Tuesday, August 23, 2011

20110823 1803 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3068, changed : +46 points, volume : higher.
Bollinger band reading : correction range bound little downside biased.
MACD Histrogram : rising, buyer testing market as seller leaving.
Support : 3050, 3020, 2970, 2930 level.
Resistance : 3070, 3100, 3150, 3200 level.
Comment :
FCPO ended recorded gains with better volume transaction while overnight soy oil closed higher and currently trading firmer while crude oil currently surging higher.
Higher soy oil price due to worries of lower crop due to rains missed over soybean planting area, China rising commodities imports on restocking for holidays festival and better global equity market lead FCPO price to trade higher.
Daily chart formed an up bar candle closed above middle Bollinger band level after market opened higher and edge upward towards the end to closed near the high of the day.
Technical reading turned to suggesting a correction range bound little downside biased market development possibly testing higher 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.

20110823 1748 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1486.5, changed : +9.5 points, volume : higher.
Bollinger band reading : correction range bound downside biased.
MACD Histrogram : recovering, seller closing position.
Support : 1485, 1470, 1458, 1445 level.
Resistance : 1500, 1515, 1530, 1540 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed recorded gains with getting better volume transacted doing 4 points premium compare to cash market that closed higher parring yesterday losses. Overnight U.S. market closed little higher and Asia markets ended mostly higher while European markets currently trading in positive territory.
Continue speculation play that the Federal Reserve will announce measures to shore up the U.S. recovery with QE3 lead regional market to trade higher.
Daily chart formed an up bar candle with small lower shadow positioned nearer to middle Bollinger band level after market opened little lower, moved downward tested near support level and surged higher breaking resistance level and closed near the high of the day.
Technical reading remained suggesting a correction range bound downside biased market development possibly testing higher 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.

20110823 1743 Regional Markets EOD Daily Chart Study.

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

20110823 1530 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Stocks, U.S. Futures Rise as Commodities Rally; Treasuries, Dollar Weaken (Source: Bloomberg)
Stocks and U.S. equity-index futures jumped, while commodities rallied for a third day on speculation the Federal Reserve will take steps to bolster the economy and after a gauge showed China’s manufacturing may have contracted at a slower pace. Treasuries and the dollar declined. The MSCI All-Country World Index increased 0.8 percent at 4:12 p.m. in Tokyo, halting a three-day retreat. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures added 1.5 percent. S&P’s GSCI Index of 24 raw materials headed for its first three-day rally since June 9, with oil jumping 1.3 percent in New York and copper gaining 1.4 percent. Treasury 10-year yields rose four basis points, while the dollar weakened against 15 of its 16 major peers.
The MSCI gauge of global equities is rebounding from the lowest level since September before central bankers meet this week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Last year, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s hint of a second round of asset purchases spurred a 28 percent jump in the S&P 500. Preliminary data showed an index of Chinese output may have climbed to 49.8 in August from 49.3 in July. Separate reports will probably show German manufacturing grew at a slower pace and U.S. home sales fell.

Asian shares edge up; gold rises again
SINGAPORE, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Asian shares rose  after modest gains on Wall Street, but remained deep in negative territory for the month, while gold hit another record above $1,910 an ounce as investors continued to fret about the health of the global economy.
"It suggests there's still plenty going on and it's business as usual," said Martin Angel, a dealer at Patersons Securities in Australia.

US new-crop corn hits contract high as ratings fall
SINGAPORE, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Chicago new-crop corn climbed to a contract high , while soybeans rose to a near one-month top as the condition of the U.S. corn and bean crops continued to slide, raising concerns over supplies.
"It is certainly providing some support for the grains markets led by corn," said Brett Cooper, a senior manager of markets at FCStone Australia. "But it is not a surprise as the crop ratings report has not done more than to confirm weather impact on yields."

US Midwest soy at risk of lower yields, too dry
CHICAGO, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Soybean and corn yield potential across the heart of the U.S. Midwest will likely face further losses if rains fail to come soon, a leading agricultural meteorologist said on Monday.
"The driest areas so far this month have stretched from southeast South Dakota, across southern Minnesota, the northern and eastern half of Iowa into central Illinois and southwest Indiana," John Dee, a private meteorologist closely watched by the U.S. grain trade, told the Reuters Global Ags Forum.

Scouts see South Dakota corn potential below 2010
GRAND ISLAND, Nebraska, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Corn yield projections in South Dakota fell 1.7 percent below 2010 forecasts due to a combination of late planting and scorching summer temperatures, scouts on an annual tour found on Monday.
Soybeans also were facing problems but fields in the northern areas of the state that were spared from some of the extreme July heat were faring better than ones in the southern portions of the state.

Mexico's sugar exports to fall from record high
MEXICO CITY, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Mexico's sugar exports to the United States reached a record this season but next year's harvest is expected to shrink due to drought, cutting exports by 14 percent, the head of the national sugar industry chamber said on Monday.
Exports will fall to 1.2 million tonnes in the 2011/12 cycle that begins in November after exporting 1.45 million tonnes in 2010/11, the chamber's director Juan Cortina told Reuters in an interview.

M&A in Brazil sugar cane sector passes peak
SAO PAULO, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Consolidation in Brazil's cane sector has crested, after the 2008 global financial crisis unleashed a wave of mergers and acquisitions in the world's largest sugar industry.
Despite a slowdown after the big deals of 2009 and 2010, milling groups have not announced new investments in greenfield projects. Analysts say new mill investments have to start now to be ready by 2014-15, when the current excess crushing capacity will be exhausted by expansion in the cane crop.

W.Canada harvest 7 pct done - Wheat Board
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Aug 22 (Reuters) - The harvest of all crops on the Canadian Prairies rose to 7 percent complete in the past week, but remains behind schedule, the Canadian Wheat Board said on Monday.
The harvest is normally 12 percent finished at this time of year, the Wheat Board said. Late planting and cool spring weather has delayed plant development this year.

Ohio corn potential seen variable; soy up from 2010
DEFIANCE, Ohio, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Corn yield prospects in northwest Ohio were highly variable and generally down from last year as planting delays and periods of sweltering heat that rushed crop development dragged down crop potential, scouts on an annual crop tour said on Monday.
But corn in west-central Ohio looked above-average.

Sun, rain mix to boost Ivorian cocoa crop hopes
ABIDJAN, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Ivorian cocoa farmers reported a healthy mix of rain and sun across most of the world's top grower last week, boding well for the 2011/12 main crop after this year's bumper harvest.
Farmers said they were happy as sunshine improved after several weeks of cloudy and cooler weather that had threatened the good growth of the crops during a key period for development ahead of the new season starting in October.

Canaplan takes lowest view yet of Brazil cane crop
BRASILIA, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Brazil's main cane growing region, the center-south, will produce 476 million tonnes of cane this season, the head of analyst Canaplan said Monday, the lowest estimate among any of the main local consultants.
The forecast for the now well-advanced harvest also represents a drop of 30 million tonnes from the analyst's previous estimate of 506 million tonnes, as yields from cane plants overdue renewal tail off sharply.

Brent rises toward $109 as fighting continues in Libya
SINGAPORE, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Brent crude rose toward $109  as fighting in Libya continued and in anticipation of a fall in U.S. crude stockpiles.
"It could take months before oil can start to flow again from Libya," said John Vautrain, a director at energy consulting firm Purvin & Gurtz.

Malaysia's Petronas to start $5.1 bln upstream gas project
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Malaysian state oil firm Petronas said on Tuesday it will develop the 15 billion ringgit ($5.1 billion) North Malay Basin project to develop gas and build a pipeline to transport it.
The project comprises nine discovered gas fields about 300 kilometers off the coast of the peninsula. Petronas will also develop a new 200 km pipeline to transport the gas.

