miércoles, 28 de octubre de 2009

India May Import Rice in 2010, Trigger Price Surge, Trader Says

By Luzi Ann Javier
Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- India, the world’s second-largest rice grower, may import up to 3 million metric tons next year as the government secures supplies in case the nation faces another year of drought, triggering a price surge, a trader said today.

The weakest monsoon in India since 1972 may slash rice output by about 18 percent to 81 million tons in the marketing year that began Oct. 1, below forecast demand of 89 million tons, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

“The government can afford to have rice sitting in the warehouse and rotting, but they can’t afford to have a very low stockpile of rice next year in case another drought or flooding hurts crops,” Rakesh Singh, head rice trader at Emmsons International Ltd., which supplies about 500,000 tons a year in India, said in an interview in Cebu, central Philippines. “We may hear about a tender in the next few weeks.”

If India imports rice next year, it will be the first time the country has purchased the grain since 2006, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and only the second time since 2001.

The country’s return to the import market would push Thai rice export prices, the regional benchmark, at least 25 percent higher from current levels to $800 a ton, Singh said.

The price of 100 percent grade-B Thai white rice was set at $525 a ton last week, the fourth consecutive weekly drop, according to Thai Rice Exporters Association figures.

‘Wild Card’

Reduced production caused by bad weather in the Philippines and Latin America and lower output in the U.S. may help push prices back to record levels next year, Dwight Roberts, president of the U.S. Rice Producers Association said in an interview in Cebu yesterday. Declining Indian production may turn the South Asian nation into an importer, triggering a surge in global prices, he added.

“I think India is a real wild card in the next few months, or the next few weeks,” Roberts said.

Rice futures traded in Chicago surged to a record $25.07 per 100 pounds in April 2008 as shipments slowed and buyers including the Philippines, the world’s biggest importer, increased purchases to secure supplies and cool inflation. Rice for January delivery traded 1.1 percent higher at $13.915 per 100 pounds as of 3:25 p.m. Singapore.

Still, India has no plans to import rice because its reserves are adequate, Nanda Kumar, the country’s farm secretary, said in New Delhi yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Luzi Ann Javier in Cebu at ljavier@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: October 28, 2009 04:00 EDT

jueves, 22 de octubre de 2009

Jim Rogers senior consultant at Dalian

Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Investor Jim Rogers took a “senior consultant” position with China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange because he is “excited” about the exchange’s efforts to grow.
“I expect China to become the commodity trading center of the world once they open their currency and open their economy,” Rogers said by phone from Dalian, in northeastern Liaoning province today. “I’m keen on all the three exchanges but I’m excited about what they’re doing in Dalian.”
Rogers, who is chairman of Singapore-based Rogers Holdings, said he also had discussions with the Shanghai Futures Exchange and the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange, adding Dalian was the city he would want to live in if he was in China.
Rogers was hired as a “senior consultant,” the exchange said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The exchange was China’s largest commodity derivatives market in terms of volume in the first half, and trades contracts including soybeans, soybean oil, palm oil and soybean meal.
Dalian may introduce energy, coking coal and live-hog futures contracts to spur trading volume, exchange president, Liu Xingqiang, said in an Oct. 12 interview.
The bourse also aims to “be more than just agricultural or energy-oriented,” Liu said. “We’re working on products that can be traded more easily as investments; that are more financial in nature. It will be a global exchange,” Liu said.
--Li Xiaowei. Editors: Richard Dobson, Jake Lloyd-Smith.
To contact the Bloomberg News staff on this story: Li Xiaowei in Shanghai at Xli12@bloomberg.net

miércoles, 14 de octubre de 2009

India Won’t Import Rice, Wheat on Adequate Reserves

Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) -- India, the second-biggest producer of rice and wheat, does not need to import grains because its reserves are adequate to fill production gaps after drought and floods damaged summer-sown crops, a minister said.
“We have enough stocks of rice and wheat,” Junior Food Minister K.V. Thomas told reporters in New Delhi today.
The nation’s rice output is forecast by the government to drop 10 million tons from a record following a drought in first half of the year and floods in paddy-growing areas in the south earlier this month. Rice reached the highest level since January today after the Philippines, the biggest importer, said it may arrange a second tender by yearend to purchase the cereal after storms cut domestic output.
Rice jumped to a record in April 2008 after the Philippines increased purchases and some exporters, including India, curbed shipments on concern that there may be a global shortage. Corn, wheat, soybeans and palm oil touched all-time highs last year, stoking inflation and sparking unrest from Haiti to Egypt.
“If we start having problems, weather problems, production problems, the price of rice is going to skyrocket over the next decade,” investor Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, said in an Oct. 12 interview. “When it happens, I don’t know,” he said. “Rice is a basic foodstuff for much of the world.”
Rough rice for November delivery gained as much as 2.8 percent to $14.29 per 100 pounds on the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest level since Jan. 13. The futures, which touched a record $25.07 per 100 pounds in April last year, were at $14.26 at 4:50 p.m. Mumbai time.
Net Buyer
India, which last bought wheat abroad in 2007 and became a net buyer of sugar in the crop year ended Sept. 30, has bought a record 55.1 million tons of rice and wheat from crops harvested in the year ended June 30. That’s enough to last more than a year, Farm Minister Sharad Pawar has said.
The government, the biggest buyer of food crops, purchases cereals such as rice and wheat at guaranteed prices from farmers for sale to the poor at subsidized rates.
In August, the price paid to rice growers was raised to 950 rupees ($21) for 100 kilograms (220 pounds), up from 900 rupees, as inadequate rains forced them to lower acreage by 6.3 million hectares. The price of grade-A grain was raised to 980 rupees.
Exports of wheat were halted in February 2007 and overseas sales of non-basmati rice on April 1, 2008.
To contact the reporter on this story: Pratik Parija in New Delhi at pparija@bloomberg.net. Last Updated: October 14, 2009 07:38 EDT

