BENGALURU (REUTERS) - Nickel and aluminium prices rose to multi-year highs on Tuesday (Feb 22), driven by concerns over supply disruption from Russia as tensions escalate in Eastern Europe.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the deployment of troops to two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine after recognising them as independent on Monday, accelerating a crisis the West fears could lead to a major war.
The United States and European countries had threatened to impose sanctions on Russia, a major producer of nickel and aluminium, if it invaded Ukraine.
Nickel is used to make steel and electric car batteries, while aluminium is used in a wide range of industries such as electronics, automobile, chemical, construction, defence and aerospace.
Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 0.4 per cent at US$24,445 a tonne by 0310 GMT, after earlier hitting US$24,700, the highest since August 2011.
The most-traded March nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose to a record high of 181,350 yuan a tonne, and was last up 0.2 per cent at 178,600 yuan.
Benchmark aluminium on LME gained 1.2 per cent to US$3,318.5, having earlier risen to a more than 13-year high of US$3,342.
In grain markets, Chicago wheat jumped more than 2 per cent on Tuesday on worries over supply disruption.
Russia is the world's largest supplier of wheat, and with Ukraine, accounts for nearly one-quarter of total global exports.
"The Russia-Ukraine situation is getting serious," said one Singapore-based grain trader. "The issue will dominate trading direction."
The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade was up 2 per cent at US$8.20 a bushel, as of 0152 GMT, after hitting its highest since Jan 25 at US$8.27 a bushel.