March 17 (Reuters) - The London Metal Exchange (LME) on Friday postponed the resumption of nickel trading during Asian hours by a week to March 27 after it found nickel that failed to meet contract specifications at an LME warehouse.
The move is another blow to the world's oldest and biggest industrial metals market, which had been counting on a restart of Asian trade to boost liquidity in a contact that has been struggling since a nickel crisis a year ago.
The LME said it had cancelled nine nickel warrants - an ownership document for metals placed in an LME-approved warehouse - at one warehouse facility, without naming it.
"The exchange has received information that a number of physical nickel shipments out of one specific facility of an LME-licensed warehouse operator have been subject to such irregularities," the statement said.
The announcement further undermines trust in the global nickel trade after trader Trafigura last month alleged that it discovered "systematic fraud" in shipments that did not contain nickel and begun legal proceedings against Indian businessman Prateek Gupta and his companies.