Thursday, May 31, 2007

Barred From Testing for Mad Cow, Niche Meatpacker Loses Clients
His staff was trained in testing for mad cow, using a machine that gives results in seven hours, while the carcasses are still in the cooler.
But on April 9, the United States Department of Agriculture forbade Creekstone to test its cattle, saying there was ''no scientific justification'' for testing young steers like those Creekstone sells. Certifying some beef for Japan as disease-free, the department said, might confuse American consumers into thinking that untested beef was not safe.

As pork prices soar, Chinese put brakes on corn for ethanol
Ethanol production has put the Chinese government in an unpleasant bind, as fears rise that the environmentally friendly gasoline additive is also fueling politically dangerous increases in the price of food – particularly pork, a key staple.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. GDP growth in the first quarter was 0.6%. YoY GDP was up 1.9%

  • Chicago purchasing managers index rose from 52.9 to 61.7

  • U.S. Home prices increased 0.5% in the first quarter, the slowest QoQ price gain in 10 years.

  • Canada’s GDP rose 0.3% in March -- up 2.0% YoY

  • Consumer prices in the Euro area rose 1.9%.

  • Germany's unemployment rate remained at 9.2%.

  • The U.S. DOE said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were down 2.0 million barrels at 342.2 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline were up 1.3 million barrels.
    U.S. Gasoline demand was up 1.4% YoY.
    Distillate demand was up 2.9% YoY.

  • The International Cocoa Organization said the global cocoa shortfall this year will be 145,000 tons. Adverse weather hurt crops in the top producing countries. They estimate end of season world cocoa stocks at 1.74 million tons -- 49% of annual use.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Concerns about inflation trumped fears about the slumping housing market last month in the minds of Federal Reserve members.

  • China hiked its tax on securities transactions to 0.3% from 0.1% in its strongest effort yet to cool a bull run.

  • Japan's industrial production fell 0.1% in April.

  • Australia's retail sales rose 0.1% in April.

  • Norway raised rates 0.25 %, the seventh hike since May 06.

All for the fight against global warming. Unless, that is, it drives up the price of his beer.
And that is exactly what is happening to Mr. Erdmann and other German brewers as farmers abandon barley — the raw material for the national beverage — to plant other, subsidized crops for sale as environmentally friendly biofuels.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Consumer confidence increased from 106.3 to 108.0 in May, stronger than expected.

  • South Africa's Chamber of Mines said the nation's gold production was down 7.6% YoY

  • Japan's Unemployment rate improved from 4.0% to 3.8%.
    Japan’s Household spending was up 1.1% in April.
    Japan’s Retail sales were down 0.6% in April.

  • Canada kept the interest rate unchanged at 4.25%, but said that another increase may be required.

Short Sales Break Record on NYSE; Market Bulls Get More Bullish

May 29 (Bloomberg) -- Short sellers are betting against U.S. stocks like never before as the Standard & Poor's 500 Index approaches an all-time high. That's making some of the biggest bulls even more optimistic.
``What the short seller appears to be doing is doubling down,'' said Kenneth Fisher, who oversees about $40 billion as chairman of Fisher Investments in Woodside, California. ``You love to see it, because if you believe there is a basic driver to the bull market, they're going to get run over.''

Monday, May 28, 2007

Lower gout risk for coffee lovers
Drinking four or more cups of coffee a day may cut the risk of having a painful attack of gout, say Canadian scientists.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The National Association of Realtors reports U.S. existing home sales down 2.6% from March's pace and the lowest level in over three years. Current inventories of homes for sale represent an 8.4 month supply, the most in 15 years.

  • GDP in the U.K. rose 0.7% in the first quarter and up 2.9% YoY.

  • Japans consumer prices were unchanged YoY.

  • YoY goods shipped by truck in the U.S. fell by 2.7 percent in April.

  • Container volumes on the Asia — Europe trade rose 20% in the first four months of the year.

Bernanke Warned by Real Estate Analysts:
Housing Collapse Is Much Worse Than You Say

"The housing market has softened much more than is being reported" by the Fed, and the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says JBREC

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. New home sales were up 16.2% from March's pace and stronger than expected. YoY new home sales are down 20%. New homes for sale in the U.S. are at a 6.5 month supply.

