Monday, June 30, 2008

Quick Overview

  • The Chicago Purchasing Managers' index rose from 49.1% to 49.6% in June

  • Canada GDP rose 0.4% in April and up 1.2% YoY

  • The USDA estimated:
    87.33 million acres of corn were planted, down 7% YoY.
    74.53 million acres of soybeans were planted, up 17% YoY.
    63.46 million acres of wheat were planted, up 5% YoY.
    9.25 million acres of cotton were planted, down 15% YoY.

  • USDA quarterly grain stocks report:
    4.03 billion bushels of corn, up 14% YoY.
    676 million bushels of soybeans, down 38% YoY.
    306 million bushels of wheat, down 33% YoY.

Shadow of war looms as Israel flexes its muscle
Martin Van Creveld, Israel's leading military historian, said there were some in the Israeli government who were indeed serious about a military option. But he said the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, would probably not be affected by Israel flexing its military muscles. 'I would be very surprised if the Iranians cave in. I think they are going to follow the same road as every nuclear country has followed since the 1960s [including Israel]; namely they are going to build nuclear weapons without admitting it,' he said. 'And I don't see this made the world into a worse place. I am convinced the outcome is going to be a balance of power and I personally think that a nuclear Iran may not be such a bad thing for the world... Iran is a third-world country. I don't see why people are so afraid of it.'

Friday, June 27, 2008

Quick Overview

  • The CFTC has reiterated it has the power to stop trading in futures in emergencies. Pelosi told the CFTC to use its powers and bring a halt to excessive speculation.

  • U.S. personal incomes rose 1.9% in May and consumer spending rose 0.8%. All credited to the stimulus checks.

  • U.S. core rate of personal consumption expenditures rose 0.1% in May and 2.1% YoY.

  • The University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment fell from 59.8 to 56.4 in June,

  • Canada’s industrial product prices rose 0.6% in May and 2.4% YoY

  • GDP in New Zealand fell 0.3% QoQ, but rose 3.0% YoY.

  • YoY the U.K.'s GDP rose 2.3% in the first quarter

  • YoY Japan's inflation rose 1.5% in May
    YoY Japans household spending fell 3.2% in May

  • The total number of people online will climb to 1.8 billion by 2012, encompassing roughly 25 percent of the planet, with the highest growth rates in areas such as China, Russia, India and Brazil, according to a report by Jupiter Research.

  • Researchers at the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke are studying how applying
    gentle electrical current to the scalp can improve learning.

Barclays warns of a financial storm as Federal Reserve's credibility crumbles
Barclays Capital said in its closely-watched Global Outlook that US headline inflation would hit 5.5pc by August and the Fed will have to raise interest rates six times by the end of next year to prevent a wage-spiral. If it hesitates, the bond markets will take matters into their own hands. "This is the first test for central banks in 30 years and they have fluffed it. They have zero credibility, and the Fed is negative if that's possible. It has lost all credibility," said Mr Bond.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. GDP rose 1.0% in the first quarter and up 2.5% YoY.

  • U.S. existing home sales were at an annual rate of 4.99 million units, up 2.0% in May. At the current sale pace, this represent a 10.8 month supply.

  • The state agricultural secretariat in Parana, Brazil said that recent frosts there have cut corn production by 1.3 million tonnes, or 20%.

  • The International Grains Council lowered its world production forecast for corn by 7 million tonnes to 756 million tonnes.

  • The International Grains Council raised its estimate of 2008/09 world wheat production to a record 658 million tonnes. This is up 8 million from their last estimate.

  • A Goldman Sachs analyst said investors should sell Citigroup shares short as losses mount from troubled debt.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. New home sales were at an annual rate of 512,000 units in May, down 2.5% from April's pace. YoY new home sales are down 37%.

  • U.S. Durable goods orders were unchanged. Excluding transportation, orders were down 0.9%.

  • Industrial new orders in the Euro area rose 2.5% in April and up 11.8% YoY.

  • Warren Buffett said growth is slowing and inflation is really heating up.

  • American Express said business conditions continue to weaken in the U.S. and so far this month credit indicators deteriorate beyond expectations.

  • The U.S. DOE said:
    Supplies of crude oil rose 800,000 barrels last week to 301.8 million barrels
    Supplies of gasoline fell 100,000 barrels
    Supplies of heating oil rose 400,000 barrels.
    Refinery use fell from 89.3% to 88.6% last week.
    Gasoline demand was down 2.1% YoY
    Distillate demand was down 1.1% YoY.

