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Of cars and cans: US aluminum and the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has obliterated global metals demand as one of the main end uses, automotive applications, has seen major disruptions to the supply chain. The US metals market, in particular, saw the removal of an estimated 33,000 vehicles per day from production as all major auto producers across the country halted operations in response to government mandates and concerns over the welfare of workers. Because the transportation sector is the largest end user of aluminum, accounting for around 35% of aluminum consumption, it is easy to see why so ...

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Copper’s bull run at risk as China enters slow summer season

A stunning V-shaped recovery in the price of copper is looking stretched as top consumer China enters its summer construction slowdown and fears of supply disruptions from the coronavirus have been mostly priced into the market. Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange leapt 21% in the second quarter – its best quarter in a decade – on a strong post-virus recovery in China, fears of supply upsets, a weaker U.S. dollar and massive global stimulus. The metal used in everything from construction to consumer goods has now recovered ...

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EU stainless steel mills fail to pass on raw material cost increases

European stainless steel prices continued to fall, despite rises in regional mills’ published alloy surcharges, in June. The majority of distributors and stockists now negotiate deals with the stainless steel producers using an ‘effective price’, rather than the traditional ‘basis plus alloy surcharge’ mechanism. Costs for stainless steel raw material ingredients are expected to rise, moderately, in the medium term. However, in the current market climate, where demand is substantially lower than pre-Covid-19 levels, European stainless steel producers are finding it increasingly difficult to pass on rises in raw material ...

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Soybeans hit 4-month high on U.S. weather outlook

U.S. soybeans rose more than 1% on Monday, as concerns about hot and dry weather in a key growing region in the United States pushed prices to a more than a four-month high. Corn rose 1.5%, recouping all the losses from the previous session, while wheat firmed nearly 1%. The most active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade hit their highest since March 5 at $9.06-3/4 a bushel and were last up 1% at $9.08-1/2 a bushel. Soybeans fell 0.3% in the previous session. Traders said soybeans were ...

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Rising Demand And The Lowest U.S. Natural Gas Prices Since 1995

Predictably ignored, one could argue that the biggest energy reality that we face is very low natural gas prices encouraging more infrastructure and demand. Low gas prices forecast over the mid- and long-term are going unmentioned as the driving force behind our “dash to gas.” This year since mid-January, U.S. gas prices have been below $2.00 per MMBtu, an insanely low price for increasingly the world’s go-to fuel. Let me be clear, the floor for gas prices over the past four years has been $2.50. Moreover, at $1.44 last week, ...

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Oil mixed on tighter supply, surge in U.S. virus cases

Oil prices were mixed on Monday, with Brent crude edging higher, supported by tighter supplies and positive economic data, while U.S. benchmark WTI futures dropped on concern that a spike in coronavirus cases could curb fuel demand in the United States. Brent crude was up 41 cents, or 1%, to $43.21 per barrel by 1042 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 5 cents, or 0.1%, at $40.60. “We believe that oil market participants are focusing on the current demand trends but are still ignoring the long-term implications ...

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Dubai intermonth futures spreads narrow slightly as market braces for price hikes

Intermonth spreads for benchmark Dubai crude futures narrowed slightly during mid-morning trade in Asia July 6, as expectations of upcoming producer price hikes continued to keep sentiment tepid. At 11 am in Singapore (0300 GMT), the August/September Dubai crude futures spread was pegged at a 17-cent/b backwardation, narrowing 4 cents/b from the Asian close on July 3, S&P Global Platts data showed. The September/October spread was pegged at a backwardation of 8 cents/b, narrowing a cent/b from the Asian close on July 3. Saudi Aramco is expected to raise the ...

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Pump or dump? With oil in decline, Africa ponders its energy future

As the COVID-19 pandemic bashes economies and demand for oil, many African nations dependent on exporting fossil fuels are “haemorrhaging” cash, African energy experts warned this week. The crisis – which comes as more investors shun carbon-heavy businesses – is a taste of what may happen if Africa’s rich oil and gas reserves become “stranded assets” that cannot be pumped as the world shifts to clean energy to meet climate goals. Fatima Denton, director of the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa, said such a situation had ...

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Oil wars continue

Who won the previous round of the oil price war? Some are now asserting that China — the world’s largest crude importer — emerged victorious at the expense of major global crude oil producers. The battle erupted in March when Russia declined to give in to the Saudi demand to cut output further. Yet, the very next month, US President Donald Trump intervened directly and the battle had to be abandoned. But by the time, the damage had already been done. The cost was immense to major stakeholders, Saudi Arabia, ...

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Analysis: Prices, projects and policies to aid India’s LNG appetite in H2 2020

Low global prices are helping India’s LNG appetite to rebound faster than expected, after a countrywide lockdown kept demand in negative territory for a few months in the first half of 2020, with most analysts expecting the year to end with positive year-on-year growth. The sharp fall in consumption that India saw after New Delhi imposed the lockdown in late March in its battle against coronavirus pulled cumulative demand down into the red for most of H1. But the first signs of positive growth are starting to emerge, sending a ...

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Japan’s investment drive in LNG faces risk of souring – study

Japan’s banks and public agencies have funnelled nearly $25 billion into liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects since 2017 but the investments may sour as prices plummet from the COVID-19 pandemic and as climate change risks rise, a new study shows. Spurred on by the government to boost energy security since the 2011 Fukushima disaster shut down the country’s reactors, Japan’s investment in LNG rivals that for coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, while more evidence is emerging of the high climate impacts from LNG and gas. The backing of high-risk projects ...

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Pandemic hastens threat of closure for struggling oil refineries

The collapse in oil demand from the COVID-19 pandemic is hastening the reckoning for those refiners already struggling as new capacity overtakes demand, posing an existential threat to many, particularly Europe’s ageing plants. Even before the pandemic struck, which at its height destroyed over 20% of global oil demand, analysts expected global refining capacity would have to rationalise, particularly in Europe. According to consultants WoodMac, 1.4 million barrels per day, or around 9%, of refining capacity is under threat of rationalisation in Europe in 2022-2023. WoodMac declined to name specific ...

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North Sea industry looks to renewables for green lease of life

The North Sea oil and gas industry is stepping up efforts to reduce its emissions and run offshore facilities from renewable power sources, with a rapid build-out of Norwegian projects serving to underscore the greater challenges faced by the UK’s aging oil sector. Emissions from the process of oil and gas production, including drilling, injecting gas and water into depleted fields, and the daily needs of offshore platforms, account for a relatively modest share of overall emissions, amounting to 4% of UK greenhouse gas emissions, according to industry group Oil ...

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Stocks rally to four-week highs as investors bet on China revival

Global stock markets rallied to four-week highs and China’s yuan headed for its best day against the dollar since December on Monday as investors counted on a revival in China to boost global growth, even as surging coronavirus cases delayed business re-openings across the United States. MSCI’s All-Country World Index, which tracks shares across 49 countries, rose 0.7% to its highest since June 6, by midday in London. European shares jumped, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index rising 1.4%. Stocks exposed to China — carmakers, industrials, energy firms and luxury ...

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Sterling falls vs euro, steady vs dollar; support measures in focus

The pound fell against the euro and held steady against the U.S. dollar, as traders looked ahead to this month’s Brexit negotiations and more government support measures expected later this week. Traders expect more clarity by the end of July on whether Britain will agree a trade deal with the European Union. Britain left the EU in January, but it has full access to the bloc during a transition that runs until the end of December. Britain and the EU need to make progress on access to EU financial markets. ...

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