Thursday, December 28, 2006

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Consumer confidence rose from 105.3 to 109.0, an eight-month high, the New York-based Conference Board reported.

  • The National Association of Realtors said that U.S. existing home sales were at an annual rate of 6.28 million units in November, up .6% from October's pace, but still down 10.7% YoY.

  • The Chicago Purchasing Managers' index rose from 49.9 to 52.4 in December, more than expected.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were down 8.1 million barrels last week to 321.0 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were up 3.0 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were down 800,000 barrels.

  • Japan's Nov industrial production rose 0.7% MoM, increasing the chances for a BOJ rate hike in January by 25 bp to 0.50%.

  • China's GDP may expand at 10.5% in 2007, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

  • Taiwan's central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by one-eighth percentage point to 2.75%.

  • American Trucking Associations’ seasonally adjusted truck tonnage index dropped 3.6% in November, following its 1.9% drop in October,

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Quick Overview

  • Japans Jiji news agency reported late Tuesday the Bank of Japan is likely to discuss raising rates to 0.5 percent next month.

  • Retail sales in Japan were up 0.1% in November.

  • The Mortgage Bankers Association said U.S. mortgage applications plummeted last week to the lowest level in nearly five months.

  • New home sales jumped 3.4% in November, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. YoY sales are down 15.3%

  • The United Arab Emirates' has decided to raise the share of Euro holdings in its reserves to 10% from 2% over the next six to nine months.

  • Tin rose nearly 4% on the LME because of continuing supply concerns in Indonesia.

  • The USDA said there were 62.149 million hogs and pigs in U.S. inventory on December 1st, up 1.1% YoY.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Quick Overview

  • Personal income increased $33.8 billion, or 0.3 %, and disposable personal income increased $27.0 billion, or 0.3 %, in November. Consumer spending was up 0.5%, the most in four months.

  • U.S. Durable goods orders were up 1.9% in November. Excluding transportation, orders were down 1.1%, more than expected.

  • The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index dropped from 92.1 to 91.7 in December, better than expected.

  • The confidence of American consumers slipped in the latest week, with buyers "shopped out" by the Christmas holiday, ABC News and The Washington Post said on Tuesday

  • The Richmond Fed index of regional manufacturing fell from +7 to -6 in December, more than expected.

  • Sweden’s November Producer Price Index was up 0.1% MoM and 3.7% YoY

  • China's central bank expects the economy to grow 9.8% in 2007, down from 10.5% this year.

  • UK’s Q3 GDP +was up 0.7% QoQ and up 2.9% YoY

  • Japan’s unemployment rate fell from 4.1% to 4.0%, the lowest in eight years, household spending was down 0.7% YoY. Japan’s personal consumption, which makes up 55 percent of the economy, may appear weak at first glance, but a closer look at economic indicators suggests the outlook is not so bad. The minutes of the Bank of Japan meeting on Nov 15-16 contained some hawkish comments that supported the view the BOJ is leaning toward further tightening over the near-term.

  • Canadian officials are proposing a C$345 million program requiring biofuel content of 5% in gasoline by 2010 and 2% in diesel fuel and heating oil by 2012, the Associated Press reported.

  • The USDA said there were 11.973 million head of cattle on feed on December 1st, up 2.1% YoY

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Quick Overview

  • U.S. GDP rose 2.0% in the third quarter of 2006, slightly less than expected. YoY real GDP was up 3.0%. Consumer spending rose 2.8% QoQ.

  • U.S. leading indicators increased 0.1% in November.

  • The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's index of regional activity dropped from 5.1 to -4.3 in December.

  • U.S. jobless claims were up 9,000 last week to 315,000.

  • Canada's GDP was unchanged in October and up 1.6% YoY.

  • GDP in the U.K. was up 2.9% QoQ

  • Argentina's November trade surplus jumped nearly 54 percent YoY, more than economists had expected, as exports surged.

  • The USDA said that there were 30.9 million pounds of frozen bellies in storage as of November 30th, up 8% YoY. Frozen pork supplies totaled 464.2 million pounds, up 6% YoY.

  • The USDA said that there were 649.9 million pounds of frozen orange juice in storage on November 30th, down 37% YoY.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Want To Feel Rich? by Bill Bonner
Being "rich" is easier than we think. You just have to get away from Miami or Los Angeles. If you live in some countries, even an income of $5,000 a year will make you feel like a relatively rich man. In fact, a new study by the United Nations says that a net wealth of $2,200 will put you in the richest half of the world's people. If you can scrape together $61,000 in net assets, you are in the top 10%.
What does it take to be in the top 1%? Just $500,000.

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. Labor Department said that producer prices were up 2.0% in November, the biggest gain since 1974. YoY producer prices were up 0.9% and the core rate of producer prices was up 1.8% YoY.

  • U.S. Housing starts came in at an annual rate of 1.588 million units in November, up 6.7% from October's pace. So far in 2006 housing starts are down 12.5% YoY.

  • Confidence of American consumers held at a 2006 high last week, ABC News and The Washington Post said on Tuesday.

  • Canada's consumer price index was up 1.4% YoY.

  • German business confidence increased from 106.8 to 108.7

  • The Bank of Japan met and kept its interest rate unchanged at 0.25%, as expected.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Goldman building market for home price derivatives
Property derivatives have the potential to become big on Wall Street. The value of U.S. housing, at $22 trillion as of March, exceeds the $16-trillion value of U.S. equities and is not much smaller than the $26-trillion market for U.S. debt.

