Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

US must abandon Iraqi cities or face nightmare scenario, say experts
It warns of radicalisation and possible secession movements in adjacent countries, an upsurge in terrorism, and of intervention by Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Ending an all-out civil war, the report says, would require a force of 450,000 - three times the present US deployment even after the 21,500 "surge" ordered by President Bush this month.

Quick Overview

  • The Conference Board said the consumer confidence index increased from 110.0 to 110.3 in January.

  • Japan’s household spending was down 1.9% in December, the twelfth consecutive decline.
    Japans Industrial production was up 0.7% in December.
    Japan's unemployment rate rose from 4.0% to 4.1% in December.

  • Canada's factory prices jumped rose 1.4% in December.

  • Saudi Arabia intends to cut supply by 158,000 barrels a day from February 1.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulson said inflation appeared to be at a very manageable level, which would help to sustain a U.S. economic expansion.

  • The European Union will need to import 6 million tons of ethanol by 2010 to meet local alternative energy needs, with Brazil being the likely country to supply most of it.

Thailand approves copycat drugs THAILAND'S army appointed government said today it had approved a cheap, copycat heart disease drug, the first time a developing country has ignored an international patent for such a treatment.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Trade ministers from some 30 countries agree that full-scale global trade talks should resume quickly.

  • U.S. new home sales were up 4.8% from November's pace and more than expected. For all of 2006, new home sales were down 17%.

  • U.S. durable goods orders were up 3.1% in December. Excluding transportation, orders were up 2.3%. For all of 2006, durable goods orders were up 7.0%.

  • The USDA said that there were 11.974 million head of cattle on feed on January 1st, up 1.4% YoY. December placements were down 9% YoY, and marketing’s were down 5%.

  • YoY Japan's consumer prices were up 0.3%.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. jobless claims were up 36,000 last week to 325,000.

  • The National Association of Realtors said that December’s U.S. existing home sales were down 0.8% from November's pace and down 7.9% YoY. Inventory of unsold homes declined 8% to 3.51 million.

  • China's Q4 GDP remained rose 10.4%, 10.7% YoY an 11-year high.

  • YoY Japans core CPI rose 0.1 % in December, lower than the expected 0.2 percent rise.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that underground supplies of natural gas were down 179 billion cubic feet to 2.757 trillion cubic feet.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser said core inflation at 2.5 percent was too high, but declined to say what level would be comfortable for him.

  • The Mortgage Bankers Association said that its index of mortgage application was down 8.4% last week .

  • Australia's consumer prices were down 0.1% in the fourth quarter and up 3.3% YoY.

  • U.K.’s GDP was up 3.0%.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were up 700,000 barrels last week to 322.2 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were up 4.0 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were down 1.5 million barrels.
    YoY Gasoline demand was up 2.2% and distillate demand was down 4.1%.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Corn Dog
Between 1995 and 2003, federal corn subsidies totaled $37.3 billion.

Quick Overview

  • The Conference Board leading indicators figure for December came in +0.3%, which was better than expected.

  • YoY consumer prices in Canada were up 1.6% in December.

  • YoY consumer spending in France rose 6.8%, more than expected.

  • The dollar weakened against European currencies, hitting a 14-year low against the BPound on expectations that interest rates will continue to rise in Europe.

  • Japan is considering legislation designed to encourage the widespread use of biofuels
    such as ethanol as a way to tackle global warming and diversify energy sources, The Nikkei reported.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Executives of 10 major corporations, urged Bush to support mandatory reductions in climate-changing pollution and establish reductions targets.

  • The USDA said that there were 440 million pounds of frozen pork in storage on December 31st, up 3% YoY. Bellies totaled 40.0 million pounds, down 17 % YoY.

  • The USDA said that, as of December 31st, there were 678 million pounds of frozen orange juice concentrate in storage, down 35% YoY.
Coin shortage could turn pennies to nickels
Sharply rising prices of metals such as copper and nickel have meant the face value of pennies and nickels are worth less than the material that they are made of, increasing the risk that speculators could melt the coins and sell them for a profit.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

US Army officer barred from disputing legality of Iraq war at court-martial
A US military judge ruled Tuesday that 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, a US Army officer who refused deployment to Iraq because he felt the war is 'unlawful,' cannot argue that point in his upcoming court-martial. Lt. Col. John Head further ruled that Watada may not raise a free speech defense, as soldiers do not enjoy the same constitutional rights as civilians.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. consumer prices rose 0.5% in December and 2.6% YoY. Excluding food and energy, prices rose 0.2% in December and 2.5% YoY.

  • U.S. new housing starts jumped 4.5% in December as builders took advantage of warmer weather, the Commerce Department said Thursday. For all of 2006, housing starts were down 13%.

  • The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's regional index of manufacturing rose from -2.3 to +8.3 in January, more than expected.

