Betting against copper is a dangerous game

November 23, 2015

Shares of Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore fell on Nov. 23 as copper dropped below $4,500 a tonne. Once tipped as the metal of the future, copper is now a symbol of global miners’ past misjudgments. The red metal price seems destined to sink further.

Glencore can’t delay with $2 bln agri-sale

November 17, 2015

The debt-laden commodities trader is slimming down in agriculture. But two months into the disposal process, one potential buyer says he thinks the business is “not really on the market”. With copper prices hitting a fresh six-year low, Glencore can’t afford to drag its feet.

China catalyst could spark Syngenta chain reaction

November 13, 2015

The Swiss pesticides group has rejected a $42 bln bid approach from China National Chemical Corp, reports say. Interest from rival Monsanto was rebuffed earlier this year, and last month the Syngenta CEO stepped down. It looks vulnerable to a round of chemical re-engineering.

Cox: Drought, not just of ideas, challenges Africa

November 12, 2015

The sub-Saharan region, once a bright spot for global growth, faces a worrying triple whammy. A lack of rainfall threatens agriculture and hydropower. Low commodity prices are taking a bite. Fold in sliding currencies, and inflation threatens stability and economic prospects.

Argus sale opens up obscure corner of oil market

November 12, 2015

Oil price reporting agencies are the plumbing of a $2.5 trillion market – and Argus, which has put itself on the block, is one of the biggest. Expansion is an option for a buyer. Private equity should be interested, but the nuances of pricing oil may be too edgy for some.

Glencore ought to lift the lid on its blackest box

By Breakingviews Columnists
October 27, 2015

Investors seem unconvinced that the commodity trader’s $18 billion of inventory is as good as cash. The value of that hoard may have fallen by a fifth since last disclosed. Boss Ivan Glasenberg could allay concerns with better disclosure, but might put his trading edge at risk.

European crisis will bend but not break Tata Steel

October 6, 2015

The Indian steelmaker’s net debt of $9 bln is three times its market value. Its European business, acquired in 2007, is suffering from cheap Chinese imports. Yet last year’s timely refinancing and support from its parent means Tata Steel can avoid the fate of British rival SSI.

Aussie leader gets a bust, a boom, and a problem

September 15, 2015

Mining has slumped while housing has surged. The biggest challenge for new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is a slowdown in GDP that is depressing everything from taxes to profits. He needs to embrace higher public deficits – even if that’s tough for a conservative.

Glencore model is battered but not broken

September 14, 2015

Ivan Glasenberg’s mining creation has been wrong-footed by commodity prices, China, and shareholder worries about debt. The pressures may undermine Glencore’s premium valuation and its penchant for doing big deals. Its mix of trading and mining, however, is logical and robust.

Glencore’s giant cash call puts squeeze on rivals

September 7, 2015

The Swiss trader’s $10 bln debt reduction plan eases balance sheet jitters by cutting net borrowings by a third. Investors get stability at the expense of their dividend. But the move offers a grim view of commodity prices that undercuts the investment case for the whole sector.