Nickel rose for a 12th day, the longest streak of gains since 1987, on investor concern that possible sanctions against Russia could further restrict supply amid Indonesia’s ore ban.
The metal for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange gained as much as 0.7 percent to $17,910 a metric ton, near the highest level since February 2013. Nickel traded at $17,881 at 9:48 a.m. in Hong Kong and is the best performer among the six metals traded on the LME this year, advancing 29 percent.
Russia may face more sanctions from the U.S. and Europe as a result of its role in the developing crisis in Ukraine. Russian company OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel is the world’s biggest refined nickel producer. Global supply has tightened after Indonesia, the world’s top nickel miner, banned raw ore exports in January.
“Indonesia is now a known event and that’s been factored in,” David Lennox, resource analyst at investment research firm Fat Prophets said by phone from Sydney. “The only thing we don’t really know is will Russia progress further along the Crimean road and I think that’s what’s really propelling the price.”
Copper in London declined 0.2 percent to $6,653 a ton. In New York, the futures contract for July fell 0.2 percent to $3.03 a pound on the Comex, while in Shanghai, metal for the same month lost 0.2 percent to 46,690 yuan ($7,502) a ton.
On the LME, aluminum and tin fell, while lead and zinc were little changed.
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