Tuesday, January 10, 2012

20120110 1816 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3215, changed : unchanged, volume : higher.
Bollinger band reading : pullback correction upside biased.
MACD Histrogram : weakening, buyer taking profit.
Support : 3200, 3150, 3100, 3070 level.
Resistance : 3250, 3270, 3300, 3350 level.
Comment :
FCPO closed unchanged with slightly better volume transacted. Soy oil price trading firmer after overnight closed rallied higher while crude oil price currently trading higher.
1~10 Jan 2012 Export data release by both cargo surveyors decline by more than 15% while MPOB official Dec 2011 data for export, stock and production level dropped but below market estimates.
Chart study still 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 resistant or strength with quick cut loss and profit target.

20120110 1724 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1527, changed : +2.5 points, volume : higher.
Bollinger band reading : pullback correction upside biased.
MACD Histrogram : weakenning weakening buyer taking profit.
Support : 1515, 1505, 1500, 1494 level.
Resistance : 1530, 1540, 1550, 1565 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed recorded gain for the 4th consecutive day with little improved volume participation doing 5 points premium compare to cash market that closed recorded marginal gain. Overnight U.S. market closed little higher and today Asia markets ended higher while European markets also trading higher.
Global markets traded in upbeat mood on coming U.S. corporate earning season, European meeting development and speculation on China will be easing monetary policy after slowing trade data.
Chart study still calling for a pullback correction upside biased market development and seems struggling to test back resistance level near 1532.5.
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.

20120110 1700 Regional Markets EOD Daily Chart Study.

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

20120110 1559 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Shares, euro rise; Europe worries weigh
TOKYO, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Asian shares and the euro rose, but concerns over funding of euro zone sovereigns ahead of key auctions this week and of the debt crisis spilling into the wider financial system kept investors cautious about taking riskier positions.    
"It's very hard to make a clear prediction until we start to see the shape of Europe," he said.

FOREX-Euro steady but faces pressure this week
TOKYO, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The euro held its ground in Asia but faces pressure later this week ahead of Italian and Spanish debt auctions.  
The euro stood at $1.2767  after an overnight bounce off a 16-month low of $1.2666. Traders said buying ahead of a $1.2650 option barrier prompted some short-covering as Japanese traders returned after a holiday.

China's Dec commodity imports to ease from Nov peak
SHANGHAI, Jan 9 (Reuters) - China's imports of crude oil are expected to hover at elevated levels in December, while shipments of key industrial commodities may moderate slightly after surging in the preceding month on lower international prices, traders said on Monday.
Preliminary trade data due on Tuesday is expected to show China's annual export growth slowing to 13.5 percent in December, the weakest pace in two years and reinforcing the case for Beijing to launch more pro-active growth policy steps to support the world's No. 2 economy.

U.S. corn up for 2nd day, soy dips after rally
SINGAPORE, Jan 10 (Reuters) - U.S. corn rose for a second straight session and soybeans ticked lower after a 3 percent rally as hotter weather in key exporters Argentina and Brazil raised the spectre of supply shotfall.
"Corn is little firm but we don't expect a lot of action from now until the USDA report," said Adam Davis, a senior commodity analyst at Merricks Capital in Melbourne.

Mexico coffee exports rise 22.5 pct in Dec yr/yr
Jan 9 (Reuters) - Coffee exports from Mexico reached 163,190 60-kg bags in December, up 22.5 percent from the same month in 2010, Mexico's national coffee association said on Monday.
Guatemala's coffee exports fell 2 percent to 177,303 bags in December, Guatemala's coffee organization Anacafe said in a separate report.

Argentine grains to get rain, but will it be enough?
BUENOS AIRES, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Rain showers are expected in Argentina's main farm areas this week, but climatologists question whether the amount of water to hit the drought-stricken Pampas will be enough to revive key corn and soy crops.
Grain-exporting powerhouse Argentina has been hit by an unforgiving southern hemisphere summer sun, prompting analysts to cut their crop forecasts and fueling farmers' demands for tax cuts to help them get through the season.

Brazil to estimate 2012 coffee crop on Tuesday
BRASILIA, Jan 9 (Reuters) - The government of world top coffee grower Brazil will make its first official estimate of the 2012 harvest on Tuesday, a crop which got off to a shaky start due to harmfully dry weather on top of a rare bout of frost.
The 2012/13 coffee crop comes in a higher-output 'on year' in the biennial production cycle which makes output fairly certain to rise from last year's officially-estimated 43.5 million 60-kg bag harvest.

Rains head for dry Brazil grain, analyst cuts view
BRASILIA, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Scattered showers will reach parts of Brazil's drought-hit southern grain belt over the next 10 days, forecaster Somar said on Monday, though precipitation should be low in areas now losing production due to the lack of moisture.
No. 3 soy state Rio Grande do Sul in the far south

Lack of rain hits Ivorian cocoa crop
ABIDJAN, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Dry and windy weather continued last week in most of Ivory Coast's cocoa growing regions, reinforcing expectations of a weak tail-end of the main crop and a soft start to the mid-crop, farmers said on Monday.
Cocoa arrivals to the top grower nation's two ports have already started slowing down, according to exporters, with cumulative figures since the start of the season in October seen 3.5 percent below a year ago.

Brent firm on Iran's threats but mood cautious
SINGAPORE, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Brent crude rose above $112.50 as tension over Iran's nuclear programme ratcheted up and on unrest in Nigeria, but gains are being capped by persistent worries about the strength of European economies after weak German data.  
"Despite demand conditions being relatively weak, oil prices are still above $100 because of the geopolitical tensions. There is a floor on prices at the moment," said Natalie Robertson of ANZ.

China's Dec crude imports up 5 pct on yr, off Nov peak
BEIJING, Jan 10 (Reuters) - China's crude oil imports in December rose five percent from a year earlier to 5.16 million barrels per day (bpd), easing off from November when imports hit their second-highest on record, preliminary customs data showed.  
For the whole year, China brought in 253.78 million tonnes of crude oil, or about 5.08 million bpd, an increase of 6 percent over 2010.

Indonesia's refined tin exports soar in Dec-govt
JAKARTA, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Refined tin shipments from Indonesia, the world's top exporter, nearly doubled in December after smelters abandoned a self-imposed shipping stoppage and released stocks, a trade ministry official said on Monday.
December shipments were up to 15,102.76 tonnes from 7,722.01 a year earlier, while total tin exports in 2011 rose almost 4 percent to 96,019.76 tonnes, government data showed. The country shipped 2,202.04 tonnes in November.

LME copper gains, China data supports; Europe eyed
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 (Reuters) - London copper edged up, rebounding slightly from a drop in the previous session, as data showing a rise in imports by the top consumer China supported prices, but concerns over the euro zone debt crisis kept a lid on gains.
"Easing credit conditions could be driving greater willingness to restock and the arbitrage window opened up in the latter part of 2011," said Nick Trevethan, senior commodities strategist at ANZ Research in Singapore.

China Dec iron ore imports down 0.2 pct -customs
BEIJING, Jan 10 (Reuters) - China imported 64.09 million tonnes of iron ore in December, down just 0.2 percent from a 10-month high in November, data from the country's customs authority showed on Tuesday.
Imports remained resilient over the month in the face of declining steel prices and uncertainties about demand in the new year, with traders continuing to rebuild stockpiles.
Alcoa posts loss; gives positive aluminum outlook
Jan 9 (Reuters) - Alcoa Inc  posted a fourth quarter loss due to a steep plunge in aluminum prices, but its revenue beat expectations and the company gave a positive outlook for global demand for the metal, especially in the aerospace and automotive markets.
The largest U.S. aluminum producer forecast 7 percent growth in global aluminum demand this year and said cutbacks in production will result in a global supply deficit of 600,000 tonnes in 2012.

Alcoa to cut high-cost European smelter output
NEW YORK, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Alcoa Inc  said on Monday it plans to close its Portovesme, Italy, smelter and slash output at two Spanish smelters as the U.S. aluminum producer takes aim at its high-cost European operations.
The measures will throw doubt on the long-term future of the U.S. producer's embattled European operations as they struggle with high energy costs and low aluminum prices.

Heavy rains hit some Vale operations in Brazil
RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Heavy rains forced the world's top iron ore exporter Vale   to temporarily halt extraction at some mines in Brazil's most important ore-producing state, the company said on Monday.
A Vale spokesperson said the "occasional" shutdowns in the state of Minas Gerais have not affected iron ore exports or the company's production goal for the year.  

EU steel lobby files subsidy complaint against China
BRUSSELS, Jan 9 (Reuters) - European steel producers' lobby Eurofer said on Monday it has filed an anti-subsidy complaint against Chinese state support for exports of organic-coated steel (OCS) to Europe, adding to an existing anti-dumping investigation by European authorities.  The steel lobby said it had evidence of a wide range of government incentives for Chinese steel production, including preferential loans, tax schemes, interest rates and grants for OCS, which were hurting the EU's already shrinking sector.

China to keep copper at $7,000-$9,000-Sucden
SHANGHAI, Jan 9 (Reuters) - The drive to develop China's interior will keep copper prices firm in a $7,000 a tonne to $9,000 range in 2012, offsetting demand damaged by a floundering European economy, a top Sucden Financial executive in Asia told Reuters.
"The most likely scenario is a $7,000 to $9,000 type range, with potential for $500 either side of that quite feasible in short term spikes," said Jeremy Goldwyn, Asian business development chief of the commodities broker.

