Wednesday, April 20, 2011

20110420 1925 Renewables Energy Related News.

LOS ANGELES, April 19 (Reuters) - A major SunPower Corp  solar power plant will move forward as planned in central California after San Luis Obispo County officials on Tuesday rejected appeals that sought to overturn the project's approval.
The county's five-member Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to reject the appeals.

MILAN, April 19 (Reuters) - Italy plans to introduce a cap on state incentives for solar power generation as it seeks to curb costs, according to a draft decree obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.
Italy's solar sector, among the biggest in Europe, has boomed since 2007 when state-backed production incentives were first launched.

April 19 (Reuters) - Regulated utility San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) signed a 20-year contract with Sempra Generation for up to 156 megawatts (MW) of renewable power from Sempra's wind project in Mexico.
Both SDG&E and Sempra Generation are units of solar and wind power producer Sempra Energy .

BOSTON, April 19 (Reuters) - After years of delay,   construction of what is expected to be the first U.S. offshore wind farm, located off Massachusetts' picturesque Nantucket Sound, could begin as early as this fall.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said on Tuesday the federal government has approved a construction and operations plan submitted for the Cape Wind Energy Project.

LISBON, April 18 (Reuters) - EDP Renewables , the wind energy subsidiary of Energias de Portugal , said its total power generation rose 21 percent in the first quarter, boosted by output growth in the United States.
EDPR, the world's fourth-largest wind energy company in terms of installed capacity, said on Monday total power generation rose to 4,421 gigawatt hours (GWh) while its U.S output jumped 37 percent from a year earlier to 2,430 GWh, overtaking output in Europe, which grew 7 percent to 1,985 GWh.

NEW YORK, April 18 (Reuters) - Google Inc  and two Japanese partners will pay General Electric Co  about $500 million for a majority equity stake in the world's largest wind farm under construction in Oregon, the partners said on Monday.
The $2 billion Shepherds Flat project, near Arlington, Oregon, is due to be completed next year. It will stretch over 30 square miles of north-central Oregon and generate enough energy for 235,000 U.S. homes. The site's developer is Caithness Energy.

BEIJING, April 18 (Reuters) - The State Grid Corp of China (SGCC) added wind power grid connections in the first quarter, boosting overall connected capacity by 17 percent, the dominant Chinese power distributor said.
At the end of March, 33.16 gigawatts of wind power generating capacity was connected to its networks, SGCC said in a report on its website (

OSLO, April 15 (Reuters) - Tradable "green certificates" will help lower power prices and boost supply in Norway and Sweden by stimulating renewable energy projects, Norway's government said on Friday on submitting the scheme to lawmakers.
The programme, agreed by the Scandinavian neighours last December and set to begin Jan. 1, 2012, is expected to generate 26.4 terrawatt hours (TWh) of additional electricity in 2012-2020, with each country financing half.

CAIRO, April 15 (Reuters) - Egypt plans to launch a tender in May to choose companies to build the first phase of 1,000 megawatt wind power plants in the Gulf of Suez, its electricity minister said on Friday.
The power plants will be constructed on a build-own-operate (BOO) basis, Electricity and Energy Minister Hassan Younes told state-owned news agency MENA.

ROME, April 14 (Reuters) - Italy plans to put a six-monthly or annual cap on solar incentive costs rather than power output under a new renewable energy support decree and aims to scrap incentives from 2017, its deputy industry minister said on Thursday.
Rome, which has decided to scrap the existing generous solar incentives from June, has been drafting a new support scheme.

LOS ANGELES, April 13 (Reuters) - First Solar Inc's  president of operations, Bruce Sohn, will leave the world's most valuable solar company at the end of April and will not be replaced, the company said on Wednesday.
Sohn, who has steered technology and operations and managed the supply chain for First Solar since becoming president in 2007, will pursue opportunities outside of the company, First Solar said in a statement.

20110420 1924 Biofuels Related News.

SAO PAULO, April 19 (Reuters) - Brazilian ethanol prices are soaring in lockstep with surging consumer demand, putting upward pressure on inflation and sparking fears of a shortage of the biofuel in some parts of the country.
Brazil, home to the world's most vibrant biofuels market, produces two types of ethanol from sugar cane -- hydrous and anhydrous. Hydrous ethanol is used for automobiles that can run on ethanol, whereas anhydrous ethanol is blended with all gasoline in Brazil as a way of keeping a lid on fuel prices and reducing consumption of fossil fuels.

SAO PAULO, April 19 (Reuters) - Brazil's center-south will harvest around 541 million tonnes of cane in 2011/12 (April-March), down from the previous season due to poor investments in cane fields, Canaplan analysts said Tuesday.
If confirmed, this will be the first decline in output after 11 years of steady growth in the region that last season harvested a record 556.7 million tonnes of cane, according to industry association Unica.

SAO PAULO, April 19 (Reuters) - Brazilian biodiesel producer Brasil Ecodiesel  is in talks to acquire local farming group Vanguarda Participacoes in a deal worth 1.2 billion reais ($758 million), the companies said on Tuesday.
Under the terms of the deal, Ecodiesel would acquire all of Vanguarda's outstanding stock at 0.89 reais per share. Brasil Ecodiesel's controlling shareholders expect to decide in the next 20 days whether to go ahead with the acquisition.

SYDNEY, April 18 (Reuters) - Australia slapped an anti-dumping duty on cheap imports of U.S. biodiesel, the nations customs agency said on Monday, after an official investigation found that shipments of heavily subsidised biodiesel had been sold into Australia.
The Australian Customs and Boarder Protection Services concluded that the subsidised and dumped exports from the US were hurting the local industry and clogging the market with similar goods.

WASHINGTON, April 17 (Reuters) - Sugarcane grown to power Brazil's cars and trucks as an alternative to climate-warming fossil fuels has a beneficial side effect: it also cools the local air temperature, scientists reported on Sunday.
Researchers warned that this does not mean replacing Amazon forest or other natural vegetation with sugarcane fields. The benefit comes when sugarcane is introduced into existing agriculture, replacing pasture land or crops like soybeans.

SAO PAULO, April 14 (Reuters) - Ninety mills have begun crushing Brazil's 2011/12 cane crop (April-March), industry association Unica said Thursday, adding that about 200 more are expected to begin operating over the next few weeks.
A year ago, the number of mills working was much higher as there were 60 million tonnes of cane left uncut from the previous cycle that were ready to be harvested.

SAO PAULO, April 13 (Reuters) - State-run oil company Petrobras  will invest more in ethanol production in Brazil to meet growing domestic demand for the fuel, the head of its biofuels unit said on Wednesday.
The announcement follows authorities' request for the company to enter more aggressively in the sector as part of a broader set of government measures to boost ethanol production and reduce price volatility for consumers.

20110420 1910 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Techs, materials lead Asia shares higher
SINGAPORE, April 20 (Reuters) - Asian stocks rose on Wednesday as strong results from chip maker Intel Corp  prompted a rally in tech shares, while renewed strength in metals prices boosted materials companies and also lifted the commodity-linked Australian dollar.
"We have seen a little bounce, not a big bounce," said Austock Group senior client adviser Michael Heffernan. "All guns are blazing at the moment in the right direction and there is very little blood on the floor."

