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Tuesday 02nd of December 2008
January 23, 2007

Nickel, tin hit new record highs


by Elaine Frei

Crude oil prices were higher on Tuesday as more cold weather is expected in parts of the US and Europe, but analysts say that any more gains could be small as they expect US inventories to be up again when new figures for last week are announced on Wednesday.

Brent crude March contracts were 93 cents higher late in the day in London to $53.61 per barrel, while March delivery West Texas Intermediate crude was up 78 cents to $53.36 on the New York Mercantile Exchange by early afternoon.

Base metals prices trended upward on Tuesday. The price of nickel reached new highs as cash prices hit $40,600 per tonne and three-month prices were up to $38,200 per tonne at one point in the day as traders worried about possible supply disruptions on the potential of a strike at an Xstrata mine in Canada. The Sudbury mine produces around 5 percent of the world’s nickel supply. There have also been production delays at nickel mines in Australia and New Caledonia, helping prices higher. The three-month price fell a bit by late afternoon but remained $450 above Monday’s close, settling at $37,750 per tonne.

Tin prices were up $410 as they hit $12,200 per tonne during the day on concerns that the government of Indonesia could further tighten its hold on the export of tin in its efforts to lessen environmental damage at non-state-approved mines. The price of aluminium was also up, with three-month prices $56 higher to $2,813 per tonne on a strike in Guinea that has curtailed exports of bauxite, which is essential in the production of aluminium.

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