Wednesday, December 21, 2011

20111221 1803 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3072, changed : +52 points, volume : higher.
Bollinger band reading : side way range bound.
MACD Histrogram : recovering, buyer testing market.
Support : 3050, 3020, 2970, 2950 level.
Resistance : 3070, 3100, 3150, 3200 level.
Comment :
FCPO closed recorded gains with higher volume changed hand. Overnight soy oil closed recorded gains and currently trading firmer while crude oil price trading higher.
Improved global economy development resulted broad commodities to trade higher lifted FCPO price closed up by more than 1%.
Daily chart formed an up bar candle closed above middle Bollinger band level after market opened higher and edge upwards towards the end to closed at the high of the day.
Chart study turned to suggesting a side way range bound market development testing support and resistance level.
When to buy : buy at support or weakness with quick cut loss and profit target.
When to sell : sell at resistant or strength with quick cut loss and profit target.

20111221 1744 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1483.5, changed : +13.5 point, volume : higher.
Bollinger band reading : little upside biased.
MACD Histrogram : rising, buyer testing market.
Support : 1470, 1477, 1458, 1445 level.
Resistance : 1485, 1491, 1500, 1505 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed recorded substantial gains with better volume transacted doing about 1.5 point discount compare to cash market that closed rallied higher. Overnight U.S. market closed higher and today Asia markets closed mostly higher while European markets currently trading in positive territory.
Global markets traded positively after news on European Central Bank provides funding for banks, China pledged support for exporters and small businesses and improved U.S. and German economic data.
Daily chart formed a down doji bar candle with longer upper shadow closed in between upper and middle Bollinger band level after market opened gap up, surged higher and retreated lower followed by side way range bound movement towards the end to closed near the low of the day.
Chart reading revised to suggesting a little upside biased market development for the near term with MACD indicator having slightly positive crossed up.
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.

20111221 1721 Regional Markets EOD Daily Chart Study.

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

20111221 1708 Renewable Energy Related News.

WASHINGTON, Dec 20 (Reuters) - A coalition that says it represents 97 percent of the U.S. solar industry urged solar panel maker SolarWorld on Thursday to withdraw a petition asking President Barack Obama's administration to slap punitive duties on China for unfair trading practices.
"The severe tariffs SolarWorld seeks would have a very damaging effect on the solar industry in the United States and would fundamentally undermine many years of effort by all of us who care about the future of solar power," the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) said in a letter to SolarWorld President Gordon Brinser.

Dec 20 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on Tuesday will make several announcements regarding renewable energy programs, both onshore and offshore, his office said.
Salazar planned to hold a news media teleconference at 12 noon EST (1700 GMT). Energy experts said Salazar could announce the issuance of the nation's second federal offshore wind power lease to NRG Energy's  Bluewater Wind unit.

HONG KONG/NEW DELHI, Dec 20 (Reuters) - India may launch an anti-dumping probe into imports of Chinese solar products within a month, China's commerce ministry said, but a top Indian renewable energy official denied on Tuesday that any such plan was in the works.
If New Delhi investigates allegations of unfair Chinese trade in the solar energy sector, it could be yet another challenge for China's solar companies, weeks after the United States decided to probe sales of their solar panels.

MADRID, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Spain has more water than a week ago for generating hydropower and irrigating crops, the latest official data showed on Tuesday, which should ease the country's hefty gas and grain import needs.
Water stored in hydropower reservoirs  was enough to produce 11,189 gigawatt-hours of electricity, up 8 GWh on the week, the Ministry for the Environment and Rural Affairs said in its latest bulletin on water stocks.

Dec 20 (Reuters) - Google Inc  and KKR & Co  said they will acquire a portfolio of four solar photovoltaic projects in California from Recurrent Energy, a unit of Japan's Sharp Corp .
The deal will be financed with a combination of debt and equity from Google and SunTap Energy RE LLC, a new venture formed by KKR on Tuesday to invest in solar projects in the United States.

HOUSTON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Pattern Energy Group's Southern Cross transmission line, designed to move abundant West Texas wind power beyond the state's border, has obtained key federal regulatory approval to move forward, the company said on Monday.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said the $1 billion project will not threaten the regulatory status for transmission providers within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) which are currently exempt from direct FERC jurisdiction.

SARAJEVO, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Luxembourg-based Securum Equity Partners said it planned to start building a 2 billion euro ($2.6 billion) solar park in Serbia, which could be Europe's largest when it opens.
The head of the company's Serbia unit, Ivan Matejak, said on Monday the project would include installation of photovoltaic units with a combined capacity of 1 gigawatt in an area of some 3,000 hectares (6,600 acres) in the south of the country.

Dec 16 (Reuters) - French silicon company Soitec SA  said it will invest more than $150 million in a manufacturing facility in California to produce concentrator photovoltaic modules (CPV) for the U.S. renewable-energy market.
The French company said the facility will have a manufacturing capacity of 200 megawatts (MW) of CPV modules. The company's CPV technology involves converting sunlight into electricity via concentrator optics and solar cells.  

COPENHAGEN, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Danish state-owned DONG Energy  has bought a 33.3 percent stake in two UK offshore wind projects from a joint venture of Mainstream Renewable Power and a subsidiary of Germany's Siemens , it said on Friday.
DONG Energy, a leading developer of offshore wind parks, said in a statement it paid 15 million pounds ($23.22 million) for the stake in the Heron Wind Ltd and Njord Ltd offshore wind projects, with a potential total capacity of up to 1 gigawatt.

SKOPJE, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Greece's dominant power utility PPC  and China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE) have placed bids for concessions to build two 526 MW hydro power plants in Macedonia, the economy ministry said on Friday.
The two companies were among ten that had been shortlisted after the first stage of a tender for the construction of the Cebren and Galiste power plants at a cost estimated at up to 700 million euros ($909.8 million).

FRANKFURT, Dec 15 (Reuters) - E.ON , the world's top utility by sales, aims to spend 7 billion euros ($9.1 billion) to expand its renewable energy business over the next five years, as the group steps up its efforts to adjust to the end of nuclear power in Germany.
"We have invested 7 billion euros in renewables during the past five years, and we will invest further 7 billion euros over the next five years as a substitute for other power generation," Chief Executive Johannes Teyssen said in a statement.

BRUSSELS, Dec 15 (Reuters) - A shift to renewable energy would ultimately cost around the same as business as usual and the EU needs to make progress on setting a 2030 target for greener fuel soon, the bloc's energy commissioner said.  
Guenther Oettinger was laying out the European Union's latest road map for mostly eliminating carbon from the fuel mix by 2050 and guiding investors beyond the Commission's existing set of energy goals.

