Friday, March 30, 2012

20120330 1822 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3433, changed : -23 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : pullback correction upside biased.
MACD Histrogram : weakening, buyer lock in profit.
Support : 3420, 3380, 3350, 3300 level.
Resistance : 3450, 3470, 3500, 3550 level.
Comment :
FCPO continue to trade lower with scaling down volume changed hand. Soy oil price currently rebounding higher after overnight closed nearly 2% lower while crude oil price also rebounding upward after overnight severe falls.
Profit taking activities still took place today as traders reducing exposure after crude oil price fall and ahead of tonight USDA report.
Chart analysis still suggesting a pullback correction upside biased market development possibly testing support near middle Bollinger band.
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.

20120330 1810 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1594 changed : +10 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : upside biased.
MACD Histrogram : turned upward, buyer seller battling.
Support : 1590, 1580, 1570, 1565 level.
Resistance : 1595, 1600, 1610, 1620 level.
Comment :
FKLI settle higher with shrinking volume transacted with Apr contract doing 11.5 point discount compare to cash market that also closed higher. Overnight U.S. markets closed mixed and today Asia markets also ended mixed while European markets currently trading higher.
Mixed development over Japan industrial production unexpectedly declined in February, U.S. grew 3% in Q4 with unemployment fall to 4 year low, European Finance minister meeting on boosting rescue fund and awaits U.S. income and spending data.
Chart reading switched again to suggesting an upside biased market development testing previous high resistance level.
When to buy : buy at support or weakness with quick cut loss and profit target.
When to sell : sell at resistance or strength with quick cut loss and profit target.

20120330 1740 Regional Markets EOD Daily Chart Study.

 DJIA chart reading : correction range bound upside biased.
 Hang Seng chart reading : downside biased with possible pullback correction.
KLCI chart reading :  upside biased with possible pullback correction.

20120330 1614 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Shares steady as Q1 ends; eyes on Europe, China
TOKYO, March 30 (Reuters) - Asian shares steadied as the region's benchmark indices marked their best first quarter in over 20 years and investors awaited a meeting on a possible euro zone firewall and Chinese data that may dictate market trends in coming months.
"Europe is the biggest risk factor in the second quarter, with elections in Greece and France potentially fuelling doubts about commitments to fiscal reforms if those opposed to austerity measures win," said Daisuke Karakama, market economist for Mizuho Corporate Bank in Tokyo.

FOREX-Yen momentum seen fading after blip up, Europe eyed
TOKYO, March 30 (Reuters) - The yen briefly jumped to a three-week high against the dollar on Friday as speculators bought the currency, triggering stop losses, but a lack of expected strong follow-through buying by businesses saw the yen edge back.
"Speculators have been piling in ever since late New York trade, but many got burnt as exporter-buying was smaller than they had expected," said a senior spot trader for a major Japanese bank who did not want to be quoted by name.

U.S. wheat rises from 2-month low, USDA report eyed
SINGAPORE, March 30 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat edged higher , taking a breather after sliding to a two-month low in the last session in a selloff before a key U.S. quarterly report on plantings and stocks.
"It is mainly position squaring and there is nothing much to do with physical activity, the market is more concerned about plantings for the next year," said Ker Chung Yang, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

China 2011/12 soy imports seen up 8.9 pct y/y -CNGOIC
BEIJING, March 30 (Reuters) - China, the world's top soy importer, is expected to import about 57 million tonnes of the oilseed in the year to Sept. 30, up 8.9 percent from the previous year, according to the latest estimate from an official think-tank.
Chinese crushers have increased imports to meet robust demand from the livestock breeding sector as the industry has  also expanded crushing capacity this year.
 
Mexico considering 250,000-MT sugar import quota-industry
MEXICO CITY, March 29 (Reuters) - Mexico's economy ministry could approve sugar imports of 250,000 tonnes next month due to shortages from a long drought, sugar industry sources said.
A proposal for the quota is currently with the ministry's regulatory commission and if approved would likely be published in April, even though local sugar producers are against more imports, Mexico's cane growers' union on Thursday.
 
Argentine soy crop cut again as drought bites-Exchange
BUENOS AIRES, March 29 (Reuters) - Argentina's 2011/12 soy output was estimated at 45 million tonnes, down from a previous forecast of 46.2 million tonnes, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said Thursday, citing drought-related losses in the northern growing areas.
A dry spell at the height of the Southern Hemisphere summer in December and January cut into Argentina's crop yields.
 
Colombia's southern provinces to help spur coffee output
BOGOTA, March 29 (Reuters) - Colombia's southern provinces have emerged as new coffee power-houses that may help the Andean nation recover from a three-year output slump with expansion of production areas at a time when traditional coffee regions face continued decline.
Provinces such as Huila, which has overtaken the traditional coffee-growing areas of Antioquia, will be crucial in helping Colombia recover its historic output battered by torrential rains, a fungus outbreak, and coffee renovation program that has cut production.

Brazil to turn credit weapon on falling coffee price
BRASILIA, March 29 (Reuters) - Brazil plans to ratchet up the amount of credit it offers coffee producers to stock beans and defer sales, the agriculture ministry's top coffee official said, a measure aimed at preventing further dramatic falls in prices ahead of the large upcoming harvest.
Moving to shore up prices which hit a 17-month low last week, the government will allocate about half the main credit line to coffee growers specifically for the purpose of tiding them over financially when they defer sales, up from about a quarter of the budget set aside for this in 2011.

Copper up, on track for 10 pct Q1 advance
SINGAPORE, March 30 (Reuters) - London copper climbed, on track for a more than 10 percent first-quarter gain, although an early advance this year has been pinned back by sluggish demand growth in top consumer China.
"This week copper has been highly correlated with equity markets, so even if prices can rebound on China's official PMI data, I think it will be capped, maybe around $8,600 per tonne," said Bonnie Liu, a Macquarie analyst in Shanghai.

China Zhongjin restarts mine after environmental closure
HONG KONG, March 30 (Reuters) - Shenzhen Zhongjin Lingnan Nonfemet Co Ltd  said on Friday that it has resumed production at its Fan Kou lead and zinc mine, which was shut down for maintenance to meet requirements of the local environmental authorities.
The company, one of China's leading lead and zinc miners and metal producers, closed the mine and its 110,000-tonne-per-year Dan Xia zinc smelter in early March after children from Dongtang town, near the mine and smelter, were found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood.

BHP iron ore chief quits amid expansion
MELBOURNE, March 30 (Reuters) - BHP Billiton's  veteran iron ore chief, Ian Ashby, is stepping down after 25 years with the world's biggest miner, it said on Friday, clearing the way for a new leader to complete the company's long-term $11 billion iron ore expansion.
BHP's energy coal head, Jimmy Wilson, 50, will take over the reins of the iron ore business, BHP's biggest revenue earner and most profitable arm over the past several years.
 
POSCO, Marubeni lead $3.6 bln investment in Australia iron ore project
TOKYO, March 30 (Reuters) - Marubeni Corp , Japan's fifth-biggest trading house, said on Friday a consortium of it, South Korean steelmaker POSCO  and shipbuilder STX Corp  will buy 30 percent of the Roy Hill iron ore project in Australia from Hancock Prospecting for A$3.5 billion ($3.61 billion).
The Roy Hill project, located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, plans first ore shipment for 2014, with full production estimated at 55 million tonnes a year, Marubeni said.
 
Chile says Feb copper output up 6.5 yr/yr
SANTIAGO, March 29 (Reuters) - Chile produced 379,474 tonnes of copper in February, up 6.5 percent from the same month a year earlier on mining from deposits with higher ore grades and due to a low base of comparison with 2011, the government said on Thursday.
Copper output in Chile, the No. 1 producer which provides a third of the world's red metal, fell 5.2 percent compared with January, when production  reached 396,341 tonnes.

Four big bourses on London Metal Exchange shortlist
LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) - CME Group , NYSE Euronext , InterContinental Exchange (ICE)  and Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. (HKEx)  are on a shortlist of bidders for the London Metal Exchange (LME), sources close to the matter said.
The four exchanges are looking at LME operations in the city ahead of a May 7 deadline to make offers in the second bidding round of a process the 135-year-old bourse kicked off last September, the sources told Reuters.

Chile sees copper prices up in second half 2012
SANTIAGO, March 29 (Reuters) - Chile sees copper prices rising slightly in the second half of 2012, as demand from top consumer China remains robust while supplies stay tight, with mines working at full capacity and a lack of new projects, state copper commission Cochilco said on Thursday.
While the global copper market registered a slight surplus of 69,100 tonnes last year, Cochilco Chief Executive Andres Mac-Lean said mining challenges will trigger a 200,000 tonne deficit this year, pressuring copper prices to average $3.85 per pound.

Timah says 2011 refined tin output fell 6 percent
JAKARTA, March 29 (Reuters) - PT Timah , Indonesia's largest tin miner, said refined tin production fell 6 percent to 38,132 tonnes last year.
In a statement on Thursday, Timah, the world's largest exporter of tin and second-largest producer of refined tin, gave no reason for the fall.

Rio Tinto joins China's first iron ore physical platform
SHANGHAI, March 30 (Reuters) - Rio Tinto  has become a member of China's first iron ore physical trading platform which Beijing hopes will help it gain more control over pricing in a sector long dominated by foreign players.  
Rio is the second foreign miner to join the new trading mechanism, launched by the China Beijing International Mining Exchange (CBMX), after Australia's Fortescue Metals Group  joined the platform this month.

BHP iron ore chief quits amid expansion
MELBOURNE, March 30 (Reuters) - BHP Billiton's  veteran iron ore chief, Ian Ashby, is stepping down after 25 years with the world's biggest miner, it said on Friday, clearing the way for a new leader to complete the company's long-term $11 billion iron ore expansion.
BHP's energy coal head, Jimmy Wilson, 50, will take over the reins of the iron ore business, BHP's biggest revenue earner and most profitable arm over the past several years.

Copper faces larger surpluses mid-decade-BME
LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) -The copper market will face large surpluses from around the middle of the decade as new supply comes on stream, leaving little scope for price gains and putting some projects at risk, said Paul Dewison, director of base metals at BME copper, a division of Intierra.
Speaking at the Reuters Mining and Metals Summit in London, Dewison said copper prices , which have gained 10 percent this year to trade around $8,300 a tonne at present, should average about $8,445 this year, easing to $8,300 next year.

Chile says Feb copper output up 6.5 yr/yr
SANTIAGO, March 29 (Reuters) - Chile produced 379,474 tonnes of copper in February, up 6.5 percent from the same month a year earlier on mining from deposits with higher ore grades and due to a low base of comparison with 2011, the government said on Thursday.
Copper output in Chile, the No. 1 producer which provides a third of the world's red metal, fell 5.2 percent compared with January, when production  reached 396,341 tonnes.

