Thursday, November 10, 2011

20111110 1817 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3119, changed : +85 points, volume : higher.
Bollinger band reading : upside biased with possible pullback correction.
MACD Histrogram : resumed rising, buyer in charge.
Support : 3100, 3070, 3050, 3020 level.
Resistance : 3150, 3200, 3250, 3270 level.
Comment :
FCPO closed recorded huge gains with better volume exchanged while overnight soy oil closed recorded huge loss and currently rebounding higher while crude oil price also resume rising higher.
Lower export data from both export cargo surveyor but MPOB official better than estimate data on higher export, lower stock and little rise on output triggered FCPO price to fly sky high.
Daily chart formed an huge wide range up bar candle closed above upper Bollinger band level after market opened gap down and edge upward higher all the way to closed near the high of the day.
Technical reading suggesting a upside biased market development with possible pullback correction.
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.

20111110 1730 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1468.5, changed : -6.5 points, volume : higher.
Bollinger band reading : pullback correction little upside biased.
MACD Histrogram : weakening, buyer taking profit.
Support : 1458, 1445, 1440, 1435 level.
Resistance : 1470, 1477, 1485, 1491 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed recorded loss with improved volume changed hand doing 4 points discount compare to cash market that closed lower. Overnight U.S. markets plunged lower recorded huge losses and today Asia markets traded severely lower while European markets currently trading little weaker.
Overnight news on Italy may be seeking bailout and China reported weaker exports growth than economists forecast lead market to trade severely lower.
Daily chart formed an up doji bar candle with lower shadow closed above middle Bollinger band level after market opened gap down, plunge lower, recover higher, resume falling and lastly recovered higher again to closed near the high of the day.
Chart reading revised to suggesting a pullback correction little upside biased market development tested support and resistance.
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.

20111110 1706 Regional Markets EOD Daily Chart Study.

 DJIA chart reading :  pullback correction upside biased.
 Hang Seng chart reading :  pullback correction upside biased.
KLCI chart reading :  pullback correction little upside biased.

20111110 1659 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Asian Stocks Tumble as Crisis Hits Italy; Banks, Exporters Dive (Bloomberg)
Asian stocks plunged, with the regional index headed for its biggest drop in two months, after Japan’s machinery orders dropped, China’s export growth slowed and signs emerged Europe’s debt crisis has infected Italy. HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), the U.K.’s largest lender by market value, sank 8.1 percent in Hong Kong after profit at its investment bank declined amid political and economic uncertainty in Europe. Fanuc Corp. (6954), a maker of industrial robots, slipped 4.1 percent in Tokyo. Noble Group Ltd. (NOBL) slumped 26 percent in Singapore, its biggest plunge since 1998, as Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Leiman quit after the Hong Kong-based commodity supplier posted its first loss in 14 years.
“Europe’s problems are structural and require more than a tinkering on the edges to resolve,” said Lee King Fuei, a Singapore-based fund manager at Schroders Plc, which has about $326 billion of assets globally. “Solving these problems will require a fair bit of pain among citizens. Even if politicians know the right solutions, they risk getting kicked out. The global economic environment looks very challenging.”

FOREX-Euro steadies after selloff, but looks shaky
TOKYO, Nov 10 (Reuters) - The euro steadied on Thursday as real-money players stuck to the sidelines after a selloff the day before on a spike in Italian borrowing costs, but options positioning suggested more drops ahead as fears of global financial turmoil grip markets.
The euro licked its wounds sustained on Wednesday in its worst one-day beating against the dollar in 15 months after yields on 10-year Italian bonds  spiked above 7 percent, a level where the cost of financing a debt burden of more than 2 trillion euros is seen as unsustainable.

Stocks dive as bond yields push Italy to the brink
SINGAPORE, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Asian stocks fell sharply after soaring Italian borrowing costs stoked fears the debt crisis in the euro zone's third biggest economy will overwhelm its financial defences, raising the risk of a break-up of the currency area.  "Whatever they come up with, it doesn't avoid a European recession," said Su-Lin Ong, senior economist at RBC Capital Markets in Sydney.

U.S. soy at 1-mth low as European debt crisis deepens
SINGAPORE, Nov 10 (Reuters) - U.S. soy slid to a 1-month low, falling for four out of five sessions, while corn and wheat lost ground as Europe's worsening debt crisis offset the bullish fundamental factor of tight world supplies.
"Given that yesterday's mildly supportive USDA data did not help corn register any gains, the market is likely to take direction from larger economic concerns," said Lynette Tan, an analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore.

China Oct soy imports fell to 7-month low at 3.81 mln T-Customs
BEIJING, Nov 10 (Reuters) - China, the world's largest soy buyer, imported 3.81 million tonnes of soybeans in October, down 7.7 percent from 4.13 million tonnes in September, figures from the General Administration of Customs of China showed on Thursday.
October imports were the lowest since March and also below  forecasts by analysts and the commerce ministry, which had predicted a level slightly higher than 4 million tonnes. Traders and analysts blamed the lower number on delayed customs clearance.
Brazil gov sees lower soy, higher corn crop output
SAO PAULO, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Brazil's soybean crop could suffer its biggest annual drop in decades, the government said on Wednesday, the same day the USDA said Brazilian soy exports this season would overtake those from the United States, the long standing leader.
Drawn by the appealing price of corn and faced with potentially irregular weather from La Nina, local soy producers are likely to harvest 71.48 million to 72.96 million tonnes of soy in the 2011/12 crop, down from October's estimate of 72.18-73.29 million tonnes, the agriculture ministry's crop supply agency Conab said.

Brazil to top U.S. in global soybean trade battle
CHICAGO/SAO PAULO, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Brazil will wrest the mantle of world's top soybean exporter from the United States in the coming year, U.S. government data showed on Wednesday, signaling a shift in global trade driven largely by China.
Analysts said the battle between the two countries, which together control 76 percent of global exports, however, is far from over even as production grows in Brazil while stagnating in the United States due to limited land, factors like currencies, weather and freight rates will play key roles.

Corn 2012 output under threat from rising inputs: Maguire
--Gavin Maguire is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own. To get his real-time views on the market, please join the Global Ags Forum. --
CHICAGO, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Conventional wisdom holds that U.S. farmers will be strongly committed to increasing corn production in 2012 thanks to historically high prices, robust end-user demand and low global inventories.
But corn prices, off their highs by more than $1 a bushel, are now only 12-13 percent above year ago levels, and input costs are on average 25 percent higher. Farmers are just starting to weigh production options for 2012. If corn prices weaken further while input costs stay strong, they may be more inclined to scale back rather than increase corn production.

Brent steady above $112; Italy debt weighs
SINGAPORE, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Brent crude was steady above $112 a barrel, after sharp falls a day earlier, as hopes of resilient oil demand from China partly offset growing concerns over Europe's debt crisis.    "The Chinese data is giving support to a market that is pulling away from risk because of what is happening in Europe," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. "We've moved from a low-growth scenario to one where there is a real threat of recession in the euro zone, and that's weighing on oil markets."

China Oct crude imports down 1.6 pct vs Sept
BEIJING, Nov 10 (Reuters) - China imported 20.80 million tonnes or 4.9 million barrels per day of crude oil in October, 1.6 percent less than a month earlier and below the 5 million bpd mark for the fifth month in a row, customs data showed on Thursday.
But the imports were nearly 27 percent higher than the 3.86 million bpd in October last year, which was by then the lowest since April 2009.

IEA fears oil spike; OPEC dreads European defaults
LONDON, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Oil prices could hit economically damaging record highs if unrest in Africa and the Gulf cuts investment in output, the West's energy watchdog warned oil producers, which said the real problem was likely defaults among euro zone members and banks.
The International Energy Agency (IEA), which advises major oil-consuming countries on energy policies, said on Wednesday oil prices could spike by a third to above their all-time high of $147 a barrel. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said the main risks were of price falls.

Price correction to boost China Oct oil, copper imports
SHANGHAI, Nov 9 (Reuters) - China is expected to import more crude oil, soy and copper in October, a sign that demand for some commodities in the world's second-largest economy has remained resilient in the face of an impending global slowdown.
A recent dip in crude oil prices appears to have encouraged the world's second-largest consumer of the fuel to stock up before winter bites, while weaker copper prices also spurred traders to stock up on the metal in anticipation of a pick up in manufacturing activities next year.

Shanghai copper hits limit down; Italian woes weigh
SHANGHAI, Nov 10 (Reuters) - London copper futures fell to their lowest level in two weeks and Shanghai prices slid by their 6 percent limit as a mounting debt crisis in Italy heightened fears about the global economy, fuelling a flight out of riskier assets.  "Copper has fallen due to the bad news about Italy's finances," said CIFCO Futures analyst Zhou Jie.

China Oct refined copper output hits five-month low
HONG KONG, Nov 9 (Reuters) - China's production of refined copper fell to its lowest level in five months in October, its second decline in as many months, due to a shortage of raw materials and output may drop again in November as scrap imports fall.
Refined copper production stood at 469,000 tonnes in October, a drop of 2.1 percent compared to September, but a 16.4 percent increase on the same month a year ago, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday. Output reached a monthly record 518,000 tonnes in August.

China Oct copper imports rise 0.8 pct on month
HONG KONG, Nov 10 (Reuters) - China's imports of unwrought copper and semi-finished copper products rose 0.8 percent from the previous month to a 17-month high in October due to steady demand from consumers and investors, extending an 11.8 percent gain in September.
Arrivals of copper, which include anode, refined, alloy and semi-finished products, increased to 383,507 tonnes in October, up from September's 380,526 tonnes in September and a sharp gain of 40.2 percent from a year earlier, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Thursday.

Chinese demand brings new players into iron ore
TIANJIN, China, Nov 9 (Reuters) - China's growing demand for alternative sources of iron ore will encourage new entrants into the sector even if prices are driven down further by a flood of new supplies, the head of producer London Mining Plc  told Reuters.
The three dominant global suppliers -- Vale , Rio Tinto  and BHP Billiton  -- are currently expanding capacity rapidly, which some fear could force prices down and drive some smaller rivals out of business.

China Oct daily steel output lowest since Dec 2010
BEIJING, Nov 9 (Reuters) - China's daily crude steel output in October fell to its lowest level since December 2010 as mills across the country closed for repairs in an attempt to head off a collapse in demand.      
China produced 54.67 million tonnes of crude steel in October, down 3.58 percent compared to September, figures from the country's statistics bureau showed on Wednesday.