Financing spurs China Dec copper imports to record high
HONG KONG, Jan 10 (Reuters) - China's imports of unwrought copper and semi-finished copper products rose 12.6 percent on the month to hit a record in December due to attractive arbitrage and increased demand for financing imports.
Arrivals of copper, including anode, refined metal, alloy and semi-finished copper products such as rods, to the world's top copper consumer surged to 508,942 tonnes in December, surpassing the previous record of 457,999 tonnes in June 2009, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Tuesday.

Gold edges up; euro zone concerns remain
SINGAPORE, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged higher after two straight sessions of losses, supported by a steady euro ahead of key bond auctions in the euro zone this week while sentiment remained fickle over the region's fiscal prospects.
"The sentiment is neutral in the market," said Peter Fung, head of dealing at Wing Fung Precious Metals in Hong Kong. "People are waiting on the side waiting for developments out of the euro zone."

METALS-LME copper gains, China data supports; Europe eyed
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 (Reuters) - London copper edged up rebounding slightly from a drop in the previous session, as data showing a rise in imports by the top consumer China supported prices, but concerns over the euro zone debt crisis kept a lid on gains.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange  climbed 0.4 percent to $7,526.50 a tonne by 0341 GMT. The industrial metal lost a fifth of its value last year, the first annual decline in three years.

PRECIOUS-Gold edges up; euro zone concerns remain
SINGAPORE, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged higher after two straight sessions of losses, supported by a steady euro ahead of key bond auctions in the euro zone this week while sentiment remained fickle over the region's fiscal prospects.
Spot gold has been moving in a tight range of less than $20 above $1,600 for three days after the new year euphoria quickly faded and worries about the euro zone debt crisis resurfaced.

20120110 1133 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Asian Stocks Advance for Second Day on Optimism Over U.S. Economic Outlook (Bloomberg)
Asian stocks rose for a second day as increases in Australian building permits and U.S. consumer credit added to signs the global economy is weathering Europe’s debt crisis. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. led the nation’s lenders higher. Honda Motor Co. (7267), a Japanese carmaker that gets about 44 percent of sales from North America, increased 1.5 percent in Tokyo. Olympus Corp. surged 21 percent as the camera maker sued current and former executives over their roles in a $1.7 billion cover-up of losses. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.8 percent to 115.60 as of 10:50 a.m. in Tokyo, with more than two shares rising for each that fell. The gauge increased 0.9 percent last week as manufacturing growth from China to the U.S. boosted confidence in the global economy. Stocks pared gains at week’s end as France faced higher borrowing costs at a bond auction.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares, euro rise; Europe worries weigh
TOKYO, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Asian shares and the euro rose on Tuesday, but concerns over funding of euro zone sovereigns ahead of key auctions this week and of the debt crisis spilling over into the wider financial system kept investors cautious about taking riskier positions.    
"EURUSD continues to trade below $1.2800, and prospects for EUR remain bleak," analysts at BNP Paribas said.

COMMODITIES-Crop markets dominate as soy, corn, cocoa rally
NEW YORK, Jan 9 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean and corn prices rebounded sharply on Monday from two straight losing sessions as renewed fears about a drought in South America helped agricultural markets dominate the day's action in commodities.  "This is do-or-die week for the moisture down in South America. They still have some double-crop beans and some corn to plant and that would be at risk if it stays on the drier side," said Mark Schultz, chief analyst at Northstar Commodity Investments Co in Minneapolis.

Oil falls on euro zone concern, eyeing Iran
NEW YORK, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Monday on concerns about the euro zone's economy, but the decline was limited by fears about Iran's threats to shut the Strait of Hormuz oil-shipping route and Tehran's ongoing dispute with the West over the Iranian nuclear program.  "Overall, the geopolitical premium is supporting amid tensions with Iran, but on the other hand the price of crude in euros remains high and will hurt demand in Europe," Olivier Jakob from Zug-based consultancy Petromatrix said.

Saudi to supply full Feb crude to Asia -sources
TOKYO, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude exporter, will supply full contracted volumes of crude oil in February to at least two Asian term buyers, unchanged from January, industry sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.   "As usual, there were no cuts," the source said. "It was as expected."
The two buyers were not considering using an option to buy additional crude on top of the contractual volumes despite rising tensions over Tehran's ongoing dispute with the West over the Iranian nuclear programme.

POLL-U.S. crude stocks seen up on higher imports
Jan 9 (Reuters) -  U.S. commercial crude oil stockpiles were expected to have modestly risen last week as imports continued to rise, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.  
On average, domestic crude oil inventories were forecast up 200,000 barrels, according to the poll of six analysts. Four analysts forecast a build in crude inventories.

NYMEX-Natural gas ends down despite colder late-week forecast
NEW YORK, Jan 9 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended lower on Monday in fairly light trade, with mild early-week weather and record high supplies pressuring the complex despite the colder outlook for later this week and next week that should boost heating demand.  "The surplus that is building in inventory ... is going to get harder and harder to work off until it gets cold over a major portion of the U.S.," Energy Management Institute's Dominick Chirichella said in a report.

Euro Coal-Prices dip with oil, utility selling
LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Prompt European physical coal prices fell by $1 to $2 per tonne on Monday, in line with weaker oil, as some smaller European utilities started to sell cargoes they would not need due to the mild winter.  "The market's looking a bit more bearish because in Europe there's been lower coal burn than expected, the winter's been mild, it's wet and windy but not cold, China won't be back until the end of January and the shorts seem to have covered," one utility source said.

20120110 1020 Global Economic Related News.

China, Korea, Japan: Regional free trade talks in the pipeline
A source from the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing said talks on a China-Japan-Republic of  Korea free trade agreement (FTA) are expected to start in the first half of this year, with May  seen as the earliest date, following the conclusion in Dec of studies and research into its  potential consequences.  ROK President Lee Myung-bak starts an official three-day visit to  China on Monday, during which economic and trade relations will be on the agenda. During  the visit China and the ROK are reportedly set to announce bilateral FTA talks this year.  (China Daily)

Euro: Merkel says budget rules to stem Europe’s debt woes may be done this month
Euro-area leaders may complete their new budget rulebook by 30 Jan, one month ahead of schedule, and are considering accelerating capital contributions to the bailout fund being set up this year to stem the debt crisis. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy outlined the increased pace of their response as the financial crisis that began in Greece in 2009 entered its third year amid concern that the future of the single currency itself was in doubt. (Bloomberg)

Euro: ECB financing to Portuguese lenders rose to 46bn Euros in December
The European Central Bank’s financing to Portuguese lenders rose for a second month in December, the Bank of Portugal said. ECB financing increased to EUR46.0bn (USD58.7bn) from EUR45.69bn in November, the Lisbon-based central bank said on its website. ECB financing levels peaked at EUR49.1bn in August 2010. (Bloomberg)

Euro: Banks can go below minimum Basel liquidity levels during financial crisis
Banks will be allowed go below minimum liquidity levels set by global regulators during financial crises to avoid cash-flow difficulties. “During a period of stress, banks would be expected to use their pool of liquid assets, thereby temporarily falling below the minimum requirement,” the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s governing board said in a statement on its website yesterday, following a meeting in the Swiss city. The aim of the measure, known as a liquidity coverage ratio, is to ensure that lenders hold enough easy-to-sell assets to survive a 30-day credit squeeze. (Bloomberg)

Euro: Draghi may copy Bernanke over Trichet on path to record-low interest rates
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi may act more like Ben S. Bernanke than Jean-Claude Trichet in 2012. With the euro area’s debt crisis pulling its economy into a second recession in three years, Draghi soon may cut the ECB’s benchmark interest rate below 1% for the first time and help banks by further inflating its balance sheet, which already has ballooned 17% since he took office. Such activism would mark a reversal from a year ago when the Trichet-led ECB was pivoting towards higher rates. (Bloomberg)

EU: Sarkozy Wins Merkel Backing for Financial Transaction Tax
At a joint press conference in Berlin with Sarkozy today, German Chancellor Angela Merkel  threw her weight behind the financial transaction tax. The European Commission in  September suggested a tax of 0.1% on equity and bond transactions, and 0.01% on  derivatives, which it said could raise 55bn euros ($71bn) a year. European Union finance  ministers are due to discuss the levy in Mac. French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said today  in Paris that France may present a bill on such a tax in February, hoping that other countries  follow. (Bloomberg)

EU: Budget rules may be fast-tracked
Euro-area leaders may complete their new budget rulebook by Jan 30, one month ahead of  schedule, and are considering accelerating capital contributions to the bailout fund being set  up this year to stem the debt crisis. Merkel said at a joint press conference with Sarkozy that  there is a good chance that they can sign the debt brakes and everything that’s connected to  it already in Jan, but at the latest in Mac, and that  there is really  good progress in  negotiations. At their first meeting of 2012, they repeated their endorsement of a financialtransaction tax and urged Greece to complete its debt writedown with creditors as soon as  possible. (Bloomberg)