Gold hovers around $1,660/oz; euro zone eyed
SINGAPORE, March 30 (Reuters) - Gold was trapped in a tight range around $1,660 an ounce ahead of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers that may boost the bloc's bailout power, and sluggish physical demand weighed on sentiment.
"We don't expect to see real physical demand until prices drop below $1,600," said a Singapore-based dealer.

METALS-Copper up, eyes 10 pct first quarter advance
SINGAPORE, March 30 (Reuters) - London copper climbed on Friday, on track for a more than ten percent first quarter gain, although an early advance this year has been hampered by signs of slowing growth in top consumer China.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange  climbed half a percent to $8,394.75 a tonne by 0115 GMT, having traded flat the previous session. A strong start to the week, which saw copper rally more than two percent on prospects of protracted easy monetary policy in the U.S., ran out of steam.   Copper is on target to notch up gains of more than 10 percent for the first quarter, but has so far failed to gain traction above $8,700 a tonne, and remains more than 17 percent below record highs of $10,190 from the first quarter last year.

PRECIOUS-Gold hovers around $1,660/oz; traders eye euro zone meet
SINGAPORE, March 30 (Reuters) - Gold was trapped in a tight range around $1,660 an ounce, ahead of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers that may boost the bloc's bailout power, and sluggish physical demand weighed on sentiment.
"We don't expect to see real physical demand until prices drop below $1,600," said a Singapore-based dealer.

20120330 1201 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares steady as Q1 ends; eyes on Europe, China
TOKYO, March 30 (Reuters) - Asian shares steadied on Friday as investors eyed key events that could dictate market trends in coming months, and as the first quarter drew to a close after a stellar performance from equities.
"Europe is the biggest risk factor in the second quarter, with elections in Greece and France potentially fuelling doubts about commitments to fiscal reforms if those opposed to austeriy measures win," said Daisuke Karakama, market economist for Mizuho Corporate Bank in Tokyo.

COMMODITIES-Markets tumble for 2nd day; CRB down most since Dec
NEW YORK, March 29 (Reuters) - Commodities tumbled on T hursday, with a benchmark index for the sector posting its biggest daily decline in 3-1/2 months, as oil futures sank on talk that France, Britain and the United States were mulling release of strategic crude reserves to cool high fuel prices at the pump.

OIL-Oil falls, talk of SPR release encourages profit-taking
NEW YORK, March 29 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell for a third straight session o n T hursday, snapping key technical support after growing talk of a release of strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) by consumer nations spurred profit-taking.
"I think part of it is today's economic data," said Richard Ilczyszyn, chief market strategist and founder of iitrader.com LLC in Chicago. "I think traders are very sensitive to booking profits to have that 1 to 2 percent gain for the month."

Nine oil companies bid for Uruguay offshore blocks
MONTEVIDEO, March 29 (Reuters) - Nine energy companies have submitted 19 bids to explore for oil off the coast of energy-poor Uruguay, the state energy company said on Thursday.
The discovery of massive deep-water reserves off Brazil's Atlantic coast has encouraged neighboring Uruguay to look for energy resources along its own coastline in hopes of reducing its dependence on imports.
 
Obama likely to find oil market can handle Iran sanctions
WASHINGTON, March 29 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama is likely to determine by Friday that there will be enough oil in the world market to allow countries to cut imports from Iran, taking another step toward sanctioning those nations that do not, analysts and a congressional aide said.
Obama is required by a sanctions law he signed in December to determine by March 30, and every six months after, whether the price and supply of non-Iranian oil are sufficient to allow consumers to "significantly" cut their purchases from Iran.

US bill would ban export of some refined oil products
WASHINGTON, March 29 (Reuters) - U.S. Democrats on Thursday unveiled a bill that would ban the export of refined fuels derived from oil produced on federal lands, the latest legislative volley in response to surging fuel prices.
The legislation would only affect new federal oil and gas leases, but it was introduced just as the United States becomes a net exporter of gasoline and refined fuels, the first time in decades.

West wants Saudi not to neutralise oil release
LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) - Oil consuming nations may seek reassurance from Saudi Arabia that it will not cut oil production and neutralise the impact on oil prices if consumer countries release emergency reserves, diplomats and industry sources said.
The issue may be raised by a U.S. delegation, led by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, which is in Riyadh this weekend to discuss Syria with Gulf states. Clinton will see Saudi King Abdullah and Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal.
 
NATURAL GAS-US natgas plumbs 10-year low on glut, mild weather
NEW YORK, March 29 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures tumbled o n T hursday, with the front-month contract ending at a 10-year low as mild weather and bearish inventory and production data undercut prices.
"Prices moved a bit lower (on the production data), but we were already trading down after the record injection this week," said Teri Viswanath, analyst at BNP Paribas in New York.

EURO COAL-Prices firm on tense market watching N.Sea gas leak
LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) - Coal trading in Europe was thin on Thursday, with reports of only one trade, as the market held back to observe the events around a gas leak in the North Sea and while mild weather and substantial stocks kept demand low.
"An event like that would impact the entire European energy sector, including coal prices," one trader said.

20120330 1158 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

Penang Port yet to be officially notified of takeover
Penang Port SB (PPSB) has not been officially notified of a takeover by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, although the northern port operator has been directed by the government to cooperate with a firm linked to the tycoon. It is learnt that PPSB had been shown a letter from the Ministry of Finance by Syed Mokhtar’s key aide Datuk Mohd Sidik Shaik Osman when he visited Penang recently. “While the letter did not officially state that any sale had gone through, PPSB was asked to extend its cooperation to Syed Mokhtar’s vehicle Seaport Terminal (Johore) SB, which is the holding company of Johor Port,” a source told. (BT)

Ananda Krishnan’s Astro All Asia said to mull share sale
Malaysian billionaire Tan Sri T Ananda Krishnan is considering an IPO of the country’s largest pay-television broadcaster, Astro All Asia Networks plc, according to a company official. Astro had been approached by investment bankers about a possible share sale, though substantive discussions have yet to begin, said the official who asked not to be identified as the deliberations are private. (Malaysian Reserve)

UEM Land plans RM18bn Nusajaya West project
UEM Land Holdings will develop a new integrated development called Nusajaya West in Johor with a gross development value of RM18bn, says managing director and CEO Datuk Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim. He said the project on 4,500 acres of land will comprise commercial, residential and catalyst projects and will be developed in phases spanning 25 years upon full completion. (Malaysian Reserve)

Bashir hints at retiring from MAHB
Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAHB) MD Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad Abdul Majid yesterday hinted at retiring from the company. “I think I want to have a rest,” he told reporters after the company’s 13th annual general meeting in Sepang. Bashir said it is up to the government to decide on the succession plan. MAHB chairman Tan Sri Datuk Dr Aris Othman, however, wants Bashir to stay until the completion of Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2). (Malaysian Reserve)

UMLand plans RM1.4bn mixed property developments in Iskandar Malaysia
United Malayan Land (UMLand) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Iskandar Investment to undertake several property projects with an estimated gross development value of RM1.4bn in Medini, Iskandar Malaysia. UMLand COO Lim Eng Kuan said phase one would commence soon, consisting of a commercial development featuring hotel, service apartment and retail buildings. (Malaysian Reserve)

TWSPlant buys more land from parent
Tradewinds Plantation (TWSPlant) has proposed to acquire 60% stake in Retus Plantation SB, a unit owned by TWSPlant’s parent company Tradewinds (M). Retus Plantation and its subsidiary own five oil palm estates in Sibu, Sarawak under a provisional lease of state land measuring 10,436ha. This includes a palm oil mill situated on 16.44ha within Pasai Estate. (Financial Daily)

Crest Builder-Detik Utuh JV bags Dang Wangi project
A joint venture between Crest Builder Holdings’ unit Crest Builder International SB and Detik Utuh SB has won the bid to develop real estate on the site of the Dang Wangi light rapid transit (LRT) station. Government-owned public transport operator Syarikat Prasarana Negara, as the land owner, had earlier called for proposals from interested parties to develop commercial properties at the 2.72-acre Dang Wangi station site. (Financial Daily)

CIMB Group Holdings announced a joint venture between CIMB Strategic Assets, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CIMB Group and The Rohatyn Group (TRG) in respect of their 40% and 60% shareholding respectively, in each of the following entities (i) Capital Advisors Partners Asia, (ii) CapAsia Islamic Infrastructure Fund (General Partner) and (iii) CapAsia ASEAN Infrastructure Fund III (General Partner). The Joint Venture shall jointly sponsor, manage and administer the CapAsia Funds and undertake private equity investments in the infrastructure sector. CapAsia (formerly known as CIMB-Standard Strategic Asset Advisors Sdn Bhd) was set up in 2006 as a 60:40 joint venture between CIMB Group and the Standard Bank Group to jointly sponsor, manage and administer the South East Asian Strategic Assets Fund Limited Partnership. In May 11, CapAsia became a wholly-owned subsidiary of CIMBSA. CapAsia, together with its wholly-owned subsidiary Capital Advisors Partners Asia Pte Ltd, currently manages three funds – SEASAF, the Islamic Infrastructure Fund Limited Partnership and the Asia Infrastructure Fund Limited Partnership, with collective Asset Under Management (“AUM”) of approximately USD500m. TRG, founded in 2002, is a specialised asset management firm based in New York, focused exclusively on investing in emerging markets. TRG is regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and together with its affiliates currently has AUM of approximately USD2.7 bn. (BMSB)

Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) is "not specifically" looking at acquiring ING Groep NV„s US$775m (RM2,325m) stake in Thailand‟s TMB Bank Pcl, Maybank‟s chief executive said. Maybank CEO Abdul Wahid Omar also said the lender was still open to various opportunities in Thailand, which has been "a missing piece" in its Southeast Asian strategy. Reuters cited sources as saying that ING was putting its 31% stake in Thailand‟s seventh-largest lender for sale as the Dutch financial services group pushed ahead with Asian divestment. Besides state-owned Korea Development Bank, Maybank was identified as one of the potential suitors for the block. (Reuters)

Bursa Malaysia Bhd plans to come out with a retail bond issue especially for retail investors in 2H12. Its CEO Datuk Tajuddin Atan said the exchange-traded bonds could be bought through brokers just like equities. It would offer stability to retail investors and enable them to have exposure to interest rates, he said. (Bernama)

Tenaga Nasional Bhd which is expected to pay RM300m a year to the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (Seda) for the feed-in-tariff (FiT) will make its first payment next week. The first payment would be for Dec 2011 but it would not be substantial as the FiT had just started. According to law, Tenaga must pay Seda by Apr for the Dec period. The timing difference is mainly because of the collection from Tenaga‟s customers, which are generally given 30 days to pay their bills. (Star Biz)

TNB Janamanjung Sdn Bhd expects revenue to hit RM4bn once the 1GW Manjung 4 coal-fired power plant is ready for commercialization in 1Q15. The first three Manjung power plants can generate revenue of RM3bn when running at full capacity. The scheduled completion date for the engineering, procurement and construction contract is on 31 Mar 2015 and as at 29 Feb 2012, 25.78% of the construction has been completed. (Star Biz)

