Monday, January 31, 2011

Quick Overview

  • U.S. consumer spending up 0.7% in December

  • The ISM said Monday its gauge of business activity rose to 68.8 in January from 66.8 in December

  • Exxon Mobil reported a 53% increase in its fourth-quarter profit on Monday.

  • EU CPI rose 2.4% in January, up from 2.2% in December

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Quick Overview

  • China should steadily increase its holdings of gold, silver and other precious metals, People's Bank of China adviser Xia Bin was quoted as saying.

  • Japan's industrial output rose a stronger-than-expected 3.1% in December

  • (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. cattle herd shrank to the smallest size in 53 years as of Jan. 1, as feed costs climbed and beef producers slaughtered more animals to take advantage of higher prices.

  • South Kore will cull 2.9 million animals to deal with the country’s worst outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

  • Merkel says Germany will never abandon euro.
George Friedman on Egypt (Stratfor)
So what we’re really asking here is the geopolitics of the Middle East has been built on the American-Egyptian-Israeli relationship certainly since 1977 — and perhaps before that. Is that about to change? If that changes, it has enormous consequences.
Warning shot for America and Europe as S&P downgrades Japan
Dylan Grice, a noted Japan bear at Societe Generale, said the country's ageing crisis would bite in earnest in two to three years, causing pensioners to run down their assets. The savings rate has already dropped from 15pc of GDP in 1990 to under 3pc. It may soon turn negative, depleting reserves needed to soak up state debt.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Quick Overview

  • (Bloomberg) -- Stocks worldwide plunged the most since November, crude oil jumped and the dollar gained against the euro after protests in Egypt intensified

  • Spain's unemployment rate rose to 20.3% in Q4 from 19.8% in Q3.
  • Spain plans to raise the retirement age to 67 from 65.

  • U.S. Consumer sentiment index eased to 74.2 from 74.5
  • U.S. fourth-quarter GDP up 3.2%
  • U.S. Personal consumption rose 4.4%, the most since the first quarter of 2006

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Quick Overview

  • Japan’s credit rating was cut by S&P one step to AA-

  • U.S. orders for durable goods fell 2.5%.

  • U.S. first time claims for unemployment benefits rose by 51,000 last week.

  • U.S bookings for capital goods like machinery and communications gear excluding aircraft climbed 1.4 percent after a 3.1 percent gain in November, the Commerce Department reported.

  • South Korea posted its fourth- largest current account surplus in 2010, remaining in the black for the 13th straight year, the central bank said.

  • (Xinhua) Quotes at Davos forum:
  • "The increase in inequality is the most serious challenge for the world. I do not think the world is paying enough attention." -- Zhu Min, a special adviser at the International Monetary Fund and a former deputy governor of the People's Bank of China.
  • "The gap between rich and poor is growing without relent. Global justice is a prerequisite for sustainable development and we have to understand that our lifestyle is not sustainable." -- President of the Swiss Confederation Micheline Calmy-Rey.
  • "We are all optimists here, but when we look at the big issues on the global agenda, there is pessimism. We do not want this meeting to be one of despair. You fight possible burnout with renewed self-confidence. This should be a meeting of constructive optimism." -- Klaus Schwab, funder and executive chairman of the WEF.
  • "All our efforts to further develop the world economy will be for nothing if we fail to defeat terrorism, extremism and intolerance, if we fail to eradicate altogether these evils which are the greatest danger to mankind."
  • "Our task is to turn Russia into a more attractive place for the best minds in the world." -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
  • "There is a global economic recovery ... balance sheets are strong, confidence is rising ... We have a glass that is half-empty and half-full."
  • "The fiscal problem is very serious. The bond vigilantes have not yet woken up in the U.S. in the way they have in the euro zone. Unless the U.S. addresses this fiscal problem, we are going to see a train wreck."
  • "In many of these emerging markets two-thirds of their consumer-price indexes are food, energy and transportation. When these things rise it becomes a really significant social cost." -- U.S. economist Nouriel Roubini nicknamed "Dr Doom."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quick Overview

  • The Egyptian (the world’s biggest wheat importer) authorities have moved to ban demonstrations.

