Commodities

Oil tankers lie at anchor off Singapore.

Storage at sea

Cheap crude means higher rates for oil tankers

TOKYO -- Spot freight rates for very large crude carriers have been showing an uptrend of late, as falling crude oil prices are encouraging countries to store the commodity in vessels at sea. On a major sea route between the Middle East and the F...

  • Sagging sales to China

    De Beers cuts diamond prices as demand drops

    TOKYO -- Prices for diamonds are tumbling this year, as demand for the precious stones is declining due to the economic slowdown in China, the main consumer of diamonds, and President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign. Previously, mining companie...

  • Ending export duties

    China's move sends aluminum prices falling

    TOKYO -- Aluminum prices on the London Metal Exchange fell Thursday after the Chinese government said it would abolish export taxes on some aluminum products from May 1. Futures fell 2% to around $1,770 a ton. China has been imposing a 15% ex...

  • Commodities

    Ethylene spot prices at six-month high in East Asia

    TOKYO -- Spot prices for ethylene are around $1,400 per ton in East Asia. That is a six-month high and up about 60% from its recent low in late January. Prices of naphtha, from which ethylene is derived, are rising along with crude oil prices. Th...

  • Chinese demand

    Volume up, rates down for bulk cargo shipping by sea

    TOKYO -- Maritime shipments of bulk cargo, including iron ore and coal, have soared over the past several years amid voracious demand in China, while shipping rates have slid to record lows amid an oversupply of capacity. Nippon Yusen estimates t...

  • Nonferrous metals

    Zinc, lead prices hit 5-month high on supply concern

    TOKYO -- International prices of zinc and lead have rebounded to the highest in about five months amid concerns of a supply slowdown later this year. But with demand not so strong, prices may fall back again. Zinc futures on the London Metal Exch...

  • Metals market

    Weak demand in China drives down copper price

    TOKYO -- Copper consumption in China is falling, as the country's economy slows, pushing down the international price of the metal. China is the world's biggest user of copper, however in the past two years consumption has only increased 6% a ye...

  • Five-year low

    Global tin prices plunge on Myanmar supply glut

    TOKYO -- Tin prices are languishing at their lowest in roughly five and a half years on increased supply from Myanmar coupled with sluggish demand. The benchmark futures prices at the London Metal Exchange have slid 9% over the last four sessions...

  • Asian steel

    Oversupply, low raw material costs push prices down

    TOKYO -- International prices of key steel products continue to fall in Asia due to overproduction by Chinese and South Korean steelmakers as well as declining costs for raw materials. The East Asian price of hot-rolled coils, which are used in t...

  • Precious metals

    Gold production may peak in 2015 -- report

    TOKYO -- World gold production may peak this year, as plummeting prices for the precious metal make it difficult for companies to develop new mines. According to a report by the World Gold Council, the industry's market development organization, ...

  • Tighter market

    Asian price of plastic feedstock jumps

    TOKYO -- The price of styrene monomer, a feedstock for making plastic, has increased sharply in Asia this year on facility maintenance by producers and an uptick in demand in China. The spot price in Asia has shot up 57% from a recent low in earl...

  • Cement export prices

    Strong Asian demand keeps prices high for Japanese producers

    TOKYO -- Fiscal 2015 export price negotiations between major Japanese cement producers and customers in Asia have concluded with prices remaining virtually unchanged from the high level of fiscal 2014. Annual contract prices are negotiated each s...

  • Australian natural resources

    Slow hard road for China coal project

    SYDNEY -- China's giant state-owned Shenhua Group has spent more than 700 million Australian dollars ($539 million) in the last seven years on its Watermark coal project in the Australian state of New South Wales, including a A$300 million up-front p...

  • Rebounding crude prices

    Benchmark WTI touches 4-month high

    TOKYO -- Oil prices appear to be plumbing a rock bottom now thanks in part to projections that U.S. shale oil output will decrease. The U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude rose past $55 a barrel at one point Wednesday, a level not seen i...

  • Lower fish meal prices?

    Peru lifts ban on anchovy fishing

    TOKYO -- Anchovy fishing will return to Peru after a one-season hiatus. The Peruvian government banned fishing off the northern-central coast for the November-January season, citing a dearth of adult anchovies. This season, a four-month perio...

  • Nonferrous metals markets

    Chinese hedge funds boost influence

    TOKYO -- Chinese hedge funds are reinforcing their influence on global nonferrous metals markets. While demand in China has a large impact on nonferrous metals markets, Chinese market players are also making themselves felt. Market watchers specu...

  • Slack Asian demand

    Stainless steel users hold off buying as nickel prices drop

    TOKYO -- International prices of stainless steel are falling in Asia due to lower prices for raw materials such as nickel and softer demand. The price of SUS 304, the benchmark grade, is $2,250 to $2,350 a ton, 8% less than at the start of the ye...

  • Grain prices

    High stockpiles send soybeans, corn lower

    TOKYO -- International grain prices remain weak due to rising inventories and prospects for further easing of supply-demand conditions. The Chicago futures price for soybeans -- the international bellwether -- stood at around $9.50 a bushel in af...

  • 'Asian premium' vanishes

    LNG spot prices tumble 70%

    TOKYO -- Spot prices for liquefied natural gas in Asia have been sluggish, falling to around $7 per million British thermal units, nearly equal to the prices of their European rivals. Because of the "Asian premium," the practice of a number of Mi...

  • Pacific fisheries

    US clashes with island states as tuna price tumbles

    An attempt by the United States to extend a treaty providing access to one of the world's greatest remaining deep sea fisheries has sparked a furious row in the South Pacific, setting some of the world's poorest and smallest states against the larges...