Thursday, March 17, 2011

20110317 1814 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3338, changed : -9 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : correction range bound, downside biased.
MACD Histrogram : turned upward, seller lock in profit.
Support : 3300, 3270, 3200, 3150 level.
Resistance : 3350, 3420, 3450, 3470 level.
Comment :
Quiet FCPO closed recorded marginal loss with about half of yesterday volume traded after overnight soy oil near the low of the day surrendered all earlier gains and rebounding higher currently.
Daily chart formed a small up doji bar candle positioned above but near lower Bollinger band level after market opened gap down, tested lower and recovered upward once recording gain due to seller profit taking activities and retreated lower to closed off the high of the day.
Chart reading wise, market is likely to trade in correction range bound downside biased movement possibly testing higher resistance level with MACD histrogram forming positive divergence.
When to buy : buy at support or weakness with quick cut loss and profit target.
When to sell : sell at resistant or strength with quick cut loss and profit target.

20110317 1736 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1491 changed : -1.5 point,  volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : correction range bound downside biased.
MACD Histrogram : recovering, seller taking profit
Support : 1485, 1470, 1458, 1445 level.
Resistance : 1500, 1515, 1530, 1540 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed recorded marginal loss with decreasing volume transacted doing 1 point discount compare to cash market despite overnight US market closed severely lower while regional markets ended while regional market traded mostly lower meanwhile Japan putting lots of effort to rescue the nuclear power plant from getting worst.
Daily chart formed an up doji bar candle with longer lower shadow positioned between lower and middle Bollinger band level after market opened gap down, tested lower followed by seller profit taking activities pushed up higher recovered most of earlier losses to closed near the higher of the day.
Technical chart reading suggesting a correction range bound downside biased market development possibly testing higher resistance level with MACD histrogram forming positive divergence.
When to buy : buy at support or weakness with quick cut loss and profit target.
When to sell : sell at resistant or strength with quick cut loss and profit target.

20110317 0919 Global Economic Related News.

China: Leading economic index rises, easing slowdown concern
An indicator of China’s economic outlook rebounded, easing concerns that the government’s campaign to curb inflation and asset bubbles may lead to a sudden slowdown in the world’s second-biggest economy. Premier Wen Jiabao this week vowed to tame inflation he described as a tiger that “once set free will be very difficult to put back into its cage.” The central bank has imposed three increases in interest rates and five adjustments to banks’ reserve requirements since mid-October to rein in liquidity that’s fueling gains in housing and food costs that could threaten social stability. (Financial Daily)

South Korea: Unemployment rate increases to 1-year high
South Korea’s unemployment rate rose to a one-year high in February as jobs in farms, hotels, restaurants, and the retail and wholesale sectors declined. The jobless rate rose to 4% from 3.6% in January, Statistics Korea said, citing seasonally adjusted figures. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of eight economists was for a rate of 3.6%. A further climb may ease pressure on the central bank to extend interest-rate increases if it helps tame the fastest inflation in more than two years by curbing demand. Officials are also weighing the impact of the earthquake in Japan, saying they will help exporters if trade flows are disrupted. (Bloomberg)

Japan: Quake rebuilding may revive laggard northeast
Reconstruction from Japan’s record earthquake and ensuing tsunami may help revive a farming and manufacturing region that was already lagging behind the rest of the economy. Job prospects in Miyagi, where an estimated 10,000 people were killed, were worse than in most of the nation’s 47 prefectures in January. Neighboring Iwate had been hemorrhaging workers to Tokyo, while Fukushima was becoming increasingly dependent on its remaining factories even as Japanese manufacturers move abroad to emerging Asian markets. Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s government aims to compile a relief package as soon as next month, with the biggest opposition party calling for a JPY 5trn (USD62bn) effort, about USD5bn more than South Korea’s 1997 bailout package. (Bloomberg)

