Wednesday, January 4, 2012

20120104 1830 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3225, changed : 0 point, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : upside biased with possible pullback correction.
MACD Histrogram : rising, buyer still in charge.
Support : 3200, 3150, 3100, 3070 level.
Resistance : 3250, 3270, 3300, 3350 level.
Comment :
FCPO closed unchanged with slower volume exchanged. Soy oil price trading between gain and losses after overnight closed higher while crude oil price retreat lower after recent rise.
Reuter reported that survey conducted expecting a lower import, export, production and stock level.
Daily chart formed a down doji bar candle with lower shadow closed near upper Bollinger band level after market opened higher, chop downward testing little below 3200 support level within 1 hour of trading and recovered upward back into positive zone before eased little lower and closed unchanged.
Chart study adjusted to suggesting a upside biased market development with possible pullback correction.
When to buy : buy at support or weakness with quick cut loss and profit target.
When to sell : sell at resistant or strength with quick cut loss and profit target.

Reuters Survey :
Malaysia Dec 2011 Crude Palm Oil
- Imports seen down 24.1% at 66,199 tonnes from Nov 2011
- Exports seen down 9.7 at 1.50 million tonnes from Nov 2011
- Stocks seen down 5.7% at 1.95 million tonnes from Nov 2011
- Output seen down 13.9% at 1.4 million tonnes from Nov 2011

20120104 1810 Regional Markets EOD Daily Chart Study.

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

20120104 1757 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1505, changed : -19.5points, volume : higher.
Bollinger band reading : pullback correction upside biased.
MACD Histrogram : turned lower, buyer taking profit.
Support : 1505, 1500, 1494, 1485 level.
Resistance : 1515, 1530, 1540, 1550 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed recorded severel losses with rising volume transacted doing less than a point premium compare to cash market that also closed lower. Overnight U.S. market closed recorded gains and today Asia markets ended mixed while European markets trading little lower.
Some markets turned into negative territory after news on China premier statement of "relatively difficult" first quater business condition overshadowed recent improving manufacturing data while European market trading little lower ahead of Germany and Portugal bond auction.
Daily chart formed a wide range down bar candle closed in between upper and middle Bollinger band level after market opened and traded higher followed by downward movement all the way towards the end to closed near the low of the day.
Technical reading suggesting a pullback correction upside biased market development testing support and resistance level.
When to buy : buy at support or weakness with quick cut loss and profit target.
When to sell : sell at resistance or strength with quick cut loss and profit target.

20120104 1710 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

FOREX-Euro short-squeeze rally on hold; eyes on debt auction, data
TOKYO, Jan 4 (Reuters) - A short-squeeze rally in the euro stalled in Asia on Wednesday ahead of debt auctions in Germany, with market players dubious about the euro zone's plans to fend off a sovereign debt crisis as some countries face huge debt refinancing needs.
The euro is meeting resistance after posting its biggest one-day rally in nearly two months on Tuesday as investors heavily trimmed bearish positions in the common currency after upbeat data bolstered risk appetite.

Stocks cheered by growth hopes, euro steadies
TOKYO, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Asian stocks rose and the euro steadied, as investor risk appetite returned after upbeat U.S. and European economic data improved the global growth outlook despite deep-set worries over the euro zone debt crisis.  "While we are structurally underweight risk, we suggest adopting a more neutral stance in the first two weeks of 2012," analysts at Barclays Capital said in a research note.

US corn dips from 2-month peak; soy, wheat ease
SINGAPORE, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Chicago corn slid half a percent, falling from a near two-month top, while soy eased after a rally to its highest since end-October as increased selling by U.S. farmers pressured markets.  "It is generally a lower start across the grains and oilseeds markets, we are looking at a little bit of profit-taking after striking some resistance levels yesterday," said Luke Mathews, Commodities Strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Cropcast cuts Argentine corn, soy estimates
CHICAGO, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Cropcast, a weather information service widely followed by grain traders for its global crop outlooks, on Tuesday reduced its forecasts for Argentine corn and soybean production and said further cuts may be coming.
Cropcast lowered its estimate of the Argentine corn crop to 24.5 million tonnes, down 3 million tonnes from projections it gave last week, and soybeans by 1.6 million to 49.82 million as the leading global corn and soy producer suffers from drought.

Global rubber output seen up 3.1 pct in 2012-ANRPC
BANGKOK, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Global natural rubber production is expected to rise by 3.1 percent to 10.415 million tonnes in 2012, little changed from the previous forecast of a 3.6 percent rise made in November, the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) said on Wednesday.
"The downward revision results from the upward revision for the base year output," the ANRPC said in a report.

Costa Rica coffee exports edge up in Dec from year ago
SAN JOSE, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Costa Rica, a Central American producer of high-quality arabica coffee beans, exported 78,300 60-kg bags of coffee in December, 2.6 percent more than it exported the same month a year ago, the national coffee institute said.
The coffee harvesting season in the region begins in October and comes to a close in September.

Heavier rain a mixed blessing for Brazil coffee
BRASILIA, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Plentiful rain in Brazil's key coffee growing areas helped trees recover from overly dry weather in the last few months of the year, but relentless showers and little sun in some areas could bring more problems, forecaster Somar said on Tuesday.
The crop now developing in the world's top coffee producer will be a larger 'on year' crop, and a successful, good-sized  harvest is critical for a global coffee market which has seen prices soar since mid-2010 due to a shortage of quality beans.

Argentine soy crush down 5.4 pct in November
BUENOS AIRES, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Argentine soy crushing activity fell 5.4 percent in November year-on-year to nearly 3 million tonnes following a record 2009/10 crop and a smaller 2010/11 season, the government said in its latest crushing report.
Argentina is the world's top supplier of soyoil and soymeal and the No. 3 exporter of unprocessed beans.  

Cocoa exporters seek changes to Ivory Coast reform
ABIDJAN, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Leading cocoa exporters want changes to the pricing scale used in Ivory Coast's reform of the sector before they will take part in bean auctions by the world's top grower due to start later this month, export officials said on Tuesday.
President Alassane Ouattara's government intends to roll back a decade of liberalisation and adopt greater regulation as part of a move to guarantee that local farmers get at least 60 percent of the export price of their produce.

South Africa imports Romanian yellow maize
JOHANNESBURG, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Two cargo ships of Romanian maize are en route to South Africa's Western Cape province and could be followed by more imports as the country faces a maize supply shortfall for the rest of the season, the head of producer group Grain SA said on Tuesday.
"Our understanding is that there are two cargo shipments on their way to the Western Cape. It's yellow maize from Romania for the feed (livestock) industry in that province," Jannie de Villiers, Grain SA's chief executive, told Reuters.

China's Nov coal output rises 4.4 pct to 321 mln T
SHANGHAI, Jan 4 (Reuters) - China's raw coal production in November rose 4.4 percent from a year ago to reach 321 million tonnes, while total output in the first 11 months of the year rose 11.6 percent to 3.46 billion tonnes, an industry website said on Wednesday.
Of the total year-to-date output, that from main state-owned coal mines reached 1.77 billion tonnes, up 12.1 percent from the same period last year, industry portal said, citing data from the China Coal Industry Association.

Euro Coal-Prices dip by $1/T but trade subdued
LONDON, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Physical prompt coal markets began 2012 subdued, with no fresh trades reported, while prices drifted $1.00 a tonne lower with European power prices and EU carbon.
The price fall did little to encourage trade because there is sufficient spot coal in the Pacific and Atlantic and end-users in China, India and Europe are waiting to see if the price fall predicted last month will materialise before buying.

Brent oil falls below $112 after sharp gains
SINGAPORE, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Brent crude fell below $112 a barrel on Wednesday after sharp gains the previous day because of rising tensions between Iran and the West and upbeat economic data from the United States and China.
"The market typically starts the year bullish," said Jeremy Friesen, commodity strategist at Societe Generale.

