Iron ore, nickel prices compete for best-in-show

nickel

High grade nickel ore in peridotite ultramafic rocks.

The iron ore price has reached six-month highs at $US156 ($212) per tonne (t) after it gained 8 per cent in five consecutive days of growth, mainly due to Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The milestone follows a relatively stable period of growth since iron ore’s most recent lows in mid-November at $84.50/t.

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) stated this positivity be maintained as current political tensions continue.

“If the Ukraine crisis persists and escalates, we could see further gains. Iron ore inventories are little changed over the past two weeks, at near-decade highs,” SGX stated.

“We expect China will try to limit further iron ore price increases by drawing down inventories in coming months.”

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has indicated the country is seeking “economic stability” and has begun boosting infrastructure spending following the end of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

China had reduced steel output to reduce emissions and pollution while all eyes were on Beijing, but with the Games complete, iron ore demand is expected to rise.

Nickel skyrockets

The nickel price has had an even stronger week than iron ore, due to Russia-Ukraine developments, as it had the biggest ever one-day increase of the six base metals (nickel, tin, copper, aluminium, zinc, lead) on the London Metals Exchange (LME).

The three-month nickel price rose more than 47 per cent per cent over the weekend on the LME, moving from $US28,650/t ($39,083/t) to $42,200/t.

An LME spokesperson said the Exchange was aware of the unprecedented spike and would put measures in place to ensure liquidity.

“We note the large price move in nickel over the weekend and are monitoring all metals closely to ensure market activity remains orderly,” the spokesperson said.

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