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Daily Nickel & Stainless Steel Prices
Market Pricing

Worldwide Metal Market News


July  2004

7-30

LME nickel closed the day, week, and month at $6.82/lb. This just happens to be the overall monthly average for July 2004 also.
*    And just to make you feel better about your job, I found this June 2003 prediction for 2004 nickel prices from Reuters. LONDON, June 27 (Reuters) - London Metal Exchange (LME) nickel prices should track higher into 2004, but sharp gains by the notoriously volatile metal can be largely ruled out, Barclays Capital said in a report on Friday. Barclays raised its price forecast for 2003 to 377.3 cents/lb from 367.6 cents. It left the 2004 figure unchanged at 388.4 cents but raised its 2005 forecast to 369.70 cents from a previous 334.50. (In their defense, no one was predicting it to be as bad as it currently is)
*   LME nickel is quiet this morning with very little price adjustment from yesterday's close.

7-29

LME nickel closes the day up at $6.51/lb, but still below the monthly average.
*    For you investors, buying land in little Ravensthorpe, Australia could pay off big. Population 300, and the site of a new BHP nickel mine. With over 1000 construction workers needed over the next 3 years, and 3-400 permanent workers being hired, the sleepy village is expected to become a modern day boom town.
*    YUCOS got a reprieve today and the government has allowed oil sales to continue - record high oil prices yesterday should come back down.
*    Japan and Korea have reportedly raised their export price on stainless steel for August..
*    Yieh United, one of Asia's largest steel mills, announced today that it has restructured its production to keep up with increasing demand from China for 200 series stainless and this will mean a reduction of 20M tonnes of nickel annually. One of the nickel mining companies biggest fears is that consumers, faced with high nickel prices, will begin to look for alternatives. 200 series stainless has less nickel content than the 300 series stainless.
*    LME nickel prices are up slightly in early morning trading.

7-28

LME nickel ended the day at $6.31/lb.
*    Think your steel prices are high enough? Well they may go higher. Iron ore miners in Canada are on strike and unions in the US are demanding more of a piece of the 25 year high prices market. The strikes and strike potentials could affect up to 25% of supply. 
*    It's possible we will see more increases at the pump as Russia's largest oil producer YUKOS, nears bankruptcy. Court officers have ordered the company to stop sales, which drove yesterday's oil prices to just shy of a new 21 year high. YUKOS ships more oil than OPEC member Libya, and any disruption in supply will put further strain on high world demand. 
*    YUSCO, Taiwan's largest private stainless steel mill, has increased prices on stainless steel shipments made after Aug 1.
*    Please note corrected closing for yesterday!

7-27

LME nickel took another beating - good news for stainless users. Closed the day at $6.46/lb.
*   Universal Stainless raises stainless steel prices by 5% effective August 1st.
*   3rd largest nickel producer Falconbridge announced last Friday its profits for the second quarter of 2004 had surged by more than 3 fold on sales that were up 43% over last year. Net income rose to $139 million from $39 million.
*   LME nickel is selling at $6.32/lb this morning at 8:30 AM EST. Inventories have risen to over 10M tonnes.

next update Tuesday, July 27th

7-22

LME nickel closed at $6.86/lb.
*    Tally Metals, a subsidiary of Carpenter Technology, announced today it was raising prices of stainless by 3 to 7% for shipments beginning in August.  
*    LME nickel is trading higher this morning, as the Euro strengthened against the dollar. At 8:30 AM EST, nickel was at $6.94/lb. Labor unrest at Rustenberg also has traders attention. Nickel inventories feel by 30 tonnes yesterday.

7-21

LME nickel ended the day at $6.88/lb.
*  Man Financial is quoting a Reuters survey of 23 analyst's prediction of 2004 nickel prices. The median forecast was $6.20/lb, with the highest being $7.05/lb and the lowest being $5.64/lb.
*   Universal Stainless reporting sales of $29 million in the second quarter of 2004, a 72% increase over 2003's second quarter. Profits for the period rose to $1.6 million, compared to a loss in 2003 of $440M.
*   LME nickel lost much of yesterday's gains in early morning trading, selling at $6.90/lb this morning. Inventories lost 96 tonnes yesterday after good gains the last week.

