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Commodities Briefing - Category | Agriculture more

Wheat Prices Fall To Lowest In A Decade

Posted on 29 August 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Fed chair, Janet Yellen’s speech on Friday night failed to rattle commodity markets - even as it helped to push the value of the US dollar higher. In fact she was aided by a speech from Fed deputy chair, Stanley Fischer, who is anything was a bit more certain that the case was there for an increase in US rates - but there were not hints on when that case might become clearer.
As a result commodities were mostly steady to a touch weaker (but not zinc which jumped sharply in London), or wheat which fell to decade lows in Chicago. US oil futures managed to hold on to a modest gain on Friday night, our time, but finished well off the session’s highs as the greenback moved sharply higher………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Here’s why olive oil prices are likely to remain stubbornly high

Posted on 26 August 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Olive oil prices may have softened this year after a stellar 2015, but one analyst isn’t expecting a sudden plunge with a series of factors helping to prop up the market. Loraine Hudson, a market analyst at research firm Mintec, told CNBC Thursday that “tight stocks in the EU” will keep a floor under the commodity that’s widely used in cooking.
Olive oil is one of the most volatile soft commodities, with prices being driven by supply. Last year, prices skyrocketed due to issues in Spain and Italy, the EU’s two largest producers of the commodity………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Investing In Agriculture: Hard Profits From Soft Commodities

Posted on 25 August 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Agricultural commodities have more diverse price behavior than metals or energy. One sub-sector is a must avoid because trading has broken down. One agricultural commodity has outperformed gold so far in 2016. Of the three major areas of commodities, two of them - energy and metals - get disproportionate attention from the financial media.
While the third major component - agriculture - isn’t usually deemed as being as exciting, it has also had highly profitable trades in 2016. There have, however, been more underperforming farmland commodities, so an investor needs to pick and choose………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Commodities: The milk industry cowed

Posted on 12 August 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Dairy farmers adapt to tough times as demand for milk in China slows, hitting New Zealand and the EU. It is calving season in Waikato, New Zealand’s biggest dairy region, and Nicola Kloeten, a farmer, is delivering a new generation of cattle which she hopes will satisfy Asia’s growing appetite for milk, butter and cheeses.
Since signing a free trade deal with China in 2008, New Zealand has enjoyed an export-led dairy boom that has earned it the nickname of “the Saudi Arabia of milk” and driven a rapid expansion of its farm industry. The South Pacific nation is the world’s biggest exporter of milk-based products, which account for a quarter of everything it sells overseas………………………………………..Full Article: Source

International food commodity prices fall

Posted on 05 August 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The international prices for major food commodities saw a modest decline in July, following five consecutive months of increases. The United Nation’s FAO Food Price Index (FPI) averaged 161.9 points in July 2016, slipping 0.8 percent (1.3 points) below its level in June and 1.4 percent below its level of July 2015.
The overall decline of the Index was largely caused by drops in international quotations of grains and vegetable oils, more than offsetting firmer dairy, meat and sugar prices. The FAO Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index tracking international market prices for five major food commodity groups………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Hedge funds sell ags again - but wheat shorts ‘in trouble’

Posted on 26 July 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Hedge funds extended their cut in bullish positioning on agricultural commodities to the longest of 2016, although ideas grew on wheat at least that the extent of short bets may not be sustainable, boding well for prices.
Managed money, a proxy for speculators, cut its net long position in futures and options in the top 13 US-traded agricultural commodities, from cotton to cattle, by 56,935 contracts in the week to last Tuesday, analysis of data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulator shows………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Agriculture could be included in Emissions Trading Scheme

Posted on 21 July 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The Treasury has raised the possibility of agriculture being included in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) after years of being exempt from charges. The move is suggested in a March Treasury briefing to Finance Minister Bill English and his two associates Steven Joyce and Paula Bennett.
The briefing outlines the financial risk the government faces from scrapping the one-for-two scheme - a 50 percent subsidy for polluters which meant they paid half the value of their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Fund Review: Agriculture

Posted on 19 July 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Commodity markets have seen something of a rebound in recent months and agriculture is no exception. The soft commodity space is varied, ranging from cocoa to coffee to sugar, and while the focus has been on oil, gold and industrial metals and the effect on these of issues such as China’s slowing growth, agricultural commodities appear to have been somewhat under the radar.
In the past 12 months the broad S&P GSCI Commodity index has struggled, falling 6.4 per cent in the year to July 6 2016, yet on a sub-sector basis there are soft commodities that have delivered strong returns………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Hedge funds’ sell-off in grains raises hopes for corn, wheat rallies

