Thursday, June 30, 2005

Book closes on one of the hottest, driest Junes here
Brown lawns and shriveling leaves don’t lie. Weeks of hot, dry weather have taken their toll.
No Bounce President Bush’s televised address to the nation produced no noticeable bounce in his approval numbers, with his job approval rating slipping a point from a week ago, to 43%, in the latest Zogby International poll. And, in a sign of continuing polarization, more than two-in-five voters (42%) say they would favor impeachment proceedings if it is found the President misled the nation about his reasons for going to war with Iraq.

Quick Overview

  • As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee boosted its target for short-term interest rates Thursday by a quarter percentage point to 3.25% and signaled further rate hikes are coming.

  • The number of U.S. workers filing for initial unemployment benefits fell 6,000 to 310,000 for the week ended June 25, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

  • Manufacturing activity in the Chicago area decreased in June, the National Association of Purchasing Management-Chicago said Thursday.

  • Personal spending remained steady in May, after rising in each of the previous three months, the Commerce Department said Thursday

  • The U.S. Commerce Department said that personal incomes were up 0.2% in May while consumer spending was unchanged.

  • The USDA said that the 2005 planted area for:
    Corn is 81.6 million acres, up from its earlier June estimate of 81.4 million acres.
    Soybeans are 73.3 million acres, down from its June estimate of 73.9 million acres.
    Wheat is 58.1 million acres, down from its June estimate of 58.6 million acres.
    Cotton is 14.0 million acres, up from its June estimate of 13.8 million acres.

  • The USDA said that June 1st U.S. grain stocks for:
    Corn were 4.32 billion bushels, up 45% YoY
    Soybeans were 700 million bushels, up 70% YoY.
    Wheat was 540 million bushels, down 1% YoY.

  • India's GDP increased 7% YoY

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that underground supplies of natural gas were up 92 billion cubic feet to 2.123 trillion cubic feet.

  • Canada's GDP was up 0.4% in April and up 2.7% YoY.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Soybean imports doubled in MayChina, the world's biggest soybean-buyer, bought 2 million metric tons of the oilseed last month, 143 percent more than in May 2004, according to figures released by the Customs General Administration of Customs on Friday. Imports jumped 55 percent in April from a year earlier.
Insurers sound the alarm on climate change
The cost worldwide of storms, expected to become more frequent owing to climate change, is likely to rise by two-thirds to £15bn ($27bn, €22bn) a year in the next seven decades, the Association of British Insurers will warn on Wednesday.
China to quench growing petrol thirst
They are slightly more stringent than current fuel economy standards in the US,”

Quick Overview

  • Crude oil and distillate inventories both rose more than expected in the Department of Energy’s weekly inventory report issued Wednesday. Crude oil supplies were up 1.1 million barrels last week to 328.5 million barrels. Unleaded gasoline supplies were up 300,000 barrels and heating oil supplies were up 1.6 million barrels.

  • The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.8% in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said Wednesday

  • The United Nations said that they expect the global economy to grow 3% in 2005 and 2006.

  • The Confederation of British Industry's monthly survey of retail sales registered its most negative score in 22 years.

  • The International Monetary Fund reduced its estimate of German GDP growth in 2006 from 1.8% to 1.3%.

  • Japan's industrial production was down 2.3% in May, weaker than expected.

  • The Senate Tuesday approved an energy bill that encourages more efficient uses of energy and the development of renewable fuels such as ethanol, though it would do little to immediately ease gasoline, diesel and crude oil prices that are at or close to record highs, Bloomberg reported.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Investment Outlook Fire!

The following is important, but if your eyes glaze over, skip to the summary.
The Saudi oil bombshell
Simmons is not a militant environmentalist or anti-oil partisan; he is chairman and chief executive officer of one of the nation's leading oil-industry investment banks, Simmons & Company International. For decades, Simmons has been pouring billions of dollars into the energy business,

Quick Overview

  • London Copper inventories now stand at 30,250 tons down from 49,375 at the beginning of the year.

  • An index of business confidence in France increased from 97 to 99 in June.

  • Japan's retail sales were down 1.5% in May.

  • The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said that they expect Japan's unemployment rate to drop from 4.4% in 2005 to 4.1% in 2006.

  • Overall trucking freight volumes rose 0.7% in May as the economy grew modestly, American Trucking Associations said Monday.

