It’s not a good day to be JPMorgan Chase. The American bank was in for a rude surprise when the $1.3 million worth of nickel purchased turned out to be bags filled with stones. One of the biggest banks in the US thought they owned a whopping 54 metric tons (54,000kg) of nickel, but it was just loads and loads of stone. The London Metals Exchange discovered the discrepancy at a warehouse in Rotterdam and found the case of mistaken bag identity. For now, they haven’t classified the mixup as an accident, theft, or fraud. The warehouse is owned by logistics firm Access World and is likely to be responsible for picking up the tab for the missing element.
“Access World confirms it is currently undertaking inspections of warranted bags of nickel briquettes at all locations and will engage external surveyors to assist. In the meantime based on internal stock checks all information indicates that the underlying issue which led to the suspension of the 9 warrants referenced in LME notice 23/044 is an isolated case and specific to one warehouse in Rotterdam,” a spokesperson for Access World told Business Insider.
Nickel is a silvery-white lustrous metal. It’s used in steel, electric vehicle batteries, boat propellor shafts, turbine blades, electric guitar strings, and the US five-cent piece. During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian nickel exports created a shortage causing the price of nickel to quadruple in just two days, reaching US$100,000 per tonne. The London Metal Exchange canceled contracts worth $3.9 billion and suspended nickel trading for over a week. If only they could cancel these rocks, JPMorgan Chase would feel much better.