Thursday, September 30, 2010

Quick Overview

  • U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell by 16,000 in the week ending September 25 to 453,000.

  • Soybean inventories on Sept. 1 totaled 151 million bushels, up from 150 million estimated on Sept. 10 and the 138 million bushels on hand a year earlier, the USDA said.

  • Corn stockpiles on Sept. 1 totaled 1.708 billion bushels, up from 1.673 billion a year earlier Corn usage in the three months ended Aug. 31 was 2.6 billion bushels, up from 2.59 billion a year earlier, the USDA said.

  • US GDP rose 3.7% in Q2.

  • Trade between South Korea and Russia has recorded an over 50-fold jump since the two countries established diplomatic relations 20 years ago

  • the Institute for Supply Management said its business barometer climbed to 60.4 in September.

  • India’s sugar surplus may increase by as much as 50 percent in the year starting Oct. 1, the National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd. said yesterday.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quick Overview

  • MoM The U.S. Conference Board’s confidence index fell to 48.5, lower than forecast, from 53.2

  • The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas fell 0.1 % MoM but rose 3.2% YoY -- the smallest year-over-year gain since March, the group said. The index remains 27.9 % below the peak set in mid-2006.

  • YoY Chilean copper output grew 1.3% in August to 467,680 metric tons from the 461,856 tons produced in August 2009.

  • The La Nina weather event has strengthened even further and looks likely to last into early 2011, the government's Bureau of Meteorology reported Tuesday.

  • India extended by a year the deadline for tax-free imports of rice to keep prices under check.

  • Israel set up a new military intelligence unit to incorporate high-tech hacking tactics.

  • Credit rating agencies warned Ireland that its debt is at risk of further downgrades.

  • Ukraine grain export restrictions are possible, news items say..

  • Pension funds will be looking to increase their gold holdings considerably after years of "negligible exposure," the director of global research from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas has said.

  • The yields for Monsanto's SmartStax corn seeds are trailing those of its legacy VT Triple Pro and VT Double Pro products, said Jefferies analyst Laurence Alexander in a note to clients.

  • The US Treasury sold $35 bln five-year notes at a record low yield of 1.26%.

  • Japan’s Tankan index for big manufacturers' sentiment was plus 8 in September, up for a sixth straight quarter and marking the best reading since March 2008.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quick Overview

  • China said it will slap a hefty tariff on U.S. chicken imports to combat what it says are unfairly low prices. The New import duties range from 50.3% to as much as 105.4 % will take effect Monday and last for five years.

  • U.S. Congress moved a step closer to punishing China for allegedly manipulating its currency. A bill in the U.S. Congress would allow US companies to petition for higher duties on imports from China to compensate for an under-valued Chinese Yuan.

  • The SEC denied a bid by China's largest credit rating firm to become an officially recognized statistical rating organization in the United States.

  • YoY Japan's trade surplus dropped 37.5% in August
  • YoY Japan's exports in August grew 15. 8 %

  • Mexico's July economic activity index rose  5.1% YoY

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Quick Overview

  • Brazil’s orange crop may drop to 271.7 million boxes, be;ow the May 7 estimate of 286 million, Cutrale Corporate Affairs Director Carlos Viacava said in an interview last week. Production will decline from 305 million boxes last year.

  • The roots of thousands of cocoa trees in Cameroon's chief cocoa-growing locality of the South-West Region are being attacked and killed by a strange, unidentified disease, farmers in the area told Dow Jones Newswires Sunday.

  • Japans ruling party mulls $55B Stimulus plan.

  • UK September house prices down 0.4% MoM but up 1.0% YoY

  • (Dow Jones)--Jewish settlers marked the last day of Israel's construction moratorium in the West Bank with celebrations and vows to build at full steam on Monday.

  • (FT) Tom Vilsack, the US secretary of agriculture, has played down recent increases in the price of wheat, corn and other food commodities, saying the world is not on the brink of a rerun of the recent food supply crisis. ..
Gold is the final refuge against universal currency debasement
So we have an early 1930s world where surplus states are hoarding money, instead of recycling it. A solution of sorts in the Great Depression was for each deficit country to devalue, breaking out of the trap (then enforced by the Gold Standard). This turned the deflation tables on the surplus powers – France and the US from 1929-1931 – forcing them to reflate as well (the US in 1933) or collapse (France in 1936). Contrary to myth, beggar-thy-neighbour policy was the global cure.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Durable goods for August fell 1.3%, the largest decline in a year, but excluding transportation orders, new orders rose 2%.

  • The ICG cut its global rice production forecast for 2010-11 by 1.9 million tons to 453.7 million metric tons due to lower-than-expected production in Indonesia and China.

