Monday, October 31, 2005

Gold May Rise as Demand Outpaces Mining Output, Survey Shows
..A Beijing jeweler with annual revenue of $100 million reported gold sales jumped 15 percent this year, with some products up 30 percent, Lassonde said...
Spending up, income up, factories strong

Quick Overview

  • The European Union's latest offer to cut farm import tariffs has failed to break a deadlock among members of the World Trade Organization, who are seeking to hammer out a global trade treaty by December, a senior trade official said Monday.

  • U.S. personal income was up 1.7% in September after a 0.9% drop in August.

  • US Consumer spending was up 0.5%.

  • The National Association of Purchasing Management's Chicago index of business activity increased from 60.5 to 62.9 in October, stronger than expected.

  • Canada's GDP was up 0.5% in August and up 2.7% YoY, stronger than expected.

  • Japans unemployment rate was down 0.1% in September to 4.2%, the lowest level in seven years.

  • YoY Japans consumer price index was down 0 .3% in September.

  • Japan is expected to ease the ban on U.S. beef imports as early as the end of 2005, according to a media report Sunday. "Based on the assumption that all precautions are taken as requested, we consider the difference in risk between U.S. and Japanese beef to be small," said panel chairman Yasuhiro Yoshikawa.

  • Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX) bid $9.2 billion for rival Placer Dome Inc. (PDG), a deal that would create one of the world's biggest gold miners with annual output of 8.3 or 8.4 million ounces.

  • The Panama Canal Authority’s largest customers are forecasting a 12% increase in traffic moving between Asia and the US east coast in 2006 as trade between the US and China shows no sign of slowing.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Bank of Japan Says Deflation to End This Fiscal Year; Policy Shift Looms
will end more than seven years of deflation this fiscal year, the central bank said, increasing the prospects it will raise interest rates from almost zero.
Satellite data reveals Beijing as air pollution capital of world
Alarm about the perilous state of the environment has gathered pace in recent years. China is the world's second-largest producer of greenhouse gases, and the World Bank has warned it is home to 16 of the planet's 20 most air-polluted cities.
Olive oil 'cuts cancer risk'
Scientists at the University of Ulster found a mixture of compounds, called phenols, extracted from virgin olive oil could offer protection against colon cancer, the second highest cause of cancer fatalities in the US.
What's Off Virginia? 'There's No Guarantee'
Lurking off Virginia are tens of thousands of mustard gas shells and hundreds of tons of radioactive waste in at least five ocean dump zones created by the Army decades ago.
No irrational exuberance as Greenspan departs
But the flipside of the strong growth, which has sucked in imports and capital from around the world, is a giant current account deficit now heading for an unprecedented £800bn, or 6.5% of gross domestic product. Mr Greenspan stands accused of allowing the dotcom bubble to inflate so far in the late 1990s that it burst spectacularly, at which point he slashed interest rates and allow another bubble - in housing - to inflate.

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Indictment
Voluntary Green Power Purchasing up 1000 Percent in 5 Years
Green power currently accounts for about 2 percent of America’s electricity supply, but voluntary purchasing of renewable energy is accelerating development of new renewable energy sources. The report, from DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), "Green Power Marketing in the United States: A Status Report," shows that renewable generating capacity in the United States installed to meet voluntary green power purchasing soared from 167 MW in 2000 to more than 2,200 MW by the end of 2004.
OECD warns on deteriorating US deficits
It warned that the continued deterioration of the US current account deficit posed a risk to the US and to the global economy, at a time when the US deficit has risen above 6 per cent of gross domestic product and is forecast to rise to 7 per cent of GDP next year.

Quick Overview

    • U.S. consumer sentiment fell in October to the lowest level in 13 years, the University of Michigan reported Friday in its monthly consumer sentiment index.

    • The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.8% in the third quarter, an increase from the second quarter’s 3.3%, the Commerce Department said Friday.

    • Surface trade amid the United States, Canada and Mexico rose 12.3% in August from a year earlier to a total of $60.2 billion, the highest monthly level ever recorded, the Department of Transportation reported Thursday.

    • The core rate of U.S. personal consumption expenditures, increased at an annual rate of 1.3% in the third quarter, down from 1.7% in the second quarter and less than expected.

    • Mexico's central bank pushed interest rates lower for a third straight month on Friday to help boost a struggling economy.

    • Japan's household spending was down 0.2% in September and Industrial production was up 0.2% -- less than expected.

