Commodities

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Western Australia in response to the 2017 sales of spodumene, the primary lithium bearing mineral produced in WA soaring 166% to reach A$780-million announced a taskforce to harness the potential for lithium and other energy materials.

Mining giant Rio Tinto has been approved by the Australian Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator to operate the world’s first heavy haul, long distance autonomous rail operation for it's ironore operatioin in Western Australia. $RIO says AutoHaul will improve safety, productivity and lower costs. 

Wool prices have been rising with shrinking supply and strong demand. Prices got a further boost to record levels with the falling Australian dollar, $AUDUSD traded down as low as US74.24c the lowest level since June last year.

Central banks have been trying to force inflation higher. Oil prices are rising but what really could cause an uprising is vanilla bean prices have soared creating a shortage of vanilla. Icecream or chocolate inflation is a scary thought.

In Australia the median price of farmland grew 7.1 per cent nationally over last financial year with gains South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and NSW. Values fell in Queensland, Western Austalia and the Northern Territory the Rural Bank said.

The Australian goverment raised its forecasts for iron ore, LNG and metallurgical coal prices for 2018 and 2019 in the Resources and Energy Quarterly report. However in the long term it expects prices in iron ore to fall. 

The Australian dollar has been under pressure since the U.S. China trade tit for tat but there are more importers than China for Australia. Australian mining companies are seen locking in the highest Japan coal deal since 2012.

The lift in iron ore prices, liquefied natural gas (LNG) volumes grew and robust gold output proved a boon to Australia's mining sector's recovery. Western Australia’s resources sector surged 16% in sales revenue during 2017 to A$108.8 billion.

With the U.S. placing tariffs on China sparking trade tensions after aluminum and steel tariffs it is important to anaylse the backdrop with the production and demand gap. Then throw in the ramp in production in India and China.

Australia's low grade iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group lowered its fiscal year ending June 2018 price realisation guidance to near 65% of the average benchmark S&P Global Platts 62 CFR index following sluggish demand growth from China.

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