SHANGHAI, Mar. 4 (SMM) -- LME nickel prices opened at USD 28,600/mt and closed at USD 28,725/mt overnight, up by USD 125/mt from a day earlier, with the highest price at USD 29,087/mt and the lowest price at USD 28,600/mt. Daily trading volumes were 2,101 lots and positions were 105,510 lots. LME nickel inventories were down by 402 mt to 130,014 mt.
LME base metal prices closed higher on Thursday, supported by firm equity market and decline in oil prices. Trading sentiment was sluggish in the Asian trading hours, suggesting strong wait-and-see sentiment. Prices slipped after rallying during the evening trading hours, and finally ended with sligt gains, largely moving above 5-10 day moving average.
The European Central Bank decided to keep interest rate unchanged at 1%, and Trichet stated that close attention will be paid to inflation in the euro zone and may hike interest rate in April. International society is making effort to calm political unrest in Libya, and it is reported that Gaddafi has already accept Venezuela president Hugo Chávez's proposal to end domestic crisis. The continuing unrest in the Libya may experience turning point. In response, panic sentiment waned and international oil prices fell from high on March 3. The initial jobless claim unexpectedly fell to 368,000, indicating that the US employment market is recovering. The US equity market rallied by 1.5-1.8%, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rallying by 191.40 points to 12258.20 points. In domestic market, the fourth session of the 11th National Committee of the CPPCC was held at 15:00 on March 3 at the Great Hall of the People, and market closely watches the latest movements of the meeting.
A senior official from Indonesia reported that a new nickel smelter at Halmahera island of North Maluku of Indonesia plans to be constructed from 2012. The smelter is expected to operate in 2017, and plans to produce 35 kt/yr of nickel during its first phase, and 65 kt/yr of nickel during the second phase.
Economic data indicated strong economy recovery, despite the Middle East unrest. Recent news was mixed, and fluctuation of base metals may widen. Currently, LME nickel prices meet short-term resistance at USD 29,000/mt, and support at USD 28,000/mt.
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