Nickel climbed to a 14-month high in London on speculation supplies will be disrupted from Russia because of more discord in Ukraine.
The Geneva agreement last week between Russia, the second biggest producer of the refined metal, and Ukraine is nearing collapse after clashes in the country's east at the weekend. Indonesia, the largest producer of the metal from mines, imposed an export ban in January.
"Mounting tensions in Ukraine continued providing support for nickel," said Hwang Il Doo, a senior metals trader at Korea Exchange Bank Futures in Seoul.
Nickel for delivery in three months rose 1.9% to $18 260 a metric tonne by 9.18am on the London Metal Exchange (LME), after earlier today climbing to $18 282, the highest since February 18 2013. The metal has risen 31% this year, the most among the six main metals traded on the LME.
The nickel market will swing into a deficit this year for the first time since 2010 on Indonesia's ban, according to Toru Higo, the general manager of nickel sales and raw materials at Sumitomo Metal Mining Company.
Copper in London fell 0.5% to $6 618 a tonne, dropping for the first time in three days. Futures for July delivery dropped 0.4% to $3.0155 a pound on the Comex in New York, after declining 0.2% on Monday when the LME was closed. In Shanghai, prices dropped 0.4%.
In London, aluminum, lead and zinc climbed and tin was unchanged. – Bloomberg