Quick Overview

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

  • The Green Coffee Association said that U.S. coffee stocks totaled 5.05 million bags, up 3.5% YoY.

  • The International Coffee Organization said that the 2007-2008 coffee crop is expected to have a world production deficit as large as the 6.6 million ton deficit of 2005-2006.
Pot is called biggest cash crop
For years, activists in the marijuana legalization movement have claimed that cannabis is America's biggest cash crop. Now they're citing government statistics to prove it.
A report released today by a marijuana public policy analyst contends that the market value of pot produced in the U.S. exceeds $35 billion — far more than the crop value of such heartland staples as corn, soybeans and hay, which are the top three legal cash crops.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Even if they're off, cellphones allow FBI to listen in

"This is a kind of surveillance we've never really seen before. The government can and will exploit whatever technology is available to achieve their surveillance goals. This is of particular concern, considering the proliferation of microphones and cameras in the products we own," said Kevin Bankston, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Bush 'Privacy Board' Just a Gag The three-hour meeting, held at Georgetown University, quickly established that the panel would be something less than a fierce watchdog of civil liberties. Instead, members all but said they view their job as helping Americans learn to relax and love warrantless surveillance.
McCain Bill Is Lethal Injection For Internet Freedom
Exploits fear of sexual predators and basic misunderstanding of Internet to attack blogs critical of the warmongering agenda he fronts for.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Consumer prices were unchanged in November and up 2.0% YoY, less than expected. Excluding food and energy costs, prices were up 2.6% YoY.

  • Foreign purchases of U.S. securities totaled $102.0 billion in October while U.S. purchases of foreign long-term securities totaled $19.7 billion.

  • U.S. Industrial production rose 0.2% in November, up from October's 0.5% drop.

  • YoY Consumer prices in the EU-12 were up 1.9% in November

  • The White House has approved a $468.9 billion Pentagon budget for 08, a six-percent increase YoY.

  • Japan's tankan survey, increased from +24 to +25 in September, the highest in two years

  • Brazil's government estimates the 2007-2008 coffee crop at 31.7 million bags, less than expected. They said the 2006-2007 coffee crop totaled 42.5 million bags, 4 million bags less than the USDA's estimate.

  • Brazil's Association for Citrus Exporters said Brazil's exports of frozen orange juice in the first eleven months of 2006 were down 9% YoY.

  • Gold futures dropped about $12 an ounce, silver lost 7% and copper prices dropped to a six-month low.

Diplomat's suppressed document lays bare the lies behind Iraq war

He also reveals that British officials warned US diplomats that bringing down the Iraqi dictator would lead to the chaos the world has since witnessed. "I remember on several occasions the UK team stating this view in terms during our discussions with the US (who agreed)," he said.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Quick Overview

  • Argentina's economy expanded 8.7 percent in the third quarter compared with the year-earlier period, fueled by higher consumer spending and private investment.

  • The price of goods imported to the United States rose 0.2% in November after falling more than 2% in the previous two months, the Labor Department said Thursday.

  • U.S. Jobless claims were down 20,000 to 304,000, less than expected.

  • U.K. Retail sales up 0.3% in November, more than expected.

  • EU-12 Labor costs up 2.0% YoY.

  • Germany's Ifo economic institute predicts the economy will grow 2.5% in 2006 and 1.9% in 2007.

  • Canada's manufacturing shipments down 0.1% MoM.

  • Japan's top financial diplomat does not expect the yen to weaken further due to any domestic reasons as the economy is performing steadily.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that underground supplies of natural gas were down 168 billion cubic feet last week to 3.238 trillion cubic feet. YoY Supplies are up 8%.

  • OPEC oil ministers said Thursday they will cut production by a half-million barrels a day starting Feb. 1, a 1.9% cut, Bloomberg reported.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Americans See Widening Rich-Poor Income Gap as Cause for Alarm
Almost three-quarters of Americans believe inequality is a major issue, versus 24 percent who don't think so, according to a new Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll. Most of the concern is among Democrats and independent voters, though a majority of Republicans -- 55 percent -- also called the situation serious.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Retail sales were up 1.0% in November, more than expected. Excluding autos and gasoline, sales were up 0.9%.

  • China's economy may have modest downslide after 2006, with its GDP growth to slow from the current 10.4 percent to 9.6 percent in 2007 and 8.7 percent in 2008, the World Bank said.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were down 4.3 million barrels last week to 335.4 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were down 100,000 barrels
    Supplies of heating oil supplies were down 700,000 barrels.

  • U.K.'s Unemployment rate at 5.5% from 5.6% the previous month.

  • Russia is preparing to cut off natural gas supplies to neighboring Belarus and Georgia unless the two former Soviet republics agree by the year-end to pay much higher prices in 2007.

  • Shanghai Baosteel, China's leading steel manufacturer, has produced X120, the world's strongest gas transmission pipeline steel, sources with the company said on Tuesday.

  • Executives predict 'talent war' as companies compete for scarce Chinese-speaking graduates.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Quick Overview

  • The Federal Reserve left the federal funds rate at 5.25%, noting the economy has slowed and is hurt by "substantial cooling" in the housing market. The statement, left open the possibility the central bank might increase rates if inflation speeds up.

