Thursday, December 29, 2005

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Jobless claims increased 3,000 last week to 322,000.

  • Home resales fell to a 6.97 million seasonally adjusted annual rate last month, a 1.7% decline from October's unrevised 7.09 million, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. Sales dropped by 2.7% in October. The National Association of Realtors said there are 2.90 million homes for sale in the U.S. -- a five-month supply.

  • The National Association of Purchasing Management's Chicago index dropped from 61.7 to 61.5 in December, stronger than expected.

  • Argentina's central bank forecast on Thursday that Latin America's third-largest economy will expand by 6.2 percent next year, slowing from this year's estimated 8.7 percent growth.

  • An index of consumer confidence in the U.K. dropped from -8 to -9 in December.

  • The unemployment rate in France improved from 9.7% to 9.6% in November.

  • Venezuela's Central Bank on Thursday said it had approved currency transactions in Euros in a move that expands the country's strict foreign exchange controls away from U.S. dollars.

  • The DOE said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were up 100,000 barrels to 322.6 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were down 1.2 million barrels.
    Supplies of heating oil supplies were down 1.2 million barrels.
    Supplies of underground natural gas were down 162 billion cubic feet to 2.640 trillion cubic feet. YoY supplies are down 8%.

  • London inventories of copper increased 7,150 tons to 87,750.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The Conference Board's consumer confidence index increased from 98.3 to 103.6 in December, its highest level since Hurricane Katrina.

  • The USDA said there were 61.197 million head of hogs and pigs in U.S. inventory on December 1st, up 0.4% YoY.

  • The USDA said that YoY U.S. beef production was up 7% in November.

  • The USDA said that YoY pork production was up 2% in November.

  • The Dow-Jones Newswires credits a fungus in Brazil and too much rain in Vietnam as two recent supporting reasons for Coffee.

  • Consumer confidence in Germany increased from 3.4 to 3.8 in December, the highest in six months.

  • YoY Japan's industrial production was up 1.4% in November.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Quick Overview

  • ABC News and the Washington Post said their Consumer Comfort Index rose to -10 in the week ending Dec. 25 from -11 the prior week.

  • The Chicago Federal Reserve's regional index of manufacturing was down by 0.6% in November.

  • Japan's unemployment rate increased from 4.5% to 4.6% in November, Household spending was down 0.7% Japan's consumer price index was down 0.3% in November -- down 0.8% YoY.

  • Overall for-hire trucking freight volumes surged 1.9% in November from a month earlier, American Trucking Associations said Tuesday.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Durable goods orders were up 4.4% in November, stronger than expected. Excluding transport, orders were down 0.6%.

  • The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index increased from 81.6 to 91.5 in December.

  • Sales of new homes dropped in November by the largest amount in nearly 12 years. U.S. new home sales were at an annual rate of 1.245 million units, down 11.3% from October's pace, the largest monthly drop since 1994. So far in 2005, new home sales are up 7% from a year ago.

  • The European Commission announced that they are ending their policy of giving rebates (subsidies) to beef exporters.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that ethanol production reached 269,000 barrels a day in October, a new record high in the U.S.

  • Germany's inflation rate averaged 2 percent in 2005, its highest level in four years, according to a government estimate released Friday.

  • Canada's GDP was up 0.2% in October and up 3.1% YoY.

  • China's car production in November grew 52.1 percent from the same month last year to a record 291,900 units, breaking the previous record set in June of 275,100 units, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics Friday.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Quick Overview

  • Chief executives are optimistic about the direction of the U.S. economy despite high energy prices and rising interest rates, a monthly survey found.

  • The Conference Board's U.S. index of leading indicators increased 0.5% in November, to 138.8.

  • U.S. jobless claims were down 13,000 last week to 318,000.

  • The U.S. Commerce Department said that personal incomes were up 0 .3% in November and consumer spending was up 0.3%. YoY the core rate of personal consumption expenditures index was up 1.9% in November .

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that underground natural gas supplies were down 162 billion cubic feet last week to 2.802 trillion cubic feet.

  • The U.S. Census Bureau said that 151.5 million bushels of soybeans were crushed in November

  • Mexican consumer prices rose 0.42 percent in the first half of December.

  • YoY New Zealand's GDP was up 2.7% in the third quarter .

  • YoY the U.K.'s Office for National Statistics kept its GDP growth estimate unchanged at 1.7% in the third quarter .

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. economy grew at a 4.1% annual rate in the third quarter, lower than the 4.3% rate initially reported in November, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

  • The core personal consumption expenditures price index increased at an annual rate of 1.4% in the third quarter, down from 1.7% in the second quarter.

  • The DoE said that :
    Supplies of crude oil were up 1.3 million barrels to 322.5 million barrels
  • Supplies of unleaded gasoline were down 300,000 barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were down 1.5 million barrels.

  • The USDA said that there were 28.7 million pounds of frozen pork bellies in storage as of November 30th, down 16% YoY. Frozen pork totaled 433.6 million pounds, down 1% YoY

  • The USDA said that, there were 1.03 billion pounds of frozen orange juice in U.S. storage, down 30% YoY..

  • London inventories of copper increased 3,550 tons to 80,600 tons.

  • Consumer spending in France increased 1.1% in November and 3.2% YoY.

  • Canada's retail sales were up 0.6% in October and up 4.5% YoY .

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Consumer confidence, improved last week, ABC News and the Washington Post said on Tuesday.

  • The U.S. producer price index fell 0.7% in November, the biggest drop since April 2003, as energy prices fell, the Labor Department said Tuesday.

  • U.S. New housing starts rose 5.3% in November, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

  • The average retail prices of diesel and gasoline each rose for a second straight week by 2.6 cents, with diesel climbing to $2.462 and gasoline to $2.211 a gallon, the Department of Energy reported.

  • U.S. Sales of Class 8 trucks jumped 16.6% in November as truck buyers took delivery in a market where freight rates remained strong and truck production showed no signs of letting up, manufacturers said.

  • The Australian Cotton Industry Council estimates the upcoming cotton crop at 2.5 million bales, down from 2.9 million bales this year.

  • Consumer prices in Canada were down 0.2% in November and up 2.0% YoY.

  • The Chinese government discovered $280 billion of national income to add to its 2004 GDP figures. The 2004 growth rate is now 16.5%, higher than previously reported.