EU: New deficit-control powers face test in Belgium clash
Europe’s newfound powers over national taxing and spending face a first test when the  European Commission prods Belgium to make deeper savings just over a week into the  budget year. Under authority granted last month, the commission will on Jan 11  decide  whether an emergency Belgian spending freeze is enough to drive the deficit below the euroarea limit in 2012. A negative verdict would expose Belgium, saddled with Europe’s fifthhighest debt, to potential sanctions in a precedent-setting trial of  rules designed to  overcome investors’ skepticism about the euro area’s response to the two-year-old debt  crisis. (Bloomberg)

EU: ECB says banks’ overnight deposits increased to record high
The ECB said overnight deposits from commercial banks rose to a record.  Euro-area banks  parked 463.6bn euros ($591bn) with the Frankfurt-based ECB on Jan 6, up from the previous  record of 455.3bn euros set a day earlier. That’s the most since the euro was introduced in  1999. The surge in deposits suggests banks are placing excess cash back with the ECB at the  overnight rate of 0.25%, incurring a loss rather than lending it for more elsewhere. (Bloomberg)

Germany: Industrial output drops in sign growth stalling
German industrial output declined  in Nov as factories produced fewer investment and  consumer goods, adding to signs that growth in Europe’s largest economy may have stalled. The Economy Ministry in Berlin said  production fell 0.6% from Oct, when it rose 0.8%.  Economists forecast a 0.5% drop, according to the median of 30 estimates in a Bloomberg  News survey. In the year, production rose 3.6% when adjusted for working days. (Bloomberg)

Germany: Exports rebounded in November, bolstering economy
German exports rebounded in Nov from a slump, helping bolster Europe’s largest economy  as the debt crisis clouds growth prospects. The Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said  exports, adjusted for work days and seasonal changes, rose 2.5% from Oct. Economists  forecast a gain of 0.5%, the median of 13 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed.  Imports declined 0.4% from Oct, when they rose 0.1%. (Bloomberg)

US: More part-timers find full-time jobs
More Americans are moving from part-time to full-time jobs, adding to evidence a strengthening labor market will bolster household confidence and spending. The number of people putting in a full week rose to 113.8m in December, the most since February 2009, the Labor Department’s monthly employment report showed last week. At the same time, 8.1m worked fewer hours because they couldn’t find a full-time job, the least since January 2009. (Bloomberg)

US: Consumer credit rises by most in decade
Consumer borrowing in the US surged in November by the most in 10 years, showing households are optimistic enough to take on debt and banks are willing to lend. The advance was almost twice as big as the highest forecast of 31 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. (Bloomberg)

20120110 1020 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

Can-One and parties plan to privatise or merge with Kian Joo
Can-One's major shareholder and friendly parties are considering a privatisation or merger with Kian Joo Can Factory, sources said. The move is said to be related to Can-One's acquisition of a 32.9% stake in Kian Joo, which should be completed today after a lengthy court battle. Last week, the Federal Court ruled in favour of the liquidators of Kian Joo Holdings SB (KJH) to proceed with the sale of 146.13m Kian Joo shares held by KJH to Can-One for RM241.12m, or RM1.65 per share. KJH is the vehicle of Kian Joo's founding See family. It still isn't clear how Can-One's major shareholder would raise funds for the privatisation exercise. (StarBiz)

Gamuda part of potential Gemas-Johor Baru double-track deal
Gamuda has been roped in to be part of a group which is the front-runner for the construction of the Gemas-Johor Baru electrified double-track railway line (EDTP). A source said Gamuda was in a consortium led by China Railway Construction (CRCC) and another local party linked to the Johor royal family and that this group is the current front-runner for the RM8bn project. A source from the Government confirmed that it was “close to” choosing CRCC for the extension of the railway line, but also wanted to know if the group could keep “possible cost-overruns in check”. Two other China firms confirmed to be in the running for the job are China Railway Engineering and China Communication Construction. (StarBiz) Please see accompanying report

DRB-Hicom confirms bid for Proton stake
DRB-HICOM confirmed that it has submitted a bid for the acquisition of Khazanah’s 42.7% equity stake in Proton Holdings and is currently awaiting Khazanah’s decision. The group said it has always viewed the national carmaker as an important automotive industry player and was on the lookout for viable proposals that will add value to DRB-HICOM’s business and expansion plans. No further details on the group’s bid were provided. (Malaysian Reserve)

DRB-HICOM to find growth opportunities for Pos Malaysia
DRB-HICOM plans to take Pos Malaysia to the next level of growth, despite traditional snail mail being a sunset industry. Group MD Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil said there is no need for Pos Malaysia to limit itself to providing postal services. DRB-HICOM is looking into Pos Malaysia’s 39-point pre-acquisition transformation plans to blend with the business plan DRB-HICOM has for it. The group has identified 17 new businesses that it could tap via Pos Malaysia. (Financial Daily)

AMMB: AmBank and UK’s Friends Life Group in takaful JV
AmBank, the subsidiary of AMMB Holdings  (AMM MK,  Buy, TP: RM7.40) and Friends Life  Group of UK have teamed up to set up AmFamily Takaful Bhd (AmTakaful) to tap into the  family takaful business where the market penetration is very low. The companies said that  AmTakaful, the 12th licensed takaful operator in Malaysia, would carry on the family takaful  business with effect from Monday following the soft launch ceremony. The chairman of  AmBank Group and AmTakaful, Tan Sri Azman Hashim pointed out there was a huge business  opportunity as market penetration rate for family takaful business in Malaysia was relatively  low and remains largely untapped. The company will be led by Wan Zamri Wan Zain as chief  executive officer, who has over two decades of experience in the field of banking,  investment, insurance and takaful. (Financial Daily)

Felda: FGVH to be listed April or May
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan said Felda Global  Ventures Holdings (FGVH) will be listed either in April or May this year. He said the listing  would be carried out upon advice made by the merchant bankers appointed in the initial  public offering (IPO) exercise.  Three foreign and two local merchant bankers are currently  undertaking studies to determine "the appropriate" time for the listing. Upon completion of  the studies, the bankers would forward their findings and recommendations to the Felda  board of directors to decide on the listing date. He added that no outside elements or  interference by other third parties can thwart the proposed listing of FGVH as planned by the  Government. (Bernama)

MBSB: Gains access to CCRIS
Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) announced Bank Negara Malaysia's (BNM) approval  for the company to participate in its Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS)  effective this month. MBSB’s CEO Datuk Ahmad Zaini Othman said inclusion in CCRIS bodes  well with the good intentions of the central bank's new 'Guidelines on Responsible Finance'  and will help to enhance MBSB's credit risk management. (Bernama)

KHSB: Confirms privatisation option by KPS
Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Bhd (KHSB) has confirmed report that its major shareholder  Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor (KPS) has been given the mandate to enhance or revive its  investments. KHSB said that KPS was mandated by the board to explore and evaluate the  available options, which might include a reorganisation and restructuring of its investments  and mergers, acquisitions or divestments of its non-performing investments. As part of the  available options to enhance or revive its investments, KPS has also been mandated to study  the feasibility of taking KHSB private. (Financial Daily)

LPI Capital: Kicks off 4Q reporting season with RM39m net profit
LPI Capital was the first company to report its financial results for the Oct-Dec 2011 quarter,  registering a 6.5% increase in net profit to RM39.33m from RM36.94m a year ago, boosted  by the general insurance business.  Revenue rose 25.5% to RM239.32m from RM190.63m largely contributed by the general insurance segment which marked a commendable growth  of 26.2% over the corresponding quarter. LPI said EPS were 17.85 sen compared with 16.77  sen. It announced a second interim single tier dividend of 50 sen per share versus 45 sen a  year ago. For FY2011, its earnings rose 12% to RM154.49m compared with RM137.91m in  FY2010. Its profit before tax of RM200.10m showed an increase of RM18.80m (10.4%)  compared to last year. (Financial Daily)

Century Bond: Unit gets direct sales license
Century Bond announced that its wholly-owned unit CenGreen Global Sdn Bhd has obtained  a direct sales  license to market healthcare, skin care and household care products.  The  company said CenGreen Global's business is expected to commence in Jan 2012. It noted  that it is not expected to have any material effect on the earnings and net assets of Century  Bond for the FY2012. However, the company said that it is expected to contribute positively  to the earnings of the Group in the future. (Bernama)

Inari: Eyes 3-fold revenue jump with Amertron Global acquisition
Inari Bhd is optimistic the proposed 100% equity acquisition of Amertron Inc (Global) Ltd will  boost its revenue by three fold. The two companies had  inked a memorandum of  understanding to start negotiations for the acquisition, expected to be completed in the  second half of this year. Inari’s MD, Dr Tan Seng Chuan said the company expects to achieve  a revenue of US$60m for the  FY2012 (excluding the proposed acquisition) while on a  combined basis, upon completion in eight to ten months, the entity will have a revenue of  US$180m.  He  added that the purchase value would be based on the audited  NTA of  Amertron Global, indicatively at US$32m as at June 30, 2011. Amertron has 3 EMS plants, 2 operating in the Philippines and one in China, with about 3,700 employees worldwide.  (Starbiz)

