Saturday, March 6, 2010
Mar 05, 2010 (DailyFX via COMTEX) -- Scheduled event risk was generally a disappointment for those seeking out volatility; but the data, combined with the stable backdrop of advancing risk appetite, would nonetheless push crude higher. A commodity of industrialization and speculation, oil extended its recently choppy trend to test yet another prominent, even number: $82.
North American Commodity Update
Commodities - Energy
Crude Oil (LS NYMEX) - $81.92 // $1.71 // 2.13% Scheduled event risk was generally a disappointment for those seeking out volatility; but the data, combined with the stable backdrop of advancing risk appetite, would nonetheless push crude higher. A commodity of industrialization and speculation, oil extended its recently choppy trend to test yet another prominent, even number: $82. Aside from signifying the highest level for the commodity in nearly two months, this figure also has a history amongst speculators as the turning point for the October 21st peak and reversal. For technical traders, a stall and collapse from here would further a 'head-and-shoulders' formation. Otherwise, the distracted advance of the past month would not have to push much further to surmount 16-month highs at $84. Speculative interest is certainly carrying its weight when it comes to this securities appreciation. Matching general pace and bearing in the equities market, oil traders have seen their optimism fortified by the progress made towards buttressing the Greek economy and ensuring its financial troubles do not spread to the rest of the European Union and perhaps beyond. Additional austerity cuts from the government itself were a considerable gesture; but it was the nation's ability to successfully raise funds that provided investors some level of confidence. Nonetheless, fear has not yet fully dissipated. Should the market doubt the EU's resolve to lend whatever is necessary to bolster Greece or fear that troubles in Spain and Portugal could swamp effective rescue measures; the financial stability of the region could once again stoke anxiety.
For near-term speculative interest, the US labor data for February carried its own influence over this capital markets. From a speculative standpoint, the data would print close to the market's forecasts. From a purely economic standpoint, the data would offer a modest boost to growth forecasts and thereby the outlook for energy demand. In fact, many commentators believe that had February snowstorms not been a factor, the month would have shown a net increase in payrolls. Nonetheless, putting this report into context, the world's largest economy is still suffering from net job losses when the unemployment rate is already at 9.7 percent. Considering the subsequent influence this has on consumer spending, the outlook for a robust recovery that leverages energy demand is relatively mute. In the meantime, supply is still extraordinarily high. The increase in the Department of Energy's crude oil inventory figures (extending the longest series of weekly increases since May) pushed US stockpiles to its highest level since August at 341.6 million barrel. It will be difficult to work off these excessive supplies and compensate for the slack capacity at refineries and further up the supply chain. Looking forward, the OPEC meeting on the 17th could provide a better assessment of production plans from the world's largest collective supplier of petroleum productions.
MALAYSIA palm oil futures ended off two-month highs yesterday as some traders took profits on strong external markets and expectations of bullish forecasts at a key industry conference next week.
Palm oil has gained 0.3 per cent so far this year compared to US soyoil’s 2.4 per cent decline, making it the best performing vegetable oil market.
“The prices are holding well before the Palm Oil (and Laurics) Conference, the price support level should be around RM2,650,” one trader in Kuala Lumpur said.
Overall traded volume surged to 17,321 lots at 25 tonnes each from the usual 10,000 lots, signalling that the majority of the traders were taking positions ahead of the three day palm oil conference in Kuala Lumpur.
The Malaysian Palm Oil Board, the industry regulator, will release February’s palm oil stocks, production and export data on Wednesday and traders expect bullish numbers.
A Reuters poll on Friday showed Malaysia’s February palm oil stocks likely to fall for a second straight month by 5 per cent.
The survey, done among five plantations in Malaysia showed the February’s output dipped further 6 per cent. But, traders in Kuala Lumpur expected production to drop 8-9 per cent as there were lesser market days last month.
Crude oil rose above US$80 a barrel in Asian hours, after China said it would maintain its economic stimulus, giving support to most of the vegetable oil markets.
May soyoil contract at the Chicago Board of Trade edged higher while the most traded September soyoil futures in Dalian Commodity Exchange also gained slightly.
Bursa Malaysia is in the process of transfering its derivatives contracts currently traded on an in-house platform onto CME Group Inc's Globex platform.
Trading of FCPO, the global benchmark price for palm oil, grew by 33 per cent to four million contracts in 2009, Bursa's chief executive Datuk Yusli Mohamed Yusoff, said in an interview late on Thursday.
A bumper South American soya crop, recovering global demand and the resurgent El Nino weather condition will be some of the factors driving Southeast Asian palm oil markets in 2010.
"We expect more interest in our contracts, not just from buyers and sellers but from people who want to take positions to speculate on the price of palm oil," said Yusli ahead of Bursa Malaysia's Palm and Lauric Oils Conference next week.
The event, which kicks off on March 8, brings together industry analysts, global vegetable oil traders and plantation firms for three days.
The stock exchange operator expects its derivatives offerings to begin trading on the CME Globex platform in the second half of the year.
"Over time, we will be working with CME to identify what other products should be developed for our market," he said. Last year CME Group bought a 25 per cent stake in Bursa Malaysia's derivatives unit and said it planned to develop a US dollar FCPO using settlement prices of ringgit contracts for trading on one of CME's platforms.
Turning to the share market, Yusli said "20 or so" new listings, mostly by local companies, are expected to hit the market in the coming months.
"Assuming market conditions stabilise, we hope to see most, if not, all of them coming into the market in the next few months," he said.
Bursa is aiming for slightly more revenue than last year's RM402 million but profits will likely be flat due to rising costs.
"Our expectations are that it will be better than last year's but how much better will depend on factors like getting foreign investors back," he said. - Reuters
FCPO Bursa Malaysia Derivatives (BMD may hit 2800-3000 level in nearest time. Make sure those of you take the long position. Strong Fundamental Analysis (F.A)discovered last midnight which is may boost the price accordingly.
1. NFP report at 2130 (MALAYSIA TIME) had shown very significant fell of jobless in US
2. NYMEX CRUDE OIL (CLJ10) significantly increased consistently up to $81.80 last night may boost CPO BMD price next week.
3. CBOT soybeans oil May 2010 Contract boost up to $40.42 last night also may boost CPO price since the consumer make an alternative choice to use CPO.
4. Shortage of CPO production due to EL-NINO effect throughout the INDONESIA and MALAYSIA region which is combined production is 86% from the total world market volume
I hope those indicators may boost up FCPO price and all of traders might gain profit from there......
Wish all of you good luck.....and Happy Trading
04:00 Jay Bee
Friday, March 5, 2010
The Labor Department, which carried out its surveys at the same time that the snowstorms battered the East Coast, said in a report Friday that nonfarm payrolls fell by 36,000 compared with a revised 26,000 drop in January.
Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires were expecting payrolls to fall by 75,000 mainly because of the severe weather. The January figure was revised from an originally reported 20,000 decline.
The unemployment rate, which is calculated using a different household survey, remained at 9.7% last month. Economists had forecast the jobless rate would edge higher to 9.8%.
"Severe winter weather in parts of the country may have affected payroll employment and hours; however, it is not possible to quantify precisely the net impact of the winter storms on these measures," the Labor Department said.
Employment fell in construction and information, while temporary help services added jobs. The number of workers on government payroll fell by 18,000, while those on federal payroll were up 7,000.
An influx of Census workers helped add 15,000 temporary workers, but that was offset by a decline in postal service employment.
The storms of Feb. 4-7 and 9-11 likely prevented a significant number of Americans from being counted on payroll during the key period that includes the 12th, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics carries out the survey. The blizzards that hit the East Coast, a densely populated work area where transportation was badly disrupted by the snow, may also have caused a delay in new hiring.
Analysts expect the negative impact the weather had on the jobs market in February to be reversed by a positive impact on March employment growth.
History has shown that when a snowstorm happened early enough in the month to overlap with the survey week, there's nearly always been a deterioration in the jobs market for that month, followed by an improvement the following month.
"Overall, we do not believe that the underlying employment situation has changed; job losses continue to abate and the weather-related losses will be recovered in subsequent months", said analysts at Credit Agricole ahead of the release.
Since December 2007, the start of the worst U.S. recession in decades, payroll employment has fallen by 8.4 million.
The White House, which has job creation at the top of its agenda, warned Thursday that February's report could be adversely affected by the storms. Though likely to be temporary, the anticipated bad news comes as the White House continues to defend last year's economic stimulus and press lawmakers for new jobs-creating initiatives.
The grim jobs report should help reinforce the Federal Reserve's view that short-term interest rates must remain at a record low for several months at least. Fed Chairman Ben Bernake last week said bad weather was likely to have impacted the February jobs report, and warned against reading too much into it.
Fed officials have predicted the unemployment rate will remain above 9% in the fourth quarter of 2010 due to a slow recovery.
Friday's jobs report also showed that average hourly earnings rose to $18.93 in February from $18.90 the previous month. The average workweek fell by 0.2 hour to 33.1 hours, a sign of how the bad weather hit the labor market last month.
* Middle East to exceed global energy demand growth
* Saudi Arabia, Iran to drive demand growth
By Luke Pachymuthu and Jennifer Tan
DUBAI/SINGAPORE, March 5 (Reuters) - Middle East oil demand could grow by nearly 5 percent in 2010, outpacing a modest recovery in global energy demand as the world's top oil exporting governments continue spending petrodollars to boost economies, analysts said.
Oil export income has fuelled expansion in the region, and given governments the cash to spend their way through the global economic downturn. Cheap subsidised fuel has encouraged rapid energy consumption growth that some regional governments have struggled to meet.
