Oil World forecasts South America to harvest 118.4 mln tonnes of soybeans in 2009 after 116.4 mln tonnes in 2008. Brazil is expected to produce 60.0MMT (60.3), Argentina 49.5MMT (47.0), Paraguay 6.7MMT (6.8), Bolivia 1.2MMT (1.4) and Uruguay 1.0MMT (0.9).
Oil World projects EU rapeseed production in 2008/09 (July/June) to amount to 19.0 mln tonnes which is 0.7 mln tonnes above the 18.3 mln t of the previous year. Germany is expected to produce 5.2 (5.3) mln tonnes and France 5.0 (4.7) mln tonnes. Imports into the EU are forecast at 1.7 mln (690,000) tonnes and crush at 19.4 (18.4) mln tonnes.
Corn lost 45 3/4c on the week as a whole, with the lions share of that coming with Friday's limit down move. This, added to the previous weeks heavy decline, make for corn's biggest two-week plunge in at least 45 years. US corn production will total 12.2 billion bushels this year, up 1.1 percent from 12.072 billion projected a month ago and second only to last year's 13.1 billion-bushel harvest, the USDA said Friday. Unsold supplies of U.S. corn before next year's harvest will total 1.154 billion bushels, up 13 percent from 1.018 billion forecast a month ago, the department said. Analysts expected an estimate of 1.12 billion bushels, on average.
Soybeans closed the week 82c lower, as with corn the majority of that fall coming with Friday's 70c limit down close. US farmers will harvest 2.983 billion bushels of soybeans this year, up from 2.934 billion projected in September, according to the report. U.S. reserve supplies before next year's harvest will total 220 million bushels, up from 135 million forecast last month, the USDA said.
Wheat lost 76 3/4c on the week, most of it also Friday. U.S. wheat reserves before the next harvest will be 4.7 percent more than forecast a month ago, as increased production more than offsets higher feed use, the USDA said. About 601 million bushels of unsold wheat will be in storage when the current marketing year ends on May 31, nearly double the 306 million on hand at the start of this year. Global stockpiles will total 144.4 million tonnes by May 31, the USDA said. That's up from last month's estimate of 139.9 million and up from 119.8 million tonnes at the end of last May.
LONDON FEED WHEAT
London wheat closed the week £9.50/tonne lower, with front-month November closing below £90/tonne for the first time for a front-month since September 2006. The NFU forecast this year's UK wheat crop at 17.17 million tonnes, which gives us a surplus of over 3mmt.
PARIS MILLING WHEAT
Closed the week with losses of EUR17.25/tonne at levels last seen in Jan 2007, dragged down by lack of export demand (Egypt passed on French wheat, buying US and Russian wheat this week) and the general sell-off in all commodities.
Posted a loss of EUR8.50/tonne on the week as a whole on harvest pressure and falling wheat prices. Prices now the lowest since March 2006.
Finished the week EUR30.50/tonne lower pressured by falling crude oil and lack of demand. Prices now at their lowest levels since July 2007.
Finished the week posting an overall loss of $16.24/barrel. The biggest one-week decline since March 2003 when a U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq. The International Energy Agency lowered its 2009 consumption projections by 440,000 barrels a day to 87.2 million barrels a day, citing a weaker economic outlook from the International Monetary Fund.
Finished the week 6 1/2c lower against the dollar, hitting its lowest levels in five years, on concern a dispute between the U.K. and Iceland over financial assets in each other's countries will escalate.
Britain's top share index ended 8.9 percent lower Friday contributing to a 24 percent slump for the week, the second biggest weekly fall ever, as investors ran scared from the spectre of a full global recession.
The FTSE 100 closed down 381.7 points at 3,932.1, its second biggest points loss ever, dropping below the 4,000 level for the first time in more than five years after its worst week since the crash of October 1987.
With another 90 billion pounds wiped off the FTSE 100's value Friday, there was just one gainer -- news and information provider Thomson Reuters, up a penny.
"The FTSE 100 went below 4,000 today, a level it first achieved in September 1996, that means if you invested in equities 12 years ago, you've seen no gain, which is unbelievable," said one trader.
Banks were the top-weighted losers, with the FTSE 350 banks index shedding more than 11.5 percent.
Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC down 5.2 percent, while 3i Group shed 16.2 percent, and insurers Legal & General and Prudential lost 16.1 and 10.5 percent respectively.
Financials also headed another slide on Wall Street which sent the U.S. benchmark S&P 500 index below the 900 level for the first time in five years on fears tighter credit would spawn world recession.
President George W. Bush said on Friday the U.S. government was moving aggressively to address the financial markets crisis, but he acknowledged that anxiety was feeding on itself as stocks continued to plunge.
EU wheat futures continued their slide Friday closing sharply lower on burdensome supplies and lack of demand.
Paris November milling wheat fell to a 17-month low closing down EUR7.25 at EUR142.75/tonne.
London November feed wheat closed down GBP4.00 at GBP89.50/tonne. That's the first time a spot month has been below £90/tonne since September 2006.
The USDA revised its 2008-09 world wheat crop estimate to a record 680.2 million tonnes which added to the bearish sentiment. That's an increase of 71 million tonnes on 2007-08.
The NFU say that the 2008 UK wheat crop is 17.17 million tonnes, 25% up on last year.
The credit crisis continues to bite, raising concerns over many potential importing nation's financial status.
Corn futures closed limit down in all contracts Friday. Futures were pushed lower when USDA released a bearish report earlier this morning, corn and other commodities were also pressure by sharp declines in the stock market. USDA increased yield to 154.00 up from 152.3 also increasing total to production 12.2 Billion bushels. Corn ending stocks also increased to 1.154 up from the September number of 1.018. Funds were net sellers of 8,000 CBOT contracts, options that traded indicate prices are valued at least 10 cents less. Trading limits will expand to 45 cents when trading resumes Sunday evening. Dec -30 at 4.08.
