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Tanzanian tea import can save millions

As one of the biggest tea importers around the world, Pakistan can save millions of dollars if it starts importing the commodity from Tanzania, instead of routing it through Kenya, remarked Tanzanian Chamber of Commerce President Paul Koyi.

During meetings with businessmen associated with the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Thursday, Koyi pointed out that in volumetric terms, tea was one of the main import goods of Pakistan.

Though there is a general belief that tea comes mainly from Kenya, one-third of tea is produced in Tanzania, he said. “There are massive opportunities for investment in Tanzania, especially in agro-production and processing, pharmaceuticals, industrial production and manufacturing.”

He announced that Pakistani investors would be more than welcome in Tanzania as the African nation needed investment in the industrial sector. According to him, Pakistani people have huge talent in this area. Koyi underlined that Tanzania was a peaceful country and its economy depended on agriculture, mining and tourism. Mining contributes around 70% to Tanzania’s gross domestic product (GDP). Giving more details, he said Tanzania was a large producer of agricultural products such as avocado and dry fruits. He highlighted that the country lacked processing units for agricultural produce, which was why Kenya was able to export tea and other products to countries around the world. “If we attract investment to the agro-processing industry, we will be able to export these products directly,” he remarked. Speaking to the envoy, FPCCI Vice President Sheikh Sultan Rehman cherished that the volume of trade in goods and services between Pakistan and Tanzania rose from $107.4 million in fiscal year 2018-19 to $154.8 million in 2019-20. Of the total, Pakistan’s exports of goods and services in FY20 amounted to $69.8 million while imports from Tanzania came in at $85 million.

Thailand projected to reduce rice exports

Rice exports in Thailand are forecast to decline by 23 percent in the 2020-21 marketing year due to tight supplies of white paddy rice, according to a Nov. 10 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Thailand, a perennial global leader in rice exports, is projected to export 5.9 million tonnes this year, down from 7.5 million tonnes in 2019-20.

The USDA forecasts a 5 percent increase in rice production from the previous year to 18.6 million tonnes due to favorable weather conditions in main-crop rice production non-irrigated areas, which accounts for about 75 percent of the country’s rice acreage.

The increase in production has put downward pressure on main-crop rice prices. In October, prices of fragrant paddy rice fell to $383 per tonne, down 27 percent from the same period last year.

IGC cuts forecast for 2020/21 global corn crop

The International Grains Council (IGC) on Thursday cut its forecast for global corn (maize) production in the 2020/21 season, while doubling its projection for China’s corn imports.

In its monthly update, the inter-governmental body reduced its global corn crop forecast by 10 million tonnes to 1.146 billion tonnes mainly due to diminished outlooks for crops in the United States, Ukraine and European Union.

The corn crop in the United States, by far the world’s top producer, was pegged at 368.5 million tonnes, down from a previous forecast of 373.9 million and bringing it into line with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s current forecast.

The EU’s corn crop forecast was cut to 60.1 million tonnes from 62.6 million, driven by a sharp downward revision for Romania’s crop to 7.1 million tonnes from 10.4 million seen previously.

Drought has dented the outlook for corn production in both Romania and Ukraine this year.

Ukraine’s crop was pegged at 30 million tonnes, down from a previous forecast of 33 million.

The IGC also raised its forecast for China’s corn imports in the 2020/21 season to 16 million tonnes from a previous projection of 8 million tonnes.

China has been aggressively buying corn partly due to rising feed grain demand as the country’s swine industry recovers from a deadly pig disease.

The IGC raised its forecast for 2020/21 world wheat production by a modest 1 million tonnes to 765 million tonnes.

China’s wheat import forecast was raised slightly to 7.8 million tonnes from a previous projection of 7.3 million.

Global food prices continue rising in October

Global food prices continued rising for the fifth consecutive month in October, led by cereals, sugar, dairy and vegetable oils, according to a new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks international prices of the most traded food commodities, averaged 100.9 points in October 2020, up 3.1 percent from September and 6.0 percent above its value in October 2019.

The FAO Cereal Price Index climbed 7.2 percent from the previous month and 16.5 percent above its value in October 2019. The surge was mainly driven by wheat prices amid shrinking export availabilities, poor growing conditions in Argentina and continued dry weather affecting winter wheat sowings in Europe, North America and the Black Sea region. Maize, feed barley and sorghum prices also remained under upward pressure in October, while those of rice subsided.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index gained 1.8 percent during the month, posting a nine-month high, led by firmer palm and soy oil prices. By contrast, rapeseed oil prices declined moderately amid increased uncertainty regarding demand in the European Union (EU) following the recent deterioration of the COVID-19 situation across the region.

