Thursday, March 1, 2012

20120301 1821 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3285, changed : +15 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : pullback correction upside biased.
MACD Histrogram : weakening, buyer taking profit.
Support : 3270, 3250, 3200, 3150 level.
Resistance : 3300, 3350, 3420, 3450 level.
Comment :
FCPO closed little higher with weaker volume changed hand. Soy oil price currently trading little weaker after overnight closed recorded loss while crude oil price trading higher after overnight closed nearly unchanged.
Weaker export data and profit taking activities sent price tested 6 days low and rebound sharply upwards to closed at the high of the day.
Chart analysis remained suggesting a pullback correction upside biased market development.
When to buy : buy at support or weakness with quick cut loss and profit target.
When to sell : sell at resistant or strength with quick cut loss and profit target.

20120301 1736 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1575.5 changed : +2.5 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : correction range bound upside biased.
MACD Histrogram : recovering, buyer seller battling.
Support : 1570, 1565, 1550, 1540 level.
Resistance : 1580, 1590, 1600, 1610 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed recorded small gain with shrinking volume traded doing 2 points premium compare to cash market that also closed little higher. Overnight U.S. markets closed corrected lower and today Asia markets ended mostly lower while European markets drifting between gains and losses.
Global markets resting lower after recent gains as U.S. Dollar bounce up after Federal Reserve statement of improving U.S. economy.
Technical reading still suggesting a correction range bound upside biased market development testing upper Bollinger band resistance level.
When to buy : buy at support or weakness with quick cut loss and profit target.
When to sell : sell at resistance or strength with quick cut loss and profit target.

20120301 1711 Regional Markets EOD Daily Chart Study.

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

20120301 1659 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Markets dampened by Bernanke, factory data in focus
TOKYO, March 1 (Reuters) - Asian shares fell as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke put the brakes on a recent rally by checking optimism on the strength of the U.S. economic recovery without signalling any further monetary easing to stimulate growth.
"The recent rise in equities was for the most part due to ample liquidity so when expectations for further easing fade, that element will be stripped and may weigh on equities," said   Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Barclays Capital.

FOREX-Dollar eases off 3-month low after Fed drops no easing hint
TOKYO, March 1 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar eased off a three-month low against a basket of currencies on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve chief stopped short of offering a clear hint of more bond buying.
The dollar index against a basket of currencies stood at 78.72, above a three-month low of 78.095 hit on Wednesday, while the euro traded at $1.3341 , having dropped more than 1 percent from a high of $1.3486 on EBS on Wednesday.

Wheat falls from 3-week top, soy dips after Feb rally
SINGAPORE, March 1 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat slid from a three-week top as the market was pressured by ample supplies, while soy dipped after posting its biggest monthly gains in a year on strong demand and concerns over South American output.
"I think there is a bit of profit-taking in the market, particularly soybeans as the upside has been so strong," said Abah Ofon, commodities analyst at Standard Chartered in Singapore.

Warm weather speeds up growth of U.S. wheat crop
CHICAGO, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Warm weather has sped up the growth of wheat crops in the southern U.S. Plains, raising concerns about the potential for damage down the line.
Crop development is ahead of schedule in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, top states for producing the variety of wheat used to make bread, according to government reports and an agronomist. That increases the risk of losses if a freeze hits this spring, as plants become more vulnerable to damage as they grow.

Brazil's 2012/13 cane crush to start late - Unica
SAO PAULO, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Brazil's 2012/13 (April-March) center-south cane crushing season will start about 10 days later on average than last year's harvest began, the cane industry association Unica said on Wednesday.
Dry weather during planting in early 2011 slowed the growth of the cane crop, which will delay deliveries of ripe cane for the new crushing season, analysts say.

Cold spell may cut French wheat crop by 1 mln T
PARIS, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Severe winter weather in the past month could cut this year's wheat crop in France, the European Union's top producer, by about 1 million tonnes or roughly 3 percent after plants were damaged in some regions, analysts said on Wednesday.
Parts of eastern and northeast France could lose 5-10 percent of the area sown with winter soft wheat, analysts Agritel and Offre & Demande Agricole (ODA) said in its first estimates of losses based on surveys of farmers.

India 2012/13 cotton area seen falling 10 percent
MUMBAI, Feb 29 (Reuters) - The area under cotton cultivation in India could fall up to 10 percent in 2012/13 season beginning in October, as lower returns from the fibre in 2011 may prompt farmers to switch to other crops, said the Cotton Association of India (CAI), a trade body.
Farmers are expected to increase area under crops such as soybean, guar, groundnuts and pulses as returns from these were higher than from cotton in 2011, Dhiren N. Sheth, president of the association, told Reuters.

Ukraine sees sharp rise in corn sowing area
KIEV, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Ukraine's Agriculture Ministry expects the area sown to corn to increase to 4.5 million-5.0 million hectares this year from 3.6 million hectares in 2011, it said on Wednesday, making up for winter grain plantings lost to drought and cold weather.
"The total area sown to grains will be 15.8 million tonnes, roughly the same as in 2011," Leonid Sukhomlin, the head of the ministry's grains unit, told an industry conference.

Global rubber output seen up 2.6 pct in 2012-ANRPC
SINGAPORE, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Global natural rubber output is expected to rise to 10.529 million tonnes in 2012, up 2.6 percent from 2011 because of better yields in some key growers, the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) said on Wednesday.
In early February, the ANRPC pegged 2012 production at 10.450 million tonnes. It also revised last year's output to 10.262 million tonnes from 10.127 million tonnes estimated earlier.

Brent steady above $122 on supply concerns, China, U.S.
SINGAPORE, March 1 (Reuters) - Brent crude futures held steady above $122, drawing support from a faster-than-expected expansion of the U.S. economy and better factory data from China amid concerns of supply disruption from the Middle East.  
"There are just too many geopolitical risk factors out there that are supporting oil," said Tony Nunan, a risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp.

Mexico oil output seen stagnant next 14 yrs
MEXICO CITY, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Mexico's oil production is seen stagnating at around 2.8 million barrels per day (bpd) over the next 14 years unless the state oil company Pemex significantly boosts investment, the energy ministry said in a report on Wednesday.
The world's No. 7 oil producer currently produces 2.55 million bpd of oil, as Pemex has managed to stabilize a dramatic decline in production at its largest aging fields, most notably the giant Cantarell field.

Western sanctions already disrupt Iran oil exports -EIA
WASHINGTON, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Western sanctions on Iran are disrupting its oil exports and further restrictions could tighten global oil markets already hit by a rash of outages in other countries, a report required by the recent U.S. sanctions law said on Wednesday.
With world oil prices soaring, U.S. and European insurance companies are failing to insure deliveries of Iranian oil even before the full Western sanctions go into effect, according to a report by the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday.

OPEC oil output rises to more than 3-year high
LONDON, Feb 29 (Reuters) - OPEC oil output has risen in February to the highest since October 2008 due to a further recovery in Libya's production, higher supplies from Angola and Saudi Arabia, a Reuters survey found on Wednesday.
Supply from all 12 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has averaged 31.23 million barrels per day (bpd), up from 30.95 million bpd in January, the survey of sources at oil companies, OPEC officials and analysts found.

Western sanctions tighten squeeze on Iran oil exports
March 1 (Reuters) - Western trade sanctions against Iran have begun to strangle its oil exports, a U.S. advisory body said, amid signs the squeeze on Tehran is only set to intensify and could push global crude prices higher unless Washington eases its grip.
With crude prices trading at around 10-month highs and limited spare production capacity world-wide to make up for the embargo on Iran, the United States may seek to offer Iran's major trade partners more room to move on sanctions.

IEA, EU see no need for oil stockpiles release
BRUSSELS/MEXICO CITY, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Oil consuming nations have no need to release stockpiles as they do not face a supply crunch, EU officials and the agency for consumers said on Wednesday after Washington announced it may use stocks to stem soaring gasoline prices in an election year.
Oil prices hit a 10-month high last week in dollar terms  and an all-time high in euros and British pounds amid fears over a loss of Iranian oil supplies and a Israeli attack on the Islamic Republic's nuclear installations.

Copper tentative as China data may lessen easing
SINGAPORE, March 1 (Reuters) - London copper edged up after data showed top copper consumer China's manufacturing sector grew faster than forecast in February, although the modest gains showed investors needed greater motivation to take the market higher.
"This is also telling us that there's less possibility for China to loosen monetary policy further," with the economy getting back on its feet, said Bonnie Liu, a commodity analyst at Macquarie in Shanghai.

Philippines' 2011 metals output value at record high
MANILA, March 1 (Reuters) - The value of the Philippines' output of precious and base metals climbed 9 percent to a record $2.9 billion last year, with nickel leading the increase as miners ramped up production to take advantage of higher prices, government data showed on Thursday.
But the volume of gold output fell 24 percent for the year, the only metal that posted a decline, with the Philippine central bank's gold purchases from small-scale miners dropping 38 percent on suspected smuggling, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said in a statement.

