Chicago/Mumbai: Sugar demand is about to top production for the first time since 2006, the year prices reached a 24-year peak.
India, the second biggest grower, will reduce supplies 16% next year, shifting to more profitable crops. Brazil, the largest producer, expects to use 57% of its cane for ethanol this year, up from 54%. Refiners in Europe will process 15% less because a 2004 trade ruling bars growers from exporting surpluses.
The shortfall may make sugar one of the few commodities to continue rallying even as the slowing global economy reduces demand for raw materials from aluminium to oil.
Stockpiles will fall 5.8% to 65.2 million tonnes (mt) in the year ending 30 September 2009, the first decline since 2006, according to London-based International Sugar Organization (ISO) forecasts. Still, they will be 18% higher than in 2006.
August edible oil import climbs 21% on demand
Mumbai: India, the world’s biggest buyer of vegetable oil after China, imported 21% more cooking oil in August as global vegetable oil prices slumped and local demand rose ahead of a festival season.
Overseas purchases rose to 569,538 tonnes last month from 469,234 tonnes a year earlier, the Mumbai-based Solvent Extractors’ Association said in a statement on Monday. Imports in the year to October may reach 6 million tonnes, 7% more than a year earlier, according to the group.
Prices of palm oil in Malaysia, the global benchmark, have halved from a March record of 4,486 ringgit (Rs59,800) a tonne, lowering import costs for the South Asian nation. India relies on overseas purchases to meet almost half its edible oil demand.
Palm oil for November delivery fell as much as 3.3% to 2,301 ringgit a tonne today on the Malaysian Derivatives Exchange.
India may import as much as 600,000 tonnes of edible oils this month and the next until the nation begins its oilseeds harvest, the extractors’ association said.
Iron ore export prices fall 35% since January
Mumbai: The country’s iron ore export prices have fallen 35% since January after China, the world’s biggest steel producer and the South Asian nation’s biggest buyer of the raw material, pared purchases as demand slowed.
Prices for immediate delivery have declined to $100 (Rs4,590) a tonne from $155 a tonne at the start of the year, said R.K. Sharma, secretary general of the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries, a grouping of iron ore miners.
China has less need to buy iron ore after it purchased 23% more of the material in the first eight months from a year ago and built record stockpiles, according to customs data. The country accounts for more than 50% of India’s exports.
India’s decision in June to increase the duty on exports to 15%, from a flat Rs50 a tonne, contributed to the drop in overseas sales and prices. The government raised the tax to ensure iron ore supplies to domestic steel makers are adequate.
Rangarajan expects 10% inflation by December
New Delhi:Chakravarthy Rangarajan, former top economic adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, expects the country’s inflation to slow to 10% by December. Industrial production growth would remain “good,” said Rangarajan, who’s now a lawmaker and has also served as a governor of the Reserve Bank of India. He was speaking in New Delhi on Monday.
India’s inflation has slowed for a third straight week, signalling that the central bank’s three interest-rate increases since early June are beginning to work. Wholesale prices rose 12.1% in the week to 30 August from a year earlier, the government said on 11 September.
Industrial production growth accelerated in July as consumers took advantage of the biggest salary increases in Asia to purchase more fridges and air conditioners. Output at factories, utilities and mines rose 7.1% from a year earlier after a 5.4% gain in June, the Central Statistical Organisation said in New Delhi on 12 September.
Force majeure for gas supplies at Nymex
London: The New York Mercantile Exchange declared force majeure on all natural gas delivery obligations for September and remaining August futures contracts, after a pipeline operator shut operations because of Hurricane Ike.
The announcement follows the decision by Chevron Corp.’s Sabine Pipe Line Llc. on 12 September to halt operations, according to a Nymex statement dated 13 September.
Force majeure allows companies to cite unexpected or uncontrollable events to avoid penalties for failing to fulfil delivery contracts.