Soybeans finished the 70 cent limit lower in all contracts when the final bell rang this afternoon. Funds were net sellers of 3,000 bean contracts, 1,000 meal, and 1,000 bean oil. Limits will expand in soybeans to $1.05, meal to $30/ton, and bean oil up to $3.50. Soybeans received a more bearish report than corn. USDA suggested farmers planted 2.2 million more acres than previously thought, roughly 77 million acres. Ending stocks jumped up from 135mb in September to 220 mb. However, USDA did decrease yield by .5 bu. to 39.5 bu. per acre. Crude oil was off almost $9 per barrel to around $77/barrel, the US Dollar Index is soaring, up more than 1 full point hovering around 82 point mark. Weather is beneficial for harvesting through the weekend but could turn wet at the beginning of next week. Oct meal and bean oil contracts will expire next Tuesday. Nov -70 at 9.10; Oct Meal -19.70 at 251.20; Oct BO -294 at 36.50.
Wheat futures closed sharply lower at the three different exchanges today. Concerns about the financial markets and pressure from other commodities weighed in on prices. Funds sold an estimated 4,000 CBOT contracts. Wheat futures did not traded at or near limit as of now, but is being affected by this total melt down in the stock market as well as in commodities as trade volatility has sky rocketed. Investor and trade panic and fear has keyed the much of the volatility. USDA pegged ending stocks at 601 million bushels up from their September estimate of 574 mb. USDA also indicated that all wheat producers will harvest a world record crop of 680.2 million tonnes which is up from 676.3 MT in September. Yemen and Japan were buyers of US wheat, 100,000 tonnes and 51,000 tonnes respectively. Dec CHI -41 at 5.63; KC -33 at 6.05; MLPS -37 at 6.39.
Our glorious leader Gordon Brown, desperate for a bit of positive publicity, claimed Friday that the government "had had some success in getting the price of oil down," adding "I want these price cuts passed onto the consumer, and passed on as quickly as possible."
Brown failed to elaborate on exactly how he'd single-handedly fixed the price of oil to fall.
Maybe he meant that by taxing petrol at 81.5% he'd finally managed to get us all to start consuming less of the stuff.
The prime minister's statement came on the same day that the International Energy Agency (IEA) cut its forecast for oil demand growth to its lowest level for 15 years.
Crude fell almost $9/barrel Friday thanks to Gordon's best efforts to close at $77.70/barrel in New York, Brent finished around $8.50/barrel lower at $74.09/barrel.
Crude has now fallen 47% from its all-time high at the beginning of July.
Icelandic assets in Britain have apparently been frozen under anti-terrorism legislation!
Stephen Timms, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, has confirmed that this was indeed the law which had been used, because “that’s where the power happened to be”, as if there was nothing odd in using such legislation for a purpose for which it cannot originally have been intended.
It is becoming apparent that many of the supposed 300,000 British depositors with money in Icelandic banks are town councils.
Mr Timms was again unable to shed any light on what will happen to their (our) money, beyond saying that a meeting was to be held that afternoon at the Treasury.
Now I'm firmly in the camp that thinks, hey you put your money in a foreign bank to earn a bit of extra interest, you have to face the consequences and abide by the laws of the foreign country you decided to invest in.
Suppose that my local council have "invested" my council tax in Iceland & now can't get it back? What are they going to do? Ask me to pay it again? Stop collecting the rubbish & lighting the streets? Or expect Darling to bail them, and all the other local councils, out?
This thing is going to get far worse before it gets better.
Oil tumbled more than $5 a barrel, heading for its biggest weekly drop since 2004 and pacing a slump in commodities, on concern the deepening financial crisis will push the global economy into a recession.
Oil in New York fell to its lowest price in a year as plunging share prices in Asia and Europe left the MSCI World equity index headed for its worst week since 1970. Gold rose to the highest in nearly 11 weeks as investors sought the metal as a haven.
Crude oil for November delivery fell as much as $5.46, or 6.3 percent, to $81.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract traded at $81.60 at 11:39 a.m. in London. Crude futures are down more than 13 percent this week, and have dropped 45 percent from a record $147.27 a barrel reached on July 11.
Wheat in Western Australia suffered some damage at the end of September when temperatures dipped to a unseasonably cold -3 degrees, according to the Department of Agriculture.
The department's David Bowran says that this year's harvest will be worth about A$3 billion.
"We've seen certainly examples of severe stem frost occurring for a few people," he said.
"We've heard some examples of head frost, particularly with wheat crops that were coming out with ear or flowering at about that time.
"So it does suggest that there are going to be some pretty severe impacts."
Mr Bowran says that despite the frost damage, growers are expected to produce 11 million tonnes of grain.
That would equal 2003's record output for the state, which typically accounts for 40-45% of national production. A crop of 11mmt would likely equate to 50% or more of national output this year.
Crude oil fell for a second day Thursday as U.S. crude and gasoline inventories increased more than forecast and the global economic crisis curbed demand.
Oil supplies rose 8.12 million barrels to 302.6 million barrels in the week ended Oct. 3, as imports and output resumed after halting last month for hurricanes, the Energy Department said yesterday. The agency on Oct. 7 cut its 2008 oil demand forecast by 340,000 barrels to 86.14 million barrels a day.
At 8.25am BST November crude was $1.21 lower at $87.74/barrel.
Are grains finally divorcing themselves from outside market influences, or is it just a temporary blip?
Last nights stronger close has been carried through into the overnight eCBOT market with beans up 10-18c, and corn and wheat both up around 7c.
"The gains we're seeing in soybeans and grains are in part driven by a perception in the market that Friday's USDA report will be friendly, especially for soybeans," said one analyst.
Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that early harvested beans are generally yielding below expectations.
Traders are evening up positions ahead of tomorrows USDA report which may show U.S. crop yields fell more than expected after flooding in June and a dryness in August.
The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of shipping costs for commodities, fell to its lowest since June 2006 as slowing economic growth curbed demand for raw materials and led to a surplus of vessels for hire. The index fell 5.4 percent, to 2,764 points, according to the Baltic Exchange in London. It's 77 percent lower than the record on May 20.
Things just keep getting worse for poor old Iceland, the country who has buckled under the weight of debts equal to 12 times the size of the economy.
Kaupthing Bank hf, the nation's biggest bank yesterday became the third lender to be seized by the government since the financial crisis escalated.
Financial regulators were already in charge of the second and third largest lenders, Glitnir Bank hf and Landsbanki Islands hf.
Having said Tuesday it was going to fix the rate of its currency, the central bank yesterday abandoned its attempt, indicating it is powerless to halt the slump in the krona.
Prime Minster Geir Haarde announced earlier in the week that he gad secured funding from Russia, only to later admit that it was not yet a done deal.
