Thursday, March 8, 2012

20120308 1813 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3303, changed : +37 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : pullback correction upside biased.
MACD Histrogram : turned upward, buyer returning.
Support : 3300, 3270, 3250, 3200 level.
Resistance : 3350, 3420, 3450, 3470 level.
Comment :
FCPO closed recorded gains for the 2nd day with reduced volume transacted. Soy oil price currently soaring higher after overnight closed recorded loss while crude oil price also registering gains.
Weaker U.S. Dollar, bullish outlook by few industry experts and rebounded global equity market lifted FCPO price to trade higher.
Daily technical reading still recommending a pullback correction upside biased market development possibly testing previous high resistance level near 3321.
When to buy : buy at support or weakness with larger cut loss and profit target.
When to sell : sell at resistant or strength with quick cut loss and profit target.

20120308 1730 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1578.5 changed : +3 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : pullback correction upside biased.
MACD Histrogram : falling lower, buyer leaving while seller testing market.
Support : 1570, 1565, 1550, 1540 level.
Resistance : 1580, 1590, 1600, 1610 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed recorded small gain with thin volume traded nearly on par with cash market that also closed little higher. Overnight U.S. markets rebounded higher and today Asia markets ended in positive territory while European markets currently soaring higher.
Showing progress over Greece debt swap deal that reach deadline tonight, increased U.S. company hiring activities and Japan economy slowing less than government estimated resulted global markets to edge up higher.
Daily chart study still suggesting a pullback correction upside biased market development with MACD indicator having negative crossed down.
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.

20120308 1708 Regional Markets EOD Daily Chart Study.

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

20120307 1605 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Shares recover on Greece bond swap hopes
TOKYO, March 8 (Reuters) - Asian shares recovered on Thursday on brightening prospects for Greece to secure a crucial bond swap to avoid a messy default and U.S. data suggesting a recovery in the labour market ahead of key jobs figures.
"Investors are cautiously following the risk-on momentum," said Goro Ohwada, president and CEO at Aino Investment Corp, a Japan-based fund of hedge funds, pointing to a belief by some investors that equities will remain supported in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential election.

FOREX-Yen hurt by Japan current account, Aussie down on jobs data
TOKYO, March 8 (Reuters) - The yen dipped against the dollar on Thursday in a knee-jerk reaction to data showing Japan's current account swung to a record deficit in January, while the Australian dollar fell on a weak jobs report that kept alive expectations of a rate cut.
Short-term players sold the Japanese unit after Tokyo posted its first current account deficit in three years. It came in at 437.3 billion yen ($5.41 billion) in January, above market estimates of 317.8 billion yen.

U.S. wheat recovers after big overnight drop
SYDNEY, March 8 (Reuters) - U.S. grain futures were mixed in early trade as wheat staged a modest recovery on Thursday after posting a sharp drop overnight ahead the USDA's crop report this week.
Traders adjusting positions ahead of USDA's monthly   supply/demand report on Friday that is expected to show a   decline in U.S. 2011/12 soy ending stocks.

Brazil Feb green coffee exports lowest since 2008
BRASILIA, March 7 (Reuters) - Brazil's shipments of green coffee fell to 1.91 million 60-kg bags in February compared with 2.47 million bags in the same month last year, coffee exporter association Cecafe said on Wednesday.
Brazil's 2011/12 coffee harvest was a smaller off-year in the biennial cycle which causes output to rise and fall from one year to the next. February's total exports were the lowest for that month since 2008, Cecafe data showed.

Wheat plantings seen higher in England/Wales-HGCA
LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) - The area planted to wheat in England and Wales by December 1, 2011 is estimated to have risen by 3 percent to 1.86 million hectares, the Home-Grown Cereals Authority said on Wednesday issuing results of a planting survey.
Rapeseed area climbed 6 percent to 698,000 hectares and winter barley rose 9 percent to 345,000 hectares.

China plans 100,000 T sugar plant in Niger
NIAMEY, Niger, March 7 (Reuters) - China's Sinolight said on Wednesday it plans to build a 100,000-tonne per year sugar refinery in Niger, a project that would allow the West African state to add value to its raw sugar cane production.
It would be the latest investment by a Chinese state-run firm in Niger, after China's CNPC helped make it Africa's newest oil producer in late 2011 and as China National Nuclear Corporation helps it develop a uranium mine.

Morocco's cereals crop may fall by half - state body
RABAT, March 7 (Reuters) - Morocco's cereals harvest this year will not reach half of last year's level, the head of a state-run agricultural research institute said on Wednesday, which would ratchet up the burden of imports on the country's frail balance of payments.
"This year will be very difficult for farming in Morocco ... It is the worst year as far as rainfalls are concerned since 2007," Mohamed Badraoui, head of the National Institute for Agricultural Research, told Reuters.

Argentine dock strike slows 20 grains ships -union
BUENOS AIRES, March 7 (Reuters) - More than 20 grains vessels were slowed along Argentina's rivers on Wednesday, according to dock workers on strike since last week to demand higher staffing of their shifts, a protest that could bog down key soy exports.
Sources in the SOMU labor union in the country's main agricultural shipping hub Rosario said the delays will continue as long as port authorities resist demands to put more workers on the job during busy docking shifts.

Morocco set for higher raw sugar imports in 2012
RABAT, March 7 (Reuters) - Morocco's domestic output of sugar beet and cane in 2012 may account for less than the 30 percent of domestic sugar needs they covered last year due to bad weather conditions, the head of the country's sole sugar refiner said on Wednesday.
"Last year, Cosumar relied for around 30 percent of its sugar production on the domestic production of beet and cane," Mohamed Fikrat, Chief Executive of private Cosumar told Reuters.

Brazil '12/13 CS sugar output seen up at 33 mln tonnes
SAO PAULO, March 7 (Reuters) - Brazil's 2012/13 center-south sugar cane crop that will begin crushing in weeks was forecast at 33 million tonnes of sugar, up 5.3 percent from 31.3 million tonnes this season, crop analysts Agroconsult said Wednesday in its first forecast.
Brazil's main cane crop will recover from its first drop in output in 11 years to reach 540 million tonnes, up 9 percent from 494 million this season that ended crushing in December.

Brent steady above $124 on Greece hopes, US jobs data
SINGAPORE, March 8 (Reuters) - Brent crude was steady above $124 a barrel  on hopes that Greece would win enough creditor support to avoid a messy default, while promising jobs data from top oil consumer, the United States, also supported prices.    
"There are still a lot of uncertainties on Greece ahead of today's deadline and the market is poised to move sharply up or down depending on what happens," said Ken Hasegawa, a Tokyo-based commodity sales manager at Newedge Japan.

India's NALCO sells 30,000 T alumina at $323/T
BHUBANESWAR, Orissa, March 7 (Reuters) - India's state-run National Aluminium Co Ltd (NALCO)  sold 30,000 tonnes of alumina at close to $323 a tonne free-on-board via a tender, a senior company official told Reuters.
The alumina, which will be shipped this month, was purchased by a European trader, Nalco's commercial director Ansuman Das said on Wednesday.

China turns cautious on Aussie iron ore projects
MELBOURNE/SINGAPORE, March 8 (Reuters) - China's appetite for iron ore projects in Australia is shrinking fast as the billions of dollars they have sunk into mines, ports and railways fails to blunt the power of the sector's three giants.
This means Australia's junior miners can no longer take China for granted as a source of cheap funding to help cope with soaring costs, pushing back the likely date when the steelmaking raw material moves into surplus.

Indonesia changes rules on foreign mine owners
JAKARTA, March 7 (Reuters) - Indonesia will take more of the profits from its vast mineral resources by limiting foreign ownership of mines in a move likely to scare off new investment in the world's top exporter of thermal coal and tin.
Under new rules announced on the mining ministry's website, Southeast Asia's largest economy will require foreign companies to sell down stakes in mines and increase domestic ownership to at least 51 percent by the 10th year of production.

Copper ekes out gain in cautious market
SINGAPORE, March 8 (Reuters) - London copper rose marginally , underscoring caution among investors amid an uncertain global demand outlook, while top consumer China was also hesitant to snap up the metal aggressively unless prices fall sharply.
"Copper is grappling between two forces," said Natalie Robertson, analyst at Australia and New Zealand Bank.

