Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A couple of charts for Fed watchers

Bank Borrowings:

Bank Free Reserves:

Unpaid credit cards bedevil Americans "The desires of consumers to want, want, want, spend, spend, spend — it's the fabric of our nation," said Howard Dvorkin, ..

Friday, December 21, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Personal incomes rose 0.4% in November.

  • U.S. Consumer spending rose 1.1%.

  • The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index fell from 76.1 to 75.5

  • Canada’s GDP rose 0.2% in October and up 2.8% YoY.

  • U.K.'s retail sales rose 0.4% in Novembe

  • The USDA said there were 12.081 million head of cattle on feed on December 1st, up 0.9% YoY. Placements in November rose 12.3% while marketing's fell 3.3%.

  • The USDA also said that pork production rose 8% YoY.
    The USDA said there were 477 million pounds of frozen pork in storage, up 2% YoY. Frozen bellies totaled 34.5 million pounds, up 13% YoY.

  • The Far Eastern Freight Conference said its member’s lines are preparing an unspecified eastbound tariff increase to take effect on April 1. The eastbound trade between Europe and Asia continues to experience substantial growth with a current level of 7% while trade with China is growing at 15%," the FEFC said.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. leading indicators fell 0.4%

  • U.S. jobless claims rose12, 000 to 346,000

  • China increased its lending rate from 7.29% to 7.47%. For the year, this is increase #6

  • U.K.'s GDP rose 0.7% QoQ and up 3.3% YoY

  • Japan kept the interest rate unchanged at 0.50%

  • The port of Long Beach is instituting a “green tax” of $35 to $79 per loaded container.
    The tax will take effect by June and is expected to raise $1.6 billion to replace or retrofit 16,800 trucks to reduce emissions. The Port of Los Angeles is expected to copy the scheme.

  • Hong Kong’s container port volume rose 1.6% in the first 11 months, but fell 2.4% in November

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Japan's reduced its GDP growth estimate for 2007-2008 from 2.1% to 1.3%.

  • Business confidence in Germany fell from 104.2 to 103.0 in December -- a two year low.

  • MoM home foreclosure filings fell in November, a real estate data company reported on Wednesday.

  • Bush signed legislation that requires auto makers to raise fuel efficiency by 40% to an industry average 35 miles per gallon by 2020. It also ramps up production of ethanol use to 36 billion gallons a year by 2022.

  • The U.S. department of energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil fell 7.6 million barrels to 296.9 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline rose 3.0 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil fell 2.1 million barrels.
    Refinery use fell from 88.8% to 87.8%
    Gasoline demand rose 0.3% YoY
    Distillate demand rose 4.3%.

  • Canada confirmed the discovery of that country's eleventh case of BSE Tuesday. The latest case involves a 13 year-old beef cow in Alberta.

  • South Korea said it would eliminate import taxes on corn, wheat and soybeans to curb food inflation.

  • Shangyu port is planning new terminals with total annual capacity of 10 million tons. Capacity of the new port will be 40 times larger than the present Shangyu facility, which can accommodate 3,000-tonne vessels and handle 245,000 tons of cargo a year, Xinhua reported.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. housing starts fell 3.7% MoM, in 2007 housing starts are down 24% YoY.

  • YoY consumer prices in Canada rose 2.5%.

  • YoY U.K.'s consumer prices rose 2.1%
The Last Empire: Can the world survive China’s rush to emulate the American way of life?”.
“Per-capita income in China is less than 1/10 of America’s and its per-capita greenhouse gas emission is less than 1/5 of ours. But if 1.3 billion Chinese were to consume at the level Americans do, we’d need several more Earths. China’s effect on world resources, quantified:
China is:
• The world’s largest consumer of coal, grain, fertilizer, cell phones, refrigerators, and televisions
• The leading importer of iron ore, steel, copper, tin, zinc, aluminum, and nickel
• The top producer of coal, steel, cement, and 10 kinds of metal
• The No. 1 importer of illegally logged wood
• The third-largest producer of cars after Japan and the United States; by 2015, it could be the world’s largest car producer. By 2020, there could be 130 million cars on its roads, compared to 33 million now.
More Facts:
• China produces half of the world’s cameras, 1/3 of its television sets, and 1/3 of all the planet’s garbage.
• There are towns in China that make 60% of the world’s button supply, 1/2 of all silk neckties, and 1/2 of all fireworks.
• China uses half of the world’s steel and concrete and will probably construct half of the world’s new buildings over the next decade.
• Some Chinese factories can fit as many as 200,000 workers.
• China used 2.5 billion tons of coal in 2006, more than the next three highest-consuming nations—Russia, India, and the United States—combined.
• It has more than 2,000 coal-fired power plants and puts a new one into operation every 4 to 7 days.
• Between 2003 and 2006, worldwide coal consumption increased as much as it did in the 23 years before that. China was responsible for 90% of the increase.
• China became the world’s top carbon dioxide emitter in 2006, overtaking the United States.
• Russia is China’s largest timber supplier; half of all logging there is illegal. In Indonesia, another timber supplier to China, up to 80% of all logging takes place illegally.
• 90% of all wood products made in China are consumed in the country, including 45 billion pairs of wooden chopsticks each year.
• The value of China’s timber-product exports exceeds $17 billion. About 40 percent go to the United States.
• More than 3/4 of China’s forests have disappeared; 1/4 of the country’s land mass is now desert.
• Until recently, China was losing a Rhode Island-sized parcel of land to desertification each year.
• 80% of the Himalayan glaciers that feed Chinese rivers could melt by 2035.
• In 2005, China’s sulfur-dioxide emissions were nearly twice those of the United States.
• Acid rain caused by air pollution now affects 1/3 of China’s land.
• Each year, at least 400,000 Chinese die prematurely of air-pollution-linked respiratory illnesses or diseases.
• A quarter of a million people die becau! se of mo tor-vehicle traffic each year—6 times as many as in the United States, even though Americans have 18 times as many cars.
• Of the world’s 20 most polluted cities, 16 are in China.
• Half of China’s population—600 to 700 million people—drinks water contaminated with human and animal waste. A billion tons of untreated sewage is dumped into the Yangtze each year.
• 4/5 of China’s rivers are too polluted to support fish.
• The Mi Yun reservoir, Beijing’s last remaining reliable source of drinking water, has dropped more than 50 feet since 1993.
• Overuse of groundwater has caused land subsidence that cost Shanghai alone $12.9 billion in economic losses.
• Dust storms used to occur once a year. Now, they happen at least 20 times a year.
• Chinese dust storms can cause haziness and boost particulate matter in the United States, all the way over to Maine.
• In 2001, a huge Chinese storm dumped 50,000 metric tons of dust on the United States. That’s 2.5 times as much as what U.S. sources produce in a typical day.
• Currently, up to 36 percent of man-made mercury emissions settling on America originated in Asia.
• Particulate matter from Asia accounts for nearly half of California’s annual pollution limit.
• Environmental damage reportedly costs China 10 percent of its GDP. Pollution-related death and disability heath care costs alone are estimated at up to 4 percent of GDP.
• In 2005, there were 50,000 pollution-related disputes and protests in China.
• China’s middle class is expected to jump from 100 million people today to 700 million people by 2020.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Fed Taking on Abusive Lending Practices
The Fed is considering:
-barring lenders from penalizing subprime borrowers - those with spotty credit or low incomes - who pay their loans off early.
-forcing lenders to make sure that borrowers, especially subprime borrowers, set aside money to pay for taxes and insurance.
-restricting loans that do not require proof of a borrower's income.
-examining lenders' failure, in some cases, to consider a borrower's ability to repay a home loan.
-improving financial disclosure so people better understand the terms and conditions of their mortgages and get this information when it is most useful.
-curtailing abuses in mortgage advertising.

Quick Overview

  • Support is growing on several fronts in Washington for mortgage-industry reforms and homeowner-assistance programs.

  • Foreigners purchased $118.0 billion of U.S. securities in October while U.S. purchases of foreign securities amounted to $4.1 billion.

  • The National Association of Home Builders sentiment index stayed at 19, the lowest since the index began in 1985.

  • Manufacturing and services index in the Euro area fell from 54.1 to 53.3 in December

  • Japan's tertiary index rose 1.1% in October

  • China's third largest container port, Qingdao, handled more than nine million TEU during 2007, up 23 % YoY.

  • The USDA said that last week's export inspections of:
    Corn totaled 46.6 million bushels, up 13% YoY.
    Soybeans totaled 35.6 million bushels, up 42% YoY.
    Wheat totaled 19.4 million bushels, up 63% YoY.

  • The U.S. Senate's latest energy bill wants 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be used in U.S. vehicles by 2,022. Some 15 billion gallons of this are to come from corn. The rest is to come from other sources such as cellulose and sugar.
China, India to drive growth as credit crisis gains momentum
“For the first time, China and India are making the largest country-level contributions to world growth,” he said.
Emerging Asia is forecast to expand 9.2% this year and 8.3% in 2008; Africa is to grow 5.7% and 6.5%, and West Asia, supported by high oil prices and robust domestic demand, is projected to expand 5.9% in both 2007 and 2008.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

World food price rises set to hit consumers
In Chicago wheat and rice prices for delivery in March 2008 have jumped to an all-time record, soyabean prices are at a 34-year high and corn prices at an 11-year peak.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. industrial production rose 0.3% in November.

  • U.S. Capacity utilization rose from 81.4% to 81.5%.

  • YoY Consumer prices in the Euro area rose 3.1%

  • Japan's Tankan survey, fell from +23 to +19 the lowest in two years.

  • Industrial capacity in Canada fell from 83.5% to 82.7%.

  • The U.S. Senate approved legislation that would more than quadruple the use of biofuels made from crops during the next 15 years.

  • Orange juice rose on speculation frost may damage the crop in Florida.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

China Orders Agencies to Boost Grain, Vegetable Oil Stockpiles
Authorities in 36 major urban regions must have emergency reserves equal to at least 10 days of consumption, the state- owned China National Grain and Oils Information Center said in an e-mailed report yesterday, citing a decree.

Waterboarding vs. Hammers vs. Genitals
..given our extraordinarily enormous and expensive military-industrial and intelligence establishment, the ultimate safety of our citizens and cities appears to come down to... what? Torture? Sorry, no. If the shopping list for preventing a terrorist attack is a wooden plank, a hanky and a jug of water, I want my goddamn money back.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Retail sales rose 1.2% in November, much stronger than expected. Excluding autos, sales were up 1.8% in November.

  • Prices paid to U.S. producers rose 3.2% in November and up 7.2% YoY— the fastest pace in 34 years. Excluding food and energy, prices rose 0.4% in November.

  • Canada’s manufacturing sales rose 0.1% in October

  • Australia’s unemployment rate rose to 4.5% vs. 4.3% expected

  • China’s November industrial production rose 17.3% vs. 18.0% expected

  • Since cumulative wheat sales have reached an amazing 89.6% of the USDA forecast as compared to 66.7% on average, there is now talk, that stocks will at some point be wiped out and the US may be forced to curtail or embargo further sales.

  • Japan will invest US$239.05 million in the Mombasa Port Development Project, thus doubling Kenya's capacity by 2018.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Soybeans to Lead Gains in Agriculture Next Year, Goldman Says
The New York-based bank raised its 12-month forecast for the crop by 61 percent to $14.50 a bushel from $9 a bushel. Wheat in Chicago may trade at $7.50 a bushel in a year compared with a previous forecast of $6, Goldman said. The bank raised its estimate for corn by 20 percent to $5.30 a bushel from $4.40.

From Santa to Scrooge The Fed’s quarter-point cut is followed by plans to ease money market tensions

Quick Overview

  • The Fed announced coordinated measures with the Bank of Canada, European Central Bank, and Swiss National Bank to add liquidity to the markets.

  • Australia December Consumer Confidence rose 1.8% vs. a drop of 4.2% in November.

