Nickel prices fell to a one-week low on signs that supplies are plentiful as demand eases in China, the world’s top user of industrial metals. Lead dropped to the cheapest in more than two months.
Orders to remove nickel from stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange fell 2.4 percent on Friday, the most in eight weeks. Lead inventories rose 20 percent this week, the biggest advance since September 2013. China exports of all goods slid for a third month in May and inflation slowed, data showed this week. The LME basket of prices declined for the sixth straight week, the longest slump since January.
“The demand story is very weak, and that’s why we are seeing most metals under pressure,” Bart Melek, the head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “Any reports of plentiful supplies do not help matters.”
Nickel for delivery in three months dropped 1.3 percent to settle at $13,125 a metric ton at 5:51 p.m. in London after touching $12,930, the lowest since June 5. In May, the price slumped 9.5 percent.
Inventories have climbed 13 percent this year.
Demand tends to drop during the summer months as stainless-steel mills, which account for about two-thirds of global consumption, slow buying, according to David Wilson, an analyst at Citigroup Inc. in London
The data from China this week indicated there’s room for more monetary easing to spur an economy that grew the least in six years last quarter. The Asian nation may cut banks’ reserve-requirement ratios as early as this weekend to spur economic growth.
Lead fell 0.2 percent to $1,862 a ton after touching $1,836, the lowest since April 1. The price has declined 10 percent in the past 12 months.
Copper gained 0.5 percent to $5,912 a ton ($2.68 a pound). Aluminum and tin fell, while zinc advanced.
On the Comex in New York, copper futures for July delivery increased 0.3 percent to $2.678 a pound.