Monday, April 28, 2008

Scotland and Nigeria Strikes Cause Another Oil Price Record

Crude oil prices reached another record today, as strikes in Scotland and Nigeria reduced output. Another factor causing prices to rise to $119.93 a barrel in New York is the continuing attacks in Nigeria on pipelines.

The Nigerian strike has now entered its fifth day, as production has decreased by 50 percent since April 25.

"As long as there are disruptions of high-quality crude supplies, prices are going to move higher," said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. "If the Nigerian strike isn't settled, we could easily see oil rise to $125 by the end of the week."

The two areas represented by the strike in the North Sea and Nigeria produce the low-sulfur oils which refiners prefer.

June delivery for crude oil climbed by 23 cents to finish at $118.75 a barrel on the Nymex. Brent Crude for June increased by 40 cents to settle at $116.74 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

The strike in Scotland will only last for two days, as it was a protest over their pensions. Even so, it'll take about three weeks for the refinery to return to its full capacity of 200,000 barrels a day.

Friday, April 25, 2008

HiHo Silver Resources Expanding Exploration at Silvertip Project

Hi Ho Silver Resources Inc. announced it will be expanding its exploration at the Silver Tip Project in the southeastern portion of British Columbia.

Fred Fisher, President of Hi Ho Silver Resources Inc. says, “Historically the property is under explored, and utilizing modern systematic exploration techniques to confirm and prove mineralized showings, we will be in a position to advance the Property towards defining a mineable resource.”

Included in the 2008 expanded exploration will be "soil and rock sampling, geological mapping, trenching, opening up old workings, access road/trail construction, metallurgical work, prospecting, shallow drilling with portable drills and bulk sampling," said the press release.

While there are currently eight high-grade mineral showings, six of them are past production; the reason for expanding the exploration of the Property.

Wheat Down 40 Percent from February High


Since the record price of wheat in February, prices have continued to fall as an expected large harvest has caused the golden grain to fall by 40 percent since the $13.50 a bushel record.

On the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) soft red winter wheat has plunged to $8.01 a bushel, the lowest since November 2007.

According to the International Grain Council, wheat will probably reach a record harvest of 645 million tons in 2008-09.

"The big rise in prices in 2007 and early 2008 was a strong incentive to increase the planting of wheat," said Sudakshina Unnikrishnan, an agricultural analyst at Barclays Bank.

"The market is pricing-in expectations of a bigger crop from summer onwards."

Government subidies by the U.S. and Europe for corn-based ethanol has been a major contributor to the price increases, as farmers over the last several years have taken acreage out of wheat production and put it into corn.

Wheat farmers will probably be a year too late to get the huge prices, as their huge harvest will cause price decreases, as is already being factored into the market.

Texas Governor Rick Perry Seeks U.S. Ethanol Cutback Waiver

Calling the ethanol mandate of the federal government "misguided," Texas Governor Rick Perry solicited the government for a waiver on the renewable fuel standard. He's asking for it to be cut in half for Texas.

"We're diversifying our state's energy portfolio at a rapid rate, but this misguided mandate is significantly affecting Texans' family food bill," Perry said.

He added: "The artificial demand for grain-derived ethanol is devastating the livestock industry in Texas and needlessly creating a negative impact on our state's otherwise strong economy while driving up food prices around the world."

This is what almost always happens when the government enters into the marketplace. Think of the term "good intentions," and then add "unintended consequences."

These are already destroying lives of people across the world, and riots are ensuing and the government of Haiti has already fallen in response to the fallout.

Kentucky Corn Planting Behind Schedule as Rains Continue to Hinder


Kentucky corn farmers are scrambling to get their corn fields planted this week, as wet weather has continued to hamper the start of the seasonal planting.

"They're in the `go' mode right now," Kenny Perry, agricultural extension agent in Graves County in western Kentucky, said Thursday. "They're excited to finally be getting into the fields."

Across the state, only 11 percent of acreage intended for corn has been planted, that's in contrast to last year's 39 percent and the average of 47 percent over the last five years on the same date. That's according to the most recent report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service's Kentucky field office.

If Kentucky weather can remain dry, the season for corn should be ok, as there is still a couple weeks to plant without experiencing the lower yields expected if a later sowing results in summer heat influencing the pollination of the corn.

The option for Kentucky farmers would be to sow soybeans, but that isn't without risks either, as the 2007 drought has resulted in supply problems for soybean seeds. Most of those problems are connected to varieties offered, more than being able to attain some type of soybean seed.

This is the short window where major decisions have to be made whether to go ahead with corn or switch to soybeans; much of what farmers in other states around the country are facing.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Gold Mining Company Shares Down on Dollar Rally


Shares in gold mining companies plummeted as the U.S. dollar strengthened against the euro, and the yellow metal fell in price.

Also affected by the strengthening U.S. dollar was gold futures, which plunged by $20.30 to finish at $888.70 for the June contract on the Nymex. It fell as low as $884.50 before it rebounded. Still it's the lowest price since January 10, 2008. Gold has fallen by 8 percent since its high of $1,038.60.

Some gold company results today:


Gold Fields Ltd. (nyse:GFI) dropped 35 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $13.71.

Newmont Mining Corp. (nyse:NEM) finished down by 85 cents at $43.

Goldcorp Inc. (nyse:GG) declined by $2.14, or 5.6 percent, to $36.30.

Barrick Gold Corp. (nyse:ABX) lost $1.57, or 3.9 percent, to $39.23.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Oil Closing in on $120, Gas Prices Over $3.50

The price of gas across America has now reached over $3.51 a gallon, as prices for oil continue to break records almost daily. Diesel also broke new records, as it surged to $4.204 a gallon overnight. This was according to a survey by the Oil Price Information Service and the AAA.

Foreign supply constraints continue to be a factor in oil prices in the U.S., as the problems in Nigeria continue, and Mexico is producing less oil than usual, dropping be 7.8 percent in the first quarter, producing about 2.91 million barrels a day.

Crude for delivery in the U.S. increased by 23 cents on Wednesday to finish at $118.30 a barrel.

London Brent crude increased by 51 cents to settle at $116.46 a barrel; down from the record of $116.75 set on Tuesday.

Gasoline futures hit another record high today after the reports last week of U.S.inventories dropping by 3.2 million barrels.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Global Wheat Production Expect to Increase 6%

A report from Utrecht, Netherlands-based Rabobank, says the global production for wheat should increase by 6 percent this year, making it a record harvest globally.

Motivating the higher output is the increasing prices of the commodity, based on growing food demand, investors, biofuels and feed for animals. Stockpiles around the world also plunged last year causing the grain to increase in price as well.

"Wheat production is forecast to rebound strongly, resulting in a partial recovery in world inventory levels and taking some pressure off world prices,' a team of analysts in Sydney, Australia, wrote in the report.
It is expected the harvest will bring in an additional 37 million metric tons to bring the total for the the year to 640 million tons. Stockpiles around the world should grow by 9 percent as a result.

This should help bring prices down during the second half of 2008 said the report, as production grows beyond demand by about 12 million tons.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Is U.S. Government Responding Quickly Enough to the Ethanol Disaster?


U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman has finally commented on the ethanol disaster resulting from the corn subsidy's given to farmers to grow it.

He said the U.S. would be "moving away gradually" from corn-based ethanol development, although there is really no alternative, as far as ethanol goes as a biofuel, because cellulosic ethanol is still far too complicated and costly to be a viable alternative.

"The reason that cellulosic fuels like ethanol are not on the market in large volumes is not because we don't know how to make it in commercial quantities," Bodman said. "The production process at present is too complex and too costly, but I am confident that we can find the way forward."

The continuing discovery of oil, along with the new way oil may be produced, offers a much better future for energy than ethanol, or any other option at this time.

Shell Says Nigerian Pipeline Attack will have Minimal Impact on Oil Production

Shell said the recent attack on an oil supply pipeline in southern Nigeria won't have too much impact on oil production, after it found a leak on a pipeline connected to teh Bonny exports terminal - the largest in Nigeria.

"We discovered there was a major leak on the Greater Port Harcourt swamp pipeline. The leak appears to have been caused by explosives. We have isolated the line preparatory to repairs," Shell spokesman in Lagos Tony Okonedo told AFP. "Small quantities of oil have been shut in to allow for necessary repairs."

Shell is the largest oil exporter in Nigeria, accounting for approximately half the 2.1 million barrels a day output.

The company's pipelines have been under attack frequently over the last couple years, with a terrorist group named Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) claiming responsibility.

Shell said oil production has been cut back slightly as a result of the attack, as repairs are being made.

Oil surged to a new record high of $117 a barrel on Friday.

Shares in Silver Mining Companies Fall with Commodity Prices

The decrease in commodity prices Friday had a significant impact on silver mining company shares, as they mirrored the overall decline.

On the Comex division of the Nymex, silver dropped 87 cents to $17.83 an ounce in afternoon trading on Friday. The Dow Jones-AIG Silver Index was also down by 2.7 percent.

Some of the declines included Pan American Silver Corp. (nasdaq:PAAS) which fell $2.11, or 5.2 percent, to $38.42; Hecla Mining Co. (nyse:HL) fell 63 cents, or 4.9 percent, to $12.37; and Silver Wheaton Corp. (nyse:SLW) fell 74 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $16.49; Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp. 14 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $3.63 and Silver Standard Resources Inc. (nasdaq:SSRI) fell $1.31, or 4.3 percent, to $29.22.

Canaccord Adams analyst Steven Butler said that while the silver sell off followed the gold, the demand for silver keeps it different than gold as solely an inflation hedge.

Silver began the year on the spot market at $14.80 an ounce.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Gold Plunges to Two-Week Low on Strengthening U.S. Dollar

Prices for gold fell to their lowest level in two weeks, as the U.S. dollar made gainst against the euro.

June delivery for gold fell $27.70 to rest at $915.20 an ounce on the Nymex, after dropping as low as $907.30.

On Wednesday gold had surged to $948 an ounce, making investors look for the $1,000 an ounce the yellow metal first reached in March.

Gold was "heavily weighed down by an initial retreat in crude oil and the dollar's rapid ascent," Jon Nadler, analyst with Kitco Bullion Dealers Montreal, said in a note.

Many investors believe gold will reach $1,000 an ounce again by the end of 2008.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Nations Continue to buy Domestic Wheat to Combat Inflation, High Food Prices

Nations continue to acquire domestic wheat from their farmers in an effort to boost reserves as food prices wreak havoc across the world.

India has bought 7 percent more wheat than usual from its domestic farmers, in an effort to combat inflation, which has reached a three-year high in the country. A number of state firms bought a combined 3.1 million metric tons of wheat from farmers since April 1. Eventually the figure may reach as high as 15 million tons, according to Food Corp. Chairman Alok Sinha.

Inflation for India has climbed to 7.14 percent over the same week a year ago.

Kazakhstan also announced today that they have instituted a four-month ban on wheat exports, also in an attempt to curb inflation and social unrest. While that would help Kazakhstan, it could hurt other nations in the region which have traditionally relied on Kazakh wheat.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer Says No Change in Biofuels Policy

The criticism and impact of the biofuels policy in the U.S. and Europe is causing food riots and protests across the world, as the prices of food surge; mostly on the continuing price increases of corn.

For U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer to say there will be no shift in the subsidy of corn in the U.S. and it will be business as usual with ethanol, is irresponsible at least, and, as some are calling it, "a crime against humanity."

In the U.S. alone, ethanol is expected to consume about 25 percent of the corn crop, which is estimated at 13.1 bushels this year.

Now the uncertainty of heavy rains in respect to planting season, leaves no room for error in the U.S. If anything comes along to disrupt the season, corn prices would go through the roof. They're already expected to continue rising throughout 2008.

Investors in Pilgrim's Pride Corp (NYSE:PPC) were ecstatic this week, as the company announced they were cutting production based on high feed costs for the second time in the last 30 days. The reduced supply will cause meat prices to go up, adding to the other effects of corn on the market.

It's possible that the entry of goverments into the biofuels business may be one of the most obivous and public mistakes they've made.

Not too long ago, after 30 million deaths in Africa, DDT was finally reintroduced into the continent to battle mosquitos, which spread malaria to the inhabitants. It was done very quietly, as not to reveal the outrageous results and consequences of another irresponsible government program.

Tensions Continue Building as Ethanol Continues to Cause Increase in Corn, Food Prices


The misguided policy of artificially creating a legal level of ethanol biofuel use is reeking havoc across the world as food and meat prices continue to soar in response to the unintended consequences.

That's always the problem when fear and torment are used as tools to push through policies built upon personal agendas.

As Paul Haugens, vice-president for Newedge Trading said, "The food-versus-fuel battle is going to get bigger and it's a political year in the United States so I don't see anyone making any changes (to ethanol policy)."

Listening to the irresponsible comments by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer Tuesday confirms Haugens is right, as schafer said, "energy is the big issue as we look at those food prices."

No it's not! The subsidizing of growing corn for the pet ethanol project is by far the major reason for the increase in food prices across the world.

The impact of this policy is being called "a crime against humanity" by Jean Ziegler, UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food; basing his assertion on the huge increase in food prices across the world.

Riots and protests are spreading globally, and the Haitian government was toppled last week because of when riots move senators in the country to fire the prime minister. It's going to get worse.

This foolish policy needs to be dropped now, as the growing number of oil discoveries show the hoax of Peak Oil is just that. There's no huge rush to get these things pushed through, as billions of barrels of oil have been discovered by Brazil, and new reserves in an area adjacent to the Canadian Sands could hold billions more. This doesn't include the billions awaiting to be taken out of the oil shales in the U.S.

Unfortunately, millions will suffer because of the newest government sponsorship of biofuels which are dubious at best, and deadly at worst.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Silver Conductive Inks Market Projected to Triple in 8 Years


Businesses have become interested in the silver conductive inks market again, as through the year 2015, the market is expected to triple reaching $2.4 billion, according to a NanoMarkets report, "Silver Inks and Pastes for Printable Electronics: 2008-2015."

During this period of time, the largest opportunity for silver inks demand "will be found in the RFID space where revenues from silver inks for RFID antennas alone will exceed $880 million by 2015. Based on the current excitement surrounding alternative energy, NanoMarkets expect the use of silver inks for solar panel contacts to grow to almost $250 million by 2015."

The obvious challenge in "the future of silver's use in electronics is undoubtedly its high cost. This is one reason that the traditional semiconductor industry has never seriously considered using silver for interconnects. Silver ink sales in the printable electronics business are also hurt by high prices. And with the price of silver almost doubling over the past year, this has really become an issue."

With silver prices seemingly on the way down, it's possible if it continues on that way it won't be much of an issue in about a year. That an assumption, and we really won't know until that happens. With gold expected to reach $1,000 again by the end of 2008, silver could ride on its coattails again.

If that happens, it could be a problem for projected silver demand.

Even so, the report projects that nanosilver inks will make up close to 21 percent of total ink sales in 2012. Most that will be because of the high conductivity of the metal, as well as it being able to be cured at low temperatures; an important part of the increasing role played by "thermally sensitive flexible substrates."

