Monday, February 28, 2011

Quick Overview

  • The ISM index rose to 71.2 from 68.8 last month, the highest level since July 1988.

  • The International Grains Council has lowered its forecast for Philippines rice stocks this year by 20% to a 13-year low of 1.6 million tons or 12% of annual consumption.

  • U.S. Pending home resales fell 2.8 % after a revised 3.2 % decrease the prior month.

  • U.S personal income rose 1.0% in Jan. -- marking the biggest increase in a year and a half.

  • U.S. consumer spending rose 0.2%.

  • Japan's industrial production in January climbed 2.4 percent from the previous month, marking the third straight month of increase.

  • Australian business chiefs predicted a patchy economic growth outlook for 2011, with trade exposed industries particularly hit by the strength of the Australian dollar.

  • Euro Dollar interest rates are approaching ZERO (100=0). Wondering where the next “big” move will be. UP or DOWN?

  • The US Monetary Base is in new high ground.

  • Silver lending rate is still below zero.

  • Canada’s GDP rose 3.3% following an upwardly revised 1.8% gain in the previous three months. The Bank of Canada could raise rates sooner rather than later.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Quick Overview

  • Warren Buffett: "We are not natively smarter than we were when our country was founded nor do we work harder. But look around you and see a world beyond the dreams of any colonial citizen. Now, as in 1776, 1861, 1932 and 1941, America's best days lie ahead."

  • Existing home sales rose for the third month in a row in January and they now exceed year ago levels. Sales rose by 2.7% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.36 million homes, which is also up 5.3% from year-ago levels.

  • (FT) Northern Rock is poised to launch a range of mortgages offering up to 90 per cent of a property’s value, marking the nationalized bank’s return to riskier lending three years after its collapse and government bail-out.

  • US durable goods orders rose 2.7% in January

  • US first time claims for unemployment benefits fell 22,000 to 391,000 in the week ending February 19

  • (FT) The Republican plan to slash government spending by $61bn in 2011 could reduce US economic growth by 1.5 to 2 percentage points in the second and third quarters of the year, a Goldman Sachs economist has warned.

  • (Bloomberg) -- Japan’s public pension fund, the world’s largest, said it may become a net seller of bonds to cover payments in the world’s most rapidly aging society.

  • Faced with stiff opposition from Republicans in Congress the EPA will trim costs to control toxic air pollution by 50%. Some half-dozen bills have been introduced this year to block agency regulation.

  • A new Reuters report that looked at maternity leave in 190 countries show 178 guarantee paid leave for new mothers, nine have undefined policies and only three - just three - offer "no legal guarantee of paid maternity leave," -- One of those three is the United States.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I’m on strike this week -- next update Sunday

Quick Overview

  • Moody's raises flag on Japan debt -- says outlook now negative.

  • The S&P, Case-Shiller index of U.S. home values in 20 cities fell 2.4%, the biggest YoY decrease since December 2009.

  • U.S. Feb. consumer confidence 70.4 vs 64.8 in Jan.
Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail? Financial crooks brought down the world's economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them

The mental stumbling block, for most Americans, is that financial crimes don't feel real; you don't see the culprits waving guns in liquor stores or dragging coeds into bushes. But these frauds are worse than common robberies. They're crimes of intellectual choice, made by people who are already rich and who have every conceivable social advantage, acting on a simple, cynical calculation: Let's steal whatever we can, then dare the victims to find the juice to reclaim their money through a captive bureaucracy. They're attacking the very definition of property — which, after all, depends in part on a legal system that defends everyone's claims of ownership equally. When that definition becomes tenuous or conditional — when the state simply gives up on the notion of justice — this whole American Dream thing recedes even further from reality.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Quick Overview

  • Palestinians staged an angry protest Sunday against the United States' veto Friday of a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel's settlement policy.
  • Unrest in the Mideast is lapping at the shores of oil kingpin Saudi Arabia.
  • At least 2,000 protesters gathered in a square in Morocco's capital on Sunday to demand that King Mohammed give up some of his powers and clamp down on government corruption.
  • The death toll from four days of violence centered on the Libyan city of Benghazi has passed 100.
  • Jittery Chinese authorities wary of any domestic dissent have staged a concerted show of force to squelch a mysterious online call for a "Jasmine Revolution" apparently modeled after pro-democracy demonstrations sweeping the Mideast.

  • Soros tells CNN Obama has lost control of the domestic political agenda, Republicans are in charge of domestic agenda and will push to cut services in blow to economy.
  • Geithner warns that the Republicans pact to slash the budget by $61bn will hit the economy's fragile recovery.

  • China raised the prices of gasoline and diesel by 350 yuan (about 53.2 U.S. dollars) per tonne beginning Sunday.

  • Texas is preparing to give college students and professors the right to carry guns on campus.

