Afternoon Coffee: Mars Moves to Improve Vanilla Supply Chain, OPEC Eyes Production Increase

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Mars has dispatched a team to help restore vanilla production in Madagascar, the world’s largest exporter of the ingredient, Logistics Manager reports. The Mars team hopes to improve food security and triple incomes for farmers over a 10-year period, as well as preserve the landscape in collaboration with Danone, Veolia and fragrance company Firmenich.

“What we have in Madagascar is a great example of a supply chain that’s broken,” Barry Parkin, Mars corporate vice president for commercial and sustainability, told Logistics Manager.

“We have farmers getting a fraction of the price from their material and it’s just ridiculous.”

OPEC Production 

Rallying oil prices will likely persuade OPEC members to agree to a production increase, ending the supply curbs that began 18 months ago. As Bloomberg reports, 18 of 31 analysts and traders in a global poll predicted that the 24 countries in the joint accord will agree to raise output when they meet next week in Vienna.

Nickel Prices 

Lithium typically nabs the headlines for materials caught up in the electric car frenzy, but another metal is seeing big price increases for the same reason.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, nickel is the top industrial metal and among the best-performing assets of 2018, with futures contracts on the London Metal Exchange up 21%. Battery manufactures have begun hoarding the metal in anticipation of a shortage.

Manufacturing Technology

And finally, a manufacturing update. Manufacturing technology orders climbed 10.5% year-over-year in April 2018, Industrial Distribution reports. Orders for the year rose 22.2% compared with the same point in 2017.

The investment in technology bodes well for the manufacturing sector, which is expected to continue strengthening during the second half of the year.

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