An affordable housing project in Batu Kawan by state-run Penang Development Corp will create at least 11,800 apartments with GDV of up to RM2.5bn, said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. The Bandar Cassia Affordable Housing Scheme will occupy some 200 acres in Batu Kawan, Seberang Perai Selatan, Penang. The three-bedroom units will range between 800 and 1,000 sq ft with prices from RM72,500 to RM220,000 each. Lim said the project is due to commence this year with the final phase slated for completion in 2026. There will eventually be 81 blocks of apartments. (Financial Daily)

Sime Darby Property is on track to achieve a gross sales value (GSV) of RM2.4bn in the current financial year ending June 30, 2012, said managing director Datuk Wahab Maskan. He said the value would be mainly contributed by some 23 property projects under its Lifestyle Collection umbrella. Of the 23 projects, 10 were launched today as the first phase of the Lifestyle Collection series. "The ten projects have a GSV of RM1.2bn and the others, RM1.3bn. "The promise that we gave to our parent company, Sime Darby Bhd, was to register a GSV of more than RM2bn. Wahab, who is also the Chief Operating Officer of Sime Darby said the property arm of the conglomerate, expects its profit to be sustained at between RM400-RM500m for the current financial year. (Bernama)

Capital TV, a 24-hour news TV channel, was launched yesterday as part of HyppTV's lineup. HyppTV is offered by Telekom Malaysia through its Unifi broadband service. (FinancialDaily)

Cypark Resources Bhd is exploring the waste management and renewable energy sector in Myanmar. The company has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with First Myanmar Investment Co Ltd on cooperation in these sectors. The MoU covers the research and development and implementation of pilot projects plus the preparation and submission of full proposals. (BMSB)

Guinness Anchor has acquired Accenture's CAS software platform to replace its existing set-up. The new system will enable the brewer to improve visibility and insights at store level and hence its sales operations. (Malaysian Reserve)

SEG International (SEGi) saw a total of 209.6m shares changed hands in off-market deals yesterday at RM1.71 per share. The shares represented nearly 37.5% of the company's share base of 559.18m shares. Reliable sources said one block of 114.8m shares crossed belonged to Cerahsar Sdn Bhd, the second-largest shareholder with a 20.53% direct stake according to Bloomberg data. "It's still unclear who the buyer of the block of shares is although industry players are speculating that it could be a private equity fund or an institutional fund from the Middle East," a source said. (Starbiz)

Nam Cheong has secured US$36.8m contracts to build three vessels for customers here, including a Norwegian firm. The vessels were scheduled for delivery in the second and third quarters of this year. (BT)

20120330 1158 Global Economy Related News.

China’s State Council announced a 12-point plan that will offer financing to small firms and more channels for private investment on an experimental basis in the city of Wenzhou, part of broader financial reforms, in what may be a prelude to a national effort to liberalize China's creaking financial system. (AFP, WSJ)

Oil companies may adjust retail fuel prices in China with government guidance under the new fuel-pricing scheme that will focus on reducing the frequency of adjustments and improve pricing transparency. (Shanghai Daily)

China has bumped up the annual long-term foreign debt quota allocated to foreign banks to US$24bn. The new quotas may have more than doubled from previous quotas. (Reuters)

Protests against Indonesia's plans to increase government-controlled fuel prices by 33% spread Thursday, with thousands joining sometimes violent rallies across the archipelago, though Jakarta has yet to see anything close to the tens of thousands of angry citizens blocking traffic and commerce that some politicians had worried about. (WSJ)

Vietnam: GDP climbed the least since 2009 in first quarter
Vietnam’s economy expanded at the slowest pace since 2009 in the 1Q as bank lending declined and domestic demand weakened, adding to the case for further cuts in interest rates. GDP rose 4% in the three months through March from a year earlier, the General Statistics Office said yesterday compared with a previously reported 6.1% in the prior quarter and 5.89% for all of 2011. The report may pressure the State Bank of Vietnam to spur spending at home as Asia’s fastest inflation cools and Europe’s debt crisis limits trade gains. The central bank cut its repurchase and refinancing rates this month and ordered the nation’s top four banks to lower borrowing costs from as high as 25%, seeking to counter a fall of about 2% in loans so far this year. (Bloomberg)

Vietnam’s General Statistics Office and Central Institute for Economic Management are developing a "green" GDP index which is expected to be used in 2014. (Vietnam News)

Vietnamese exports by foreign firms topped US$15.54bn in 1Q12, a 43% yoy increase, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. (Vietnam News)

Vietnam's index of industrial production rose an estimated 6.5% yoy in Mar, slowing from a surge of 22.1% in Feb. (Reuters)

South Korea: Output growth slows, economy expands less than estimated
South Korea’s industrial production rose at a slower pace in February and its economy expanded less than the central bank initially estimated in the fourth quarter. Output rose 0.8% in February compared with a revised 3.2% gain in January, Statistics Korea said today.GDP grew 0.3%t in the three months through December from the third quarter, compared with a January estimate of 0.4%, the Bank of Korea said. (Bloomberg)

Japan: Retail sales beat forecasts as confidence returns
Japan’s retail sales rose more than economists forecast in February, indicating that consumer confidence is returning as reconstruction demand boosts the world’s third-biggest economy. Sales increased 3.5% from a year earlier, the biggest advance since Aug 2010, the Trade Ministry said yesterday From a month earlier, sales gained 2 %. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbing to pre-earthquake levels and a government subsidy for buyers of fuel-efficient cars are aiding domestic demand, while declines in the yen have helped exporters. (Bloomberg)

Japan’s government will draft a stopgap budget totalling ¥3.6tr for the first time in 14 years to pay for spending and to cover the minimum cost of running the government for the first six days of Apr. (Bloomberg)

Top officials from Japan's government and ruling party formally endorsed a revised bill to double the country's sales tax in a sign of their determination to rein in the nation's soaring public debt. (WSJ)


The export-import banks of the BRICS group of five emerging economies signed two pacts that seek to extend credit facilities to each other in local currencies and reduce demand for fully-convertible units. BRICS also urged the World Bank and IMF to review their quota systems to safeguard the interests of all nations, whilst asserting that aggressive monetary easing by Western central banks is hurting emerging nations. BRICS leaders also discussed creating a new development bank to fund development projects and infrastructure in developing nations. (WSJ)

Japan’s government will draft a stopgap budget totalling ¥3.6tr for the first time in 14 years to pay for spending and to cover the minimum cost of running the government for the first six days of Apr. (Bloomberg)

Top officials from Japan's government and ruling party formally endorsed a revised bill to double the country's sales tax in a sign of their determination to rein in the nation's soaring public debt. (WSJ)

The European Commission’s index of executive and consumer sentiment in the euro area fell to 94.4 in Mar from a revised 94.5 in Feb, in line with economists‟ forecast of 94.5. (Bloomberg)

European governments are preparing for a one-year increase in the ceiling on rescue aid to €940bn to keep the debt crisis at bay, according to a draft statement written for finance ministers. (Bloomberg)

UK: House prices drop most in two years as loans fall
UK house prices fell the most in two years and mortgage approvals dropped to an eight-month low as economic uncertainty hurt demand for property and banks tightened lending conditions. Home values dropped 1% in March, the biggest decline since February 2010, Nationwide Building Society said yesterday. The housing market may face further pressure as job cuts undermine consumer confidence, and a central bank survey published today showed banks expect mortgage availability to decline “slightly” in the second quarter. (Bloomberg)

US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke expects the US economy to return to a long-term growth rate around 3% over time, whilst reiterating that containing inflation will be critical when the time comes for the reversal of the ultra-loose monetary policy. (Reuters)

The White House said no decision had been made on tapping the US strategic oil reserve, dampening speculation that major consumer nations could use the supply to curb a surge in petroleum prices. Concurrently, the International Energy Agency assured that it stands prepared to take the necessary action, if market conditions require it. (AFP)

US corporate profits rose 11.7% yoy in 4Q11 (6.2% in 3Q11). (Bloomberg)

US: Economy grew at 3% annual rate in 4Q
The economy in the US grew at a 3% annual rate in the last three months of 2011, the same as previously estimated, while corporate profits climbed at the slowest pace in three years, raising the risk that business investment and hiring will cool. The increase in gross domestic product was the biggest in more than a year and followed a 1.8% gain in the prior period, revised figures from the Commerce Department showed yesterday. Consumers may be poised to take a leading role in the expansion as the biggest increase in employment since 2006 gives households the confidence and means to spend. (Bloomberg)

US: Unemployment claims fall to four-year low
Claims for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest since April 2008 and consumer confidence reached the second-highest level in four years, indicating the labor-market recovery is helping sustain demand. Applications for jobless insurance dropped by 5,000 last week to 359,000, the Labor Department said yesterday. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was little changed at minus 34.7 in the period to 25 March, close to the minus 33.7 reading two weeks earlier that was the strongest since March 2008. (Bloomberg)

20120330 1145 Global Market Related News.

Economy in U.S. Grew at 3% Annual Rate in Fourth Quarter (Source: Bloomberg)
The economy in the U.S. grew at a 3 percent annual rate in the last three months of 2011, the same as previously estimated, while corporate profits climbed at the slowest pace in three years, raising the risk that business investment and hiring will cool. The increase in gross domestic product was the biggest in more than a year and followed a 1.8 percent gain in the prior period, revised figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. Company earnings were up 0.9 percent from the third quarter, the smallest advance since the last three months of 2008. While the report showed business spending on new equipment and software climbed more the previously estimated, figures this month indicate outlays are slowing following the expiration of a government tax credit. Consumers may be poised to take a leading role in the expansion as the biggest increase in employment since 2006 gives households the confidence and means to spend.
“Businesses are going to remain very cautious about hiring permanent staff and investing in new equipment,” said Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina, who accurately forecast the gain in GDP. “It probably raises a caution flag that growth has not ratcheted up as many people hoped it had.”

Jobless Claims in U.S. Decline to Lowest Since April 2008 (Source: Bloomberg)
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest level in almost four years, adding to evidence of an improving U.S. labor market. Initial jobless claims fell 5,000 in the week ended March 24 to 359,000, the lowest since April 2008, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg News survey called for 350,000 claims. With the report, the government data also contain revisions dating back to 2007. Companies are retaining workers and hiring as sales pick up along with confidence in the expansion. The pace of employment has gained momentum in the past three months, helping drive income growth that may ease the strain of higher gasoline prices. “The labor market is still improving at a modest pace,” said Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit. “Across almost all sectors, companies have shed as many workers as they possibly can. Now, they’re responding to the modest improvements in demand.”
The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls dropped to the lowest level since August 2008, while those getting extended payments also decreased.

