Nickel Gains on China Stimulus Speculation, Indonesia Ore Ban

Aug 14, 2014 3:21 am ET

Aug. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Nickel rose for the third time in four days on speculation that China, the world’s biggest user of industrial metals, will take further steps to support growth and as Indonesia held firm on its export ban on unprocessed ore.

The metal for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange advanced as much as 0.8 percent to $18,710 a metric ton and was at $18,645 by 4:02 p.m. in Tokyo. Prices are up 34 percent this year, the most among six main metals on the LME.

Barclays Plc forecast two interest-rate cuts in China before the end of the year after the People’s Bank of China reported yesterday the lowest level for its broad financing measure since 2008. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. said a reduction in banks’ reserve requirements is imminent.

“Investors were betting on anticipation of the Chinese government’s further measures to meet this year’s growth target of 7.5 percent,” said Hiroyuki Kikukawa, the general manager of research at Nihon Unicom Inc. in Tokyo. Nickel was supported after the new government in Indonesia, the top producer of the metal from mines, reiterated that it will keep the ore export ban in place, he said.

Copper in London fell 0.1 percent to $6,877.50 a ton, down for a third day, while the metal for December delivery in New York was little changed at $3.133 a pound. The October contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange lost 0.8 percent to close at 48,920 yuan ($7,950) a ton.

China’s copper output rose 1.8 percent from a month earlier to 634,000 tons in July, the highest since November, data from the statistics bureau showed today. That compared with 533,000 tons a year earlier.

On the LME, zinc lost 0.3 percent to $2,277 a ton after falling 2 percent yesterday, the most since June 12. Lead, tin and aluminum fell.