    Thursday, October 27, 2005

    Barrick Gold profit triples
    The company, Canada's biggest gold producer, said it remains on track to meet its full-year guidance. It is forecasting production of between 5.4 million and 5.5 million ounces of gold, at total cash costs of about $225 per ounce.
    Bernanke Appointment Significant for Gold
    Lassonde predicted that there will be a slowdown in the U.S. economy, which will motivate the Fed to become "commodative," which will be good for gold. Meanwhile, he noted, "China continues to defy expectation" in terms of demand.
    Gold "supply continues to be challenged," Lassonde forecast as the production of Newmont and other international gold mining companies is down. As a result, he predicted the gold price will reach $525 an ounce before the beginning of next year.

    Quick Overview

    • The U.S. Commerce Department said that durable goods orders were down 2.1% in September, weaker than expected. Excluding transportation, orders were down 1.0% on the month.

    • U.S. new home sales rose 2.1% in September (an annual rate of 1.222 million units) , turning around a decline the previous month, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. So far this year, new home sales are up 6.4% YoY.

    • U.S. jobless claims were down 28,000 last week to 328,000.

    • U.S. monthly retail sales of Class 8 trucks rose by 16.3% over last September’s level to 21,677 units, YoY the 23rd straight monthly increase.

    • Exxon Mobil earned a record high $9.92 billion in the third quarter, this is up $5.68 billion YoY.

    • Soaring oil prices and downstream divestments propelled Royal Dutch Shell’s earnings up 68% in the third quarter to $7.37bn, ahead of expectations.

    • The U.S. Census Bureau said that 133.2 million bushels of soybeans were crushed in September, 2% more than last month. Soybean oil stocks totaled 1.69 billion pounds, down 2% from last month.

    • French President Jacques Chirac threatened to derail international trade talks by ruling out further cuts in European Union farm subsidies and tariffs.

    • U.S. cotton mill use dropped from an annual rate of 6.00 to 5.73 million bales in September.

    • The U.S. Department of Energy said that underground supplies of natural gas were up 77 billion cubic feet last week to 3.139 trillion cubic feet. Supplies are down 3% YoY.

    • New Zealand increased its key interest rate from 6.75% to 7.00%.

    • Brazil's central bank on Thursday said it saw a benign inflation scenario with only 'transitory' price pressures and raised market expectations it would continue its current pace of interest rate cuts.
    Forget Oil -- India's Bigger Problem Is Water
    India produces 15 percent of its food and meets 80 percent of its household needs by ``mining'' its fast-depleting groundwater. By 2025, three out of five aquifers in India will be in critical condition, the World Bank said in a recent study.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    US nuke policy rethink prompts physicist protest
    The underlying principle of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is that in exchange for other countries forgoing the development of nuclear weapons, the nuclear weapon states will pursue nuclear disarmament. Instead, this new U.S. policy conveys a clear message to the 182 non-nuclear weapon states that the United States is moving strongly away from disarmament, and is in fact prepared to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear adversaries.
    Uranium price renews interest in Ariz. mines
    After languishing at less than $10 per pound for almost 20 years, the price of uranium has jumped to $33 per pound and some predict it will reach $40.
    The price is being boosted by a renewed interest in nuclear power, particularly in India and China, where more than a dozen new nuclear power plants are planned.

    Quick Overview

    • The amount of goods transported across U.S. borders in trade with North American Free Trade partners Canada and Mexico set a new record in 2004, exceeding a previous high set in 2000, the Department of Transportation said Tuesday.

    • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
      Crude oil supplies were up 4.4 million barrels to 316.4 million barrels.
    • Unleaded gasoline supplies were up 200,000 barrels
      Heating oil supplies were down 900,000 barrels.

    • YoY Consumer prices in Australia were up 3.0% in the third quarter. The core rate was up 2.0% YoY

    • Japan's exports improved 8.8% in September to a new record high, while imports rose 17%.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    Quick Overview

    • UPS Inc. plans to stop shipping cigarettes to U.S. consumers on Nov. 21 after state attorneys general said the delivery may aid illegal sales, news services reported Tuesday.

    • The Conference Board said the consumer confidence index dropped from 87.5 to 85.0 in October, more than expected.

    • U.S. existing home sales were at an annual rate of 7.28 million units in September, unchanged from August's pace.

    • YoY Consumer prices in Canada were up 3.4% in September, up from a 2.6% gain in August and the largest increase in over two years. Excluding energy, consumer prices were up 1.6% YoY.

    • Business confidence in Germany increased from 96.0 to 98.7 in October, the highest in five years.

    • YoY South Korea's GDP was up 4.4% in the third quarter, stronger than expected.

