Wednesday, May 2, 2012

20120502 1827 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 3452, changed : -19 points, volume : higher.
Bollinger band reading : side way range bound little downside biased.
MACD Histogram : falling lower, seller taking exposure.
Support : 3450, 3420, 3380, 3350 level.
Resistance : 3470, 3500, 3550, 3620 level.
Comment :
FCPO closed recorded loss with improved volume participation. Soy oil price trading higher after overnight closed recorded small loss while crude oil price consolidating lower after overnight rally.
Price moved south despite better exports data reported by 2 cargo surveyor as concern over higher crude palm oil production preventing price to move higher into positive zone.
Technical daily chart analysis revised to recommending a side way range bound little downside biased market development.
When to buy : buy at support or weakness with quick cut loss and profit target.
When to sell : sell at resistant or strength with quick cut loss and profit target.

20120502 1752 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1583.5 changed : +18 points, volume : higher.
Bollinger band reading : pullback correction little downside biased.
MACD Histogram : recovering, seller taking profit.
Support : 1580,1570, 1565, 1550 level.
Resistance : 1590, 1595, 1600, 1605 level.
Comment :
FKLI closed rallied higher with increased volume transacted doing 1 point premium compare to cash market that also surged higher. Overnight U.S. markets closed recorded gains and today Asia markets ended in positive territory while European markets currently registering gains.
Global markets sentiment turned positive after better U.S. and China manufacturing data, rebounded Germany retail sales and Spain GDP down less than forecast.
End of day technical chart study adjusted to calling a pullback correction little downside biased market development.
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.

20120502 1736 Regional Markets EOD Daily Chart Study.

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

20120502 1600 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

Asian shares edged higher and the dollar recovered against the yen after strong U.S. factory activity data raised hopes that the world's biggest economy remained on a recovery track. The Dow closed at its highest level in more than four years on Tuesday after U.S. manufacturing expanded at a faster pace than expected in April, easing jitters about a slowdown in the economic recovery.

The dollar bounced back from 2-1/2-month lows against the Japanese yen after upbeat U.S. manufacturing data soothed fears the economy was slowing, though gains were kept minimal ahead of key events such as the U.S. jobs data.

FOREX-Dollar bounces back after U.S. manufacturing surprise
TOKYO, May 2 (Reuters) - The dollar bounced back on Wednesday from 2-1/2-month lows against the Japanese yen after upbeat U.S. manufacturing data soothed fears the economy was slowing, though gains were kept minimal ahead of key events such as the U.S. jobs data.
"After the surprisingly strong ISM number, the next job data will be more important than usual. If it is strong, it could cement expectation of strong recovery at least in the United States," said Mitsuru Saito, chief economist at Tokai Tokyo Securities.

CME Group fires back at ICE with 22-hour grains trade
CME Group  on Tuesday told Iowa farmers, Chicago brokers and huge global hedge funds to brace for a longer, more intense trading day, as it announced plans for nearly round-the-clock grains trading to fend off pressure from arch-rival IntercontinentalExchange .

China imports to drive world cotton trade-ICAC
China will account for more than half of global cotton imports in 2011/12, driving world cotton trade up 13 percent for the year, an international farm group said on Tuesday.

U.S. wheat sale to Saudi Arabia first in 8 months
The U.S. government on Tuesday confirmed the sale of 110,000 tonnes of hard red winter wheat to Saudi Arabia, its first U.S. wheat purchase in eight months.

China set to buy even more U.S. soy -Oil World
China is likely to buy even more U.S.-origin soybeans in the near term because of poor South American crops, Hamburg-based oilseeds analysts Oil World said on Tuesday.

Louis Dreyfus to take Imperial Sugar private in $78 mln deal
Privately held Louis Dreyfus Commodities LLC said one of its subsidiaries agreed to acquire Imperial Sugar Co  for about $78 million, as the commodity company looks to diversify into refining and distribution.

Corn Products 1st-qtr profit beats Street estimates
Corn Products International Inc  posted a first-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates, helped by higher sales in North America and Asia Pacific.

Indonesia's April Sumatra coffee bean exports fall 57 pct
Robusta coffee bean exports from Indonesia's main growing area in Sumatra fell 57 percent in April from a year earlier, as falling prices and dwindling stocks caused many producers to hold onto supplies.

Chicago corn futures fell for a second day, weighed down by speedy U.S. planting which has boosted prospects of above-average yields and early crop output replenishing tight old-crop supplies.

Brent crude was steady above $119 a barrel, supported by positive manufacturing data from the United States and China that lifted hopes of higher oil demand at the world's top two energy consumers.

London copper futures fell  as Chinese traders returning from a long holiday weekend sold off the metal, concerned current prices are too high given a blurry outlook for demand.

China to export copper to LME amid abundant stocks
HONG KONG, April 30 (Reuters) - Large Chinese copper smelters and trading firms will export refined copper cathodes to the London Metal Exchange warehouses over the next two months to help ease tight global supplies and trim near-record stockpiles at home.
The move could see thousands of tonnes of refined copper finding their way back to LME warehouses, boosting inventories and slashing steep premiums of spot prices over those for later deliveries.

Global copper mkt in 29,000 T deficit in Jan 2012
LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) - The global market for refined copper was in a 29,000 tonne deficit in January 2012, the International Copper Study Group (ICSG )said on Tuesday.
In January, world refined production stood at 1.69 million tonnes, compared with world refined usage of 1.72 million tonnes, it said in a release.

Chile March copper output down 2.6 pct yr/yr
SANTIAGO, April 30 (Reuters) - World top copper producer Chile's output of the red metal jumped in March from February but fell 2.6 percent from a year earlier on disruptions in operations and smelting, the government said on Monday.
Chile, which provides about one-third of the world's copper, produced 423,064 tonnes of it in March , up 6.9 percent compared with February.

Chinese firm to invest $100 mln in Uganda copper mine
KAMPALA, April 30 (Reuters) - China's Gingko Energy Company plans to invest $100 million over a five-year period to revive production at Kilembe copper mine in western Uganda, the African country's president's office said.
Gingko's chairman, Lin Rui Hui, told President Yoweri Museveni of the investment plans on Friday.

Copper market deficit seen at 240,000 T in 2012 -ICSG
LONDON, April 30 (Reuters) - Global demand for refined copper is expected to exceed production by 240,000 tonnes in 2012, but the market is projected to move into a production surplus the following year, the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) said on Monday.
The ICSG expects increased output from new and existing mines in 2013 to reverse the three-year trend of a market deficit, with refined production seen exceeding demand by 350,000 tonnes next year.

Gold edged down, off a two-week high hit in the previous session as upbeat U.S. manufacturing data soothed worries about the economy and dampened hopes of more monetary easing.  

METALS-LME copper falls on Chinese selling; Shanghai firm
SINGAPORE, May 2 (Reuters) - London copper futures fell on Wednesday as Chinese traders returning from a long holiday weekend sold off the metal, concerned current prices are too high given a blurry outlook for demand.
"They're just bearish, those traders sitting in China. They think the (LME) price is too high for the current environment," said a Singapore-based trader.
PRECIOUS-Gold edges down as US data eases econ worries
SINGAPORE, May 2 (Reuters) - Gold edged down on Wednesday, off a two-week high hit in the previous session as upbeat U.S. manufacturing data soothed worries about the economy and dampened hopes of more monetary easing.
"Gold will probably be sitting in limbo for a few more days," said Nick Trevethan, senior metals strategist at ANZ in Singapore, "It is rather inversely sensitive to positive numbers, as evidenced by the ISM number overnight."

20120502 1148 Global Market & Commodities Related News.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares rise as U.S. data soothes growth slowdown fears
TOKYO, May 2 (Reuters) - Asian shares edged higher and the dollar recovered against the yen on Wednesday after strong U.S. factory activity data eased concerns about a loss of momentum in the world's biggest economy.            
"Moreover, the subseries of the release were pleasing, and while we caution that one month's result is not a trend, the report tentatively suggests that the recent softening in growth momentum is now stabilising," Rabinov said.

COMMODITIES-Strong US manufacturing boosts oil, copper, others
NEW YORK, May 1 (Reuters) - U.S. oil futures notched their biggest gain in two weeks on Tuesday, and copper and other commodities rose too, after the strongest U.S. manufacturing data in 10 months boosted the outlook for raw materials demand in the world's largest economy.  "The ISM data pushed crude up and strong equities are helping, and when crude moved above the 50-day moving average that triggered some technical buying," said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.  

OIL-Oil turns higher on strong U.S. factory growth
NEW YORK, May 1 (Reuters) - Oil prices turned higher on Tuesday after data showing the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded in April at its fastest pace in 10 months eased concerns about slowing economic growth.
"The ISM data pushed crude up and strong equities are helping, and when crude moved above the 50-day moving average that triggered some technical buying," said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

NATURAL GAS-US natural gas futures end higher for 3rd day
NEW YORK, May 1 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended higher on Tuesday for a third day, reacting to more bullish technicals and to signs that record production might finally be slowing despite fading weather demand and still-high supplies.
"Natural gas has been in a pretty strong short covering rally for the last week or so primarily driven by an increase in demand from coal to gas switching along with a growing view that the producing sector will in fact voluntarily cut production," Energy Management Institute's Dominick Chirichella said in a report.

EURO COAL-Supply glut drives Europe coal prices to 2-year lows
LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) - European coal prices slumped to a two-year low on Tuesday with market players citing growing oversupply as large shipments from the United States and Colombia aggravated a glut in the region after an unusually warm winter.
"There has been a persistent belief, a delusion, that the market couldn't fall below $100 and stay there this year, but it has to fall further - there is simply too much coal, everywhere," a source at one of Europe's largest utilities said.

