Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Fed's Santomero: Economy will survive Katrina
Santomero said that he still thinks the U.S. economy will grow at a 3.5% to 4% rate this year. He said the economy faces challenges from housing, high oil prices and the effects of the hurricane.
Ozone Layer Has Stopped Shrinking, U.S. Study Finds
An analysis of satellite records and surface monitoring instruments shows the ozone layer has grown a bit thicker in some parts of the world..
Bush: U.S. Must Protect Iraq From Terror
President Bush on Tuesday answered growing anti-war protests with a fresh reason for American troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country's vast oil fields that he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorist extremists.

Quick Overview

  • Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said Wednesday the Bush administration has decided to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help refiners meet any shortfalls because of Hurricane Katrina, news services reported.

  • The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.3% in the second quarter, down from 3.8% in the first quarter, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

  • Manufacturing growth in the Chicago unexpectedly contracted from 63.5 to 49.2 in August, its first contraction in more than two years, the National Association of Purchasing Management-Chicago said in its monthly report issued Wednesday.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
  • Crude oil supplies were down 1.5 million barrels last week to 321.4 million barrels.
  • Supplies of unleaded gasoline were down 500,000 barrels
  • Heating oil supplies were up 1.7 million barrels.

  • Japans Industrial production was down 1.1%.

  • Canada's GDP was up 0.2% in June and up 2.7% from a year ago.

  • Germany's unemployment rate improved in August from 11.5% to 11.4% -- 4.728 million people are out of work.

  • The increase in second quarter GDP in the Euro zone was revised down from 1.2% to 1.1% from a year ago.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

When the levee breaks
It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.
Nagin: Entire City Will Soon Be Underwater
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is "very upset" that an attempt to fix the breach in the levee at the 17th Street canal has failed, and he said the challenges that the city is facing have "escalated to another level."...Nagin said the sandbagging was scheduled for midday, but the Blackhawk helicopters needed to help did not show up. He said the sandbags were ready and all the helicopter had to do was "show up."

Quick Overview

  • The after-effects of Hurricane Katrina sent crude oil prices to a new record near $71 a barrel Tuesday as fuel traders braced for damage assessments of the storm on oil and gas rigs and refineries in the Gulf of Mexico and on the Gulf Coast, news services reported.

  • Estimates of Hurricane Katrina’s economic damage were still coming in Tuesday, and ranged from $9 billion to as high as $26 billion, news services reported.

  • Surging crude oil prices led to record demand for ethanol (Sugar, Corn, etc. ?) in June, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information administration. The U.S. production of ethanol reached a record 343 million gallons, or 249,000 barrels per day in June, higher than the previous record of 245,000 set in February of this year.

  • The number of orders placed with U.S. factories fell 1.9% in July to $387.8 billion, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday..

  • The Conference Board said that its consumer confidence index increased from 103.6 to 105.6 in August, stronger than expected.

  • Retail sales in the U.K. showed another decline for the sixth consecutive month.

  • Household spending in Japan was down 3.5% in July. Retail sales in July were down 2.2% and the unemployment rate rose from 4.2% to 4.4%.

  • The U.S. poverty rate rose in 2004 for the fourth year in a row, driven by an increase in poor whites, the government said today.

  • Surface trade among the U.S., Canada and Mexico rose 7.2% in June to $59.4 billion from a year earlier, the Department of Transportation reported.

  • Dow Jones Newswires said that the coffee warehouses in New Orleans are under two feet of water, however it’s not clear how much actual damage there is.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Quick Overview

  • Crude oil prices jumped to over $70 a barrel for the first time in overnight trading in response to Hurricane Katrina, which blew through the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend and made landfall into Louisiana and Mississippi early Monday. However many of this morning's price moves did not survive the day.

  • An important natural-gas pipeline hub in Louisiana reopened Monday after closing due to Hurricane Katrina. The Henry Hub was closed Sunday. Returning personnel found no significant damage, owner and operator Sabine Pipe Line LLC said on its site Monday.

