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News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s wrap: Xstrata's deal with Tohoku for coal supply sets price benchmark; Rio sticks to plans to barge coal from Mozambique; China manufacturing posts fourth monthly gain; and Murray slams government on carbon tax.

Lou Caruana
News Wrap

Xstrata's deal with Tohoku for coal supply sets price benchmark

Xstrata has settled a contract with Japan’s Tohoku Electric Power Co for annual supply of Australian thermal coal starting April 1, an agreement that sets a pricing benchmark for other Asian utilities to follow, The Australian reports.

Three traders said the contract was settled at $US115.25 ($110.24) per tonne of thermal coal, representing a 11.2% fall on the settlement price of $US129.85/tonne a year earlier.

Rio sticks to plans to barge coal from Mozambique

Rio Tinto is sticking with plans to barge 3 million tonnes of coal a year down the Zambezi river from two mines in Mozambique by 2015 and to increase this to more than 20 million tonnes, despite reports the government there will not allow it, The Australian reports.

But Rio appears to have missed previous targets of first-quarter production from its more advanced Benga project.

China manufacturing posts fourth monthly gain

Chinese manufacturing gained momentum for a fourth straight month in March, helped by a recovery in the auto, tobacco and electronics sectors, the SMH reports.

The state-affiliated China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said Sunday that its purchasing managers index rose 2.1 points to 53.1 in March, up from February’s 51.0 and January’s 50.5. A reading above 50 signifies expansion.

Murray slams government on carbon tax

The outgoing chairman of the Future Fund David Murray has described the carbon tax as the worst piece of economic reform he has seen in his life, warning it would be very bad for the economy,WestBusiness reports.

It would raise costs within Australia and reduce the export competitiveness of energy-related commodities, he said.

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