Monsanto Profit Tops Estimates; 2010 Outlook Repeated

Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Monsanto Co., the world’s largest seed producer, reported fourth-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates because of higher corn and vegetable seed sales. The company maintained its forecast for 2010 earnings.

Profit in the three months ended Aug. 31 was 2 cents a share, excluding some items, St. Louis-based Monsanto said today in a statement. The average estimate of 13 analysts in a Bloomberg survey was for profit of 1 cent. The net loss widened to $233 million, or 43 cents a share, from $172 million, or 31 cents, a year earlier, largely because of restructuring costs.

Chief Executive Officer Hugh Grant is cutting 8 percent of the workforce as farmers spend less and Chinese competitors sell cheaper generic versions of the company’s Roundup herbicide. Monsanto repeated its 2010 earnings forecast after two earlier cuts in the outlook for the glyphosate-based weed killer.

“People thought they would lower the outlook,” Laurence Alexander, a New York-based analyst at Jefferies & Co., said by telephone. “The outlook for next year is basically in line.”

Earnings in the year that began Sept. 1, excluding some items, will be $3.10 to $3.30, Monsanto said, repeating a Sept. 10 forecast. Profit was projected to be $3.42 a share, the average estimate of 15 analysts surveyed.

First-Quarter Forecast

First-quarter profit will be break even or a “modest” loss because of lower Roundup sales, Chief Financial Officer Carl Casale said on a conference call with analysts. Monsanto was projected to post profit of 40 cents a share in the current quarter, the average estimate of four analysts.

About 60 percent of 2010 earnings will accrue in the second quarter and 40 percent in the third quarter, with a small loss in the final three months, Casale said.

Monsanto fell 99 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $74.38 at 11:52 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares gained 7.5 percent this year through yesterday.

Fourth-quarter revenue fell 8.4 percent to $1.88 billion because of lower herbicide sales, trailing the $1.99 billion average estimate of six analysts in the survey.

The fourth-quarter net loss includes 53 cents a share of restructuring expenses and a gain of 8 cents from the sale of the sunflower unit.

Results in Monsanto’s fourth quarter often are weaker than in other periods because farmers in North America and Europe have planted most of their crops.

Gross Profit

Fourth-quarter gross profit declined 11 percent to $857 million as profit from seeds and traits dropped 17 percent and crop chemicals fell 3.5 percent, led by a 23 percent drop in glyphosate herbicides. Corn and vegetable seed sales gained, while cotton, soybeans and other crop seeds declined.

In 2010, gross profit from seeds and traits will rise to $5.1 billion to $5.2 billion, Monsanto said, repeating the September outlook. That’s an increase of as much as 16 percent from $4.5 billion in 2009.

Gross profit in the weed-killer unit will drop to $650 million to $750 million, Monsanto said in a presentation on its Web site, repeating last month’s forecast. That’s as much as a 64 percent decline from $1.8 billion in 2009. Monsanto initially forecast gross profit of $1.9 billion before reducing its expectations in June and September.

The company is cutting Roundup prices in half to as little as $10 a gallon in the hopes of reclaiming lost market share, Grant said in a Sept. 23 interview.

Herbicide gross profit will be as much as $900 million in 2011 before stabilizing at about $1 billion in 2012, Monsanto said in the presentation. Grant in June said he may divest the Roundup business after restructuring and carving it out as a separate unit.

Market Share

Grant said he was “disappointed” with Monsanto’s 36 percent share of the U.S. corn seed sales, unchanged from 2008, after targeting a gain of as much as 2 percentage points. Few companies gained share while Monsanto increased average corn- seed prices 25 percent to capture some of the value provided by crops that resist bugs and herbicides, he said.

“We all ended up about flat,” Grant said. “In a world of flatness, I feel really good because we priced to the value we deliver.”

The Holden’s unit, Monsanto’s licensing arm, lost corn-seed share to ProAccess, a unit of DuPont Co., Scarlett Foster, a spokeswoman, said on the call.