Yesterday he said that he may be forced to seek aid from the International Monetary Fund after failing to secure loans from European governments and central banks.
Meanwhile Iceland will now re-start talks with Russia next Tuesday in a last-ditch attempt to secure a loan of as much as 4 billion euros ($5.46 billion), Haarde said yesterday.
Corn futures bounced higher after trading choppy for much of the day. The late rally in grains was finally sustained on Wednesday. Funds were net buyers of 5,000 CBOT contracts. However, this is the first successful attempt to rally futures in this week, and may be just aggressive short covering and profit taking after contracts hit 10 month lows. Weather for the most part has been favoUrable, but recent rains have prevented some harvest creating a positive basis bids by some ethanol plants and elevators. USDA will release their monthly production report on Friday reactions will be mixed as many believe few fundamentals have been trading lately. Dec +10 � at 4.27.
Soybeans pushed higher Wednesday to post impressive gains despite bearish economic conditions. Funds bought an estimated 4,000 beans, 2,000 meal contracts, and even on the day in the bean oil pit. Crude oil futures were softer but did back away from lows posted earlier in the day, the declines in crude oil and harvest pressure limited gains. Harvest is well underway in many major bean producing states and is supply sufficient supplies of new crop beans to the supply chains. Argentinean farmers remain on strike which is halting exports and should be bullish to US bean exports. Brazil is on track to harvest a record crop of 60 MT plus. Deliveries against the October Bean Oil contract were 605 down from heavier postings earlier in the week, and meal deliveries jumped to 539 contracts against its October contract. Nov +38 at 9.64; Oct Meal +11.80 at 263.70; Oct BO -1 at 39.40.
Wheat futures closed slightly higher at the different exchanges on technical buying. Index funds bought an estimated 2,000 CBOT contracts. Wheat futures have not been ignoring that there is potential for the world as a whole to harvest a record crop which has been pushing prices lower for at least the last 2 months. Rains through the Midwest have plagued harvesting of row crops but has been beneficial to winter wheat. Iran issued a tender for 60,000 tonnes for milling purposes. Brazilian Government is reporting more wheat production in their October report versus their September (5.79 MT vs. 5.4 MT) Dec CHI +4 at 6.08; KC +4 at 6.38; MLPS +8 at 6.74.
EU wheat futures continued their decline pressured by the general turmoil in world financial markets.
Paris November milling wheat closed down EUR5.25 at EUR149.50/tonne and London May feed wheat ended down GBP1.10 at GBP101.50/tonne.
Liffe's Paris-based November corn closed down EUR1.25 at EUR129.75/tonne. November rapeseed closed down EUR6.50 at EUR327.25/tonne.
"Fundamentals are only playing a cameo role," said one trader,"its whats going on in other markets that is the main driving force."
The FTSE100 sank to its lowest close in over four years as a 50 billion pound ($87.84 billion) injection for banks from the state and coordinated interest rate cuts from global central banks failed to lift confidence.
The UK government said it would pump taxpayer funds into the embattled banking sector just hours before the Bank of England signalled a half percentage point interest rate cut in tandem with other global economies led by the Federal Reserve.
The rate cuts briefly lifted the FTSE 100 into positive territory, but jitters resurfaced once again, and the index closed down 5.2 percent or 238.5 points at 4,366.7, its lowest close since August 2004.
Monsanto Co. says it lost US$172 million in its fourth fiscal quarter. But that is a smaller loss than the $210 million in the same quarter last year.
The world's largest seed maker said Wednesday it lost three cents per share in the three months ended Aug. 31. That is down from a loss of 18 cents per share in the same period a year ago.
The fourth quarter is generally losing one for Monsanto, because the company has seasonal seed sales. Monsanto says it trimmed its losses this year because of a jump in revenue from Roundup herbicide sales and by its seeds and traits business.
It says sales rose 35 per cent to $2.05 billion from $1.5 billion last year.
Analysts had expected a loss of $0.09 per share on revenues of $1.92 billion.
Major grain players including Cargill and Bunge continue to say that the Chicago Board of Trade needs to improve on a plan to narrow a gap between wheat futures and
"We have serious concerns that the steps taken will not effectively address and correct the problem," Cargill said in a statement submitted to the CFTC.
Both company's are unhappy about the continued divergence between CBOT futures and cash prices.
The difference has been $2 a bushel or more in recent weeks, with futures trading at around $6 a bushel this week and cash prices quoted near $4 at some locations.
The CME Group, which owns the CBOT, proposed several changes last month to the wheat contracts specifications, designed they say, to improve convergence. The changes included tinkering with storage charges and contract specifications, but did little to flush out spec long-holders.
Bunge agreed saying that "these changes alone are not likely to achieve the convergence sought by many commercial market participants."
It is of course no surprise that the CME want as much spec money in the market as possible. What is surprising is that futures and cash prices of US wheat seem to refuse to converge despite so many spec longs exiting the markets in recent weeks.
Liffe/Euronext grains futures are lower again Wednesday with Paris November milling wheat down EUR4 at EUR150.75/tonne, and London's November feed wheat down £1.85 at GBP92/tonne.
Liffe's Paris-based November corn is EUR2.50 lower at EUR128.50/tonne, and November rapeseed is down EUR3.75 at EUR330/tonne.
"Fundamentals are hardly getting a look in," commented one trader, referring to the global financial meltdown as weaker outside markets continue to drag grains lower.
Egypt yesterday passed on EU wheat in favour of Russian and US grain, despite reports from Russia that this year's harvest is producing 85% feed grade wheats.
Certainly this is bearish for UK wheat as Ukraine also has a disproportionately high quantity of low-grade wheat this season.
Sub-£90/tonne here we come it seems.
People still don't seem to be able to agree on what this years US crop will be despite the fact that harvesting has already begun!
Allendale released its latest crop production and yield estimates ahead of USDA's updates due Friday morning, with corn production a little above and soybean production a little below USDA's September estimates.
By comparison, last week Informa predicted larger crops for both corn and soybeans, while FCStone said its survey indicated cuts in both crops.
Does it matter and will the markets actually pay any attention? In the current climate the answer is probably not.
Oh, what were the numbers? I nearly forgot.
Beans 2.882 billion bushels with a yield figure of 39.3bu/acre. Corn 12.139 billion (153.1bu/acre).