  • Rising asphalt prices have caused at least five states to delay or cancel road resurfacing projects, which could have an adverse effect on commercial vehicles, transportation officials said

  • The Journal of Commerce reports that as demand continues to run ahead of available capacity, motor carriers once again are calling the shots when it comes to pricing.

  • Diesel Gains 2.3 Cents to Hit New Record of $2.336

Monday, June 27, 2005

Historic Gold Oil Ratio

Spot gold predicted to double in coming months
"Based on historic ratios between gold and oil, gold should now be over $500 an ounce.

For your contemplation we have included the chart below -- it shows the price of Gold divided by Crude Oil.

Quick Overview

  • Austria confirmed its second incident of mad cow disease last Friday.

  • Bird flu was detected at chicken farms in northeastern Japan.

  • The 6 to 10 day forecast from the U.S. Weather Service showed average temperatures and above average rainfall for most of the Midwestern US – November soybeans dropped their 50-cent limit.

  • The USDA's good to excellent crop rating for:
    Corn was 65%, down from 68% a week ago.
    Soybeans were 59%, down from 63% a week ago.
    Spring wheat was 77%, down from 79% a week ago.
    Winter wheat was 49%, down from 50% a week ago.
    Cotton was 62%, down from 63% a week ago.

  • The Brazilian government estimated 2005-2006 sugar production at 27.2 million tons, up 2% YoY.

  • Economic activity in Mexico grew 4.8 percent in April from the same month last year amid a manufacturing export-led recovery, the government said on Monday.

  • The USDA estimated Brazil's 2005-2006 orange crop at 407 million boxes, down from 467 million boxes in 2004-2005. They expect orange juice exports of 1.25 million tons, down 8% YoY

  • The Ifo Institute's index of business confidence in Germany increased from 92.9 to 93.3 in June.

Gold in Euros

For your contemplation we have included the chart below -- it shows the price of Gold in Euros.
Dark chocolate seen healthy for arteries
Eating dark chocolate may have a protective effect on the cardiovascular system in healthy people, the results of a new study suggest.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Quick Overview

  • U.S. orders for durable goods rose 5.5% in May, the most in more than a year, the Commerce Department said Friday

  • U.S. new home sales rise the highest level in seven months, rising 2.1%, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

  • YoY Canada's consumer price index was up 1.6% in May.

  • YoY the GDP in New Zealand was up 2.5% in the first quarter, weaker than expected.

  • Hot and dry weather is expected to continue over much of the Midwestern U.S.

  • The USDA confirmed that a suspected cow did test positive for mad cow disease and emphasized that the animal did not enter the food supply.

  • Rail freight traffic increased for the week ended June 18 compared with the same week last year, and intermodal volume also rose, the Association of American Railroads said.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The heat intensifies Friday, and the record high of 97° in 1988 may be on the line. That reading is a far cry from the cool 70° recorded a year ago.

Crude Oil in Real Dollars

For your contemplation we have included the chart below -- it shows the price of crude oil adjusted by the CPI (Consumer Price Index).

Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes Cities may bulldoze people's homes to make way for shopping malls or other private development, a divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday, giving local governments broad power to seize private property to generate tax revenue.

Feds Target Calif. Marijuana Dispensaries
..the Supreme Court ruling "lays to rest any question whether federal authorities have jurisdiction."
Brain Sees Violent Video Games as Real Life – Study A small study of brain activity in video-game veterans suggests that their brains react as if they are treating the violence as real.

Quick Overview

  • The number of U.S. workers filing for initial unemployment benefits fell by 20,000 to 314,000 for the week ended June 18, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

  • Sales of existing homes fell 0.7% in May from April’s record high to an annual rate of 7.13 million, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday.

  • Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway told CNBC on Thursday that he thinks there's probably a real-estate bubble in the U.S. (This must be the most advertised bubble ever!)

  • FedEx Corp. reported Thursday that net income for its fourth quarter ended May 31 rose to $448 million or $1.46 a share, from $412 million or $1.32 a year ago.

  • The Shenzhen's port complex, one of the largest trading gateways for the US, expects to almost double its overall container capacity to 25 million TEUs by 2010.

  • Reports said Beijing plans to stockpile up to 100 million barrels of petroleum, or the equivalent of almost a month's national consumption.

