Commodities

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Commodities in 2018 were hampered by the strong US dollar which rose from mid-April, a collapse in oil prices from early October and the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. The best performers were cocoa, wheat, oats and last years best palladium. The worst performers were Gasoline, WTI Crude, lumber and sugar.

South Africa's coal production is expected to soon drop drastically MP Consulting senior coal analyst Xavier Prevost predicts.  This is due to  low investment in new coal mining capacity and older mines reaching the end of their lives.

Following the derailment of a fully loaded BHP iron ore train in West Australia AAP reported the miner does not have sufficent iron ore stockpiled at Port Hedland cover scheduled shipments. The train was deliberately derailed with rail operations  now suspended.

The Australian state of Queensland will unveil proposed resource regulations and an "insurance fund" to pay for the remediation of old mines. The aim is for resource companies, not taxpayers, to pay for the rehabilitation of the environment.

Australian rare earths miner Lynas Corp saw it's shares leap 12% on Friday after comments from Malaysia's new prime minister about the upcoming environmental review of its processing plant in the country. Lynas shares had fallen 27% on concerns the company's plant would be closed. 

The Australian Winter Crop report has been revised down by 12% from the June forecast by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) as drought plays havoc with conditions and forecasts.

Australian lithium producer Talison Lithium announced that its plans to double its production at its Greenbushes facility in Western Australia. The expansion for $382 million will raise capacity to around 1.95 million tons per year and expected to start work in 2019.

Norway's aluminium producer Norsk Hydro reported higher than expected earnings on Tuesday boosted by higher aluminium and alumina prices. $NHYDY results came after both Alcoa and Aluminum Corp of China warned on tariffs and trade. Brazil still weighs.

The much heralded driverless AutoHaul Iron Ore Trains have made their first delivery since Rio Tinto was approved for autonomous delivery back in May at a cost of $940 million. The 280 km trip carrying 28,000 metric tons was completed Tuesday.

The old saying Australia was built on a sheep's back may have lost its impact but still today Australia produces around 60% of  apparel wool (< 24.5 um) and 90% of fine apparel wool (<19.5 um) the Independent Review of Australian Wool Innovation showed. 

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