7-20

Obviously traders were not bothered by what Inco announced today and the trading day ended up, back over the $7/lb range at $7.06/lb.
*    Allegheny Technologies reported profits of $38.1 million in the second quarter of 2004, compared to a net loss of $22 million during the same period of 2003.
*    Inco reports it shipped 31% more nickel in the last quarter than it did during the same quarter last year. Production rose from 100 million pound to 131 million. They also stated "We currently believe that the nickel market, although expected to continue to experience volatility, will remain robust into the foreseeable future."
*    The union at Rustenburg copper and nickel plant of Anglo American Platinum, known as Angloplat, are threatening to strike, giving traders some incentive to drive nickel prices up. This plant has a capacity of producing 20 tonnes of nickel cathode a year.
*    LME nickel rose this morning, although inventories rose again by another 246 tonnes. At 8:30 AM EST nickel was selling at $6.98/lb.

7-19

LME nickel ended the day at $6.82/lb.
*   US dollar is taking a beating against the Euro. While up today, it fell to a 4 month low on Friday - which could explain some of the strength in nickel prices.
*   LME nickel opened with very little trading activity as of 8:30 AM EST where it was trading at $6.82/lb. Inventories gained again Friday, adding another 408 tonnes.

7-16

LME nickel ended the day and week at $6.81/lb. We hope someone is paying attention to the WMC Resources president, who repeated himself on Thursday, stating there "was too much hype" and demand wasn't what it was being made out to be.
*   According to Yieh.com, ferrous scrap prices are on the rise again. Taiwan is sending representative to Russia to enquire about scrap there. Russia has made exporting scrap more difficult after experiencing some extremely bizzare and deadly accident's due to the theft of metals to be sold as scrap.
*   Australia's second largest nickel supplier announced it was lowering its forecast for nickel production for the next 12 months by 5,000 metric tonnes. Had this announcement been made a few months ago, prices would have dramatically increased. Now with LME inventories in much better shape, the effect could be minimal.
*   LME nickel opened lower with more downward movement expected. Inventories of nickel took another large jump yesterday, gaining an additional 744 tonnes. This makes it difficult for the nay-sayers to claim demand is out-stripping supply. Although, to be fair, we are in stainless steel's typical annual slower period. Price was at $6.85/lb at 8:30 AM EST.

7-15

LME closed lower today, ending the day at $6.91/lb on surprisingly weak US economic data released today. While indicators still show a strengthening economy, industrial production fell .3%, its largest drop in nearly a year.
*    LME inventories of nickel gained substantially yesterday, adding another 480 tonnes. Prices are running at $6.95/lb at 8:30 AM EST.

7-14

After an up and down day, LME nickel ended a little lower than where it started - at $6.95/lb.
*   As if prices haven't risen enough on their own, our friends to the north in Canada can plan on paying a lot more for fasteners in the future. The Canadian International Trade Tribunal issued a preliminary Determination of Injury for Leland Industries on Monday, finding there was evidence that import fasteners from China and Taiwan were hurting Leland, and other domestic manufacturers of fasteners. They have now requested the Canadian Border Services Agency provide the Tribunal information on levels of dumping of steel and stainless fastener to determine if they should be treated the same in any anti-dumping tariff judgment, or separately. Ruling can be read here.
*   Posco, the world's 5th largest steel producer,  and world's most profitable, is predicting global steel prices will continue to rise, thanks to stable demand from China. This is in contrast from what the world's largest steel maker, Arcelor, stated in June, when they predicted current price levels could not be sustained much longer due to the slowdown in China.
*   LME nickel inventories gained again yesterday, adding 372 tonnes. Despite the positive news, nickel prices are up this AM, selling at $6.99/lb at 8:30 AM EST.

7-13

LME nickel re-gained a little of its loss yesterday, ending the day at $6.98/lb.
*   Coal prices are up nearly 10% from last Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, as demand exceeds supply.
*   The strike possibility at Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA we mentioned 7/7 has been averted with an agreement reached over the weekend.
*   LME nickel inventories gained yesterday by 354 tonnes with over 8M tonnes available. Prices opened higher at $6.97/lb at 8:30 Am EST.

