Commodities: special focus

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Euromoney's recent coverage of the hard and soft commodities sector, with a special focus on emerging markets.

There is commotion in the commodities market. Oil, gold and copper lost their lustre in 2012, high-profile commodities funds have closed their doors, pension funds have reduced their commodities exposure, and Australia and South Africa have taken a tumble down a mine shaft. What's more, commodity revenues fell as a proportion of banks' fixed-income business in 2012. But that's just one fracking side of the story: Nigeria, Mozambique, Ecuador, Ghana, Angola, et al, are riding on a wave of natural resources – even Greece could jump on board. And as well as an influx of renewable energy to turn up the gas for investors, there's even talk of space exploration...



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Banking: Macquarie’s masters of reinvention
June 2017
Asked for an example of teamwork and entrepreneurialism, CEO Nicholas Moore points to the way the bank’s energy division has grown.

Environmental finance needs more jobs
May 2017
Many voters now equate environmental protection with job losses, but investing in sustainability can boost employment.

Wealth management: Lombard Odier leads an impact revolution
May 2017
Lombard Odier and Affirmative Investment Management launched the Global Climate Bond Fund, which identifies investments that provide positive climate-related outcomes in renewable energy, resource efficiency, land management, water resources, physical infrastructure and the marine environment. 

Africa: Afreximbank pushes at history’s wheel
May 2017
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Africa’s natural resource exporters, reliant on revenue from oil, gas, gold, cocoa or other commodities to prop up their budgets, have suffered the most.



Asia: Singapore banks can’t shake oil services headache
March 2017
Blighted by souring loans; boosted by wealth management.

Will ETF providers join the Church and save the planet?
March 2017
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Religious organizations are challenging corporations over climate change, while big investors stay mute.

Middle East: Iran’s banks struggle with expectations
January 2017
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Banks in Iran have made progress since the signing of the nuclear deal, yet many obstacles to doing business internationally remain; for every step forward, there seems to be one back.

Iran: Nothing cements treaties like money
December 2016
Commerce could reverse Trump’s vow to dismantle the Iran nuclear deal.

Forest bond boosts conservation finance
December 2016
IFC teams up for first carbon credit coupons; billions of dollars needed to stop deforestation.

Price pressures force change in oil and gas treasury strategy
November 2016
The oil and gas sector has so far avoided making wholesale change to its treasury processes, but as the low price environment continues, firms are now being forced to explore cost cutting.

Africa: Mozambique runs on empty
September 2016


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When Mozambique struck gas in 2010, it was supposed to herald a bright, lucrative future for the poor African state. It hasn’t turned out that way. Rising debt, sluggish growth and a corrosive financial crisis have culminated in the IMF freezing payments to the struggling state. Its banking industry is one of the few brighter spots.

Blockchain could revive gold’s role as a payments currency
September 2016
The days of using gold for everyday transactions have long since passed, but could the blockchain change that?

Zambia’s crumbling commodity-led economy ‘must diversify’
August 2016


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The southern African country’s reliance on copper and recent disorderly elections have seen increased instability in the region, potentially adding to the deterioration in its ECR scores.

China retail gold survey 2016: China steps towards gold dominance
August 2016


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As the Shanghai Gold Exchange introduces a new benchmark, the country now leads in gold production, consumption and imports.

Where are the US banks on green bonds?
August 2016
China and India dominate market; US corporates begin to take note.

Awards for Excellence 2016: CSR – Amid the gloom, banks find their shining light
July 2016
The world’s banks are doing more than pay lip service to corporate social responsibility. But they need to go further and make their commitment part of the fabric of each institution.

Procurement collaboration mitigates treasury commodity risk
June 2016
The volatility of the commodities market is propelling treasurers to assume a greater involvement in monitoring price fluctuations while working more closely with procurement teams than ever before.