The USDA last month put corn output at 12.072 billion bushels with a yield of 152.3 bushels per acre. Soybean production with them was 2.934 billion bushels and yield at 40.0 bushels per acre.
eCBOT futures closed mixed, but mostly lower with wheat down 6-10c, corn down 3-5c and soybeans 2-3c higher.
Beans were up as much as 63c early in the session on news that China was said in early trade to place orders for about 5,000 soybean contracts for nearby delivery months.
It has to be a sobering indication of exactly how bad things are when beans can only mange to finish 2-3c firmer on the back of news like that.
Still as one wag put it to me, "what does it matter if China are in the market anyway, if the price goes down they'll simply default and buy it in again at lower money!"
Still, crude was running around $4 lower earlier in the day and has now recovered to trade around $1 easier at $89.25/barrel.
Stocks data from the Energy Dept due out just after Chicago opens at 3.35pm BST could prove interesting & guide the market this afternoon. Mastercard say US Gas consumption fell 9% last week.
Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: Corn futures are expected to open steady to 5 lower; soybeans steady to 2 higher; wheat steady to 5 lower.
Six central banks - including the Bank of England - have cut their interest rates by half a percentage point. The UK rate move - which had not been expected until Thursday - puts the interest rate at 4.5% from 5%.
The US Federal Reserve has cut rates from 2% to 1.5% and the European Central Bank (ECB) trimmed its rate from 4.25% to 3.75%.
The unprecedented step is aimed at steadying a faltering global economy and slumping stock markets. The central banks of Canada and Sweden and Switzerland all took similar action in the co-ordinated move.
China also cut its rate, but by 0.27 percentage points.
European financial markets reacted well, pulling back some of the losses seen earlier on Wednesday.
The last time the Bank of England cut rates in a special meeting was on 18 September 2001 - when rates came down from 5% to 4.75%.
The German government have announced plans to reduce the blending mandate of biofuels in all conventional fuels to 5.25% for 2009. This is below the previously fixed level of 6.25%. In 2010, the level of 6.25% is likely to be applied. The tax on biodiesel should also increase now from 15 to 18 cents per litre they said.
EU rapeseed prices have fallen a long way from their highs. In March Paris futures hit an all-time high of EUR521.50/tonne, well done whoever sold at that level because currently nearby November stands at EUR328.50/tonne, a decrease of 37 percent.
Lets have a look at the supply & demand fundamentals for rapeseed and veg oil:
VEGOIL SUPPLY & DEMAND
World demand for veg oil is expected to continue to rise, if not for human consumption then due to demand from the biofuel sector. Oil World thinks that both the US and Brazil will be cutting their soyoil exports due to the increased demand for biofuels and Argentina will not be able to fill in the gap. Oil World predicts that the US will export 1.03 million tonnes of soyoil this year versus 1.32 million tonnes last year. Last year the US consumed 2.4 million tonnes of vegetable oils for biofuels. This year Oil World expects that number to hit 3 million tonnes.
Oil World is penciling in 1.82 million tonnes of soyoil exports out of Brazil versus 2.38 million tonnes last year. Brazil used 900,000 tonnes of vegetable oil for biofuels last year and Oil World sees that number reaching 1.45 million tonnes this year. Last year Argentina exported 6.1 million tonnes of soyoil and this year Oil World thinks at best they will only be able to export 6.26 million tonnes. Last year the United States imported 3.25 million tonnes of vegetable oils. This year Oil World is putting that number at 3.53 million tonnes.
F O Licht says that world biodiesel production will hit 11.3 million tonnes this year versus 8.9 million tonnes in 2007. That is a 27% increase.
RAPESEED SUPPLY & DEMAND
On October 2nd, Stats Canada released their latest Canadian crop estimates and put the canola crop at a record 10.87 million tonnes. However, the trade was expecting an 11.2 million tonne number out of Stats Canada, and some feel that they may increase their crop estimate further before the end of the year. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is predicting that the Canadian canola crush will reach a record 4.3 million tonnes this year as new crush capacity comes on line.
AAFC is forecasting that the Canadian canola carryover will increase from 1.5 million tonnes last crop year to 1.9 million tonnes this year. Oil World sees it going to a “burdensome” 2.1 million tonnes.
Oil World is predicting that the European rapeseed crush will reach the 18.4million tonne mark this year. That would be up 16% from last year.
EU-27 rapeseed production this year is expected to be around 1 million tonnes higher than 2007/08 at 19.2mmt.
Australian 2008/09 rapeseed output is seen up around half a million tonnes to 1.6mmt, with production in India and China little changed.
Trade sources say that the Ukraine could have around 2.5 million tonnes of canola to export this year. APK Inform reports that the Ukraine exported 502,000 tonnes of rapeseed in August alone. That is 65% higher than last August and 3.8 times more than they exported in July. Since the beginning of this MY, Ukraine has exported 1.035 mln tonnes of rapeseed.
Extremely aggressive exports from Ukraine will likely slow up as we get to Christmas, as they have exported nearly half their crop already.
Still, whilst the EU crush is expected to increase, production has increased by even more, a situation that is mirrored also in Canada. Stocks are sizeable, if not even burdensome, to avoid a large carryover we need to see increased demand from either the vegoil or biodiesel sector.
In the current economic climate neither of these looks a likely possibility at the moment. Whilst producers might not like the current prices on offer, there is no price incentive (unlike wheat) to carry seed into next seasons crop. So, unless crude oil turns around dramtically, the outlook for rapeseed prices doesn't look promising.
Crude oil slumped to a 10-month low Wednesday on the gradual realisation that the current global financial crisis is escalating quicker than central banks can throw money at it.
Mastercard say US gas consumption fell 9% last week. That was the 24th consecutive weekly decline, and the biggest since September 2005, after Hurricane Katrina sent pump prices to records.
Crude for November delivery fell as much as $4.01 to $86.05 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest since Dec. 6, 2007. It traded at $87.27 a barrel at 11:49 a.m. in London.
The US Energy Dept will release its weekly inventory data later today at around 3.35pm BST.
It has to be asked how could a country with a population the size of Coventry be allowed to run up foreign liabilities seven times the size of its GDP?
With the deregulation of its financial market in the mid-1990s and subsequent stock market boom, Iceland had transformed itself from the poor cousin in Europe to one of the region's wealthiest countries. Icelandic banks and companies made acquisitions across Europe, including the iconic Hamley's toy store the West Ham soccer team, and a sizeable stake in at least one major UK compounder.