Gold Rises on Oil Price Increase and Inflation Concerns


Gold went as high as $936.50 an ounce today before settling at $926.60/928.40 on the last quote in New York. That's a slight increase over Monday's close of $935.30/926.10.

Record-breaking oil prices continue to hold the gold market up, even as other economic data put downward pressure on the metal. Oil closed at $113.79 a barrel, up by $2.03.

Even so, there was some sell-off as prices for U.S. producers was better than expected. That makes it more possible the Fed won't cut interest rates at their next meeting.

"Oil is clearly a factor. Technically also, gold looks better because it broke through a weak trend line resistance," said Michael Jansen, analyst at J.P. Morgan Securities.

"But I think we will continue to consolidate. The recovery from under $900 is not hugely convincing and there are still concerns that the physical market is very subdued. Overall, we will tend to trade in the $900-$950 range for a bit longer."

With the India wedding season in full swing, physical demand for gold remains fairly strong, although high prices have kept other parts of Asia from buying.

Gold futures in the U.S. ended at $932 an ounce for June delivery, up by $3.30.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Petrobras Claims Yet Another Huge Oil Find - the Largest in 30 Years


The Brazilian company Petrobas has claimed another huge oil field find under the ocean, this time it could be up to 33 billion of barrels of oil in the field, about 5times the size of Tupi. They also discovered a huge gas field recently, which also contained oil; and they named Juniper.

This discovery, if it holds to near the size estimated, will be the largest oil discovery in the world in 30 years.

"It could be the world's biggest discovery in the past 30 years, and the world's third-biggest currently active field," Haroldo Lima, head of the government's oil and fuel market regulator, told reporters.

The new find is in the Santos basin area called Carioca, west of the Tupi field. Other companies with a stake in the field are BG, with a 30 percent, and Repsol, with a 25 percent stake.

A number of geologists have theorized that the Tupi field probably would entertain a neighboring, larger field, containing both natural gas and oil. Obviously they were right.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ethanol News Weekend Roundup

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Ethanol Being Blamed for Global Food Riots

New York Times columnist praised by Pulitzer board for 'clarity of vision' didn't foresee global food shortages that resulted from the realities of his vision.

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Article off the mark about ethanol

I haven't found one peer-reviewed scientific journal says that corn ethanol is a source of green energy. The only scientist I can imagine saying ethanol is just fine is the one who works for an ethanol company.

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'Closed-Loop' Ethanol Plant Plans On Hold

Plans for Dakota County, Nebraska's multi-million dollar "closed-loop" ethanol plant are "on hold".

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Germany cancels plans to add ethanol to petrol

Amid growing fears that biofuel farming is harming the environment and driving up world food prices, Germany cancelled on Friday plans to mix more ethanol made from plants with petrol.

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Ethanol is an environmental white elephant

I've read with interest the recent articles in the Times Union about ethanol. I was disappointed that you did not point out one fact that should raise much skepticism about the use of this product as a fuel: It produces about twice the carbon dioxide as simply burning the gasoline it replaces.

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Ethanol pollution in Gulf of Mexico

While the search for alternative fuels is in full swing in many countries in order to reduce dependency on pollution causing conventional fuels an ironic situation is emerging where the rush in the United States to produce corn-based ethanol as an alternative fuel will likely worsen pollution in the Gulf of Mexico and expand the annual ‘dead zone.’

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Wheat News Weekend Roundup

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Spring wheat market shows some recovery

Despite a slightly bearish Prospective Plantings Report, the spring wheat market showed signs of recovery in the days following.

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World Wheat Production Boosted This Month, Consumption Trimmed, & Stocks Raised

World wheat production in 2007/08 is projected up 1.7 million tons this month to 606.7 million. The major increase is for Ethiopia, up 1.2 million tons as very good rains boosted yields.

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Adani sees wheat output at over 75mt

A bigger wheat crop is crucial to efforts by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government to cool inflation that’s running at a three-year high before next year’s general elections.

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Scientists pit bacteria against fungi to protect wheat

Beneficial flower-dwelling bacteria could soon join the fight against Fusarium graminearum, the fungus that causes Fusarium head blight disease (scab) in wheat, barley and other cereal crops.

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Philippines Seeks Wheat Supplies After China Rebuff

The Philippines said China turned down a request to supply wheat, adding to concern that the world faces a worsening shortage of staple foods that has already driven grain prices to records.

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US Wheat Outlook: Seen Mixed On Overnight, CBOT Rebound

U.S. wheat futures are poised to start Friday's day session mixed, with Chicago Board of Trade contracts seen rising in a rebound from losses, traders said.

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Corn News Weekend Roundup

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Corn Falls on Improved Weather

Corn prices fell sharply Friday as forecasts for dry weather in the U.S. corn belt eased concerns that farmers will have to delay their spring planting.

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Corn market gains more uncertainty in April

Following the March 31, 2008 Planting Intentions report, the corn market was forecast up 20-30 cents based on fewer corn acres for 2008.

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CBOT Corn Review: Down On Profit-Taking, Weather Concerns

U.S. corn futures fell Friday in continued profit-taking off record highs set this week, as nervous longs exited the market ahead of the weekend on shaky weather forecasts and on widespread commodity selling, brokers and analysts said Friday.

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Profit taking weigh down corn futures

U.S. corn futures dropped on Thursday on profit-taking after the rally on Wednesday to record highs

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S Korea's Nonghyup buys 165,000 tonnes of US corn

South Korea's Nonghyup Feed Inc has bought 165,000 tonnes of US corn, traders said on Friday. The purchase was split into three lots of 55,000 tonnes each.

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Corn Futures Expected To Continue To Grind Higher

In their supply/demand report issued on Wednesday, April 9th, the USDA continued to raise their projections for corn use. Incredibly, feed use was increased by 200 million bushels (from just thirty days ago) and export projections were increased by 50 million.

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Texas A&M report clears corn from food price inflation

The U.S. ethanol industry is facing challenging times. In part because of ethanol industry demand, corn prices have hit all-time highs.

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Silver News Weekend Roundup

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Penoles' Silver Unit Fresnillo to Raise $900 Million

Industrias Penoles SAB, the world's largest silver producer, plans to raise about $900 million by selling shares in its Fresnillo Ltd. unit to expand mines and cut debt. Penoles rose to a record on the Mexico stock exchange.

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Precious Metal Surprise: Silver a Real Comer

Hi-o Silver! After years of being thought of as a backwater of precious metals, and even threatened with demotion to an industrial metal, silver is back in the spotlight. The effect on common date silver coins couldn't be more welcome to collectors and investors, and is helping the market as a whole.

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Alberta Star Intersects 3.0 Meters of 25.3 g/ton Silver at the Camelback IOCG & Uranium Target

Alberta Star Development Corp. (OTCBB: ASXSF) is pleased to report that the Company has received assay results from the final four holes of a seventeen hole drill program from the 2007 summer/fall drill program at the Camelback IOCG & uranium target. The Company encountered 3.0 meters of 25.3 g/ton silver in drill hole number CB-07-08.

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PRECIOUS METALS: Gold, Silver Plunge

Silver futures for May delivery fell 35.3 cents, or 2 percent, to $17.69 an ounce, capping a 0.4 percent decline for the week. The metal is still up 19 percent this year.

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COT Silver Report - April 11, 2008

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Fundamental analysis for precious metals silver

Silver moved yesterday in the upside trend until the key resistance level at 18.40s. However as it lacked the strength to breach the mentioned resistance level, it fell to hit the critical support level at 17.85. Therefore, we expect silver to continue in the downside direction.

