Thursday, March 29, 2012


  • U.S. First time claims for unemployment benefits fell by 5,000 to 359,000 in the week ending March 24.

  • US GDP (gross domestic product) grew at an annualized rate of 3.0%.

  • British service sector grows 0.2% in January.

  • France's GDP grows 1.7% in 2011.

  • (Independent) Fires raging unchecked in an Indonesian peat swamp forest could wipe out the remaining Sumatran orangutans which live there, conservationists are warning. The forest is one of the last refuges of the great apes. The illegal fires, started by palm-oil companies clearing land to plant the lucrative crop, are believed to have killed at least 100 orangutans.

  • Bank of Spain predicted that the Spanish economy will continue in recession and unemployment will continue to rise in the first quarter of 2012 - an estimated 900,000 people took to the streets in Madrid.

  • Seasonal fishing bans will be imposed on the Pearl River and the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in April. The move is part of China's efforts to rescue its declining wild fishing resources, and is in addition to bans in six other provinces and regions.

  • (Bloomberg) Copper traders are the most bearish in two months after stockpiles tracked by the biggest metals bourse rose for the first time in five weeks.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The race to slake a continent’s thirst With its French joint-venture partner, Castel, SABMiller has 60% of Africa’s commercial beer market in volume terms, including a near-monopoly in South Africa. But other global brewers are keen to expand in Africa too, as they seek growth markets to compensate for flat or falling beer sales in the rich world. Heineken, already the biggest brewer in Nigeria, recently paid a princely $163m for two Ethiopian breweries put up for sale by the government. With Diageo, the leader in Kenya, these four brewers account for around 80% of the African market.


  • U.S. consumer confidence fell to 70.2, down from 71.6 in February.

  • Data through January 2012, released today by S&P Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed annual declines of 3.9% and 3.8% for the 10- and 20-City Composites, respectively.

  • The 'pink slime' controversy in the beef markets could actually be good news for the livestock markets. We will require "more" meat to make up the extra supply needed.

  • Alternative energy: Wooden batteries The Economist

  • Consumer confidence  for Germany declined to 5.9 in April from 6.0 points in March.
  • Jobless rate in France rose by 0.2% in February for the 10th successive month.
  • Hong Kong's average wage rate rose 9.4% YoY.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


  • Commercial beekeepers and environmental organizations filed a petition, asking federal regulators to suspend use of a pesticide they say harms honeybees. The group is urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ban the insecticide clothianidin, one of a class of chemicals that act on the central nervous system of insects.

  • U.S. Existing home sales fell 0.9% from February.

  • The Biotechnology Industry Organization applauded the Faster Access to Specialized Treatments (FAST) Act. According to BIO the legislation will modernize the Accelerated Approval pathway to expedite the development of modern, targeted, and personalized therapies for patients suffering from serious and life-threatening diseases.

  • U.S. crude oil inventories fell last week by 1.16 million barrels to 346.29 million barrels

  • Fed chairman exhorts Europe's leaders to beef up its banks.

  • A tax on financial transactions could help improve revenues for EU cities and regions, the president of the European Parliament said.

  • Britain revised expectation of economic growth rate to 0.8%.

  • The number of paid employees of Macao's gaming sector reached 50,198 at the end of 2011, an increase of 12% YoY.

  • A gang of women - described as blonde, bilingual and well educated - have been taking Brazilian shopping malls by storm, kidnapping shoppers and maxing out their credit cards, police say.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Still lazy, this could turn into a habit – next update Sunday

Saturday, March 17, 2012


  • The University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters said U.S. consumer sentiment fell to 74.3 for March from 75.3 in February. Higher gas prices (Iran war talk) are probably to blame.

  • (Arlan Suderman) Chinese Sept corn futures hit record high of $10.03 per bushel; Oh yeah, supplies are adequate.
  • U.S. Corn (almost) and Beans at six month high.

  • U.S. CPI rose 2.9% YoY as of February; unchanged from January; Core rate up 2.2% YoY, down from 2.3% in January.

  • Some reports suggest there are plenty of new iPads still in stores. AAPL briefly crossed above $600 last week; Market Cap = 546 B (XOM = 407 B)

  • J.P. Morgan announced a share buyback and raised dividends. Most U.S banks passed the latest Fed stress test.

  • Fitch put UK ratings on watch.

  • Paypal (EBAY) is looking to extend its electronic payment services to domestic markets in India and China, the largest consumer markets in Asia.

