Nickel Prices Decline Most Since October on Ample Supply

Nickel prices fell the most in three months amid signs that global supplies will be more than enough to meet demand this year. Copper also dropped.

This week, nickel inventories reached the highest in almost three years. Supplies will probably outpace consumption through 2014, analysts at Macquarie Group Ltd. said in a report last month. China’s imports of the metal, used to make stainless steel, will probably fall for a second year in 2013, the bank said. Prices have climbed 7.4 this year, the most among six major industrial metals.

“On the demand side, there’s nothing supporting the prices we’ve seen,” Nicholas Snowdon, an analyst at Barclays Plc in New York, said in a telephone interview. “Some correction is justified. The stainless-steel sector remains very quiet.”

Nickel for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange declined 2 percent to settle at $18,325 a metric ton at 5:50 p.m. local time, the biggest decline since Oct. 22.

Inventories monitored by the LME have climbed 7.7 percent this year. Stockpiles reached 150,906 tons on Feb. 4, the highest since April 2010.

Zinc, aluminum, tin, copper and lead also dropped in London.

In New York, copper futures for March delivery fell 0.8 percent to close at $3.7405 a pound on the Comex.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Richter in New York at jrichter1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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