Country risk: Peru’s risks ease on copper surge and election prospects
May 2016


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The borrower is beginning to shine with the presidential race guaranteeing a pro-market candidate winning and the economy improving due to increased copper-mining capacity.

Mexico: Pemex woes deepen amid oil rout
May 2016 
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Record losses and huge debts hit CDS; sovereign contagion free, so far.

Country risk: Oil crisis sharpens Nigeria’s investor risks
April 2016
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A plunging country risk score illustrates how the problems are still mounting for Africa’s largest economy.

Against the tide: Gold is back
April 2016


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When the numbers look bleak and central banks are out of tools, cash and gold make sense.

Energy: PE weighs risks as banks shun oil and gas
April 2016
Private equity firms quick to exploit oil sector distress; end investors remain cautious.

Regulation can't help oil patch banks
April 2016
It is the wider impacts that could undo financial firms, whatever the regulators recommend.


Asia: Sovereign funds adapt to new environment
March 2016
Oil economies give up hard-earned savings.

FX: Don’t be fooled by gold’s blistering 2016 start
February 2016

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With rates near their lower-bound or hovering in negative territory around the developed world, the opportunity cost of investing in gold – which critics decry for lacking a regular income stream – has essentially vanished. Unless the fear continues to rage, the commodity’s recent spell should run out of steam as US rates creep up.

CSR: Impact reporting colours green bonds
January 2016
Leading green bond issuers are working together to find a solution to one of the problems holding back the growth of the market – how to report back to fund managers on the environmental impact of their investments. The determination to find a solution on both sides is clear. The path to finding that solution remains elusive.

Brazil: BTG fights for survival
January 2016
Esteves’ exit fails to slow outflows; oil and gas exposure in spotlight.


Inside investment: Commodities – filtering signal from noise
November 2015
The prospects for industrial metals is a weighty subject. Investors that blithely believe price corrections revert to mean may be looking at a false dawn.

Angola goes after diversification
September 2015
The fall in the oil price and the de-dollarization of the economy has done even more to highlight Angola’s over-dependence on oil. As a result, the diversification of the economy is higher-up on the government’s agenda than ever before.

Latin America: Oil pours trouble on Venezuela’s economy
September 2015
Parallel FX rate rockets; default more and more likely.

China retail gold survey 2015: China rings solid in gold
August 2015
With unprecedented turbulence in the stock market shaking investor confidence, gold remains a strong focus in China. Confidence in the retail market is stubbornly high as talk of a yuan-denominated fix swells.

Mozambique warned on resource boom
August 2015
Lessons to learn from rest of Africa; local banks may be left behind.

Nigeria’s investment banks feel the squeeze
July 2015

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Like everything else in Nigeria, investment banking will be hit by weak oil prices. Local players may struggle more than their global counterparts.

Nigeria's troubles hold lessons for corporate IB
July 2015
Commodity price drop will drive NPLs; difficulties could help local capital markets.

Securitization: Commodities firms seek funding alternatives
July 2015
RWE taps institutional funds for gas inventory; more deals in oil, metals and carbon trading.

Commodities: Precious metals lack lustre
July 2015
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Third-quarter gloom for gold; silver ‘a better bet’.

Nigeria: falling oil price, crumbling legitimacy?
June 2015
Depressed oil prices mean that government revenue in Nigeria is sliding but raising revenue without alienating Nigeria’s most vulnerable will be a difficult feat.


Africa: Nigeria’s banks stare down the barrel
May 2015
Inspired by the previous government’s agenda, Nigeria’s banks loaded up on loans to local oil and gas companies. The rapid decline in the price of oil has put many of the companies they lent to in distress. Can the banks cope with the potential fall-out?

Asia: Taxing times for Indonesia’s new finance minister
May 2015
Technocrat Bambang Brodjonegoro has plans to turn the country’s state-owned enterprises into regional, if not global, leaders. But the fall in the oil price could quickly scupper his ambitions, unless he can improve Indonesia’s terrible record on tax collection.

