Thursday, December 28, 2006

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Consumer confidence rose from 105.3 to 109.0, an eight-month high, the New York-based Conference Board reported.

  • The National Association of Realtors said that U.S. existing home sales were at an annual rate of 6.28 million units in November, up .6% from October's pace, but still down 10.7% YoY.

  • The Chicago Purchasing Managers' index rose from 49.9 to 52.4 in December, more than expected.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were down 8.1 million barrels last week to 321.0 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were up 3.0 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were down 800,000 barrels.

  • Japan's Nov industrial production rose 0.7% MoM, increasing the chances for a BOJ rate hike in January by 25 bp to 0.50%.

  • China's GDP may expand at 10.5% in 2007, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

  • Taiwan's central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by one-eighth percentage point to 2.75%.

  • American Trucking Associations’ seasonally adjusted truck tonnage index dropped 3.6% in November, following its 1.9% drop in October,

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Quick Overview

  • Japans Jiji news agency reported late Tuesday the Bank of Japan is likely to discuss raising rates to 0.5 percent next month.

  • Retail sales in Japan were up 0.1% in November.

  • The Mortgage Bankers Association said U.S. mortgage applications plummeted last week to the lowest level in nearly five months.

  • New home sales jumped 3.4% in November, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. YoY sales are down 15.3%

  • The United Arab Emirates' has decided to raise the share of Euro holdings in its reserves to 10% from 2% over the next six to nine months.

  • Tin rose nearly 4% on the LME because of continuing supply concerns in Indonesia.

  • The USDA said there were 62.149 million hogs and pigs in U.S. inventory on December 1st, up 1.1% YoY.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Quick Overview

  • Personal income increased $33.8 billion, or 0.3 %, and disposable personal income increased $27.0 billion, or 0.3 %, in November. Consumer spending was up 0.5%, the most in four months.

  • U.S. Durable goods orders were up 1.9% in November. Excluding transportation, orders were down 1.1%, more than expected.

  • The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index dropped from 92.1 to 91.7 in December, better than expected.

  • The confidence of American consumers slipped in the latest week, with buyers "shopped out" by the Christmas holiday, ABC News and The Washington Post said on Tuesday

  • The Richmond Fed index of regional manufacturing fell from +7 to -6 in December, more than expected.

  • Sweden’s November Producer Price Index was up 0.1% MoM and 3.7% YoY

  • China's central bank expects the economy to grow 9.8% in 2007, down from 10.5% this year.

  • UK’s Q3 GDP +was up 0.7% QoQ and up 2.9% YoY

  • Japan’s unemployment rate fell from 4.1% to 4.0%, the lowest in eight years, household spending was down 0.7% YoY. Japan’s personal consumption, which makes up 55 percent of the economy, may appear weak at first glance, but a closer look at economic indicators suggests the outlook is not so bad. The minutes of the Bank of Japan meeting on Nov 15-16 contained some hawkish comments that supported the view the BOJ is leaning toward further tightening over the near-term.

  • Canadian officials are proposing a C$345 million program requiring biofuel content of 5% in gasoline by 2010 and 2% in diesel fuel and heating oil by 2012, the Associated Press reported.

  • The USDA said there were 11.973 million head of cattle on feed on December 1st, up 2.1% YoY

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Quick Overview

  • U.S. GDP rose 2.0% in the third quarter of 2006, slightly less than expected. YoY real GDP was up 3.0%. Consumer spending rose 2.8% QoQ.

  • U.S. leading indicators increased 0.1% in November.

  • The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's index of regional activity dropped from 5.1 to -4.3 in December.

  • U.S. jobless claims were up 9,000 last week to 315,000.

  • Canada's GDP was unchanged in October and up 1.6% YoY.

  • GDP in the U.K. was up 2.9% QoQ

  • Argentina's November trade surplus jumped nearly 54 percent YoY, more than economists had expected, as exports surged.

  • The USDA said that there were 30.9 million pounds of frozen bellies in storage as of November 30th, up 8% YoY. Frozen pork supplies totaled 464.2 million pounds, up 6% YoY.

  • The USDA said that there were 649.9 million pounds of frozen orange juice in storage on November 30th, down 37% YoY.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Want To Feel Rich? by Bill Bonner
Being "rich" is easier than we think. You just have to get away from Miami or Los Angeles. If you live in some countries, even an income of $5,000 a year will make you feel like a relatively rich man. In fact, a new study by the United Nations says that a net wealth of $2,200 will put you in the richest half of the world's people. If you can scrape together $61,000 in net assets, you are in the top 10%.
What does it take to be in the top 1%? Just $500,000.

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. Labor Department said that producer prices were up 2.0% in November, the biggest gain since 1974. YoY producer prices were up 0.9% and the core rate of producer prices was up 1.8% YoY.

  • U.S. Housing starts came in at an annual rate of 1.588 million units in November, up 6.7% from October's pace. So far in 2006 housing starts are down 12.5% YoY.

