Monday, October 24, 2011

20111024 1811 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 2890, changed : +7 points, volume : higher.
Bollinger band reading : side way range bound.
MACD Histrogram : rising, buyer taking exposure.
Support : 2850, 2800, 2770, 2750 level.
Resistance : 2900, 2920, 2950, 2970 level.
Comment :
FCPO closed recorded small gain with better volume participation while last Friday soy oil closed recorded small loss and currently trading higher while crude oil price lifting higher.
Higher soy oil and crude oil price pushed FCPO price to trade higher through out the day but last minute selldown resulted limited gain recorded as news on higher supply from Indonesia due to smaller refinery capacity, lower Indonesia export tax and market awaits tomorrow export data.
Daily chart formed an up doji bar candle with long upper shadow closed in between middle and upper Bollinger band level after market opened higher, traded side way range bound for the morning session followed by after lunch gap up and traded side way range bound again towards the end with last minute selling pressed price lower to closed near opening price.
Technical reading turned to suggesting a side way range bound market development testing support and resistance level.
When to buy : buy at support or weakness with quick cut loss and profit target.
When to sell : sell at resistant or strength with quick cut loss and profit target.

20111024 1723 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1451.5, changed : +16 points, volume : higher.
Bollinger band reading : side way range bound upside biased.
MACD Histrogram : weakenning, buyer lock in profit and reduce exposure.
Support : 1445, 1440, 1425, 1420 level.
Resistance : 1458, 1470, 1485, 1500 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed recorded big gains with better volume transacted doing 1.5 point premium compare to cash market that also closed higher. Last Friday U.S. markets closed significantly higher and today Asia markets also closed recorded huge gains while European markets opened and currently having mixed development.
Better than expected Japan exports, report showed China’s manufacturing may expand for the first time in four months and European leaders meeting on revamping plan to contain the region’s debt crisis resulted global market to trade in positive territory.
Daily chart formed a down bar candle closed nearer to upper Bollinger band level after market opened gap up, soaring higher followed by after lunch session easing downward slowly to closed near the low of the day.
Chart study turned to suggesting a side way range bound upside 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.

20111024 1655 Regional Markets EOD Daily Chart Study.

 DJIA chart reading : upside biased.
 Hang Seng chart reading :  little upside biased.
KLCI chart reading : side way range bound upside biased.

20111024 1619 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Asian stocks up on EU summit hopes
HONG KONG, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Asian stocks rose on Monday and the euro gave back some of the gains it made last week after euro zone leaders made some progress towards a strategy to tackle the region's debt crisis.
"It doesn't feel to me like we're going to see a big risk rally, but we could easily see this deal done, risk remains relatively well supported, especially if we start thinking of things like another Fed quantitative easing, that'll help keep market focused on a weaker U.S. dollar," said Greg Gibbs, strategist at RBS in Sydney.

Berlusconi Pressed by Europe Leaders on Budget Deficit, ECB’s Bini Smaghi (Bloomberg)
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was put on the defensive at a crisis summit over the nation’s finances and appointments at the European Central Bank. Before the leaders convened yesterday in Brussels, Berlusconi held face-to-face talks with European Union President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Barroso and then with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. “I never flunked” an exam in my life, Berlusconi told reporters when asked if he was concerned over the push to cut Italy’s debt load, the biggest in the world after the U.S. and Japan. The premier added that he is thinking about a reform of the pension system and that new measures will be discussed at a meeting today.

China Stocks Rise First Time in Week on Manufacturing Outlook; Banks Rally (Bloomberg)
China’s stocks rallied for the first time in five days after a report showed the nation’s manufacturing may expand for the first time in four months and on easing concerns over the European debt crisis. China Minsheng Banking Corp. and China Citic Bank Corp. led gains for lenders as Barclays Plc forecast “strong” third- quarter industry profit growth and European leaders outlined plans to aid banks. Jiangxi Copper Co. and coal producer China Shenhua Energy Co. climbed at least 3.3 percent after a preliminary index of purchasing managers signaled expansion. “The preliminary manufacturing data and positive progress in tackling the European debt crisis have eased concerns about a severe growth slowdown and recouped some confidence,” said Dai Ming, fund manager at Shanghai Kingsun Investment Management & Consulting Co.

FOREX-Euro resilient, pins hopes on EU deal
TOKYO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - The euro edged lower against the dollar on Monday on light profit-taking from macro players, but stayed supported as markets clung to hopes that European policymakers were moving a step closer to stemming the region's debt crisis.
The euro changed hands at $1.3864 , off Friday's high of $1.3902 after a weekend summit, as expected, produced no concrete plan for Europe. It was seen moving sideways above $1.3800 ahead of another meeting on Wednesday.

U.S. futures firm as harvests wrap up
SYDNEY, Oct 24 (Reuters) - U.S. grains and soybeans futures prices rose, supported by U.S. farmers holding back sales of freshly harvested crops in the hope of higher prices after recent weakness.
Commodities and financial markets were, however, cautious as they awaited the outcome of fresh talks about a plan to solve the European debt crisis.

Wheat Board can thrive in open market - Viterra CEO
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Canada's biggest grain handler, Viterra Inc , is willing to work with the Canadian Wheat Board in an open market system and thinks the board can thrive without its marketing monopoly, Chief Executive Mayo Schmidt said on Friday.
Ottawa intends to pass legislation by the end of 2011 to end the Wheat Board's 69-year-old grain monopoly as of August 2012, allowing Western Canada's farmers to sell wheat and barley for milling or export directly to grain handlers.
Algeria Jan-Sept wheat imports up 36 percent
ALGIERS, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Algeria's soft and durum wheat imports reached 5.72 million tonnes in the first nine months of 2011, customs data showed, a 35.9 percent increase on the same period last year.
Soft wheat imports rose to 4.43 million tonnes from 2.97 million tonnes in the January-September period of 2010, while durum wheat purchases were 1.28 million tonnes, up from 1.23 million tonnes.

Egypt's GASC says will include Ukraine wheat in tenders
CAIRO, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Egypt's main state wheat buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), said it will include wheat of Ukrainian origin in its next wheat tender.
Nomani Nomani, the firm's vice chairman, said on Saturday that the decision was to "boost competition amongst Black Sea origin states." Egypt is the world's largest wheat importer.

Funds boost bullish bets in CBOT soybeans - CFTC
CHICAGO, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Large speculators increased their net long position in Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures and options last week for the first time in seven weeks, according to regulatory data released on Friday.
Meanwhile, noncommercial traders, a category which includes hedge funds, increased their net short holdings to a near record high in CBOT wheat and cut their net long position in corn for the seventh straight week, the weekly Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Commitment of Traders report released on Friday showed.

EU to be net sugar importer despite reform
BRUSSELS/LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - A plan to abolish European Union sugar production limits would lead to a modest increase in output and softer EU beet sugar prices, but the bloc would still remain a net importer for three years or longer.
The latest reform plan announced on Oct. 12 would end the EU's system of national sugar production quotas and minimum beet prices from 2015, not in 2016 as had been suggested in earlier drafts of the reform plans.

Oil mixed ahead of EU meetings on debt woes
NEW YORK, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Oil futures were mixed in thin volume trade, with Brent pulling back late as investors exercised caution ahead of meetings starting Sunday where European leaders will try to hammer out a plan to address the region's debt crisis.
"The market has given as much benefit of the doubt as it can regarding the solution for the euro zone debt crisis. Some selling is to be expected ahead of the weekend and the uncertainty of a plan being concluded next week," said John Kilduff,
partner at hedge fund Again Capital LLC in New York.

Mexico's oil output, exports fall in Sept from Aug
MEXICO CITY, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Mexico's state oil company Pemex said on Friday oil production fell to 2.489 million barrels per day in September from 2.552 million bpd in August.
Exports also slipped to 1.242 million bpd from 1.440 million in August.

Europe steel output growth to slow in 2012 -Eurofer
LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Growth of Europe's steel production will slow in 2012 along with activity in the steel-using sectors, Eurofer, the European steel producers association, said on Friday.
Steel production in Europe will rise by almost 6 percent in 2011, and then growth will slow to 2.6 percent in 2012, Eurofer forecast.

Major steel output cuts in Europe
LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - European steelmakers have announced several production cuts in the face of weaker demand, and more furnaces are likely to be idled in coming months.    
Some producers have announced restarts but curtailments are likely to dominate as consumers prefer to run down their stocks in an uncertain economic environment.

China Sept steel output at 2011 low -Worldsteel data
LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Annualised global steel output fell in September to its lowest this year in top producer China as a gloomier economic growth outlook made buyers cautious and weakened demand, according to a Reuters calculation based on World Steel Association data.  
Annualised global steel production however, rose in September as many steel mills boosted activity after the summer slowdown in the northern hemisphere.

China daily average aluminium output rises in Sept
LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Daily average primary aluminium output in China rose to 52,700 tonnes in September from 51,600 tonnes in August, provisional figures from the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) showed on Friday.  
Total primary aluminium production in China fell to 1.581 million tonnes in September from 1.599 million tonnes in August and 1.309 million tonnes in September last year.

Cautious on copper, China waits for prices to halve
SINGAPORE, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Copper will not recover any lustre soon after losing a quarter of its value since July, as China, the metal's top user and last hope in the face of crumbling Western demand, waits for prices to halve before it begins to rebuild stocks.
Supply worries stemming from a lengthy strike at the world's second-largest copper mine in Indonesia are being offset by bulging stocks and signs of slowdown in China, which saw its lowest growth in two years in the third quarter amid weakness in its two biggest markets, Europe and the United States.

China copper smelters slow output on shortage of raw material
HONG KONG, Oct 21 (Reuters) - China's copper smelters are slowing their rate of refined copper production as supplies of raw material concentrate and scrap fall, smelter sources said on Friday.
The slowing came after a fall of roughly 20 percent this month in the treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) Chinese smelters receive for converting copper concentrate imports into refined metal and domestic scrap suppliers cut their sales on low copper prices.

Copper gains on hopes for Europe debt deal
SHANGHAI, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Copper prices rose as investors were hopeful that European leaders were moving closer to resolving the region's debt crisis.
"Some extra confidence in Europe is helping copper prices rise, while the euro is steady.  The news on Sarkozy backing down from his stance is good news, even if it is not a solution yet," said a Sydney-based trader.

