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News 26931 to News 26940 of about 27022 news within page 2694
26931. 01/06/2001
   
Golden Hope hit by poor palm oil pricesMay 30, 2001(The Stars) - FIRST plantations losses. Golden Hope's (RM3.36)plantations and manufacturing divisions turned in losses in theJanuary-March 2001 quarter.We believe the RM8.8mil loss for the plantations division was the firstfor Golden Hope in recent history and the first from a major plantationscompany thus far in the current result season.We had forewarned of plantations losses due to depressed palm oil pricesas early as seven months ago. No production statistics were disclosed inthe result.Manufacturing not spared. Manufacturing (refining, wood-based) alsoslipped into the red with RM2.8mil losses after two years of profits. Webelieve that lower MDF prices and production volume have led to the poorshowing.Property development was the only bright spot, turning from RM8.4mil lossin October-December 2000 to RM15mil profit.The improvement came from Golden Hope's 100%-owned property developmentarm which launched a new property project, Kota Seriemas, near Nilai. Incontrast, its other property subsidiary under 62%-owned Negara Propertiesrecorded 43% drop in profit.Tough times still. We expect Golden Hope to continue to face difficulttimes ahead as palm oil prices remain depressed at around RM730 per tonnecurrently compared to its production cost of more than RM800 per tonne.We notice that Golden Hope is seemingly focusing on property developmentunder its wholly-owned subsidiary. Recently, it proposed to acquire 12pieces of land from Negara at RM89.1mil cash.That the acquisition was priced at a 14.4% premium to independentvaluation is unusual especially given the prevailing conditions of theproperty market.Dividend sustainable? While Golden Hope has maintained its interim netdividend at 3.6 sen (paid in April), there could be uncertainties on thefinal dividend especially in view of the latest plantations losses.In the previous financial year, it paid out 11.1 sen in final dividend.Note that its net cash balance has fallen further to RM638mil end-March2001 from RM679mil end-December and RM837mil in September. Continue toAVOID Golden Hope.
26932. 01/06/2001
   
Malaysia, Indonesia struggle to create common palm policyKuala Lumpur, 31/5/2001 (soyatech.com)- Traders are sceptical thatMalaysia and Indonesia, the world's first and second biggest producers ofpalm oil respectively, can establish mutually benefiting palm oilpolicies. They said discussions held between the two countries are "onlygood on paper" and do not reflect the real situation where everybody iseager to dispose of their palm oil."Talks between ministers are only good on paper, but the truth iscooperation in commodities can never be established because the mainagenda here is to sell oil and that is how it works," a trader toldBusiness Times in Kuala Lumpur yesterday."If we take the recent visit by Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayeelast week to Malaysia, they have agreed to look into the possibility ofdoing counter-trade of at least one million tonnes of palm oil for railwayprojects. That is not cooperation but rather competition. Ironically, thetwo producers have called for a level playing field in the past," thetrader added.He said Malaysia cannot be blamed for securing the Indian market for itspalm oil because so much money is involved and both countries have to lookto their own interests.Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik and his Indonesiancounterpart Luhut Pandjaitan embarked on joint trips to both India andChina last month to discuss better palm oil cooperation and market accessbetween producers and buyers.India and China are two of the world's biggest buyers of palm oil,consistently buying some three million tonnes of the commodity over thepast several years.Meanwhile, another trader said Malaysia and Indonesia will have to firstagree on a common selling price for palm oil before deciding on anythingelse."Ideally, when it comes to prices, there can never be cooperation betweenMalaysia and Indonesia. "How can you tell Indonesia to sell at the sameprice as Malaysia when they are already guaranteed of their markets attheir current price. I don't think they will risk it," the trader said. Headded that Malaysia has to sell around 11 million tonnes of its palm oilevery year and Indonesia around eight million tonnes."How do you tell another country not to sell its oil in this particularcountry at this particular price? If I don't sell my oil, what will I dowith my oil?" the trader questioned.Malaysia in the past has accused Indonesia of consistently selling itspalm oil at below market prices of around US$10 (US$1 = RM3.80), a movewhich the latter can afford to do due to lower costs of production andstandard of living.The trader added that if both countries can somehow agree on a commonselling price, they need to push for it now because Indonesia will notwait and risk losing sales that will affect gains in export earnings badlyneeded by the country."Undercutting is really a relative term and is subject to variousinterpretations. Indonesia will see it justified due to their lower costsof production and sell at a price they are happy with. Malaysia, in themeantime, cannot afford to lower prices due to higher costs ofproduction," the trader pointed out.He said each country will have to look at its own interests and marketrequirements first. "Malaysia and Indonesia have their own clientele.Pakistan, for example, will only buy refined bleached and deodorised palmolein from Malaysia and not from Indonesia due to better added value," thetrader said.He said Malaysia is obviously on the losing end because the joint trip wasinitiated by Malaysia and not by Indonesia. "Indonesia tagged along andreaped the fruit of Malaysia's labour because they didn't have to do muchresearch and development (R and D) and marketing, tasks solely done byMalaysia. Furthermore, how does the Government tell privately-ownedcompanies to sell at a predetermined price unless they are wholly-owned bythe Government," the trader added.However, traders said the two countries can succeed in areas of promotion,marketing, joint ventures and R and D.
26933. 01/06/2001
   
