Oil dips on rising US crude inventories, darkens economic outlook

US crude stocks rose by 3.7 million barrels in the week to August 10 to 410.8 million barrels, private industry group the American Petroleum Institute said. (Reuters)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Oil dips on rising US crude inventories, darkens economic outlook

  • US crude stocks rose by 3.7 million barrels in the week to August 10 to 410.8 million barrels
  • Sentiment was also clouded by a darkening economic outlook which could start impacting oil demand

SINGAPORE: Oil prices fell on Wednesday, pulled down by a report of increased US crude inventories and as a darkening economic outlook stoked expectations of lower fuel demand.
Front-month Brent crude oil futures were at $72.33 per barrel at 0408 GMT, down by 13 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last close.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 25 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $66.79 per barrel.
US crude stocks rose by 3.7 million barrels in the week to Aug. 10, to 410.8 million barrels, private industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API) said on Tuesday. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 1.6 million barrels, the API said.
“Oil prices ... fell after the API inventory data showed an unexpected crude build last week,” said William O’Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia’s Rivkin Securities.
Official US fuel inventory data is due to be published later on Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.
Sentiment was also clouded by a darkening economic outlook which could start impacting oil demand, traders said.
The OECD’s composite leading indicator, which covers the western advanced economies plus China, India, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa, peaked in January but has since fallen and slipped below trend in May and June.
World trade volume growth also peaked in January at almost 5.7 percent year-on-year, but nearly halved to less than 3 percent by May, according to the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
BMI Research said oil markets would “struggle for direction, as uncertainty around both the impact on supply from the Iranian sanctions and escalating trade tensions between the US and China persists.”


Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

Updated 20 October 2018
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Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

  • Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change
  • Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983

BAGUINEDA: When rice farmers started producing yields nine times larger than normal in the Malian desert near the famed town of Timbuktu a decade ago, a passerby could have mistaken the crop for another desert mirage.
Rather, it was the result of an engineering feat that has left experts in this impoverished nation in awe — but one that has yet to spread widely through Mali’s farming community.
“We must redouble efforts to get political leaders on board,” said Djiguiba Kouyaté, a coordinator in Mali for German development agency GIZ.
With hunger a constant menace, Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change.

 

Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983. It involves planting fewer seeds of traditional rice varieties and taking care of them following a strict regime.
Seedlings are transplanted at a very young age and spaced widely. Soil is enriched with organic matter, and must be kept moist, though the system uses less water than traditional rice farming.
Up to 20 million farmers now use SRI in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast, said Norman Uphoff, of the SRI International Network and Resources Center at Cornell University in the US.
But, despite its success, the technique has been embraced with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Uphoff said that is because it competes with the improved hybrid and inbred rice varieties that agricultural corporations sell.
For Faliry Boly, who heads a rice-growing association, the prospect of rice becoming a “white gold” for Mali should spur on authorities and farmers to adopt rice intensification.
The method could increase yields while also offering a more environmentally-friendly alternative, including by replacing chemical fertilizers with organic ones, he said.
He also pointed out that rice intensification naturally lends itself to Mali’s largely arid climate.

FACTOID

Up to 20 million farmers now use rice intensification in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast.