Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The Bureau of Economic Analysis changed its estimates of fourth quarter GDP growth sharply downward, to 2.2% compared with a previous estimate of 3.5%.

  • New home sales fell by 16.6%, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The monthly decline was the biggest, since a 23.8 percent drop-off in January 1994. The median sales price of a new U.S. home rose $400 to $239,800.

  • The Chicago PMI fell to 47.9%, its lowest level since April 2003, suggesting contraction. MoM the prices paid component rose to 63.2 from 54.9.

  • The unemployment rate in the Euro area improved from 7.5% to 7.4% in January.

  • The inflation rate in the Euro area improved from 1.9% to 1.8% in January

  • Industrial production in Japan was down 1.5% in January.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were up 1.4 million barrels to 329.0 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were down 1.9 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were down 1.8 million barrels.
    YoY Gasoline demand over the past four weeks was up 3.6%

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Quick Overview

  • YoY Eurozone money supply grew at an annual rate of 9.8 percent in January.

  • Shanghai’s composite index fell 9%.

  • U.S. Durable goods orders were down 7.8% in January, weaker than expected. Excluding transport, orders were down 3.1% MoM.

  • Consumer confidence rose from 110.2 to 112.5 in February, more than expected

  • U.S. Existing home sales were at an annual rate of 6.46 million units in January, up 3% MoM, but down 4.3% YoY. There are 3.55 million homes for sale in the U.S. -- a 6.6 month supply.

Monday, February 26, 2007

US mortgage crisis goes into meltdown
Panic has begun to sweep the sub-prime mortgage sector in the United States after the bankruptcy of 22 lenders over the past two months, setting off mass liquidation of housing loans packaged as securities

Blow for beer as biofuels clean out barley
One consequence, he said, could be a long-term shift upwards in the price of beer. Barley and hops account for about 7-8 per cent of brewing costs.

Quick Overview

  • Greenspan told a business conference in Hong Kong the U.S. economy may be about due for a recession.

  • Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki suggested the end of deflation is in sight.

  • If the politicians in Washington do nothing, 23 million Americans will get hit by the alternative minimum tax next year, up from 4 million this year.

  • Concern about subprime mortgage defaults continue.

Central Banks Diversify From Dollar, Survey Shows Central banks are still investing in riskier assets as they chase greater returns on yields. Sixty-nine percent said they were looking for more yield, having been forced to widen their asset range by a low-yielding environment.
More than half of the respondents said there is scope for central banks to diversify beyond traditional assets into equities, and around a third said banks should invest in commodities.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

While you slumber, your brain puts the world in order Ever wondered why sleeping on a problem works? It seems that as well as strengthening our memories, sleep also helps us to extract themes and rules from the masses of information we soak up during the day.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. jobless claims were down 27,000 to 332,000

  • YoY German GDP was up 3.5% in the fourth quarter.

  • The U.S. Energy Department (DOE) said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were up 3.7 million barrels to 327.6 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline were down 3.1 million barrels
    Supplies of natural gas were down 223 billion cubic feet to 1.865 trillion cubic feet.
    Supplies of heating oil were down 4.1 million barrels.
    U.S. gasoline demand was up 3.8% from YoY
    U.S. distillate demand was up 9.8% YoY.

  • The USDA said there were 46.4 million pounds of frozen bellies in storage, down 15% YoY. Frozen pork inventories totaled 486 million pounds, down 8% YoY.

  • The USDA said that, there were 729 million pounds of frozen orange juice in cold storage, down 32% YoY.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Corn Surges to 10-Year High as Rains May Limit U.S. Planting
rose to a 10-year high in Chicago, extending this year's 12 percent rally, as wet weather in the Midwest threatened to prevent U.S. farmers from planting enough grain to meet surging demand for ethanol.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Consumer prices were up 0.2% in January and up 2.1% YoY. Excluding food and energy, prices were up 0.3% in January and up 2.7% YoY.

  • U.S. index of leading indicators were up 0.1% in January, less than expected,

  • The Bank of Japan raised rates from 0.25% to 0.50% by a vote of 8 to 1.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Canada's CPI was up 0.1% in January and up 1.2% YoY,

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

  • Producer prices in Germany were up 3.2% YoY.

  • The Florida Department of Citrus said there were 65.1 million gallons of frozen orange juice in storage on Feb. 10th, down 30% YoY.

  • The USDA said that 2006 U.S. pork exports totaled 2.997 billion pounds, up 12% YoY.

