World News

World grains output

The international Grains Council on Thursday slashed its estimate for ‘02-03 world coarse grain output to 876m tonnes in the wake of drought and flooding that is wreaking havoc on crops across the globe. Last month the IGC had estimated world coarse grain output at 906m tonnes. The new estimate was down 17m tonnes on the year. It also cut ’02 world wheat output to 568m tonnes, down 13m tonnes from a year agro and down from last month's estimate of 575m.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, August, 30)

Lower global oilseed production likely to hit consumers this year

Global ‘02-03 production of seven main oilseeds of 312.6 million tonnes will be below consumption of 319.6 million tonnes, Hamburg based newsletter Oil World estimates. This compares to global output of 314.5 million tonnes above consumption of 314.1 million tonnes in ‘01-02. Oilseed production is declining in the US, Canada, India, china, Australia, the Philippines, Germany Poland and other countries. Any weather problems and crop damage in that part of the world could crease an extreme tightness, panic and soaring prices.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, August, 26)

Soya demand up

China is hungry for soya again, with strong domestic prices for edible oils and soyameal giving crushers fat profit margins despite high international prices for the oilseed, traders said.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, August, 22)

Russia's ’03 sugar import quota

Russia will hold an auction on September 25 to award the right to import 3.95m tonnes of raw cane sugar in ’03 at a discount tariff, a spokeswoman for the economic development and trade ministry said on Monday. The auction would be held at the Moscow-based Metals Exchange.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, August, 20)

Low rice stocks hit Pak exports

Pakistani rice prices were steady in the past week on firm local demand but traders said dwindling stocks had halted exports. They said local dealers were buying whatever rice they could to cover positions, as the new crop would not be available until September-October. Domestic prices were likely to stay high due to depleted stocks. The main buyers of Pakistani rice are Iraq, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and several East African countries.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, August, 20)

Australia v/s EU

Australia would join forces with Brazil in taking World Trade Organization action against the European Union sugar regime, trade minister Mark Vaile said. “The global market for sugar has been difficult for Australian producers and the EU sugar subsidies exacerbate the difficulties in third country markets”, Vaile said in a statement. “In taking this WTO dispute action we are laying down a market on the impact of these subsidies on Australian producers,” he said.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, August, 17)

Nepal sugar imports

Nepal will allow private firms to import sugar on lower duties to meet growing demand during the upcoming festival season, a senior government official said. Nepal’s annual demand for sugar is about 160,000 tonnes against the domestic production of barely 100,000 tonnes in ’01. The tariff on sugar imports is 40% but previously, to keep prices low, the government allowed some state-owned firms to import sugar with only a 10% customs duty.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, August, 17)

Bangladesh to export tea to Pakistan

Bangladesh's tea export is expected to get a boost with Pakistan deciding to allow duty-free import of 20,000 tonnes. “Pakistan's offer will have a positive impact on tea export” Bangladesh Tea Board chairman said. “Bangladesh's domestic consumption is growing at 3.5% per year, against an annual growth in production of one percent. If this rend continues, Bangladesh will have to stop tea export”.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, August, 12)

South Korean government keen to nurture biotechnology industry

South Korea is working to foster the local biotechnology industry in a bid to tap one of the fastest growing markets in the near future, according to the Korean Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy.

With the aim of joining the world's top seven biotechnology powers by 2010, the ministry plans to raise the local biotechnology industry's share in the world market to 10% from the current 1.4%. To this end, the ministry plans to set up a regular biotechnology strategic conference to be presided over by the president and involving state and private agencies. It also will organize a “bio-industry roundtable” along with the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI).

(Courtesy- Biotechnology Global Update, Source-

China's rubber import holders in a fix

Chinese rubber import quota holders may have to ask the government for an extension of the period for using this year's quota, well-placed industry sources said. Sources close to China's state-owned rubber trading firms said utilization of the import quota, which amounts to 250,000 metric tons, is supposed to expire at the end of September.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, August, 5)

Iran cancels tender to buy soyoil

The Government Trading Corporation of Iran (GTC) has cancelled its tender to buy 15,000 tonnes of crude degummed soybean oil, according to its website. The GTC, which did not specify why it cancelled the tender, has asked that offers be submitted by Monday afternoon on a FOB basis from Brazilian ports for shipments in September.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, July, 31)

US plan to cut farm tariff will hurt poor, says EU

The European Union sought to take the moral high ground ahead of talks on freeing global trade in farm produce, saying US tariff cut proposals would hurt poor countries more than the rich. Last week, the United States suggested that all 144 World Trade Organization (WWTO) members cut tariffs on farm goods to 25%, a move aimed to appeal to developing countries and kick-start negotiations on liberalizing trade.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, July, 30)

Australia backs US plan to cut farm tariffs

Australia gave its backing to a United States agriculture plan that would slash farm goods tariffs worldwide to 25% or less from the current average of 62%. The reforms would significantly improve access to markets for Australian farmers and would help build pressure for early engagement by the European Union and Japan in the Doha Round agriculture negotiations.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, July, 29)

World wheat output to fall be 18m tonnes

World wheat output is set to fall short of demand by some 18m tonnes this year, with stocks set to decline across exporting nations and in China, the International Grains Council (IGC). Supplies of higher protein wheat could become relatively tight. The IGC put world wheat production for this season at 575m tonnes, down 10m tonnes from last month's estimate and six million tonnes on the previous year.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, July, 26)

Key rubber pact likely this month

Indonesia said it would host a signing ceremony later this month for a preliminary pact to form a rubber regulating body involving the world’s top three producers. Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia will sign the pact on July 30 on the island of Bintan. The three countries, which together account for 80% of the world’s natural rubber production, have twice delayed signing the pact, aimed at boosting prices of the commodity.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, July, 13)