  • Asia's fourth-largest container line reports the Hanjin freight rate index
    increased due to agrowing demand in the US and Europe for products made in China and other Asian countries.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that underground supplies of natural gas were up 75 billion cubic feet last week to 2.031 trillion cubic feet. Supplies are now up 11% YoY.

  • The U.S. Census Bureau said that 142.8 million bushels of soybeans were crushed in May, more than expected

  • Canada's farmers planted 25.2 million acres of wheat this year, down 1.4% from 2004. The Canadian Wheat Board said that western Canada will produce 22 million tons of wheat this year, down 8% YoY .

  • U.S. cotton mill use in May declined from an annual rate of 6.20 to 6.09 million bales.

  • An index of services in Japan, was up 1.8% in April, stronger than expected.

  • Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned Congress on Thursday not to rush to impose punitive tariffs on imports from China, saying they would harm U.S. consumers and protect "few if any American jobs."
BREAKS IN DROUGHTS INFREQUENT THIS TIME OF YEAR -- Dry spells like this one difficult to reverse.
China demand boosts commodities Industrial output in China, the world’s biggest user of copper, coal and steel, surged 16.6 percent in May to a record, the statistics bureau said June 15. The gains follow two years of 9.5 percent economic growth in China, which has overtaken Japan as the world’s biggest oil consumer after the US. China, India and Brazil comprise a market of 2.5 billion consumers, with $1.3 trillion a year to spend,..

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Quick Overview

  • COSCO, China's biggest shipping conglomerate has found hesitant interest by retail investors in its $1.65 billion IPO on worries that the global shipping boom has peaked.

  • The European Union announced that it will be cutting its subsidized sugar price by 39%.

  • The DoE said that crude oil supplies were down 1.6 million barrels last week to 327.4 million barrels. Unleaded supplies were up 200,000 barrels and heating oil supplies were up 1.8 million barrels.

  • The USDA said that there were 513 million pounds of frozen pork in storage, up 24% from a year ago.

  • The USDA said there were 81.7 million pounds of frozen pork bellies in storage, up 97% from a year ago.

  • The USDA announced that there were 1.67 billion pounds of frozen orange juice concentrate in storage on May 31st, down 22% from a year ago.

  • The long-haul, heavy-duty truck transportation industry in the United States is experiencing a national shortage of 20,000 truck drivers, the American Trucking Associations reported .

  • Canada's index of composite leading indicators was up 0.3% in May to 203.7.

  • Exports in Japan were up 1.4% in May while imports jumped up 18.6%.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Quick Overview

  • Traders expect the soy market to remain firmly underpinned on breaks as near-term weather issues, rust and aphid worries, lost acres in the northwest Midwest and potential dryness problems in China and India provide an underlying backdrop to support the market.

  • CNOOC, China's third largest oil company, may bid $20 billion for the US's Unocal, trumping Chevron's $16 billion bid. (I'm off to take chinese lessons!)

  • The price of retail diesel fuel rose 3.7 cents to $2.313 a gallon, just 0.3 cents below the record high reached April 11, the Department of Energy said Monday.

  • Canada's retail sales totaled C$30.9 billion in April, up 1.5% on the month and up 8.2% YoY..

  • Consumer spending in France was down 0.9% in May, weaker than expected

Monday, June 20, 2005

After the fall

Not only are new buyers taking out bigger mortgages, but existing owners have increased their mortgages to turn capital gains into cash which they can spend. As a result of such borrowing, housing booms tend to be more dangerous than stockmarket bubbles, and are often followed by periods of prolonged economic weakness.

Quick Overview

  • The index of leading U.S. economic indicators fell 0.5% in May to 114.1, the Conference Board said Monday.

  • London inventories of copper are now at 34,500 tons.

  • Today's 6 to 10 day forecast from the U.S. National Weather Service expects above average temperatures and below normal precipitation for most of the Midwest.

  • Citrus canker is becoming a growing concern in Florida.

  • Members of the European Union failed to agree on a new seven-year budget over the weekend.

  • Despite ongoing demand running ahead of capacity faltering Charter rates and new ship prices could be a sign that the three-year rally in box shipping is leveling off.

  • US rail carloads totaling 332,491 units decreased 2.2 percent the week of June compared to the same week in 2004.

