Tuesday, April 3, 2012

20120403 1818 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3532, changed : -1 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : pullback correction upside biased.
MACD Histogram : rising higher, buyer in control.
Support : 3500, 3470, 3450, 3420 level.
Resistance : 3550, 3620, 3650, 3700 level.
Comment :
FCPO hit new 1 year high and closed at the low of the day down 1 tick with declined volume distributed. Soy oil price currently correcting lower after overnight closed recorded nearly 2% gain while crude oil price consolidating lower after overnight surged.
Firmer soy oil price push FCPO to opened higher followed by profit taking activities pressed price downward to closed at the low of the day.
Technical reading revised to calling a pullback correction upside biased market development.
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.

20120403 1734 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1603 changed : +5.5 points, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : upside biased with possible pullback correction.
MACD Histogram : rising higher, buyer taking exposure.
Support : 1600, 1595, 1590, 1580 level.
Resistance : 1610, 1620, 1630, 1640 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed higher with slower volume changed hand break and stayed above 1600 level doing 3.5 points discount compare to cash market that edge little higher. Overnight U.S. markets closed recorded gains and today Asia markets mostly advanced higher while European markets trading little lower.
News wise, overnight U.S. reported better than forecast manufacturing data followed by improved China manufacturing reported and non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index climbed in March to 6 month high while market awaits U.S. factory orders data.
Daily chart analysis remained recommending an upside biased market development with possible pullback correction with MACD indicator having positive crossed up.
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.

20120403 1706 Regional Markets EOD Daily Chart Study.

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

20120403 1629 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Shares rise on growth hopes after firm U.S. data
TOKYO, April 3 (Reuters) - Asian shares rose on the back of strong gains in global equities overnight, after solid manufacturing data from the United States, and as leading Asian exporters offset signs of mild recession in Europe.
"The current market environment is favourable in that it is inching higher while digesting caution and concerns about growth prospects, which suggests sentiment is actually quite solid," said Tetsu Emori, a Tokyo-based commodities fund manager at Astmax Investments.

Commodities and the end of indexing
(John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own.)
LONDON, April 2 (Reuters) - Continued under-performance by the main commodity indices during Q1 should convince any remaining holdouts that passive investment does not work and will never provide a satisfactory return over the medium to long run.
Some firms are promoting the concept of "enhanced beta" strategies that aim to provide a decent return by beating an index or a blended benchmark. But the performance of the main commodity indices has been so poor there is no reason why investors should want to replicate it, whether in enhanced form or not.

Euro zone unemployment reaches near 15-year high
BRUSSELS, April 2 (Reuters) - Unemployment in the euro zone reached its highest level in almost 15 years in February, with more than 17 million people out of work, and economists said they expected job office queues to grow even longer later this year.
Joblessness in the 17-nation currency zone rose to 10.8 percent - in line with a Reuters poll of economists - and 0.1 points worse than in January, Eurostat said on Monday.

Brazil's March soy and iron exports rise vs Feb
SAO PAULO, April 2 (Reuters) - Brazil's exports of soy and iron ore rose in March from February, Trade Ministry data showed on Monday, while shipments of raw sugar slumped from the previous month with little sweetener produced during the interharvest period.
Brazil's soy harvest is now well advanced and all but finished in the top producer of the oilseed, Mato Grosso.

US wheat falls for 2nd day, soy near 7-month top
SINGAPORE, April 3 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat slid 0.7 percent, falling for a second straight day as the improved condition of the U.S. winter crop boosted supply prospects, adding to the growing global stockpile.
"There is a little bit of weakness in wheat as crop conditions have emerged substantially better than when they went into dormancy last year," said Victor Thianpiriya, an agricultural commodity strategist at ANZ.

US corn seeding 3 pct done after warm March-USDA
CHICAGO, April 2 (Reuters) - U.S. farmers had planted 3 percent of this year's corn crop by April 1, matching the fastest pace on record, as they took advantage of warm weather throughout March to start running their planters early, according to U.S. Agriculture Department data issued on Monday.
The report came in below analysts' expectations of 5 percent but provided evidence that farmers do not intend to shift acres to soybeans even though soy prices rallied 5.4 percent in March as the market attempted to buy acres from corn.
Brazil soy crop cut again as harvest nears end-Celeres
SAO PAULO, April 2 (Reuters) - Local forecaster Celeres downgraded the size of Brazil's soy crop for a fourth month on Monday as drought damage became clearer, but said further large cuts to the world's No. 2 producer were less likely as the harvest winds down.
Brazil's crop, which has suffered from dry weather this season like its neighbors Argentina and Paraguay, was forecast at 67.9 million tonnes, down from 69.8 million tonnes in early March, Celeres said in its ninth forecast of the season.
IGC sees record maize crop in 2012/13, stocks up
LONDON, April 2 (Reuters) - Global maize production is projected to rise to a record 900 million tonnes in 2012/13, outstripping demand for the first time since the 2008/09 season, the International Grains Council said on Monday.
The IGC, in a monthly report, also cut its forecast for the global maize stocks at the end of the 2011/12 season following a lower-than-expected estimate for U.S. inventories issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday.

Kazakh grain exports 7.8 mln T since July 1
ASTANA, April 2 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan, a major wheat exporter, has so far exported 7.8 million tonnes of grain and flour in grain equivalent during the current marketing year, an Agriculture Ministry official said on Monday.
"If counted together with flour, a total of 7.8 million tonnes of grain has been exported to date in the current marketing year," Anna Buts, director of the ministry's land development and phytosanitary department, told reporters.
Indonesia's Sulawesi March cocoa bean exports fall 69 pct y/y -industry
JAKARTA, April 2 (Reuters) - Indonesia's cocoa bean exports from its main growing island of Sulawesi slumped in March due to a combination of wet weather conditions and cocoa farmers switching to more profitable crops.
Sulawesi cocoa exports fell 69 percent to 3,505.66 tonnes in March from 11,132.01 tonnes a year ago and were down 56 percent from the previous month, Indonesia Cocoa Association data showed on Monday. February exports were at 7,917.7 tonnes.

US gasoline demand at lowest since 2001 in Jan-EIA
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, April 2 (Reuters) - Higher gasoline prices have cut demand in the United States to the lowest level for the month of January since 2001, data for from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed on Monday.
Total U.S. oil demand fell almost 4.5 percent in January from a year earlier, the statistical arm of the Department of Energy said in its Petroleum Supply Monthly report, declining by 853,000 barrels per day to 18.27 million bpd.

Brent holds above $125 on U.S. data, North Sea supply delay
SINGAPORE, April 3(Reuters) - Brent crude was steady above $125 a barrel after sharp gains in the previous session, supportedby fresh signs of a sustained recovery in top oil consumer the United States and the prospect of tighter crude supplies from the North Sea.
"The mood has changed a bit with the good PMI numbers from China and the U.S., although the risks in the euro zone remain," said Victor Say, an analyst with Informa Global Markets in Singapore.

Copper hovers near 2-week high in slow trade
SINGAPORE, April 3 (Reuters) - Copper held near two-week peaks as positive manufacturing data in the United States and China kept investors' upbeat mood mostly intact in slow trading in Asia.
"The Chinese PMI data is so volatile so I would be rather cautious and U.S. construction spending, which is a real, hard number compared to ISM, remains weak," he said.

Aquila to sell stakes in coal mines to fund iron ore push
SYDNEY, April 3 (Reuters) - Aquila Resources  said it plans to sell its stakes in two Australian coal mines part-owned by Vale  in order to help fund its share of an iron ore project in the country's rich western iron belt.
Headed by Tony Poli, a former accountant who made billions riding Australia's mining boom, Aquila has agreed to sell its 50 percent interest in the Isaac Plains coal mine to Sumitomo Corp  subsidiary Ocean Coal Mining for A$430 million ($447 million).
Race on to dig more zinc mines even as glut persists
SYDNEY, April 2 (Reuters) - Zinc miners are betting a long-running global supply glut of the metal used in steel making will turn into a deficit over the next five years as old mines run dry, sparking massive investment in new projects.
From Australia to Africa to the European Union, mining firms are laying the groundwork to dig up an additional 1 million tonnes-plus of zinc annually, nearly one-tenth of world consumption and more than is parked in London Metal Exchange warehouses already overflowing with unsold metal.

KGHM buys another 29 pct of Ajax Mining for $30 mln
WARSAW, April 2 (Reuters) - Polish copper miner KGHM  bought another 29 percent in its Canadian joint venture with Abacus Mining  for $29.9 million, raising its bet on Canada as its second base, KGHM said on Monday.
KGHM now holds 80 percent in the KGHM Ajax Mining copper and gold project. The state-controlled miner sees the project's investment needs at $795 million, with the mine's planned launch set for 2015.

Gold edges up on dollar weakness; policy cues eyed
SINGAPORE, April 3 (Reuters) - Gold edged up in holiday-thinned trade on the back of a weaker dollar but remained in a tight range as investors awaited cues on the outlook of the U.S. economy and potential policy moves in the world's largest economy.
"People are watching for signs of possible monetary policy moves in the United States, as well as the moves in the currency market," said Ronald Leung, a dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.

Baltic sea index flat on sluggish trade
April 2 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry commodities, remained flat on Monday, as a slight uptick in capesize rates was offset by sluggish activity for smaller vessels.
The overall index, which gauges the cost of shipping commodities such as iron ore, cement, grain, coal and fertilizer, was steady at 934 points. The index has fallen more than 46 percent this year.

METALS-Copper hovers near 2-week high in slow trade
SINGAPORE, April 3 (Reuters) - Copper held near two-week peaks on Tuesday as positive manufacturing data in the United States and China kept investors' upbeat mood mostly intact in slow trading in Asia.
Copper rose more than 2 percent on Monday, its biggest single-day gain since February, although thin trading volumes - with China shut for a public holiday - made it difficult for the industrial metal to extend the rally.

