Thursday, February 9, 2012

20120209 1819 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3148, changed : -7 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : pullback correction downside biased.
MACD Histrogram : recovering, seller reducing position.
Support : 3100, 3070, 3050, 3020 level.
Resistance : 3150, 3200, 3250, 3270 level.
Comment :
FCPO closed little lower with decline volume transacted. Soy oil price currently registering small gain after overnight closed higher while crude oil price seems still struggling to test back 100 per barrel level.
Market traded within 27 points range bound market ahead of tomorrow MPOB official Jan 2012 export, production and inventory data plus 1~10 Feb cargo surveyor export data.  
Daily chart analysis still suggesting a pullback correction downside biased market development with temporary support near middle Bollinger band 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.

20120209 1736 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1558.5, changed : +10 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : upside biased with possible pullback correction.
MACD Histrogram : rising, buyer in control.
Support : 1550, 1540, 1530, 1515 level.
Resistance : 1565, 1570, 1580, 1590 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed rallied higher recorded gains for the 5th consecutive trading days with thin volume changed hand doing 6.5 points discount compare to cash market that also surged higher. Overnight U.S. markets closed recorded small gain and today Asia markets having mixed development while European markets currently trading in positive territory.
Global markets reacted differently awaits Greece second bailout discussions and European Central Bank and Bank of England policy decisions announcement.
Daily chart technical reading remained suggesting an upside biased market development with potential pullback correction with MACD indicator having positive crossed up to the second day.
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.

20120209 1700 Regional Markets EOD Daily Chart Study.

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

20120209 1602 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Markets guarded as Athens strives to reach deal
TOKYO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Shares and the euro struggled , as sentiment grew cautious after Greek political leaders failed to conclude a deal for a bailout package crucial to avoiding a messy debt default.
"Short-term plays are moving markets, with the underlying tone staying bearish because even after a deal is reached, it takes a long time to resolve Greece's fiscal problems given that there is no quick remedy for the structural issue," said Xiao Minjie, chief economist at FuNNeX Asset Management in Tokyo.

FOREX-Euro dips as Greece stops short of signing off deal
TOKYO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - The euro dipped from a two-month high on Thursday after Greek political parties stopped short of signing off on austerity measures, though hopes a deal will be struck within hours limited the damage.
A statement by Greek prime minister Lucas Papademos said   Greek political leaders have agreed on all points of a bailout package except one, on which talks will continue with the country's international lenders.

Malaysia's Jan palm oil stocks seen at 5-month low
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Malaysia's palm oil stocks probably fell to a five-month low in January as a drop in exports outran a fall in production, a Reuters median survey of six plantation houses showed on Thursday.
Stocks in the world's No.2 producer of the tropical oil probably dropped 2.2 percent to nearly 2 million tonnes, a level unseen since August, as heavy rains disrupted harvesting and overseas buyers shifted orders to Indonesia.

Soy ticks up, grains steady as market eyes USDA report
SINGAPORE, Feb 9 (Reuters) - U.S. soybeans edged higher to trade around a three-month top, while corn and wheat were little changed as investors squared positions ahead of a U.S. government report on global demand-supply of grains and oilseeds.
"I don't think the USDA will go as far as the market is at the moment," said Victor Thianpiriya, an agricultural commodity strategist at ANZ. "I think the market for Argentina and Brazil is probably somewhere around 46 million tonnes and 70 million tonnes respectively, but they may not make any change at all for Argentina and downgrade little bit for Brazil."

China expects more adverse weather this year -agri ministry
BEIJING, Feb 9 (Reuters) - China is expecting more unfavourable weather this year compared with last year and wider areas are expected to suffer drought during the spring planting season, the agriculture ministry said on Thursday.
A big possibility of a "severe spring drought" was foreseen in areas including the northeast, the country's corn and soy belt, while lower-than-normal temperatures were also expected in parts of the northeast, which could delay plantings of the crops, the ministry said in a report on its web site.

Brazil soy crop seen at 71 mln T - Agroconsult
SAO PAULO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Brazil's 2011/12 soybean crop now being harvested is estimated at 71 million tonnes, down 3 percent from the previous forecast due to the effects of drought, agricultural commodities forecasters Agroconsult said on Wednesday.
Agroconsult has teams touring Brazil's grain belt and some early data has prompted the forecasters to lower their outlook due to the effects of the drought that has been hitting the country's southern farm belt.

Snow is answer to prayers for N.Africa grain growers
ALGIERS, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Cold weather spreading from Europe into North Africa has helped the grain crops in Algeria and Tunisia by dumping snow and rain, breaking a drought so severe that mosques had offered up prayers for rain.
Neighbouring Morocco though, missed out on the precipitation and a farmers' representative said the combination of cold and lack of rain could hurt crops there, with sugar beet and cane especially vulnerable.

Brazil center-south enjoys good cane crop weather
SAO PAULO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Brazil's main center-south cane crop, which will kick off its crushing season in April, is getting hot and sunny weather after a wet January, perfect conditions for cane plants to make sugars, local forecasters Somar said on Wednesday.
Last season, Brazil's center-south cane region had its first drop in output in a decade, as aging cane plants and a few years of bad weather hurt yields in the region, the world's biggest producer of sugar.

Ukraine grain exports at 225,000 T Feb 1-6
KIEV, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Ukraine exported about 225,000 tonnes of grain, mostly maize, in the first six days in February, Kiev-based ProAgro consultancy said on Wednesday, citing data from Ukrainian sea ports.
ProAgro said Ukraine had exported about 195,000 tonnes of maize and 25,000 tonnes of wheat so far this month. No figures for the same year earlier period were immediately available.

