Thursday, October 21, 2010

20101021 0957 Global Economics News.

Thailand: Avoids rate increase, easing baht pressure
Thailand refrained from a third straight increase in its benchmark interest rate as Asia’s policy makers seek to stem currency gains and shield their economies from a slowdown in global growth that may hurt exports. The Bank of Thailand kept the one-day bond repurchase rate at 1.75% after raising it in July and August. (Bloomberg)

China: Faces ‘trade conflict’ as G-20 meeting looms, Krugman Says
Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said China is headed for a “trade conflict” with the US and other western countries as tensions rise about how to rebalance the global economy. “What China is doing is functionally equivalent to having large export subsidies and large import tariffs,” he said. “If it were doing that in the normal way, it would automatically be subject to large countervailing duties." (Bloomberg)

UK: Osborne to slash jobs, tax banks in budget cuts
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne detailed the deepest budget cuts ever in Britain, eliminating almost 500,000 public-sector jobs and imposing a levy on banks to extract the “maximum sustainable” revenue. “Today’s the day when Britain steps back from the brink,” Osborne said as he outlined plans to virtually eliminate a 156 billion-pound (USD245bn) budget deficit. “It’s a day of rebuilding when we set out a four-year plan to put our public services and welfare state on a sustainable footing.” (Bloomberg)

Global: G-20 must progress on currencies, US treasury says
Currencies and trade flows will be at the center of talks as Group of 20 finance ministers try to resolve differences over exchange-rate policies, a US Treasury Department official said. Some emerging-market nations are resisting market forces and keeping their currencies undervalued, creating a competitive dynamic, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The US wants foreign-exchange rates to reflect market forces and economic fundamentals. (Bloomberg)

20101021 0955 Malaysia Corporate News.

RM1.5bn jobs for WCT
WCT has secured two turnkey projects in Doha, Qatar, and Sabah, worth a combined RM1.5bn.The RM1.4bn Doha project is for the construction, completion and maintenance of a government administrative building while the RM127.8m project in Sabah is to design, build, equipment, commission and maintain the Tuaran Hospital. Both jobs are scheduled to be completed by May 2013. (BT)
Berjaya Corp gets licence for vehicle production
Berjaya Corp has obtained a licence to manufacture passenger and commercial vehicles at a factory to be built in Selangor, but the rights do not cover small cars that the diversified group is more interested in. MITI's licence is for the production of commercial vehicles, hybrid cars, electric cars and luxury passenger vehicles. (BT)

Genting Malaysia teams up with UK's Apollo
Genting Malaysia is teaming up with Britain's Apollo Resorts & Leisure to bid for a casino licence from the London Borough of Newham in the UK. Its indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, Genting Ibico Holdings, has signed a deal with Apollo to set up a joint-venture company, Sevco Ltd. Sevco will obtain a long-term lease or buy 6.4ha in the Docklands area in Newham to develop and operate a leisure entertainment destination if Apollo wins the casino license. (BT)

Contractors for LRT project to be shortlisted next month
Contractors shortlisted for the first phase of the RM7bn of the LRT extension would be announced by early next month said an industry source. The first phase of the extension of package A for both Kelana Jaya and Ampang Lines involved 9.2km and 7.4km of construction length respectively. (StarBiz)

YTL Cement signs S&P with Gopeng for stake in Perak-Hanjoong Simen
YTL Cement announced it entered into a S&P agreement with Gopeng yesterday for the acquisition of a 35.2% interest in Perak-Hanjoong Simen SB for RM200m. Upon completion of the proposed acquisition, the latter will become its wholly-owned subsidiary. (The Malaysian Reserve)

Bintulu Port invited to submit proposal on Samalaju Port
Bintulu Port has been invited by the Sarawak state government to submit a detailed proposal for the development, management and operations of the Samalaju Port. The proposal, if accepted and approved by the state government, would result in the appointment of Bintulu Port of its wholly-owned subsidiary to build, own, operate and manage the new port. (The Malaysian Reserve) 

20101021 0905 Breaking News : Haze Weather.

