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Nearby Futures WSJ

July 29, 2015 (WSJ.com) by  Nicole Friedman

Crude Oil Rises on Unexpected Declines in Supplies, Production


But fears of a continued price slump remain 


NEW YORK-Oil prices rose Wednesday on unexpected declines in U.S. crude-oil supplies and production.


Prices have slumped this month on renewed fears that the global glut of crude oil could last longer than investors initially expected. This comes as production in the U.S. and elsewhere continues to exceed consumption.


Wednesday's data offered some hints that the oversupply of crude oil is starting to shrink, but analysts warned that the trend might not continue and prices could resume their decline.


Light, sweet crude for September delivery settled up 81 cents, or 1.7%, to $48.79 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, rose 8 cents, or 0.2%, to $53.38 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.


Domestic crude inventories fell by 4.2 million barrels to 459.7 million barrels last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected stockpiles to be unchanged in the week.


Though refineries processed less crude into gasoline and other fuels compared with the week before, crude-oil inventories still declined due to a drop in imports and production.


U.S. crude-oil production fell by 145,000 barrels a day to 9.4 million barrels a day, the largest one-week decline since October 2013. Excluding Alaska, which saw a small rise in output, the drop totaled 151,000 barrels a day.


"The most interesting thing is the pretty big adjustment downward in crude production," said Dominick Chirichella, analyst at the Energy Management Institute. "In general, I think it's an overall positive report."


The EIA's weekly production figures are based on a statistical model, not reported production.


Prices erased some of their gains late in the trading session as the dollar strengthened on signals from the Federal Reserve that U.S. short-term interest rates could rise in the coming months. A stronger dollar can weigh on crude prices by making the dollar-priced commodity more expensive for foreign buyers.


Gasoline stockpiles fell by 400,000 barrels. Analysts had expected gasoline supplies to be unchanged. Gasoline futures rose 1.92 cents, or 1.1%, to $1.8224 a gallon.



Nearby Futures WSJ

June 19, 2105  USDA Foreign Agriculture Service
Coffee: World Markets and Trade

2015/16 Forecast Overview


World coffee production for 2015/16 is forecast to rebound 6.4 million bags from the previous year to 152.7 million due primarily to record output in Indonesia and Honduras as well as modest recovery in Brazil. Global exports and consumption are forecast at record quantities, drawing ending inventories to their lowest level in 4 years.


Brazil's Arabica production is forecast to improve 3.8 million bags to 38.0 million on favorable weather during most of the growing period, though January 2015 was drier than average in Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo, two regions that account for about 80 percent of output. This is in contrast to last year's prolonged drought and high temperatures that caused production to drop sharply during what would have normally been an on-year of the alternate bearing crop cycle. The Robusta harvest is forecast to decline 2.6 million bags to 14.4 million due to lower yields following below-average rainfall and above-average temperatures in Espirito Santo, where the vast majority is grown. The combined Arabica and Robusta harvest is forecast to increase 1.2 million bags to 52.4 million. However, with lower total supplies due to last year's stocks drawdown, bean exports are expected to drop 2.5 million bags to 30.0 million and ending stocks are forecast to decline 1.5 million bags to 4.3 million.


Vietnam's production is forecast to add 400,000 bags to total 28.6 million as yields improve on favorable weather. Between January and March 2015, the main coffee regions in the Central Highlands experienced seasonal dry and sunny weather, which is normal for this period, and trees were irrigated. The rainy season began as anticipated in April, which lead to good flowering and cherry development. Cultivated area is estimated nearly unchanged from last year following modest expansion in Lam Dong and Dak Nong Provinces and a slight contraction in Gia Lai Province. Over 95 percent of total output is Robusta. Bean exports are forecast 500,000 bags higher to 25.5 million, while ending stocks remain elevated.


Colombia's Arabica production is forecast up 500,000 bags to 13.0 million, the highest in two decades, following several years of below average output due to the spread of coffee rust and coffee cherry borer insect. Rust initially affected as much as 40 percent of the planted area but has since declined significantly following an aggressive tree renovation program, which has reached close to half of total area planted. Colombia is expected to rely on imported beans from Ecuador and Peru for just 20 percent of consumption, down from nearly 85 percent a few years ago. Bean exports are forecast to gain 500,000 bags to 11.5 million primarily on increased shipments to the United States and Europe.


