Tuesday, June 21, 2011

20110621 1222 Global Commodities Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS: Euro rises, Greek confidence vote awaited
SINGAPORE, June 21 (Reuters) - The euro extended gains in early Asian trade on Tuesday on hopes that policymakers in the single currency zone will try to avoid forcing heavily indebted Greece into a hard landing, though markets are waiting for a confidence vote on the government in the Greek parliament later in the day.
The euro last traded at $1.4345 , extending its recovery from the three-week low of $1.4073 it hit last Thursday.

OIL: Oil falls on Greece, Brent/WTI spread selling
NEW YORK, June 20 (Reuters) - Oil fell on Monday, pressured by uncertainty over the approval of austerity measures for Greece and the sell-off of a key spread between Brent and U.S. crude oil futures.
"Last week's crack spread and Brent-WTI relationships became a bit stretched and today's action appeared to represent a significant amount of profit-taking out of some of the inter-commodity spreads," said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch & Associates.

NATURAL GAS: Natural gas ends down slightly, sixth straight loss
NEW YORK, June 20 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended slightly lower on Monday for a sixth straight session, with comfortable supplies and moderate Northeast and Midwest weather again driving the front month to a three-week low despite more heat in the South and West.
"There's some heat here (in California) now, so AC (air conditioning) load is picking up, and there's still heat in the South, but there's a lot of supply around, and the economic news has not been good," a West Coast trader said.

EURO COAL: Coal drops in cross-asset downward move
LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - European coal futures dropped on Monday as macro-economic concerns sparked a downward correction across the energy market and other assets, traders said.
"Markets -- and not only in the energy sector -- were worried about the situation in Greece, and such macro-economic concerns first thing in the week make traders run away from risk and close positions," one coal trader said.

20110621 1218 Global Economic Related News.

China: Existing housing market cools in May amid measures
China’s efforts to cool home prices is damping the market for existing homes, with prices in May falling from the previous month in 23 of 70 cities measured. That’s more than the 16 cities that posted declines in April, data from the National Bureau of Statistics posted to its website 18 June showed. Existing home prices in Beijing fell 0.2% from April while those in Shanghai increased 0.2%. The price of new homes, typically sold by developers, rose last month in 67 of the 70 cities monitored. (Bloomberg)

Japan: Exports declined more-than-expected 10.3% in May
Japan’s exports fell more than economists estimated in May, adding to signs the world’s third-largest economy may struggle to recover from the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. Exports decreased 10.3% from a year earlier after April’s revised 12.4% drop, the Finance Ministry said. The median estimate of 25 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for an 8.4% decline. The nation posted a trade deficit of JPY853.7bn (USD10.7bn), the second biggest since comparable data were made available in 1979. Shortages of power and parts have disrupted production and slowed overseas sales, prompting Japanese companies including Honda Motor Co. to forecast weaker earnings. Higher unemployment in the US and weakening demand in Asia indicate Japan won’t be able to rely on global demand to pull itself out of a slump caused by the quake. (Bloomberg)

EUR: Finance chiefs fail to agree on Greek aid payment
Euro-area finance ministers reached no agreement on a scheduled EUR12bn (USD17.1bn) aid payment to Greece, Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders said. “The latest tranche normally should be released in mid- July on the basis of a decision we take in early July,” Reynders told reporters in Luxembourg. This is because “we are now starting the negotiations on the participation of the private sector on a voluntary basis” in a second bailout package for Greece and “we have to wait for the decision of the Greek parliament on the enactment of the plan.” (Bloomberg)

IMF: Lipsky says IMF not negotiating new Greek bailout program
The International Monetary Fund isn’t negotiating a second rescue package for Greece while it weighs whether to approve the next payment of the country’s initial program, acting IMF head John Lipsky said. “We are not negotiating a new program,” Lipsky said. “There always exists that possibility, but there has been no request by the Greek authorities to negotiate such a new program. We are concentrated today on the existing program and what is needed to put it back on track and to therefore allow the next disbursement.” Greece was due to receive the fifth payment of its original EUR 110 bn (USD157.5bn) rescue this month. Under the original bailout, Greece was due to return to markets and sell about EUR 30 bn in bonds next year. The country remains shut out of markets and the IMF has called on the EU to come up with a plan to close that funding gap before it will release its funds. (Bloomberg)

Taiwan: Export orders rose more than estimated in May, bolstering the case for another interest-rate increase next week to damp accelerating inflation stoked by economic growth. Orders, an indication of shipments in the next one to three months, climbed 11.53% YoY, after a 10.14% YoY gain in April, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in Taipei. (Source: Bloomberg)

Thailand: Export rose at the slowest pace in seven months in May as disruption to supplies after the earthquake in Japan, the nation's largest trading partner, interrupted auto shipments. Overseas sales increased 17.6%YoY, the commerce ministry said in Bangkok. That compares with a 24.6% YoY climb in April reported earlier. (Source: Bloomberg)

20110621 1217 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

KLCI chart reading :
correction range bound upside biased.

