Wheat hits new highs as USDA stokes world supply worries

Wheat hits new highs as USDA stokes world supply worries
The USDA reduced its estimate of US wheat production to a 19-year low due to adverse weather. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 13 August 2021

Wheat hits new highs as USDA stokes world supply worries

Wheat hits new highs as USDA stokes world supply worries
  • Paris wheat at new contract highs, CBOT wheat at new 3-month top
  • USDA's steep world supply cuts fuelled rally in wheat market

PARIS/SINGAPORE: US and European wheat futures extended gains on Friday, led by fresh contract highs in Paris, after steep cuts to world supply in a US government report fueled concern about dwindling availability in major export zones.
Corn and soybeans edged up as investors assessed the US Department of Agriculture’s sharper than expected reductions to US yields against the agency’s lower demand projections.
In its widely followed monthly crop outlook on Thursday, the USDA surprised the market by slashing projected world wheat supplies, notably due to a combined 20 million ton cut to expected production in Russia and Canada. The USDA also reduced its estimate of US production to a 19-year low due to adverse weather.
“The market found a new factor of tension with the strong cuts to production in the main exporting countries,” consultancy Agritel said of the USDA report.
The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was up 1.4 percent at $7.64-1/4 a bushel by 11:11 a.m. GMT, near an earlier three-month peak. Euronext futures showed sharper gains, drawing additional strength from weak milling quality in a rain-hit French harvest. December wheat on Euronext was up 2.7 percent at a new life of contract high of 255.50 euros ($300.16) a ton.
Grain group Soufflet said on Thursday only about a third of soft wheat it has collected so far in France was meeting a key milling standard. CBOT corn was up 0.2 percent at $574.50 a bushel, while soybeans added 0.9 percent to $13.53-1/2 a bushel.
Corn had rallied on Thursday on the USDA’s reduced forecast for US yields, although as in soybeans the USDA trimmed demand projections. The export outlook for US soybeans has been clouded by signs of slowing Chinese demand. However, analysts still see global supplies remaining relatively tight.
“Modest demand rationing — especially in soy — may deliver a softer landing for G&O (grains and oilseeds) supplies, but it will be tough to materially raise carry-out (stocks) over the next year or two, raising prices risks for consumers across the board,” Rabobank said in a note.


Almost all sectors in the Kingdom experienced a decline in sales last week: SAMA

Almost all sectors in the Kingdom experienced a decline in sales last week: SAMA
Updated 19 sec ago

Almost all sectors in the Kingdom experienced a decline in sales last week: SAMA

Almost all sectors in the Kingdom experienced a decline in sales last week: SAMA

Riyadh: The value of sales across Saudi Arabia decreased by 5.2 percent in the week ending 16 October compared to the previous week, figures released by the Kingdom’s Central Bank (SAMA) revealed.

Data showed that point-of-sale transactions fell back slightly to SR8.7 billion last week, from SR9.1 billion in the previous week.

This decline was driven by a sharp fall in education sales, which were down by 25.8 percent. Sales of miscellaneous goods and services dropped by 9 percent while food and drink sales slipped by 7.9 percent.

The hotel sector was the only one to record an increase in sales. They were up by 24 percent compared to a decline the week before.


BP calls for investment in long-term energy deals, storage to meet future demand

BP calls for investment in long-term energy deals, storage to meet future demand
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Updated 1 min 41 sec ago

BP calls for investment in long-term energy deals, storage to meet future demand

BP calls for investment in long-term energy deals, storage to meet future demand
  • The call comes after coal, oil and gas prices surged to all-time or multi-year highs in recent weeks hammering utilities and consumers from Europe to China

Global energy major BP called on Thursday for more investments in longer term energy contracts, storage and the diversification into various fuels to build a robust energy system in future.


The call comes after coal, oil and gas prices surged to all-time or multi-year highs in recent weeks hammering utilities and consumers from Europe to China, raising inflationary pressures and putting at risk a global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.


Globally buyers and consumers are advocating for higher investment in energy assets for continued and affordable supplies.


"I think the real question is not about how it looks today because, in general, things are being supplied today, I think the question is what would it look like as we head into the winter months," BP Chief Executive Bernard Looney said at the Indian Energy Forum.


"People are doing what they can to get ready for that but I think what it means in the longer term...we must invest into things like longer term contracts, invest into natural gas which remains a great balancer in the system, invest into storage and invest into diversification."


Some countries are already topping up energy storage to avoid shortages during winter, Looney said.


On Wednesday, BP signed a 10-year piped natural gas supply deal with a unit of China's Shenzhen Gas Group Co Ltd starting 2023.


BP also aims to supply 15 percent of India's gas needs, Looney said.


Separately, BP wants to strengthen its energy-trading operation, one of the world's largest, which will benefit from the company's new focus on generating electricity.

"We intend to double down on and grow, particularly here in Europe, particularly in China and looking at the United States," Looney said referring to BP's electricity business.


