* Robust China trade data a promising sign for global growth
* Nerves hold over possible tapering of U.S. stimulus
* Indonesia tin shipments up 28 percent in November
* Indonesia seeks way around ore export ban
By Maytaal Angel and Eric Onstad
LONDON, Dec 9 Nickel prices shot up to the
highest levels in a month on Monday because of worries about the
impact of a planned Indonesian ban on ore exports while copper
rose due to upbeat Chinese trade data.
Three month nickel was the best performer of base
metals on the London Metal Exchange (LME), closing 1.4 percent
higher at $13,955 a tonne after touching the highest level since
Investors have become increasingly concerned about the
proposed ban due to start next month on ore exports from top
nickel producer Indonesia, despite signs that there may not be a
complete cut-off in shipments.
An Indonesian official said on Monday the government was
still seeking a way around a mineral ore export ban that the
country's parliament insists remains in place.
"The metal with the most direct leverage to Indonesian
production is nickel," said analyst Gayle Berry of Barclays.
"The ramifications of a complete and sustained ban on
Indonesian ore exports could be very significant for the refined
market balance in 2014 and beyond," she added in a note.
Copper also hit a month high, but gave up most of its gains
by the close, when it failed to trade. It was last bid at $7,130
a tonne, up 0.1 percent. Other metals touched multi-week highs.
Copper has been trading in a range of $6,602-$7,420 a tonne
since June, and is looking to record falls of nearly 10 percent
Copper got a boost after data showed China's imports of
copper rose 7.1 percent while the country's exports beat
forecasts in November, adding to recent evidence of economic
China consumes around 40 percent of the world's copper.
"Copper is trading at top of its range since mid-November,
it's reluctant to break through but I think it will - the data
backdrop has been positive, the forward curve suggests
tightness, warehouse stocks are trending lower, everything is
aligned for it to have a go on the upside," said Societe
Generale analyst Jesper Dannesboe.
The U.S. Federal Reserve will host its key policy meeting
next week, with the central bank having had great success
convincing investors that tapering is not tightening, and that
interest rates will remain low for a long time to come.
"There is a growing perception that tapering is no longer
the end of the recovery," said Natixis analyst Nic Brown.
"We see $7,600 a tonne as a reasonable target in the very
short-term. There is a high probability of a real physical
shortage ... before we get to this panacea of abundant new mine
supply at some time next year."
In other metals, refined tin shipments from top exporter
Indonesia rose to 5,192.86 tonnes in November, up 28 percent
from 4,069.77 tonnes in October, the trade ministry said.
Tin ended up 0.4 percent at $23,250 a tonne, having
hit its highest since late October.
Aluminium gained 0.8 percent to finish at $1,793 a
tonne, having earlier hit a two-and-a-half-week high.
"The (aluminium) complex has even managed to take out its
short-term down channel over the course of the last week. We
seem to be on track for a test of next resistance at $1835,"
said Edward Meir at INTL FCStone.
Lead climbed 0.8 percent to close at $2,110 a tonne,
having earlier reached its highest in around two weeks.
Zinc, which failed to trade in closing rings, was
last bid 0.7 percent higher at $1,918 a tonne, after hitting its
highest since early November.
Three month LME copper CMCU3
Most active ShFE copper SCFcv1
Three month LME aluminium CMAL3
Most active ShFE aluminium SAFcv1
Three month LME zinc CMZN3
Most active ShFE zinc SZNcv1
Three month LME lead CMPB3
Most active ShFE lead SPBcv1
Three month LME nickel CMNI3
Three month LME tin CMSN3