  • Japan’s wholesale prices rose 2.3% in November

  • Japan October Current Account was +¥2565B (+¥2277B expected)

  • YoY Indian industrial production rose 11.8% in October

  • China November Retail Sales rose 18.8% YoY (18.0% expected)

  • U.K.'s October unemployment rate improved to 5.3%, from 5.4% last month.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil fell 700,000 barrels to 304.5 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline rose 1.6 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil supplies fell 1.0 million barrels.
    Refinery use fell from 89.4% to 88.8% of capacity.
    Gasoline demand rose 0.4% YoY
    Distillate demand rose 4.3% YoY.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The Fed cut the fed funds rate from 4.50% to 4.25%, as expected.

  • U.S. wholesale sales rose 0.7% in October.

  • Australia November business confidence fell to 6 from 9.

  • China November CPI rose 6.9% (6.5% expected).

  • China’s November Trade Surplus at 26.28B (26.55B expected).

  • Japan November Consumer Confidence fell to 40.00 (43.0 expected).

  • German investor confidence fell from -32.5 to -37.2 -- a 15 year low.

  • The USDA's 2007-2008 U.S. ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn was reduced from 1.897 to 1.797 billion bushels.
    Soybeans were reduced from 210 to 185 million bushels.
    Wheat was reduced from 312 to 280 million bushels.
    Sugar was increased from 1.880 to 2.050 million tons.
    Cotton was increased from 7.60 to 7.70 million bales.

  • The USDA's 2007-2008 world ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn was reduced from 110.4 to 109.1 million tons.
    Soybeans were reduced from 49.4 to 47.3 million tons.
    Wheat was increased from 109.8 to 110.1 million tons.
    Cotton was increased from 54.8 to 55.3 million bales.

  • The USDA's estimates the Florida orange crop at 168 million boxes with a yield of 1.60 gallons per box.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Stonehenge: The Incredibly Simple Secret of How It Was Built
Wallington has discovered what he believes is the incredibly simple secret of how the ancients managed to build Stonehenge. He demonstrates in this video

Quick Overview

  • The National Association of Realtors said the pending U.S. home sales index was up 0.6% in October but down 18.4% YoY.

  • Japan’s machinery orders rose 12.7% in October, stronger than expected.

  • YoY U.K.'s manufacturing prices rose 4.5% in November.

  • China's November PPI rose 4.6% YoY vs. 3.5% expected.

  • China raised bank reserve requirement ratio by 1 %, the largest such move since 2003

  • UBS announced it will write down $10 billion in US subprime investments.

  • A trade group for real-estate agents said the battered housing market is on the verge of stabilizing and raised its outlook for 2007 and 2008 home sales.

  • The current US ethanol capacity is 7.3 billion gallons a year. If the projected new capacity comes on line during 2008, capacity will rise to 13.5 billion gallons a year.

  • The USDA increased its estimate of the 2007-2008 world coffee crop from 118.9 to 122.9

  • Rongcheng’s cargo volume for foreign trade grew 78% YoY

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Friday, December 07, 2007

Quick Overview

  • US Nov. ICSC Chain Store Sales grew 3.5% YoY vs. 2.4% expected and 1.6% in Oct.

  • Japan final Q3 GDP growth number adjusted down to 1.5% annualized vs. 2.6% expected

  • Australia Nov. construction index fell to 53.2 from 57.4 MoM.

  • Canada’s unemployment rate rose from 5.8% to 5.9%

  • The International Sugar Organization said that India's sugar production will fall 20% in 2008-2009.

  • (Bloomberg) -- …Less than 0.5 inch (1.3 centimeters) of rain will fall the next five days in Argentina before temperatures rise to as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, increasing crop stress, said Drew Lerner, president of World Weather Inc. in Overland Park, Kansas. Dry weather will prevail into January when crops are reproducing and may spread into southern Brazil, he said.

  • The CIA disclosed that it had made and destroyed videotapes of terrorism interrogations.

  • The port of Guangzhou's cumulative throughput rose 41 % YoY to 8.4 million TEU.
Our star in pictures
The Japanese Hinode satellite has discovered a type of magnetic wave that ripples through the plasma of the sun’s atmosphere or “corona”. The waves may heat the corona to extreme temperatures by releasing energy as they travel outward from the sun along magnetic field lines. This could help explain the “corona problem” - the fact that the sun’s surface is only about 6,000 kelvin while the corona is at least 1 million kelvin

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Quick Overview

  • (Reuters) - Housing markets from Punta Gorda, Florida, to Stockton, California, will crash and suffer price drops of more than 30 percent before the housing crisis is over, a report from Moody's said.

  • U.S. Jobless claims fell 15,000 last week to 338,000.

  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulson announced a plan to help roughly 1.2 million distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure.

  • The Bank of England cut interest rates from 5.75% to 5.50%

  • The European Central Bank kept its interest rate unchanged at 4.0%.

  • Toll Brothers Inc reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss.

  • Statistics Canada estimates Canada's 2007 wheat production at 20.05 million tons, down 21% YoY and down 587,000 tons from their September guess.

  • Statistics Canada estimates 2007 corn production at 11.65 million tons, up 30% YoY.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said underground supplies of natural gas were down 88 billion cubic feet last week to 3.44 trillion cubic feet.

  • YoY Oct. traffic at major US container ports fell 3.5%.

  • The Reserve Bank of New Zealand left rates unchanged at 8.25%

  • Japan Nov. preliminary Machine Tool Orders rose 13.0% YoY

Cheap no more
Rising incomes in Asia and ethanol subsidies in America have put an end to a long era of falling food prices

China May Exhaust Existing Gold Mines in Six Years
Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- China, poised to overtake the U.S. as the second-biggest gold producer this year, must acquire more bullion assets overseas because existing mines will run out of ore in six years, Zijin Mining Group Co. said.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Shipping chief warns of ‘insane’ charter rates
One of the biggest operators in the booming dry bulk shipping market has warned that conditions where charter rates for ships have nearly tripled in a year, were “insane” and “unsustainable”.

Quick Overview

  • The Institute of Supply Managements' index of services fell from 55.8 to 54.1 -- still recording growth.

  • U.S. Productivity rose 6.3% -- the most since 2003

  • US consumer confidence declined to 24 from 21 last week.

