LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) – The London Metal Exchange (LME) halted nickel trading on its electronic system almost immediately on Wednesday in a chaotic resumption of business for a market that has been in limbo for over a week.
LME nickel prices are used as a reference for deals between end-users of the metal and producers and the disorderly reopening left some traders questioning whether participants might look for alternative venues.
In an attempt to prevent wild price swings, the LME introduced limits of 5% above or below the last closing price but it said technical issues allowed a small number of trades to go through below Wednesday’s new lower limit.
“What a mess. It’s embarrassing, disorderly doesn’t even begin to describe it,” one metals trader said. “People will start thinking about moving away from the LME.” The LME nickel market was suspended on March 8 after China’s Tsingshan Holding Group bought large amounts of nickel, propelling the metal up more than 50% in a matter of hours to a record above $100,000 a tonne, sources have said.
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