Reports & Statistics

Retail sales for August climbed 2.7 percent according to the US Commerce Department beating expectations for a 2 percent gain. The number excluding autos increased 1.1 percent as opposed to the expectation for a 0.4 percent gain.1 The Producer Price Index was 1.7 percent higher versus economists’ expectations for a 0.8 percent gain.1  Consumer prices gained 0.4 percent in August, and the core price index gained 0.1 percent.2  Industrial production was expected to have gained 0.6 percent, but came in at 0.8 percent.3  Housing starts gained 1.5 percent last month.4

In energies, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed crude oil stockpiles fell by 4.7 million barrels, gasoline stockpiles gained 500,000 barrels, and distillates rose by 2.2 million barrels.5  Analysts had expected crude supplies to fall by 3 million barrels.6

Top Commodity News

Precious Metals

A methane gas explosion in an Impala mine killed at least one worker and led to a shutdown of operations in that shaft.7  A one-year wage deal has been reached between mineworkers and Anglo Platinum in South Africa, helping to “avert a possible strike”.8  Gold imports in India reached 21.8 tons in August versus 7.8 tons in July, ramping up sentiment that jewelry demand may rise during festival season despite the recession and higher prices. 9

Grains & Oilseeds

Forecasts for warm weather and a lack of frost threat may be beneficial for soybeans in the Midwest. Chinese soybean-buying firm officials are currently on tour in rural parts of the United States.10  The latest USDA reports have shown expectations for large soybean and corn crops; 12,954 billion bushels for corn and 3.245 billion bushels for soybeans. Yield expectations are also near record highs.11  Arkansas has confirmed aggressive soybean rust fungus in 21 counties.12  A researcher in China has accused the United States of “dumping soybeans”.13

Coffee, Cocoa & Sugar

The 2009/10 cocoa season in Ghana may improve due to “good rains and increased use of fertilizer”, possibly around 680,000 tons.14  The possibility of global recovery has led to a cocoa forecast adjustment from the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO). The ICCO has cut the forecast for the surplus for 2009/10 from 100,000 tons to 25,000 – 50,000 tons.15  Indonesian cocoa farmers have begun work on the government-sponsored program to replant “aging cocoa trees”.16 In coffee, rains may have boosted Ethiopia’s harvest for 2009/10 17  while rains in Brazil’s growing region could threaten bean quality for those “small amounts still left in the fields”.18  Brazil has also been considering legislation to add environmental limits on new sugarcane plantations.19  The sugar harvest in Australia for 2009/10 was boosted by dry weather and output may reach 4.5 million tons of raw sugar.20 


Over two thousand pounds of beef products have been recalled by a company in California over concerns of a possible listeria contamination.21  Pork production in China may grow by nearly 4 percent next year to 50.3 million metric tons.22  Beef slaughter reported by the USDA was 14.2 percent lower year on year in the latest weekly report at 562,000 head.  23

Coming Up Next Week:

Monday: Crop Progress
Tuesday: FOMC Meeting Day 1
Wednesday: FOMC Meeting Day 2, Energy Stocks
Thursday: Gas Storage, Existing Home Sales
Friday: Durable Goods, New Home Sales, Livestock Slaughter, Hogs & Pigs

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