LONDON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Ambitious targets for renewable electricity in the medium-term are likely unfeasible, given they demand forced, early write-offs of fossil fuel power plants and may downplay rival shale gas and the unpredictability of wind and solar power.
The European Commission on Thursday unveiled its "Energy Roadmap 2050" laying out options for making sweeping carbon emissions cuts through a combination of efficiency and renewable energy and other low-carbon technology.

BEIJING, Dec 15 (Reuters) - China has further revised up its solar power development target for 2015 by 50 percent from its previous plan, state media reported on Thursday.
The government has set a target for installed solar power generating capacity to reach 15 gigawatts by 2015 and wind power capacity to hit 100 GW, China National Radio reported, citing an announcement from the National Energy Administration.

LONDON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - The Crown Estate has launched leasing rounds for up to 800 megawatts (MW) of wind and tidal power generation offshore Northern Ireland, it said on Thursday.
Development will be focussed on two areas, development of wind power of up 600 MW capacity off the southeast coast of County Down and tidal power of up to 200 MW around Rathlin Island and Torr Head.

20111221 1708 Biofuel Related News.

BEIJING, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Denmark's Novozymes A/S , the world's leading industrial enzyme producer, is now in talks over a series of projects that will boost its presence in China's growing biochemical sector, a company executive said on Wednesday.  
Michael Christiansen, president for Novozymes China, told a media briefing that the company was discussing projects with "six or seven" firms looking to produce value-added downstream products such as plastics and fibres from agricultural waste, a process encouraged in the country's 2011-2015 five-year plan.

Dec 14 (Reuters) - U.S. ethanol production slipped 1.6 percent in the latest week, setting back from a record high the previous week, and stocks dropped 4.9 percent, the Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday.
U.S. ethanol production totaled 938,000 barrels per day in the seven days to Dec. 9, down 16,000 barrels per day. Aside from the previous record-setting week, the next highest production level was when ethanol production hit 939,000 barrels per day for the week ending December 3, 2010.

PARIS, Dec 14 (Reuters) - As French gourmets savour the famed Sancerre wine and Chavignol cheese of the Cher region, they may soon enjoy heat from the by-products of such delicacies thanks to new government incentives designed to promote biogas.
France this year increased feed-in tariffs paid for power  generated using biogas, and it has passed a decree letting producers inject biogas into the grid, boosting prospects for the fledgeling sector in a country better known for nuclear electricity.

20111221 1706 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

European Stocks Climb for Third Straight Day; U.S. Index Futures Advance (Bloomberg)
European stocks rose for a third day amid speculation that companies and the economy can weather the fallout from the sovereign-debt crisis. Asian shares and U.S. index futures gained. Adidas AG (ADS) climbed 2.4 percent after rival Nike Inc. reported profit that topped analysts’ projections. K+S AG (SDF) increased 1.5 percent as Goldman Sachs Inc. advised buying the shares. SAP AG (SAP) dropped 3.3 percent as Oracle Corp. reported sales and profit that missed analysts’ estimates, hurt by slower demand for databases, applications and computer servers. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.7 percent to 240.19 as of 8:06 a.m. in London. The gauge gained 2 percent yesterday, the biggest advance since Nov. 30, as German business confidence unexpectedly rose for a second month. The gauge has still lost 13 percent this year amid mounting concern that policy makers will fail to stop at least one member of the euro area from defaulting.

Asia Stocks Rise Second Day on U.S. Data, China Industry Support (Bloomberg)
Asian stocks (MXAP) rose for a second day, with a benchmark index set for the biggest gain in almost three weeks, as China pledged support for exporters and small businesses and after improved U.S. and German economic data. Honda Motor Co. (7267), the Japanese carmaker that gets about 44 percent of its sales from North America, advanced 2.4 percent in Tokyo on speculation shipments will rise amid signs the U.S. economy is improving. Onesteel Ltd., the second-worst performer in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index this year, jumped 7.1 percent after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. named it among top Australian stock picks for next year. Mining and energy stocks gained as oil and copper prices climbed.
“The U.S. is showing it’s fairly robust in terms of not being dragged down to the extent of European economies,” said Tim Schroeders, who helps manage $1 billion in equities at Pengana Capital Ltd. in Melbourne. “The question is, given we are coming into a holiday period, how sustainable those gains are going to be over the next week or so.”

FOREX-Euro extends gains ahead of ECB tender
TOKYO, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The euro extended gains in Asian trade on Wednesday, on short-covering ahead of the European Central Bank's first offer of three-year loans that many hope will help the region's banks lower their funding costs.
"There is some follow-through optimism about the euro from the previous session, which prompted short-covering, and this has continued into Asian trading," said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Barclays Bank in Tokyo.

Global steel capacity utilisation at 2-yr low
LONDON, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Capacity utilisation rates at global steel mills fell to their lowest in two years in November as consumers ran down inventories amid a debt crisis in Europe that has dimmed the economic outlook.
Capacity utilisation rates fell to 73.4 percent in November, down 2.8 percent from October and 2.6 percent from November last year, the World Steel Association said on Tuesday.

China warns of risks of buying Iranian iron ore
SHANGHAI, Dec 21 (Reuters) - China on Wednesday warned about the risks of importing Iranian iron ore, the second major commodity from the sanctions-hit Islamic Republic under scrutiny as the two also tussle over oil payment terms.
The warning from the Commerce Ministry to domestic companies, which focused on substandard quality and on delivery problems, follows a crude imports spat that has seen China halve its Iranian oil shipments for January.

Spot price rises as China boosts restocking
SHANGHAI, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Spot iron ore prices extended gains on Wednesday as more steel mills in China returned to the market to replenish stockpiles ahead of the new year, but a sombre outlook for steel demand may limit the upside.
Spot prices have begun stabilising this week, with offers of 61.5 percent Pilbara fines being offered at $134-136 per tonne on Wednesday, including cost and freight, compared with $132-134 from the previous day, Chinese consultancy Umetal said.

China November LNG, coal imports at record highs
BEIJING, Dec 21 (Reuters) - China imported 1.29 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas in November, the highest monthly volume on record, data from the China Customs Statistics Information Centre showed on Wednesday.
The peak came as PetroChina's  first LNG import terminal in eastern Jiangsu province was revving up operations while its second terminal in northeastern Liaoning province began to receive the super-cooled gas last month.

China aluminium output rises in Nov - IAI
LONDON, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Daily average primary aluminium output in China rose to 48,900 tonnes in November, up from 48,100 tonnes in October, provisional figures from the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) showed on Tuesday.  
Total primary aluminium production in November, however, fell to 1.466 million tonnes from 1.491 million tonnes in October.  