Central America and Mexico account for one-fifth of the world's Arabica production, and coffee rust continues to hamper output for most of these countries. Although the region's production is forecast to increase 750,000 bags to 16.7 million, the rebound is driven by Honduras where rust-resistant trees from recently renovated land reach maturity and propel output to a record 5.9 million bags. Nicaragua is forecast 5 percent higher to 2.2 million bags as a result of good weather during the bloom as well as the addition of output from recently renovated land. Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador are expected unchanged at 3.3 million bags, 3.2 million bags, and 700,000 bags, respectively, as these countries continue to struggle with rust and output remains below their pre-rust level. Costa Rica is forecast nearly 5 percent lower to 1.4 million bags as reduced rainfall lead to delayed flowering and lower yields for a second consecutive year. Bean exports for the region are forecast to gain 600,000 bags to 13.6 million as a result of higher exportable supplies in Honduras. Approximately 40 percent of the region's exports are destined for the United States, followed by 35 percent to the European Union.


Indonesia's production is forecast to gain 2.2 million bags to a record 11.0 million on favorable weather during the flowering and fruit set period, though the harvest in some regions could be delayed due to late rains. Yields from the previous two harvests were low because of excessive rain during the fruit set period. Over 85 percent of production is Robusta. Bean exports are forecast to rebound 1.4 million bags to 6.5 million on higher available supplies. India's production is forecast to add 100,000 bags to 5.2 million mostly on higher Robusta output in Karnataka, the largest coffee producing State. Arabica is forecast nearly unchanged following last year's 15 percent weather-related drop. Bean exports are forecast up slightly to 3.5 million bags.


Ethiopia's Arabica production is forecast unchanged at 6.5 million bags where it has remained the last 4 years. Similarly, bean exports are forecast unchanged at 3.5 million bags, with the remainder consumed domestically.


The European Union accounts for nearly half of the world's bean imports and is forecast to increase 500,000 bags to a record 45.5 million. Top suppliers include Brazil (30 percent), Vietnam (24 percent) and Honduras (6 percent). Ending stocks are forecast to remain unchanged at 12.0 million bags.


The United States imports the second-largest amount of coffee beans and is forecast to increase 500,000 bags to 24.0 million due in part to stocks rebuilding. Top suppliers include Brazil (28 percent), Colombia (19 percent), and Vietnam (15 percent). Ending stocks are forecast 200,000 bags higher to 5.7 million.




Nearby Futures WSJ

Where Are New-Crop Corn Prices Headed?

July 14, 2015 (University of Illinois) by Darrel Good 


 USDA released new projections for the 2015-16 corn marketing year in the July 10 WASDE report. Marketing-year ending stocks are expected to be 172 million bushels smaller and the average farm price is expected to be $0.25 higher than projected a month earlier. Uncertainty surrounding these projections is likely greater than is normally the case for this time of year.


Stocks of old crop corn at the beginning of the 2015-16 marketing year are projected at 1.779 billion bushels, 97 million bushels less than the June projection and 302 million less than projected in October 2014. Corn consumption during the current marketing year is expected to exceed last month's projections in all three major consumption categories. The projection of feed and residual use was increased by 50 million bushels, to a total of 5.3 billion, in response to the smaller than expected inventory of corn on June 1. Use for ethanol and by-product production was increased by 25 million bushels, to a total of 5.2 billion, in response to the higher-than-projected rate of ethanol production in June and higher forecasts of gasoline consumption. The export projection was increased by 25 million bushels, to a total of 1.85 billion, in response to the current pace of shipments and sales. In addition, the recently released Census Bureau export estimate for May exceeded USDA export inspections by 10 million bushels.


The forecast of harvested acreage of corn for grain in 2015 was reduced by 0.6 million acres, reflecting the estimates in the USDA's June Acreage report. The extremely wet weather in the eastern Corn Belt during June has created some uncertainty about the magnitude of planted and harvested acreage of corn in 2015. Clarification about acreage will come slowly, with the USDA's October Crop Production report likely to provide a good forecast of the final acreage estimates. The market will look for acreage clues in the early USDA Farm Service Agency reports of planted and prevented acreage expected in August and September. The fact that planted acreage of corn was less than June intentions in 14 of the past 19 years, along with the late planting season in some areas, suggest that the final acreage estimate will be smaller than the June forecast this year.


