April 30th, 2012

Crude oil fell as Spain’s economy contracted in the first quarter, putting the country into its second recession since 2009 and bolstering concern that fuel demand in the euro region will contract.

Crude oil futures dropped as much as 1 percent after the Madrid-based National Statistics Institute said today that gross domestic product shrank 0.3 percent in the first three months of this year, the same as in the previous quarter. The decline in crude prices accelerated as the dollar rose against the euro on an increase in U.S. consumer spending.

“Concerns about Europe have been weighing on the market for a long time,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst at futures brokerage PFGBest in Chicago. “Today’s Spanish headlines are worrisome. The personal spending numbers here are a positive economic signal which pushed the dollar higher and as a result hit commodities.”

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April 30, 2012

Managed Futures – Smaller managed futures funds able to exploit niche commodity markets and the most volatile conditions are increasingly likely to win assets from investors disappointed with returns from the big trend-followers that dominate the industry.

Managed futures, or commodity trading advisers (CTAs), attracted a wave of assets in 2009 after performing well during the 2008 financial crisis.

Mainstream institutional money flooded into some of the best-known trend-followers, so that 60 percent of total CTA assets are now with the top 10 players.

But since 2009, industry performance has been patchy as traditional trend-following models have struggled in range-bound markets in which it is hard to gain traction.

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April 30th, 2012

Sugar Futures – The price of raw sugar traded in New York may fall below 19 cents a pound “very soon,” prompting processors in top producer Brazil to make ethanol rather than the sweetener, Marex Spectron Group said.

Sugar futures have fallen 8.4 percent on ICE Futures U.S. in New York this year, as supplies outpace demand by 6 million metric tons, up from a previous forecast of 5.2 million tons, according to the International Sugar Organization in London. The price was at 21.34 cents a pound by 6:28 a.m. Below 19 cents a pound, millers in Brazil would favor production of the biofuel, Marex Spectron said, referring to the variety used in flex fuel cars.

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April 30th, 2012

Corn Futures – Speculators reduced bullish bets on corn by more than any other commodity, just before the U.S. reported its single biggest export sale in 18 years and prices had their largest two-day rally in almost a month.

Money managers cut corn wagers by 30 percent to 103,079 futures and options in the week ended April 24, the biggest decline since June 2010, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The drop of 43,511 contracts was larger than for any of the 18 raw materials tracked by Bloomberg. Holdings across all the commodities fell for a fifth week, the longest slide since June 2010, the data show.

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April 27th, 2012

Coffee Futures – Buyers of coffee from Brazil, the world’s largest producer, are getting a bigger discount for beans as the new-crop harvest approaches, brokers said.

Fine cup beans for May and June shipment are trading at a discount of 8 cents a pound to the price on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, data from Rio de Janeiro-based broker Flavour Coffee showed. That compares with a 5-cent discount last week, according to the data.

Buyers of good cup beans for shipment in the same period are getting a discount of 15 cents a pound to the exchange price, up from 12 cents last week, Flavour Coffee said in a report e-mailed yesterday. Fine cup coffee is usually more expensive than good cup quality because of its taste profile.

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