A daily digest of The Wall Street Journal’s coverage of energy companies, commodity markets and the forces that shape them.
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FANS OF COAL ARE REAPING THE REWARDS
Global mining companies that bet on coal are enjoying the best prices in years—a sign there is money to be made from the sector amid a global transition to gas and renewables, writes the WSJ’s Paul Garvey.
Glencore, one of the world’s largest mining firms, has used rising sentiment against coal to expand its position in the market, scooping up unwanted assets.
Its gamble appears to be paying off. High demand from Asia helped thermal coal prices delivered from Newcastle, Australia, the world’s largest coal-export port, more than double since it bottomed in early 2016 to about $110 a metric ton.
Export prices from South Africa and import prices into Europe are also at or near their highest levels in years.
OIL MARKET WEIGHS IMPACT OF U.S.-CHINA TRADE TENSIONS
Crude prices fluctuated between losses and gains on Tuesday, amid escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Brent, the global benchmark, was up 0.6% to $78.49 a barrel on London’s Intercontinental Exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 0.7% at $69.39 a barrel.
A TWIST IN THE TARIFF BATTLE: ‘IT’S HELPING CHINA BE MORE COMPETITIVE’
U.S. tariffs promise to make selling low-cost goods to American consumers less profitable for Chinese firms, so Beijing is backing a plan to switch its manufacturing sector over to making high tech products, report Liza Lin and Dan Strumpf.
In response to tariffs, which make his goods more expensive, Michael Lu of LTS Group plans to trim costs by using more robots at his plants, which make lamps, bulbs and other lighting products sold at American stores.
HERE COME TESLA’S CHALLENGERS WITH ALL-ELECTRIC SUVS
Tesla’s competitors are challenging the firm for access to the electric vehicle market.
Jaguar’s I-Pace, which starts at about $70,000 and arrives in U.S. showrooms this fall, represents the first of a long-promised assault by European luxury auto makers to take on Tesla.
Meanwhile, German auto maker Audi AG revealed the production version of its electric SUV called the e-tron. It aims to begin selling the spacious five-seater in the U.S. next spring starting at about $75,000, slightly less than the $80,000 base price of Tesla’s Model X SUV.
BIG NUMBER: 130
BHP Billiton wants to eliminate the second half of its name this year, the next step in a bid to rebrand the world’s biggest listed miner.
In documents released Tuesday to the Australian Securities Exchange, the company said it would ask shareholders to vote to rename the company BHP Group.
The shortened name takes the company back to its origins as Broken Hill Proprietary Co., when it was formed more than 130 years ago.