Monday, August 22, 2011

20110822 1808 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3022, changed : +19 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : correction range bound downside biased.
MACD Histrogram : resume rising, seller closing position.
Support : 3020, 2970, 2930, 2900 level.
Resistance : 3050, 3070, 3100, 3150 level.
Comment :
FCPO closed little higher with quiet volume activities while last Friday soy oil closed little higher and currently trading firmer while crude oil currently rebounding higher.
Higher export data lead FCPO price to trade higher but gains are limited as the export improvement pace slowing down while soy oil traded higher after lower 2011 soybean crop estimates.
Daily chart formed a down doji bar candle positioned nearer to middle Bollinger band level after market opened higher, traded side way within 23 points range bound market towards the end to closed off the low of the day.
Chart reading suggesting a correction range bound downside biased market development testing support and resistance level with MACD indicator crossing up.
When to buy : buy at support or weakness with quick cut loss and profit target.
When to sell : sell at resistant or strength with quick cut loss and profit target.

20110822 1737 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1477, changed : +2.5 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : correction range bound downside biased.
MACD Histrogram : turned upward, seller closing position.
Support : 1470, 1458, 1445, 1425 level.
Resistance : 1485, 1500, 1515, 1530 level.
Comment :
FKLI ended slightly higher with about the same volume exchanged doing 4.5 points premium compare to cash market that closed 11 points lower. Last Friday U.S. market closed lower and Asia markets ended mixed while European markets currently rebounding higher.
Speculation on Federal Reserve may this week signal addition measures to stimulate the U.S. economy and news on Libyan rebels swept into Tripoli and captured two of Muammar Qaddafi’s sons as the battle to end his 42 years of autocratic rule arrived at the doorstep of his presidential compound lead European markets, FKLI and U.S. Dow Futures market to trade higher.
Daily chart formed an up doji bar candle positioned between middle and lower Bollinger band level after market opened little higher, soften lower, swing upwards higher and falls lower recorded loss before recovered upward again to closed near opening price.
Chart reading 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 resistance or strength with quick cut loss and profit target.

20110822 1735 Regional Markets EOD Daily Chart Study.

DJIA chart reading : downside biased.

Hang Seng chart reading : correction range bound downside biased.
KLCI chart reading : correction range bound downside biased.

20110822 1525 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Asian stocks rise, gold near high
SINGAPORE, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Asian stocks turned positive , recovering a small portion of last week's steep losses, while gold shot to new  highs as investors worried about the sluggish U.S. economic outlook and Europe's debt crisis.  
Spot gold prices  hit a record high of $1,878.39 per ounce as the shaky global outlook prompted investors to move more money into the safe haven, while oil prices tumbled on hopes Libya may resume full output soon as a six-month civil war seemed to be nearing an end.

Wheat at 2-month top on supply worries; corn, soy firm
SINGAPORE, Aug 22 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat rose 1 percent  to its highest in more than 2 months as delays in spring wheat harvest and dry weather ahead of winter crop planting buoyed the market.  
"There are worries over wheat production in the U.S. and talk about lower corn yields which is supporting prices," said Ker Chung Yang, analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Argentina to approve planting Bayer's modified soy
BUENOS AIRES, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Argentina next week will approve the use of genetically-modified soy seeds made by German company Bayer  as part of its push to increase farm production, a top Argentine official said on Saturday.
Bayer has welcomed the expected approval but the company has not said if or when it plans to commercialize its "Liberty Link" seed and herbicide in Argentina.

Argentina says rains help key 2011/12 wheat area
BUENOS AIRES, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Rains over the last week in the southern part of Argentina's key wheat-growing province, Buenos Aires, alleviated dryness that had threatened to affect the 2011/2012 crop, the government said on Friday.
In its weekly crop report, Argentina's Ministry of Agriculture said most of the country's wheat fields were in good condition. The South American nation is a major world supplier of soy, corn and wheat.

Crop tour to scour US corn, soy for weather damage
CHICAGO, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Nearly 100 crop scouts will trek across thousands of miles of Midwest farmland next week in search of a single truth: has this year's harsh weather done even worse damage to the U.S. corn crop than was evident a month ago?
The annual Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour of U.S. corn and soybean fields is most likely to find one of the most varied crops ever, after rain-delayed spring planting and excessive, crop-stressing heat this summer left an uneven mark.

Argentine 2011/12 corn crop could reach record 30 mln T
BUENOS AIRES, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Argentina's 2011/12 corn harvest could hit a record 30 million tonnes if weather conditions improve after harsh dryness hit yields last season, industry analysts say.
Higher global prices and strong demand are expected to motivate farmers to plant more this year after dry conditions linked to the La Nina weather phenomenon hurt yields in the 2010/11 season. If the weather remains normal, the 2011/12 corn harvest could reach record highs.

Crop tour to scour US corn, soy for weather damage
CHICAGO, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Nearly 100 crop scouts will trek across thousands of miles of Midwest farmland next week in search of a single truth: has this year's harsh weather done even worse damage to the U.S. corn crop than was evident a month ago?
The annual Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour of U.S. corn and soybean fields is most likely to find one of the most varied crops ever, after rain-delayed spring planting and excessive, crop-stressing heat this summer left an uneven mark.

Japan lifts beef ban for Miyagi but Fukushima on hold
TOKYO, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Japan on Friday partially lifted its ban on cattle shipments from Miyagi prefecture but kept its ban on beef from Fukushima after excessive levels of radioactive caesium were found, underscoring worries about food safety following the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.
Concerns have grown over the safety of food supplies after a March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, spreading radiation over a large swathe of northern and eastern Japan. Excessive levels of radiation have been found in vegetables, tea, milk, seafood and water.

Romania 2011 wheat crop rises 26 pct y/y to 7.2 mln T
BUCHAREST, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Romania reaped a wheat crop of about 7.2 million tonnes this year, 26 percent higher than in the previous season, the agriculture ministry said on Friday.
The wheat crop in Romania, one of the largest cereal producers in the Black Sea region, was 5.7 million tonnes in 2010.

Brent drops below $107 on firm dollar, Libya
SEOUL, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Brent crude oil futures lost more than $1 in early Asian trade , weighed down by a firmer U.S. dollar, while prices also came under pressure as a six-month conflict in oil-producing Libya appeared to enter the decisive phase.
Rebels in Libya entered the capital Tripoli on Sunday with little sign of resistance from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi. Rebels hope to resume oil output to ease fuel shortages and potentially restore some supply to global markets.

Iran says India to settle oil debt in a week-report
TEHRAN, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Indian refiners will settle all oil debts to Iran by the end of this month, a business daily reported on Sunday, quoting a senior oil official as saying the sanctions-related problem that held up billions of dollars of oil income was over.
The head of international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Co.(NIOC), Mohsen Qamsari, was quoted by Donya-ye Eqtesad daily as saying: "Upon an agreement between the NIOC and four Indian refiners, all their debts in arrears will be paid out by the end of August."

China July LNG imports at new high, diesel falls-CCS
SHANGHAI, Aug 22 (Reuters) - China's imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) struck a new record of 1.18 million tonnes in July, up 13.5 percent from a month ago, data from the China Customs Information Centre (HK) showed.
Imports of the super-cooled gas reached 6.36 million tonnes in the first seven months of 2011, up 32.5 percent from a year earlier, according to the report.

Australia's OneSteel says to expand iron ore sales
SYDNEY, Aug 22 (Reuters) - OneSteel , Australia's  second-largest steelmaker, plans to expand iron ore sales to 9-10 million tonnes a year, the company said in a statement Monday.
The company said it would expand its export port facilities at Whyalla in South Australia and had agreed to buy iron ore assets from WPG Resources  for A$346 million ($361.4 million).

Japan Q4 aluminium premiums seen flat to slightly lower
TOKYO, Aug 19 (Reuters) - October-December aluminium term premiums to Japan will likely stay flat or fall slightly, with buyers seeing no reason for a rise and producers expected to point to high U.S. and European premiums.
The premiums for the current quarter were largely settled at $120 a tonne, marking the first rise in six quarters and putting them at their highest in a year.

Copper up on technicals, Bernanke's speech eyed
SHANGHAI, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Copper inched up but stayed range-bound on Monday as investors focused on potential supply disruptions in Chile and a general positive demand outlook, though worries about a global economic slowdown continued to weigh on sentiment.
"Investors are making safe range-bound plays today with a wait-and-see attitude ahead of Bernanke's speech on Friday," CIFCO Futures analyst Zhou Jie said.

