World Perspectives

Softs Recent Softs Analysis

softs

Less Traded Category

The news headline says that the Filipino government will import 21,060 MT of onions to fill a supply shortfall until the next domestic harvest in February. Consumer prices have quadrupled in the last four months, which has created a political issue. Vegetables as a general category are subject...

softs

Let Us Say There’s a Problem

Grain and livestock products are the primary delivery sources for dietary calories, yet the accompaniment of a salad provides additional micronutrients and fiber in a low-impact package. Essential to the salad has been lettuce, a plant that is 95 percent water, and has traditionally been a low-...

softs

Yams versus Sweet Potatoes

Yams and sweet potatoes are easily confused and yet they are very different crops, including in global trade. Yams are starchier are more like potatoes, whereas sweet potatoes are sweet. Roughly the same volume of yams and sweet potatoes are produced by the world’s largest producers. Yet...

softs

Coffee Demand Steady

Demand growth for coffee has been far less volatile than production and ending stocks. Ending stocks peaked at 25 percent of consumption in 2001 as the price sunk to $0.44/pound. However, there was a stronger reaction when stocks slipped to 17 percent of production in 2011, and the price peaked...

feed-grains wheat softs

Trade and Food Security

An anomaly since COVID disrupted supply chains is that the price of rice has been more stable than other food staples such as corn and wheat.  One argument for this is that a far smaller share of total rice production is traded, making it less subject to global supply/demand volatility.&n...

wheat softs

Wheat Concerns in Asia

Asia has been adopting wheat as a food staple over many decades but the war In Ukraine has some worried about its supply reliability. Over the past dozen years, rice consumption has averaged a 0.86 percent annual increase while wheat consumption has been growing at twice that rate. Because clim...

softs

Blame the Rice Boogey Man

Rice is the top staple food crop in Asia and the third largest global crop after corn and sugarcane. When rice production is in trouble, people pay attention. This year’s crop is suffering from flooding in Thailand, the sixth largest producer and second largest exporter. Plus excess rain...

softs

Drought’s Double Whammy on China

Rice is the second largest crop in China, behind corn, but is perhaps the most important food crop. This year, drought in south China has hurt yields and quality, driving up the price of good rice. China is also the world’s largest importer of cotton, and drought in the world’s larg...

softs

Benefit of Noncompeting Goods

U.S. pet food has been identified as a high-potential agricultural export. Pet food exports have been increasing by an average 8 percent per year and probably higher if Covid’s impact on 2020 is excluded. There are several reasons for this dynamic: Pet food is a rich world concept, and t...

softs

Seeing Red

California is by far the largest tomato producing state with Florida far behind. However, California processes most of the tomatoes, leaving Florida’s production more subject to the impacts of trade. U.S. fresh tomato imports have been increasing at about 0.4 percent per year, with Mexico...

softs

Real Climate Impact

Climate change is being blamed for drought limited grain crops this year, but tree nuts are a better example. Weather has caused volatility in grain markets for ions. In Genesis, Joseph saves the Egyptians during a distressed crop year by releasing grain from the stores he maintained. Variable...

softs

Drought and Rice

Although several crops are at risk due to the drought in southern China, rice is said to be the most at risk. This is because almost half the country’s rice crop is produced in the six provinces being impacted (Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, Henan, Jiangxi and Anhui). Some call it a severe ch...

softs

Ongoing Shortages

A French fry shortage is now expanding into a tomato shortage. The U.S. production of potatoes had been expanding even as the acres harvested declined due to increased yields. However, last year’s crop was reduced in size by high heat, and the crop being harvested this month was delayed b...

softs

Princess Cotton

Global cotton production has declined, led by reductions in its two largest producers, China and India. Cotton is a heat tolerant, modest user of water, which appears perfect for climate change. It is also a natural fiber, and its oil contributes to food security. However, the fossil fuel-based...

softs

No Rice Shortage

Food scarcity has been a frequent headline this year but with food inflation now dropping along with commodity prices, rice is an example of the scare that wasn’t. The monsoon was late starting in India, leading concerns that the world’s largest rice exporter would be driving up pri...

softs

Cotton Market Shifts

While area planted to cotton is expanding elsewhere in the world, U.S. farmers are sowing less. More importantly, abandonment is projected to jump from 8.5 percent last year to 31.5 percent this season, almost matching the high level in 2020. The extreme drought in the Southwest is the primary...

