Monday, April 30, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Personal incomes rose 0.7% in March and consumer spending was up 0.3% -- less than expected.

  • The core personal consumption expenditure price index rose 2.1% YoY.

  • The Chicago purchasing managers' index fell from 61.7 to 52.9 in April, weaker than expected.

  • U.S. Construction spending was at an annual rate of $1.1878 billion in March, up slightly from February's pace. YoY construction spending is down 2.4%.

  • Canada's real GDP was up 0.4% in February and up 2.1% YoY, more than expected.

  • YoY consumer prices in the Euro area rose 1.8% in April.

  • Germany's retail sales fell 0.7% in March, more than expected.

  • China raised the reserve requirement from 10.5% to 11.0%.

  • Mineworkers in Peru went on strike demanding higher pay. (Copper)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

China Shipbuilders, Rivaling U.S. in WWII, to Cut Freight Costs
April 30 (Bloomberg) -- The cost of shipping coal and iron- ore is about to decline as the supply of cargo vessels overwhelms demand.
Japan, China and South Korea will produce so many vessels that shipping costs, now at an all-time high, will fall 40 percent by 2010, according to futures contracts traded privately between banks, transportation companies and hedge funds.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. GDP rose 1.3% in the first quarter, weaker than expected due to the slow housing sector. YoY real U.S. GDP rose 2.8%. The GDP price deflator rose 4.0% YoY.

  • The U.S. employment cost index was up 0.8% in the first quarter and up 3.5% YoY.

  • There is the potential for a downturn in the U.S. economy that could have ripple effects around the world, San Francisco Federal Reserve President Janet Yellen said.

  • YoY Japans consumer prices fell 0.1%.
    YoY Japans retail sales were down 0.7% while household spending was up 0.1%.
    Japans industrial production fell 0.6% in March
    Japans unemployment rate remained at 4.0%.
    The Bank of Japan left interest rate unchanged at 0.50%,

  • Mexico increased its overnight interest rate from 7.00% to 7.25%.

Friday, April 27, 2007

S&P/Case-Shiller: Home Price Declines Show No Signs of Abating
The S&P/Case-Shiller Index, which is one of the best gauges of the housing market out there, hasn’t recorded monthly declines on this level in almost 15 years. Robert Shiller, who’s Chief Economist at MacroMarkets LLC, and one of the leading authorities on real estate in the country, said that month-to-month declines are also persisting, with 17 out of the 20 cities down from their levels in January. If the chart below was a roller coaster, riders would now be holding on for dear life.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Jobless claims were down 20,000 last week to 321,000, the lowest in a month.

  • The U.S. DOE said that underground supplies of natural gas were up 18 billion cubic at 1.564 trillion cubic feet.

  • The International Grain Council estimates world wheat production for the 2007/2008 season at 623 million tonnes, down 1 million from last month because of freeze damage in the US. World ending stocks are anticipated to rise to 117 million tonnes which would be up 2 million from this year but still down from 134 million tonnes last year.

  • The yen traded near a record low against the Euro before a Japanese government report forecast to show consumer prices fell in March for a second straight month.
Are GM Crops Killing Bees?

..But that could soon change. Since last November, the US has seen a decline in bee populations so dramatic that it eclipses all previous incidences of mass mortality. Beekeepers on the east coast of the United States complain that they have lost more than 70 percent of their stock since late last year, while the west coast has seen a decline of up to 60 percent.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Studies show it's a gold mine at the top
..If you didn't make at least $240 million last year, you didn't make the list.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. durable goods orders rose 3.4% in March.

  • U.S. new home sales were at an annual rate of 858,000 in March up 2.6% MoM, but weaker than expected. For 2007, new home sales are down 23% YoY.

  • GDP in the U.K. was up 0.7% QoQ. YoY GDP was up 2.8%.

  • The U.S. DOE said that:
    Supplies of crude oil rose 2.1 million barrels to 334.5 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline were down 2.8 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were down 2.6 million barrels.
    U.S. refinery capacity was at 87.8%, down from 90.4% the previous week.

  • The International Copper Study Group estimates world copper production exceeded consumption by 40,000 tons in January. World mine production was up 9% YoY, total usage was up 6% YoY.

