Stainless MMI®: The Week the Nickel Ore Shortage Was Debunked

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Since January, the entire trading and stainless steel production world has operated under the premise that a nickel ore shortage was caused by an unrefined ore ban in Indonesia. This week, evidence showed that the Philippines had produced much more ore for export to China than was previously imagined possible.

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Then reports from CreditSuisse and Citigroup seemed to confirm the theory that there is no ore shortage at all for the alloying metal in stainless steel.

The week’s biggest mover on the weekly Stainless MMI® was the cash price of primary Indian nickel, which saw a 4.9% increase to INR 1,156 ($18.80) per kilogram. This comes on the heels of a 3.2% decline the week prior. The nickel spot price fell to $17,205 per metric ton after a 3.7% decrease on the LME from the previous week. The nickel 3-month price fell to $17,305 per metric ton on the LME, a 3.5% change from the prior week.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were flat for the week. Chinese ferro-chrome remained essentially flat from the previous week at CNY 8,300 ($1,353) per metric ton. Closing at CNY 145,000 ($23,632) per metric ton, Chinese ferro-moly remained unchanged for the week.

The price of Chinese primary nickel stayed essentially flat at CNY 129,050 ($21,033) per metric ton. At CNY 16,400 ($2,673) per metric ton, the price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap did not change since the previous week. Prices for Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap remained constant, closing the week at CNY 16,100 ($2,624) per metric ton. At CNY 16,400 ($2,673) per metric ton, the week finished with no movement for Chinese 304 stainless coil. Following a steady week, prices for Chinese 316 stainless coil closed flat at CNY 26,000 ($4,238) per metric ton.

The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge saw a 1.1% drop this week, closing at $1.25 per pound. Korean 304 stainless coil traded sideways last week, hovering around 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.

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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