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Commodities Briefing - Archive | December, 2014

Supply is key to commodities’ volatile year

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

“Demand hasn’t been bad,” Ivan Glasenberg, chief executive of Glencore, one of the world’s resource companies, told investors this month. “Demand is still growing even in oil, iron ore and thermal coal. So why have prices come down? Well . . . we have all invested too much . . . and increased supply in a big manner.”
Supply has been the key narrative in commodity markets this year, determining the winners and the losers in everything from nickel to soyabeans. It is the reason commodities are on course to be the worst-performing major asset class for a third consecutive year. The Bloomberg Commodity index has fallen 14 per cent in 2014 to a five-year low………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Commodities outlook 2015: Economic prospects

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Following a number of years of sluggish performance, the UK economy finally seems to be heading in the right direction. But consumers continue to feel the pinch on spending, and with the European economy still depressed, selling into both domestic and export markets remains challenging, says Richard King, head of Andersons’ business research.
UK GDP growth improved to an estimated 3% in 2014 – and is forecast at 2.6% in 2015. “While this growth is good news, it may prove problematic to agriculture in the form of a stronger pound and bank base rate increases,” says Mr King………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Commodities: More Pain Ahead in 2015

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The sharp drop in oil and rise in the dollar are harbingers of weakness for the asset class. This year has been a tough one for many commodities, mainly due to a strong U.S. dollar. Many investment analysts say the situation isn’t likely to get any easier in 2015.
West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil futures, for instance, have lost over 45% of their value since June this year – prompting some investors to call this jolt the “oil shock of 2014.” Plus, the steep decline in oil prices has had an impact throughout the commodities sector, with further fallout anticipated for next year. As an asset class, commodities weakened about 12% in the third quarter of 2014, according to Morningstar. For the 12 months ended Oct. 31, the group is now nearly 7%………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Oil price drop to persist, help global growth: IMF

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The recent drop in oil prices should persist, helping to boost global economic activity by up to 0.7 percentage points next year, two senior IMF economists wrote in a blog on Monday. Brent prices have fallen more than 46 percent since the year’s peak in June of above $115 per barrel, sped up by the November decision of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) not to reduce production.
Saudi Arabia has also convinced its fellow OPEC members it is not in the group’s interest to cut oil output, however far prices may fall, the kingdom’s oil minister said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Opec leader vows not to cut oil output even if price hits $20

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Opec will not cut production even if the price of oil falls to $20 a barrel, the cartel’s de facto leader said, spelling out a dramatic policy shift that will have far-reaching implications for the global energy industry.
In an unusually frank interview, Ali al-Naimi, the Saudi oil minister, tore up Opec’s traditional strategy of keeping prices high by limiting oil output and replaced it with a new policy of defending the cartel’s market share at all costs. “It is not in the interest of Opec producers to cut their production, whatever the price is,” he told the Middle East Economic Survey. “Whether it goes down to $20, $40, $50, $60, it is irrelevant.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Saudis See Oil Recovery as U.A.E. Urges Non-OPEC Cuts

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates reiterated pledges to keep pumping the same amount of crude, blaming non-OPEC producers for the glut of oil that’s driven prices to the lowest in five years.
Suppliers from outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries should cut “irresponsible” output, U.A.E. Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said in Abu Dhabi yesterday. Even if non-OPEC producers were to offer cuts, OPEC probably wouldn’t follow suit, Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said. The two countries account for about 40 percent of OPEC supply………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Where will the oil price settle?