Chile's Sonami sees copper avg. $3.6-4.0 a lb in 2012
SANTIAGO, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Copper prices will average $3.60 to $4 a pound next year as Chinese demand for the red metal helps compensate for Europe's debt woes, Chile's influential mining association Sonami, said on Tuesday.
Prices for the metal are down nearly 25 percent this year, on track for the first annual decline since 2008, as the euro zone debt crisis has pushed investors to liquidate industrial metals.

Easing credit may cut China copper, nickel imports
HONG KONG, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Chinese investors will import less copper and nickel as collateral for short-term loans if Beijing loosens credit policy next year, but will still bring in some metal if easing fails to reach the property sector.
Less demand for metal for financing would bring imports into line with domestic consumption, which is expected to slow in 2012 on weaker exports and economic expansion, further weighing on prices that have fallen by around a quarter this year.

METALS-Copper up slightly on improved U.S. outlook
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 21 (Reuters) - London copper added to the previous day's sharp gains on Wednesday, as signs of growth in the United States and Germany raised expectations that demand for the industrial metal will increase.
"The U.S., by and large, is still an economy that's expanding," said Suan Teck Kin, a senior economist at UOB Bank Ltd. in Singapore.

PRECIOUS-Gold hits one-week high on upbeat US, German data
SINGAPORE, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Gold rose to a one-week high on Wednesday, extending gains from the previous session, as upbeat economic data from the United States and Germany boosted market sentiment and a weaker dollar lent support.
"The rebound in gold today is related to the currency market," said Dick Poon, manager of precious metals at Heraeus in Hong Kong. "But we don't see much fresh buying from investors as the year end nears."

Baltic index stays negative; pick up likely in New Year
Dec 20 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates to ship dry commodities, stayed negative for a sixth day on Tuesday as a recent upsurge in capesize rates began to fade ahead of the holiday season.
The index, which gauges the cost of shipping commodities such as iron ore, cement, grain, coal and fertiliser, dipped 7 points or 0.37 percent to 1,878 points.

20111221 1130 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks, euro up on upbeat data, firm Spanish auction
TOKYO, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Asian stocks and the euro rose on Wednesday after upbeat U.S. and German data and strong demand for Spanish debt, with investors' focus turning to a European Central Bank's tender as a gauge for euro zone funding strains.    
"A significant uptake is all but guaranteed and that's something that could continue this 'risk-on' (mood)", said Robert Rennie, chief currency strategist at Westpac in Sydney.

COMMODITIES-Oil, other markets rally on positive data
NEW YORK, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Oil saw its biggest rally in nearly two months and prices from copper to cocoa jumped as well on Tuesday, after positive U.S. and German economic data enticed investors back into commodities.
"It's entirely to do with confidence," David Wilson, commodities analyst at Citigroup in London, said, explaining the latest rebound. "Anything that looks slightly positive generally causes a short covering rally."

Japan Nov crude oil import volume down 8.9 pct
TOKYO, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The volume of Japan's customs-cleared crude oil imports fell 8.9 percent in November from the same month a year earlier, the Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday.
Japan, the world's third-biggest oil consumer, imported 17.158 million kilolitres (3.60 million barrels per day) of crude oil last month, the preliminary data showed.

US crude stocks drop sharply as imports fall -API
NEW YORK, Dec 20 (Reuters) - - U.S. crude oil inventories fell heavily last week as imports fell and refiners drew down stocks for end of year tax purposes, according to weekly inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute released on Tuesday.  
U.S. crude stockpiles fell 4.6 million barrels in the week to Dec. 16, more than analysts' expectations for a 2.3 million barrel fall. Crude stocks fell most in PADD 3, the Gulf Coast, dipping by almost 4 million barrels.

Oil up on supportive economic data, supply worry
NEW YORK, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose onTuesday, posting the biggest percentage rise since October, on supportive economic data that also lifted the euro and equities, coupled with worries about potential supply disruptions in Iran and Kazakhstan.
"The biggest driver behind today's oil rally, in our view, was the revived 'risk on' trade that featured a dramatic 300 point advance in the Dow Jones Industrials index and a pop in the euro," Jim Ritterbusch, president at Ritterbusch & Associates, said in a note that also cited the potential threats to supply.

NYMEX-Natural gas ends up, first time in 5 sessions      
NEW YORK, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Front-month U.S. natural gas futures on Tuesday ended higher for the first time in five sessions, backed by technical buying after recent losses despite concerns about record high supplies and fairly mild December forecasts.
"The market has dropped sharply over the last couple of weeks and was due for a technical bounce, but with industrial demand typically slower during the holidays and no weather demand, it doesn't bode well for prices," a Pennsylvania-based trader said.

20111221 1035 Global Economic Related News.

Hong Kong: November inflation slows to 5.7% on food costs
HK’s inflation slowed in Nov on reduced gains in pork prices and the city’s moderating economic growth. Consumer prices rose 5.7% y-o-y, the government said. Inflation will “gradually recede” because of a decline in global food prices and moderating growth, the HK Monetary Authority, the de-facto central bank, said in a report. An increase in consumer costs may remain “notable in the near term” from an earlier surge in private rentals, the government said last month. (Bloomberg)

North Korea: Presses Kim succession plan as south braces for impact
North Korean media sought to rally support for a leadership transition to Kim Jong Un as uncertainty around the succession unsettled stock markets from Seoul to Hong Kong. Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, died on 17 Dec from a heart attack brought on by mental and physical strain, the official Korean Central News Agency said. State media urged citizens to “loyally follow” Jong Un, Kim’s little-known third son, who the media said is at the “forefront of the revolution.” Kim Jong Il’s death and the risk of instability in North Korea may weigh on business and consumer confidence in South Korea just as the central bank warns of threats to growth and exports falter. Finance Minister Bahk Jae Wan yesterday pledged preemptive action if needed to support financial markets and the economy as the won and stocks fell. The central bank will “closely monitor” developments and stabilize markets if needed, Governor Kim Choong Soo said. (Bloomberg)

EU: German business confidence rises as growth seen in 2012
German business confidence unexpectedly rose for a second month in Dec as two economic institutes predicted Europe’s biggest economy will stave off the debt crisis and avoid a recession in 2012. The IFO institute’s business climate index, based on a survey of 7k executives, climbed to 107.2 from 106.6 in November, the Munich-based institute said. The IFW and RWI institutes both released predictions showing economic growth in 2012. (Bloomberg)

EU: German debt sales set to swell as economy falters: euro credit
Germany is poised to overshoot its 2012 borrowing target as the growth outlook in Europe’s largest economy worsens and the cost of bailing out banks and troubled neighbors increases. As the euro region’s debt crisis enters its third year, the German economy is buckling. S&P said on 5 Dec, it may strip the nation of its AAA rating and demand at a bond auction last month fell to its lowest since 1995. The debt agency is scheduled to reveal next year’s funding plans this week, after bond and bill sales of EUR283bn in 2011. (Bloomberg)

