Nickel surged to the highest level in more than two years, and copper chalked up its best mark since 2014, as bets on tighter markets, especially in top consumer China, keep most metals buoyant after their longest run of weekly gains in a decade.
Nickel advanced as much as 2.9 percent to $12,380 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, its highest since June 2015, before trading at $12,135 by 3:43 p.m. in Shanghai. Copper climbed as much as 1.3 percent to $6,920.25 a ton. Most metals rose after the LME Index of six contracts capped an eight-week advance last Friday”•one short of a record run in 2006.
“It certainly feels like there is a broad resetting of expectations that are driving the metals at the moment,” Daniel Hynes, senior commodities strategist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., said by phone from Sydney. “I was in China last week and I got the very strong impression that the environmental push is having a pretty profound impact, and that’s not something that’s going to fall away quickly.”
The gains weren’t uniform, however, with aluminum falling in London and on the Shanghai Futures Exchange. Blooomberg
Industrial metals have been buoyed by sustained demand growth and restrained supply. In China, environmental inspections and planned anti-pollution curbs on steel and aluminum have stoked expectations of shortages. Gains are also fueled by a weaker dollar, a stronger Chinese currency, and a super-charged steel market in China that’s steering sentiment for other commodities.
Hot-rolled coil, a major steel product, reached a fresh record on the SHFE, closing 0.8 percent higher. The steel rally has a “blow-on” effect on the whole metals sector, Hynes said. “To an extent they are related by demand, so it’s not surprising they get pulled along.”
Miners are gaining from the metals surge, with the Bloomberg World Mining Index of shares rising for an 11th day to the highest since September 2014, with top Chinese producer Jiangxi Copper Co. adding 3.2 percent in Shanghai and copper-zinc miner MMG Ltd. rising 3.9 percent in Hong Kong.