Nickel Leads Metals Lower on Demand Concerns as Oil Retreats

  • Crude touches three-month low in New York on plentiful supply
  • Aluminum stockpiles in Busan, South Korea reach a record

Nickel and zinc fell to one-week lows as weaker oil prices heightened concerns over the health of the global economy.

Oil closed at the lowest since April in New York amid speculation that fuel stockpiles increased in the U.S., the world’s biggest fuel-consuming nation. Weaker oil prices cut mining costs and reduce the price floor for metal production.

Metals also retreated as investors took profits after prices of some metals reached multi-month highs, according to Commerzbank AG. The decline in most industrial metals comes a day before the Federal Reserve announces its latest policy-making statement.

"There’s no question that in the last 24 hours, crude’s disappointing performance has brought the other commodities with it,” Graham Leighton, a trader at Marex Spectron Group in New York, said in a telephone interview. “It’s the FOMC tomorrow, and while they’re not expecting anything on the interest rate front, my expectation is they’re expecting more hawkish comments, which is putting pressure on metals.”

Nickel for delivery in three months fell 1.2 percent to settle at $10,350 a metric ton at 5:59 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange. Prices declined as much as 2.3 percent intraday, touching the lowest since July 18, despite suggestions of an ore-export ban from the Philippines, the top miner, during a nationwide audit on mines.

"Given that the latest price rise of the metals was at least partly driven by speculation, correction potential had been built up," Daniel Briesemann, an analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt, said by e-mail. "We are currently seeing some profit-taking."

In other metals:

  • LME-tracked stockpiles of aluminum are expanding in Asia, with inventories in the region climbing to the highest since November 2013 as the metal reserves held in Busan, South Korea, reached a record.
  • Copper gained in London, while zinc, aluminum, tin and lead dropped.
  • Copper futures for September delivery climbed 0.4 percent to $2.2255 a pound on the Comex in New York.
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