U.S. Commodities Day Ahead: Gold, Copper, Sugar, Wheat Prices Decline

The following are the top stories on metals, agriculture and shipping.

COMMODITY EXCLUSIVES:

Serbian Agriculture to Contract as Much as 4%, Chamber Says

Serbia’s agriculture industry will probably shrink as much as 4 percent this year, more than estimated by the official Statistics Office, after a lengthy winter and heavy rainfall, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce said.

Anadarko Debtors Forgiving Spill in Bond Frenzy: Credit Markets

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. sold $2 billion of notes that lack creditor protections against claims stemming from the worst oil spill in U.S. history, underscoring how corporations are gaining the upper hand over debt investors.

Reliance Said to Be Operating Jamnagar VGO Unit at 40% Capacity

Reliance Industries Ltd., owner of the world’s largest refining complex, is running a vacuum gasoil unit at its Jamnagar facility at 40 percent capacity, according to two people with knowledge of the plant’s operations.

Transitgas Says Natural Gas Flows to Italy to Start Aug. 13

Transitgas AG, operator of a natural-gas pipeline across Switzerland to Italy, said flows through the link should resume on Aug. 13 after halting last month because of safety concerns, the company said in a statement on its website.

Moscow Smog Curbs Bond Trading, Bankers Flee Capital (Update1)

Record heat and drought in Russia are curbing stock and bond trading as bankers flee Moscow to escape acrid smoke from wildfires east of the capital.

China’s July Coal Imports From South Africa Soar to Record

China, the world’s biggest energy user, bought a record amount of coal in July from Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT), taking advantage of lower prices at Africa’s largest export facility for the fuel.

Jain Irrigation Profit Growth May Exceed 30% on Good Monsoon

Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd., the second-biggest maker of irrigation equipment, expects profit to grow more than 30 percent as bigger harvests leave farmers with more money to spend on drip water products in the winter months.

INDUSTRIAL METALS:

Copper Leads Metals Lower on China Property, Dollar Strength

Copper paced a decline in industrial metals in Asia as some investors deemed the recent rally as excessive amid concerns that demand may slow as China’s property market cools.

China’s Copper Imports Gain First Time in Four Months (Update2)

Copper imports by China, the world’s largest consumer, climbed for the first time in four months as arbitrage traders sought profits by buying the metal in London and selling it in Shanghai.

MINING:

China Iron Ore Imports Post First Gain in Four Months (Update2)

Iron ore imports by China, the largest buyer of the steelmaking ingredient, rose for the first time in four months in July, indicating steelmakers are restocking after depleting inventories.

China’s Largest Gold Producer Shuts Mines for Checks (Update2)

China’s largest gold-producing city halted output after a fire at a mine killed 16 workers, prompting investors to sell shares of Zijin Mining Group Co. and Shandong Gold Mining Co.

European Stocks Retreat From 15-Week High; TUI Travel Slumps

European and Asian stocks fell and U.S. index futures declined as reports added to evidence that Chinese economic growth is slowing and investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s latest policy statement.

ArcelorMittal S. Africa Will Buy Owner in Sishen Mine (Update1)

ArcelorMittal South Africa Ltd., a unit of the world’s largest steelmaker, said it will buy all the shares in Imperial Crown Trading, which owns a portion of the prospecting rights in Kumba Iron Ore Ltd.’s Sishen mine.

Norsk Hydro Delays Ramp-Up of Qatalum Aluminum Plant (Update1)

Norsk Hydro ASA, Europe’s third- largest aluminum maker, delayed a planned increase in production at its Qatari Qatalum plant after a power failure halted output.

Alumina First-Half Profit Surges 11-Fold on Prices (Update3)

Alumina Ltd., partner in the world’s biggest producer of the material used to make aluminum, said first-half profit jumped 11-fold because of higher metal prices and sales volumes, allowing it to reinstate a dividend.

PRECIOUS METALS:

China’s Biggest Gold Producer Shuts Mines; Zijin Fall (Correct)

China’s largest gold-producing city halted output after a fire at a mine killed 16 workers, prompting investors to sell shares of Zijin Mining Group Co. and Shandong Gold Mining Co.

Commodities to Tumble as ‘Blob’ Eats Credit: Technical Analysis

Commodities may skid 43 percent over the next 16 months, returning to the four-year low of February 2009, as deflationary concerns commandeer financial markets and drain credit, said Walter J. Zimmerman Jr., the chief technical analyst at United- ICAP in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Gold Holdings Decline Isn’t Signaling ‘Big Exit’: Chart of Day

Three weeks of declining gold holdings in exchange-traded funds doesn’t signal a “big exit,” according to UBS AG.