UK: Shuns crisis aid as Europe channels USD195bn to IMF
Europe bolstered its anti-crisis arsenal, channeling EUR150bn euros (USD195 bn) to the IMF as the European Central Bank widened its support for sagging bond markets. Four countries not using the single currency also pledged to add to the IMF war chest while Britain refused to commit, preventing officials from reaching the EUR200bn target to ease the euro area’s home-grown debt burdens. The UK will “define its contribution” in early 2012, euro finance ministers said in a statement. (Bloomberg)

US: Payrolls rose in 29 US states in November
Payrolls increased in 29 states in Nov, while the jobless rate declined in 43, a sign the labor market is recovering across much of the US. New York led the nation with a 29.5k gain in jobs, followed by Texas with 20.8k, figures from the Labor Department showed in Washington. The biggest drop in unemployment was in Michigan, where the jobless rate fell 0.8% point to 9.8%. (Bloomberg)

US: Housing starts in US Increase to 19-Month High
Builders broke ground in Nov on more houses than at any time in the past 19 months, led by a surge in multifamily units, signaling the market is stabilizing heading into 2012. Starts increased 9.3% to a 685k annual rate, exceeding the highest estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and the most since April 2010, Commerce Department figures showed in Washington. Building permits, a proxy for future construction, also climbed to a more than one-year high. (Bloomberg)

US stocks advance as housing data beat economists’ estimates
US stocks climbed, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its biggest gain of the month, as better-than-estimated housing starts added to expectations the world’s largest economy will weather Europe’s debt crisis. The S&P 500 rose 3% to 1,241.30, as 492 out of 500 stocks gained. The gauge lost 1.2% the day before yesterday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 337.32 points, or 2.9%, to 12,103.58 yesterday. The Russell 2000 Index of small companies rallied 4.2% to 738.22. (Bloomberg)

20111221 1034 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

Port operator NCB gets nod from govt to extend lease
Port operator NCB Holdings yesterday announced the government has approved the application to extend its privatized port services lease for another 30 and 21 years at Northport and SouthPoint respectively. The government has agreed in principle to the extension of the concession, subject to further negotiation and subsequent agreement on the terms and conditions with the Public-Private Partnership Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department, NCB said in a filing to the exchange yesterday. (Malaysian Reserve)

UMW seals RM94.3m deal with Pet Carigali in Iraq
UMW Holdings’ 60% owned subsidiary, Synergistic Generation SB (SGSB), has sealed a USD29.7m (RM94.3m) contract with Petronas Carigali Iraq Holdings BV on 19 Dec. UMW said the contract involves the procurement of materials and equipment and installation and commissioning of all equipment and facilities by SGSB for the setting up for the Garraf Power Plant Phase 1 for the Garraf Field in Iraq. (Malaysian Reserve)

Astro launches M’sia’s 1st free satellite TV
Astro has launched Malaysia’s first free satellite television, NJOI, as part of its aspiration to make lifelong learning, information, entertainment, including sports, available to Malaysians for free. Its CEO, Datuk Rohana Rozhan, said Astro would introduce NJOI in three phases. She added that NJOI’s customers could enjoy 37 TV and radio services. (Malaysian Reserve)

Boustead to take unit private?
Boustead Holdings is considering taking its unit Boustead Heavy Industries Corp (BHIC) private, driven largely by the latter’s seemingly cheap valuations especially in light of the recent RM9bn vessel contract it has been awarded, reliable sources said. Last week, BHIC’s associate Boustead Naval Shipyard SB was awarded a RM9bn contract from the Defence Ministry to design, build and deliver six second-generation patrol vessels or Littoral combat ships (frigate class). (StarBiz)

MAHB, partner in Maldives venture
MAHB and partner GMR Group aim to develop the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) in Maldives into a global standard airport by 2014. MAHB said both parties were involved in managing and developing three other airports internationally, including INIA. (StarBiz)

Felda said mulling bid for KFC, QSR
Felda is said to be among those considering to bid for KFC Holdings and QSR Brands should Johor Corporation (JCorp) make available its stakes, an industry source said yesterday. However, Felda has yet to table the offer and planned to discuss with JCorp regarding the proposal, the source said, in response to recent JCorp's move to acquire the entire assets and liabilities of the two entities via a joint venture with a private equity fund, CVC Capital Partners Asia Pacific (CVC). (BT)

20111221 1020 Global Market Related News.

Asia Stocks Rise a 2nd Day on U.S. Housing Data (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks (MXAP) rose for a second day, with a benchmark index poised for the biggest gain in two weeks, after U.S. housing starts increased more than economists forecast, boosting the earnings outlook for Asia’s exporters. Honda Motor Co., Japan’s second-largest carmaker by market value that gets about 44 percent of its sales from North America, advanced 2.2 percent in Tokyo. James Hardie Industries SE (JHX), a maker of building materials that counts the U.S. as its biggest market, climbed 2.6 percent in Sydney. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), Australia’s No. 1 oil producer and the world’s largest miner, jumped 2.9 percent after crude and copper prices rose.
“The U.S. is showing it’s fairly robust in terms of not being dragged down to the extent of European economies, but there remain significant structural impediments,” said Tim Schroeders, who helps manage $1 billion in equities at Pengana Capital Ltd. in Melbourne. “There will be significant gains today. The question is, given we are coming into a holiday period, how sustainable those gains are going to be over the next week or so.”

Stocks in U.S. Advance as Housing Starts Increase to Highest Level of Year (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks climbed, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its biggest gain of the month, as better-than-estimated housing starts added to expectations the world’s largest economy will weather Europe’s debt crisis. Homebuilders PulteGroup Inc. (PHM) and Lennar Corp. (LEN) rose more than 6.3 percent. Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) rallied at least 3.7 percent, pacing gains among the biggest companies. Jefferies Group Inc. (JEF) surged 23 percent as the investment bank reported profit that beat estimates. Sprint Nextel (S) Corp. jumped 9.3 percent and Juniper Networks Inc. (JNPR) added 8.9 percent as AT&T Inc. pulled its bid for T-Mobile USA. The S&P 500 rose 3 percent to 1,241.30 at 4 p.m. New York time, as 492 out of 500 stocks gained. The gauge lost 1.2 percent yesterday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 337.32 points, or 2.9 percent, to 12,103.58 today. The Russell 2000 Index of small companies rallied 4.2 percent to 738.22.