softs

Rotten Cotton

The war against GMO’s is still playing out in Africa. French news platform RFI reports that farmers in Kenya are fighting over whether to grow Bt cotton. One farmer claimed his yields jumped 166 percent with Bt cotton seed, but opponents say initial yield gains eventually recede and Bt co...

softs

Toughest Commodity Business

While many agricultural commodities are experiencing a boom in demand and prices, orange juice consumption has plummeted worldwide. Global demand over the past decade has fallen by 12.6 percent. U.S. consumption has dropped by 29 percent over that period and Europe, the largest consumer of the...

softs

It’s More Than Food

In Japan, rice has been called the essence of culture; it has meant more than just food, though food security is the basis for policy interventions to protect it. Despite the nostalgia and market controls, rice on paddy fields is declining, giving way to more profitable wheat and soybeans that...

softs

Dominance in Rice

India is the world’s largest exporter of rice and Refinitiv points out that India’s export rice prices have been consistently lower than that of Thailand and Vietnam for the past two years. India is exporting roughly twice the amount of rice as Thailand and Vietnam combined. India h...

softs

White Commodities

The U.S. rice industry motivated its politicians to attack USTR Katherine Tai last week as she made the rounds on Capitol Hill. The main point of their ire is India, which they claim uses subsidies far more than WTO rules allow. Indeed, India has subsidized agriculture to the point that its ric...

softs

Limits of Sanctions

The repeated threat of sanctions by the EU and U.S. were not enough to prevent Vladimir Putin from moving on Ukraine, and they likely will not be enough to affect Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. He has been the president of the country for most of the past 15 years and the U.S. argues it is because...

softs

Clueless Leaders

The U.S. government shut down avocado imports from Mexico’s Michoacán state after a federal inspector received presumably a threatening phone message. Rather than accept the plausibility of wrongdoing in one of the most corrupt, drug cartel running parts of his country, Michoac&aac...

softs

Coffee Flip

Food commodities are rising in price and that includes coffee, but the coffee bean market is also changing. Out of 100 species of coffee, just two dominate: Arabica and Robusta. And of those two, Arabica has been the bean to beat. Because of a higher lipid and sugar level, it is considered swee...

softs

Less Traded Category

The news headline says that the Filipino government will import 21,060 MT of onions to fill a supply shortfall until the next domestic harvest in February. Consumer prices have quadrupled in the last four months, which has created a political issue. Vegetables as a general category are subject...

softs

Let Us Say There’s a Problem

Grain and livestock products are the primary delivery sources for dietary calories, yet the accompaniment of a salad provides additional micronutrients and fiber in a low-impact package. Essential to the salad has been lettuce, a plant that is 95 percent water, and has traditionally been a low-...

softs

Yams versus Sweet Potatoes

Yams and sweet potatoes are easily confused and yet they are very different crops, including in global trade. Yams are starchier are more like potatoes, whereas sweet potatoes are sweet. Roughly the same volume of yams and sweet potatoes are produced by the world’s largest producers. Yet...

softs

Coffee Demand Steady

Demand growth for coffee has been far less volatile than production and ending stocks. Ending stocks peaked at 25 percent of consumption in 2001 as the price sunk to $0.44/pound. However, there was a stronger reaction when stocks slipped to 17 percent of production in 2011, and the price peaked...

feed-grains wheat softs

Trade and Food Security

An anomaly since COVID disrupted supply chains is that the price of rice has been more stable than other food staples such as corn and wheat.  One argument for this is that a far smaller share of total rice production is traded, making it less subject to global supply/demand volatility.&n...

wheat softs

Wheat Concerns in Asia

Asia has been adopting wheat as a food staple over many decades but the war In Ukraine has some worried about its supply reliability. Over the past dozen years, rice consumption has averaged a 0.86 percent annual increase while wheat consumption has been growing at twice that rate. Because clim...

softs

Blame the Rice Boogey Man

Rice is the top staple food crop in Asia and the third largest global crop after corn and sugarcane. When rice production is in trouble, people pay attention. This year’s crop is suffering from flooding in Thailand, the sixth largest producer and second largest exporter. Plus excess rain...

softs

Drought’s Double Whammy on China

Rice is the second largest crop in China, behind corn, but is perhaps the most important food crop. This year, drought in south China has hurt yields and quality, driving up the price of good rice. China is also the world’s largest importer of cotton, and drought in the world’s larg...

