Wednesday, August 10, 2011

20110810 1811 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 2937, changed : +17 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : pullback correction downside biased.
MACD Histrogram : falling, seller taking position.
Support : 2930, 2900, 2850, 2800 level.
Resistance : 2970, 3020, 3050, 3070 level.
Comment :
FCPO closed recorded small gain with lower volume changed hand while overnight soy oil continue to closed recording loss and currently rebounding higher.
Rebound in regional markets, crude oil, broad commodities market, better export data and higher export plus lower stock and output data triggered FCPO to trade in positive territory today.
Daily chart formed a down doji bar candle closed nearer to lower Bollinger band level after market opened higher, pushed upwards tested higher resistance level and slide lower towards last trading hour before recover upward slightly to closed off the low of the day.
Chart reading suggesting a pullback correction downside biased 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.

20110810 1749 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1475, changed : +15.5 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : pullback correction downside biased.
MACD Histrogram : falling, seller in control.
Support : 1470, 1458, 1445, 1425 level.
Resistance : 1485, 1500, 1515, 1530 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed recorded gains with lower volume participation doing 5.5 points discount compare to cash market that closed higher.  Overnight U.S. market closed higher and Asia markets closed mostly higher while European markets currently having mixed development.
Most market traded higher having technical rebound after news on U.S. Federal Reserve pledge to keep interest rates near zero through mid-2013 followed by Bloomberg analysts surveyed say that China and Australia may leave rates unchanged for the rest of this year, adding to signs policy makers will take steps to spur growth and restore confidence amid the global market turmoil.
Daily chart formed a down doji bar candle closed right at lower Bollinger band level after market opened gap up substantially higher, slide lower closing the gap and recover upward slightly to closed off the low of the day.
Technical reading suggesting a correction pullback downside biased 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.

20110810 1747 Regional Markets EOD Daily Chart Study.

DJIA chart reading :
pullback correction downside biased.

Hang Seng chart reading : 
pullback correction downside biased.

KLCI chart reading : 
pullback correction downside biased.

20110810 1421 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Asian Stocks Gain on U.S. Fed Low-Rate Pledge (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks climbed for the first time in seven days, and commodities rallied, with oil rebounding from a 10-month low, after the Federal Reserve pledged to keep interest rates near zero through mid-2013. Treasuries dropped. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 2.3 percent as of 3:05 p.m. in Tokyo as global equities rebounded from a nine-day, $7.8 trillion rout. Euro Stoxx 50 futures jumped 1.4 percent, while Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures slid 0.1 percent. Treasury 10-year notes increased four basis points. The cost of insuring Asian debt from default sank the most since May 2010. The Swiss franc weakened against all 16 major peers. Crude rose 3 percent in New York and copper gained for the first time in six days.
Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his colleagues vowed to keep borrowing costs at an all-time low and discussed a range of policy tools to bolster the economy, saying they are prepared to use them “as appropriate.” Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg say China and Australia may leave rates unchanged for the rest of this year, adding to signs policy makers will take steps to spur growth and restore confidence amid the global market turmoil.

Asia stocks bounce after Fed move stems rout
SINGAPORE, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Asian stocks rebounded , following a jump in U.S. shares, after the Federal Reserve made an unprecedented pledge to keep interest rates near zero for at least two years, stemming a global equity rout for the time being.
"Volatility is calming down from an extreme level. Clearly there's going to be considerable concerns still, but the market had gotten seriously carried away and gone to an extreme of fear," said Greg Gibbs, strategist at RBS in Sydney.

U.S. wheat rises for 2nd day, soy rebounds on Fed move
SINGAPORE, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat gained more ground , rising 1.7 percent, while soybeans bounced back and corn rose more than 1 percent, lifted by the U.S. Federal Reserve's move to keep interest rates low for at least two years.
"I think the Fed statement will give a boost to overall commodity markets as it is more like injecting confidence into the markets," said Ker Chung Yang, analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

China July soybeans imports jump 24 pct vs June
SHANGHAI, Aug 10 (Reuters) - China's soybean imports in July jumped 24.4 percent from the previous month to an eight-month high of 5.35 million tonnes, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Wednesday.
July imports, which were up 8.1 percent from a year earlier, have been largely rising since February, although total imports in the first seven months are down 5.5 percent from a year earlier at 29.06 million tonnes.

Datagro makes deepest cut to Brazil sugarcane crop
SAO PAULO, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Analysts Datagro made the deepest cuts yet to its estimate of the sugarcane crop in top grower Brazil, warning on Tuesday the outlook could worsen even further after a recent frost.
A series of downgrades to what was once expected to be a record crop helped propel global sugar prices back near their record highs last month. Datagro's estimate is the most pessimistic yet -- and the most recent, suggesting conditions may have deteriorated. Prices spiked earlier in the day.

Rains pose threat to wheat quality in west Europe
LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Persistent rains are beginning to raise serious concerns about the quality of wheat crops in Germany and to a lesser extent in Britain, while results in top EU producer France have been variable but generally satisfactory, analysts said on Tuesday.
"We still do not have an accurate view of the crop scene, but there is growing belief that a larger proportion than expected of this year's German harvest will be feed wheat, and damage is expected," one German analyst said.

Iraq sees drought affecting wheat crop for 3 years
BAGHDAD, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Global warming could mean Iraq faces another three years of drought and rising heat that threatens to keep production of its strategic wheat crop at below previous level of 2 million tonnes, government officials said.
Agriculture ministry officials and Iraq's grain board had said they expect the country's wheat crop for 2010/11 to be around 2 million tonnes, but a delay in rainfall kept average production this year at 1.73 million tonnes.

POLL-India's 2011/12 cotton output seen up 9.8 pct
NEW DELHI/MUMBAI, Aug 9 (Reuters) - India's cotton output is set for a second successive record harvest in 2011/12, up about 10 percent over last year's 32.5 million bales, a Reuters poll showed, signalling higher supplies from the world's number two producer amid sliding global prices.
A survey of eight traders pegged the average output for the season starting in October at 35.7 million bales, on higher acreage and subject to well-distributed rains.

Brent rises above $105 on Fed vow of low interest rates
SINGAPORE, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Brent crude rose $3  after the U.S. Federal Reserve's promise to extend near-zero interest rates for two more years weighed on the dollar and helped reverse a steep slump in oil.
"The economic reality is that if the U.S. enters into a recession, then no matter how strong growth in China is, China will be negatively impacted," said Victor Shum, an analyst at Purvin and Gertz.

U.S. EIA lowers 2011 world oil demand outlook
WASHINGTON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Global oil demand will grow slightly less than previously projected this year but quicker next year, the U.S. government said on Tuesday in a report that suggests it is far from predicting a second recession .
With global markets roiling on fears of another economic collapse, the Energy Information Administration cut its 2011 world oil demand growth by 60,000 barrels per day to 1.37 million bpd.

Saudi keeps oil supply high despite price fall
LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Leading OPEC producer Saudi Arabia has left supply to Asian and European customers unchanged in September despite a heavy fall in oil prices in the past week as global economic growth slows.
Industry sources and traders told Reuters the kingdom would supply the same volumes of crude to its customers in Asia and Europe under term contracts in September. Analysts said it was only a matter of time before Saudi had to cut production as demand for its oil slows.

China refinery output recovers, but only modestly
BEIJING, Aug 9 (Reuters) - China's refinery throughput recovered to a 5.9-percent year-on-year growth in July, official data showed, after posting its first dip in over two years in June, but the production rate was still among the lowest this year.    
Refineries in the world's second-largest oil consumer processed 37.49 million tonnes of crude last month, or 8.83 million bpd, 2 percent above the June rate of 8.65 million bpd, data from the National Statistical Bureau showed on Tuesday.

Copper rises after Fed pledge to keep interest rates low
SHANGHAI, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Copper rose after the U.S. Federal Reserve made an unprecedented pledge to keep interest rates near zero for at least two years, stemming a global equity rout for the time being.
"The indication that monetary policy will remain loose in the U.S. is supporting the markets today. The markets' focal point now is on Beijing's next policy move in view of the U.S. latest announcements and expectations of a QE III," said Jinrui Futures analyst Zhao Kai.

China July iron ore imports up 6.8 pct from June
BEIJING, Aug 10 (Reuters) - China's imports of iron ore rose 6.8 percent to 54.55 million tonnes in July, with restocking and an increase in seaborne supplies taking the figure to its highest point in four months, data from the country's customs authority showed on Wednesday.  
With crude steel output still hovering above 1.9 million tonnes a day, China's mills have been keen to replenish their iron ore inventories after letting them dwindle in the last few months, but imports remain quite a bit short of their record.  

Novelis sees aluminum demand, consumer growth
NEW YORK, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Aluminum products maker Novelis expects strong demand from the auto industry to offset softness in the U.S. beverage can business and a pullback by European electronics consumers, its chief executive said on Tuesday.
Phil Martens said fiscal second-quarter results could be slightly better than a year ago as the company forges ahead with plant expansions to handle expected growth in aluminum consumption.

China July refined copper, nickel production hits record
HONG KONG, Aug 9 (Reuters) - China's production of refined copper in July rose 0.2 percent from the previous month to hit a record for the second straight month due to attractive margins, but analysts say output may stay flat in August.
Refined copper output rose to 478,000 tonnes in July, breaking the previous record of 477,000 tonnes in June, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Tuesday.