CIMB Bid for RHBCap to involve share swap
CIMB Group’s planned takeover of RHB Capital (RHBCap) will involve a share swap and should be seen as a value-creating merger rather than an acquisition, says CIMB chief Datuk Seri Nazir Razak. He expects CIMB to be able to come up with a merger proposal by the end of this month. (BT)

BAE Systems unit bags DRB-HICOM deal
DRB-HICOM has awarded a USD559m (RM1.6bn) contract to a unit of BAE Systems Inc, the world's biggest arms groups, to help design, develop and manufacture some 257 AV-8 8x8 wheeled armoured vehicles (AVs). In March, DRB-HICOM received a RM7.55bn contract from the Federal Government to supply the AVs. The project is expected to start this year and will be a major contributor to the group's profitability and revenue.(BT)

‘Cheap’ sale of MAA insurance arm
MAA Holdings appears to have sold its insurance business cheap for RM344m cash, valuing its assets at barely 1.36x book value, which is considerably lower than the recent transactions in the industry. In an announcement to furnish the details of the divestment, MAA Holdings said its wholly-owned subsidiary MAA Corp SB has entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement with Zurich Insurance Co Ltd in relation to the proposed disposal. (Financial Daily)

Primus loses with costs amounting to RM1.05m
The Court of Appeal has unanimously dismissed Primus’s two appeals with costs , involving matters related to the RM5.06bn disposal of the assets and liabilities of EON Cap to Hong Leong Bank yesterday. The first dismissed appeal was for the decision by the High Court that ruled the resolutions passed at EON Cap’s EGM as valid. The second dismissed appeal was for the decision by the High Court that earlier dismissed with costs the petition filed by Primus against EON Cap and its directors over the takeover over by HLB for the entire assets and liabilities of EON Cap.(Starbiz)

AirAsia aims for three more Joint Ventures to grow ancillary income
AirAsia is aiming to set up three more joint ventures to grow ancillary income and is also in the midst of finalizing a deal which it will announce on Thursday to buy nearly 200 aircraft costing USD18bn that it needs to fuel growth from 2015 onwards. Fernandes aims to increase the low cost airline’s ancillary income to RM60 per passenger in 2012 Sources also reported that long-haul low-cost carrier AirAsia X has received the green light from the ministry of transportation to fly to new key routes such as Istanbul, Beijing, Shanghai, Osaka and Jeddah. (Starbiz)

AirAsia: AirAsia, CAE International plan aviation academy. AirAsia Bhd is teaming up with CAE International Holdings Ltd to set up an aviation academy and has set its sights to be the largest of its kind in Asean. The academy would provide training services for pilots, cabin crew, engineers, ramp handlers, guest services and aviation management. (Source: Bursa Malaysia)

UCSI Group plans to list two units
UCSI Group intends to list a few of its subsidiaries although it has yet to submit applications to the Securities Commission. UCSI Group has 22 subsidiaries in five main core divisions namely education, leisure and property, consultancy, food and technology and healthcare. Chairman and founder Datuk Peter Ng said the group was looking to list its leisure and property division, and was not interested in listing its education business. Education contributed some 40% of the group’s total revenue and would remain a revenue driver for the next three to five years. However, leisure and property might overtake education in the future, he said. (StarBiz)

Yinson wins RM75m contract
Integrated offshore services provider Yinson Holdings has secured a service contract potentially worth RM75m from PetroVietnam Technical Service Corp (PTSC) for the provision of offshore support vessel (OSV). Yinson announced its wholly-owned subsidiary, Yinson Marine Services SB has received a letter of intent from PTSC, for the said contract. (Starbiz)

Tradewinds allocates RM60m for refurbishment
Tradewinds Corp will allocated RM60m for the refurbishment of its hotels, which would be completed in three years. Group CEO Arief Nasran said the refurbishment of some hotels began last year and some started this year. He said the refurbishment may affect short-term rental income but would bring gains in the longer term. (Financial Daily)

Amcorp Properties sells London firm for RM134m
Amcorp Properties is selling London-based real estate investment firm for RM134m – a divestment that would put the company in a net cash position. Amcorp announced that its wholly owned unit, Walleng Enterprises SB, together with Golden Spectre Ltd, has signed a S&P agreement with Brittel Fund Trustees Ltd to dispose of the entire stake in Westlink for a net consideration of RM45.5m. (Financial Daily)

Energy: No subsidy to IPPs. Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui reiterated yesterday that the government has never allocated any form of subsidies for gas sold by Petronas to Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Instead, the lower price for gas sold to IPPs by Petronas is part of its foregone revenue, in line with the government's initiative to ensure that IPPs can maintain a low tariff rate. (Source: The Sun)

Transport: 60,000 daily traffic volume seen for new highway. LATAR Expressway (KL-Kuala Selangor Expressway), to be open to the public before the month ends, will see an initial average daily traffic volume of over 60,000 vehicles. The concessionaire of the highway is jointly owned by Bina Puri Holdings Bhd and Arena Irama Sdn Bhd. (Source: The Star)

UEMLand: Sets up Singapore subsidiary. The new subsidiary, Sunrise MS Pte Ltd is to provide consultancy, advisory and technical services relating to project development in Singapore. (Source: Bursa Malaysia) 

20110621 1005 Global Market Related News.

DJIA chart reading : correction range bound downside biased.

Hang Seng chart reading : downside biased with possible pullback correction

GLOBAL MARKETS: Euro dips as Greek decision deferred; stocks rise
HONG KONG, June 20 (Reuters) - Equities edged higher on Monday on mild bargain-hunting after falling to a three-month low last week while the euro's early gains were clipped after finance ministers deferred a decision to disburse the next round of funds to Greece until July.
The single currency fell back towards the session lows after euro zone finance ministers postponed a final decision on extending a further 12 billion euros ($17 billion) in emergency loans to Greece, saying Athens would first have to introduce harsh austerity measures.

Stocks, euro, commods hit by Greek loan delay
LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - World stocks, the euro and crude prices fell on Monday and bond yields in heavily indebted euro zone countries jumped after the region's finance ministers delayed a final decision on extending emergency loans to Greece.
"At the moment then, we are still in limbo. The EU and ECB appear to have reached a compromise on private sector involvement in the Greek bailout, but are still demanding austerity measures which are unacceptable to some in Greece," said Kit Juckes, currency strategist at Societe Generale.