Unemployment Claims in U.S. Fall to Four-Year Low: Economy (Source: Bloomberg)
Claims for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest since April 2008 and consumer confidence reached the second-highest level in four years, indicating the labor-market recovery is helping sustain demand. Applications for jobless insurance dropped by 5,000 last week to 359,000, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was little changed at minus 34.7 in the period to March 25, close to the minus 33.7 reading two weeks earlier that was the strongest since March 2008. “The labor-market improvement is unambiguous,” said Richard DeKaser, deputy chief economist at Parthenon Group LLC in Boston, the third-best forecaster for gross domestic product in the two years through February, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. “We are going to see consumer spending improving. The big drivers -- jobs and wealth -- are moving more favorably, and confidence is as well.”
Six months of the strongest job growth since 2006 are underpinning the sentiment of consumers, whose spending accounts for about 70 percent of the world’s largest economy. At the same time, gasoline near $4 a gallon leaves Americans with less to spend on other goods, posing a risk to sales at retailers like Family Dollar Stores Inc. (FDO) The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined 0.2 percent to 1,403.28 at 4 p.m. in New York. The index earlier fell as much as 1 percent as S&P said Greece may have to restructure its debt again.

S&P 500 Trims Loss on Speculation Selloff Was Overdone (Source: Bloomberg)
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) trimmed losses in the final two hours of trading ahead of data forecast to show growth in consumer confidence and spending tomorrow, the final day of the best first quarter since 1998. The S&P 500 retreated 0.2 percent to 1,403.28 at 4 p.m. New York time, paring a loss of as much as 1 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDU) rose 19.61 points, or 0.2 percent, to 13,145.82 after reversing a drop of as much as 94 points to halt a two-day decline. “It’s buying on weakness,” Tim Ghriskey, who oversees $2 billion as chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York, said in a phone interview. “The corrections seem to be very short lived because money just seems to be flowing right in. The end of the quarter is imminent. Given that it’s been a positive quarter for stocks, many managers don’t want to show any cash in their client portfolios.”
The S&P 500 has risen 12 percent since the beginning of 2012 amid better-than-estimated economic data and expectations Europe would tame its crisis. The index has gained 2.8 percent in March, rallying for a fourth straight month and poised for the longest streak of monthly gains since September 2009. Alcoa Inc. (AA), Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) and Coca-Cola Co. climbed more than 1.5 percent for the biggest gains in the Dow today. Red Hat Inc. (RHT) surged 20 percent after profit and sales topped projections. Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. fell more than 1.4 percent to pace losses in financial companies. Best Buy (BBY) Co., the largest consumer-electronics retailer, slumped 7 percent on plans to close 50 stores as sales missed forecasts.

Treasuries Have Worst Quarter Since 2010 on Growth Signs (Source: Bloomberg)
Treasuries headed for their steepest quarterly decline since the last three months of 2010, while corporate bonds surged, as the U.S. economy shows signs of improvement. Government securities handed investors a 1 percent loss as of yesterday, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes, reflecting declining demand for the relative safety of U.S. debt during the period. An index of the nation’s investment-grade and high-yield corporate bonds returned 3.2 percent, the most since the July-to-September period of 2010, the figures showed. “Corporate and emerging-market bonds might be a better choice than Treasuries for the second quarter,” said Will Tseng, who trades U.S. bonds at Taipei-based Shin Kong Life Insurance Co., which has the equivalent of $52.1 billion in assets and is Taiwan’s third-largest life insurer. “I wouldn’t say the U.S. economy is good, but it’s more stable than a couple of months ago.”
Ten-year notes yielded 2.17 percent as of 11:36 a.m. in Tokyo, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader prices. The price of the 2 percent security due in February 2022 was 98 17/32. The rate climbed to 2.40 percent on March 20, the highest level since Oct. 28. The average over the past decade is 3.86 percent.

Asian Stocks Swing Between Gain, Loss; Sun Hung Kai Drops (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks swung between gains and losses as the region’s benchmark equity index headed toward its biggest quarterly gain since 2010. Japanese manufacturers slid after the nation’s industrial production unexpectedly fell and investors waited for U.S. data on income and spending. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the world’s most profitable lender, climbed 1.6 percent after posting earnings that exceeded estimates. Quanta Computer Inc., the world’s largest laptop maker by shipments, rose 5.1 percent in Taipei after reporting better-than-expected net income. Fanuc Corp. (6954), Japan’s biggest maker of factory robots, fell 2.3 percent. Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (16), the world No. 2 real estate company, plunged 11 percent in Hong Kong after the firm’s co-chairmen were arrested in a corruption probe. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.1 percent to 126.69 as of 11:12 a.m. in Tokyo, with about the same number of stocks rising as falling.
The gauge is headed for its first monthly drop since November, paring the biggest quarterly gain since the period through September 2010. The measure has risen 11 percent this year, gaining 0.3 percent on the week. “You just don’t have sustainability for the markets to reweight higher like they did three or four months ago,”Andrew Pease, Sydney-based chief investment strategist for the Asia- Pacific region at Russell Investment Group, which manages about $150 billion. “You are not going to see any acceleration from here and you may actually feel a bit of moderation” in the U.S.

China’s Stocks Rise, Poised for Best Quarterly Gain in a Year (Source: Bloomberg)
China’s stocks rose, pushing the benchmark index to its best quarterly performance in a year, on better-than-estimated earnings from banks and speculation the government will accelerate measures to boost economic growth. Anhui Conch Cement Co. led gains among cement producers after the Shanghai Securities News reported the government will “strictly” control new investment in cement capacity. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and Bank of China Ltd. advanced after posting better-than-estimated profit growth in the fourth quarter. “The market’s recent losses are quite big and we expect some bargain hunting at this level to support a rebound,” said Wei Wei, an analyst at West China Securities Co. in Shanghai. “We are still in a poor earnings season and the market may need to further digest more bad earnings.”
The Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) rose 9.82 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,261.98 as of 9:47 a.m. local time. The 14-day relative strength measure for the gauge, measuring how rapidly prices have advanced or dropped during a specified time period, was at 29.2 yesterday. Readings below 30 indicate it may be poised to rise. The CSI 300 Index (SHSZ300) gained 0.5 percent to 2,455.43. The Bloomberg China-US 55 Index (CH55BN), the measure of the most-traded U.S.-listed Chinese companies, retreated 1.4 percent in New York yesterday. China’s markets will be closed from April 2 to April 4 for public holidays.

Wen’s Growth Plan Draws Korea Investment, HI to Consumer (Source: Bloomberg)
Korea Investment Corp. (KRINVTZ) and HI Asset Management Co., awarded permission to invest in mainland China, expect consumer stocks to benefit from government efforts to reduce the Chinese economy’s reliance on exports. “Consumption-related stocks are likely to outperform, especially durable goods such as autos or home appliances as the government is likely to move to help boost disposable income,” Sohn Je Seong, who helps manage $5.3 billion at Seoul-based HI Asset, said in a March 27 interview. “The Chinese government, which moved in advance to tighten, has enough policy tools and more room to wiggle.” HI Asset became in December one of 147 companies with Chinese government-approved qualified foreign institutional investor status to buy so-called A shares on the mainland and is awaiting its investment quota. Korea Investment, the $45 billion sovereign wealth fund, was awarded a $200 million investment quota on March 9.
A gauge of consumer-staple shares on the CSI 300 Index (SHSZ300) is the best performer of 10 industry groups since March 5 when Premier Wen Jiabao announced a lower economic growth target for China and signaled a shift toward expansion driven more by domestic consumption. The industry measure’s 2.9 percent decline since then compares with an 8.3 percent drop by the CSI 300, which measures stocks traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Yen Touches 3-Week High (Source: Bloomberg)
The yen rose, reaching a three-week high against the dollar, as a global rout in equities supported demand for Japan’s currency as a refuge. The yen gained against most major counterparts after data showed Japan’s consumer prices unexpectedly rose last month, reducing the case for further easing by the central bank. The euro gained toward a one-month high against the dollar as European finance ministers prepare for to meet today amid prospects they will agree increase rescue funds. “Equity markets have been softer globally and that may be stoking some risk aversion,” said Kengo Suzuki, a foreign- exchange strategist in Tokyo at Mizuho Securities Co., a unit of Japan’s third-largest bank by market value. “The yen is being bought in a bid for safety.”
The yen touched 81.83 per dollar, the strongest since March 9, before trading at 82.26 as of 10:13 a.m. in Tokyo, 0.2 percent higher than yesterday’s close. It slid 0.2 percent to 109.86 per euro. Europe’s currency is on pace for a 10 percent surge against the yen this quarter, the most since the final three months of 2000. The euro rose 0.3 percent to $1.3346. The common currency on March 27 touched $1.3386, the highest since Feb. 29.

FOREX-Yen rises broadly but dollar seen resilient
LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) - The yen rose broadly  , boosted by demand linked to the end of Japan's financial year, although most market players said the dollar should reassert itself as long as upcoming U.S. data does not bear out a rise in concerns about growth.  
"There's definitely a lot of month-end and quarter-end rebalancing but the bigger story we are seeing is some bond buying and equity selling in the last 24 hours," said Geoff Kendrick, currency strategist at Nomura.

Japan Production Decline Undercuts Signs of Recovery: Economy (Source: Bloomberg)
Japan’s industrial production unexpectedly dropped in February, undercutting signs of an economic rebound in the first quarter as policy makers assess whether to apply further stimulus. Factory output slid 1.2 percent from the previous month, the Trade Ministry said in Tokyo today, after a 1.9 percent gain in January. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 1.3 percent increase. The unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent and consumer prices excluding fresh food unexpectedly rose 0.1 percent, government reports showed. The Bank of Japan (8301) has come under pressure by a group of lawmakers to bolster stimulus efforts, with a board member this week questioned on the idea of adopting a Federal Reserve-style “operation twist,” swapping short-term bonds for longer-dated securities. While the first gain in five months in consumer prices prompted the yen to strengthen, inflation remains distant from the 1 percent goal that the BOJ announced last month.
“They’ll have to maintain their easing stance for a while to prop up the economy,” said Hiroshi Miyazaki, chief economist at Shinkin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo, referring to BOJ policy makers. “A slight increase in prices won’t make the BOJ optimistic.” The yen traded 0.2 percent higher at 82.24 per dollar as of 10:22 a.m. in Tokyo, after earlier jumping as much as 0.8 percent on the data. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.1 percent.

