Monday, December 03, 2012

The world's commodity supercycle is far from dead
Evans Pritchard

To be precise, China’s share of total world demand in 2011 was: soya (27pc) cotton (38pc), aluminium (40pc) iron ore (40pc), coal (42pc), zinc (42pc), lead (43pc), copper (43pc), and lean-hogs (50pc).

Sunday, December 02, 2012


  • The world economy is in its best shape in 18 months as China's prospects improve and the U.S. looks likely to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, according to the latest Bloomberg Global Poll of investors.

  • ASIA-EUROPE rates continued in decline last week to US$1,028 per TEU, down 4.7%, or $51 per TEU WoW, representing the lowest point reached since March, according to the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI).

  • PriceWaterhouseCoopers warns that even if the current rate of global decarbonisation were to double, we would still be on course for six degrees of warming by the end of the century. Confining the rise to two degrees requires a sixfold reduction in carbon intensity: far beyond the scope of current policies.

  • U.S. house prices rose 4.4 percent in the 12 months through September.
  • The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 5.2% points to 104.8 in October. Excluding a few months when the index spiked because of a homebuyer tax credit, that is the highest level since March 2007.

  • The Conference Board’s confidence index climbed to 73.7, the highest since February 2008.

  • Buffett said that among the 400 with the highest incomes in the U.S. in 2009, the average income was about $200 million, and that six people in that group paid “nothing at all.” “They were in Romney’s 47 percent,” Buffett said.

  • Newsweek: The U.S. spends 2.4% of its economy on infrastructure, Europe spends 5%, China 9%.

  • Last Monday's winter wheat condition report downgraded the crop condition index to a record low of 304.

  • Economist: The average time that people hold a stock on the NYSE has tumbled from eight years in 1960 to four month in 2010.

  • Disney boosts annual dividend by 25% to $0.75.

  • Retailer Costco said it would pay a special dividend totaling roughly $3 billion or $7 per share.

  • World Meteorological Organization reports on record Arctic Sea ice melt, extreme temperatures

  • Copper demand will outpace supply by 316,000 metric tons in the first six months next year, more than all copper in London Metal Exchange warehouses, before a surplus emerges in the second half, Barclays Plc estimates

  • (MJ) Susan Rice, potential Sec. of State pick, may have a major financial stake in the Keystone Pipeline. (AP)

  • Israel OKs construction of 3,000 West Bank units after UN recognition for a Palestinian state.

  • India's Q3 GDP growth at 5.3 % YoY.

  • Brazil's GDP grew 0.9% in Q3 compared with the same period last year.

  • Chinas PMI rose to 50.6 in November from 50.2 in October, signaling slightly faster growth.

  • China's grain output rose 3.2% YoY to hit 589.57 million tonnes in 2012, marking the ninth consecutive year of growth, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed Friday. The corn output amounted to 208.12 million tonnes, up 8 % YoY, while that of rice and wheat gained 1.6% and 2.7%, respectively, to 204.29 million tonnes and 120.58 million tonnes, according to the NBS' online statement. These numbers show that corn has replaced wheat as China's largest grain variety, the statement said.
  • China will strive to foster 100 agricultural companies with annual sales exceeding 10 billion yuan (1.59 billion U.S. dollars) in the next three to five years, a senior agricultural official said. Acquisitions and mergers will be encouraged in the hope that the resulting agricultural conglomerates can act as a potent force in the country's agricultural modernization, while calling for more favorable fiscal and tax policies to support the development of big farming firms.

Saturday, November 03, 2012


(Pritchard) Green shoots are sprouting across much of the Far East as stimulus begins to feed through, greatly reducing the risk of a deep global slump next year

The U.S. unemployment rate rose a notch to 7.9% in October, but employers picked up hiring and work force continued to expand, reported the Labor Department on Friday.

Starbucks (Sbux) the coffee chain raised its quarterly dividend 24%

The eurozone will take at least another five years to recover from the crippling debt crisis that has hampered even Europe's most powerful economy, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

QT Weather: As East floods. C Plains turning into a desert.

(CNN)The German power grid has outages at an average rate of 21 minutes per year. The winds may howl. The trees may fall. But in Germany, the lights stay on. There's no Teutonic engineering magic to this impressive record. It's achieved by a very simple decision: Germany buries almost all of its low-voltage and medium-voltage power lines, the lines that serve individual homes and apartments. Americans could do the same. They have chosen not to.

US economic growth accelerated to an annualized pace of 2% in Q3

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment rose to 82.6 from 78.3 in September. It was at its highest level since September 2007.

Euro zone’s economic confidence in October as reflected by the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) hit the lowest level since September 2009 at 84.5 points.

The U.S. pending-home-sales index rose to 99.5 from 99.2 in August, the National Association of Realtors said. This is still below the 101.9 level reached in July. Economists were looking for a bigger rebound.

Six Italian scientists have been jailed for failing to predict the L'Aquila earthquake which killed 309 people in 2009. The scientists were found guilty of multiple counts of manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison.
A new ordinance outlaws eating and drinking at historic sites in Rome, punishable by fines of up to $650. China is likely to import 57.5 million MT of soybeans in 2012.

Chinas soybean production is expected to decline 11.6%.

Japan's exports fell 10.3% in September from a year earlier, the biggest drop since the tsunami disaster in March last year, and the fourth consecutive month of decline.

Sara Lee’s IT program manager Michael Holt said the Windows Phone platform offered a "stronger" enterprise solution compared to Blackberry, iPhone and Android handsets -- and announced plans to roll out Nokia (NOK) Lumia 800 smartphones running Windows Phone OS to its workforce.

The Des Moines Register reported that 80 acres of farmland in Sioux County Iowa sold for a record $21,900 per acre. The farm reportedly has a routine yield of 200 bushels per acre of corn and 60 bushels per acre of soybeans Thursday's sale exceeds the old Iowa land sale record of last year at $20,000 per acre. (Looks like some iffy $200,000 per year less expenses/taxes - market/weather risk?)

The International Grain Council has lowered the world corn production to 830 MMT from their last estimate of 833 MMT. The world corn harvest last year was 876 MMT.

