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OPEC, the Phantom Menace

Posted on 17 June 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From the Keystone pipeline to Ukraine to fracking and American self-sufficiency, Washington is abuzz about energy politics these days, but top U.S. policymakers continue to make mistakes when thinking about world energy markets.
For example, James Woolsey, a former director of the CIA and self-proclaimed energy hawk, argues that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has a grip on global oil and gasoline prices so tight that the United States will never be free of its influence. Like most people, Woolsey wrongly believes that OPEC is a powerful cartel………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Saudi Arabia Proposes Reducing OPEC Meets From Twice To Once A Year

Posted on 16 June 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Saudi Arabia has suggested OPEC meet just once a year, rather than twice, a sharp reduction from the days when the group met for up to seven times a year in the early 2000s. The OPEC meetings since 2012 have produced no policy change and Wednesday’s gathering in Vienna was no exception, sticking with its production target of 30 million barrels per day (bpd).
The 12-member cartel used to give traders more to worry about, meeting several times a year, convening emergency meetings at short notice and sometimes making surprise decisions as it tried to micro-manage the oil market………………………………………..Full Article: Source

China Commodity Loans Add to Surge in Offshore Borrowing

Posted on 13 June 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The commodity-backed loans at the center of a probe into an alleged financial scam at a Chinese port are part of a ramp-up in offshore borrowing by Chinese companies that Beijing is looking to tamp down.
As Chinese authorities tightened credit at home in the past year, local firms instead looked abroad for financing. Asian-Pacific banks alone had $1.2 trillion in loan exposure to China at the end of 2013, up two-and-a-half times from 2010, according to Fitch Ratings………………………………………..Full Article: Source

OPEC Ministers Agree to Maintain Output Quota

Posted on 12 June 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Delegates of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to roll over the group’s production quota, maintaining the group’s current official production output. The decision comes despite concerns over adequate global supply. Libya has struggled to lift its output amid political turmoil in the country. Meanwhile, global growth—and by extension, oil demand—has been picking up.
OPEC, which is holding its semiannual meeting in the Austrian capital, agreed to keep its official output quota at 30 million barrels a day, delegates said. OPEC produces about one in three barrels of the world’s crude………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait expect OPEC to maintain current oil output

Posted on 11 June 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait said on Tuesday they expect OPEC to keep oil production levels stable so as not to alter prices at a meeting of the cartel this week. Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi said the market was “stable and balanced” and that he therefore believed there would not be any decision to change output.
“The price is at a comfortable level for producer and consumer countries as well as for the oil industry,” he said ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Iraq, Venezuela say OPEC to roll over output ceiling

Posted on 10 June 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The OPEC oil producers’ cartel appeared set to maintain its output ceiling later this week, Iraq and Venezuela said here on Monday. The Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries, whose dozen member nations together supply about one third of the world’s crude, have a daily collective output target of 30 million barrels of oil.
“I have a feeling we are expecting to have another rollover,” Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters in the Austrian capital, two days before Wednesday’s OPEC gathering………………………………………..Full Article: Source

India: FMC takes steps to restore investor confidence in commodities market

Posted on 09 June 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

To revive investor confidence in commodities market that has plummeted after the NSEL crisis, sector regulator FMC has asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to make it mandatory for listed companies to disclose their exposure in commodities hedging.
The Forward Markets Commission (FMC) has also written to the Finance Ministry to direct banks to insist on borrowers, who have exposure to commodities, hedging their price risks………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Opec focus switches to supply challenge

Posted on 06 June 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

When Opec last met six months ago the discussion in and around its secretariat building in central Vienna centred on how the oil cartel might have to cut production to accommodate rising output from a trio of countries – Iran, Iraq and Libya.
But as oil ministers from the 12 member countries prepare to gather in the Austrian capital for next week’s meeting, there is a different talking point. The focus is no longer about reducing production but whether Opec can pump enough oil to meet the “call”, or demand for its crude, given the growing number of problems among its member countries………………………………………..Full Article: Source

OPEC Crude Output Advances from 3-Year Low

Posted on 03 June 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) crude production climbed in May for the first time in three months, led by gains in Angola and Saudi Arabia, a Bloomberg survey showed.
Output from the 12-member OPEC countries rose by 75,000 barrels a day to an average 29.988 million, according to the survey of oil companies, producers and analysts. Last month’s total was revised 50,000 barrels a day higher to 29.913 million because of changes to the Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates estimates………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Dubai in Land of OPEC Gives Blessing to Going Green: Arab Credit

