METALS-Nickel hits highest since 2014 as stockpiles dwindle
By Peter Hobson
LONDON, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Nickel prices rose to their highest since 2014 on Thursday as strong demand eats into stockpiles held in the London Metal Exchange (LME) warehouse system.
Other industrial metals also rose and aluminium reached a 13-year high on concerns over supply.
Benchmark LME nickel CMNI3 was up 2.2% at $20,150 a tonne at 1100 GMT after touching $20,255, its highest since May 2014.
Nickel is used in stainless steel and also in batteries that power electric vehicles, demand for which is expected to grow.
"The demand side is pretty robust (and) supply is tight because of earlier lockdowns, particulary in places like Indonesia," said independent analyst Robin Bhar.
"We've seen LME and Shanghai stockpiles being drawn down as a result," he added, predicting that nickel would rise above its 2014 peak of $21,625.
NICKEL STOCKS: Inventories in LME-registered warehouses have fallen to 181,368 tonnes from more than 260,000 tonnes in April. MNISTX-TOTAL
Stocks in Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) warehouses - at less than 6,000 tonnes - are down from about 30,000 tonnes a year ago. NI-STX-SGH
SPREAD: The premium for cash nickel over three-month metal on the LME surged to a two-year high of $100 a tonne this month before easing to about $10. A premium suggests tight supply. CMNI0-3
MARKETS/ECB: Global equities slipped for a third day, with the European Central Bank announcing it will reduce its stimulus slightly. The dollar also edged lower. MKTS/GLOBFRX/
CHINA: In top metals consumer China, factory gate inflation hit a 13-year high and a Reuters poll showed new yuan loans are likely to have rebounded in August.
COAL: China's benchmark metallurgical coal and coke futures surged to record highs.
ALUMINIUM: "We see the global aluminium market recording a deficit of around 750k tonnes in 2021," said analysts at ANZ, predicting a more blanced market next year.
Benchmark LME aluminium CMAL3 was up 1.2% at $2,827 a tonne after touching $2,848, its highest since 2008.
OTHER METALS: Copper CMCU3 was up 1.4% at $9,379 a tonne, zinc CMZN3 rose 0.7% to $3,083, lead CMPB3 was flat at $2,278 and tin CMSN3 rose 2.8% to $33,125.
(Reporting by Peter Hobson Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi Editing by David Goodman )
((Peter.Hobson@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 0083;))
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