Chile Feb copper export revenue falls to $3.4 bln
SANTIAGO, March 7 (Reuters) - Chile's copper export revenue  totaled $3.369 billion in February, slipping nearly 20 percent from January's $4.168 billion, the central bank reported on Wednesday.
But the figure was 9.4 percent above revenue for February of last year, when the world's top producer reaped $3.079 billion in copper exports.

China 2012 copper demand to grow at least 6 pct - Tongling chair
BEIJING, March 7 (Reuters) - China's copper demand will grow by at least 6 percent in 2012 given the power sector's unflagging appetite for the metal, the chairman of the country's second-largest producer of the metal said on Wednesday.
The average price for copper this year would be about $8,500 per tonne, as higher production costs support prices, Wei Jianghong, chairman of Tongling Nonferrous Metals , told reporters on the sidelines of the National People's Congress, China's parliament in Beijing.

Gold holds onto gains, Greece hopes support
SINGAPORE, March 8 (Reuters) - Gold traded steady on Thursday, holding on to the first gains it scored so far this week, as fears about a messy default for Greece eased after signs it may be able to secure a crucial debt swap deal.
"Central banks are expected to take up the role of the main agent of stimulus, since distressed governments can't provide any help on the fiscal front," said a Singapore-based trader.

METALS-Copper ekes out gain in cautious market
SINGAPORE, March 8 (Reuters) - London copper rose marginally on Thursday, underscoring caution among investors amid an uncertain global demand outlook, while top consumer China was also hesitant to snap up the metal aggressively unless prices fall sharply.
Tight world supplies have helped fuel a 9 percent jump in copper prices this year, but investors are wary of pushing prices up further unless Chinese demand perks up.

PRECIOUS-Gold holds onto gains, Greece hopes support
SINGAPORE, March 8 (Reuters) - Gold traded steady on Thursday, holding on to the first gains it scored so far this week, as fears about a messy default for Greece eased after signs it may be able to secure a crucial debt swap deal.
Spot gold  was little changed at $1,686.04 an ounce by 0327 GMT, standing above the 200-day moving average of around $1,678. Gold gained 0.6 percent on Wednesday following a 2-percent slide in the previous session.

20120308 1120 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Markets recover on Greece bond swap hopes
TOKYO, March 8 (Reuters) - Asian shares and the euro recovered on Thursday on brightening prospects for Greece to secure a crucial bond swap to avoid a messsy default and U.S. data suggesting a recovery in the labour market ahead of key jobs figures.
"EM asset prices have pulled lower on mainly global developments that have included uncertainty over the Greek PSI (private sector involvement) deal and some negative growth-related news. This should be viewed as an opportunity for adding to or putting on new longs, rather than as a precursor to a deeper sell-off," Barclays Capital analysts said.

COMMODITIES-Metals, oil up on economy hopes; grains slide
NEW YORK, March 7 (Reuters) - Oil, gold and copper rose on Wednesday, rebounding from a two-day rout as investors took in
strong U.S. jobs data and grew more hopeful about an end to Greek debt worries.
"More and more word is leaking that the creditors are going to accept the Greek bond swap. That's why you're seeing the turnaround today," said Matthew Zeman, head of trading with Kingsview Financial in Chicago.

Slumping spreads point to slight easing in oil
--John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own--
LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) - Premiums for Brent delivered over the peak summer driving season have fallen nearly 50 percent
over the last three trading sessions, implying that refinery demand is starting to fall away as prices climb.
The premium for ICE Brent delivered in May  rather than June  has slumped from a high of 87 cents per barrel on March 1 to just 49 cents on March 6, according to Reuters data, with somewhat smaller declines for the Jun-Jul, Jul-Aug, and Aug-Sep spreads.

OIL-Oil up as Greece hopes, US jobs data fuel rebound
NEW YORK, March 7 (Reuters) - Crude oil rose on Wednesday, rebounding from a sharp decline as hopes that Greece's debt
restructuring will go through lifted the euro against the dollar, creating better bargains for oil buyers and fanning interest in riskier trades.
"The dollar's reversal on the news that more private bond holders are participating in the Greek debt swap has given way to the return of risk-on oil trades," said Addison Armstrong, senior director of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

US natural gas futures end down 2 pct on mild forecasts
NEW YORK, March 7 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended lower on Wednesday for a third straight day, with forecasts for mild late-winter weather and high supplies driving the front month to a six-week low despite a slowdown in drilling that could curb record high output.
"(Mild) weather is completely overwhelming the market. It's a real negative factor right now, but the market is getting oversold," an independent trader from Massachusetts said.

Euro Coal-Prices rise slightly with oil
LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) - Prompt physical coal prices rose slightly by 20-75 U.S. cents a tonne on Wednesday with stronger oil and the euro's gains but activity was muted and no fresh physical trades were reported.
Portugal's EDP  is tendering for several cargoes of U.S. or Colombian coal for 2012 delivery and is expected to award by early next week but otherwise end-user buying has been quiet and below the radar, suppliers said.

US energy diplomat sees Iran sanctions taking hold
HOUSTON, March 7 (Reuters) - U.S. sanctions that aim to slash Iran's oil export revenues are taking hold faster than expected, but other oil-producing countries are willing to calm markets if needed, the top U.S. energy diplomat said on Wednesday. "In effect, a process many thought would be phased in over time has actually taken hold pretty quickly," Carlos Pascual, the State Department's special envoy for international energy issues, said at a conference in Houston.

Shell says has stopped buying Iranian oil-CEO
HOUSTON, March 7 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell  has stopped buying Iranian crude to comply with Western sanctions against Tehran and deliveries of oil under outstanding contracts will end within weeks, CEO Peter Voser said on Wednesday.
"We are complying with the sanctions. They do recognize previous commitments and contracts," Voser said in an interview with Reuters at the annual IHS CERA energy conference in Houston, adding that the old contracts will be fulfilled and shipments delivered "within a matter of weeks.

IEA says shale rules won't mean major costs boost
WARSAW, March 7 (Reuters) - New rules which the International Energy Agency (IEA) plans to recommend for G20 countries on the development of shale gas will not significantly raise production costs, the IEA's chief economist said on Wednesday. Economist Fatih Birol said the IEA was looking at issues regarding groundwater contamination, trucks traffic at drilling sites and other problems that could harm the environment.
S.Sudan plans underwater pipe for oil exports
March 7 (Reuters) - South Sudan, locked in a row over oil transit fees with neighbour Sudan, said on Wednesday it plans to build a temporary underwater oil pipeline along the Nile as part of a project to deliver crude for export from ports in Kenya and Djibouti.
The pipeline would extend from oilfields to the capital Juba where the crude would be transferred to trucks and taken on to Kenya and Djibouti, South Sudan's Minister of Petroleum and Mining Stephen Dhieu Dau told Reuters by telephone.

20120308 1037 Global Economic Related News.