Singapore Shrouded In Haze From Sumatra Burning; Over 200 Fires Detected (Source: CME)

Singapore continued to be shrouded in a smoky haze from fires in neighboring Indonesia's Sumatra island, as the air quality in the Southeast Asian city-state inched closer to unhealthy levels again. The city-state's National  Environment Agency said its three-hour Pollutant Standards Index reading on Wednesday stood at 80. Over 200 "hotspots" caused by peat fires in Sumatra were seen via satellite. Sumatra is separated from Singapore by the narrow Strait of Malacca

"The prevailing southwesterly winds have brought in some smoke haze from the fires in Sumatra," Singapore's National Environment Agency said in a statement posted late Tuesday on its website. Air quality is considered "moderate" for a PSI range of 51-100, where there are few or no health effects for the general population, and "unhealthy" when readings exceed 100. Singapore usually posts readings in the "good" range of one to 50. The highest 3-hour PSI reading on record in Singapore was 226 in September 1997, during a major air quality crisis triggered by Indonesian forest fires, many of which were set as a cheap but illegal way to clear land for plantations.

The burning caused widespread anger in Southeast Asia, and caused billions in losses from canceled flights, health problems and lost tourism revenue. 

20101021 0902 Global Market News.

OIL: Crude sways with dollar ahead of China data
SINGAPORE, Oct 21  (Reuters) - Oil swayed from gains to losses early on Thursday, trading in a range of $82 to $83, as the dollar strengthened on speculation about the size and timing of an expected stimulus to the U.S. economy.
Oil rebounded nearly 3 percent on Wednesday, the biggest daily percentage gain in more than a month, as a weaker dollar, stronger equities and a smaller-than-expected rise in U.S. crude stockpiles whetted investors' risk appetite.

COMMODITY MARKETS: Markets jump as dlr slides on expected Fed easing
NEW YORK, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Most commodities rose on Wednesday in a sharp rebound from the previous day's losses, as the dollar slid when an influential consultancy predicted a half trillion dollars in U.S. government debt purchases from the Federal Reserve.
"Most of this broad-based commodity rally is pretty well tied to the dollar, which had managed a steep and sharp rally yesterday, but sold off today," said Sterling Smith, an analyst for Country Hedging Inc. in St. Paul, Minnesota.

GLOBAL MARKETS: Dollar falls on Fed easing talk, stocks jump
NEW YORK, Oct 20 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar slid on Wednesday as investors expected the Federal Reserve will soon offer more economic stimulus, while stocks and commodities recovered after China's surprising interest-rate hike.
"Dollar weakness into the Nov. 3 FOMC meeting is the clearest trade right now. Investors want to continue on that path," said Amelia Bourdeau, senior currency strategist at UBS in Stamford, Connecticut. "(Many) currencies dipped against the dollar yesterday and investors are buying them back."

GLOBAL ECONOMY-China ups rates while rich world stays loose
BEIJING/TOKYO Oct 19 (Reuters) - China unexpectedly raised interest rates on Tuesday, a day after U.S Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner vowed Washington would not devalue the dollar for its own advantage.
The 25 basis point rate rise by the People's Bank of China -- the first in nearly three years -- took markets by surprise and pushed the dollar to the day's high against a currency basket.

Officials hint Fed on the verge of more easing
WASHINGTON, Oct 19 (Reuters) - A string of U.S. Federal Reserve officials on Tuesday indicated the central bank will soon offer further monetary stimulus to the economy, with one saying $100 billion a month in bond buys may be appropriate.
While internal differences on the unconventional policy are still evident, the consensus view at the Fed appears to be that the economy is weak enough to warrant further support, most likely through increased purchases of Treasury debt.

PRECIOUS-Gold recovers lost ground as dollar retreats
LONDON, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose back above $1,340 an ounce in Europe on Wednesday, recovering some of the previous session's hefty losses, as the dollar ceded ground to a basket of currencies after its move higher.
"What we saw yesterday was more of a panic selling in response to the surprise rate hike by China," said Richcomm Global Services analyst Pradeep Unni. "Fundamentally however, nothing has changed...and the weakness in the dollar persists."

FOREX-Dollar slips as China rate hike impact wanes
LONDON, Oct 20 (Reuters) - The dollar fell against a basket of currencies for the first time in four sessions on Wednesday, as appetite for higher-yielding currencies stabilised after being jolted by a surprise interest rate hike by China.
"I think the move itself indicated how excessive positioning in the market was, but any correction in the dollar will be short and shallow," said Derek Halpenny, European Head of Global Currency Research at BTM-UFJ. "The main driver will be QE from the Fed and that should weigh on the dollar."

