Friday, August 12, 2011

20110812 1810 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3015, changed : +22 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : pullback correction downside biased.
MACD Histrogram : recovering, seller taking profit.
Support : 2970, 2930, 2900, 2850, 2800 level.
Resistance : 3020, 3050, 3070, 3100 level.
Comment :
FCPO closed recorded small gain with shrinking volume changed hand while overnight soy oil closed substantially higher and currently trading firmer.
Overnight lower crop and better demand estimates for soy bean from USDA report, China higher August 2011 soy bean import expected from The China National Grain and Oils Information Centre and survey on higher India vegetable import for the month of August lead FCPO price to trade in positive territory through out the day.
Daily chart formed a down doji bar candle position in the middle between lower and middle Bollinger band level after market opened gap up and slide little lower traded side ways within 26 point range bound market towards the end to closed near the low of the day.
Technical reading still 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.

20110812 1746 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1479.5, changed : +6.5 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : pullback correction downside biased.
MACD Histrogram : recovering, seller locking in profit.
Support : 1470, 1458, 1445, 1425 level.
Resistance : 1485, 1500, 1515, 1530 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed recorded gain with getting lower volume traded doing about 4.5 points discount compare to cash market that closed higher.  Overnight U.S. market closed rebounded higher and Asia markets ended mixed while European markets currently trading higher.
Regional markets traded between win and losses after mixed news on good corporate earnings, stalling France economy, Italy deficit cut measure and Hong Kong 2nd quarter lower GDP.
Daily chart formed a doji bar candle with longer lower shadow closed above lower Bollinger band level after market opened higher, traded range bound for about 2 hours and slide lower tested support level recorded loss before recovered upwards higher to closed right at opening price.
Chart study suggesting a correction range bound 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.

20110812 1744 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.

20110812 1739 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Asia shares rise on value buys; havens may still be attractive
SINGAPORE, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Asian stocks edged up on Friday, as investors chased value picks after recent sharp volatility, though concerns over the European crisis may continue to fuel buying into safe havens like gold and government bonds.
"The rebound is a little lukewarm as investors want to lighten their positions and take profits ahead of the weekend after a very turbulent week," said Mitsuo Shimizu, deputy general manager at Cosmo Securities in Tokyo.

India's July vegoil imports likely to edge up on month
NEW DELHI, Aug 11 (Reuters) - India's palm oil imports slipped in July as buyers waited for Indonesia's tax cut from Aug. 1, a Reuters survey showed, with a 77 percent leap in soyoil purchases keeping overall volumes slightly up on the month.
But traders said despite the delay to cargoes and demand for the August to October festival season, imports next month would not match August 2010's record 1.1 million tonnes hit on the back of poor domestic availability and attractive soyoil prices.

U.S. corn at one-week top, soy rises on bullish USDA report
SINGAPORE, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Chicago corn futures gained more ground on Friday, rising half a percent to trade near a 1-week top, while soybeans rose for a third straight day as a government forecast of lower production continued to buoy the markets.
"The USDA report provided a fundamental reason for higher corn prices," Luke Mathews, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said in a report.

China 2011 corn output seen up 3 pct at 182.5 mln T - CNGOIC
SHANGHAI, Aug 12 (Reuters) - China will likely harvest 182.5 million tonnes of corn this year, up 2.96 percent from a year earlier, according to the latest estimate by an official think-tank, lifting the production forecast slightly from its estimate in July.
The China National Grain and Oils Information Centre (CNGOIC) also said 2011 soybean output was expected to fall 10.5 percent from last year to 13.5 million tonnes.

China ups Aug soybean imports f'cast to 3.85 mln T
SHANGHAI, Aug 12 (Reuters) - China's soybean imports in August will likely reach 3.85 million tonnes, the Ministry of Commerce said, raising its earlier estimate by 22 percent.
The forecast is based on reports from importers during the July 16-31 period,  the ministry said in a statement on its website seen on Friday.

Japan rice futures normalising -exchange head
TOKYO, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Rice futures are normalising after soaring on their debut in Japan this week on fears over contamination from radiation, and prices are expected to reflect physical demand and supply if more tests show the staple food is radiation-free, the head of the Tokyo Grain Exchange said.
Japan revived rice futures trading on Monday after 72 years, though no trades were completed on the first day on the TGE as circuit breakers were triggered throughout the session with buy and sell orders nearly 40 percent above the exchange's pre-trade reference price.

Colombia coffee output falls for fourth month
BOGOTA, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Colombia's coffee output fell for a fourth consecutive month in July, shrinking 33 percent versus the same month last year to 530,000 60-kg bags, the growers' federation said on Thursday.
Exports from the world's No. 1 producer of high-quality Arabica beans slumped 25 percent to 458,000 sacks, the federation said in a statement.

Brazil's sugar output falls further--Unica
SAO PAULO, Brazil, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Brazil's main center-south sugar cane crop estimate was cut for the second month in a row as frost, flowering and falling yields continued to drag down milling results, cane industry association Unica said Thursday.
Unica put the center-south's sugar output this season at 31.57 million tonnes, down 2.5 percent from its July estimate of 32.38 million tonnes.

La Nina seen threatening Argentine soy, corn crops
BUENOS AIRES, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Argentine soy and corn crops, set to be planted in the weeks ahead, will face a threat of the same La Nina-related dryness that reduced yields last season, weather experts are predicting.
Satellite maps show that La Nina -- a cooling of the ocean surface off western South America which causes dryness -- may be worse in Argentina this year than in neighboring grains powerhouse Brazil.

Brent slips below $108 as dollar rises; demand concerns weigh
SINGAPORE, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Brent slipped below $108 a barrel on Friday, reversing direction after two straight days of gains, as the dollar strengthened and demand concerns from industrialised nations weighed on prices.
"The market needs strong indicators to be convinced about demand for oil and for prices to go up steadily towards $100," said Ken Hasegawa, a commodity derivatives manager at Japan's Newedge brokerage.

No alarm in OPEC yet on falling oil price
LONDON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - OPEC, source of more than a third of the world's oil, is unlikely to become concerned about a slide in oil prices unless Brent crude falls towards $90 a barrel, OPEC delegates said on Thursday.
Brent  has fallen to $106 a barrel, down more than $20 from its peak this year of $127.02, on concern of slowing oil demand due to the European debt crisis and a weakening economic outlook for the United States.  

Indonesia steel consumption may rise 3.8 pct in 2011 -producer
JAKARTA, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Steel consumption in Indonesia in 2011 will rise as much as 3.8 percent compared to last year, due to a rise in state funded projects, said an official at Krakatau Steel , the country's biggest steel maker.
Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest economy, is forecast to consume 8.2-8.3 million tonnes of steel this year, compared with 8 million tonnes in 2010, Irvan Kamal Hakim, Krakatau Steel's marketing director told a news conference late on Thursday.

U.S. Steel raising prices, cites costs
NEW YORK, Aug 11 (Reuters) - U.S. Steel Corp , whose second-quarter profit and sales missed Wall Street estimates, is raising prices as soaring raw material costs eat into margins, Chief Executive Officer John Surma said on Thursday.
"We informed our customers that that was what we were doing," he said when asked about analyst reports the steelmaker raised prices by about $60 per ton -- or roughly 10 percent.

Copper up on stocks rebound, stronger yuan
SHANGHAI, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Copper rose on Friday, as stocks recovered after better-than-expected U.S. jobless data gave a fillip to risk appetite while China's pegging of the yuan at its sixth record in ten trading days offered support for the country's imports of commodities.
"Worries about the U.S. and Europe are in the background now for Chinese investors who are more concerned about what's happening here now," said Dongzheng Futures trader Du Xiao Hua.

UK aluminium smelter power plant must switch from coal
LONDON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - The coal-fired power station which supplies all of the energy to Rio Tinto Alcan's   Lynemouth aluminium smelter in northeast England, must switch to biomass generation if it is to have a long-term future, a spokesman for the company said.
The company has yet to decide separately, in a strategic review, whether it will keep, sell or close its Lynemouth assets, which comprise the smelter and power plant.

Spot gold reverse early losses on econ worries
SINGAPORE, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Spot gold reversed early losses, putting it back on track for its best week since January 2009 as worries about the euro zone debt crisis and global growth drive investors to safe havens.
"We've seen some new investors getting in the market at high price levels," said Dick Poon, manager of precious metals at Heraeus in Hong Kong.

As gold prices surge, cash-for-gold frenzy fades
NEW YORK, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Handing out flyers at the corner of 47th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City's Diamond District, Mariabi Peenya is having trouble finding passersby eager to sell their gold jewelry for cash.
In Mexico City, Paulino Luna says fewer customers are coming to his small storefront in a colonial-era building, where he's been buying bullion for 25 years. And in Chennai, India, Daman Prakash Rathod finds the once-heaving crowd of local gold scrap sellers have all but disappeared.

20110812 1428 Breaking News.

