Correspondent, Commodities and Energy
James's Feed
Sep 11, 2014

Japan’s Mitsui may miss metals profit target on iron ore slump

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co may miss the current year’s profit target of $1.1 billion for its metals business due to the slump in iron ore, warned a senior executive, who said prices may fall to as low as $80 a tonne before rebounding.

Mitsui expects prices to rebound to $100 as early as the end of the year and the trading house’s iron ore business will remain profitable even if prices fall as much as 30 percent, Hiroyuki Kato, Mitsui’s executive in charge of energy and metals, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

Aug 21, 2014

Japan firms hit by labour crunch, many see profits squeezed -Reuters poll

TOKYO, Aug 22 (Reuters) – Some 60 percent of Japanese firms
are finding it increasingly difficult to secure sufficient
workers, hit by a pervasive labour shortage that is pushing up
hiring costs and starting to eat into profits, a Reuters poll

Stemming from a rapidly ageing society where immigration is
limited, the labour crunch has emerged amid an economic
turnaround engineered by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and threatens
to drag on growth.

Aug 8, 2014

After shopping spree, Japanese trading houses take hard look at resources

TOKYO (Reuters) – After going on a spending spree during the global commodities boom, many Japanese trading houses have stretched their balance sheets and are now looking to sell off some of the assets to fund future investment plans.

Japan’s five biggest trading houses all booked lower profits in their metal resources businesses for the April-June quarter, making coal and other minerals prime candidates as they look to offload unprofitable assets and find others with more promise.

Jul 31, 2014

Asian buyers take 25 pct more Iran oil in first half

TOKYO, July 31 (Reuters) – Iran’s biggest clients took in a
quarter more oil in the first six months of 2014 than in the
same period of last year, with China and India holding to the
higher volumes they started after the agreement that relaxed
Western sanctions on Tehran.

Iran’s exports to its top four oil buyers – China, India,
Japan and South Korea – may keep rising even though a deadline
for a final deal on its disputed nuclear programme had to be
extended. The lead U.S. nuclear negotiator on Tuesday said
participants aim to reach a resolution on the decade-old dispute
by the end of the four-month extension.

Jul 29, 2014

Future grows darker for solar energy growth in Japan

TOKYO, July 30 (Reuters) – On the second anniversary of a
scheme aimed at boosting Japan’s renewable energy after the
Fukushima crisis, its powerful industry ministry is taking steps
critics say will choke off solar investment and pave the way for
a return to nuclear power.

Japan’s ambitious plans for solar in the past two years –
if they were to come on stream — could allow the country to
surpass Germany as the world’s biggest consumer of solar power.

Jul 18, 2014

One third of Japan firms say business hurt by China, South Korea tensions: poll

TOKYO (Reuters) – Diplomatic tensions with China and South Korea are hurting business for a third of Japanese firms, a Reuters poll found, with executives citing a drop-off in sales and difficulties in making deals work.

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan has angered its neighbors with assertive foreign policies and looser restraints on the military, although tensions with China have not returned to levels seen in 2012 when territorial disputes prompted violent anti-Japan protests.

Jun 20, 2014

Japan Inc hopes to use corporate tax cut windfall on capex: Reuters poll

TOKYO (Reuters) – More than half of Japanese companies would consider investing the windfall from a promised corporate tax cut on operations at home, a Reuters poll showed, underscoring an increasingly bullish outlook for the economy.

Boosting domestic capital spending and ending deflation are central goals for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is keen to build upon success that bold monetary easing and hefty fiscal spending have had in weakening the yen and boosting stocks.

Jun 11, 2014

China to take more Iranian oil, boosting Asia’s total-sources

BEIJING/TOKYO, June 11 (Reuters) – China is set to take more
Iranian crude than it did before tough sanctions were put in
place in early 2012, as Asia’s biggest refiner Sinopec Corp buys
more oil from the Middle East nation, sources with direct
knowledge of China’s buying strategy said.

Western sanctions over the past few years had reduced Iran’s
crude shipments to less than half and crippled its economy by
choking the flow of petrodollars. Some of those measures were
eased following a breakthrough diplomatic deal last November in
return for Tehran curtailing its nuclear programme.

Jun 11, 2014

Japan to open residential power market to competition

TOKYO, June 11 (Reuters) – Japanese lawmakers voted
overwhelmingly on Wednesday to open up the residential
electricity market to full competition, the latest step in a
radical shakeup of the power industry in the wake of the
Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The change frees up a 7.5 trillion yen ($73 billion) market
to all companies from around 2016, allowing them to sell
electricity and other services to almost 77 million households
and 7.4 million small business, according to government figures.

Jun 7, 2014

Huge Russia-China gas deal still leaves door open to Japan

TOKYO, June 8 (Reuters) – For once, China looks to have done
Japan a favour.

In clinching a $400 billion deal last month to buy Russian
gas, China may end up helping out its old political and economic
rival in a way that matters hugely for Japan – energy security.