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As usual, China is driving the iron ore market, where fourth week of November inventories of iron ore at 25 of China’s major ports had increased by 2% over the third week. Inventories stood at 81.1 million metric tons, almost at November, 2012 levels. However, a slowdown in domestic production over the winter months, sluggish consumption in the end-user market and negative net earnings at Chinese mills will most likely temper any price increases.

9.1 million tons of coal was shipped out of Newcastle Port, Australia, as of the end of November. There were approximately 28 coal shipping vessels waiting in the port, meaning that the final tally will be 11.1 million tons of coal during the month of November. This exceeds the annual monthly average by .5 million tons.

On the currency market, the Japanese yen was performing poorly against both the euro and US dollar. As of the end of November, the yen was trading against the euro at 139.2 and against the dollar at 102.2. This is a downward slide of 4.3% against the euro in the month of November, trending toward its weakest monthly performance since March of this year. The picture is not much better when trading against the dollar. Unless there is a sudden change, the yen will experience its largest fall against the dollar since January. At the end of November the yen had lost 4 percentage points against the dollar. This makes the Japanese yen the second worse performing currency among the G10. Only the South African Rand has fallen more sharply. Analysts point to Japan’s insistence on a very liberal monetary policy which policymakers hoped would spur economic recovery and induce a rally on the Japanese stock market. Additionally, Japanese investors are moving their capital overseas, further diminishing the strength of the yen.