Indonesian palm oil demand seen up 80 pct by 2015
JAKARTA, April 19 (Reuters) - Consumption of crude palm oil (CPO) in Indonesia, the world's top producer, will rise by about 80 percent to 18.7 million tonnes by 2015, due to greater demand from downstream industries, a government official said.
Southeast Asia's largest economy consumed between 10.5 million and 11 million tonnes of CPO in 2010, but will increase this to 28 million tonnes by 2020, Abdul Rochim, an official at the Indonesian industry ministry told Reuters in an interview.

Oil World ups Indonesia palm oil output forecast
HAMBURG, April 19 (Reuters) - Indonesia, the world's top palm oil exporter, will produce 23.8 million tonnes in 2011 versus 22.0 million tonnes last year, Hamburg-based oilseeds analysts Oil World forecast on Tuesday.
The forecast is 100,000 tonnes higher than Oil World's previous estimate though below the 25.0 million forecast by industry analyst Dorab Mistry.

US gasoline demand declines as prices climb
NEW YORK, April 19 (Reuters) - Gasoline prices are getting close to levels where demand from American consumers is likely to fall sharply, MasterCard Advisors warned on Tuesday.
Demand last week dropped 1.6 percent from year-ago levels, after retail prices climbed more than a third from a year earlier to more than $3.80 a gallon, MasterCard's weekly data showed.

Italy seeks ways to enable Libyan rebel oil sales
ROME, April 19 (Reuters) - A meeting of Western and Middle Eastern states in Rome next month will seek ways of enabling oil from Libyan rebel areas to be sold on world markets, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said on Tuesday.
The comments underline the uncertainty created by United Nations sanctions, which were intended to constrain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi but have also prevented rebels from selling oil to raise funds themselves.

Iran says oil output hike would not cool price
TEHRAN, April 19 (Reuters) - Oil prices are likely to stay high and adding more crude to the market would not cool them, Iran said on Tuesday, striking a typically bullish stance a day after other OPEC members said costly fuel could slow global growth.
At an oil and gas trade fair in Tehran, OPEC Secretary General Abdullah Al-Badri also predicted continued price strength.

U.S. wheat rises for 4th day on weather, corn up 1 pct
SINGAPORE, April 20 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat futures gained around half a percent on Wednesday, rising for a fourth straight session as adverse weather threatened to curb supplies from top exporters the United States, Canada and Europe.
" Farmers might be forced to switch to soybeans if corn plantings continue to get delayed, which will be bearish for soy and bullish for corn," said Ker Chung Yang, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Full Ivorian cocoa export revival to take weeks
ABIDJAN, April 19 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast cocoa exports will reach normal volumes no sooner than the end of April as authorities iron out new tax and customs procedures, banks reopen and security improves, shippers said on Tuesday.
The world's top grower of cocoa is slowly recovering from a violent post-election power struggle, which ended last week with the arrest of former President Laurent Gbagbo.

Elections may pressure Russia to export grains-SovEcon
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt April 19 (Reuters) - Russia may export 5-10 million tonnes of grain in the 2011/12 season to appease farmers grappling with lower domestic prices and higher production costs ahead of elections, an analyst said on Tuesday.
Russia, a former major grain exporter, lost a third of its crop last year in the worst drought in a century that slashed the harvest to just 61 million tonnes from 97 million in 2009 and 108 million in 2008.

India asks sugar mills to register for exports-source
NEW DELHI, April 19 (Reuters) - India, which has allowed exports of 500,000 tonnes of sugar following a bumper crop, has asked mills to register starting Tuesday, a source in the food ministry said.
The official, who is directly involved in the decision making process, said permission would be granted within three days of the applications and the mills would have to ship out within four and half months.

Ivory Coast rains to boost cocoa size, quality
ABIDJAN, April 19 (Reuters) - Favourable weather in Ivory Coast's cocoa growing regions last week was expected to help boost volumes during the mid-crop harvest, adding to a backlog of beans stockpiled at the nation's ports.
Farmers and meteorologists reported abundant rains mixed with lengthy spells of sun across most regions of the top grower nation, which is emerging from a violent political standoff that halted exports since late-January.

India's March rubber output up 7.4 pct on year
MUMBAI, April 19 (Reuters) - India's natural rubber production in March rose 7.4 percent on year to 54,400 tonnes, the state-run Rubber Board said in a statement on Tuesday, as record high prices prompted farmers to increase tapping.
The south Asian country's production during April 2010 to March 2011 stood at 861,950 tonnes, up 3.7 percent on year, it said.

Floods cut 1 pct of Thai 2011 rubber output
BANGKOK, April 19 (Reuters) - Thailand should produce 3.46 million tonnes of rubber this year, down one percent from a January forecast due to heavy floods, the chief of an industry body in the world's biggest rubber producer and exporter said on Tuesday. That was still 15 percent above last year's annual production of 3.0 million tonnes.
"We still believe we can produce around 3.46 million tonnes this year, or around a 1 percent drop from the previous forecast," Luckchai Kittipol, president of the Thai Rubber Association, told Reuters, referring to a previous forecast of 3.49 million tonnes made in January.

Copper finishes firmer on strong US housing data, euro
NEW YORK/LONDON, April 19 (Reuters) - Copper closed higher on Tuesday, regaining some ground after six straight losing sessions as a weaker dollar lent early support and robust U.S. housing starts pushed prices to session highs.
"I think copper's getting a bounce off of positive housing numbers today. Earnings have been pretty good. Unfortunately, we have these debt problems and we'll see how those shake out. But for now, the market is choosing to look past it," said Matthew Zeman, head of trading with Kingsview Financial in Chicago.

Gold steady, silver hits 31-year high on weak dollar
SINGAPORE, April 20 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady below $1,500 and silver hit a 31-year high on Wednesday, supported by a weak dollar and concerns over a sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone.
"Fifteen hundred dollars seems to be a natural psychological barrier," said Natalie Robertson, commodities strategist at ANZ.

20110420 1900 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3315, changed : +60 points, volume : higher.
Bollinger band reading : side way range bound.
MACD Histrogram : turned upward, buyer seller battling.
Support : 3300, 3270, 3250, 3200 level.
Resistance : 3350, 3420, 3450, 3470 level.
Comment :
FCPO closed recorded gains with increasing volume changed hand after export data released showing decline but improved demand while soy oil overnight closed recorded small gains and currently trading higher in unison with higher crude oil, gold and major commodities prices due to a weakening U.S dollar development.
News wise, Reuters reported  that Indonesia official said that consumption of crude palm oil in Indonesia, the world's top producer, will rise by about 80 percent to 18.7 million tonnes by 2015, due to greater demand from downstream industries
Daily chart formed an up doji bar candle positioned near middle Bollinger band level after market opened gap up, tested lower support and surged upward tested resistance near middle Bollinger before closed retreat downward slightly.
Technical chart reading turned to suggesting a side way range bound market development testing lower support and resistance level with MACD indicator turned little crossed up.
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.

20110420 1734 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1530 changed : +6.5 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : side way range bound.
MACD Histrogram : recovering, seller lock in profit.
Support : 1530, 1515, 1500, 1485 level.
Resistance : 1540, 1550, 1565, 1580 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed recorded gains with decreasing volume transacted doing 1 point discount compare to cash market that closed at the high while regional markets traded in positive territory. Sentiment turned positive after U.S. improving housing and payroll data plus some major corporates earnings exceed market forecast.
Daily chart formed an up bar doji bar candle positioned nearer to middle Bollinger band after market opened little higher, moved little downwards and inched up slowly tested resitance near middle Bollinger band level and retreated downwards slightly to closed off the high of the day.
Chart reading still call for a side way range bound market development testing support and resistance level.
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.