  • (Bloomberg) India, the biggest sugar user, may permit exports of 500,000 metric tons as output tops demand for the first time in three years.

  • Victory in the Southern Ocean Day for the Whales

    It's official – the Japanese whaling fleet has called it quits in the Southern Ocean, at least for this season. And if they return next season, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will be ready to resume their efforts to obstruct and disable illegal Japanese whaling operations. Sea Shepherd estimates that over 900 whales have been saved this year !!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Quick Overview

  • China raised reserve requirements for the second time this year to counter inflation and curb property-price gains.

  • Silver futures climb to their highest level in about 31 years.

  • Mexico buys another 6.1 mln bu US corn.

  • Sugar may be in surplus next year Kingsman says

  • Cotton dropped on expectations that next season’s harvest may run ahead of demand.

  • (FT)Lisbon insists it has no need of a financial rescue, denying reports that the country is under pressure from other Eurozone governments to turn to the EU for assistance.

  • Abbott (ABT) increased the dividend 9%.

  • General Motors (GM) said it wanted to explore the potential to export vehicles manufactured in China, with South America and South Korea as initial target markets.

  • The Chinese car market has experienced an explosion in demand with a record 13.7 million vehicles sold last year.

  • Foreign investment in Russia fell 50% in 2010

  • Farmland values in U.S. Midwest rose 12% in 2010

  • The single most important decision in evaluating a business is pricing power,” Buffett told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in an interview released by the panel last week. “If you’ve got the power to raise prices without losing business to a competitor, you’ve got a very good business. And if you have to have a prayer session before raising the price by 10 percent, then you’ve got a terrible business.”

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quick Overview

  • The U.S first time claims for unemployment benefits rose by 25,000 to 410,000 -- a bit worse than expectations.

  • The manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region reached its highest level in seven years last month.

  • The U.S CPI rose a 0.4% in January and 1.6% Yoy. Food is up 1.8% YoY, energy is up 7.3%. Gasoline is up 13.4% YoY. Excluding food and energy the index was 1.0% YoY.

  • China is contemplating the possibility of cutting import taxes to increase imports so that they can increase the supplies of food commodities.

  • YoY foreign direct investment to China rose 23.4% to $10 billion in January.

  • The cotton market locked the 700 point limit today -- reaching a record high of $2.04.

  • Israel's economy rose 7.8% in Q4 of 2010

  • Russia's unemployment rose to 7.6 % in January

  • Eurozone construction fell 1.8% in December 2010

  • Brazil's GDP rose 7.8% in 2010.

  • The FT reports that mints are running out of silver and have started to ration coins. (check the silver lending rate on that page )

  • Hanjin Shipping, the world's ninth biggest container shipper, predicted global container shipments would grow up to 8% this year.

  • U.S. exports of steelmaking coking coal rose to 55 million tons in 2010, the highest level since 1991.

  • Coal will continue to play an important role as an energy commodity in the coming years, with worldwide demand only likely to peak in 2020, Mr Philip Lowe the European Commission’s director general for energy said.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Quick Overview

  • U.S. wholesale prices rose 0.8% in January. Core PPI, which exclude food and energy, rose 0.5%-- the largest gain since October 2008.

  • US Housing starts rebounded to 596,000 in Jan.

  • (FT) As G20 ministers prepare to discuss inflation, Robert Zoellick, the World Bank president, has said food prices are rising to 'dangerous levels' and have already pushed another 44m people into extreme poverty.

  • China's holdings of US Treasury’s in December totaled $891.6 billion, compared to $895.6 billion in November.

  • (MarketWatch) -- Japan and India on Wednesday signed an agreement to abolish tariffs on about 94% of the goods traded between the two countries within a decade.

  • YoY Deutsche Börse reported its Q4 loss widened to 61.2 million Euros from a loss of 33 million Euros. The German exchange said it would buy NYSE Euronext for about $9.5 billion.

  • U.S. Sen. David Vitter, (R., La.) said “Louisianans are desperate to get back to work, I love fish and wildlife, but my top economic priority is to stop the economic devastation caused to humans by the moratorium." So he’ll block President Barack Obama's nominee to head the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service until the administration issues at least 15 permits for deep-water drilling exploration.

  • (Bloomberg)Drought in wheat-growing regions in China, the world’s largest producer, may persist for a further month and rain may come “too late” to avert damage to crops, pushing prices higher, British Weather Services said.
Print me a Stradivarius   How a new manufacturing technology will change the world

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Quick Overview

  • U.S. consumer sentiment rose to 75.1 from 74.2 in Jan.

  • China’s sugar imports will probably rise to the highest in 16 years after drought and frost in the country’s main growing region curbed domestic production, according to a report from Sucden.

