Commodities

Nickel price declines

Russia ups exports amid weak ruble

TOKYO -- Nickel prices have slumped of late. A number of factors are pushing prices down. Russia, a major producer, is not helping matters. Nickel futures on the London Metal Exchange are trading at around $14,000 per ton, down 8% from the end of...

  • Commodity prices rise

    Yemen unrest, dollar send oil, gold higher

    TOKYO -- The stronger dollar and unrest in the Middle East have caused international prices of commodities such as gold and crude oil to climb off recent lows. The Nikkei Commodity Index, which indicates total price fluctuations for dollar-denomi...

  • Hard times as prices decline

    Brother, can you spare a dollar for LCD panel makers?

    TOKYO -- To hedge against falling prices of liquid crystal displays for smartphones, makers are trying to add value by including touch-sensitive panels and increasing the resolution. But it is uncertain whether their efforts will improve profitabilit...

  • Overseas investors

    Proprietary traders widen Tocom presence

    TOKYO -- Foreign proprietary trading companies are making their presence known on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange (Tocom). The turnover of foreign investors in general jumped about 40% from a year earlier to 870,000 contracts in February, accounting for...

  • Slumping steel demand

    Iron ore prices down, scrap iron steady

    TOKYO -- The price of iron ore continues to decline with the spot price of benchmark Australian ore currently $55 a ton, down 12% since the start of the month. Iron ore prices have dipped 5% from the start of last week. A report released Wednesda...

  • West Coast back in action

    Shipping from Asia to US East Coast becomes cheaper

    TOKYO -- The cost to ship containers from Asia to the U.S. East Coast has declined 12% from the recent peak in mid-February now that a prolonged dispute over dockworker wages on the West Coast has effectively ended. The spot price has fallen to a...

  • Steady as she goes

    Silicon wafer prices flat for fourth straight quarter

    TOKYO -- Prices for silicon wafers, the primary material used in semiconductors, held steady in the January-March quarter as brisk smartphone sales kept demand from falling as usual during this time of the year. Large-lot users paid around $70 to...

  • Weak resource demand

    Coking coal price for Japan's steelmakers set to touch record low

    TOKYO -- The price major Japanese steelmakers pay for coking coal in the April-June period is expected to decline to the lowest since the current quarterly negotiating format began in fiscal 2010, falling 6% from the prior three months amid weak Chin...

  • Safe spending

    US oil majors stick to increased production plans

    NEW YORK -- Despite sliding crude oil prices, U.S. oil majors have decided to maintain plans to aggressively increase production. They see profits coming from streamlining and technical innovations. On March 4, Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of ...

  • Bumper crop

    Soybean futures hit 5-month low

    TOKYO -- International soybean prices have retreated 7% from a recent high in late February to a five-month low amid robust shipments from Brazil and slowing demand in China. Soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade -- the international bell...

  • Volatile oil

    Speculative money shaking up crude market

    TOKYO -- A flood of investment money is sending the price of crude oil on wild swings, with market players split over which direction it will end up going. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude began plunging in the latter half of 2014, fa...

  • Made Island's new role

    Oil headed for China takes short cut through Myanmar

    MADE ISLAND, Myanmar -- With pirates in the Malacca Strait threatening China's oil shipments, Beijing is trying to secure a less dangerous energy supply route -- one that makes use of this island, along the Bay of Bengal. The China-Myanmar Crude ...

  • Commodities

    Natural rubber prices remain soft

    TOKYO -- Prices for natural rubber continue to seesaw amid a global supply glut. Sheet rubber listed on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange has traded between 200 yen ($1.65) and 220 yen per kilogram in recent months. Rubber-producing countries are tryi...

  • China rare earth tariffs

    Export duties expected to end as quotas removed

    TOKYO -- International expectation is growing over whether China will abolish rare earth export duties following the January removal of quotas on such materials leaving the country. The world's largest producer of rare-earth materials scrapped it...

  • Prices bottom out

    Synthetic fiber feedstock stops falling as oil stabilizes

    TOKYO -- Prices of materials for synthetic fibers have finally halted their decline that began in the latter half of 2014, thanks to crude oil apparently finding a floor. The East Asian spot price for purified terephthalic acid, used in polyester...

  • Weak Asian demand

    Japan's scrap iron export prices slip for third month

    TOKYO -- Scrap iron export prices have declined in Japan for three straight months, as falling prices for their products in Asia keep steelmakers unmotivated to procure raw materials. Bidding on March contracts, which the Kanto Tetsugen Cooperati...

  • Chinese gold mystery

    Where are all those imports from Switzerland going?

    TOKYO -- India relinquished its long-held status as the world's biggest gold consumer to China in 2013. But the South Asian country returned to the top of the golden totem pole in 2014. Consumption of the precious metal fell in both countries las...

  • Crude in flux

    Sweeping changes in global oil trade

    TOKYO -- The shale oil revolution in the U.S. has shifted the currents of the global oil trade in major ways. The U.S. is still the top importer of crude oil, but daily imports are nearly 30% below what they were a decade ago. During that same ti...

  • 'Hot money' in commodities

    Crude volatility puts off long-term investors

    TOKYO -- Hedge funds and others seeking quick profits are stirring up volatility in crude oil futures, making the market difficult to navigate for investors in for the long haul. Trading in benchmark West Texas Intermediate on the New York Mercan...

  • Never mind the glut

    US likely to keep the oil flowing fast

    TOKYO -- To get a clearer picture of where crude oil prices are likely headed, market players often look to the number of oil rigs in operation. At the moment, more than any other metric, the biggest focus among price prognosticators is the U.S. ...