  • The Singapore Exchange has confirmed plans to develop a clearing house for freight and energy derivatives as the country looks to capture more of the growing Asian market.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Quick Overview

  • December copper climbed .0195 to another new contract high of $1.4475, boosted by strong world (especially Asian) demand. The key to renewed interest is LME inventories at 36-year lows tallying just 36,150 tons, down 40% from this year's peak. The release of unexpectedly strong Chinese May industrial production data Wednesday at 16.6% provided the initial boost. analysts said. "China's economy is growing faster for longer. It's soaking up copper concentrate, primary material and scrap," said Angus MacMillan, metals analyst at Bache Financial .

  • The U.S. current account deficit increased to a record high $195.1 billion in the first quarter of 2005

  • Analytical firm Informa Economics pegged 2005 soybean planted
    acreage at 72.91 million acres, down one million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's March Prospective Plantings report, according to trade sources. Also the eastern half of the Midwest is expecting dry weather to continue through the weekend and perhaps longer.

  • Earnings of companies in the Standard & Poor's 500
    stock index that have issued first-quarter reports are running 14.3% higher than year-earlier results, according to Thomson First Call.

  • The University of Michigan's index of consumer confidence increased from 86.9 to 94.8, stronger than expected.

  • The USDA said that there were 10.769 million head of cattle on feed as of June 1st, up 1.2% from a year ago and slightly less than expected. May placements were down 6.2% and marketing’s were down 1.4% from a year ago.

  • Canada's wholesale sales were C$39.4 billion in April, up .9% on the month and up 5.2% from a year ago.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Do you believe President Bush misled the nation in order to go to war with Iraq?
With 17,300 votes in, 94% say yes.
Democrats Urge Inquiry on Bush, Iraq
Conyers and a half-dozen other members of Congress were stopped at the White House gate later Thursday when they hand-delivered petitions signed by 560,000 Americans who want Bush to provide a detailed response to the Downing Street memo

Quick Overview

  • Housing starts rose 0.2% in May, the Commerce Department reported Thursday, to the fastest overall annual pace in three months.

  • The number of U.S. workers filing for initial unemployment benefits gained 1,000 to 333,000 for the week ended June 11, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

  • London inventories of copper continue to contract, falling by 1,000 tons today to 38,300 tons

  • The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's index of regional activity dropped from +7.3 to -2.2 in May, weaker than expected.

  • Machinery orders in Japan were down 1% in April.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that supplies of underground natural gas were up 73 billion cubic feet at 1.963 trillion cubic feet. Supplies are now up 12% from a year ago.

  • EU's top trade official says European companies must respond swiftly to China's emerging industrial power.

  • Retail sales in the U.K. were up 0.1% in May and up 1.3% from a year ago.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Quick Overview

  • Falling energy prices pushed U.S. consumer prices lower in May for the first time since July of last year, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. The Consumer Price Index decreased 0.1 percent in May, The May level of 194.4 (1982-84=100) was 2.8 percent higher than in May 2004.

  • The government upgraded its assessment of Japan's economy in a monthly report on Wednesday for the first time in nearly a year, citing improvements in personal consumption and jobs.

  • OPEC ministers Wednesday agreed to boost crude oil output levels by 500,000 barrels a day to 28 million, Bloomberg reported.

  • May US Industrial Production at U.S. factories, mines and utilities rose 0.4% in May, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday

  • Business inventories rose 0.3% in April, and business sales rose 1.2% the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

  • The Green Coffee Association said that U.S. coffee stocks were up 83,722 bags in May to 5.87 million bags.

  • The U.S. DoE said that crude oil supplies were down 1.8 million barrels last week to 329.0 million barrels. Unleaded gasoline supplies were down 900,000 barrels and heating oil supplies were up 1.4 million barrels.

  • An index of manufacturing activity in New York increased from -11.1 to +11.7 in June, stronger than expected.

  • Australia's rainfall in the first four months of 2005 was the second lowest total since records began in 1910.

  • Industrial production in China increased 16.6% in May from a year ago to a new record high

  • The unemployment rate in the U.K. remained at 4.7% in the three months from February to April.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Volcker: U.S. Economic Crisis Imminent Volcker sees as a hopelessly unsustainable relationship with the rest of the world.
Richard Russell (Dow Theory Letters)
notes a new Merrill Lynch study reporting that “With $30.8 trillion at their command, the "really rich" control one quarter of the world's financial wealth. This translates into the following -- the super-rich, who comprise 0.13 percent of the world's population, own 25 percent of the world's wealth”

Quick Overview

  • May retail sales fell 0.5% from the previous month, the first drop since August, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

  • The Labor Department said Tuesday its producer price index for May fell 0.6%, the biggest monthly drop in two years, while prices excluding food and energy rose 0.1%.