Shanghai copper surges on bet of euro zone bailout solution
SHANGHAI, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Shanghai copper  and lead  surged more than 3 percent at the open on Monday, catching up with gains in London on Friday, as investors bet that European leaders over the next few days will move forward in resolving the euro zone's two-year-old debt crisis.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange  rallied 6 percent on Friday in its largest one-day advance since early 2010, as opportunistic buyers stepped up purchases on the eve of a European Union debt-crisis summit.

METALS-Copper gains on EU debt deal hopes, China data
SHANGHAI, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Copper prices rose on Monday, gaining for a second straight session, as European leaders moved closer to resolving the region's debt crisis, while data from top consumer China also supported sentiment.
European Union leaders made some progress towards a strategy to fight the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis on Sunday, but the final decision was deferred until a second summit on Wednesday.

PRECIOUS-Gold steady, Europe debt deal eyed
SINGAPORE, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Spot gold prices held steady on Monday, after European leaders moved closer to a concrete plan to solve euro zone's debt crisis during a weekend meeting, lifting sentiment in commodities and equities.
Gold prices have followed moves in riskier assets in recent weeks, with its safe-haven appeal diminishing after wild price swings in the past two months.

Gold steady, Europe debt deal eyed
SINGAPORE, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Spot gold prices held steady , after European leaders moved closer to a concrete plan to solve euro zone's debt crisis during a weekend meeting, lifting sentiment in commodities and equities.
"There is cautious optimism over the euro zone debt issue and some hope that policymakers will be able to contain it," said Ong Yi Ling, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Managed money cuts gold long position
NEW YORK, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Money managers, including hedge funds and other large speculators, slashed their bullish bets in gold futures and options, as the price of bullion fell on a lack of safe-haven buying.
Conversely, the key speculator group became less bearish on copper. In the previous week, speculators held their largest net short position in the economically sensitive industrial metal since late June 2009, as macro pressures continued to dog sentiment.

20111024 1112 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Global stocks, euro rally on debt crisis optimism
NEW YORK, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Global equities and the euro rallied on Friday as investors bet that European leaders in crucial meetings over the next few days will move forward in resolving the euro zone's two-year-old debt crisis.
"The market is giving the benefit of the doubt that they are going to come up with some sort of a meaningful stopgap measure in Europe," said Boris Schlossberg, director of currency research at GFT in New York.

COMMODITIES-Copper leads pre-Europe summit rebound, Brent off
NEW YORK, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Commodities mostly rose on Friday to end a tumultuous week, with copper alone rallying 6 percent to regain almost all it lost the previous day, on optimism over a weekend summit called to solve Europe's woes.
"There is renewed hope that European leaders will pull something out of the bag and manage to come up with a solution to the debt crisis," said Daniel Briesemann, commodity analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

Hedge Funds Bullish Raw-Material Bets Jump Most in Two Months: Commodities (Bloomberg)
Hedge funds increased bullish bets on commodities by the most since August on mounting optimism the global economy will avoid another recession, boosting prospects for raw-materials demand. Money managers raised combined net-long positions across 18 U.S. futures and options by 12 percent to 737,647 contracts in the week ended Oct. 18, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Wagers increased most in energy and agriculture, led by heating oil, gasoline, coffee and soybeans. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities climbed 6.7 percent in October, on track for the biggest monthly advance this year, as European leaders moved closer to resolving the region’s debt crisis. Reports last week showed U.S. housing starts jumped to the highest since April 2010 and manufacturing unexpectedly accelerated, increasing investor confidence that the world’s largest economy isn’t tipping back into recession.

Oil mixed ahead of EU meetings on debt woes
NEW YORK, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Oil futures were mixed in thin volume trade on Friday, with Brent pulling back late as investors exercised caution ahead of meetings starting Sunday where European leaders will try to hammer out a plan to address the region's debt crisis.
"The market has given as much benefit of the doubt as it can regarding the solution for the euro zone debt crisis. Some selling is to be expected ahead of the weekend and the uncertainty of a plan being concluded next week," said John Kilduff, partner at hedge fund Again Capital LLC in New York.

Natural gas ends down slightly on growing supply
NEW YORK, Oct 21 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended slightly lower on Friday after two straight gains, as concerns about growing supplies continued to weigh on sentiment despite prospects for more heating demand late next week.
"The supply-demand balance is looser than last year and last year was loose, and storage is closing in on record levels, but even with bearish fundamentals prices could move up next week ahead of the heating season," said Steve Mosley at SMC Advisory Services.

Kuwait pumping 2.9 mln barrels per day-oil minister
DEAD SEA, Jordan, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Kuwaiti oil minister Mohammad al-Busairi said on Sunday his country was producing 2.9 million barrels of oil per day and described current oil prices as "reasonable for the consumer and (for) production levels". Busairi, speaking to reporters at the World Economic Forum at the Dead Sea in Jordan, said additional oil pumped into the market by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had helped bring down prices from levels in June, after they were pushed up by fighting in OPEC producer Libya.

Malaysia Petronas to award jobs to unlicensed firms-report
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Malaysia's state oil firm Petronas will award contracts to unlicensed energy services companies to encourage greater competition in the oil and gas industry, The Edge weekly newspaper said citing unidentified sources.
The move would be a departure from the current practice where Petronas only hands out jobs to licensed players in certain segments such as oil and gas equipment makers and offshore support vessel operators, the report said.

Mexico's oil output, exports fall in Sept from Aug
MEXICO CITY, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Mexico's state oil company Pemex said on Friday oil production fell to 2.489 million barrels per day in September from 2.552 million bpd in August.
Exports also slipped to 1.242 million bpd from 1.440 million in August.

Euro Coal-Dec S.African trades at $109.75/T
LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Prompt physical coal prices were stable on Friday after having fallen through the week by over $5 a tonne due to weak demand in Europe and Asia, as a rise in oil prices provided some support.
"We've seen more offers since Coaltrans. There were not many DES ARA offers today, but there's still a lot of length in the market and prices seem to be on the way down," one trader said.

Gold Declines as European Debt-Crisis Plan Curbs Demand for Haven Assets (Bloomberg)
Gold fell after European leaders outlined plans to aid banks and prepared to unveil a blueprint to resolve the region’s sovereign debt crisis on Oct. 26, curbing demand for haven assets. Immediate-delivery gold dropped as much as 0.4 percent to $1,635.75 an ounce and traded at $1,637.05 at 12:40 p.m. in Melbourne. Gold for December delivery was little changed at $1,638.20 an ounce. At the 13th crisis-management summit in 21 months, officials agreed bank-capital needs -- estimated at 100 billion euros ($138.6 billion) by a person familiar with the talks -- will be met first by banks, then governments. Only when national efforts fail can governments tap a rescue fund. The summit, held in Brussels, excluded a forced restructuring of Greece’s debt.

20111024 1054 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

Petronas has decided to do away with the licenses awarded only to local oil &  gas firms in certain job categories. As a result, existing Petronas-licensed oil &  gas firms, such as equipment fabricators and vessel operators, will have to fight  for contracts with foreign rivals as well as unlicensed local players. The move is  aimed at further liberalising the domestic oil & gas sector to attract more foreign  investments and promote Malaysia as an oil & gas hub. However, it will not take  place across the board. It is believed  that it does not apply to the vendor  development programme. By reforming the licensing system, foreign companies  can directly bid for Petronas’ jobs and be the main contractors. (Edge Weekly)

The upcoming listing of Malaysia’s  Felda Global Group, expected to be the  country’s biggest IPO this year, will only include the company’s 350,000ha of  plantation land, its chief said in an interview. Felda Global, which manages  some 880,000ha, will not include the remaining half million ha belonging to the  settlers’ cooperative in the IPO, its group managing director Datuk Sabri Ahmad  said. “Tanah peneroka (settlers’ lands) are not touched at all,” Sabri said. “The  settlers’ land will continue to be their land, but we will continue to buy and  process their crop.” In addition, the co-operative would be one of the key  shareholders of the listed entity, he said. (Reuters)

Nestle (Malaysia), the local unit of the world’s biggest food company, plans to  expand its plant in Shah Alam, said MD Peter R. Vogt. At least RM100m will be  spent to add production lines. (Bloomberg)

Trades keyed in on select FBM KLCI stocks by a broker led to the index  plunging 70 points late in the afternoon session on Friday, Oct 21. However, the  index recovered and closed 0.16% or 2.35 points lower at 1,438.83, weighed by  losses at select blue chips. An official from Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd in an  e-mailed statement confirmed that the drop of the index at 4.41pm on Friday  was due to trades keyed in by the said broker. Among the stocks that fell steeply  before paring down losses were KLK, DiGi and PPB. (Financial daily)

Malaysian infrastructure players have been invited to apply for China's  US$10bn (RM31.6bn) equity  fund to finance infrastructure projects in Asean  countries, Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) chief executive  Datuk Seri Dr Judin Abdul Karim said. He said the China-Asean Investment  Cooperation Fund (CAF) is looking at equity participation of between  US$50-150m in each project. "We are interested to know more, we will get in  touch with them and we will be looking at the areas we can work with them," he  told Malaysian journalists after China-Asean Infrastructure Investment and  Financing Cooperation Forum, here, on Saturday. The half-day forum,  organised by China International Contractors Association (Chinca), was held in  conjunction with the 8th China-Asean Expo (CAEXPO). (BT)

Companies that prequalified for the tunnelling portion of  KVMRT will get to  enjoy a pricing advantage of 2.5% to 7.5% depending on local equity  participation. MMC-Gamuda JV could enjoy the biggest pricing advantage of  up to 7.5% of contract value (~RM7bn) of the job. This is on account of being a  local company with 50% of it owned by a bumiputera entity.  Five companies  have prequalified for the Swiss Challenge tender system. Other contenders  include two Chinese companies, one Japanese and one Korean contractors. IJM  Corp and UEM Group were knocked out by stringent prequalification criteria,  but still have a chance if they from JVs with the prequalified foreign contractors.  However, local companies are unlikely to form JVs as returns may not be  lucrative if they are to get a small portion of the job. (Edge Weekly)

Plans are afoot for Johor Corp (JCorp) to inject some property assets into its  58% listed subsidiary Damansara Realty Bhd (DRealty), in a move aimed  at unlocking value for both entities, reliable sources said. The two properties  identified to be injected are the Bandar Dato Onn integrated township (located  12km from Johor Baru) and the 1,400ha Tanjung Langsat industrial estate, a  sprawling complex that has attracted multi-billion ringgit investments already.  The plan is for JCorp to take a combination of cash and shares from  DRealty for the sale of these assets. If the exercise goes through, JCorp  will have close to 100% ownership of DRealty but may enter into a  second phase of the restructuring. “There is likely to be a placement out of some of those shares. But more  significantly, a second corporate exercise could be in the offing, that  would both solve the problem of lowering JCorp's holding in DRealty  and at the same creating value for all parties,” said a banking source  (Starbiz).