  • Nebraska Cattlemen and Texas Governor Perry are asking the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the ethanol mandate to 4.5 billion gallons

  • India's textile industry is asking the government to freeze cotton exports until the end of this year to prevent a shortage of domestic supplies.

  • The National Agricultural Statistics Service is conducting surveys in flood affected areas this week to get updated information for next Monday's acreage report. The original surveys were conducted before the severe flooding of the past week.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Quick Overview

  • The S&P/Case-Shiller index of U.S. home prices fell 1.4% in April and down 15.3% YoY.

  • The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence fell from 58.1 to 50.4 in June

  • The Richmond Federal Reserve's index of manufacturing fell from -3 to -12 in June

  • India's central bank raised interest rates to 8.5% from 8%, and raised reserve ratio requirements to 8.75% from 8.%.

  • Stats Canada estimated:
    25.1 million acres of wheat were planted, up 16% YoY.
    15.8 million acres of canola were planted, up 7% YoY.
    2.97 million acres of corn were planted, down 13% YoY.
    2.99 million acres of soybeans were planted, up 3% YoY.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Quick Overview

  • The Chicago Fed’s index of national activity improved from -1.23 to -.96 in May

  • Business confidence in Germany fell from 103.5 to 101.3 in June

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Scientists find bugs that eat waste and excrete petrol
What is most remarkable about what they are doing is that instead of trying to reengineer the global economy – as is required, for example, for the use of hydrogen fuel – they are trying to make a product that is interchangeable with oil. The company claims that this “Oil 2.0” will not only be renewable but also carbon negative – meaning that the carbon it emits will be less than that sucked from the atmosphere by the raw materials from which it is made.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Israel flexes muscles with 'Iran attack' drill “Iran must be stopped by all possible means,” Mr Olmert told an American pro-Israeli lobbying group earlier this month

Morgan Stanley warns of 'catastrophic event' as ECB fights Federal Reserve
Just as then, the dollar has plummeted far enough to cause worldwide alarm. In August 1992 it fell to 1.35 against the Deutsche Mark: this time it has fallen even further to the equivalent of 1.25. It is potentially worse for Europe this time because the yen and yuan have also fallen to near record lows. So has sterling

Quick Overview

  • Canada’s retail sales rose 0.6% in April

  • Mexico's central bank raised its overnight rate by 25 basis points to 7.75%.

  • India's inflation rose to its highest level in 13 years, accelerating to 11.05% after a fuel price hike.

  • YoY South Africa’s gold production fell 10.1% in April

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. leading indicators rose 0.1% in May -- better than expected.

  • The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's regional index of manufacturing fell from -15.6 to -17.1 -- weaker than expected.

  • The U.S. Labor Department said that jobless claims fell 5,000 last week to 381,000.

  • China announced they are increasing their subsidized gasoline prices 16% and diesel prices 40%.

  • Canada’s consumer prices rose 1.0% in May and 2.2% YoY.

  • U.K.'s retail sales rose 3.5%.

  • A high-ranking member of the feed industry in China warned overnight that it could face an annual corn-deficit of 400 million bushels by 2010, requiring increased imports. Rapidly increased demand for meat in the Chinese diet is fueling the rise in demand for feed grains and protein, suggesting imports of U.S. corn. Some trade sources have suggested that China may need to begin importing U.S. corn as early as this next year... (Arlan Suderman Farm Futures)

  • Reuters reported that a fungal disease in Indonesia is threatening the quality of 60% of the cocoa crop.
Gold May Rise to $5,000 on Inflation, Schroder Says (Update1)
Demand for gold will also rise as central banks become net buyers for the first time in 20 years, driven by developing countries, he added. Last year, world production of gold sank to the lowest since 1937 as reserves are depleted and few new sources of gold have been found.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mexican Peso Trims Gains as Calderon Announces Price Freezes
..Calderon said the government and industry groups had agreed to freeze the price of basic items, including tuna, coffee and beans..
The Illusion of Vast Undeveloped U.S. Oil Resources
There has been a relentless stream of discussion on talk radio and articles in the mainstream media that claim that if only all of the U.S. were opened for oil development, we would have plenty of U.S. oil. No amount of evidence would convince those promoting this idea that it is not correct, but there is ample evidence that the U.S. is in terminal decline and opening all remaining lands and waters to oil development would at best only slow the inevitable decline.