EU: Stocks slump the most in four months on nuclear concern
European stocks slumped the most in four months as concern grew that a Japanese nuclear power plant damaged by last week’s earthquake will leak radiation. Carmakers and chemical shares led losses on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index as all 19 industry groups lost at least 1.5%. Utilities E.ON AG and RWE AG sank more than 2%, while renewable-energy companies rallied as Germany said it will halt its seven oldest nuclear reactors as part of a safety review. BHP Billiton Ltd. led a selloff in basic-resource shares as metal prices retreated. The Stoxx 600 tumbled 2.3% to 266.32 at the 4:30p.m close in London, sliding below its 200-day moving average for the first time since August. The VStoxx Index, which measures the cost of protecting against declines in the Euro Stoxx 50 Index, climbed 16% to 31.01, the largest gain since November. (Bloomberg)

EU: February inflation quickens, adding pressure on ECB
European inflation accelerated to the fastest in more than two years in February, increasing pressure on the European Central Bank to raise interest rates. Inflation in the 17-nation euro region quickened to 2.4% from 2.3% in January, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said, confirming a 1 March estimate. That’s the fastest since Oct 2008 and exceeded the ECB’s 2% limit for a third month. Labor costs rose 1.6% in the fourth quarter from a year ago, after increasing 0.9% in the third quarter, a separate report showed. (Bloomberg)

UK: Jobless claims unexpectedly fall most in eight months
UK unemployment claims unexpectedly fell in February by the most in eight months, adding to signs that the economy may be recovering from the impact of the winter freeze. Jobless benefit claims dropped 10,200 from January to 1.45 million, the lowest since Feb 2009, the Office for National Statistics said. Economists forecast an increase of 1,300, according to the median of 24 predictions in a Bloomberg News survey. Unemployment based on International Labour Organization methods rose by 27,000 in the three months through January to 2.53 million, the highest since 1994. (Bloomberg)

US stocks slide on Japan concern, Yen reaches post-WWII high
US stocks sank, erasing the 2011 gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, and Treasuries rallied as Japan’s nuclear crisis worsened. The yen rose to a post-World War II high versus the dollar on speculation investors will buy the currency to fund rebuilding projects. Equities extended their retreat as US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko told lawmakers that all the water has drained from the spent-fuel pool at a crippled atomic reactor north of Tokyo and high levels of radiation have been released. The United Nations’ nuclear agency planned to call an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis and said the three reactor cores containing fuel are damaged. (Bloomberg)

U.S: Home construction slumps in February. Home construction dropped 23% to a 479,000 annual rate, while building permits slumped last month to a record low, Commerce Department figures showed. (Source: Bloomberg)

U.S: Producer prices in February rise more than forecast, led by food, oil. The producer-price index climbed 1.6% MoM from the prior month, the most since June 2009. The so-called core measure, which excludes volatile food and energy costs increased 0.2% MoM, matching forecasts. (Source: Bloomberg)

U.S: Mortgage applications fell last week on fewer purchases as a decline in borrowing costs failed to spur home buying. The Mortgage Bankers Association's index of loan applications declined 0.7% in the week ended March 11. The group's purchase index fell 4%, while a measure of refinancing climbed 0.9%.The prospect of further declines in home prices and more foreclosures in coming months may be prompting Americans to refrain from purchases. (Source: Bloomberg)

Japan: Manufacturers were pessimistic in 2Q11 before quake struck. Sentiment among manufacturers with more than JPY 1b (USD 12m) in capital was minus 3.2 points this quarter compared with minus 8 three months ago. The survey was conducted before the nation's biggest earthquake on March 11, and a negative number means pessimists outnumber optimists. (Source: Bloomberg)   

20110317 0918 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

KLCI chart reading : correction range bound downside biased but still above previous low support level.

