Author Archives: Mintec



Fake (Commodities) News: Investigate, Investigate, Investigate

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Nick Peksa, market analyst at Mintec.

In the press we have heard a lot about fake news. This is nothing new; this has been around in the form of market rumors for many years. As we all know by now, the commodity and raw materials market can be very sensitive to speculation — one bad report from an unknown source can cause major price upheavals in a market. In order to verify or discount rumors, they need to be approached in a logical manner, i.e., ask or research all of the questions that might influence a market.

Spreads: Functional or Fatty?

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jara Zicha and Nick Peksa, market analysts at Mintec.

Breakfast has been touted for many years as the most important meal of the day; however, times are changing in this fast moving world of marketing and grab-and-go. Today’s buzzwords are “fast and functional,” so what is it that can possibly tick these boxes? Chocolate on bread! A generic chocolate spread contains five key ingredients; sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, semi-skimmed milk powder (SMP) and cocoa powder. The good news is that the price of spread is dropping. This seems slightly counterintuitive when you consider there have been global price increases in both sugar and palm oil over the last two years. But in reality, sugar and fat are bulking agents and are the cheapest constituents of the product, so the more that can be crammed into a jar, the more money the manufacturer can make.

Spring Time Sees Ammonia Prices Grow

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Verity Michie, market analyst at Mintec.

U.S. ammonia prices have been on a downward trend since the beginning of 2015, reaching a seven-year low in November 2016. So why have ammonia prices suddenly started rising? In order to answer this question, we will need to look at the reasons behind the two-year-long decline.

Cocoa Market Braces for Largest Surplus in 6 Years

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post form Avneet K Deol, market analyst at Mintec.

In the run up to Easter last year, a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation estimated that Americans spend around $2.4 billion on candy, and this year is looking to be no different, with 87% of parents preparing an Easter basket for their children. So in terms of impact for chocolate sales (mainly eggs), Easter is more important than both Halloween and Valentine’s Day. Given the time of year and news that cocoa bean prices have plummeted in recent months, we decided to take look at the reasons for this.

Apple Juice Prices Squeezed in the U.S.

apple juice

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jara Zicha, market analyst at Mintec.

President Donald Trump is still talking about imposing high tariffs on imports from China, even with all of the presidential campaigning behind him. While this is yet to be followed by something more definite, government officials and workers from several industries, including manufacturing, technology and farming, are either voicing their excitement or worry. Importers in the U.S. apple juice industry are likely to be some of those with concerns, as they mainly import apple juice concentrate (AJC) from China.

Rising Olive Oil Prices and the US

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Avneet Deol, market analyst at Mintec. 

The U.S. consumes approximately 300,000 tons of olive oil a year, with per capita consumption around 1 liter. With domestic production only around 5,000 tons per year, however, the U.S. relies on imports to meet requirements, more than half of which come from Italy and Spain. U.S. imports for 2016/17 are forecast at 304,000 tons, down 3% from the record high last season. In this article, we look at what olive oil prices are currently doing in Italy and Spain, as well as at the factors influencing the market.

Base Oils Up for the First Time Since 2010

oil

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Verity Michie, market analyst at Mintec.

Using a vehicle day in, day out can sometimes be taken for granted, but do we actually understand the ins and outs of them? When thinking about the cost of running a vehicle, we tend to think of fuel, tyres and servicing, but we are less likely to think of metal processing fluids and lubricating greases; nevertheless, they are important. These fluids and greases are made from base oils, which are derived as by-products of refining crude oil. Did you know that something as crucial as engine oil for your car is made from around 80%–85% of base oil?

US Propylene Prices Up Over 100%

plastic

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Rajiv Joarder, knowledge team leader at Mintec.

U.S. propylene prices are making headlines yet again, with the steepest price incease in recent years seen this January 2017. At the start of Q4 2016, we reported on propylene prices rising due to factory closures in the U.S. Five months later, prices have risen for similar reasons. But only now are we heading into the peak season for global plastic demand, while the supply situation looks like it could be even bleaker in the near future, due to upcoming factory maintainance period in the E.U. Could this be the storm buyers fear?

Will 2017 Be a Rollercoaster Year for Chicken Prices?

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Michael Liberty, market analyst at Mintec.

As over 100 million viewers tuned in to watch the New England Patriots make the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime, they turned to mouth-watering chicken wings for their half-time snack. A record 1.33 billion wings were consumed this Super Bowl, up 2% year-over-year. So, what better time could there be to look at what chicken prices are doing and the factors likely to affect prices this year?

Sweet Year for Sugar in 2016

sugar

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Avneet Deol, market analyst at Mintec.

Earlier in 2016, prices for the sugar No. 11 contract on ICE US, the world benchmark for raw sugar trading, looked set to end the year at the highest level in over four years. However, prices subsequently fell in Q4 2016, reaching six-month lows by mid-December. In this article, we look at what factors impacted the sugar market last year and why prices turned around toward the end of 2016.

US Peanut Prices Increase More Than 30% in 2016

peanut

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Jara Zicha, market analyst at Mintec.

In 2016, peanut prices rose 33%. The marketplace is being heavily squeezed by multiple factors, driving the global price higher. Production dipped in China in 2015, creating supply pressures elsewhere, as Chinese buyers looked to source their nuts from other origins. In addition, production in Argentina fell substantially in 2016, due to adverse weather during the harvest between April and May.

Argentina Squid Prices Skyrocket

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Michael Liberty, market analyst at Mintec.

Squid prices in Argentina, a major supplier to the U.S., have surged 107% this year due to low catches, which in turn can be blamed on El Niño conditions from the end of 2015 and early 2016. In addition, high calamari demand in the U.S. has also added upward pressure to prices.