Brent steady above $117 on demand revival hopes, Iran woes
SINGAPORE, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Brent crude held steady above $117 on hopes of demand growth revival as Greece inches closer to getting its debt crisis under control while concerns over supply disruption from the Middle East provided added support.  
"There is hope that the Greek debt crisis will be sorted out soon with an agreement on all the components getting discussed," said Natalie Robertson, at ANZ bank. "On the supply side, there are a lot of risks at the moment and that will keep prices supported, particularly Brent."

Copper edges lower after China data; traders eye Greece
SHANGHAI, Feb 9 (Reuters) - London copper eased , but was not far off this year's peak, after data showed a rise in inflation in top copper consumer China, while investors waited for a resolution of Greece's bailout deal for further trading cues.
"Inflation data was a little higher than expected, but it shouldn't affect China's easing policy stance. There may be some positive implications for metals if China addresses imported inflation through its exchange rate," said Singapore-based strategist Nick Trevethan of ANZ.

Indonesia's Jan refined tin exports dip 27 pct y/y- govt
JAKARTA, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Refined tin shipments from Indonesia, the world's top exporter, fell 27 percent in January to 5,380.43 tonnes from 7,334.65 tonnes a year ago, a trade ministry official said on Thursday.
Indonesian refined tin exports for January fell 64 percent compared to December's figure of 15,102.76 tonnes. Total 2011 exports of tin, mainly used in soldering for electronics, rose almost 4 percent to 96,019.76 tonnes.

China aluminium prices seen rising in April - trade
HONG KONG, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Chinese aluminium prices are likely to rise in April as demand picks up with fabricators resuming business after last month's week-long Lunar New Year holiday, industry sources and analysts said on Wednesday.
Primary aluminium demand has been weak after the new year break as many aluminium product plants in southern Guangdong province and some eastern coastal areas have not restarted full production because of reduced export orders and lack of workers.

India iron ore exports to recover to below highs
NEW DELHI, Feb 8 (Reuters) - India's iron ore exports will recover from this year's depressed levels but will not rise above 100 million tonnes, the country's mining secretary said, as a crackdown on illegal sales pays off.
Vishwapati Trivedi said stricter controls of mining were helping determine the "natural level" of export - his euphemism for legal sales - in the long run from the world's third biggest supplier, whose major customer is China.

China may shrink Iran iron imports as sanctions bite
SHANGHAI/BEIJING, Feb 8 (Reuters) - China is likely to reduce the amount of iron ore it buys from Iran from March due to concerns that sanctions may disrupt exports worth over $2 billion a year to the world's largest consumer of the raw material,  traders said on Wednesday.
Iran is a political ally of China and one of its biggest crude oil suppliers. Iran was also China's fifth biggest supplier of iron ore in 2011, selling some 17 million tonnes, but traders said they expected purchases to shrink in coming months as the sanctions may disrupt shipments and payments.

China steel output up 0.2 pct in late-Jan - CISA
SHANGHAI, Feb 8 (Reuters) - China produced 1.673 million tonnes of crude steel per day in the Jan. 21-31 period, up a modest 0.2 percent compared with the previous 10 days, data from the China Iron & Steel Association showed on Wednesday.
Steel output usually declines in December and January amid tepid demand as construction activity in northern China slows down for the winter.

Gold steady on China inflation; Greece eyed
SINGAPORE, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Gold held steady above $1,730 an ounce, after dropping about a percent in the previous session, as a surprisingly high China inflation number supported prices, while investors also focused on Greece's debt talks for direction.
"Once the higher CPI (consumer price index) came out, inflation worries prompted traditional buyers to come in quickly," said a U.S.-based trader.  

METALS-Copper edges lower after China data; traders eye Greece
SHANGHAI, Feb 9 (Reuters) - London copper eased on Thursday, but was not far off this year's peak, after data showed a rise in inflation in top copper consumer China, while investors waited for a resolution of Greece's bailout deal for further trading cues.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange  slipped by 0.42 percent to $8,544 a tonne by 0432 GMT, having gained more than one percent in the previous session. Copper hit a peak of $8,679.50 at the end of January -- the highest since September -- and has climbed more than 12 percent so far this year.

PRECIOUS-Gold steady on China inflation; Greece eyed
SINGAPORE, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Gold held steady above $1,730 an ounce on Thursday, after dropping about a percent in the previous session, as a surprisingly high China inflation number supported prices, while investors also focused on Greece's debt talks for direction.
Gold came under pressure as the euro softened after Greek political leaders failed to conclude a deal for a bailout package crucial to avoiding a messy debt default, but the higher-than-expected inflation data out of China helped bullion pare early losses.

20120209 1306 Global Economic Related News.

EU: Greek bailout hopes rise amid ECB concession
Talks between Greece and international creditors over a second bailout stretched past yet another deadline, but appeared to be moving toward a conclusion Wednesday after the ECB reportedly agreed to exchange Greek government bonds at less than face value in an effort to further reduce the nation’s debt load. The ECB will exchange government bonds bought in the secondary market last year at a price below face value once debt-restructuring talks with private creditors are successfully concluded, according to unnamed sources. (Wall Street Journal)

Germany: Meister says Greece must prioritize paybacks after debt swap
Greece must prioritize interest payments and debt redemptions after a possible write-down of its private-sector debt, said Michael Meister, a lawmaker from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats. A joint proposal by Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on 6 Feb for Greece to set up a separate account to ensure payments is a “sensible approach”, said Meister. (Bloomberg)

Germany: Exports slump as crisis saps euro-area growth
German exports fell four times more than economists forecast in December as the sovereign debt crisis damped growth across the euro region. Exports slumped 4.3% from November, when they rose 2.6%. Economists had earlier predicted a decline of 1%. (Bloomberg)

