Nickel, Tin Prices Gain on Mounting Indonesia Supply Concerns

Nickel prices rose in London, pacing gains among industrial metals, as investors added to bets on rising prices amid mounting Indonesian supply concerns.

Nickel open interest has climbed to a record. The number of outstanding contracts for the six main metals traded in London rose 1.3 percent between Dec. 5 and Dec. 9 as prices gained 1.2 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer of mined nickel and the top tin exporter, plans to ban raw-mineral exports after Jan. 12.

“Speculators started trimming shorts and adding longs,” Andrey Kryuchenkov, a London-based analyst at VTB Capital, said in a report. “The Indonesian ban on ore exports from January spooked the market as the country is permanently seeking to boost its domestic-smelting capacity and increase the value of its mineral exports,” benefiting nickel, tin and aluminum, he said.

Nickel for delivery in three months gained 0.7 percent to settle at $14,030 a metric ton at 5:50 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange. Tin climbed for the fifth time in six sessions, and aluminum rose for the fourth straight day, the longest rally in 10 weeks.

Copper stockpiles monitored by the LME dropped below 400,000 tons for the first time since February, falling for the 28th straight session. Orders to remove the metal from warehouses fell 0.7 percent to 268,100 tons.

Copper for delivery in three months rose 0.9 percent to $7,220 a ton ($3.27 a pound). Zinc and lead gained.

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for March delivery climbed 0.9 percent to $3.295 a pound. Earlier, the price reached $3.2955, the highest for a most-active contract since Nov. 4.

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