Nickel Gains as Mine Strike Threatens to Constrain Supply

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Nickel capped the biggest two-session gain in 11 months as a strike at the world’s second-largest mine for the metal signaled supply constraints.

BHP Billiton Ltd.’s site in northern Colombia is at “less than full capacity,” and the company said it sent force majeure notices to some customers, allowing for missed deliveries. Nickel and tin rallied the most among the six main metals on the London Metal Exchange, which also gained on speculation that China will take more steps to support economic growth after industrial profits declined in March.

“The complex has been further fueled by the force majeure in nickel,” Michael Turek, the head of base metals at BGC Partners Inc. in New York, said in an e-mail. “This stoppage has specifically fueled a rally against a background of current supply being constrained.”

Nickel for delivery in three months gained 2.7 percent to settle at $13,550 a metric ton at 5:51 p.m. on the LME. Prices rose 6.7 percent in two sessions, the most since May 19.

BHP said it is pursuing a resolution to the labor dispute at its Cerro Matoso mine.

Also in London, copper for delivery in three months added 0.6 percent to $6,065 a ton ($2.75 a pound). Tin, lead, aluminum and zinc rose.

China’s central bank is discussing adopting unconventional policies to reinvigorate the economy, including making direct purchases of local government bonds from the market, Market News reported.

In New York, copper futures for July delivery climbed 0.9 percent to $2.777 a pound on the Comex.

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