South Africa's Sibanye-Stillwater to buy troubled platinum producer Lonmin

Date Dec 14 2017 17:00:29 Source:Reuters

    Dec 14 (Reuters) - South Africa's Sibanye-Stillwater SGLJ.J has agreed to buy Lonmin LMI.L, valuing the troubled platinum producer at about 285 million pounds ($382.47 million), the two companies said on Thursday.

    Under the offer, each Lonmin Shareholder will receive 0.967 new Sibanye-Stillwater shares for each Lonmin share.

    The deal values each Lonmin Share at 86.3 pence and represents a premium of about 35 percent to its closing price on Dec. 13.


($1 = 0.7452 pounds)


Edited by SHMET

PRECIOUS-Gold rises to 1-week high as dollar holds steady

Date Dec 14 2017 16:59:50 Source:Reuters

    Dec 14 (Reuters) - Gold prices hit their highest in a week on Thursday, as the dollar was on the defensive after tumbling in the previous session following the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates.

    The Fed raised benchmark rates for the third time this year as widely expected, but maintained its outlook of three rate increases in 2018 on low inflation concerns.

    The dollar nursed losses on Thursday after falling on sluggish U.S. November inflation data and as the Fed kept its outlook on interest rates unchanged.  USD/  

    "The dollar is taking a softer turn here in Asia. We're seeing Shanghai come in and buying (gold)," a Hong Kong-based trader said.  

    Spot gold XAU= was up 0.1 percent at $1,256.40 an ounce at 0728 GMT, after earlier touching its highest since Dec. 7 at $1,259.11.

    U.S. gold futures GCcv1 were up 0.9 percent at $1,259.20. 

    Meanwhile, the European Central Bank is expected to stand pat on monetary policy when it announces its decision on interest rates at a meeting later in the day.        

    "People factor too much hawkishness into these meetings and it disappoints a bit and that's kind of what happened ... the nervousness in the market helped gold," the trader said.

    "It's probably $1,245-$1,265 area for the moment, but I would expect us (gold) to be bought."

    Spot gold may test resistance at $1,262 per ounce, a break above which could lead to a gain to the next resistance level at $1,276, said Reuters technicals analyst Wang Tao. 

    In other precious metals, silver XAG= was down 0.1 percent at $16.04 an ounce, after hitting a five-month low of $15.59 in the previous session.

    Platinum XPT= was unchanged at $884.65 an ounce. On Tuesday, it touched its lowest since February, 2016. Palladium XPD= was steady at $1,016.80 an ounce.



Edited by SHMET

Steel tycoon considers bid for Rio Tinto's Dunkirk aluminium smelter -sources

Date Dec 14 2017 16:59:15 Source:Reuters

    SYDNEY/LONDON, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Liberty House, the industrial and commodities group buying a number of steel assets around the world, is considering a bid for Rio Tinto‚Äôs RIO.AX RIO.L aluminium smelter in northern France, the largest in Europe, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

    The Dunkirk plant, which the sources value at around 200 million euros ($234.44 million), would add to the Gupta Family Group (GFG) conglomerate, whose assets range from steel mills and aluminium smelters to hydro-power plants and a private bank.

    Liberty House, which is headed by Sanjeev Gupta, and Rio Tinto both declined to comment on the matter. 

    Gupta had met with France's President Emmanuel Macron in October to offer assurances that he would save jobs, one of the sources said.   

    Asked if there had been any contact between the French presidency and Rio or Liberty House, Macron's office said: "The government is attentive to the future of this important industrial site". It declined further comment.

    Rio Tinto's chief executive, Jean-Sebastien Jacques, who took charge in July 2016, is moving to divest all but the company's best-performing units.

    Rio sold its Coal & Allied Industries Ltd in June for $2.6 billion and is in the process of selling two Australian coking coal mines. Earlier this year, the chief executive of Rio's Alcan unit, Rannveig Rist, said it was planning to sell its Icelanding aluminium smelter ISAL.

    Liberty House Group has spent hundreds of millions on acquisitions, including Rio Tinto's aluminium smelter in Scotland and Australia's bankrupt steel producer Arrium.

    Gupta hit the headlines last year when he bid to acquire Tata Steel's  TISC.NS  loss-making Port Talbot operations in South Wales, before the Indian conglomerate began merger talks with German rival Thyssenkrupp that are still ongoing.

    The group has also approached Rio to buy its Australasian aluminium smelting unit Pacific Aluminium, sources had previously said.  

    As aluminium production is very energy-intensive, aluminium plants outside China tend to be located next to hydro-electric dams or Middle Eastern oilfields if they are to be profitable. Dunkirk is located close to a nuclear plant and a port.