SEGi named to lead ECCE project
SEG International (SEGi) has been appointed by the Government to lead the development of integrated early child care education (ECCE) under the National Key Economic Area. SEGi told Bursa Malaysia yesterday it would lead the initiative in training and developing early childhood and childcare practitioners. It will also play a lead role in coordinating the establishment of teacher training centres that provide pre- and in-service ECCE courses recognized by Malaysian Qualifications Agency. (StarBiz)

Pharmaniaga gets 10-year govt deal
Pharmaniaga has signed a 10-year concession deal with the Government for the privatization of the medical lab and store. The deal was signed with the Ministry of Health and it covers the right and authority to buy, store, supply and distribute the approved products to the public sector customers. The agreement starts from 1 Dec 2009 until 30 Nov 2019. (BT)

SingPost rules out Pos stake
Singapore Post (SingPost) is not bidding for Khazanah Nasional's 32.2% stake in Pos Malaysia and will also not buy any more shares in courier company GD Express Carrier (GDEX). The postal company, valued at SGD2.2bn (RM5.36bn), on 15 March boosted its stake in GDEX to 27% from 5% as it seeks to expand in the region. The deal raised eyebrows as it was done a day before Khazanah's tender deadline for Pos Malaysia. (BT)

Tomei acquires Goldheart operations
Tomei Consolidated is buying the retail operations of Goldheart in Malaysia for RM5.6m. In a statement to Bursa Malaysia, the company said the deal will help it expand and improve its market share in the retail jewellery industry. TCB and its assignee will enter into a fresh agreement or novation agreement with the landlord of the existing retail outlets to continue Goldheart retail operations in Malaysia. (BT)

Shin Yang resumes services to N-E Asia
Shin Yang Shipping Corp said its international shipping services serving the Northeast Asia route have resumed operations. “It has resumed to all other Japanese ports save for Sendai Port which was affected by the massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan last Friday” it said. (BT)

Sime Darby : Bakun dam to generate power in July. The Bakun hydroelectric dam is expected to commercially produce 300MW of electricity in July. (Source: The Edge Financial Daily)

TMC: Ties up with Indon bank. TMC Life Sciences Bhd's unit Tropicana Medical Centre (M) Sdn Bhd (TMC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indonesia's Bank Riau Kepri to establish a credit card privilege discount programme. TMC is confident of achieving its 60% growth target this year through various marketing and strategic collaborative efforts with local and regional partners. (Source: The Edge Financial Daily)

SEGi: Hii ups stake to 32.2%, named to lead ECCE project. SEG International Bhd's (SEGi) group MD director Datuk Clement Hii Chii Kok has upped his stake further in the education group to 32.2%. Meanwhile, Rextar Capital Sdn Bhd ceased to be a substantial shareholder after disposing of 10.8m shares. Separately, SEGi has been appointed by the Government to lead the development of integrated early child care education under the National Key Economic Area. (Source: The Edge Financial Daily, The Star)

Aviation: Premium air travel to go down this month. The Japanese disaster will reduce premium air travel in March as it makes up 6% to 7% of the global market, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said. It added that unrest in the Middle East and the Japanese disaster would likely hit February and March figures. (Source: The Star)              

20110317 0900 Renewables Energy Related News.

COPENHAGEN, March 15 (Reuters) - Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas  retained its world-leading market position in 2010 despite fierce competition from Chinese rivals rising up the ranks, a report published on Tuesday showed.
"Vestas maintained its leading market position in 2010 based on the strength of its global install activity," MAKE Consulting, a specialist in the wind energy industry, said in an extract from the report.

JOHANNESBURG, March 15 (Reuters) - The African Development Bank may lend South African power utility Eskom [ESCJ.UL] $270 million to fund its wind and solar power projects, the bank's climate change and energy director said on Tuesday.
Hela Cheikhrouhou said the bank would mediate an additional $100 million from the World Bank's Clean Technology Fund.

NEW YORK, March 15 (Reuters) - SunPower Corp does not expect any change in its 2011 output of solar modules because of the massive earthquake in Japan, the company said on Tuesday.
It said its Japanese suppliers have seen some operations disrupted because of the disaster but have not sustained major damage to facilities.

BRUSSELS, March 15 (Reuters) - Global wind power capacity will more than double by 2015, but the current debate over nuclear safety clouds predictions of the future energy mix, the Global Wind Energy Council said on Tuesday.
"By 2015, the global installed wind power capacity will more than double to 450 gigawatts from 194.4 gigawatts at the end of 2010," GWEC said in its five-year forecast.