France: January business confidence stalled on recession concern
French business confidence held near its lowest level in more than 2 years in January on concern the country may have tipped into a recession as the European debt crisis sapped confidence and forced budget cuts. The Bank of France’s Business Sentiment Indicator for manufacturers was unchanged from 96 in December. The November reading of 95 is the lowest since Sept 2009. (Bloomberg)

US: Unemployment decline masks labor force drop
US’ unemployment rate’s unexpected drop to a three-year low has overshadowed a less-positive labor market development whereby fewer Americans are looking for work. Last week, Labor Department announced that the jobless rate fell to 8.3% in January while the share of working-age people in the labor force had declined to the lowest level in 29 years. (Bloomberg)

20120209 1305 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

CIMB eyes RBS assets in Asia
CIMB Group Holdings is looking at buying some of Royal Bank of Scotland's (RBS) investment banking-related assets in Asia, sources say. "It's something the group is exploring," one of the sources told Business Times. RBS, a bank that is 83%-owned by the UK government, last month announced that it plans to sell or close its cash equities, corporate broking, equity capital markets and merger-and-acquisition (M&A) businesses globally as part of an ongoing plan to return to standalone financial strength. It said it was in talks with a number of potential buyers for these unprofitable businesses. (BT) Please see accompanying report

Gamuda-MMC in lead for tunnelling job
Gamuda Bhd-MMC Corp Bhd has submitted the lowest bid for the underground tunnelling works, worth around RM8bn, for the Klang Valley My Rapid Transit (KVMRT) Sungai Buloh-Kajang line. Business Times understands that tenders for the 9km tunnelling works closed on 27 Jan, attracting five bidders, including China’s Sinohydro Group, China Railway Corp and Japan’s Taisei Corp. MRT Corp CEO Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid had said recently the company preferred local companies for the RM50bn project, including the tunnelling works, unless it could find the expertise here. This means that Gamuda-MMC and Gadang Holdings Bhd-Hyundai will be the only two contenders to be considered for the job, leaving the Chinese and Japanese firms out. (BT)

JCY Q1 profit soars 20-fold to RM162m
Hard disk drive (HDD) component manufacturer JCY International Bhd’s net profit soared more than 20-fold to RM162m for the first quarter ended 31 Dec 2011 from RM7m in the same period previously. The company is confident the current earnings is sustainable this year as it continues to benefit from high HDD orders at good prices as a result of the floods in Thailand last October. Group revenue for the quarter, meanwhile, rose 27.4% to RM559m from RM438m a year ago. JCY director of finance James Wong said the strong showing was mainly due to the better average selling price as a result of a shortage in HDD mechanical components following the Thai floods and an appreciating USD. (BT) Please see accompanying report

Air Asia X eyes IPO in 2H
AirAsia X SB is planning to go public as early as the second half of the year, despite axing 4 of its more popular routes. CEO Azran Osman-Rani said the listing of the long-haul low-cost carrier is subject to the listing of Air Asia’s foreign associates- Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia. “As you know, the Thailand and Indonesian IPO will take off first. Only then AirAsia X. So, I would like to think that AirAsia X’s listing can happen in 2H,” he told The Edge in a recent interview. (Financial Daily) Please see accompanying report

Sagajuta CEO is new shareholder in Naim Indah
Naim Indah Corp revealed yesterday that Datuk Raymond Chan Boon Siew, a major shareholder and executive chairman in Harvest Court, has become its new major shareholder after buying 85m shares, or a 12.11% stake, in the loss-making property developer and timber concern. Chan acquired the stake from Crest Energy SB at 8 sen a share while another 5 business associates acquired the latter’s remaining 75m shares at the same price in off-market deals yesterday morning. Crest held a 22.8% stake in Nicorp.(Malaysian Reserve)

Kimlun unit wins RM223m job from MRT Co
Kimlun Corp Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiary SPC Industries SB has secured a RM223.1m contract from MRT Corp SB. In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, Kimlun said SPC Industries had been appointed as the designated supplier for the supply of segmental box girders to certain packages of the Klang Valley My Rapid Transit for Sungai Buloh-Kajang line. Kimlun said the supply contract was expected to contribute positively to the earnings and net assets of the group for the financial years during the supply period.(StarBiz)

VW to consider Proton partnership for Malaysian car hub
Volkswagen AG (VW) is considering expanding production in Malaysia and has dispatched senior executives, including management board members, to review Proton’s operation for a potential partnership, a person familiar with the sources said. Europe largest carmaker is considering producing vehicles at Proton factories after its partner DRB-HICOM agreed last month to buy 43% of Proton, the person said, declining to be identified as the talks are private. (Malaysian Reserve)

Axiata Group Bhd plans RM5b capital expenditure
Axiata Group Bhd’s president and CEO, Datuk Seri Jamaludin Ibrahim, said it expects to spend RM4.0bil to RM5.0bil for capital expenditure (capex) in its financial year ending Dec 31, 2012. Jamaludin said about half of the amount will be spent on the Indonesian business segment to upgrade the existing infrastructure there to support the 3G and highspeed downlink packet access data network. The upgrade will be 4G ready as well, to enable them to easily switch over to 4G once they secure this spectrum. They hope to launch 4G services there in the next two years. At present, Axiata derives 80.0% of its revenue from both the Malaysian and Indonesian markets. Axiata is present in Indonesia through mobile network operator XL, in which it owns a 66.7% stake. - StarBiz

20120209 1302 Global Market Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Markets guarded as Athens strives to reach deal
TOKYO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Shares and the euro struggled on Thursday, as sentiment grew cautious after Greek political leaders said talks would continue to resolve one remaining issue standing in the way of a deal on a bailout package, which is crucial to avoiding a debt default.
"Greek uncertainty has been a major drag, limiting the market's upside. With political leaders finally reaching an agreement, the market is likely to post a relief rally," said Oh Eun-soo, an analyst at Hyundai Securities in Seoul.  

