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Nickel Fallson Speculation Indonesia May Ease Export Ban

Nickel fell for the third time in fours days after unofficial counts showed Joko Widodo leading Indonesia’s presidential race, fueling speculation that the nation may ease its export ban on unprocessed ores.

Widodo has 53.3 percent of support with 99.4 percent of votes counted, according to Lingkaran Survei Indonesia. A tally by Saiful Mujani Research & Consulting had him at 52.9 percent. Widodo was seen as more “market-friendly,” and his election could mean better relationships for mining companies, said Garrett Nelson, an analyst at BB&T Capital Markets. Indonesia is the biggest producer of mined nickel.

“That signals to us that he’ll probably relax the country’s ore export ban,” Mike Dragosits, a senior commodity strategist at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “His hand will basically be forced by the fact that the Indonesian economy has been suffering under this ore export ban regime.”

Nickel for delivery in three months fell 1.3 percent to settle at $19,525 a metric ton at 5:50 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange. The metal has gained 37 percent since Jan. 13, a day after Indonesia’s rule on ore exports took effect.

Copper in London slid 0.1 percent to $7,125 a ton ($3.23) a pound on the LME. Aluminum, zinc, lead and tin also fell in London.

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for delivery in September slipped 0.3 percent to $3.248 a pound.

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