CAPE TOWN, March 15 (Reuters) - The Democratic Republic of Congo expects its Inga 3 hydro project to start generating power by 2017/18 to supply the DRC and neighbouring states from the 4,300-5,000 MW scheme, a government official said on Tuesday.
A pre-feasibility study on the $8-10 billion Inga 3 plant, as well as a separate 40,000 MW Grand Inga project, is expected by September as the mineral-rich DRC moved to kick-start a project stalled last year.

CAPE TOWN, March 15 (Reuters) - South Africa is talking to the Democratic Republic of Congo to revive a stalled $8-$10 billion 5,000 megawatt hydro power project on the Congo River, South African energy minister Dipuo Peters said on Tuesday.
Last year, the DRC rejected a proposal by the Western Power Corridor (Westcor), a joint venture between five southern African governments and power utilities that would have led to exports of up to 3,000 MW to South Africa and another 1,000 MW to neighbouring countries by 2015.

FRANKFURT, March 15 (Reuters) - German solar wholesaler Phoenix Solar  shied away from providing an outlook for the current business year as regulatory changes in key markets increased uncertainty about the sector's future.
Germany, the solar industry's No.1 market, is set to cut solar power subsidies up to 15 percent from this summer, six months earlier than originally planned, a move hurting the company, which makes most of its sales there.

MUMBAI, March 14 (Reuters) - India's Suzlon Energy Ltd  , the world's third-biggest wind turbine maker, said on Monday its founders sold 2.25 percent of the company's shares, and would use the proceeds to extend financial support to the company.
Suzlon, which has been the subject of occasional reports of a possible sale, also said proceeds from the share sale will be used for strategic initiatives.

CAPE TOWN, March 14 (Reuters) - China's Xinjiang Goldwind Science and Technology , the world's No. 5 maker of wind turbines, opened an office in Cape Town on Monday with the aim of supplying equipment and project finance in Africa.
The company, which since the turn of the millenium achieved an average growth of more than 100 percent a year, listed on the Hong Kong bourse late last year and will use the roughly $900 million raised to help fund debt and equity projects in Africa, the Americas and Australia.

LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) - EDP Renewables, the wind energy unit of EDP Energias de Portugal, expects costs for wind turbines this year and next to fall 9 percent from peak prices, the company's finance chief told Reuters.
"For EDPR, the total cost of building 1 megawatt this year and the next should be around 1.2 million euros ($1.67 million) - 1.3 million euros per MW," Chief Financial Officer Rui Teixeira said in an interview on Monday.

March 14 (Reuters) - A-Power Energy Generation Systems Ltd said it signed a contract for about $30.5 million to develop a biomass power plant in Shandong province in China, sending the Chinese green power firm's shares up 11 percent in pre-market trade.
The power plant, which will consist of two 15 megawatt power generation units, will be built for Xin County Guangchao Biomass Power Generation LCC.

VANCOUVER, March 13 (Reuters) - As renewable energies go, geothermal energy has a lot on its side.
The naturally occurring heat trapped deep in the earth can be pumped up to the surface to produce electricity that's clean, is always available without the fickleness of wind and solar, and, according to some studies, is even cheaper than coal-fired power.

LOS ANGELES, March 11 (Reuters) - Solar equipment maker Oerlikon Solar is keeping a close eye on the development of so-called CIGS technology and could expand into that market down the road, a senior executive said on Friday.
The unit of Swiss conglomerate Oerlikon Corp AG  sells manufacturing equipment to companies that make "thin film silicon" solar panels, but has not ruled out expanding into rival technologies such as copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) cells.

ASTANA, March 11 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan's state nuclear company, Kazatomprom, plans to expand into solar panel production by investing around $230 million in a new factory in Astana, the head of the company said on Friday.
Construction of the plant would begin in March in the capital and take at least two years, Kazatomprom President Vladimir Shkolnik said during a meeting in the Senate.

BEIJING, March 11 (Reuters) - China's electricity output increased 15.4 percent from a year earlier in February and gained 11.7 percent in the first two months of this year, government data showed on Friday.
The National Bureau of Statistics did not provide power generation data for January, but Reuters calculations based on official figures showed output in January grew about 8.2 percent on year.

