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food prices are bullish for ag

  1. 3,048 Posts.
    Whilst the global wheat market appears to be well supplied at the moment, the article below made me think. What happens if China goes back to drinking more milk? Higher grain prices to supply the milk will be one. Agriculture and the fertilizer industry are set to be on a bull run if the Chinese and Indian populations change their eating habits.

    From the Korean Herald (its no SMH trust me)

    "Milk costs rising 39% amid fastest food inflation

    Falling production in commodities from rice to milk is bad news for just about everyone except investors.

    Rice may surge 63 percent to $1,038 a metric ton from $638 on Philippine imports and a shortage in India, a Bloomberg survey of importers, exporters and analysts showed. The U.S. government says nonfat dry milk may jump 39 percent next year, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. forecasts a 25 percent gain for sugar. Global food costs jumped 7 percent in November, the most since February 2008, four months before reaching a record, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

    Farm prices this year lagged behind copper futures that doubled and oil's 57 percent increase. A recovery from the worst recession since World War II would spur food demand and boost costs for buyers of commodities including milk processor Dean Foods Co. while increasing the number of hungry people that the U.N. says now exceeds 1 billion.

    "Agricultural commodities will be a great investment in the next three to five years," said Oliver Kratz, who manages $10 billion as head of Global Thematic Strategy investments at Deutsche Bank AG's DB Advisors in New York, including $3 billion in agriculture. For those who can't afford to pay more for food, there's the "painful" risk of hunger, he said.

    Expanding populations and higher incomes are boosting consumption in China and India. China's milk demand is recovering after domestic supplies were tainted with melamine, a chemical used in making plastics that killed at least six babies and sickened almost 300,000 children. Droughts in India and Argentina and typhoons in the Philippines have reduced output.

    Food-Price Risk

    "Inventories are extremely low in a number of grains markets," Barclays Capital said Dec. 10. "The prospect of a further bout of food-price inflation in 2010 cannot be ruled out since many of the factors that contributed to higher prices in 2007 and 2008 are still a feature."

    Stockpiles of corn and rice will drop before the 2010 harvest for the first time in three years, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. The International Sugar Organization forecasts a second straight global supply deficit in the year through September 2010, and the USDA predicts stores of the sweetener will drop to the lowest level since 1995.

    Pork, Poultry

    Wholesale-pork prices in the United States are up 27 percent this year, heading for the first annual gain since 2004, as farmers hurt by two years of losses cut the domestic breeding herd to the smallest level since the USDA started collecting the data in 1964. Chicken output is sliding in the U.S., where the number of eggs placed into incubators each week is headed to the lowest quarterly average since 2002.

    "The tendency for food prices is up, it's not down," Unilever Chief Executive Officer Paul Polman said Dec. 11 in a Bloomberg Television interview in Copenhagen. Rotterdam- and London-based Unilever, the largest consumer-product company after Procter & Gamble Co. in Cincinnati, makes Lipton tea, Hellmann's mayonnaise and Bertolli sauces. "We need to be sure that we have the food supply, that we don't waste, and that we continue to get increasingly efficient means to get that food to the consumers," Polman said.

    The risk of accelerating prices may be muted by "healthy" gains in inventories, including wheat, according to the FAO. Supplies in warehouses are enough to meet about 23 percent of global demand, compared with 19 percent two years ago, the FAO said last week. Inventories are "far more comfortable" than during last year's crisis, the U.N. agency said. (Bloomberg) "
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