Thursday, April 28, 2011

20110428 0937 Global Commodities Related News.

Corn (Source: CME)
US corn futures end lower as traders reduced risk ahead of Fed Chairman Bernanke's press conference. "If Bernanke says anything remotely bullish for the dollar, it could lead to a short-covering rally that would put pressure on pretty much everything else," such as the grains, warned MF Global. Predictions for improved weather added pressure to prices after cool, wet conditions delayed early planting. "The latest models are saying it's going to get drier and warmer," says Sid Love, analyst for Kropf & Love Consulting. CBOT July corn slides 13 1/2c to $7.59 1/4 a bushel.

Wheat (Source: CME)
US wheat futures finish sharply lower as traders reduced risk and took profits after recent gains. Traders worried Fed chairman's comments would sway the dollar or other markets that influence commodities. Prices felt additional pressure from beneficial rains in dry parts of the US Plains and Europe. "Obviously we ran prices up too far too fast on the idea that the crop is gone," says Sid Love, analyst for Kropf & Love Consulting. CBOT July wheat sinks 35c to $8.12 a bushel; KCBT July tumbles 37 3/4c to $9.23; MGE July sheds 27 1/4c to $9.54 1/4.

Rice (Source: CME)
US rice futures close weaker on spillover pressure from sinking wheat and corn prices. Traders were reducing risk in the grains and taking profits as concerns eased about poor weather. It seems worries about rains delaying US rice planting have been dialed into the market, an analyst says. CBOT July rice drops 16c to $14.50 1/2 per hundredweight.

Argentina Pres Sends Congress Bill Limiting Foreign Land Ownership (Source: CME)
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has sent a bill to Congress placing strict limits on the amount of farm and rural land that foreigners can purchase, throwing cold water on a wave of foreign buying of farmland in the agricultural powerhouse. Under the proposed bill, foreigners will be limited to buying 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) each and a nationwide survey will be conducted to ensure that no more than 20% of the country's total rural area is in the hands of foreigners, Fernandez announced. Existing landholdings held by foreigners will not be affected, Fernandez said.

Russian Domestic Grain Prices Fall This Week On State Intervention Fund (Source: CME)
Russian domestic grain prices continue to fall this week as the government continues to sell grain from the State Intervention Fund amid no fresh news on the Russian grains export ban, the SovEcon agricultural markets analysis body said. The Russian government imposed a ban on the export of grain Aug. 15, to last until June 30 2011 because of severe drought. The drought has resulted in Russia's grain harvest this year falling to 60 million metric tons, according to the agriculture ministry's estimates, from 97.1 million tons last year. SovEcon said domestic prices for fourth-grade milling wheat retreated 1% to 5,200 rubles a metric ton, and third-grade milling wheat declined 2% to RUB5,500/ton. Average corn price this week also fell 2% to RUB7,700 a ton. "Now, Russian domestic prices are lower than U.S. and EU corn price levels. But in January, Russian prices were the same as international corn prices," said Andrey Sizov Jr. Managing Director of SovEcon.
Sizov added that Russian grain price levels are falling because the government continues to sell grain from the State Intervention Fund and has not advised further on the grain export ban. The State Intervention Fund refers to the quantities of grain purchased in previous years by the government to support price levels and to curb inflation when necessary. "At the start of the year, we estimate the government had 9.6 million tons of grain in the state intervention fund. Now, we believe this has fallen to seven million tons as the government continues to sell from this fund," said Sizov. Russia's domestic grain prices have also slumped in recent weeks due to a growing consensus the market may have more supplies than previously thought. The Russian Grain Union estimates the country may have up to eight million tons more grain than originally thought as farmers have stockpiled supplies and several million tons sitting in elevators in the south has not been sold.
Sizov said grain supplies in Russia are not as abundant as some observers believe and the country has still resorted to 10,000-20,000 tons of corn and 20,000-30,000 tons of barley imports.

