Friday, November 18, 2011

20111118 1807 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3248, changed : +36 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : upside biased.
MACD Histrogram : weakening, buyer taking profit.
Support : 3200, 3150, 3100, 3070 level.
Resistance : 3250, 3270, 3300, 3350 level.
Comment :
FCPO closed recorded gains with lower volume exchanged while overnight soy oil closed substantially lower and currently trading rebounding higher while crude oil price currently trading higher after overnight recorded loss.
Higher exports data anticipation for next Monday reports lifted FCPO price break new high and closed recorded gains.
Daily chart formed an up bar candle with upper and lower shadow closed below upper Bollinger band level after market opened and dipped lower, followed by recovery upward breaking new high before eased little lower to closed off the high of the day.
Chart reading suggesting an upside biased market development testing support and resistance.
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.

20111118 1737 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1444, changed : -19 points, volume : higher.
Bollinger band reading : side way range bound.
MACD Histrogram : falling, seller taking small exposure.
Support : 1440, 1435, 1425, 1420 level.
Resistance : 1445, 1458, 1470, 1480 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed recorded substantial loss with better volume transacted doing about 10.5 points discount compare to cash market that closed lower. Overnight U.S. markets ended lower recorded loss for the 2nd day and today Asia markets closed lower while European markets continue to trade weaker.
Rising concern over China's property sector bad loans, growing contagion risk on European debt problem and latest Germany disagreement with France on how to contain the Europe debt crisis resulted global markets to trade negatively. However, U.S. side reported improve jobless claims and analyst forecasts faster economy growth.
Daily chart formed a down bar candle closed at lower Bollinger band after market opened lower and gradually swing downward toward the end to closed near the low of the day.
Chart study revised to suggesting a side way range bound market development testing support and resistance level with possible rebound.
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.

20111118 1656 Regional Markets EOD Daily Chart Study.

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

20111118 1633 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Asian shares fall on fears over Europe fund tightness
TOKYO, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Asian shares fell for a fourth day in a row as Europe's funding difficulties intensified, with Spanish borrowing costs hitting an unsustainable level and premiums for dollar funds rising further.
"The euro zone debt crisis is turning into a global liquidity crisis, and leading to a vicious cycle of intensifying funding tightness spurring dumping of risk assets," said Kazuto Uchida, an executive officer and general manager of the global markets division at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

Economy Growing at Fastest Pace of ’11 in Fourth Quarter in U.S. Forecasts (Bloomberg)
The U.S. economy may end 2011 growing at its fastest clip in 18 months as analysts increase their forecasts for the fourth quarter just a few months after a slowdown raised concern among investors. Economists at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) in New York now see gross domestic product rising 3 percent in the final quarter, up from a previous prediction of 2.5 percent. Macroeconomic Advisers in St. Louis increased its forecast to 3.2 percent from 2.9 percent at the start of November, while New York-based Morgan Stanley & Co. boosted its outlook to 3.5 percent from 3 percent. “The incoming data on consumption, business spending and residential investment all point to GDP growth in the fourth quarter tracking 3.3 percent,” said John Herrmann, senior fixed-income strategist at State Street Global Markets in Boston.

FOREX-Dollar holds firm as bank funding worries grow
SYDNEY, Nov 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar held firm in Asia on Friday, while the euro was surprisingly resilient with European banks seen repatriating funds back home as signs of funding stress grew amid a deepening euro zone debt crisis.
The spotlight fell on Spain on Thursday, which had to pay the highest rate to sell its 10-year debt since 1997, just shy of the 7 percent mark seen as unsustainable. Even then, it could not raise the full target amount.

Brent heads to below $108 on fears Europe crisis worsening
SINGAPORE, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Brent crude futures extended losses for a second day, heading to below $108 on concerns over demand growth as Europe struggles to contain its debt crisis from spiralling out of control and hurting the global economy.  
"The pullback that we have seen shouldn't come as a surprise as the euro zone crisis and ballooning costs are having an impact across the board," said Ben Le Brun, market analyst at OptionsXpress.

US soy, wheat rise after selloff, corn struggles
SINGAPORE, Nov 18 (Reuters) - U.S. soy rose half a percent as the market recovered after two straight days of losses on hopes of strong demand from China, while wheat gained on bargain-hunting following a decline to a four-month low.
"We see bargain hunting taking place because of the sharp drop yesterday as China will take this opportunity to buy more soybeans," said Ker Chung Yang, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Argentina govt sees soy area at 19 mln hectares
BUENOS AIRES, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Argentina's 2011/12 soybean area is seen at 19.0 million hectares, up a touch from 18.9 million hectares last season, the Agriculture Ministry said on Thursday in its first forecast for the crop.
The government forecast came just after the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said it expected that 18.85 million hectares would be planted with 2011/12 soy, up from its week-earlier view of 18.60 million hectares.

Ivorian cocoa prices steady on port, grinders-farmers
ABIDJAN, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Cocoa farmgate prices in Ivory Coast's cocoa regions were steady last week, as local grinders were rushes to collect good quality beans, while firm ports prices and concerns over futures shortages added some support, farmers said on Thursday.
In the western region of Gagnoa, farmers said the average price was at between 750 CFA francs per kg and 800 CFA, from between 700-750 the previous week as beans were increasingly attracting buyers.
Russia harvests 97.5 mln T grain so far-AgMin
MOSCOW, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Russia has harvested 97.5 million tonnes of grain by bunker weight from 98.1 percent of the harvesting area of 42.98 million hectares by Nov. 16, Agriculture Ministry data showed on Thursday.  
The grain crop was up from 63.7 million tonnes a year ago, but down from the 101.9 million harvested by the same date in 2009.
India's Maharashtra so far produces 20 pct less sugar in 2011/12
MUMBAI, Nov 17 (Reuters) - India's top sugar producer Maharashtra has so far produced 20 percent less sugar than at the same point last year as cane crushing faced delays over a cane price dispute, an industry official said.
Crushing momentum has now picked up, however, after farmers and millers agreed on cane pricing, said the official at the Maharashtra State Cooperative Sugar Factories Foundation, who declined to be named.
Pakistan's palm oil import from Indonesia seen tripling in 2012
ISLAMABAD, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Pakistan is expected to at least triple palm oil purchases from Indonesia next year after a trade agreement between the two countries reduced import duties for the edible oil by about 15 percent, senior industry officials said on Thursday.
Pakistan, the world's fourth largest buyer of palm oil, purchases more than 90 percent of its needs from Malaysia, as its crude palm oil and products have enjoyed lower import duties since 2007.