Africa: Power shines bright despite Abil collapse
May 2015
Investors and issuers think alternative energy might soothe the bruises left by the failure of African Bank.

Aussie dollar maintains strength despite consecutive rate cuts by RBA
May 2015
The Australian dollar, which loosely tracks the price of iron ore, has remained strong – hovering in the A$0.79 to A$0.80 range to the US dollar – during the past six weeks.

Nigeria: Good luck, Buhari
May 2015
Peaceful elections in Nigeria herald a new era for the country, but will the elation last while depressed oil prices hold back the country’s development?

Latin America: Oil drop prompts Mexico review
April 2015
Growth rates revised downwards; investors still ‘cautiously’ optimistic.

US high yield pays a high oil price
April 2015
Outflows of $2 billion in one week; investors seek shorter duration.

Middle East: Kuwait still cooking with falling oil
April 2015
The country is vulnerable to a continuing low oil price, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping it from keeping up the pace of capital projects. And there are still plenty of reforms to make if the state is to develop the economy.

Latin America: Copper-bottomed Chile wrestles with risk
February 2015
Tax reforms from Chile’s new, left-leaning government are having an unsettling effect on the economy, which is also suffering from a plummeting copper price. The country’s new president is looking next to tackle inequality with further reforms, but as a result the pressure will ratchet up its strong credit rating.

Trade finance: Citi grows global commodities as rivals exit
February 2015
Buys trading portfolios from Credit Suisse, Deutsche; integration of commodities and banking paying off.

African Eurobonds suffer as commodity prices slump
January 2015
African capital markets have been driven by a boom in Eurobond issue during the past two years, but supply and demand has come under fire after plummeting oil and commodity prices.

The year of energy-induced recession in Brazil?
January 2015
Rationing increasingly possible; stagnant economy slowed consumption.

Eskom woes to be confronted by task force
December 2014
South Africa’s irregular and failing electricity supply has become the target of a special task force as Eskom struggles to deliver enough electricity to power the economy.

Against the tide: A new era for energy
December 2014
The US looks to benefit from a changing energy landscape, at the expense of Russia and the Middle East, while Europe will be happier to be less reliant on those producers.

Macaskill on markets: 50 ways to get your trade through
December 2014
Allegations of commodity trading skullduggery have dominated headlines, after a US Senate committee report accused Goldman of manipulating metals supplies to increase costs for clients.

Macaskill on markets: Sideways – 'No comment' from Goldman and Metro
December 2014
The main charge against Goldman Sachs by the US Senate committee investigating commodity market practices was that the bank effectively controlled actions by its metals warehouse subsidiary, Metro International, that created a bottleneck in aluminum supply, and that Goldman could have profited from associated trades in its securities arm.

Colombia faces oil price test
December 2014
No short-term response to price shift; fiscal discipline key to economy.

Inside investment: Uranium – Metal of the mind and Tohoku
November 2014
Investment is easy when you can immanentize the eschaton. But even radioactive assets such as uranium can be worth running a Geiger counter over.

Swiss franc volatility rises on gold vote
November 2014
Implied volatility on the Swiss franc has risen sharply in recent days, amid speculation that a referendum at the end of this month might force the Swiss National Bank to greatly increase its gold holdings.

'Perfect storm' on the horizon for commodity FX
October 2014
Commodities could be facing further weakness, amid falling demand in China and elsewhere. All eyes are again on the US, where strong growth could support prices and prevent a further sell-off of commodity currencies.

Brazil: Energy options running dry
September 2014
Election campaign delays rationing; ‘pray for rain’ say analysts.

Mexican energy reforms: The test for Pemex
September 2014
Long seen as a proxy for Mexico, oil company Pemex faces new challenges after the implementation of President Peña Nieto's landmark energy reforms. If senior management can meet them, it could be the start of a long road to the eventual IPO of one of the world's most powerful energy firms.