Japanese Stocks Advance Second Day Day as U.S. Housing Data Beat Estimate (Source: Bloomberg)
Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese stocks rose for a second day after U.S. housing starts beat estimates, adding to optimism the world’s largest economy will weather Europe’s debt crisis. Honda Motor Co. (7267), which counts North America as its biggest market, rose 1.9 percent. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. (9104) and Nippon Yusen K.K. gained after creating an alliance with other shipping lines to curb falling cargo rates. Olympus Corp. (7733) added 6.4 percent after a report the scandal-hit camera maker has hired advisers to help it raise capital. “The U.S. is showing it’s fairly robust in terms of not being dragged down to the extent of European economies, but there remain significant structural impediments,” said Tim Schroeders, who helps manage $1 billion in equities at Pengana Capital Ltd. in Melbourne. “A question is, given we are coming into a holiday period, how sustainable those gains are going to be over the next week or so.”

European Stocks Rise on German Business Confidence; UniCredit, BNP Advance (Source: Bloomberg)
European stocks posted their biggest rally this month as banks climbed after a report showed German business confidence unexpectedly rose for a second month. UniCredit SpA (UCG), BNP Paribas SA and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (ISP) all climbed more than 5 percent as borrowing costs eased. Arkema SA (AKE) rallied 9.1 percent amid speculation the company may be a takeover target. Bayer AG (BAYN) added 5 percent after the drugmaker said four of its drugs in development may become blockbusters. The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 2 percent to 238.51 at the close in London, its biggest advance since Nov. 30, as the gauge rebounded from an earlier slide of as much as 0.5 percent. The Stoxx 600 has still lost 14 percent this year amid mounting concern that policy makers will fail to stop at least one member of the euro area from defaulting.

Emerging Stocks to Drop on Commodities ‘Downside’ Risk: Technical Analysis (Source: Bloomberg)
Emerging-market stocks, especially Brazil and India, are poised to “significantly underperform” next year as commodity prices fall further, according to Bank of America Corp. (BAC) The Continuous Commodity Futures Price Index (CCI)’s drop below key Fibonacci support “points to additional downside risk,” Mary Ann Bartels, New York-based head of U.S. technical and market analysis at Bank of America, wrote in a Dec. 19 note. Emerging markets may be “negatively impacted by the break in commodities,” she said. The commodities index of 17 raw materials rose 0.4 percent to 549.98 on Dec. 19, paring this year’s slump to 13 percent. The measure is testing the 38.2 percent retracement near 550 of a rally between December 2008 and April 2011, after falling below the “uptrend support” near 570, Bartels said. The risk is for a steeper decline toward the 50 percent and 61.8 retracements near the 507 and 463 levels, she said.

German Stocks Gain as Business Confidence Gauge Beats Estimates; BMW Rises (Source: Bloomberg)
German stocks (DAX) climbed the most this month after a measure of the country’s business confidence unexpectedly increased and U.S. housing starts topped economists’ estimates. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW), Continental AG (CON), HeidelbergCement AG (HEI) and Metro AG (MEO) led gains. Bayer AG (BAYN) added 5 percent after saying four of its drugs in development may become blockbusters. Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE) declined after a deal to sell its T-Mobile USA unit to AT&T Inc. collapsed. The DAX Index gained 3.1 percent to 5,847.03 at the close in Frankfurt, after earlier falling 0.6 percent. That’s the biggest gain since Nov. 30, and trims this year’s retreat to 15 percent. The broader HDAX Index also added 3.1 percent today.

Stocks Jump as Treasuries Fall on U.S. Housing Data, German Business Index (Source: Bloomberg)
Stocks rallied, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rebounding from its lowest level of the month, and Treasuries fell as U.S. housing starts topped economists’ estimates and German business confidence unexpectedly grew. The S&P 500 surged 3 percent to close at 1,241.29 at 4 p.m. in New York and the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 337.17 points, or 2.9 percent, to 12,103.43, the biggest gains since Nov. 30 for both. Spain’s government bonds stayed higher as the nation sold 5.64 billion euros ($7.4 billion) of Treasury bills. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note advanced 11 basis points to 1.92 percent, with the dollar weakening versus all 16 of its most-traded peers. Oil gained 3.6 percent and the GSCI index of 24 commodities climbed for a second day.
U.S. builders broke ground in November on the most houses in over a year, a sign that the market is stabilizing heading into 2012. Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker predicted the U.S. economy will grow at least 2 percent next year. German business confidence unexpectedly rose for a second month in December, according to the Ifo institute.

Fed Bolsters Tools to Avert Collapse of Big Firms (Source: Bloomberg)
The Federal Reserve sought to curb the threat of financial turmoil by compelling the biggest banks to follow a tougher standard for risk management and demanding stricter oversight by companies’ boards of directors. The proposed rules would set triggers for regulatory enforcement for weak firms and require boards of directors to oversee and approve plans for limiting liquidity risk. The Fed delayed releasing rules for supervision of foreign firms and for risk-based capital and leverage requirements. The draft standards aim at averting a recurrence of instability following the collapse of U.S. mortgage finance, targeting banks with assets totaling $50 billion or more and financial firms deemed “systemically important.” The Dodd- Frank law passed in July 2010 mandates a supervisory crackdown.

U.S. Housing Starts Jump 9.3%, to Highest in Year (Source: Bloomberg)
Builders broke ground in November on more houses than at any time in the past 19 months, led by a surge in multifamily units, signaling the market is stabilizing heading into 2012. Starts increased 9.3 percent to a 685,000 annual rate, exceeding the highest estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and the most since April 2010, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Building permits, a proxy for future construction, also climbed to a more than one-year high. Work on multifamily units like apartments and townhouses is growing as the rental market improves. Single-family-home construction may be starting to strengthen as lower home prices and borrowing costs near record lows draw in some buyers, even as builders face competition from existing houses as another wave of foreclosures throws more marked-down properties on the market.

Payrolls Rose in 29 States in November, Led by New York; Michigan Has Gain (Source: Bloomberg)
Payrolls increased in 29 states in November, while the jobless rate declined in 43, a sign the labor market is recovering across much of the U.S. New York led the nation with a 29,500 gain in jobs, followed by Texas with 20,800, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. The biggest drop in unemployment was in Michigan, where the jobless rate fell 0.8 percentage point to 9.8 percent. “We’re seeing a modest recovery in hiring across much of the country,” Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina, said before the report. “There are a few hot spots where activity is stronger.”