Indonesia and Malaysia will meet in the first few days of November to discuss  the  palm oil industry including export taxes, Plantation Industries and  Commodities Minister Bernard Dompok said.  This comes after Indonesia cut  its exports duties for the edible oil. “This coming meeting will determine the  form of cooperation between the two countries in order to address the concerns  of the various stakeholders in the oil palm industry,” Dompok said. “The details  have to be worked out.” (Bloomberg)

Palm oil millers in Malaysia are leading the way in "greening" the palm oil  supply chain by capturing  greenhouse gas before it enters the atmosphere and  turning it into green energy and organic fertiliser.  Vice-chairman/executive  director (corporate affairs) Datuk Carl Bek-Nielsen said the  benefits of this  waste-to-energy project are extensive and varied.    While the organic fertiliser is  ploughed back into the fields, greenhouse gas extracted from the biogas plants is  fed into a combined steam and power plant at the mill to generate electricity for  the surrounding community in this estate. Bek-Nielsen said when biogas plants  are being used to generate electricity for the estate's own use, leftover biomass  from the mills can now be sold as solid fuel to others in the manufacturing  sector for as high as RM180 a tonne. (BT)

Indonesia reduced the tax rate for crude palm oil exports for November to  15% from 16.5% in October and cut the tax rate for cocoa bean exports to 5%  from 10%, Deddy Saleh, the director general for foreign trade at the Trade  Ministry said. The base price for calculating the levy exporters  must pay on  crude palm oil exports was cut to US$938 a ton from US$1,001 a ton. For cocoa  beans the base price was lowered to US$2,359 a ton from $2,679 a ton, Saleh  said. (Bloomberg)

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has released its organisational chart to its  employees revealing the lines of reporting for its middle-level management but  has yet to name a candidate to head sales and marketing since the departure of  Datuk Bernard Francis. Datuk Eddy Leong would continue to head Firefly as  CEO and is also the COO of short haul operations. The three subsidiaries – MAS Wings, MAS Aerospace and Engineering  and MAS Kargo are parked under the CEO’s office. As customer is the  key focus, MAS has created a new unit, customer experience, which is  headed by Datuk Mohd Salleh. MD/CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya oversees the airline but is also head  of long haul operations while deputy CEO,  Mohamed Rashdan is  head of short haul. The commercial unit is also headed by Rashdan until  a new candidate is found. (Star Biz)

Malaysia Airports (MAHB) subsidiary, Malaysia Airports Consultancy  Services (MACS) has signed a letter of award with Nagamas Enterprise (HK) for  the provision of airport consultancy services for Lingling Airport in Hunan province, China. This will enable MAHB to begin providing services such as  airport project development plan study, airport planning, operation,  management, development, business development and investment for Lingling  Airport. (Bernama)

Maxis has entered into a multi-billion ringgit agreement to share its  3G radio-access network (RAN) making it the first  active 3G RAN sharing in  Malaysia.  The agreement will be for an initial period of 10 years, with the option  of renewing for another two years after that.  It also encompasses LTE sharing when the spectrum becomes available  and when the technology is rolled out.  As a result of the collaboration, Maxis will receive a significant new  source of revenue and will enhance utilization of its network in areas  that are currently underutilized.  U Mobile will benefit as it would help to accelerate the speed of its 3G  network by 4 to 5 times and also achieve cost savings through network  sharing with Maxis.  The shared locations excludes urban market centres like Klang Valley,  Penang, Johor Bahru and Ipoh. (BMSB, Press Release)

Edaran Tan Chong Motor  expects poorer outlook for the first half of next  year due to the floods in Thailand disrupting its carparts supply chain. Although  it does not import cars from the neighbouring country, the Nissan vehicle  distributor gets carparts from Thai manufacturers to assemble here.  Executive  director Datuk Dr Ang Bon Beng said that in view of the floods and global  economic uncertainty, “the first half of next year will be very challenging.” “The  (sales) momentum will be compromised and we may not get the numbers, but  perhaps the second  half will see improvements, depending on how Thailand  addresses its flood problems,” Ang said. (Starbiz)

Proton’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Proton Marketing, has signed a MoU with  China’s Hawtai Motor Group to evaluate the possible establishment of a JV  company in China to invest in product development via joint designing and  development cost sharing. The JV company will also be responsible for vendor  sourcing and component development work with the local Chinese vendors.  (Malaysian Reserve)

Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors aims to sell 12,000 cars in Malaysia next year,  compared with over 10,000 in 2011. MD Dennis Ho said there would be a surge  of 100% growth in sales in Penang next year, which would help boost Hyundai’s  sales in the country.  Hyundai-Sime Darby said it was confident of the growth  target due to its new service centres in Penang and new models that were in the  pipeline. (Starbiz)

Mitsui & Co plans to spend RM75m to buy 20% of Daihatsu (Malaysia) Sdn  Bhd from MBM Resources, raising its stake to 30%. MBM will reap RM59.8m  from selling its stake and will own 51.5% in Daihatsu (Malaysia) after the sale.  (Bernama, BT)

POS Malaysia has launched the Bank Muamalat cheque deposit box service  to provide more options and accessibility to the bank’s customers. The cheque deposit boxes shall be delivered by Poslaju express service at the nearest Bank  Muamalat for cheque processing purposes once a day at 12 noon.  Currently the cheque deposit boxes were placed at 10 POS Malaysia  outlets and plans are underway for the boxes to be placed at more  outlets countrywide by end 2011. (Malaysian Reserve)

Asia Media Group Bhd, the country's largest transit-television network  operator, plans to launch a terrestrial digital TV station by as early as 1Q12, said  its controlling stakeholder Datuk Ricky Wong Shee Kai. "We have started  testing works in Puchong and Shah Alam early this month, and have allocated  as much as RM50m in capital expenditure next year to help us with the launch  in the Klang Valley," Wong told BT. "A partial launch will be done in 1Q12, and  by the 2Q12, we should be in full swing," said Wong. He said the first step in the plan to launch the terrestrial digital TV  station is to launch the "out-of-home service". "Out-of-home service  means that people who use public transport such as the Rapid buses  and the city's rail service will be able to watch live TV," said Wong.  Currently, Asia Media operates transit TV services for the city buses, but  most of the feed are pre-recorded, with the content coming from third  parties.(BT)

Consumer product manufacturers in Malaysia exporting to emerging  economies are expecting growth next year despite a weakening global economic  environment. CT Frank Technology Sdn Bhd, Daewoo Electronics (M) Sdn Bhd and Pensonic Holdings Bhd are among the companies that are expecting stable  overseas sales as their products are still in demand from the emerging  economies. (Starbiz)

Dayang Enterprise has received a contract extension from Murphy for the  provision of topside major maintenance services. Valued at approximately  RM50m-100m, the extension will be effective from 19 Nov 11 until 18 Nov 12.  (BMSB)

Tanjung Offshore Bhd has been awarded a contract worth RM27m by  Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd for the provision of three units of offshore support  vessels (OSVs) for up to two primary years. The contract for the three units of  OSVs is for a primary period of between three months and two years effective  October and November this year respectively.“In the event the contract is  renewed during the option period, the contract charters will be determined at  the then charter rate,” it said. (Starbiz)

Cahya Mata Sarawak  (CMSB) is taking up a 20% equity interest in  Australia’s OM Holdings US$500m (RM1.55bn) manganese and ferro silicon  smelting plant project in Samalaju Industrial Park. The project’s RM70m site  earthworks covering 202ha started three months ago and contractor KKB  Builders, wholly owned by  KKB Engineering is expected to complete it by  June 2012.  The smelting plant was expected to start commercial operations in 2015  with an annual production capacity of 300,000 tonnes of manganese  ferro alloys and 300,000 tonnes of ferro silicon alloys. (Star Biz)

Pavilion real estate investment trust (REIT), which is en route to a listing  on the Main Market, is offering 790m units under its initial public offering (IPO)  to retail and institutional investors. According to its prospectus exposure on the Securities Commission website, Pavilion REIT’s retail offering includes 31m  units for application by the public that would represent 1.03% of the trust’s total  3bn units. According to the prospectus exposure, the retail offering would be  offered at RM0.88/unit while the price for the institutional offering would be  determined by way of a bookbuilding process. “Based on an offering price of RM0.80 per offer unit, the offering is  expected to raise gross proceeds of RM695m arising from the issuance  of 790m offer units,” it said. The initial portfolio comprises the Pavilion  Kuala Lumpur Mall and Pavilion Tower, which have a total net lettable  area of 1.3m sf and 167,407 sf respectively. (Starbiz)

The China Malaysia Industrial Park in Qinzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous  Region, will become Malaysia’s biggest development projects in China  with a total area of 55 sq km. Leaders from both countries have agreed to turn  the industrial park, near a deepwater sea port at the southern tip of Guangxi,  into the iconic project for Sino-Asean cooperation. Prime Minister Datuk Seri  Najib Tun Razak said the project had great potential as the park was located  strategically close to the Asean market and north of Hainan Island, which is  earmarked as China’s latest recreational resort. Najib said the initial stage of the development had already started and  he hoped that the parties involved would finalise their plans and launch  the project as soon as possible. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the  project would be the first industrial park joint venture between China  and its Malaysian counterpart in the western region of China. (Starbiz)

