Thursday, March 31, 2011

20110331 1815 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3326, changed : +14 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : correction range bound downside biased.
MACD Histrogram : recovering, seller leaving as buyer testing market.
Support : 3300, 3270, 3250, 3200 level.
Resistance : 3350, 3420, 3450, 3470 level.
Comment :
FCPO closed recorded small gains with lower volume changed hand after better export data released showing sign of improving demand while soy oil trading firmer after overnight registered small gains awaits tonight USDA report.
Daily chart formed the 3rd up doji bar candle with small upper and lower shadow positioned near middle Bollinger band level after market opened and traded little lower, before pushing upwards tested higher and eased little lower to closed near the high of the day.
Technical reading remained suggesting a correction range bound downside biased market development testing higher resistance level near middle Bollinger band with MACD indicator having positive crossed up today.
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.

20110331 1743 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1543.5 changed : +9.5 points,  volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : upside biased with possible pullback.
MACD Histrogram : rising, buyer in charge.
Support : 1540, 1530, 1515, 1500 level.
Resistance : 1550, 1580, 1590, 1600 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed recorded gains again for the 3rd day with lower volume traded with Apr 2011 contract doing 3 points discount compare to cash market after heavy weight stocks like Genting and Banking stocks traded higher after CIMB bank announced a higher BLR rate due to Bank Negara increased bank reserve requirement while overnight U.S. market and regional markets closed mostly higher.
Daily chart formed an up bar candle closing above upper Bollinger band level after market opened gap up, traded side ways followed by second session buying activities lifted price higher to closed near the high of the day.
Chart reading suggesting an upside biased market development with potential of having a downward pullback correction.
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.

20110331 1525 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Asian stocks poised for quarterly gains, yen eyes qtrly loss
HONG KONG, March 31 (Reuters) - Most Asian shares edged up on Thursday, heading for a quarterly gain despite a sharp sell-off earlier this month after disaster struck Japan, while the yen was poised for a quarterly loss on expectations Tokyo will have to maintain super-loose monetary policy far longer than Europe and the United States.
"Shares are modestly expanding gains on continued foreign buying around sectors that are seen bullish," said Chung Seung-jae, a market analyst at Mirae Asset Securities in Seoul.
Brent, near $116, heads for biggest qtrly gain in almost 2 years
SINGAPORE, March 31 (Reuters) - Brent crude rose 0.4 percent towards $116 on Thursday, heading for the biggest quarterly gain in almost two years as war, revolutions, and unrest across the Middle East and North Africa thrusted supply constraints to the forefront of investor concerns.
"The second quarter is a good period, and oil demand should be increasing," said Tetsu Emori, a Tokyo-based commodities fund manager at Astmax Investments, adding he expects U.S. crude to end the year close to $120.

U.S. wheat, corn, soy flat; sidelined before USDA report
BEIJING, March 30 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat, corn and soybean futures were almost flat in Asian trade on Thursday, as traders stayed on the sidelines ahead of a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on planting intentions due later in the day.
"Tonight's USDA planting intentions report and evolving crop weather will be the primary focus of the market for the next few sessions," Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in its note.

China reports wider outbreak of wheat diseases
BEIJING, March 31 (Reuters) - China's wheat crop is suffering from a serious outbreak of disease and the spread of pests this year due to the dry spring, the ministry of agriculture said.
Areas suffering crop damage from pests increased by as much as 110 percent, with the density of pests four times greater than last year in parts in the north, the country's bread basket, said the ministry.

Argentina corn crop seen at 21-22 million tonnes
BUENOS AIRES, March 30 (Reuters) - Argentina's 2010/11 corn harvest is expected to fall to between 21 million and 22 million tonnes, down from last season's record 22.7 million tonnes, the head of local corn group Maizar said on Wednesday.
Dry weather at the start of the corn season hit crop yields, dampening early production expectations for a crop of up to 26 million tonnes. However, rains since mid-January have helped some crops recover.

Colombia says roya fungus infests 50 pct of coffee farms
BOGOTA, March 30 (Reuters) - The roya fungus infecting Colombia's coffee trees has worsened at plantations that were affected last year, and now covers half of the country's farms, Agriculture Minister Juan Camilo Restrepo said on Wednesday.
The fungus, which attacks coffee leaves and impedes photosynthesis, has been exacerbated by humidity in the world's top producer of high quality washed Arabica. The crop is poised to recover this year after two dire harvests that helped set the stage for prices to surge to 34-year highs.

Ivorian cocoa dealers hope fight leads to exports
ABIDJAN, March 30 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast cocoa farmers and traders are hopeful a dramatic sweep south by the country's former rebel fighters could soon pave the way for a partial resumption of cocoa exports.
Output from the world's top cocoa grower has been blocked since late January after a dispute over who won the West African country's presidential election triggered an export ban and EU restrictions on shipping at its ports.

China to buy, stockpile cotton to help farmers
BEIJING, March 30 (Reuters) - China's government will begin a cotton purchase and reserve policy this year, its first such mechanism aimed at stabilising production, a top economic planning body said on Wednesday.
The policy was launched just as Chinese cotton farmers start planting the crop, and may "attract those farmers who are still hesitating on their planting decisions to grow," said Dong Shuangwei, an analyst at Capital Futures.

Copper up, but on course for first quarterly loss since mid-2010
SINGAPORE, March 31 (Reuters) - London copper rose half a percent on Thursday, but the market would need to rally more than 2 percent to avoid its first quarterly loss since June 2010, after three months of volatile trading mostly pressured by geopolitical and demand concerns.
"The mood is cautious given the data and Chinese holidays ahead. Our economists believe Beijing will start to shift from reserve ratios to interest rate policy to cool things down," said Natalie Robertson, analyst at ANZ in Melbourne.

Gold edges up, heads for 10th quarterly rise since '08
SINGAPORE, March 31 (Reuters) - Gold inched up on Thursday and was on track for its 10th consecutive quarterly rise since 2008 as an early drop spurred cautious bargain hunting ahead of U.S. February employment data at the end of the week.
"I think sentiment is slightly bullish because there are still many uncertainties around. Even though the euro zone is expected to increase interest rates, it will only be a small increase," said Ronald Leung, director of Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.

Pricey food to fuel fertiliser boom-Yara
OSLO, March 30 (Reuters) - Norway's Yara International ASA , the world's top supplier of crop nutrients, said the global fertiliser market is set to remain demand-driven for some time to come, reflecting record high food prices.
Chief Executive Joergen Haslestad told Reuters that even as prices of urea-based fertiliser fell in the seasonally weak first quarter, other nitrate fertilisers and NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) have remained surprisingly strong.

