Nickel climbed for a fifth day to a 14-month high on concern that global supplies will be disrupted as tensions mount in Ukraine and Indonesia’s ore export ban remains in place.
The contract for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange added as much as 1.1 percent to $18,590 a metric ton, the highest level since February 2013, and traded at $18,561 by 11:18 a.m. in Tokyo. The metal has risen 34 percent this year, the most among the six main metals traded on the LME.
Ukraine restarted an offensive against separatists in eastern cities, prompting Russia, the second-biggest producer of refined nickel, to warn that it would protect its citizens in Ukrainian territory. The discord risks derailing an agreement to disarm rebels signed last week in Geneva by the two countries, the European Union and the U.S. In January, Indonesia, the biggest producer of the metal from mines, banned shipments of unprocessed ores.
“For nickel, the $20,000 target is now within sight,” said Kaname Gokon, deputy manager of research at Okato Shoji Co., a commodities broker in Tokyo. “Although we may see a small technical correction in coming days, mounting supply concern will keep pushing up prices further.”
Production at the Copper Cliff nickel mine in Canada was suspended after a malfunction, Vale SA said. No one was injured and the extent of damage from the April 20 accident is being assessed, Cory McPhee, a Vale spokesman in Toronto, said yesterday.
Copper in London rose 0.2 percent to $6,684 a ton. The contract for delivery in July climbed 0.2 percent to $3.045 a pound in New York. In Shanghai, futures for delivery in July rose 0.2 percent to 46,900 yuan ($7,515) a ton.
On the LME, zinc also advanced, while aluminum and lead were little changed. Tin dropped.
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