Malaysia: Export growth slows in Jan
Malaysia’s exports grew at the slowest pace in 15 months in January as manufacturers shipped fewer electrical and electronics products during the Lunar New Year holiday and demand from China and Europe fell. Overseas shipments climbed 0.4% to RM55.1bn from a year earlier after gaining 6.1% in December, according to a trade ministry statement today. (Bloomberg)

China: Exports rose 7% in first 2 months, Commerce Minister indicates
Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said exports rose about 7% over the first two months of the year, suggesting that February’s number will be below all forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. Outbound shipments gained about 7% over January and February combined, while imports rose more than that. The median forecast in a survey compiled before he spoke was for a 32% gain in February exports from a year earlier. (Bloomberg)

Germany: Factory orders unexpectedly fall on slump in export demand
German factory orders unexpectedly declined in January as foreign demand for investment goods such as machinery slumped. Orders, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, fell 2.7% from December, when they gained 1.6%. From a year ago, orders dropped 4.9% when adjusted for work days. (Bloomberg)

Greece: Private investors with 58% of Greek bonds agree to debt swap
Investors with at least 58% of the Greek bonds eligible for the nation's debt swap have so far indicated they will participate, putting the country on the verge of the biggest sovereign restructuring in history. Greece's largest banks, most of the country's pension funds, and more than 30 European banks and insurers including BNP Paribas SA, Commerzbank AG and Assicurazioni Generali SpA have agreed to the offer. That brings the total so far to at least EUR120bn, based on data compiled by Bloomberg. (Bloomberg)

US: Consumer credit rises more than expected in January
Consumer credit expanded sharply in January in a generally positive sign for the economy as people borrowed money to buy cars and go to school, Federal Reserve data showed on Wednesday. But at the same time, the report also pointed to a decline in credit card usage, which could point to some jitters among consumers regarding their outlook for earnings. Total consumer credit grew by USD17.8bn in January, which was above the USD10.0bn increase that was expected by analysts in a Reuters poll. Credit has now expanded for five straight months, which economists see as a sign that households are less uneasy about taking on debt as the labour market slowly heals from the 2007-2009 recession. (Reuters)

US: Mortgage application volume off 1.2%
The number of mortgage applications filed in the US last week fell 1.2% from the prior week, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday, as interest rates registered little change. Refinance activity fell 2%, according to the MBA's weekly survey, which covers more than three-quarters of all US retail-residential mortgage-applications. Purchasing increased by a seasonally adjusted 2.1% during the week ended Friday. (MarketWatch)

US: Private employment growth picking up
US private employment growth is picking up according to data released Wednesday that showed payrolls rose in February for the 25th month. Private sector payrolls increased 216,000 on the month, led by the service-providing sector and small businesses, according to the February labor-market report from payrolls-processor Automatic Data Processing. Over the last three months, gains have averaged 223,000, compared with a monthly average of 156,000 for 2011. (MarketWatch)

US: Fed weighing new form of bond buying
Federal Reserve officials are considering a new type of quantitative easing that will attempt to boost the economy without accelerating inflation, according to a report published yesterday. Under the new approach, the Fed would print new money to buy long-term mortgage or Treasury bonds but effectively tie up that money by borrowing it back for short periods at low rates. This “sterilized” quantitative easing, would use reverse-repurchase agreements to keep the money from flowing to bank reserves. (Wall Street Journal)

20120308 1036 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

1MDB confirms purchase of Tanjong Energy for RM8.5bn
1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) yesterday confirmed reports of its acquisition of Tanjong Energy Holdings SB for RM8.5bn. In a statement yesterday, 1MDB chief executive officer Shahrol Halmi said the acquisition was the first step towards fulfilling 1MDB’s strategy in meeting the country’s long-term energy security. "Energy is one of the core focus areas for 1MDB, and Tanjong Energy is a prized acquisition. We are attracted to the strong operating track record of Tanjong Energy, its well-diversified portfolio of quality assets, strong in-house capabilities and the potential for new growth both here and abroad," said Shahrol. (BT)

WinSun gets raw materials order under diversification plan
WinSun Technologies is diversifying its business from being an automation service provider to provide trading raw materials, said its subsidiary WinSun Engineering SB (WESB) had received a letter of intent (LOI) from Ningbo Shanghao Mining Investment Co indicating its intention to purchase 60,000 tonnes of iron ore per month for a period of two years. In an exchange filing yesterday, it said WESB is expected to deliver to Ningbo Shanghao a yearly supply of 720,000 tonnes of high grade iron ore for two years, bringing the total supply to 1.4m tonnes. (Malaysian Reserve)

Hua Yang plans pedestrian mall in Perak township
Hua Yang has unveiled plans to develop a pedestrian mall at its 838-acre (339ha) resort-style township, Bandar Universiti Seri Iskandar (BUSI), in Perak. The ongoing development has a gross development value of RM80m for the 2013 financial year, Hua Yang said in a statement. “To further enhance the facilities, lifestyle and business hub of BUSI, we will be previewing the pedestrian mall at our sales launch on 10 March,” said Tony Ng, its Perak branch manager. (Financial Daily)

Ho Wah targets marked rise in tin ore output
Ho Wah Genting expects production of its tin ore output to markedly increase to 1,000 tonnes this year. “Last year, we only managed an output of about 62 tonnes, but for the first two months of this year, we’ve already exceeded the 62-tonne level,” Ho Wah chief executive officer and managing director William Teo Tiew said in an interview with Business Times. For the coming months, Ho Wah is targeting an output of between 80 tonnes and 90 tonnes a month, Teo added. Around January last year, Ho Wah’s shares were a darling of the stock market investors, rising to around RM1 a share from a base of about 30 sen a share in a matter of months. (BT)

Takaful Malaysia sees 30% jump in revenue in FY2012
Syarikat Takaful Malaysia expects a year-on-year revenue growth of 30% in financial year 2012 (FY2012), driven primarily by its Malaysian operations, said managing director Datuk Hassan Kamil. “If you look at Malaysia for example, the average industry growth last year was about 26%-28%. So for us to continue to grow our market share, we need to grow faster than the percentage growth of the industry. We will be looking at nothing less than the industry growth rate for 2012,” Hassan told journalists yesterday at a briefing of its FY2011 financial performance. (StarBiz)

TPC Plus now a Huat Lai subsidiary
Huat Lai Resources’ takeover offer to acquire all remaining shares in TPC Plus has become unconditional and TPC now has become a subsidiary of Huat Lai as the acceptance condition has been met yesterday. In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, Maybank Investment on behalf of Huat Lai and persons acting in concert (PAC) said the offeror and PAC as of 7 March, collectively held 40.8m shares in TPC representing 51.1% stake. (StarBiz)

20120308 1033 Global Market Related News.

Malaysia Builders Trailing Most Since 2007 Lure CLSA on $16 Billion Plan (Source: Bloomberg)
Malaysian construction stocks are trailing regional peers by the most since 2007, a buy signal to CLSA Ltd. and Manulife Asset Management as the government’s $16 billion building plan sends profit estimates to a record. While the Bursa Malaysia Construction Index (KLCON) climbed 6.7 percent this year through February, the gauge lagged behind the Bloomberg Asia Pacific Engineering & Construction Index by 12 percentage points, the most for any two-month period since October 2007. The Malaysian gauge has slipped 0.9 percent so far this month as the regional measure lost 2.8 percent. Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government is selecting builders for a railway network and a new financial district in Kuala Lumpur, part of an infrastructure spending plan designed to boost economic growth. IJM Corp. (IJM), Malaysia’s biggest builder by market value, and Ahmad Zaki (AZR) Resources Bhd. won this year’s first contracts in January.
Profits in the Malaysian construction index will climb 37 percent in the next 12 months, according to about 90 analyst projections compiled by Bloomberg. “I’m quite bullish on the sector,” said Loong Chee Wei, a Kuala Lumpur-based analyst at CLSA, ranked No. 2 for Malaysia research last year by Institutional Investor magazine. “All the new contract wins will actually drive the upward re-rating of the stocks.”

China Production Slowdown May Spur Stimulus (Source: Bloomberg)
China may report tomorrow the slowest inflation in 19 months and industrial-production growth near a two-year low, increasing odds the government will step up efforts to stimulate the economy. Consumer prices probably rose 3.4 percent in February from a year before, after a 4.5 percent increase in January, while output growth eased to 12.5 percent, Bloomberg News surveys of economists indicate. Commerce Minister Chen Deming yesterday signaled that export gains were less than analysts forecast. Premier Wen Jiabao’s government this week highlighted plans from endorsing higher minimum wages to boosting public housing that reduce risks of the slowdown turning into a so-called hard landing. Concern over the magnitude of China’s moderation contributed to Asian stocks surrendering recent gains this week, with a benchmark gauge poised to snap an 11-week winning streak.
“Growth will slide further if the government doesn’t increase fiscal investment,” said Joy Yang, a Hong Kong-based economist at Mirae Asset Securities (HK) Ltd. who previously worked at the International Monetary Fund. The data “will boost the case for Wen to step up policy measures to bolster growth,” she said.

