Friday, September 28, 2007

Commodities Head for Biggest Monthly Increase in 32 Years (Bloomberg)
The 19-commodity Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index was up 8.7 percent this month, the most since July 1975. Wheat climbed to a record in September amid a global grain shortfall, boosting corn and soybeans. Oil also hit a record, and gold reached a 27-year high. The Federal Reserve cut borrowing costs to bolster the U.S. economy, sending the dollar tumbling.

Quick Overview

  • The PCE deflator, a core measure of consumer prices, rose 1.8%.

  • U.S. Personal incomes rose 0.3% in August and consumer spending rose 0.6%, more than expected.

  • The U.S. Census Bureau said construction spending was up 0.2% from July's pace. YoY construction spending is down 3.3%.

  • The Chicago purchasing-managers' index rose from 53.8 to 54.2

  • GDP in Canada rose 9.2% in July and 2.5% YoY.

  • YoY Japan’s household spending rose 1.6%
    YoY Japan’s Industrial production rose 3.4%.
    Japans unemployment rate rose from 3.6% to 3.8.
    YoY consumer prices in Tokyo fell 0.2%

  • The USDA said that, on September 1, 2007:
    Corn stocks totaled 1.30 billion bushels, down 34% YoY.
    Soybean stocks totaled 573 million bushels, up 27% YoY.
    Wheat stocks totaled 1.72 billion bushels, down 2% YoY.

  • The USDA said that all wheat production will total 2.07 billion bushels in 2007, down 2% from the August forecast.

  • The International Grains Council cut its global wheat production forecast from 607m tonnes to 601m tonnes and cut its estimate for Australian output to 13.5m tons.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Quick Overview

  • New homes sales in the U.S. dropped 8.3 percent to an annual pace of 795,000 in August. The median price dropped 7.5 % YoY.

  • The Commerce Department reported the economy grew at 3.8% down from 4% in the previous quarter. YoY GDP remained up 1.9%,

  • The GDP's price index was up an annual rate of 2.6% in the second quarter, down from a 4.2% gain in the first quarter.

  • Germany's unemployment rate improved to 8.8% in September.

  • Canada posted a budget surplus of C$13.8 billion in the 2006-07

  • To protect domestic supplies Ukraine will begin limiting wheat exports on November 1st. Ukraine is the world's seventh largest exporter of wheat.

  • Russia plans to impose a 10% wheat export duty by the end of November.

  • The EU voted yesterday to end a rule that farmers leave 10% of their land fallow, which could cause an increase of some 10 million tonnes in grain production next year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Interesting audio on wheat

Quick Overview

  • U.S. durable goods orders fell 4.9% in August, excluding transportation, orders were down 1.8%.

  • U.K.'s GDP rose 3.1%

  • Norway hiked key interest rates by 0.25% to 5%

  • The U.S. DOE said that:
    Supplies of crude oil rose 1.8 million barrels to 320.6 million barrels
    Supplies of gasoline rose 600,000 barrels
    Supplies of heating oil rose 700,000 barrels.
    Refinery use fell from 89.6% to 86.9%
    Gasoline demand rose 0.4%
    Distillate demand fell 1.2%.

  • Gold prices should top $800 per ounce by the end of the year, Barrick’s chief Greg Wilkins said. He suggested the gold market was currently overestimating world gold production.

  • Global supplies of platinum may fall short of demand by 205,000 ounces this year, Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd said.

  • Gold, in custody at exchange traded funds, reached 823 metric tons, greater than the holdings of the Bank of Japan.


  • U.S. existing home sales were at an annual rate of 5.50 million units in August, down 4.3% from July's pace. At the current rate there is a 10-month supply -- the most in 18 years.

  • U.S. consumer confidence fell from 105.6 to 99.8 in September, weaker than expected

  • Consumer spending in France rose 1.0% in August

  • German business confidence fell from 105.8 to 104.2 in September

  • China will increase its state reserves for soybeans and edible vegetable oil to an appropriate level to guarantee the market supply, the State Council said Monday. Domestic food prices, pushed China's consumer-price inflation to 6.5% in August. Domestic production is projected to fall to an eight-year low.

  • Coffee rose to the highest price since April 2005 on speculation that rains in Brazil this weekend may not be enough to limit damage from a prolonged dry spell.

  • Australia's Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran said Wednesday production from the new wheat crop might be about the same level as the drought-hit crop in 2006, which produced 10 million metric tons. Australia's domestic wheat demand is about 7 million tons.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fears of dollar collapse as Saudis take fright
The danger is that this could now accelerate as the yield gap between the United States and the rest of the world narrows rapidly, leaving America starved of foreign capital flows needed to cover its current account deficit - expected to reach $850bn this year, or 6.5pc of GDP.

...Jim Rogers, the commodity king and former partner of George Soros, said the Federal Reserve was playing with fire by cutting rates so aggressively at a time when the dollar was already under pressure

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The new British empire? UK plans to annex south Atlantic Britain is preparing territorial claims on tens of thousands of square miles of the Atlantic Ocean floor around the Falklands, Ascension Island and Rockall in the hope of annexing potentially lucrative gas, mineral and oil fields, the Guardian has learned.