20110420 1223 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS: Techs, materials lead Asia shares higher
SINGAPORE, April 20 (Reuters) - Asian stocks rose on Wednesday, following a rebound on Wall Street and in Europe on upbeat corporate results, and commodity-linked currencies such as the Australian dollar also gained as momentum returned to metals markets.
A clutch of U.S. technology heavyweights, led by chip maker Intel Corp, reported strong results after the Wall Street close. Earlier, healthy profits from healthcare and materials companies had helped lift the S&P 500 0.6 percent.

OIL: Crude steady on firm equity, small crude build
SEOUL, April 20 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures edged up in early Asian trade on Wednesday as a weaker dollar and firmer equities buoyed prices on top of a smaller than expected rise in last week's U.S. crude inventory.
U.S. crude inventories rose last week less than forecast while oil product stocks fell, data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed on Tuesday, despite a rebound in U.S. refinery utilization.

NATURAL GAS: Natural gas ends up 3 pct on supportive weather
NEW YORK, April 19 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended sharply higher on Tuesday, with cool Midwest weather and rising warmth in the South driving the front month contract up 3 percent despite concerns about high supplies.
"It's getting real hot in Texas, and it's pretty cold up North. As long as we hold $4, I think we trade sideways to higher," a New York-based trader said.

EURO COAL: Prices dip $1/T on oil fall below $120/bbl
LONDON, April 19 (Reuters) - Physical coal values fell by around $1.00 a tonne on Tuesday after a slide in Brent crude oil futures to below $120 for the first time in two weeks, pressured by concerns over the economic outlook and the possibility of high oil prices eroding demand.
"Oil's been the big mover today and everything has fallen along with it. There've been very few buyers and sellers active in coal," one utility source said.

COMMODITIES: Recover from US rating scare; gold hits $1,500
NEW YORK, April 19 (Reuters) - Gold pierced record highs above $1,500 an ounce on Tuesday and silver notched the biggest rise of the young second quarter as investors banked on safe-haven bets on worries over inflation and the economy.
"If money managers decide the play is over, they are going to run for the exits," said Timothy Evans, analyst for energy markets at Citi Futures Perspective in New York.

Japan crude oil imports tumble in March after quake
TOKYO, April 20 (Reuters) - - Japan's imports of crude oil fell at the fastest pace in more than a year in March after a massive earthquake damaged refineries and disrupted economic activity, government data showed on Wednesday.
The volume of Japan's customs-cleared crude oil imports slid 6.6 percent in March from a year earlier to 17.776 million kilolitres (3.61 million barrels per day), the preliminary Ministry of Finance data showed. That was the sharpest decline since an 18.4 percent drop in October 2009.

Obama blames speculators for rising US fuel prices
WASHINGTON, April 19 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday blamed speculators for driving gasoline prices higher and straining American consumers, saying there was enough oil in world markets to meet demand.
Speaking at a community college in suburban Virginia, Obama said increasing production of U.S. oil and creating a market for fuel-efficient cars would help meet the country's energy challenges.

US crude stocks up, large oil products draw-API
NEW YORK, April 19 (Reuters) - U.S. crude inventories rose last week while oil product stocks fell, data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed on Tuesday, despite a rebound in U.S. refinery utilization.
Total crude inventories in the United States rose by 667,000 barrels in the week to April 15, compared with analysts' expectations for a 1.1 million-barrel build in a Reuters poll.

Argentine oil strike continues despite union deal
BUENOS AIRES, April 19 (Reuters) - Argentine energy workers rejected a proposed deal to end a three-week-old strike that has halted oil output in the Santa Cruz province, calling for their union boss to quit, a dissident union leader said on Tuesday.
The workers rejected an agreement reached by the union leadership and company officials on Monday, aimed at resuming production in a province that accounts for nearly 20 percent of Argentina's total crude output.

POLL-US crude stocks seen up, imports offset run
BANGALORE/NEW YORK, April 19 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil inventories increased for the seventh straight time last week as crude imports rose faster than refinery demand, a Reuters poll showed on Tuesday.
On average, crude inventories were forecast up 1.1 million barrels, the expanded poll of 14 analysts showed.

Libya oil stuck in legal limbo as UN panel shunned
UNITED NATIONS, April 19 (Reuters) - Western powers eager to help Libyan rebels sell oil from territories they control are ignoring the U.N. Security Council's sanctions committee, leaving Libyan crude in legal limbo, envoys and analysts say.
Without definitive guidance on the legal status of Libyan oil from the politically divided U.N. sanctions committee, U.N. diplomats and traders say the oil could remain virtually untouchable as major trading players take care to avoid running afoul of the U.N. sanctions.

Pakistan unable to continue fuel subsidies-minister
KUWAIT, April 19 (Reuters) - Pakistan will not be able to afford subsidies on fuel this summer and much of the rising oil price burden will have to be shifted to the consumer, the country's minister of water and power told Reuters.
Pakistan, where tens of millions of people live in poverty, is struggling to control inflation.

20110420 1001 Global Economic Related News.

Japan: Exports fall 2.2% and consumer confidence decline after quake
Japan’s exports fell for the first time in more than a year, underscoring concern that the economy will shrink after the nation’s record earthquake killed thousands, knocked out plants, and triggered a nuclear crisis. Overseas shipments declined 2.2% in March y-o-y from February’s 9% gain. The median estimate was for a 1.1% drop. Meanwhile. Japan’s consumer confidence fell the most on record last month after the nation’s unprecedented earthquake. The household sentiment index dropped to 38.6 in March from 41.2 in February. It was the biggest decline since comparable figures were made available in April 2007. (Bloomberg)

Japan: March consumer confidence plunges by record after quake. The household sentiment index dropped to 38.6 in March from 41.2 in February, according to seasonally adjusted figures released. It was the biggest decline since comparable figures were made available in April 2007. (Source: Bloomberg)

China: Foreign direct investment rises 33%
Foreign direct investment surged 33% in March y-o-y as rising inflation and interest rates failed to damp overseas confidence in the world’s fastest-growing major economy. Foreign investments added USD12.5bn to China’s economy. Investments increased at an annual rate of 29% in the first quarter. (Bloomberg)

EU: Services, manufacturing growth quickens in April
European services and manufacturing growth unexpectedly accelerated in April, suggesting the region’s economy is weathering surging energy costs and tougher austerity measures. The composite index based on a survey of euro-area purchasing managers in both industries rose to 57.8 from 57.6 in March. Economists had projected a drop to 57. A reading above 50 indicates growth. The euro-area services indicator fell to 56.9 from 57.2 in March. The manufacturing gauge increased to 57.7 from 57.5. The indicator for Germany’s manufacturing rose to 61.7 from 60.9 in March, while the services gauge slipped to 57.7 from 60.1. (Bloomberg)

US: Housing starts rose 7.2% in March
A gain in March housing starts failed to make up for ground lost the prior month, as US home builders continue to struggle almost two years into the economic recovery. Work began on 549,000 houses at an annual pace, up 7.2% m-o-m and exceeding the 520,000 median forecast. Starts fell 19% in February to the lowest level in almost two years. Building permits, a proxy for future construction, rose 11% to a 594,000 pace. Construction of single-family houses increased 7.7% to a 422,000 rate in March m-o-m. Work on multifamily homes, such as townhouses and apartments, increased 5.8% to an annual rate of 127,000. (Bloomberg)

US: Payrolls increase in 38 US states
Payrolls rose in 38 US states in March, indicating improvement in the labor market is broadening. Texas, with a 37,200 increase, and Missouri, at 24,300, showed the biggest gains in employment from February. The jobless rate fell in 34 states, with the largest decline in New Mexico, where it fell by 0.6 ppt to 8.1%. Florida, North Carolina and Oklahoma rounded out the top five states with the largest increases in employment last month. California, Connecticut, Louisiana and Maryland were among the states with the biggest payroll decreases. North Dakota had the lowest unemployment in the nation, falling to 3.6% from 3.7% the prior month. Nevada remained the state with the highest jobless rate at 13.2%. (Bloomberg)

20110420 1000 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

 KLCI chart reading :
side way range bound little upside biased.

