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Asia’s coal markets tighten on Indonesia port probe, Australian cyclone

Port disruptions in Indonesia and a cyclone hitting mines in Australia have tightened Asia’s coal markets in March, while demand in China and other key import markets remains strong, lifting prices. Prompt thermal coal cargo prices for export from Australia’s Newcastle port have risen by more than 11 percent since March 10, partly reversing a steep decline since last November. The price jump has been driven mainly by an Indonesian government graft probe at ports in its East Kalimantan province, which is one of the world’s most important thermal coal ...

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China steel, iron ore come off multi-week lows, downside risk remains

Steel and iron ore futures in China pulled away on Wednesday from multi-week lows that both commodities touched this week, but traders predict further price declines as supply outpaces demand in the word’s top market. The two have already fallen back from the day’s peaks though they remain well above the lows hit on Monday. The most-active rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was up 2.6 percent at 3,151 yuan ($457) a tonne by midday break, after rising as far as 3,167 yuan earlier. The construction steel product hit 3,003 ...

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Low Crop Prices Here to Stay as Traders See Gluts Persisting

Agriculture traders seem resigned to the idea that low prices are here to stay. Years of bumper grain harvests, along with low prices and diminished volatility, have made it harder for the top firms to make money buying and selling major crops like wheat, corn and soybeans. Gluts, which have pushed crop prices to near the lowest since 2009, will probably last for a while yet, executives said at the FT Commodities Global Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland. “Prices will remain under pressure unless we develop a weather problem,” Gonzalo Ramirez ...

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Talk of iron ore ramp-up in China is spooking market, conference hears

The specter of Chinese domestic iron ore output ramping up this year in response to higher prices, and subsequently putting downward pressure on seaborne prices, was a major talking point at Australia’s flagship iron ore conference Wednesday. Rio Tinto managing director, planning integration and assets, Kellie Parker, said the prospect of China “rebooting” its iron ore production was one of the “biggest market uncertainties.” Citigroup Asia Commodities strategist Tracy Liao said supply tightness in high grade material, along with higher import prices, could incentivize an additional 20 million-25 million mt ...

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EIA: Coal production increases during second half of 2016, but still below 2015 levels

After falling in six out of seven quarters from mid-2014 to mid-2016, coal production rose in the third and fourth quarters of 2016. Among the coal supply regions, the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming saw the largest increases in the second half of 2016. The increases in coal production were driven by an increase in coal-fired electricity generation, which occurred as natural gas prices increased. Electricity generation accounts for more than 90% of domestic coal use. During the third quarter of 2016, warmer-than-normal temperatures led to increased electricity ...

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Developing markets steel market roundup from MEPS

The business environment remains challenging in the Russian Federation, according to MEPS. Downstream steel buyers are reluctant to make deals as they would like to get a clearer market picture. The flat product purchasers reiterate that the latest price initiative is unwarranted and does not reflect real demand. Indian stockists queried whether the latest domestic long product offers are supported by market and economic fundamentals. MEPS detects a reluctance on the part of end-users to commit to forward orders. The outlook for the Ukrainian market is unchanged. Domestic steelmakers are ...

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Japan Q2 aluminium premium set at $128/T, up 35 pct from Q1-sources

Japan’s aluminium premium for shipments during the April to June quarter has been set at $128 per tonne, up about a third from the quarter before due to higher overseas prices, five sources directly involved in the pricing talks said on Wednesday. Japan is Asia’s biggest importer of aluminium and the premiums, which consumers pay to producers on top of the London Metal Exchange cash price for primary metal shipments, set the benchmark for the region. The new premium is 35 percent higher than the $95 per tonne premium PREM-ALUM-JP ...

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BHP Billiton looks at Aussie iron ore investment

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP.AU) said plans to develop its South Flank iron-ore deposit in remote northwest Australia are the most likely way it will replace production from its aging Yandi operation. BHP has been mulling new investments in its iron-ore business given its Yandi mine, which currently produces about 80 million tons a year, or roughly one-third of BHP’s iron ore, is expected to run out of resources in the coming five-to-10 years. “We are looking at options to replace this production” and “South Flank is the preferred long-term solution, ...