IMF cuts U.S. growth forecast, warns of crisis
SAO PAULO, June 17 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for U.S. economic growth on Friday and warned Washington and debt-ridden European countries that they are "playing with fire" unless they take immediate steps to reduce their budget deficits.
The IMF, in its regular assessment of global economic prospects, said bigger threats to growth had emerged since its previous report in April, citing the euro zone debt crisis and signs of overheating in emerging market economies.

Mixed data point to wobbly U.S. recovery
NEW YORK, June 17 (Reuters) - U.S. consumer sentiment worsened this month on renewed concerns about the outlook for the economy and as gloom about job and income prospects persisted, data showed on Friday.
But a separate report suggested the pace of the recovery could soon pick up after spinning its wheels in the first half of the year.

Professor Bernanke Warning of Japan Paralysis Meets Fed Chief Facing Same (Source: Bloomberg)
As a Princeton University professor, Ben Bernanke castigated the Bank of Japan in 2000 for a “case of self-induced paralysis” that led to a decade of stagnation. Now, the Federal Reserve chairman may be allowing the U.S. central bank to fall into the same trap after its second round of quantitative easing ends this month. By all but ruling out another cycle of bond purchases, Fed officials have left themselves with little in the way of policy options to respond to slowing growth and rising unemployment. This raises the risk that the U.S. will remain saddled with what Bernanke himself has called a “frustratingly” sluggish recovery that leaves millions of Americans out of work. “I worry that QE3 will be hostage to QE2,” said Vincent Reinhart, a former director of the Fed’s monetary-affairs division who is now a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. “That may lead to that self-induced paralysis” in further easing policy to aid the economy.

U.S. Stocks Gain as Luxembourg’s Juncker Says Greek Solution Will Be Found (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks rallied, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index up for a third straight day, as Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker assured investors that a solution will be found to Greece’s debt crisis. Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), the world’s biggest maker of construction equipment, climbed 2.3 percent as Raymond James & Associates raised its rating. Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB) jumped 4.1 percent after ISI Group Inc. recommended buying shares of the largest maker of multiple sclerosis medicines. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) increased 0.4 percent after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an effort to sue the world’s largest retailer for discrimination.

Dollar Weakens Versus Euro on Speculation U.S. Home Sales Fell Last Month (Source: Bloomberg)
The dollar fell against a majority of its most-traded peers before a report forecast to show home sales dropped in May to this year’s low, keeping pressure on the Federal Reserve to maintain its accommodative policy. The U.S. currency weakened versus the euro before Fed policy makers begin a two-day meeting amid signs the world’s largest economy is losing momentum. The euro advanced as European leaders reassured investors a Greek default on its debts can be avoided. Australia’s dollar snapped yesterday’s decline before the Reserve Bank releases minutes of this month’s meeting.

Dollar to Gain as Asian Interest Rates Are Increased, Morgan Stanley Says (Source: Bloomberg)
The dollar will rebound through 2011 as Asian central banks raise interest rates to curb inflation, damping economic growth and demand for the region’s assets, according to Morgan Stanley. “We’re looking for the dollar to regain some stability over the second half of the year,” said Ian Stannard, head of European foreign-exchange strategy at Morgan Stanley in London, in a telephone interview. “We’ll see the global investment environment turn less favorable as liquidity conditions start to change at a macro level.”

China Home Prices Cool as Government Steps Up Bid to Avoid Property Bubble (Source: Bloomberg)
China’s effort to cool home prices is damping the market for existing homes, with prices in May falling from the previous month in 23 of 70 cities measured. That’s more than the 16 cities that posted declines in April, data from the National Bureau of Statistics posted to its website June 18 showed. Existing home prices in Beijing fell 0.2 percent from April while those in Shanghai increased 0.2 percent. The price of new homes, typically sold by developers, rose last month in 67 of the 70 cities monitored.

More Heavy Rain Predicted for China (Source: Bloomberg)
More rains are predicted for parts of China in the next several days after flooding killed dozens and forced thousands to flee their homes. Heavy rain is forecast to hit Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces before moving east to Henan and Shandong, the National Meteorological Center said today. Rain in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River will ease, it said on its website.

Japanese Stocks Rise as Juncker Pledges Solution to Greece; Toyota Climbs (Source: Bloomberg)
Japanese stocks rose the most in a week as concern eased that Greece will default on its debt after Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker assured investors a solution will be found to the crisis.

Banks Holding Record $1.45 Trillion to Buy Treasuries as Savings Top Loans (Source: Bloomberg)
Japan’s biggest bond investors see increasing parallels between the nation’s government debt market and Treasuries, indicating that historically low yields in the U.S. have room to fall. Just as in Japan, deposits at U.S. banks exceed loans, reaching a record $1.45 trillion last month, Federal Reserve data show. As recently as 2008, there were more loans than deposits. The gap is also at an all-time high in Japan, where banks use the money to buy bonds, helping keep yields the lowest in the world even though the country has more debt outstanding than America and a lower credit rating.

Papandreou Faces Confidence Vote That May Decide Greece’s Fate (Source: Bloomberg)
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou faces a confidence vote in his government today that may determine whether Greece becomes the first euro-area country to default. Tonight’s vote caps a week of turmoil for Papandreou, who fended off a revolt from the ranks of his ruling socialist Pasok party in parliament last week. That came after opposition parties rejected his call for a national unity government. European Union leaders have insisted Papandreou secure multi- party support for austerity measures that are a condition of the aid needed to avoid default as soon as next month.

IMF Not Negotiating New Greek Bailout: Lipsky (Source: Bloomberg)
The International Monetary Fund isn’t negotiating a second rescue package for Greece while it weighs whether to approve the next payment of the country’s initial program, acting IMF head John Lipsky said. “We are not negotiating a new program,” Lipsky said today in a press conference in Luxembourg. “There always exists that possibility, but there has been no request by the Greek authorities to negotiate such a new program. We are concentrated today on the existing program and what is needed to put it back on track and to therefore allow the next disbursement.”

