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Daily Nickel & Stainless Steel Prices
Market Pricing

Worldwide Metal Market News


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

(all ton listings are metric tons = 2204.6 pounds)

1-31

LME nickel closed the day and month $6.59/lb.
*    Molybdenum dropped to $30.50/lb. 10% lower than 2 weeks ago, but still 10X what is was 2 years ago.
*    Canaccord Capital is forcasting an average price of $6.21/lb for 2005.
*    LME nickel inventories near the 17M ton mark, dropping another 312 tons Friday to total 17,034 tons.

1-28

LME nickel ends the day and week at $6.54/lb.
*    Scrap Magazine published numerous nickel predictions for 2005. A Reuters poll of 31 analysts came up with yearly averages ranging from a low of $4.98 to a high of $7.50/lb. SG predicts an average of $5.50/lb while Scotiabank Group forecasts $6.0/lb. A Bloomberg poll of 20 analysts, predict $5.90/lb as we reported Monday.
*    Phelps Dodge, the world's second largest producer of copper, saw fourth quarter profits increase from $125.3 million in 2003 to $341.1. million in 2004. Sales in the same period rose 70% to $1.99 billion.
*    Nickel inventories slipped by another 228 tons Thursday to total 17,346 tons held in LME worldwide warehouses.

1-27

LME nickel ended the day at $6.51/lb.
*    Adanac Moly advises molybdenum dropped for the first time in months from $34.50 to $31.85/lb. Chart below.
*    LME nickel inventories continue to slide, falling by 312 tons yesterday leaving a total of 17,574 tons.

1-26

LME nickel closed the day at $6.53/lb.
*   LME inventories of nickel slipped below the 17M ton mark with a withdrawal of 126 tons on Tuesday, leaving 17,886 tons.

1-25

LME nickel closed at $6.42/lb.
*    Mineweb.net is quoting Scotiabank Group Vice President Patricia Mohr as stating nickel will average approx $6/lb in 2005, copper will average $1.28/lb, and zinc will continue to rise over the next two years. She also predicts coking coal will hit record high's in 2005.
*    Bloomberg quotes 20 analysts who predict nickel will average $5.90/lb for 2005.
*    LME nickel inventories dropped another 24 tons Monday totaling 18,012 tons on hand.

1-24

LME nickel closed at $6.42/lb.
*    Oil increases to rise, closing today at $48.81/barrel. High oil prices affect metal prices two ways - both by slowing economic growth and affecting the US dollar. Both of these affect the metal prices.
*    BHP Billiton & Anglo American plc, co-owners, have yet to decide who they will sell Samancor Chrome, the world's largest producer of ferrochrome, to. Among the 3 finalist bidders are Japan's Nippon Steel, a UK holding company or a Russian ferrochrome distributor, and a Israeli diamond tycoon. A decision had been expected by the end of last year.
*    LME nickel inventories retreated by 18 tons on Friday to total 18,036 tons.

1-21

LME nickel ended the day and week at $6.35/lb.
*   LME nickel inventories fell by 72 tonnes yesterday to total 18,054 tons. 

1-20

LME nickel ended at $6.48/lb.
*    Universal Stainless announced sales for 2004 ended at $120.6 million with net income at $7.1 million. This compares to sales of $69 million and a net loss of $1.4 million in 2003.
*    Oil at $53/barrel today
*   Yieh is reporting some overseas manufacturers have stopped quoting 316 and 316L due to the high cost of molybdenum. Inventories, however, remain in good shape.
*   Nickel invetories held by the LME fell by 30 tons yesterday to total 18,126 tons.

1-19

LME nickel ended the day at $6.53/lb.
*   Dollar continues to strengthen against Euro, putting further pressure on metals prices.
*   LME inventories took another big hit on Tuesday, falling by 564 tons to total 18,156 tons on hand.

1-18

LME nickel ended the day at $6.65/lb as the dollar gained on the Euro.
*    Nickel inventories stored by LME took a big hit yesterday, dropping 696 tons to leave 18,720 tons on hand

1-17

LME nickel ended the day at $6.74/lb.
*    China Daily 1/17/05 "In 2004, Jinchuan (city in China) yielded 73,000 tons of nickel, ranking it fourth in the world, after Russia, Canada and Australia."
*    LME nickel inventories continued to decline Friday - losing another 288 tons to total 19,416 tons.

1-14

LME nickel ended the day and week at $6.65/lb.
*    Xstrata won approval from its shareholders yesterday to continue with a hostile takeover bid of Australia's WMC Resources. WMC has rejected the $5.7 billion dollar offer.
*    Inventories of nickel fell another 126 tons Thursday, to total 19,704 tons

1-13

LME nickel ended the day at $6.69/lb.
*    Yieh is reporting Posco in Korea has announced it will raise prices in February and slash production of 300 series stainless due to the high cost of raw material.
*    LME nickel inventories fell below 20M tons again yesterday, when inventories fell by 414 tons to total 19,830.

1-12

Nickel trading on the LME closed at $6.74/lb.
*    Stainless steel flat washer inventories in the US becoming critically low.
*    LME nickel inventories slipped again yesterday, loosing 180 tons to total 20,244 tons.

