LME Nickel Price Jumps as Indonesia Export Ban Cuts Stockpiles

Weakening prices changed direction when the 3-month price of nickel rose 3.4 percent on Wednesday on the LME to $15,670 per metric ton. Following a 3.3 percent rise on Wednesday, the spot price of nickel closed on the LME at $15,630 per metric ton.

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Indonesia’s more stringent ore export rules, announced in January, are catching up to producers who had stockpiled ore since before the new year. The deteriorating stockpiles have coincided with an increased demand for nickel from stainless steel mills, according to Neil Hume of the Financial Times.

Scrap discounts, which widened to historic levels in 2013, are narrowing again, as are discounts for ferro-nickel. Nickel consumers say it is more difficult to source spot off grade nickel. Nickel has advanced more than any other metal on the LME this year.

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The Indian nickel cash price held steady.

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Chinese stainless steel closed mixed yesterday. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese ferro-chrome remained essentially flat. The price of Chinese ferro-moly continues hovering around a consistent mark for the fifth day.

The price of Chinese primary nickel inched up 0.1 percent. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil remained essentially flat. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap held flat again. The price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap saw little movement as well.

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