Aug. 11 (Bloomberg) -- More executives at Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies are buying their stock than any time since the depths of the credit crisis after valuations plunged 25 percent below their five-decade average. Sixty-six insiders at 50 companies bought shares between Aug. 3 and Aug. 9, the most since the five days ended March 9, 2009, when the benchmark index for U.S. equities reached a 12-year low, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Morgan Stanley Chief Executive Officer James Gorman and two other managers purchased 175,000 shares of the New York-based bank as the shares fell to the lowest level since March 2009, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 

20110812 1131 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS: Asia stocks up with near-term focus on value
SINGAPORE, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Asian stocks edged up on Friday, as investors hunted for value after an intense week of volatility, though the festering European financial crisis may mean that havens like gold and the Swiss franc may still draw buyers.
"The rebound is a little lukewarm as investors want to lighten their positions and take profits ahead of the weekend after a very turbulent week," said Mitsuo Shimizu, deputy general manager at Cosmo Securities in Tokyo.

OIL: Oil rises second day, U.S. jobs data lifts
NEW YORK, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose for a second straight day on Thursday, gaining as much as 3 percent as a strong U.S. jobs report trumped early concerns about French banks and fears that Europe's debt crisis will spread.
"Relative calm over the French bank situation is giving equities and overall sentiment a lift, which has pushed crude prices higher on lessened demand contraction fears," said John Kilduff, partner at hedge fund Again Capital LLC in New York.

OPEC exports to fall in 4 weeks to Aug 27 -analyst
LONDON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Seaborne oil exports from OPEC, excluding Angola and Ecuador, will fall by 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the four weeks to Aug. 27, an analyst who estimates future shipments said on Thursday.      
Exports will fall to 22.71 million bpd on average from 22.77 million bpd in the four weeks to July 30, UK consultancy Oil Movements said in its latest weekly estimate.

Venezuela oil output dips to 2.77 mln bpd in June
CARACAS, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Venezuela's oil production fell to 2.77 million barrels per day (bpd) in June from 2.79 million bpd the month before, the oil ministry said on Thursday.
The South American OPEC member said exports of crude and products also declined to 2.41 million bpd in June from 2.48 million bpd during May.

NATURAL GAS: NYMEX - Natural gas reverses course, ends up on bullish EIAs
NEW YORK, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Front-month U.S. natural gas futures ended higher on Thursday after some early selling, lifted by a government report showing a weekly inventory build well below market expectations.
"It was a shocking (EIA build) number, but the weather has gotten a little milder, and the economic picture doesn't look that good. This was only one data point, so I wouldn't get too bullish," a Massachusetts-based trader said.

EURO COAL: Prices pare gains after oil pullback
LONDON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Prompt physical coal prices softened on Thursday, paring gains notched up earlier in the day after oil moved lower.
"It's been quite quiet this afternoon after a bit of action this morning," said a coal trader in Europe. "It's been quite a disjointed market and people are struggling to find direction."

COMMODITIES: Oil surges 2nd day; CRB up most since May
NEW YORK, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Commodities jumped on Thursday, posting their largest gain in nearly three months as oil rallied for a second straight day and corn hit limit highs due to squeezed crop production from a U.S. heatwave.
"Investors are more confident that there is a floor in place in corn. More importantly, speculators view a more explosive price scenario as more possible than they had before," said Adam Tepper, analyst at Arlon Group, an agriculture-focused investment company.

20110812 1129 Local & Global Economic Related News.

Malaysia : The  Ministry of Rural and Regional Development has to date built 20,322 units of houses for the rural hardcore poor under its housing assistance programme for the poor throughout the country. The minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said this year, the ministry was targeting to build 3,000 units of new  houses and repair another 6,000 units nationwide. The government is targeting to build 50,000 units of houses for the poor in the next three years, he said. (Bernama)
International rating house  Fitch Ratings has affirmed  Malaysia’s long-term foreigncurrency issuer default rating (IDR) at ‘A-‘ and long-term local-currency IDR at ‘A’. The outlook for the rating is ‘stable’. Fitch has also affirmed Malaysia’s country ceiling at ‘A’ and the short-term foreign-currency IDR at ‘F2’.

  • Malaysia’s sovereign creditworthiness is supported by a track record of domestic macroeconomic stability and strong external finances, Fitch said.  
  • However, structural weaknesses in the public finances, including a narrow tax base, an extensive array of consumer subsidies and an over reliance on petroleum-linked revenues remain largely unaddressed, it added.  
  • It projects Malaysia’s federal government debt to reach 54.7% of GDP by end-2011, the highest ratio since 1993, and up from 41.4% at end-2008. It also projects the federal government deficit at 5.7% of GDP for 2011 (5.6% in 2010). (Malaysian Reserve)  

India: Exports climb 82%, fastest pace in at least 16 years
India’s exports grew at the fastest pace in at least 16 years, even as faltering expansions in advanced economies threatened global demand, according to figures released by the commerce ministry’s top bureaucrat yesterday. Merchandise shipments from the country rose 81.8% to USD29.3bn in July from a year earlier, commerce secretary Rahul Khullar said yesterday. That’s the most since April 1995, according to Bloomberg data. India has sought to increase shipments to markets in Africa and Latin America to bolster earnings from abroad as it targets USD500bn in exports by 2014. (Bloomberg)

Australia: Jobless rate unexpectedly jumps to 8-month high
Australia’s jobless rate unexpectedly rose to an eight-month high in July as hiring stalled, prompting Goldman Sachs & Partners Australia Pty to predict as many as two interest-rate cuts this year. Unemployment jumped to 5.1% in July from 4.9% a month earlier, the first increase since October, the statistics bureau said in Sydney yesterday. (Bloomberg)

China : The  yuan strengthened beyond 6.4 per dollar for the first time in 17 years, supported by the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep interest rates at a record low and signs China will use currency gains to help rein in inflation. (Bloomberg)

Japan : Japan’s  machinery orders rose for a second month in Jun as companies increased spending to restore businesses and production disrupted by the 11 Mar earthquake and tsunami. Factory orders, an indicator of capital spending in three to six months, rose 7.7% mom in Jun, the Cabinet Office said. Economists forecast a 1.7% increase. (Bloomberg)

US: Consumer confidence fell last week to lowest since May
Consumer confidence dropped last week to the lowest level since mid-May as American high earners, homeowners and those working full time turned more pessimistic. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was minus 49.1 in the period to Aug. 7, down from minus 47.6 the prior week and the second-lowest level in a year. The measure was less than five points away from the record low of minus 54 reached in November 2008, during the depths of the last recession. (Bloomberg)

US: Trade deficit unexpectedly widens to USD53.1bn
The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly increased in June to the highest level since October 2008 as a slump in exports exceeded a decline in shipments from overseas. The gap widened 4.4% to USD53.1bn from USD50.8bn in the prior month, Commerce Department figures showed yesterday. U.S shipments of capital equipment and industrial supplies fell in June, which may reflect the start of a cooling in the global economy. Some companies like Caterpillar Inc. remain optimistic that demand for American-made goods will be sustained, helped in part by a weaker dollar. (Bloomberg)

US: Jobless claims unexpectedly fell last week
Claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly dropped last week to a four-month low, signaling the job market is being hampered by a lack of hiring rather than more firings. The number of applications for unemployment insurance payments fell 7,000 in the week ended 6 Aug to 395,000, the fewest since early April, the Labor Department said yesterday. (Bloomberg)

US stocks rally as jobless claims, profits offset Europe woes
US stocks rallied, reversing yesterday’s drop for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as a decline in jobless claims and better-than-estimated corporate earnings tempered concern Europe’s debt crisis is worsening. All 10 groups in the S&P 500 advanced at least 2.5%, with gains being led by financial, energy and raw-material companies. Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. rallied more than 6.7%, after plunging at least 5.5% yesterday. Cisco Systems Inc., the world’s largest maker of networking equipment, soared 16%, the most since May 2002, as profit and sales beat analysts’ estimates. (Bloomberg)

US : The  U.S. budget deficit narrowed in Jul, reflecting a calendar-related reduction in spending compared with the same month last year. The shortfall between revenue and outlays totaled US$129.4bn in Jul (US$165bn in Jul 10), according to the Treasury Department’s monthly budget statement issued. The gap for the fiscal year to date climbed to US$1.1tr. Economists projected a budget deficit  of US$133bn in Jul, while the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected a shortfall of US$132bn. The CBO projects this year’s federal budget deficit to reach about US$1.4tr. (Bloomberg)

US : U.S. foreclosure filings dropped 35%  in Jul to the lowest level in almost four years as lenders and state and federal agencies increased efforts to keep delinquent borrowers in their homes, RealtyTrac Inc. said.  (Bloomberg)

US : U.S. mortgage rates for 30-year loans declined to a nine-month low as concern grew that the nation’s economy is slowing. (Bloomberg)

20110812 1128 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

Malaysia utility Tenaga seeks 130,000T fuel oil, Aug-Sep
SINGAPORE, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Malaysia's national power producer, Tenaga Nasional, is seeking another 130,000 tonnes of fuel oil for power generation, the third time it is seeking large volumes this year, signalling that the country's natural gas supply remains disrupted, industry sources said on Thursday.
It is seeking seven low-0.98-density cargoes of 12,500-23,000 tonnes each, for delivery between second-half August and September, after buying more than 200,000 tonnes for delivery between April and August.