Rails, not pipes, may balance distorted oil market
NEW YORK, Aug 23 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil shipments by railroad could help to end gaping price distortions in world oil markets faster than most traders have been expecting. Rail shipments of crude from the landlocked and oversupplied Midwest to refiners in the Gulf Coast appear set to surge next year, to nearly double the volume now flowing in congested pipelines between the regions.

LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - China's aluminium production dropped a gear in July, a development likely to exacerbate an evolving tightness in the domestic market.
Today's figures from the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNMIA) showed Chinese production slipping by an annualised 320,000 tonnes from June's record run-rate of 19.03 million tonnes.

Copper up on China Flash PMI, equities
SHANGHAI, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Copper rose , bolstered by gains in equities and by data showing China's factory output remains robust, but worries about global growth prospects continue to weigh on investor sentiment.
"I think base metals are mostly affected by today's HSBC Flash PMI, which is low but still better than many expected. This eases some fears of China's economy slowing down too fast," Jinrui Futures analyst Zhao Kai said.

Brazil mining investment jumps on metals demand
BRASILIA, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Surging investment in Brazil's mining sector will help the country to double iron ore output by 2015 and triple copper production in the same period, the head of Brazil's mining institute, Ibram, said on Monday.
Ibram expects Brazil's iron ore output to more than double to 772 million tonnes by 2015, from 372 million tonnes of the steel ingredient produced in 2010. That is well above the mining ministry's estimate for 585 million tonnes by 2015.

China July refined copper imports rise 8.8 pct on-month
HONG KONG, Aug 22 (Reuters) - China's imports of refined copper rose 8.8 percent to a six-month high in July on spot shipments booked in May and June.
Arrivals at the world's top copper consumer rose to 194,280 tonnes of refined copper in July, extending a 19.7 percent gain to 178,638 tonnes in June, a breakdown of the July data by the General Administration of Customs showed on Monday.

China, global steel output near record in July
LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Chinese and global steel production fell slightly from the previous month but remained near record levels in July, in what is usually a seasonally slower quarter and despite concerns that oversupply and the economic slowdown may weigh on prices.
Global crude steel production grew by 11.5 percent to  127.477 million tonnes in July, compared to the same month last year. That was not far off a record level of 129.865 million tonnes hit in April.

Gold climbs to record above $1,910 on growth fears
SINGAPORE, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Spot gold soared to an all-time high above $1,910 , scoring a record top for a fourth consecutive session, as persistent worries about global economic growth burnished bullion's safe-haven appeal.
"We are not hearing much good news out of Europe or the United States," said Darren Heathcote, head of trading at Investec Australia.

Record price to pinch India's festive gold demand
MUMBAI, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Record high prices could pinch gold demand in India, the world's biggest consumer, during the key festival buying season in September and October, but investment demand will help ensure record imports in 2011, the head of India's leading trade body told Reuters.    
"If prices stay at current levels, demand will be lower during the festival season. But if prices fall to 25,000 rupees (per 10 grams), then it will rise," Prithviraj Kothari, president of the Bombay Bullion Association, said in an interview on Monday.

Gold shines as Swiss franc's haven appeal dims
LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Moves by the Swiss National Bank to curb strength of the Swiss franc will fuel investors' insatiable demand for gold, adding to its relentless rise to new record highs as confidence in the franc as a safe store of value dwindles.
Analysts say this could help gold vault $2,000 an ounce within the coming weeks, with the potential for very large spikes if risk aversion on financial markets gains momentum.

Gold Tops $1,910 for First Time (Source: Bloomberg)
Gold advanced to an all-time high above $1,910 as investors sought to protect their wealth against financial turmoil amid speculation that the global economy is slowing. Platinum gained to the highest in more than three years. Bullion for immediate delivery rose as much as 0.8 percent to $1,913.50 an ounce before trading at $1,901.23 an ounce at 2:06 p.m. in Singapore. The metal is up 16.8 percent in August, heading for its best monthly performance since September 1999. Silver gained to the most expensive in more than three months. “Gold has continued to blast ahead even with a relatively strengthening U.S. dollar, strongly performing treasuries and other safe havens,” Peter Richardson, chief metals economist at Morgan Stanley Australia Ltd., said by phone from Melbourne. “All of that tells me that this is really all about preserving real purchasing-power.”

20110823 1110 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares edge up but growth fears propel gold
SINGAPORE, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Asian shares edged up on Tuesday after modest gains on Wall Street, but remained deep in negative territory for the month, while gold hit another record above $1,900 an ounce as investors continued to fret about the health of the global economy.
"We are not hearing much good news out of Europe or the United States," said Darren Heathcote, head of trading at Investec Australia.

Asian Stocks Climb, Copper Gains
Asian stocks climbed for the first time in four days, while copper paced gains among metals amid speculation the Federal Reserve will take steps to bolster the faltering U.S. economic recovery this week. Gold rallied to a fourth straight record and debt-default risk increased. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.4 percent at 11:19 a.m. in Tokyo. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.1 percent. Copper advanced 0.8 percent, wheat gained for a third day, while gold topped $1,910 an ounce for the first time. The Markit iTraxx Asia index, which tracks the cost of insuring the region’s bonds from default, headed for its highest close since May 2010.
Asian shares are rebounding from the lowest level since September 2010 before central bankers meet this week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s hint of a second round of asset purchases last year spurred a 28 percent rally in the S&P 500 that ended on April 29. Data may show German manufacturing grew at a slower pace and sentiment weakened, while U.S. home sales declined.

Brent crude slips as Libya oil restart eyed
NEW YORK, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Brent crude edged lower on Monday in choppy trading as investors hoped the process to restart oil exports from OPEC member Libya would begin soon as the country's six-month-old civil war neared an end.
"While the Libyan leadership could be in the state of flux for several more days or even a few weeks, developments thus far strongly suggest a return of Libyan exports to the global market place," Jim Ritterbusch, president at Ritterbusch & Associates in Galena, Illinois, said in a note.

S&P may upgrade Bolivia on oil, gas investments
NEW YORK, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Standard & Poor's on Monday said it may upgrade Bolivia's credit ratings if planned new oil and gas investments translate into stronger growth prospects for the country.
S&P revised to positive from stable the outlook on Bolivia's foreign-currency rating, just three months after raising it to B-plus. A positive outlook means an upgrade is possible in the next two years.

Libya's Ghanem says some oil output could restart soon
LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Libya will be able to restart some oil output soon, in a few months, although it will take as long as 18 months to reach the pre-war level, the country's former top oil official said on Monday.
Shokri Ghanem, who defected from the government of Muammar Gaddafi in May, also expressed hope in an interview with Reuters the country would move to a democratic future as Libyan rebels held much of the capital, Tripoli.

NYMEX-Natural gas ends down 1 pct as storm fears fade
NEW YORK, Aug 22 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended lower on Monday, as newly-formed Hurricane Irene looked set to steer clear of Gulf of Mexico gas production and moderate Northeast and Midwest temperatures continued to slow demand.
"Temps across the northern tier have moderated, and the storm (Irene) looks like it's going to miss the Gulf. I think prices are going to fall further, to a level where we pick up more market share," a Texas trader said, noting gas prices at $3.50 should draw more coal switching demand from utilities.

Euro Coal-Prices flat despite oil's moves
LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - European coal prices ended little changed on Monday despite a more than 1 percent fall in Brent crude, utilities and traders said.
"The Indians have been much more lively as buyers than they had been for a few months but they still don't like prices of over $100 a tonne for South African," one major South African exporter said.

