Nickel prices soar on Russia tension, tight supply

A nickel electrolysis workshop at Kola Mining and Metallurgical Company in Russia, February 25, 2021. (Photo: CFP)

Nickel surged Monday to the highest price in more than 10 years, driven by simmering Ukraine-Russia tensions and tight supplies.

The industrial metal forged $24,610 per tonne, the highest level since 2011, in late morning deals on the London Metal Exchange.

Marex broker Al Munro said nickel was "benefiting from the threat to Russian production" in an already tight market with demand up as economies reopen from pandemic lockdowns.

The price of the industrial metal, a key raw material in the manufacturing of stainless steel, has soared by nearly 20 percent since the start of the year.

"The Ukraine crisis continues to hang over metals prices," said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann.

However, he cautioned that aluminium and palladium prices had not risen to the same extent as nickel.

Russia is one of the world's largest producers of nickel, and of both aluminium and palladium.

"The nickel market still appears to be very tight" with stockpiles falling, Briesemann said.