World food price index surges in May to highest level since 2011

World food price index surges in May to highest level since 2011
The Food and Agriculture Organization’s food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 127.1 points last month versus a revised 121.3 in April. (AFP)
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Updated 04 June 2021

World food price index surges in May to highest level since 2011

World food price index surges in May to highest level since 2011
  • FAO’s cereal price index rose 6.0 percent in May month-on-month and 36.6 percent year-on-year

ROME: World food prices rose in May at their fastest monthly rate in more than a decade, posting a 12th consecutive monthly increase to hit their highest level since September 2011, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday.
FAO also issued its first forecast for world cereal production in 2021, predicting output of nearly 2.821 billion tons — a new record and 1.9 percent up on 2020 levels.
The Food and Agriculture Organization’s food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 127.1 points last month versus a revised 121.3 in April.
The April figure was previously given as 120.9.
On a year-on-year basis, prices were up 39.7 percent in May.
FAO’s cereal price index rose 6.0 percent in May month-on-month and 36.6 percent year-on-year. Maize prices led the surge and are now 89.9 percent above their year-earlier value, however FAO said they fell back at the end of the month, lifted by an improved production outlook in the US.

FASTFACT

1.9%

FAO also issued its first forecast for world cereal production in 2021, predicting output of nearly 2.821 billion tons — a new record and 1.9 percent up on 2020 levels.

The vegetable oil price index jumped 7.8 percent in May, lifted primarily by rising palm, soy and rapeseed oil quotations. Palm oil prices were boosted by slow production growth in southeast Asia, while prospects of robust global demand, especially from the biodiesel sector, drove up soyoil prices.
The sugar index posted a 6.8 percent month-on-month gain, due largely to harvest delays and concerns over reduced crop yields in Brazil, the world’s largest sugar exporter, FAO said.
The meat index rose 2.2 percent from April, with quotations for all meat types buoyed by a faster pace of import purchases by east Asian countries, mainly China.
Dairy prices rose 1.8 percent on a monthly basis and were up 28 percent on a year earlier. The increase was led by “solid import demand” for skim and whole milk powders, while butter prices fell for the first time in almost a year on increased export supplies from New Zealand.
FAO said its forecast for record world cereal production this year was underpinned by a projected 3.7 percent annual growth in maize output. Global wheat production was seen rising 1.4 percent year-on-year, while rice production was forecast to grow 1.0 percent.
World cereal utilization in 2021/22 was seen increasing by 1.7 percent to a new peak of 2.826 billion tons, just above production levels.
“Total cereal food consumption is forecast to rise in tandem with world population,” FAO said.


Saudi National Development Fund targets infrastructure projects

Saudi National Development Fund targets infrastructure projects
Updated 15 June 2021

Saudi National Development Fund targets infrastructure projects

Saudi National Development Fund targets infrastructure projects
  • The capital of the new fund could "reach several billion royals"

RIYADH: The Saudi National Development Fund is preparing to launch a new fund targeting infrastructure projects in the Kingdom.
The capital of the new fund could "reach several billion royals", Asharq Business reported, citing unidentified sources.
Muhammad bin Mazyad Al-Tuwaijri, deputy chairman of the National Development Fund said in February that the Kingdom had started to work  on the launch of an infrastructure fund.
Saudi Arabia launched an ambitious SR12 trillion ($3.2 trillion) program in March to boost the role of the private sector in diversifying the economy.
Under the 'Shareek program', private sector businesses will be helped to invest SR5 trillion between now and 2030, along with SR3 trillion from the country's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and SR4 trillion as part of a new national investment strategy.