  • U.S. Federal budget deficit at $75.6 billion in November, down from $83.1 billion YoY.

  • Chinas November retail sales YoY rose 14.1% to 682.2 bln Yuan.

  • Indian Industrial Production up 6.2% YoY

  • Euro Zone Economic Sentiment at -3.0 vs. -8.5 expected.

  • Italian Industrial Production MoM at 0.6% vs. 0.5% expected.

  • UK CPI MoM at 0.3% vs. 0.2% expected.

  • German Economic Sentiment at -19 vs. -25 expected.

  • German Current Situation at 63.5 vs. 55.3 expected.

  • Swedish CPI Underlying YoY at 1.3% vs. 1.2% expected.

  • Cocoa stocks in Nybot warehouses rose 231,943 145-pound bags to total 4.04 million 145-pound bags.

  • The number of trucks in use in the U.S. is down 0.6% in the third quarter, a sign expanding hauling capacity by carriers may have peaked.

Monday, December 11, 2006

ECB Warns of `Herd-Like' Mentality in Derivatives
Sales of CDOs jumped 73 percent to $446 billion this year from a year earlier, according to data compiled by JPMorgan Chase & Co. The market for credit derivatives is the fastest-growing part of the derivatives market, helping to spur record earnings for banks including New York-based Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Economic growth will slow and inflation will ease in 2007, with energy prices and a falling dollar posing the biggest risks to a pick-up in prices, a panel of Wall Street analysts forecast on Monday.

  • The U.S. Census Bureau said that wholesale sales were down 0.5% in October while inventories were up 0.8%.

  • China posted a trade surplus of 22.92 bln $ in November, down slightly from 23.83 bln in October, customs data showed. The trade surplus in the first 11 months was 156.52 bln $, up from 91 bln YoY.

  • China's consumer price index rose 1.3 pct YoY, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

  • Major oil-exporting countries have been moving away from dollar deposits to increase reserves in other currencies, including the Euro and the Japanese yen, the Bank for International Settlements has said. Dollar-denominated bank deposits by OPEC members decreased by 5.3 bln $ in the second quarter of 2006, while Euro-denominated deposits rose by 2.8 bln $ and yen deposits by 3.8 bln $.

  • The National Association of Realtors expects U.S. existing home sales down 8.6% in 2006 and down 1.0% in 2007.

  • Japanese Consumer Confidence for November out at 48.9 vs. 48.8 expected.

  • French Industrial Production MoM for October out at -0.1% vs. 0.5% expected.

  • Mexican stocks rose to an eighth straight record close on Monday

  • Cocoa stocks in Nybot warehouses fell 3,978 145-pound bags to total 3.808 million bags.

  • The USDA's 2006-2007 U.S. ending stocks estimate of:
    Corn was unchanged at 935 million bushels.
    Soybeans were unchanged at 565 million bushels.
    Wheat was increased from 418 to 438 million bushels.
    Sugar was increased from 1.87 to 1.98 million tons.
    Cotton was increased from 6.0 to 6.3 million bales.

  • The USDA's 2006-2007 world ending stocks estimate of:
    Corn was increased from 90 to 93 million tons.
    Soybeans were increased from 55.2 to 55.7 million tons.
    Wheat was increased from 119 to 121 million tons.
    Cotton was increased from 51.0 to 51.5 million bales.

  • The USDA increased its estimate of the Florida orange crop from 135 to 140 million boxes with a projected yield of 1.58 gallons a box at 42.0 degrees Brix.

  • The Florida Department of Citrus said YoY inventories of frozen concentrated orange juice were down 40%.

From Reuters, Automatic Trading Linked to News Events Today, the Reuters Group begins selling two trading services that allow subscribers to set up automatic trading orders based on the news. They will give subscribers the ability to mine past and present Reuters news articles in real time and automatically buy, sell or hold a stock based on market-moving events.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Farm Animals More Damaging To Climate Than Cars
It generates 65 percent of human-caused nitrous oxide, a gas that is 296 times more effective at trapping solar heat than carbon dioxide (CO2), the biggest greenhouse-gas by volume. Most of this pollution comes from manure.

Quick Overview

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

  • The U.S. Labor Department said that jobless claims were up 34,000 last week to 357,000, more than expected.

  • Retail sales in Australia were up 0.8% in October.

  • Canada's real GDP was up 0.4% QoQ and up 2.5% YoY.

  • Real GDP in the EU-12 was up 0.5% QoQ and up 2.7% YoY.

  • Real GDP in India was up 9.2% YoY

  • U.S. Cotton mill use declined from an annual rate of 5.2 to 5.1 million bales in October.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Quick Overview

  • QoQ U.S. GDP was up 2.2%, and up 3.0% YoY. Nominal GDP was up 6.0% YoY.

  • Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke said he expects moderate economic growth with lower inflation. The one risk of higher inflation, he warned, might come from tight labor supplies.

  • The Federal Reserve's Beige Book said that most districts reported "continued moderate growth since the last report" and increased consumer spending.

  • U.S. New home sales were at an annual rate of 1.004 million units in October, down 3.2% from September's pace and less than expected. YoY new home sales are down 18%.

