Nickel Jumps, Phillipine Senator Introduces Bill to Ban Export of Unprocessed Ore

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Nickel prices jumped to a four-week high on Wednesday on news that a Philippine senator had urged a ban on unprocessed mineral ore exports and also following an options expiry in London, Reuters reported.

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A new bill, filed in late August by Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino, a first cousin of President Benigno Aquino, would require domestic processing of all minerals extracted in the country prior to export if passed into law.

This may require nickel miners, for example, to build more smelters to process the ore before shipment. Some ores are shipped directly to China and Japan for processing. The Philippines currently has two processing plants for nickel both owned by the country’s top producer Nickel Asia Corp , two for gold, and one for copper, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau. Paolo Benigno Aquino is one of 24 members of the upper house Senate, which is dominated by allies of the president.

A similar law that went into effect in Indonesia last January has caused nickel prices to soar this year.

On Wednesday, September 3, the cash price of primary Indian nickel fell by 1.2 percent, landing at INR 1,129 ($18.61) per kilogram and making it the day’s biggest mover. The nickel 3-month price weakened by 0.9 percent on the LME, settling at $18,650 per metric ton. The spot price of nickel saw a 0.6 percent decline on the LME to $18,550 per metric ton.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were flat for the day. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome remained essentially flat at CNY 8,300 ($1,347) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese ferro-moly held flat at CNY 145,000 ($23,535) per metric ton.

For the fifth day in a row, the Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge remained essentially flat at $1.26 per pound. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil remained essentially flat at CNY 26,000 ($4,220) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil was unchanged at CNY 16,400 ($2,662) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap saw little movement at CNY 16,100 ($2,613) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 16,400 ($2,662) per metric ton.

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