  • National Australia Bank upgraded its wheat production forecast for this crop year to 23.1 million metric tons from a 22.2 million-ton estimate. The figure remains below the official estimate of 25.1m tonnes announced last week.

  • France's GDP grew 0.7 %in Q2

  • The unemployment rate in Brazil dropped to 6.7 % in August, compared to 8.1% in the same period last year.

  • Drought in Brazil has pushed water levels in the Amazon River to the lowest since 1963, according to the National Water Agency.

  • (Bloomberg) -- Half of Russian winter-grain plantings, already almost a third lower than last year, failed to sprout or are thin, the national Grain Producers’ Union said.

  • German Ifo business climate index rose to its highest level in more than three years

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quick Overview

  • The IGC cut by 5m tonnes, to 824m tonnes, its forecast for the global corn harvest in 2010-11.The IGC raised by 4m tonnes to 12m tonnes its forecast for the shortfall in corn production.
  • The IGC raised by 1m tonnes, to 13m tonnes, its estimate of the shortfall in wheat production.

  • YoY Colombia’s economy grew 4.5% in Q2

  • EU consumer confidence in the 27-nation bloc stood at minus 11.8 in September, lower than minus 11.2 in August.

  • U.S. sales of existing single-family homes and condos rose 7.6% in August to 4.13 million, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday.

  • The U.S. Conference Board said its leading economic index -- a composite gauge of ten indicators including weekly jobless claims, stock prices and the money supply -- rose 0.3% in August, after a 0.1% increase in July.

  • Weekly U.S. jobless claims rose 12,000 to 465,000

  • McDonald's boosts quarterly dividend by 11%

  • India’s farm minister came out against the government’s proposed limits on cotton exports.

  • (Bloomberg) -- Commodities have a “constructive” outlook, with supply constraints set to become a more dominant theme in the fourth quarter, Barclays Capital said. Demand for coal, aluminum, coffee, copper, crude oil, corn, sugar and soybeans probably will climb to a record this year, analyst Kevin Norrish said.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Quick Overview

  • YoY U.S. House prices fell 3.3 % in July, the eighth consecutive decline, as foreclosed properties flooded the market, the Federal Housing Finance Agency in Washington said yesterday

  • (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. raised its quarterly dividend by 3 cents, or 23 percent, to 16 cents a share and got approval from its board to sell as much as $6 billion in additional debt.

  • MoM Industrial new orders in the euro zone dropped by 2.4% July.

  • The U.S. Fed is more concerned with the pace of economic recovery and is "prepared" to take further steps (printing) to stimulate the economy if needed -- gold hits record.

  • The U.S. DOE said:
  • Supplies of crude rose 970,000 barrels to 358.3 million last week. This against analyst expectations for a drop of 1.7 million barrels
  • Supplies of gasoline rose 1.59 million barrels to 226.1 million
  • Supplies of distillate fuel, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, rose 347,000 barrels to 174.9 million.

  • China consumed an estimated 35.54 million metric tons of oil in August, up 7.6% YoY

  • Orders for new ships increased 17% YoY to 1.96 million gross tons in the January-June period

Monday, September 20, 2010

Quick Overview

  • (Bloomberg) -- Record-low interest rates are stoking the biggest increase in U.S. share buybacks ever.

  • John Bird, chief operating officer of sugar marketing body Queensland Sugar Limited, says "It's probably more panic buying by end users of sugar.. by refineries throughout the world,"A lot of refineries throughout the world who are reliant on supply out of Brazil have been very disappointed. "Some refineries have actually run out of sugar... which is not a good situation to be in."

  • July values for U.S. beef and pork exports dipped slightly from the totals achieved in June, but both exceeded year-ago levels with beef posting close to a 40 percent jump over 2009 levels.

  • China soybean, corn futures on Dalian Commodity Exchange sharply higher on concerns over possible early frost in northern China.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Quick Overview

  • Weather forecasts refer to a "widespread crop ending hard freeze" across Northern Alberta southeastward to Central Saskatchewan with the mercury falling to 19-28F. A second hard freeze is forecast to push into the Dakotas on Saturday.
  • Plus reports of frost in northern China potentially damaging corn.
  • Tightening US supplies may extend corn's rally, Goldman Sachs says.

  • U.S. CPI rose 0.3% in August.

  • U.S. consumer sentiment fell in September to 66.6 -- the lowest level since August 2009

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Quick Overview

  • Brazil's drought has lowered the Amazon water level to its lowest in 47 years.

  • Australia's Bureau of Meteorology reported Wednesday that indicators of a La Nina climate event in the Pacific have strengthened, with most computer models predicting it will persist into early 2011.

