Top Commodity News

Precious Metals

GFMS, a London-based precious metals consultancy,
recently released a review to highlight the estimated effect
of economic downturn on jewelry demand. According to
their research, industrialized nations have been
experiencing an accelerated decline in jewelry demand
for over two years with overall demand in 2008 realized
an eleven percent dip over 2007.6

Canada’s retail sales numbers posted an increase in
January, owing to a mostly unexpected boost in purchases
of new cars. At least one strategist suggests that
automobile sales “are tracking a 2.0 percent decline”
which suggests next month’s retail sales number will be
less positive. With seasonal adjustment, new auto sales
rose by 5.5 percent.Without the adjustment, the number
was actually down from December.7

Grains & Oilseeds

Early week news suggested India’s wheat production may
have been hampered by dry weather, something that
could set production at 77.8 million MT, behind a
government target of 78.6 million MT.8 However, an
update later in the week from a farm official suggested
that rains and cooler temperatures could boost output.9

Also from India, the trade secretary announced abolition
of a twenty percent tax on crude soybean oil imports, a
tax which had been implemented four months ago.10

Coffee, Cocoa & Sugar

According to a story on the analytical firm, F.O. Licht,
global sugar output will “be in a deficit for the first time
in four years”. The sugar production estimate from the
firm was lowered by 4.4 million tons to 157.4 million tons.
This would be a 2.4 percent decline on the year. A decline
in Asian production – specifically in India and China – is
forecast to be partially offset by a climb in Brazilian sugar
production estimates.11

Robusta coffee harvest in Indonesia is starting with a peak
expected aroundMay or June. Supply is anticipated to be
around the same as last year.12 The Ethiopian President
emphasized his country’s laws against hoarding coffee,
likely because of a drop in the nation’s exports. The
government may sell coffee it finds in warehouses.13

Cocoa grinders in Malaysia may be looking to reduce
capacity amid global economic slowdown.14 Cameroon
is aiming to encourage farmers to grow more cocoa,
targeting 300,000 tons in five years time.15


The European Union may be prepared to double the
quota for US beef imports.16 January pork and beef
exports from the US were stronger than anticipated with
beef muscle cut exports climbing 13% in volume and
total pork exports climbing 6%. Strong pork exports to
Mexico made up for drops to China and Russia.17


This week delivered a nearly full docket of
economic reports and included an FOMC
meeting and announcement. Housing starts in
the US rose over 22 percent in February over
January.1 This week’s PPI showed a 0.1 percent
gain2 and CPI data showed a gain despite a
forecast for a lower number. A climb of 0.4
percent in February eclipses the 0.3 rise from
January. The “core rate” advanced 0.2 percent.3
Focus on jobless rates in the US remains with
news this week from the Labor Department that
5.47 million people were receiving benefits in
the week ending March 7th.4

In weekly energy data, the EIAreported a build
of 1.94 million barrels of crude oil inventory in
the week prior. Gasoline added 3.2 million
barrels contrary to analyst predictions of a
roughly 2 million barrel decline.5



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