A Hong Kong based company has its sights set on  iron ore mining and  processing in Malaysia and has plans to set up a RM1.6bn plant in Pahang  which will process the iron ore. The company’s Malaysia subsidiary  Zhong  Cheng Mining Sdn Bhd has purchased a 500 acre plot of land from a local  palm oil plantation company for the purpose. (Malaysian Reserve)

Plans are underway to turn  Tanjung Langsat Port (TLP) in Pasir Gudang  into a containerised cargo port thus giving port users another alternative port of  choice. The  Johor Port Authority (JPA) is mandated with the issuance of  licenses for all privatised ports but TLP would likely get its license straight from  the Transport Ministry. In June, JPA said that TLP would not be turned into a containerised  cargo port to reduce congestion at Johor Port as the two ports are close  to each other. MMC Corp, which controls both Johor Port and Port of  Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) had in 2009, proposed to consolidate and  rationalise the operations of the two ports. (Star Biz)

Siva Kumar Jeyapalan, whom recently increased his stake in  Masterskill  to  10.5%, clarifies that he had come in purely as an investor and will not interfere  with management or take a seat on the board. His 10.5% stake makes him the  third largest shareholder. Back in 2004, Siva Kumar led a group of investors  which bought over Masterskill from a matron who was running it as a training  school. "...We still hadn't obtained our licence at the time and he (Datuk Seri  Edmund Santhara, who is now CEO) came in and took over management and  operations..." Siva said. "Having been in the business before, I know the value of  the company and at RM1.10, the valuations are undemanding." he said. (Edge  Weekly)

Infrastructure Sector : Infrastructure firms can tap China fund
Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) chief executive Datuk Seri Dr Judin Abdul Karim said malaysian infrastructure players have been invited to apply for China’s US$10.0bil (RM31.6bil) equity fund to finance infrastructure projects in Asean countries. He said the China-Asean Investment  Cooperation Fund (CAF) is looking at equity participation of between US$50.0mil and US$150.0mil in each project. Judin said CAF is available for infrastructure development projects such as energy,  power, telecommunications, transportation facilities and public works. So far, US$1.0bil has been utilised from the fund, which was launched in 2009. Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) president Kwan Foh-Kwai said to date, only four projects in Asean countries have utilised the fund, but none of the  beneficiaries are Malaysian companies. CAF was established by China, following the China-Asean Free Trade Area which took effect in January 2010. The fund targets commercially viable infrastructure projects and companies in Asean. – Business Times

Tenaga plans RM5bn Islamic debt notes for Manjung plant
TNB has proposed to issue RM5bn in Islamic debt notes to finance the development of the 1,010 MW coal-fired power plant in Manjung, Perak. The utility giant said it would establish an Islamic securities programme of RM5bn in nominal value through an independent special purpose company, Manjung Island Energy Bhd. (Financial Daily)

DRB-HICOM to step up cooperation with Pos
DRB-HICOM has many more cooperation plans with Pos Malaysia to leverage on each other's strength, including logistics, transport and courier service. "More details on these new cooperation will be revealed in six months' time," Khamil said after launching a cheque deposit box service with Bank Muamalat Malaysia. Under the partnership, a Bank Muamalat customer can opt to deposit his cheque at a nearby post office rather than going to the bank's branch which may be a distance away, too crowded or has limited parking space. (BT)

20111024 1045 Local & Global Economic Related News.

Consumer prices rose 3.4% yoy in Sep (+3.3% in Aug), mainly driven by  higher food costs. The median estimate was called for a 3.3% increase.  (Bloomberg)

The  international reserves of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) amounted to  RM427.9bn (US$134.4bn) as at 14 Oct 11, up from RM417.2bn (US$131bn) as at  30 Sep 11. The reserves position is sufficient to finance 10 months of retained  imports and is 4.6 times the short-term external debt. (BNM)

US households' caution about taking on debt and spending will stand them  in good stead when the economic recovery becomes more robust, Fed Governor  Elizabeth Duke said. Household debt-to-income ratios skyrocketed during  2001-2007, but households cut debt and spending significantly during the  financial crisis that began in 2007, Duke said. "Going forward, as income and  asset values recover, these improvements in the aggregate household position  should be felt by more and more US households," she said. (Reuters)

US: Manufacturing leads recovery as jobs, housing flag
Manufacturing in the Philadelphia area unexpectedly expanded in October at the fastest pace in six months, signaling factories are helping support a U.S. economy weighed down by weakness in the housing and labor markets. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index increased to 8.7 from minus 17.5 last month, the biggest one-month rebound in 31 years. Readings greater than zero indicate expansion in the area covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. (Bloomberg)

EU: Leaders say bank recapitalization ‘essential’ part of package
European Union finance ministers will meet 26 Oct to complete work on bank-recapitalization plans, EU leaders indicated in a draft statement today. The finance chiefs, who met yesterday in Brussels for 10 hours, have progressed “on measures for the banking sector” and should “finalize this work” at a meeting on 26 Oct., the EU’s government heads said in the draft text obtained by Bloomberg News. (Bloomberg)

Eurozone government deficit was on average  6.2% of gross domestic  product in 2010 while government debt was 85.4%, the Eurostat said. Both  numbers are well over the euro zone limit of 3% and 60% for national deficit  and debt respectively. (WSJ)

European leaders outlined plans to aid banks and ruled out tapping the  European Central Bank’s balance sheet to boost the rescue fund, inching  toward a new strategy to contain the Greece-fueled debt crisis. (Bloomberg)

Japan will sell about ¥800bn(US$10.4bn) of additional government debt to  the market this  fiscal year to fund earthquake reconstruction and help  companies cope with a strong yen, the Ministry of Finance said. (Bloomberg)

Growth in Thai exports grew in Sep by 19.1% yoy (13.1% in Aug).  Imports surged 41.9% yoy in Sep  (44.0% in Aug) as the trade balance reversed from a  deficit of US$1,203m in Aug to a surplus of US$238m in Sep. Economists were  expecting yoy export and import growth of 21.0% and 32.6% respectively.  (Bloomberg)

Thailand’s forex reserves grew by US$2.1bn to US$181.7bn in Oct.  (Bloomberg)

20111024 0955 India Agriculture Related News.

India crude palm oil imports stall on Indonesia tax change
MUMBAI, Sept 24 (Reuters) - India has virtually stopped buying crude palm oil after its biggest supplier, Indonesia, changed export taxes to make refined product more attractive, one of the country's major importers of vegetable oils said on Saturday.  
"Indian refiners will not sign their own death warrant by signing import deals for crude palm oil," Atul Chaturvedi, chief executive officer of Adani Wilmar, which is also India's biggest exporter of farm goods, said at the Globoil conference here. 

India's 2011/12 edible oil imports seen up 5.2 pct
MUMBAI, Sept 27 (Reuters) - India, the world's top buyer of edible oils, could boost imports 5.2 percent in 2011/12, reversing a fall this year, as domestic output struggles to keep pace with demand from a growing and increasingly wealthy middle class.  
The world's second most populous country could buy 8.84 million tonnes of edible oils in the year to October 31, 2012, the average in a survey of eight industry experts showed. 

India buys palm olein after Indonesia tax change -trade
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 (Reuters) - India struck deals for 50,000 tonnes of refined, bleached and deodorised (RBD) palm olein from Indonesia in the last week, traders said on Thursday, in an immediate reaction to Jakarta's tax cut on exports of processed oils from September 15.  
The world's largest vegetable oil importer bought the RBD palm olein cargoes at $1,100 to $1,120 CIF per tonne for October delivery to meet festival demand, Indonesian and Indian traders said. 

India considers hiking refined palm oil import duties -sources
NEW DELHI/KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 (Reuters) - India is considering an industry request to raise import duties on processed palm oil, government and industry sources said, after Indonesia lowered its export taxes on the product -- a move seen as dealing "a death blow" to Indian refineries.  
India, the No.1 buyer of vegetable oils, has already begun importing more of refined, bleached and deodorised (RBD) palm olein from Indonesia ahead of a major Hindu festival in October, Diwali, potentially leaving refining capacity idle.

India's Ruchi Soya seeks hike in refined palm oil import duty
MUMBAI, Sept 12 (Reuters) - India should increase its refined palm oil import duty to 15 percent from the current 7.5 percent to nullify the impact of a cut in export duty in Indonesia, the biggest palm oil producer, a top executive at India's biggest soybean processor said on Monday.  
"In response to restructuring of duty in Indonesia, India should hike the duty on refined palm oil to 15 percent. We need to protect domestic refiners," said Dinesh Shahra, managing director, Ruchi Soya Industries, on the sidelines of an industry conference. 

India August vegoil imports down 10.5 pct m/m
NEW DELHI, Sept 15 (Reuters) - India's vegetable oil imports in August fell 10.5 percent to 817,440 tonnes from the previous month, a leading trade body said on Thursday, the first monthly fall in five months as buying slowed with one major festival over.  
India's vegetable oil imports rose to 913,179 tonnes in July, the highest level since November, on account of peak demand for the festive season when many Indians cook feasts, and tapering local supplies.   

India could face short-term edible oil shortages
MUMBAI, Sept 23 (Reuters) - India could face an imminent shortage of refined edible oils as Indonesia will not be able to fill demand from the world's biggest importer triggered by tax changes that make refined oil more attractive than crude, a leading industry analyst said.  
Indonesia, the world's biggest palm oil producer, has cut export taxes on refined palm oil but hiked it for the crude variant. But it does not have the capacity to meet monthly demand of 600,000 tonnes from India, the world's biggest importer. 

India to begin soybean imports from 2015
NUSA DUA, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Domestic demand for soybeans in India, fueled by a growing population and economic wealth in the world's fifth-largest producer, will result in the country becoming a net importer by 2015, the United Soybean Board said on Monday.  
India is the world's fifth-biggest soybean producer after the United States, Brazil, Argentina and China, and it contributes about 5 percent to global output. 

Key India state's 2011/12 sugar output seen at 10 mln T-min
NEW DELHI, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Sugar output from the western Maharashtra state, India's top producer of the sweetener, is likely to be a record 10 million tonnes in 2011/12 on higher acreage and sufficient rainfall, the state's farm minister said on Tuesday.
India,  the world's top sugar consumer and second-biggest producer, is expected to produce 26 million tonnes of sugar in the season from October 2011, up 7.4 percent year-on-year, according to Indian Sugar Mills Association, a producers' body.

