ALROSA’s Supervisory Board has approved the opening of a branch in Vladivostok which will be the first step on the way to creating Russian Diamond Centre in the Primorye Territory. “The branch will define the range of potential participants and investors to create Russian Diamond Centre within the scope of Vladivostok Free Port,” the miner said in a statement. “The company is implementing this project on the instructions of Yury Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian government.”
ALROSA President Andrey Zharkov said the first displays and sales of its rough diamonds in Vladivostok are planned for this August-September in the lead-up to a meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum. The company will also organize displays and auctions for the products manufactured by the Brillianty ALROSA branch. Later on, regular trade in rough and polished diamonds, with the focus on the consumers from Asia-Pacific, will be organized as part of the Diamond Centre. The branch will be responsible for increasing ALROSA’s sales, developing regional coverage, and expanding cooperation with companies and clients from Asia-Pacific, initially in China, Japan, Singapore, and other countries. It will also search for potential partners and investors to set up manufacturing facilities for the use of industrial grade diamonds and production of equipment for diamond cutting industry. A special economic zone and relaxed visa requirements for foreign citizens have also been secured in order ease the opening of the branch, which will collect information about the Asia-Pacific region for the company.
Iron ore posts weekly loss on $US, China outlook
Iron ore sank toward $US50 a metric ton to post the first weekly loss in four amid a resurgent dollar and indications China’s economy has yet to rebound, offering early vindication to forecasters including Goldman Sachs Group who’d argued that recent gains were unlikely to persist.
Spot ore with 62 per cent content in Qingdao fell 2.6 per cent to $US56.37 a dry ton on Thursday, dropping for a third day, according to Metal Bulletin Ltd. After gyrating this month, including the biggest one-day gain on record, prices remain 29 per cent higher in 2016 following three years of losses on a global glut driven by rising low-cost supply and sinking steel demand in China. There’ll be no pricing on Friday.
The SGX AsiaClear contract for May settlement sank as much as 5.8 per cent to $US49.90 in Singapore, while on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange futures fell 5.1 per cent. Photo: Bloomberg
Iron ore has been on a wild ride in March as investors sought to gauge conflicting economic signals from China against still-elevated port stockpiles and shifts in the US currency. Prices posted the biggest ever one-day gain on March 7 in a rally to the highest since June, prompting banks including Goldman to say the gains would be temporary. Miner BHP Billiton said after the spike that it was probably more bearish about iron ore than the price of any other commodity in its portfolio.
“There hasn’t been much improvement in China’s economy and steel mills aren’t keen to purchase iron ore, especially after the price surge,” Zhao Chaoyue, an analyst at China Merchants Futures in Shenzhen, said before the Metal Bulletin price. “The dollar also surged overnight, spurring a sell-off in commodities.”
Losses in the benchmark were preceded by a slump in futures in Asia. The SGX AsiaClear contract for May settlement sank as much as 5.8 per cent to $US49.90 in Singapore, while on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange futures fell 5.1 per cent. Miners’ shares retreated in Sydney on Thursday as BHP lost 3.4 per cent, Rio Tinto Group dropped 3.6 per cent and Fortescue Metals Group fell 2.3 per cent. The three are the country’s largest exporters.
In China, the earliest private indicators for March show that monetary and fiscal stimulus have yet to spur a rebound. A purchasing manager’s index focused on small businesses, a gauge of corporate confidence and a new reading of the economy derived from satellite imagery all remain at levels signalling deterioration, though the pace of declines moderated. Against that, China’s home prices climbed in more cities last month.
Premier Li Keqiang said in a keynote speech at the Boao forum on Thursday that China’s economy saw positive signs of change this year and the government was confident of maintaining growth above 6.5 per cent over the next five years. China will promote steady development of the property market, avoiding major fluctuations, he said.
“My sense is that there’s more confidence and more optimism” in China’s economy than a year ago, Fortescue chief executive Nev Power said in a Bloomberg Television interview at the forum. In iron ore, “we are going to continue to see volatility though, because it is so heavily traded in the futures market that we will continue to see that driven by any positive or negative newsflow”.
The greenback has surged this week, hurting commodities priced in the US currency, as several Federal Reserve policy makers signalled their willingness to raise interest rates further this year, possibly as soon as next month. So far this week, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index is 1.2 per cent higher as raw materials lost 2.3 per cent.