DRB-HICOM wins Pos stake
Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary's DRB-HICOM has won a bid to take over national postal company Pos Malaysia, people familiar with the matter said yesterday. It is understood that DRB-HICOM will sign an agreement with Khazanah Nasional early next week to buy the latter's Pos Malaysia stake. Khazanah, the government investment arm, currently holds 30% of Bank Muamalat, while the remaining 70% is owned by DRB-HICOM. It is also understood that DRB-HICOM is buying Pos Malaysia from Khazanah for about RM3.60 a share. The latter currently owns 32.2% of Pos Malaysia. The deal will value Khazanah's Pos Malaysia stake at about RM623m. (BT)

7 new ETP projects with RM901m in investments
The Government has unveiled seven new projects and initiatives under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) with investments totalling RM901m. The projects are geared to contribute about RM6.04bn in Gross National Income (GNI) and over 62,205 jobs in four national key economic areas, namely electrical and electronics, communications content and infrastructure, education and wholesale and retail. Recapping five other projects announced earlier on 11 March, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said these 12 projects will bring about RM11.2bn in investment, RM16.6bn in GNI and 74,457 incremental jobs. "The 72 projects within 54 Entry Point Projects (EPPs) announced to date signify that 41.2% of the 131 EPPs have commenced, all in less than six months since the launch of the ETP," Najib said. (BT)

JCorp group pre-tax hits record RM962m
Johor state investment arm Kumpulan Johor Corp's (JCorp) profit before tax and zakat jumped 37.4% to RM962m for the financial year ended Dec 2010 from RM700m in the previous year. JCorp president and chief executive Kamaruzzaman Abu Kassim said the profit was the highest achieved since its inception about 40 years ago. Group sales increased 6.1% to RM7.5bn from RM7.1bn previously. At company level, profit before tax and zakat rose 18% to RM118m compared with RM100m from the previous year, while sales dropped by 22.4% to RM388m from RM500m in 2009. (BT)

Maybulk expects pressure on rates to hit bottom line
Malaysian Bulk Carriers Bhd expects lower revenue and profits this year on continued downward pressure on rates due to oversupply of ships and an almost inevitable downward pricing of its contract with Tenaga Nasional. Maybulk's net profit for the year ended 31 Dec 2010 stood at RM242.7m, against revenue of RM404.3m. The Baltic Dry Index, an index that charts the dry bulk market, has almost halved in the six months, closing at 1284 points on 18 Apr 2011. (BT)

Bursa 1Q net profit leaps 44%
Bursa Malaysia recorded a 44% surge in net profit to RM40.5m in the first quarter ended 31 Mar 2011, from RM28.05m on strong performance from its securities and derivatives trading. Total operating revenue rose 33% to RM107.8m compared with RM81.2m previously. Chief executive officer Datuk Tajuddin Atan, in a press release yesterday, attributed the performance to the return of positive market sentiments and high liquidity.(BT)

SEB believed to have made RM1.3bn offer to buy 30% of Bakun Dam
Sarawak Energy (SEB), the state utility company, is believed to have proposed to acquire a 30% stake in the Bakun Hydroelectric Power project for RM1.3bn cash, soruces said. The payment would likely be in the form of equity of RM700m and a shareholders’ loan of RM650m, the sources added. Based on its latest offer of a starting tariff of six sen per kwh, SEB is said to be working on a valuation of RM6bn for the Bakun Dam project compared with the cost of construction of RM7.5bn. (StarBiz)

AEON Credit 4Q profit up from higher volume
Aeon Credit Service’s net profit for its 4Q ended 20 Feb 2011 rose to RM19.4m from RM14.3m in the previous corresponding period mainly due to growth in trade receivables on the back of increased financing transaction volume. Revenue for the period increased to RM73.7m from RM63.0m previously. The company also attributed the better earnings from the sustained expansion in private consumption and positive consumer confidence. (StarBiz)

Petronas sells Cairn India stake for RM6.4bn
Petronas has sold its entire stake of 14.9% in Cairn India Ltd for about USD2.1bn (approximately RM6.4bn). Petronas said that it had sold all its 283.4m shares in Cairn India held via Petronas International Corp. “The transaction brings to a close a successful association as a shareholder with Cairn India since 2006”, the national oil company said. Earlier, news wires reported that Petronas had disposed of its stake in three transactions on the Bombay Stock Exchange. Carin India is the operator of India’s largest oil field on land. (StarBiz)

Starshine plans to list on Ace Market by 3Q
Steel products player Starshine Holdings (SHB), which is planning a listing on Bursa Malaysia’s Ace Market by the third quarter of the year, will invest RM32m in a new plant in Klang and new machinery to broaden its product offering. Construction of the proposed plant, which is estimated to cost RM20m, is expected to start during the current quarter for completion within 12 months, SHB said in its prospectus exposure. SHB, a subsidiary of Sarawak-based Yung Kong Galvanising Industries, has acquired freehold land adjacent to its Klang factory for RM9.4m for the new plant. The company will invest about RM12m in a new shearing line and a new pipe mill line will be installed at the new plant and existing Klang factory respectively. (StarBiz)

MAHB: North Korea's Air Koryo makes maiden landing at KLIA. North Korea national airline Air Koryo made its maiden landing at KL International Airport (KLIA) on Monday and will start a twice-weekly service to Kuala Lumpur from Pyongyang on April 18. (Source: The Star)

BAT: Expects to double exports this year. British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd (BAT) expects to double exports this year, a move that will give it a small revenue boost amid tougher sales at home. It may also sell some machinery it no longer needs, valued at between RM18m and RM20m. (Source: Business times)

Berjaya: Confirms Kim Eng approach. Berjaya Corp Bhd confirmed that Kim Eng Holdings Ltd has approached it about the possibility of buying all of Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd. (Source: Bursa Malaysia)

Smartag: Gets role in Customs project. Smartag Solutions Bhd said it was named to be part of a government project to provide security and trade facilitation system for the Royal Malaysian Customs at its checkpoints throughout the country. (Source: Business times)

20110420 0954 Global Market Related News.

DJIA chart reading : side way range bound.

Hang Seng chart reading : correction range bound little upside biased.