Quick Overview

  • Canada’s index of leading indicators rose 0.2%

  • Construction output in the Euro area fell 0.8% in April and down 2.4% YoY

  • The U.S. DOE said:
    Supplies of crude oil fell 1.2 million barrels to 301.0 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline fell 1.2 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil rose 1.4 million barrels.
    Refinery use improved from 88.6% to 89.3
    Gasoline demand was down 1.8%
    Distillate demand was down 0.4%.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. housing starts fell 3.3% from April's pace. It was the smallest number of housing starts in 17 years.

  • U.S. industrial production fell 0.2% in May,

  • U.K.'s consumer prices rose 3.3% YoY

  • Japan's tertiary index rose 1.8% in April.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Quick Overview

  • The N.Y. Fed’s regional index of manufacturing fell from -3.2 to -8.7 in June, weaker than expected.

  • Consumer prices in the Euro area rose 3.7% in May

  • The USDA expects the world's ending stocks of coffee to increase by 4.8 million bags in 2008-2009, to 17.2 million bags, or 13% of annual use.

  • The Iowa Secretary of Agriculture said on Friday that 2% of the state's corn acres have not been planted and that another 7% were lost to flooding. This is 1.18 million acres of lost production in Iowa alone.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. CPI rose 0.6% in May and 4.2% YoY. Excluding food and energy, prices rose 0.2%.

  • The University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment fell from 59.8 to 56.7 in June

  • Japan left interest rate unchanged at 0.50%.

  • Canada’s manufacturing sales rose 2.0%

  • India’s wholesale prices rose 8.75% YoY.

  • RealtyTrac said U.S. foreclosure filings rose 48% YoY, and 7% MoM.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Supreme Court restores habeas corpus, strikes down key part of Military Commissions Act
The Court's ruling was grounded in its recognition that the guarantee of habeas corpus was so central to the Founding that it was one of the few individual rights included in the Constitution even before the Bill of Rights was enacted. As the Court put it: "the Framers viewed freedom from unlawful restraint as a fundamental precept of liberty, and they understood the writ of habeas corpus as a vital instrument to secure that freedom." The Court noted that freedom from arbitrary or baseless imprisonment was one of the core rights established by the 13th Century Magna Carta, and it is the writ of habeas corpus which is the means for enforcing that right. Once habeas corpus is abolished -- as the Military Commissions Act sought to do -- then we return to the pre-Magna Carta days where the Government is free to imprison people with no recourse.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. retail sales rose 1.0% in May. Excluding autos, sales rose 1.2%.

  • U.S. business sales rose 1.4% in April. Inventories rose 0.5%.

  • U.S. jobless claims rose 25,000 last week to 384,000.

  • China's consumer prices rose 7.7% YoY.

  • Australia's unemployment rate at 4.3% in May.

  • Industrial production rose 0.9% in the Euro area 3.9% YoY

  • Joe Leiberman says he will introduce legislation next week to ban institutional investors, like index funds, from the commodities markets.

Baltic Dry Index Has Record Decline as Port Congestion Eases
The index tracking transport costs on international trade routes dropped 963 points, or 8.7 percent, to 10,142 points, according to the Baltic Exchange in London today. Rates for so- called capesize vessels that typically haul iron ore for making steel fell 15 percent to $180,237 a day

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Quick Overview

  • Japan's GDP rose 1.0% QoQ and 1.6% YoY
    Japan’s producer prices rose 4.7% YoY.

  • U.K.'s unemployment rate rose 0.1% MoM.

  • Canada’s industrial capacity fell 81.8% to 79.8%

  • India raised interest rates from 7.75% to 8.00%.

  • Corn and Wheat are limit up on more storms in the Midwest.

  • The U.S. DOE said
    Supplies of crude oil supplies fell 4.6 million barrels to 302.2 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline rose 1.0 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil rose 600,000 barrels.
    Refinery use fell from 89.7% to 88.6% last week.
    Over the past four weeks, gasoline demand was down 1.3% YoY
    Distillate demand rose 0.7% YoY.

