SYDNEY/MELBOURNE – Oct 13 Nickel prices have rebounded after dropping to a near seven-year low last week, buoyed by market speculation that heavily indebted miner and trader Glencore Plc could curb output following cuts to its copper and zinc production.
Glencore is the world’s fifth-biggest producer of nickel, with operations in Australia, Canada, Norway, New Caledonia, and Dominican Republic, much of which was acquired in its 2013 takeover of Xstrata.
Glencore, whose shares have been hammered by worries about its debt burden, declined to comment on the speculation.
“In nickel, as in copper and zinc, an output cut by Glencore could have an immense impact,” said Minelife commodities analyst Gavin Wendt.
“It would not only send the right message to Glencore’s investors and bankers, it would be saving the company money and probably lift the nickel price in the process.”
London Metal Exchange nickel stood at $10,460 a tonne on Tuesday, 15 percent above the $9,100 it fetched on Aug. 12, its lowest price since December 2008.
That is despite a mammoth 440,000 tonnes of nickel stocks in LME warehouses in a 2-million-tonnes-a-year market.
UBS analyst Daniel Morgan estimates that 50 percent of the world’s nickel is being produced at a loss at close to today’s price – among the most extreme across mined commodities.
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