Commodities (Business & Shipping)

From the link:

Rome –The benchmark index of international food commodity prices declined for the 12th consecutive month in March, driven by declines in world quotations for cereals and vegetable oils, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported today.

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia warned the West on Friday that unless obstacles to its exports of grain and fertilisers were removed, then Ukraine would have to export grain over land and Moscow would work outside the UN-brokered landmark grain export deal.

The Black Sea grain deal is an attempt by the United Nations to ease a food crisis that predated the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but was made worse by the most deadly war in Europe since World War Two.

NAPERVILLE, Illinois, April 5 (Reuters) - Although spring planting has begun in the United States, it will be a couple of weeks before farmers across the country are in full swing. Warm weather expected for mid-month should be friendly to their efforts.

However, some of the most trying U.S. planting seasons have occurred recently, mostly because of excessive rainfall and/or overly cool temperatures. The Northern Plains in particular have had difficulty lately, and that is not off the table for this year given the heavy snowpack.

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) has accused the local ILWU union of carrying out “illegal work actions” that have disrupted operations at the nation’s busiest port complex, marking the latest sign that West Coast labor talks have turned sour.

PMA represents 70 ocean carriers and terminal operators at the 29 West Coast Ports. In its latest statement, PMA blamed ILWU Local 13 union for using “new tactics” to slow the start of operations at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and force crucial cargo handling equipment to be taken out of operation at several key terminals. PMA did not clarify the level of disruption or which terminals were affected.


Earnings Reports All Week Long Will Dictate Market's Movement - Ira's SPDR-ETF Video for 4 14 2023​

Apr 14, 2023


Ira Epstein reviews the days trading in various SPDR-ETF markets.

What the Ship | Walla Walla Grounds | Ship Orders | Hong Kong FSRU | Black Sea Grain | War Sailor​

Apr 16, 2023


00:00 Introduction

00:42 1. Ferry runs aground in Rich Passage near Bainbridge Island
MV Walla Walla
Marine Traffic : MV Walla Walla

04:55 2. Boxship and gas carrier orders smash more records
Cash buyers making fortunes flipping vintage tankers

09:27 3. World’s Largest FSRU Arrives in Hong Kong

13:05 4. Ships Inspections Slow as Black Sea Grain Deal Negotiations Continue
Russia Says Black Sea Grain Deal May be Nearly Over
What Happens if Russia Abandons the Black Sea Grain Deal?
A Grain Glut Is Straining the Goodwill That Ukraine Badly Needs

21:07 5. War Sailor: A Masterpiece Sheds Light On PTSD And The Unsung Heroes Of The Sea
Norway: War Resistance Peace
See where the blockbuster "Krigsseileren" was filmed - DS Hestmanden has an open ship

US ready to lend Poland $4 billion for nuclear energy plan​

Story by By MONIKA SCISLOWSKA, Associated Press • 10h ago

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A project to develop small nuclear power reactors in Poland is moving forward, with Polish energy company Orlen and two U.S. government financial institutions signing an agreement Monday.

Full article:

MOSCOW, April 18 (Reuters) - The clear winner in the race to replace Russian oil at Europe's refineries is Norway's Johan Sverdrup crude, according to Refinitiv Eikon data and traders.

Johan Sverdrup was launched in 2019, making it a relative newcomer compared to Russia's Urals grade.

A court case involving Landstar, a mysterious driver named James and the theft of valuable cargo is being viewed as a significant victory for the brokerage industry.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court ruling that Jacksonville, Florida-based Landstar was not negligent in the August 2020 theft of a truckload of expensive freight.

The players in the drama are Landstar Ranger, one of the brokerage company’s operating units; Tessco Technologies, a manufacturer of wireless communications technology that hired Landstar to move a truckload of its products from Colorado to Maryland; L&P Transportation, the carrier that Landstar booked to move the freight; somebody named “James” who snookered Landstar into thinking he was representing L&P but instead picked up the cargo and was never seen again; and Aspen American Insurance, which insured Tessco, paid it for its losses and then sued Landstar.


Dan Chidester didn’t like his union job at the bread factory. It was 1981 and he wanted something with more adventure, more flexibility. So he bought a truck.