  • The Bush administration said it would consider loaning crude oil from the government's emergency stockpile, if requested by U.S. refiners facing delayed shipments due to the Hurricane.

  • With the peak shipping season in full force, intermodal container traffic for the week ended Aug. 20 was the highest week ever on record, the Association of American Railroads said.

  • The USDA's good to excellent crop rating for:
    Corn was 52%, up from 50% a week ago.
    Soybeans were 53%, up from 52% a week ago.
    Cotton was 65%, up from 63% a week ago.

  • Lumber closed up its $10 daily limit to $280.20 with many expecting bigger lumber demand after Hurricane Katrina.

  • GDP in the Philippines was up 1.4% in the second quarter and up 4.8% YoY.
On the Internet, Nobody Knows You're a Bot
CptPokr is a robot. Unlike the other icons at the table, there is no human placing his bets and playing his cards. He is controlled by WinHoldEm, the first commercially available autoplaying poker software. Seat him at the table and he will apply strategy gleaned from decades of research. While carbon-based players munch Ding Dongs, yawn, guzzle beer, reply to email, take phone calls, and chat on IM, CptPokr (a pseudonym) is running the numbers so it will know, statistically, when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Where has all the money gone?
Paul Bremer, the American pro-consul in Baghdad until June last year, kept a slush fund of nearly $600 million cash for which there is no paperwork: $200 million of this was kept in a room in one of Saddam’s former palaces, and the US soldier in charge used to keep the key to the room in his backpack, which he left on his desk when he popped out for lunch.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Foreign markets leave U.S. in the dust
Zero in on a major city with a stock exchange: Paris. Tokyo. Toronto. Sydney.
Not to be overlooked: Czech Republic, Austria, Denmark, Mexico, Peru, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Russia, and Slovakia.

Quick Overview

  • Greenspan on Friday cautioned Americans against thinking the value of their homes and other investments will only go higher, saying "history has not dealt kindly" with that kind of optimism.

  • The University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment dropped from 92.8 to 89.1 in August – weaker

  • Mexico's central bank pushed interest rates lower on Friday for the first time in over three years to give the soft economy a boost, now that inflation is under control. YoY

  • Consumer prices in Canada were up 2.0% in July - less than expected.

  • GDP in the U.K. increased 0.5% in the second quarter and 1.8% YoY.

  • Japans consumer prices were down 0.1% in July and down 0.3% YoY.

  • Hong Kong's GDP was up 3% in the second quarter and up 6.8% YoY..
Anti-Aging Hormone" Found in Mice; May Help Humans Researchers have dramatically increased the life spans of mice by up to 30 percent by genetically engineering them to overproduce a protein called klotho. The gene regulates production of klotho protein, which the study team says works like an anti-aging hormone. Kotho is involved in the suppression of insulin-signaling pathways -- a process...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

U.S. Mint confiscates 10 rare gold coins
The U.S. Mint seized 10 Double Eagle gold coins from 1933..
The coins, which are so rare that their value is almost beyond calculation, are public property, he said.
Housing debate: Is boom still on or is it flattening?
On Tuesday, some analysts said the boom was definitively going south, based on a report from the National Association of Realtors that sales of existing homes slipped 2.6 percent from June to July.

Yesterday, however, the Commerce Department reported that new-home sales hit a record high last month, up 6.5 percent from June. That sent some pontificators the opposite way, saying the boom lives on.

What's going on? Is a housing "bubble" about to burst or not?
Rolling Blackouts Cut Power in California
Sweltering late-summer heat and the loss of key transmission lines Thursday forced power officials in Southern California to impose rolling blackouts, leaving as many as half a million people without power for an hour at a time, officials said.

Quick Overview

  • The number of U.S. workers filing for initial unemployment benefits fell by 4,000 to 315,000 for the week ended Aug. 20, the Labor Department reported Thursday

  • YoY Consumer prices in Germany were up 1.9% in August.