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

With the oil price rising very slightly this morning, there is growing confidence that the market may have hit bottom, at around $60 or $55 a barrel, depending on whether Brent or WTI is your preferred benchmark. So a fall in the price of around half this year may be as bad as it gets. Why?
Well it is because the motivation of the Saudis and their allies in driving the price down seems less opaque - and more commercial, than political (which implies that they want the price low only for as long as it takes to achieve a practical commercial objective - rather than being an instrument of long term warfare against a putative enemy)………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Oil prices likely to rebound in second half of 2015: Reuters poll

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Crude oil prices are likely to bottom out in the first half of 2015, until a possible slowdown in U.S. shale production counters a supply glut exacerbated by OPEC’s decision not to cut output, a Reuters monthly survey showed.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ agreement last month to stand pat on output meant the onus for any supply cutbacks was now on non-OPEC producers, primarily led by U.S. shale oil, analysts said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

OPEC’s Dominance Of Energy Market ‘Is Over’

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The era of OPEC domination over the global energy market is over, the former head of the oil cartel has told Sky News. Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, the former energy minister of Qatar, said that the group of 12 oil exporters, which dominated the production and price-setting of energy for half a century, had surrendered its power to single-handedly affect prices.
He urged the organisation to collaborate with Russia and reduce global oil production. Asked whether the era of OPEC dominance was finished, he said: “It’s over. OPEC cannot play alone. This is why when OPEC met at the last moment they cannot decide it because if they will cut there is no meaning it will be the others who will benefit and even increase their production.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Credit Suisse: Gold Looks Likely to Fall in 2015

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Credit Suisse is bearish on gold headed into the new year, and one of the firm’s trading strategists recommends options on the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) to capture additional prices declines.
Victor Lin on Credit Suisse’s trading strategy team recently noted the firm’s bearish outlook on gold in 2015. Their dim view on the yellow metal is premised in part on the potential for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, which could makes holding gold less appealing relative to bonds:……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Gold Drops Most in Two Weeks as Volatility Reaches 11-Month High

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Gold futures fell the most in more than two weeks as a slump in oil cut the appeal of the metal as an inflation hedge. Volatility in the metal rose to the highest since January.
The gauge of 60-day historical volatility reached 18.4, the highest since Jan. 10. Aggregate trading was 22 percent lower than the average in the past 100 days for this time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg………………………………………..Full Article: Source

UK Financial Body Regulating Gold, Silver Benchmarks

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Britain’s financial regulatory body is moving forward with its plans to regulate gold and silver benchmarks. The Financial Conduct Authority announced Monday that starting April 1, 2015, it will regulate a total of seven additional UK-based financial benchmarks in the fixed income, commodity and currency markets.
According to the FCA, the London Gold Fixing and the London Bullion Market Association Silver Price, will be two of the seven new regulated benchmarks………………………………………..Full Article: Source

More iron ore pain in 2015: Aussies see price falling 33%

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Australia cut its iron ore price estimate for next year by 33 percent as surging output in the world’s top exporter outpaces Chinese demand growth, adding to a surplus. Prices will average $63 a metric ton, the Department of Industry said today. That compares with $94 a ton forecast in September by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, which is now part of the department. The commodity is set to average about $88 this year, today’s quarterly report says.
Iron ore tumbled 49 percent this year as miners including Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton Ltd. expanded production in Australia, pushing the market into oversupply. Prices may drop to less than $60 next year as increasing output widens a glut just as demand growth falters in China……………………………………….Full Article: Source

11 ETFs that could make your new year

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Looking for bold investing ideas for 2015? Or perhaps you’re just searching for diversified, high-quality and low-cost index funds. Here are a few picks that run the gamut. MarketWatch asked several investing experts each to recommend 3 ETFs for 2015 — funds that ought to perform well, or that are at least worth watching.
Morningstar’s Sam Lee likes XLF, IEIL, SCHD. The financials SPDR holds big banks, broker-dealers and insurers that look cheap to fairly priced, and these companies should perform well in a rising-rate environment, said Sam Lee. He is a strategist covering passive funds at Morningstar and edits the investment research company’s “ETF Investor” newsletter………………………………………..Full Article: Source