IMF criticizes response to overheating risks
WASHINGTON, April 18 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund on Monday criticized developing countries for not responding strongly enough to the surge of hot money into their markets, saying the result could be a hard economic landing.
After meeting in Washington D.C. on Friday, the IMF said in a note to G20 major economies that huge inflows of speculative capital had sped up economic growth in emerging markets, but also pushed up inflation and the response by developing country governments had "been insufficient to address these rising pressures, portending risks of a hard landing."

Debt woes, China inflation risk overhang markets (Source: Reuters)
Debt woes on both sides of the Atlantic and new signals from China on inflation dangers weighed on markets, though strong earnings saw European shares claw back some of the previous day's losses. Discussions on the U.S. losing its AAA-status have been active for two years, if not longer. S&P's move might have been a jolt, but should not really be a true surprise," said David Watt, senior currency strategist at RBC Dominion Securities.

Longest BRIC Stock Rally Since 1997 Seen Doomed as Interest Rates Increase (Source: Bloomberg)
The longest rally in developing- nation stocks since 1997 may be ending as higher interest rates in Brazil, Russia, India and China curb earnings growth. For the first time in two years, emerging-market analysts are cutting profit estimates more than they’re raising them, consumer stocks are trailing energy producers and shares of smaller companies are losing to larger equities, data compiled by Bloomberg and Morgan Stanley show. The same reversals foreshadowed the end of the emerging-market rally in 2008.

Asian Stocks Rise as U.S. Housing, Earnings Boost Confidence; BHP Advances (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks rose for the first time in four days as U.S. housing starts gained and earnings beat estimates at companies including Johnson & Johnson, signaling the world’s biggest economy is recovering.

Stocks in U.S. Advance as Housing-Starts Data, Earnings Exceed Forecasts (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks rose, as benchmark indexes rebounded from the worst declines in a month, after housing starts increased and earnings beat estimates at companies from Johnson & Johnson to Steel Dynamics Inc. A gauge of homebuilders in S&P indexes gained 2.2 percent as all of its 12 stocks advanced. Johnson & Johnson, the second- biggest seller of health products, rallied 3.7 percent, the most in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Steel Dynamics added 5.7 percent as its profit also beat projections. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. rose 2.2 percent, pacing gains in raw- material producers, as gold touched a record $1,500.50 an ounce.

Housing Starts in U.S. Increased to 549,000 in March, Exceeding Forecasts (Source: Bloomberg)
A gain in March housing starts failed to make up for ground lost the prior month, as U.S. home builders continue to struggle almost two years into the economic recovery.

Geithner Sees Progress Toward Accord to Reduce Record U.S. Budget Deficits (Source: Bloomberg)
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said he’s confident U.S. political leaders will bridge their differences and move toward a long-term plan to narrow record budget deficits and reduce the debt.

Payrolls Rise in 38 States, Led by Texas; Unemployment Rate Declines in 34 (Source: Bloomberg)
Payrolls rose in 38 U.S. states in March, indicating improvement in the labor market is broadening. Texas, with a 37,200 increase, and Missouri, at 24,300, showed the biggest gains in employment from February, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. The jobless rate fell in 34 states, with the largest decline in New Mexico, where it fell by 0.6 percentage point to 8.1 percent.

China manufacturing growth stabilises in April -HSBC flash PMI
BEIJING, April 19 (Reuters) - China's factory expansion stabilised in April while inflationary pressures eased a tad as the government presses ahead with  tightening steps to tame price rises, a survey showed on Tuesday.
The HSBC flash manufacturing purchasing managers' index   (PMI), the earliest available indicator of China's industrial   activity, was at 51.8 in April, unchanged from the   final reading in March. A figure above 50 points to   expansion on the month. 

Farmers Get Rich as Wheat Trade Gives Deere Record Profit: Freight Markets (Source: Bloomberg)
The biggest U.S. wheat shipments in a generation mean record income for farmers, the most profit ever for Deere & Co. (DE) and the nation’s lowest jobless rate in North Dakota, the largest grower. The U.S. will control 28 percent of global wheat exports this year, up from 18 percent in 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says. With prices averaging about $8 a bushel this quarter and the next, the most in three years, farms will earn $94.7 billion, according to analysts’ forecasts compiled by Bloomberg and a USDA estimate. North Dakota’s jobless rate was 3.6 percent in March, compared with 8.8 percent nationally.

European Stocks Rebound From Biggest Decline in a Month; LVMH, SKF Advance (Source: Bloomberg)
European stocks rose, rebounding from the biggest drop in a month, as results from LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC) to SKF AB (SKFB) and Novartis AG (NOVN) beat analysts’ estimates. LVMH, the world’s largest luxury-goods maker, climbed 5 percent after first-quarter sales topped projections. SKF, the biggest maker of ball bearings, rallied 6.4 percent after reporting record quarterly profit. Novartis, Europe’s second- largest drugmaker by sales, advanced the most in four months.

EU Parliament Panel Supports Trichet Over Sarkozy on Tougher Budget Rules (Source: Bloomberg)
A European Parliament panel blunted a French-German push to dilute tougher budget rules, supporting central bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet ’s call for a more credible threat of penalties against big-spending governments.

Euro Rises Versus Yen on Rate Bets Before Germany's Producer-Price Report (Source: Bloomberg)
The euro gained verus the yen before data forecast to show German producer prices rose, fueling speculation the European Central Bank will raise interest rates. The euro advanced to 118.72 yen at 8:37 a.m. in Tokyo from 118.39 in New York yesterday.

Spanish Finance Minister Salgado Pledges ‘Another Quarter of Reforms’ (Source: Bloomberg)
Spanish Finance Minister Elena Salgado pledged to push ahead with “another quarter of reforms” as the government seeks to win the confidence of investors. “We have improved a lot in terms of the perception of the markets in recent months during which we have carried out big reforms,” Salgado said in an interview with Cadena Ser radio station today in Madrid. “This quarter will also be a quarter for reforms.”

Japan’s Exports Fall a More-Than-Expected 2.2% After Quake (Source: Bloomberg)
Japan’s exports fell for the first time in more than a year, underscoring concern that the economy will shrink after the nation’s record earthquake killed thousands, knocked out plants, and triggered a nuclear crisis.

Japan Voices Support for Treasuries After S&P Cuts U.S.'s Credit Outlook (Source: Bloomberg)
Japanese policy makers signaled their commitment to holding Treasuries after Standard & Poor’s lowered its outlook for the U.S.’s AAA credit rating to “negative” for the first time yesterday. “We continue to see U.S. debt as an attractive investment,” Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said at a press conference in Tokyo today. Treasuries would still be “extremely good-quality securities” even if the grade was lowered, Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano said.

Japan’s 10-Year Yield Near This Month’s Low After Data Show Exports Fell (Source: Bloomberg)
Japan’s 10-year bond yields were about one basis point from the lowest level in three weeks after a government report showed the nation’s exports fell for the first time in more than a year.

Japan Stocks Rise First Time in Four Days on U.S. Housing Starts (Source: Bloomberg)
Japanese stocks advanced for the first time in four days after U.S. housing starts increased and earnings beat estimates at companies including Johnson & Johnson, signaling the world’s biggest economy is recovering.

Thailand May Raise Interest Rate as Asia Grapples With Inflation, Inflows (Source: Bloomberg)
Thailand may raise borrowing costs for the sixth time in less than a year as Asia strives to damp inflation stoked by surging commodity prices and capital inflows. The Bank of Thailand will raise its benchmark one-day bond repurchase rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 2.75 percent, according to all 20 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The decision is due at 2:30 p.m. in Bangkok tomorrow.