OPEC's top two producers Saudi Arabia and Iran would drive more than half the Middle East's oil demand growth.
The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) expected demand growth in 2010 in the region of 320,000 barrels per day (bpd) or 4.5 percent, to reach a total of 7.55 million bpd, said Eduardo Lopez, a senior oil demand analyst at the IEA.
That was over twice the IEA's forecast 2010 global oil demand growth of 1.8 percent, the first growth year in three years after recession cut fuel use.
PFC Energy estimates product demand to grow about 3.85 percent in 2010.
Rising diesel and gasoline demand would spur demand growth of 130,000 bpd in top oil exporter Saudi Arabia in 2010, taking total demand for the Arab world's largest economy to 2.76 million bpd. That was higher than demand for Brazil and close to Russia's fuel consumption.
"In Saudi Arabia, the main demand driver comes from the transportation sector, although power generation is also important," said Victor Shum an analyst with energy consultancy Purvin & Gertz Inc.
Reserves accumulated during the oil price rally of 2002-2008 had given the Saudi economy a cushion to absorb the blows the global crisis dealt the region over the past two years.
Steady gains in oil prices during 2009 meant that it had to draw less on those reserves than it would have in a lower price environment.
Saudi Arabia's real GDP growth is expected to be 3.8 percent in 2010, well up from 0.2 percent in 2009 as state spending remains high and private consumption picks up, a Reuters poll showed.
The kingdom would cut diesel exports by 19 percent to around 105,000 bpd in 2010 as domestic demand absorbed more Saudi refinery output.
Seasonal diesel demand peaks in the summer as the population run air conditioning units hard to counter soaring desert temperatures. This year, that peak was likely to be higher than ever as power demand rises.
"Diesel is on par with gasoline in terms of demand growth not only from the transportation but also as power demand continues to accelerate seasonality will increase," said consultancy PFC Energy in a February Gulf Energy report.
In Iran, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, demand would rise 110,000 bpd to 1.86 million bpd, up more than 6 percent of the year and reversing a contraction in 2009.
Iran's product demand shrunk 5.1 percent in 2009, with diesel accounting for nearly half this decline, according to PFC Energy.
Insufficient supply from domestic refineries and electrol issues have had an impact on demand growth in Tehran.
Despite its massive oil reserves, the Islamic Republic lacks the refineries to meet domestic demand. It imports the shortfall from international markets and then subsidises the price at the pump to offer some of the cheapest gasoline in the world.
"Demand has been largely driven by transportation...downside risk (is) economic slowdown, political uncertainty (domestic and international)," Lopez said.
The IEA is expecting Iran's oil demand to grow by 6.3 percent, Lopez said.
Politicians in the United States have targeted this reliance on international supply as a weakness it may exploit through sanctions to put pressure on Tehran to halt uranium enrichment.
The U.S. and its allies suspect Iran covertly aims to develop atomic arms, while Tehran says its nuclear programme is for electricity generation.
The more demand increases, the more Iran depends on foreign fuel suppliers and the more exposed it is to U.S. political pressure on suppliers to stop selling fuel to Iran.
"Iran's refineries cannot keep pace with demand growth," Shum said." Imports have rapidly increased from essentially none in 2005 to more than 100,000 bpd today."
Smuggling too has played a part in Iran's demand. The country's gasoline is cheaper than its neighbours, encouraging exports.
Oil demand in the UAE is the tale of two contrasting economic stories in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In the former, the end of a real estate boom and a more recent debt crisis has led to the delay or cancellation of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of construction projects, impacting diesel demand.
But in Abu Dhabi, as in Riyadh, reserves fattened through windfall oil export earnings as the oil price rally allowed the government to continue spending.
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the seven-member federation of the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is also a member. The UAE's product demand was pegged at around 304,000 bpd in 2010, up from 294,000 bpd in 2009, according to consultancy PFC Energy.
Gas oil exports from the UAE are expected to dip about 3 percent because of the increased domestic demand.
"The demand is likely to be driven from the boom going on in Abu Dhabi. It would have been much higher if Dubai didn't have its financial problems," said a senior trader based in the Middle East.
2010 2009 2008 TOTAL PRODUCT DEMAND Middle East 4.402 mbpd 4.239 mbpd 4.165 mpbd Saudi Arabia 1.900 mbpd 1.797 mbpd 1.648 mbpd Iran 1.600 mbpd 1.566 mbpd 1.650 mbpd
*mbpd - million barrels per day ==============================================================
(Editing by Simon Webb and Sue Thomas)
* Grains stay forex-sensitive, bearish fundamentals cap
* Corn may find support in planting hitches, ethanol demand
* Coming up: U.S. February non-farm payrolls at 1330 GMT
(Updates with quotes, European trading, previous SYDNEY)
By Bruce Hextall and Gus Trompiz
PARIS/SYDNEY, March 5 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean and grain futures clawed back ground on Friday as a steady dollar supported soft commodities after a day of heavy losses.
Gains were modest as the market awaited the release later on Friday of the U.S. employment report for February, seen as a key indicator of the pace of economic recovery.
Grain markets were also waiting for direction from next Wednesday's closely watched World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"Currrency and grains markets will be choppy in front of those U.S. employment numbers tonight and if the numbers point to an improving U.S. economy you will see a rally in global equities markets and the dollar but grains could fall," said Garry Booth, an adviser at MF Global Australia.
A rising dollar makes U.S. priced commodities more expensive for buyers holding other currencies and tends to push prices of those commodities lower, as happened in Chicago on Wednesday.
Bearish fundamentals continued to cap gains, including upgrades to projected Argentine soybean and corn crops by Informa Economics on Thursday.
The respected analytical firm raised its estimate of Argentina's 2009/10 soybean production to 55.0 million tonnes and its corn production to 21.0 million tonnes, trade sources said..
In Brazil, meanwhile, the soybean harvest is gathering pace, encouraging China, the world's largest soy importer, to switch to buying supplies from the South American nation, the No. 2 soybean exporter, rather than from the United States.
China made no purchases of U.S. soybeans in the latest week.
Chicago Board of Trade soybeans for March delivery rose 0.70 percent to $9.39 per bushel by 1222 GMT. The contract expires on March 12.
Corn fared a little better with the March contract, which expires on March 12, rising 0.87 percent to $3.75-1/4, helped by a rising oil price.
Quality issues with the U.S. crop, strong ethanol demand and the potential planting problems could all boost corn prices in the coming weeks, Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note.
"We believe the historical tendency of prices to move higher from March to June will be even more pronounced this year," they said, seeing corn breaking through current resistance at $3.80.
Corn is a key feedstock for U.S. biofuel production.
Morgan Stanley said the USDA could raise its estimate for the 2009/10 U.S. corn crop in its March 10 report, contrary to previous expectations of a cut, but this would not necessarily weigh on the market.
"Despite large corn stocks, we reiterate the need to see an increase of almost 3 million acres of corn to be planted YoY to keep balances steady for 10/11."
On wheat markets, wheat for March delivery added 0.65 percent to $5.05-1/4 after plunging 2.6 percent on Thursday.
On Euronext, milling wheat futures were virtually unchanged to stay near contract lows. March, which expires on Wednesday, was off 0.21 percent at 119.25 euros a tonne and May flat at 123.50 euros.
With low prices and hefty grain supplies continuing to draw offers to public stores under Europe's intervention scheme, operators said any market rebound would depend on a weather incident or spillover support from corn or soy. * Prices as of 1222 GMT Product Last Change Percent Move End 2009 Ytd Percent CBOT wheat 493.25 2.75 +0.56 541.50 -8.91 CBOT corn 375.25 3.25 +0.87 414.50 -9.47 CBOT soybeans 939.00 6.50 +0.70 1039.75 -9.69 CBOT rice 12.92 -0.08 -0.62 14.57 -11.32 Paris wheat 119.25 -0.25 -0.21 131.25 -9.14 Paris maize 127.50 0.25 +0.20 135.00 -5.56 Paris rapeseed 295.50 1.00 +0.34 287.50 2.78 Crude oil 80.67 0.46 +0.57 79.36 1.65 Euro/dlr 1.36 0.00 +0.02 1.43 -5.13 *Front month contracts. CBOT contracts in cents per bushel except rice which is in dollars per hundredweight. Paris wheat in euros a tonne. (Editing by James Jukwey)
The benchmark May contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives ended MYR4 lower at MYR2,670 a metric ton in choppy trade that saw prices swinging between positive and negative territories.
CPO futures rose to a two-month high of MYR2,700/ton toward midday trade, "fueled by the slew of positive news in the past few days ahead of the industry conference," said Govindlal Patel, managing partner at Mumbai-based edible oils importer Dipak Enterprise.
He said CPO prices may even rise to MYR2,800 if noted analyst like Dorab Mistry, James Fry and Thomas Mielke release bullish price forecasts next week.
Malaysia's CPO output in 2010 may only rise by 1.1% to 17.8 million tons, according to Mielke, which is below a government forecast of 18.1 million tons. Palm oil output for 2009 was at 17.6 million tons, based on recent data from government-linked Malaysian Palm Oil Board.
Such bullish news prompted a short uptrend in prices, trade participants said.
But palm's narrowing discount to soyoil may cap a sharp rise in prices, said a Kuala Lumpur-based senior trading executive. Palm and soyoil prices move in tandem as both compete for similar export destinations.
"The market turned volatile as investors squared off their positions ahead of next week's conference and key production, exports and stocks data from MPOB," he said.
In the cash market, palm olein for March was offered $2.50 higher at $820/ton, while April/May/June was offered $2.50 higher at $820/ton.
