Nickel Slides to 6-Year Low as Shanghai Eases Constraint

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Industrial metals from aluminum to tin capped the longest run of quarterly losses since 2001 on concern that a sputtering economy will erode demand in China, the world’s top consumer, while turmoil in Greece mounts.

This quarter, the London Metal Exchange’s gauge of six prices fell 5.5 percent, the fourth straight decline and the longest slump since September 2001. On June 27, China’s central bank cut its benchmark lending rate to a record and lowered reserve-requirement ratios for some lenders after equities plunged and local government bond sales drained liquidity.

“There are serious concerns about China, and people are worried that demand will remain subdued in Europe as well,” Phil Streible, a senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “There are very few fundamental reasons for prices to rally.”

On Tuesday, the LME index dropped 0.6 percent to 2,600.7.

Copper for delivery in three months fell 0.4 percent to settle at $5,765 a metric ton ($2.615 a pound) at 5:50 p.m. in London. This quarter, the price tumbled 4.6 percent, the fourth straight loss and the longest slump since September 2001.

Nickel climbed 1.2 percent to $11,980 a ton on Tuesday. Earlier, the price plunged as much as 8.8 percent to $10,795, the lowest since April 2009. In the second quarter, the metal fell 3.3 percent, the fourth consecutive drop and the longest slump since March 2009.

Aluminum, lead, zinc and tin declined on Tuesday.

In the second quarter, lead fell for the fourth consecutive time, the longest slump in 18 years. Aluminum and zinc dropped for the third straight time, the longest skid in two years. Tin declined for the fifth consecutive time, the longest slide since September 2001.

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for September delivery fell 0.7 percent to $2.615 a pound.

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