Asia Stay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder Sun, 04 Dec 2016 18:22:14 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Shanghai copper rises on the back of oil rally SYDNEY: Shanghai copper futures climbed nearly 2 percent on Thursday, recovering some of the previous session's steep losses, as a rally in oil prices filtered through to other commodities.  

OPEC agreed on Wednesday to its first oil output cuts since 2008, driving up crude prices by around 10 percent.

"Industrial metals were stronger, spurred on the by the gains in the energy sector," ANZ bank said in a note, although it cautioned the oil-inspired rally could soon top out.

Higher oil prices could reactivate more dormant US shale oil output, the bank said, adding that it doesn't expect oil to fetch much above $60 per barrel in early 2017.

The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange had risen 1.8 percent to 47,060 yuan ($6,827.12) a tonne by 0700 GMT, after falling 3.6 percent on Wednesday.

Shanghai zinc and lead slipped 0.52 and 0.61 percent, respectively. ShFE nickel saw a gain of 0.3 percent.

Shanghai Futures Exchange said on Wednesday it will limit intraday position sizes in January and February zinc and lead futures for non-members, again moving to curb speculators that have piled into metals.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange eased 0.05 percent to $5,820 a tonne after gaining 2 percent overnight.

Copper found support as oil's gains added to US inflation expectations - already high on prospects that president-elect Donald Trump would enact reflationary policies funded by large fiscal stimulus.

News that China's factory activity expanded modestly in November while inflationary pressures showed signs of building added to the bullish sentiment.

Copyright Reuters, 2016
]]> (Imaduddin) Asia Thu, 01 Dec 2016 07:52:56 +0000
Palm reverses course to rise, tracking crude oil rally

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm futures reversed course to gain in late trade on Wednesday as they tracked a rally in crude oil prices, following stronger prospects that oil supplies could be cut.

Saudi Arabia's energy minister said at a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries an agreement among members to cut output was close.

 "Crude oil rallied as OPEC nears a deal to cut supplies," said a palm oil trader from Kuala Lumpur, explaining palm's price gains in the evening.

"If crude oil supplies are controlled it should support the (palm oil) market. Higher crude oil prices will be more feasible for the biodiesel mandate."

Palm prices are impacted by crude oil's performance, as the tropical oil is used as component for biodiesel.

 Benchmark palm oil futures for February delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange rose 0.8 percent to 3,073 ringgit ($688) a tonne at the end of the trading day.

Traded volumes stood at 47,834 lots of 25 tonnes each, slightly above the 2015 average of 44,600 lots traded in a day.

Palm oil had previously charted six consecutive days of gains, hitting a four-year high last Thursday, before declining for one session on Tuesday.

 Palm oil shipments from Malaysia, the world's No.2 producer of the tropical oil, fell 10-12 percent for the full month of November from the previous month, according to data from cargo surveyors on Wednesday.

 In related vegetable oils, the January soybean oil contract on the CBOT rose 1.4 percent, while May soybeans on the Dalian Commodity Exchange dropped 0.1 percent.

The May contract of palm olein on the Dalian Commodity Exchange was down 1.2 percent.


<Center><b><i>Copyright Reuters, 2016</b></i><br></center>



]]> (Parvez Jabri) Asia Wed, 30 Nov 2016 11:41:31 +0000
Palm gains for sixth straight session on tight supplies, bullish forecasts imageKUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm futures rose on Monday for a sixth straight session, helped by tight supplies and price forecasts by leading analysts at an industry conference on Friday.

Benchmark palm oil futures for February delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange were up 1.5 percent to 3,077 ringgit ($689.91) a tonne at the end of the trading day. Traded volumes stood at 38,737 lots of 25 tonnes each, below the 2015 daily average of 44,600 lots.

Palm hit its highest levels since September 2012 on Thursday, tracking the soyoil market, and is seen remaining at current levels by traders due to a lack of bearish factors.

Soyoil futures on the Chicago Board of Trade jumped nearly 7 percent last week on news of higher biodiesel mandates in the United States.

"The conference speakers have been bullish in the short term, and in general there is a feeling of tightness as output and stocks are not rising," said a trader in Kuala Lumpur, referring to the price forecasts of industry analysts at a palm oil conference in Indonesia last week.

"However, we have to also look at demand. There's been a slowdown because of high prices."