India iron ore exports seen plunging after tax rise
NEW DELHI, Jan 3 (Reuters) - India's iron ore exports are likely to be 75 percent lower than previously expected in the quarter ending in March as a rise in export duties kicks in as part of the government's push to conserve supplies for domestic steelmakers.
Asia's third-largest economy announced a 50 percent jump in export duties on Monday to 30 percent, prompting traders to slash their forecasts for exports for the year to March 2012 to around 50 million tonnes from 65 million. That was already down from 97 million tonnes last year

Iron ore fall raises doubts on Australia mine tax plan
SYDNEY, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Australia's politically charged mining profits tax could raise less of the initial A$11 billion Prime Minister Julia Gillard is promising if iron ore prices return to November levels, accountants BDO warned in a senate submission.
Mega-miners Xstrata , BHP Billiton   and Rio Tinto  , last year agreed with Gillard to pay the Minerals Resource Rent Tax only if the tax was cut to 30 percent from 40 percent and limited to profits from iron ore and coal mining.

Iron Ore-China market still slow as traders stay away
BEIJING, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Spot iron ore prices in China were mostly unchanged on the first trading day of 2012, with buyers and sellers unable to find a reason to rush back from a two-day new year break.
The offer price of 61.5 percent Pilbara fines, including cost and freight, stood in the $136-139 per tonne range on Wednesday, unchanged from the last trading day of 2011, industry consultancy Umetal said.

India hikes iron ore export duties to 30 pct
NEW DELHI, Jan 2 (Reuters) - India raised iron ore export duties to 30 percent from 20 as it seeks to conserve supplies for its own steel industry, sending down shares of iron ore producers and boosting those of steelmakers.
The government issued a formal order removing the previous 20 percent duty, and two revenue officials said this meant the rate reverted to 30 percent, which one of them said was the "peak tariff" level.

LME copper falls as Europe worries offset US optimism
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 (Reuters) - London copper fell, snapping two days of gains, as worries that the financial crisis in the euro zone will slow global economic growth overrode optimism from upbeat U.S. economic data.
"There's too much uncertainty," said Koun-Ken Lee, commodities strategist at Standard Chartered in Singapore.

Peru copper output rises in Nov, gold falls
LIMA, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Peru's mining ministry said on Tuesday output of copper rose in November from the same month a year earlier, but that production of most metals slipped.
Peru is a leading global producer of most major metals.

METALS-LME copper falls as Europe worries offset US optimism
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 (Reuters) - London copper fell on Wednesday, snapping two days of gains, as worries that the financial crisis in the euro zone will slow global economic growth overrode optimism from upbeat U.S. economic data.
"There's too much uncertainty," said Koun-Ken Lee, commodities strategist at Standard Chartered in Singapore.

PRECIOUS-Gold eases after rally; Iran tensions support
SINGAPORE, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Spot gold lost half a percent on Wednesday, shedding the previous session's strong gains on encouraging economic data from the United States and Europe, although the fall may be capped by rising concerns on Iran.
"Gold may not be a safe haven in financial turmoil, but it does seem to function as a safe haven against real-world geopolitical risks," said Nick Trevethan, Senior Commodity Strategist at ANZ.

Gold eases after rally; Iran tensions support
SINGAPORE, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Spot gold lost half a percent, shedding the previous session's strong gains on encouraging economic data from the United States and Europe, although the fall may be capped by rising concerns on Iran.  "Gold may not be a safe haven in financial turmoil, but it does seem to function as a safe haven against real-world geopolitical risks," said Nick Trevethan, Senior Commodity Strategist at ANZ.

Baltic index set for further falls
LONDON, Jan 3 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates to ship dry commodities, slid again on Tuesday, the lowest in around three months due to low fixing activity during the Christmas and New Year holidays.  
The index, which gauges the cost of shipping commodities such as iron ore, cement, grain, coal and fertiliser, dipped 114 points or 6.56 percent to 1624 points.

20120104 1212 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks, euro firm as growth hopes warm risk appetite
TOKYO, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Asian stocks and the euro firmed on Wednesday, as investor risk appetite returned after upbeat U.S. and European economic data boosted global shares and commodities and hopes for improved growth outlook grew despite worries over the euro zone debt crisis.
"While we are structurally underweight risk, we suggest adopting a more neutral stance in the first two weeks of 2012," analysts at Barclays Capital said in a research note.

COMMODITIES-Strong start to 2012 but Europe remains a worry
NEW YORK, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Commodities began 2012 with a bang as a key market benchmark posted its largest gain in three months on Tuesday, but the unresolved European crisis and fears of last year's volatility continuing made analysts wonder if it was too early to rejoice.
"Funds are now investing again, taking a bit more risk after a poor year" in 2011, said Peter Fertig, analyst at Europe's Quantitative Commodity Research.

Oil jumps 4 percent on Iran anxiety; U.S., China data
NEW YORK, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Oil prices surged on  Tuesday, with U.S. crude hitting the highest settlement since May, fueled by strong economic data from the United States and China and mounting concern about supply disruption from Iran.
"The supportive economic data and the geopolitical concerns are furthering the crude oil rally," said John Kilduff, partner at hedge fund Again Capital LLC in New York.

Brazil national oil output nudges up to new high
RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Brazil's steadily-rising oil production hit yet another record in November, reaching an average of 2.19 million barrels per day, the National Petroleum Agency (ANP) said on Tuesday, a 4.8 percent increase from November of 2010.
The fields which saw output rise most were those operated by state-controlled oil company Petrobras PETR4.SA, which alone accounted for 90 percent of crude oil production in that month.

Mexico's main oil export ports stay shut due to weather
MEXICO CITY, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Mexico's three biggest oil exporting ports remained closed on Tuesday due to bad weather off the Gulf of Mexico, the transport ministry said.
The Dos Bocas and Coatzacoalcos terminals were closed on Monday morning and the largest Gulf port of Cayo Arcas shut later in the afternoon, the ministry said in a statement.

Natural gas ekes out gain, remains under $3/mmBtu
NEW YORK, Jan 3 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures managed to eke out a small gain on Tuesday, but settled under $3 per million British thermal units for a second straight session.
"The first half of the winter has been mild and thus bearish. The second half of the winter is obviously still an unknown," said Energy Management Institute's Dominick Chirichella.

Euro Coal-Prices dip by $1/T but trade subdued
LONDON, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Physical prompt coal markets began 2012 subdued, with no fresh trades reported, while prices drifted $1.00 a tonne lower with European power prices and EU carbon.
"Everybody's back at their desks now but nobody wants to do anything. There are bids and offers but still no real appetite to trade," one European trader said.