5 Great ETFs for 2015

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Exchange-traded funds continue to proliferate like kudzu. Many of them invest in overly narrow market niches or charge excessive fees. But if you look carefully, you can find dirt-cheap ETFs that will do at least as well as traditional mutual funds that often charge more. With ETFs, you get to pocket the cost savings in the form of higher returns.
I don’t consider the picks described in this article to be buy-and-hold investments. I think U.S. and foreign stocks will earn you money in 2015, but plainly U.S. stocks are no longer cheap, and foreign economies—both developed and emerging—face strong headwinds. Meanwhile, bonds look wildly overpriced to me……………………………………….Full Article: Source

In charts: the funds wiped out by the falling oil price

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Specialist funds that invest in oil and gas companies have posted huge losses over the past six months. Investors who have money tied up in specialist energy - usually falling into the categories of either “energy” or “natural resources” - are nursing heavy losses.
These funds invest in oil and gas companies across the globe so their performance is closely tied to the price of oil. Since the middle of June the “black gold” commodity has fallen nearly 50pc in price, with Brent crude dropping from $116 to nearer $60 a barrel………………………………………..Full Article: Source

China quietly joins Asia’s currency wars to avert deflation

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

China is exposed like a sore thumb as countries devalue on all sides, from Russia, to Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia. China has for the first time warned openly about the excessive strength of the Chinese yuan, a sign that the country may be shifting its exchange rate policy as deflation takes hold and currencies slide across Asia.
Yi Gang, the deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), said the yuan’s rise had been “very fast” over the past year as it surges in tandem with the US dollar, making it the world’s second strongest currency………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Russian currency may reach 61 rubles vs dollar in 2015 with current oil prices — Kudrin

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Russian currency may reach 60-61 rubles to the dollar by late 2015, if the world oil prices stay at their current level and the West does not tighten its sanctions against Russia, former Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin said on Monday.
“If oil prices stay at the current level, the sanctions are not tightened and the government takes sound measures, the ruble exchange rate will even strengthen in the first quarter of 2015,” Kudrin said. World oil prices are currently hovering at slightly over $60 per barrel. “By the end of the year (2015), it may reach its current value of about 60-61 rubles to the dollar,” he said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Why Russia should ally with China and India on carbon rules

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Russia, China and India, the world’s top three net carbon exporters, should unite and start putting pressure on the UN climate talks to adopt rules for sharing the burden of emissions associated with international trade in a more equitable way, Russian economists suggest.
Today, a country’s annual greenhouse gas emissions are counted as the sum of all carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides and other gases being emitted into the atmosphere from sources within the country’s territory, regardless of whether goods and services produced in the process are later consumed locally or exported………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Direct Action unlikely to meet emissions target, says Climate Change Authority

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The government’s climate advisory body has delivered a stark assessment of the Coalition’s policies, stating it was unlikely that its Direct Action policy would meet Australia’s 5% emissions reduction target and calling for the renewable energy target (RET) to remain intact.
The Climate Change Authority, which the Coalition unsuccessfully attempted to abolish, has conducted two statutory reviews for the government: one on the RET and one on the carbon farming initiative (CFI)………………………………………..Full Article: Source

The Best and Worst Investments of 2014

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

To lose money in the markets in 2013, you had to really try. Three-quarters of the world’s stocks rose, by an average of 42 percent. The S&P 500 jumped 30 percent.
This year, the S&P’s up another 12 percent, but the market laid lots of traps for investors. You could have owned lots of energy stocks while the price of oil was plunging. Or, almost anything in Russia or Eastern Europe while the Ruble was in free fall. You could have easily panicked and sold out during the intense sell-offs in late January, October and December, then missed out on the market’s rebounds………………………………………..Full Article: Source

10 Risks That Could Derail Markets in 2015

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

2014 has been a good year for equities, with the BSE Sensex rising over 30 per cent. Hopes of robust growth and further reforms are likely to propel markets in 2015, analysts say. But the key thing to watch will be global liquidity, which is the most significant driver for Indian stocks.
Foreign investors pumped in over $40 billion in 2014, driving domestic markets higher, but the quantum of flows in 2015 will be determined by a number of global factors. HSBC has compiled 10 risks that could threaten the rally in equities in 2015………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Global economy growth likely to be weaker than 2014: QNB

