March 6, 2012
Food Product Design
Global sales of organic products continue to defy the economic downturn, growing by 8.8% in 2010 with growth continuing into 2011, according to a new market report from The Soil Association. The report also found 8 out of 10 households (83%) bought organic products in 2011.
According to the Organic Market Report 2012 strong growth has continued in the United States, which is the world’s leading organic market, and all major European organic markets with the exception of the United Kingdom where overall sales were down by 3.7% in 2011. Sales of organic products in China have quadrupled in the last five years, and Brazil is reporting an annual growth rate of 40%. Organic sales in Asia are predicted to grow 20% annually over the next three years.
February 16, 2012
“Got milk?” is getting to be a difficult question when it comes to organic.Because even as more consumers are willing to pay premium prices for organic milk, supermarkets are having trouble keeping it on the shelves as high feed and fuel prices have left some organic dairy farmers unable to keep up with demand.
“The market has surged faster than supply,” said George Siemon, CEO of Wisconsin-based Organic Valley, the nation’s largest cooperative of organic farmers, “and at the same time we had high feed costs reduce supply, so we had a double hit here.”
Organic milk shortages are nothing new. As the milk — which federal regulations require be from cows fed organic feed and free from production-boosting synthetic hormones — rose in popularity during the past decade, there haven’t always been enough farmers to meet demand (it can take three years to transition a conventional dairy farm to organic).
March 14th, 2011
Gas prices are still hovering around $4 per gallon in Chicago, but the disaster in Japan could actually bring them down a bit.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the average price of regular unleaded in Chicago is $3.71, about 1 cent cheaper than a week ago. At the Des Plaines Oasis Mobil station Monday morning, the price was $3.73 for regular, and $3.97 for super unleaded.
Now experts say in the short-term, the prices could continue to fall because of the devastation in Japan.
The tragedy of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last Friday has halted the fast-paced Japanese society, leading to a decline in the demand in oil there, and thus, a drop in worldwide oil prices and gas prices here at home.
AAA says Japan is the third largest consumer of crude oil.
Back in the U.S., in the past month, gas prices have surged up 37 cents, as a result of anxiety over unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.
While gas prices are starting to fall now, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is also calling on President Obama to help bring gas prices down in the long-term.
“As families and businesses are facing these high gas prices, I’ll be working with President Obama to urge him to release the strategic petroleum reserves so we can start stabilizing and bring these gas prices down,” Durbin said.
Experts say this week, prices will likely drop about 1 to 2 cents because of the woes in Japan. But it’s unclear how the prices will look in the coming weeks.
February 28th, 2011
By: Mark O’Byrne
The paper-driven sell off in the gold market seen in January has been trumped by continuing robust physical demand in January and February. This has resulted in gold rising nearly 6% in February and silver’s strong industrial and investment demand leading to a 19% rise to new nominal 30-year highs.
Political, and more importantly socioeconomic, revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa are leading to a degree of geopolitical instability and risk not seen in many years. This is leading to concerns about oil supplies from the region and hence the 14% jump in US crude oil just last week and deepening inflation concerns.
Hopes that the feudal Saudi regime will contain the situation by increasing production and exporting more oil are misplaced as the Saudis are already producing oil at maximum capacity and indeed are likely to have been overstating their oil reserves for some years, possibly considerably.
With all eyes on the Middle East and North Africa, there has been less focus on the continuing European sovereign debt crisis. However, the crisis continues and recent days and weeks have seen government bonds in Greece and Ireland again come under pressure.
The yield on Greek bonds (10-year) have risen to over 11.6% in recent days and the yield on Ireland’s 10-year reached a new record high of 9.40% this morning after the Irish electorate “liquidated” the Fianna Fail/Green government over the weekend. While the new government is likely to be a centrist Fine Gael and Labour one, there has been a swing to the left with Sinn Fein, the Workers Party and many left leaning independents elected.
The majority of Irish people are seeking that the massive debts of the Irish and European banking systems, incurred against them, be restructured or defaulted. Therefore, the new government will be under pressure to negotiate a fairer, more equitable settlement with the European Commission and the ECB with possible ramifications for the many European banks who lent irresponsibly to Irish banks.
Political and economic instability in Europe is set to continue and while the Irish used the ballot box, citizens in some EU countries may not be as peaceful or passive. While the euro has bounced against the beleaguered US dollar recently (the dollar looks very vulnerable to breaking down technically (see chart above), gold above EUR 1,000/oz (€1,020/oz this morning) is a sign that the euro’s troubles are far from over and further euro weakness in the coming months will see gold rise above the EUR 1,072/oz high seen at the end of 2010 (Dec. 28).
The move by the popular Egyptian Front for Reclaiming the People’s Wealth to ban the export of gold in order to preserve the wealth of the impoverished Egyptian people is a prudent one. The move may be emulated in other countries in the coming months leading to a further decline in scrap supply from emerging markets.
Conversely, mooted proposals by the Vietnamese Central Bank to ban “gold bullion trading” (see news below) are somewhat bizarre. If true this would be a very important development as the Vietnamese are some of the largest buyers of gold bullion in the world. It is unclear whether the proposed ban is simply to prevent “trading” or speculative short term buying and selling, or actually a move to ban the buying of gold bullion ingots and jewelry by Vietnamese households. If it is the latter, it will be unworkable as buying will simply move to the black market or Vietnamese will buy from overseas from bullion dealers.
Gold is trading at $1,410.50/oz, €1,020.11/oz and £868.59/oz.
Silver is trading at $33.43/oz, €24.18/oz and £20.59/oz.
June 10, 2010
By Stephen Bernard and Tim Paradis
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are surging after reports on the U.S. job market and Chinese exports lifted anxiety about the global economic recovery.
The government says total unemployment claims dropped last week by the largest amount in almost a year.
China says exports rose 48.5 percent in May, while imports jumped 48.3 percent. The increases are easing fears that debt problems in Europe will halt a global recovery.
Energy stocks are higher after sliding Wednesday on concerns that BP would slash its dividend because of fallout from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
At midday, the Dow Jones industrials are up 203 at 10,102. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is up 22 at 1,078, while the Nasdaq composite index is up 40 at 2,199.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks surged Thursday after reports on the U.S. job market and Chinese exports lifted some of investors’ anxiety about the global economic recovery.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 230 points in late morning trading. The Dow and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed about 2.3 percent, while the technology-dominated Nasdaq composite index rose about 2 percent.
Falling Treasury prices pushed interest rates higher after demand for safety investments eased.