  • (Bloomberg) -- Sugar-cane crushing in Brazil’s main producing region probably will fail to rise in the coming 2011-12 season for the first time since 2000, according to Sucden, the trading arm of Sucres et Denrees SA.

  • (Bloomberg) -- A global sugar shortage will be exacerbated this year as cold weather in China and flooding in Australia cuts harvests, likely fueling a rally in prices from the highest level in 30 years, according to Kingsman SA.

  • (Bloomberg) -- The smallest U.S. beef-cow herd in almost five decades will shrink this year partly because the incentive to expand is waning for a growing number of farmers near retirement age, according to industry researcher Cattlefax.
  • The number of cattle in Australian feedlots fell 3.7% QoQ to 737,429, and down 4.3% YoY. Australia is the second-biggest global beef exporter by volume after Brazil

  • The UN said the outbreak of foot- and-mouth in Asia is "unlike anything that we´ve seen for at least half a century."

  • Mexico's corn crop has been damaged by a freeze. It has damaged as much as 4.2M tons in Mexico, creating new worries with stocks at their tightest level in 15 years.

  • Rabobank anticipates US soy oil stocks will end 2010-11(September) at 5.4% stock to use ratio, the lowest level in 34 years.

  • PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Google has become a leading purveyor of ads by scammers who prey on struggling homeowners, according to a study released today by Consumer Watchdog, and the nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group has asked the Federal Trade Commission to stop the Internet giant from hosting the ads.

  • The U.S. trade deficit rose to 40.6 billion dollars in December.

  • The Spanish economy shrank by 0.1% in 2010

  • YoY Japan's GDP fell 1.1% in October-December -- not as bad as feared.

  • Snowfalls in China’s major wheat growing regions failed to ease a drought, a government agency said.

  • (Bloomberg) -- China reported a smaller-than- forecast trade surplus of about $6.5 billion in January as a rebounding economy and rising commodity costs helped drive a 51 percent gain in imports.

  • China imported 364,240 metric tons of copper, copper alloy and semifinished products in January, an increase of 5.7% MoM and a rise of 25% YoY.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

(FT) Long view: History supports bond yield fears
When worried about the short-term future, look to the long-term past for guidance

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Quick Overview

  • Growth in Macau and a bounce in Las Vegas helped Wynn Resorts push its bottom line back into the black in Q4.

  • Kraft Q4 income fell 24% YoY.

  • The U.S. government ran a budget deficit of $50 billion in January.

  • EBay expects the revenue from PayPal to double in the next two years.

  • Bank of England keeps interest rate unchanged at record-low 0.5 %.

  • Japan's wholesale prices rose 1.6% YoY Jan.

  • (FT) Some of the rules on newly policed swaps markets will be introduced after the July deadline, says the head of the CFTC, the main derivatives regulator.

  • Sovereign debt fears returned to the Eurozone -- ECB is forced to buy Portuguese bonds.

  • (FT) Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, has thrown his weight behind the proposed merger of Deutsche Börse and NYSE Euronext, calling the deal "very good for New York". (The CME is worried)(Ice broke out)

  • (Spiegel) The Swiss vote in a referendum this Sunday on a measure to collect military-issue weapons. The aim is to store guns in public arsenals, rather than at home -- and cut down on domestic violence But it could end a tradition of gun ownership associated with Swiss independence and the legend of William Tell.

  • Korea kept the seven-day repurchase rate at 2.75%

  • (Bloomberg) -- Nokia Oyj, the world’s biggest maker of mobile phones, said it’s forming a software partnership with Microsoft Corp., a bet that together the two companies can better challenge Google Inc. and Apple Inc.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered its projection for the U.S. corn end of year supplies 70 million bushels to 675 million = BULLISH 18.2-day supply.
  • The USDA estimated world corn ending stocks at 122.51 million metric tons, down from 127 million reported in January = a 37-year low
  • USDA projected 2010-11 soybean ending stocks of 140 million bushels, unchanged from the January estimate.

  • USDA U.S. Carryout
  • Soybeans 0.140
  • Corn 0.675
  • Wheat 0.818
  • Cotton 1.90
  • Rice 52.8

  • USDA World Carryover
  • Wheat 177.8
  • Corn 122.5   = 54.3-day supply, tightest in the last 37 years
  • Soybeans 58.2
  • Cotton 42.8
  • Rice 93.9

  • The USDA cut by 1% to 8.70m tonnes its forecast for the US orange crop.  Juce yield was cut 2% to 1.57 gallons per box

  • Coke said it earned $5.77 billion, or $2.46 a share, up from $1.54 billion, or 66 cents a share, in the same quarter of 2009.

  • Corporate insiders continue to sell  more of their companies' shares than they purchase.

  • Disney said it earned $1.33 billion, or 68 cents a share, in the period ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of $844 million, or 44 cents, in the same quarter a year earlier.

