Price Bust Casts a Pall over Aussie Nickel Miners’ Conference

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The Australian Nickel Conference had been shaping up as a celebratory affair — the spot price of nickel soared by 57.7% over the first half of the year but has since retreated by a fifth.

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Despite the recent weakness, Western Areas Managing Director Dan Loughner said conditions in the nickel sector now were still far better than a year ago.

He said his reception at a recent roadshow to North America, London, Sydney and Melbourne was the best for “at least” 5 years. “We’re making a lot more money in this half of the year than we did in the whole past two years,” Loughner said, according to the Australian.

He is confident the nickel price can resume its upward run by the end of the year.

“There is an oversupply at the moment. The turnaround that we all anticipated with the drop-off in nickel pig iron, obviously some of that is being picked up by the Philippines volumes going into the Chinese market. Is the Filipino ore filing the gap? It can’t. I’m very confident that towards the end of the year we will start to see some of that eroded.”

The day’s biggest mover was the nickel spot price which dropped by 3.9% on Thursday, October 2 to close at $15,850 per metric ton on the LME. On the LME, the nickel 3-month price fell 3.8% to $15,960 per metric ton. The cash price of primary Indian nickel remained essentially flat at INR 1,019 ($16.52) per kilogram.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were flat for the day. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome held steady at CNY 8,300 ($1,352) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly saw little movement at CNY 145,000 ($23,623) per metric ton.

The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge was unchanged at $1.25 per pound. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil remained essentially flat at CNY 26,000 ($4,236) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil saw little movement at CNY 16,400 ($2,672) per metric ton. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap remained essentially flat at CNY 16,100 ($2,623) 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 ($2,672) per metric ton.

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