Cash CPO for prompt shipment was offered MYR5 lower at MYR2,680/ton.
Open interest on the BMD was 81,079 lots Friday, up from 80,556 lots Thursday. One lot is equivalent to 25 tons.
A total of 17,321 lots of CPO were traded versus 16,754 lots Thursday.
Closing BMD CPO futures prices in MYR/ton at 1000 GMT:
Month Close Previous Change High Low
Mar 2010 2,670 2,680 Down 10 2,697 2,670
Apr 2010 2,680 2,681 Down 01 2,705 2,677
May 2010 2,670 2,674 Down 04 2,700 2,665
Jun 2010 2,664 2,662 Up 02 2,683 2,650
-By Shie-Lynn Lim, Dow Jones Newswires; +603 2026 1233;
* Oil trades close to seven-week highs near $81
* Coming up: U.S. non-farm payrolls at 1330 GMT (Adds Strait of Malacca threat, updates prices)
By Alejandro Barbajosa
SINGAPORE, March 5 (Reuters) - Crude climbed on Friday, capping two consecutive weeks of trading above $80, after China signalled it would maintain its economic stimulus, rekindling hopes for accelerating growth to drain excess oil supplies.
China's Premier Wen Jiabao, in his annual address to the National People's Congress, said the world's second-largest oil consumer will continue an appropriately easy monetary stance and an active fiscal policy. [ID:nTOE6230AE]
U.S. crude for April gained 52 cents to $80.73 a barrel by 0810 GMT, after touching a seven-week high of $81.23 two days ago. London ICE Brent for April advanced 49 cents to $79.03.
Asian shares surged after encouraging retail sales and jobs data from the United States suggested Asia's biggest export market was stabilising. Analysts anticipate a report later on Friday to show U.S. non-farm payrolls fell in February because of severe snowstorms. [ID:nN02150933]
"Fundamentally, thanks to the cold weather in the northern hemisphere, stocks including floating storage are decreasing," said Keichi Sano, general manager of research at SCM Securities in Tokyo.
"But the market doesn't look so strong to break above the $85 level," Sano said. "Oil is trading in a very tight range despite recent fear of tightening monetary policy in China or Greece troubles, or upside potential because of Iran tensions."
China escaped the worst of the global slump by ramping up credit, slashing interest rates and launching a 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) infrastructure programme in late 2008.
But in the past two months, China has restricted the amount of money that banks can lend by enforcing higher cash reserve ratios, aiming to prevent an over-heating of the economy.
Currency movements have also been a leading factor for oil prices this year. The dollar was steady on Friday against a basket of currencies. <.DXY>
But on Thursday the dollar fell against the euro after comments by the European Central Bank reinforced the view interest rates in the region will remain low in the foreseeable future. [USD/]
A stronger dollar tends to pressure oil because it makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for other currency holders.
New York crude has traded in a $69-$84 range over the past few months amid uncertainty about the speed of the global economic recovery. Some traders and analysts say currency movements may play an important role in pushing prices out of those limits.
"I don't think the market can break the range yet, but the euro-dollar is moving quite crazy, so it can eventually give some reason to break," said Sano.
Friday's U.S. employment report is expected to show a loss of 50,000 jobs in February, compared with 20,000 job cuts in January, a Reuters poll of economists shows. But some market watchers said an even greater number of job losses was already priced in to the oil market.
A militant faction in Nigeria's Niger Delta said on Thursday it had blown up an oil facility operated by Italy's Agip , its second attack in as many days, and warned foreign oil companies to leave the region. There was no independent confirmation of the attack. [ID:nLDE6231CC]
Singapore said on Friday it had raised alert levels in the city-state and beefed up security at its airport and new casino resorts after a warning by its navy on Thursday of possible attacks on oil tankers in a key shipping lane. [ID:nSGE62409F] (Editing by Ed Lane)
Light, sweet crude oil for delivery in April settled $0.66 lower at $80.21 per barrel in the New York Mercantile Exchange, pulling back from a seven-week high above $81 reached in the previous session.
The Euro failed to hold ground even after the European Central Bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 1%, as the buck rose following reports from the US that showed a decline in unemployment claims and rise in factory orders.
Wednesday, the European currency had cut back some of its losses against the US Dollar after Greece announced new set of austerity measures aimed at reducing its huge budget deficit, which renewed hopes for a bail-out package for the debt-ridden country.
The US Energy Department's Energy Information Administration had reported Wednesday a 4.1 million barrel-increase in crude stockpiles during the week ended February 26, much higher than an increase by 1.1 million barrels economists had anticipated.
The Labor Department reported Thursday, initial claims for jobless benefits in the US fell by 29,000, in the week ended February 27, to 469,000. Economists were expecting claims to drop to 470,000.
Orders for US manufactured goods rose by 1.7% in January, according to a report from the Commerce Department. The increase was largely in line with estimates.
However, an unexpected drop in pending home sales cast a shadow of doubt over the outlook of US housing market. The National Association of Realtors' pending home sales index fell 7.6% to 90.4 in January, countering economists' expectations for a 1.0% increase.
(Market News Provided by RTTNews)
Crude Oil ($/bbl.)
APR0 80.64 +0.43 80.64 80.66 80.21
MAY0 81.05 +0.42 81.05 81.08 80.63
JUN0 81.52 +0.42 81.52 81.56 81.10
Heating Oil ($/gal.)
APR0 2.0820 +0.0133 2.0802 2.0812 2.0687
MAY0 ... ... 2.0887 2.0954 2.0814
JUN0 ... ... 2.1050 2.1090 2.0946
RBOB Gasoline ($/gal.)
APR0 2.2460 +0.0123 2.2455 2.2465 2.2337
MAY0 2.2485 +0.0125 2.2479 2.2512 2.2360
JUN0 ... ... 2.2406 2.2449 2.2296
Natural Gas ($/mmBtu)
APR0 4.579 +0.004 4.578 4.580 4.575
MAY0 ... ... 4.647 4.650 4.643
JUN0 ... ... 4.720 4.726 4.717
Data delayed at least 30 minutes
Prices in U.S. Dollars
Source: Thomson Reuters
* NYMEX crude for April delivery was up 39 cents at $80.60 a barrel by 0025 GMT, after settling down 66 cents at $80.21 a day earlier.
* Thursday's 0.8 percent decline came as the dollar strengthened and some weak economic data soured sentiment. Crude had hit a seven-week high of $81.23 on Wednesday.
Pending sales of existing U.S. homes fell more than expected in January, according to the National Association of Realtors, casting a shadow over some earlier positive economic data in the world's largest energy consumer.
* Japan's Nikkei average rose 1.1 percent on Friday with exporters such as Kyocera Corp <6971.T> lifted by a weaker yen and gains on Wall Street after encouraging U.S. data including better than expected monthly retail sales. Seoul shares also rose.
* A potentially bearish sign for crude demand came on Wednesday when the Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude inventories rose by a larger-than-expected 4.1 million barrels last week, while gasoline stocks also increased, raising questions about U.S. energy demand. [EIA/S]
* U.S. stocks rose on Thursday as better-than-expected monthly sales from retailers and a drop in the number of Americans filing claims for jobless benefits pointed to stabilisation in the economy.
* The euro was on the defensive on Friday, as a short squeeze in the single currency appeared to have run in course, with investors fretting about debt-laden Greece and Moody's cutting Deutsche Bank's ratings.
* The following data is expected on Friday:
- 0930 GMT--U.K. PPI Core Output/Feb
- 1100 GMT--Germany Industrial Orders/Jan
- 1330 GMT--U.S. Average Earnings/Feb
- 1330 GMT--U.S. Non-farm payrolls/Feb
- 1340 GMT--U.S. ECRI Inflation Index/Feb
RELATED NEWS > US shares rise on data; euro falls on ECB outlook [MKTS/GLOB] > Markets hit by dollar; soy, wheat down over 2 pct [COM/WRAP]
PRICES Oil prices as of 0025 GMT Contract Mnth Price Change Day ago pct MA-20* NYMEX Contracts US Crude APR0 $80.60 +0.39 -$0.66 -0.82% $77.17 Heat Oil APR0 207.95 +1.08 -2.50 -1.19% 199.96 RBOB APR0 224.40 +1.03 -1.39 -0.62% 204.17 Natgas APR0 $4.577 +0.002 -$0.182 -3.83% $5.074 ICE Contracts Brent APR0 -- +0.00 -$0.71 -0.90% $75.25 Gasoil MAR0 -- +0.00 -$4.50 -0.70% $607.94 Note: U.S. heating oil and RBOB gasoline contracts listed in cents per gallon. * = 20-day moving average for continuation month. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
* Soybeans, wheat down more than 2 percent each
* Copper down more than 1 percent, oil nearly 1 percent
* Coming Up - U.S. non-farm payroll data, due on Friday
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, March 4 (Reuters) - U.S. agricultural commodities tumbled on Thursday and metals and oil declined too as a rebounding dollar fed concern about weak raw materials demand.
Weaker U.S. home sales also cast a shadow on recovery prospects for the world's largest economy.
Soybean and wheat prices fell about 2 percent each in U.S. futures trading. Copper lost more than 1 percent and crude oil nearly 1 percent.
Even cotton, a market that had traded near two-year highs in recent sessions, ended down more than 1 percent.
The 19-commodity Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, dominated by oil, settled down 1 percent.
Soybean futures posted their biggest drop in more than seven weeks, closing below a key support level at the 20-day moving average as a firm dollar weighed on prices.
