04-Mar-2011

wheat-field

Agriculture

+ Global food price index rose to an all-time high in February. Wheat is up 58% y/y, corn up 87%, and rice only 6.5%. Food crisis is less severe than 2008 because rice, which is a staple for more than half of the world, is lagging.

+ Canada, the world’s #3 seller of wheat, will harvest marginally more in 2011 vs 2010 and Ag Cda said farmers’ net-cash income will decline 13% in 2011 from a record $8.95 billion in 2010 due to higher costs of fertilizer, pesticides, and interest payments.

+ India’s food inflation slowed to a near a 3 month low (10.59% y/y) after supplies of fruits and vegetables increased from the winter harvest.

Tidbits

+ European demand has driven oil-tanker rates up, rent for a tanker capable of carrying 600,000 barrels of oil, jumped to $49,123 a day on March 2 vs $2,511 on Feb 14.

+ Less than 4 in 10 Canadians contributed to their RSP in 2010, most common reason was lack of funds.

+ US added a net 192,000 jobs in February, increases in manufacturing, construction and temporary help, losses in state and local government. Unemployment rate 8.9% vs 9%.

+ Gasoline prices in the US rose 28¢ in the past 10 days.

+ February German unemployment fell to the lowest level since 1992.

+ Ben Bernanke told Congress this week: the deficit is the single biggest issue facing the economy and it could trigger a financial crisis on the scale of the one that drove the global economy into recession in 2008.