BASE METALS-Nickel hovers near 11-year highs on supply shortages

LONDON, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Nickel prices rose on Wednesday and hovered near 11-year highs as supply shortages forced traders to pay huge premiums for the metal. * Benchmark three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 1% at $22,290 a tonne at 1158 GMT, after touching $22,935 on Jan.14. * Used in the production of stainless steel and batteries for electric vehicles, nickel has gained about 7% this year, after rising 25% in 2021 and 18% in 2020. * With stock markets shrinking, premiums tomorrow/next day and in cash for three months rose to their highest levels in more than 10 years on Tuesday, prompting the LME to say it was watching the market. Premiums fell on Wednesday. * “We are bullish on nickel,” said Geordie Wilkes, an analyst at Sucden. “We could see some weakness in the short term, but that’s not a cause for concern if you look at the fundamentals.” * LME-listed warehouse inventories have fallen to 94,830t from over 260,000t in April . Stocks at Shanghai Futures Exchange warehouses near record lows at 4,711 tonnes . * Aluminum on the LME rose 0.3% to $3,034 a tonne, after hitting $3,049, its highest level since Oct. 21. Prices have gained 8% this year, after surging 42% in 2021. Higher energy prices have forced smelters to cut output. * Among other base metals, copper added 1.2% to $9,788.50 a tonne, zinc rose 0.1% to $3,570.50 and lead gained 1.1% to $2,348. * For updated prices of industrial metals: – COPPER – LEAD – TIN – NICKEL – ALUMINUM – ZINC (Reporting by Peter Hobson, additional reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing in Spanish by Ricardo Figueroa)

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