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  • TOKYO, Dec 21- Japanese government bonds were firm on Monday in line with slumping equities, while the longer zones extended gains made on Friday after the Bank of Japan pledged to increase the average remaining maturity of its JGB portfolio. On Friday, Japan's central bank kept intact its policy target of increasing base money at an annual pace of 80 trillion yen,...

  • SINGAPORE, Dec 21- Shippers who ply the seas to deliver liquefied natural gas in massive tankers are likely to face a wave of consolidation and asset sales, with freight rates plunging as a growing fleet clashes with tepid demand. "I see more mergers and acquisitions, more consolidation and a lot more joint ventures as things get tougher," said Andrew Bridson,...

  • SYDNEY/ SINGAPORE, Dec 21- Asian share markets advanced on Monday after a lacklustre start, defying a dive on Wall Street, and the price of Brent crude threatened to plumb lows last seen in 2004 on renewed worries over a global oil glut. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 0.1 percent amid a general lack of investor interest in a...

  • SINGAPORE, Dec 21- U.S. soybeans lost ground on Monday, snapping two sessions of strong gains which lifted the market to a near two-week high on fears that bad weather in top exporter Brazil could reduce yields. Wheat and corn futures edged lower with ample world supplies and improving crop conditions in the Black Sea region keeping a lid on prices.

  • LAUNCESTON, Australia, Dec 21-- If 2015 was the year in which the growing oversupply of key commodities led to a rout in prices, will 2016 bring the point of capitulation, leading to consolidation and the start of recovery? That would certainly be the hope of many beleaguered commodity producers, be they members of OPEC, shale gas drillers in North America or the big...

  • TOKYO, Dec 21- Japanese stocks fell in thin trading on Monday morning as the yen gained against the dollar, putting pressure on exporters after the Bank of Japan disappointed markets with minor adjustments to its massive stimulus program. "Markets weren't impressed by the BOJ's actions on Friday and currently that alone is enough to see the index capitulate,"...

  • *OPEC pumping more than 31.5 million bpd. *Iran races to meet conditions for lifting sanctions. SINGAPORE, Dec 21- Brent crude prices fell on Monday to their lowest since 2008 on renewed worries over a global oil glut, with production around the world remaining at or near record highs and new supplies looming from Iran and the United States.

  • TAIPEI, Dec 21- Taiwan stocks fell on Monday, with investors cautious ahead of export orders later in the day though transport shares gained on international oil prices hitting multi-year lows. Shares in EVA Airways were up 3.7 percent, while those in China Airlines were 3.1 percent. The Taiwan dollar firmed T $0.27 to T $32.847 per U.S. dollar.

  • *OPEC pumping more than 31.5 million bpd. *Iran races to meet conditions for lifting sanctions. SINGAPORE, Dec 21- Brent crude prices fell on Monday to their lowest since 2004 on renewed worries over a global oil glut, with production around the world remaining at or near record highs and new supplies looming from Iran and the United States.

  • MELBOURNE, Dec 21- London copper drifted on Monday at the start of a holiday-filled week, with news that China smelters are considering deeper production cuts failing to boost prices under pressure from falling demand growth. Shanghai Futures Exchange copper traded up 1.7 percent at 36,010 yuan a tonne. *China's aluminium consumption will peak in 2020 as new...

  • SYDNEY, Dec 21- U.S. soybean prices fell for the first time in three sessions on Monday as prices edged away from an 11- day high, but losses were curbed by concerns over potential lower output in Brazil. *Chicago Board of Trade January soybeans eased 0.42 percent to $8.82-1/ 4 a bushel, after firming 1.7 percent on Friday when prices hit an 11- day high.

  • Dec 20- Debt-ridden Puerto Rico started paying Christmas bonuses to public employees on Sunday and aims to complete the process within the next three days, the commonwealth government said. Puerto Rico, with $72 billion of debt, defaulted on part of a debt payment in August. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla recently said the U.S. territory would likely default...

  • CARACAS, Dec 20- Employees at a Pepsi-Cola Venezuela plant have been freed by the government, which had detained them for halting operations for lack of raw materials, Empresas Polar, owner of the local Pepsi division, said late on Sunday. President Nicolas Maduro routinely accuses Polar, the country's largest food and beverage producer, of slowing production or...

  • LISBON, Dec 21- The Portuguese state agreed on Sunday to sell troubled bank Banif to the local unit of Spain's Santander for 150 million euros in a deal that involves heavy costs for the state and the country's banks worth over 2.2 billion euros. In August 2014, it had to inject 4.9 billion euros to save the country's second-largest bank Banco Espirito Santo, now...

  • In the case of China's beleaguered aluminium smelter sector, when it takes the form of a "commercial" stockpiling programme apparently. It's not just China's aluminium producers who are looking for government assistance in the face of collapsing metals prices. Both metals are on the SRB's shopping list since China is structurally short of both.

  • Roberto Rincon, the president of Texas- based Tradequip Services& Marine, was arrested on Wednesday in Houston on charges including that he violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and engaged in money laundering, a Justice Department spokesman said. A second defendant, Abraham Jose Shiera Bastidas of Coral Gables, Florida, was arrested on Wednesday in Miami...

  • TOKYO, Dec 21- The dollar was steady in Asian trading on Monday, as holiday calm replaced the previous week's heavy market action driven by monetary policy moves in the United States and Japan. "While the Fed rate hike has helped to lower risk premia and underscore the strong-USD trend, FX movements may disconnect from fundamentals over the next two weeks as...

  • SINGAPORE, Dec 21- Gold steadied on Monday, retaining sharp gains from the previous trading session, as weakness in the dollar and equities helped the metal recoup some losses from a U.S. interest rate hike last week. *Spot gold had eased 0.2 percent to $1,064.16 an ounce by 0039 GMT, but largely retained its 1.4- percent gain from the previous session.

  • SYDNEY, Dec 21- Asian share markets got off to a lacklustre start on Monday following a dive on Wall Street, though losses were limited by a general lack of investor interest in a holiday-heavy week. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat, while Australia's main index eased 0.2 percent. The market took a hit late Friday after the Bank of...

  • SINGAPORE, Dec 21- U.S. crude oil prices dipped in early Asian trading on Monday, heading towards last week's 2015 lows as a rebound in drilling activity, a strong dollar and brimming storage facilities weighed on prices. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were trading at $34.48 per barrel at 0008 GMT, down 25 cents from their last settlement and close to last...