The dollar rose against the euro on comments by the European Central Bank that reinforced the view that eurozone interest rates will remain low for now.
Chicago-traded soybean futures for May fell 21-1/2 cents to close at $9.42 a bushel, a drop of 2.2 percent. The contract closed at its lowest level since Feb. 9.
"The dollar is higher and that's bearish for everything," said Vic Lespinasse, analyst for GrainAnalyst.com.
The dollar's value often decides the direction for commodity prices as a stronger U.S. currency means more costs for buyers using money like the euro. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Dollar vs commodities:
Chicago's soft red winter wheat for May delivery was down 13-1/2 cents, or 2.6 percent, at $5.02-1/4 a bushel, also was below its 20-day moving average.
"All of the news is bearish and there is quite a list. Exports are dropping and now India is talking about exporting wheat and corn, ethanol margins are getting hit ... there is just too much grain in the world," said Paul Haugens, veteran grains trader and a vice president for Newedge USA.
U.S. crude settled down 66 cents at $80.21 a barrel. Aside from the stronger dollar, another dampener for oil was data showing pending sales of existing U.S. homes down more than expected in January.
"The market was not responding well to the positive economic reports," said Tom Bentz, broker at BNP Paribas Commodity Futures Inc in New York.
"Once again the market is in $80/$81 range and can't sustain a rally," Bentz said.
Oil's next biggest lead will come from U.S. non-farm payroll report, due on Friday.
Economists polled by Reuters said the report was expected to show a loss of 50,000 jobs in February, compared with 20,000 job cuts in January. But some market watchers said an even greater number of job losses may have been priced into oil.
New York's most active copper contract for May. per lb.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper's benchmark contract for three-month delivery ended sharply lower at $7,370 a tonne, from $7,580 on Wednesday. (Editing by David Gregorio)
THe ringgit, which opened sharply higher yesterday, retreated slightly later to close at 3.3710/3730 against the US dollar, up from from 3.3725/3755 on Wednesday.
This reflected the strengthening of the greenback against other major currencies, according to the dealers.
"The US dollar moved up slightly yesterday on the weakening of most Asian equities, prompting investors to shift towards safe-haven currencies," said one of the dealers who added that the fall on Bursa Malaysia also eroded demand for the local currency.
The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index lost 2.01 points to 1,284.09, as investors reduced their holdings ahead of Bank Negara Malaysia's monetary policy statement.
The central bank is scheduled to release the statement later yesterday.
"Investors turned cautious as they were awaiting the outcome of Bank Negara's monetary policy committee meeting, which could provide an indication as to the future trend of Malaysia''s interest rates," another dealer said.
At close of trading, the ringgit was, however, lower against other major currencies.
It declined against the Singapore dollar to 2.4058/4095 from 2.4032/4081 on Wednesday and also against the Japanese yen to 3.8116/8165 from 3.8005/8044 previously.
The ringgit fell against the euro to 4.6065/6095 from 5.5930/5964 on Wednesday and also against the British pound to 5.0754/0801 from 5.0599/0649 previously.
SHORT-TERM interbank rates ended stable yesterday as Bank Negara Malaysia intervened, issuing several money market tenders, to keep excess liquidity in check, dealers said.
The overnight rate was quoted at 2 per cent, while the one-week, two-weeks and three-weeks rates hovered between 2.03 per cent and 2.07 per cent.
The central bank carried out seven conventional tenders, four Al-Wadiah tenders, a repo and a Commodity Murabahah Programme tender to offset the liquidity surplus.
As a result, the excess liquidity in the conventional system was reduced to RM42.27 billion, from RM54.97 billion estimated earlier, while the surplus in the Islamic system eased to RM14.9 billion from RM19.4 billion previously.
The central bank also borrowed RM17 billion from conventional operations and another RM10 billion from Islamic funds, both for one-day money.
THE three-month Kuala Lumpur Interbank Offered Rate (KLIBOR) futures on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives ended flat yesterday, dealers said.
The March 2010 and June 2010 contracts remained at Wednesday's closing of 97.60 and 97.40, respectively.
Turnover stood at 200 lots and open interest was at 39,299 contracts.
The underlying three-month KLIBOR was unchanged at 2.3 per cent.
The five-year Malaysian Government Securities futures were untraded throughout the day. - Bernama
Springfield, IL Thu, Mar 04, 2010 USDA-IL Dept of Ag Market News
The USDAs weekly export sales for soybeans totaled at 370,400 metric tons.
This is a combination of 182,400 tons for the current marketing year and
188,000 for next year. Trade guesses were between 200,000 to 350,000 tons.
Soybean meal sales came in at 88,900 metric tons and soybean oil sales
totaled 15,900 metric tons.
Soybean prices compared with value of oil and meal
This week Last week Last year
Unit Mar 4, 2010 Feb 25, 2010 Mar 5, 2009
Soybean oil, crude
tank cars & trucks
Central IL. /lb 36.38 35.28 27.68
Oil yield per
bushel crushed lb 10.96 10.99 11.30
Value from bushel
of soybeans $ 3.99 3.88 3.13
48% Soybean Meal
Central IL. $/ton 270.90 289.60 274.80
Meal yield per
bushel crushed lbs 43.72 43.83 43.89
Value from bushel
of soybeans $ 5.92 6.35 6.03
Value of oil and
meal from bushel
of soybeans $ 9.91 10.22 9.16
No. 1 Yellow Soybeans
truck price Central
IL. points $/bu 9.40 9.49 8.71
soybean price & value
of oil & meal $ 0.51 0.74 0.45
value from Univ. of Ill.
Stratsoy calculator $/bu 10.01 10.28 9.09
Based on crushings and production of soybean meal & oil at plants reported
by Bureau of the Census for December 2009 and March 2009
This table is presented for statistical comparison and is not intended to
indicate operating margins.
Source: USDA-Illinois Dept of Ag Market News Springfield, IL
Cordell Givens, Market Reporter 217-782-4925
One Malaysian trader said the palm oil market is going to continue trading in a tight range before the Bursa Malaysia’s Palm Oil and Laurics Conference starts on Monday.
“People are thinking Bursa Malaysia Palm Oil Conference speakers will say the market will go bullish at levels like RM2,800-3,000 (a tonne),” a trader with a foreign brokerage based in Kuala Lumpur said.
Traded volumes surged to 16,754 lots of 25 tonnes each from the usual 10,000 lots.
Traders are also on the lookout for February palm oil stocks, production and export data due to be released on Wednesday by industry regulator Malaysian Palm Oil Board.
Reuters will issue a poll today ahead of the data release.
Crude oil fell towards US$80 a barrel, weighing on other vegetable oil markets.
The soyoil March contract at the Chicago Board of Trade slipped in Asian hours as expectations of a bumper soybean crop offset rising crude oil prices.
Malaysia’s central bank on Thursday raised its key interest rate for the first time in almost four years after the economy emerged out of recession.
Bank Negara said the overnight policy rate (OPR) has been raised by 25 basis points to 2.25 per cent. It last raised rates in late 2005.
One economist said banks are expected to increase their lending rates as a result.
“The domestic economy has since improved significantly and is now on a path of recovery,” the central bank said in a statement.
The OPR is the main interest rate which banks use to benchmark their own lending rate.
The bank said inflation was expected to remain moderate in 2010, despite the risk that higher global commodity and food prices may exert some additional upward pressure on domestic prices.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said last month Malaysia’s economy has recovered from the global crisis and could expand by 5.0 percent this year.
The economy grew by 4.5 per cent in the three months to December, rebounding after three consecutive quarters of contraction. - AFP
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Crude palm oil futures on Malaysia’s derivatives exchange ended sharply higher Thursday as bullish supply fundamentals prompted a rush to cover short positions.
Bullish statements by top oilseed analyst Thomas Mielke ahead of a palm oil conference also sent prices higher towards the end of the trading day, trade participants said.
The benchmark May contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives ended MYR39 higher at MYR2,674 a metric ton, after rising as much as 2% to an intraday high of MYR2,686/ton, its highest level since Jan. 6.
"CPO futures may rise higher tomorrow after breaching key resistance at MYR2,660 today…Expect prices to rise to the MYR2,700/ton level," a senior executive from Kuala Lumpur-based commodities brokerage said.
CPO output in Malaysia may rise only 1.1% to 17.8 million tons in 2010, Mielke told Dow Jones Newswires. The forecast is lower than the government forecast of 18.1 million tons. Many traders said the data helped support, if not increase prices.
Mielke also said that soymeal and soybean prices may come under pressure as more soybeans are crushed in the March-August period.
"But soyoil prices will need to rise to finance a larger share of the crushing value. Soyoil's portion of the combined soymeal production is expected to appreciate to 50% or more from the current 42%," Mielke said.
In the cash market, palm olein for March was traded at $810/ton, and July/August/September at $800-$810/ton, said a Singapore-based broker.
Cash CPO for prompt shipment was offered MYR40 higher at MYR2,685/ton.
Open interest on the BMD was 80,556 lots Thursday, up from 80,375 lots Wednesday. One lot is equivalent to 25 tons.
A total of 16,754 lots of CPO were traded versus 9,242 lots Wednesday.
Closing BMD Crude Palm Oil (CPO) futures prices in MYR/ton at 1000 GMT:
Month Close Previous Change High Low
Mar 2010 2,680 2,644 Up 36 2,685 2,629
Apr 2010 2,681 2,643 Up 38 2,692 2,630
May 2010 2,674 2,635 Up 39 2,686 2,622
Jun 2010 2,662 2,620 Up 42 2,670 2,587
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 04, 2010 06:16 ET (11:16 GMT)
March 3 (Bloomberg) -- Soybeans gained for a fourth session and corn rose on concern that unusually heavy rain will damage crops in Argentina as the global recovery improves demand for food, animal feed and biofuel.