Manhattan U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara contends that Countrywide and Bank of America "cast aside underwriters, eliminated quality controls, incentivized unqualified personnel to cut corners and concealed the resulting defects" when they peddled the loans to Fannie and Freddie.

Austrian unemployment rate rose to 6.7% in October, a sharp increase from 6.1 percent in September.

For the 27-nation EU, the jobless rate stood at 10.6% in September, unchanged from last month. It was 9.8 % a year ago.

The British economy is predicted to shrink 0.1% in 2012.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


  • The Italian Supreme Court has ruled there is a causal link between mobile phone use and brain tumors in a landmark case. The ruling has set a legal precedent that could potentially trigger a deluge of lawsuits.
  • Worldwide Smartphone’s in use top 1 bln (FT)

  • Kiev’s move to halt wheat exports from November 15 is the first by a leading food exporting country this year and raises spectre of 2007-08 food crisis.
  • (Reuters) - The drought that ravaged the United States this year does not appear to be abating and may spread through the winter, government forecasters said on Thursday.

  • U.S. home construction rose 15% in September to an annual rate of 872,000
  • U.S. existing home sales fell 1.7% in September

  • Hollande again called on his European counterparts to move towards issuing euro bonds via mutualized debt to complement the fiscal pact.

  • Overall foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities reached 5.43 trillion U.S. dollars in August, up from a revised 5.348 trillion dollars in July. It was the eighth consecutive monthly increase.

  • (Bloomberg) U.S. Rich-Poor Gap Widens to most since 1967 as Income Falls. Russia with its oligarchs has greater income equality than the U.S.
  • USA Today: How important is the COLA? From 2001 to 2011, household incomes in the U.S. dropped for every age group except one: those 65 and older. The median income for all U.S. households fell 6.6% when inflation was taken into account, according to census data. But the median income for households headed by someone 65 or older rose 13%. "That's all because of Social Security," Certner said. "Social Security has the COLA, and that's what's keeping seniors above water, as opposed to everybody else who's struggling in this economy."

  • (theguardian) Mitt Romney's current standing in the polls in Massachusetts gives him the dubious honour of being more unpopular in his home state than any presidential candidate in modern history.
A Simple Fix for Farming The results were stunning: The longer rotations produced better yields of both corn and soy, reduced the need for nitrogen fertilizer and herbicides by up to 88 percent, reduced the amounts of toxins in groundwater 200-fold and didn’t reduce profits by a single cent.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


  • U.S. personal consumption rose 0.5% in August, while personal income rose 0.1%.
  • Consumption accounts for about 70% of U.S. overall economic activities.
  • U.S. savings rate, or personal savings as a percentage of disposable personal income, edged down to 3.7 percent from 4.1 percent in July.
  • U.S Consumer sentiment rose to 78.3 -- highest level in 4 months
  • U.S. GDP grew at an annual rate of 1.3%, down from its previous estimate of 1.7%

  • Christophe de Margerie, Totals CEO, says the risk of drilling in the arctic are simply too high.

  • U.S. August new home sales fell 0.3% to 73,000 annual rate.
  • The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities increased 1.2 percent from July 2011, the biggest 12-month advance since August 2010, a report from the group showed today in New York. The median forecast of 23 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 1.1 percent gain.

  • (FARM FUTURES) Russia has suspended the import of Monsanto genetically modified (GMO) corn, due to a study done by a university in France that claims the corn causes cancer.
  • Many scientists and nutritionists are skeptic over the results of the study.

  • Agriculture is the direct driver of roughly 80 percent of tropical deforestation, while logging is the biggest single driver of forest degradation, says a new report funded by the British and Norwegian governments.

  • (Reuters) - Hog producer Prestage Farms Inc and two other livestock companies in North Carolina have signed deals to import 750,000 metric tons (826733.48 tons) of corn from Brazil.

  • Rabobank has revised upwards its projected sugar surplus for 2012/13 from 4.6 mln mt to 5.2 mln mt Reuters -

  • Brazil and the US are working together to promote the use of ethanol in a collaboration that could revolutionize global markets.
  • Brazil to raise ethanol blend to 25% in 2013.

  • Oil World thinks the US bean harvest will not be large enough to meet global demand until to the new South America harvest in early 2013. They say, it is possible in theory, the US will become a major importer of soybeans and soy meal from April 2013.

  • Yum approved an 18% increase in dividends.

  • McDonald's (MCD) increased its quarterly dividend by 10%

  • The Dow transports, as everyone who is paying attention already knows, are seriously lagging the Dow industrials.

  • (Spiegel) Most in Germany agree that former Chancellor Helmut Kohl was a primary advocate of European unity. This week, as the country celebrates the 30th anniversary of his first election to the Chancellery, the father of German reunification urged his fellow conservatives to fight for the common currency he helped introduce.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


  • Chris Rock‏@chrisrockoz Tweets... Mitt Romney: I'm dedicated to the principle that women  gays need regulation, but Wall Street doesn't.

  • The U.S. Fed announced a new round of bond buying and extended the duration of its ultra-low short-term interest rate till mid-2015, in a bid to bolster the country's anemic economic recovery

  • German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that the euro has become more viable following decisions by the European Central Bank's unlimited bond-buying program and German Constitutional Court's nodding to participate in EU's bailout fund.

  • Britain's construction output 10.1% in July

  • U.S. Median household income fell 1.5% YoY

  • An estimated 15% of Americans lived in poverty last year.

  • Michael Cordonniers says, "The early growing season weather in South America is becoming worrisome."Extremely wet in Argentina - Hot dry in Central Brazil"

  • China increased their treasury holdings by 12.4 billion over the last 6 months - Gold holding by 25 billion.

  • Nestle said sales in China will grow about 20% this year because of rising wages and the govt’s policy to boost local consumption.

Sunday, September 09, 2012


  • EU Central Bank chief Mario Draghi on Thursday overrode German concerns and announced a program allowing for unlimited purchases of sovereign bonds from struggling euro-zone member states.

  • “We are looking at a mega-trend of increasing consumption of meat, milk, eggs,” Christopher Langholz, president of Cargill Animal Protein China, said in an interview, without giving specific forecasts.