March 10 (Reuters) - Regulated utility San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), a unit of Sempra Energy \, signed a contract with renewable energy company Tenaska Solar Ventures for a 150-megawatt solar power plant in southern California.
Under the 25-year power-purchase deal, Tenaska Solar -- a unit of natural gas marketer Tenaska -- will develop and operate the ground-mounted plant.

LOS ANGELES, March 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. solar power sector grew 67 percent in 2010 but still lagged European markets by a wide margin in installing solar systems, the industry's trade group said on Thursday.
The U.S. market for solar energy reached $6 billion in 2010, up from $3.6 billion the previous year, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

March 9 (Reuters) - U.S. solar power company SunPower Corp, which makes solar panels that turn sunlight into electricity and also builds solar power systems, agreed to supply 48 megawatt of solar panels to Japan's Toshiba Corp during 2011.
Toshiba will use the panels to support the company's residential solar offering in Japan. 

20110317 0859 Biofuels Related News.

--Gavin Maguire is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own. To get his real-time views on the market, please join the Global Ags Forum. --
CHICAGO, March 10 (Reuters) - The recent slump in corn prices has helped U.S. ethanol producer margins rebound from their recent plunge into negative territory, and has prompted ethanol manufacturers to snap their recent five-week streak of declining production
However, sluggish off-take levels have led to a rise ethanol inventories to their highest level in eight months, and reveal a lingering threat to ethanol market fundamentals that may limit a further recovery in producer margins over the near term.

BRUSSELS, March 15 (Reuters) - European bioethanol producers will decide by the end of March whether to file a legal complaint with the European Commission over U.S. subsidies, the EU's main bioethanol lobby said.
Producers such as Germany's CropEnergies  and Spain's Abengoa  are gathering data on tax credits granted by the U.S. government to U.S. firms that blend ethanol with gasoline. They say the tax break squeezes the margins of competing European producers when the resulting blend is exported to the EU.

MAPUTO, 14 March (Reuters) - UK-based Sun Biofuels plans to produce 2 million liters of fuel from its jatropha plantations in Mozambique's central Manica province by 2018, an official said on Monday.
Business Development Director Harry Stourton said the company will increase its cultivation area of jatropha plants to 10,000 hectares from the 2,500 hectares it has so far.

BRUSSELS, March 14 (Reuters) - The greenest fuels would become cheaper under an planned overhaul of European fuel taxes that would also narrow the price gap between petrol and diesel.
The European Union's executive wants to overhaul Europe's 240 billion euro ($334.4 billion) annual taxation of energy, which varies widely between countries and often creates paradoxical incentives that encourage the biggest polluters.

SAO PAULO/LONDON, March 11 (Reuters) - Oil major BP has agreed to buy a Brazilian sugar and ethanol group for $680 million, expanding its presence in the country's biofuels industry in what it said was the largest deal to date for its alternative energy unit.
The deal accents big oil's diversification into Brazil's ethanol sector as economies rethink their dependence on fossil fuels, especially following the political unrest in the Middle East that has driven oil prices to the highest since 2008.

WASHINGTON, March 10 (Reuters) - Gasoline containing up to 15 percent ethanol should be available for the coming summer driving season as the government moves to finalize labeling and other issues for the new motor fuel.
The Environmental Protection Agency approved in January raising the amount of ethanol in gasoline to 15 percent for newer cars and trucks from 10 percent, a ruling welcomed by the industry and by farmers who supply the corn to make the fuel.

KANSAS CITY, March 9 (Reuters) - U.S. ethanol production snapped a five-week decline, rising slightly in the past week as profit margins improved, ethanol experts said.
Production rose to 883,000 barrels per day (bpd) for the week ended March 4, up from 882,000 bpd the previous week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

20110317 0853 Global Market Related News.

Dow Jones chart reading : downside biased with possible pullback correction. 

FTSE chart reading : downside biased with possible pullback correction. 

DAX chart reading : downside biased with possible pullback correction.  

Hang Seng chart reading : downside biased with possible pullback correction. 

