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Sugar prices to remain high on fall in production

The Government of Pakistan may not succeed in bringing sugar prices down in the near future at least, as a leading sweetener producer said prices would remain high due to a notable drop in fresh production and a substantial increase in cost of production during the current season.

“… sugar prices in the market will naturally remain on the higher side,” JDW Sugar Mills, owned by PTI stalwart Jahangir Khan Tareen, said in a report to the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Feb 2.

“(The) government as usual wants the sugar industry to sell sugar at prices far below the actual production cost.”

Earlier, the commodity prices had fallen to an average of Rs80 per kg in the retail market nationwide in the second week of December following the start of sugarcane crushing season on time for the November-March season.

Prices have, however, once again shot up to Rs100 per kg in some parts of the country like Islamabad and Rawalpindi in the ongoing week, according to the PBS.

A few months ago, the commodity prices had shot to over Rs110 per kg in the retail market compared to around Rs80 per kg during March-May 2020. The government had said that the surge in prices had been due to market manipulation by the sugar mafia.

Big freeze in Texas felt in global oil market is becoming a global oil market crisis

What began as a power issue for a handful of U.S. states is rippling into a shock for the world’s oil market.

More than 4 million barrels a day of output – almost 40 percent of the nation’s crude production – is now offline, according to traders and executives. One of the world’s biggest oil refining centers has seen output drastically cut back. The waterways that help U.S. oil flow to the rest of the world have been disrupted for much of the week.

“The market is underestimating the amount of oil production lost in Texas due to the bad weather,” said Ben Luckock, co-head of oil trading at commodity giant Trafigura Group.

Brent crude surged to within 25 cents of $65 a barrel on Wednesday, a level not seen since last January. Ten months ago it slumped below $16 because of a demand shock caused by Covid-19.

In the past the weather-related disruption would largely have been a U.S. issue. Now it’s unmistakably global. Crude markets in Europe are rallying as traders replace lost U.S. exports. OPEC and its allies must decide how much longer they keep millions of barrels of their supply off the market.

Russia, Asia to shape European coal prices – analyst

Europe’s coal prices were likely to turn increasingly volatile in the coming years as Russia and Asia become central to determining their range, Alpiq analyst Diana Bacila told an online conference on Wednesday.

Russian coal would claim a growing share of European imports, as countries across the continent phase out the fuel this decade, the Swiss utility’s senior coal analyst told the Prospero electricity price forecasting conference.

“Even though we are going to retire coal power plants, that doesn’t necessarily mean…prices should be low as well. It could actually translate into the fact that we see more volatility,” Bacila said.

She expected Europe to close around two thirds of its coal plants by 2030 as it trims installed capacity to about 25 GW. As the most competitive supplier of the fuel into the European market, Russia’s share of imports was likely to rise, she added.

Making India a major milk exporting nation

India’s journey from a milk deficit country to one of surplus has been momentous. Initiated in 1970, Operation Flood was arguably the world’s most ambitious dairy development programme that transformed India into one of the largest milk producers. India’s milk production rate in the past few decades has, in many ways, been symbolic of the upward trajectory of the country’s economy and influence. The per capita availability of milk in 2018-19 was 394 grams per day as against the world average of 302 grams. Between 2016 and 2019, the annual milk production in the country registered a compound annual growth rate of 6.4 percent. Today with an annual production of 187.75 million tonnes (as per 2018-19 data) India accounts for about 22 percent of the world’s milk production. However, India is yet to join the ranks of major milk exporting nations, as much of what we produce is directed towards meeting domestic demands. So, to unpack the issues facing our dairy sector, it is pertinent to dive deep and list out the factors that have been hampering the productivity levels of our cows.

Solar, storage to take over from Australian uranium mine

Distributed energy producer EDL will build, own and operate a hybrid microgrid in the remote mining town of Jabiru, in Australia’s Northern Territory. Working with the Northern Territory government, EDL’s Jabiru Hybrid Renewable Project will help the community transition from its recent history as a uranium mining town to a new future as a tourist destination in the heart of the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park.

Jabiru is held in native title by the Mirarr people. The town, as it is recognized, has only existed since 1982, when it was established as a living community for the nearby Ranger Uranium Mine.

The project, which integrates 3.9 MW of solar generation and a 3 MW/5 MWh battery with 4.5 MW of diesel generation, is in line with broader efforts to rejuvenate Kakadu. It will also be EDL’s 100th site since it began 30 years ago with the development of the Pine Creek Power Station on the other side of the national park.

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