Greek Default Would Spell ‘Havoc’ for European Banks a Year After Bailout (Source: Bloomberg)
A year after European officials bailed out Greece, investors say the region’s banks haven’t raised sufficient capital or cut loans enough to withstand the contagion that may follow a default.

IMF Says Sovereign-Debt Crisis May Overwhelm Favorable Euro-Area Outlook (Source: Bloomberg)
The International Monetary Fund warned that Europe’s debt crisis has the potential to crush the otherwise positive economic outlook for the region unless policy makers step up efforts to resolve it. “A broadly sound recovery continues, but the sovereign crisis in the periphery threatens to overwhelm this favorable outlook, and much remains to be done to secure a dynamic and resilient monetary union,” the Washington-based fund said in its concluding statement on euro-area policies today. “Failure to undertake decisive action could rapidly spread the tensions to the core of the euro area and result in large global spillovers.”

Australia Boosts Predicted Commodity Sales on Increased Production, Prices (Source: Bloomberg)
Australia, the world’s largest shipper of coal, iron ore and wool, raised its forecast for export earnings 2 percent to a record for the next fiscal year, driven by expectations of higher production and export prices.

FOREX-Euro softer, hurt by Greek rescue deal impasse
LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - The euro was pinned down near recent lows on Monday, as a delay to the next tranche of Greek bailout funds undermined confidence in the common currency, with the options market and technical charts suggesting more losses.
Euro zone finance ministers said they expected 12 billion euros in emergency loans to Greece to be paid by mid-July, but the disbursement would depend on the Greek parliament first approving new austerity measures.

20110621 1002 Global Commodities Related News.

Corn (Source: CME)
US corn futures end almost flat as market struggles to recover from steep slide last week. Corn felt pressure for much of the session from weakness in crude oil, according to PFG Best. Oil turned higher, helping to lift corn, firm says. Commodity funds bought an estimated 4,000 contracts at CBOT, a light amount. Market participants also remain uncertain about US output. Crop faces threats from extreme dryness in southern states, notes Sid Love of Kropf & Love Consulting. CBOT December corn rises 1/2c to $6.60 1/2 a bushel.

Wheat (Source: CME)
US wheat futures finish at a 6 1/2-month low as the advancing harvest adds to supplies. Wheat broke ranks with corn and soybeans, which ended stronger, as inventories are not uncomfortably low, says Tim Hanangan, analyst for PFG Best. "We're really tight on corn, really tight on beans, but there's still plenty of wheat around," he notes. Still, unfavorable rains underpin KCBT and MGEX prices. CBOT September wheat falls 12 1/4c to $6.95 3/4 a bushel, while KCBT September slips 2 1/4c to $8.20 and MGE September sheds 2 3/4c to $8.79.

Rice (Source: CME)
US rice futures slump under spillover pressure as wheat prices slide to a 6 1/2-months low at CBOT. Wheat influences rice as both grains are global food staples. Rice lacks strong demand news to support prices, as Iraq bought Thai and Uruguayan rice in a tender and none from the US, traders say. CBOT September rice falls 8 1/2c to $14.84 per hundredweight.

Corn Stocks Plunging to 1974 Low as China Adds Brazil-Sized Crop to Demand (Source: Bloomberg)
Even a fifth consecutive year of record global corn harvests will fail to meet demand for food, fuel and livestock feed, reducing world stockpiles to the lowest in two generations. Consumption will rise 3 percent in the next marketing year, a 16th consecutive annual gain that saw demand jump 66 percent, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. Inventory will drop to 47 days of use, the fewest since 1974, the data show. Waterlogged fields in the U.S., the largest exporter, will curb yields, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says. Corn may jump 36 percent to a record $9 a bushel if conditions worsen, Morgan Stanley says.

US wheat, corn little changed after big sell-off
SYDNEY, June 20 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat extended the previous week's sharp fall on Monday, pressured by worries about global growth, abating weather concerns and Europe's sovereign debt crisis, while corn and soybeans edged up from losses.
"We've seen fund liquidation on worries that the Greek debt crisis could spread and further weaken economic growth," said  Gary Booth a senior advisor at MF Global in Sydney.

Thai govt sees record rice exports; traders see poll risks
BANGKOK, June 20 (Reuters) - Top rice exporter Thailand forecast record shipments this year but traders said promises made to farmers ahead of the July 3 election could make that difficult by pushing up farmgate prices, while Indian competition was also a threat.
"At the moment I'm sure we can export more than 10 million tonnes this year because we have plenty of rice to sell and external demand remains strong," Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai told reporters on the sidelines of a rice convention on Monday.

Russian domestic wheat prices rise, export fall
MOSCOW, June 20 (Reuters) - Russian domestic wheat prices rose last week ahead of the lifting of an export ban while export prices fell, analysts said on Monday.
"By the end of last week Russian new harvest grain export prices declined quite substantially. The price of wheat with 11.5 percent protein content FOB Black Sea was estimated at $280 per tonne in comparison with $300 last week," the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies (IKAR) said in a weekly note.

Ukraine to export 450,000 T grain in coming weeks
KIEV, June 20 (Reuters) - About 450,000 tonnes of various grains are due to leave Ukraine in the coming weeks, according to data provided by agriculture consultancy ProAgro on Monday.
The consultancy quoted data from Ukrainian sea ports as showing that the volume included 179,000 tonnes of wheat, 167,000 of maize and 107,000 of barley.

