Market Report - March 2012

Posted 06 March 2012

"A survey showed U.K. manufacturing grew in January, with overall activity at its highest level for 8 months."

EXCHANGE RATES

Against the $, Sterling opened the month at 1.54 and ended at 1.588 on 10th February.
Against the €, Sterling opened the month at 1.21 and ended at 1.19 on 10th February.

CRUDE OIL

Prices for Crude Oil and its derivatives firmed in January, with Brent Crude up 3%. E.U. petrol prices rose 7% and diesel prices 1%.

FATS AND OILS

Vegatable Oil prices ended the month largely unchanged as increases seen at the start of the month were offset by declines seen later. Soyabean Oil was stable in Argentina but increased slightly in Rotterdam. Recent rainfall in Argentina helped to ease concerns but more rain is still necessary in order to avoid further damage to the crops. Rapeseed Oil and Sunflower Oil remained unchanged. Palm Oil prices were also unchanged in Rotterdam, but fell slightly in Malaysia.

WHEAT

The flour Market continues to react to the vagaries of the weather. Even short term weather fluctuations can create uncertainty. During the past 6 weeks prices rose 20%, given poor weather in South America and extreme cold conditions in mainland Europe. Fundamentally, Wheat production is forecast at a record high of 685 tonnes and Russia is exporting again. There is plenty of material, resulting in World costs reducing over 25% from the highs of February '11.

DAIRY

Milk Powders - E.U. S.M.P. prices were down 5% on average, while those for W.M.P. and Whey were unchanged.

Butter - E.U. prices fell 2% on average in the New Year, as supplies increased.

Cheddar - U.K. product prices were unchanged.

Liquid Egg - Prices rose 2%.

COCOA

Cocoa beans rose 15% on LIFFE following reports of dry weather and strong winds in West Africa and strikes in Nigeria, which threatened to disrupt supply. U.K. Cocoa Powder prices rose 3%, and those for Cocoa Butter 21%.

DRIED FRUIT & NUTS

Currants - Greek fruit remains very expensive. Producers are reluctant to sell the small amounts remaining, although they are expected to start closing operations down early towards the end of March.

Sultanas - Prices remain firm, although export sales are well down. Domestic sales, mainly to the alcohol sector, are good and these volumes, combined with tight supply, should keep prices firm for the foreseeable future.

VEGETABLES

U.K. Potato prices fell 3% in January, due to weak demand. Onion prices remained unchanged.


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