PRECIOUS-Gold edges up on dollar weakness; policy cues eyed
SINGAPORE, April 3 (Reuters) - Gold edged up on Tuesday in holiday-thinned trade on the back of a weaker dollar but remained in a tight range as investors awaited cues on the outlook of the U.S. economy and potential policy moves in the world's largest economy.
Investors are looking for clues on policy direction from the minutes of the last U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting, due on Tuesday, although Fed officials on Monday signalled little appetite for further monetary steps to stimulate U.S. growth in an economy that is gradually strengthening.

FOREX-Yen hits 3-wk high on stop-loss buying, short-covering
TOKYO, April 3 (Reuters) - The yen hit a three-week high on Tuesday on a flurry of stop-loss buying that kicked in after investors reduced massive short positions built in recent weeks, though the broad trend for a weakening Japanese currency remained intact.
The dollar tumbled from the previous day's peak of 83.31 yen  to a session low of 81.55 after stop-loss trades were triggered in the 81.90-80 area, with traders citing sales by offshore leveraged funds and some Japanese investors.

20120403 1127 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares rise on growth hopes after firm U.S. data
TOKYO, April 3 (Reuters) - Asian shares rose on Tuesday, riding on the back of strong gains in global equities overnight after solid manufacturing data from the United States and leading Asian exporters offset signs of mild recession in Europe.
"The U.S. stock rally will definitely lend a hand," said Bae Sung-young, an analyst at Hyundai Securities in Seoul. "Worries of a slowdown in China's economy are starting to settle, helping recently laggard, China-related issues to post a strong recovery."

COMMODITIES-Strong start to new qtr; US oil up most in 6 weeks
NEW YORK, April 2 (Reuters) - Commodities got off to a rousing second quarter start on Monday, with oil gaining its most since February in New York trade and copper and soybeans rallying on encouraging U.S. economic data and supply-demand trends.
"The U.S. is an important market, and with the economic outlook there brightening, demand is also likely to surprise to the upside," Eugen Weinberg, a commodities analyst at Frankfurt-based Commerzbank, said.

OIL-Oil rises 2 pct on N.Sea delays, U.S. data
NEW YORK, April 2 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose a second day o n Monday, gaining 2 percent as loading delays for North Sea crude cargoes added to concerns about global supply disruptions and as supportive U.S. manufacturing data countered disappointing economic figures from Europe.
"Oil prices rose on the better-than-expected ISM manufacturing reading as the strength of the U.S. economy continues to offset deteriorating conditions in Europe and concerns over China's slowdown," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.

NATURAL GAS-US natgas futures end up, first gain in 6 sessions
NEW YORK, April 2 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended higher on Monday for the first time in six sessions, backed by some short-covering after record-high supplies and tapering spring demand drove the front-month contract to a 10-year low early in the session.
"This was just a little modest short-covering, and we could see a little more tomorrow, but there's not a lot of support in the market. I think it's highly probable that futures will trade below $2 this month," said Dominick Chirichella at Energy Management Institute in New York, adding that forecasts of slightly cooler weather may have triggered some of the buying.

EURO COAL-Prices remain firm with oil, gas markets
LONDON, April 2 (Reuters) - Coal prices for physical prompt delivery saw little movement on Monday morning but bid/offer ranges remained at firm levels amid tense oil and gas markets.
"The further CO2 prices drop, the more attractive coal-fired power generation becomes than gas production and utilities will burn as much coal to generate electricity as they can," one coal trader said.

20120403 1021 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

Singapore's DBS Bank Ltd has obtained the nod from Bank Negara to commence discussions involving the acquisition of Temasek's stake in Alliance Finance Group (AFG). As at March 31, Temasek's Duxton Investments Pte Ltd and locally held Langkah Bahagia are joint owners of a 29.06% controlling interest in AFG. Temasek's effective interest in AFG stands at 14.2%. “The proposed transaction, if successfully negotiated and completed, is not envisaged to trigger a takeover offer for AFG,'' AFG said. (Starbiz)

CIMB Group Holdings Bhd (CIMB) is acquiring some Asian units of Royal Bank of Scotland Plc (RBS). CIMB will pay RBS RM431.8m and then inject RM417.6m of capital into operating entities in Asia. "This acquisition takes CIMB to the next level," CIMB's CEO, Nazir Razak, told reporters. "We will have seats in nine exchanges and partnerships in three others. Our research will cover 1,093 Asia-Pacific based companies." The acquisition is expected to be completed by Nov 2012 and would contribute to CIMB's FY13 earnings. CIMB expects 350-400 staff from RBS to join CIMB. Nazir said CIMB had asked 94 RBS senior officials to join with 87% already accepting the offer. The deal covers the cash equities businesses in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India and Taiwan and includes the cash equities sales desks in the UK and US. It also covers equity capital markets and M&A businesses in Australia and China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. (Reuters)

Bursa Malaysia yesterday breached its all-time high of 1,597pts. The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI advanced 7.45pts to set a new high of 1,603.78. Advancers beat decliners by 400 to 353, while 324 counters were unchanged, 424 untraded and 32 others suspended. Turnover was higher at 1.44 billion shares worth Rm1.4bn from 1.24 billion shares worth RM2.083bn on Fri. (BT)

DRB-Hicom may sell its stakes in Uni.Asia Life Assurance and Uni.Asia General Insurance, three people with knowledge of the matter said. Singapore’s United Overseas Bank Ltd owns the rest of the two companies and may also sell its stakes, said the people, who asked not to be named because the process is confidential. (Bloomberg, BT)

Sales of used cars have also been affected by Bank Negara Malaysia's (BNM) Guidelines in Responsible Financing, falling 34% yoy in January 2012, said the Federation of Motor and Credit Companies Association of Malaysia (FMCCAM) president Datuk Tony Khor. "It has definitely affected our car sales, just look at the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) car sales," he said. "Other than the new guideline, other factors that affected sales included the on-going debt crisis in Europe which impacted consumer buying mode," Khor said. (Financial Daily)

The Kuantan High Court yesterday dismissed an application filed by eight Felda settlers for an injunction to prevent Koperasi Permodalan Felda from disposing off its equity in Felda Holdings Berhad to Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad. “The judge said the court was not the proper forum for such matter as cooperative issues should be brought to the Malaysia Cooperative Societies Commission,” said counsel Mohd Harris Abdullah who acted for the settlers. (Bernama)

Securities Commission suffered an initial setback in the widely followed court challenge over Sime Darby's purchase of a strategic stake in Eastern & Oriental (E&O) when the presiding judge declined to recuse himself from the case. (Financial daily)

Petroliam Nasional Bhd is studying a Canadian acquisition exceeding US$5bn as part of the company's drive to supply natural gas to Asia. "This is going to be big," CEO Shamsul Azhar Abbas said in. "There are quite a few candidates out there, who are willing to talk," he said, adding a deal may be announced within three months. "By August we should be able to complete the feasibility study for another liquefied natural gas plant on the west coast of Canada," Shamsul said. "We are getting good support from the government." Asian buyers have been lured by the growing difference between the price of gas in Asia and North America, where production has surged following the development of technology to extract gas trapped in shale rock. Gas has averaged US$2.50 per mmbtu this year. Japan LNG import prices were US$16.76 per mmbtu. (Bloomberg)

Petroliam Nasional Bhd and PTT Exploration & Production Pcl have won the right to explore onshore energy fields in Myanmar. Petronas was awarded the RSF-2 and RSF-3 onshore blocks in the country and the company is scheduled to sign production sharing contracts this week. CEO Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas said. He added that PTTEP was also awarded two onshore blocks. (Bloomberg)

Muhibbah Engineering’s 50:50 joint venture with Monadelphous Group, has been awarded an additional contract, valued at A$60m (RM192m) for the construction and commissioning of a shiploader associated with the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal project at Gladstone in Queensland, Australia. This contract was scheduled to start immediately and to be completed by the first quarter of 2014. (Star Biz)

Malaysian Smelting Corporation Bhd's (MSC's) operations in Indonesia is expected to return to profitability in the second half of 2012, said group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Mohd Ajib Anuar. The company said the “turnaround” was already taking place and would strengthen its bottom line. It is also hoping to secure another ten-year extension to its concession to mine tin in Indonesia after a planned stake selldown in its subsidiary there due to compliance with local government regulations. (StarBiz)

Navis Capital Partners has emerged as a major shareholder in SEG International (SEGi) after acquiring 21.53% of the higher education provider from Cerahsar Sdn Bhd on March 29. Navis further increased its stake in SEGi through Pinnacle Heritage Solutions (PHS) to 27.84%. “Datuk Seri Clement Hii, our group managing director, confirms that he is in negotiations with PHS on the terms and conditions of the latter’s participation at both management and board levels. SEGi’s largest shareholder is Hii, with a 28.41% equity interest. (Financial Daily)

Silver Bird Group Bhd says due to its ongoing efforts to formulate its regularisation plan, it has defaulted on the banking facility repayments to its lenders. It told Bursa Malaysia that it is in talks with lenders and is exploring various options to regularise the default. In a separate filing, Silver Bird said it is still not in a position to provide Bursa Malaysia the solvency declaration statement within three market days from yesterday. (BT)

Press Metal’s (PMB) new aluminium smelting plant in Samalaju Industrial Park, Bintulu is the first factory to tap into electricity from the Bakun dam. PMB was purchasing 480MW to power its new smelter which was on track to start commercial operation by June this year. Three new transmission lines would be built to connect power to Tokuyama Corp’s polycrystalline silicon plant (phase II), Asia Mineral’s manganese and ferro alloy smelting plant and OM Material (Sarawak)’s manganese and ferro alloy smelting plant in Samalaju. (Star Biz)

