Kloppers choppers

From the AFR this morning the biggest job in Australian business has changed hands: BHP Billiton has appointed non-ferrous division head Andrew Mackenzie as its new chief executive, replacing Marius Kloppers as of May 10. The move comes after BHP reported the lowest interim underlying profits since 2005, but is unrelated to the fall in


Coking coal price firms

Newcastle thermal coal prices fell slightly. The strike at Colombia’s Cerrejon mine continued into its second week with a resolution between Cerrejon, the Government and miners yet to be reached. Uncertainty over the strike, impacting about 30 million tonnes of thermal coal exports into the seaborne market, may have contributed to choppy trading over the past week. Meanwhile, coking coal spot


Daily iron ore price update (Rio is Fortescue)

No movement yesterday in the iron ore complex. The big news today is Rio’s earnings release (find it below) which confirms that the company is a ragingly successful iron ore company buried under a huge pile of…overmatter…to make it appear diversified and unattractive to suiters. The iron ore division contributed 44% of group revenue but…wait


Another hit for Aussie coal?

By Leith van Onselen It seems the hits just keep on coming for Australian coal exports. On Friday, I reported that the coal market could soon be facing hard times from growing global supplies and lower demand from China. Now, Bloomberg has reported that India plans to build a 327 kilometre rail network that would


Japan commences LNG shift from Australia

By Leith van Onselen In September last year, The Australian newspaper revealed that Japan was attempting to sever oil-linked pricing for Japanese liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports. Oil-linked pricing for Japanese LNG imports began in the 1960s. The gas price was linked to the price of oil because it was the substitute for Japanese power


The coal price pincer tightens

By Leith van Onselen Earlier this week, I prognosticated that Australian coal exports could soon be facing hard times due to: Increased competition from US coal exports, due to domestic coal-to-gas switching arising from the US shale gas boom; and A shift away from coal fired electricity generation in China due to rising pollution concerns.


RBA Commodity Price Index rises

From late Friday: Preliminary estimates for January indicate that the index rose by 2.6 per cent (on a monthly average basis) in SDR terms, after rising by 3.4 per cent in December (revised). The largest contributor to the rise in January was the increase in the price of iron ore, while the prices of base metals and rural commodities


Coking coal up on the QLD floods

Courtesy of ANZ: April Newc coal prices rose USD1.50 to USD94.75/t, while spot coking coal traded at over USD167/t after flooding in Queensland’s coalfields. The Bowen Basin was hit by between 200 and 400 millimetres of rain, but the disruptions are not as widespread as the “Big Wet” of 2011. Even so it may take several weeks for operations to