Malaysia, Venezuela pledge palm oil cooperation30 May 2001 (Business Times) - MALAYSIA and Venezuela have pledged tocooperate for mutual benefit in the palm oil sector.
26934. 01/06/2001
   
Sime records RM470.5m net profit for 9-month period
26935. 01/06/2001
   
World Agricultural Forum fails to agree on global hunger strategyDate Posted: 5/31/2001Financial Times, London, 31/5/2001 (Financial Times) - Anarchists andenvironmentalists were missing from the World Agricultural Forum in StLouis in the US state of Missouri this week. But even without organisedprotests at the meeting - attended by representatives of agribusinesses,multilateral agencies and developing countries - there was little harmony.While US and European companies hawked technology as the solution toundernourishment in developing countries, international agencies andnational representatives saw a host of more immediate and mundaneproblems. These included inadequate farm size, lack of investment, tradedistortions and subsidies in the industrialised countries.As the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) pointsout, recent international efforts to reduce the numbers of underfedpeople, primarily in developing nations, are falling short of objectives.This is not for want of agricultural production. "If all food produced inthe world were to be divided equally among its inhabitants, every man,woman and child would consume 2,760 calories each day," says JacquesDiouf, the FAO's director-general.Yet even the relatively modest objective, adopted five years ago, ofhalving the number of undernourished people by 2015 - to about 400m - willbe missed if current trends persist. At present, about 8m people a yearare moving from the "hungry" category to that of adequately fed, accordingto Mr Diouf. This is well short of the 20m needed to keep up withpopulation growth.Then there is the prospect of a sharply rising global population in thedecades ahead. Projections vary, but the United Nations thinks the worldpopulation could be 9bn-plus by 2050, compared with 6bn at 2000.That leaves some agricultural economists calculating that demand forcereals could rise by as much as 40 per cent by 2020, and for meat, by 60per cent. Although land under cultivation will probably also rise, it isunlikely to match the population growth rate.Given recent experience, everyone is wary of drawing catastrophicMalthusian conclusions. Over the past two decades, rising agriculturalyields have meant that food production growth has more than matchedpopulation trends, with food prices falling significantly.With the prospect of another round of world trade talks now back on thehorizon after the Seattle debacle, developing countries are pointingvigorously to the distorting implications of food support payments inindustrialised countries.They point out that agricultural subsidies in the developed nations areabout the same as the total GDP of sub-Saharan Africa."In 1999 alone, the total support to agriculture by OECD (industrialised)countries was estimated at Dollars 361.5bn, or 1.4 per cent of their totalGDP. Certainly, this support is in accord with WTO (World TradeOrganisation) agreements, but there is little doubt that it gives acompetitive edge which poorer countries cannot match," said Mr Diouf.At the same time, there is the question of the extent to which developingcountries themselves - and multilateral agencies - have been missingopportunities for structural change or infrastructure investment inagriculture. Pointing to the tens of millions of small-scale farmers inIndonesia, for example, Bungaran Saragih, the country's agricultureminister, acknowledged that the result was inadequate capital to buy farm"inputs" (such as fertiliser) and reduced bargaining power.Even representatives of the World Bank admit the organisation's lending tofarm projects has dwindled to an all-time low (as a percentage of thetotal budget), and that there is a need to foster structural change aspart of the loan programme."We would like to shift our strategy towards (encouraging) efficiency,"said a senior adviser. "Small is not always beautiful in a globalisedagricultural market."Last, there is the thorny issue of technology. St Louis is home toMonsanto, perhaps the company most closely associated with agriculturalbiotechnology, and representatives of other large agribusiness companies -such as Cargill, Bunge, Dow Agrosciences - were out in force. For the mostpart, issues such as genetic engineering were wrapped together with lesscontroversial topics such as yield management systems."Technology will be absolutely essential, but the answer does not lie withone technology, rather a technology toolbox," said Charles Fischer,president of DowAgrosciences, the chemical company's agribusiness arm.Even so, the responses from some developing countries remained cautious.The earlier "green revolution" - which dramatically increased riceproductivity - "has given rise in Asia to the idea that technology is apanacea", noted another Indonesian representative. But, he added: "Sincethe 1990s, we have begun to suffer setbacks - soil degredation, diseases.""We need a very wide range of technologies - and ones that are appropriatein one region may not be appropriate in another," suggested Gerard Viatte,director for food, agriculture and fisheries at the Paris-based OECD. Adiplomatic thought - but one which seems unlikely to resolve the debate.
26936. 31/05/2001
   