Japan Consumer Prices Unexpectedly Rise 0.1% on Year Earlier (Source: Bloomberg)
Japan’s consumer prices unexpectedly rose in February, a gain that may not be enough to ease pressure on the central bank for bolder action to end deflation. Consumer prices excluding fresh foods climbed 0.1 percent from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo. The median estimate was for a 0.1 percent decline, in a Bloomberg News survey of 29 economists. Some members of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan say they’re opposing the nomination of BNP Paribas SA economist Ryutaro Kono to the Bank of Japan (8301)’s policy board because they doubt his commitment to ending deflation. Governor Masaaki Shirakawa’s officials may need to enlarge a 30 trillion yen ($364 billion) asset-purchase fund, according to economists including Kyohei Morita. “The bar is high for ending entrenched deflation,’’ Morita, chief economist at Barclays Capital in Tokyo, said before the report was released. ’’The BOJ is likely to introduce more easing measures this year.’’

Japanese Stocks Decline After Industrial Output Retreats (Source: Bloomberg)
Japanese stocks edged lower after a report showed the nation’s industrial production unexpectedly fell in February. The drop was limited ahead of U.S. data today estimated to show growth in consumer confidence and spending. Fanuc Corp. (6954), an industrial robot maker, slumped 2.5 percent. Toyota Motor Corp., Asia’s biggest carmaker by market value, retreated 0.7 percent as the strengthening yen damped the outlook for exporters’ earnings. Inpex Corp., Japan’s No. 1 energy explorer by market value, dropped 1.1 percent after oil prices declined yesterday. Daiichi Sankyo Co. fell 2.3 percent after Citigroup Inc. cut the drugmaker’s rating on the impact of expiring patents. “It’s not a bearish case, but you just don’t have sustainability for the markets to reweight higher like they did three or four months ago,” saidAndrew Pease, Sydney-based chief strategist for the Asia-Pacific region at Russell Investment Group, which oversees about $150 billion.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) slid 0.3 percent to 10,087.76 as of 11:01 a.m. in Tokyo, paring its monthly advance to 3.8 percent. The gauge is headed for its fourth monthly gain, the longest such streak since February 2011, as the yen weakened and U.S. showed signs of economic recovery. The broader Topix Index slid 0.2 percent to 856.24, headed for a 0.4 percent weekly gain. Volume on the gauge was 23 percent below its 30-day average.

Sun Hung Kai Loses $5.8 Billion as Kwoks Arrested (Source: Bloomberg)
Hong Kong anti-graft investigators arrested the billionaire co-chairmen of Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (16), the city’s biggest developer, in one of the former British colony’s highest-profile corruption cases in decades. The stock plunged the most in 14 years. Thomas and Raymond Kwok were detained by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Sun Hung Kai said late yesterday. Rafael Hui, a former No. 2 official in the government, was also arrested, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because of the ongoing probe. The arrests wiped as much as HK$45 billion ($5.8 billion) off the company’s value, mark one of the highest-level investigations in the ICAC’s 38-year history and come four days after a Hong Kong leadership election in which close ties between government and business emerged as a key campaign theme. Current Chief Executive Donald Tsang is being probed separately by the ICAC for taking trips on the yachts and planes of tycoons.
“This will no doubt further strengthen the impression among the public that there is a collusion between business and government,” said Shiu Lik-king, a lecturer of public policy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “Politics is all about perception. Once the public think you’ve done it, it won’t matter even if you’re not convicted at the end.”

Hong Kong Stocks Drop as China Earnings Raise Concern (Source: Bloomberg)
Hong Kong stocks dropped, sending the Hang Seng Index (HSI) down for a third day, as the billionaire co- chairmen of Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd., the city’s biggest developer, were arrested in corruption probe. Sun Hung Kai plunged 11 percent, headed for its biggest drop since 2008. PetroChina Co. (857), the mainland’s biggest energy producer, fell 0.7 percent after profit missed analyst estimates. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. gained 2 percent after posting better-than-estimated earning’s growth. The Hang Seng Index fell 0.6 percent to 20,479.44 as of 9:52 a.m. in Hong Kong. The gauge has dropped 5.3 percent this month, headed for its first monthly drop since November and paring gains this year to 11 percent. For the week, the gauge is down about 0.6 percent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (HSCEI) of mainland companies listed in the city rose 0.3 percent to 10,565.85 today.
“You just don’t have sustainability for the markets to reweight higher like they did three or four months ago,”Andrew Pease, Sydney-based chief investment strategist for the Asia- Pacific region at Russell Investment Group, which manages about $150 billion. “You are not going to see any acceleration from here and you may actually feel a bit of moderation” in the U.S.

S.Korea Output Growth Slows, GDP Expands Less Than Estimated (Source: Bloomberg)
South Korea’s industrial production rose at a slower pace in February and the nation’s economy expanded less than the central bank initially estimated in the fourth quarter. Output rose 0.8 percent in February compared with a revised 3.2 percent gain in January, Statistics Korea said today. The median estimate of 10 economists in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 0.3 percent drop. Gross domestic product grew 0.3 percent in the three months to December from the third quarter, compared with a January estimate of 0.4 percent, the Bank of Korea said. South Korea’s economy, which accelerated the least in two years last quarter, may bottom in the first three months of the year before returning to a recovery path in the second quarter, Finance Minister Bahk Jae Wan said last week. Improvements in global demand may aid the nation, with International Monetary Fund official David Lipton saying this week that he expects modest growth in the U.S., a mild recession in Europe and a soft landing for China.
“We’re apparently going through a trough but the speed and magnitude of an economic recovery highly hinges on global demand,” Yoon Yeo Sam, a fixed-income analyst at Daewoo Securities Co. in Seoul, said before the releases. “The Bank of Korea will likely stay pat for a considerable period of time to support growth amid easing inflation pressures.”

BRICS Bourses Start Futures Venture Aimed at Wealthy Individuals (Source: Bloomberg)
Exchanges in the biggest emerging economies will begin trading futures based on each other’s benchmark stock indexes today as rising wealth spurs demand for new investment products. The five members of the BRICS Exchanges Alliance will cross-list futures on Brazil’s Bovespa Index (IBOV), Russia’s Micex Index (INDEXCF), the BSE India Sensitive Index, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (HSCEI) and South Africa’s JSE Top40 Index. Traders engaged in arbitrage will be able to buy and sell futures based on the same index on multiple venues, boosting liquidity, according to Mumbai-based BSE Ltd. The products may appeal to the growing number of wealthy individual investors in developing nations who want to access foreign markets, said Bruce Weber, dean of the Lerner College of Business and Economics at the University of Delaware in Newark.
Per-capita gross domestic product in emerging markets has jumped 104 percent during the past decade to about $6,980, according to the Washington-based International Monetary Fund. “The exchanges are doing well in local markets and want to be seen as international for their local investors, who can then go to another BRIC country easily,” Weber, who co-wrote “The Equity Trader Course” in 2006, said in a phone interview. “BRIC countries have generated a lot of growth for investors.”

Myanmar Economy Poised to Take Flight as Voters Head to Polls (Source: Bloomberg)
Myanmar next week holds the most inclusive elections since the military rejected an opposition victory in 1990, as the potential for economic ties with western nations encourages the leadership to relax control. By-elections for 43 of the national legislature’s 664 seats will be held April 1, filling posts vacated by lawmakers who joined President Thein Sein’s government. The main opposition group, led by dissident Aung San Suu Kyi, is contesting seats for the first time since the 1990 turmoil. Prospects of democratic foundations in the nation of 64 million between China and India encouraged the U.S. to consider easing sanctions, with companies from General Electric Co. to Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) awaiting opportunities to invest. At stake for Thein Sein is dismantling a legacy of six decades of isolation that left Myanmar with per capita gross domestic product of just 14 percent of neighbor Thailand’s.
“The economy is like a little plane that’s been denied any repairs for decades and is now about to take off,” said Thant Myint-U, an author of two books on Myanmar whose grandfather, U Thant, was the first Asian head of the United Nations. “Those trade and financial sanctions are like huge headwinds.”

Myanmar Float Helps Exporters Buying Kyat in Black Market (Source: Bloomberg)
Myanmar’s move to a managed float of the kyat may weaken the grip of the black market, where appreciation has been hurting exporters. “The dollar has seen some weakening pressure against the kyat and that is quite a big pain for exporters,” Toshihiro Mizutani, managing director of the Japan External Trade Organization in Yangon, said in an interview on March 28. “If they can manage to keep it from rising fast it would help.” The biggest financial market policy shift since President Thein Sein took power a year ago is an attempt to unify the multiple exchange rates in the Asian nation of 64 million people. The official rate, pegged to the International Monetary Fund’s special drawing rights, is 6.4 kyat per dollar, about 125 times stronger than the black market rate and available only to state-owned companies.
The central bank plans to gradually unify the “various” other rates used by private enterprises and influence the market rate, it said in a statement published in the state-run New Light of Myanmar this week. The bank will publish a reference rate for its currency daily starting April 1, scrapping a 35- year fixed exchange rate, it said.

Spain Vows to Resist Strikers’ Demands to Reverse Labor Law (Source: Bloomberg)
Spain’s government vowed to stick to its labor overhaul, defying union leaders who threatened further unrest after staging the first general strike since Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy took office three months ago. Iberia, the Spanish unit of International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG), canceled 65 percent of its flights, while national power demand was about 17 percent below usual, grid operator Red Electrica Corp. SA data showed. Unions said 77 percent of workers took part, more than during a walkout in 2010, even as the People’s Party government said fewer workers stayed home than last time. Shops, restaurants and banks in central Madrid opened as usual.
While Rajoy’s measures have angered unions and undermined support for the party in a regional election on March 25, the government is still struggling to convince investors it can cut debt and reduce a 23 percent jobless rate. Spain’s extra borrowing costs compared with Germany’s increased to the most in more than three months today, surging 65 basis points from the start of March.

European Stocks Fall as S&P Sees More Greek Restructuring (Source: Bloomberg)
European stocks declined the most in more than three weeks as Standard & Poor’s said Greece may have to restructure its debt again and more Americans than forecast filed claims for jobless benefits. Hennes & Mauritz AB (HMB), Europe’s second-largest clothing retailer, dropped the most in six months as earnings missed estimates. Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, Italy’s third- biggest bank, tumbled 11 percent after posting a record loss. FirstGroup Plc (FGP), Britain’s biggest train operator, sank 14 percent amid “challenging trading conditions” at its bus unit. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) dropped 1.3 percent to 260.74 at the close, the biggest decline since March 6. The gauge has still climbed 6.6 percent in 2012, the best start to a year since 2006, as the European Central Bank lent about $1.3 trillion to the region’s financial institutions. The number of shares changing hands was 16 percent more than the average over the last 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
“After the strong gains through the first quarter, it’s very reasonable that trading is soft as investors consider their positions in the wake of some soft data recently,” said Michael Droescher Joergensen, an equity strategist at Nykredit Bank A/S in Copenhagen.

