Bonds, Currencies & Commodities
Copper prices turn red hot on supply deficit, weak dollar

Aluminium also edges higher, signalling better-than-expected recovery in the US, Europe and continuing Chinese demand

Prices of base metals, mainly copper, are likely to continue to climb on rising demand, which is seen as an indication of a recovery in the US and European economies, and a weak dollar.

Copper prices are surging towards the $10,000 mark, after touching $9,840 a tonne on the London Metal Exchange (LME) on Tuesday, and analysts suggest that the rally could take prices over the $11,000 a tonne level if the greenback stays weak, robust demand continues from China and manufacturing activity improves in the US.

At its meeting recently, the US Federal Reserve decided to keep interest rates at near-zero levels as the pace of economic recovery in the US has been slow and any attempt to tinker with credit growth, or curb liquidity, could hurt revival in the world's largest economy.

"The conditions are in favour of base metals, particularly copper," an analyst at a Mumbai-based brokerage said. "There is big demand for the red metal, whereas there is a supply deficit. The Fed's recent decision not to change interest rates is also weakening the dollar and this has aided the upside. Sentiment has also improved after the US and China posted a growth in their manufacturing index. We should not be surprised if copper touches the $11,000 a tonne level."

Manufacturing activity in the US and China-both major base metal consuming economies-has been inching northwards. According to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), index of manufacturing activity in the US rose to 60.8 in January, from 58.5. China's PMI (Purchasing Managers' Index) has also remained strong in the last month.

The HSBC China Manufacturing PMI edged up to 54.5 in January, from 54.4 in December, while the official China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) says its PMI dropped to 52.9 in January, from 53.9 in the previous month. The Market PMI for the eurozone rose to 57.3 in January from 57.1 in December. Any value above 50 for the PMI reflects expansion in the manufacturing sector.
China, which consumes about 40% of global copper that is produced, is expected to grow by 9.3% this year.

The Fed's decision not to change interest rates has weakened the dollar further and this has also contributed to base metal prices going up. Today, the dollar index was down to 76.95, its lowest level since November.

A growing deficit of copper has also fuelled prices in the international market. JP Morgan Securities has estimated that the copper deficit would be between 500,000 tonnes and 600,000 tonnes.

In the case of aluminium, while supply is not expected to outpace demand, the price is expected to follow the copper trend on account of the weak dollar and high crude oil prices. Since the Fed announced its rate policy on 26th January, the price of aluminium has surged on the LME. Yesterday, the price of the white metal hit $ 2,530 a tonne, the highest since September 2008.

"Its common (to see) aluminium and zinc follow copper. Although this year supply would be more than demand, the prices of aluminium will also increase, but not as much as copper. A weak dollar and high crude oil prices would help aluminium to maintain its price momentum," the analyst said.


TDSAT asks S Tel, Videocon to pay 60% of penalty imposed by DoT

As per the conditions of the Unified Access Service License (UASL), the telcos are required to roll out their networks within a year from the date of allocation of spectrum

New Delhi: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) today asked new operators S Tel and Videocon Teleservices to pay 60% of the penalty within two weeks, imposed on them by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for failing to meet their roll-out obligations, reports PTI.

TDSAT chairman Justice S B Sinha asked S Tel, jointly owned by C Sivasankaran and Bahrain Telecommunications, to pay 60% of the penalty to the government.

TDSAT's interim order came on three separate petitions filed by S Tel and Videocon. The two had challenged the demand notice issued by DoT seeking Liquidated Damages (LD) for not rolling out its services within the stipulated period of one year.

Videocon has approached TDSAT for the third time and S Tel for the second against the demand of LD charges by DoT for failing to roll-out their network within one year from the date of allotment of start up spectrum.

In its fresh notice, DoT has demanded LD charges for two circles, Jammu and Kashmir and North East, from Videocon and for one circle, Orissa, from S Tel.

Earlier in a similar case, TDSAT had directed Uninor to pay 60% of the penalty amount demanded by the DoT for failing to roll out services in 18 circles.

Directing DoT to file reply, TDSAT has listed the matter on 10th February for next hearing.

DoT had sent notices to several firms which got new second generation (2G) licenses bundled with start-up spectrum but have not started offering services in various circles.

As per the conditions of the Unified Access Service License (UASL), the telcos are required to roll out their networks within a year from the date of allocation of spectrum.

According to the agreement, in case new licencees fail to roll out services within the stipulated period, DoT shall be entitled to recover liquidation damages.


Hero Honda net slips 20% to Rs429 crore

The company's net sales stood at Rs5,118.19 crore, a 34.1% increase year-on-year

Mumbai: Two wheeler maker Hero Honda today posted a 19.9% decline in its net profit to Rs429 crore in the third quarter ended December 31, 2010 over Rs535.7 crore in the quarter ended December 31, 2009.

During the quarter under review, the company's net sales stood at Rs5,118.19 crore, a 34.1% increase from Rs3,814.4 crore posted in the corresponding quarter last fiscal.


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