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Edible Oil Prices Hit Record High As Food Inflation Worries Persist

Edible Oil Prices Hit Record High As Food Inflation Worries Persist

Edible oil prices continue to surge to record highs amid adverse weather conditions for the world’s oilseed growers, adding to food-inflation worries that will persist through 2022.

Rapeseed and canola prices hit another record high on Friday after last year’s harvests in North America and Europe were hit with severe drought and reduced plantings, slashing global rapeseed stockpiles to a four-year low.

New concerns are developing in South America as a La Nina weather pattern has produced hot and dry weather in top growing regions and massive floods hitting palm oil farms in Malaysia.

Then there’s the rally in crude prices and the push towards a greener future, leading to increased demand for vegetable oils to produce biofuels.

Arthur Portier, an analyst at Paris-based farm adviser Agritel, told Bloomberg, “the situation is really tight, and the buyers are still there.”

Paris rapeseed futures surged nearly 6% Friday to a new record high and was the largest intraday gain since 2009. North American canola rose as much as 1.5%.

Edible oils are a vital ingredient for many consumer packaged goods. Rising prices will only make food more expensive.

China and India are the biggest importers of edible oils. Emerging market households will feel the most pain as food prices continue to rise because they dedicate larger amounts of income to food purchases than developed world households.

With pressures from high demand and tight supplies, edible oil prices are expected to remain high this year. Also, global food prices as a whole are at decade-high levels.

La Nina To Blast Europe With Cold Snap Amid Energy Crisis  

La Nina To Blast Europe With Cold Snap Amid Energy Crisis  

Energy prices in Europe are expected to increase as new weather models forecast a plunge in temperatures to begin by the late weekend.

A weather phenomenon known as La Nina will bring below-normal temperatures for continental Europe and the Nordic region by Sunday.

The region is susceptible to cold snaps, with natural gas stockpiles well below average.

On Wednesday, gas prices at the Dutch TTF hub, the benchmark for European gas, are making another attempt at the €100 per MWh mark.

Extra gas supplies by Russia have been mute so far. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline remains in limbo after German energy regulators last week suspended the certification process.

The next round of cold air is going to test energy supplies across Europe. Gas prices are likely to move higher, pushing up power prices. Already, power prices in Finland have jumped five times higher than a year ago.

North West Europe’s average temperatures for the next week are expected to slide well below the 30-year mean through the mid-point of the month.

The same with Nordic areas.

North West Europe’s heating degree days, a measure of heating demand, will be significantly over the 30-year average. The same is with Nordic areas.

On top of the cold, weather observer Electroverse forecasts snow will blanket the continent over the next two weeks.

The development of the La Nina weather pattern has meant unseasonably cold weather for Europe, boosting energy prices but declining prices in the US as weather trends stay warmer. The chart below shows US energy prices negatively diverging the UK and EU gas prices.

Soaring energy inflation and rising food prices are the makings of a ‘winter of discontent’ across Europe. EU politicians beware.

La Niña expected to affect climate around the world by end of year

La Niña expected to affect climate around the world by end of year

Do you wish you had a crystal ball that could tell you what the climate will be next year when you plan your garden? So do many other gardeners (and climatologists). But while there is no magic answer, we do know that in many parts of the United States and other countries, year-to-year climate variability is strongly dominated by what is going on in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. This is through a phenomenon called “El Niño Southern Oscillation” or ENSO for short.

Witch Hazel Covered By Snow In The Garden. Hampshire UK. Source: Si Griffiths, Commons Wikimedia

What is ENSO and how does it affect climate?

ENSO has three phases—a cold phase with unusually cold water in the equatorial Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) called “La Niña”, a warm phase with unusually warm water in the EPO, and the neutral phase that occurs between the two extreme phases. The ocean see-saws back and forth between the two opposite phases on a semi-regular pattern that usually lasts between two and five years from one El Niño to the next. Sometimes you can have two La Niña years (or even three) back-to-back (the end of 2021 is expected to be a second La Niña in a row), but you almost never have two consecutive years of El Niño.

In many parts of the world, the phase of the ENSO is highly correlated with the climate. Scientists can use that relationship to predict what the climate might be like in the coming months. That is helpful for gardeners who need to know what to expect both next season and next year for planning purposes…

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La Nina Turbocharges Drought In Brazil Putting World’s Coffee, Sugar, & Oranges At Risk

La Nina Turbocharges Drought In Brazil Putting World’s Coffee, Sugar, & Oranges At Risk

Global crop and food prices are skyrocketing to multi-year highs, and the culprit could be due to La Nina, a weather pattern characterized by the cooling of the equatorial Pacific and triggers atmospheric shifts that cause droughts in some regions of the world and wetter conditions in others. The prospect of a severe drought in the US has already be outlined in previous notes. Now it appears the worst drought in 20 years has struck agricultural rich Brazil.

Over the last month, Brazil has been faced with drought during its traditional rainy season.

“Soils are parched, and river levels are low in the nation’s Center-South region, a powerhouse of agricultural output. The drought is so severe that farmers are worried they’ll run out of the water reserves that help keep crops alive over the next several months, the country’s dry season,” said Bloomberg.