  • Japan's exports were up 4.3% in July and imports were up 11.6%.

  • The International Cocoa Organization upped the 2004-2005 world cocoa production shortfall from 44,000 tons to 106,000 tons. They expect 2004-2005 world net production to total 3.16 million tons and world grindings to total 3.27 million tons.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. Commerce Department said that new home sales were at an annual rate of 1.41 million units in July, up 6.5% from June's rate and stronger than anticipated. So far in 2005, new home sales are up 8% from a year ago.

  • The New York Federal Reserve Bank said it has called a Sept. 15 meeting of top banks to discuss the risks of credit derivatives.

  • China expects to push steadily forward with reforms of the Yuan to guarantee the country's economic and financial stability, a top government economist said on Wednesday.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Crude oil supplies were up 1.8 million barrels to 322.9 million barrels.
    Unleaded gasoline supplies were down 3.2 million barrels .
    Heating oil supplies were up 900,000 barrels.

  • U.S. Durable goods orders were down 4.9% in July, the largest monthly drop in over a year. Exclusive of transport, orders fell 3.2% for the month.

  • An index of U.K. factory orders fell from -20 to -29 in July, the lowest in almost two years.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

  • U.S. existing home sales were at an annual rate of 7.16 million units in July, down 2.6% for the month.

  • Mexico's trade deficit narrowed to $619 million in July as high oil prices lifted export revenues.

  • Canada's composite index of leading indicators rose 0.3% in July to 205.2.

  • An index of services in Japan increased 1% in June.

  • South African gold production in the second quarter of 2005 fell by 2.4 percent versus the first quarter and by a significant 18 percent on a year-on-year basis when compared to the second quarter of 2004, the Chamber of Mines said on Tuesday.
Boom and bust at sea
How long can the good times last for the shipping industry?

The Baltic Exchange's dry index—covering bulk-cargo rates on the world's 23 busiest sea routes—hit 6,200 in 2004, up from below 900 in 2001. Container shipping and other cargo rates also increased.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The USDA's good to excellent rating for:
    Corn was 50%, down from 51% last week.
    Soybeans were 52%, up from 51% last week.
    Cotton was 63%, down from 64% last week.

  • YoY Industrial production in Argentina rose a weaker-than-expected 6.7 percent in July.

  • The Chicago Board of Trade and the Singapore Exchange said on Monday the two markets are looking into opening a derivatives exchange in Singapore to trade Asian-based commodities.

  • Canadian Retail sales were C$30.8 billion in June, up 1.1% on the month and up 6.8% YoY.

  • The USDA said there were 50.2 million pounds of frozen bellies in storage, up 115% YoY. Frozen pork inventories totaled 446 million pounds, up 21% YoY.

  • The USDA said there were 1.50 billion pounds of frozen orange juice in U.S. cold storage on July 31st, down 23% YoY.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Global: A Global Inventory Pop?
The data are fairly conclusive in suggesting that an inventory correction has just occurred in the three largest economies of the world -- the US, Japan, and Europe
Break on Foreign-Profit Tax Means Billions to U.S. Firms

Prompted by a one-time tax holiday on profits earned abroad, pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. announced early this year that it would bring home $8 billion to boost research and development spending, capital investments and other job-creating ventures

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the nation’s emergency stockpile of crude oil, has been filled to the 700 million-barrel level ordered by President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Bloomberg reported.

  • Chinese gasoline traders and manufacturers urged the government to ease price controls blamed for shortages in Shanghai Bloomberg reported.

  • The euro zone posted a trade surplus of 6.5 bln Eur in June compared with a revised surplus of 2.7 bln in May and a year-earlier surplus of 8.3 bln, EU statistics agency Eurostat said.

  • Oil climbed more than 3 percent on Friday because of rocket attacks in the Middle East and a fire at a massive refining complex in Venezuela.