U.S. DoD To Outsource $15B War on ‘Narcoterror’
“This gives us the opportunity to bid on this work,” said Linda Hartwig, an ARINC spokeswoman. “We don’t have a lot of details yet, but we do know that this is an expansion of what [the United States] is already doing to fight drug trafficking, and that 80 percent of the work will be overseas.”
Hartwig said the other participating vendors are defense giants Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, and security contractor Blackwater USA. Blackwater confirmed its participation, but the other three vendors did not respond to inquiries.
The vendors will compete for a series of task orders covering a wide range of products and services. These could include anti-drug technologies and equipment, special vehicles and aircraft, communications, security training, pilot training, geographic information systems and in-field support.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Quick Overview

  • A big overhang of property will bring U.S. house prices down further, but it is too early to say if the economy will sink into recession, former Fed chief Alan Greenspan was quoted as saying.

  • Canada's retail sales fell 0.8% in July.

  • Mexico holds rates at 7.25% on signs of slowing U.S. Economy.

  • Inflation in India slips to 3.32%, a 5-year low. Forex reserves at $232.187 bn

  • The USDA said that YoY pork production totaled 1.85 billion pounds in August, up 4%. Beef production totaled 2.45 billion pounds.

  • The USDA said there were 457.9 million Lbs of frozen pork in storage on August 31st, up 10% YoY. Frozen bellies totaled 22.7 million pounds, up 90% YoY.

  • The USDA said there were 10.302 million head of cattle on feed on September 1st, down 6.2% YoY. August placements were down 7.5%, marketing’s unchanged.

  • According to the Ag Department, the total commercial red meat production during August was a record 4.326 billion pounds, up 10% from last month and 2% more than last year.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Canada's wholesale sales up 2.0% from June.

  • Retail sales in the U.K. rose 0.6%.

  • China plans to restrict fuel made from agricultural products and cut import tariffs to reduce food inflation. Corn demand is expected up 14.5% by 2010, while output is expected to rise 3.5%. China's overall inflation rate in August was a 10-year high of 6.5%. China's food-price inflation however was 18.2%, 34.6% for vegetable oils and 495 percent for meat.

  • YoY, on September 19, cocoa stocks in New York Board of Trade warehouses fell 14% to 3.77 million bags. There are also concerns about the presence of black pod disease in the Ivory Coast.

  • Credit Suisse, raised its 12-month forecast for gold, silver and other precious metals because of supply shortfalls and a decline in the value of the dollar.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. August’s housing starts fell 2.6% from July's pace -- the lowest in twelve years. YoY housing starts are down 24%.

  • YoY consumer prices in Canada rose 1.7% in August.

  • The Bank of Japan kept interest rate unchanged at 0.50%.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil fell 3.8 million barrels to 318.8 million barrels. Supplies of gasoline rose 400,000 barrels
    Supplies of heating oil rose 600,000 barrels.
    Refinery use fell last week from 90.5% to 89.6% of capacity.
    Gasoline demand rose 0.5% YoY
    Distillate demand fell 1.0% YoY.

  • The World Energy Counsel raised its worldwide estimate of proven and recoverable conventional oil reserves by 117 billion barrels to 1.215 trillion barrels.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The capital flow into the U.S. was $103.8 billion in July, up from $34.4 billion in June.

  • The National Association of Home Builders said its index of homebuilders expectations fell from 22 to 20 in September.

  • The House approved a plan to expand federal backing of mortgages in hopes of helping homeowners avoid foreclosure.

  • YoY U.K.'s consumer prices rose 1.8% in August.

  • Japan's index of services was down 0.5% in June.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Frank May Win `Tougher Than Expected' Subprime-Lending Limits
``There may be no practical ability, even with extreme care and diligence, to avoid funding defective loans,'' Miller says. ``And if that's the case, the only recourse is for investors and others to stop providing liquidity to the market.''

Quick Overview

  • The New York Fed regional manufacturing index fell from 25.1 to 14.7 in September.

  • Mortgage lender Northern Rock fell to seven year low-- customers continue to withdraw savings following a bale-out by the Bank of England.

  • An early freeze across the upper Midwest on Saturday may have hurt soybeans. The cold snap drove temperatures to record lows of 24 degrees in some sections of Wisconsin, and 28-32 degrees across much of northern Iowa. This may cut 10 million to 15 million bushels from 2.6 billion bushels the USDA forecast.

  • Australia’s Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics cut its wheat harvest forecast to 15.5 million metric tons in the harvest starting October. This compares to its June estimate of 22.5 million tons.

  • Reports this morning talk of significant crop decline in major growing regions of China because of severe drought.