NCB Holdings: Confident of doing reasonably better in 2012
NCB Holdings expects to do reasonably better this year despite concerns over the economic slowdown in the United States and Europe. NCB Holdings, which owns Northport (M) Bhd and Kontena Nasional Bhd, would be expanding its port and logistics businesses, said its chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid. He said NCB Holdings is currently working to seal deals with Sime Darby and Felda for the transportation of fertilisers and food products. NCB Holdings had been given concession extensions for the privatised Northport and SouthPoint by 30 years and 21 years, respectively. (Business Times)

Carotech: To appeal against impending suspension
Carotech will be appealing to Bursa Malaysia to reconsider its decision to suspend trading of its shares and subsequently delisting it from the exchange. Carotech’s CFO Andrew Goh said the company had applied for an extension of time beyond the Feb 28 deadline to submit the complete regularization plan. He also said that the company will be meeting Bursa to submit its appeal. According to him, the white knights for the regularization plans are firmly in place and it was simply a matter of needing more time to submit the relevant documentation. (StarBiz)

Felda Global Ventures: High Court rejects bid to stop listing
The Kuantan High Court today rejected an application by 8 FELDA settlers to halt the listing plans of FELDA Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH). The settlers had last month won a temporary court order blocking the transfer of shares from their FELDA Investment Cooperative (KPF) to FGVH, a crucial step in the plan to list the plantation firm. The Kuantan High Court decided to reject the application made by the 8 plaintiffs (KPF shareholders) at 12pm Monday. FELDA Settlers Children’s Association (ANAK) chairman Mazlan Aliman said a decision will be taken later on whether or not an appeal will be filed. (Malaysian Insider)

Eastern & Oriental: Judge to remain on Sime Darby - E&O case
Securities Commission (SC) suffered an initial setback on Monday in widely followed court challenge over Sime Darby’s purchase of a strategic stake in Eastern & Oriental (E&O), when the presiding judge refused to recuse himself form the case. High Court Judge Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim on Monday disallowed the SC’s application to rescue him from hearing the judicial review filed by E&O minority shareholder Michael Chow Keat Thye. Abang Iskandar disagreed with the SC’s submission that his previous employment with SC was grounds for the recusal. The matter is expected to return for case management next Tuesday before the judicial review hearing begins. (Financial Daily)

Malaysia Smelting Corporation: Eyes Congo assets
Malaysian Smelting Corporation's (MSC) group CEO Datuk Seri Mohd Ajib Anuar said  the company will  acquire additional tin-related assets to expand upstream in Congo by 1H CY2012. He hopes that they can hasten the due diligence (process) and decision-making, adding that at a time when tin price is at the lower side, they are looking at a less demanding valuation. He added that the  group  COO Chua Cheong Yong is hands on in the African business and is optimistic on the future in Congo. Ajib said that this would also be conditional upon the formation of the Congolian cabinet which would give investors more certainty after the incumbent government had been returned to power in the African nation. MSC has also been sourcing some of its raw materials from Congo and hoped to be able to expand upstream to capture a bigger part of the industry value chain once it acquired this asset which would be funded internally and through borrowings. (StarBiz)

Kumpulan Europlus: Chan retires, board revamp is imminent
Tan Sri Chan Ah Chye has relinquished his positions as the president and CEO of Kumpulan Europlus (KEuro) effective last Sunday, paving the way for the revamp of the board and a new management team. KEuro said that consequent to the retirement of Chan as a director of the company, he would no longer be a member of the remuneration committee and chairman of the executive committee. Following Chan’s retirement from the board, his spouse Puan Sri Datin Thong Nyok Choo has also resigned from the board. (StarBiz)

20120403 1021 Local & Global Economy Related News.

All 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) have either exceeded or met their last year's targets, said PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) Annual Report 2011. A total of 110 projects have been launched, 55% of the entry point projects have taken off, and over RM179.2bn in investment has been committed, an unprecedented amount over a 12-month period, he said. These projects were projected to contribute RM129.5bn in gross national income in 2020 and create 313,741 new jobs by 2020. (Bernama)

Singapore’s private residential property prices fell 0.1% qoq in 1Q12 (0.2% in 4Q11), its first decline since 2Q09, according to flash estimates by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. (WSJ)

Prices of HDB resale flats in Singapore rose 0.6% qoq in 1Q12, less than half the 1.7% increase in 4Q11, and could mark the tail end of a spectacular bull run that saw prices spike 84% in the past five years. (ST)

Thailand’s consumer confidence index rose to 66.5 in Mar from 65.5 in Feb. (Bloomberg)

The Thai Chamber of Commerce foresees significant recovery by end-2Q12 with signs of further growth, while believing that the southern car bomb will not affect overall confidence. (Thai Financial Post)

Thailand’s Board of Investment is preparing to launch special tax incentives to persuade more investors to set up or expand their businesses in flood-affected industrial estates in Pathum Thani and Ayutthaya provinces. (Thai Financial Post)

Indonesian exports in Feb grew by 8.54% yoy, up from 6.07% in Jan, while the trade balance was down to US$0.7bn. Imports rose 27.3% yoy in Feb (15.9% in Jan). (Bloomberg)

The HSBC India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index eased to 54.7 in Mar, the slowest pace in three months, from 56.6 in Feb on the back of power and raw-material shortages. (AFP)

India's trade deficit in Feb widened to US$15.2bn from US$9.3bn a year earlier as weakening demand hurt export growth. (WSJ)

Myanmar's government set a reference rate of 818 Myanmar kyat per dollar in the first business day of a new currency regime designed to end years of confusing multiple exchange rates. (WSJ)

China: Manufacturing gain masks exporters’ woes
A stronger reading for a Chinese manufacturing gauge failed to end predictions for policy loosening as analysts described the gain as seasonal and a separate survey showed exporters struggling. A Purchasing Managers’ Index (CPMINDX) rose to a one-year high of 53.1 in March, China’s logistics federation and the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. The gauge has a pattern of rising each March. In contrast, a PMI from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics showed manufacturing contracting and export orders falling. (Bloomberg)

The Bank of Japan's quarterly Tankan survey of large manufacturers came in unchanged at -4 in Mar, its second consecutive quarter in negative territory and below economists' expectations for a reading of -1, while the outlook for 2Q12 improved slightly from -5 to -3, worse than consensus of 2. The non-manufacturing survey result came in at 5 from 4, matching the consensus, whilst the outlook for 2Q12 improved markedly from 0 to 5, but still short of consensus of 6. (AFP)

Japanese sales of new vehicles with engines above 660cc stood at 497,959 in Mar, up 78.2% yoy and marking the seventh consecutive monthly rise boosted by government subsidies for eco-friendly vehicles. (AFP)

Japan must quickly overhaul the tax system to prevent government borrowing costs from spiraling in the next decade, Japanese Bankers Association chairman Yasuhiro Sato urged. (Bloomberg)

Japan has reduced its statutory corporate tax rate effective this month to 38.01%, making the US the major economy with the highest rate at 39.2%. (Bloomberg)

Korea: Credit rating outlook raised to positive by Moody’s
South Korea’s credit rating outlook was raised by Moody’s Investors Service to positive from stable, boosting demand for the nation’s assets. “Very strong and improving fiscal fundamentals,” were a key reason for the change, along with resilience in the country’s external financing position, Moody’s said in a statement. The rating remains at A1, the company’s fifth- highest grade (Bloomberg)

South Korean CPI increased 2.6% yoy in Mar, moderating from 3.1% in Feb. Core inflation grew 1.9% yoy (2.5% in Feb). (AFP)

India: Manufacturing PMI declines, supporting rate-cut case
Indian manufacturing grew at the slowest pace in three months in March, supporting the case for an interest-rate cut to bolster economic expansion. The Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 54.7 from 56.6 in February, HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics said in an e- mailed statement yesterday. (Bloomberg)

Spain: Rajoy signals Spain at risk of bailout in defense of budget
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy raised the threat of an international bailout as he sought to defend Spain’s most austere budget in more than three decades to members of his ruling party. The government, in power for 100 days, is implementing the deepest austerity since the nation returned to democracy in 1978, even as unemployment approaches 24% and the economy is back in a recession. After spending cuts, tax increases and a labor overhaul, Rajoy faced his first general strike on 29 March, four days after his party failed to win a majority in Andalusia’s regional election. (Bloomberg)

The Eurozone unemployment rate rose to 10.8% in Feb from 10.7% in Jan. It was in line with expectations, and the highest unemployment rate since Jun 1997. (WSJ)

India: Manufacturing PMI declines, supporting rate-cut case
Indian manufacturing grew at the slowest pace in three months in March, supporting the case for an interest-rate cut to bolster economic expansion. The Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 54.7 from 56.6 in February, HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics said in an e- mailed statement yesterday. (Bloomberg)

EU: Manufacturing contracts for eighth month in March
Euro-region manufacturing contracted for an eighth month in March, adding to signs the 17-country economy continued to shrink in the first quarter. A manufacturing gauge, based on a survey of purchasing managers, fell to 47.7 from 49 in February, remaining below the 50 line that divides expansion from contraction, London-based Markit Economics said yesterday. That’s in line with Markit’s initial estimate. A separate report may show today that euro- region unemployment rose to 10.8% in February from 10.7%, according to the median estimate of 33 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. (Bloomberg)

Eurozone finance ministers unveiled a package over the weekend that included €500bn in fresh bailout funds on top of €300bn already committed to rescue programs, which together topped the symbolic US$1tr mark. (Bloomberg)

The US ISM manufacturing index rose to 53.4 in Mar (52.4 in Feb) on the back of gains in employment and production. This slightly exceeds the median forecast of 53. (Bloomberg)

US construction spending fell 1.1% mom in Feb (a revised -0.8% in Jan), the largest drop in seven months on account of falling investment in private and government projects. This confounds expectations of a 0.6% rise. (Reuters)

US Federal Reserve policymakers signalled little appetite for further monetary steps to stimulate US growth in an economy that is gradually strengthening. (Reuters)

20120403 1014 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

SGS CPO export up 3.5% to 1,211,211 tonnes for the period of 1~31 Mar 2012.

