By Nicholas Watson of bne
When the new chairman of Czech coal miner New World Resources warned back in February that the first part of 2013 was going to be challenging, few probably envisaged it would be quite as bad as this. But on May 16, NWR revealed that it made another record loss in the first quarter and said it would take a series of measures worth €100m to bolster its finances. Continue reading »
Monday marked the Hindu festival of Akshaya Tritiya, considered as an auspicious day to buy precious metals. And with last month’s sharp drop in the price of gold, demand in India is higher than ever.
But what does this mean for an economy where the current account deficit is weighed down by mammoth gold imports? And what does it mean for Indian households, quick to act on a price drop, buying the commodity on religious rather than financial grounds? Continue reading »
By Nupur Pavan Bang and Saumya Rastogi of the Indian School of Business
When gold prices fell below $1400 in mid-April, investors across the globe panicked and tried to exit their gold-based investments. Yet the scene was quite different driving through the Somajiguda area of Hyderabad, in India.
Both sides of the road, which is lined with jewellery shops, were overflowing with customers. As a valet at one of the largest shops put it: “People have been buying like gold is being distributed for free.” Continue reading »
Yes, it's made of gold
Indians are easily the world’s most voracious buyers of gold so as prices fall, demand should rise, right? Right. Conversely, as prices rise, demand should fall, right? Wrong. Experience of the past few years suggests that Indians buy gold with an apparent disregard for price.
That’s a headache for policy makers because gold imports have a big impact on India’s current account deficit. But Leif Eskesen, chief economist for India and Asean at HSBC, says there is scope for policy to take some of the passion out of Indians’ love affair with gold. Continue reading »
As a seasoning, salt goes well with rice. In many developing countries, poor families who cannot afford any dish at all sometimes eat boiled rice with nothing but a pinch of salt.
But salt in the soil where rice is grown ruins the crop, a problem that is worsening in Asia. Can anything be done? Continue reading »
Asia’s footprint in Africa’s commodity-rich economies has been growing, with Singapore-listed companies among the biggest investors.
Wilmar, the world’s largest refiner of palm oil, first moved into Africa in 2007 with a couple of palm oil refining joint ventures in Uganda and Ivory Coast. Africa is short of refined palm oil and Wilmar spotted an opportunity to fill that gap. Maersk, the Danish shipping line, says a significant proportion of the goods carried in ships from Singapore to Africa is refined palm oil.
Now Wilmar is expanding its African business to sugar. Continue reading »
Africa’s sugar industry will become all the sweeter if predictions about its growth come off.
Edward George, head of soft commodities research at Ecobank, tells beyondbrics he expects that even though domestic demand is rising, Africa will become a net exporter of sugar within seven years if it boosts production as planned, depriving Brazil of a key export market. Continue reading »
For a poor country, India has expensive taste.
It is the world’s biggest importer of gold – a pricey habit that has taken its toll on the country’s current account deficit. So is the recent tumble in the gold price just what India’s economy needs? Continue reading »
Indian sugar companies are rejoicing after the government finally lifted its curbs on sugar supplies.
India’s food minister, KV Thomas announced on Thursday evening that there will no longer be an obligation on Indian sugar mills to sell their produce to the government at concessional rates and there will no longer be a limit on the quantity they can sell on the open market. Continue reading »
The alphonso mango is known as the “king of fruits” in India. Boxes of the mangoes are presented as gifts to friends and family and – more recently – among corporate clients too.
But the mango man – as the common man is colloquially known in India – may actually get his hands on some mangoes, as the price of alphonsos has halved this season. Continue reading »
Should gold traders be paying attention to Chinese pork prices? It may sound outlandish, but new research has uncovered an interesting link between global gold prices and Chinese inflation (which in turn is often driven by pork prices). Continue reading »
Another resource-rich country. Another push to renegotiate a deal between the government and a foreign mining company.
This time it’s Kyrgyzstan, a small country that rarely excites the international investor. But the disputed deal concerns an operation that’s big enough to interest the global mining industry – the Kumtor gold mine, the country’s largest single asset, which has generated annual revenues of up to $1bn. Continue reading »
Colombia’s coffee tastes sweeter, once again.
On Friday, the country’s cafeteros – or coffee growers- and the government finally came to an agreement that puts an end to a strike that has left several people wounded. Continue reading »
It’s a country struggling to deal with widespread and persistent hunger. Yet India has too much wheat.
As stockpiles fill the country’s storage facilities, a panel of senior ministers will meet on Thursday to decide whether India – the world’s second largest producer of wheat – should increase exports to run down inventories. Continue reading »