Posts tagged 'food'

Welcome to Russia’s Hunger Games

Given that modern-day warfare must at some point involve drones or autonomous vehicles, it makes sense that modern-day propaganda wars should involve Twitter and social media.

The battle for cyber hearts and minds in that regard is now getting really interesting.

One need only do a casual Twitter search for “пустые полки“, the Russian for empty shelves, to see what we mean.

The backstory here is that in retaliation for US and EU sanctions, Russia has decided to ban the importation of large categories of food products from each. Read more

Food inflation abates as grain stocks rise

The threat of food inflation, a serious concern for emerging countries last year, is starting to recede as high prices for grains restrain consumption and better crop yields in Europe and Russia replenish stocks, the FT reports. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Thursday its food index had fallen last month to its lowest level in more than a year, reflecting reduced inflation across Asia. At the same time, the US reported that its domestic production and stocks of corn, a key commodity for the global food chain, were higher than previously thought, sending prices sharply down. Benchmark corn futures fell by their daily maximum limit to a three-week low of $6.11½ a bushel, down more than 6 per cent. Wheat, which had previously been supported by expectations of low corn stocks, fell 5.6 per cent.

Japan battles to restore food safety confidence

With their sharply trained eyes, Tokyo’s jovial beef traders can instantly judge the quality of the country’s premium wagyu beef from a gash made in the side of the carcasses dangling from hooks at the capital’s multi-storey meat market, reports the FT. But the smiles on the sidelines of the morning auctions these days belie a much more sombre reality. Their trade, along with that of farmers – often family businesses going back generations – has been under severe pressure since mid-July when local officials first discovered beef contaminated by radioactive caesium, prompting prices and trading volumes to fall dramatically.

Japan extends ban on contaminated food

Japan has widened a ban on shipments of spinach and milk from areas around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, after levels of radiation found in samples exceeded legal limits, reports the FT. Other countries including China and South Korea have stepped up monitoring of food imported from Japan. Tokyo Electric Power will compensate local farmers, the FT adds.

Further further reading

For the commute home,

– A devastating critique of Wisconsin coverage. Read more

Prepare for a major market over-reaction

Albert Edwards is back – back, that is, from his annual search for January sun to counter the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

And the sojourn looks to have been partly successful. Obviously the Soc Gen strategist remains bearish — he reckons the long-term downtrend in 10-year bond yields is under serious threat. But this could present investors with an opportunity for some bottom fishing, says Edwards. Read more

World moves closer to food price shock

The world has moved a step closer to a food price shock after the US government surprised traders by cutting stock forecasts for key crops, sending corn and soyabean prices to their highest level in 30 months, reports the FT. The price jump comes after the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation warned last week that the world could see repetition of the 2008 food crisis if prices rose further. The trend is becoming a major concern in developing countries. While officials are drawing comfort from stable rice prices, key for feeding Asia, they warn that a sustained period of high prices, especially in grains such as wheat, would hit poorer countries. Food price hikes have already led to riots in Algeria, Mozambique and Arab states. Delhi onion sellers have gone on strike, too, reports the FT.

Great mysteries of our time

No, not birds falling out of the sky in Louisiana, but this…

… the recent share price performance of Webvan 2.0. Read more

For sale – one FT Alphaville editor

Yes, it’s true. As part of the FT’s charity seasonal appeal, a lunch with FT Alphaville editor Neil Hume — at legendary London restaurant Koffmann’s — is up for auction.

Visit this page for details and to bid.

US crop farmers reap benefits of export boom

US farmers will export a record $126.5bn worth of crops in the year to October 2011, the US government said. It is the clearest indication of how rural America is profiting from rising agricultural commodities prices and surging food demand in Asia, the FT reports. The revised forecast, published on Tuesday, beats the previous record of $115bn set two years ago during the 2007-08 food crisis and represents a 16.6 per cent increase from last year. The jump bodes well for the US agribusiness sector, from tractor manufacturer Deere Co to traders Cargill, Archer Daniel Midlands and Bunge. The US is the world’s top exporter of food commodities, accounting for half the world’s corn, a third of the world’s soyabeans and a up to a fifth of the world’s wheat. The FT also reports that US regulators will have more power to scrutinise the safety of food imported into the US – from Chinese seafood to cheeses made in France – following the expected passage of legislation in the Congress.

Ocado hopes to raise £200m in IPO

UK online food retailer Ocado confirmed on Tuesday that it would press ahead with an equity valuation in the £800m-£1.1bn range for its forthcoming initial public offering, the FT reports. This would see shares in Ocado – which sells Waitrose food online – priced at between 200p and 275p. Ocado said it would issue up to 257.7m shares, including up to 102.5m new shares, raising £200m. Investors and management would also sell up to 155.2m shares, including 10m options or warrants, that may be exercised before listing. For more see FT Alphaville.