As expected, the projection of the average 2015 corn yield remained unchanged at 166.8 bushels since that projection is based on a trend-adjusted weather model adjusted for timeliness of planting and assumes average July weather. Additionally, crop condition ratings remained quite good in the first week of July. It appears that many market participants believe that yield potential has been reduced below 166.8 bushels due to the extremely wet weather in the eastern Corn Belt. The USDA will release the first survey based yield forecast on August 12. Between now and then, yield expectations will largely be based on the USDA's weekly crop condition ratings. Corn yield models based on trend yield and end-of-year crop ratings generally show a yield change of about 0.6 bushel for each one point change in the percentage of the crop rated in good or excellent condition.


On the consumption side, the July WASDE projections are for a 25 million bushel year-over-year reduction in feed and residual use, and a 25 million bushel increase in both exports and ethanol use of corn. The lower projection for feed and residual use compared to both last year's use and last month's projection is attributed to a smaller crop production projection, higher corn prices, and larger supplies of distillers' grains. The increase in distiller's grains production, however, is expected to be very small and will likely be more than absorbed by larger exports. The key to feed use during the year ahead will likely be the pace of hog production and the pace of replacing the layer flock that has been reduced by bird flu.


The higher projection for ethanol use of corn reflects the projection of increased domestic gasoline consumption. The export forecast is 25 million bushels larger than the projection for the current year, but 25 million bushel smaller than last month's projection. The smaller projection this month reflects expectations for increased export competition from Brazil stemming from the large 2015 harvest. However, Brazilian production and exports are expected to decline in 2016. Stocks of corn at the end of the 2015-16 marketing year are projected at 1.599 billion bushels, 180 million bushels smaller than stocks at the beginning of the year. The marketing year average farm price is projected in a range of $3.45 to $4.05.


In years with substantial production uncertainty, prices tend to be above the subsequent marketing year average during the growing season, offering producers the opportunity to forward price a portion of the crop. That pattern seems to be unfolding this year. New crop corn prices are currently above both the spring price for crop revenue insurance and above the upper end of the range of the USDA's marketing year average price projection. Still, prices could trade in a relatively wide range over the next 10 weeks



OrangeOrange Juice
Nearby Futures WSJ

July 10, 2015 Citrus Forecast USDA 

Florida All Orange Production Up Slightly
The 2014-2015 Florida all orange forecast released today by the USDA Agricultural Statistics Board is raised to 96.7 million boxes. The total comprises 47.4 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges (early, midseason, Navel, and Temple varieties), unchanged from last month, and 49.3 million boxes of Valencia oranges, up 300,000 boxes from last month. The forecast of all Florida grapefruit production is unchanged at 12.95 million boxes. Of the total grapefruit forecast, 3.25 million boxes are white and 9.7 million boxes are the colored varieties. The Florida all tangerine forecast remains at 2.3 million boxes. The total comprises the early varieties (Fallglo and Sunburst) at 1.46 million boxes and the later maturing Honey tangerines at 840,000 boxes. The forecast of all Florida tangelo production is adjusted downward to 680,000 boxes. The Florida Department of Citrus reports the final FCOJ per box yields at 42° Brix are: all oranges at 1.502203 gallons, late (Valencia) portion at 1.584149 gallons, and non-Valencia oranges at 1.419546 gallons.

The above table shows the production components used for the 2010-2011 through the 2014-2015 forecast seasons. Bearing trees are estimated at the beginning of each forecast season using the most updated tree inventory with an allowance for expected attrition. Revisions are made to the historic series where applicable. Fruit per tree is the weighted average obtained from the annual Limb Count survey conducted during a ten-week period from mid-July to mid-September. Survey averages for each tree age group within an area are weighted by the estimated number of bearing trees for each age group. Fruit size measurements and drop observations are obtained from monthly surveys. The average drop percentages are from the final month used in the forecast model. Average fruit sizes were also obtained from the same survey period and have been converted in the table to estimated number of fruit needed to fill a 1 3/5 bushel box. These four factors are the primary components used in the initial October forecast and in following months up to the "cut-off" for each fruit type.