Rain, but no frost in Brazil coffee lands

Brazilian coffee growers said that it was raining in Minas Gerais, northern Parana and Sao Paulo states but there was no frost. The minimum temperature reported was in Pocos de Caldas in southern Minas at 8 degrees celsius while in northern Parana the minimum was 18 degrees Celsius at Riberao Claro.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, July, 13)

Taiwan to free sugar market

Taiwan will speed up the deregulation of its sugar market by lifting all restrictions on imports by ’04, a year earlier than planned, a response to food industry pressure that delivers the lastest blow to state monopoly producer Taiwan Sugar to 10% from 17.5%, while duties on raw sugar will be cut to zero, said an official at the cabinet’s economic planning agency.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, July, 11)

Low prices attract Vietnam rice buyers

Private rice trader in Vietnam has been almost idle in the past week as foreign importers turned to India for better prices while exporters were busy loading for government contracts.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, July, 11)

Bangladesh tea exports plummet

Bangladesh’s tea exports plummeted to record lows last year but burgeoning local demand saved the day. Crop yields were higher but exporters fell mainly due to a reduced demand from Pakistan, which is a major purchaser of Bangladesh tea. Tea exports during January-December ’01 stood at 12.9m kg, against 18.1m kg in ’00. Export earnings fell to $11.61m, down from $16.29m in ’00.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, July, 10)

First Biotech crop approved for Australia and NZ

Biotech corn has been approved for sale and use in Australia and New Zealand after a robust assessment process.

(Courtesy- Biotechnology Global Update, June 2002)

Demand for Biotech Seed to reach $3.8 billion in 2006

The world demand for genetically improved seeds is expected to increase 12% per year to $3.8 billion in 2006, according to a study by the The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland, Ohio-based research firm. Arable land planted with transgenic crops is expected to increase 7.2% per year to 184 million acres over the same period. The US, Argentina, Canada and China will dominate the plantings of such crops, the study said, and will account for nearly 85% of total genetically improved seed sales in 2006.

(Courtesy- Biotechnology Global Update, June 2002)

Indonesia raises sugar import duty

Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest sugar importer, has raised import duties on raw sugar to 550 rupiah/kg and 700 rupiah/kg for white and double refined sugar in a bid to protect local farmers from imports. The new tariffs came into force on July 3 and are valid for 24 months.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, July, 9)

Russia may hike poultry import duty

Russia, locked in a dispute with US over the safety of poultry imports, is considering raising tariffs on imported poultry by a third, a government official said. As talks proceeded on the drafting of a new veterinary certificate demanded by Russia for imports from next month, US exporters announced a suspension of shipments to the country. Alexander Filippov, a senior tariff policy department official at the Economic Development and Trade Ministry, said the ministry was considering raising the existing 25% tariff on poultry imports by 8.3%, but no less than by 0.067 euros per kg.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, July, 9)

Iran sugar imports unhintered

Iran said it would continue to import some 1-m tonnes of sugar annually and that the purchases would not be affected by a decision to formally end a decades-old state monopoly on the trade.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, July, 9)

India to offer Iraq wheat for oil

Petroleum minister will hold talks with Iraqi officials this week to revive plans to export wheat to Iraq and receive crude oil in return. Baghdad exports oil under a UN humanitarian oil-for-food swap, permitted as an exception to UN sanctions imposed in '90 after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

(Courtesy- The Economic Times, July, 3)

Soya mission

To improve the productivity of Soya processing units, enhance exports and step up environmental performance, a delegation comprising processors and refiners will be shortly visiting Japan and Malaysia. The delegation during its July 12-24 trip will apprise itself of the latest developments and efficiency improvement programmes employed by these countries.

(Courtesy-The Economic Times, June, 29)

Vietnam poses threat to cashew exports

Vietnam is emerging as a major contender in the cashew kernel market, a top official of the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India has said. Labour in Vietnam is cheaper and the productivity higher. Besides, it has the advantage of modern processing centres, which enabled that country to become a major competitor during the last 10 years.

(Courtesy-The Economic Times, June 29)

More tea for Pak

Local tea companies are hoping to enhance exports to Pakistan following the abolition by Islamabad of import duty on the crop, tea industry sources said. Tea is among 600 Indian items Pakistan has de-listed for import duty. India’s tea exports to Pakistan totaled 1.7m kg last year. Heightened tensions between the two countries led to a fall in the exports in the first four months of this year.

(Courtesy-The Economic Times, 27th June)

Manila rejects wheat

Philippine feedmillers rejected tenders for the supply of 15,500 tonnes of Indian wheat due to high prices. The traders said the lowest price submitted in the tender was $ 104 per tonne, including cost and freight (C&F), for shipment from September 1 to 15.

(Courtesy-The Economic Times, 27th June)

Whites told to stop farming

Some 2,900 white-owned farms in Zimbabwe have been ordered to cease operating after a controversial land reform law was amended to give the government sweeping powers to seize farmland for redistribution. On May 10, the Government amended the Land Acquisition Act to order farmers whose property has been ear-marked for acquisition to stop farming 45 days after a notice of acquisition has been issued.

(Courtesy- The Hindu, June 25th 2002)

Funds crunch hits rice research

A tight squeeze on funding by developed countries has severely hit research programme of the Manila based IRRI in rainfed varieties of rice that are resistant to drought floods and salinity. As a result, IRRI has decided to downscale its research efforts and has cut back on its research in this sphere by almost 50%.

(Courtesy-The Hindu, 26th June)


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