This page is archived news covering the period from Feb 1, 2005 to Feb 28, 2005.
If you are looking for current daily market news, please visit this page.

Daily Nickel Market Prices

February  2005

(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)

2-28

LME nickel ended the day and month at $7.37/lb.
*    Norilsk reported nickel production for 2004 increased 1.7% over 2003 figures, helping to increase company revenues to $3.29 billion for the year, and net profits of $698 million. Production for 2004 is anticipated to meet 2004 figures.
*    LME nickel inventories slumped again Friday, by 114 tons, and totaling 10,002 tons.

2-25

LME nickel ended the week at $16M/ton or $7.26/lb.
*    After consistent large drops over the past few weeks, nickel withdrawals have suddenly slowed as inventories near the psychological 10M ton mark. Yesterday, inventories fell by 126 tons to total 10,116 tons.

2-24

Nickel held up strong on a day that saw profit taking in late trading and ended the day at $7.17/lb.
*     Ferrochrome steady at $.72/lb.
*    Yieh is warning stainless steel prices from China will continue to rise as all raw material prices increase, including coke.
*    Market still buzzing about yesterday's announcement on iron ore increase. From a report made for customer yesterday - Iron ore prices increased 9% in 2003 and approximately 19% in 2004. Chinese steelmakers had warned earlier this month than any increase in 2005 over 30% could prove detrimental to their domestic steel production. But in fact, the Chinese may have sunk their own boat. While they were paying Australia and Brazil $80/tonne CIF China over the last year, India has been charging $160/tonne. The announcement yesterday of a 70% price increase, while shocking, is not entirely unexpected. The question remains - will the steel makers be able to pass this increase on to consumers? One thing for sure - the scrap business will continue to do well in 2005.  
*    Nickel inventories fell another 168 tons yesterday to total 10,242 tons.

Nickel (average annual price) Molybdenum (average annual price)
2001 $2.70/lb $2.36/lb
2002 $3.07/lb $3.59/lb
2003 $4.37/lb $5.21/lb
2004 $6.28/lb $18.00/lb (approx)
Today $7.27/lb $28.50/lb

2-23

Nickel closed over $16M/ton, ending the day at $7.27/lb.
*    Iron ore prices will increase approximately 70% worldwide, thanks to recent negotiations between two of the world's largest  miners and Japanese steelmakers. Worldwide steelmakers will be hit with similar increases. Best we calculate, this could raise 304 and 316 stainless raw material costs approximately 10%. The big question will be whether steel makers are able to pass this increase on.
*    Yieh is reporting Taiwan and Korea are at odds over accusations that Korean stainless steel wire rod is being dumped into Taiwan.
*    Nickel inventories in LME warehouses slipped another 396 tons Tuesday to total 10,410 tons.

2-22

Copper hit a new 16 year high today, while nickel closed at $7.11/lb. As inventories fall, it will be curious to watch the reaction when inventories fall below 10M. Amongst traders this is a psychological "critical" point in LME inventory.
*    LME nickel inventories fell below 11M tons yesterday, dropping 480 tons to total 10,806 tons.

2-21

LME nickel closes at $7.10/lb.
*    Scrap Magazine is quoting Macquarie Research as adjusting its prediction for 2005. It now believes that the nickel market will be in the deficit again this year. Their estimates now put the worldwide deficit at 27M tons compared to 28 tons in 2004 and a 2005 average price of $7.00/lb compared to an average price of $6.28/lb in 2004. Goldman Sachs JB Were predicts nickel will average $6.50/lb this year, while others average annual price estimates are lower. 
*    Yieh is reporting China continues to look for reliable nickel sources to feed its ongoing stainless steel needs. After announcing late last year it would invest heavily in helping Cuba increase its production, a group of Chinese buyers have now announced plans to purchase a Philippine nickel factory.  
*    LME inventories of nickel continue to fall, dropping another 606 tons to total 11,286 tons.

2-18

LME nickel ended the day and week at $7.09/lb , with copper and zinc hitting multi-year high's and all metals gaining for the day.
*    MEPS is reporting stainless steel exports from China surged in 2004, exceeding expectations. Overall figures show exports more than doubled in 2003, from 154,902 tons to 387,308 tons, with flat roll products leading the way..
*    The most recent figures by the Earth Policy Institute show China's economy expanded by 9.5% in 2004, much faster than earlier estimated. Lester Brown, the institute's president, stated "China is no longer just a developing country. It is an emerging economic superpower, one that is writing economic history". This does not come as news to those in the metals industry.
*    In somewhat of a surprise, molybdenum prices rose slightly to $28.50/lb. Amerigo Resources announced its new molybdenum processing plant will be completed this month. It expects production to exceed 500,000 lbs of moly concentrates this year, increasing to over 800,000 lbs in 2006.
*    LME stocks fell yet again yesterday, this time falling below 12M tons. With another 564 tons being taken out of warehouse, a total of 11,892 are left. Nearly 30% drop in LME stocks in the last 2 weeks. Last year, LME nickel stocks gradually fell from a high of 24,030 tons to 7,800 tons in July, when they began to recover. Last year on this date, LME had 14,652 tons in nickel inventory.