  • Brazil's central bank lowered its benchmark lending rate to 13.25% from 13.75%

  • Japan's industrial production increased 1.6% in October, more than expected and a new record high.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were down 300,000 barrels to 340.8 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were down 600,000 barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were down 1.1 million barrels.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What Will You Do When the Government Demands Your Laptop?
Thanks to a decision from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. Customs officials can now seize and copy the contents of any laptop carried across a U.S. border. There's no arrest, warrant or probable cause required-just a "gimme."

Quick Overview

  • The OECD today cut its forecast for 2007 OECD-country GDP growth to +2.5% from +3.2% in 2006, which would be the weakest level since 2003.

  • Durable goods orders posted their biggest decline since July 2000, falling 8.7% in October. Excluding transport, orders were down 1.7%

  • U.S. Consumer confidence fell to 102.9 in November from a revised 105.1 last month, the New York-based Conference Board said Tuesday.

  • The confidence of American consumers rose in the latest week to match its 2006 high and best since April 2002, just in time for the beginning of the holiday season, ABC News and The Washington Post said on Tuesday.

  • The National Association of Realtors said U.S. existing home sales were at an annual rate of 6.24 million units in October, better than expected and up 0.5% from September's pace. The 3.85 million homes for sale in October represented a 7.4 month supply, the most in 13 years.

  • The U.S. economy is not yet facing a generalized economic slowdown, despite cooling in the housing and automobile sectors, the International Monetary Fund's chief economist said on Tuesday.

  • Retail sales in Japan were down 0.2% in October, more than expected.

Carbon emissions show sharp rise From 2000 to 2005, the growth rate of carbon dioxide emissions was more than 2.5% per year, whereas in the 1990s it was less than 1% per year,"

On the Move to Outrun Climate Change
As the Bush administration debates much of the world about what to do about global warming, butterflies and ski-lift operators, polar bears and hydroelectric planners are on the move.
..Wild species don't care who is in the White House," Parmesan said. "It is very obvious they are desperately trying to move to respond to the changing climate. ..

Monday, November 27, 2006

Quick Overview

  • Wall Street had its worst day in more than four months as the dollar weakened and concerns about the strength of the retail industry arose following a sales decline at Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

  • A think tank at Beijing-based China Renmin University estimates China's gross domestic product to grow a little slower rate of about 9.25% in 2007 from a projected 10.48% this year.

  • Rumors persist the IMF may sell part of its massive 3,217 ton Gold reserve valued at $65B to cover losses it projects for the next two years.

  • Bank of Japan Governor Fukui said that he wants to gradually raise Japan's interest rate, but does not want to interfere with the economy's recovery.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Will Democrats Turn Blind Eye to Civil Liberty?
The Bush regime was a coup d’etat against the Bill of Rights and the jurisdictions of Congress and the courts. Unless Democrats roll back this coup, Americans have seen the last of their civil liberties.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Quick Overview

  • The University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment dropped from 93.6 to 92.1 in November, more than expected.

  • The U.S. jobless claims were up 12,000 last week to 321,000.

  • YoY Canada's consumer price index was up 0.9%.

  • Industrial orders in the EU-12 were down 1.3% in September.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were up 5.1 million barrels to 341.1 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were up 1.4 million barrels.
    Supplies of heating oil were down 100,000 barrels.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dollar May Fall a Second Day as Traders Add to Bets on Rate Cut
``Rising market perception rates will be cut in the U.S. could be enough to get the dollar snowballing lower.''

Quick Overview

  • There is talk that OPEC may reduce production when they next meet on December 14th.

  • Federal Reserve officials agree the U.S. labor force has entered a slower-growth phase, but they have yet to reach consensus on what pace of job growth is consistent with a noinflationary expansion.

  • French GDP for Q3 was unchanged QoQ and up 1.8% YoY.

  • Canada's composite index of leading indicators was up 0.2% MoM

  • Retail sales volume in the U.K. was up 0.6% QoQ

  • Argentina's trade surplus for October rose 11% YoY.

  • The USDA said that world sugar production will be 155.2 million tons in 2006-2007, up 7% YoY. World ending stocks will increase 4.2 million tons to 33.2 million tons -- 22% stock to use. The second lowest stocks to use ratio in nine years.

  • The USDA said there were 714 billion pounds of frozen orange juice concentrate in storage on October 31, down 37% YoY.

  • The minutes from the latest Bank of Japan monetary policy meeting show the bank plans to raise rates gradually to keep pace with inflation and growth.

  • The USDA said there were 466.7 million pounds of frozen pork in storage on October 31, up 4.5% YoY. Bellies totaled 16.6 million pounds, up 5.6% YoY

Monday, November 20, 2006

China set to be biggest Malaysian cocoa buyer
The current per capita consumption of chocolate in China is only 26g, far below the world's average of 500g. In the European Union, where chocolate is a popular snack food, about 12kg of chocolate is consumed by a person yearly.

Will there be enough corn? "There is a collision course on the horizon, but when and how severe it is going to be, I don't know," said Doug Thompson, a corn and soybean grower near Kanawha, in north-central Iowa.

Quick Overview

  • In Sydney Australia over the weekend, central bankers from the G-20 summit said central banks "will need" to raise rates to contain inflation.

  • The Conference Board said Monday its index of leading economic indicators rose 0.2% in October, with six of the ten indicators showing a positive gain, after a revised gain of 0.4% a month earlier.