Thai 2011 rice exports may top 10 mln tonnes-minister
BANGKOK, June 20 (Reuters) - Thailand's rice exports could exceed 10 million tonnes this year as demand is strong and stocks are currently high, Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai said on Monday.
Thailand, the world's biggest shipper of the grain, had forecast exports of between 9 and 9.5 million tonnes this year.
"At the moment I'm sure we can export more than 10 million tonnes this year because we have plenty of rice to sell and external demand remains strong, " Porniva told reporters on the sidelines of a rice convention.

Thailand aims for 15 pct rice output increase by 2015
BANGKOK, June 20 (Reuters) - Thailand, the world's biggest rice exporter, planned to increase annual production by 15 percent to 35 million tonnes of paddy by 2015 to meet rising global demand, a senior Agriculture Ministry official said on Monday.
The country currently produces around 30 million tonnes of rice annually, equivalent to about 18 million tonnes of milled rice. Domestic consumption is around 8 million tonnes and the rest are for export.

G-20 Prepares to Tackle Growing Food Shortages (Source: CME)
Farm ministers from large economies are likely to establish an international food-stock database this week and agree to reduce some trade barriers in order to combat looming food shortages and yo-yoing prices. Agriculture ministers from the Group of 20 nations gather Wednesday and Thursday in Paris to face a growing problem: Demand for food is outpacing supply, which is increasingly hampered by weather shocks and government intervention. France, in particular, wants to tackle commodity-market volatility as a priority of its G-20 leadership. "The point of departure was to avoid the 21st century being the century of hunger," French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters last week. "We think the international community would not understand if we don't take decisions." The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization predicts the world will need to produce 70% more food by 2050 to feed its population.
But growth in agricultural production is expected to slow to 1.7% a year in the decade to 2020, compared with an annual 2.6% in the previous decade, according to its latest estimates. Already shortages have helped boost prices and eat into stocks. And with governments quick to intervene in markets, as Russia did when it banned grain exports last year, food markets have become increasingly susceptible to price spikes. For farmers to feel the benefit of higher prices, France argues that speculation in commodity-derivative markets must be regulated. "Rising commodity prices are the main threat to growth," French President Nicolas Sarkozy told a recent conference in Brussels. Total managed-money investments in agricultural commodities grew to a record $126 billion in the year ended March, more than double the $55 billion invested in the 2008 commodities boom, according to Barclays Capital data.
"The people who are the beneficiaries of this situation are not the farmers, they are the middlemen," said Charles Ogang, president of the Ugandan National Farmers Federation. Yet Abdolreza Abbassian, an FAO economist, said this week's meeting is unlikely to focus on improving regulation. Instead, G-20 ministers are expected to address transparency in physical markets by creating a database modeled on the Joint Oil Data Initiative, which was set up in 2001 to provide information on global oil supply and demand. The food version would be called the Agriculture Market Information System, or AMIS. It would be based at the FAO headquarters in Rome and include data on stocks and production. Economists said it could be hard to get countries like China, a large food importer, to contribute data that might give away their trade strategies. Russia, too, is expected to push against proposals to curb government intervention in export markets. But Mr. Abbassian said the system would help all countries.

Floods Drive Up Food Prices In China (Source: CME)
Flooding across eastern, southern and southwestern China has killed at least 175 people and is causing significant damage to vegetable crops, helping to drive up food prices at a time when the government is already fighting to contain inflation. The flooding, triggered by heavy rains that started early this month, has caused widespread suffering in more than a dozen provinces and regions, with state media calling it the worst in decades in some areas. In addition to the 175 known deaths, 86 people are missing and some 1.6 million people have been displaced by the flooding, which has caused more than $5 billion in damage, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said. Official forecasts have predicted further rain in a number of the most-battered provinces. China goes through regular cycles of drought and flooding, and both have been relatively severe over the past year.
The recent drought was called the worst in 50 years in some parts of China, and continues to affect almost five million hectares of farmland nationwide -- including in different areas of some of the same provinces now afflicted by floods. The flood-related effect on prices for now may be fairly local, but the rising cost of vegetables has already been a leading factor in pushing inflation to near-three-year highs. Food prices in May were up 11.7% from a year earlier, compared with a 5.5% increase in the overall consumer-price index. The flooding has reduced vegetable output by about 20% from levels a year earlier in the worst-hit places, particularly in the eastern province of Zhejiang, according to state media. Xinhua news agency cited Jin Changlin, a Zhejiang agricultural official, as saying that vegetable prices are likely to continue to increase or remain high for about two weeks.
More than 432,000 hectares of crops have been destroyed in flood-affected provinces around the country, including 241,600 hectares in Zhejiang -- about an eighth of the province's total. At one big market in Hangzhou, Zhejiang's capital, prices of fruits, vegetables and grains have risen about 40% on average, according to Xinhua. It didn't provide its basis of comparison. Higher food prices were also reported in Anhui and Jiangxi provinces, although the sizes of the increases were unclear. In last year's fourth quarter, vegetables and other agricultural products including cotton, wheat and edible oils fueled a sharp surge in inflation, with prices of common produce like garlic and ginger doubling from a year earlier.

