Monday, April 25, 2011

No update today

Quick Overview

  • (Bloomberg) -- China’s banking regulator set capital targets for the nation’s five biggest lenders above the minimum 11.5 percent ratio amid concern that credit risks may rise, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

  • U.S. new-home sales rebound 11.1% in March

  • China aims to meet more than 85% of its sugar demand though domestic production and keep yearly imports at about 2 million tons, agricultural ministry's Wang said. In the last calendar year, China imported 1.77 million tons of sugar, up 66% YoY.

  • There is no sign yet of rising energy and commodity prices spreading to second-round inflation in the euro zone, but the European Central Bank mustn't be complacent, ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said.

  • The US Congress should consider cutting multibillion-dollar subsidies to oil companies amid rising concern over skyrocketing gas prices, John Boehner said.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Quick Overview

  • China must be vigilant against possible price fluctuations caused by rising costs that the U.S. faces to issuing debt, citing People's Bank of China Research Bureau Director Zhang Jianhua.

  • (Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge erred in dismissing all charges against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007, an appeals court ruled on Friday.

  • The U.S. is the world's largest wheat exporter and its HRW grade in Texas has received barely 25% of the normal rainfall so far this year, while in Oklahoma it is barely 30%. HRW wheat is used for bread-making worldwide
Lessons from the Credit-Anstalt Collapse
"Because we remember the Credit-Anstalt, we will not make that mistake," DeLong says. "We will make different ones."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quick Overview

  • MoM German PPI rose a less than expected 0.4% in March and rose 6.2% YoY.

  • Sweden's central bank Wednesday raised its interest rate to 1.75% from 1.50%. This is the sixth consecutive increase.

  • The International Grains Council estimates grain stocks at a four-year low of 334m tonnes or 18.4% of consumption, down from 23% two seasons ago. Wheat has been paying attention to dry conditions in the US, the EU, Russia and China, and wet weather in northern America and Canada. India is the only top-five wheat producer with no weather problems. The council lowered world corn inventories by 8m tonnes, and expressed concerns about declining supplies of high-protein milling wheat.

  • (Bloomberg) -- Sales of U.S. previously owned homes rose in March as a mounting supply of properties in or near foreclosure lured investors. Purchases increased 3.7 percent to a 5.1 million annual rate, exceeding the 5 million median forecast of economists.

  • Half of federal agencies will be in the cloud within 12 months, according to an InformationWeek Government and InformationWeek Analytics survey.
    The Obama administration’s “cloud first” policy requires agencies to use cloud services where possible for new IT requirements. It’s an alternative to capital investment in systems and software, as agencies look to eliminate 800 data centers over the next four years in accordance with the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative.

  • ENCODE (Encyclopedia Of DNA Elements), a massive database cataloging the human genome’s functional elements, including genes, RNA transcripts, and other products, has been created by an international team of researchers, with principal investigators at Penn State University and HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.
    ENCODE is being made available as an open resource to the scientific community, classrooms, science writers, and the public.

  • The DOE said:
    Crude oil stocks fell 2.3 million barrels
    Gasoline stocks fell 1.6 million
    Distillate stocks fell by 2.5 million barrels.

  • British security researchers have figured out that iPhones keep track of where their owners go.  The data includes the phone's latitude and longitude and is timestamped to the second.
  • (Reuters) - Babies exposed to pesticides before birth may have significantly lower intelligence scores by age 7 than children who were not exposed, three separate studies published on Thursday said.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Quick Overview

  • The Canadian Wheat Board said the start to the season is 10 days to three weeks behind schedule.

  • YoY U.S. housing starts rose 549,000 in March, and up 7.2% MoM. A glut of housing on the market will make further gains difficult.

  • The world's oldest man is celebrating his 114th birthday with a traditional Japanese meal. Jirouemon Kimura began his new year with a breakfast of grilled fish with steamed rice and red beans.

  • Construction output in the euro zone fell 0.7% MoM

  • Japanese consumer confidence fell from 41.2 in February to 38.6 in March

  • Cotton leaf curl virus may play havoc with the cotton crop in Pakistan

  • Mark Welch, grain marketing specialist at Texas A&M predicts Texas will produce about 33M bushels of wheat, roughly one-third its average harvest. China and Western Europe also are dry.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Quick Overview

  • S&P put a “negative” outlook on the U.S. AAA credit rating, citing rising budget deficits and debt. The Dow Jones industrial futures sank 200 points within half an hour of the news.
  • Russia intends to further lighten its U.S. debt holdings and is looking to  buy gold and increase their holdings in currencies such as the Canadian dollar.