  • State and local governments are experimenting with new ways of generating funds for highway work as gasoline taxes fail to produce enough revenue for such projects, the USA Today reported.

  • German producer prices rose 0.3% in October and up 4.6% YoY

  • Canada's wholesale sales totaled C$41.8 billion in September, down 1.6% from August.

  • The USDA estimated Brazil's current coffee crop at 46.5 million bags, up 29% YoY.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

Quick Overview

  • The current economic downturn is "likely temporary," former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Monday, noting the worst of the housing market slump is likely past.

  • CNBC reported that of the 407 S&P 500 companies that have reported third quarter results, 73% have been above expectations.

  • Factory orders in Germany were down 2.5% in September, more than expected.

  • Dow-Jones Newswire said Indonesia’s 2006 cocoa crop may only total 425,000 tons, down from 500,000 tons YoY.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

GOP Must Go
The American Conservative

There may be little Americans can do to atone for this presidency, which will stain our country’s reputation for a long time. But the process of recovering our good name must begin somewhere, and the logical place is in the voting booth this Nov. 7. If we are fortunate, we can produce a result that is seen—in Washington, in Peoria, and in world capitals from Prague to Kuala Lumpur—as a repudiation of George W. Bush and the war of aggression he launched against Iraq.

Friday, November 03, 2006

White House slammed for Iraq nuke website
"It's sheer stupidity. Plus it's illegal. We violated our own treaty obligations in letting this out. This is clearly what is called RD--restricted data. This should not have been out there. It's highly dangerous, it's very useful--even like Iran, which is meeting some of the same technical challenges Iraq met in the Eighties. It should not have been out there. I'm absolutely convinced, and most people don't remember. But we went through this again in the spring. In the spring Congresman (Peter) Hoestra announced with (Sen.) Rick Santorum that we had found WMD in iraq. It was old mustard shells from the 1980s. They're desperate to prove a case."

Quick Overview

  • U.S. companies added 92,000 workers in October, pushing the unemployment rate down to a five-year low of 4.4%.

  • Canada's unemployment rate improved from 6.4% to 6.2% in October.

  • The unemployment rate in the EU-12 remained unchanged at 7.8% in September.

  • UK service index increased from 57.0 to 59.3 in October, morer than expected.

  • China's central bank raised the required bank reserve ratio to 9.0% from 8.5%.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Only 50 years left' for sea fish There will be virtually nothing left to fish from the seas by the middle of the century if current trends continue, according to a major scientific study.

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. Labor Department said that productivity was unchanged in the third quarter while labor costs were up 5.3% from a year ago.

  • U.S. Factory orders were up 2.1% in September, less than expected.

  • The Labor Department said that U.S. jobless claims were up 18,000 to 327,000.

  • Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui reiterated on Thursday that the central bank will adjust rates slowly, giving few clues on the timing of its next rise.

  • Retail sales in Australia were up 0.1% in September.

  • Manufacturing in Europe increased from 56.6 to 57.0.

  • The European Central Bank kept its interest rate unchanged at 3.25%,

  • FC Stone estimates the U.S. corn crop at 10.808 billion bushels, and Informa Economics predicted the crop at 10.729 billion bushels. This compares with the USDA’s October estimate of 10.905 billion bushels.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that underground supplies of natural gas were down 9 billion cubic feet last week to 3.452 trillion cubic feet. Supplies are up 9% YoY.

  • Total money market assets stood at $2.265 trillion for the week, the Investment Company Institute said.


Leading surveillance societies in the EU and the World

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Quick Overview

  • The Institute of Supply Management's index of U.S. manufacturing dropped from 52.9 to 51.2 in October, weaker than expected.

  • Canada's Finance Minister said that he wants to begin taxing income-trust funds next year.

  • Manufacturing in the U.K. dropped from 54.5 to 53.7 in October.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that::
    Supplies of crude oil were up 2.0 million barrels last week to 334.3 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were down 2.8 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil supplies were down 1.5 million barrels

  • U.S. Ethanol production totaled 329,000 barrels a day in August, up 69,000 barrels YoY. Demand was 385,000 barrels a day.

Bond bear Grant sees threat to asset-backed bonds Instead of worrying about an instrument's yield, fixed-income portfolio managers should worry if they are going to get paid, Grant said in a keynote presentation.

Low inflation rate? Some consumers beg to differ Sean Taylor, 34, an information technology consultant in Trenton, N.J., ticks off the changes in his bills in the past nine years: property taxes, now $9,000 a year, up 105%; heating oil, $238, up 109%. His wife, Carrie, a state employee, pays $87 a month for health care; nine years ago, it was free. His income varies from year to year. Her salary is $75,000, up from $45,000, or 67%.

Baghdad is under siege
Sunni insurgents have cut the roads linking the city to the rest of Iraq. The country is being partitioned as militiamen fight bloody battles for control of towns and villages north and south of the capital.
As American and British political leaders argue over responsibility for the crisis in Iraq, the country has taken another lurch towards disintegration.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Quick Overview

  • The National Association of Purchasing Management-Chicago’s manufacturing index dropped from 62.1 to 53.5 in October, more than expected.

  • U.S. Consumer confidence fell from 105.9 to 105.4 in October following an increase in September, the New York-based Conference Board said Tuesday.

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said the employment cost index increased 1.0% in the third quarter and 3.3% from a year ago, the biggest gain in two years.