  • Today's news on inflation sent June gold down $9.10

Monday, December 19, 2005

JibJabs Year-End Round-Up !
The Symbiosis Trap
Stephen Roach

Quick Overview

  • The Conference Board's leading economic indicator for Mexico was unchanged in October following four months of gains, the U.S.-based private business research group said on Monday.

  • Canada's sales at large retailers were down 1.0% in October, but up 5.9% YoY. Wholesale sales were up 2.2%.

  • Industrial production in the Euro-zone was down 0.8% in October.

  • The Japanese government expects GDP to increase 2.7% in 2005-2006 and 1.9% in 2006-2007.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Quick Overview

  • YoY consumer prices in the Euro zone were up 2.3% in November.

  • Statistics Canada reported that the government debt is half of Canada's GDP, the lowest in twenty years.

  • YoY industrial production in Argentina rose 8.9 percent in November.

  • German business morale jumping to its highest level in nearly five and a half years.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Quick Overview

  • U.S. industrial production was up 0.7% in November and up 2.8% YoY, more than expected. Capacity utilization rate increased from 79.8% to 80.2% last month.

  • A record drop in energy costs pushed consumer prices down at the fastest pace in 56 years. The CPI was down 0.6% in November but up 3.5% YoY. Excluding food and energy costs, prices were up 0.2% in November and up 2.1% YoY.

  • A softening U.S. housing market poses the greatest risk to economic growth next year as fallout from a housing slowdown would hurt consumer spending, Merrill Lynch said in its U.S. economic and financial markets forecast for 2006.

  • The U.S. Treasury said that foreigners purchased U.S. securities totaling $110.3 billion in October

  • Manufacturing growth in New York state rose at the fastest pace in 17 months as factories paid less for materials and demand rose, according to a monthly survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released Thursday.

  • The DoE said that underground supplies of natural gas were down 202 billion cubic feet to 2.964 trillion cubic feet. Supplies are down 6% YoY.

  • The rate of fatalities last year in crashes involving large trucks fell to its lowest level since the Department of Transportation began keeping records in 1975, according to DOT figures.

  • The Green Coffee Association said that U.S. coffee stocks dropped 292,512 bags in November to 4.875 million bags.

  • Retail sales in the U.K. were up 0.7% in November, the best gain in five months.

  • The Swiss National Bank increased its key interest rate from 0.75% to 1.0%, the first change in over a year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. trade deficit grew to a record $68.9 billion in October, as crude oil prices surged and exports dropped by the most in four years. U.S. exports were up 1.6% in October to $107.5 billion and imports were up 2.7% to $176.4 billion.

  • The Business Roundtable's Economic Outlook Index improved to 101.4, up from Septembers 88.2

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were up 900,000 barrels to 321.2 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were up 1.8 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil supplies were down 400,000 barrels..

  • Japan's Tankan index, a confidence index of large manufacturers, increased from 19 to 21 in the fourth quarter, the highest in twelve month.

  • Delinquencies on U.S. home mortgages rose in the third quarter due to the displacement of people by Hurricane Katrina but they fell from a year earlier as the economy improved, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Chart of the day

The price of corn adjusted by the CPI (Consumer Price Index)

Quick Overview

  • Blue-chips jumped and the broader market inched higher after the Fed boosted the Fed Funds rate as expected, while hinting that an end to the rate-hiking campaign could be in the works. The Fed dropped a reference to “accommodation” in a statement that followed the 13th straight increase in their target rate to 4.25%. The change suggested that central bankers see rates as high enough to avoid spurring inflation.

  • YoY, U.K.’s consumer prices were up 2.1% in November, down from a 2.3% gain in October.

  • Canada's composite index of leading indicators was up 0.3% in November.

  • The International Energy Agency predicted that world oil demand will increase by 1.9 million barrels per day through 2010.

  • The International Coffee Organization predicted that the world 2006-2007 coffee crop will total 120 million (60 kg) bags. They estimate consumption at 118 million bags.

  • J.P. Morgan said there continues to be a bull case for silver and it deserves to trade on a different outlook. All thanks to a growing number of industrial applications such as biocides, solar power, electronics and a potential ETF launch.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The federal government's budget deficit rose sharply in November as spending raced ahead of tax receipts. The Treasury Department reported Monday that the deficit totaled $83.1 billion, the highest imbalance ever recorded in November.

  • The Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise official interest rates again at its next policy meeting on Dec. 13, which would be the 13th straight increase.

  • Mexico cut its economic growth estimate for 2005 to about 3 percent from 3.5 percent, hurt by weakness in the manufacturing sector.

  • Japan's current account surplus widened by 2.6% to 1.38 trillion ten ($11.4 Billion) in October.

  • India's industry grew in October at 8.5% the fastest pace in four months as rising incomes and consumer borrowing spurred sales.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment increased from 81.6 to 88.7 in December, more than expected.

  • The USDA's 2005-2006 U.S. ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn was increased from 2.319 to 2.419 billion bushels.
    Soybeans were increased from 350 to 405 million bushels.
    Wheat was unchanged at 530 million bushels.
    Sugar was increased from 667,000 to 1.395 million tons.
    Cotton was increased from 6.50 to 6.90 million bales.

  • The USDA's 2005-2006 world ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn was increased from 114 to 119 million tons.
    Soybeans were increased from 47 to 48 million tons.
    Wheat was increased from 140 to 143 million tons.
    Cotton was increased from 50 to 51 million tons.

  • The USDA estimates the 2005-2006 Florida orange crop at 162 million boxes, down from last month's estimate of 190 million boxes. The projected juice yield was lowered from 1.58 to 1.55 gallons a box.
    The Brazilian government estimated its 2006-2007 coffee crop at 42.0 million bags, up from 36 million bags this year

  • Canada's labor productivity was up 0.8% in the third quarter and up 1.3% YoY.

  • Japan's GDP was up 0.2% in the latest quarter, down from an earlier estimate of 0.4%.

  • Brazil inflation eased in November, official data showed on Friday, reinforcing bets the central bank will cut interest rates next week.

  • Industrial production in France was down 2.5% in October, the biggest monthly drop in six years.