High production costs curb Vietnam rice price drop
HANOI, March 29 (Reuters) - Vietnam's rice export prices are unlikely to fall significantly this year despite a recent bumper harvest due to surging production costs, an industry executive said, tempering the country's edge in export markets.
Despite a major dong devaluation in February that Thai traders said made Vietnamese rice more competitive and hurt Thailand's market share, rising costs in Vietnam had offset that advantage and helped to narrow the gap between the two nation's  export prices.

20110331 1137 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS: Asian stocks look to close quarter on upnote
March 31 (Reuters) - Most Asian shares edged up on Thursday, poised to end the quarter on a positive note after being briefly ravaged earlier in the month by a sell-off on Japan's disasters and Middle East turmoil, while the yen weakened on expectations of higher interest rates outside Japan. 
The yen has declined to the lowest since May 2010 against the euro in the wake of recent hawkish comments by euro zone, and has slid against the dollar as well after U.S. central bank officials rekindled risk appetite for Japanese exporter stocks.

Oil : Oil slips on inventory rise, supply threats support
NEW YORK, March 30 (Reuters) - Oil prices eased on Wednesday in choppy, thin trading, pressured by record high stockpiles at the Cushing delivery point for U.S. crude even as Libya and Middle East uncertainty supported oil, which remained on track to end the first-quarter up more than 10 percent.
While gasoline inventories declined sharply and lifted U.S. gasoline futures , crude inventories rose more than expected last week and stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, hub jumped to a record high, according to the Energy Information Administration's weekly report.
NATURAL GAS: Natural gas ends up 2 pct, backed by chilly temps
NEW YORK, March 30 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended with strong gains on Wednesday as chilly Northeast and Midwest weather this week helped prices bounce back after two straight days of selling.
"We should see some storage buying in April, and they could keep the nukes down for (spring) maintenance a little longer, but there's still a lot of gas around," a Texas trader said, noting milder forecasts for next week should slow demand.

EURO COAL: Newcastle falls below $120/T, ARA to $125/T
LONDON, March 30 (Reuters) - Prompt European physical coal prices came under increased pressure on Wednesday as more surplus cargoes were offered and sold by utilities and the flow of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to Europe ramped up, utilities and traders said.
"It's been the same problem as the past few days, close on the prices but the origins don't match so not a lot in concrete trades," one broker said.

COMMODITIES: Many prices end down, volumes thin before Q1 close
NEW YORK, March 30 (Reuters) - Most commodity prices traded easier on Wednesday, keeping to fairly narrow ranges on razor-thin volumes as many investors waited out the rest of a volatile quarter, but gold profited from safe-haven buying.
"There's nobody going to be willing to take any sort of a trade ahead of what might happen in the next few days. If they had a bad month or a bad quarter, they don't want to make it worse. Or, if they've had a good one, they'd want to leave it alone because it's been very difficult to trade," said Zachary Oxman, managing director with TrendMax Futures in California.

Qatar keeps crude supply to Asia steady in May-source
TOKYO, March 31 (Reuters) - Qatar, one of OPEC's smallest producers, has notified at least one Asian buyer that it will supply Marine and Land crude at full contracted volumes for May, unchanged from April levels, a trade source said on Thursday.
Qatar gave buyers an option of asking for cargoes to be 5 percent more or less than contracted volumes, the same as the previous month, the source added.

Dutch govt demands clarification on Libyan oil links
AMSTERDAM, March 30 (Reuters) - The Dutch government has  asked Oilinvest (Netherlands) BV Group, which markets Libyan oil refiner Tamoil's products, to address concerns about its ownership, a finance ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.
"We have concerns that Libyan parties may have influence on the company (Oilinvest) and we would like the company to address them," the spokesman said, adding that talks with Oilinvest were continuing.

Obama calls for deep cuts in U.S. oil imports
WASHINGTON, March 30 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday proposed to cut U.S. oil imports by a third over 10 years, a goal that eluded his predecessors and seen as extremely ambitious by analysts sceptical it can succeed.
Obama outlined his strategy after spending days explaining the U.S.-led military action in Libya, where fighting, accompanied by unrest elsewhere in the Arab world, has helped push U.S. gasoline prices toward $4 a gallon.

U.S. oil imports rose 5 pct in January-EIA
WASHINGTON, March 30 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil imports rose for a third month running in January as the stronger economy boosted fuel consumption and as shipments recovered from a two-month dip, the government said on Wednesday.
Crude imports averaged 9.069 million barrels per day in January, a rise of 438,000 bpd from December, the Energy Information Administration said in a monthly report. In December, imports rose 5.6 percent, or 461,000 bpd, to 8.631 million bpd.

20110331 0938 Global Economic Related News.

Taiwan: May raise key rate as Asia strives to curb inflation
Taiwan will probably increase borrowing costs for a fourth straight quarter tomorrow, becoming the eighth Asian economy to tighten monetary policy this month as the region fights price pressures. The central bank will raise the discount rate on 10-day loans to banks by 0.125ppt to 1.75%, after increases of the same amount each in June, September and December from a record low. (Bloomberg)

South Korea: GDP growth slows to 0.5% in fourth quarter
South Korea’s economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter in line with initial estimates, underpinning the case for the central bank to pause interest- rate increases amid concern Japan’s earthquake will damp demand. GDP grew 0.5% in the three months to December from the third quarter, unchanged from the previous estimate in January and after a 0.6% gain in the third quarter. The economy expanded 4.7% y-o-y, lower than the earlier estimate of 4.8%. Japan’s 11 Mar earthquake and tsunami, which triggered a nuclear crisis, and volatile oil prices from political unrest in the Middle East sent South Korea’s consumer confidence in March to the weakest level in almost two years. (Bloomberg)

Japan:Industrial production increases before earthquake
Japan’s industrial production unexpectedly rose in February, another sign that the economy was recovering before the nation’s strongest earthquake this month shut factories and caused power shortages. Factory output climbed 0.4% from January, the fourth consecutive gain. Economist estimates was for a 0.1% drop. The unemployment rate fell by the most in a year in February and the Bank of Japan’s Tankan survey this week may show companies were optimistic about the economy before the temblor killed more than 11,000 people. (Bloomberg)

Japan: Urged to ‘seize this moment’ or face another lost decade
Japan begins forging a road map for recovery from its worst postwar disaster next month, a process that may determine whether it sheds the legacy of the 1980s bubble or has a third “lost decade” of stagnation and deflation. Key to the result: whether the nation’s companies end an aversion to borrowing, taking on debt to propel domestic investment and wage gains, and whether policy makers embrace a stimulus financed by Bank of Japan money creation. Prime Minister Naoto Kan aims to compile in April the first of what he says may be multiple supplementary budgets. (Bloomberg)