    • The Bank of India increased its key interest rate from 5.00% to 5.25%, they expect the economy to grow 7.5% in the current fiscal year.

    • YoY Mexico's economy grew by 4.5 percent in August.

    Monday, October 24, 2005

    We have added a new page covering International stock recommendations

    Quick Overview

    • Wall Street made strong gains today as Ben Bernanke was selected as new chairman of the US Federal Reserve. The market also rose because of solid earnings and a continuing softening in oil prices.

    • Mexican consumer prices rose 0.19 percent in the first half of October, much less than expected, giving the central bank more room to cut interest rates when it meets at the end of this week.

    • An influential economist and adviser to China's central bank said on Monday that an appreciation in the yuan was unavoidable and that he expected further changes in the country's currency policy.

    Friday, October 21, 2005

    Quick Overview

    • Yield curve analysis shows the likelihood of a U.S. recession is greater than it was a year ago but remains low, a senior vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said on Friday.

    • Technology shares rose on Friday, helped by better-than-expected earnings from Google Inc., while the blue-chip Dow fell, after Caterpillar Inc. cut its profit outlook.

    • The USDA said that on September 30, there were 1.24 billion pounds of frozen orange juice in U.S. cold storage, down 24% from a year ago.

    • The USDA said that on September 30th, there were 13.99 million pounds of frozen bellies in storage, up 23% YoY. Frozen pork totaled 427 million pounds, up 3% YoY.

    • The Chocolate Manufacturers Association said that U.S. cocoa grindings totaled 104,470 tons in the third quarter, up slightly YoY.

    • Mexican retail sales rose 5.6 percent in August, the government said on Friday, as consumers breathed some life into an otherwise tepid economy.

    • GDP in the U.K. was up 0 .4% in the third quarter and up 1.6% YoY.

    • Canada's retail sales were down 0.3% in August. YoY retail sales were up 7.3%.

    • Japan's service industries picked up 1.7% in August, more than expected. Suggesting that consumer spending remained a strong driver of economic growth thanks to higher incomes and better employment conditions.

    • Assets of the nation's retail money market mutual funds rose by $6.61 billion in the latest week to $828.28 billion, the Investment Company Institute said.

    Thursday, October 20, 2005

    Quick Overview

    • The index of U.S. leading economic indicators fell 0.7% in September for a third straight month on aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina and continued high fuel costs, the Conference Board reported Thursday.

    • The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's regional index of activity in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region increased from 2.2 to 17.3 in September, more than expected. Inflation watchers were worried about the prices paid index which advanced to its highest level in almost 25 years.

    • The U.S. DoE said that underground natural gas supplies were up 75 billion cubic feet last week to 3.062 trillion cubic feet, assisted by mild temperatures across the U.S. Supplies are down 5% YoY.

    • Retail sales in the U.K. were up 0.7% in September and also up 0.7% from a year ago, stronger than expected.

    • Argentina's economy grew 8.9 percent in August compared with a year earlier, the Economy Ministry said on Thursday, pointing to a third straight year of vigorous growth after a deep recession.

    • Google Inc. Posted a third-quarter profit seven times higher than a year ago, driven by the moneymaking competence of its Internet-leading search engine.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2005

    Waiting for the lights to go out
    We've taken the past 200 years of prosperity for granted. Humanity's progress is stalling, we are facing a new era of decay, and nobody is clever enough to fix it. Is the future really that black, asks Bryan Appleyard
    Bush tax commission prepares largest tax overhaul since 1986
    China tightens stranglehold on Tibet's monasteries: report

    Beijing began "patriotic education" in Tibet's monasteries and nunneries from 1996 in an effort to make Tibetans renounce their allegiance to the Dalai Lama, whom the Tibetans regard as a god.

    Quick Overview

    • Stocks soared Wednesday, after results from banking companies including Dow component JP Morgan Chase & Co. signaled a strong quarterly earnings period. The Dow-Jones industrials gained 128 points and the S&P 500 had its largest point gain in almost six months. A sharp drop in oil prices and a reassuring assessment of the economy helped investors overcome their disappointment over Intel Corp.'s earnings and troubling sales forecasts.

    • U.S. Housing starts rose 3.4% in September, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

    • The U.S. Federal Reserve's Beige Book said that most districts were reporting their economic activity as being "moderate or gradual."

    • The Mortgage Bankers Association said its index of mortgage loan application volume for the week ended Oct. 14 increased 6.1 percent to 737.5, reversing direction after falling for three successive weeks.

    • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
      Crude oil supplies were up 5.6 million barrels last week to 312.0 million barrels.
      Unleaded gasoline supplies were up 2.9 million barrels
      Heating oil supplies were down 600,000 barrels.

    • Thailand's central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point, more than predicted.

    • Wholesale sales in Canada were up 0.7% in August, excluding autos sales declined 0.6%.

    • Japanese stocks fell for a sixth day as investors took a wait-and-see attitude ahead of the third-quarter earnings season.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    U.S. Labor Is in Retreat as Global Forces Squeeze Pay and Benefits
    Workers at auto parts maker Delphi Corp. will be asked this week to take a two-thirds pay cut. It's one of the most drastic wage concessions ever sought from unionized employees
    Producer Prices Rise By Most in 15 Yrs

    Quick Overview

    • Core U.S. inflation has been well contained despite sharp rises in energy prices but the Federal Reserve must ensure that price pressures do not get out of control, Fed officials said on Tuesday.

    • Bush Tax Panel Says It Will Recommend Simplified Income Tax

    • The Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest rate to 3% and said more increases will be needed to control inflation. Canada's composite index of leading indicators was up 0.3% in September and sales at large retailers were down 0.5% in August.

    • U.K. annual rate of consumer-price increases rose to 2.5 percent from August's 2.4%, the fourth straight increase.

    • The U.S. Minerals Management Service said that 65% of oil production and 54% of natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico remains closed.

    • The U.S. Treasury said that net foreign purchases of long-term securities totalled $91.3 billion in August, better than expected.

    • China could become the world leader in wind power, generating up to 1,000 GW (1m MW), according to a Greenpeace report released in Hong Kong this week.

    Monday, October 17, 2005

    Chart of the day

    The Percent of ETF's (Exchange Traded Funds) on our list of 317 funds that are up in the last 20 weeks.

    Quick Overview

    • The New York Federal Reserve's manufacturing index dropped from 15.58 to 12.08 in October, weaker than expected.

    • Wilma, the 21st named Atlantic storm this season, formed today over the Caribbean Sea, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The storm is on a track that will see it enter the Gulf in four days.

    • The Florida Citrus Processors said there are 106.2 million gallons of frozen concentrated orange juice in inventory on October 8th, 30% less than a year ago.

    • Bank of Japan believes deflation to end this year.

    • The Green Coffee Association said that U.S. coffee stocks were down 274,908 bags at 5.66 million bags.

    • London inventories of copper are at 65,700 tons.

    • With firms increasingly concerned about business conditions in Australia the NAB index fell to 13.1 from 14.2 in the second quarter. This is down from a recent peak of 20 in the second quarter of 2004.

    • GM reached a deal with the United Auto Workers union to cut employees health-care costs.

    • The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the government's appeal aimed at reinstating a potential $280 billion penalty in its landmark racketeering case against cigarette makers. Altria, a Dow component, rose $4.30, or 6.1%, to $74.96.

    Sunday, October 16, 2005

    Sorry about the delay in updating this weekend. It took a bit longer than I had expected to hike up Mt. San Jacinto (10834 ft). Everything should be up-to-date by midnight Sunday San Diego time.

    Quick Overview

    • Consumer inflation made its biggest jump in 25 years in September after hurricane-related supply disruptions sent energy prices soaring

    • The University of Michigan's preliminary October index of consumer sentiment fell to 75.4, below the final September reading of 76.9 and below Wall Street's median forecast of an increase to 80.0.

    • The U.S. government has a $318.6 billion deficit for fiscal 2005

    • The U.S. Commerce Department said that retail sales were up 0.2% in September, less than expected.

    • U.S. industrial production was down 1.3% in September, the biggest drop in 23 years, blamed largely on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

    • The National Oilseed Processors Association said that 127.1 million bushels of soybeans were crushed in September.

    • Refco Is Shutting Biggest Unit and SEC Bars Withdrawals.

    Thursday, October 13, 2005

    World Temperatures Keep Rising With a Hot 2005
    New international climate data show that 2005 is on track to be the hottest year on record, continuing a 25-year trend of rising global temperatures.
    Report Says U.S. Reduces Protection of Waters, Wetlands
    In the past four years, the United States has drastically cut back on its protection of waterways and wetlands, whose erosion was cited as a factor in the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, according to a report issued Wednesday.

    Quick Overview

    • The Commerce Department said the August trade gap grew 1.8 percent to $59.0 billion, just below economists' forecasts of $59.5 billion. Record imports of $167.2 billion easily overwhelmed record exports of $108.2 billion.