Morgan Stanley plans wealth management
Mumbai:Morgan Stanley plans to start offering wealth management services in India from Tuesday. The services will be available to clients holding more than $5 million (Rs22.9 crore), Morgan Stanley said in a statement distributed to reporters in Mumbai on Monday.
India recorded the fastest growth in millionaires last year, according to a 24 June report by Merrill Lynch and Co. Inc. and Cap Gemini SA. The nation’s high-net worth households, or families with more than $1 million in wealth, is likely to rise to 411,000 by 2017, Barclays Bank Plc.’s wealth unit said in a study conducted with the Economist Intelligence Unit earlier this year.
TBWA buys remaining stake in Indian unit
New Delhi: Advertising agency TBWA\Worldwide, part of marketing services conglomerate Omnicom Group Inc., on Monday said it has completed acquisition of TBWA\India.
TBWA bought 49% stake in the Indian firm it didn’t already own from its promoters George John, N Krishnan and Kurien Mathews, a statement said.
John, chairman and managing director of TBWA\India and its largest local shareholder, will take on as an advisor of the firm after September, it said. Krishnan, who is vice-chairman and CFO, will become chief operating officer of TBWA\India, the statement said, without mentioning where Mathews is headed.
— Staff Writer
Murdoch redesigns WSJ site to attract users
New York: Media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s ‘The Wall Street Journal’ is redesigning its website, limiting business news to paying readers to boost subscriptions and lure advertisers.
WSJ.com, in its first redesign since 2002, will continue offering general, political and lifestyle news for free, said Alan Murray, executive editor of online operations. Separate home pages will be displayed to subscribers and non-paying users. The redesigned site will go online at midnight Monday.
‘The Wall Street Journal’ has an exclusive content partnership in India with Mint. Previously, WSJ.com made some business news free. Now the Journal is giving paying subscribers exclusive financial news and analysis such as the expanded ‘Heard on the Street’ column, a new management section and portfolio tracking tools. The site has more than one million subscribers.
CSIR unveils Open Source Drug Discovery
New Delhi: The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India’s largest chain of research laboratories, formally unveiled it’s Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) initiative, a Rs500 crore programme, according to Kapil Sibal, Union minister for science and technology and earth sciences.
Mint had first reported on this multi-institution programme, that also private companies such as Sun Microsystems Ltd, and Astra Zeneca India, on 20th September, 2007. OSDD draws on techniques applied by websites such Wikipedia and operating systems such as Linux, in that anybody can access, and modify content but permit future modification by anyone else, in the drug discovery domain.
Aspirant problem solvers can register with the website, ‘www.osdd.net’, and post problems and solutions that involve finding drugs to address tuberculosis, for instance.
However successful solution providers are not rewarded with intellectual property rights or patents. Rather they earn credit points, that may be redeemed for cash prices, or citations in research articles.
“We believe that the challenge of solving a problem, will be a huge factor in motivating a range of contributors, from graduate students to scientists, to work on these problems,”said Samir Brahmachari, director-general CSIR, who is credited with conceptualising the project.
— Jacob P. Koshy
First woman maritime regulator moves out
Bangalore: Kiran Dhingra, the first woman to head India’s maritime regulatory agency, the Directorate General of Shipping, or DGS, demitted office last week to take up a new posting in New Delhi. The shipping ministry is finding a replacement, a ministry official said.
Dhingra, a 1975 batch Indian Administrative Service officer of the Union territory cadre, assumed office as secretary at ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation on 12 September after heading the DGS in Mumbai between April 2006 and September 2008, said an official who declined being named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
As maritime regulator, Dhingra took several key decisions including allowing local ship owners to register their ships outside India without floating subsidiaries in the foreign country.
However, the shipping ministry overturned some of her decisions when she went on leave just before her new posting. These included a decision to ban foreign-registered ships that were more than 25 years old from plying off India’s coast on safety considerations.
Her decision to ban a few of the top global ship classification societies operating in India from undertaking statutory surveys of India-registered ships was also reversed by the ministry.
Dhingra could not be reached for this story