20120104 1029 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

Bonia buys into Braun Buffel
Just over a year after expanding its brand portfolio to include rights for Braun Buffel in the Asia-Pacific, homegrown fashion label Bonia Corp is taking a bigger step abroad by taking a 49% stake in the Germany-based leather goods maker in a deal worth EUR3.2m (RM13.1m). Bonia said its 70%-owned subsidiary Jeco has signed a sales and purchase agreement with Christiane Brunk for the purchase of 49% equity stake in Braun Verwaltungs-GmbH and Braun GmbH & Co KG for EUR980k cash. (Financial Daily) Please see accompanying report

Tan Chong gets exclusive SYM distributorship in Laos
Tan Chong Motor Holdings (TCMH) has won a three-year exclusive distributorship for SYM motorcycles in Laos where it expects to sell 12,200 units in the first three years of operations. TCMH said its wholly-owned subsidiaries Tan Chong Motorcycles (Laos) Co had been appointed by Vietnam Manufacturing and Export Processing Co to be the exclusive distributor, importer and after-sales service provider for all SYM motorcycles in Laos. (Financial Daily)

Maxbiz jumps on RM510m job
Maxbiz Corp was yesterday’s third most active stock as investors chased the stock higher after it bagged infrastructure work contracts worth over RM510m. Maxbiz rose 12.9% or RM0.02 to close at RM0.175 yesterday, the highest since January last year, with over 52.7m shares traded. The stock rose to as high as RM0.19 intra-day after the company said it received a letter of intent from Fibre-N SB for a fibre-to-the-home and fibre-to-the-office contract for 100k high-rise buildings in Klang Valley, Penang and JB worth RM510m. (Financial Daily)

Seacera to kick-start 500-acre project this year
Seacera Group Bhd will this year kick-start a 500-acre mixed development project in Ulu Langat, Selangor with a gross development value of at least RM2b that will span over 10 to 15 years. (The Star)

REDtone sells controlling stake in MVNO arm
REDtone International has disposed of a 65% stake in REDtone Mobile SB to two individuals for a token RM1 as part of a rationalization exercise to improve the performance of its loss-making unit and free it to focus resources on ther businesses. REDtone International CEO Lau Bik Soon said Teh Beng Hock and Tee Yew Yaw will each hold 32.5% in REDtone Mobile, its Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) arm. REDtone Mobile would benefit from the entry of Teh and Tee who also own Elepoint SB, the largest reseller for mobile operator Celcom Axiata within the corporate segment in Malaysia. (Financial Daily)

AirAsia, MAS: Airlines deal under probe
The Malaysian Competition Commission (MYCC) has asked AirAsia and MAS to provide more  information and documents regarding their share swap arrangement to find out if the deal  could potentially put air travellers at a disadvantage.  The commission would continue the  probe if there was a breach of anti-competitive behavior and abuse of dominant position in  the deal which was signed in Aug. The MYCC’s CEO also said the commission has only  received verbal complaints but no one has lodged a complaint with the commission despite  the many quarters criticizing the share swap. (Starbiz)

Maybank: Given until June to sell down stake in BII
Maybank has been given a further extension until June 1, 2012 to sell down its stake in PT  Bank Internasional Indonesia Tbk (BII). According to Maybank, it had received a letter, dated  Dec 27, from Indonesia’s Badan Pengawas Pasar Modal dan Lembaga Keuangan (Bapepam)  where the latter had given it more time to undertake the corporate exercise. The corporate  exercise is to fulfill the mandatory sell-down requirement for BII, after several extensions.  (Financial Daily)

Sime Darby: Expands into China
Sime Darby is expanding into China’s vehicle market with the setting up of Chongqing Bow  Chuang Motor Sales & Services Co., Ltd (CQBC). The conglomerate said it received the  business licence approval on Dec 30. CQBC's  registered capital would be 35m renminbi  (RM17.6m) and held by Sime Darby’s unit B.M.W. Concessionaires (H.K.) Ltd. It added CQBC  would be involved in the display of vehicles, provision of technical consultancy and  marketing consultancy services for motor vehicles, sales of parts of vehicles and motorcycles.  (Financial Daily)

AMMB: Friends Life-AMMB in family takaful venture
FRIENDS Life PPL Ltd, a UK-based pension, life and investment firm will roll out a  family takaful business in Malaysia with its local partner AMMB this year. It is understood that the  JV, AmFamily Takaful, will offer three major products lines, namely protection, investmentlinked savings and pensions. According to a spokesperson, AmFamily Takaful, which is 30%  owned by Friends Life, plans to launch the products in the 1Q 2012. (Business Times)

LBS Bina: Eyes RM1bn sales in 2 years
LBS Bina’s MD said the company aims to achieve sales of RM1bn in 2 years in view of the  strong demand despite cautious market sentiment. He said the  company aimed to achieve  RM800m in sales this year backed by 16 new launches and 21 ongoing projects and RM950m in 2013. He added that the company currently has some 920-hectare land bank with an  estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM9.1bn to keep us busy for the next few  years. (Business Times)

Proton: News of deal to sell Tanjung Malim plant stake
Proton is in talks to sell up to a 50% stake in its Tanjung Malim plant to US-based General  Motors Corp (GM) for as much as RM800m. Citing sources, a local business daily reported  last week that GM, if it were to acquire a stake in the national car company's plant, could  invest RM300m worth of equipment in the factory. (StarBiz)

QSR: Tabung Haji asked to join bid
The Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia (MCCM) is asking Lembaga Tabung Haji and  other so-called “Bumiputera” funds to be its partners in bidding for a controlling stake in  fast-food restaurants operator QSR Brands. The chamber is also offering to buy Tabung Haji’s  23% stake in QSR subsidiary KFC Holdings Malaysia at RM4.10 per share if it doesn’t want to  be one of its partners. This is 10 sen per share more than CVC Capital Partners Ltd and Johor  Corp offered in a proposed buyout on Dec. 14. (Business Times)

CI Holdings: Said to be eyeing new asset
According to a source, CI Holdings which had already sold its prime asset and returned most  of the proceeds to shareholders, could now be eyeing an acquisition which would give the  company a new direction. However, the source explained that this deal had only come about  now and involved the possibility of CI Holdings taking a lead role in a consortium that would  put in a bid for the said asset. CI Holdings might fund the deal via borrowings or a rights  issue. However, CI Holdings group MD Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani said that there are a few  deals he is looking at, but there is nothing exciting. (Starbiz)

Esthetics: Rights issue undersubscribed by 28%
Esthetics’ rights issue of 52.80m new shares and 52.80m free detachable warrants were  undersubscribed by 28%. The rights issue was on the basis of 2 rights shares and 2 warrants  for every 5 shares held as at Dec 6, 2011 at an issue price of 50 sen per share. Esthetics said  at the close of acceptance and payment of the rights issue at 5pm on Dec 28, the total valid  acceptances and total valid excess applications for the rights issue were 38.016m rights  shares, which was a subscription rate of 72%. Hence, 14.78m rights shares of 28% were  undersubscribed. In view that the rights shares with warrants have not been fully subscribed  for, the board has resolved to allot the rights shares with warrants to all applicants who have  applied for the excess rights shares with warrants. The undersubscribed rights shares with  warrants will be subscribed by Esthetics’ major shareholders namely, Providence Capital Sdn  Bhd and Gambir Capital Sdn Bhd pursuant to their undertakings as stated in the abridged  prospectus dated Dec 6, 2011. (Financial Daily)

Century Logistics: Expects repairs to Thai centre ready by 1Q
Century Logistics expects the complete repairs to its distribution centre in Rojana Industrial  Park, Ayutthaya, Thailand to be completed by the 1Q 2012. It said that the flood waters  surrounding the distribution centre receded on Nov 28. Based on the preliminary assessment  conducted by the loss adjustors of the insurers, there was clear  indication that the 2.5  metres of floods since Oct 7, 2011 had caused some rust, corrosion and general  contamination to the distribution centre. Century Logistics added the removal of non  structural debris and decontamination started on Dec 7. It added the final cleaning for the  three-storey office complex and perimeter open space was underway and was expected to  be completed in one week. (Financial Times)

Naim: Launches first phase of Riveria Bay apartments
Naim through  its  wholly-owned subsidiary Khimat Mantap Sdn Bhd has launched the first  phase of its Riveria Bay project. Located near a river confluence at the boundary of Kuching  City and Kota Samarahan, it features three-storey walk-up apartments priced between  RM262,888 and RM379,888. Each of the 66  units of  2-bedroom and three-bedroom  apartments measures between 86sqm and 119sqm. Naim’s Senior General Manager (Public  Relations, Sales and Marketing, and Product Development), Alaric Soh said the apartments  would be ready by mid-2013 and become part of an exclusive residential area equipped with  24-hour security service and ample recreational facilities. (Starbiz)

