Wednesday, May 18

LME aluminum jumps 5% on fears of Russia supply disruptions


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London aluminum prices jumped as much as 5.2% on Wednesday as the heightened conflict in eastern Europe and further sanctions on major supplier Russia caused logistics issues and threatened to disrupt global supply.

Three-month aluminum on the London Metal Exchange was up 2.3% at $3,577.5 a tonne, as of 0310 GMT.

Russia, which produces about 6% of the world’s aluminum and supplies nearly 10% of its nickel needs, is also a major producer of natural gas used to generate electricity that powers aluminum production.

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Meanwhile, the LME suspended nickel trading on Tuesday, after prices doubled to more than $100,000 per tonne in a surge sources blamed on short-covering by one of the world’s top producers.

LME does not anticipate resuming nickel trading before March 11.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME copper rose 0.8% to $10,291 a tonne, lead gained 1.6% to $2,536.5, zinc was 1.2% higher at $4,186 and tin slipped 1.3% to $48,000.

* The most-traded April copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.8% to 72,920 yuan ($11,545.46) a tonne.

* ShFE aluminum slipped 4.6% to 22,020 yuan a tonne, zinc fell 2.4% to 26,400 yuan, lead dropped 1.8% to 15,435 yuan and tin rose 2.7% to 365,200 yuan. Nickel hit daily price limit of 17% to a record 267,700 yuan a tonne in early trade.

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* Stocks of aluminum in LME-registered warehouses were at 79,350 tonnes, hovering near their lowest levels since 2007.

* Inventories in Shanghai exchange warehouses have risen to 345,207 tonnes, their highest level since May 2021.

* China’s Shanghai Futures Exchange said on Tuesday it will take further measures to account for market conditions amid nickel price volatility in overseas futures markets, as one brokerage warned investors that they could be forced to reduce their positions.

* China’s producer prices in February rose at the slowest annual pace since June, official data showed on Wednesday, amid skyrocketing commodity prices, an uncertain global economy and resurgent domestic COVID-19 outbreaks.

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* Russia said it is ready to provide humanitarian corridors on Wednesday for people fleeing Kyiv and four other Ukrainian cities, as the number of refugees created by the biggest assault on a European country since World War Two surpassed 2 million. Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation.”

* For the top stories in metals and other news, click or

MARKETS NEWS

* Crude oil prices jumped while Asian stocks regained their footing as investors assessed the impact of a worsening conflict in Ukraine and a new US ban on Russian oil.

($1 = 6.3159 Chinese yuan ) (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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