U.K. House Prices Drop Most in Two Years as Loans Fall: Economy (Source: Bloomberg)
U.K. house prices fell the most in two years and mortgage approvals dropped to an eight-month low as economic uncertainty hurt demand for property and banks tightened lending conditions. Home values dropped 1 percent in March, the biggest decline since February 2010, Nationwide Building Society said in an e- mailed statement today. Lenders granted 48,986 property loans to Britons in February, compared with 57,899 in January, the Bank of England said in a separate report in London. Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said this week that the financial crisis hasn’t gone away as banks continue to shore up balance sheets to protect themselves from the euro-area debt crisis. The housing market may face further pressure as job cuts undermine consumer confidence, and a central bank survey published today showed banks expect mortgage availability to decline “slightly” in the second quarter.
“U.K. data releases this morning were in the round somewhat disappointing,” said David Tinsley, chief U.K. economist at BNP Paribas SA and a former Bank of England official. Today’s data “confirms that the housing market remains depressed by any historical comparison” and signals the economy is going to have “a rougher road in the second quarter.”

German Jobless Fell in March as Economy Showed Resilience (Source: Bloomberg)
German unemployment fell more than forecast in March, adding to evidence that growth in Europe’s biggest economy is gaining traction as the debt crisis recedes. The number of people out of work fell a seasonally adjusted 18,000 to 2.84 million, the Nuremberg-based Federal Labor Agency said today. Economists forecast a decline of 10,000, the median of 36 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed. The adjusted jobless rate slipped to 6.7 percent, a two-decade low. “Hiring hasn’t halted this quarter after the fourth- quarter contraction,” said Thomas Costerg, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in London. It “says a lot about the underlying strength of the German economy.” Unemployment will continue to decline in coming months as the pace of economic growth accelerates, he said.
Falling joblessness underscores Germany’s resilience in the face of the debt crisis that Chancellor Angela Merkel says may have peaked. While the 17-member euro-region economy will shrink 0.3 percent in 2012, Germany’s economy will grow 0.6 percent, the European Commission forecast. Investor confidence is at its highest in 21 months and business confidence at an 8-month high.

Bank of Portugal Sees Deeper Economic Contraction in 2012 (Source: Bloomberg)
Portugal’s central bank said the economy will contract more than previously forecast in 2012 and won’t grow next year as consumer spending drops and export growth eases. Gross domestic product will fall 3.4 percent this year after declining 1.6 percent in 2011, the Bank of Portugal said today in its spring economic bulletin. In January, the bank forecast GDP would decrease 3.1 percent in 2012, also a bigger drop than previously estimated, and predicted that the economy would expand 0.3 percent in 2013. “The risks surrounding the current projection point to more unfavorable economic-activity developments,” the Lisbon- based central bank said in a statement. “These risks stem to a large extent from external-driven factors, in particular related to the sovereign-debt crisis in the euro area, which may constrain external-demand developments.”
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho is cutting spending and raising taxes to meet the terms of a 78 billion-euro ($104 billion) aid plan from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. As the country’s borrowing costs surged, Portugal followed Greece and Ireland last April in seeking a bailout and now plans to return to bond markets in 2013. “If the macroeconomic environment weakens further, the adoption of additional measures that ensure the fulfillment of the fiscal goals may be necessary,” the Bank of Portugal said.

History Forecasts CAC 40 Gain in Month to French Election (Source: Bloomberg)
France’s CAC 40 Index (CAC) may rally in the month leading up to the country’s presidential election in May at a rate three times the average, if history is a guide. The gauge has risen an average of 2.1 percent in the month preceding the final voting in the past eight election years back to 1965, surpassing the 0.7 percent increase in the monthly rolling average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and NYSE Euronext. The index has dropped 2.8 percent on average in the month following the election, the data show. Investors including Jerome Forneris of Banque Martin Maurel and Arnaud Scarpaci of Agilis Gestion SA, who are both buying French shares with earnings most closely tied to the economy, say they expect stocks to advance regardless of whether incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy or Socialist Francois Hollande is favored to win. Voters will cast ballots on April 22 for the first round and on May 6 for the final vote.
“The candidates have programs with good promises,” said Forneris, who helps manage $11 billion at Banque Martin Maurel in Marseille. “We buy the program and then after the election, we sell on the news. After the election, the market often falls. Promises often aren’t kept or the president says he can’t carry out certain things right away.”

20120330 1145 Global Commodities Related News.

Report Shows "2012 Corn Seedings to be Smaller Than Expected, Soybeans as Expected”  (Source: CME)
By CME Group - Thu 29 Mar 2012 15:18:45 CT
Chief Economist AG Resource, Bill Tierney suggests Corn Seedings to Be Smaller Than Industry Expectations at 93.6 – 93.7 Million Acres. He suggests that this would tend to be “Friendly new crop and Bearish old crop”  but warns Dec Corn futures historically does not respond dramatically to stocks report.  Soybeans as expected

Corn futures softened into the close to finish roughly 16 cents lower in old-crop futures, while December through July contracts were around 12 cents lower. Traders were squarely focused on evening positions ahead of USDA’s key reports tomorrow morning.  (Source: CME)

Corn Market Recap for 3/29/2012  (Source: CME)
Thu 29 Mar 2012 14:39:00 CT
May Corn finished down 16 1/4 at 604, 19 1/2 off the high and 1 up from the low. July Corn closed down 15 3/4 at 603 3/4. This was 1 1/4 up from the low and 18 3/4 off the high. May corn closed sharply lower on the session as the aggressive long liquidation selling trend from fund traders in corn and in many other commodity markets helped to pressure. The lowest weekly export sales since June of last year and a continued long liquidation selling trend from fund traders helped to pressure the market early in the day and the selling continued for much of the day. This helped push the market to the lowest level since January 19th and December corn to the lowest since March 17th. Weekly export sales came in at just 130,700 metric tonnes for the current marketing year and 27,000 for the next marketing year for a total of 157,700 which was sharply below trade expectations. Cumulative corn sales stand at 76.7% of the USDA forecast for 2011/2012 (current) marketing year versus a 5 year average of 72.7%. Sales of 432,000 metric tonnes are needed each week to reach the USDA forecast. On top of the weekly sales, exporters reported sales of 120,000 tonnes of US corn to China for the 2011/12 season and 120,000 tonnes of US corn to unknown destination for the 2012/13 season. May corn is down as much as 53 cents from Monday's highs and 72 3/4 cents off of last week's highs. May Rice finished up 0.16 at 14.9, 0.1 off the high and 0.04 up from the low.

Normal U.S. Weather Seen Producing Bumper Corn Crop  (Source: CME)
By Thomson Reuters - Thu 29 Mar 2012 11:06:37 CT
Prospects for normal crop weather in the U.S. heartland combined with the largest planted area in almost seven decades could lead to a record large corn crop of nearly 14.0 billion bushels, an agricultural meteorologist said on Thursday. Meteorologist Kyle Tapley of MDA EarthSat Weather, also known as Cropcast Weather, said his firm was pegging corn yield per acre at 161 bushels and corn production at a record 13.9 billion bushels, above the previous record of 13.1 billion.  

Wheat futures extended losses into the close, with Chicago and Kansas City posting double-digit losses in the teens. Minneapolis wheat closed 6 1/2 to 13 3/4 cents lower. As selling picked up in the corn pit, wheat followed in the absence of fresh positive news. Focus in the market was on evening positions ahead of tomorrow morning's key USDA reports.  (Source: CME)

Wheat Market Recap Report  (Source: CME)
Thu 29 Mar 2012 14:39:00 CT
May Wheat finished down 18 1/4 at 612 1/2, 22 1/2 off the high and 1 1/4 up from the low. July Wheat closed down 16 1/4 at 627 1/4. This was 1 up from the low and 19 3/4 off the high. May wheat collapsed to close sharply lower on the session as fund traders were active sellers across a wide range of commodity markets. The lack of a freeze in the forecast for the plains next week and beyond plus a continued long liquidation trend from speculators in corn and other commodity markets helped to pressure the market early today. Talk that the weather is turning a little wetter in Western Europe into later next week was also seen as a negative force as the rain should ease dryness concerns. The aggressive selling today pushed the market to the lowest level since December 19th. Weekly export sales for wheat came in at 226,100 metric tonnes for the current marketing year and 177,000 for the next marketing year for a total of 403,100 which was below trade expectations. As of March 22nd, cumulative wheat sales stand at 93.4% of the USDA forecast for 2011/2012 (current) marketing year versus a 5 year average of 92.0%. Sales of 178,000 metric tonnes are needed each week to reach the USDA forecast. May wheat is down as much as 59 1/4 cents from Monday's peak. With specs already heavily net short coming into the week, it may take negative news from the USDA reports in the morning just to justify this week's collapse. The European Union this week granted export licenses for 210,000 tonnes of wheat which pushed the exports for the season to 10.5 million tonnes as compared with 15.4 million last year by this date. May Oats closed down 6 3/4 at 335 1/2. This was 2 1/2 up from the low and 11 off the high.

GRAINS-Soy rises on supply concerns, market eyes USDA report
SINGAPORE, March 29 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures rose around half a percent as strong global oilseed demand and shrinking supplies after a drought in South America continued to support the market.
"The corn market is a little bit bearish pricing in Friday's report as there are going to be more planted acres for corn," said Abah Ofon, commodities analyst at Standard Chartered in Singapore.  

China mills eye more U.S. corn after 6 cargoes-trade
CHICAGO/BEIJING, March 29 (Reuters) - Private Chinese importers have bought six cargoes, or about 360,000 tonnes, of U.S. corn for shipment in May and June from the U.S. Pacific Northwest in the first large sale to the country since late February, trade sources said.
The latest purchases, together with 120,000 tonnes in February, have swelled imports this year by China, the world's second largest consumer, to nearly 500,000 tonnes.

Mosaic profit misses Street on potash sales drop
NEW YORK, March 28 (Reuters) - Mosaic Co  posted a stark drop in quarterly profit as farmers bought less potash fertilizer and costs jumped in the phosphate fertilizer segment.
High prices for potash kept many customers from buying ahead of the spring planting season, which begins shortly in North America.

Vietnam rice exports to China set to soar -report
HANOI, March 29 (Reuters) - Vietnam's rice exports to neighbouring China could soar sixfold this year, a Vietnamese industry official was quoted as saying on Thursday, helping to keep domestic prices stable during the peak of a major harvest.
The growth in shipments, set to rise to between 1.5 million and 2 million tonnes, could be reached via official and unofficial trade channels, Deputy Chairman Pham Van Bay of the Vietnam Food Association was quoted as saying by the Ho Chi Minh City Law newspaper.

Russia could export as much grain again in 2012/13
VORONEZH, Russia, March 28 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia could export almost as much grain in the coming crop year or even match the 27 million tonne level forecast for 2011/12, when exports have been running at record levels.
Russian grain exports are expected to reach between 25 million and 27 million tonnes in the 2012/13 crop year, Putin said during a meeting on spring sowing on Wednesday.