COMMODITIES-Brent oil down on Libya restart hope, gold surges
NEW YORK/LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Brent crude fell on Monday on hopes Libya would soon resume oil output after rebels entered Tripoli, while gold hit another record as global economic worries spurred safe-haven buying.
"Gold is driven by the expectation that at some point inflation will come back, and a continuation of people looking for a safe haven beside just the U.S. Treasury bonds," said Leo Larkin, metals equity analyst at Standard & Poor's.

20110823 1056 Local & Global Economic Related News.

Bank Negara Malaysia's (BNM) international reserves totalled RM411.6bn (US$136.1bn)  as at 15 Aug 2011, up slightly from RM409.6bn (US$135.4bn) as at 29 July 2011. The  reserves position is sufficient to finance 9.6 months of retained imports and is 4.5 times the  short-term external debt. (BNM)

PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday launched two key initiatives to enable scholars  sponsored by the Public Service Department (PSD) to play a key role in driving the nation's  transformation. The two initatives -- Talent  Acceleration in Public Service (TAPS) and  Scholarship Talent Attraction and Retention (STAR) -- were developed to provide  scholars with attractive opportunities to build their careers in priority areas of the  Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and Economic Transformation Programme  (ETP) upon their graduation.

  • TAPS is a collaborative initiative led by the PSD with the Razak School of Government  (RSOG) and Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad (TalentCorp).   
  • Under TAPS, top PSD scholars would be assigned to senior civil servants who will act as  their mentors. The first batch of this programme would involve 40 top scholars and  commence in Oct this year.   
  • Other scholars not selected for the public sector,  Najib said, would participate in the  STAR programme -- an initiative between the PSD and TalentCorp to serve their bonds  by working in leading companies to drive the ETP.  
  • To date, STAR has attracted more than 50 participating organisations including Bank  Negara Malaysia, Khazanah Nasional, Intel, Shell Malaysia, Maxis, PwC, CIMB Bank  and Teach for Malaysia. (Bernama)  

U.S. economic conditions improved slightly in Jul, amid a pickup in industrial and  manufacturing production, according to report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.  The Chi Fed's National Activity Index narrowed to -0.06 in Jul (-0.38 in Jun). Economists  expected a reading of -0.48 in Jul. (CNBC, Bloomberg)  

U.S. mortgages delinquencies rose to the highest level in a year in 2Q as homeowners  who lost jobs were unable to make their payments. The delinquency rate for all mortgages  rose to 8.44% in 2Q (8.32% in 1Q). (Bloomberg)  

U.S. inventory of homes in foreclosure fell to 4.43% in 2Q from 4.52% in 1Q, the second  consecutive quarterly decline, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s report.  (Bloomberg)  

Hong Kong's consumer price index (CPI) surged to 7.9% yoy in Jul (+5.6% in Jun), the city's statistics department said. The jump was mainly due to the low base of comparison  resulted from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government's payment of  public housing rentals in last Jul. (Xinhua)  

Thailand’s economic expansion unexpectedly slowed last quarter after the earthquake in  Japan disrupted trade and as faltering recoveries in the U.S. and Europe cloud the outlook  for global growth. Gross domestic product rose 2.6% yoy in 2Q (+3.2% in 1Q), the National  Economic and Social Development Board said. Economists expected a reading of 3.6%.  (Bloomberg)  

Brent oil fell in London, narrowing its record  premium to West Texas Intermediate  (WTI), the main U.S. grade, on speculation that an end to Muammar Qaddafi’s rule in Libya  will lead to a recovery in the nation’s crude production. Brent oil was at a premium of  US$24.55 to WTI, the grade traded in New York, down from a record US$26.21 at  settlement on 19 Aug. (Bloomberg)  

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has expressed confidence that a total of 1.4m  Chinese tourists will come to Thailand throughout this year, thanks to the economic  recovery. (Thai Financial Post)  

The  National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) has reduced the  2011  gross domestic product (GDP) growth projection to 3.5-4.0% (3.5-4.5%  previously estimated in May 11) due to the oil price and global economic situation. The  maximum inflation estimate has been increased from 3.8% to 4% due to expected rising oil  price. (Thai Financial Post)

20110823 1054 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

Mudajaya Group has a signed a subcontract agreement  worth RM720m with CMC  Machipex Sdn Bhd to design and construct the balance of plant component of Manjung No.  4 power plant project. The project works started on June 6 this year and is expected to be  completed by Nov 2013, Mudajaya said yesterday. (BT)

Petronas Dagangan (PetDag), the best-performing stock in Malaysia’s benchmark index  this year, plans to extend its reach in Southeast Asia after making its first overseas venture  into Indonesia.

  • The retail arm of  Petronas is “always looking for acquisitions” and is particularly interested in the oil & gas product markets in the Philippines and Thailand, said CEO  Amir Hamzah Azizan. The company also wouldn’t rule out the option of acquiring sister  company PT Petronas Niaga Indonesia, which runs 19 petrol stations in Indonesia.  “Indonesia is a big market,” said Amir. “We have just scratched the surface of it. I am  hopeful that we can get a bit more growth on the volume”.   
  • The company’s newly introduced dividend policy of paying about  55% of its profits as  bonus to shareholders on a quarterly basis is “sustainable” in view of its growth prospect.  “Because the returns are sustainable and fairly predictable, that’s no reason why I would  need to wait until the end of the year to declare dividends,” he said. The company had  cash of more than RM900m at the end-Jun. (Bloomberg)  

Kuala Lumpur Kepong plans to sell as much as RM300m of bonds through a program.  CIMB Investment Bank Bhd. and Maybank Investment Bank Bhd. will be principal advisers  for the sale, KL Kepong said. The issue was assigned an AA1 long-term rating by RAM  Ratings Services Bhd., it said. (Bloomberg)

Malaysia’s  palm oil  exports rose 14% in the first 20 days of August compared with the  previous month, estimated Societe Generale de Surveillance, an independent cargo  surveyor. A total of 1,171,327 metric tons of palm oil were tracked Aug. 1-20, SGS said.  Malaysia exported 1,028,352 tons of palm oil during the same period in July, according to  the surveyor. (Bloomberg)  

Indonesia kept the tax rate for crude palm oil exports for September at 15% and kept the  duty for cocoa bean at 10%, Deddy Saleh, director general for foreign trade at the Trade  Ministry, said. The base price for calculating the levy exporters must pay on crude palm oil  was cut to $1,013 a ton from $1,017 a ton. For cocoa beans the base  price was cut to  $2,673 a ton from $2,791, Saleh added. (Bloomberg)  

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is considering delaying its membership with global airline group  Oneworld and deliveries of the super airliner Airbus A380 as its new management focuses  on cutting losses, which spiked in 2Q11.

  • The exco are looking at their options of delaying the alliance with Oneworld because it  will cost money to provide interlining services and also upgrade the lounges to their  standards. It is understood that a cause of concern is MAS’ sponsor to join oneworld,  Qantas, which recently announced it wants to set up two new airlines in Asia.  
  • The A380 deliveries have been delayed since 2008 but the exco is concerned if it can  make money for MAS. (Malaysian Insider)    

Maxis  aims to work closely with the Multimedia Development  Corp to establish joint  programmes to promote adoption of cloud computing services for independent software  vendors. Maxis senior VP of business services, Fitri  Abdullah said the collaboration will  accelerate the adoption of cloud technology by software vendors and businesses. (BT)    

CIMB has been handpicked to join the fray of global investment banks mandated for the  English Premier League champions  Manchester United’s listing exercise across the  Causeway.