  • Rail freight volumes have been decelerating in the second quarter with a modestly slowing economy, however rail pricing has continued to grow.

  • Consumer prices in the U.K. were up 1.9% in May from a year ago, more than expected and the highest in seven years.

  • The International Coffee Organization estimates the 2005-2006 world coffee production at 106 million (60-kg) bags. They estimate 2004-2005 world consumption at 114 million bags.

  • The average retail price of diesel fuel rose 4.2 cents to $2.276 a gallon, the Department of Energy reported Monday

Monday, June 13, 2005

No IMF gold sales - G8 Finance Ministers
In their proposal for cancelling the debt obligations of 18 impecunious nations to the World Bank, G8 finance ministers agreed over the weekend to exclude gold sales by the IMF.
Lack of good projects puts mining boom at riskDiscoveries are becoming harder and harder to find," said Greg Wilkins, chief executive of Barrick Gold....."The scarcity of good exploration projects is going to become a serious issue three to five years from now," said Donald Lindsay, chief executive of top zinc miner Teck Cominco Ltd.
The Downing Street Memos and the Revenge of the Bloggers..
Conyers promised to deliver it to Bush once it reached 250,000 signatures. By Friday morning it already had more than 500,000 with as many as 1m expected to have been obtained when he delivers it to the White House on Thursday.

Quick Overview

  • Barclays Global Investors announced last week it will file an application with the SEC to launch the first silver exchange-traded fund.

  • Annual volume of cargo passing through China's ports every year is expected to rise by more than 50 percent in the next five years.

  • Investors pushed Brazilian stocks down again Monday over concerns about a bribes-for-votes political scandal, adding to losses that sent the country's benchmark index plunging last week.

  • China will not bow to international pressure to reform its tightly controlled currency regime any time soon and will base its policy on primarily on domestic considerations, Chinese officials and business leaders said on Monday.

  • The USDA found another possible case of mad cow disease in the U.S.

  • There is concern that Asian soy rust may have been spread north with Tropical Storm Arlene.

  • The European Union struck a deal with China that limits China's exports of ten product categories through 2008. The deal may have relieved some of the concerns about an escalating trade war with China

  • Fortis, predicted that global cocoa stocks will fall 18,000 tons in the 2005-2006 crop year.

  • G-8 members agreed to write off $40 billion of debt owed by 18 African countries.

  • Japan's economy grew slightly less than initially estimated in the first three months of 2005, and concern grew that the relatively brisk pace may not be sustained in the coming quarters.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

  • Collapse in ocean freight rates mineral demand in China remained unexpectedly muted. The Baltic Index fell to its lowest level since July 2004...
    But a more accurate representation could be that shipments are being deferred to obtain cheaper freight rates in a falling market.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

'Downing Street memo' coverage adds to intrigue
Last week, a group known as offered $1,000 to anyone who can get Bush to answer "yes or no" to this question: Did he or his administration "fix the intelligence" about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and alleged ties to terrorism?
Poll: Bush Job Approval Dips to New Low
Bush's approval mark is 43 percent,
while Congress checks in at 31 percent..
Only about one-third of adults, 35 percent, said they thought the country was headed in the right direction..

Friday, June 10, 2005

2,200 Journalists Await Jackson Verdict Reporters from every continent but Antarctica are covering a story that has attracted perhaps the largest-ever media contingent (media?)

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. trade deficit rose to $57 billion in April, the Commerce Department reported Friday

  • Prices of imported goods fell 1.3% in May, the first drop this year, the Labor Department reported Friday

  • The USDA's U.S. ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn remained at 2.540 billion bushels.
    Soybeans were reduced from 290 to 255 million bushels.
    Cotton was reduced from 6.30 to 6.20 million bales.
    Wheat was reduced from 678 to 619 million bushels.
    Sugar remained at 759,000 tons.