  • The Bank of Japan keep interest rate unchanged at .25%.

  • U.S. Labor jobless claims were down 8,000 at 290,000, the lowest in eleven months.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were up 6.8 million barrels to 321.5 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were up 3.5 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were up 400,000 barrels.
    Supplies of underground natural gas were down 89 billion cubic to 2.936 trillion cubic feet.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. industrial production rose 0.4% in December and 4.0% in 2006

  • U.S. Capacity utilization out at 81.8%.

  • The producer price index rose 0.9% in December and 1.1% YoY. Excluding food and energy, prices were up 0.2% and up 2.0% YoY.

  • Foreign purchases of long-term U.S. securities totaled $107.4 billion while U.S. purchases of foreign securities totaled $39.1 billion.

  • YoY Consumer prices in the Euro zone were up 1.9% in December.

  • U.K.’s unemployment rate out at 5.5%.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Iran, Iraq to jointly establish shipping company
Tehran, Jan 16, IRNA Iran-Iraq-Shipping Managing Director of Val fajr shipping company Lotfollah Saeedi said on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iraq signed a letter of understanding on establishing a joint shipping company.

Quick Overview

  • The New York Federal Reserve's regional index of manufacturing dropped from 22.19 to 9.13 in January, weaker than expected.

  • The International Coffee Organization expects 07_08 global coffee production at 110.5 million bags and demand at 119 million bags.
    Green Coffee Association said U.S. coffee stocks were at 4.987 million bags, down 59,646 bags in December.

  • YoY Consumer prices in the U.K. were up 3.0%.

  • The yen fell to a new low against the dollar after a report suggested the Bank of Japan was unlikely to raise rates at its meeting.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Nomads Beware!
A make-or-break speech by a beleagured American president is usually preceded by a demonstration of American might somewhere on the planet and the run-up to Bush’s address Wednesday night was no exception. The AC-130 U.S. gunship that massacred a convoy of fleeing Islamists on Somalia’s southwestern border, apparently along with dozens of nomads, their families and livestock, was deployed on its mission on Sunday, to make timely newspaper headlines indicative of Bush’s determination to strike at terror wherever it may lurk. Moral to nomads: when the US president schedules a speech, don’t herd, don’t go to wedding parties, head for the nearest cave.
Less Than Zero
All this, again, adds up to nothing. But if we look at the President's proposal more carefully, we find it actually amounts to less than zero. It hints at actions that may turn a mere debacle into disaster on a truly historic scale.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Bush's tough tactics are a 'declaration of war' on Iran
But if the US is preparing to confront Iran militarily - which some top military officials in Israel are reportedly recommending - the Bush administration will find itself involved in conflicts on four fronts.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Retail sales rose 0.9% in December, more than expected.

  • India's Nov industrial production rose 14.4% YoY.

  • Chinese GDP rose to 10.5% from 10.4% QoQ.

  • The USDA's 2006-2007 U.S. ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn was reduced from 935 to 752 million bushels. (stocks/usage 6%, lowest since 1975)
    Soybeans were increased from 565 to 575 million bushels. (stocks/usage 19%)
    Wheat was increased from 438 to 472 million bushels.
    Sugar was reduced from 1.981 to 1.801 million tons.
    Cotton was increased from 6.30 to 7.10 million bales.

  • The USDA's 2006-2007 world ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn was reduced from 93 to 86 million tons. (stocks/usage 11.9%)
    Soybeans increased to 56 million tons. (stocks/usage 25%)
    Wheat was increased from 121 to 122 million tons.
    Cotton was increased slightly to 52 million tons.

  • The USDA estimate for the 2006-2007 Florida orange crop is 140 million boxes (unchanged) and a projected juice yield of 1.58 million gallons a box .

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Jobless claims were down 26,000 to 299,000.

  • The DoE said that supplies of natural gas were down 49 billion cubic feet to 3.025 trillion cubic feet

  • The Bank of England today surprised the market with a 25 bp hike in the base rate to 5.25%. The market consensus was for an unchanged policy.

  • Australia’s unemployment rate stayed at 4.6%.

  • Germany's real GDP was up 2.5% in 2006.

  • Japan's index of leading indicators dropped from 54.5% to 20.0% in November, indicative of economic slowing ahead.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

War With Syria and Iran = Peace With Iraq?
Speaking about the two countries tonight, the president said that the United States wiill "seek out and destroy" those who are providing material support to our enemies.
It is only a threat. But it is a far cry from the diplomatic proposals floated just last month for making Syria and Iran part of the solution. Can the president really be saying that we are willing to risk war with the two countries, and even attack elements inside them, to achieve peace in Iraq?