  • (Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Boerse AG is in advanced talks to buy NYSE Euronext

  • (Blomberg) -- At least two members of the Federal Open Market Committee may vote against extending a stimulus program if the pace of U.S. economic growth climbs, according to Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Anthony Crescenzi.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Quick Overview

  • The UN said that China's wheat crop faces a "critical situation" if a drought across most of its range does not break.
  • (Dow Jones)--Wheat futures on China's Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange rose sharply Wednesday, climbing 5.4% due to worries that worsening drought conditions could cut into the country's grain output this year.

  • The Federal Reserve should seriously consider pulling back on its $600 billion stimulus program given stronger growth and a brighter jobs picture, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker said on Tuesday.

  • Euro zone’s economy grew by 0.3 % in Q3

  • China raised rates to 6.06% from 5.81% on the last day of the Chinese New Year holiday to try to temper inflation. The one-year deposit rate was raised to 3 % -- still 2% less than the CPI.

  • McDonald’s global sales rose 5.3% in January

  • Elwynn Taylor: Dr. Wolter gives La Nina a 50%+ chance of lasting through 2011, for now the likely US corn yield stands at 155BPA, next update is 5 March.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Quick Overview

  • Indonesia's economic expansion accelerated in the October-December period to 6.9% on year from 5.8% in the previous three months.

  • (Bloomberg) -- Indonesia, the third-biggest rice importer in Asia, is seeking to “strengthen” its stockpiles to protect the poor against rising costs, according to Bayu Krisnamurthi, Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

  • Celeres estimates Brazils 2010-11 soy crop at 69.8 MT.

  • Canada estimates oat stocks at 2.1 million tons as of Dec. 31, down 31% YoY.

  • U.S. consumer borrowing rose in December by $6.1 billion to $2.41 trillion.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Quick Overview

  • The US Grains Council expects China to import 3 to 9 million metric tons of corn (118 to 354 million bushels) in the current year.

  • U.S. Unemployment declined to 9% in January from December’s 9.4%

  • Brazil's industrial output rose 10.5% in 2010.

  • The IMF fears rising unemployment around world: The IMF's Strauss-Kahn said some 30 million jobs were lost during the financial crisis, but it was a small figure compared with the 400 million jobs the world has to provide to young people.

  • YoY Japan's monetary base rose 5.5 %.

  • Indonesia raised rates by 25 basis points.

  • (WSJ) Hackers have penetrated the computer network of the company that runs the Nasdaq Stock Market numerous times over the past year.

  • Bush has had to call off a trip to Switzerland next weekend because of the threat of his arrest.
Einstein was right - honey bee collapse threatens global food security
Apian atrophy is a more immediate threat than global warming, and can be solved, yet has barely risen onto the policy radar screen. This is surely a misjudgment.
Einstein was not always wrong.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Quick Overview

  • Paper money is made of cotton -- "intrinsic" value anyone?

  • The DOE said:
  • Supplies of U.S. crude rose by 2.6 million barrels last week
  • Supplies of gasoline rose by 6.2 million barrels, due in part to reduced travel resulting from winter weather.
  • Supplies off distillates, which include heating oil and diesel, fell by 1.6 million barrels, a larger than anticipated drop.

  • Top Wall Street firms are urging the U.S. Treasury to create an ultra-long bond with a maturity of between 40 to 100 years

  • Treasury officials said that the government may not hit its $14.3 trillion debt limit until the end of May.

  • (Spiegel) The terror attack on Moscow's main airport last week has fuelled the flames of xenophobia in Russia. The Kremlin isn't intervening to halt the trend that could cause deep rifts in the country's multiethnic society.

  • Sugar futures rose amid concerns the worst storm to hit Australia in over 80 years would damage  sugar crops.

  • Worldwide mobile data traffic will increase 26-fold during 2010 – 2015 reaching 75 exabytes a year by 2015 due to a projected surge in mobile Internet-enabled devices delivering popular video applications and services, according to the Cisco® Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2010 to 2015.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Quick Overview

  • The ISM factory index rose to 60.8 exceeding the most optimistic forecasts.

  • GM January U.S. sales rose 21.8%
  • Ford sales rose 13.3% rise in January.
  • Chrysler U.S. sales rose 23% in January

  • U.S construction spending fell 2.5% in December.

  • A politician in Germany has been sentenced to pay a fine of 1,500 Euros or spend 50 days in jail because he allegedly called Thilo Sarrazin, the author of an incendiary book about Muslim immigrants, an "ass."

  • New 30-month high for soybeans, corn and rice.
  • New high for copper.
  • New high for sugar (July)

  • Arlan Suderman soybean comments: This year's domestic stocks are estimated to be just 140 million bushels or a 15-day supply; the tightest of the past 40 years.