NEW YORK Spot nickel
premiums continue to languish as contract business covers
consumer requirements, with one seller claiming that even an
uptick in business activity might not lift domestic
Melting-grade premiums were
unchanged at 18 to 25 cents per pound Feb. 27, while
plating-grade premiums remained at 50 to 60 cents per
Demand was still low, with the
majority of consumers satisfied by contract business, market
participants told AMM.
"I dont think theres
a lot of spot business right now. Many of our customers
dont rely on coming into the spot market unless business
is super good, and its not been super good for a while,"
one trader said.
A global surplus of nickel
supply will likely keep premiums low into the near future, a
second trader said.
"Even if business did pick up,
theres so much nickel out there, and a lot of scrap, that
I cant see prices going up. ... The problem is the first
quarter is usually your best, so it could be a rough year," he
said, adding that some of his customers expressed concern that
the Obama administration could implement spending cuts that
would further hurt nickel end markets, particularly in the
"Its hard for it to get
any worse. Business, overall, is still lousy in all aspects. We
really cant go any lower than we already are," he
Three-month nickel ended the
London Metal Exchanges official session at $16,720 per
tonne ($7.58 per pound) Feb. 28, down 9 percent from $18,375
per tonne ($8.33 per pound) on Feb. 13.