This was a poorly timed choice. When Chidester was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, trucking was one of the best-paid jobs a guy without a college degree could get. But by the time he started trucking, the entire industry was changing in response to a law called the Motor Carrier Act of 1980. This law deregulated trucking, wresting control of freight rates from the federal government and allowing the free market to decide how much it would cost to move shoes, concrete, furniture and everything else around the United States via truck.



The downturn on the transpacific, compared with the pandemic-driven boom of the past two years, is palpable as ocean carriers start to post their Q1 results – but there are suggestions a rebound is imminent.

April 25 (Reuters) - Three large US banks face shareholder calls on Tuesday to wind down fossil fuel financing, a balancing act for them and their top investors who are also under political pressure from the other side to maintain support of the oil and gas industries.

The resolutions were filed by climate-minded investor activists at Bank of America (BAC.N), Citigroup (C.N) and Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N). All three banks say the nonbinding measures calling for policies to phase out lending and underwriting for new fossil fuel exploration and development are not necessary given their other commitments to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

An opinion piece on the US Maritime Industry.

US Maritime Crisis: Uncovering The Ghost Admiral Steering The US Government’s Most Secretive Agency​

by Captain John Konrad (OpEd) How can you help CATO dismantle the Jones Act and undermine American shipping? How can you subvert crucial US Navy shipbuilding subsidies? How can you obstruct $1.1 trillion of infrastructure bill funding from supporting ports and marine highways? How can you perpetuate the influx of Chinese goods arriving at US ports on Chinese vessels? Simply refuse to answer the phone.


Corn and soybean planting is now underway in every state except North Dakota and South Dakota. USDA's weekly Crop Progress Report shows while farmers in Missouri and Tennessee are planting at a rapid pace, those in the upper Midwest are already behind.

USDA says, as of Sunday, April 23, 14% of the nation's corn crop is now in the ground—double the amount of corn planted a year ago. At 14% planted, corn planting is 3 percentage points ahead of average, and a 6-point bump in a week.

Other highlights from this week's corn planting report compared to average include:


An impact wrench rattles another bolt home as Rick Rottinghaus reaches for the next part in this year’s planter upgrades. Time is running out before wheels need to be turning on his family’s Waterloo, Iowa, farm.

“One of my brothers asked the other day, ‘Can’t we get a new piece of equipment without you getting the torch and the welder out?’” he laughs.

The tinkering trait is one Rottinghaus comes by honestly.


Beware the man who eats soybeans and shi** gold. In the pantheon of agriculture’s notorious con artists, one hustler reigns supreme—Anthony “Tino” De Angelis, the Salad Oil King.

With soybeans as his wheelhorse, De Angelis stole over $1 billion at today’s currency rates, shook Wall Street to its core, dragged American Express to the brink, humiliated big banking, embarrased USDA, ushered in the rise of Warren Buffet, and flaunted a dizzying chain of Ponzi pyramids.

For almost two decades, De Angelis’ hand touched more U.S. soybeans than anyone on the planet, as he pulled the levers on an incredible succession of agriculture crimes involving ghost tanks, rancid product, fake receipts, market manipulation, and a reptilian ability to shed blame.

Read the rest here:

WASHINGTON, April 28 (Reuters) - U.S. regulators are poised to allow summer sales of gasoline with a higher blend of ethanol, sources told Reuters, adding that an emergency waiver would be issued later on Friday.


Trucking bloodbath snares fleets large and small​

Number of interstate trucking fleets dipped by nearly 9,000 in first 3 months of 2023​

Rachel Premack
Friday, April 28, 2023

America’s $875 billion trucking industry is struggling.

The number of authorized interstate trucking fleets in the U.S. declined by nearly 9,000 in the first quarter of 2023, according to federal data analyzed by Motive, a fleet management technology company. Several midsized fleets have already shuttered this year, including Florida’s Flagship Transport and North Carolina’s FreightWorks Transport. And major freight brokerages have laid off 1,000 employees in 2023 alone.

Per FreightWaves’ Outbound Tender Rejection Index, trucking fleets are rejecting about 2.8% of load requests. That makes “early 2023 the softest sustained truckload market since the tender data history began in early 2018,” as FreightWaves’ Zach Strickland wrote earlier this month.



