NEW YORK Melting-grade
nickel premiums have fallen to a nine-and-a-half-year low as
market sources reported little spot demand early in the new
"Unfortunately, it seems like
the holiday period is continuing rather than ending. Its
one of the quieter Januarys that I can remember in nearly 40
years in this industry," a trader said.
melting-grade nickel premiums fell to a range of 18 to 25 cents
per pound Jan. 16 from 20 to 28 cents previously, with business
for half and full truckloads reported at both ends of the range
One source pegged premiums as
low as 15 cents per pound, although no business was confirmed
at that level.
Sellers said the overall lack of
consumer interest was spurring them to chase any available
business more aggressively.
"(Id) rather reduce my
premium to move the units than hold and pay the banks," a
second trader said, referring to the financing costs of holding
Sources suggested that a rise in
the number of long-term contracts could be contributing to the
slow spot market.
"I dont think its a
reflection of activity on the consumer level as much as it is a
reflection of the amount of material that was purchased
forward," the first trader said. "The producers have done a
pretty good job (of locking up consumers on contracts), and
thats impacting what kind of spot business we see."
But one supplier said some end
markets were particularly quiet starting the year. "Stainless
is extremely slow and some of the stainless foundries have
slowed down as well," he said.
Foundry demand was said to have
buoyed melting premiums in late 2012 (
amm.com, Dec. 5).
Plating-grade premiums remain
between 50 and 60 cents per pound on a dearth of spot