Posted on 23 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

As 2014 comes to an end, the global economy shows signs of weakness with significant downside risks. Some of these risks are likely to materialise next year, leaving the global economy in worse shape than in 2014, QNB said in its Economic Commentary yesterday. It made five predictions that will expected to shape the global economic outlook for 2015 and beyond.
“Looking back, our expectations for 2014 were for a moderate recovery in the world economy that would enable an orderly exit from US Quantitative Easing (QE) and a resumption of global growth to its pre-crisis levels. The reality turned out to be quite different,” the Economic Commentary said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Amid gloom, some commodities show mettle

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The year 2014 has been a forgettable one for most commodities with many such as crude oil, copper, steel, rubber and cotton seeing their prices head relentlessly south. China cutting back on commodity imports, Europe and Japan slipping again on growth, and the US Fed rolling back its easy money policy affected all commodities. But amidst all the gloom, a few bucked the trend.
From being among the worst performing metals last year, nickel, used mainly for making stainless steel, emerged as one of the top gainers of 2014. Following the Indonesian government’s ban in January on export of unprocessed nickel ore, supplies from the world’s largest producer shrank drastically………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Commodity prices face plenty of ups and downs in 2014

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

”A year of big ups and downs and very little in the way of sideways” is how the ASB New Zealand commodity price index has been described over 2014. In US dollar terms, the index had fallen 15.3% in annual terms, while the depreciating New Zealand dollar made slightly better reading in NZ-dollar terms, down 10%, rural economist Nathan Penny said.
Looking over history, the year compared favourably, with the year-index average around 8% higher than the 10-year average in NZ dollar terms and 20% higher in US dollar terms. However, the year-average masked the swing in the index’s fortunes over 2014. The index started the year about 14% higher than the 10-year average in NZ dollar terms but finished it a more modest 3% ahead………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Citigroup Said to Buy Credit Suisse Energy, Metals Trading Book

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Citigroup Inc.bought the bulk of Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN)’s commodities business, continuing an expansion into a market as its biggest rivals retreat, according to two people briefed on the transaction.
The purchase includes positions in base and precious metals, iron ore, coal, crude oil and oil products, U.S. and European natural gas, and freight, said the people, who asked for anonymity because the deal hasn’t been made public. Employees won’t change firms as a result, said the people, who didn’t provide details about the terms of the transaction………………………………………..Full Article: Source

A falling oil price is good for the world economy

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Lower oil prices are not a good thing for Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president: that much is clear. But what about for everyone else? The sharp fall in crude over the past three months has produced an unusual amount of concern that, with inflation already dangerously low across much of the developed world, cheaper oil will worsen the problem.
Such fears are misplaced. To think that lower oil prices are a net negative for the world economy, and particularly for the advanced economies, is to misunderstand the problem with deflation and the cures for it………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Most pundits are wrong. The oil price fall is good news at last

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

It looks very much as though 2015 will be a good year for the world economy, after all – and, if it is, that will be thanks to the fall in the oil price. It won’t be good for everyone and we have already seen the pressure it puts on the Russian leadership – though, before you conclude that sometimes there is natural justice in the world, remember that the people who are hurt are not leaders such as Vladimir Putin.
Other oil- and gas-exporting countries are damaged, too, and I think we will see further fallout in unpredictable ways. But the net impact is strongly positive, more so than most commentators at present acknowledge. The winners far outnumber the losers………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Oil price fall not Opec’s fault, Gulf ministers say