Gold firm near lifetime high, econ worries linger
SINGAPORE, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Gold ticked higher , hovering near a lifetime high around $1,778 an ounce struck in the previous session, but further gains could be capped by a rebound in equities after the U.S. Federal Reserve's vow to keep rates near zero.
"Generally speaking, the panic is subsiding for the moment. I would expect that (gold) will consolidate at these levels for a while before we get any sort of clear idea of the sort of next major moves," said Citigroup analyst David Thurtell.

20110810 1220 Global Economic Related News.

U.S: Productivity in 2Q11 declines for second straight quarter. The measure of employee output per hour fell at a 0.3% annual rate in the second quarter after a revised 0.6% drop in the prior three months. Expenses per employee climbed at a 2.2% rate. (Source: Bloomberg)

U.S: Small-Business index declined in July to 10-month low as the outlook for sales and the economy dimmed. The National Federation of Independent Business's optimism index declined to 89.9, the lowest level since September, from 90.8 in June, the Washington-based group said. (Source: Bloomberg)

U.K: Factory output unexpectedly fell in June and the trade gap widened, adding to evidence that the economic recovery is faltering. Factory output declined 0.4% MoM from the previous month, when it rose 1.8% MoM. The goods trade gap widened as falling exports outpaced a drop in imports. (Source: Bloomberg)

Germany: Exports declined in June, adding to signs Europe's economy is losing momentum. Exports, adjusted for work days and seasonal changes, fell 1.2% MoM from May, when they increased 4.4% MoM. (Source: Bloomberg)

China: Inflation accelerated to the fastest pace in three years in July. Consumer prices climbed 6.5% YoY as food costs surged, reports from the Beijing-based National Bureau of Statistics showed. (Source: Bloomberg)

Indonesia: Central bank left interest rates unchanged for a sixth month. Bank Indonesia maintained its reference rate at 6.75%, it said in Jakarta. (Source: Bloomberg)

Australia: Business confidence stayed near a six-month low in July. The confidence index rose to 2 from zero in June, according to a National Australia Bank Ltd. survey that was released in Sydney. The business conditions gauge, a measure of hiring, sales and profits, slid to minus 1 from 2. (Source: Bloomberg)  

20110810 1218 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

Genting Plantation  announced it would increase the pay of its plantations workforce in  conjunction with the new scheme unveiled by the Malayan Agricultural Producers  Association (MAPA). Effective Sept 1, 2011, all estate and oil mill workers and nonexecutive staff of the group who are covered or guided  by the terms of the Mapa's  collective agreements with the National Union of Plantation Workers and All Malayan  Estates Staff Union will be given an additional RM200 per month upon fulfilling internal  eligibility guidelines. The company has a workforce of more than 12,400 personnel, with  8,900 of them in Malaysia. (Malaysian Reserve)  

Asie Sdn Bhd expects to give out at least two more contracts by year-end to help develop  properties worth over RM1bn at its Tamansari Riverside Garden City urban regeneration  project in Kuala Lumpur. Its founder, Datuk Khalil Akasah, said Asie is in talks with several  local and foreign developers which have expressed interest to undertake joint venture  developments with the company. Khalil said the project will be undertaken by several  developers to ensure its success. "We are not going to depend on just one player such as  Mah Sing to do the job. We will replicate what MRCB did for KL Sentral where it parcelled  out the land development to several players." (BT)  

Ranhill shareholders received a takeover offer at RM0.90/share from controlling  shareholder and CEO Tan Sri Hamdan Mohamad. Hamdan and Cheval Infrastructure  Fund have offered to acquire all the remaining shares of Ranhill not under their control for  90 sen which works out to a total of RM258.77m. Ranhill said the offer price represents a  21.62% premium to the five-day volume weighted average market price up to and including Aug 8. (Financial Daily)

After two failed merger and acquisition bids in the last six months, Latexx Partners is still  eyeing M&A opportunities. "As mentioned earlier, the company is committed to organic  growth and is going to see the plans through. We have not ruled out the possibility of  M&As in the future as well.
  • However, for any corporate exercise to go through, it must be assessed thoroughly to  ensure the basis of the industry consolidation is justifiable and creative value for the  parties involved," said executive chairman and chief executive Low Bok Tek. According  to Low, Latexx' organic growth plans were not disrupted during the last two rounds of  M&A as the glove manufacturer was still expanding as planned. (Financial Daily)      

The Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) said there is a need to set up a new federal agency which advises local authorities on all technical matters related to hillslopes.It said  the new agency should be tasked with the approval, control and monitoring of the safety of  all future hill-site development. (Financial Daily)    

Honda Motor is studying possible production bases overseas to replace export-bound car  production in Japan that has been battered by a strong yen, a top executive said. "We  currently have a three-year plan under which we are assuming a rate of ¥80 to the dollar,"  CFO Fumihiko Ike said. "An under that assumption, the discussion to look for an  alternative production base in inevitable". (Financial Daily)

Fajarbaru Builder Group’s unit Wajatex has bought a piece of 9,330sqm land in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, for RM23.6m cash and plans to develop property on it. (BT)    

Hua Yang sold 181 units of its "The Gardenz@One South" serviced apartments, in Seri  Kembangan in just two days, with a 100% booking of its Block C. Due to overwhelming  public response, the company has opened up the last block (Block B) with a low down  payment of RM1,000 to secure a unit. (Bernama)  

Yung Kong Galvanizing Industries said its unit Starshine Holdings Bhd has withdrawn its  listing application due to the current weak stock market conditions. It also decided to  withdraw the listing pending further reorganisation of the group, it said in a statement to  Bursa Malaysia yesterday. (BT)    

Bursa Malaysia said trading in shares of Baswell Resources will be suspended on August  17 and its stock will be delisted on August 19. The company, which failed to submit its  accounts on time, still has time to make an appeal  on or before August 16, Bursa said.  (BT)  

Over 1m motorists have used the Latar Expressway since its opening on June 23, thanks  to the toll-free experience provided by the concessionaire, KL-Kuala Selangor Expressway  Bhd. Chief executive officer of the company Amran Amir said the expressway had upped  commerce, trade and tourism for many in the corridors along the way. The expressway has  been a boon to township development and "opened avenues for easy reach, time-saving  and fuel-efficiency benefits," Amran said. (Bernama)

AirAsia’s Fernandes Gets Malaysian Air Stake After Surpassing Flag Carrier (Source: Bloomberg)
AirAsia Bhd. (AIRA) Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes will take a stake in Malaysian Airline System Bhd. (MAS), the 39-year-old carrier he dislodged as the country’s biggest by market value in less than a decade. Fernandes and partners yesterday agreed to swap 10 percent of AirAsia in return for a 20.5 percent stake in Malaysian Air from state-controlled Khazanah Nasional Bhd. The stakes are both worth about $360 million. The difference in percentage terms reflects Fernandes’ success in luring passengers from Malaysian Air with cheaper fares since taking over AirAsia a decade ago. “I hope you will take down my picture with all the darts,” Fernandes joked to Malaysian Air executives at a briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Fernandes and deputy Kamarudin Meranun, who will both join Malaysian Air’s board, face the challenge of helping the flag carrier compete with Singapore Airlines Ltd. (SIA) for premium passengers as global economic concerns threaten to sap business travel. Malaysian Air will concentrate on long-haul and full- service operations, while ceding the low-cost market to AirAsia, according to a statement.

Property: Two more property deals by year-end from Asie. Asie Sdn Bhd expects to give out at least two more contracts by year-end to help develop properties worth over RM1b at its Tamansari Riverside Garden City urban regeneration project in Kuala Lumpur. The project will be undertaken by several developers to ensure its success. Located on 23ha along Jalan Tun Razak-Jalan Pahang; the former site of the Tunku Abdul Rahman flats or Pekeliling flats, the 10 to 15 year project is envisaged to be bigger than Mid Valley City. On August 2, Asie gave out its first contract for the RM9b Tamansari project to Mah Sing Group Bhd worth RM900m. (Source: Business Times)

O&G: APH confirms receivership lifted. Muhibbah Engineering (M) Bhd, which was awarded an RM820m project involving marine piling and jetty works in the Tanjung Bin oil terminal, announced that Asia Petroleum Hub Sdn Bhd (APH) confirmed it has reached an understanding with CIMB to uplift the receivership. (Source: The Star)

HeiTech: Signs up Fujitsu, NetApp. HeiTech Managed Services (HMS), a unit of HeiTech Padu Bhd, has inked an agreement with Fujitsu Malaysia and US-listed data storage technology company, NetApp, to expand cloud offerings in Malaysia. The contract is for the period from July 25 2011 to January 25 2013. The partnership will bolster the company's competency in providing cloud services. (Source: Business Times)

Regulations: SC issues revised outsourcing guidelines. The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has made it easier for intermediaries like brokerages to outsource operations like human resources. Previously, outsourcing back office functions needed the approval of the SC or Bursa Malaysia. Now, intermediaries can just do it but they still need to update the authorities with official records. (Source: Business Times)

20110810 1102 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

China’s Trade Surplus Surges to $31.5 Billion (Source: Bloomberg)
China’s trade surplus surged to $31.5 billion in July, the highest level in more than two years, as exports rose to a record. Outbound shipments climbed 20.4 percent from a year earlier, compared with the 17 percent median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 25 economists. Imports climbed 22.9 percent, the customs bureau said on its website today. The surplus exceeded a median forecast of $27.4 billion. The world’s biggest exporting nation faces the threat of weakening demand as developed nations from Europe to the U.S. and Japan struggle to rein in their debt burdens. The U.S. Federal Reserve countered a global rout in stocks by pledging yesterday to keep interest rates at a record low through mid- 2013 and to use additional measures “as appropriate.”