  • Mexico's central bank, with inflation at record lows, cut a key interest rate by 50 basis points.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Jim Rogers likes commodities

JIM ROGERS: If you look at most agricultural commodities - nobody has been planning new acreage or new plantations in many years. Wheat hectares have been declining for 30 years, and that’s true of everything. As the world gets more prosperous people consume more - it’s the natural state of the world, and that’s going to continue for the next several years until somebody brings on some new supplies. You can’t just snap your finger and bring on a lot of new supply - I would point out that we haven’t had any big droughts anywhere in the world for over five years. We used to have droughts all the time - they may start coming back. I’m not investing in commodities because of weather - that would be an absurd thing to do - but it’s another reason that you’re going to see higher prices for agricultural commodities.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. jobless claims were up 6,000 last week to 327,000.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that underground natural gas supplies were down 59 billion cubic feet last week to 3.166 trillion cubic feet. Supplies are now down 2% from a year ago.

  • The unemployment rate in Australia dropped from 5.2% to 5.1% in November

  • Industrial production in Germany increased 1.1% in October

  • Japan's machinery orders rose 4.8% in October, providing more evidence of firms' strong desire to invest as they enjoy brisk profits and benefit from a steady recovery in the economy.

  • In the most recent quarter South Africa's gold production was down 3.4%.

  • Twelve-month inflation in Mexico fell to a historic low in November, and below the central bank's target for the first time ever.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved legislation to make sure that millions of Americans will not be forced to pay the alternative minimum tax next year.

  • The Federal Reserve said that total consumer debt fell by $7.20 billion in October to $2.157 trillion, a record decline for the month.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were up 2.7 million barrels to 320.3 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were up 2.7 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were up 700,000 barrels.

  • Australia's GDP grew 0.2 percent in the third quarter, the slowest pace in a year.

  • Japan's Cabinet Office said that its index of leading indicators jumped from 41.7 to 80.0 in October, a sign of optimism for the economy.

  • Canada's 05/06 wheat crop totaled 26.8 million tons, up 3.5% YoY

Cheers! It's party time as Japan economy recovers
Some 63 percent of Japanese workers in a survey plan to let their hair down at traditional year-end parties with their colleagues this year, up from 49 percent last year, an indication that if not exactly rolling, the good times may be back

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Housing Bubble Bursts in the Market for U.S. Mortgage Bonds
Bonds backed by home loans to the riskiest borrowers, the fastest growing part of the $7.6 trillion mortgage market, have lost about 2.5 percent since September on concern an 18-month rise in interest rates may force more than 150,000 consumers to default.

Quick Overview

  • The Labor Department said that business productivity was up an annual rate of 4.7% in the third quarter, the best quarterly gain in two years. The U.S. productivity growth is surging, but the wage increases that typically come with such gains have eluded American workers.

  • U.S. factory orders were up 2.2% in October. Excluding transportation, orders were up 0.6% on the month.

  • Industrial production in the U.K. was down 1% in November. YoY retail sales were p 4.6% in November.

  • The Bank of Canada increased its overnight rate from 3.00% to 3.25%.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Five Risks
Stephen Roach

The annual year-end forecasting ritual has begun. For us, it is always sparked by the extension of our forecast horizon to another year -- in this case, our first official glimpse at 2007. We also take an in-depth look at our calls for the year nearly completed (2005) as well as for the 12 months lurking just ahead (2006). It is as close to soul searching as the heartless macro prognosticator ever gets.

Quick Overview

  • The Institute for Supply Management's services index fell to 58.5 in November from 60.0 in October, below forecast of 59.0

  • President Bush called on American businesses on Monday to live up to their pension promises.

  • FedEx Corp. announced it will raise the standard rates for FedEx Ground services next year by an average of 3.9%.

  • Gasoline pump prices continued to drop in the two weeks ended Friday, falling 11 cents to an average $2.16 a gallon for all grades, analyst Trilby Lundberg reported in her latest survey of filling stations.

  • A European index of services increased from 54.9 to 55.2 in November, the best reading in over a year.

  • Gold finished near a 23-year high on Monday spurred by worries over inflation.
Is Mankind a Mistake?
When we are functioning as individuals – whether at work, in the marketplace, among friends, or driving on the freeways – our behavior toward one another tends to be peaceful and respectful. Few of us would be willing to personally inflict, even upon strangers, the brutalities that so many eagerly cheer on when performed by agents of the state with which we identify ourselves. We would quickly find ourselves without friends were we to behave toward them in ways that emulate Dick Cheney’s or Donald Rumsfeld’s recommended treatment of Iraqis. How welcome would a Madeleine Albright be in your community were she to announce that the brutal deaths of neighborhood children was a price she was willing to pay for the advancement of her career? How long would you continue working for an employer who hired Lynndie England as your immediate supervisor?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Greatest Debt-Beat President in History
In a letter to James Madison, Thomas Jefferson asked how, "one generation of men has a right to bind another." He concluded by saying, "No generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its own existence."

Friday, December 02, 2005

G-7 Central Bankers Pledge Not to Hurt Growth
Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Central bankers from the world's richest nations sought to defuse criticism from finance ministers that they risk imperiling economic growth by raising interest rates.

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. job market rebounded last month from a hurricane-induced slowdown as nonfarm employers added 215,000 workers.

  • The unemployment rate in the Euro-zone was 8.3% in October. The unemployment rate for the EU-25 was 8.5%.

  • Current exchange rates between the dollar and yen are in line with economic fundamentals, Japanese Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki said on Friday.

  • Canada's unemployment rate improved from 6.6% to 6.4% in November.

  • The USDA increased its estimate of world coffee ending stocks for 2005-2006 from 14.9 to 20.3 million bags. The production estimate was unchanged at 113.2 million bags -- world consumption was lowered from 119.4 to 116.6 million bags.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Alarm over dramatic weakening of Gulf Stream
Researchers on a scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean measured the strength of the current between Africa and the east coast of America and found that the circulation has slowed by 30% since a previous expedition 12 years ago.
China worries local doctors can't spot bird flu
"I am not worried about governments at various levels covering up an epidemic," Gao told a news conference. "But I am worried about the inability of our medical and quarantine personnel at the local level to diagnose and discover epidemics in a timely fashion due to their low abilities and relatively backward equipment."
The little yellow god
The dull truth is much less bullish for gold. Investors have put money into a wide range of metals, and precious metals' prices, including gold's, have risen with the base. Meanwhile, gold remains fundamentally unattractive. It yields nothing and central banks are sitting on vault fuls of the stuff that they want eventually to sell.

