Monday, March 31, 2008

Charts of the Day

Quick Overview

  • The Chicago Purchasing Managers' index rose from 44.5 to 48.2 in March.
  • Canada’s GDP rose 0.6% MoM, and 2.2% YoY

  • Japan's industrial production fell 1.2% in February.

  • U.K.'s index of services rose 0.6% in January.

  • In 2008 the USDA expects farmers to plant:
    86.0 million acres of corn, down 8% YoY.
    74.8 million acres of soybeans, up 18% YoY
    63.8 million acres of wheat, up 6% YoY.
    9.4 million acres of cotton, down 13% YoY.

  • The USDA said, as of March 1st, U.S. stocks of:
    Corn totaled 6.86 billion bushels, up 13% YoY.
    Soybeans totaled 1.43 billion bushels, down 20% YoY.
    Wheat totaled 710 million bushels, down 17% YoY.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Personal incomes rose 0.5% in February, better than expected. Consumer spending rose 0.1%.

  • The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index fell from 70.8 to 69.5

  • U.K.'s GDP rose 0.6% QoQ and 2.8% YoY.

  • Japan’s T unemployment rate rose from 3.8% to 3.9% in February.
    Japan's consumer prices fell 0.2% MoM, but rose 1.0% YoY.

  • The U.S. produced 6.48 billion gallons of ethanol in 2007, up 34% YoY. The U.S. capacity is now 13.4 billion gallons with another 5.2 billion gallons on the way in 08.

  • The USDA said that, on March 1st, there were 65.909 million head of hogs and pigs in the U.S. -- up 6.5% YoY.

  • (FT) Rice prices jumped 30% to an all-time high, raising fears of fresh outbreaks of social unrest across Asia where the grain is a staple food for more than 2.5bn people

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. GDP was unrevised at 0.6% growth for the fourth quarter of 2007, the slowest pace since late 2002.

  • The U.S. economy seems to be slipping into recession and the Federal Reserve must cushion the pain and make it as brief as possible, a Fed policy maker said.

  • Ahead of the United States Department of Agriculture's planting intentions estimates out Monday, March 31, Allendale Inc. sees a 7.2 million acre decrease in corn acreage, a 10.6 million acre increase for soybeans, and a slightly higher total wheat planting figure

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Senate panel chief questions Dimon's Fed seat
"I have great respect for Jamie Dimon, who's head of JPMorgan," Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, said in the interview with National Public Radio.

"He also sits on the board of directors at the Federal Reserve in New York. Having decisions being made over the weekend with an institution where its leader is also a member of that board raises some serious issues," Dodd said. "It aught to be addressed."

Quick Overview

  • U.S. durable goods orders fell 1.7% in February. Excluding transportation, orders fell 2.6%.

  • German business confidence increased from 104.1 to 104.8

  • Industrial new orders for the Euro area 15 rose 2.0% MoM and 7.3% YoY.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said:
    Supplies of crude oil were unchanged at 311.8 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline fell 3.3 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil fell 1.3 million barrels.
    Refinery use fell from 83.8% to 82.2% of capacity last week.
    Gasoline demand fell 0.3% YoY
    Distillate demand fell 4.0% YoY.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Quick Overview

  • Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index of U.S. home prices fell by 11.4% in January, the biggest monthly drop since the index began in 1987.

  • The Conference Board's consumer confidence index fell from 76.4 to 64.5 in March, weaker than expected -- it’s the lowest in 34 years.

  • Canada’s retail sales rose 1.5% in January.

  • Iceland's central bank raised its key interest rate by 1.25 percentage points to 15%, citing higher-than-expected inflation.

  • The American Coalition for Ethanol says gasoline prices would be 6 to 9 cents per gallon higher were it not for ethanol.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Quick Overview

  • The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales were at an annual rate of 5.03 million units in February, up 2.9% MoM and better than expected. Inventories of unsold homes fell 3% to 4.03 million units.

  • Japan's sentiment index fell from +0.5 to -9.3 in the first quarter.

  • (WSJ) Many Chinese towns, lacking irrigation systems, rely on ad-hoc well digging, a practice that is in effect reducing their ground water levels year by year.

  • J.P. Morgan quintupled the price it will pay for Bear Stearns to $10 a share.

  • India reiterates claim they will not need wheat imports in the coming year - a quite optimistic claim if production estimates could be believed.

  • The Russian government said it would extend its 40% export tax on grain until July 1 from a previous ending date of April 30th.