Palm prices could rise 10 percent from current levels by the first quarter of 2017, before declining again as stockpiles recover, said leading analyst Dorab Mistry at the conference in Bali on Friday.

Another analyst, Siegfried Falk, said Rotterdam crude palm oil prices were seen at $770-$800 per tonne from January to March 2017 before dipping to $750-$780 from April to June.

Palm oil may rise to 3,093 ringgit per tonne, as it has cleared a resistance at 3,027 ringgit, said Wang Tao, a Reuters market analyst for commodities and energy technicals.

In related vegetable oils, the December soybean oil contract on the CBOT rose 0.9 percent, while the May soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange gained 1.3 percent. The May contract for palm olein on the Dalian Commodity Exchange was up 1 percent.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Parvez Jabri) Asia Mon, 28 Nov 2016 12:53:33 +0000
TOCOM hits 1-1/2-year high as Shanghai surges imageTOKYO: Benchmark Tokyo rubber futures came off early lows to hit 1-1/2-year highs on Monday as a surge in Shanghai futures and metals helped boost investors' risk appetite, dealers said.

"Shanghai futures jumped again as local funds, or speculators, stepped up buying without any fresh fundamental factors," said a Tokyo-based dealer, who declined to be named.

"Tokyo rubber prices followed Shanghai's gain as there are apparently some systematic trades that automatically kick in to reflect Shanghai's move," he said, adding it was difficult to predict how far this rally would continue though he thought it had been overdone.

The Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) rubber contract for May delivery finished up 6.4 yen, or 2.7 percent, at 243.3 yen ($2.17) per kg. Earlier in the session, it hit the highest since June 2015 of 243.7 yen. It fell to a low of 232.1 yen on Friday evening, which is considered part of Monday's trade.

The most-active rubber contract on the Shanghai futures exchange for May delivery surged 1,035 yuan to finish at 19,390 yuan ($2,808.92) per tonne. It earlier rose to as high as 19,615 yuan, the highest since Feb. 20, 2014.

Stronger metal prices also added to the upward pressure, dealers said.

London Metal Exchange zinc surged to its highest in nine years on Monday and lead hit a five-year peak as a soaring rally in metals gained steam on a softer dollar and inflation expectations.

"Chinese speculators with hefty cash in their hands are focusing on base metals and rubber as local regulations on trades over coal, coke and steel are becoming more strict," the dealer said.

The gain in TOCOM comes despite yen's climb against the dollar, which makes yen-denominated assets less affordable when purchased in other currencies.

The dollar slid 1.3 percent to 111.650 yen on Monday, following a rise to an eight-month high of 113.900 last week.

The front-month rubber contract on Singapore's SICOM exchange for December delivery last traded at 176.0 U.S. cents per kg, up 4.4 cent.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Imaduddin) Asia Mon, 28 Nov 2016 08:37:39 +0000
Soybeans rise 1.2pc on strong US exports, weaker dollar imageSINGAPORE: Chicago soybeans rose 1.2 percent on Monday and hit their highest since July, buoyed by strong US weekly exports and a weaker dollar.

Corn gained about half-a-percent and wheat edged up on the back of the gains in soybeans, although abundant global grain supplies kept a lid on prices.

The Chicago Board of Trade's most-active soybean contract had risen 1.2 percent to $10.58 a bushel by 0320 GMT. That was near the session-high of $10.59-1/2 a bushel, its strongest since July 19.

Soybeans have risen for seven consecutive sessions.

Corn gained 0.4 percent to $3.50-1/2 a bushel and wheat added 0.1 percent to $4.19-3/4 a bushel.

The US Department of Agriculture reported weekly US export sales of soybeans at nearly 1.9 million tonnes, above trade expectations ranging from 1.2 million to 1.5 million tonnes.

US wheat export sales were pegged at 712,400 tonnes, topping trade estimates ranging from 350,000 to 550,000 tonnes.

In addition to strong demand, higher mandates for biofuel production underpinned prices.

"Oilseed markets continue to draw support from the higher US 2017 advanced biofuel targets," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

"Soybeans got an additional boost from a big week of US sales - largely destined for China."

Weakness in the US dollar, which will make commodities priced in the greenback attractive for importers holding other currencies, also lent support.