Good Old Economist Mag. Bullish on War -- Bearish on Gold
Asian central banks likely to increase gold reserves
It is only a question of time for Asian central banks to follow and buy in gold: they hold 2.6 trillion US dollars in foreign exchange reserves, and able to change more of them into gold as a hedge against US dollar falls.
The US dollar will inevitably slip further. Some budget deficits of the seven major industrial countries are at a record level, and central banks are "printing banknotes" to devalue their currencies. Huge amount of budget deficits and debts in Europe, America and Japan will finally force them to increase real interest rates in an effort to drag economies back to the right track

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. Commerce Department said that personal incomes rose 0.4% in October and consumer spending went up by 0.2%.

  • YoY the core rate of personal consumption expenditures, was up just 1.8% in October, the smallest gain in six months.

  • U.S. jobless claims were down by 17,000 last week to 320,000.

  • An index of U.S. manufacturing fell from 59.1 to 58.1 in November following the two fastest-growing months of the year, the Institute for Supply Management reported Thursday

  • Construction spending rose 0.7% to an annual rate of 1.13 trillion in October for a fourth straight month, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

  • Sugar closed at the highest level in nine years – an other production deficit is forecast for 2006 and 2007

  • Gold closed at the highest level (above $500) for 1st time since 1987

  • The DoE said that natural gas supplies were down 49 billion cubic feet to 3.225 trillion cubic feet. YoY supplies are down 2%.

  • London inventories of copper now are at 72,600 tons,

  • The Bank of Japan needs to not only make sure the economy does not fall back into deflation but should conduct monetary policy in a way that ensures a steady rise in prices, a government report said on Friday.

  • The European Central Bank increased its interest rate, from 2.00% to 2.25%, for the first time in five years.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Quick Overview

  • U.S. GDP was up 4.3% in the third quarter, stronger than expected. YoY GDP was up 3.7%.

  • The U.S. economy bounced back following the two big hurricanes in August and September, but lingering high fuel prices were pushing up shipping rates in some regions of the country, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday.

  • The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity for the week ended November 25 declined 1.8 percent to 624.1.

  • The Chicago Purchasing Management Association's index dropped from 62.9 to 61.7 in November

  • Overall for-hire trucking freight volumes rose 0.3% in October from a month earlier, the American Trucking Associations said.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Crude oil supplies were down 4.2 million barrels last week to 317.6 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were down 500,000 barrels
    Supplies of heating oil supplies were up 1.5 million barrels..

  • Retail sales in Australia rebounded from a 0.3% drop in September to gain 0.5% in October.

  • Canada's GDP was up 0.9% in the third quarter and up 2.8% YoY.
    India's GDP was up 8% YoY.

  • Argentina's trade surplus widened more than expected to $916 million in October from $854 million a year ago as export volumes increased, the Economy Ministry said on Wednesday.

  • YoY housing starts in Japan rose 9.1% in October to 115,769 units. With increases in starts on housing units for rent and for sale, such as condominiums, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said Wednesday.The rise followed a 0.2% fall the previous month.
2005 Hurricane Season Ends Today as the Worst in 150 Years
Thirteen hurricanes formed in the Atlantic, starting with Dennis in July and ending with Beta last month. There were also 13 tropical storms, which are named once winds reach 39 miles per hour (63 kilometers per hour). The previous record of 21 was set in 1933, according to U.S. National Hurricane Center data. Next year may be more active than usual, some forecasters say.

US paying Iraqi press to run favourable stories
As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.
Co-conspirators’ largesse extended to many
In a plea agreement with prosecutors, Cunningham named four people who had conspired with him to commit the crimes. Although the plea agreement does not refer to the co-conspirators by name, they are widely believed to be Mitchell Wade, the former president of defense intelligence firm MZM Inc., Brent Wilkes, president of defense contractor ADCS Inc., Tom Kontogiannis, a New York real-estate developer, and an unnamed family member of Kontogiannis.
Costly Withdrawal Is the Price To Be Paid for a Foolish War

Maintaining an American security presence in the region, not to mention withdrawing forces from Iraq, will involve many complicated problems, military as well as political. Such an endeavor, one would hope, will be handled by a team different from — and more competent than — the one presently in charge of the White House and Pentagon.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The Commerce Department reported that new home sales rose by 13 percent in October to a record 1.424 million and more than expected. The big jump came from the western and northeastern regions. YoY, new home sales are up 7.6%.

  • U.S. Durable goods orders were up 3.4% in October, more than expected. Excluding transportation however, orders were up 0.3%, less than expected.

  • The Conference Board, said its consumer confidence index rose to 98.9 this month, the biggest rise in more than two years.

  • The Chicago Federal Reserve's manufacturing index increased from 104.7 to 106.6 in October.

  • Australia upped the estimate of its 2005-2006 wheat crop to 24.1 from 19.7 million tons. Last year Australia harvested 20.4 million tons of wheat.

  • Japans household spending increased 1.2% in October.
    Japans industrial production was up 0.6%.
    Japans October unemployment rate increased from 4.2% to 4.5%.

  • Gold prices closed above $500 an ounce in Asian trading for the first time since late 1987, driven by investor demand for the metal as a diversifying asset.

  • Calpine Corp. replaced its longtime chief executive as well as its chief financial officer in a shake up that sent the company's stock price below $1.

  • The USDA said that U.S. Cotton stocks for 2005/06 are forecast to rise 1 million bales to 6.5 million by season’s end, resulting in a stocks-to-use ratio of 29 percent and the highest in 4 years.

  • YoY Surface trade among the United States, Canada and Mexico rose 11.4% in September to $61.2 billion, a second straight all-time monthly record, the DoT said Tuesday.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Moving right along. Seven Trillion two years ago -- eight Trillion today!

Quick Overview

  • The Retail Federation said that U.S. shoppers spent $27.8 billion over the holiday weekend, up 22% YoY.

  • Sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell 2.7 percent last month to a 7.09 million annual rate, the slowest since March, the National Association of Realtors said. The number of unsold homes was the highest since April 1986.

