The monthly Stainless MMI® registered a value of 85 in April, an increase of 4.9 percent from 81 in March.
The 3-month price of nickel on the LME recorded a new year high after closing on Friday at $16,570 per metric ton.
Nickel surged 19 percent since the start of the year, clearly outperforming the rest of the industrial metals, which seem not able to turn up. It seems that Indonesia’s export ban is raising interest in the metal, pushing prices up. This recent upward turn is a near-term bullish signal, especially after a 6-month period of low volatility (market uncertainty).
We would expect nickel to stay strong in the next few months, trading above $15,000 per metric ton. We believe this could be a good time for buyers to lock in near-term commitments, as there is risk of higher prices in the near-term.
On the other hand, this could be just a pullback that resumes the overall downtrend. Therefore, we need to see further price strength to call for higher prices in the long term. Prices crossing above $18,000 per metric ton would be a long-term bullish signal that buyers might want to consider.
What This Means For Metal Buyers
Nickel prices recorded a new year high last week. This seems like a good opportunity to lock in near-term commitments, as there are good chances of seeing higher prices in the coming months. On the other hand, the long-term picture still looks blurry and nickel needs to prove further strength to confirm a new uptrend.
Last month, the price of Chinese primary nickel rose 10.1 percent to $16,631 per metric ton. The nickel spot price rose 8.2 percent on the LME over the past month to $15,730 per metric ton. The nickel 3-month price closed the month up 8.0 percent on the LME at $15,760 per metric ton. At $0.72 per pound, the Allegheny Ludlum 304 stainless surcharge increased 6.2 percent. For the second month in a row, the Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge increased, rising 5.2 percent over the past month to $0.98 per pound.
Prices for Chinese ferro-chrome remained constant this past month, holding at around $1,335 per metric ton. Last month was consistent for Chinese ferro-moly, which did not move from $23,322 per metric ton. Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap experienced a flat month, staying around $2,638 per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap held steady around $2,590 per metric ton last month. Hovering around $2,638 per metric ton for the month, Chinese 304 stainless coil remained unchanged. Chinese 316 stainless coil traded sideways last month, staying around $4,182 per metric ton.
The Stainless MMI® collects and weights 14 global stainless steel and raw material price points to provide a unique view into stainless steel price trends over a 30-day period. For more information on the Stainless MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.