  • Confidence of American consumers held at a 2006 high last week, ABC News and The Washington Post said on Tuesday.

  • Canada's consumer price index was up 1.4% YoY.

  • German business confidence increased from 106.8 to 108.7

  • The Bank of Japan met and kept its interest rate unchanged at 0.25%, as expected.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Goldman building market for home price derivatives
Property derivatives have the potential to become big on Wall Street. The value of U.S. housing, at $22 trillion as of March, exceeds the $16-trillion value of U.S. equities and is not much smaller than the $26-trillion market for U.S. debt.

Quick Overview

  • Canada's composite index of leading indicators was up 0.5%.

  • The Green Coffee Association said that U.S. coffee stocks totaled 5.05 million bags, up 3.5% YoY.

  • The International Coffee Organization said that the 2007-2008 coffee crop is expected to have a world production deficit as large as the 6.6 million ton deficit of 2005-2006.
Pot is called biggest cash crop
For years, activists in the marijuana legalization movement have claimed that cannabis is America's biggest cash crop. Now they're citing government statistics to prove it.
A report released today by a marijuana public policy analyst contends that the market value of pot produced in the U.S. exceeds $35 billion — far more than the crop value of such heartland staples as corn, soybeans and hay, which are the top three legal cash crops.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Even if they're off, cellphones allow FBI to listen in

"This is a kind of surveillance we've never really seen before. The government can and will exploit whatever technology is available to achieve their surveillance goals. This is of particular concern, considering the proliferation of microphones and cameras in the products we own," said Kevin Bankston, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Bush 'Privacy Board' Just a Gag The three-hour meeting, held at Georgetown University, quickly established that the panel would be something less than a fierce watchdog of civil liberties. Instead, members all but said they view their job as helping Americans learn to relax and love warrantless surveillance.
McCain Bill Is Lethal Injection For Internet Freedom
Exploits fear of sexual predators and basic misunderstanding of Internet to attack blogs critical of the warmongering agenda he fronts for.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Consumer prices were unchanged in November and up 2.0% YoY, less than expected. Excluding food and energy costs, prices were up 2.6% YoY.

  • Foreign purchases of U.S. securities totaled $102.0 billion in October while U.S. purchases of foreign long-term securities totaled $19.7 billion.

  • U.S. Industrial production rose 0.2% in November, up from October's 0.5% drop.

  • YoY Consumer prices in the EU-12 were up 1.9% in November

  • The White House has approved a $468.9 billion Pentagon budget for 08, a six-percent increase YoY.

  • Japan's tankan survey, increased from +24 to +25 in September, the highest in two years

  • Brazil's government estimates the 2007-2008 coffee crop at 31.7 million bags, less than expected. They said the 2006-2007 coffee crop totaled 42.5 million bags, 4 million bags less than the USDA's estimate.

  • Brazil's Association for Citrus Exporters said Brazil's exports of frozen orange juice in the first eleven months of 2006 were down 9% YoY.

  • Gold futures dropped about $12 an ounce, silver lost 7% and copper prices dropped to a six-month low.

Diplomat's suppressed document lays bare the lies behind Iraq war

He also reveals that British officials warned US diplomats that bringing down the Iraqi dictator would lead to the chaos the world has since witnessed. "I remember on several occasions the UK team stating this view in terms during our discussions with the US (who agreed)," he said.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Quick Overview

  • Argentina's economy expanded 8.7 percent in the third quarter compared with the year-earlier period, fueled by higher consumer spending and private investment.

  • The price of goods imported to the United States rose 0.2% in November after falling more than 2% in the previous two months, the Labor Department said Thursday.

  • U.S. Jobless claims were down 20,000 to 304,000, less than expected.

  • U.K. Retail sales up 0.3% in November, more than expected.

  • EU-12 Labor costs up 2.0% YoY.

  • Germany's Ifo economic institute predicts the economy will grow 2.5% in 2006 and 1.9% in 2007.

  • Canada's manufacturing shipments down 0.1% MoM.

  • Japan's top financial diplomat does not expect the yen to weaken further due to any domestic reasons as the economy is performing steadily.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that underground supplies of natural gas were down 168 billion cubic feet last week to 3.238 trillion cubic feet. YoY Supplies are up 8%.

  • OPEC oil ministers said Thursday they will cut production by a half-million barrels a day starting Feb. 1, a 1.9% cut, Bloomberg reported.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Americans See Widening Rich-Poor Income Gap as Cause for Alarm
Almost three-quarters of Americans believe inequality is a major issue, versus 24 percent who don't think so, according to a new Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll. Most of the concern is among Democrats and independent voters, though a majority of Republicans -- 55 percent -- also called the situation serious.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Retail sales were up 1.0% in November, more than expected. Excluding autos and gasoline, sales were up 0.9%.

