Saturday, July 30, 2005

Economies of India and China will become larger than US: Expert
..The US is moving towards a service economy and away from manufacturing, leaving the country in a situation where it will not be able to produce its way out of debt," he said...
We have to pay interest or dividends or, in some way, ultimately give them a return on the assets they have bought. That means a claim on future American income and thus lower standards of living for our grandchildren. The second problem is that our financing requirements now soak up about 80 per cent of available world savings. Once we hit 100 per cent, there is no place to go," Prestowitz said

Friday, July 29, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. economy grew at a 3.4 percent annual pace from April through June, the ninth straight quarter exceeding 3 percent.

  • China's National Grain and Oil Information Center issued an estimate for this years Chinese Corn production at 128 mmt. versus 132 mmt. last year.

  • A 25% slump in house prices would wipe out $4.5 trillion of household wealth but wouldn't be as damaging as the Internet bust, according to Janet Yellen, president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank.

  • The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index increased from 96.0 to 96.5 in July

  • Canada's GDP was up 0.3% in May and up 2.8YoY.

  • France's unemployment rate fell from 10.2% to 10.1% in June, the first improvement in six months.

  • The unemployment rate in Japan dropped from 4.4% to 4.2% in June, the lowest in seven years. Consumer prices in June were down 0.5% YoY. Industrial production was up 1.5% in June. Household spending was down 1.4% in June.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Japanese develop 'female' android She can flutter her eyelids and move her hands like a human. She even appears to breathe.
General Is Said To Have Urged Use of Dogs
"It was a technique I had personally discussed with General Miller, when he was here" visiting the prison, testified Pappas,
US faces fresh challenge on farm subsidies
The US is the world’s third largest rice exporter. With costs higher than many of its big competitors, its rice sector is one of the largest recipients of US farm subsidies, receiving about $1.5bn (€1.2bn, £871m) a year. Some of the payments to farmers are similar to those ruled illegal in the WTO cotton case.

Quick Overview

  • The House of Representatives approved the controversial Central American Free Trade Agreement early Thursday after intense last-minute lobbying by the White House.

  • The USDA drought monitor shows severe to extreme drought conditions persisting in northern Illinois and northeast Missouri.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that underground supplies of natural gas increased 42 billion cubic feet last week to 2.381 trillion cubic feet.

  • Germany's unemployment rate improved from 11.7% to 11.6% in July.

  • Argentina's trade surplus narrowed in June to $692 million from $908 million in June 2004, the lowest surplus for any month in nearly four years, the Economy Ministry said on Thursday.

  • YoY Retail sales in Japan were up 3.1% in June.

  • ITALY’s shipowners have called for military protection following two attacks in a week on Italian vessels off the coast of Somalia.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Asia's 'surprising resilience'
The region is trading at 11.5 times earnings for this year, he added, with a dividend yield of more than 3 percent.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. durable goods orders were up 1.4% in June, stronger than expected -- the third monthly increase.

  • U.S. new home sales were at an annual rate of 1.374 million units in June, up 4.0% from May's pace and a new record high. YoY new home sales are up 7%.

  • A Cabinet-level official of the Chinese government said that China would "gradually" open its markets and import more than $1 trillion worth of goods from the United States over the next five years.

  • The U.S. DoE said that:
    Crude oil supplies were down 2.3 million barrels last week to 317.8 million barrels.
    Unleaded gasoline supplies were down 2.1 million barrels.
    Heating oil supplies were up 1.4 million barrels.

  • The Federal Reserve's Beige book said that economic activity expanded in all twelve districts in June and early July.

  • Overall for-hire trucking freight volumes fell 0.2% in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, American Trucking Associations said Tuesday.

  • Federal officials announced Wednesday they are trying to determine if there might be a third case of mad cow disease among the country's herds.

