Indonesia, which holds the world’s single-biggest gold deposit and second-largest copper reserves, may ban exports of all ores in five years, forcing companies to sell processed products that fetch higher profits.
The House of Representatives may pass a bill this year or next endorsing the ban, said Bambang Setiawan, director general of coal and mineral resources at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, on Tuesday. The bill will become law after being signed by the president.
Indonesia is trying to boost revenue from its mining industry to help the state coffers and spur government spending. The government stands to receive a bigger share of revenue from tapping its mineral resources if refined products are exported instead of low-value ores.
The country will only allow exports “of downstream materials, or treated ores ready for use by industries, such as ferronickel” five years after the bill becomes law, Bambang said. “There are many proposals to build smelters.”
Overseas mining companies such as Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc., the world’s second-largest copper producer, and Newmont Mining Corp., the largest US gold producer, will not have to build their own smelters once the ban comes into force, Bambang said. They will be allowed to supply to local smelters, he said.
Meanwhile, in Monday’s trading in the United States, coffee prices fell as participants liquidated assets amid the gloomy global economic outlook, after holding up well while other commodity markets fell steeply in recent weeks.
Raw sugar rebounded from earlier losses to settle firm while US cocoa futures continued to climb in exceptionally thin volume, with both receiving a boost from short-covering, dealers said.
“Equities are liquidating and so are commodities. Commodity Futures Trading Commission numbers continue to show indices liquidating their position in coffee, and we think it might [be] the pace until early next year,” said Rodrigo Costa, vice-president of institutional sales at Newedge USA, in an afternoon report. “Once more we have lost heart in any rally attempt for the short term.”
Seasonal rainfall should continue this week in Brazil’s coffee-growing areas, private forecaster Somar predicted, invigorating trees starting to grow next year’s crop.
“What you are seeing are prices coming off with regard to weakness .?.?. in the broader economy,” said Barclays Capital analyst Sudakshina Unnikrishnan.
Rains in top grower Brazil were also boosting the crop outlook, Unnikrishnan said.
March arabica futures on ICE were off 0.75 cents to close at $1.1470 per pound, while January robustas in London fell just $3 to close at $1,825 a ton.
Dealers said prices in London were underpinned by concern about possible tight supply on the January contract and defaults in Indonesia, something being closely watched, but were not yet large enough to have a major impact.
Raw sugar futures bounced in a technical short-covering recovery late in the session, after flailing for most of the session on pressure in other commodity markets and investor selling. The white sugar market, however, closed lower.
ICE March raw sugar rose
0.09 cents to 11.74 cents a pound and Liffe March white sugar was down 40 cents to close at $322.90 a ton.
The slow pace of cocoa arrivals in top producer Ivory Coast could limit the availability of cocoa to be delivered against December. The delayed flow caused some nervous short-covering and also played a role in the steep December/March premium, seen in the New York and London markets, dealers said.
London’s benchmark March cocoa fell 1 British pound ($1.49) to 1,360 British pounds a ton.