Brazil mining output to grow 5-8 pct in 2012, 2013
BRASILIA, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Brazilian mining output should rise 5 to 8 percent in value in 2012 and again in 2013, pushed by rising production volumes rather than higher metals and mineral prices, an official at the country's mining industry association Ibram told Reuters.
Brazil is the world's No. 2 exporter of iron ore, the main steelmaking ingredient. Iron ore, gold and copper production are expected to soar in coming years as a result of $65.8 billion of planned mining-industry investment for the 2011-2015 period, the association said.

Chile says Jan copper output down 7.6 pct yr/yr
SANTIAGO, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Chile, which provides around one-third of the world's copper, produced 396,341 tonnes of the red metal in January , down 7.6 percent from the same month a year earlier, the government said on Wednesday.  
Chile produced 509,407 tonnes of the red metal in December, up 2.2 percent from the same month a year earlier, the government said last month.

China iron ore imports may fall 14 pct in 2012-mining group
Feb 29 (Reuters) - China's iron ore imports may fall up to 14 percent this year as domestic output ramps up, a mining industry group said, possibly deflating prices that have been mostly driven higher by demand from the world's top buyer.
China buys around 60 percent of the world's seaborne iron ore, a market controlled by Australia and Brazil, because of the low quality of its domestic supply of the steelmaking raw material.

China daily crude steel output stays low in mid-February
SHANGHAI, March 1 (Reuters) - China's daily crude steel output stood at 1.699 million tonnes from Feb. 11-20, flat from 1.696 million tonnes during the preceding period, the latest data from the China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) showed.  
Daily production rates in the world's largest steel-producing country have been hovering below 1.7 million tonnes since November, after reaching some 2 million tonnes in June amid a construction boom. CISA revised its figures for early-February from 1.705 million tonnes.  

Gold edges up 1 pct after plunge on Bernanke
SINGAPORE, March 1 (Reuters) - Spot gold rose more than 1 percent, recovering from its biggest fall in more than three years in the previous session when U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke failed to signal further monetary easing.
"But liquidity will remain the driver of financial markets -- this story has not changed, although it will be a fragile story in the sense that markets will be highly volatile."

METALS-Copper tentative as China data may lessen easing
SINGAPORE, March 1 (Reuters) - London copper edged up on Thursday after data showed top copper consumer China's manufacturing sector grew faster than forecast in February, although the modest gains showed investors needed greater motivation to take the market higher.
Copper has risen 12 percent this year, but analysts say Chinese demand has to recover strongly to justify a further increase in prices. While China's latest manufacturing data beat expectations, some think it could discourage more monetary easing by Beijing, which could dent copper demand.

PRECIOUS-Gold edges up 1 pct after plunge on Bernanke
SINGAPORE, March 1 (Reuters) - Spot gold rose more than 1 percent on Thursday, recovering from its biggest fall in more than three years in the previous session when U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke failed to signal further monetary easing.
Prices moved up rapidly after the Shanghai Gold Exchange started trading, as investors took advantage of a discount of about $10 in spot gold to Shanghai prices.
Investors have been hoping the Fed will launch another round of quantitative easing, pushing cheap money into the market that would boost inflation, against which gold is a traditional hedge, and give investors additional firepower to buy bullion.

20120301 1123 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Markets dampened by Bernanke, eye PMI
TOKYO, March 1 (Reuters) - Asian shares mostly fell on Thursday as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke put the brakes on a recent rally by not signalling any further monetary easing to stimulate growth, while investors shifted their focus to manufacturing data due later in the day.
"The U.S. dollar pushes higher while equities retreat alongside metals as Bernanke gives a nod to inflation, departing from his last three speeches where he accentuated the extension of extremely low interest rates into 2014," said Ashraf Laidi, chief global strategist at City Index Group.

COMMODITIES-Gold tumbles, copper drops from 2-wk high
NEW YORK, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Gold tumbled 5 percent on Wednesday, its biggest one-day decline in more than three years, while copper slipped from a two-week high and soybeans posted a five-month high.
"There is no hint from Bernanke's speech that there will be a QE3 type program which people have been hoping for," said Jeffrey Sherman, commodities portfolio manager of DoubleLine Capital, a Los Angeles-based investment manager with $28 billion in assets.

December data underscores weak U.S. gasoline demand
(Robert Campbell is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own)
NEW YORK, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Monthly data for December 2011 released on Wednesday shows U.S. gasoline demand continued to come in well below year-ago levels even as the economy accelerated, suggesting some of the weakness seen in more recent monthly data may not be out of place.
Analysts have questioned the picture painted of U.S. gasoline demand by the Energy Information Administration's weekly "product supplied" estimate as it has regularly come in down 5 percent or more from year-ago levels.

IEA oil release faces bigger logistics hurdle with Iran
(Robert Campbell is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own)
NEW YORK, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Western policymakers are itching to release strategic oil stocks after their Iran policies triggered a potentially damaging surge in crude prices, but the logistics issues that dampened the impact of last year's emergency oil sales are more daunting now.
The temptation to release stocks is great. Leaving aside election year concerns, Western governments have a legitimate concern that rising energy costs may derail the still-fragile economic recovery.

Oil ends Feb. higher on upbeat U.S. Fed report
NEW YORK, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Oil jumped back to positive territory in late trading on Wednesday, ending the month sharply higher as the Federal Reserve said that the U.S. economy expanded modestly in January through mid-February as hiring increased across several of its districts.
"The Beige Book report certainly was positive for oil futures," said Phil Flynn, analyst at PFGBest Research in Chicago.  

US natural gas ends up ahead of stocks report
NEW YORK, Feb 29 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended higher on Wednesday, backed by  slightly cooler weather forecasts and some technical buying after four straight losing sessions and on the eve of a weekly government inventory report.
"We could have seen a little technical bounce back after four days of declines, but the weather is pretty bearish, and I still expect prices to move lower," Gelber & Associates analyst Pax Saunders said.

Euro Coal-Prompt prices drop $1/T on gas, oversupply
LONDON, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Prompt physical coal prices fell for the second day running by $1.00 a tonne, pressured by oversupply and weak gas prices.
"A March DES ARA cargo traded at $96 and a May at $98, both down by $1.00, the front months are looking weak," one utility source said.

U.S. crude oil imports up slightly in Dec-EIA
WASHINGTON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil imports rose for the third consecutive month in December, increasing a slight 21,000 bpd from a year earlier, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
Crude imports averaged 8.716 million bpd in December, nearly unchanged from the from the 8.695 million bpd imported during the month in 2010.

OPEC oil output rises to more than 3-year high
LONDON, Feb 29 (Reuters) - OPEC oil output has risen in February to the highest since October 2008 due to a further recovery in Libya's production, higher supplies from Angola and Saudi Arabia, a Reuters survey found on Wednesday.
Supply from all 12 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has averaged 31.23 million barrels per day (bpd), up from 30.95 million bpd in January, the survey of sources at oil companies, OPEC officials and analysts found.  

IEA, EU see no need for oil stockpiles release
BRUSSELS/MEXICO CITY, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Oil consuming nations have no need to release stockpiles as they do not face a supply crunch, EU officials and the agency for consumers said on Wednesday after Washington announced it may use stocks to stem soaring gasoline prices in an election year.
Oil prices hit a 10-month high last week in dollar terms  and an all-time high in euros and British pounds amid fears over a loss of Iranian oil supplies and a Israeli attack on the Islamic Republic's nuclear installations.

Closed U.S. refineries open door for European gasoline
LONDON/NEW YORK, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Europe's gasoline traders are betting on richer pickings from this year's U.S. summer driving season, despite a grim demand outlook, because U.S. refinery closures have tightened supply in the major East Coast market.
For the last two summers, high unemployment in the United States and soaring prices at the pump have meant less driving, spelling disappointment for European gasoline traders and refiners hoping for a return to the bumper U.S. driving seasons of the mid-2000s.