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in November to its smallest level since July 2005. Exports were up 0.9% in November to $124.8 billion while imports were up 0.3% at $183.0 billion,

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil supplies were down 5.0 million barrels at 314.7 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline were up 3.8 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil supplies were up 2.1 million barrels.

  • The National Climatic Data Center said 2006 was the warmest year on record in the U.S. and the sixth warmest worldwide.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bush Lifts Alaska Oil, Gas Drilling Ban
There are believed to be 200 million barrels of oil and 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas beneath the bay's federal waters three miles to 200 miles from shore. The Interior Department last year estimated energy development could produce up to 11,500 jobs and new tax revenue for the state.
But the area also is known for its fisheries with huge annual catches of salmon, cod, red king crab, halibut and huge schools of herring.

Quick Overview

  • Australian retail sails rose 0.2% in November, less than expected

  • Bush lifted a ban Tuesday on oil and gas drilling in Alaska's Bristol Bay, an area known for its endangered whales and the world's largest run of sockeye salmon.

  • The ABC News and Washington Post Consumer Comfort Index fell to -5 in the week ending Jan. 7 from -3 the previous week.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy expects world petroleum demand to increase 1.5 million barrels a day in 2007 to 86.3 million barrels a day. They expect world production to increase 1.1 million barrels a day to 85.8 million barrels a day.

  • The Chicago Board of Trade announced plans on Tuesday to launch derivatives based on the $5,000bn US commercial property market.

  • For generations Vito Chiesa's family has grown peaches for canning, but the Central California farmer plans to bulldoze his entire orchard if he can't get enough workers to handpick the fruit.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Japanese Finance Minister Koji Omi said domestic consumption should rise in Japan in a tight labor market and that he believes Japan is no longer experiencing deflation.

  • There is talk that OPEC may be planning to carry out another cut in production levels after last week's drop in the price of crude .

  • The Cotton Advisory Council predicted that world ending stocks of cotton will be down 4 million bales in 2007-2008 to 48 million bales.

  • Germany's cocoa grind totaled 322,232 tons in 06, up 30% YoY.
U.S. consumer credit rises $12.33 bln in November
Consumer credit rose by a 6.23 percent annual rate to $2.390 trillion in November

Friday, January 05, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Payrolls rose jumped by 167,000 in December and the unemployment rate held at 4.5%, the Labor Department said Friday.

  • November air cargo shipments jumped 2.9% YoY.

  • China's central bank raised the bank reserve requirement to 9.5% from 9.0% in another attempt to slow bank lending.

  • The unemployment rate in the Euro area improved from 7.7% to 7.6% in November, the lowest in 13 years.

  • A new US Senate Bill to boost ethanol was introduced Thursday. The bill calls for the oil industry to blend 60 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel annually in motor vehicle fuel by 2030. This would be a huge increase from current Energy Policy Act of 2005 that requires 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel to be blended in the fuel supply by 2012.

  • The DoE said that underground supplies of natural gas were down 47 billion cubic feet to 3.074 trillion cubic feet.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. factory orders rose 0.9% in November. Excluding transportation, orders were down 0.5%.

  • The Institute of Supply Management's U.S. index of services dropped from 58.9 to 57.1

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil supplies were down 1.3 million barrels to 319.7 million barrels.
    Supplies of unleaded gasoline were up 5.6 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were up 1.0 million barrels.
    The U.S. produced 333,000 barrels of ethanol per day in October. The U.S. is expected to produce 4.9 billion gallons of ethanol in 2006, up 25% YoY

  • Services Index in the U.K. increased from 59.8 to 60.6, the highest reading in almost ten years.
Economist Warns on Ethanol Corn Demand
According to the Earth Policy Institute's data, U.S. ethanol distilleries now online or in the works will pull an estimated 139 million tons -- or 5.5 billion bushels -- of corn from the 2008 corn harvest to produce fuel for automobiles.
That's based on 116 existing ethanol plants, 79 under construction, 11 undergoing expansion and 200 plants in the planning stages expected to be running by corn harvest time in September 2008.

Bush says feds can open mail without warrant
Bush asserted the new authority Dec. 20 after signing legislation that overhauls some postal regulations. He then issued a "signing statement" that declared his right to open mail under emergency conditions, contrary to existing law and contradicting the bill he had just signed, according to experts who have reviewed it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The Institute of Supply Management's index of U.S. manufacturing increased from 49.5 to 51.4 in December, more than expected.

  • U.S. Federal Reserve officials agreed at their December meeting inflation was the main concern, but some felt the "subdued tone" of economic data meant risks to growth had increased, minutes released on Wednesday showed.

  • U.S. Construction spending in November was down 0.2% from October's pace. In the first eleven months of 2006, construction spending was up 5.4% YoY.

  • Germany's unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.6% in December.

  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson supported a White House plan to balance the budget by 2012, saying it could be accomplished with low taxes, strong job and productivity growth and restrained spending.