Metal output cuts back on the menu
Nov 17 (Reuters) - Sharp falls in industrial metals prices from August have sparked talk of production cutbacks, particularly in aluminium, nickel and zinc, and although markets have since steadied, some high-cost producers are still feeling the pain.
Steel producers in Europe have made a flurry of cutback announcements, but so far there have been only a handful in base metals.

Freeport sees robust copper demand by China
NEW YORK, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc , the world's largest publicly traded copper firm, is betting on robust Chinese copper demand to drive its industry, even as slower growth in Europe and the United States impacts some lines of business, the company's CEO said on Thursday.
"The fact that Europe will be in a period of no growth, or maybe even slightly negative contraction, and the U.S. is in slow growth; Asia continues to do well ... we're going to be all right," Richard Adkerson, the company's chief executive, said during a meeting with Reuters reporters on Thursday.

Copper down on high bond yields for Spain, France
SHANGHAI, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Copper fell, dragged by rising fears of a euro zone debt contagion after borrowing costs for Spain and France spiked.
"Copper prices have been pushed around by euro zone woes with Spain's borrowing costs up. Equities last night also set a bearish tone for base metals today," said a Sydney-based trader.

METALS-Copper down on high bond yields for Spain, France
SHANGHAI, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Copper fell on Friday, dragged by rising fears of a euro zone debt contagion after borrowing costs for Spain and France spiked.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange  fell 0.3 percent to $7,524.75 a tonne by 0404 GMT, after falling 2.5 percent previously. It is on track to post a weekly drop of 2.5 percent, which would be the the third straight week of weaker prices.

PRECIOUS-Gold steady; dollar, euro zone weigh
SINGAPORE, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Gold prices traded steady on Friday, on course for their biggest weekly fall in nearly two months, pressured by a firm dollar while investors stay nervous about the deepening euro zone debt crisis.
Spot silver  fell as much as 2.2 percent to a one-month low of $30.98 an ounce amid a broad retreat in both precious and industrial metals, as the dollar held steady near a five-week peak against a basket of currencies.

Gold steady; dollar, euro zone weigh
SINGAPORE, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Gold prices traded steady, on course for their biggest weekly fall in nearly two months, pressured by a firm dollar while investors stay nervous about the deepening euro zone debt crisis.
"Near-term gold looks a little weak as the resilience of the dollar is not being helpful to commodities," said Nick Trevethan, a senior commodities strategist at ANZ in Singapore.

20111118 1619 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

Sime’s E&O premium to rise?
Sime Darby’s already expensive acquisition of Eastern & Oriental (E&O) shares could look even more pricey after the surprise announcement last night that the latter will be converting an estimated 220.1m loan stocks into ordinary shares before year-end. When the 220.1m shares enter the market at the end of the year, the resulting dilution in book value per share coupled with a potentially large share overhang could well make Sime’s RM766m stake in E&O come at a greater premium as the price-to-book value of its acquisition rises and the share price falls. (Financial Daily)

Only a third of RM33bn bonds for PLUS buyout will be backed by Govt
The Government will not back the bulk of the RM33bn in bonds that will be issued for the buyout of PLUS Expressways, sources said. “Only about one-third of the bonds will have a government guarantee, which means that most of them will be rated based solely on the business viability and cashflow of PLUS,” one source said. It was disclosed on Wednesday that a special purpose vehicle called Projek Lebuhraya Usahasama (PLUS) will become the asset owner and operator of the highways and will be issuing the RM33bn bonds. PLUS in turn is owned by another special purpose vehicle called PLUS Malaysia SB, which is owned by UEM Group and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF). (StarBiz)

BRDB denies rumours it has called off disposal of prime assets
Bandar Raya Developments (BRDB) is still deliberating the sale of its prime assets and denied that it has called off the deal. Sources also noted that no appointment had been made yet by BRDB of any independent international property valuation firm to manage the tender for the sale, something that the company said it would do. (StarBiz)

New substantial shareholder in Perdana Petroleum
O&G interest Sarawakian Tiong Chiong Hiiung's purchase of a 8.15% stake comes amid talk that rival Dayang Enterprise is looking to do the same. A Sarawakian chicken breeder has emerged as a substantial shareholder in oil and gas firm Perdana Petroleum. Tiong bought an 8.15% stake by virtue of his direct shareholding in Achiever Development SB, which is believed to be a vehicle of the Tiong family in Sarawak. Tiong is also the managing director of publicly-traded CCK Consolidated Holdings, a company founded by his father, Datuk Tiong Su Kuok. (BT)

Global Transit secures RM101m in regional bandwidth sales
Global Transit Communications SB, an independent regional Internet Protocol Transit provider in Asia, has secured RM101m in regional bandwidth sales to leading telecommunications providers in Asia as of mid-November 2011. To date, Global Transit serves 140 customers from various countries in Asia, many of them Tier 1 fixed and mobile telecommunications companies, establishing itself as a trusted and reliable regional player. (Bernama)

MMHE earnings up 3.2% to RM80m but revenue halves  Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering reported a 3.2% increase in net profit to RM80.2m in the  quarter ended Sept 30 from RM77.7m a year ago though its revenue had fallen by more than half.  Revenue during the quarter fell 54.7% to RM463.1m from RM1.022bn. EPS were 5.0sen compared  with 5.80sen. MMHE said group profit before taxation of RM100.4m was 4.2% higher than the  RM96.4m recorded in the preceding quarter due to the engineering and construction and marine  repair and conversion segments. In the 9M period from January to September, earnings fell 15.2% to  RM159.5m from RM188.3m in the previous corresponding period. Revenue slumped 35.2% to  RM1.42bn from RM2.19bn. (Financial Daily)