20120301 1001 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

Mah Sing Group yesterday acquired approximately 157 acres of land 1km south of its M Residence@ Rawang for RM40.9m or RM6 psf. The land is slated for a township development to be named M Residence 2@Rawang, with an estimated GDV of RM650m. Mah Sing's Group Chief Executive Tan Sri Dato‟ Sri Leong Hoy Kum said, “Our landbank now stands at 1,217 acres with remaining GDV and unbilled sales worth an estimated RM15.5bn, giving us strong earnings visibility for the next 5-7 years”. (Mah Sing)

Tan Sri T. Ananda Krishnan plans to sell his stake in satellite operator MEASAT Global Bhd, a move that comes days after he initiated the sale of power assets valued at US$3bn (RM9.05bn). The Straits Times reported that the power and satellite assets could be worth close to US$3.5bn, implying that MEASAT could be worth around US$500m. (Bernama)

Sime Darby Bhd may look into listing its subsidiaries, including its plantation, property, motors and industrial divisions, by next year following a “fruitful performance” of the company in the first-half of its financial year 2012. Its president and group chief executive Datuk Mohd Bakke Salleh said the company is working on a few initiatives as it is looking into list-able entities in its portfolio, without disclosing any specific subsidiaries it plans to list. (Malaysian Reserve)

The proposed RHB Capital-OSK Holdings merger, due to be sealed soon, will be paid for entirely in shares, sources said. OSK is expected to receive RHBCap shares worth around RM2bn – the reported price of the deal – in exchange for the former‟s investment banking business. At this stage, it is not clear what OSK will do with the RHBCap shares. At RM2bn, this works out to around 2x book value of OSK‟s business. The deal will create the largest stockbrocking house in the country, overtaking CIMB Investment. (Star Biz)

Foreign investors in Malaysia may shift some existing palm oil refining operations to top producer Indonesia to tap higher margins after Jakarta lowered its processed edible oil export taxes, said a top Malaysian industry official. “The consequence could be catastrophic especially for the smallholders and private millers which are depending on them now to off-load their fresh fruit bunches and crude palm oil.” said Palm Oil Refiners Association of Malaysia (PORAM) Chief Executive Mohammad Jaaffar Ahmad. (The Malaysian Insider)

Putrajaya will move ahead with the proposed listing of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV), with FELDA Group claiming to have the backing of "the majority of settlers", despite reports of widespread opposition. FELDA Group gave its assurance that the listing would see settlers retaining full ownership of their land and benefiting directly from potential revenues. (The Malaysia Insider)

Kencana Petroleum Bhd has secured a contract for the fabrication of Tapis R substructure for the Tapis re-development project from ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Malaysia Inc worth RM74m. It is a one-off engineering, procurement and construction contract and is expected to be delivered to the latter within the second quarter of calendar year 2013. (Malaysian Reserve)

Malakoff Corporation Bhd, via its wholly-owned subsidiary Tanjung Bin Energy Issuer Bhd, has signed financing agreements worth RM6.5bn for the development of the new 1,000 MW supercritical coal-fired power plant. The project was awarded to Malakoff in June last year following a competitive bidding process, overseen by the Energy Commission. (Bernama)

Thai AirAsia’s parent company Asia Aviation pcl has submitted a filing for its long awaited IPO to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand. According to Bloomberg, Asia Aviation has registered to sell up to 750m new shares. It was also reported that Asia Aviation is planning to grow its stake in Thai AirAsia to 55% from 51% following the IPO. Asia Aviation CEO Tassapon Bijleveld was earlier quoted as saying the IPO could raise as much as US$150m. (Financial Daily)

China-based Sozo Global Ltd, which makes ready-to-serve meals, is optimistic of generating 40% revenue contribution from its halal segment once its third processing plant is ready. To cater to the high demand and lucrative halal market, the group is acquiring a spring rolls-making plant in Negri Sembilan. The plant, which has a revenue of about RM12m annually, will be its first halal venture. "The acquisition will be a quick start for the company to penetrate the halal market before our factory in China is completed. "Hopefully it will be completed by the second quarter of this year," CEO Sheng Hengbao said at a media briefing yesterday. The group has allocated RM16 m over the next two years to expand its halal business. (BT)

Property developer Hua Yang Bhd is actively looking for land is Iskandar Malaysia as part of its long-term plan to further strengthen its presence in South Johor. Johor branch manager Soo Kim Hiang said the country's first economic growth corridor offered good prospect for property development. (StarBiz)

Bakery and confectionary manufacturer Silver Bird Group Bhd said the maximum exposure it faced arising from alleged financial irregularities could amount to approximately RM111.5m. The company said it had recently appointed PKF Advisory Sdn Bhd as the "forensic accounts" to conduct a forensic review to ascertain the financial position of the company. In a separate announcement, Silver Bird confirmed reports that it had suspended three of its key executives. (StarBiz)

Integrated Healthcare Holdings Sdn Bhd (IHH) began marketing a loan of about S$650m (RM1.6bn) to help finance the acquisition of a Turkey hospital chain, a person familiar with the matter said. In December last year, IHH agreed to buy 75% stake in Turkey's largest hospital group, Acibadem Saglik Hizmetleri & Ticaret AS. (Malaysian Reserve)

Sagajuta (Sabah) Sdn Bhd managing director and controlling shareholder Datuk Raymond Chan Boon Siew was appointed as chief executive officer of Naim Indah Corp Bhd yesterday. Early last month Chan bought a 22.8% stake held by Crest Energy Sdn Bhd in property and timber-related Naim Indah. Meanwhile, Sagajuta director, Tan Tiang Lai, aged 49, was appointed as director in Naim Indah. (BT)

Scomi Group (SGB) and its associate company, Scomi Marine (SMB), have proposed to merge their business under a new company in a bid to create a larger upstream drilling services provider. The newco would assume the listing status of SMB. SGB would have at least a 32.9% stake in the newco post-merger. The board of SMB also intends to propose a cash distribution of up to US$45m to SMB shareholders via a capital repayment exercise. Shareholders of SMB stand to gain 18.3 sen per share, assuming if SMB distributes the proceeds in full. (Star Biz)

RHB Capital, OSK: Merger likely to be all-share deal
Banking sources said the proposed RHB Capital (RHBC MK, Trading Buy, TP: RM8.70) - OSK merger, due to be sealed soon, will be paid for entirely in shares. OSK is expected to receive RHB Capital share worth around RM2bn – the reported price of the deal – in exchange for the former’s investment banking business. At this stage, it is not clear what OSK will do with the RHB Capital shares. Sources said it was likely OSK might hold on the RHB Capital shares for a while before deciding what to do. (StarBiz)

Sime Darby: 2Q FY2012 rises to RM1.6bn
Sime Darby posted a higher pre-tax profit at RM1.6bn for 2Q FY2012 compared to RM1.248bn recorded for the previous corresponding period. Revenue for the second quarter rose to RM11.389bn from RM9.994bn registered for the second quarter of the preceding financial year. For 1H FY2012, pre-tax profit increased to RM3.089bn from RM2.208bn recorded for the 1H FY2011. Revenue grew to RM22.453bn from RM18.669bn recorded for the first half of the preceding financial year. The group announced an interim dividend of 10 sen per share for the financial year ending June 30, 2012. (Business Times)

MAS: Records net loss of RM2.52bn in FY2011
MAS recorded a net loss of RM2.52bn, on the back of RM13.9bn in revenue for FY2011. For the  4Q FY2011, the  national carrier recorded RM1.28bn in net loss,  on a turnover of RM3.68bn. Group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said the bottom-line group losses for 2011 underscored the imperative need for the airline to immediately adopt strong measures to stop the bleeding. These include staff redeployment, increasing productivity and efficiency, relentless cost control and making further reviews. In addition, he said they are implementing an aggressive sales and marketing strategy. (Bernama)

MAS: Finalising plan to increase reserves, funding capacity
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is finalising a plan to strengthen its balance sheet to increase its cash reserves and funding capacity.  Deputy Group  CEO Mohammed Rashdan Yusof said the national carrier would unveil the plan in 60 days, told. He said the plan would include debt and equity market options as well as a possible assets review and disposal of non-core assets. Khazanah Nasional and Tune Air, MAS' the two largest shareholders, are supportive of these initiatives. With the funding plan in place, the group will further progress the implementation of initiatives outlined in its business plan announced in December 2011. On the outlook for 2012, Group  CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said MAS was optimistic of the prospect for short and medium haul operations especially the key domestic and regional routes. He added that MAS would relaunch its short-haul operation by Jun. (Bernama)

MMC: Surge in 4Q FY2011 profit
MMC Corp has recorded a 73.86% surge in net profit to RM264.6m in its 4Q FY2011 compared with RM152.2m  y-o-y. The group’s revenue increased 10.6% to RM2.41bn from RM2.18bn  y-o-y. The increase in both net profit and revenue was due to higher profit contributions from the energy and utilities, transport and logistics, engineering and construction, as well as investment holdings, corporate and other segments. The higher profit from the energy and utilities unit was attributed to higher average dispatch factor achieved by Malakoff’s power plants compared with the previous year, which was in turn driven by a higher dispatch Tanjung Bin Power Sdn Bhd in response to the shortage of power caused by a gas curtailment. (StarBiz)

Proton: Posts RM84m loss in 3Q FY2012
Proton Holdings' pre-tax loss widened to RM84.054m for 3Q FY2012 compared to a pre-tax loss of RM51.535m in the same period in FY2011. The company said the weaker performance was due to a decline in year-end sales which resulted in the adjustment of production numbers to better manage costs. Revenue decreased to RM1.432bn from RM1.833bn previously. (Bernama)

Sunway: Core businesses boost profit for 4Q FY2011
Sunway posted a net profit of RM123.8m on revenue of RM968.6m for 4Q FY2011. EPS stood at 9.58 sen. For the FY2011, net profit was RM369.7m on revenue of RM3.74bn. EPS was 28.6 sen. Sunway said it 4QFY11 results were largely driven by its core businesses, comprising property development and investment as well as construction, which contributed about 81% to the group’s pretax profit of RM190.1m. The property development segment reported a pretax profit of RM79.5m on revenue of RM143.9m driven by progressive billings of its Sunway Nexis, LaCosta at South Quay, Sunway Vivaldi and Sunway Velocity projects. It said its property projects in Singapore also provided significant contribution. (StarBiz)

Aviation: Jan passenger traffic rises, cargo down
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said global passenger demand for Jan rose 5.7%, but air freight declined by eight% compared with the same month in 2011. Passenger capacity in Jan was up 4.2%, average load factor rose 1.1%age points to 76.6% against the same month a year ago. Freight capacity contracted by 0.6% y-o-y and freight load factor fell to 41%, as deliveries of new widebody passenger aircraft offset measures to reduce freight capacity. IATA said the occurrence of Chinese New Year in Jan (rather than in February as in 2011) exaggerated the increase in passenger demand and the fall in air freight. (Bernama)

20120301 1000 Local & Global Economic Related News.

