PPI for March 2011

The Producer Price Index for finished goods increased 0.7% in March 2011. The PPI measures prices obtained for U.S. goods. Intermediate goods prices increased 1.5% and crude or raw materials prices dropped -0.5% after rising 3.4% in February. PPI is often called wholesale inflation by the press.

China Becomes #1 Energy Consumer

China just became the largest energy consumer, another sign China is well on their way to surpassing the United States. The Wall Street Journal:

China is now the world's biggest energy consumer, knocking the U.S. off a perch it held for more than a century, according to new data from the International Energy Agency.

The Paris-based agency, whose forecasts are generally regarded as bellwether indicators for the energy industry, said China devoured 2,252 million tons of oil equivalent last year, or about 4% more than the U.S., which burned through 2,170 million tons of oil equivalent. The oil-equivalent metric represents all forms of energy consumed, including crude oil, nuclear, coal, natural gas and renewable sources such as hydropower.

One might think that's great the U.S. is using less energy than China, but it's not. Industrial enterprise and manufacturing are the biggest consumers of energy and this reflects, once again, on how China has captured U.S. manufacturing ...and jobs.

CFTC to curb oil speculators

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is proposing a new rule to limit energy speculation.

(everyone applaud)

The proposed caps announced on Thursday will have limited market impact affecting only a small handful of traders – about 10, by the CFTC’s own estimates – on crude oil, natural gas, gasoline and heating oil markets. The new limits are largely higher than the so-called “accountability levels” set by exchanges and which, if exceeded, trigger heightened surveillance.

Here is the actual proposed position limits rule where comments can be received up to 90 days.

This is the basics of the proposed rule: