Column: LME nickel limps back but tensions are not going away – by Andy Home (Reuters – March 25, 2022)

LONDON, March 25 (Reuters) – London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month nickel is currently trading at $35,150 per tonne. This is in itself something of an achievement for the exchange. It’s not been easy restarting the London nickel market after its March 8 breakdown and ensuing week-long suspension.

Since trading resumed on March 16 we’ve had four limit-down days and two limit-up days, briefly interrupted by a day of almost normal trading on March 22. Official and closing prices have been declared “disruption events” six times.

The LME, new to price limits, has been learning as it goes. It’s had to incrementally widen nickel’s price band from 5% to 15% and on Thursday banned the placing of orders outside of the limits to stop traders gaming the system.

It seems to be working. Nickel traded a wide $34,500-40,700 range on Friday morning but held within the lower limit at $31,650 and the upper limit at $42,820 per tonne. Whether such orderly conduct will last the full day remains to be seen.

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