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Gold News Weekend Roundup

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Gold weakens as market cautious before weekend

Gold drifted lower on Friday in a cautious trading tone in spite of a decline in the dollar, and analysts said the market was likely to continue moving in a range in the near term.

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Gold futures end lower, but post a weekly gain

Gold for June delivery fell $4.80 to end at $927 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. However, gold posted a gain of $13.80 on the week from last Friday's closing level of $913.20 an ounce.

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Opening Glance: Gold Miners Fall

Shares of gold-mining companies fell Friday shortly after the opening bell as the U.S. dollar rallied against key rivals and the price of the commodity fell.

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CCM Research Issues Technical Research Report on Yukon Gold Corp.

Research Chief Technical Analyst, Jason Suttmeier, has written a technical research report on Yukon Gold Corp.

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Gold Hawk Resources Appoints New Chief Financial Officer

Gold Hawk Resources Inc. (TSX:CGK) advises today that Mr. Omar Salas, CMA, will join the company as our new Chief Financial Officer and Vice President Finance, effective May 1, 2008.

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Junior gold miners begin to outpace majors as gold prices remain steady

Gold prices remained steady near the close of the week's session as major gold mining stocks appear to have peaked. But that's not the case with the junior gold mining companies who've yet to catch up to the market.

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Weekend Oil News Roundup

Energy Sector Roundup: Oil Out of Gas

Oil ended the day flat, keeping its distance from that $112.21 a barrel record set earlier in the week. Light, sweet crude for May delivery fell 70 cents to $109.41 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. But retail gas and diesel prices jumped to new records.

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Mexico leftists camp in Congress to stop oil plan

Leftist lawmakers blocked both houses of Mexico's Congress on Friday after an all-night sleepover protest against an oil reform plan that could open the state-run sector to more foreign investment.

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Oil Rises Above $110 a Barrel

Oil prices rose above $110 a barrel Friday after slipping from a record high at midweek as investors locked in profits from a stronger U.S. dollar.

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Pemex and Mexican Peak Oil Mean Expensive Oil

Pemex better start exploring for more oil in the Gulf of Mexico or its going to pump out all its reserves in less than ten years. Mexican President Felipe Calderon went on national television last night in Mexico and told his countrymen (in Spanish, we presume), "We have to act now because we're running out of time and out of oil."

What's he talking about?

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Oil steadies on weak dollar, demand revisions

Oil prices steadied on Friday as supply concerns and the weak dollar countered expectations that growing economic problems will slow global demand this year.

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Bakken Shale in US may hold 3.7 bln bbl oil - USGS

A shale rock formation that stretches across Montana and North Dakota could hold about 3.7 billion barrels of oil, the biggest single deposit in the United States except for Alaska, the U.S. Geological Survey said this week.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

After 10-Day High, Gold May Take a Breather

June deliver for gold dropped $5.70, to finish the session at $931.80 an ounce on the NYMEX.

The dollar hitting an all-time low against the euro, and weak against many currencies recently, it really had nowhere to go but up, and that's what it did, causing some pressure on gold, as investors took some profits on the yellow metal.

Some felt this is a signal to get ready to buy gold again, as it is thought the market remains "strongly biased to the upside at this point," said Zachary Oxman, senior trader at Wisdom Financial. "I'd treat this dip as another proxy to buy as the market breaks up to $960.”

With OPEC also continuing to hold to their belief that there is plenty of oil on the market, it could affect gold as well, as Mark O'Byrne, executive director at Gold & Silver Investments Ltd. said, "With oil reaching new record highs, there is likely to be inflation-hedging gold buying."

The European economy could become a factor in pressuring gold prices as well, with some saying “If the ECB succumbs to pressure and starts to slash rates because of slower growth, the dollar may be able to make up some ground, which is going to make gold's life a little more difficult,” said Matt Zeman, a metals trader at LaSalle Futures Group Inc.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Taxpayers Fork Out $82 Million to Range Fuels Inc. for Another Dubious Ethanol Project

More of our tax dollars are being wasted on another government-sponsored hope for utopia, as Range Fuels received $76 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, and another $6 million from the state of Georgia to help build its commercial cellulosic ethanol plant close to Soperton, Ga.

Some even have the nerve to call it "private funding." My question is: Where did the state of Georgia and the U.S. Department of Energy get their money from? So let's call it what it is: taxpayer funded.

Now the true private sector has also gotten involved, as Series B round of financing led by Passport Capital has landed another $130 million for the project.

All of this for an increasingly controversial, unproven source of bio-fuel, which is viewed by a growing number of people as causing more harm than good.

Concerning cellulosic ethanol, Range Fuels asserts its K2 process can use woody biomass for its source of ethanol, which uses 75 percent less water than corn-based ethanol. They also claim the K2 process yields far more ethanol per ton of biomass than biochemical processes.

They also say they will be able to produce ethanol at a cost far below the almost $2 per gallon it's currently produced for with corn ethanol production costs, as well as enzymatic processes.

Of course anyone can assert something in order to justify tax dollars being wasted on them.

The truth is the existing ethanol fiasco is already being discovered that it isn't worth the consequences and costs. This is why the government and others are desperately searching for an alternative before their failure is made open to the public.

U.S. Wheat Closes Mixed - Weather, Nearby Markets Key Factors

U.S. wheat borrowed from its commodity neighbors corn and soybeans on the CBOT, helping it to gains, even though it was the "the weakest link in there, of all the grains," said Larry Glenn, owner of Glenn Commodities. "It's been following."

On the Chicago Board of Trade, May wheat remained at $9.34 a bushel. Minneapolis Grain Exchange May wheat ended at $13.20, a 5 cent increase, and May Wheat on the Kansas City Board of Trade settled 1 cent higher.

Continued forecasts of rain for the U.S. plains dampened expectations for a large, new crop, causing wheat to pull back from its borrowed surge earlier in the day.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, expected supply and demand continues on course U.S wheat carryout, and remains at 242 million bushels; the same as in March.

Some analysts said the data from the USDA had no significant impact on the wheat markets, as weather, along with nearby markets are the what's affecting the wheat market more than anything else.

Another key factor is the expected huge global harvest this year, which could also hinder prices. Others think importers may keep old wheat inventory minimized, while waiting for the new crop to enter the market.

Oil Futures Break another Record: Close over $110 a Barrel

Crude oil futures broke another record today, as they surged to a new intraday high of $112.21, and broke another record when it closed at $110.87 a barrel.

While the increase was connected to news from the Energy Information Administration that oil inventories in the U.S. had fallen by 3.2 million barrels last week, speculators continue to play a big role in the price of oil futures. According to the Energy Information Administration, gasoline inventory also slid, falling by 3.4 million barrels last week.

"Fundamentally, there's no reason we should be at these levels. Speculation has definitely taken over this market," GRZ Energy trader Anthony Grisanti told FOX Business this morning. "I think $120 is right around the corner. There is nothing that can turn this market around at this point."

Oil inventory in the U.S. stands at 316 million barrels as of April 4.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Monsanto in Deal with Bayer CropScience LP for Corn Treatment


Monsanto Co. (NYSE:MON) and a division of Bayer AG (Other OTC:BAYRY.PK), Bayer CropScience LP, have entered an agreement in relationship to a new fungicide product which will treat corn crops.

The new treatment would be used in the early corn season, and would protect seedlings against insects and diseases during that period of growth. It's said to be a significant improvement over past remedies.

