Nickel fell this week in a market correction that many have expected for the metal whose value has increased nearly 50% this year. Demand is still outstripping supply as stainless steel markets are still reporting unchanged prices.
A court ruling in the Solomon Islands may finally unlock a large nickel deposit that geologists have known about for half a century but have been unable to exploit because of ownership changes and legal wrangling.
China has been investing in smelters in Indonesia to create supply after the ore export ban in that nation led to the current supply problems. None are expected to be online until December, so nickel and stainless steel’s fundamentals still look good for the rest of this year.
The week’s biggest mover on the weekly Stainless MMI® was the 3-month price of nickel, which saw a 5.3 percent decline on the LME to $18,075 per metric ton. This comes on the heels of a 1.4 percent increase the week before. Following a 1.4 percent increase in the week prior, the spot price of nickel fell 5.1 percent on the LME last week to $18,025 per metric ton. The Indian nickel cash price fell 4.9 percent to INR 1,078 ($18.18) per kilogram after rising 1.0 percent the week before.
Chinese stainless steel prices were mixed for the week. Prices for Chinese ferro-chrome remained constant, closing the week at CNY 8,300 ($1,335) per metric ton. Chinese ferro-moly prices held steady from the previous week at CNY 145,000 ($23,317) per metric ton.
Following a 0.3 percent increase in the week prior, the price of Chinese primary nickel fell 2.6 percent last week to CNY 130,050 ($20,913) per metric ton. At CNY 16,400 ($2,637) per metric ton, the week finished with no movement for Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap. At CNY 16,100 ($2,589) per metric ton, the price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap did not change since the previous week. Closing at CNY 16,400 ($2,637) per metric ton, Chinese 304 stainless coil remained unchanged for the week. Chinese 316 stainless coil remained essentially flat from the previous week at CNY 26,000 ($4,181) per metric ton.
At KRW 4.2 million ($3,881) per metric ton, the price of Korean 304 stainless coil did not change since the previous week. At KRW 2.6 million ($2,376) per metric ton, the week finished with no movement for Korean 430 stainless steel coil. Following a steady week, prices for the Allegheny Ludlum 304 stainless surcharge closed flat at $0.90 per pound. The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge stayed essentially flat at $1.29 per pound.
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.