Power Africa receives $6 billion boost
September 2014
Banks at the forefront of pledges; attempts to deepen US-Africa trade.

China retail gold survey 2014: China takes a dip
August 2104
After a strong showing in 2013, this year looks like being less fruitful for China’s gold market. But the retail market continues to flourish. The prediction is for 25% growth in the next four years.

Against the tide: Energy – how will Europe fare?
August 2014
Key energy suppliers are increasingly politically unstable and Europe faces a rise in prices, even though demand is falling.

Energy prices offer investment plays in Brazil
June 2014
Short-term gains for some energy firms and industrials; longer-term energy strategy review needed.

Fixed income faces green-investing food fight
June 2014
Renewable energy 'the focus for green bond proceeds at present'.

Brazil: Rousseff’s water torture
May 2014
A lack of rain to fill the dams that power Brazil is becoming a potential crisis. But as experts call for action to protect dwindling reservoirs the government refuses to act, and running the hydrology risk is becoming increasingly dangerous for it.

Africa’s rising stars: The countries to watch in sub-Saharan Africa
May 2014
An abundance of natural resources, a young work force and high growth from a low base has put certain African countries in a strong position to thrive within the next five to 10 years.

Mozambique seeks to come onstream
May 2014
The country has new wealth thanks to some big natural resource discoveries. They spell opportunity for both foreign and local institutions. How does such a small economy cope with such big demands?

John Mahama carves a path for Ghana
April 2014
Ghana’s president admits that only structural changes will solve deep-rooted difficulties in the economy. One way to do this would be to diversify, lessening dependence on commodity exports. But can this be successful in a country still finding its feet?

Ghana commodities-exchange plan revealed
March 2014
The founder of the budding Ghana Commodities Exchange, having established the successful Ethiopian platform, reveals the commodity-rich west African country’s grand ambitions and the benefits of a consortium-led model for the new exchange, which is set to launch in 2015.

Miners in Africa dig deeper for cash
March 2014
Mining has been central to Africa’s resurgence and an associated wave of international listings. But shareholders are now pressing the big mining companies to conserve cash. Amid talk of strikes and nationalism, can the sector handle a less voracious China?

Latin America FX: a tale of two currencies

March 2014
Latin American commodity-linked exchange rates are showing greater divergence with FX direction, driven by individual domestic macro issues, especially inflation/deflation, than any particular external factor, say analysts.

JPMorgan commodities sale: Bambi, Godzilla and Blythe
March 2014
Will Blythe join Bambi and Godzilla at Mercuria to create a new commodities trading dream team? The fate of Blythe Masters, head of commodities at JPMorgan, is in the spotlight now that the sale of the bank’s physical commodities business to Mercuria for $3.5 billion has been confirmed.

African Development Bank president warns new oil producers on resource curse
February 2014
Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania – new African producers – should not be complacent on Dutch-disease risks, warns Donald Kaberuka, president of the African Development Bank and respected economist.

Africa safe from China slowdown – for now
February 2014
While China’s economic slowdown has had repercussions on global emerging markets, frontier markets – specifically China’s trade partners in Africa – have been relatively insulated from the storm, sheltered in part by their limited financial systems. And, perhaps surprisingly, analysts are sanguine about the outlook for commodity-intensive trade.

Mexico: Banks line up for energy push
February 2014
Expected boom seems to be already priced in; private companies’ positions still uncertain.

Energy reform: Mexico waits on the details
February 2014
Vital energy reforms could provide a welcome fiscal boost.

South Africa’s problems worsened by China slowdown
January 2014
Sovereign slips six places in ECR rankings before rand sell-off.

Farmland: Yield-starved investors go back to the land
January 2014
Plenty of room for growth in neglected asset class; good inflation hedge relatively uncorrelated to economic cycle.

Land rush on Brazil’s frontier
January 2014
Transport costs have made the country’s agriculture industry uncompetitive. But new infrastructure projects should transform the opportunities some have seen in land values.