Asian Stocks Fall for First Day in Three on Greek Impasse, China Inflation (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks fell for the first time in three days after Greek policy makers failed to agree on pension cuts needed to secure a second debt bailout. BHP Billiton Ltd. led material companies lower, falling 2.2 percent in Sydney. Nissan Motor Co. lost 1.4 percent in Tokyo after earnings missed analysts’ estimates. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index fell as much 1.7 percent, before paring losses, after Chinese inflation unexpectedly accelerated. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) fell 0.5 percent to 125.99 at 12:35 p.m. in Tokyo after rallying 1.3 percent yesterday to a six-month high. Most major stock indexes in the region fell today including Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, which lost 0.4 percent.

Nikkei Falls From Three-Month High on China Inflation, Stalled Greek Talks (Source: Bloomberg)
Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese stocks fell, with the Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average retreating from a three-month high, as China’s inflation climbed more than expected, tempering prospects for further monetary easing, and Greece’s debt talks stalled over proposed pension cuts. Komatsu Ltd. (6301), a construction machinery maker that counts China as its biggest market, slid 1.7 percent. The stock also fell after Japan’s machinery orders dropped. Kyocera Corp. (6971), an electronic equipment manufacturer that gets about a fifth of its sales in Europe, lost 0.5 percent. Mitsubishi Paper Mills Ltd. (3864) soared 12 percent after Nippon Paper Group Inc. (3893) yesterday posted improved earnings, leading the sector higher. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.5 percent to 8,975.43 as of 12:42 p.m. in Tokyo after closing yesterday above 9,000 for the first time since Oct. 28. The broader Topix (TPX) Index lost 0.3 percent to 780.14 with more than two stocks falling for each that rose.

Stocks in U.S. Advance as Investors Monitor Bailout Discussions in Greece (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks advanced, pushing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to a seven-month high, as Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos began talks with political leaders on terms required for a bailout. Financial and technology shares gained the most in the S&P 500 among 10 groups. Bank of America Corp. rallied 3.6 percent to the highest price since Aug. 31. Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. rose 7.6 percent as billionaire investor John Paulson said the insurer needs to take “drastic” action to reverse its decline. Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) jumped 3.2 percent at 4:09 p.m. New York time, extending its gain in regular trading, after reporting profit and sales that beat analyst estimates. The S&P 500 added 0.2 percent to 1,349.96 at 4 p.m. New York time, after dropping as much as 0.4 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 5.75 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 12,883.95, the highest level since May 2008. The Nasdaq Composite Index (CCMP) rose 0.4 percent to 2,915.86, the highest since December 2000.

European Stocks Drop for a Third Day; BHP Billiton Shares Slide (Source: Bloomberg)
European (SXXP) stocks dropped for a third day as BHP Billiton Ltd. declined, offsetting gains by companies from Statoil ASA (STL) to Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc (RB/) after they posted earnings that exceeded analysts’ estimates. BHP Billiton retreated 2.3 percent. Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS) tumbled 14 percent, its biggest retreat in a month, as the company posted an annual loss four times wider than analysts had estimated. Statoil climbed 1.3 percent after reporting profit that more than doubled on rising oil prices. Reckitt Benckiser rallied after saying 2012 sales will increase at a faster pace than the industry. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.2 percent to 263.01 at the close, after earlier advancing as much as 0.6 percent. The benchmark measure has still rallied 22 percent from last year’s low and 7.6 percent this year as investors speculated that Greece will accept the spending cuts needed to obtain further financial aid from the rest of the euro area.

Euro Trades 0.2% From Two-Month High as Papademos Meets With Creditors (Source: Bloomberg)
The euro was 0.2 percent from a two- month high as Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos met with European and International Monetary Fund officials to resolve a dispute over pension cuts. The common currency maintained a two-day advance against the yen before European finance ministers hold an emergency meeting today and the region’s central bank sets monetary policy. The pound held onto a decline from yesterday on prospects the Bank of England will expand its asset-purchase program at a meeting today. “The market thinks they’ll patch together some sort of deal,” said Tim Kelleher, head of institutional foreign- exchange sales in Auckland at ASB Institutional, a unit of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, referring to Greece. “The market still appears to be very short euros as a speculative position, so that’s one of the reasons why it’s not going down.” A short position is a bet a currency will depreciate.

Asian Currencies Drop as Greece Concern, China Inflation Temper Optimism (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian currencies declined after Greek debt negotiations stalled and faster inflation in China tempered optimism the region’s central banks will ease policies to shore up economic growth. South Korea’s won snapped a two-day rally as the central bank kept borrowing costs on hold. Malaysia’s ringgit retreated from a five-month high after Greek leaders failed to agree on some economic measures required to win more financial aid. Data showed today consumer prices in China rose 4.5 percent last month from a year earlier, after December’s 4.1 percent gain, exceeding all 33 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. “The lack of progress in Greece disappoints investors and is bad for market sentiment,” said Banny Lam, a Hong Kong-based economist at CCB International Securities Ltd., a unit of China’s second-largest bank.