Midwest Storms Delay Crucial Planting Season (Source: CME)
Unusually rainy and cool weather is delaying many Midwest farmers from launching the planting boon that food executives are banking on to replenish tight grain supplies. According to the U.S. Agriculture Department, farmers in the 18 biggest corn-producing states had planted just 9% of their corn acres by Sunday, compared with the five-year average of 23% of their corn acres by this time of the year. In Iowa, the biggest corn producing state, farmers had managed to plant just 3% of their intended corn acres compared with 61% at this time in the spring of 2010, when the planting season started unusually early. The planting season is also running behind average in Minnesota, the Dakotas and Montana. Only 6% of the spring wheat grown on the Northern Plains and Pacific Northwest had been planted by Sunday compared with 39% last year. Likewise, only 10% of U.S. sugar beet acreage had been planted by Sunday compared with 80% by that time last year.
Agricultural analysts said Midwest farmers still have weeks to get their seeds in the ground in order to reap bumper harvests. Indeed, U.S. corn farmers were even further behind in the spring of 2008, yet managed to produce what was then their second-biggest corn harvest ever. Dan Basse, president of AgResource Co., a Chicago commodity forecasting concern, said Tuesday that Midwest planting delays wouldn't prompt him to cut his harvest forecasts unless they continue for a few more weeks. "Corn won't lose its yield potential until it's planted after May 15," said Mr. Basse, who continues to expect U.S. corn farmers to produce a record 13.8 billion bushels this year. Food and textile executives are paying close attention to weather across the Farm Belt this planting season because strong demand and tight supplies of key crops are pushing their ingredient costs to high levels. Prices of Midwest corn, Southern Plains wheat and cotton have doubled from a year ago; soybean prices are up 40%.
Food makers and meatpackers are counting on a planting boon to replenish supplies and push down crop prices. Meteorologists say the stormy Midwest spring is being fueled by the same La Nina weather phenomenon that is behind the drought gripping Southern Plains states such as Texas and Oklahoma, where the wheat crop planted last fall is shriveling from thirst even as Minnesota fields are too muddy and cold to plant with seed. According to the USDA, 72% of the Texas wheat crop is in very poor to poor condition. La Nina is a cooling of the surface of the eastern Pacific Ocean along the equator. The cooler-than-normal water temperature is thought to trigger dry weather in the southern U.S. by reducing the amount of moisture that is picked up by the subtropical jet stream, a high-altitude air flow that serves as a highway for storms.

U.S. wheat extends losses, corn dips on Fed uncertainty
U.S. wheat futures lost more ground on Wednesday, dropping almost 1 percent, while corn fell half a percent, ending a three-day rising streak on uncertainty ahead of a Federal Reserve news conference later in the day. "There is uncertainty before the Fed press conference which is likely to affect the entire commodities complex," said Ker Chung Yang, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Kazakhstan wheat output seen 14.5 mln T - attache
WASHINGTON, April 26 (Reuters) - Following are selected highlights from a report issued by a U.S. Department of Agriculture attache in Kazakhstan: "Assuming normal weather, FAS Astana forecasts that Kazakhstan's wheat crop in MY 2011 will rebound to 14.5 million tonnes from the drought affected 9.7 million tonnes in MY 2010. Wheat exports are forecast at 7 million tonnes, an increase by 2 million tonnes from MY 2010, and most wheat and flour
will be exported to Asian countries, while exports to Russia will not exceed 1 million tonnes.

Vietnam rice export prices up as paddy prices rise-attache
WASHINGTON, April 26 (Reuters) - Following are selected highlights from a report issued by a U.S. Department of Agriculture attache in Vietnam: "Export rice prices went up last week due to the pressure of higher local paddy prices. The harvest of the spring crop in the Mekong River Delta is coming to an end; thus farmers are trying to hold their newly harvested paddy, anticipating a higher selling price later in the year."

Morocco ends soft wheat imports as local crop surges
MEKNES, Morocco, April 26 (Reuters) - The Moroccan government has wrapped up its soft wheat imports a month ahead of schedule and will rely on a local cereals harvest it expects to rise by 18 percent, its top farming official said on Tuesday.
Speaking on the sidelines of a farming conference in the central city of Meknes, Agriculture Minister Aziz Akhennouch also told Reuters the agriculture-reliant economy "could add a few points of extra growth", after the announcement of a cereals harvest forecast of 8.8 million tonnes this year.

Weekend rain not enough to help parched EU wheat
HAMBURG, April 26 (Reuters) - Easter rain in parts of west Europe was not enough to significantly help parched wheat crops in key producers France and Germany, and fears of crop damage are growing, analysts and traders said on Tuesday.
Weather forecasts for both countries are for only scattered rain this week. Dryness could start to cut wheat yields in the 2011 harvest in France and Germany, analysts said. Concern is also growing in Britain, but the outlook in Italy and Spain is better.

Russian wheat exports loom, may pressure prices
SINGAPORE, April 26 (Reuters) - Russia is likely to resume wheat exports later this year which will add to the global surplus of the grain, putting pressure on international prices, a U.S.-based agriculture consultant said on Tuesday.
Russia, typically the world's third largest wheat exporter, banned overseas grain sales last year after a devastating drought ravaged the Black Sea region, pushing wheat prices  higher on the benchmark Chicago Board of Trade.

U.S. corn planting seen 13 pct done, behind schedule
CHICAGO, April 25 (Reuters) - Damp soil and cold weather around the U.S. Midwest have likely put farmers well behind their ideal corn planting schedule and left them hoping for a quick warm-up as the deadline for optimal seeding approaches.
The U.S. Agriculture Department's weekly crop progress report on Monday afternoon is expected to show that farmers had planted 13 percent of their anticipated corn acreage as of April 24, based on an average of estimates given by nine analysts.