PRECIOUS-Gold rises towards $1,500/oz, risk appetite fragile
LONDON, April 19 (Reuters) - Gold rose back towards the previous session's record high near $1,500 an ounce on Tuesday, with appetite for risk fragile after Standard & Poor's cut its U.S. outlook and as euro zone sovereign debt concerns simmered.
Prices rose to a record $1,497.20 an ounce on Monday after the S&P announcement rocked the markets but slipped back quickly after running into strong resistance at higher levels.

20110420 0952 Global Commodities Related News.

Corn (Source: CME)
US corn futures close mixed as deferred contract months continue to rally on concerns about cool, wet weather delaying planting. Farmers need favorable conditions to sow and harvest a large crop to rebuild low inventories. Yet, forecasts show soggy conditions will disrupt sowing near term. "We will not get anything done until May 1 at this stage," says Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics & Consulting, about planting. Nearby contracts weaken on profit-taking. CBOT July corn slips 2 1/2c $7.57 a bushel; December corn jumps 7 3/4c to $6.76.

Wheat (Source: CME)
US wheat futures finish stronger as concerns build about dry weather hurting global output. In Texas, a major producer of hard red winter wheat, crop conditions are "bad and getting worse," says Mark Welch, grain marketing specialist at Texas A&M University's extension service. He predicts the state will produce about 33M bushels of wheat, roughly one-third its average harvest. That's sharply below USDA's recent forecast of 64.8M bushels. China and Western Europe also are dry. CBOT July wheat rises 10 1/4c to $8.21 a bushel; KCBT July surges 30 1/4c to $9.36 3/4; MGE July climbs 28 3/4c to $9.51 1/2.

Oats (Source: CME)
Oat futures strengthened on concerns cool, wet weather in the northern U.S. Plains and Canada will continue to delay planting. Planting in the U.S. was 39% complete as of Sunday, below the average of 46% for that time of year, according to government data issued Monday. Oats for July delivery rose 7 cents, or 1.8%, to $4.03 1/2 a bushel.

Rice (Source: CME)
US rice futures finish firmer as wheat rallies for a third consecutive day. Gains in wheat help lift rice because both grains are global food staples, analysts say. Some consumers, particularly those in Asia, will eat more rice if wheat becomes too pricey. Global rice supplies are ample, and farmers are planting the US crop at a faster-than-normal pace. Plantings were 37% complete as of Sunday, two percentage points above the average for that time of year. Farmers are sowing less rice than last year due to weak prices. CBOT July rice gains 4c to $14.01 1/2 per hundredweight.

First State Exec: World Food Prices At Investment "Tipping Point"  (Source: CME)
World food prices have reached a "tipping point" where farmers are likely to boost their investments in increasing productivity, the manager of First State's Agribusiness Fund said.
International prices for agricultural commodities have surged to record highs this year, according to the United Nations, after a succession of weather problems dented output for crops as diverse as grains, oilseeds and sugar. Yet while this season's rally has been spurred by natural disasters, some investors argue it heralds a longer-term trend of rising food prices as the world struggles to increase output by 70% by 2050 in order to feed a predicted 9 billion people. "We're at the point now where we're incentivising farmers to increase production," said Renzo Casarotto, senior manager of the $26 million fund. "We're going to see more [research and development in order] to become more effective in improving yields." A major driver in the food-price rally this season has been a draw-down in world stock levels. Global sugar inventories are at a two-decade lows and grain production has fallen short of supply for the past seven seasons out of 11.
Yet while every major forecasting agency is expecting a rise in world food production next year, doubt remains as to whether this will sate demand given emaciated stocks, and prices are expected to remain high into next season. Although he gave no specific forecast, Casarotto said if prices stay at these levels for a sustained period farmers will "take gradual steps to invest once they see these levels are sustainable" in the way energy and metals producers have done. "The challenge is to produce more food with fewer resources," he said. "This will need investment." He cited U.N. figures estimating agriculture will need $80 billion a year to meet growing global demand. Launched less than a year ago, First State's Agribusiness Fund invests in a range of agriculture-related businesses in order to cash in on the predicted rise in farm investments.
Its largest holdings are in agricultural giants like Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., Deere & Co. and Mosaic Co., although it also invests in companies such as BRF-Brasil Foods SA and Sino-Forest Corp. Casarotto said the fund intends to expand more in regions like South America and Asia where output growth will be centered. In these countries, he said, price transmission to farmers can be slower due to inhibitors like greater transportation costs, but the agricultural potential is vast. "The transportation costs [for moving grains] from [Brazil's] Masso Grosso to Santo port is $3.50 a bushel so only now are farmers becoming incentivised to increase production," he said.

UK Farmland Prices Rise Fastest Since 2008 In Q1 2011 - Savills (Source: CME)
Growth in U.K. farmland prices this year has got off to the best start since 2008 as a growing number of buyers competed for less land, a report by Savills said. Values for average grade farmland rose 2.3% in the first quarter of 2011 to GBP5,400 per acre, the survey said, as the number of new applicants registering to buy rose 16%. The amount of land on offer, however, fell by 22% compared with the same time in 2010. In England, just under 13,500 acres were marketed between January and March, down around 1,000 acres from the same time last year. "Continued demand combined with a further reduction in the volume of available farmland has resulted in the best first quarter growth in farmland values since 2008," said the report. The figures show growing momentum in a market which recorded an 11% increase in land prices during 2010 and 7.2% in 2009. Arable land continues to show the strongest growth in prices across England, according to the survey.
However, with reforms to the European Union's farming support policies on the horizon, Savills said buyers may become increasingly price-sensitive next year. "The rate of growth may soften slightly in 2012 as the outcome of the latest CAP reform becomes clearer," said the report.

Bangladesh Buyers Delay Wheat Import Payments On Weak Currency (Source: CME)
Importers in Bangladesh have delayed payments for close to 100,000 metric tons of wheat due to lower domestic prices and a weaker local currency, trading executives said. Bangladesh is one of the world's largest wheat importers, but delays in payments may cause imports to slow amid adequate local supply. Payments of at least $30 million for Pakistan's wheat sales to Bangladesh are pending as importers have delayed obtaining letters of credit from banks, a Karachi-based commodities exporter said. Commodity importers in Bangladesh said many are delaying opening LCs due to a weakening Bangladeshi Taka, as foreign exchange reserves decline. The currency has declined to around BDT73.5 against the dollar from around BDT70 in December, a commodities trader in Dhaka said. He said to open LCs at current rates would result in importers being saddled with costlier grain at a time when local prices are falling.
Buyers were importing wheat from Pakistan around $360 a ton, cost and freight, earlier this year, while the local price is now equivalent to $260/ton. Even higher-quality Australian wheat is now trading around $325/ton in Bangladesh's markets. "Importers in Bangladesh are themselves to blame for the situation because they have overbought wheat, causing a glut in their market," said a Singapore-based executive at a commodities trading company. A grains importer in Dhaka said the country's wheat imports in the January-March period were close to 1.3 million tons. He said Bangladesh usually imports between 750,000 tons and 950,000 tons of wheat each quarter, and the above-average numbers are mostly because of aggressive purchases from Pakistan. However, local wheat prices have declined by around $70/ton since December, making it uneconomical for importers to take delivery of some of the pending contracts.
Some importers say they are ready to take delivery and make payments, but commercial banks are slow in opening LCs due to the country's widening trade deficit. Bangladesh's foreign exchange reserves fell around 4% in March, to $10.7 billion. "It is more of a balance sheet management issue [for commercial banks] rather than that of forex reserves," said a senior banking executive in Bangladesh. The delay in releasing payments through LCs is primarily because some commercial banks don't have sufficient local currency to buy dollars to meet import obligations, he said. The current foreign exchange reserves are sufficient for four to five months of overall imports, he said.