  • Ecuador's government warned on Friday that troops could open fire to quell protests that have crippled oil output and forced the country to ask Venezuela for a loan of crude oil so it can keep up exports.

  • MBIA Inc. , one of the world's largest bond insurers, said on Friday the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission may recommend civil action against the company over defaulted bonds issued by a unit of a Pennsylvania health group

  • A Texas jury found pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. liable Friday for the death of a man who took the once-popular painkiller Vioxx, awarding his widow $253.4 million in damages in the first of thousands of pending lawsuits

  • After the close, the USDA said there were 10.092 million head of cattle on feed on August 1st, up 2.3% YoY - fewer than expected. July placements were down 2.4% and marketing’s were down 0.4% YoY.

  • The Florida Citrus Processors said there were 125.3 million gallons of frozen orange juice concentrate in inventory on August 13th, down 31% Y oY.

  • France's GDP increased 0.1% in the second quarter.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Quick Overview

  • U.S. jobless claims rose 6,000 last week to 316,000.

  • The Conference Board's index of U.S. leading indicators rose 0.1% in July to 138.3.

  • The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's regional index of business activity improved from 9.6 to 17.5 in July.

  • Assets of the nation's retail money market mutual funds rose by $5.58 billion in the latest week to $814.10 billion, the Investment Company Institute said Thursday.

  • The U.S. DoE said that underground supplies of natural gas were up 52 billion cubic feet to 2.515 trillion cubic feet.

  • In the new 2005-2006 season, U.S. cotton exports are up 46% YoY

  • Argentina's jobless rate fell by nearly a full percentage point in the second quarter as new jobs were created due to a pickup in the economy, the economy ministry said on Thursday,

  • U.K. retail sales were down 0.3% in July.

  • YoY consumer prices in the Euro zone were up 2.2% in July

  • YoY Taiwan's GDP was up 3% in the second quarter.

  • Mexico cut its forecast for 2005 economic growth to 3.5 percent after sluggish U.S. demand for car exports unexpectedly slowed expansion in the second quarter, a senior presidential advisor said on Thursday.

  • Peru is officially raising its 2005 growth goal to 5.5 percent and fully expects to beat that, new Economy Minister Fernando Zavala said on Thursday.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Quick Overview

  • U.S. producer prices rose 1.0% in July, more than expected, due to by higher energy prices. The core rate increased 0.4% in July.

  • Jobless claims in the U.K. increased 2,800 to 866,000 in July, the most in over a year.

  • Canada's wholesale sales were up 0.5% in June to C$39.9 billion.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Crude supplies were up 300,000 barrels last week to 321.1 million barrels.
    Unleaded gasoline dropped 5.0 million barrels.
    Heating oil supplies were up 300,000 barrels.
  • OPEC said that they pumped 30.2 million barrels of oil per day in July, up from 30.0 million in June.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Quick Overview

  • U.S. consumer prices were up 0.5% in July with the core rate up 0.1%. YoY consumer prices were up 3.2%.

  • U.S. industrial production was up 0.1% in July, less than expected.

  • U.S. housing starts were at a yearly rate of 2.042 million units in July, down slightly from June's pace. YoY housing starts are up 5%.

  • Wal-Mart Stores Inc. struggled in the second quarter and muted its earnings outlook on Tuesday, again blaming higher gasoline prices for cutting into spending plans by its low-income shoppers.

  • Port of Long Beach: Junes Asian imports at the second-largest port in the U.S. pushed overall volume to 576,604 TEUs from 494,098 TEUs a year earlier, according to the port's preliminary data.

  • YoY Argentina's economy grew 8.6 percent in June, the economy ministry said on Tuesday, beating analysts' forecasts.

  • YoY Consumer prices in the U.K. were up 2.3% in July, more than expected and the largest monthly gain in eight years.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The New York Federal Reserve's index of manufacturing is down from 23.9 to 23.0 in August.