RHB: Kellee Kam appointed MD
RHB Banking Group has appointed Kellee Kam Chee Khiong as its group MD. Kam, who was  earlier appointed as  MD of RHB Capital Bhd, had played a key role in the group’s  transformation and in assisting to formulate the group’s strategic directions. RHB Capital said  that having been with the group for the last  7 years, he carries with him an in-depth  knowledge of the group in terms of strategic growth and business directions. As group MD,  Kellee would lead and provide strategic direction as well as ensuring execution of the group’s  strategic initiatives and roadmap towards achieving the long-term aspiration of becoming  the leading financial services provider in Asia. (Starbiz)

Takaso: Into timber ops in Papua New Guinea
Sources said Takaso Resources will acquire a Papua New Guinea company that has a timber  licence and concession, in a bid to diversify its business.  Upon acquiring this company,  Takaso, whose core business is condom manufacturing, will gain immediate technical  expertise in the area of timber. The source said Takaso would acquire Kayumas Plantation  PNG Ltd, which holds the rights to a net loggable area of 40,000ha of timber, possibly worth  up to RM500m, in Inland Pomio, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea. The length of  extraction was up to 9 years. The signing between the parties for this deal is expected to take  place on Thursday. (Starbiz)

Sime: Sets up company in China
Sime Darby has set up Nanjing Sime Darby Motors Sales & Services Co Ltd (NSDM) in China,  adding that  the business  licence approval was received on Friday.  The entire registered  capital of NSDM of 5m renminbi (about RM2.49m) will be held by Shanghai Sime Darby  Motor Commerce Co Ltd, a 60%-owned unit of Sime Darby. It also said the principal activities  of NSDM were sales of motor vehicles, display of motor vehicles and provision of technical  consultancy services for motor vehicles. NSDM was not expected to have a material effect on  the earnings or net assets of the company for the FY2012. (Starbiz)

Jaks Resources: Unit in Vietnam deal with Meiya and Island Circle
Jaks Power Holding Ltd (JPH), Meiya Power (HD) Ltd and Island Circle Investment Holding Ltd  have formed a 80-10-10 joint venture in Jaks Pacific Power Ltd (JPP).  JPP is the holding  company for Jaks Hai Duong Power Ltd (JHDP) that will undertake the investment in a 2 x 600  megawatt coal-fired thermal power plant  in Hai Duong Province, Vietnam. The estimated  project cost is US$2bn (RM6.32bn) to be financed 75% by debt and 25% by equity. JPH and  Meiya will also equally own Jaks-MPC (HD) Ltd (JMHD). JMHD shareholders plan to then list  JMHD, JPP or other holding company which holds the business and operation either in Hong  Kong, Singapore or Malaysia. (Starbiz)

Xidelang: Board to meet over Navis' buyout offer
Xidelang‘s board is expected to meet Wednesday to discuss the approach made by private  equity firm Navis Capital to buy out the company's major stakeholder.  Xidelang is 54.6% owned by HongPeng International Holdings Ltd while HongPeng is in turn controlled by Mark  Ding Peng Peng, who is also the MD of Xidelang. (Business Times)

Xidelang: Confirms major shareholder HongPeng not selling stake
Xidelang said its major shareholder HongPeng International Holdings Ltd does not have any  plans to sell its stake. Xidelang said it had made due and diligent enquiry with HongPeng  which replied while it had been receiving enquiries from external parties including private  equity firms, but HongPeng has no intention of selling its stake at this juncture. Xidelang also  said the discussions between Navis Capital and HongPeng held during Oct and Nov last year  were solely exploratory in nature and there was no offer being made or a price range  indicated by Navis Capital. These exploratory discussions were discontinued in late Nov 2011.  (Financial Daily)

Power: Energy Commission plans increase generation in renewable energy
The Energy Commission of Malaysia is set to increase the percentage of electricity generated  from renewable energy (RE) to 5.5% compared with less than  1% currently.  CEO Datuk Ir  Ahmad Fauzi Hasan said the higher percentage was achievable through the establishment of  the Sustainable Energy Development Authority citing that the nation has the RE Act, feed-in  tariff mechanism and the infrastructures needed. (Bernama)

Economy: Bank Negara foreign reserves up RM94.8bn to RM423.4bn in 2011
Bank Negara Malaysia international reserves in 2011 rose by RM94.8bn to RM423.4bn from  RM328.7bn a year earlier. The central bank said the reserves level as at Dec 31, 2011 had  taken into account the quarterly adjustment of foreign exchange revaluation loss, following  the strengthening of the ringgit against some major currencies during the quarter. It added  that the reserves position is sufficient to finance 9.7 months of retained imports and is 4  times the short-term external debt. Bank Negara said the higher reserves reflected mainly  the current account surplus and inflows of foreign direct investment, portfolio capital and  other investments. (Financial Daily)

20120110 1003 Global Market Related News.

Asia Stocks Advance on U.S. Economic Optimism (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks (MXAP) rose for a second day on optimism the U.S. economy is weathering Europe’s sovereign- debt crisis. Honda Motor Co., the Japanese carmaker that gets about 44 percent of sales from North America, increased 1.6 percent in Tokyo. James Hardie Industries SE (JHX), a building materials supplier that counts the U.S. as its biggest market, rose 1 percent in Sydney. Pacific Brands Ltd. surged 14 percent after KKR & Co. approached the Australian distributor of the Everlast, Clarks and Dunlop brands for a possible takeover. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAPJ) gained 0.6 percent to 115.36 as of 9:53 a.m. in Hong Kong, with almost four shares rising from each that fell. The measure increased 0.9 percent last week as declining American unemployment and manufacturing growth from China to the U.S. added to signs the global economy may withstand Europe’s debt crisis.

U.S. Stocks Advance as EU Leaders Meet (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks advanced, extending last week’s rally for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as European leaders discussed shoring up the region’s currency and investors awaited the start of the fourth-quarter earnings season. Measures of industrial, energy and financial shares had the biggest gains (SPXL1) in the S&P 500 among 10 groups. Alcoa Inc. (AA), the largest U.S. aluminum producer, increased 2.9 percent before reporting its quarterly results. Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) rallied 2.5 percent as Deutsche Bank AG said soft fourth-quarter results for chipmakers (SOX) create a buying opportunity for the industry. The S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent to 1,280.70 at 4 p.m. New York time. The benchmark gauge for American equities gained 1.6 percent last week, the second-best start of a year since 2006. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 32.77 points, or 0.3 percent, to 12,392.69. About 6 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, or 16 percent below the three month-average.

European Stocks Retreat as Merkel Meets Sarkozy; UniCredit, Glaxo Plunge (Source: Bloomberg)
European stocks fell, trimming three weeks of gains for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, as a summit between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy failed to assuage concern over the debt crisis. UniCredit SpA (UCG) tumbled as rights to buy the bank’s shares slumped in their first day of trading in Milan. GlaxoSmithKline Plc fell 4.1 percent after saying its experimental respiratory drug Relovair failed to prove its superiority to an existing medicine in a late-stage study. Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) fell 2.8 percent as supplier RF Micro Devices Inc. reported preliminary quarterly revenue that trailed its earlier forecast. The Stoxx 600 (SXXP) slipped 0.5 percent to 246.42 at the close of trading in London, having swung between gains and losses more than 10 times today. The gauge gained 1.2 percent last week as economic reports from around the world added to optimism that the global economy can weather the fallout from the euro area’s sovereign-debt crisis.

Japan Stocks Snap 2-Day Losing Streak on U.S. Economic Optimism (Source: Bloomberg)
Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese stocks (TPX) rose, snapping a two-day loss, after U.S. jobs data last week buoyed optimism the U.S. is weathering Europe’s debt crisis. Honda Motor Co. (7267), a Japanese carmaker that generates 44 percent of its revenue in North America, rose 1 percent. Sony Corp. (6758), the nation’s leading exporter of consumer electronics, climbed 1.1 percent before a report this week expected to show U.S. retail sales advanced in December. Trading company Mitsubishi Corp. (8058) gained 1.4 percent after commodity prices rose. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) added 0.6 percent to 8,441.97 as of 9:19 a.m. in Tokyo. The broader Topix Index gained 0.9 percent to 735.80. Japan’s markets were closed yesterday for a public holiday.

China Stocks Rise Most in 3 Months on Loan, Money Data (Source: Bloomberg)
China’s stocks (IFB1) rose the most in three months after new lending and money supply exceeded estimates in December, boosting speculation the government is relaxing monetary policies to bolster economic growth. China Merchants Bank Co. (600036) and China Construction Bank Corp. (939) led gains for lenders after money supply grew at the fastest pace since July. China Shenhua Energy Co., the nation’s largest coal producer, advanced the most in 10 months on expectations new loan growth will boost demand for commodities. Anhui Conch Cement Co. (600585) climbed 5.6 percent after the Xinhua News Agency said the banking regulator will ensure demand for loans for the construction of affordable housing.
“It shows the government’s policy of fine-tuning monetary policies is taking effect,” Ha Jiming, vice chairman and chief investment strategist for Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s investment management division for China, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today. “The government is able to engineer a soft landing, maintaining economic growth at around 8 percent. The market this year will have some opportunities.”