 


Omani Octal said to weigh $800m majority stake sale

Omani Octal said to weigh $800m majority stake sale
Updated 15 June 2021

Omani Octal said to weigh $800m majority stake sale

Omani Octal said to weigh $800m majority stake sale
  • A sale could value Octal at about $800 million

RIYADH: Octal, an Omani plastics packaging manufacturer, is considering a majority stake sale, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter.
A sale could value Octal at about $800 million, one of the people said. The company is working with JPMorgan Chase & Co., the people said, asking not to be identified for information confidentiality.  
The Muscat-based company has already attracted strategic suitors in Asia and the US, they said.
Octal was founded in 2006 and produces plastic used to package food and consumer products. The company is present in Oman, Saudi Arabia and the US and ships its products to more than 75 countries, according to its website.
The potential sale would add to the $96 billion of deals targeting companies in the Middle East and Africa this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


Egypt clothing exports hit by surging shipping costs

Egypt clothing exports hit by surging shipping costs
Updated 15 June 2021

Egypt clothing exports hit by surging shipping costs

Egypt clothing exports hit by surging shipping costs
  • Rising container costs are affecting both their imports of raw material as well as their export of finished garments according to Mohamed Kassem

RIYADH: Egyptian clothing manufacturers are being hammered by surging shipping costs.

Rising container costs are affecting both their imports of raw material as well as their export of finished garments according to Mohamed Kassem, a member of the Egyptian Exporters Association.

Fabrics from China account for most of the country’s clothing exports, he told Al Arabiya.
The cost of shipping a 40-feet container from Shanghai to an Egyptian port has rocketed to as much as $14,000 compared to $2,500 before the pandemic, he said.
That has led to increased competitive pressures for Egyptian textiles exporters from rivals in Asia.
He called on the state to intervene to help support the industry.


Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall

Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall
Updated 40 min 3 sec ago

Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall

Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall
  • Many Indian states eased coronavirus restrictions on Monday, including the national capital New Delhi, where authorities allowed shops and malls to open as the number of new cases dropped to the lowest in more than two months

BENGALURU: Indian shares ended at record highs on Tuesday, as declining COVID-19 infections prompted many states to re-open businesses, with a rally in broader markets also helping the sentiment.
The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.36 percent to 15,869.25 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.42 percent to 52,773.05 at close.
Many Indian states eased coronavirus restrictions on Monday, including the national capital New Delhi, where authorities allowed shops and malls to open as the number of new cases dropped to the lowest in more than two months.
India on Tuesday reported 60,471 new infections, the lowest since March 31.
The sentiment also tracked global stocks that hit a record high, as investors bet likely “transitory” inflation pressures will restrain the US Federal Reserve from signalling a shift in policy settings.
Many investors expect the Fed to maintain its dovish stance at its two-day meeting starting on Tuesday. Some board members, however, have said the central bank should start discussing tapering its bond buying.
In Mumbai trading, financial stocks provided a boost to the Nifty 50, with ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank ending 1.6 percent and 0.7 percent higher, respectively.
The Nifty Bank Index and the Nifty Private Bank Index, which have so far gained more than 0.55 percent this week, were among the top performers across sub-indexes rising between 0.85 percent and 1.07 percent.
Software services firm Infosys rose 0.8 percent, lifting the Nifty IT index by 0.23 percent.
Shares of Future Retail closed 10 percent higher, after staying at those levels since early trade.


Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan

Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan
Updated 15 June 2021

Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan

Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan
  • It will open on July 3
  • The park was developed by Abu Dhabi-headquartered Eagle Hills, one of the largest developers in Jordan

DUBAI: The Saraya Aqaba Waterpark – billed as the biggest in Jordan – is opening its doors on July 3.
Located in the country’s only coastal city, Aqaba, the park spans an area of more than 28,500 square meters. It has rides, slides, as well as food and beverage stalls.
“At Saraya Aqaba Waterpark, guests from all around the world are in for an aquatic adventure like no other with slides, rides and experiences suitable for guests of all ages,” Chris Van Der Merwe, its general manager said in a statement.
The park was developed by Abu Dhabi-headquartered Eagle Hills, one of the largest developers in Jordan, and is operated by Abu Dhabi-based Farah Experience, which also handles Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
Theme parks and other physical attractions have taken a hit when the pandemic forced countries to restrict people’s mobility, however some are now welcoming guests again as attractions make a gradual return.