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  • SHANGHAI, April 28- China's banking regulator has urged local authorities and banks to step up an investigation into iron ore financing deals in a bid to minimize default risks, prompting a sell-off in iron ore futures that saw prices fall nearly five percent. A China Banking Regulatory Commission spokesman declined to comment.

  • *Gold steady as Ukraine woes lift prices from 2-1/ 2 mth low. LONDON, April 28- Gold prices steadied above $1,300 an ounce on Monday, underpinned by concerns that tensions in Ukraine could escalate, while platinum outperformed as a strike across the South African platinum belt entered a third month.

  • SHANGHAI, April 28- China iron ore futures fell nearly five percent on Monday after the country's banking regulator urged local authorities and banks to step up an investigation into iron ore financing deals in a bid to minimize default risks.

  • --Clyde Russell is a Reuters columnist. LAUNCESTON, Australia, April 28- Coal producers in Asia are currently their own worst enemies, raising output in a bid to boost revenue in order to compensate for lower prices.

  • ZURICH, April 28- Swiss cement maker Holcim Ltd posted a 9 percent rise in first-quarter operating profit on Monday, bearing the fruits of a cost-cutting programme as it prepares to merge with French rival Lafarge SA.

  • *U.S., Europe prepare more sanctions against Russia. NEW YORK/ LONDON, April 25- Gold rose to close at $1,300 an ounce on Friday, extending the previous day's sharp reversal from a 2-1/ 2 month low, as violence in Ukraine boosted bullion's safe-haven appeal, and weakness in equity markets also supported gold.

  • Union plus Rustenburg mines could sell for $1- 2 bln- analysts. LONDON/ JOHANNESBURG, April 25- If Anglo American pushes ahead to divest underperforming platinum assets, a sale to a small South African company that specialises in squeezing profit out of mines nearing the end of their lives is seen as the most likely option.

  • LONDON, April 25- Base metals prices were under pressure from the deepening crisis in Ukraine on Friday, but copper bucked the trend, edging up to a seven-week high on rising seasonal demand in top metals consumer China. A war of words ratcheted up after both Russia and Ukraine deployed troops close to their frontier.

  • TOKYO, April 25- Kobe Steel Ltd, Japan's No.3 steelmaker, said its crude steel output hit a 6- year peak in the business year just ended and that production this year would be similar due to robust domestic demand.

  • SYDNEY, April 25- Australia's economy is expected to slowly gather speed over the next couple of years as strength in housing and exports works to offset the drag from a maturing mining boom.

  • Utilities feel pressure for ethical coal mining push Friday, 25 Apr 2014 | 3:00 AM ET

    *Coal tops the list for deaths in energy sector. *Coal also a major polluter. Coal mining is responsible for more fatalities than the production of any other energy source due to poor working conditions in export countries such as China, South Africa, Indonesia and Colombia.

  • METALS-Copper hits 7-week peak on firm China demand Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 | 9:34 PM ET

    SINGAPORE, April 25- London copper futures climbed to their highest level in seven weeks on Friday, buoyed by firm demand in top consumer China, while nickel edged off 14- month peaks. It was up $6 at $6,759 by 0114 GMT, after gaining $83 on Thursday.

  • April 24- Cliffs Natural Resources Inc, which is facing off against an activist investor that wants to break up the company, posted a first-quarter loss on Thursday on the back of lower market prices for iron ore and metallurgical coal.

  • April 24- Cliffs Natural Resources Inc, which is facing off against an activist investor who wants to break up the company, reported a first-quarter loss on Thursday on the back of lower market prices for iron ore and metallurgical coal.

  • LONDON, April 24- Aluminium has staged an impressive price rally since the start of the month. On the London Metal Exchange three-month metal has powered up to $1,900 per tonne, a level last seen in October 2013.

  • April 24- Freeport McMoRan Copper& Gold Inc reported a decline in first quarter profit on Thursday, hurt by lower copper prices and a conflict with the government of Indonesia that has halted its copper concentrate exports from the country. The company said it is working to resolve the dispute in Indonesia over a new export tax announced in January.

  • *Physical copper premiums in China rising sharply. LONDON, April 24- Copper touched its strongest level in three weeks on Thursday and nickel surged to a new 14- month peak as seasonal Chinese demand for metals ramped up and concerns over nickel supplies prompted more speculative buying. "People are looking for slightly firmer demand out of China.

  • *Copper guidance revised up as ore grades improve. Talks to end mining strike in South Africa continue. Output of iron ore, which makes up almost half of group earnings, totaled 11.3 million tonnes in the first quarter, up 10 percent from the year before, when production at the Sishen mine in South Africa was curbed following a strike in late 2012..

  • SEOUL, April 24- South Korean steelmaker POSCO on Thursday cut forecast for sales and investment for this year after its first quarter profit missed estimates as China's slowing economy curbed demand for steel. POSCO cut its sales forecast for this year by around 2 percent to 30.3 trillion won from the previous 31 trillion won, it said in an earnings statement.

  • POSCO Q1 profit falls 11 pct as steel demand stagnates Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 | 2:43 AM ET

    SEOUL, April 24- South Korean steelmaker POSCO reported an 11 percent drop in quarterly operating profit on Thursday, missing estimates, as China's slowing economy curbed demand for steel.