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UK rail operators withdraw some Hitachi trains due to cracks

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Author of the article: LONDON — The British government asked the rail industry on Sunday to urgently announce how it was going to deal with disruption to services after several operators were forced to withdraw part of their fleets because of cracks discovered on certain trains. Checks carried out on Saturday on Class 800 Series…

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Reuters

LONDON — The British government asked the rail industry on Sunday to urgently announce how it was going to deal with disruption to services after several operators were forced to withdraw part of their fleets because of cracks discovered on certain trains.

Checks carried out on Saturday on Class 800 Series trains made by Japan’s Hitachi identified cracks on part of the chassis of some trains, prompting operators including GWR and LNER to remove all their trains of that class.

“I have directed the rail industry to urgently set out a comprehensive plan to ensure services can safely resume as soon as possible,” Rail Minister Chris Heaton Harris said in a statement.

“I expect operators to explore all options for replacement services to help people complete their journeys, and have asked Hitachi for a safety inspection plan, as well as longer term repair strategy.”

Hitachi apologized to passengers and operators, saying the trains had been withdrawn as a precautionary measure.

“We are working as quickly and safely as possible to investigate the issue across the remainder of the fleets,” it said in a statement posted on Twitter.

GWR, which operates services between London and various destinations in western and southwestern England and in Wales, said it had canceled a significant number of its services.

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It said it expected disruption to continue on Monday and into the week ahead.

“The problem continues to be investigated by Hitachi and once trains have been checked and cleared, we hope to be able to release them back into service as soon as possible,” said GWR, which is owned by FirstGroup.

LNER, which operates services between London and cities in eastern and northeastern England and in Scotland, gave similar information on its website, urging passengers not to attempt to travel on Sunday and promising to rebook or refund tickets.

The rail minister warned passengers that disruptions were likely to continue “for some time,” calling on operators to organize replacement bus and coach services to help alleviate the problem. (Reporting by Estelle Shirbon Editing by Frances Kerry)

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Soybeans fall 1%, Chinese demand limits losses

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Author of the article: CANBERRA — U.S. soybean futures fell 1% on Monday as the dollar strengthened, although strong Chinese demand limited the losses. FUNDAMENTALS * The most-active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were down 1.1% to $13.80-1/4 a bushel by 0131 GMT, having firmed 5% percent on Friday. * Corn futures…

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Reuters

CANBERRA — U.S. soybean futures fell 1% on Monday as the dollar strengthened, although strong Chinese demand limited the losses.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most-active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were down 1.1% to $13.80-1/4 a bushel by 0131 GMT, having firmed 5% percent on Friday.

* Corn futures fell 1.3% to $6.46-3/4 a bushel, having gained 3.5% in the previous session.

* Wheat futures slid 0.9% to $6.57 a bushel, having closed up 3.7% on Friday.

* Chinese state-owned importers bought at least eight cargo shipments of U.S. soybeans on Friday, the country’s largest U.S. soybean purchases in 4-1/2 months, two U.S. traders familiar with the deals said.

* About 41% of Iowa, the nation’s top corn producer and No. 2 soybean state, was under severe drought last week, according to the weekly U.S. drought monitor published last week.

MARKET NEWS

* The dollar held near multi-month peaks against other major currencies, after the U.S. Federal Reserve surprised markets last week by signaling it would raise interest rates and end emergency bond-buying sooner than expected.

* Oil prices nudged up, underpinned by strong demand during the summer driving season and a pause in talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal that could indicate a delay in resumption of supplies from the OPEC producer. (Reporting by Colin Packham; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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Boral sells U.S. products business after rejecting Seven bid

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Author of the article: Australia’s Boral Ltd said it would sell its North American building products business to a unit of NYSE-listed Westlake Chemical Corp for $2.15 billion, throwing a spanner in the works of a takeover bid by Seven Group. Boral’s shares rose as much as 4% to A$7.06, their highest since October 2018,…

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Reuters

Australia’s Boral Ltd said it would sell its North American building products business to a unit of NYSE-listed Westlake Chemical Corp for $2.15 billion, throwing a spanner in the works of a takeover bid by Seven Group.

Boral’s shares rose as much as 4% to A$7.06, their highest since October 2018, after the building and construction materials supplier revealed its deal to sell the U.S.-based business in a disclosure responding to Seven’s bid.

Boral had already asked shareholders to reject an off-market zero premium bid by Seven Group, a conglomerate controlled by Australian media owner Kerry Stokes, saying it undervalued the company.

Seven owns 23.18% of Boral, and made the offer in May after failing to raise its stake to 30% due to regulatory setbacks.

Seven Group said the business had been sold for a loss in a rushed response to their offer.

“Our view is that Boral should have secured more. This business has been outperforming while the Australian business is under-performing,” a Seven spokesperson said in an email.

One analyst said the U.S. deal would not have a great impact on Seven’s takeover attempt.

“Seven Group made a bid that was expected to get turned down to clear the way for them to keep buying more,” said Mathan Somasundaram, CEO at Deep Data Analytics.

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“Seven Group’s historical trend in these scenarios suggests that they will get as much as they are allowed and stay there as a blocking stake. When the cycle turns weak, they will move in and take control gradually,” he said.

Boral’s shares have surged more than 30% this year, as monetary and fiscal stimulus helped Australia’s property market rebound from last year’s pandemic lows.

Boral CEO Zlatko Todorcevski said the company expected significant surplus to be returned to shareholders from the sale, with its net debt target falling from A$1.5 billion to A$1.3 billion.

($1 = 1.3330 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta and Tejaswi Marthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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Gold prices claw back as U.S. Treasury yields retreat

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Author of the article: Gold prices firmed on Monday, after posting a 6% drop last week, as a retreat in U.S. Treasury yields boosted the allure of the non-yielding metal. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold was up 0.5% at $1,772.34 per ounce, as of 1004 GMT. Last week, bullion prices posted their worst week since March…

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Gold prices firmed on Monday, after posting a 6% drop last week, as a retreat in U.S. Treasury yields boosted the allure of the non-yielding metal.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was up 0.5% at $1,772.34 per ounce, as of 1004 GMT. Last week, bullion prices posted their worst week since March 2020 on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s hawkish outlook.

* U.S. gold futures edged 0.2% higher to $1,772 per ounce.

* The benchmark U.S. Treasury yields fell to their lowest since March 3, reducing the opportunity cost of holding bullion, which pays no return.

* The U.S. dollar held near multi-month peaks against other major currencies on Monday, after the Fed surprised markets last week by signaling it would raise interest rates and end emergency bond-buying sooner than expected.

* Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari said on Friday he wants to keep the U.S. central bank’s benchmark short-term interest rate near zero at least through the end of 2023 to allow the labor market to return to its pre-pandemic strength.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 1.1% to 1,053.06 tonnes on Friday from 1,041.99 tonnes on Thursday.

* Gold purchases in India ticked up last week after a decline in local rates, although dealers cautioned that demand is unlikely to return to normal levels soon.

* Russia’s gold reserves stood at 73.7 million troy ounces, as of the beginning of June, the central bank said on Friday.

* Silver was up 0.6% at $25.95 per ounce, palladium climbed 1% to $2,490.93, while platinum rose 0.4% to $1,037.89. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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