The FAO Dairy Price Index rose 2.2 percent from September, with cheese rising the most, followed by skim milk powder, whole milk powder and butter. Price increases in October reflected market tightening for near-term deliveries, underpinned by robust import demand from Asian and Middle Eastern markets.

The FAO Sugar Price Index increased 7.6 percent from September ­- a move largely influenced by the prospects of a lower sugar output in both Brazil and India – the two largest sugar producing countries in the world.

The FAO Meat Price Index, by contrast, declined 0.5 percent from September, marking the ninth monthly decline since January, driven by drop in pig meat prices reflecting in part continued influence of the import restrictions imposed by China on Germany. Bovine and poultry meat prices also fell, while prices of ovine meat rose on steady internal demand and low export supplies.

Iron ore set to average $100 a tonne for the first time since 2013

Iron ore, the steel making ingredient that is the biggest generator of profits for leading miners, is on course to average $100 a tonne over the year for the first time since 2013.

The resilience of the material has helped the mining industry sidestep the worst damage from the coronavirus pandemic, which has hammered other sectors such as oil and gas by cutting away demand for energy.

Iron ore is the best-performing major commodity of 2020, up almost up 38 per cent, according to data from S&P Global Platts. In contrast, gold, which benefited from investors looking for safe places to park cash during the crisis, is about 24 per cent higher, after losing some ground in recent months.

The run-up in prices has generated huge profits for Anglo, BHP and Vale as well as other big producers including Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group, which can dig the material out of the ground for less than $15 a tonne.

Qatar- OAPEC supports oil-indexed contracts for natural gas

Representing one of the most important regions of global economic stability, the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) said yesterday that its members support the long-term oil-indexed contracts for natural gas as they provide guaranteed stability to the market as well as minimise risks on capital-intensive projects.

Speaking at the 48th edition of the GECF Gas Monthly Lecture Series, organised by the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), and entitled ‘The Natural Gas Industry in Arab Countries: Reality and Prospects’, the officials of the Kuwait-headquartered agency said: ‘In our opinion, long-term contracts bring stability and a win-win situation between the suppliers and the consumers.

OAPEC’s Secretary-General, Ali Sabt Ben Sabt; Director of Technical Affairs Department, Dr Samir Mahmoud Elkareish; and Gas Expert Eng Wael Hamed Abdel Moati, noted that between 1990 and 2019 the Arab region witnessed the highest total growth rate of proven gas reserves in the world, from 25 trillion cubic metres (tcm) to almost double at 55 tcm, and yet the production did not match the pace of findings.

‘We are (the Arab region) producing 60 percent of the global gas production while holding 27 percent of the proven gas reserves. In comparison, North American holds 8 percent of the reserves while producing 28 percent of the global gas production. The proportionality of gas reserves growth to gas production growth in the Arab world is lower compared to other regions in the period 1990-2019 and there is still a room for investments in the gas resources to boost production levels, the officials said.

‘Arab region was among the largest contributors to the global gas production increase the past decades and play a key global role to provide efficient, cleaner, and sustainable energy source to customers. The key message we have is that gas has the potential to play a greater role in attaining a sustainable energy future, they added.

UAE builds tension within OPEC over oil production caps

The United Arab Emirates ratcheted up tension with oil allies in OPEC+, with officials privately questioning the benefits of being in the producers’ alliance and even considering whether to leave it.

The UAE has not said publicly it’s debating its membership, let alone planning to exit. And officials briefed the media under condition they would not be named, allowing room for maneuver if they later want to distance themselves from the comments.

The move is unusual because the UAE — the biggest producer in OPEC after Saudi Arabia and Iraq — has long avoided public clashes, preferring to solve disputes quietly behind closed doors. It’s unclear whether the warning is designed to force a negotiation over output levels with OPEC+’s leaders Saudi Arabia and Russia, or if it represents a genuine policy debate. Any decision to leave OPEC would need the approval of Mohammed bin Zayed, the UAE’s de factor ruler and Abu Dhabi’s crown prince.

Tension between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi has grown since late summer, when the UAE breached its OPEC+ quota and got a stern warning from its neighbor. Emirati policy makers seem increasingly frustrated by what they see as an unfair allocation of production caps and as the UAE economy reels from shriveling oil revenue and the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes at a delicate moment for OPEC+, which propped up oil prices with historic agreement to cut supply and offset the impact of the pandemic on demand. Any signs of cracks in the alliance — let alone dissent from a producer as big as the UAE — would undermine an already fragile market.

Brent crude fell 0.1 percent to $44.28 a barrel as of 8:35 a.m. in London. The benchmark has more than doubled since OPEC+ struck its deal in April, but is still down 33 percent this year.

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