aWhere @SOLVE

Last week I was fortunate enough to participate in the inaugural SOLVE conference, held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the words of the conference organizers, ‘Solve’s mission is to inspire extraordinary people to work together to solve some of the world’s toughest problems.’ The event was organized around four pillars: Fuel, Make, Cure and Learn.

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Insight from GSMA Mobile 360 Africa Conference, Cape Town, October 7-9, 2015

There were several key insights to the demand for agricultural intelligence that can be inferred from this recent international conference on mobile communication held in Cape Town, October 7-9. The first is that we should expect in the near future, universal access to not only mobile communications, but also to broadband data and the internet, even in remote areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Supply Side Support in Orange Juice Futures

Last week, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released a decrease in their domestic orange production estimate for 2015/16; this follows their reduction in 2014/15 output as well, so the orange juice futures market may be moving towards a supportive pricing structure in 2016. The chart below (from shows activity over the last five days for November-15 futures; with today’s trading exhibiting a 6% increase from yesterday.

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ENSO and the Global Soft Commodity Markets

aWhere has been discussing the potential impacts of the current El Niño event on global agricultural soft commodity prices for several months, and we believe l that we are at the start of a shift in some of these markets as we look to 2016.  The current positive phase El Niño has been described not only as the strongest El Niño since the 1997-98 event, but possibly the strongest over the last 50 years.  While it is difficult, if not impossible, to forecast a market bottom (see first futures snapshot from FinViz below), our analysis points to the current weather pattern coupled with broader macroeconomic themes as support for a constructive pricing regime in 2016, notably world sugar.

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