Asian Stocks Snap Three-day Retreat on Japan Economy, U.S. Jobs (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index snapping a three-day losing streak, after Japan’s economy shrank less than the government initially estimated, U.S. employers increasing hiring and more investors joined a Greek debt swap. Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), Asia’s biggest carmaker by market value, rose 1.9 percent. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (8306), Japan’s biggest lender, advanced 2.5 percent after U.S. banks gained on a report that the Federal Reserve is considering a new type of bond-purchase program. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), Australia’s biggest oil producer, gained 0.7 percent after oil prices rose. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (TPX) added 0.6 percent to 125.18 as of 10:33 a.m. in Tokyo, with almost four stocks rising for each that fell. Seven out of 10 industry groups in the measure advanced.

Japanese Stocks Advance on Rise in U.S. Hiring, Greek Debt Deal Optimism (Source: Bloomberg)
Japanese stocks rose for the first time in four days after U.S. companies increased hiring and more investors signed on to a Greek debt swap needed to secure a bailout. Shares also gained as a report showed Japan’s economy contracted less than initially estimated. Nissan Motor Co. (7201), a Japanese carmaker that gets about 80 percent of its revenue overseas, climbed 1.6 percent after the yen weakened. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., Japan’s second-biggest publicly traded bank, gained 1.1 percent. Mitsubishi Corp. (8058), Japan’s top commodities trader by revenue, gained 2.3 percent after oil and copper prices rose. “Investors are feeling less pessimistic about the global economy,” said Seiichiro Iwamoto, who helps oversee about $35 billion at Mizuho Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “Now that the yen is starting to ease, manufacturers who had really been hurt are coming back.”
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) rose 1 percent to 9,670.71 as of 9:30 a.m. in Tokyo. The broader Topix (TPX) Index climbed 1.1 percent to 831.34, with more than three times as many shares advancing as falling. Volume on the gauge was about 10 percent higher than the 100-day average.

S&P 500 Rebounds on Employment Data (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks advanced, following the biggest decline in 2012 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, after a private report showed American companies increased hiring and more investors signed on to a Greek debt swap. Equities extended gains on a report that the Federal Reserve is discussing a new type of bond-buying program. Financial and industrial shares rose the most among 10 groups in the S&P 500. Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) advanced at least 2.2 percent. Apple (AAPL) Inc. added 0.1 percent after introducing a new version of the iPad with a sharper screen. The S&P 500 rose 0.7 percent to 1,352.63 at 4 p.m. New York time, after slumping 1.5 percent yesterday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 78.18 points, or 0.6 percent, to 12,837.33. The Russell 2000 Index of small companies gained 1.1 percent to 795.95. About 6.1 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, or 9.1 percent below the three-month average.
“The market just wants to go up,” said Jack Ablin, who helps oversee $55 billion as chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank. “The ADP report was positive. The bigger participation in the Greek debt swap is encouraging. Plus, there’s a report that says that the Fed would continue to buy bonds, but they are not going to expand their balance sheet.”

Europe Stocks Advance on U.S. Hiring Report, Greek Debt Swap; Cobham Jumps (Source: Bloomberg)
European (SXXP) stocks rose, rebounding from yesterday’s biggest drop since November, after a report showed hiring in U.S. companies accelerated and as investors with more than half of Greek bonds agreed to a debt swap. Deutsche Boerse AG (DB1) advanced 2.3 percent after UBS AG recommended buying the stock. Cobham Plc (COB) jumped the most since at least 1989 after saying it’s in talks for acquisitions. Adidas AG (ADS) fell 3 percent as it forecast 2012 net income that missed analyst estimates. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.6 percent to 260.10 at the close in London. The benchmark gauge retreated 2.7 percent yesterday, the biggest drop since Nov. 21, and has still gained 6.4 percent so far this year.
“We don’t think yesterday’s move is the beginning of a longer-term correction, so it rather presents a good opportunity to add to positions,” Patrick Moonen, senior strategist at ING Investment Management in The Hague, Netherlands, said in a telephone interview. “Overall, if you look at macro data, surprises are still positive -- in the U.S. but also in the U.K. and the euro zone.”

Emerging-Market Stocks in Deepest Losing Streak of Year on Greek Debt Swap (Source: Bloomberg)
Emerging-market stocks fell, completing the worst three-day slump since November, as concern Greece’s debt swap won’t get enough investor support and prospects Chinese exports are dropping damped appetite for riskier assets. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MXEF) retreated for a third day, losing 0.3 percent at the close in New York to 1,037.71, the lowest since Feb. 1. The three-day loss is the steepest since Nov. 23. Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA slid to the lowest this month as Brazil’s second-largest steelmaker said fourth- quarter profit tumbled 84 percent. China Life Insurance Co. (2628), the nation’s largest insurer, plunged the most in more than four months after reporting 2011 net income may drop by as much as 50 percent. Want Want China Holdings Ltd. (151) reached the highest-ever closing price after Citigroup Inc. raised its rating on China’s largest maker of rice cakes.
Greece is stepping up pressure on holders of its bonds to comply with a debt swap that runs through tomorrow and is viewed as necessary to avert a default. Investors with at least 58 percent of the eligible debt have agreed to the swap so far. China’s Commerce Minister Chen Deming said exports rose about 7 percent in the first two months of 2012, suggesting the reading for February will be below all forecasts of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

China Stock-Index Futures Rise Before Release of Inflation, Economic Data (Source: Bloomberg)
China’s stock-index futures rose, signaling gains for equities, on speculation the government will increase efforts to stimulate the economy as the country’s industrial-production growth slows and inflation cools. Qingdao Port Group Co. may gain as the China Daily said the company plans to start operation of an ore terminal this year. China Vanke Co. (000002), the nation’s largest listed developer, may lead real-estate companies lower after central bank adviser Li Daokui said the government will keep property curbs in place even as prices fall. “Investors are watching for any new government measures to boost the economy,” said Chen Liqiu, a strategist at Jianghai Securities Co. in Shanghai. “The global economy has improved recently. That’s good for sentiment but we need more long-term concrete data to increase overall confidence.”
Futures on the CSI 300 Index expiring in March, the most active contract, gained 0.2 percent to 2,620.8 as of 9:17 a.m. local time. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) sank 15.65 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,394.79 yesterday. The CSI 300 Index (SHSZ300) lost 0.7 percent to 2,603. The Bloomberg China-US 55 index of the most- traded Chinese stocks in the U.S. added 0.7 percent to 104.85 in New York.

Yen Drops on Record Japan Current-Account Deficit; Aussie Slides on Jobs (Source: Bloomberg)
The yen weakened against most of its major peers after Japan posted a record current-account deficit, threatening to undermine the currency’s haven status. Japan’s currency also declined as Asian shares rallied, supporting demand for higher-yielding assets. The euro advanced for a second day against the yen before Greece’s debt-swap talks with private creditors conclude at 10 p.m. Athens time today. New Zealand’s dollar halted yesterday’s gain against its U.S. counterpart after the Reserve Bank kept its benchmark rate at a record low. “Japan’s current-account deficit exceeded expectations, fueling concerns about its economic growth and fiscal problems,” said Yuji Saito, director of the foreign-exchange department in Tokyo at Credit Agricole CIB. “This is spurring selling of the yen.”
The yen fell 0.2 percent to 81.22 per dollar as of 10:32 a.m. in Tokyo from the close in New York yesterday. It lost 0.1 percent to 106.73 per euro. The 17-nation euro dipped 0.1 percent to $1.3141.

Risk currencies on defensive on fresh Greece doubts
TOKYO, March 7 (Reuters) - Risk currencies bounced off multi-week lows but were still seen vulnerable, while the Japanese yen held firm, as doubts over whether Greece can pull together a bond swap deal prompted players to cut exposure to risky assets.
"I think we are at a watershed now. If the Greek debt swap goes well and the U.S. job data points to continued recovery, then the market could return to the risk-on mood," said a trader at a Japanese bank."But if Greece cannot get the deal, then that would be a game changer," he added.