Lebanon 2010-11 Grain Imports To Hit Record High - UN's FAO (Source: CME)
Lebanon is likely to import a record amount of grain this season after disease savaged the country's harvest, the United Nations' food body said. Cereal purchases, mainly of wheat, are expected to rise to 846,000 metric tons in 2010-11, 5% above the five-year average, due to an 18% slump in domestic production to 134,000 tons, the Food and Agriculture organization said. "The poor performance [of the 2010 winter wheat crop] was mainly due to reduced yields following the outbreak of a new and virulent strain of yellow rust," said the FAO's report. Like many Arab countries, Lebanon is heavily reliant on grain imports to feed its population. Production only covers about 20% of annual demand, the FAO said, leaving the country vulnerable to near record-high world prices. Still, the FAO said it expects production to pick up in 2011 "following beneficial rainfall in March and April that boosted soil moisture for the wheat and barley crops."

US Corn's Tight Outlook Isn't Yet Rippling Through Cash Market (Source: CME)
Cash markets for U.S. corn remain calm even as supply concerns drive futures to trade at record high prices. Commercial users such as ethanol makers and livestock producers aren't bidding up cash prices for corn, a sign that there is no rush in the near term to lock up supplies. Heavy selling by farmers taking advantage of surging prices has provided adequate supplies to meet current demand. Yet the situation could reverse by late summer. While the nation's supply of corn isn't going to run out, the government projects pre-harvest supplies to decline to their lowest level since 1996. That could create pockets of shortages, depending on a buyer's location and the pace of the autumn harvest. For now, grain processors aren't boosting basis, which is the difference between local cash prices at elevators and futures prices on the Chicago Board of Trade. Typically, grain users push up basis levels when they need physical supplies, increasing the flow of corn into the cash market.
Prices of corn futures have surged to records highs of more than $7.80 a bushel following a federal report last month that showed grain inventories fell more than expected. In contrast, the average basis level in U.S. widened to 65 1/2 cents below current futures prices from 43 1/4 cents before the March 31 inventory report. Cash corn prices don't suggest supplies are that tight and have been a bit disappointing at a time when the U.S. Department of Agriculture is projecting tight, end-of-season supplies, said Joel Karlin, analyst with Western Milling, a California-based feed company.

Wheat rises half pct, corn steady as weather threatens crops
U.S. wheat futures rose around half a percent, building on the previous session's rally of 4 percent as dry weather threatened crops in top producers the United States, Europe and China."It is a weather-inspired rally, which has been made all the more impressive as it comes against the rising U.S. dollar," said Garry Booth, a trader at MF Global Australia.

China sells feed wheat, no new loans for corn processors-media
BEIJING, April 19 (Reuters) - China has sold 112,361 tonnes of feed wheat from state reserves on Tuesday, bringing total sales to 353,072 tonnes since the government initiated the sale late last month. Sales of feed wheat would help ease tight corn supplies for feed mills. Beijing has also restricted purchases of corn by processors from farmers to ensure ample supplies for mills.

India likely to forecast normal monsoon for 2011
NEW DELHI, April 19 (Reuters) - India's first official forecast for the 2011 monsoon on Tuesday is likely to match other outlooks for normal rains, which if met would bring relief to Asia's third-largest economy in its battle with high food prices. Hopes for normal rains have grown following a favourable forecast for South Asia by global weather experts last week.   Good rainfall would boost food output in India, one of the world's top consumers and producers of a range of agricultural commodities, and also help governments throughout Asia to battle food inflation.

US farmers plant 7 pct of corn crop, below forecasts
CHICAGO, April 18 (Reuters) - U.S. farmers have seeded 7 percent of intended corn acreage so far this year, falling below trader expectations and the record planting pace of last year, U.S. Agriculture Department data showed on Monday. Analysts had forecast the government to put corn plantings at 8 percent complete as of April 17, which would have matched the five-year average, a Reuters poll showed.

U.S. corn planting seen hindered by rain, cold
CHICAGO, April 18 (Reuters) - U.S. farmers are expected to have planted 8 percent of the corn crop as of Sunday, a Reuters poll of 11 analysts showed, trailing last year's record pace of 19 percent. Cold weather and wet soil kept farmers out of the fields in the Midwest grain belt late last week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will update its crop planting progress report on Monday afternoon. This year's corn crop has to be bountiful to help replenish the tightest stocks in the United States since the 1930s, a situation that fueled Chicago Board of Trade corn futures to a record high of $7.83-3/4 per bushel last week.

Worry grows about dry weather damage to EU wheat
HAMBURG, April 18 (Reuters) - Wheat plants in top three European Union producers France, Germany and the UK face an increased danger of damage from a long spell of dry weather in all three countries, analysts said on Monday."While millions of people will be hoping for a hot, sunny Easter holiday this weekend, tens of thousands of farmers will be hoping for lots of rain, clouds and horrible weather," one German analyst said. EU wheat prices rose on Monday and were supported last week by fears the prolonged dry period was stressing wheat plants at a critical time of development after winter dormancy.

US Midwest rains halt corn planting, rivers rising
CHICAGO, April 18 (Reuters) - A wet week ahead for the U.S. Corn Belt following heavy weekend rains will keep farmers sidelined from planting crops this week, a forecaster said on Monday. "It doesn't look good for planting for the five-day period or the six to 10-day period," said agricultural meteorologist Joel Burgio of Telvent DTN weather service.

German farmers see smaller 2011 grain crop
HAMBURG, April 18 (Reuters) - Germany is set for another disappointing grain crop in 2011 as the hard winter and recent dry weather has reduced yields, the German Farm Cooperatives Association said on Monday in its second harvest forecast.
Germany's 2011 grain crop of all types is likely to fall to 44.1 million tonnes from the weather-damaged 44.2 million tonne harvest in 2010, it said. This was 100,000 tonnes down on its previous estimate. The 2011 rapeseed crop is forecast to fall to 5.2 million tonnes from 5.73 million tonnes in 2010, it said.

Cocoa, sugar ease on demand worries
Cocoa and sugar futures eased in early trade , pressured by a weaker outlook for U.S. credit, while arabicas rose, underpinned by a shortage of arabica beans. Dealers remained focused on the resumption of exports from top producer Ivory Coast, following the lifting of an export ban and EU sanctions against the country after months of disrupted supply. News on the state of the country's coming mid-crop was also keenly awaited.

Cuba meets annual sugar plan as mills grind on
HAVANA, April 18 (Reuters) - The Cuban sugar industry has met its production plan of around 1.1 million tonnes of raw sugar for the season, with 18 of 39 mills still grinding, official media said on Monday. "The sugar production plan was met with a moderate increase (over the previous season)," announced the mid-day official television newscast, without providing further details.

