Nickel Gains as Offical Says Indonesia Will Keep Ore Ban

Nickel rose for the first time in a week after a government official said the ore-export ban will be maintained in Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer of the mined metal.

Edi Prasodjo, a director at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, told a conference in Jakarta that the country was at the “point of no return” on the policy, implemented in January to help develop domestic smelting. Nickel will probably advance next year as the rule boosts costs and the market shifts to a supply deficit, Jim Lennon, a senior consultant to Macquarie Group Ltd., said at the gathering.

“The initial feedback from the Jakarta nickel conference is that the supply side appears more bullish, as the export ban is highly likely to remain,” Vicky Sanders, head of analytics sales at Marex Spectron Group in London, wrote in a note to clients.

Nickel for delivery in three months rose 0.6 percent to settle at $17,125 a metric ton at 5:50 p.m on the London Metal Exchange, capping its first advance since Sept. 16. The commodity earlier touched $16,483, the lowest since April 9.

Prices also gained on signs of demand from China, the biggest user. A preliminary manufacturing gauge from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics climbed to 50.5 in September, exceeding the median estimate of 50 in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Readings above 50 signal expansion.

“This is clearly allaying concerns about a more pronounced cooling of the Chinese economy,” according to a Commerzbank AG note.

Copper for delivery in three months slid less than 0.1 percent to $6,720 a ton ($3.05 a pound) in London. Lead, tin and zinc advanced on the LME, while aluminum fell.

An index of the six main metals traded on the LME is set for the biggest monthly drop in more than a year.

In New York, copper futures for December delivery dropped 0.1 percent to $3.035 a pound on the Comex, a fifth straight decline.

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