  • The Glazer family has hired CIMB, BOC International,  DBS and pan-Asian investment  bank CLSA as joint lead managers. (Malaysian Reserve)    

RHB Bank Singapore  has won a three-year tender from  Changi Airport Group to  operate half of the currency exchange counters in the airport. (Bernama)

Total vehicle sales fell for the third consecutive month in July, slipping 6% to 50,252 units  from 53,483 units recorded in the same month last year, but jumped by 20% or 8,462 units  compared with the previous month. (Star Biz)

Prasarana  will continue to manage all issues relating to MRT  until the establishment of  MRT Co. "Works on the MRT project need continue...it is only rational that we carry on with  all the works and programmes that were decided before we officially hand it over to the  new MRT Co." Grp MD Shahril Mokhtar said. MRT Co. is now a new partner to work with  Prasarana on the MRT. (Financial Daily)    

AEON invested up to RM55m to renovate its Jusco Bandar Utama store, which took over a  year to complete. (Bernama)  

ExxonMobil’s sale of its 65% stake in Esso Malaysia to San Miguel is conditional upon  approvals from the Ministry of International Trade  and Industry, the Ministry of Domestic  Trade, Cooperate and Consumerism and Securities Commission. (Star Biz)  

Bina Puri has launched a reverse take-over on ACE Market-listed Oriented Media Group  via the injection of asset from an Indonesian power generation company. (Star Biz)  

IJM Plantations will be investing RM1bn in oil palm plantations in Indonesia over the next  three years. It has identified three sites in east Kalimantan and one in Sumatra. (Star Biz)  

Prestariang Bhd has been appointed by the Higher Education Ministry to undertake the  “1Citizen Certification” training and certification programme in all public and selected  private higher learning institutions.

  • Total cost of the programme is RM28m for 80,000 students, or at RM350 per student  over a duration of two years from the date of acceptance of the letter of award from the  ministry at RM14mper annum. (BT)     

Manchester United (MU) will sign a sponsorship deal with Mamee Double Decker next  month. The tie-up is with Mister Potato which will allow the use of MU’s Red Devil logo and  images of star players. (Bloomberg).  

Tune Hotels is adding its 10 th  property to its portfolio in Malaysia with the opening of its  latest hotel in Kulim, Kedah next month. (Malaysian Reserve)

July vehicle sales down again
Total vehicle sales fell for the third consecutive month in July, slipping 6% to 50,252 units from 53,483 units recorded in July last year but jumped by 20% compared to last month. Sales volume for the seven-month period declined to 347,455 units from 354,598 units over the same period last year. Sales of passenger vehicles in July slipped to 44,835 units from 48,144 in July last year while sales of commercial vehicles were up to 5,417 units from 5,339 units. Total vehicle production dropped to 49,270 units from 53,629 units in July last year. (StarBiz)

Aeon: Upbeat on 'new' Jusco at 1Utama. Aeon Co (M) Bhd expects the newly renovated and relocated Jusco store in 1Utama Shopping Centre to ring in more sales than previously. The Japan-based retailer is optimistic that it will make RM300m within a year from yesterday. It had made over RM200m in a year previously. (Source: Business Times)

20110823 1022 Global Market Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS - Stocks near 11-mth low on recession fears
LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - World stocks fell towards a recent 11-month low while the euro and oil prices slipped as concerns about a global economic downturn prompted investors to sell risky assets.
"Markets run on two emotions -- fear and greed, and we have switched to the fear emotion in recent weeks. Recession fears are major concerns for investors and we have seen a lot of economic indicators slowing quite substantially," said Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.  

Asian Stocks Climb as Exporters Rise (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks rose for the first time in four days as exporters climbed on speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve will announce additional measures to shore up the recovery in the world’s largest economy. Samsung Electronics Co., South Korea’s biggest exporter of consumer electronics, gained 2.5 percent in Seoul. Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the carmaker that gets 28 percent of sales from North America, rose 1.2 percent in Tokyo. Canon Inc., the world’s largest camera-maker, added 1.3 percent. Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia’s No. 1 gold producer, climbed 2.3 percent in Sydney after the price of the precious metal extended its rally to a record.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.5 percent to 118.90 as 9:28 a.m. in Tokyo, with about three stocks rising for every two that fell. Global equities erased more than $8 trillion in market value in the past four weeks. Investors dumped stocks after reports showed the world’s biggest economy is slowing, sparking speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin a third-round of asset purchases to shore up the recovery.

Obama Seeks Buffett’s Counsel On Spurring U.S. Investment, Economic Growth (Source: Bloomberg)
President Barack Obama called billionaire Warren Buffett today as he’s preparing a speech to lay out initiatives aimed at boosting job creation and economic growth, Josh Earnest, an administration spokesman, said. Obama called the chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), who has served as an informal adviser to the president, to discuss the state of the economy and measures that could be taken to encourage investment, Earnest said. The president also talked with Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally about developments in the automotive and manufacturing sectors of the economy. “The president and Mr. Buffett discussed the overall outlook on the economy and the reaction to the headwinds we’ve experienced over the last couple of months,” Earnest said. “They talked a little bit about some possible measures that would spur investment and increase economic growth and they also talked about some measures that could address the long term fiscal situation in this country.”

Pickup in Industrial Output Buoyed U.S. in July, Chicago Fed’s Gauge Shows (Source: Bloomberg)
A pickup in industrial production helped keep the U.S. economy from weakening further in July, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago gauge today. The Chicago Fed national index, a weighted average of 85 economic indicators, improved to minus 0.06 in July from minus 0.38 a month earlier. The three-month average increased to minus 0.29 from June’s minus 0.54. Readings less than zero indicate “below-trend” growth in the national economy, and the gauge has been negative for four straight months. “The message it’s flashing is you’d better be more worried about weak growth and deflation than the opposite,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at Maria Fiorini Ramirez Inc. in New York.

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.”

Goldman Cuts U.S. Full-Year Growth Forecast on Signs Recovery Has Stalled (Source: Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) lowered its forecast for U.S. economic growth in 2011 on signs the recovery in the world’s largest economy lost momentum. The U.S. will expand 1.5 percent this year, down from a previous forecast of 1.7 percent, Goldman economists in New York including Jan Hatzius said in a note published on Aug. 19. Credit Suisse was also among banks lowering growth forecasts this month. Federal Reserve surveys showed manufacturing in Philadelphia and New York contracted in August, while a Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment plunged to a three-decade low. Goldman’s change comes amid a monthlong drop in global equities and as Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke prepares to speak at the bank’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming this week.

Most U.S. Stocks Decline as Goldman Sachs Tumbles; Treasuries, Crude Drop (Source: Bloomberg)
Most U.S. stocks fell after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)’s decline in the last 15 minutes of trading wiped out the day’s second Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rally, overshadowing gains by technology shares. Goldman Sachs slumped 4.7 percent to the lowest level since March 2009 after Reuters said Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein hired a defense attorney. The company confirmed the report after the close of trading. Bank of America Corp. (BAC) retreated 7.9 percent, the most in the S&P 500, amid concern about the lender’s capital raising plans. Computer stocks in the S&P 500 added 0.7 percent, including Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ)’s 3.6 percent advance following last week’s 27 percent plunge.
About 10 stocks fell for every nine that rose on U.S. exchanges at 4 p.m. in New York. The S&P 500 added less than 0.1 percent to 1,123.82 today. The benchmark gauge rallied as much as 2 percent, and posted an advance of 1.1 percent about three hours before markets closed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 37 points, or 0.3 percent, to 10,854.65.