Alam Maritim Resources Bhd Bags RM20mil job
Oil and gas support services firm Alam Maritim Resources Bhd has clinched two offshore vessel leasing contracts worth a combined RM20.2mil. Alam Maritim said it would lease an accommodation vessel to Petronas Cargali Sdn Bhd and work boat to a ‘local oil and services company’. Both contracts have been effective since July 2011. The deal with Petronas is for a duration of 138 days, with a maximum extension option 30 days while the other contract has a 30-day period with no extension option. -The Edge

Sarawak Cable Bhd Targets RM1bil projects
Sarawak Cable Bhd (SCB) is pursuing potential projects worth more than RM1bil and is looking to expand overseas, starting with Brunei and Kalimantan this year, followed by the Philippines. CEO Aaron Toh Chee Ching said they are very confident of winning more projects and have so far been growing in an aggressive manner. They are also looking outside Malaysia for some long-term income. In addition to expanding overseas, SCB is also looking to venture into hydropower, armed with supply and lay expertise for transmission lines of up to 500kV. Toh said this will be a long-term project that may span up to 20 years. The power purchase agreement (PPA) for this has been signed. Initially, the contributions will be marginal. SCB has submitted tenders of projects worth RM185.0mil all of which will be completed next year. The company had a current order book of RM343.3mil as at last month, and the jobs in hand should be completed by next year. Of this nearly 60.0% lies in Trenergy Infrastructure Sdn Bhd, which SCB is in the midst of acquiring. The acquisition of Trenergy and Sarwaja Timur Sdn Bhd  is part of the company’s plan to establish itself as an ‘integrated solutions provider’ for the construction of transmission line projects. Toh said they want to be prepared for future deployments. For its 1QFY11 ended March, SCB posted a net profit of RM3.4mil on the back of RM83.7mil in revenue. –The Edge

Infrastructure Sector Govt to acquire 600 lots of land for MRT project
The Government will be acquiring between 500 to 600 lots of private land for the My Rapid Transit (MRT), which is about 20% of the total land area needed. Of these, 250 lots will be in Kuala Lumpur.  The private lots would comprise residential, commercial and vacant land. A source familiar with the project said that balance 70% to 80% of land required is government land. Under the Land Acquisition Act 1960, if the Government tunnels under a certain tract of land, it must acquire the properties above, thus compelling owners to vacate their premises.  The impending acquisition has raised concerns as it involves heritage buildings, some as old as 100 years. About 20 to 30 buildings will be torn down, a few of them being Kuala Lumpur landmarks. Prasarana project director Zulkifli Yusoff, said land acquisition was unavoidable, adding that it was part of the Government’s urban renewal plan. The acquisition cost for the private land is not yet known as the prices have to assessed by the Valuation Department of the Ministry of Finance. Several meetings on valuation and compensation would be held with the private land owners beginning the middle of this month. - StarBiz

Catcha Media sees RM25m reduction in target from online media business
Catcha Media forecasts for outstanding commercial targets of the online media business from 2011 to  2014 in its prospectus will be reduced by about RM25m. Catcha Media said this followed amendments  to the strategic alliances made on Wednesday between the company, its subsidiaries, its holding  company Catcha Group Singapore and Microsoft. These amendments would affected the March 23,  2009 strategic alliance and the amended strategic alliance agreements dated July 1, 2010 and Aug  16, 2010 as set out in section 6.14(c) of the prospectus. (Financial Daily)

MRCB says on target to achieve RM1.3bn revenue this year
MRCB said it was track to achieve revenue of RM1.3bn for the year after its turnover for the  1HFY2012 rose to RM456.3m from RM363.6m a year earlier. For the 1HFY2012, MRCB’s net profit  rose to RM40.6m from RM22.1m. Its net profit for the 2Q2012 jumped 55.5% to RM19.0m from  RM12.2m a year earlier, Revenue for the quarter rose to RM234.8m from RM173.9m. EPS was  1.37sen, while net assets per share was 95.2sen. (Financial Daily)

MBM Resources 2Q net profit falls 45.6% to RM21.1m
MBM Resources’ net profit for the 2Q2012 fell 45.6% to RM21.1m from RM38.8m a year earlier, due  mainly to full impact of the parts supply disruption from the recent earthquake in Japan. Revenue for  the quarter dipped to RM382.0m from RM404.8m. EPS was 8.69sen while net assets per share was  RM4.36. The company declared a first interim dividend of 6sen per share exempted (single tier  dividend) for the FY2011 to be paid on Sept 15. For the 1HFY2012, MBMR’s net profit fell to RM59.5m  from RM78.7m in 2010, on the back of revenue RM791.8m. (Financial Daily)

Shakeout at MAHB  
After the boardroom changes at MAS, Khazanah Nasional is poised to make significant changes in  MAHB. Sources said several boardroom changes are expected to be announced in the next few days  involving MAHB. (Financial Daily)  

Bumi Armada JV co signs 7-year FPSO contract  
Bumi Armada’s JV co, Forbes Bumi Armada Offshore Ltd (FBAOL), signed a floating, production,  storage and offloading (FPSO) contract with Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd (ONGC) on Wednesday. The  contract is for an FPSO to be operated by FBAOL on the ONGC D1  field located 200km off the west  coast of Mumbai, India, the company said. (Malaysian Reserve)

Daiman succeeds in RM55m bid for Menara Landmark
Daiman has succeeded in its bid to buy the Menara Landmark in Johor for RM55m. Its unit Daiman  Properties Sdn Bhd had put in the bid to acquire the property in a public auction at a reserve price of  RM55m. The acquisition would be financed from its own funds. “The acquisition will enable Daiman  Development to further expand its investment in property sector particularly in the key growth Johor  Bahru CBD district and to continue with its property investment activities in the region,” it said.  (Financial Daily)

KKB subsidiary gets RM19.4m water pipes projects
KKB Engineering’s subsidiary Harum Bidang Sdn.  Bhd has secured a project  to supply water pipes  and pipe fittings. KKB said Harum Bidang had accepted a local purchase order from Kumpulan Bina  Emas Sdn Bhd for a rural water supply project.  The duration of the supply contract shall be  approximately nine months commencing from the fourth quarter of 2011 with a contract sum of  approximately RM19.4m. (Financial Daily)

Boustead unit signs MoU with Royalton
Boustead’s wholly-owned unit Boustead Sissons Paints Sdn Bhd, has signed a MoU with Royalton  Holdings Sdn Bhd to pursue opportunities in the paint manufacturing industry. Boustead said the MoU  would serve as an interim measure and commitment by both firms on possible business opportunities  in the paint manufacturing industry. (Bernama)

Bank Negara not involved in Bestino plan
Bank Negara Malaysia says it is not involved in any proposal made by Bestino Golden House Sdn Bhd  as reported in several newspapers yesterday. The reports had said that Bestino Golden House would  return monies to investors investing in its plans, through an administrator agreed to by the central  bank. (Business Times)

XOX in RM50m deal with IDOTTV
XOX Bhd, a mobile virtual network operator, has signed a two-year deal to supply at least RM50m  worth of telephone airtime per day to an Islamic banking trading system operated by IDOTTV Sdn  Bhd. he Islamic Banking Tawarruq Trading System  is known as AS-SIDQ and it enables personal  financing between individuals and Islamic banks. (Business Times)

Prasarana shortlists 28 for MRT works
Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd, the project owner of Malaysia's biggest rail  infrastructure project, My Rapid Transit (MRT), has shortlisted 28 individual  and joint-venture companies that can bid for various elevated civil works,  stations and depot packages under the multi-billion ringgit project.  Applicants were evaluated based on their financial capabilities, track record,  experiences, existing management staff and key personnel, the average  annual construction turnover in the last five years, their existing plant and  equipment as well as their existing quality, safety, health and environment  practices. These tenders would be called in stages beginning from next  month until December 2012. (Business Times)

Sweet Q2 for Guan Chong
Cocoa processor Guan Chong Bhd has almost doubled its second quarter net profit mainly due to higher sales and foreign exchange gains. It also expects to do well for the rest of the year as its new plant in Batam, Indonesia, starts production.Guan Chong posted a net profit of RM35.38m for the quarter to June 30 2011. Revenue was also 24% higher at RM334.64m. (Business Times)

Sunway REIT 4Q net income RM154m
Sunway Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) recorded net income of RM154.05m in the fourth quarter ended June 30, 2011, mainly arising from fair value gain on portfolio of assets. The RM154.05m, of which  RM41.07m were realised and the remaining RM112.98m unrealised. In the previous corresponding period, the realised net income was RM44.13m. (The Edge)

Utusan Melayu’s losses narrow in 2Q
Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd posted  lower losses of RM473,000 in the second quarter ended June 30 compared with losses of RM5.07m a year ago due to higher revenue from advertising. Its revenue was 10.7% higher at RM88.79m compared with RM80.19m while loss per share was 0.43 sen versus 4.58 sen. When compared with the first quarter, it said the revenue increased by RM3m from the RM85.80m. Consequently, the group recorded a lower loss before tax of RM3m as compared with a loss before tax of RM6.9m. (The Edge)

Kong Confirms Increase In Airport Tax
Airport tax, or the passenger service charge, is set to be increased with the operator of Malaysian airports, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), expected to make the announcement soon. The increase is actually part of an operating agreement signed between MAHB and the Transport Ministry in 2009. (Bernama)

20110812 1108 Global Market Related News.