Kazakh port starts loading wheat for Iran
ASTANA/HAMBURG, March 28 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan's only grain-exporting port has loaded its first 15,000 tonnes of wheat as well as 15,000 tonnes of barley, all destined for Iran, in the past 12 days, a port official told Reuters on Wednesday.
Yerkin Delmanov, deputy chairman of the Ak Bidai grain terminal in the Caspian Sea port of Aktau, said 30,000 tonnes of grain had been loaded for Iran since March 16.

Japan to import 6.5 pct less food wheat in 2012/13
TOKYO, March 28 (Reuters) - Japan, the world's fifth-biggest wheat importer, plans to buy 6.5 percent less foreign food wheat in the year to March 2013  in anticipation of higher local production, helped by government initiatives to lift food self sufficiency.
A panel of experts on Wednesday approved a plan by the Ministry of Agriculture to buy 4.78 million tonnes of foreign wheat for milling use in 2012/13, compared with the 2011/12 plan for 5.11 million tonnes.

Cotton futures traded on both sides of unchanged and settled split with nearby contracts 20 and 49 points lower and 2013 contracts marginally firmer. Today, cotton traders focused on readying positions for USDA’s Prospective Plantings Report tomorrow morning. Pre-report expectations are for 2012-13 plantings to total 12.74 million acres, which compares to 2011’s total of 14.73 million acres.  (Source: CME)

SOFTS-Arabica coffee on ICE edges up early, cocoa lower
LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) - Arabica coffee futures on ICE were slightly higher early with the market looking to consolidate above a recent 17-month low while raw sugar was little changed and cocoa posted modest losses, dealers said.
Arabica coffee futures on ICE edged up early, aided partly by a slightly weaker dollar.  May arabicas on ICE were up 0.85 cents or 0.5 percent at $1.8285 per lb. The front month had rebounded from a 17-month low of $1.7445 set last week but showed renewed signs of weakness on Wednesday.

COLUMN: Wheat-versus-corn spread worth watching, again
-- Gavin Maguire is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own. --
CHICAGO, March 28 (Reuters) - The corn-versus-wheat spread may sound very "last year", but could prove to be a popular trading strategy again in 2012 as the U.S. winter wheat harvest and corn planting season approach.
Dryness concerns in key growing regions fueled a strengthening in winter wheat prices earlier this year - and led to a widening in the wheat/corn spread as wheat values advanced relative to corn. However, the latest condition reports for winter wheat suggest crop quality has improved in many top producing areas to pave the way potentially for a fresh downward leg in the spread this spring.

Saudi minister doesn't promise more oil
--John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own--
LONDON, March 28 (Reuters) - Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi repeated previous criticisms about how traders and the media misunderstand the oil market and the country's policies, but made no promise of an immediate output increase, in an opinion article for the Financial Times on Wednesday.
Naimi wrote bluntly that "there is no rational reason for high oil prices." Instead he argued "fundamentally the market remains balanced. It is the perceived shortage of oil keeping prices high - not the reality on the ground. There is no lack of supply. There is no demand which cannot be met."

Brent near $124 as U.S. crude stocks rise offsets Iran
SINGAPORE, March 29 (Reuters) - Brent crude held steady near $124 as news of a surge in U.S. crude inventories and Western nations' talks on releasing strategic oil reserves offset supply disruption concerns over tension in the Middle East.
"There is residual selling from news flow overnight," said Ben Le Brun, a Sydney-based market analyst at brokerage OptionsXpress, pointing to the large build in U.S. crude inventories and the talks on releasing strategic oil stocks.

Vietnam March crude oil output rises 8.2 pct y/y-govt
HANOI, March 29 (Reuters) - Vietnam's crude oil production reached an estimated 1.37 million tonnes, or 324,000 barrels per day (bpd), in March, up 8.2 percent from the same month in 2011, the government said on Thursday.
February's output was revised down to 1.27 million tonnes from an earlier estimate of 1.28 million tonnes. The actual amount was up 11.4 percent from 1.14 million tonnes pumped in February 2011, the General Statistics Office said in its monthly report.

France discussing strategic oil release with UK, US
PARIS, March 28 (Reuters) - France is in talks with the United States and Britain on a possible release of strategic oil stocks to push fuel prices lower, French ministers said on  Wed nesday, four weeks before the country's presidential election.
Earlier in March, British sources said London was prepared to cooperate with Washington on a release of strategic oil stocks that was expected within months, in a bid to prevent fuel prices from choking economic growth in what is also a U.S. election year.

Oil Rebounds From Year’s Biggest Decline on Iran Tension (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil rose in New York, trimming a third weekly drop, as investors bet that sanctions on Iran will tighten and that yesterday’s decline, the biggest this year, was exaggerated. Crude advanced for the first time in three days after the 2.5 percent drop, the most since December. Futures rebounded after a technical indicator signaled they may have fallen too far and U.S. lawmakers introduced a bill seeking to expand sanctions on Iran. Prices have slipped this week amid rising U.S. stockpiles and speculation that western countries may tap emergency reserves. “Any rhetoric concerning the tightening of sanctions will increase pressure on the region and as a result, you have to expect it to extend to oil prices,” said Jonathan Barratt, chief executive of Barratt’s Bulletin, a commodity markets newsletter in Sydney. “We did break below the very important support of $104 a barrel, and I think we’ve had a technical reaction on the back of that.”
Oil for May delivery gained as much as 67 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $103.45 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $103.44 at 11:55 a.m. Sydney time. It slumped yesterday to $102.78, the lowest close since Feb. 16. Brent oil for May settlement was at $122.80 a barrel, up 41 cents, on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract’s premium to New York-traded WTI was at $19.38, compared with yesterday’s close of $19.61, the widest gap in five months.

Copper Traders Most Bearish in Two Months on China: Commodities (Source: Bloomberg)
Copper traders are the most bearish in two months after stockpiles tracked by the biggest metals bourse rose for the first time in five weeks and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its recommendation on commodities to neutral. Eleven of 25 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect copper to drop next week, the highest proportion since Jan. 6. Seven were neutral. Inventories reported by the London Metal Exchange rose 1.4 percent on March 27, the first gain since Feb. 22. Reserves in Shanghai’s bonded warehouses tripled since November and any strengthening in demand next quarter may be “tepid,” Barclays Capital said in a report March 28.
China is the biggest copper buyer, using two in every five metric tons, and Premier Wen Jiabao cut the nation’s growth target to 7.5 percent earlier this month, the lowest since 2004. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg anticipate a recession in Europe, which accounts for 18 percent of copper demand. That’s outweighing signs of an accelerating U.S. expansion and paring this year’s rally in prices of as much as 15 percent. “There is a disconnect between the physical and economic evidence coming out of China and what’s happening within the industrial metals,” said Jeremy Baker, who helps manage $925 million of assets for the Belvista Commodity Fund, part of the Vontobel Group in Zurich. “The U.S. is improving, but the U.S. is still a very small proportion of a total consumption equation for metals. We need to have some kind of a shakeout.”

Palladium Seen Beating Gold With Record Car Sales: Commodities (Source: Bloomberg)
Investors are buying palladium at the fastest pace in more than a year as analysts predict rising demand and declining supply will turn this quarter’s worst- performing precious metal into the best by December. Holdings in palladium-backed exchange-traded products rose 14 percent this year, poised for the best quarter since the end of 2010, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The metal will average $850 an ounce in the final three months of 2012, 32 percent more than now, according to the median estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. They expect a gain of 15 percent for gold, 13 percent for silver and 11 percent for platinum. Palladium lagged behind other metals this year on concern about slowing growth in vehicle sales in China, the world’s largest car market. Autocatalysts account for 65 percent of demand, according to Barclays Capital.
Prices are poised to rise because carmakers are still using the most metal ever, with the prospect of shortages because of less supply from state reserves in Russia, the biggest producer, the bank estimates. “I like palladium the best among precious metals, it’s relatively cheap compared to the others,” said Bart Melek, the head of commodity strategy at TD Securities Inc. in Toronto and the most accurate price forecaster tracked by Bloomberg Rankings in the eight quarters through the end of 2011. “Autocatalyst demand for palladium should grow. Russian government stocks will limit supply growth.”

20120330 1144 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

After trading firmer overnight and into mid-morning, profit-taking became the featured activity in the bean pit and futures ended 11 3/4 to 15 3/4 cents lower. Meal and soyoil saw spillover pressure, as well as pressure from negative outside markets. Early support was tied to concerns about the South American crop, which has raised demand prospects.  (Source: CME)

Soybean Complex Market Recap  (Source: CME)
Thu 29 Mar 2012 14:39:01 CT
May Soybeans finished down 12 at 1355 1/2, 21 off the high and 4 1/2 up from the low. July Soybeans closed down 11 3/4 at 1361 1/4. This was 5 1/4 up from the low and 20 off the high. May Soymeal closed down 2.7 at 375.0. This was 0.7 up from the low and 7.1 off the high. May Soybean Oil finished down 1.01 at 53.59, 1.24 off the high and 0.04 up from the low. May soybeans opened higher but closed sharply lower on the day and experienced the lowest close since March 22nd. Weakness in other commodity markets and a sharp break in equity, energy and metal markets helped to turn the market lower into the mid-session but soybeans continue to hold up well relative to the other grains. The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange pegged the soybean crop at just 45 million tonnes from 46.2 million as their previous estimate and compared with 46.5 million as the last USDA estimate. Weekly export sales for soybeans came in at 471,900 metric tonnes for the current marketing year and 120,400 for the next marketing year for a total of 592,300 which was about as expected. As of March 22, cumulative soybean sales stand at 90.2% of the USDA forecast for 2011/2012 (current) marketing year versus a 5 year average of 91.0%. Sales of 145,000 metric tonnes are needed each week to reach the USDA forecast. Meal sales came in at 132,900 metric tonnes for the current marketing year and 12,500 for the next marketing year for a total of 145,400. Sales of 91,000 metric tonnes are needed each week to reach the USDA forecast. Oil sales came in at 3,500 metric tonnes. Sales of 7,000 metric tonnes are needed each week to reach the USDA forecast. On top of the weekly sales, exporters reported sales of 120,000 tonnes of US soybeans to China for the 2011/12 season. Positioning ahead of the USDA reports for release in the morning has helped to keep trade choppy. Fund long liquidation selling increased to drive the market lower late in the session.

Soy Rises: Market Eyes USDA Report  (Source: CME)
By Thomson Reuters - Thu 29 Mar 2012 10:34:11 CT
Chicago soybean futures rose around half a percent as strong global oilseed demand and shrinking supplies after a drought in South America continued to support the market. "The corn market is a little bit bearish pricing in Friday's report as there are going to be more planted acres for corn," said Abah Ofon, commodities analyst at Standard Chartered in Singapore.

VEGOILS-Palm oil loses more ground, USDA report eyed
SINGAPORE, March 29 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures slipped for a second day, as traders booked more profit from a rally this week, although losses were curbed by soybean supply fears in South America and firm export outlook for palm oil.
"We see that palm oil prices have come to a one-year high, so it's not surprising that some profit-taking activities start to kick in, especially now as we are at the end of the month, some book squaring is going to happen," said Ker Chung Yang, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.  