  • (Freese-Notis) "When it comes to the weather for the second half of April, what we have in store this year for the Nation's midsection is about as bad as one could imagine for fieldwork. Extended periods of dry weather during that time frame are completely out of the question, and even stringing together as little as two straight days of completely dry weather is going to be a real chore."
  • France,  China and U.S have very dry conditions -- raising wheat concerns.
  • SovEcon, a Russian agriculture research and consulting body, said Russia wouldn't lift its ban on grain exports before July

  • (Bloomberg) China’s farmland shrank by 8.33 million hectares (20.6 million acres) in the past 12 years, Premier Wen Jiabao’s top agriculture adviser Chen Xiwen told reporters March 24

  • (Dow Jones)--China, the world's second-largest corn consumer, will limit corn consumption in non-feed sectors to ensure supply for animal feed mills and to help control prices, corn traders and local media reports said.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Quick Overview

  • Chinas reserve ratios will rise a half point from April 21, the People’s Bank of China said.

  • Greenspan warns of US Debt Crisis and urges end to The Bush tax cuts.
  • ( ABC) Since 1992, the average federal income tax actually paid by the wealthiest 400 U.S. households has fallen from 26% to 17%.

  • Spiking food price is the biggest challenge facing developing countries nowadays, World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick said.

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that the combined stocks of nine edible  oils will fall 25 % to 9.39 million metric tons this year, or about 23 days of demand, the fewest since 1974.
Shortage Threat Drives Texas Schools Hoarding Bullion at HSBC
“If you own a paper contract where they can only deliver you 10 cents on the dollar or less, you should probably convert it to physical,” said Bass, who isn’t related to Fort Worth’s billionaire Bass family. He said holding cash wasn’t a better choice because the rate of inflation exceeds money-market rates by 2.5 percent to 3 percent, eroding the value of cash.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Next Update Sunday -- Skiing
Goldman Sachs Misled Congress After Duping Clients
(Bloomberg)Senator Carl Levin, releasing the findings of a two-year inquiry, said he wants the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission to examine whether Goldman Sachs violated the law by misleading clients who bought the complex securities known as collateralized debt obligations (CDO’s) without knowing the firm was betting they would fall in value.

Quick Overview

  • U.S. retail sales rose 0.4%, falling short of pre-report expectations of 0.5%.

  • Investors were buying more silver than ever, underpinning prices that are already at record highs, says the head of Bombay Bullion Association.

  • Obama vowed to cut $4 trillion in cumulative deficits within 12 years through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.

  • The EU antitrust regulator on Wednesday fined consumer goods giants Procter & Gamble (PG) and Unilever (UL) a total of 315.2 million Euros for fixing prices of washing powder.

  • China is expected to raise interest rates another two times in the second quarter of this year in an effort to counter persistent inflation pressures, a chief government economist said Wednesday.

  • France recorded YoY inflation of 2 % in March, up from 1.7% a month ago.

  • The Japanese earthquake may be having more of an impact on the U.S. economy than previously believed, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book.

  • The U.S. government on Wednesday ordered 16 of the nation's largest mortgage lenders and servicers to reimburse homeowners who were improperly foreclosed upon.

  • The DOE said:
  • Crude oil stocks rose 1.6 million barrels.
  • Gasoline stocks fell by 7.0 million barrels.
  • Distillate stocks fell by 2.7 million barrels

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lessons From a Meltdown But truly long term planning has never been a forte of our species. So the urgency of our energy needs combined with the entrenched interests of big corporations - in this case the nuclear, construction and ancillary industries - has left us with a Faustian pact with only the most dangerous solutions. 
  • (Japanese authorities planned Tuesday to raise their rating of the severity of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis to the highest level on an international scale, equal to that of the 1986 Chernobyl)

Quick Overview

  • (Bloomberg) -- All the soybeans in Iowa won’t be enough to meet the anticipated surge in China’s imports over the next four years as the nation feeds a record pig herd and drives bean prices to an all-time high.

  • Procter & Gamble (PG) raised the quarterly dividend by 9% to 52.5 cents

  • Two of the Fed's most powerful officials said the U.S. central bank should stick to its super-easy monetary policy, arguing inflation is not a threat and unemployment remains too high.
  • The Fed needs to keep an easy monetary policy in place while the government comes to grip with its debts, the IMF said.