  • U.S. factory orders rose 0.5% in October.

  • U.S. non-farm productivity rose 2.7% -- better than estimated.

  • U.S. Unit labor costs rose 3.0%.

  • Australia left rates unchanged at 6.75% as expected

  • Australia’s Nov. Services Index rose to 56.4 from 53.2.

  • UK‘s Consumer confidence dropped to 86 vs. 94 expected

  • QoQ Australia GDP rose 1.0%, YoY GDP rose 4.3% vs. 4.8% expected.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil fell 8.0 million barrels to 305.2 million barrels
    Supplies of gasoline rose 4.0 million barrels.
    Supplies of heating oil supplies fell 1.1 million barrels.
    Refinery use unchanged at 89.4% of capacity.
    Gasoline demand rose 0.2%
    Distillate demand rose 5.9%.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Corn Jumps to Highest in Five Months on Demand for U.S. Exports
Current moderate La Nina weather conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean may lead to dry weather during South America's critical corn-pollination period in January, Widenor said. In three of the four moderate La Nina periods since 1950, Argentina's growing regions received as little as 25 percent of normal rainfall in January, he said.

Subprime Rate Five-Year Fix Eyed by U.S. Regulators, Lenders
About 100,000 subprime loans will jump from their discounted initial rates every month for the next two years, UBS AG estimates. American home foreclosures almost doubled in October from a year earlier as subprime borrowers failed to make higher payments on adjustable-rate mortgages,...
...These mortgages usually begin with a rate of between 7 percent to 9 percent and then reset to between 11 percent and 13 percent. ``What we are talking about is having these loans modified, so they continue for a longer period of time at the starter rate,'' ..

Quick Overview

  • UK Nov. BRC retail sales monitor says retail sales rose 3.1% YoY, as discounting increased revenues.

  • Australia Oct. retail sales rose 0.2% vs. 0.6% expected.

  • The Bank of Canada reduced its benchmark rate from 4.50% to 4.25%

Monday, December 03, 2007

With this announcement, the dynamics of the Middle Eastern region, Iraq and U.S.-Iranian relations shift dramatically. For one thing, the probability of a unilateral strike against Iranian nuclear targets is gone. Since there is no Iranian nuclear weapons program, there is no rationale for a strike. Moreover, if Iran is not engaged in weapons production, then a broader air campaign designed to destabilize the Iranian regime has no foundation either.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Treasury’s Henry Paulson is confident an agreement will soon be reached that will help thousands of homeowners avoid mortgage defaults by temporarily holding their interest rates steady.

  • Japan Q3 Capital Spending rose 3.4% YoY

  • Australia's Oct. Trade Balance out at -2983M vs. -1800M expected.

  • EU 13 unemployment fell to 7.2 % in October.

  • The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index fell to 50.8 in November -- the fifth straight monthly decline.

  • The U.S. average price of diesel pushed past a record level for the third time in four weeks, rising 3.4 cents a gallon to $3.444.

  • Gold demand in China, including the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, rose 24 percent in the third quarter to 88.1 tons, the World Gold Council said.

  • The U.S. national debt is expanding by about $1.4 billion a day -- or nearly $1 million a minute.

  • Manufacturing in the U.K. rose from 52.8 to 54.4 in November.
Sex, chocolate, meat top brain boosters
Plenty of sex, dark chocolate and cold meats are the latest keys to boosting your brain power, according to a new book published in Britain.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Bush Administration Offers Paul Wolfowitz Top State Department Job
Don't ever say the Bush administration doesn't take care of its own. Nearly three years after Paul Wolfowitz resigned as deputy Defense secretary and six months after his stormy departure as president of the World Bank—amid allegations that he improperly awarded a raise to his girlfriend—he's in line to return to public service. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has offered Wolfowitz, a prime architect of the Iraq War, a position as chairman of the International Security Advisory Board..

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Banks may freeze subprime loan rates to avoid home foreclosures
The banks' plan recognizes that, absent a proactive move, many subprime ARMs could reset next year to 12 percent or more from current rates of 7 percent to 9 percent.
"I think there is a basic assumption here that there is money that is going to be lost one way or the other," said Wayne Abernathy, the executive director of financial institution policy at the American Bankers Association.

Guantanamo prisoners to ask Supreme Court for basic rights
Multiple Guantanamo Bay cases are being combined for an hour-long oral argument Wednesday morning. The justices must first decide whether some 340 foreign-born prisoners are protected by constitutional habeas corpus guarantees.
Habeas corpus, which in Latin means "produce the body," is a 13th century tenant of law enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. It enables prisoners to demand in federal court the legal justification and factual basis for their detention.

Friday, November 30, 2007

RealtyTrac: Foreclosures up 165 percent in Florida
Nationwide, there were more than 224,000 properties in foreclosure, or one for every 555 households. Filings were up 94 percent from October of last year and up 2 percent from September.
Though the filings continue to increase, RealtyTrac said there is some evidence that conditions are improving.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Personal incomes rose 0.2% in October.
    Personal consumption expenditures rose 0.2% in October and 1.9% YoY.

  • The Federal Reserve would not hesitate to act to prevent financial strains from damaging the economy and any steps it does take are not made to shield investors, a top Fed official said on Friday.

  • U.S. Construction spending fell 0.8% MoM and 0.6% YoY.

  • The Chicago purchasing managers index rose from 49.7 to 52.9, stronger than expected

  • Moody's downgraded or put on review debt totaling $119 billion that was issued by SIVs, including some tied to Citigroup.

  • Congress may legislate a boost in fuel-economy standards to 35 miles a gallon by 2020.

  • GDP in Canada rose 0.7% in the third quarter and 2.9% YoY.

  • Japans consumer prices rose 0.3%
    Japans unemployment rate unchanged at 4% in October and
    Japans household spending rose 0.6% in October.
    Japans housing starts fell 35% YoY

  • GDP in the euro zone rose 2.7% YoY

  • The International Cocoa Organization estimates the 2006-2007 estimate of world cocoa ending stocks at 1.6 million tons or 44% of annual use.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The Fed’s Bernanke said, in prepared comments that financial-market turmoil may put additional strain on the U.S. economy, signaling he is open to cuts in interest rates.