India's Aug oilmeal exports rise 14.5 pct y/y
MUMBAI, Sept 7 (Reuters) - India's oilmeal exports rose 14.5 percent to 279,469 tonnes in August from 244,075 tonnes a year earlier, as more oilseeds were available and there was good demand from southeast Asia, a leading trade body said on Wednesday.
Oilmeal exports in the first five months of the financial year from April 2011 jumped over 60 percent to 1.639 million tonnes compared with 1.021 million tonnes a year ago, the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA) said in a statement.

India seen exporting 2.8 mln T sugar in 2011/12
NEW DELHI, Sept 7 (Reuters) - India is likely to allow unrestricted exports of 2.8 million tonnes of sugar in 2011/12 season, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday, up from 1.5 million tonnes so far this year and the second straight year of exports from the world's top consumer.
Export estimates ranged from a low of 2.0 million tonnes to a high of 4.0 million tonnes in forecasts by 10 leading sugar firms, traders and analysts at a global sugar conference in New Delhi this week.

Global sugar meet exhorts India to domestic reform
NEW DELHI, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Traders and industry experts at a global sugar conference here called on India to seize the moment to lift restrictions on its domestic industry and so stabilise output but were sceptical that New Delhi, worried about food inflation, would act.
Many in the industry see tight government control as the main reason behind sharp swings in sugar output from India, a key reason behind global price volatility as the country swings from exports to imports.

India's July tea output up 8.2 pct; exports fall
MUMBAI, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Tea production in July in India, the world's second biggest producer after China, rose 8.2 percent to 133.27 million kilograms, on conducive weather conditions, according to data released by the state-run Tea Board on Thursday.
The production during the first seven months of 2011 stood at 491.59 million kilograms, up 6.4 percent on year, the board said in a statement.

India allows exports of 2 mln T each of rice, wheat
NEW DELHI, Sept 8 (Reuters) - India will allow unrestricted exports of two million tonnes each of wheat and common rice, as bulging stocks offer political room for overseas sales which could depress global rice prices but make little dent in wheat supplies.
"We will stop exports once shipments reach 2 million tonnes each," Food Minister K.V. Thomas said after a meeting of a ministerial panel. He said there will be no minimum export price for rice. Wheat has no floor price for exports.

India extends unrestricted cotton exports beyond Oct 1-official
NEW DELHI, Sept 9 (Reuters) - India will continue with unrestricted cotton exports in the new marketing year beginning Oct. 1, Trade Secretary Rahul Khullar told reporters on Friday, a move that could depress global prices which have halved since a record high in March.
India's cotton exports have already been cited as a key factor in dictating fibre prices in the 2011/12 season by the chief executive of the world's biggest cotton merchant.

India fluffs cotton policy, gives buyers an edge
MUMBAI, Sept 9 (Reuters) - India's fickle policy on cotton exports has hurt its role as a steady supplier of the fibre, and saddled its exporters with huge stocks they will have to sell on punitive delivery conditions at lower prices through next year.
Cotton users in Bangladesh, China and Pakistan will benefit, but exporters in India, which harvested a good crop in the year to September 2011, will still feel the pain of curbs lifted only in August, after prices halved from March highs.

India's August rubber imports slump 42 pct on year
MUMBAI, Sept 12 (Reuters) - India's natural rubber imports in August slumped 42 percent to 14,060 tonnes from a year ago as prices in the local market fell below international levels, erasing the incentive for tyre companies to buy overseas, the state-run Rubber Board said.
In August, domestic prices were over 2 rupees per kg lower than the international market. On Aug. 31, the local market price was 214 rupees per kg compared with 216.6 rupees in Thailand.

India rice exports kick off at $470/T-sources
NEW DELHI, Sept 12 (Reuters) - A leading Indian trading firm has sold 100,000 tonnes of non-basmati rice to Nigerian buyers at $470 per tonne, undercutting Thai and Vietnamese competitors in the first deals since the food minister gave a nod to 2 million tonnes of exports.
The company also sealed deals to export 50,000 tonnes of wheat to Bangladesh at $280 per tonne free on board (fob), said one of the trade sources who was directly involved with the deal but could not be identified due to company policy.

India's 2011 tea exports seen down 6.7 pct, output record
MUMBAI, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Tea exports by India, the world's second-biggest producer, could fall nearly 7 percent in 2011 to 180-185 million kilograms partly due to payments problems with Iran which also hurt oil trade, a senior industry official said.
"Unrest in the Middle East and payment problems with Iran affected exports. Now exports demand is improving, but total exports in 2011 will be lower," Deepak Atal, managing director of Amalgamated Plantations, told Reuters in an interview late on Tuesday.

India's rice, wheat exports to ease agflation fears
SINGAPORE/NEW DELHI, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Indian rice exports will hit global markets with a bang, regaining not just market share lost in three years of absence but also challenging the world's top rice exporter Thailand, whose plan to lift prices threatens to stoke food inflation.
India, which has also allowed wheat exports for the first time since 2007, will add to the global oversupply of wheat, pressuring the benchmark U.S. market , although high domestic prices will cap exports.  

India 2011/12 summer-sown grains output seen up
NEW DELHI, Sept 14 (Reuters) - India's summer-sown rice output in the new season that began in July is expected to touch a record 87.10 million tonnes, the farm ministry said on Wednesday, up about 8 percent, raising prospects of further exports of the grain.  
India's entry's into the export market threatens to undercut supplies from Thailand and Vietnam, the world's No.1 and No. 2 rice exporters respectively, which have seen demand for their costlier supplies fall after India's food ministry allowed two million tonnes of common rice exports last week.

India's monsoon rains just above normal in past week
NEW DELHI, Sept 15 (Reuters) - India's monsoon rains were one percent above normal in the week to Sept. 14, weakening from 39 percent above average in the previous week, the weather office said on Thursday, easing concerns heavy rains could damage planted crops.
Withdrawal of the June to September monsoon could now happen after Sept. 25, a source at the weather office said.

India draft bill eyes cheap grains for 810 mln people
NEW DELHI, Sept 14 (Reuters) - India's government has agreed on a draft law to provide cheap grains to two thirds of its 1.2 billion people, a plan that could widen fiscal deficit but help win voter support for the government and its allies.
Voter anger at high food prices has damaged the popularity of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's centre-left government in a country where 40 percent of its population live below the U.N. poverty line, threatening his Congress party's chances in a key state election next year and the 2014 national elections.

India cotton exports seen up 17 pct over govt f'cast
MUMBAI, Sept 21 (Reuters) - India's cotton exports could rise 17 percent, or 1.4 million tonnes, over an official forecast in the year to September 2012, spurred by a record harvest, a weaker domestic currency and a freer trade policy, the top exporter of the fibre said.
India contributes 22 percent of global output and is expected to have a bumper harvest of 6.14 million tonnes, pushing it into competition with suppliers from Latin America, Australia and Africa, that will squeeze world prices.

India initial 2011/12 sugar output seen at 24.6 mln T
NEW DELHI, Sept 21 (Reuters) - India is expected to produce at least 24.6 million tonnes of sugar in the new season from October, slightly up from this year, Food Minister K.V. Thomas said on Wednesday, releasing a preliminary output estimate that could be revised upward.
The forecast is lower than a 26 million tonnes output estimated by the farm minister last week. That was also an initial estimate.

India rains pick up in past week, monsoon withdrawal eyed
NEW DELHI, Sept 22 (Reuters) - India's monsoon rains were 29 percent above normal in the week to Sept. 21, strengthening from 1 percent above average in the previous week, the weather office said on Thursday, adding the rains may start their withdrawal after a couple of days.
The monsoon rains were 4 percent above average since the start of the June-September season, in line with the weather office's latest forecast of a normal monsoon in 2011, which means rains of 96 to 104 percent of a long-term average.

India sugar producers' body foresees surplus
NEW DELHI, Sept 27 (Reuters) - India is heading for a sugar surplus in 2011/12, and the government should help producers by allowing 4 million tonnes of exports -- more than double this year's overseas sales, the head of a producers' body said on Tuesday.
Output for the world's second-biggest producer after Brazil could rise to 26.5 million tonnes in 2011/12, Jayantilal B. Patel, president of the National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd (NFCSF), told an industry meeting.

India contracts to sell 400,000 T new season soymeal
MUMBAI, Sept 28 (Reuters) - India, Asia's top soymeal exporter, has so far struck deals to export 400,000 tonnes of new season soymeal, down by almost half the amount it usually sells around this time, due to uncertainty over demand and falling prices, a senior trade official said on Wednesday.
"People are not sure about prices. Everyone is going very cautiously and slow on exports front due to volatile prices," Rajesh Agrawal, chief co-ordinator at the Soybean Processors Association of India, a top trade body, told Reuters.

20111024 0950 Global Market Related News.

Asian Stocks Rise a Second Day as Japan Exports Increase, Commodities Gain (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks climbed for a second day, led by raw-material producers, as Japan’s exports increased more than expected, signaling a recovery in shipments is withstanding the weakening global economy. Honda Motor Co., the Japanese carmaker that gets over 80 percent of sales overseas, rose 1.4 percent in Tokyo. Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest automaker by market value, added 1 percent. BHP Billiton Ltd., the largest global mining company, advanced 2 percent in Sydney after copper futures extended gains. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 0.9 percent to 117.06 as of 9:45 a.m. in Tokyo, with about 12 stocks rising for each that fell. The gauge had its biggest weekly decline in a month last week after Germany said there would be no quick fix to the European debt crisis.
European leaders meeting in Brussels at the weekend ruled out tapping the European Central Bank’s balance sheet to boost the region’s rescue fund and outlined plans to aid banks, inching toward a revamped strategy to contain the Greece-fueled debt crisis. The complete blueprint won’t come together until a summit on Oct. 26.