GLOBAL MARKETS: Asia stocks bounce after Fed move stems rout
SINGAPORE, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Asian stocks rebounded on Wednesday, following a jump in U.S. shares, after the Federal Reserve made an unprecedented pledge to keep interest rates near zero for at least two years, stemming a global equity rout for the time being.
"Volatility is calming down from an extreme level. Clearly there's going to be considerable concerns still, but the market had got seriously carried away and gone to an extreme of fear," said Greg Gibbs, strategist at RBS in Sydney.

OIL: Brent rises $2 on Fed promise of low interest rates
SINGAPORE, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Brent crude rose $2 in early Asian trade on Wednesday, extending the previous session's gains, after the U.S. Federal Reserve promised to extend near-zero interest rates for two more years.
The Federal Reserve took the unprecedented step of promising to keep interest rates near zero for at least two more years and said it would consider further steps to help growth.

POLL-US crude stocks seen higher as SPR barrels pour in
BANGALORE/NEW YORK, Aug 9 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil stockpiles were forecast to have risen for the third straight time last week as releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve kept moving into commercial inventories, an expanded Reuters poll showed Tuesday ahead of weekly inventory data.
Twelve analysts polled expected a build in crude stocks for the week to Aug. 5, with the average forecast coming in at 1.5 million barrels.

U.S. oil stocks post surprise drop, API data shows
NEW YORK, Aug 9 (Reuters) - U.S. crude and product stocks posted a surprise drop last week, as imports fell and refiners processed more oil, weekly data from oil industry group American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday.
Crude stocks fell by a sharp 5.2 million barrels, compared with analysts' forecast for a 1.5 million barrel build. Crude imports fell 143,000 barrels per day to 9.19 million bpd.

Costly gasoline, weak economy hits US summer driving
NEW YORK, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Americans are driving less this summer, discouraged by high gasoline prices, economic uncertainty and mounting fears of a double-dip recession.
MasterCard reported that in July, gasoline demand posted its lowest monthly average since the company has been keeping records, as consumers faced steeper costs at the pump and worried about the economy.

U.S., OPEC cut world oil demand growth on economy
WASHINGTON/LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Global oil demand will grow less than previously projected this year, according to forecasts on Tuesday from the U.S. and OPEC, as a worsening economic outlook will curb consumption in developed countries.
The cut by the U.S. Energy Information Administration and a more pessimistic forecast by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries were in line with reductions by other forecasters such as investment bank Barclays Capital, as slowing growth hits consumers and businesses.

Australia gas sector seen on growth path despite concerns
SYDNEY, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Australia's gas sector remains an attractive investment despite a slide in global markets, though there are concerns over the availability of labour and capital, the head of Lloyds Bank's oil and gas division said on Tuesday.
Australia's liquefied natural gas (LNG) export industry has about $200 billion projects on the drawing board aimed at feeding Asia's voracious appetite for energy.

NATURAL GAS: NYMEX - Natural gas ends up on tech buying, warmer forecasts
NEW YORK, Aug 9 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended higher on Tuesday, backed by technical buying after a three-week sell off and warmer extended forecasts for the Northeast and Midwest despite comfortable supplies and milder northern tier temperatures this week that should slow demand.
"We're seeing a lot of end-user buying interest with prices below $4, and forecasters are calling for warmer weather again next week," a Pennsylvania-based trader said. Technical traders also said the market was oversold and due for a bounce after sinking 13 percent in the last three weeks.

EURO COAL: Prices weaker, players stay on sidelines
LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Prompt physical coal prices fell on Tuesday in light activity as growing turmoil on financial markets took its toll and players stayed on the sidelines.    
"Look at the rest of the contagion you see out there. People are not really focused on taking positions at the moment and are playing defensive," a European trader said.

COMMODITIES: After Fed gyrations, gold pares gains, oil up
NEW YORK/LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Commodity markets ended a volatile session only modestly changed on Tuesday, with gold pulling back from a record and oil prices erasing losses after the Federal Reserves promised two more years of near-zero rates.
"It basically says we are going to be in a very slow growth period for the foreseeable future," said King Lip, chief investment officer for Baker Avenue Asset Management in San Francisco.

20110810 1053 Global Market Related News.

Asian Stocks Gain on U.S. Fed’s Low-Rate Pledge (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks climbed for the first time in seven days and commodities rallied, with oil rebounding from a 10-month low, after the Federal Reserve pledged to keep interest rates near zero through mid-2013. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 1.6 percent as of 9:42 a.m. in Tokyo, halting a six-day, 13 percent slump. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures climbed 0.2 percent percent and Treasury 10-year yields slipped two basis points to 2.23 percent. South Korea’s won jumped 0.9 percent to 1,078.35 per dollar, while Australia’s dollar added 0.3 percent. Crude jumped 2.4 percent in New York. Wheat and corn rose more than 1 percent and copper snapped a five-day loss.
The Fed vowed to keep its benchmark rate at an all-time low and discussed a range of policy tools to bolster the economy, saying it is prepared to use them “as appropriate.” Evidence that policy makers are taking steps to spur growth and restore investor confidence helped global equity markets snap a nine-day rout that had wiped out $7.8 trillion in value.

Asia Stocks Climb on Fed Rate Pledge, Prospect of Other Support for Growth (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks rose, snapping six days of losses for the region’s benchmark index, after the U.S. Federal Reserve pledged to keep its benchmark interest rate at a record low at least through mid-2013 and said it may apply additional tools to revive the world’s biggest economy. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), Australia’s No. 1 oil producer, jumped 3.1 percent in Sydney as oil and metal prices rebounded. Commonwealth Bank of Australia surged 2.6 percent, leading banks higher, after reporting that second-half profit rose 22 percent to a record. Canon Inc. (7751), the world’s biggest camera maker by market capitalization, gained 1.6 percent in Tokyo as the outlook for Asian exporters’ earnings improved. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which last week entered a so- called correction after falling more than 10 percent from its May peak, rose 1.6 percent to 122.36 as of 9:20 a.m. in Tokyo today.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Share rout sends world stocks down 20 pct since May
LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - World stocks sank sharply for a 10th session running on Tuesday, racking up a "bear market" 20 percent loss since early May, fuelled by fears of a new global downturn.  "Markets are now worried about another global recession. Out of Europe, French bond yields have widened on expectations of sovereign debt downgrade because of the country's exposure to peripheral European debt," said Natalie Robertson, a commodities strategist at ANZ.

Shares nosedive but pare losses; gold hits fresh peak
SINGAPORE, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Asian shares tumbled as investors scrambled to adjust to a rapid downgrade in the outlook for U.S. and global economic growth, but later staged a sharp rebound from early lows, helping cushion expected losses in Europe.  "Not even in the global financial crisis did we see this extraordinary volatility," said RBS Australia's head of Sydney   sales trading, Justin Gallagher.

Fed to Keep U.S. Interest Rates at Record Lows (Source: Bloomberg)
The Federal Reserve pledged for the first time to keep its benchmark interest rate at a record low at least through mid-2013 to revive a recovery that’s “considerably slower” than anticipated. The Federal Open Market Committee is “prepared to employ” additional tools to bolster an economy hobbled by weak hiring and anemic household spending, it said in a statement today in Washington. Three members of the committee dissented, preferring to maintain a previous pledge to keep rates low for an “extended period” without a specific timeframe. Stocks rallied and yields on 10-year Treasury notes briefly touched a record low.

Bernanke Time Commitment on Benchmark Rate Spurs Most Dissents Since 1992 (Source: Bloomberg)
Ben S. Bernanke lost the full consensus of the Federal Open Market Committee as he reached for another non-traditional tool and provoked three dissenting votes in the process -- the most for a Federal Reserve chairman since 1992. For the first time today, U.S. central bankers specified a date for their commitment to low borrowing costs, saying the benchmark rate will stay in a range of zero to 0.25 percent at least through mid-2013. The new language replaces their prior promise to keep rates low for an “extended period.” Today’s decision shows that a Fed chief can govern with more than two opposing votes, and it opens the door to bolder action if necessary, said Roberto Perli, a former economist in the Fed’s Division of Monetary Affairs, which helps craft the language of the FOMC statements.

Biggest Mortgage Rate Cuts Since Lehman Signal RBA Peak: Australia Credit (Source: Bloomberg)
Australia’s biggest lender made the largest cuts to fixed mortgage rates since 2008, after money markets signaled the central bank may lower the world’s highest benchmark borrowing costs as global growth slows. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), with A$299.4 billion ($305 billion) in outstanding home loans, yesterday cut its fixed-rate home loans by as much as 0.6 percentage point, while Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC), with A$281.8 billion in mortgages, lowered its three year rate. Interbank cash-rate futures indicate the Reserve Bank of Australia’s key rate will fall to 3.49 percent by December from 4.75 percent. “One has to respect the collective thought process of the market and the market seems to be absolutely convinced an easing cycle is coming,” said Gavin Stacey, head of research for Australia at Barclays Capital in Sydney. Commonwealth Bank “has been able to offer this rate for the simple reason that swap rates have priced in Armageddon.”