China's Oct iron ore imports lowest since Feb
SHANGHAI, Nov 10 (Reuters) - China's iron ore imports fell to 49.94 million tonnes in October, the lowest monthly volume since February, China's customs data showed, as steel mills in the world's largest consumer suspended buying amid sagging iron ore prices.
The imports fell 17.5 percent from 60.57 million tonnes in the previous month, taking total imports over the first 10 months to 557.93 million tonnes, up 10.9 percent from the same period last year.
Indonesia's refined tin exports drop 38 pct in Oct y/y-govt
JAKARTA, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Indonesia's refined tin exports slumped 38 percent in October from a year ago to 5,441.58 tonnes, after smelters imposed a shipment ban from the world's top exporter, a trade ministry official said on Thursday.
Indonesian refined tin exports for January to October were 78,714.96 tonnes, the data added.
Peru region gives Freeport, workers wage deadline
LIMA, Nov 9 (Reuters) - The regional government of Arequipa has given striking workers and Peru's No. 3 copper mine Cerro Verde five days to end a six-week-old conflict before calling on the central government to resolve it, a labor relations official said on Wednesday.
Regional authorities met with representatives of Cerro Verde, which produces 2 percent of the world's copper and is controlled by Freeport-McMoRan , and union members on Wednesday to initiate a new round of talks.

Alcoa on way to meeting revenue growth goals -CEO
Nov 9 (Reuters) - Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc  is well on the way to reaching its increased revenue growth targets for two of its businesses, Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld said on Wednesday.
"On rolled products -- we set a target of adding $2.5 billion revenue to the top line by 2013," he said of the business that produces flat-rolled aluminum for the auto and aviation markets among others.

U.S. gold falls 2 pct as Italy fear spooks markets
SINGAPORE, Nov 10 (Reuters) - U.S. gold fell as much as 2 percent, as growing fears over the stability of Italy and the euro zone sank riskier assets and led to liquidation on the gold market.  "The relatively modest reduction in gold compared to other commodities is encouraging," said Nick Trevethan, senior commodities strategist at ANZ.

METALS-Shanghai copper hits limit down; Italian woes weigh
SHANGHAI, Nov 10 (Reuters) - London copper futures fell to their lowest level in two weeks and Shanghai prices slid by their 6 percent limit on Thursday as a mounting debt crisis in Italy heightened fears about the global economy, fuelling a flight out of riskier assets.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange  fell nearly 2 percent to $7,475 a tonne by 0332 GMT, after hitting a low of $7,430.50 earlier, its weakest since Oct. 25.

PRECIOUS-U.S. gold falls 2 pct as Italy fear spooks markets
SINGAPORE, Nov 10 (Reuters) - U.S. gold fell as much as 2 percent on Thursday, as growing fears over the stability of Italy and the euro zone sank riskier assets and led to liquidation on the gold market.
The sharp falls in equities and commodities forced some investors to sell their profitable gold positions to cover losses elsewhere.

20111110 1146 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Asian Stocks Tumble as Crisis Hits Italy; Banks, Exporters Dive (Bloomberg)
Asian stocks plunged, with the regional benchmark index heading for its biggest drop in two months, after Japan’s machinery orders dropped and signs emerged that Europe’s sovereign debt-crisis has infected Italy. HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), Europe’s largest lender by market value, sank 8 percent in Hong Kong on speculation bank earnings will be hurt if Europe fails to contain the debt crisis. Fanuc Corp. (6954), a maker of industrial robots, slipped 3.7 percent in Tokyo. Noble Group Ltd. (NOBL) slumped 23 percent in Singapore, the biggest plunge since 1998, as Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Leiman quit after the Hong Kong-based commodity supplier posted its first loss in 14 years.
“The big concern is that Italy will need to get its funding from other sources than the market, but because of its size, people are very worried,” said Stephen Halmarick, Sydney- based head of investment markets research at Colonial First State Global Asset Management, which oversees about $150 billion. “The outcome of all this is the European economy will go into recession. That’s a big negative.”

China Exports Slow as Europe Clouds Global Outlook (Bloomberg)
China’s exports rose at the slowest pace in almost two years in October as Europe’s deepening debt crisis crimped demand, adding pressure on policy makers to support growth in the world’s second-biggest economy. Overseas shipments rose 15.9 percent from a year earlier, customs bureau data showed today. The trade surplus was $17 billion, lower than all 24 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Imports climbed a more-than-forecast 28.7 percent. Asian stocks slumped after a jump in Italian bond yields fanned concern Europe’s currency union will unravel and cause a recession in China’s largest export market. Chinese data yesterday showing inflation slowed, home sales fell and industrial output cooled have added to the case for the government to ease credit controls and roll out more measures to support growth.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks dive as bond yields drive Italy to the brink
SINGAPORE, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Asian stocks fell on Thursday after soaring Italian borrowing costs stoked fears the euro zone's third biggest economy will be forced to seek a bailout, overwhelming the bloc's finances and raising the risk of a break-up of the currency area.
Italian 10-year bond yields rose above 7 percent on Wednesday, a level most market economists consider unsustainable for financing debt of more than 2 trillion euros.

COMMODITIES-Europe, dollar break oil rally; crops down too
NEW YORK, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell sharply on Wednesday after several days of gains, as Europe's deepening fiscal crisis sent the dollar surging against the euro, weighing on commodities priced in the U.S. currency.
"People are scared that Italy's too big to bail out," said Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets. "It's driving people out of risky assets and it's reinforcing fears about a double-dip recession, which will hit demand-sensitive assets like oil."

Crude falls on Europe woes, shrugs U.S. draws
NEW YORK, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Crude oil futures slumped more than 2 percent Wednesday as Europe's debt crisis worsened, outweighing U.S. government data that showed unexpectedly large drawdowns in domestic crude and product stockpiles.
"People are scared that Italy's too big to bail out," said Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets. "It's driving people out of risky assets and it's reinforcing fears about a double-dip recession, which will hit demand sensitive assets like oil."

Natural gas ends down, strip hits 9-year low
NEW YORK, Nov 9 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended down sharply on Wednesday, with concerns about growing supplies and fairly mild Northeast and Midwest weather forecasts driving most months to new contract lows for the third straight day.
"The weather looks kind of mild, and that's a problem (for the bulls). There's no abnormal cold around yet," a Texas-based trader said.

US may delay pipeline decision past 2012 election
WASHINGTON, Nov 9 (Reuters) - The United States may choose to reroute a proposed Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, a move that could defer a decision on approving the politically charged project beyond the 2012 U.S. election, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.
Studying a new route for the Keystone XL pipeline, which is opposed by many environmentalists and backed by industry, could take 12-18 months, the official said. That would put a final decision after President Barack Obama's re-election bid in November 2012.

IEA fears oil spike; OPEC dreads European defaults
LONDON, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Oil prices could hit economically damaging record highs if unrest in Africa and the Gulf cuts investment in output, the West's energy watchdog warned oil producers, which said the real problem was likely defaults among euro zone members and banks.
The International Energy Agency (IEA), which advises major oil-consuming countries on energy policies, said on Wednesday oil prices could spike by a third to above their all-time high of $147 a barrel. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said the main risks were of price falls.

Euro Coal-Prices dip $2 with oil, no trades seen
LONDON, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Prompt physical coal prices dropped by $2 a tonne on Wednesday, in line with oil's fall, but activity was limited and no fresh trades were reported.
"The market's off by $2 but it's done absolutely nothing which is typical with a big price move," one European trader said.

20111110 1117 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

IOI Corp Bhd and Dutaland's Pertama Land & Development Sdn Bhd have  mutually agreed to back out of a sale and purchase agreement that was earlier  disputed. Pertama Land had, vide its letter dated Oct 25 2011, disputed  IOI  Corp's termination of the SPA on October 25 2011. Sri Mayvin had initially  agreed to buy 12,000ha of oil plantation land from Pertama Land for RM830m.  The former terminated the deal with Pertama Land, however, saying  that it (Pertama Land) had failed to upkeep and maintain its properties,  besides there being discrepancies relating to the properties. IOI will be  refunded the RM83m deposit it had put up. (BT)

Meda Inc Bhd has proposed to buy over property developer Pesona Alfa Sdn  Bhd from its shareholder for RM35m.Pesona has a subsidiary which owns a 5.8ha parcel of commercial land within the township of Cyberjaya, Selangor.  (BT)

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) has approved the  proposed merger of  Kencana Petroleum Bhd and SapuraCrest  Petroleum Bhd. (BT)

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services (S&P) has revised the outlook on  Tenaga  Nasional Bhd to negative from stable. S&P also affirmed Tenaga’s 'BBB+'  long-term corporate credit rating, Tenaga’s 'axA+/axA-1' ASEAN regional scale  rating and its 'BBB+' issue rating on Tenaga's senior unsecured notes. S&P credit analyst Rajiv Vishwanathan said, "we revised the outlook to  negative because we expect Tenaga's weakened profitability and higher  operating costs to continue to weaken its risk profile. Our view is based  on our anticipation that higher fuel prices stemming from a shortage of  gas supply will continue to burden the company's cash flows. Moreover,  the company is likely to incur capital expenditure on its hydroelectric  and thermal power projects over the next 12 months." He added, “We assess the stand-alone credit profile of Tenaga to be  'bbb-'. The rating incorporates our opinion of a "high" likelihood that the  government of Malaysia would provide timely and sufficient  extraordinary support to Tenaga in the event of financial distress.  We believe that a more transparent and defined tariff regime could  improve the company's financial risk profile”. (Standard & Poor’s Rating  Services, Reuters)

Proton, Group Lotus, 1Malaysia Racing Team (1MRT) and its owner Tan Sri  Tony Fernandes announced that the legal dispute in the English Courts relating  to the Lotus and Team Lotus brands has now ended amicably with the parties  agreeing to the settlement terms earlier this month. The deal saw the Lotus  brand reunited under the sole ownership of Group Lotus. 1MRT would race in  the 2012 Formula 1 season under the name Caterham F1 Team and will use a  Caterham chassis. (Bernama, Financial Daily)