Posted on 19 July 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The extent of hedge funds’ selldown in grains, while continuing to raise bullish bets on soft commodities, raised ideas that the worst could be over for liquidation in corn and wheat– if not for soybean derivatives.
Managed money, a proxy for speculators, slashed its net long position in futures and options in the top 13 US-traded agricultural commodities, from corn to cocoa, by 114,000 contracts in the week to last Tuesday, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulator………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Guess what’s on pace to book the biggest gain among commodities this week

Posted on 15 July 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Cotton futures boast the largest gain among major commodities this week, after rallying Thursday to their highest level in more than two years thanks to a slowdown in global production and signs of stronger demand. Analysts said that the commodity is likely due for a correction after such a spectacular rise, but its lofty prices may be here to stay.
On Thursday, cotton for December delivery rose 1.2% to trade at 74.04 cents a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange. Prices were poised to log their highest settlement since June 2014, and readied for a weekly gain of 12.5%, according to FactSet data………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Hedge funds accelerate ag selldown - boding well for wheat prices?

Posted on 12 July 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Hedge funds accelerated their rate of selling in grains, fuelled by a hike in bearish bets on Chicago wheat to near-record levels – provoking ideas that a rout which has taken prices to 10-year lows may be spent.
Managed money, a proxy for speculators, cut its net long position in futures and options in the top 13 US-traded agricultural commodities, from cotton to cattle, by more than 130,000 contracts in the week to last Tuesday, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulator………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Agricultural Commodities Awaken

Posted on 11 July 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Agriculture has been a sector long ignored by investors. So much so, in fact, that the last time the largest ETF in the sector saw investor inflows, was way back in 2009.
But now, in 2016, that same ETF has seen about $162 million in investor inflows, and counts the Harvard endowment fund among its investors. With nearly $900 million, it’s time to pay attention to the future of PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund (DBA)………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Era of high agricultural prices ‘most likely over’ says OECD

Posted on 06 July 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The recent period of high agricultural commodity prices is most likely over, say the OECD and FAO in their latest 10-year Outlook. But the two organisations warn of the need to be vigilant as the probability of a major price swing remains high.
The OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2016-2025, published today, projects inflation-adjusted agricultural commodity prices will remain relatively flat overall in the coming decade. However, livestock prices are expected to rise, relative to those for crops………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Global Food Prices Set to Stagnate as Population Growth Slowing

Posted on 06 July 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Food prices will stagnate over the next decade as the population growth rate declines and income expansion in emerging economies slows. Food costs will stabilize at a level slightly higher than in the years before the 2007-08 price spike, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization said in a joint report.
Population growth, the main driver of food prices, will slow to 1 percent annually through 2025, the organizations said. Global food costs more than doubled since 2000 as population expanded and rising incomes meant more demand for meat, which usually costs more than grains and oilseeds, FAO data showed………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Understanding the Difference Between Hard and Soft Commodities

Posted on 30 June 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

There are two main types of commodities: hard and soft. Hard commodities consist of natural resources, such as oil or gold. While soft commodities are agricultural goods or livestock that must be grown and cared for in order to be produced. Both markets trade on supply and demand, and are heavily influenced by macroeconomic events.
Hard commodities are usually the ones that make headlines, or are referred to as a basis for economic health. Because the production and supply of these assets can be predicted fairly accurately, they are used to gauge global-economic health. Copper and oil, in particular, are often looked at to determine where the economy is headed by observing total-worldwide demand for these products……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Hedge funds cooler on grains - but in softs, bullish bets at 8-year top

Posted on 28 June 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Hedge funds’ love affair with grains has began to cool, even as they raised bullish soft commodity betting to a six-year high, leaving them vulnerable to the market turbulence which has followed the UK vote to quit the EU.
Managed money, a proxy for speculators, cut its net long position in futures and options in the top 13 US-traded agricultural commodities, from corn to hogs, by more than 60,000 contracts in the week to last Tuesday, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulator………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Milder La Niña forecast for commodity markets

Posted on 22 June 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The La Niña weather phenomenon forecast to develop later this year will not be as strong as that of 2010-12 when severe droughts in key growing areas around the world devastated crops. “Climate models suggest it is unlikely to reach levels seen in the most recent event of 2010-12, which was one of the strongest La Niña events on record,” said the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in its latest analysis on Tuesday.
La Niña, which is the opposite of El Niño, is caused by the cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean. The weather event normally brings dryness in the US midwest and rainfall in Southeast Asia and Australia………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Soft Commodities: The Quiet Bull Market