    • Import prices rose 2.3 percent after a 1.2 percent gain in August, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The increase excluding oil was the largest since record-keeping started in January 1989 because of increases in natural gas prices.

    • First-time claims for unemployment benefits fell by 2,000 to 389,000 in the week ending Oct. 8, the Labor Department said Thursday.

    • Refco Inc. (RFX) reeling from the disclosure that its chief executive officer hid unpaid debts, barred clients from withdrawing funds saying that one of its units doesn't have enough liquidity to keep doing business.

    • Canada and Mexico are increasing their allegations the U.S. is breaching the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement to protect domestic producers.

    • Italian industrial production in August rose 1.3% -- three times more than forecast by economists.

    • GDP in the Euro zone was up 0.3% in the second quarter and up 1.1% YoY.

    • Canada's exports in August were up 1.5%

    • Statistics South Africa said that YoY gold mine production was down 3.9% in June to August.

    • The unemployment rate in Australia increased from 5.0 to 5.1%

    • A Crisis could be threatening for world shipbuilders investment banker Morgan Stanley warned that overcapacity in the industry could be as much as 30% by 2008.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    Tax panel seeks cap on break for homeowners
    The president's panel on tax reform is pushing for a cap on the mortgage interest tax deduction, long considered one of the country's untouchable tax breaks.

    Quick Overview

    • The yield curve has been a good predictor of recessions in the United States over many years and probably still is, according to a report issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

    • Major trade powers are edging closer on farm market reforms, but ministers said Wednesday that plenty of work remains if WTO members are to reach a wide-ranging agreement by the end of the year.

    • It all depends how cold it gets, but the DOE prognosticates that homes heated primarily by natural gas will have to spend about 48% more to keep warm this winter. Homes heating with heating oil will spend 32% more.

    • U.S. mortgage applications fell for a third consecutive week last week as interest rates on 30-year home loans climbed to the highest levels since late March, an industry trade group said on Wednesday.

    • Today’s Soybean futures were propelled higher by a smaller-than-expected production forecast from the USDA. The government estimates soybean production at 2.967 billion bushels, higher than the 2.856 billion USDA estimated from September, but lower than the average analyst estimate of 3.006 billion bushels. November soybeans jumped 25 1/2 cents to $5.89.

    • The USDA pegged corn production at 10.857 billion bushels, in line with the average analysts' estimate of 10.862 billion but above the 10.639 billion estimated in September. Ending stocks were projected at 2.220 billion bushels, a 141 million bushel increase from the previous USDA report.
      The USDA projected the 2005-06 corn yield at 146.1 bushels an acre, up from the 143.2 bushels estimated in the prior report.

    • Today’s USDA production estimates are:
      Corn was increased from 10.639 to 10.857 billion bushels.
      Soybeans were increased from 2.856 to 2.967 billion bushels.
      Wheat was reduced from 2.167 to 2.098 billion bushels.
      Sugar was reduced from 7.964 to 7.874 million tons.
      Cotton was increased from 22.28 to 22.72 million bales.

    • USDA's 2005-2006 U.S. ending stocks estimates are:
      Corn was increased from 2.079 to 2.220 billion bushels.
      Soybeans were increased from 205 to 260 million bushels.
      Wheat was reduced from 624 to 530 million bushels.
      Cotton was reduced from 7.00 to 6.40 million bales.
      Sugar was increased from 1.014 to 1.089 million tons.

    • The USDA's estimate of the 2005-2006 Florida orange crop is 190 million boxes, lower than expected. The juice yield is at 1.58 gallons a box - 42.0 degrees Brix. Last year Florida produced 150 million boxes of oranges with a yield of 1.58 gallons a box.

    • The DOE reduced its forecast of 2005 oil demand from 84.2 to 83.7 million barrels a day and upped its estimate of OPEC's oil production in September from 30.1 to 30.4 million barrels a day . The DOE also said that they expect significant recovery of the gulf coast infrastructure by the end of this year

    • The U.K.'s unemployment rate for June to August was steady at 4.7% -- the lowest in thirty years.

    • Some clients of Refco Inc. are moving business to other firms after the company this week suspended two top executives because of a hidden $430 million debt that it failed to properly account for, market sources said on Wednesday.

    • Mexico's industrial production probably rose 2.2 percent in August, less than the pace of the nation's economic expansion and evidence that manufacturing is losing its role as the country's main driver of growth – Bloomberg reports.

