Nickel surged 6 percent to a two-year high today on news of a mine shutdown in New Caledonia and positive trade data from China.
The Financial Times reported that nickel supply concerns were accentuated when Vale suspended work at its Goro operations on the Pacific archipelago of New Caledonia due to a spill. The mine had been expected to produce about 40,000 tons of nickel this year, out of a total worldwide production of about 2 million tons. Earlier this week Glencore Xtrata said output at its Koniambo mine, also in New Caledonia, had been disappointing, and that its 26,000-ton production forecast for this year was being reviewed.
Data from China that showed exports unexpectedly increasing in April further supported nickel.
At $18,520 per metric ton, the nickel 3-month price moved up 1.6 percent on Wednesday, May 7, making it the day’s biggest mover on the LME. On the LME, the nickel spot price rose 1.5 percent to $18,450 per metric ton. The cash price of primary Indian nickel saw a 0.4 percent decline to INR 1,125 ($18.75) per kilogram.
Chinese stainless steel prices were flat for the day. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese ferro-chrome remained essentially flat at CNY 8,300 ($1,333) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese ferro-moly held flat at CNY 145,000 ($23,293) per metric ton.
The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge saw little movement at $1.16 per pound. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil continues hovering around CNY 26,000 ($4,177) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese 304 stainless coil remained essentially flat at CNY 16,400 ($2,635) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap remained essentially flat at CNY 16,100 ($2,586) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap held steady at CNY 16,400 ($2,635) per metric ton.