  • Sales of U.S new single-family homes rose in December to an annual rate of 329,000, the highest since April when a federal tax credit gave the market a temporary boost. New home sales were down 14.4% in 2010.

  • The EIA said:
  • Supplies of crude-oil rose 4.8 million barrels.
  • Supplies of Gasoline rose 2.4 million barrels
  • Supplies of Distillate rose 100,000.

  • South Korea's economy posted an annual growth rate of 6.1 % in 2010, an eight-year record high.

  • New budget CBO estimates released Wednesday predict the U.S. government's deficit will hit almost $1.5 trillion this year, a new record.

  • Bangladesh raised the rice import target to 1.2 million metric tons for the year ending June 30, from 600,000 tons s in November.

  • (Dow Jones)--China's grain demand will likely increase by 4 million metric tons a year over the next five years, while supply of agricultural products in China will face huge pressure, Vice Agricultural Minister Chen Xiaohu said Thursday.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Quick Overview

  • (Bloomberg) -- The La Nina weather pattern that caused flooding in Australia and a dry spell in South America may persist through August, curbing corn and soybean output in the U.S. and China, Commodity Weather Group LLC said.

  • The Conference Board’s index of U.S. sentiment increased to 60.6 from a revised 53.3.

  • (Bloomberg) -- Parts of the Dodd-Frank financial services overhaul face a “potential undoing” by Republican proposals to cut spending, senior House Democrats said.

  • J&J said that fourth-quarter sales fell 5.5% to $15.6 billion from last year's quarter.

  • (S&P/Case-Shiller index) U.S. home prices fell 1% in November

  • British Q4 GDP fell 0.5% --  first decline since 2009

  • Corning (GLW) profit rose 41 % in Q4

Monday, January 24, 2011

Quick Overview

  • (Standard Chartered) Global GDP will rise to $143 trillion by 2030 from $62 trillion in 2010.

  • Justice Thomas said the employment of his wife, Virginia Thomas, was “inadvertently omitted due to a misunderstanding of the filing instructions.”

  • Intel raised the quarterly dividend by 15% to 18.12 cents.

  • Cotton rose by the 5 cent daily limit to $1.6194 per pound, the highest in the 141-year trading history.

  • Amgen’s net income rose 10% in Q4.

  • Union Pacific has reported a profit of US$2.8 billion for last year, 47 % more than in 2009 attributed to a 20 % increase in freight revenue to $16.1 billion.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Tribute to Olbermann: Why He Is Different from the Pundits at Fox News
Really, I want to use this space to say "thank you" to Olbermann.

Thank you for your humor and insight, which was consistently smart and observant.

Thank you for giving voice to the anger so many of us felt during the Bush presidency, when few on television would do so. People accuse you of being "over the top," but when bad things are happening in the government or media, and too many are ignoring them, I don't want political commentators to be subtle.

Thank you for talking about the lies and fake journalism at Fox News when so many of us knew it was going on, but few on television would talk about it.

Thank you for always backing up your charges with facts, at a time when so many television news personalities, especially at Fox News, don't care about facts.

Thank you for having the guts to share your experiences navigating the health care system with your dying father, despite the personal pain doing so must have caused, all so you could educate viewers about the real experiences of those interacting with the system.

And thank you for regularly standing up for what was right, regardless of the consequences. You may not carry the objective legacy of Edward R. Murrow (whose "Good night and good luck" you borrowed for your sign-off line) into the 21st century, but you certainly embody his commitment to journalists playing the role of shining a light on the workings of government to ensure the American people have the information they need to be informed citizens. You consistently labored to urge politicians to act for the betterment of the country, adhering to longstanding American values of justice, equality and fairness.

Thank you.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Quick Overview

  • The International Grains Council estimates 2010-11 record-high world rice production, up 2.8% YoY.
  • IGC says world wheat stocks for 2010-11 are higher at 185 million metric tons.
  • IGC 2010-11 world corn production was dropped 1.0 million metric tons, with losses in the U.S. and Argentina.

  • (Dow Jones)--Brazil's 2010-11 soy crop may reach a record after recent rains in Rio Grande do Sul state, according to an analyst at Informa Economics FNP.