  • U.S. Durable goods orders were up 0.6% in April, weaker than expected.

  • U.S. Jobless claims were up 15,000 last week to 311,000.

  • The USDA estimates 2007-2008 the world sugar production at 163.3 million tons up from 161.3 million tons YoY. World ending stocks are expected to rise 6.1 million tons to 45.1 million tons, or 29% of use.

  • Pakistan suspended wheat exports.

  • The DoE said that underground supplies of natural gas were up 104 billion cubic feet last week to 1.946 trillion cubic feet.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Indians offer personal maths tuition on the web With private tutors costing £25-£50 an hour in Britain, Indian-based companies are now offering online GCSE maths tuition for just £50 a month for unlimited sessions to anyone with a broadband internet connection.

Quick Overview

  • Canada's leading indicators was up 0.4%

  • Reuters - Former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Wednesday he feared a "dramatic contraction" in Chinese stocks.

  • The DOE said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were up 2.0 million barrels to 344.2 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline were up 1.5 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were down 900,000 barrels
    Gasoline demand was up 1.2% YoY
    Distillate demand was up 2.6% YoY.

  • USDA estimated Brazil's coffee crop at 36.2 million bags.

  • More than 60,000 birds have died of an outbreak of bird flu near the capital of Pakistan

1 in 8 Iraqis dies before fifth birthday "Unfortunately, this is becoming common," said Saad Mehdi, 35, a pediatrician at Ibn Al-Baladi.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Quick Overview

  • An index of investor confidence in Germany increased from 16.5 to 24.0 in May, the highest score in 11 months.

  • The U.S. House of Representatives voted to allow the government to sue OPEC for price manipulation -- the White House threatened to veto.

  • The handling capacity of China's ports is expected to hit 8 billion tons and 170 million TEUs (twenty-foot container equivalent units) in 2010. The cargo handling capacity of all China's ports totaled 5.6 billion tons and 93 million TEUs in 2006.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Quick Overview

The Chicago Fed index of national activity rose from -.11 to -.10 in April.

The Foreign Policy of Ron Paul Ron Paul has always believed that foreign and domestic policy should be conducted according to the same principles. Government should be restrained from intervening at home or abroad because its actions fail to achieve their stated aims, create more harm than good, shrink the liberty of the people, and violate rights..
..How unusual, how incredibly strange, that Ron Paul, who has stood for these principles his entire public life, is criticized by some as a radical, outside the mainstream, and influenced by experimental ideas that are marginal at best. And why is he treated this way? Because he takes the ideas of Washington and Jefferson seriously, just as seriously as he takes the idea of freedom itself, and he does so in times when faith in Leviathan remains the dominant political ideology.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Kuwait Drops U.S. Dollar Peg in Blow to Gulf Currency Union
Kuwait unshackled its dinar from the tumbling U.S. dollar on Sunday and switched the exchange rate mechanism to a basket of currencies, throwing plans for currency union with other Gulf Arab oil producers into disarray.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose from 87.1 to 88.7

  • The USDA said there were 11.297 million head of cattle on feed in the U.S. on May 1st, down 2.3% YoY. Placements were down 2.8% and marketing’s were up 2.0%.

  • Canada's retail sales totaled C$34.0 billion in March, up 1.9% MoM and up 5.6% YoY.
    Hong Kong GDP was up 5.6% QoQ.

  • China raised its one-year lending rate from 6.39% to 6.57%.

  • China will widen the floating band of yuan against U.S. dollar for daily spot trading on the interbank market from 0.3 percent to 0.5 percent on May 21.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Jobless claims were down 5,000 last week to 293,000, the lowest in four months.

  • The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's index of regional manufacturing increased from 0.2 to 4.2 in April, stronger than expected.

  • U.S. Index of leading indicators was down 0.5% in April with eight of the ten components showing a decrease.

  • Japan's GDP was up 0.6% in the first quarter of 2007 and up 2.0% YoY.

  • Canada's consumer price index was up 2.2% YoY, down from a 2.3% gain in March.

  • The International Copper Study Group is forecasting that world production of copper will exceed use by 270,000 tons this year and by 520,000 tons in 2008.

  • The DoE said that underground supplies of natural gas were up 95 billion cubic feet at 1.842 trillion cubic feet.