Top Glove Corp Bhd expects a better year ahead with a bigger profit margin  amid expectations of lower raw material costs and stronger a US dollar.  Chairman Tan Sri Lim Wee Chai said latex prices had dropped from as high as  RM11/kg to RM7/kg and the floods in Thailand would not affect rubber  plantations in the southern region and the supply of natural rubber latex  production.  He said, “We expect our profit margin on sales to be back to normal,  about 8% next year. Top Glove will focus on organic instead of external  growth because of cost  efficiency and the lower risk involved.”  (Financial Daily)

Benalec Holdings Bhd, which has requested for its stock to be suspended  pending an announcement, is close to securing a land reclamation project that  will cover about 5,000 acres in Tanjung Piai in the southwestern tip of Johor,  sources said. The contract was being awarded by the Johor government to  Spektrum Kukuh Sdn Bhd and Spektrum Budi Sdn Bhd, both of which are  70:30 JV between Benalec and certain individuals.  According to sources, Benalec will undertake a private placement soon  to raise funds for the project. The source said the parcel at the  southwest of Tanjung Piai was some 17km or 9 nautical miles from the  major petrochemical complex on Jurong Island in Singapore.  That part of Tanjung Piai is also suitable to be a deepwater petroleum  terminal facility, similar to what Dialog Group Bhd is developing in  Pengerang, Johor.  Meanwhile, the land to be reclaimed in the southeast of Tanjung Piai  may include a container port to serve  Petroliam Nasional Bhd's planned RM60bn refinery and petrochemical integrated development  complex in Pengerang.  Sources also said it was likely that Singapore's Jurong International, the  master planner for Jurong petrochemical complex, would be appointed  the master planner for the reclaimed land in Tanjung Piai. (Starbiz)

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd  (MAHB) has unveiled a new partnership  model with its concessionaires, aimed at uplifting the company's existing  commercial partnerships to a new dimension of growth as it prepares for new  and expanded commercial opportunities at the Kuala Lumpur International  Airport 2 (KLIA 2). Managing director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad said commercial  services will play an increasingly significant role for MAHB.  He said the airport operator is addressing all the factors such as sales  per passenger for concessionaires and passenger and revenue growth  for airports as an integral part of the partnership model. Additionally,  MAHB is expanding its commercial composition at its airports.  (Financial Daily)

The  proposed high-speed rail (HSR) project linking Kuala Lumpur and  Singapore is not driven by any proposal from the private sector. Instead, said  Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) CEO Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed  Kamal, the project would take  shape based largely on its needs and viability.  “This HSR plan will ultimately depend on the need to have such infrastructure,  although there have been a number of proposals received.  We are starting afresh this time around in terms of concept, alignment  and infrastructure plan,” he told StarBiz yesterday. In comparison, the  MRT project was first initiated and proposed by a joint venture between  MMC Corp Bhd and Gamuda Bhd that subsequently become the MRT  project delivery partner.  Mohd Nur confirmed that  pre-feasibility studies for the HSR project  had just been completed. He added that the tender for the feasibility  studies would be opened before year-end and work would start early  next year. There had also been an open tender for the pre-feasibility  studies.  On the cost of the project, Mohd Nur said it was too early to estimate at  this point, adding that it would become clearer after all the tender  exercises were done. It has been reported that the KL-Singapore HSR  could cost between RM8-14bn depending on the technology  used.(Starbiz)

Perwaja Holdings Bhd is expected to secure a sizeable iron ore mining  concession from the Terengganu government “anytime soon”, according to  industry sources. To enable economies of scale, sources said, Perwaja's unit  Perwaja Steel Sdn Bhd should ideally be given about 500ha in Bukit Besi to  mine iron ore with a mining lease running for at least 10 years, which later will  be subject to renewal. The 2,400ha Bukit Besi area is believed to hold 50m  tonnes of iron ore reserves, which has the highest quality in Malaysia at 70% Fe  (iron). (Starbiz)

Malaysia Airlines System Bhd (MAS), which will be relocating its  headquarters (HQ) from Subang to KL International Airport (KLIA) in February  next year, will cut several routes including those to Dubai, Johannesburg,  Buenos Aires and Cape Town, in a bid to reduce costs, sources said. The sources  added that MAS would no longer rely on Kota Kinabalu as a hub and would cut  flights out of the Sabah capital to destinations such as Haneda, Seoul and  Osaka.  The sources claimed that the airline might add Abu Dhabi as a  destination in place of Dubai, a route served by Emirates several times  weekly, but whether it was a wise move would remain to be seen as Abu  Dhabi is an equally competitive route. (Star Biz)

Malaysia Airlines System Bhd (MAS) disposed off 70% of its shares in MAS  Catering Sdn Bhd (MCSB) in 2002 as part of the airline company's financial  restructuring strategy, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said. Najib  who is also Finance Minister said the move was to enable MAS to concentrate  on its core activities of providing domestic and international flights and cargo  services.  "It was to also provide MAS much needed funds at that point while  retaining its 30% equity in MCSB to take care of its interest," he said in  a written reply at the Dewan Rakyat. (The Star)

On 8 Nov 2011  Plus Express Berhad (PEB) received a letter from  UEM  Group Berhad (“UEM”) and the  Employees Provident Fund Board (“EPF”) confirming that all conditions precedent pursuant to the proposed  acquisition have been fulfilled. The completion of the proposed acquisition is now subject to UEM and  EPF confirming that they are satisfied with the revised terms and  conditions of the existing concession agreements held by the Malaysian  concession companies under PEB, which is still pending. The  completion shall take place on the fourteenth business day after  receiving the above confirmation letter. On 4 November 2011 UEM and EPF have also agreed to allow PEB to  pay a dividend of approximately RM106.6m to PEB’s shareholders as of  an entitlement date to be determined by the Board.  (BMSB)

RM135m plan to enhance Northport container terminals
Northport (Malaysia) will invest RM135m in new facilities and equipment at its container terminals. Northport hopes to enhance its capacity and efficiency of the container-handling facilities operated, in particular that of Container Terminal 1. Container Terminal 1 and Container Terminal 3 service the larger range of container vessels calling at Northport. (BT)

Masterskill says won’t be affected by PTPTN proposal
Masterskill Education Group says it will not be affected by the National Higher Education Fund Corp’s (PTPTN) proposal to restrict loans if it is approved. “Masterskill University College of Health Sciences is not involved and this we will not be affected by the PTPTN move to stop providing loans for the expenses of students,” the group said. (Financial Daily)

SEGi sees strong 2011 after profit hit RM55m in nine months
SEG International (SEGi) is optimistic it can achieve strong results for 2011 after its cumulative profit after tax for the first three quarters hit RM54.7m, exceeding the previous year’s full year result of RM42.1m. At a media briefing, SEGi CEO Lee Kok Cheng revealed that the company was slated to open a new campus in Ipoh that would commence operations around 2014. (StarBiz)

20111110 1057 Local & Global Economic Related News.

The  Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry will resort to  importing  food, especially vegetables, from other countries if the supply from  Thailand is inadequate. Its minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar said the ministry was  still monitoring the import of food from Thailand.  "Our biggest import from Thailand is cili padi, whereby almost 40% is  imported from the country. If the supply is short, we will need to import  from other countries like China, Vietnam and Indonesia," he said.  (Bernama)

PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will unveil 12 new  ICT-based  Entry-Point Projects  (EPPs) by year-end, said Science, Technology and  Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Maximus Ongkili. The 12 EPPs, under the  Digital Malaysia initiative, is expected to generate RM60bn in GNI until 2020.  "Half of them are already linked to the existing National Key Economic  Areas," Ongkili said. The specific names of the new EPPs will be  announced by the PM at the launch."It could be from e-government,  e-society or the industry," he added. (Bernama)

The  Selangor government has introduced a  minimum wage policy  of  RM1,500, which will be initially implemented in the state’s government-linked  companies (GLCs) with a strong financial balance. Selangor Menteri Besar Tan  Sri Khalid Ibrahim unveiled the plan when tabling the state budget for 2012  yesterday.  For start, the minimum wage will be implemented in state GLCs such as  the Selangor State Development Corp (PKNS), the Selangor Agricultural  Development Corp (PKPS), Selangor State Investment Fund (PNSB)  and Worldwide Holdings Bhd. As for companies which are financially not quite stable, a total of  RM10m will be provided to support this policy, he said. (Financial  Daily)

Beginning in 2015, the more than 20,000  Pasar Tani traders across the  country will have to sell  local agricultural products only, said Agriculture  and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar. Apart from promoting  the local products, the move aimed at reducing the people’s cost of living and  help increase the farmers’ income, he said.  Initially, some 3,000 Pasar Tani traders were identified to become the  pioneers under the contract farming programme to increase the number  of seven essential crops of the local community including chili, spinach,  mustard and lady’s finger.  Under the programme, the farmers would be given a loan of RM10,000  starting early  next year to enable them to carry out agricultural  activities on contract farming. (Financial Daily)

The  RM100 school assistance is to be paid out by the end of the month.  DPM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who is also Education Minister, is expected to  make a  major announcement today on how the payments will be made. It is  believed the payments will be given out in two batches  – one for pupils from  Year Two to Five and another for students from Form Two to Four. Those who  will be starting Year One and Form One  next year will only receive the  assistance then. (The Star)

Malaysia aims to make a comeback as the world's largest rubber producer,  with the opening of more plantations in Sabah and Sarawak. Deputy  International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan said the  country used to be the No. 1 producer globally in the mid-80s but was now in  third spot. Currently, Thailand is the world's No. 1 in terms of production,  followed by Indonesia.  According to the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries  (ANRPC), total world natural rubber production this year is expected to  be at 9.95m tonnes, up by 4.9% yoy. Thailand was expected to produce  3.35m tonnes, followed by Indonesia with 2.95m tonnes and Malaysia  contributing about 0.98m tonnes this year, it said.  Apart from the three countries, the ANRPC members are India,  Vietnam, China, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Cambodia, which  collectively control about 92% of the commodity's global supply.  The rubber industry had contributed RM12.8bn to the country's export  earnings in 2010, and rubber products accounted for 2% of Malaysia's  total exports. (Bernama)
US mortgage applications increased 10.3% from one week earlier, according  to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) survey for the week  ended 4 Nov. The Refinance Index increased 12.1% from the previous week. The  seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 4.8% from one week earlier to the  highest level since Aug 11. (MBA)

US wholesale inventories decreased by 0.1% in Sep (+0.1% in Aug),  Commerce Department figures showed. Economists expected a 0.5% gain.  (Bloomberg)

