The FAO Food Price Index rose sharply in March, up 4.8 points, or 2.3%, to an average of 212.8, the highest level since May 2013. The Index, based on the prices of a basket of internationally-traded food commodities, saw prices increase in all groups except dairy, which fell for the first time in four months (-2.5%). Sugar, 7.9% and Cereals, 5.2% climbed the most.
By Nicholas Cunningham of Oilprice.com - On March 28, the White House released a multi-pronged strategy to reduce methane emissions from a variety of sources, a step the administration says is an outgrowth of the President's Climate Action Plan announced last year. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, about 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Brazil's Congress struck down this week a proposal to impose new taxes on the internal soy market after fierce opposition from the country's agricultural sector. An amendment to apply a tax known as PIS/Cofins on soybean sales to some domestic buyers had been removed from a bill to simplify taxation of Brazilian companies abroad that was passed by the lower chamber late on Tuesday.
Brazil's economy expanded 2.3% in 2013, compared with growth of 1% the previous year, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, IBGE, said this week. The country's GDP for 2013 was estimated at 4.84 trillion Reais (some 2.05 trillion dollars), the IBGE said.
The wine used for the masses of Pope Francis will be made using grapes from small Argentine producers with 500 liters of the drink already in production, according to a report from the Project for the Integration of Small Producers in the Viticulture Chain (PROVIAR).
Cuba's government has released further information on a proposed foreign investment law that will cut the profits tax in half and exempt investors from paying it for eight years in an attempt to attract capital into the communist economy.
Argentina's river Paraná is blocked since early March when a Cypriot flagged vessel broke down with a 45.000 tons cargo of soybeans, thus holding back access of another eighty vessels waiting to load in Rosario and other ports in the heartland of the grains and oilseeds country.
Weather-related events and increased demand came into play as the FAO Food Price Index registered its sharpest increase since mid-2012, averaging 208.1 points in February 2014. The new level is 5.2 points, or 2.6%, above a slightly revised index for January, but is still 2.1% lower than last year at the same time.
China's State-owned Chinese food giant Cofco Corp. on Friday announced it was buying a 51% stake in closely held grains trader Nidera NV. By investing in Dutch Nidera, Cofco--China's largest stated-owned grain trader-- would have greater control over pricing as well as better access to major grain-growing regions, such as Latin America and Russia.
Brazil's economic output grew 2.3% in 2013 for a third straight year of modest expansion by Latin America's biggest economy, the government announced on Thursday. GDP for the final quarter of the year rose a 0.7% compared to the third quarter, according to Brazil's Institute for Geography and Statistics, IBGE.