Brent crude falls below $110 as equities drop, Japan crisis weighs
SINGAPORE, March 17 - Brent crude fell by as much as 1 percent on Thursday to below $110 as Japan's worsening nuclear crisis buffeted stock markets, raising questions about the impact of the earthquake on growth and energy demand.
"There is so much uncertainty in Japan and its ability to drive economic recovery that it's something that is casting a shadow on the outlook for global growth," said Ben Westmore, a commodities analyst at National Australia Bank. 

Corn, wheat rise 1.5 pct after selloff, soy extends gains
SINGAPORE, March 17 (Reuters) - U.S. corn and wheat futures rose around 1.5 percent on Thursday on bargain hunting after a selloff this week triggered by Japan's devastating earthquake, which raised doubts over the nation's grain imports.
"The grain markets are volatile because Japan is a major corn importer and we are not sure about the nuclear situation," said Ker Chung Yang, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Gold tracks equities lower, ETF holdings inch up
SINGAPORE, March 17 (Reuters) - Gold dropped to stay below $1,400 on Thursday as mounting fears about a nuclear catastrophe in Japan prompted investors to sell the bullion to cover losses in other markets, but a rise in ETF holdings suggested weaker prices had spurred buying interest.
"There are mixed views with respect to the catastrophe in Japan. Few sections of investors believe that demand may see surge in the coming sessions which could take gold to fresh record highs," said Pradeep Unni, senior analyst at Richcomm Global Services in Dubai.

Yen surges, stocks fall as Japan crisis deepens
SINGAPORE, March 17 (Reuters) - The yen surged to a record high against the dollar and shares in Japan and elsewhere in Asia fell on Thursday after U.S. officials said the risk of a catastrophic radiation leak from an earthquake-stricken Japanese nuclear plant was rising.
"Fear is the only factor driving the market today and if you look at news about temperatures rising, things exploding, you're not going to trade calmly, right?" said Koichi Ogawa, chief portfolio manager at Daiwa SB Investments. 

Oil : Oil rises 2 pct on Mideast fears, eyes Japan
NEW YORK, March 16 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose 2 percent from near three-week lows on Wednesday as a crackdown on protesters in Bahrain reignited worries unrest in the Middle East could further hit oil supplies.
"The increasing unrest in Bahrain -- and the interest taken by Saudi Arabia in trying to resolve it -- must not be overlooked as a risk driver," said J.P. Morgan analyst Lawrence Eagles in New York.

COMMODITIES: Oil, metals rise, but Japan nuclear woes persist
CHICAGO, March 16 (Reuters) - An early rebound in commodities markets melted away on Wednesday as concern about widening unrest in the Middle East that spurred gains in oil failed to offset worries about Japan's nuclear crisis.
"We remain firmly bullish on the global outlook for the second half, expecting an easing of Chinese macro headwinds in H2 and now anticipate a commodity intensive stimulus and rebuild in Japan," Liberum Capital analyst Dominic O'Kane said in a note.

GLOBAL MARKETS: Yen surges, stocks fall as Japan crisis deepens
SINGAPORE, March 17 (Reuters) - The yen surged to a record high against the dollar, Japanese shares slid and stocks elsewhere in Asia fell on Thursday after U.S. officials said the risk of a catastrophic radiation leak from an earthquake-crippled Japanese nuclear plant was rising.
"Fear is the only factor driving the market today and if you look at news about temperatures rising, things exploding, you're not going to trade calmly, right?" said Koichi Ogawa, chief portfolio manager at Daiwa SB Investments.

Home Construction in U.S. Slumps, Producer Prices Rise in Recovery Hurdle (Bloomberg)
Housing starts in the U.S. plunged to the lowest level in almost a year in February and wholesale prices rose more than forecast, hurdles for a recovery that the Federal Reserve said yesterday is on a “firmer footing.”

European February Inflation Quickens, Adding Pressure on ECB to Raise Rate (Bloomberg)
European inflation accelerated to the fastest in more than two years in February, increasing pressure on the European Central Bank to raise interest rates.

