Ores Soar, Increasing the Cost of Nickel and Stainless

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Indonesia’s ban on ore exports went into effect in January, yet stockpiles of nickel and steel ore kept markets from largely being affected until now. Nickel hit a one-year high Thursday as speculators bought up futures of the metal to bet on a shortage later in the year from the ban. China also recently said it would cut production of nickel pig iron as prices of the metal increased.

On Thursday, April 10, the day’s biggest mover was the cash price of primary Indian nickel, which saw a 3.2 percent increase to INR 1,029 ($17.16) per kilogram. The spot price of nickel is back up, rising by 0.5 percent on the LME on Thursday to close at $16,495 per metric ton. After falling for two days, the nickel 3-month price rose 0.4 percent on the LME to $16,500 per metric ton.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were mixed for the day. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 8,300 ($1,339) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly saw little movement at CNY 145,000 ($23,384) per metric ton.

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The price of Chinese primary nickel inched up 0.1 percent to CNY 109,350 ($17,635) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil held steady at CNY 26,000 ($4,193) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese 304 stainless coil held flat at CNY 16,400 ($2,645) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap was unchanged at CNY 16,100 ($2,596) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap remained essentially flat at CNY 16,400 ($2,645) per metric ton.

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