Treasuries Stay Lower Before U.S. Announces Size of Next Week’s Auctions (Source: Bloomberg)
Treasuries stayed lower before the U.S. announces today the sizes of three auctions of coupon- bearing debt scheduled for next week. The government will probably sell $32 billion of 3-year notes, $21 billion of 10-year securities, and $13 billion of 30- year bonds, according to Wrightson ICAP LLC, an economic advisory company in Jersey City, New Jersey, that specializes in government finance. Treasuries (YCGT0025) fell yesterday as a report showed U.S. companies added jobs last month and as Greece garnered support for the nation’s debt exchange. “We are headed for next week’s auctions,” said Tomohisa Fujiki, an interest-rate strategist at BNP Paribas Securities Japan Ltd. in Tokyo. “Treasuries should fall.”
Ten-year yields held at 1.97 percent as of 10:02 a.m. in Tokyo, Bloomberg Bond Trader prices showed. The 2 percent security due in February 2022 changed hands at 100 1/4. The rate rose three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, yesterday. The record low was 1.67 percent set Sept. 23.

Consumer Credit in U.S. Rises More Than Forecast, Capping Three-Month Gain (Source: Bloomberg)
Consumer borrowing in the U.S. rose more than forecast in January, capping the biggest three-month gain in more than a decade, as demand for autos improved and Americans sought more education. Credit increased by $17.8 billion to $2.51 trillion, Federal Reserve figures showed today in Washington. The gain topped the $10.5 billion median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. In the three months to January, borrowing climbed by the most since mid 2000. Improving finances as hiring strengthens may be allowing households to take on more debt in order to sustain spending on big-ticket items like automobiles. Nonetheless, a jobless rate exceeding 8 percent may be prompting other Americans to pursue higher education or specialized training to get a leg up in the job market.
“Consumer borrowing is back, fueled by a healthy interplay of rising demand for big-ticket items and relaxing credit standards,” said Richard DeKaser, deputy chief economist at Parthenon Group LLC in Boston. “We appear to be in the early stages of a virtuous cycle, where credit easing facilitates more spending.”

Payroll Upward Revisions in U.S. Point to Stronger Labor Market: Economy (Source: Bloomberg)
Employment gains in the U.S. have been understated since the middle of 2010, showing the expansion is in a better position to withstand headwinds such as rising gasoline prices. The Labor Department has raised its initial estimate of payroll employment in all but two months since July 2010 through the end of last year. The upward revisions are likely to continue, said Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. in New York, because job gains have been revised “sharply higher” in seven of the last eight expansions. The size of the revisions to monthly job growth was bigger in the second half of 2011 than in the first, helping explain a jump in wages and salaries that may invigorate American households, whose spending accounts for about 70 percent of gross domestic product. Stronger consumer finances put the world’s largest economy in a better position to withstand rising higher costs and fallout from a slump in Europe.
“The revisions tell us that the household sector was in much better financial condition than we previously thought,” LaVorgna said in a telephone interview. “When you have extra income, people have more firepower.”

Finance Chiefs See Pickup in U.S. Hiring as Confidence Improves (Source: Bloomberg)
Companies in the U.S. are poised to boost employment as confidence in the economy climbed to the highest level in a year, a quarterly survey of chief financial officers showed today. A gauge of executives’ optimism in the world’s largest economy rose to 59.2 from January through March from 53.3 the prior period, according to a report issued today by Duke University/CFO Magazine. The managers plan to increase payrolls by 2.1 percent over the next 12 months, the biggest gain since mid 2006. “For the first time since the recession started, there is good news for the U.S. economy,” John Graham, director of the survey and a finance professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, said in an interview. “That is what we have really been waiting for on the economy -- for employment to pick up.”
A 2.1 percent increase would represent a gain of 2.32 million private payroll jobs, which exclude government agencies, or about 193,000 a month over the next year. Companies boosted staff levels by 2.09 million workers in 2011.

Productivity in U.S. Cools as Labor Costs Jump (Source: Bloomberg)
The productivity of U.S. workers rose at a slower pace in the fourth quarter and labor costs jumped, indicating businesses are reaching the limit of wringing efficiency from their workforce. The measure of employee output per hour climbed at a 0.9 percent annual rate, after a 1.8 percent gain in the prior three months, revised figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. Expenses per worker climbed at a 2.8 percent rate, more than twice as much as previously estimated. Productivity will probably remain restrained as businesses gain confidence in the economic expansion and take on more workers to meet growing demand. Nonetheless, rising labor costs and slowing efficiency may put pressure on corporate profits.
Less productivity means “the only way to increase output is to hire more people,” said Brian Jones, a senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York, who was the only analyst in a Bloomberg News survey to accurately forecast the jump in labor costs. “It’s a positive for the labor market,” he said, at the same time “margins should be getting squeezed a bit.”

ADP Says U.S. Added 216,000 Jobs in February (Source: Bloomberg)
Companies in the U.S. added more workers in February than a month earlier, another sign of labor market strength, data from a private report based on payrolls showed today. Employment increased by 216,000 for the month after a revised 173,000 gain in January, according to figures from ADP Employer Services. The median estimate in the Bloomberg News survey called for a 215,000 increase this month. Further employment gains would help generate the wage gains necessary to sustain household spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy. Businesses added 225,000 jobs in February, and the unemployment rate held at 8.3 percent, economists project a Labor Department report will show in two days. “Everything is pointing to broader employment gains,” Troy Davig, a senior U.S. economist at Barclays Capital Inc. in New York, said before the report. “As people start experiencing a steadier stream of income, that will translate into consumption and that will start building a stronger foundation for growth.”

China Production Slowdown May Spur Stimulus (Source: Bloomberg)
China may report tomorrow the slowest inflation in 19 months and industrial-production growth near a two-year low, increasing odds the government will step up efforts to stimulate the economy. Consumer prices probably rose 3.4 percent in February from a year before, after a 4.5 percent increase in January, while output growth eased to 12.5 percent, Bloomberg News surveys of economists indicate. Commerce Minister Chen Deming yesterday signaled that export gains were less than analysts forecast. Premier Wen Jiabao’s government this week highlighted plans from endorsing higher minimum wages to boosting public housing that reduce risks of the slowdown turning into a so-called hard landing. Concern over the magnitude of China’s moderation contributed to Asian stocks surrendering recent gains this week, with a benchmark gauge poised to snap an 11-week winning streak.
“Growth will slide further if the government doesn’t increase fiscal investment,” said Joy Yang, a Hong Kong-based economist at Mirae Asset Securities (HK) Ltd. who previously worked at the International Monetary Fund. The data “will boost the case for Wen to step up policy measures to bolster growth,” she said.

Brazil Speeds Up Interest Rate Cuts to Single Digit to Revive GDP Growth (Source: Bloomberg)
Brazil’s central bank surprised analysts by accelerating the pace of interest rate cuts, bringing borrowing costs below 10 percent for only the second time on record as it seeks to revive growth. Policy makers, led by central bank President Alexandre Tombini, reduced the Selic rate by 0.75 percentage point to 9.75 percent, surprising 59 of 62 analysts who expected it would be lowered by a half point for a fifth straight meeting. The move was anticipated by two analysts, while one forecast a one percentage point cut, according to a Bloomberg survey. “Giving continuity to the adjustment process of monetary conditions, the Copom decided to reduce the Selic rate to 9.75 percent a year, without bias, by five votes in favor and two votes for the reduction of the Selic rate by 0.5 percentage points,” policy makers said in their statement posted on the central bank’s website.
Industrial production in January had its biggest drop in more than three years as global demand slowed and a rally in the real made imports cheaper. By reducing borrowing costs, President Dilma Rousseff’s administration is trying to fuel investment in the second-biggest emerging market after China and discourage foreigners from flooding the economy with dollars seeking higher-yielding assets.

New Zealand Signals Rates on Hold Much of 2012 as Currency Eases Inflation (Source: Bloomberg)
New Zealand (ANZ)’s central bank signaled it may leave interest rates at a record low for much of the year as a surging currency eases inflation and diminishes the prospect of higher borrowing costs. The local dollar fell. “Sustained strength in the New Zealand dollar would reduce the need for further increases in the cash rate,” Governor Alan Bollard said at a news conference in Wellington today after leaving the official cash rate at 2.5 percent. The central bank’s forecasts “are not inconsistent with a story that would see that remaining in place for much of this year,” he said. New Zealand’s dollar has gained 11 percent in the past year, the best performing Group of 10 currency, reducing the cost of imports, while weak economic growth is also curbing inflation. Bollard today forecast consumer prices will rise 1.4 percent in the year ending Sept. 30, the weakest annual pace in more than 12 years, adding to the case for him to extend a yearlong rate pause.
Currency strength “creates more of a drag on the economy,” said Doug Steel, economist at Bank of New Zealand Ltd. in Wellington, who revised his rate forecast after today’s statement. He now expects the next rate rise in December, after earlier predicting an increase in September.

