Nickel Falls Most in Eight Weeks on Philippines Supply Outlook

Updated on
  • Asian nation may take time to close substandard nickel mines
  • Base metals fall in London as global economic concerns mount

Nickel fell the most in eight weeks on speculation that the government may take longer than expected to close mines that don’t meet environmental rules in the Philippines, the biggest supplier of ore to China.

The metal used in stainless steel advanced 12 percent last month on concern that shipments from the Philippines to China will be disrupted as a new government enforces standards. While Environment Secretary Gina Lopez said an audit of mining operations will be completed in three to four weeks, speculation mounted on the timing of any closures.

“Now doubts have arisen as to whether those mines in the Philippines that are failing to meet the necessary environmental standards could really be shut down in the near future,” Commerzbank AG analysts including Daniel Briesemann said in a note.

Nickel for delivery in three months slipped 4.8 percent to settle at $9,705 a metric ton at 5:52 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange, the biggest loss since May 9.

‘Take Time’

“It will take time for the Philippines to eventually shut the mines and cut supplies,” Jia Zheng, a metal trader with Soochow Futures Co., said by phone from Shanghai. “Ultimately, China can diversify by purchasing from regions like Africa.”

Copper for delivery in three months slipped 1.6 percent in London. Zinc, lead and tin also declined on the LME, while aluminum rose.

A gauge of 18 global base metal producers tracked by Bloomberg Intelligence declined 3.9 percent, the first loss in more than a week. Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan Inc. led declines, slipping 8 percent.