Typhoon Hagupit Hits Philippines, Nickel Supply in Jeopardy

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Nickel prices touched their highest London Metal Exchange level in a week on Monday over concerns that the typhoon season in the Philippines could hit supply and lead to shortages.

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The island nation, which has been a key supplier of nickel ore after an Indonesian ban, was hit about a week ago when Typhoon Hagupit destroyed nearly 16,500 houses and killed 11 people.

“We’ve said for a long time that there should be a shortage of nickel during the early part of next year due to the seasonality in the Philippines,” Nic Brown, head of commodities research at Natixis in London, told Business Recorder.

“With that very unfortunate typhoon having hit the country the other week, we would expect that seasonality to kick in quite severely.”

On Monday, December 15, the day’s biggest mover was the Indian nickel cash price, which saw a 2.8% increase to INR 1,059 ($16.93) per kilogram. On the LME, the nickel spot price gained 1.1% to finish at $16,330 per metric ton. On the LME, the nickel 3-month price rose 1.1% to $16,400 per metric ton.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were mixed for the day. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 10,950 ($1,772) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly continues hovering around CNY 90,000 ($14,564) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row.

The price of Chinese primary nickel is back up, rising by 2.6% yesterday to close at CNY 117,300 ($18,982) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge held flat at $0.97 per pound. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil was unchanged at CNY 23,700 ($3,835) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil held steady at CNY 18,400 ($2,978) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap remained essentially flat at CNY 13,350 ($2,160) per metric ton.

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