Some fields in Argentina received more than 5 inches (13 centimeters) of rain in the past 24 hours, causing localized flooding and reducing yield prospects, T-Storm Weather said today in a note to clients. The dollar fell the most in two weeks and the MSCI World Index rose for a fourth session on speculation that measures in Greece to curb a budget deficit will bolster confidence in the global recovery.
“It’s a combination of unfavorable weather, a weaker dollar and improving world stock markets,” said Doug Bergman, a grain broker for Advantage Traders Group in Chicago. “There are a lot of end-users hoping to get corn and soybeans bought at lower prices and are now chasing the market.”
Soybean futures for May delivery rose 5.75 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $9.6925 a bushel at 10:40 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Before today, the most-active futures fell 8.1 percent this year on U.S. government forecasts for a 34 percent jump in combined output this year from Brazil and Argentina.
Corn futures for May delivery rose 5.75 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $3.8725 a bushel in Chicago, snapping a two-day slide. Before today, the most-active futures had dropped 8 percent this year on expectations for a jump in South American production.
Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, valued at $48.6 billion in 2009, followed by soybeans at a record $31.8 billion, government figures show.
--Editors: Steve Stroth, Daniel Enoch.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Wilson in Chicago at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at email@example.com.
TOKYO, March 4 (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures stood little changed near $81 a barrel on Thursday after a 1.5 percent rise a day earlier on the back of a weaker dollar.
* NYMEX crude for April delivery
It rose as high as $81.23 on Wednesday, its highest since Jan. 12.
* Wednesday's climb came despite government data showing U.S. crude stocks rose by 4.1 million barrels last week, more than the 1.4 million barrel increase forecast. Gasoline stocks rose 700,000 barrels, slightly more than expected. [EIA/S]
The Energy Information Administration report showed that total distillate stocks fell 900,000 barrels, in line the Reuters poll forecast.
* The Obama administration said on Wednesday that its proposed "Volcker rule" on curbing risky proprietary trading by banks would phase in over two years, with possible one-year extensions. [ID:nN03110377]
* U.S. stocks ended little changed on Wednesday as worries about bank regulation and a setback for drug company Pfizer offset signs of improvement in the labour market and services sector.
* The euro
* The following data is expected on Thursday:
- 1000 GMT--Euro Zone GDP Revised/Q4
- 1200 GMT--BoE Rate Decision
- 1245 GMT--ECB Rate Decision
- 1330 GMT--U.S. Jobless Claims/Wkly
- 1330 GMT--U.S. Productivity Revised/Q4
- 1500 GMT--U.S. Durable Goods, Factory Orders/Jan
RELATED NEWS > No date for Chile Bio Bio refinery to restart [nN03109437]
PRICES Oil prices as of 0030 GMT Contract Mnth Price Change Day ago pct MA-20* NYMEX Contracts US Crude APR0 $80.83 -0.04 +$1.19 +1.49% $77.01 Heat Oil APR0 209.10 -0.27 +3.76 +1.83% 199.72 RBOB APR0 224.14 -0.62 +5.10 +2.32% 203.18 Natgas APR0 $4.749 -0.008 +$0.049 +1.04% $5.116 ICE Contracts Brent APR0 -- +0.00 +$1.07 +1.37% $75.25 Gasoil MAR0 -- +0.00 +$8.50 +1.33% $607.94 Note: U.S. heating oil and RBOB gasoline contracts listed in cents per gallon. * = 20-day moving average for continuation month. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori)
yesterday as some traders took positions ahead of a key industry conference and steady crude oil and soyoil markets.
Expectations for weak Malaysian output figures from last month as well as supportive commodity markets have made palm oil the best-performing vegetable oil market so far this year.
Benchmark May crude palm oil futures on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange rose RM23, or almost 0.9 per cent, to RM2,635, just shy of a one-week high of RM2,638 hit on Monday.
“(We are) expecting the market to be supportive until the end of this week, no one likes to be overly bearish two days before the (Bursa Malaysia) Palm Oil and Laurics Conference,” said a trader in Kuala Lumpur, referring to a key industry meet next week.
Crude oil was steady below US$80 a barrel, giving support to most vegetable oil markets. In China’s Dalian commodities Exchange, the most traded September soyoil futures rose 0.6 per cent. US soyoil edged up in Asian hours.
One Chinese trader said trading volume in Dalian was thin as most investor has booked profits before Lunar New Year last month.
“Usually domestic demand in March is low as consumers had hoarded sufficient edible oil during Lunar New Year. So buying strength after festive season is weak,” one trader in Shanghai said.
At 5pm, the ringgit was quoted at 3.3725/3755 to the US dollar, up from Tuesday's closing of 3.3835/3865.
RHB Bank dealer Nur Adeline Baharin said expectation of an interest rate hike helped to beef up investors' confidence.
"With the good news, we will see the ringgit strengthening further today to hit the 3.36 level," Nur Adeline said.
The US dollar, seen as a safe haven during economic crisis, came under pressure due to optimism over economic recovery, she said, adding that traders had started unloading the greenback and shifted to buying high-yielding currencies.
"Investors are continuing to sell the dollar to invest in other areas as stocks, oil and gold," Nur Adeline said.
In late trading session on Tuesday, the ringgit was, however, lower against other major currencies except for the Singapore dollar.
The local currency was higher against the Singapore dollar at 2.4032/4081 compared to 2.4046/5091 on Tuesday but it declined against the Japanese yen to 3.8005/8044 from 3.7978/8029 previously.
The ringgit weakened against the euro to 5.0666/0721 from 5.0521/0576 on Tuesday and also against the British pound to 5.5930/5964 from 5.5630/5677 previously.
SHORT-TERM rates ended steady yesterday as Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) continued to intervene in the money market to absorb surplus funds, dealers said.
The overnight, one-week, two-week and three-week rates remained at 2 per cent, 2.03 per cent, 2.05 per cent and 2.07 per cent respectively.
The liquidity surplus in the conventional system dropped to RM29.68 billion from the RM53.1 billion estimated earlier.
For Islamic funds, the total liquidity surplus, declined to RM14.1 billion from an earlier estimate of RM17.02 billion.
The central bank also conducted a late conventional tender for RM18 billion of one-day money and an Al-Wadiah tender for RM11 billion of one-day money.
THE three-month Kuala Lumpur Interbank Offered Rate (KLIBOR) futures on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives closed untraded yesterday, dealers said.
The five-year Malaysian Government Securities futures were also untraded throughout the day.
The underlying three-month KLIBOR stood at 2.26 per cent today. - Bernama
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Crude palm oil futures on Malaysia’s derivatives exchange rose by as much as 1.0% Wednesday, erasing previous losses as investors covered their shorts on tight palm oil supply in Malaysia, trade participants and analysts said.
The benchmark May CPO contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives ended MYR23 or 0.9% higher at MYR2,635 a metric ton after moving in MYR2,618-MYR2,639/ton range.
“The impact (on oil palms) from the dry spell during the July-September period last year may have magnified the drop in palm oil output,” said James Ratnam, senior research analyst at Kuala Lumpur-based brokerage TA Securities.
A prolonged dry spell lasting two successive months would normally have a six-seven-month delayed impact on oil palm production.
Palm oil output in Malaysia and Indonesia has been tapering off as plantations go into a low-output cycle. The impact of last year’s dry spell may lead to a sharp drop in output in February-March period, said a company executive from Malaysia-based major plantation firm.
Output may have dropped by around 15% in February compared with January, he said.
Lower palm oil output may have also reduced palm oil inventories from 2.0 million tons as at end-January to around 1.92 million tons in February.
Given an oil palm “replanting program that started end-2008, this palm oil output isn’t likely to be much higher than 2009’s 17.6 million tons,” TA’s Ratnam said.
In the cash market, RBD palm olein for April/May/June was traded at $807.50/ton, $810/ton and July/August/September at $800/ton, a Singapore-based broker said.
Open interest on the BMD was 80,375 lots Wednesday, down from 82,710 lots Tuesday. One lot is equivalent to 25 tons.
Some 9,242 lots of CPO were traded versus 11,872 lots Tuesday.
Closing BMD Crude Palm Oil (CPO) futures prices in MYR/ton at 1000 GMT:
Month Close Previous Change High Low
Mar 2010 2,644 2,621 Up 23 2,645 2,635
Apr 2010 2,643 2,619 Up 24 2,646 2,628
May 2010 2,635 2,612 Up 23 2,639 2,618
Jun 2010 2,620 2,597 Up 23 2,626 2,606
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 03, 2010 07:03 ET (12:03 GMT)
The May-delivery contract rose as much as 0.8 percent to 2,632 ringgit ($781) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange before trading at 2,630 ringgit at 3:04 p.m. local time.
Australia’s economy grew 0.9 percent last quarter compared with the previous three months, the Bureau of Statistics said today. That’s the fastest expansion in almost two years. Japan’s wages rose 0.1 percent from a year earlier, the first gain in 20 months, the Labor Ministry said.
Investors are “playing the recovery story,” said Carey Wong, an analyst at OCBC Investment Research Pte. Forecasts by plantation companies in Indonesia and Malaysia indicate that “output growth may not be as strong as what people were expecting” because of the El Nino weather pattern, Wong said.
Indonesia and Malaysia together account for about 87 percent of global palm oil output. El Nino typically produces drier-than-usual weather across parts of Asia, potentially cutting agricultural production.