But its all gone the shape of a small soft edible fruit for poor old Iceland.
In recent days, Iceland's government has taken over the country's second-biggest bank, fixed the exchange rate of its plummeting currency, and asked Russia for a €4 billion loan as it scrambles to stop the collapse of its economy.
It has also introduced emergency laws that give the government sweeping new powers to take over companies, limit the authority of boards, and call shareholder meetings.
The one thing apparently keeping the country's tottering economy from complete collapse is an influx of money from foreign journalists and camera crews flying into Reykjavik to film the action!
After watching the currency free-fall for several days the Central Bank of Iceland stepped in yesterday to fix the exchange rate of the krona at a level equal to 131 krona against the euro.
Some analysts, however, are not convinced by measures such as the fixing of the exchange rate.
"Given the fact that the Icelandic FX (foreign-exchange) reserve is less than US$3 billion, the peg does not look very credible, and we do not expect it to be maintained," said Lars Christensen, chief analyst at Danske Bank, in a research report.
Around 300,000 Britons (an amount funnily enough similar to the entire population of Iceland), wooed by sexy interest rates, are said to have deposits in Icelandic banks. Alistair Darling has today said that the government would guarantee deposits of British savers with online bank Icesave which yesterday stopped customers, including thousands in Britain, from withdrawing money from their accounts. Although reports suggest that punters may have to wait three months or so to get their money back.
Still that gives them plenty of time to decide where to put it next. Meanwhile....
Its not all doom & gloom for our Icelandic readers, take heart that there IS ONE (and one alone) world currency that has performed even worse than yours versus the dollar in the last thirty days. The bad news is its Zimbabwe's!
Robert Wiseman has announced that its farm gate milk price would increase by 1p/litre from 1 November 2008, taking a standard litre to 27.2p/litre. The company said it would also increase prices during October, once negotiations with customers had concluded, thought to be sometime within the next fortnight.
Meanwhile, Arla said it would increase the price for milk supplied by members of its dedicated supply group, Arla Foods Milk Partnership (AFMP), by 1p/litre, with effect from 13 October 2008. That increase would take its standard milk price to 27p/litre and was in addition to the volume bonus announced at the beginning of October.
Grains are currently mixed overnight on the eCBOT market with wheat down around 5c, corn 2c lower and soybeans 13-14c higher.
It looks like it's been quite a wild session as wheat and corn were both around 16c higher earlier in the session and beans were as much as 63c higher.
Beans are up on news that China was said in early trade to place orders for about 5,000 soybean contracts for nearby delivery months.
Chicago futures also gained after Argentine farmers began a protest outside congress yesterday to pressure the government to remove taxes and restrictions on exports of grains and beef.
Crude oil for November delivery fell as much as $2.69 to an eight month low of $87.37 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and traded at $88.05 a barrel at 08:45BST.
US gasoline demand dropped 9.5 percent last week, according to MasterCard Inc.
Benchmark Australian ASX January milling wheat is A$10.50/tonne higher overnight at A$288/tonne following Chicago's lead.
There is some talk of crops failing in the northern half of Victoria ans SW NSW unless soaking rains arrive urgently.
ABARE last month said Victoria would produce 2.7mmt of wheat this season, less than 10% of their anticipated national output of 22.5mmt.
ABARE's figure is towards the high end of trade estimates with most in the region 20-22mmt, although some are citing figures as low as 18mmt.
A lot seems to depend on the weather from here on in, particularly in WA, the country's top producing and exporting state, which typically accounts for 40-45% of total national output.
As of October 7, Kazakhstan had harvested 17.2 mln tonnes of grain in bunker weight from 99.3% of planted areas, declared Akulbek Kurishbaev, the Minister of Agriculture.
According to the Minister, high-quality wheat (1-, 2- and 3- grades) totals 91% of harvested crop as opposed to 75% in the previous years.
In contrast Russia and Ukraine harvested large wheat crops, but with a 1-, 2-, 3- grade share of just 15% and 11%, respectively.
Alistair Darling has announced details of his cunning plan to save the British banking system.
The government are going to make £50 billion of extra capital available to eight of the UK's largest banks and building societies.
In return the government will get preferential shares in each of them, namely Abbey, Barclays, HBOS, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Nationwide Building Society, Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered.
As part of the package, a further £200bn will be made available by the Bank of England for short-term borrowing to provide liquidity to banks and building societies.
Exactly what happens if you're not one of these eight and need liquidity (and who doesn't?) seems a bit unclear. The Treasury has said that other banks would be able to "apply for inclusion" into the plan.
What criteria they must fulfil to get to play with the big boys, or whether they must borrow at inflated rates from the big boys themselves also seems unclear.
It seems that there will be strings attached for those wanting/needing to participate to prevent them from simply taking the cash & carrying on as before.
HBOS shares are up 25%, RBOS 11% and Lloyds TSB 4.66% in early trade but the FTSE100 is down overall, 128.92 points lower, or 2.8% at 4476.30 as at 8.20am BST.
The pound is a little firmer on the news, rising to $1.7525 from $1.7455 yesterday.
The incredibly rapid pace of the demise of world financial markets doesn't make it beyond belief. The Icelandic government announced Tuesday it had sought an emergency loan from Russia to stave off the threat of "national bankruptcy."
Prime Minister Geir Haarde's announced he had decided to ask Russia for a loan of €4 billion, or $5.5 billion, to help the government and the central bank keep the economy afloat.
Clearly Mr Haarde is a man we'd all like to play poker against.
Though the government initially said it had secured backing for the loan from Moscow, the Russian deputy finance minister, Dmitry Pankin, told the Interfax news agency that no decision had been made. Iceland later acknowledged that it had been premature, saying it had contacted the Russians but had not yet reached an agreement.
"We are faced with the real possibility that the national economy would be sucked into the global banking swell and end in national bankruptcy," Haarde said late Monday.
Corn futures open initially higher on early short cover but turned lower by midday and ultimately closing around 4-6c easier. Trading limits had expanded to 45 cents today after yesterdays limit losses in several contracts. Crude oil was around $2 higher but the dollar was softer and both were supportive to grains. Weather is mixed, some areas are dry allowing harvest to take place but scattered rains have slowed or even delayed harvest in other Midwest regions. Dec -4 3/4c at 4.19 1/4.