Indonesia Inco sees lower nickel output in 2011
JAKARTA, Aug 20 (Reuters) - International Nickel Indonesia (Inco)  sees this year's output at 71,000 tonnes, lower than its average annual output at 73,000 tonnes, an official of the firm said late on Friday.
The fall is within expectations as the company will rebuild its facility in October to increase capacity and fix production disturbance after a February earth quake in Sorowako on Sulawesi province and lighting storms, Bernadus Irmanto, Inco corporate secretary, told reporters.

Standard Chartered ramps up iron ore swaps trading
LONDON, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Standard Chartered  is boosting its iron ore derivatives trading volumes as it tries to increase its stake in a market that is attracting growing interest from industrial and financial players.  
Starting from next year, the bank may also get involved in the physical side of the iron ore business through financing, said its global head of metals trading, Jeremy East.

Australia's OneSteel says to expand iron ore sales
SYDNEY, Aug 22 (Reuters) - OneSteel , Australia's  second-largest steelmaker, plans to expand iron ore sales to 9-10 million tonnes a year, the company said in a statement Monday.
The company said it would expand its export port facilities at Whyalla in South Australia and had agreed to buy iron ore assets from WPG Resources  for A$346 million ($361.4 million).

India gold imports likely to fall on limited spends-Scotia
KOVALAM, India Aug 20 (Reuters) - Gold buyers in India, the world's largest consumer of the yellow metal, are investing in it on expectations prices may rise, but imports are likely to fall as limited budgets buy less gold, the head of India's biggest importing bank told Reuters on Saturday.
"They are buying, we talk to jewellers, and they are saying demand is very high. People are planning their wedding purchases in advance because they feel that prices may go to 30,000 (rupees)they are using that to buy," said Sunil Kashyap, head of Asia, Scotia Mocatta.

20110822 1122 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks fall, gold reaches fresh high
SINGAPORE, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Asian stocks fell slightly on Monday, expanding last week's steep losses and gold hit another new high as investors continue to worry about the economic outlook in the United States and  European debt woes.
"The market may rather see 'mild' selling than 'sharp' selling," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.

Brent drops below $107 on firm dollar, Libya
SEOUL, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Brent crude oil futures lost more than $1 in early Asian trade on Monday, weighed down by a firmer U.S. dollar, while prices also came under pressure as a six-month conflict in oil-producing Libya appeared to enter the decisive phase.
Rebels in Libya entered the capital Tripoli on Sunday with little sign of resistance from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi. Rebels hope to resume oil output to ease fuel shortages and potentially restore some supply to global markets.

Dozens arrested in pipeline protest at White House
WASHINGTON, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Authorities arrested dozens of people outside the White House on Sunday in the second straight day of protest against a proposed $7 billion oil pipeline.
U.S. Park Police Sergeant David Schlosser said 45 environmental activists were arrested on Sunday. They were released after paying a fine, he told Reuters.

NYMEX-Natural gas ends up 1 pct as shorts cover on storm
NEW YORK, Aug 19 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended higher on Friday, as storm concerns in an oversold market prompted shorts to cover ahead of the weekend despite moderating U.S. weather forecasts and comfortable supples.
"Some people think the tropical disturbance in the Atlantic could be on track to hit southern Florida and move into the Gulf of Mexico. I wouldn't want to be short ahead of a possible storm," said Steve Mosley at SMC Advisory Services in Arkansas.

Euro Coal-Prices fall on broad economic fears
LONDON, Aug 19 (Reuters) - European coal prices fell on Friday as economic woes sent European stocks into sharp decline, pulling smaller markets including coal down with them.
"With such a negative market sentiment you won't get prices to rise, even if demand remains relatively strong," one coal trader said.

COMMODITIES-Gold surges to record; dollar's loss is oil's gain
NEW YORK/LONDON, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Gold surged to a record on Friday to seal its biggest two-week gain since 2008 while oil and copper also rose as a dip in the U.S. dollar offset another mild bout of investor jitters.
"Investors are really worried. Confidence is at its lowest ebb for some time and the more data disappoints, the more upside lies ahead for gold," analyst Edel Tully at UBS said in a note.

20110822 1120 Local & Global Economic Related News.

The government has directed the  Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) to study  measures to assist those earning below RM3,000  in facing the  problem of  increasing prices of goods and services. Second Finance Minister Datuk  Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said: "Pemandu is now scrutinising the study to be  formulated into a data base through a special laboratory set up for this purpose."  

  • The laboratory would submit a summary on the study within the next two weeks, and this  would be handed over to the Finance Ministry before being reviewed again for inclusion  into the Budget 2012, he added. (Bernama)

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah also said that Malaysia  would be able to improve its GDP growth in 2H11 supported by a better output from the  petroleum sector. There is a need to achieve a 5.5% growth in 2H11 for Malaysia to  achieve its target this year, he said, adding that  factors affecting the Petroleum sector's  growth would be overcome during the period.  

  • On the country's development expenditure, Ahmad Husni said the Implementation  Coordination Unit under the Prime Minister's Department had set up a monitoring system  which carries out checks weekly to ensure that all  developments plans are going in  order. (Bernama)     

Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd on last Friday announced an income dividend of 6.5 sen  per unit for the  Amanah Saham Wawasan 2020 for the financial year ending 31 Aug  2011. This will be an increase of 0.15 sen per unit compared with the 6.35 sen dividend  given last year, PNB Chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid said. The dividend will  involve a payout of RM909.1m, which will be 17.7% higher than the payment of RM772.2m  made last year. (Bernama)  

The design works for the  100-storey Menara Warisan Merdeka is expected to be  completed by end of this year, said Permodalan Nasional Bhd President and Group Chief  Executive, Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman. "We have to see not only in terms of a  100-storey building but also the entire infrastructure, the roads and utilities," he said. The  integrated development project, worth RM5bn and to be built by PNB, will be located close  to the Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara in the city. Its completion is expected in  2015. (Bernama)  

Outgoing director-general of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA),  Datuk Jalilah Baba, said the recent U.S. credit rating downgrade may encourage more  U.S. companies to invest in Malaysia. She said that with the downgrade, U.S. investors would find it hard to get credit from their banks and "this is a push factor for them to go  outside of the country and find competitive countries to operate businesses".  

  • "The U.S. will remain our major investor. I am confident the total investment for this year  will exceed RM50bn, based on the Jan-Jun’s total investment stood at RM28.6bn with  453 projects approved, and more than 400 still being negotiated," Jalilah noted.   
  • Asked as to who would replace her, she said there was no indication as yet, with a  possible announcement today. (Bernama)    

The PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Sunday asked the Works Ministry to study the  possibility of abolishing one of the two toll collections on the Cheras-Kajang He said the  study should then be tabled to the Cabinet for perusal before the government could decide  on the issue which had for long been a woe for residents living around the area.

  • "I mention this because I want to show to you that when we say 'people first', we really  want to do whatever possible to lighten the people's burden," he noted.   
  • "On the Grand Saga toll, I will ask the Works Ministry to study the matter in depth and  bring it up to the Cabinet for us to see whether we can afford to do something about the  toll issue. (Bernama)  

Capital standards designed to fortify the  global financial system are eroding as  European officials, beset by a debt crisis, rewrite the regulations and U.S. rulemaking  stalls. The 27 member-states of the  Basel Committee on Banking Supervisionfought  over the new regime, known as Basel III, for more than a year before agreeing in Dec to  require banks to bolster capital and reduce reliance on borrowing.  

  • Now, as they put the standards into effect in their own countries, European Union  lawmakers are revising definitions of capital, while the U.S. is struggling to reconcile the  Basel mandates with financial reforms imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act. (Bloomberg)     

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attempted to shut the door on common  euro-area  bonds as a means to solve the debt crisis, saying that she won’t let financial markets  dictate policy. Joint euro bonds would require European Union treaty changes that would  “take years” and might run afoul of Germany’s constitution, Merkel said. While common  borrowing might arrive at some point in the “distant future,” bringing in euro bonds at this  time would further undermine economic stability and so they “are not the answer right  now.” (Bloomberg)  

India aims to accelerate the pace of economic growth to 9% in the five years starting Apr  12 to help cut poverty, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said. (Bloomberg)  

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao that China has nothing to  fear when it comes to itsinvestment in U.S. Treasuries. Biden and Wen both expressed  confidence in the U.S. economy, with the Chinese premier saying its stability “is in the  interest of the whole world.” (Bloomberg)  

U.S. payrolls climbed in 31 states in Jul, led by New York and Texas, while the jobless  rate increased in 28, painting a mixed employment picture the month before global stock  markets slumped. Employers in New York boosted staff by 29,400 workers, while those in  Texas added 29,300, figures from the Labor Department showed. Joblessness increased  by 0.4%pt in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and South Carolina. Nevada continued to lead  the nation in unemployment with a rate of 12.9%. (Bloomberg)  

Thailand’s people have given Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra a score of 6.59 out of  10 for her problem-solving ability while voicing their confidence that her government will be  able to improve the national economy, according to a survey conducted by the National  Institute of Development Administration (NIDA). (Thai Financial Post)  

Facing an uncertain global economic outlook, the  Thai government will focus on  strengthening the domestic economy, particularly  boosting incomes for farmers and  labourers, Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Kittirat na Ranong said.  Thailand's economy relies too much on exports, the minister said, adding that GDP should  be restructured in the near future to derive 50% from exports and 50% from domestic  output. Kittirat did not give a time frame for achieving this ratio. (The Nation)  

Thailand’s opposition is getting ready to question the government on how it will finance  and implement its  populist policies, many of which do not reflect campaign pledges,  Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said. The two-day policy debate is scheduled to  kick off on Tuesday.