Broad money increased 14.7% yoy in Jan (14.3% in Dec 2011). Total loan growth eased to 12.1% yoy (13.6% in Dec 2011) while net financing increased at a higher rate of 13.5% (12.5% in Dec 2011) (Bank Negara Malaysia)

India’s economy grew 6.1% yoy in 4Q (6.9% in 3Q) – the slowest pace in 3 years – and below market expectations of a 6.3% expansion. (AFP, Reuters)

Singapore’s credit card bad debts rose to S$16.1m in Jan (S$15.6m in Dec). Credit card billings eased to S$3.0bn in Jan (S$3.5bn in Dec). (Bloomberg)

Singapore’s loan growth eased to 28.4% yoy in Jan (+30.3% in Dec). Money supply M2 moderated to 9.9% yoy in Jan (10% in Dec), while M1 growth slowed to 13.1% yoy in Jan from 14.8% in Dec. (Bloomberg)

Thailand’s business sentiment index improved to 50.8 in Jan from 48.5 in Dec. (Bloomberg)

The 2012 Hays Salary Guide also found that 50% of employers in Singapore intend to increase salaries between 3 and 6% when they next review. 23% will increase above 6%, 22% intend to increase salaries less than 3% and 5% intend to offer no increases. (ST)

Vietnam’s retail sales growth in Jan-Feb stood unchanged at 22%. (Bloomberg)

Vietnam’s industrial production index grew 22.1% yoy in Feb (-2.4% in Jan). (Bloomberg)

Vietnam’s trade deficit returned in Feb to US$0.64bn, following a rare surplus in Jan. This was significantly lower than the US$2bn recorded in the same period last year. (Vietnam News)

Over 680,000 international tourists visited Vietnam in Feb, up 8.2% mom and 29.4% yoy. (Vietnam News)

South Korea's industrial production in Jan unexpectedly rose after three months of declines, adding a modest 3.3% mom (-0.7% in Dec), helped by healthy machinery and automobile sectors. Economists were expecting a -1.2% decline. (WSJ)

Under the Long-Term Refinancing Operation, the ECB said it handed out €529.5bn (US$712.7bn) in cheap, three-year loans to 800 lenders, on top of the €489bn of similar loans dispensed to 523 banks in late Dec. (WSJ)

Bank of Thailand deputy governor Suchada Kirakul said that the central bank could maintain its „accommodative‟ benchmark interest rate as inflation risks increase and threats to economic growth remain. (Jakarta Globe)

Almost one in 10 Japanese manufacturers with operations in Thailand plans to relocate out of the kingdom after last year‟s devastating floods, a survey showed. Electronics makers were particularly hard hit, with more than half directly affected by the disaster, according to the poll of 1,345 companies by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce Bangkok (JCCB), in which 366 responded. (Jakarta Globe)

Indonesia‟s government has proposed a Rp1,500/litre increase in the price of the subsidized Premium and Solar fuel to Rp6,000/litre. (IFT)

The rupiah strengthened to Rp9,020 against the US$ thanks to Bank Indonesia’s intervention in the money market. (Antara News)

The US ISM business barometer rose to 64, a 10-month high, from 60.2 in Jan, surpassing the median estimate of economists of 61. (Bloomberg)

US mortgage applications for home purchases rose 8.2% wow in the week ended 24 Feb, far surpassing the prior week‟s -2.9%. Applications for refinancing contracted 2.2% wow, but the measure was less than the -4.8% registered in the earlier week. (Bloomberg)

The US Commerce Department reported that GDP grew a revised 3.0% qoq in 4Q11 on a seasonally adjusted annualised rate (1.8% in 3Q11). Analysts had expected the second estimate to come in unrevised at 2.8% for the overall number. On a year-ago basis, GDP was up 1.6%, compared to 1.5% in 3Q11. (Bloomberg)

The US Federal Reserve said the economy expanded at a “modest to moderate pace” in Jan and early-Feb. Chairman Ben Bernanke affirmed that interest rates are likely to stay low at least through late-2014. (Bloomberg)

Japan’s housing starts fell 1.1% yoy in Jan (-7.3% in the year to Dec), the fifth straight month of decline. This was better than analysts‟ expectations for a 3.5% annual decline. (Reuters)

Japan’s construction orders received by the 50 largest contractors in the country rose 24.6% yoy in Jan (1.5% in Dec), the fourth straight gain, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. (MNI)

Japan’s automobile production rose 18.6% yoy in Jan, the fourth month, as domestic sales grew sharply by 36.2% and exports gained 4.1%. (

Euro area inflation by 2.6% yoy in Jan. Earlier this month, the annual rate of inflation was estimated at 2.7%. Prices fell by 0.8% mom in Jan, the largest decline since Jan 2010. (WSJ)

20120301 0952 Global Market Related News.

Asian Stocks Enter Bull Market (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks entered a bull market yesterday after central-bank easing from the U.S. and Europe to China and Japan fueled the fastest rally in more than two years. China Shipping Container Lines Co. (2866), which surged 163 percent, led gains since a low on Oct. 5 as efforts to prevent the spread of Europe’s debt crisis and improving U.S. economic reports boosted the outlook for the region’s exporters. S-Oil Corp. (010950), Korea’s No. 3 refiner, led energy stocks higher as crude prices surged. Agile Property Holdings Ltd. (3383), a Chinese developer, rose 137 percent on speculation the country will ease property curbs as inflation slows.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.9 percent to 129.37 yesterday, marking a gain of more than 20 percent from its Oct. 5 low and entering a so-called bull market. The gauge has advanced the last 10 weeks, the longest such streak since its inception in 1988, as the European Central Bank expanded its balance sheet to a record, the U.S. Federal Reserve pledged near-zero interest rates and China lowered reserve ratios. “One would have expected some kind of a pause by now because the market has been rising since mid-December,” said Mark Matthews, Singapore-based head of research for Asia at Julius Baer, which oversees about $180 billion in assets under management globally. “The major thing that put the floor on markets was the European Central Bank’s long-term refinancing operations that were introduced in December. U.S. data has been pretty robust too. All these things are good. It’s all good.”

Asian Stocks Swing Between Gains and Losses on Bernanke Comments, Yen (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks swung between gains and losses after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke failed to signal further measures to stimulate the economy. Japanese exporters rose after the dollar strengthened against the yen, boosting their earnings outlook. Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), which gets almost 30 percent of its sales from North America, rose 2.1 percent in Tokyo. TDK Corp. (6762), a Japanese electronic equipment maker, rose 5 percent after saying it plans to buy back shares. James Hardie Industries NV, which makes most of its revenue selling home siding in the U.S., slid 0.6 percent in Sydney. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the world’s No. 1 mining company, retreated 0.9 percent after metal prices fell. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) rose 0.1 percent to 129.08 as of 9:34 a.m. in Tokyo, after falling as much as 0.5 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) rose 1.4 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.7 percent.

Japanese Stocks Advance as U.S. Economic Data Beat Estimates, Yen Weakens (Source: Bloomberg)
March 1 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese stocks rose, extending last month’s gains, after better-than-expected U.S. economic data strengthened the dollar against the yen, boosting the earnings outlook for exporters. Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), which gets 28 percent of its sales in North America, rose 1 percent. Softbank Corp. led communications companies higher after the mobile-phone operator was recommended for a spectrum license that will expand its data capacity. Elpida Memory Inc. (6665), which filed for bankruptcy this week, climbed to 9 yen. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) rose 1 percent to 9,815.29 as of 9:25 a.m. in Tokyo. The gauge gained 10.5 percent in February, the biggest monthly advance since December 2009. The broader Topix Index gained 0.7 percent to 842.24.
“The fact that the economy is getting better in the U.S. and the global economy is getting better generally is positive,” said Angus Gluskie, who manages more than $350 million at White Funds Management in Sydney. “Investors see there’s less risk around, and they are prepared to put more money back in.”