Productivity in U.S. Falls for Second Straight Quarter as Labor Costs Rise (Source: Bloomberg)
The productivity of U.S. workers dropped from April through June for the second consecutive quarter, leading to an increase in labor costs that may restrain gains in profits. The measure of employee output per hour fell at a 0.3 percent annual rate in the second quarter after a revised 0.6 percent drop in the prior three months, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. The median estimate of 60 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected a 0.9 percent decrease. Expenses per employee climbed at a 2.2 percent rate. Falling efficiency and rising costs mean companies like AutoNation Inc. have less incentive to take on staff or increase pay, representing another obstacle to the recovery after growth almost stalled in the first half of the year. To help shore up the economy, Federal Reserve policy makers today pledged for the first time to keep their benchmark interest rate at a record low at least through mid-2013.

Statement by Federal Open Market Committee on Interest Rates: Full Text (Source: Bloomberg)
The following is a reformatted version of the full text of the statement released today by the Federal Reserve in Washington:
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee in June indicates that economic growth so far this year has been considerably slower than the Committee had expected. Indicators suggest a deterioration in overall labor market conditions in recent months, and the unemployment rate has moved up. Household spending has flattened out, investment in nonresidential structures is still weak, and the housing sector remains depressed. However, business investment in equipment and software continues to expand. Temporary factors, including the damping effect of higher food and energy prices on consumer purchasing power and spending as well as supply chain disruptions associated with the tragic events in Japan, appear to account for only some of the recent weakness in economic activity. Inflation picked up earlier in the year, mainly reflecting higher prices for some commodities and imported goods, as well as the supply chain disruptions.
More recently, inflation has moderated as prices of energy and some commodities have declined from their earlier peaks. Longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.
Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee now expects a somewhat slower pace of recovery over coming quarters than it did at the time of the previous meeting and anticipates that the unemployment rate will decline only gradually toward levels that the Committee judges to be consistent with its dual mandate. Moreover, downside risks to the economic outlook have increased. The Committee also anticipates that inflation will settle, over coming quarters, at levels at or below those consistent with the Committee’s dual mandate as the effects of past energy and other commodity price increases dissipate further. However. the Committee will continue to pay close attention to the evolution of inflation and inflation expectations.

Obama Sparring With Boehner Shows Compromise on Deficit-Reduction Not Near (Source: Bloomberg)
President Barack Obama and House Republican leaders are showing no signs of backing off their stances on how to cut the federal deficit. Obama, making his first public comments since Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit rating to AA+ from AAA on Aug. 5, said yesterday that “common sense and compromise” should lead to a deficit-reduction plan that includes more tax revenue, which Republicans have rejected, as well as spending cuts. U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor responded with statements saying what’s needed are cuts in mandatory spending, such as Social Security and Medicare, to make enough progress on the long-term shortfall. Boehner ruled out what he called “job-destroying tax hikes.”

Fed May Strengthen Stimulus Pledge on Renewed Recession Concern (Source: Bloomberg)
Federal Reserve officials may strengthen their commitment to record monetary stimulus as soon as today after a faltering economic recovery and a U.S. credit- rating cut provoked a rout in global stocks. By a 52 percent to 48 percent margin, respondents in a Bloomberg News survey said the Fed would ease policy this year through monetary tools or statement language. If the central bank acts, 59 percent said it would communicate that the federal funds rate, balance sheet or both will remain especially stimulative for a longer period or more specific amount of time. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his colleagues are weighing the use of more untested policy tools after two rounds of bond buying totaling $2.3 trillion failed to spur sufficient economic growth and reduce unemployment below 9 percent. The Federal Open Market Committee holds its regular meeting today in Washington following the worst day for U.S. stocks since December 2008.

Dollar Is Near One- Week Low Versus Euro on Fed Measures; Yen Halts Gain (Source: Bloomberg)
The dollar was 0.5 percent from a one-week low against the euro on speculation Federal Reserve policy makers will signal which additional tools the central bank is prepared to use to bolster the U.S. economy. The yen snapped a three-day advance versus the U.S. currency amid concern Japanese authorities will intervene to halt a rally in their currency that threatens exporters. Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said today he will continue to watch markets carefully as the yen’s one-sided moves pose a risk to the nation’s recovery. “The lower interest rates should be a negative for the U.S. dollar,” said Imre Speizer, a strategist in Auckland at Westpac Banking Corp., Australia’s second-largest lender. “At some point if the economy slows further as expected, then core inflation should fall from where it is now. And then that would most likely be a trigger for a new round of quantitative easing.”

Treasury 30-Year Bonds Decline After Fed Vows to Keep Interest Rates Low (Source: Bloomberg)
Treasury 30-year bonds fell, snapping a two-day rally, on speculation the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep interest rates at a record low will lead to faster inflation over the life of the securities. Shorter maturities, which are more sensitive to what the central bank does with its target for overnight loans between banks, were little changed. The Treasury is scheduled to sell $24 billion of 10-year notes today and $16 billion of 30-year debt tomorrow. “The Fed committed to keeping rates low,” said Tomohisa Fujiki, a bond strategist at BNP Paribas Securities Japan Ltd. in Tokyo. “Shorter maturities should be well-supported. With any pickup in economic sentiment, longer maturities will be vulnerable to higher inflation.”

U.S. Stocks Post Biggest Gain Since March 2009 (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks rose, capping the biggest rally in more than two years for benchmark indexes, as the Federal Reserve said it was prepared to use a range of tools to bolster the economy following yesterday’s rout in equities. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index swung between gains and losses following the Fed’s statement and closed near the highest level of the trading day. Financial stocks in the S&P 500, which paced a slide that erased $1 trillion in market value yesterday, rallied 8.2 percent. Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Citigroup Inc. (C) jumped at least 13 percent. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX) gained 7.5 percent as gold advanced to a record. The S&P 500 jumped 4.7 percent to 1,172.53 at 4 p.m. in New York, after falling as much as 1.6 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 429.92 points, or 4 percent, to 11,239.77 today. Both gauges had the biggest gain since March 23, 2009. About 16.8 billion shares changed hands at 4:56 p.m., more than twice the three-month average, Bloomberg data show.

VIX Has Second-Biggest Percentage Drop Ever Amid Fed Interest-Rate Pledge (Source: Bloomberg)
The VIX had the second-largest percent drop ever, reversing yesterday’s biggest surge in four years, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke promised to keep interest rates at record lows to revive economic growth. The VIX, as the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index is known, slumped 27 percent to 35.06 at 4:15 p.m. in New York, paring yesterday’s 50 percent surge to 48, the highest level since March 2009. The only larger drop in its 21-year history was a 30 percent slide on May 10, 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The VIX measures the cost of options on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, which surged 4.7 percent. “The moves are fierce,” said Nelson Saiers, chief investment officer of Alphabet Management LLC, said in a telephone interview. The New York-based volatility hedge fund manages $635 million. “Swings that rival, or exceed, even the fall of 2008 underscore how quickly the markets’ appetite for risk is changing.”

China May Delay Rate Rises Until 2012 (Source: Bloomberg)
China may join Asian nations from South Korea to India in delaying interest-rate increases after the nation’s leaders urged global cooperation to stabilize financial markets. The People’s Bank of China will leave borrowing costs unchanged for the rest of this year, according to eight of 10 analysts surveyed yesterday. Economists’ median forecast is for South Korea to extend a pause for a second month tomorrow, while Indonesia stayed on hold yesterday. The U.S. Federal Reserve pledged yesterday to keep interest rates near zero through mid-2013 and use other policy tools “as appropriate,” addressing the slump in confidence that triggered a global stock rout. China’s State Council said “relevant nations” should adopt responsible fiscal and monetary policies to maintain investors’ confidence, in a statement yesterday evening after a meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao.

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao Urges Global Cooperation to Stabilize Markets (Source: Bloomberg)
China’s Premier Wen Jiabao urged global cooperation to stabilize financial markets after a U.S. rating downgrade and Europe’s debt crisis triggered a slump in equities worldwide. Countries should cut their fiscal deficits and resolve their debt problems to maintain global investors’ confidence and calm markets, according to a State Council statement yesterday after a meeting chaired by Wen. Weaker-than-estimated economic data from China to the U.S. and the unprecedented downgrade of America’s credit rating by Standard & Poor’s and Europe’s debt crisis have wiped out $7.9 trillion of global equity market capitalization since July 26. The Federal Reserve yesterday pledged to keep its benchmark interest rate at a record low at least through mid-2013.

Aug. 9 (Bloomberg) -- China’s inflation accelerated to the fastest pace in three years in July, limiting the scope for monetary easing to support growth as plunging stock markets signal the global recovery is weakening. Consumer prices climbed 6.5 percent from a year earlier as food costs surged, reports from the Beijing-based National Bureau of Statistics showed today. That was more than the 6.4 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 26 economists. In June, inflation was 6.4 percent.

