Nickel Holds Advance After Biggest Two-Day Gain in a Month

Nickel held the biggest two-day advance in a month, leading gains among the six main metals on the London Metal Exchange.

Nickel was little changed after surging 4.2 percent in the two days through yesterday, the most since Sept. 4, after U.S. jobs data beat expectations. Prices are up 2.5 percent this month after tumbling 13 percent in September, the largest drop in three years. The metal will recover partly as a result of rising production costs caused by Indonesia’s ore-export ban, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a report Oct. 2.

“Markets are refocusing on nickel’s strong fundamentals,” said Gavin Wendt, founder and senior resource analyst at Mine Life Pty in Sydney. “The supply headwinds for nickel over the next few years are very real and Indonesia’s export ban will lead to a resumption in the metal’s price climb.”

Nickel for delivery in three months gained as much as $135 to $16,835 a ton on the LME and was at $16,725 by 1:51 p.m. in Hong Kong. The metal is up 20 percent this year, the most among the six main metals on the exchange, after Indonesia started its ban on exports of unprocessed ore in January.

Copper in London climbed 0.1 percent to $6,716 a ton, while in New York the metal for delivery in December rose 0.2 percent to $3.04 a pound. Trading on the Shanghai Futures Exchange will resume tomorrow after a week-long public holiday.

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent in September, the lowest since July 2008, the Labor Department said Oct. 3. Employers added 248,000 workers to payrolls last month, more than the 215,000 forecast in a Bloomberg survey. The nation is the second-largest consumer of metals.

On the LME, aluminum, zinc and lead rose, while tin was little changed.

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