EU: Economic confidence slipped in March on energy, Japan
European confidence in the economic outlook worsened in March, after surging energy costs and Japan’s earthquake clouded global growth prospects. An index of executive and consumer sentiment in the 17- nation euro region slipped to 107.3 from a revised 107.9 in February, which was the highest since Aug 2007, the European Commission in Brussels said. It had previously reported a February reading of 107.8. Economists forecast a drop to 107.5, the median of 25 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed. Crude oil prices have jumped 15% this year, leaving companies and households with less money to spend as European governments step up austerity measures to narrow budget gaps. (Bloomberg)

US:Confidence decreases to a three-month low
Confidence among US consumers dropped more than forecast in March as fuel costs surged to the highest level in more than two years. The Conference Board’s confidence index fell to a three- month low of 63.4 from a revised 72 reading in February. Another report showed home prices decreased in January for a seventh consecutive month. Rising commodity prices and falling home equity are undermining Americans’ sentiment. A pickup in the job market and savings from tax cuts make it less likely that consumer spending, which accounts for about 70% of the economy, will falter. (Bloomberg)

Global: IMF says economic recovery facing 'considerable risk'. The global economic recovery faces "considerable downside risks," said Naoyuki Shinohara, deputy managing director of the Washington-based International Monetary Fund. The improvement will be led by emerging markets where overheating and inflationary pressures in some countries are being exacerbated by large capital flows and rising commodity prices, Shinohara said in Gaborone, Botswana's capital, according to the text of his speech. (Source: Bloomberg)

E.U: Sovereign rating announcements have had "significant" spillover effects in the region, revealing their potential to stir financial instability, International Monetary Fund economists said in a study. The research was released just as Portugal and Greece were downgraded by Standard & Poor's, adding pressure on policy makers to stem the debt turmoil that led to bailouts of Greece and Ireland. Cuts to levels near the lowest investment grade for "relatively large economies" such as Greece have had a systematic impact on other countries sharing the euro, the study said. (Source: Bloomberg)

Portugal: In condition to meet its debt maturities this year, Secretary of State for Treasury and Finance Carlos Costa Pina said. Portugal can meet "debt redemption commitments scheduled for 2011, especially the redemptions of long-term debt that will take place in April and June," Costa Pina said in an emailed response to questions. (Source: Bloomberg)

Japan: Manufacturing contracts in March, first sign of quake impact. Japan's manufacturing shrank this month for the first time since the nation was pulling out of its last recession two years ago, underscoring forecasts for the economy to shrink in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake. The index fell to 46.4 in March from 52.9, the Japan Materials Management Association and Markit Economics said in a joint release. A number below 50 indicates a contraction. (Source: Bloomberg)

S. Korea: February industrial output falls fastest in 4 months as a holiday season closed some factories. Output declined 2.3% MoM from January, when the monthly gain was revised to 4.2% MoM. Production climbed 9.1% YoY. (Source: Bloomberg)     

20110331 0937 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

 KLCI chart reading :
upside biased, immediate resistance near 1545 level.

Tan Chong: To upsize MTN programme to RM2b. Tan Chong Motor Holdings Bhd has received approval from the Securities Commission to upsize its asset-backed medium term notes (MTN) programme to RM2b from RM600m. The approval would enhance the group's ability to tap the capital markets for future funding needs. (Source: The Star)

AirAsia: Unit awaits nod for Jeddah. AirAsia X, is in the final stages of getting the green light from the Government to fly to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Source: The Star)

CIMB: Raises BLR/BFR rates. CIMB Bank Bhd and CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd have announced an increase in their base lending rate (BLR) and base financing rate (BFR) by five basis points from 6.3% to 6.35%, effective from April 4. The change in the rates followed Bank Negara's decision to increase the statutory reserve ratio requirement by 1% to 2% with effect from tomorrow. (Source: The Star)

JCY: Eyes major client from Japan. JCY International Bhd is in the midst of courting one of the world's leading electrical and electronic (E&E) companies from Japan as its new client. (Source: The Star)

Property: Putra Place finally sold for RM514m. The Putra Place in Kuala Lumpur has finally been sold to OSK Trustee Bhd for RM514m, some three years after the property was first put up for auction. OSK Trustee may have bought the property on behalf of one of the real estate investment trusts (REIT). (Source: Business Times)

Ireka unit bags RM233m job
Ireka's wholly-owned Ireka Engineering & Construction has been awarded a RM233m contract by Transmission Technology SB. The contract was for a package of works for the proposed offices and hotel development on part of Lot 203, Seksyen 72 (Lot G) in Kuala Lumpur. (Bernama)

Integrated Logistics to spend RM200m on expansion
Integrated Logistics is expected to spend RM200m over the next three years to expand its business in China and Dubai. The amount was for the expansion of warehouse spaces to 4m sq ft from 1.8m sq ft currently. (Bernama)

Cypark proposes to take over 32 landfills
Cypark Resources has submitted proposals to the Government to take over as many as 32 non-sanitary landfills and to design, build and manage integrated waste disposal sites. "We submitted the proposals sometime late last year, and we expect to know the outcome for the landfills in the current financial year," Cypark group CEO Daud Ahmad said. (BT)

JCY eyes major client from Japan
JCY International is in the midst of courting one of the world’s leading E&E companies from Japan as its new client. “We can’t disclose the name of the new client due to the sensitivity of our business operations,” its executive director James Wong King Kheng said. (StarBiz)

Columbia Asia courts EPF
Regional hospital chain Columbia Asia Group is currently in talks for the EPF to take up a stake in the former’s Vietnam operations. EPF is already a strategic investor, holding a 30% stake in Columbia Asia SB which owns Columbia Asia Group’s hospitals in Malaysia and Indonesia. The remaining 70% is held by US-based fund International Columbia USA. Columbia Asia Group had been in discussions with EPF to enter the former’s Vietnam business but details of the deal have yet to be finalised. (FinancialDaily)

20110331 0933 Renewables Energy Related News.

BEIJING, March 30 (Reuters) - Officials from China's renewable energy sector called for more government support on Wednesday as an ongoing reactor crisis in Japan put Beijing under increasing pressure to scale back its  ambitious nuclear building plans.
Speaking at an industry conference, they said the promotion of clean energy sources such as wind, solar or hydropower could help fill the supply gap that might arise were China's nuclear programme to slow as a result of safety concerns.

BEIJING, March 30 (Reuters) - Installed wind power capacity in Inner Mongolia, China's leading builder of wind farms by region, will top 13 gigawatts (GW) by the end of this year, an executive with local power grid firm said on Wednesday.
The capacity would be more than half of China's total at the beginning of this year, according to data from the National Energy Administration.

