Commodities

Iron ore hits 3-month high amid output slowdown

TOKYO --Iron ore prices are rebounding on speculation that mining companies are finally tapping the brakes on production increases.Benchmark spot prices of Australian-produced iron ore shipped to China rose to around $59 a ton in mid-July, the highes...

  • Capacity utilization at Japan's ethylene plants at 6-year high

    TOKYO -- Ethylene facilities, which produce precursors for a variety of chemical products, continue to operate at a high level, with capacity utilization in the January-June period hitting 96.2%, according to the Japan Petrochemical Industry Associat...

  • Oil glut seen easing, though Brexit still a wild card

    TOKYO -- Supplies of crude oil and demand for the stuff will strike a balance in the second half of this year, though there is concern over how much Britain's decision to leave the European Union will impact the market, according to reports released ...

  • BHP to boost iron ore, copper output, but oil to fall

    SYDNEY (Reuters) -- BHP Billiton said it aims to boost its iron ore output by up to seven percent this year as it works its existing mines harder, after narrowly missing its target for fiscal 2016 due to the Samarco disaster in Brazil.Output at BHP's...

  • US LNG won't be Japan's savior after all

    TOKYO -- The Panama Canal now allows wider liquefied natural gas carriers to pass through, making it possible for U.S. shale gas to more easily make its way to Japan.But U.S. LNG is becoming pricey, and exports of the stuff from the U.S. no longer pr...

  • Japan racing to create LNG benchmark for Asia

    TOKYO -- Japan is firing up efforts to develop a price benchmark and LNG trading hub for Asia, seeking to beat rivals such as Singapore to the punch."We welcome the rising momentum for creation of an LNG index in Asia," said Hiroki Sato, vice preside...

  • Commodities eye

    Gold still glitters but how high can it go?

    BANGKOK -- Amid global uncertainty, volatility and bad economic news, key investment trends seem to be heading in the right direction for gold speculators, with demand already near record highs.Gold demand reached 1,290 metric tons during the first q...

  • Trading on commodity exchanges surges in first half

    TOKYO -- Six major international commodity exchanges saw trading volume jump 16% year on year during the first half of 2016, fueled by an inflow of funds to crude oil and safe-haven buying of gold.About 887.19 million contracts changed hands during t...

  • Bitcoin and China's endless chain of bubbles

    SHANGHAI -- From the stock and property markets to other segments of the economy, bubbles are continually cropping up in China. Lately, the country's investors have been turning to bitcoin in droves.Chinese investors are constantly shifting from one ...

  • Nickel shortage expected this year

    TOKYO -- Nickel, a metal used in stainless steel, is forecast to be in short supply in 2016 for the first time in six years due to a combination of slow production growth worldwide and robust demand from the construction and automobile industries.Sta...

  • Weak exports lift Malaysian palm oil inventory

    Kuala Lumpur -- Malaysia's palm oil inventory rose in June as biodiesel exports suffered a 46.28% month-on-month drop in demand from India, and competition from other cheap edible oils increased.Total inventory was up 7.66% to 1.78 million tons, acco...

  • India guzzling oil as roads stretch further

    TOKYO -- India has overtaken Japan as the world's third-largest consumer of crude oil, according to data by BP, the British oil major. While global demand for oil grew just under 2% in 2015, demand in India grew 8% from 2014 and 52% from 2006. Though...

  • China, Russia central banks still on gold-buying spree

    TOKYO -- Central banks continue to add to their gold reserves, with China and Russia leading the trend to cut dependence on the dollar and the euro in an attempt to maintain confidence in their home currencies.Central banks around the world have incr...

  • Giant Australian coal mine to sell for a dollar

    SYDNEY -- Rio Tinto, the Anglo-Australian mining giant, is in final stages of negotiations to sell its Blair Athol coal mine in Queensland, once Australia's biggest thermal coal exporter, for one Australian dollar (about 75 U.S. cents) to a far small...

  • Synthetic fiber prices fall in Asia as demand frays

    TOKYO -- Prices of synthetic fibers used in apparel have begun dropping in the Asian market with the passing of the peak demand period in China for fibers used in fall and winter clothing.The spot price of polyester filament, which is used in shirts,...

  • Commentary

    Min Lan Tan -- Gold shines bright, but for how long?

    Brexit has triggered a flight to safety but gold's fate ultimately depends on the Fed.

  • Brexit could spell trouble for Pacific exporters

    AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Britain's vote to leave the European Union is raising concern among Pacific nations, which include a number of former British colonies, about the outlook for some of their major exports.EU trade preferences prop up the price ...

  • Growing protectionist trends distorting steel market

    TOKYO -- Steel importers have been successively resorting to emergency import restriction measures amid a global steel glut triggered by China's massive overproduction.As many of such safeguard measures are questionable according to World Trade Organ...

  • Ethylene spot prices rebound in East Asia

    TOKYO -- Ethylene spot prices in East Asian markets have gained 5% from a recent low in early June to reach about $1,100 per ton, thanks to robust demand in China and supply constraints.In China, production of polystyrene foam insulation is in overdr...

  • Drought, weak pound push cocoa prices to 6-year high

    TOKYO -- The price of cocoa has topped 2,500 pounds ($3,247) per ton for the first time in six years, reflecting supply constraints and the rapid fall in Britain's currency.