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Daily Nickel & Stainless Steel Prices
Market Pricing

Worldwide Metal Market News

November  2004

(Nickel prices are followed here daily as they are responsible for up to 60% of the cost of stainless steel)


LME nickel ended the day at $6.47/lb, as dollar rallies from morning record low.
*    Bloomberg is reporting Andrew Mitchell, an industry consultant, told the Mining Journal's Nickel Conference in London, that the nickel deficit will narrow to 2M tons next year, but will increase to 16M tons in 2006. This is after a deficit of 29M tons this year. Mitchell also said nickel prices will remain high. (personal comment - this is the first report we have seen of a forecasted deficit in 2006 and are skeptical about this prediction)
*    Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, based in Paris, lowers its economic growth forecasts for 2005, thanks largely to high oil prices. It predicts the US growth will slow to 3.3% in 2005, down from its prediction of 4.4% this year. Japan is predicted to grow by 2.4%, and the Euro countries at 2.3%. China and Russia, neither members, are predicted to increase by 8% and 5.5%. The report can be downloaded from the OECD web site here
*    Euro hits new record high against US dollar, but metals struggling to find foothold so far.
*    Yieh.com is reporting hot roll steel coil and plate prices for export have fallen slightly in the past few weeks.
*    LME nickel inventory rolled over 17M tons for the first time since March 2004 to total 17,004.


LME nickel closes the day at $6.47/lb.
*    Yieh.com is reporting China had been asked, and is considering, imposing an import ban on 200 series stainless sheet. 200 series stainless uses far less of the volatile-priced nickel, and is hurting the 300 series stainless producers in China.
*    Molybdenum pricing still at $25.70/lb. Nickel closed at $6.39/lb on Friday.
*    LME nickel inventories start the week at 16,944 tons.

Next update 11/29 - offices closed for holiday. Happy Thanksgiving to our readers!


Profit sharing did not hit the LME as we predicted and instead, nickel climbed to end the day at $6.54/lb.
*    Sherritt International announces Jowdat Waheed will become their new President and Chief Executive Officer effective January 1st, after current CEO Dennis G. Maschmeyer announced his retirement.
*    Nickle inventories gained another 150 tons yesterday to sit at 16,662.


Nickel rebounded somewhat as the dollar went soft again, ending the day at $6.35/lb.
*    UPS reaches tentative agreeent with union - UPS strike in Canada resolved.
*    Scrap Magazine quotes Merrill Lynch as predicting nickel will average $6/lb in 2005. Also a nice commentary about the trde deficit and the weak dollar here
*    China signed an agreement with Cuba on Monday to develop 2 new ferro-nickel projects in Cuba.
*    UPS employees went on strike in Canada yesterday and pilots in the US have threatened to stop flying if management starts using non-union pilots to bring UPS shipments out of Canada.
*    LME nickel inventories gained another 126 tons Monday to total 16,512. Inventories are up about 14% from the first of the month.


LME nickel ended the day at $6.20/lb.
*    Lot of talk on the street about the price of coking coal skyrocketing next year. Coal for steelmaking is expected to more than double.  
*    A senior administration official told reporters in Chile that  Chinese President Hu Jintao had told President Bush that China is committed to moving to flexible exchange rates, while People's Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan told reporters Sunday it was too soon to talk about a loosening of the yuan's peg to the dollar. China's fixed exchange rate of 8.3 yuan to the dollar for the last 10 years, has been a contentious issue with world economic powers.   
*    International Monetary Fund predicts world economic growth to be limited to around 4% because of high oil prices.
*    Asia Pulse is predicting China will import 200 million tons of iron ore this year. China became the world's largest importer of iron ore last year, pushing Japan to number 2.
*    Swiss based Xstrata, after having its $5.8 billion dollar offer rebuffed by Australian based WMC executives, has now decided to go hostile, and announced it will take the offer directly to the shareholders. Other major nickel producers are rumored to also be interested in WMC, including Inco, Phelps Dodge, and Falconbridge, among others. By some estimates, WMC has become the worlds 3rd largest producer of nickel, behind Russia's Norilsk and Canada's Inco. Canada's Falconbridge has slipped to fourth largest.
*    Some expect pre-holiday profit taking this week.
*    Inventories of LMe nickel gained Friday by 216 tonnes to 16,386.