Oilseed Briefs: Global soy trade booms on increased productionHamburg, May 29 (BridgeNews) - Global soybean imports in October2000/September 2001 are now forecast by Hamburg-based newsletter Oil Worldat 49.95 million tonnes, up by 3.8 million tonnes or 8% on the season."This surge in soybean trade is induced by the boost in production--mainlyin South America--plus reduced availabilities of other oilseeds, sharplygrowing demand, mainly for soybean meal but also for soybean oil," itsaid.____________Oil World sees 2001-02 global soybean crop up by 6.6 mln tns.Hamburg, May 29 (BridgeNews) - The global soybean crop in the 2001-02season is likely to reach 177.7 million tonnes, up 6.6 million tonnes onthe season, Hamburg-based newsletter Oil World said in its first seasoncrop estimate. It sees the U.S. 2001-02 soybean crop at 80.30 milliontonnes (previous season: 75.38 million tonnes). Its first forecast ofworld soybean crushings in the 2001-02 season is 152.7 million tonnes, upby an above-average 6.9 million tonnes on the season.
26937. 30/05/2001
   
San Francisco pumps start dispensing vegetable oil-based fuelSAN FRANCISCO, 5/29/2001 (AP) - The most distinctive thing spewed into theair by biodiesel, a vegetable oil-based fuel, is the smell of frenchfries.And that's what some residents here soon will be smelling, since SanFrancisco has become the nation's first major city with a public biodieselpumping station.The station opened Wednesday, making the alternative fuel available to thepublic. A similar station had opened in Sparks, Nev., on Tuesday.While biodiesel avoids the release of carbon monoxide and the smallparticles released by burning traditional diesel, it doesn't cut down onsmog-causing nitrogen oxide.The fuel is made from either recycled vegetable oil from restaurants, orfrom soybean oil. The San Francisco operation offers fuel that is 100percent biodiesel, but a 20 percent biodiesel-80 percent petroleum dieselis available at other biodiesel facilities.Diesel engines can use the fuel without any modification, and itcontributes to the life of the engine by increasing lubrication so movingparts won't break down as easily, said Robert Skinner, a spokesman forWorld Energy Alternatives, the company providing the biodiesel to the SanFrancisco station.But biodiesel has some drawbacks. It's more expensive than regular diesel,selling for about $3.15 a gallon in San Francisco and for about $1.62 agallon in Sparks. It also causes a slight drop in fuel economy.The fuel is used primarily by fleets of vehicles such as school buses,Skinner said."We've got about 60 large-scale fleets using biodiesel, from the U.S. AirForce to the New Jersey transit system," he said.Berkeley already uses the fuel in its recycling trucks, and it is beingused by the San Francisco International Airport in shuttles. Nationalparks, including Yosemite and Yellowstone, run their vehicles on it, too.Not only is the fuel cleaner burning, it can help federal fleets meet aregulation that says they must reduce their annual petroleum consumptionby 20 percent by 2005.The federal government estimates sales of the fuel reached 6.7 milliongallons in 2000 and could reach 20 million gallons this year.And prices have come down some because of competition, as well as cheapertransportation and a subsidy for soybean biodiesel producers, according tothe U.S. Department of Energy.Biodiesel dates back more than 100 years, and peanut oil actually was thefirst type of fuel used by Rudolf Diesel to power his first engine in1895."As we move into a time when petroleum is not so readily available, we'returning back the clock," Skinner said. "It's a renewable fuel. It closesthe carbon cycle. It's the most effective greenhouse gas reductiontechnology for existing engines."
26938. 29/05/2001
   
