No. 3 Nickel Producer May Cut Output

Industrial Metallurgical Holding, the country's third-largest nickel producer, may slash output after a 30 percent slump in prices this year.

The company, which makes around 5 percent of the nation's output of the steelmaking ingredient, shut its two plants for maintenance for 10 days at the end of July, spokesman Pavel Kovalenko said Thursday. "We can't exclude cutting production given the current market environment," he said.

Industrial Metallurgical's Ufaleynickel plant produced 14,144 tons of nickel last year, while its Reznickel plant makes an intermediate product processed at Ufaleynickel.

The price of nickel is trading near the production cost of some producers, threatening future operations, Evolution Securities analyst Charles Cooper said.

Nickel for three month delivery gained as much as $1,010 per ton, or 5.7 percent, to $18,810 per ton on the London Metal Exchange, the biggest one-day increase since June 12.