    • The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reduced its forecast of 2005 GDP growth for the U.K. from 2.4% to 1.7%.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    CNNNN discovers Americans support war on Kyrgyzstan, 'wherever it may be'
    The difficulties experienced in Iraq have not put Americans off going to war again, CNNNN's Julian Morrow found when he surveyed people on the streets of Texas.
    Global Warming Drying Out Source Of China's Mighty Yellow River
    Global warming is drying out the source of the Yellow River, threatening water supplies to 120 million people, an environmental group said Monday.
    Pessimism over economy lifts in October
    Americans were slightly less pessimistic about the U.S. economy and went shopping in October despite worries about higher interest rates and gasoline prices, reports showed on Tuesday.
    Consumers feeling bite of soaring cost of living
    U.K. Trade Gap Widens to Record on Higher Imports

    Quick Overview

    • Federal Reserve minutes released today showed members voted 9 to 1 to increase the federal funds rate by a quarter-percent to 3.75% -- giving plenty of hints there will be more hikes to come.

    • Brazil's stocks and currency rose on Tuesday as Fitch Ratings signaled it may soon upgrade the country's sovereign ratings, boosting even more the allure of high-yielding Brazilian assets.

    • Machinery orders in Japan were up 8.2% in August -- stronger than expected.

    • China's National Development and Reform Commission said that they expect China's economy to grow 9.2% this year and 8.5% in 2006

    • Yesterday’s discovery that Brazil has a problem with foot-and-mouth disease may lead to a likely cut in beef exports.

    • The European Cocoa Association announced that YoY grindings in the third quarter of 2005 were up 8.6%. For the first three quarters of 2005, Europe's cocoa grinding were up 5.6% YoY
    World must hurry to save environment or face global poverty, UN official warns
    With some 60 per cent of the planet's ecosystem currently being degraded by human activities, the global community must take speedy action or else face a future of 6 billion people “scratching around trying to survive,” the head of the United Nations environmental agency said today.
    “You cannot continue to drive a car if all you do is put petrol in the tank,” he warned. “It needs servicing, parts require replacing and we must pay for the roads and infrastructure on which it runs.

    Monday, October 10, 2005

    China research spending to outpace EU in five years
    In just five years, China will proportionally be spending more on research and development (RD) than the European Union, the Financial Times reported Monday.

    Quick Overview

    • New offers from the United States and the European Union to cut aid to their farmers could herald a breakthrough in deadlocked global trade talks, just two months before a deadline for a treaty, ministers said Monday

    • It's still tough to read how badly Katrina and Rita hurt the economy, but data show Americans reacted in their usual way -- by going shopping

    • The DoE said the number of closed refineries is down to eight, resulting in a daily loss of 900,000 barrels of gasoline.

    • Brazil's coffee trees are in need of rain this month for the flowering, but the near-term outlook is calling for dry weather. Hurricane Stan may have also damaged some coffee crops in Mexico and Central America last week.

    • Dow-Jones Newswires said the International Sugar Organization is predicting 2005-2006 world production of 149.6 million tons and consumption of 150.6 million tons.

    • YoY Singapore's GDP was up 6.0% in the third quarter.

    • Gold futures in New York settled at a near-18-year high on Monday as fund buying on the back of economic worries and strong investment demand extended the metal's recent rally, traders and analysts said.

    • French industrial production increased by 0.8 percent from July, when the output had dropped a revised 0.7 percent.
    Drug Rehab For George
    Do you hear little voices speaking to you sometime? I do; well, I mean I used to. Officially speaking, they stopped. Excepting for yesterday, yesterday the little voice in my head said, "Go gambling and play machine number 161." So I did. And wouldn’t you know it? I won. Really! I started with $60 and wound up $840. Darn if that little voice in my head isn’t giving me some great advice… Sometimes.
    Ray Kurzweil calls for 1918 flu genome to be 'un-published'
    "The decision by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to publish the full genome of the 1918 influenza virus on the Internet in the GenBank database is extremely dangerous and immediate steps should be taken to remove this data," says inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil.

    Saturday, October 08, 2005

    Bird flu fight lifts biotech stocks
    Shares of biotechnology companies developing treatments to fight a possible outbreak of avian flu rose on Friday as delegates from around the world met to discuss plans for battling the illness.
    Greenspan concerned about interest-free loans and other riskier mortgages
    "In the event of widespread cooling in house prices, these borrowers, and the institutions that service them, could be exposed to significant losses," Greenspan said recently.
    Southwest bars woman over T-shirt obscenity
    A Washington state woman says she intends to press a civil rights lawsuit against Southwest Airlines for barring her from one of its flights because of a message on her T-shirt.
    ..Here we are trying to free another country and I have to get off an airplane in midflight over a T-shirt.