Soybeans were higher at the close with short covering and crude oil lending support. Profit taking also boosted prices after limit losses in several contracts yesterday; the dollar was also weaker giving incentives to buy commodities. Soybean futures expanded trading limits to $1.05 per bushel, bean oil contracts expanded to $3.50 per pound, and soybean meal futures expanded to $30 per ton. Deliveries against the October Bean Oil contract were heavy at 3,010 and meal had 57 contracts posted against its October contract. Nov Beans +11 at 9.33; Oct Meal +4.30 at 249.40; Oct BO +19 at 39.49.
Wheat futures were modestly higher despite some bearish fundamentals. Strength in CBOT corn and soybean futures helped support wheat as well as weakness in the US dollar Index. Egypt reportedly bought 55,000 tonnes of US soft red winter wheat. Drought conditions continue to plague regions in Australia but regions of EU are harvesting bumper crops. Winter wheat is 59% planted vs. 5 yr of 60% and 28% is emerged vs. 5 yr of 30%. Dec CHI +12 at 6.07 1/4.
EU wheat futures closed narrowly mixed Tuesday with Paris November milling wheat closed down EUR0.25 at EUR154.75/tonne and London's November feed wheat down £1.15 at GBP93.85/tonne.
Chicago appears to have paused for breath, and that added some support as did a minor bounce in crude oil.
Still, huge uncertainties continue to surround world financial markets and the downwards trend remains firmly in place.
Export interest however is hard to come by for European wheat, with Egypt buying US and Russian origin grain.
Liffe's Paris-based November corn closed up EUR2.00 at EUR131.00/tonne and November rapeseed closed up EUR4.25 at EUR333.75/tonne.
Egypt's GASC said Tuesday it has bought 110,000 metric tonnes of US soft red wheat and Russian wheat in a tender. 55,000 tons of US soft red wheat was bought from Perdue at $194.84/tonne. Egypt also bought two cargoes each of 27,500 tonnes of Russian wheat from Horus at the price of $203/tonne.
Japan has cancelled its normal weekly wheat tender again this week due to the ongoing tainted rice saga.
Japan routinely tenders on a Tuesday for wheat, but this is now the fourth Tuesday in a row that the tender has been postponed.
Recent problems with cargoes of inferior quality wheat from China and Vietnam, and supposedly destined for glue manufacture, have caused widespread public health scares after being used in the manufacture of various food products.
Officials refused to comment on when tenders will resume or say what quality assurance measures were being considered in relation to the rice quality issue.
The global financial crisis continued today as 300,000 British savers were blocked from accessing their money in the Icelandic bank Icesave after it collapsed.
Icesave's British savers now face a difficult struggle to extract their cash, after withdrawals were blocked this morning from the internet portal which gave them access to their money.
Landsbanki, which runs Icesave, is one of a handful of European banks operating in Britain which has the so-called passport exemption - meaning that when the bank fails, the first €20,000 (around £16,000) needs to be reclaimed from the Icelandic compensation system, not the UK system.
Apart from an unwanted association with the term financial crisis?
The answer is that all have sponsorship agreements with English football clubs, though in the case of West Ham United the name of XL is no longer featuring on the club shirts.
I am not saying there is anything significant in the connection, but were I Wigan Athletic FC I would be slightly perturbed that its sponsor, JJB Sports, had to refute claims last Friday that it had breached a bank covenant on a £15m banking facility with Bank of Scotland.
News Monday that credit insurer Coface has refused to cover the company's suppliers against the risk of the sports retailer being unable to pay them sent shares in JJB down by 25% yesterday.
This comes a week after JJB reported a £9.7m six-month loss, with its auditors casting "significant doubt" on its ability to continue as a going concern.
As of October 6, Russia harvested grain and legumes within 42.8 mln ha (92% of planned areas) and, the crop totaled 107.4 mln tonnes of grain, a 23 mln tonnes increase compared to the same date in the previous year. An average yield totaled 25.1 c/ha, up 4 c/ha compared to the previous year. Russian farmers have to harvest 3.5 mln ha (8% of planned territory), including 2.2 mln ha of grains, 1.2 mln ha of maize and 99,300 ha of rice, according to the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia.
Further, Russian farmers harvested wheat throughout 24.6 mln ha (92% of planned areas) with a yield of 26 c/ha, up 3.8 c/ha. The crop totaled 63.8 mln tonnes, up 12.9 mln tonnes compared to 2007. 9 mln ha of barley were harvested (92% of planned territory) with a crop yield of 23.6 mln tonnes, up 7.3 mln tonnes compared to the previous year. An average yield totaled 26.3 c/ha, an increase of 6.4 c/ha compared to 2007.
Officials also reported that 630,800 ha (34%) of maize were harvested with a crop of 2.9 mln tonnes, up 382,000 tonnes compared to the previous year. An average yield totaled 46 c/ha, up 16.1 c/ha compared to the same date in 2007. 64,700 ha of rice were harvested (39% of planned areas) with a crop of 339,000 tonnes. An average yield totaled 52.3 c/ha.
Crude oil rose for the first time in five days as some traders deemed yesterday's 6.5 percent decline excessive.
Speculation OPEC may announce output cuts at its December meeting as demand slows, was also seen as supportive.
OPEC, supplier of about 40 percent of the world's oil, will take "appropriate measures" to stabilize international markets, Chakib Khelil, the group's president, said yesterday.
At 7.40am November crude stood $2.35 higher at $90.16/barrel, having yesterday fallen to its lowest level since February.
eCBOT grains have staged a mini rebound overnight from at or near limit down closes in Monday's session on ideas that lower prices will stimulate demand.
Beans are around 20c higher, wheat 10c firmer and corn mixed around unchanged.
Earlier in the session follow-through momentum from last night's limit down close sent corn crashing to fresh 10-month lows.
Meanwhile, the pace of the harvest for this year's late-planted crop remains sluggish and hampered by rain.
Just 14 percent of the corn was collected as of Oct. 5, compared with 39 percent a year earlier and the previous five- year average of 30 percent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said yesterday in a report. Soybean harvesting was 31 percent completed, compared with 43 percent a year earlier and the five- year average of 41 percent.