  • China, the world's largest consumer of copper, gave the green light for 60 projects worth more than $150 billion that is expected to energize the economy.

  • In 1980, per capita meat consumption in China was 15 kilo. Today that figure is 55-60 kilo.
  • US per capita meat consumption was 77.5 kilo in 2011. The US meat consumption is down some 10% over the last 8 years – probably due to a lack of money. The PCRDI (aka Per Capita real disposable income) is just now back to where it was in 2007.

  • Jill Filipovic‏@JillFilipovic Tweets: Paul Ryan wasn't lying, you guys. If he was telling LEGITIMATE lies, my female ears would have shut that whole thing down.

  • Bernanke reiterated his position that the FOMC stands at the ready to provide help but is not yet adding extra stimulus.
  • US factory orders rose 2.8% in July

  • (Prichard) Spain has suffered the worst hemorrhaging of bank deposits since the launch of the euro, losing funds equal to 7pc of its GDP in a single month during July.

  • The area of the Arctic Ocean covered by floating sea ice is likely to hit a record low next week, with the melting due to continue well into September, according to researchers monitoring the region by satellite.
  • The melting of Antarctic ice could release huge amounts of greenhouse gas trapped under the continent's surface - creating a feedback loop that would accelerate climate change.

  • The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes rose by 2.3% in July. While positive, it was still a lower number than was expected by Wall Street.
  • Sales of new homes in the U.S. rose 3.6% in July to match a two-year high reached in May. US house prices have posted their first annual gain in almost two years, raising hopes that the troubled market can begin to contribute to America's economic recovery.

  • China risks a repeat of Japan's boom-bust disaster 20 years ago as exorbitant property prices combine with a demographic tipping point, a top Japanese official has warned.

  • Kingsman cuts Sugar surplus forecast to 6.7 million

  • Extracting uranium from seawater is closer to becoming an economic reality, which could guarantee the future of nuclear power.
  • Wired Mag. reports that schools in Estonia are teaching first graders - computer programming.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

On strike for another week, if you’re bored – watch this. If you are still bored, watch it again.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


  • Of the 100 highest-paid CEOs in America in 2011, 26 had CEO pay packages worth more than the companies paid in taxes.    

  • Spanish Gov Bonds yield are back at 6.5% - a six-week low

  • The VIX Index touched a 5-year low of 13.67.

  • U.S. housing starts were at an annual rate of 746,000, 1.1% below the revised estimate of 754,000 in June, but up 21.5% YoY. The activity is still half the pace considered healthy by economists.

  • U.S. industrial production rises 0.6% in July.

  • Brazil will invest $65.8 billion in construction and expansion of its aging highways and railways. Britain's unemployment rate drops to 85% in Q2.

  • British inflation rate rose to 2.6% in July

  • Turkey's jobless rate fell to 8.2% in May -- an 11-year low.

  • Moody’s warns anew about CA cities. The agency’s ratings review comes after three California cities filed for bankruptcy, raising concerns about the outlook for the $4tn municipal bond market

  • Madonna is being sued for promoting homosexuality in Russia.

  • Former British ambassador Craig Murray: 'We need whistleblowers now more than ever' - in support of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


  • Chris Mooney: Paul Ryan went all in on climate denial in 2009, accusing researchers of seeking to "intentionally mislead the public"

  • GemShares, a Chicago-based financial firm, intends to create an index (ETF), in which diamonds are arranged in 10 layers of comparable quality.

  • Arlan Suderman on Corn: USDA pegged the corn crop at 10.779 billion bushels on a yield of 123.4 bushels per acre. Harvested acres dropped by 1.5 million to 87.4 million acres. I wouldn't be surprised to see harvested acres drop by another 3 to 4 million in the months ahead. In essence, USDA cut the size of the crop by about 2.2 billion bushels. It increased old-crop carryout stocks by 118 million bushels, while also increasing imports by another 45 million. Ending stocks were put at bare minimum pipeline levels of 650 million bushels, necessitating that demand be cut by roughly 1.5 billion bushels to make everything balance. Young fund managers saw the demand cut and assumed that it had already slowed, which added to their incentive to take profits. Yet, the market will eventually have to do the job of rationing demand. New-crop global corn stocks fell to a 52.2-day supply, which is the tightest of the past 39 years. Just shy of 50% of those stocks are in China, where the credibility of the data is in serious question. Furthermore, USDA cut global corn feeding by more than a billion bushels, but only increased wheat feeding by a little more than 140 million bushels. There's a lot that doesn't add up in this sector.

  • Arlan Suderman on Beans: USDA cut the crop to 2.692 billion bushels, essentially matching our estimate of 2.696 billion. The agency pegged the yield at 36.1 bushels per acre, down from 40.5 bushels last month. New-crop ending stocks were put at bare "pipeline levels" at 115 million bushels, necessitating a sharp slash in demand to make things balance. Exports were cut to 1.11 billion bushels; while soymeal exports were dropped by 1,100 thousand short tons. This kind of export rationing will be very difficult without a political embargo or much higher prices, and I don't expect the embargo to happen. First chart resistance for September soybeans is $17, but the fundamentals would argue for much higher prices; perhaps topping $20. USDA pegged 2013 Brazil soybean production at 2.975 billion bushels, up from 2.865 last month and up from 2.406 billion the previous year. That may happen, depending on the strength of El Nino in the month's to come. But I question whether Brazil has the infrastructure to export soybeans much beyond current levels, let alone with corn exports increasing as well.

  • The U.S. federal government registered a budget deficit of about 69.6 billion U.S. dollars in July, bringing the total budget gap for the first 10 months of this fiscal year near the 1-trillion-dollar mark.

  • China's exports fell from 11.3% to 1%, and imports fell from 6.3% to 4.7%. The July trade surplus printed at $25.1 billion, versus $35.5 billion a year ago.

Sunday, August 05, 2012


  • Arlan Suderman: ..In other words, the production estimates that we released today suggest that corn needs to spike above $10 and soybeans above $20 futures in order to sufficiently ration demand this year.
  • The ongoing US drought has prompted agricultural disaster declarations by USDA across sections of 31 states--including 1,369 counties.
  • Mexico bought 1.5 million tonnes of US corn Friday-- the biggest purchase in 2 decades.