VS Industry: New factory in Indonesia
VS Industry is allocating RM47.6m in capex over the next 2 years to strengthen its operation  in Indonesia. Its MD said that Indonesia offered a good long term prospect for the company.  He added that the capex will be used to set up a second factory for plastic injection  moulding-related activities. (Starbiz)

Nilai Resources: Gets RM27m price reduction from major shareholder
Nilai Resources’ subsidiary has received a RM27.36m discount on the purchase price of LK  Prisma Sdn Bhd by Lapangan Kota Sdn Bhd. Nilai Resources said its subsidiary BBN  Development Sdn Bhd had on Dec 31, 2011 received a revised letter of offer from Lapangan  Kota to sell the company for RM91.08m. Lapangan Kota is majority owned and controlled by  Nilai Resources shareholder Datuk Dr Gan Kong. Lapangan Kota owns 418.20 acres of land,  which is part of the Seremban Utara township development. The land was approved for  either residential, commercial, institution or industry use.(Financial Daily)

Vastalux Energy: Gets new substantial shareholder
Vastalux Energy which managed to avert the delisting of its securities, has seen the  emergence of a substantial shareholder, Tengku Uzir Tengku Ubaidillah. Tengku Uzir, who is  a director of Gas Altimate Services Sdn Bhd, acquired the 16.25m shares or a 7.89% stake from the open market on Dec 28. His entry could be part of the corporate exercise to rescue  Vasatlux, whose shares has been suspended from trading since Dec 29. The company is in  the midst of drawing up a regularisation plan. Vastalux, which faced suspension and delisting  on Jan 3, 2012, had managed to submit its appeal to Bursa Malaysia Securities on Dec 23 last  year. As it had submitted the appeal within the timeframe, the regulator had deferred the  decision to remove the company’s securities pending its Appeal Committee’s decision. (Financial Daily)

Tricubes: 70% subsidiary gets RM6m police contract
Tricubes’ subsidiary has secured a RM6m contract from the Home Ministry to provide  maintenance services for 2 mobile management systems used by the police. Its 70% owned  Tricubes NCR JV Sdn Bhd had accepted the letter of award for the maintenance of the  hardware and software and server enhanced mobile management system and mobile card  acceptance device. The award is valued at RM6m for a period of 2 years commencing from  Jan 1, 2012 to Dec 31, 2013. (Financial Daily)

Construction: Gemas-JB rail job winner to emerge in Mac
Government sources said the winner for the contract to build the Gemas-Johor Baru electrified double-track railway line will only be known in Mac. 3 Chinese companies were  earlier shortlisted for the RM8bn project known as the Gemas-Johor Baru Electrified Double  Tracking Project (EDTP).  They are China Railway Engineering Co (CREC), China Railway  Construction Co (CRCC) and China Communication Construction Co (CCCC).  All three are  subsidiaries of China’s Ministry of Railway. (Business Times)

20120103 1028 Local & Global Economic Related News.

Malaysia : Nine human resource and education providers have been awarded contracts worth a total of RM60m for the “Accelerated Skills Enhancement Training” programme from the Human Resource Ministry. The companies are Asia E-Learning S/B, Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology (APIIT) S/B, Berjaya Higher Education S/B, Cosmopoint S/B & consortium, HELP University College S/B, SEGi University College & consortium, SMR HR Group S/B & consortium and Sunway International Business & Management S/B, said Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam. (Starbiz)

China’s non-manufacturing PMI for Dec surged to 56.0 from 49.7 in Nov. (Bloomberg)

Land sales in 130 major Chinese cities dropped 13% yoy in 2011, as property market curbs continued to bite the realty industry, according to the China Index Academy. Land premiums reached Rmb1.86tr (US$295.2bn). (Xinhua)

China: Wen Jiabao foresees ‘relatively difficult’ first quarter
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said business conditions may be “relatively difficult” this quarter and monetary policy will be fine-tuned as needed. “We see downside pressure on our economy and elevated inflation at the same time,” Wen said during a two-day trip to Hunan province. “We also face problems of weakening external demand and rising costs for companies.” Economists say the central bank will cut lenders’ reserve requirements before a weeklong Chinese New Year holiday starts on 23 Jan, the second reduction since 2008. (Bloomberg)

South Korea’s foreign reserves declined 0.7% mom in Dec to US$306.4bn (US%308.63bn in Nov). (Bloomberg)

Singapore's GDP shrunk 4.9% qoq in 4Q (1.5% in 3Q), in line with consensus expectations of a 5.0% contraction. GDP expanded 3.6% yoy (5.9% in 3Q), below the median forecast of 4.3% yoy. The economy grew 4.8% in 2011 (14.5% in 2010), below the government's forecast of 5%. (Bloomberg, Reuters)

Singapore’s gross domestic product fell an annualised 4.9% qoq in 4Q11 (a revised 1.5% in 3Q11), the second contraction in three quarters, according to the trade ministry. The median estimate was a 5% contraction. Manufacturing rose 6.5% yoy (13.4% in 3Q11), while the services sector expanded 3.2% (3.7% in 3Q11). (Bloomberg)

The Indonesian government says it will end the sale of subsidised fuel to private cars in Greater Jakarta in Apr, pending approval from the House of Representatives. (Jakarta Post)

The Indonesian government plans to raise Rp53.2tr (US$5.9bn) or 12% yoy more in debt sales this quarter as part of the country’s efforts to plug its budget deficit, the Finance Ministry said. (Jakarta Globe)

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that Indonesia’ GDP may have grown by 6.5% yoy in 4Q (6.5% in 3Q). (Jakarta Globe)

Meechai Bonyamarn, assistant director-general of the Department of Export Promotion, said the effects of the recent flooding would hit Thai exports with annual growth of just 10% predicted, compared with last year’s projected 15% expansion. (Bangkok Post)

Asia: India, China economies show Asia resilient as Europe falters
Manufacturing in India and China improved in December, a sign the world’s fastest-growing major economies are withstanding Europe’s debt crisis. The Purchasing Managers’ Index in India rose to 54.2, the most in six months, from 51 in November. In China, the index was at 50.3 from 49 in November, the Beijing- based logistics federation said. A number above 50 indicates expansion. In another positive sign, a Chinese index for non- manufacturing industries rose yesterday. (Bloomberg)

Greece may be forced to exit the eurozone if it cannot secure the latest bailout package from the EU, IMF and banks, government spokesperson Pantelis Kapsis warned. (BBC News)

EU: Spain’s registered unemployment rises as economy contracts
Registered unemployment in Spain, where almost half of young people are out of work, rose for a fifth month in December as the euro area’s fourth-largest economy contracted. The number of people registering for unemployment benefits rose 1,897 to 4.42 million, the Labor Ministry in Madrid said. In November, it surged 59,536. Spain’s economy contracted in the final months of the year as tourism and exports, the drivers of its first-half recovery from a three-year slump, weakened; the Bank of Spain said on 29 Dec. Labor Minister Fatima Banez met union leaders and employers last week. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy asked both sides to reach agreement by around 6 Jan on changes to collective wage-bargaining rules and ways to resolve labor conflicts outside the courts. (Bloomberg)

US: Manufacturing grows by most in six months
US factories expanded in December at the fastest pace in six months, adding to evidence manufacturing is improving from India to the UK entering 2012. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index climbed to 53.9 last month from 52.7 in November. Fifty is the dividing line between growth and contraction. Stocks surged and commodities rose as the data showed factory orders and production grew at the strongest rates in eight months while inventories were cut. (Bloomberg)