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Oil-rich Gulf states have vowed not to cut crude production, blaming speculators and producers outside the Opec group for tumbling prices. Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said “the spread of misleading information and speculation” had contributed to the 40% price fall.
Speaking in Abu Dhabi, he also dismissed claims of a Saudi plot to push prices down for political goals. Ministers from Kuwait and the UAE also said there were no plans to cut output. Mr Naimi said that if producer countries outside Opec wanted to restrict output, “they are welcome”………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Saudi minister ‘confident’ oil prices will improve

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Sunday he was confident world prices would improve after a slide he blamed partly on “lack of cooperation” by producers outside the Opec cartel. “I am confident that oil markets will recover… and that oil prices will improve,” Mr Naimi told an energy forum in Abu Dhabi.
He said the sharp drop in prices was partly due to the “lack of cooperation by main producing countries outside Opec, misleading information and speculators’ greed.” Mr Naimi, whose country is Opec’s leading producer, said producers from outside the cartel would eventually “realise the importance of cooperation to secure new fair prices.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

OPEC’s Badri says hopes for oil price revival by end H2 2015

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri told Reuters on Sunday he hoped to see a recovery in the price of oil by the end of the second half of 2015.
“We hope the price would rebound by the end of the second half of 2015,” he said. “We can’t see the market now, we have to wait until the end of the second half of 2015 to see how the market react to these low prices.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Price of Silver in 2015: Why It Could Bounce Higher

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

In 2014, silver once again suffered a substantial loss, following up a 36% crash in prices during 2013 with more double-digit percentage declines. Yet even though investors have had to live through a crushing precious-metals market environment during the past two years, many investors now believe that the price of silver in 2015 could finally bounce higher and give bullion owners some long-awaited relief.
Let’s look more closely at what’s moving silver prices, and how those factors are likely to affect silver prices in 2015 and beyond. Can the price of silver in 2015 really rise? Silver offers a unique mix of attributes of both precious and industrial metals. On one hand, silver has traditionally moved closely with gold, given the two metals’ historical use in monetary systems around the world………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Why Gold Could Continue To Fall

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Gold prices remain under selling pressure. Receding U.S. inflation could continue in 2015. As the dollar strengthens, and disinflation begins, expect gold to sell-off further. The price of gold could continue to decline as inflation expectations fall, alongside a stronger dollar and interest rate hike expectations. SPDR Gold Shares is down 14% since March.
The initial fear is that gold could continue to decline as inflation pressures remain subdued, with the dollar rising, and interest rate hikes taking place. On Friday, Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota stated that he feared a premature rise in interest rates, prior to inflation growth, could do real damage to the economy………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Why Gold is not Rallying

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Despite a full-blown currency crisis in Russia and increasingly volatile markets in the U.S., the price of gold has hardly moved. The yellow metal dropped considerably in November and has been almost flat in the last 30 days. It remains close to the $1,200 per ounce level. If it closed there, gold would be looking at a slight loss on the year, which would be its first back-to-back yearly loss since 1997.
Analysts are question why investors are holding back from purchasing gold. Paradoxically, the turmoil in Russia, which should be helping gold, is in fact be hurting it………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Precious metals- a hedge against volatility in paper currency

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The observation of modern finance through the lens of sound money requires an onion peeler. Each time I imagine onions, I think of my soft contact lens patients; the ones who abuse them. I think of the patients who wear them too long or through periods of mild irritation or redness and practice poor hygiene.
Soft contact lenses mask normal corneal sensitivity. They act like tiny onion goggles. With soft lenses in place, one can literally chop onions and not feel the normal irritating sensation at all. The problem is they tend to be the last to know about the trouble………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Iron Ore Price Outlook Cut 33% by Australia as Glut Expands

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Australia cut its iron ore price estimate for next year by 33 percent as surging output in the world’s top exporter outpaces Chinese demand growth, adding to a surplus.
Prices will average $63 a metric ton, the Department of Industry said today. That compares with $94 a ton forecast in September by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, which is now part of the department. The commodity is set to average about $88 this year, today’s quarterly report says………………………………………..Full Article: Source