20120502 1142 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

Khazanah, Tune Air share swap possibly off
The boards of state-owned Khazanah Nasional and Tune Air SB will today make official their decision to abandon the RM1.1bn share-swap deal involving beleaguered Malaysian Airline System (MAS) and AirAsia. According to corporate executives and government officials involved in the proposed unbundling exercise, the boards of the two companies will ratify the transactions that will unwind the share-swap last August which featured AirAsia’s Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and his partner Datuk Kamarudin Meranun taking up 20.5% interest in MAS and 2 board positions, in exchange for Khazanah owning a 10% stake in the regional budget airline. (Financial Daily)

Bina Puri eyes China coal mine and Kelantan tin mine
Construction outfit Bina Puri Holdings is believed to be in negotiations to acquire a coal mine in China and a tin mine in Kelantan, sources said. “The company is also looking at securing infrastructure project soon to build a bridge in Jakarta. The focus will still be on its core construction business but it is also trying to diversify into the commodity business and also businesses that provides more recurring income,” the source said. The company was last said to be exploring opportunities in tin mining in Indonesia back in 2004, when it was making a tin mining feasibility study on the Indonesian island of Bangka. Bangka is rich in tin ore deposits; it is also where PT Koba Tin, a subsidiary of Malaysia Smelting Corp has a contract of work with the government, giving it exclusive rights for exploration, mining and smelting tin over 41,680ha in Bangka Belitung Island. (StarBiz)

TNB allocates RM9.7bn to increase generating capacity
Tenaga Nasional will spend about RM9.7bn in the next five years to increase electricity generating capacity in Malaysia. President and CEO Datuk Seri Che Khalib said a major portion of the investment until 2017 is to build several power stations whose locations have been identified. Among the stations currently under constructions are the Manjung Sultan Azlan Shah Power Station in Perak (RM6bn), a hydroelectric power plant in Hulu Terengganu (RM1.6bn) and Hulu Jelai in Pahang (RM2.1bn). An independent power producer plans to build a RM6bn coal-fired plant in Tanjung Bin, Johor, which is slated for completion in 2016. “This means in the next 5 years, the new projects will give TNB additional generation capacity of 2,000MW using coal and 630MW using hydro.(Financial Daily)

Puncak Niaga gets RM500m in O&G contracts
Puncak Niaga has secured oil and gas contracts worth RM500m, executive chairman Tan Sri Rozali said. Its involvement in the industry is via wholly owned unit, Puncak Oil&Gas SB (POG), which had acquired Global Offshore SB and KGL Ltd last year. Rozali said Puncak Niaga expects revenue of between RM1bn to RM1.5bn from the O&G sector this year. He said the company will bid to develop Petronas’ marginal oilfields. (Financial Daily)

Prasarana says Posco ‘best candidate’
Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd is proposing to the government that the RM950m systems contract for the Ampang light rail transit (LRT) line extension project be awarded to Posco, a South Korean steelmaker. Business Times reported recently that a consortium comprising Balfour Beatty Rail SB, Ingress Corp and the UK’s Invensys was tipped to win the contract this month. “The government is still deciding who to award the contract to. The bidders are lobbying hard for the job. We at Prasarana think Posco and its consortium partners are the best candidates,” said Prasarana key officials. In December last year, BT reported that Prasarana had recommended Posco to the government for the job because the company offered to use the French based Thales’ Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC) signaling system. Thales is a leader in the CBTC market. It invented the CBTC technology, a train control system based on telecommunications, in the 1980s. Its technology was used for the KL monorail project and the existing Kelana Jaya LRT line. (BT)

Petronas Gas awards services deal to US' Fluor
Petronas Gas Bhd, a listed subsidiary of Petronas has awarded a contract to Texas-based Fluor Corp to provide front-end engineering and design services for a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification terminal in Malaysia. According to Fluor, the new terminal will supply gas to an adjacent 300MW combined cycle power plant in Lahad Datu, Sabah. Fluor secured the contract, the value of which is undisclosed, in the 1Q of this year. The formal signing of agreement was in Kuala Lumpur on 2 April. Fluor senior vice-president for energy and chemicals business Ken Choudhary said the contract would further consolidate the company's position in Malaysia, where it is implementing projects in the oil refining sector and the LNG regasification business. The company also expects significant project growth opportunities in Malaysia in the near term. (BT)

Felda Global Ventures: Sources say to list by end-June
According to two officials with direct knowledge of the matter, the US$2bn (RM6.08bn) listing of Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH) is expected to take place at the end of June. They added that FGVH has started offering its initial public offering (IPO) shares to bumiputra investors at an indicative price of RM4.65 a share.  At an indicative price of RM4.65, the 419.5m shares reserved for bumiputra investors, or 11.5% of the company’s capital, would be worth a total of RM1.95bn. One of the officials said bookbuilding process will follow thereafter. The second official added that it is not clear what the institutional investors are getting yet, but bumiputra investors will get a refund should institutional investors get less than the indicative price. (StarBiz)

Felda Global Ventures: Going all out for productivity push
Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH) is going all out to boost productivity after its listing as part of efforts to ensure steady future growth in earnings. According to sources, although half of FGVH's 355,846ha oil palm estates are past their prime at over 25 years old, another 17% of the estates are at their prime production between 20 and 25 years old. A source said Felda will continue to boost productivity by using its award-winning Yangambi oil palm seeds, which can boost oil extraction rate to 23% from the current 20%. It is understood that postlisting, FGVH plans to return 50% of its net profit to shareholders and achieves a return on equity of 13%. (Business Times)

RHB Capital, OSK Holdings: More equity than cash in merger deal
Corporate executives close to the transaction said that RHB Banking group and OSK group are close to completing their merger, which will largely feature the exchange of shares in a deal that could price OSK’s investment banking arm at  between 1.9 times and 2.2 times book value. Financial executives said that both RHB and OSK are keen to have an external person lead the merged entity and several potential candidates have been shortlisted. (Financial Daily)

Telekom Malaysia: Launches HK centre
Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) has launched its first regional data centre facility in Hong Kong. Located in a Class A office facility at the Billion Centre in the famous Kowloon Bay area, the data centre, named VADS Hong Kong Data Centre (HKDC), was expected to meet the increased demand for cloud-based services, via its information and communication technology (ICT) arm, VADS Bhd (VADS), which provides managed ICT services. HKDC is an extension of the already existing 14 data centres established by TM via VADS throughout Malaysia. With a total build up space exceeding 14,000 sq ft, HKDC is built as a Green Data Centre with the coalescence of hot and cold aisle containment system together with a Tier III+ design. TM owns or leases capacity on more than 10 submarine cable systems, which span more than 60,000 fiber-route miles around the globe. (StarBiz)

Kencana Petroleum: Consortium wins EPCC job
Kencana HL Sdn Bhd, in consortium with Shinryo (M) Sdn Bhd, has signed a contract with Petronas Gas to provide engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) work for two co-generation plants. The portion of the contract value for Kencana HL, which is a  wholly-owned subsidiary of Kencana Petroleum Bhd, is estimated at RM35m. Kencana Petroleum said the plants would have a combined capacity of 50MW of electrical power and steam capacity of 120 tonnes per hour. It said the contract forms part of Petronas Gas’ gas processing plant in Kertih, Terengganu. Kencana Petroleum said the contract’s scope of work in general included project management, engineering, procurement, construction and installation of steel structures, piping and equipment as well as civil works. The contract is expected to be fully completed by 1Q 2014. (StarBiz)

Boustead Holdings, Kuala Lumpur Kepong: Unit spreads roots to Indonesia
Seed producer Applied Agricultural Resources Sdn Bhd (AAR), an equally-owned unit of Boustead Holdings Bhd and Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK), has spread its roots to produce oil palm seeds in Indonesia. Boustead deputy chairman and group MD Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin said the company will cater to the increased demand for high-yielding seeds there as farmers plant up their greenfields and replant unproductive areas. PT AAR Nusantara, which will undertake seed breeding in Medan, is a JV between AAR, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Plantation Holding and Indonesian government-linked company PT Perkebunan Nusantara II. (Business Times)

Hong Leong Bank: Islamic unit eyes sukuk market
Hong Leong Islamic Bank is banking on its enlarged operating capacity, following the merger with EONCap Islamic Bank last year, to venture deeper into the Islamic capital markets and wholesale sectors as its new growth area. CEO Raja Teh Maimunah Raja Abdul Aziz said the sukuk market, which Malaysia is a dominant player, is one area that the bank wants to tap actively into. The country's Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) projects, she said are expected to provide the Islamic finance industry with ample opportunities as she said the ETP projects will invariably be funded almost entirely by the Islamic capital market and this will fuel the Islamic banking business from the wholesale side. (Business Times)

Fraser & Neave: Invests RM18m to strengthen presence in Sabah
F&N Beverages Marketing Sdn Bhd has invested RM18m to install a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) production line and supporting infrastructure at its facility here to meet the growing demand for PET packaged sparkling beverages in Sabah. The line provides F&N production scalability in anticipation of future growth without the need for plant expansion. It also reduces logistics costs of transporting the products from F&N's main Shah Alam plant or from Kuching while facilitating speedier delivery to market. The company said it can scale up production seamlessly to thrice the current capacity with no additional investment required. (Bernama)

KNM Group: Proposes fund raising exercise involving rights issuance of RM200m
KNM Group (KNM) has proposed to undertake a fund raising exercise involving a rights issuance of RM200m. In a filing to Bursa Malaysia, KNM said the definitive terms for the rights issue would be determined by the Board of the Company subject to the advice of the Company’s Corporate Advisors to be appointed in due course. The company will be seeking its shareholders' approval for the proposed rights issue at a general meeting to be convened at an appropriate date once the definitive terms of the proposed rights Issue has been approved by the Board and the relevant authorities. KNM said further announcement(s) on the corporate proposal in respect of the proposed rights issue would be made in due course. (Financial Daily)

Scomi Engineering: Looking into O&G business in Brazil
Scomi Engineering is conducting due diligence on a plan to venture into the oil and gas business in Brazil, including opening a plant there to produce drilling fluids. According to Scomi Brazil country president Hilmy Zaini Zainal, the due diligence, which will be completed within the next few months will help Scomi decide the best partners for its venture. He said although they  do not have a clear cut position on what they want to do yet, they have decided to put our resources in oil and gas developments in Brazil, instead of just being involved in monorail projects. Hilmy said he do not rule out a partnership with Montagense Projetos Especiais SA (MPE), which is involved in oil and gas, fabricating topside models. Scomi and MPE are partners for the RM2.6bn monorail project in Sao Paulo, secured last year. (Financial Daily)