  • Argentina made its first forecast for 2010-11 wheat production, estimating the crop at 10 million to 11.2 million metric tons. That's lower than the 12 million tons forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA estimated Argentina's wheat crop last season at 9.6 million tons.

  • The lineup of vessels expected to load sugar at Brazilian ports in the coming weeks rose by 62 in the week ended Wednesday to 100 ships, according to the Williams Brazil shipping agency.

  • The U.S. balance of payments deficit, widened to $123.3 billion or 3.4% of GDP.

  • The Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index was -0.7 in September, up from the -7.7 reading in August.

  • U.S. new jobless claims fell 3,000 to two-month low

  • U.S. Producer prices rose 0.4%, largest gain in 5 months.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Quick Overview

  • The Japanese government intervened in the forex market Wednesday for the first time in more than six years -- selling yen to curb the currency's strength

  • Agronomists in coffee regions from near northern Sao Paulo to robusta-growing Espirito Santo said they were worried the drought could deal a blow to the crop if the rains, which usually return in late September, did not arrive soon.

  • In the latest sign of trade curbs Belarus has banned exports to Europe of rapeseed oil

  • YoY Peru's July GDP rose 9.05%

  • U.S.  Industrial output rose 0.2 % after a 0.6% gain in July that was smaller than previously estimated.

  • New Delhi, Sep 15, 2010: With the monsoon active all over India, there is no let up in the causalities resulting from H1N1 influenza virus attack. According to the latest release by the Indian Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the lab confirmed cases reported during the week of Sep 6-12, 2010 are 1011; with 75 deaths reported during the same period.

  • Israel’s industrial output rose by 14% YoY

  • China's crude oil imports were 20.9 million tons or 4.94 million barrels per day in August, up from the 19 million tons in July or 18.47 million tons in the same month last year.

  • Eurozoe inflation rate  at 1.6 percent in August.

  • The unemployment rate in Britain for the three months to July declined by 0.1 % to 7.8 %

  • A total of 18,541 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow last month in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, and San Bernardino and Orange counties. That was down 2.1 % from 18,946 sales in July, and down 13.8% from 21,502 sales in August 2009

  • Warren Buffett ruled out a second recession in the U.S. and said businesses owned by his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. are growing. “I am a huge bull on this country,” ..

  • (FT) AngloGold Ashanti, the world’s third-biggest gold miner, will wind up its hedge book by early 2011, joining Barrick Gold, the industry’s leader, in putting an end to the legacy of forward sales which pre-dates the boom in gold prices.

  • GFMS  said central banks would buy about 15 tonnes of bullion on a net basis this year, a situation last seen in 1988.

  • YoY combined imports into the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach grew 23.9% August

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Quick Overview

  • Disappointing results from the early corn harvest in Illinois are not likely to improve as farmers continue gathering the crop. That's the word from Emerson Nafziger, extension agronomist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Continued dry conditions in Brazil  lifted sugar to fresh 6 1/2-month high, with the lack of moisture a concern for the sugar market.

  • (Bloomberg) -- Stocks rose for a fifth day, the longest streak for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since July, while gold surged to a record and Treasuries gained on speculation the Federal Reserve will purchase as much as $1 trillion in bonds to bolster the economy.

  • Yum Brands (YUM) will raise its quarterly dividend 19%.

  • Cisco Systems (CSCO) announced it will initiate a dividend in its fiscal 2011, with yields of 1% to 2%.

  • UBS predicts a 25 basis point rise in Swiss interest rates.

  • U.S. businesses inventories rose 1.0% in July, The inventory-to-sales ratio, remained at 1.26.

  • Give the wealthiest Americans a tax cut and history suggests they will save the money rather than spend it. ...Moody’s says.

  • U.S. Retail sales rose 0.4% excluding autos. Core retail sales, which strip out autos, gasoline and building materials, rose 0.6% in August.

  • YoY industrial production in the Eurozone rose 7.1 %.

  • Indian inflation continued to slow to 8.51 percent in August from 9.78 percent in July.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Basel Committee rules Yet the real show of generosity from the committee was in the timing of the new regime. Banks will have until January 2019 before they have to meet the new targets in full.

Quick Overview

  • Global banking regulators in Basel, Switzerland have reached a deal on key parts of a major capital reform package, increasing the key capital ratio for the world’s banks to 7%.

  • Container volume through Hong Kong rose 9.7 percent in July after growing by double digits in each of the year's first six months, the Hong Kong Port Development Council reported.