Fed’s Inflation Target Stirs Japan Lawmaker Ire (Source: Bloomberg)
The Federal Reserve’s decision to set a 2 percent inflation target last month had a ripple effect a continent away: Japanese lawmakers are invoking it as evidence that their own central bank comes up short. “Japan is sending a message we are OK with deflation,” Yuichiro Uozumi, a member of the No. 2 opposition party, told Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa at a hearing two days ago in Tokyo. The BOJ defines price stability as about 1 percent. The Fed “set a clear goal and made a firm promise for its commitment to fulfill the goal,” Kozo Yamamoto, with the top opposition group, said at a Feb. 2 hearing with Shirakawa. Underlying the criticism is a legacy of more than a decade of deflation -- declines in price levels that can damp growth by making debts harder to pay off -- and calls by minority groups of lawmakers for more stimulus in the wake of the March 11 earthquake. With the Fed signaling another round of asset purchases, political pressure on the BOJ may rise.

Jobless Decline Masks Drop in U.S. Labor Force (Source: Bloomberg)
The unemployment rate’s unexpected drop to a three-year low has overshadowed a less-positive labor- market development: fewer Americans are looking for work. Last week’s Labor Department announcement that the jobless rate fell to 8.3 percent in January sent stocks and bond yields higher. The same report showed the share of working-age people in the labor force had declined to the lowest level in 29 years. The so-called participation rate was cited by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke yesterday to support his assessment that the rate of unemployment obscures vulnerabilities in the job market. Bernanke, speaking to the Senate Budget Committee, confirmed the Fed’s stance that interest rates will stay low at least through late 2014, and repeated his view that the job market is a “long way” from returning to normal.

Most China Stocks Advance After Inflation Report; Smallcaps, Staples Gain (Source: Bloomberg)
Most Chinese stocks climbed as investors bought shares of companies whose earnings benefit from rising prices and an easing cash crunch spurred gains for small companies. Liquor maker Kweichow Moutai Co. (600519) led an advance for consumer-staples producers after January inflation unexpectedly rebounded to 4.5 percent during the Chinese new year holiday on accelerating food prices. Ledman Optoelectronic Co. jumped 7.3 percent after benchmark money-market rates fell, signaling improving liquidity. China Vanke Co. paced a two-day rally for property developers. Jiangxi Copper Co. slid 1.4 percent as Greek leaders fell short of a full agreement on a rescue plan.
“The Spring Festival effect boosted January inflation and it’s a one-off rebound,” said Dai Ming, a fund manager at Shanghai Kingsun Investment Management & Consulting Co., referring to the Chinese New Year holiday from Jan. 22 to Jan. 28. “Prices will come down in the following months. But the central bank will be reluctant to relax monetary policies since the inflation rate is still perceived as high.”

Bank of Korea Holds Rate for Eighth Month (Source: Bloomberg)
The Bank of Korea held off raising borrowing costs for an eighth straight month as the economy slowed and exports declined due to the European debt crisis. Governor Kim Choong Soo and his board kept the benchmark seven-day repurchase rate unchanged at 3.25 percent, the central bank said in a statement in Seoul today. The unanimous decision was predicted by 18 of 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Policy makers in export-driven Asian countries have relied on monetary or fiscal stimulus to weather the European debt crisis. Australia unexpectedly held off cutting interest rates this week on signs of improvements in the U.S. and Europe. Kim has signaled that rates will have to rise at some point and said today that inflation expectations are high and the central bank is “on alert.”

South Korean Producer-Price Inflation Eases Before Interest Rate Decision (Source: Bloomberg)
South Korean producer prices rose at the slowest pace in 17 months in January, according to a report released hours before a central bank decision is due on benchmark interest rates. Prices (KOPPIYOY) climbed 3.4 percent from a year earlier after a 4.3 percent increase in December, the Bank of Korea said in a statement in Seoul today. They rose 0.7 percent from December. The central bank will keep the benchmark seven-day repurchase rate unchanged at 3.25 percent, according to 18 of 19 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. One analyst sees a cut to 3 percent. The decision is due this morning.

Papademos Meets EU Officials Over Stalled Bailout (Source: Bloomberg)
Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos met with European and International Monetary Fund officials to resolve a dispute over pension cuts that threatens to scuttle a 130 billion-euro ($172 billion) rescue package. Officials of the so-called troika of lenders, representing the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF, ended a meeting at the premier’s offices in Athens just before 6 a.m., according to a live broadcast on Antenna TV. Papademos and the leaders of the three parties supporting the government “agreed on all the points of the program with the exception of one which requires further elaboration and discussion” with the lenders, according to an e-mailed statement from the premier’s office in Athens. “This discussion will occur immediately so that it can be completed in light of the meeting of euro area finance ministers” today.

Draghi’s 100 Days of Action Suggest ECB May Help to Avoid a Greek Default (Source: Bloomberg)
In his first 100 days as European Central Bank President, Mario Draghi has taken unprecedented action to tackle the sovereign debt crisis. Greece may push him even further into unknown territory. Draghi will today face questions on the ECB’s possible role in helping Greece reduce its debt as the threat of a disorderly default mounts. While the ECB has remained silent on its intentions, options canvassed range from selling its Greek bond holdings at the discount price it paid for them to taking a loss on the Greek assets held in investment portfolios, two euro-area officials said late last week on condition of anonymity.
At stake is whether Greece can complete a private sector deal to reduce its debt by as much as 100 billion euros ($133 billion) and secure a second bailout package that will allow it to pay its bills -- key steps toward ending the debt crisis. The ECB has been instrumental in easing the turmoil since Draghi took the reins on Nov. 1, offering banks unlimited three-year loans and reversing the two rate hikes implemented by his predecessor, Jean-Claude Trichet.