Monsanto has exclusive rights under the terms of the deal to market the new product under its Dekalb corn brand label. It will also be empowered to license the new product through its licensing division.
Mexican Silver Mines Ltd. (CDNX:MSM.V) announced the addition of Jim Glass to the company's board of directors, as Bill Dynes stepped down to pursue work as an "independent geological consultant in the industry."

Glass currently is a partner in Ascenta Capital Partners Inc., and oversees business development and sales.

He has had a lot of experience taking companies from their early stage and developing them into successful enterprises. He took energy company Gresham Resources Inc., and oil and gas firm, which eventually was bought out by True Energy Inc., based in Alberta.

The press release says Glass also has "experience providing investor relations, marketing, management, operation and administration for public companies."

Monday, April 7, 2008

Crude Oil Up over $2 a Barrel in New York


Prices for crude oil increased by $2.86 to close at $109.09 a barrel on the NYMEX. That's the highest closing price since March 18.

May delivery for gasoline closely mirrored the crude oil price rise, rising by 2.68 cents a gallon, to close at $2.7835 in New York. The national average is now at an all-time high according to AAA, where they reported on their Web site that it now stands at $3.339 a gallon.

Futures for RBOB also broke an intraday record, as it went up to $2.7978. RBOB is the gasoline used to mix with ethanol.

The two major factors in the increase in prices were investors moving to commodities again, and the ongoing concerns about fuel inventory declines. It was estimated in a Bloomberg News survey that gasoline supplies dropped by 2.5 million barrels last week.

"We're seeing the funds jump in and buy commodities," said Phil Flynn, a senior trader at Alaron Trading Corp. in Chicago. "Commodities had by far the best returns during the last quarter. It would be risky to bet that either the stock market or dollar has hit a bottom yet."

Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts said, "There's little that's rational with the gains in the commodity markets now. I don't think we'll see oil prices fall until the economic slowdown is much more severe or inventories just become too high."

Commodity investment

In the first quarter alone, commodity investment has exploded to $400 billion, an increase of over 20 percent. Some think it'll pullback some, which could provide more investing opportunities.

Sharia Law Now Governing New Gold Security


The announcement that Dubai Multi Commodities Centre and the World Gold Council have created a new company to launch an ETF gold security that will comply to Sharia law is fascinating, in that many people in the United States, for non-Sharia reasons, have looked to do similar things. I'm referring to the shares being backed by physical gold.

The fund, named Dubai Gold Shares, will trade on the Dubai International Financial Exchange once approval is garnered from the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

The World Gold Council is an industry body that is funded by the top gold mining companies in the world. The WGC, along with the DMCC didn't reveal their stake in the joint venture.

As far as the gold bars backing the shares go, they will be of Dubai and London Good Delivery Standard, and will be placed in the vaults of DMCC, and a sub-custodian, HSBC.

Dubai Gold Shares will be denominated in U.S. dollars.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Weekend Wheat News

Wheat outlook and news


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Grant Given to Cornell to Fight Wheat Disease

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awards Cornell $26.8 million.

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US Wheat Review: Up On Short-Covering; MGE May Rises Limit

U.S. wheat futures ended higher Friday on technical buying and short-covering, with the nearby Minneapolis Grain Exchange contract closing limit-up for the third consecutive day.

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Strength in beans and wheat could not rally corn

Wheat opened higher and closed sharply higher. Minneapolis wheat was limit up again and synthetically trading another $1 higher. This carried the HRW and SRW contracts sharply higher on the day.

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Wheat planting up; corn down

The release of the 2008 U.S. Department of Agriculture prospective planting report this week shows wheat acreage up and corn acreage down, which led at least one analyst to predict corn rationing.

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Triticum Mosaic Virus adds new wrinkle to wheat disease picture

Kansas wheat producers needing another reason to control volunteer wheat have a new reason for consideration. First found by Kansas State University researchers in 2006, a newly discovered virus affecting wheat was officially recognized and named Triticum Mosaic Virus in 2007.

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Wheat Jumps on Weather Concerns

Wheat prices shot up Friday as investors bet that a mix of wet and dry weather in wheat-growing U.S. states will damage crops and tighten supplies of the grain used to make bread, pasta and other foods.

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Wheat Acres

The USDA reported planting intention estimates on Monday, March 31. The highly anticipated report held little in the way of major surprises, but the current supply situation and high prices require market participants to look at this report with a great deal of scrutiny. While it appears the marketplace has quickly forgotten about the bearish aspects of the report, market participants will continue to measure factors such as domestic and global demand and weather problems against the potential wheat production set forth by this report.

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Wheat rated in mostly fair to good condition

Winter wheat was 9 percent pastured last week, with the crop rated in mostly fair to good condition.

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Keeping up with Gold News: Weekend Roundup

Gold rises on U.S. job losses, recession fears

Gold gained in choppy trade on Friday as an oil rally and weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs data pushed the dollar down and lifted gold's appeal as an alternative investment.

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Gold rally intact, despite recent sell-off

A brutal sell-off in gold from record highs above $1,000 an ounce last month has failed to deter market bulls who believe turbulence in financial markets will keep attention firmly on bullion this year.

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Burglars target British Indians for gold

London: The soaring price of gold has caused a sudden spurt in crime in a London suburb with a large population of Indians - a community known to stash away gold jewellery at home.

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Gold rises on weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs data

Gold gained in choppy trade on Friday as weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs data pushed the dollar down and lifted gold's appeal as an alternative investment.

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AngloGold revises up March gold output

ANGLOGOLD Ashanti forecasts first quarter production of 1.19 million oz, which is eight percent higher than it told the market in February. The increase comes from better-than-expected performance in the South African power crisis, the company said on Friday.

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Vishnu Pillay to Head up Gold Fields Operations in South Africa

Gold Fields Limited ("Gold Fields") (NYSE:GFI) today announced that, further to the executive management changes announced on Monday, 30 March 2008, Vishnu Pillay has been promoted to Executive Vice President and Head of South African Operations, to replace Terence Goodlace who was promoted to Chief Operating Officer for the Group, and will join the Gold Fields Executive Committee.

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Gold Market Wrong-Footed in Thin Trade by Shock Fall in US Payrolls

Gold Prices dipped, bounced and then fell back again from a four-day high early Friday on news that US job losses exceeded expectations last month.

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Keeping up with Ethanol: News Around the Web

More on the high cost of Ethanol


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Germany backs off biofuel plan

Germany's environment minister on Friday scrapped a plan to double the amount of ethanol that can be mixed into gasoline, saying that too many cars would be unable to cope with the change.

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Downside of ethanol

As spring is here, we will soon see public service announcements on when to mow the grass and when to fill our vehicle gas tanks to reduce the pollutant ozone in our atmosphere.

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Ethanol’s Unsexy Dilemma

Ethanol contains less energy than gasoline, meaning a car filled with ethanol gets fewer miles per gallon. Accounting for this energy difference, at the time of publishing, E85 was retailing for a nationwide average of $3.56 a gallon compared with $3.28 for regular gasoline, according to the Automobile Association of America.

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Pacific Ethanol reports on losses, plans for 2008

The net loss for the company's fourth quarter of 2007 was $14.7 million, up from $3.1 million the previous year, the company reported. The loss came despite sales growing from $80 million in the fourth quarter of 2006 to $130 million during the same quarter of 2007.

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Times Writers Group: Ethanol, not the greenest option

"It takes more energy to make than it produces!" "It's driving up food prices!" "It's government meddling in the market!" "Those crazy environmentalists want to force us all to buy ethanol!"

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Against the grain: What are they thinking?

All that glitters is not gold. And all that grows is not green.

