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Nickel squeeze shines spotlight on China metals group Tsingshan

Billionaire co-founder and wife got start producing car doors and windows

HONG KONG -- A record surge in nickel prices this week has shone a spotlight on little-known Chinese metals group Tsingshan Holdings and its co-founder Xiang Guangda as the company scrambled to cover a short position that reportedly threatened to leave it facing billions of dollars in losses.

The privately held company, one of the world's biggest nickel and stainless steel producers, had been building up its wager against prices rising since last year. But an unprecedented rally saw the metal's price more than double in just two days to trade above $100,000 a ton on Tuesday, prompting the London Metal Exchange to suspend trading as brokers raced to cover margin calls against losing short positions.

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