softs

Benefit of Noncompeting Goods

U.S. pet food has been identified as a high-potential agricultural export. Pet food exports have been increasing by an average 8 percent per year and probably higher if Covid’s impact on 2020 is excluded. There are several reasons for this dynamic: Pet food is a rich world concept, and t...

softs

Seeing Red

California is by far the largest tomato producing state with Florida far behind. However, California processes most of the tomatoes, leaving Florida’s production more subject to the impacts of trade. U.S. fresh tomato imports have been increasing at about 0.4 percent per year, with Mexico...

softs

Real Climate Impact

Climate change is being blamed for drought limited grain crops this year, but tree nuts are a better example. Weather has caused volatility in grain markets for ions. In Genesis, Joseph saves the Egyptians during a distressed crop year by releasing grain from the stores he maintained. Variable...

softs

Drought and Rice

Although several crops are at risk due to the drought in southern China, rice is said to be the most at risk. This is because almost half the country’s rice crop is produced in the six provinces being impacted (Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, Henan, Jiangxi and Anhui). Some call it a severe ch...

softs

Ongoing Shortages

A French fry shortage is now expanding into a tomato shortage. The U.S. production of potatoes had been expanding even as the acres harvested declined due to increased yields. However, last year’s crop was reduced in size by high heat, and the crop being harvested this month was delayed b...

softs

Princess Cotton

Global cotton production has declined, led by reductions in its two largest producers, China and India. Cotton is a heat tolerant, modest user of water, which appears perfect for climate change. It is also a natural fiber, and its oil contributes to food security. However, the fossil fuel-based...

softs

No Rice Shortage

Food scarcity has been a frequent headline this year but with food inflation now dropping along with commodity prices, rice is an example of the scare that wasn’t. The monsoon was late starting in India, leading concerns that the world’s largest rice exporter would be driving up pri...

softs

Cotton Market Shifts

While area planted to cotton is expanding elsewhere in the world, U.S. farmers are sowing less. More importantly, abandonment is projected to jump from 8.5 percent last year to 31.5 percent this season, almost matching the high level in 2020. The extreme drought in the Southwest is the primary...

softs

Rotten Cotton

The war against GMO’s is still playing out in Africa. French news platform RFI reports that farmers in Kenya are fighting over whether to grow Bt cotton. One farmer claimed his yields jumped 166 percent with Bt cotton seed, but opponents say initial yield gains eventually recede and Bt co...

softs

Toughest Commodity Business

While many agricultural commodities are experiencing a boom in demand and prices, orange juice consumption has plummeted worldwide. Global demand over the past decade has fallen by 12.6 percent. U.S. consumption has dropped by 29 percent over that period and Europe, the largest consumer of the...

softs

It’s More Than Food

In Japan, rice has been called the essence of culture; it has meant more than just food, though food security is the basis for policy interventions to protect it. Despite the nostalgia and market controls, rice on paddy fields is declining, giving way to more profitable wheat and soybeans that...

softs

Dominance in Rice

India is the world’s largest exporter of rice and Refinitiv points out that India’s export rice prices have been consistently lower than that of Thailand and Vietnam for the past two years. India is exporting roughly twice the amount of rice as Thailand and Vietnam combined. India h...

softs

White Commodities

The U.S. rice industry motivated its politicians to attack USTR Katherine Tai last week as she made the rounds on Capitol Hill. The main point of their ire is India, which they claim uses subsidies far more than WTO rules allow. Indeed, India has subsidized agriculture to the point that its ric...

softs

Limits of Sanctions

The repeated threat of sanctions by the EU and U.S. were not enough to prevent Vladimir Putin from moving on Ukraine, and they likely will not be enough to affect Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. He has been the president of the country for most of the past 15 years and the U.S. argues it is because...

softs

Clueless Leaders

The U.S. government shut down avocado imports from Mexico’s Michoacán state after a federal inspector received presumably a threatening phone message. Rather than accept the plausibility of wrongdoing in one of the most corrupt, drug cartel running parts of his country, Michoac&aac...

softs

Coffee Flip

Food commodities are rising in price and that includes coffee, but the coffee bean market is also changing. Out of 100 species of coffee, just two dominate: Arabica and Robusta. And of those two, Arabica has been the bean to beat. Because of a higher lipid and sugar level, it is considered swee...

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