WCT 3Q earnings up 28.5% to RM39m on-year  WCT reported a 28.5% increase in earnings to RM38.3m in the 3Q2011 from RM30.6m a year ago,  mainly due to higher contribution from the civil engineering and construction division. Revenue was  marginally higher by 1.3% to RM362.0m from RM357.1m. EPS were 4.87sen compared with 3.88sen  a year ago. However, the 3Q’s revenue and net profit were lower when compared with the second  quarter where the revenue was RM376m and earnings at RM38m. For the 9MFY2011, the earnings  rose 15.3% to RM114.5m from RM99.3m in the previous corresponding period. Revenue, however,  declined 17.1% to RM1.05bn from RM1.27bn. (Financial Daily)

YTL Corp posts lower 1Q earnings on mobile broadband division  YTL Corporation’s earnings fell 9.7% to RM251.8m (US$80.5m) in the 1Q2012 from RM278.9m  (US$89.1m) a year ago. The lower earnings due  to loss incurred in the nascent ‘Yes’ mobile  broadband division. The group revenue grew 3.1% to RM4.54bn from RM4.41bn but pretax profit  declined 15% to RM530.1m from RM623.8m. (Financial Daily)

Tan Chong 3Q net profit rises 10.6% to RM54.56m  Tan Chong’s net profit for the 3Q2011 rose 10.6% to RM54.6m from RM49.3m a year earlier, due  mainly  to  favourable  foreign  exchange  rates.  Revenue  for  the  quarter  rose  to  RM905.4m  from  RM871.6m in 2010. EPS were 8.36sen compared to 7.56sen in 2010. For the 9MFY2011, net profit  rose to RM185.1m from RM177.7m in 2010, on the back of an increase in revenue to RM2.98bn from  RM2.67bn. (Financial Daily)

APM Automotive 3Q net profit dips 15% to RM26.84m  APM Automotive’s net profit for the 3Q2011 fell 15.2% to RM26.8m from RM31.7m a year ago, partly  due to currencies and operational upgrades. Revenue was marginally higher at RM297.2m from  RM291.5m in 2010, due mainly to higher vehicle production. EPS fell to 13.71sen from 16.18sen in  2010. For the 9MFY2011, net profit fell 12.2% to RM82.7m from RM94.2m, while revenue decreased  to about 1.7% RM875.7m from RM890.9m in the previous corresponding period. (Financial Daily)

Kossan 3Q net profit falls 17.2% to RM23.64m  Kossan Rubber’s net profit for the 3Q2011 fell 17.2% to RM23.6m from RM28.6m a year earlier, due  mainly to higher cost of latex. Revenue for the quarter, however, improved marginally to RM278.5m  from RM275.6m. EPS were 7.39sen compared to 8.93sen a year ago. Kossan declared a first interim  dividend of 3sen per share tax-exempt for the FY2011 to be paid to on Dec 20. For the 9MFY2011,  Kossan’s net profit fell 24.2% to RM67.5m from RM88.9m, despite revenue increased just 1.9% to  RM810.6m from RM794.9m in 2010. (Financial Daily)

Fajarbaru 1Q earnings slump 63% to RM1.5m  Fajarbaru Builder’s earnings fell 63% to RM1.5m in the 1Q2012 from RM4.2m a year ago. Revenue  was however, increased by 96.8% to RM55.2m from RM28.0m but EPS fell to 0.92sen from 2.64sen.  (Financial Daily)

Ta Ann records US$386,000 loss from China venture  Ta Ann recorded a loss of US$386,000 from its venture in China where the original investment was  US$4m. It had repatriated the proceeds from the land sale from China to Malaysia while the  machinery had been shipped back and installed at the Sibu plywood mill. Ta Ann also said it had  received the China government’s approval to wind up the subsidiary, Ta Ann Eco-Timber Industries  Pty Ltd on Nov 14. (Financial Daily)

La Nina to stir severe rains in oil palm growing Malaysia  A weak-to-moderate La Nina weather pattern will trigger severe monsoon rains in Malaysia's key oil  palm growing regions from this month till next March, the weather office said on Thursday,  potentially disrupting harvesting and boosting prices. The weather office said for November and  December, parts of the key oil palm growing state of Sabah on Borneo island as well as Johor and  Pahang in peninsula Malaysia will experience 20-40% more rainfall than their long term means for  the period. These three states alone account for 60-70% of total Malaysian production. Industry  analysts such as Dorab Mistry have cut their output estimates for Malaysia and Indonesia in response  to prospects of La Nina weather affecting yields, forecasting prices to go above RM3,300 in January.  (Reuters)

SGX, Bursa to link up in June  The chief executive officers of Asean Exchanges today announced the rollout plan for the Asean  Trading Link which will see the participation of member exchanges taking place progressively in  stages. The first stage will see the connectivity of Singapore Exchange and Bursa Malaysia in June  next year and the Stock Exchange of Thailand coming  in  in  August  the  same  year  after  the  trading  engine goes live. The 3 bourses will represent 70% of the market capitalisation of the seven-member  collaboration, thus offering substantial investment opportunities for investors. (Bernama)  

Khazanah mum on Proton speculation  Khazanah Nasional appeared to be open to a management buyout (MBO) or takeover of Proton  Holdings Bhd but it stopped short of rebutting market speculation. The recent strong run in Proton  shares sparked rumours of apossible takeover for the carmaker from its own management or rivals  like Naza Group and DRB-HICOM Bhd. On Wednesday, Proton MD Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin Syed  Mohamed  Tahir  said  that  he  and  other  senior  company  executives  will  be  keen  to  buy  over  the  national  carmaker  if  offered.  However,  Syed  Zainal  Abidin  dismissed  the  speculation  that  he  and  Proton chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh have jointly bid for the company. (Business  Times)

20111118 1618 Global Economic Related News.

