According to the World Bureau of Metal Statistics, the global aluminum market was in oversupply by some 1.23 million tonnes in the first nine months of 2013, following a surplus of 539,000 tonnes for the whole of 2012. It’s this quantity of metal above ground which drove prices this week to their lowest value since mid-2009.
Natural gas futures rose Monday, climbing for the fourth straight session, as traders bet that a powerful winter storm moving toward the East Coast, along with a recent cold spell, would boost demand for the heating fuel.
The $2bn-a-year cobalt market is in the midst of an upheaval. After more than two decades during which the cobalt industry has used the price assessments of journalists at Metal Bulletin as a benchmark for transactions, the market is now shifting to adopt the London Metal Exchange contract.
While interest in the LME contract is growing, the cobalt market, much of which has relied on Metal Bulletin’s twice-weekly price assessments to settle its long-term contracts, remains divided on pricing mechanisms.
When considering the greening of any supply chain it is easy to ignore the impact of warehousing and distribution centres.
Transport miles are often shown to potential consumers, but what about the environmental cost of storage?
Understandably, the main focus in distribution centres is often the streamlining of the distribution process. This video of the Ocado distribution centre makes this optimisation geek very excited. But it is not difficult, and not necessarily expensive, to improve the green credentials of your warehousing. Read the rest of When Warehousing Goes Green » » »
After a temporary jump last month due to Copersucar‘s terminal facilities fire, the raw-sugar futures fell 0.6% Friday, their lowest level since Sept. 19, to end at 17.40 cents a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange as dry weather allowed Brazilian mills to process plenty of cane, adding to a global glut.
Stockpiles will increase 0.5 percent to 43.379 million metric tons in the marketing period ending in 2014 for most countries from a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in its November 2013 Sugar World Markets and Trade report . That topped a May forecast by 13 percent. Thailand’s output will climb to a record 10.9 million tons, up 9 percent from a year earlier and 3.8 percent more than estimated in May.
The Russia-Belarus potash war could be ending as Suleiman Kerimov, the Russian oligarch and primary shareholder of the world’s largest potash miner Uralkali, has agreed to sell his 21.75 per cent stake to billionaire businessman Mikhail Prokhorov, in a move which is likely to calm tensions between Russia and Belarus.
The potash industry has been in disarray since Uralkali announced in late July that it was leaving a trading partnership with Belarus which controlled around 40% of the world’s trade in the fertilizer ingredient. The move effectively ended an informal global pricing cartel, sent potash prices tumbling and stock prices for the world’s top producers into a tailspin. 3 weeks later, China‘s sovereign wealth fund (CIC) acquired a 12.5 percent stake in Uralkali.
Natural gas for December delivery fell 5.1 cents to settle at $3.566 per million British thermal units in New York yesterday, breaking a six-day streak of gains, after prices on Tuesday rose to $3.617, the highest closing price since Oct.30.
Natural gas futures dropped from a two-week high in New York amid speculation that a government report tomorrow will show a U.S. inventory gain that’s above average for this time of year.
Gas slid 1.4 percent as the Energy Information Administration may say stockpiles expanded by 22 billion cubic feet last week, based on the median of 18 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Estimates ranged from gains of 2 billion to 33 billion. The five-year average injection for the week is 19 billion. Supplies fell 12 billion a year earlier.
Copper fell 2.3% on Wednesdays to $3.1595 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest price since July 31. So far this year, the price declined 12 percent.
Copper has been sliding since Tuesday after China’s Third Plenum — a four-day meeting that sets government economic policy for the world’s second – largest economy—released a broad blueprint calling for markets to play a more “decisive” role in economic matters.
From aluminum to copper, prices of almost all metals have been in decline since the beginning of the year, plagued by stocks and surpluses. But two of them have moved in the opposite direction: lead and zinc prices are on the rise, a trend that is unique among metals.
70% of worldwide lead comes from batteries recycling. Since the financial crisis and the impact it had on western countries new car sales, recycled lead quantities have dropped. At the same time, production of primary lead also decreased.
The International Lead and Zinc Study Group expects that there will be a small 22,000 tonnes surplus in the global market for refined lead metal in 2013. In 2014, the market is expected to be in deficit for the first time since 2009 with the extent of the shortage estimated at 23,000 tonnes.
The recent fortunes made by investors in rare earth metals and gold are just two shining examples of what an extremely profitable investment class commodities can be. From aluminum and platinum to zinc and silver, oil and gas to cocoa and wheat, this Guide to Commodities from the Economist Intelligence Unit is a comprehensive overview of the forces at work in the world of commodities.
The price volatility of so many commodities over the past decade has underlined their economic importance and how dependent we are on them: the price of gold has soared to new peaks (before tumbling in the last few weeks) as currencies have endured a crisis of confidence, demand from China has pushed metal prices up, instability in the Middle East and North Africa has had its effect on the oil price and food prices have been increasing in parallel with worries about whether there is enough to feed the world. Read the rest of Guide to Commodities 2013 » » »