Japanese Stocks Rise First Day in Five on U.S. Economic Report (Source: Bloomberg)
Japanese stocks rose for the first time in five days as a pickup in U.S. industrial production helped keep the world’s biggest economy from weakening further, boosting the earnings outlook for Asia’s exporters. Honda Motor Co., a carmaker that gets more than 80 percent of its revenue outside of Japan, rose 0.9 percent. Canon Inc. (7751), the world’s largest camera-maker, gained 0.9 percent. Kyocera Corp., a maker of solar panels, advanced 1.2 percent. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1 percent to 8,711.24 as of 9:03 a.m. in Tokyo.
The broader Topix index gained 0.8 percent to 748.76. “Risk aversion came to a halt in the U.S. and European markets yesterday,” said Ryuta Otsuka, a strategist at Toyo Securities Co. in Tokyo. “Stocks are likely to be bought as valuations and technical indicators indicate they have been oversold.” The relative strength index for the Nikkei 225 (NKY) declined to 24.10 yesterday. Some traders use a reading below 30 as an indicator to buy and see it as a sign asset prices are poised to reverse course.

Hong Kong’s Inflation May Boost Recession Risk (Source: Bloomberg)
Hong Kong’s inflation surged to the fastest pace since 1995, encouraging workers to press for higher pay even as the economy teeters on the edge of recession. The consumer price index rose 7.9 percent from a year earlier after a 5.6 percent increase in June, the government reported on its website yesterday. Excluding distortions caused by a public housing subsidy, prices rose 5.8 percent. Hong Kong’s economy will shrink again this quarter after a contraction in the three months through June that was caused by an export slowdown, Morgan Stanley and Daiwa Capital Markets say. Wage increases may add to pressure on companies’ profit margins as businesses including McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) report that they are already grappling with increased rent and material costs.

South Korean Won Strengthens on Fed Stimulus Speculation; Bonds Decline (Source: Bloomberg)
South Korea’s won rose for a second day on speculation the Federal Reserve will introduce additional stimulus measures to sustain a U.S. recovery, possibly involving asset purchases that boost the supply of dollars. The Fed will hold its annual symposium at Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Aug. 26. The Federal Open Market Committee said it is “prepared to employ” additional tools to bolster the economy on Aug. 9, indicating further economic stimulus policies are being considered. The Kospi Index rose for the first time in four days. “Expectations that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will announce some kind of market-supportive policy is boosting the won,” said Kim Jin Ju, a currency dealer at Korea Exchange Bank. “South Korea’s external debt data due today may affect market sentiment.”

Thailand Stocks No Longer Cheap After Overtaking Peers, Credit Suisse Says (Source: Bloomberg)
Thai stocks are “no longer cheap” after gains eliminated the nation’s long-standing discount to its peers, Credit Suisse Group AG said. “Valuations have played a large role in Thailand’s outperformance since 2009,” Dan Fineman and Siriporn Sothikul, analysts at Credit Suisse, wrote in a report dated today. “Without the discount, the market loses a big catalyst.” The analysts said they don’t expect buying momentum to deliver more than another 5 percent outperformance. “We suspect that some of the money entering Thailand is from funds without Thailand in their benchmarks taking non-index positions. This money could prove flighty.”

European Failure to Solve Region’s Banking Crisis Returns to Haunt Markets (Source: Bloomberg)
Four years to the month since the global credit crisis began, European lenders remain dependent on central bank aid, plaguing markets and economies worldwide. Emergency steps such as unlimited loans from the European Central Bank are keeping many banks in Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain solvent and greasing the lending of others, while low interest rates and debt-buying are containing borrowing costs. Such aid is needed as concerns about slowing economic growth and sovereign debt prompt banks to curb lending, stockpile dollars and hoard cash in safe havens. “I’m not sleeping at night,” said Charles Wyplosz, director of the Geneva-based International Center for Money and Banking Studies. “We have moved into a new phase of crisis.”

European Banks Must Pay Up to Borrow $100 Billion Amid Crisis: Euro Credit (Source: Bloomberg)
European banks with more than $100 billion of cash to raise by year-end will have to pay up because investors perceive them as the worst credits they’ve ever been. The cost of insuring the senior and junior bonds of 25 banks and insurers doubled since April, according to the Markit iTraxx Financial indexes of credit-default swaps. The Euribor- OIS spread, a gauge of banks’ reluctance to lend to each other, reached the widest since April 2009 this month, while the cost for European banks to fund in dollars matched a 2 1/2-year high. “This return of generalized banking risk marks a new phase in the unfolding European drama,” said Lisa Hintz, an analyst in New York at Capital Markets Research Group, a unit of ratings firm Moody’s Investors Service. “Investors have heightened concerns about sovereign and financial institution risk.”

Merkel Says She Will Resist Market Pressure for Common Euro-Region Bonds (Source: Bloomberg)
The U.S. Treasury Department faces legal issues that must be addressed before Libya’s $37 billion in frozen assets can be unblocked, a department official said. Last month’s U.S. recognition of Libya’s Transitional National Council as the country’s governing authority helped pave the way toward making some of the assets available to the rebels’ governing group, the official said today by e-mail. Still, there remain legal issues that must be addressed before any assets are unblocked, the official said, requesting anonymity for lack of authorization to speak on the matter publicly. The official said today that talks with the Transitional National Council are continuing, without specifying what legal issues are involved. Since February, the U.S. has frozen $37 billion in assets of Muammar Qaddafi’s regime, according to the Treasury Department official.

Italy’s Debt Burden May Balloon as Austerity Smothers Growth: Euro Credit (Source: Bloomberg)
Italy’s austerity drive, enacted in exchange for European Central Bank bond purchases driving down borrowing costs, may backfire as it chokes the economic growth needed to ease Europe’s second-biggest debt burden. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Cabinet approved 45.5 billion euros ($66 billion) in deficit reductions in Rome on Aug. 12, the nation’s second austerity package in a month, to balance the budget in 2013 and convince investors that Italy can trim debt of about 120 percent of gross domestic product. That’s the biggest ratio in Europe after Greece, whose fiscal woes sparked the sovereign crisis last year. While the back-to-back packages aim to eliminate Italy’s budget gap, spending cuts and tax increases risk damaging the economy at a time when the global recovery is stumbling. The measures, already in effect, require parliamentary approval that starts today as Senate committees review the law before both houses vote in September.

Euro Holds Decline Versus Dollar Before Manufacturing, Confidence Reports (Source: Bloomberg)
The euro held yesterday’s decline versus the dollar before reports that economists said will show manufacturing growth slowed and investor confidence slid in Germany, Europe’s largest economy. The yen fell against most major peers as Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said excessive movements in the yen can hurt the nation’s recovery, raising prospects officials will act to curb gains. The greenback gained against New Zealand’s dollar before Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke speaks Aug. 26 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, amid speculation he will signal additional steps to bolster the U.S. economy. “The market’s consensus is that the economic outlook in the region will deteriorate,” Toshiya Yamauchi, a senior currency analyst in Tokyo at Ueda Harlow Ltd., said about the euro area. “It won’t help stock prices stabilize, and the market may lean toward risk aversion."

