The monthly Stainless MMI® registered a value of 84 in January, a decrease of 3.4% from 87 in December.
Nickel is holding its price relatively well since November as it found a floor near $15,000/million tons. Fundamentals are set to tighten and, in theory, this should fuel buying interest eventually. However, fundamentals are not strong enough to significantly push the metal up while we witness heavy weakness in all commodity prices.
The outlook looks more positive for nickel than for most base metals. Indonesia’s ore ban export and sanctions affecting nickel supplies and deliveries from Russia should support prices in 2015. On the other hand, it will be hard to see this metal significantly rising while commodities keep falling as oil sinks, the dollar keeps rising, foreign markets tumble, and other base metals keep getting hit.
What direction nickel prices will take from now? It’s hard to tell at this point. What seems clear is that volatility in nickel prices is here to stay. Expect heavy ups and downs in 2015.
After rising the previous month, primary cash nickel prices dropped 7.8% on the LME to $14,930 per metric ton. Primary 3-month nickel prices fell 7.6% on the LME to $15,020 per metric ton after rising the previous month. A 3.4% drop left the price of Chinese primary nickel at CNY 107,900 ($17,367) per metric ton. After rising the previous month, Chinese ferro-chrome prices dropped 0.9% to $1,765 per metric ton. Last month, Chinese ferro-moly prices dropped by 0.6% to $14,506 per metric ton.
The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil jumped 6.7% last month to $2,821 per metric ton. The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge climbed 4.0%, settling at $1.01 per pound. At $1,588 per metric ton, Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap finished the month up 3.1%. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap rose 1.9% to $2,152 per metric ton after falling the previous month.
Last month was consistent for Chinese 316 stainless coil, which did not move from $3,820 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 over a 30-day period. 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.