  • China's industrial value-added output growth accelerated to 13.9% YoY in August from July's 13.4 % growth.
  • China’s retail sales growth accelerated to 18.4% in August.
  • Chinas exports grew 34.4 % YoY in August, slowing from July's 38.1, while imports rose 35.2 % in August, sharply up from the 22.7% in July
  • China's broad money supply (M2) rose 19.2% YoY by the end of August, up 1.6% from July.
  • YoY Chinas CPI rose 3.5% in August, the second consecutive month the CPI has exceeded the government's full-year target of 3 percent. Food prices, which have about a one-third weighting in the calculation of the CPI, rose 7.5% YoY. This is up from the 6.8% rise in July and 5.7% growth in June.

  • The Indian Shipping Ministry said it plans to augment the country's overall port capacity from the current 1 billion tons to 3.5 billion tons over the next 10 years

  • Japan and India reached a bilateral free trade agreement in Tokyo on Thursday. The pact will eliminate import tariffs on most products traded between the two giant Asian economies within 10 years.

  • YoY Spaish home sales rose 16.4%

Friday, September 10, 2010

Quick Overview

  • Inventories at U.S. wholesalers rose 1.3% in July

  • QoQ Italy's gross domestic product grew by 0.5% in Q2 and by 1.3% % YoY

  • The Consumer Price Index in Spain rose by 0.3% in August

  • The Brazilian industrial earnings increased 11.4% in the first seven months of 2010

  • Japan's GDP increased a revised 0.4 percent in April-June from the previous quarter

  • The USDA's estmates:
  • Corn production at 13.160 billion bushels
  • Corn yield at 162.5 vs. the trade's guess of 163.1 bu. per acre
  • U.S. corn ending stocks at 1.116 billion bushels vs. the trade's guess of 1.125 billion bushels for 2010-11
  • Soybean production at 3.483 billion bushels
  • Soybean yield at 44.7 vs. the trade's guess of 43.8 bu. per acre.
  • U.S. soybean end stocks at 350 vs. the trade's guess of 304 million bushels
  • Wheat ending stocks 902 mln bu, downn 50 mln from Aug.

  • Bangladesh has became the latest nation to increase its official reserves of gold, buying 10 tonnes of the stuff

  • Canada's August jobless rate out at 8.1%

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Quick Overview

  • New claims for U.S. unemployment insurance dropped by 27,000 to 451,000 -- more than expected, to their lowest level in two months

  • The U.S. trade deficit shrank by 14 %, more than forecast in July as exports shot to their highest level since August 2008, painting a rosier picture for economic growth.

  • Russia may follow up its ban on grain exports with curbs on shipments of rapeseed and sunflower seed and oil.

  • MoM U.S. cocoa bean imports rose 90.9% in July, but fell 13.9% YoY.

  • Stanford researchers have developed a water-purifying filter that makes the process more than 80,000 times faster than existing filters. The key is coating the filter fabric – ordinary cotton – with nanotubes and silver nanowires, then electrifying it. The filter uses very little power, has no moving parts and could be used throughout the developing world.

  • Russia's GDP rose 4.2% in the first half of 2010 to 20.7 trillion rubles (about 670.6 billion U.S. dollars)

  • Home sales in Spain rose 24.7% in Q2 from a year earlier

  • Malaysia's Industrial Production Index in July increased 3.2 YoY

  • Brazil: According to the nationwide household survey by Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, the access to basic services has increased from 2004 to 2009.
  • In 2004 only 50 million households had access to electric lighting. The number grew to 57.9 million in 2009.
  • Waste collection reached 51.9 million households in 2009, up from 43.7 million in 2004.
  • Water supply by a general network climbed to 49.5 million households in 2009 from 42.4 million in 2004.
  • Workers' income increased 2.2 percent between 2008 and 2009, but failed to reach the level of 1996.
  • The survey also showed negative figures, mostly due to the financial crisis. The unemployed surged from 7.1 million in 2008 to 8.4 million in 2009, up 18.5 percent.

  • Private-sector analysts believe that China's official corn production estimate of 6.6 billion bushels is about 400 million bushels too high.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Quick Overview

  • Stocks are helped today by a successful Portuguese debt offering easing risk aversion.

  • Canada nudged its overnight rate target up 0.25% to 1%

  • The Czech unemployment rate fell to 8.6% in August from 8.7% in July

  • YoY Czech Q2 GDP rose2.4%

  • YoY Hungary’s Industrial Output rose 9.0% in July

  • Hungary will launch a flat 16% personal income tax next year

  • Japan Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda was the latest official to warn markets that Japan was ready to act, specifically raising the specter of intervention for the first time."We will take decisive steps--which of course include intervention--when it becomes necessary," Noda said.