Arabica coffee edges up early as uptrend resumes
Arabica coffee futures on ICE were higher in early trade on Wednesday with the market heading back up towards last week's 34-year peak while sugar fell as the market eyed Friday's expiry of May raws.  Arabica coffee futures on ICE edged up with the market back on an upward track, supported both by constructive technicals and tight supplies.

Italians keep drinking coffee despite price rises
MILAN, April 26 (Reuters) - Italians keep drinking coffee, despite rising prices, and this year they are consuming as much or even slightly more than in 2010 although they have more at home to save money, a senior industry official said.
Italy is one of Europe's major coffee markets, using about 5.7-5.8 kg per head and with total consumption of 5.8 million 60-kg coffee bags in 2009, according to data from the International Coffee Organisation (ICO).

Indonesia 2011 cocoa exports seen down as much as 12.5 pct
JAKARTA, April 27 (Reuters) - Cocoa exports from Indonesia, the world's third-largest cocoa producer, may fall by as much as 12.5 percent this year, the Indonesian Cocoa Association said on Wednesday.
Cocoa exports from Southeast Asia's largest economy will be between 280,000 tonnes and 300,000 tonnes this year, down from 320,000 tonnes in 2010, Zulhefi Sikumbang, chairman of an association known as Askindo, said at a news conference.

Russia 11/12 sugar beet output seen up 40 pct-attache
WASHINGTON, April 26 (Reuters) - Following are selected highlights from a report issued by a U.S. Department of Agriculture attache in Russia: "Russian sugar beet production is expected to rebound strongly in 2011 and ffectively displace a significant portion of raw sugar imports in 2011/12. GOR subsidies and normal weather conditions should allow industry to ultimately increase harvested area and production to 1.2 million hectares (24 percent over 2010) and 30 million tonnes (40 percent over 2010), respectively.

Ivory Coast cocoa trade, banking poised to restart
ABIDJAN, April 26 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast's cocoa and banking sectors are set to resume operations within days, officials said on Tuesday, signalling big steps toward restoring normality in the conflict-torn West African state.
A violent post-election power struggle paralyzed the economy of the world's top cocoa grower for months, leaving Ivorians to scramble for daily survival in the midst of heavy combat and sending shockwaves through global cocoa markets.

Brazil cocoa arrivals up 12 pct from year ago
BRASILIA, April 26 (Reuters) - Deliveries of cocoa to warehouses from the main growing regions in Brazil were up 12 percent from a year ago, with just one week left before the 2010/11 season ends, Bahia Commercial Association data showed on Tuesday.
Cocoa deliveries have slowed to a trickle in the lull between the end of the main crop and the start of the forthcoming mid crop which should begin harvesting in May or June depending on the region.

Ivorian cocoa mid-crop boosted by fine weather
ABIDJAN, April 26 (Reuters) - Patchy rains and sun in Ivory Coast's cocoa growing regions last week was good news for the development of the April-to-September mid-crop, farmers and analysts said on Tuesday.
Traders are eyeing the mid-crop in the world's top cocoa producer, with several exporters forecasting between 250,000 and 300,000 tonnes reaching port -- where warehouses are already brimming with tonnage delayed by a violent political struggle.

Russia metals exporters face rail constraints
MOSCOW, April 27 (Reuters) - Russian metals firms seeking to increase exports to China and other Asian buyers face an uphill struggle as they grapple with infrastructure constraints on Soviet-era rail lines in Siberia and the Far East.
Russia's two main rail lines in the region, the Trans-Siberian and the Baikal Amur Mainline (BAM) are becoming overburdened as freight shipments increase.

China April power shortages hit aluminium, lead demand-industry
HONG KONG, April 27 (Reuters) - An unexpected coal shortage for power plants in key Chinese industrial provinces in April has caused a drop in aluminium and lead demand by end users that threatens to shut some small smelters, while larger ones face lower prices, industry sources said on Wednesday.
China, the world's biggest market and maker for the two metals, normally hits peak electricity demand in the summer and can often face shortages, leading provincial officials to cut supplies to intensive energy users.

Europe aluminium premiums hit all-time peak
LONDON, April 26 (Reuters) - Premiums for duty-paid physical aluminium in Europe hit a record high this week, due to material being locked up in financing deals in London Metal Exchange (LME) warehouses or being in Detroit where it is hard to access.
Premiums for duty-paid metal in Rotterdam  this week were at $210-235 a tonne over London Metal Exchange (LME) cash prices , traders said, the highest since Reuters records began in 1998.