Corn futures closed limit down on long liquidation and financial melt downs in outside markets. Virtually every commodity was sharply lower with crude oil $5/barrel down breaching $90/barrel, and the Dow Jones lost more than 500 points. USDA export inspections were 33.528 MB for corn which was inside trade estimates. Dec -30 at 4.24.
Soybeans opened sharply lower as well and stayed that way before closing locked in the 70 cent limit down. Economic concerns are starting to take a toll on trade psychology even after Congress passed a bailout bill. Maybe it was too late to capture investor's and trader's confidence? Beans are being pushed lower as crude oil falls and the US Dollar Index soars. USDA export inspections were 12.174 MB and were within the trade estimates. Argentinean farmers remain on strike, halting exports of grains and livestock in order to protest against Government tariffs. Nov -70 at 9.22; Oct Meal -19.80 at 245.10; Oct BO -270 at 39.30.
Wheat futures closed sharply lower on Monday. Wheat was pushed lower as people liquidate positions in desire of cash with the attitude that nothing appears to be 'a safe bet.' USDA inspected 25.921 MB of US wheat for export; inspections were actually higher than anticipated by trade. Drought conditions continue to plague some parts of Australia. Dec CHI -45 at 5.95 1/4c.
EU wheat futures closed at their lowest levels since May 2007 Monday, weighed down by sharply lower outside markets.
Liffe Paris milling wheat ended down EUR5.00 at EUR155.00/tonne and London November feed wheat closed down GBP4 at GBP95/tonne. Both commodity's hitting levels last seen in May 2007.
Front-month Paris milling wheat has now lost over a third of its value from its peak of EUR250.75/tonne in February.
Liffe's Paris-based November corn closed down EUR5.50 at EUR129.00/tonne. November rapeseed closed down EUR14.50at EUR329.50/tonne.
Spec money continues to exit the commodities markets and grains are just one casualty amongst many. A quick glance down the headlines shows everything from crude to corn, sugar to soybeans, cotton to copper all setting recent lows.
CBOT wheat was sharply lower throughout the day, dipping below $6 a bushel for the first time in over a year.
Crude closed below $90/barrel and the DJI plunged 545 points, falling below 10,000 for the first time in four years.
Car sales in the UK slumped 21 per cent last month as the industry’s main trade body gave warning that carmakers are struggling with the worst economic conditions for years.
It is the fifth consecutive fall in sales of new cars in Britain and especially significant in light of the new registration plate which was issued in September had been expected to provide a sales boost.
Car registrations numbered 330,295 last month, down from 419,290 in September 2007. New registrations fell an annual 18.6 per cent in August to record their weakest showing since 1966.
Unsurprisingly top of the range cars and gas-guzzlers were heaviest hit with Land Rover falling 49 per cent; Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus fell 44 per cent; Bentley plunged 47 per cent and Alfa Romeo fell 44 per cent.
Cargill Inc. recently inaugurated a new €65 million ($93 million) rapeseed crushing plant in the port of Montoir in western France. The company is the majority shareholder in the partnership with French oilseed finance group, Sofiproteol. The facility will produce 250,000 metric tons of rapeseed oil per year, as well as 350,000 metric tons of meal. The rapeseed oil will be supplied to the French food and biodiesel industries, with a significant volume transferred via pipeline to Diester Atlantique’s biodiesel plant. Cargill is a minority shareholder in Diester Atlantique, a subsidiary of Sofiproteol.
“Montoir is ideally located due to its proximity to rapeseed production and also livestock and dairy farmers”, said Herve de Praingy, head of Cargill’s oilseed crushing and refining operations in France. “We also benefit from an excellent local transport infrastructure. Much of the rapeseed and rapeseed oil will be transported by train, water and pipeline connection, greatly reducing the environmental footprint of this site.”
With the opening of the Montoir facility, Cargill has an annual crush capacity of 1.85 million metric tons of rapeseed, soybean and sunflower seeds in western France, it said.
The mill under construction
eCBOT grains closed with heavy losses Monday, weighed down by uncertainty over the global economic outlook. Soybeans closed around 65-66c lower, with corn down around 23c and wheat 28-30c easier.
Bumper output forecasts and benign U.S. crop weather added to the grain markets' overall decline, with a minimum of delays seen for early harvest as only scattered areas were affected by light frost.
The dollar's strength is also making commodities less attractive.
Informa released a bearish crop production forecast Friday, pegging US 2008 corn output at 12.219 billion bushels, versus the USDA's current corn output estimate of 12.072 billion bushels. It also pegged the U.S. 2008 soybean crop at 3.001 billion bushels, higher than the USDA's latest forecast of 2.934 billion.
On the wheat market, better weather further pressed the grain, already under pressure from concerns of lower demand due to the global credit squeeze and an economic slowdown.
Widespread rains over the farming belt in Argentina, the world's No. 4 wheat supplier, have improved the outlook for some 2008/09 wheat fields, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said on Friday.
Crude oil was also a bearish influence, breaking through $90/barrel for the first time since early February.
Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: Corn futures are expected to open 20 to 25 lower; soybeans 60 to 65 lower; wheat 25 to 30 lower.
4/7 fav Iceland...not so much a country as one giant hedge fund gone wrong. The value of its economic output, its GDP, is about $20bn, but its big banks have borrowed some $120bn in foreign currencies. Now that's what I call leverage - and remember that's just the overseas liabilities of its commercial banks.
If the Icelandic Government were to formally underwrite all these liabilities - which it might just have to do, given that other banks and financial institutions no longer want to touch Iceland with the longest barge-pole ever constructed - well its national-debt-to-GDP ratio would be at a level that makes the UK in the 1970s look like a model of prudence.
Reports are now circulating Monday that Iceland has suspended share trade in its hard-hit banks as the government scrambles to avert a full-fledged market meltdown sparked by the global crisis.
The island-nation's top financial regulator has called for trade to be halted in all of the main banks and financial firms.
The Icelandic crown's freefall showed no sign of abating as the currency lost another 7 percent after steep declines last week. The currency slide exacerbates an already precarious situation for local banks as it makes their large foreign debts more expensive to finance.
The country's prime minster told state television late Sunday night the country's authorities had not agreed any specific crisis measures "at this time".
I think that must be what you call burying your head in the ice.
The credit crunch and the fallout from the City is now beginning to impinge on farmland values. These have come to a stumbling halt as the bonus boys pull back from buying farms as a way of mitigating potential inheritance tax liabilities.