  • QoQ U.S. GDP rose at an annual rate of 4.9%, the best quarterly performance in four years. YoY GDP rose 2.8%,

  • The U.S. GDP price deflator rose 0.9% in the third quarter.

  • The U.S. Census Bureau said that new home sales rose 1.7% from September's pace. YoY new home sales are down 24%.

  • The Federal Reserve will act to protect the wider economy from financial turmoil but not to shelter individual investors from losses.

  • Industrial production in Japan rose 1.6% -- a new record high.

  • Housing prices in the U.K. fell 0.8% in November,

  • The U.S. Energy Department said that underground supplies of natural gas were down 12 billion cubic feet last week to 3.528 trillion cubic feet.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Deadbeat Developers Signaled by Property Derivatives (Update2) The cost of derivatives protecting investors from defaults on the highest-rated bonds backed by properties more than doubled in the past month, according to Markit Group Ltd. Prices suggest traders anticipate defaults rising to the highest level since the Great Depression, according to analysts at RBS Greenwich Capital in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Quick Overview

  • The Dow-Jones industrial average had its biggest two-day rally in five years after a Federal Reserve official hinted that the central bank may lower interest rates again.

  • The National Association of Realtors said that existing home sales fell 1.2% in October and 20.7% YoY. The median home price fell 5.1% YoY.

  • U.S. Durable goods orders fell 0.4% in October. Excluding transport, orders fell 0.7%.

  • The Federal Reserve's Beige book said that reports on retail spending were lackluster and real estate remained depressed.

  • Japan retail sales rose 0.8% YoY.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil fell 400,000 barrels to 313.2 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline rose 1.4 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil supplies rose 1.3 million barrels.
    Refinery use rose from 87.0 to 89.4%.
    Gasoline demand rose 0.4%
    Distillate demand rose 3.7%.

  • Argentina closed down wheat exports for five days to protect domestic supplies.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Foreclosures will hurt metro economies, mayors warn
The deepening housing crisis will cut economic growth by more than 25 percent in 143 U.S. metropolitan areas next year and by more than a third in 65 metro communities, according to a new forecast for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The new report prepared for the mayors by financial forecaster Global Insight warns of cascading problems caused by falling home prices, an expected 1.4 million foreclosures and the pending reset of millions of adjustable-rate mortgages.

Quick Overview

  • The Dow industrials rose 215 on Citigroup's cash infusion from Abu Dhabi, and a more than $3 break in oil. Middle Eastern and Asian investment funds have invested an estimated $37bn in shares of western financial companies so far this year.

  • U.S. Home prices fell 4.5% in the third quarter from a year earlier

  • The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence fell from 95.2 to 87.3, the lowest score since Hurricane Katrina.

  • Business confidence in Germany rose from 103.9 to 104.2 in November, stronger than expected

  • YoY GDP in South Africa rose 4.7%

  • Rumors have it that OPEC may increase daily production by 500,000 barrels when they meet on December 5th.

  • The USDA expects Colombia's coffee production to increase from 12.2 to 12.4 million bags in 2007-2008.

  • China's National Grain and Oil Trade Center sees a 2007 grain and oilseed supply shortfall of 26 million tons.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Quick Overview

Saturday, November 24, 2007

U.S. Sales Rose 8.3% Day After Thanksgiving, ShopperTrak Says
Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. consumers spent $10.3 billion on holiday purchases yesterday, an 8.3 percent increase from last year

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bond Market to Bernanke: Recession Threat Means More Rate Cuts
Financial companies may lose as much as $400 billion because of home foreclosures, based on a ``back-of-the-envelope'' calculation, Jan Hatzius, chief U.S. economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in New York, wrote in a report last week. That will force banks, brokerages and hedge funds to cut lending by $2 trillion, he estimated.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The New York Federal Reserve's regional index of manufacturing fell from 28.75 to 27.37 in November -- stronger than expected.

  • The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's index of manufacturing rose from 6.8 to 8.2 in November -- stronger than expected.

  • Canada’s existing home sales rose 1.3% from September's pace.

  • U.K.'s retail sales fell 0.1% in October, but rose 4.4% YoY.

  • Consumer prices in the Euro zone rose 2.6% in October

  • Japan's tertiary index of services fell 1.6% in September.

  • YoY Industrial production in China rose 17.9%.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil rose 2.8 million barrels to 314.7 million barrels
    Supplies of gasoline rose 700,000 barrels
    Supplies of heating oil fell 700,000 barrels.
    Refinery use rose from 86.2% to 87.7% last week.
    gasoline demand rose 0.6% YoY
    Distillate demand rose 0.5% YoY.
    Supplies of natural gas are up 2.5% YoY and up 8% from the five-year average.

  • The World Gold Council said that YoY gold demand rose 19% in the third quarter.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. retail sales rose 0.2% in October.

  • Retail sales in China were rose 18.1% YoY

  • GDP in the Euro area rose 2.6%.

  • The U.K.'s unemployment rate was 5.4%, unchanged QoQ.

  • Canada's index of leading indicators rose 0.1%.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Quick Overview

  • A data service for MasterCard Worldwide, said U.S. retail sales rose 0.2% in October.

  • The International Energy Agency expects world oil demand at 87.7 million barrels per day in 2008, down 300,000 barrels from an earlier estimate.

  • Japan's GDP rose 0.6% QoQ and 2.1% YoY.

  • Japan kept interest rate unchanged at 0.50%.

  • YoY U.K.'s consumer prices rose 2.1%.

  • YoY Consumer prices in China rose 6.5%.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Quick Overview

  • YoY Japan producer price index rose 2.4%

  • Analysts at the Deutsche Bank predict losses worldwide from subprime mortgages will eventually total $300 to $400 billion.

  • India's industrial growth slowed to 6.4 percent in September.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What Mukasey Can Teach Musharraf Why, in a country of 300 million, home to a lopsided number of lawyers, we cannot find someone who will uphold the Constitution unequivocally, is one more mystery of our times.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

How to Turn a Region Into a Graveyard..we have witnessed the emergence of a new Middle East that bears no resemblance to anything that US politicians might have envisaged, and which has become a major and lasting destabilising factor in the world.