  • BP Plc said in its annual Statistical Review of World Energy that Crude oil production fell 0.2 percent to 81.533 million barrels a day last year, from 81.659 million barrels a day in 2006.
    Global oil consumption rose 1.1 percent to 85.22 million barrels a day last year.
    China, the world's second-largest consumer, demand rose 4.1 percent to 7.855 million barrels a day.
    U.S. consumption fell 0.1 percent to 20.698 million barrels a day.
    Proved reserves were 1,237.9 billion barrels at the end of last year, compared with a revised total of 1,239.5 billion barrels for 2006.

  • (Bloomberg) -- India, the world's second-biggest sugar maker after Brazil, may resume imports of the sweetener after four years as farmers plant less sugar cane because of declining prices.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. trade gap grew 7.8 % to $60.9 billion, its biggest one-month gain since September 2005,

  • Japan's machinery orders rose 5.5% in April and 0.5% YoY.

  • U.K.'s industrial production rose 0.1% in April.

  • The USDA's 2008-2009 U.S. ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn was reduced from 763 to 673 million bushels.
    Soybeans were reduced from 185 to 175 billion bushels.
    Wheat was increased from 483 to 487 million bushels.
    Sugar was reduced from 1.336 to 1.273 million tons.
    Cotton was reduced from 5.6 to 5.4 million bales.

  • The USDA's 2008-2009 world ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn was increased from 99 to 103 million tons.
    Soybeans were estimated at 50.4 million tons.
    Wheat was increased from 124 to 132 million tons.
    Cotton was reduced from 55.5 to 54.1 million bales.

  • The USDA increased its estimate of 2008 U.S. beef production from 26.7 to 26.8 billion pounds, up 1.5% YoY.

  • The USDA lowered its estimate of 2008 U.S. pork production from 23.5 to 23.4 billion pounds, up 6.6% YoY.

  • The USDA left its estimate of Florida's 2007-2008 orange production at 169 million boxes, but raised juice yield from 1.65 to 1.67 gallons per box.

  • The IEA said the world is consuming 86.8 million barrels of oil per day, down 80,000 barrels from last month's estimate.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Buffett bets S&P 500 will beat hedge funds
Buffett has long been critical of hedge funds because of the high fees they charge investors. At Berkshire Hathaway's 2006 annual meeting, he offered to bet $1 million that an index fund would beat any 10 hedge funds over a decade if all the fees were included.

Quick Overview

  • The National Association of Realtors said that U.S. pending home sales rose 6.3% in April.

  • Swiss unemployment rate stayed at 2.5 % last month, matching the lowest rate since July 2002.

  • U.K.'s producer prices rose 1.6% in May and 8.9% YoY.

  • Japan's index of leading indicators rose 2.0 to 92.8 in April.

  • Treasury’s Paulson declined to rule out intervening in currency markets to stabilize the dollar.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Rain Keeps Coming: No End in Sight This Week
So, a combination of record high crude oil prices and the current unfriendly weather for crops does not spell a return to cheap food any time soon, analysts say

Quick Overview

  • (Dow Jones)--Trading in the global exchange-traded derivatives markets grew to a value of $692 trillion at the end of the first quarter of this year, a rise of over 28% from the last quarter of 2007, the Bank for International Settlements said Sunday.

  • (AP)--Thousands of demonstrators fought with police after a protest over flour rations in a town on Egypt's Mediterranean coast.

  • Argentina's farmers will lift their blockade on grain export sales starting Monday.

Soaring shipping costs fuel inflation

The cost of renting a Capesize ship, used to transport iron ore and coal, rose to $233,988 a day at the end of last week – a near 200 per cent jump since the start of the year when the cost stood at $80,000.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Quick Overview

  • Canada’s unemployment rate remained at 6.1% in May

  • Germany’s industrial production fell 0.8% in April.

  • World wheat production in 2008-09 will rise 8.3% YoY to 652 million metric tons, according to F.O. Licht.

  • ASF delegates attending the 17th Asian Ship owners’ Forum (ASF) in Boao, China earlier this month have expressed "grave concern" that current container freight rates remained "insufficient," to cover the dramatic cost increases triggered by the high price of fuel and port congestion.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Jobless claims were down 18,000 last week to 357,000, lower than expected.

  • The Bank of England kept its interest rate unchanged at 5.0%.