US: Dollar demise exaggerated as 13% gain since ‘08 proves value
Moves by the Federal Reserve to flood the world with dollars are doing little to dent the currency’s value, bolstering the appeal of US assets at a time when the government needs the support of foreign investors the most. The US Dollar Index has appreciated 13% from a record low in March 2008 even as the Fed kept interest rates at about zero and printed cash to buy USD2.3trn of Treasury and mortgage-related bonds, and is little changed since 1991. The International Monetary Fund said 30 Dec that the greenback’s share of global foreign-exchange reserves rose in the third quarter by the most since 2008. (Bloomberg)

The Federal Reserve has announced its plans to commence publishing forecasts on the path of interest rates later this month along with its regular quarterly economic forecasts to better align bets in financial markets with central-bank policymakers’ views. This marks an important milestone in Fed Chief Ben Bernanke’s push for greater policymaking transparency. (Reuters)

US construction spending rose in Nov by 1.2% (a revised -0.2% in Oct), the third increase in four months and exceeding the median estimate of 0.5%. Private construction spending rose 1% mom to US$522bn, the highest level since Dec 09, whilst homebuilding outlays gained 2%. (Bloomberg)

US stocks advance amid signs of growth in global manufacturing

US stocks climbed, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to the highest level since July, amid signs that manufacturing output is increasing from China to Australia and America. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rallied 1.6% to close at 1,277.06, the highest level since 28 Oct. The Dow jumped 179.82 points, or 1.5%, to 12,397.38, adding to its 5.5% advance in 2011. (Bloomberg)

20120104 1012 Global Market Related News.

Global Manufacturing Displays Resilience to Europe’s Debt Crisis: Economy (Source: Bloomberg)
Manufacturing from the U.K. to India showed improvement in December, suggesting production is weathering strains from Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. Purchasing manager indexes for the U.K., Switzerland, China, India and Australia rose in December, while German unemployment fell more than economists forecast as exports of cars and machinery boomed, reports today showed. U.S. manufacturing growth (NAPMPMI) accelerated more than economists forecast to the fastest pace in six months. The factory production data indicate some resilience in the industry as European leaders work to flesh out their plan to end the debt turmoil that’s threatening to drag the region back into recession. The International Monetary Fund may cut its 2012 global growth forecast this month after lowering it to 4 percent in September, when it predicted “severe” repercussions if Europe fails to contain its crisis.

Global Growth Slows to 3.9% (Source: Bloomberg)
A year ago, Catherine Liu employed more than 2,000 people at her five Shanghai luggage-making factories. Now, as the dwindling supply of low-paid young workers forces wages and costs higher, she has 1,200 left. “Local workers are getting much older,” said Liu, owner of Shanghai Worldwide Trading Co. “If you want to train them, they must be young. It’s very difficult to survive.” Aging and shrinking labor pools are also poised to curb expansion across the other so-called BRIC nations that contributed almost half of global growth in the past decade. With fewer youths keeping factories going and more pensioners to support in those markets, the world economy is set to slow, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) says.
The number of people older than 65 in Brazil, Russia, India and China will rise 46 percent to 295 million by 2020 and to 412 million by 2030, according to United Nations projections. The pool of 15 to 24-year-olds, the mainstay for factories like Liu’s that drove China’s boom for three decades, will fall by 61 million by 2030, about the population of Italy.

Asian Stocks Rise for Second Day on Optimism (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks (MXAP) rose for a second day after U.S. manufacturing increased at the fastest pace in six months. Gold climbed for a fourth day, while the dollar was little changed after falling the most in a month yesterday. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 1 percent as of 9:26 a.m. in Tokyo. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures gained less than 0.1 percent after the U.S. equity benchmark closed at a two-month high. Gold for immediate delivery rose 0.2 percent to $1,606.15 an ounce. The dollar held at $1.3052 per euro following a yesterday’s 0.9 percent drop. The Institute for Supply Management’s report on U.S. manufacturing yesterday added to data showing stronger factory activity in China, the U.K., India and Australia. Bookings (TMNOCHNG) for U.S. factory goods probably climbed 2 percent in November, the most in four months, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists taken before the report is released today.

H.K. Keeps Ban on Some Poultry Imports (Source: Bloomberg)
Poultry imports from the part of southern China where a man died from the H5N1 virus remain banned in Hong Kong after genetic tests linked the man’s strain of the disease to the version found in wild birds in the city. The import of live, chilled and frozen poultry, and eggs, from within a 13-kilometer (8-mile) radius of the man’s home in Shenzhen were suspended for 21 days starting Jan. 1, according to a Centre for Food Safety statement posted on New Year’s Day. “It’s always the wild birds, then the poultry, then the humans,” Yuen Kwok-yung, chairman of infectious diseases at the University of Hong Kong’s department of microbiology, said in a phone interview yesterday. Events are following the typical sequence for a zoonosis, a disease that jumps to humans from animals, he said.

European Stocks Rise to Highest Since August on U.S. Manufacturing Growth (Source: Bloomberg)
European stocks rose for a fourth day, pushing the Stoxx Europe 600 Index to its highest level in five months, as a report showed that manufacturing in the U.S. (NAPMPMI) expanded in December at the fastest pace in six months. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and Rio Tinto Group jumped more than 6 percent, leading gains by commodity producers as copper increased in London. Automakers rallied as R.L. Polk & Co. said the number of cars and light trucks sold globally will grow 6.7 percent this year. The benchmark Stoxx 600 (SXXP) rose 1.6 percent to 251.06 at the close, its highest level since Aug. 3. The gauge has risen for four days, its longest winning streak since November. The U.K., the U.S. and Swiss markets were closed for a holiday yesterday.

U.S. Stocks Advance Amid Signs of Growth in Global Manufacturing (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks climbed, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to the highest level since July, amid signs that manufacturing output is increasing from China to Australia and America. Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) added more than 4.3 percent as financial shares had the second-biggest gain among S&P 500 industries. Alcoa Inc. (AA) and Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) advanced at least 3.7 percent, pacing increases among the largest U.S. companies. Chevron Corp. (CVX) climbed 3.7 percent as the price of oil rose. Cisco Systems Inc. surged 3.4 percent after JPMorgan recommended investors buy the shares. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rallied 1.6 percent to close at 1,277.06 at 4 p.m. New York time, the highest level since Oct. 28. The Dow jumped 179.82 points, or 1.5 percent, to 12,397.38, adding to its 5.5 percent advance in 2011.

Japanese Stocks Advance on Signs Global Growth Weathering Europe Crisis (Source: Bloomberg)
Japanese stocks (TPX) rose, with the Topix Index headed for its biggest gain in four weeks, after reports in the U.S. and Germany added to signs the global economy is weathering Europe’s debt crisis. Sony Corp. (6758), which earns 70 percent of its revenue overseas, gained 1.4 percent. Komatsu Ltd. (6301) jumped 1.7 percent after the Nikkei newspaper reported the construction machinery maker will invest as much as 15 billion yen ($195 million) in factories. Inpex Corp. (1605), the nation’s largest oil explorer by market value, added 2.1 percent after crude prices advanced. The Topix rose 1.4 percent to 738.63 as of 9:15 a.m. in Tokyo, set for the biggest advance since Dec. 7. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) climbed 1.2 percent to 8,557.65.

Fed to Make Benchmark Rate Forecasts Public (Source: Bloomberg)
Federal Reserve officials will start announcing their own forecasts for the central bank’s key interest rate in the latest step in Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s drive for greater transparency. FOMC “participants decided to incorporate information about their projections of appropriate monetary policy” into their Summary of Economic Projections starting with their next meeting on Jan. 24-25, according to minutes from last month’s Federal Open Market Committee released today. By releasing their forecasts, central bankers are likely to alter expectations for the timing of the first increase in their benchmark rate, which has been kept near zero since December 2008. Last month, Fed officials repeated their view that economic conditions would warrant “exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through mid-2013.”

