Nickel Back Up on the LME Thanks to Supply Concerns

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Nickel was back to its big gains on the LME yesterday as tensions over Ukraine threaten to push the alloying metal in stainless steel toward $19,000 per metric ton. Nickel prices have risen 34% this year mostly due to the Russia tensions, that country’s Norilsk Nickel is the world’s largest manufacturer, and an export ban in Indonesia that has dried up ore exports from the former biggest ore exporter.

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The 3-month price of nickel closed as the biggest mover for Monday, May 5. Switching from a downward trend, the metal closed at $18,225 per metric ton following a 0.9 percent increase. The Indian nickel cash price weakened by 0.9 percent, settling at INR 1,101 ($18.34) per kilogram. The spot price of nickel rose 0.7 percent on the LME to $18,180 per metric ton after a two-day drop.

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Chinese stainless steel closed mixed on Monday. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome held steady at CNY 8,300 ($1,326) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 145,000 ($23,166) per metric ton.

The price of Chinese primary nickel fell 0.4 percent on Monday to CNY 124,300 ($19,859) per metric ton. The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge was unchanged at $1.16 per pound. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil remained essentially flat at CNY 26,000 ($4,154) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil saw little movement at CNY 16,400 ($2,620) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap continues hovering around CNY 16,100 ($2,572) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row.

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