Another Up Week for Nickel; BHP Billiton, Norilsk Selling Mines While Glencore Tries Re-Opening One

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European customers are stockpiling stainless steel in an attempt to avert later-season price increases, driving the price of nickel and its demand up further. Outokumpu recently delivered 4,000 tons of it to a uranium mining project in Namibia. Meanwhile, Norilsk and BHP Billiton are looking to sell some of their mines while nickel prices remain high. Conversely, Glencore XStrata is trying to reopen one of its closed nickel mines in the Dominican Republic.

Nickel and the companies that produce it must feel like the most popular relative during the holidays. It’s nice to have relatives fight over you. The boom shows no sign of ending soon, either, as the Indonesian ore ban will not be eased by domestic production until later this year.

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The week’s biggest mover on the weekly Stainless MMI® was the 3-month price of nickel, which saw a 1.4 percent increase on the LME to $19,090 per metric ton. This comes on the heels of a 4.2 percent decline the week prior. The spot price of nickel rose 1.4 percent on the LME to $19,000 per metric ton after falling 4.7 percent during the previous week. The cash price of primary Indian nickel rose 1.0 percent to INR 1,133 ($19.16) per kilogram after falling 2.8 percent during the previous week.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were mixed for the week. Chinese ferro-chrome prices held steady from the previous week at CNY 8,300 ($1,332) per metric ton. Closing at CNY 145,000 ($23,268) per metric ton, Chinese ferro-moly remained unchanged for the week.

The price of Chinese primary nickel rose 0.3 percent to CNY 133,550 ($21,431) per metric ton after falling 4.6 percent during the previous week. Following a steady week, prices for Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap closed flat at CNY 16,400 ($2,632) per metric ton. Prices for Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap remained constant, closing the week at CNY 16,100 ($2,584) per metric ton. Chinese 304 stainless coil remained essentially flat from the previous week at CNY 16,400 ($2,632) per metric ton. Chinese 316 stainless coil traded sideways last week, hovering around CNY 26,000 ($4,172) per metric ton.

Korean 304 stainless coil prices held steady from the previous week at KRW 4.2 million ($3,881) per metric ton. At KRW 2.6 million ($2,376) per metric ton, the price of Korean 430 stainless steel coil did not change since the previous week. The Allegheny Ludlum 304 stainless surcharge remained steady from the previous week at $0.90 per pound. The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge closed at $1.29 per pound after a flat week.

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. 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.

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