US: Job openings rose in September to three-year high
The number of positions waiting to be filled in the US rose in September to the highest level in more than three years, indicating some companies are preparing for an improving economy. Job openings increased by 225,000 to 3.35m, the most since August 2008, a month before the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. intensified the financial crisis, Labor Department data showed. Hiring advanced by 185,000 to 4.25m, and firings also climbed. Payrolls grew by 80,000 workers in October, and gains in the prior two months were revised up. (Bloomberg)

Wall Street sinks as European debt plight worsens
Stocks tumbled 3.0% on Wednesday in the market's worst day since mid-August as a spike in Italian bond yields signaled the European debt crisis has worsened. All 10 S&P sectors were down, but S&P financials were the hardest hit on worries about European exposure, dropping 5.4%. US stock markets have grown more chaotic in response to rising volatility in European debt markets, and investors have trouble keeping up with a steady stream of headlines and pricing in how the crisis might play out. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 389.24 points, or 3.2%, at 11,780.94. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 46.82 points, or 3.7%, at 1,229.10. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 105.84 points, or 3.9%t, at 2,621.65. (Financial Daily)

US home values fell in almost three- fourths of cities in 3Q as a slowing  economy deterred buyers. The median price of a single-family home decreased  from a year earlier in 111 metropolitan areas out of the 150 measured, the  National Association of Realtors said. (Bloomberg)

Japanese bank  lending was flat in Oct from a year earlier (-0.3% in Sep),  after 22 straight months of annual decline, the Bank of Japan said. (Reuters)

Japan’s current-account surplus shrank 21.4%yoy to ¥1.585tr (US$20.4bn)  in Sep, the Finance Ministry said. Economists called for a 31.3% decline.  (Bloomberg)

Japan’s exports rose 3% yoy in Sep, resulting in a trade surplus of ¥373.2bn.  The income surplus, which includes earnings from overseas trading of equities,  bonds and debt securities, rose 12.9% to  ¥1.394tr, according to the release.  (Bloomberg)

China consumer prices rose 5.5% yoy in Oct (6.1% in Sep), matching  economists’ forecasts. Food inflation moderated to 11.9% yoy (+13.4% in Sep),  while non-food inflation declined to 2.7% (+2.9% in Sep). (Bloomberg)

China’s producer price inflation slowed to 5.0% yoy (+6.5% in Sep),  undershooting consensus expectations of a 5.8% rise. (Bloomberg)

China’s industrial output growth slowed to 13.2% yoy in Oct (+13.8% in  Sep). Economists expected industrial  production to increase 13.4% yoy.  (Bloomberg)

Growth in  China’s fixed-asset investment excluding rural households in 10M11 was 24.9% yoy, unchanged from 9M11, and higher than median  estimate of 24.8%. (Bloomberg)

Retail sales in China rose 17.2% yoy in Oct (+17.7% in Sep), lower than the  17.6% pace expected by economists. (Bloomberg)

New residential housing starts in China dropped 1.3% yoy in Oct, the first  decline this year. (Bloomberg)

Car sales in China climbed 1.4% yoy in Oct (+8.8% in Sep) but fell 7.5% mom.  (Reuters)

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra submitted the  2012 Budget  Bill outlining THB2.38tr (US$77.65bn) in spending to the Lower House. The  government anticipated that the budget would boost  GDP growth to  4.5 to  5.5% in 2012. (Bloomberg, Xinhua)

Domestic vehicle sales in Vietnam declined by 10.6% yoy to 9,258 units in  Oct, following a 9.7% rise in Sep. (Bloomberg)

Vietnam's National Assembly has approved a 2012  government target for  GDP growth of 6-6.5 percent,  inflation under 10% for the year,  export  growth of 13%, and a state budget deficit under 4.8% of GDP. (Reuters)

India's local car sales in Oct fell the most in more than a decade, declining  23.8% yoy (-1.8% in Sep) to 138,521 units. (WSJ, Bloomberg)

Indonesia’s central bank said 2011 loan growth could reach above 25%,  deputy governor Muliaman D. Hadad said on Wednesday.  Bank lending  growth was 23.8% yoy in Sep. (Bloomberg)  

Italy: Bond attack breaches Euro defenses as contagion worsens
The euro-region’s defenses are being breached. Investors yesterday propelled Italy’s 10-year bond yield to close at a euro-era high of 7.25% after the promised exit of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi failed to convince them that his country can slash Europe’s second-largest debt burden. The biggest signal yet that the single currency’s third-largest economy is falling prey to its two-year debt crisis forces German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and their peers to decide just how far they’re willing to go to defend the euro. (Bloomberg)

Greece: Unity deal is in disarray amid squabbles on premier
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s drive to put together a unity government descended into disarray as rival parties fell to squabbling over the next premier, undermining their bid to secure bailout funds needed to prevent a financial collapse. Papandreou met with President Karolos Papoulias in Athens to resign as criticism grew over delays in naming a new prime minister. Papandreou attended the meeting with Antonis Samaras, leader of the opposition New Democracy party, and opposition LAOS party leader George Karatzaferis, who then abandoned the talks. (Bloomberg)

20111110 1015 Renewable Energy Related News.

Energy Conversion suspends manufacturing
Nov 8 (Reuters) - Energy Conversion Devices Inc  on Tuesday said it temporarily suspended manufacturing of its lightweight solar products, is cutting 500 jobs and has hired an advisory firm to help attract additional investment as it struggles to compete in the cutthroat solar power industry.
The company said that "solar projects are having tremendous difficulty closing" with the cutback in solar incentives in Europe and a volatile credit market.

Enel Green Power sticks to full-year targets
MILAN, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Enel Green Power , Italy's biggest renewables company, stuck to its full-year targets on Tuesday and said it was in a position to fund its investment program to 2015 with its cash flow.
The company, controlled by Italy's biggest utility Enel , is targeting core earnings of 1.4 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in 2011 and additional capacity of 800 megawatts.

U.S. solar panel probe will undermine China trade-commentary
BEIJING, Nov 8 (Reuters) - A U.S. anti-dumping probe into Chinese solar panel makers will undermine bilateral trade and harm global efforts to develop clean energy and cut emissions, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua said in a commentary published on Tuesday.
It said the United States was blaming China "to cosset its own inefficiency and incompetence", and that the growing strength of the Chinese solar sector was a result of innovation, efficiency and hard work, rather than unfair trade practices or hidden subsidies.

Australia's green power drive could worry wind investors
SINGAPORE, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Australia is set to unlock more than A$13 billion in government funds for clean energy that could boost investments for large solar power stations, but wind farm developers are at risk if the money disrupts an existing green scheme.
The Senate on Tuesday passed laws supporting renewables and a national carbon price to accelerate investment in cleaner energy.

Yingli, ReneSola warn weak solar hurt 3rd quarter
Nov 7 (Reuters) - China's Yingli Green Energy Holding  and ReneSola Ltd  became the latest solar makers to cut shipment and profit margin forecasts as the industry struggles to cope with the steep decline in panel prices.
The news pushed Yingli's U.S. shares down 2.2 percent to $3.61 and ReneSola down 6.8 percent to $2.21 in early trading. Yingli stock is down 62 percent this year, while ReneSola has fallen 75 percent.

Vestas says is preferred supplier to Eneco wind farm
COPENHAGEN, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Denmark's Vestas Wind Systems A/S , the world's biggest maker of wind turbines, said on Monday it had been appointed preferred supplier by Netherlands-based integrated utility Eneco Holding NV for an offshore wind farm.  Eneco earlier said Vestas would supply it with 43 of its V112-3.0 megawatt turbines at a total capacity of 129 MW.

ATS-owned French solar maker plans bankruptcy
Nov 4 (Reuters) - French solar panel maker Photowatt faced collapse on Friday after its parent ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc  said the unit had begun proceedings to file for bankruptcy, blaming a drop in demand and tough competition.
Canada's ATS failed to find a buyer for its struggling subsidiary last month against a backdrop of falling prices, squeezed profits and lower subsidies for solar power in Europe.

Spain's govt, wind sector fail to agree on subsidies
MADRID, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Spain's Socialist government and its wind power industry failed to reach agreement on subsidies for new capacity post 2012 and any decision on sector support should be left until after the Nov. 20 elections, wind power lobby AEE said on Friday.
The AEE said it had asked the government to scrap its plans to legislate on a wind power subsidy it says will cut financing for the sector, destroy over 15,000 jobs an make 2020 renewable energy installation targets unachievable.

Spain wind power sector pushes govt on final offer
MADRID, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Spain's wind power industry is pushing the government to further improve a proposal for subsidies after 2012 that the ruling Socialists have said is their 'final' offer, a spokeswoman for the sector's lobby AEE said on Thursday.
In a last ditch attempt to break a deadlock between the wind power sector and Spain's Socialist government over subsidies, the government has improved its original proposals for minimum returns for the industry, but wind energy generators say it is still not enough.

GE's Immelt worries U.S. not leading on renewables
Nov 3 (Reuters) - General Electric Co's  Jeff Immelt worries the United States may lose ground to China in the renewable energy sector because it is not prepared to invest in solar, wind and other technologies on the same scale.
But the chief executive of the largest U.S. conglomerate said his company remains undaunted and will continue to work in the sector despite the recent bankruptcy of solar panel maker Solyndra, which has attracted intense public attention for failing despite federal loan guarantees.

Austria eyes hydro power projects in Serbia
SARAJEVO, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Austria and Serbia on Thursday signed a preliminary deal to invest hundreds of millions of euros to overhaul Serbia's ageing hydro-power plants and to build new ones.
Under the deal the two countries, which will jointly invest in projects, will set up an inter-government panel to identify potential deals.

20111110 1014 Biofuel Related News.

Workers lift strike at French biodiesel plants
PARIS, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Workers at two plants totalling nearly a third of France's biodiesel production capacity voted to lift a strike on Tuesday after several weeks of protests over work conditions and wages, a spokesman for the plants' operator said.
The strike, which started on Oct. 5 in the Grand-Couronne plant with a capacity of 500,000 tonnes of biodiesel a year, had brought production to a standstill.

German 2011/12 sugar output seen up sharply
HAMBURG, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Germany's refined sugar output in the current 2011/12 season will rise to 4.67 million tonnes, from 3.44 million tonnes in 2010/11, Germany's sugar industry association WVZ said on Tuesday.
A major rise had been expected following an expansion of German sugar beet plantings and favourable weather that has increased beet sugar content.