    Friday, October 07, 2005

    Signals of the End of the Dollar Standard

    As Voltaire said in 1729 “paper money eventually goes down to its intrinsic value – zero.”

    Quick Overview

    • The Department of Transportation said Thursday that its transportation services index for July fell 0.3% from June, the second consecutive decline.

    • U.S. payrolls fell by 35,000 jobs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the unemployment rate rose to 5.1% in September from 4.9% in August, the Labor Department reported Friday

    • U.S. Wholesale inventories rose 0.5% in August, the most in four months, the Commerce Department said Friday.

    • U.S. Rail freight and intermodal traffic rose for the week ended Oct. 1 compared to a year earlier, and traffic in September also increased over last year despite two big hurricanes, the Association of American Railroads said.

    • The International Atomic Energy Agency and its chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons…the Bush administration may not be extremely pleased.

    • A Ministry of Commerce report said that China's trade surplus could triple to as much as 100 billion dollars this year.

    • U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow said on Friday China needs to act "soon" to let its yuan currency become more flexible and he will tell Chinese officials that in person next week.

    • Germany's industrial production was down 1.6% in August.

    • Japan's index of coincident economic indicators increased from 30.0 to 88.9 in August, a sign of expansion.

    • London inventories of copper continue to fall, they are at 70,475 tons.

    • December gold is at a new contract high because of concerns over inflation and strong global demand.

    • Canada's unemployment rate improved from 6.8% to 6.7% in September, the lowest since 1976.

    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    Record low for home affordability in California
    Soaring prices in California's housing market have shut out a record 86 percent of households from buying a typical home with a traditional down-payment,
    Climate Change More Rapid Than Ever?
    According to the calculations of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, over the next century the climate will change more quickly than it ever has in the recent history of the earth. These results come from the latest climate model calculations from the German High Performance Computing Centre for Climate and Earth System Research.
    GE raises full-year outlook
    Venezuela moves reserves out of US Treasuries
    U.S. Retailers' Sales Rise 4%, Exceeding Estimate

    Quick Overview

    • Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher on Thursday said core inflation was near the top of its acceptable range, echoing hawkish remarks he made earlier this week that signal more rate hikes to come.

    • Domestic air cargo shipments rebounded from a 5% drop in July to climb 0.6% in August in year-over-year comparisons, the Air Transport Association reported Thursday.

    • The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose by 21,000 last week as storm-related applications increased.

    • The U.S. Minerals Management Service said that 20% of oil production and 34% of natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico is operating again

    • The DoE said that underground supplies of natural gas were up 44 billion cubic feet last week to 2.929 trillion cubic feet. YoY supplies are down 5%.

    • The U.S. Census Bureau said that soybean oil stocks totaled 1.73 billion pounds at the end of August, down from 1.99 billion pounds last month.

    • A NAFTA panel told the U.S. government that its method for computing Canada's softwood subsidies is incorrect and needs revision.

    • China is poised to unveil a new roadmap for the world's seventh-biggest economy that scraps a long-standing policy of faster growth in favor of improving social services and curbing widespread environmental devastation.

    • Brazilian stocks dropped more than 3% on Thursday while the currency was lower by 1% as foreign investors increased their aversion to riskier assets.
    Chart of the day

    How many shares of the Dow Ind. Index does it take to buy the average U.S. house?

    Wednesday, October 05, 2005

    Quick Overview

    • The U.S. Department of Energy showed that YoY demand for unleaded gasoline over the past four weeks was down 2.8% -- signaling that the recent price spike has damped demand.

    • The USDE said that:
      Crude oil supplies were down 300,000 barrels to 305.4 million barrels.
      Unleaded supplies gasoline were down 4.3 million barrels
      Heating oil supplies were up 400,000 barrels

    • The Institute for Supply Management's index of U.S. services dropped from 65.0 to 53.3 in September, less than expected.

    • There does not seem to be much risk of huge surge in inflation but policy-makers must be alert to potential price pressures, Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Hoenig said on Wednesday.

    • Thomas Hoenig also said the U.S. economy should shake off the impact of recent hurricanes without too much trouble and enjoy strong growth next year and beyond,

    • Tokyo's Nikkei stock average hit a new four-year intraday high before finishing the morning session slightly weaker.

    • London inventories of copper were down 1,375 tons today to 74,975 tons, so copper is making new contract highs.

    • An index of services in the U.K. decreased from 55.2 to 55.0 in September.

    • An index of services in the Euro zone increased from 53.4 to 54.7 in September, stronger than expected.