Posted on 29 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Dubai, better known for palm-shaped islands and the world’s tallest skyscraper than energy conservation, is on a mission to cut power and water use as the rising costs of fuel and desalination threaten future growth.
The utility leading the campaign for conservation is the one benefiting the most from soaring demand. Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, whose bonds have outperformed Persian Gulf companies on the strength of rising demand, created a unit to advise customers on ways to reduce consumption while the government may start a fund to help energy saving, Chief Executive Officer Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer said……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Gold Bear Market Is Losing Momentum

Posted on 29 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

It’s constructive to look at the other side of your positions to see where you might be wrong. If you’re long a market, a good way to do this is by taking the inverse of the symbol representing your position. At stockcharts.com, you do this by putting “$ONE:” in front of your symbol and it shows you a chart of the inverse of your position.
I like to do this instead of looking at the leveraged ETFs because they tend to decay over time. The non-leveraged inverse ETFs are fine, but they don’t exist for many markets. Therefore using “$ONE:” gives you the bear market perspective of anything you want to look at………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Has The US Shale Oil Miracle Disappeared?

Posted on 23 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The US shale oil “miracle” has about as much believability left as Jimmy Swaggart. Just today, we learned that the EIA has placed a hefty downward revision on its estimate of the amount of recoverable oil in the #1 shale reserve in the US, the Monterey in California.
As recently as yesterday, the much-publicized Monterey formation accounted for nearly two-thirds of all technically-recoverable US shale oil resources. But by this morning? The EIA now estimates these reserves to be 96% lower than it previously claimed……………………………………..Full Article: Source

GCC economies must reduce dependence on commodities

Posted on 21 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Falling oil prices will pose a challenge to GCC hydrocarbon exporters unless governments step up their diversification efforts and develop more export industries, according to a new report by ICAEW. In its latest quarterly Economic Insight report, produced by its partner, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), the accountancy and finance body says expanding competitiveness across a broader range of export industries will require improvements in education, skills and innovation to be successful.
According to Economic Insight: Middle East Q2 2014, GCC economies are now more dependent on commodity exports than they were 10 years ago despite the diversification agenda. Commodities still account for 86.8 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s total goods exports by value and nearly two thirds of the UAE’s. Even Bahrain, with the fewest hydrocarbon resources of any GCC economy, relies on commodity exports for nearly three-quarters of goods exports…………………………………..Full Article: Source

Indian gold consumption to increase?

Posted on 21 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Gold consumption in India, the world’s second-largest user, will probably increase in the second half as import restrictions are relaxed by the new government, according to the World Gold Council.
Demand may climb as high as 1,000 tons this year, said Somasundaram P.R., the managing director for India. That compares with 974.8 tons in 2013 and a record of 1,006.3 tons in 2010, according to data from the London-based WGC. Imports plunged 52 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, the group said………………………………….Full Article: Source

Iran Says OPEC Needs to Make Room For Its Oil

Posted on 20 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Iran’s oil output is moving away from a 20-month high reached earlier this year. Nevertheless, with OPEC expecting growing demand for its crude, Iran says it’s ready to make its presence known on the international oil stage.
Iran is serious about achieving a position on the international stage that’s reflective of its reserve potential, the country’s oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, told an international energy summit in Moscow. Zanganeh, a career official in the Iranian energy sector, said challenges of long-term energy security have come into question, though with what he says is 157 billion barrels of crude oil in place, the Islamic republic is up to the task…………………………………….Full Article: Source

Move Over OPEC and Russia, America is in the Oil-Price Driver’s Seat

Posted on 19 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Want to know something that you probably haven’t considered, but will absolutely blow your mind? Since 2011, two of the world’s top 25 oil-exporting nations — Libya and Sudan — have seen production completely fall off a cliff, Export volumes from Venezuela and Mexico have been on a slow decline for a decade, and Russia and the West are in the midst of a Cold War-esque standoff over Ukraine.
Yet over the last three years, the price of crude oil has not just stayed flat, it has declined. Step back and think about that for a minute. This was a market that used to go into panic mode if the king of Saudi Arabia had a bad meal, and now nearly 2 million barrels a day in production can vanish from the global market without anyone blinking an eye…………………………………….Full Article: Source