  • Brazil announced that they will raise the ethanol content of their gasoline from 20% to 23%, starting on November 20th.

  • Canada’s GDP was up 0.3% in August and up 2.2% YoY.

  • A hard-hitting report on climate change published by the British government on Monday has no basis in science or economics, OPEC's Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo said.

  • Russia's state foreign debt, including former Soviet-era debt, shrunk to $50.1 billion, or 39.5 billion Euros as of October 1.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Bond Strategists: Japan's Insurers May Shun U.S. Treasuries
(Bloomberg) -- Japanese life insurers, who manage the equivalent of $1.6 trillion in assets, will cut holdings of U.S. Treasuries after the cost of protecting the investment against currency swings surged, according to Calyon Securities.
A reduction in purchases by Japanese investors, the largest overseas holders of U.S. sovereign debt, may push up U.S. Treasury yields, said Susumu Kato, chief strategist at Calyon. Japan held $644.2 billion of Treasuries at the end of August, more than in any other country.

Quick Overview

  • China will likely see its trade surplus hit 150 bln $ for 2006, with foreign exchange reserves to exceed one trillion $ by the end of the year, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

  • The U.S. Commerce Department said that personal incomes were up 0.5% in September, and consumer spending was up 0.1%.

  • The Commerce Department said the core rate of personal consumption was up 2.4% YoY

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Climate change 'brings huge cost'
Climate change could cut global growth by a fifth, costing up to £3.68 trillion in total, unless drastic action is taken, a review is to warn.
But taking action now would cost just 1% of global gross domestic product, economist Sir Nicholas Stern says.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

GAO chief warns economic disaster looms
Their basic message is this: If the United States government conducts business as usual over the next few decades, a national debt that is already $8.5 trillion could reach $46 trillion or more, adjusted for inflation. That's almost as much as the total net worth of every person in America — Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and those Google guys included.
A hole that big could paralyze the U.S. economy; according to some projections, just the interest payments on a debt that big would be as much as all the taxes the government collects today.
And every year that nothing is done about it, Walker says, the problem grows by $2 trillion to $3 trillion.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Morgan Stanley, announced a $3bn plan to invest in carbon trading
The drive to tackle climate change gathered pace on Thursday as Morgan Stanley, the investment bank, announced a $3bn plan to invest in the carbon trading market amid mounting evidence that some US states are growing more sympathetic to international action.

Confession that formed base of Iraq war was acquired under torture: journalist An Al-Qaeda terror suspect captured by the United States, who gave evidence of links between Iraq and the terror network, confessed after being tortured, a journalist told the BBC

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. Commerce Department said that its first estimate of real GDP was up an annual rate of 1.6% in the third quarter, the weakest performance in three years. Housing was cited as the main drag.

  • The University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment increased from 85.4 to 93.6 in October, more than expected.

  • The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics estimated their wheat crop at 9.5 million tons, down from 25 million tons a year ago.

  • (Bloomberg) -- Hedge-fund managers and other large speculators placed a record amount of bets the yen will decline against the dollar, according to weekly data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday said the Indian economy was moving at a rapid pace and hoped the rate of growth would reach 10 percent soon. 'At one time, eight to nine percent growth was unthinkable.

  • FT-- The Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank are expected to keep their key policy interest rates unchanged at 0.25 per cent (on Tuesday) and 3.25 per cent (on Thursday) respectively but further monetary tightening can be expected from both before the end of the year.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wheat lower in spite of world output warning
The IGC said a global deficit of about 64m tons was likely as world consumption was forecast to rise to a record 1,621 tons. In spite of the recent fall in energy prices and higher grain prices, demand from the ethanol sector was expected to rise by 20m tons to 67m tons, according to the IGC.

Cheney confirms that detainees were subjected to water-boarding
"It's a no-brainer for me," Cheney said at one point in an interview.

Quick Overview

  • The Commerce Department reported the median price for a new home sold in September was $217,100, down 9.7 % from September 2005. This is the lowest median price for a new home since September 2004 and the largest year-over-year decline since December 1970.

  • Sales of new homes rose by 5.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate 1.075 million homes This is second consecutive increase in sales following three months of declines.

  • Durable goods orders posted their biggest increase in more than six years, rising 7.8% in September.

  • First-time U.S. jobless claims rose 8,000 to 308,000 last week.

  • Yuan central parity rate set at new high of 7.8940 to dollars versus 7.9007

  • Zinc stocks on the London Metals Exchange fell 1,750 tons to 113,900 tons, the lowest level since 1991.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that underground supplies of natural gas were up 19 billion cubic feet at 3.461 trillion cubic feet.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Quick Overview

  • The National Association of Realtors said U.S. existing home sales were at an annual rate of 6.18 million units in September, down 1.9% MoM.

  • The number of existing homes for sale dropped 2.4% to 3.75 million, a 7.3 month supply.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were down 3.3 million barrels to 332.3 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were down 2.8 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were up 700,000 barrels.

  • AWB Ltd. reduced its estimate of Australia's wheat crop from 13.5 to 10.0 million tons.

  • Business confidence in Germany increased from 104.9 to 105.3 in October, more than expected.