LME nickel ended the day at $6.20/lb.
*    Jim Lennon, executive director of commodities and mining research for Macquarie Bank Ltd told Reuters Chinese demand for base metals will grow by 10-15% in 2005, far below earlier year rates. You can read the article here
*    New computer virus alert issued here
*    WMC and Jinchuan have announced a joint venture in nickel exploration in western China
*    Norilsk reported profits in the fist 6 months of 2004 jumped by 191% over last year.
*    LME inventories of nickel gained 252 tons to go over the 16M ton mark - 16,170.


Most metals rose but nickel ended lower, closing at $6.40/lb.
*    US dollar hits new record low against Euro.
*    MinMetals says it will continue talks with Norando, just not exclusively.
*    For the first itme in a week, LME inventories fell by 30 tons to total 15,918.


The weak dollar continues to stimulate buying and nickel ended the day at $6.55/lb.
*    Yieh is predicting iron ore prices will continue to rise into 2005. Yieh is also reporting China produced 804,400 tons of steel per day in October.
*    Gaining 156 tons yesterday, LME inventories of nickel near the 16M ton mark at 15,948 tons.


LME nickel ended the day at $6.47/lb.
*    Scrap Magazine reports - "November's published 18/8 stainless steel scrap mill buying price was placed @ $1,608/gross ton, delivered, with nickel valued @ $6.15, chrome @ 60 cents and iron @ 16 ½ cents". They also report scrap exports thru September only increased 1% over the same period last year, from 353,719 metric tons to 356,570 metric tons.
*    Noranda announces it has concluded  exclusive talks with MinMetals with no agreement being reached.
*    For the 5th straight day, LME nickel inventories gained. Yesterday, adding another 174 tons to total 15,792 tons.


LME nickel closed at $6.58/lb.
*    Fairfax Digital reports Inco and Phelps Dodge have hired advisors to examine WMC Resouces. This comes after WMC rejected a $4.7 billion from Xstrata.
*    Nickel inventories gaines 240 tons Friday for a total of 15,618 tons.


LME nickel closed the day at $6.67/lb.
*    AEGIS Capital Metals & Mining Consensus Comparables shows their estimate for the price of nickel for 2005 to be $5.99/lb. This compares to an average of $6.20/lb for 2004, $4.37/lb for 2003, $3.07/lb for 2002, and $2.70/lb for 2001.
*    World's largest producer of nickel, Norilsk Nickel, opens distribution office in Hong Kong.
*    For the third straight day, inventories of nickel in LME warehouses increased - yesterday by an additional 174 tons to total 15,378 tons.


LME nickel ended the day at $6.35/lb.
*    Fed raises US interest rates 1/4 of 1%, signalling continuing health in US economy.
*    Nickel inventories in LME warehouses gained another 228 tons yesterday to total 15,204 tons.


LME nickel ended at $6.24/lb.
*    US dollar hit a new record low against the Euro before closing higher than yesterday. For importers of European goods and vacationers to the European continent, the lower dollar is not good news. But for US manufacturers shipping to Europe, the lower dollar is welcome.
*    Taiwan exported 1.2 billion tons of screws and nuts in the first 9 quarters of 2004, with the US being its prime customer, according to an article on Yieh.com.
*    Platts is reporting ferrochrome is selling at .68/lb, according to Scrap Magazine.
*    Scrap Magazine is quoting Jim Lennon with the Macquarie Research as estimating nickel will average $6.75/lb next year compared to $6.15/lb this year. They also report there are some analyst's that think we may hit new high's before the end of the year.
*    Nickel inventories on the LME took another jump yesterday, gaining 234 tons to total 14,976 tons.


LME nickel dropped slightly, closing at $6.24/lb. And just in time for Christmas, news out of the Ivory Coast that ships 40% of the world's cocoa - they can not ship thanks to closed ports due to the recent renewal of violence there. Expect higher chocolate prices and potential shortages in the coming months.
*     US Fed to meet Wednesday to discuss possibility of 1/4% interest rate hike.
*    US dollar rebounded from its record low against the Euro on Tuesday, but lost some ground today. Much of the market trading we are seeing is following the dollar as Monday's record low dollar showed good gains in nickel. Yesterday's rebound brought nickel back down and today the dollar slipped slightly again, but shy of the record low and nickel prices are showing little movement.
*    McAfee has issued an internet virus alert here
*    Nickel inventories on the LME gained 132 tons yesterday to total 14,742 tons.