Emerging-Market Stocks Rise on Monetary Easing Speculation; China Rallies (Source: Bloomberg)
Emerging-market stocks rose on speculation China is loosening monetary policy and as Hungary said it’s open to any deal with the International Monetary Fund. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MXEF) advanced 0.4 percent to 930.87 at the close in New York, its first gain in four days. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) climbed 2.9 percent. Brazil’s Bovespa index advanced 0.8 percent while the ISE National 100 Index (XU100) fell 0.7 percent in Istanbul. Chinese stocks gained the most in three months after an increase in new lending and money supply expansion boosted speculation the government is relaxing monetary policies as slowing exports threaten economic growth. Hungary’s BUX Index (BUX) rose 3.5 percent, the most among major world bourses, after the nation’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban abandoned objections to a bailout from the IMF, indicating his government is open to “any kind” of credit line to prop up financing.

Hedge Funds Sit Out Rally With Speculation on Stock Gains Close to ’09 Low (Source: Bloomberg)
Rallying stocks (INDU) have done little to entice professional money managers back to U.S. equities. A gauge of hedge-fund bullishness measuring the proportion of bets that shares will rise climbed to 44.5 last week from 43.9 at the end of 2011, holding close to the lowest level since 2009, according to International Strategy & Investment Group. Compared with the price of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, managers’ so-called net exposure is close to the lowest since June 2008, the ISI data show. Speculators have been cutting equities since the index peaked in February 2011 at 54.2, concerned Europe’s credit crisis will spread and curb global economic growth. They stayed bearish after October when the S&P 500 began a 17 percent rally that has restored $2 trillion to the value of American equities.

More U.S. Part-Timers Find Full-Time Jobs (Source: Bloomberg)
More Americans are moving from part- time to full-time jobs, adding to evidence a strengthening labor market will bolster household confidence and spending. The number of people putting in a full week (USEMFULL) rose to 113.8 million in December, the most since February 2009, the Labor Department’s monthly employment report showed last week. At the same time, 8.1 million (USEMPTER) worked fewer hours because they couldn’t find a full-time job, the least since January 2009. “It’s what will traditionally happen when the job market overall is beginning to improve,” Tig Gilliam, chief executive officer of Adecco Group North America, said in a telephone interview.

U.S. Economy’s Challenges Greater This Year Than Last, Gluskin Sheff Says (Source: Bloomberg)
David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff & Associates Inc., said the U.S. economy faces more challenges in 2012 than last year, while he backed away from his prediction the nation was facing a near- certain recession. “Certainly, we’re not in a recession right now,” Rosenberg said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop” with Betty Liu. Nonetheless, he said, “I still believe the economy is still fragile and this recovery is still quite spotty.” The effects of the European recession and a slowdown in China will weigh on U.S. exports and industrial production this year, he said. Even last week’s stronger-than-forecast jobs growth (USURTOT) number of 200,000 for December may end up being revised down to about 140,000, when holiday hiring at delivery companies and other seasonal factors are taken into account, he said.

Corporate Profit Growth Slows as Europe Drags (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. corporations ended 2011 with the slowest profit growth in two years as the mending economy that lifted Macy’s Inc. (M) was met by a European slump that vexed companies more tied to global sales, such as Cisco Systems Inc. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies may have earned $24.74 a share (SPX) in the fourth quarter, according to analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg as of Jan. 6. The projected 6 percent gain is the smallest against a year-earlier quarter (SPWPPRCT) since September 2009, just after the U.S. recovery began. “Slowing global growth, some impairment of export activity to Europe and perhaps even the rise of the dollar collectively have begun to sort of work against the multinational story,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Philadelphia- based Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, which manages $54 billion. While growth is still “subpar,” he said he intends to invest more in the U.S. to avoid higher international risk.

Merkel Says Budget Rules to Stem Europe’s Debt Woes May Be Done This Month (Source: Bloomberg)
Euro-area leaders may complete their new budget rulebook by Jan. 30, one month ahead of schedule, and are considering accelerating capital contributions to the bailout fund being set up this year to stem the debt crisis. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy outlined the increased pace of their response as the financial crisis that began in Greece in 2009 entered its third year amid concern that the future of the single currency itself was in doubt. “There is a good chance that we can sign the debt brakes and everything that’s connected to it already in January, but at the latest in March, and that we’re making really good progress in negotiations,” Merkel said at a joint press conference with Sarkozy after they met in Berlin today. “Germany and France made a substantial contribution to this.”

Draghi May Copy Bernanke Over Trichet on Path to Record-Low Interest Rates (Source: Bloomberg)
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi may act more like Ben S. Bernanke than Jean-Claude Trichet in 2012. With the euro area’s debt crisis pulling its economy into a second recession in three years, Draghi soon may cut the ECB’s benchmark interest rate (EURR002W) below 1 percent for the first time and help banks by further inflating its balance sheet, which already has ballooned 17 percent since he took office Nov. 1. Such activism would mark a reversal from a year ago -- when the Trichet-led ECB was pivoting toward higher rates -- and is causing economists at Bank of America Corp. and Jefferies International Ltd. to declare that Draghi is behaving more like Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke than his ECB predecessor. If the slump drags down Germany, Europe’s largest economy, and fans deflation, it may even prompt the bank to consider Fed-style asset buying, providing relief it now balks at for governments.

Europe’s Powers Over National Budgets Face First Test in EU-Belgium Clash (Source: Bloomberg)
Europe’s newfound powers over national taxing and spending face a first test when the European Commission prods Belgium to make deeper savings just over a week into the budget year. Under authority granted last month, the commission will on Jan. 11 decide whether an emergency Belgian spending freeze is enough to drive the deficit below the euro-area limit in 2012. A negative verdict would expose Belgium, saddled with Europe’s fifth-highest debt, to potential sanctions in a precedent-setting trial of rules designed to overcome investors’ skepticism about the euro area’s response to the two-year-old debt crisis. “The key challenge for Belgium is the reduction of its sizable public debt,” Olivier Bizimana, an economist at Morgan Stanley in London, said in a research note. “Near-term pressures on public debt have significantly increased, with rising costs of borrowing, lower growth and a still-fragile banking sector.”

ECB Financing to Portuguese Lenders Rose to 46 Billion Euros in December (Source: Bloomberg)
The European Central Bank’s financing (PLBLTOTL) to Portuguese lenders rose for a second month in December, the Bank of Portugal said. ECB financing increased to 46.0 billion euros ($58.7 billion) from 45.69 billion euros in November, the Lisbon-based central bank said today on its website. ECB financing levels peaked at 49.1 billion euros in August 2010. Portugal in April became the third euro-area country to seek a bailout after Greece and Ireland, and will receive 78 billion euros under the agreement with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. The aid plan earmarks 12 billion euros for Portugal’s lenders if needed.

Banks Can Go Below Minimum Basel Liquidity Levels During Financial Crisis (Source: Bloomberg)
Banks will be allowed go below minimum liquidity levels set by global regulators during financial crises to avoid cash-flow difficulties. “During a period of stress, banks would be expected to use their pool of liquid assets, thereby temporarily falling below the minimum requirement,” the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s governing board said in a statement on its website yesterday, following a meeting in the Swiss city. The aim of the measure, known as a liquidity coverage ratio, is to ensure that lenders hold enough easy-to-sell assets to survive a 30-day credit squeeze. The requirement, one of several measures from the Basel group designed to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis, is scheduled to enter into force in 2015.

Canadian Confidence in Economy Rises From Two-Year Low, Nanos Poll Shows (Source: Bloomberg)
Canadian consumer confidence rose in the fourth quarter from a two-year low on optimism about real estate prices and the global economy according to a Nanos Research poll. The Nanos Economic Mood Index rose to 107.4 in the fourth quarter from 105.1 the prior three months, according to a report by Nik Nanos, president of the Ottawa-based polling company. About 19 percent of those surveyed said the economy will be stronger in the next six months, up from 16 percent, while the share who said it will be weaker declined to 31 percent from 39 percent. “The pessimism Canadians have in terms of the future of the economy has lessened,” Nanos said, citing progress with “turmoil in Europe and the political gridlock in the U.S.”

20120110 1002 Global Commodities Related News.