Plantation: Palm oil industry hit most EPP targets
Malaysia's palm oil industry did fairly well in achieving most of the targets listed in the eight entry point projects (EPPs) last year. The first EPP, which is to accelerate replanting and new planting of oil palm trees, achieved 81% of its 126,500ha target. According to the Economic Transformation Programme's annual report, for this year, the bar is further raised to 140,000ha with estimated investment totalling RM980m. In driving speedier harvesting of oil palm fruits, the government has introduced a RM1,000 discount scheme to encourage the use of motorised sickle called Cantas and diamond blade sharpeners. A total of 2,189 units of Cantas and 3,633 units of diamond sharpeners have been bought up by planters. This year, the oil extraction rate is set to improve to 21.05% from a three-year low of 19.70% as 55 more enforcement officers will be stationed at the mills to ensure only good quality crops are processed. (Business Times)

The government will remain committed to improving the country's palm oil sector this year, said the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) in the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) Annual Report 2011 Released yesterday. The eight EPPs have been outlined by the government with two strategic thrust which are aimed at not only ensuring the sustainability and improvement of the productivity of the upstream sector, but also the development of the downstream sector. This year, through Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), the government will pay attention to increasing national Oil Extraction Rate to 21.05% following the achievement recorded last year. MPOB is also targeting a total of 140,000 ha for replanting and new planting area this year with higher average yield of 26.2 tonnes per hectare per year by 2020. (Bernama)

Soybeans - Futures ended with impressive gains for the second consecutive session. Old-crop soybean futures were 18 to 19 cents higher on the close with new-crop futures 24 to 27 cents higher. The bean market was supported by word China bought 120,000 metric tons of old-crop U.S. beans. New-crop futures continued to find support from Friday's Prospective Plantings Report from USDA, which revealed much lower-than-expected soybean planting intentions. (Source: CME)

Soybean Complex Market Recap (Source: CME)
Mon 02 Apr 2012 14:24:00 CT
May Soybeans finished up 18 at 1421, 12 3/4 off the high and 14 1/2 up from the low. July Soybeans closed up 19 at 1427 1/4. This was 16 1/4 up from the low and 12 off the high. May Soymeal closed up 2.5 at 391.2. This was 1.4 up from the low and 4.1 off the high. May Soybean Oil finished up 1.06 at 56.16, 0.32 off the high and 1.02 up from the low. With contract highs at 1400 back in September, November soybeans led the soybean complex higher today and reached a high of 1395 1/2 before closing about 10 cents off of the early highs but still sharply higher on the day. The small planted acreage estimate from the USDA on Friday was still the driving force higher. A turn from weaker to positive for outside market forces and continued thoughts that the soybean market will need to move higher over the near-term to help spark more planted area and to help reduce demand has sparked continued buying and sharply higher trade. Talk that fund traders already hold a record high net long position in soybeans helped to limit the buying early but buyers turned active to help push the market to the highest level since September 12th. The USDA confirmed daily export sales of 120,000 tonnes of US soybeans to China for the 2012/13 season and 120,000 tonnes of US soybean meal to unknown destination for the 2012/13 season. Weekly export inspections came in at 28.855 million bushels which was well above trade expectations and compares with 11.7 million necessary each week to reach the USDA projection for the season. On top of US news, more revisions lower in South American production plus sharply higher trade for palm oil overnight in Malaysia helped to provide underlying support.

VEGOILS-Palm oil hits new one-year high on U.S soy acreage drop
SINGAPORE, April 2 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures jumped to a new more-than-a-year high after U.S. government report showed farmers will plant less soybeans, setting the stage for tighter edible oil supply this year at a time of strong global demand.
"This is good news for crude palm oil price in the near term as it could lead to a smaller soybean crop, which would mean less soybean oil," said Kuala Lumpur-based CIMB Investment Bank analyst Ivy Ng in a note to clients.

Argentine soy exports seen fueled by China steak love
BUENOS AIRES, March 30 (Reuters) - Chinese demand for Argentine soy-based animal feed will stay strong as the Asian country's budding love affair with beef steak triumphs over its own slowing economy, an Argentine official said on Fr iday.
Argentina is the world's No. 1 exporter of soymeal, used as animal feed particularly in China, where a growing middle class is shifting away from rice and toward a diet that includes more meat even as the country's once-explosive economy moderates.

20120403 1014 Global Market Related News.

Japanese Stock Futures Gain on U.S. Confidence, Spending (Source: Bloomberg)
Japanese stocks declined as the yen’s gain to its highest level in three weeks against the dollar overshadowed stronger-than-forecast growth in U.S. manufacturing. Honda Motor Co. (7267), a carmaker that gets almost 85 percent of its sales abroad, fell 0.8 percent. Olympus Corp. (7733) sank 2.1 percent after Kyodo News reported the company will pare its lineup of digital cameras. Mitsui Chemicals Inc. (4183) gained 1.2 percent after Jefferies Group Inc. raised its rating to “buy.” “Investors may avoid buying blue chips such as carmakers and other exporters until they get more visibility on the direction of the currency’s moves,” said Fumiyuki Nakanishi, a strategist at Tokyo-based SMBC Friend Securities Co. “Investors aren’t in a rush to buy” before a U.S. jobs report to be released at the end of the week.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) fell 0.6 percent to 10,051.33 as of 9:47 a.m. in Tokyo, with volume about 30 percent lower than the 30-day average. The broader Topix (TPX) Index slid 0.6 percent to 850.86, with about 2.5 times as many shares declining as advancing.

Most Asia Stocks Fall as Yen Drags Japan Before H.K. Open (Source: Bloomberg)
Most Asian stocks fell as the yen at its highest in almost a month versus the U.S. dollar tempered the outlook for Japan’s exporters after a better-than-expected U.S. manufacturing report. Honda Motor Co. (7267) and Toyota Motor Corp. were among the biggest drags on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index as the yen advanced, damping their earnings outlook. Metcash Ltd. , an Australian grocery distributor, dropped 3.5 percent after announcing store closures and job cuts. Billabong International Ltd., a surfwear maker that gets about 50 percent of revenue from the Americas, advanced 1.1 percent in Sydney.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.19 point, or 0.2 percent, to 127.35 as of 9:37 a.m. in Tokyo, with more than four stocks falling for every three that climbed. The measure gained 0.4 percent yesterday, extending its best quarterly rally since the third quarter of 2010. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 0.5 percent. Korea’s Kospi index advanced 0.6 percent, as Hyundai Motor Co. and Samsung Electronics Co. increased. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.3 percent in Sydney.

S&P 500 Beating Gold Most Since 1999 on Positive Earnings (Source: Bloomberg)
The best first-quarter gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since 1998 sent U.S. stocks above gold by the most in more than a decade, a sign of growing investor confidence in corporate profits as analysts raise earnings estimates for the first time this year. The S&P 500 climbed 12 percent, 5.3 percentage points more than gold for the widest gap to start a year since 1999, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The S&P GSCI Total Return Index (SPGSCITR) of 24 commodities gained 5.9 percent over the three months, while Treasuries slipped 1.3 percent, trailing equities by the most since 2009. Corporate bonds increased 2.4 percent and the dollar fell 1.6 percent.
Stocks are diverging from defensive investments such as gold as appetite for risk increases. While bulls see it as a sign profits and the economy are gaining traction, bears point to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s warnings that more stimulus may be needed as evidence that the rally has gone too far. To money manager Laszlo Birinyi, slower gains in precious metals signal pessimism is starting to fade. “The problem with gold now is that people are starting to accept the economy recovery,” Birinyi, president of Westport, Connecticut-based Birinyi Associates Inc., said in a March 29 phone interview. Even as confidence builds, “people are still too focused on the concerns and the fact that this looks similar to last year, where everyone said sell in May and go away,” he said. “That’s exactly the kind of thing we look for.”

European Stocks Gain as U.S., China Manufacturing Expand (Source: Bloomberg)
European stocks climbed the most in almost three weeks, erasing earlier losses, as reports showed manufacturing expanded more than forecast in the U.S. and China. Oriflame Cosmetics SA gained 2.6 percent after Coty Inc. offered to buy Avon Products Inc. for $10 billion. Cookson Group Plc (CKSN) jumped 6 percent after the Sunday Times said the company may spin off a unit. Novo Nordisk A/S (NOVOB) led a gauge of health-care companies to the largest increase since November, rallying 5.6 percent in Copenhagen. The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) advanced 1.5 percent to 267.16 at the close, the biggest gain since March 13. The measure erased losses in the final two hours of trading, after earlier dropping as much as 0.4 percent. The gauge climbed 7.7 percent in the first quarter, its best start to a year since 2006, boosted by the European Central Bank’s 1 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) in loans to the region’s financial firms.
“Equity markets ended the first quarter well,” said Simon Denham, managing director of Capital Spreads in London. “That’s enough to make even the most skeptical of bulls mildly optimistic.” National benchmark indexes advanced in 12 out of 18 western-European markets. France’s CAC 40 Index climbed 1.1 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose 1.9 percent while Germany’s DAX Index rallied 1.6 percent.

Dow Rises to Highest Level Since 2007 on Manufacturing (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks rose, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its highest level since December 2007, on stronger-than-forecast growth in manufacturing. All 10 groups in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advanced. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX) and Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (ANR) added more than 1.7 percent, pacing gains among commodity shares. Financial companies rose as Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Morgan Stanley (MS) climbed at least 0.9 percent. Avon Products Inc. (AVP) jumped 17 percent after Coty Inc. sought to acquire the door-to- door cosmetics seller. The S&P 500 rose 0.8 percent to 1,419.04 at 4 p.m. New York time. The index on March 30 completed its biggest first-quarter rally since 1998. The Dow gained 52.45 points, or 0.4 percent, to 13,264.49 today. About 6.6 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 3.6 percent below the three-month average.
“We have solid gains that are likely to be sustained, maybe with some slight pullbacks over coming months,” Eric Teal, Raleigh, North Carolina-based chief investment officer at First Citizens Bancshares Inc., which oversees $4.5 billion, said in a telephone interview. “The manufacturing data continue to show signs of improvement. It supports our modest pro- cyclical position.”

