Sunday, July 28, 2019

"Mango leaves: Indian scientists’ solution to a $2.5 trillion global shipping problem"

For some reason this got me thinking of the great guar squeeze of 2011 - 2012.
Totally unrelated but somehow associated in an addled mind.
First though, Quartz (India), July 24:
A team of Indian scientists has developed a compound from the leaf of the mango tree that can protect ships from rusting, which is far more efficient than synthetic paints while also being non-toxic and environment-friendly.

Globally, the corrosion of ships and its prevention costs an estimated $2.5 trillion, according to a study by the National Association of Corrosion Engineers that is based in Houston, Texas.
According to Nishanth K Gopalan, leader of the team from the National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, mango leaves were selected for their anti-oxidant properties and their abundant content of polyphenols, which are known to resist corrosion.

“Corrosion prevention was achieved through the formation of an insoluble organometallic complex at the metal-electrolyte interface,” says Gopalan, an author of the report published last month in ACS Omega.

Gopalan tells SciDev.Netthat the compound, made by using epoxy as a base and incorporating mango leaf extracts in a substrate of amorphous silica, achieved 99% inhibition of corrosion in commercial steel when immersed in a saline medium to mimic seawater.

He explains that ethanol was used to extract phytochemicals from dried mango leaves and various concentrations tested for maximum corrosion resistance. “The anti-corrosion property was owing to the creation of iron-polyphenol, an organometallic compound.”...

And back to quar.  
I know what the connections are: an un-heralded commodity, big money, and India.
So while you glance at this I will be making inquiries into the mango market. First stop FreshPlaza, who understand how exhilarating this stuff can be (see 2018's "Will the 2018/2019 season be the most exciting onion campaign in years?"

....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.