LOS ANGELES, March 29 (Reuters) - U.S. renewable energy companies called on lawmakers on Tuesday to preserve a loan guarantee program for innovative green technologies they say will create tens of thousands of jobs and generate billions of dollars in investment.
The chief executives of 34 solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and biofuel companies said in a letter to House of Representatives and Senate Republican and Democratic leaders that the proposed cuts to the Department of Energy's renewable energy loan guarantee programs would not only "destroy thousands of pending jobs," but also "defeat America's effort to compete with China, Germany and others in the clean technology marketplace."

JOHANNESBURG, March 29 (Reuters) - South Africa will accelerate its renewable energy programme to meet a target of producing 10,000 gigawatt hours by 2013, an energy official said on Tuesday.
Africa's biggest economy is struggling to meet fast-rising demand for power. State-owned utility Eskom has said supply would remain tight until 2015, and especially over the next two years.

March 29 (Reuters) - Renewable energy will play an important role in Japan's reconstruction, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on Tuesday as the country struggled to bring a damaged nuclear power plant under control.
"When considering the damage from this accident, there is no doubt we are moving towards making renewable energy sources a pillar," Edano told reporters.

ZURICH, March 26 (Reuters) - Swiss Energy Minister Doris Leuthard cautioned about the consequences of a hasty decision to abandon nuclear energy but said she was exploring options for such as move.
"It is fairly easy to demand not using nuclear energy. But first one should talk seriously about what that would mean," Leuthard was quoted as saying on Saturday in an interview with Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger.

MILAN, March 24 (Reuters) - Italy is considering capping the money it spends on incentives every year to attract investment into solar energy, replacing the present system which sets limits on capacity that can be incentivised, a trade union official said.
"The idea is to very gradually reduce (solar) incentives for this year and then next year to introduce a cap according to the overall amount spent on incentives," Paolo Carcasso, head of sustainable energy for the UIL trade union said on Thursday.

LONDON, March 28 (Reuters) - The consequence of Japan's nuclear crisis and oil prices above $100 per barrel are likely to boost the global renewable energy industry in the short term, consultancy Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) said on Monday.
"There's certainly strong potential that the lack of investment in nuclear means people have to look elsewhere at low-carbon investments, so renewables is the place to go," said Ronan O'Regan, director in renewables and clean technologies at the consultancy.

20110331 0932 Biofuels Related News.

SAO PAULO, March 29 (Reuters) - Brazil needs to invest more in biofuel production despite ranking as the No. 1 destination for investment in renewables, to meet higher future demand, analysts F.O. Licht and an industry official said on Tuesday.
Brazil drew one quarter of the $5.6 billion invested worldwide in biofuel production plants in 2010, or $1.76 billion. Biofuels projects in the United States and European Union attracted $1.13 billion and $893 million respectively.

SAO PAULO, March 29 (Reuters) - Brazil's production of cane-derived sugar and ethanol will increase slightly in the 2011/12 season compared to the previous year, analysts F.O. Licht said on Tuesday.
Sugar output would rise almost 3 percent to 42 million tonnes (raw equivalent) from 40.8 million tonnes in the 2010/11 season, while production of ethanol biofuel would rise to 25.1 billion liters from 24.9 billion liters in the last season.

HAMBURG, March 29 (Reuters) - Swiss-German biodiesel producer Biopetrol Industries AG  said on Tuesday it will close its biodiesel plant in Schwarzheide in central Germany because of continued overcapacity and low earnings.
The 150,000 tonne annual capacity plant will close in June, said Biopetrol, which is controlled by Swiss commodity group Glencore.

BRUSSELS, March 25 (Reuters) - The European Union executive plans to widen punitive import taxes on U.S. biodiesel and extend them to Canada, citing evidence of illegal tariff evasion, people familiar with the case said on Friday.
Certain biodiesel blends entering the EU from Canada and all U.S. blends will face tariffs of up to more than 400 euros ($566.4) per tonne of biodiesel according to initial European Commission plans, the sources told Reuters.

RIO DE JANEIRO, March 25 (Reuters) - Brazilian state oil company Petrobras  is importing a cargo of gasoline to meet strong fuel demand, the company's supply director Paulo Roberto Costa said on Friday.
That cargo should provide 10 days supply of gasoline and will reach Brazil by April 15, Costa said, adding the fuel would be held in storage in case it is needed. He did not provide the exact volume of the cargo.

NAIROBI, March 25 (Reuters) - Crude oil prices on a higher plateau should encourage sugar producers to diversify into ethanol production, helping to cushion the impact of an inevitable fall in the price of the sweetener, a global sugar body said.
Global ethanol production from all sources is expected to surge to 140 billion litres a year by 2015 from 90 billion now. Although the bulk of global ethanol production is from corn, sugar cane is an important source of the liquid.

JOHANNESBURG, March 24 (Reuters) - South Africa's Illovo Sugar  may opt to produce biofuel from sugarcane if it makes commercial sense, its managing director said late on Wednesday.
South Africa's Department of Energy said earlier this month it would make a pronouncement on regulated bioethanol and biodiesel prices by March next year.

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, March 23 (Reuters) - Saskatchewan will require an average of 2 percent of the diesel fuel sold in the Canadian province to come from renewable sources, starting next year, a move that gives farmers a new, local market for lower-grade canola crops.
The C$26-million ($26.5 million) biodiesel program, announced as part of Saskatchewan's 2011-12 budget on Wednesday, includes a five-year incentive of 13 cents per litre for renewable diesel made in the province.

SAO PAULO, March 28 (Reuters) - Research to develop second-generation ethanol is advancing globally, but Brazil, which vaunts its sugar cane as the ideal raw material for such fuels, lags in the race, industry experts said on Monday.
Investments from foreign companies associated with local producers have arrived in the country. But funding for research remains scarce and ethanol producers themselves have been shy to bet more aggresively, said Jaime Finguerut, industrial research manager at the Cane Technology Center, CTC.

20110331 0927 Global Market Related News.

DJIA chart reading : upside biased with possible pullback.
FTSE chart reading : side way range bound.
DAX chart reading : side way range bound little downside biased.
Hang Seng chart reading : side way  range bound.
Japan Manufacturing Shrinks Most Since 2009 in First Sign of Quake Impact (Source: Bloomberg)
Japan’s manufacturing shrank this month for the first time since the nation was pulling out of its last recession two years ago, underscoring forecasts for the economy to shrink in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake.

Japan Urged to ‘Seize This Moment’ or Face Another Lost Decade (Source: Bloomberg)
Japan begins forging a road map for recovery from its worst postwar disaster next month, a process that may determine whether it sheds the legacy of the 1980s bubble or has a third “lost decade” of stagnation and deflation .