  • There is concern about dry weather in Australia, China, and Eastern Europe – July wheat closed at a new contract high.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The National Association of Realtors said that U.S. existing home sales were at an annual rate of 6.12 million units in March, down 8.4% from the previous month and weaker than expected. YoY Median home prices were down 0.3% in March.

  • U.S. consumer confidence dropped from 108.2 to 104.0 in April, more than expected.

  • YoY consumer prices in Australia were up 2.4% in the first quarter, down from a 3.3% gain in the previous quarter.

  • The Bank of Canada kept its interest rate unchanged at 4.25%.

  • Canada's composite index of leading indicators was up 0.4% in March.

  • Industrial new orders in the Euro area were down 0.7% MoM, and up 4.7% YoY.

  • India's central bank kept its interest rate unchanged.

  • Canadian farmers intend to plant:
    3.5 million acres of corn this year, up 26% YoY.
    17.1 million acres of spring wheat, down 16% YoY.
    14.8 million acres of canola, up 12% YOY.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Yen Climbs After Standard & Poor's Raises Japan's Debt Rating
``This is a sign the economy has returned to normal, following a long period when people lost confidence in Japan,'' said Masanobu Ishikawa, general manager of foreign exchange at Tokyo Forex & Ueda Harlow Ltd. ``As a trading factor, this may have a positive impact on the yen in the long term.''

Friday, April 20, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.K. Retail sales increased 0.3% MoM and 4.5% YoY.

  • Canadian retail sales rose 0.1% MoM and up 5.2% YoY.

  • The USDA said there were 11.644 million head of cattle on feed on April 1st, down 1.4% YoY. Placements were up 7%, marketing’s were down 6% YoY.

  • The USDA said there were 55.3 million pounds of frozen bellies in storage on March 31st, down 10% YoY. Frozen pork supplies totaled 506 million pounds.

  • The Chocolate Manufacturers Association said the U.S. cocoa grind totaled 97,584 tons in the first quarter of 2007, down 7% YoY.

  • Brazilian increased its estimate of this year's coffee harvest to 32.0 million bags.

  • The USDA said there were 825 million pounds of frozen orange juice concentrate in storage on March 31st, down 18% YoY.
House OKs Bill to Give Investors Say on Executive Pay Bloomberg -- The U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure to give shareholders more say on how companies pay top executives, rejecting amendments by Republicans who said investors already have the power to influence compensation.
The measure, approved 269-134, aims to rein in pay levels House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank and other top Democrats called exorbitant by giving public-company shareholders annual non-binding votes on executive salaries.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The Conference Board's U.S. index of leading indicators was up 0.1%

  • U.S. Jobless claims were down 4,000 last week to 339,000.

  • Japan's index of services, increased 1.0% in February to a new record high, much stronger than expected.

  • China's economy grew at a faster than expected 11.1 % pace, powered by exports that have inflamed trade tensions and increased the risk of overheating.

  • Canada Core CPI YoY at 2.3% as expected.

  • The DOE said that underground supplies of natural gas were down 46 billion cubic feet to 1.546 trillion cubic feet. YoY supplies are down 12%.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Global Commodity Price Boom May Last Decades Longer, RBA Says
(Bloomberg) -- Emerging economies' demand for resources may sustain high commodity prices for several decades, Australia's central bank said.

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were down 1.0 million barrels last week to 332.4 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline were down 2.7 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were down 600,000 barrels.
    In the past four weeks gasoline demand was up 2.5%

Platinum leaders berate fund launch The world's two largest platinum producers have voiced opposition to the planned launch of a platinum exchange traded fund announced last week by Zurich Cantonal Bank of Switzerland.
Trevor Raymond, head of investor relations at AngloPlat, said the ETF would put upward pressure on prices and would have a negative impact on jewellery demand.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Foreclosures, default notices hit 10-year high
Homes lost to foreclosures in California shot up to 11,033 in the first quarter, an 81.5 percent climb from 6,078 in the previous quarter, according to DataQuick Information Systems. Foreclosures rocketed 802.1 percent from 1,223 in the first quarter last year but remained below the 1996 peak of 15,418.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. consumer prices rose 0.6% in March and up 2.8% YoY. Excluding food and energy costs, prices rose 0.1% in March and up 2.5% YoY

  • U.S. housing starts were at an annual rate of 1.518 million units up 0.8% from February's, but down 23% YoY. So far in 2007, housing starts are down 30% YoY.