IEA says Opec oil supply could fall short

Posted on 16 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Opec, the oil-producing cartel, will need to increase production significantly in the second half of the year in order to meet world demand, according to the west’s energy watchdog.
While production gains of about 400,000 barrels a day in April have gone some way towards easing tight global markets, the International Energy Agency says a bigger increase will be needed in the second half of the year when consumption picks up after the northern hemisphere summer………………………………………..Full Article: Source

China, Middle East to take on more crude, OPEC says

Posted on 14 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Though the European economy is showing signs of recovery, OPEC said Tuesday much of the growth in oil demand is coming from the Middle East and China.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its monthly market report for May global oil demand is expected to increase by 1.14 million barrels per day to 91.15 bpd this year. “Almost half of annual oil demand growth is seen coming from China and the Middle East,” OPEC’s report said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Bank-led commodity decorrelation theory rejected by analysts

Posted on 08 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Unctad economists’ argument that bank withdrawals are loosening correlation between commodities and equities “doesn’t make any sense”, say analysts. Analysts have criticised the findings of two economists at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), who claim the withdrawal of banks from commodity markets has driven down the correlation between commodities and other asset classes.
“To say that banks exiting creates a decorrelation doesn’t make any sense to me,” says Michael Haigh, New York-based global head of commodities research at Societe Generale Corporate & Investment Banking (SG CIB)………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Steel: Asia output strong, EU to witness increase after two years of decline

Posted on 08 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Strong growth in Asia production and increase in European Union (EU) production after two years of decline, will raise total production of steel by 3% to 1655 mn tons in 2014, according to MEPS International.
MEPS estimates a growth of 2.6% for EU region at 170 mn tons. Steel manufacturing in Europe, excluding the EU and CIS, should reach 40 million tonnes in 2014 - a rise of 3.1 percent, year-on-year. Our 2014 forecast for steelmaking in the CIS has been downgraded in this issue and now stands at 108.5 million tonnes. This represents a slight decrease from the previous year’s outturn………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Commodities comeback on the horizon

Posted on 05 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Twelve months is a long time in investment. “2013 was a year when many investors may have questioned the role of certain asset classes, especially commodities,” says Nick Spencer, director of consulting at Russell Investments, after a year in which the Dow Jones-UBS commodity index lost 9.5 per cent but the Russell 3000 US equity index jumped 33 per cent.
So far this year the Dow Jones index has rebounded 9 per cent, and Hermes Fund Managers has declared the outlook for commodities to be its most propitious for a decade………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Kuwait to support OPEC’s decisions — Oil Min

Posted on 05 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Kuwait will support OPEC’s decision to achieve stability in the oil market, said Kuwaiti Minister of Oil and Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs Dr. Ali Al-Omair said here Sunday.
On the sideline of the two-day high-level meeting on climate change in Abu Dhabi, Al-Omair said that Kuwait will support OPEC’s efforts to create a comfortable atmosphere for both oil suppliers and consumers. He noted that his country would back OPEC’s decision to keep the current oil production………………………………………..Full Article: Source

How El Niño Could Affect Commodity Prices (Video)

Posted on 02 May 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Rabobank Australia’s Bruce King discusses how a possible El Niño may affect food prices this year with Angie Lau on Bloomberg Television’s “First Up.……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Commodities favoured in portfolio rotation

Posted on 30 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

After several years of poor performance investors are warming to commodities. Helped by the return of volatility, strong returns and declining correlations with other asset classes, money has started to trickle back into the sector.
After a record $50bn of net redemptions in 2013, total inflows into passive index tracking and commodity-linked exchange traded funds this year have so far totalled just over $6bn, according to research by Citigroup. Agriculture, energy and bullion funds have led the way………………………………………..Full Article: Source

U.S. sanctions on Russia put western oil companies in tricky position

Posted on 30 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

New U.S. sanctions on Russia that include asset freezes and travel bans on several top Russian officials, including Rosneft’s Igor Sechin, are raising the likelihood that Western companies with investments in Russia will be caught up in the economic feud.
BP, in particular, is significantly exposed. It used to be a major owner of TNK-BP, a joint oil venture in Russia, but agreed in 2013 to sell its holdings to Rosneft in exchange for a 19.75 percent stake in Rosneft itself………………………………………..Full Article: Source