Singapore: Exports slide the most in 30 months on electronics
Singapore’s exports fell the most in more than two years in October as a slowing global economy curbed demand for electronics products. Non-oil domestic exports fell 16.2% from a year earlier, after a revised 4.6 % decline in September. Singapore’s expansion will stall over the next few quarters as the global economy worsens, before a “modest recovery” in the second half of 2012, the central bank said last month. (Bloomberg)

China: Leading indicator shows economy maintaining momentum
A Chinese leading indicator rose, suggesting the world’s second-biggest economy is weathering moderating export growth and a government campaign to curb consumer and property prices. The index increased 0.4% to 160.2 in September, The Conference Board said on its website yesterday, citing a preliminary reading. The gauge is designed to capture prospects over the coming six months. August’s index was revised to a 0.6% gain from a previous 0.5% increase. (Bloomberg)

EU: Greece starts discussions on voluntary debt swap with banks
The Greek government started talks with banks on the terms of the voluntary debt swap that is part of the country’s international bailout agreement, the Finance Ministry in Athens said. The debt swap -- part of a second rescue package for Greece - aims to put the country on a path to cut its overall debt load to 120% of gross domestic product by 2020. The discussions in Athens are expected to take weeks to conclude, a European official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. (Bloomberg)

EU: Papademos unveils 2012 Greek budget as loan deadline looms
Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos will unveil the final budget for 2012 today as his interim government races against a three-month deadline to secure international loans and avert a collapse of the economy. Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos will present the 2012 spending plan to the cabinet at 9:30 am Greek time before it is submitted to lawmakers. The new government, backed by three of the five Greek parliamentary parties, is meeting a week after Papademos won a mandate to secure a second financing package for Greece agreed to with euro partners on 26 Oct. (Bloomberg)

UK: Retail sales unexpectedly rise as stores cut prices
UK retail sales unexpectedly rose in October as shops offered discounts to lure consumers whose confidence has been undermined by inflation and rising unemployment. Sales including fuel rose 0.6% from September, the most since June, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday. On the year, sales were up 0.9%. UK consumer sentiment fell to a record low last month as unemployment increased and inflation outpaced wage growth, while Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said yesterday the economy faces a “markedly weaker” outlook. (Bloomberg)

US: Jobless claims, home starts signal strength
Claims for unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level in seven months and housing starts exceeded forecasts, signaling improvement in the weakest areas of the US economy. Applications for jobless benefits decreased 5,000 in the week ended 12 Nov to 388,000, Labor Department figures showed. Starts decreased 0.3% to a 628,000 annual rate in October, according to the Commerce Department. Building permits, a proxy for future construction, jumped 10.9%. At the same time, record-low mortgage rates and cheaper homes are helping to support the industry at the heart of the last recession. (Bloomberg)

20111118 1121 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Asian Stocks Fall for Fourth Day on Spain Yields, China Bad Loans Concern (Bloomberg)
Asian stocks fell for a fourth day as China’s bank regulator was said to warn banks that loans to property developers may sour and as rising Spanish bond yields stoked concern that Europe’s debt crisis is infecting major economies. China Resources Land Ltd. (1109), a state-owned developer, fell 4.7 percent. HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), Europe’s biggest lender, led banks lower. Sony Corp. (6758), Japan’s No. 1 exporter of consumer electronics that gets 21 percent of its sales in Europe, fell 2.1 percent. BHP Billiton Ltd., the Australian mining company, led a drop among shares most tied to economic cycles as oil and metal prices dropped. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 1.4 percent to 114.53 as of 11:23 a.m. in Tokyo, set for the lowest close since Oct. 10. About five stocks fell for each that rose on the index. The measure has fallen 2.4 percent this week, set for a third weekly decline.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares fall, dollar firms on Europe funding fears
TOKYO, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Asian shares fell for a fourth day in a row and the dollar firmed on Friday as Europe's funding difficulties intensified, with Spanish borrowing costs hitting an unsustainable level and premiums for dollar funds rising further.
"Despite positive economic data from the U.S., the market is still focused on Europe and its contagion risk," said Hiroichi Nishi, equity general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities.

COMMODITIES-Biggest sell-off since Sept; US oil back below $100
NEW YORK, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Commodity prices on Thursday took their steepest tumble since September, with U.S. oil sliding back below $100 a barrel and metals and grains extending monthly losses, after risk aversion across markets.
"All commodities markets are very vulnerable to what is happening in Europe," said Lysu Paez Cortez, commodities analyst at Natixis in London.

Oil falls nearly 4 percent on profit taking
NEW YORK, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Oil prices tumbled on Thursday, with U.S. crude dropping 4 percent as investors booked profits a day after after a surge to five-month highs tested key technical levels.
"We're almost into a seventh week of gains in U.S. crude and that has prompted some investors to take some profits," said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

POLL-US natgas storage seen ending winter at 21-yr high
NEW YORK, Nov 17 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas inventories should end winter at a 21-year peak after starting the heating season at an all-time high for a third straight year, creating a buffer for consumers over the summer, according to a Reuters poll of traders and analysts.
Without winter temperatures that come close to matching last year's severe cold, brimming inventories next spring could spell more trouble for prices, which hit a two-year low this week of $3.11 per mmBtu despite the fast approaching peak heating demand season.

Short-term view may be only winner in Brent-U.S. oil play
LONDON, Nov 17 (Reuters) - The hottest oil spread of the year, Brent versus U.S. crude, is bracing for months of volatility as investors put polar bets     on the outlook for the U.S. and European oil markets and use the trade as a proxy for short-term speculation on the regions' economies.
The premium for ICE Brent futures  over NYMEX U.S. crude , also known as WTI, narrowed to an eight-month low on Thursday. The spread  reached a low of $7.89 per barrel, from a record of more than $28 in mid-October. It moved back to around $9.25 by 1645 GMT.

Natgas ends up, shorts cover despite record stocks
NEW YORK, Nov 17 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended higher on Thursday for the first time in seven sessions, lifted by technical buying after a six-day slide despite government data showing inventories climbed to a record high last week.
"We had so many down days, it wasn't surprising to see buying interest come in, particularly after we hit a new low, but we're still in a bearish market fundamentally," Matt Smith, commodity analyst at Summit Energy, said, noting bargain hunting and short-covering after the new low.