United to fly Houston-Chicago on Solazyme biofuel
Nov 6 (Reuters) - United Airlines, the world's largest air carrier, will make the first U.S. commercial flight using an "advanced biofuel" on Monday, algae-based biofuel maker Solazyme Inc  said.
The flight from Houston to Chicago will take the Boeing  737-800 from the former home city of Continental Airlines to the base of United, which took over Continental last year to form United Continental Holdings Inc .

EU ethanol firms seek investigation of US subsidies
BRUSSELS, Nov 2 (Reuters) - European Union bioethanol producers have asked regulators to investigate whether U.S. exporters are receiving illegal subsidies, a move that could trigger import tariffs on the green fuel, EU producers said on Wednesday.
Placed with the European Commission on Oct. 12, according to industry sources, the complaint could result in a formal investigation later this month, and in provisional tariffs next year on hundreds of millions of liters of bioethanol from the United States.

US ethanol output rises to 9-month high
Nov 2 (Reuters) U.S. ethanol production rose to the highest level in more than nine months over the last week as strong margins and good blender demand fueled output.
The Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday that U.S. ethanol production totaled 916,000 barrels per day in the seven days to Oct. 28, up 7,000 barrels per day from the previous week, and the highest output since the week ending January 21.

20111110 1013 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Asian Stocks Fall on Japan Machinery Orders, Worsening Italian Debt Crisis (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index heading for its lowest close in two months, after a report showed Japan’s machinery orders dropped and as a surge in Italy’s bond yields stoked concern the debt-stricken nation may need to seek a bailout. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), the nation’s largest lender by market value, dropped 2.7 percent in Sydney on speculation bank earnings will be hurt if Europe fails to contain the sovereign-debt crisis. Fanuc Corp. (6954), a maker of industrial robots, sank 3.4 percent in Tokyo. Noble Group Ltd. (NOBL) tumbled 22 percent in Singapore as Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Leiman quit after the Hong Kong-based commodity supplier posted its first loss in 14 years.
“The big concern is that Italy will need to get its funding from other sources than the market, but because of its size, people are very worried,” said Stephen Halmarick, Sydney- based head of investment markets research at Colonial First State Global Asset Management, which oversees about $150 billion. “The outcome of all this is the European economy will go into recession. That’s a big negative.”

U.S. Stocks Extend Slide on Euro Concern (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks slumped, driving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to its biggest decline since August, amid concern that European leaders may be unable to keep the euro zone intact as Italian yields surged to a record. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) dropped at least 8.2 percent, following losses in European lenders, after LCH Clearnet SA raised the extra charge it levies on clients for trading Italian government bonds and index-linked securities. General Motors Co. (GM) tumbled 11 percent after abandoning its target for European results. Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) sank 7.7 percent on plans to cut jobs as it lessens its focus on older products. The S&P 500 slid 3.7 percent to 1,229.10 as of 4 p.m. New York time, after rising 1.8 percent over the previous two days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 389.24 points, or 3.2 percent, to 11,780.94. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index decreased 1.7 percent as the 10-year Italian note yield topped 7 percent.

Stocks, Commodities Sink on Concern Nations May Exit Common Euro Currency (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks sank as a surge in Italian bond yields intensified the credit crisis and concern grew that European leaders may be unable to keep the euro zone intact. The euro slid to a one-month low and Treasuries rallied. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 3.7 percent to close at 1,229.1 at 4 p.m. in New York, its worst drop in almost three months. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 1.7 percent and yields on Italian government debt climbed to records. The euro fell as much as 2.3 percent to $1.3523, the weakest since Oct. 10. The yield on 10-year Treasuries sank 11 basis points to 1.97 percent. The S&P GSCI Index of commodities lost 1.3 percent as oil retreated from the highest price in three months.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party may adopt a motion to allow nations to exit the euro without losing membership in the European Union, a senior lawmaker said. Earlier declines came after LCH Clearnet SA, a clearing firm that guarantees investors’ trades are completed, demanded larger deposits to back transactions of Italian bonds and Silvio Berlusconi’s offer to resign as prime minister triggered questions about who will lead Italy out of its crisis.

U.S. Wholesale Inventories Declined by 0.1% in September as Sales Climbed (Source: Bloomberg)
Inventories at U.S. wholesalers unexpectedly declined in September for the first time since 2009 as a gain in sales helped distributors keep stockpiles in line with demand. The 0.1 percent decrease in inventories compared with a 0.5 percent gain forecast in the Bloomberg News survey and followed a revised 0.1 percent August rise that was less than initially estimated, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Sales climbed 0.5 percent in September. Wholesalers kept enough goods on hand to last 1.15 months at the current sales pace in September, close to the record low reached earlier this year. Stronger demand along with leaner inventories may encourage manufacturers to boost production. “Inventories were drawn down fairly rapidly in the third quarter,” Samuel Coffin, an economist at UBS Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, said before the report. “The fact that the disinvestment was as fast as it was suggest the possibility for faster production in the fourth quarter.”

Lehman to Sell Neuberger Berman Stake for $1.5B (Source: Bloomberg)
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LEHMQ) plans to sell its equity stake in Neuberger Berman to the investment- management affiliate for as much as $1.5 billion over time, according to a court filing. The transaction includes a series of redemptions of Lehman’s preferred equity in the firm and possibly a repurchase of Lehman’s common shares, Lehman said today in a filing. The preferred stock would bring about $845 million, while common- stock repurchases would bring as much as $450 million, it said. Lehman’s total from the deal includes $160 million already received in dividends and tax distributions. Parts of the deal will depend on Neuberger Berman’s getting enough financing to buy the shares, Lehman said.

Goldman Said to Sell $1.1B of Stake in ICBC (Source: Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) raised $1.1 billion selling shares of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (601398) Ltd., trimming an investment first made in 2006 after the stock posted its biggest monthly rally in two and a half years. Goldman Sachs sold 1.75 billion ICBC shares at HK$4.88 (63 cents), two people with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified because the details are private. That’s 6 percent below the Beijing-based bank’s closing price in Hong Kong yesterday. ICBC, the world’s largest bank by market value, jumped 28 percent in the past month in Hong Kong trading after the Chinese government started buying shares in state-owned lenders that had been pummeled by concerns that bad loans may increase. Goldman Sachs and rivals including Bank of America Corp. (BAC) have cut stakes in Chinese lenders over the past two years, unwinding bets that made them billions of dollars of profits.

Case for China Stimulus Mounts as Inflation Cools (Source: Bloomberg)
China’s inflation cooled in October, home sales fell and industrial output grew at the slowest pace in a year, adding pressure for measures to support growth in the world’s second-biggest economy. Consumer prices rose 5.5 percent from a year earlier, the least in five months, and industrial production increased 13.2 percent, the statistics bureau said on its website yesterday. Housing transactions slid 25 percent from September, the bureau’s data showed. “Selective easing is already underway,” said Chang Jian, an economist at Barclays Capital in Hong Kong, citing government support for small businesses and low-cost housing projects. More “aggressive” loosening would depend on further declines in inflation and growth, said Chang, who formerly worked for the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the World Bank.

Japanese Stocks Fall as Surging Italian Bond Yields Stoke Bailout Concern (Source: Bloomberg)
Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese stocks fell, sending the benchmark Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average toward its biggest drop in almost three months, after a surge in Italy’s bond yields stoked concern that Europe’s debt crisis is spreading. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. (8316), Japan’s second- biggest lender, fell 5.5 percent. Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. led machinery firms lower after orders declined more than forecast. Nomura Holdings Inc. fell after Moody’s Investors Service said it may cut its rating on Japan’s biggest brokerage. Shares of Olympus Corp. (7733), an optical-equipment maker, were poised to retreat for a third day after admitting it concealed losses. The Nikkei 225 slid 2.3 percent to 8,551.65 as of 10:05 a.m. in Tokyo, set for the biggest daily loss since Aug. 19. The broader Topix fell 2.4 percent to 731.10 with all 33 industry groups in the index declining.

Japan Machine Orders Fell More Than Forecast (Source: Bloomberg)
Japan’s machinery orders fell more than forecast in September, indicating that companies may hold off on outlays on concern a global slowdown and a strong yen will hurt business. Bookings, an indicator of future capital spending, fell 8.2 percent in September from August, the Cabinet Office said in Tokyo today. The median forecast of 29 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 7.1 percent fall. Orders rose 11 percent in August from July. A yen trading near post-World War II highs against the dollar eroded profits at Japanese exporters from Sony Corp. to Toyota Motor Corp. last quarter. Industrial production dropped a sharper-than-expected 4 percent in September, in a sign demand for Japanese products may be faltering. The decrease in bookings is “a reaction to the positive result in orders in August,” Seiji Adachi, a senior economist at Deutsche Securities Inc. in Tokyo, said before the report. “If October and November figures are also negative we can confirm a negative trend.”

South Korea, Malaysia May Hold Rates as Europe Crisis Imperils Asia Growth (Source: Bloomberg)
Malaysia and South Korea may leave interest rates unchanged this week to protect growth as Europe’s debt crisis imperils demand for Asian exports. Bank Negara Malaysia will keep its benchmark overnight policy rate at 3 percent tomorrow, according to 18 of 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. South Korea’s central bank will maintain the seven-day repurchase rate at 3.25 percent in Seoul the same day, all 17 economists said in another survey. Deepening turmoil in Europe and elevated unemployment in the U.S. has slowed expansion in Asian nations from the Philippines to China, adding pressure on officials to support their economies. Indonesia will lower its key rate by a quarter point for a second month later today, eight of 19 economists said in another Bloomberg survey, with the rest predicting no change from 6.5 percent.

IMF’s Lagarde Warns of Risk of ‘Lost Decade’ (Source: Bloomberg)
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned of the risk of a “lost decade” for the global economy unless nations act together to counter threats to growth. “In our increasingly interconnected world, no country or region can go it alone,” Lagarde said in a speech to a forum in Beijing today. “There are dark clouds gathering in the global economy.” China and India echoed the call for cooperation in a separate statement. Advanced economies have a “special responsibility” to restore confidence and lift growth, while China should boost consumption and allow its currency to rise, the IMF leader said. European leaders are looking to China as a potential source of funds as a sovereign-debt crisis threatens to engulf Italy, the third-biggest economy in the euro area.

