Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 12th 2014 Contents A21
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PANAMA CITY---The head of the Pana-
ma Canal Authority says officials might
be forced to limit the draft of ships by
the end of this year or early in 2015 if
a drought continues and lowers the
level of lakes that feed the waterway s
Jorge Luis Quintano tells Panama s
Channel 2 television station that unusu-
ally light rainfall has dropped the level
of Lakes Gatun and Alajuela. He says
he s hoping for healthy rainfall in the
normally rainy months of October,
November and December. But he noted
in the interview that last November s
rains were the lowest for that period in
the 100-year history of the canal.
Thirty-eight to 40 ships transit the
canal daily between the Pacific and
Atlantic oceans, carrying some five per
cent of world maritime trade. (AP)
ROME---The FAO Food Price Index decreased for
a fourth consecutive month in July mainly due to
a sharp decline in international prices for maize,
wheat and certain oilseeds, reflecting ample supplies
for these commodities.
Based on the prices of a basket of international-
ly-traded food commodities, the FAO Food Price
Index averaged 203.9 points in July 2014, down 4.4
points (or 2.1 per cent) from a revised value in June
and 3.5 points (or 1.7 per cent) below the July 2013
"The lingering decline of food prices since March
reflects much better expectations over supplies in
the current and forthcoming seasons, especially for
cereals and oils, a situation that is expected to facilitate
rebuilding of world stocks," said FAO senior economist
In contrast, meat
prices rose for the fifth
consecutive month in
July, and those for sugar
remained firm. The fall
in quotations for grains,
oilseeds, as well as dairy
products pushed down
the FAO Food Price
Index to its lowest level
since January 2014.
markets have their own
dynamics: in the case
of meat, beef in partic-
ular, many exporting
countries are in a herd
rebuilding phase, which
is limiting availability
for exports and sustain-
ing prices," Calpe said.
"As for dairy products,
supplies available for trade appear to be abundant,
which, along with a faltering import demand, has
weighted on July s quotations."
The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 185.4 points
in July, down 10.7 points or 5.5 per cent from June
and as much as 36.9 points or 16.6 per cent below
the level one year ago.
In particular the fall in international prices for
maize (down 9.2 per cent from June) and wheat
(down 5.8 per cent) reflected excellent production
prospects as well as expected abundant exportable
supplies in the 2014/15 marketing season.
In contrast, rice prices edged marginally higher,
on renewed import demand, especially as Thailand s
sales from public reserves remained suspended.
The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 181.1
points in July, down 7.7 points or 4.1 per cent from
June. The decline continued to be primarily driven
by falling soy and palm oil prices.
Soy oil values fell mainly in response to record
crop prospects for the United States as well as abun-
dant supply in South America while palm oil quo-
tations eased on persisting strength in Malaysia s
currency and slow global import demand. Prices for
rape and sunflowerseed oil also weakened, reflecting
ample crop prospects for 2014/15.
The FAO Sugar Price Index averaged 259.1 points
in July, marginally up by 1.1 points (0.4 per cent)
from June, and 20.2 points (8.4 per cent) higher than
in July 2013.
International sugar prices have been relatively
volatile over the last three months, amid uncertainty
over the impact of a drought on sugarcane in Brazil,
the world s largest producer and exporter and indi-
cations of below average monsoon rains in India, the
second largest world sugar producer. (AP)
Panama Canal chief:
Drought could limit shipping
decline of food
prices since March
supplies in the
for cereals and oils,
a situation that is
of world stocks"
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