Emerging Stocks Extend Quarterly Rise on Manufacturing (Source: Bloomberg)
Emerging-market stocks rose, extending their first-quarter gain, after gauges of U.S. and Chinese manufacturing advanced, showing expansion in the world’s largest economies. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MXEF) added 0.6 percent to 1,047.72 at the close in New York, led by consumer discretionary companies. Apparel retailer Cia. Hering (HGTX3) rose the most in a week in Brazil, helping the Bovespa index end a four-day retreat. China Railway Construction Corp. (1186) rallied 8.3 percent in Hong Kong after better-than-expected profits. Industrias Penoles SAB (PE&OLES*), Mexico’s largest silver producer, pushed the country’s IPC index to a record high. A Purchasing Managers’ Index (CPMINDX) compiled by China’s logistics federation and the National Bureau of Statistics rose to 53.1 in March from 51 in February. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index climbed to a 53.4 last month in the U.S., exceeding the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey. Readings above 50 signal expansion.
“If you have strength in a massive developed economy, then emerging markets follow that,” Michael Gayed, chief investment strategist at Pension Partners LLC, said by phone from New York. “The market probably is overestimating the probability that you will have that hard landing, that you will have some kind of collapse in China’s economy.” The MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose 14 percent in the first quarter, the best start to a year since 1992. It outperformed the MSCI World index of developed-market shares for the first time since the third quarter of 2010. The developing- nation benchmark trades for 10.8 times estimated earnings, compared with a 13.2 ratio for developed-country stocks.

Dollar Remains Lower Before U.S. Factory Orders (Source: Bloomberg)
The dollar declined against most of its major peers as signs of recovery in the U.S. economy sapped demand for the relative safety of the world’s reserve currency. The greenback slid versus the New Zealand dollar before a government report today forecast to show U.S. factory orders rebounded in February, extending a drop from yesterday when an index showed manufacturing growth accelerated in March. Australia’s currency maintained a gain before the central bank meets today in Melbourne. The yen gained amid speculation traders pared bets that the currency will weaken. Strong U.S. data are “certainly helping global growth in terms of stability in economic outlook,” said Greg Gibbs, a currency strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in Sydney. “The U.S. dollar tends to generally underperform in that environment.”
The dollar weakened 0.4 percent to 81.78 yen as of 9:39 a.m. in Tokyo. The greenback was at $1.3334 per euro from $1.3321. The U.S. currency lost 0.1 percent to 82.44 cents per New Zealand dollar after dropping 0.6 percent yesterday. The yen advanced 0.3 percent to 109.04 per euro. Orders (TMNOCHNG) to U.S. factories probably rose 1.5 percent in February after a 1 percent drop in the previous month, according to the median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg News survey. The Commerce Department releases the figures today.

FOREX-Yen eases, Aussie boosted as risk appetite improves
LONDON, April 2 (Reuters) - The yen eased and riskier currencies like the Australian dollar rose after surprisingly strong Chinese factory activity data eased fears about a hard landing by the world's second-biggest economy.    
"There's a brighter footing for riskier currencies but I would take the China data with a note of caution as small and medium-sized companied are underperforming and in the bigger picture there are still signs of a moderate slowdown in China," said Lee Hardman, currency strategist at BTM-UFJ.

Japan Monetary Base Slides for the First Time Since August 2008 (Source: Bloomberg)
The Bank of Japan (8301)’s liquidity supply dropped in March for the first time in more than three years, fueling politicians' complaints that the central bank should be doing more to end deflation. The monetary base fell 0.2 percent in March after it climbed 11.3 percent from a year earlier in the previous month, a Bank of Japan report showed today. The average amount outstanding rose to 112.46 trillion yen from 112.44 trillion yen in February. The figures may give lawmakers more ammunition to pressure the BOJ to add more stimulus in February after Governor Masaaki Shirakawa and the policy board said they would pursue “powerful easing” until 1 percent inflation is in sight. The yen’s fall since touching a World-War II high in October wasn’t enough to boost confidence among companies, a central bank survey showed yesterday while tighter money supply could strengthen the currency again, said economist Yuji Shimanaka.
“A shrinking monetary base is equivalent to monetary tightening,” said Shimanaka, chief economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. in Tokyo. The monetary base is the currency supplied by the Bank of Japan and its total current account balance as well as banks notes and coins in circulation. It surged 16.9 percent in March 2011 and peaked the following month after the BOJ poured a record amount of cash into the financial system to stabilize the economy after the record earthquake and tsunami.

Yen Climbs Against Dollar, Euro in Early Asia Trading (Source: Bloomberg)
The yen gained against the dollar and euro in early Asia trading. Japan’s currency reached 81.56 per dollar, the strongest since March 9, before trading at 81.59 at 8:59 a.m. in Tokyo, 0.6 percent stronger than yesterday’s close in New York. The yen added 0.5 percent to 108.83 against the euro.

Volatility Lowest Since ’07 in Stocks, Bonds, Currencies (Source: Bloomberg)
Markets for equities, bonds and currencies are the calmest they’ve been since 2007, and that’s making some investors nervous. Options that protect against Standard & Poor’s 500 Index losses plunged 64 percent in the last two quarters, the most ever, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Interest-rate volatility is near a five-year low, while demand for hedges against extreme moves in the dollar is close to the weakest since 2008. Bank of America Corp.’s Market Risk cross-asset volatility index reached a level not seen since November 2007. Becalmed markets have fooled investors before. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index fell to a 13-year low of 9.89 in January 2007 before the financial crisis of 2008 wiped $37 trillion from share prices worldwide. As the gauge of options prices slipped within 5 points of that level last week following a 28 percent S&P 500 rally, demand has risen fivefold for exchange-traded products whose value increases should volatility rebound.
“Nobody is scared right now, but the fear will come back,” Sean Heron, who manages options strategies at Glenmede Trust Co., said in a March 30 phone interview. The Philadelphia- based firm oversees about $20 billion. “All bets are off as soon as we get beyond the next three months. Europe could rear its ugly head again and it’s an election year in the U.S.”

Treasuries Drop for Second Day After China Manufacturing (Source: Bloomberg)
Treasuries snapped a gain from yesterday before a government report economists say will show orders for goods from U.S. factories rose by the most in three months. The difference between yields on 10-year notes and Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, a gauge of trader expectations for consumer prices over the life of the debt, was 2.38 percentage points. The average over the past decade is 2.14 percentage points. An improving job market and rising stock prices are lifting U.S. consumer confidence and spending. “Yields are too low,” said Kei Katayama, who invests in U.S. bonds at Tokyo-based Daiwa SB Investments Ltd., which oversees the equivalent of $60.7 billion including Asia’s second-largest mutual fund. “Equities will stay strong. There’s a fixed-income bubble. The 10-year yield rose one basis point to 2.19 percent as of 9:28 a.m. in Tokyo, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader prices. The 2 percent note due in February 2022 slid 2/32, or 63 cents per $1,000 face amount, to 98 10/32.
The yield fell three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, yesterday. Orders to U.S. factories increased 1.5 percent in February after a 1 percent decline in January, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before the Commerce Department reports the figure today.

Manufacturing in U.S. Grew at Faster Pace in March: Economy (Source: Bloomberg)
Manufacturing in the U.S. expanded at a faster pace in March, driven by gains in employment and production that signal the world’s biggest economy is underpinning global growth. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index climbed to 53.4 last month from 52.4 in February, the Tempe, Arizona- based group’s report showed today. Readings greater than 50 signal growth. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey called for a gain to 53. Another report showed spending on construction projects unexpectedly dropped in February. Pent-up demand for autos and sustained gains in business investment on new equipment may continue to bolster American manufacturers like Deere & Co. (DE) that account for about 12 percent of the economy. The acceleration comes as manufacturing in Europe shrank for an eighth consecutive month, showing a slowdown in sales overseas remains a risk.
“We are seeing a broadening in the improvement across the economy,” said Millan Mulraine, a senior U.S. strategist at TD Securities in New York, who projected the index would climb to 53.8. “I’m encouraged by the backlog of orders which remains quite supportive of stronger momentum.” Stocks rose, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its highest level since December 2007, on the improvement in manufacturing. All 10 groups in the Standard & Poor’s 500 (SPX) Index advanced, with the gauge climbing 0.8 percent to 1,419.04 at the close in New York. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.18 percent from 2.21 percent on March 30.

U.S. Manufacturing, Household Spending Probably Rose (Source: Bloomberg)
Manufacturing probably picked up in the U.S. in March, showing it is weathering a slowdown in global growth, economists said before a report today. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index climbed to 53 from 52.4 in February, according to a median estimate of 55 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Readings greater than 50 signal growth. Construction spending rose in February, other data may show. “Manufacturers are benefiting from a variety of positive catalysts, including the need to replace a fleet of motor vehicles,” said Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. in New York. “And we just haven’t got back to the previous peak in inventory that should benefit the sector and the national economy for some time.”
Increased auto sales, sustained corporate purchases of equipment and inventory rebuilding are underpinning the industry that led the U.S. out of the recession more than two years ago. At the same time, less demand from overseas customers remains a risk for manufacturers, which account for about 12 percent of the economy. The Tempe, Arizona-based ISM’s manufacturing report is due at 10 a.m. New York time. Estimates ranged from 51.7 to 54.5. The gauge averaged 55.2 in 2011 and 57.3 a year earlier.

