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Daily Nickel & Stainless Steel Prices
Market Pricing

Worldwide Metal Market News

September  2004


LME nickel closed at $6.85/lb, breaking the $15M/tonne barrier once again. And for those of you who might show it went higher - we heard it hit way over $7/lb in final kerb trading (un-confirmed).  
*      In a report issued Monday, Australia's Westpac Banking Corp predicted nickel prices for 2005 would average $5.29/lb.
*      Copper trading went over $1.42/lb today which is the highest it has been since Aug 1995. Codelco, the largest producer in the world, advised it will exhaust its stockpile by the end of December. This could adversely affect molybdenum, as it is a by-product of copper mining. Molybdenum is a key ingredient of 316 stainless steel.
*     Australasian Investment Review is reporting that Goldman Sachs commodity experts have just returned from an eight day tour of China and found little evidence of a decline in nickel usage. The article also states "Nickel demand should now continue to grow as BoaSteel's stainless steel capacity expans further from .9 million tonnes in 2004 to 1.8 million tonnes in 2005". (complete article here)
*     Copper hit 7 month high's yesterday, which is having a psycholgical effect on nickel trading.
*     SANUM has rejected Angloplat's most recent offer. Forbes advises union is already on strike at Impala Platinum Holdings and 20M were threatening to walk from Ango Platinum.
*    YUSCO announced increases in stainless steel wire prices yesterday. YUSCO is the largest stainless steel mill in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
*    LME nickel gained 642 tonnes yesterday, a gain in inventories of nearly 5%. Now sitting at 14,112.


LME nickel closed at $6.65/lb.
*    Nickel prices shot up again this morning on reports of an explosion at a Japanese owned nickel production plant in the Philippines. An official from Sumitomo Metal denied the claim and said repairs were underway and there would be no disruption in plans to begin producing nickel later this year. In response, LME nickel prices have calmed since.  
*    Yesterday, Man Metals reported South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers had issued a 48 hour strike notice to Angloplat and Implats. This morning SABC News is reporting the union has temporarily suspended strike plans. The two mines are the world's largest producers of platinum, but mine a significant amount of nickel also. With inventory levels of nickel so tight, any word of possible disruption in the supply chain, has and will send prices up.
*    Late sale nickel prices last evening, this morning prices have rebounded.
*    LME inventories returned to Friday's level of 13,470 tonnes.


LME nickel ends todays trading at $6.66/lb.
*    New e-mail virus discovered today - From : (spoofed address) Subject : Re:, Re: Hello, Re: Thank you!, Re: Thanks :), Re: Hi, Body Text: :) or :))
*    Oil is selling over $50 barrel this morning.
*    Noranda and China's MinMetals have announced they have entered into negotiations concerning a proposal from MinMetals to acquire 100% of Noranda shares. Noranda owns 58.9% of Falconbridge, the world's 3rd largest producer of nickel.
*    Nickel inventories in LME warehouses are at 13,482 tonnes.

World's 5 largest nickel producing nation's in 2003 - Russia, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, and New Caledonia


LME nickel ended the day at $6.63/lb.
*   Crude oil closed at $49.62/barrel today, just shy of $50.
*   Molybdenum is up again - $18.40/lb.
*   Yieh is reporting Chinese stainless market entering a peak season and prices still on the rise due to higher nickel prices. They also expect further increases on stainless sheet as supplies tighten.
*   Inventories gained 324 tonnes on Friday to sit at 13,470 tonnes. This could put some downward pressure on the market today.
*   LME nickel ended Friday at $6.70/lb.


Next update, Monday 9/27


LME nickel ended the day at $6.53/lb. I am unable to find anything to account for the huge increase over the last 2 days. Fundamentals do not seem to support this sudden rise in nickel prices.  
*   Molybdenum oxide still selling at $18/lb, prices up 700% since 2001. 316 stainless steel users are feeling this increase.
*   Nickel inventories in the LME warehouses gained 372 tonnes yesterday to sit at 13,146 tonnes total.