  • The government has imposed a number of conditions on its campaign pledges, thus  making it difficult for voters to predict when these populist policies could yield results, he  said.  
  • For example, the plan to increase the daily minimum wage to THB300 is limited to civil  servants and employees of state enterprises, not the general workforce, he said. (The  Nation)  

20110822 1117 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

Telekom Malaysia Bhd 2Q results to show pick-up in Unifi subscribers
Telekom Malaysia Bhd’s (TM) results for its second quarter ended June 30, 2011 (2QFY11) are expected to reveal increased pick-up subscribers for its high-speed broadband (HSBB) Unifi and a slight drop in capital expenditure. At the moment, Unifi’s customer base stands at around 135,000 users. In addition, TM is also stepping up its efforts to increase its presence among small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The company has acknowledged that the segment is ‘difficult’ but with great potential. –The Edge

Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd Eyes more rail jobs
Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB), which have clinched a couple of contracts related to Ampang and Kelana Jaya light rail transit (LRT) extension projects, will continue to bid for other packages of the LRT extension as well as the mass rapid system (MRT), its chief executive officer Datuk Mohamed Razeek Hussain said. Last Tuesday, MRCB, through its subsidiary, MRCB Engineering Sdn Bhd (MESB) won a contract worth RM1.3bil for the Ampang LRT extension from Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (SPNB). MESB also secured a sub-contract worth RM67.2mil from Sunway Construction Sdn Bhd, for the fabrication and delivery of segmental box girders for the Kelana Jaya LRT extension. These are the first of a series of major packages awarded under the two LRT extension projects.  According to Razeek, the company will handle the job on its own without third party involvement. He also said that the award has boosted their construction order book enormously, from the current outstanding works of over RM1.0bil to about RM2.6bil. For the RM52.0bil MRT project, Razeek said MRCB has been named by SPNB as one of 28 shortlisted individuals and joint-venture companies eligible to bid for various elevated civil works, station and depot packages. He said out of the 18 work packages, MRCB has been shortlisted for eight packages under elevated civil works. – Business Times

Production at Tan Chong Motor Holdings (TCMH)'s assembly plant in Segambut is being  ramped up to meet the rising volume of brands owned by its sister companies. In view of  this, the group has decided to defer its property development plan for the tract on which the  assembly plant is located, says Datuk Ang Bon Beng, executive director of Edaran Tan  Chong Motor. Ang says TCMH is aiming to double its market share in the country to 10%  from 5.6% currently with aggressive model launches  backed by principal Nissan Japan.  (Edge Weekly)

In an interview,  Dialog’s executive chairman and co-founder Ngau Boon Keat revealed  that the recently-announced rights issue, which will raise up to RM640m funds, is not for  the financing of the Balai marginal field or the Pengerang tank terminal. Instead, the  intention is to arm Dialog with more financial resources to take up future projects.

  • In addition to Malaysia, Dialog is eyeing upstream  opportunities in  Thailand and  Indonesia.   
  • Ngau believes that risk-sharing contracts (RSC) are good for the sector and the country  for two reasons 1) Petronas owns the marginal fields and is therefore able to enjoy the  upside potential of the oil price. 2) The RSCs provide  good training ground for local  companies through partnerships with foreign players.   
  • Some RM90bn worth of downstream investments, i.e. oil refineries and petrochemical  plants, are expected to flow into Pengerang, where Dialog is undertaking a 7-year tank  terminal construction project. The terminal is expected to complement Singapore’s.   (Edge Weekly)     

Malaysia, which has become an investment magnet for global  solar panel  manufacturers,  is expected to see its latest addition tomorrow. A  US-based company, which will ink a deal with Senai High-Tech Park Sdn Bhd, is expanding its operations in this part of the world, and Malaysia serves as an ideal location. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib  Razak is expected to witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU)  between the new investor and Senai High-Tech Park, the developer of the high technology  park located within Iskandar Malaysia. First Solar and SunPower of the US and Q-Cells of  Germany are among the significant investors in the solar technology industry.(BT)  

Tenaga Nasional shares, which have been on a downtrend since Monday, extended their  losing streak yesterday after the company issued profit and dividend warnings following the  severe impact of gas curtailment by Petroliam Nasional Bhd.  President and CEO Datuk  Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh said that the utility giant was incurring an additional  RM400m a month to replace the shortfall in gas.

  • He issued a profit warning as the additional high fuel costs continued to eat into TNB's  cash flow. “Our policy is to pay 60% of our free cash flow as dividend for our  shareholders. However, we may not be able to pay the same level of dividend we paid  last year as the high fuel cost is putting a strain on our free cash flow,” Che Khalib  added. (Starbiz)      

Tenaga Nasional is proposing that first generation power contracts are allowed to expire  and an open bidding process be used to replace the lost capacity. "To me, the PPA (power  purchase agreement) renegotiations did not bring any results. It is probably time for the  parties to decide what to do," TNB CEO Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh said in an  interview recently. Apart from the failed two rounds of talks, the scarcity of gas is also a  factor. (BT)  

Sarawak Energy Bhd’s (SEB) plan to offer attractive power tariffs to industries is aimed at  attracting investments into the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).

  • SEB was likely to offer tariffs to energy-intensive industries in the Samalaju Industry  Park, Bintulu that would be some 50% lower than the average price offered by China to  the aluminium industry there. (Star Biz)    

The enlarged Sunway Bhd has been offered a sizeable piece of land in India for a  possible township development, says Sunway group founder and chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey  Cheah. The development will be in one of India's "major cities". He, however, declined to  disclose more details because no agreement has been finalised.  In a recent interview,  Cheah said while India is a country with vast opportunities for the Sunway group, moving  forward, it will be Singapore and China that it would like to focus on.

  • "We expect some 30-40% from our bottomline to come from China and Singapore by  2015," he said, adding that despite the size of Singapore, Sunway still finds a lot of  opportunities in the island.   
  • In China, the group has signed a collaboration agreement to participate in the  development of Tianjin Eco-City with master developer Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City  Investment and Development Co Ltd for a RM5bn gross development value (GDV)  project in Tianjin Binhai New Area. Sunway was chosen to be the only Malaysian  developer with other top regional developers, which include among others Singapore's  Keppel Land, Taiwan's Farglory Group and Japan's Mitsui Fudosan.(BT)    

The shares of Sunway City Bhd (SunCity) and Sunway Holdings Bhd would be delisted  from the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia on Aug 23. The merger, which was announced  last Nov, involved cash and share swap of RM4.5bn made by Sunway Sdn Bhd, a  company controlled by Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah. The new entity would be known as Sunway  Bhd. (BT)  

Commercial banks, which are currently shying away from lending to green companies,  may have to set aside an allocation to finance green technology projects.  Malaysian  Green Technology Corp (MGTC) CEO Dr Nazily Mohd Noor said this was one of the  suggestions made during a discussion at the  Green Technology and Climate Change  Council, chaired by the PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak, two weeks ago. "We voiced out this to  the Prime Minister about the difficulties companies are facing to obtain loans pertaining to  green projects and he (Prime Minister) immediately instructed the Ministry of Finance  (MoF) to speak to Bank Negara to look into the matter and to also provide quotas for banks  to adhere to when giving out green loans. (BT)  

Christian Kwok-Leun Yau Heilesen and Raymond Yip Wai Man, who held a 15.04% stake  in  DVM Technology Bhd,  are no longer substantial shareholders of the company.  Heilesen and Yip, who bought a 6.85% and 8.19% stake in the company respectively on  Aug 4 and then increased their stakes to 9.46% and 10.43% on Aug 12, have pared their  stakes.Heilesen disposed of 8.35m shares on Aug 15, reducing his stake to 4.71% in the  company while Yip disposed of 9.8m shares on the same day, reducing his stake to 4.85%.