  • Former Chinese central bank adviser Yu Yongding said that China should allow the yuan to appreciate faster and that China should abandon its export promotion policy.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Can Israel Last? Maybe.
Mr. Bush seems to be losing his wars. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, which would probably be a good thing. But if I’m right, when the United States is forced out of Iraq, American influence in the region will decline precipitately. For at least a decade, and perhaps forever, the US will not send troops to the region. The Moslem world will regard itself, correctly, as having defeated the Great Satan, and will no longer fear Washington. American control of Pakistan will probably vanish and, bingo, there’s the Islamic Bomb. Presumably the American puppets, such as Saudi Arabia, will blow with the prevailing winds.
60 percent increase over the last five years in government corruption convictions .. the Justice Department generally tries to keep a low profile on government corruption cases in the months before an election to avoid unfairly influencing voters

Quick Overview

  • Euro zone industrial orders rose by 3.7 % in August from July and by 14.3 % YoY.

  • Rumors circulated that Japan may be about to intervene in the currency market to prop up the currency.

  • Mexico's trade deficit was $1.35 billion in September, more than double expectations, as imports jumped almost 18 % YoY.

  • The World Bank says India would become the third largest economy after China and the US by 2025.

  • Corn prices in Chicago rose to the highest in more than two years on speculation demand for ethanol and U.S. grain exports will outpace supplies.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. central bank is expected to hold interest rates steady for the third straight month when it meets on Tuesday and Wednesday.

  • Japan's top financial diplomat said on Monday he was not expecting further declines in the value of the yen , and added that he saw Japan's economy staying on a solid recovery path.

  • Retail sales in Canada were up 1.0% in August.

  • Bush put Social Security reform on his list of "big items" to deal with in the final two years of his presidency.

Panama votes for a bigger canal
VOTERS in Panama have decided, by a margin of four-to-one, to go ahead with a proposal to expand their famous canal. Although relatively few turned out for the referendum on Sunday October 22nd, the result was decisive, with some 78% in favour of the plan to open the route to more and bigger ships.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Quick Overview

  • YoY Canada's consumer prices were up 0.7%

  • GDP in the U.K. was up 0.7% in the third quarter and up 2.8% YoY

  • OPEC late yesterday announced that it reached an agreement to cut production by 1.2 mln barrels a day starting on November 1st .

  • Virginia became the 15th U.S. state with Asian rust in its soybean fields. Asian rust may impact spring plating decisions for soybeans .

  • The USDA said there were 11.385 million head of cattle on feed, up 8.6% YoY.

  • The USDA said there were 464 million pounds of frozen pork in storage, up 7.5% YoY. Frozen bellies in storage were 10.25 million pounds, down 27% YoY.

  • The USDA said there were 779 million pounds of frozen orange juice concentrate in storage down 37% YoY.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Countdown Special Comment: Death of Habeas Corpus: “Your words are lies, Sir.”

Quick Overview

  • The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's regional index of manufacturing fell from -.4 to -.7, weaker than expected.

  • The Conference Board's U.S. index of leading indicators was up 0.1% in September to 137.7. Five of the ten components showed positive gains.

  • YoY China's industrial production increased 16.1% in September.

  • Retail sales in the U.K. were down 0.4% in September.

  • The U.S. Energy Department said that underground supplies of natural gas were up 53 billion cubic feet to 3.442 trillion cubic feet. Supplies are up 13% YoY.

The limits of liberty: We're all suspects now
And here is the interesting thing that Havel put his finger on: no matter how brutal or ruthless the regime, the act of depriving people of their freedom starts the stopwatch on that regime's inevitable demise. What he was saying was that in modern times a state can only thrive in the fullest sense when individuals are accorded maximum freedom.

Britain has joined the US, China and Russia to block a proposed ban on cluster bombs in the wake of extensive use of the weapons during the war in Lebanon.
Israeli forces dropped an estimated 1m cluster bomblets in southern Lebanon this summer - 90% of which were dropped in the last three days of the conflict, a new report from Landmine Action said yesterday. The weapons have left a trail of unexploded munitions that is killing between three and four civilians each day and impeding relief work.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Group lists 10 most polluted places on Earth
The list was compiled by the New York-based nonprofit group the Blacksmith Institute, which said the world's pollution is sickening up to 1 billion people.

A Bush In Need Of Pruning
My impression is that much of the public wants authoritarian rule, or would be perfectly content with it if it even noticed its arrival. No, I can’t prove it. But what do most people care about beyond television on screens that grow ever larger, beyond porn, beer, and the competitive purchase of grander SUVs? I ask this not as a lifelong curmudgeon being tiresome (though doubtless I am both) but seriously. Who in a sprawling TV-besotted country cares about the Constitution? A comfortable police state is after all comfortable.

Gaza doctors say patients suffering mystery injuries after Israeli attacks "Bodies arrived severely fragmented, melted and disfigured," said Jumaa Saqa'a, a doctor at the Shifa hospital, in Gaza City. "We found internal burning of organs, while externally there were minute pieces of shrapnel. When we opened many of the injured people we found dusting on their internal organs."

Iraq war cost years of progress in Afghanistan - UK brigadier
The invasion of Iraq prevented British forces from helping to secure Afghanistan much sooner and has left a dangerous vacuum in the country for four years, the commander who has led the attack against the Taliban made clear yesterday.

Red wine can help prevent stroke damage: study Red wine might work to protect the brain from damage after a stroke and drinking a couple of glasses a day might provide that protection ahead of time, U.S. researchers reported on Sunday.