Euro Falls to One-Month Low Before Italy Sells Bills Amid Surging Yields (Source: Bloomberg)
The euro fell to its lowest level in a month before investor appetite for Italy’s debt is tested by a 5 billion-euro ($6.8 billion) sale of bills after the nation’s bond yields surged to euro-era records. The 17-nation currency weakened to a two-week low against the yen after Italian bond yields yesterday climbed above 7 percent, the level at which Greece, Ireland and Portugal sought international bailouts. The nation will sell five-year securities on Nov. 14. The Australian and New Zealand currencies slumped against the dollar and yen as Asian stocks dropped, damping demand for higher-yielding assets. “The success of those auctions will be crucial to the near-term direction in euro,” said Richard Grace, the Sydney- based chief foreign-exchange strategist and head of international economics at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “The risk is euro goes lower. The low $1.30s is certainly a risk over the next week or so.”

Italy Bond Attack Breaches Euro Defenses (Source: Bloomberg)
The euro-region’s defenses are being breached. Investors yesterday propelled Italy’s 10-year bond yield to close at a euro-era high of 7.25 percent after the promised exit of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi failed to convince them that his country can slash Europe’s second-largest debt burden. The biggest signal yet that the single currency’s third- largest economy is falling prey to its two-year debt crisis forces German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and their peers to decide just how far they’re willing to go to defend the euro.
“The market is testing the commitment of the euro zone’s stewards,” said Eric Chaney, Paris-based chief economist at insurer AXA SA and a former official in the French Finance Ministry. “Italy is the real crisis battleground.” At 1.9 trillion euros ($2.6 trillion), Italy’s debt exceeds that of Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland combined, though unlike those nations, it has systemic importance as the world’s third-largest bond market and eighth-biggest economy. Berlusconi’s offer to quit has still left his nation struggling to produce a government stable enough to deliver austerity after LCH Clearnet SA raised the deposit it demands for trading Italian securities.

Italy’s Senate Speeds Austerity Vote (Source: Bloomberg)
The Italian Senate was rushing to pass debt-reduction measures that will lead to the resignation of Prime MinisterSilvio Berlusconi within days and the formation of a new government in a bid to restore confidence in Europe’s second-biggest debtor. The senate is set to vote tomorrow on the package of measures that includes assets sales and an increase in the retirement age. The Chamber of Deputies should vote the following day and Berlusconi will resign “immediately,” Angelino Alfano, the secretary of Berlusconi’s People of Liberty party said on state-owned Rai television last night. Italy’s bond yields surged yesterday past the 7 percent threshold that prompted Greece, Portugal and Ireland to seek bailouts after Berlusconi’s parliamentary majority unraveled and LCH Clearnet SA said it would demand additional collateral on Italian debt. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told lawmakers yesterday Italy may need to consider a request for European Union aid, two people present at the meeting said.

Berlusconi Rushes to Pass Debt Measures (Source: Bloomberg)
Italy’s government presented lawmakers with the budget measures pledged to European Union allies, paving the way for parliamentary votes this week that will lead to Prime MinisterSilvio Berlusconi’s resignation. Finance MinisterGiulio Tremonti delivered the legislation, to the Senate today in Rome in the form of an amendment to the budget law. The measures are aimed at convincing investors Italy can overhaul its economy to reduce the euro-region’s second- biggest debt. The Senate will vote on the plan on Nov. 11, and the Chamber of Deputies will seek to pass it by Nov. 13. Italy’s bond yields surged past the 7 percent threshold that prompted Greece, Portugal and Ireland to seek bailouts after Berlusconi’s majority unraveled yesterday and LCH Clearnet SA said it would demand additional collateral on Italian debt. Months of bickering within Berlusconi’s Cabinet over the budget measures ended up fueling the collapse of the government and the selloff of the country’s debt.

Greek Unity Deal Is in Disarray Amid Squabbles (Source: Bloomberg)
Greek President Karolos Papoulias called a meeting with political party leaders for today, after squabbling over the next premier pushed unity government aims into disarray and undermined the bid to secure bailout funds needed to prevent a financial collapse. Prime Minister George Papandreou met with Papoulias in Athens yesterday to resign as criticism grew over delays in naming a new prime minister. Papandreou attended the meeting with Antonis Samaras, leader of the opposition New Democracy party, and opposition LAOS party leader George Karatzaferis, who then abandoned the talks. “Despite our differences we leave clashes and sterile opposition to one side,” Papandreou said in an address to the nation televised live on state-run NET TV.

Greek Prime Minister Says Agreement Reached on New Government (Source: Bloomberg)
Prime Minister George Papandreou will step down after announcing an agreement with the main opposition party on an interim Greek government charged with averting the economy’s collapse. Papandreou met with President Karolos Papoulias in Athens today to resign as criticism grew over delays in naming a new prime minister of the new government. Papandreou will later attend a meeting with Antonis Samaras, leader of the opposition New Democracy party, and opposition LAOS party leader George Karatzaferis. “The new government will be guided by a specific road map,” Papandreou said in statements to the nation, broadcast live on state-run NET TV. “That is to secure the payment of the sixth loan tranche, to ensure the implementation of the Oct. 26 package.”

King Assesses if BOE Stimulus Enough to Shield U.K. From Crisis (Source: Bloomberg)
Bank of England Governor Mervyn King and his officials will assess today if recession risks warrant an even bigger increase in stimulus after last month’s surprise expansion to ward off the danger posed by Europe’s debt crisis. The Monetary Policy Committee will use new quarterly economic forecasts to measure whether the 75 billion-pound ($120 billion) increase in bond purchases pledged last month can protect the economy from the region’s turmoil. Officials will probably keep their 275 billion-pound stimulus plan unchanged, said all 38 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. European stocks fell yesterday as Italy’s political instability intensified the region’s crisis, threatening to push Britain back into recession as its recovery struggles under the weight of the deepest fiscal squeeze since World War II. Bank of England officials including Charles Bean and Adam Posen have indicated they are open to more stimulus if needed.

Australia Unemployment Falls; 10,100 Jobs Added (Source: Bloomberg)
Australian employers added workers for a second month in October and the unemployment rate fell as energy companies ramped up hiring, helping the economy weather global market turmoil from Europe’s fiscal crisis. The number of people employed rose by 10,100 after a revised gain of 22,500 in September, the statistics bureau said in Sydney today. The increase was in line with the median estimate for 10,000 more jobs in a Bloomberg News survey of 24 economists. The unemployment rate fell to 5.2 percent from a revised 5.3 percent. The report showed a divergence in the nation’s two biggest resource states, with Queensland adding 17,900 workers and Western Australia losing 8,200. The job market nationwide may benefit from Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens’s decision last week to lower the nation’s benchmark interest rate to 4.5 percent from a developed-world high of 4.75 percent.

20111110 1011 Global Commodities Related News.

USDA Crop Report Provides Few Surprises (Source: CME)
Federal crop forecasters didn't deliver any surprises, making only slight tweaks in their outlook for U.S. grain supplies. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's monthly crop report has whipsawed commodity markets much of the year as the agency made deep cuts in the projected size of corn inventories and the U.S. crop. So while supplies of the grain remain historically tight, and the USDA left its price forecast for corn unchanged, the report had limited effect on grain markets. "It was boring for a change," wrote analysts at INTL FCStone in a morning note to clients. Forecasters lowered the outlook for the U.S. corn crop, cutting the projected size by 1% to 12.31 billion bushels. Yet they also reduced the outlook for corn demand, saying chicken farmers are buying less feed as they cut the size of their flocks in the face of a supply glut. The end result was the USDA made a 2.7% cut in projected end-of-season inventories to 843 million bushels.
U.S. farmers are expected to harvest the fourth-largest U.S. corn crop on record, yet the size is driven by increased plantings rather than more productive fields. The USDA expects farmers on average to produce 146.7 bushels per acre, the lowest average yield since 2003. Grains traders mostly looked past the report, as equity and commodity markets broadly sold off on growing concerns about the European debt crisis spreading to Italy. Corn futures for December delivery at the Chicago Board of Trade were down 11 1/2 cents, or 1.7%, to $6.49 per bushel, while soybean futures for January delivery were down 1.5% to $11.87 1/2. "I don't think there's enough on either the bull or the bear side to sink your teeth into it," Chad Henderson, analyst with Prime Ag Consultants, said of the USDA report. The USDA didn't increase its prediction for U.S. corn exports, with the figure remaining at 1.6 billion bushels. But forecasters did raise the outlook for Chinese imports.
The USDA now expects China to import a total of 3 million metric tons of corn in the current marketing year, which runs from September to August. That is a sharp increase from the 2 million tons the agency predicted just a month ago, and an even bigger leap from the 980,000 tons China imported in the previous marketing year. Still, many analysts think the number is too conservative. A majority of Chinese corn imports have come from the U.S. In Wednesday's report, the USDA also trimmed its production and yield forecasts for wheat and soybeans. Excessive rains brought sharp delays for wheat farmers in northern Plains states. The agency did an additional round of surveys in late October, with the USDA again lowering its production forecast. U.S. wheat farmers are now expected to produce 1.999 billion bushels of wheat, down from the October forecast of 2.008 billion bushels. And the new yield estimate is 43.7 bushels per acre, down from 43.9 bushels per acre.
Meanwhile, the USDA lowered its forecast for U.S. soybean production slightly to 3.046 billion bushels, from 3.06 billion bushels. But the USDA also lowered projected soybean exports, raising its forecast for end-of-season soybean inventors to 195 million bushels.