Euro Coal-Prices little changed by strike, lower oil
LONDON, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Prompt physical coal prices rose by a marginal 25 cents a tonne on Thursday, little affected by a strike and by falls in oil prices and equities, while few trades were reported.
"We have some excellent Colombian coal, but there's no interest - I can't get a yawn," one broker said.

20111118 1001 Global Market Related News.

Asian Stocks Fall for Fourth Day on Spain Yields, China Concern (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks fell for a fourth day after rising Spanish bond yields stoked concern the European debt crisis is infecting major economies and as China’s new bank regulator was said to warn banks that loans to property developers may sour. Sony Corp. (6758), Japan’s No. 1 exporter of consumer electronics that gets 21 percent of its sales in Europe, fell 2.3 percent. Komatsu Ltd. (6301), a machinery maker that gets 23 percent of its revenue in China, lost 2.7 percent. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the Australian mining company, slid 2.4 percent after oil and metal prices dropped. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 1.1 percent to 114.93 as of 9:23 a.m. in Tokyo, set for the lowest close since Oct. 10. The measure has fallen 2.1 percent this week, set for a third weekly decline.

Stocks in U.S. Decline as European Debt Concerns Overpower Economic Data (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to the lowest level in a month, as concern grew that Europe’s debt crisis will worsen and lawmakers will fail to agree on plans to cut the American deficit. Commodity and technology shares had the biggest declines among 10 groups in the S&P 500, falling at least 2.1 percent. Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) slid 4.6 percent as the retailer reported a steeper loss. Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT), a producer of chipmaking equipment, sank 7.5 percent as forecasts trailed estimates. Jefferies Group Inc. (JEF) retreated 2 percent and dropped below $10 intraday for the first time since March 2009. The S&P 500 lost 1.7 percent to 1,216.13 at 4 p.m. in New York. Losses accelerated after it fell below 1,229.10, its closing level on Nov. 9 after sinking 3.7 percent. The gauge dropped below its 100-day average. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 134.86 points, or 1.1 percent, to 11,770.73.

European Stocks Decline as Lower Spanish Bond Demand Fuels Crisis Concern (Source: Bloomberg)
European stocks fell after Spain’s borrowing costs surged to a euro-era record on waning demand at a bond sale, adding to concern the region’s sovereign debt crisis is deepening. BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA led a sell-off in banks, both dropping at least 3.9 percent as dollar funding costs for European lenders climbed to a three-year high. Mining companies tumbled with metal prices. The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 1.3 percent to 233.97 at the close in London, extending the decline from this year’s high on Feb. 17 to 20 percent as the debt crisis spreads across the region’s core.

Emerging Stocks Fall Third Day on Higher Spanish, French Yields (Source: Bloomberg)
Emerging-markets stocks fell for a third day, the longest losing streak in six weeks, after yields jumped at auctions of Spanish and French bonds, fueling concern Europe’s debt crisis was worsening. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index slid 0.8 percent to 951.97 at 5:22 p.m. in New York. Brazil’s Bovespa declined 2.7 percent, retreating from a one-week high, while Chile’s benchmark fell 1.8 percent. The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index decreased 1.9 percent. The WIG20 Index sank 1.6 percent in Warsaw and the Micex Index slumped 0.5 percent in Moscow. Spain sold 3.56 billion euros ($4.8 billion) of a new 10- year benchmark bond at an average yield of almost 7 percent, the most since the euro’s creation. The yield on French bonds due in July 2016 jumped to 2.82 percent from 2.31 percent in the previous sale of the securities on Oct. 20.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that neither joint euro-area bonds nor using the European Central Bank as a lender of last resort offer solutions to the debt crisis at present. The ECB reportedly bought Spanish and Italian bonds today.

Consumers’ Outlook Improves to Four-Month High (Source: Bloomberg)
Consumers’ views on the U.S. outlook improved in November, showing concern is dissipating that the world’s largest economy will tip back into a recession. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index’s monthly expectations gauge climbed to minus 32, the best reading since July, from minus 45 the previous month. The weekly measure of current conditions was minus 50 for the period ended Nov. 13, climbing for a second week after sinking to an almost three-year low. Household spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, has picked up in the second half of the year even as stocks and confidence sank. The recovery may mean Americans are going shopping to relieve the pessimism brought on by a jobless rate that has been around 9 percent or more since mid 2009, according to economists like Joseph Brusuelas.

U.S. Initial Jobless Claims at Seven7-Month Low (Source: Bloomberg)
Claims for unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level in seven months and housing starts exceeded forecasts, signaling improvement in the weakest areas of the U.S. economy. Applications for jobless benefits decreased 5,000 in the week ended Nov. 12 to 388,000, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Starts decreased 0.3 percent to a 628,000 annual rate in October, according to the Commerce Department. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a drop to 610,000. Building permits, a proxy for future construction, jumped 10.9 percent. Fewer firings may signal that companies are closer to hiring more workers, reducing an unemployment rate stuck around 9 percent or higher for more than two years. At the same time, record-low mortgage rates and cheaper homes are helping to support the industry at the heart of the last recession.

U.S. Banks Face Contagion Risk From Europe Debt (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. banks face a “serious risk” that their creditworthiness will deteriorate if Europe’s debt crisis deepens and spreads beyond the five most-troubled nations, Fitch Ratings said. “Unless the euro zone debt crisis is resolved in a timely and orderly manner, the broad credit outlook for the U.S. banking industry could worsen,” the New York-based rating company said yesterday in a statement. Even as U.S. banks have “manageable” exposure to stressed European markets, “further contagion poses a serious risk,” Fitch said, without explaining what it meant by contagion. The “exposures” of U.S. lenders to major European banks and the stressed nations of Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, known as the GIIPS, are smaller than those to some of the continent’s larger countries, Fitch said.

