NEW YORK (Reuters) – Top North American miners of gold, copper and iron ore all said this week that a sudden ramp-up of mining projects has begun to squeeze labor and equipment and before long will slow or delay projects.
Executives talking to Reuters at this year’s Mining and Steel Summit said, skilled labor, especially geologists and mining engineers, were hard to come by and lead times on heavy equipment has been stretched out for weeks or months.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. miner Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc (FCX.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said, on Wednesday, that excess global smelter capacity means it will have buyers for the copper concentrates it sells into Japan, where twin disasters of March 11 shuttered numerous metal processing plants.
Japan is one of Freeport’s biggest customers, buying about 22 percent of its copper concentrates. The world’s largest publicly-traded copper miner vowed to work with its Japanese customers as they restore operations that were halted by the earthquake and tsunami that devastated northern Japan.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. gold miner Newmont Mining Corp (NEM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Canada’s Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Monday they expect increasing demand for gold as a monetary asset to send the price up to levels of $1,500 to $1,600 an ounce in the next 12 months.
Speaking in exclusive interviews at the Reuters Global Mining and Steel Summit, the companies’ chief executives cited gold’s use as a proxy currency, central bank gold purchases, rising demand from Chinese and Indian buyers, and an affinity for gold as an investment in developed economies as chief drivers leading the metal to $1,750 or even $2,000 an ounce in the next few years.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Returns on precious metal funds have posted the most sizable gains for any industry group in the last 10 years at 23.81 percent, despite showing the third worst performance for 2011, according to the latest data from Lipper released on Friday.
“Precious metals was the absolute strongest classification performer in the five- and 10-year period of all equity fund classifications,” said Tom Roseen, senior analyst at Lipper, a Thomson Reuters company that provides mutual fund data and analysis.
NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – Gold turned higher on Friday after the dollar weakened against the euro and as investors sought the precious metal’s safety after Japan’s earthquake and with Middle East violence rising heading into the weekend.
A major earthquake in Japan proved a double-edged sword for gold prices. While investors wanted a tangible asset amid the chaos wreaked by the worst earthquake in Japan, the disaster also hit oil prices, which lessened the need for gold as a hedge against inflation.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil jumped to 2-1/2 year highs on Friday on more violence in Libya, and more expensive crude sparked inflation worries that drove up gold but pressured copper and agricultural commodities on fears economic growth would slow.
Corn, wheat and soybean prices felt the weight of increased energy costs, as investors fretted that the impact of higher energy prices might filter through to other economic sectors at a time when growth was finally starting to take off.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil and gold ended lower on Thursday, as investors took some profits off recent highs, following news that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi accepted a plan to end uprising in the OPEC nation, but skepticism about the deal’s success kept prices firmly underpinned.
Oil prices fell from levels near 2-1/2 year highs, on the profit-taking spree when Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez proposed to resolve Libya’s political crisis.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Brent and U.S. crude oil settled Wednesday at highs unseen since 2008, when an airstrike near Libya’s oil terminal stoked fears of prolonged threats to oil supplies and pushed gold to record levels for a second day.
Brent oil settled at its highest level since August 2008 after fresh airstrikes hit Brega, about 2 km (1.2 miles) from a Libyan oil terminal. Embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi launched a land and air offensive to retake territory in Libya’s oil rich east.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Brent crude oil futures finished Tuesday at their highest level in 2-1/2 years, U.S. crude rose over 2 percent, and investors quest for safety sent gold to an all-time high, on fears political turmoil in Libya would spread to other oil producing countries.
Copper gave up three days of gains to end lower on those same fears and as rising oil prices ignited inflation concerns.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Commodity investors remained concerned about protests in the Middle East on Monday but Saudi Arabia’s reassurance that it would pump more oil unwound gains in crude and gold, while U.S. cocoa futures rocketed to a 32-year peak after gun battles erupted in Ivory Coast.
For February, most commodities showed monthly gains.
For Monday’s session, oil prices fell in volatile trading on expectations that increased production from Saudi Arabia would offset supply disruptions, after Libya’s turmoil sent prices to 2-1/2-year peaks last week.