  • Japanese machinery orders rose 8.8% from June, when they increased 1.6%

  • German July current account surplus out at EUR9.0B vs EUR10.6B in July 09

  • German July trade surplus out at EUR13.5 B vs EUR14.3 B in July 09

  • UK manufacturing output rose for a third straight month in July, growing 0.3% from June--the same monthly rate as in the two previous months. In annual terms output rose 4.9%

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

China’s young officers and the 1930s syndrome
“China’s military spending is growing so fast that it has overtaken strategy,” said Professor Huang Jing from the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. (He kindly let me quote his remarks.)
“The young officers are taking control of strategy and it is like young officers in Japan in the 1930s. They are thinking what they can do, not what they should do. This is very dangerous.

Quick Overview

  • Fresh worries about European banks sent stocks lower early Tuesday. The euro slid broadly and the yen hit a 15-year high.

  • Obama will announce a six-year infrastructure revamp plan with an initial investment of $50 billion.

  • The Association of American Railroads reported weekly rail traffic continues to set records with U.S. railroads posting their highest numbers for 2010 in both rail carloads and intermodal volume for the week ending Aug. 28, 2010.

  • The EU finance ministers agreed on Tuesday to introduce a six-month period to monitor budgetary and structural polices of member states in a bid to strengthen economic governance of the 27-member bloc.

  • Turkey's industrial production index rose 8.6% YoY.

  • China agreed last month to lend Russia about $6 billion in exchange for increased coal supplies over the next quarter century, the Russian energy ministry said.

  • A government spokesman said Pakistan may need 500,000 tonnes of sugar to meet growing demand at a time when its own cane crop has been devastated by floods.

  • India's farm minister said the country's sugar production may come in at 22m tonnes in 2010-11, an estimate below consensus.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Quick Overview

  • Private U.S. payrolls that exclude government jobs increased 67,000, after a revised 107,000 increase in July, Labor Department figures showed today. The unemployment rate edged up to 9.6% last month. The rise in the jobless rate reflected an increase in the labor force as some discouraged workers resumed the hunt for jobs.

  • Informa projected the final U.S. corn yield would be 3.9% below the USDA's most recent estimate.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Quick Overview

  • Pending U.S. home resale’s rose 5.2% after a revised 2.8% drop the previous month.

  • U.S. first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 to 472,000 in the week ended Aug. 28.

  • EU PPI rose by 0.2% MoM

  • YoY EU GDP grew 1% in Q2

  • Putin extended Russia's ban on wheat exports until next year's harvest to ensure it has bounced back from a severe drought and wildfires that destroyed 20 percent of the crop this year.

  • Sweden raised the repo rate by 0.25% to 0.75 %

  • Brazilian mills will produce 38.2 million metric tons of sugar this year, less than the 38.7 million tons estimated on April 29, Conab said.

  • Sugar beet tests in Russia showed levels at 16.6%, 1 point higher than last year, but beet weights one-third lower at 292 grams.

  • The sugar content of the French beet crop is currently at 15.8%, down from 17% in August.

  • The International Cotton Advisory Committee cut by 700,000 tonnes to 9.8m tonnes its forecast for world cotton stocks at the end of 2010-11.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Obama was too cautious in fearful times

Panglossians who believe the private economy is always in equilibrium, unless governments intervene, disagree. I wish there were some way to run this experiment without hurting hundreds of millions of people. But I find the idea that allowing the collapse of much of the financial system, avoiding unconventional monetary policy and struggling to close the fiscal deficit would have been consistent with a more rapid and sustained recovery quite bizarre

Quick Overview

  • China’s PMI rose to 51.7 in August from 51.2 in July.

  • The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index rose to 56.3 from 55.5 in July

  • Kingsman cut by 32% to 3.52m tonnes its forecast for the global sugar surplus in 2010-11.

  • Vietnam's fiscal deficit hit 2.05 billion U.S. dollars.

  • Thailand GDP growth for the first half of 2010 is about 10 %, the highest since 1995

  • Indonesia's inflation rate in August reached 6.44 % up from 6.22 % in July.

  • Brazil’s industrial production in July was up 0.4% Mom and up 8.7 % YoY.

  • Canada's GDP expanded at an annualized pace of 2 % from April through June

  • GM's August sales dipped 7% MoM

  • MoM Peru's CPI rose 0.27% in August

  • Chrysler August U.S. auto sales improved 6.9%. YoY Ford's sales fell 11%. GM's sales fell 25% YoY

  • McKinsey Global Institute shows that Africa is now among the fastest-growing economic regions in the world.Africa's collective gross domestic product rose at a 4.9 % from 2000 through 2008, twice the pace of the preceding two decades.