Euro Finance Chiefs Set to Meet as Greece Presses for Financial-Aid Deal (Source: Bloomberg)
Euro-area finance ministers are due to hold an emergency meeting in Brussels tomorrow as the Greek government pushes to complete talks on terms of a rescue. The policy makers, to be joined by International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, will convene at 6 p.m., according to a statement today by Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs the group of finance chiefs from the 17- nation euro area. That gathering will follow the monthly meeting of the European Central Bank’s governing council in Frankfurt and an assembly of Greek creditors in Paris. While no information was provided about the ministers’ agenda, the scheduling suggests policy makers, who have to ratify a Greek accord, were optimistic about negotiators reaching an agreement in Athens.

Greek Premier Pushes Party Leaders on Deal (Source: Bloomberg)
Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos began negotiating with leaders of the political parties supporting his caretaker government as he tried to make up for lost time to secure a second aid package. Papademos met with the chiefs in Athens today after delaying the gathering for a second time in as many days as Greek officials and international creditors haggled over terms. He held an unscheduled meeting late last night with the so- called troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to put final touches on a 130 billion-euro ($172 billion) rescue plan. Yesterday’s delay was yet another hitch in completing a package that’s been on the table since July. The Greek government, facing a 14.5 billion-euro bond payment on March 20, is struggling to arrange financing to avert a collapse of the economy, risking a new round of contagion in the euro area.

20120209 1302 Global Commodities Related News.

Corn (Source: CME)
US corn futures end mixed as traders consolidate positions ahead of Thursday's USDA report. Traders unwilling to take risks ahead of the report, to be released at 8:30 a.m. EST, as recent reports have been highly unpredictable. Traders expecting the government will lower South America production and hike U.S. exports, but those shifts may already be priced into the market. Traders say it may take a significant surprise to push the market out of its recent trading range. CBOT corn ends up 1/4c to $6.42 1/2 a bushel, other contracts slightly lower.

Wheat (Source: CME)
US wheat futures ended mostly lower, as traders consolidated positions ahead of Thursday's USDA reports. Traders are not expecting major adjustments in US wheat data, but revised outlooks for corn could move prices, analysts say. Optimism that smaller crops in the Black Sea region could lead to more US export demand continue to underpin prices. However, the potential for a surprise, or for market-moving estimates on corn and soybean supplies, encouraged traders to remain cautious and trim risk exposure, analyst say. CBOT March wheat ended down 1 1/2 cents to $6.60 3/4 per bushel, MGEX wheat closed up 3 1/2 cents to $8.41 1/2, and KCBT wheat ended down 2 cents to $7.10.

Rice (Source: CME)
US rice futures end higher as the market continues to rebound following steep recent losses. After plunging early last week, prices are up 5.2% from a Feb. 1 intraday low, although prices are still well below January levels. Poor demand is weighing on the market, while concerns about a big drop in US planted acreage limits the downside. CBOT rice ends up 10c to $14.20 1/2 per hundredweight.

Corn, wheat steady after fall; soy near 3-month top
SINGAPORE, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat and corn were little changed after dropping in the last session on the back of milder Black Sea weather, as investors squared positions ahead of a key U.S. demand and supply report.
"The soy market is slightly bullish at the moment because of the South American crop worry," said analyst Ker Chung Yang at Phillip Futures in Singapore. "There have been beneficial rains for the crop yields to improve but expectations are that USDA will reduce production estimates."

Thai rice intervention failing on all fronts
NAKHON PATHOM, Thailand, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Thailand's government promised farmers a huge increase in the price of rice when it came to power last August but it is failing on all fronts: export prices have not held up, the state faces huge losses and many farmers have not benefited.
Despite the very real prospect of Thailand losing its title as the world's top rice exporter, the government is determined to push on and is set to extend the intervention scheme into the second crop, which starts in March.

Indonesia sees 2012 unmilled rice output at 68 mln T
Feb 8 (Reuters) - Indonesia expects unmilled rice output of 68 million tonnes this year, below a previous forecast of 72 million tonnes because of wet weather and the fact that disease is hurting crops, the deputy agriculture minister told Reuters on Wednesday.
The lower than expected output could increase the chances of Indonesia moving to import rice this year. The government has said it aimed not to import this year after surprising markets last year with hefty purchases.

Vietnam cuts rice export floor prices -traders
HANOI, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Vietnam has lowered the export price floor for 25 percent broken rice to $420 a tonne from $455 a tonne from Wednesday, in a move to boost exports, traders said.  
Exporters will determine their own prices for the 5 percent and 10 percent broken varieties, based on the price floor for the 25 percent broken grain, traders from different companies said, quoting the Vietnam Food Association's decision.  

Illinois farmers worried by extremely warm winter
CHICAGO, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Illinois, a key farm state in the heart of the Corn Belt, is basking in its sixth warmest winter in 117 years -- good news for residents who have not had to shovel snow but a red flag for some of the state's most productive businesses: farms.  Illinois and neighboring Iowa - also in the midst of a balmy winter - produce about a third of all the corn and soybeans grown in the United States, the world's largest exporter of both crops. Farmers in both states feel more comfortable when there is a substantial snow cover to ensure adequate soil moisture that can nurture crops through the region's hot dry summers.

India 11/12 rice exports seen at 7 mln tonnes-attache
Feb. 7 (Reuters) - Following are selected highlights from a report issued by a U.S. Department of Agriculture attache in India:
"Government rice procurement is currently 16 percent higher than last year's, reflecting a record production of 100 million tonnes in MY 2011/12. Rice exports for MY 2011/12 are expected to reach 7 million tonnes on strong international demand and continuation of the policy allowing the export of non-basmati rice.