Puncak Niaga: Gets RM500m contracts in oil & gas sector
Puncak Niaga Holdings has managed to secure contracts worth RM500m, said its executive chairman Tan Sri Rozali Ismail. Its involvement in the industry is via wholly-owned unit, Puncak Oil and Gas Sdn Bhd (POG), which had stakes in Global Offshore (M) Sdn Bhd and KGL Ltd last year. Rozali said the company has been involved in many projects and was ready for expansion overseas after recruiting experienced and capable staff to expand the oil and gas operations. He said the company has secured projects worth RM500m which are expected to bring in revenue of between RM1bn and RM1.5bn, adding that the company would bid to develop the marginal fields from Petronas. (Bernama)

LBS Bina: Banking on new project launches this year
LBS Bina Group is banking on new project launches and a large land bank to record better financial results in FY2012. As at Apr 29 this year, LBS clocked in property sales of RM357.6m, and as at end-March, it roped in an unbilled sales of RM693m. LBS MD Datuk Lim Hock San said with a strong outlook this year, the group will be launching 14 projects, comprising 2,812 units with a GDV of RM1.69bn, together with some 22 ongoing projects with a GDV of RM1.81bn. These include projects in D' Island Residence, Bandar Saujana Putra, Taman Golden Hills in Cameron Highlands and Bandar Putera Indah in Batu Pahat Johor. Lim said with a land bank of some 920ha worth an estimated GDV of RM9.3bn, the group is confident of achieving further improvement in its performance for FY2012. (Business Times)

TSH Resources: Seals power deal with SESB
TSH Resources has sealed a renewable energy power purchase agreement (PPA) with Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) to sell electricity at 30 sen per kWh for 9 years. It told the stock exchange that its wholly-owned subsidiary TSH Bio-Energy Sdn Bhd entered into the agreement on Apr 27. TSH had initially signed a 21-year small renewable energy purchase agreement with SESB in 2002 for the sale of electricity generated from its power plant and dispatched to SESB’s Kalumpang sub-station at the rate of 21.25 sen per kWh. It said that contract, which would have expired in 2024, would be replaced by the renewable energy PPA upon commencement of a feed-in tariff date to be agreed on by both parties. (StarBiz)

AmFIRST REIT: Eyes RM500m Klang Valley properties
Am ARA REIT Managers Sdn Bhd, the manager of AmFIRST Real Estate Investment Trust (AmFIRST REIT), plans to buy properties worth RM500m in the Klang Valley, following the implementation of the rights issue for the trust in Jul this year, said its chief executive officer, Lim Yoon Peng. Unitholders of AmFIRST REIT unanimously approved the proposed renounceable rights issue and a proposed increase in fund size at the unitholders' meeting Monday. Lim said he is looking at office buildings with high capital appreciation potential at strategic locations in the Klang Valley. (Business Times)

Chemical Company of Malaysia: RM75m fertilizer plant to cater for Sabah, Kalimantan
The RM75m Chemical Company of Malaysia Bhd's (CCM) fertilizer plant opened Monday will cater to Sabah and Kalimantan markets, CCM Group of Companies Chairmen Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman said Monday. He said the plant located at the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) was the second in Sabah and Sarawak after Bintulu and CCM's fourth facility in the Asean region would boost the group's fertilizer manufacturing capacity to 670,000 tonnes a year. The plant, which started operations in mid-2011, will increase production by an additional 130,000 tonnes a year or about half the output of its main plant in Shah Alam. (Bernama)

Power: Troubled Northern Utility up for sale again?
Industry sources said speculations have resurfaced that troubled Northern Utility Resources Sdn Bhd (NUR) is up for sale again. Accoridng to one source, the receivers of the company are eager to get NUR off their hands as it has been put under receivership since 2004. He added that NUR has a licence to sell electricity back to the national grid which might attract buyers. NUR operates an in-situ independent power utility (IPU) within the Kulim Hi-Tech Park (KHTP) in Kedah and is the first IPU awarded a 30-year concession in 1997 to build a power plant and distribute electricity in the hi-tech park. The shareholders of NUR are Manfield Development Sdn Bhd with 40% interest and Jalinan Muhibah Sdn Bhd, Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) each with 20% interest. (StarBiz)

Government: SC receives 19 corporate proposals in 1Q 2012
The Securities Commission (SC) received a total of 19 corporate  proposals in  1Q 2012 as compared to 41 proposals in  4Q 2011. In line with the trend of increasing preference for fund-raising through issuance of corporate bonds and sukuk, it said the majority or 79% of the proposals were for issuance of private debt securities (PDS). Out of the 19 corporate proposals, it said that 15 were for PDS while the remaining four or 21% were equity applications. Out of the four equity applications, two were for initial public offerings (IPOs), as compared to one in the 2011, it added. According to the commission, approved ringgitdenominated sukuk issuances in 1Q 2012 stood at RM11bn, which reflects an increase from the RM7.7bn registered in the same quarter last year. It noted that the total amount of funds to be raised from the IPO and private debt securities approved in 1Q 2012 was RM21.9bn, compared to RM49bn in 4Q 2011. (Bernama)

Economy: Malaysia to introduce minimum wage, panel to address wage issues
Malaysia will introduce a minimum wage for the first time in a move to bolster incomes amid rising living costs and speculation of a snap general election. An estimated 3.2m workers are expected to gain from the move but labour unions, which have been battling for a minimum wage for the past 15 years, described the base rate as too little. Private sector workers in peninsular Malaysia will receive a minimum salary of RM900 a month while workers in the states of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo island will get RM800. Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said a committee would be set up to make adjustments to the minimum wage system for certain industries. He said the committee was needed to address specific issues which might arise from the absorption of some of the fixed allowances into the salary. (The Star)

Kinsteel debt downgraded
Malaysian Rating Corp Bhd (MARC) has lowered its ratings on  Kinsteel Bhd's RM200mil debt notes with a negative outlook. “The rating actions incorporate Kinsteel group's deteriorating financial performance on the back of raw material price volatility and subdued demand for steel products, increased borrowings and weakening liquidity position from extending financial support to fully subscribe to subsidiary  Perwaja Holdings Berhad's (PHB) loan stock issue,” it said.  (Source: The Star)

MISC: Cuts 1400 jobs. Malaysian International Shipping Corporation Bhd (MISC) is retrenching some 1,400 employees worldwide this year following its exit from the liner business.The first phase of the retrenchment was carried out on March 31 while the second phase will be implemented on June 30. (Source: The Sun Daily)

20120502 1142 Global Economy Related News.

Indonesia: Inflation accelerates to seven-month high of 4.5%
Indonesia’s inflation accelerated to a seven-month high in April, rising above 4% and putting pressure on the central bank to hold off on further cuts in interest rates. Consumer prices rose 4.5% last month from a year earlier, the Central Bureau of Statistics said. That compares with a 3.97% increase reported in March. The median of 17 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 4.46% gain. (Bloomberg)

India: Exports contracted in March for first time since 2009
Indian exports fell in March for the first time in two and a half years as Europe’s debt crisis and slower Chinese growth hurt demand. Merchandise shipments dropped 5.7% from a year earlier to USD28.7bn, the government said. Imports rose 24.3% to USD42.6bn, leaving a trade deficit of USD13.9bn. Exports last shrank year-on-year in Sept 2009. (Bloomberg)

China: Manufacturing index at year high eases loosening pressure
China’s manufacturing expanded at the fastest pace in a year, reducing pressure on policy makers to open the taps on credit in the world’s second-largest economy. The Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 53.3 in April from 53.1 in March, China’s statistics bureau and logistics federation said. That’s the fifth straight reading above the 50 level dividing expansion from contraction and compares with the 53.6 median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 27 economists. (Bloomberg)

Australia: RBA cuts key rate more than forecast as inflation eases
The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point as inflation pressures abate, delivering a bigger-than-forecast reduction that sent the local dollar and bond yields tumbling. Governor Glenn Stevens and his board slashed the overnight cash rate target to a two-year low of 3.75% from 4.25%, the deepest reduction in three years, according to a central bank statement. Two of 29 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News predicted the move, while the other 27 forecast a quarter-point reduction. (Bloomberg)

South Korea: Inflation moderated to lowest in 21 months
South Korea’s inflation moderated to a 21-month low in Apr, giving the central bank more leeway to hold off increasing interest rates. According to Statistics Korea, consumer prices increased 2.5% from a year earlier, after a 2.6% gain in Mar. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 13 economists was for a 2.8% gain. Prices were unchanged from Mar. (Bloomberg)

South Korea: Exports declined for second month in April
South Korea’s exports declined for a second month in Apr and inflation cooled, adding pressure on the central bank to hold interest rates next week. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said overseas shipments fell 4.7% from a year earlier, after a 1.4% decline in Mar. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 13 economists was for a 1.1% drop. (Bloomberg)

Singapore: Signals policy tightening won’t fully offset prices
The Monetary Authority of Singapore signaled that the tightening of Singapore’s monetary policy earlier this month won’t completely counter price  pressures, as efforts to reduce foreign workers in the economy push up business costs. It said while changes in the foreign worker policy are necessary to ensure a more efficient allocation of resources and a more productive workforce over the medium term, the latter will take time to come to fruition. It added that the policy tightening is intended to temper, but not fully offset, the pass-through of these supply-side cost increases. GDP will probably increase 1% to 3% this year, the central bank said, reiterating earlier forecasts. Employment may grow at a slower pace in 2012 even as local wages may climb at a healthy rate. (Bloomberg)