  • Soon after they bought into the company, the duo both Hong Kong residents had sought to remove all four existing directors and appoint new ones. The four directors of DVM the  duo wanted out were Datuk Goh Kian Seng (also the group managing director), Tan Sri  Abdul Rahman (chairman), Kamaruddin Ngah and Lee Keat Hin.   
  • On the same day they made the moves to remove the directors, DVM announced that  the company would undertake a private placement representing about 10% of the share  capital of the company to third-party investors by issuing 7.6m new shares at an issue  price of RM0.14/share with the proceeds of RM2.4m to be used for working capital.   
  • This was seen by Heilesen as an attempt by existing major shareholders to dilute  Heilesen and Yip's stakes.(BT)    

Container lines may miss their peak-season targets on Asia-US routes as orders for  backpacks, sneakers and flatscreen TVs fall below expectations and ships sail below  capacity. Christmas shipping may be the same. (Bloomberg)  

Malaysia Rating Corp (MARC) has downgraded its ratings on  Tanjung Langsat Port  Sdn Bhd's  RM250m sukuk musyarakah bonds and RM135m musyarakah commercial  papers/medium-term notes programme (MCP/MMTN) to AIS and MARC2ID/AID from AAIS  and MARC1ID/AAID respectively.

  • The outlook on the ratings remains negative. The downgrades reflect further erosion of  Tanjung Langsat Port's credit and operating profile during 2010 due to the still lingering  effects of the 2008 fire incident at its tank terminal complex and its depleting  unencumbered land bank.   
  • In light of its depleted unencumbered land bank and current operating challenges,  MARC expects Tanjung Langsar Port to become increasingly dependent on liquidity  support from parent, Johor Corp (JCorp), to fund cashflow and debt service shortfalls.   
  • MARC has been informed that the remaining two tanks which were earlier damaged by  fire should be ready to resume operations by end-2011. (BT)    

AirAsia has settled its outstanding airport charges with Malaysian Airport (MAHB), said  to be over RM100m. The matter was raised by certain quarters when the low cost carrier  entered into a share swap with MAS. (Malaysian Reserve)  

Marine and Heavy Engineering Holdings (MHB) has been awarded two contracts  amounting to RM952m by MISC. The contracts were for topsides fabrication, marine repair  and conversion of two energy vessels (Malaysian Reserve).  

Miri-based Shin Yang Shipping expects to complete its RM266m fleet expansion program  by the end of next year. The 11 vessels of different types are currently under construction  to cater for increasing demand. (Star Biz)  

Glomac says it may bid for contracts to develop the Kuala Lumpur International Financial  District (KLIFD) with its partner, the Al Batha Group. Group MD cum CEO Datuk FD  Iskandar FD Mansor said Glomac is also keen to work on Bandar Malaysia, a KLIFD twin  development in Sungai Besi, and the 1,335-hectare rubber research institute land in  Sungai Buloh. "We have not submitted any proposals  for these projects but would be  interested if we are invited," Iskandar added. (BT)

SunCity and Sunway: To be delisted. The shares of Sunway City Bhd (SunCity) and Sunway Holdings Bhd would be delisted from the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia on Aug 23. The new entity would be known as Sunway Bhd. (Source: Bursa Malaysia)

Crescendo: Plans RM2.5b township. Crescendo Corp Bhd (CCB) is set to launch its new mixed development property project, Bandar Cemerlang township in Mukim Tebrau, Johor Baru with a gross development value (GDV) of RM2.5b by year-end. The completion of the Johor Baru-Kota Tinggi highway in June this year has improved accessibility and connectivity to its project. (Source: The Star)

Property: Foreigners not shying away from prices. Malaysia property products are currently hot on the radar of international investors and property buyers, in view of the domestic real estate market potential to see a steady growth in prices. (Source: The Malaysian Reserve)

EPF: Confirms buying London office block for RM740m. The Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) has confirmed that it has purchased an office block in St James's Square, London, where one of the tenants has one of London's highest rents, for RM740m. This marks EPF's fourth property investment in London since announcing an allocation of RM1b for British property purchases about a year ago. Including this latest purchase, it has spent RM634m. (Source: The Star)

20110822 1028 Global Market Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks routed, gold soars
LONDON, Aug 19 (Reuters) - An ugly sell-off in global stocks gathered pace, on mounting concerns the U.S. economy is heading into another recession and as some European lenders faced a short-term funding crunch, highlighting the risk of a banking crisis.
"The heavy selling is on the back of fears over the state of global economic growth and the ability of European banks to withstand another freezing-over of credit markets," said Ben Potter, strategist at IG Markets.

Asian Stocks Pare Losses on Stimulus Speculation (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks pared a third day of losses as speculation the U.S. Federal Reserve will announce further measures to stimulate the economy tempered concern that German chancellor Angela Merkel’s resistance to common euro-area bonds will prolong the region’s debt crisis. Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the carmaker that gets 28 percent of sales from North America, sank 1.9 percent in Tokyo after the yen touched a post-World War II record, harming the outlook for the country’s exporters. Inpex Corp., Japan’s No. 1 energy explorer, fell 0.7 percent as crude oil dropped. Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia’s biggest gold producer, gained 2.6 percent after the price of the precious metal rose to a record. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.3 percent to 119.2 as of 10:17 a.m. in Tokyo, heading for its lowest close since September 2010. About the same number of stocks rose as fell on the measure.

Asian Stocks Decline a Fourth Week as Growth Concern Deepens (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks fell, with the regional index declining for a fourth straight week, as the global stock rout continued amid signs the world economy is slowing and Europe’s debt crisis will damage the banking system. Honda Motor Co., the Japanese carmaker that gets about 83 percent of sales overseas, slipped 5.3 percent in Tokyo. Hynix Semiconductor Inc. (000660), the world’s second-largest computer-memory chipmaker, tumbled 21 percent in Seoul after Dell Inc. lowered its sales forecast for this year. HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), Europe’s biggest lender by market value, dropped 2.9 percent on concern the worsening debt crisis in Europe could freeze interbank markets and cut off funding. An index of Japan’s 30 biggest companies hit a record low.
“Everything that’s going on is just eating away at investor confidence,” said Matt Riordan, who helps manage almost $6.6 billion in Sydney at Paradice Investment Management Pty. “Business confidence is tailing off and global growth slowing, and Europe’s debt situation appears to be getting worse and worse without any coordinated policy response. The worst case is that you go back to a 2008-type financial crisis.”

Treasuries Price in QE3 as Barclays Says Traders Anticipate $500 Billion (Source: Bloomberg)
Record-low yields on U.S. Treasuries show traders expect Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke to signal as soon as this week that the central bank will begin a third round of asset purchases to boost the economy, a scenario the world’s biggest bond dealers said is unlikely. Barclays Plc said 10-year yields indicate traders have priced in $500 billion to $600 billion of Treasury purchases by the Fed. Citigroup Inc. said current rates can only be justified by more central bank bond buying or assuming the economy will shrink by 2 percent. “The market is pricing in another round of large-scale asset purchases, looking for confirmation possibly as early as the Jackson Hole symposium” in Wyoming this week, Anshul Pradhan, a fixed-income research analyst at Barclays in New York, said in an interview last week. “The probability of that is low. If the Chairman does disappoint, then there should be a reversal in the outperformance of 10-year notes.”

Obama Strategist Axelrod Says ‘Politics’ Endangers U.S. Economic Progress (Source: Bloomberg)
“Pure politics” threatens to block proposals to strengthen the economy and reduce the national debt going into the 2012 election, according to David Axelrod, campaign strategist for President Barack Obama. “The only thing that keeps us from acting on many of these things is pure politics,” Axelrod said in an interview aired today on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “The fact that we can’t agree to extend a payroll tax cut for working Americans is bewildering to me, and the only explanation is politics.” Robert Gibbs, the former White House press secretary now serving as Obama’s campaign manager, promised “a very robust campaign.” This is “the most challenging economy that we’ve ever lived through,” Gibbs said today on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. “The president can’t do all of this alone.”

Business Equipment Demand Probably Fell: U.S. Economy Preview (Source: Bloomberg)
Companies probably ordered less equipment in July as concern grew that the U.S. recovery was coming to a halt, economists said before reports this week. Bookings for durable goods excluding transportation fell 0.5 percent after rising 0.4 percent in June, according to the median forecast of 38 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News ahead of Commerce Department figures Aug. 24. Two days later, data from the same agency may show the economy grew even less in the second quarter than previously estimated. A 16 percent plunge in stocks since July 22 reflects a loss of confidence that may prompt companies and consumers to cut back even more. Attention will shift to Ben S. Bernanke on Aug. 26 to see whether the Federal Reserve chief lays out tools the central bank is likely to use should the economy need another dose of stimulus to avert a recession.

