Australian output falls
Gold output in Australia, the world’s second-biggest producer, fell in the first quarter as wet weather disrupted some operations, mining consultant Surbiton Associates Pty said. Production was 63.5 tonnes in the three months through March, about 5 percent less than the fourth quarter of last year, Melbourne-based Surbiton said in a statement. Output was about 1 percent higher than the same period a year earlier, it said. “It’s the shortest quarter of the year,” Surbiton director Sandra Close said in the statement. Bullion dropped 4.6 percent in the first three months of the year for the first back-to-back quarterly declines since 2001.
US home sales rise
Sales of existing homes probably rose last month to a three-year high and builders began work on more new properties, extending gains in residential real estate that are boosting the US expansion, economists said before reports due out this week. Purchases of previously owned houses climbed 0.6 percent to a 5 million annualized rate, the strongest since November 2009, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg ahead of a report on Thursday from the National Association of Realtors. Housing starts may have increased to a 950,000 pace last month. Americans with access to credit have taken advantage of cheaper borrowing costs, spurring construction and optimism among companies such as Plum Creek Timber Co. “The housing market continues to improve, and builders are seeing demand recover significantly,” said Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc in Detroit.
M&M to buy Spanish firm
India’s biggest sports utility vehicle maker, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) on Saturday announced it was acquiring a 13.5 percent stake in Spanish auto component company CIE Automotive. The announcement of the “multi-structured” cross-holding equity deal caps two years of talks between the Indian equipment-to-aerospace conglomerate and the Spanish company. M&M, which makes one out of every sports utility vehicle sold in India, said it will invest 94.24 million euros (US$125.72 million) through its subsidiaries for a 13.5 percent stake in CIE Automotive SA at a price of 6 euros per share. In turn, M&M, the flagship company of the US$15.9 billion Mahindra Group, will sell stakes in three group firms — Mahindra Forgings, a listed unit of Mahindra, Mahindra Hinoday Industries and Mahindra Composites. The Mahindra units supply such items as gears, steel and engineering services to Indian and foreign automakers.
Stock exchange rises
The stock exchange yesterday climbed for the second continuous day following the surprise election of a reformist-backed president. The morning’s rise came after a night of a celebration in Tehran, as the announcement of Hasan Rowhani’s victory sent tens of thousands of jubilant supporters into the streets. The Web site of the Tehran Stock Exchange said the market jumped 837 points by mid-morning yesterday, reaching 47,460 from its Saturday close of 46,623, almost a 1.8 percent increase. On Saturday the stock exchange index improved by 2 percent while the national currency, the rial, strengthened by 9 percent against the US dollar. Foreign currency shops yesterday traded each US dollar for 34,200 rials compared to 36,300 rials on Thursday, the eve of the election.