U.S. Stocks Rise as S&P Sees Longest Weekly Rally Since February (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks rose this week, driving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to its longest winning streak since February, amid optimism Europe’s leaders will announce a plan to contain the debt crisis and after McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) joined companies beating profit estimates. Financial shares in the S&P 500 added 3.9 percent as European finance ministers began negotiations to prevent a Greek default and shield banks. McDonald’s rose 2.7 percent, while Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. climbed more than 4.3 percent after their quarterly reports. PulteGroup Inc. jumped 11 percent as data showed sentiment among homebuilders improved more than forecast. El Paso Corp. (EP) soared 28 percent after Kinder Morgan Inc. agreed to buy it.
The S&P 500 climbed 1.1 percent to 1,238.25, the highest since Aug. 3, and has risen three straight weeks. It has surged 13 percent since Oct. 3, when it closed within 1 percent of a bear market, or 20 percent plunge, from its high in April. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose a fourth straight week, gaining 164.30 points, or 1.4 percent, to 11,808.79.

U.S. Economy Probably Picked Up in Third Quarter on Consumer Spending Gain (Source: Bloomberg)
The U.S. economy probably grew in the third quarter at the fastest pace this year, easing anxiety that the recovery was on the verge of stalling, economists said before a report this week. Gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced, rose at a 2.5 percent annual rate after advancing 1.3 percent in the previous three months, according to the median forecast of 68 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before the Commerce Department’s Oct. 27 release. Orders for business equipment rose in September and new-home sales stabilized, other data may show. Consumer spending last quarter may have climbed more than twice as fast as in the prior three months, helping the economy withstand the plunge in stocks caused by Europe’s debt crisis. Nonetheless, the pace of growth has failed to cut unemployment, prompting Federal Reserve officials like Janet Yellen and Daniel Tarullo to say that more monetary stimulus may be needed.

Fed Officials Weigh Further Easing Options Even as Economy Gains Strength (Source: Bloomberg)
Federal Reserve policy makers are developing options for further monetary easing even as better- than-forecast economic reports have allayed concerns that the U.S. is on the verge of a renewed recession. Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen said yesterday that a third round of large-scale asset purchases “might become appropriate if evolving economic conditions called for significantly greater monetary accommodation.” A day before, Governor Daniel Tarullo said buying mortgage-backed securities “should move back up toward the top of the list of options.” They join Charles Evans, president of the Chicago Fed, and Boston’s Eric Rosengren in calling for consideration of further stimulus to boost growth and bring down a jobless rate stuck around 9 percent or higher for 30 months. A stock-market rally and gains in manufacturing and retail sales may convince the Federal Open Market Committee, which meets Nov. 1-2, to decide that it’s too soon for a third round of bond purchases.

Treasuries Advance on European Economy, Debt-Crisis Concerns (Source: Bloomberg)
Treasuries gained for the first time in three days before a European report projected to show that the region’s services and manufacturing industries contracted. Demand for the relative safety of U.S. debt increased after European policy makers ruled out tapping the central bank to boost a rescue fund for indebted nations, while outlining plans to aid banks. Futures indicated a U.S. stock index will fall. “People may be forgetting about Europe’s economy but it is worsening,” said Kiyoshi Ishigane, a senior strategist in Tokyo at Mitsubishi UFJ Asset Management Co. “That’s not good for the global economy and weighs on bond yields.” Ten-year yields fell two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 2.2 percent as of 9:44 a.m. Tokyo time, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader prices. The price of the 2.125 percent securities maturing in August 2021 rose 5/32, or $1.56 per $1,000 face amount, to 99 11/32.

Payrolls Decline in 25 States , Led by North Carolina; Florida Tops Gains (Source: Bloomberg)
Payrolls fell in 25 U.S. states in September, led by North Carolina and Ohio, a sign the weakness in the job market is broad-based. Employers cut staff by 22,200 in North Carolina last month and by 21,600 in Ohio, according to Labor Department data issued today in Washington. The report also showed the jobless rate decreased in 25 states. Nevada continued to lead the nation in unemployment with a rate of 13.4 percent. The economy needs to generate faster sustained job growth to lower unemployment and spur the consumer spending that makes up about 70 percent of the economy. A Labor Department report on Oct. 7 showed employers added 103,000 payrolls last month, almost half of them telecommunications workers returning from a strike, and the jobless rate was 9.1 percent for a third month.

McDonald's Posts Higher Sales, Profit (Source: CME)
McDonald's Corp.'s third-quarter earnings rose 8.6% as the fast-food giant's continued sales gains helped compensate for higher-than-expected food cost inflation. The Oak Brook, Ill., restaurant chain has consistently outperformed fast food rivals with competitive pricing that attracts consumers in this volatile economy. Even after raising menu prices this year in light of its higher costs, the chain has still been able to boost customer visits and grow sales faster than most of its competitors. For the third quarter, global same-store sales, or sales at restaurants open at least 13 months, rose 5%, with a 4.4% boost in the U.S., 4.9% in Europe and 3.4% in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa division. Chief Executive Jim Skinner said the company's better-than-expected results were "hard-won."
"We are officially out of the recession, but it hardly feels that way," he said. "Consumers everywhere continue to be cost conscious and hesitant to spend." He said global same-store sales remain strong at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and the company expects a between 4% and 5% rise this month. McDonald's reported a profit of $1.51 billion, or $1.45 a share, up from $1.39 billion, or $1.29 a share, a year earlier. Foreign currency translation boosted its third quarter earnings by eight cents a share. Revenue rose 14% from a year ago to $7.17 billion. Excluding currency fluctuations, revenue was up 8%. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of $1.43 a share on revenue of $7.03 billion. McDonald's better-than-expected results come as the company faces higher costs, especially for beef, as those prices didn't moderate after the summer grilling season like McDonald's had hoped.
As a result, it raised its commodity inflation outlook to between 4.5% and 5% from 4% to 4.5% in the U.S. and Europe for the year, as higher food costs pressure restaurant margins industry-wide. An increasingly diverse menu "ranging from value offerings to higher-margin products like blended-ice drinks" has contributed to its strong sales and helped offset its rising costs. McDonald's also implemented two rounds of menu price increases this year, averaging 1% in March and 1.4% in May, to further offset food inflation. Still, McDonald's bottom line was hit in the third quarter, as its company-owned restaurant margin decreased by one percentage point to 20% because strong same-store sales were more than offset by higher commodity costs. "We will continue to evaluate additional price increases in light of this inflationary environment, always balancing our goal of driving traffic and market share gains with managing impact of rising costs," said Chief Financial Officer Peter Bensen.
McDonald's expects 2012 commodity inflation to be about the same as this year. Grocery store prices are rising faster than restaurant prices, which might allow McDonald's to increase its menu prices again in the near-term without turning away consumers, Mr. Bensen said. Mr. Skinner added that McDonald's pricing plans are "an inside game," not determined by moves its competitors make. "We have a pricing model that we use very, very effectively," Mr. Skinner said. "And yet it takes intuition and a gut feeling of that when to pull the trigger on these kinds of things."

China Must Control Prices to Curb Inflation: Wen (Source: Bloomberg)
China must continue efforts to control food and housing prices to ease soaring inflation and maintain economic development and social stability, according to Premier Wen Jiabao. Authorities must help boost output of farm products, control the non-food use of corn and increase land supply to make more residential housing available, Wen said in a statement posted on the central government’s website on Oct. 22. Wen’s government has tightened lending and boosted imports of agricultural reserves to keep inflation from derailing growth in the world’s second-biggest economy. China probably won’t ease monetary policies until inflation slows to less than 5 percent, Yu Yongding, a former central bank adviser, said Oct. 21.
“The government has been more flexible in balancing its tightening policies” with the state of the economy, and the measures have worked, Li Qiang, managing director of Shanghai JC Intelligence Co., the country’s biggest independent agricultural researcher, said in a phone interview yesterday. “Food prices, including pork, are trending lower.”

Japanese Stocks Advance, Led by Traders and Commodity Producers (Source: Bloomberg)
Japanese stocks rose, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average headed for its biggest gain in a week, as trading companies and commodity producers gained on higher oil and metal prices. Mitsubishi Corp. (8058), Japan’s biggest trading company by market value, rose 2.2 percent. Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., a copper producer, increased 3.5 percent. Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the world’s largest automaker by market value, advanced 1 percent after Japanese exports increased more than expected. The Nikkei 225 rose 1.3 percent to 8,792.31 as of 9:22 a.m. in Tokyo, set for its largest advance since Oct. 17. The broader Topix index increased 1.2 percent to 753.11, with almost 10 stocks rising for each that fell.

Stocks in Europe Post Longest Streak of Weekly Gains This Year as EU Meets (Source: Bloomberg)
European stocks advanced for a fourth week, for the longest rising streak since December, as investors speculated European leaders meeting in Brussels next week will nudge forward a solution to the region’s debt crisis. SGL Carbon SE (SGL) soared the most since 2008 after a report that Bayerische Motoren Werke AG plans to buy a stake in it. Lundin Petroleum AB (LUPE) surged 14 percent after Statoil ASA doubled its estimate of an oil discovery in the North Sea. G4S Plc (GFS) slumped 14 percent after agreeing to acquire ISS A/S, a move resisted by at least one large shareholder. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.2 percent to 238.93 this week, with energy, personal goods and retail industries gaining the most. The gauge trimmed its decline from this year’s high on Feb. 17 to 18 percent. The Stoxx 600 is trading at about 10 times the estimated earnings of its constituent companies, near the lowest valuation since March 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

EU Rules Out ECB Help in Boosting Fund (Source: Bloomberg)
European leaders ruled out tapping the European Central Bank’s balance sheet to boost the region’s rescue fund and outlined plans to aid banks, inching toward a revamped strategy to contain the Greece-fueled debt crisis. Europe’s 13th crisis-management summit in 21 months also explored how to strengthen the International Monetary Fund’s role. The leaders excluded a forced restructuring of Greek debt, sticking with the tactic of enticing bondholders to accept losses to help restore the country’s finances. “Work is going well on the banks, and on the fund and the possibilities of using the fund, the options are converging,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters at the Brussels summit yesterday. “On the question of Greece, things are moving along. We’re not there yet.”