Earlier this month, small British energy supplier Pure Planet, in which BP holds a stake of about 24 percent, ceased trading as many suppliers struggled with record wholesale energy prices.


PIF-owned ACWA Power to become a net zero energy producer, CEO says

PIF-owned ACWA Power to become a net zero energy producer, CEO says
Updated 57 min 59 sec ago

PIF-owned ACWA Power to become a net zero energy producer, CEO says

PIF-owned ACWA Power to become a net zero energy producer, CEO says

RIYADH: The head of ACWA Power, Saudi Arabia’s only listed company with ambitious renewable projects, plans to end investment in non-renewable schemes as part of the business’s commitment to reaching net zero by 2050.

Speaking ahead of the Saudi Green Initiative forum that will be held in Riyadh on October 23, Paddy Padmanathan, chief executive of ACWA Power, which floated on the Kingdom’s stock exchange earlier this month, told Arab News: “We want to reduce carbon emissions, because climate change is real. We can see it, we can feel it.”

Riyadh-based ACWA, which is 44 percent owned by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund PIF, is the Kingdom’s most high-profile entity for building renewable energy and hydrogen projects.

The company is expected to deliver at least 70 percent of Saudi Arabia’s renewable schemes by 2030, and is forecast to take part in around $30 billion worth of green projects over the next 10 years, as the Kingdom’s strategy to diversify its economy away from fossil fuels gathers pace. 

ACWA began trading on the Saudi stock market this month after selling an 11 percent stake. The move values the entire company at $10.9 billion.

Padmanathan said: “We will not invest in coal going forward, we will not do any more coal power plants.  We will not obviously do anymore oil. In terms of our existing oil-fired power plants in the Kingdom, the government is committed to shutting those down by 2030, so we'll be working with them on how to shut those down, and then repower them all. The existing fleet of oil assessed will get phased out over the next nine years by repowering.”

Padmanathan confirmed that gas projects will still form part of ACWA’s portfolio but added the business would be “very careful and very selective” about the type of gas-fired power plant schemes it becomes involved in.

He said: “We are working with Saudi counterparts on how best to manage the portfolio in terms of carbon elimination.”

Padmanathan said the increasing reduction in the cost of producing renewable energy means even Middle East petrostates will be able to power their countries more cost effectively with green energy, particularly through increased investment in solar technology.

He said: “Conveniently, the cost comes down to such an extent that for a big part of the energy consumed today it is the cheapest option even for a country like Saudi Arabia, which is blessed with such a low cost of production of fossil fuels, to produce its energy.”

He added: “We have also been able to produce low-cost renewable energy through electrolysis to produce hydrogen, so can now contemplate producing green hydrogen [which doesn’t involve the use of fossil fuels].”

ACWA holds a one-third stake in the massive $5 billion Neom project which will be powered entirely by solar and wind, and will be one of the world’s largest green hydrogen plants when it opens in 2025.

 


Economists revise Saudi growth forecasts upward in 2022, Reuters poll showed

Economists revise Saudi growth forecasts upward in 2022, Reuters poll showed
Updated 21 October 2021

Economists revise Saudi growth forecasts upward in 2022, Reuters poll showed

Economists revise Saudi growth forecasts upward in 2022, Reuters poll showed

BENGALURU: Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude oil exporter and the region's economic and political heavyweight, will see 5.1% economic growth next year after a modest 2.3% expansion this year and a sharp 4.1% contraction last year, according to a Reuters' economists poll.

That was an upgrade from the July Reuters poll and higher than the International Monetary Fund's 4.8% forecast for 2022, Reuters said.

Economies in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council will grow faster next year than previously thought, according to a Reuters poll of economists who warned a decline in oil and gas prices was the biggest risk to their outlook.

The oil-rich region will benefit from an increased COVID-19 vaccination rate, rising oil prices and easing of lockdown restrictions this year and next, the poll suggested.

But while these may lift short-term economic prospects, they are vulnerable to the region's high reliance on global oil demand amid an economic slowdown in China, the world's largest crude importer.

Still, the Oct. 8-20 Reuters poll of 21 economists forecast an improvement in the economic fortunes of most oil-exporting nations after they were battered by the pandemic and the record collapse in oil prices last year.


Saudi Arabia's real estate prices jump by 0.5% in Q3 2021: GASTAT

Saudi Arabia's real estate prices jump by 0.5% in Q3 2021: GASTAT
Updated 21 October 2021

Saudi Arabia's real estate prices jump by 0.5% in Q3 2021: GASTAT

Saudi Arabia's real estate prices jump by 0.5% in Q3 2021: GASTAT

CAIRO: Annual real estate prices in the Kingdom rose by 0.5 percent in the third quarter of this year, official data revealed.

This was mainly driven by a yearly increase of 1.1 percent in residential land prices, the General Authority of Statistics said today.