Perfect Storm of Bad News Comes Together to Break Nickel’s Streak of Positive Weeks

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An uncharacteristic down week for nickel was caused by a number of factors coming together for the alloying metal in stainless steel. Chinese importers are skirting Indonesia’s export ban by purchasing low-quality nickel and labeling it “iron ore.”

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Indonesia’s elections have also been drawn out leading to uncertainty about the future of the ban despite both candidates endorsing the idea of keeping it in place.

Closing at INR 1,163 ($19.18) per kilogram on the weekly Stainless MMI®, the cash price of primary Indian nickel finished as the week’s biggest mover with a 0.7 percent decline. The 3-month price of nickel rose 0.7 percent on the LME to $19,150 per metric ton after falling 4.1 percent during the previous week. The spot price of nickel rose 0.6 percent on the LME to $19,075 per metric ton after falling 4.1 percent during the previous week.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were mixed for the week. Following a steady week, prices for Chinese ferro-chrome closed flat at CNY 8,300 ($1,338) per metric ton. Chinese ferro-moly traded sideways last week, hovering around CNY 145,000 ($23,370) per metric ton.

The price of Chinese primary nickel rose 0.4 percent to CNY 131,550 ($21,202) per metric ton after falling 2.2 percent during the previous week. Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap remained essentially flat from the previous week at CNY 16,400 ($2,643) per metric ton. At CNY 16,100 ($2,595) per metric ton, the week finished with no movement for Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap. At CNY 16,400 ($2,643) per metric ton, the price of Chinese 304 stainless coil did not change since the previous week. Closing at CNY 26,000 ($4,190) per metric ton, Chinese 316 stainless coil remained unchanged for the week.

Prices for Korean 304 stainless coil remained constant, closing the week at 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. Closing at $0.89 per pound, the Allegheny Ludlum 304 stainless surcharge remained unchanged for the week. Following a steady week, prices for the Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge closed flat at $1.31 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.

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