Thursday, March 06, 2014

Nickel Reaches Nine-Month High on Russia, Indonesia Supply Risks
Mar 6, 2014: Nickel reached a nine-month high amid concern that the U.S. will impose trade sanctions on Russia, exacerbating supply constraints amid an ore-export ban in Indonesia, the top producer of the metal from mines.

Republicans in the U.S. Congress are urging swift sanctions against Russia, the second-biggest nickel producer, for its incursion into Ukraine. In Indonesia, Aburizal Bakrie, who rates himself the favorite to win a presidential election in July, said the nation should keep more natural resources at home to bolster domestic industries. Prices jumped 11 percent this year, heading for the biggest quarterly gain since 2010.

“Since Russia is a big source of nickel, there are supply concerns here that are helping to lift prices,” Mike Dragosits, a senior commodity strategist at TD Securities in Toronto, wrote in an e-mail. Bakrie’s statements “just solidifies the view that China’s needs will have to be satisfied from other more costly sources.”

Nickel for delivery in three months advanced 1.5 percent to $15,495 a metric ton at 4 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange, after reaching $15,562, the highest since June 3.

In January, factory orders rebounded in Germany, the third-largest copper user, data from the Economy Ministry showed today. Fewer Americans than projected filed applications forunemployment benefits in the week ended March 1 in the U.S., the biggest consumer after China.

Stockpiles of copper tracked by the LME declined 0.5 percent to 272,175 tons, the lowest since December 2012.

Copper for delivery in three months rose 0.1 percent to $7,039.25 a metric ton ($3.20 a pound) on the LME. On the Comex in New York, copper futures for delivery in May gained 0.2 percent to $3.209 a pound.

Aluminum, lead and tin climbed in London, while zinc fell.

To contact the reporter on this story: Luzi Ann Javier in New York

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Millie Munshi