Russia, world’s biggest buyer of gold, will stop purchases

Russia spent more than $40-billion building a war chest of bullion over the past five years. Now, it’s calling it quits. The central bank announced on Monday that it would stop buying gold starting April 1, but didn’t explain the move. Analysts say Russia already has a lot of gold stashed in reserves and likely doesn’t need more.

Global copper miners head for worst quarter since 2008

Copper miners are poised for their worst quarter since 2008 after the coronavirus pandemic fueled demand fears for industrial metals and forced companies to curb mining operations. The BI Global Copper Competitive Peers index has slumped 37% this quarter, led by Teck Resources, Hudbay Minerals and Freeport-McMoRan, which are all down more than 50% so far this year.

The global oil market is broken, drowning in crude nobody needs

The global oil market is broken, overwhelmed by an unmanageable surplus as virus lockdowns cascade through the world’s largest economies. Onshore tanks in many markets are full, forcing traders to store excess oil in idle supertankers. Refineries are starting to shut down because nobody needs the fuels they produce. In physical oil markets, barrels are already changing hands for less than $10, and in a few landlocked markets producers are paying consumers to take away their crude. “The physical oil market has seized up,” said Gary Ross, an influential oil watcher and chief investment officer of Black Gold Investors. “The logistics are struggling to cope because we are facing a catastrophic loss of demand.”

Gold pauses after best week since 2008 as caution reigns

Gold edged lower after its best week since 2008 amid investor caution on policies aimed at mitigating the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Bullion’s muted trading comes after the gold market was thrown into turmoil last week as the health crisis disrupted supply chains, creating a squeeze in futures as sellers’ capacity to meet commitments to deliver the metal was curtailed. While the squeeze showed signs of easing before the weekend, the physical market remains tight, with key Swiss refineries remaining shut for at least another week.

The sky’s the limit for stimulus in Canada’s bid to salvage economy

Canada’s policy makers unleashed the full power of the state on Friday, pledging open-ended support that could result in the largest government intervention in the economy since World War II. In a coordinated response to an increasingly bleak outlook, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government doubled its existing stimulus package, while the Bank of Canada cut interest rates to a record low and began a massive asset purchase program to flood markets with cash.

South African gold shipments to London have been cut off

A South African refinery has stopped shipping gold to London because of a lack of commercial flights, adding to the disruption that’s upending the physical bullion market. South Africa’s Rand Refinery, the continent’s only gold refiner, said it’s exploring back-up plans and alternative measures to be able to meet its delivery commitments to the London gold market. “The supply from the established mines on the African continent to the refinery is currently disrupted,” said CEO Praveen Baijnath. “We are working hard with global logistics service providers to ensure our inbound and outbound commitments can be achieved.” He didn’t specify how much gold could be affected. Still, it’s another example of how the supply chain -- which runs from deep African mines to refineries and storage vaults -- is being upended by the coronavirus. Earlier this week, refineries in Switzerland also announced they would temporarily close.

South African gold shipments to London have been cut off

A South African refinery has stopped shipping gold to London because of a lack of commercial flights, adding to the disruption that’s upending the physical bullion market. South Africa’s Rand Refinery, the continent’s only gold refiner, said it’s exploring back-up plans and alternative measures to be able to meet its delivery commitments to the London gold market. “The supply from the established mines on the African continent to the refinery is currently disrupted,” said CEO Praveen Baijnath. “We are working hard with global logistics service providers to ensure our inbound and outbound commitments can be achieved.” He didn’t specify how much gold could be affected. Still, it’s another example of how the supply chain -- which runs from deep African mines to refineries and storage vaults -- is being upended by the coronavirus. Earlier this week, refineries in Switzerland also announced they would temporarily close.

Gold in historic squeeze as virus snarls trade and spurs demand

An extraordinary squeeze in the gold market has forced the main U.S. exchange to take action as the global pandemic shuts down physical trading routes just as investors are racing to buy the metal as a safe haven. Banks and traders typically ship gold around the world on commercial flights, linking the trading hubs of London and New York with vaults and refineries in Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore. But as the coronavirus grounds flights and refineries shut down, it’s becoming harder to trade between global markets.

Vale taps credit as virus heaps on strain after dam breach

Vale SA is tapping into $5-billion in credit lines to boost its cash position as the coronavirus pandemic forces cutbacks at a time when the iron ore producer was working to recover from a dam collapse last year. Vale asked banks to disburse the lines in two tranches, with $2-billion due in June 2022 and $3-billion due in December 2024, according to a statement filed to Brazil’s securities regulator. The company said the decision was made given the risk presented to its business by the pandemic, adding that it’s “prudent” to have more cash in hand “in the next few months.”

Canada’s economic heartland shuts down in effort to slow virus

Canada’s economic heartland is shutting down as Ontario and Quebec step up efforts to slow down the coronavirus outbreak. The two provinces, which together account for about 57% of the country’s economy, have ordered non-essential businesses to close by the end of Tuesday. The order is set to run for two weeks in Ontario and three in Quebec.