Norilsk’s Potanin Says the Weak Ruble Actually Helps His Nickel Business

Falling metal prices are being more than offset by the ruble’s slide, allowing Russia’s Norilsk Nickel to maintain margins despite lower foreign currency earnings, its chief executive told The Moscow Times.

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CEO and co-owner Vladimir Potanin, Russia’s eighth-richest man with a $12.6 billion fortune from the world’s largest nickel and palladium miner, said if metal prices remained at current levels, Norilsk’s 2015 foreign currency revenues would decline from a year earlier to $10 billion.

But he said lower metal prices would not affect the company’s earnings before interest, tax and depreciation (EBITDA) margin, which would exceed 40% this year. He did not provide data for 2014.

Rising 1.9% to close at INR 933.90 ($15.17) per kilogram, the cash price of primary Indian nickel experienced the biggest change for Thursday, January 22. The 3-month price of nickel increased 1.7% on the LME , ending at $14,850 per metric ton. For the fifth day since Friday, January 16, the climb has accelerated. After rising 1.5%, prices settled at $14,760 per metric ton, driving an accelerated rise since Friday, January 16. Today marks the fifth day in a row of improvement for the spot price of nickelon the LME.

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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 ($1,763) per metric ton. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese ferro-moly remained essentially flat at CNY 87,000 ($14,006) per metric ton.

The price of Chinese primary nickel gained 1.0% to finish at CNY 110,300 ($17,757) per metric ton. The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge remained essentially flat at $1.01 per pound. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil saw little movement at CNY 23,700 ($3,815) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil remained essentially flat at CNY 16,700 ($2,689) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap held flat at CNY 12,950 ($2,085) per metric ton.

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