Oil prices rally, lifting U.S. prices to a gain for the month​

Story by Myra P. Saefong • 2h ago

Oil futures finished sharply higher on Friday, prompting U.S. prices to turn higher for the month of April, buoyed by expectations for tighter supplies.

Speculation over a potential rescue for troubled First Republic Bank also supported prices, as banking issues have weighed on the economic outlook and in turn, the prospects for energy demand.



Pork ending stocks grew 10% year-over-year: Weekly Livestock Market Update for 4/28/23​

Apr 28, 2023


Brownfield Anchor/Reporter Meghan Grebner and University of Missouri Market Analyst Scott Brown give a weekly recap of the markets and discuss how it can impact farmers’ bottom lines.
----- -

This week in the markets

– Live fed cattle prices were unchanged on the week, while feeder cattle prices were mostly steady to $2 this week. June live cattle were up $1.05 on the week. May feeder cattle were down $1.10 on the week. Choice box beef was up $2.73 this week, $46 above year-ago levels. Cash hogs were up $0.35 this week. June lean hog futures were up $5.50 on the week. Pork cutout values were up $0.65 this week.

- Weekly Slaughter Numbers – At the end of the week, cattle slaughter was 620,000 head, down 2,000 on the week and down 27,000 for the year. Hog slaughter was 2.387 million head, that’s down 67,000 from the previous week but up 20,000 on the year. Year-to-date cattle slaughter is down 3.2% while hog slaughter is up 1.6%

- Cold Storage – Beef ending stocks for March 2023 stood at 481 million pounds, down 10.3% from a year ago. Pork ending stocks for March 2023 were 534 million pounds, up 9.9% from a year ago. Belly stocks were 35.4% above year-ago levels.

- Restaurant Performance Index – The March Restaurant Performance Index fell 1% on lower same-store sales and lower customer traffic. The expectations portion of the index also fell in March.

- Next week’s reports – Monthly Trade Data and Jobs Report

Did THEY JUST Confess To Silver Price Manipulation?​

Apr 29, 2023



World Silver Survey 2023

***Note: You can find more on this here:

and here:


Tanker Pablo Explodes in the South China Sea | Rescue Efforts Underway | Ship-To-Ship Transfer?​

May 1, 2023


In this episode, Sal Mercogliano - maritime historian at Campbell University (@campbelledu) and former merchant mariner - discusses how the Gabon-flagged, Venezuela-registered, unknown-classification society tanker exploded off the coast of Malaysia in the South China Sea on May 1, 2023.

00:00 Introduction & Latest News
03:20 Background Information on Tanker Pablo
12:37 Analysis

Tanker on Fire Off Singapore; Three Missing
Charlie Brown - Twitter
Marine Traffic - Pablo
Lloyd's List Podcast https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligen...

Maritime security: 2022 year in review​

Port news
Published: 26 April 2023

Piracy and armed robbery at sea​

According to the ICC International Maritime Bureau's (IMB) annual piracy report (2022), global piracy has hit a 30-year low and is declining for the second year in a row.

The ICC IMB's annual report shows a 13% drop in overall attacks in 2022 compared to 2021, where the decline has been attributed primarily to the decrease in activity in the Gulf of Guinea. The report recorded a total of 115 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in 2022 – compared to 132 in 2021 – with half of them occurring in Southeast Asian waters, particularly in the Singapore Straits, where incidents continue to rise and have reached a seven-year high in 2022.

A staggering 95% of the reported incidents involved successful boarding of the vessels by perpetrators. In most cases, vessels were either anchored or steamed when boarded, with all incidents having occurred during hours of darkness.


To date, there has been no single, global dry bulk event where miners, traders, commodity giants, shipowners, operators, managers and tech providers get together under one roof to thrash out deals and make important collaboration agreements. This is set to change with the creation of Geneva Dry, a high-level summit for the entire dry bulk supply chain.

Geneva Dry has been launched today, setting out to become the global annual dry bulk gathering. Set to run from May 2 to 3 next year at the five-star Hotel President Wilson on the banks of Lake Geneva, the business event will welcome delegates and speakers from across the world to take part in a unique gathering for the dry bulk sector, providing a suitable environment for charterers, shipowners and suppliers to meet and hatch out deals with plenty of significant announcements expected to arise from the two-day gathering.