Asian Stocks Gain as U.S. Jobless Claims Data Ease Economic Growth Concern (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks rose, paring the benchmark index’s third weekly decline, as lower U.S. jobless claims eased concerns the global economy is faltering. Canon Inc. (7751), the world’s biggest camera maker that gets more than 80 percent of its revenue overseas, jumped 5.3 percent in Tokyo. LG Electronics Inc. (066570), which gets more than a quarter of sales in North America, gained 2.2 percent in Seoul. James Hardie Industries SE (JHX), the biggest seller of home siding in the U.S., rose 2.4 percent in Sydney. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the world’s largest mining company, advanced 1.6 percent after crude and metal prices increased. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.5 percent to 122.72 as of 9:40 a.m. in Tokyo, paring its decline this week to 2.7 percent. Stocks also advanced as France, Spain, Italy and Belgium moved to impose bans on short-selling in order to stabilize markets.

Central Bankers Worldwide Race to Save Growth in 72 Hours of Policymaking (Source: Bloomberg)
Central bankers are racing to shield their economies from fiscal tightening and lopsided currency swings that threaten a new global recession. In the 72 hours after a Group of Seven conference call on Aug. 7, the Federal Reserve pledged to keep interest rates near zero through at least mid-2013, the European Central Bank intervened in bond markets and the Bank of England indicated it’s ready to add more stimulus if needed. Japan signaled renewed concern about the yen and Switzerland yesterday stepped up its fight to curb an “overvalued” franc. “Central bankers have so far been the tower of strength,” said Stefan Schneider, chief international economist at Deutsche Bank AG in Frankfurt. “Lawmakers have done everything to destroy belief in their ability to solve the problems they’re facing.”

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks stabilise after battering; euro rises
LONDON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - World stocks edged up on Thursday from this week's 11-month low as higher U.S. stock futures calmed frayed investor nerves after a steep sell-off triggered by concerns about the U.S. economic slowdown and the euro zone banking system.
"Investors are hugely worried about the spread of the debt contagion and the economic status of the U.S. Each sell-off is effectively a cry for help to politicians and central banks to reach a solution to the debt crisis," Jimmy Yates, head of equities at CMC Markets, said.

First-Time Jobless Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Decrease to Four-Month Low (Source: Bloomberg)
Claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly dropped last week to a four-month low, signaling the job market is being hampered by a lack of hiring rather than more firings. The number of applications for unemployment insurance payments fell 7,000 in the week ended Aug. 6 to 395,000, the fewest since early April, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Other reports showed the trade gap widened in June to the highest level since October 2008 and consumer confidence dropped last week. Stocks rebounded after benchmark indexes yesterday sank to the lowest level in 11 months as the decrease in worker dismissals relieved investor concern the recovery was stumbling. Companies like Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) are among those seeing little sign of recession even as their customers say they will keep a lid on payrolls.

Mortgage Rates for 30-Year U.S. Loans Decline to Nine-Month Low (Source: Bloomberg)
Mortgage rates for 30-year loans in the U.S. declined to a nine-month low as concern grew that the nation’s economy is slowing. The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan dropped to 4.32 percent in the week ended today from 4.39 percent, according to Freddie Mac. The average 15-year fixed-loan rate fell to 3.5 percent, the lowest on record, from 3.54 percent, the McLean, Virginia-based mortgage-finance company said in a statement. Borrowing costs are declining as the U.S. economic recovery shows signs of faltering. Federal Reserve policy makers pledged Aug. 9 to keep interest rates at record lows through mid-2013 to bolster an economy that was growing “considerably slower” than they previously projected. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, a guide for consumer loans including mortgage rates, hit an all-time low after the Fed’s announcement.

Trade Deficit of U.S. Unexpectedly Widens to $53.1 Billion on Export Slump (Source: Bloomberg)
The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly increased in June to the highest level since October 2008 as a slump in exports exceeded a decline in shipments from overseas. The gap widened 4.4 percent to $53.1 billion from $50.8 billion in the prior month, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The deficit exceeded all estimates in a Bloomberg News survey of economists in which the median was $48 billion. Exports declined the most since January 2009. U.S. shipments of capital equipment and industrial supplies fell in June, which may reflect the start of a cooling in the global economy. Some companies like Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) remain optimistic that demand for American-made goods will be sustained, helped in part by a weaker dollar.

U.S. Consumer Confidence Declines to Lowest Since May in Bloomberg Index (Source: Bloomberg)
Consumer confidence dropped last week to the lowest level since mid-May as American high earners, homeowners and those working full time turned more pessimistic. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was minus 49.1 in the period to Aug. 7, down from minus 47.6 the prior week and the second-lowest level in a year. The measure was less than five points away from the record low of minus 54 reached in November 2008, during the depths of the last recession. The biggest one-week plunge in stocks since 2008 followed by the downgrade of the country’s top credit rating may even be unnerving those who are fully employed and earning more than $100,000 a year. Rising concern among such households, which have the wherewithal to spend, poses a risk to a recovery that Federal Reserve policy makers said this week was already advancing “considerably slower” than projected.

U.S. Stocks Rally as Profits, Drop in Jobless Claims Offset Europe Woes (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks rallied, reversing yesterday’s drop for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as a decline in jobless claims and better-than-estimated corporate earnings tempered concern Europe’s debt crisis is worsening. All 10 groups in the S&P 500 advanced at least 2.5 percent, with gains being led by financial, energy and raw-material companies. Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) rallied more than 6.7 percent, after plunging at least 5.5 percent yesterday. Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), the world’s largest maker of networking equipment, soared 16 percent, the most since May 2002, as profit and sales beat analysts’ estimates. The S&P 500 surged 4.6 percent to 1,172.64 at 4 p.m. in New York. The gauge had plunged as much as 18 percent from its 2011 high and yesterday traded at 12.3 times reported earnings, the lowest valuation since March 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 423.37 points, or 4 percent, to 11,143.31 today.

US STOCKS-Futures higher, Cisco gains in premarket
NEW YORK, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Equity index futures rose on Thursday after a sharp drop for stocks in the previous session as Wall Street headed for another session of volatility.
The increases came a day after worries about the French banking sector and a possible France credit downgrade sent the S&P 500 tumbling 4 percent and the Dow dropping 4.6 percent after fluctuating in a range of more than 400 points for a fifth straight day.

Treasuries Rise, Head for Weekly Gain, Before Consumer Confidence Report (Source: Bloomberg)
Treasuries rose, heading for a third weekly gain, before a private report that economists said will show U.S. consumer confidence dropped to levels not seen since the last recession. “The U.S. economy is weaker than expected,” said Kazuaki Oh’e, a debt salesman in Tokyo at CIBC World Markets Japan Inc., a unit of Canada’s fifth-largest lender. “There are still problems in Europe’s debt markets. Money is going into the least risky securities, and that means Treasuries.” Ten-year yields declined two basis points to 2.32 percent as of 9:56 a.m. in Tokyo, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader prices. The 2.125 percent note maturing in August 2021 rose 5/32, or $1.56 per $1,000 face amount, to 98 1/4.

High-Frequency Firms Tripled Trading as S&P 500 Plunged 13%, Wedbush Says (Source: Bloomberg)
The stock market’s fastest electronic firms boosted trading threefold during the rout that erased $2.2 trillion from U.S. equity values, stepping up strategies that profit from volatility, according to one of their biggest brokers. The increase from Aug. 1 to Aug. 10 over their 2011 average surpassed the 80 percent rise in U.S. equity volume, showing that high-frequency traders made up more of the market during the plunge, Gary Wedbush, executive vice president and head of capital markets at Wedbush Securities, said in a telephone interview. Wedbush is the largest broker supplying bids and offers on the Nasdaq Stock Market, according to exchange data.
“We’re seeing a tremendous amount of high-frequency trading,” said Wedbush, whose company is one of the biggest execution and clearing brokers catering to high-speed firms. “Their business is a trading business, and volatility creates far more opportunities. Some of their algorithms and automated systems are trading two, three or five times as many shares as they would have in a more normalized volatility environment.”