Investors With 60% of Greek Bonds Agree to Swap (Source: Bloomberg)
Investors with about 60 percent of the Greek bonds eligible for the nation’s debt swap have so far indicated they’ll participate, putting the country on the verge of the biggest sovereign restructuring in history. Greece’s largest banks, most of the country’s pension funds, and more than 30 European banks and insurers including BNP Paribas (BNP) SA, Commerzbank AG (CBK) and Assicurazioni Generali SpA (G) have agreed to the offer. That brings the total to about 124 billion euros ($163 billion), based on data compiled by Bloomberg from company reports and government statements. The goal of the exchange is to reduce the 206 billion euros of privately held Greek debt by 53.5 percent and turn the tide against the debt crisis that has roiled Europe for more than two years.
While Greece would prefer a voluntary deal, the government has said it will use collective action clauses to force holders of Greek-law bonds into the swap if the so-called private sector involvement falls short and it gets sufficient approval from investors to change the bonds’ terms. “Adding up the commitments to participate in the Greek PSI, it is now clear that the CAC hurdles will very likely be cleared,” Commerzbank’s head of fixed-income strategy, Christoph Rieger, said in a note yesterday. Under the rules of the exchange, investors holding at least 50 percent of the eligible bonds must vote on the swap, and 66 percent of those must agree to amend the bonds to enable the government to impose the collective action clauses, Rieger said.

German Factory Orders Unexpectedly Fall on Slump in Export Demand: Economy (Source: Bloomberg)
German factory orders unexpectedly declined in January as foreign demand for investment goods such as machinery slumped. Orders (GRIORTMM), adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, fell 2.7 percent from December, when they gained 1.6 percent, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said today. Economists forecast a 0.6 percent increase, according to the median of 37 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. From a year ago, orders dropped 4.9 percent when adjusted for work days. “It’s an ugly number but it was caused by a sharp drop in big-ticket items so it masks the overall robustness of the German economy,” said Alexander Koch, an economist at UniCredit Group in Munich. “The confidence indicators signal a gradual recovery.”
The economy, Europe’s largest, contracted in the fourth quarter of 2011 as the sovereign debt crisis curbed demand for its exports across the euro region. Still, business, consumer and investor confidence all jumped last month after Greece clinched a second bailout and the European Central Bank flooded the banking system with a record amount of cash, pushing down yields on government debt and lifting stock markets.

20120308 1033 Global Commodities Related News.

Slower China growth won't curb commodity imports
--Clyde Russell is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own.--
SINGAPORE, March 6 (Reuters) - Is it time to turn bearish on China's commodity demand because the government has confirmed what everybody knew anyway, that economic growth will be slower in 2012?
Certainly some investors took news that this year's growth target had been lowered to 7.5 percent, an 8-year low, as a sell signal.

Corn (Source: CME)
US corn futures end lower amid broad weakness in grains and soybeans, and uncertainty ahead of the USDA's monthly crop report on Friday. Selling by funds and falling wheat prices weighed on corn, traders said. "The wheat-corn spread needs to narrow up more in order to ensure we see more wheat for new crop in the US," says Mike O'Dea, risk management consultant at brokerage FCStone. Corn and wheat are tied as both crops can be used as animal feed. CBOT May corn, the most actively traded month, falls 15 1/4c, or 2.3%, to $6.38 3/4. March corn falls 14 1/4c to $6.43 3/4.

Wheat (Source: CME)
US wheat futures end down on better US weather and large global supplies, including a big Australian crop, that could make Friday's USDA supply/demand report bearish for wheat. "It's a combination of better chances for rain in the southern wheat areas of the US and just weaker cash markets around the world," says Mike O'Dea, risk management consultant at brokerage FCStone. "Plus there's just a lot of spreading going on," with market participants selling wheat and buying corn or soybeans, he said. CBOT's most-heavily traded May wheat fell 18 1/2c to $6.39 1/4 a bushel; KCBT May wheat dropped 14 1/4c to $6.83 3/4; MGEX May fell 10c to $8.08 3/4.

Rice (Source: CME)
Rice futures end lower, declining in sympathy with sharp declines in other grain markets. Lackluster export demand and the absence of fresh supportive fundamental news provided little incentive for rice buyers, particularly with corn and wheat prices falling, analysts say. CBOT May rice dropped 2 1/2c to $14.23/hundredweight.

Corn, wheat steady after sell-off; soy slips
SINGAPORE, March 7 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat and corn futures steadied on Wednesday after a sell-off in the previous session spurred by fears over global economic growth, while soybeans edged lower but clung near five-month highs.  Soybeans, which analysts say have the tightest supply-demand fundamentals in the face of strong Chinese demand and weather-curbed output forecasts in South America, rose on Tuesday, bucking a broad-based decline in commodity and equity markets.
"By comparison to other grains, beans' balance sheet is possibly tighter, but you can argue that U.S. soybean prices will have to do some more work to maintain acreage or to encourage additional planting," said Brett Cooper, a senior manager of markets at FCStone Australia.

Argentine dock strike halts scores of grains ships
BUENOS AIRES, March 6 (Reuters) - Scores of grains ships sat idle outside Argentina's ports on Tuesday as the country's dockers union and port managers' chamber sparred over a strike that threatened to disrupt key soy exports.
Agricultural powerhouse Argentina is prone to labor disputes such as the walkout called by dockworkers on Thursday.

Spain hydro reserves up, agriculture stocks ebb
MADRID, March 6 (Reuters) - Spanish hydropower reserves halted a months-long slide last week, the latest official data showed on Tuesday, but were still below average and leaving a gap in the generation mix to be filled by mostly imported coal and gas.
Water levels fell in reservoirs set aside for agricultural use, the Ministry for Agriculture and the Environment said, amid persistent dry weather which is causing concern for farmers in the major grain-importing country.

Argentine dock works on strike, grains ships halted
BUENOS AIRES, March 6 (Reuters) - Argentine dock workers are still on strike, preventing 150 grain ships from mooring in the country's main shipping hub of Rosario, union official Omar Suarez said on Tuesday.
The country's port chamber, known as CAPYM, said on Friday the workers had ended their strike. But Suarez said the work stoppage continued while the union, known by it Spanish acronym SOMU, demands better work conditions.

Big crop to lift Australia wheat closing stocks 25 pct
CANBERRA, March 7 (Reuters) - Australia's record wheat harvest is forecast to leave the country with 10 million tonnes in closing stocks at the end of the marketing season in September, up 25 percent year-on-year, providing stiff competition to U.S. and Black Sea exporters.
With estimates of another large crop in 2012/13 (July-June), the nations' grain storage capacity and infrastructure is likely to come under pressure, industry officials and analysts said on the sidelines of an agriculture conference in Canberra on Wednesday.  

China says has enough corn reserves; traders sceptical
BEIJING, March 6 (Reuters) - China will not need to import large amounts of corn this year as it has enough reserves, a senior official said on Tuesday, but traders said the world's second largest consumer was likely talking down prices ahead of a shopping spree.
Expectations that China will import some 4 million tonnes of corn in the 2011/12 crop year that began in October, on top of  a record 2011 harvest, have steadily increased U.S. and domestic corn prices since late January.

Vietnam's 2012 rice exports to drop to 6.6 mln T-govt
HANOI, March 6 (Reuters) - Vietnam's rice exports are forecast to fall to 6.6 million tonnes in 2012, down 7 percent from last year, the Agriculture Ministry said on Tuesday.
Global rice trade in 2012 would fall 7 percent from last year to 32.8 million tonnes "due to lower import demand by leading importing countries such as Indonesia and Bangladesh", the ministry said in a report.