  • U.S. banking regulators urged lenders on Tuesday to help distressed borrowers unable to make mortgage payments and offered possible incentives to move homeowners to lower-cost loans.

  • U.S. industrial production was down 0.2% in March and up 2.3% YoY, weaker than expected.

  • U.K.'s consumer price was up 3.1% YoY, the most in a decade.

  • Canada's factory shipments were down 0.2% MoM.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Retail sales rose 0.7% in March, the biggest jump in three months, the Commerce Department said.

  • The U.S. Treasury Department said that in February, foreign investors bought $77.9 billion of long-term U.S. securities while U.S. investors bought $19.8 billion of foreign securities.

  • The New York Federal Reserve's regional index of manufacturing increased from 1.85 to 3.80 in April.

  • New vehicle sales in Canada were down 3.7% in February.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Federal Reserve policymakers were unanimous in the view last month that inflation, not economic weakness, was their major worry.

  • Machinery orders in Japan were down 5.2% in February, more than expected.

  • The International Monetary Fund estimates 2007 real GDP growth:
  • US 2.2%.
  • Canada 2.4%
  • U.K 2.9%
  • Euro Area 2.3%
  • Japan 2.3%

  • The U.S. DOE said:
    Supplies of crude oil were up 700,000 barrels to 333.4 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline were down 5.5 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil supplies were down 1.2 million barrels.
    Gasoline demand was up 2.5% YoY, and distillate demand was down 1.3% YoY

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Gas guzzler penalty fuels debate
California drivers who buy new Hummers, Ford Expeditions and other big vehicles that emit high levels of greenhouse gases would pay a fee of up to $2,500.
And drivers who buy more fuel-efficient cars — like the Toyota Prius or Ford Focus — would receive rebates of up to $2,500, straight from the gas-guzzlers' pockets.

Quick Overview

  • The Bank of Japan kept the interest rate unchanged at 0.50%.

  • Nickel prices broke through the $50,000 mark for the first time on Tuesday, leading a surge in base metals prices as traders returned to their desks following the Easter break.

  • The USDA's 2006-2007 U.S. ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn was increased from 752 to 877 million bushels.
    Soybeans were increased from 595 to 615 million bushels.
    Wheat was reduced from 472 to 422 million bushels.
    Sugar was increased from 1.686 to 1.743 million tons.
    Cotton was increased from 8.80 to 9.20 million bales.

  • The USDA's 2006-2007 world ending stocks estimate for:
    Corn was increased from 88 to 92 million tons.
    Soybeans were increased from 57 to 61 million tons.
    Wheat was kept at 121 million tons.
    Cotton was increased from 52.4 to 52.6 million bales.

  • The estimated soybean production in Argentina was increased from 44.0 to 45.5 million tons.

  • The estimate for Brazil was increased from 57.0 to 58.8 million tons.

  • Brazil expects the 2007-2008 coffee crop at 37.5 million (60-kg) bags, more than expected.

  • The USDA reduced its estimate of the Florida orange crop from 132 to 131 million boxes, but increased the juice yield from 1.62 to 1.65 gallons a box.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Brazil's main stock index surged past 47,000 points on Monday, setting yet another record, and the nation's currency neared two per dollar.

  • Berkshire Hathaway, has bought a 10.9% stake in Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., becoming the railroad’s largest shareholder.

  • Gasoline pump prices jumped 18 cents in the past two weeks to $2.79 a gallon, the highest since September, analyst Trilby Lundberg said in her latest filling station survey released Sunday.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Robert Fisk: The true story of free speech in America
Sami al-Arian is 49 but he stayed on hunger strike for 60 days to protest the government outrage committed against him, a burlesque of justice which has, of course, largely failed to rouse the sleeping dogs of American journalism in New York, Washington and Los Angeles.
All praise, then, to the journalist John Sugg from Tampa, Florida, who has been cataloguing al-Arian's little Golgotha for months, along with Alexander Cockburn of Counter Punch.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Conservatives for the Constitution
Rejecting the suggestion that conservatives must remain silent because Bush is supposedly one of their own, Viguerie says, "Conservatives must not fail to oppose the massive expansion of presidential powers out of fear they will be aid and comfort to the Left. Concern about one branch of government acquiring excessive power should not be the providence of liberals, moderates, or conservatives. It must be the concern of all Americans who value liberty…"