S&P 500 Snaps Four-Day Advance (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks fell, trimming the longest monthly rally in a year for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke gave no indication of further measures to stimulate the economy. Commodity shares had the biggest decline in the S&P 500 among 10 groups as gold tumbled the most since December. Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM), the largest U.S. gold producer, slumped 4.2 percent. First Solar Inc. (FSLR), the world’s largest maker of thin- film solar panels, retreated 11 percent after reporting an unexpected loss. Apple Inc. (AAPL) topped $500 billion in market capitalization for the first time, rising 1.3 percent. The S&P 500 fell 0.5 percent to 1,365.68 at 4 p.m. New York time, retreating from an almost four-year high. It still rose 4.1 percent in February, capping a third straight month of gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDU) lost 53.05 points, or 0.4 percent, to 12,952.07.
The Nasdaq Composite Index topped 3,000 (CCMP) for the first time since 2000 before falling 0.7 percent to 2,966.89. The Russell 2000 Index slid 1.6 percent to 810.94. “We have a bit of investor nosebleed,” said Bruce McCain, who helps oversee more than $20 billion as chief investment strategist at the private-banking unit of KeyCorp in Cleveland. “There are still things to worry about. With the absence of more stimulus, that would lead us to question: what’s there to move us out of some of that? In addition, we’ve had a big run-up in stocks. No trees grow to the sky.”

European Stocks Are Little Changed, Post the Best Start to Year Since 1998 (Source: Bloomberg)
European stocks were little changed, erasing earlier gains, after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke failed to signal further monetary easing in a testimony to the Congress. Hochtief AG shares had their biggest decline in a month after the company suspended its dividend payout. Holcim (HOLN) Ltd., the world’s second-biggest cement maker, climbed as sales and earnings topped forecasts. ITV Plc (ITV) jumped the most in a year. The Stoxx Europe 600 (SXXP)Index was unchanged at 264.32 at the close in London. Stocks earlier gained as much as 0.8 percent after the European Central Bank allotted more funds than projected under its long-term refinancing operation. The gauge rallied 3.9 percent in February and 8.1 percent so far this year, the biggest increase in the first two months of a year since 1998.
“While the evolving European developments have the potential to meaningfully impact the direction of markets, our central expectation is for continued uncertainty and associated high volatility in underlying markets,” said Morten Spenner, the London-based chief executive officer of International Asset Management Ltd., which oversees $2.5 billion.

Fed Says U.S. Economy Expanded at a ‘Modest to Moderate’ Pace Last Month (Source: Bloomberg)
The Federal Reserve said the U.S. economy expanded at a “modest to moderate pace” in January and early February as factories increased production. “Manufacturing continued to expand at a steady pace across the nation,” with “several districts indicating gains in capital spending, especially in auto-related industries,” the Fed said today in its Beige Book business survey, published two weeks before the Federal Open Market Committee meets to set monetary policy. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in congressional testimony today that maintaining monetary stimulus is warranted even as the unemployment rate falls and rising oil prices may cause inflation to rise temporarily. Policy makers, who next meet on March 13, said in January that economic slack and subdued inflation are likely to warrant exceptionally low rates through late 2014, extending a previous date of mid-2013.
“The Beige Book shows the economy continues to do better, but has a long way to go before it is robust,” said Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies & Co. in New York. “It is slightly more upbeat” than the prior two reports. “Growth is still very slow two and a half years into a recovery.”

U.S. Business Activity Improves in Sign Demand to Sustain Growth: Economy (Source: Bloomberg)
Companies took in more orders and stepped up production in February, a sign demand will sustain the U.S. expansion after a fourth-quarter pickup. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said today its business barometer climbed to a 10-month high of 64 from 60.2 in January. Readings above 50 signal expansion and the figure exceeded all forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. The Commerce Department raised its growth estimate for the final three months of 2011, to 3 percent from 2.8 percent. Income gains in the second half of 2011 were stronger than previously reported, which may bolster household purchases that make up 70 percent of the economy. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled today to Congress that recent signs of strength won’t change the central bank’s view that low rates are necessary through 2014.
“We’re continuing to see moderate economic expansion driven by an improvement in the labor market,” said Conrad DeQuadros, a senior economist at RDQ Economics LLC in New York. “Even with growth at 3 percent, the Fed remains concerned about the outlook with the unemployment rate high, and that’s the driver of their highly accommodative monetary policy.”

Bernanke Says Volcker Rule’s Trading Curbs Won’t Be Ready by July Deadline (Source: Bloomberg)
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank and other regulators won’t meet a July deadline to complete work on the so-called Volcker rule limiting proprietary trading at banks. The ban is set to take effect by July 21 even if the rule- making is still in progress. It would include a two-year transition period; the Fed could issue one-year implementation extensions on a case-by-case basis after that. “I don’t think it will be ready for July,” Bernanke said in response to a question during testimony today to the House Financial Services Committee in Washington. “Just a few weeks ago we closed the comment period, we have about 17,000 comments, we have a lot of very difficult issues to go through, so I don’t know the exact date.”
The rule is named for former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, who championed it as an adviser to President Barack Obama. It seeks to ban banks from proprietary trading while allowing them to continue short-term trades for hedging or market-making. It also would limit banks’ investments in private-equity and hedge funds.

Bernanke Affirms Low-Rate Pledge (Source: Bloomberg)
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke affirmed that interest rates are likely to stay low at least through late 2014 without offering any indication that further monetary easing is under consideration. “At present, with the unemployment rate elevated and the inflation outlook subdued, the committee judges that sustaining a highly accommodative stance for monetary policy is consistent with promoting both objectives” for stable prices and maximum employment, Bernanke said today in testimony to the House Financial Services Committee in Washington. While describing “positive developments” in the labor market, Bernanke said it “remains far from normal.” In the first day of his semiannual monetary policy report to Congress, he said a recent rise in gasoline prices “is likely to push up inflation temporarily” and reduce consumer purchasing power.
Stocks erased gains as the comments damped speculation of more easing. When he last appeared before Congress in July, Bernanke outlined steps that the Federal Open Market Committee subsequently took in its August and September meetings. Today, he made no mention of additional options to boost growth in prepared testimony or answers to lawmakers’ questions.

Iran Seen Suffering ‘Crippling Effect’ of Sanctions (Source: Bloomberg)
The cascade of U.S. and European sanctions imposed on Iran is crippling its ability to export oil and conduct trade, hitting the Gulf state’s economy and stoking internal dissent, sanctions specialists and U.S. officials say. An array of restrictions on banking, shipping, insurance, ports, trade, commodities and energy transactions and ventures have severed or complicated many of Iran’s commercial ties to the outside world. U.S. officials such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton say there is limited time for sanctions to pressure Iran into giving up disputed nuclear activities before the U.S. or Israel may take military action. One of the latest examples of the sanctions’ impact is yesterday’s announcement by Noor Islamic Bank, whose chairman is a son of Dubai’s ruler, that it severed relations with Iranian banks in December in compliance with international rules.
Another example is the willingness expressed last week by Swift, the financial messaging service for most cross-border money transfers, to cut off more than 20 sanctioned Iranian banks and Iran’s central bank in a move that would be a further blow to Iran’s economy, according to two officials involved in the talks.

Banks in Europe Tap ECB for More Three-Year Cash Than Economists Estimated (Source: Bloomberg)
The number of financial institutions flocking to the European Central Bank’s three-year loans soared to 800 and borrowing rose to a record in an operation that may boost the euro-area economy. The Frankfurt-based ECB said it will lend banks 529.5 billion euros ($712.2 billion) for 1,092 days, topping the 489 billion euros handed out to 523 institutions in the first three- year operation in December. Economists predicted an allotment of 470 billion euros in today’s tender, according to the median of 28 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. “The astonishing number this time is the number of banks participating, which signals that a lot more small banks looked for the money and it is likely they will pass it on to the economy,” said Laurent Fransolet, head of fixed income strategy at Barclays Capital in London. “So the impact may be bigger than with the first one.”
Bond and equity markets have rallied since the ECB’s first three-year loan, suggesting banks are investing at least some of the money in higher yielding assets. That’s helped ease concern about a credit crunch and won governments time to agree on measures to contain the sovereign debt crisis. The risk is that banks become too reliant on ECB money and fail to take the steps needed to strengthen their balance sheets.