Singapore: Unemployment rate rises to 2.1% in March
Singapore's seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate increased slightly to 2.1% in March 2012 from 2.0% in Dec last year. Total employment is estimated to have grown by 27,400 in 1Q 2012. The increase was lower than the seasonal high of 37,600 in the 4Q 2011 and the 28,300 in 1Q 2011. These are the key findings from the "Employment Situation, First Quarter 2012" report, released by the Ministry of Manpower Research and Statistics Department. Similarly, it said the unemployment rate rose over the same period for residents from 2.9% to 3.0% and citizens from 3.0% to 3.2%. (Bernama)

Germany: Retail sales rebounded in March on job creation
German retail sales rebounded in Mar as declining unemployment, slowing inflation and higher wages bolstered households’ purchasing power. According to the Federal Statistics Office, sales after adjusted for inflation and seasonal swings, rose 0.8% from Feb, when they fell a revised 0.9%. Economists forecast a gain of 1%, the median of 26 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed. Sales increased 2.3% from a year earlier. With German unemployment at a two-decade low and the economy outperforming most of its euro-region peers, workers are winning some of the highest pay increases since the early 1990s. Business confidence unexpectedly rose to a nine-month high in April and inflation slowed to the lowest level in more than a year, boosting consumers’ disposable income. (Bloomberg)

Spain: GDP contracts less than forecast amid recession
Spain’s economy shrank less than previously forecast in 1Q 2012 as the economy officially entered its second recession since 2009. The National Statistics Institute said that GDP fell 0.3%, the same as in the previous three months. That compares with the Bank of Spain’s estimate on Apr 23 of a 0.4% decline. From  a year ago, GDP fell 0.4%, INE said. Spain’s government is struggling to convince investors it can narrow the budget deficit by 3.2%age points of GDP this year as the economy shrinks and unemployment approaches 25%. It forecasts an economic contraction of 1.7% in 2012 and an expansion of 0.2% in 2013 that will leave the jobless rate at about 24%. (Bloomberg)

Portugal: Reduces 2013 spending limits in budget plan
The Portuguese government reduced spending limits for next year as part of its effort to curb debt and regain access to bond markets. The government will reduce its primary spending limit by 3.2% in 2013 and lower the limit for total spending by 2.1%. The plans are included in the government’s budget outline for the 2013-2016 period. Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar said the economy will be in a recession this year and 2013 will be the start of the economic recovery. Gaspar also said the government is sticking to its target for a budget deficit of 3% of GDP in 2013, when the ratio of debt-to-GDP is forecast to peak at 115.7%. (Bloomberg)

UK: Factory index falls more than forecast on export slump
A UK manufacturing index fell more than economists forecast in April to show its weakest growth this year as export orders declined the most since May 2009. A gauge of factory output, based on a survey by Markit Economics and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, dropped to 50.5 from a revised 51.9 in March, Markit said. The median forecast of 27 economists in a Bloomberg News survey was for a decline to 51.5 from an initial estimate of 52.1 in March. A reading above 50 indicates growth. (Bloomberg)

UK: King faces 10 days of angst on BOE stimulus
Bank of England Governor Mervyn King has 10 days left to make up his mind on whether he can risk halting stimulus for an economy trying to shake off a recession. Reports starting Tuesday on manufacturing, construction and services, as well as consumer credit and house prices, will set the scene for data crunching by officials building up to a decision on quantitative easing on May 10. King and the 8 other members of the Monetary Policy Committee will discuss new economic forecasts that will determine whether they extend QE or halt it at 325bn pounds ($529bn). Overshadowing the MPC’s deliberations is the UK’s first double-dip recession since the 1970s as its longest peacetime slump for a century persists. While GDP has fallen for the past two quarters, King must also take into account an inflation rate that is above the central bank’s target and policy makers’ forecasts. (Bloomberg)

UK: House prices rise in demand boost that may fade
UK house prices rose in April for a second month, according to Hometrack Ltd, which said gains may not be sustained as demand fails to keep up with supply. The London-based property research company said values rose 0.1% from Mar, when they increased 0.2%. An indicator of demand rose at half the pace seen in the previous month. The property market received a temporary boost this year as first-time buyers rushed to take advantage of a tax holiday on some homes before it expired on Mar 24. Hometrack said demand may be undermined by Britain’s return to recession and a continued squeeze on consumers from higher energy prices. (Bloomberg)

EU: Anti-austerity calls mount as elections near
A recession in Spain and forecasts of rising unemployment in the 17-nation euro area are amplifying criticism of the German-led austerity agenda in election campaigns this week in France and Greece. With Spain’s largest unions leading marches involving thousands of protesters in 55 cities Sunday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government battled to prevent Spain from becoming the next country to seek a bailout. In France, where the presidential-election runoff is set for May 6, Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande pushed back against German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s focus on deficit reduction. As Spanish joblessness reached almost one in four of the working-age population, Hollande demanded that euro-area leaders move to promoting growth from cutting budgets, as agreed by 25 European governments in the so-called fiscal pact. Merkel drew the line at re-opening talks on the fiscal treaty, though she said growth could be boosted with labor-market reform and EU funding. (Bloomberg)

US: Manufacturing grows at fastest pace in a year
Manufacturing grew in April at the fastest pace in almost a year, propelled by a pickup in orders that signalled factories will remain a source of strength for the US expansion. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index climbed to 54.8 last month, exceeding the most optimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey and the best reading since June, the Tempe, Arizona-based group’s report showed. Readings greater than 50 signal growth. (Bloomberg)

US: Fed said to criticize banks for risk models in stress tests
People with knowledge of the process said the Federal Reserve criticized how some of the 19 largest US banks calculated potential losses and planned dividends in this year’s stress tests. The critiques will be part of feedback letters sent to the lenders this week that cover everything from data collection to risk measurement, said 3 of the people, who declined to be identified because communications with the Fed are private. Flaws included marking down all housing prices at the same rate, rather than matching them to specific regions, and planning dividends that could drain needed capital. (Bloomberg)

20120502 1112 Global Market Related News.

Asian Stocks Rise as U.S. Manufacturing Beats Estimates (Source: Bloomberg)
Asian stocks gained as manufacturing in the U.S. unexpectedly expanded in April at the fastest pace in 10 months, boosting the outlook for the region’s exporters. Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), the world’s biggest mobile-phone maker by sales, climbed 1.2 percent in Seoul. Japan Tobacco Inc. gained 2.6 percent after the cigarette maker said it will raise its dividend payout. Idemitsu Kosan Co. jumped 4.4 percent after Japan’s No. 3 oil refiner posted earnings that beat analysts’ estimates. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. fell 1.2 percent in Sydney after posting net income that missed expectations. “There’s no doubt that this data is moving in the right direction,” said Angus Gluskie, managing director at White Funds Management in Sydney, who manages more than $350 million. “It’s a good indication of the health of the U.S. economy.”
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.2 percent to 124.50 as of 9:54 a.m. in Tokyo, with almost two shares rising for each that fell. The gauge dropped 2.8 percent in March and April amid concern Europe will be trapped in a recession as debt-stricken nations such as Spain cut spending, and as Chinese economic growth slows.

Dow Rallies to Highest Level Since 2007 on Manufacturing (Source: Bloomberg)
U.S. stocks advanced, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to the highest level since December 2007, after a better-than-estimated manufacturing report bolstered investors’ optimism in the world’s largest economy. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Intel Corp. (INTC) and Alcoa Inc. climbed at least 1.8 percent to pace rallies among the biggest companies. The Dow Jones Transportation Average, a proxy for economic growth, increased 1.1 percent. Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) soared 15 percent as it forecast a profit after selling some stores in the U.S. and Canada. Stocks pared gains after Apple Inc., the world’s most valuable company, reversed an earlier advance.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advanced 0.6 percent to 1,405.82 at 4 p.m. New York time, the highest level since April 3. The Dow increased 65.69 points, or 0.5 percent, to 13,279.32. The Russell 2000 Index of small companies retreated 0.1 percent to 815.89. About 6.7 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges today, or almost in line with the three-month average. “The economy is starting to get on its own two feet,” said Wayne Lin, a money manager at Baltimore-based Legg Mason Inc. His firm oversees $643.3 billion. “Manufacturing is forward-looking. It leads what the actual economic activity tends to end up being. It tells us that firms are being a bit less conservative. Confidence is starting to reemerge.”

U.K. Stocks Rally on Lloyds Earnings, U.S. Factory Data (Source: Bloomberg)
U.K. stocks jumped the most in two weeks after Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY) reported profit that topped analyst estimates and U.S. manufacturing expanded at the fastest pace in 10 months. Lloyds, Britain’s biggest mortgage lender, climbed 8.3 percent as first-quarter profit more than doubled. Imperial Tobacco (IMT) Group Plc gained 3.7 percent as its earnings matched projections. Chemring Group Plc (CHG) rallied the most in 13 years after winning two orders. BP Plc (BP/) paced declining shares after net income dropped 19 percent. The FTSE 100 Index rose 74.45 or 1.3 percent, to 5,812.23 in London, the largest gain since April 17. The gauge fell 0.5 percent last month as Britain slipped into a double-dip recession and concerns grew that the euro-area debt crisis is deepening. The FTSE All-Share Index surged 1.2 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index climbed 1.1 percent.
“The market has been assisted by a number of factors that included a decent rally by bank stocks buoyed by better than expected first quarter numbers from Lloyds,” said Angus Campbell, head of market analysis at Capital Spreads in London. We’ve also seen “strength from U.S. markets where the news flow has been conducive to buying equities.”

Japanese Stock Futures Advance on U.S. Manufacturing (Source: Bloomberg)
Japanese stocks rose, snapping a two- day drop, after U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly expanded in April at the fastest pace in 10 months, boosting exporters’ outlook. Toyota advanced after its U.S. sales surged in April. Sony Corp. (6758), a consumer electronics company that gets 20 percent of its sales in the U.S., rose 1.2 percent after the yen weakened. Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), Asia’s largest carmaker, added 1.1 percent after posting a 12 percent U.S. sales rise last month. Japan Tobacco Inc. (2914) gained 3.4 percent after the cigarette maker said it will raise its dividend payout. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) rose 0.4 percent to 9,391.32 as of 9:32 a.m. in Tokyo, with volume almost 30 percent lower than the 30-day average. The broader Topix Index gained 0.5 percent to 793.49, with more than two shares advancing for each that fell.
“There’s no doubt that this data is moving in the right direction,” said Angus Gluskie, managing director at White Funds Management in Sydney, who manages more than $350 million. “It’s a good indication of the health of the U.S. economy.” Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) added 0.1 percent today. The gauge advanced 0.6 percent in New York yesterday after the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index unexpectedly rose in April. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had been expecting a drop.

