Transaction remained low in the nickel market, with 3M LME Nickel prices closing at US$14,070 on 30th December 2013, down from US$14,225 on the previous day. Prices are up by around US$600 /MT, on expectations that prices would rally once the export ban in Indonesia is implemented on 12January 2014. Nickel prices would regain momentum as market starts to price in the export ban and demand starts to rise. According to ministry officials from Indonesia, their 2014 mineral output is expected to fall drastically due to ban on unprocessed mineral ores. Currently, the smelting capacity in Indonesia is not sufficient to process the volumes of base metal ores produced by the country.
Gains in nickel prices continue to be impacted by concerns of excess supply, with inventories at LME monitored warehouses continuing to rise.
In response to a rise in nickel prices in December, Chinese and Taiwanese stainless steel mills have raised the 300 series stainless steel hot rolled and cold rolled prices in the range of US$20/MT to US$50/MT. Prices have been raised by mills, on expectations that nickel prices are unlikely to fall below US$14,000/MT, given the January 2014 export ban of nickel ore from Indonesia and also due to prospective demand from North American and European buyers.
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