  • The USDA said that 2006 U.S. beef exports were up 65% YoY -- 46% below the 2003 record.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Anti-MRSA silver pyjamas trialled
Pyjamas and bed linen made with silver cloth are being trialled in a hospital to help combat the MRSA superbug.
Feeding your brain: new benefits found in chocolate
Funded by candy maker Mars Inc., which provided a specially formulated liquid cocoa concoction for the research, the studies suggest that flavanols increase blood flow to the brain and may hold promise for treating some vascular impairments.

Children's TV 'is linked to cancer, autism, dementia'
"It is the number of hours and the age at which they start which produces the biological effects. It is because of the medium, not the message, that these effects are occurring." - DR ARIC SIGMAN

Friday, February 16, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. producer price index was down 0.6% in January. Excluding food and energy costs, prices were up 0.2% in January.

  • U.S. housing starts were down 14% from December's pace and the weakest in ten years.

  • The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index dropped from 96.9 to 93.3 in February, more than expected.

  • World Weather Inc., a private weather firm, released a new outlook that indicated dry conditions may begin in the U.S. around July due to a shift from El Nino into La Nina conditions.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Industrial production fell 0.5% in December, the most in over a year.

  • The price of goods imported to the United States fell 1.2% in January, the most in three months.

  • First-time U.S. jobless jumped last week by 44,000, the biggest increase since September 2005, the Labor Department said Thursday

  • International investors slowed their purchases of U.S. stocks and bonds in December. They purchased $63.0 billion U.S. securities while U.S. investors bought $47.4 billion of foreign securities. This is the lowest net funds inflow in five years.

  • Retail sales in the U.K. were down 1.8% in January.

  • The International Coffee Organization estimates 2007-2008 world coffee production unchanged at 110.5 million bags They estimate Consumption at 118 million bags, up from 116 million bags last year.

  • The DoE said that underground supplies of natural gas were down 259 billion cubic feet to 2.088 trillion cubic feet. YoY supplies are down 8%.

  • The World Gold Council estimates 2006 world gold mine production at 2,467 tons down 2% . They estimate 2006 demand at 3,362 million tons, down 10%.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Bernanke told the Senate the economy should grow modestly this year and he expects inflation will continue to ease.

  • Gross domestic product in Japan expanded 4.8 % YoY, more than expected.

  • MoM U.S. retail sales were unchanged in January -- up 2.3% YoY.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were down 600,000 barrels at 323.9 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline were down 2.0 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were down 2.7 million barrels.
    Gasoline demand was up 3.6% YoY
    Distillates demand was up 7.0% YoY.

  • The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is launching contracts that will allow insurers and others to hedge risk against hurricane damage.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. trade deficit widened to a record fifth straight year in 2006. The Department of Commerce announced today that December exports of $125.5 billion and imports of $186.7 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $61.2 billion, $3.1 billion more than the $58.1 billion in November.

  • Japan's producer prices rose 2.2 percent YoY, less than predicted.

  • The International Energy Agency forecasts oil demand up by 3.2 % this year mainly due to higher Chinese consumption.

  • QoQ GDP in the Euro Area was up 0.9%. YoY GDP was up 2.7%.

  • MoM Consumer prices in the U.K. were down 0.8% in January.

  • Italy's GDP was up 2% in 2006.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. government posted a $38.24 billion budget surplus in January, up 82.4 % YoY.

  • Australia reduced its inflation estimate for 2007 from 3.0% to 2.75%.

  • Producer prices in the U.K. were up 0.3% in January, more than expected.

  • Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister said that further production cuts by OPEC may not be necessary after the recent rise in prices.

  • F.O.Licht estimates 2006-2007 world sugar production at a record 160.6 million tons, up 13 million YoY.

  • The Florida Department of Citrus said there were 64.1 million gallons of frozen orange juice concentrate in inventory on February 4th, down 30% YoY.

  • The number of U.S. homes entering foreclosure rose to 130,511 in January, up 25% YoY.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A General Theory of Stupidity
by Bill Bonner

Newton’s "Inverse Square Law" holds that gravity – and many other things – decreases by the square of the distance from the source. In a flash, we realized that this applied to useful investment intelligence too. The further you get from the facts, the less you know what is really going on.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Quick Overview

  • MoM Canada's unemployment rate rose from 6.1% to 6.2% in January.

  • The U.K.’s trade deficit for 2006 totaled 55.8 billion pounds -- the highest on record.

  • Japan's machine orders in December were down 0.7 %, from a 3.8 % gain in November --not helping the Yen.

  • Cocoa stocks at Nybot approved warehouses fell 22,761 bags
    to total 4.559 million bags.