Rage of Reason
The only time the polling firm has measured such strong give-this-guy-the-hook sentiment was in February 1974, at the height of the Watergate scandal, when Nixon's "strongly disapprove" number was measured at 48 percent. Bush beats him by a nose, but the margin of error makes the contest for "Most Reviled President, Modern Era" a statistical tie.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Trade shortfall of $56.5 billion was less than expected.

  • The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index dropped from 80.9 to 75.0 in November, the lowest in two years.

  • China raised bank reserves to 11.5%. This is the ninth time this year the bank tries to cool an economy that expanded 11.5 % in the third quarter.

  • Europe's central banks sold 50 tons of gold in October.

  • Japan's industrial output rose 2.2%

  • The European Commission reduced its estimate of GDP growth for the Euro area from 2.5% to 2.2% in 2008, they expect 2.1% growth in 2009.

  • Canada’s trade surplus of C$2.6 billion is the lowest since December of 1998.

  • The USDA's 2007-20008 U.S. ending stocks estimate of:
    Corn was reduced from 1.997 to 1.897 billion bushels.
    Soybeans were reduced from 215 to 210 million bushels.
    Wheat was increased from 307 to 312 million bushels.
    Sugar was reduced from 1.899 to 1.880 million tons.
    Cotton was increased from 6.40 to 7.60 million bales.

  • The USDA's 2007-2008 world ending stocks estimate of:
    Corn remained at 110.4 million tons.
    Soybeans were reduced from 50.8 to 49.4 million tons.
    Wheat increased from 107 to 109.8 million tons.
    Cotton was reduced from 55.0 to 54.8 million bales.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The Fed’s Bernanke told Congress the central bank is doing all it can to ease the impact of increasing foreclosures. He sees a "delicate balance" between risks to growth and the risks of inflation.

  • Australia's unemployment rate rose from 4.2% to 4.3% in October

  • Canada's housing starts were down 22% from September's pace.
  • The Bank of England kept the interest rate unchanged at 5.75%.
  • The European Central Bank kept its interest rate unchanged at 4.00%.

  • Machinery orders in Japan fell 7.6% in September, weaker than expected.

  • The People's Bank of China estimats GDP will increase 11% this year with 4.5% inflation.

  • Brazil's National Commodities Supply Corp. predicted a 59.4 million ton soybean crop in 2007-2008, the USDA estimated 62.0 million ton.

  • Louis Dreyfus is predicting that Brazil's next coffee crop will total 50 million (60-kg) bags.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that underground supplies of natural gas rose 36 billion cubic feet to 3.545 trillion cubic feet. Supplies are now up 3% YoY.

  • Statistics South Africa said YoY gold production was down 6.5% in September.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Productivity increased at an annual rate of 4.9% in the third quarter, stronger than expected and the best gain in four years.

  • Vice chairman of the National People's Congress suggested that China should reposition their $1.4 trillion of foreign currency reserves into stronger currencies.

  • U.S. Wholesale sales rose 1.3% in September inventories rose 0.8%.

  • Federal Reserve officials on said more interest rate cuts could be needed if economic growth proves weaker than expected.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were down 800,000 barrels last week to 311.9 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline were down 800,000 barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were up 600,000 barrels.
    Refinery use was flat last week at a sluggish 86.2% of capacity.
    Gasoline demand rose 0.8%
    Distillate demand fell 2.4%.

  • Japans leading index fell 1.3% in September, due to Japan's poor housing starts. Eight of ten indicators rose.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Japan's index of leading indicators hit 0% in September, a signal of slower conditions ahead.

  • Business activity in the Euro Area improved from 54.2 to 55.8 in October.

  • Retail sales in the Euro Area rose 0.3% in September.

  • The Reserve Bank of Australia lifted interest rates to an 11-year high of 6.75%.

  • Peruvian miners went on strike. Peru is the world's largest producer of silver, fifth largest gold producer, and third largest copper producer.

  • In Q4, the U.S. Department of Energy expects world oil consumption at 87.45 million barrels a day, and production at 85.88 million barrels a day.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The Institute of Supply Management's index of services increased from 54.8 to 55.8 in October, stronger than expected.

  • The Federal Reserve should be ready to reverse two interest rate cuts if the U.S. economy escapes major damage from recent market turmoil, but recovery is a way off for housing and subprime mortgage markets, Fed officials said.

  • Citigroup warned of another $8 to $11 billion in loan losses, reigniting fears about the health of financial firms and the broader U.S. economy. The CEO quit.

  • The Florida Department of Citrus said that at the end of October, there were 49.2 million gallons of frozen orange concentrate in inventory, this is down 17% YoY.

  • U.K. services fell from 56.7 to 53.1 in October, weaker than expected,

  • U.K’s Factory production fell 0.6%.

  • Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui yesterday underlined the need to raise interest rates in a timely manner, saying that keeping them too low in the light of economic conditions could pose risks in the future.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Unemployment rate remained at 4.7% in October with a net increase of 166,000 jobs, much more than expected.

  • U.S. Factory orders rose 0.2% in September, better than expected. Excluding transport, orders rose 1.4%.

  • Canada’s unemployment rate improved from 5.9% to 5.8% in October, the lowest in 33 years

  • Canadian Finance Minister Flaherty played down the idea of cutting interest rates as a way of stemming the rise of the Canadian dollar.

  • Manufacturing in the Euro zone fell from 53.2 to 51.5 in October, the lowest in two years.

  • Informa estimates the U.S. corn crop at 13.193 billion bushels, down 125 million from the last USDA forecast.

  • Informa estimates the U.S. soybean crop at 2.628 billion bushels, up 30 million from the last USDA forecast.

  • The Census Bureau said soybean oil stocks were 2.91 billion pounds at the end of September compared with 3.05 billion in August.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The Fed injected $41 billion into the U.S. financial system Thursday, the largest cash infusion since September 2001.