  • Fed Chairman Bernanke says the central bank is considering tougher rules to crack down on abusive practices by mortgage lenders. But he says the economy should escape without significant harm from the problems in the subprime market.

Ron Paul Said It
Plenty of reasonable people can disagree about foreign policy. What's really strange is when one reasonable position is completely and forcibly excluded from the public debate.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Housing starts were at an annual rate of 1.528 million units in April, up 2.5% MoM and better than expected. For 2007 housing starts are down 26% YoY.

  • U.S. Industrial production was up 0.7% in April, stronger than expected.

  • U.K.’s Unemployment rate. remained at 5.5% in the first quarter

  • China's industrial production increased 17.4% YoY.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were up 1.0 million barrels last week to 342.2 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline were up 1.7 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were up 1.6 million barrels.
    Gasoline demand was up 1.0% YoY
    Distillate demand was up 3.1% YoY.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

U.S. Median Home Price Tumbles to 2-Year Low in Slump

The city with the biggest drop in median home price in the first quarter was Elmira, New York, with a 15 percent decline to $75,300, making it the cheapest housing market in the nation

Quick Overview

  • U.S. consumer price index rose 0.4% in April and 2.6% YoY. Excluding food and energy costs, prices were up 0.2% in April and up 2.3% YoY.

  • New York Federal Reserve's index of manufacturing increased from 3.80 to 8.03 in May.

  • The National Association of Homebuilders said that its index of homebuilder confidence dropped from 33. to 30 in May, the most pessimistic reading in 15 years.

  • GDP in the Euro area rose 0.6% in the first quarter and 3.1% YoY,

  • YoY Consumer prices in the U.K. rose 2.8% in April

  • Japan's machinery orders were down 4.5% in March, weaker than expected.

  • YoY Indonesia's GDP was up 6.0% in the first quarter

  • India may consider raising the ethanol content in its gasoline blends to 10% from the current 5%.

  • Czarnikow expects world sugar production at 162.7 million tons in 2006-2007, exceeding consumption by 6.9 million tons.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Japanese wholesale prices rose 0.8% MoM and climbed 2.2% YoY.

  • Japan’s current account surplus rose 36.9% -- a record high. On a seasonally adjusted basis the current account surplus rose 63.3% MoM, following a 19.2% monthly decline in February.

  • Producer prices in the U.K. were up 2.5% YoY

  • The Florida Department of Citrus said there were 78.2 billion gallons of frozen orange juice concentrate in inventory, down 15% YoY.

  • AAA said U.S. average gasoline prices climbed to a record-high average of $3.073 a gallon.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Producer prices rose 0.7% in April and 3.2% YoY. Excluding food energy, prices were unchanged.

  • U.S. Retail sales in April fell 0.2% MoM and rose 3.0% YoY.

  • Producer prices in China were up 2.9% in April from a year ago, up from a 2.7% gain the previous month.

  • Industrial production in India was up 12.9% YoY.

  • Canada's unemployment rate unchanged at 6.1% in April.

  • The USDA estimates 2007-2008 ending stocks of:
    Corn at 947 million bushels, up from 937 million bushels in 2006-2007.
    Soybeans at 320 million bushels, down from 610 million bushels in 2006-2007.
    Wheat at 2.216 billion bushels, up from 2.087 billion bushels in 2006-2007.
    Sugar at 1.34 million tons, down from 1.72 million tons in 2006-2007.
    Cotton at 6.4 million bales, down from 9.5 million bales in 2006-2007.

  • The USDA's 2007-2008 world ending stocks estimate of:
    Corn is 90 million tons, down from 93 million tons in 2006-2007.
    Wheat is 113 million tons, down from 120 million tons in 2006-2007.
    Cotton at 50 million bales down from 55 million bales in 2006-2007.
  • Even though US corn ending stocks are estimated to be above last year, the stocks to use ratio is likely to be lower, down to 7.6% from 8.1% for 2006/07.

  • The USDA expects U.S. beef production to for 2008 up 6.7%.

  • The USDA expects 2008 pork production to be up 0.8%

  • The USDA estimates the Florida's orange crop at 131 million boxes and juice yield of 1.65 gallons a box at 42.0 degrees Brix.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. trade shortfall rose 10.4 % to $63.9 billion in March.