The case for commodities

Posted on 29 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The song “Physical” was a 1981 hit by Olivia Newton-John and it conjures up the yearning that some investors have for hard or physical assets. Aside from other tangible property like real estate or collectibles, commodities play an important role in a diversified portfolio.
Unfortunately, most people aren’t farmers and don’t have adequate storage space for 300 bushels of corn or a herd of cattle. Perhaps, that’s why so many individual investors own little to no commodities inside their portfolios. And that’s really the value proposition of commodity-based ETPs: to deliver affordable market exposure to an important asset class that investors would otherwise miss………………………………………..Full Article: Source

The largest supply side shock since the OPEC crisis of the 1970s

Posted on 28 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

A future filled with inflation, creative government expropriations and changing borders in Eastern Europe. The Ukraine was not a local, spontaneous, organic event, but part of a larger pattern of social unrest in Brazil, Argentina, Thailand, South Africa, and across the Arab world, which share a common thread: A rising cost of living for at least two years before all hell breaks out.
When food costs rise dramatically, people ask, “Why is the wealth in my society being distributed to some other guy and not to me?” The question led to the overthrow of dictatorships in the Middle East and, in Ukraine, the answer was to join the EU. The Russians said, “No way.” If Ukraine joined the EU, it would mean NATO right on Russia’s border, which would be like a Cuban Missile Crisis for them………………………………………..Full Article: Source

EU should halve meat, dairy consumption to cut nitrogen-report

Posted on 25 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

People in the European Union, who according to a United Nations body eat way more protein than necessary, could prompt big cuts in nitrogen pollution if they halved their meat and dairy consumption, a U.N.-backed report said.
Nitrogen is used in fertiliser to replace nutrients which are removed by soils during plant growth but excess nitrogen can harm the environment by polluting water, air and soil………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Iraq and Saudi Arabia see rise in crude exports in February 2014

Posted on 24 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Iraq and Saudi Arabia crude oil exports rose by 26 per cent and 3.5 per cent respectively in February 2014, according to the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI). Saudi Arabia had reportedly shipped 7.76mn bpd in February compared to 7.5mn in January 2014.
Meanwhile, Iraq increased exports to 2.8mn bpd, up 26 per cent from January 2014, highest since the year 2002………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Geopolitical risks to support the oil price – despite demand growth drop

Posted on 23 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The boost the energy sector received up until early March is unlikely to be repeated as we move into the second quarter. Oil traders will be keeping an eye on several issues. China, the world’s biggest importer of oil, saw a dramatic reduction in February imports, after a record high in January. If this trend continues, demand growth could eventually have to be revised lower.
Meanwhile, the hope of reaching a comprehensive agreement between Iran and the West over the former’s nuclear intentions may have suffered a setback, given the breakdown in relations between Russia and the US over Ukraine. Iran has been exporting more than allowed under Western sanctions for the past four months, and this increases the risk of a crackdown if Washington feels economic pressure is being relaxed too quickly………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Money flowing back into commodities

Posted on 22 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Money is flowing back into commodity investments this year as the sector has broken out of lock-step with other asset classes and outperformed them, attracting investors who aim to diversify portfolios.
After $50 billion of net redemptions in 2013, total inflows so far this year into passive commodity index products and commodity-linked exchange traded funds (ETFs) have amounted to about $5.8 billion, according to estimates by Citi………………………………………..Full Article: Source

A united Europe can end Russia’s energy stranglehold

Posted on 22 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Regardless of how the stand-off over Ukraine develops, one lesson is clear: excessive dependence on Russian energy makes Europe weak. And Russia does not sell its resources cheap – at least, not to everyone.
This, of course, is basic economics. A dominant supplier has the power to raise prices and reduce supply. The way to correct this market distortion is simple. Europe should confront Russia’s monopolistic position with a single European body charged with buying its gas………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Angola is moving into oil’s big leagues as it leaves decades of war behind

Posted on 17 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

After decades of sporadic growth and political turmoil, Angola is on the verge of catapulting to the top ranks of the world’s energy economy following major deep-water production investments by several top global oil companies.
France’s Total announced that it planned to proceed with a $16 billion ultra-deep-water project 160 miles off Angola’s northern coast to begin production in 2017. About 185 pipelines located 6,200 feet beneath the ocean will connect 59 wells in six oil fields. Advances in drilling technology have enabled primarily large oil companies to produce oil and gas from reserves 4,000 to 5,000 feet underwater, an impossible task a mere generation ago………………………………………..Full Article: Source

