Posted: January 27th, 2012 | Author: Rod Sherkin | Filed under: Food | Tags: food | No Comments »
U.S. cattle inventories fell to the lowest in 60 years after a drought in the South scorched pastures, prompting ranchers to shrink herds.
Cattle futures in Chicago surged to a record $1.29675 a pound on Jan. 25. Texas, the top state producer, had its driest year on record in 2011, according to the National Weather Service.
The drought destroyed pastures, forcing ranchers to sell or slaughter animals rather than incur feed costs driven up by corn, the main ingredient, which reached an all-time high in 2011.
via U.S. Cattle Herd Falls to Smallest Since 1952 as Drought Destroys Pastures – Bloomberg.
Posted: January 24th, 2012 | Author: Rod Sherkin | Filed under: Metals, Steel | Tags: Metals, steel | No Comments »
MEPS’ forecast for crude steel manufacturing in North America for 2012 is 123 million tonnes – up 3.3 percent, year-on-year. US steel mills maintained strong activity in 2011, despite poor market conditions in the second half. A more modest rise, at around 3 percent, is envisaged this year.
World steel production will continue its inexorable rise in 2012 despite downbeat economic prospects, states MEPS (International) Ltd. in its latest issue of World Steel Outlook.
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Posted: January 24th, 2012 | Author: Rod Sherkin | Filed under: Transportation | Tags: transportation | No Comments »
The Baltic Dry Index – an index of global freight rates for shipping dry commodities such as iron ore, coal and grain – had fallen for 23 consecutive days as of last Friday, cutting its value in half in the space of a month. The last time the index was this low, the world was in the depths of a credit crisis and a major recession.
While the Baltic Dry Index is obscure to your average retail investor, keen market watchers have long considered it a valuable leading indicator for the world economy, indicating shifting tides in demand for key industrial commodities.
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Posted: January 22nd, 2012 | Author: Rod Sherkin | Filed under: Electricity, Energy, Natural Gas | Tags: electricity, natural gas | No Comments »
Mirroring the gas market, wholesale electricity prices have dropped more than 50 percent on average since 2008, and about 10 percent during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to a Jan. 11 research report by Aneesh Prabhu, a New York-based credit analyst with Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC.
Prices in the west hub of PJM Interconnection LLC, the largest wholesale market in the U.S., declined to about $39 per megawatt hour by December 2011 from $87 in the first quarter of 2008.
Read the rest of The natural gas glut is driving down electricity prices » » »
Posted: January 21st, 2012 | Author: Rod Sherkin | Filed under: Aluminum, Copper, Metals, Stainless Steel | Tags: Metals | No Comments »
UBS AG said aluminium will average $1.01 a pound this year and $1.15 a pound next year, with demand growing faster than supply next year.
Copper’s average will fall from $3.60 a pound this year to $3.20 a pound next year when supply and demand will be in balance after a shortage this year, Peter Hickson, an analyst at the bank, said in a report dated today. Nickel will strengthen throughout 2012 and average $8.98 while zinc falls from $1.03 a pound this year to $1 a pound next year, according to the report.
via UBS Forecasts Aluminum at $1.01 a Pound in 2012, $1.15 Next Year – Businessweek.
Posted: January 17th, 2012 | Author: Rod Sherkin | Filed under: Stainless Steel, Steel | Tags: stainless steel, steel | No Comments »
Over the past few weeks, nickel prices have escalated by 10 percent. Chromium prices are expected to follow a similar pattern. Scrap costs are increasing. These factors are predicted to lead to stock replenishment by both distributors and end users as they attempt to buy ahead of higher stainless steel prices resulting from rising mill input costs.
MEPS forecasts that its benchmark, type 304, cold rolled Stainless Steel World Price will increase by $US850 per tonne over the next six months. The gain is expected to be driven by a combination of rising input costs and inventory building in the supply chains around the world
via Stainless steel prices to rise 25% in 2012 – MEPS.
Posted: January 16th, 2012 | Author: Rod Sherkin | Filed under: Energy, Natural Gas | Tags: natural gas | No Comments »
For companies that make plastics, fertilizer and other chemicals derived from natural gas, the falling prices are nothing short of a windfall. The same goes for makers of products from steel to bricks to beer. All use a lot of natural gas to heat their furnaces. U.S. manufacturers are becoming more competitive globally as a result of the countrys cheap natural gas, industry officials say.
A 35 percent collapse in the futures price over the past year has been a boon to homeowners who use natural gas for heat and appliances and to manufacturers who power their factories and make chemicals and materials with it.
Read the rest of Natural gas price plunge aids businesses (and homeowners) » » »
Posted: January 15th, 2012 | Author: Rod Sherkin | Filed under: Agricultural, Commodities, Food | Tags: cattle, food | No Comments »
Cattle futures for April delivery climbed 0.9 percent to close at $1.264 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. After the settlement, the price reached $1.2645 in electronic trading, the highest for a most-active contract since the commodity began trading on the CME in 1964.
Cattle futures rose as animal supplies dwindled in the U.S. and global beef demand climbed, boosting meat costs for restaurants including Sonic Corp. (SONC), a hamburger chain.
Read the rest of Cattle Futures Rise to a Record as ‘Spectacular’ Demand Boosts Beef Costs » » »
Posted: January 12th, 2012 | Author: Rod Sherkin | Filed under: Food, Soybaens | Tags: food, grain, soybean, wheat | No Comments »
Corn and Wheat prices plunged the most in three months, while soybeans slid, after an increase in stockpile forecasts by the U.S. government eased concern that shortages will inflate prices for food and biofuels.
Inventories of corn in the U.S., the world’s top grower and exporter, may total 846 million bushels before this year’s harvest, 12 percent more than analysts expected, a U.S. Department of Agriculture report showed today. The 2011 crop totaled 12.358 billion, above a December forecast, while global output will be a record for a fifth straight year. World wheat reserves will rise to the highest since 2000, the USDA said.
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Posted: January 11th, 2012 | Author: Rod Sherkin | Filed under: Natural Gas | Tags: energy, natural gas | No Comments »
Natural gas for February delivery ended the day down 16.7 cents at $2.774/MMBtu on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement for a front-month contract since Sept. 4, 2009.
Natural-gas futures dropped 5.7% to settle at their lowest level in more than two years after revised weather forecasts indicated a warming trend across much of the nation.
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