Nickel Leads Drop in Metals as Crude Oil Slide Saps Commodities

  • Bloomberg World Mining Index heads for fifth day of losses
  • Crude falls more than 3% as IEA changes view on surplus

Nickel capped its biggest two-day drop in a month, leading declines in industrial metals, as a decline in crude oil dragged down commodities and equities. A gauge of mining-company shares sagged to the lowest since July, paced by Freeport-McMoRan Inc.

Crude fell as much as 3.3 percent as the International Energy Agency said a surplus will last longer than previously thought. Lower energy prices help reduce production costs, deterring miners from trimming output amid ample supply of some metals. Equities also retreated following gains on Monday, which came after Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard damped expectations for an interest-rate increase at next week’s Fed meeting.

“Industrial metals led by zinc and nickel are easing as crude slumps and stocks give back yesterday’s Brainard boost,” Tai Wong, the director of commodity products trading at BMO Capital Markets in New York, said in an e-mail.

Nickel for delivery in three months slid 2.2 percent to settle at $9,860 a metric ton at 5:56 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange. The 4.9 percent decline in two days was biggest such drop since Aug. 12.

Aluminum and zinc also fell on the LME, while lead and copper gained. Tin was unchanged.

A Bloomberg Intelligence index of 18 metals producers fell more than 3 percent to the lowest since July 26, led by declines in Freeport and Vale SA. Phoenix-based Freeport’s 8.6 percent slide was also the third largest drop in the S&P 500 Index.

Most metals were up earlier after reports showing gains in China’s industrial production retail sales and fixed-asset investment.

In other metals news:

  • The Bloomberg World Mining Index dropped 2.3 percent, declining a fifth straight day for the longest stretch of losses since March.
  • Copper futures for December delivery added 0.1 percent to $2.1015 a pound on the Comex in New York.
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