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Iraq confirms operator, new refinery project at Faw Port

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani confirmed that Abu Dhabi Ports Group (AD Ports) will operate Iraq’s Faw Port when it comes on stream in late 2025. He was quoted by Iraqi News Agency as saying that the Port will also comprise a large economic city and housing complexes. “We have agreed with AD Ports to be our partners in the operation of Faw Port…we are currently in talks for contractual details,” Sudani said at a meeting with energy companies in the US. He also disclosed that Baghdad has signed a ...

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Russia’s Q1 LPG exports to China by rail up 51%, calculations show

Russia’s exports of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to China by rail, the main supply route, rose 51% in the first quarter from a year earlier to 72,300 metric tons, Reuters calculations based on data from industry sources showed. Traders said that the main contributor to the increase was Irkutsk Oil Company (INK), which raised exports from its Ust-Kut gas processing plant. Russia has been cranking up LPG exports to China, including by road in trucks, to offset a decline in supplies to the European Union, which adopted a twelfth package ...

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Putin orders Russian government to outline proposals for BRICS grain exchange

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his government to present proposals to facilitate grain trading with other countries including India and China, according to documents published by the Kremlin on Saturday. The idea for the grain exchange also including Brazil and South Africa among others – which together with Russia make up the group of countries known as the BRICS – is to allow buyers to purchase directly from producers, and was already backed by Putin ahead of summit of the group in October. The Kremlin has asked for the ...

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China set for bumper harvests of grains and oilseeds, ministry says

China is set for another year of bumper harvest of grains and oilseeds, helped by expanded planting of winter wheat and rapeseed and healthy growth of seedlings,the country’s agricultureministry said on Friday. The world’s second-biggestcorn grower reported a record corn crop of 288.8 million metric tons last year but continues to aim for larger outputamid rising tensions with some trade partners, climate-related disasters and military conflicts. China aims to boost grain production by 50 million metric tons by 2030, with a focuson soybeans and corn, although state media have reported ...

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Funds buy back into copper’s super-cycle credentials

The commodities super cycle is back with a vengeance if copper’s performance since the start of the month is anything to go by. London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month copper CMCU3 touched $9,640.50 per metric ton on Monday, its highest trade since June 2022. The Friday announcement of new U.S. and UK sanctions on Russian metal may have played a role but if so it was only a bit part. Copper is on Wednesday trading just shy of that peak at $9,560. Copper below $9,500 per ton is now cheap, according ...

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US power sector natural gas demand sets another record in Q1, remains strong in April

US power sector natural gas demand set another record in the first quarter and has remained higher year over year into April, although it could come under pressure from renewable generation and coal this summer. Demand from the power sector totaled 32.7 Bcf/d in the first quarter of 2024, up 2 Bcf/d from the the first quarter 2023. The increase in the first quarter was chiefly driven by a surge in January to a record 36 Bcf/d 2024, more than 4.9 Bcf/d higher than January 2023 as freezing weather boosted ...

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Brazil’s LNG competitiveness narrows as prices converge versus Europe, Med

Brazil’s LNG competitiveness versus Europe and the Mediterranean has narrowed as Brazil’s premium weakens despite an expected uptick in imports this month. Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed DES Brazil for deliveries 15-to-45 days forward at $9.722/MMBtu, or at a 2.2 cent/MMBtu discount to June Northwest European LNG. This was also a 0.3 cent/MMBtu premium to the Mediterranean marker. The discount to NWE was the lowest level recorded since the assessment began on Feb. 1, while the differential versus the Med was the weakest seen since Jan. 31. ...

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‘Crowded’ megacap trade in US stocks awaits earnings test

Next week’s earnings reports from some of the market’s biggest technology and growth companies could prove an important test for the U.S. stock rally, which has flagged as expectations for interest cuts fade. Tesla TSLA.O, Meta Platforms META.O, Alphabet GOOGL.O and Microsoft MSFT.O – all set to report next week – are part of the group of companies that had been dubbed the Magnificent Seven as they led the S&P 500 to a 24% gain last year. The companies are seen as important bellwethers due to dominant positions atop their ...

