Nickel falls 8% to hit limit down in chaotic trade on London metal exchange

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Traders, brokers and clerks on the trading floor of the open outcry pit at the London Metal Exchange Ltd. in London, U.K., on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022.

Chris J. Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

LONDON — The benchmark three-month nickel contract fell 8% on Thursday morning to hit its new trading limit, as heavy selling continued in metal markets.

The price hit $41,945 a metric ton as it opened for trade, according to Refinitiv data. Nickel prices more than doubled in a matter of hours on March 8, climbing above $100,000 a metric ton as one of the world’s top producers, China’s Tsingshan Holding Group, bought large amounts to reduce its short bets on the metal.

Trading had to be halted as the move exacerbated a price rally at a time when metals were already spiraling upward on Russia’s intensifying conflict in Ukraine.

On Wednesday, the LME attempted to resume nickel trading after the rare shut down. But a technical glitch prompted the 145-year-old exchange to temporarily halt the market once again, before trading reopened at 2 p.m. London time.

—CNBC’s Sam Meredith contributed to this article.

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