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LME Nickel January Averages Up Slightly From December
= Sharply rose during the last week of the month; month-end stocks exceeded 150,000 tons =
LME nickel's monthly averages during January were, <> spot: US$17,464.77/ton (US$7.922/lb) and <> 3 months: US$17,533.00/ton (US$7.953/lb), both up 0.3% compared to the averages of December.

The prices ranged US$17,100 - 17,800/ton during the month except in the last week when they stared rising to finally reach US$18,375/ton (spot) and US$18,465/ton (3 months) at the month-end, making a good gain of more or less US$1,000/ton in four days. In the afternoon of the last day, the prices retreated a little as the market started to weigh the uncertainty about U.S. economic growth.

The 3 months price hit US$17,205/ton on the 8th, the lowest in the month based on a Chinese media report that China was mulling to further tighten control over housing bubbles, followed by small ups and downs until late January.

The rise in the last week was basically due to (i) the rally in China's stock market inspired by the comments of the governor of the China's Central Bank implying that banks' profits have to be prioritized, (ii) earlier repayments by the European banks of the fund borrowed from ECB through the LTRO (Long-Term Refinancing Operation), (iii) steadily improving U.S. housing indices, (iv) FOMC's decision to continue buying MBS (mortgage-backed securities) and underwriting the Treasury Bills, (v) the expectation that FRB will maintain its monetary easing policy in response of the forecast negative GDP growth in U.S., and (vi) forecast by FOMC of slow but steady growth in U.S. economy and of gradually lowering of the unemployment rate.

Stocks at LME warehouses increased from 141,690 tons on December 31 to 150,216 tons on January 24. The month-end stocks were 150,012 tons.

For reference, December 2012 averages were, <> spot: US$17,406.58/ton (US$7.896/lb) and <> 3 months: US$17,483.42/ton (US$7.930/lb).
last modified : Thu 07 Feb, 2013 [10:33]
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