  • U.S. employers hired the most workers (163,000) in five months in July, but an increase in the jobless rate to 8.3% kept prospects of further monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve on the table.
  • 4 years of private sector job creation under Obama has exceeded private sector job creation under 8 years of Bush. The problem remains Fed/State/Muni layoffs and RE/construction.

  • Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy inched closer on Friday to asking for an EU bailout for his country, but said he needed first to know what conditions would be attached and what form the rescue would take.
  • 163 billion Euros - or around 16% of economic output - fled Spain between January and May.

  • Bloomberg: The Pentagon has warned its missile defense staff to stop surfing porn on government computers.

  • (Pritchard) China has ditched its reform strategy and prepared a vast stimulus package as the country's soft-landing turns uncomfortably hard, with recession warnings flashing across East Asia.
  • China's capital and financial account swung into a deficit of $71.4 billion from a surplus of $56.1 billion in Q1 as domestic firms and residents increased their holdings of foreign currencies amid the global turbulence.

  • As concerns rise about the state of America’s cities, the SEC says that the 3.7 trillion “illiquid and opaque” Municipal Bond market need reforms. Investors complained about being unable to get the information they needed. Ratings were often years out of date, and they are unable to find out how serious a given city’s problems are.

  • The SP/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 0.9% in May, topping economists' expectations for a 0.5% gain.

  • WSJ: Home prices in the UK are now 13% below their 2007 peak.

  • U.S. Consumer spending, which makes up about 70% of economic activity, fell 0.1% when adjusted for rising prices, the Commerce Department said.

  • The July Chicago PMI rose a stronger-than-forecast 53.7%

  • Deutsche Bank said it will slash 1,900 jobs in an effort to achieve cost savings of about 3 billion Euros.

  • India's fiscal deficit during the April-June period rose to 1.9 trillion rupees (21.84 billion pounds), or 37.1% of fiscal 2012/13.

  • Greece is fast running out of cash while it waits for its next installment of aid from international lenders.

  • The Marcellus Shale is about to become the most productive natural gas field in the United States, according to new data from energy industry analysts and the federal government.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Only Mario Draghi's ECB can avert global calamity before the year is out Ambrose Evans-Pritchard    Mario Draghi has promised the moon. The European Central Bank’s council had better deliver on his pledge this week. If it does not, the crisis will surely escalate out of control in August or soon after.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


  • Des Moines Register: Doane Agricultural Services of St. Louis reported from its annual crop tour through Iowa this week that the likely corn yield will be 117 bushels per acre in Iowa. That total production figure would be the lowest total production in Iowa since the 1.426 billion bushels in 1995 and the lowest bushel per acre figure since the 84 bushels in the flood year of 1993. In 2011, Iowa produced 2.36 billion bushels of corn

  • U.S. GDP grew at a tepid annual rate of 1.5 %.

  • U.S. investors withdrew $11.5 billion from domestic stock funds. The largest weekly outflow in over two years.

  • French President Hollande and German Chancellor Merkel expressed their determination to save the euro. The two agreed that the two countries were "fundamentally attached to the integrity of the euro area" and that "they are determined to do everything to protect it".
  • Mario Draghi, the ECB president, vowed to do "whatever it takes" to save the euro within limits of its mandate. "Believe me, it will be enough," he said.

  • Sandy Weill suggested that banks should be broken up, because they are too big, and proposed a return to Glass-Steagall.

  • The Asian Development Bank expects growth in the Pacific region to expand 6 % in 2012.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Loading the Climate Dice By PAUL KRUGMAN And so it has proved. As documented in a new paper by Dr. Hansen and others, cold summers by historical standards still happen, but rarely, while hot summers have in fact become roughly twice as prevalent. And 9 of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


  • The Total U.S. Cow inventory of 39.7 million and beef cow count of 30.5 million are both the smallest ever for the July inventory report, which started in 1973. Te sharp rise in feed prices is negative short term for cattle. The herd liquidation should however be bullish in future month. Keep an eye on the charts!

  • Regarding corn and beans Arlan Suderman says, “I still don't think the trade fully grasps the significance of this year's losses, but I'm seeing a few signs that it is beginning to realize that we're dealing with something significant this time. The bottom line is the market can't fully deal with the rationing job at hand until it accepts the fact that this year's drought is a really big deal of historical significance”.
  • Corn and bean prices have hit new highs - as the drought persists.
  • Slow monsoon threatens India crops..

  • China has released a plan for the development of its new strategic industries from now to the end of 2015, according to a latest statement released by the State Council. The seven new strategic industries include energy conservation and environment protection, new information technology, biology, high-end equipment manufacturing, new materials, new energy and new-energy cars, according to the plan. The seven industries will maintain an average growth rate of more than 20 percent during the 2011-2015 period, the plan said.

  • Spain said it’s economy would shrink by 0.5% in 2013 instead of growing 0.5%.
  • The yield on Spain’s bonds topped 7%.

  • U.S. retail sales fell 0.5% in June.
  • California’s Public Employees Retirement System managed to achieve a 1% return on its money - a bit less than the 7.5% target.
  • U.S. June housing starts hit a 760,000 annual rate -- highest level since October 2008.

  • The Reykjavík District Court has ruled that Valitor, formerly known as VISA Iceland, violated contract laws by blocking credit card donations to Wikileaks, according to a press release posted on the whistleblowers' Twitter account.

  • Cameron doesn't 'see a time' when the government's austerity program will end and is poised to extend public spending cuts until 2020

  • Crude oil stocks decreased 0.8 million barrels Gasoline stocks decreased 1.8 million barrels
  • Distillate stocks increased 2.6 million barrels
  • Ethanol stocks rose to 19.6 million barrels

  • EBay’s net income rose to $692 million (53 cents per share) vs. $283.4 million (22 cents per share). This is a more than a twofold rise YoY. Revenue rose 23.1% to $3.4 billion YoY.

  • YUM revenue rose 12% -- same-store sales were up 10% in China.