Bank of Korea's Vacant Policy Seat Adds Deadlock Risk to War on Inflation (Source: Bloomberg)
The longest vacancy on the Bank of Korea’s monetary board since 1998 raises the risk of policy deadlock as officials struggle to tame inflation while maintaining growth.

Portugal Can Meet 2011 Bond Redemptions as Debt Matures, Costa Pina Says (Source: Bloomberg)
Portugal is in condition to meet its debt maturities this year, Secretary of State for Treasury and Finance Carlos Costa Pina said.

U.S. Companies Add 201,000 Jobs in Sign Labor Market Recovering, ADP Says (Source: Bloomberg)
Companies in the U.S. added more workers in March, a sign the labor market may be strengthening, data from a private report based on payrolls showed today. Employment increased by 201,000 workers in March after a revised 208,000 gain in February, according to figures from ADP Employer Services. The median estimate in the Bloomberg News survey called for a 208,000 gain.

Fed's Stimulus Exit May Not Wait for Global Turmoil to Pass, Bullard Says (Source: Bloomberg)
The Federal Reserve may need to begin an exit from record levels of monetary accommodation even amid global uncertainties in Japan and the Middle East, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said. “The process of normalizing policy, even once it begins, will still leave unprecedented policy accommodation on the table,” Bullard said at a London dinner hosted by UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest bank. Fed policy makers “may not be willing or able to wait until all global uncertainties are resolved to begin normalizing policy.”

Sovereign Rating Announcements Add to Europe Instability, IMF Paper Says (Source: Bloomberg)
Sovereign rating announcements in Europe have had “significant” spillover effects in the region, revealing their potential to stir financial instability, International Monetary Fund economists said in a study.

Consumer Confidence in Euro Region Declines More Than Economists Forecast (Source: Bloomberg)
European confidence in the economic outlook worsened in March, after surging energy costs and Japan’s earthquake clouded global growth prospects.

Global Economic Recovery Facing `Considerable' Risks, IMF's Shinohara Says (Source: Bloomberg)
The global economic recovery faces “considerable downside risks,” said Naoyuki Shinohara, deputy managing director of the Washington-based International Monetary Fund.

Optimism Among U.S. Chief Executives Surpasses Pre-Slump High, Survey Says (Source: Bloomberg)
Optimism among U.S. chief executive officers surpassed the highest level reached before the recession as more business leaders projected increased sales, investment and hiring, a survey showed.

Hoenig Says Fed Shares Blame for Higher Commodity Prices; Urges Tightening (Source: Bloomberg)
The Federal Reserve’s “highly accommodative” monetary policy is partly to blame for rapidly increasing global commodity prices, said Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig, who called on colleagues to raise the benchmark interest rate toward 1 percent soon.

Yen Falls a Sixth Day as U.S. Job Optimism, Stock Gains Curb Safety Demand (Source: Bloomberg)
The yen fell for a sixth day against the dollar, the longest streak since November, before a report that economists say will show the U.S. job market continues to improve.

Japanese Stocks Rise as Jobs Point to U.S. Economic Recovery; Toyota Jumps (Source: Bloomberg)
Japanese stocks rose for a second day on optimism signs of a strengthening recovery in the U.S. will boost exporters.

Australian Dollar Touches 10-Month High Against Yen Ahead of Retail Sales (Source: Bloomberg)
Australia’s dollar reached a 10- month high versus the yen before government reports today forecast to show the economy is expanding.

Japan Radiation Found in Washington State Milk as U.S. Steps Up Monitoring (Source: Bloomberg)
Radiation “far below” levels that pose a risk to humans was found in milk from Spokane, Washington, the first sign Japan’s nuclear accident is affecting U.S. food, the Obama administration said.

Japan’s Government Bonds May Rise as Radiation Concern Spurs Safety Demand (Source: Bloomberg)
Japan’s government bonds may rise, snapping yesterday’s loss, as the nation’s ongoing nuclear crisis sustains demand for the relative safety of debt.

Standard & Poor's downgrades Greece, Portugal
LISBON/ATHENS, March 29 (Reuters) - Debt-stricken Greece and Portugal suffered new blows on Tuesday after Standard & Poor's downgraded their credit ratings on possible risks to bondholders, sending their borrowing costs sharply higher.
The downgrade by S&P, which cited risks that the countries' debts to a new European bailout fund would be repaid before bond investors, left Portugal's rating one notch above junk and Greece's creditworthiness below that of Egypt.

Ecuador sees $7 bln investment in five mines
QUITO, March 29 (Reuters) - Ecuador expects companies including Canada's Kinross Gold to invest $7 billion in gold and copper projects in the next seven years, as the OPEC member tries to diversify its economy by encouraging mining.
Natural Resources Minister Wilson Pastor said on Tuesday five projects will be signed in the next few months.

Kazakhstan to toughen ecology laws for miners
ASTANA, March 30 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan will toughen laws to reduce waste in its key mining sector, the country's environment minister said, in a move that will require some of the world's leading metals miners to spend more on treating their waste.
Environmental Protection Minister Nurgali Ashimov told Reuters the stricter laws, ordered personally by President Nursultan Nazarbayev, would give mining firms between two and three years to work out and finance waste utilisation plans.

FOREX-Yen broadly weaker; investors contrast rate outlooks
NEW YORK, March 30 (Reuters) - The yen slipped to a 10-month low versus the euro and was broadly weaker on Wednesday as recent hawkish comments from euro zone and U.S. officials contrasted with Japan's loose monetary policy stance.
"The new high in the Australian dollar combined with weakness in yen suggest that the carry trade is building momentum," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotia Capital in Toronto. "This could put significant weakening pressure on yen, but we would not be surprised to see some dollar/yen downside (yen strength) on the back of ongoing repatriation in late in April."

Flooding in Thailand kills 11, strands thousands of tourists
BANGKOK, March 30 (Reuters) - Severe flooding in southern Thailand has killed 11 people and stranded thousands of tourists on
resort islands, authorities said on Wednesday, predicting more rain and issuing warnings for possible mudslides.
"More rain is expected in the next few days."

Equities bounce as optimism outweighs concerns
LONDON, March 30 (Reuters) - World stocks bounced back on Wednesday, driven by optimism about potential gains in the coming
quarter and setting aside lingering concerns about Japan's nuclear crisis and turmoil in the Arab world. "The two big
geopolitical stories -- the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan and unrest in Libya -- remain vary much in play but with the
backdrop not changing significantly on a day-by-day basis, it does seem as if markets are now keen to try and turn the page,"
said Ben Potter, an analyst at IG Markets.