The cost of this year’s drought could severely impact coffee, sugar, and orange crop yields.

Coffee farmer Mauricio Pinheiro, 59, began irrigating his arabica-coffee crops in March, more than two months earlier than usual after his 131-acre farm received only half the rain it needed. He’s using so much water that his wells are running dry.

“My irrigation reservoir is drying up now — that usually happens in August,” said Pinheiro, who resides in Pedregulho in the Alta Mogiana region, in Sao Paulo state. “I’m concerned about running out of water in the coming months.”

One of the worst droughts to hit the country in decades is coming at a time when agricultural prices have rallied to multi-year highs, fanning fears of food inflation.

As much as the Federal Reserve is hoping for “transitory” inflation – La Nina altering weather patterns could exacerbate food inflation and make the problem global and last for years.

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This Flu Season Begins the Risk of a Pandemic 2018-2019

A possible new pandemic is forming from a deadly strain of flu emerging from Australia and will be headed to the UK as the normal flow of travels would take it. Britain will perhaps be hit with the worst flu season in 50 years. Already, there are about 170,000 cases of flu reported in Australia which is more than double this season than usual.

The strain of flu is called H3N2, and the number of flu deaths in Australia over winter has not yet been released, but it’s thought to be the worst in many years. The last major flu epidemic was in the 1968 pandemic which began in Hong Kong killing more than a million people worldwide. Flu pandemics have been linked to fluctuations in climate, and new research connects the world’s four most recent pandemics to the cyclical cooling of the Pacific Ocean near the equator.

The cyclical research correlating everything reveals that the four flu outbreaks that swept the world in the past 100 years all followed periods of global cooling. These were in 1918, 1957, 1968 and 2009 (in this last instance, the H1N1 “swine flu”). When sea-surface temperatures sank abnormally low, this correlates to large flu pandemics. This cooling is associated with  La Niña, a phase in a larger climate pattern. La Niña is the cool counterpart to El Niño, which is marked by unusually warm temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. It is now clear that both events alter weather patterns around the globe.

While the typical Transverse Wave cycle event would be every 22.75 years, but the Longitudinal Wave structure simultaneously exists and the complexity of these wave points to this season as turning up the risk factors for a pandemic flu season in 2018 and 2019.

February’s global temperature spike is a wake-up call

February’s global temperature spike is a wake-up call

Global temperatures for February showed a disturbing and unprecedented upward spike. It was 1.35℃ warmer than the average February during the usual baseline period of 1951-1980, according to NASA data.

This is the largest warm anomaly of any month since records began in 1880. It far exceeds the records set in 2014 and again in 2015 (the first year when the 1℃ mark was breached).

In the same month, Arctic sea ice cover reached its lowest February value ever recorded. And last year carbon dioxide concentration in our atmosphere increased by more than 3 parts per million, another record.

What is going on? Are we facing a climate emergency?

February temperatures from 1880 to 2016 from NASA GISS data. Values are deviations from the base period of 1951-1980. Stefan Rahmstorf

El Niño plus climate change

Two things are combining to produce the record warmth: the well-known global warming trend caused by our greenhouse gas emissions, and an El Niño in the tropical Pacific.

The record shows that global surface warming has always been overlaid by natural climate variability. The biggest single cause of this variability is the natural cycle between El Niño and La Niña conditions. The El Niño in 1998 was a record-breaker, but now we have one that looks even bigger by some measures.

The pattern of warmth in February shows typical signatures of both long-term global warming and El Niño. The latter is very evident in the tropics.

Further north, the pattern looks similar to other Februaries since the year 2000: particularly strong warming in the Arctic, Alaska, Canada and the northern Eurasian continent. Another notable feature is a cold blob in the northern Atlantic, which has been attributed to a slowdown in the Gulf Stream.

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Sister Acts of Havoc Set to Intensify El Niño Effect

Sister Acts of Havoc Set to Intensify El Niño Effect

LONDON—El Niño, the cyclic Pacific weather phenomenon that periodically brings global devastation in its wake, is not the only thing likely to grow more extreme with global warming.

A team of international scientists now predicts that its cool little sister, La Niña, is liable to turn nasty more often too—every 13 years, which is twice as often as the historic record.

Both are observed fluctuations in mid-ocean temperatures in the Pacific that are the signal for changes in the climate pattern: both are natural, both occur as part of a cycle, and both can be traced back through human history.

Mobile blister

 

El Niño is a mobile blister of Pacific Ocean heat that then affects winds and currents, and was first dubbed “The Child” by Peruvian fishermen, who noticed that it tended to arrive around Christmas.

A powerful El Niño is accompanied by drought and forest fire on the western side of the Pacific, and torrential rain and floods on the normally dry eastern Pacific coasts.

Meteorologists then amended the name to label opposite phase of what they call the “El Niño southern oscillation”.

With La Niña, unseasonally cold sea surface temperatures in the Pacific create a temperature gradient that can intensify droughts in the American south-west, trigger floods in the western Pacific, and hurricanes in the Atlantic.

 

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