Nickel Reaches Six-Week High as U.S. Job Gains Boost Demand View

Jul 03, 2014 2:20 pm ET

July 3 (Bloomberg) -- Nickel advanced to the highest since May as the U.S. unemployment rate fell to the lowest in almost six years, signaling that stronger economies will boost demand amid supply curbs.

Employers added 288,000 jobs in June, taking the unemployment rate to 6.1 percent, the lowest since September 2008, figures from the Labor Department showed today. The median forecast a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 215,000 increase in payrolls. Nickel, used to make stainless steel, rallied 43 percent this year after Indonesia, the largest producer from mines, banned shipments of unprocessed ores.

“We’ve felt for some time that the market has some upside potential,” Michael Turek, a senior director at Newedge USA LLC in New York, said in a telephone interview. “Because of the compelling supply and demand story, we’re getting fresh capital coming into these markets.”

Nickel for delivery in three months rose 1.2 percent to $19,875 a metric ton at 5:50 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange, after reaching $19,990, the highest since May 20. Prices are up for a seventh session, the longest rally since April 14.

In China, the world’s largest user of industrial metals, manufacturing expanded in June at the fastest pace this year, a government report showed on July 1.

Copper for delivery in three months on the LME rose 0.7 percent to $7,175 a ton ($3.25) after touching $7,187.50, the highest since Feb. 19. The metal’s 14-day relative strength index rose above 70 for a second day, a level seen by analysts and traders who study charts as a sign prices are poised to fall.

Alumium also gained in London, while lead, zinc and tin fell.

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for delivery in September advanced 0.4 percent to $3.2795 a pound. Floor trading will be closed tomorrow for the Independence Day holiday.

--With assistance from Alfred Cang in Shanghai.