India Considering Corporate Farming To Lift Agriculture Output (Source: CME)
In what could revolutionize the country's agriculture sector, India has launched an ambitious program to rope in private companies to produce wheat, corn and other crops in partnership with small farmers. "We have got 37 proposals from corporates for producing 12 commodities in 17 states. We have [passed on the proposals to the provincial] governments," said Sanjeev Chopra, joint secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture. "The first [approval] should happen by May-June," Chopra said. "My feeling is that at least 4-5 projects should start immediately." The project, titled "Public Private Partnership For Integrated Agricultural Development," is aimed at helping lift the country's annual farm output growth to 4%, from an average of just below 3% during the first four years of the government's 2007-2012 five-year plan.
Although agriculture employs about half the country's workforce, growth in the sector has lagged that in the rest of the economy as the majority are small and marginal farmers who lack funds, equipment and the technical know-how to boost farm productivity. Chopra said the investment proposals totalled INR70 billion, including those from large private sector companies such as the ITC Ltd (500875.BY), Godrej and Marico. Swiss food giant Nestle SA, which has an Indian unit, has shown interest in starting a dairy project in the northern state of Punjab, he said. Once approved by the provincial governments, each farm project under the management of private companies will invest at least INR100,000 per farmer. Half of that will be provided by the government in the form of reimbursements for overhead expenses. Each project will aim to bring together about 5,000 farmers so that the land parcels become large enough for commercial farming and scale efficiencies.
Experts say the project could help improve output, but much needs to be done before it can take root as it is not always be possible for big companies to bring together marginal farmers in different provinces. Nor would it always be commercially feasible. Chopra said the project could reduce delays in providing financial support to farmers that hampers the current system, where state governments provide funding under separate heads for crop planting, purchase of equipment and fertilizers, and other items. "If a group of farmers who need technical input is identified, (we can) do it through the company," he said. "The company [on the other hand] has the advantage of an assured supply line." This, he said, would make the supply chain more transparent and reduce delays.

Monsanto: 10M More Acres To Be Sown With Key Corn, Soybean Seeds (Source: CME)
Monsanto Co. is targeting growth of 10 million acres for its key corn and soybean seeds in the 2012 fiscal year, an executive said. The seed company forecasts its reduced-refuge corn will be planted on 22 million to 24 million acres in the current fiscal year, which ends August 31. That would be up from 13 million in the last fiscal year. As for soybeans, Monsanto expects its Roundup Ready 2 Yield product to be planted on 27 million to 30 million acres. Plantings in 2011 was 17 million acres. The forecasts were detailed by Kerry Preete, Monsanto's senior vice president of global strategy, at a Goldman Sachs investor forum. Preete also downplayed potential pest resistance to a Monsanto genetically modified corn trait, saying demand for the product among farmers remains strong. A study by Iowa State University last year found corn rootworms have evolved to resist the company's trait. Monsanto has said the problem is limited to about 100 farmers a year in parts of northeast Iowa and northern Illinois.

Sinograin To Further Expand Into Grain, Oilseed Processing (Source: CME)
China Grain Reserves Corp., the state stockpiler, will further expand into downstream grain and oilseed crushing to help the government manage inflation, General Manager Bao Kexin said. Bao, who made the comment on the sidelines of the National People's Congress, didn't elaborate.

Drought Tightens Corn Supply Before Biggest Harvest on Record: Commodities (Source: Bloomberg)
Droughts from Mexico to Argentina are shrinking corn stockpiles to a five-year low, raising the prospect of a bull market before U.S. farmers start reaping the biggest crop ever. Global reserves will drop 4.2 percent to 123.43 million metric tons by Oct. 1, according to the average of 21 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That’s equal to 52 days of consumption, the fewest since 1974. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. expects prices to rise 9.6 percent to $7 a bushel before the U.S. harvest starts in September, 21 percent above the one-year closing low reached on the Chicago Board of Trade in December. Prices fell 16 percent in the last four months of 2011 as the USDA predicted Brazil and Argentina, accounting for almost 10 percent of global supply, would produce their biggest crops ever. Futures then rallied as drought spread across Central and South America, spurring the USDA to cut its forecasts twice in as many months.
While prices may keep rising for now, analysts anticipate declines by the end of the year as U.S. growers harvest the most acres planted since at least 1944. “There is no doubt that crops in South America were hurt by the hot, dry weather and that means more demand for U.S. supplies,” said Alberto Alvarez, the managing director of Chicago-based grains brokerage Fintec Group Inc. “There is an imminent explosion in corn prices.”

Australia set for another year of bumper grains harvests
CANBERRA, March 6 (Reuters) - Australia is on track for another year of bumper grains and oilseed harvests, the government's chief agricultural forecaster said on Tuesday, which could boost exports and weaken prices.
Australia is expected to produce an above-average crop after two straight years of record output, even though farmers will reduce wheat plantings in the year to the end of June 2013 due to lower prices, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) said.

India's farm minister challenges cotton export ban
NEW DELHI/CANBERRA, March 6 (Reuters) - India's farm minister called for the lifting of a "highly objectionable" ban on cotton exports on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after it was announced and sparked a sharp rally on global cotton markets.
U.S. cotton futures raced to end limit up on Monday after India said it had stopped exports with immediate effect to ensure supplies for domestic mills, fuelling speculation that main consumer China would have to turn to other sources.

Philippines sees 2011/12 sugar exports at 300,000 T to non-U.S. buyers
MANILA, March 7 (Reuters) - The Philippines' Sugar Regulatory Administration said on Wednesday that 2011/12 raw sugar exports to non-U.S. buyers are likely to reach 300,000 tonnes and could even exceed that level because of high global prices.
The projected export volume included approved raw sugar exports of 55,590 tonnes for March delivery, the agency said.  

Uganda coffee exports rise to 244,319 bags in Feb
KAMPALA, March 7 (Reuters) - Uganda's coffee exports rose to 244,319 bags of 60 kg each in February from 193,965 bags shipped in the same month a year ago, a source at the state-run Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), told Reuters on Wednesday.  
Ranked as east Africa's third largest economy, Uganda was Africa's leading exporter of the beans behind Ethiopia last year, according to statistics from the International Coffee Organisation (ICO).    

Indian ministers to discuss cotton exports-textile secretary
NEW DELHI, March 6 (Reuters) - A panel of Indian ministers will meet on March 9 to discuss the issue of cotton exports, Textile Secretary Kiran Dhingra said on Tuesday.
India's farm minister has requested the prime minister to lift a ban on cotton exports announced this week, saying he had been kept in the dark about the decision.

Euro Coal-Dips 20 cents, more stockpiling seen
LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) - Prompt physical coal prices held fairly steady on Tuesday, dropping by only 20 cents a tonne on Tuesday despite continued tepid buying interest in Europe and a steep fall earlier in the day in oil prices.
A prompt Russian cargo traded at $95.00 a tonne DES ARA on Tuesday, a price which was seen as aggressively low by some players and indicative of further weakeness to come. Russian high-quality coal can trade at a premium to generic South African or Colombian material.

Oil Trades Near Two-Day High as U.S. Economy Counters Rising Stockpiles (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil traded near a two-day high as speculation that U.S. economic growth will boost fuel demand countered concern rising supplies will limit price gains. Futures were little changed after climbing 1.4 percent yesterday. Prices advanced after U.S. companies added 216,000 workers last month, data based on payrolls from ADP Employer Services showed. Supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for New York-traded oil, rose 2.4 million barrels to the highest level since July, according to the Energy Department. Oil for April delivery was at $106.14 a barrel, down 2 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:39 a.m. Sydney time. The contract yesterday increased $1.46 to $106.16 a barrel, the highest close since March 5. Prices are 7.4 percent higher this year.
Brent oil for April settlement climbed $2.14, or 1.8 percent, to $124.12 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange yesterday. The European benchmark contract’s premium to New York-traded West Texas Intermediate closed at $17.96. It reached a record of $27.88 on Oct. 14

Brent climbs above $122 on China demand, Iran concerns
SINGAPORE, March 7 (Reuters) - Brent crude climbed above $122 after China said it would boost energy imports this year while concerns persist over supply risks and Iran's nuclear program, despite the country's offer for talks with major powers.
"I think China's comments are a timely reminder that the Chinese and Asian economies are still growing strongly," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets. "Even though China's target growth rates are down for this year, it's still growing and that means more energy needs overall."