US farmers to plant largest corn area in 68 yrs
Feb 7 (Reuters) - U.S. farmers this spring will seed the largest area with corn since World War Two as a mild and dry winter has raised expectations for a quick planting this spring , a Reuters poll of 24 analysts showed, signaling a boost to razor-thin stocks and lower prices in 2012.
The survey showed that farmers were gearing up to plant 94.2 million acres, which could produce a record crop of 13.8 billion bushels based on a trendline yield of 161.4 bushels per acre. It would surpass the previous record of 13.1 billion in 2009.

China boosts Canada canola meal buys over India
Feb 7 (Reuters) - Chinese animal feed company Tongwei Co Ltd will boost its buying of Canadian canola meal by up to C$240 million ($242 million) annually by 2015, after China banned meal from India late last year.
Canada's agriculture minister Gerry Ritz, who announced Tongwei's plans on Tuesday during a visit to China, said its purchases could be worth C$900 million over the next decade.

Ghana cocoa purchases up 5.8 pct on year
LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Cocoa purchases declared to Ghana's Cocobod reached 681,000 tonnes by Jan. 26 since the start of the 2011/2012 harvest season on Oct. 14 as weekly output stabilises ahead of an expected  decline.
The figures, which covered the first 15 weeks of the 2011/12 main crop, were up 5.8 percent over the 643,652 tonnes registered at the same stage last season, according to the data seen by Reuters.

India allows 1 mln T extra sugar exports-govt source
NEW DELHI, Feb 7 (Reuters) - India has decided to allow unrestricted exports of one million tonnes of sugar, a government source said on Tuesday, in line with industry expectations in the world's second-biggest producer of the sweetener after Brazil.
The biggest consumer of sugar, India had earlier allowed mills to export 1 million tonnes of sugar in the year beginning in October and the fresh exports had been on the cards for some time.

Brazil Seen With Sufficient Ethanol Stocks To Meet Demand (Source: CME)
The key center-south region of Brazil has stocks of ethanol biofuel equivalent to meet three months of demand, which should allow prices at the pump to remain stable until the country's main sugarcane harvest resumes, research firm JOB Economia said. The current situation contrasts with this time in 2011, when ethanol stocks in the region, where nearly 90% of the country's sugarcane is grown, only amounted to two months of demand, JOB said in a note. That wasn't enough to prevent fuel prices from soaring last year in March and April, just before the center-south sugarcane harvest got underway, and contributing to a rise in the inflation rate. JOB said the center-south's total ethanol stocks, as of mid-January, stood at 4.8 billion liters. Sales of ethanol by producers reached 1.52 billion liters in December. Prices for hydrous ethanol, used on its own as a fuel, averaged 2.01 Brazilian reais ($1.17) a liter last week, according to the National Petroleum Agency, or ANP.
Brazil's nationwide average price for gasoline, which contains 20% anhydrous ethanol, stood at BRL2.74 a liter last week. Prices for both products have remained virtually unchanged for the past six months but are up 7.3% in the case of hydrous ethanol and 4.6% in the case of gasoline from year-earlier levels, after a weak 2011 sugarcane harvest drove up ethanol prices.

Euro Coal-Supply drags prices down despite freeze
LONDON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Blizzards and ice-laden power lines pushed gas and electricity networks close to breaking point on Wednesday but fundamental coal oversupply drove coal prices lower.
"The cold weather is not having any impact on coal because there's too much of it everywhere and a lot of U.S. coal being offered which has to be heavily discounted," one European trader said.

COMMODITIES-Brent hits 6-month high; copper one-week peak
NEW YORK, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Brent crude oil jumped on Wednesday, hitting six-month highs on speculative buying despite weaker U.S. energy demand data, while copper also rose on China's support for its property market, which helps drive demand for the metal.
"The demand numbers for distillates and gasoline continue to be poor, and the rise in inventories in those categories fosters a bearish outlook," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital, an energy fund in  New York.

Brent ends at 6-month high on Greek hopes
NEW YORK, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Brent crude oil futures rose for the seventh straight day on Wednesday, closing at the highest in more than six months on hopes that a deal to bail out debt-strapped Greece was near.
"There was the optimism earlier about a deal on Greek debt that had crude up before the EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) data and more spread trading pushing it back up (the spread) to (near) $19," said Chris Dillman, analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

US natgas futures end down ahead of Thursday stocks data
NEW YORK, Feb 8 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures finished lower on Wednesday, as traders shrugged off colder weather in the Northeast and Midwest this week and focused instead on a growing inventory surplus that could pressure prices more.
"Tomorrow's (EIA) storage report is hinting at a triple-digit increase in the surplus to last year, and next week we could see another big increase, which is capping the upside in prices," said Eric Bickel, analyst at Summit Energy in Kentucky.

Oil Trades Near One-Week High After U.S. Refiners Boost Crude Processing (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil fluctuated near the highest level in more than a week after a U.S. government report showed refineries processed more crude last week while cutting imports. Brent’s premium to New York prices widened a second day. Futures were little changed after advancing for a second day yesterday. Refineries operated at 83 percent of capacity, up 1 percentage point from the week before, the Energy Department said. Analysts projected there would be a 0.4 percentage point decrease. Gains were capped as Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos summoned the country’s lenders for further discussions today after failing to get full agreement on economic measures needed for a second aid package. “Demand, particularly in the U.S., is still there,” said Jonathan Barratt, chief executive of Barratt’s Bulletin, a commodity markets newsletter in Sydney. “We’ve been side-swiped by Europe in terms of its slowdown.”