Posted on 21 June 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Sugar is sweet. Coffee is percolating. Orange juice explodes. Cocoa is a long-term bull. Cotton is cheap. Gold and oil get lots of headlines. Recently, we have heard a lot about rallies in soybeans and corn and other commodities. However, rarely do the soft, or luxury goods, get much press, but they have been active over recent months.
In fact, way back in August of 2015, one sweet staple was the first commodity to move higher from multi-year lows. Few took note of the rally, but that agricultural product has almost doubled since then, and it is a staple that most of us consume each day………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Hedge funds lift bullish ag bets to 2-year top - raising scope for selling

Posted on 21 June 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Hedge funds hiked their net long in agricultural commodities to the highest in more than two years, led by the most bullish positioning in softs since 2008 – but providing ammunition for the selling which set in on Monday.
Managed money, a proxy for speculators, raised by more than 107,000 contracts its net long position in futures and options in the main 13 US-traded agricultural commodities in the week to last Tuesday, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulator………………………………………..Full Article: Source

AfDB to invest $24b in agriculture

Posted on 20 June 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

African Development Bank(AfDB) President, DrAkinwumiAdesina said the bank plans to invest about $24 billion (or $2.4 billion yearly) over the next 10 years to help drive the agricultural transformation inAfrica.
This is, he said, represents a 400 per cent increase in financing to the agricultural sector by the bank. He spoke at the Seventh African Agricultural Science Week and FARA General Assembly, in Kigali, Rwanda. He lamented that Africa spends $35 billion on importing food. This, according to him, is projected to grow to $110 billion by 2025………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Hedge funds hike bullish ag bets to 2-year high, amid ‘inflow of money’

Posted on 14 June 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Hedge funds hiked their bullish bets on ags to the highest in two years amid the investor influx which drove prices to the highest in 17 months – although the upbeat positioning may spell bad news for wheat futures.
Managed money, a proxy for speculators, raised by nearly 170,000 contracts its net long position in futures and options in the main 13 US-traded agricultural commodities in the week to last Tuesday, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulator………………………………………..Full Article: Source

FAO sees stable commodity prices amid abundant production

Posted on 13 June 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The global food commodity markets are on a stable path for the year ahead, with solid production prospects and abundant stocks pointing to a broadly stable outcome for prices and supplies, the Food and Agriculture Organisation says.
In its biannual Food Outlook, FAO says lower food prices than last year means that the world’s food import bill are on course to fall to $986 billion this year — below $1 trillion for the first time since 2009 — even as traded volumes increase………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Agri-Commodities Winning in 2016

Posted on 10 June 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The inevitable just seems to keep coming around. That over time food would become scarcer in our world has been well known for decades. Simply put, global demand for food continues to expand. Inevitable scarcity of food for the world is occasionally hidden by short-term bursts of exceptionally good harvests. But, exceptionally good is not a normal state for world’s Agri-Food production.
For much of the past year farmers have suffering financially from inadequate prices for their production. In 2016, that situation is apparently changing. Simply put, a stash of soybeans or sugar in the bowl on your table have outperformed equity markets. As can be observed in the lower part of chart, the average(mean) gain thus far is almost ten percent………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Climate-smart agriculture: More than just greenwashing?

Posted on 09 June 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Ahead of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture’s second forum, numerous associations have criticised the group, citing the prevalence of greenwashing and lack of actual positive impact on climate change.
Agriculture can arguably claim to be the sector most affected by climate change, given the threat posed to water supply, land use and food security. Famine is increasingly becoming more of a concern in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia as a result. Deforestation, loss of biodiversity, more usage of toxic chemicals, soil erosion and decreasing levels of groundwater are all exacerbating the situation………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Speculators’ bullish ag bets hit 2-year high - as algo funds move in

Posted on 07 June 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Speculators lifted bullish positioning on agricultural commodities to the highest in nearly two years, as algorithmic funds flooded in, into sugar at least, – while coffee and wheat caught out investors making bearish bets.
Managed money, a proxy for speculators, raised by more than 64,000 contracts its net long position in futures and options in the main 13 US-traded agricultural commodities in the week to last Tuesday, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulator………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Global food prices rose in May; commodity markets look stable for year ahead – UN

Posted on 03 June 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Global food prices rose 2.1 per cent in May, the fourth straight monthly increase, but stayed about seven per cent below 2015 levels, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said today, also noting that food commodity markets are on a stable path for the year ahead, with solid production prospects and abundant stocks pointing to broadly stable prices and supplies.
The FAO Food Price Index rose to 155.8 points in May, with prices rising across the index – a trade-weighted index tracking international market prices for the cereals, vegetable oils, dairy, meat and sugar commodity groups – except for vegetable oil prices, which subsided after a strong hike in April………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Does organic agriculture boost local economies?

