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- The White House piled pressure on China after Trump tariff threat. The U.S. has expanded the amount of Chinese imports facing new duties. Trump threatened tariffs on an additional $200bn of Chinese goods with 10% tariffs…
- …Meanwhile China’s commerce ministry warned that the U.S. workers would ultimately suffer the most from these increased tariffs. The ministry suggested that China would ‘hit-back’ against American firms in retaliation.
- German business sentiment has fallen as the risk of a global trade war intensified. The IFO index fell to 101.8 in June, its sixth monthly decline in a row.
- Airbus is threatening to leave the U.K. if Brexit negotiations result in ‘no-deal’. The aerospace company employs circa 14,000 people across the United Kingdom and wings for the A320 and A380 are made in Britain.
- Mexico’s central bank has raised its key interest rate to 7.75% from 7.50%. This is the highest rate in nine years and comes as the peso is weakening and inflation prospects are worsening. The bank warned that volatility around NAFTA renegotiations may lead to more rate hikes.
- Brazil, on the other hand, has left its key rate unchanged at 6.5%. Brazil suffered a market sell-off last month and a increasing CPI rate at 2.86% on last month’s reading. However, inflation is at 20-year lows.
- South Sudanese president Salva Kiir will be in Khartoum this week to talk peace with Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar. Civil war has rocked the country for almost its entire short history.
- South Africa’s economy contracted by 2.2% in Q1 2018, after growing by 3.1% in Q4 2017. Slowing agriculture and mining growth were the main contributors to this decline. This is the largest economic decline since the 2008/2009 financial crisis.
- Rains soaked large swathes of the U.S. corn belt this week. Fields in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa were swamped, but this this is unlikely to have a negative impact on this year’s harvest and wet, warm weather is typically favourable towards corn and soybean crops…
- …however, the ramping up of the China-U.S. trade war saw sell-offs in the major U.S. agricultural commodities. Soybeans fell 6%, wheat fell 4%, corn, cotton and ethanol hit multi-year lows. Last week corn closed at 357 ¼ c/bushel, soybeans closed at 894 ½ c/bushel last week, Chicago wheat closed at 480 ½ c/bushel and cotton closed at 84.2 c/lb.
- The German Farmers’ Association announced this weekend that due to unseasonably warm weather in May some German farmers could lose half their harvests this year. The German wheat crop may drop by 6.5% this season vs last year. Paris milling wheat is trading around $174/tonne after retreating from $180/tonne in last week.
- OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers have agreed to increase production by a nominal 1,000,000 barrels a day. Realistically this will add 600,000 to 700,000 barrels of crude oil to the market over the next six months. The deal is considered a win for Russia and Saudi Arabia who were looking to boost production. There were no details on how the production increase would be split between countries, however. Brent crude closed last week at $75.55/bbl and traded down to $73.74/bbl today.
- The European Commission will investigate Qatar natural gas contracts. The commission will investigate whether the sale of gas by Qatar Petroleum contains any anti-competitive tenets or resale restrictions. Qatari natural gas makes up around 40% of Europe’s LNG imports. Dutch TTF Front Month Gas settled at €21.594/Mwh last week.
- Asian LNG prices start to fall as the end of outages boosts supply. After climbing for four weeks Asian LNG prices declined this week as the end of outages boosted supplies. Two Qatari liquefication facilities had been taken off-line and in the U.S. the month-long maintenance of one of the Sabine pass liquefication plants came to an end.
- Royal Dutch Shell announced it will develop the Fram gas field in the North Sea. This is the company’s third project in the field this year. The new project is expected to come on-line in the mid-2020s and be profitable at oil prices above $40/bbl.
- China state owned Tibet Huayu Mining Co and Tajik state owned TALCO announced a $200 joint venture to mine gold and antimony. The mine will produce 1.5 tonnes of gold and 16,000 tonnes of antimony per annum. Spot gold is trading at $1,266.45/Troy ounce and spot antimony is trading at ¥52,800/tonne.
- After a yearlong search global diversified miner BHP Billiton has found a buyer for one of its Chilean copper mines. Private equity firm to Australian EMR Capital Advisors will buy the mine for $320 milion as BHP Billition divests itself of smaller operations to focus on larger mines. The mine produces around 65,000 tonnes per year. LME 3-Month Copper closed last week at $6,789/tonne.
- Global Advanced Metals (GAM) has requested the Australian courts halt expansion of the world’s largest hard rock lithium mine. GAM owns the rights to produce tantalum at the Western Australian Greenbushes mine whilst Talison Lithium (a joint venture between Chinese Tianqi Lithium and U.S. Albermale Corp own the lithium rights to the mine). Talison is looking to double lithium production by 2019. GAM believes that lithium production expansion at Greenbushes will waste tantalum resources.