Nickel Prices Reach Four-Week High on Philippine Supply Concerns

Sep 03, 2014 1:32 pm ET

Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Nickel climbed to the highest in almost four weeks after a Philippine lawmaker filed a bill to require all mined minerals to be processed before export.

Prices have surged 37 percent this year after Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer of the mined metal, implemented a similar ban in January. The Philippines accounted for about 9 percent of global mined supplies last year, according to Jessica Fung, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets.

Today’s gain is “related to the potential prospect of the Philippines introducing a similar type of export ban as Indonesia,” Nicholas Snowdon, metals analyst at Standard Chartered, said in a telephone interview from London. “Nickel pig-iron producers had planned on relying on ore from the Philippines.”

Nickel for delivery in three months gained 2.8 percent to settle at $19,075 a metric ton at 5:50 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange, after touching $19,085, the highest since Aug. 7.

Copper for three-month delivery on the LME declined 0.9 percent to $6,904 a ton ($3.13 a pound). On the Comex, copper futures for delivery in December fell 0.9 percent to $3.127 a pound in New York.

Aluminum, tin, zinc and lead also dropped on the LME.