  • Erik Prince, no longer with Blackwater or its successor organisation, is involved in a multimillion-dollar programme financed by several Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates, to deploy forces to suppress pirates at their shore bases, reports AP.

  • China exported 1,575 tons of silver last year, down 58% YoY.
  • Platinum imports by China rose 40% in 2010.

  • Informa U.S. acreage estimates for 2011:
  • Corn=90.9 million up from Dec. estimate of 90.76.
  • Soybeans=76.65 million down from Dec. estimate 77.57.
  • Wheat=40.99 million up from 39.502 in Dec.
  • Cotton=13.34 million up from 294,000 in Dec.

  • Spot Sugar Prices 36.25 Up 1.16

  • GE’s fourth-quarter earnings rose 51%

  • Soybean oil is supported by ongoing concerns about heavy rains hurting palm oil output in Indonesia and Malaysia, the world's top two producers.

  • Speaker Boehner has declined -- once again -- to attend a state dinner, this time with Chinese president Hu Jintao

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Quick Overview

  • The EIA said: Supplies of crude oil fell 2.6 million barrels for the week ended Jan. 14. Analyst’s s had expected a decline of 2.2 million barrels.
  • Supplies of gasoline rose 4.4 million barrels
  • Supplies of distillates rose 1 million barrels.

  • U.S. economic indicators rose 1% in December

  • U.S sales of existing homes rose 12.3%

  • The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's index of regional factory activity fell to 19.3 in January from 20.8 last month.

  • U.S. unemployment claims retreated to 404,000 from 441,000 in the prior week.

  • China's CPI rose 4.6 % YoY in December, slightly lower than the 28-month high of 5.1% in November.

  • Brazil raised its key interest rate to 11.25% in a bid to cool inflation.

  • The Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange cut its estimate  for Argentina's commercial corn production to 19.5 million metric tons, down 850,000 tons from last week's estimate.

  • Sales of 1-ounce American Eagle silver coins have totaled 4,588,000 in January, heading for a record, according to data from the U.S. Mint. (too popular??)

  • China's announces $1.8 billion Soybean purchase.
  • (FT) General Electric expects “solid double-digit” sales growth in China this year and “for a long period of time”, although revenues there have fallen short of expectations, chief executive Jeff Immelt has said.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

No update today

Quick Overview

  • "Drought conditions in both the U.S. and China's winter wheat areas are a serious cause for concern and could be a key factor inhibiting the needed wheat supply recovery," said Macquarie.

  • U.S. housing starts fell to 4.3 % to a 529,000 annual rate in December. Permits for new construction rose to an annualized rate of 635,000 in December - the highest level since last March.

  • Long Beach terminals handled 6.3 million TEU in 2010, a 1.2 million TEU increase of 25 % YoY, the biggest annual leap since 1971 when the port leased the first container terminal.(DJ)

  • China to cut food weighting in CPI composition.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Quick Overview

  • The NY Fed index rose to 11.9 from a revised 9.9 in December.

  • The National Association of Home Builders index flat at 16 for the third straight month.

  • Sales at Japanese department stores dropped 1.5% YoY.

  • China's electricity consumption maintained its steady growth last year, up 14.56 % YoY.

  • China’s 2010 cotton imports rose 86% YoY

  • (FT)The US Securities and Exchange Commission is facing a budget squeeze from the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Quick Overview

  • The world refined copper market is expected to have a 500,000-metric-ton to 600,000-ton deficit in 2011, even with a significantly weaker demand scenario, according to JPMorgan Securities Ltd.

  • (Bloomberg) -- India’s government may ban exports of wheat products, reduce taxes on milk powder and bar essential commodities from trading in futures markets as part of steps to slow gains in food inflation, the Economic Times reported.

  • The USDA estimates the 2010 corn crop at 12.447 billion bushels on yield of 152.8 bushels per acre, down from its prev. estimate of 12.54 billion on a yield of 154.3 bushels per acre. This implies domestic ending stocks are at a 20.2 day supply -- the 2nd tightest in 50 years.