USDA Is Prepared To Begin Testing For New Types Of E. coli (Source: CME)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is prepared to begin testing for six more types of dangerous E. coli bacteria other than the solitary one for which it currently tests, but White House approval has been delayed indefinitely, according to the agency's Food Safety and Inspection Service and government documents. The proposal, which is opposed by representatives of the meat-packing industry, seeks to designate the six additional types of E. coli bacteria as adulterants--a legal designation under food-safety laws--when it is found in beef. The White House Office of Management and Budget continues to consider the proposal for approval. OMB officials declined to discuss details of the proposal. If the proposal is approved, USDA inspectors could begin testing at meat-packing plants for the additional pathogens, according to the USDA.
The USDA has also made the science available to beef packers so that they may voluntarily begin testing for the other six types of E. coli. Escherichia coli 0157:H7 has long been the primary focus of food-safety efforts in the U.S., but recent outbreaks of other types in the U.S. and Europe have thrown a spotlight on their presence in the food supply. On Oct. 1, 2010, the USDA added new instructions to its "Laboratory Guidebook" for detecting E. coli 026, 045, 0103, 0111, 0121 and 0145 as both an indication of what its own inspectors might begin looking for in the future and also "as a reference for industry in developing their own testing," a USDA spokesman said. And then, on Jan. 25, 2011, the USDA submitted to the White House its proposal for testing for the additional types of E. coli. After an initial 90-day review of the proposal, the White House extended the review indefinitely.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said recently that he hopes the review will be completed this year, but that he wouldn't make a specific prediction. Officials at the American Meat Institute, a group that represents most meatpacking companies in the U.S., told reporters recently that it believes USDA scientists have been unable to complete work on the tests for the additional six types of E. coli. Furthermore, the meat industry largely sees these new tests as unnecessary. "As we understand it, [the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service] has methodology for four [types of E. coli]," said Betsy Booren, the AMI's scientific-affairs director. "They are struggling in developing new technologies that finalize their methods for the other two." But that isn't true, according to the Food Safety and Inspection Service.
The agency, in a statement provided to Dow Jones Newswires, said: "We are confident in the methodology that we have developed for all six serotypes of concern, and will refine and update it as new information and technology become available." Contamination-prevention methods already in place at meat-packing plants keep beef safe from all types of E. coli, the AMI argued to the USDA in a letter sent to the agency last year.

Nestle: Raw Materials Inflation Will Be Around 8% To 10% In 2011 (Source: CME)
Swiss food company Nestle SA expects no further rises in its raw material price exposure, which it expects to remain at around 8% to 10% in 2011, Chief Executive Paul Bulcke said. The maker of Nescafe soluble coffee and Maggi seasoning cubes spends around CHF30 billion ($35.37 billion) per year on ingredients and packaging. The company said in February it expected its bill to rise by CHF2.5 billion to CHF3 billion this year. "That still stands," Bulcke told a press conference here. Nestle is trying to offset the price increases by increasing efficiency of its products, reducing packaging costs and focusing on its popularly positioned products--cheaper versions of its food and drinks, which are sold in smaller portion sizes. The surging value of the Swiss franc will continue to weigh on the company, Bulcke said.
Nestle's first quarter 2011 sales of CHF20.3 billion were reduced 9.8% by currency exchange, while the Swiss franc has continued to rise. The Swiss, Nestle's reporting currency, hit record levels against the euro this week as people flocked to the currency's safe haven status amid fears over a Greek bond default. Bulcke would not say how much the franc would affect the company for the remainder of 2011, but said the company had a natural hedge with 458 factories around the world, and worked in local currencies.

Commodities ETPs fall $2.6 bln in May-BlackRock
LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) - Investors pulled over $2.6 billion from commodity exchange traded products (ETPs) in May, driven largely by a sell-off in precious metals and a weaker economic picture, according to BlackRock and ETF Securities.
The outflow was the year's biggest, surpassing January's figure of just over $2 billion. It was triggered by a stampede out of precious metals when silver  plunged from $49.51 an ounce to $32.33 at the start of May.

COMMODITIES: Commods post biggest weekly drop in over a month
NEW YORK, June 17 (Reuters) - Oil fell 2 percent on Friday, along with most other commodities, pulling the sector to its largest weekly decline in more than a month as raw materials demand looked likely to falter from a global economic slowdown.
"The fear of the falloff from the Greek debt crisis continues to impact the oil markets," said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

ICE sugar, cocoa ease on debt worries
LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - ICE arabica coffee and cocoa futures eased in early trade on Monday, as the dollar strengthened on debt crisis concerns in Europe after the region's ministers delayed a decision on emergency loans to Greece.
Sugar futures were little changed, underpinned by low yields and a slow start to the harvest in the centre-south of Brazil, and congestion in Brazilian ports.

Thin Vietnam coffee stocks hit loading since May-official
HANOI, June 20 (Reuters) - Vietnamese coffee exporters have delayed loading part of contracts totalling around 100,000 tonnes since May because of a shortage of stocks, an industry official said on Monday.
"Coffee supply has been scant in Vietnam and exporters may have to buy more from foreign firms to meet the loading demand," Deputy Chairman Do Ha Nam of the Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association (Vicofa) said.

Kenya tea firms' FY earnings hit by rising costs
NAIROBI, June 20 (Reuters) - Kenya tea grower Kapchorua's  full-year profit halved due to rising costs, while Williamson's  rose by 9 percent, buoyed largely by property valuations, the firms said on Monday.
Kapchorua blamed rising production costs for the sharp decline of its operating profit for the year to the end of March to 63.5 million shillings ($707,500), while Williamson said production costs and a weak crop weighed on its earnings.

India invites application for additional cotton exports
NEW DELHI, June 20 (Reuters) - India has asked traders to apply for permission to export an additional 1 million bales of cotton that were allowed earlier this month, a government statement said on Monday.
India, the world's second biggest grower and exporter of the fibre, had already allowed 5.5 million bales (1 bale = 170 kg) for exports in the current cotton year which began in October.

Mexico's next sugar harvest to drop on drought
MEXICO CITY, June 17 (Reuters) - Mexico's next sugar harvest, damaged by a harsh drought, will fall by up to 7.3 percent from the current cycle, which is also coming in below expectations, the head of the national cane union said.
On Friday, Carlos Blackaller told Reuters that Mexico wouldonly produce between 4.8 and 4.9 million tonnes in the 2011/12 season, which begins in November, as lack of rain is hitting cane growing areas across the country.