  • The U.S. Congressional Budget Office said that the federal budget deficit would be $331 billion this year and $314 billion in 2005-2006.

  • The average price of U.S. retail diesel exploded last week, rising 16 cents a gallon in the largest single-week increase ever recorded, according to the Department of Energy. The surge left prices at $2.567 a gallon, setting a new record for the second time in the past month.

  • The Green Coffee Association said that U.S. coffee stocks were up 118,087 bags at the end of July at 6.06 million bags.

  • The USDA said that its good to excellent crop rating for:
    Corn was 51%, down from 52% a week ago.
    Soybeans were 51%, the same as a week ago.
    Spring wheat was 64%, down from 67% a week ago.
    Cotton was 64%, up from 61% a week ago.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The Commerce Department reported Friday that the June deficit jumped 6.1 percent to $55.8 billion, compared to a May deficit of $55.4 billion. US exports were steady in June at $106.8 billion while imports were up 2% at $165.6 billion, blamed on higher energy prices. Oil prices moved to record highs above $67 a barrel on Friday as investors worried over the world's stressed capacity to refine crude oil.

  • The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index fell from 96.5 to 92.7 in August, lower than expected.

  • Investment bank Morgan Stanley said on Friday it got rid of 1,000 underperforming brokers from its ailing retail brokerage unit but remains committed to keeping -- not selling -- this business.

  • The USDA's 2005-2006 U.S. ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn is reduced from 2.24 to 1.90 billion bushels.
    Soybeans were reduced from 210 to 180 million bushels.
    Wheat is reduced from 700 to 634 million bushels.
    Sugar is reduced from 904,000 to 785,000 tons.
    Cotton is increased from 6.70 to 7.00 million bales.

    The USDA's 2005-2006 world ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn is reduced from 114 to 108 million tons.
    Soybeans were reduced from 51 to 48 million tons.
    Wheat is reduced from 143 to 141 million tons.
    Cotton is increased from 49 to 50 million tons.

  • Mexico's central bank held monetary policy steady on Friday although signs that inflation is under control and new concerns over economic growth could move it to push interest rates lower in coming weeks.

  • The Brazilian government increased its estimate of the 2005-2006 coffee crop from 32.4 to 33.3 million (60 kg) bags.

  • YoY Retail sales in China were up 12.7% in July

  • Canada's exports were up 1.8% in June to C$37.2 billion while imports were up .2% at $32.3 billion.

  • France's GDP was up 0.1% in the second quarter and up 1.2% from a year ago.

  • Japan's real GDP was up 0.3% in the second quarter and 1.4% YoY. GDP growth in the first quarter was revised higher, from an annual rate of 4.9% to 5.4%.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Retail sales were up 1.8% in July. Excluding autos, retail sales were up just 0.3%.

  • U.S. Jobless claims declined 6,000 to 308,000 last week .

  • The U.S. Commerce Department said that business sales rose 0.7% in June, inventories are unchanged.

  • GDP in the Euro zone increased 0.3% in the second quarter and 1.2% YoY.

  • Australia's unemployment rate was 5.0% in July, the lowest in 29 years.

  • The gold miners' strike in South Africa ended after the National Union of Mineworkers recommended that workers accept a pay raise of 6.5%. Still, December gold rose $8.90 at $450.90, the highest close in over four months.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that underground supplies of natural gas were up 43 billion cubic feet at 2.463 trillion cubic feet.

  • Italy's GDP rose 0.7% in the second quarter, the largest gain in four years.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Quick Overview

  • China announced the main parts of its new currency basket are the U.S. dollar, the Euro, the yen, and the Korean won.

  • Oil prices rocketed to a record high of $65 a barrel Wednesday, powered by refinery outages and falling gasoline inventories
  • The DOE said that: Crude oil supplies were up 2.8 million barrels last week.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were down 2.1 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil s were up 4.3 million barrels.
    The DOE reported 95.0% refinery use.

