Nickel retreated from an earlier rally near to a 14-month high on concern that any further reduction in U.S. monetary stimulus will hurt demand. Lead and tin also declined.
The contract for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange fell as much as 1.4 percent to $17,920 a metric ton, the lowest since April 22, and traded at $18,115 at 3:29 p.m. in Shanghai. Prices earlier rose as much as 1 percent to $18,360 amid mounting tensions over Ukraine. The metal reached $18,715 yesterday, the highest since February 2013.
The U.S. Federal Reserve begins a policy meeting today and may announce a fourth straight stimulus cut at the end of its meeting tomorrow, according to a Bloomberg News poll. The U.S. imposed sanctions on seven Russian officials and 17 companies linked to President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.
“The market is apprehensive about the impact on demand from the Fed policy meeting and the sanctions over Russia,” said Xu Liping, an analyst at HNA Topwin Futures Co. in Shanghai.
Nickel, used to make stainless steel for corrosion resistance, is still headed for the biggest monthly gain since September 2012 as Indonesia’s ore-export ban remains in place. Russia and Indonesia together supply about a quarter of the world’s nickel, ANZ Banking Group Ltd. estimates.
Copper in London was little changed at $6,736.25 a ton. The contract for delivery in July fell 0.4 percent to $3.081 a pound on the Comex in New York. In Shanghai, futures for delivery in July dropped 0.7 percent to close at 47,640 yuan ($7,615) a ton.
On the LME, aluminum and zinc also retreated.