WEEK-IN-BRIEF: Nickel, nickel, nickel; $2.2bn plan in Indonesia; Erdenet concs; BTG Pactual pushes metals; Privat – and confidential

Nickel was the focus of Metal Bulletin’s attention this week. But what else crossed the desks of its global team of reporters? Editor Alex Harrison reviews the week.

Nickel was the focus of Metal Bulletin’s attention this week. But what else crossed the desks of its global team of reporters? Editor Alex Harrison reviews the week.

Nickel prices took another astonishing leap forward: they climbed through $20,000 per tonne on Friday May 9, having moved in a $1,000 per tonne clip on Thursday as news that Vale had suspended operations at Goro lit the fuse, and almost matching that rise again on Friday.

Rueful shorts closed out their positions, warning that the arrival of new fund and CTA buying was taking the market too far and too fast.

Why is nickel the LME’s hottest market this year?

What do options have to do with the rise?

From $25,000 per tonne next year, to $25,000 per tonne by the summer: how quickly are forecasts being rewritten?

All eyes on deliveries of briquettes into Rotterdam.

Here, Metal Bulletin columnist Lord Copper issues a word of caution on the nickel market to those that may have got carried away...

Soaring nickel prices have sparked a flurry of demand for ferro-alloys as stainless steel mills restock material to fulfil growing orderbooks.

The story of nickel’s price rise starts with the ore that is no longer being shipped from Indonesia to China, as the former seeks to use its strength in raw materials as the foundation of more downstream processing.

This affects bauxite, but copper too.

Metal Bulletin’s Shivani Singh discovered that major producers were involved in the early stages of a plan to build a $2.2 billion copper smelter in Indonesia. The partners will pay out if the smelter doesn’t go ahead. But the plan shows how serious Indonesia is about the development of downstream processing within the country. Find out who is involved and on what terms here.

The nickel market is watching Indonesia closely: but so too are copper concentrate buyers and sellers. When concentrate exports start again, the move will affect treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs).

In the meantime,Metal Bulletin reported on Erdenet material being bought in China at what looks like an appetising level for smelters, well above the levels seen in mid-March.

The ferro-alloys market is positioning itself for further problems between Ukraine and Russia.

The LME reported a drop in profits as a result of the lawsuit Rusal brought against it in the UK, and won. The exchange also faces class-action lawsuits in the USA.

Metal Bulletin’s senior aluminium correspondent Jethro Wookey set out to look at the challenges the exchange’s new premium contracts face, and found out that a large trader is willing to offer liquidity in the contracts.

BTG Pactual’s drive into metal markets continues.

And Gunvor has made another hire.

Hotline found out that while some things are Privat, others are confidential. Read more here.

Alex Harrison
Twitter: @alexharrison_mb

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