Nickel jumps over the $14M/tonne mark again today, closing at $6.41/lb.
*     Found a price forecast on the net by SG dated 9/13 in which they predict nickel will average $5.64/lb for the last quarter of 2004, $5.40/lb for the 1st quarter of next year, $5.15/lb for the second, $4.90/lb for the third, and $4.55/lb for the last quarter of 2005. They also state "Given the physical tightness in most markets, there remains considerable upside risks to our price forecasts. On the other hand, slowing momentum brings with it growing downside risks..... These risks are finely balanced." Societe Generale is a member of the London Metal Exchange and highly respected for their analysis of the base metal market.
*     US dollar hit a one month low overnight but has regained some this morning.
*    Australasian Investment Review is quoting GSJBW as predicting nickel could take a big bounce before the end of the year.
*   Yieh is reporting stainless steel prices in China continue to rise.
*   Early morning nickel prices are way up, with traders seemingly unphased by yesterday's Fed decision to raise the interest rate prime by 1/4 of 1%.
*   LME nickel inventories lost another 102 tonnes yesterday, to sit at 12,774.


LME nickel closed at $6.09/lb.
Next update 9/22 - author on road today
*    LME inventories of nickel fell by another 294 tonnes to slip back below 13M tonnes.


LME nickel ended the day at $5.84/lb.
*    Scrap Magazine is quoting Societe Generale's prediciton for nickel prices - $5.65/lb for the fourth quarter of 2004 and $6.05/lb for the 2004 yearly average. They also show Morgan Stanley forecasts a $6.50/lb average for the 4th quarter (up from their earlier prediciton of $6/lb), while Goldman Sachs JB is forecasting $6.35/lb during the same period.
*    Reuters is reporting Falconbridge announced they have the "potential" of expanding their current operations and shipping an additional 60M tonnes of nickel over the next few years. Man Metals is reporting Falconbridge will ship 100M tonnes this year compared to 103M tonnes last year.
*    Yahoo Finance is reporting Carpenter Technology raised prices on all grades of stainless by 10% today for October shipments.
*    Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) states exports of nickel from that country are predicted to rise by 6% in 2004 due to higher output from new and existing mines. Thanks to higher prices, the value of total exports could be as high as $3.8 billion dollars (23% gain over 2003).
*    Federal Reserve expected to raise US interest rates 1/4 of 1% tomorrow.
*    Nickel inventories on the LME fell another 174 tonnes Friday.


Profit taking struck and drove nickel down today - ending the week at $5.86/lb.
*    Steel users - AK Steel raises surcharge on steel products for October shipments by 11%.
*    Article in Toronto Star about Falconbridge-Sudbury / projecting cost of nickel production at this mine to be $1.50/lb by 2010 - extremely low for industry - article here (link may be dead within a few days)
*    For those long term investors (and users of stainless steel), here is an interesting article about a speech made by Inco president Peter Jones to a conference in Hong Kong. Read here
*    Tally Metals, a subsidiary of Carpenter Technology, announced Tuesday 10% price increase on all stainless products for October.
*    Yieh is reporting China will import nearly 200 million tons of steel this year. Largest exporting vendor nations - Australia, India and Brazil.  
*    Nickel inventories fell by 162 tonnes yesterday, with stock now showing 13,344 tonnes.


Nickel ended the day at $6.11/lb.
*     LME inventories yesterday were at 13,506 tonnes, down from Monday. Trading this morning is slightly up after going up by over 4% yesterday.


LME nickel climbs for a second day, closing at $5.92/lb.
*    Yieh is reporting hot rolled stainless prices have risen in the past few weeks in China due to shortage in supply.
*    LME site is not yet showing yesterday's figures on inventory.


LME nickel closes at $5.72/lb.
*    Nickel magazine is reporting the Bank of Greece issued an Olympic commerative coin in May of this year that used 100 tonnes of nickel.
*    LME nickel inventories dropped by 54 tonnes yesterday, breaking a streak of daily gains.