  • The International Coffee Organization increased its estimate of 2005-2006 world coffee production from 105 to 106 million bags. They increased the estimate of the 2004-2005 world coffee crop from 110.5 to 113.1 million bags because of larger than expected production in Vietnam.

  • The Bank of England said that they expect GDP growth to surpass 3.0% in 2007. They also see inflation rising in the next few months, making more cuts in the interest rate less likely.

  • Tokyo's Nikkei share average rose 2 percent to a fresh 15-month intraday high on Wednesday amid growing optimism about the Japanese economy. The Conference Board's index of leading indicators for Japan increased 0.5% in June to 98.6. Machinery orders were up 11.1% in June to the highest level in five years.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Workers’ productivity grew at a 2.2% annual rate in the second quarter, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.

  • Inventories at U.S. wholesalers rose 0.7% in June, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. It was the 17th straight rise in stockpiles.

  • The Federal Reserve increased the federal funds rate from 3.25% to 3.50%. The Fed sees 3.50% as still accommodative and they will continue to increase rates at a pace that is "measured."

  • Fannie Mae said Tuesday that it likely will not complete the reworking of its accounting, ordered by federal regulators, before the second half of next year.

  • Brazil's currency on Tuesday closed below 2.300 per dollar for the first time in over three years while stocks climbed to a five-month high.

  • Reuters news reported that second quarter earnings for the S&P 500 companies are up 14% from a year ago, better than expected. So far, 86% of the companies have turned in their second quarter results and 78% of them have been better than expected.

  • Canada's housing starts were at an annual rate of 242,300 units in July, up 0.4%.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Quick Overview

  • For the first national stoppage in 18 years some 100,000 South African gold miners are on strike, for the second day, and vowing to stay away from the mines until a deal is reached.

  • Today’s USDA's good to excellent rating for:
    Corn was 52%, down from 53% a week ago.
    Soybeans were 51%, down from 54% a week ago.
    Spring wheat was 67%, down from 68% a week ago.
    Cotton was 61%, the same as a week ago.

  • The average price of U.S. retail diesel rose 5.9 cents to $2.407 a gallon, just 0.1 cent behind the all-time record set July 11, and gasoline prices surged to a record high, the Department of Energy reported Monday.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Website of the Day
She is holding her head high --
as well she should!
Judith Miller Pardoned; Receives Highest Presidential Honor
The President also announced that Miller will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. "Judy's been a great friend to this Administration and we remember our friends," the President said. "While the rest of the liberal media was busy questioning the existence of WMDs in Iraq, Judy reported the truth as we know it. She deserves special consideration."

Friday, August 05, 2005

Quick Overview

  • Employers added 207,000 workers to payrolls in July and the unemployment rate remained at 5%, the Labor Department said Friday.

  • Overall rail freight traffic rose 1.3% for the week ended July 30 compared with the same week last year, and intermodal volume continued to increase at a greater rate, the Association of American Railroads said.

  • Industrial production in Germany improved 1.4% in June, stronger than expected.

  • Japan said that its index of leading indicators increased from 36.4 to 60.0 in June.

  • Canada's unemployment rate increased from 6.7% to 6.8% in July while the number of jobs improved by 5,900.

  • Brazil's industrial output rose 1.6 percent in June from the previous month.

  • An indicator of Chile's economic activity jumped 6.4 percent in June compared with a year earlier.
Leading indicators of world economic activity Corporate executives have turned more optimistic across the board. Consumer confidence in the United States remains high, private consumption growth in
Japan continues to grow and there are some sparks in retail activity in the
euro zone.
In Congress, the GOP Embraces Its Spending Side
"If you look at fiscal conservatism these days, it's in a sorry state," said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), one of only eight House members to vote against the $286.5 billion transportation bill that was passed the day before the recess. "Republicans don't even pretend anymore."

