Nickel Prices Surge as FBI Comments Boost Risk Appetite – by Biman Mukherji (Wall Street Journal – November 7, 2016)

Nickel prices soared in Asian trading on Monday, leading broad gains in base metals as risk appetite improved after the Federal Bureau of Investigation said no new evidence has been found to warrant charges against U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Three-month nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange were up 4.5% at $10,930 per ton, while copper futures rose 1.5% to $5,067 per ton Monday. Unlike on Chinese exchanges, it is unusual to see such a large movement in one day on the London Metal Exchange. Nickel prices have risen about 45% from the start of the year on the London Metal Exchange.

Metal prices tend to trade in line with equities, particularly among Chinese investors who often use them as a proxy for trading stocks. Investors had sold both metals and equities when FBI Director James Comey told Congress late last month that the agency had uncovered new evidence believed related to Mrs. Clinton’s private email server on a laptop belonging to the estranged husband of aide Huma Abedin.

A potential victory for Mrs. Clinton on Tuesday is seen as being less disruptive for markets and therefore more supportive of an increase in U.S. interest rate in December.

“The investment sentiment in metals has improved after the FBI director’s [most recent] statement,” said Gnanasekar Thiagarajan, director of Commtrendz Risk Management. Japan’s Nikkei was last up 1.5%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up 0.5%, South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.7% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 1.3%.

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