Commodities

Asian petroleum

Naphtha price plunge pauses as imports slow

TOKYO -- The Asian price of naphtha appears to have stopped falling, reflecting the end of the recent slide in the crude oil market and a slower influx of the product from the U.S. and Europe. Naphtha, a feedstock for many petrochemical products,...

  • Tailwind from China

    Copper, rubber prices up as Lunar New Year wraps up

    TOKYO -- International prices of copper and natural rubber have risen on expectations that Chinese demand will grow after the Lunar New Year holidays end. China is the largest user of both commodities, accounting for roughly 40% of global demand....

  • Ruble troubles

    Russia pulls down Asia steel, coal prices

    TOKYO -- Prices of Asian steel and coal are falling. Cheaper raw materials from Russia are flooding markets since the oil price slump helped push a plummeting ruble down further. The ruble stands at around 61 against the dollar, having declined a...

  • Cutbacks prop up market

    Iron ore prices level off as smaller mines reduce output

    TOKYO -- Iron ore prices appear to be taking a breather after a rapid plunge amid speculation that small and midsize mines will cut production. Spot prices have stayed at $60 to $65 a ton since earlier this month. Business conditions have wor...

  • Petrochemicals

    Spot ethylene, propylene prices rebound in Asia

    TOKYO -- With the price of crude oil settling after a months-long slide, Asian spot prices of ethylene and other basic petrochemicals have turned upward. Ethylene has risen to around $950 per ton, about 9% higher than a month ago. Propylene is up...

  • Mixed blessing

    Cheap oil a boon for Southeast Asia -- with one exception

    SINGAPORE -- Oil prices will likely spiral to $31 per barrel by the end of the first quarter due to rising global oil inventories, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. This will be a mixed blessing for Southeast Asia. While most countries, inc...

  • Rising oil inventories

    Stockpiling threatens to destabilize crude oil market

    TOKYO -- Rising inventory levels are adding another layer of uncertainty to crude oil prices by obscuring true demand and setting the stage for a supply glut when storage capacities are used up. Crude oil inventories in the U.S. are at a record l...

  • Fallout from China's economic slump

    Copper, nickel prices down 10% in 2015

    TOKYO -- International prices for copper and nickel are down 10% or so since the start of the year and remain sluggish due largely to a prolonged slowdown in growth of Chinese demand, which accounts for 40% of global demand. Copper is currently t...

  • Commodities' turning point

    'Supercycle' began to wind down in 2008, expert says

    BANGKOK -- As the prices of oil and other global commodities tumble, the consensus is that the most recent so-called supercycle is well and truly over. The question of when it ended, however, is still open for debate. Widely defined as an extende...

  • Tempest in a Twitter account

    Shadowy research company makes out Hong Kong's Noble Group to be another Enron

    SINGAPORE -- Last week, an incendiary report titled, "Noble Group, a Repeat of Enron," written by an obscure research company, caused an immense stir in Singapore's stock market, sending the big commodities trader's shares into a tailspin. The re...

  • Diamonds in India

    Mumbai auction center to cut out middlemen

    NEW DELHI - A staggering 90% of the world's rough diamonds by volume are processed in India. But the country's diamond industry is anxious that it will lose out to competition from China unless it adopts sweeping reforms. The mostly family-owned ...

  • Agriculture at risk

    Higher banana prices highlight risk of crop 'clones'

    TOKYO -- Produce prices are often influenced by the weather, but there is another -- and more serious -- reason behind the recent hike in banana prices. In late January, banana producers and major Japanese trading firms reached a rough agreement ...

  • Thailand mining

    Government hopes potash will revive sector

    BANGKOK -- In the 1970s, Thailand was one of Asia's mining giants with an economy that rode on the back of a single commodity, its biggest export at that time, tin. Today, Thailand is one of the region's laggards when it comes to mining its under...

  • Brazilian beans

    Coffee prices sink to one-year low on improved crop outlook

    TOKYO -- Coffee prices tumbled to their lowest levels in a year as concerns over production in Brazil eased. Arabica beans, which are used for regular coffee, are currently trading at about 150 cents per pound on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange. ...

  • Japan's gold boom

    Investors converting precious metal into cash

    TOKYO -- Bucking the sluggish international trend, gold prices have risen in Japan to the highest level since April 2013, spurring individuals to cash in their bullion stashes. On Thursday, gold traded at 4,636 yen ($38.71) on the Tokyo Commodity...

  • Chinese influx takes a toll

    Japan's steel export prices near 9-year low

    TOKYO -- Japanese steel exports are facing a flood of Chinese products in Asia, resulting in plummeting prices and a slack market. The export price of hot-rolled coil, which is processed into steel sheet, recently came to $430 a ton. It has falle...

  • Noble Group accounting

    Commodity trader hits iceberg

    SINGAPORE -- The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is following up on a recent report by Iceberg Research on Singapore-listed commodity trader Noble Group's that alleges accounting irregularities. Iceberg accuses Noble of employing irregular ...

  • Higher and higher

    Prices of black sesame seeds sprout skyward

    TOKYO -- Black sesame seeds have gotten very expensive for Japan to import, and the only direction prices are going is up. Seeds from the main producing nation of Myanmar cost 323,604 yen ($2,711) a ton in December 2014, trade statistics show -- ...

  • Weak yen's impact

    Recycling materials fetching a bundle in Japan

    TOKYO -- Used aluminum cans and paper are trading at high prices in Japan as demand for exports grows elsewhere in Asia. Aluminum cans collected by municipalities are drawing high bids. In the Tokyo region, successful bids came to around 200,000 ...

  • Oil change

    Is Japan on the verge of minibubbles in equities, real estate?

    TOKYO -- Now that the price of crude oil seems to have settled, as has the anxiety its plunge caused, financial markets are looking more closely at the upside for energy-driven economies. West Texas Intermediate has rebounded above $50 a barrel a...