  • China's economy may have modest downslide after 2006, with its GDP growth to slow from the current 10.4 percent to 9.6 percent in 2007 and 8.7 percent in 2008, the World Bank said.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were down 4.3 million barrels last week to 335.4 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were down 100,000 barrels
    Supplies of heating oil supplies were down 700,000 barrels.

  • U.K.'s Unemployment rate at 5.5% from 5.6% the previous month.

  • Russia is preparing to cut off natural gas supplies to neighboring Belarus and Georgia unless the two former Soviet republics agree by the year-end to pay much higher prices in 2007.

  • Shanghai Baosteel, China's leading steel manufacturer, has produced X120, the world's strongest gas transmission pipeline steel, sources with the company said on Tuesday.

  • Executives predict 'talent war' as companies compete for scarce Chinese-speaking graduates.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Quick Overview

  • The Federal Reserve left the federal funds rate at 5.25%, noting the economy has slowed and is hurt by "substantial cooling" in the housing market. The statement, left open the possibility the central bank might increase rates if inflation speeds up.

  • U.S. Federal budget deficit at $75.6 billion in November, down from $83.1 billion YoY.

  • Chinas November retail sales YoY rose 14.1% to 682.2 bln Yuan.

  • Indian Industrial Production up 6.2% YoY

  • Euro Zone Economic Sentiment at -3.0 vs. -8.5 expected.

  • Italian Industrial Production MoM at 0.6% vs. 0.5% expected.

  • UK CPI MoM at 0.3% vs. 0.2% expected.

  • German Economic Sentiment at -19 vs. -25 expected.

  • German Current Situation at 63.5 vs. 55.3 expected.

  • Swedish CPI Underlying YoY at 1.3% vs. 1.2% expected.

  • Cocoa stocks in Nybot warehouses rose 231,943 145-pound bags to total 4.04 million 145-pound bags.

  • The number of trucks in use in the U.S. is down 0.6% in the third quarter, a sign expanding hauling capacity by carriers may have peaked.

Monday, December 11, 2006

ECB Warns of `Herd-Like' Mentality in Derivatives
Sales of CDOs jumped 73 percent to $446 billion this year from a year earlier, according to data compiled by JPMorgan Chase & Co. The market for credit derivatives is the fastest-growing part of the derivatives market, helping to spur record earnings for banks including New York-based Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Economic growth will slow and inflation will ease in 2007, with energy prices and a falling dollar posing the biggest risks to a pick-up in prices, a panel of Wall Street analysts forecast on Monday.

  • The U.S. Census Bureau said that wholesale sales were down 0.5% in October while inventories were up 0.8%.

  • China posted a trade surplus of 22.92 bln $ in November, down slightly from 23.83 bln in October, customs data showed. The trade surplus in the first 11 months was 156.52 bln $, up from 91 bln YoY.

  • China's consumer price index rose 1.3 pct YoY, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

  • Major oil-exporting countries have been moving away from dollar deposits to increase reserves in other currencies, including the Euro and the Japanese yen, the Bank for International Settlements has said. Dollar-denominated bank deposits by OPEC members decreased by 5.3 bln $ in the second quarter of 2006, while Euro-denominated deposits rose by 2.8 bln $ and yen deposits by 3.8 bln $.

  • The National Association of Realtors expects U.S. existing home sales down 8.6% in 2006 and down 1.0% in 2007.

  • Japanese Consumer Confidence for November out at 48.9 vs. 48.8 expected.

  • French Industrial Production MoM for October out at -0.1% vs. 0.5% expected.

  • Mexican stocks rose to an eighth straight record close on Monday

  • Cocoa stocks in Nybot warehouses fell 3,978 145-pound bags to total 3.808 million bags.

  • The USDA's 2006-2007 U.S. ending stocks estimate of:
    Corn was unchanged at 935 million bushels.
    Soybeans were unchanged at 565 million bushels.
    Wheat was increased from 418 to 438 million bushels.
    Sugar was increased from 1.87 to 1.98 million tons.
    Cotton was increased from 6.0 to 6.3 million bales.

  • The USDA's 2006-2007 world ending stocks estimate of:
    Corn was increased from 90 to 93 million tons.
    Soybeans were increased from 55.2 to 55.7 million tons.
    Wheat was increased from 119 to 121 million tons.
    Cotton was increased from 51.0 to 51.5 million bales.

  • The USDA increased its estimate of the Florida orange crop from 135 to 140 million boxes with a projected yield of 1.58 gallons a box at 42.0 degrees Brix.

  • The Florida Department of Citrus said YoY inventories of frozen concentrated orange juice were down 40%.

From Reuters, Automatic Trading Linked to News Events Today, the Reuters Group begins selling two trading services that allow subscribers to set up automatic trading orders based on the news. They will give subscribers the ability to mine past and present Reuters news articles in real time and automatically buy, sell or hold a stock based on market-moving events.

Friday, December 01, 2006