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Nickel Climbs to Two-Week High on Indonesia Export-Ban Concerns

Nickel climbed in London to the highest in two weeks on mounting concern that Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer, won’t relax its ban on unprocessed-ore exports.

Indonesia will be consistent in applying the rule, which went into effect last month, even if it means some mining companies shut down operations, Deputy Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Susilo Siswoutomo said Feb. 6. The ban may help the market rebound after prices slumped 19 percent in 2013, Bloomberg Industries said in a report.

“The feeling is that the Indonesian government is really going to play hardball with this ban,” Edward Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone Inc. in New York, said in a telephone interview. “There’s no sign they’re going to relax it or modify it, so I think prices are starting to reflect that.”

Nickel for delivery in three months advanced 0.4 percent to settle at $14,200 a metric ton at 5:50 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange, after reaching $14,345, the highest since Jan. 27.

Societe Generale, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, BNP Paribas SA and Westpac Banking Corp. are among the banks that have said Indonesia may overturn or modify the ban.

Inventories of the metal monitored by the LME shrank 0.4 percent today, the biggest decline since August.

Copper for delivery in three months slipped 0.6 percent to $7,095 a ton ($3.22 a pound) in London.

Copper must close above the 200-day moving average at $7,151 to resume gains, said Mark Newson-Smith, head of sales at Xconnect Trading Ltd. in London.

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for delivery in March fell 0.4 percent to $3.2245 a pound.

Aluminum, zinc and lead were also lower, while tin gained in London.

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