Natural Gas, Edible Oil and Steel

• Prices of natural gas are declining sharply. The commodity faces its first globalised glut in history. While new giant facilities are ready to go on stream in the US, Asian and European countries that import the gas are facing a slowdown. Gas from Qatar, Egypt, Nigeria and Algeria that otherwise would be going to Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Spain is beginning to arrive in the US pushing down gas prices. 

• With the ban on export of edible oil extended by another year, prices of the commodity are declining. The ban was imposed last year against the backdrop spiralling inflation to bring down prices of the commodity in the domestic market.

• Though steel production and output have shown encouraging signs on the domestic front, world crude steel production is on the decline. Crude steel production for 66 countries reporting to the World Steel Association was 84 million tonnes in February 2009, down 22% from the year-ago period.

 

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Crude Oil

After lying low for quite some time, crude prices are on the rise again. For the first time in 10 weeks, crude was trading above $50 a barrel after hitting a low of $32.40 a barrel in December 2008. This rise in crude prices is being attributed to a recovering economy as well as the weakening dollar which is pushing up the prices of all commodities. According to Barclays Capital, crude prices are rallying because of return to market fundamentals, specifically a focus on global supply and a shift away from the doom and gloom psychology of a recession. At its meeting on 15th March, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to keep oil output at current levels, rather than make another round of cuts to shore up prices. This is being looked upon by many traders as a sign of strength.

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