    • The Reserve Bank of Australia kept its overnight rate unchanged at 5.50
    Chart of the day

    How many ounces of gold does it take to buy the average U.S. house?

    In California you'll need about 1200 ounces

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005

    Quick Overview

    • The average price of U.S. retail diesel soared by a record 34.6 cents to $3.144 a gallon, also a record, the Department of Energy reported Monday.

    • Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) announced plans to build its first owned biodiesel production facility in the US. This 50 million gallon facility will be located in Velva, North Dakota, and will use canola oil as its primary feedstock. ADM also is planning to build biodiesel plants in Mexico, Missouri and Mainz, Germany.

    • Orders placed with U.S. factories rose 2.5% in August to $395.2 billion, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

    • 63 offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico were destroyed by Hurricane Rita, and some drilling platforms with major damage could be off-line until next year, the U.S. Interior Department said on Tuesday.

    • The Group of Seven top economic powers needs to move urgently to correct global imbalances in savings and investment or face the risk of worldwide deflation within a decade, Canada's central bank governor said on Tuesday. (Did he say WORLDWIDE DEFLATION?)

    • Brazil's real widened losses on Tuesday after the central bank bought dollars on the local foreign exchange market for a second straight day, while stocks slipped after topping 32,000 points for the first time.

    • Japan wants to cut 10 percent of government jobs over the next five years.

    • Japan's 10-year bonds slumped, pushing yields to the highest in almost a year, after a government sale of the debt drew the weakest demand in 19 months.

    • Kyodo news reported that Japan's Food Safety Commission is apt to recommend the acceptance of U.S. and Canadian cattle under 20 months of age as rapidly as this December.

    • Unemployment rate in the Euro zone rose from 8.5% to 8.6% in August. YoY the unemployment rate is down from 8.9%.

    Monday, October 03, 2005

    Newsview: Economy Could Add to GOP Woes
    Bush's pledge to spend "whatever it costs" to rebuild the Gulf Coast and the high bill for the Iraq war will keep swelling the deficit and limit his options for fighting an economic downturn. A recession would mean fewer dollars flowing into the treasury and force the government to pay out more benefits to the poor and those idled by the hurricanes.
    10th planet has moon companion
    "Having a moon is just inherently cool - and it is something that most self-respecting planets have, so it is good to see that this one does, too."
    Louisiana Ecological Harm Called Unprecedented
    The environmental damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita is unparalleled in its scope and variety, scientists say, with massive oil spills blanketing marshes, sediment smothering vast fishing grounds, and millions of gallons of raw sewage scattered in New Orleans and along the 400-mile Louisiana coast.

    High Oil Prices Met With Anger Worldwide
    Rising fuel prices are stoking popular anger around the world, throwing politicians on the defensive and forcing governments to resort to price freezes, tax cuts and other measures to soothe voter resentment.
    Diesel costs ail truckers
    The 30-year-old independent truck driver has parked his truck and won't get back in it until diesel prices fall below $3 a gallon.
    Kohn, Long Shot for Fed Chief, Helped Shape Greenspan's Views

    No matter whom President George W. Bush picks as a successor to Alan Greenspan in the next few months, Donald Kohn is likely to wield large influence over the way the Federal Reserve thinks about interest rates and the U.S. economy.

    Quick Overview

    • U.S. Manufacturing rose unexpectedly from 53.6 to 59.4 in September, much stronger than expected the Institute for Supply Management said Monday.

    • U.S. construction spending gained 0.4% in August, the Commerce Department reported Monday

    • Rising gas prices and a shift to more fuel-efficient models has cut into sales of SUV’s in September. GM sales fell 24% from a year earlier, while Ford sales dropped 19.5%. At the same time, falling resale values for traditional SUVs are making it harder for car owners who want to trade for less gas-thirsty vehicles.

    • President Bush is ready "to do whatever it takes" including, if necessary, tapping government stocks of heating oil to counter supply shortages this winter, his energy secretary said Monday.

    • Traders are watching a storm that is expected to reach Florida's east coast by tomorrow - November orange juice was up 2.00 to 104.30.

    • Japan's Tankan index of business confidence increased less than expected from 18 to 19.

    • March sugar closed up 0.30 cent at 11.53 cents a pound driven by ethanol demand and crop damage in the gulf.

    • Soybean Oil closed at a two-month high driven by potential biodiesel prospects.

    • The dollar hit a 16-month high against the yen on Monday, buoyed by expectations for more interest rate rises in the United States and a slightly disappointing survey of corporate sentiment in Japan.