    The Dunkirk plant was built to use the excess electricity of two nuclear reactors originally destined for Iran. After the 1979 Islamic revolution, the French government put the two reactors in Gravelines, in Northwest France in 1985.

    France's Pechiney started the plant in 1991. It was subsequently bought by Canada's Alcan, which was itself taken over by Rio Tinto in 2007.


Edited by SHMET

China's Nov aluminium output falls to lowest since Feb 2015

Date Dec 14 2017 16:58:23 Source:Reuters

    SINGAPORE, Dec 14 (Reuters) - China's primary aluminium production fell for a fifth consecutive month in November, official data showed on Thursday, as the country's winter restrictions on smelters pushed output to its lowest since February 2015. 

    The world's top aluminium producer churned out 2.35 million tonnes of the metal last month, down 7.8 percent from 2.55 million tonnes in October and down 16.8 percent from a year ago, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

    In a first for China's aluminium industry, smelters in 28 northern Chinese cities were told to cut output by at least 30 percent during this year's peak winter heating season - which kicked off in mid-November - to combat air pollution. 

    Analysts, however, have noted that China Hongqiao Group 1378.HK, the world's biggest aluminium smelter, managed to avoid steep output cuts despite being based in Binzhou, Shandong province, one of the 28 cities, after closing 2.68 million tonnes of illegal capacity earlier this year. 

    That could help explain the relatively shallow month-on-month drop in China's overall output. 

    "The winter cut's impact is limited, especially the implementation in Shandong, which doesn't meet people's previous expectation," said Jackie Wang, an aluminium analyst at CRU in Beijing. She projected that December output would be "probably flat" to the November figure. 

    January-November aluminium production came in at 29.54 million tonnes, according to the statistics bureau, up 1.7 percent from the same period last year and within striking

distance of an annual record-high in 2017. China produced 31.87 million tonnes of aluminium in 2016.

    China's overall non-ferrous metals output in November came in at 4.32 million tonnes, its lowest since April 2016. Production was down 3.1 percent from 4.46 million tonnes in October and down 6.9 percent from the same month in 2016, the statistics bureau said. 

    January-November nonferrous production stood at 49.34 million tonnes, up 2.5 percent from a year ago and still on course for an annual record-high. The country's nonferrous output in 2016 was 52.8 million tonnes. 


Edited by SHMET

METALS-Copper largely steady ahead of expected U.S. rate hike

Date Dec 13 2017 15:53:16 Source:Reuters

    MELBOURNE, Dec 13 (Reuters) - London copper trading was little changed on Wednesday, as volumes thinned throughout the complex in the lead-up to holidays and ahead of a U.S. monetary policy meeting which may spell out higher interest rates.

    "Price action is likely to remain subdued as traders look ahead to key events later this week," ANZ said in a report.  



    * LME: London Metal Exchange copper  CMCU3  was up 0.2 percent at $6,675.50 a tonne, as of 0534 GMT, having closed little changed in the previous session. Prices have found a base around $6,500, but have run into resistance at the 100-day moving average around $6,690. Volumes were light with less than 1000 lots of turnover on the benchmark contract. 

    * SHFE: Shanghai Futures Exchange copper  SCFcv1  rose by half a percent to 52,180 yuan ($7,881) a tonne.

    * GLENCORE: Miner and trader Glencore  GLEN.L  said on Tuesday its battery minerals, especially cobalt, should spur profit in 2017 and beyond in an update for investors that also promised to grow the business, especially through partnerships. 

    * ZINC: Glencore said next year's zinc production would be roughly steady at just over one million tonnes, although it will start to ramp up some capacity. 

    * JAPAN ECONOMY: Japanese machinery orders rose more than expected in October, the Cabinet Office said on Wednesday, rebounding after a big fall in the prior month in a sign capital spending will remain resilient. 

    * BAUXITE: Paris-based miner AMR began production at its Guinean bauxite mine on Tuesday, aiming to produce between 6 million and 10 million tonnes a year of the aluminium ore, the company said.

    * LEAD: Seasonally strong demand from battery makers, tight supplies caused by mine shutdowns and dwindling inventories in London Metal Exchange warehouses are expected to sustain lead prices, which recently hit six-year highs.

    * SHFE: Lead  SPBcv1  and zinc  SZNcv1  climbed 1.8 percent and 0.7 percent respectively, buoyed by a crackdown on polluters in China's Henan and Hunan provinces.          

    * MARKETS: U.S. stock futures, Treasury yields and the dollar fell on Wednesday as Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore in a bitter U.S. Senate race in Alabama, while Asian shares edged up as crude oil futures took back lost ground.




Edited by SHMET