IMF Staff Backs Currency Intervention as a Policy Tool in Emerging Markets (Source: Bloomberg)
Currency intervention is a valid instrument for central banks of emerging markets to use alongside interest rates, the International Monetary Fund staff said in a report. Many developing economies have chosen to set an inflation target to anchor expectations after a history of price instability, according to the report. Openly adopting a second policy tool focused on managing exchange rates is likely to strengthen central banks’ credibility rather than undermine it, the IMF economists argue. “The crisis has taught us that policy makers need to deliver more than stable consumer prices if they are to achieve sustained and stable growth, and that the instruments at their disposal include more than just the policy interest rate,” according to the report, whose authors include IMF Research Department Deputy Director Jonathan Ostry. For emerging markets “there are potentially two policy targets: inflation and the exchange rate.”
The report reflects recent efforts at the IMF to challenge macro-economic beliefs and adjust recommendations in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, which the lender failed detect. The Washington-based IMF last year endorsed capital controls as part of the toolkit to manage inflows of money that threaten countries’ financial stability, marking a turn from its advice from crises in Latin America and Asia in the 1990s.

Australian Manufacturing Grows For Third Straight Month as Orders Pick Up (Source: Bloomberg)
Australian manufacturing expanded for a third straight month in February, led by clothing, footwear and transport equipment, as the industry adjusts to a stronger currency, a private survey showed. The manufacturing index was 51.3 last month compared with 51.6 in January, the Australian Industry Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a survey released today. It was the first time since August 2010 the figure has held for three straight months above 50, the dividing line between expansion and contraction. “Australian manufacturing remains resilient in the face of the high dollar and difficult trading conditions,” Innes Willox, chief executive-designate at AIG, said in a statement. “The movement of new orders into positive territory for the first time since the middle of 2011 is also encouraging.”
The Reserve Bank of Australia reduced its benchmark interest rate in November and December last year as inflation cooled and global risks increased. Its unexpected pause in February at 4.25 percent and a resource investment expansion have spurred the currency, which reached a six-month high of $1.0845 following the decision and has appreciated 5 percent this year. The local dollar traded at $1.0733 earlier today.

20120301 0952 Global Commodities Related News.

Corn (Source: CME)
US corn futures rise as the market is dragged higher by surging soybean prices and technical buying. Sharply lower precious-metals prices and declining crude oil weigh on corn, but soy's rally more than offsets the pressures. Fresh export demand from Mexico announced adds to the positive momentum while traders note recent gains are attracting trend-following speculative buying. CBOT March corn ends up 3c at $6.56 1/2 a bushel, the highest close for front-month corn since Jan. 4.

Wheat (Source: CME)
US wheat futures end mostly higher on strength in neighboring grains and short-covering. Surging soybeans led corn and wheat higher, traders say. Speculative funds' big net short position also priming the market for gains as they cover those positions. Gains limited, however, by outside market pressure, including a stronger dollar and tumbling precious metals prices. Longer-term, the market's upside could be capped by abundant world supplies that limits U.S. export prospects. CBOT March wheat ends up 2c to $6.64 1/4 a bushel, MGEX March wheat up 1 1/2c to $8.03 3/4. KCBT wheat slips, with the March contract closing down 1 1/2c to $7.08 1/2.

Rice (Source: CME)
US rice futures end slightly higher in quiet, rangebound trade. Modest rebound after creeping lower the previous two days. Poor export demand is weighing on the market, but worries about U.S. acreage preventing further losses. CBOT rice ends up 3 1/2c to $14.20 1/2.

Sarkozy toils to reverse farmer drift to far right
PARIS, Feb 28 (Reuters) - A warmer reception for Nicolas Sarkozy at this year's Paris farm show - where politicians traipse through the straw to steer support their way - suggests the French president's push to reclaim rural voters is making headway.
The presidential race has been in full swing since Sarkozy declared his candidacy in mid-February and began campaigning hard to overturn Socialist challenger Francois Hollande's clear lead in opinion polls.

India expects 5th straight record wheat crop-attache
Feb. 28 (Reuters) - Following are selected highlights from a report issued by a U.S. Department of Agriculture attache in India"India expects a fifth record wheat crop in a row, 87.5 million tonnes, on higher planted area and optimal growing conditions in major growing areas to date. MY 2012/13 wheat exports are forecast at 1.5 million tonnes. MY 2012/13 rice production is forecast at 100 million tonnes, marginally lower than the year prior record production. India is unlikely to impose export controls on rice in the near future; MY 2011/12 rice exports are likely to reach 6.5 million tonnes including 2.7 million tonnes of Basmati.

Ships wait 15-20 days to load Brazilian grains
SAO PAULO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Brazil's impaired TGG soy and corn loading terminal at Santos is so far not having an impact on ship waiting times to carry grains from Brazilian ports to international markets, traders and vessel line-up data showed Tuesday.
Brazil's TGG, Santos' main grain terminal, said on Feb. 17 had resumed loading soybeans, meal and corn at half capacity, ending a five-day interruption to exports from the main grain terminal in the country that should lead the world in soybean exports this year.

S.Africa's 2011/12 maize output seen up 13 pct
JOHANNESBURG, Feb 28 (Reuters) - South Africa's maize output is likely to rise by 13 percent this year as higher prices boost plantings of the staple grain, the government said on Tuesday.
Africa's biggest maize producer would harvest 11.7 million tonnes of the maize in the current 2011/12 production season, compared with 10.36 million tonnes in the last season, the Crop Estimates Committee said.

Russia may export up to 28 mln T of grain in 11/12-Ifax
MOSCOW, Feb 28 (Reuters) - - Russian Agriculture Minister Yelena Skrynnik raised the grain export forecast for the 2011/12 crop year by 12 percent to as much as 28 million tonnes, news agency Interfax reported on Tuesday.
"Deliveries of Russian grain to the world market are being set in the amount of 27-28 million tonnes," she was quoted as saying at roundtable talks during the Russian Agrarian Forum in Ufa.    

US Sees Record Wheat Production In India (Source: CME)
India's wheat production for the 2012-13 marketing year is forecast to increase 0.7% on the year to a record 87.5 million metric tons, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's New Delhi attache said in a report released Wednesday, due to a marginal increase in planted area and optimal growing conditions so far. India is heading for its fifth consecutive record wheat harvest this summer, the USDA said, although its projections fall short of the government's preliminary estimate of 88.3 million tons, due to "slightly optimistic" yield expectations as high temperatures during harvest may temper yield prospects. The country's wheat exports during 2012-13 are forecast at 1.5 million tons, the USDA said, which will mostly be limited to private exports to neighboring Bangladesh, the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
Actual export volumes will depend on the competitiveness of Indian wheat during the marketing year, the USDA added, with the country having sufficient domestic supplies to export 5 million to 6 million tons, especially if shipments of government wheat are allowed due to rising international prices. The USDA expects India to produce 100 million tons of rice from 45 million hectares in 2012-13, marginally lower than the estimated record production of 102 million tons in 2011-12. However, India is unlikely to impose export controls on rice in the near future, the USDA said, with exports likely to reach 6.5 million tons in 2011-12, consisting of 3.8 million tons non-basmati and 2.7 million tons basmati. It added that the country's rice exports for 2012-13 are likely to be 6 million tons.

Ukraine Grain Exports Seen At 20M Tons (Source: CME)
Ukraine's grain exports in the current marketing year, July 2011-June 2012, are unlikely to exceed 20 million metric tons, the Ukraine Agrarian Confederation said, as exports of grain harvested in 2011 were likely to continue into the next marketing year. The Confederation said the current low pace of grain exports was caused by unusually severe frosts--which slowed work at sea ports--by low world prices, and by expectations that the government would impose limitations on the export of grain. The ice situation at the ports is improving and grain exports in February will be about 40% more than in January, mostly corn. Exports of wheat are slow because a number of government officials have made vague statements that exports of grain might be limited, and exporters are holding back to see what transpires. Wheat exports in February are unlikely to exceed 400,000 tons, the Confederation said.
In 2011 Ukraine's grain harvest in clean weight was 56.7 million tons. Ukraine's grain harvest in 2010 fell by 14.8% on the year to 39.23 million tons in clean weight because of drought. Ukraine exported 12 million tons of grain between the beginning of the current marketing year, July 1 2011, and Feb. 14, which is 4.61 million tons more than in the same period in the previous marketing year.

Wheat Futures Fall as U.S. Northern Plains Snow May Boost Crop Outlook (Source: Bloomberg)
Wheat futures slid from a four-week high on speculation that winter storms in the northern U.S. will boost soil moisture before farmers begin planting spring crops in the next two months. Storms in the past two days brought as much as 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow to parts of North Dakota, the biggest U.S. grower of spring wheat, while accumulations reached 12 inches in Minnesota, according to the National Weather Service. Conditions in the two states ranged from “severe” drought to “abnormally dry” as of Feb. 21, after months of below-normal precipitation, according to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. “Moisture this time of year is good,” Dan Kuechenmeister, the manager of the commodity department at RBC Wealth Management in Minneapolis, said in a telephone interview. “It’s a good, wet, heavy snow, so even if it gets windy, it shouldn’t blow around too much. It’ll get a chance to settle in, and hopefully soak into the ground.”
Wheat futures for May delivery fell 0.25 cent to settle at $6.68 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, the price reached $6.745, the highest for a most-active contract since Feb. 1. The commodity, little changed this month, is down 18 percent in the past year on rising global supplies.