Japan’s Topix Snaps Six-Day Losing Streak After Fed Pledges Low Rates (Source: Bloomberg)
Japan’s Topix index snapped a six- day losing streak after the U.S. Federal Reserve pledged to keep its benchmark interest rate at a record low at least through mid-2013 to revive the world’s biggest economy, boosting the outlook for Asian exporters. Canon Inc. (7751), the world’s largest camera maker by market capitalization, gained 1.2 percent. Nissan Motor Co., a carmaker that gets about 80 percent of its revenue overseas, jumped 1.6 percent. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., Japan’s No. 2 publicly traded bank, climbed 1.6 percent. The Topix gained 1.3 percent to 780.72 as of 9:41 a.m. in Tokyo, with 15 stocks rising for each that fell. The Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average rose 1.6 percent to 9,089.04.

Japan’s Bond Futures Rise After Federal Reserve Pledges to Keep Low Rates (Source: Bloomberg)
Japan’s bond futures climbed for a third day in four as the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep interest rates at a record low for longer spurred speculation the Bank of Japan will follow its U.S. counterpart. Yields on benchmark 10-year bonds approached this year’s low as the yen was 1.1 percent from a record high against the dollar, raising concern a stronger local currency will derail Japan’s export-led recovery. The extra yield investors demand to hold two-year Treasuries instead of similar-maturity Japanese notes fell to the lowest level in almost two decades, increasing the relative attractiveness of yen-denominated assets. The Fed’s pledge indicates “the era of high growth for the U.S. and Europe as well as the global economy overall might have ended,” said Shuntaro Take, Tokyo-based deputy general manager for corporate investment at Tokio Marine & Nichido Life Insurance Co., which manages the equivalent of $43 billion in assets. “The environment is positive for bonds.”

South Korea’s Unemployment Rate Stays at Half-Year Low as Economy Expands (Source: Bloomberg)
South Korea’s unemployment rate stayed at the lowest level in half a year as jobs increased in manufacturing and the health and social welfare service sectors. The jobless rate was at 3.3 percent in July, unchanged from June, Statistics Korea said today in Gwacheon, south of Seoul. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of eight economists was for a rate of 3.4 percent. Sustained job growth driven by an economic expansion has been fueling inflation that’s exceeded the central bank’s target since January, prompting the bank to raise the benchmark interest rate three times this year. Still, downside risks to the economy are rising due to the slump in global financial markets, Bank of Korea Governor Kim Choong Soo said yesterday.

Singapore Cuts Export Growth Forecast on Risks (Source: Bloomberg)
Singapore cut its forecast for export growth this year as a struggling U.S. economy and Europe’s debt crisis intensified risks to the global recovery. The currency pared gains. Non-oil domestic exports will probably rise 6 percent to 7 percent in 2011, lower than a previous forecast for shipments to grow 8 percent to 10 percent, the trade promotion agency said in a statement today. Gross domestic product fell an annualized 6.5 percent in the second quarter from the previous three months, compared with a preliminary estimate of 7.8 percent, the trade ministry said separately. Asia faces the threats of weakening demand and rising currencies after Standard & Poor’s cut its U.S. credit rating and a sell-off in Italian and Spanish debt intensified risks to world growth. A global stocks rout in the past week may prompt central banks to delay tightening monetary policy further after the region led interest-rate increases in the past year.

France in Crosshairs as Germany Enjoys Sole Safe-Haven Status: Euro Credit (Source: Bloomberg)
France’s borrowing costs are rising as Europe’s debt crisis makes investors wary of lending to any nation other than Germany. “There is only one sovereign in Europe, and that is Germany,” said Stuart Thomson, who helps oversee about $120 billion as a portfolio manager at Ignis Asset Management in Glasgow. “Everything else is a credit and trades like a credit, even France.” Investors currently demand about 90 basis points of extra yield to buy 10-year French debt rather than German bunds, even though both carry AAA grades from the major rating companies. That spread is almost triple the 2010 average of 33, and compares with 17 in the second half of the previous decade.

Trichet Turns ‘President of Europe’ as Debt Crisis Stuns Political Leaders (Source: Bloomberg)
When Jean-Claude Trichet retires on Oct. 31, the euro area may lose more than just a European Central Bank president. Trichet has emerged as Europe’s key policy maker during the sovereign debt crisis, holding the 12-year-old monetary union together as heads of state squabble over their response. While ECB officials have sometimes split over the direction, under Trichet the central bank shown itself more willing and able to act than the bloc’s 17 finance ministers and government leaders. “Trichet has become the de facto president of Europe,” said Marco Valli, chief European economist at UniCredit Global Research in Milan. “He is the only one who’s delivered the leadership necessary during this crisis.”

Eastern Europe Rate Pressure May Ease as Food-Cost Decline Curbs Inflation (Source: Bloomberg)
Eastern Europe’s policy makers may have an easier choice between economic growth and price stability after inflation reports this week will probably show that declining food costs are alleviating price pressures. The Czech inflation rate dropped for a second month in July, a report today showed. Romania and Hungary will say inflation slowed last month, while data in Poland and Slovakia will show the pace of price increases stabilized after slowing the previous month, according to Bloomberg surveys. Russia’s July inflation rate fell to the lowest this year, declining more than economists estimated. “We’ve seen inflation essentially turn in the region,” said Simon Quijano-Evans, an economist at ING Groep NV (INGA) in London. “In addition we’ll start to have central banks becoming much more dovish. Growth remains on the top of everybody’s list of priorities.”

Kiwi Falls on Global Growth Concern; Aussie Weaker on Confidence Figures (Source: Bloomberg)
New Zealand’s dollar declined against its U.S. counterpart as lingering concern about global economic growth sapped demand for higher-yielding currencies. The so-called kiwi fell versus 12 of its 16 major counterparts, even after the Federal Reserve pledged to hold down interest rates to bolster the world’s largest economy. The Australian dollar failed to add to yesterday’s surge against the greenback after a report showed consumer confidence slumped to its lowest in more than two years. “The question is whether the Fed’s commitment is going to override the concerns about the outlook for global growth,” said Robert Ryan, a currency strategist at BNP Paribas SA in Singapore. Investors are weighing whether “we have enough global growth to keep the commodities complex supported, to keep the Aussie and the kiwi supported.”

Chile inflation slows, boosts cenbank rate hold view
SANTIAGO, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Chilean inflation slowed in July, boosting views the central bank will leave its key rate unchanged again this month, while the trade surplus widened, data showed on Monday.
Chile followed the lead of Peru and left its key rate unchanged last month, as inflation across Latin America eases following a drop in global commodity prices.

FOREX-Swiss franc near record highs amid slump fears
LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters) -The Swiss franc hovered near all-time highs against the euro on Tuesday as fears of a global recession kept safe-haven currencies in high demand and drove further declines on already under-fire stock markets.
"Liquidity matters in the current environment so the Swiss franc, the yen , the dollar and to some extent the euro will remain well supported, They are large and liquid and don't have the stretched positioning associated with carry currencies such as the Aussie, kiwi and the Nordics," said Raghav Subbarao, currency strategist at Barclays Capital.

FOREX-Swiss franc surges to record highs on slump worries
LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - The Swiss franc surged to all-time highs against the euro and the dollar in volatile trade on Tuesday as fears of a global recession drove further declines in already under-fire stock markets and kept safe-haven currencies in high demand.  
"Parity looks pretty likely for euro/Swiss as long as there is heightened risk aversion," said Tom Levinson, currency strategist at ING.

20110810 1051 Global Commodities Related News.

Corn (Source: CME)
US corn futures close higher in a rebound from a one-month low, supported by concerns about output. Private estimates for US corn production are "still eroding" following a damaging heat wave in July, says Rich Feltes of RJ O'Brien. The USDA lowered its "good-to-excellent" rating for the corn crop again Monday and will update its outlook for the autumn harvest in a monthly report Thursday. Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones predict the department will cut its crop estimate by 2.9% from the July forecast to 13.083B bushels. CBOT December corn rises 2 1/2c to $6.88 1/2 a bushel. US corn futures finished lower as rains are expected to benefit crops after hot, dry weather last week. Traders paying close attention to the weather as farmers need favorable conditions to grow a large crop necessary to replenish low supplies. "Conditions have turned benign for the developing crops in much of the Corn Belt," says Karl Setzer, analyst for MaxYield Cooperative in Iowa. Near-term demand is easing as grain users wait for the next harvest to make purchases. CBOT December corn drops 5 1/4c to $6.86 1/4 a bushel.

Wheat (Source: CME)
US wheat futures finished stronger in a turnaround from recent losses. Spillover support from modest gains in the corn market lends support as both grains are used to feed livestock. "Wheat is the tail of the dog to the corn," says Tim Hannagan of PFG Best. Additional support comes from traders buying back previously sold positions. Many expect the USDA will reduce its estimate for wheat output in a monthly report Thursday. CBOT September wheat gains 15 1/4c to $6.71 3/4 a bushel, KCBT September climbs 7 3/4c to $7.63 and MGE September rises 11 1/2c to $8.16 3/4.

Rice (Source: CME)
US rice futures ended up their 50c daily limit as crop worries drive a recovery from recent losses. The market has rebounded since touching a 3-week low intraday Friday. Traders worry the USDA will tighten its supply outlook in a monthly crop report Thursday due to poor weather that has stressed crops and reduced plantings in the southern US. CBOT September rice climbs to $16.77/hundredweight. The daily limit expands to 75c Wednesday.

