Iron Ore, Oil Go In Different Directions
Iron ore and oil prices prices have made some dramatic moves in the first two days on this week.
After the $US69 a tonne mark last Friday with a big 5.5% plus surge, they eased by less than 1% on Monday to $US68.82, but then rebounded past the $US71 a tonne mark on Tuesday
The Metal Bulletin Index price closed up 3.5% yesterday at $US71.25 a tonne for 62% ore delivered to northern China.
Gone were the concerns on Monday about new restrictions on steel making and processing in parts of northern China.
Gone also those fears about the impact of the rise of Bitcoin and the government crack down on shadow financing of investors and corporate speculation.
Iron ore prices are up more than 8% in the past three trading days, a rise that has converted losses at the start of December into a 4.5% gain so far this month.
Shares in BHP Billiton up 1.7% and Rio Tinto shares rose 1.1%. Fortescue Metals shares were up 2% at $4.70.
And a blip in world oil prices for a while yesterday (Monday in the US) saw big gains as investors worried about the impact of the news that the main North Sea production pipeline will be shut for weeks for repairs. It carries 450,000 barrels a day and there were initial reports that it would cutback on supplies to European markets. But those fears faded as traders realised there were still plenty of stocks of crude and product to handle any shortfall
The early rises (Brent crude futures soared past $US65 a barrel) saw Woodside up 1.7% and Origin Energy up 1.9% on Tuesday here. Santos shares also rose 1%.
But then global prices retreated in later trading and were actually down on the day.
In Europe February Brent crude futures lost $US1.35, or 2.1%, to settle at $US63.34 a barrel, giving back its Monday gain of 2% and more.
It had traded as high as $US65.83 to touch levels not seen since mid-2015. Brent had its highest settlement in more than two years on Monday as reports of problems with the North Sea pipeline emerged late in the session.
In New York the trend ended weaker with January West Texas Intermediate crude down 85 cents, or 1.5%, to end at $US57.14 a barrel, after settling 1.1% higher on Monday, at more than a one-week high.
Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.
At the AFR he was a finance writer, Finance Editor, News Editor and Chief of Staff. At the Nine Network he was supervising producer of Business Sunday for more than 16 years. He has also written for other online and analogue print publications here and overseas.