METALS-Nickel scales nearly 5-month high on strong demand, steel prices

Credit: REUTERS/Yusuf Ahmad

July 16 (Reuters) - Nickel prices climbed on Friday to their highest in nearly five months, tracking strong gains in stainless steel, while demand for the metal remained solid amid tight supply.

Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange CMNI3 rose as much as 2.3% to $19,205 a tonne, its highest since Feb. 25.

The most-traded August nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange SNIcv1 climbed as much as 3.1% to 142,950 yuan ($22,110.34) a tonne, a level unseen since Feb. 26.

While nickel demand for electric vehicle batteries is forecast to climb in the coming years, stainless steel still accounts for the bulk of the metal's consumption.

Chinese stainless steel futures surged more than 5% to an all-time high on strong consumption and raw material supply crunch, while concerns over output cut in the steel sector also supported prices.

ShFE nickel inventories NI-STX-SGH were last at 7,555 tonnes, down 58% year-to-date and tumbling 74% from the same time last year.

Meanwhile, China's nickel cathode output fell 4.4% year-on-year to 79,400 tonnes in January-June, state-backed research house Antaike said, adding output in the second half was expected to reach 88,000 tonnes.


* LME copper CMCU3 rose 0.1% to $9,495 a tonne, aluminium CMAL3 edged up 0.3% to $2,525 a tonne, and tin CMSN3 jumped as much as 1.4% to $33,590 a tonne, its highest since April 2011.

* ShFE copper SCFcv1 advanced 1.2% to 69,380 yuan a tonne, tin SSNcv1 hit a record high of 228,500 yuan a tonne, and zinc SZNcv1 increased 1.9% to 22,355 yuan a tonne.

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* Asian shares headed lower as profit-taking in Taiwanese chip giant TSMC, despite record profits, weighed on other tech firms and broader risk sentiment, while a more dovish U.S. rates outlook kept bond yields near multi-month lows. MKTS/GLOB DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

0900 EU HICP Final MM, YY June

1230 US Retail Sales MM June

1400 US U Mich Sentiment Prelim July

($1 = 6.4653 yuan)

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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