Argentina sees solid China soy demand even as economy slows
BUENOS AIRES, March 28 (Reuters) - China's economic slowdown will not choke demand for Argentine soy used to feed cattle, an official said on Wednesday, as the Asian country's emerging middle class clamors for beef.
China's strong buying of animal feed has defied forecasts  that imports would slow along with the country's downshift in economic growth. Argentina is the world's No. 1 exporter of soymeal, used as animal feed, and its No. 3 soybean supplier.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

20120329 1820 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3456, changed : -17 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : pullback correction upside biased.
MACD Histrogram : turned downward, buyer lock in profit.
Support : 3450, 3420, 3380, 3350 level.
Resistance : 3470, 3500, 3550, 3620 level.
Comment :
FCPO continue to pullback lower with slowing down volume participation. Soy oil price currently drifting between gain and losses after overnight closed weaker while crude oil price consolidating lower.
Buyers continue to lock in profit after price rallied hitting 1 year high reducing exposure ahead of Friday USDA report.
Technical chart study remained suggesting a pullback correction upside biased market development.
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.

20120329 1740 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1584 changed : -1.5 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : side way range bound.
MACD Histrogram : falling, buyer seller battling.
Support : 1580, 1570, 1565, 1550 level.
Resistance : 1590, 1600, 1610, 1620 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed marginally lower with declined volume changed hand doing about 1.5 point discount compare to cash market that closed slightly higher. Overnight U.S. markets closed weaker and today Asia markets also ended in negative territory while European markets currently registering loss.
Slower than estimated U.S. durable orders growth and weaker China companies earnings sent global market lower.
Daily chart technical analysis switch to calling 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 resistance or strength with quick cut loss and profit target.

20120329 1727 Regional Markets EOD Daily Chart Study.

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

20120329 1613 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares fall on U.S., China growth worries
TOKYO, March 29 (Reuters) - Asian shares fell for a second successive day as concerns about growth prospects in the world's two largest economies, the United States and China, prompted investors to trim their risk exposure ahead of the end of the quarter.
"I think China will see a temporary slowdown, which will trigger monetary and fiscal easing, and overall, the landing of Chinese economy will be soft," said Dariusz Kowalczyk, senior economist and strategist, Asia ex-Japan, at Credit Agricole CIB.

FOREX-Yen firms up, but year-end support seen waning
TOKYO, March 29 (Reuters) - The yen was a shade stronger across the board but could see renewed pressure as buying linked to Japan's financial year-end looks to have peaked.
Although the last day for spot trading in the business year to March 31 was on Wednesday, real-money flows from Tokyo kept main currencies under pressure against the yen, with some exporters spotted selling the dollar in large amounts.

GRAINS-Soy rises on supply concerns, market eyes USDA report
SINGAPORE, March 29 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures rose around half a percent as strong global oilseed demand and shrinking supplies after a drought in South America continued to support the market.
"The corn market is a little bit bearish pricing in Friday's report as there are going to be more planted acres for corn," said Abah Ofon, commodities analyst at Standard Chartered in Singapore.  

Argentina sees solid China soy demand even as economy slows
BUENOS AIRES, March 28 (Reuters) - China's economic slowdown will not choke demand for Argentine soy used to feed cattle, an official said on Wednesday, as the Asian country's emerging middle class clamors for beef.
China's strong buying of animal feed has defied forecasts  that imports would slow along with the country's downshift in economic growth. Argentina is the world's No. 1 exporter of soymeal, used as animal feed, and its No. 3 soybean supplier.

Normal US weather seen producing bumper corn crop
March 28 (Reuters) - Prospects for normal crop weather in the U.S. heartland combined with the largest planted area in almost seven decades could lead to a record large corn crop of nearly 14.0 billion bushels, an agricultural meteorologist said on Thursday.
Meteorologist Kyle Tapley of MDA EarthSat Weather, also known as Cropcast Weather, said his firm was pegging corn yield per acre at 161 bushels and corn production at a record 13.9 billion bushels, above the previous record of 13.1 billion.

Russia could export as much grain again in 2012/13
VORONEZH, Russia, March 28 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia could export almost as much grain in the coming crop year or even match the 27 million tonne level forecast for 2011/12, when exports have been running at record levels.
Russian grain exports are expected to reach between 25 million and 27 million tonnes in the 2012/13 crop year, Putin said during a meeting on spring sowing on Wednesday.

Brent near $124 as U.S. crude stocks rise offsets Iran
SINGAPORE, March 29 (Reuters) - Brent crude held steady near $124 as news of a surge in U.S. crude inventories and Western nations' talks on releasing strategic oil reserves offset supply disruption concerns over tension in the Middle East.
"There is residual selling from news flow overnight," said Ben Le Brun, a Sydney-based market analyst at brokerage OptionsXpress, pointing to the large build in U.S. crude inventories and the talks on releasing strategic oil stocks.

POSCO predicts global steel market rebound in Q2
SEOUL, March 28 (Reuters) - POSCO , the world's third-largest steelmaker, sees an improving global steel market in the next three months, after  bottoming out this quarter, and is considering reducing price discounts as the recovery takes hold.
The Korean firm last month described the first quarter as its "most difficult" earnings period, hurt by weak demand from shipbuilders as Chinese growth cooled, and due to the euro zone crisis.

Bank of China unit applies to London Metal Exchange
LONDON, March 28 (Reuters) - A unit of Bank of China  , one of China's big-four state-owned banks, has applied for membership of the London Metal Exchange, the LME said on Wednesday.
The application by Bank of China International (BOCI) Global Commodities will be for a category 2 LME membership, entitling it to trade in the electronic LMESelect and telephone markets, but not in the open outcry ring.

LME zinc stocks hit highest since May 1995
SINGAPORE, March 28 (Reuters) - Zinc stocks in warehouses monitored by the London Metal Exchange (LME) jumped to the highest in nearly 17 years on Wednesday, climbing steadily after years of market surpluses.  
LME stocks of zinc , a metal used to galvanise steel, jumped by 9,850 tonnes to 898,675 tonnes, latest LME data showed, which was the highest since May 1995, metals strategists at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and BNP Paribas said.

Japan's copper exports to China double in Feb
TOKYO, March 29 (Reuters) - Japan's exports of refined copper to China doubled in February from a year earlier despite the yen's record high level as Chinese buyers boosted purchases to stock up on expectations of rising demand during the peak March-May consumption season.  
Japan's exports to China rose to 26,902 tonnes from 13,142 tonnes a year earlier and from 13,045 tonnes in January.

China's iron ore physical platform to start trade on May 8
SHANGHAI, March 29 (Reuters) - China's first iron ore physical platform will start official trading on May 8 in a move to gain more control over pricing in a sector long dominated by foreign suppliers.
The China Beijing International Mining Exchange (CBMX), which launched the online platform in January, said in a statement trial runs had started on Thursday.

China's daily crude steel output rises in mid-March-CISA
SHANGHAI, March 29 (Reuters) - China's daily crude steel output rose 1.1 percent in the second ten days of March from the preceding period, industry data showed on Thursday, following on from a sharp rise earlier in the month.
Daily crude steel output stood at 1.919 million tonnes during March 11-20, the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) said, up from 1.898 million tonnes in the previous ten days.

Vale says giant ore ships to win China OK in months
RIO DE JANEIRO, March 28 (Reuters) - Brazil's Vale , the world's No. 2 mining company, expects to win permission "within months" to unload its big, new iron-ore ships at Chinese ports, a move that will help ensure efficient delivery of raw materials to China's growing economy, a senior executive told Reuters.
The ships, known as very large ore carriers (VLOCs), or "Valemax" class vessels, are needed to meet soaring demand for iron ore, the main ingredient in steel, Tito Martins, Vale's chief financial officer, said in an interview at the Reuters Global Mining and Metals Summit.

Ukraine steel exports hit 3-yr low in Feb - agency
KIEV, March 28 (Reuters) - Exports of Ukrainian steel products, a key cash earner for the former Soviet republic, fell to 1.53 million tonnes in February, the lowest in three years, Ukrainian specialist news agency UGMK said on Wednesday.
Ukraine exported 2.07 million tonnes of steel in January and 2.26 million tonnes in December 2011.

Japan Feb zinc exports to China grow 4 times
TOKYO, March 29 (Reuters) - Japan's exports of refined zinc nearly doubled in February from a year earlier as shipments to China almost quadrupled while those to Taiwan surged 80 percent.  
China has recently emerged as the top importer of Japanese zinc, with shipments in February growing to 5,418 tonnes, up from 1,392 tonnes a year ago.

METALS-Copper steadies; growth worries cap gains
SINGAPORE, March 29 (Reuters) - Copper steadied clawing back from a loss of more than two percent in the prior session, but U.S. data indicating a weak start to the year may prompt investors to take profits off the table.
Prices closed down 2.2 percent on Wednesday, having started the week on a firmer footing on expectations of further monetary easing by the United States.  

PRECIOUS-Gold gives up early gains; tracks equities lower
SINGAPORE, March 29 (Reuters) - Gold fell after a rebound in the U.S. dollar erased early gains, while weaker equities also prompted investors to sell bullion to cover losses while waiting for more clues on the health of the U.S. economy.
Traders said the upcoming end-of-quarter was dampening trade, while the release of U.S. weekly jobless claims later could set the tone for the dollar. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 350,000 new filings compared with 348,000 in the prior week.

METALS-Copper steadies; growth worries cap gains
SINGAPORE, March 29 (Reuters) - Copper steadied, clawing back from a more than two percent loss in the prior session, but U.S. data indicating a weak start to the year may prompt investors to take profits off the table.
"Markets moved to take risk off yesterday, not just in commodities but across most financial markets. We saw reductions in oil, in part perhaps because of talks to release strategic reserves by the U.S. and others. That taken with the uninspiring U.S. data has encouraged people to take risk off," said Nick Trevethan, a senior commodity strategist at ANZ in Singapore.  

Japan's copper exports to China double in Feb
TOKYO, March 29 (Reuters) - Japan's exports of refined copper to China doubled in February from a year earlier despite the yen's record high level as Chinese buyers boosted purchases to stock up on expectations of rising demand during the peak March-May consumption season.  
Japan's exports to China rose to 26,902 tonnes from 13,142 tonnes a year earlier and from 13,045 tonnes in January.  

Gold gives up early gains; tracks equities lower
SINGAPORE, March 29 (Reuters) - Gold fell after a rebound in the U.S. dollar erased early gains, while weaker equities also prompted investors to sell bullion to cover losses while waiting for more clues on the health of the U.S. economy.
"There's end-quarter selling, some profit taking, and the dollar is a bit strong. People are only buying a small amount of physical gold because I think the global economy is still struggling," said Ronald Leung, director of Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.