Iron Ore-Upturn stalls on slow China steel market
SINGAPORE, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Iron ore steadied on Wednesday after a recent spike in spot prices spurred caution among buyers who are worried a slow steel market in top consumer China cannot justify sustained gains in prices of the raw material.
Offers for imported iron ore in China were unchanged from Tuesday, with Australian Pilbara fines quoted at $143-$145 per tonne, Newman fines at $146-$149 and Yandi fines at $131-$133, Chinese consultancy Umetal said.

China may shrink Iran iron imports as sanctions bite
SHANGHAI/BEIJING, Feb 8 (Reuters) - China is likely to reduce the amount of iron ore it buys from Iran from March due to concerns that sanctions may disrupt exports worth over $2 billion a year to the world's largest consumer of the raw material, traders said on Wednesday.
Iran is a political ally of China and one of its biggest crude oil suppliers. Iran was also China's fifth biggest supplier of iron ore in 2011, selling some 17 million tonnes, but traders said they expected purchases to shrink in coming months as the sanctions may disrupt shipments and payments.

20120209 1301 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

Soybeans (Source: CME)
US soybean futures ended slightly lower as traders consolidated positions ahead of Thursday's USDA crop reports. Prices struggled to find direction amid trader unwillingness to take on risk ahead of the data, which will give updates on US demand and South American production. Mild pressure was derived from a stronger dollar and crop-enhancing rains moving through South American growing areas. CBOT March soybeans ended down 1/2c at $12.31 1/2 a bushel.

Soybean Meal/Oil (Source: CME)
Soy product futures end mixed, with soyoil futures continuing to gain value in the crush spread vs meal. Traders are unwinding long soymeal/short soyoil positions, with soyoil garner support from firm crude oil prices and optimistic outlooks for increased demand for soyoil used in biodiesel production, analysts say. CBOT March soyoil ended up 0.41c to 52.58c/lb, and March soymeal ended down $3.70 at $321.70/short ton.

Argentine Drought Over After Series Of Storms Soak Fields (Source: CME)
The drought testing Argentina's developing soybeans is over and prospects are looking brighter for the crop, Rosario Grain Exchange said. A series of storms over the past two weeks have soaked virtually all the fields in the central farm belt, the exchange said. "The prospects for the soy crop have significantly improved," the exchange said. However, analysts warn that the crop has already suffered some damage and that more rain will be needed through February. Analysts are predicting 2011-12 soybean production of between 45 million and 49.5 million metric tons--well short of the record 54.5 million tons harvested in the 2009-10 season. Argentina leads soyoil and soymeal exports and ranks third in global soybean exports. Worries over the crop has helped buoy global soybean prices in recent weeks.
Argentina is also the world's second-largest corn exporter. The corn crop has already suffered major losses with potential production down by over a third. Early in the season, many had expected production to top 30 million tons. Now, the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange is predicting corn output of just 22 million tons.

Palm oil hits one-week high after break, USDA report eyed
SINGAPORE, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Malaysian crude palm oil edged up as the market reopened after a two-day break, tracking broader markets such as soyoil, although gains were limited by investor caution ahead of a key U.S. crop report.
"Last week's low was most likely to be the bottom. The market's also higher today, with China buying more in coming months to replenish stocks after the Lunar New Year," said a dealer with a foreign commodities brokerage in Kuala Lumpur.

Rains this week may stanch Argentine soy losses
BUENOS AIRES, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Rains this week in Argentina may stanch soy losses after a drought chopped yields by an estimated 20 percent and took as much as 30 percent off the corn crop in the global food supplier, forecasters said on Tuesday.
Storms are expected to sweep the country's Pampas agricultural area on Wednesday. As global grains stocks tighten, Argentine growers as well as government beancounters and sovereign bondholders hope the rain refreshes soy crops baked by what has been an unforgiving Southern Hemisphere summer sun.

Paraguay soy crop seen down 45 pct due to drought
ASUNCION, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Paraguay's soy output is expected to plunge 45 percent from last year due to a drought that hit crops across the region, a bigger loss than previously forecast, a soy farmers group said on Tuesday.
The estimate by the UGP association points to 2011/12 production of 4.6 million tonnes compared with a record 8.4 million tonnes last season in Paraguay, the world's No. 4 soy exporter.

China to raise imports of U.S. soybeans -Oil World
HAMBURG, Feb 7 (Reuters) - China, the world's largest soybean buyer, is likely to increase its soybean imports from the United States in coming weeks due to a poor domestic crop and drought in South America, Hamburg-based oilseeds analysts Oil World said on Tuesday.
"Additional (U.S.) purchases are very likely to be made in the next few weeks, primarily when a Chinese top-level delegation will visit the United States and sign trade agreements including U.S. soybeans and probably grains," Oil World said. "The severe drought damage in South America will raise China's dependence on U.S. soybeans in 2012."

Malaysian exporters halt palm oil supply to Iran -sources
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil exporters have stopped supplying most of the 30,000 tonnes of the food staple Iran used to buy each month from the Southeast Asian producer as fresh Western financial curbs on Tehran stymie payment procedures, two trading sources said.
The halt in Malaysia's palm oil exports, which the traders said started late last year, is the latest sign that sanctions aimed at persuading Iran to abandon a suspected nuclear weapons programme have started to bite.

Dutch industry body sees flat 2012 palm oil demand
AMSTERDAM, Feb 7 (Reuters) - EU palm oil imports will be steady in 2012 as the economic downturn offsets attractive prices, and more biodiesel producers are expected to go under, a head of the Dutch industry body told Reuters on Tuesday.
Frans Claassen, head of the Dutch Board for Margarine, Fats and Oils, said that demand in the European Union for palm oil is likely to remain around 5.5 million tonnes in 2012, the same as  in 2011.