Commodities

Investors are glued to monitors displaying share prices in Shanghai. © Reuters

Risks amplified

Commodity prices hit 3-month low as China worries intensify

TOKYO -- Plunging Shanghai stocks are fueling concerns over the Chinese economy, depressing global commodity prices. The Thomson Reuters/CoreCommodity CRB Commodity Index fell Tuesday to its lowest in three months. The price of copper on the ...

  • Petrochemicals

    Synthetic resin spot prices firm in Asia

    TOKYO -- Spot prices for vinyl chloride resin and other synthetic resins are rising in Asia. Despite cheaper crude oil, resin prices are 8-23% higher than their January lows, due to growing demand for infrastructure in India and other countries, as w...

  • Commodities eye

    Rice prices poised to climb as drought deepens

    BANGKOK -- It is baking hot in the mid-afternoon just outside Laos' capital, Vientiane. Won, a local rice farmer, looks up at the cloudless sky. It should be humid and raining, but so far in June, this area close to the Mekong River, which separates ...

  • Commodities eye

    Crude catatonic with eye on Iran, Greece talks

    Crude markets moved swiftly past the OPEC meeting of June 5, only to drift directionless, until two month-end deadlines came into focus, one on Greece's bailout package and the other for Iran's nuclear deal, giving prices a new tune to dance to. ...

  • Chinese surplus dampens market

    Semi-finished steel prices slump in Asia

    TOKYO -- Asian prices of semi-finished steel products are sinking due to growing exports from China, spurring some Japanese producers to consider reducing output. The price of billets, which are used to make construction-use bar steel and wire ne...

  • Rare-earth metals

    Price declines reinforce addiction to Chinese supplies

    TOKYO -- Autoparts manufacturers and other companies that use rare-earth metals are once again increasing their dependence on Chinese supplies. This has some worried. The elements are used in production of high-performance magnets, among other th...

  • Interview with Takamichi Hamada

    Tocom eyes future in commodity futures trading

    TOKYO -- As futures exchanges in Shanghai and other parts of Asia grow in popularity, turnover at the Tokyo Commodity Exchange (Tocom) has continued to falter. In a recent interview with The Nikkei, Takamichi Hamada, who became president of Tocom...

  • Lagging domestic demand

    Japan's top steel companies likely to continue easing production

    TOKYO -- Japan's big steelmakers expect to continue limiting their output during the July-September quarter as they await a recovery in the auto industry. Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal cut production 10% in the April-June period compared with the...

  • Futures trading

    Grain prices surge on speculative buying

    TOKYO -- International prices of grains have been spiking due mainly to buying by speculative investors reacting to lower-than-expected stockpiles amid economic uncertainties. July contracts for corn in the Chicago market changed hands at around ...

  • Commodities eye

    G-7 pact cements long-term coal market decline

    BANGKOK -- The first major El Nino weather cycle to hit the world in six years is propping up the price of coal in Asia, but any market euphoria will be restrained by a recently signed pact between leading industrialized nations to phase out fossil f...

  • Investors lack alternatives

    Are crashing Chinese shares benefiting gold?

    BANGKOK -- The big stock crash in mainland China on Friday may have awoken some investors, but others seem to have been already fearing it. Data recently released in Hong Kong suggests that some mainland investment money had been finding its way into...

  • Fruit for the wealthy

    Robust consumption in Asia boosting prices

    TOKYO -- Growing demand among the wealthy in Asia is pushing up fruit prices. Japanese trading houses are often losing to Chinese rivals in bidding for imported bananas and other fruits, and exports of domestic fruit are also rising. The import p...

  • Steel oversupply

    Iron ore prices sink on weaker Chinese demand

    TOKYO -- Iron ore prices are again declining as Chinese buyers back off while ore production increases. The spot price of Australian ore was recently $60 to $61 a ton, down 7% from early June to the lowest level in around a month. Iron ore hi...

  • Import controls

    Butter shortage pads prices in Japan

    TOKYO -- The price of commercial butter has hit a 29-year high as business users rush to build inventory ahead of winter, a trend exacerbated by Japan's state import system. Prices of butter used by snack makers hit roughly 570 yen ($4.58) for 45...

  • Shipping

    Spot rates for US-bound containers drop on tepid global demand

    TOKYO -- Spot rates for ocean freight containers from Asia to the U.S. and other parts of the world have dropped due to a worldwide glut of container-vessel capacity. Charges for U.S.-bound containers, in particular, have been on the decline desp...

  • Chinese demand slackens

    Asian benzene market expected to loosen after supply surge

    TOKYO -- Asia's benzene supply has swelled alongside South Korean manufacture of a related compound, just as Chinese demand begins to weaken. This surge in production of the compound, used in synthetic resins and fibers, comes as benzene consumpt...

  • Steady downtrend

    Stainless steel slips to 6-year low in Asia on weak Chinese demand

    TOKYO -- International prices of stainless steel sheet continue to fall in Asia, touching the lowest level in nearly six years as slowing demand growth in China heightens the market's sense of an oversupply. Benchmark SUS 304 stainless steel was ...

  • Commodities eye

    Natural gas stands out, even in crude's shadow

    With its spectacular price fall recently, oil has snatched the spotlight from most other commodities. The major reason for this price drop comes from the introduction of shale oil, which disrupted the supply-demand for crude. With all the hype over s...

  • Investors question strategy

    Malaysia palm oil leader buying up plantations

    SINGAPORE -- Felda Global Ventures Holdings, a leading palm plantation operator in Malaysia, is aggressively expanding -- even though the market for palm oil remains saturated. Palm oil is one of Malaysia's key industries, accounting for 5% to 6%...

  • Precious metal price fall

    Palladium market hits low as Chinese auto sales flag

    TOKYO -- Palladium futures dropped to a 16-month low below $720 per troy ounce during pre-market trading in New York Friday, amid falling demand due to stagnant auto sales in China. Prices have fallen more than $80 from an early May high. On the ...