Stocks, Commodities Gain on U.S. Manufacturing Growth (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks gained, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index returning to an almost four-year high, and commodities reversed early losses following a report showing stronger-than-forecast growth in American manufacturing. Oil rallied the most in six weeks. The S&P 500 advanced 0.8 percent to close at 1,419.04 at 4 p.m. in New York, adding to its 12 percent first-quarter rally. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 52.45 points to 13,264.49, the highest since December 2007. The S&P GSCI (SPGSCI) Index rose 1.7 percent as heating oil, gasoline and copper led gains in 19 of 24 commodities. Ten-year Treasury yields lost two basis points to 2.19 percent after decreasing as much as five points.
Stocks and commodities recovered from earlier losses after the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index increased to 53.4 last month and a gauge of factory employment climbed to the highest level since June. The data helped assuage concern about the global economy after earlier reports showed European unemployment rose to a 14-year high in February and manufacturing contracted for an eighth month in March. “Here in the United States, things have stabilized,” Barry James, who helps oversee $3.3 billion as president of James Investment Research in Xenia, Ohio, said in a telephone interview. “The manufacturing side has been the strength of our economy and the exporting has been huge -- that’s what has sustained us the past several years.”

Malaysia Reports Investment Exceeding Target as Election Nears (Source: Bloomberg)
Private investment in Malaysia exceeded the government’s target last year as companies including Carrefour SA and General Electric Co. pledged to expand in Southeast Asia’s third-biggest economy. Investment rose to 94 billion ringgit ($31 billion), surpassing the government’s 83 billion-ringgit goal by 13 percent, Prime Minister Najib Razak announced in a live televised address to the nation late yesterday ahead of elections due by early next year. The result is a sign that the nation is making progress on its economic and government transformation programs, he said. “We have full confidence in the wisdom to choose and make the right decision,” said Najib. “They can tell the difference between real and fake diamonds. We believe that the people will chose and government with a proven track record.”
Najib, who became leader when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi stepped down in 2009, spent the past three years trying to revive flagging support for the ruling National Front coalition by boosting investment and giving cash handouts to low-income families. The government is considering an election in May or June, months before the early 2013 deadline, according to four officials who spoke on condition of anonymity last month. Malaysia’s benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index closed at a record high on March 30. Najib, who said in December preparations for an election had begun, told the Wall Street Journal in January that he would call a vote once he’s shown the government’s economic and political revamp efforts are working.

China Manufacturing Gain Masks Exporters’ Woes (Source: Bloomberg)
A stronger reading for a Chinese manufacturing gauge failed to end predictions for policy loosening as analysts described the gain as seasonal and a separate survey showed exporters struggling. A Purchasing Managers’ Index (CPMINDX) rose to a one-year high of 53.1 in March, China’s logistics federation and the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. The gauge has a pattern of rising each March. In contrast, a PMI from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics showed manufacturing contracting and export orders falling. Premier Wen Jiabao has pledged to “fine-tune” economic policies as needed as weakness in export demand and a cooling housing market restrain an economy that probably grew at the slowest pace in almost three years in the first quarter. Analysts in a Bloomberg News survey last week unanimously said that banks’ reserve requirements will fall this year, while nine of 20 predicted lower benchmark borrowing costs.
“Policy easing is still needed to avoid a hard landing,” said Shen Jianguang, a Hong Kong-based economist for Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd., who previously worked for the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank. Fiscal spending will be “the driving force” and more cuts in bank reserve requirements are needed, he said.

Passport’s Burbank Sees U.S. Recession as China Slows (Source: Bloomberg)
John Burbank, founder of $3.8 billion hedge fund Passport Capital LLC, said he expects a U.S. economic recession this year or in early 2013, according to a letter to investors. Passport is “very bearish” and anticipates “a major retrenchment in risk assets,” Burbank said in the March 27 letter, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. The San Francisco-based firm increased its short positions, or bets that security prices will fall, added to gold holdings and bought Brent oil starting in the second half of last year, he said. “We see a recession in 2012 or early 2013 for the U.S. which will be difficult to avoid as Europe contracts and China moderates to 7 percent to 8 percent targeted growth,” Burbank said in the letter. “The equity market is confused about true economic growth in the developed world -- we believe it will be much lower than forecast.”
Passport last month fired 14 employees following losses in 2011. The fund slumped 18 percent last year, compared with an average loss of 5.8 percent for all hedge funds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Passport, which has gained 3.7 percent this year through February, expected redemptions of $560 million or less on March 31, Burbank said in the letter. The firm has reduced its illiquid investments and commodities equities, while increasing its holdings of Saudi Arabian stocks and mortgage-backed securities, according to the letter.

Israel’s Fischer Says China Can Maintain Growth Momentum (Source: Bloomberg)
Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said the Chinese government has tools including monetary policy to protect growth should the pace of economic expansion be threatened. “Every time they’ve been faced with a growth challenge, they’ve responded very quickly and gone back to growth very rapidly,” Fischer said in a Bloomberg Television interview yesterday at the Boao Forum for Asia on the tropical island of Hainan in southern China. “They can’t keep growing at anything like these rates forever, but forever looks a little while off at the moment.” Premier Wen Jiabao plans to “fine-tune” policies as needed, as weakness in exports and a cooling housing market restrain an economy that probably grew at the slowest pace in almost three years in the first quarter. The size of the nation’s gross domestic product means that shaving 1 percentage point off growth would cost the world economy $50 billion, Fischer said.
A so-called hard landing of Chinese growth below 6 percent “would certainly put a dent in the global economy,” said Fischer, 68. “There are scenarios where you can see that happening.” Wen on March 5 set the annual growth target at 7.5 percent, the first time below 8 percent since 2004. Fischer said he’s been told that, based on previous years when the target was exceeded, this year’s goal means the actual expansion may be 8.5 percent or 9 percent.

Japan Must Overhaul Tax to Avoid Bond Rout, Bank Lobby Says (Source: Bloomberg)
Japan must quickly overhaul the tax system to prevent government borrowing costs from spiraling in the next decade, the new head of the nation’s bank lobby said. “The risk of a tumble in government bond prices would increase if taxation and social security reform are left unsolved for years,” said Yasuhiro Sato, whose tenure as chairman of the Japanese Bankers Association began yesterday. “The country’s financial assets are dwindling with the aging population dipping into savings.” Japanese banks hold a record amount of the nation’s bonds, prompting central bank Governor Masaaki Shirakawa to warn in February that lenders risk incurring trillions of yen in losses if yields rise. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda faces opposition to his plan to double the sales tax by 2015 to pay for swelling welfare costs and contain the world’s biggest public debt.
“Any delays to the reform that’s being debated may raise concern that bonds may be unable to be absorbed domestically in the long run, say, in 2022,” Sato, president of Mizuho Financial Group Inc. (8411), said in an interview last month. “But there are no signs of a JGB price plunge in the near term.” Japan’s benchmark bond yields have remained below 1.1 percent this year. The yield on 10-year notes rose 2.5 basis points to 1.01 percent at 1:52 p.m. in Tokyo. The cost to insure Japan’s debt against nonpayment has been falling, with CMA data showing five-year credit default swaps declined to 99.8 basis points on March 30 from a record 154.8 on Oct. 4, indicating perceptions of creditworthiness are improving.

Italy’s Jobless Rate Increases to Highest Since 2001 (Source: Bloomberg)
April 2 (Bloomberg) --Italy’s jobless rate rose to the highest in more than a decade in February as austerity measures meant to fight the debt crisis helped push the euro area’s third-largest economy into a recession. Unemployment (ITMUURS) increased to 9.3 percent in February, the highest since the first quarter of 2001, from a revised 9.1 percent in January, Rome-based national statistics institute Istat said in a preliminary report today. The jobless rate matched the median forecasts of six economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Prime Minister Mario Monti is implementing a 20 billion- euro ($26.7 billion) package of spending cuts and tax increases to eliminate the budget deficit next year and trim the nation’s 1.9 trillion-euro debt. Those measures are weighing on growth, with the European Commission forecasting on Feb. 23 that the Italian economy will contract 1.3 percent this year.
Euro-region unemployment rose to 10.8 percent in February the highest in more than 14 years, the European Union’s statistics office n a separate report today. Joblessness among the Italians between ages 15 and 24 increased to 31.9 in February from a revised 31 percent in January, Istat said today. Unemployment in the fourth quarter reached 8.8 percent, up from 8.4 percent in the third, Istat said today.

Euro-Region Unemployment Surges to 14-Year High, Nears Record (Source: Bloomberg)
Euro-region unemployment rose to the highest in more than 14 years and manufacturing contracted for an eighth month, adding to signs the economy probably slipped into a recession in the first quarter. The jobless rate in the 17-nation euro area rose to 10.8 percent in February from 10.7 percent a month earlier, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. That’s the highest since June 1997 and close to the record of 10.9 percent. A manufacturing gauge, based on a survey of purchasing managers, fell to 47.7 in March from 49, Markit Economics said. “Unemployment is lagging economic developments and the situation on the labor market will likely remain difficult through 2012,” said Jens Kramer, an economist at NordLB in Hanover, Germany. “Domestic demand is hurt by the difficult labor market and tougher austerity measures. The first and second quarters will show a contraction followed by a slight recovery.”
Europe’s economy has been mired in a fiscal crisis for more than two years, forcing companies to cut jobs and pushing economies from Spain to Ireland into recessions. While leaders awarded Greece a second aid package last month to help restore confidence, economic sentiment unexpectedly dropped in March. The European Commission forecasts the euro-area economy to shrink 0.3 percent this year.