That is the belated realization about grain ethanol -- in fact, about any ethanol whose feedstock is grown on cropland. Joe Romm has done a good job posting on this issue, including his report on the recent studies featured in Science magazine. I'd like to weigh in with a few additional points.

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Kernel of ethanol's problems

Ethanol producers looked for a great year as the price of gasoline rose, making it more profitable to produce. But, despite rising sales, Pacific Ethanol Inc. lost $14.4 million last year due to high prices for corn, low prices for ethanol and losses on derivatives.Higher corn yields, higher ethanol yields?

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Oil News Around the Web

Big government, not Big Oil, is the big problem

Every time you fill up your 16-gallon gasoline tank, records suggest that companies like Exxon Mobil Corp. profit about $1.44 from your purchase. However, at the same time, from that same fill-up, the federal government receives $2.94, and Trenton pockets $2.32. The government is taking more than three times as much as the oil companies, and there's movement to add even more.

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Oil Futures Climb as Dollar Slides

U.S. crude oil prices closed more than $2 higher Friday, as the third straight drop in U.S. payrolls pushed the dollar down, drawing investors into commodities.

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Oil Rebounds After Decline

Crude oil futures rebounded this Friday in Bangkok, Thailand. The futures fell by $1 last night but the dollar stabilized, encouraging investors to sell. Previously, investors had been buying crude as a hedge against inflation.

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Oil prices spike near 106 dollars as US currency slides
Oil prices jumped close to 106 dollars on Friday as investor sentiment was driven by the weak US dollar, tight energy supplies and more bad news on the US economy, analysts said.

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South Texas Oil Company to Present at IPAA OGIS Small Cap Conference
South Texas Oil Company today announced that it will be a presenting company at the Independent Petroleum Association of America's (IPAA) Oil & Gas Investment Symposium in New York.

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Oil jumps as investors pour money back into commodities amid interest rate talk

Oil jumped as investors poured money back into commodities on expectations of an interest rate cut in the United States and in hope that raw materials will provide them with a useful hedge against wider market weakness.

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Venezuela's Congress OKs "windfall" oil tax

Venezuela's Congress on Thursday gave initial approval to a windfall oil tax that extends leftist President Hugo Chavez's campaign to increase government revenue from the OPEC nation's oil industry.

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Big Oil on the Grill

Energy companies are becoming progressively more vital to the maintenance of our modern lifestyle. That very fact renders them crucial for inclusion in virtually any portfolio.

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Weekend Corn News Roundup

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CBOT Corn Outlook: 1-2 Cents Lower On Light Profit-Taking

Chicago Board of Trade corn futures are expected to open 1-2 cents a bushel lower after prices reached technically overbought conditions and as traders take some profits ahead of the weekend, analysts said Friday.

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Corn Looks to Trend Higher

On Thursday, April 3, July corn prices were up 4.25 cents, closing just shy of the highs at $6.13 a bushel.

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In The Cattle Markets: Prospective Plantings Will Not Help Feeders

It has been a tough winter and early spring to make money in the cattle feeding business and Monday’s USDA Prospective Plantings Report will not likely help feeders.

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Japanese food processor to accept GM corn

Japanese wet miller, Kato Kagaku Co., Ltd., will start accepting non-segregated genetically modified corn for starch, sweetener and processed food production.

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CBOT Corn Review: Down Slightly On Pre-Weekend Profit-Taking

Chicago Board of Trade corn futures gave back a small portion of this week's gains as the market became overbought and traders decided to book profits ahead of the weekend, traders and analysts said Friday.

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Corn Prices Surpass $6 A Bushel: Investors, Grab Your Overalls

Corn prices have jumped dramatically during the past few months, hitting a record high of more than $6 a bushel. Demand for corn has increased, and the outlook concerning whether future supply can meet this demand is uncertain.

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Monsanto to build seed corn facility near Independence

On the same day it announced record-setting second-quarter revenues, Monsanto Co. announced an Iowa site for a new seed corn facility, moving forward on expansion plans within the state.

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Silver News Around the Web

Purchase of silver in Nepal soars despite rising world prices

In Nepal, the purchase of silver has gone up tremendously despite rising world prices.

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Mexivada Intersects up to 1.18 kg/t Silver in Drill Holes at La Republica Silver Mine, Mexico
Mexivada Mining Corp. is pleased to report the assay results from the final five drill holes from its Phase 1 program at its La Republica silver-gold-zinc-lead property, Yecora Mining District, Chihuahua, Mexico.

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Silver Wheaton: 2007 silver reserves more than triple year-over-year

Silver Wheaton (NYSE:SLW) Corp. said Thursday its proven and probable silver reserves increased to 346.4 million ounces as of Dec. 31, 2007, from 102.2 million at the end of 2006

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Fundamental analysis for precious metals silver - 4/4/2008

Silver yesterday rallied in both directions to end the day with some bullish tendency. This move affected the technical indicators to point to the bullish patterns for today as long as silver remains above the critical level at 17.20s.

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Apogee Releases Additional High Grade Results From the Pulacayo Silver Deposit, Bolivia-Including 8.0 Meters Grading 558.75g/t Silver in Hole PUD-063

Apogee Minerals Ltd. (Munich:A9K.MU) reports additional high grade intercepts at the Pulacayo silver-zinc-lead deposit, southern Bolivia.

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Sage Gold Inc.: High Grade Gold and Native Silver Drill Intercept-Onaman

Sage Gold (CDNX:SGX.V) is pleased to report on the latest assays from the 2008 drill program on the Lynx #1 mineralised zone, on the Onaman Project, near Beardmore, Ontario.

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Silvercorp Metals Inc.: Drilling and Tunnelling Discover High Grade Silver-Lead Veins in the LM Silver-Lead Mine in the Ying Silver District, Henan Province, China

Silvercorp Metals Inc. ("Silvercorp") (Toronto:SVM.TO) is pleased to provide an update on its LM Silver (Ag)-Lead (Pb) Mine.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Endeavour Silver Announces Conference Call Time and Date for 2007 Year-End Financial Results

Endeavor Silver (Toronto: EDR.TO) rescheduled its 2007 Year-End Financial Results Conference Call in order to give shareholders some extra time to look over the 2007 financial statements, said the company.
As a result, the new call will take place on Monday, April 7, 2008, at 2: PM EST.

In their press release, the company gave these numbers to access the call:

- 1-800-732-0232 Canada & USA (Toll-Free)
- 416-644-3415 Toronto area callers
- No pass code necessary

They also said if you can't access the call at that time, shareholders have until April 21, 2008 to listen to a replay by dialing 1-877-289-8525 toll free in Canada or the U.S. If you live in the Toronto area you can dil 416-640-1917. The pass code for those numbers will be 21268130 followed by the No. key.

There will also be a simultaneous webcast of the conference call will be posted on the home page of the company's website, www.edrsilver.com.

Wheat Rises on Forecast for Dry Conditions in U.S. Great Plains

With dry weather expected to continue in the great plains, wheat rose for the second day in a row, as the winter crop is coming out of dormancy.

Both western Kansas and Texas, along with the Oklahoma Panhandle haven't received rain for two weeks, and there isn't any precipitation expected in the next five days either.

Meteorologists say the severe draught, which extends from Texas to the Canadian Prairies threatens the crop this year.

It is also expected that dry weather will expand to the central midwest from April through August, further disrupting wheat yields.

The U.S. Department of Agricultue said in a report on March 11 that global wheat inventories could fall to 110.4 million metric tons by May 31, with U.S. inventories possibly plunging by 6.6 million tons. That's a 47 percent drop from last year.

July delivery for wheat futures increased by 2 cents to reach $9.525 a bushel on the CBOT.