  • PIMCO, the world's largest bond fund, has shifted to a short position in U.S. bonds

Friday, April 08, 2011

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. dollar is losing more ground on fears of  shutdown for the U.S. government. The two sides had agreed on everything but a $300 million cut for Planned Parenthood (Abortion) that the House Republican/Tea  want included in a budget resolution.
  • Silver is above $40, Gold at record, crude oil above $111
  • European finance ministers say Portugal will have to implement deeper austerity measures in return for a multi-billion euro bailout, expected to total around $115 billion over three years, while also insisting Spain won’t be sucked into the crisis — although other  aren’t so sure.
  • The USDA Estimates:
  • Wheat ending stocks of 839 million bushels, against trade estimate of 857 million and 843 million last month. World ending stocks rose to 182.8 MT against the 182 MMT estimated and 181.9 MMT in March.
  • USDA pegs texas wheat crop at 64.8 mln bushels, down 49% YoY Corn ending stocks unchanged at 675 million bushels, against trade estimate of 586 million. World ending stocks came in at 122.4 MT against 121 MMT estimated and 123 MMT in March. Brazil's corn crop was estimated at 52 MMT, 2 MMT up from last month. Argentine output unchanged at 22 MMT.
  • Soybeans ending stocks estimate  unchanged  at 140 million bushels, against the average trade estimate of 137 million. World ending stocks estimate at 60.9 MT against 58.9 MMT and 58.3 MMT in March. Brazilian output was raised 2 MMT to 72 MMT. Argentine production was left unchanged at 49.5 MMT, as was China’s at 15.2 MMT.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

No update today

Worst Persons of the Day for April 7, 2011

Quick Overview

  • Republicans are pushing legislation that would dramatically expand offshore drilling before mandating new safety requirements.

  • The ECB raised the benchmark rate by a quarter percentage point to 1.25%.

  • The surge of hot money that has vexed many emerging markets may slow dramatically once the U.S. Federal Reserve begins raising interest rates, the International Monetary Fund said.

  • The U.S. appears to have an off-balance-sheet, unrecorded debt burden of close to 500% of GDP! We are out-Greeking the Greeks -- Bill Gross, PIMCO.

  • U.S. jobless apps fell 10,000 to 382,000.

  • Costco (CSCO) sales rose 13% in March.

  • Disputes over abortion and environmental issues pose late hurdles to a  budget agreement.

  • The expanding dry conditions in the Southern United States are causing pastures to deteriorate and dimming prospects for a wheat crop. According to some experts, sufficient precipitation could salvage the wheat crop. However, others think that it is already too late and that the crop is in too poor a condition for even that prospect.

  • More than 25% of Japan's domestic pork, 18% of its beef and 22% of its poultry production comes from areas affected by the earthquake, tsunami or radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Quick Overview

  • Boehner: No deal yet on avoiding shutdown.

  • Household saving rate at 9.1% in Austria.

  • Australian employment at 4.9%.

  • China has halted approvals for construction of nuclear-power plants in marine areas.

  • Portugal said that it needs to ask for financial aid from the European Union.

  • UK Labour predicts Government cuts introduced today will wipe up to £1,560 a year from the income of families with two children.

  • Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, has been given a date in June for his appeal against extradition to Sweden.

  • (TI) After notching a rare victory by stopping highly radioactive water from flowing into the Pacific today, workers at Japan's flooded nuclear power complex turned to their next task: injecting nitrogen to prevent more hydrogen explosions.

  • Dylan, who will turn 70 in May, played 17 songs ending with "Forever Young" to a nearly packed audience at downtown Beijing's Workers Gymnasium.

  • France  launched the most ambitious engineering project in Western Europe since the Channel tunnel, a scheme to link Paris to the North Sea by a canal as wide as a football pitch.
  • Japan keep its overnight call rate at zero to 0.1%,

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Quick Overview

  • China raised rates to 6.31% from 6.06%.

  • The ISM index decreased to 57.3 from 59.7 in February

  • The Supreme Court opened the door to a new form of state support for religious schools, upholding special tax credits in Arizona for those who give money to church schools.

  • The Fed's Bernanke is watching inflation “extremely closely” for evidence that rising commodity costs are having more than a temporary impact on consumer prices.

  • TEPCO: radioactive seawater 7.5 mln times the legal limit.

  • Global economy is forecast to grow by a solid pace of 4.3 percent this year and 4.5 percent next year, the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics said

  • The U.S. is going to reach the current debt limit of 14.3 trillion U.S. dollars no later than May 16, 2011. A failure to raise the debt limit would bring “severe hardship” for Americans -- Geithner said.
  • The White House has ordered top officials at multiple federal agencies to ensure contingency plans are ready for the partial federal shutdown that could take place if lawmakers don't reach a deal on spending levels by midnight Friday.