Exports of the tropical oil from Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer, fell to 1.2 million tons in January, from 1.4 million tons a month earlier, the Indonesian Palm Oil Association said in an e-mailed statement today.
There may be a shortage of palm oil in the next couple of years as El Nino curbs yields, Nirgunan Tiruchelvam, an analyst at Royal Bank of Scotland Asia Securities (Singapore) Pte., said in a Bloomberg Television interview yesterday.
Inventories may decline as more of the commodity is used to make biodiesel, Tiruchelvam said. The stockpile-to-usage ratio may fall to 8 percent from 15 percent, he said.
Palm oil may drop, averaging 2,100 ringgit to 2,300 ringgit a ton in the second half of the year as “massive” crops of rival soybeans from South America enter the market, Scott Briggs, a agricultural commodity strategist at the Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. said by phone today.
March 03, 2010, 4:10 AM EST
As at 3.05pm, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (FBM KLCI) slipped 1.84 points to 1,286.23 after opening 2.44 points higher at 1,290.51.
TA Securities senior technical analyst, Stephen Soo, said buying momentum was weak.
"Profit-taking among lower-liners and select blue-chips capped the market's upside momentum," he said.
Soo said investors were looking for fresh leads such as the New Economic Model which would be unveiled soon and was expected to provide a strong catalyst for the market.
He expected the support level for the FBM KLCI at 1,276 and resistance at 1,292 in the near term. The Finance Index lost 13.021 points to 11,328.56, Industrial Index decreased 3.84 point to 2,593.46 and the Plantation Index eased 10.72 points to 6,378.71.
The FBM Emas Index declined 11.16 points to 8,645.29, FBM70 slipped 3.851 points to 8,471.68 and the FBM Ace Index eased 54.12 points to 4,223.25.
Losers led gainers by 407 to 216 while 269 counters were unchanged, 444 untraded and 25 others suspended. Turnover stood at 523 million shares worth RM825.8 million.
Among heavyweights, Sime Darby eased five sen to RM8.58, Maybank slipped a sen to RM6.99 and CIMB Group Holdings declined 12 sen to RM13.60 and Maxis lost four sen to RM5.41.
Of the active stocks, Axiata rose three sen to RM3.86, JAKS Resources increased two sen to 81 sen, Genting gained one sen to RM6.29 and KNM decreased half sen to 79 sen. - Bernama
Industry regulator Malaysian Palm Oil Board chairman Sabri Ahmad said Indonesian plantation workers make better pay at home as more palm oil estates start up there while employers in Malaysia have trouble hiring because of a stricter work-permit process.
Ahmad added that while concerns about hot weather caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon weigh on the industry, labour is the main issue now.
“The hot weather from El Nino is not the problem now because its effect can be seen 12-18 months later. The bigger issue is the labour shortage and if that is resolved than 18.1 million tonnes is possible,” Sabri Ahmad told Reuters ahead of the Bursa Malaysia Palm Oil Conference next week.
"Historically, Malaysian palm oil output should not be weak for two straight years. Sarawak (state) should contribute to production. We just don’t have enough labour,” he said, referring to one of the key palm oil producing states on Borneo Island.
Sabri said the industry was in talks with the government to get more “flexible work permits” for foreign labourers who make up about two-thirds of the half a million estate workers in Malaysia.
On Malaysia’s plan to replant 200,000 hectares of old oil palms, introduced in late-2008 to shore up slumping palm oil prices, Sabri said the Southeast Asian country has targeted to finish the exercise by end-2010.
Malaysia has 4.67 million hectares of land under oil palms.
But industry sources said only one-third of the 200,000 hectares were replanted as planters and smallholders preferred to maximise their harvesting of the trees rather than replant when palm oil prices started to recover in 2009. -- Reuters
* Traders see resistance for prices to stay above $80
* Coming up: EIA inventories data; 1530 GMT
By Alejandro Barbajosa
SINGAPORE, March 3 (Reuters) - Oil was little changed below $80 on Wednesday after an industry report showed U.S. crude inventories climbed more than expected on growing imports, while distillate stockpiles tumbled.
Tuesday's report from the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed a larger-than-forecast 4.1-million-barrel drop in distillate fuel supplies last week, including heating oil and diesel.
"Yesterday's API data was quite mixed," said Serene Lim, a Singapore-based oil analyst at ANZ.
U.S. crude futures for April fell 21 cents to $79.47 a barrel by 0328 GMT. London ICE Brent slid 28 cents to $77.90.
The front-month U.S. contract on Tuesday hit a seven-week intra-day high of $80.95 after the euro rebounded from a 9-½ month low against the dollar.
"The conditions are still rather difficult for prices to stay above $80 because we are not looking at very firm U.S. economic data yet," Lim said. "Oil goes up and people profit-take and then it comes down again."
Oil touched $83.95 a barrel in New York on Jan. 11, its highest price in 15 months.
Analysts forecast data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) due out on Wednesday at 1530 GMT would show a 1.4 million-barrel increase in crude stocks, a 900,000-barrel drop in distillates and a 600,000-barrel gain in gasoline. [EIA/S]
U.S. gasoline stocks rose 900,000 barrels in the week to Feb 26, the API said.
Refinery maintenance in Asia and sustained northern hemisphere heating demand have raised expectations that a distillate surplus held in floating storage will dwindle.
Asian gas oil crack spreads, the premium at which the fuel trades over crude oil, reached their widest level in almost a year on Tuesday.
But depressed fuel oil values are cutting demand for heavy sour crude, forcing producers to deepen discounts to some regions.
Top world oil exporter Saudi Arabia cut the official selling price of most of its crude grades in April to customers in Asia, state oil company Saudi Aramco said on Tuesday. [ID: nLDE62123Z]
Investors have looked to wider economic data over the past year for signs of economic recovery and a potential rebound in energy demand.
OPEC meets next on March 17 and ministers are already suggesting there will be no change to current output quotas. [ID:nLDE61P1NL]
"Despite the fact the global economy is gradually recovering, demand has not increased significantly enough to make us reconsider our production ceiling," Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani told Reuters on Tuesday. [ID:nLDE6211V0] (Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
* NYMEX crude for April delivery was unchanged at $79.68 a barrel by 0000 GMT, after settling up 98 cents a day earlier helped by a weaker dollar and an improved outlook for Greece's debt problems that lifted economic optimism.
Oil hit $80.95 on Tuesday, the highest since Jan. 12.
* The American Petroleum Institute (API) said after Tuesday's settlement that crude stocks rose 2.7 million barrels last week, distillate stocks were down 4.1 million barrels and gasoline stocks gained 909,000 barrels. [ID:nN02187860]
A Reuters poll had forecast that crude inventories rose 1.4 million barrels, gasoline stocks rose 600,000 barrels and distillates fell 900,000 barrels. [EIA/S]
* OPEC meets next on March 17 and ministers are already suggesting there will be no change to current output quotas. [ID:nLDE61P1NL]
"Despite the fact the global economy is gradually recovering, demand has not increased significantly enough to make us reconsider our production ceiling," Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani told Reuters. [ID:nLDE6211V0]
* U.S. stocks ended slightly higher on Tuesday as mergers and acquisitions supported selected sectors, but investors pulled back from recent gains in some big-cap technology and bank shares.
* The euro rebounded from a 9-1/2-month low against the dollar on Tuesday as investors awaited new plans to address Greece's debt crisis and held out hope for some form of help from the European Union. [USD/]
* The following data is expected on Wednesday:
- 0858 GMT--Euro Zone Markit Services PMI/Feb
- 1200 GMT--U.S. MBA Purchase Index/Weekly
- 1230 GMT--U.S. Challenger Layoffs/Feb
- 1500 GMT--U.S. ISM N-Mfg Bus Act/Feb
- 1530 GMT--U.S. EIA Petroleum Report/Wkly
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PRICES Oil prices as of 0000 GMT Contract Mnth Price Change Day ago pct MA-20* NYMEX Contracts US Crude APR0 $79.68 +0.00 +$0.98 +1.25% $76.83 Heat Oil APR0 206.31 +0.70 +3.26 +1.61% 199.41 RBOB APR0 219.61 -0.05 +4.10 +1.90% 202.04 Natgas APR0 $4.730 +0.022 +$0.029 +0.62% $5.151 ICE Contracts Brent APR0 -- +0.00 +$1.29 +1.68% $75.09 Gasoil MAR0 -- +0.00 +$4.25 +0.67% $606.48 Note: U.S. heating oil and RBOB gasoline contracts listed in cents per gallon. * = 20-day moving average for continuation month. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
At 5pm, the ringgit stood at 3.3835/3865 against the US dollar compared with 3.3855/3880 on Monday.
Bank Negara is scheduled to release its monetary policy statement tomorrow.
"There is still some uncertainties on the outcome. So the push for the ringgit has not been that high. The ringgit could move as high as 3.37 against the greenback if the interest rates hike is imminent," said the dealer.
Economists generally expect the Central Bank to increase the OPR in the second-half or middle of the year.
However, some expect the bank to raise the OPR by 25 basis points this week from an all-time low of 2 per cent.
The local currency was also higher against other major currencies, except the yen.
It strengthened against the Singapore dollar to 2.4046/5091 from 2.4091/4133 yesterday and rose against the British pound to 5.0424/0486 from 5.1284/1336 previously.
Similarly, the ringgit was higher against the euro at 4.5630/5677 from 5.6138/6182 but eased against the yen to 3.7978/8029 from 3.7903/7941 on Monday.
SHORT-TERM rates ended steady yesterday as Bank Negara Malaysia continued to intervene in the money market to absorb excess liquidity.