China companies hoard gold for collateral

Posted on 16 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Chinese companies may have accumulated up to 1,000 tonnes of gold for use as collateral in financing deals rather than to meet consumer demand in recent years, a new study says.
The report by the World Gold Council said imported bullion was being used “to raise low-cost funds for business investment and speculation”, and was part of the wider growth in shadow banking in China………………………………………..Full Article: Source

IEA: Global oil supplies plunge in March on lower OPEC output

Posted on 14 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Global crude oil supplies fell month-on-month in March by a steep 1.2 million b/d to 91.75 million b/d, with a decline in output from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries accounting for near 75% of the loss, according to the International Energy Agency’s most recent Oil Market Report.
Due to sharply lower supplies from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Libya, OPEC crude oil supplies in March fell 890,000 b/d to just 29.62 million b/d—the lowest level in 5 months………………………………………..Full Article: Source

India may hold key to higher gold prices – Mitsubishi Corp

Posted on 11 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corporation said in a report published today that they retain a neutral to bearish stance on gold’s performance in the second quarter this year, despite the precious metal’s phenomenon gains in quarter one.
“In the light of gold’s performance in Q1, we raise our 2014 gold price forecast upwards by $20 to $1,265 but we remain essentially neutral to bearish on gold’s prospects for the remainder of the year. We anticipate gold will trade on average at $1,300 in Q2,” wrote analyst Jonathon Butler………………………………………..Full Article: Source

US output, potential low demand pose risks to Gulf oil

Posted on 10 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

A rapid growth in US oil production combined with potentially weaker global demand present a downside risk to Gulf oil output and prices, the International Monetary Fund warned Tuesday.
But despite an expected drop in their current account surpluses, most Gulf Cooperation Council economies continue to have “substantial buffers” to cope with short-lived price shocks, the IMF said in its World Economic Outlook………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Speculators cut bullish oil bets by most in nine months

Posted on 07 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Fewer than three weeks into spring, oil speculators are already thinking about the summer. Hedge funds and other money managers boosted bullish wagers the most since February, betting that refineries will need to buy more crude to accelerate gasoline output before the peak U.S summer driving season.
Fuel supply is already tight, with consumers paying the most at the pump in seven months. U.S. refineries are processing the most oil since January as plants come out of seasonal maintenance, squeezing crude stockpiles for the first time in 11 weeks………………………………………..Full Article: Source

China’s days of “stealing” the world’s oil and gas are numbered

Posted on 07 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

For years, China’s oil companies PetroChina , Sinopec , and CNOOC have had a major advantage over their integrated major peers, which flummoxed competing oil companies. This advantage has allowed them to gobble up oil and gas assets around the world at premiums well above market price.
Unfortunately for these Chinese companies, it looks like this advantage is ending, and they will need to compete with the rest of the world’s oil and gas producers for assets. Let’s look at what this advantage was, why it may no longer be there, and what this could mean for the energy markets………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Russia-Iran oil swap deal gains momentum

Posted on 04 April 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Russia and Iran are moving closer to a $20 billion oil-for-goods deal launched earlier this year, according to a Reuters report citing unnamed sources close to the deal. Russia has finished preparation of all documents related to the deal on its side, and the deal’s completion now allegedly hinges on an oil price agreement, the source reportedly said.
The deal could eventually be worth $15-$20 billion, but would be completed in increments, with an initial $6-$8 billion transaction, while both sides are still bargaining over the exact nature of a barter deal that would trade Iranian oil for Russian industrial goods and food………………………………Full Article: Source

Resource revenue growth nears end

Posted on 27 March 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Australian government’s commodities forecaster expects resources export revenue to grow more than 60 per cent to $284.42 billion in the next five years as boomtime LNG and iron ore expansions supply what is expected to be sustained global growth.
But in real terms, which strips out inflation, the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics has declared an end to a long stretch of resources revenue growth in four years…………………………………Full Article: Source

Gold overbought?