  • The USDA estimates the 2010 Soybean crop at 3.329 billion bushels on yield of 43.5 bushels per acre, down 30 million from its previous estimate. This implies a 15.2-day supply -- the tightest in 40 years.
  • The USDA has reduced the size of the 2010-11 Florida citrus crops by 3 million boxes to 140 million 90-pound boxes.

  • China is to allow imports of Canadian seal meat and oils, Canada's fisheries minister says; hopeful new market access will restore a sealing industry battered by an EU seal products import ban.

  • Australia's unemployment rate fell by 0.2 % to 5.0%.

  • MoM Japanese core machinery orders fell 3.0%

  • China raised reserve requirements by 50 basis points -- the fourth time in little more than two months.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Quick Overview

  • Japan pledged to buy bonds backed by European governments.

  • (MW) Speculation intensifies that Portugal will be forced to seek a bailout.
  • Portugal does not need to apply for EU aid, Spain's Economy Minister said.

  • One week after taking office, California Governor Jerry Brown announced a balanced state budget on Monday which slashes state spending by 12.5 billion U.S. dollars.

  • A Fed. official said he would set the bar "very high" for the central bank to stop short in its planned $600 billion in bond purchases, but that the Fed may need to begin considering a reversal of policy by year end.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Quick Overview

  • China's soybean imports will likely expand 5%-10% a year over the next five years, with imports in 2011 around 54 million-55 million tons, the Chinese Grain Network said
  • Chinas exports grew 31.3% YoY to 1.58 trillion U.S. dollars while imports rose 38.7 % to 1.39 trillion U.S. dollars, said the GAC.
  • Chinas December sales of passenger cars rose 26.7% YoY to just under 1.5 million units.

  • Inflationary threats have become a 'general feature' among the world's emerging economies, Jean-Claude Trichet, European Central Bank president warns.

  • Germany signaled it may agree to expand euro zone’s €750bn rescue facility.

  • Australia's retail sales rose 0.3% in November

  • (Sea Shepherd Conservation Society) Anti-whaling activists are promising more attacks after throwing smoke grenades and "flash bangs" at Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean today.
  • Perth Mint: Physical gold demand exceeds current availability
  • Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik: "To inflame the public on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, has impact on people, especially who are unbalanced personalities to begin with" 

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Payrolls increased 103,000, less than the median projection of 150,000

  • (Reuters) - Algeria is to suspend customs duties and value added tax on imports of white sugar until Aug. 31, the government announced on Saturday in response to a wave of riots over rising food prices

  • High Plains Journal: The average value of an acre of farmland in Iowa increased 15.9% in 2010, according to an annual survey conducted by Iowa State University Extension. Mike Duffy, ISU Extension economist who conducts the survey, said the statewide average land value as of Nov. 1 this year was $5,064 an acre, up $693 per acre from 2009.

  • The highest court in Massachusetts affirmed a lower court’s ruling invalidating two foreclosure sales because the banks did not prove that they actually owned the mortgages at the time of  foreclosure.
Europe unveils sweeping plans to govern reckless banks
The plans allow oversight bodies to place a "permanent presence" of inspectors in the offices of suspect banks, adopting a scheme already pioneered by Spain’s central bank. There will be annual stress tests, geared to shocks of "low probability but high impact".
Regulators will be able to order bank boards to fire directors, desist from any activity, reduce leverage, sell off assets, or restructure debt.
In extreme cases, they will have pre-emptive powers to take over the entire bank and decapitate top management, perhaps when Tier I capital ratios fall below an fixed level. Stronger banks will be required to help cover the costs of failure by weaker peers, creating a further buffer between the financial industry and the taxpayer.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Quick Overview

  • Australian Bureau of Meteorology: The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) value for December of +27 is the highest December SOI value on record, as well as being the highest value for any month since November 1973.

  • U.S. jobless benefits climb 18,000 to 409,000 last week

  • The Fed balance sheet rose to $2.418 trillion in the week ended Jan. 5 from $2.403 trillion the prior week.

  • Britain raised the national sales tax to 20% from its previous 17.5 %, as part of its efforts to trim the near-record public spending deficit.
  • John Boehner put Michelle Bachmann on the “Intelligence” Committee.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Quick Overview

  • U.S. payrolls expanded by 297,000 in December as companies boosted payrolls by the most since records began in 2001.