Japan Exports Fall on Yen, European Woes (Source: Bloomberg)
Japan’s exports fell for the second straight month as the global economic slowdown and a stronger yen threaten the nation’s recovery from the March earthquake. Shipments dropped 4.5 percent in November from a year earlier, the Ministry of Finance said today in Tokyo. The median estimate of 29 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 4.3 percent decline. In October, exports slid 3.7 percent. Japan’s currency, which reached a postwar record against the dollar on Oct. 31, is also approaching a decade high against the euro, threatening profits of exporters Nissan Motor Co. (7201) and Toyota Motor Corp. Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said last week that the crisis in the euro region, Japan’s third-biggest export market, is “escalating.”

Temasek Buys Mosaic Shares to Become Fertilizer Company’s Largest Investor (Source: Bloomberg)
Temasek Holdings Pte., Singapore’s state-owned investment company, increased its stake in Mosaic Co. (MOS) to become the biggest shareholder of North America’s second- largest fertilizer producer. Temasek owns 17.9 million shares in Mosaic, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission made public today. The investment company owned 108,026 Mosaic shares as of Sept. 30, according to a Nov. 14 filing. Temasek now owns 5.9 percent of the Plymouth, Minnesota-based company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Cargill Inc., formerly the biggest Mosaic shareholder, said in January it was beginning a process to sell its 64 percent stake in the fertilizer producer.

Hungary May Raise EU’s Highest Benchmark Rate Again as IMF Pressure Mounts (Source: Bloomberg)
Hungary may need to raise the European Union’s highest benchmark interest rate next year as talks over a bailout stalled and the government and the central bank spar over monetary-policy independence. The Magyar Nemzeti Bank increased the two-week deposit rate by a half-point for a second month to 7 percent yesterday and said it would raise borrowing costs further if country risk worsens. Policy makers also considered a quarter-point increase. The European Commission and the International Monetary Fund suspended talks on a financial aid package to Hungary last week, citing objections to a draft law on the central bank that they say may undermine policy autonomy. The forint is the worst- performing currency in the world since June 30, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

20111221 1019 Global Commodities Related News.

Commodity funds pick oil as safest option: John Kemp
--John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own--
LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - In a tough landscape for commodities, most hedge funds and other money managers have decided to stick with long positions in crude oil, boosting their investments even as prices slide.
For commodity funds, who must basically be long of something to justify their continued existence, crude is the least-dangerous among a series of tricky alternatives.

Corn (Source: CME)
US corn futures settle at a three-week high, fueled by broad-based support from external financial markets. US dollar weakness, strength in equities and energy sector provided a supportive backdrop to keep sellers sidelined, analysts say. Lingering concerns about yield threats in South America and ideas recent declines left futures oversold was enough to underpin prices, analysts add. However, the rally lacked any strong follow through buying, as traders remained cautious of taking on risk heading toward the holiday weekend. CBOT March corn finished up 6c at $6.07/bushel.

Wheat (Source: CME)
US wheat futures end higher, as weakness in the US dollar sparked a short-covering rally. Spillover support from corn and positioning ahead of year's end also prompted some buying, analysts say. KCBT wheat rallied, shaking off bearish impact of needed moisture in the form of snowfall in some dry areas of the Plains hard red winter wheat belt. Broader based advances across asset classes limited selling interest. CBOT March wheat ended 8 cents higher at $6.07 3/4/bushel, KCBT March was 9 1/2 cents higher at $6.68 and MGEX March closed 12 cents higher at $8.39 1/4.

Rice (Source: CME)
US rice futures end higher, rising as traders continued to cover short positions. Weak demand had caused prices to stumble in prior weeks, leaving the market oversold, analysts say. Broader-based buying across asset classes buoyed prices as well. CBOT March rice ends up 9 1/2c at $14.24 per hundredweight.

US soy near 4-week top on dry South American weather
SINGAPORE, Dec 20 (Reuters) - U.S. soy gained more ground to hover near a 4-week top, while corn was little changed around two-week highs, supported by dry weather in South America, which is threatening to curb supplies.
"If you look at the estimates, many have factored in almost best case record crop scenarios for South America, that's always a danger as you still have the full growing season to go through," said Adam Davis, a senior commodity analyst at Merricks Capital in Melbourne.

Thai 2011/12 second rice crop delayed, output seen up
BANGKOK, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Severe floods will delay Thailand's 2011/12 second rice crop by around 2 months but production is likely to rise from last year as farmers are trying to grow more grain to offset losses from the main crop, an Agriculture Ministry official said on Tuesday.
Harvesting of the second crop normally starts in February but is more likely to begin in April next year as flooding has delayed sowing, Apichart Jongsakul, head of the Office of Agriculture Economy, told Reuters.

Wetter Jan-March likely in west, east Australia
SYDNEY, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Australia is expected to see above-average rainfall in the January to March period over most of eastern New South Wales state, southeast Queensland and western parts of Western Australia, the weather bureau said on Tuesday.
In its latest season outlook, the Bureau of Meteorology said that the chances of receiving above-average rain in these areas was between 60-70 percent.

Poland's 2011 grain harvest seen down 3.3 pct
WARSAW, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Poland's grain harvest is estimated to have fallen 3.3 percent in 2011 to around 24.3 million tonnes due to unfavourable weather conditions, Poland's statistics office said on Monday.
Intensive rainfall in autumn 2010 delayed sowings, which left plants vulnerable to severe frosts in the winter, the office said. Unusual spells of snow and low temperatures in May also took their toll, while further rains in June hindered harvest.

Ukraine ships maize to Japan under 800,000 T deal
KIEV, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Ukraine sent to Japan on Dec. 18 the first 64,000 tonnes of maize under an 800,000 tonne contract, analyst ProAgro said on Monday.
A market source said last month Japan had bought about 800,000 tonnes of maize from Ukraine for shipments between November and March to diversify suppliers.

India farm min sees record 2012 wheat output
NEW DELHI, Dec 19 (Reuters) - India is on track to produce a record wheat crop in 2012, Farm Minister Sharad Pawar said on Monday.
"The wheat crop looks better than last year. As the acreage is higher and the weather conditions have become very favourable it would be a record crop this year," he said.

Ukraine grain exports nearly 1 mln T Dec 1-16
KIEV, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Ukraine exported about 980,000 tonnes of grain, mostly maize, between Dec. 1-16, analyst ProAgro said on Monday, citing data from Ukrainian sea ports.
The consultancy said the volume included 664,000 tonnes of maize, 251,000 tonnes of wheat and 39,000 tonnes of barley.