Gold Falls, Ends Longest Rally Since November, as Dollar Gains

Gold futures fell, snapping the longest rally since November, as the dollar’s rebound curbed demand for the precious metal as an alternative asset.

AGRICULTURE:

Wheat Falls for Third Day in Chicago as Rally Deemed Excessive

Wheat futures declined for a third day on speculation that prices have risen more than justified on falling production in Russia because world stocks of the grain remain ample.

Palm Oil Tumbles Most in More Three Months on Malaysia Exports

Palm oil plunged the most in more than three months after reports showed that shipments from Malaysia, the second-biggest producer, declined this month.

Sugar Falls 1.1% in London on Signs of Increased India Supplies

White sugar fell for a fourth straight session in London on increased Indian supplies of the sweetener.

Pakistan Floods May Spread as Heat Harms Russia, U.S. Midwest

Pakistan’s deadliest floods that affected 13.8 million people may sweep through southern areas, increasing damage to crops and infrastructure. Extreme heat and smoke from wildfires forced people to flee Moscow.

Ginger Price in China May Fall on New Harvest, Ministry Says

The price of ginger in China may drop when a new harvest starting in September boosts supply, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement on its website.

Ukraine’s Corn Crop Damaged From Drought, Grain Group Head Says

Ukraine’s corn crop will be 10 percent lower than previously forecast because of drought, Volodymyr Klymenko, the head of the grain association, said at a press conference today.

SHIPPING:

Middle East Supertanker Excess Remains Unchanged From Last Week

A surplus of supertankers competing to haul 2 million- barrel cargoes of Middle East oil stayed unchanged, curbing owners’ ability to profit as demand strengthens.

Marseille Oil-Port Workers Go on Strike, Inchape Shipping Says

Workers at the Fos and Lavera oil terminals at the French port of Marseille declared a strike, Inchcape Shipping Services said on its website. The action will start Aug. 20 at 6 a.m. and finish at the same time a day later, Inchcape said.

Middle East Tankers Flat on ‘Substantial’ Excess, DnB NOR Says

DnB NOR Markets shipping analysts Henrik With and Glenn Lodden comment in an e-mailed report on supply and demand for supertankers collecting 2 million-barrel cargoes of Middle East crude oil.

LNG Storage Off Fujairah May Equal Six Months of China Demand

Liquefied natural gas tankers anchored off Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates may be storing the equivalent of about six months of China’s average purchases.

ECONOMIES:

China Tells Banks to Take Back Trust Firms Loans, People Say

China’s banking regulator has ordered lenders to set aside provisions for loans they’ve transferred to trust companies to cushion against potential risks, three people with knowledge of the situation said.

Asian Stocks Slide, Yen Gains as China’s Import Growth Slows

Asian stocks dropped and the yen strengthened after China’s import growth and the pace of property price gains slowed in July, and Australian business confidence slipped to the lowest in more than a year.

China July Trade Surplus Surges as Imports Soften (Update3)

China’s trade surplus reached an 18- month high as exports rose to a record and import gains slowed, adding pressure on officials to allow faster appreciation of the yuan and signaling a diminished contribution to global growth.

China Denies Using Convict Labor in Overseas Projects (Update1)

China said a report by an Indian scholar alleging that the country sends prisoners overseas to work on construction projects was “pure nonsense.”

Central Huijin Said to Start $28 Billion Debt Sales This Month

Central Huijin Investment Co., the state company that controls China’s largest banks, may start selling 190 billion yuan ($28 billion) of bonds this month, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

China Auto Sales May Rise to 16 Million, Group Says (Update1)

China’s auto sales may rise to 16 million this year, an auto makers’ group said, boosting its forecast from a previous estimate of 15 million.

China’s Widening Trade Surplus Puts Wen Under Yuan Pressure

China’s trade surplus reached an 18- month high as exports rose to a record and import gains slowed, adding pressure on officials to allow faster appreciation of the yuan and signaling a diminished contribution to global growth.

U.K. Housing Gauge Signals First Price Drop in a Year (Update3)

A U.K. housing-market gauge signaled the first decline in prices for a year in July as demand for homes fell, a sign the economic recovery may be losing steam.

Fed Efforts to Spur Growth May Move Markets More Than Economy

Federal Reserve policy makers meeting today may find the market reaction to any announcement of steps to spur growth will be bigger than the impact on the economy.

China Property Prices Rise 10.3%, Least in Six Months (Update3)

China’s property prices rose at the slowest pace in six months in July as the government cracked down on speculation to prevent asset bubbles.

Shirakawa Signals Japan Recovery Withstanding Yen’s Advance

Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa indicated the nation’s recovery has been resilient to the yen’s advance, supporting his board’s decision to keep policy unchanged today.