Yemenis hoard food, worried over political crisis
SANAA, March 29 (Reuters) - Yemenis worried the political crisis over President Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule will deteriorate
have begun hoarding basic foods like wheat and sugar, driving prices higher, the trade minister said.
Hisham Sharaf Abdalla told Reuters retail prices for wheat had risen by more than 15 percent in the past month as a standoff
wears on, while other basic foods had gone up by 10 to 15 percent.

20110331 0918 Global Commodities Related News.

Corn (Source: CME)
US corn futures finish lower as projections for exports to China diminish. The US may miss out on sales to the resource-hungry nation if China turns to Argentina for corn, analysts say. That is a possibility, as Australia & New Zealand Banking Group says Chinese food-health officials traveled to Buenos Aires to discuss quality standards of Argentine corn. Argentina is the second-largest exporter of the grain behind the US. CBOT May corn ends down 8 1/2c at $6.63 1/4 a bushel.

Wheat (Source: CME)
US wheat futures finish lower, with CBOT suffering the steepest decline as uncertainty about government crop reports prompts traders to reduce risk. USDA is slated tomorrow to issue highly anticipated estimates on spring plantings and quarterly grain inventories. Concerns that wet weather will delay or prevent planting of spring wheat underpin MGEX prices, analysts say. CBOT May wheat falls 10c to $7.27 1/4 a bushel; KCBT May drops 5c to $8.62; MGEX May loses 2 1/4c to $8.86.

Rice (Source: CME)
Nearby US rice futures close weaker for the third consecutive session on profit-taking. Traders continued to take money off the table after the market finished at a five-week high Friday. Spillover selling from losses in corn and wheat, another global food staple, added pressure, traders note. Market participants are waiting for USDA to issue planting estimates Thursday. CBOT May rice ends down 7 1/2c at $13.78 per hundredweight.

USDA Sees U.S. Share Of Top Wheat Buyer Egypt's Imports Rising (Source: CME)
The U.S. share of imports by top wheat buyer Egypt has jumped to 36%, or 3.5 million metric tons, this season in the wake of Russia's grain export ban, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. In a new report published, the USDA's Cairo attache said the U.S. was ranked behind only France in supplying the Arab world's most populous nation, and its share of the 10 million-ton market is expected to rise next season. And while the USDA said Egypt's state grain buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, has covered its needs for the 2010-11 season, holding about two months of stocks in reserves with a further two to three months in the pipeline, it said it may come back into the market for up to 50,000 tons soon in a bid to take advantage of a recent slump in prices. "The U.S. and France have dominated the Egyptian market since the August 2010 Russian wheat export ban and are likely to continue to play a major role in the market," said the report.
"Given the current market situation, U.S. wheat will be likely to win any tenders for shipment this marketing year." Egypt produces about 80 billion loaves of low-cost bread a year as part of its program to feed millions of people that live on the poverty line. A surge in international wheat prices after Russia banned exports last summer has driven up the cost of GASC's subsidy scheme by around 50% to $4.4 billion and left the country scrambling to feed its rapidly expanding population. The cost of imported wheat for GASC has increased to about $345/ton in the last tender made in February 2011 from about $210 a ton in July 2010. But although the gains in international markets since last summer have put pressure on GASC, compounded by the Jan. 25 revolution, the USDA does not believe Egypt will run short of food. "The Russian ban on wheat exports has an impact on the GASC budget and on the private sector," the report said. "Egypt's overall food security was not jeopardized by the Russian ban."
Domestic wheat production is also expected to increase in 2011-12 to around 8 million tons as higher government procurement prices boost plantings by around 5% and better weather help the crop, the USDA said. Still, with the country's economy likely to improve by next year after the upheavals of the previous months, private buyers are likely to "make up the slack" of any fall in state imports.

US, Ethanol Industry Look At Dropping Fuel Blending Credit (Source: CME)
The U.S. government and the ethanol industry are discussing significantly scaling back a longtime federal tax credit to promote use of the biofuel, according to a person familiar with the situation. The subsidy being discussed provides a 45-cent tax credit for each gallon of the corn-based fuel blended into gasoline. The credit has faced growing scrutiny from critics of ethanol who contend federal mandates already require blending and the additional subsidy is a giveaway to the industry. The Renewable Fuels Association, the main arm of the ethanol lobby, is talking to industry members and lawmakers about ending the blending credit in its current form. The credit potentially could be replaced with one tied to the price of crude oil and result in no subsidies until prices fall under a preset price, making the corn-based fuel less competitive, a person familiar with the discussions said. The talks on the tax credit come as Congress takes a closer look at government support for ethanol.
President Barack Obama, in a Wednesday speech on alternative energy, called for "ways to reform biofuels incentives to make sure they meet today's challenges and save taxpayers money." Obama also called for the construction of four advanced ethanol plants, each able to produce up to 20 million gallons a year of biofuel made from non-food materials, including switchgrass or wood chips. The current blending subsidy, known as the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, cost taxpayers $5.4 billion in 2010, according to the Government Accountability Office. Critics of the ethanol industry have said the credit unfairly props up an industry that already enjoys a government mandate requiring 12.6 billion gallons of the biofuel to be blended into the nation's fuel supply this year. The credit, which was part of the 2004 Jobs Creation Act, is set to expire at the end of this year. The subsidy has existed in various forms for about three decades.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates biofuel refiners are on track to produce 13.5 billion gallons of ethanol this year. The fuel has benefited from rising crude oil prices, making it economic to blend as much ethanol as possible into gasoline even as corn prices have surged as well. Federal law, for now, prevents gasoline sold at the pump from containing more than 10% ethanol, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved raising the blend to 15% ethanol for newer cars. Ethanol can be competitive with traditional fuels even without subsidies, although there are times when high corn prices could make government aid necessary, said Aaron Brady, associate director CERA, an energy research consultancy. "A variable credit would have to look at the relationship between oil and corn," Brady said. American corn farmers have come to rely on the ethanol industry to buy their crops.
Ethanol producers are expected to consume roughly 5 billion bushels of corn this year, more than a third of total production, according to a USDA forecast. U.S. farmers are poised to increase plantings to take advantage of corn prices that recently topped two-and-a-half year highs on strong demand and concerns about tight supplies. Talk about removing the tax credit shouldn't impact farmers' crop plans, experts said, as no changes have been approved yet and farmers already have their plans in place.