Has Greenspan Committed Fraud? The Dr. Ravi Batra Interview
The financial fraud is actually very serious fraud. It has resulted in almost $2 trillion worth of wastage as far as the average taxpayer is concerned...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Conflicts' costs may exceed $700 billion
..the costs of the war -- many multiples greater than what the White House had estimated in 2003 -- are throwing U.S. fiscal priorities out of balance. "It's dangerously irresponsible," Hagel said ..

Quick Overview

  • The Conference Board said Consumer confidence was softer than expected in July falling to 103.2 from a revised 106.2 in June.

  • Business confidence in Germany rose to a five-month high in July. The Ifo institute in Munich said its business confidence index rose to 95 from 93.3.

  • German consulting agency F.O. Licht raised their estimate of
    global sugar consumption this year (2004/05) by 600,000 tonnes while raising production by only 180,000 tonnes.

  • Some traders are starting to pay a bit more attention to weather in the Chinese Corn Belt because 40% of the corn growing area has received less than 50% of normal rains since June 1st.

  • The average retail price of diesel fuel fell for a second straight week, dropping 5 cents to $2.342 a gallon, the Department of Energy said.

  • U.S. sales of Class 8 trucks jumped 38.2% in June from year-ago levels, and reached their highest monthly total since December 1999, as fleets’ buying spree continued.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The US Navy...Made in China
China-Mart Takes Over
What US corporations and the free trade economists overlook is that giving Americans' jobs to foreigners raises foreign incomes and lowers American incomes. When credit cards and home equity lines are maxed out, there will be nothing to support the US consumer market. The American corporations who moved their capital and technology to China will have to find new customers.
GM crops created superweed, say scientists Unlike the results of the original trials, which were the subject of large-scale press briefings from scientists, the discovery of hybrid plants that could cause a serious problem to farmers has not been announced.
Melting Greenland glacier may hasten rise in sea level Measurements taken in 1988 and in 1996 show the glacier was moving at a rate of between 3.1 and 3.7 miles per year. The latest measurements taken this summer show it is now moving at 8.7 miles a year.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. self-serve regular gasoline pump prices slid 1 cent in the past two weeks to an average $2.30 a gallon, according to the most recent Lundberg survey of filling stations released Sunday.

  • Sales of existing homes rose at an annual rate of 7.33 million units in June, up 2.7% on the month and up 15% YoY.

  • The USDA's good to excellent crop rating for:
    Corn was 53%, down from 55% last week.
    Soybeans were 54%, up from 53% last week.
    Spring wheat was 70%, down from 75% last week.
    Cotton was 61%, up from 60% last week.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Iraq: This is now an unwinnable conflict The Duke of Wellington, warning hawkish politicians in Britain against ill-considered military intervention abroad, once said: "Great nations do not have small wars." He meant that supposedly limited conflicts can inflict terrible damage on powerful states. Having seen what a small war in Spain had done to Napoleon, he knew what he was talking about.
Japan's corporate debt below 100 tril. yen

The debt totaled 97 trillion yen (US$866 billion, euro724 billion) at the end of March, down 7 trillion yen (US$62.5 million, euro52.2 million) from a year earlier and down 24 percent from the peak in 1997, the business daily said, citing its own survey of 1,181 companies. The trend indicates companies are both repaying debts and increasing the amount of cash they have on hand, with one-third of the polled companies being completely debt free, the report said.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Two New Studies on Aspartame and Diet Drinks Confirm Source of Obesity, Cancer/Malignant Brain Tumor Epidemics
"This study confirmed the previous study by Dr. Trocho and co-workers, which also found the formaldehyde breakdown product of aspartame to be damaging to cellular DNA and that this damage was accumulative. The type of damage was a duplicate of that associated with cancers. Along with this most recent study, this means that drinking a single diet cola sweetened with aspartame every day could increase one's risk of developing a lymphoma or leukemia.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Quick Overview

  • China's currency rose about 2 percent against the U.S. dollar at the start of trading on Friday, a day after the government cut the yuan's link to the dollar in a move that could make Chinese exports more expensive and foreign assets cheaper for China to buy.