Stainless Steel Price Forecast 2005 - 2004 prices could best be defined with any four letter expletive you care to express! Every ingredient used to make stainless steel rose in 2004. And as 2005 begins, there aren't many reasons to believe that will change anytime soon. Mineral stockpiles remain low, and while every mine in the world is scrambling to produce as much nickel and molybdenum as they possibly can to take advantage of the higher prices, there isn't a whole lot more that the current mines can produce. While the world nickel deficit is seen to end by the latter half of 2005, the first half could get dicey. Two things will happen in May that will cause an interesting market. The world's largest producer of nickel is Norilsk Nickel in Russia typically can not ship as the Yenisei River floods. This year, number two producer Inco has announced it will shut down its Copper Cliff smelter down the same month for repairs. Typically mines shut down for repairs during the slow period of July or August so the timing of this action has raised eyebrows. Few other things to watch this year. The CAW has a union contract set to expire in 2005 at Falconbridge's Timmins, Ontario mine. Falconbridge also has a union contract expiring with the USW at the Raglan mine and Inco has a union contract expiring at their Thompson, Manitoba mine. Any of these go sour and we could see price hikes. Another factor in 2004 was the US dollar devaluation. While the Bush administration says it doesn't support the lower dollar value, they have done very little to stop it and many US economists believe they shouldn't. This has helped make US exports cheaper to overseas buyers, while making imports more expensive to US buyers. With base metals being traded around the world in dollars, a weaker dollar raises metals prices. Last week the metals market saw a sudden drop in price when the  US Federal Reserve indicated it might raise interest rates again soon, which caused the dollar to suddenly strengten. And, while there were numerous reasons for price increases worldwide, one primary reason gets much of the attention, and blame.

China. A country that just 20 years ago was basically a non factor in world economics, is now becoming a major factor in the world economy, and will become "the" major factor if the present trend continues. While the US government has spent the last few years telling the rest of the world how it expects them to act, the Chinese over the same period, have entered the market with a wad of cash and a "we won't tell you how to run your country, don't tell us how to run ours" attitude that is giving them serious legitimacy in the world economic market. Economists seem to agree that China's economic growth will slow from 9.3% in 2004 to 8% in 2005, but this will have a minimal affect on metals prices.

Prediction - Stainless steel prices in the 18-8, 304 range have leveled off, which should hold basically steady for awhile. No substantial decrease potential is foreseen at this time. 316 stainless pricing has yet too peak, although molybdenum prices are not expected to maintain their current $34.50/lb for long. Nickel will stay in the $6 to $7/lb range for the first half of 2005, and possibly retract to the $5 to $6/lb range by the latter half of the year. If this prediction proves correct, then we will not see any substantial lowering in stainless steel prices until late 2005/ or early 2006.


1-11

Nickel on the London Metal Exchange ended the day at $6.85/lb.
*    Inventories of nickel stored by the LME fell by 294 tons to total 20,424 tons on Monday.

1-10

LME nickel closed the day at $6.76/lb.
*    Nickel inventories stored in LME warehouses fell by 204 tons Friday to total 20,718 tons.

1-7

LME nickel ended the day and week at $6.80/lb.
*    Molybdenum stayed steady this week at $34.50/lb. This time last year, moly was at $8.00/lb, already double its average in 2003.
*    Once again, LME nickel inventories showed no change, totaling 20,922 tons for the third day.

1-6

LME nickel ended the day at $6.58/lb.
*    Yieh is reporting Posco of Korea has agreed to pay BHP $125/ton for high quality coking coal beginning in April 2005, more than double the $57.50/ton it paid in this last fiscal year.
*    LME nickel inventories showed no change from Tuesday, at 20,922 tons.

1-5

Nickel rebounded today, closing at $6.53/lb.
*   LME inventories gained 24 tons of nickel Tuesday to total 20,922 tons.

1-4

LME nickel ended the day at $6.42 as a strengthened dollar caused funds to take profits.
*    WMC advises company worth 30% more than Xstrata's $5.8 million dollar takeover bid.
*    Yieh is reporting Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese steel mills all raised prices on stainless last week, due to the rise in nickel prices.
*    MEPS advises stainless steel producers increased profit margins in 2004 - article here
*    LME nickel inventories begin 2005 at 20,898 tons after an additional 6 tons was added last Friday.

1-3

The London Metal Exchange is closed today

12-31

LME nickel was hit by some profit taking and ended the year at $6.75/lb.
*    LME nickel inventories bumped backup by 84 tons to total 20, 892 tons. The year began with inventory on January 2, 2004 at 24.030 tons.



[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]


Average December 2004 LME nickel price - $6.24/lb
Average February 2004 LME nickel price - $6.86/lb

Allegheny Ludlum Surcharges for February

Nickel Chrome

Moly

Iron

2004
2005

304

.4250
.4079

.0401
.0741

NA

.0300
.0852

2004
2005

316

.5313
.5098

.0356
.0659

.0979
.6552

.0300
.0822

arrow denotes price comparison to prior month

courtesy Allegheny Ludlum



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