Soy at 4-1/2 month low, corn falls as recession fear spreads
SINGAPORE, Aug 9 (Reuters) - U.S. soy lost more ground dropping to its lowest since mid-March, while corn fell to a one-week low and wheat hovered near a one-month low on fears of recession in the United States following a cut in the country's credit rating.
"Grain and oilseed markets are sharply lower on pressure from external markets," said Kazuhiko Saito, chief commodities analyst at Tokyo-based trading company Fujitomi.

Russia says to lift ban on EU vegetables from Aug 9
MOSCOW, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Russia will lift its ban on raw vegetables from all European Union countries starting on Tuesday, Aug. 9, the head of the country's consumer watchdog said on Monday.
Russia banned imports of raw vegetables from the European Union on June 2 due to a deadly E. coli outbreak. Moscow later agreed to drop the ban provided it received safety guarantees and has since allowed imports from some EU nations.

Russia harvests grain from 30 pct of sown area
MOSCOW, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Russia has so far harvested 39.8 million tonnes of grain by bunker weight as the campaign gained momentum in almost all grain-growing regions after a slow start caused by rains, Agriculture Ministry said on Monday.
Farmers harvested grain from 30 percent of the sown area by Aug. 8, the ministry said, without providing a comparison for the same date last year, when the country was hit by a severe drought and had to accelerate the harvesting campaign.

East European wheat crops mostly going well
HAMBURG, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Wheat crops in eastern European Union countries are generally developing well and the region is likely to generate an export surplus from this year's crop, analysts said on Monday.
Harvesting is mostly progressing on schedule although there is concern late rain may threaten crop quality in major producer Poland.

US corn conditions fall more than expected, soy rises
CHICAGO, Aug 8 (Reuters) - The condition of the U.S. corn crop declined more than expected last week, with hot and dry weather stressing the crop as it starts the crucial pollination phase, government data showed on Monday.
The U.S. Agriculture Department rated the corn crop at 60 percent good to excellent as of Sunday, down 2 percentage points from a week earlier and down from 71 percent a year ago.

CFTC Backs New Corn Trading Limit (Source: CME)
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved a controversial proposal to increase the one-day trading limit for U.S. corn futures. Regulators approved CME's request to raise the limit for daily gains or losses at the Chicago Board of Trade to 40 cents from 30 cents following an extended review period. The exchange pursued the increase despite opposition from grain users because it said historically high prices called for a larger limit. Corn futures reached a record high in June as demand for low inventories stayed strong in the face of high prices. They have since pulled back 15% due to easing concerns about supplies. "We believe increasing daily price limits will result in less-frequent limit moves and will help ensure that our markets provide the most effective means for price discovery and risk management markets," said Dave Lehman, CME's managing director of commodity research and product development.
CME's proposal ran into stiff opposition from farmers, grain elevators and food companies, who said the increase was unnecessary. They complained the larger limit would increase volatility in the corn market and expose hedgers to bigger margin calls if prices surge--concerns CME said were unfounded. The exchange operator dialed back the proposal in response to initial objections. It originally proposed to increase the daily limit to 50 cents. Market participants continued to criticize the plan after it was approved, saying it was a play by CME to increase trading volume. They said CME wanted to expand the one-day limit because trading stops when a futures contract rises or falls to the limit as a way of controlling risk for market participants. "The powers that be think there's some sort of lost volume there that they can capture" with an increased limit, said Jerry Gidel, analyst for North America Risk Management Services, a brokerage in Chicago.
The exchange last widened the limit for corn in March 2008 with an increase to 30 cents from 20 cents. Corn futures at the time traded around $5.50 a bushel and ended up climbing to a record high of $7.65 a bushel in June of that year. That record fell this year, with the market reaching a new, all-time high of $7.99 3/4 a bushel in early June. The nearby contract traded around $6.82 a bushel. Under current rules, the daily limit can temporarily expand to 45 cents from the base limit of 30 cents if two or more futures contract months settle at the daily limit. The limit can expand again to 70 cents if the market finishes at the daily limit for a second day. Under the new rules, price limits will be 40 cents, with a maximum of one increase to 60 cents. The new limit takes effect Aug. 22.

US spring wheat acreage a wild card in USDA-trade
CHICAGO, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Grain traders and analysts expect the U.S. Department of Agriculture's monthly crop production report on Thursday to help clarify a major unknown of the U.S. 2011 planting season -- how much spring wheat farmers were able to plant this season.
Heavy winter snowfall and excessive spring rains plagued producers across the northern U.S. Plains spring wheat belt, causing widespread planting delays.

US corn crop seen near record, but heat takes toll
CHICAGO, Aug 8 (Reuters) - The United States will likely produce its second-largest corn crop this year, according to a Reuters Poll, but the forecast is smaller than the record harvest seen just last month due to damage from rains and high heat.
A survey of 24 analysts and traders put the corn crop in the United States, the world's top exporter of the grain, at 13.082 billion bushels, which would be the largest since the record crop of 13.110 billion harvested in 2009.

Cargill Weighs Post-Mosaic Options (Source: CME)
Cargill Inc. starts the new fiscal year with a very strong balance sheet after paying down debt following the sale of its majority stake in Mosaic Co. (MOS), Cargill's chief financial officer said. That will give Cargill plenty of options as it looks for ways to bolster its standing as a diverse company able to manage a highly volatile commodity sector, CFO Sergio Rial said in an interview after the company announced fourth-quarter earnings. The company, whose diverse businesses range from grain merchandising to meat processing to energy trading, invested more than $3 billion in acquisitions and expansions in the fiscal year ended May 31, which Rial said was a record. He said the company's expansion plans would continue to focus on maintaining diverse interests, rather than focusing on specific geographic regions or businesses, although he added, "We'll have to see what the world brings to us."
Cargill completed its Mosaic transaction in late May. It distributed roughly 178 million Mosaic shares to Cargill shareholders and exchanged the remaining 107.5 million shares with Cargill debtholders. The deal reduces Cargill's debt, Rial said, and will keep the company in private hands. "There are absolutely no plans for Cargill to go public," Rial said. The company reported fourth-quarter earnings slipped 7% due to weaker results in its food ingredients business, particularly related to meat products, as well as losses in energy trading. Rial said the energy losses were spread among several markets, including crude oil, natural gas and coal. "Volatility cuts both ways," Rial said. Rial added that while the company does not yet have all of the facts related to its recent turkey recall stemming from salmonella contamination, "the financial impact should not be material."

US Crop Wins Weather Boost (Source: CME)
Cooler, wetter weather has given the U.S. soybean crop a boost after an intense heat wave in July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed Monday. The department, in a weekly crop report, raised its good-to-excellent rating for soybeans by 1 percentage point from last week to 61% while lowering the rating for corn by 2 percentage points to 60%. The divergent adjustments show soybeans are "very much different from corn" because the oilseed crop can still reap significant benefits from better weather, said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities, a brokerage firm in Iowa. The corn crop likely suffered some irreversible damage from high temperatures that baked the Midwest during a critical period of development for corn last month. Soybeans have more potential to rebound because August is the most important month for the crop's development. "Soybeans can greatly be aided here by the cooler, wetter weather," Roose said.
Traders are paying close attention to the weather and condition ratings because farmers need to harvest large crops to replenish low inventories. Corn futures have pulled back 16% since reaching an all-time high in June on supply concerns, but users of the grain remain nervous about threats to production. The drop in the corn rating was unsurprising as conditions typically appear to deteriorate as the crop matures, analysts said. Corn was planted before soybeans in the spring and will be harvested before soybeans this autumn. The USDA said 7% of the corn crop was in the "dented" stage of development, behind the five-year average of 10% for that time of year, following late planting this spring. Development of soybeans also was delayed, with 51% of the crop setting pods, behind the average of 63% for that time of year, according to the USDA.
As for cotton, the crop continues to struggle from a relentless drought in the southern Plains. More than 40% of U.S. cotton is in poor or very poor condition, according to the USDA. Record drought has put the country's entire 2011-12 crop in doubt. Texas, the biggest producing state, is getting the worst of it. U.S. pasture and range conditions also worsened last week, with 38% rated very poor to poor, compared with 36% the previous week and 15% a year ago, according to the USDA. Texas has the highest percentage of pasture land in the very poor to poor categories at 94%, and most of the state remains in an exceptional drought, the highest measurement. As for wheat, the USDA cut its good-to-excellent rating for the spring wheat crop by 4 percentage points to 70% good to excellent. The crop was planted last due to heavy rains, with only 6% harvested as of Sunday, behind the average of 24% for that time of year.
In North Dakota, the top producer of spring wheat, the rating dropped 6 percentage points to 72% as "some producers reported insect damage and concerns that the recent excessive moisture would promote disease," according to USDA's field office in North Dakota. Just 2% of the state's crop was harvested, behind the average of 21% for that time of year.

