Commodities

Weak China demand pulls down gold prices

TOKYO -- Ukraine's crisis failed to boost gold prices. Investors tend to buy gold to protect their wealth during crises. But the price of the precious metal has remained flat because emerging economies are not buying. In particular, the closer su...

  • 'Washoku' shock: Japanese cuisine ingredients prices soar

    TOKYO -- Japanese cuisine is getting pricier. Indispensable ingredients for dishes, such as buckwheat, soybeans and sesame, are getting more expensive. Farmers in the main production regions are shifting to the production of feed grain, including pas...

  • Naphtha prices on rise in Asia as demand shifts from costly LPG

    TOKYO -- Prices for naphtha are trending higher in Asia, fueled by growing demand as petrochemical manufacturers move away from costly liquefied petroleum gas as the feedstock for their products. Naphtha, which has been moving in a high price ran...

  • Tight supplies push up Asian butadiene prices

    TOKYO -- Asian prices of butadiene, a petrochemical product used to make synthetic rubber, are rebounding as regularly scheduled petrochemical plant maintenance in Japan and Taiwan reduces supplies. The spot price was recently around $1,380 per t...

  • Copper prices meet upside resistance as imports decline

    TOKYO -- Copper's upward mobility is increasingly limited, with the metal currently being traded for around $6,600 per ton on the benchmark London Metal Exchange. The price has dropped by 10% since the start of the year, momentarily reaching as l...

  • Nickel, palladium prices rising amid Ukraine turmoil

    TOKYO -- International prices of nickel and palladium are climbing amid worries about supplies from Russia, a major producer of both metals, in light of the geopolitical turmoil in Ukraine. If the U.S. and Europe toughen their economic sanctions ...

  • Chinese steel traders at breaking point

    BEIJING - Xiao Jiashou once inspired thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs from his hometown in Fujian Province to come to Shanghai to try their hand at trading steel. Now many of the steel traders from Zhouning are following him into financial ruin. ...

  • Rise of cheap smartphones weighing on memory prices

    TOKYO -- Prices for NAND flash memory used in smartphones continue to fall amid a flood of cheaper handsets in China. In March, the wholesale price for the benchmark 64-gigabit memory came to about $3.1 apiece, down 11% from February and half the...

  • Soft Chinese demand drives ABS resin prices lower

    TOKYO -- International prices for ABS resin used in consumer electronics and office equipment are falling due to a slow recovery in demand in China, the main market for the plastic. Spot prices in East Asia were recently at $1,850 to $1,900 per t...

  • Orange juice futures hit 2-year high on sluggish US crop outlook

    TOKYO -- Futures contracts for frozen concentrated orange juice, a commodity listed only in New York, are rising sharply of late on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). Orange juice futures have been available for trading since 1967, meaning they...

  • Nickel producers forced to diversify supply after Indonesian embargo

    TOKYO -- Japan's nickel smelteries are diversifying their nickel ore suppliers roughly three months after an embargo on the raw material was passed by the Indonesian government. An employee responsible for nickel at Sumitomo Metal Mining cla...

  • Wary Chinese buyers put gold at discount in Shanghai

    TOKYO -- With Chinese thinking twice before they buy bullion and jewelry, the price of physical gold in Shanghai has slipped below New York futures, the global benchmark. Gold typically fetches a premium in Shanghai, one reason being the cost of ...

  • Tokyo commodity market logs lowest annual trading volume in 17 years

    TOKYO -- The trading volume on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange fell 9.7% on the year in fiscal 2013, touching a 17-year low. A total of 23.92 million lots changed hands in the fiscal year through March 31 -- a "lot" being the minimum trading unit. I...

  • Shanghai tops 2013 list of world commodity exchanges

    TOKYO -- The Shanghai Futures Exchange saw more turnover of commodity futures than any other exchange worldwide in 2013, a ranking from the Tokyo Commodity Exchange shows. The Shanghai exchange returned to first place after occupying the No. 4 sp...

  • Japanese utility gets 14% discount on coal

    TOKYO -- Tohoku Electric Power will pay the lowest prices for coal for power plants in about five years amid a global glut of the fuel. The utility for the northern end of Japan's main island and commodities giant Glencore Xstrata have agreed to ...

  • Copper price plunge takes a breather as China worries ebb

    TOKYO -- The sharp drop in international copper prices appears to have come to a halt, at least for now, as fears over China-related selling recede. The red metal stayed at just over $6,500 a ton in after-hours trading Thursday on the London Meta...

  • China is making too much phenol, and Japan's chemical industry reacts

    TOKYO -- First it was too much steel. Now China is making too much phenol, a basic ingredient in plastics. This is shifting the global price market and forcing materials manufacturers elsewhere to make structural changes. The production of pheno...

  • Supermarkets in Japan save by switching to PET display trays

    TOKYO -- The average grocery shopper may not notice, but Japan's supermarkets are changing the way they package and display fresh food products. Containers made of the same material used for soft-drink bottles are gradually replacing those made of pl...

  • Asian methanol prices near 7-month lows

    TOKYO -- Prices for methanol, a basic chemical used to produce synthetic resins and adhesives, have declined in Asia as Southeast Asian supplies rebound and Chinese demand slumps. The spot price of methanol shipped to China, the main market, has ...

  • Tocom to launch crack-spread trading of oil products

    TOKYO -- The Tokyo Commodity Exchange will offer combination orders across multiple petroleum products, known in the oil industry as crack-spread trading, as a means of bolstering the languishing oil market. Tocom will let investors trade 42 comb...