Biodiesel gains alternative fuel status under DOE rule
26939. 29/05/2001
   
Coconut chemical firms offer compromise on soap productionPhilippines (BusinessWorld) 5/25/2001- Coconut chemical companies arewooing soap manufacturers to agree to an out-of-court settlement that willeffectively lift a restraining order against a law on the mandatory use ofcoco-based surfactants.An official from United Coconut Chemicals, Inc. (Cocochem), the country'sbiggest coco chemical firm, said the industry is offering to support therepeal of Executive Order (EO) 259 in exchange for the withdrawal of thelawsuit filed by soap producers against the EO. The presidential directiverequires soap makers to use coco-based surfactants in making detergent.The company official who works for Cocochem, however, said the industrywould like the directive to remain in effect for a certain period to helpthem to find alternative markets for coco chemicals."Our offer to them (soap companies) is that we will work jointly with themfor the repeal of EO 259 but we want them to give us time, probably threeto five years, to develop our markets," the official told BusinessWorld.Signed by former president Corazon Aquino in 1987, EO 259 requires soapcompanies to manufacture detergents containing 60% coco-based surfactantsand 40% petroleum-based surfactants."We are asking them to continue buying their regular volumes from us untilwe are able to tap new markets," explained the Cocochem official, whosefirm ranks as one of the country's biggest coco chemical manufacturers.The Soap and Detergent Association of the Philippines (SDAP) secured apreliminary injunction against the implementation of EO 259 last December.SDAP members want the EO eventually recalled so they can have theflexibility of using cheaper petroleum-based surfactants.But coco chemical firms are concerned the immediate repeal of thedirective will cause the collapse of their industry and create a localoversupply of coconut oil (CNO). Coco-based surfactants are produced usingCNO.This glut, they said, will further disadvantage coconut farmers who arealready suffering low prices of copra, dried coconut meat from which CNOis extracted.The Cocochem official, however, lamented that soap companies have rejectedtheir proposed compromise accord."We've been talking about it but they're not amenable. Actually, they justwant to buy 20% of their old volumes but we also can't agree to thatbecause it would be tantamount to killing our industry," the source said.The source said industry leaders will continue negotiations until theyforge a mutually acceptable agreement since coco chemical firms arealready hurting from the backlash of the court order.The source said monthly sales of coco-based surfactants have dropped byhalf since the issuance of the restraining order by the Manila RegionalTrial Court in December last year.Coco chemical firms use 150,000 metric tons (MT) of CNO yearly for theproduction of oleochemicals like surfactants.This represents a third of total yearly domestic consumption whichaverages 450,000 MT, said industry group United Coconut Associations ofthe Philippines (UCAP). The other two-thirds of this volume is mainly usedto manufacture cooking oil.Surfactants or surface active agents, the main ingredient of laundrydetergents, remove dirt from clothes.There are three types of surfactants: coco-based surfactants, technicallyknown as coco fatty alcohol sulfates (CFAs); soft petroleum-basedsurfactants or linear alkyl benzene sulfunates (LABs); and hardpetroleum-based surfactants also known as hard alklyl benzenes (HABs).But soap companies can only use soft petroleum surfactants or coco-basedsurfactants since a new law Republic Act 8970 bans HABs because theycannot be broken down by the environment.While both coco-based and soft petroleum surfactants are known to beenvironment-friendly substances, coconut industry players argue that ittakes a longer time for soft surfactants to break down.The UCAP notes that unlike developed countries, the Philippines lackstreatment facilities needed to speed up the breakdown of soft surfactants.The organization adds that the polluted conditions of Philippine riversystems will also prevent the decomposition of such substances due to thelack of oxygen.Former president Aquino signed EO 259 to support coconut farmers andprotect the environment.The Philippines produces 1.2 million MT of coconut oil every year.Of this, 20% or 240,000 MT is used to manufacture cooking oil,oleochemicals and other coco-based products. The other 80% or about960,000 MT is shipped out to the world market.
26940. 25/05/2001
   