Weather Services Warn Of Potential 'La Nina' Return (Source: CME)
A new round of the extreme weather patterns that devastated production of iron ore, coal and agricultural crops such as wheat in Australia, South America and the U.S. in late 2010 could be poised to return this autumn and hit prices in the process, but with less serious consequences overall than last year, weather forecasters told Dow Jones Newswires Monday. Sentiment towards commodities lying in the traditional path of conditions known as La Nina is starting to turn more bullish, exacerbated by supply shortages in a number of products like iron ore and coal. Forecasting models by the U.S. National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center predict La Nina will redevelop this autumn. "Atmospheric patterns continue to reflect La Nina-like conditions," the weather body said.
La Nina is a periodic climatic phenomenon that brings more rain to the western Pacific, and to a lesser extent, to the eastern Pacific. Climatologists blamed La Nina for last year's floods that gripped Australia, resulting in major losses to coal and iron ore stockpiles. Australia, the world's largest exporter of coking coal, lost around 10 million metric tons of its supply last year as mines were flooded, causing prices of the commodity used in steelmaking to soar. But while it isn't clear what impact La Nina might have on the production and shipment of commodities, its return isn't expected to cause the same serious problems as in 2010. That's because historically the La Nina weather phenomenon occurs in bursts of three consecutive years, with the first one being the worst and the next two much milder.
Yet that doesn't mean the changing weather patterns won't hit the production of crops and products like coal this time around. Joe Vaclavik, grains broker at Chicago-based MF global, said from an agricultural commodity markets perspective, the biggest fear of a second La Nina would be the continuation of the current drought in the U.S. southern plains, causing further damage to the winter wheat crop. Futures prices for winter wheat grown in the southern Plains are already up 13% from a year ago at about $7.65 a bushel at the Kansas City Board of Trade, as weather-related concerns mount over the next crop.
Matt Rogers, President of Maryland-based Commodity Weather Group, warned that possible effects from the second round of La Nina could bring above-normal precipitation in eastern Australia, but would actually benefit the wheat and barley crops in terms of moisture. Yet, dryness concerns could be an issue for Argentina and southern Brazil, which would experience lower amounts of rainfall, causing damage to wheat, corn and soybean yields.

Food Markets Seen Resilient As Commodities Slump (Source: CME)
Agricultural markets should stay relatively immune to the turmoil that has seen commodities and equities markets tumble in recent days, analysts said. Spurred by a downgrade of the U.S. government's credit rating by Standard & Poor's Corp. and ongoing concerns about the growing European debt crisis, London's FTSE 100 fell below 5000 for the first time since July 2010, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 635 points Monday, the sixth-largest daily points drop in its history. Agricultural commodities, however, have posted more muted losses. Sugar, down 6% this month, jumped 5% as sentiment towards commodities improved, leading gains in coffee, cocoa and wheat. U.S. corn futures are up on the month. "With agricultural commodities, even in periods of recession or a downturn in global growth, demand doesn't decline in the same way as it does across energy and metals markets," said Sudakshina Unnikrishnan, commodities analyst at Barclays Capital. Agricultural markets have had a bumpy ride this year.
In the six months to June, the sector saw total inflows of $5 billion--almost 40% of the total--including the largest quarterly influx on record, according to BarCap. This trend reversed in the second quarter, with $2.2 billion of outflows, the first since the financial crisis. ETF Securities said that its agriculture exchange traded products have recouped one-quarter of their first-half outflows over the past month, "suggesting that much of the first half outflows may have been short term profit taking". "We would...expect agricultural prices to outperform the rest of the commodity complex, especially the more cyclically-leveraged energy and industrial metal sectors," said Goldman Sachs. Much of agricultural markets' resilience comes down to tight fundamentals. Hot weather across the U.S. corn belt has sparked fears this year's crop will once again fall short of demand at a time when stocks are at historically low levels, pushing up prices across the whole grains complex.
In sugar too, concerns that output from top producer Brazil will fall for the first time in a decade in 2011-12 has pushed up prices and spurred managed money investment to a record 26% of open interest. JP Morgan said it expects sugar and gold to see the most future upside. "Dollar weakness and rising inflation expectations also open the upside for raw sugar prices to surge far higher than would otherwise be likely, perhaps doubling or more in a spike," said the bank.

US, Food Makers Warn Of Higher Prices In 2012 (Source: CME)
American consumers can expect bigger grocery bills in 2012, even as commodity prices are forecast to fall. The U.S. is expected to churn out more staples like corn, wheat and soy, which would drive commodity prices lower in 2012. However, it takes several months for a commodity such as corn to make its way down the production line and into a box of cereal, so consumers next year will be buying food made from raw materials bought this year, when crop prices reached multiyear highs. Weather problems including frosts, floods and droughts have driven commodity prices this year. Corn futures in Chicago reached a record high near $8 a bushel in June, while wheat almost touched $9 a bushel in February, and arabica coffee futures in New York topped $3 a pound, a 14-year high, in May.
Major food companies like Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT), Corn Flakes maker Kellogg Co. (K) and General Mills (GIS), producer of Yoplait yogurt and Cheerios, have already taken steps such as raising prices or shrinking products to offset higher raw-material costs and are likely to continue doing so next year. In a recent report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said grocery-store prices will likely rise 3% to 4% in 2012, on par with this year, even though ingredient costs may fall. The biggest increases would likely be in the first half of next year, but prices would most likely ease later in 2012, said USDA economist Richard Volpe. "We're seeing that retailers really have no choice but to start increasing prices in order to restore their profit margins, so we're expecting food prices to continue rising in 2012," said Volpe.
At the center of the rise in agricultural commodities prices this year is corn. Futures prices in Chicago have pulled back from their record high but are still up 7% since the start of the year. High demand, particularly from China, is expected to support prices. The severe heat wave in the American Midwest this summer could hurt corn yields in the fall, which would further boost prices. Other commodities used widely by food companies have also skyrocketed, as bad harvests in major growers and increased global demand pushed up prices. Benchmark arabica coffee futures in New York have surged close to 40% over the past 12 months, and companies such as Starbucks Corp. (SBUX), Kraft and J.M. Smucker Co. (SJM) have already raised coffee prices this year. But the companies are taking a cautious stance on how consumers will respond to higher prices. Food executives have found it easier to raise prices on items geared toward high-end consumers, who are less price-sensitive than lower-income shoppers.
Instead of raising prices on Frosted Flakes and other price-sensitive brands, Kellogg is offering smaller sizes to avoid scaring off shoppers. "If you go over $4 a box, you're going to lose a lot more consumers," Kellogg Chief Executive John Bryant said in a recent interview.

ICE sugar, coffee fall as recession fears grow
LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - ICE sugar and coffee futures fell on Tuesday, weighed by fears of a global recession as a rout in stocks continued, after ratings agency Standard & Poor's cut its U.S. rating late on Friday to AA-plus from AAA.
ICE October raw sugar futures dipped at the market opening, trading around 15 percent off the contract high of 31.68 cents a lb touched last month.

Brazil coffee frost damage seen light in places
BRASILIA, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Damage from a frost that swept over Brazil's southeastern coffee belt on Friday should be light in some of the areas hit in the south of Minas Gerais state, cooperative Minasul said Monday.
Agronomist Gustavo Renno from Minasul, which handles around 1 million bags or roughly 2 percent of Brazil's crop each year in the top coffee state Minas Gerais, said few of its members' plantations were affected by the freeze.

Vietnam Coffee-2011 exports to dip, premiums widen
HANOI, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Coffee trading in Vietnam has been frozen due to high prices and thin stocks and the world's second-largest producer after Brazil could see shipment in calendar 2011 drop more than 5 percent, traders and an industry group said on Tuesday.
Exports are estimated to reach 1.15 million tonnes, or 19.17 million bags, in calendar 2011, down 5.43 percent from last year, the Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association (Vicofa) said after a meeting last Friday to review export activities.

Thailand sees at least 9.2 mln tonnes 2011/12 sugar output
BANGKOK, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Thailand, the world's second-biggest sugar exporter, is expected to produce at least 9.2 million tonnes of sugar in the current 2011/12 crop, a senior official at the Office of Cane and Sugar Board (OCSB) said on Tuesday.
"That's a conservative, preliminary forecast ... We need to do a survey again on how much cane was destroyed by the recent storm, Nock-Ten. But at this moment I don't expect any big damage," Prasert Tapaneeyangkul, secretary-general of the OCSB, told Reuters.

Main Brazil co-ops say coffee frost impact small
BRASILIA, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Damage from a frost that swept over Brazil's southeastern coffee belt last Friday startling the market, was expected to have a small impact on next year's harvest, three cooperatives in the region said on Monday.
That is welcome news for a tightly-supplied global coffee market that can ill-afford weather-related production losses after supplies recently fell behind rapidly growing demand, leaving importers struggling to find the beans they needed.

Ivorian cocoa arrivals seen 25 pct over last season
ABIDJAN, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Cocoa arrivals at ports in top grower Ivory Coast reached around 1,382,000 tonnes by August 7, some 25 percent ahead of the same period last season, exporters estimated on Monday.
The figure compared with 1,108,560 tonnes in the same period of the previous season

Rubber Futures in Tokyo Advance as Much as 2.4% to 364.1 Yen a Kilogram (Source: Bloomberg)
Rubber futures in Tokyo advanced as much as 2.4 percent to 364.1 yen per kilogram before trading at 361.5 yen at 9:03 a.m. local time.

Thailand sees at least 9.2 mln tonnes 2011/12 sugar crop
BANGKOK, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Thailand, the world's second-biggest sugar exporter, is expected to produce at least 9.2 million tonnes of the sweetener in the current 2011/12 crop, a senior official at the Office of Cane and Sugar Board (OCSB) said on Tuesday.
"That's a conservative, preliminary forecast ... We need to do a survey again on how much cane was destroyed by the recent storm, Nock-Ten. But at this moment I don't expect any big damage," Prasert Tapaneeyangkul, secretary-general of the OCSB, told Reuters.