Tracking Crops and Commodity Prices (Source: CME)
Consumers and investors get an early read this week on whether food commodity prices will give them indigestion in 2012. The U.S. Department of Agriculture releases its final assessment of last year's crop and the latest data on domestic grain inventories Thursday. The reports have a history of rippling well beyond futures trading at the Chicago Board of Trade, touching a wide range of companies from fertilizer producers such as Mosaic Co. to chicken processors such as Pilgrim's Pride Corp. The reports will drive how many acres U.S. farmers will plant come spring and what crops they choose to grow. That trickles down to raw-materials costs for food makers such as Kraft Foods Inc. and Sara Lee Corp. and what consumers pay at the supermarket. "It's definitely going to set the tone for 2012," said Peter Meyer, a New Jersey-based agribusiness consultant and publisher of farm commodity newsletter Opening Print.
The USDA reports have a history of immediately jolting grain markets. In each of the last five years following the release of the January reports, corn futures have either risen or fallen to the exchange-imposed limit on one-day price moves. Traders and corporate executives will look most closely at the inventory report. It comes out only quarterly and provides a snapshot of actual U.S. supplies of corn, soybeans and wheat rather than forecast. The last report, released Sept. 30, showed supplies of corn were larger than expected, and prices by the next week hit a nine-month low. The reports alter longer-range plans for agriculture companies as crop prices influence buying habits of farmers for seed, fertilizer and even tractors. Mosaic Chief Executive Jim Prokopanko said a fall swoon in corn prices made fertilizer dealers wary of adding inventory. With the price of phosphate falling sharply, the company announced in late December it would cut production.
"Our fertilizer pricing forecast is largely driven by corn prices," he said. The report also can hint at food prices for the year ahead. Last January, the reports stoked fears corn supplies could fall to historic lows as the 2010 harvest disappointed and global demand drained U.S. stockpiles. Food prices increased over the next 12 months, with the USDA projecting consumer prices for food rose 3.25% to 3.75% in 2011. The agency is forecasting a jump of 2.5% to 3.5% this year. That's slightly above the historical average for the past two decades. With so much attention put on this week's report, grain traders and buyers have become increasingly critical of the data, which they say has become highly unpredictable.
Analysts say the USDA's task has gotten more difficult in recent years. With a huge jump in the production of corn-based ethanol, many livestock producers are feeding their animals a byproduct of the biofuel rather than just the corn itself. That is helping to muddy overall grain demand. Meanwhile, many farmers have increased how much grain they can store on their own farms instead of bringing it to local elevators. That has made it more difficult for the USDA to figure out exactly how much grain is in the countryside. "Anyone that has a position in this market is generally worried going into this report," said Terry Reilly, an analyst with Citi.

Corn (Source: CME)
US corn futures end higher on continued worries about hot South America weather. Rains this week in Argentina are not going to be enough to save the crop from significant losses, some traders say, particularly with drought-like conditions returning afterwards. The market gave back some of its early surge amid profit-taking as uncertainty ahead of this week's big USDA report limits risk-taking. "This report on Thursday is going to set the fundamental tone for the market for the next month and a half," says ABN Amro. CBOT March corn ends up 8 1/2c at $6.52/bushel.

Wheat (Source: CME)
US wheat futures end higher on spillover support from worries about South America's corn and soybean crops. A slightly drier weather forecast for Argentina helped lift up the entire grains complex, analysts say. Wheat demand remains sluggish, however, due to ample world supplies, as weekly export inspections Monday were disappointing. Wheat could be the first market to show signs of "buyer's remorse" following Thursday's USDA report, says Mike Zuzolo of Global Commodity Analytics and Consulting. CBOT March wheat ends up 17c, or 2.7%, to $6.41 3/4 a bushel. KCBT March wheat up 18c to $6.98 and MGEX March wheat ends up 8 3/4c to $8.09 3/4.

Rice (Source: CME)
US rice futures end higher, winning back some of the week's earlier losses despite outside market pressure. Prices had fallen early in the week, and analysts say demand remains lackluster. Stronger US dollar pressured commodities generally, hurting export prospects. But US rice exports have already been poor, as evidenced by weekly net sales announced today under 30,000 metric tons. CBOT March rice ends up 14 1/2c, or 1%, to $14.68 per hundredweight. Down 18 1/2c on the week.

Corn, soy up on Argentine crop concerns; wheat rises
SINGAPORE, Jan 9 (Reuters) - U.S. corn rose 0.7 percent, while soybeans recovered after two straight sessions of losses with harsh hot and dry weather threatening to curb crop-yields in Argentina, a top global supplier of grains and oilseeds.
"We are looking at sideways trade because of the USDA report this week with an upside bias on weather concerns in South America," said Lynette Tan, analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Argentina says drought will reduce corn crop
BUENOS AIRES, Jan 6 (Reuters) - The drought that is drying out Argentina's farm areas will cut into the country's 2011/12 corn harvest, as crops struggle to flower under parched conditions, the government said in a weekly report on Friday.
The world's No. 2 corn producing country has been hit by  dryness related to the La Nina phenomenon just as corn and soy plants need water to help them develop.

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Corn and soybean production in South America will be smaller than forecast last month after hot, dry weather delayed planting and damaged crops, said agriculture researcher Informa Economics Inc. The corn harvest in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay will be 6.2 million metric tons less than forecast last month, Informa said today in an e-mailed report to clients. The soybean crop in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay will be 4.3 million tons below the earlier forecast, Informa said.

Informa lowers US, Argentine corn crop estimates
CHICAGO, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Analytical firm Informa Economics lowered its estimate of the U.S. 2011 corn yield to 147.0 bushels per acre (bpa), from 149.5 previously, trade sources said on Friday.
The firm cut its estimate of U.S. 2011 corn production to 12.34 billion bushels, from 12.549 billion previously.

Afghanistan minister sees bigger 2011/12 grain crop
KABUL, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Afghanistan expects to pull in a bigger grain harvest in the current 2011/12 season and avoid a repeat of last year's severe food shortages, its agriculture minister said this week.
Afghanistan consumes around 6.5 million tonnes of grain annually, of which 5.4 million tonnes are wheat, its staple crop, and the rest consist of rice and barley. Last season, a drought led to a deficit of nearly 2 million tonnes.

No relief for dry Argentine farmlands this weekend
BUENOS AIRES, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Hot, dry weather is expected to continue over the next three days in Argentina's main farming regions, stoking concerns about the country's key corn and soybean crops which have bolstered CBOT futures.
The country's National Meteorological Service (www.smn.gov.ar) forecast isolated thunderstorms on Friday evening in marginal growing areas in northwestern Cordoba, San Luis and much of La Pampa province.

Morocco prays for rain for 1st time since 2007
RABAT, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Moroccans on Friday held the first nationwide prayers for rain since 2007, when drought slashed output of staple cereals to less than a quarter of the country's needs, although experts say the current crop year will probably be far less disastrous.
The prayers were held in mid-morning throughout Moroccan mosques and prayer areas "in accordance with the instructions of HM King Mohammed, the Commander of the Faithful", the Islamic affairs ministry said.

EU clears 107,000 tonnes wheat exports this week
PARIS, Jan 6 (Reuters) - The European Union this week granted export licences for 107,000 tonnes of soft wheat, taking the total since the beginning of the 2011/12 (July-June) season to 7.4 million tonnes, official data showed on Friday.
The total so far this season remained well below the volume in 2010/11 when 11.2 million tonnes of export licences had been cleared by the same stage.

Buyers turn to India, Thailand and Vietnam out of market
BANGKOK, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Indian rice prices edged down a little over the holiday period and remain far lower than the grain in Thailand and Vietnam, which should ensure that India remains the only seller in the market for the time being, traders said on Wednesday.
After lifting a four-year ban on rice exports in September, India is believed to have shipped 1.0-1.2 million tonnes, they said.

India wins 1 mln T corn export deals at $240-$250/T
NEW DELHI, Dec 14 (Reuters) - (Repeats story published late on Wednesday with no change to text)
India has sealed deals to export one million tonnes of corn to southeast Asia in the first two months of the season, indicating a robust start but traders fear that congestion at domestic ports could impede overseas sales later.
"We have contracted to export one million tonnes for January delivery and most deals have been struck in the range of $240-$250 per tonne FOB ($6.60-6.81 per bushel)," Vijay Shrishrimal, managing director of Mumbai-based top exporter K.N. Resources Pvt Ltd, told Reuters.

Australia 2012-13 Wheat Output Seen Strong Despite Lower Prices (Source: CME)
Despite a sharp downturn in wheat prices since mid 2011, Australian wheat plantings are likely to contract only a little in 2012, John Eastburn, Chairman of GrainGrowers Ltd., a national organization representing producers, said. Given favorable seasonal conditions at planting time in May and June, growers will still "push it to the limit again," he said by phone. With a current harvest all but finished, Australian wheat production is estimated by the state-run Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences at a record 28.3 million metric tons this crop year ending March 31, about 50% more than a long-term annual average. After annual domestic consumption of around 6 million tons is met, the balance is available for exports, making Australia the third-largest global supplier in 2010-11, according to industry regulator the Wheat Export Authority. Underpinning the estimated record output in 2011-12 was a record area planted of 14.1 million hectares, according to Abares.
Crops were sown in May and June last year when benchmark ASX milling wheat futures for delivery in New South Wales was quoted around A$320 a metric ton. ASX wheat futures have since fallen sharply with March milling wheat futures quoted Monday around A$212.50/metric ton, a price level that generates only "pretty ordinary" returns. This has brought operating margins down to a level that is just above the cost of production, said Eastburn, who grows grains in the Coonamble region of northern New South Wales. But that may not dent planting intentions for this year. "Most producers are locked in and have to plant again, even knowing that the prices aren't that good," Eastburn said. Having invested around A$2 million each in their farm plant and equipment as many have, growers can't readily leave that idle, waiting for better times, he said.
Some growers in the southern areas of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and southern New South Wales will plant more land to canola, but this option isn't available to growers in northern cropping areas, he said. Nor, given the costly entry levels, can landholders swing their operations to sheep or cattle production, he said. "Wheat production will probably come back a little bit," he said without venturing a planting or production estimate for 2012-13.

