Nickel Up For the Week; Outokumpu Agrees to Settlement Over Cartel Actions

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Stainless-steel giant Outokumpu has agreed an out-of-court settlement in a long-running dispute with fellow metals companies, over the fallout from a price-fixing judgement handed down by the European Commission.

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The settlement, in relation to a case brought in 2012, follows litigation brought against Outokumpu by Swedish metals company Boliden, and engineering group IMI, in the wake of huge fines handed to the Finnish steelmaker in 2004.

Outokumpu and Boliden were among six firms who were ordered to pay damages by the European Commission in 2004, for their part in a cartel to fix the prices of copper sanitary piping.

In that judgement, Outokumpu was fined 36 million euros, and Boliden 33 million euros.

After a 2.2. decrease last week nickel was back to its winning ways on the LME this week. Nickel pig iron and scrap prices continued to rise, as well, narrowing the gap between new and more refined material.

The week’s biggest mover on the weekly Stainless MMI® was the cash price of primary Indian nickel, which saw a 2.1 percent increase to INR 1,164 ($18.99) per kilogram. This comes on the heels of a 0.8 percent decline the week prior. The nickel 3-month price rose 1.1 percent on the LME to $18,975 per metric ton after falling 2.0 percent during the previous week. The nickel spot price rose 0.5 percent on the LME to $18,850 per metric ton after falling 1.7 percent during the previous week.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were mixed for the week. Prices for Chinese ferro-chrome remained constant, closing the week at CNY 8,300 ($1,347) per metric ton. Chinese ferro-moly traded sideways last week, hovering around CNY 145,000 ($23,527) per metric ton.

The price of Chinese primary nickel closed last week at CNY 129,050 ($20,939) per metric ton, after a 0.6 percent drop. At CNY 16,400 ($2,661) per metric ton, the price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap did not change since the previous week. Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap remained essentially flat from the previous week at CNY 16,100 ($2,612) per metric ton. Chinese 304 stainless coil prices held steady from the previous week at CNY 16,400 ($2,661) per metric ton. Following a steady week, prices for Chinese 316 stainless coil closed flat at CNY 26,000 ($4,219) per metric ton.

At KRW 4.2 million ($3,881) per metric ton, the week finished with no movement for Korean 304 stainless coil. Prices for Korean 430 stainless steel coil remained constant, closing the week at KRW 2.6 million ($2,376) per metric ton. 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 $1.28 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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