December 4, 2019 / 7:41 AM / in 6 months

METALS-Nickel falls on trade fears, China stainless steel oversupply

 (Adds more comments, updates prices)
    MANILA, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Nickel prices slid on Wednesday,
with the Shanghai benchmark hitting its lowest in more than four
months, on concerns that an expanded and longer trade war may
dent demand for the key ingredient in stainless steel and
electric vehicle batteries.
    Stainless steel oversupply in China, the world's top metals
consumer, has also pressured nickel prices.
    After announcing tariffs on steel and aluminium from
Argentina and Brazil and threatening duties on French goods,
U.S. President Donald Trump suggested that a trade deal with
China may come only after the November 2020 U.S. election.
    Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange         fell
1.3% to $13,200 a tonne, by 0715 GMT, extending declines from
    The most-traded nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures
Exchange          ended down 4.0% at 104,020 yuan ($14,777.88) a
tonne, the seventh consecutive session of declines and its
weakest since July 29.
    Nickel is the only base metal with gains this year, but
"current actions over global tariffs have changed the driving
force behind this...price performance", said Natalie Scott-Gray,
senior metals analyst at INTL FCStone.
    "These actions have transformed nickel's story of heightened
supply concerns in Q3, to one more commonly associated with its
base metal group characteristics, of weak demand," she said.
    Prices of stainless steel continued to decline in China,
while inventory remains at a high level, driving nickel prices
lower, said Helen Lau, an analyst at Argonaut Securities.
    TRADE DEAL: U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Tuesday
rejected any deadlines on a trade deal with China and launched a
fresh attack on Chinese telecoms company Huawei         .
    UIGHUR BILL: Trump's comments that a trade agreement with
China may have to wait until late 2020 and a House of
Representatives bill targeting camps for Muslims in Xinjiang
have cast doubt on a near-term deal to end the trade
    COPPER: Low inventories across the copper supply chain mean
that any resolution to the U.S.-China trade war could trigger a
snap rally in prices as consumers rush to restock, market
participants said.             
    OTHER METAL PRICES: LME copper         was up 0.1%, while
Shanghai copper slipped 0.3%. LME zinc         rose 1.1% and
Shanghai zinc          gained 0.4%.

    Three month LME copper                  
    Most active ShFE copper                  
    Three month LME aluminium               
    Most active ShFE aluminium               
    Three month LME zinc                    
    Most active ShFE zinc                    
    Three month LME lead                    
    Most active ShFE lead                    
    Three month LME nickel                 
    Most active ShFE nickel                   
    Three month LME tin                     
    Most active ShFE tin                             

    ($1 = 7.0389 yuan)

 (Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz, Editing by Uttaresh.V and
Sriraj Kalluvila)
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