‘Lifestyle buyers, especially those from the finance and banking sectors, have been prominent in the farmland market in recent years but the credit crunch and global economic crisis means their activity has declined substantially,’ said Andrew Shirley, head of rural land research at chartered surveyor Knight Frank.
‘According to our prime country house index the value of farmhouses has fallen by 7.5% over the past 12 months. Selling farms where the bulk of the value is in residential property is becoming much harder,’ he warns.
English farmland values fell slightly in the third quarter of 2008 and annual growth has fallen to 27% from a peak of almost 38% last quarter. The average value of agricultural land is £5,060 an acre, up from £3,997 an acre a year ago.
Knight Franks reports that farmer optimism has been dented by falling commodity prices, increased input costs and a wet harvest and that farmland prices are forecast to decline further over the next 12 months.
‘The spectacular rise in farmland values has come to a juddering halt after some of the strongest growth ever seen by the market,’ says Shirley.
The value of English farmland, according to results from the Knight Frank Farmland Index, fell by just under 1% in the third quarter of 2008 following growth of 11.9% and 10.4% in quarters one and two respectively.
‘Arable farmers, who were strong players in the land market earlier in the year when wheat prices climbed to over £180 a tonne, are now more cautious following a dreadful harvest,’ says Shirley.
‘Feed wheat is now worth under £100 a tonne and the cost of drying wet grain this harvest has been astronomical for many businesses. Sharp increases in fertiliser and other input costs have also added to the gloom.’
LIFFE/Euronext grains futures are all heavily lower in mid-morning trade Monday as the world's financial woes continue, stifling demand and sending speculative money scurrying for the exits.
November London feed wheat is £3/tonne lower at £96/tonne, the lowest level for a front month since May 2007. Paris-based November milling wheat is also sharply lower, down EUR4.50/tonne at EUR155.50/tonne.
Paris November corn is EUR7.50/tonne lower at EUR127.00/tonne and November Paris rapeseed down EUR10.75/tonne at EUR333.25/tonne.
Bumper world crops and benign US crop weather are adding to the grain markets' overall decline.
Crude oil is sharply lower as the slump in world financial markets raises concerns that a weak global economy may further erode commodities demand.
Widespread rains over the farming belt in Argentina, the world's No. 4 wheat supplier, have improved the outlook for some 2008/09 wheat fields, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said on Friday.
According to Syria news com, the Director General of the Syrian General Establishment for Cereal Processing and Trade, Mr. Suleiman Al-Nasir, said that a first shipment of the imported Russian wheat is expected to arrive into Syria shortly. Mr. Al-Nasir added that the first shipment of 32,000 tons of Russian wheat, out of 120,000 tons, was part of a deal concluded in August, and was the first such shipment for many years.
Asian and European stocks fell Monday as crude oil fell below $90 for the first time since February, on growing fears that the financial crisis is spreading to the world economy.
European markets slid at the opening, a day after governments in the region were left scrambling to prevent the collapse of two lenders, Hypo Real Estate in Germany, and the Belgian operations of Fortis. The German government also said Sunday that it would guarantee all private bank deposits as it sought to avert the spread of the financial malaise.
In morning trade, the FTSE 100 index was down 5.5%, or 276.9 points, at 4,703.35. Banks led the fallers, with HBOS down 14.9%, Royal Bank of Scotland falling 13.3% and Lloyds TSB down 6.8%.
Dangerous levels of melamine have been found in two Cadbury's products on sale in Hong Kong. The city's Centre for Food Safety said in a statement that the two products - Dairy Milk Cookies Chocolate and Dairy Milk Hazelnut Chocolate, contained unacceptable levels of the toxic chemical. Both products were manufactured at the company's Beijing plant and have been recalled.
South Korea's food watchdog has ordered China-manufactured snacks from Nestle SA and Mars Inc to be taken off shelves after detecting melamine in their samples, it said on Saturday. The Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) said 2.38 parts per million (ppm) and 1.78 ppm of the substance were found in M&M's milk chocolate snack and Snickers peanut Fun Size, both produced by Mars and manufactured in China. Kit Kat bars from Nestle were also found carrying 2.89 ppm of melamine, bringing the total number of melamine-detected items to 10 in Seoul.
The pound fell against the dollar Monday amid speculation the Bank of England will cut interest rates this week to bolster an economy in recession.
In a bizarre twist, at the same time the British currency rose to the highest level in seven months against the euro after BNP Paribas SA agreed to take control of Fortis in Belgium and Luxembourg for 14.5 billion euros ($19.7 billion) and the German government, banks and insurers agreed on a 50 billion-euro rescue for Hypo Real Estate Holding AG after an earlier bailout faltered.
At 9.45am BST the pound was $1.7575 and 77.36 pence against the euro.
Last week the pound dropped 4 percent against the dollar, the most since October 1992.
The BOE's MPC will likely cut interest rates by a quarter when they meet later this week according to analysts.
Crude Oil Falls Below $90 on Concern Slowing Global Growth May Curb Demand
Palm Oil Dives to Near a 2-Year Low on Concern Demand Outlook Is Worsening
Soybeans Drop to 1-Year Low on Worsening Demand Outlook; Corn, Wheat Fall
Gold Drops in London as Dollar Gains; Platinum Approaches Three-Year Low
Natural Rubber Reaches 21-Month Low as Financial Crisis May Weaken Demand
Copper, Zinc, Aluminum Tumble by Trading Limit in Shanghai After Holidays
Euro Reaches 13-Month Low Versus Dollar as Credit Crisis Spreads to Europe
Not pretty is it?
Sorted, not. Overnight grains are heavily lower on what is rapidly becoming a crisis. Reality is hitting home and the great rescue plan is already yesterday's news.
Crude has extended last week's heavy loss & Asian stocks, beans, corn and wheat are all taking an early bath as money pours out of commodities.
Crude is almost $4 lower at 9.30am, with November standing at $90.03/barrel, Dec and Jan are now both below the $90/barrel mark.
Soybeans are around $55c lower, with corn down around 23c and wheat circa 28c lower.
Fundamentals are going out of the window, much the same as they did on the rally to all-time highs earlier in the year, as funds stampede for the exit. Commodity markets are now heading for the biggest annual decline since 2001.