Nickel prices slid on Wednesday, with the Shanghai benchmark hitting its lowest in more than four months, on concerns that an expanded and longer trade war may dent demand for the key ingredient in stainless steel and electric vehicle batteries.
Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange fell 1.1% to $13,225 a tonne, by 0326 GMT, extending declines from Tuesday.
The most-traded nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slumped as much as 4.6% to 103,360 yuan ($14,684.11) a tonne, falling for a seventh consecutive session to hit its weakest since July 29.
After announcing tariffs on steel and aluminium from Argentina and Brazil and threatening duties on French goods, U.S. President Donald Trump suggested that a trade deal with China may come only after the November 2020 U.S. election.
While nickel is the only base metal with gains this year, “current actions over global tariffs have changed the driving force behind this…price performance”, said Natalie Scott-Gray, senior metals analyst at INTL FCStone.
“These actions have transformed nickel’s story of heightened supply concerns in Q3, to one more commonly associated with its base metal group characteristics, of weak demand,” she said.
TRADE DEAL: U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Tuesday rejected any deadlines on a trade deal with China and launched a fresh attack on telecoms company Huawei, further dimming hopes for an end to a 17-month trade war that has slowed global growth.
COPPER: Low inventories across the copper supply chain mean that any resolution to the U.S.-China trade war could trigger a snap rally in prices as consumers rush to restock, market participants said.
GLENCORE: Glencore could announce a new chief executive next year once a new management team is in place, its current boss told an investor meeting as the commodities giant laid out its priorities for 2020.
RIO: Rio Tinto Plc said it would spend $1.5 billion to expand its Kennecott copper mine in Utah, part of a growing trend by miners to invest in strategic mineral projects across the United States.