Indonesia Plans New Nickel Smelters, Prices Jump

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Investors are planning to build six alumina refineries and 30 nickel smelters in Indonesia through 2017, according to government data. The nation is the top producer of the metal from mines, but banned export of raw ore in January. That ban was upheld by Indonesia’s highest court last week.

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“Until these are completed, Indonesia will export only small quantities of nickel, which should cause the global nickel market to tighten,” Commerzbank analysts said in an e-mailed report to Bloomberg News today.

On Thursday, December 4, the Indian nickel cash price experienced the biggest change, rising 3.8% to INR 1,053 ($17.01) per kilogram. At $16,395, the nickel 3-month price finished the market day on the LME up 1.0% per metric ton. After a 0.9% increase, the nickel spot price finished the day on the LME at $16,320 per metric ton.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were mixed for the day. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome remained steady at CNY 11,050 ($1,797) per metric ton. Chinese ferro-moly held its value yesterday at CNY 90,000 ($14,637) per metric ton.

The price of Chinese primary nickel inched up 2.4% to CNY 114,900 ($18,686) per metric ton. Chinese 304 stainless coil gained 1.7% to finish at CNY 18,400 ($2,992) per metric ton. The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge held steady at $0.97 per pound. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil held steady at CNY 23,700 ($3,854) per metric ton. At CNY 13,250 ($2,155) per metric ton, the price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap was essentially unchanged.

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