Nickel Drops in Shanghai Catching Up With London After Break

  • Shanghai contract slumps most since July while London rises
  • China's trade shrank in January, spurring demand concern

Nickel dropped in China after a week-long Lunar New Year holiday, trading near its lowest since Shanghai started the contract in March 2015. Prices in London extended their advance from a 13-year low.

“Chinese production cuts in previous months were smaller than expected while demand was probably limited by overhauls at domestic stainless steel mills during New Year holidays,” said Zhang Yu, a senior analyst at Yongan Futures Co. in Hangzhou. Trade data showed local consumption remains weak, she said.

Futures for delivery in May dropped as much as 6.5 percent to 64,280 yuan ($9,787) a metric ton, the most since July, before trading at 66,040 yuan by the midday break. The metal used to prevent corrosion rose 3.8 percent in London, advancing for a second day, after falling to $7,550 last week, the lowest since 2003. Copper gained 1.8 percent.

China’s overseas shipments declined 11.2 percent in January in U.S. dollar terms from a year earlier, customs said Monday, compared with a 1.4 percent drop in December. Imports extended a stretch of declines to 15 months. The slide in exports suggests the yuan’s depreciation since August has yet to result in a sustained boost to competitiveness.

China’s imports of copper slumped in January, reversing an increase that may have helped push prices higher at the end of last year, customs data showed.

— With assistance by Alfred Cang

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