Surging Yuan May Herald Stimulus for Global Recovery (Source: Bloomberg)
The yuan’s strongest gain in more than three years may herald a new stimulus for a flagging global recovery as Chinese importers get more firepower to buy up goods from slowing economies in the U.S. and Europe. The currency has increased 0.72 percent this week, more than any weekly increase since December 2007, breaking through 6.4 per dollar for the first time in 17 years. The central bank set the trading band 0.27 percent higher yesterday, the biggest increase since November.
Chinese officials are allowing the currency to appreciate as slowing growth and gyrations in global currencies and stock markets threaten to spark a new recession. Besides countering inflation and accelerating China’s shift to domestic-driven growth, a stronger yuan may also signal a willingness to help shore up slumping confidence in the global economy.

Japan June machinery orders jump, Q3 slowdown seen
TOKYO, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Japan's core machinery orders jumped more than expected in June, confirming a brisk pick-up from a slump caused by the March 11 earthquake, but manufacturers expect orders to slacken this quarter as the strong yen and cooling global economy bite.
The data, a leading indicator of capital expenditure, backs the Bank of Japan's forecast for the world's third-largest economy to resume a moderate recovery by autumn, even though a slowing U.S. economy and Europe's debt problems cloud the outlook.

Japanese Stocks Swing Between Gains, Losses as Investor Confidence Wanes (Source: Bloomberg)
Japanese stocks swung between gains and losses, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average headed for its third weekly loss, as concern Europe’s debt crisis is worsening overshadowed a report that fewer Americans filed jobless claims. Inpex Corp., Japan’s biggest energy explorer, rose 2.8 percent after crude oil prices gained. Canon Inc. (7751), the world’s biggest camera maker by market value, climbed 5.2 percent after announcing a share buyback. Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest carmaker, slipped 0.6 percent after early rising as much as 1.3 percent. “Investors are losing confidence,” Naoki Fujiwara, who helps oversee $6 billion at Shinkin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “The recovery is looking weak and investors are concerned about the earnings outlook.”

South Korean Won Rebounds After U.S. Jobless Data Ease Concern on Recovery (Source: Bloomberg)
South Korea’s won rose, paring a weekly loss, as jobless claims in the U.S. dropped unexpectedly to the lowest level since April, easing concern that the world’s biggest economy is headed for a recession. Unemployment-benefit claims fell by 7,000 in the week ended Aug. 6 to 395,000, the Labor Department said yesterday. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for an increase to 405,000. The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index of regional shares rose after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rallied 4.6 percent. “Stock-market movements in Europe and the U.S will have a positive effect on market sentiment,” said Han Sung Min, a foreign-exchange dealer at Busan Bank in Seoul. “Still, gains in the won may be limited as the market remains volatile.”

India’s Food Inflation Accelerates to Three-Month High (Source: Bloomberg)
India’s food inflation accelerated to a three-month high, maintaining pressure on the central bank to increase interest rates amid the risk of a global downturn. An index measuring wholesale prices of agricultural products including rice, wheat and lentils rose 9.9 percent in the week ended July 30 from a year earlier, the commerce ministry said in an e-mailed statement today. That’s the most since the week ended April 23. Reserve Bank of India Governor Duvvuri Subbarao, whose term this week was extended by two years, has to weigh the risks to economic growth as he tightens monetary policy to counter inflation. Stocks across Asia fell today on concern Europe will fail to contain its debt crisis, undermining the world economy.

EU Heads for Eurobond Clash Over Fiscal Union (Source: Bloomberg)
European ratification of a reinforced crisis-management fund will act as a prelude to an even more divisive debate: whether to put more money into the pool and use it to borrow on behalf of all 17 euro states. The question of “eurobonds” or “fiscal union” -- toxic language in northern countries like Germany -- will force itself onto the agenda once the retooled rescue fund is in place as soon as next month. The trigger will be a European Commission feasibility study of jointly sold eurobonds, seen by a growing number of economists as the only way of guaranteeing to the markets that countries such as Italy won’t go bust. Unprecedented bailouts by governments and the European Central Bank have so far failed to stamp out the crisis that is menacing the region’s core members.

Portugal Attempts to Seduce Asset Buyers at ‘Worst of Times’: Euro Credit (Source: Bloomberg)
Portugal may have to brave the most turbulent stock markets in three years as it seeks buyers for state-owned assets to meet the terms of its bailout package. Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho in the third quarter is seeking to sell holdings in power company EDP-Energias de Portugal SA and grid operator REN-Redes Energeticas Nacionais SA, which have a combined value of 2.17 billion euros. Under its 78 billion-euro ($112 billion) European Union-led rescue, Portugal agreed to speed asset sales through 2013. The EU and the International Monetary Fund are due to conclude their first review of Portugal’s program this week. Europe’s debt crisis and a faltering U.S. recovery and credit-rating cut are fueling market turmoil. Benchmark stock indexes saw their biggest slump since Dec. 2008 before the Federal Reserve said on Aug. 8 that it’s prepared to bolster the economy, sparking the biggest surge in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since March 2009.

Euro Extends Weekly Drop Before Industrial Production, Greece GDP Reports (Source: Bloomberg)
The euro extended a weekly drop against the dollar before a report forecast to show an expansion in industrial production in the region stalled in June. The 17-nation currency was set for its biggest weekly drop in month against the yen as traders bet the European Central Bank will cut its key interest rate and before Greece reports gross domestic product figures today. The Australian and New Zealand currencies weakened before data that may show confidence among U.S. consumers dropped to the lowest level in more than two years, damping demand for higher-yielding assets. “The market is now factoring in rate cuts from the ECB and the data will potentially start to be a factor as well, as you have seen some slowing,” said Greg Gibbs, a currency strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in Sydney. “You continue to look at some of the weak data points out there and it suggests euro is going to come lower.”

FOREX-Dollar spikes vs yen but no intervention seen
LONDON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - The yen fell against the dollar on Thursday, after coming within a whisker of its all-time high following a record high fix in the Chinese yuan, although traders said there was no sign of Japanese authorities intervening in the currency markets.
"Without intervention the yen will appreciate further. Gravity will pull dollar/yen down as long as U.S. Treasury yields are so low, and China is a huge trading partner of Japan so yuan strength helps the Japanese currency."

FOREX-Euro falters on French bank woes, more losses seen
NEW YORK, Aug 11 (Reuters) - The euro declined against most major currencies on Wednesday and its outlook remained bleak on persistent global economic uncertainty and worries about euro zone banks with large exposure to peripheral debt.
"The outlook for the euro is not too good with the Dow Jones Industrials closing the way it has," said Alex Sinton, senior Dealer at ANZ Institutional in Auckland, New Zealand.

20110812 1107 Global Commodities Related News.

Corn (Source: CME)
US corn futures close sharply higher as the USDA makes a deeper-than-expected cut to its output estimate. Supplies are projected to remain tight through the next crop year, which ends Aug. 31, 2012. Yet, it may still be difficult for the market to return to record highs reached in June as high prices are reducing demand for corn, says Sal Gilbertie of the Teucrium Corn Fund. The USDA lowered its estimates for corn exports and domestic use from July. CBOT September corn rises 24 1/2c to $7.02 1/2, 12% below the record high.

Wheat (Source: CME)
US wheat futures finish higher on spillover strength from surging corn prices. The markets should continue to feel support from expectations livestock producers will increasingly feed wheat to animals instead of high-priced corn, Rabobank says. Concerns about tightening supplies of high-quality wheat help lift prices, the bank adds. The USDA, in a monthly report, cut its harvest estimate for the protein-rich spring wheat crop. CBOT September wheat jumps 16 1/4c to $7.01 1/4 a bushel, while KCBT September gains 23c to $8.08 and MGEX September soars 25 1/4c to $8.62 1/2.

Rice (Source: CME)
US rice futures close lower as the USDA raises output expectations in its first survey-based forecast of the year. The agency pegs US production at 188.1M hundredweight, up 0.6% from its July estimate. Global supplies also are projected to increase, with the USDA pegging world inventories at 97.9M tons, up 1.7M from July. Falling rice prices run counter to sharp gains in other grain markets, which rallied on reduced output-and-supply forecasts. CBOT September rice slips 8c to $16.86 1/2 per hundredweight.

Corn, soy rise; wheat steady ahead of USDA report
SINGAPORE, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Chicago corn and soybean futures rose , while wheat was steady following a 2 percent rally in the last session as the market awaited a key U.S. government report, which is expected to be bullish on grains.
"My view is that we are going to see some corn yield damage which is going to tighten the crop balance even more. That will be supportive for the prices," said Abah Ofon, an analyst at Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore.

