Nickel prices fell to a four-year low, in the latest fallout from slowing economic growth in China, the metal’s biggest user. Nickel prices are bearing the brunt of a steep decline in metals markets this year.
Nickel futures fell as low as $13,205 a metric ton Tuesday on the London Metal Exchange, its lowest price since May 2009, and ended the day down 0.8%, at $13,325. Prices have dropped 22% since the start of the year.
China’s growing pains have translated into less demand for nickel, which is mixed with iron ore to give stainless steel its rustproof property in everything from table forks to kitchen sinks to skyscrapers.
The slowdown in China‘s manufacturing has caused global supplies to build. Stockpiles of nickel held in warehouses certified by the LME, as of Tuesday, are up 37% since the start of the year and are near their highest level in history