STOCKS: European stocks are seen opening fractionally lower and Asian shares fell as investors booked profits from a recent sharp climb after senior Federal Reserve officials expressed concerns about continuing to expand stimulative bond buying. U.S stocks dipped on Thursday. (Reuters)
FOREX: The dollar rose to its highest level against the yen in nearly 2 1/2 years, while the euro also firmed against the yen on expectations that this year will bring more monetary stimulus by the Bank of Japan. (Reuters)
FOREX-Euro falls to three-week low versus bouyant dollar
LONDON, Jan 4 (Reuters) - The euro fell to a three-week low against the dollar with the U.S. currency bolstered by latest Federal Reserve minutes that raised some concerns that it may slow future asset purchases.
The euro fell to $1.3006, its lowest level since Dec. 12 with near term support at its 55-day moving average of $1.2986 and bids reported below that.
Fed becoming worried about stimulus side effects (Reuters)
Federal Reserve officials are increasingly concerned about the potential risks of the U.S. central bank's asset purchases on financial markets, even if they look set to continue an open-ended stimulus program for now.
U.S. hiring seen edging up, recovery grinds on (Reuters)
U.S. employers likely stepped up hiring a touch in December as retailers and other businesses took on more staff for the holidays, but the gain will probably not be enough to make inroads in the country's still high unemployment rate.
Egypt says wheat stocks ample, cuts import target (Reuters)
Egypt's state wheat buyer said on Thursday it had bought enough supplies from local and international sources to last until June 17, while higher local wheat supplies mean that it can cut its annual wheat import target by around a million tonnes.
US crude stockpiles plunged by 12 mln barrels last week-API (Reuters)
U.S. crude oil inventories fell sharply last week and imports tumbled, data from the American Petroleum Institute showed on Thursday, as Gulf Coast refiners drew down stocks for end of the year tax purposes.
OIL: Brent crude fell below $112 a barrel as growing doubts within the U.S. Federal Reserve about the side effects of its stimulus programme and the prospect of more budget battles in Washington curbed investor appetite for riskier assets. (Reuters)
Peru workers of Southern Copper eye strike, pending talks (Reuters)
Workers at the main units of Southern Copper in Peru will hold contract talks soon with the global copper producer but say they could strike after Jan. 15 if negotiations break down, union leader Ricardo Juarez said on Thursday.
BASE METAS: London copper lost 1 percent, extending losses from the previous session as the euphoria surrounding the U.S. fiscal deal fizzled and investors turned their focus to the uncertain global economic recovery. (Reuters)
PRECIOUS METALS: Gold dropped more than 1 percent to its lowest in two weeks on signs the U.S. Federal Reserve is worried about its highly stimulative monetary policy which, if stopped, would threaten bullion's appeal as a hedge against inflation. (Reuters)
COLUMN-Iron ore, copper outrunning modest China PMI rally
--Clyde Russell is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own.--
LAUNCESTON, Australia, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Copper and iron ore, the industrial metals most likely to benefit from China's renewed growth, have enjoyed strong starts to the new year but they run the risk of rallying too hard, too quickly.
No doubt investors have been cheered by the avoidance, for now anyway, of the fiscal cliff in the United States and growing signs that China's economy is re-accelerating after achieving a soft landing last year.
METALS-London copper weakens, U.S. fiscal deal euphoria fades
SINGAPORE, Jan 4 (Reuters) - London copper lost nearly 1 percent extending losses from the previous session as the euphoria surrounding the U.S. fiscal deal fizzled and investors turned their focus to the uncertain global economic recovery.
"The stimulus from the U.S. 'fiscal cliff' resolution is over and now copper investors are re-focusing on China's economy," said Zhang Ao, an analyst at Minmetals Futures.
PRECIOUS-Gold slips 1 pct on Fed minutes, firm dollar
SINGAPORE, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Gold dropped more than 1 percent to its lowest in two weeks on signs the U.S. Federal Reserve is worried about its highly stimulative monetary policy which, if stopped, would threaten bullion's appeal as a hedge against inflation.
"This is the first impact. So I am not sure how deep this news will affect the market yet. I guess the market will be held at around the $1,645 to $1,650 level," said Yuichi Ikemizu, branch manager for Standard Bank in Tokyo, adding that lower prices could attract buying from the physical sector.
Dry bulk shipping market could bottom in Q1 -Golden Ocean
OSLO, Jan 2 (Reuters) - The dry bulk shipping crisis, which has already bankrupted several major players, could bottom out in the first quarter, earlier than some players expect, Herman Billung, the head of dry bulk shipper Golden Ocean said on Wednesday.
The market could hit its bottom following the Lunar New Year in February, then improve slowly but gradually before marked improvement toward the end of the year, said Billung, who runs shipping tycoon John Fredriksen's dry bulk arm.