India Needs To Boost Grain Output By Up To 25 Mln Tons By 2016-17 (Source: CME)
India will have to boost its annual food-grain output by 20 million to 25 million metric tons from the current level by 2016-17 to feed its growing population and to meet the requirement of a proposed food security program, Farm Secretary P.K. Basu said. The South Asian nation of 1.2 billion people is the second-largest producer of both wheat and rice, and it posted a record food-grain output of 241.56 million tons in the crop year ended June 30. While consumption is rising due to the expanding population, the government will also have to procure more grains because of the food security program--the cabinet cleared the draft law Sunday--that seeks to extend the reach of the existing public food distribution system that sells rice, wheat and a few other items to low-income families at below-market prices.
"Our focus will be to bring a green revolution in the eastern states and improve productivity of crops in rain-fed areas," Basu said during an interview to Dow Jones Newswires. He said the government is also gearing up to handle higher supplies required for the food-security program. India will annually require 60 million to 61 million tons of grains for the food security program, up from about 55 million tons it needs for current state-run welfare schemes. The government is expected to spend an additional INR1.1 trillion to boost farm production and productivity over the next five years. Basu said India's wheat output in 2011-12 is expected to exceed last year's 85.93 million tons due to higher acreage and better productivity. Wheat acreage will likely be 200,000-300,000 heaters more from last year's 29 million hectares, despite a slight delay in the start of sowing, he said.
Farmers have planted wheat on 24.4 million hectares until Friday, up from 24 million hectares a year earlier, according to government data. Basu said India's oilseed output this year will likely fall below the target of 33 million tons as some acreage has been shifted to pulses and wheat. "We are trying to achieve at least last year's level," he added. India produced a record 31.1 million tons of oilseeds in the last crop year ended June 30. Lower oilseed production this year may lead to higher imports by the world's top edible oil buyer. According to industry executives, edible oil imports in 2011-12 are likely to rise to about 9.0 million tons from 8.37 million tons last year.

Fitch Lowers Outlook On Cargill To Negative, Citing Income Pressure (Source: CME)
Fitch Ratings lowered its outlook on Cargill Inc.'s credit rating to negative from stable, saying the world's largest agricultural commodity trader continues to face earnings pressure. Fitch's credit rating for the company is A, five levels above a junk-grade rating. The rating firm said Cargill's credit profile could be weakened by its lower cash balances and the absence of its equity stake in Mosaic Co. Cargill sold its majority investment in the fertilizer producer this year, but its cash balances are expected to be lower in part because of its recent streak of acquisitions. Downward pressure on commodity prices, slowing global demand and euro-zone turmoil could also weigh on earnings. Fitch said that if Cargill's earnings continue to weaken without materially lower debt levels, it could lead to negative rating action. Significant debt reduction or earnings improvement could cause Fitch to raise its outlook to stable.
The privately held U.S. conglomerate's activities range from grain handling and storage to meat packing and energy trading. Commodity markets have swung wildly in recent months as global economic uncertainty and currency fluctuations have prompted investors to move money in and out of commodities. In October, Cargill reported a sharp drop in its fiscal first-quarter profit as volatile markets limited opportunities for the conglomerate, though revenue rose.

Vietnam Rejects Indian Corn On Quality, Buys From Argentina (Source: CME)
Vietnam has rejected a cargo of Indian corn because of quality concerns and resold the grain to another southeast Asian buyer, trading executives said. The shipment was rejected earlier this month at Hai Phong port because the destructive pest trogoderma granarium was detected, according to a Ho Chi Minh City-based executive at a grain trader. He added that since October at least seven corn shipments from India have had to be refumigated before clearance at Hai Phong port. These shipments totaled 45,000 metric tons. Traders in India confirmed the rejection of one shipment. They added other shipments were accepted only after refumigation. Nevertheless, they contested these shipments had been properly fumigated in India and that pests could not survive this process. A possibility, they suggested, is that the shipments were infested at the Vietnamese port. They asserted other importers including Malaysia and Indonesia haven't complained about quality.
If pests are detected in shipments to Vietnam they must be quarantined and refumigated on a case-by-case basis before quality clearance. This results in delays, according to another trader in Vietnam. Delays to several recent shipments have forced feedmillers to buy corn from Argentina and also substitute it with cheaper Australian feed wheat. Indian corn shipments faced similar problems in Vietnam a year ago. Some of them were resold to Indonesian buyers. Exporters in India contend that complaints about quality give Vietnamese buyers the chance to cancel costlier contracts at a time when global prices have declined sharply. The rejected cargo was purchased several weeks ago at around $310/ton C&F, while Indian corn is now being offered to Vietnam at around $270/ton. "It makes sense to wash out costlier deals and then buy again at lower levels," said a grains exporter in Mumbai. However, buyers in Vietnam say quality issues were being faced even before the latest fall in prices.
Vietnamese feedmillers are now seeking other suppliers and have purchased their first corn from Argentina in almost four months. Traders said a 20,000-metric-ton Argentinian corn shipment was purchased at $289/ton, basis cost and freight for shipment to Hai Phong port in February. Buyers are also taking Australian feed-grade wheat on a delivered basis at around $260/ton, Ho Chi Minh City and $263/ton, Hai Phong port. Wheat and corn are direct substitutes as animal feed ingredients but scope for such swaps is more apt for pork than poultry. Pork dominates Vietnam's meat industry.

Cameroon 2011-12 coffee output seen up at 65,000 T
YAOUNDE, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Cameroon coffee production may nearly double in 2011-12 to 65,000 tonnes, recovering from a dismal previous season, a senior official at industry regulator CCIB told Reuters on Monday.
He said coffee plants that had been rested during the 2010-11 season will become productive again and enhanced use of herbicides will reduce disease.

Strong Harmattan worries Ivorian cocoa farmers
ABIDJAN, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Dry Harmattan wind mixed with parched weather across Ivory Coast's cocoa regions could hamper development of the main crop in the world's top cocoa grower, farmers said on Monday.
Farmers said they were concerned by the particularly strong Harmattan wind, the dry west African trade wind which blows south from the Sahara desert to the Gulf of Guinea from December to March, because the scale could determine the size of the main crop.

Brazil coffee crop outlook cut due to dry weather
LONDON/BRASILIA, Dec 19 (Reuters) - A prolonged spell of dry weather has led to a scaling back of coffee crop estimates for top producer Brazil.
The consensus amongst international coffee trade houses for Brazil's coming 2012/13 crop is around 55 million to 58 million 60-kg bags, down from previous expectations in excess of 60 million.

Ivorian cocoa arrivals up 13 pct from year ago
ABIDJAN, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast's cocoa output is running about 13 percent higher than in the last season, but the performance is unlikely to last beyond mid-January, exporters estimated on Monday.
Arrivals at ports in the top grower nation reached around 574,000 tonnes by Dec. 18 from the start of the season in October, up from 506,970 tonnes registered in the same period last year, the exporters said.