  • The USDA said that there were 10.402 million head of cattle on feed as of July 1st, up 2.7% from a year ago. June placements were up 7% from a year ago and marketing’s were down somewhat.

  • The USDA said that there were 70.5 million pounds of frozen bellies in storage on June 30th, up 90% from a year ago -- less than expected. Frozen pork totaled 492 million pounds, up 32% from a year ago

  • The USDA said that there were 1.55 billion pounds of frozen orange juice concentrate in storage, down 25% from a year ago.

  • The Italian economy will shrink marginally this year for the first time since 1993 and expand by slightly more than 1 percent in 2006, Bank of Italy Governor Antonio Fazio said on Friday.

  • GDP in the U.K. was up 1.7% in the second quarter from a year ago, the slowest growth in twelve years.

  • Consumer prices in Canada were up 1.7% in June from a year ago, less than expected. Retail sales were down 1.3% in May to C$30.4 billion.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

  • Greenspan said the U.S. central bank thinks the U.S. economy is on a "firm footing" and expects inflation to stay tame, but he made it clear the Fed isn't finished with the campaign of interest-rate increases it began in 2004.

  • The DoE said that crude oil supplies were down 900,000 barrels last week. Supplies of unleaded gasoline were down 1.3 million barrels and heating oil supplies were up 1.5 million barrels.

  • Argentina's economy grew 10.5 percent in May compared with the same month last year.

  • Canada's composite index of leading indicators increased 0.3%

  • Freight rates for coal and iron ore fell for a third consecutive week, reaching their lowest level in almost two years as global fleet expands.

  • An index of leading economic indicators for Australia increased 0.4%

  • YoY China's GDP increased 9.5% in the second quarter.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

  • The level of housing starts was unchanged in June from May’s rate, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday

  • Industrial production in the Euro zone was down 0.3% in May after a 0.7% gain in April.

  • The Chilean stock market closed at record highs on Tuesday, led by energy and retail sectors.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Treasury International Capital Data for April

Foreign purchases of domestic securities reached $53.6 billion on a net basis in April, relative to $58.9 billion during the previous month

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Austria Shows Sick German Cousin the Way AheadIn a quiet way, Austria has been consistently outperforming its close cultural and linguistic neighbor

Friday, July 15, 2005

First oil ETF's debut is set and expected to launch later this month in London

Quick Overview

  • Production at U.S. factories, mines and utilities rose 0.9% in June, twice as much as expected, the Federal Reserve said Friday.

  • The producer price index for June was unchanged from May, while prices excluding food and energy fell 0.1%, the Labor Department said Friday.

  • The University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for July rose to 96.5, more than expected.

  • Manufacturing in New York state rose for the second straight month in July, according to a monthly survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released Friday.

  • Business inventories rose 0.1% in May, the Commerce Department said Friday.

  • Department store sales in Tokyo fell 1.1% in June. This is the 40th decline in 43 months.

  • Zhu Chenghu, a major general in the Peoples Liberation Army, said today that if the U.S. attacked China over Taiwan, there would be no option but nuclear.

  • European Central Banker Wellink was talking tough this morning. He says cutting rates "not on my mind"

  • Diesel prices continued a record-breaking climb, with prices hitting a fresh record of $2.408 a gallon for the week ending July 11.

  • The Green Coffee Association said that U.S. coffee stocks were up 72,290 bags in June to 5.94 million bags. December coffee was down .0295 to $1.0985.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

  • Retail sales jumped 1.7% in June and up 9.6% YoY, while the CPI is flat in June and up 2.5% YoY.

  • Calm consumer price inflation in June did little to change the market outlook for further U.S. interest rate increases at the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

  • Several private meteorologists are calling for extremely hot weather over the next two weeks in the Midwest, which could tax developing crops.

  • Green coffee imports by the 25 European Union countries, rose 1.9% in 2004 to 47.85 million 60-kilogram bags, the European Coffee Federation, or the ECF, said in a report Wednesday.

