World Bulletin / News Desk
Tropical Storm Isaac, poised to hit Cuba on Saturday, will likely bring minimal relief from the worst U.S. drought in more than half a century, with rains expected in a limited area in the U.S. Southeast or possibly further west into Alabama and Mississippi, an agricultural meteorologist said on Friday.
"Computer maps have been all over the place but it looks like the storm will make landfall in Florida Sunday. That would bring the most rain, probably an inch to four inches or more in the southeast," said Andy Karst, meteorologist for World Weather Inc.
Karst said there are some weather guidance systems that peg the storm's path further west into the southern U.S. which could bring rain to the drought-stricken lower Midwest crop region.
"Confidence is low in that forecast; for now it looks like it will make landfall first in the Florida Panhandle," he said.
The southwest portion of the U.S. Midwest, including eastern Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and southern Iowa should receive from 0.50 inch to 1.00 inch or more of rain Saturday through Monday, with lighter showers in the balance of the Midwest, Karst said.
"It will provide minimal drought relief since it will turn warmer and drier again next week," he said.
Commodity Weather Group (CWG) on Friday said Isaac appeared most likely to track a bit further west, with landfall as a hurricane by Tuesday or Wednesday along the Gulf Coast, possibly Alabama or Mississippi.
Confidence was still low on the exact track of the storm, but the heaviest rains appear more likely to focus on Alabama, Mississippi and the Tennessee Valley rather than the Southeast based on Friday's forecast, CWG said.
Only minor delays in early corn harvest are expected, according to CWG.
Torrential rainfall and wind, while adding valuable soil moisture for fall wheat seeding, could harm some of the early- maturing corn and soybean crops that have already been weakened by the worst drought over the summer in half a century.
The annual Pro Farmer tour of Midwest crops found signs of severe crop losses in the top two corn- and soybean-producing states of Iowa and Illinois on Wednesday. Specialists on the tour pegged corn yields at the lowest in Illinois since 1995.
A Reuters poll of 11 analysts on Wednesday estimated the 2012 U.S. corn yield per acre at 121.5 bushels, the lowest in 16 years, and production at 10.5 billion bushels, an eight-year low.
In its first survey asking for estimates of the amount of corn to be harvested compared with plantings, the poll showed the percentage of harvested corn area at the lowest in nine years.
Analysts' expectations for corn production this season fell 3 percent below the U.S. government's forecast earlier in August and 6 percent below a similar poll of analysts' taken by Reuters at the end of July.
Soybean yield was pegged at 36.6 bushels per acre, an 8-year low, and production at 2.713 billion bushels, a 4-year low. Harvested soybean acreage was pegged at a near normal 97.5 percent of plantings.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday said 4 percent of the U.S. corn crop had already been harvested, the fastest start ever. The crop was planted early, then pushed to maturity by relentless heat and drought over the summer.
Oil prices rose above $60 due to Iran's call for oil production cut
Economic growth in the Euro-Zone is not at desired levels.
Director and Global Head of Islamic Finance at Standard & Poor's says that growing market for sukuk and new players mark 'significant interest' in Islamic finance.
The Ministry of Finance said that Denmark has written to China to "announce its intention to apply to be a founding member" of the AIIB.
Experts state that the crisis poses risks to the region, which is significant for oil production and exports in the world.
Federal Reserve removes word 'patient;' interest rate increase expected within months. Yellen says timing of rate rise 'not decided,' but will come anytime after April; holds current rates at 0 to 0.25 pct.
Many emerging-market currencies have fallen against the dollar in recent weeks
Anticipated Federal Reserve interest rate hikes making dollar strong against most emerging market currencies, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan says.
European Statistical Agency says slight decline fuelled by drop in production of durable consumer goods.
EU will use all its foreign policy instruments to establish strategic energy partnerships with producing and transit countries.
Dollar strength and waning investor confidence are driving the lira lower
Greece has already received two bailouts totalling 240 billion euros but fellow euro zone member Ireland said last week that it would have to negotiate a third programme.
The Ukraine crisis has tested the loyalties of Bulgaria, a Balkan country with historical ties to Moscow and heavily dependent on Russian energy supplies.
Syria expels three United Nations aid workers hindering aid development in the country
Russia has overcome a "psychological barrier" and is ready to deepen its economic ties with China, Deputy Prime MinisterArkady Dvorkovich said
With Chancellor Angela Merkel's right-left coalition plus the opposition Greens, it was the biggest majority for any euro zone rescue package so far in the 631-seat chamber.