U.S. crude extends gains, up $1 on supply worry
LONDON, Dec 20 (Reuters) - U.S. crude extended gains to rise $1, on worries about supply, even as euro zone concerns dented sentiment on other demand-sensitive assets like equities.
By 0846 GMT, U.S. light crude  had touched the day's high of $95.05, $1.00 higher.

Thailand diesel exports down in Dec as domestic demand rises
SINGAPORE, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Thailand's diesel exports fell in December as domestic demand increased with year-end holidays and as vehicles returned to the streets after the country's worst floods in 50 years, industry sources said on Tuesday.
Diesel exports to Singapore nearly halved in the first two weeks of December to 628,340 barrels, from the same period a month ago, data from Singapore's International Enterprise showed.

China halves Jan Iran oil imports in payment dispute
BEIJING, Dec 19 (Reuters) - China's top refiner Sinopec Corp  will in January buy less than half the crude it typically imports from Iran, trade sources said on Monday, as the two haggle over terms against a backdrop of rising international pressure on Tehran.
Iran's largest crude buyer has cut its January purchases by about 285,000 barrels per day (bpd), sources said. That is over half of the close to 550,000 bpd that China has been buying on annual contract this year.

Crude Oil Rises a Third Day in New York on U.S. Economy, Iran Tension (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil climbed for a third day in New York as investors bet that signs of an economic recovery and shrinking stockpiles in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude- consuming nation, indicate fuel demand may increase. Futures advanced as much as 0.4 percent after the industry- funded American Petroleum Institute said crude inventories declined 4.57 million barrels last week. An Energy Department report today may show supplies fell 2.13 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Prices surged 3.4 percent yesterday on U.S. housing data that beat economists’ estimates and signs shipments from Iran may be curbed. Crude for February delivery rose as much as 37 cents to $97.61 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:40 a.m. Sydney time. The contract yesterday climbed $3.19 to $97.24. Prices are 6.8 percent higher this year after gaining 15 percent in 2010.

Italy 11-month steel output up 11.8 pct-industry
MILAN, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Steel output in Italy, the European Union's second-biggest producer after Germany, rose 11.8 percent year on year to 26.673 million tonnes in the first 11 months of 2011, industry body Federacciai said on Monday.
In November alone, Italy's steel output rose 12.2 percent to 2.566 million tonnes, according to data published on Federacciai's website. (

Japan crude steel output hits 10-year low for Nov
TOKYO, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Japan's crude steel output fell 3.2 percent in November from a year earlier to the lowest level in 10 years for that month, an industry body said on Monday, after floods in Thailand, an Asian hub for car production, reduced demand for steel.
The November output figure, which is not seasonally adjusted, was 8.7 million tonnes. That was the lowest for the month since 2001, when November output totalled 8.1 million tonnes, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said.

Mexico copper output up in Oct, silver nudges down
MEXICO CITY, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Mexican copper output jumped 126.4 percent in October as production continued to rise at the massive Cananea mine after a three-year strike ended last year, data from the National Statistics Institute showed on Monday.
Silver production fell to 313,317 kg in October, down 2.0 percent compared to a year ago, the institute said.

Copper Climbs as U.S. Housing Forecast Boosts Optimism on Demand (Source: Bloomberg)
Copper rose in New York after a report showed U.S. housing starts rose last month, boosting the outlook for metals demand. Builders in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest copper buyer, began work on the most homes in more than a year, a sign the market may be stabilizing heading into 2012. The metal also advanced as European leaders pledged 150 billion euros ($195 billion) to the International Monetary Fund to fight the region’s debt crisis. The euro rose as much as 1 percent against the dollar. “The U.S. is showing slow but consistent improvement,” Matthew Zeman, a strategist at Kingsview Financial in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Trading is also going to be dictated by what the dollar is doing in this low-volume week ahead of the holidays.”

METALS-London copper climbs off 2-day low on IMF fund boost
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 20 (Reuters) - London copper inched up on Tuesday, edging off a two-day low in the previous session, as a euro zone pact to raise IMF resources  boosted market confidence, though investors' year-end caution is set to push copper to its first annual decline in three years.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange  gained 0.32 percent to $7,283 a tonne by 0437 GMT, reversing some losses from the previous session, when prices dropped 1.2 percent. The metal, used in pipes and wires, has fallen 24 percent this year.

PRECIOUS-Gold tests $1,600 but Europe anxiety weighs
SINGAPORE, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Spot gold struggled to breach $1,600 an ounce on Tuesday, as investors remained nervous over the progress of a solution to the euro zone debt crisis, while a firmer dollar may cap gains in bullion.
Asian stocks and the euro held steady, but sentiment remained fragile on concerns that efforts to contain the euro zone debt crisis were faltering and tougher rules to strengthen banks' capital would further undermine their profits.

Gold Climbs Most This Month as IMF Pledge Boosts Euro Against U.S. Dollar (Source: Bloomberg)
Gold rose for the second time in three sessions as a weakening dollar boosted demand for the metal as an alternative asset. The euro advanced against the U.S. currency after Europe pledged 150 billion euros ($196 billion) to the International Monetary Fund to help stem the region’s debt crisis, and as the European Central Bank widened its support for bond markets. Bullion also gained after German business confidence unexpectedly rose for a second month in December. “We moved up on a better-bid euro, after the headlines that the IMF may put in more funding to help Europe,” Bart Melek, an analyst at TD Securities in Toronto, said in an e- mail. Investors buoyed by signs of progress in Europe had a bigger appetite for risk and were more willing to bet on assets that may bring better returns than the dollar, which is often sought as a haven during market turmoil, Melek said.

20111221 1018 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

ITS CPO export down 10.06% to 933,533 tonnes for the period of 1~20 Dec 2011.
SGS CPO export down 10.48% to 924,844 tonnes for the period of 1~20 Dec 2011.

Soybeans (Source: CME)
US soy futures end higher, supported by the positive influence of external financial markets and lingering concerns about weather threats for South American crops. Short-covering also underpinned prices as traders reduced risk exposure ahead of Christmas and year-end. But as a broader cross-asset rally kept soy sellers idle, advances were limited by traders unwilling to take on risk in thin holiday trade, analysts note. CBOT March soybeans ended up 7 3/4c at $11.54 1/2 a bushel.

Soybean Meal/Oil (Source: CME)
March soymeal climbed $2.70 to $299.20/short ton and March soyoil rose 0.33c to 49.75c/pound.

Global economic fears, slow exports drag on palm oil
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Malaysian crude palm oil futures dropped on slowing exports in December and nagging concerns over the deepening euro zone debt crisis that may curb global economic growth and commodity demand.
"External factors are in play. It is still a range play for palm oil at 3,005 ringgit to 3,020 ringgit with no direction," said a trader with a local commodities brokerage.