LME nickel closed the day at $5.56/lb.
*     Canadian's will pay more for steel and stainless fasteners imported from China and Taiwan, courtesy of a dumping complaint filed by Canadian manufacturer Leland Industries. Click here for official notification. And here.
*    Steel only - CBS Market Watch is reporting the world's largest steel producer in the world has plans to hike steel prices 20% in the early months of 2005.  We dont follow the steel market closely but there are some mixed signals coming out that won't help you make long term purchases. While we are hearing a lot about speculation about steel prices possibly coming down in 2005, there are some reports that you might find interesting. Bloomberg reported on the 13th, "A clear theme is emerging across China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan of capacity constraint with demand exceeding supply in all regions,'' said Matthew Reynolds and Chris Drew, analysts at UBS in Sydney, in a report to clients. "This should help sustain (steel) price levels at or above current levels for the remainder of the year and through most of 2005.'' Yieh Corp in Taiwan reported on the 9th of this month, that steel sales to the US had increased 4 fold since last year, thanks to high prices and a drop in exports to China.  
*    Chinese production jumped in August, fueling speculation on interest rate hikes. Voice of America casts doubt on China's attempt to slow down the economy being successful. 
*    2 Japanese steel mills suffered major damage from Typhoon Son-Da. Expected down time - at least 30 days
*    LME inventories grew another 228 tonnes Friday, to put toal stock at nearly 14M tonnes (13,902)


Nickel found its footing in the second ring and finished at $5.57/lb.
*    Asia Pulse-Beijing published an article today with the headline "China's Stainless Steel Market Shows Signs of Rebounding". The article is here
*    LME nickel is trading lightly this morning and seems to looking for a direction to trade in. Yesterday's after kerb trading ended at $12,000/tonne ($5.44/lb). Inventories increased once again yesterday, gaining 288 tonnes to show 13,674 tonnes.


LME nickel ended the day at $5.46/lb. Still a ways to go to match the low price of 2004 of $4.79/lb on May 17th, but the bears seem to be in control of the nickel market.
*    Yieh is reporting China, Japan and Korea have all raised cold roll stainless sheet prices this week and China inventories are very low.
*    Yieh is also reporting China will be the world's largest nickel consumer by 2008. China is already the world's largest consumer of stainless steel, consuming more than the United States and Japan combined.
*    Nickel prices opened lower this morning, trading at $5.51/lb. Yesterday's LME inventory of nickel grew another 156 tonnes.


LME nickel ends the day at $5.61/lb.
*   Calcutta, India  "The Telegraph" - over 10,000 manhole covers have been stolen by scrap thieves over the last 2 months.
     Mostar, Bosnia - "The Pakistan Daily Times" - 40 foot iron bridge that survived 3 wars including Balkans War, disappears overnight, stolen by scrap thieves.
*   Recent increases in LME nickel inventory has put downward pressure on nickel prices, but any unforseen disruption in supply will drive prices upward.
*   Demand for lower nickel content 201 series stainless steel continues to grow in China as consumers look for alternatives to the higher priced nickel. This has been a major concern for some nickel producers as Chinese demand has now reached nearly 80,000 metric tonnes per month. (201 replaces much of the nickel content of stainless with manganese. While making up only 8-10% of 304 stainless, nickel is responsible for around 60% of the total end cost and has been responsible for most of the major fluxuations in stainless prices over the last few decades.)
*   Minara Resources, Australia' second largest producer of nickel, announced yesterday that it will probably be able to avoid a second plant shutdown this year. Earlier, concerns over pipe corrosion had led company officials to announce an emergency shutdown may be necesary.  
*   LMe inventories gained 288 tonnes yesterday.


