Current situation:

  • Nickel prices have fallen over the past 30 days to @$7.24 per lb. ($8.82 in the last update).  Warehouse levels were sharply higher this month at 260,724 tons (249,510 tons in the last update).
  • Producer prices for stainless pipe were up month-over-month through February, rising by 3.8% M/M (up 1.8% last month); they were also up 5.1% Y/Y (up 1.4% last month).


Key factors that could affect supply or price:

  • Microchip shortages are pushing some manufacturing down, especially in automotive and electrical products.  Higher lumber prices have starting to increase the number of new home construction cancellations (some of it was weather-related delays in February).   On the positive front, corporate investment has started to rise and was 9.1% higher year-over-year in January.  Medical spending should improve as the pandemic wanes and more profitable services at regional hospitals lead to more available investment dollars for construction and refurbishing of older structures.