Posted on 30 May 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

For the first time, there is now evidence linking organic agriculture and economic health. The organic industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the United States food industry. Organic food sales grew 11 percent to almost US$40 billion in 2015, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), while the food market as a whole had a 3 percent growth rate.
This growth is partly because organic crops command a premium price over conventional crops—as demand for organic food rises, so does the interest in organic production from farmers and producers………………………………………..Full Article: Source

The Commodities Market Has A Sweet Tooth

Posted on 27 May 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Despite appearances that the entire commodities sector is continuing on a major downslide, one resource remains steadfast – sugar. Sugar has been one of the best-performing commodities so far this year – largely driven by a global supply shortage, after wallowing in a five-year surplus.
Supply woes are pushing futures prices higher, while demand continues to increase on a global basis. In fact, the International Sugar Organization – along with most analysts – forecast global deficits through 2017………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Agricultural emissions ‘reality check’

Posted on 19 May 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

A new report says that global agricultural emissions must be slashed to prevent the planet warming by more than 2C over the next century. The current focus is on reducing emissions from transport and energy. But an international team of scientists argues that if farm-related emissions aren’t tackled then the Paris climate targets will be breached.
An estimated one-third of our greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture. The report by researchers from the universities of Vermont and Sheffield and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change examines non-CO2 emissions, such as methane and nitrous oxide………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Ag prices soar: Commodities get mojo back

Posted on 13 May 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Investors have been harvesting big gains in the past month from agricultural commodities, and some of the futures, such as sugar and soybeans, were near levels this week not seen in 18 months or more.
Latin America weather woes and the Brazilian government turmoil are playing a major role in the month-long ag rally. Brazil’s real has strengthened against the dollar, encouraging producers of traditional export products, such as coffee and sugar, to sell supplies at home………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Agricultural Commodities Egged On by China’s Futures Frenzy

Posted on 03 May 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The recent fevered commodities trading in China hasn’t been limited to iron ore. Investors have piled into futures for everything from wheat and cotton to eggs and asphalt. As with industrial metals, analysts reckon much of the interest is coming from speculative investors who have been turned off to China’s stock markets by tighter rules over trading.
“Chinese speculators didn’t want to buy into the equity market with all the curbs, so they jumped into the commodity markets and it seems they’ve done so in massive style,” said Michael Coleman, managing director at RCMA Asset Management Pte………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Cotton Trades in China Hit Highest in Five Years, Enough to Make Jeans for Billions

Posted on 03 May 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The volume of cotton traded in a single day on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange last week reached the equivalent of 41 million bales, enough to produce about 9 million pairs of jeans or at least one for every person on the planet, according to a Bloomberg report.
The report said that prices rose almost 19 percent in four days before the trading spike on Friday, April 22, while it registered its lowest price in February. Commodity exchanges have boosted margins and fees or warned investors as trade volumes in Chinese commodity markets soared, which reminded traders of the equities rally last year……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Agricultural commodities rebound

Posted on 21 April 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Soybeans climbed higher than $US10 a bushel for the first time since July, and corn topped $US4 a bushel as unfavorable weather in South America and an improving demand outlook for US supplies bolstered agriculture markets.
Dryness in Brazil is causing conditions to deteriorate for the country’s second corn crop, and the country suspended import tariffs for the next six months, signalling the grower may need to ship grain in. Flooding in Argentina, the world’s third-largest soybean grower, is expected to cut output of that crop by about 5 per cent, according to Oil World………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Weather May Threaten Commodity Markets

Posted on 20 April 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

When it comes to predicting commodity market moves for 2016, farmers and ranchers should look at past economic and weather trends across the globe. Jim Bower of Bower Trading says producers need to look on a more international scale than a local level for prices and risk management this year.
Bower: “The change in commodities is that it has gone very much international in scope. There is an international awareness. You really can’t get your pricing or your trading right unless you have the international backdrop. Now you can overlay it with technical factors which you can do yourself or with an advisor to fine tune your program. Don’t look at just the local or regional — look at the international that is where you get your success.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Soft Commodities