European Shares Advance, Rebounding From Two-Year Low; Eni Gains on Libya (Source: Bloomberg)
European stocks rebounded from a two-year low amid speculation the Federal Reserve may this week signal additional stimulus measures and as prospects for an end to the war in Libya boosted energy companies. Eni SpA (ENI) and Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) led a rally in oil companies, both rising more than 3 percent. Petropavlovsk Plc (POG) jumped 6.2 percent as Citigroup Inc. upgraded the gold producer and the precious metal advanced to an all-time high. Jyske Bank A/S dropped 7.6 percent as earnings missed estimates. The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.8 percent to 224.9 at the 4:30 p.m. close in London, having earlier lost the same amount. The gauge retreated 6.1 percent last week, extending its decline from this year’s high to 23 percent, as European and U.S. economic data that trailed forecasts added to concern the global recovery is at risk. The retreat has left the Stoxx 600 trading at about 9.3 times its companies’ estimated earnings, near the lowest since March 2009, Bloomberg data show.

Australia, Kiwi Dollars Weaken on Signs Global Economy Is Losing Momentum (Source: Bloomberg)
The Australian and New Zealand dollars declined against most of their major counterparts as signs that the global economy is losing momentum reduced demand for higher-yielding assets. The Aussie snapped a two-day gain versus the greenback before reports today forecast to show American home sales fell and European manufacturing contracted. New Zealand’s dollar lost the most among the 10 currencies tracked by Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes before a Reserve Bank report on the two-year outlook for the nation’s inflation. “Investor sentiment is more inclined to pessimism, which is weighing on the Australian and New Zealand currencies,” said Takuya Kawabata, a researcher in Tokyo at Gaitame.com Research Institute Ltd., a unit of Japan’s largest foreign-exchange margin company.

All Latin America GDP Growth Forecasts Cut Except Chile by Morgan Stanley (Source: Bloomberg)
Morgan Stanley cut its forecast for Latin American economic growth this year and next, saying the region is “unlikely to be spared” from a global slowdown. The region’s economies will expand 3.6 percent next year from a previous forecast of 4.6 percent, as slower growth in Europe and the U.S. takes its toll on demand for the region’s commodities, Morgan Stanley’s chief Latin America economist, Gray Newman, said in an e-mailed report. “An extended bout of weakness in the developed world is likely to see both Chinese exports and import demand soften and with that commodity prices, which have underpinned Latin America’s era of abundance,” the report said. “Ultimately, we concluded that Latin America would unlikely be spared.”

20110823 1020 Global Commodities Related News.

Corn (Source: CME)
US corn futures end higher on worries about the US crop outside market support. Ongoing worries about a disappointing US crop underpin the market, despite lackluster demand internationally and domestically. Analysts said corn also had support from outside macro markets, including equities. Added that corn prices have held firm on crop woes even when broader markets have fallen in recent weeks. CBOT Sep corn ends up 9 1/2c, or 1.3%, to $7.20 1/2 a bushel. Dec contract set a new contract high, ending up 9 1/4 cents to $7.34 1/2.

Wheat (Source: CME)
US wheat futures end mostly higher amid outside market support. Markets got a boost from equities and a rally in corn, analysts say. Recent upswing has prompted technical buying, traders add. Minneapolis market closed slightly lower, however, in a correction from sharp gains Friday amid worries about the spring wheat crop. Sep CBOT wheat ends up 4 3/4c to $7.35 1/2 a bushel, at a two-month high, while Sep KCBT wheat closes up 2 3/4c to $8.21 3/4. MGEX Sep wheat down 2c to $9.43 1/4.

Rice (Source: CME)
US rice futures end higher, bouncing back from losses last week as worries about US supplies underpin. The market fell last week amid profit-taking, coming off a 2 1/2-year high earlier in the month. A scorching summer has hurt the US crop this year and supported prices. Market also supported today by stronger equities and gains in other commodities. Sep CBOT rice ends up 1.3%, or 22 1/2c, to $16.97 a hundredweight.

Russia Harvests 55.9 Mln Tons Grain To August 21 (Source: CME)
Russia harvested 55.9 million metric tons of grain to Aug. 21, which is 15.5 million tons more than on the same date last year, the Agriculture Ministry reported Monday. The grain was harvested on 20.8 million hectares, or 47.2% of the total area, with the average yield of 2.69 tons a hectare, compared with 2.08 tons a hectare a year ago. The government expects this year's harvest at 90 million tons. Last year's harvest fell to 60.9 million tons from 97.1 million tons in 2009 due to the summer drought.

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.  
"August is an important month for soybeans and people are looking at the crop tour after which we will have a better idea about yields."

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.  

Kazakh AgMin forecasts higher 2011/12 grain exports
ASTANA, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Major wheat exporter Kazakhstan expects to increase its grain export potential by around 70 percent in the current marketing year on the back of a bigger harvest, the country's agriculture minister said on Monday.
"Our export potential, I think, will be more than 10 million tonnes of grain," Asylzhan Mamytbekov told reporters, referring to the crop marketing year that runs from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012.

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.

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.

Bumper Ukrainian, Russian wheat exports expected
KIEV/MOSCOW, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Ukraine and Russia, top wheat exporters in the Black Sea region, are ready to shake the global market with bumper wheat shipments, which could soar to 25-30 million tonnes in 2011/12, analysts said.
Ukraine, which exported about 4 million tonnes of wheat in 2010/11, plans to boost exports to 9.7 million in 2011/12. Russia analysts expect it to export over 20 million tonnes of wheat this season, up from 3.4 million shipped in 2010/11 before the government banned exports from mid-August 2010 to July 1 due to a severe drought.

Rains to sweep through Midwest and help crops
CHICAGO, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Rain will sweep through most of the U.S. Midwest corn and soybean growing region this weekend and again next week, providing much-needed moisture for the filling corn crop and pod-setting soybeans, an agricultural meteorologist said Friday.
"There are two systems, one this weekend and the other at mid-week, and combined they will provide about 0.50 to 1.00 inch in about 80 percent of the Midwest, favoring the south," said John Dee, meteorologist with Global Weather Monitoring.

Romania 2011 wheat crop up 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, up 26 percent from 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.
"This has been a very good year, with average yields rising to 3.65 tonnes per hectare. We also eye a very good season in terms of exports," a farm ministry official handling crop data told Reuters.

China July Commodity Imports Rise On Restocking, Holiday Buys (Source: CME)
China's commodity imports mostly rose in July, as lower prices in preceding months, holiday demand and restocking needs fueled buying last month. Finalized data released Monday by China's customs officials largely confirmed a preliminary sketch issued earlier this month that depicted a surge in import appetite that helped take the country's trade surplus higher than market expectations. Edible oil imports posted sizable increases, as festival consumption buoyed purchases. Soyoil imports rose 72% on year to 259,364 metric tons, while palm oil imports were up 11% on year to 511,794 tons, customs data showed. "In the case of palm oil, inventories have been relatively low and there was also the expectation that consumption would be higher ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival," said Xiao Jun, analyst with Shanghai JC Intelligence Co.
Soyoil imports from Argentina also appeared to have recovered, with July shipments rising nearly 100 times over last year to 49,722 tons, after Buenos Aires moved to smooth a bilateral trade dispute over anti-dumping measures in which Beijing had cut off Argentinian soyoil. However, there were signs that China may already have found a new supplier in Brazil. Brazil's soyoil exports to China in the first seven months reached 331,638 tons, up 14% on year and nearly double that of Argentina's export volume in the same period. In comparison, in 2009, before Argentina's trade spat with China, Argentina accounted for 76% of the Chinese soyoil import market, while Brazil accounted for just 21%. While Monday's data confirmed a strong increase in soybean imports, corn imports in July fell 11% on year to 172,623 tons. However, all the corn shipments were from the U.S., likely part of a series of bookings this year by Chinese official stockpilers that have exceeded 1 million tons.
In metals, key imports rose strongly, aided by global price disparities. Refined copper imports were up 9% from a month earlier to 194,280 tons, its second highest monthly level this year. "In mid-May, an arbitrage window had opened which encouraged importers to ship [copper] to Shanghai," Shanghai Cifco analyst Fang Junfeng said, referring to relatively lower London copper prices at the time. Reflecting data earlier this month for imports of copper and copper products, imports of the refined metal also fell in the January-July period, down 28% to 1.28 million tons.

