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LME says doubts it will resume nickel trading before March 11

Highlights

Continued uncertainties in the broader market

Credit conditions in commodities markets under stress

Resumption date to be provided by 1400 GMT on prior business day

  • Author
  • Jacqueline Holman
  • Editor
  • Richard Rubin
  • Commodity
  • Metals

The London Metals Exchange, which suspended its nickel trading March 8, does not expect it to resume any earlier than March 11, saying it was not appropriate to announce a resumption date given the uncertainties in the broader market related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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The LME suspended trade after its three-month spot nickel price hit a record high $101,365/mt in early trading, after closing at $48,078/mt on March 7. It had dropped back to $80,000/mt as of 0815 GMT when the suspension took effect. After the suspension, the LME also cancelled all trades executed on or after 0000 GMT on March 8 in the inter-office market and on LMEselect until further notice.

The LME said in the later update that criteria for reopening included operational procedures to effect a safe reopening and analysis of the possibility of "netting-off long and short positions" prior to reopening..

"At the current time, all clearing members have met their margin requirements to LME Clear in full," it said. "However, the LME understands that credit conditions in the broader commodities markets have been placed under stress due to geopolitical events and rising prices."

The LME aims to provide a resumption date no later than 1400 GMT on the prior business day, it said, adding that nickel delivery positions would continue to roll forward at level until delivery recommences, on the first settlement business day after the resumption date. It also decided to defer delivery of all physically settled nickel contracts due for delivery on March 9, as well as any subsequent prompt date in relation to which delivery was deemed to be not practicable owing to the trading suspension.

The exchange also said March 8 it would temporarily cease to publish official prices and closing prices for nickel contracts for the duration of the trading suspension, although its systems would continue to generate values for these prices.

The LME said that while its other metals contracts would continue to trade as normal, it would be closely monitored.

A number of Western nations have imposed sanctions on Russia due to its military invasion of Ukraine, which has resulted in Russian commodity companies becoming increasingly isolated in international financial markets.

On March 5, the London Stock Exchange suspended trade of global depository receipts of a number of Russian companies, one of which is Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest refined nickel producer. Overall, Russia produces around 7% of global nickel supplies.