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Nickel rises as ore supply from Philippines falls

Nickel prices jumped on Monday, with Shanghai futures of the metal on track for their third straight session of gains, as ore output in the Philippines slumped due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The most-traded October nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed 1.9% to 115,290 yuan ($16,613.59) a tonne by 0532 GMT, while three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange rose 1.1% to $14,520 a tonne.

Nickel content of ores extracted by miners in the Philippines, the world’s biggest exporter of the material, dropped 28% year-on-year to 102,310 tonnes in the first half of 2020, data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau showed.

However, the two biggest nickel miners in the Philippines said they do not expect further major disruptions to their operations for the remainder of the year, even as coronavirus cases surge in the country.

A series of upbeat economic data released this month from top consumer China also supported prices, with rising auto sales and factory activity suggesting that the economy was recovering from coronavirus-driven lows.

“Seems that nickel price is still stimulated by optimism from good (Chinese) industry numbers,” said a nickel trader, adding that the current rainy season in the Philippines could impact supply.

Nickel ore prices at Philippine ports SMM-NIC-NLOLYGP were hovering at their highest level in eight and a half months at $10.25 a tonne, data from metals prices provider SMM showed.
FUNDAMENTALS

* ShFE stainless steel futures climbed as much as 4.2% to 14,775 yuan a tonne.

* China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd is developing a new type of electric vehicle battery that contains no nickel or cobalt.

* LME copper advanced 0.6% to $6,402.50 a tonne, aluminium rose 0.2% to $1,749.50 a tonne, while ShFE copper increased 1.2% to 50,490 yuan a tonne and ShFE aluminium eased 0.5% to 14,305 yuan a tonne.

Source: Reuters (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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