Posted on 31 March 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Also called softs, the term generally refers to commodities that are grown, rather than mined (hard commodities). For instance, tropical commodities such as coffee, cocoa, sugar, orange juice, lumber. These are assets that have more than one utility - they’re not just instruments to be traded in the market.
The resources are items with characteristics that remain unchanged across the market and can, therefore, be traded on a commodity market in a similar manner as equities and currencies are transacted. While the value of hard commodities can be impacted by climatic occurrences, the soft commodities sustain the biggest fluctuations when agricultural variables shift………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Why you should take this commodities rally with a grain of salt

Posted on 30 March 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Signs are beginning to surface that the global commodities implosion has reached bottom. The questions for investors, though, are how long the relative good times will last, and just how good they will be.
On the surface, at least, the news has been positive. Last week, the Baltic Dry Index — which reflects the price of moving dry goods by sea, is often considered an indicator of global commodities demand and trade, and has nothing to do with drought in Estonia — finished above 400, which represents a 38 per cent increase in a little more than six weeks………………………………………..Full Article: Source

New poll shows commodity prices as greatest challenge for producers

Posted on 23 March 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Commodity prices are the greatest challenge facing agricultural producers in 2016, according to a poll of Farm Credit directors from America’s heartland. More than 64 percent of the directors — from the boards of 17 Farm Credit lenders in 15 states and of AgriBank, their St. Paul-based funding bank — said commodity prices are the greatest challenge facing ag producers this year.
The directors, most of whom are also farmers or ranchers, indicated the next biggest challenges are input costs (over 21 percent), and Mother Nature (nearly 8 percent). Farm Bill implications and land rents were each cited by approximately 3 percent of the respondents………………………………………..Full Article: Source

EU wants stricter position limits for food commodities

Posted on 21 March 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Tougher market share limits on food commodities traded in the European Union from January 2018 are needed, the bloc’s executive body said in a letter this week. Position limits come under the umbrella of a new EU law called Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II), with rules being fleshed out by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).
MiFID II is the biggest overhaul of EU securities rules in a decade, designed to apply lessons from the 2007-09 financial crisis when food prices hit record highs, with some policymakers blaming speculators and hedge funds………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Commodities Speculation Doesn’t Increase Food Prices

Posted on 11 March 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

A few years back it was all the rage to go around shouting that commodities speculation drove food prices higher. This betrayed a startling lack of understanding of how commodities markets actually work but it really was popular to say so. This led to proposals to limit the amount of speculation that could be done in things like wheat futures and so on.
Not a good idea and not likely to be a productive public policy simply because it wasn’t the speculation driving prices higher. We’ve now also got an interesting little data point with which to refute that original contention………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Agriculture ETFs Go Soft as Other Commodities Funds Climb

Posted on 10 March 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

It has been a banner year for precious metals exchange traded funds and, in recent weeks, oil funds have joined the commodities rally. However, agriculture exchange traded funds are proving to be laggards. For example, the PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund has traded modestly lower this year.
The PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund tries to reflect the performance of the Diversified Agriculture Index Excess Return, which is comprised of futures contracts on the most liquid and widely tracked agriculture commodities………………………………………..Full Article: Source

India: Agri commodities get a mixed deal in budget

Posted on 07 March 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Despite the considerable focus on the rural and agricultural sectors in the Budget, commodity market participants have been disappointed on a few fronts. One major expectation was the removal of commodity transaction tax (CTT) which was introduced in July 2013, which hasn’t come about.
Trading volumes on the bourses have dropped sharply in the last three years with the declines attributed to CTT, global commodity price declines and the NSEL crisis. Trading volume at the MCX has shrunk by a third in 2014-15 from its peak of ₹1.5 lakh crore in 2011-12. At the NCDEX, trading turnover has almost halved to ₹10 lakh crore in this period. One also hoped that the Finance Minister would finally let financial institutions, including asset management companies, participate in commodity futures………………………………………..Full Article: Source

China still a draw for global food commodities, says expert

Posted on 29 February 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

China will still be a major player in world food commodities in the coming years, despite its current economic issues and slowing growth. HSBC’s Mark Berrisford-Smith suggested while China’s growth was slowing, the impact of economic changes in the country should not be overestimated.
He said China’s purchases of farm goods could vary dramatically and the country’s wheat purchases were ’all over the place’. “Sometimes it is just because they buy other things,” he said. “They [currently] buy less [milk] powder and more liquid. They are still a major market for agricultural products and they will continue to be.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