  • The USDA's world ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn was reduced from 122 to 121 million tons.
    Soybeans were estimated at 52 million tons, up from 47 million tons in 2004-2005.
    Cotton was reduced from 45 to 44 million bales.
    Wheat was reduced from 147 to 144 million tons.

  • The USDA estimates the 2004-2005 Florida orange crop at 151 million boxes with a juice yield of 1.60 gallons per box at 42.0 degrees Brix.

  • The USDA estimates that 2005-2006 world ending coffee stocks will drop 6.3 million bags to 14.9 million bags, the lowest in over two decades.

  • Canada's unemployment rate was unchanged in May at 6.8% with a net gain of 35,000 jobs.

  • The Conference Board said that the index of leading indicators for Japan was down 0.3% in April to 98.5.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Website of the Day

Quick Overview

  • The number of U.S. workers filing for initial unemployment benefits fell 21,000 to 330,000 for the week ended June 4, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

  • The amount of new debt taken on by Americans rose 10% in the first quarter, to $24.8 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Thursday. It was the fastest growth since the second quarter of 2003. Federal government debt rose 13.8%, its fastest quarterly pace in two years. U.S. mortgage debt rose 10.5% in the first quarter and business debt rose 7.5%, the Fed said.

  • The first tropical storm
    of the 2005 hurricane season formed in the northwest Caribbean, moving closer toward Cuba and on a track to hit the U.S. Gulf Coast, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

  • Stock index futures and the Dollar rallied midday as traders decided Greenspan offered no major changes in monetary policy during his congressional testimony.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that natural gas supplies were up 112 billion cubic feet to 1.890 trillion cubic feet. Supplies are now up 14% from a year ago.

  • The latest USDA Drought Monitor shows abnormally dry conditions stretching from Michigan to Louisiana.

  • An index of consumer confidence in Japan increased from 47.4 to 48.3 in May, still a sign of pessimism.

  • Australia's unemployment rate remained at 5.1% in May, the lowest in 28 years.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Longevity crisis? Kill Grandma A welfare state designed in the era of bacon, eggs and Lucky Strikes cannot expect to survive in an age of "active seniors" who wash down their Viagra with soy milk and think a six-pack is something you get at the gym.

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. Commerce Department said that wholesale sales increased 1.5% in April, the biggest jump in over a year. Meanwhile, inventories increased 0.8%. The inventory-to-sales ratio fell to 1.18 from 1.19. The record low was 1.14 in April

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that crude oil supplies were down 3.0 million barrels to 330.8 million barrels. Unleaded supplies were down 100,000 barrels and heating oil supplies were unchanged.

  • There is some concern about the spread of Asian citrus canker in Florida.

  • Engine and heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. said Wednesday it would split its stock 2-for-1 and boost its quarterly dividend by 9 cents, following record sales last year.

  • Canada's housing starts were at an annual rate of 218,800 units in May, down 5.0 %

  • The Netherlands central bank cut its 2005 growth forecast from 1.7% to 0.4%.

  • Average retail diesel prices are expected to remain above regular gasoline prices through 2006, the Department of Energy said in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook released Tuesday

  • Peru's government on Wednesday lauded two new oil discoveries, saying the finds should boost optimism about finding more hydrocarbons to replace the Andean nation's dwindling oil supplies. Petro-Tech, the Peruvian unit of Houston-based Petro-Tech International, said its new well is producing 1,200 barrels of oil a day and its potential reserves could vary between 10 million and 50 million barrels of oil.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

John Conyers, Jr. -- Letter to Pres Bush Concerning the "Downing Street Minutes"
The peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: "Our country -- when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right."
Carl Schurz

Quick Overview

  • Germany's industrial production was up 1.1% in April.

  • Household spending in Japan was down 3% in April from a year ago.

  • Crop outlook sours Australia is the world's second-largest exporter of wheat, but it has already been suggested that the country might have to import wheat from its international competitors to meet demand this year.

  • Total air cargo shipments rose 0.3% in April compared with a year earlier, following a 3.1% year-over-year drop in March, the Air Transport Association reported.

  • GM announced today that it's cutting 25,000 US jobs, 17% of the work force, and closing an unspecified number of plants over the next 3 1/2 years.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Corn and soybeans are entering a critical part of the growing season, when the crops must become established. Most of Illinois received less than 40% of normal precipitation during the March-to-May period, causing moisture supplies to slowly vanish

  • Factory orders in Germany were down 2.9% in April, weaker than expected.