China To Launch Cotton Purchase System To Stabilize Acreage (Source: CME)
The Chinese government will soon establish a cotton purchase and reserve system that will allow the government to buy unlimited quantities from farmers when market prices fell below a certain level, the China Cotton Association said. The system, which will be similar to the government's minimum procurement price programs for wheat and rice, has been highly anticipated by farmers, as it will allow them to lock in yields. The move will also stabilize domestic cotton acreage by increasing farmer interest in planting cotton, the association said in a monthly market report published on its website. "The government may set the minimum purchase price based on cotton production costs every year," an association official who declined to be identified, without elaborating.
The purchase and reserve system is designed to give farmers more confidence in the crop, as the government doesn't want local cotton acreage to be affected by plunging global prices and a sharp increase in cotton acreage in the U.S., China Futures Co. analyst Pan Ying said. "As downside risks for cotton have emerged, the launch of such a purchase system is a necessary (move) to prevent domestic acreage from falling," Pan said. China usually builds up its cotton reserves by purchasing a certain amount of cotton from farmers. It bought about 2.7 million tons of cotton between October 2008 and April 2009, as cotton prices plummeted during the global financial crisis. Following the release of a considerable amount of cotton in 2009 and 2010, the government now holds only 400,000 tons in reserves, and it will need to raise those stocks in order to regulate the market, Pan said.
The association said cotton area this year is expected to rise 5.1% to 5.4 million hectares. The Ministry of Agriculture expects a slightly larger increase of 5.4%.

Three-Month Copper in London Set for First Quarterly Loss Since June 2010 (Source: Bloomberg)
Copper in London headed for its first quarterly decline since the three months ended June 2010 on speculation global growth may slow as Japan struggles to contain a nuclear crisis and China extends its tightening measures.

BlackRock likes copper, fundamentals support price
LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) - Copper is the most favoured base metal in BlackRock's $17 billion World Mining Trust, fund manager Evy Hambro said on Tuesday, with the demand and supply outlook keeping prices of the metal resiliently high.
At just under 20 percent, copper is the single largest weighting on a pure commodity basis in the fund, Hambro told an Association of Investment Companies roundtable in London.

Jiangxi copper says sees China using 10-12 pct more copper in 2011
HONG KONG, March 30 (Reuters) - Jiangxi Copper Co Ltd expects China's copper consumption to rise by 10-12 percent in 2011, Huang Dongfeng, assistant to the general manager, said on Wednesday after the company's annual results announcement.
"Consumption could rise a bit more than GDP growth (this year). Output could rise given that smelters have been building (new capacity)," Deputy General Manager Wu Yuneng said at the same news conference in Hong Kong. He added that Jiangxi Copper expected record high international copper prices this year.

India Apr-Feb iron ore exports down 18 pct, March falls eyed
MUMBAI, March 30 (Reuters) - India's iron ore exports fell 18 percent to 85.43 million tonnes in April-February period from a year ago as a ban on shipments by Karnataka state continued to bite and March levels could be lower as Chinese buyers wait for global price falls.
The world's third-biggest exporter of the steel-making ingredient shipped 10.137 million tonnes in the month of February, down 18.6 percent from a year ago, according to figures released by the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI).

Japan rare earths imports from China fall in February
TOKYO, March 30 (Reuters) - Japanese imports of rare earths from China shrank further in February, sliding 36 percent from January, data from Japan's Ministry of Finance showed on Wednesday.
Imports of rare earths from China stood at 1,138 tonnes in February, down from January's 1,783 tonnes.

METALS-Copper eases, doubts about China demand dominate
LONDON, March 30 (Reuters) - Copper slipped on Wednesday as doubts about demand from top consumer China intensified.
"We are cautious on copper's outlook ... It could be just be monetary tightening impacting on the copper market," said Nic Brown, analyst at Natixis. "It could be a reflection of copper stockpiles built up in 2009 and now being run down."

PRECIOUS-Gold regains footing but monetary tightening eyed
LONDON, March 30 (Reuters) - Gold firmed on Wednesday, after four sessions of losses amid broad support from unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, but gains were capped by expectations monetary policy in key regions may tighten.
"Gold players are anxiously waiting for policy signals from the U.S. and to see what the ECB (European Central Bank) actually does next week in its monthly meeting," said Credit Agricole analyst Robin Bhar.

U.S. wheat, corn, soy steady, market awaits USDA report
BEIJING, March 30 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures were steady on dry weather in United States and China crop
areas, while corn and soy were supported ahead of a key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop plantings report due on
March 31.  "The USDA numbers will give direction (for the market)," said Greg Smith, managing director of Global Commodities,
adding the market expects higher corn acreage but lower soy and wheat area.

Russia 2011 grain output seen up to 84 mln tonnes-attache
WASHINGTON, March 29 (Reuters) - Following are selected highlights from a report issued by a U.S. Department of Agriculture
attache in Russia:
"In MY 2011, Russia's grain production might recover to 84 million tonnes, including 52.5 million tonnes of wheat and 16
million tonnes of barley. If production reaches this volume, the ban on grain exports might be partially lifted and Russia's
exports could reach 6 million tonnes.

US corn profit margin slips, but high acreage seen
CHICAGO, March 29 (Reuters) - The potential profit advantage in planting corn over soybeans has slumped 35 percent this year,
but it still remains high enough to push U.S. farmers into seeding a vast swath of land to the feed grain, industry sources
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will unveil its first survey-based forecast of how much land will be seeded
with corn and soybeans in the United States this year.

China officials visit Argentina over corn exports
BUENOS AIRES, March 29 (Reuters) - Chinese food health officials arrived in Argentina this week to work on a protocol that
would pave the way for Argentine corn exports to the commodity-hungry Asian nation, an official said on Tuesday.
China currently does not buy Argentine corn due to curbs on genetically modified (GMO) varieties, which account for about 80
percent of the South American country's corn crop.

India says may lift wheat export ban in April-May
NEW DELHI, March 29 (Reuters) - India is considering lifting a ban on wheat exports by April or May, Junior Farm Minister
Arun Yadav said on Tuesday, as the country heads for an all time record production of the grain in 2011.
India, the world's second-biggest producer of the grain, had banned wheat exports in 2007 to bolster domestic supplies to
rein in price rises.

Cocoa extends losses, eyes on I.Coast, coffee firm
ICE cocoa futures extended losses after falling almost 6 percent the previous session as forces for Ivory Coast president
claimant Alassane Ouattara moved to within 200 km (120 miles) of the two main port cities in an intensifying offensive
against incumbent Laurent Gbagbo.
Coffee prices were higher, with limited physical trading, after robusta and arabica pulled back from multi-year highs made
earlier this month.

Mexico sugar output up 22 percent through Mar 26
MEXICO CITY, March 29 (Reuters) - Mexico has so far produced 3.88 million tonnes of sugar in the 2010/11 harvest, nearly 22
percent more than in the same period last year, the national sugar industry chamber said on Tuesday.
Mexico is likely to produce 5.2 million tonnes of sugar in the 2010/11 season, slightly less than original forecasts after a
cold snap hit some production in the western growing state of Jalisco.