The overnight, one-week and two-week rates remained unchanged at 2 per cent, 2.03 per cent and 2.04 per cent respectively.
Bank Negara yesterday morning carried out five conventional tenders comprising RM8 billion of three-day money, and RM1 billion each of one-week, 10-day, 13-day and three-week monies.
The central bank also called for a repo tender to borrow RM1 billion for 29-day money.
In addition, it issued Al-Wadiah tenders for RM1 billion of one-week money, RM500 million of two-week money and another RM500 million of 28-day money.
As a result, the excess in the conventional system was reduced to RM27.9 billion from RM54.1 billion estimated earlier while the surplus in the Islamic system declined to RM12.3 billion from RM14.01 billion estimated earlier.
In late trading, Bank Negara also called for tenders to borrow RM20 billion of one-day money from the conventional operations and RM12 billion of one-day money from Islamic funds.
THE three-month Kuala Lumpur Interbank Offered Rate futures on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives closed mixed yesterday, dealers said.
June 2010 slipped one tick to 97.40, while Dec 2010 and March 2011 added four ticks and five ticks to 97.05 and 96.90 respectively.
Volume amounted to 82 lots, down from 200 lots on Monday while opening interest remained unchanged at 39,303 contracts.
The five-year Malaysian Government Securities futures were untraded. - Bernama
Gains in heavyweights saw major indices remaining in the positive territory.
As at 9.18 am, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (FBM KLCI) was 1.65 points higher at 1,289.72 after opening 2.44 points better at 1,290.51.
The Finance Index gained 21.04 points to 11,362.62, the Industrial Index increased 5.48 points to 2,602.78 while the Plantation Index declined 8.84 points to 6,380.59.
The FBM Emas Index rose 9.25 points to 8,665.7, the FBM70 added 9.43 points to 8,484.97 but the FBM Ace Index eased 7.84 points to 4,269.53.
Gainers led losers 115 to 81 while 124 counters were unchanged, 1,016 untraded and 25 others were suspended.
Turnover stood at 81.7 million shares worth RM55.04 million.
Among heavweights, Sime Darby was unchanged at RM8.63, Maybank gained three sen to RM7.03 but both CIMB Group Holdings and Maxis lost two sen each to RM13.7 and RM5.43, respectively.
As for actives, Jaks Resources gained two sen to 81 sen, LCTH Corporation was flat at 34.5 sen, Mithril was unchanged at 27 sen and Axiata rose five sen at RM3.88. - BERNAMA
The contract for May delivery lost as much as 1.3 per cent to RM2,597 a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange before ending at RM2,612.
Crude oil for April delivery fell 0.2 per cent to US$78.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 5.00 pm Jakarta time as analysts forecast US crude supplies increased a fifth week, signaling slowing demand in the world’s largest energy consumer.
“Some funds look at crude oil” prices as a gauge in determining whether it makes sense to use more biodiesel made from palm oil, Donny Khor, a senior president for futures & options at OSK Investment Bank Bhd, said by phone from Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“It’s basically the speculative element.”
May-delivery soybean oil, which competes with palm oil for use in cooking oil and biodiesel, lost 0.2 per cent to US$39.8 cents a pound at 5.00 pm Jakarta time in after-hours electronic trading on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Environmental issues will also cloud the prospects for palm oil demand as feedstock for biodiesel, according to a report by Fortis Bank Nederland/VM Group yesterday.
“In the medium term, demand growth, especially in more mature economies, will be increasingly tied to the use of CPO as a fuel feedstock,” Fortis Bank Nederland/VM Group said.
“Yet there is a growing consumerist backlash against CPO, especially for biodiesel, based on concerns that its production is doing serious environmental harm.”
Unilever said on December 11 that it suspended purchases from Sinar Mas Group, Indonesia’s biggest palm oil producer, until the company can prove that its plantations aren’t contributing to deforestation in Asia. Unilever has also blacklisted another Indonesian company, PT Duta Palma, for similar reason, the Independent reported in February 22 - B.TIMES
The country ranked in 10th place last year and exported to more than 160 countries.
"The main export destinations for our furniture are the US, Japan, the UK, Australia, Singapore, Canada, the United Arab Emirates and India," he said at the launch of the Malaysia International Furniture Fair (MIFF) 2010 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre yesterday.
Mustapa also said the industry was a major contributor to the economy with more than 1,800 furniture companies in the country.
"Last year, the MIFF generated sales of RM2.4 billion (US$710 million) and hope this year, the number can be surpassed to much more," he said in his speech.
Later at a separate press conference, MIFF Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Tan Chin Huat said the sales for this year's exhibition are projected to hit RM2.6 billion (US$750 million).
He said Malaysian-made furniture is beginning to win the attention of overseas buyers for competitive pricing, stylish designs and quality.
"A lot of developed countries like the US, France and Germany come here to buy bulks of furniture. This is also a great way for small and medium companies to showcase their furniture to the international buyers coming from 140 countries to this fair," he said.
Wooden furniture was among the major contributor for the country, making up more than 30 per cent of exports for last year alone.
MIFF 2010 is being held from today to Sunday at three venues, namely the Putra World Trade Centre, the Kuala Lumpur City Centre and the Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre.
More than 500 local and international exhibitors are participating in the fair with more than 20,000 visitors expected.
- BUSINESS TIMES
data due Wednesday from the Department of Energy, according to a Dow Jones
Newswires survey of analysts.
The data, put out by the department's Energy Information Administration and
covering the week ended this past Friday, are due to be released at 10:30 a.m.
EST Wednesday. The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, will issue
its data at 4:30 p.m. EST Tuesday.
Crude-oil inventories are expected to rise by 700,000 barrels, according to
the mean of eight analysts' forecasts, with six analysts predicting a build and
two a draw. Predictions range from a decline of 1.6 million barrels to an
increase of 2.25 million barrels.
Gasoline stocks are expected to increase by 600,000 barrels, with five
analysts predicting an increase, two a decrease and one no change. Forecasts
range from a drop of 750,000 barrels to an increase of 2 million barrels.
Distillate stocks, including diesel and heating oil, are expected to fall
300,000 barrels. Five analysts predict a drop, two predict an increase and one
expects no change, with forecasts ranging from a decline of 1.75 million
barrels to an increase of 1.8 million barrels.
Refiners are expected to leave utilization unchange at 81.2% of capacity.
Three analysts expect an increase, two a decrease and three no change.
Analyst Crude Gasoline Distillates Refining
Figures in millions of barrels except for refining use, which is
Cameron Hanover +2.25 -0.75 -1.75 +0.35
Citi Futures +1.5 +1 -1 unch
GA Global Markets -1.6 +1.2 +1.8 unch
MF Global-Fitzpatrick +0.3 unch -1.1 unch
PFGBest -1 +2 +1 +0.5
Prestige Economics +2 -0.5 -0.5 +0.3
Ritterbusch & Assoc. +0.5 +1.7 unch -0.5
Societe Generale +1.6 +0.1 -0.5 -0.2
Average +0.7 +0.6 -0.3 unch
reported in percentage points. Figures are rounded to two decimal
places in table, one decimal place in averages and story. For analysts
providing forecasts in a range, the average of the upper and
lower ends of the range is used.
NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Crude futures are higher Tuesday, with investors
seeking riskier assets, such as oil and equities, but caution remains ahead of
Wednesday's key oil inventory data report.
Light, sweet crude for April delivery recently traded 38 cents, or 0.5%,
higher at $79.08 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude on
the ICE futures exchange traded 59 cents, or 0.8%, higher at $77.48 a barrel.
Oil reversed some of Monday's losses, with support coming from more positive
economic sentiment, said Gene McGillian, analyst with Tradition Energy in
Stamford, Conn. Equity markets were higher, buoyed by merger activity.
The Greek government is expected to announce Wednesday a new austerity
package to cut its huge budget deficit. But concerns about the sovereign debt
level in Europe still linger, reducing some of the confidence in the economic
recovery and prompting investors to remain wary, adding to much of the
volatility seen in the oil market recently.
Prices have been jostled in a range between $77 to $80 a barrel but the
conviction to push oil back above $80 a barrel is lacking, with McGillian
noting that traders are seeking more concrete evidence about whether the pace
of the economic recovery is fast enough to generate fuel demand.
Wednesday's weekly data report from the U.S. Energy Information
Administration is expected to influence trading this week, with analysts
currently expecting an increase in crude and gasoline stocks. Analysts surveyed
by Dow Jones see a 700,000 barrel rise in crude stocks, a 600,000 barrel
increase in gasoline stocks and a 300,000 barrel decline in distillate
inventories, that includes diesel and heating oil. Refinery processing rates
are expected to remain unchanged at 81.2% of capacity.
However, the inventory data could "easily be overshadowed by a series of
economic releases during the last half of the week," wrote Jim Ritterbusch,
president of trading advisory firm Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Ill.
The U.S. jobs picture will come into greater focus with Wednesday's ADP
employment report, Thursday's jobless claims and Friday's monthly unemployment
figure, said Ritterbusch.
Meanwhile, Chile may increase its demand for diesel imports following the
earthquake last weekend, analysts said. Chilean state-run oil company Empresa
Nacional del Petroleo, or Enap's, largest refinery could be off-line for at
least a month. The 116,000 barrel a day Refineria Bio Bio suffered structural
damage from the earthquake.
The company's second largest facility, the 104,000 barrel a day Refineria
Aconagua, is expected to restart operations later this week, once electrical
power is restored.