  • The USDA 2005/06 U.S. Ending Stocks for Rice Are Projected to Decline 30 Percent to 26.2 Million Cwt U.S. Rice ending stocks for 2005/06 are projected at 26.2 million cwt, down 11.5 million cwt from a year earlier. The resulting stocks-to-use ratio is projected at 10.6 percent, down from 16.4
    percent a year earlier and the lowest since 1980/81.

  • The USDA reduced the estimate of Brazil's 2005-2006 coffee crop from 36.5 to 36.1 million bags.

  • Rail freight traffic declined for the week ended Nov. 19, but intermodal continued to rise compared to the same week a year earlier, the Association of American Railroads reported

  • Retail sales in Japan were down 0.3% in October. The policy chief of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party said Monday the country had yet to beat deflation.

  • Mexico's peso hit a 29-month high on Monday.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Shipping lines raise charges by 12pc: Effective Dec 1, 2005
Justifying the move, the ‘notice to trade” points out that all member lines are facing considerable increases in charter rates that continue rising dramatically. It also attributes the hike to a worldwide shortage of container equipment. “Consequently, delays caused by these factors and on account of congestion continue affecting all member carriers of the IPBCC and these have a detrimental effect on member lines’ ability to operate efficiently,” the notice added.
Newmont considers a bid for Placer Dome
"In India, the largest gold market in the world, demand year over year to June was up 47 per cent, China was up 14 per cent," Mr Lassonde said.
Brown's gold sale losses pile up as bullion price surges
In due course, Brown sold off 300 tonnes at just $275 an ounce - close to a 20-year low.
Roughly a third of the proceeds were then invested in euros - which then proceeded to plummet.
U.S. Farmers Use Pesticide Despite Treaty
Ruiz and Jorge Fernandez, two California farmworkers, say they saw plenty wrong in the strawberry fields they worked, starting with the dogs, birds and deer that lay lifeless when the workers arrived to remove plastic sheeting from fumigated fields. "That's how we knew this was a dangerous chemical," Ruiz said.
Pension Officers Putting Billions Into Hedge Funds
Faced with growing numbers of retirees, pension plans are pouring billions into hedge funds, the secretive and lightly regulated investment partnerships that once managed money only for wealthy investors.
Math + science = innovation, but US lags in the equation
Behind these moves lurks the fear that many young Americans are abandoning math and science at a time when students in emerging countries like China and India are mastering the subjects. China graduated 500,000 engineers last year, and India 200,000, compared with 70,000 in the United States, according to the National Academy of Sciences study.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Newmont Mining's gold predictions
MOORE: Five hundred US dollars an ounce?
LASSONDE: Oh well passed that. I believe that by early next year you are going to see five twenty five and down the road even a lot higher than that.
MOORE: What is a lot higher?
LASSONDE: The question is gold prices will have three zeros after the first number.
MOORE: Three zeros?
How powerful is the Federal Reserve?
With Bernanke about to take over, time for a reality check
'Black Friday' tepid; Wal-Mart a winner
The official holiday shopping season appears to have gotten off to a lukewarm start, according to results announced Saturday by a national research group that monitors retail sales. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was one bright spot in the crowd, reporting its sales exceeded expectations.
Brokerage Firm Hack Endangers Investors
St. Louis-based Scottrade, one of the nation's largest private online stock brokerage houses, has alerted its customers that a hacker break-in may have compromised the security of an untold number of accounts

Friday, November 25, 2005

Scenes From A Bush Thanksgiving
Dubya pouts, Cheney scowls, no one brings pie -- and why is Rove looking at Barb that way?

Quick Overview

  • Consumer prices in Germany were down 0.5% in November..

  • YoY Hong Kong's GDP was up 8.2% in the third quarter.

  • The European Union will cut its sugar subsidies by 36% and stop paying producers three times the world price. This is expected to be phased in over the next four years. Australia's sugar cane growers will benefit from the European Union agreeing to cut sugar subsidies, an industry spokesman said.
Foreign central banks add U.S. debt in week-Fed
Foreign central banks purchased more U.S. debt in the latest week, investing more money in Treasury and government-sponsored agency securities, Federal Reserve data showed on Friday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Chart of the day

New York Stock Exchange "Volume" Advance Decline Line (Cumulative Daily Volume Breadth)

This chart is generated by subtracting the NYSE Composite "Volume" declines from that days "Volume" advances. The blue line plots the cumulative total.

Quick Overview

  • The stock market was supported by a positive reading on the University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment. The index increased to 81.6 this month from 74.2 (a 13 year low) in October vs. 81.0 expected.

  • The number of U.S. workers filing initial unemployment benefits rose by 30,000 to 335,000 last week, the Labor Department said.

  • Assets of the nation's retail money market mutual funds rose by $1.64 billion to $829.60 billion in the latest week -- the Investment Company Institute said.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were up 400,000 barrels to 321.8 million.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were up 200,000 barrels
    Supplies of heating oil supplies were up 1.3 million barrels.
    Supplies of natural gas were down 8 billion cubic feet to 3.274 trillion cubic feet. YoY supplies are down 1%.

  • The USDA said that world sugar production will be 144.2 million tons in 2005-2006, 3.6 million tons less than total use.

  • Because of a NAFTA deadline, the U.S. has agreed to remove the 16.4% tariff on Canadian lumber, not right away. The U.S. wants to appeal the NAFTA decision as long as it can.

  • YoY Mexico's trade deficit widened to $631 million in October from $564.

  • YoY Japan's current account surplus shrank 28.8 percent in October,

  • Canada's index of composite leading indicators was up 0.5% in October

  • Brazil's central bank cuts its benchmark interest rate for the third consecutive month, despite higher-than-expected inflation.

  • Gold mining company Placer Dome Inc. on Wednesday said its board is recommending shareholders reject a $9.2 billion takeover bid by Barrick Gold Corp.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Quick Overview

  • Ben Bernanke, said Congress should limit the massive holdings of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in an effort to limit any danger their debt poses to the overall economy.

  • Holiday sales at U.S. retailers may rise 6% over last year, up from an earlier 5% forecast, according to the National Retail Federation, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday

  • The average U.S. retail price of diesel fuel fell for the fourth straight week, declining 8.9 cents to $2.513 a gallon, the Department of Energy reported Monday.

