Nickel Leads Gains in Base Metals as Indonesia Bans Ore Exports

Nickel climbed to the highest level in two weeks, leading gains in industrial metals, after Indonesia started a ban on mineral ore exports.

The contract for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange advanced as much as 2.4 percent to $14,190 a metric ton, the highest since Dec. 30, and traded at $13,960 at 9:58 a.m. in Shanghai. The metal jumped as much as 3.3 percent on Jan. 10, the most since Oct. 22, and is up 0.4 percent this year after slumping 19 percent in 2013.

Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed a regulation for the ore ban that will cut global nickel supplies from the largest producer of mined nickel and allow Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX) to keep exporting copper concentrates. The country accounts for 3 percent of global copper supply, 18 percent to 20 percent of nickel and 9 percent to 10 percent of aluminum from bauxite, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates.

“The Indonesian restriction is having a positive impact on base-metal prices as it came at a time when the global macro-economic picture is improving overall,” said Chae Un Soo, a metals trader at Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co. in Seoul.

China’s imports rose the most in five months in December, indicating that domestic demand will support economic growth in the world’s biggest metals user.

Copper for delivery in three months on the LME rose 0.5 percent to $7,340 a ton. The metal for delivery in March climbed 1.1 percent to 51,900 yuan ($8,584) a ton in Shanghai. The contract for delivery in March gained 0.3 percent to $3.353 a pound in New York.

On the LME, aluminum, lead and zinc also climbed. Tin hadn’t traded.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Alfred Cang in Shanghai at acang@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brett Miller at bmiller30@bloomberg.net

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