Quick Overview

  • US consumer prices were down 0.5% in September and up 2.1% YoY. Excluding food and energy costs, prices were up 0.2% in September and up 2.9% YoY.

  • US housing starts were stronger than expected and up 6% from the pace in August. So far in 2006, housing starts are down 9% YoY.

  • Mortgage applications index was reported at -2.2%, adding to last week's decline of -5.5%.

  • The Euro zone trade deficit with China rose to a record 47.6 bln Euros ($59.7 bln) in the year through July, up 24% YoY.

  • Canada's composite index of leading indicators increased 0.4% in September.

  • The unemployment rate in the U.K. for June to August was 5.5%.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were up 5.1 million barrels to 335.6 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were down 5.2 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil supplies were down 500,000 barrels.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Will the Supreme Court shackle new tribunal law?
The terror legislation set to be signed into law Tuesday by President Bush sits atop an ideological fault line that sharply divides the US Supreme Court and highlights the emerging power of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Producer prices were down 1.3% in September, but up 0.9% YoY. Excluding food and energy costs, prices were up 0.6%.

  • U.S. Industrial production was down 0.6% in September, weaker than expected and the biggest drop in a year.

  • The U.S. Treasury Department said that net foreign purchases of long-term U.S. securities totaled $119.5 billion in August. U.S. purchases of foreign securities totaled $2.7 billion, resulting in a positive net capital inflow of $116.8 billion.

  • Japans tertiary index, which measures spending in the services sector, rose 0.7% MoM. YOY the index rose 1.6 pct in August following a revised 2.0% increase in July.

  • The Bank of Japan plans to beef up monitoring of "carry trades," and is concerned about how hedge funds and other investors are helping push down the yen, the Nihon Keizai newspaper reported.

  • Consumer prices in the U.K. were up 2.4% in September.

  • YoY consumer prices in the Euro-12 were up 1.7% in September.

  • USAgnet: Czarnkow Sugar Ltd. says that Brazil is exporting so much ethanol, they may not meet domestic demand.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Quick Overview

  • St Louis Federal Reserve President William Poole said on Monday the cost of higher inflation outweighed that of slower growth, although he also thought the news on prices has improved in recent months.

  • The New York Federal Reserve's regional index of manufacturing increased from 13.8 to 22.9 in October, more than expected

  • India's forex reserves came down by USD 30 million to stand at USD 165.275 billion.

  • Canada's manufacturing shipments totaled C$49.8 billion in August, down 0.3% MoM

  • Consumer confidence in Japan slipped from -6.7 to -11.0.

  • The Bulgarian parliament voted unanimously to cut the country's company tax rate to 10 percent from January 1, 2007. The changes will make Bulgaria one of the two countries, along with Greek Cyprus, with the lowest corporate tax rate in the European Union when it joins the bloc next year.

  • A study found that 87 percent of parents believe scholarships and grants will cover at least part of their children's undergraduate expenses, and nearly three-quarters think their children are "special or unique" enough to win a scholarship.

  • Russia's central bank said it was starting to buy the Japanese currency for its reserves. The proportion of Russia's foreign exchange reserves currently invested in the yen was close to zero, but the bank would try to increase it to several percent of total reserves.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

It's time to say sorry for Iraq's agony
On Friday, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) issued its bleakest assessment. Conflict has displaced 1.5 million people inside Iraq; a tide of refugees swells the 1.6 million living outside the country. The Lancet's estimate of 655,000 deaths since the conflict began is not only in a different stratosphere from Bush's ballpark figure of 30,000 'more or less'. It is also evidence of the asymmetry in the death roll of the war on terror.

In contrast to the attrition in Iraq, no US citizen has died in an Islamist attack on US soil since 9/11. Neo-con certainties about gun-barrel democracy have perished, naturally, and the graveyards of political theory bristle with their memorials. But, like a headless chicken, the strategy stumbles on. Dig in for victory. No British exit is likely to change that course any time soon.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

China unlikely to overtake US economy: Treasury head
"I think that there's more risk on the downside for China, although I am an optimist," the Treasury secretary said.

Quick Overview

  • Bank of Japan voted unanimously to keep the overnight call rate target at 0.25 %. BOJ Governor Fukui said that he "cannot rule out the possibility" of another rate hike this year. Market expectation for a rate hike this year has dropped to 25%.

  • Bank of Japan reported producer prices in September rose 3.6 %, the most in 25 years.

  • China’s current reserves surged to a record $988 billion at the end of September, up 28.5% YoY.

  • YoY consumer prices in France were up 1.5% in September

  • U.S. Retail sales were down 0.4% in September. Excluding autos, sales were down 0.5%. The weakness came mostly from lower gasoline prices.

  • The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose from 85.4 to 92.3 in October, more than expected.

  • Argentina may limit wheat exports in an attempt to keep domestic prices down.

  • BBC News reported that Ghana and the Ivory Coast are struggling to contain the spread of swollen shoot virus which is hitting their cocoa crops. The two countries account for over one-half of the world's cocoa production.

  • (Bloomberg) -- Hedge-fund managers and other large speculators placed a record amount of bets the yen will decline against the dollar, according to weekly data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Army chief: British troops must pull out of Iraq soon
General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the army, dropped a political bombshell last night by saying that Britain must withdraw from Iraq "soon" or risk serious consequences for Iraqi and British society.