  • The USDA's U.S. 2006-2007 ending stock estimate for:
    Corn was unchanged at 752 million bushels.
    Soybeans were increased from 575 to 595 million bushels.
    Wheat was unchanged at 472 million bushels.
    Sugar was lowered from 1.801 to 1.695 million tons.
    Cotton was increased from 7.10 to 8.30 million bales. (stocks to use ratio 43%, the most in 18 years)

  • The USDA's world 2006-2007 ending stock estimate for:
    Corn was raised from 86 to 88 million tons.
    Soybeans were increased from 56 to 57 million tons
    Wheat was lowered from 122 to 121 million tons.
    Cotton was raised from 52 to 53 million tons.

  • The USDA's estimate of 2007 beef production was reduced from 26.70 to 26.64 billion lbs.
    The USDA's estimate of 2007 pork production remained at 21.65 billion pounds.

  • The USDA ‘s estimate of the 2006-2007 Florida orange crop remained at 140 million boxes, projected yield was raised from 1.58 to 1.61 gallons a box, 42.0 degrees Brix.

  • Mato Grosso’s soybean farmers reporting soybean rust so far this year has increased to 1,020, from 613 last year. This after 40 inches of rainfall over the last thirty days.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Robert Fisk: Iraqi insurgents offer peace in return for US concessions
Al-Jeelani suggests the United Nations, the Arab League or the Islamic Conference might lead such negotiations and would have to guarantee the security of the participants.

Then come the conditions:

* The release of 5,000 detainees held in Iraqi prisons as "proof of goodwill".

* Recognition "of the legitimacy of the resistance and the legitimacy of its role in representing the will of the Iraqi people".

* An internationally guaranteed timetable for all agreements.

* The negotiations to take place in public.

* The resistance "must be represented by a committee comprising the representatives of all the jihadist brigades".

* The US to be represented by its ambassador in Iraq and the most senior commander.

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. Commerce Department said that wholesale sales were up 1.8% in December. Wholesale inventories were down 0.5%.

  • (Financial Times) The new Democratic leadership of the US Congress is pressuring the Bush administration to coerce Tokyo into acting to strengthen the yen.

  • Australia's unemployment rate improved from 4.6% to 4.5% in December, the lowest in over 30 years.

  • New Zealand's unemployment rate improved from 3.8% to 3.7%.

  • The European Central Bank left its interest rate unchanged at 3.5%, as expected.

  • The Bank of England left its interest rate unchanged at 5.25%, as expected.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that underground supplies of natural gas were down 224 billion cubic feet last week to 2.347 trillion cubic feet.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Nonfarm business productivity had an annual gain of 3.0% in the fourth quarter, more than expected.

  • Australia’s consumer prices were down 0.1%.

  • India expects the economy to grow 9.2%.

  • Reuters - The U.S. Federal Reserve sent record payouts of more than $4 billion in cash to Baghdad on giant pallets aboard military planes shortly before the United States gave control back to Iraqis, lawmakers said on Tuesday.

  • Reuters - President George W. Bush said on Tuesday he had approved plans to create a U.S. military command for Africa, a move that reflects increased U.S. strategic interest in the continent.

  • The Chicago Board of Trade (BOT) reports that total volume during January 2007 of 65,968,217 contracts was up 20% from January 2006.

  • A leading Asian soybean rust researcher says this year's winter weather likely hasn't knocked out the fungal disease from locations where it’s overwintering in the Southern U.S.

  • Brazil's Vegetable Oils Industry Association changed their crop forecast to 57.1 million tonnes from 55.8 million tonnes projected in January. This compares with the USDA forecast of 56 million tonnes.

  • Goldman Sachs has agreed to sell its GSCI commodity index to Standard & Poor's.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were down 400,000 barrels at 324.5 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline were up 2.6 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil supplies were down 1.9 million barrels.
    YoY gasoline demand over the past four weeks was up 3.9%
    YoY distillate demand was up 3.6%

Legacy of Radiation Illness Stirs Objection to Nevada Bomb Test
The federal government reassured the townspeople they were in no danger as it detonated 952 bombs in Nevada over four decades. But thousands of people who lived downwind of the test site got radiation-related cancer, and the town of 50,000 has its own cancer-treatment center today.

Soybeans Prices Rise on Concern U.S. Acreage to Shift to Corn
(Bloomberg) -- Soybean prices rose to an 19-month high, extending a rally that began in September, on speculation that a smaller U.S. crop will crimp supplies as global demand grows for fuels made from vegetable oils.