  • The USDA reports that commercial red meat production during February 2008 totaled 3.968 billion pounds, down 10% from January's 4.416 billion but up 10% from February 2007's 3.615 billion.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sooner Fed bail-outs than the 1930s revisited
We should be thankful that the man now heading the US Federal Reserve - Ben Bernanke - spent his early career immersed in the details of that catastrophe. He has written books showing how a credit crunch can set off a vicious downward spiral, and do so with lightning speed. You do not mess around in such circumstances.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. jobless claims rode 22,000 last week to 378,000.

  • U.S. leading indicators fell 0.3% in February.

  • The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's index of manufacturing improved from -24.0 to -17.4.

  • The U.K.'s retail sales volume rose 1.0% in February,

  • Canada leading indicators fell 0.3%.

  • The USDA said there were 11.853 million head of cattle on feed, up 2.2% YoY

  • The USDA said frozen pork inventory as of February 29, 2007, was 603 million pounds, up 25% YoY.

  • The USDA said that there were 942 million pounds of frozen orange juice concentrate in storage, up 25% YoY.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. government is lowering the capital requirements for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from 30% to 20% in an attempt to provide more liquidity to the mortgage market.

  • Gold fell after the Fed reduced the Fed Fund Rate less than expected and signaled more cuts won't be as aggressive.

  • Canada's wholesale sales rose 2.6%.

  • Construction output in the Euro area rose 1.6% MoM and 1.6% YoY.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said:
    Supplies of crude oil supplies rose 200,000 barrels to 311.8 million barrels
    Supplies of gasoline fell 3.5 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil fell 3.2 million barrels.
    Refinery use fell from 85.0% to 83.8%.
    Gasoline demand fell 0.1% YoY
    Distillate demand fell 5.4% YoY

Friday, March 14, 2008

Quick Overview

  • (Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong shut all primary schools and kindergartens yesterday following the unexplained deaths of four young children with flu-like symptoms.

  • Bear Stearns tapped the Fed, via JP Morgan, for emergency funding to keep from going under.

  • U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in February and up 4.0% YoY.
    The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index fell from 70.8 to 70.5

  • Consumer prices in the Euro area rose 3.3%.

  • The U.S. is in a recession that could be "substantially more severe" than recent ones, National Bureau of Economic Research President Martin Feldstein said.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. retail sales fell 0.6% in February.

  • Australia unemployment rate improved from 4.1% to 4.0%

  • South African gold production fell 5% MoM, and 16.5% YoY.

  • One in every 557 U.S. homes is in some stage of default RealtyTrac said.

  • Carlyle Capital Corp fund (Amsterdam: CCC) said that it was unable to arrange a bailout and that it expects its lenders to seize its assets "promptly."

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Quick Overview

  • Concerns surfaced the Feds plan to boost financial market liquidity might prove inadequate to ease the stress in the credit markets.

  • U.S. Federal spending rose 17% YoY, and revenues fell 12% YoY.

  • Australia's consumer confidence fell to 88.6 in March — lowest in 15 years.

  • Industrial production in the Euro Area rose 0.9% in January and 3.8% YoY.

  • Industrial production in India rose 5.3% YoY.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil rose 6.2 million barrels to 311.6 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline rose 1.7 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil fell 1.7 million barrels.
    Refinery use fell from 85.9% to 85.0% of capacity last week.
    Gasoline demand rose 0.4% YoY
    Distillate demand fell 4.2% YoY

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Monday, March 03, 2008

US economy a '$3 trillion' casualty of war in Iraq
Stiglitz and Bilmes argue the true cost is at least US$3 trillion, under what they call an ultraconservative estimate. They say it could surpass the cost of World War II, which they put at US$5 trillion, adjusted for inflation.

Quick Overview

  • The Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity fell to 48.3 in February from 50.7 in January.

  • The U.S. Census Bureau said that construction spending was down 1.7% from December's pace and down 3.3% YoY.

  • Canada's GDP was down 0.7% in December, but up 2.7% YoY

  • Japan's wages rose 1% YoY

  • Manufacturing in Australia rose from 49.2 to 51.4 in February.

  • Consumer prices in the Euro Area rose 3.2% in February.

  • Mexico said December silver production declined 6%.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

'Ninja' loans explode on sub-prime frontline
One family - the husband is a janitor, the wife a cleaner - bought their two bedroom bungalow in Oakland for $420,000 in 2005. Now their mortgage rate has reset and it is on the market for $119,000. It probably won't fetch the list price.
Over in Detroit there are now more than a handful of properties on the market at $100.