  • The South African Chamber of Mines said that gold production totaled 72.4 tons in the recent quarter, down 15% YOY.

  • The USDA said that as of October 31st, there were 15.52 million pounds of frozen bellies in storage, down 3% from a year ago. Frozen pork totaled 443.9 million pounds, up 5% YoY.

  • The USDA said that there were 1.14 billion pounds of frozen orange juice concentrate in cold storage, down 25% YoY.

  • The Commerce Department said that retail sales over the Internet totaled $22.3 billion in the recent quarter, up 26.7% YoY. Internet sales now account for 2.3% of total retail sales.

Monday, November 21, 2005

How the Media Can Restore Credibility They should be accessible. "Isolation impairs accountability," says Philip Seib, author of a book on reporting in the cyber era. An Ivory Tower mentality keeps news away. It's easier to track down Dick Cheney in his undisclosed location than to get your local news anchorperson on the phone. Too few newspapers and almost no broadcast outlets make it easy for their readers, listeners and viewers to contact their employees, whether to correct an error or suggest a story idea. Some newspaper websites don't even list their main phone number! Every newspaper by-line should carry its writer's direct phone number and email address, and they should be required to return their messages.
China stocks copper in Shanghai, prepares to cover LME positions
China is believed to have to scramble to meet the LME's requirement to deliver physical copper to approved LME warehouses. The futures contracts Liu traded will fall due on December 21, according to media reports.
China's welfare push to help economic rebalancing

White House used 'gossip' to build case for war

U.S. Press for Reform Prompts Talk of Showdown at the U.N.

Bush Discusses Murtha and Says Progress in Iraq is 'Amazing'

How the Bush administration got spooked

Quick Overview

  • The New-York based Conference Board said its index of leading indicators rose 0.9 to 137.9 in October after a downwardly revised 0.8 percent decline in September.

  • Canada's retail sales were down 0.9%, but up 5.5% YoY.

  • YoY Indonesia's GDP was up 5.3% in the third quarter.

  • Mexican retail sales rose 5.2 % in September.

  • The Bank of Japan should move to a policy of raising interest rates soon and should be proactive in communicating to markets how it will go about such a policy shift, a Japanese business lobby said.

  • Venezuela and Argentina bolstered ties on Monday with energy and commerce deals after their presidents discussed Venezuela's entry into the South American Mercosur trade pact and alternatives to U.S. proposals for the region.

  • Gasoline pump prices continued to drop in the two weeks ended Friday, declining 18 cents to an average $2.27 a gallon for all grades, analyst Trilby Lundberg reported in her latest survey on Sunday.

  • General Motors plans to close nine North American plants and cut 30,000 jobs in an effort to trim costs, news services reported Monday

  • Rail freight traffic fell for the week of Nov. 12, however intermodal continued to rise compared to the same week last year , the Association of American Railroads reported.
We Must Hold the Scoundrels Accountable
Bush’s public support has plummeted. A majority of Americans believe Bush lied about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction and now they doubt his integrity. Trapped in their lies, Bush and Cheney are lashing out at critics, proving once again the truth of Samuel Johnson’s 18th century observation that "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Senate committee passes spyware bill
A U.S. Senate committee has approved a bill that would outlaw the practice of remotely installing software that collects a computer users' personal information without consent.
<How U.S. Fell Under the Spell of 'Curveball'
The senior BND officer who supervised Curveball's case said he was aghast when he watched Powell misstate Curveball's claims as a justification for war.
Global shipping: Challenges ahead
As on January 1, 2005, the world trading fleet was made up of 46,222 ships, with a combined 597,709,000 gross tonnes. The vast bulk of the fleet was made up of: general cargo ships (18,150), tankers (11,356), bulk carriers (6,139), passenger ships (5,679) and container ships (3,165). Other ship types accounted for 1,733 vessels.

The World's Best Ethical Travel Destinations

Our most notable and unexpected result is that Latin America emerges as the leader in ethical travel. While certain of our recommended destinations are already popular (Brazil, Costa Rica, and Peru), other top countries (Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Ecuador, and Uruguay) also have much to offer American tourists. Argentina has a vast array of natural wonders: from glaciers in the Andes to pre-Columbian villages in the North. Belize hosts Mayan ruins, as well as a lush rainforest. Uruguay, not as well known, contains spectacular beaches as well as trekking in the interior.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Federal Reserve announced that as of March 2006, M-3 will no longer be posted.

M(3)urder Will Out!
Thus, the abandonment of M3 could disguise this Reichsbank-like response to America’s hypothetical future ills for some little while thence, delaying market fears of a hyperinflationary outcome, and so keeping "Blackhawk" Bernanke hovering over the scene of the emergency for a little longer than might otherwise be the case.

Friday, November 18, 2005

China copper trade woes send prices to new peaks
Officials for the centre and the bureau have told Reuters that any short positions were made on his own authority, adding to the uncertainty of whether the bureau will honour the obligations. If it refuses to do so, that could leave brokers facing huge losses.
The food you eat may change your genes for life
Szyf says his study shows how important subtle nutrients and supplements can be. "Food has a dramatic effect," he says. "But it can go both ways," he cautions. Methionine, for instance, the supplement he used to make healthy rats stressed, is widely available in capsule form online or in health-food stores - and the molecules are small enough to get into the brain via the bloodstream.
Survey Finds Deep Discontent With American Foreign Policy

Tortured men look like 'Holocaust victims

Pentagon To Probe Feith's Role In Iraq War

Lobbyist Probe Sparks Senate Fireworks

Quick Overview

  • The European Central Bank is ready to raise interest rates moderately, ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said on Friday, sending a clear signal it will tighten rates in December for the first time in five years

  • Argentina's jobless rate fell to 11.1 percent in the third quarter from 13.2 percent in the same period last year.

  • The British government posted a 2.2 billion pound surplus in October, up from a shortfall of 1.7 billion pounds a year ago. Revenues were up almost 10% YoY, while spending was down 3%.

  • Canada's wholesale sales totaled C$39.9 billion in September, down 0.1% on the month and up 5.6% YoY

  • The Bank of Japan said the nation's economy is continuing to recover.

  • There are rumors the Chinese government may decline to own up to the 200,000 ton copper short position that their absconded trader left it with.