7-12

All LME metals closed down with nickel ending today's trading at $6.91/lb.
*    Opinion - Expect at least one more month of price increases as stainless producers foresee the strong potential of falling nickel prices in the months to come, and make attempt's to hold higher prices as long as the market will allow them.
*    China reports 4th consecutive month of slowing industrial growth, evidence that their attempt to slow the economy without crashing, is working.
*   Yieh is reporting US stainless inventories are at a record high, which means stainless production should slow in the later half of 2004 and that the bonanza for stainless producers earlier this year could be coming to an end. 
*   LME nickel opened lower this AM, selling at $6.99/lb at 8:30 AM EST.

7-9

LME nickel closed the week and day on profit taking, closing at $7.07/lb.
*    Bloomberg is reporting 2 of China's 3 largest stainless steel producers may be forced to cut back production because of power shortages.  
*    LME nickel was down at 8:30 AM EST, selling at $7.10/lb. Inventories were down yesterday by 60 tonnes. 

7-8

LME nickel closed the day at $7.15/lb.
*    Yieh Corp of Taiwan warning steel users not to expect to see steel prices drop as earlier hoped.
*    LME nickel was down in early morning trading at $7.09/lb at 8:30 AM EST. Nickel inventories on the LME grew yesterday to 7,956 tonnes.

7-7

LME nickel closed at $7.23/lb.
*   For importers, keep your eye on the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63, Office Clerical Unit negotiations with the shipping lines at Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. Talks have broken down and if they strike, longshoremen have vowed not to cross their picket lines. This would effectively shut down the nations largest port complex.
*   Dollar is at a 3 month low against the Euro, which is making metals more attractive to investors.
*   Reuters is quoting commodities strategist David Thurtell of Commonwealth Bank of Australia as stating the nickel deficit will run 15M tonnes this year, and run 30M tonnes in 2005.
*   LME nickel opened strong this morning and at 8:30 AM EST was selling for $7.24/lb. Inventories fell slightly yesterday to 7800 tonnes.

7-6

LME nickel closes the day at $7.11/lb.
*    For the first 6 months of 2004, LME nickel cash price has averaged $6.18/lb.
*    Scrap Magazine is publishing the following nickel price prediction's for 2004. Societe Generale estimates annual average to be $6.35/lb and Australia's Access Economics Pty. Ltd is estimating $5.75/lb.
*    In a Yahoo article, Citigroup is quoted as projecting nickel prices to average $4.75/lb in the latter half of 2004, $4 for 2004, and $3.50/lb for 2006. With prices starting the second half of 2004 over $7/lb, many are questioning these projections. They also predict aluminum and gold will rise in 2005, while copper will join nickel in falling.
*   Yieh  Corp is reporting Taiwan mills have raised stainless steel prices for July, while reporting 'some' Chinese mills have lowered prices reflecting a drop in domestic demand.
*   LME nickel inventories fell below 8,000 tonnes to 7,830 on Monday. At 8:30 EST nickel prices were at $7.18/lb, after breaking the $7/lb mark yesterday.

7-2

LME nickel closes the day and week at $6.95/lb.
*   LME nickel opened and dropped, but rebounded and at 10:15 Am EST is selling up at $6.94/lb.

7-1

LME nickel closed at $6.88/lb.
*   As expected the Fed raised interest rates 1/4 of 1% yesterday.
*   LME nickel continues its 3rd day of see-saw trading, with pricing at 8:30 AM EST at $6.81/lb. Inventories stand at 8,394 tonnes.


Average June 2004 LME nickel price - $6.13/lb

Average August 2003 LME nickel price - $4.03/lb

Allegheny Ludlum Surcharges for August

Nickel Chrome

Moly

Iron

2003
2004

304

.1946
.3976

.0213
.0834

NA

0
.0357

2003
2004

316

.2432
.4970

.019
.0741

.0576
.2928

0
.0347

arrow denotes price comparison to prior month

courtesy Allegheny Ludlum


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