  • China's Money Supply Surges as Foreign Reserves Swell
    M2, which includes cash and all deposits, rose 15.7 percent from a year earlier

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Gold prices to rise on China growth
Mine production fell 4.4 percent last year, according to GFMS.
Citigroup said on May 19 the gold price this year will surpass the 16-year high reached in December. Fat Prophets, a privately owned financial-advisory company in Sydney, said yesterday gold may rise to $850 an ounce in as little as three years. By contrast, Barclays Capital forecast on June 16 the metal will drop to $400 or lower by year-end, the first annual decline since 2000.

Quick Overview

  • Prices of imported goods rose 1% in June, following a drop in May that was the year’s only decline, the Labor Department said Wednesday.

  • Trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed to $55.3 billion in May on record exports and a decline in oil prices.

  • The Federal Reserve is likely to continue tightening monetary policy at a measured pace, but it depends on how the economy fares, the president of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.

  • The DoE said that crude oil supplies were down 3.9 million barrels last week to 324.9 million barrels. Unleaded gasoline supplies were down 2.7 million barrels and heating oil supplies were up 1.6 million barrels.

  • The International Energy Agency said that China's oil consumption will grow 7% next year to 7.3 million barrels per day.

  • The International Monetary Fund's board on Wednesday gave the go-ahead to start talks with Argentina on a new economic program, an IMF source said.

  • Canada's exports were down 0.5% in May while imports were up 2.3%.

  • Bovine tuberculosis has been discovered in a cattle herd on the border with Canada -- the first finding in Minnesota since 1971 -- and will lead to the destruction of about 900 animals, state officials said Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The No-Think Nation Each month in the 21st century the government's own statistics tell the tale of the US winding down as a superpower and devolving into a third world country. Not a single net new high tech or manufacturing job has been created for native-born Americans in the 21st century..

..As my free market friends are found of saying, "the market works." It certainly does. The market is working to close down the great American middle class and to dismantle the ladders of upward mobility..

Quick Overview

  • Economists raised their U.S. economic growth forecasts for this year's second half and said they expect the Federal Reserve to lift its interest rate target more as a result, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

  • The US Budget deficit is declining. Economic growth and increasing corporate and individual tax revenues are expected to erase as much as 25% of the deficit the government had projected this year.

  • Hurricane Dennis is a disappointment for farmers in central and northern Illinois who were hoping for some rain from the storm. The latest 6 to 10 day forecast from the National Weather Service is calling for above average temperatures and below average precipitation for most of the Midwestern U.S.

  • European regulators raided Intel Corp. offices in Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy on Tuesday, two weeks after rival U.S. chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices filed lawsuits in Japan and the United States claiming Intel violated antitrust rules.

  • BP Plc.'s Thunder Horse platform -- the brightest short-term prospect for raising U.S. oil production -- is tilting 20 to 30 degrees after Hurricane Dennis hit the Gulf of Mexico, but the company said it's too early to tell whether initial output will be delayed.

  • The USDA's 2005-2006 U.S. ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn was reduced from 2.54 to 2.24 billion bushels.
    Soybeans were reduced from 255 to 210 million bushels.
    Wheat was increased from 619 to 700 million bushels.
    Sugar was increased from 759,000 to 904,000 tons.
    Cotton was increased from 6.20 to 6.70 million bales.

  • The USDA's 2005-2006 world ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn was reduced from 121 to 114 million tons.
    Soybeans were reduced from 52 to 51 million tons.
    Wheat was reduced from 144 to 143 million tons.
    Cotton was increased from 44 to 49 million bales.

  • The USDA reduced the 2004-2005 estimate of the Florida orange crop from 151 to 150 million boxes and reduced the estimated juice yield from 1.60 to 1.58 gallons per box at 42.0 degrees Brix.

  • The International Coffee Organization's June Coffee Report lowered its estimate of world coffee production in 2005-2006 from 106 to 105 million (60-kg) bags. They also lowered the 2004-2005 estimation of the world coffee crop from 114 to 110.5 million bags. World consumption for 2004 was projected at 114.4 million bags.