World Crude Steel production rises to 131Mt in Nov

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

World crude steel production for the 65 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (worldsteel) was 131 million tonnes (Mt) in November 2014, a 0.1% increase compared to November 2013.
China’s crude steel production for November 2014 was 63.3 Mt, a slight decrease of -0.2% compared to November 2013. Elsewhere in Asia, Japan produced 9.2 Mt of crude steel in November 2014, a decrease of -1.1% compared to November 2013. South Korea produced 5.9 Mt of crude steel in November 2014, up by 5.5% on November 2013………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Bullish reversal in miners but metals remain in question

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The gold and silver stocks have put in a bullish weekly reversal but gold and silver have not confirmed it. The interplay between the metals and the shares has been complicated in recent weeks.
Gold and silver are charted below in weekly candle format. Before this week the metals looked bullish. Each tested support and rebounded strongly towards resistance. However, both metals gave back much of the recent gains. Bulls would say they are correcting and still in position to test resistance. Bears would say the metals failed to reach resistance and are headed to new lows………………………………………..Full Article: Source

US regulator probes ETF pricing structures

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Extreme movements in the prices of bonds, commodities and other assets have prompted regulators at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to take a closer look at the inner workings of exchange traded funds.
Wall Street’s top regulator has been talking to the firms responsible for ensuring the smooth functioning of such ETFs as it seeks to gauge the resilience of the structures to sharp fluctuations in the underlying market they track………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Our ETF Hits and Misses of 2014

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

An assessment of this column’s picks in 2014 shows that its authors were rightly skeptical about straying from passive index exchange-traded funds in favor of active management, which again struggled in a year of steady stock-market gains. And while the temptation to buy complex ETFs is as intense as ever in the nearly $2 trillion industry, this column proved prescient in pointing out substitutes for trendy (and expensive) alternative indexes, such as an equal-weighted S&P 500.
It missed the mark, however, by flagging a buying opportunity in beaten-down business-development companies, and in prematurely calling a top in the “low-volatility” trend, which outpaced the broader market………………………………………..Full Article: Source

The 10 Best ETFs to Own for 2015

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Best ETFs to Own for 2015: Each week our experts dish out the latest profit plays and asset-protection moves for our Money Morning Members – all for free. Today we want to do something different. Rather than provide a roundup of last week’s stock picks, we’re going to focus on 10 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) our experts like right now.
They are among the best low-cost ways for you to profit from next year’s top trends. “The great thing about ETFs is that you get a lot of potential upside while also greatly diversifying away your risk,” Money Morning Defense & Tech Specialist Michael A. Robinson, a 30-year tech market veteran, said Dec. 11………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Rouble crisis sparks run on Belarus currency

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Belarussians were in a panic over the Russian rouble’s plunge, rushing to convert their savings to dollars and euros as they fear a devaluation of their currency. The run on the Belarussian rouble forced the central bank to announce a “temporary” tax of 30 percent on all purchases of foreign currency. The bank also required all exporters to convert half of their foreign revenues into local currency.
Interest rates were raised to encourage Belarussians to keep their money in their bank accounts, according to a statement published on the central bank’s website. The Belarussian rouble is not officially pegged to the Russian currency, but the ex-Soviet country’s economy is heavily dependent on its giant neighbour………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Deadline to exchange pre-2005 currency notes ends on January 1

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

People have only 11-days left to exchange currency notes of various denominations, including 500 and 1,000, which were printed before 2005. The deadline for exchanging the pre-2005 notes is January 1, 2015.
The Reserve Bank has so far shredded 144.66 crore such notes valued at Rs 52,855 crore since the launch of the drive to take out the pre-2005 notes from the circulation. Post-2005 notes have added security features and help in curbing the menace of fake currency………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Ruble Crisis Ripples Through Wheat as Bulls Advance: Commodities