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The number of U.S. workers filing for initial unemployment benefits fell by 1,000 to 312,000 for the week ended July 30, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

  • OPEC produced 30.2 million barrels of oil per day in July, the most since 1979 Reuters said.

  • With oil at record prices, U.S. refiners are upgrading their facilities but are not adding more capacity, and the upgrades will not necessarily lead to retail fuel price reductions, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

  • The Bank of England reduced its interest rate from 4.75% to 4.50%,

  • German factory orders were up 2.4% in June, stronger than expected.

  • The European Central Bank kept its interest rate unchanged at 2.0%.

U.S. drought conditions worsen
“There records go back to the 1870’s, and this is the third-driest year on record in the Quad Cities,” says Hayes, highlighting some of the worst regions, in eastern Iowa and western Illinois.

On Thursday morning, Hayes will release the latest issue of the National Drought Monitor, a survey of the conditions around the entire U.S. He says the data shows that all of America’s corn and soybean regions are now in trouble.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The US Treasury said early Wednesday that it will bring back the 30-year bond with an auction in the first quarter of 2006, with auctions held twice a year. The Treasury didn't say exactly how much in 30-year bonds it plans to sell next year, although it estimated the size per year will be about $20 to $30 billion.

  • The U.S. services sector fell in July, the Institute for Supply Management reported Wednesday

  • The DoE reported that U.S. stocks of crude oil rose by an unexpected 200,000 barrels last week to 318 million barrels as imports soared to nearly 11 million barrels a day. Supplies of unleaded gasoline dropped 4.0 million barrels and heating oil supplies dropped 1.1 million barrels.

  • Brazil has made itself into a "shining example" of strong economic performance that stands in sharp contrast to Europe and Japan, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow said on Tuesday.

  • An index of services in the U.K. increased from 55.8 to 56.3,

  • An index of services in the Euro zone increased from 53.1 to 53.5 in July.

  • China expects consumer inflation to run at under 2.5 percent this year, state media reported Thursday, citing a government policy making body.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The number of orders placed with U.S. factories rose 1% to $400.5 billion in June, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

  • Personal spending jumped in June by 0.8% as consumers bought more automobiles.

  • U.S. personal incomes in June were up 0.5%, better than expected.

  • The fatality rate on the nation’s highways in 2004 was the lowest since record-keeping began 30 years ago, and while passenger vehicle deaths dropped, fatalities from large truck crashes increased slightly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday.

  • June's unemployment rate remained at 8.7% in the Euro zone and at 8.8% in the EU-25.

  • Retail sales in Australia were up 1.3% in June, stronger than expected – the biggest increase in two years.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Quick Overview

  • Mexico's economy picked up speed in the second quarter and grew about 4 percent over the same period last year, helped by strong consumer spending and export growth

  • Crude oil prices soared to a record $62.20 a barrel Monday following reports of U.S. refinery capacity concerns and the death of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, news services reported

  • U.S. construction spending was at an annual rate of $1.093 trillion in June, down 0.3% from May.

  • An index of manufacturing in the U.K. slipped from 49.6 to 49.2 in July.

  • An index of manufacturing in the Euro zone improved from 49.9 to 50.8 in July, the highest in five months.

  • Land prices in Tokyo rose in 2004 for the first time in 13 years, reflecting an economic recovery, while land prices nationally fell for the 13th straight year but at a slower pace, government data showed on Monday.

  • The USDA's good to excellent crop rating for:
    Corn was 53%, the same as last week.
    Soybeans were 54%, the same as last week.
    Spring wheat was 68%, down from 70% last week.
    Cotton was 61%, the same as last week.

  • Ocean freight continued weak, taking gulf to Japan back to $34 a ton, which is the lowest rate in almost 30 months.

  • Japan will slap 15% levies on US steel imports from September 1 in retaliation for American steel industry protection measures, Reuters reports