OECD Cuts U.K. Growth Forecast, Urges BOE Restraint on Rates (Bloomberg)
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development cut its forecast for U.K. economic growth in 2011 and said the Bank of England should refrain from increasing interest rates until the second half of the year.

Fed Signals Further Stimulus Unlikely as Economic Recovery Gains Strength (Bloomberg)
Federal Reserve officials signaled they’re unlikely to expand a $600-billion bond purchase plan as the recovery picks up steam and the threat that inflation will fall too low begins to wane. 
The economy is on a “firmer footing, and overall conditions in the labor market appear to be improving gradually,” the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement yesterday after a one-day meeting in Washington. While commodity prices have “risen significantly,” inflation expectations have “remained stable.”

U.K. Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Drop to Two-Year Low on Rebound From Snow (Bloomberg)
U.K. unemployment claims unexpectedly fell in February by the most in eight months, adding to signs that the economy may be recovering from the impact of the winter freeze.

U.S. Producer Prices Rise More than Forecast, Led by Food, Oil (Bloomberg)
Wholesale costs in the U.S. rose more than forecast in February, led by food prices at a more than three-decade high and a surge in energy.
US corn futures close sharply lower, extending recent losses as investors continue to worry about a global economic slowdown. Japan's crisis continued to hang over the grains as falling equities sent traders to the sidelines. Commodity funds exited long positions on the perception prices peaked at a 32-month high March 4, says John Kleist, analyst at Funds sold an estimated 28,000 contracts, a large amount. "They're deserting old crop because it's not working anymore," Kleist says. CBOT May corn falls 19 1/2c at $6.16 1/2 a bushel. (Source: CME)

US wheat futures settle mostly lower on global growth concerns. Japan's crisis is expected to reduce the country's grain purchases near-term. CBOT May wheat closes down 5 3/4c at $6.62/bushel while KCBT May edges up 1 1/4c to $7.78 1/4 and MGE May slips 1 1/2c to $8.06. (Source: CME)

New York manufacturing, employment rise
NEW YORK, March 15 (Reuters) - Manufacturing in New York state rose to a nine-month high in March, but a sharp slowing in new orders suggested that economic growth could be less robust in future months.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve maintained its ultra-loose monetary policy on Tuesday, saying the economy was gaining traction while flagging potential inflation risks from costlier energy and food.

PRECIOUS-Gold firms as markets steady; "all eyes" on Japan
LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) - Gold firmed in Europe on Wednesday as investors took advantage of the previous day's 2 percent price drop to buy the metal, and as the extreme risk aversion that prompted a flight to liquidity on Tuesday eased.
"Gold may recover and stabilise, but there could be more downward pressure," said Quantitative Commodity Research consultant Peter Fertig. "It all depends on how tactical people are in managing the situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

FOREX-Yen hits 4-mth high vs dollar as intervention looms
NEW YORK, March 16 (Reuters) - The yen neared a record peak against the dollar on Wednesday, but analysts say expectations Japan will intervene to weaken the currency if it gets much stronger may provide a good opportunity to buy the greenback.
"The daily momentum is a bit oversold but not as much as in October," he said. "And the weekly.

U.S. corn drops to 2-mth low, wheat up 2 pct on crop worry
SINGAPORE, March 16 - U.S wheat futures rallied by 2 percent paring the previous session's 7.35 percent slump and soy also rallied as commodity and equity markets regained composure after a series of steep losses since Friday's earthquake in Japan.  "Grains have come down too far, too fast. The trade at the moment is to sell corn, buy wheat and soy. Weather concerns for corn had built in more of a premium," said Jonathan Barratt, managing director, Commodity Broking Services.

China farmers to grow more grains, cotton; less soy
BEIJING, March 16 (Reuters) - Chinese farmers plan to grow more grains and cotton this year while acreage for soy and sugar crops are likely to fall, the ministry of agriculture said.
Grain acreage is likely to grow 0.3 percent this year from last year, of which farmers intend to grow 2.1 percent more corn and 1.9 percent more rice in northeast provinces, the country's corn belt, the ministry said, citing a survey of farmers.

