Nickel Rebounds as China Data Signal Improving Demand Outlook

Aug 01, 2014 3:35 am ET

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Nickel rebounded from the biggest monthly drop since November as stronger-than-expected manufacturing data in China, the largest metals consumer, signaled improving demand.

The metal for delivery in three months climbed as much as 1 percent on the London Metal Exchange to $18,695 a metric ton and traded at $18,638 at 3:03 p.m. in Hong Kong. Nickel dropped 2.4 percent yesterday and fell 2.8 percent in July.

China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index, a gauge of manufacturing demand, expanded in July at the fastest pace in more than two years to 51.7, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said today. The HSBC Plc and Markit Economics PMI final July reading was also 51.7. A level above 50 signals expansion.

The PMI data is “good news” for metals demand in China, said Chae Un Soo, a metals trader at Korea Exchange Bank Futures Ltd. “The PMI will help support the price.”

Nickel has climbed 34 percent this year, in part because Indonesia banned shipments of unprocessed ores in January, spurring concerns of tightening supply. Indonesia is the biggest producer of the metal from mines.

Copper in London rose 0.2 percent to $7,126.50 a ton. In New York, the futures contract for September added 0.4 percent to $3.244 a pound, while in Shanghai metal for October climbed 20 yuan to close at 50,530 yuan ($8,178) a ton.

On the LME, aluminum and lead climbed, while tin fell. Zinc was little changed.

--With assistance from Jae Hur in Tokyo.