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European stocks ‘priced for macro perfection’ – BofA

The European stock market “is priced for macro perfection, but the reality is more complicated,” Bank of America (BofA) strategists said. The rally that began in October of the previous year has driven equities to record highs, pushed the ratio of European cyclicals versus defensives to a 30-year peak, and narrowed U.S. high-yield credit spreads to near historical lows. This pricing reflects expectations for sustained macroeconomic strength, effortless disinflation, and a seamless cycle of central bank rate cuts. Supportive data has underpinned these market movements, with U.S. GDP continuing to ...

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Escalating Middle East tensions a fresh jolt to world markets

Reports of an Israeli attack on Iranian soil that possibly drags the Middle East into a deeper conflict has jolted world markets with geopolitical risks that can swiftly change the direction of anything from oil to bonds and renew inflation risks. Stocks tumbled on Friday, oil briefly jumped more than $3 a barrel and safe-haven government bonds rallied. Moves were relatively modest, but the heightened tensions inject fresh uncertainty and fuels concern that high oil prices and potential supply disruptions will keep inflation high. “Even though these look to be ...

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FX Daily: Data to regain centrality

USD: US GDP and PCE figures this week Weekend news has helped ease market-perceived geopolitical risk, and sentiment is generally supported across asset classes as the week starts. All interested parties appear to have chosen the path of downplaying the size and consequences of Friday’s Israeli strikes in Iran. Bent trading below $90/bbl signals that fears of a broader conflict in the region have abated. Another important piece of news for geopolitics was the approval by the US House of the much-debated $95 aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. ...

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U.S. economist says overcapacity argument risks being excuse for protectionism

The overcapacity argument risks being an excuse for protectionism, said Nicholas Lardy, a senior fellow at Washington D.C.-based think tank the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), calling the idea of excess capacity “potentially dangerous.” “POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS” IDEA “This overcapacity idea is that you shouldn’t produce more than you can sell domestically. If that was carried to an extreme, that would mean no trade globally. Everybody would just produce what they consume at home,” Lardy told Xinhua in an interview Thursday. “This would be a complete and utter disaster for ...

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ESG is ghost at global retailers’ annual feast

Retailers are in a tight spot. Consumers in key markets like China, Europe and the United States are spending less on clothes, and a sector that boasts $30 trillion in global revenue is pinning its hopes on low-cost items as exemplified by fast fashion giant Shein, and the cash-rich Middle East. Behind the scenes, delegates gathering at the 2024 World Retail Congress in Paris were worried about the increasing disconnect between those two growth areas and their previous focus on environmental, social and governance concerns. The conference’s opening day coincided ...

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Worsening US debt outlook seen more in gold and bitcoin than in bonds

Concern about the rapidly rising U.S. government debt is partly behind recent surges in gold prices and bitcoin, even as the Treasury market so far remains relatively sanguine about the country’s fiscal path, market observers say. The U.S. budget deficit widened to $1.7 trillion in fiscal year 2023 and is on track to reach $2.6 trillion by 2034, according to the Congressional Budget Office. U.S. government debt held by the public, meanwhile, is on pace to reach a record 106% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2028, up from 97% ...

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China’s Jan-March foreign investment inflows down 26%

Foreign direct investment into China shrank 26.1% in the first quarter from a year earlier, following a contraction of 8% in 2023, official data showed on Friday, underscoring challenges facing Chinese authorities to win back foreign firms. Foreign direct investment (FDI) totalled 301.7 billion yuan ($41.66 billion) in January-March, the commerce ministry said. The investment rose 41.7% from the fourth quarter of 2023, it added. Chinese officials have been stepping up efforts to attract investors, with Premier Li Qiang vowing to keep up efforts to improve the business environment and ...

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