  • The USDA said there were 11.475 million head of cattle on feed on November 1st, up 1.2% YoY. Placements in October were up 3.5% YoY and marketing’s were down 3.3%.

  • The United States and the European Union reached a tentative deal on Friday expand aviation service and boost competition on both sides of the Atlantic

  • UPS Inc. said it will raise its commercial ground services rates by 3.9% and its air and international services rates by 5.5% in 2006.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

China to lose 100 million dollars from copper futures bet
China stands to lose at least 100 million US dollars on the London Metal Exchange after a bet by a state commodities trader went spectacularly wrong, a press report says.
Climate Shift Tied To 150,000 Fatalities

Group Seeks Further Inquiry in Frist's Stock Sales

New Disclosure Could Prolong Inquiry on Leak

Bernanke Gives Fed an Explicit Inflation Target

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow said that dividend and capital gains tax cuts put in place by U.S. President George W. Bush have created strong economic growth and should be extended.

  • St Louis Federal Reserve President William Poole said October inflation data showed the United States was not on an "inflation hair-trigger" and the central bank has room to allow the economy to grow.

  • U.S. new housing starts fell 5.6% in October, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Through the first ten months of 2005, housing starts are up 5.3%.

  • The number of U.S. workers filing initial unemployment benefits fell 25,000 to 303,000 last week, the lowest level since April, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

  • U.S. industrial production rose 0.9% in October as factories rebounded from a decline, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.

  • Manufacturing growth in the Philadelphia area fell this month from October but still showed expansion, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said Thursday.

  • The DoE said that underground supplies of natural gas increased 53 billion cubic feet to 3.282 trillion cubic feet. Supplies are down just 1% YoY.

  • Platinum futures reached $1,000 for the first time in over 25 years, and then settled lower, while gold continued its run to an 18 year high.

  • The World Gold Council reported that gold demand was up 16% through the first three quarters of 2005.

  • The European Commission said that the Euro-zone will grow by 1.3% this year, 1.9% in 2006, and 2.1% in 2007.

  • Mexican stocks rose to a record high close on Thursday

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

CIA camps row heats up in Europe

Senate Panel Does Not Extend Tax-Rate Cut

Big Oil may face a $5 billion levy

Document Says Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force
Has gold lost its war chest status?
Trends indicate that international central bank's store of gold could fall further in future as yields received from the yellow metal decline, but is there another argument for investing in gold?
Ultra-sensitive microscope reveals DNA processes
The novel device allows users to achieve the highest-resolution measurements ever, equivalent to the diameter of a single hydrogen atom, says Steven Block, who designed it with colleagues at Stanford University in California.

Quick Overview

  • US Consumer Price Index for October was up 0.2% vs. 0.0% expected and ex food and energy it was, as up an expected at 0.2% . YoY it was up 4.3%. Excluding food and energy prices were up 2.1% YoY.

  • EuroZone CPI for October at 0.3% as expected.

  • The Chinese government reportedly sold 20,000 tons of copper from its state reserves today after one of its traders disappeared while carrying a large copper short position.

  • U.S. business sales were up 0.6% in September and up 7.8% YoY. Inventories were up 0.5% in September.

  • The U.S. Treasury Department said foreign buys of US securities exceeded domestic purchase by 102 billion vs. 75 billion expected.

  • The DoE said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were down 2.2 million barrels last week to 321.4 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were down 900,000 barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were up 1.8 million barrels.

  • Gold futures climbed over $10 an ounce to close at a one-month high, while silver prices finished above $8 an ounce for the first time since December 2004 and platinum futures set records.

  • The U.K.'s unemployment rate for Q3 was 4.7%.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

French gold sales allows FX reserves diversification Strauss-Kahn declined to say in what currencies the BOF would invest the proceeds of its plans to sell up to 600 t of gold reserves over a five year period - a strategy which it said last year it had agreed with the French finance ministry.

She told the conference that the BOF's gold reserves amounted to 3 024 t, comprising 55% of its total gold and foreign exchange reserves or 3,7% of gross domestic product.
Reserve bank may up gold reserves - Mboweni The central bank is very comfortable holding these gold reserves because of the metal's war-chest qualities, because gold is no-one's liability and because it allows prudent diversification in the bank's total reserves," Mboweni said in the text of the speech.
Brazilian farmers' dreams dry up
The so-called "Drought Polygon" is a nearly 390,000-square-mile area that includes nine northeastern states, practically a third of Brazil. Rain is so infrequent that Brazilians joke that the first sign of drought is news of supermarket looting.
Specialists, who are not joking, say the scant rainfall, deforestation, overgrazing and unsustainable farming practices could make this region of 18 million people the world's largest new desert.
The fog of war: white phosphorus, Fallujah and some burning questions
The controversy has raged for 12 months. Ever since last November, when US forces battled to clear Fallujah of insurgents, there have been repeated claims that troops used "unusual" weapons in the assault that all but flattened the Iraqi city.

Quick Overview

  • Ben Bernanke, the president's chief economist, told senators Tuesday he'll continue the policies of Alan Greenspan if confirmed as Federal Reserve chairman and will make sure the central bank remains free of political influence.

  • Manufacturing growth in New York state rose in November, according to a monthly survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released on Tuesday.

  • The U.S. Commerce Department said that retail sales were down 0.1% in October, stronger than expected. Excluding autos, retail sales were up 0.9% on the month.

  • The U.S. producer price index rose 0.7% in October, while prices excluding food and energy fell 0.3%, the Labor Department said Tuesday.

  • The average U.S. retail price of diesel fuel fell for a third straight week, dropping 9.6 cents to $2.602 a gallon, the Department of Energy.

  • A copper trader for a secretive high-level Chinese government agency has disappeared. The position he left behind, rumored to be between 150,000 and 200,000 tons, was taken as a bet that copper would fall just as the industrial metal continued to make new highs.

  • The London Bullion Market Association expects gold to reach $550 per ounce by the middle of 2006. They anticipate the driving force to be a weaker US economy and strong demand from India. Because of jewelry demand gold usage was up 10% in the first six month of 05.

  • YoY China's industrial output increased 16.1 percent in October to 632 billion yuan (78 billion dollars).

  • Canada's manufacturing shipments were down 0.5% in September to C$51.6 billion.

  • YoY Consumer prices in the U.K. increased 2.3% in September.