Some MF Customers See Frozen Funds Thaw (Source: CME)
CME Group Inc. said that some former MF Global Holdings Ltd. clients may have to wait until the end of the week to access accounts frozen after the broker-dealer's bankruptcy, though some funds have finally been thawed. The Chicago-based exchange operator and rivals began early lifting a hold on futures-trading margin parked by customers at MF Global, after arranging a mass exodus of brokers, hedge funds and individual investors' trading business out of the failed firm last Friday. Customer accounts that dealt in options must wait longer as the exchanges, clearinghouses and regulators ensure that all former MF Global clients are treated fairly and that some funds remain under control of the trustee overseeing the company's liquidation. CME had aimed to complete the work by the close of business Tuesday, but said calculating the value of the more complex options positions is taking longer than expected.
The "massive undertaking" of shifting more than 15,000 customer accounts and the complexity of managing the transfer to other clearing firms has meant that "the validation of each account's collateral balance is taking longer than originally anticipated," CME officials said in a statement. Open trades were moved in the transfer, along with a portion of the collateral put up by customers to secure their trades. An estimated $600 million shortfall in the level of customer assets that MF Global was supposed to have on deposit has hindered the process of reuniting clients with their funds, which under U.S. law are to be kept sealed off from MF Global's own money. Some brokers who routed their client's business through MF Global for the purposes of carrying out trades on markets like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange said that the money had appeared in their account overnight, and was available to support trades.
David Rosen, who brokers energy contracts on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange, said his MF Global account had finally been transferred to a new clearing firm, FC Stone, when he arrived for work Wednesday morning. Only a small amount of margin had transferred, however, and he had to deposit additional funds so he could resume trading. "I gave them a new check so I had money in there I could use as margin and collateral," Rosen said. Although his positions and some margin were transferred, more than $150,000 in cash remains tied up with his old clearing firm, he said. Clients of MF Global who had cash or excess margin on deposit with MF Global--not backing up any standing trades--most likely will have to file claims to get their money back from the trustee supervising the firm's unwinding.
Jack Scoville of Chicago-based Price Futures Group said he saw funds appear in his former MF Global account early Wednesday, but said getting only some of the money was little comfort to his customers. "Regardless, we're still not whole," he said.

Noble Group Posts Surprise Loss; CEO Resigns (Source: CME)
Commodities supply chain manager Noble Group Ltd. announced the resignation of its chief executive, just hours after posting a surprise swing to a $17.5 million net loss in the third quarter from a net profit a year earlier on the back of volatile market conditions and mark-to-market losses. CEO Ricardo Leiman will remain as an advisor to the group after resigning for personal reasons, Noble said in a statement separate from its earlier results announcement. Chairman Richard Elman has been appointed acting CEO, and the Singapore-listed company said it will make an announcement on Leiman's replacement shortly. "We are taking this realign our goals and strategies to adapt to the many challenges that exist in the prevailing market conditions," Elman said in the statement announcing Leiman's departure.
Noble also said late Wednesday it received approval from the Singapore Exchange for the planned Singapore spinoff of its agricultural business, adding the listing could comprise either a primary issuance of shares by the unit, or a secondary sale of shares by the parent, or both. The group said it received encouraging investor interest, but added no final decision has been made with regard to the details of the proposed listing. The net loss for the three months ended Sept. 30 compared with a $157.2 million net profit a year earlier, Noble Group said in the results statement filed to the Singapore Exchange. "It goes without saying that we are very unhappy with this performance even if it does just cover a very short period," Elman said in the results statement. He said while "'things happen' which are out of our control", the group "remains very healthy and strong."
Revenue for the period was $20.9 billion, up 40% from $14.9 billion in the third quarter of 2010. Noble's businesses include agriculture, energy, metals, minerals and ore. Noble said its net loss was "primarily driven by the very volatile market conditions and uncertain macro environment" and that "much of the reduction in profitability was caused by the impact of unrealized mark-to-market losses." Operating income from supply chain for Noble's agriculture unit fell 70% to $68.3 million while the energy unit rose 8% to $154.7 million. Operating income from supply chain for the metals, minerals and ores unit fell 74% to $19.4 million. Noble last month said it had already filed an application in relation to the possible listing of its agriculture business. The group's chief financial officer, Robert van der Zalm, said the group would hold a majority stake in the agricultural unit if the IPO goes ahead.
People familiar with the transaction this week said Noble plans to raise "north of US$500 million" through the listing and that it has appointed J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) sole global co-ordinator. J.P. Morgan is also a bookrunner along with Citigroup Inc. (C) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS). The people said Noble plans to list on the Singapore Exchange in the first quarter of next year.

South Australia Grain Harvest Gathering Pace (Source: CME)
A harvest of wheat and other winter grains is gathering pace in South Australia, aided by ideal conditions, Calgary-based Viterra Inc.'s (VT.T) local unit said. However, its official forecast suggests the new wheat crop will fall well short of last year's production. Receivals into Viterra's upcountry grain storage network more than quadrupled in the week ended Nov. 6 to reach a total of 243,125 metric tons, a weekly harvest report showed. "The overall quality profile has improved with the most recent deliveries" but expected rainfall could delay harvest in the coming days, Viterra said. The company dominates upcountry grain storage and export terminal operations in South Australia. Most of the grain produced in the state is available for export. The government's Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences estimated South Australia wheat production at 4.60 million tons and barley output at 2.40 million tons in the 2011-12 crop year ending March 31.
The state Department of Primary Industry and Resources estimated wheat output at 4.15 million tons, barely changed from a September estimate but down from a record 6.06 million tons last year. New-crop barley output was estimated at 2.34 million tons. The department said rainfall in the growing season from April through October was below average across most of the state, despite which crop yield potential is average to above average.

Russian Port Capacity For Grain At 25M Tons (Source: CME)
Russian port capacity for grain has increased to around 25 million metric tons due to the development and upgrading of infrastructure, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Moscow attache said, but warned that transportation and logistical problems continue to be a major issue in the country. Russian grain exports are able to exceed this estimated yearly port capacity through direct loading of railway wagons into ships, the USDA said, as well as using ports from other countries. However, it warned that competition with Ukrainian and Kazakh grain traders in the deep water ports of Ukraine and the ports of Baltic countries is very high. Another constraint on Russian exports is the speed and capacity of grain intake, the USDA said, as poor management of railway logistics, high cost of transportation from Siberian regions and competition from Kazakhstan for grain cars results in bottlenecks.
Bad weather can also delay ship loading, the USDA said, citing wind in Rostov which can reduce the river draft and halt exports for a number of days.

Corn (Source: CME)
US corn futures ended lower as outside market pressure overwhelmed what many traders saw as a friendly USDA report. Sharply lower equities and stronger US dollar pressured grains generally. Corn briefly surged higher at midday on end-user buying, traders say, before retreating. USDA's cut to projected crop size seen as supportive, as Western Milling analyst Joel Karlin notes a cut in the November report is usually followed by further cuts in January. "I think corn is headed to $7 again," he says. But others think USDA was neutral or bearish, as supply cuts were offset by weaker demand. CBOT Dec corn retreats from intraday high of $6.65, ends down 4 1/2c to $6.56 per bushel.

Wheat (Source: CME)
US wheat futures closed mostly down as outside macro concerns prompted a broad-based selloff. Renewed worries about the euro-zone debt crisis sent equities sharply lower and boosted the dollar, which is negative for commodities. Meanwhile, Wednesday's USDA supply/demand report was seen as mostly neutral for wheat prices as the government cut projected stockpiles slightly. Still, weak export demand a key negative factor in the market and worries about crops in the southern Plains and Ukraine may limit the downside. KCBT December wheat led the way lower Wednesday, sliding 3.5% to $7.13/bushel. CBOT December fell 14c to $6.43 but MGEX December rose 4 1/2c to $8.76 on a lack of farmer sales; deferred contracts ended lower.

Rice (Source: CME)
US rice futures tumbled to a 4-month low on outside market pressure, technical selling and a government increase in US supply projections. The government upped its yield projection and increased its 2011-12 ending-stocks projection by 3%. Meanwhile, euro worries sent the dollar higher and prompted a selloff across equities and commodities markets. Today's new low comes as rice futures have been falling for two weeks, with weak US export demand and trend-based selling adding to the pressure. CBOT November rice slid 2.7% to $15.28 1/2.

Corn, soy tick up ahead of USDA report; wheat dips
SINGAPORE, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat fell 0.2 percent , as the market came under pressure from plentiful global supplies, including expectations of a near-record Australian crop, which is likely to increase competition for U.S. suppliers.
"The sense that we are getting is that the soy market has been cautious because of slow U.S. exports, but today we are seeing a little bounce ahead of the report," said Abah Ofon, an analyst with Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore.

Thailand's main rice crop seen down 2.7 pct-attache
Nov 8 (Reuters) - Following are selected highlights from a report issued by a U.S. Department of Agriculture attache in Thailand: "MY2011/12 main-crop production is revised down to 21.6 million tonnes of paddy, down 2.7 percent from the previous year, due to higher-than-expected production loss of 1-2 million tonnes from extensive flooding.
However, anticipated bumper off-season crop will likely offset the flooding damage. Consequently, total MY2011/12 rice production is expected to remain higher than the previous year by 1.3 percent. Meanwhile, the Paddy Pledging Program will likely absorb approximately half of the main-crop production due to attractive intervention prices."

Argentine corn harvest seen reaching record
BUENOS AIRES, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Argentina's corn production should reach a record 28 million tonnes this season if weather conditions are favorable, the head of the Maizar industry group said on Tuesday.
The South American country, the world's No. 2 corn supplier after the United States, produced 23 million tonnes of the grain last season, according to Agriculture Ministry data. That also marked a record.

France raises maize crop to over 15 mln tonnes
PARIS, Nov 8 (Reuters) - France's farm ministry on Tuesday raised again its estimate of this year's maize harvest after summer rain generated higher yields in the European Union's top grain producer.
French maize grain output was now expected to reach 15.2 million tonnes in 2011, up from 14.9 million tonnes seen a month ago and 10.1 percent higher than an estimated 13.8 million tonnes harvested in 2010, the ministry said.

Ukraine boosts grain exports in Nov 1-7
KIEV, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Ukraine almost doubled its grain exports to about 472,000 tonnes in the first seven days of November against the same period in October after cancelling export duties, analyst ProAgro said on Tuesday.
The consultancy said the volume had included about 318,000 tonnes of maize.

Big rains in west US Midwest, eastern Plains slow harvest
CHICAGO, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Heavy rainfall early this week in the western U.S. Midwest and eastern U.S. Plains will slow the final harvest of corn and soy, while giving a boost to the 2012 hard red winter wheat crop, an agricultural meteorologist said Tuesday.
"A storm system is moving across the Plains and western Midwest now and will be into the northern Midwest tomorrow," projected Don Keeney, meteorologist for MDA EarthSat Weather.

Ukraine targets record '12 crop despite drought
KIEV, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Ukraine is targeting a record grain harvest of 54 million tonnes in 2012 against the crop of 52-53 million in 2011, despite drought during the winter sowing, Farm Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk said on Tuesday.
"The government plans to increase agriculture output by 5.7 percent (in 2012) and the grain harvest should raise to 54 million tonnes," the ministry quoted Prysyazhnyuk as saying.

