NEW YORK Nickel premiums
continue to be flat, with few consumers said to be
participating in the spot market, although one trader said that
his company is pushing for higher premiums as its stocks
melting-grade nickel premiums remain in a range of 18 to 25
cents per pound, while plating-grade premiums also are
unchanged at 50 to 60 cents per pound.
Traders told AMM that
orders for smaller quantities and expedited deliveries were
attracting higher premiums, but the overall spot demand picture
continued to be bleak.
"I think a lot of the buying has
been done for the long term," one trader said. "I dont
think business is all that bad. I just dont think many
customers are in the spot market for any large quantities."
"I think it will be a while
before things pick up," a second trader said. "Its a
lackluster economic picture and theres a ton of nickel
out there. That puts a lot of pressure on premiums, but our
numbers will stay the same because theyre at a point
where they cant go any lower."
He added that the 4 x 4 cut
cathode market was yielding the most activity, "but even that
is only OK at best."
The trend mirrors that seen in
the Chinese market, with Shanghai-based traders telling
AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin that
trading activity is "weak" and "so-so."
However, a third U.S.-based
trader said that his company has "actually been having a good
month, having run out of material after a customer brought
forward a high-volume order of special-grade melting material.
Weve been trying to raise (premiums) slightly because we
dont have an infinite amount of material on the
Three-month nickel ended the
London Metal Exchanges official session March 14 at
$17,140 per tonne ($7.77 per pound), up 2.5 percent from
$16,720 per tonne ($7.58 per pound) at the end of February.