Monsanto say Argentine corn crop to surge, helping soy
BUENOS AIRES, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Argentina's corn output will grow strongly over the next five years, helping the grains exporting powerhouse rejuvenate soils depleted by a long boom in soy cultivation, an official at seed giant Monsanto said.
The South American country -- a top provider of soybeans, meal and oil -- needs to expand crop rotation as part of its drive to meet soaring world food demand, said Pablo Ogallar, Monsanto's strategy director for southern Latin America.

Crop outlook improves as India monsoon rains revive sharply
NEW DELHI, Aug 11 (Reuters) - India's monsoon rains were 14 percent above normal in the week to Aug 11, improving sharply from 22 percent below average the week before, the weather office said on Thursday, boosting the outlook for summer crops such cane, cotton and rice.
Rains were well distributed over the oilseed, soybean and rice growing areas of northwest and central India, the sources said, though they were below normal in the cane growing areas of west and north.

French analyst holds EU wheat crop near 130 mln T
PARIS,  Aug 11 (Reuters) - French analyst Strategie Grains on Thursday left little changed its forecast for soft wheat production in the European Union this year, confirming a partial recovery in yields since a spring drought in western countries.
It reduced slightly its wheat crop outlook to 129.9 million tonnes from 130.2 million last month, but as in its previous estimate this showed a 2 percent rise on 2010 output.

USDA to say if big US corn crop shrank in heat wave
WASHINGTON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Blisteringly hot weather shrank the production potential of the U.S. corn crop from record-setting levels to a size that may barely satisfy red-hot food, feed and fuel demand, analysts said ahead of a key government report.
With the harvest only a few weeks away, analysts expect a corn crop of 13.082 billion bushels, the second-largest on record. Every bushel of it is likely to be consumed by next fall, keeping market prices at near-record levels.

Argentine 2011/12 wheat output seen at 12.5 mln T
BUENOS AIRES, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Argentina's 2011/12 wheat harvest is expected to come in at 12.5 million tonnes, the Rosario Grains Exchange said in its first estimate of the crop for the season.
Argentina is global top wheat exporter and Brazil is its biggest market.
In its monthly estimate, the Rosario exchange slightly raised its wheat area to 4.5 million hectares from 4.47 million previously, due to "excellent crop conditions, which help us foresee a good output."  

Czech harvest accelerates, rain still a concern
PRAGUE, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Czech grain harvest has accelerated after delays caused by heavy rain in July, the Agrarian Chamber and the Farm Ministry said on Wednesday.
The Czech Republic was hit by heavy rains in mid July which held up work, and bad weather has continued through the beginning of August although rainfalls have moderated.

French farm body ups wheat crop, quality good
PARIS, Aug 10 (Reuters) - French farm office FranceAgriMer on Wednesday raised its estimate of this year's soft wheat crop as yields were better than feared after a spring drought, and also pointed to signs of reasonable quality for flour-making.
The office increased its outlook for the 2011 soft wheat crop to about 33.3 million tonnes, up from 32 million forecast in July, as it raised its average yield projection to 6.6 tonnes a hectare from 6.4 tonnes previously.

Ukraine grain exports fall 30 pct so far 11/12
KIEV, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Ukrainian grain exports were down  by 30 percent to 760,000 tonnes in the first 40 days of the 2011/12 season compared to the same period in 2010/11, Farm Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk said on Wednesday.
The exports represent a pick-up from the pace seen in July when shipments were down 81 percent year on year, but were still seen as disappointing by the minister.

Better weather for US corn, some relief for Plains
CHICAGO, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Showers and moderate temperatures will be welcomed by corn and soybean crops in the U.S. for nearly two weeks, and some relief from drought is occurring in the southern Plains, an agricultural meteorlogist said Wednesday.
"We're looking at non-threatening weather for the next week to 10 days, with rains on Friday and Saturday in the Midwest from 0.50 to 0.75 inch and isolated larger amounts," said John Dee, meteorlogist for Global Weather Monitoring.

India Food Ministry Proposes 2 Mln Tons Grain Exports On Diplomatic Basis (Source: CME)
India's food ministry is looking to export up to one million tons of rice and wheat each on a government-to-government basis in an attempt to free up space in overflowing granaries, three government officials said. "We have written to the ministry of external affairs to ascertain the demand for wheat and rice from friendly countries," a food ministry official, who didn't want to be identified, told Dow Jones Newswires. He said grains will be exported from government stocks as and when the Indian government receives a request from any country. The shipments won't be made below the government's cost of procurement and the importer would also have to bear shipment and other transport charges. Each proposal for grain exports on a diplomatic basis will need the approval of a ministerial panel, said another food ministry official, who also asked not to be named.
India has banned the export of wheat and rice for the past three years, but it has allowed small quantities of grain exports for diplomatic considerations. Last month, the government also allowed the export of one million tons of common-grade rice to private traders for the first time since the ban was imposed. India harvested a record wheat output of 85.93 million tons in the crop year ended July as against 80.8 million tons last year. The country's rice production also jumped to 95.32 million tons from 89.09 million tons. The pressure on government stocks is expected to increase in the next two months when the country starts harvesting its summer-sown rice crop, which is expected to top last season's output.

USDA Cuts Forecasts For Corn, Wheat And Soy Production (Source: CME)
Federal forecasts show U.S. farmers will harvest dramatically less grain and soybeans than expected this year, failing to ease high prices and rebuild low global supplies. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in its monthly crop report slashed its outlook for the autumn harvests after damaging heat and dryness took its toll on corn and soybean fields in July, while excessive rains hampered spring wheat plantings. Crop futures surged on the report as U.S. farmers are poised for another boom year. Yet consumers aren't likely to see relief in food prices as the harvest now isn't expected to ease tight supplies and historically high prices. The agency now forecast farmers will produce 12.914 billion bushels of corn this year, down 4.1% from its estimate last month. Although just below record levels, the harvest comes as booming global demand for corn has left supplies historically low.
The USDA cut its forecasts for the soybean harvest by 5.2% to 3.056 billion bushels and reduced its outlook for U.S. wheat production by 1.4% to 2.077 billion bushels. "The long-awaited crop report came out and it was dramatic," wrote analysts at INTL FCStone in a note to clients. This month's crop report for corn and soybean production is closely watched because it is the first for the upcoming crop based on field surveys rather than just statistical trends. The surveys revealed damage from hot, dry weather in July. For the corn crop, the USDA estimated the average U.S. yield for corn at 153 bushels per acre, down 5.7 bushels per acre from last month's projection. The department also lowered its inventory forecast for corn harvested this year to a 16-year low of 714 million bushels, down from last month's prediction of 870 million bushels.
The USDA did say it expects the tight supplies to trim domestic demand and exports, lowering its forecasts for total use by 2.5% to 13.16 billion bushels for the upcoming crop year, which runs from September 2011 to August 2012. Still, the usage number out paces the agency's production estimate. The reduced outlook for corn output leaves supplies as a percentage of usage next year at just 5.4%, close to a record low. Morgan Stanley said even that outlook could be optimistic, as it presumes 150-million bushel reductions in both feed and export demand. "Prices will need to move higher to achieve the USDA's envisioned demand rationing," Morgan Stanley said. The department was criticized heavily last year for overestimating the corn crop in August and then slashing its outlook repeatedly in the fall. The cuts made in the forecast look "proactive" in adjusting its expectations for the crop, said Bill Gentry, analyst for Risk Management Commodities, a brokerage in Indiana.

Rising Cost of Commodities This Year Could Hit Store Shelves 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., Corn Flakes maker Kellogg Co. and General Mills, producer of Yoplait yogurt and Cheerios, already have 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," he said.
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.

Asean Plus Three To Finalize Rice Reserve Program By October (Source: CME)
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations expects to finalize a plan to set up emergency rice reserves in coordination with China, Japan and South Korea by October, an official working on the plan said. Transnational grain stockpiles have previously been proposed, but failed to take off due to lack of coordination and conflicting regulatory regimes. Asean first established a rice reserve in 1979, but it was too small to be effective at meeting emergency needs or stabilizing regional prices. Asean Plus Three agriculture ministers will meet in Cambodia in October, where plans for the reserves will finalized, the official said. The official didn't specify the size of the combined stockpiles, collectively called the Asean Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve, or APTERR, but earlier reports have put it at 700,000-900,000 tons.
Speaking at a food security conference here Wednesday, the director general of the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute, Fan Shenggen, said there is a strong need to create such strategic regional grain reserves to control food prices. Regional emergency reserves should be created with contributions from large exporters and located within these countries as well as in importing countries such as Bangladesh, Fan said. Corn prices have doubled and wheat prices are up 70% from an year ago, while rice prices have also risen by $50 to $100 a ton in a month in major exporting countries, Thailand and Vietnam. Consumers in developing economies are hit relatively harder when the prices of staple grains rise sharply, as share of food expenses in their total expenditure is quite high, underscoring the significance of setting up emergency reserves. In developed economies, percentage of income spent on food is comparatively lower.
Santitarn Sathirathai, an analyst with Credit Suisse, said APTERR won't be as effective as it would be with the inclusion of all major rice exporters, given that the U.S., India and Pakistan aren't part of Asean Plus Three. Santitarn said any such strategic reserve should have stringent criteria to determine under what conditions rice can be borrowed--during weather shocks, for instance--and to stipulate how borrowing countries must compensate suppliers for maintenance and storage charges. Traders have expressed skepticism about such initatives, pointing out that in the past, similar efforts for rubber and coffee, though aimed at preventing a declines rather than rise in prices, weren't successful. Recognizing the many obstacles to arrive at a consensus among all ASEAN Plus Three countries, implementation plan of the pilot project is not too ambitious, APTERR said in its website.

