Nickel Prices Gain as Inventory Drops the Most in Three Weeks

Nickel Prices Gain as Inventory Drops the Most in Three Weeks

Nickel rose on the London Metal Exchange after stockpiles monitored by the bourse fell the most in three weeks, cutting reserves in warehouses to less than two days of global consumption.

Nickel inventory dropped 312 metric tons, or 4.9 percent, to 6,078 tons, the exchange said in a daily report. Stockpiles of the metal used in stainless steel have plunged 83 percent this year and reached their lowest in 15 years in July.

“The metal supply isn’t plentiful,” Tony Warwick-Ching, a nickel analyst at London-based metals consulting company CRU, said today by telephone.

Nickel for delivery in three months gained $220, or 0.8 percent, to $27,175 a ton as of 11:10 a.m. local time. The contract has more than doubled in the past year, trading at $29,950 a ton Aug. 22, the highest since at least 1987.

Stainless-steel production will expand 20 percent in the second half from a year earlier, Warwick-Ching said.

Among other metals, copper for delivery in three months on the LME fell $14, or 0.2 percent, to $7,435 a metric ton. Earlier, it traded at as high as $7,530 a ton. The metal has doubled in the past year and traded at a record $8,800 on May 11.

Stockpiles of copper dropped 0.5 percent to 123,325 tons, the LME said. That’s less than three days of global consumption.

Metal Bulletin, citing unidentified traders, said today in a report that Chile’s Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, agreed to pay at least one Chinese smelter $73 a metric ton to have its ore processed into metal.

Zinc gained $68, or 2 percent, to $3,408 a ton, and lead fell $8to at $1,357. Tin slipped $45 to $8,950 and aluminum dropped $2 to $2,468.

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