EU Pushes to Solve Debt Woes as Merkel Damps Expectations (Source: Bloomberg)
European leaders started the 13th crisis summit in 21 months seeking a breakthrough over how to stamp out the Greece-led debt shock that threatens to tip the world into a recession.  Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Europe’s dominant economy, played down the odds of an agreement today to beef up the euro bailout fund, cut Greece’s debt without triggering a default, shield banks from the fallout and insulate Italy and Spain from the turmoil. “Today one shouldn’t expect decisions,” Merkel told reporters before the Brussels summit. She spoke of “a technically complex process” with the aim of forging a comprehensive strategy at the next summit in three days.

European Leaders Say Bank Recapitalization Is ‘Essential’ Part of Package (Source: Bloomberg)
European Union finance ministers will meet Oct. 26 to complete work on bank-recapitalization plans, EU leaders indicated in a draft statement today. The finance chiefs, who met yesterday in Brussels for 10 hours, have progressed “on measures for the banking sector” and should “finalize this work” at a meeting on Oct. 26, the EU’s government heads said in the draft text obtained by Bloomberg News. The EU’s 27 leaders are meeting today in Brussels, with the euro area’s 17 government heads due to gather in the afternoon and again in three days to draw up a plan to stem the Greece- triggered debt crisis. Bank recapitalization is one part.

EU Talks Yield ‘Limited’ Progress on Banks’ Role in Greek Crisis (Source: Bloomberg)
A 10-hour meeting in Brussels failed to yield a blueprint for banks’ role in a revamped Greek rescue as European finance ministers haggled over what they called a “credible firewall” against fallout from deeper writedowns. The ministers’ meeting broke up at about 7 p.m. after reaching agreement that European banks may need about 100 billion euros ($139 billion) in capital after marking their sovereign-debt holdings to market values, according to a person familiar with the discussions. This amount is needed to reach a core tier 1 capital level of 9 percent based on a European Banking Authority test, said the person, who declined to be identified because discussions are private. The struggle to get an accord on bank capital was just one piece of solving the two-year-old financial crisis. Governments also are pushing for deeper writedowns on banks’ holdings of Greek debt, a step the investors are resisting.

European Leaders Consider Fund to Attract Outside Cash to Tame Debt Crisis (Source: Bloomberg)
European finance ministers are considering setting up a fund to entice outside investors to buy troubled euro-area government bonds, as they struggled over how to tame the Greece-fueled debt crisis, said a person familiar with the matter. The insured investment vehicle was one of two options being weighed, along with using the European Financial Stability Facility to boost the rescue firepower from 440 billion euros ($611 billion) currently, the person said. “The principle that we leverage the EFSF with private money is being subscribed by everyone, but the level of success is uncertain,” Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager told reporters on the second day of crisis talks in Brussels. “How much can we raise, that is being looked at.”

Berlusconi Pressed by EU Leaders on Deficit (Source: Bloomberg)
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was put on the defensive at a crisis summit over the country’s finances and appointments at the European Central Bank. Before the leaders convened yesterday in Brussels, Berlusconi held face-to-face talks yesterday with European Union President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Barroso and then with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. “I never flunked” an exam in my life, Berlusconi told reporters when asked if he was concerned over the push to cut Italy’s debt load, the biggest in the world after the U.S. and Japan. The demand for discipline underscored European leaders’ concern of the vulnerability of Italy, whose debt totals more than $2 trillion, accounting for almost 120 percent of its gross domestic product. The ECB started buying Italian bonds two months ago to contain borrowing costs as yields surged.

Swan Says Europe’s Sovereign Crisis Shouldn’t Damp Confidence in Australia (Source: Bloomberg)
Volatility in global markets caused by the sovereign debt crisis in Europe shouldn’t damp confidence in Australia’s economic outlook, according to Treasurer Wayne Swan. “The situation in Europe will continue to have an impact on our region, our economy and our budget bottom line,” Swan said in his weekly economic note published yesterday. “But Australians should remain confident about our prospects, based on our strong fundamentals, our very low debt, low unemployment and our massive investment pipeline.” European leaders descended on Brussels at the weekend in a last-ditch effort to stamp out a two-year-old financial crisis that threatens to tip the world into a recession. Europe’s economy will expand 1 percent in 2012, compared with 4.3 percent in Australia where a mining boom is stoking the fastest pace of growth among Group of 10 currency nations, according to Bloomberg surveys.

Indonesian Government Prevails in Tussle Over Financial Regulator’s Board (Source: Bloomberg)
Indonesia ended months of impasse over the board composition of a planned financial regulator as lawmakers yielded to the government’s efforts to reduce the risk of political interference in bank supervision. The Financial Services Authority parliamentary working committee agreed Oct. 20 to the government’s plan for two former finance ministry and central bank members on the agency’s board of commissioners, along with seven presidential picks vetted by parliament, Achsanul Qosasi, a vice chairman of the committee, said by phone in Jakarta yesterday. Parliament had wanted two of its members in the mix. “The composition of the board of commissioners is good and it will make this body independent, without political interference in supervising financial institutions,” said David Sumual, an economist at PT Bank Central Asia in Jakarta.

20111024 0949 Global Commodities Related News.

Corn (Source: CME)
US corn futures close little changed, pulling back from gains early in the session. Profit-taking and expectations for harvest to advance this weekend weighed on prices, analysts say. Brokerage firm Country Hedging predicts harvest will be almost 70% complete in USDA's weekly crop report Monday, up from 47% a week earlier. Yet, the losses could not wipe out gains from earlier this week. CBOT December corn ends down 1/4c at $6.49 1/4/bushel, up 1.4% for the week.

Wheat (Source: CME)
US wheat futures finish little changed as grain markets pared gains ahead of the close. Profit-taking and a setback in corn prices pressured the markets, traders say. Wheat lacks strong export demand for support as Russia continues to undercut US grain prices on the world market. "It's been tough to find buyers," says Dave Marshall, an independent grain analyst. CBOT December wheat ends up 1 1/4c at $6.32/bushel as KCBT December slips 2c to $7.23 and MGEX December rises 1 3/4c to $9.19 1/4.

Rice (Source: CME)
US rice futures close higher on worries about crop losses due to severe flooding in Thailand, the world's top exporter of the grain. Floodwaters reached Bangkok, and some towns were under water more than six feet high. "These floods in Thailand are pretty darn serious. It's going to drive the price of rice up," says Jim Gerlach of A/C Trading. CBOT November rice jumps 9c to $16.40 1/2/hundredweight.

Corn up for 2nd day, harvest pressure limits gains
SINGAPORE, Oct 21 (Reuters) - U.S. corn and wheat rose half a percent, gaining for a second straight day in cautious optimism ahead of a weekend meeting of European leaders on the region's debt crisis.  
"The markets seems to be reacting positively but if you look at it realistically the rally may not last as there is nothing very concrete, it's just speculations about possible resolution to the debt crisis," said Lynette Tan, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

India, Pakistan rice exports to rise- trade officials
HO CHI MINH CITY, Oct 21 (Reuters) - India, the world's second-largest rice producer after China, is forecast to produce 102 million tonnes of rice in the 2011/2012 season, up around 3 percent from the previous season, an executive at a rice export company said on Friday.
The country, which returned to the market in September with a plan to ship 2 million tonnes of non-basmati rice by March 2012, has 5 million tonnes set aside for export, Chairman Karan Chanana of the New Delhi-based Amira group told Reuters.
Ukraine grain export duties expire on Oct.22
KIEV, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Export duties on Ukrainian wheat and maize will expire on Saturday, according to a law published on Friday.
Ukraine imposed the duties in July and traders have said the measure slashed Ukrainian exports as Ukrainian-origin grain proved unable to compete with cheaper Russian exports.

India won't allow food grain exports from govt stocks-min
NEW DELHI, Oct 21 (Reuters) - India, the world's second-biggest wheat and rice producer, will not allow overseas sale of food grains from government stocks, Food Minister K.V. Thomas said on Friday.
"No, we want to be cautious and government has not allowed exports from government stocks," Thomas said when asked whether such grain exports would be permitted.

China 2012 rice import seen steady at 700,000T-govt
HO CHI MINH CITY, Oct 21 (Reuters) - China's milled rice import demand in 2012 is expected to be  around 700,000 tonnes, similar to this year due to sufficient stock while market prices would remain high, a government official said on Friday.
The 2012 import, equivalent to around 1 million tonnes of rough rice, or paddy, would come from Thailand and Vietnam, the official from the government-run National Grain and Oilseeds Information Center told Reuters, adding that the higher-priced Thai grain would meet demand for the luxury market.

High rice prices to hit Thai, Vietnam exports
HO CHI MINH CITY, Oct 20 (Reuters) - High prices may lead to a 30 percent cut in rice shipments from top exporter Thailand next year and No. 2 seller Vietnam may be unable to increase its export volumes as buyers turn to cheaper rice from India, traders and industry officials said.
India, the world's second-biggest producer, eased curbs on exports last month and its grain is around $100 a tonne cheaper than Thai and Vietnamese rice, they said at a rice conference in Vietnam.

US Grain Exports- China buys, corn sales hit 7-mth high
CHICAGO, Oct 20 (Reuters) - A big U.S. corn purchase by China propelled export sales of the grain last week to a near seven-month high, although the sales fell short of trade expectations, according to U.S. Agriculture Department data released early on Thursday.
USDA confirmed a large purchase by the emerging corn importer last week, along with a sizable sale to undisclosed buyers. But absent those sales, the week's tally was disappointing, analysts said.

EU clears 296,000 tonnes wheat exports this week
PARIS, Oct 20 (Reuters) - The European Union this week granted export licences for 296,000 tonnes of soft wheat, taking the total since the beginning of the 2011/12 (July-June) season to 4.35 million tonnes, official data showed on Thursday.
The total so far this season remained well below the volume seen at the same stage in 2010/11, when 7.7 million tonnes of export licences had been cleared, the data showed.

EU wheat sowing going well in good weather
HAMBURG, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Wheat sowing in key European Union producing countries is progressing well in favourable weather and farmers may be choosing wheat over other grains and oilseeds, analysts said on Thursday.
"The EU could be heading for a slightly larger wheat harvested area in 2012 but sowing problems in Germany could cut the rapeseed area," one analyst said. "Overall a good start has been made with wheat and plants in the main producing countries in good shape to face the winter."