U.S. Manufacturing Expands by Most in Six Months (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. factories expanded in December at the fastest pace in six months, adding to evidence manufacturing is improving from India to the U.K. entering 2012. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index climbed to 53.9 last month from 52.7 in November, the Tempe, Arizona- based group’s data showed today. Fifty is the dividing line between growth and contraction, and economists surveyed by Bloomberg News forecast the gauge would rise to 53.5. Stocks surged and commodities rose as the data showed factory orders and production grew at the strongest rates in eight months while inventories were cut. Combined with another report showing construction spending (CNSTTMOM) climbed in November, the figures indicate the world’s largest economy accelerated in the final months of 2011.

Construction Spending in U.S. Beats Forecast (Source: Bloomberg)
Construction spending in the U.S. rose in November for a third time in four months, indicating the industry helped boost growth at the end of 2011. Building outlays increased (CNSTTMOM) 1.2 percent, exceeding the median estimate of 46 economists in a Bloomberg survey that called for a 0.5 percent gain, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The October reading was revised down to show a 0.2 percent drop from a previously projected 0.8 percent increase, showing the initial data are susceptible to swings in direction. Recent gains in the housing market, spurred in part by mortgage rates near record lows, are helping the construction industry recover from the 18-month recession that ended in June 2009. Public expenditures also climbed during the month, a sign that budget constraints may be easing.

World’s Biggest Economies Face $7.6 Trillion Bond Tab as Rally Seen Fading (Source: Bloomberg)
Governments of the world’s leading economies have more than $7.6 trillion of debt maturing this year, with most facing a rise in borrowing costs. Led by Japan’s $3 trillion and the U.S.’s $2.8 trillion, the amount coming due for the Group of Seven nations and Brazil, Russia, India and China is up from $7.4 trillion at this time last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Ten-year bond yields will be higher by year-end for at least seven of the countries, forecasts show. Investors may demand higher compensation to lend to countries that struggle to finance increasing debt burdens as the global economy slows, surveys show. The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for growth this year to 4 percent from a prior estimate of 4.5 percent as Europe’s debt crisis spreads, the U.S. struggles to reduce a budget deficit exceeding $1 trillion and China’s property market cools.

China’s Wen Foresees ‘Relatively Difficult’ Q1 (Source: Bloomberg)
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said business conditions may be “relatively difficult” this quarter and monetary policy will be fine-tuned as needed. “We see downside pressure on our economy and elevated inflation at the same time,” Wen said during a two-day trip to Hunan province, according to a statement on the government’s website yesterday. “We also face problems of weakening external demand and rising costs for companies.” Economists at Barclays Capital and Bank of America Corp. say the central bank will cut lenders’ reserve requirements (CHRRDEP) before a weeklong Chinese New Year holiday starts on Jan. 23, the second reduction since 2008. The ruling Communist Party is shifting focus to supporting growth rather than damping inflation as Europe’s debt crisis threatens to curb exports.

Spanish Unemployment Rises for Fifth Straight Month as Economy Contracts (Source: Bloomberg)
Registered unemployment (SPUECHNG) in Spain, where almost half of young people are out of work, rose for a fifth month in December as the euro area’s fourth-largest economy contracted. The number of people registering for unemployment benefits rose 1,897 to 4.42 million, the Labor Ministry in Madrid said in an e-mailed statement today. In November, it surged 59,536. Spain’s economy contracted in the final months of the year as tourism and exports, the drivers of its first-half recovery from a three-year slump, weakened, the Bank of Spain said on Dec. 29. Labor Minister Fatima Banez met union leaders and employers last week. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy asked both sides to reach agreement by around Jan. 6 on changes to collective wage-bargaining rules and ways to resolve labor conflicts outside the courts.

German Unemployment Drops More Than Forecast as Mild Winter Fuels Building (Source: Bloomberg)
German unemployment (GRUECHNG) fell more than forecast in December as exports of cars and machinery boomed and one of the mildest winters on record helped support jobs in construction. The number of people out of work fell a seasonally adjusted 22,000 to 2.89 million, the Nuremberg-based Federal Labor Agency said today. Economists forecast a decline of 10,000, the median of 20 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed. The adjusted jobless rate (GRUEPR) dropped to 6.8 percent. German companies, working off orders for exports and investment goods, have so far defied a debt crisis the European Commission says risks triggering a recession in the euro area. The Munich-based Ifo institute’s measure of business confidence rose unexpectedly in December, and polls show most Germans see their job as secure even as Europe’s biggest economy slows.

20120104 1011 Global Commodities Related News.

FAO Chief Sees Less Food Price Volatility  (Source: CME)
The new head of the Food and Agricultural Organization said he didn't expect food prices to be as volatile in the near term as they have been in the recent past. Jose Graziano da Silva, speaking at his first press conference since becoming director-general at the Rome-based United Nations agency, said he didn't expect food prices to rise as fast as they have at times during the past few years, nor for sharp drops to be reported either. He noted that recent food price fluctuations have been partly driven by foreign currency movements as well as by low levels of food stocks--which he called a necessary "base for speculative volatility." Da Silva also said his top priority at FAO will be the "total elimination" of hunger and undernourishment from the world. "There is no time to lose," as the goal should be to cut the number of those suffering from hunger by half by 2015, when his term ends, he said.
He listed as his other strategic priorities promoting a move towards more sustainable systems of food production and consumption, achieving greater "fairness" in the global management of food, expanding south-south cooperation and completing internal institutional reforms at the FAO. Da Silva, who won kudos for his poverty-reduction efforts as a minister in Brazil, said he will visit Africa later this month, and include a visit to the Horn of Africa where food security crises are currently extreme, he said. Resources "won't be used equally," he said, noting that crisis areas and Africa in particular would remain a priority. Da Silva, the first Latin American to hold the top job at the FAO, also vowed to boost efficiency and cut bureaucracy at the agency and to move more of its activities to the local level.
"I will look to cut costs at the bureaucracy here at headquarters and put the resources freed up to those working on the ground," da Silva said. He emphasized that he considered "fieldwork" to be an essential counterpart to the theoretical and other "normative" research done at FAO. He also said it was crucial to squeeze out waste from food production and the distribution system, citing multiple cases where foods considered nutritional--and even delicious--are thrown away. Referring to the risks of a European economic recession on FAO's operations, da Silva said he didn't think it would have any affect on funding but would mean "we'd have a lot more work to do" catering to increasing numbers of hungry people in the world.

Hedge Funds Raise Bullish Raw-Material Bets Most in 16 Months: Commodities (Source: Bloomberg)
Speculators increased wagers (.MMLOSH) on rising commodity prices by the most since August 2010 on signs that sustained economic growth will drive a rebound in raw materials from their first annual slump since the recession. Hedge funds and other money managers increased combined net-long positions across 18 U.S. futures and options by 18 percent to 536,907 contracts in the week ended Dec. 27, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Soybean holdings jumped more than ninefold and those for corn reached a five-week high. Speculators trimmed bets on declining prices for copper, cocoa, wheat, and soybean oil and meal.
While the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Total Return Index of 24 commodities declined 1.2 percent last year, it rallied 12 percent from a 10-month low reached in October on mounting optimism about growth. Confidence among American consumers rose in December to the highest level in eight months and pending sales of existing homes jumped in November for a second month. More than $3.3 trillion was added to the value of global equities since Oct. 4, data (WCAUWRLD) compiled by Bloomberg show.

Commodities Jump Most in Eight Months After Gains in Global Manufacturing (Source: Bloomberg)
Commodities posted the biggest rally in almost eight months on speculation that increased factory output from China to the U.S. heralds rising raw-material demand. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index (SPGSCI) of 24 commodities rose 3.4 percent to settle at 666.55 at 4:19 p.m. in New York, the largest gain since May 9. Silver jumped the most since July, leading the advances, and crude oil closed at a seven-month high. Manufacturing in December improved in Switzerland, China, India, the U.K. and Australia, according to data released this week, while the Institute for Supply Management said today that U.S. factories expanded (NAPMPMI) at the fastest pace in six months. Signs of growth are helping assuage investors who sold commodities last month amid mounting concern that the European debt crisis would hinder the global economy.