FOREX-Aussie hit by RBA cut, U.S. dollar also struggles
LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) - The Australian dollar fell sharply on Tuesday after the Reserve Bank of Australia slashed rates by a deeper-than-expected 50 basis points while the U.S. dollar hit a fresh two-month low versus the yen as soft U.S data weighed on the greenback.  
"The Aussie has further to go down in the near term but I would be surprised if it went below the April lows around $1.0225," said Ian Stannard, Head of European FX Strategy at Morgan Stanley.

Dollar Remains Higher Against Yen Before ADP Employment Report (Source: Bloomberg)
The dollar maintained its rebound from a 10-week low against the yen before a private report today forecast to show U.S. companies added workers in April, easing speculation the Federal Reserve will add to stimulus. The greenback was higher against the euro after three voting members of the Federal Open Market Committee said they don’t see a need to ease policy further as the economy maintains its expansion. Demand for the 17-nation euro was also limited before data today that economists said will show the region’s manufacturing weakened last month. The European Central Bank meets tomorrow to decide on policy. “The combination of the commentary from Fed governors and the stronger-than-expected data asks the question, ‘Should we be putting more weight on the recovery in the U.S. economy,’” Robert Rennie, chief currency strategist in Sydney at Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC), Australia’s second-largest lender. “That is something that clearly should be supporting the U.S. dollar.”
The dollar advanced 0.1 percent to 80.14 yen at 10:37 a.m. in Tokyo. It rallied 0.3 percent yesterday after touching 79.64, the weakest since Feb. 21. The U.S. currency gained 0.1 percent to $1.3220 per euro. The shared European currency was at 105.95 yen from 106.02.

Aussie Dollar Halts Drop Versus Yen Before U.S. Jobs Data (Source: Bloomberg)
The Australian and New Zealand dollars remained lower after a two-day decline before Spain auctions notes amid concern the euro region’s debt crisis is deepening, curbing demand for higher-yielding currencies. The New Zealand dollar, known as the kiwi, weakened against all of its 16 major counterparts after a private report showed prices for the nation’s commodity exports declined. Australia’s dollar dropped yesterday by the most in six weeks after the country’s central bank lowered borrowing costs more than most economists had estimated. “Concern about Europe’s debt crisis is simmering as Spain’s fiscal situation has yet to be resolved,” said Takuya Kawabata, a researcher at Research Institute Ltd. in Tokyo, a unit of Japan’s largest currency-margin company. “People are reluctant to take risk aggressively,” weighing on Australia and New Zealand’s currencies.
The Australian dollar was at $1.0335 as of 11:32 a.m. in Sydney, little changed from yesterday when it fell 0.9 percent, the most since March 20. New Zealand’s currency lost 0.2 percent to 81.39 U.S. cents.

Korean Won Climbs, Bonds Fall on IMF Forecast, Spain (Source: Bloomberg)
The won rose to a four-week high after reports showed manufacturing in the U.S. and China grew at the fastest pace in at least 10 months, brightening the outlook for South Korea’s exports. Government bonds were little changed. The U.S. Institute for Supply Management’s factory index climbed to 54.8 in April, exceeding the most optimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, while China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index signaled a fifth month of growth, figures showed yesterday. South Korea’s exports contracted for a second month in April, affected by fewer working days due to a parliamentary election, government data showed. The Kospi Index of shares rose the most in two weeks. “With the U.S. and Chinese manufacturing data, the overall atmosphere is favorable for the won,” said Lee Yong Hee, a Seoul-based currency dealer at Industrial Bank of Korea. “We see more exporters selling the dollar than importers buying, which also supports the won.”
The won gained 0.1 percent from its April 30 close to 1,128.58 per dollar as of 9:35 a.m. in Seoul, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It touched 1,127.65 earlier, the strongest level since April 5. The Kospi (KOSPI) rose 0.8 percent. South Korea’s local financial markets were closed yesterday for a holiday.

Treasuries Snap Gain on Bets Fed to Refrain New Stimulus (Source: Bloomberg)
Treasuries stayed lower following a decline yesterday before the U.S. announces today the sizes of 3-, 10-, and 30-year auctions scheduled for next week. The government will probably sell $32 billion of 3-year notes, $24 billion of 10-year securities and $16 billion of the so-called long bonds over three days starting May 8, according to Wrightson ICAP LLC, an economic advisory company in Jersey City, New Jersey. Treasuries fell yesterday after an industry report showed U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly gained in April. U.S. 10-year rates were little changed at 1.95 percent as of 9:40 a.m. in Tokyo, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader data. The 2 percent security due in February 2022 changed hands at 100 14/32. The 10-year yield slid to a record low of 1.67 percent Sept. 23. The average over the past decade is 3.83 percent.
“To argue that the bond market is suggesting optimism on the economy, with 10-year yields below 2 percent, is a little tough,” said Justin Hoogendoorn, a fixed-income strategist at Bank of Montreal (BMO) unit BMO Capital Markets in Chicago. He said the reaction to the manufacturing data showed “at the margin, there’s a little optimism.”

Greenspan Says U.S. Stocks ‘Very Cheap,’ Likely to Rise (Source: Bloomberg)
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said U.S. stocks offer good value and are likely to rise as corporate earnings increase over time. “Stocks are very cheap,” Greenspan said today at the Bloomberg Washington Summit hosted by Bloomberg Link, citing “a very low price-earnings ratio.” “There is no place for earnings to grow except into stock prices,” said Greenspan, who served as Fed chairman from August 1987 to January 2006. Stocks have rallied on better-than-forecast corporate profits and signs of economic strength. The Standard & Poor’s (SPX) 500 Index has risen more than 12 percent this year, the best start to a year since 1998. The index rose 1.1 percent to 1,413.83 at 12:57 p.m. in New York after a report showed that U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly expanded in April at the fastest pace in 10 months.

U.S. Manufacturing Grows at Fastest Pace in a Year (Source: Bloomberg)
Manufacturing grew in April at the fastest pace in almost a year, propelled by a pickup in orders that signaled factories will remain a source of strength for the U.S. expansion. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index climbed to 54.8 last month, exceeding the most optimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey and the best reading since June, the Tempe, Arizona-based group’s report showed today. Readings greater than 50 signal growth. The world’s largest economy may pick up after slowing in the first three months of the year as the increase in bookings indicates American assembly lines will keep churning out more goods. Combined with a report showing manufacturing in China also accelerated, the figures sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average to the highest level since 2007 as the data eased concern global growth was slackening.
Manufacturing “continues to be a bright spot in the recovery,” said Ellen Zentner, a senior U.S. economist at Nomura Securities International Inc. in New York. “We have yet to see a drop-off in foreign demand for U.S.-manufactured goods, and that comes despite all the concerns of a slowdown in the global economy.”

Lacker Says Fed May Have to Tighten With Unemployment at 7% (Source: Bloomberg)
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker said the central bank needs to be ready to raise interest rates even if joblessness exceeds 7 percent. Speaking in an interview today at the Bloomberg Washington Summit hosted by Bloomberg Link, he said the Fed will probably have to raise rates in mid-2013. Adding more monetary stimulus now would raise inflation risks without doing much to boost growth, he said. Unemployment “could well be above 7 percent, and I think we have to prepare for that,” Lacker said. “I think it’s a misconception to think we have to get unemployment all the way down to five or some number like that before we raise rates.” Lacker has cast the only dissenting vote at each of the Federal Open Market Committee’s policy meetings this year. He has opposed the Fed’s statement that economic conditions will probably warrant “exceptionally low” levels of the federal funds rate at least through late-2014.

Higher Taxes Won’t Discourage Wealthy From Working Harder (Source: Bloomberg)
Atlas won’t shrug. That’s the view of economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty: They argue higher taxes will not discourage the wealthy from working harder or slow the economy, unlike in Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel, “Atlas Shrugged.” Its hero, John Galt, led a strike by industrialists and others against the government, partly because they thought they were too highly taxed. “Top 1 percent earners now make 20 times the average, while they made only 10 times the average in the 1970s,” Saez, winner of the John Bates Clark young economist award in 2009, said in an e-mail. “If they worked hard then, they should continue working hard today, even if they are taxed at 50 percent.” The top federal tax rate is now 35 percent.
The two economists’ work is of more than just academic interest. President Barack Obama’s former budget director, Peter Orszag, has said their research on income inequality “helped to point the way for the administration in its pledge to rebalance the tax code.” Senate Republicans last month blocked Obama’s plan to raise taxes on the rich via the so-called Buffett rule, arguing it would hurt the economy.

Three Fed Policy Makers See No Need to Ease (Source: Bloomberg)
Three voting members of the Federal Open Market Committee said they don’t see a need to ease policy further as the U.S. economy maintains its expansion. Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker said in Washington that more monetary stimulus risks stoking inflation while doing little to strengthen the recovery. San Francisco’s John Williams said the outlook he expects doesn’t warrant more bond buying, and Atlanta’s Dennis Lockhart repeated that he’s skeptical of the benefits of such action. The rate-setting committee left policy unchanged after its April 24-25 meeting, and Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled that further stimulus is unlikely unless the economy unexpectedly deteriorates. Bernanke said it would be “reckless” for the central bank to pursue policies that would drive up inflation when it’s already near the Fed’s goal of 2 percent, while noting he’s “prepared to do more” should conditions worsen.
“For us to provide more monetary stimulus at this point would likely raise inflation risks and not likely do much for growth,” Lacker said in an interview today at the Bloomberg Washington Summit hosted by Bloomberg Link. While “it’s not a gangbusters recovery by historical standards,” growth will accelerate, he said.

