applications
in the upcoming years. The ISSDA has stated this will cause a major boost
in domestic stainless steel production. India has already been classified
by some market watchers as one of the fastest growing stainless markets in
the world, and already a major supplier to China.
12/18 - LME nickel closed at $6.72/lb.... and while
not hitting a new record high for the day, it would classify as a new record
closing price in 14 years. Trading accelerated after better than expected
economic news from the US. Worth watching - with China being the leading
force in nickel consumption due to its insatiable appetite for stainless,
it is worth keeping an eye on the reports coming out of Taiwan of a newly
discovered case of SARS. While the patient was a doctor who was researching
the disease, and most everyone that has come into contact with the indivual
is now quarantined, any outbreak in this region could cause nervousness in
the business market and could indirectly cause pessimism in the nickel
12/18 - The
Sun is quoting some interesting findings by Macquarie Research and predicting
we are far from seeing the end of nickel's bull run. Factors include a 46M/tonne
deficit they predict for next year's world market(most others predict 30M/tonne
but all agree it will be a major deficit in the supply of nickel to demand),
inventories below that which were seen during the 1980's when prices soared
to $19M/tonne, "absolutely no prospect" of the shortage being eased before
2006, and a 9.7% increase in world stainless production this year.
12/19 - LME nickel ends week at $6.76/lb.
12/22 - LME nickel traded up, closing just under the $15,000/tonne mark at
Nickel Pricing 1999 - 2003
courtesy London Metal Exchange statistics
- LME nickel hits new 14-1/2 year high in early AM trading, hitting
12/23 - LME nickel trading ended at a new record high, ending the day
at $7.08/lb. This gain was mostly due to an influx
of fund buying. Traders are expecting the bubble to burst at any time with
some market corrections overdue. The relative strength index on nickel is
presently sitting at 95%, with anything over 75% reflecting an overbought
market. And while market watchers predict a correction is due, no one has
dared to predict we have seen the end of record breaking prices.
12/24 - Bucking the news that the metal is overbought, LME nickel crossed
the $16M/tonne mark in early morning trading. Closed at
$7.14/lb. Trading to return 12/29.
12/29 - LME nickel continues its upward spiral, closing today at
$7.53/lb ($16,400/tonne). .
nearly 1/4 of the 230,000 inhabitants of the closed city of Norilsk, the
Norilsk Nickel company and its head Vladimir Potanin, usually get whatever
they want. Thus, the victory by a former plant labor leader over the hand
picked candidate of the mining giant in the city's October mayoral race,
came as a stunning surprise. Valery Melnikov had actually gathered the largest
percentage of votes in a May poll, but spent the summer fighting Norilsk
to have his name put on the ballot. The election committee, controlled in
part by the nickel plant and its parent company Interros, finally certified
Melnikov the winner of the race on Oct 29th, while announcing it would take
him to court for exceeding campaign spending limits. While it is apparent
to everyone that Norilsk Nickel will do whatever it can to ensure Melnikov
does not become the mayor of its city, Melnikov has given them reason to
be concerned. He told The Moscow Times that the top priority of his
administration will be to squeeze more money out of Norilsk Nickel and that
the company's leader and one of Russia's richest men, Potanin, should stay
out of his way.