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Copper slips as dollar holds firm ahead of Fed minutes

London copper futures edged lower on Wednesday as the dollar held near one-week highs versus a basket of currencies, with trading volumes in Asia staying lean as Chinese markets remained shut for the Lunar New Year break. Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange was off 0.2 percent at $7,079.50 a tonne by 0216 GMT. * DOLLAR: The dollar stayed near Tuesday’s peak against a basket of currencies, which was its loftiest level in nearly a week, having pulled up from three-year lows set last week as traders trimmed bearish ...

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Global mining deal value hits five-year high

Global mining and metals deal value rose 15% year-on-year to US$51b in 2017 – the highest value of completed deals since 2013 – according to the latest EY quarterly report Mergers, acquisitions and capital raising in the mining and metals sector. But with financial distress across the market still a recent memory, global deal volume fell 6% year-on-year despite significant restructuring in the steel and coal sectors and strong domestic activity in China. Lee Downham, EY Global Mining & Metals Transactions Leader, says: “In 2017, mining and metals companies came ...

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BHP Billiton upbeat on iron ore, coal

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest listed miner by market value, released its fiscal first-half results on Tuesday. Underlying profit rose 25% to $4.05 billion, and said it will lift its interim dividend by 38% to 55 cents a share. Here are remarks from the company’s report: On its balance sheet: “Higher commodity prices and a solid operating performance delivered free cash flow of US$4.9 billion. We used this cash to further reduce net debt and increase returns to shareholders through higher dividends…Our capital-expenditure program remains focused on high-return, low-risk ...

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Japan crude steel output rises for a third straight month in January

Japan’s crude steel output in January rose 0.3 percent from a year earlier to 9.03 million tonnes, the third straight month of year-on-year increases and the highest in a year, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said. Output, which is not seasonally-adjusted, increased 3.5 percent from December. “Steel production is on the recovery after suffering from glitches at some steel plants,” said a researcher at the Federation, who asked to remain unidentified. “Steel demand at home from automakers and other manufacturers as well as construction customers remains strong,” he said. ...

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Iron ore defies falling global commodity prices

Global stock markets are down from their recent peaks and prices for commodities such as crude oil, gold and copper are also falling. But iron ore and coking coal are bucking the trend thanks to China, the world’s largest consumer of the stuff. Benchmark Australian spot prices for iron ore are near $80 per ton, a 30% rise versus late October. So far this month, prices are up 6%. Spot prices for coking coal have also risen 5% in the first half of February, topping $230 per ton. In 2017, ...

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Coal India To Lose Monopoly As India Opens Coal Mining To Private Firms

India will allow private and foreign companies to bid for coal mines without any end-use or price restrictions as the government cleared new auction guidelines to boost supply of the fossil fuel that powers over three-quarters of the nation’s electricity capacity. The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs approved commercial coal mining for domestic and international companies “using new, safe and innovative technologies”, Minister of Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal said in a press conference in New Delhi today. “This will improve ease of doing business. All revenue generated from auctions ...

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Steel shares rally, end users decline on US import news

Share prices of key steel equities in the US rallied across-the-board sharply Friday after US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross released details of recommendations to President Donald Trump regarding steel imports. US Steel’s share price on the New York Stock Exchange closed 14.8% higher over Thursday’s close at $44.75/share. AK Steel finished up 13.7% to $5.96/share; Nucor, up 4.5% to $68.54/share; Commercial Metals, up 5.9% to $25.97/share, and ArcelorMittal, up 3.3% to $36.48/share. Iron ore miner Cleveland-Cliffs also closed up sharply with a gain of 7.5% to $7.92/share. And steel service ...

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GRAINS-Soybeans climb to seven-month top on Argentina dryness

Chicago soybean futures rose to a seven-month high on Tuesday with the market climbing for five out of six sessions, buoyed by poor rains over the weekend in Argentina’s drought-hit oilseed growing areas. Wheat rose around half a percent, recouping some of last session’s losse, while corn edged higher. The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade added 0.9 percent to $10.30-3/4 a bushel by 0207 GMT, near the session high of $10.33-1/2 a bushel – the highest since July 25. Wheat gained 0.5 percent to $4.60 a ...

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Arcelor, VTB Hit Snag Pursuing $6 Billion Indian Steelmaker

ArcelorMittal and Russia’s state-controlled VTB Group have hit a fresh snag in their pursuit of Essar Steel India Ltd., an insolvent producer that could fetch at least $6 billion. Advisers evaluating the offers for Essar Steel are recommending that all the bids be disqualified, according to people with knowledge of the matter. A committee of Essar Steel lenders will meet later this week to discuss the eligibility of the proposals, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Legal and accounting advisers expressed concerns to ...

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Timing of Trump decision on steel imports still imprecise

After a wide-ranging conference call Friday regarding the Section 232 steel import investigation, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross would not venture to guess when US President Donald Trump might decide what action to take on the three Commerce-recommended tariff and quota options stemming from the investigation. Trump’s decision is due April 11, but Ross declined to speculate about whether the president would wait until the absolute deadline or make a decision in fairly short order now that Commerce has revealed its trade restraint recommendations. “He’ll make his decision when he ...

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Indonesia to regulate domestic coal price to curb electricity costs

The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry says it will issue a regulation on the domestic price of coal to curb production costs as the government has decided not to increase electricity rates. The ministry’s electricity price section head, Jisman Hutajulu, said in Jakarta on Monday that domestic coal would be sold based on domestic market obligation (DMO). “The objective of introducing the regulation is help easing the financial burden of PLN,” Jisman said as reported by tempo.co, adding that the DMO was based on Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry Regulation ...

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BHP boosts dividend as half-year profit jumps 25 percent, costs rise

Global miner BHP reported a 25 percent rise in underlying half-year profit on Tuesday, and handed an extra $800 million (572 million pounds) to shareholders, but it fell short of analyst forecasts and rising costs also dragged down the shares. All the major miners have recovered strongly as commodity prices have rebounded from the 2015-16 crash. BHP’s closest rival Rio Tinto, however, has the best balance sheet, analysts say, and it last week doled out a record dividend as it announced full-year results. BHP is also battling with activist investor ...

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India allows private companies to bid for coal mines for commercial production

India’s cabinet on Tuesday approved a plan to allow private companies to bid for coal mines for commercial production, a move that would help the country cut imports and boost local production. “This is an important reform and will ensure affordable and reliable supply of coal,” Coal Minister Piyush Goyal told a news conference, adding that the move would allow Indian and foreign companies to mine coal. Coal accounts for 70 percent of India’s power generation, and the country has a target to produce 1 billion tonnes by 2022. Source: ...

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Australia’s central Queensland coal regions brace for storms, flash flooding

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology Tuesday warned of imminent severe thunderstorms and flash flooding in coal mining regions of the state of Queensland. “Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce damaging winds, heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and large hailstones over the next several hours in the central highlands and coalfields and parts of the Central West, Capricornia and Maranoa and Warrego districts,” the bureau said in a 2:15 pm AEDT update (0315 GMT). “Locations which may be affected include Emerald, Clermont, Biloela, Blackwater, Rolleston, Baralaba, Springsure, Marlborough and ...

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China would not be the only country hurt by US steel tariffs

Heavy tariffs and quotas on steel will hurt China, but other countries may well bear the brunt of such measures. “The fact is that China does export a lot of steel and aluminum to the United States, but frankly, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, other countries import more steel than does China,” said Max Baucus, former U.S. ambassador to China, which is the world’s top overall steel exporter. On Friday, the Commerce Department recommended imposing heavy tariffs or quotas on foreign producers of steel and aluminum in the interest of national security, ...

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