  • House prices In the U.K. fell 2.4% MoM, and 3.8% YoY-- the biggest drop since April 1993 when they fell 4.9.

  • The European Central Bank kept its interest rate unchanged at 4.0%. However Trichet said the central bank is considering raising rates as early as next month to tackle rising inflation

  • Germany's factory orders were down 1.8% in April, the fifth consecutive decline.

  • Corn and Beans rose as excessive rains in the U.S. Midwest flooded fields, slowing crop development, and increasing the risk of production losses.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Quick Overview

  • U.S. worker productivity rose at an annual rate of 2.6% in the first quarter.

  • U.S. labor costs rose at an annual rate of 2.2% in the first quarter, down from a 4.7% annual rate in Q4.

  • The Institute of Supply Managements' index of services fell from 52.0 to 51.7 in May

  • Australia's GDP rose 0.6% in Q1 and up 3.6% YoY.

  • Retail sales volume in the Euro area fell 0.6% in April and down 2.9% YoY.

  • Services in the U.K. fell from 50.4 to 49.8 in May.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said:
    Supplies of crude oil supplies fell 4.8 million barrels to 306.8 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline rose 2.9 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were unchanged
    Refinery use increased from 87.9% to 89.7% of capacity last week
    Gasoline demand fell 1.4%.
    Distillate demand rose 1.6%.

  • YoY South Africa's gold production fell 17% in Q1. This was blamed on a lack of available electricity.
Monsanto Pledges Seeds to Double Crop Yields by 2030
The company is committed to doubling yields for corn, soybeans and cotton by 2030 from the levels in 2000, St. Louis- based Monsanto said today in a statement. New seeds also will reduce by one-third the amount of water and other resources needed to grow crops in the same period, Monsanto said.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Pickens Says CFTC Probe of Oil a `Waste of Time' (Update1)
``There's nothing to it to start with,'' Pickens said in interviews at an American Wind Energy Association conference in Houston. ``That's not what's happened. You have 85 million barrels a day of oil available in the global energy market and 86.4 million barrels a day of demand. So the price of oil is going to go up until you can kill demand.''

Commodity Regulator to Boost Disclosure on Agriculture Markets
Joseph Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, said May 20 he is considering legislation limiting large institutional investors in commodities markets. The legislation would aim at speculators and other investors who use commodities to hedge against swings in investment instruments such as stocks and the U.S. dollar, Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, said during a hearing.

Quick Overview

  • Fed Chairman Bernanke told an international monetary conference in Spain that further rate cuts were not likely because he was ``attentive'' to the impact of the weak currency.

  • U.S. Factory orders rose 1.1% in April -- stronger than expected.

  • GDP in the Euro area rose 0.8% in the first quarter and 2.2% YoY

  • Australia kept its interest rate unchanged at 7.25.

  • Ford reported a 16% drop in sales of light vehicles in May, as demand for pickups and SUVs continued to sag.

  • GM said it will close four truck plants, and may drop its Hummer brand.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Quick Overview

  • The Institute of Supply Management's manufacturing index improved from 48.6 to 49.6 -- better than expected.

  • U.S. construction spending fell 0.4% from March's pace and 3.9% YoY.

  • Australia's retail sales fell 0.2% in April, weaker than expected.

  • The USDA said:
  • 95% of the corn crop was planted and 63% of it was rated good to excellent This is down from 78% last year.
  • 69% of the soybean crop was planted, down from a five-year average of 81%.
  • 57% of the spring wheat crop was rated good to excellent. This is down from 85% last year.
  • 47% of the winter wheat crop was rated good to excellent -- unchanged from last week.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Argentine alert as inflation spectre stalks half the world
Among the CPI rates - if you believe them - are: Ukraine (30pc), Venezuela (29pc), Vietnam (25pc), Kazakhstan (19pc), Latvia (18pc), Qatar (17pc), Pakistan (17pc), Egypt (16pc), Bulgaria (15pc), Russia (14pc), the Emirates (11pc), Estonia (11pc), Turkey (9.7), Indonesia (9pc), Saudi Arabia (9.6pc), Romania (8.6pc), China (8.5pc) and India (7.6pc).

Mexicans believe drug gangs winning war with gov't According to a poll by the newspaper, 53 percent of Mexicans think that drug traffickers hold the upper hand against government forces which are trying to clamp down on cartels that ship drugs to the United States.