The dollar pulled further back from near 14-year highs as investors braced for upcoming events that could at least temporarily knock the greenback's bull run off course.

For the wheat market, showers forecast in the week ahead in the US Delta region could ease drought conditions affecting soft red winter wheat, analysts said.

The International Grains Council on Thursday raised its forecasts for world corn and wheat production in 2016/17 to record highs, projecting this would also push grain stocks to their highest-ever levels.

Commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT soybean and soymeal futures contracts on Friday and net sellers of corn and wheat.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Imaduddin) Asia Mon, 28 Nov 2016 07:13:32 +0000
Bangladesh raises local rice purchase price imageDHAKA: Bangladesh raised the price the government will pay to farmers for the upcoming season's rice to 33 taka ($0.42) a kilogram, up from 31 taka a year ago, the food minister said on Sunday.

The government will buy 300,000 tonnes of rice from local farmers starting from Dec. 1, Mohammad Kamrul Islam told reporters.

"The purchase will boost our reserves as well as ensure a fair price for farmers," he said.

Such procurement is crucial for the South Asian nation to feed its poor and keep domestic prices stable.

The government buys rice and wheat from local farmers to ensure a support price, build stocks for state welfare programmes and to meet emergency needs.

Bangladesh aims to produce more than 34 million tonnes of rice in the current year, up from nearly 33.5 million tonnes in the previous year.

The world's fourth-biggest producer of rice, Bangladesh consumes almost all of its production to feed its population of 160 million, but often needs imports to cope with shortages caused by natural calamities such as floods or droughts.

The state grains buyer will import 20,000 tonnes of wheat at $245 a tonne in a government-to-government deal with Russia, as part of an effort to ensure food supplies.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Imaduddin) Asia Sun, 27 Nov 2016 10:51:32 +0000
Asia Gold-China premiums hit near 3-year high on possible import restrictions imageBENGALURU/MUMBAI: Gold premiums in top consumer China jumped to the highest in nearly three years this week on worries over a supply shortage that traders said were due to Beijing's efforts to restrict import licenses.

China's net gold imports via main conduit Hong Kong fell 15 percent from a year earlier to 61.075 tonnes in October.

"While we don't have the exact numbers, we hear that they (Chinese government) have limited the number of importers," said Dick Poon, general manager at Heraeus Precious Metals in Hong Kong.

There has been no official announcement from China on restricting licenses to import gold. China allows only 15 banks to import gold, including three foreign lenders.

Potential restrictions on gold imports may have to do with limiting the outflows of the Chinese yuan, said Zhirui Ji, an analyst with Thomson Reuters-owned metals consultancy GFMS. The yuan touched an 8-1/2-year low this week.

Gold premiums in China against the international benchmark rose to about $25 an ounce this week, the highest since January 2014, compared with a premium of $10 last week, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The premiums could stay high as gold retailers and manufacturers may replenish stocks for the Chinese New Year in January, taking advantage of spot prices hitting nine-month lows at around $1,171 an ounce.

In India, the world's No. 2 gold consumer, premiums dropped due to subdued demand after the government scrapped high-value notes.

Cash crunch was forcing retail consumers to trim purchases, while jewellers were waiting for prices to fall next month, traders said.

Dealers charged a premium of up to $3 an ounce on Friday over official domestic prices that include a 10 percent import tax.

That compared with up to $12 an ounce last week, the highest in two years.

"Retail demand has fallen, especially in rural areas, due to the cash crunch," said Daman Prakash Rathod, director at MNC Bullion, a wholesaler in India's southern city of Chennai.

"People are expecting some government measures to dampen gold demand."

The government may impose curbs on domestic holdings of gold as Prime Minister Narendra Modi intensifies a fight against "black money", news agency NewsRise reported. "Jewellers are reluctant in making purchases.

They are seeking clarity on rules before building inventory," said a Mumbai-based dealer with a private bank. In Hong Kong and Singapore sellers were offering premiums of up to $1-$1.20 an ounce, while premiums were flat in Japan.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Fawad Maqsood) Asia Fri, 25 Nov 2016 17:54:27 +0000
Palm up nearly 1 pct on weaker ringgit, lower output expectations imageKUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm oil futures ended nearly 1 percent higher on Friday, recording a fifth consecutive session of gains due to persistent weakness in the ringgit and falling output.