Brazil to reap bumper agribusiness harvest
January 2014
The development of the cerrado into arable land will benefit Brazil far more than its oil discoveries.

Russians play commodities as US banks retreat
December 2013
VTB builds paper trading, considers physical; Sberbank launches Zurich financing unit.

Brazilian equities: The OGX effect
December 2013
If Petrobras is considering an equity transaction in 2014, the implosion of Eike Batista’s OGX group this year won’t be helpful for investors’ perceptions of the risk of Brazil’s oil exploration and production industry.

Capital markets: Ecuador builds steam for international re-entry
November 2013
Fitch upgrade a propitious sign despite default history; Oil-field developments and hydro-power prospects.

Commodities: Adaro fuels Asia’s hunger for power
October 2013
As China’s appetite for commodities appears to be fading, demand for Indonesian coal could also fall, putting the export economy under stress. Mining company Adaro explains why the future is still bright.

Battered gold shows resistance amid US weakness
October 2013
There has been an inverse correlation between the US dollar and gold price, which, combined with the fact US equities are starting to look rich, suggests the commodity could rise to August highs.

Investment in sub-Saharan Africa on the rise as capital markets gather steam
October 2013
Demand for sub-Saharan African (SSA) assets is increasing as anticipation continues to build towards the region’s future growth potential, in particular a nascent rebalancing away from resource-dependency towards a consumer market.

Africa: Fast finance for the new frontier of food
September 2013
From informal retailers to supermarket chains, Africa’s baby boomers are fuelling a consumer boom that is spilling over to agribusiness. 

Commodities: Lawmakers take aim at aluminium assets
September 2013
Metals warehousing under threat; Goldman rejects criticism over delays.

Venezuela’s oil is as much bane as boon
September 2013
The country’s new leadership has yet to find solutions to serious economic issues. Plagued by high inflation and dollar shortages, the nation is not making the most of its oil, much of which is unprofitably in hock to regional diplomacy. 

Brazil oil and gas sector seeks to shake off Batista break-up
September 2013
Capital-hungry borrowers seeking to plug the huge infrastructure deficit in Latin America’s largest economy through international capital markets are hoping Eike Batista’s OGX group will avoid default.

India continues battle on rupee volatility
September 2013
Oil and gold imports problematic for reserves; the worst-performing EM currency this year.

Metal prices bring Rusal more challenges
September 2013
In mid-2013, Rusal had its lowest net debt level since 2008: less than $10 billion, Oleg Mukhamedshin, deputy CEO, tells Euromoney. He says the firm hopes to reduce debt further – from six times ebitda – via internal cashflow, dividends from Norilsk Nickel, assets disposals and new equity issuance.

Mexico’s proposed energy reforms enthuse bankers
September 2013

Sector opened to private participation; expected to add 1.5 points to annual GDP growth.

Banks look to turn out the lights on commodities
August 2013

US regulators are dedicating increasing levels of scrutiny to the physical commodities interests of investment banks just as a law allowing Wall Street banks to maintain a presence in the product area comes up for review.

Macaskilll on markets: Towards a lower-octane commodities business
August 2013
The end of the commodities super-cycle of rising prices is being accompanied by a series of humiliating reverses for some of the biggest bank traders in the energy and metals markets.

China Retail Gold Survey 2013: China’s gold market takes its own path
August 2013
Activity and prices remain buoyant in China’s gold markets despite the slip in prices in the west. 

Debt market for Brazilian oil and gas thaws, but outlook icy
August 2013
Brazilian capital markets are showing signs of life again after a particularly torrid summer as industrial conglomerate Odebrecht priced a $1.7 billion nine-year bond. But investor wariness towards Latin America’s largest economy persists.

Gold’s hangover from hell
July 2013
A cyclical correction or a structural shift? Gold’s aggressive recent sell-off has revived the debate about whether the commodity is a legitimate hedge against Armageddon financial forces, while the jury is out on whether fundamental or technical forces are driving the bullion’s price.