Indonesia to Limit Foreign Ownership in Local Mines to 49% (Source: Bloomberg)
Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, will limit foreign companies from owning more than 49 percent of some mines, potentially limiting investment in the world’s largest thermal-coal and tin exporter. Foreign holders of mining licenses will have to cut their stakes to 49 percent within 10 years of starting production, from 80 percent, according to a decree signed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Feb. 21. The change in regulation may deter overseas investment in the country that’s also rich in nickel, copper and bauxite. Indonesia is seeking to increase participation by domestic investors in mining projects, according to the decree. “Mining is a long-term and capital-intensive investment,” said Syahrir Abubakar, executive director of the Indonesia Mining Association, whose members include the local units of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. and Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM)“If they have to divest within 10 years, they are not yet reaching the break-even point of their investment.”

Gold Trades Little Changed After Rebound, Silver Futures Decline by 0.4% (Source: Bloomberg)
Gold for immediate delivery traded little changed at $1,685.13 an ounce at 10:21 a.m. Melbourne time, while bullion for April delivery in New York was also little changed at $1,685.50 an ounce. Gold rebounded from a five-week low yesterday amid renewed optimism that Greece will be able to tame its debt crisis and as a report showed increased U.S. hiring. Silver for May delivery fell 0.4 percent to $33.465 an ounce.

India cuts railway freight on iron ore exports
MUMBAI, March 6 (Reuters) - India has reduced the railway freight on iron ore meant for exports by 16 percent effective Tuesday, an industry body official said, a move expected to help exporters who have come  under pressure after an increase in export duty in January.
The new freight has been set at 2,425 rupees ($48.48) per tonne of iron ore, down 475 rupees from the previous freight cost, said H.C. Daga, vice president with the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries.

China nickel demand to drop on lower stainless steel output -trade
HONG KONG, March 6 (Reuters) - China's nickel consumption may drop in March and imports are likely to take a hit as stainless steel producers, the top users of the metal, cut output, traders and analysts said on Tuesday.
Fewer orders amid a weak Chinese property sector have prompted several stainless steel mills to lower production, eating into demand for the raw material -- refined nickel and nickel pig iron (NPI) which is a low-grade ferro-nickel in China made from laterite ore imports.

Iron Ore-Cautious buyers seek lower-grade cargoes
SINGAPORE, March 7 (Reuters) - Spot iron ore prices were subdued on Wednesday as Chinese buyers sought lower-grade, cheaper cargoes given the murky outlook for steel demand, with the Shanghai steel futures dropping for a third day in a row.
Stockpiles of imported iron ore at major Chinese ports, which stood at 98.72 million tonnes last week, have fallen for four straight weeks after hitting a record 101 million tonnes in early February.

Baltic sea index rises on higher grain demand
March 6 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index tracking rates for ships carrying dry commodities rose on Tuesday for the ninth straight day, as higher demands for grains pushed smaller dry bulk segments.
The main index that reflects the daily freight market rates for capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize dry bulk transport vessels rose 5 points or 0.64 percent to 787 points.

20120308 1032 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

Soybeans (Source: CME)
US soybean futures end lower, backpedaling after setting a 5-month high, falling in sympathy with slumping corn and wheat futures. Sharp declines there sparked broader selling across grain and oilseed markets, with traders taking profits on recent gains ahead of Friday's USDA supply-and-demand report. Overbought technical indicators and the absence of fresh demand news to sustain bullish momentum encouraged traders to reduce some risk exposure. Traders say the bullish features of exports demand and smaller South American crop sizes were adequately factored into prices. CBOT May soy ended down 8 1/2c at $13.26 3/4 a bushel.

Soybean Meal/Oil (Source: CME)
May soymeal fell $1.40 to $364.50/short ton and May soyoil dropped 0.30c to 52.98c/pound.

India's refined palm oil imports to double
NEW DELHI, March 7 (Reuters) - India's refined palm oil imports could more than double in the year to Oct. 31, 2012 and rise to 2.4 million tonnes as a result of an export tax change by leading producer Indonesia, a leading trader and edible oils industry expert said on Wednesday.  
Total edible oil imports will increase 13.1 percent to 9.5 million tonnes in 2011/12, as rapeseed output drops while demand rises, Govindbhai G. Patel, managing partner of GG Patel & Nikhil Research Co., told Reuters.

Palm oil gains on upbeat price outlook
Malaysian crude palm oil futures edged up on Wednesday, as bullish price outlook from leading analysts at a key conference lifted investor sentiment and reversed earlier losses.
"Markets were pathetically quiet ahead of the analysts' price forecasts, and prices were stuck within tight range. However, bullish views are expected and that will likely put sellers on hold," said a dealer with a foreign commodities brokerage in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia's response to Indonesia tax to drive palm oil-official
KUALA LUMPUR, March 6 (Reuters) - Malaysia, the word's No.2 palm oil producer, needs to address Indonesia's export tax changes to win back orders from the world's top supplier or stocks will rise and bring prices below 2,500 ringgit ($830), an industry official said on Tuesday.
Malaysia has been struggling to come up with a response to Indonesia's move to slash export tariffs for refined palm oil, which has boosted margins for its domestic processors and allowed them to offer discounts to overseas buyers.

Palm-Oil Stockpiles in Malaysia May Drop to Lowest in Six Months
2012-03-07 22:00:00.0 GMT
By Ranjeetha Pakiam
March 8 (Bloomberg) -- Palm-oil reserves in Malaysia, the second-biggest supplier after Indonesia, declined to a six-month low in February after production slumped for a fourth straight month, according to a Bloomberg News survey.
Stockpiles fell 5.4 percent to 1.9 million metric tons, dropping below the 2 million-mark for the first time since August, according to the median estimate in the survey of three analysts and two plantation companies. Inventories are still expected to be 28 percent higher than a year earlier, according to the survey. Official estimates are due for release March 12.
Declining reserves may highlight tighter global edible-oil supplies as soybean output drops in South America after a drought. Lower palm-oil stockpiles may help boost prices in Malaysia that gained 2.9 percent this year, while potentially raising profits for companies including Sime Darby Bhd.
“It’s a lean season for palm oil production” Vimala Reddy, an analyst at Karvy Comtrade Ltd., said by phone from the Indian city of Hyderabad. “Export demand has been better in terms of comparison to January.”
Output fell 8.3 percent to 1.18 million tons last month, the lowest since February last year, from 1.29 million tons in January, according to the survey. Exports dropped 7.3 percent to 1.28 million tons, the survey showed. Shipments fell 10.5 percent to 1.18 million tons in February from a month earlier after 12 percent drop in January, according to surveyor Intertek.
The May-delivery contract gained 0.7 percent to 3,266 ringgit ($1,079) a ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange yesterday. Futures advanced 6.2 percent last month, the best monthly performance since December 2010, after reaching an eight-month high of 3,321 ringgit on Feb. 28.

Mistry’s Forecast
Palm oil may gain to 4,000 ringgit on declining global vegetable-oil stockpiles, Dorab Mistry, director of Godrej International Ltd., said yesterday. The global soybean harvest may drop by 19 million tons in 2011-2012, the most ever, Hamburg-based researcher Oil World said on Feb. 28.
Exports may pick up as India and China, the biggest consumers, buy more of the tropical oil because of the reduced soybean-oil supply from Argentina and Brazil, Reddy said. Palm oil and soybean oil are substitutes in food and fuels.
Palm-oil production would take time to rebound from the seasonally-low output months of January and February, with a recovery is expected only in June or July, Karvy’s Reddy said. The low-output cycle may end in November, Godrej’s Mistry said.
Output in Malaysia, will reach 19 million tons this year as more plantations mature, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Bernard Dompok said Jan. 19. Production gained 11 percent to 18.9 million tons in 2011, according to data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, which releases the monthly figures.