United Kingdom

Colin Packham

Tuvalu changes PM, adds to concerns over backing for Taiwan in Pacific

20 Sep 2019

Parliament in the tiny South Pacific country of Tuvalu elected a new prime minister on Thursday, making a change that analysts say could give China a chance to further undermine Taiwan in a region that has been a pillar of support.

GRAINS-Corn falls on USDA condition report, strength in oil prices limit losses

17 Sep 2019

* Expected uptick in ethanol demand caps corn losses * Soybeans edges lower despite hopes for U.S.-China deal * Wheat falls despite delay in U.S. harvest By Colin Packham SYDNEY, Sept 17 U.S. corn futures declined on Tuesday as a report showed better-than-expected condition of crops, though losses were checked by expectations for an increase in demand for oil-substitute ethanol. The most active corn futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were down 0.3% at $3.72-3/4 a bushel as of 0413 GMT. Corn ended up 1.4% on Monday at $3.75 a bushel, the highest close since Aug. 19. Analysts attributed the fall to the better-than-expected condition of U.S. crops, though a recent rally in the price of oil provided a floor. "The likely gains in ethanol demand if oil prices maintain these new levels and lower forecasts for EU crops likely helps," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy, Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The USDA said 55% of the U.S. corn crop is in good-to-excellent condition, slightly ahead of market expectations. The most active soybean futures were down 0.1% at $8.99-1/4 a bushel. Soybeans ended 0.1% firmer on Monday, closing at their highest level since July 29. The USDA said 54% of the U.S. soybean crop is in good-to-excellent condition, matching analysts' forecasts. Traders also noted support from a National Oilseed Processors Association report that pegged August soybean crushings in the United States at 168.085 million bushels, above the average trade estimate of 162.018 million and the seventh-highest crush on record for any month. The uptick in demand comes amid renewed hopes for a deal to calm the U.S.-China trade war, stoked by recent purchases by Beijing. The USDA on Monday confirmed private sales of 256,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China. The most active wheat futures were down 0.6% at $4.85-3/4 a bushel, having closed up 1.1% in the previous session. The USDA said 76% of the U.S. spring wheat crop has been harvested, lagging well behind market expectations. Grains prices at 0413 GMT Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI CBOT wheat 485.75 -3.00 -0.61% +0.47% 477.66 59 CBOT corn 372.75 -1.25 -0.33% +1.08% 374.83 67 CBOT soy 899.25 -0.75 -0.08% +0.06% 873.99 77 CBOT rice 12.22 $0.00 +0.00% -0.33% $11.76 88 WTI crude 62.08 -$0.82 -1.30% +13.18% $55.71 72 Currencies Euro/dlr $1.101 $0.001 +0.09% -0.57% USD/AUD 0.6841 -0.002 -0.34% -0.52% Most active contracts Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight RSI 14, exponential (Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Aditya Soni)

Exclusive: Australia concluded China was behind hack on parliament, political parties – sources   

16 Sep 2019

SYDNEY Australian intelligence determined China was responsible for a cyber-attack on its national parliament and three largest political parties before the general election in May, five people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Tuvalu election puts Taiwan ties in play

10 Sep 2019

SYDNEY The freshly elected lawmakers of the tiny Pacific country of Tuvalu are set to choose a prime minister against a backdrop of China's efforts to erode the region's traditional support for Taiwan.

Drought brings clouds for Australia wheat, silver lining for Black Sea suppliers

04 Sep 2019

SINGAPORE/SYDNEY A third straight year of drought in Australia, blighted by forecasts of below-average rains during the crucial spring growing season, means the country's wheat crop could shrivel by 10% from previous forecasts, traders and industry officials say.

GRAINS-Wheat falls, lingers near 4-month low on supply glut

03 Sep 2019

* Wheat extends losses into fourth straight session * Wheat hit a May 16 low of $4.59-1/4 a bushel on Friday * Corn falls, soybeans edge lower By Colin Packham SYDNEY, Sept 3 U.S. wheat futures fell nearly 0.5% on Tuesday, set to extend losses for the fourth-straight session, as ample global supplies pushed prices towards a near four-month low. Soybeans fell as the market continued to fret over the impact of a protracted U.S.-China trade war, while corn also slid. The most active wheat futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were down 0.5% at $4.60-1/4 a bushel by 0328 GMT, after closed down 2.2% on Friday when prices hit a May 16 low of $4.59 a bushel. The market was closed on Monday for a U.S. public holiday. Analysts said bumper stocks were weighing on market sentiment. "We know Russian yields will be good, while some of the few lingering U.S. weather concerns have ebbed away so the world will be awash with grain," said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist, National Australia Bank. Russia has harvested 84.6 million tonnes of grain from 61.1% of the area with an average yield of 2.96 tonnes per hectare, data from the Agriculture Ministry showed. It had harvested 78.6 million tonnes with an average yield of 2.90 tonnes on the same date a year earlier, the ministry said. The most active corn futures were down 0.3% at $3.68-3/4 a bushel, having closed down 0.4% in the previous session. The most active soybean futures were down 0.5% at $8.65 a bushel, after closing little changed on Friday. U.S-China trade war escalates, with latest round of tariffs beginning that threatens to prolong the disruption of global soybean trading. Grains prices at 0328 GMT Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI CBOT wheat 460.25 -2.25 -0.49% -2.64% 485.64 26 CBOT corn 368.75 -1.00 -0.27% -0.67% 394.01 35 CBOT soy 865.00 -4.00 -0.46% -0.40% 877.65 43 CBOT rice 11.96 $0.01 +0.04% +0.89% $11.83 69 WTI crude 54.91 -$0.19 -0.34% -3.17% $55.33 46 Currencies Euro/dlr $1.094 -$0.003 -0.28% -0.49% USD/AUD 0.6691 -0.002 -0.33% -0.67% Most active contracts Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight RSI 14, exponential (Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

Australia unveils religious freedom bill, after rugby star sacked for 'hell awaits homosexuals' post

29 Aug 2019

SYDNEY Australia on Thursday proposed legislation to protect people who express their religious faith outside of the workplace, a few months after Rugby Union international Israel Folau was sacked for posting on social media that hell awaited "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers".

Ousting Huawei, Australia finishes laying undersea internet cable for Pacific allies

28 Aug 2019

SYDNEY The final piece of Australia's A$137 million ($92.53 million) undersea cable to bring high-speed internet to the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea was laid on Wednesday, with Canberra seeking to repulse Chinese influence in the Pacific.

Australian writer held for seven months in China faces espionage charge

27 Aug 2019

CANBERRA A Chinese-born Australian writer held in China since January has been formally arrested on suspicion of espionage, the Australian and Chinese governments said on Tuesday, amid growing diplomatic tension between Canberra and Beijing. | Video

PNG prime minister says terms, not alliances will sway debt deal talks

26 Aug 2019

SYDNEY Papua New Guinea (PNG) Prime Minister James Marape said on Monday he will accept debt assistance from any country that offers the best terms, ratcheting up pressure on Australia to offer a sweetened deal to protect its standing in the region.

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