Gold Edges Up on Platinum Rally, Dollar Drop

The price of gold edged up today, based on a platinum surge and a slight drop in the U.S. dollar.

"I think it (gold's surge) has a lot to do with platinum actually. We have resurging worries about electricity supply after yesterday's discussion by Eskom. Clearly, the situation remains problematic," said James Steel, metals analyst with HSBC in New York.

"In addition to that, the dollar dropped a little today, and the fact that all commodities are up have driven the gold higher."

Friday's U.S. jobs report will determine which way gold will go in the short term, although I think what the Fed decides at the end of the month concerning interest rates will be a much larger factor over the next couple months.

As of 2:15 p.m. EDT, spot gold was at $903.40/904.20, an increase from New York's late Wednesday price of $898.00/898.70.

June delivery for June gold ended the session up by $9.40, finishing a $909.60 an ounce on the COMEX.

While some still believe there may be some downside to gold, in the long term most are still pretty bullish on the gold metal.

Corn Settles at $6, after Record $6.025


The story for corn continues to be the projected supply problems, and the resultant surge in prices. That story continues, as corn broke another record today, reaching $6.025 a bushel before settling to $6. Corn has already increased by 30 percent this year, as demand increases.

This follows yesterday's prices, which just fell short of the $6 a bushel mark.

"It's a demand-driven market and we may not be planting enough acres to supply demand, so that adds to the bullishness of corn," said Elaine Kub, a grains analyst with DTN in Omaha, Neb.

We also talked about the decreasing acreage being planted in corn this year, which have dropped by about 8 percent across America.

The wet weather continues to wreak havoc in the industry as well, with plantings not only being put off, but growers talking about abandoning corn planting this year if it continues on too long.

The ethanol industry continues to cause problems for corn, as it gobbles up valuable resources; not only on an unproven alternative fuel, but one that may not to be grown profitably at these prices. That's what you get for government mandates and interference.

Politicians - Especially Democrats - Fail to Understand Oil and Oil Business

The media circus, where Congress brought Oil executives of big companies before them in a show of ignorance about business and the oil industry was pathetic.

All it has done is revealed their ignorance, and underscore why politicians are so bad at allocating financial resources.

Even though the oil industry has been unfairly singled out, as all American manufacturers get tax breaks, the idea that they need to spend more money on so-called "renewable" energy is ridiculous. That's politician speak for "if you don't know what to do, throw more money at it." The record of politicians wasting taxpayers dollars is legendary.

Jeff Eshelman, vice president of public affairs for the Independent Petroleum Association of America said, if Congress really wanted to decrease prices, they'd change the outrageous policies of restricting oil companies from drilling on U.S. land owned by the government. And he's right!

"If oil companies are given the ability to go into federal lands and produce crude oil, that would increase supply," Eshelman told UPI. "The more supply we have on the market, the more stable prices will be."

That's the first step in taking care of oil prices today, and the near future.

When you consider government interference in their feeble and dangerous attempt to promote the destructive ethanol additive, they need to take care of things like protecting U.S. citizens, and leave the oil market to business.

Democrats are especially ignorant in not knowing how to handle these things. Congress overall is attempting to find scapegoat to deflect the publics dissatisfaction with their performance, which is at all-time lows.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The High Cost of Ethanol

Here's an excellent article on exposing the high cost of the government ethanol policy which may end up being one of the greatest mistakes in U.S. history.

As the writer says, "An unholy alliance of environmentalists, agribusiness, biofuel corporations and politicians" has been promoting the fuel as the answer to the alleged environmental problems which it will supposedly be the answer to.

The usual denial of the "unintended consequences is wreaking havoc on the economy, food production and, perhaps most ironically, the environment."

I've said it before on Ethanol Fix, that this is no longer related to science or environmental realities, rather it's being embraced as a religion that requires faith rather than objectivity.

Some of the huge problems related to ethanol:


Increased food prices

Subsidized Corn takes away acres from other crops, increasing those prices

Increased feed prices

Increased meat prices

Employee Layoffs

Plant Closings

Distribution Centers Closing

Pressure on water supply

Ethanol less productive than gasoline as fuel

Hurts environment

Hurts third world

Deforestation across the world

Destruction of wetlands

Destruction of grasslands

Destruction of species

Displacement of small farmers and indigienous peoples

Loss of habitats that store carbon

Razing of rain forests


Michael Grunwald, in the latest issue of Time magazine said it this way:

"Deforestation accounts for 20 percent of all current carbon emissions. So unless the world can eliminate emissions from all other sources — cars, power plants, factories, even flatulent cows — it needs to reduce deforestation or risk an environmental catastrophe. That means limiting the expansion of agriculture, a daunting task as the world's population keeps expanding. And saving forests is probably an impossibility so long as vast expanses of cropland are used to grow modest amounts of fuel. The biofuels boom, in short, is one that could haunt the planet for generations — and it's only getting started."

The so-called environmentalists are in reality backing and promoting the destruction of not only the environment, but more importantly: human beings.

Wheat Futures Higher on Weather Concerns: both dry and wet

U.S. wheat futures finished higher at the exchanges, as they bounced back after the recent sell-offs, according to traders.

Contrary to the concerns over the wet acreage affecting planting of corn, wheat is having the opposite problem, as dry weather in key areas may end in the abandonment of wheat acreage in a number of places.

There were also concerns about some excess precipitation in soft winter wheat areas that could hinder planting.

For the Kansas City Board of Trade, May wheat increased by 36 cents to $9.86 a bushel, while the Minneapolis Grain Exchange May wheat increased by its allowable limit of 60 cents, to finish at $12.15. May wheat for the Chicago Board of Trade jumped by 41 1/2 cent to finish a $9.36 1/2.

Wheat inventory expectations and a possible large global planting had kept prices down for awhile.

Corn Prices Break Record on Supply Concerns

Corn prices reached a record today on concerns the continuing wet weather in the midwest and southern United States will slow down planting, increasing the possibility that supplies could be low.

Acreage for corn is already projected to be about 8 percent lower than last year's planting, adding to the concern on inventory.

"We're going to start trading the weather here," said Jason Ward, analyst with Northstar Commodity in Minneapolis. "The rainy weekend means that some corn growers may switch acres over to beans, and it also raises the risk that there will be lower corn yields."

Corn surged by 11.75 cents to finish at $5.9575 a bushel on the CBOT, after breaking a record at $5.99 a bushel earlier in the day.

If the wet weather continues, planters may drop corn planting altogether and sow beans instead. Corn prices should rise steadily on a supply and demand basis.

Robert Boaz New President and CEO of Aura Silver


Aura Silver Resources Inc (CDNX: AUU.V) announced that Robert Boaz would assume the duties of President and CEO of the company. Former CEO Jeffrey Klenda will stay on as Chairman of the Board. Former President Paul Pitman will remain with the company as a consulting geologist, said the company in a press release.

Jeffrey Klenda, Chairman stated: "We are pleased that Robert Boaz has agreed to accept these management leadership roles for Aura Silver. His considerable experience in the investment industry and knowledge of the resource sector will allow us to take Aura Silver to the next level of corporate growth. Aura Silver remains well funded with approximately $1.4 million cash on hand.

"Further, the Company has reached a stage whereby the considerable geological experience of Mr. Pitman, Eric Craigie, Director and Vice President of Exploration of the Company, and Dr. James Franklin, Director of the Company, can now focus on further developing and adding to our portfolio of properties. We expect that 2008 will be a pivotal year for Aura Silver. Our joint venture with Intrepid Mines Ltd. is set to initiate the second phase drilling program at the Taviche, Mexico properties in Oaxaca during the summer of 2008; and the Company will continue work programs at our Greyhound, Nunavut property."

