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LONDON: Nickel prices held near their highest in more than two months on Monday, boosted by demand from the electric vehicle battery sector lowering stocks held in London Metal Exchange (LME) approved warehouses.

Benchmark nickel

on the LME was up 0.3% at $20,790 a tonne at 1707 GMT having last week touched $21,165 a tonne, the highest since November 24.

“Nickel stocks in LME warehouses are being drawn because they can be used to make nickel sulphate for the batteries used in electric vehicles,” said ING analyst Wenyu Yao.

Electric vehicle demand has been particularly strong in China, where Volkswagen, General Motors, Toyota Motor Corp and Tesla are ramping up production.

INVENTORIES: Nickel stocks in LME warehouses at 99,954 tonnes have fallen by around 62% since April 2021.

About 75% of the total is bagged briquette, easily crushed into small particles and dissolved in sulphuric acid to make nickel sulphate.

Cancelled warrants — metal earmarked for delivery — at 49% of total stocks indicate more metal is due to be delivered out over the coming days and weeks.

SPREADS: Worries about nickel supplies on the LME market have created a premium of $125 a tonne for the cash over the three-month contract, a one-month high.

ALUMINIUM: Production cuts in Europe due to soaring power costs are expected to fuel further rises in aluminium prices, which hit $2,980 a tonne on Friday, the highest since October 21.

It was up 0.7% to $2,936 a tonne.

Aluminium stocks in LME warehouses at 911,500 tonnes are down more than 30% since mid-September.

OTHER METALS: Copper prices came under pressure after the New York open due to the higher US currency, which when it rises makes dollar-priced metals cheaper for holders of other currencies.

The dollar rose due to some Wall Street banks raising their forecasts for how quickly the US Federal Reserve will raise rates this year.

Copper slipped 0.7% to $9,583 a tonne, zinc ceded 1.3% to $3,488, lead was little changed at $2,279 and tin rose 0.3% to $39,950.

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