US nickel premiums are holding steady due to sparse spot sales as buyers wait for prices to cool off. Premiums for melting-grade nickel are holding at between 42 and 47 cents a pound. Several traders expected to see higher prices after Labor Day as buyers returned from summer holidays, but the market has yet to see a hike. Nickel activity has been slower than normal in the spot market as buyers sit on the sidelines and await lower prices before committing to purchases. These buyers are waiting for prices to fall in line with an anticipated stainless steel decline. A handful of traders expect premiums to remain strong for another couple of weeks. However, stocks flowing into the London Metal Exchange suggest that nickel might soften in the near future.

American Metal Market September 7, 2006