Nickel Rises Again, Why So Much In Stock For a Metal Supposedly in Deficit?

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For a market supposedly facing an imminent and dramatic supply shortfall, there sure is a lot of nickel around, Reuters’ Andy Home writes.

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London Metal Exchange (LME) stocks continue to power relentlessly upward, every couple of days bringing a fresh record high. At 324,714 metric tons, they have risen by over 63,000 metric tons, or 24 percent, since the start of the year.

Different parts of the nickel supply chain are signaling different things right now, Home explains.

The 3-month price of nickel saw a 1.5 percent increase on Thursday, August 21, reaching $18,850 per metric ton on the LME and making it the biggest mover for the day. On the LME, the nickel spot price rose 1.2 percent to $18,770 per metric ton. The cash price of primary Indian nickel gained 1.0 percent to finish at INR 1,148 ($18.93) per kilogram.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were flat for the day. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome saw little movement at CNY 8,300 ($1,352) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly was unchanged at CNY 145,000 ($23,616) per metric ton.

The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge remained essentially flat at $1.28 per pound. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese 316 stainless coil held flat at CNY 26,000 ($4,235) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil continues hovering around CNY 16,400 ($2,671) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 16,100 ($2,622) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap held steady at CNY 16,400 ($2,671) per metric ton.

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