The contract climbed 5.7 percent this week, after a 3.53 decline in the previous week.

A weaker ringgit typically makes palm oil cheaper, and thus more attractive for foreign buyers. The tropical oil hit a four-year high on Thursday.

The Malaysian currency fell as much as 0.18 percent to 4.453 against the dollar, almost matching the record low of 4.456 hit on Sept. 29, 2015. The ringgit has shed nearly 6 percent since Donald Trump's victory in the US presidential election on Nov. 8, making it Asia's worst performing currency.

Palm output from Indonesia and Malaysia are expected to fall by 10-15 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively, this year.

Lower palm oil output well into early next year, a lack of availability of rival soybean oil and increased use of biodiesel are likely to buoy prices of the palm contract, analysts told Reuters at an industry conference in Bali.

Leading industry analyst Dorab Mistry told the same conference on Friday that palm oil prices could rise 10 percent from current levels by the first quarter of 2017, before declining again as stockpiles recover.

Benchmark palm oil futures for February delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange were up 0.9 percent at 3,031 ringgit ($680.66) a tonne at Friday's close.

Traded volumes stood at 38,445 lots of 25 tonnes each.

Palm oil futures were still riding on the weakness in the ringgit and expectations of lower output, said a trader based in Kuala Lumpur.

"The external markets have also been firm, with Dalian first tracking CBOT's Wednesday rally, which the palm market then followed," the trader added.

CBOT soyoil futures surged nearly 7 percent on Wednesday after the US government released final requirements for biofuel use in 2017.

In related vegetable oils, the January soybean oil contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange rose 1.94 percent, while the January contract for palm olein on the Dalian Commodity Exchange was up 0.22 percent.

There was no trade in CBOT soyoil futures due to Thanksgiving holidays.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Fawad Maqsood) Asia Fri, 25 Nov 2016 17:52:48 +0000
Indian cash crunch hits gold demand during peak wedding season imageMUMBAI/BENGALURU: Mumbai resident Shashikant Zhalte's wedding this weekend will be less sparkling than his family had hoped, thanks to a cash shortage following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's shock withdrawal of high-value notes to fight "black money".

Zhalte bought gold jewellery for his wife-to-be months ago, but had delayed purchases for his mother and sisters. Then came the Modi bombshell on Nov. 8, in the middle of the wedding season when gold demand spikes, forcing Zhalte to drop his plans to buy an additional 50 gms, worth around $2,200.

The scenario is being played out across India, the world's second biggest consumer of gold, where it is customary to gift jewellery in marriages.

The wedding season stretches from September to April, and Thomson Reuters-owned metals consultancy GFMS says it accounts for more than half of the country's annual demand for gold. More than two-thirds of that demand of around 800 tonnes a year comes from the countryside, where farmers are struggling to get enough cash to buy seeds and fertilisers in the sowing season. Penetration of credit or debit cards and money apps is very low in rural India.

The resulting drop in incomes and tepid buying in the wedding season means gold imports, which spiked in the immediate aftermath of the banknote announcement amid panic buying, are likely to drop sharply in the coming months, said traders in India and in the supply hubs of Dubai and Hong Kong.

"Instead of shopping, we were busy visiting banks and government offices to prove that there is a wedding in the family," said Rahul Ahire, a cousin of Zhalte.

The Indian government has put strict limits on the amount of money people can withdraw from banks, although a larger sum, 250,000 rupees ($3,600), is allowed for weddings, as long as participants can prove that the marriage is genuine.

Gold demand from India is not a major factor in global prices, but has historically provided support when the international market is falling.

Gold is trading at its lowest levels in nearly 10 months in anticipation of a US interest rate hike in December. Higher US rates would boost the dollar and increase the opportunity cost of holding the metal.

A senior official with a Hong Kong bank, which caters mainly to Indian and Chinese gold buyers, said that it was worrying that the slowdown in Indian buying was overlapping with an expected rate hike by the US Federal reserve next month.

"In the past, physical Indian demand gave support whenever there was a sharp fall in global prices," said the official. "Without Indian buying, prices could fall steeply."

SLOWDOWN IN INDIAN GROWTH Surendra Mehta, secretary of the India Bullion and Jewellers Association, said imports would be "negligible" in December and January, but did not give any numbers.