Corn, Soybean Futures May Open Higher on U.S. Inventory Cuts, Schultz Says (Source: Bloomberg)
Corn futures may open 20 cents to 25 cents a bushel higher in Chicago after the government said U.S. production will be smaller than expected, reducing reserve inventories, said Mark Schultz, the chief analyst at Northstar Commodity Investment Co. in Minneapolis. Soybean futures may open 25 cents to 30 cents a bushel higher on the Chicago Board of Trade after the government said U.S. farmers will harvest a smaller crop this year, reducing domestic and world inventories, Schultz said in a telephone interview. Wheat futures may open 8 cents to 10 cents a bushel higher as demand for the grain in livestock feed climbs amid shrinking corn production, he said.

Commodities Record Biggest Two-Day Rally Since May on U.S. Jobless Claims (Source: Bloomberg)
Commodities rose, capping the biggest two-day gain in three months, after an unexpected drop in U.S. jobless claims spurred optimism for the U.S. economy, bolstering prospects for crop and industrial-metal demand. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 raw materials rose 2.1 percent to settle at 643.41 at 3:45 p.m. in New York. Metals including lead and zinc led the rally. Corn, wheat and soybeans jumped after the U.S. government forecast smaller crops. Gold tumbled the most in seven weeks. “Things may not be as bad as some people were predicting,” Tom Mangan, who helps oversee $2.8 billion at James Investment Research Inc. in Xenia, Ohio, said in a telephone interview. “The chances of a recession might seem somewhat less today as reflected by stock prices, and, of course, if the economy is going to grow, then demand for commodities will grow.”

Grains Surge as U.S. Cuts Crop Forecasts After Damaging Midwest Heat Wave (Source: Bloomberg)
Corn, soybean and wheat prices surged, signaling higher costs for food and biofuels, after the government said U.S. farmers will harvest smaller crops than forecast last month following a damaging heat wave. The U.S. Department of Agriculture cut its corn-crop estimate by 4.1 percent, reduced the soybean forecast by 5.2 percent, and said spring-wheat production will be 5.2 percent below what it predicted in July. The harvests for all three crops would be less than expected by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The U.S. is the biggest exporter of the crops. Parts of the Midwest, the main growing region, were the hottest since 1955 last month. Smaller supplies of corn may increase costs for ethanol refiners such as Poet LLC, Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) and meat producers Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) and Smithfield Foods Inc. (SFD), which buy the grain for feed. The price of corn, the biggest U.S. crop, has jumped 74 percent in the past year.

Sugar, coffee steady as financial markets firm
LONDON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - ICE sugar and coffee futures consolidated in early trade on Thursday, bolstered by a softer dollar as firmer financial markets calmed investor nerves and risk appetite returned, while cocoa dipped as the market struggled to absorb supplies
Cocoa futures on ICE  edged lower in early trading as the market continued to struggle to absorb a large global surplus in 2010/11.
China July cotton imports up 30.9 pct from June -assn
BEIJING, Aug 11 (Reuters) - China imported 157,100 tonnes of cotton in July, up 30.89 percent from the previous month, the China Cotton Association said on Thursday, citing customs data.
The figure was 7 percent lower than the same period of 2010, the association said.

Honduras readies for record coffee harvest, exports
TEGUCIGALPA, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Honduras will cement its place as Central America's biggest coffee producer next year, surpassing neighboring Guatemala for the region's top spot with record exports, as farmers encouraged by high prices plant more.
The national coffee institutive IHCAFE raised its forecast for exports during the 2011/12 harvesting season -- which begins in November -- by 12 percent to 4.6 million 60-kg bags, the institute's president Asterio Reyes told Reuters on Wednesday.

Colombian coffee farmers fret over main harvest
BOGOTA, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Colombia's coffee growers doubt the main harvest later this year will be enough to meet the upper limit of the country's 2011 output target of 9 to 9.5 million bags after heavy rains battered the country.
Bad weather and a tree renovation program have slashed coffee output in 2009 and 2010, and this year looks to come under historical averages for production in Colombia, the No. 1 producer of high-quality Arabica beans.

World cocoa surplus 325,000 tonnes this season-ICCO
ABIDJAN, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Better-than-expected cocoa production in West Africa will boost global output to 4.2 million tonnes in the 2010/11 season, creating a surplus of 325,000 tonnes, the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) said on Wednesday.
That figure was up from an estimate last month of 187,000 tonnes.

New cold front called harmless to Brazil coffee
BRASILIA, Aug 10 (Reuters) - A cold front brushing past Brazil's southeastern coffee belt could bring some rain but no frost, forecaster Somar predicted Wednesday, and no further cold spells are expected until late August.
The minimum temperature in the coolest coffee area the forecaster monitors in top coffee state Minas Gerais would be around 8 Celsius early Thursday and Friday but warm up again over the weekend -- ruling out any chance of frost.

Cotton trade says focus on demand before USDA data
NEW YORK, Aug 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department's monthly supply report should show another cut for the drought-stricken U.S. cotton crop, but traders said Wednesday the focus would be fixed firmly on demand in the 2011/12 season.
In a poll by Thomson Reuters, market participants expected domestic cotton production in 2011/12 (August/July) would be reduced to an average of 15.29 million (480-lb) bales, down 15.5 percent from last season's 18.10 million bales.  Traders and analysts said American cotton was hit badly by the worst drought in a century in Texas, the country's top cotton growing state.

Brent above $107 as dollar weakens; econ worry caps gains
SINGAPORE, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Brent crude rose past $107 a barrel on Thursday as the dollar weakened, reversing losses earlier in the day over demand worries as the European debt crisis spilled over to France amid a weaker economic outlook for the United States.   "A lot will depend on how Europe reacts to the debt crisis. The slide in crude stocks and the probability of tropical storms in the U.S. are two fundamental factors supporting the market."

Taiwan Jan crude imports down 15 pct vs. Dec
SINGAPORE, April 7 (Reuters) - Taiwan's January crude imports slipped 15.4 percent to 21.7 million barrels from December 2010 as the country imported less Middle Eastern and African grades, government data showed on Thursday.
Taiwan imported only 965,000 barrels of Iranian crude for January, a sharp fall from December's 2.95 million barrels and below the 2010 monthly average of 1.79 million barrels.

Oil Heads for Third Weekly Drop on Concern Volatility Threatens Recovery (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil fell in New York, heading for a third weekly decline, as concerns that market volatility will derail the economic recovery countered an unexpected drop in jobless claims in the world’s biggest crude-consuming nation. Futures slipped as much as 0.7 percent today, the first decrease in three days. Prices rose yesterday after the number of applications for U.S. unemployment payments slid to a four- month low. Other reports showed consumer confidence fell last week and the trade gap widened in June to the highest since October 2008.
Crude has dropped as low as $75.71 a barrel and climbed as high as $85.97 this week. “The biggest downside risk is that all this volatility cripples confidence,” said Ben Westmore, a minerals and energy economist at National Australia Bank Ltd. in Melbourne, who predicts oil in New York will average $98 a barrel in the third quarter. “There are continued concerns around Europe and sovereign debt and when you overlay that on weaker than expected macro data it can cause people to fear for the worst.”

LME trades hit daily record above 100,000 on Monday
LONDON, Aug 10 (Reuters) - The London Metal Exchange (LME) notched up a record daily number of trades on Monday of more than 100,000, an LME spokeswoman said, when markets reacted after ratings agency Standard and Poor's downgraded the U.S. credit rating.
The spokeswoman said it was the first time in the exchange's history that the number of trades in one day had exceeded five figures.

Stop crackdown on small tin miners -Indonesia industry
JAKARTA, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Indonesian police carrying out an environmental crackdown in the main tin producing region of Bangka island, should stop targeting small-scale miners as it is hindering domestic smelters' supplies, the Indonesian Tin Industry Association said.
Small-scale traditional tin miners in Indonesia, the world's top tin exporter, have slowed mining activity because they fear  being raided by the police, who have been intensifying a crackdown on illegal miners for the past few months.

LME aluminium stocks jump in Vlissingen
LONDON, Aug 10 (Reuters) - The Dutch port of Vlissingen registered the biggest single-day influx of aluminium into London Metal Exchange warehouses ever, data showed on Wednesday, and traders suggested Glencore  was delivering metal partly to free up capital as a storage rent deal ends.
Banks and trading houses have used the metal and its storage as a financial tool to boost profits since the global financial crisis sent interest rates to historic lows, muddying inventory trends that no longer reflect just consumer demand.