Nearby Futures WSJ
WASDE: Wheat Ending Stocks Upped to 842 Million Bushels 
July 10, 2015 USDA WASDE


U.S. wheat supplies for 2015/16 are raised 58 million bushels this month on larger beginning stocks and production.  A 10-million-bushel decrease in imports is partially offsetting.  Production is raised on increased spring wheat production that more than offsets decreases for Hard Red Winter, Soft Red Winter, and White Wheat.  Overall yields for spring wheat are forecast above average.  Feed and residual use for all wheat in 2015/16 is raised 5 million bushels to 200 million on the larger crop.  All wheat exports for 2015/16 are raised 25 million bushels to 950 million on increased U.S. supplies and reduced wheat production in Canada.  These exports would be up 11 percent from the low level of 2014/15, but still well below the 5-year average.  Ending stocks are raised 28 million bushels to 842 million, the largest since the 2010/11.  Despite higher stocks, the season-average price is raised 35 cents to $4.75 to $5.75 per bushel on recently higher cash and futures prices and the rising outlook for corn prices, particularly in the summer months when a majority of this year's wheat crop will be marketed.


Global wheat supplies for 2015/16 are raised 12.1 million tons primarily on increased beginning stocks.  China beginning stocks are raised 11.4 million tons on reductions to feed and residual use.  China wheat feeding fell substantially starting with the 2013/14 market year as wheat prices became uncompetitive with corn.  Partly offsetting is a 2.0-million-ton decrease for 2015/16 Australia beginning stocks mostly on a 1.6-million-ton revision to 2013/14 production as reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.  Foreign 2015/16 production is lowered slightly as increased production in the Black Sea region is more than offset by reductions for EU and Canada.  Total world production is raised to 722.0 million tons; down from last year's record but still the second largest.  


Global wheat consumption for 2015/16 is lowered 5.4 million tons primarily on the reduced feed and residual use for China.  Canada and EU wheat feed and residual use are reduced 0.7 and 0.5 million tons, respectively.  Partly offsetting is a 1.4-million-ton increase in India food use.  Global wheat exports are lowered 0.3 million tons to 158.1 million, down nearly 4 percent from the previous year.  The largest import reduction is for Iran, which is lowered 1.0 million tons on large supplies.  EU imports are raised 1.0 million tons with the smaller crop and more expected imports of feed-quality wheat from Ukraine.  China imports are raised 0.8 million tons on increased purchases.  Exports are raised 1.0 million tons each for Russia and Ukraine on larger crops and less competition from EU.  The largest exporter reductions are 1.5 million tons for EU and 1.0 million tons for Canada, both on smaller crops.  Global ending stocks for 2015/16 are raised 17.4 million tons to a record 219.8 million tons, mostly reflecting the 17.2-million-ton increase in China.


DairyDairy Products
© Brian Gould, Agricultural and Applied Economics, UW Madison

MADISON, WI July 17, 2015 (REPORT 28)



Butter Highlights
© Brian Gould, Agricultural and Applied Economics, UW Madison

MADISON, WI July 17, 2015 (REPORT 28)




Butter production is slowing some as cream supplies tighten due to ice cream manufacturers pulling heavily on regional supplies. The available free time some manufacturers are now seeing in production schedules is being used for maintenance. Some butter processors are finding it more profitable to sell available cream instead of churning. Butter demand is steady to increasing as retail and restaurant demand is up. Processors note comfortable inventory levels. Friday at the CME Group, Grade AA butter closed at $1.8400, down $.0800 from last week's close. 



Cheese Highlights
© Brian Gould, Agricultural and Applied Economics, UW Madison

MADISON, WI July 17, 2015 (REPORT 28)




The availability of milk continues to drive strong cheese output across the United States. Many manufacturers are running full production schedules. Domestic demand for cheese has been good through the first half of this year. Manufacturers say their current inventories can easily meet regular customer requests. However, end users and cut and wrap operators have rebuilt their inventories that were drawn down at the end of last year. Some industry contacts are asking how long the healthy demand can continue and whether end users will slow their purchases through the end of the year. Barrels closed Friday at $1.5950, down $.0650 from last week's close, and 40# blocks closed at $1.6125, down $.1125




          Copyright © 2015 The Plastics Exchange. LLC. 

July 24, 2015 (Chicago, IL) The Plastics Exchange


Spot resin trading was only moderately active; transactional volumes were lighter as buyers backed away from the market. Falling energy, feedstock and international resin prices have complicated producers' July price increase efforts. Domestic Generic Prime commodity grade Polyethylene and Polypropylene resins slid a cent across the board; there were cases of larger losses seen in offgrade material. Resin prices in Houston continue to unwind as suppliers chase export opportunities into the weaker international markets. The short-near term resin market in Houston has been developing an informal backwardated shape - while prices for immediate delivery have already been softer, prices for delivery 2-3 weeks out are a bit cheaper and if there is patience for a month or so, resin can be secured a little lower still.