Voracious China Still Struggling To Stand On Its Own Two Feet (Source: CME)
Beijing's hopes for food self-sufficiency may prove little more than a pipe dream as growing pressures on China's water system limit its agricultural potential. China's influence on world food markets has grown steadily in recent years as consumption has increased, driven by population growth and a growing taste for more Westernized diets by the country's expanding middle class. The Asian giant caused ripples in world grain markets by becoming a net importer of corn for the first time in 15 years last season and analysts expect its sugar imports could rise by 50% in the 2011-12 crop year due to growing demand for sweet foods and drinks. But now experts warn that China's increasingly intensive farming practices--driven by the government's attempts to contain spiralling food-price inflation--are causing long-term damage to the country's water resources, leaving Beijing's goal of food self-sufficiency even further out of reach.
"China's trying as hard as they can to be food self-sufficient, but there are likely  to be some years where they can't do that," said David Molden, the deputy director general of research for the International Water Management Institute. "Looking at their water system 30 years down the line, I'm a little doubtful." Already the strain on China's agricultural system is showing. This year the government was forced to take the unprecedented step of releasing water from the Three Gorges reservoir after the worst drought in 50 years reduced parts of the Yangtze, Asia's biggest river, to a mere trickle.
In a new report with the United Nations Environment Programme, the IWMI warns that such problems could become even more widespread as harmful agricultural practices sap groundwater stores in the world's key breadbaskets--including the North China Plains, the Indian Punjab and western U.S. The report estimates that there are currently 1.6 billion people living in areas of water scarcity and this will "easily grow to 2 billion soon if we stay on the present course." And with climate change putting growing pressure on productivity and the world's population expected to top 9 billion people by 2050, IWMI forecasts that global crop yields may fall 5% to 25% short of demand over the next 40 years. "If we continue our present practices, 70% more food equates to using 70% more water," said Mr. Molden. "At some point there will be a point of reckoning. I think we're already coming close to that in all three places."
Instead, he argues for a more unified approach to managing ecosystems, incorporating links between agriculture and the wider landscape, re-using waste products and improving coordination with other sectors to improve the sustainability of food systems. And despite Beijing's goal to become self-sufficient in food, China is likely to become ever more reliant on international markets, said Mr. Molden. "China will have to rely on some kind of weather insurance in the trade system," he said.

Australian Wheat Shipments at 2004 High Easing Shortages: Freight Markets (Source: Bloomberg)
Australia may displace the European Union as the world’s second-biggest wheat shipper as cargoes jump to an eight-year high, easing a shortage that drove global food costs to a record. The country may export about 18 million metric tons in the 12 months from October, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of eight analysts and traders. That’s 1 million tons more than predicted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the most since 2004 based on that data. Prices may decline to $6.90 a bushel by the end of December from $7.66 now, the median of the estimates showed. Wheat declined 16 percent since February as farmers planted more crops in response to prices that rose 47 percent last year. Extra supply is also coming from Russia, once the fourth-biggest shipper, which resumed sales last month after an almost year- long ban imposed as drought ruined crops. Australia’s harvest, which starts in October, is being closely watched because the USDA is still forecasting a supply shortage globally.

Corn Rises to 10-Week High, Soybeans Gain on Dry Weather in U.S. Midwest (Source: Bloomberg)
Corn futures rose to a 10-week high and soybeans gained on speculation that recent rains in the U.S. Midwest weren’t enough to ease dry conditions and abate damage to yields. Parts of southern Minnesota, northern Iowa and west-central Illinois have had less than 25 percent of normal rainfall since Aug. 1, Allen Motew, a meteorologist with QT Weather in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. The region had “virtually no” rain from storms over the weekend that brought as much as 1.25 inches (3.2 centimeters) to parts of southern Wisconsin, northeast Illinois and Michigan, Motew said. “The rain amounts were lighter than expected on Friday, with the coverage area maybe just about 35 percent,” Greg Grow, the director of agribusiness at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said by telephone. “The areas that needed rain most stayed dry.”

Heat, Asia Stir Rice Market (Source: CME)
Rice prices aren't out of steam, even after surging 30% this summer. Starting in July, futures have soared. They recently approached three-year highs, as excessive heat threatened the crop in the southern U.S., fueling concern that the autumn harvest would fall short of expectations. A further push came from Thailand and India, major exporters of the grain, where government policies increasingly favor keeping rice at home, rather than exporting it to the global market. Yet prices likely haven't peaked. A poor fall harvest in the U.S. and continued constraints on Asian exports have analysts predicting that rice could climb 15% more before the end of the year. The September futures contract for rough rice are trading near $17 per 100 pounds at the Chicago Board of Trade. "There's definitely a chance to run it to $20 and maybe even a little higher," says Jack Scoville, vice president for Price Futures Group, a commodities brokerage in Chicago.
Still, prices remain well below the 2008 record of nearly $25, unlike in the much larger market for U.S. corn, which reached all-time highs in June. The prices of the two grains often hinge on different dynamics. Rice is tied closely to the economic climate in Asia. Because of that, it has avoided some of the pressure from concerns about an economic slowdown in the U.S. and Europe because the outlook for Asian nations appears more stable, says Milo Hamilton, president of firstgrain.com, a rice-market advisory service. "Rice sort of marches to an Asian drum in the longer term, and not to a European and American drum," he says. However, political moves in Asia are contributing to global supply concerns. Thailand, the world's top rice exporter, is expected to raise the price at which it purchases rice from farmers to fill government reserves. The increase likely will curb exports; the Thai government's guaranteed price is above current market prices.
Exports from India have been hampered, as well. The government there set a high minimum price for exports of non-basmati rice, so growers have exported only about a third of the quantity that's allowed. "The market had been anticipating that India was going to start exporting non-basmati rice. So far, it hasn't really shown up," says Bill Nelson, analyst for Doane Advisory Services, a St. Louis-based agricultural advisory firm.

ICE sugar edges higher, eyes on Brazil crop
LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - ICE raw sugar rose in early trade buoyed by diminishing crop prospects in top producer Brazil.
ICE coffee eased, under pressure from bearish outside markets including lower oil and world stocks, while cocoa was firm.
ICE October raw sugar futures  were higher, as dealers eyed repeated downward revisions to Brazil's crop and the diminishing 2011/12 world surplus.

India asks sugar mills to register for exports
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Indian government has asked sugar mills to register for  an additional 500,000 tonnes of unrestricted sugar exports, a statement said.
The food ministry would give permission to the mills to exports within three days after their applications, the statement posted on a government website showed.

German 2011/12 sugar output seen rising
HAMBURG, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Germany will produce 4.471 million tonnes of refined sugar in the new 2011/12 season, up from 3.442 million tonnes in 2010/11, the association of German sugar producers WVZ said on Friday.
A sharp rise in both planted area and sugar beet yields are expected, the association said.

China July coal exports up, imports at record
SHANGHAI, Aug 22 (Reuters) - China's July coal exports rose from the previous month but total sales overseas remain down 16 percent since the start of the year, as monthly imports surged to a record high.
Coal exports in July stood at 0.91 million tonnes, bringing total overseas shipments so far this year to 9.66 million tonnes, official data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Monday.  