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India’s Adani looks to push ahead with coal mine near the Great Barrier Reef

The controversial coal mine project in Australia’s Queensland state is looking more likely to become a reality later this year. But it remains plagued by legal hurdles, environmental issues and fierce public opposition. Aerial view of the Abbot Point coal port terminal Indian conglomerate Adani looks likely to soon receive the final green light from Australian authorities to develop the controversial Carmichael coal mine, located near the Great Barrier Reef. Ever since its proposal, the project has been mired in near-continuous controversy, including being blocked by the federal government in ...

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Wheat rises on short covering ahead of plantings report

Chicago wheat futures rose on Wednesday, boosted by short covering ahead of a closely watched U.S. plantings report on Friday, while corn and soybeans also edged up. The most active wheat futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade rose 0.7 percent to $4.27-1/2 a bushel by 1122 GMT, having closed up 0.9 percent on Tuesday. Dealers said the rise in prices this week had been driven mainly by short covering by speculators ahead of Friday’s U.S. plantings intentions report. “It would appear that market participants are repositioning themselves in readiness ...

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China’s the Real Cyclone for Coal

Here’s what happened to coking coal prices the last time extreme weather hit the Bowen Basin, the corner of northeastern Australia that produces about half of the tonnage in the global seaborne market: A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall And here’s what coking coal prices are doing this week, as Cyclone Debbie brings 250-kilometer-an-hour winds and 19-centimeters-an-hour rainfall to the same stretch: Ebb Tide Why the discrepancy? In theory, major rainfall should be a big problem for coking coal, the variety mostly used in steelmaking. In 2011, the wet season halted ...

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METALS-London copper hits highest in more than a week, demand hopes underpin

London copper climbed to its highest in more than a week on Wednesday, buoyed by brighter data from the United States and expectations of seasonally improving second-quarter demand. U.S. consumer confidence surged to a more than 16-year high in March amid growing labour market optimism while the goods trade deficit narrowed sharply in February, indicating the economy was regaining momentum after faltering at the start of the year. “Base metals rebounded strongly as investor sentiment picked up after the strong consumer confidence number in the U.S. saw Trump worries fade,” ...

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Global Steel Price Recovery Expected To Falter Soon

The global steel market is, currently, unrecognisable from that prevailing at the start of 2016, according to MEPS International. The negative situation in early 2016, of low selling prices, global oversupply and claims of unfair trading conditions is almost a thing of the past. It is now being replaced by an atmosphere of mild optimism. The industry appears to have come to a less confrontational stance. After the imposition of numerous antidumping cases by western and eastern countries, against Chinese and other major exporting nations, the flow of steel has ...

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Latin America: Consumption of finished steel grew 1%, while production increase 4% during January 2017

The figures from the first month of 2017 shows an increase in consumption of steel (finished + derivatives) of 1%, while the regional production of crude and finished steel increase 13% and 4%, respectively, vs January 2016, following the upward trend of the end of the year. Meanwhile, regional steel imports represents 36% of Latin-American consumption, 3 points higher than 2016 (33%). The trade balance of the region remains negative, increasing in 2% it deficit vs January 2016. Production Crude steel. Latin America and the Caribbean produced 5.2 million tons ...

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China steel snaps week-long rout as Beijing signals new crackdown

Chinese steel rebar prices rose on Tuesday, snapping a week-long rout, as renewed optimism about capacity cuts in the world’s top steel producer offset lingering worries about high inventory levels and waning demand growth. The gains helped give ore prices a brief lift on Tuesday, after its worst day in months the previous session. Recovering from a six-week low hit on Monday, the most-active rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was up 0.98 percent at 3,091 yuan ($449.14) a tonne at 0444 GMT. The small rise came as Beijing ...

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