  • GDP in the Euro zone was up 0.6% in the third quarter and up 1.5% YoY. For the EU-25, GDP was up 0.6% in the third quarter and up 1.6% YoY.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The United States is having little trouble funding its big current account gap, but the shortfall cannot expand forever , Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Monday.

  • European Central Bank policymakers issued warnings on inflationary dangers in the euro zone on Monday with two central bankers saying the ECB should raise interest rates before prices surge.

  • The International Sugar Organization expects world consumption to outpace production by one million tons in 2005-2006 and by two million tons in 2006-2007.

  • YoY Retail sales in the Euro zone were up 0.9% in September.

  • Overseas investment in Japanese equities fell for a second month in October, according to a government report yesterday

  • New motor vehicle sales in Canada were down 7.9% in September and down 0.5% YoY.

  • We are not finding gold as fast as we are mining it as an industry,'' said Glamis Chief Executive Kevin McArthur. "This is developing into a bit of a train wreck,'' prompting companies to consider more acquisitions to boost output, McArthur said.
Gold output to fall to 80-year low
South African gold output was likely to fall to an 80-year low of 300 tons in 2005 down from 346 tons in 2004, which was the lowest level since 1931, Andisa Securities gold analyst Dr Dave Davis said on Monday.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Senate Approves Plan to Limit Detainee Access to Courts The Senate endorsed a plan yesterday that would sharply limit suspected foreign terrorists' access to U.S. courts, an effort to overturn a landmark 2004 Supreme Court ruling that has allowed hundreds of detainees held by the military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to challenge their detentions.

Power Über Alles On Thursday November 10, the Republican-controlled US Senate voted 49 to 42 to overturn the US Supreme Court’s 2004 ruling that permits Guantanamo detainees to challenge their detentions. How dare the US Supreme Court defend the US Constitution and the civil liberties of Americans when we have terrorists to fight, argued the Republican senators. What are civil liberties, the Republicans asked rhetorically, but legal tricks that allow criminals and terrorists to escape.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Housing Market Cooling, Data Say
But since May, the sales prices for the development have fallen -- and units like the one the Edmonds bought are now being sold for $699,900. The Edmonds are facing the prospect of a $100,000 loss in value before they even walk through the front door.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Chart of the day

Quick Overview

  • DOW ends up 94 on Thursday after robust demand from overseas investors for U.S. government debt signaled confidence in the economy.

  • U.S. consumer sentiment rebounded this month from 74.4 to 79.2, according to the University of Michigan's monthly consumer sentiment index released Thursday

  • U.S. Jobless claims were up 2,000 last week to 326,000.

  • The U.S. trade shortfall grew to a record $66.1 billion in September, as crude oil prices surged and exports dropped by the most in four years. U.S. exports were down 2.6% to $105.2 billion while imports increased 2.4% to $171.3 billion, the Commerce Department reported Thursday

  • The USDA's 2005-2006 U.S. ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn increased from 2.220 to 2.319 billion bushels.
    Soybeans increased from 260 to 350 million bushels.
    Wheat remained at 530 million bushels.
    Sugar was lowered from 1.089 million to 667,000 short tons.
    Cotton increased from 6.40 to 6.50 million bales.

  • Assets of the nation's retail money market mutual funds rose by $805.4 million in the latest week to $827.95 billion, the Investment Company Institute said Thursday.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that underground supplies of natural gas were up 61 billion cubic feet at 3.229 trillion cubic feet. Supplies are now down 3% from a year ago.

  • Canada's exports were up 2.8% in September to C$39.8 billion, a new record high. Imports were up 1.4% at C$32.7 billion, also a record high.

  • Mexico’s Annualized inflation dropped to 3.05 percent at the end of October, its lowest rate since records began and just a shade higher than the midrange of the central bank's 2-4 percent 2005 target.

  • France's GDP was up 0.7% in the third quarter and up 1.7% YoY stronger than expected.

  • Australia's unemployment rate increased from 5.1% to 5.2% in October, the highest in seven months.

  • The unemployment rate in New Zealand dropped from 3.6% to 3.4% in the third quarter, a record low.

  • Japan's machinery orders were up 2.1% in the third quarter to 3.1 trillion yen, stronger than expected and the most in over four years.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. current account deficit is not sustainable but an adjustment need not be disorderly, provided the government and central bank deliver good policies, a top Federal Reserve policy-maker said on Wednesday.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were up 4.5 million barrels to 323.6 million barrels -- 700,000 barrels came from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were up 4.2 million barrels
    Supplies of Heating oil were down 1.5 million barrels

  • The Mortgage Bankers Association said its mortgage application index was up 2.3% last week to 661.3

  • In the U.K. consumer confidence fell to the lowest in at least 18 months in October as economic growth faltered and unemployment rose, the Nationwide Building Society survey showed.

  • The Conference Board said the index of leading indicators for Japan increased 0.4% in September to 99.7.

  • China is speeding up plans to allow local institutions to invest overseas, a move that could begin to release a portion of the billions of dollars of foreign currency now sitting in low-return Chinese bank deposits.

  • Industrial production in Brazil fell more than expected in September from August, suggesting that high interest rates took a toll on Latin America's largest economy in the third quarter.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Courtesy of we have added the S&P500 Bullish Percentage Chart

US National Debt by Presidential Term, 1976-2004

Quick Overview

  • Toll Brothers Inc., the largest U.S. builder of luxury homes, reduced next year's sales forecast, saying the housing market is weakening after a five-year boom.

  • Mexican gross fixed investment, a measure of spending on machinery, equipment and construction, soared in August as optimistic businessmen imported more tools than expected to churn out goods.

  • The confidence of U.S. consumers rose in the latest week, buoyed by lower gasoline prices, ABC News and the Washington Post said on Tuesday.

  • The U.S. and China agreed to trade limits on a range of clothing items for three years.

  • Brazil's agricultural exports totaled $36.2 billion in the first ten months of 2005, a new record high, helped by sales of soybeans, ethanol, coffee, sugar, and orange juice.

  • The British Retail Consortium said that retail sales in the U.K. were down 0.2% in the August to October quarter from a year ago.

  • The national average retail diesel fuel price continued to fall, dropping 17.8 cents to $2.698 a gallon, the Energy Department said.