SHANGHAI, Mar. 24 (SMM) -- LME nickel for delivery in three months opened at USD 26,350/mt and closed at USD 26,850/mt overnight, up by USD 450/mt from a day earlier, with the highest price at USD 26,900/mt and the lowest price at USD 26,349/mt. Daily trading volumes were 1,961 lots and positions were 106,342 lots. LME nickel inventories were down by 426 mt to 124,038 mt.
LME base metal largely ended with gains on Wednesday from market expectation that metal demand will increase in the medium term, despite slight rebound of the US dollar. LME nickel prices fluctuated higher to point recent short-term target, but failed to break through 60-day moving average.
Prospect of construction-driven demand will continue lend support for certain base metals. However, the specific economic losses caused by Japan's disaster remain unknown.
The US Ministry of Commerce announced on Wednesday that the US new home sales in February were done sharply by 16.9% from a month earlier, with an annualized rate at the lowest of 250,000 units and previous estimation at 290,000 units, but this figure didn't weigh on base metal prices. Although the US home and commercial building construction industries are still very weak, the US economy is improving, pushing copper prices near record high. Meanwhile, exports and consumer spending is improving, and the auto industry is also robust, requiring more demand for copper.
Investors' focus is shifting to bright demand prospect and positive factors, thus LME copper take the lead to rebound among other base metals. Close attention should be paid to Japan's imports and exports data in February. SMM expects, LME nickel prices will continue to test 60-day moving average, with resistant at USD 27,000/mt and support at USD 26,000/mt.
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