Russian grain harvesting 91.6 percent over - AgMin
MOSCOW, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Russia had harvested 93.4 million tonnes of grain by bunker weight by Oct. 18, up from 62.2 million by the same date last year but down from 98.2 million tonnes two years ago, Agriculture Ministry data showed on Thursday.
Russia officially expects to harvest 90-92 million tonnes of grain this year, up from 61 million in 2010, when it was hit by a drought, the most severe in decades, but les than the 97 million tonnes reaped in 2009.  

Rains slow harvesting in eastern US Midwest; Plains parched
CHICAGO, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Overall good harvest weather continued in the U.S. Midwest with the exception of the soggy eastern part of the region, including much of the northern Ohio River Valley, an agricultural meteorologist said on Thursday.
"Most of the Midwest is okay but there was a lot of rain in the eastern Corn Belt especially in Ohio, Michigan and eastern Indiana," said Andy Karst, meteorologist for World Weather Inc.

Nearly 2.5M Hectares Of Crops Destroyed By SE Asia Floods - FAO (Source: CME)
The devastating floods that have left hundreds dead in south-east Asia may cause further problems for the region as millions of hectares of crops have been destroyed, the United Nations warned. Intense monsoon rains, typhoons and tropical storms have flooded more than 2.5 million hectares of cropland in Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, according to research by the Food and Agriculture Organization. Meanwhile, millions of animals have already been killed and millions are thought to be at risk from the flood waters and already overspilling damns. In worst-hit Thailand, 1.6 million hectares--12.5% of the area under crops nationwide--has been flooded, along with an estimated 12% of acreage in the Philippines and 7.5% of plantings in Cambodia. "The floods occurred when the current main wet season cereal crops were in the field, with paddy rice at the initial to mid growing stage, and maize at an advance critical flowering stage," said the FAO.
"Loss of livestock and poultry is reported and significant numbers are considered to be at risk."

India Won't Allow Foodgrain Exports From Govt Stocks - Minister (Source: CME)
India won't allow any grain exports from surplus government stocks as it is worried about high food inflation and wants to preserve supplies to meet a proposed food security law, Food Minister K.V. Thomas said. "We have to be cautious as we will need enough foodgrains...once we introduce the food security law," he told reporters. The food security law, which guarantees cheap grain supplies to the majority of the country's population, is expected to be introduced in parliament in December.

Czech Republic's 2011 Grain Harvest Showed Record Yields - USDA (Source: CME)
Grain production in the Czech Republic rose almost 20% on the year to 8.2 million metric tons in 2011 as farmers harvested a record yielding crop, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. "This year's harvest is one of the best in the last decade" with yields jumping to an average of 5.62 tons a hectare and most grain of good quality, the USDA's Prague attache said in a note. "Sufficient exportable surplus of milling wheat is anticipated," it said. For next year, farmers are expected to continue to expand plantings of the most lucrative crops, including wheat, corn and rapeseed, at the expense of grains such as barley and rye, the attache added.

Argentina's Kirchner, Farmers Make Peace Ahead Of Second Term (Source: CME)
With reelection almost certain this Sunday, Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner is actively courting the support of farmers who nearly four years ago blocked highways to protest her attempt to hike taxes on grain producers. Argentina is blessed with some of the world's most productive farmland, ranking No. 1 in global soymeal and soyoil exports, and second in corn exports. Taxes on grain exports provide significant revenue to the federal government. Those exports are also the country's single largest source of hard currency. Grain export dollars have allowed Argentina to run a hefty trade surplus for years as well as accumulate international reserves that the government taps to pay its creditors. Farmers still grumble about the government's policy of limiting corn and wheat exports to keep food prices low at the expense of producers. But with Kirchner on the cusp of winning a second, four-year term with an overwhelming mandate from voters, many farm groups have decided to make peace with the government.
Kirchner made the unprecedented gesture on Monday of attending a three-hour lunch and meeting with representatives of farm group Coninagro, whose leaders have been among her most vocal critics over the past three years. "A new phase has opened up with the government," Coninagro president Carlos Garetto said in televised comments after the meeting at the group's headquarters. "Neither the farmers nor the government want conflict," he said. "The state needs the farmers and the farmers need the state." High global prices for soy and grains have also helped both sides smooth over the lingering resentment from the 2008 strike. Soybean prices on the local grain exchange have risen 8% this year, and global corn prices are up about 17%, according to the Agriculture Ministry. Even the conservative Argentine Rural Society, which historically represented the cattle barons and big landowners who dominated politics in the early 20th century, is cautiously optimistic about the government's peace overtures.
"It's an important change of attitude [but] it doesn't mean that there is going to be a change in the policies nor does it mean that she's going to recognize that our demands are right," Rural president Hugo Biolcati told Radio 10. Kirchner could receive as much as 55% of the vote this Sunday, giving her a nearly 40-point lead over the nearest challenger and easily surpassing the threshold to avoid a runoff, according to respected pollster Poliarquia. Her Frente Para La Victoria coalition, which claims to represent the populist-nationalist movement founded by former President Juan Domingo Peron in the 1940s, is also poised to retake control of Congress. In recent months, Kirchner has sought to mend fences with disaffected farmers and industrialists in what some analysts say is a precursor to a grand social pact early next year to correct some of the more serious distortions of her high growth, high inflation policies.
While the government has made it clear that the export limits are here to stay, Kirchner is keen to get farmers' support for a 10-year plan aimed at lifting agricultural production 60% between now and 2020. The government wants to increase grain output 50% to 150 million metric tons from the record crop harvested during the 2010-11 season, while beef production is seen rising 70% thanks to the use of feedlots. Those ambitious targets are feasible with the use of biotechnology and increasing the amount of farmland, brokerage Panagricola vice president Ricardo Baccarin said in a phone interview. Farmers are looking forward to another gangbuster harvest this season. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest forecast puts the 2011-12 soy crop at 53 million metric tons, the second-largest ever, while corn production is expected to smash all records at 27.5 million tons.

ICE sugar, coffee firm as commodities recover
LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - ICE raw sugar, cocoa and arabica coffee futures firmed in early trade on Friday, tracking a broad-based recovery in other commodity markets as stocks bounced after France and Germany said a comprehensive euro zone debt deal was on its way.
Uncertainty about the euro zone's resolution of its debt crisis was likely to cap gains.Raw sugar futures were firmer, with the market focused on news on when Indian exports may be authorised.

China 2011/12 cotton consumption seen down-report
NEW YORK, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Cotton consumption in China, the world's top consumer of the fiber, is seen falling over 5 percent in 2011/12 to 9.4 million tonnes, industry publication Cotlook said on Thursday.
Cotlook said the use of cotton by China "has undergone a further downward adjustment, principally as a result of a decrease in projected mill use of raw cotton in China, where a modest net decline in consumption is now foreseen."

Costa Rica coffee harvest suffers some damage from rains
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Torrential rains in Costa Rica caused an estimated loss of at least 23,000 60-kg bags and that number could rise as plant disease spreads in the country's soaked fields, the national coffee institute said on Thursday.
Officials at the institute, known as ICAFE, had forecast coffee production at around 1.58 million 60-kg bags for the 2011/12 crop that began in October.

Euro Coal-Price slide continues at $1.50 a day
LONDON, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Prompt physical coal prices on Thursday fell by $1.00-1.50 for the fourth day running as traders and utilities sold fourth-quarter cargoes in expectation of further price falls.
The stagnation which has plagued the coal market for most of this year may be over, they said, now that prices have broken out of their range on the downside and continued to fall.

Brent crude oil steady above $109 before EU summits
LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Brent crude held above $109 per barrel as financial markets awaited two key summits of European leaders to agree a solution to the euro zone's debt crisis.
"The big risk for markets is that EU leaders don't deliver what is expected: a solution to the debt crisis," said Carsten Fritsch, commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

Oil Gains a Second Day Before European Debt Summit; Brent Premium Widens (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil rose for a second day in New York before European leaders meet this week to agree on a blueprint to tackle the region’s sovereign debt crisis. London- traded Brent’s premium to U.S. crude widened. Futures climbed as much as 0.6 percent after earlier declining 0.5 percent. European leaders yesterday outlined plans to aid banks while ruling out using the European Central Bank’s balance sheet to boost the region’s rescue fund. They may agree to a complete plan at a summit on Oct. 26. Saudi Arabia, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ largest oil producer, is waiting for a successor to the crown prince after the death of Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. “The market is still riding on optimism,” said Jonathan Barratt, a managing director of Commodity Broking Services Pty in Sydney. “Crude did come off a little bit and it might have something to do with a little bit of nervousness in terms of control on compliance in OPEC after the Sultan passed away.”

S.Korea's Sept crude oil imports up 7.5 pct y/y -KNOC
SEOUL, Oct 21 (Reuters) - South Korea's crude imports in September rose 7.5 percent from a year earlier thanks to bullish regional demand for oil products, while the country's year-on-year crude runs were lower in the month due to some maintenance shutdown.
Crude imports by the world's fifth-largest crude buyer rose to 80.6 million barrels last month from 74.9 million barrels a year ago, state-run Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) said on Friday.

Australia's Indo Mines plans $1 bln Indonesia iron project-govt
JAKARTA, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Australia's Indo Mines  is to start construction of a $1 billion project on Indonesia's Java island in December, to begin operations in at least three years to produce 9-15 million tonnes of iron ore a year, a government official said on Friday.
The joint venture will involve PT Jogja Magasa Iron, which will own a 30 percent stake in the project, said Mudrajad Kuncoro, a local government official in Yogyakarta, central Java.

Iron Ore-Spot eyeing biggest weekly fall since July 2010
SINGAPORE, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Spot iron prices slid to their lowest in a year and are set to post their biggest weekly decline in 15 months as demand from top importer China remained thin, fuelling expectations prices could drop further.
Weaker demand for steel in China, the world's biggest consumer and producer, dragged down steel prices and slashed appetite for iron ore, the key steelmaking raw material.

Baltic index rises for 2nd day, capes drive gains
LONDON, Oct 20 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates to ship dry commodities, rose for a second day on Thursday helped by firmer demand for larger capesize vessels hauling iron ore and coal to China.
The overall index rose 21 points or 0.98 percent to 2,161 points.