LME nickel was hit by profit taking today and fell to $6.28/lb
*    PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) is forecasting lower nickel prices in 2005 as commodity speculation is reduced by brokers. In a Jaktara Post article, they estimate the average price of nickel will be between $4.50/lb and $5/lb in 2005, down from $6.19/lb this year.
*    Yieh.com is quoting analysts as telling them nickel could go over $7/lb in the upcoming weeks and will stay between $6/lb and $7/lb during 2005. They are also predicting prices will remain high thru 2006, with 2007 prices nose diving with increased production and lighter demand. (we see the nosedive coming earlier than 2007)   
*    LME inventories fell lightly Friday, by another 6 tons to equal 14,610.


LMe nickel ended the day at $6.53/lb.
*    Molybdenum skyrockets to $25.70/lb. Bad news for 316 stainless users.
*    Canadian dollar moved to 12 year high versus US dollar yesterday.
*    Sherritt International announced net earnings of $40.2 million in the third quarter of 2004, compared to $20.7 million during the same period in 2003. Among other commodities, Sherritt works closely with the Cuban government to mine nickel at the mine in Moa, Cuba. Nickel is now Cuba's largest earning export, much to the chagrin of the US government, which currently forbids nations from doing business with Cuba.
*    Nickel inventories warehoused by LME fell by 12 tons, to total 14,616 tons.


Nickel, contrary to what some feel should be happening, had a big day on the London Metal Exchange, ending at $6.49/lb. The weakening US dollar and fund buying are primary reasons.
*    LME nickel inventories gained another 168 tons yesterday to total 14,628.


*    Well the British metals firm I read daily was wrong - yet right. Kerry has conceded the election to Bush, and the dollar has weakened. This in turn helped metals, including nickel ,which closed at $6.20/lb.
*    Asia Pulse published a story today about anti-dumping investigations worldwide for the first 6 months of 2004. The metals sector led all others for investigation. Countries receiving the most complaints were China and Taiwan. Those filing the most complaints were the US, the EU, and Turkey. China received the most "final anti-dumping measures" imposed during this same period.
*    Deutsche Bank tells Australasian Investment Review much of the predicted deficits in nickel supply have been erased by an increase in production. Their new forecast for nickel price is $6.33/lb for 2004, $5.48/lb for 2005, and $4.28/lb for 2006.  (This will be good news for stainless steel users in the coming years) 
*    Election results for US presidency still in the air, but most experts believe Bush will be re-elected.
*    Nickel inventories grew again yesterday by 210 tons to 14,460 in LME warehouses.


Nickel ended the day at $6.15/lb.
*    Reuters, in an article today, is quoting analysts who expect Chia's economy to grow 9.3% this year, after a 9.1% in 2003, and for 2005, they estimate an 8.5% increase.
*    LME inventories of nickel gained 156 tons yesterday to total 14,250. Activity is expected to be light with the US presidential election being decided today.


Nickel showed very little movement today, ending at $6.11/lb. All eyes are on the US presidential election. One metals firm I watch closely predicted Bush's re-election would be good for metals and bad for the dollar, and visa versa for Kerry. They also predicted Kerry as a clear winner. We will see tomorrow.
*    Amcor begins $1 billion nickel exploration project in Mindanao this month. Mindanao is the second largest island of the Phillipines.
*    According to a recent Bloomberg article, China will consume 21% of the world's produced copper in 2004, 11% of the nickel, 27% of the steel, and 33% of the iron ore.
*    Molybdenum still holding at record high $21.00/lb for 3rd week.
*    Tang Eng Iron Works, Taiwan's oldest stainless steel plant, increased prices on all grades of stainless steel for November.
*    LME nickel inventories fell another 48 tonnes Friday to total 14,094 tonnes. October began with 14,322 tonnes.  Nickel closed Friday at $6.11/lb.

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

This live chart does not follow actual LME prices but gives a good indication of current market activity.

Average October 2004 LME nickel price - $6.54/lb

Average November 2003 LME nickel price - $5.48/lb

Allegheny Ludlum Surcharges for September

Nickel Chrome















arrow denotes price comparison to prior month

courtesy Allegheny Ludlum

Daily market prices are courtesy London Metal Exchange.

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. 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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