Corn Shipments From India Seen Missing Forecast on Pests, Rupee Strength (Source: Bloomberg)
India, Asia’s biggest corn exporter, may ship less grain than predicted this year after pests spurred Vietnam to reject some cargoes and as the strengthening rupee boosted prices, according to a traders’ group. Sales in the year that began on Oct. 1 will trail the 3 million metric tons estimated in November, said Pravin Dongre, president of the India Pulses & Grains Association. The country exported 2.5 million tons in 2010-2011, he said in a phone interview in Mumbai. Futures lost 10 percent in the past year in Chicago as record global corn production cut demand for the livestock-feed ingredient from the U.S., the largest producer and exporter. Vietnam may boost imports from South America and Ukraine after turning back a couple of Indian cargoes, citing the presence of live khapra beetles, an insect that destroys grain, Dongre said. “Earlier if there were 10 buyers, then 10 shippers were willing to export to Vietnam,” said Dongre. “With this issue, shippers are very hesitant.”

Global rubber output seen up 2.6 pct in 2012-ANRPC
SINGAPORE, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Global natural rubber output is expected to rise to 10.529 million tonnes in 2012, up 2.6 percent from 2011 because of better yields in some key growers, the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) said on Wednesday.
In early February, the ANRPC pegged 2012 production at 10.450 million tonnes. It also revised last year's output to 10.262 million tonnes from 10.127 million tonnes estimated earlier.

Ivorian San Pedro cocoa arrivals 449,341 T by Feb 19-BCC
ABIDJAN, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Cocoa arrivals at Ivory Coast's port of San Pedro reached 449,341 tonnes by Feb. 19 since the start of the season in October, according to data from the Coffee and Cocoa Bourse (BCC) obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.  
That compared with 375,109 tonnes delivered to the port   during the same period of the 2010/11 season.

Olam analyst sees drop in sugar surplus in 12/13
BANGKOK, Feb 28 (Reuters) - The global sugar surplus could fall more than 40 percent in the next crop year as an expected decline in output in Europe may offset rising supply from India and Thailand, Olam Europe senior analyst John Stansfield said on Tuesday.
"We expect to see a good crop in India and Thailand, while production in Europe may not be quite as good -- maybe we could see a drop of around 10 percent in sugar production from Russia," Stansfield said at a conference in the Thai capital.

Lumber Tops Commodity Futures in February as Demand From China May Climb (Source: Bloomberg)
Lumber futures that surged more than any other commodity in February may extend a rally to a 10-month high as China boosts imports and the U.S. housing recovers, researcher Wood Resources International LLC said. Prices have gained 11 percent since the end of January, the most among 35 raw materials tracked by the Rogers International Commodity Index. Lumber may reach $300 per 1,000 board feet by July on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, up 9 percent from today’s close of $275.20 and the highest since April 6, Wood Resources said. West Fraser Timber Co., North America’s largest producer, said exports to China “picked up substantially” in the first quarter from the fourth quarter. Shipments climbed to a record in 2011, government data show. U.S. housing starts rose 1.5 percent last month from December to a 699,000 annual rate, the most for a January since 2008 and a sign that residential real estate is stabilizing, the Commerce Department said Feb. 16.
“The general trend should be upward, with more optimism in the market that housing starts should slowly start to increase,” Hakan Ekstrom, the president of Wood Resources, said by telephone from Bothell, Washington. “The west coast of Canada and the U.S. also have China probably starting to buy more lumber again.”

Strong Real To Push Brazil Mills To Ethanol (Source: CME)
The appreciation of the Brazilian real this year is hurting sugar exporters and could encourage sugarcane mills to focus on producing ethanol fuel for the domestic market, a top industry official said. Brazil's currency has gained almost 10% against the dollar since the start of the year, largely wiping out a similar gain in New York-traded raw-sugar futures. "I think the appreciation is really a very bad thing," Marcos Jank, president of sugarcane industry association Unica, said on the sidelines of an event. "The question of the exchange rate hurts the exporter here in Brazil."
While Brazil is the world's largest sugar producer and exporter, growing domestic appetite for ethanol auto fuel gives sugarcane mills an alternative revenue source to the international sugar market. In the 2011-12 season ending March 31, government estimates show Brazilian ethanol fuel output will have dropped 17% from a year earlier while sugar production should have fallen only 3.4% as mills seek to capitalize on high international prices. Raw-sugar futures traded on the IntercontinentalExchange reached 30 cents a pound several times last year. The real was also strong in the first half of 2011, but the surge in sugar prices made the sweetener an attractive option for mills. Jank said Brazil's sugar shortfall has been offset by production in other countries, and that is weighing on prices this year. Raw sugar for May delivery was down 1.5% at 24.95 cents a pound in midday trade.
"Demand for sugar is quite predictable, the problem is supply," Jank said. "We know at this moment that supply is large, and prices this year will be much more reasonable than last year." As a result, sugarcane crushers' 2011 strategy of maximizing sugar output could be reversed this year, with ethanol gaining ground, he said.

Euro Coal-Prices drop $1/T on oil, oversupply
LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Prompt physical coal prices fell by around $1.00 a tonne on Tuesday in line with an earlier dip in oil and pressured by oversupply, particularly in Europe.
Front month March loading South African coal was bid at $104.00 a tonne FOB Richards Bay, keeping a slim premium over April and May cargoes but $1.00 lower than the previous day.

India 2012/13 coal import needs seen 140 mln T-source
NEW DELHI, Feb 28 (Reuters) - India may need to import 140 million tonnes of coal in 2012/13, about a quarter more than this year ending March 31, a coal ministry source said on Tuesday, underscoring the country's struggle to produce enough of the cheap fuel for power stations.
Coking coal would be about 15 percent of the total coal import that could cost about $11 billion. International coal prices are up to 40 percent higher than domestic rates.

China 2011 raw coal output up 8.7 pct y/y - report
BEIJING, Feb 28 (Reuters) - China produced 3.52 billion tonnes of raw coal in 2011, 8.7 percent more than a year earlier, the official People's Daily reported on Tuesday, citing figures from a national coal conference.
The conference also called for controls on coal consumption and measures to force industries to upgrade and improve energy efficiency, the newspaper reported.

Brent rises above $122; ECB loan may spur buying
SINGAPORE, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Brent crude rose above $122, snapping two days of losses, in line with gains across broader financial markets on expectations that cheap loans from the European Central Bank will spur buying of riskier assets.
"Today, the market is getting ready for the ECB announcement, and is reacting to the dollar," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

Japan Jan total oil sales up 2 pct yr/yr -METI
TOKYO, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Japan's total oil product sales in January rose 2 percent from a year ago, its second consecutive month of year-on-year gains, driven by an increase in the amount of fuel oil electricity utilities bought to compensate for the lack of nuclear power.
Demand for other oil products such as naphtha, gas oil and kerosene, however, stayed low because of the weak economy, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) showed on Wednesday.

India seeking 3-4 mln T extra oil from Iraq in 2012/13
NEW DELHI, Feb 29 (Reuters) - India is seeking up to an additional 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude from Iraq in 2012/13, its oil minister said, as Asia's third-largest economy scouts supplies to make up for any disruptions of shipments from sanctions-hit Iran.
Iraq is currently India's third largest oil supplier, sending about 340,000 bpd, Indian Oil Minister S. Jaipal Reddy said after a meeting with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Rowsch Shaways in New Delhi.

Oil Trades Near Two-Day High as Economy Counters Rising Crude Supplies (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil traded near a two-day high in New York as speculation that U.S. economic growth will boost fuel demand countered concern that rising supplies will limit price gains. Futures were little changed after climbing 0.5 percent yesterday, capping the biggest monthly gain since October. U.S. manufacturing continued to expand “at a steady pace across the nation” the Federal Reserve said in its Beige Book business survey, while Commerce Department data showed the economy grew at a 3 percent rate last quarter. U.S. crude stockpiles climbed almost four times more than forecast and OPEC’s oil output rose to the highest level in more than three years. Oil for April delivery was at $106.94 a barrel, down 13 cents in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:19 a.m. Sydney time. The contract yesterday rose 52 cents to $107.07, the highest close since Feb. 27. Prices advanced 8.7 percent last month and are 7.3 percent higher the past year.
Brent oil for April settlement increased $1.11, or 0.9 percent, to $122.66 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange yesterday. The European benchmark contract’s premium to New York-traded WTI was at $15.59. It reached a record of $27.88 on Oct. 14.