Philadelphia-Area Manufacturing Grows at Slower Pace as Fed Index Declines (Source: Bloomberg)
Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region expanded less than forecast in November as orders and sales cooled. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index decreased to 3.6 from 8.7 last month. Economists forecast the gauge would be little changed at 9, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Readings greater than zero indicate expansion in the area covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. The risk of recession in Europe and slowing growth in Asia signal fewer orders for U.S. manufacturers at the same time American companies hold the line on inventories. The figures help explain why Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke on Nov. 2 described the recovery as “frustratingly slow” and indicated more stimulus was “on the table” should the economy falter.

China Said to Warn Banks on Property, Loans (Source: Bloomberg)
China’s new banking regulator warned lenders that some projects backed by local governments may run out of funds, and loans to property developers are likely to sour as sales slow, a person with knowledge of the matter said. Shang Fulin, who replaced Liu Mingkang last month as chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, told lenders last week to step up asset sales and debt restructuring for local government financing vehicles that are struggling to repay loans, the person said, declining to be identified because the instructions were private. Shang also said banks should cut “high-risk” loans to developers, the person said.
“He knows that he has big shoes to fill, and that Liu Mingkang’s biggest achievement was probably raising the alarm early and repeatedly about potential risks in the banking system,” said Barry Naughton, author of the 2007 book “The Chinese Economy: Transitions and Growth” and a China specialist at the University of California, San Diego. “He’s trying to show that he is aware of the problems and he can also be tough.”

Southeast Asia Growth Slowdown Looms (Source: Bloomberg)
Growth in Southeast Asian economies including Malaysia and Thailand may have peaked last quarter as the European debt crisis and Thai floods hurt the outlook for exports, adding pressure on policy makers to cut interest rates.  Malaysia’s gross domestic product increased 4.8 percent in the three months through September from a year earlier, after a 4 percent expansion the previous quarter, according to the median of 25 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Thailand’s growth probably quickened to 4.5 percent from 2.6 percent, according to a survey of 11 economists. “Exports will likely soften in the coming months as Europe slides into a recession,” said Chua Hak Bin, a Singapore-based economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Both Bank Negara Malaysia and Bank of Thailand will keep their options open and ease if growth readings turn ugly in coming months.”

IMF Won’t Release Greek Funds Without Support (Source: Bloomberg)
The International Monetary Fund won’t release the next tranche of funding for Greece under a 110-billion euro ($148 billion) package with the European Union until there is broad political support for the measures attached to the loan, a spokesman said. “It’s important that the unity government now shares its commitment to the implementation of the economic program” and the decisions agreed by European leaders last month, IMF spokesman David Hawley told reporters today. “Once broad political support” for the measures “is assured, then we can proceed with completion” of the review and the release of the tranche. Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, a former European Central Bank vice president, won a three-month mandate to implement budget measures and ensure a second bailout package from the IMF and euro nations that was agreed to last month. The Greek government is seeking the release of 8 billion euros under the first rescue plan by the middle of December.

Papademos Will Unveil 2012 Greek Budget as Deadline to Secure Loans Looms (Source: Bloomberg)
Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos will unveil the final budget for 2012 today as his interim government races against a three-month deadline to secure international loans and avert a collapse of the economy. Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos will present the 2012 spending plan to the cabinet at 9:30 a.m. Greek time before it is submitted to lawmakers. The new government, backed by three of the five Greek parliamentary parties, is meeting a week after Papademos won a mandate to secure a second financing package for Greece agreed to with euro partners on Oct. 26. “With determination and unity we can achieve our new national goals: to overcome this crisis and return the country to a cycle of growth and increased employment,” Papademos said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

‘Unsellable’ Real Estate Assets Threaten Survival of Smaller Spanish Banks (Source: Bloomberg)
Spanish banks, under pressure to cut property-backed debt, hold about 30 billion euros ($41 billion) of real estate that’s “unsellable,” according to a risk adviser to Banco Santander SA (SAN) and five other lenders. “I’m really worried about the small- and medium-sized banks whose business is 100 percent in Spain and based on real- estate growth,” Pablo Cantos, managing partner of Madrid-based MaC Group, said in an interview. “I foresee Spain will be left with just four large banks.” Spanish lenders hold 308 billion euros of real estate loans, about half of which are “troubled,” according to the Bank of Spain. The central bank tightened rules last year to force lenders to aside more reserves against property taken onto their books in exchange for unpaid debts, pressing them to sell assets rather than wait for the market to recover from a four- year decline.

Italy’s Monti Set for Final Confidence Vote (Source: Bloomberg)
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti faces a final confidence vote in his new government today after vowing to attack the euro-region’s second-biggest debt and spur growth in its third-largest economy. The Chamber of Deputies will hold the confidence ballot starting at 2 p.m. in Rome after the 321-seat Senate voted in favor of the new government yesterday by a margin of 281 to 25. In the lower house, Monti is expected to have at least 560 votes out of 630. In his afternoon address to the Senate, the former European Union commissioner said Italy must regain investor confidence in the nation’s ability to reduce its 1.9 trillion-euro debt ($2.6 trillion), which amounts to 120 percent of gross domestic product, the same level as two decades ago.

20111118 0959 Global Commodities Related News.

Corn (Source : CME)
US corn futures tumble on weak demand and a wave of technical selling. The market, initially pressured by poor exports and macro pressure due to Europe's crisis, saw losses accelerate as prices fell below technical-support levels. Prices hit a 5-week low as weak export demand was highlighted by a disappointing weekly report and as traders were also concerned by Japan's purchase this week of cheaper Ukrainian corn. Commodities were pressured broadly by Europe's debt crisis, which has generated worries of contagion and broad economic woes. December corn ends down 4.4% at $6.14 1/2 per bushel.

Wheat (Source : CME)
US wheat futures sank to four-month lows at CBOT, driven by poor demand and spillover pressure from falling corn values. Corn and wheat are both feed grain, and wheat must stay competitive with corn to build domestic demand, says Shawn McCambridge, senior grains analyst with Jefferies Bache. Broader-based commodity selling coupled with US wheat being priced out of the world market by cheaper supplies from Australia and the Black Sea region force traders to lower wheat values. CBOT Dec wheat ended down 24 1/4c at $5.92 1/2 per bushel; December KCBT wheat ended 20 1/2c lower at $6.66 1/2; Dec MGEX wheat dropped 8 1/2c to $9.25.