  • BIMCO forecasts 20 million DWT of dry bulk to be recycled during 2012

  • Former clients of MF Global expressed outrage over reports that Louis Freeh, the trustee overseeing the company's liquidation, planned to ask a bankruptcy judge to approve sizable bonuses for nearly two dozen top executives at the failed firm.

  • The U.S. government ran a $231.7 billion budget deficit in February, up from $222.5 YoY.

  • Fitch Affirms United Kingdom at 'AAA' - Revises Outlook To Negative.

  • Some Brits have the idea of refinancing the national debt with 100-year gilts, or even gilts issued in perpetuity, is a bit too clever by half.

  • In a major embarrassment for Goldman Sachs, a senior executive has resigned from the bank and attacked its 'toxic greed' and 'destructive' culture.

  • Department of Labor reporting that first time claims for unemployment benefits dropped 14,000 to 351,000 in the week ending March 10.
  • It also reported that wholesale prices rose 0.4% in February

  • YoY Sales at full-service restaurants rose 8.7%, the fastest growth since the late 1990’s

  • Nokia is expected to launch its Lumia smartphone line in China on March 28. DigiTimes says that China Unicom, China Telecom and China Mobile will all sell Nokia Lumia handsets.

  • China overtook the United States to become the top foreign investor in Germany in 2011 in terms of investment project numbers.

  • Spain’s new houses prices fell on average by 11.2 % during 2011

  • Eurozone inflation stable at 2.7% in February
  • Eurozone industrial production rose by 0.2% in January

  • Singapore's unemployment rate improved to a 14-year low of 2% in 2011
You want to live to 1,000? Start making friends Whatever, there are going to be a lot more old people around soon, and many things urgently need looking at again. If we were to design a pension system today to match Bismarck's – in terms of the age that it starts set against median life expectancy – it would kick in at 103... ...According to the analysis, if you want to scotch the idea of old age as a state of dependency, you have to start thinking not in terms of how long you can keep yourself alive but of how long you can keep yourself healthy. And if you want to keep yourself healthy, the answer, for a change, is not about willpower, exercise, keeping active and looking after yourself. The answer is other people. So you'd better start making some friends.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sunday, March 04, 2012


  • (AP) -- President Barack Obama said Sunday that United States will not hesitate to attack Iran with military force to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon...

  • Only two (now 7) advertisers have cut ties with the "Rush Limbaugh Show" after he called an activist for women's contraception a "slut and prostitute"... advertisers who have not rejected Limbaugh include Carbonite, a  online computer backup system.

  • Pork production in China, the top soybean importer, will climb to 51.6 million metric tons this year, up 4.2 percent from a year earlier, as the government increased insurance incentives for farms, a U.S. Department of Agriculture unit said.

  • The USDA Thursday forecasted that U.S. framers will plant 94 million acres of corn. That would be up 2.3% YoY, and would be the most corn planted since 1944.

  • Canada's economy grew 2.5 % in 2011, down from 3.2 % YoY

  • Italy's debt rose to 120.1% of GDP last year from 118.7 % in 2010, the highest level since 1996.
  • The country's economy grew 0.4% last year compared to 1.8% the previous year

  • A further 112,269 Spaniards lost their jobs in February, the seventh consecutive month during which unemployment rose in Spain.

  • Japan's jobless rate rose to 4.6% in January.

  • Moody's downgraded Greece long term sovereign credit rating from "Ca" to "C" .

  • The iShares MSCI Peru Index (EPU) has given back to investors in 2012, outperforming gold and copper exchange traded funds.

  • Exchange traded funds that hold bullion are rivaling global central banks in their accumulated gold stores.

  • PIMCO Debuts First Actively Managed ETF (TXRT): the Bond fund is managed by Bill Gross and will invest in all sectors of the fixed income market.

  • (FT) US corporation tax rates hit 10-year low.

Thursday, March 01, 2012


  • The U.S. ISM index, stood at 52.4% in February, lowers than the reading of 54.1 % in January.

  • Italian 10-year paper fell as low as 4.9 %, the lowest since August.

  • China says it has larger-than-expected shale gas reserves that could fulfill domestic demand for nearly 200 years – but Beijing admits extraction will prove difficult

  • U.S. personal income rose 0.3% in January, after a 0.5% gain in December.

  • U.S. personal consumption expenditures rose 0.2 % in January, after it remained flat in Dec.