EL Salvador 11/12 coffee harvest set to fall 23 pct
SAN SALVADOR, June 17 (Reuters) - El Salvador's next coffee harvest will fall by nearly a quarter compared with the current cycle due to irregular rains and the biennial nature of the crop, coffee foundation Procafe said on Friday.
Coffee trees usually produce less after a boom year, contributing to the fall in output from the Central American nation. The next harvest begins in October.

Sugar Rises to Two-Month High on Supply Concern; Coffee Falls; Cocoa Gains (Source: Bloomberg)
Sugar rose to a two-month high as shipping delays mounted in Brazil, the world’s biggest exporter. Coffee declined to the lowest price since February, while cocoa advanced. Backlogs of sugar shipments from Brazilian ports are expected to last an additional 20 to 30 days, according to Datagro Ltd., an industry researcher. Last week, futures in New York climbed 3.4 percent, the sixth straight gain.

Crude Oil Gains for Second Day as Concerns Over European Debt Crisis Ease (Source: Bloomberg)
Crude oil advanced for a second day in New York as concern eased that Greece will default on its debt and disrupt the region’s economy.

US coal use down 3 pct from previous week-Genscape
HOUSTON, June 17 (Reuters) - U.S. coal consumption fell 3 percent in the past week, Genscape said on Friday, as cooler weather and nuclear plant restarts cut demand for coal-fired power.
Use of coal for the week ended Thursday fell 9 percent from the same week in 2010, the power industry data monitor said.

Euro Coal-S.African price fall stirs Indian interest
LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) - Physical coal prices fell by around $1.00 a tonne on Friday, pulled down by weaker API4 swaps which were reacting to macroe news and almost universally weaker demand for South African prompt cargoes.
FOB Richards Bay prompt cargoes have been trading this week at as much as $5.00 a tonne below the API4 physical index -- in a more balanced market index-linked prices hover 50-75 cents a tonne either side of the index.

OIL: Crude firms after hitting 4-mth low on demand concerns
TOKYO, June 20 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures were slightly firmer on Monday after falling to a four-month low below $92 per barrel late last week on an easing in worries about demand but visibility for the U.S. economic outlook remains low.
For the week, front-month U.S. crude fell 6.1 percent, marking the biggest weekly loss since the week to May 6. Brent fell 4.7 percent, the biggest weekly loss since the same period.

NATURAL GAS: Natural gas ends down 2 pct, fifth straight loss
NEW YORK, June 17 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended lower on Friday for the fifth straight day, with the front-month contract again driven to a three-week low by moderating weather and ample supplies despite concerns about the growing storage deficit to last year.
"We had our first hot spell and prices ran up, but the weather has turned a little milder, and it looks like the storage deficit (to year-ago) will narrow in coming weeks," a southern-based commodity trading advisor said.

EURO COAL: S.African price fall stirs Indian interest
LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) - Physical coal prices fell by around $1.00 a tonne on Friday, pulled down by weaker API4 swaps which were reacting to macroe news and almost universally weaker demand for South African prompt cargoes.
"At $3-5 below index, there's been some more Indian interest, they're enquiring and getting a few things done," one European trader said.

TECHNICALS-Traders short coal over gas power premium
LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) - The premium of German power revenues from coal over gas is nine euros per megawatt-hour (MWh), but there is resistance to let coal margins rise further so traders are shorting the spread in hope of a falling premium.
German power generation revenue margins for baseload (24 hours) electricity delivery in 2012 are around 7.5 euros per MWh, as high as they last were in late 2008 and early 2009.

Indonesia Bumi Q1 net profit up 16.5 pct on higher coal price
JAKARTA, June 17 (Reuters) - Bumi Resources , Asia's biggest thermal coal exporter, said on Friday its first-quarter 2011 net profit rose 16.5 percent as higher coal prices made up for lower output. 
Bumi, controlled by the politically-connected Bakrie family and part-owned by Nathaniel Rothschild's mining investment vehicle Vallar , said its first-quarter net profit rose to $113 million from $97 million a year ago, based on Indonesian accounting principles that were meant to end in 2010.

Gold Rises for Fifth Session on Demand for Haven Amid Greek Debt Concerns (Source: Bloomberg)
Gold rose for the fifth straight session as negotiations for a Greek bailout stalled, boosting the appeal of the precious metal as an investment haven. Equity markets fell in Europe after the continent’s finance leaders said further aid to Greece is dependent on the country enacting austerity measures including asset sales and budget cuts. Gold priced in British pounds reached a record.

European nickel premiums ease, demand worries weigh
LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) - Premiums for physical nickel in Europe eased from last month, traders said, as demand worries for the stainless steel material dominate.
Premiums for briquette  over LME cash prices  ranged from $300-450 from around $350-$550 in May, traders said.

May daily aluminium output 69,900 T - IAI
LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - Daily average primary aluminium output in May dropped to 69,900 tonnes compared with a revised 70,300 in April and 66,400 in May 2010, provisional figures from the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) show.
Total production in May (31 days) was 2.167 million tonnes, compared with 2.110 million tonnes in April (30 days) and 2.058 million in May 2010.

May daily China aluminium output rises -IAI
LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - Daily average primary aluminium output in China rose to 49,700 tonnes in May from 48,400 tonnes in April, provisional figures from the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) showed on Monday.
Total primary aluminium production in China rose to 1.541 million tonnes in May from 1.451 million tonnes in April and 1.418 million tonnes in May last year.

COPPER-Major market developments in May
LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) - Copper prices lost ground in May and may have further to fall in the next month or two as demand worries prevail and offtake slows for seasonal reasons.
"There's nothing to push prices up, demand will be quieter in the northern hemisphere summer," said Paul Dewison of industry consultants Bloomsbury Mineral Economics (BME).

