LME nickel price offers breach daily upper 15% price limit – traders


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LONDON — London Metal Exchange rules on daily price swings were breached on Monday, traders said, with offers to sell nickel above the 15% limit in volatile trade placed for the first time since the March debacle spurred the exchange to impose constraints.

Disorderly trade on March 8 pushed nickel prices to a record above $100,000 a tonne. The LME canceled all nickel trades on that day and suspended the market for more than a week.

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When the market reopened, the exchange imposed price limits of 15% up or down and ordered its members not to submit any orders outside those boundaries.

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But traders said on Monday orders were placed above the 15% upper threshold of $30,960 a tonne soon after the LME’s nickel market opened after 0800 GMT, as market players rushed to cut bets on lower prices of the metal used to make stainless steel.

The LME did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the offers, or any action it might take in response. An LME notice in March said a failure to comply with the new rules “may be treated as a breach of the LME Rulebook, and the LME may take disciplinary action accordingly.”

One trader sent Reuters a screenshot showing an offer at $31,060 a tonne on the LME’s electronic trading system Select.

“Why can’t Select automatically stop bids and offers that breach the limits?” another trader said. “It shouldn’t be up to us as users of the exchange… things can get very heated, as we saw this morning, there should be failsafes in place.”

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Traders said the exchange was working on a new version of its electronic platform which will ensure limits cannot be broken, but that it has no plans to update the current version of Select to stop bids and offers breaching daily limits.

Night trading – from 0100 London time – for nickel has been suspended since the March debacle. “They can’t restart nickel night trading till this flaw in current system is fixed,” another trader said

The exchange, the world’s oldest and largest market for industrial metals, is owned by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd.. (Reporting by Eric Onstad and Pratima Desai; Editing by Jan Harvey)


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