Nickel Firms Reduce Output

Russia's Industrial Metallurgical Holding and Xstrata, the world's fourth-largest nickel refiner, said Tuesday that they were cutting output of the raw material after costs surged and metal prices plunged, making operations unprofitable.

Industrial Metallurgical on Tuesday reduced output by as much as 40 percent. Nickel rose as much as 4.4 percent in London.

Industrial Metallurgical, which produces about 5 percent of Russia's total output of the steelmaking ingredient, shut two of three furnaces at the Reznickel plant and two of five furnaces at the facility, spokesman Pavel Kovalenko said by telephone.

"At the current prices even this production volume is not profitable," he said. The cuts are indefinite and the volume will be restored when prices rise, Kovalenko said. Industrial Metallurgical produced 14,144 tons last year.

Xstrata said Tuesday that it suspended output at Falcondo in the Dominican Republic.