Asia Commodity Day Ahead: Corn Surges to 23-Month High on U.S. Crop Yields

The following are the top stories on metals, agriculture and shipping.

ECONOMIC EVENTS, AGRICULTURE REPORTS:

                                   Forecast  Prior     Time
                                                       (N.Y.)
U.S. Wholesale Inventories JULY       0.4%     0.1%     10:00
U.S. Corn Production               13.198B  13.365B      8:30
U.S. Soybean Production             3.410B   3.433B      8:30


Metal Prices: ($/ton)
                 Last  % Chg RSI
Copper          7,555   -1.6  58
Aluminum        2,105   -2.5  50
Zinc            2,153   -3.0  56
Lead            2,201   -1.5  61
Nickel         22,750   -0.7  64
Tin            21,700   +0.1  62

Other Markets:
                       Last  % Chg % YTD
U.S. Dollar Index    82.694   +0.1  +6.2
Crude Oil            $74.25   -0.6  -6.4
Gold               $1,250.90  -0.5  +14
MSCI World Index   1,136.71   +0.7  -2.7

TOP STORY:

Corn Surges to 23-Month High as Hot Weather Cuts U.S. Output

Corn jumped to the highest level since October 2008 on speculation that the recent heat wave in the U.S. Midwest hurt the corn crop more than the government will say tomorrow.

COMMODITY EXCLUSIVES:

Exelon’s Rowe Says Gas Prices May Slow New Reactors (Update2)

Exelon Corp. Chief Executive Officer John Rowe said he expects natural-gas prices to remain low, pushing back the construction of new U.S. nuclear power plants by a “decade, maybe two.”

BlackRock, Soros Fund Buy Stakes in Far East Energy (Update1)

BlackRock Inc., the world’s biggest money manager, and a fund related to billionaire George Soros have acquired stakes in Far East Energy Corp., a Houston company that’s raising cash to develop natural-gas properties in China.

Brazil Sugar Vessels Face Record Wait to Load on Rain (Update2)

Brazil’s largest port is struggling to reduce record delays for sugar ships waiting to load because of rains and a rising number of vessels from the food industry.

INDUSTRIAL METALS:

Copper Falls Most in a Week on Report of Chinese Investigation

Copper fell the most in a week after a report that Chinese regulators are investigating positions in rubber futures spurred speculation that some traders may be forced to sell commodities.

Aurubis Melts Computers as Smelters Battle for Copper (Update1)

Aurubis AG, Europe’s biggest copper smelter, is turning to unwanted computers for its raw material as the world’s mining companies struggle to dig up enough ore.

MINING:

ENRC Defends Congo Rights After First Quantum Warning (Update3)

Eurasian Natural Resources Corp., the mining company that last month bought rights to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kolwezi project, defended the acquisition after previous owner First Quantum Minerals Ltd. said it may sue the company.

AngloGold, Lonmin Say Black Ownership Shouldn’t Threaten Mining

AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and Lonmin Plc chief executive officers said South Africa’s efforts to boost black ownership of the country’s mines shouldn’t go so far as to deter investment that generates prosperity for all.

Russian Diamond Monopoly’s Value to Surge on IPO, Metropol Says

ZAO Alrosa, Russia’s diamond mining monopoly, will surge in value in anticipation of an initial public offering and higher demand for gems, IFC Metropol said.

Rusal May Gain 21% in Hong Kong Trading on Earnings, Alfa Says

United Co. Rusal, the largest maker of aluminum, may gain 21 percent in Hong Kong trading in the next 12 months as the company posts stronger earnings, according to Alfa Bank, Russia’s biggest private lender.

PRECIOUS METALS:

Gold Futures Fall Most in Three Weeks as U.S. Equities Advance

Gold futures had the biggest drop in almost three weeks as U.S. equities rose, eroding demand for the precious metal as an alternative investment.

AGRICULTURE:

Agriculture Put Option Trades Jump Before USDA Report (Update2)

Trading of bearish options on agricultural stocks jumped for a second day, reaching a four-month high, before the U.S. Department of Agriculture releases its monthly global supply- and-demand estimates tomorrow.