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The ruble crisis is rippling through the global wheat market. As Russia’s currency extended a plunge to a record low against the dollar last week, the nation slowed grain shipments to preserve stockpiles and keep domestic prices in check. Russia is the fourth-largest exporter and the measures spurred hedge funds to triple their bets on higher prices.
Futures jumped to the highest since May last week after an exporters’ association said Russia denied certificates that grain sellers and buyers need………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Washington State sets out carbon trading plans

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Washington has become the latest state to reveal plans for a mandatory carbon trading scheme, after Governor Jay Inslee last week published proposals for a new cap-and-trade market. A policy briefing published by the governor’s office detailed plans to introduce the emissions trading scheme from July 2016, requiring an estimated 130 industrial facilities and fuel distributors to purchase carbon allowances.
“Governor Inslee’s Carbon Pollution Accountability Act requires, for the first time, major polluters to pay for their carbon pollution,” the briefing states, adding that the legislation means emitters “can either invest in cleaner technology and improve their operation efficiency or simply pay for allowances whose cost will grow over time”………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Abbott: repealing carbon tax ‘best thing I did as Minister for Women’

Posted on 22 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Tony Abbott has nominated repealing the carbon tax as his greatest achievement as Minister for Women, saying women are “particularly focused on the household budget”. The Prime Minister, under pressure over perceived difficulties with female voters, last year named himself Minister for Women.
Asked to nominate his greatest achievement in the portfolio, Mr Abbott told the Nine Network: “Well, you know, it’s very important to do the right thing by families and households and, as many of us know, women are particularly focused on the household budget and the repeal of the carbon tax means a $550-a-year benefit for the average family………………………………………..Full Article: Source

All’s not lost: Commodities ex-oil stage comeback

Posted on 19 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Focus may be on volatile oil prices right now, but investors shouldn’t overlook the strong performance in other commodities, one expert warns. Ten commodities were in backwardation this month, a sign that markets outside of oil are recovering, according to a recent note from S&P Dow Jones Indices: copper, corn, cocoa, silver, coffee, live cattle, feeder cattle, heating oil, Kansas wheat, and lean hogs.
Backwardation occurs when the present spot price of a commodity is higher than the futures price, typically signaling a surge in demand and shortages in supply………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Oil-Led Slump Spurring Fastest Investor Exit From Commodities Since 2008

Posted on 19 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Investors are exiting commodities at the fastest pace in six years, betting a slump in prices isn’t over as corn, oil and gold drop close to their cost of production. Open interest in raw-material futures and options is down 6.5 percent since June, heading for the biggest second-half slump since 2008, exchange data show.
U.S. exchange-traded products tracking metals, energy and agriculture saw net withdrawals of $169.4 million in 2014, marking the first two-year slump since the funds were created a decade ago………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Commodities Drown in Oil

Posted on 19 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Investing in an index is usually a good way to hedge your bets. In commodities, though, it is hard to get around one thing: energy. The oil market is enormous: Even after the recent slump in prices—and Thursday’s rally fizzled quickly–the notional value of annual oil consumption is around $2 trillion.
That is reflected in the make-up of the Bloomberg Commodity Index, of which oil and refined products such as gasoline constitute 17.2%. Throw in natural gas and the overall energy component rises to 27.2%. In another popular index, the S&P GSCI, oil alone weighs in at 67.2%………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Commodity markets limp into 2015

Posted on 19 December 2014 by VRS  |  Email |Print

A freefall in commodity prices has come to a head at the end of 2014 as crude oil, iron ore and coal prices, among others, took a significant tumble and served to bring one global giant – Russia, the world’s ninth-largest economy – to its knees.
The problem facing most resources is that high levels of production have seen supply outstrip global demand, resulting in low commodity prices. Resource giants with low production costs will weather the storm until supply tapers and prices pick up again. High cost producers will probably fall over. The commodity fall can largely be attributed to slowed demand from China which is switching from an investment-focused economy to a consumer-oriented one………………………………………..Full Article: Source

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