Metals prices on the rise including nickel, copper, gold and iron ore

A range of metals have made price gains during trading this week including nickel, which shot up by 5% yesterday as a supply shortage forced traders to pay huge premiums to get access to the strategic metal.

Benchmark nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) reached US$23,220 a tonne on Wednesday on the way to an 11-year price high. Nickel is up around 11% this year after rising 25% in 2021 and 18% in 2020.

The metal is coveted by electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers owing to its properties in boosting energy storage in a battery’s cathode, which in turn extends an EV’s range. Last week, major auto maker Tesla signed a nickel supply deal with US miner Talon Metals Corp, as it seeks to gain strategic access to the in-demand metal.

Elsewhere, the copper price rose on Wednesday based on stimulus hopes in China. Delivery contracts for March were trading 2.3% higher at $9,856 a tonne on the Comex market in New York.

The economy of China, the world’s biggest metals importer, has suffered from a slowdown in recent months which has led to the central bank this week cutting its policy interest rate for the first time in almost two years, signalling the beginning of an easing cycle.

The iron ore price also benefited from China’s policy shift, with futures in Singapore exceeding the $130 a tonne mark after a 3% climb.

Gold prices also rose to their highest in two months as yields fell across the US Treasury curve and the dollar weakened. Gold has mostly held above $1,800 per ounce in January.

The broad-based price highs in the commodities market this week comes after BlackRock’s Evy Hambro declared that prices may stay high for decades as miners struggle to keep up with demand for metals essential to the clean energy transition.