The major energy markets all fell this past week. WTI Crude Oil prices eroded 6%; the September futures con-tract lopped off more than $3/bbl to close at $48.14/bbl, a new low for the contract. Oil prices across the pond fell to nearly the same fate, Sept Brent Oil settled Friday at $54.62/bbl, down more than $2.5/bbl. Natural Gas did not fare much better, a late surge failed, so the September futures contract gave up its gains and then some before heading into the weekend at $2.775/mmBtu, a dime below the previous Friday. Ethane was the lone market in the black as it eaked out a scant quarter-cent gain to $.19/gal ($.08/lb). Propane dropped a deuce to $.415/gal ($.118/lb).


We are officially diagnosing the Propylene market with a chronic case of Déjà vu. Indeed, once again there were very few PGP transactions, with just a couple deals emerging late in the week; material for July delivery changed hands down another half-cent again making fresh 6+ year lows, now down to $.33/lb. July PGP con-tracts settled earlier in the month at $.365/lb, a decrease of $.035/lb, which was quite a high percentage loss given the price level. Traders indicate that PGP prices will ease about a half-cent through the end of the year, before building monthly increases during 2016 until a nearly 4-cent premium is tallied by Dec. RGP is in the low $.20s/lb, leaving a healthy dime margin for the splitters.


Polypropylene trading remained spotty, there has been an inconsistent flow of offers spread out between HoPP and CoPP, making transactions difficult. Widespec railcar availability is sparse and while slipping in price, spot remains higher than prime contract levels. The bulk of completed deals have been driven by processors in need of short term material, mostly due to late railcars. On average, Polypropylene contracts should see a small decrease in July, perhaps $.02-.03/lb, which is less than the monomer cost savings that PP Producers enjoyed this month. As production issues continue to plague the PP industry, producers will lean on the enduring tight supply situation in their ongoing effort to expand margins further in August and beyond.




KingThe King Nut Report
July 28, 2015 (Solon, OH) King Nut 


CASHEWS - The Cashew market continues to be a roller coaster.  Spot pricing hit near all-time highs in the last three months.  Pricing has retreated somewhat but still remains above the level where it was before this recent run up of the market.  Importers indicate spot pricing should remain stable for the near term.  Importers also indicated stable near term pricing three months ago immediately before the market spike so actual future market movements remain very much an unknown. 


PEANUTS - Spot Peanut pricing remains firm for 2014 crop through October.  Demand for blanched nuts continues to outpace available blanching time and is supporting higher pricing.  Harvest of the 2015 crop should begin in September.  Forward contract pricing though 2016 for the new crop is currently soft.  Shellers are basing forward pricing on a perfect outlook for the new crop.  Too much or too little rain or temperatures outside the ideal range in the next 6 weeks will drive changes in future prices.  At this stage, future pricing has much more upside potential than downside.


ALMONDS - The effect of the drought in California continues to weigh heavily on industry supply.  The most recent USDA subjective Almond estimate, released at the beginning of this month, estimated the 2015 crop at 1.85 billion pounds.  This is 12% below the 2.1 billion pound estimate given at this time last year for the 2014 crop.  Both spot market pricing and pricing for the few available new crop contracts jumped overnight upon release of this news.  Many shellers are accepting offers for near term sales only as they anticipate pricing will only continue to rise.  There is nothing on the horizon short of double digit demand reduction that would put any downward pressure on the market.




HotHot Topics
July 27, 2015 (Bigstory.ap.org) by Seth Borenstein and Frank Bajak
Worldwide strengthening El Nino giveth and taketh away


FILE - In this June 25, 1998 file photo, a Caltrans bulldozer terraces a sliding hillside below the condemned home above Pacific Coast Highway near Las Flores Canyon Road in Malibu, Calif. The home and at least one other at the top of the slide was scheduled for demolition. It can be both godsend and catastrophe. In California, they're counting on it to end a more than $2 billion drought and in Peru they have already declared a pre-emptive emergency, reinforcing protection against devastating flooding. It's both an economic stimulus and a recession-maker. And it's likely to increase the price of coffee, chocolate and sugar. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)



WASHINGTON (AP) - In California, they're counting on it to end an historic drought; in Peru, they've already declared a pre-emptive emergency to prepare for devastating flooding. It's both an economic stimulus and a recession-maker. And it's likely to increase the price of coffee, chocolate and sugar.