  • Confcommercio said that Italy's fiscal burden has reached on average 55% of taxpayer’s incomes this year, ranking first in the world followed by Denmark (48.6 percent), France (48.2 percent) and Sweden (48 percent). Italy not only ranks above the European average, but also is much higher than Japan (30.6 percent) and the United States (26.3 percent), the report also noted.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


  • China's economy grew at “only” 7.6% in Q2
  • Chinese central bank lowered its one-year yuan deposit rate 25 basis points

  • The euro fell to multi-year lows against a range of currencies on fears of a deepening slump in Italy and Spain.
  • Statistics released by the European Central Bank (ECB) indicated that the eurozone is in a liquidity trap, economists with a German bank said
  • ECB cut its main lending rate by a ¼% to 0.75%
  • The seasonally adjusted industrial production in the 17-member Eurozone saw a 0.6% MoM rise in May.

  • Greek unemployment rose to a new record of 22.5% in April

  • Brazil's central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point to a record low of 8% in the eighth consecutive rate cut this year.

  • The U.S. added a meager 80,000 jobs in June.
  • The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2%.

  • Australia's unemployment rate rose to 5.2% in June (Reuters) -

  • Lawmakers in North Carolina, which has a long Atlantic Ocean coastline and vast areas of low-lying land, voted  to ignore studies predicting a rapid rise in sea level due to climate change and postpone planning for the consequences.

  • Macao's gross gaming revenues for the first half of this year increased 19.8 % to 148.73 billion patacas (18.59 billion U.S. dollars)

Sunday, June 17, 2012


  • The net worth of the median U.S. family — one with an equal number of families richer and poorer — fell to $77,300 in 2010 from $126,400 three years earlier (down 40%), after adjusting for inflation, the Federal Reserve said in a new report. (FT) Several US banks want to tap the value of ‘intangible’ assets such as intellectual property held by their borrowers as a way of meeting higher capital requirements.

  • The FT reports the unnamed banks “seek deals in which an insurer agrees to buy a borrower’s intellectual property – anything from a mobile phone patent to a logo or recipe – for a fixed price in case of default.” The banks and insurers are haggling over the prices; banks believe they should be lower than that of CDS. However one deal is close to being submitted to the Fed for approval.

  • US current account trade deficit grew to $137.3 billion in first quarter, largest since 2008.

  • In April, overall foreign holdings of U.S. long-term securities reached 5.16 trillion U.S. dollars, up 21 billion dollars, or 0.4% MoM. It was the fourth consecutive monthly increase.

  • Singapore's jobless rate edges up to 2.1% in Q1 The unemployment rate in the Philippines fell to 6.9 % in April

  • The Japanese central bank kept key interest rate unchanged at zero to 0.1%

  • The Annual inflation in the Eurozone dropped to 2.4% in May, down from 2.6% in the previous month

Sunday, June 10, 2012


  • With the close on 6/4/12 of Transports at 4847.43, and Industrials at 12101.46, IT’s opinion of Dow Theory is now bearish.

  • AIG’s Robert Benmosche: The Europe debt crisis shows that governments worldwide must accept that people will have to work up to ages 70 or 80.

  • (FT) Luxury market set to hit $1.5tn: The market for luxury, such as yachts, frocks and safaris, is set to hit $1.5tn this year, roughly matching the entire economic output of Spain or Australia, as the income inequality gap widens across the globe.

  • The Commerce Department said that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed 4.9% in April to $50.1 billion.

  • Goldman lowered US GDP forecast for 2012 to 1.8% from 2%.

  • The EU issued a statement in support of Spain's request for financial assistance for its troubled banks. It added that it expects the loans to total about 100 billion euros ($125 billion).
  • Geithner said that Spain's request for a bank rescue and Europe's willingness to prop up the country with as much as $125 billion in aid was welcome actions.
  • German Finance Minister Schaeuble said that Spanish banks are not at all a danger for the stability of the euro and added that they will now be getting the capital they need.

  • China's economic growth will likely moderate to around 8 % this year amid downward risks caused by the ongoing crisis in Europe, the IMF said.
  • YoY China’s CPI slowed to 3.0 percent in May
  • China's foreign trade rose 14.1% YoY to 343.58 billion U.S. dollars in May, rebounding from the 2.7% growth registered in April.
  • China has cut interest rates by 25 basis points, its strongest move yet to prop up the economy as growth weakens. The benchmark one-year lending rate is now 6.31%, while the one-year deposit rate is 3.25%.

  • YoY Japans current account surplus declined 21.2% in April
  • Japans index of leading indicator dropped 1.3 points to 95.1

  • French unemployment rate rose to 9.6% in Q1

  • Australia's unemployment rate rose to 5.1 % in May

Sunday, June 03, 2012


  • U,S. nonfarm employment # rose just 69,000 in May, the least in a year. The Unemployment # rose to 8.2.
  • U.S. pending home resale’s fell 5.5% following a revised 3.8% gain the prior month. YoY the index rose 14.7 %.
  • U.S. economic growth slowed to an annualized rate of 1.9% in Q1 of the year. U.S. personal income rose 0.2% in April, after a 0. 4% in March
  • U.S. personal consumption expenditures rose 0.3% in April, following a revised increase of 0.2% in March.
  • The U.S. savings rate, or personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income, edged down to 3.4 percent in April, slightly lower than 3.5 percent in March but still well above the 2.1-percent average rate for all of 2007 before the financial crisis.

  • The Economist‏: In China, coffee consumption will grow by an average rate of almost 40% a year from 2011 to 2015.
  • China's factory activity contracted for a seventh straight month in May, It fell to 48.4 from April's 49.3.
  • China's house prices fell to a 16-month low in May.

  • Japan and China will begin direct yen- yuan trading on June 1, Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi said Tuesday, abandoning the existing system that determines yen-yuan rates via their U.S.dollar values.

  • Japan's industrial production rose 0.2 % in April.

  • Capital flight from Spain hits record $66bn..
  • The IMF is looking at possible plans for a rescue loan to Spain if that country can't find the cash to bail out its third-largest bank – No wait! The IMF says it has not been asked by Spain for a bailout and has not begun preparing one, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice. Spain yields at 6.576, and the 2-year Schatz now has a negative yield.
  • Spain's 17 autonomous communities recorded balanced budgets in Q1 of this year New York

  • Mayor Michael Bloomberg is set to propose a ban on the sale of some large-size soft drinks in many locations in the city as part of his drive to fight expanding waistlines in the Big Apple.