  • The International Coffee Organization lowered its estimate of Vietnam's 2005-2006 coffee production from 13.0 to 11.0 million (60-kg) bags.

  • YoY Consumer prices in the U.K. were up 2.0% , the highest in seven years.

  • Japan's government maintained its view on the economy on Tuesday, saying it saw signs that weakness was receding but that higher oil prices and lingering high-tech inventories were a worry.

Monday, July 11, 2005

China’s trade surplus grows fivefold in June
China’s trade surplus for June swelled five-fold from a year earlier as exports grew much faster than imports, offering more ammunition for foreign critics who argue that Beijing should let the yuan rise in value.
  • Overall trucking freight volumes rose 0.8% in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, the first increase in four months, American Trucking Associations said late Friday.

  • U.S. railroads moved 8.69 million carloads and 5.67 million intermodal loads, up 1.7 percent and 6.2 percent from a year ago.

  • Canada's housing starts were up 7.2% from a month ago -- the highest rate this year.

  • Mexico recovered 47,360 formal jobs in June, returning its employment to the levels of December 2000, when President Vicente Fox took office and before several years of economic stagnation set in.

  • Starting on Oct 9, the Chicago Board of Trade futures exchange will offer trading on the electronic trading platform from 6 p.m. CDT (1900 EDT/2300 GMT) to 4 p.m. CDT the following day. The trading day currently starts at 7 p.m. CDT.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Quick Overview

  • Inventories at U.S. wholesalers rose 0.1% in May, the Commerce Department said Friday, the 16th straight rise in stockpiles.

  • The number of unemployed in the United States fell in June as employers hired 146,000 workers, the Labor Department said Friday, pushing the overall unemployment rate down to 5%, its lowest in nearly four years.

  • Farmers in the eastern half of the Midwestern U.S. are hoping to get some rain out of Hurricane Dennis. According to the current forecast, Dennis is taking the same track as Hurricane Ivan did last fall.

  • G8 members said that they decided to end export subsidies for farm products. Conveniently, no date was set.

  • London copper inventories now stand at 29,150 tons . Down from 49,375 tons at the beginning of the year.

  • Canada's unemployment rate improved from 6.8% to 6.7% in June,

  • The Conference Board said that the leading economic index for Japan was down 0.2% in May to 98.0.

  • The amount of freight hauled by intermodal rail cars rose 4% in June, according to a report by the Association of American Railroads.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The only category of severity which remains is “exceptional”—and the region may be headed in that direction unless much needed rains arrive soon.

Quick Overview

  • First-time claims for state unemployment benefits rose by 7,000 to 319,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. The gain was in line with expectations.

  • In The Latest AAII Poll Bullish sentiment fell to 43.01% from 45.89%, the bearish sentiment fell to 20.43% from 29.45% during the previous week. The percentage of investors who described themselves as neutral on the stock market rose to 36.56% from 24.66%.

  • Drought affecting the agriculturally important state of Illinois deepened to extreme levels last week, according to a national summary issued Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Weather Service and National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Neb.

  • Intermodal trailer and container volumes were up 6.9%, and carload freight was up 0.7% for the week ended July 2, in comparison with the corresponding week last year, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday.

  • There is confusion over the potential path of Hurricane Dennis, and if it would bring beneficial rains to parched eastern Midwest growing areas, analysts said. The U.S. corn crop is in its yield-determining pollination stage, and rains are critically needed in key producer Illinois.

  • Australia's unemployment rate dropped from 5.1% to 5.0% in June, the lowest in 29 years.