Japan March aluminium shipments fall 8.5 pct yr/yr
TOKYO, April 27 (Reuters) - - Japanese shipments of aluminium products fell 8.5 percent in March from a year earlier, logging the first year-on-year decline in 16 months as last month's devastating earthquake  took a toll on demand from industries across the board.
Shipments for the month fell to 170,878 tonnes as the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan forced manufacturers to halt or slash production due to infrastructure damage, power cuts and shortages of parts, data provided by the Japan Aluminium Association showed on Wednesday.   

Japan March copper exports fall 16 pct yr/yr
TOKYO, April 27 (Reuters) - - Japan's refined copper exports fell 16 percent in March from a year earlier to 50,258 tonnes for a sixth straight month of year-on-year declines, although the pace was slowing, Ministry of Finance data showed on Wednesday.
Demand for copper, used in utensils, construction materials and computer chips, is often seen as a gauge of economic activity. 

Russia to peg nickel export duty to LME prices
MOSCOW, April 26 (Reuters) - Russia will peg its export tariff for nickel, currently fixed at 10 percent, to metal prices on the London Metals Exchange, an order published on a government web site showed on Tuesday.
At the current price of $26,450 per tonne, the new formula would mean a tariff increase of nearly 30 percent, or nearly $800 per tonne.

U.S. steelmakers see improved second quarter
NEW YORK, April 26 (Reuters) - Two major U.S. steelmakers reported contrasting quarterly results on Tuesday, but both gave positive outlooks for the industry as improving economic conditions boost demand and prices.
U.S. Steel Corp  stock fell 4 percent to close at $49.72 as it reported a wider-than-expected loss in the first quarter, while AK Steel's  shares rose 6.3 percent to $16.96 as its results beat Wall Street estimates.

Glencore holds up to 80 pct LME lead stocks -sources
LONDON, April 26 (Reuters) - Commodity trader Glencore has moved lead stocks to London Metal Exchange monitored warehouses to make evident the value of the holdings before its flotation, senior metal trading sources said.
LME data shows that one entity controls between 50 and 80 percent of inventories. While the exchange does not release the identity of the holder, traders say it is Glencore.

Japan March zinc exports fall 35 pct yr/yr
TOKYO, April 27 (Reuters) - Japan's refined zinc exports for March fell 34.6 percent from a year earlier to 7,444 tonnes, widening from February's year-on-year decrease of 9 percent, Ministry of Finance data showed on Wednesday.
The wider year-on-year drop in March reflected the impact from a March 11 earthquake which devastated northeast Japan and shut nearly 65 percent of the country's production capacity of zinc, used in automotive steel sheet and construction materials. 

Japan rare earths imports from China jump 40 pct in March
TOKYO, April 27 (Reuters) - Japan's imports of rare earths from China rose 40 percent in March from the previous month, Ministry of Finance data showed, with some observers saying demand is so far unaffected by last month's devastating quake though the outlook remains murky.
Imports of rare earths from China stood at 1,603.6 tonnes in March, the data showed on Wednesday. That was up from 1,138 tonnes in February and close to January's 1,783 tonnes, indicating that inflows of the metals continued after Beijing's de-facto ban on shipments was lifted in November. 

METALS-Copper falls on inventory rise, caution on Fed
LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) - Copper fell on Wednesday as inventories of the metal continued to build and as investors tread carefully ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve decision on monetary policy, but a weaker dollar kept further losses in check.
Benchmark copper  on the London Metal Exchange traded at $9,406 at 0921 GMT, from a close of $9,545 a tonne on Tuesday.

PRECIOUS-Silver steadies, gold perky ahead of Fed decision
LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) - Silver steadied on Wednesday, after its largest one-day slide in over a month the previous day, while gold profited from a weaker dollar which came under pressure ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate decision.
The Fed is not expected to signal any rush to scale back its multi-billion dollar support mechanisms for the economy, so investors are waiting to hear more on the outlook for monetary policy from chairman Ben Bernanke when he gives the central bank's first post-decision news conference later in the day.

Gold Futures Surge to Record on Outlook for Sagging Dollar, Low U.S. Rates (Source: Bloomberg)
Gold futures rose to a record $1,530.30 an ounce on speculation that the Federal Reserve will be slow to raise U.S. borrowing costs, weakening the dollar and boosting the appeal of the metal as an alternative asset. The dollar fell to the lowest since December 2009 against the euro after the Fed kept borrowing costs at a record low and said it would continue $600 billion in bond purchases through June. The European Central Bank this month began raising rates to stem inflation.

Oil Rises a Second Day After U.S. Fuel Stockpiles Fall More Than Forecast (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil climbed for a second day in New York after a government report showed gasoline stockpiles in the U.S. declined more than analysts estimated to the lowest since August 2009. Futures advanced from the highest settlement in more than two weeks after the Energy Department said gasoline inventories fell 2.51 million barrels to 205.6 million, declining for the 10th week. Supplies were projected to drop 1 million barrels last week, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

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