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Norilsk Falls on Concern China Slowdown May Curb Demand

March 6 (Bloomberg) -- OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel plunged the most in two months in U.S. trading as prices for the metal slumped on concern slowing growth in China and Europe’s contracting economy will stem demand.

Norilsk’s American depositary receipts declined 6 percent to close at $18.84 in New York, the biggest one-day drop since Dec. 12.

Nickel slid 2 percent to $18,685 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange after China, the world’s biggest consumer of industrial metals, pared its economic-growth target yesterday and data showed Europe’s economy shrank in the fourth quarter. Russia’s Micex Index slid the most in three months as police detained hundreds of people protesting Vladimir Putin’s presidential election win.

“The decline in nickel prices on top of the uncertainty caused by yesterday’s protests is the main driver behind the drop,” Andy Jones, a metals and mining analyst at Renaissance Capital in London, said by phone. “Chinese industrial growth is a driver for a lot of commodities. For any mining company it’s a big deal.”

Norilsk got 22 percent of revenue from Asian sales in 2010, up from 17 percent in 2006, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Europe is the Moscow-based company’s biggest market by revenue, with a 56 percent share.

Norilsk lost 4.8 percent to 5,656 rubles, or the equivalent of $190.91, on the Micex. The ADRs traded at a discount to the Moscow-traded shares for a second day, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ksenia Galouchko in New York at kgalouchko1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emma O’Brien at eobrien6@bloomberg.net

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