U.S. coal use down 3 pct from previous week--Genscape
HOUSTON, Aug 19 (Reuters) - U.S. coal consumption was off 3 percent in the past week, Genscape said Friday, as summer eased its grip across the North and East and power providers used more gas to meet electricity demand. Use of coal for the week ended Thursday fell 2 percent from the same week in 2010, the power industry data monitor said.
"A series of cold fronts swept across the northern and eastern U.S., bringing relief from the heat to major cities of the Midwest, Northeast and even the deep Southeast, as a cold front made it all the way down to the Gulf Coast early in the week," WSI Corp weather service said.

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.
Nervous investors fled to the safety of core government bonds, Swiss francs and gold, which hit a record high, with many seeking to unwind holdings of riskier assets such as stocks, commodities and higher yielding currencies before the weekend.

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.

China to grant tax rebates for natural gas imports
BEIJING, Aug 22 (Reuters) - China will grant tax rebates for its rapidly growing imports of natural gas, including piped gas from central Asia and seaborne shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG), a long-awaited move by state energy firms anxious to pare losses from gas imports.
The rebates will apply when import costs are above domestic wholesale prices and will cover the period from 2011 through 2020, as well as central Asian imports before the end of 2010, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement posted on the its website, www.mof.gov.cn.

Brent Slides as Libyan Rebels Enter Tripoli; Premium to U.S. Crude Narrows (Source: Bloomberg)
Brent oil fell in London, narrowing its record premium to the main U.S. oil grade, as investors bet that Libyan production may recover after rebels entered the capital city of Tripoli in a push to force out Muammar Qaddafi. The European benchmark contract tumbled more than 3 percent amid speculation Qaddafi’s regime is crumbling. Libya’s output dropped to 100,000 barrels a day last month, a Bloomberg News survey showed. That’s less than 10 percent of the 1.6 million barrels the nation pumped before the uprising started in February. Prices rose in New York as the dollar weakened, making crude more attractive for protecting against inflation.
“If the rebels continue to gain control as more liquidity comes into the oil market we could see prices fall more,” said Torbjoern Kjus, a senior analyst at DnB NOR ASA in Oslo, who predicts Brent will stabilize at about $100 a barrel. “We have no idea right now how much the oilfields and infrastructure have been damaged. But all the incentives are there for western companies and countries to get production back as quickly as possible.”

Oil slips $2 towards $106 on Libya end-game
LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Brent crude fell more than $2 towards $106 a barrel with traders and investors anticipating the resumption of oil exports from OPEC-member Libya as a six-month civil war there appeared close to an end.
"Brent is taking more of a battering but that's only to be expected," said Christopher Bellew, a trader at Jefferies Bache. "The divergence is just another graphic example of the dislocation between WTI and Brent."

Libyan rebels release fuel after refinery capture
OUTSIDE ZAWIYAH, Libya, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Libyan rebels sought to ease fuel shortages in their newly won territory west of the capital Tripoli on Saturday, releasing stockpiles from a refinery they seized from Muammar Gaddafi's forces three days ago.
Heavy fighting for Zawiyah, a strategic city on the coastal highway 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli, cut off regular deliveries for several days but truckloads of fuel have now arrived at petrol stations around the area.

Brazil sees strong oil bid interest despite crisis
RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 19 (Reuters) - A top Brazilian energy official said on Friday he expects strong company interest in an upcoming oil bid round despite turmoil in capital markets, adding the auction should take place before the end of the year.
The country's 11th bidding round, the first oil rights auction in Brazil since 2008, will include onshore regions as well as areas off the country's northeastern coast, but not areas in the prolific Santos and Campos Basins where Brazil produces 85 percent of its oil and has made its biggest crude discoveries to date.

Crude Oil Fluctuates Before U.S. Stockpile Report; Brent Premium Widens (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil futures swung between gains and losses in New York before a report that may show U.S. crude stockpiles rose last week. Contracts for October delivery traded at $84.46 a barrel, up 4 cents, after earlier falling as much as 37 cents to $84.05 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Indonesia tin royalty moves support prices, economy key
JAKARTA, Aug 19 (Reuters) - The latest government crackdown on the Indonesian tin industry will damp some production and support benchmark prices, but the uncertain economic and demand outlook will play a bigger role in the market, analysts said on Friday.
A senior trade official said on Thursday that Indonesia, the world's top refined tin exporter, 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.

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.

Tokyo Steel cuts Sept prices, H-beams cut by 2,000 yen/T
TOKYO, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co , Japan's biggest construction steel maker, said on Monday it cut its prices for September shipments to fend off imports.  
The company cut its price for H-beams, a key product used in construction, to 74,000 yen ($971) per tonne from 76,000 yen, after keeping prices unchanged the month before.

Singapore SMX's iron ore futures see small volumes
SINGAPORE, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Volumes traded on the Singapore Mercantile Exchange's iron ore futures remained thin a week after the bourse launched the contract with market participants opting for widely-traded swaps instead.
SMX, owned by India's Financial Technologies , introduced its cash-settled iron ore futures contract on Aug. 12, hoping to tap into a growing market to hedge prices of the steelmaking raw ingredient.

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.

METALS-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 eyeing the outcome of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting on Friday for hints on how policymakers plan to handle the turmoil in financial markets.  

PRECIOUS-Gold soars to record high on economic woes
SINGAPORE, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Spot gold surged 1.4 percent to score an all-time high for a third consecutive session on Monday, as nervous investors fled to the safety of the bullion amid fears of another U.S. recession and the euro zone's debt crisis.
Spot gold  struck a record top above $1,878 an ounce, after staging its biggest weekly gain in 2-1/2 years last week. U.S. gold  jumped 1.6 percent to a record high of $1,881.9 earlier in the day.

Gold Tops $1,900 for First Time (Source: Bloomberg)
Gold extended its rally to a record above $1,900 as mounting concern that the global economy is faltering spurred demand for bullion as a protection of wealth. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. lowered its forecast for U.S. growth in 2011 on signs that the recovery in the largest economy lost momentum. German Chancellor Angela Merkel attempted to shut the door on common euro-area bonds as a means to solve the debt crisis, saying she won’t let financial markets dictate policy. Gold is in the 11th year of a bull market. Prices have more than doubled since the end of 2008 as governments worldwide struggled with debt crises and as record low U.S. borrowing costs boosted the appeal of bullion as a hedge against inflation.

Baltic index at over 2-month high, buying firm
LONDON, Aug 19 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates to ship dry commodities, rose to its highest level in over 10 weeks on Friday as cargo bookings stayed strong, bolstering sentiment.
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.

20110823 1019 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

Soybeans (Source: CME)
CBOT soy futures end higher on crop worries and outside market support. Much of the Midwest missed expected rains over the weekend, which is bad news for a crop that is in a crucial growth stage and needed a drink, analysts say. Forecasts, while not terrible, are not favorable for the crop. Soybeans also had support from outside markets, including equities, as many commodities gained Monday. Sept soybeans end up 16 3/4c, or 1.2%, to $13.76 1/2 a bushel.

Soybean Meal/Oil (Source: CME)
Soy products climb, tracking soybean gains. Sept soyoil up 21 points to 55.6 cents a pound and Sept soymeal up $8.60 to $362.70 a short ton.

Palm oil up on exports, uncertain economic outlook eyed
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures rose on strong exports, although there were concerns that demand may slow as the global economic outlook gets clouded by Europe's debt crisis and prospects of another U.S. recession.
"There is some recovery in palm oil from the losses last week due mostly to strong exports data," said a trader with a foreign commodities brokerage. "Palm oil should hold up above 3,000 ringgit but it all depends on how the financial markets perform in view of the economic uncertainties."

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.