May 21st, 2012

Commodity Brokers: CME Group Inc. (CME), the world’s largest futures exchange, extended grain-trading hours today in response to the threat of competitors seeking a share of the electronic transactions that now dominate the market.

Access to the CME’s Chicago Board of Trade, which first offered corn futures in 1877, is rising to 21 hours a day from 17, a week after the 12-year-old IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (ICE), or ICE, introduced a 22-hour session and its first-ever grain contracts. The Kansas City Board of Trade and Minneapolis Grain Exchange also start expanded hours today.

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May 7th, 2012

Commodity Brokers – In the five years that John Silvetz made about $700 million for Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) by trading corporate bonds and credit derivatives, the amount of his annual bonus paid in cash dropped to 20 percent from almost 70 percent.

The rest, earned by betting on companies from American International Group Inc. to MBIA Inc., was locked up in deferred stock and euros, according to people familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified because they’re not authorized to discuss compensation. In September, Silvetz, 37, jumped to hedge fund BlueCrest Capital Management LLP. He was the last of a trio of New York debt traders who departed after making $1 billion for the German lender in two years, the people said.

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May 3rd, 2012

Commodity Brokers – CME Group Inc. (CME), the world’s largest futures exchange, is raising futures margins for non-hedged accounts from May 7 to comply with new regulations.

Members will be treated as speculators for outright positions, paying a higher margin, said the exchange, which trades everything from energy, agriculture and metals to interest rates and equity indexes. Members are currently treated as hedgers rather than speculators even if they are entering into a speculative position.

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April 27th, 2012

Cattle Futures – U.S. beef packer profits are back in the black for the first time in seven months as the onset of spring has boosted demand for steaks and hamburgers that will headline backyard cookouts.

This annual surge in beef sales, and subsequent profits, could not come soon enough for the U.S. beef industry, which has been hurt by drought, an uproar over ammonia-treated beef, and another case of mad cow disease.

On Thursday, U.S. beef packers earned an estimated $3.45 per head of cattle, according to the Colorado-based analytics firm HedgersEdge, which uses proprietary data to calculate the margins.

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April 26th, 2012

Commodity Brokers – The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the main U.S. derivatives regulator, is reviewing the release of information about the first domestic case of mad cow disease in six years.

Cattle futures slumped in advance of a U.S. Department of Agriculture April 24 announcement that a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, had been confirmed in a dairy cow in California.

“CFTC reached out to USDA with questions on the BSE announcement timeline for their routine market analysis,” Courtney Rowe, USDA spokeswoman, said in an e-mail yesterday.

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April 17th, 2012

Commodity Brokers – President Barack Obama urged Congress to bolster federal supervision of oil markets, including bigger penalties for market manipulation and greater power for regulators to increase the amount of money traders must put up to back their energy bets.

Obama asked Congress to fund a six-fold increase for surveillance and enforcement staff at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to put “more cops on the beat” overseeing oil markets.

He also is seeking to give the CFTC new authority to raise margin requirements for traders’ oil positions and stiffen civil and criminal penalties for businesses that are guilty of market manipulation to $10 million from $1 million. The plan would cost $52 million.

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April 4th, 2012

Commodity Brokers – Gold traders are bearish for the first time this year after the Federal Reserve signaled it may refrain from more monetary stimulus and jewelers in India, the world’s biggest bullion market, shut to protest a new tax.

Fifteen of 29 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect prices to decline next week and five were neutral, the highest proportion since Dec. 30. Imports by India may have plunged as much as 81 percent in March and could drop 40 percent in the second quarter, the Bombay Bullion Association said April 2. Indian jewelers, who sell more gold than Australian and U.S. mines produce in a year, were closed yesterday for a 19th day.

Slumping Indian demand comes as prices already erased more than half of this year’s gains on mounting concern the Fed won’t buy more debt. Gold rose about 70 percent as the central bank bought $2.3 trillion of debt in two rounds of quantitative easing ending in June 2011. Policy makers indicated they won’t increase monetary accommodation unless the economy falters, according to minutes of their March 13 meeting released April 3.

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March 26th, 2012

Commodity Brokers – Hedge funds wagered the wrong way on commodity prices for a fourth consecutive week, boosting bullish holdings just before reports showing a contraction in manufacturing from China to Europe drove prices lower.

Money managers lifted net-long positions in 18 U.S. futures and options by 2.9 percent to 1.17 million contracts in the week ended March 20, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials dropped 1 percent last week, led by declines in lead and corn. Orange juice tumbled 11 percent, the most since August.

The S&P GSCI fell to a three-week low on March 22 after reports showed factory output in Germany and France shrank in March and a measure of China’s manufacturing was the weakest since November. U.S. government data the next day showed new home purchases unexpectedly fell last month, increasing investor concerns about the durability of the world’s largest economy.

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March 15th, 2012

Commodity Brokers – Rain across parched cocoa plantations in West Africa, which supplies 69 percent of the world’s beans, is leading analysts to pare forecasts for shortages, threatening the biggest rally in a year.

Global output should about match demand in the crop year ending in September, compared with the 94,000-metric-ton deficit seen last month, according to estimates by Marex Spectron Group, which trades the beans in New York and London. Prices may drop 14 percent to $2,000 a ton by July, according to Rabobank International and Lome, Togo-based Ecobank Transnational Inc., which financed $227 million of cocoa and coffee trading in 2011.

Prices rose as much as 21 percent in the past two months as dry winds blowing from the Sahara toward the Atlantic battered West African plantations before a mid-crop harvest that starts next month. Farmers have struggled to keep up with a 38 percent expansion in the chocolate market since 2006, which London-based Euromonitor International Ltd. values at $105 billion. Cocoa output rose 15 percent to 3.96 million tons since 2006-07, according to the International Cocoa Organization.

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March 2nd, 2012

Commodity Brokers: Copper traders are bullish for a fourth consecutive week, the longest streak since October, as manufacturing strengthens from China to the U.S. and stockpiles decline to the lowest in more than two years.

Thirteen of 29 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect the metal to gain next week and six were neutral. Inventories tracked by the London Metal Exchange fell to 292,250 metric tons yesterday, the lowest since August 2009, and orders to withdraw more metal are close to an eight-year high, bourse data show.

Manufacturing from China to the U.S. is expanding as the American recovery strengthens and European leaders work to contain the region’s debt crisis. That’s boosting demand for raw materials from consumers and investors, with Barclays Capital predicting a third consecutive annual shortage in global copper supplies in 2012. Commodities beat stocks, bonds and the dollar for the first time since July last month.

“People feel that the U.S. is on a gradually improving trend and overall the tone is better,” said Carole Ferguson, an analyst at Fairfax IS in London. “If you get a demand-led story in copper then it can rally again. It’s supported by the long- term supply and demand picture.”

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