Treasury Rally Pushes Yields to Record Lows (Source: Bloomberg)
Treasuries surged, pushing yields on five-, seven- and 10-year notes to historic lows, as investors sought a refuge on concern U.S. growth is slowing and Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis is getting worse. Yields on 30-year bonds dropped this week the most since 2008 after the Federal Reserve said earlier in August it would keep borrowing costs unchanged until at least mid-2013 and Standard & Poor’s lowered the top U.S. credit rating. The rally in bonds indicates Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke may signal at a conference on Aug. 26 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that additional measures to lift the economy are needed. “Clearly growth continues to be extremely weak,” said Larry Milstein, managing director of government and agency debt trading in New York at R.W. Pressprich & Co., a fixed-income broker and dealer for institutional investors. “There’s still concern for what’s going on in Europe. Despite the downgrade by S&P, investors are looking for safety, and that’s clearly in the Treasury market.”

Payrolls Climb in 31 States, Led by New York, Texas; Nevada Is at Bottom (Source: Bloomberg)
Payrolls climbed in 31 U.S. states in July, led by New York and Texas, while the jobless rate increased in 28, painting a mixed employment picture the month before global stock markets slumped. Employers in New York boosted staff by 29,400 workers, while those in Texas added 29,300, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. Joblessness increased by 0.4 percentage point in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and South Carolina. Nevada continued to lead the nation in unemployment with a rate of 12.9 percent. Widespread job growth is needed to shore up incomes after spending among consumers ground to a halt in the second quarter, raising concern the world’s largest economy was stalling. A Labor Department report on Aug. 5 showed employers added 117,000 workers to payrolls last month and the jobless rate fell to 9.1 percent.

Fed’s Dudley Says U.S. Economic Performance ‘Mixed,’ Banks in Better Shape (Source: Bloomberg)
Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William C. Dudley said U.S. economic performance is “at worst, mixed,” with negative news offset by loosening credit, firmer retail sales and stronger bank balance sheets. Banks are “in much better shape” than a year ago, with “huge liquidity buffers compared to where they were in 2008,” Dudley said today in response to an audience question after a speech in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. Real-estate financing is “a little more available today than” 12 months ago. The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee on Aug. 9 pledged to keep its benchmark interest rate near zero until at least mid-2013 to revive an economic recovery that’s “considerably slower” than anticipated. Fed officials also “discussed the range of policy tools” available to boost growth and are “prepared to employ those tools as appropriate,” the FOMC said.

U.S. Stocks Post Biggest Retreat Since 2009 on Economic Concern (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks tumbled, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to its biggest four-week loss since March 2009, as concern the global economy is stalling overshadowed the cheapest valuations in 2 1/2 years. Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) plunged 27 percent this week, the most since the October 1987 market crash, after a strategy shift undermined confidence in its managers. Technology, industrial and raw-material companies in the S&P 500 dropped at least 6.9 percent, the most among 10 groups. Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) and Alcoa Inc. (AA) retreated more than 8.4 percent after some of the world’s biggest banks -- Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. -- slashed economic growth forecasts.
The S&P 500 lost 4.7 percent to 1,123.53. It has sunk 16 percent since July 22 as about $3 trillion was erased from the value of U.S. equities, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 451.37 points, or 4 percent, to 10,817.65 this week, extending its four-week decline to 1,863.51 points.

Japanese Stocks Swing Between Gains, Losses After Noda’s Comments on Yen (Source: Bloomberg)
Japanese stocks swung between gains and losses after Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said he’s prepared to take decisive steps to curb the yen’s appreciation, boosting the earnings prospects for the country’s exporters. Canon Inc., the world’s largest camera maker, climbed 0.9 percent, reversing earlier declines. Toyota Motor Corp., the biggest global automaker, declined 1.8 percent. Hino Motors Ltd. slumped 2 percent after Deutsche Bank AG. cut its investment rating on the truckmaker. The Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average fell 0.01 percent to 8,718.24 as of 10:23 a.m. in Tokyo after rising as much as 0.4 percent. The broader Topix index slid 0.4 percent to 749.00. Noda said today he has become “more concerned” about the yen’s appreciation after the currency rose to a postwar high of 75.95 per dollar on Aug. 19 in New York. The yen has risen 6.6 percent against the greenback in the past three months.

Merkel Says She’ll Resist Pressure for Euro Bonds (Source: Bloomberg)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attempted to shut the door on common euro-area bonds as a means to solve the debt crisis, saying that she won’t let financial markets dictate policy. Joint euro bonds would require European Union treaty changes that would “take years” and might run afoul of Germany’s constitution, Merkel said. While common borrowing might arrive at some point in the “distant future,” bringing in euro bonds at this time would further undermine economic stability and so they “are not the answer right now.” “At this time -- we’re in a dramatic crisis -- euro bonds are precisely the wrong answer,” Merkel said in an interview with ZDF television in Berlin yesterday. “They lead us into a debt union, not a stability union. Each country has to take its own steps to reduce its debt.”
Merkel has stepped up her opposition to euro bonds since returning from her summer vacation last week, making resistance to common European borrowing a campaign theme of Sept. 4 elections in her home state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Investor calls for euro bonds intensified last week as concerns about the debt crisis and a stuttering global economy drove European stocks to their lowest in more than two years.

European Stocks Drop for Fourth Week; Carlsberg Tumbles as Autonomy Soars (Source: Bloomberg)
European stocks declined for a fourth week, led by banks and carmakers, as concern escalated that the global economy is slowing and as the leaders of the euro area failed to restore investor confidence. Carlsberg A/S, the Nordic region’s largest brewer, sank 25 percent after reducing its full-year outlook. Royal Bank of Scotland Plc dropped 22 percent as a gauge of European banks slid to its lowest level since 2009. Autonomy Corp., the U.K.’s second-largest software company, surged 53 percent after it agreed to be bought by Hewlett-Packard Co. for $10.3 billion. The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 6.1 percent to 223.13 this past week to its lowest level since July 2009. The gauge has declined 23 percent from its peak in February as concern mounted that Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis will spread to the larger economies of Italy and Spain and that the U.S. recovery will stall.

Aussie Dollar Trades Near One-Week Low on Signs of Slowdown, Stock Losses (Source: Bloomberg)
Australia’s dollar was 0.9 percent from a one-week low versus the U.S. currency on signs the global economy is slowing, reducing demand for higher-yielding assets. The so-called Aussie pared last week’s gain versus the greenback before reports in the next two days forecast to show companies ordered less equipment in the U.S. last month and that European consumer confidence dropped in August. New Zealand’s dollar, nicknamed the kiwi, held a two-day drop against the U.S. currency as Asian shares extended a global rout in stocks. “Global risk sentiment will be weak overall,” said Imre Speizer, a strategist in Auckland at Westpac Banking Corp., Australia’s second-largest lender. Over the next few weeks, the Aussie will fall below $1 and the kiwi will drop to at least 78 U.S. cents, Speizer forecast.

FOREX-Euro struggles on weak stocks, economy view
LONDON, Aug 19 (Reuters) - The euro slipped against the dollar on Friday on the back of steep losses in European shares, remaining at risk of more selling if the global economic outlook deteriorates further and the financial funding picture worsens.
The Swiss franc edged up, benefiting from demand for currencies perceived to offer a safe haven, although its gains were capped by ongoing speculation Swiss authorities will again step in to rein the currency in.

20110822 1027 Global Commodities Related News.

CFTC to vote on position limits on Sept 22 -O'Malia
WASHINGTON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission will vote to finalize its long-awaited rule that would curb excessive speculation in the commodity markets on Sept. 22, an official at the agency said on Thursday.
Scott O'Malia, a Republican commissioner, said the futures regulator is considering changes to the class limit, the aggregation rule and the bona fide hedge proposal.

Corn (Source: CME)
US corn futures close higher as traders worry an annual crop tour next week will uncover crop damage. The Pro Farmer tour kicks off Monday and will survey fields spanning from Ohio to South Dakota, releasing nightly crop estimates from individual states and a final output forecast. Farmers and grain elevators are reporting damage from a July heat wave. Based on the reports, the tour "should unveil smaller corn yields, with ears not filled out and small kernel sizes," says PFG Best. December corn gains 12 1/4c to $7.25 1/4 a bushel.

Wheat (Source: CME)
US wheat futures finish higher, with MGEX extending sharp gains on increasing concerns output will fall short of expectations in the northern Plains. Worries about a smaller-than-expected spring-wheat crop drove prices higher as the harvest begins revealing yields. "People are a little bit disappointed" with the spring wheat harvest results, although farmers have just began cutting the crop, says Dale Durchholz of AgriVisor. CBOT December wheat climbs 22c to $7.61 1/4 a bushel, while KCBT December gains 23 1/4c to $8.42 3/4; MGEX December soars 28c to $9.20 3/4.