Raw Materials Seen Rebounding as Global Economy Skirts Slump: Commodities (Source: Bloomberg)
Commodities may rebound from their first retreat in three years as developing economies shore up global growth, driving demand higher at a time when raw-material producers are already struggling to keep up. Precious metals will advance 27 percent or more, industrial metals at least 17 percent and grains 5 percent, according to the median estimates in a Bloomberg survey of 143 analysts, traders and investors. Nine of the 15 commodities covered by a similar survey a year earlier reached their predicted highs in 2011, with another five no more than 4 percent away. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Total Return Index of 24 raw materials rose 16 percent through April, before tumbling 15 percent on mounting concern that Europe’s debt crisis and slower Chinese growth would curb demand for commodities. A 6.1 percent expansion in developing economies this year will help sustain global growth at 4 percent, above the average (IGDCWRLD) over the past decade, the International Monetary Fund predicts.

Corn (Source: CME)
US corn futures end sharply higher, climbing to a fresh 8-week high, as worries about South America's crop persist. Hot, dry Argentina weather and forecasts for it to continue all week adds to concern about the crop. A smaller one would shift export demand to the US. Corn and other grains also get a boost from outside markets, including surging crude oil, a weaker dollar and sharply higher equities to start 2012. Corn prices were volatile late in the session, with analysts saying index-fund buying may have boosted the market late. CBOT March corn ended up 12c at $6.58 1/2 a bushel.

Wheat (Source: CME)
US wheat futures finished mixed as CBOT wheat gets spillover support from corn and macro markets, climbing to a fresh three-month high before trimming gains. Hot, dry South America weather that is boosting corn prices is fueling wheat, with traders also noting a weaker dollar and surging equities adding support Tuesday. Front-month CBOT wheat climbs to its highest price since September, still, after falling off the highs traders say the market may be running out of steam. Wheat lacks its own fundamental strength as world supplies are ample, they say. CBOT March wheat ends up 4 1/4c to $6.57 a bushel. KCBT wheat closes down 4 1/2c to $7.12 1/2 and MGEX wheat slips 5 1/4c to $8.44 1/4

Rice (Source: CME)
US rice futures closed lower, retreating from recent gains amid comfortable world supplies. The market fell despite support from a weaker dollar and higher equities, which pushed other grains higher. Rice had surged late last week, but analysts say there was little fundamental reason and that the move was heightened by a thin holiday market. Global supplies are ample and export demand for US rice weak, analysts add. CBOT Jan. rice sets a fresh 1-month high before retreating, but fails to take out a Dec. 1 high of $14.95. Ends down 21c to $14.39 1/2 per hundredweight.

Indonesia sees 2012 unmilled rice output up 10 pct
JAKARTA, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Indonesia's unmilled rice output is expected to rise 10 percent to 72.02 million tonnes this year as it expands plantation areas in line with its 2014 self-sufficiency target, a government minister said on Monday.
Southeast Asia's biggest economy has forecast that unmilled rice output would hit 65.4 million tonnes for 2011, less than it previously estimated, as hot weather and disease hit production.

Managers Shed Short Positions In Corn, Wheat (Source: CME)
Money managers have shed short positions in Chicago Board of Trade corn and wheat futures recently as prices climbed on worries about the South America crop, according to government data Friday. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's report affirmed that short-covering helped drive prices higher in the week ended Tuesday. Large managed funds, including hedge funds, added to their net long position in corn and cut their net short position in wheat by slashing the number of short contracts held. Money managers were net long 148,653 contracts in corn, an increase of 17.5% from the prior week, according to CFTC data. Corn prices surged during that time period on hot, dry weather in Argentina and Brazil that has threatened the crop as it nears its crucial pollination phase. A smaller crop there would likely mean more export demand for U.S. corn.
Wheat futures have mostly been following corn prices, according to analysts. Because speculators have held a large net short position, CBOT futures have been poised for short-covering rallies, they said. Money managers were net short 29,252 contracts in CBOT wheat as of Tuesday, down 30.2% from the prior week. Soybean prices have also rallied recently on the South America concerns, and money managers extended their net long position in futures more-than-eight-fold, to 23,683 contracts. In live cattle futures, money managers also extended their net long position, by 11% to 68,105 contracts. They cut their net long position in lean hog futures, however, by 16.5% to 35,913 contracts.

Cotton Arbitration Claims Quintuple On Year (Source: CME)
Sharp price swings in the cotton market last year sparked a record number of legal disputes between cotton merchants and mills, a major industry group said Tuesday. The Liverpool-based International Cotton Association, which sets the rules for most of the world's cotton trade, said it received 242 requests for arbitration in 2011, more than five times what it normally receives on average in a year. Cotton prices touched a record of $2.27 a pound in March 2011 after mills tried to order enough fiber to last the year, fearing a shortage following floods in fourth-largest producer Pakistan and export restrictions in India, the world's No. 2 grower behind China. But the high prices also curbed demand, and once prices plummeted, scores of mills canceled orders. Merchants requested ICA arbitration for many of those canceled orders. Mills and merchants prefer ICA arbitration over courts in each country because the process is more efficient, uniform and less expensive.
Cotton prices on ICE Futures U.S. have declined 59% since their peak, trading recently at 92.03 cents a pound for delivery in March.

Sugar firms, cocoa up after weak 2011
LONDON, Jan 3 (Reuters) - ICE sugar rose, along with other financial markets, supported by a softer dollar in early trading, while arabica coffee eased and cocoa rose, with potential upside limited by ample African supplies.
ICE benchmark raw sugar futures edged up 0.16 cent to 23.46 cents a lb early on the first trading day of 2012, below a three-week peak of 24.0 cents per lb touched on Dec. 28.

India's Oct 1-Dec 31 sugar output up 1.1 mln T y/y
NEW DELHI, Jan 3 (Reuters) - India has produced 7.6 million tonnes of sugar between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, up 1.1 million tonnes from the year-ago period, the Indian Sugar Mills Association, a producers' body, said on Tuesday.
Higher output could boost the chances of more sugar exports by the government which has already allowed 1 million tonnes of overseas sales in the 2011/12 season.

Vietnam 2011 rubber imports jump, exports hit record
HANOI, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Vietnam, the world's fourth-largest exporter of natural rubber,  stepped up its imports of the commodity last year which helped enable record shipments in 2011, customs data show.
The Southeast Asian nation imported 343,000 tonnes of rubber as of Dec. 15, 2011, or 14.7 percent above the amount it imported during the whole of 2010, Vietnam Customs data seen by Reuters on Tuesday showed.

Dry, windy weather darkens Ivorian cocoa outlook
ABIDJAN, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Dry and windy weather in most of Ivory Coast's main cocoa growing regions last week has deepened fears about the development of the crop after January, farmers said on Monday.
The world's top grower is entering the last stage of the October-to-March main crop with an output surplus over last year , but if there is no rain plantations could turn out to be short of beans in the coming weeks.

Indonesia's Lampung Dec cocoa exports rise 25 pct y/y
BANDAR LAMPUNG, Indonesia, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Cocoa bean exports from Indonesia's Lampung province on Sumatra island rose 25 percent in December from a year ago, government trade office data showed on Monday.
Lampung's exports have been volatile in recent months,   although mostly falling throughout the year, as the Indonesian industry battles with pests and disease.