  • Arabica Coffee futures rose to a one-month high. Traders expect tighter supplies ahead of the Vietnam harvest.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Greenspan Sees Political Pressure on Fed as Inflation Picks Up
To keep inflation under 2 percent, ``the Fed, given my scenario, would have to constrain monetary expansion so drastically that it could temporarily drive up interest rates into the double-digit range not seen since the days of Paul Volcker,'' Greenspan wrote.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Updates resume Sep. 16

Judge strikes down part of Patriot Act
A federal judge struck down a key part of the USA Patriot Act on Thursday in a ruling that defended the need for judicial oversight of laws and bashed Congress for passing a law that makes possible "far-reaching invasions of liberty."

Quick Overview

  • U.S. non-farm payrolls fell 4,000 in August, the first decline in four years. Payrolls for June and July were reduced by 81,000. Most job losses came from the auto and construction sectors.

  • The weak U.S. housing sector warrants close attention to assess the economic outlook as well as its recent disruptive effects on financial markets, Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser said on Saturday.

  • Struggling lender Countrywide Financial will cut 12,000 jobs as it struggles to deal with challenging conditions in the mortgage industry, the company said.

  • Canada’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.0% in August, still the lowest in 33 years.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Bank of Canada reverses liquidity move by tightening collateral requirements for financial institutions participating in special liquidity operations, says credit markets have settled down.

  • Retail sales increased 2.9% in August, the International Council of Shopping Centers said, exceeding the group's forecast of 2.5%.

  • The U.S. Labor Department said that jobless claims were down 19,000 last week to 318,000, less than expected.

  • China increased reserve requirements for banks from 12.0% to 12.5% -- the seventh increase this year.

  • Australia's unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.3% in August.

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

  • Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and National City Corp. said more than 2,000 workers will be laid off as the financial institutions scale back their struggling mortgage businesses.

  • Manufacturing orders in Germany fell 7.1% in July, weaker than expected.

  • The Labor Department said that non-farm productivity was up an annual rate of 2.6% in the second quarter of 2007, the best gain in almost two years. Unit labor costs were up an annual rate of 1.4% in the second quarter, less than expected.

  • U.S. ethanol demand is at a record high of 443,000 barrels a day in June.
    U.S. ethanol production capacity is currently 6.7 billion gallons, rising to 6.6 billion gallons in 2009.

  • The U.S. DOE said that:
    Supplies of crude oil fell 3.9 million barrels to 329.7 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline fell 1.5 million barrels.
    Supplies of heating oil rose 1.2 million barrels.
    Supplies of underground natural gas rose 36 billion cubic feet to 3.005 trillion cubic feet.
    U.S. refinery use rose from 90.3% to 92.1%
    Gasoline demand rose 0.5% YoY
    Distillate demand was unchanged YoY.

  • Allendale expects the U.S. Department of Agriculture to raise its 2007/08 marketing year production estimates for corn, soybeans and wheat. The report is next Wednesady.
    FC Stone also sees a slight increase in corn and soybean production estimates.

  • USDA Chief Economist Keith Collins says growing demand for ethanol is not only driving grain prices higher in the U.S., but around the world.

Sean Shammity vs. Ron Paul

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The National Association of Realtors said pending home sales were down 12.2% in July -- the lowest in six years.

  • The Fed’s Beige Book did note, that tighter lending standards were having a noticeable effect on housing and that is a concern.

  • The Bank of Canada kept its interest rate unchanged at 4.50%,

  • The Reserve Bank of Australia kept its interest rate unchanged at 6.50%,

  • Retail sales volume in the Euro zone (13) rose 0.1% in July.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The Institute of Supply Management's index of manufacturing fell from 53.8 to 52.9

  • U.S. Construction spending was down 0.4% from June.

  • GDP in Australia rose 0.9% in the second quarter and up 4.3% YoY.

  • GDP in the Euro zone rose 0.3% in the second quarter and up 2.5% YoY.

  • The International Cocoa Organization said world production of cocoa in 2006-2007 totaled 3.435 million tons. Resulting in 1.708 million tons of ending stocks or 48% of annual use.

  • South African gold production fell an annual 7.5% in the second quarter as the quality of ore declined, the country's Chamber of Mines said.

  • December Wheat rose 30 cents (limit) to 805 ½.. Traders had expected India to buy only a portion of the 530,000 tonnes offered at a tender last week. Instead, India bought 795,000 tonnes over the weekend, and Russia is considering limiting wheat exports to protect their domestic supply.

UN says rate of livestock breed extinction is 'alarming'
Among the breeds the International Livestock Research Institute says are most at risk are the Ankole cattle, whose drought resistance and rich milk made them prized animals in East and Central Africa until the arrival of European dairy cows.
Similarly, the Red Maasai sheep of East Africa, which have developed genetic resistance to a common parasite, have almost disappeared since the introduction of Dorper sheep from South Africa 15 years ago, the research institute says.
Panama begins canal expansion The $5.25-billion expansion will accommodate a new class of huge ships capable of carrying more than twice the number of containers as the vessels that currently transit the waterway. Completion is set for 2014 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of the original canal.