Rice (Source: CME)
Rice futures close lower as the market extends its setback from a more than 2 1/2-year high. Traders were taking profits after the market reached the peak last week. Yet, analysts say prices still have the potential to climb if the autumn US harvest is smaller than expected. The crop has suffered from intense heat in the southern US this summer and flooding in the spring. CBOT September rice ends down 14c at $16.74 1/2/hundredweight.

US corn at 1-week low, wheat slips as econ worries weigh
SINGAPORE, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Chicago corn slid to a one-week low, while wheat and soybeans lost more ground as renewed concerns over the U.S. economy sliding into a recession hammered commodities and equities.
"Equity markets are falling and the U.S. dollar is strong which are adding pressure on grains and oilseeds," said Ker Chung Yang, analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Milling wheat dominates Ukraine wheat harvest-AgMin
KIEV, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Ukraine's Farm Ministry said on Friday the share of milling wheat in the 2011 wheat harvest had reached 70 percent as of Aug 18 compared to about 60 percent a month earlier.
"The proportion of milling wheat amounts to 70 percent against 30 percent of feed wheat," the ministry said in a statement.

Argentina trims wheat area outlook, raises corn
BUENOS AIRES, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Argentina's government trimmed its forecast for 2011/12 wheat area to 4.5 million hectares from the 4.7 million hectares projected a month ago, the Agriculture Ministry said in a report on Thursday.
The South American country is one of the world's top suppliers of the grain. Wheat area this season is expected to be 2.9 percent bigger than in the 2010/11 crop year, when farmers produced 14.7 million tonnes of wheat.

EU cleared 233,000 tonnes wheat exports this week
PARIS, Aug 18 (Reuters) - The European Union this week granted export licences for 233,000 tonnes of soft wheat, taking the total since the beginning of the 2011/12 (July-June) season to 1.5 million tonnes, official data showed on Thursday.
The total so far this season compared with 1.8 million tonnes of export licences cleared by the same stage in 2010/11.

Light rains for most of U.S. soy and corn crops
CHICAGO, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Light rainfall and moderate temperatures from Thursday through early next week in the U.S. Midwest will stabilize the corn crop and give a boost to pod-setting soybeans, an agricultural meteorologist said Thursday.
"The 1- to 5-day forecast through Monday is for rains in 80 to 85 percent of the Midwest of at least 0.25 inch, with the most in eastern Nebraska, northern Missouri, southern Indiana and southern Ohio," said Don Keeney, meteorologist for MDA EarthSat Weather.

Russia grain crop seen above 90 mln T-forecaster
MOSCOW, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Russia's 2011 grain harvest is likely to exceed 90 million tonnes, the country's chief weather forecaster said on Thursday as the country reaped grains from 42 percent of the area sown for this year's crop.
"The gross grain crop this year is going to be slightly above 90 million tonnes," Roman Vilfand, director of the Hydrometcentre weather forecasting service, told a news briefing.

Turkmenistan plans to raise 2012 wheat crop
ASHGABAT, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Turkmenistan plans to increase its 2012 wheat crop by 23 percent year-on-year to 1.6 million tonnes after missing its forecast for the current year, a source in the government of the Central Asian country said on Thursday.
The campaign to sow 860,000 hectares of land for the 2012 wheat harvest was already under way in the desert nation, said the source. Like most government officials in the reclusive former Soviet republic, he did not want to be identified.

Japanese Regional Govt Says It Detects Radioactive-Contaminated Rice (Source: CME)
A Japanese regional government said it had detected radioactive-contaminated rice, but said the amount was far below the level that officials have deemed to be unsafe. It was the first public report to date that radioactive materials had affected rice. As this year's harvest season begins, Japan's rice-growing regions are scrambling to make sure that what they ship out this autumn will be safe. Concerns have been mounting about this staple of the Japanese diet, after a summer food scare amid disclosures of the widespread sale of contaminated beef. The tainted rice was found in Ibaraki Prefecture, a southern neighbor to Fukushima Prefecture, in a city about 90 miles south of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi power plant. The prefectural government posted a notice on its website saying that it had detected 52 becquerels of radioactive cesium from a kilogram of brown rice collected Aug. 16 from the city of Hokota in the southern part of the prefecture.
"The level of cesium found in the rice is very low, so this isn't problematic," said Takao Shimizu, a deputy chief of the agriculture ministry's department that oversees distribution of rice. He said that minor contamination is possible because rice can absorb some radioactive elements from the soil. The government prohibits any rice farming on soil contaminated with more than 5,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram. The detected level was about one-tenth of Japan's regulatory limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram. No cesium was detected from the other two samples taken by the prefecture that day from different locations. Ibaraki is one of six prefectures in Japan that have reported test results to the agriculture ministry, and more prefectures will likely start testing their rice soon as the harvest time approaches.
In prefectures where airborne radiation readings and soil samples have shown relatively high levels of contamination, the agriculture ministry is asking local officials to conduct more thorough tests by dividing the areas into many small districts. Also, the government lifted its ban on the shipment of beef from Miyagi Prefecture--imposed July 28--just north of Fukushima. Miyagi is one of four prefectures where all beef shipments had been halted following the reports of the spread of tainted meat. The decision to lift the ban was based on a judgment that Miyagi now has an effective system in place to monitor its cattle and prevent any contaminated meat from reaching the market, according to the agriculture ministry. Under the new system, Miyagi will test the meat from every cattle from 598 farms--about 11% of the prefecture's 5,396 cattle farms--that had fed their cows contaminated straw. As for the cattle from all the other farms, the prefecture will test at least one cow from each farm every few months.
Fukushima Prefecture, where beef shipments are banned, plans to test every cattle from the danger zone roughly within 18 miles from the nuclear plant, and also from any other farms outside the zone that have fed their cows contaminated straw. For the rest of the cattle farms, the prefecture plans to test at least one cow from each farm upon shipment. Still, the government decided to defer lifting its ban on beef shipments from Fukushima, after discovering a new case of beef contaminated above the limit earlier in the day. Because the reason for contamination wasn't immediately clear, officials will first investigate the case to see if it was also caused by contaminated straw, the agriculture ministry said.

Australia's 2011-12 Wheat Crop Forecast Cut To 21.8 Mln Tons -NAB (Source: CME)
National Australia Bank Ltd. downgraded its forecast for the 2011-12 wheat crop to 21.8 million metric tons, citing dryness in northern New South Wales state and Queensland state. The bank's latest forecast is down 12% from its April projection of 24.75 million tons and 17% from a June estimate of 26.2 million tons by the government's Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences. "A significant lack of rainfall in the Brisbane and Newcastle port zones had managed to significantly erode topsoil moisture while crop development has been generally slow," the bank, a major agricultural lender, said in a monthly commodities report.

Annual US Crop Tour Will Captivate Grain, Soybean Traders (Source: CME)
Grain traders next week will keep a close eye on an annual U.S. crop tour that will provide the first private, in-depth survey of corn and soybean fields. The tour, organized by agricultural advisory firm Pro Farmer, will assess fields spanning from Ohio to South Dakota. The company will release yield and output estimates based on the results of the tour. "The trade will be closely watching that to get a better handle on how good or poor the crop is around the Midwest," said Tomm Pfitzenmaier, analyst for Summit Commodity Brokerage in Iowa. Grain users are on edge about the size and condition of the crops because strong demand has left inventories at low levels. Prices for corn and soybeans are historically high, reflecting expectations the upcoming harvests won't do much to replenish supplies. Extreme heat has already hurt the crops, particularly corn that was in a key period of development in July. Timely rains can still boost the soybean crop, which was planted after corn in the spring.
Tour participants-including farmers, food companies, grain traders and the media-will divide into two groups to survey fields. One group will fan out Monday from Columbus, Ohio, while the other will begin in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The groups will issue nightly crop estimates from individual states and meet in Austin, Minn., on Thursday to talk about their findings. Last August, Pro Farmer estimated the corn crop at 13.3 billion bushels and the soybean crop at 3.5 billion bushels. That was well off the final estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which pegged corn output at 12.4 billion bushels and soybean output at 3.3 billion.

Wheat Prices Rise, Cap Fourth Straight Weekly Gain, on Winter-Crop Concern (Source: Bloomberg)
Wheat futures rose, capping the fourth straight weekly gain, on speculation that U.S. production will decline as dry weather in the southern Great Plains hinders winter-crop seeding in the next two months. Southern Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas will be mostly dry in the next six to 10 days, with only “a few light showers” and temperatures “above to well-above normal” in the west and south, Telvent DTN said in a report. Many areas had half of normal rain this year, according to the National Weather Service. Planting of the winter variety usually starts in September. “You hold out hope, but after nine or 10 months of below- normal rainfall, you start to wonder if it’s ever going to rain,” Jason Britt, the president of Central States Commodities Inc., a broker in Kansas City, Missouri, said in a telephone interview. “As each week goes by, I think we’ll ratchet up a little more weather premium” in prices, he said.