Fed Said to Criticize Banks on Risk Models in Stress Test (Source: Bloomberg)
The Federal Reserve criticized how some of the 19 largest U.S. banks calculated potential losses and planned dividends in this year’s stress tests, people with knowledge of the process said. The critiques will be part of feedback letters sent to the lenders this week that cover everything from data collection to risk measurement, said three of the people, who declined to be identified because communications with the Fed are private. Flaws included marking down all housing prices at the same rate, rather than matching them to specific regions, and planning dividends that could drain needed capital. “A 20 percent decline in national house prices would mean that prices would decline substantially more in some markets and less in others,” Daniel Tarullo, the Fed governor in charge of supervision, told a Chicago banking conference on April 10. “The result would be higher overall losses than if prices had declined by a uniform 20 percent everywhere.”
The letters arrive as tensions mount between the largest banks and the Fed over how new rules to make the financial system safer will be carried out. Bankers have complained the stress tests completed in March lack transparency and underestimate their underwriting abilities, resulting in higher losses on some asset classes than the lenders projected.

Engle Joins Krugman Suggesting Higher Inflation for U.S. (Source: Bloomberg)
New York University professor Robert Engle said policy makers should consider allowing slightly higher inflation as a way to spur the U.S. economy, joining fellow Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman who says it could reduce unemployment. “A little bit of inflation would do a whole lot of good for the U.S. economy, would certainly do a lot of good for the housing market,” Engle, who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2003, said at the Bloomberg Washington Summit hosted by Bloomberg Link today. “If we had just a little bit of inflation and house prices went up, all the sudden they’d be above the mortgages.” Krugman’s suggestion that the Federal Reserve tolerate inflation of 3 percent to 4 percent to boost the economy has been rejected by Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, who said such a policy would be “reckless.”
The Bernanke-Krugman debate started with Krugman’s April 24 article in the New York Times Magazine, titled “Earth to Bernanke.” In it, Krugman, who won the Nobel Prize in 2008, argued that allowing a more rapid increase in consumer prices would align with Bernanke’s comment in 2000 that the Bank of Japan should pursue faster inflation to escape deflation.

China Commercial Property Deals Fueled by Cash-Poor Developers (Source: Bloomberg)
Shanghai and Beijing, the two cities with Asia’s fastest-growing office rents, are set to lead a surge in commercial property transactions in China as more developers sell assets to raise cash for housing projects. Sales of office and retail buildings in the two major Chinese cities will double this year to $10.4 billion, according to Cushman & Wakefield Inc., which doesn’t make nationwide projections. The number of deals being negotiated in Shanghai in the past six months rose 50 percent from a year earlier, Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. said. Chinese real estate companies are selling commercial buildings for funds to complete apartment projects after the government’s two-year effort to curb home prices tightened credit. The cash ratio, a measure of liquidity, for developers fell to the lowest since 2008 as of December, according to data on 146 listed builders in China and Hong Kong compiled by Bloomberg.
“Many Chinese developers today are more willing to sell their office buildings or retail space because they need to access capital for their residential projects,” said Jack Ye, Shanghai-based national director of investment at Cushman, the world’s biggest closely held property service company.

China Manufacturing Growth Accelerates, PMI Shows (Source: Bloomberg)
China’s manufacturing expanded at the fastest pace in a year, reducing pressure on policy makers to open the taps on credit in the world’s second-largest economy. The Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 53.3 in April from 53.1 in March, China’s statistics bureau and logistics federation said in a statement yesterday. That’s the fifth straight reading above the 50 level dividing expansion from contraction and compares with the 53.6 median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 27 economists. The data signal China may be strengthening from the slowest pace of growth in almost three years, reached last quarter. At issue for Premier Wen Jiabao is whether to extend a two-month pause in lowering banks’ required reserve ratios, as he seeks to rein in property and consumer prices without sending the economy into a so-called hard landing.
“The need for aggressive policy easing is limited given the government’s desire to slow growth and the upside inflation risks,” said Chang Jian, a Hong Kong-based economist with Barclays Capital. “Fine-tuning measures such as easing credit, support for first-home buyers and expansionary fiscal policy to support infrastructure will gradually feed through, so the slowdown in growth will bottom out this quarter.”

Strategists Who Called Bottom in China Stocks Now Say Buy (Source: Bloomberg)
China’s longest bear market since 2005 is ending as government efforts to bolster the economy spur a rally in stocks, say the strategists whose buy recommendations two years ago preceded a 34 percent gain in the Shanghai Composite Index. (SHCOMP) While the Communist Party cut its economic expansion target in March, Morgan Stanley Huaxin Securities and Guotai Junan Securities Co. say growth is rebounding from the slowest pace since 2009 as policy makers ease lending curbs. Value Investment Principals predicts stocks that benefit most from a buoyant economy will lead gains after they tumbled during the Shanghai Composite’s 423-day bear market. The retreat ranks as the second-longest since 1990, according to Birinyi Associates Inc. “We’re definitely going to have a major bull market ahead,” Jerry Lou, the chief strategy officer at Morgan Stanley Huaxin in Shanghai, said in an April 24 phone interview.
The Shanghai Composite has rallied 12 percent from this year’s nadir on Jan. 5 as reports on bank lending and manufacturing spurred investors to snap up shares trading at the cheapest levels on record, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The gauge of mainland-listed stocks restricted to local investors and qualified foreign institutional money managers is still 61 percent below its 2007 peak after closing at 2,396.32 on April 27. The index rose 0.7 percent to 2,414.08 at 9:56 a.m. local time today.

Chinese Stocks Rise to 7-Week High on Manufacturing, Cut in Fees (Source: Bloomberg)
China’s stocks rose to the highest in seven weeks after manufacturing in China and the U.S. expanded at a faster pace and the nation’s two stock exchanges said they will cut trading fees by 25 percent to attract investors. PetroChina Co. and Jiangxi Copper Co., the nation’s biggest oil and copper producers, gained more than 1 percent after the Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 53.3 in April, the fastest pace in a year. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. led an advance for lenders after net income climbed. China Eastern Airlines Corp. increased 1 percent after the carrier said it would buy 20 Boeing planes. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 27 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,423.43 at 9:39 a.m. local time, heading for the highest close since March 13. The CSI 300 Index (SHSZ300) advanced 1.3 percent to 2,660.83. China’s markets were shut April 30 and May 1 for the holidays.
The Bloomberg China-US 55 Index (CH55BN), a measure of the most-traded U.S.-listed Chinese companies, advanced 1.1 percent to 104.65 at the close in New York yesterday. China’s PMI rose from 53.1 in March, the statistics bureau and logistics federation said in a statement yesterday. That’s the fifth straight reading above the 50 level dividing expansion from contraction.

Indonesia Chases China As Middle-Class Consumption Soars (Source: Bloomberg)
In May 1998, Indonesia was in turmoil. During the previous 10 months, the currency had plunged 80 percent in value and food prices had soared 200 percent. Rioters were marauding through Jakarta, torching businesses owned by wealthier ethnic Chinese, who were fleeing for their lives. Safely ensconced in Hong Kong, where he was on vacation, an Indonesian-Chinese retailer named Djoko Susanto could have sat tight. Instead, he flew home to defend his four supermarkets from the mob. As he transited Singapore, where planes were arriving from Indonesia full and returning empty, the airline’s crew stared at him in disbelief. “There were five people on my flight,” Susanto recalls. “And I was the only Chinese.” While he couldn’t save his stores -- all four were looted to the last light bulb -- Susanto was on hand to seize an opportunity that would make him a billionaire, Bloomberg Markets reports in its June issue.
More than 1,100 people died in the 1998 riots, and the economy contracted 13 percent that year. Doomsayers predicted that the world’s fourth-most-populous nation, a former Dutch colony spanning 17,500 disparate islands, would fragment.

Krueger Sees ‘Some Risk’ From European Debt Crisis (Source: Bloomberg)
Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said the European debt crisis poses “some risk” to the U.S. and global economy. Despite a “rise in some interest rates in some countries” over recent weeks European nations have made progress in resolving sovereign debt difficulties, Krueger said today at the Bloomberg Washington Summit. “It still looks a lot better than it did last summer,” Krueger said. “It remains to be the case that the countries in Europe have the capacity to address the problems.” Krueger also defended President Barack Obama’s record of working on behalf of U.S. middle-class families. Real median household income was down $4,300 since Obama took office in January 2009 and is down $2,900 since the recovery started in June 2009, according to an estimate from Sentier Research, an economic-consulting firm based in Annapolis, Maryland.

ECB Loans Plant Seeds of European Disintegration (Source: Bloomberg)
European Central Bank measures to stem the region’s debt crisis threaten instead to undermine the euro. ECB loans worth more than $1.3 trillion have been recycled into government bonds, capping borrowing costs. As Italy’s reliance on its local institutions increases and Spanish banks accelerate purchases of domestic government securities, however, the economic ties that bind the fate of euro members to each other loosen, weakening the incentives for cross-border support to defend the currency union. “As the local bond markets have become owned only by domestic institutions, there is less and less incentive for the other countries to support and bail out one of those,” said Stephane Monier, who helps manage more than $150 billion as head of fixed income and currencies at Lombard Odier Investment Managers. “Basically you’re planting the seeds for the disintegration of the euro zone.”
The ECB began two rounds of extraordinary three-year loans at an interest rate of 1 percent in December in its longer-term refinancing operations. Italian banks boosted their government debt holdings to 323.9 billion euros ($428.1 billion), from 301.6 billion euros in February and 247.4 billion euros in November, according to the ECB. Spanish banks own 263.3 billion euros of government securities, up from 245.6 billion euros in February and 177.9 billion euros in November.

