Saudi Arabia’s market share of oil has witnessed a decline in 9 out of 15 top markets in the past three years, despite production touching record levels. These included China, South Africa and the United States. Saudi Arabia’s overall share of Chinese oil imports dropped from over 19% in 2013 to nearly 15% in 2015 as a result of increased supplies from Russia. On the other hand, the kingdom’s share of South African oil imports fell dramatically from almost 53% to 22% due to increased shipments from Nigeria and Angola. A boom in shale oil gas extraction in the United States saw Saudi Arabia’s share of US imports decline from 17% to almost 14% between 2013 and 2015. Saudi Arabia also lost market share in South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and some Western European countries but secured gains in Brazil, India and Japan.
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Inventory of copper in China has surged due to speculative imports, disguising the level of true demand and making the metal less reliable as an economic indicator. Chinese traders are taking advantage of an arbitrage opportunity to buy copper stockpiled at London Metal Exchange (LME) warehouses in London, and move it to Shanghai, where it can be sold at a higher price on the Shanghai Futures Exchange. In Shanghai copper ended at 37,620 yuan ($5,774) per ton last week, 5% below a recent high in early March. According to data released after trading, on-warrant copper inventories was at 177,000 tons marking an 11th straight weekly increase. This is double the inventories during March 2015. Investors predicting that the yuan will lose value are buying Shanghai copper in anticipation that yuan-denominated prices will rise. That demand has at times boosted the metal’s Shanghai price above that on the LME. In late January, copper traded at around US$4,750 a tonne in Shanghai, compared to $4,440 per tonne in London.
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According to data issued by the finance minister of Namibia, CalleSchlettwein, by 2017 production of uranium in the country is expected to be three times the volume produced in 2015. This is expected to be achieved with the ramp-up of the huge Husab mine in the Namib Desert. Despite weak commodity prices and relatively slow growth in external demand, the coming into operation of large-scale mining projects will support a decent level of economic growth. The tourism and export-oriented industries are also expected to do well in 2016 due to the recent depreciation of the Namibia dollar. According to Namibia’s central bank, production of the nuclear fuel will rise 62.9% in 2016 and 89.5% in 2017. A daily, The Namibian, has quoted that uranium oxide production is expected to expand by a factor of 3, from 3,713 metric tonnes in 2013 to around 11,000 MT in 2017. Currently, Namibia is the fifth largest uranium producer in the world after Kazakhstan, Canada, Australia and Niger.
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An investment of Rs 4,000 crore in wind energy projects in Maharashtra, India, is facing the risk of being declared non-performing assets (NPAs). Projects with a ready capacity of over 550 MW of electricity generation are in trouble as the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co Ltd (MSEDCL) has refused to sign power purchase agreements (PPAs) or issue commissioning certificates. Of this, 364.15 MW of wind projects were ready in 2014-15 and another 192.05 MW were completed in 2015-16.The projects that are facing the risk are of Tata Power, ITC, Jindal Steel subsidiary Maharashtra Seamless, Hero Future Energies, Green Infra Wind Energy and Continuum Wind Energy. Wind energy projects which do not start generating power within two years of taking loans can be declared ‘non-performing’ by the RBI. Despite paying interest on the loans they took from the banks, all these developers face this threat and this will affect their credit worthiness for future bank loans too.
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Search Minerals, a mining and exploration company based in British Columbia and Labrador, is making plans for a rare earth elements mine on the southeast coast of Labrador. The company discovered the Port Hope Simpson Rare Earth Element District, a belt in the area about 70 km long and up to 8 km wide. The company has received a preliminary economic assessment on its “Foxtrot” project, in the Fox Harbour area, to assess the economic viability to move into production. The capital cost is expected to be around $152 million, which is low for an initial capital cost compared to other projects. Rare earth elements are used to make batteries, electronics and magnets.
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The energy giant Statoil is planning the world’s first floating wind farm off the coast of Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is hoping this new Batwind energy storage system could help revolutionise the offshore wind energy market with its new battery storage system, specifically designed to support offshore wind farms.
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According to a recent study by IMARC Group, half of investors in the mining and metals sector will deploy more capital this year despite two-thirds of institutional investors displaying less appetite for the sector compared to a year ago. The pullback comes after fundraising for natural resources investment reached record levels in 2015, with private funding reaching a total of $67.8 billion. In total, natural resources investment firms have $400 billion assets under management. Of this $243 billion represent unrealized value, with the remaining $157.3 billion investors ready to invest. The major portion is destined for North America.
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