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Nickel Drops to Three-Week Low as Lead Falls on China Concerns

Nickel fell to the lowest level in three weeks as lead declined to a one-week low on concerns that demand in China may not be strong enough to absorb rising supplies.

Nickel for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange declined as much as 0.8 percent to $17,720 a metric ton, the lowest since Jan. 29, while lead fell as much as 0.5 percent to $2,379.75 a ton, the lowest since Feb. 12. The LME Index of six primary metals lost 1.5 percent to 3,546.9 yesterday, the lowest since Jan. 29.

China may introduce more policies to curb property prices before or after the National People’s Congress annual session next month, China Business News reported today, citing researchers including Xie Yifeng. A gauge of property stocks in the Shanghai index tumbled as much as 5.1 percent today, the most among five industry groups.

“The concern is that physical market activity may not pick up in March as many had expected,” Yuan Zheng, an analyst at East Asia Futures Co., said by phone from Shanghai.

LME nickel stockpiles rose to 154,122 tons on Feb. 12, the highest since April 2010, and were at 153,270 tons yesterday, exchange data showed. Recycled battery lead from electric bicycles is leaving China with the largest glut in six years.

Copper, aluminum, zinc and tin in London also declined.

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