U.K. Factories Weaken as World Relies on China Growth (Source: Bloomberg)
A U.K. manufacturing index fell more than economists forecast in April to show its weakest growth this year as export orders declined the most since May 2009. A gauge of factory output, based on a survey by Markit Economics and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, dropped to 50.5 from a revised 51.9 in March, Markit said on its website today. The median forecast of 27 economists in a Bloomberg News survey was for a decline to 51.5 from an initial estimate of 52.1 in March. A reading above 50 indicates growth. Bank of England officials will decide on May 10 whether to extend stimulus amid conflicting signals on the economy. While Britain is in its first double-dip recession since the 1970s, rising oil prices threaten to stoke an inflation rate in its third year above target. Factory output, which accounts for about 10 percent of gross domestic product, is being crimped as the euro-area debt crisis hits export demand.
“Manufacturers reported a slowdown in activity, characteristic of continued problems and poorer consumer confidence across the euro zone,” CIPS Chief Executive Officer David Noble said in the report. Also, an “easing of new orders from the U.S. and Asia is perhaps even more worrying as a potential risk to continued growth, as these have helped to balance out weaker demand in recent months.”

20120502 1112 Global Commodities Related News.

CME readies round-the-clock grains trade-sources
CHICAGO, April 30 (Reuters) - CME Group Inc  will extend trading hours for its hallmark grain contracts, two sources close to the matter said on Monday, as the Chicago exchange moves to defend its turf against rival ICE's  bid for nearly round-the-clock transactions.  
The board of the CME, which has a stranglehold on grains trading through the Chicago Board of Trade, the world's largest grain exchange that it acquired in 2007, has agreed to extend trading hours, but has not decided on how many hours to add to its trading day or when to implement them, the sources said.

China demand sets crop markets up for a fall
--Gavin Maguire is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own.--
CHICAGO, April 30 (Reuters) - China's insatiable appetite for all things crop-related caused a fresh surge in the price of corn Friday, and has been instrumental in steering soybean prices to their highest levels in nearly four years in recent weeks. Traders expect that tight stocks and soaring domestic crop prices will keep Chinese import demand - and crop prices - strong in the months ahead.  
But with the delivered  price of soybeans in China having just scaled its highest level since 2008 amid emerging economic weakness there, and pork production in China potentially on the verge of declining due to steep price losses and disease outbreaks among piglets, it is possible this latest charge higher in crop prices has set those markets up for a fall.

GRAINS-US corn dips from 3-week top on planting progress
SINGAPORE, May 1 (Reuters) - Chicago corn slid from a three-week top as higher pace of planting in the United States lifted new-crop supply prospects, while soybeans hovered around last week's near four-year peak on strong demand.
"I think we will see corn sell off further tonight as the market's expectation on planting was much lower," said Adam Davis, a senior commodity analyst at Merricks Capital in Melbourne. "Corn is getting in quickly which means there are less chances for soy to buy back any acres from corn."

Dryness to slow Australia wheat planting, lift canola
SYDNEY/SINGAPORE, May 1 (Reuters) - Australia's grain belt is forecast to stay dry in the coming weeks as farmers gear up to plant the 2012/13 crop, threatening wheat yields after two straight years of record high production.
A dry start to the grain planting season in Australia, which is on track to become the world's second-largest wheat exporter this year, could support global prices after excessive rain in the U.S. and dryness in parts of the Black Sea region underpinned the market.

Corn planting tops expectations, Iowa 50 pct done
CHICAGO, April 30 (Reuters) - U.S. corn planting advanced more than expected last week despite cool weather and rain as a huge seeding effort in top producer Iowa propelled sowing of the total crop past the halfway point, a U.S. Agriculture Department report showed on Monday.
The USDA's weekly crop progress and conditions report revealed that 53 percent of the U.S. corn crop was planted as of April 29, topping the average forecast of 43 percent from a Reuters poll of 18 analysts. A week earlier, seedings were 28 percent.
Heavy rains hit U.S. Plains wheat fields, floods a concern
April 30 (Reuters) - Heavy rains over the weekend in key growing areas of the U.S. Plains may have damaged some of the new wheat crop, leaving growers to hope for sunshine to help the crop dry out.
Flooding was noted Monday in parts of north-central Oklahoma and southeast Kansas after more than 5 inches of rain fell Saturday and Sunday, with most of pouring down on Sunday, meteorologists said.
Zambia maize output drops about 6 pct - minister
LUSAKA, April 30 (Reuters) - Zambia's maize output declined by about 6 percent to 2.8 million tonnes in the 2011/2012 season from 3 million tonnes last year, the agriculture minister said on Monday.
Emmanuel Chenda also said at a media briefing that Zambia still had a huge maize surplus because of carry-over stocks from last year and is planning to export some of the excess. "When the carry-over stocks of 770,931 tonnes from the last season are added to the current production, the country ends up with a maize surplus of 1,035,333," Chenda said.

Market Recap: Wheat Futures (Source: CME)
Wheat futures ended with most contracts seeing losses of roughly 4 to 12 cents. Chicago led losses, while Kansas City saw the lightest pressure. Most contracts finished low range. Traders in the wheat pit had yesterday’s Crop Progress and Condition Report to digest today. It showed spring wheat planting progress well ahead of normal at 74% complete as well as very slight improvement in the winter wheat crop.

Wheat Market Recap Report (Source: CME)
July Wheat finished down 11 1/2 at 643, 12 1/2 off the high and 2 up from the low. December Wheat closed down 8 1/4 at 679 3/4. This was 2 3/4 up from the low and 9 1/4 off the high. July wheat saw late aggressive selling from speculators to drive the market sharply lower on the day to push to new lows for the session into the close. The excellent weather forecast for US producers, less concerns for the crops in Europe and more rain in the forecast for the southern plains were key factors to help pressure. Weakness in the other grains, improving crop conditions and a bearish weather outlook has helped pressure the market to moderately lower on the day into the mid-session. Warm and wet weather for much of the plains and Midwest is seen as good for crop development at this time of the year. Private exporters reported to the USDA the sale of 110,000 tonnes of US hard red winter wheat to Saudi Arabia. This was their first US purchase in eight months. There were 48 deliveries against the May contract. Spring wheat plantings are 74% complete vs. a 5-year average of 32%. July Oats closed down 1/4 at 345 1/4. This was 3 1/2 up from the low and 3/4 off the high.

Healthy Kansas wheat crop on track for early harvest
CHICAGO, April 30 (Reuters) - Kansas farmer Jerry McReynolds' wheat fields have developed a full month early, which has him optimistic for a harvest that should yield better than last year's drought-reduced crop.
Many farmers in Kansas and across southern U.S. Plains states of Texas and Oklahoma seeded their crop at the time of a devastating drought with little hope of a good crop but timely  snow and rain brought the wheat back from the brink.

Market Recap: Corn Futures (Source: CME)
May corn futures briefly traded firmer this afternoon, but closed 1/2 cent lower, with the July contract ending 5 1/4 cents and lower September corn down 10 1/2 cents. New-crop futures were under pressure through the day, ending mostly around 4 cents lower. Pressure on new-crop futures was tied to yesterday's stronger-than-expected planting progress report, which showed planting 53% complete -- around 10 percentage points above expectations.

Corn Market Recap for 5/1/2012(Source: CME)
July Corn finished down 5 1/4 at 629, 5 1/4 off the high and 4 up from the low. December Corn closed down 4 1/2 at 538 3/4. This was 5 1/2 up from the low and 2 3/4 off the high. July corn was trading near the highs of the day-session with just ten minutes left in the session before breaking 8 cents rather quickly and closing 5 1/4 lower on the day. A faster than expected start to the planting season and near ideal weather outlook ahead helped to drive the market sharply lower into the mid-session. While the wet forecast may slow plantings, traders view the rain events over the next 10 days as beneficial for a fast start to the growing season for the corn already coming up. The weekly planting report showed that 53% of the crop is planted which is 10% above trade expectations and up from 28% last week and 12% last year. The 10 year average for this time of year is 35%. Iowa is now 50% complete from 9% last week. Illinois is 79% planted and 34% emerged to push emergence to 15% nationwide from 6% on average. A lack of producer selling plus a lack of deliveries continues to provide some underlying support to the market. Given the cash basis levels, end users who need corn are considering ownership of May receipts as an alternative to buying in the cash market and this has helped to support short-covering strength in May and July corn in recent days. Funds were noted sellers late in the day to help pressure. July Rice finished down 0.11 at 15.02, 0.1 off the high and 0.07 up from the low.

SOFTS-Cocoa consolidates after selloff, sugar falls
LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) - Cocoa futures on ICE consolidated in early trading after a selloff late on Monday, while raw sugar eased to touch a fresh 11-month low, pressured by expectations of a big global supply surplus of the sweetener.  Cocoa futures were near unchanged, steadying after crumbling in a wave of month-end technical sales on Monday.

Indonesia's April Sumatra coffee bean exports fall 57 pct
BANDAR LAMPUNG, May 1 (Reuters) - Robusta coffee bean exports from Indonesia's main growing area in Sumatra fell 57 percent in April from a year earlier, as falling prices and dwindling stocks caused many producers to hold onto supplies.
Indonesia, the world's third-largest coffee producer after Brazil and Vietnam, shipped 10,096.7 tonnes of robusta in April, although shipments doubled from March as some farmers began early harvesting.

Australia cotton crop seen at record 4.4-4.5 mln bales-industry
SYDNEY, May 1 (Reuters) - Australia, the world's No.3 cotton exporter, will harvest a record 4.4-4.5 million bales this season thanks to good growing conditions and increased acreage encouraged by firm global prices, industry body Cotton Australia said on Tuesday.
"As an industry, we are about 40 percent complete with picking. We think the size of the crop is going to be around 4.4-4.5 million bales, breaking last year's record of 4.1 million bales," Adam Kay, chief executive officer of Cotton Australia said.

Indonesia Sulawesi cocoa bean exports soar in April
JAKARTA, May 1 (Reuters) - Cocoa bean exports from Indonesia's main growing island more than quadrupled in April as producers shipped more beans to take advantage of lower export taxes and domestic grinding demand eased.
Cocoa exports from Sulawesi grew to 7,912.02 tonnes in April from 1,570 tonnes a year earlier, Indonesia Cocoa Association (Askindo) data showed on Tuesday. March exports were at 3,505.66 tonnes.

