May 20, 2015 5:51 pm Published by

Nickel hits 1-month low as stockpiles surge

London nickel futures dropped to their lowest in nearly a month on Wednesday and those in Shanghai slid 5 per cent amid abundant supply that could keep prices under pressure.

Nickel inventories at London Metal Exchange warehouses jumped to a record high of 444,936 tonnes, reflecting sluggish global demand and dashing expectations that the market would face shortages after Indonesia banned unprocessed ore exports last year.

“Without support from the demand side, nickel prices will fall further,’’ said Peter Peng, analyst at CRU Group in Beijing.

LME nickel

Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange was down 2.2 per cent at $12,805 a tonne by 0213 GMT, off a session low of $12,785, its weakest since April 24. The metal slid 4.8 per cent on Tuesday in its steepest fall since September.

Nickel for July delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slumped 5 per cent to hit its exchange-set downside limit of 102,340 yuan ($16,492) a tonne.

“If the price drops below 100,000 yuan per tonne, small Chinese producers will be under pressure,’’ said Peng.

Nickel surplus

The global nickel surplus fell to 100 tonnes in March from 10,600 tonnes a year ago and a revised 18,700 tonnes last month, the International Nickel Study Group had said on Tuesday. The March figure was the lowest surplus since the market slipped to a deficit of 2,300 tonnes in April 2014.

A stronger dollar also weighed on base metals, making assets priced in the greenback costlier for buyers using other currencies.

LME copper, tin

LME copper was up 0.3 per cent at $6,238 a tonne, but not far off a near three-week low of $6,207.50 reached overnight. Shanghai July copper dropped 1.9 per cent to 44,930 yuan a tonne.

LME tin fell 1.3 per cent to $15,800 a tonne and its Shanghai counterpart tumbled 2.5 per cent to 115,990 yuan per tonne.

The losses in base metals this month follow strong gains for most in April, with analysts suggesting weak fundamentals could push prices lower.

“The question at this point is whether the gains that many metals have managed to cobble together over the course of April will be rolled back in their entirety going into the balance of May and heading into the seasonally weak June and July time periods,’’ NTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said in a note.

Steel Strips bags $4.5-mn Canadian order

Steel Strips Wheels (SSWL) has forayed into the North American market by bagging an order worth $4.5 million (around Rs 29 crore) to supply 1.75 lakh wheels to Canada’s passenger car aftermarket.

The wheels will be shipped by the end of June, Steel Strips Wheels (SSWL) said in a filing to the BSE.

“With this order volumes are expected to go up to 40,000 wheels next year, with a total value of around $1 million per annum. The programme will run for five years, potentially resulting in volumes of 1.75 lakh and revenue addition of $4.5 million,” it added.

Besides, the company said it is in advance stage of securing an order from Polish aftermarket for passenger car wheels.

“This complements SSWL’s strategy to increase its presence for the global aftermarket requirements,” the company said.

SSWL was trading at Rs 322.30 on BSE, up 6.72 per cent, from the previous close.

Coal production surges 11% in first 45 days of 2015-16 amid core sector misery

India’s coal production has surged by 11% in the first 45 days of 2015-16, assuming greater significance as it comes on the back of the highest increase in output in 40 years recorded last fiscal. Core sector growth dipped to a 17-month low of -0.1% in March, but coal output rose by 6% that month.

“From a scenario last year when outages were common and power plants were suffering for want of coal, all power plants in the country today have an average 20 days of coal inventory.


Coal supply is no longer a problem,” a top government official told ET, adding that several new mines are coming on stream as even Oppositionruled states like West Bengal are now backing coal projects. In 2014-15, Coal India produced 493 million tonnes of coal.

“This marked a 32 million tonne surge in output which is more than the cumulative increase recorded in the previous four years (31 million tonnes) and the highest since 1975,” the official said, adding that output has increased by 11% between April 1 and May 15 this year.

About two dozen brownfield and greenfield mining projects were made operational last year, contributing nearly 21 million tonnes or 64% of the incremental output.


Top buyer of ships for recycling launches new website

The world’s largest buyer of ships, GMS, has launched a new and improved website to provide a better user experience for visitors to its web pages.

Enhancements include links to the GMS twitter and Facebook accounts, plus a regular blog that includes articles, events and news affecting the ship recycling industry.

An ‘In the News’ section lists press releases and editorial regarding GMS, and current news stories about the recycling industry. Visitors to the site will also be able to subscribe to the ‘GMS Weekly’, the longest and one of the most quoted newsletters in the ship recycling industry.

Navigation around the site has been improved and the overall design has been updated to reflect modern trends. The site also features an easy-to-complete online form for shipowners who want a quote for selling a vessel.

Details on how the new GMS app can be downloaded are detailed upon entering the site and all the GMS locations are itemised in the ‘Contact Us’ section, including a list of public holidays for each area.

Founder and CEO, Dr Anil Sharma, said: “Updating our website was important to ensure all our clients and prospects have access to the most up-to-date information about our services and global reach. We have also improved the overall look and feel of the site making it quick and easy for visitors to access the specific information they want within a couple of clicks.”

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