It's El Nino - most likely, the largest in well over a decade, forecasters say. A lot more than mere weather, it affects lives and pocketbooks in different ways in different places.


Every few years, the winds shift and the water in the Pacific Ocean gets warmer than usual. That water sloshes back and forth around the equator in the Pacific, interacts with the winds above and then changes weather worldwide. This is El Nino. Droughts are triggered in places like Australia and India, but elsewhere, droughts are quenched and floods replace them. The Pacific gets more hurricanes; the Atlantic fewer. Winter gets milder and wetter in much of the United States. The world warms, goosing Earth's already rising thermometer from man-made climate change.


Peruvian sailors named the formation El Nino - the (Christ) Child - because it was most noticeable around Christmas. An El Nino means the Pacific Ocean off Peru's coast is warm, especially a huge patch 330 feet (100 meters) below the surface, and as it gets warmer and close to the surface, the weather "is just going to be a river falling from the sky," said biophysicist Michael Ferrari, director of climate services for agriculture at the Colorado firm aWhere Inc.


Around the world, crops fail in some places, thrive elsewhere. Commercial fishing shifts. More people die of flooding, fewer from freezing. Americans spend less on winter heating. The global economy shifts.


"El Nino is not the end of the world so you don't have to hide under the bed. The reality is that in the U.S. an El Nino can be a good thing," said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center.


This El Nino officially started in March and keeps getting stronger. If current trends continue, it should officially be termed a strong El Nino early in August, peak sometime near the end of year and peter out sometime next spring. Meteorologists say it looks like the biggest such event since the fierce El Nino of 1997-1998.


California mudslides notwithstanding, the U.S. economy benefited by nearly $22 billion from that El Nino, according to a 1999 study. That study found that 189 people were killed in the U.S, mainly from tornadoes linked to El Nino, but an estimated 850 lives were saved due to a milder winter.


A United Nations-backed study said that El Nino cost Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela nearly $11 billion. Flooding in Peru destroyed bridges, homes, hospitals and crops and left 354 dead and 112 missing, according to the Pan-American Health Organization. The mining industry in Peru and Chile was hammered as flooding hindered exports.


Though this year's El Nino is likely to be weaker than the 1997-1998 version, the economic impact may be greater because the world's interconnected economy has changed with more vulnerable supply chains, said risk and climate expert Ferrari.


Economic winners include the U.S., China, Mexico and Europe while India, Australia and Peru are among El Nino's biggest losers.


On average, a healthy El Nino can boost the U.S. economy by about 0.55 percent of Gross Domestic Product, which would translate more than $90 billion this year, an International Monetary Fund study calculated this spring. But it could also slice an entire percentage point off Indonesia's GDP.


Indonesia gets hit particularly hard because an expected El Nino drought affects the country's mining, power, cocoa, and coffee industries, said IMF study co-author Kamiar Mohaddes, an economist at the University of Cambridge in London.


The expected El Nino drought in parts of Australia has started and may trim as much as 1 percent off of the country's GDP, said Andrew Watkins, supervisor of climate prediction services at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.


Tony Barnston, lead El Nino forecaster at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University, cautioned that while El Nino has predictable effects and this one is strong, what happens next is not exactly certain.

But Peruvians are worried. Abraham Levy, director of Ambiental Andina, which advises businesses on meteorology- and hydrology-related issues, believes this El Nino could lead Peru into recession. Important export crops such as mangos and asparagus that grow in coastal valleys are already being adversely affected by the unseasonably high temperatures, said Levy.


"The export mango crop has not yet flowered," he said. "And if we don't have flowers we don't have fruit."


And then there's the flooding. Peru declared a pre-emptive state of emergency this month for 14 of its 25 states, appropriating some $70 million to prepare. Hilopito Cruchaga, the civil defense director in Peru's northern region of Piura, said authorities are clearing river beds of debris, reinforcing river banks with rock and fortifying reservoir walls. Sandbags and rocks are also being piled on some river banks.


"If the sea stays this hot at the end of August I'm afraid we're doomed," he said.



Bajak reported from Lima, Peru.


Online: NOAA's El Nino page:




Seth Borenstein can be followed at http://twitter.com/borenbears 


Frank Bajak can be followed at http://twitter.com/fbajak 






Contact Paul Normand | pnormand@haco.us.com

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