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Nickel jumps to near 9-month peak Philippine supply worries

LONDON, Aug 17 (Reuters) – Nickel prices surged on Monday to the highest in nearly nine months on concern about supply from major producer the Philippines.

Copper and the rest of the industrial metals also pushed higher after the central bank of top commodities consumer China injected fresh funds into the financial system.

“This remains a liquidity-driven market. Most investors are still expecting the Chinese economy to perform well in the future, so they see good reason to stick to the bullish side of the market,” said Gianclaudio Torlizzi, a partner at consultancy T-Commodity in Milan.

Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange was up 1.8% at $14,625 a tonne by 1035 GMT after hitting $14,665, the strongest since Nov. 25, 2019.

Nickel ore output from the Philippines, the world’s biggest exporter of the material, dropped 28% year-on-year to 102,310 tonnes by metal content in January-June, data showed.


* Also supporting nickel were strong ShFE stainless steel futures , which climbed as much as 4.2% to 14,775 yuan a tonne. Most nickel is used as an alloy to make stainless steel.

* Nickel ore prices at Philippine ports were hovering at their highest level in eight and a half months at $10.25 a tonne, data from metals prices provider SMM showed.

* LME copper added 0.7% to $6,408.50 a tonne, but Torlizzi was wary of the strong recent gains in the metal, which has rebounded 47% since March, and has taken out a short position. “We think the risk of being long here is high and is very vulnerable to disappointment.”

* LME copper stocks sank to the lowest levels in over 12 years to 110,000 tonnes.

* LME zinc climbed to the highest in nearly seven months at $2,432 a tonne, before paring gains to $2,417, up 2.1%. Aluminium rose 0.7% to $1,758, lead gained 0.5% to $1,960 and tin edged up 0.1% to $17,615.


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