Global 2011/12 sugar output set for rise--F.O.Licht
SAO PAULO, March 29 (Reuters) - Increased planting of sugar cane and beet due to a sharp increase in prices for the sweetener
should boost global production in 2011/12 if the weather is favorable, analysts F.O. Licht said Tuesday.
"There could be a sizable increase in sugar output in 2011/12," said Stefan Uhlenbrock, senior commodity analyst at German
consultancy F.O. Licht on the second day of a three-day seminar it is hosting in Sao Paulo.

Brazil 2011/12 cane, ethanol output to rise-F.O.Licht
SAO PAULO, March 29 (Reuters) - Brazil's production of cane-derived sugar and ethanol will increase slightly in the 2011/12
season compared to the previous year, analysts F.O. Licht said on Tuesday.
Sugar output would rise almost 3 percent to 42 million tonnes (raw equivalent) from 40.8 million tonnes in the 2010/11
season, while production of ethanol biofuel would rise to 25.1 billion liters from 24.9 billion liters in the last season.

20110331 0917 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

Soy Oil chart reading : side way range bound. 

ITS CPO export down 0.5% to 1,105,440 tonnes for the period of 1~31 Mar 2011.
SGS CPO export up 2.3% to 1,117,582 tonnes for the period of 1~31 Mar 2011.

Soybeans (Source: CME)
US soybean futures climb, buoyed by fears farmers anticipate planting less of the oilseed this spring due to an expansion of corn and cotton acres. Soybeans for May delivery ended up 10 1/2 cents, or 0.8%, to $13.72 a bushel at the CBOT. The general opinion in the market anticipates USDA will confirm private forecasts for a decline in soybean acres when it issues its planting estimates Thursday, says Rich Nelson, director of research at Allendale. The reduction in acres is problematic for users of the oilseed because large production is counted on to replenish tight US supplies in the face of burgeoning world demand.

Soybean Meal/Oil (Source: CME)
Soy product futures bounced up with soybean futures in anticipation of smaller U.S. planted soy acres forecasts from federal forecasters Thursday. CBOT May soyoil futures ended 0.30 cents or 0.5% higher at 57.32 cents a pound. Soymeal for May delivery climbed $1.90, or 0.5%, to $360.50 per short ton at the CBOT.

Japan Palm Oil Consumption Unaffected By Quake �Executive (Source: CME)
A leading exporter of palm oil-based products to Japan said the country's consumption of the cooking oil remains steady for now, despite the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, but demand could potentially increase in the longer term. "Demand is still steady for now, although the short supply of electricity may prompt many Japanese companies to reduce production hours and disrupt supply chains," Tsutomu Usui, chief executive of Intercontinental Specialty Fats Sdn. Bhd. said. Looking beyond the potential near-term demand disruptions, however, palm oil may account for a larger share of Japan's edible oil consumption due to an increasing appetite for food that is free of transfats, Tsutomu said. Japan's dominant power supplier, Tokyo Electric Power Co., introduced rolling blackouts that may last until late April after it lost around 40% of its generating capacity.
The March 11 disaster disabled cooling systems at its Fukushima Daiichi power plant, shutting the plants down and triggering a nuclear crisis. ISF, 80%-owned by the Tokyo-listed Nisshin Oillio Group Ltd. and 20%-owned by edible oil firm Lam Soon, is a major producer of premium specialty food fats and oils, exporting around 40,000 tons to Japan last year. The country is the sixth-largest market for Malaysian palm oil, buying close to 600,000 metric tons last year. Japan consumes around 2.3 million-2.5 million tons of vegetable oils include soyoil, rapeseed oil and palm oil. "The future of palm oil is very bright (in Japan). It is still the cheapest oil available and the move by food manufacturers to remove transfats will boost imports," he said. Seven & I Holdings Co., a major Japanese retail conglomerate, decided in December to stop selling food products containing transfats "as much as possible and hoped to eliminate them altogether from the shelves," Kyodo News reported, citing company sources.
The group, which controls Seven-Eleven convenience stores, Ito-Yokado supermarkets, Sogo and Seibu department stores, joined other major companies such as McDonald's Holdings Co. (Japan) Ltd. to reduce offerings of food items containing transfats. The move came after Japan's Consumer Affairs Agency asked food manufacturers to voluntarily label the transfat content of their product earlier this year. While CAA didn't impose a ban on products with transfats, Japanese food makers said transfats labeling may be considered mandatory in the longer term. Transfats are created in liquid vegetable oils that have been undergone a chemical process called partial hydrogenation. Palm oil, a key ingredient in consumer products ranging from instant noodles and cooking oils to margarine and ice cream, is an alternative to oils that have been treated to increase the shelf-life of food products, as it is naturally stable even at room temperatures.
Palm oil is higher in the saturated fats believed to contribute to various health problems than many rival vegetable oils, but transfats have been found to pose far greater risks to consumers' health. Now that regulators and consumer agencies have started to publicize the risks, palm oil is gaining an advantage over rival oils that have been partially hydrogenated to improve stability.

Palm up on smaller soyoil supply view; key data eyed
KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures rose 1.2 percent on Wednesday on market views for a smaller
U.S. soy acreage this year that could lead to less competing soyoil and kick in more demand for the tropical oil.  "Local
sentiment is getting driven by overseas markets. The planting of soybeans is very important to palm oil market," said a
trader with foreign brokerage in Kuala Lumpur.

Brazil soy to shrug off flood losses, hit record
SAO PAULO, March 29 (Reuters) - Brazil looks set to turn out a record soy crop in the 2010/11 season thanks to higher yields
and despite the loss of some produce to floods in the center western soy belt, forecaster Agroconsult said on Tuesday.
The soy crop, now being harvested, should produce around 72.7 million tonnes, the local consultancy said, raising its
previous estimate of 72 million tonnes in February. It also estimated corn output would reach 34.8 million tonnes.

China's 2010/11 soybean imports to surge-Oil World
HAMBURG, March 29 (Reuters) - China's October 2010/September 2011 soybean imports are likely to rise by 5.5 million tonnes on
the year to 55.8 million as its economic growth fuels demand, Hamburg-based oilseeds analysts Oil World said on Tuesday.
This means China will account for 58 percent of forecast 2010/11 world soybean imports, up from 57 percent in 2009/10 and
only 41 percent in 2006/07, Oil World said.

Brazilian soy crop forecasts may be cut- Oil World
HAMBURG, March 29 (Reuters) - Current forecasts for Brazil's 2011 soybean crop could be cut by up to 1 million tonnes if rain
continues there during the next two weeks, Hamburg-based oilseeds analysts Oil World said on Tuesday.
Repeated rain has fallen on Brazilian soybeans at a highly vulnerable time just as they are being harvested, causing intense
concern about crop damage in the world's No. 2 soybean producer.