Nickel Shatters LME Warranting Record, Gains Now Over 50% for the Year

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The price of nickel weathered some minor corrections and still gained nearly 2.5% on the LME for its spot and 3-month prices this week.

Nickel passed the point of increasing 50% since January 1st on June 17. Allegheny Technologies, Inc., and several other stainless steel manufacturers raised prices of stainless steel again this week, reflecting higher costs for the alloying metal. These price gains have not gone unnoticed by speculators.

Tuesday saw the warranting of 19,578 tons of the metal into LME warehouses. This was the largest ever single-day inflow of nickel into the LME system, smashing the previous record of 13,230 tons set in March.

Tuesday’s stocks surge was split between three locations: Singapore (8,304 tonnes), Rotterdam (7,098 tonnes) and Johor in Malaysia (4,176 tonnes). The warrantings came in a mix of full-plate cathode, briquettes, bagged and unbagged, and 50mm cut cathode.

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The week’s biggest mover on the weekly Stainless MMI® was the Indian nickel cash price, which saw a 4.9 percent increase to INR 1,131 ($18.79) per kilogram. This comes on the heels of a 4.9 percent decline the week prior. The nickel spot price rose 2.4 percent on the LME to $18,455 per metric ton after falling 5.1 percent during the previous week. The 3-month price of nickel rose 2.4 percent on the LME to $18,500 per metric ton after falling 5.3 percent during the previous week.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were mixed for the week. Chinese ferro-chrome remained essentially flat from the previous week at CNY 8,300 ($1,332) per metric ton. Following a steady week, prices for Chinese ferro-moly closed flat at CNY 145,000 ($23,277) per metric ton.

The price of Chinese primary nickel dropped 1.6 percent this week, closing out the third consecutive week of falling prices at CNY 128,000 ($20,548) per metric ton. Closing at CNY 16,400 ($2,633) per metric ton, Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap remained unchanged for the week. At CNY 16,100 ($2,585) per metric ton, the week finished with no movement for Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap. Prices for Chinese 304 stainless coil remained constant, closing the week at CNY 16,400 ($2,633) per metric ton. At CNY 26,000 ($4,174) per metric ton, the price of Chinese 316 stainless coil did not change since the previous week.

Korean 304 stainless coil traded sideways last week, hovering around KRW 4.2 million ($3,881) per metric ton. Korean 430 stainless steel coil prices held steady from the previous week at KRW 2.6 million ($2,376) per metric ton. This past week, the Allegheny Ludlum 304 stainless surcharge kept quiet, holding at 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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