Vale Increasing Nickel Output Despite Falling Prices, Could Challenge Norilsk

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Vale SA, whose $18 billion base-metal incursion was beset by a slew of delays and stoppages, is growing nickel output at the fastest pace in 6 years at a time of tumbling prices for the stainless steel ingredient, Bloomberg News reported.

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The Rio de Janeiro-based company beat analysts’ estimates to post a 16% jump in nickel production in the third quarter, taking total output of the metal this year to 201,400 metric tons. That puts Vale, which plans to produce 289,000 tons of nickel in 2014, on track to challenge top producer OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, which targets as much as 230,000 tons.

The day’s biggest mover broke away from a static phase with a 18.9% drop on Friday, November 14. After three changeless days, the price of Chinese primary nickel closed at CNY 104,600 ($17,031) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap showed little movement yesterday at CNY 8,800 ($1,433) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap held steady at CNY 12,600 ($2,052) per metric ton. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese 304 stainless coil remained essentially flat at CNY 16,400 ($2,670) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil saw little movement at CNY 26,000 ($4,233) per metric ton.

The price of Chinese ferro-chrome remained essentially flat at CNY 8,300 ($1,351) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly continues hovering around CNY 145,000 ($23,609) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row.

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Thursday closed the 3-month price of nickel at $15,610 per metric ton on the LME, after moving up 3.0%. At $15,510, the nickel spot price finished the market day on the LME up 2.8% per metric ton. The cash price of primary Indian nickel rose 0.2% to INR 960.80 ($15.67) per kilogram.

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