Front-month April reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, recently traded
2.08 cents, or 0.9%, higher at $2.1764 a gallon. April heating oil recently
traded 1.23 cents, or 0.6%, higher at $2.0358 a gallon.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Crude palm oil futures on Malaysia’s derivatives exchange ended lower Tuesday as investors took cues from weaker soyoil to book profits, said trade participants.
Prices briefly fell below MYR2,600 a metric ton in afternoon trade but came off their lows as a likely fall in February palm oil output lent support.
The benchmark May CPO contract on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives ended MYR18 or 0.7% lower at MYR2,612/ton after moving in both positive and negative territory.
Before the end of trade on BMD, a Hong Kong-based trading executive said prices would likely end above the MYR2,600-MYR2,610/ton level.
“Most market participants, including the speculators, have taken on a bullish stance ahead of a positive price outlook by vegetable oil analysts next week,” said S. Paramalingam, executive director at brokerage Pelindung Bestari Sdn. Bhd.
He said CPO futures may remain rangebound ahead of next week’s industry conference beginning March 8.
With February output expected to be lower, prices may rise over the next few trading sessions,” said a trading executive from Singapore.
Palm oil output in Malaysia and Indonesia has been tapering off as oil palm trees go into a low-output cycle.
Malaysia’s palm oil inventories eased from a 13-month high of 2.24 million tons in December to 2.0 million tons in January.
Palm oil reserves may have eased further, as output in February may have declined by 10%, according to plantation company officials and trading executives.
External cues like soyoil and crude oil futures continued to influence palm oil prices.
May soyoil on the Chicago Board of Trade was trading 8 points lower at 39.82 cents a pound on e-CBOT by the end of trade on the BMD.
Light, sweet crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange was trading 2 cents lower at $78.68 a barrel at 1015 GMT.
Cash CPO prices were offered MYR25 lower at MYR2,625/ton.
In the cash market, RBD palm olein for July/August/September was traded at $795/ton and March shipment at $805/ton, said a Singapore-based broker.
Open interest on the BMD was 82,710 lots Tuesday, up from 82,428 lots Monday. One lot is equivalent to 25 tons.
Some 11,872 lots of CPO were traded versus 15,974 lots Monday.
Closing BMD Crude Palm Oil (CPO) futures prices in MYR/ton at 1000 GMT:
Month Close Previous Change High Low
Mar 2010 2,621 2,639 Down 18 2,632 2,603
Apr 2010 2,619 2,637 Down 18 2,642 2,607
May 2010 2,612 2,630 Down 18 2,635 2,597
Jun 2010 2,597 2,617 Down 20 2,614 2,585
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 02, 2010 05:53 ET (10:53 GMT)
The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (FBM KLCI) ended 4.67 points higher at 1,288.07, after opening three points better at 1,286.40.
Overnight gains on Wall Street and a rosier outlook for the technology sector in the United States lifted buying sentiment today especially among heavyweights.
Dealers said the overall market was cautious, as investors sentiment remained fragile, amid potential volatility in global stock markets.
Maybank Investment Bank Equity Research said the FBM KLCI may revisit the 1,300 points and 1,308 points levels.
The CI last hit the 1,300 points on January 19, and went on to see 1,308.36 on January 21 this year.
"However, the FBM KLCI may still remain volatile. We believe clients should adopt a short-term trading approach as global markets are still not steady," a report released by the research house said.
The Finance Index surged 80.22 points to 11,341.58, the Industrial Index declined 2.09 points to 2,597.3 and the Plantation Index perked 34.13 points to 6,389.43.
The FBM Emas Index, meanwhile, advanced 23.55 points to 8,656.45, the FBM70 increased 18.601 points to 8,475.53 but the FBM Ace Index declined 51.23 points to 4,277.37.
Losers led gainers 405 to 323 while 252 counters were unchanged, 356 untraded and 25 others suspended.
Turnover stood lower at 839.426 million shares worth RM1.549 billion from 1.05 billion shares worth RM1.7 billion yesterday.
Among heavweights, Sime Darby rose three sen to RM8.63, Maybank added eight sen to RM7.00, CIMB Group Holdings gained 26 sen to RM13.72 and Maxis was unchanged at RM5.45.
As for the actives, Axiata declined six sen to RM3.83, Talam Corporation was flat at 12 sen, Ramunia increased three sen to 23.5 sen and KNM Group added half a sen to 79.5 sen. - Bernama
The stock climbed 8 per cent to 27 sen at 9:39am local time in Kuala Lumpur trading, on course for the largest increase since Jan 18. - Bloomberg
SAUDI TO NEARLY DOUBLE CRUDE EXPORTS TO INDIA: The Indian government has said that Saudi Arabia is willing to increase crude supplies to the South Asian nation to 40 million tonnes from about 25.5 million tonnes currently to meet the rising energy demand of the country, Reuters has reported. The announcement comes after Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi met with his Indian counterpart Shri Murli Deora in Riyadh. 'India also indicated sourcing heavier crude from Saudi Arabia, the Indian statement said without giving a time frame for the increase in Saudi crude supplies.
IRAN SEEKS TO ISSUE $1BN IN BONDS TO FUND POWER PLANTS: Iran plans to issue $1bn in bonds in the year beginning March 21 to finance new power plants and work on existing plants, subject to the approval of parliament, the state-run Mehr news agency said.
OIL DRILLING TO BE STABLE IN SAUDI IN 2010: Experts have said that drilling for oil in Saudi Arabia in 2010 is expected to remain the same as last year, but state oil giant Aramco would increase gas drilling activities, Reuters has reported. 'We see it (oil drilling) stable. We are not increasing, we are not dropping. ... We are trying to maintain around 100 rigs for the rest of the year,' one expert said, while a second expert said that gas exploration is the main drive. 'They are already concentrating on gas drilling more than on oil,' he said.
YEMEN TO INVEST $1.5BN TO BOOST POWER CAPACITY: Salah al-Attar, head of Yemen's General Investment Authority, has said the country wants to invest $1.5bn to boost power generation capacity by almost 1,400 megawatts to end constant outages across the country, Reuters has reported. Yemen wants to launch a tender this year to add 350 megawatts to the main gas turbine Maarib power plant which now has a capacity of 340 megawatts, he said. Another 220 megawatts would be added to the plant after awarding a gas rental contract next month to overcome supply gaps in the short-term, he said.
QATAR'S AL-SHAHEEN REFINERY PROJECT SEEN ON HOLD: Qatar Petroleum has put on hold its Al-Shaheen refinery indefinitely, MEED has reported, citing a source close to the project. One contractor source has said, it is not expecting the project to be re-tendered this year, as other contractors agree, however, saying they have not received any official confirmation that the project has been cancelled. The project set to be located in Mesaieed was intended to process heavy crude oil from the Al-Shaheen oil field.
Light, sweet crude oil for April delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled 96 cents, or 1.2%, lower at $78.70 a barrel after several attempts to crack through an intraday high of $80.62 a barrel, the highest level since Jan. 12, fizzled. April North Sea Brent crude oil on the ICE settled 70 cents lower, at $76.89 a barrel.
"We've been between $70 and $84 for the last couple of months. The longer you stay in a range, you'll see faster moves within the ranging. But really nothing has changed," said Gene McGillian, an analyst with Tradition Energy in Stamford, Conn.
"If we come in [Tuesday] and see a further equities rally and maybe a little weakness in the dollar, the market could be right back up at $80," he said, but added that strong signs of higher oil demand will be needed to break the collar around prices.
He noted that April gasoline futures, trading for the first day as the front-month contract, came under heavy selling pressure after trading to the highest intraday front-month price since Oct. 6, 2008. "People saw gasoline above $2.20 and that looked pricey," he said, adding that heavy selling in the contract helped pulled down crude.
Traders said the market will focus on upcoming U.S. oil inventory data for near-term direction. The American Petroleum Institute's data for the week ended Feb. 26 are due Tuesday afternoon, while the more widely tracked figures from the government's Energy Information Administration are scheduled for release at 10:30 a.m. EST Wednesday.
Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expect crude oil stocks to rise by a mean of 700,000 barrels, with forecasts ranging from a rise of 2.25 million barrels to a drop of 1.6 million barrels. Distillate stocks (diesel and heating oil) are expected to drop by 300,000 barrels, with a range of expectations from a rise of 1.8 million barrels to a drop of 1.75 million barrels. Gasoline stocks are expected to rise by 600,000 barrels, with projections spanning from a gain of 2 million barrels to a decline of 750,000 barrels.
Ahead of its March 17 meeting on oil production policy, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries continues to pump more oil and show lower compliance with output restraints. Production from the 11 members of OPEC bound by output restraints crept up by 110,000 barrels a day in February to 26.895 million barrels a day, a Dow Jones Newswires survey showed.
That puts the group's compliance with targeted cuts that began in late 2008 at just 51%, down from 54% in January and 82% in March 2009. Oil prices have averaged near $77.50 a barrel, within OPEC's comfort zone, since the group agreed in December to keep formal output restraints in place. Members haven't given any signs that they plan to change policy at the upcoming Vienna talks.
April reformulated gasoline blendstock futures shed 3.23 cents, or 1.5%, to settle at $2.1556 a gallon. April heating oil settled 1.18 cents, or 0.6%, lower at $2.0235 a gallon.
More information on settlements and highs and lows for futures on Nymex and ICE platforms can be found by searching for the following headlines:
Nymex Light Crude Oil Close
Nymex Harbor RBOB Gasoline Close
Nymex Heating Oil Close
ICE Brent Crude Oil Close
ICE Gas Oil Close
-By David Bird, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2141; firstname.lastname@example.org