Brazil coffee notches up another overly-dry month
BRASILIA, April 30 (Reuters) - Brazil's key coffee areas suffered another dry month in important areas in April, data from forecaster Somar showed on Monday, dryness that is likely to limit the potential for beans to swell out in the final weeks before the harvest begins.
Rainfall in top coffee state Minas Gerais, which grows about half the coffee in the world's top producer, was 13 to 39 percent less than usual, Somar data showed, after three prior months of below average rains in southwestern parts of the state.

Mexico 12/13 cotton output seen down 17 pct-attache
April 30 (Reuters) - Following are selected highlights from a report issued by a U.S. Department of Agriculture attache in Mexico:
"The 2012/13 total Mexican cotton production is forecast to decrease approximately 17 percent due to an expected decrease in planted area resulting from continued volatility in international cotton prices and a contraction in domestic consumption. Total domestic cotton consumption in MY 2012/13 is forecast to decrease to 2,209,000 bales (each bale weighs 480 pounds) - down approximately 10 percent compared to the previous years' revised estimate. This decrease is expected to be driven by a big jump in imports from China as protective duties were recently eliminated."

Venezuela 2012 sugar output seen up slightly-attache
April 30 (Reuters) - Following are selected highlights from a report issued by a U.S. Department of Agriculture attache in Venezuela:
"The Venezuelan sugar industry foresees domestic production only slightly increasing in 2012, constrained by low profitability and the absence of government incentives to support cane output. Total imports are expected to be about 800,000 tonnes. The government recently increased the regulated consumer price to Bs. 6.11 per kilogram, an amount that may cover production costs but not large enough to stimulate further investment or expansion."

Ivory Coast rains brighten cocoa mid-crop
ABIDJAN, April 30 (Reuters) - Rainfall last week across most of Ivory Coast's cocoa-growing regions has improved the outlook for the April-to-September cocoa mid-crop, with abundant volumes expected from June, farmers and analysts said on Monday.
Buyers and exporters have complained of low quantities and poor quality beans in recent weeks due to a dry spell from November 2011 to March 2012. Marketing of the mid-crop in the world's top cocoa producer usually begins in early April but is running late.

Oil Trades Near Five-Week High on U.S. Manufacturing (Source: Bloomberg)
Oil traded near the highest close in five weeks after U.S. manufacturing increased at the fastest pace in 10 months, signaling that economic growth will accelerate in the world’s biggest crude consumer. Futures were little changed in New York after climbing 1.2 percent yesterday. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index last month exceeded the most optimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey and rose to the highest reading since June. U.S. oil supplies gained 2.04 million barrels last week, industry data showed after the settlement. The Energy Department today may say they climbed 2.5 million barrels. “There is a chance that we’ll push on to new highs from here based on an improving demand outlook,” Ric Spooner, a chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, said by telephone today. “We’ve seen a bit of a consistent build with inventories. Markets are tending to look beyond that.”
Oil for June delivery was at $105.86 a barrel, down 30 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:26 a.m. Sydney time. The contract yesterday advanced $1.29 to $106.16, the highest close since March 27. Front-month prices are 7.1 percent higher this year. Brent oil for June settlement was at $119.62 a barrel, down 4 cents, on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract’s premium to West Texas Intermediate was at $13.76, from $13.31 yesterday, the least since Jan. 31.

Hedgers' net short position vanishes in US oil
--John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own--
LONDON, April 30 (Reuters) - Oil hedgers held the smallest net short position in WTI-linked futures and options for at least six years in the week ended April 24, according to commitments of traders data published by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
This physical hedgers category, which the CFTC identifies as "producers, merchants, processors and users" (who use futures predominantly to manage or hedge risks), typically runs an overall short position in U.S. crude futures and options , according to CFTC records.

OIL-Oil holds above $119; China offsets U.S., Europe
LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) - Oil held above $119 a barrel on Tuesday as economic expansion in China helped counter a sluggish U.S. economy and bubbling euro zone debt crisis that could depress demand for fuel.
"China is still in an expansionary phase and we saw a slight tick-up on the month," said Ben Le Brun, a Sydney-based market analyst at OptionXpress. "That will offset that negativity we saw filtered through from Europe last night."

Colder weather boosts UK prompt gas prices
LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) - British prompt gas prices rose on Tuesday morning as the market was more than 6 million cubic metres (mcm) undersupplied due to cool and rainy weather, with temperatures forecast to drop further.  
Gas for day-ahead delivery  was up 1.10 pence a therm to 62.10 pence at 0845 GMT and within-day gas was trading around 61.90 pence per therm, up 1.40 pence.

India's exports fall for the first time since 2009
NEW DELHI, May 1 (Reuters) - India's exports in March fell for the first time since the 2009 global financial crisis as demand weakened in the United States and Europe, further clouding the outlook for the country's balance of payments.
Exports fell 5.7 percent to $28.7 billion from the same period a year earlier, continuing a sharp slowdown in shipments in recent months that, combined with high imports of oil and gold, has sparked concern over the country's swelling trade deficit.

Gold Seen Advancing on Central Banks Stimulus Speculation (Source: Bloomberg)
Gold fell for a second straight day as signs of stronger U.S. industrial growth boosted prospects for the economy and eroded the appeal of the precious metal as a haven. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of equities rose as much as 1.2 percent after the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index rose to 54.8 in April from 53.4 in March. Economists had forecast a reading of 53, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. The precious metal has gained 6.1 percent this year as Europe’s intensifying debt crisis threatened global growth. “The ISM numbers gave investors a good reason to jump back into equities,” Adam Klopfenstein, a market strategist at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “People are favoring equities over gold.” Gold futures for June delivery slid 0.1 percent to settle at $1,662.40 an ounce at 1:49 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices earlier reached $1,672.30, the highest since April 13.
Asian markets including Hong Kong, South Korea, China, India and Singapore are closed for public holidays. Most western European markets, including Germany, France and Spain, are closed for the May Day holiday.

20120502 1111 Soy Oil & Palm Oil Related News.

ITS CPO export up 9.42% to 1,233,444 tonnes for the period of 1~30 Apr 2012.
SGS CPO export up 10.4% to 1,211,211 tonnes for the period of 1~30 Apr 2012.

Market Recap: Soybean Futures (Source: CME)
Soybean futures finished widely mixed amid bull spread unwinding. The May and July contracts ended 5 1/4 and 2 cents lower, respectively, while the August contract was 3 cents higher and new-crop contracts were 7 3/4 to 11 3/4 cents higher. Meal futures also finished widely mixed amid bull spread unwinding, while soyoil closed lower. Old-crop soybean futures faced light profit-taking pressure today after the recent string of gains.

Soybean Complex Market Recap (Source: CME)
July Soybeans finished down 2 at 1503 1/2, 1 1/4 off the high and 11 1/2 up from the low. November Soybeans closed up 11 1/2 at 1392 1/2. This was 16 3/4 up from the low and 1 off the high. July Soymeal closed down 1.3 at 434.2. This was 2.8 up from the low and 2.1 off the high. July Soybean Oil finished down 0.14 at 54.91, 0.37 off the high and 0.3 up from the low. July soybeans closed just a few cents lower on the session and well up from the mid-session lows while November soybeans closed sharply higher on the session and experienced the highest close since September 9th. December meal surged into new contract highs and closed $6.00 higher on the day. More big deliveries plus talk of the extreme overbought condition for old crop soybeans due to the surge higher in the past few weeks helped to pressure the market to trade moderately lower on the day into the mid-session. Grain traders view the weather outlook as bearish with periods of warm and wet weather over the next 10 days but not enough rain to cause flooding issues. There were 757 contracts delivered against the May contract this morning which added to the negative tone. Liquidation of old crop/new crop bull spreads helped to support the November contract. Persistent China buying helped to provide underlying support to limit the downside as the USDA confirmed the sale of 110,000 tonnes of US soybeans to China for the 2012/13 season. The USDA reported that planted area reached 12% complete from 6% last week.

AgRural trims Brazil soy crop view to 66.2 mln T
BRASILIA, April 30 (Reuters) - Brazil's soon-to-finish 2011/12 soybean crop is expected to produce 66.2 million tonnes according to crop forecasters AgRural, half a million less than their March view of 66.7 million tonnes due to a drought.
A lack of rain this season over the South American grain crop in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, which together produce more than half the world's soy trade, has raised concerns of falling stocks of the world's most important source of protein.

VEGOILS-Palm oil edges down in thin trades; exports support
SINGAPORE, April 30 (Reuters) - Malaysian palm oil futures edged lower as slower U.S. growth raised fears of a weaker global economic outlook, although losses were curbed by strong palm oil export numbers and a tight global oilseed supply situation.
"Exports were bullish and we can expect to see the market reaction in the afternoon. It's quiet now with volumes standing at around 6,000 lots. There could be a volatile trading session later," said a dealer with a foreign commodities brokerage in Malaysia.

Informa cuts Argentine soybean forecast-sources
April 27 (Reuters) - Memphis, Tennessee-based analytical firm Informa Economics on Friday pegged this year's Argentine soybean production at 40.0 million tonnes, a sharp cut of 5.0 million tonnes from the firm's previous outlook, trade sources said.
A drought earlier in the crop's growing season has led to declines in crop prospects from the world's second largest soybean exporter and the largest exporter of soymeal and soyoil.

Weather-hit EU rapeseed crop faces 6-yr low-analyst
PARIS, April 27 (Reuters) - Rapeseed production in the European Union is on course to fall to a six-year low of 17.6 million tonnes in 2012 after severe winter weather damaged crops, increasing tension in supply and prices of the oilseed, analyst Strategie Grains said.
The forecast crop would be down from an estimated 19.1 million tonnes harvested last year, the French analyst said. Strategie Grain's forecast for the EU rapeseed crop is below the 18.48 million tonnes currently estimated by Hamburg-based oilseed analyst Oil World.