Equities recover from China shock, dollar slips
LONDON, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Financial markets recovered some of the composure lost after China's surprise interest rate hike, with stocks slightly higher and the dollar falling back from the previous session's sharp gains.
"The dollar's move down through September went too far and was overdone. This bounce we saw is part of a healthy correction," said Jane Foley, senior currency strategist at Rabobank.

20101021 0858 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

US soy product futures rallied with soybeans. Soyoil set a new two-year high, propelled by broad-based commodity gains including crude oil and supportive outlooks for world vegoil demand, analysts said. Soymeal hit a one-year high, rallying with the broader-based gains in commodities. December soyoil settled 1.37 cents, or 2.9%, higher at 48.47 cents per pound. December soymeal ended $9.60, or 2.9% higher, at $337.80 per short ton. (Source: CME)

Weather Hinders Planting In Brazil's Top Soy-Growing State (Source: CME)
In Mato Grosso, Brazil's No. 1 soy-producing state, main farmers are still nervously waiting for rains to trigger widespread planting, according to private weather service Somar. Planting has been delayed in many areas of Brazil's center-west soy belt that includes Mato Grosso, the country's top soy-producing state, due to insufficient rainfall in recent months caused by the La Nina weather phenomenon, which typically brings drier weather than usual. "While Mato Grosso's northern region has been getting regular rains, the southern region in particular is seeing insufficient rain [to plant]," Celso Oliveira, a meteorologist at Somar told.
Although rain doused soy-growing regions in north Mato Grosso in recent weeks, Mato Grosso's southern soy region--near the border of Bolivia--needs heavy rain to help planting, Oliveira said. Soybeans typically need a moisture accumulation of 60 millimeters or more to provide adequate humidity in the soil to help planting and germination. Although more intense rain is likely to lash the south from Oct. 25 through Oct. 29, the situation will remain precarious for many farmers who need more rainfall to begin planting or to help the seeds germinate, Oliveira said. Unfavorable weather in Mato Grosso comes as soybean prices on the Chicago Board of Trade have been propelled to reach recent 14-month highs on concerns of tighter U.S. supplies and strong export demand.
Farmers in Mato Grosso are typically the first to begin planting in mid-September, which means they can harvest and sell their beans ahead of rival neighboring states. This year, however, farmers in Parana--the country's second-largest soy-producing state--have managed to plant earlier than farmers in Mato Grosso due to ample rain.

Corn up 1 pct on dollar weakness, demand prospects
SINGAPORE, Oct 20 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures rose more than one percent, aided by a weakening dollar and strong global demand for the grain as the market recovered from over a one-week low reached in the previous session.
"In terms of the future direction, we are going to be looking at what is happening to outside markets as they remain the most significant influence on the grains complex," said Luke Mathews, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Palm oil at 27-mth peak on demand, 3,000 rgt in sight
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Palm oil futures hit a new 27-month high and other vegetable markets gained as traders banked on strong export demand from China despite the country's central bank raising interest rates.
"The Chinese government didn't raise the interest rate by much, and the thing that they are worrying now is the overheating of domestic inflation," said LMC International chairman James Fry at an industry conference in Kuala Lumpur.

China sells rapeseed oil reserves, prices up
BEIJING, Oct 20 (Reuters) - China sold 299,000 tonnes, nearly all its rapeseed oil reserves offered for sale at a state auction on Wednesday, as part of efforts to dampen the rise in edible oil prices  at two-year highs.
The authorities had put up 299,800 tonnes of reserves for sale on Wednesday.

Western rains boost Argentine soy, corn sowing
BUENOS AIRES, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Rains in Argentina's western farming belt in recent days have brightened the outlook for corn and soy planting, but concern over the La Nina weather anomaly lingers, a climate specialist said on Tuesday.
The South American country is the No. 1 global supplier of soyoil and soymeal and the third-biggest exporter of uncrushed beans, so markets are closely watching for any signs of dry conditions that could harm crops.

Malaysia's Oct 1-20 palm oil exports up 5.4pct-SGS
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Exports of Malaysian palm oil products for Oct. 1-20 rose 5.4 percent to 929,473 tonnes from 881,812 tonnes shipped from Sept.1-20, cargo surveyor Societe Generale de Surveillance said on Wednesday.