Nickel headed for a third weekly advance on speculation that a global surplus will shrink amid a ban on exports of unprocessed ore in Indonesia and as U.S. manufacturing beat estimates.
The contract for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange added 0.3 percent to $14,410 a metric ton at 11:39 a.m. in Tokyo. The metal has risen 1.1 percent this week. Futures touched $14,652 on Feb. 19, the highest since Jan. 24.
Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of the ore from mines. Chinese government agencies and domestic producers met last week to consider ways to counter the impact of the Jan. 12 ban, which is choking off supply to its nickel pig iron smelters. The Markit Economics preliminary index of U.S. manufacturing increased to 56.7 in February, surpassing economists’ estimates.
“Nickel supplies will definitely be cut as Indonesia restricts shipments,” said Chae Un Soo, a metals trader at Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co. in Seoul. U.S. factory output also gave metals a boost, he said.
Copper in London was little changed at $7,162 a ton. The contract for May delivery on the Comex in New York was little changed at $3.2625 a pound. The metal for delivery in May on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.4 percent to 50,570 yuan ($8,301) a ton.
On the LME, zinc and lead also climbed, while aluminum was little changed. Tin hadn’t traded.