  • Record high food prices and the likelihood of further increases in the year ahead are raising the specter of a repeat of the food riots that broke out in 2007-08, a senior economist at the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization said Wednesday.

  • U.S. crude oil inventories fell 4.16 million barrels to 335.3 million last week.

  • China's 2010 corn output is estimated at 172 million metric tons, down 940,000 tons from the previous estimate.

  • The US Department of Agriculture's Buenos Aires bureau lowered its estimate of Argentine corn production by 1.0m tonnes.

  • the ISM index rose to 57.1% in December

  • (Bloomberg) -- The Pentagon underestimated the speed at which China has developed and fielded a ballistic missile that may be capable of hitting a maneuvering U.S. aircraft carrier, the head of Navy intelligence said today.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Regulators Resist Volcker Wandering Warning of Too-Big-to-Fail
“I wouldn’t lend you a dime if I knew you loved to gamble at a casino,” said Kahn, the chairman of investment advisers Kahn Brothers Group Inc., in an interview..

..“I’m sorry,” Reed, 70, said in an interview. U.S. lawmakers were wrong in 1999 to repeal the Depression-era Glass- Steagall Act, he said. The act required the separation of institutions involved in capital markets from those engaged primarily in traditional customer services, such as taking deposits and making loans..

..“My greatest fear for the last year has been an economic collapse as bad as the Great Depression,” Miller said in an interview. “My second greatest fear was that the economy would stabilize and begin to recover and the financial industry would have the clout to defeat the fundamental reforms that our nation desperately needs. My greatest fear seems less likely, lately, but my second greatest fear seems more likely every day.”

Quick Overview

  • 12/20/10 China's soybean imports in November rose 47% compared with October and 90% YoY, to 5.48 million metric tons, the General Administration of Customs said Tuesday. Total imports from January to November increased 31% to 49.4 million tons.
  • China November natural Rubber imports rose 53% vs 55% in October.
  • China’s November Uranium imports at 2,181 tons rose 100% YoY.

  • (Bloomberg) -- Uranium stocks, already trading at higher valuations than their national benchmark indexes, will rise further amid predictions the price of the fuel may surge as much as 30 percent, investors and analysts said.

  • Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) -- One unidentified company has the potential to own at least 90 percent of the copper in warehouses monitored by the London Metal Exchange, the largest such position in two years, bourse data showed.

  • Th People’s Bank of China increased key one-year lending and deposit rates by 25 basis points on Christmas Day in its second move since mid-October.
  • "Inflation expectations are direr than inflation itself," Wen said, urging people to remain confident and government agencies to act to stabilize prices

  • Sales of new single-family houses in the United States increased 5.5 percent in November.

  • U.S. existing-home sales rose 5.6% MoM in November.

  • French household consumption in manufactured goods rose by 2.8% in November.

  • The IMF announced on Tuesday the conclusion of the limited sales program covering 403.3 metric tons of gold that was approved by the IMF in September 2009.

  • Severe drought in major wheat production provinces of Henan, Hebei and Anhui has sparked supply concerns for 2011.

  • 12/28/10 The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite home-price index fell 1.3% MoM and 0.8% YoY. Including homes that are in or close to foreclosure, there’s inventory of 7.2 million homes, or roughly 21 months of supply

  • U.S. consumer confidence fell to 52.5 in December from an upwardly revised 54.3 in November.
  • U.S. retailers 2010 holiday sales rose 5.5 % for the best performance in five years.
  • The Chicago purchasing manager’s index rose from 62.5 to 68.6, the highest level since the late 1980s and above expectations.

  • 1/2/11 QoQ Singapore’s GDP rose 6.9% in the three months through Dec. 31.

  • The Centre for Economics and Business Research said the likelihood the euro area will exist in its current structure in a decade is 20 % as governments take unsatisfactory measures to tackle economic imbalances.

  • 1/4/10 GM on Tuesday reported a 7.5% increase in December U.S. sales -- Ford reported a 6.7% increase.

  • U.S. factory orders rose 0.7% in November, ahead of forecasts for a 0.1% increase.