Traders said that a year ago India bought 182.2 tonnes in those two months, a figure that could fall to 60 to 70 tonnes this time around.

"Retail demand is very weak and since prices are falling, jewellers are not willing to build inventory," Mehta said. "They are postponing purchases."

Another factor that could hit imports is a plan reportedly being considered by the government to impose curbs on domestic holdings of gold.

A third of India's gold demand is paid for by unaccounted money. The scrapping of 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes, or 86 percent of the value of cash in circulation, is part of a crackdown on corruption, tax evasion and militant financing.

But brokerage Ambit Capital says the decision could pull down economic growth, which was 7.6 percent last year, by as much as 4.1 percentage points in the year to March 2017.

"It wasn't possible to change the wedding date at the last moment, so I curtailed spending," says Dashrath Jagtap, whose daughter got married this week in a small village in the western state of Maharashtra.

Most Indian weddings are held on days considered auspicious in the Hindu calendar.

Between Nov. 8 and end-December, there are 15 such days, or nearly a quarter of the total in 2016, making the note ban particularly painful for service industries that rely on weddings.

"There is a huge drop in the wedding demand as many people don't have the new currency," said Chirag Thakkar, a director at gold wholesaler Amrapali Group in the western city of Ahmedabad.

"It could be more than 50 percent (on a) year-on-year basis. Most people used to purchase in cash and now they are confused whether to buy gold or spend on something else."

A wholesale trader in Dubai said demand will continue to be weak until people feel comfortable with their cash levels. The government expects the cancelled notes to be replaced in a few months, but some experts say it could take up to a year.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Fawad Maqsood) Asia Fri, 25 Nov 2016 17:48:13 +0000
RUBBER-TOCOM hits 1-1/2-year high, but ends lower on profit-taking imageTOKYO: Benchmark Tokyo rubber futures touched a 1-1/2-year high on Friday as the yen fell to multi-month lows against the dollar, but ended lower on profit-taking though it still marked a 13 percent weekly gain.

"The recent rally has been supported by the yen's fall and expectations of higher demand in China," said Hiroyuki Kikukawa, general manager of research at Nissan Securities.

"But investors took profits after the sharp gain and ahead of the weekend," he added.

The Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) rubber contract for new May delivery finished at 236.9 yen ($2.09) per kg, down 1.6 yen, or 0.7 percent, from an opening price of 238.5 yen.

The contract rose to 241.7 yen earlier in the session, its highest since June 2015. For the week, it booked a 13.1 percent gain, marking the biggest such leap in two weeks and boosting an accumulated rise since the end of August to more than 50 percent.

After hitting an 8-month high of 113.90 yen in Asian trade, the dollar was down 0.3 percent on the day at 112.97 yen, still on track to gain more than 2 percent on the week. A weaker yen makes yen-denominated assets more affordable when purchased in other currencies.

"I expect to see some position adjustments next week in rubber prices as the dollar and global equities may take a breather after the lofty gains over the past few weeks," Kikukawa said.

The most-active rubber contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange for May delivery fell 135 yuan to finish at 18,420 yuan ($2,663.00) per tonne.

The front-month rubber contract on Singapore's SICOM exchange for December delivery last traded at 171.5 US cents per kg, down 4.7 cents.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Fawad Maqsood) Asia Fri, 25 Nov 2016 17:30:19 +0000
India may impose curbs on domestic gold holdings imageNEW DELHI: The Indian government may impose curbs on domestic holdings of gold as Prime Minister Narendra Modi intensifies a fight against "black money", news agency NewsRise reported, citing an unnamed finance ministry official.

NewsRise did not provide further details. A finance ministry spokesman declined to comment on the report.

Gold premiums in India jumped to two-year highs last week as jewellers ramped up purchases on fears the government might restrict imports after withdrawing higher-denomination notes from circulation in its fight against black money.

India is the world's second biggest gold buyer, and it is estimated that one-third of its annual demand of up to 1,000 tonnes is paid for in black money - untaxed funds held in secret by citizens in cash that don't appear in any official accounts.

The move to withdraw higher denomination notes has already started to disrupt cash-based gold smuggling, officials have said.

Scrap gold supplies were also set to halve this quarter as the cash crunch and falling prices make it difficult for consumers to liquidate their holdings.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Parvez Jabri) Asia Fri, 25 Nov 2016 07:27:38 +0000