Euro Leaders Seek Global Help After Firewall Boosted (Source: Bloomberg)
Efforts to resolve the two-year-old European debt crisis swung back to world leaders after euro-area officials boosted a firewall designed to overcome doubts about their crisis response and to lure additional emergency aid. Finance ministers from the 17-member monetary union unveiled a package over the weekend that included 500 billion euros ($667 billion) in fresh bailout funds on top of 300 billion euros already committed to rescue programs, which together topped the symbolic $1 trillion mark. The total doubles when more than 1 trillion euros lent by the European Central Bank to aid the region’s banks is included. “The political commitment to the euro zone is increasingly clear, and the ECB has shown that, in the final analysis, they’ll do what they have to do,” Erik Nielsen, chief global economist at UniCredit SpA (UCG), wrote in a note yesterday.
Group of 20 nations that rebuffed German-led pleas for more aid in February will be asked to decide this month whether European leaders have done enough to warrant increased resources from the International Monetary Fund. Euro-area finance ministers insisted at a meeting that ended March 31 in Copenhagen that they’ve fulfilled their side of the bargain.

Suu Kyi Win Risks Myanmar Army Backlash Without Economic Gains (Source: Bloomberg)
Myanmar dissident Aung San Suu Kyi’s sweeping by-election win risks invigorating hardliners opposed to change if she fails to join reformers in implementing policies that boost incomes in one of Asia’s poorest countries. Suu Kyi yesterday called for a “new era” after her National League for Democracy rejoined the political system and claimed victory in 43 of 44 seats it contested in April 1 by- elections. It boycotted a 2010 election won by President Thein Sein’s army-backed party, which along with the military still controls more than 80 percent of parliamentary seats. The victory “will definitely scare a number of people who were expecting the government party would do better than this,” said Hans Vriens, managing partner of Vriens & Partners, a Singapore-based political risk firm. “I don’t think the army is in a position to roll back reforms now, but the reformers have to point to successes, which ultimately means jobs.”
Myanmar lawmakers are pushing to revamp the financial system and attract investment to revive an economy hindered by decades of military rule and sanctions from the U.S. and European Union. The central bank yesterday implemented a managed float of its currency to improve the business climate in the country of 64 million people that borders China and India.

20120403 1014 Global Commodities Related News.

Soft China landing to cap 2012 commodities gains
SHANGHAI, March 31 (Reuters) - China's cooling economic growth will cap gains in commodities prices and temper the roaring earnings performance of mining companies. But easier credit and fresh spending on infrastructure will likely drive a strong medium-term outlook.
Soft manufacturing data last week coupled with warnings about economic risks by two of China's most influential government think-tanks have shaken confidence in the strength of commodities demand in the world's No. 2 economy, hammering miners' shares and pulling oil and base metals prices lower.

GRAINS-Corn at 1-week top on tight supply, soy up for 2nd day
SINGAPORE, April 2 (Reuters) - Chicago corn climbed to a 1-week top, building on last session's limit-up rally, which was triggered by data showing supplies at a five-year low in top exporter the United States.
"I think the corn supply pipeline will remain tight until the end of the season," said Adam Davis, a senior commodity analyst at Merricks Capital in Melbourne. "The focus should turn to new-crop, which is bearish for corn and bullish for beans."

Russia Agmin to sell 2 mln t of grain at interventions
MOSCOW, April 2 (Reuters) - Russia's Agriculture Ministry expects to end the agricultural year with closing stocks of 18 million tonnes of grain after exports and 2 million tonnes of intervention sales, which will start from April 4, the ministry said in a statement on Monday.
"By the start of the new (2012/13) agricultural year, stocks will be 18 million tonnes, which corresponds to FAO recommendations of 15-17 percent of annual output," the ministry said.

Uruguay wants to barter rice for oil with Iran
MONTEVIDEO, March 30 (Reuters) - Uruguay will ask Iran if the South American country can export rice in exchange for oil, the government said on Friday.
Iran used to be a major destination for Uruguayan rice but the impact of U.S. and EU sanctions, aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear ambitions, has put a strain on financing.

US farmers aim for record corn crop
WASHINGTON, March 30 (Reuters) - U.S. growers would harvest a record 14.2 billion bushels of corn this year, Agriculture Department data indicated on Friday, easing the tightest supplies in 16 years and cooling crop prices.
In a survey, growers said they would plant enough corn land, up 4 percent from last year, to reap a record-setting 14.2 billion bushels. It would be the largest corn area since 1937.

Coceral sees 2 pct fall in 2012 EU soft wheat crop
BRUSSELS, March 30 (Reuters) - Soft wheat production in the European Union is expected to fall by about 2 percent this year to 126.76 million tonnes, EU grain lobby Coceral said on Friday in its first forecast for this year's harvest.
Maize and oilseed output in the 27-nation bloc is also expected to be down on last year, Coceral said, but barley production is expected to rise to 54.03 million tonnes in 2012 compared with 51.72 million last year.

Corn - Old-crop corn futures ended the day 7 3/4 to 11 cents higher with new-crop futures 4 3/4 to 8 1/2 cents higher. Talk of even tighter 2011-12 corn carryover in the April 10 Supply & Demand Report helped support old-crop futures today. New-crop futures were dragged higher by gains in old-crop corn and strong gains in new-crop soybean futures. (Source: CME)

Corn Market Recap for 4/2/2012 (Source: CME)
Mon 02 Apr 2012 14:27:01 CT
May Corn finished up 11 at 655, 4 1/2 off the high and 8 1/2 up from the low. July Corn closed up 7 3/4 at 651. This was 9 up from the low and 4 off the high. The market saw strong demand for nearby futures with May corn closing sharply higher on the session and May gaining on July corn and July corn gaining on new crop December corn. The International Grains Council pegged world Maize (corn) production for the 2012/13 season at 900 million tonnes which is higher than demand for the first time since the 2008/09 season. The group sees world ending stocks increasing to 129 million tonnes from 122 million this season. South Korea's largest feed mill will tender for up to 280,000 tonnes of corn on Tuesday. Outside market forces showed some light weakness early today to help the market pull back off of the opening but a shift to positive outside forces plus a surge higher for soybeans helped to support. With excellent weather this spring so far, traders believe corn plantings as of Sunday will reach near 5% complete. Last year, there was no data for the week ending April 3rd but April 10th showed the crop was 3% planted. There is rain in the forecast this week across much of the Midwest which will be beneficial for soils and with the warmer than normal weather in March, the rain does not look heavy enough to slow fieldwork by anymore than 1-2 days. Weekly export inspections came in at 30.989 million bushels which was above trade expectations and compares with 31.3 million necessary each week to reach the USDA projection for the season. May Rice finished up 0.12 at 14.885, 0.015 off the high and 0.225 up from the low.

US farmers boost corn acres to 75-yr high, shorting soy
WASHINGTON, March 30 (Reuters) - U.S. farmers will expand their corn plantings by 4 percent this spring to the largest in 75 years, topping expectations due to surprise reductions in soybeans and spring wheat, according to a government survey on  Fri day.
Soybean prices jumped to hit their highest in six months, extending this year's rally after the Department of Agriculture said farmers would plant 1 percent less of the crop. Analysts had expected a rise in soy acres.

US farmers to plant the most corn in 75 years (Source: CME)
By Thomson Reuters - Mon 02 Apr 2012 10:30:00 CT
U.S. farmers will plant the most corn in 75 years to cash in on higher prices, topping expectations due to surprise reductions in soybean and spring wheat sowings, according to a U.S government report on Friday.
The dramatic expansion raised hopes that the next harvest would ease razor-tight supplies that have kept corn prices near historic highs.

US farmers aim for record corn crop (Source: CME)
By Thomson Reuters - Mon 02 Apr 2012 10:23:46 CT
U.S. growers would harvest a record 14.2 billion bushels of corn this year, Agriculture Department data indicated on Friday, easing the tightest supplies in 16 years and cooling crop prices.
In a survey, growers said they would plant enough corn land, up 4 percent from last year, to reap a record-setting 14.2 billion bushels. It would be the largest corn area since 1937.

Wheat - Futures closed mostly 3 to 5 cents lower in Chicago, 4 to 7 cents lower in Kansas City and mostly 5 to 11 cents higher in Minneapolis. Chicago and Kansas City wheat futures faced profit-taking pressure today after strong gains last Friday. Expectations that this afternoon's initial crop condition ratings of the spring will be improved significantly from last fall and year-ago also weighed on the winter wheat markets. Minneapolis wheat futures rallied amid an apparent late attempt to attract extra acres after USDA's planting intentions figure came in lower than anticipated last Friday. (Source: CME)

Wheat Market Recap Report (Source: CME)
Mon 02 Apr 2012 14:24:00 CT
May Wheat finished down 3 3/4 at 657, 9 1/2 off the high and 7 3/4 up from the low. July Wheat closed down 4 1/2 at 669 1/2. This was 8 1/2 up from the low and 9 3/4 off the high. May wheat closed slightly lower on the session but saw a strong recovery in the last 15 minutes of near 8 cents to recover from steep losses. Spring wheat futures in Minneapolis closed up 11 3/4 cents for the May contract as the smaller spring wheat planted area from Friday's report continued to support. The turn higher in the other grains and a surge up in equity, gold and crude oil helped to support the bounce off of the early lows but the market remained moderately lower on the session into the mid-day. The outlook for a strong first reading for the weekly crop conditions reports for the update out after the close, a lack of freezing temperatures in the plains for the 2-week outlook and more rain across the central and southern plains for the middle of this week helped to pressure. Weakness in Russia wheat prices and talk that the surge higher on Friday was a bit overdone were all factors to help pressure. Taiwan is tendering to buy 41,650 tonnes of US wheat. Weekly export inspections came in at 15.4 million bushels which was below trade expectations and compares with 19.9 million necessary each week to reach the USDA projection for the season. The International Grains Council pegged world wheat production for the 2012/13 season at 681 million tonnes, up 1 million from their previous estimate but down from 696 million last year. World consumption is pegged at 683 million tonnes. May Oats closed down 6 1/2 at 334 3/4. This was 1 1/2 up from the low and 10 3/4 off the high.

