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Norilsk Sees Nickel at $16,000 Making 30% of Output Unprofitable

Nickel prices at about $16,000 a metric ton would make 30 percent of global output of the metal unprofitable, according to Moscow-based OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the biggest producer.

At $15,000 a ton, 45 percent of output would be unprofitable, the company’s press service said today by e-mail, citing Yuri Sobolev, sales director.

Nickel for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange, a global benchmark, averaged about $15,763 a ton last month. The metal, down 4.7 percent this year, fell 2.2 percent to $17,815 by 4:47 p.m. local time, after rallying to $18,236 yesterday, the highest price in more than four months.

Global demand for nickel and copper increased 3 to 4 percent in the first eight months of the year, according to Sobolev. The company’s earlier forecast for the whole year was for a 1 to 2 percent increase.

Palladium demand rose 5 percent in January through August, in line with Norilsk’s expectations, according to Sobolev.

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