Fuel from recycled cooking oil on sale in NevadaSPARKS, Nevada,USA, 5/24/2001 (AP) _ Biodiesel fuel made from recycledcooking oils at casino hotels and restaurants went on sale in NevadaTuesday, the first public access fueling station in the nation to offerthe biodegradable fuel that reduces emissions.Western Energetix Cardlock, a Reno-based division of Berry-HinkleyIndustries, began offering the fuel at a station in Sparks just south ofInterstate 80. Other fuel stations in California were following suit onWednesday.Biodiesel runs in any diesel engine without the need for any enginealterations, usually as a 20 percent blend with 80 percent petroleumdiesel, the manufacturers say.The Las Vegas-based Biodiesel Industries developed a process to make thebiodiesel fuel from waste cooking oils with the help of grants from theNevada Energy Office and the U.S. Energy Department's Western RegionalBiomass Energy Program.Backers of the yellow fuel say it replaces black sooty exhaust with alighter exhaust that smells like french fries.Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Nevada Department ofEnvironmental Protection consider it to be an alternative fuel because itsubstantially reduces carbon emissions."By taking our waste cooking oil and turning it into biodiesel, we are notonly cleaning up the air at a reasonable price, but also creating jobs,"said Jim Brandmueller, outgoing administrator of the Nevada State EnergyOffice.Because biodiesel costs three times as much as regular diesel, addingbiodiesel even in small amounts raises the cost of the fuel by severalcents per gallon. It was selling in Sparks for $1.62 per gallon.Biodiesel actually goes back to Rudolf Diesel's first engine in 1895,which burned peanut oil. Although biodiesel reduces emissions of carbonmonoxide and soot, it slightly increases emissions of smog-causingnitrogen oxide.State and municipal fleets in Las Vegas first evaluated biodiesel in June1999. Interest grew to Northern Nevada with the demonstration of the BioBug, a Volkswagen Beetle in the Nevada Motor Pool that runs on biodiesel."When we showed local fleet managers the Bio Bug and described thebenefits, they all wanted to try it," said Norma McCusker of WesternEnergetix Cardlock based in Reno."Given our large customer base with government and private fleets, wedecided to make it available to everyone at one of our stations," shesaid.Biodiesel Industries now has a plant operating with Haycock Petroleum inLas Vegas and recently entered into a contract to provide 1 milliongallons of biodiesel to the Las Vegas Valley Water District, Clark CountyHealth Department and city of Las Vegas.Russ Teal, president of Biodiesel Industries, said the state's assistancewas key in "getting this project from a dream to reality..."I hope this can show communities all across America that biodiesel can bemade and used almost anywhere," he said.Approximately 20 million gallons of biodiesel are expected to be producednationwide this year, compared with 5 million gallons in 2000, accordingto the National Biodiesel Board.
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ECONOMICS & INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT DIVISION
Malaysian Palm Oil Board ( MPOB ) Lot 6, SS6, Jalan Perbandaran, 47301 Kelana Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, MALAYSIA.
Tel : 603 - 7803 5544 || Fax : 603 - 7803 3533