Japan July aluminium stocks down 11 pct m/m
TOKYO, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Aluminium stocks held at three major Japanese ports fell 11 percent in July from a month earlier due to slowing imports, trading house Marubeni Corp  said on Thursday.
Marubeni, which collects data from the key ports of Yokohama, Nagoya and Osaka, said aluminium stocks at the ports came to 203,500 at the end of July, down 25,100 tonnes from 228,600 tonnes at the end of June.

China metal imports shine but oil falters
SHANGHAI, Aug 10 (Reuters) - China bought substantially more copper and iron ore in July than June, offering a rosy view of the world's second-largest economy, although surprisingly weak crude imports jarred.
Investors are hoping the economic strength of the world's top commodity buyer will help lift prices pummelled by fears the United States may be recession-bound and by a raging debt crisis in Europe.

China cuts building target for public homes-sources
BEIJING, Aug 10 (Reuters) - China has cut its target for the construction of public homes by 20 percent to 8 million units for next year, two sources said on Wednesday, tempering expectations for builders to support economic growth in coming months.
The roll-back in public housing plans may disappoint investors counting on massive spending in the ambitious building project to power China's economy in the coming months, when softening U.S. and European demand are expected to drag on Chinese exports.

Japan July aluminium stocks down 11 pct m/m
TOKYO, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Aluminium stocks held at three major Japanese ports fell 11 percent in July from a month earlier due to slowing imports, trading house Marubeni Corp  said on Thursday.
Marubeni, which collects data from the key ports of Yokohama, Nagoya and Osaka, said aluminium stocks at the ports came to 203,500 at the end of July, down 25,100 tonnes from 228,600 tonnes at the end of June.

India 2010/11 iron ore exports down 17 pct after revision-trade body
NEW DELHI, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Iron ore exports from India fell 17 percent in the year to March 2011 to 97.6 million tonnes, up from an earlier estimate of 95 million tonnes, on rising costs and slow efforts in southern Karnataka state to resume shipments, a trade body said in a statement on Wednesday.
India, the world's third-largest exporter of the steel-making raw material, exported 117.4 million tonnes in 2009/10, the Federation of Indian Minerals and Industry (FIMI) said.

Brazil steel mills' outlook weak, but iron strong
SAO PAULO, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Brazilian steel mills are going through a peculiar and worrying moment: Mining iron ore is making more for them than producing slabs and rods.
And the situation may persist for quite a while longer, causing more stress for investors, who have dumped shares in the sector this year.

Spending delays wilt Japan's reconstruction steel demand hopes
TOKYO, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Steel demand in Japan will fall short of expectations as political wrangling holds up cash injections after a devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami, while the construction sector is battling a deep slump, hobbled by a strengthening yen.
Japan's construction steel sector has shrunk nearly in half over the past two decades, and the absence of large additional demand amid weak prices will further dent prospects, speeding a revamp of giants such as Nippon Steel Corp  and JFE .

China July copper imports up 9.5 pct, August may fall
HONG KONG, Aug 10 (Reuters) - China's copper imports rose 9.5 percent to a six-month high in July as material purchased during a period of lower prices in May and June arrived at ports, but may decline in August.
Imports were still down 22 percent in the first seven months, suggesting that monetary tightening has slowed demand in the world's top copper consumer, adding to concerns that shaky western economies will knock consumption.

Lower copper demand growth likely in 2011 -CRU
LONDON, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Lower copper demand growth this year is likely to be the result of consumers sitting on the sidelines waiting to see price stability, Jon Barnes, a principal consultant at UK-based CRU Group told Reuters on Wednesday.
An escalating debt crisis in the United States, the world's largest economy, and the euro zone, is expected to jeopardise global economic growth and demand for industrial metals such as copper used widely in power and construction.

Debt crisis won't hurt copper refiner Aurubis -CEO
HAMBURG, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Europe's largest copper refiner Aurubis  expects no short-term impact on its business from the ongoing sovereign debt crisis, its chief executive said, arguing China's growing appetite will continue unabated.
Global copper demand should remain robust in 2012 as a result, Bernd Drouven told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday, with rising consumption in China compensating for any slowdown in other regions.

Copper in London Advances For a Second Day After U.S. Jobless Claims Drop (Source: Bloomberg)
Copper in London gained as much as 0.9 percent to $8,963 a metric ton, climbing for the second day, after claims for unemployment-insurance payments unexpectedly fell in the U.S., easing concern that a recovery in the world’s second-largest user of the metal is faltering.

METALS-LME copper up on stronger yuan, China trade data
SHANGHAI, Aug 11 (Reuters) - LME copper rose on Wednesday after another equities selloff overnight, as investors picked up commodities, spurred by a stronger yuan and China's strong July trade figures.  
"This move suggests that China feels confident about its economy and about world growth to allow its currency to appreciate and therefore relying less on the export sector and allowing its economy to keep on growing," said Citigroup analyst David Thurtell.

PRECIOUS-Gold eases from record high after CME margin hike
SYDNEY/SINGAPORE, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Gold eased from the session's record highs after the CME Group raised margins on COMEX gold futures, but turmoil in the global financial markets and fears of slower growth buoyed sentiment.
"Historically when margins are raised significantly it tends to cause a bit of sell-off," said Darren Heathcote, head of trading at Investec Australia.

Gold Falls Most in 7 Weeks on Stocks, Margins (Source: Bloomberg)
Gold futures fell the most in seven weeks in New York as equities rebounded and CME Group Inc. (CME) boosted margins to trade Comex contracts, prompting investor sales after a rally to a record topping $1,800 an ounce. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose as much as 4.5 percent after a drop in U.S. jobless claims. CME Group, owner of the world’s largest futures market, raised margins on gold by 22 percent. The minimum amount of cash that speculators must keep on deposit for an initial account increased to $7,425 on a 100- ounce contract from $6,075. “The strength in equities, coupled with the increase in margins, is pushing gold down,” Matthew Zeman, a strategist at Kingsview Financial in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Investors are waiting for a deeper correction before they start buying again.”

20110812 1106 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

Soybeans (Source: CME)
US soybean futures reverse prior declines as today's gains were spurred on by government crop forecasts projecting demand would outpace new production. The USDA's lower-than-expected output and yield forecasts were constructive for soy prices as it revealed the need for demand rationing and incentives for South American farmers to produce another record crop in 2012, says Anne Frick at Jeffries Bache. However, advances were limited by concerns that yields still has room to improve in the face of favorable crop weather and lingering uncertainty about global economies. CBOT November soy ends up 2.3% at $13.31 3/4 a bushel.

Soybean Meal/Oil (Source: CME)
Soy-product futures end sharply higher, with both soymeal and soyoil benefiting from lower projected soybean processing for the 2011-12 marketing year. The smaller soy crush will lead to a drawdown in soy-product inventories, a constructive sign for prices. CBOT December soyoil ends up 1.8% at 54.58c/pound while soymeal climbs 2.3% at $353.70/short ton.

Firm agri-commods lift palm, debt crisis eyed
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures extended gains for a second day  after food commodities gained although weak crude oil and a grim global economic outlook still weighed.
"Sovereign debt issues in U.S. and Europe are not going to be resolved overnight, it will indirectly affect palm oil market," said a trader with foreign brokerage in Kuala Lumpur.

Wilmar International Reports Second-Quarter Net Income of $393.1 Million (Source: Bloomberg)
Wilmar International Ltd. (WIL), the world’s biggest palm oil processor, reported a 14 percent increase in second-quarter profit as prices rose. Net income climbed to $393.1 million, or 6.1 cents a share, from $344.5 million, 5.4 cents, a year earlier, the Singapore- based company said today in a statement. Sales climbed 56 percent to $10.6 billion. “The improved performance was achieved primarily through higher realized crude palm oil prices and production yield by plantations and palm oil mills,” Wilmar said in the statement. Merchandising and processing, Wilmar’s biggest earner, reported a 61 percent advance in pretax profit, while the contribution from plantations and palm oil mills rose 31 percent as margins expanded.
The sugar milling unit had a pretax loss of 7.1 million. Wilmar fell 1.2 percent to S$5.11 a share yesterday in Singapore trading, taking its decline for the year to 9.2 percent. That compares with the 12 percent drop on the benchmark Straits Times Index.

Malaysia IJMP sees lower palm oil output H2 2011
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian palm oil output will not be as high as expected this year as the effects of the El Nino weather condition in 2010 may weaken yields, a top official from Malaysia's IJM Plantations  said on Wednesday.
Chief Executive Joseph Tek said the impact of the El Nino-driven drier weather can be noticed now with the development of more male flowers at the expense of oil-yielding female flowers, a scenario which can extend until next year.