Wheat Rises on Lower Russian-Output Estimate, U.S. Export Sale

Wheat rose for the first time in three sessions as declining Russian production boosted demand for inventories from the U.S., the world’s biggest shipper.

Barry Callebaut Jumps to Two-Year High on Kraft Deal (Update1)

Barry Callebaut AG, the world’s largest maker of bulk chocolate, rose to the highest in more than two years in Zurich trading after saying it will become the main supplier of cocoa and chocolate to Kraft Foods Inc.

Soybeans Decline on Bets U.S. Supplies to Meet Global Demand

Soybeans fell from an eight-month high in Chicago on speculation that a government report tomorrow will show that U.S. supplies are adequate to satisfy domestic and global demand.

Lumber Advances to Three-Month High as Traders Roll Contracts

Lumber prices rose to a three-month high as traders shifted positions to November contracts from September futures that expire next week.

Coffee Declines From 13-Year High; Sugar Surges, Cocoa Falls

Coffee futures declined on bets that a rally to a 13-year high was overdone. Sugar jumped to a six- month peak, and cocoa fell.

SHIPPING:

Marines Storm Ship Seized by Pirates, Rescue Crew (Update3)

U.S. Marines stormed a German-owned ship seized by pirates in the Gulf of Aden and rescued the crew, the first time an international taskforce set up in 2002 has recaptured a hijacked vessel.

Oil Stored at Sea to Jump Before Winter, Platou Says (Update1)

The amount of crude stored aboard tankers at sea will likely expand as traders delay selling oil until the height of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter, RS Platou Markets AS said.

Baltic Dry Index Extends Gains as Grain, Coal Carriers Advance

The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of commodity-shipping costs, climbed for a ninth session as a drop in charter rates for its largest vessels, which typically carry iron ore, was offset by gains for smaller carriers.

ECONOMIES:

IMF’s Blanchard Sees Weak Recovery, Unemployment Falling Slowly

High unemployment in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere likely will linger for months, and governments that can afford to use fiscal stimulus should use it to spur growth, the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist said.

China Inflation Date Change Triggers Rate Speculation (Update2)

China brought forward the release of August economic indicators by two days, spurring speculation the central bank may be preparing to raise a benchmark interest rate before markets open on Monday.

Japan Plans to Seek Talks With China on Bond Buy (Update1)

Japan’s government said it will seek discussions with China over the nation’s record purchases of Japanese bonds as an appreciating yen threatens to undermine an economic recovery.

U.S. Economy: Trade Deficit Narrows, Unemployment Claims Drop

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed more than forecast in July and filings for jobless benefits plunged last week, tempering concern the world’s largest economy is slipping back into a recession.

U.S. Competitiveness Slips, Switzerland Is Tops in WEF Study

The U.S. slipped to fourth in the annual rankings of the world’s most-competitive economies amid a record budget deficit, while Switzerland retained the top spot, the World Economic Forum said.

OTHER MARKETS:

U.S. Stocks Pare Gain on Concern European Banks Need Capital

U.S. stocks pared gains amid concern European banks will need to raise capital to offset losses on government bonds, trimming an early rally triggered by a bigger-than-forecast drop in jobless claims.

Dollar Falls as Drop in Jobless Claims Buoys Riskier Assets

The dollar fell against most major currencies as reports showing a bigger-than-forecast drop in U.S. jobless claims and a narrower trade deficit eased concerns the recovery in the world’s biggest economy is faltering.

Geithner Says China Needs to Let Market Drive Up Yuan (Update1)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said China must let the yuan rise more quickly to show trading partners that it’s following through on its promises.

Crude Oil Falls After Total U.S. Petroleum Stockpiles Increase

Crude oil fell after a government report showed that U.S. petroleum inventories climbed to the highest level since at least 1990.

Trichet Says It Will Take Time to Wean Banks Off ECB Loans

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said it will take time to wean banks off its emergency lending measures, which policy makers extended last week into 2011.

SPORTS:

Liverpool Debt Moved to Restructuring Team as Deadline Nears

Liverpool’s owners may struggle to get an extension on their 237-million pound ($366 million) loan after Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc moved the soccer club’s debt to its restructuring team, two people familiar with the situation said.

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