  • The Chancellor should abandon his cast-iron debt reduction targets and inject up to £6bn into the economy to revive the flagging recovery, according to the the British Chambers of Commerce.

  • The Philippine economy bounced back from a lackluster performance last year and grew by an unexpected 6.4 % in Q1 of this year.

  • Mexico's economy will grow 3.72 percent in 2012, a slight increase from the 3.62 percent estimated in the previous month, results of a survey by the Mexican Central Bank.

  • Italy's unemployment rate hit 10.2% in April, its highest level since January 2004.

  • Southern Europe's debtor states must pledge their gold reserves and national treasure as collateral under a €2.3 trillion stabilization plan gaining momentum in Germany.

Monday, May 28, 2012


  • Radiation from cell phones can possibly cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization. The agency now lists mobile phone use in the same "carcinogenic hazard" category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform.

  • The U.S. consumer sentiment index rose to 79.3, the ninth straight increase, from 76.4 the prior month. 77.8 was expected

  • (FT) Unexpected rise in sentiment from France and Germany helps Eurofirst 300 to weekly gain of 1.5% but Spanish markets hit by Bankia share suspension.

  • Germany will not "pour money into a bottomless pit" and patience with Greece is growing thin ahead of a new election next month, according to a member of Angela Merkel's cabinet.

  • Spanish Bank Bankia will reportedly ask the state for more than €15bn to bail it out when its new management team presents a restructuring plan.
  • Barclays says Spain's housing collapse is only half way through. RE prices will have to fall another 20% to clear an overhang of one million excess properties.

  • Bluefin tuna that spans off the coast of Japan is found with levels of radioactive cesium 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years.

  • Standard & Poor estimates that companies in Europe, the US and Asia require a combination of refinancing and new money to fund growth over the next four years of between $43 trillion and $46 trillion.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


  • (Telegraph) Germany's largest industrial union secures biggest pay rise for members in two decades in what is seen as a major breakthrough in dealing with the euro zone’s chronic imbalances.
  • At least 20,000 demonstrators marched through Frankfurt on Saturday in a peaceful protest against austerity measures.
  • Obama pressed Europe to shift toward a more pro-growth policy and away from austerity to tackle a crisis that threatens to push Greece out of the euro zone and send economic shockwaves worldwide.

  • Half of world platinum producers are facing losses at the current price.

  • Brazil’s wealthy are set to double in the next 11 years.

  • China, the world's second-largest economy, which produces more carbon dioxide emissions than any other country, plans to start seven pilot trading schemes.

  • (FT) Concerns over the past few weeks about limited rainfall in southern Russia push US benchmark prices for the grain to an eight-month high.
  • WXRISK.COM ‏SUMMER FORECAST UPDATE- new CFS plots show El Nino develops LATE- SEPT /OCT so current pattern /trends may last into ALL of JULY- early AUG.
  • WXRISK.COM ‏SUMMER FORECAST#2 -- NEW CFS model plots for JUNE & JULY look MUCH Hotter & MUCH drier for Plains/ Midwest. Huge change from late APRIL

Saturday, May 12, 2012


  • Intel approved a 7% increase in the quarterly cash dividend to 22.5 cents per share, 90 cents per share on an annual basis.

  • Walt Disney (DIS) quarterly earnings beat Wall Street expectations as profit rose 21%.

  • Poland raised rates to 4.75%

  • Brazil’s CPI rose 5.1% YoY

  • Modern Banker JPMorgan, celebrated for its “controls”, said it lost $2 Billion “in six weeks” because of poor controls – quite the feat - more to disclose? Mr. Dimon recently responded to a question about too big to fail as “infantile” and “nonfactual.” (If only Glass-Steagall were still around!)
  • The U.S. has made "considerable progress" in restoring its banking system since the financial crisis, said  Bernanke. (If only Glass-Steagall were still around!)
  • S&P cuts outlook on J.P. Morgan Chase to negative, citing risk management  (If only Glass-Steagall were still around!)

  • China's consumer price index (CPI) rose 3.4% YoY in April
  • China’s consumer confidence stood at 86.65 in April, down 0.12% points from March.
  • China will lower the bank reserve requirement ratio by 0.5% starting May 18. The cut, the second of its kind this year, this will drop the RRR for the country's large financial institutions to 20% and the medium- and small-sized financial institutions to 16.5%.

  • Gasoline stocks fell2.6 million barrels.
  • Distillate stocks decreased 3.3 million barrels
  • Ethanol stocks fell to 21.4 million barrels, down from 22.2 million the previous week

  • USDA estimates soybean stocks to use at 4.4%. This is equivalent to two weeks' worth of use, and the lowest stocks-to-use figure since 1965-66.

  • Home Inns (HMIN) revenues rose 66.0% YoY

  • FDA advisers recommended approval of Arena’s (ARNA) lorcaserin -- could be first new weight loss drug in a decade.

  • Spain's annual inflation rose to 2% in April, up from 1.8% in the previous month
  • At least 100,000 Spaniards angered by grim economic prospects and the political handling of the international financial crisis turned out for street demonstrations. 
  • Spanish banks have been given 15 days to submit plans to meet an obligatory €30bn recapitalisation, or face nationalisation.

  • The top U.S. grain groups on Thursday called for federal regulators to delay the start of 22-hour grains trading at CME Group and rival (ICE) Intercontinental Exchange.

  • (TEF) Telefonica posted a net profit of EUR748 million in Q1, down 54% from EUR1.62 billion in the same period a year earlier, missing forecasts of EUR1.31 billion.

  • China’s gold output in the first three months of the year reached 80.8 tonnes, up 10% YoY.

  • The U.S. consumer sentiment index rose to a new post-recession high of 77.8

  • Chinese ratings provider Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. said Friday that it upgraded the local and foreign currency sovereign credit rating of Greece from D to CC with a negative outlook.

Sunday, May 06, 2012


  • Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffett's company said Friday its first-quarter profit more than doubled.