Along with working in the power and natural gas industry, Boaz has 18 years of experience in the financial industry. Boaz has been a directer with Aura Silver since September 2006.

Gold Rises by One Percent after Hitting Two-Month Low


Even though gold fell to as low as $872.90 on Tuesday, it was able to rally some and reach as high $894, up from $884.20/885.40 an ounce late in New York, before settling at $891.50/892.40.

The 3 percent drop on Tuesday continued the plunge in gold prices since the high of $1,030.80 it reached in March.

In the short term, analysts think investors will hold back and wait to hear the upcoming release of data on U.S payrolls on Friday.

"We are trying to recover some ground and may succeed depending on the data releases in the U.S., but that could be temporary respite," said Tom Kendall, metals strategist at Mitsubishi Corporation.

"It's too early to be wholly convinced that the time is right to go long again for strategic investors. The market needs to steady for a while and it's possible that we will set up a range here between $875 to $900 for a week or two."

Oil and Gas Prices Rise on Gas Inventory Drop


Crude oil surged by over $3 a barrel as reports from the U.S. Energy Department showed that the gas inventory fell for the third week.

Gasoline Inventory

Gasoline inventory fell to 224.7 million barrels, a 4.53 million barrel drop last week. That's the largest decrease in the gasoline supply since August.

"The robust supply cushion for gasoline appears to be vanishing before our eyes," said John Kilduff, vice president of risk management at MF Global Ltd. in New York.

May delivery for gasoline rose to $2.7745 a gallon, a 13.53 cent increase. Futures reached as high as $2.7836 a gallon for RBOB, the gasoline mixed with ethanol. That's a intraday record. RBOB started trading in October 2005.

"The gasoline drop was a real eye-opener," said Rick Mueller, director of oil practice at Energy Security Analysis Inc. "Supplies are falling when we aren't even close to the driving season. We should be building stocks ahead of the driving season, not seeing them drop."

Refineries

The report revealed that refineries were running at less capacity than the same week last year, as they operated at 82.2 percent, in contrast to 87 percent during the same period last year.

Inventory for crude oil increased by 7.32 million barrels, to end at 319.2 million barrels last week. Crude supplies increased by 1.8 million percent of the five-year average said the Energy Department.

"It's hard to argue that there is any problem with crude oil supplies," Mueller said. "At least in the U.S., refiners have plenty of crude oil on hand."

Crude oil futures for May delivery increased to $104.78 a barrel, a $3.80 rise.

Brent Crude

For Brent crude, May delivery increased to $103.75 a barrel on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange, a $3.58 percent rise.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Gold Falls Below $880 for First Time in 2 Months

The correction in the gold market continues, as the ongoing rise of the U.S. dollar and migration toward equities has pummeled the precious metal.

Gold fell as low as $872.90, and at 6.00 p.m. EDT was at $883.50. Since the record high of $1,030.80 two weeks ago, gold has fallen by 15 percent.

"Given the elevated level of speculative interest, we would not rule out a deepening of the current correction in prices," said Suki Cooper, precious metals analyst at Barclays Capital.

"However, the overall environment for gold remains positive over the forthcoming months," she added.

Manufacturing and retail strength in the U.S. helped the dollar gain more than expected.

U.S. gold futures for June delivery finished at $33.70, or $887.80 an ounce on the COMEX division of the NYMEX.

Ethanol Plant Planned for Albany with $350 Million Price Tag


Plans for a new ethanol plant is in the works for Port of Albany, which will cost as much as $350 million.

Developing the plant, which will be situated on 18 acres on the west bank of the Hudson River, will be Albany Renewable Energy LLC.

The company said the ethanol plant will be able to produce up to 110 million gallons of fuel yearly.

The project is awaiting permits from the state Department of Environmental Conservation before construction will be allowed to start. That will take anywhere from 6 to 12 months said officials from the company.

It's expected to be operational by the end of 2009.

Silver Producers' Shares Plunge as U.S. Dollar Strengthens


The U.S. dollar continues to wreak havoc in the overall commodities market, as prices plunge in response to the greenback's recent strength.

Silver was no different, as it dropped to $16.63 an ounce on late morning Tuesday, down from Monday's close of $18.11. Shares of silver producers fell along with the silver prices.

Some silver producers falling were Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp. (NYSE: CDE), which fell by 28 cents, or 6.9 percent, to $3.76; Pan American Silver Corp. (Nasdaq:PAAS) dropped $1.97, or 5.1 percent, to $36.41; and Silver Wheaton Corp. (NYSE:SLW) fell 55 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $14.98.

The Dow Jones-AIG Silver Index dropped 4.2 percent.

Along with the stronger U.S. dollar, another factor is the slowing U.S. economy, which some believe will decrease the chances that inflation will rear its ugly head, making precious metals less valuable in the eyes of investors, who typically go there in inflationary times.

The manufacturing index of the Institute of Supply Management said it came in at 48.6 in March, The thinking is if it's below 50 there is a contraction going on in the economy, rather than expansion.

As usual, this is today's activity and response. When the dollar weakens again we could see all this change very quickly.

Wheat Prices Drop as Dollar Strengthens


Wheat and other commodities continue to fall on the assumption the strengthening U.S. dollar and equities market will continue to rise.

Another variable is the increase in planting this year which could cause prices to fall in the long term.

"Some of the financial stocks look better, and some people feel that the worst is over" for the U.S. economy, said Vince Ambrose, a trader at MF Global in Chicago. "With the dollar being strong, it's going to hurt these commodities."

Wheat futures fell by 15 cents for May delivery, to $9.14 a bushel on the CBOT at about 12:30 p.m. Earlier in the day they fell to the lowest since January 11, selling for $8,9875 a bushel. Monday's contracts fell by 60 cents, the maximum allowed on the exchange.

Inventories, which fell last year because of poor weather, should increase this year with the larger acreage planted.

Winter Wheat

U.S. farmers have planted 4.1 percent more winter wheat than last year during September through December, according to the report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Spring wheat sowing is also expected to increase by 7.8 percent over last year's April and May plantings.

"I don't see wheat falling out of bed," said Vince Ambrose, a trader at MF Global in Chicago. "Everybody grows wheat, and the weather looks better, maybe not so much in the U.S. but globally. Along with that, we'll see lower prices down the line."

The increase in planting and supply should keep the wheat prices down more than in the recent past.

The wheat crop in the U.S. is worth about $13.7 billion, the fourth-largest crop in the U.S. The leading crops are corn, soybeans and hay.

Congress Shifts Attention to Oil Executives, Gas Prices

In what I believe is an attempt to simply assign blame and get the attention of the public away from their dissatisfaction with Congress and their poor performance, Representatives made a big show of "grilling" oil company executives about the profits the companies have made.

Liberal Rep. Ed Markey from Massachusetts wants to take away about $18 billion in tax breaks from the five largest U.S. oil companies and put them toward what he calls "planet-friendly energy alternatives like wind and solar."

That's all we'd need is those ugly forests of windmills strewn around the countryside, which don't supply enough electricity to help much at all.

As Peter Robertson, vice chairman of Chevron, said, "Given that the largest contributor to the cost of gasoline is crude oil, this has translated into record-high gasoline prices."

The other thing Congress doesn't talk about is the high taxes on gasoline of an average of 47 cents a gallon; including state and federal taxes combined. That average is as of the first quarter of 2008.

In the end this is just a media circus to get people to start blaming business again, and get the attention of the politicians.