Sunday, January 21, 2018

Rabobank: "World Vegetable Map 2018"

Over the years we've found Rabo to rank among the sharper (read: more accurate in forecasts) analysts in the food and agtech sectors.
Plus, we've never seen something out of the Dutch behemoth to match this from "The great global avocado trade flow chart":
Correction: An earlier version of this item incorrectly described all the avocados exported by the Netherlands as having been grown there....
No sir, Rabobank knows the sourcing of their avocado toast.
On a more serious note, and riffing off the earlier post "Hedge Funds Are Making Money From Bets on "Exotic" Markets", there seems to be a 'growing' interest in financializing flora foodstuffs beyond the big three in the U.S. (plus softs, of course).

Click for the PDF or check in with Rabobank for a poster.

From Rabobank ag research:
The 2018 World Vegetable Map shows essential vegetable trade flows and highlights some key global trends in the sector, such as the growing importance of production in greenhouses and vertical farms, as well as the popularity of organic vegetables.
Rabobank Vegetable Map.jpg
Download > Click here to download the World Vegetable Map
Poster versions of the World Floriculture Map are exclusively available to Rabobank clients. To receive one, please contact your relationship manager.
Map summary: more than just a local affair The global vegetable market is still predominantly a local market. Only 5% of the vegetables grown are traded internationally. But that share is increasing. Easy market access is vital for export-focused vegetable-producing countries like Mexico, Spain, and the Netherlands. Over the last decade, Mexico has further expanded its prominent position on the North American market, and internal EU trade has continued to grow.
Market for fresh (prepared) vegetables up, demand for canned vegetables down An estimated 70% of all vegetables grown in the world are sold as whole fresh vegetables. This market is still on the increase, mainly outside of the US and the EU. Processing of vegetables (freezing, preserving, and drying) is a good way to prevent wastage, but global consumption of preserved (canned) vegetables has decreased over the last decade. At the same time, demand for frozen vegetables has increased by an average of 1% per year. Demand trends seem most favourable for vegetables that are convenient to eat and prepare and/or do well on (social) media because of considered health effects or their visual appeal. Examples are all kinds of (prepared) salads as well as sweet potatoes. EU imports of sweet potatoes (mainly from the US) have tripled in just four years’ time....MORE
And then there's guar. The gum is made from the guar bean and is a versatile food additive.
It is also used in oil fracking.
Which leads me to ask: Did I ever tell you about the great guar squeeze of 2011-12? In 18 months guar gum ran 17-fold.
Back then men were men and beans were for frackin', not eatin' and.....where was I?

Some of our posts from that memorable year:
April 20, 2012 
Commodities: Guar Trades at Record Prices, Frackers Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Schlumberger Suffer (HAL; BHI; SLB)
June 2012
Guar Shortage Still Gumming Up Works for Big Frackers But Relief May Be on the Way (HAL; BHI; SLB)
July 19, 2012  
Earnings Heads-up: "Guar sowing down in India, still time to catch up" (SLB; HAL; BHI)
With guar prices having risen from $1.50 to $25.00 per Kilo and with both Schumberger and Halliburton blaming guar for their Q1 earnings shortfalls and issuing warnings for Q2, all eyes turn to Rajasthan. (well mine, anyway)
Indian market intelligence purveyor Three Headed Lion will sell you their 2012 Guar Gum Report: INDIA for $2975.
There's big money in guar.
Both BHI and SLB report tomorrow, Halliburton on Monday.
Since the Indian authorities suspended futures trading guar only trades physical. This morning's market report: GUAR: Guar and guar gum maintained their last close in thin trading....
July 20, 2012
Fracking: US Drillers Find Respite in Guar War (BHI; SLB; HAL)

Well, you're probably ahead of me on how this plays out:

September 2012
Fracking: India May See Record Guar Crop (HAL; SLB; BHI)

By October the autopsies were being performed:
Lessons From the Attempted Corner and Price Spike in The Guar Futures Trading Fiasco (HAL; SLB; BHI)
The result of the attempted corner and price rise was classic substitution on the part of the oil well service companies. After Halliburton blamed the guar price spike for the drop in their Q1 margins they, Schlumberger and Baker Hughes all began developing substitutes for the humble bean. From HAL's Sept. 4 Q3 profit warning:
The other two-thirds of the margin depression was due to the jump in prices for a key hydraulic fracturing ingredient, guar. McCollum reiterated that high guar prices would weigh on North American margins throughout the rest of this year.

"I suspect that there won't be significant relief from guar pricing in the fourth quarter," he said, while noting the recent good news of rain in India, the world's dominant supplier of guar beans.

"All indications suggest that we should see a significant moderation in guar pricing as we go into 2013," he added.

McCollum said a positive aspect was that Halliburton's substitute for guar, PermStim, met 5 percent of its guar demand in the second quarter, and the uptake had been even more dramatic in the current quarter. Rival Baker Hughes Inc has reported similar success with its own guar substitute.
The other effect was a rush in India to plant guar rather than foodstuffs with the result that guar has given back 2/3 of the 900% price rise and farmers are in the position of  not being able to cover the costs of inputs. There's no doubt that the situation will add to the epidemic of suicides among farmers which passed the quarter-million mark last year.

From Madhyam:
The recent guar trading scandal gives a peek into the murky world of Indian commodity futures markets and reveals how commodity exchanges are acting like casinos for speculators, moving away from their avowed objectives of price discovery and price risk management in an efficient and orderly manner....
The 900% figure was for the 2012 move, the $1.50 to $25/kg action was over 18 months.

Last I saw guar gum isn't even quoted in American anymore, it was trading at 9,345 Rupees per quintal ($146.37 per 100 kilos) with an open interest of 115 contracts for the expiring month.

I'm hearing good things about Chinese garlic though. 
Something about a new use in silicon solar fabrication. No futures yet, you have to stockpile physical but for chart watchers there is a quasi-periodicity to the action. 
As long as the neighbors don't complain about the aroma.