  • The Fed’s holdings of Treasury and agency debt kept for overseas central banks rose $8.167 billion in the week ended May 9, to stand at $1.937 trillion.

  • The European Central Bank met and kept its interest rate unchanged at 3.75%.

  • New Zealand’s unemployment rate rose from 3.7% to 3.8%.

  • The Bank of England raised its base rate by 0.25%.

  • Australia's unemployment rate fell from 4.5% to 4.4% in April.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulson said he feared that support for keeping U.S. markets open to foreign investment was breaking down.

  • Japan's leading indicators out at 40% in March, a sign of slower growth ahead.

  • Consumer confidence in the U.K. rose from 88 to 90 in April.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were up 5.6 million barrels last week to 341.2 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline were up 400,000 barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were down 500,000 barrels
    Gasoline demand was up 1.0% YoY
    Distillate demand was up 5.2% YoY.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

American dream sours as housing market collapses
Home owners' losses will total an estimated $164 billion (£82 billion), according to the Centre for Responsible Lending, an independent research group.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. wholesale sales were up 1.8% in March while inventories were up 0.3%. YoY wholesale sales were up 8.4%.

  • Australian Retail sales were up 1.1% MoM.

  • Housing starts in Canada were down 1% MoM.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The Federal Reserve's reported that consumer credit increased at a rapid annual rate of 6.7 percent in March. This is up from February's 2.8 percent growth rate and is the biggest increase since November.

  • German factory orders were up 2.4% in March and up 9.9% YoY.

Regulators Warn Against Currency Trades
The regulators said trading in foreign currencies, especially outside of big exchanges such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, is "at best extremely risky, and at worst, plagued by outright fraud."

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Bush Approval at New Low, Matches Carter, Poll Says The poll also found that 71 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the U.S.

Only Mike Gravel and Ron Paul Get It Both for Republicans and Democrats fence-straddling on the war, let alone calls to "stay the course" are being seen as increasingly dangerous or fatal options.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Unemployment rate rose from 4.4% to 4.5% in April with a gain of 88,000 jobs, the weakest monthly increase in more than two years. Nonfarm payrolls in February were revised up 23,000 while March's figures were reduced by 3,000.

  • Australia reduced its 2007 estimate of core inflation from 2.75% to 2.50%.

  • Brazil's Stock Market broke 50,000 for the first time.

  • Brazil expects to produce 5.34 billion gallons of ethanol (from sugar)in 2007, the most ever and up 13% YoY.

  • Brazil expects sugar production at 31.3 million tons in 2007-2008, up 5% YoY.

  • Kansas Wheat Quality Tour found surprisingly big crops, saying the wheat in western Kansas should more than make up for the yield losses from freeze-damaged wheat in traditionally high-yielding parts of the state. But how much damaged wheat will be harvested remains a wild card.

  • Crude palm oil's bull run is likely to continue for at least another decade, analysts predicted at an international vegetable oil conference.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. jobless claims were down 21,000 last week to 305,000, the lowest level in three months.

  • The Institute of Supply Management's index of U.S. services increased from 52.4 to 56.0 in April, stronger than expected.

  • The Fed holdings of Treasury and agency debt for overseas central banks rose $772 million in the week ended May 2, to stand at $1.929 trillion.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

US proposes global ban on fishing aid
A US proposal for a global ban on billions of dollars in subsidies that drive overfishing of the oceans has won widespread support from World Trade Organisation members and raised hopes for an international pact later this year.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. factory orders were up 3.1% in March and more expected.

  • The unemployment rate in the Euro area fell from 7.3% to 7.2%.

  • The Reserve Bank of Australia kept rates unchanged at 6.25%.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were up 1.1 million barrels to 335.6 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline were down 1.1 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil supplies were down 900,000 barrels.
    Gasoline demand was up 1.6% YoY
    Distillate demand was up 5.4% YoY.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The US manufacturing grew more strongly than expected. The Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index rose to 54.7 in April from March's 50.9.

  • The National Association of Realtors said pending U.S. home sales fell 4.9% in March, more than expected.

  • Manufacturing in the U.K. fell from 54.2 to 53.9 in April.

  • A new ETF replicating the DAX Global Russia Index started trading. The index is made up of 30 publicly traded companies domiciled in Russia. Symbol RSX.