Saudi Arabia raising soybean and corn imports from Brazil

Updated 29 October 2012
0

Saudi Arabia raising soybean and corn imports from Brazil

JEDDAH: BrazArtis, an import-export company based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is set to expand its soybean and corn exports to the Middle East, a move that is aligned with growing Brazilian grain harvest and exports.
Driven by soybean and corn production, Brazilian grain harvest is estimated to exceed 180 million tons from 170 million last year.
The soybean harvest alone for 2012/13 is set to increase by 20 percent and reach 81 million tons, from 66 million last year.
Ranked as the second agricultural commodity export from Brazil, maize production is set to increase by 7 percent from 66 million tons to 70 million tons.
In the period of January to August of this year, Egypt has increased its purchases of maize by 899.4 percent, from 90,310 tons in 2011 to 902,550 tons in 2012, according to Scot Consultoria.
Saudi Arabia has increased its purchases of corn from 159,770 to 402,190 tons in the same period, an increase of 151.7 percent.
Jan Dabrowa, business development director at BrazArtis, said: “The value of the Brazilian agribusiness has reached a peak, and it is set to reach $ 100 billion in 2012. Current exports of oilseeds are being fueled by changing market dynamics that have set the stage for another successful harvest in 2013. In light of the decreased exports by Argentina and unfavorable weather conditions that affected the US crops, Brazil took up a leadership role as one of the main producer and exporter of soybeans and corn.”
On another hand, corn exports to Iran decreased by 26.9 percent from 951,890 to 695,620 metric tons, but the country still stands as one of the leading importers of Brazilian corn in the region.
The exports of soybeans in 2012 are set to reach 17.5 million tons, a 20 percent boost from 2011.
In 2013, a provision for 10 percent increase in planting and 11 percent improvement in average productivity should result in 27.5 million acres planted and potential harvest of 81 million tons of grain.
Around 48 percent of the total production, equivalent to 39 million tons of oilseed will be destined for export.
It is projected by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture that the agribusiness exports will reach a record of $ 100 billion in 2012. In 2010 Brazilian agricultural exports surpassed $ 76.4 billion worldwide, an 18 percent increase from 2009.
They reached a new record in 2011 by totaling $ 94.59 billion, 24 percent higher than in 2010.
Brazil’s exports span across the whole GCC region including the Kingdom, UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria and Oman.


Malaysia reviews China infrastructure plans

Malaysia’s former PM Najib Razak (AFP)
Updated 18 June 2018
0

Malaysia reviews China infrastructure plans

  • Malaysia's scandal-mired former PM Najib Razak signed a string of deals for Beijing-funded projects, including a major rail link and a deep-sea port.
  • New Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has announced a planned high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and neighboring Singapore will not go ahead as he seeks to reduce the country’s huge national debt.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has been a loyal partner in China’s globe-spanning infrastructure drive, but its new government is to review Beijing-backed projects, threatening key links in the much-vaunted initiative.

Kuala Lumpur’s previous regime, led by scandal-mired Najib Razak, had warm ties with China, and signed a string of deals for Beijing-funded projects, including a major rail link and a deep-sea port.

But the long-ruling coalition was unexpectedly voted out last month by an electorate alienated by allegations of corruption and rising living costs.

Critics have said that many agreements lacked transparency, fueling suspicions they were struck in exchange for help to pay off debts from the financial scandal which ultimately helped bring down Najib’s regime.

The new government, led by political heavyweight Mahathir Mohammed, has pledged to review Chinese deals seen as dubious, calling into question Malaysia’s status as one of Beijing’s most cooperative partners in its infrastructure push.

China launched its initiative to revive ancient Silk Road trading routes with a global network of ports, roads and railways — dubbed “One Belt, One Road” —  in 2013.

Malaysia and Beijing ally Cambodia were seen as bright spots in Southeast Asia, with projects in other countries often facing problems, from land acquisition to drawn-out negotiations with governments.

“Malaysia under Najib moved quickly to approve and implement projects,” Murray Hiebert, a senior associate from think-tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told AFP.

Chinese foreign direct investment into Malaysia stood at just 0.8 percent of total net FDI inflows in 2008, but that figure had risen to 14.4 percent by 2016, according to a study from Singapore’s ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.

However, Hiebert said it was “widely assumed” that Malaysia was striking quick deals with China in the hope of getting help to cover debts from sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

Najib and his associates were accused of stealing huge sums of public money from the investment vehicle in a massive fraud. Public disgust at the allegations — denied by Najib and 1MDB — helped topple his government.

Malaysia’s first change of government in six decades has left Najib facing a potential jail term.

New Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has announced a planned high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and neighboring Singapore will not go ahead as he seeks to reduce the country’s huge national debt.

The project was in its early stages and had not yet received any Chinese funding as part of “One Belt, One Road.” But Chinese companies were favorites to build part of the line, which would have constituted a link in a high-speed route from China’s Yunnan province to trading hub Singapore, along which Chinese goods could have been transported for export.

Work has already started in Malaysia on another line seen as part of that route, with Chinese funding — the $14-billion East Coast Rail Link, running from close to the Thai border to a port near Kuala Lumpur.

Mahathir has said that agreement is now being renegotiated.

Other Chinese-funded initiatives include a deep-sea port in Malacca, near important shipping routes, and an enormous industrial park.

It is not clear yet which projects will be amended but experts believe axing some will be positive.

Alex Holmes, Asia economist for Capital Economics, backed canceling some initiatives, citing “Malaysia’s weak fiscal position and that some of the projects are of dubious economic value.”

The Chinese foreign ministry did not respond to request for comment.

Decoder

What is the "One Belt, One Road" initiative?

The “One Belt, One Road” initiative, started in 2013, has come to define the economic agenda of President Xi Jinping. It aims to revive ancient Silk Road trading routes with a network of ports, roads and railways.