Japan rebounds after sell-off, lifts others
LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rebounded from a major pummelling that some investors thought overdone, lifting equities elsewhere and allowing the yen to dip from a near record high against the dollar. "Uncertainty in the Fukushima nuclear power plant is clearly making market participants very nervous," said Kazuhiro Takahashi, general manager at Daiwa Securities Capital Markets in Tokyo.

'Get used to higher food costs'-experts
CHICAGO, March 15 (Reuters) - Higher food prices are here to stay.
A rising tide of global forces is supporting the surge in prices for important food staples like meat, dairy and grains, commodity experts said at the Reuters Global Food and Agriculture Summit on Tuesday.
"This is a pretty sustainable increase ... A number of factors have been building over time in terms of the commodity increase: world economic growth, rising crude oil prices, increased Chinese import demand all have conspired," said Bill Lapp, president of Advanced Economic Solutions, a commodity analytical firm based in Omaha, Nebraska.

20110317 0946 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

 Soy Oil chart reading : upward correction range bound downside biased

US soybean futures finish higher, reversing a sharp selloff spurred by Japan-related demand concerns. Soybeans for May delivery settled 1.3% higher at $12.87/bushel. Soybeans were able to strengthen as the rebound in Japanese equities helped open the door for gains in agricultural commodities. Beans also benefited from an official estimate reducing China's 2011 soy acres plantings by 11%, says Rich Nelson at Allendale. Also, "reports of rains in Brazil disrupting harvests and delaying loadings of soybean supplies for export provided further support."  (Source: CME)

Soyoil futures stabilize after facing sharp declines Tuesday, with the byproduct of soybeans also supported by higher crude oil futures. Ended up 0.08c higher at 52.96c/pound after giving up nearly all the day's gains. Soymeal for May delivery rose 1.1% to $344.50/short ton at the CBOT. (Source: CME)

Toepfer: German Rapeseed Winterkill To Pressure EU Biofuels (Source: CME)
Europe's biofuels market looks set to tighten this year after winterkill damaged much of Germany's rapeseed crop in recent weeks, the country's largest grain tradehouse Toepfer International said. Northern and eastern parts of Germany have suffered from severe temperature swings of between -12 and +15 degrees Celsius, leaving plants vulnerable to frost damage and hurting yields. "It is doubtful whether the winter rapeseed plants can still catch up completely the lag in development," said Toepfer. "After the delayed seeding last year in late summer the rapeseed plants are still extremely behind in development."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts a 6% drop in rapeseed output from the European Union in 2010-11, at 20.3 million metric tons. With between 60%-65% of Europe's biodiesel based on the grain and a raft of new EU regulations mandating an increase in biofuels use this year, markets look set to tighten. Output from Ukraine, the bloc's largest supplier, has also been halved by winterkill, meaning imports are expected to remain low. Ending stocks are therefore expected to fall to 1 million tons, leaving a stocks-to-use ratio at 4.1%, its lowest level in eight years. "After the 2010 harvest, which was at best 'average,' dependence on imports is particularly high this marketing year," said Toepfer. "Rapeseed supply is particularly tight in the EU market."

Palm oil falls more than 3 pct on Japan worries
JAKARTA, March 16 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures shed as much as 3 percent tracking other commodity prices lower as the nuclear crisis in Japan sent investors scrambling for perceived safe haven assets.  "It's a sad scenario," said one trader. "There have been two attempts to recover since Friday, but the market has succumbed to selling pressure. Overnight, Chicago collapsed. It is time to form a bottom -- 3,250 should be a temporary bottom."

Rain dogs harvesting in Brazil's top soy state
PRIMAVERA DO LESTE, Brazil, March 15 (Reuters) - Soy farmers in Brazil's top soy-growing state Mato Grosso are struggling to harvest in heavy rains that have left fields soggy and cut the price of grains which are too damp.
Unusually heavy rains for the time of year have blighted what had been shaping up to be a good quality harvest in the state which grows 25 percent of Brazil's soy, after overcoming overly dry weather at its sowing stage late last year.