  • Euro-zone unemployment rose to a new 15-year high of 10.9% U.S. factory orders fell 1.5% in March

  • Steve Wozniak, a co-founder of Apple, describes the Nokia Lumia screen as "much more beautiful" than that of the iPhone and Android phones.   ( Comparison )

  • Australia cuts interest rate by larger-than-expected half-point to 3.75%

  • Indonesia’s Inflation Accelerates to Seven-Month High of 4.5%

  • U.S Crude oil stocks rose 2.8 million barrels in the week ending April 27.
  • Gasoline stocks fell 2.0 million barrels.
  • Distillate stocks fell 1.9 million barrels.

  • Bloomberg: The U.S. homeownership rate fell to the lowest level in 15 years in the first quarter as borrowers lost homes to foreclosure and tighter inventory and credit kept buyers off the market. The rate dropped to 65.4 percent from 66 percent in the fourth quarter and fell a full percentage point from a year earlier, the Census Bureau said in a report . That is the lowest level since the first quarter of 1997, and down from a record 69.2 percent in June 2004.

  • The CME announced, that beginning May 13 for trade date May 14, customers will have expanded access to CBOT corn, soybeans, wheat, soybean meal and soybean oil futures and options on CME. Globex as follows: •Sunday to Monday, 5:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. CT •Monday to Friday, 6:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. CT. (Hell, they could lose 5 cents to the ICE) Change in plans (CME f/u) will be delayed by one week to May 21.

  • “The Scream" sells for record $119.9 million at Sotheby's auction, far exceeding $80 million estimate. ( Somebody is smiling )

  • In reference to Mr. Obama’s remarks regarding speculators. "People need to study their facts before criticizing speculators," said Mr. Duffy, whose Chicago Company is the largest futures exchange, said in an interview. He pointed out “correctly” that speculators provide vital liquidity to a host of markets.

  • AIG net income rose to $3.2 billion, or $1.71 a share, in the three months that ended March 31.

  • (Guardian) seven in ten Americans now believe that "global warming is affecting the weather." 35 % of the respondents reported that extreme weather had affected them personally in 2011.

  • Japan's last active reactor has shut down, leaving the country without nuclear energy for the first time since 1970. All 50 commercial reactors in the country are now offline. LNG Heading for Asia?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hollande's 'Growth Bloc' spells end of German hegemony in Europe  Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

For two years Germany has had its way in Europe, treating historic nations much as Bismarck treated Bavaria – sovereign only in name.


  • U.S. economic expansion eased to 2.2% in Q1
  • U.S. consumer sentiment levels off; it only rose to 76.4 from 76.2 in March
  • U.S. first time claims for unemployment benefits decreased 1,000 to 388,000. 24.4 % of

  • Spanish workforce are unemployed BOJ announces additional 62 bln USD monetary easing program

  • The growth of China's inflation rate is expected to ease to 3.3%in April from the previous month with the slowing of food price rises, according to a report released by the Bank of Communications.

  • EQIX revenues rose 25% YoY.

  • UN (Unilever) announced sales growth of 8.4% with emerging markets up 11.9% and developed markets up 4.2%.

  • BAYRY (Bayer) Earnings rose 14% to EUR1.59 billion

  • HGSI’s loss narrowed to $93.5 million (loss of 47 cents per diluted share) from $131 million (loss of 69 cents per share) YoY. Revenue rose 77.4% to $47.1 million from the year-earlier quarter.

  • (NYT) Upward mobile consumers from much poorer countries are about to surpass Americans in their share of the world economy. Living standards in the developing world are improving so quickly that those countries are now beginning to drive global economic growth.

  • The National Association of Realtors reports that pending home sales increased 4.1% in March to a new 23-month high.

  • Starbucks announced that for the quarter ended April 1, profit was $309.9 million, or 40 cents a share, up from $261.6 million or 34 cents a share in the same 2011 period. Revenue climbed 15% to $3.2 billion.

  • Titanic director James Cameron is backing a company with Google billionaires Larry Page and Eric Schmidt to mine asteroids in space, called Planetary Resources.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Big Changes in Ocean Salinity Intensifying Water Cycle
"Changes to the global water cycle and the corresponding redistribution of rainfall will affect food availability, stability, access, and utilization," says lead author Paul Durack at the University of Tasmania and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


  • ATT reported Q1 earnings of $0,60 per share, expected $0.57. Revenues rose 1.8 % YoY. U.S.

  • New home sales fell 7.1% in Feb. The Midwest is down 20% and 27% in the West. The rest saw modest gains. Inventory dropped from 146,000 in Feb to 144,000 in March – a new low. The Median sales price rose 6.3% to $234,500. Pulte Homes rose 5%, after the U.S. Commerce Department said new homes sold at an annual rate of 328,000 last month.

  • (Spiegel) The collapse of the Dutch government, the prospect of Socialist François Hollande as next French president and the surging popularity of far-right parties shows that budget discipline is out of fashion in Europe. Chancellor Angela Merkel is looking increasingly lonely in her fight to save the euro through painful austerity measures, write German commentators.

  • Mexico added 16.8 metric tons of gold valued at about $906.4 million to its reserves in March as nations including Turkey, Russia and Kazakhstan increased their holdings of the metal, International Monetary Fund data show.

  • A dairy cow in California tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (Mad Cow),USDA announced.

  • Oil World reduced estimates of Argentina’s soy crop to 42.5 mmt, down from the USDA’s 45 mmt and down 1.5 mmt from its previous estimate.

  • Apple’s profit rose 94% to $12.30 a share. iPhone sales rose 88% YoY -- beating the most optimistic forecast.

Monday, April 23, 2012

IMF encourages Europe's economic suicide
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

“Rather than admit that they’ve been wrong, European leaders seem determined to drive their economy — and their society — off a cliff,” said Professor Krugman.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


  • (WSJ) Yum earned $458 million, or 96 cents a share,, up from $264 million, or 54 cents a share, in the same quarter a year ago. Excluding items, the company would have earned 76 cents a share. Revenue hit $2.74 billion, a 13% gain.