Indonesia's Sulawesi March cocoa bean exports fall 69 pct y/y -industry
JAKARTA, April 2 (Reuters) - Indonesia's cocoa bean exports from its main growing island of Sulawesi slumped in March due to a combination of wet weather conditions and cocoa farmers switching to more profitable crops.
Sulawesi cocoa exports fell 69 percent to 3,505.66 tonnes in March from 11,132.01 tonnes a year ago and were down 56 percent from the previous month, Indonesia Cocoa Association data showed on Monday. February exports were at 7,917.7 tonnes.

India may not allow fresh cotton exports next week
MUMBAI/NEW DELHI, March 30 (Reuters) - India is unlikely to allow fresh cotton exports when ministers meet next week and may not lift the ban at least until July, government and trade sources said.
The meeting on April 3 could approve only some of the 2.5 million bales which are in limbo, registered but not yet cleared by customs.

Cotton - Futures closed slightly lower in all but the October contract, which was 1 point higher. Futures finished in the upper end of today's trading range. Cotton futures faced followthrough fallout from last Friday's planting intentions from USDA. While cotton acreage is expected to be down sharply from year-ago, USDA's survey work showed producers plan to plant more cotton than anticipated. Plus, traders are anticipating better yields as conditions improve from last year's major drought through the South. (Source: CME)

Arabica Premium Seen Higher on Robusta Supply Surge: Commodities (Source: Bloomberg)
The premium paid for arabica beans favored by Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) over the robusta used by Nestle SA (NESN) may rally from a 20-month low because of a surge in supply from Vietnam, the biggest grower of the less costly coffee. Arabica fell 18 percent in New York this year on prospects for a record Brazilian crop as robusta rose 12 percent in London because of fewer cargoes from Vietnam. The premium dropped to 83.89 cents a pound on March 29, the lowest since July 2010. It will widen to $1.162 by the end of the year, the average of 18 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg shows. Farmers in Vietnam have been stockpiling robusta as a hedge against consumer prices that surged 23 percent in August, according to Macquarie Group Ltd. With inflation moderating to 14 percent in March and harvests about to start in Indonesia and Brazil, they may now accelerate sales, the bank predicts.
Arabica is poised to rally 10 percent in the next three months, as drought in Brazil threatens the crop and demand from emerging markets strengthens, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates. “People have focused on the shortage of robusta supplies, and that will change as the crops in Indonesia and Brazil come in and put pressure on the Vietnamese farmers to release their record crop,” said Keith Flury, an analyst at Rabobank in London. “The market is also seriously underestimating how tight the arabica supply-and-demand balance will be.”

ANRPC revises down 2012 rubber output to 10.42 mln T
SINGAPORE, April 2 (Reuters) - Global natural rubber output is forecast to rise 1.1 percent to 10.420 million tonnes in 2012, but the increase is lower than an earlier estimate because of heavy rains in plantations in Malaysia and China, the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) said on Monday.
"In Malaysia, unseasonal rains for almost a month from 14 February onwards have disrupted harvesting of trees," the group said in a statement.

India releases 4.5 mln tonnes non-levy sugar for Apr-June
MUMBAI, March 31 (Reuters) - India has allowed millers to sell 4.5 million tonnes of sugar from April to June in the open market, up 6 percent from the previous quarter, to meet increased demand in summer, a government statement said.
The quantity of non-levy, or free-sale sugar, that millers can sell on the open market is fixed by the federal government. The quota will now be decided every quarter, instead of monthly.

Ivory Coast cocoa crop outlook reduced -ICCO
GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador, March 30 (Reuters) - The world's biggest cocoa producer Ivory Coast is forecast to harvest 1.3 million tonnes in the 2011/2012 season, an official with the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) said on Friday.
This was down from the organization's 2010/11 estimate of 1.511 million tonnes.

Jamaica sugar production rises in early harvest
KINGSTON, March 30 (Reuters) - Jamaica produced 29 percent more sugar in the first two months of the present harvest than it did during the same period last year, the Central Bank reported.
Sugar production totaled 34,900 tonnes from mid-December to mid-February, up from 27,000 tonnes for the first two months of last year's harvest, the Bank of Jamaica reported on Thursday.

Euro Coal-Prices rise, Asian buying calms market
LONDON, March 30 (Reuters) - Prompt physical coal prices rose by nearly $2 a tonne on Friday following Xstrata's first quarterly term settlement at $115 FOB Newcastle to Japanese utilities and absorption of surplus coal by South Korea.
"The panic's over for now. Nobody's dumping coal like they were recently," one European utility said.

Asia Coal-Australian prices inch up with demand
PERTH, March 30 (Reuters) - Australia's thermal coal price benchmark rose slightly to $107 a tonne this week, as protracted annual price negotiations between miner Xstrata  and Japanese utilities continued and some Chinese demand returned to the market.
Australia's Newcastle index for the week to date closed at $107.01 per tonne on Thursday, up from $104.81 a week earlier.

Oil Drops After Biggest Gain in Six Weeks on Outlook for Supply (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil dropped after the biggest gain in six weeks as a forecast for rising inventories in the U.S., the world’s biggest consumer of crude, signaled fuel demand may be faltering. Futures slid as much as 0.4 percent in New York. Crude stockpiles probably rose a second week to the highest level since August, according to a Bloomberg News survey before an Energy Department report tomorrow. Prices advanced yesterday after U.S. manufacturing in March expanded at a faster pace than forecast. Oil has climbed this year amid concern tension with Iran will disrupt global supplies. “Demand has been so subdued for many months now and we can’t really see that picking up,” said David Lennox, an analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney. Oil prices are at this level because of Iran, and “traders aren’t willing to let go of that risk premium,” he said.
Oil for May delivery slid as much as 43 cents to $104.80 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $105.06 at 11:21 a.m. Sydney time. It climbed 2.2 percent yesterday to $105.23, the highest close since March 28. Prices are 6.3 percent higher this year. Brent oil for May settlement fell 28 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $125.15 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract’s premium to New York- traded West Texas Intermediate was at $20.09, compared with $20.20 yesterday, the most since Oct. 20.

Japan, not Iran, may be oil market's focus in April
--Robert Campbell is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own--
NEW YORK, March 30 (Reuters) - The showdown between Iran and the West over Tehran's nuclear program remains the overarching risk facing oil markets but in the near term, nuclear power in Japan may well become the short term focus for traders.
The near total shutdown of Japan's nuclear power industry since last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami turned the Japanese electricity sector into a surprise source of oil demand growth in Asia last year.

Oil release now more likely
--John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own--
LONDON, March 30 (Reuters) - Unless oil prices drop for other reasons, the United States and other governments appear set to release crude and product stocks from their strategic reserves before or during the summer in a bid to slow the rise in prices, avert an economic slowdown and sustain support for their strategy of sanctions on Iran.
The probability of a release is now more than 50 percent. The only remaining questions concern the timing and scale of releases; how many countries take part; whether they will receive support from other reserve holders such as China; and whether swing-producer Saudi Arabia will help the effort by maintaining higher than normal exports even as commercial inventories rise.

Oil near $123 on China economy, supply worries
LONDON, April 2 (Reuters) - Oil held near $123 a barrel, supported by signs of an improving economy in China, and actual and threatened supply disruptions in the Middle East and Africa.
"The Chinese PMI numbers were much better than expected and that would have an impact on oil. This will help answer some of the questions over a potential hard landing in China," said Ben Le Brun, a market analyst at OptionsXpress in Sydney.

S.Africa Iranian oil imports soar in Feb
JOHANNESBURG, April 2 (Reuters) - South African crude oil imports from Iran leapt in February to $364 million from zero the preceding month, customs data showed on Monday, dashing the view that Pretoria has bowed to U.S. pressure to curb commercial links with Tehran.
The Revenue Service said Africa's biggest economy imported 417,000 tonnes of Iranian crude in February, a dramatic reversal of a declining trend seen since October, when it imported 467,000 tonnes.

Russian oil output stable at 10.36 mln bpd in March
MOSCOW, April 2 (Reuters) - Russian oil output stood at 10.36 million barrels per day in March, unchanged from a post-Soviet monthly high in February, Energy Ministry data showed on Monday.  
Measured in tonnes, crude production in Russia, the world's top producer, was 43.8 million tonnes last month, the ministry said.

Iran helps Syria ship oil to China -sources, data
LONDON, March 30 (Reuters) - Iran is helping its ally Syria defy Western sanctions by providing a vessel to ship Syrian oil to a state-run company in China, potentially giving the government of President Bashar al-Assad a financial boost worth an estimated $80 million.
Iran, itself a target of Western sanctions, is among Syria's closest allies and has promised to do all it can to support Assad, recently praising his handling of the year-long uprising against Assad in which thousands have been killed.

MetalMiner - Copper Headed for Surplus (Source: CME)
By MetalMiner - Mon Apr 02 11:51:00 CDT 2012 CT
New and Improved Mine Capacities May End Ten Years of Price Support
Copper, the perennial driver of the China bull narrative, is beginning to look less firm in coming years than we have come to expect in the past. Building on a copper presentation we gave at the MetalMiner and Spend Matters Commodity EDGE conference in Chicago last week, we would like to step back from day-to-day copper movements and look at the longer term.

Iron Ore-Prices seen staying near 5-month top, China off
SINGAPORE, April 2 (Reuters) - Spot iron ore prices are likely to hover near five-month highs this week, with little activity seen in the physical market in the first three days, with China away for a public holiday.
Iron ore ended the first quarter up nearly 7 percent, rebounding from a decline of 19 percent in the last three months of 2011, supported by hopes demand from top importer China will strengthen as construction activity turns brisk after winter.

Baltic sea index rises on higher capesize rates
March 30 (Reuters) - The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry commodities, rose on Friday as rates for large capesize vessels climbed for a fourth straight day on higher iron ore activity.
The main index, which reflects the daily freight market rates of capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize dry bulk transport vessels, rose 4 points, or 0.43 percent, to 934 points.