Escrow services take off amid insurance and counterparty risk demands
July 2013
"The increasing complexity and sophistication of the processes used to extract energy resources from remote spots, such as ultra-deep underwater exploration, Arctic drilling and shale gas extraction, increases the environmental risks, as well as the clean-up costs at the end of the resource life."

Awards for Excellence 2013: Best Commodities house
July 2013
Taking the tough decisions early has benefited the Deutsche Bank and kept it ahead of the competition.

Mongolia banks on mining project
June 2013
With fresh signs of political and legislative progress, there is a renewed sense of optimism around the country after more than a year of political posturing that cast a pall over the nation and put the brakes on foreign direct investment that sent asset prices tumbling.

Russia: Stagnant oil price dampens economic outlook
May 2013
Corruption and institutional risk constrain ability to revive growth.

Dollar the winner in a commodities anti-super cycle
May 2013
The breakdown in the correlation between equity and commodity prices suggests the dollar could find support.

Bank reform key to boosting Russia economy as commodity cycle shifts
May 2013
Russia’s largely state-owned banking sector needs greater competition to help catalyze private sector investment as the economy enters a new era of permanently weaker growth and lower oil prices, say analysts.

Mongolia might face 'major macroeconomic instability', says top analyst
May 2013
Against the backdrop of a more friendly posture towards international investors, Mongolia’s commodity-reliant economy is poised for more cyclical volatility, warns a top central Asian investor.

Nigeria risk outlook improves on expectation of $1 billion Eurobond issuance
May 2013
Commodity price shock poses largest threat to Nigerian risk profile.

Commodities currency demand slows as cycle turns
May 2013

South Sudan: Government tries to break its dependency on oil
May 2013

Oil price slide spells danger for euro
April 2013

Market tears up golden rule book; bullion faces further pressure
April 2013

Gold bombs as Korean nuclear crisis shows dollar true safe haven
April 2013

Indonesian local banks come of age for Delta Dunia

April 2013

Foreign investors flock into the Philippines
April 2013

Investors stick with commodities
March 2013


Miners in Africa dig deeper for cash
March 2013

Commodities boom triggers belated nationalism debate
March 2013

Venezuela: don’t bank on a shift to more orthodox economic policies
March 2013

Ecuador to test high-yield access
March 2013

ECM: Chinalco IPO misses the mark
March 2013


Mozambique’s ascent in ECR rankings improves after natural resource discoveries
February 2013

Fears about the health of the Australian dollar overblown
February 2013


Doesn't Ghana deserve a higher rating than B+?
February 2013

Nigeria: Market boom, policy bust
February 2013

Davos: We are not perma-bulls
January 2013

Investment in infrastructure: Solar-park securitization breaks new ground
January 2013


Space: the next frontier for investing
January 2013


Angola’s rulers mull over their options
December 2012

Mongolia bond sets off EM bond bubble concerns
December 2012

Power reform puts Nigeria at crossroads
November 2012

Country Risk: China’s economic slowdown hangs over Andean economies
November 2012

Greece's $600bn gas reserves to fuel recovery?
November 2012


South Africa: Mining tragedy weighs on corporate finance
October 2012

South Africa’s mining risk increase traced to June 2011
October 2012

Renewable energy not a priority for London, says deputy mayor
October 2012


North Korea 'surrenders' economic sovereignty to encourage Chinese investment
Ocotber 2012

ECR Forum: How will South Africa’s mining dispute affect the sovereign’s risk profile?
August 2012

Infrastructure: Energy finance runs out of steam
August 2012

Cleantech caught up in a vicious circle
August 2012

Bicycles and the contra-cycle
August 2012

Russia: Third time lucky?
July 2012

Chinese M&A activity is still in its infancy
July 2012

Markets lag Mongolia’s mining rise
June 2012

Is China stockpiling oil? Get ready for the real currency wars
March 2012