Crude Oil Surges After Federal Reserve Statement, Drop in U.S. Stockpiles (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil rebounded from a 10-month low in New York as investors bet fuel demand will increase amid shrinking stockpiles and comments by the Federal Reserve that it is prepared to use a range of tools to bolster the economy. Futures gained for the first time in three days after the Fed said in a statement yesterday it will keep interest rates near zero until mid-2013 and use other tools “as appropriate.” Crude inventories declined the most since June, according to the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute. U.S. equities jumped the most in more than two years. “It looks like markets want to turn back up,” Peter Beutel, president of Cameron Hanover Inc., an energy adviser in New Canaan, Connecticut, said in an e-mailed note. Traders bought oil after the settlement and “prices were back in positive numbers after the API report, which showed inventory draw-downs across the board,” he said.

Libyan rebels sell second oil cargo, last for now
LONDON/DUBAI, July 28 (Reuters) - A tanker carrying crude oil has sailed from Benghazi, headed towards Sardinia, as Libya's rebels sell the last of their stockpile to raise urgently needed funds, industry sources and ship tracking data said on Thursday.
Traders said the tanker, Captain X Kyriakou, was chartered by Swiss-based trading house Vitol earlier in July and had been seen this week off Marsa El Hariga near Tobruk and Benghazi in eastern Libya, the rebels' stronghold.

Brent crude darts below $100 on economy fears
LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Brent crude slumped to its lowest in six months on Tuesday,   crossing the $100 level briefly on mounting worries about prospects for the world economy after a U.S. credit downgrade intensified fears about a global slowdown in demand for energy.
"The underlying fundamental is that demand in Europe and the U.S. is not strong we have a sell off in equities and confidence in the global recovery has been hit again," said Olivier Jakob, analyst at Petromatrix in Zug, Switzerland.

Argentina postpones offshore oil bloc offer-source
BUENOS AIRES, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Argentina postponed the auction of exploration rights to 32 offshore oil blocs that had been scheduled for this week, citing the tumult on world markets, a source at state oil company Enarsa said.
"It will be postponed," the source, who requested anonymity, told Reuters.

Russia H1 nickel, copper export volumes drop
MOSCOW, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Russian copper and nickel export  volumes outside the Commonwealth of Independent States declined  in the first half of the year, while aluminium shipments rose,  customs data showed on Monday.
Russia exported 1.68 million tonnes of aluminium outside of  the CIS in the period, up 6.4 percent year on year, while  earnings rose 24.5 percent to $3.55 billion.

Indonesia's July tin exports rise 4.5 pct yr/yr
JAKARTA, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Indonesia's refined tin exports rose 4.5 percent in July from the same month last year, an official at the trade ministry said on Tuesday.
Indonesia, the world's top tin exporter, shipped 9,265.72 tonnes of refined tin in July, compared to 8,869.51 tonnes in July last year, trade ministry data showed.  

China begins new crackdown on rare earth sector
BEIJING, Aug 8 (Reuters) - China will punish rare earth producers that fail to stick to a nationwide production quota after launching an inspection of the sector at the beginning of August, the country's industry ministry said on Monday.
In a notice posted, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said enterprises that exceed quotas or continue to employ environmentally destructive production techniques could have their quotas  and licenses cancelled.

METALS-Copper slips to 8-mth low on global growth concerns
LONDON, Aug 9(Reuters) - Copper prices fell to eight-month lows on Tuesday as nervousness about the health of the global economy prompted investors to sell assets perceived as risky, although traders said further falls were limited by consumer buying on expectations longer-term demand for the metal will remain intact.
"Macroeconomic data has worsened over the past weeks and on top of that we have the debt crisis in the euro zone and the credit downgrade in the United States. What is of concern is that compared to 2008, policymakers now have no further room for interest rate cuts or additional stimulus measures," said Daniel Briesemann, analyst at Commerzbank.

PRECIOUS-Gold tops $1,770 in biggest three-day rally since 2008
LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Gold hit a record $1,778 an ounce on Tuesday, in its biggest three-day rally since the depths of the financial crisis in late 2008, as equities succumbed to investor fear over the threat to the global economy from the European and U.S. debt crises.
"The market could come off from here, but it's headed in a northerly direction," said ANZ head of metal sales Peter Hillyard. "From where we are now, you might think we could see some sort of pull-back. But I'm talking about a momentary thing, a pull-back like the loading of a gun, which then fires away."

Gold Advances to Record on Slowdown Concern (Source: Bloomberg)
Gold futures advanced, extending a rally to a record for the second straight day, as the Federal Reserve pledged to keep its benchmark interest rate low at least through mid-2013. Gold retreated from the settlement after equities rallied as investors studied today’s Fed policy statement. The metal has jumped 45 percent in the past year following bond buybacks by the central bank during two rounds of so-called qualitative easing, combined with the lowest borrowing costs ever. “The anxiety premium for gold remains,” Adam Klopfenstein, a senior strategist at MF Global Holdings Ltd. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “People are disappointed that there was no mention of QE3, but the statement shows that the government is not willing to go too excessive to stimulate the economy.”

Baltic ship futures screen users growing - exchange
LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's platform for centralised electronic trading of dry freight derivatives has signed up 15 principals and five brokers in its first month and aims to boost liquidity in the coming months, the exchange said on Wednesday.
Freight forward agreements (FFAs), which allow a buyer to take a position on freight rates at a point in the future, had not previously traded on a central marketplace.

Growth fears add to dry bulk shipping crisis
LONDON/SINGAPORE, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Growing fears for the world economy signal more pain and even bankruptcies among dry bulk ship owners who are getting rock-bottom rates to carry cargoes like coal and now face a glut of new vessels ordered when times were good.
The tougher climate has hit the sector hard this year and confidence is at a record low. Korea Line , South Korea's debt-stricken second largest dry bulk shipping line, is among the casualties. The firm, under court receivership, has filed a restructuring plan to the court.

Ship insurers add Benin to risk list after attacks
LONDON, Aug 8 (Reuters) - London's marine insurance market has added Benin to a list of areas deemed high risk due to an escalation of pirate attacks in the area, a senior official said.  
Pirates attacked two Panamanian-flagged tankers carrying oil off the coast of Benin last week but were driven off by the Benin navy before they could steal the cargoes.

Japan, China shut ports in path of powerful typhoon
SHANGHAI/SINGAPORE, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Japan and China have suspended some operations at several oil, dry bulk and container ports ahead of a powerful typhoon that could be one of the worst in the area for years, industry officials said on Friday.
Ports in Japan's Okinawa island closed as Typhoon Muifa neared its shores, while China's ports in Ningbo and Zhoushan cut operations as forecasters predicted they would be hit over the weekend.

Drybulk weakness may lead to covenant pressure -Wells Fargo
July 22 (Reuters) - Fundamental weakness will likely drive continual cash flow erosion and covenant pressure within the dry bulk shippers, Wells Fargo Securities said, and lowered its rating on four stocks.
The shipping sector has been hit hard in the last two years as demand to ship commodities has lagged the supply of vessels.
Analyst Michael Webber lowered his rating on the stocks of Diana Shipping , Genco Shipping & Trading  and Excel Maritime Carriers  to "underperform" from "market perform". Eagle Bulk Shipping  has been lowered to "underperform" from "outperform".

20110810 1048 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

ITS CPO export up  48% to 592,538 tonnes for the period of 1~10 Aug 2011.
SGS CPO export up 53% to 608,236 tonnes for the period of 1~10 Aug 2011.

MPOB Official Data for the month of Jul 2011 vs Jun 2011
Export up 9.12%
Stock down 2.78%
Output down 0.11%

Soybeans (Source: CME)
US soybean futures slide near a 5-month low as the market was driven lower by traders trimming risk premiums on favorable weather for developing crops and slower demand, which took the edge off prices. The soy crop can be greatly aided by August weather--and cooler, wetter conditions are just what the crop needs moving through its reproductive stage, says Don Roose of US Commodities. The soybean declines came despite rising grain futures, a reflection that current weather is improving yield potential, Roose adds.

Soybean Meal/Oil (Source: CME)
Products were hurt by sliding demand. CBOT November soy dropped 11 3/4c to $12.99 3/4 a bushel while December soymeal falls 0.8% to $343.60/short ton and soyoil drops 1.5% to 53.62c/pound.

Palm oil falls to new 9-mth lows on weak global sentiment
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures hit fresh nine-month lows as concerns that a global economic slowdown was imminent after the U.S. credit downgrade continue to pressure financial markets.
"Palm oil is trying to find a balance when crisis in U.S. and Europe is hitting global markets while demand-supply fundamental in Malaysia is expected to be bullish," said a trader in Kuala Lumpur.

Brazil soy area seen growing 3 pct - Agroconsult
SAO PAULO, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Brazil's soybean area is expected to grow 3 percent next season as attractive prices push producers to expand planting in frontier areas, analysts Agroconsult said on Monday.
The analysts said the area planted to soybeans would reach 25 million hectares (61.8 million acres) in 2011/12, up from the 24.2 million hectares this season.