The ro-ro market is continuing to boom, with demand remaining high and vessel space at a premium boosting rates, while port operators in Europe are refusing to take more vehicles as storage reaches capacity.

According to a Loadstar source, storage is overwhelmed by the scale of imports at the port of Antwerp-Bruges.


EPA opens E15 sales for summer: Weekly Commodity Market Update for 5/2/23​

May 2, 2023


Market recap (changes on week):
- July corn down $.23 at $5.84
- December 2023 corn down $.21 at $5.25
- July soybeans down $.09 at $14.27
- November soybeans up $.04 at $12.75
- July soybean oil up $.01 at $51.81
- July soybean meal down $3.80 at $433.60/short ton
- July wheat down $.37 at $6.18
- June WTI Crude Oil down $2.49 at $75.61/barrel

Weekly highlights:
- US gasoline demand surged for the most recent week,representing maybe some optimism in the general economy. US gasoline demand was up 12% week over week. With strong demand- US stocks of crude oil, gasoline, distillate fuel, and ethanol were pulled down.

- US ethanol, however, fell a little on the week at 284 million gallons down from 301 million gallons the week prior.

- Export sales for the 2022/23 marketing year were neutral on the week- everything was within expectations and pretty much in line with the week before. Export for 2023/24 were pretty much nonexistent though with only wheat seeing some new crop sales.

- There is a general risk off sentiment in the commodity markets ahead of any reactions to moves by the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee this coming week- open interest positions were down nearly across the board: wheats (flat), corn (-7.2%), soybeans (-12.4%), soybean oil (-5.2%), Soybean meal (-4.4%), Cotton (+0.5%) and rough rice (-5.7%).

- Managed money holdings of futures and options positions were also largely down across the board: corn (-64,731) and creating a rare net short in the complex, soybeans (-47,574), soybean oil (-3,812), and soybean meal (-19,309). Chicago wheats decreased their net short adding 15,612 net contracts.

- Weekly grain export inspections were steady to bullish on the week (after a couple bearish weeks). Corn export inspections exceeded all expectations and were a marketing year high, while soybeans, wheat, and grain sorghum inspections were all within range.

- Soybeans crushed for crude oil in March were 198 million bushels- up from both February of this year by 22 million bushels and March of 2022 by 5 million bushels.

- Corn consumed for fuel alcohol in March was 10% higher than February but 3% below March 2022 matching the lower ethanol production numbers.

- USDA’s crop progress report showed 26% of the nation’s corn planted- up 12% from last week and right at the 5-year average for this time of the year. Corn planting is just about done in Missouri (80%) compared to Dakota’s where planting hasn’t started.

- 19% of the soybean crop planted- up 10% on the week and above average of 11% for this time of year.

- Conditions for winter wheats increased in the Pacific northwest while largely falling across the plains. The full composite conditions index was stable but with the same regional changes.
Linky stuff:


Iranian forces seized a second crude oil tanker in a week in the area around the Strait of Hormuz according to a report released by the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command U.S. 5th Fleet. Iranian news agency quickly confirmed today's action saying the vessel was being “impounded” due to an unspecified legal claim.

From the link:

Russia — one of the world’s top energy providers — is mired in war. The OPEC cartel is cutting production. And yet, oil prices continue to tumble, weighed by global recession fears and concerns on Chinese demand.

For ocean shipping, this translates into cheaper marine fuel costs, a positive for operating margins, and much narrower fuel spreads, a negative for owners of vessels with exhaust gas scrubbers.

For listed tanker owners, the drop in oil prices is coinciding with faltering sentiment and falling share prices at the very time vessel supply fundamentals point to a sustainable rate rebound.

Deutsche Bank shipping analyst Chris Robertson said late Tuesday, “We believe the market will more heavily discount energy exposed companies, including tanker owners, based on current downside demand risks and negative macroeconomic sentiment. Oil prices have been on the decline over the past few weeks, falling further this week on weak manufacturing data out of China.”

(Bloomberg) — Iran seized a second oil tanker in less than a week, ratcheting up tensions for shipping in one of the world’s most vital trade corridors.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy intercepted the Panama-flagged oil tanker Niovi at around 6:20 a.m. local time Wednesday as it was transiting the Strait of Hormuz, according to a statement from the US Navy.

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