Commodities

Metals market

Raw materials for steel see plunge in prices, demand

TOKYO -- The prices of raw materials for making steel are slumping as the economic slowdown in China has dampened Asian demand for steel products. Alloys have seen some of the starkest drops. Japan's import prices for deoxidizing agent ferrosilic...

  • Corn prices could plummet

    Is it the end of the road for ethanol?

    TOKYO -- With cheap shale oil glutting the U.S. fuel market, demand for ethanol made from corn has dropped in the country. The situation has the U.S. government reviewing its biofuel policy, and some market watchers see a shift ahead that will de...

  • Prices falling fast

    China is glutting the globe with aluminum

    TOKYO -- China's aluminum export push is creating a global glut. China on May 1 scrapped a 15% export duty on aluminum alloys and products such as aluminum bars. The move could give further impetus to the country's aluminum export campaign. G...

  • Hong Kong exchange

    Bourse aims to create commodities trading link with mainland China

    HONG KONG -- Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, owner of the London Metal Exchange, is seeking to create a commodities trading link with mainland China, CEO Charles Li said Wednesday. Speaking at the LME Asia Week 2015 conference in Hong Kong, Li ...

  • Rigs shutting down

    US shale oil output hits a plateau

    NEW YORK -- U.S. shale oil production appears to have maxed out, with more than half of the nation's rigs shut down. The number of oil rigs operating in the U.S. stands at 660, declining for a 23rd consecutive week, according to a report Friday b...

  • A bargain no longer

    Costlier US natural gas loses its Asian edge

    TOKYO -- Rising prices of American natural gas have eroded its advantage in Japan and elsewhere in Asia, where the market is lackluster. Henry Hub, the U.S. natural gas benchmark, has rebounded to more than $3 per million British thermal units. T...

  • Horticulture Asia

    China not so full of (mung) beans

    TOKYO -- Bean sprout producers in Japan are feeling the pinch as the price of mung beans ratchet up. They are transferring the higher costs onto retailers while looking to import mung beans from countries outside China -- their traditional trade part...

  • Palm oil inventory rise

    Market watchers expect exports to rebound

    KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia's palm oil inventory in April jumped 17.6% month-on-month to 2.19 million tons due to higher production and lower exports. With the country's implementation of zero export duty on crude palm oil in May, local investment b...

  • Asian commodities

    Ethylene price surge takes a breather, but demand steady

    TOKYO -- The East Asian spot price of ethylene, widely used for petrochemical products, has dipped to around $1,400 per metric ton, down about $20 from a month before, following an extended rally. Supply has loosened as the peak time for periodic...

  • Chronic glut

    Magnesium prices sink to lowest in 8 years

    TOKYO -- Global prices of magnesium have fallen to an eight-year low as China continues to produce far too much of this metal with broad industrial uses. Magnesium is selling for $2,200 to $2,250 a ton, down roughly 15% from a year earlier. Price...

  • Economic slowdown

    Australia's central bank trims growth outlook amid stubborn jobs data

    BANGKOK -- Australia's central bank has cut its economic growth forecasts for the country days after its May 5 decision to cut interest rates to historic lows of 2%, from 2.25%. In its quarterly economic statement issued May 8, the Reserve Bank o...

  • Natural rubber

    Asian countries aim to launch trading platform to combat price plummets

    KUALA LUMPUR -- Rubber producing countries are considering setting up a common trading platform in an attempt to halt declining prices of the commodity. Ministers from the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) met Friday to disc...

  • Robust Chinese demand

    Benzene prices up for third month in Asia

    TOKYO -- Prices paid by large users of benzene have climbed for three months in a row on solid demand in China and higher prices for products made from the compound. The Asian contract price for May is $865 a ton, JX Nippon Oil & Energy said Thur...

  • That sinking feeling

    European-bound container shipping rates nosedive

    TOKYO -- Spot rates on container shipments from Asia to Europe have plunged 70% on the year to around $340 per TEU, or 20-foot-equivalent unit. Current spot rates are also down 70% from as recently as late January. This is due to a slowdown in fr...

  • Japanese producers cutting back

    China glutting the global caprolactam market

    TOKYO -- Japanese makers of caprolactam, a precursor to nylon fibers and resins, have been scrambling to cut production due to China's increased production of the stuff and a corresponding drop-off in Chinese imports. The caprolactam market may even ...

  • Indian deregulation

    Modi walks tightrope made of gold

    TOKYO -- India, one of the world's largest consumers of gold, is attempting to strike a balance between meeting demand for the precious metal and shoring up its trade figures. The government last year started easing restrictions on gold imports, ...

  • 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...