  • Year over Year Capital spending in Japan increased an impressive 7.4% in the first quarter.

  • A Holstein cow in northern Japan has been confirmed as Japan's 20th case of mad cow disease.

  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved its portion of energy legislation that would increase the use of biofuels such as biodiesel and ethanol.

  • Australia, the world's second-biggest wheat exporter, cut its production forecast for the grain by 29 percent because of a drought in the country's southeast.

  • Thailand’s economy shrank for the first time in four years in the first quarter of this year, as a drought parched crops and tourists stayed away after the Boxing Day tsunami.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Australian farmers battle drought, no end in sight
Eastern Australia is into the third month of the worst drought farmers can remember -- more severe than the 2002 drought which the weather bureau classes the worst in a century.
Investor confidence shattered as China stock market goes from bad to worse
"The market has been falling for years and investors are numb," said Zhang Qi, analyst from Haitong Securities.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Quick Overview

  • Hiring in the United States slowed in May to the weakest in nearly two years, the Labor Department reported Friday. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 78,000 and the unemployment rate declined to 5.1% from 5.2%.

  • The ISM's index of U.S. services fell from 61.7 to 58.5 in May, lower than expected, but still a sign of growth.

  • An index of service activity in the U.K. dropped from 56.5 to 55.1 in May, still a sign of growth.

  • Retail sales in the Euro zone were down 1.2% in April and down 0.9 YoY.

  • ED&F Man expects the 2004-2005 world cocoa crop to fall short of consumption by 175,000 tons. The International Cocoa Organization recently estimated a 44,000 ton production deficit.
Forecast of deficient Indian monsoon? Lower Soybean, Sugar and Cotton Ccrops? In June, rainfall is likely to be 11 per cent below normal in north India, 22 per cent below normal in west India, 6 per cent below normal in south India, 60 per cent below normal in central India and 40 per cent below normal in south-central India.
History Matters Butler Shaffer on the decline of centralized power structures and the French and Dutch "NO" votes.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Quick Overview

  • Orders placed with factories rose 0.9% in April, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

  • The Department of Labor said that U.S. productivity increased at an annual rate of 2.9% in the first quarter of 2005. Labor costs increased at an annual rate of 3.3%.

  • The DoE said that crude oil supplies were up 1.4 million barrels last week to 333.8 million barrels. Unleaded supplies were up 1.3 million barrels and distillates were up 700,000 barrels. Refinery utilization jumped from 94.6% to 96.2% of capacity last week.
    The DOE also said that natural gas supplies were up 86 billion cubic feet last week to 1.778 trillion cubic feet. Current supplies are up 15% from a year ago.

  • The World Gold Council said that world gold demand totaled 977 tons in the first quarter of 2005, up 26% YoY. YoY, Jewelry demand was up 19%.

  • Playmate of the Month,
    Jamie Westenhiser, says she is abandoning a promising career as a model in order to "take up real estate investing." ( bells ringing?)
Destroying Companies and Countries

The American public was so whipped up in a frenzy over Enron that it didn’t care whose blood was spilled. Just as someone had to pay for September 11 – even if it is our own troops and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis who had no more to do with September 11 than the US troops who are losing their lives and limbs – someone had to pay for Enron.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Quick Overview

  • The ISM index of U.S. manufacturing activity dropped from 53.3 to 51.4 in May.

  • U.S. construction spending was at a record high annual rate of $1.07 trillion in April, up 0.5% on the month and up 8.2% YoY.

  • The purchasing managers index for the eurozone, fell from 49.2 in April to a 22-month low of 48.7 in May. A figure below 50 represents contraction.

  • Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Fisher implied that the fed may be close to the end of raising the federal funds rate. On the news the DowJones Industrial Average jumped 82.39 points, or 0.79%, to 10549.87. it's highest finish in 2 1/2 months. The same news pushed Treasury-bond prices higher and yields lower, leaving the yield of the 10-year Treasury note at 3.894%, its lowest level in14 months.

  • Growth in the world’s tanker fleets is outstripping demand, forcing charter rates down to new lows and putting pressure on shipping company share prices – Lloyd's List reports.

  • Copper inventories fell 900 tons to 44,325 tons.

  • Australia's GDP increased 0.7% in the first quarter of 2005, less than expected.