SHANGHAI, Mar. 2 (SMM) -- LME nickel prices opened at USD 29,000/mt and closed at USD 28,775/mt, down by USD 200/mt from a day earlier, with the highest price at USD 29,220/mt and the lowest price at USD 28,658/mt. Daily trading volumes were 2,618 lots and positions were 102,469 lots.LME nickel inventories were up by 498 mt to 130,578 mt.
LME base metal prices largely ended with losses on Tuesday due to re-kindled concern that crude oil price surge may negatively affect global economy and also from stronger US dollar. LME nickel prices fluctuated narrowly during the Asian trading hours, but slipped after advancing during the evening trading hours, moving above all moving average but closing lower.
Market attention shifted to the Middle East again as oil price surge weighed on base metal prices again from protest movement in Iran and exacerbating violence in Libya.
Boosted by strong economic data from the US manufacture sector, the US dollar rebounded versus the euro. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernake's positive statement on economy also sent the US dollar higher.
Meanwhile, the mixed economic data released on Tuesday also weighed on base metal prices. The US Institute of Supply Management (ISM) released on Tuesday that PMI for February was 61.4, the highest since May 2004. The previous estimation was 61.0, and the reading was 60.8 in January. The US Department of Commerce announced that the US construction spending for January was down by 0.7% to an annualized rate of USD 791.82 billion. The previous estimation was down by 0.4%, and the revised date for December was down by 1.6%. China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing announced that official PMI for February fell from 52.9 in January to 52.2 in February, higher than estimation of 52.0. However, purchase price index was still high, with input price index for February at 70.1. HSBC PMI for February fell to a 7-month low, due to slower growth in manufacture sector, relatively slow growth of new orders and rapid growth of input price index to a 3-month high.
Affected by recent political unrest, recent base metal prices may be more volatile. At present, LME nickel prices receive support at USD 28,000/mt and point to USD 29,000/mt.
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