Rice (Source : CME)
US rice futures fall sharply amid widespread commodity selling. Rice had already been tumbling, thanks to poor export demand and technical selling, and the Jan contract is down 15% since Oct 25. Worries about Europe's debt crisis weighed on commodities generally, adding to rice's slump. CBOT Jan rice ends down 24c, or 1.6%, to $14.71 1/2.

Tight supplies take centre stage in grain markets
GENEVA, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Tight supplies remain a central concern for grain and oilseed markets as demand expands, leaving markets vulnerable to any supply shocks, Bruce Tozer of Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank said in an interview on Wednesday.
"I think the market is generally nervous about tightness. Demand now is growing at such a rate there is very  little slippage on the supply side," he told Reuters on the sidelines of the Global Grain 2011 conference.

French analyst sees EU 2012 soft wheat crop up 5 pct
GENEVA, Nov 16 (Reuters) - The European Union's soft wheat harvest is expected to rise nearly five percent in 2012 to 135.8 million tonnes, against 129.5 million this year, French analyst Strategie Grains said on Wednesday in its first estimate for next year's crop.
The increase was mainly due to a jump in the EU's average yield to 5.8 tonnes per hectare, up from 5.6 tonnes this year, Strategie Grains' head analyst Andree Defois told Reuters on the sidelines of the Global Grain conference in Geneva.

Corn, wheat drop for 2nd day on poor demand, EU worries
SINGAPORE, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat and corn slid for a second straight session, weighed down by slowing demand for U.S. grains and concerns over Europe's debt crisis spinning out of control.
"It was expected that a one-day rally would not be sustained because there are no demand fundamentals supporting corn and wheat," said Lynette Tan, an analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore, referring to a rally on Tuesday.

Indonesia secures Vietnam rice, suspends imports
JAKARTA, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Indonesia has suspended all rice imports for the year after securing a deal for 300,000 tonnes of the grain from Vietnam, which replaces a government-to-government pact reportedly cancelled by Thailand, an official said on Thursday.
With this deal, and purchases from India and Thailand, state procurement agency Bulog has filled its 1.6 million-tonne quota for 2011, said Bulog CEO Sutarto Alimoeso.

Philippines may buy more 2012 rice, starting Dec
MANILA, Nov 17 (Reuters) - The Philippines, among the world's biggest rice buyers, plans to buy more of the grain in 2012 than earlier forecast after typhoons damaged crops, and may start its purchases as early as next month, the Agriculture secretary said on Thursday.
Manila may buy 500,000 to 800,000 tonnes of rice for next year's needs, most likely from Vietnam, as the Southeast Asian country seeks to boost supply after strong typhoons damaged crops in late September to early October, Proceso Alcala said.

UK wheat output seen rising 3 pct in 2011/12
LONDON, Nov 16 (Reuters) - The U.K.'s 2011 wheat harvest is estimated at 15.4 million tonnes, in line with October's provisional estimates and up 3 percent on the year, the farm ministry reported on Wednesday.
Stocks at the start of the 2011/12 season were seen at 1.54 million tonnes, down 490,000 tonnes from a year earlier.

Rains slow final US harvest, cold snap arriving
CHICAGO, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Showers early this week slowed the final corn harvest, especially in Ohio, and a widespread cold snap is on tap after mid-week, an agricultural meteorologist said on Wednesday.
"Harvest is mostly complete. Still some corn to harvest in Ohio and they were slowed by rains early this week," said Andy Karst, meteorologist for World Weather Inc.

Ukraine raises grain harvest f'cast to 55 mln T
KIEV, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Ukraine will harvest about 55 million tonnes of grain this year, up from 39.2 million tonnes in 2010, Serhiy Kvasha, the head of markets department at the Agriculture Ministry, told a conference on Wednesday.
Previously, the government saw the harvest at 53-54 million tonnes.

AgResource sees 2012 wheat crop flat, corn up
GENEVA, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Global wheat output should stay nearly flat in 2012 while the world's corn harvest will rise 1.5 percent, due notably to a 14 percent jump in U.S. corn production, analyst AgResource said on Wednesday.  
In its first estimates for world wheat supply and balance in 2012/2013 given at the Global Grain conference in Geneva, the U.S analyst put the world's wheat output at 682.6 million tonnes against 683.3 million this year.

ICE sugar eases, eyes on debt crisis contagion
LONDON, Nov 17 (Reuters) - ICE sugar futures eased in early trading, as concerns over the extent to which the euro zone debt crisis could damage U.S. banks weighed on global markets.
Raw sugar futures edged lower, with the recent dip in prices expected to stimulate further physical offtake following Malaysia's purchase and Egypt's tende.

Colombian farmers fret over 2012 coffee harvest
SAN ISIDRO, Colombia, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Jose Ramon Collazos, a rotund 56-year-old Colombian coffee grower, is tired of the rains inundating his farm in the hills of Huila, the Andean country's second largest bean producing province.
Collazos has watched his harvest fall up to 40 percent in the last three years due to downpours triggered by the La Nina weather phenomenon and damage from a fungus -- two of the key reasons why Colombia has missed its coffee output targets for three years running.

Brazil cocoa arrivals nudge up as harvest kicks in
BRASILIA, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Cocoa deliveries to warehouses in Brazil's main producing states rose slightly in the last week as the main crop harvest gathered pace, data from Bahia Commercial Association showed.
Cocoa arrivals in the No. 1 cocoa producing state Bahia totaled 52,138 60-kg bags, up from 48,582 bags in the prior week. Deliveries from other producing states, whose production is staggered with that of Bahia, began to rise as harvesting got under way.

Colombia bets on genetics to up coffee output-group  
BOGOTA, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Colombia is betting on genetic research to adapt coffee crops to climate change and has invented eight varietals resistant to roya to boost production, the head of Colombia's National Coffee Research Center said.
Colombia, the world's top producer of high-quality Arabica beans, is increasingly relying on genetics to recover coffee output to historical levels of 11 million bags after three years of lower-than-expected production, experts said.