  • U.S. personal incomes rose 0.4% in September, as expected

  • U.S. Consumer spending rose 0.3%, less than expected.

  • The Institute of Supply Management's index of manufacturing fell from 52.0 to 50.9 in October, weaker than expected.

  • Australia's retail sales rose 0.8% in September.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

$43.5 Billion Spying Budget for Year, Not Including Military
The number released Tuesday does not include the billions of dollars that military services spend annually on intelligence operations. The total spying budget for the last fiscal year, including this Pentagon spending, is said to have been in excess of $50 billion.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. GDP rose 3.9% YoY, the best quarterly performance in over a year.

  • U.S. employment cost index rose 0.8% QoQ and up 3.3% YoY.

  • U.S. Personal consumption rose 1.9%

  • U.S. construction spending rose 0.3% QoQ. YOY construction spending is down 3.2%

  • The Chicago purchasing managers' index fell from 54.2% to 49.7%, weaker than expected

  • Canada's GDP rose 0.2% MoM, and 2.4 YoY.

  • Japan estimates GDP growth at 1.8% down from 2.1%.
    Japan kept rates unchanged at 0.50%.
    Japan's housing starts fell 44% YoY

  • Unemployment rate in the Euro area dropped from 7.4% to 7.3%.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said:
    Supplies of crude oil fell 3.9 million barrels to 312.7 million barrels.
  • Supplies of gasoline rose 1.3 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil supplies rose 500,000 barrels.
    Refinery use fell from 87.1% to 86.2%
    U.S. gasoline demand rose 0.3% YoY
    Distillate demand fell 0.7%.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

War Plans: United States and Iran
A possible U.S. attack against Iran has been a hot topic in the news for many months now. In some quarters it has become an article of faith that the Bush administration intends to order such an attack before it leaves office. It remains a mystery whether the administration plans an actual attack or whether it is using the threat of attack to try to intimidate Iran -- and thus shape its behavior in Iraq and elsewhere. Unraveling the mystery lies, at least in part, in examining what a U.S. attack would look like, given U.S. goals and resources, as well as in considering the potential Iranian response. Before turning to intentions, it is important to discuss the desired outcomes and capabilities. Unfortunately, those discussions have taken a backseat to speculations about the sheer probability of war.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Consumer confidence fell more than expected, from 99.5 to 95.6, lowest in two years.

  • Germany's unemployment rate fell from 8.8% to 8.7%.

  • The national average price of diesel fuel rose 6.3 cents to $3.157 a gallon, matching the all-time record set two years ago.

  • Australia predicts the current wheat crop at 12.1 million tons down form 15.5 previously forecast and 13.5 the last USDA prediction.

  • Australia's livestock industry will be forced for the first time to import grain from overseas if local supplies continue to dwindle in the crippling drought, producers have warned.

  • The International Sugar Organization said a global sugar excess may take as long as two years to reduce because of record crops in India and Brazil.

  • Cocoa: There is concern that black pod disease may be spreading in the Ivory Coast

  • US real estate wealth is expected to fall anywhere from US$2 trillion to US$4 trillion when the total costs of the recent credit crunch are tallied, the New York Times reported.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The Federal Reserve begins its two-day meeting tomorrow, and the market anticipates a rate cut.

  • Retail sales in Japan rose 0.5% MoM

  • Japan's unemployment rate rose to 4% from 3.8% last Month.

  • Tropical Storm Noel may be heading for the Gulf of Mexico.

  • There is talk of increasing South African mine safety rules, that could make it harder for South African gold production to recover.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

China Passes U.S. in Top 10 List as China Life Surges
``European countries were also surprised at the beginning of the 20th century when American companies overtook European companies,'' he said. ``The world better get used to it.''

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Rumsfeld flees France fearing arrest US embassy officials whisked Rumsfeld away yesterday from a breakfast meeting in Paris organized by the Foreign Policy magazine after human rights groups filed a criminal complaint against the man who spearheaded President George W. Bush's "war on terror" for six years.

Under international law, authorities in France are obliged to open an investigation when a complaint is made while the alleged torturer is on French soil.

Quick Overview

  • The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index dropped from 82.0 to 80.9 in October.

  • The USDA said that beef production totaled 2.09 billion pounds in September, down 3% YoY.

  • The USDA said pork production totaled 1.75 billion pounds in September

  • Countrywide Financial lost $1.2 billion in the third-quarter, but its shares rose after the largest U.S. mortgage lender said it expects to be profitable in the fourth quarter and in 2008.

  • While Bush, and G.O.P. candidates led by Romney, take hostilities against Iran to new highs, the dollar makes new lows, crude oil and gold make new highs.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Durable goods orders fell 1.7% in September, weaker than expected. Excluding transport orders rose 0.3% in September.

  • The DoE said underground supplies of natural gas were up 68 billion cubic feet last week to 3.443 trillion cubic feet.

  • China’s GDP rose 11.5% QoQ.

  • The U.S. Fed is close to agreeing to changes in its communication strategy, including quarterly publication of internal forecasts, but it will not adopt an inflation target any time soon.

  • Microsoft said first-quarter earnings rose 23 percent, exceeding estimates.

  • Crude oil rose above $90 after a report showed a drop in U.S. stockpiles and the U.S. imposed new sanctions against Iran. This is prompting new fears about supplies ahead of the peak winter season.

  • For the eighth month Japan's consumer prices fell 0.1%, a sign that deflation lingers in the world's second-largest economy.

  • Japan’s industrial production fell 1.4 %

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Existing home sales fell 8.0% from August's pace -- the lowest since records began in 1999.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were down 5.3 million barrels to 316.6 million barrels,
    Supplies of gasoline were down 2.0 million barrels.
    Supplies of heating oil were up 900,000 barrels.

  • Australia’s consumer prices rose 0.9% QoQ and up 2.9% YoY.

  • Germanys leading economic indicators fell 0.8% in August.

  • The Commodity Futures Trading Commission told Congress on Wednesday the electronic Intercontinental Exchange's natural gas contract should be subject to more government oversight.

  • Merrill Lynch announced that its US mortgage-related losses were not $4.5bn but $7.9bn.

