Nickel prices jump with talks of Indonesia export ban

Nickel prices shot up on August 8, touching a 16-month high on the London Metal Exchange and a record on the Shanghai Futures Exchange amid worries that major supplier Indonesia could soon ban exports of ore.

Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange rallied as much as 12.7 per cent to US$16,690 a tonne, its highest since April 2018. The contract eased later in the session to rise 6.6 per cent.

The most-traded nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rallied at its ceiling trading limit of 6 per cent to 124,890 yuan (US$17,733.00) a tonne, a record high.

Traders and analysts cited market chatter that major nickel ore supplier Indonesia, which also supplies tin, would move a ban to export ores to earlier than expected.

Indonesia relaxed the ban in 2017, but said at the time that it would last only five years and that exports would be restricted again in 2022.