USDA: 2016 to be another bad year for farm commodities

Posted on 26 February 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Commodity prices will not recover this year, the federal government said Thursday in a forecast that will be a blow to producers hoping for a rebound in the slumping farm economy.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said producers should expect slumping farm income, modest declines in land values and cash rents and a less-than-favorable trade environment. Even so, the USDA declared that the financial health of the agriculture sector is strong because producers took advantage of record harvests and high prices in past seasons to strengthen their bottom line………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Hedge funds ’surprise’ in raising net short in ags to record high

Posted on 23 February 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Hedge funds defied expectations of many investors and lifted their net short position in US-traded ags to the highest on record – although in a move which is leaving many late movers looking at losses.
Managed money, a proxy for speculators, raised by nearly 8,000 contracts its net long position in futures and options in the main 13 US-traded agricultural commodities in the week to last Tuesday, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulator………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Hedge funds hike bearish ag bets, amid ‘weak macros, rising stocks’

Posted on 16 February 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Hedge funds have undertaken a dramatic shift bearish in their positioning on agricultural commodities, building a record net short position in hard wheat, and selling down in cotton at a record rate.
Managed money, a proxy for speculators, hiked its net position in futures and options in the top 13 US-traded agricultural commodities by 176,017 contracts in the week to last Tuesday, analysis of data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission shows. The dramatic turn bearish in positioning drove the overall net short to 187,671 contracts – the second highest on records going back to 2006………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Soft commodities avoid the hard downturn during market turmoil

Posted on 15 February 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Soft commodities like wheat have avoided the worst of the downturn affecting oil, iron ore and other hard commodities, but in general the sector is still trading at the bottom of its range, say analysts.
“In general terms the agrisector in Australia is certainly faring a lot better than what the hard commodity sector is,” said ANZ’s senior agricultural economist Paul Deane. “You wouldn’t say that soft commodities have risen as much as what hard commodities have, and nor have they fallen as much. And with the weaker Australian dollar that’s taken a lot of the sting out of falling global prices over the last three or four years.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

U.S. Farm Income Will Drop for Third Year in Commodity Slump

Posted on 10 February 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast that farmers will face a drop in profit for the third straight year as persistent surpluses depress crop and livestock prices. Farm net income will be $54.8 billion in 2016, the USDA said Tuesday in a report on its website, 2.8 percent less than the $56.4 billion estimated for 2015.
The hard times follow an era of record profit that peaked at $123.3 billion in 2013, when rising global demand combined with a domestic drought that crimped supplies of corn and cattle, while a virus devastated hog herds. Direct government farm-program payments are forecast to rise 31 percent to $13.9 billion in 2016 with the 2014 Farm Bill’s price-loss and risk coverage accounting for almost two-thirds of the total………………………………………..Full Article: Source

A contrarian view on soft commodities

Posted on 05 February 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The agricultural sector has been in negative territory for five years, putting specific food and food input companies at attractive valuations, according to Baring. Oil aside, other commodities such as food inputs have also fallen out of favour. The cumulative one-, three- and five year returns for the agriculture sector have all been double-digit negative.
But James Govan, manager of the Baring Asset Management’s Global Agriculture Fund believes opportunities this year are emerging in the agricultural value chain, particularly in the health and wellness niche, driven by the demand for healthier food………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Egypt to launch agricultural commodities bourse by year-end

Posted on 02 February 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Egypt plans to launch an agricultural-focused commodities trading exchange, the first of its kind in the Middle East, by the end of 2016, Supplies Minister Khaled Hanafi said. Speaking at a press conference announcing the completion of a feasibility study on the new bourse, Hanafi said its launch would protect small farmers from volatile price swings and help to connect their output to supply chains.
“Egypt is the biggest importer of grains, and it will benefit from this, turning this from a point of weakness into a strength as Egypt becomes a point of exchange for the whole region,” said Hanafi………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Will El Nino’s sister hold sway in 2016?

Posted on 29 January 2016 by VRS  |  Email |Print

The El Nino weather phenomenon wreaked havoc worldwide last year. Its counterpart, La Nina, could cause more trouble in 2016.
The term El Nino, Spanish for “the boy,” was coined by Peruvian fishermen to refer to a warm ocean current that typically arrives around Christmas time. This warmth affects weather around the globe. Last year, it was blamed for droughts in Thailand and Indonesia, among other extreme conditions………………………………………..Full Article: Source

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