  • The DOE said that crude oil supplies were down 3.6 million barrels last week to 324.9 million barrels. Unleaded gasoline supplies were down 900,000 barrels and heating oil supplies were up 2.7 million barrels. The DOE said that underground supplies of natural gas were up 63 billion cubic feet last week at 2.186 trillion cubic feet.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

FACTBOX-Leading indicators of world economic activity

-- India and China topped a global survey of consumer confidence conducted between April and May across 38 countries. The ACNielsen twice-yearly survey of some 21,000 people showed 88 pct of Indians and 80 pct of Chinese were optimistic about the economic outlook over the next year. This contrasted with 35 pct of North Americans and 29 pct of Europeans.
Prospects for an extended round of heat begin this weekend, suggesting the current dry pattern has legs and is likely to get worse as the mercury rises.
US citizens back action to curb greenhouse emissions

94 per cent of respondents said the US should make efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions, in line with other developed nations.

Quick Overview

  • The price of crude oil topped $60 in morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange as Tropical Storm Cindy struck the Louisiana coast, heightening supply fears, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday

  • The ISM index of U.S. service activity increased from 58.5 to 62.2 in June, stronger than expected

  • Brazil's Coffee Roasters Association said that coffee consumption in Brazil was up 12% in 2004-2005 to 15.5 million (60-kg.) bags.

  • Factory production in the U.K. was unchanged in May and down 1.7% YoY.

  • An index of retail sales in the Euro zone dropped from 50.1 to 49.2 in June.

  • An index of leading indicators for Japan improved from 31.8 to 40.0 in May.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Past 47 days: Rainfall under 1"; 17% normal
Never in 135 years of weather observations has the period from May 20 through July 6 seen less rain in Chicago. The past 47 days—a period over which 5.72” has fallen (on average) since 1871—hasn’t even managed an inch of rain. The 0.97” on the books is just 17% of the long term average and the least rain to fall in that period since records began.

Quick Overview

  • New auto sales in Australia rose 21.7% to 101,907
    vehicles in June from May, industry data published Tuesday by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries show.

  • U.S. factory orders were up 2.9% in May, after gaining 0.7% in April.

  • Good week for U.S. railroads as Carriers boost carloads 0.6 percent, intermodal loads 4.4 percent.

  • The Palmer drought map for the U.S. shows moderate to extreme drought conditions from east Texas up through Illinois and into Michigan. There are also concerns that Tropical Storm Cindy could push Asian soy rust farther north into soybean country.

  • Today’s USDA's good to excellent crop rating for:
    Corn was 62%, down from 65% a week ago.
    Soybeans were 58%, down from 59% a week ago.
    Spring wheat was 81%, up from 77% a week ago.
    Cotton was 57%, down from 62% a week ago.

  • Retail sales in the Euro zone were up 1.1% in May and up 2.0% from a year ago.

  • Mexican consumer confidence rose 1.0 percent in June from May, breaking a run of three straight months of declines, the government said on Monday.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Harry Browne comments on the Fourth of July

It was truly unique — the first nation in all of history in which the individual was considered more important than the government, and the government was tied down by a written Constitution.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The ISM (Institute for Supply Management) index rose to 53.8% in June from 51.4% in May. Prices paid fell to 50.5% from 58.0% in May, the lowest since February 2002.

  • U.S. stock mutual funds saw weekly net outflows of $74 million in the week ended June 29, as many managers reported the heaviest redemptions in more than two years, according to AMG Data Services.

  • Spending on construction projects fell in May for a third straight month, reflecting declines in the building of homes, offices and shopping malls. YoY, U.S. construction spending is up 9.7%.

  • The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment survey increased from 86.9 to 96.0 in June, stronger than expected.

  • Business confidence among Japanese companies grew in the three months to June, a Bank of Japan survey showed on Friday, a sign that healthy domestic demand and reduced inventories were helping them ride out flagging exports

  • Manufacturing activity in the U.K. improved from 47 to 49.6 in June.

  • The unemployment rate in the Euro-zone and in the EU-25 b improved from 8.9% to 8.8% in May.

  • As of May, the Shanghai Port handled $131.9 billion in foreign trade, up 25 percent YoY.

  • Australia’s Retail sales were up 0.9% in May, stronger than expected.