NEW YORK Spot melting-grade nickel premiums have
remained at lows unseen in nearly a decade, with most consumers
continuing to have their production needs met by contract
business, market sources say.
Melting-grade premiums were unchanged in a range of 18 to 25
cents per pound Jan.30, while plating-grade was steady in a
range of 50 to 60 cents per pound.
Numbers are still very low. Business is lousy
everywhere, one supplier said.
Its one of the quietest Januarys I have seen in a
very long time, a trader added.
Melting-grade premiums fell to this nine-and-a-half-year low
earlier in January, with traders saying that the spot market
had become particularly slow (
amm.com, Jan. 16
The melt schedules are being totally satisfied with the
contract business, so theres no need for consumers to go
into the spot market, a second trader said.
The inquiries coming out are mainly about replenishing
and topping up rather than buying inventory, a third
Traders also said that the market was closely monitoring labor
negotiations at Xstrata Nickels facility in Sudbury,
If they went on strike, you would see some tightening in
the premiums. Last time Vale SA had a strike, premiums shot up
to over $1 per pound, the first trader claimed.
An Xstrata spokesman told AMM
that negotiations were
ongoing as of Jan. 31. Xstrata Nickel is a unit of Zug,
Switzerland-based Xstrata Plc.
The London Metal Exchanges three-month nickel price
closed the official session at $18,465 per tonne ($8.38 per
pound) Jan. 31.