Coffee, sugar fall on risk aversion
LONDON, Aug 19 (Reuters) - ICE raw sugar and arabica coffee futures fell in early trade, battered by risk aversion on growing fears the U.S. economy was sliding into recession and as some European lenders faced short term funding strains.
Arabica coffee  futures fell, weighed by expectations of an extension of Thursday's steep losses on stock markets and by falling prices of commodities such as oil as investors fled risky assets. A strong technical backdrop in arabicas was expected to limit losses.

India's sugar output on June 1 up 25.6 pct y/y-sources
NEW DELHI, June 13 (Reuters) - India's sugar output rose 25.6 percent to 23.26 million tonnes to June 1 from a year earlier, industry sources said on Monday, sufficient to more than cover a year of domestic demand.  
With ample stocks, India has already allowed 500,000 tonnes of open general licence (OGL) exports.  
Mills are likely to ask government permission soon to export more, Abinash Verma, director general of producers' body the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), said last week.

Thai sugar cane output revised up, premiums fall
BANGKOK, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Thailand, the world's second-biggest sugar exporter, could produce a record 100 million tonnes of sugar cane in 2011/12, which would yield around 10 million tonnes of sugar, sending Thai premiums for next year's delivery down more than half.
The cane forecast by the Thai Sugar Millers Corporation on Thursday matched that by the International Sugar Organization (ISO) this week and was well above a projection by Thailand's Office of Cane and Sugar Board (OCSB) earlier in August of 92-95 million tonnes of cane, or 9.2 million tonnes of sugar.

Physical Sugar-China seen emerging as No. 1 importer
LONDON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - China is set to emerge as the world's biggest importer of raw sugar in 2011/12 after bad weather eroded its domestic output and it has been drawing down state reserves.
China has ramped up imports of sugar in recent months to boost its reserves. According to shipping agency data, China was the top destination for sugar exports from the centre-south of Brazil, the world's main exporter, in July, accounting for 645,000 tonnes.

Brazil coffee belt to turn cooler, rain but no frost
BRASILIA, Aug 18 (Reuters) - A cold front will sweep over Brazil's southeastern coffee belt over the weekend, bringing some rain but no frost, forecaster Somar said Thursday.
The lowest temperature forecast in any coffee area in the coming days was 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit), in the hilly Pocos de Caldas area of top coffee state Minas Gerais. Light rain was forecast in the state as well as in smaller growers Parana and Sao Paulo.

Euro Coal-Futures sustain slight downward trend
LONDON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - European coal futures fell on Thursday, sustaining a slow downward trend that began this month as economic uncertainties around the world hamper the outlook for coal demand in 2012.
The benchmark API2 2012 coal futures contract was trading around $126 a tonne at 1430 GMT, down from $127.50 a tonne a week ago, when the current downward trend was set in motion.

Economic pain pushes Brent towards $106
LONDON, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Brent crude fell towards $106, extending the previous session's plunge after weak economic data added to expectations the world would head back into recession and oil demand could shrink.
"This short-term downturn is not done yet. It could take WTI (U.S. crude) to as low as $75. The fundamental picture is not that bad, but if the overall economy remains weak it is very hard to make a case for a bull run in oil," said Tony Nunan, a risk manager with Mitsubishi Corporation in Japan.

Oil Drops for Third Day as Qaddafi Regime Teeters as Rebels Enter Tripoli (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil fell for a third day in New York as Libyan rebels’ pushed into the capital Tripoli and signs of a slowing U.S. economy stoked concern fuel demand will falter in the world’s biggest crude-consuming nation. Futures for October delivery slipped as much as 1 percent amid speculation Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s regime is crumbling, paving the way for a recovery in the country’s crude production. London-traded Brent slumped as much as 1.8 percent, narrowing its premium to U.S. oil from a record. Reports this week may show U.S. companies ordered less equipment in July and the economy grew at a slower pace in the second quarter than previously estimated. “The immediate reaction should be that you’ll see more crude come onto the market” from Libya, said Jonathan Barratt, a managing director of Commodity Broking Services Pty in Sydney, who predicts crude will average $100 a barrel this year. “In a market that has already seen inventories pick-up, it’ll just add weight to weakness in the complex.”

Crude Oil Caps Fourth Weekly Decline; Brent Extends Record Premium to WTI (Source: Bloomberg)
Crude oil fell, capping a fourth weekly decline, on concern that slower global economic growth will reduce fuel demand. Brent oil traded at a record premium to the U.S. contract. Futures in New York have dropped 18 percent since July 22, the biggest four-week decline since October 2008. Citigroup Inc. (C) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) cut their U.S. growth forecasts as officials struggle to stem Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis. Oil pared losses as the dollar weakened, making commodities more attractive as an alternative investment. “Sentiment has deteriorated significantly and swiftly over the past week,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy. “We’re on the cusp of a recessionary environment globally, which is putting a damper on the demand outlook and being reflected in the oil price.”

Crude Oil Futures Advance in New York, Reversing Earlier 3.9% Decline (Source: Bloomberg)
Crude oil advanced in New York, reversing an earlier decline of 3.9 percent. Crude for September delivery rose 27 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $82.65 a barrel at 10:04 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

EU weighs oil embargo against Syria, other measures
BRUSSELS, Aug 19 (Reuters) - The European Union could decide to toughen sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government on Friday, imposing a ban on oil imports from the country and banning business with major companies, EU diplomats said.
The move would follow a significant stepping up of pressure against Assad by the EU and the United States, in response to continued violence against anti-government protesters contesting the four-decade rule of Assad's family.

US oil speculative data released by Senator, sparking ire
WASHINGTON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Oil trading data that exposed the extensive positions speculators held in the run-up to record high prices in 2008 were intentionally leaked by a U.S. senator, sparking broader concern about industry confidentiality as Congress moves on Wall Street reform.
Senator Bernie Sanders, a staunch critic of oil speculators, leaked the information to a major newspaper in a move that has unsettled both regulators and Wall Street alike.

PIMCO sees commodities rising, sticks with oil
CHICAGO, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Pimco has largely stuck with its positions in the oil market despite the recent slide and expected commodities prices to rise in the longer term, the manager of its largest commodity mutual fund said on Thursday.
Mihir Worah, who manages the $26.9 billion Pacific Investment Management Co's Commodity Real Return Strategy Fund, said the fund had, however, taken measures to protect against an expected slowdown in the U.S. economy and avert risk.

China steps up iron ore drive in Africa
DAKAR, Aug 18 (Reuters) - A bold push by China into iron ore projects in Africa and elsewhere will increase its access to supply and may help moderate prices but will only slowly reduce its dependence on the three companies that dominate the market.
China, the world's largest iron ore consumer, imported 618 million tonnes of iron ore last year, and most of that was supplied by global miners BHP Billiton  , Rio Tinto  and Vale .

Japan July crude steel output almost flat
TOKYO, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Japan's crude steel output was almost flat in July from the previous month, as the strong yen hurt steel exports while carmakers ramped up production following a post-quake slump.  
Crude steel output totaled 9.11 million tonnes in July, down 0.8 percent on a daily production basis from June after adjustment for the number of days in the month, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said on Friday.

Indonesia to tighten tin rules to close loopholes
JAKARTA, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Indonesia is looking to revise its royalty payments made on all domestic tin shipments, to close a tax loophole and bring these in-line with existing charges on exports in the world's top refined tin exporter, a senior trade official said on Thursday.
Late last week, the trade official in Southeast Asia's largest economy, announced changes to the "royalty" charge and tighter controls on what can and cannot be exported.

Demand lull drags US aluminum premium to 4-mth month low
NEW YORK, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Lackluster physical aluminum demand this summer has poured some cold water on the rally in U.S. Midwest spot premiums this year, dragging them down to a four-month low near 8 cents per lb.
Domestic aluminum demand tends to cool off in the July to September period, but this season's lull may be more pronounced as the economy suffers through another soft patch and metal-intensive industries like housing and manufacturing struggle to grow.

Iron Ore-Shanghai rebar hits 1-week low, ore prices steady
SHANGHAI, Aug 19 (Reuters) - China steel futures slipped to one-week lows on Friday, tracking losses in equities fed by fears the United States may be courting another recession and an unresolved debt crisis in Europe, although firm demand hopes capped losses.
A drop in factory activity in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region to the lowest level since March 2009 coupled with the debt crisis in the euro zone, dragged down Asian stocks, with South Korea's benchmark shedding 5 percent and Chinese stocks down 1.3 percent.