  • (WSJ) Qualcomm reported a profit of $2.23 billion, or $1.28 a share, up from $999 million, or 59 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding 41-cents per-share earnings from the Qualcomm Strategic Initiatives segment, stock-based compensation and other items, per-share earnings rose to $1.01 from 86 cents. Revenue improved 28% to $4.94 billion.

  • U. S. Crude oil stocks increased 3.9 million barrels, gasoline stocks decreased by 3.7 million. Distillate stocks decreased 2.9 million barrels. Ethanol stocks rose 0.2 million to 22.0 million barrels.

  • Human Genome Sciences (HGSI) announced that it has received an unsolicited proposal from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to acquire HGS for $13.00 per share in cash.

  • E-Trade Financial reported Thursday its Q1 profit rose to $62.6 million, or 22 cents a share. Up from 16 cents a share YoY.

  • China’s media reports that the province of Heilongjang, which is its largest soybean producer, is suffering through its worst drought in a decade.
  • A Friday rumor on the soybean floor that Brazil is cutting off exports produced a good rally. Soy meal is making new highs.

  • EBAY reported that revenue for Q1 rose 29% to $3.3 billion, compared to the same period of 2011.

  • Microsoft Corp. reported Q3 profit of $5.11 billion, or 60 cents a share, on $17.41 billion in revenue.

  • The Federal Reserve says banks will have two years to comply with a rule that would ban them from trading for their own profit. The so-called Volcker rule is expected to take effect this summer. But the Fed clarified that it won’t enforce it until July 2014.

  • Yum (YUM) reported Q1 earnings increased of 21% YoY

  • AIA (AAGIY) Group first quarter new business value rose 27%

  • Japan's trade deficit in the past fiscal year ending in March stood at 4.41 trillion yen (about 54. 19 billion U.S. dollars), marking the worst ever reading for the country.

  • Brazil cut the basic interest rate from 9.75% to 9%.

  • A prominent Chinese think tank issued a forecast saying China's grain output is likely to grow for the ninth consecutive year in 2012. (Good thing the weather doesn’t have a memory, or the odds of that happening would be slim)

  • Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT), the world's largest retailer, squelched an internal investigation into allegations of bribery at its Mexican subsidiary instead of broadening the probe, the New York Times reported

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Next Update Sunday


  • Fullerene C60 administration doubles rat lifespan with no toxicity.

  • U.S. Housing starts fell 5.8% last month to an annual rate of 654,000 from a slightly revised 694,000 in February. Permits rose 4.5% to 747,000 in March from a revised 715,000 in February.

  • KO reported a 3% rise in profit to 89 cents per share, topping estimates by 2 cents. Sales grew 6% to $11.14 billion, over estimates of $10.82 billion. That reflects higher volumes and a 3% increase in pricing.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


  • Italy's industrial output fell 0.7% MoM, and 6.8% YoY.

  • Prichard: The Middle-East "war-premium" in current oil prices is poised to fall after a tentative breakthrough on Iran's nuclear programme over the weekend, offering a soothing tonic for battered equity markets across the world.

  • The Obama administration welcomes China’s move to expand the Yuan’s trading band against the dollar, saying it could help to shrink global trade imbalances.

  • Geithner on Sunday urges lawmakers to approve the “Buffett Rule” to tax millionaires, framing the proposal as an issue of tax fairness this election year.

  • France saw a rise the number of new enterprises established in March from the previous month thanks to a favorable economic and investment climate, official data showed on Friday.According to national statistics bureau Insee, 51,329 new firms were set up in March, up by 8.4 percent from February.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


  • Madrid’s 10-year bond yields rose above 6% for first time since December, raising fears that it could be forced to seek emergency loans.

  • The Japanese central bank decided on Tuesday to keep its key interest rate unchanged and refrain from fresh monetary easing steps, dashing market hopes.

  • U.S. Industrial Production Index for Manufacturing rose 0.4% MoM, and 5.4% YoY.

  • The Russian Central Bank on Monday announced a decision to leave its key interest rate unchanged at 8%.

  • U.S. consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 4.2% in February, a positive sign of consumers' growing confidence in the economy.

  • China's economic growth is set to moderate slightly over the next two years but will exceed 8%, on the back of strong investment, rising private consumption and a more stable global economy, the Asian Development Bank said Wednesday.

  • The Philippine government says its largest warship is engaged in a standoff with Chinese surveillance vessels that blocked it when it attempted to arrest Chinese fishermen anchored at a South China Sea shoal where both sides claim sovereignty.

Sunday, April 08, 2012


  • So far, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Kraft have ended their membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.

  • The U.S. economy added 120,000 jobs in March, marking the smallest increase in five months.

  • Researchers led by biologist Chensheng Lu of Harvard University report a direct link between hive health and dietary exposure to imidacloprid, a so-called neonicotinoid pesticide linked to colony collapse disorder, the mysterious and massive die-off of bees across North America and Europe. Relevant to bayry, corn and BEES!

  • China's Q1 GDP rose 8.4%, CPI rose 3.5% .

  • MoM Japan's key composite economic index rose 1.0 point in February.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


  • (Bloomberg)The Federal Reserve is holding off on increasing monetary accommodation unless the U.S. economic expansion falters or prices rise at a rate slower than its 2 percent target. “A couple of members indicated that the initiation of additional stimulus could become necessary if the economy lost momentum or if inflation seemed likely to remain below” 2 percent, according to minutes of their March 13 meeting released today in Washington.

  • (FT) The world’s largest producer of chocolate products has warned that there could be supply problems in the mid to long term.

  • Carbon at new low: Data show a bigger than expected drop in the amount of pollution emitted by power plants and factories in the EU’s emissions trading system.

  • U.S. factory orders rose 1.3% in February; January revised down to 1.1% drop.

  • (Spiegel) Many German politicians and tax collectors are furious about Switzerland's decision to issue arrest warrants against three German officials who bought a stolen CD with tax data. The move has gone down well in Switzerland, where politicians have praised the country's assertiveness. But it is unclear how the Swiss authorities will proceed -- the main witness is dead.

  • A dozen U.S. companies, GE and JNJ amongst them, have agreed to disclose more about their lobbying efforts in return for avoiding public showdowns at their annual meetings.