Representatives okay Real ID ban Supporters of the ban said New Hampshire needs to send a clear statement that the federal government strayed too far.
"It is probably the worst piece of blackmail to come out of the federal government. This is pure, unadulterated blackmail," said. Rep. Sherman Packard, a Republican from Londonderry.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Quick Overview

  • U.S. Unemployment rate improved from 4.5% to 4.4% in March with a net gain of 180,000 jobs, better than expected.

  • U.S. Average hourly earnings were up 0.3% in March and up 4.0% YoY.
Climate change
The resulting document predicts the same sorts of consequences as its predecessor did in 2001, but with much greater confidence and precision, says Camille Parmesan, a professor at the University of Texas who vetted part of it. By her count, the chapter on current impacts alone rests on a review of over 1,000 academic studies, most of them already published—compared with about 100 last time around.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Quick Overview

  • China today raised its reserve ratio by 0.5 points to 10.5%, which was the sixth hike in less than a year.

  • The U.S. Labor Department said that jobless claims were up 11,000 last week to 321,000.

  • The unemployment rate in Canada was unchanged at 6.1%.

  • The Bank of England keep the interest rate unchanged at 5.25%.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy said underground supplies of natural gas were up 58 billion cubic feet at 1.569 trillion cubic feet. Supplies are down 7% YoY.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Quick Overview

  • The Institute of Supply Management's index of U.S. services dropped from 54.3 to 52.4 in March.

  • Factory orders rose 1% in February following the biggest drop in six years, the Commerce Department said Wednesday

  • An index of services in the U.K. increased from 57.4 to 57.6 in February, a sign of continued expansion.

  • Eurostat said that retail trade volume in the Euro area was up 1.2% YoY.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said that:
    Supplies of crude oil were up 4.3 million barrels last week at 332.7 million barrels.
    Supplies of gasoline were down 5.0 million barrels
    Supplies of heating oil were down 200,000 barrels.
    YoY gasoline demand was up 1.7% and distillate demand was down 1.9% YoY.

  • GFMS Ltd. said world gold mine production was down 3% in 06, the lowest level in ten years.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The botched US raid that led to the hostage crisis
A failed American attempt to abduct two senior Iranian security officers on an official visit to northern Iraq was the starting pistol for a crisis that 10 weeks later led to Iranians seizing 15 British sailors and Marines.

Quick Overview

  • The National Association of Realtors said U.S. pending home sales increased from 108.5 to 109.3 in February, more than expected.

  • Industrial consumption of silver, used in film, batteries and medical devices, grew 11 percent to a record 409.3 million ounces in 2005, GFMS Ltd. said.

  • Arrivals of cocoa beans from the Ivory Coast's, were around 920,500 metric tons, down by 2.3% between Oct. 1 and March 31.

  • Copper rose to the highest in five months on speculation that mine output may lag behind demand, especially from China.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Quick Overview

  • Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President William Poole said the U.S. central bank's main concern remains inflation and he could be inclined to raise interest rates if price pressures did not ease.

  • New Century Financial Corp. filed for bankruptcy Monday amid a surge in homeowner defaults, the biggest mortgage lender to collapse in the U.S. housing market.

  • The Supreme Court Monday ordered the federal government to take a new look at regulating carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, in a rebuke to the Bush administration’s policy on global warming, the Associated Press reported.

  • The Institute of Supply Management's index of manufacturing dropped from 52.3 to 50.9 in March, slightly weaker than expected.

  • Australia's retail sales were up 0.9% in February, better than expected.

  • Japan's index of business sentiment, dropped 25 in December to 23 in March.

  • Manufacturing index in the U.K. fell from 55.4 to 54.4 in March, more than expected.

  • The USDA' said rain is badly needed in most Florida OJ areas.

  • China announced that they will buy $12.5 billion worth of U.S. goods in May, including $2 billion of soybeans and $500 million of cotton