China imported iron ore stocks dip in week ending Aug 19
BEIJING, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Inventories of imported iron ore at major Chinese ports dipped fractionally this week to finish at 94.65 million tonnes, data from industry consultancy Mysteel showed on Friday.
Deliveries from India and Australia both fell from last Friday, but there was a slight increase in Brazilian shipments over the period.

Copper market in surplus in first half of 2011
LONDON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - The global copper market had a surplus of 107,400 tonnes in the first six months of this year, compared with a surplus of 84,000 tonnes for the whole of last year, the World Bureau of Metal Statistics said.
World mine production in January to June was 7.93 million tonnes, 2.2 percent higher than in the same months of 2010, WBMS said in a statement late on Wednesday.

Bonded copper stocks in Shanghai fall 8-14 percent - trade
HONG KONG, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Bonded copper stocks in Shanghai may have fallen 8-14 percent from late July after improved arbitrage prompted investors and merchants to buy bonded stocks for reselling in the domestic market this month, traders said on Thursday.
About 300,000-320,000 tonnes of bonded stocks, which arrived in Shanghai but are not yet assessed for China's 17 percent value-added tax, may be stored in Shanghai currently, compared to about 350,000 tonnes in late July, traders estimated.

More Chinese copper demand likely soon-Aurubis
HAMBURG, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Copper demand is currently weak because of the mid-year holiday season but a rise in Chinese and European demand is expected soon, Aurubis , Europe's biggest copper producer, said on Thursday.
"A majority of analysts and market observers assume that there will be reinvigorated purchasing activities in the coming weeks, especially in China, which has to stock up more in the international market in order to cover copper demand in the fourth quarter following this year's inventory reduction," Aurubis said in a market report.

Japan July copper cable shipments down 7.5 pct yr/yr
TOKYO, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Japanese copper wire and cable shipments fell 7.5 percent from a year earlier in July to the lowest on record for the month as exports halved and domestic demand shrank 5.4 percent, an industry body said on Friday.  
July shipments totaled an estimated 55,100 tonnes, data from the Japanese Electric Wire and Cable Makers' Association showed, down from revised June shipments of 56,723 tonnes.

METALS-Copper steadies, growth fears linger
LONDON, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Copper steadied on Friday, pausing for breath after the previous session's hefty falls, although growing concerns about a slowdown in the United States and a debt crisis in Europe weighed on sentiment and capped further gains for the metal.
Benchmark copper  was trading at $8,786 at 0920 GMT, up slightly from Thursday's close of $8,774 a tonne. The metal used in power and construction earlier fell to a low of $8,700, its lowest level since August 11.

PRECIOUS-Gold rallies 2 pct to record, equity rout persists
LONDON, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices rallied more than 2 percent to a record highs on Friday as investors sought refuge from a second day of hefty losses on the stock markets, hurt by deepening concerns over slowing economic growth and the outlook for euro zone banks.
A raft of weak economic data this week has sparked heavy selling of equities and cyclical assets like industrial commodities. European shares extended losses on Friday after posting their biggest one-day fall since Mar. 2009 on Thursday.

Gold Climbs to Record, Capping Best Weekly Run Since 2007 on Haven Demand (Source: Bloomberg)
Gold rose to a record above $1,880 an ounce in New York, rallying for the seventh straight week, as concern that the global economy is slowing drove equities lower. The metal had its longest run of weekly gains since April 2007 as worse-than-expected U.S. economic data and Europe’s debt crisis boost speculation that growth will falter. The MSCI All- Country World Index of equities fell as much as 1.7 percent, heading for the fourth straight weekly drop, after Morgan Stanley cut forecasts for global growth. “Lack of confidence in the global economy is pushing people towards gold,” Tom Pawlicki, a Chicago-based analyst at MF Global Holdings Ltd., said in a telephone interview. “Gold will continue to advance unless leaders are able to resolve the European or U.S. debt crisis.”

Indian Gold Imports May Reach Record 1,000 Tons as Investment Demand Rises (Source: Bloomberg)
Gold imports by India, the world’s biggest consumer, may reach a record this year as investors seek a haven against inflation and volatility in stock markets, a traders’ group said. Imports may be between 950 metric tons and 1,000 tons this year, Prithviraj Kothari, president of the Bombay Bullion Association, told reporters at a gold conference in Kovalam in south India. Consumption in India rose to a record 963.1 tons last year, driving bullion imports to the highest ever at 958 tons, according to the World Gold Council. Rising Indian imports may help extend a 30 percent rally in gold prices to a record that’s made the precious metal the second-best performer on the Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of 19 raw materials this year. Bullion is heading for its 11th annual gain as Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis and concern that the U.S. economy may be slowing spur demand for a haven.

India MMTC's Aug gold imports tumble, lowers FY12 target
MUMBAI, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Gold buyers in India are in "wait-and-watch mode", pulling down imports thus far in August by an eighth to 5 tonnes and prompting state-run MMTC to cut FY12 import estimate, a top official at the company said on Thursday.
MMTC is the second biggest importer of the yellow metal in India, the world's biggest gold consumer.

Commodities Rebound, as Gold Climbs to a Record in New York, Nickel Gains (Source: Bloomberg)
Commodities rebounded as silver, copper and gasoline gained on speculation that growth in developing countries will be strong enough to boost raw materials demand. Gold advanced to a record as stocks fell. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 commodities rose as much as 1.5 percent, after plunging 3.3 percent yesterday. Silver futures were up 2.9 percent at 10:46 a.m. in New York, sugar rose 3.2 percent, and gasoline gained 1.7 percent. Copper advanced for the third time this week, and gold rallied as much as 3.3 percent to $1,881.40 an ounce, the highest ever. Commodities are up 1.6 percent this year while the MSCI All-Country World Index of equities tumbled 12 percent on concern the sovereign-debt crisis is threatening global growth and demand for raw materials. Consumption of oil shows no sign of a recession, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said.

Baltic index at over 5-week high, capesizes rally
LONDON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates to ship dry commodities, rose to its highest level in nearly six weeks on Thursday, boosted by fresh bookings of iron ore cargos and buying of freight derivatives contracts.    
But brokers said growing world financial turmoil, tighter bank financing and rapid fleet growth would keep dry bulk freight rates under pressure in the coming months.

20110822 1025 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

ITS CPO export up 14.5% to 1,170,226 tonnes for the period of 1~20 Aug 2011.
SGS CPO export up 13.9% to 1,171,327 tonnes for the period of 1~20 Aug 2011.

Soybeans (Source: CME)
US soybean futures end higher, supported by the uncertainty of 2011 crop production. Traders and analysts are concerned about any yield and production cuts, with demand already forecast to eat away at smaller 2011 production. The market is mindful that yield potential has been hurt by hot and dry weather last month, but moderate temperatures the past few weeks had been expected to benefit the crops' yield potential, analysts say. Traders added risk premium amid crop uncertainties, a feature that helped offset the volatile movements of equity markets. CBOT November soy end up 7 1/2c at $13.68 1/2 a bushel.

Soybean Meal/Oil (Source: CME)
Soy product futures end higher, finishing with modest gains for the week. Product markets climbed in unison with soybeans, garnering strength from concerns any decline in soy crop potential will lead to tighter availability of supply for crushing, analysts say. CBOT Dec soyoil end up 0.12c at 55.95c/lb; Dec soymeal finished up $1.50 at $360.90/short ton.

Palm oil falls on global economic worries
JAKARTA, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures eased, as ongoing uncertainty and worries clouding the global economic outlook offset expectations of improving demand for the vegetable oil.
"The market is down a bit on the back of equities and euro zone problems," said a Kuala Lumpur-based trader. "Our local sentiment is quite strong -- there is strong demand.

Germany spoils outlook for EU rapeseed crop
HAMBURG, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Looming rapeseed crop failure in top European Union producer Germany is likely to tighten EU supplies despite more promising harvest outlooks in France and Britain, traders and analysts said on Thursday.
"The German crop outlook is going from bad to worse, and the failure is likely to be so large that EU production of rapeseed oil will be restricted, generating more imports," one rapeseed trader said.

Weather, USDA point to bigger US soy crop
CHICAGO, Aug 18 (Reuters) - A break in hot and dry weather in the U.S. Midwest grain belt, coupled with the historic trend in crop forecasts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, could spawn a bigger soybean crop than estimated by the USDA this month.
Prices of Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures  have risen more than 4 percent since USDA's surprise reduction of U.S. soybean yield by 4.6 percent, or 2 bushels, from its July forecast in the Aug. 11 supply-demand report.