India delays sugar meet likely until Nov 21-sources
NEW DELHI, Nov 16 (Reuters) - India has put off a meeting of a panel of ministers to decide on allowing more sugar exports, possibly to Nov. 21, two government sources said on Wednesday.
Industry and analysts now say India could decide to allow up to one million tonnes of exports in a first tranche but hold off further quantities until early 2012 due to output delays.

Indonesia eyes top two coffee producer spot -assoc
JAKARTA, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Indonesia, now struggling with slumping coffee output due to hot and wet weather, has set an ambitious goal to be the world's No.2 producer within five years, an executive at an industry association said on Wednesday.
Indonesia is the world's fourth-largest coffee producer after Brazil, Colombia and Vietnam, and the world's second-biggest robusta coffee producer after Vietnam.

Oil Heads for First Weekly Drop Since September on European Debt Concern (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil headed for the first weekly decline since September in New York as signs Europe’s debt crisis is spreading countered speculation economic recovery in the U.S. will boost demand in the biggest crude consumer. Futures slipped as much as 0.8 percent, heading for the first weekly drop in seven weeks. Prices fell below $100 a barrel yesterday as European bond yields rose, signaling leaders are struggling to stem the crisis that threatens economic growth and demand for commodities. Claims for U.S. unemployment benefits decreased to the lowest level in seven months, the Labor Department said. “Oil benchmarks plunged on fears of contagion from Europe’s debt crisis,” Mark Pervan, head of commodity research at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Melbourne, said in a note today. “Bearish sentiment in Europe outweighed solid U.S. data.”

Copper Traders Most Bearish in Two Months on European Crisis: Commodities (Source: Bloomberg)
Copper traders and analysts are the most bearish in almost two months because of mounting concern that Europe’s debt crisis will curb demand in the region that accounts for about 19 percent of global consumption. Eleven of 23 surveyed by Bloomberg expect the metal to decline, the second consecutive week that their outlook worsened and the highest proportion since Sept. 23. The last time so many were bearish, prices dropped 4.6 percent the following week. The commodity fell more than 20 percent into a bear market since reaching a record in February on signs that economic growth is slowing. European industrial production fell the most in 2 1/2 years in September as governments grappled with sovereign debt crises that have toppled governments in Greece and Italy. Copper demand contracted 0.9 percent in 2008 as economies contended with the worst recession since World War II.

Gold Falls Most in Seven Weeks as Equities, Commodities Slump on Euro Debt (Source: Bloomberg)
Gold fell the most in more than seven weeks as commodities and equities slumped after Fitch Rating said U.S. banks face a “serious risk” from Europe’s debt woes. Silver, palladium and platinum also tumbled. The MSCI World Index of equities dropped for a fourth day, and the Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 raw materials fell the most in eight weeks. Fitch said yesterday that “the broad credit outlook for the U.S. banking industry could worsen,” unless Europe’s woes are resolved soon. Gold has risen 21 percent this year on demand for a store of value. “Apparent liquidation from fear of possible contagion from the European crisis has commodities, including gold, under continued pressure,” Miguel Perez-Santalla, a sales vice president at Heraeus Precious Metals Management in New York, said in telephone interview. “This is a big collapse.”

20111118 0957 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

Soybeans (Source : CME)
US soybean futures end down, falling amid on broader risk-off trading in commodity markets. Worries that the European sovereign-debt crisis might spread across the continent along with slow global economic growth sparked nervous selling as traders trimmed risk exposure. Spillover pressure from sharply lower corn and wheat futures added to the negative mood in the market, but confirmation of strong export demand provided support that limited losses. CBOT January soybeans ended down 19 1/2c at $11.68 1/4 a bushel.

Soybean Meal/Oil (Source : CME)
Soy products fall with soybeans, Soyoil futures tumbled on spillover pressure from soybeans and sharp declines in crude oil futures, analysts say. Crude oil influences soyoil, as biodiesel fuel is derived from soybean oil. Soymeal ended lower, but declines were limited by higher-than-expected weekly export sales data. CBOT Dec soymeal ended down $1.90 at $294.50/short ton; Dec soyoil dropped 1.08c to 51.40 cents/lb.

Argentina Sees Soybean Area At 19 Million Tons; Up 0.6% On Year (Source : CME)
Argentina's 2011-12 soybean area will likely rise 0.6% on the year to 19 million hectares, the Agriculture Ministry said in its weekly crop report. The forecast is the first from the ministry for soybeans, the country's top crop and export. The beans are a key source of hard currency and tax revenue for the government. The country is the world's top soymeal and soyoil exporter and ranks third in global soybean exports. Planting is in full swing after showers earlier in November, and 30% of the soy crop was planted so far, according to the ministry. Earlier, the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange raised its forecast for soy area to 18.9 million hectares, up from 18.6 million hectares estimated last week. The Rosario Grain Exchange is expecting the soy crop to total 49.5 million metric tons, the second-largest ever. The 2009-10 season holds the record for total soybean production, when 54.5 million tons were harvested.
The ministry also trimmed its forecast for 2011-12 wheat production to 12 million tons, down from 12.6 million tons forecast last month. That's down 24% on the year, the ministry said. The Buenos Aires exchange sees 2011-12 wheat production at 13 million tons. Argentina is a leading global wheat exporter, with most shipments going to neighboring Brazil. So far 14.1% of the crop has been harvested, according to the Buenos Aires Exchange.

Palm at five-month high on monsoon effect
JAKARTA, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures touched a five month peak, boosted by robust demand and investor expectations of lower production in key Asian planters due to the onset of the rainy season.
"Still bullish," said a Jakarta-based palm trader. "Some short-covering came in after the market touched a new high."

La Nina to spark severe rains in oil palm growing Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 (Reuters) - A weak-to-moderate La Nina weather pattern will trigger severe monsoon rains in Malaysia's key oil palm growing regions, the weather office said on Thursday, potentially disrupting harvesting and boosting prices.
The Malaysian Meteorological Department told Reuters in a statement the presence of the La Nina in the equatorial central Pacific Ocean will worsen the northeast monsoon season that runs from this month till March next year.