The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could total $2.4 trillion
A previous CBO estimate put the wars' costs at more than $1.6 trillion. This one adds $705 billion in interest, taking into account that the conflicts are being funded with borrowed money.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Retail sales in Canada rose 0.7%

  • Industrial new orders in the Euro area rose 0.3% MoM and 5.1% YoY.

  • YoY Japan's trade surplus rose 62.7%.

U.S. lawmakers to mull subprime bankruptcy relief Under the plan, bankruptcy judges could extend the life of a home loan, change the interest rate or simply mark down the loan amount. Judges currently have that broad authority to modify other types of debt, including money owed on credit cards or auto payments.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Updates resume "after" San Diego fires, hopefully within the next couple of days!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Turkey is serious about sending troops into northern Iraq to hunt down Kurdish separatist rebels hiding there and is not bluffing, a senior minister said.

  • U.K.'s GDP rose 0.8% QoQ and up 3.3% YoY

  • Canada’s consumer prices rose 0.2% MoM and 2.5% YoY

  • USDA's Keith Collins believes US corn acreage will decline in the coming year to 87 million, cotton to 10 million. Collins estimates US wheat plantings at 64 million acres, soybeans at 70 million - both increases from the previous year.

  • There is talk that Russia will increase its export duty on wheat to 30%. Currently Russia plans a 10% duty on wheat exports to take effect next month.

  • The USDA said there were 10.967 million head of cattle on feed on October 1st, down 3.7% YoY. Placements rose 9% YoY and marketing’s fell 3%.

  • The USDA attaché expects Brazil’s sugar production in 2007-2008, up 2%. He also expects Brazil’s ethanol production up 16%.

  • YoY the U.S. cocoa grind, at 94,179 tons, fell 14%.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless aid jumped by 28,000 last week, more than expected and the biggest increase for any week since February.

  • The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's regional index of manufacturing dropped from 10.9 to 6.8 in October, a sign of slower growth.

  • U.S. leading indicators rose 0.3% in September

  • U.K. Retail sales rose 0.6% in September, more than expected.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that underground supplies of natural gas were up 39 billion cubic feet last week to 3.375 trillion cubic feet. YoY supplies are down 2%

  • Wheat sales have reached 82.6% of the USDA forecast for the entire marketing year as compared to 51.3% on average over the last five years.
Housing Downturn Takes Toll on Cities’ Revenue
In Palm Beach County, Fla., foreclosures rose to 4,830 in 2006 from 3,049 in 2005. And in just the first eight months of this year, the number hit 7,544, said Sharon R. Bock, the county’s comptroller and clerk. Vacant job positions in Ms. Bock’s office are going unfilled, and “it could get worse,” she said.

OJ Prices Jump As Citrus Land Shrinks
Florida lost 127,182 acres (17 percent of its total) in the 2006 crop census -- the second worst drop in history behind only a January 1986 freeze. The net loss was higher than the previous eight years combined.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture does not tie specific reasons to any acre lost, but growers and other industry officials say the problems are plain. Canker and greening forced the destruction of tens of thousands of acres of trees in the past decade, and bad hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005 raked groves. Some farmers sold to developers when land prices skyrocketed the past few years, though recent slowing in the housing market probably stymied that trend.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Britain to claim more than 1m sq km of Antarctica
The United Kingdom is planning to claim sovereign rights over a vast area of the remote seabed off Antarctica, the Guardian has learned. The submission to the United Nations covers more than 1m sq km (386,000 sq miles) of seabed, and is likely to signal a quickening of the race for territory around the south pole in the world's least explored continent.

The claim would be in defiance of the spirit of the 1959 Antarctic treaty, to which the UK is a signatory. It specifically states that no new claims shall be asserted on the continent. The treaty was drawn up to prevent territorial disputes.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Housing starts were down 10.2% MoM and down 31% YoY.

  • The adjustment from recent financial market turmoil is "far from over" though the situation seems to have improved, a senior New York Federal Reserve Bank official said.

  • The Fed’s Beige Book said economic activity continued to expand in all Districts in September and early October but the pace of growth decelerated since August.

  • The USDA is reporting the first Asian soybean rust finding in Indiana, in addition to several new cases in Iowa and Missouri

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil rose 1.8 million barrels to 321.9 million barrels.
  • Supplies of gasoline rose 2.8 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil rose 1.2 million barrels.
    Refinery use fell from 87.8% to 87.3% of capacity.
    Gasoline demand fell 0.5% YoY
    Distillate demand rose 0.9% YOY
    The Strategic Petroleum Reserve increased by 500,000 barrels.

  • The U.K.'s unemployment rate remained at 5.4%, down 0.2% YoY.

  • The International Monetary Fund said that they expect world GDP to increase 5.2% in 2007 and 4.8% in 2008.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Life is harder now, some experts say

The basics, according to Warren, now take up close to three-fourths of every family's spending power (it was about 50 percent in 1973), leaving precious little left over at the end of the month — and leaving many families with no cushion in case of a job loss or health crisis.

Quick Overview

  • Foreign investors slashed their holdings of US securities by a record amount as the credit squeeze intensified, according to the latest Treasury figures. Foreign investors sold $34.9 billion of U.S. securities in August while U.S. investors bought $34.5 billion of foreign securities. Overall $163 billion left the U.S. in August.

  • U.S. industrial production was up 0.1% in September

  • YoY consumer prices in the U.K. rose 1.8%.

  • YoY consumer prices in the Euro area rose 2.1%.

  • Canada met and kept its rate unchanged at 4.5%

  • Manufacturing sales in Canada fell 1.7% in August

  • Japan's housing starts fell 43% in August. The government began requiring stricter inspections to protect new homes from earthquake damage.

  • Southern California home sales fell in September to the lowest level in two decades. It was the slowest month since the firm began keeping records in 1988, DataQuick said. The previous low was in February 1995 when 12,459 homes sold.

  • Intel profits rose 43 %, beating estimates.

  • There's been another round of new record highs for crude oil on fears of an escalating conflict between Turkey and Kurds in northern Iraq.