LME nickel ended the day at $5.64/lb in a day that saw the bulls trying to take the market up, but the bears came out ahead...barely.
*    Canadian stainless steel fastener users should keep an eye on the Canadian Border Service Agency this week, which is expected to release a preliminary decision by Friday on possible import tariffs on stainless fasteners from China and Taiwan.
*    Both Man Metals and Sucden show support for nickel at $5.35/lb with major support at $4.76/lb and resistance at $5.89/lb. The Relative Strength Index for nickel is shown by Mann Metals to be 35. (Rule of Thumb - Anything below 30 implies an oversold market, while above 70 suggests an overbought market).
*    Scrap Magazine is reporting SG is now lowering their nickel deficit prediction for the year, thanks in part due to increased scrap consumption, and feels we will see nickel prices lower thru the remaing part of 2004. Barclays Capital, though, remains bullish, and predicts $6.24/lb for the average price this year.  
*    GFMS Metals Consulting predicts annual price of nickel for year will be $6.03/lb. 
*    Nickel inventories on the LME surged Monday, gaining 684 tonnes to sit at 12,948 tonnes, having added enough Friday to roll over 12M tonnes. These straight gains in inventories should help alleviate some of the deficit concerns.


LME nickel ends the day at $5.67/lb.
*    According to a Reuters report - Jinchuan Nonferrous Metals, China's largest nickel producer, cut its price of nickel by 3% Monday, hoping to encourage a continuation in demand which has increased in the past month. Import nickel prices were about 5% higher. China gets about 40% of its nickel from the international market. Traders told Reuters there is about 800 tonnes of nickel sitting in warehouses that cant be sold because of the price difference between domestic and import nickel. Stainless prices, however, rose again in China.
*    Inventories in LME warehouses increased another 186 tonnes nearing the 12M tonnes mark, the healthiest inventories have looked in 4 months. Prices are down  so far this morning. Sucden shows support at $5.45/lb, with resistance at $5.89/lb.


LME nickel ended down for the day at $5.75/lb.
*   Nickel inventories on the LME gained by another 168 tonnes yesterday to total 11,760 tonnes. Evening sales were up and this morning the price of nickel is back down to yesterday's close.


Nickel trading broke through resistance at $5.80/lb ending today at $5.82/lb. After second ring kerb selling was up even higher.
*    In our periodic updates of worldwide metals theft, we came across an interesting article in Israel about the rash of thefts they are experiencing. From irrigation piping to 80 tons of steel cans, to $200M worth of steel sheet, to thieves using a crane to raise the roof off a warehouse so they could steal high dollar equipment  for scrap inside. Public Works engineer Asher Segal told Haaretz News that replacement traffic signs are stolen as fast as they are put up and plastic replacements are destroyed by angry thieves. He told Haaretz "They are gradually stealing the whole country."
*    Stock market ended down today, in a small part due to a rumored terrorist attack in Washington, DC. The "attack" turned out to be an accidental release of tear gas in a restaurant when horse playing youth accidentally set off a self defense necklace worn by another member of the group. D.C. emergency workers, on guard for any possible terrorist activity, responded with 2 dozen ambulances and set up a triage unit in a nearby park. Nearly 150 people were checked to ensure no trace of possible chemical attack was present.
*    LME nickel inventories gained another 90 tonnes Tuesday to sit at 11,592 tonnes. Prices are slightly up in early morning trading.

Daily market prices are courtesy London Metal Exchange.

Average August 2004 LME nickel price - $6.23/lb

Average September 2003 LME nickel price - $4.52/lb

Allegheny Ludlum Surcharges for September

Nickel Chrome















arrow denotes price comparison to prior month

courtesy Allegheny Ludlum

Closing price - you may notice different sites giving different "closing" costs. We use the price LME uses, which Joanna James at the Global FX Desk graciously explained, is the settlement price after the 2nd ring close offer. Global shows on their site the closing price taken after the last kerb. For their daily chart, visit here.

Every effort is made to provide factual information in a timely manner as a convenience to the reader. Any opinion given on this web site is just that - a mere opinion, and the author is not responsible for any action taken based off that opinion, including long range forecasts. Multiple sources are used for obtaining this info and there is no guarantee of its accuracy. Any reproduction without written permission from the author is prohibited.

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