2-17

LME nickel closed at $6.92/lb.
*    LME nickel stocks fell below 13M tons Wednesday, losing 612 more tons to total 12,456 tons. So far this month LME inventories of nickel have fallen by 25%.

2-16

LME nickel closed at $6.96/lb after hitting a high of $7.17/lb mid-day.
*   Inco warned investors that their record production of nickel in 2004 of 522 million pounds of nickel could fall to between 490 and 500 million pounds in 2005 due to maintenance shutdowns. The also announced the much anticipated Voisey Bay project is 6 months ahead of schedule but are still unable to give a date when the mine will start producing.
*   LME nickel took another huge hit yesterday with an additional 594 tons being taken out of LME warehouses, leaving 13,068 tons.

2-15

LME nickel closes at $7.07/lb... it's first time closing over $7/lb for some time.
*    Inco's profits nearly tripled in the 4th quarter of 2004. For the year net earnings were $612 million compared to $153 million in 2003. Inco is the world's second largest producer of nickel. Inco's report also predicts demand in China and increased demand in the global aerospace industry will keep prices high in 2005. 
*   Mine disaster in China kills over 200 - coal mine.
*   LME nickel inventories fell below 14M tons after 426 tons were taken out Monday leaving a total of 13,662 tons.

2-14

LME nickel closed at $6.89/lb.
*    Bulls still say there is plenty of steam left (article)
*    Molybdenum continues to slide - now at $26.20/lb.
*    China's State Council Development and Research Center predicts China's economy will grow at approximately 8% per year for the next 5 years.
*    Scrap magazine quoting Barclays Capital as stating nickel inventories held by stainless steel producers "very low" especially in China. If true, this will put further upward pressure on nickel prices.
*    LME nickel inventories fell another 504 tons Friday, now totaling 14,088 tons.

2-11

LME nickel rose to as high as $7.12/lb today before producers took profits. LME nickel ended the week at $6.93/lb.
*   Nickel inventories on the LME took a huge hit yesterday, dropping by 570 tonnes to total 14,592 tons.

2-10

Dollars weakens and nickel hits 6 week high, closing at $6.96/lb.
*    Nickel inventories in LME warehouses continues to slide, dropping another 252 tons to total 15,162 tons.

2-9

LME nickel closed at $6.86/lb.
*    Happy Chinese New Year - it is the Year of the Rooster
*    If nickel continues to rise and stays above $7/lb for any period of time, additional increases in 304 stainless steel prices are possible. 316 stainless prices should peak out this month, as moly has begun to slowly slide backward.
*    LME nickel fell by another 258 tons Tuesday to total 15,414 tons.

2-8

LME nickel closed at $6.88/lb.
*    LME nickel inventories slipped by 48 tons to total 15,672 tons.

2-5

LME nickel closes the day at $6.67/lb.
*    Molybdenum drops to $29.00/lb.
*    Yieh is reporting iron ore prices in China increased 7% in January. They also advised 304 stainless steel cold roll increased marginally.
*    LME nickel inventories continued to slide Friday, dropping another 138 tons to total 15,720 tons.

2-4

LME nickel ended the day and week at $6.57/lb.
*    Canada's largest mining company, Noranda Metals, saw 2004 sales jump to $7 billion from $4.7 billion in 2003. Net earnings soared from $23 million to $551 million. Noranda is still considering a takeover offer from China's MinMetals Corp.
*    China Iron and Steel Association announced that China is becoming less dependent on steel from other countries, with 2004 imports falling 21.2% from 2003 levels.  At teh same time, exports from China surged 104.6%
*    LME nickel slipped below 16M tons, dropping 252 tons to total 15,858.

2-3

LME nickel closed the day at $6.69/lb.
*    The US Fed raised interest rates by another 1/4 point yesterday, the sixth such increase in the last seven months.
*    Falconbridge received favorable news on Tuesday with its annual profits for 2004 soaring, but with the good, comes the bad. Production of refined nickel slumped in 2004 by 3500 metric tons in a year when prices were double the prior year. Operating costs for the company averaged $2.93/lb, up from $2.78/lb the prior year. And most disturbing, the massive Koniambo nickel deposit in New Caledonia is now estimated to cost the company an estimated $2 billion to develop, an increase of nearly 38% from prior estimates. If the company decides to proceed, production is now estimated to begin in 2009 or 2010. Another mega project in New Caledonia, the Goro Project by Inco, is scheduled to begin producing nickel in Sept 2007.
*    Another 240 tons were taken from LME warehouses yesterday, leaving a total of 16,110 tons on hand.

2-2

LME nickel closes at $6.60/lb.
*    Nickel inventories continue to fall in LME warehouses - dropping another 294 tons to total 16,350 tons.

2-1

LME nickel closed the day at $6.60/lb.
*    Falconbridge of Canada, on the back of higher metals prices, saw profits for 2004 soar to $672 million from $191 million in 2003.
*    LME nickel inventories slipped below 17M tonnes with a loss of 390 tons. LME warehouses now show 16,644 tons on hand.


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