The company’s share of U.S. soybean seed sales fell half a percentage point to 28.5 percent, and cotton-seed sales dropped 2 points to 39 percent of the U.S. market.

DuPont Share

DuPont’s Pioneer unit, the second-biggest seed producer, said Sept. 16 that it grabbed 2 more percentage points of corn- seed share, reversing years of losses to Monsanto, and gained 3 points of U.S. soybean share.

Smartstax corn seed, developed with Dow Chemical Co. to contain eight genetic modifications, will “reinvigorate” share gains when the product is introduced for planting next year, Casale said.

The seeds, which boost yields 5 percent to 10 percent compared with other products, will be planted on as many as 4 million acres in 2010, with a U.S. potential for 65 million acres, Monsanto has said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jack Kaskey in New York at jkaskey@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: October 7, 2009 11:53 EDT

viernes, 9 de octubre de 2009

Rice Prices May Rise Next Yr As Weather Hits 09 Output

5:05 AM, octubre 9, 2009
NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Dow Jones)--Ample rice stocks in major producing
countries such as Thailand could keep the lid on prices in the near term, but
an expected increase import demand from the Philippines following typhoons
Ketsana and Parma and lower production in India and Vietnam due to adverse
weather will likely lend support to the market going into next year, traders
and officials said at a major industry conference in Bali.
Global milled rice production in 2009 is expected to fall 3% on year to 446
million metric tons, a senior Food and Agriculture Organization economist said
"Adverse weather in several big producing countries, notably India and the
Philippines, is the main reason behind the expected fall in production," said
Concepcion Calpe, senior economist at FAO, an agency under the United Nations.
Speaking at World Rice Commerce 2009, Calpe said in 2010, global milled rice
demand is likely to increase by 5 million tons to 453 million tons.
Rising demand and lower production will result in a decline in global milled
rice stocks of around 4 million tons to 5 million tons next year, from around
121 million tons now, she said.
Prices in the world's top two exporting countries - Thailand and Vietnam -
could ease marginally on high inventories now, before rising slightly next
year, participants said.
"Thai prices are likely to fall from the current $525 a ton level as there is
going to be more rice coming onto the domestic market when the old intervention
program is finally scrapped, but I don't think prices will fall below $400 a
ton (for Thai 5% broken). We may see $420-$430/ton in the coming months but not
much lower," said Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters
Vietnam's equivalent grade is currently selling around $400/ton, but that
could rise next year, with the country still assessing damage to paddy in the
central region, following Typhoon Ketsana.
"There are milled rice stocks in private and government hands of around 1
million tons, so prices are unlikely to rise immediately, although the damage
to paddy is still being assessed," said Nghiem Huy Doan, vice director of
Hanoi-based Vipfood Trading.
Storm Damage May Push Philippine Imports Higher
Officials said damage to paddy in the Philippines in the wake of typhoons
Ketsana and Parma, likely means the country will increase imports by at least
an additional 1.4 million metric tons of milled rice this year.
"We will have to import 1.4 million tons of rice to compensate for storm
damage to paddy, but that's a conservative, initial figure. We will probably
have to import more; we won't know until a full assessment is carried out in
the coming weeks," said Jose Cordero, administrator of the National Food
Authority's marketing operations department.
According to the latest assessment by the Agriculture Ministry, the
Philippine farm sector incurred storm damage of around PHP7.94 billion ($170
million). Rice fields were the worst hit, with initial production losses
estimated at more than 375,000 tons.
With this year's rice imports already at 1.775 million tons, another 1.4
million tons of imports could take the final figure to nearly 3.2 million tons,
up 39% from last year's record 2.3 million tons, making the country the world's
biggest rice importer.
High Global Stocks Hold Prices Down For Now
Officials said a spike in rice prices to more than $1,000/ton in 2008 amid
supply worries then encouraged producing countries to boost output and
consuming countries to bolster food security measures by increasing inventory.
Thailand, the world's largest rice exporter, is expected to ship 9 million
metric tons of milled rice in 2009, exceeding a previous government target of
8.5 million tons, Chookiat said.
"In the January-August period, Thailand exported 5.2 million tons of milled
rice. Exports to Africa have improved in recent months and will likely remain
strong as long as India keeps its export ban," he said
However, he noted Thailand has lost some market share this year as Vietnam
has been selling rice at lower prices on the back of an increase in production.
"The financial crisis has changed the landscape - people are looking for
cheaper rice."
Thai white rice exports in the January-August period fell 58% while parboiled
rice exports to Africa rose more than 50%, Chookiat said. Exports of white
broken rice and gluttonous rice have also risen.
Traders in Thailand have said government stockpiles are still at
unprecedented highs of 6 million-7 million tons of milled rice, with the next
harvest due in November expected to yield as much as 24 million tons of paddy,
around 1 million tons higher than last year.
-By Andrew Jones, Dow Jones Newswires; andrew.jones@dowjones.com; +65 6415