India Wheat Crop Unaffected By Hailstorm, Rain In Breadbasket State - Official (Source: CME)
Hailstorms and heavy rains over the weekend in India's northern breadbasket state of Punjab haven't affected the winter-sown crop, a senior state agriculture department official said. "The crop is fine. Rather, the weather conditions may help as the rain has cleared cloudy and overcast conditions," Punjab's agriculture director, Mangal Singh Sandhu, told Dow Jones Newswires. Foggy weather over Punjab and Haryana states was causing concern as poor light over a period of about a month could reduce absorption of nutrients and affect plant growth. India is betting on a repeat of last year's record wheat crop of around 86 million metric tons this year to shore up government stocks, ahead of a planned nationwide food security program. Any drop in wheat output could affect the government's plans as wheat and rice are the two main grain staples that will be distributed under the program that targets the poor and malnourished.
Sandhu said the area under wheat in Punjab this year is about 10,000 hectares less than last year's 3.51 million hectares. Sowing of wheat usually starts end-October and the crop is harvested from end-March or early April.

S.America soy crop seen shrinking; US exports eyed
CHICAGO, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Analysts expect few major shifts in U.S. soy stockpiles when the U.S. Department of Agriculture issues its January crop reports next week but dry weather should prompt downgrades in USDA's South American crop forecasts.
Such a drop would tighten world soy supplies and could eventually bolster flagging U.S. soybean exports, especially in the upcoming 2012/13 crop year.

US wheat acres seen rising after disappointing crop
CHICAGO, Jan 6 (Reuters) - A U.S. government report is expected to show that farmers last fall planted the most winter wheat in three years as some much-needed rain boosted crop prospects following a dry growing season in 2011, according to analysts surveyed by Reuters.
"The increase in wheat acres was no surprise," said Farm Futures magazine market analyst Arlan Suderman. "Unexpected fall moisture led Plains farmers to aggressively plant winter wheat to get a cover over their previously parched soils."

Corn supply to shrink as Argentine crop wilts
CHICAGO, Jan 6 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) should trim its forecast for this year's ending supply of U.S. corn to a fresh 16-year low in a report next week, and more declines may occur if U.S. exports increase to compensate for Argentina's drought-hurt crop, analysts said.
"I think USDA may make a slight reduction but they won't be aggressive in this report. I recognize that additional reductions will probably be necessary, we'll know more in 30 days," said Shawn McCambridge, analyst for Jefferies Bache.

Argentina's new wheat system seen spurring output
BUENOS AIRES, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Argentina's new wheat export system promises to spur output from the grains-producing powerhouse at a time when farmers are hurting from dry weather and the government needs more foreign currency.
The administration of recently re-elected President Cristina Fernandez will scrap incremental export quotas in a bid to improve prices for farmers by boosting competition among the global trading houses that bid for their crops.

Ivorian natural rubber output up 6 pct in 2011
ABIDJAN, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast's rubber output grew nearly six percent in 2011 to reach 240,000 tonnes from 227,000 tonnes a year ago, with plans to boost production to 600,000 tonnes by 2020, an official of the West African nation's rubber association said on Friday.
Akpangni Attobra, general secretary of the Ivorian natural rubber association, APROMAC, said Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, plans to increase output by expanding tree planting to other areas of the country.

Cocoa Futures Jump Most Since October 2009 in N.Y. on Nigeria Supply Risk (Source: Bloomberg)
Cocoa surged the most since October 2009 as a labor stoppage threatened to disrupt supplies from Nigeria, the world’s fourth-biggest producer. Sugar and coffee also advanced. Nigerian workers began a national strike today, which may shut ports, after fuel costs more than doubled. Growers in the nation aren’t selling crops after prices paid to farmers fell more than 40 percent and the government’s removal of fuel subsidies left them facing higher costs, the head of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria said on Jan. 4. Higher prices may lift costs for companies including Hershey Co., Nestle SA and Barry Callebaut AG, the world’s top bulk-chocolate maker. Last year, cocoa tumbled 31 percent, the largest annual loss since 1999, as output rose in Ivory Coast, the biggest grower.

US 2011 cotton quality readings slip slightly
Jan 6 (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Friday the micronaire readings that measure quality of the 2011 U.S. upland cotton crop slipped but the strength readings remained steady.
Grading the quality of the U.S. cotton crop is critical because it determines the ability of producers to sell the fiber at a premium or a discount to New York cotton futures.

Indonesia confident on Q1 white sugar stocks -govt
JAKARTA, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Indonesia, Southeast Asia's top sugar consumer, has enough white sugar stocks to meet domestic demand until its milling season begins in May, a government minister said on Friday, adding that a decision on imports would be announced next month.
Southeast Asia's largest economy currently has about 800,000 tonnes of white sugar inventories, Agriculture Minister Suswono told reporters.

India's Nov rubber imports rise, trend to continue
Dec 9 (Reuters) - India's natural rubber imports edged up 4.6 percent in November to 15,069 tonnes, the state-run Rubber Board said on Friday, and steep falls in prices on overseas markets are likely to continue to make imports attractive for tyre makers.
The country's production during the month rose 4.3 percent on a year ago to 94,400 tonnes, the Rubber Board said in a statement, while consumption was 82,000 tonnes compared with 78,010 tonnes a year ago, it said.

Biggest Rubber Glut Since 2004 Offers Respite to Bridgestone: Commodities (Source: Bloomberg)
Rubber plantations from Indonesia to Ivory Coast will tap a global crop this year that will create the biggest glut since at least 2004, cutting costs for Bridgestone Corp., Michelin & Cie. and other tiremakers. The market will switch to a 413,000-metric-ton surplus, from an 87,000-ton shortage in 2011 that helped drive rubber to a record in February, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates. Prices fell since then on prospects for more supply and slower growth in China, the largest consumer. Futures will drop as much as 10 percent to 240 yen ($3.12) a kilogram (2.2 pounds) in Tokyo this year, the lowest since November 2009, the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 14 analysts and traders shows.
Commodities posted their first annual loss in three years in 2011 as China, the biggest user of everything from coal to cotton to copper, slowed growth to cool inflation that reached a three-year high in July. Auto sales in the nation rose 2.6 percent in the first 11 months of last year, down from 32 percent in 2010, industry data show. That’s adding to pressure on raw-material prices, already weakening as economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast the slowest global growth since 2009.

India coffee exports seen falling 15 pct in 2011/12
NEW DELHI, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Coffee exports from India, the world's sixth-biggest producer, were likely to fall some 15 percent in 2011/12, Coffee Board Chairman Jawaid Akhtar said on Wednesday, as a burgeoning Indian middle class expands domestic consumption.
Exports for the year ending March 31, 2012 were seen between 240,000-250,000 tonnes as against 294,000 tonnes a year ago, Akhtar said.

India sugar output up so far; more exports likely
NEW DELHI, Dec 5 (Reuters) - India's sugar output rose 22.2 percent in the first two months of the new season from October despite crushing delays in its top producing state, a leading industry body said on Monday, boosting the chances of more sugar exports by the government.
Last month, the world's top consumer of sugar, and the biggest producer after Brazil, allowed mills to export 1 million tonnes, kicking off the overseas sales of the sweetener in the 2011/12 season.

Euro Coal-Prices rise 50c/T on short-covering
LONDON, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Prompt physical coal prices rose by 50-75 U.S. cents a tonne on Friday as players covered short positions and Indian buying showed signs of picking up after several months of a lull.
Traders and utilities in Europe short of Colombian tonnes due to delays to shipments from two of the country's biggest exporters, Drummond and Prodeco, have been seeking replacement cargoes, helping to bolster DES ARA prices.

S.Africa 2011 coal exports rise, China's share up
LONDON, Jan 6 (Reuters) - South Africa's coal exports for calendar year 2011 rose by 1.9 percent or 1.2 million tonnes to 64.6 million tonnes from the previous year, with a fourth-quarter surge in shipments going to China, exporters said.
China took just over 13 million tonnes from South Africa last year, much of it in the fourth quarter as Chinese utilities filled stockpiles to capacity before the New Year holidays.

Oil Trades Near Lowest This Year on Rising Stockpiles, European Outlook (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil traded near the lowest price in more than a week in New York as investors speculated that increasing U.S. crude stockpiles and signs of weakening growth in Europe indicate fuel demand may falter. Futures were little changed after sliding a third day yesterday as a report showed German (GRIPIMOM) industrial production fell in November. U.S. crude inventories probably rose a third week, a Bloomberg News survey showed. Iran is unlikely to close the Strait of Hormuz, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and President Barack Obama’s former adviser on the nation. A general strike in Nigeria enters a second day today, threatening shipments by Africa’s biggest oil producer. “Concerns over slower economic activity in Europe offset potential tight supply from the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and Africa,” Mark Pervan, head of commodity research at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Melbourne, said in a note today.

PetroChina Dalian to shut 120,000 bpd CDU for maintenance
BEIJING, Jan 9 (Reuters) - PetroChina  plans to shut down a 120,000 barrel-per-day crude distillation unit (CDU) at its largest Dalian refinery for maintenance from mid-March, an industry source said on Monday.
The maintenance, which also includes a 800,000 tonne-per-year fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit, will last for 35 to 40 days, the source said

Oil markets brace for turbulence of index shift
NEW YORK, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Amid the drama of Iran, the meltdown of refiner Petroplus and a wave of upbeat economic data, it was all too easy to overlook one of the most important short-term factors shaping oil markets this week: the reweighting of the world's biggest commodity indexes.
The S&P GSCI Index and the DJ-UBS Index, the world's no. 1 and no. 2 commodity indexes, announced two months ago plans to rejig their component weights to reflect growing trade in European benchmark Brent crude, at the expense of U.S. WTI, which some traders say had become detached from global prices.