  • YoY Commercial activities in Brazil rose 8.5 % in Q1

  • Chile's economy is expected to grow between 5.5% and 6.5% in 2011, Central Bank President Jose de Gregorio said.
  • US corn futures extend gains on supply concerns."Somebody's going to have to give up their usage if we're going to see a supply left here at the end of the summer," says Keith Gehling, marketing specialist at AgriSource  
  • Arlan Suderman: The US Grains Council just concluded a tour of China that revealed a greater than expected need for corn. It says that China's corn stocks are probably 390 to 472 million bushels smaller than previously reported. As a result, it believes that China will import another 80 to 120 million bushels of corn ahead of this year's harvest. Sources within China told the Council that they would like to import 200 to 275 million bushels, but realizes that global stocks are simply too tight.
  • Global ocean container traffic reached an all-time high of 560 million 20-foot equivalent units in 2010, driven by surging volume at Chinese ports, according to Alphaliner.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Quick Overview

  • Chinese buyers stopped new orders of scrap steel from Japan and blocked some existing cargoes because of concern over radiation from a crippled nuclear plant, researcher said.

  • As part of a plan to revamp the state's Medicaid program, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced that she is proposing fees for adults who lead unhealthy lives.

  • If given the choice between eating a hot dog or enjoying some rotisserie chicken, consider the hot dog. That’s because hot dogs, as well as pepperoni and deli meats, are relatively free of carcinogenic compounds, according to Kansas State University research. But it’s a not-so-happy ending for bacon and rotisserie chicken--especially chicken skin--because both have higher levels of cancerous material.

  • Japanese big manufacturers expect conditions to worsen significantly in the next three months, responses to a Bank of Japan survey collected after the March 11 earthquake showed

  • The monetary base in Japan surged 16.9% in March from a year earlier, rising for the 31st consecutive month from a 5.6% annual increase booked in the previous month, the BOJ said Monday.

  • The e-mails and names of customers of Citigroup Inc, Walgreens and other large U.S. companies were exposed in a massive and growing data breach, after a computer hacker penetrated online marketer Epsilon.

  • Helen Hodge, Maplecroft's natural hazards analyst, said: "Although Japanese nuclear facilities are particularly exposed, other countries could also face similar risks. South Korea, Taiwan, southern China, India, Pakistan and the west coast of the US have operating or planned nuclear facilities on tsunami-exposed coastlines, while nuclear sites in areas of high or extreme risk of earthquakes can be found in western US, Taiwan, Armenia, Iran and Slovenia."

  • Transocean gave its top executives bonuses for achieving the "best year in safety performance in our company's history" - despite the explosion of its oil rig that killed 11 people and spilled 757 million liters of oil into the Gulf.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Atomic Moron George Monbiot
Monbiot and his cult of technofascism either fail to understand the difference between radiation that is outside the body vs. radiation that is trapped internal to the body, or else they know full well and just don't give a damn.

Dr. Caldicott: "You don't understand internal emitters. I was commissioned to write an article for the New England Journal of Medicine about the dangers of nuclear power. I spent a year researching it. You've bought the propaganda from the nuclear industry. They say it's low-level radiation. That's absolute rubbish. If you inhale a millionth of a gram of plutonium, the surrounding cells receive a very, very high dose. Most die within that area, because it's an alpha emitter. The cells on the periphery remain viable. They mutate, and the regulatory genes are damaged. Years later, that person develops cancer. Now, that's true for radioactive iodine, that goes to the thyroid; cesium-137, that goes to the brain and muscles; strontium-90 goes to bone, causing bone cancer and leukemia."

Friday, April 01, 2011

Quick Overview

  • The U.S. unemployment rate fell to to 8.8% last month, the lowest level since March 2009.

  • (AP) NASDAQ is teaming up with Intercontinental Exchange to make an $11.3 billion counteroffer for the parent of the New York Stock Exchange.

  • Unemployment in the EU 17 fell below 10% in February down to 9.9% — the lowest since December 2009.

  • Japans car makers sold 279,389 cars in Japan last month, down 37% — the biggest YoY drop.

  • In Q1 117 companies in the S&P 500 said they intend to raise or start paying dividends -- a record amount.

  • Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday said China should explore and utilize ocean resources scientifically and quicken the development of the marine economy.

  • YoY Koreas CPI jumped 4.7 % in March after gaining 4.5% in February

  • The Austrian budget deficit in 2010 reached a 15-year record high, accounting for 4.6% of GDP

  • Russian GDP rose an annual 4.5 % after a revised 3.1 in the previous three months
  • Macau's gambling revenue  up 48% YoY.