Japan May copper cable shipments up 3 pct yr/yr
TOKYO, June 20 (Reuters) - Japanese copper wire and cable shipments inched up for the first time in three months in May but the level stayed at the third-lowest for the month in 35 years as exports declined in the wake of a slowdown in the Chinese economy, an industry body said on Monday.
May shipments totalled an estimated 51,200 tonnes, down from revised April shipments of 56,172 tonnes, data from the Japanese Electric Wire and Cable Makers' Association showed.

COPPER-Major market developments in May
LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) - Copper prices lost ground in May and may have further to fall in the next month or two as demand worries prevail and offtake slows for seasonal reasons.
"There's nothing to push prices up, demand will be quieter in the northern hemisphere summer," said Paul Dewison of industry consultants Bloomsbury Mineral Economics (BME).

Japan May copper cable shipments up 3 pct yr/yr
TOKYO, June 20 (Reuters) - Japanese copper wire and cable shipments inched up for the first time in three months in May but the level stayed at the third-lowest for the month in 35 years as exports declined in the wake of a slowdown in the Chinese economy, an industry body said on Monday.
May shipments totalled an estimated 51,200 tonnes, down from revised April shipments of 56,172 tonnes, data from the Japanese Electric Wire and Cable Makers' Association showed.

Tokyo Steel says keeps prices unchanged for July
TOKYO, June 20 (Reuters) - Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co , Japan's biggest construction steelmaker, kept its prices for all products for July shipment unchanged and said demand remained slow in the aftermath of the March earthquake and tsunami.
The steelmaker said on Monday that it kept its price for H-beams, used in construction, at 76,000 yen ($949.35) per tonne in June.
Japan May crude steel output recovers to 9 mln tonnes
TOKYO, June 20 (Reuters) - Japan's monthly crude steel output recovered to 9 million tonnes in May, following a dip in April in the aftermath of the March earthquake and tsunami, as steelmakers stepped up production in anticipation of a quick recovery in the car sector.  
Japan's crude steel output in May totaled 9.05 million tonnes, down 7 percent from a year earlier, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said, marking a third straight month of year-on-year declines.

Iron Ore-China steel futures fall to 3-month lows
SINGAPORE, June 20 (Reuters) - Shanghai steel futures fell nearly 1 percent to three-month lows on Monday as tighter credit continued to cloud the outlook for steel demand in top market China.
China's central bank raised bank reserve ratios last week for the ninth time since October to try to curb inflation that is running at its quickest pace in nearly three years.

METALS-Copper falls on worries about Greek bailout
LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - Copper fell on Monday as investors lost their appetite for risk after European finance ministers postponed an emergency loan to help Greece avoid defaulting on its debt and China demand worries weighed.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange  fell 1.1 percent to $8,987.75 a tonne at 0950 GMT, after closing up 0.3 percent in the last session.

PRECIOUS-Gold gives up gains, euro zone crisis lingers
LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - Gold reversed gains on Monday as the dollar strengthened but the precious metal remained supported by euro zone debt woes after ministers delayed a decision on emergency loans to Greece.
Euro zone finance ministers kept up intense pressure on Greece, saying it had to approve tougher austerity measures before a final decision is made on a further 12 billion euros in loans.

Baltic index softer, panamax pressure grows
LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates to ship dry commodities, inched lower on Friday although further iron ore business provided support to the larger capesize market.
Brokers said fleet growth, especially in capesizes, was set to cap gains in the coming months.

Maersk sees bumper growth in Asia-Africa commods trade
SINGAPORE, June 17 (Reuters) - Maersk Line, the world's top container shipping firm, sees double-digit growth for its Asian shipments of palm oil, sugar and rice to Africa this year as demand for food commodities surges in frontier markets, an executive said on Friday.
Maersk , France's CMA CGM, Japan's Nippon Yusen Kaisha , and other top shipping companies have introduced either new African-bound trade routes or added ships to already established lines this year to take advantage of growth in the region. 

20110621 0959 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

Soy Oil chart reading : possible pullback correction downside biased.

Soybeans (Source: CME)
US soybean futures end higher, with supportive supply side fundamentals provide strength to attract buyers after recent declines. Tight ending stocks estimates, uncertainty about flooded soybean acreage in the Missouri River Valley and ideas that some soybean acreage may go unplanted due to wet conditions, served as underpinning features, said John Kleist, analyst with ebottrading.com. The market's perception of strong overseas meal demand added support to offset the negative influence of slowing export demand and worries about the global economy. CBOT July soy end up 2 3/4c at $13.35 3/4/bushel, and Nov soy end up 2 1/4c at $13.35 1/2.

Soybean Meal/Oil (Source: CME)
Soy product futures ended higher, climbing in step with soybeans. Soymeal led the advances for most of the day, with talk of a potential pick up in meal demand from China amid record China pork prices causing expansions in the industry, said John Kleist, analyst with ebottrading.com. CBOT July soymeal end up $1.00 at $350.00/short ton, and Dec soyoil was up 0.10 cents at 57.36/cents a pound.

Palm oil rises as export numbers support prices
JAKARTA, June 20 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures rose on Monday, after dropping to a five-week low in the previous session, buoyed by rising export numbers from no.2 producer Malaysia, while near-term positive demand expectations also boosted prices.
"Palm oil is range-bound but a bit higher," said one palm oil trader. "Export numbers are good ... they are expected to be better than last month because of Ramadan month.

Malaysia palm oil firm denies breaching Indonesia's forest ban
KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil firm Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK)  denied on Monday it had breached Indonesia's two-year forest clearing ban on the first day it was signed to law, calling the allegation by an environmental group "preposterous".
But Malaysia's third-largest listed planter said it stopped an "over eager" contractor from making an unauthorised clearing of a small logged over area that is a small part of one of its concessions in Borneo island.