Oil Makes Commodities Best Investment First Time Since July on Iran Threat (Source: Bloomberg)
Commodities, led by oil, beat stocks, bonds and the dollar for the first time since July as the European Union prepared to embargo Iranian crude, the U.S. economy improved and China took steps to shore up growth. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Total Return Index (SPGCESTR) of 24 raw materials rose 6.5 percent in February, extending the previous month’s 2.2 percent gain, as Brent crude advanced 11 percent. The MSCI All-Country World Index of shares increased 4.8 percent, extending stocks’ best start to a year since 1991. Bonds of all types were little changed on average, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Global Broad Market Index. The Dollar Index slid 0.6 percent. “There has been a confluence of perfect factors for commodities,” said Harry Tchilinguirian, head of commodity- markets strategy at BNP Paribas SA in London. There “are the oil-supply constraints with geopolitical tensions escalating in Iran. There was also positive economic news out of China and the U.S,” he said.
Brent crude futures had their biggest monthly gain in a year in February as the EU said Jan. 23 it would impose an embargo from July on Iran’s oil to pressure the nation over its nuclear program. The Persian Gulf country, OPEC’s second-biggest producer, stopped selling oil to Britain and France on Feb. 20.

Oil's rise puts sanctions under spotlight
--John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own.--
LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - U.S. and EU sanctions on Iran's crude oil exports and its central bank were not supposed to affect either the volume of oil available or its price, provided markets reacted "rationally".

Iron Ore Extends Bull Market as Supply Growth Declines (Source: Bloomberg)
Iron ore, the world’s second-biggest commodity cargo after crude oil, is extending a bull market after rallying 22 percent from a 22-month low in October as the slowest expansion in exports in 11 years restricts supplies. Seaborne supply will advance 3.8 percent to 1.09 billion metric tons this year, the smallest gain since 2001, according to Clarkson Plc, the largest shipbroker. Prices in China, the biggest importer, may rise 10 percent to an average of $157.50 a ton in the fourth quarter, the median of 11 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg shows. Shares of Vale SA (VALE), which ships more ore than any other company, will rise 19 percent to $30.42 in the next 12 months, the average of 16 estimates shows. New mines and expansions of existing ones are being postponed by rising costs and licensing delays. Morgan Stanley cut its forecast for export supply by 9.6 percent since October and expects a 99 million-ton deficit in the seaborne market this year, at least the ninth consecutive annual shortage.
Vale will report its second-biggest profit ever this year, the mean of 11 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg shows. “The wall of additional iron-ore supply that investors have been fearing is going to be late,” said Neil Gregson, who helps manages about $7.4 billion of commodity assets at JPMorgan Asset Management in London. “Iron ore remains a tight market.”

Iron Ore-Up for 7th day in longest winning run since Nov
SINGAPORE, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Iron ore rose for a seventh straight day in its longest winning streak since mid-November as Chinese steel mills replenished stockpiles and traders bet on further gains with Beijing gearing up for a pickup in the steel market.
Sellers of imported iron ore in China lifted offer prices further on Wednesday by another dollar per tonne, raising them by $4-$5 since last Friday, based on data from Chinese consultancy Umetal.

Rising capital costs seen capping global iron ore supplies
BEIJING, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Rising capital costs could dent miners' ability to ramp up global iron ore supplies, which means growth in global production could fall short of expectations, two of the world's top iron ore miners said on Tuesday.
With rising costs set to delay greenfield projects, there is little risk of the global iron ore market being oversupplied until late in the decade, said Simon Wandke, vice president and chief commercial officer of ArcelorMittal Mining.

China iron demand, miners' resolve in focus at summit
BEIJING/SINGAPORE, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The outlook for China's iron ore demand and pricing of the raw material as well as the race among foreign miners to feed the country's growing appetite for ore are likely to take centrestage at an annual conference in Beijing.
The Big 3 iron ore suppliers -- Vale , Rio Tinto   and BHP Billiton   -- are boosting output over the next three years, trusting demand from top market China will continue to grow.

Gold Falls as Bernanke Damps Stimulus Bets (Source: Bloomberg)
Gold futures fell as much as $100 to below $1,700 an ounce on signs that that the Federal Reserve will refrain from offering more monetary stimulus to bolster the U.S. economy. In testimony before Congress today, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke gave no signal that the central bank will take new steps to boost liquidity. The dollar rose as much as 0.8 percent against a basket of major currencies, eroding the appeal of the precious metal as an alternative investment. Yesterday, gold reached $1,792.70, a three-month high, even as coin sales by the U.S. mint slumped in February . “People were expecting that the Fed would loosen policies, even if the perception is that the economy is doing well,” James Dailey, who manages $215 million at TEAM Financial Management LLC in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, said in a telephone interview. “The investor sentiment changed as the Fed committed to nothing. This is the manic nature of the market.”
In electronic trading on the Comex in New York, gold futures for April delivery fell $90.30, or 5 percent, to $1,698.10 at 5:14 p.m., compared with yesterday’s settlement. Earlier, the price tumbled as much as $100, or 5.6 percent, to $1,688.40, the lowest for a most-active contract since Jan. 25.

Baltic sea index up, Chinese iron ore demand helps
Feb 28 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry commodities, inched higher on Tuesday as Chinese interest in buying iron ore kept rates steady for large capesize vessels.
The overall index that reflects daily freight market prices for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize dry bulk transport vessels rose 8 points or 1.1 percent to 738 points. The index has however lost 1000 points or 57 percent this year.

20120301 0951 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

Soybeans (Source: CME)
US soybean futures jump as strong export demand and limited farmer selling bolster the market, which shrugs off early pressure from swooning precious metals and extends recent gains on new export sales to China. Meanwhile, the market's climb to 5-month highs is attracting more trend-following buying, although some traders say a correction could come soon. Ken Morrison, trader and editor of Morrison on the Markets, says that while he is not "super-bearish," it could be "time to take a pause." CBOT March soy ends up 8 1/4c at $13.13 1/2 per bushel.

Soybean Meal/Oil (Source: CME)
March soymeal rises $4.70 to $351.20/short ton. But March soyoil, pressured by crude oil's weakness, slips 0.33c to 54.09c/pound.

US soy drops from 5-month high; corn, wheat ease
SINGAPORE, Feb 29 (Reuters) - U.S. soy edged lower as the market took a breather after seven straight sessions of gains as concerns grew about South American output, and wheat eased from its highest in nearly three weeks amid plentiful supplies.
Corn dipped after climbing to its highest since mid-January on Tuesday, pressured by a broad-based weakness in agricultural markets.

Traders dial up July-Nov soybean positions
-- Gavin  Maguire is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own.--
CHICAGO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Traditionally, the approach of the U.S. spring season marks the time when agriculture market traders focus primarily on juggling corn versus soybean positions as they  take a view on which of those two crops fairs the best price-wise as the U.S. planting season approaches.
But this year trader interest is also sharply growing in pure soybean plays, after crop losses in South America coupled with threats of potential acreage loss in the United States  sparked an uptick in end user demand that has reignited the old crop versus new crop soybean spreads.

Palm oil eases on slowing demand, firm ringgit
SINGAPORE, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Malaysian crude palm oil futures fell  weighed by slowing demand prospects and a stronger ringgit currency, although hopes that the European Central Bank will offer cheap loans to European banks helped limit losses.  
The ringgit-priced palm oil feedstock is now more expensive for refiners as the currency  gained further against the dollar, slashing gains in palm oil prices this month to 6.3 percent from 7 percent on Tuesday.

Soybean output set for record 19 mln T fall-Oil World
AMSTERDAM, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Global soybean output this year is set for a record drop of 7.2 percent, or 19 million tonnes, mainly due to bad weather conditions in key growing areas in South America, Germany-based analyst Oil World forecast on Tuesday.
"World production of soybeans is likely to plunge by (a)staggering 19 million tonnes to only 246.5 million tonnes in 2011/12, according to our current estimates - the biggest year-on-year reduction ever registered," Oil World said in a monthly report.

Singapore's Golden Agri to almost double Indonesian palm oil refining ops
SINGAPORE, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Singaporean palm oil firm Golden Agri Resources  plans to nearly double its Indonesian refining capacity to 2.6 million tonnes over the next two years as it exploits the country's lower export taxes for refined edible oils, a top official said.
With currently over half a million hectares of land and 1.4 million tonne refining capacity in Indonesia, Golden Agri is a key beneficiary of Jakarta's move in 2011 to slash export taxes, the firm's Executive Director Rafael B. Concepcion Jr said.

First Resources eyes 10 pct CPO output rise, rubber
SINGAPORE, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Singapore-listed First Resources Ltd  could produce 10 percent more crude palm oil from its Indonesian plantations this year, while the company also plans to diversify into rubber, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
First Resources, which has a market capitalisation of $2.2 billion, produced 452,113 tonnes of crude palm oil (CPO) in 2011, a 20 percent increase from a year earlier.

Indonesia palm export tax risk to Malaysia refineries
PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia Feb 28 (Reuters) - The change in palm oil export tax in the world's largest supplier, Indonesia, may hurt plans for 25 new refineries in Malaysia where processors are already suffering from weak margins, a Malaysian government minister told Reuters on Tuesday.
Indonesia last year cut export taxes on refined grades that helped its domestic processors restart their factories and offer discounts to overseas buyers.