Reports & Statistics

The consumer confidence index boasted a surprise jump in May, climbing to 54.9 compared to the anticipated 42.3.  This number from the Conference Board was at 40.8 last month.1 A survey released by the Mortgage Bankers Association this week shows the number of initiated foreclosure actions hitting a record high. The number of foreclosures beginning was “the largest quarter-over-quarter increase in foreclosure starts since it began keeping records in 1972”, and delinquencies were up 7.88 percent from the previous quarter.2 New home sales increased in April, up 0.3 percent from the revised number for the previous month. Existing home sales increased slightly in April on foreclosures and short sales.3 The advance orders for durable goods climbed 1.9 percent in April, surpassing the 0.5 percent increase forecast from surveys.4

In energies, OPEC concluded talks which resulted in a decision to maintain current output levels.5 Crude oil inventories were reduced by 5.4 million barrels last week versus a poll which showed expectations for a 700,000 barrel drop. Gasoline fell less than the forecasted 1.5 million barrel decline, posting a drop of 600,000 barrels. Distillates rose 300,000 barrels and natural gas rose 106 billion cubic feet.6

Top Commodity News

Precious Metals
This year’s price assumptions for some metals have been increased by Standard and Poor’s. The 2009 price assumption for gold is set at $850, while the long term is projected at $600 per ounce.7 Gold output in Russia has increased over 37 percent in the beginning of this year.8 Norilsk – a major source of platinum group metal production – has increased its forecasts for this year – “between 2.685 million and 2.710 million ounces from an earlier estimate of 2.610 million to 2.625 million ounces” for palladium and “between 615,000 and 640,000 ounces, compared with an earlier forecast of 600,000-620,000 ounces” for platinum.9 Gold output in South Africa has declined, down 49,713 kg in the first quarter.10

Grains & Oilseeds

Plantings remain in focus for news outlets, and Illinois farmers are reported to have planted around half of their state’s corn acreage in a week’s time. Soybean planting progress was also made. Both crops are still behind planting progress from the same time a year ago.11 Winter wheat crops are also making headlines following drought and freeze issues. Northwestern crops appear to be “looking good” – except in Oregon, where production may be down 15 percent. Sowing of spring wheat in North Dakota is lagging behind the average pace.12

Coffee, Cocoa & Sugar

A London-based entity reported that they anticipate a 7.2 percent drop in cocoa output for the year ending September 30th, and they forecast a deficit due to the smaller drop in grindings.13 Meanwhile, Ghanaian cocoa farmers are looking forward to the government’s plan to support cocoa production.14 A recent earthquake in Honduras has resulted in a temporary port closure, but there were “no signs of damage to Honduran coffee farms after the quake”.15 Columbia is reporting that it will not default on commitments for coffee exports, despite a shortage of arabica. The shortfall is attributed to late flowering in humid conditions.16  Sugar imports in India may be lower than expectations following an increase in prices.17 Cane acreage in India may grow by 7 to 10 percent this year, and early monsoon rains may prove beneficial.18


Red meat production in the United States has declined 5 percent year-over-year, to 4.08 billion pounds in April. Cattle slaughter declined 6 percent. Numbers for pork production and hog slaughter posted similar declines.19 Cold storage supplies of red meat increased 1 percent in April, while pork supplies rose 3 percent. Both were lower than the same time last year. Pork bellies in storage rose 9 percent; however, data does not reflect the overall impact the H1N1 flu strain may have had.20 The number of cattle on feed for the beginning of the month was lower than the same date one year ago.21

Coming Up Next Week:
Monday: Personal Income, Construction Spending, ISM Index, Crop Progress
Wednesday: Factory Orders, ISM Services, Energy Stats
Thursday: Gas Storage
Friday: Employment Situation

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