Grains Slump as Demand Slowdown Eases Strain on Tightening Global Supplies (Source: Bloomberg)
Corn futures fell from a six-week high, and wheat and soybeans slid on speculation that U.S. grain inventories will be sufficient as Europe’s faltering economy erodes demand. U.S. corn stockpiles before next year’s harvest may be 843 million bushels, or 5.4 percent more than analysts in a Bloomberg News survey expected, the Department of Agriculture said today. The agency boosted its forecast for domestic soybean supplies and projected domestic and global wheat supplies that were bigger than analysts forecast. Crop prices fell in tandem with global equities and commodities on heightening concern that European’s debt crisis is spreading to Italy. The USDA said demand for corn used for livestock feed will be 2.1 percent less than forecast at 4.6 billion bushels.

World Wheat-Surplus Estimate Raised by U.S. Agency on Eastern Europe Gain (Source: Bloomberg)
World wheat inventories will be 0.1 percent larger than forecast a month ago as producers in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe boost output, while U.S. supplies may decline, a government report showed. Global stockpiles will total 202.6 million metric tons by the end of May, up from 202.37 million forecast in October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today. The average estimate of 14 analysts in a Bloomberg survey was 202 million. The USDA said domestic supplies will be 828 million bushels, down from 837 million estimated in October. Analysts expected 819 million. The report was “fairly neutral all the way around,” Jason Britt, the president of brokerage Central States Commodities Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri, said in a telephone interview. Smaller domestic inventories were “a little bit friendly,” while prices still came under pressure because of rising world output and global economic concerns, he said.

Australia bets on wheat quality, freight to grab global sales
SYDNEY, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Australian wheat exporters are counting on lower shipping costs and higher quality grain from the advancing harvest to give them the upper hand in South East Asian markets, allowing them to fend off aggressive competition from Black Sea suppliers.
But the threat of wet weather during what should be a bumper 2011/12 crop remains a risk that could cut the protein content and downgrade quality of exports from the world's fourth-largest shipper of the grain.

Italy 2011 sugar output down 22 pct, content up
MILAN, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Italy's output of sugar made from local beets fell below earlier forecasts to 341,000 tonnes in 2011 after a sharper-than-expected drop in sown areas, but sugar content rose from 2010, a senior official at Italian beet growers' body ANB said.
Sugar output fell about 22 percent compared with some 438,000 tonnes produced from local sugar beet last year, because sown areas dropped to 45,000 hectares in 2011 from 62,266 ha in 2010, hit by bad weather and by competition from higher priced grains and oil seeds, ANB's senior technical expert, Emilio Pattaro, said.

ICE sugar dips, coffee steady, eyes on Italy
LONDON, Nov 9 (Reuters) - ICE sugar futures eased, weighed by a firmer dollar, and coffee and cocoa futures were little changed in early trading on Wednesday, as markets focused on political uncertainty in Italy after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's pledge to resign.
Raw sugar futures dipped, pressured by the strengthening dollar, with dealers focused on planned budget reforms in Italy after Berlusconi's pledge to resign.

India's Oct natural rubber imports plunge 65 pct; output up
Nov 9 (Reuters) - India's October natural rubber imports plunged 65 percent to 6,862 tonnes, while production rose 8.4 percent to 89,300 tonnes, the state-run Rubber Board said in a statement on Wednesday.
Consumption during the month stood at 76,000 tonnes compared to 81,180 tonnes a year ago, it said.

Brazil sugar exports seen weak through April
SAO PAULO, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Sugar exports from Brazil's center-south will likely be notably low during the interharvest in the coming months, as mills hold stocks for possible sales on the local market, industry sources said on Tuesday.
Shipments from November through March 2012 could be 2 million tonnes lower than those seen a year earlier, a drop of nearly 30 percent, according to expectations from the sector in the world's No.1 sugar exporter.

Ivorian weather mixed, dry season seen approaching
ABIDJAN, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Cocoa farmers in top grower Ivory Coast reported mixed weather last week, with rains appearing to ease off in western regions but the occasional shower supporting the development of the main crop elsewhere.
Ivory Coast is heading into the dry season, which is due to start in mid-November, but growers in the western regions now say they have not had significant rain for two weeks and fear the size and quality of the crop may lag in several months.

India may decide on sugar exports on Nov. 16 or 17-min
NEW DELHI, Nov 8 (Reuters) - India could decide whether to allow more sugar exports at a meeting of a panel of ministers likely to be on Nov. 16 or 17, Food Minister K.V. Thomas said on Tuesday.
"We have worked out a scheme for exports of a certain quantity of sugar. I had a wider discussion with (Farm Minister Sharad) Pawar on sugar production. We have more or less agreed on exporting a certain quantity," Thomas said.

LONDON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - China's imports of South African coal surged in October to 2.5 million tonnes, up from 911,000 tonnes in September, a record monthly tonnage, exporters said.
China's buying largely absorbed the unexpectedly high quantity of coal moved to South Africa's Richards Bay Coal Terminal last month and compensated for the lack of Indian spot buying.

Crude Oil Trades Near Two-Day Low in New York After Euro-Area Concern Ends Rally (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil traded near a two-day low in New York as investors speculated that recent gains were exaggerated amid signs Europe’s sovereign debt crisis may cause the euro area to fracture. Prices were little changed after dropping for the first time in six days yesterday. Italian bond yields surged to euro- era records and a senior German lawmaker said Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union may adopt a motion to allow countries to exit the common currency. Crude’s 14-day relative strength index climbed to the highest since April. Brent’s premium to West Texas Intermediate oil was near the lowest level this month. “There’s a move to the sidelines from investment participants in the crude markets,” said Michael McCarthy, a chief market strategist at CMC Markets Asia Pacific Pty Ltd. in Sydney. “We’re waiting with bated breath on Europe.”
Crude oil for December delivery was at $95.63 a barrel, down 11 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 12:33 p.m. Sydney time. The contract yesterday fell $1.06, or 1.1 percent, to $95.74, the lowest settlement since Nov. 7. Prices are 4.6 percent higher the past year.

POLL-US crude stocks seen up on higher imports
Nov 8 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil inventories likely rose for a third straight week due to higher imports while distillate stockpiles were seen falling, an expanded Reuters poll of analysts showed on Tuesday.
On average, crude stockpiles were forecast up 400,000 barrels for the week ended Nov. 4, the poll of 10 analysts showed. Six of the analysts called for a stock build. One expected an unchanged level from the previous week, and three  projected a drawdown, citing a small drop in imports.

Exxon sees shale growth slower abroad than in U.S.
Nov 8 (Reuters) - Development of oil and gas in shale and other unconventional formations will move forward more slowly in markets other than North America, where infrastructure and a supportive regulatory framework already exist, oil executives said  on Tuesday.
"I would caution that this process will likely go slower than it did in North America," Exxon Senior Vice President Mark Albers told the World Shale Gas conference in Houston.

US EIA trims global oil demand growth forecasts
WASHINGTON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Global oil demand will grow slightly less than previously projected this year and next, the U.S. government forecast on Tuesday in a report that gave  petroleum markets little new direction.
The Energy Information Administration lowered its world oil consumption growth forecast by about 50,000 barrels per day from its previous estimate. The agency also cut its projection for 2011 global oil demand growth by 150,000 bpd.

OPEC raises oil demand view, says risk to downside
LONDON/VIENNA,  Nov 8 (Reuters) - Oil producer group OPEC is investing in new supplies to meet rising consumption, even as it sees the risk to the demand outlook as being on the downside because of Europe's sovereign debt crisis and a slowing global economy.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in its 2011 World Oil Outlook increased its estimate of supplies, saying the amount of unused oil production that the 12-member group holds in reserve in case of supply shocks would double by 2015.

LONDON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Weaker international iron ore prices are driving high-cost Chinese domestic suppliers to cut output, which will push the top consumer and steelmaker to rely more on seaborne imports in the coming weeks, supporting the dry freight market.
International iron ore prices have dropped more than 30 percent since September, including a record 18 percent plunge last week, as lower steel prices have forced Chinese steelmakers to cut production.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Brazilian mining giant Vale  joined its rivals in pledging on Thursday no let up in iron ore production, even as prices slump, European buyers cancel cargoes and Chinese steelmakers clamor for price relief.
Signaling a firm belief that the nearly 30 percent slump in spot market prices this month is a temporary blip, executives of the world's biggest iron ore producer said Chinese monetary policy easing should help bolster demand from its top consumer.

LONDON, Oct 6 (Reuters) - There is growing concern that if oil tanker earnings remain at levels below operating costs it will threaten the sustainability of the industry, officials with industry association INTERTANKO said on Thursday.
The crude tanker market continues to struggle with a supply glut which has sent average daily earnings to record lows this year.

HONG KONG, Oct 27 (Reuters) - China COSCO Holdings Ltd  , the country's No.1 shipping conglomerate, made a net loss of 2.07 billion yuan ($325.81 million) in the third quarter, hit by sliding freight rates and overcapacity in the industry.
China COSCO, operator of the world's largest bulk cargo fleet and a major global container shipper, remained in the red for a third consecutive quarter in July-September, having reported a 2.25 billion yuan loss for the second quarter.

HONG KONG, Nov 3 (Reuters) - China's COSCO is looking at shipping joint ventures with major oil importers to build new very large crude carriers (VLCC) as part of Beijing's plan to add more supertankers to its fleet by 2015, its chairman said.
Wei Jaifu, chairman of China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co (COSCO Group), said he expects the global shipping market to recover in 2013.

BOAO, China, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Global shipping is in a downturn  even worse than during the 2008 financial crisis, China's transportation minister said on Thursday, with the outlook for the industry made increasingly uncertain by the European debt crisis.
The shipping industry, a bellwether of economic activity because of its role in world trade, saw freight rates plummet from mid-2008 to the end of that year.

LONDON, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Deliveries of new dry bulk ships are on course to reach their highest level ever this year and fleet expansion is expected to remain strong in 2012, ship broker SSY said on Wednesday.
Despite a recent rally on the larger capesize market, brokers and analysts expect vessel supply, which has outpaced commodity demand, to cap dry bulk freight rate gains in coming months with economic uncertainty adding to headwinds.