Brent rises above $113 on Iran supply threat
SINGAPORE, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Brent crude prices rose above $113 a barrel as  concerns over the economic health of the euro zone were overshadowed by Iran's threat to shut a key oil-shipping route.
"The geopolitical concerns are definitely putting a floor on oil prices at the moment. There are no two ways about that," said Ben Le Brun, market analyst at OptionsXpress in Sydney.

Iron Ore-Shipping Costs Plunge 47% This Year Amid China Slowdown Risks (Source: Bloomberg)
The cost of hauling iron ore and coal fell to a four-month low, extending this year’s decline to 47 percent, amid concerns a Chinese economic slowdown will curb steel production, the biggest driver of global shipping demand. Rates to hire a capesize ship, the largest in the fleet of dry-bulk vessels, dropped 6.1 percent to $14,535 a day, according to the London-based Baltic Exchange. That’s less than half the 2011 high of $32,889 reached on Dec. 12, according to exchange data. “Concerns about a Chinese economic slowdown mean that there are real risks to weaker Chinese steel production (CHMMCRST) growth in 2012, which the capesize sector is highly leveraged to,” Natasha Boyden, an analyst at New York-based Cantor Fitzgerald LP, wrote today in an e-mailed report.

Iron Ore-China steel futures ease, limited ore restocking
SINGAPORE, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Shanghai steel rebar futures edged lower on Monday, reflecting a drab outlook for demand in top steel consumer China that has restrained buying of iron ore ahead of the Lunar New Year break this month.
The most-traded May rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange  dropped 0.3 percent to close at 4,185 yuan a tonne , its second loss in four sessions.

China daily steel output slips in late Dec - CISA data
SHANGHAI, Jan 9 (Reuters) - China's daily crude steel output declined to 1.626 million tonnes in the last 11 days of December, down 2.4 percent from the preceding ten days, data from the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) showed on Monday.
CISA figures showed that daily average output in the world's largest steel-producing country stood at 1.654 million tonnes in December, down 0.5 percent from November.

China imported iron ore stocks up 1.1 pct in wk to Jan 6
BEIJING, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Imported iron ore stockpiles at major Chinese ports rose 1.1 percent in the first week of 2012 to end at 96.61 million tonnes, driven largely by an increase in Brazilian shipments, industry consultancy Mysteel said on Friday.
Inventories sourced from India also increased over the week, despite a decision to raise iron ore export tariffs from 20 percent to 30 percent, effective from Dec. 30.

Baltic index slides to near 5-month low, trade slow
LONDON, Jan 6 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates to ship dry commodities, fell to its lowest in nearly five months on Friday as a slump in cargo trade and a growing vessel surplus took their toll.
The shipping sector in coming months is expected to face a supply glut and economic gloom that will pressure earnings, including concerns over the outlook for Chinese demand for raw materials.

20120110 1001 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

ITS CPO export down 16.24% to 371,635 tonnes for the period of 1~10 Jan 2012.
SGS CPO export down 19.2% to 352,800 tonnes for the period of 1~10 Jan 2012.

MPOB Official Data for the month of Dec 2011 vs Nov 2011
Exports down 4.49% to 1,589,885 tonnes
Stocks down 1.49% to 2,039,224 tonnes
Output down 8.16% to 1,494,893 tonnes

Soybeans (Source: CME)
US soybean futures rallied Monday, settling at a two-month high, as traders rebuilt risk premium into prices amid threats to South American crops. Heat and dryness stress is perceived to be lowering the crops yield potential there. The uncertainty of Argentina and Brazil crop potential coupled with traders covering short positions ahead of Thursday's government crop reports helped futures recoup losses from the previous week, analysts say. CBOT March soybeans ended up 36 1/2c or 3.1% to $12.33/bushel.

Soybean Meal/Oil (Source: CME)
Soy product futures spiked in unison with rallying soybeans. Soymeal futures prices jumped to more than two-month highs, while soyoil retraced a portion of last week's declines. Threats to South America crops served as the fundamental driver attracting buyers to soy markets, analysts say CBOT March soymeal ended up $11.10 (or 3.6%) to $323.50/short ton; March soyoil climbed 1.21c (2.4%) to 52.33c/lb.

China's Sinograin Oils Enters Edible Oil Market (Source: CME)
A subsidiary of state grain stockpiler China Grain Reserves Corp. has entered the country's edible oil retail market, state media reported. Sinograin Oils Co.'s foray into a lucrative and intensely competitive market sets up a contest with giant state-owned domestic rival Cofco Group Corp. and foreign competitors including Singapore's Wilmar International. Sinograin Oils began retail operations in 20,000 supermarkets in eastern and northern China in December, China's state-owned Economic Daily newspaper said. The company aims to sell 200,000 metric tons of edible oil in 2012, the paper said in a report also picked up by communist party mouthpiece People's Daily. The unit's production base is at Zhenjiang city, Jiangsu province. Within two years, it intends to have completed plants at Tianjin municipality as well as Guangdong and Henan provinces, among others, to reach an annual bottling capacity of 700,000 tons, according to the report.
The Sinograin subsidiary's move illustrates the allure of a domestic market valued around $83 billion a year in operating income and provides cues as to the ambitions of a company whose parent is better known for administering China's state grain reserves. Quoting General Manager Liu Jianmin, the Economic Daily said Sinograin Oils' entry into the market is "to realize the company's goal of getting from the agricultural field to the dining table." The company couldn't be reached for comment. The industry in China is fragmented, populated by hundreds of producers and at least 97 large-scale edible oil firms, according to a report by Caijing business magazine earlier this month. The Economic Daily report suggested that Sinograin's aim may extend beyond commercial interests: "Foreign edible oil companies control more than half of China's edible oil market, presenting challenges for the country's 'strategic security.'"
China's Cofco Group Corp. has annual edible oil processing capacity of more than 10 million tons, chairman Ning Gaoning told state-run Xinhua news agency last year, dwarfing Sinograin Oils' current stature in edible oil retail Cofco accounts for about 10% of China's cooking oil retail market, trailing Singapore's Wilmar International Ltd., which has about 50%-60% of the market. These companies operate in a politically sensitive industry, where the government hasn't hesitated to intervene to control prices. Last year, Chinese government officials asked at least three major producers, including Wilmar and Cofco, to cap cooking oil prices to tamp inflation.

India's 2011/12 edible oil imports seen up 6.3 pct
MUMBAI, Jan 4 (Reuters) - India's edible oil imports in the year ending October 2012 are likely to rise by 6.3 percent to 8.9 million tonnes and all the additional imports will be refined palm oil after Indonesia changed export taxes, a senior Indian industry official said.
Indonesia altered duties to make its refined palm oils more attractive than crude palm oil (CPO) from October 2011, prompting warnings from refiners in India, the world's top cooking oil buyer, it would be a "death blow."

Bunge eyes India expansion with 1,200 TPD edible oil refinery
MUMBAI, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Agricultural processor Bunge Ltd  is planning to set up an edible oil refinery on India's western coast as it aims to expand in the world's top importer after buying a local firm last week, the head of its Indian unit told Reuters.
Bunge, the world's largest oilseed processor and among the top sugar and ethanol producers, last week said it had agreed to buy the edible oil business of Amrit Banaspati Company  for 2.21 billion rupees ($42 million).

Crude palm drives India vegoil imports up 28 pct y/y
MUMBAI, Dec 14 (Reuters) - India's crude palm oil imports rose but the costlier refined purchases fell in November compared with the previous month despite efforts by Indonesia to push the sale of the refined variant, data from a top trade body showed on Wednesday.
Refined oil imports by India, the world's biggest vegetable oil importer, were down because of lower supplies from the Southeast Asian country which is still trying to boost its refining capacity.

Palm oil down on Europe fears, industry data eyed
SINGAPORE, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Malaysian crude palm oil futures eased as renewed worries about the euro zone debt crisis and investor caution ahead of key industry data trumped weather concerns in top oilseed producing regions.
"Until more is known about demand, weather in South America and most importantly the USDA and MPOB figures, the market will remain in the 3,160-3,240 ringgit range," said a trader with a local commodities brokerage in Kuala Lumpur, referring to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.

Indonesia 2011 palm oil exports fall 5 pct
JAKARTA, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Palm oil exports from Indonesia, the world's largest producer, dropped 5 percent to 19.4 million tonnes last year, the agriculture ministry said on Monday, highlighting rising domestic consumption.
The fall in exports came even as palm output rose a modest 2.5 percent in 2011 from the previous year, to 22.51 million tonnes, the ministry said in a statement.

South Brazil set for brief respite from drought
SAO PAULO, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Rains will return to the drought-hit grain regions in southern Brazil by the middle of next week, a forecaster said on Friday, but will be too light and brief to neutralize the threat of more crop losses in the world's No. 2 soy and No. 3 corn producer.
"Between January 11 and 15, the weather pattern will change radically. A cold front will finally bring widespread rain to the south," local meteorologists Somar said.