India sugar ends steady; market eyes summer demand
MUMBAI, April 18 (Reuters) - India's sugar ended steady on Monday as an estimated rise in the production outweighed rising traditional summer demand for the sweetener, dealers said. Demand for the sweetener from ice-cream and cold-drink makers typically goes up during the summer months. "The market is getting a lift from the summer season. Weddings season is also there. It is likely to harden prices by 25-50 rupees (per 100 kg)," said Ashok Jain, president, Bombay Sugar Merchants Association (BSMA).

Floods cut 1 pct of Thai 2011 rubber output
BANGKOK, April 19 (Reuters) - Thailand should produce 3.46 million tonnes of rubber this year, down one percent from a January forecast due to heavy floods, the chief of an industry body in the world's biggest rubber producer and exporter said on Tuesday.That was still 15 percent above last year's annual production of 3.0 million tonnes.
"We still believe we can produce around 3.46 million tonnes this year, or around a 1 percent drop from the previous forecast," Luckchai Kittipol, president of the Thai Rubber Association, told Reuters, referring to a previous forecast of 3.49 million tonnes made in January.

Oil Near Two-Day High After U.S. Housing Starts Beat Economist Forecasts (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil traded near a two-day high in New York as better-than-estimated U.S. home construction figures and company earnings provided signs of an improving economic outlook, stoking speculation fuel demand may increase.

Gold Tops $1,500 on Outlook for Escalating U.S. Debt, Dollar (Source: Bloomberg)
Gold futures rose to a record $1,500.50 an ounce as U.S. debt concerns weighed on the dollar, boosting demand for the precious metal as an alternative investment. Silver surged to a 1980 high. The greenback dropped against the euro on speculation that the European Central Bank will continue to raise borrowing costs as some nations struggle to contain sovereign debt. Standard & Poor’s yesterday revised its long-term outlook on U.S. debt to negative from stable. Gold has climbed 32 percent in the past year, and silver prices have more than doubled.

PRECIOUS-Gold rises towards $1,500/oz, risk appetite fragile
LONDON, April 19 (Reuters) - Gold rose back towards the previous session's record high near $1,500 an ounce on Tuesday, with appetite for risk fragile after Standard & Poor's cut its U.S. outlook and as euro zone sovereign debt concerns simmered.
Prices rose to a record $1,497.20 an ounce on Monday after the S&P announcement rocked the markets but slipped back quickly after running into strong resistance at higher levels.

METALS-Copper bounces back, debt concerns weigh
LONDON, April 19 (Reuters) - Copper rose about 1 percent on Tuesday, clawing back some ground after six straight sessions of losses as the focus moved to long-term supportive fundamentals.
But investors remained nervous about debt problems in the United States and Europe.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange  rose to $9,333.25 a tonne by 0949 GMT from $9,225 at the close on Monday.

ETF Securities' physical copper ETP holdings rise
LONDON, April 18 (Reuters) - The amount of copper held to back the physical exchange-traded product  of ETF Securities rose more than 250 tonnes to 3,251.550 tonnes on Monday, the company's website showed on Monday.
Total holdings in the physical nickel  and physical tin  exchange-traded products were unchanged at 77.913 tonnes and 405.006 tonnes, respectively.

Fears of end to bank aluminium deals are premature
LONDON, April 18 (Reuters) - Fears of an end to lucrative deals that have locked up large swathes of aluminium stocks are premature because it is likely to take many months for interest rates to reach levels that make them unprofitable.
Financing deals are estimated to have tied up a hefty 70 percent of record high aluminium stocks at around 4.6 million tonnes in London Metal Exchange warehouses.      

China steel demand to improve, uncertainties remain -CISA
SHANGHAI, April 19 (Reuters) - Steel demand in China, the world's biggest producer, is expected to rise during the upcoming strong consumption season, but the government's clamp-down on liquidity may inject uncertainties in the market, the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) said on Tuesday.
"The monetary policy is likely to be tightened further to ease rising inflationary pressure, which will cause capital shortage on (steel) enterprises and bring uncertainties on (steel) market demand," CISA said in its monthly report.

Global steel use to hit record in 2012 -Worldsteel
LONDON, April 18 (Reuters) - Overall global economic recovery will drive steel consumption to a record 1.441 billion tonnes next year, but austerity measures will slow growth in China, the World Steel Association said on Monday.
While demand in emerging countries in 2012 will be well above pre-crisis levels, steel consumption in developed economies will still lag behind the record levels hit in 2007-2008, Worldsteel data showed.

Overproduction, poor demand hit flat steel prices
LONDON, April 18 (Reuters) - European prices of domestically produced and imported flat steel products fell this week as the market was oversupplied and demand remained slow while unrest in the Middle East and North Africa weighed on sentiment.
Global crude steel production hit a new record in February while in the EU it registered a 7.9 percent increase from the previous month to 14.4 million tonnes, data from the World Steel Association showed.

Cash premium draws lead to LME warehouses -trade
LONDON, April 18 (Reuters) - Some 40,000-50,000 tonnes of lead are headed for Malaysian warehouses monitored by the London Metal Exchange as trading firms cash in on lofty prices for cash material over those for delivery at a later time, trader said.
Lead for cash delivery was trading on Monday at a $55 premium over the benchmark three-month contract on the LME, up from a small discount in the middle of February  , in a market structure known as backwardation.  

20110420 0950 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

 Soy Oil chart reading : side way range bound.

ITS CPO export down 15% to 612,342 tonnes for the period of 1~20 Apr 2011.
SGS CPO export down 13% to 638,666 tonnes for the period of 1~20 Apr 2011.

Soybeans (Source: CME)
US soy futures end mixed, with sluggish demand dragging down front-month soy while crop worries boosted deferred contracts. Worries about dwindling demand, heightened by cancellations of China purchases, weighed on prices. But back months gained as weather forecasts continue to call for soggy weather that will delay planting. Weather boosted back-month corn, but some analysts say it shouldn't be supportive to soybeans, as fields that can't be planted to corn will be seeded with soy instead. July soy down 1 3/4c to $13.54/bushel; Nov soy, which represents the crop yet to be planted, up 4 3/4c to $13.54.

Soybean Meal/Oil (Source: CME)
CBOT soy products close mixed, with nearby soymeal pressured by weakening demand. Deferred soymeal contracts closed higher, tracking soybeans, which gained on support from corn and planting delays. Dry wheat conditions and soggy corn fields are lifting grains and oilseeds generally. Soybean oil was higher on added support from crude oil. May soymeal down $1.40 to $346.40 per short ton, May soyoil up 0.14c to 57.53c per pound.

Palm down on demand concerns, key data eyed (Source: Reuters)
Malaysian palm oil futures fell half a percent on worries that overseas demand will slow as large soybean crops are harvested in South America. "South America will produce bumper soybean crops soon, eventually top buyers will slow down palm oil import," said a trader in Kuala Lumpur.

Brazil soy crop 85 pct harvested - Celeres
SAO PAULO, April 18 (Reuters) - The harvest of Brazil's record 70.56-million-tonne soybean crop picked up over the past week as the grain belt dried out, grains analysts Celeres said on Monday. In the latest weekly report on the soy harvest, Celeres said that 85 percent of the new crop has been collected, up from 77 percent the week prior but lagging the 89 percent harvested at this time last year.