OTHER MARKETS:

Stocks, U.S. Futures Fall on Fed, China Concerns; Yen Advances

Stocks fell the most in three weeks, U.S. index futures dropped and the yen strengthened as the Federal Reserve prepared to signal whether the economy needs stimulus while concern deepened that demand in China is slowing.

Dollar Strengthens on Fed Speculation, Global Recovery Concern

The dollar rose for a second day against the euro as some traders pared expectations that the Federal Reserve will announce further steps to lower borrowing costs today.

Yuan Drops Most in 5 Weeks After PBOC Sets Lower Reference Rate

China’s yuan dropped the most in five weeks after the central bank set a lower reference rate and as the U.S. currency gained.

Japanese Stocks to Underperform on Yen Pressure, Citigroup Says

Japanese stocks will underperform their counterparts worldwide as looser U.S. monetary policies drive the yen higher against the dollar, crimping earnings at Japanese exporters, according to Citigroup Inc.

Crude Declines on Signs of Slowing Fuel Demand in U.S., China

Oil fell in New York on signs that fuel demand in the U.S. and China, the two largest energy consumers, is faltering as the economic recovery slows.

Copper Demand May Exceed Supply Next Year, Kamoo Says (Update1)

Copper demand may outstrip supply in 2011 for the first time in four years as China, the world’s biggest consumer, sustains purchases and as ore grades decline, Japan’s largest smelter said.

Barak Tells Flotilla Raid Inquiry Gaza Blockade Is Essential

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told an inquiry panel in Jerusalem that it was “appropriate” for Israeli troops to stop the Gaza aid flotilla aboard which nine Turkish citizens were killed in a May 31 raid.

Rwandan President Kagame Leads in Preliminary Election Results

Initial results in Rwanda’s presidential elections showed incumbent Paul Kagame leading in the race to extend his decade- long stint at the East African country’s helm.

Israel Won’t Allow UN Panel to Question Soldiers (Update2)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel wouldn’t cooperate with a United Nations probe into its May 31 naval raid on a Gaza aid flotilla if the UN tries to question soldiers who took part in the operation.

India Works to Clear Hundreds of Containers Obstructing Ports

India’s coast guard used chemicals to disperse oil spilled from a listing ship off the Mumbai coast as salvagers worked to clear hundreds of containers that may shut the nation’s busiest cargo-box port for three days.

Saudi Regulator Allows Rim to Continue Blackberry Services

Saudi Arabia’s telecom regulator said it has allowed BlackBerry maker Research in Motion to continue to provide services in the kingdom, the official Saudi Press Agency reported today.

Barak Arrives to Testify Before Israeli Gaza Inquiry Panel

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak arrived today at the Jerusalem hall where an Israeli commission is investigating the May 31 naval raid on a Gaza aid flotilla in which nine Turkish citizens were killed. Barak is scheduled to be the second Israeli official to testify. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before the commission yesterday.

Egypt’s Inflation Remained Unchanged at 10.7% in July (Update1)

Inflation in Egypt remained unchanged in July, supporting the central bank’s decision to keep its benchmark interest rate at its current level.

Gates Orders U.S. Defense Cuts, Setting Up Battles in Congress

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Pentagon needs to save money by further reducing a “cumbersome” U.S. military hierarchy, setting up potential battles with members of Congress who support targeted programs.

India May Take Three Days to Clear Containers That Closed Ports

India said it may take as long as three days to clear hundreds of containers floating in sea lanes that forced the closure of Mumbai’s Jawaharlal Nehru Port, the nation’s busiest container harbor.

SPORTS:

Villa Players Celebrate O’Neill Quitting, Mirror Says: Roundup

The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable links to the Web.

Springboks Coach Escapes Sanction for All Blacks Rant (Update1)

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers escaped sanction from the southern hemisphere rugby alliance for suggesting that New Zealand was being favored to boost the All Blacks’ popularity before next year’s World Cup.

Springboks Rugby Coach Escapes Sanction Over All Blacks TV Rant

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers escaped sanction from the southern hemisphere rugby alliance for suggesting that New Zealand was being favored to boost the All Blacks’ popularity before next year’s World Cup.

Metal Prices:

Metal Prices: ($/ton)
                 Last  % Chg RSI
Copper          7,250   -2.4  57
Aluminum        2,150   -1.5  59
Zinc            2,090   -2.8  61
Lead            2,130   -3.2  61
Nickel         22,180   -2.7  64
Tin            20,700   -2.8  70

Other Markets:
                       Last  % Chg % YTD
U.S. Dollar Index    81.111   +0.5  +2.3
Crude Oil            $80.45   -1.3   +14
Gold               $1,196.7   -0.4   +26
MSCI World Index   1,151.70   -0.6  +8.6
*T
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