Commodity prices mainly retreated this week, pressured by a tough economic climate highlighted in part by weakening growth in the world’s second-biggest economy China, market observers said.
Heading into the weekend, all eyes were on the EU, whose leaders on Friday agreed to police thousands of eurozone banks beginning next year as they sought to boost growth in austerity-battered states.
By the close of a two-day summit, France and Germany had patched up differences over how to beat the debt crisis, although the new watchdog for 6,000 banks will come too late to re-float Spanish lenders via a dedicated rescue fund.
Leaders also hailed a 120 billion euro (US$155 billion) package of measures to try and kickstart a climb out of recession as political unrest hits Greece and Spain.
OIL: Crude prices came under pressure from official data that revealed slowing economic growth in China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, which added to weak oil demand in the US, traders said.
China’s economic growth eased for the seventh straight quarter, official data showed on Thursday, but analysts said the slowdown had almost bottomed out.
On Wednesday, the US Department of Energy announced that crude supplies in the US — the world’s largest oil consumer — jumped by 2.86 million barrels in the week ending on Oct. 12, more than twice the amount forecast by analysts.
Oil prices had fallen at the start of the week as a lower demand outlook offset Middle East supply risks caused by tensions between Syria and Turkey, analysts said.
By Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in December stood at US$112.82 a barrel compared with US$114.73 for next month’s expired contract a week earlier.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate, or light sweet crude, for next month dipped to US$92.08 a barrel, from US$92.24 a week earlier.
PRECIOUS METALS: Prices retreated, mirroring sentiment across many commodity markets, but analysts said gold was set to win fresh support over the next months.
“We suspect that further gains for gold will require a new catalyst as the US dollar recovers more ground and inflation expectations drop back,” Capital Economics economist Julian Jessop said. “But that catalyst is likely to come soon in the form of a renewed escalation of the crisis in the eurozone and a revival of safe haven demand.”
By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold dipped to US$1,737 an ounce from US$1,766.75 a week earlier.
Silver fell to US$33.33 an ounce from US$33.79.
COCOA: Prices rebounded from three-month low points despite data pointing to falling demand for chocolate in the US and Europe.
Cocoa futures had fallen the previous week on supply worries in No. 1 producer Ivory Coast.
By Friday on LIFFE, London’s futures exchange, cocoa for delivery in December climbed to ￡1,608 a tonne from ￡1,524 a week earlier.
On New York’s NYBOT-ICE exchange, cocoa for December grew to US$2,483 a tonne from US$2,360.
HEAVY INVESTMENT: Moody’s affirmed the firm’s ‘Aa3’ rating with a ‘stable’ outlook due to its leading position in the industry and ability to match customer requirements Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) revenue this year is expected to increase about 21 percent to NT$1.29 trillion (US$44.01 billion) from NT$1.07 trillion last year, driven by strong demand for advanced 5-nanometer and 7-nanometer chips mainly used in smartphones and high-performance computing devices, a Moody’s Investors Service report on Wednesday said. TSMC’s rate of revenue growth next year is to increase to 7.5 percent, the ratings agency said. The company, which supplies 5-nanometer chips for Apple Inc’s new iPad series, has introduced the advanced chips ahead of its competitors and gained a significant share of the market for the foundry industry’s
NO VIRUS BLUES: A SEMI Taiwan official said that the virus does not slow down the global semiconductor industry’s investment in manufacturing equipment The production value of the nation’s semiconductor industry is expected to grow 16.7 percent this year from last year, outpacing the global industry’s 3.3 percent growth, industry association SEMI said yesterday. That would help Taiwan safeguard its second spot in the global semiconductor market with a production value of more than NT$3 trillion (US$102.73 billion), SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) told a media briefing in Taipei for the Semicon Taiwan trade show beginning today. The global semiconductor industry’s production value is expected to increase to US$426 billion this year, SEMI said. In terms of semiconductor equipment investment, equipment billings from Taiwanese firms
Intel Corp has received licenses from US authorities to continue supplying certain products to Huawei Technologies Co (華為), a company spokesman said yesterday. Washington has been pushing governments around to world to squeeze out Huawei, saying that the telecom giant would hand data to Beijing for espionage. From Monday last week, new curbs have barred US companies from supplying or servicing Huawei. This week, the state-backed China Securities Journal reported that Intel had received permission to supply Huawei. China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際), which uses US-origin equipment to make chips for Huawei and other companies, last week confirmed that it had sought
Taipei Times: When do you think the hospitality industry can return to how it was before the COVID-19 pandemic? How does Formosa International Hotels Group (FIH, 晶華酒店集團) fare this quarter and beyond? FIH chairman Steve Pan (潘思亮): The virus outbreak will have a serious impact on business travel, driven mainly by meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions over the past three decades. For the past six months, many businesspeople have grown used to exchanging information on the Internet, where more people can participate. The trend might sustain for three to five years until people are vaccinated and it is safe to