Posted on 24 March 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Gold rose 1%, it’s first rise in five days, trimming a weekly decline of 2.8%, as the crisis over Ukraine led to a renewed safe haven bid for gold. Palladium surged 3.1% to the highest since 2011 on concern supply from Russia may be restricted.
Gold had become overbought after its surge to 6 month highs and was due profit taking and a correction. A perception of an abatement of tensions between Russia and the West has contributed to the pullback this week. Momentum could lead to further falls next week but we expect weakness will be short lived………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Copper as economy sage fails as growth defies slump: Commodities

Posted on 21 March 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Copper, dubbed by traders as the metal with the economics Ph.D., may need a new nickname. While the world economy is forecast to expand by the most in three years, the metal that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said he once considered a useful indicator is plunging.
Prices in New York are off to the worst start to a year since the Comex futures debuted in 1988. In the past 16 quarters, copper moved in the same direction as global gross domestic product just six times. In December, its correlation to the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was the lowest since 2008………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Ukraine crisis as likely to result in lower as higher oil prices

Posted on 20 March 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Concerns about potential disruption to Russian energy exports initially caused oil and natural gas prices to rise as the crisis in Ukraine unfolded, and they may yet do so again. But global energy prices could eventually end up lower than otherwise if tensions escalate, according to Julian Jessop Chief Global Economist at Capital Economics.
Indeed, the balance of power increasingly favours the West over Russia in the energy sector, just as it long has in finance. In short, Russia is of course a major producer and exporter of both oil and natural gas. Russia exports more than 7 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil and oil products (fuel oil and diesel), representing around 8% of global consumption………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Why the precious metals recovery is here to stay and how to play

Posted on 19 March 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

So far this year, the price of gold has risen by about 15%, while the price of silver has risen by about 7.5% - a reversal of what we were experiencing this time last year. This brings the question of if gold and silver have finally overcome their troubles from last year. I’m of the opinion that they have, for reasons that I’ll argue in this piece.
First, one thing that I find disheartening about this trend, that’s supposed to be enjoyed, is that many seem to think that the positive trend will be short-lived, mostly pointing at the Ukraine crisis as the reason for which the prices of gold and silver is increasing………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Is a silver supply deficit on the horizon?

Posted on 18 March 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Silver, it seems, is everywhere. The precious metal’s dual role as both an investment and industrial metal means that while it can be bought physically or in paper form by investors, it also has myriad technological and medical applications.
It’s in part because of those many uses that some silver market watchers think at some point — perhaps in the near future — demand for the metal will exceed supply, creating a shortage………………………………………..Full Article: Source

OPEC production surges as Iraq pumps most in 35 years, IEA says

Posted on 17 March 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

OPEC crude production rose above its target for the first time in five months as Iraq pumped the most in 35 years, according to the International Energy Agency.
The 12 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries produced 30.49 million barrels a day in February, up from 29.99 million in January, the Paris-based IEA said today in its monthly oil market report. That’s about 300,000 barrels a day higher than the average level required in the second half of the year, according to the agency………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Nat Gas sees end of peak winter buying in US, fundamentals bearish in Europe: PIRA Energy

Posted on 14 March 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

NYC-based PIRA Energy Group believes that peak winter buying has been wrapped up. In the U.S., Appalachian shale bottlenecks are increasingly visible. In Europe, gas fundamentals becoming more bearish. Specifically, PIRA’s analysis of natural gas market fundamentals has revealed the following:
Peak winter buying has been wrapped up - In Europe and Asia, peak winter buying has been wrapped up, with the recent Ukraine crisis having little impact. South American and Mideast counter-seasonal buyers are entering the scene, but it appears that in Brazil at least buying will not be as strong as last year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Is a silver supply shortage on the horizon?

Posted on 14 March 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Silver, it seems, is everywhere. The precious metal’s dual role as both an investment and industrial metal means that while it can be bought physically or in paper form by investors, it also has myriad technological and medical applications.
It’s in part because of those many uses that some silver market watchers think at some point — perhaps in the near future — demand for the metal will exceed supply, creating a shortage………………………………………..Full Article: Source

SA platinum sector is dead, long live the new platinum sector

Posted on 14 March 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

What was clear from the presentations and conversations in Toronto during this year’s Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference is that the long-term future of South Africa’s platinum sector lies not in the deep-vein, shanty-town-lined mines of old but rather in the newer, shallower mines that afford more opportunities to local communities and for mechanisation.
From a cost point of view, this, at least on paper, was obvious in a slide shown by Mike Jones, CEO of Platinum Group Metals, during his presentation………………………………………..Full Article: Source

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