Friday, May 2, 2008

New York Oil Increases by $3, Largest Gain in Month

June delivery of crude oil increased $3.80 to settle at $116.32 a barrel on the Nymex Friday, it's first rise in four days, and the largest gain in a month.

For Brent crude, June delivery gained even more, as it grew by $4.06 percent to $114.56 on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange. That's the largest increase since March 18.

Although some blamed the air strike by Turkey on Kurdish rebels in Iraq as part of the reason for the surge, it couldn't account for the whole gain. It's probably investors getting back into the market, taking advantage of lower prices.

"News of the Turkish air attacks turned us around overnight, but it doesn't explain a $3 gain," said Tom Bentz, a broker at BNP Paribas in New York. "More than any headline in particular, we are just seeing investors come in to take advantage of the dip in prices this week."


This is one of the reasons OPEC continues to resist increasing production, as they primarily blame the increase in oil prices on speculators of oil futures.

"OPEC will not increase production of crude oil because what is happening now is not an increase in oil demand, but heavy speculation on oil futures," Qatari Oil Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah said today. "That's what's making oil prices so high."

Wheat Climbs for First Time in Four Days

For the first time in four days, wheat increased in price, as investors think importers may start to increase acquisitions from the U.S. as wheat prices fave declined.

On Thursday the grain fell to $7.765 a bushel, the lowest price since November 20, 2007. It's also down over 40 percent in price from the record it attained in the latter part of February.

"Below $8 a bushel, we may see some buying interest from importers, who have been delaying purchases," said Kenji Kobayashi, a grain analyst at Kanetsu Asset Management Co.

Sales of U.S. wheat grew by 12 percent this week over last week, as they increased to 176,100 metric tons for the week ending April 24, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

July delivery for wheat gained 2.5 cents, to reach $7.925 a bushel, as of 3:28 p.m. Singapore time. It gravitated from $7.90 and $7.9525 in CBOT after-hours trading.

Even with recent price decreases, wheat is still up by over 65 percent over last year. It reached a high of $13.495 on February 27 before falling back.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Corn Farmers in Denial over Taking Responsibility for High Cost of Food

In an extremely pathetic assertion, the president of the National Corn Growers Association, Rick Tolman, said this about rising food prices: "bottom line, there's been a very clever marketing disinformation campaign directed at bio fuels for those with deep pockets."

Here's this organization representing huge, corporate farmers, who are subsidized by taxpayer dollars saying other companies with a lot of money are spreading disinformation.

All these big corporate farmers are fighting is losing the tax dollars they're getting to grow corn that is causing a lot of pain in the pocketbook of consumers who don't only pay for it with their taxes, but worse, through higher food prices.

Corn-based ethanol is a debacle that needs to be stopped now. The assertion that cellulosic ethanol is going to be the answer is also smoke in the wind. Not only is it years away in coming, if it ever does, but it's also far more expensive than corn-based ethanol is.

What was thought to be a slam dunk by politicians, subsidy-loving corporate farmers and environmentalists, is now becoming a destructive power against human beings. It simply needs to be stopped and dropped right now!

Philippine Corn Output Increases 27.6 Percent in 1st Quarter

Corn production in the Philippine's in the first quarter gained 27.6 percent to reach 2.17 million metric tons. In the same season last year production reached 1.70 million metric tons.

Agriculture Assistant Secretary Dennis Araullo said output exceeded expectations of the projected 2.14 million metric tons.

“More farmers planted corn in the last quarter of 2007. The total area harvested for corn reached 711,000 hectares,” Araullo said.

The best areas of production were the provinces of Isabela and Mindanao.

With the unexpected high results, if the second quarter holds up to expectations, the first half would reach 3.34 million metric tons, which would be an increase of 21 percent. Last year the first half produced 2.75 million metric tons.

If corn production keeps at this pace, the yearly output would reach 7.384 million metric tons, bringing the self-sufficiency level of corn for the Philippines to 94 percent.

Assuming the projections are close to accurate, yellow corn would reach 4.647 million and white corn 2.737 million.

Augusta Resource Corp. Sells 45 Percent of Silver in "Rosemont Mine" to Silver Wheaton

In order to fund the development of Rosemount mine, which is close to Tucson, Arizona, Augusta Resource Corp. sold 45 percent of the silver production of the mine to Silver Wheaton. In exchange, Silver Wheaton paid them $165 million in a one-time payment.

The deal is conditioned upon Augusta securing all needed permits and gaining additional development financing.

Over the anticipated 18-year life of the mine, it is expected to generate 220 million pounds of copper, 4.5 million pounds of molybdenum, 2.7 million ounces of silver and 15,000 ounces of gold on a yearly basis.

Augusta Resource Corp. looks to begin production of gold, silver, copper and molybdenum by 2011.

An agreement is expected to be finalized by July 1.

Gold Plunges to 4-month Low on Strengthening U.S. Dollar

Gold dropped as low as $847.10 an ounce Thursday as a surge by the U.S. dollar weakened the yellow metal's appeal.

With gold last at $850.25/851.65 in New York, Simon Weeks, managing director of precious metals at Bank of Nova Scotia, said, "I think $850 is enough for now, but longer-term I expect to see (gold at) the 200-day moving average, currently at $822, before the correction will be complete."

Most precious metals were pressured by the strengthening U.S. dollar, as it reached a five-week high against the euro. Much of that was driven by better than expected numbers from the U.S. manufacturing index for April.

Gold futures in the U.S. dropped, with the June contract down $14.20 to $850.90 an ounce.

There were also concerns among dealers who watch a drop in bullion holdings in StreetTRACKS Gold Shares, the largest gold ETF in the world. It now holds 580.45 tons, a 10 percent loss over the last 10 days.