Nickel On The Brink of a Bear Market

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Nickel was poised to fall into a bear market after prices tumbled this quarter on signs an ore export ban by the world’s biggest producer hasn’t depleted supplies as fast as forecast.

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The metal in London retreated as much as 2.5% today and is down 12% this quarter. Indonesia introduced restrictions on shipments in January, sending prices to the highest in more than two years. Nickel has since plunged as analysts from Credit Suisse Group AG to Citigroup Inc. told Bloomberg News the shortfall will be less than expected. London Metal Exchange stockpiles are at the highest on record going back to 1979.

On Friday, September 26, the Indian nickel cash price experienced the biggest change, rising 3.9% to INR 1,156 ($18.80) per kilogram. On the LME, the 3-month price of nickel increased 0.3% to $17,305 per metric ton. At $17,205, the spot price of nickel finished the market day on the LME up 0.1% per metric ton.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were flat for the day. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 8,300 ($1,353) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly held steady at CNY 145,000 ($23,632) per metric ton.

The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge held steady around $1.25 per pound. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil was unchanged at CNY 26,000 ($4,238) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil remained essentially flat at CNY 16,400 ($2,673) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap saw little movement at CNY 16,100 ($2,624) per metric ton. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap remained essentially flat at CNY 16,400 ($2,673) per metric ton.

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