Indonesia's Dec Sumatra coffee bean exports fall 68 pct y/y
JAKARTA, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Indonesia's robusta coffee bean exports from the main growing area in southern Sumatra slumped 68 percent in December from a year ago, government trade data showed on Monday, as adverse weather conditions hit output.
Indonesia shipped 8,415.400 tonnes of robusta coffee beans in December, versus 26,255.23 tonnes last December, Muchtar Lutfie, research head of the Indonesia Coffee Exporters Association's (AEKI) Lampung branch, said in a statement.

India's Maharashtra sugar output up 18.8 pct in Oct-Dec
MUMBAI, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Sugar output from India's Maharashtra state, top producer of the sweetener in the country, was 18.8 percent higher on year in the first three months of 2011/12 crushing season that started on Oct. 1, an industry official said.
The increase in production is because of higher sugar recovery rate and an increase in the number of mills that are operational this year, said the official, who declined to be named.

Vietnam's Jan coffee supply to slow in key area-official
HANOI, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Coffee supply from Daklak, Vietnam's largest growing province, is expected to slow next month when the harvest ends as most farmers and buying agents will hold back stocks to wait for higher prices, a senior provincial official said on Friday.
"Farmers who have small planting areas will have to sell beans for cash before Tet, but overall sales will not be as quick as last year because many others have better finances," said Nguyen Van Sinh, a deputy director of Daklak's Agriculture Department.

Vietnam coffee supply to slow next month
HANOI, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Coffee supply from Daklak, Vietnam's largest growing province, is expected to slow next month when the harvest ends as most farmers and buying agents will wait for higher prices before selling, a senior provincial official said on Friday.
Some analysts expect global coffee prices to surge early next year as tighter bank lending in top robusta producer Vietnam could choke off cash to exporters, cutting supply and pushing up premiums, even as the harvest rolls in.

Oil Trades Near 8-Month High on Demand, Iran Tension Amid Shrinking Supply (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil traded near the highest in almost eight months as investors speculated that further tension over Iran and shrinking U.S. crude stockpiles will tighten supply amid signals demand will increase. Futures were little changed after advancing 4.2 percent yesterday as the head of Iran’s army warned the U.S. against sending an aircraft carrier back to the Persian Gulf. An Energy Department report (DOEASCRD) tomorrow may show crude inventories dropped 500,000 barrels last week. Prices also increased after a report that manufacturing in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil user, expanded at the fastest pace in six months. Crude for February delivery was at $103.02 a barrel, up 6 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:31 a.m. Sydney time. The contract yesterday gained $4.13 to $102.96, the highest close since May 10. Prices climbed 8.2 percent in 2011, the third annual increase.

Russia 2011 oil output at new post-Soviet record high
MOSCOW, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Oil output in Russia edged up 1.2 percent to reach a new post-Soviet high of 10.27 million barrels per day (bpd) last year, as the world's top crude producer eased tax burden and launched pipeline flows to China, the Energy Ministry said on Monday.
That is a bit more than the 10.26 million bpd, expected by an analyst poll compiled a year ago, though the increase in 2011 has slackened from a 2.2 percent rise in 2010 when the country produced 10.145 mln bpd, up from 9.93 million bpd in 2009 and 9.78 million bpd in 2008.

Brazil, short of biofuel, can't open spigot to US
SAO PAULO, Dec 29 (Reuters) - For three decades, the U.S. government sought to protect American corn farmers and ethanol makers from a feared flood of Brazilian imports by imposing a tariff that had the South American country crying foul.
But as the contentious tax finally expires at year-end, American farmers' fears of being swamped by sugar-based tropical biofuel seem unfounded. With Brazil's ethanol industry struggling to meet booming local demand, it's U.S. producers instead who are shipping millions of gallons to the south.

Gold Rallies Most in 10 Weeks on Iran, Dollar (Source: Bloomberg)
Gold futures jumped the most in 10 weeks on demand for a haven following a report that Iran produced its first nuclear-fuel rod. Silver surged the most in five months as the dollar’s decline spurred a commodity rally. A domestically-made rod was inserted into the core of Tehran’s atomic-research reactor, the Iranian Students News Agency said yesterday. The dollar fell against a basket of currencies as global manufacturing expanded, spurring demand for raw materials perceived as riskier assets. Blackstone Group LP’s Byron Wien, who correctly predicted last year’s gain in gold, said the metal will rally 15 percent in 2012 to $1,800 an ounce. “Fear trade is back because of Iran,” Adam Klopfenstein, a market strategist at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Also, we are seeing buying across commodities because of the weaker dollar.”

20120104 1010 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

Soybeans (Source: CME)
US soybean futures ended at their highest level in two months, fueled by broad-based speculative buying across asset classes. Commodity-wide buying was sparked by weakness in the US dollar, combined with ongoing fear of yield losses in South America due to heat and dryness to propel prices, analysts say. The external financials attracted the funds, but weather issues for South America crops remained the dominant issue promoting higher prices, says Mike Zuzolo, president Global Commodity Analytics. CBOT March soy ended up 19 3/4c at $12.27 1/2/bushel.

Soybean Meal/Oil (Source: CME)
Soy product futures bounced with soybeans, fueled by widespread speculative buying across the commodity sector. Strength in soybeans fueled buying in soymeal and soyoil, as traders add risk premium amid the risk lower South American supplies if weather conditions continue to stress crops there, analysts say. CBOT March soymeal ended up $6.10 at $319.20/short ton, and March soyoil finished up 0.69c to 53.11 cents/pound.

Sluggish exports may spur CBOT Jan soy deliveries
CHICAGO , Dec 29 (Reuters) - Softening cash soybean markets amid a sluggish export pace should encourage moderate Chicago Board of Trade soy deliveries on first notice day for January futures contracts on Friday, traders and analysts said.
Traders estimated first-day soybean deliveries at 300 to 500 contracts, with some estimates as high as 600 lots.

Palm Oil Surges as Tighter Soybean Supplies May Increase Demand (Source: Bloomberg)
Palm oil rallied to the highest level in more than six weeks on concern that hot, dry weather in South America may damage crops of soybeans, crushed to make an alternative edible oil, and as demand may rise in China. The March-delivery contract advanced 1.6 percent to close at 3,225 ringgit ($1,026) per metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, the highest price at close since Nov. 18. Futures gained 5.2 percent in December, rising for a third month and paring the year’s decline to 16 percent. A much drier and sometimes much hotter weather pattern may continue for the next 10 days in Argentina, Telvent DTN Inc. said Dec. 30. Argentina is the largest shipper of animal feed and cooking oil made from soybeans. Palm oil and soybean oil are substitutes in food and fuel uses.

Palm oil hits 6-week high on wet weather outlook
JAKARTA, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Malaysian crude palm oil futures rose to a six-week high, buoyed by strong crude prices and expectations of lower output in Southeast Asian producers due to wet weather.
" Weather vagaries," said a Kuala Lumpur-based trader. "Grains are leading on South American hot and dry weather plus crude oil."

Brazil industry, analysts expect record soy crop
SAO PAULO, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Brazil's 2012/13 soy crop, now starting into its first round of harvesting, should be of record size, the grains industry association and an independent analyst said on Monday, despite a dangerous dry spell hitting the country's far south.
Grains association Abiove, whose members include Bunge, ADM, Louis Dreyfus and Brazil's Maggi, estimated the world's No. 2 soy producer would harvest 74.6 million tonnes, up from its estimate for last season of 74.3 million tonnes.

Drought hurts crop in Brazil's No. 2 soy state
SAO PAULO, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Dry weather in Parana, Brazil's second largest soy producing state, has already caused irreversible losses to the crop developing there, the state's association of cooperatives Ocepar said on Thursday.
About two thirds of Parana's soy crop is in the driest areas of the state, said Ocepar's technical manager, Flavio Turra, adding that it was too early to quantify losses.