NEW YORK Spot
market nickel trading has picked up, market players said,
although metal premiums remain flat.
AMMs melting-grade premium held at 15 to 25
cents per pound, and plating-grade at 50 to 60 cents per
Meanwhile, the global nickel market experienced a week in which
speculation over the future of Chinas nickel pig iron
(NPI) industry coincided with a rally in nickel prices on the
London Metal Exchange.
three-month nickel contract rallied earlier this week, closing
at a two-month high of $14,745 per tonne ($6.69 per pound) Oct.
22 before edging back to $14,485 per tonne ($6.57 per pound)
Oct. 24. However, the latest price remains 4.9 percent above
the $13,805 per tonne ($6.26 per pound) seen Oct. 9.
the rally to fresh buying activity, the end of the U.S.
government shutdown and uncertainty over the future of Chinese
NPI production. Some expect the latter to be impacted by
Indonesias ban on ore exports, scheduled to take effect
participants said the nickel rally was due more to financial
speculation that any physical activity, as LME nickel stocks
continue to reach record highs.
"Leave it to the hedge
funds. ... It has nothing to do with physical nickel," one
"The only certainty is
that there is a large amount of uncertainty when it comes to a
ban or tax from the Indonesian government," a second trader
Still, some noted an
increase in spot trading and upward pressure on premiums as LME
stocks are less readily available to the North American market.
One trader reported booking multiple truckloads of
melting-grade briquette material at a 26-cent premium.
definitely picked up. ... We get a lot more inquiries. We were
making a couple sales a week before, and now were getting
a couple a day," one producer source said.
"There is a little bit
of tightness on the ground," a third trader said. "Generally,
weve had no deep increase in the premium, but you
cant get any material out of Chicago or Detroit. We had a
couple of bigger users come in for truckloads, and nobody had
anything on the ground, so we were able to get 26 cents."