Unsure of GM rules, Chinese oil makers may replace
SHENZHEN, 30/8/01 (AsiaPort) - Chinese vegetable oil processors areconsidering replacing soybeans with canola as a source of oil while theywait for the government to release rules governing genetically modifiedorganisms (GMO)."We might shift part of our raw materials to canola if the governmentintroduces severe restrictions on GMO imports," an official with aShenzhen-based processor said.American Soybean Association President Bart Ruth said the new rules hadlimited the raw materials available to China's vegetable oil processors.He warned that severe restrictions on GMO imports could force many Chineseprocessors to close.The president said although China's Chief Trade Negotiator Long Yongtupromised a grace period for trade, uncertainties made Chinese tradersreluctant to buy soybeans on the international market.Long said last Wednesday in Beijing that China would allow a transitionperiod before the GMO rules were introduced.The gradual implementation of the new rules should not be a hindrance totrade, Long said."We have to take some time to lay out the detailed implementation rules.Until then, we are going to make sure this law will not become a hurdle totrade," said Long, who is also vice-minister of the Ministry of ForeignTrade and Economic Co-operation.China announced the GMO rules on June 6, but fell short of issuing detailsof their implementation. This has frustrated many traders at home andabroad, especially those involved in soybeans, which China activelyimports.Chinese analysts said with the grace period and delayed release ofdetailed implementation rules, they expected the new rules to have alimited influence on the grain market."The new rules could slow down China's soybean import growth, but theextent should be limited," said Du Jing, an analyst with Beijing CapitalFutures Co Ltd.When the new rules were announced in June, soybean prices on the Chinesefutures market soared in contrast with tumbling prices in the UnitedStates.But the prices have slowly fallen as domestic supplies pile up, said Du.Prices were expected to receive a boost with the release of detailedrules.But traders doubt whether the government will adopt severe restrictions onsoybean imports if it damages the domestic vegetable oil processingindustry, Du said.The majority of Chinese processors, especially those in South China,favour imported soybeans due to their high content of oil and low price.China's new rules require government approval for all production, sale andimportation of GMO foods.They require safety certificates stating that the products are not harmfulto humans, animals or the environment, and appropriate labelling.Traders fear that once the rules are implemented, cargoes in shipment mayhave difficulty passing the stricter quarantine provisions.In June, soybean imports from the United States plunged to 153,000 tonsfrom 1.06 million tons in May, according to customs statistics.According to the US Department of Agriculture, 68 per cent of US soybeancrops are genetically modified.Imports were brisk before the rules were announced. China takes 20 percent of US soybean exports.In the first six months of 2001, China's soybean imports rose 69.2 percent year-on-year to 5.97 million tons, of which nearly 75 per cent camefrom the United States.Ruth said although the new rules were of high concern to US soybeanfarmers and traders, they had no official plans to discuss the issue withChinese officials at present, believing that China needs itsprice-competitive soybeans.Chinese processors do not want to have to pay a premium for non-GMOsoybeans while the world market is filled with cheap genetically modifiedones, Ruth said.
Malaysia's palmoil breaks support level,tone weak
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Malaysia's palm oil futures fell through1,060 ringgit support and extended their losses by midday on Wednesday dueto worries over rising stocks.The benchmark November futures contract was down 37 ringgit at 1,036ringgit ($272.63) a tonne after trading as high as 1,068 ringgit. Volumewas at 1,259 lots."People are worried that stocks will finally go up because of poorexports. There are also signs output will pick up in the coming months,"said a trader in Kuala Lumpur, adding that slow demand in the physicalsector added to the bearish tone.One technical analyst said a big correction was taking place in theMalaysian market."For the past five days the bull has been fighting for sustainability,"the analysts said, adding that the selling pressure was triggered when themarket failed to close above 1,095 ringgit."The market looks weak and given this sentiment, it is unlikely priceswill rebound to 1,095," he said.Export figures released by cargo surveyor Societe Generale de SurveillanceMalaysia on Monday showed palm oil shipments to India in the first 25 daysof August totalled 118,086 tonnes, down from 170,886 in July 1-25.India was Malaysia's main palm oil buyer in 2000, taking 2.03 milliontonnes. August/September crude palm oil for south and central regions wasoffered at 1,060 ringgit a tonne against bids at 1,050. There were notrades.Among refined products, September RBD palm oil was offered at $287.50 atonne and October/November/December at $290.00.Offers for September RBD olein were at $307.50 andOctober/November/December were at $310.00September RBD palm stearin was offered at $250.00 a tonne and Septemberpalm fatty acid distillate was offered at $200.00.
RM3b stimulus may see only RM920m usage by year-en
ONLY about RM920 million of the RM3 billion fiscal stimulus packageintroduced by the Government in March is expected to be disbursed byyear-end, with stringent bank rules, red tape and slower economic growthall seen as contributing to the fund's low utilisation rate.
Rubber Industry To Go Online
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 (Bernama) -- Palm oil went online recently withe-Pomex, and now it is the rubber industry's turn to catch up with theelectronic world with a Malaysian-based rubber portal, "NRExchange.com."The portal will pave the way for the commodity to go for a globalmarketplace.
Fast -track north, south electric railway projects
The Transport Ministry wants the northern and southern electrifieddouble-track railway projects to be expedited by as much as half theoriginal timeframe, so as to boost local economic activity.Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ling Liong Sik said project consultants have beenasked to see if the projects could be completed in three years instead ofsix.They are also to see if work on both the northern and southern lines canbegin simultaneously.The northern double-tracking project is from Ipoh to Padang Besar(338.8km). The southern line is from Seremban to Johor Baru (297km).A start date has not been determined as the proposal needed fine-tuning.Instead of waiting for the consultants to finalise their proposal, Dr Lingsaid contractors should join the planning now so work could begin soonest."Let everyone be a part of the preliminary work...so we can shorten thepreparatory phase. There is no need for the ministry to review theconsultant's report and then only give it to the contractors."Dr Ling was speaking at a Press conference at his ministry here.He said under review were certain parts of the track that neededre-alignment as existing lines were too curved. Sharp curves would preventthe electric trains from running at their high speeds of 160 to 180kilometers per hour, he said.Re-alignments would pose problems to about 10 per cent of areas affectedby the project."Some people and homes might be displaced but they are only in a fewplaces."He named Bukit Berapit in between Taiping and Kuala Kangsar, Bagan Seraiand Tanjung Rambutan on the northern line, and Tampin on the southernline.More than 50 overhead road bridges would also be built so motorizedtraffic would not be disrupted by the trains.The Indian Railway Construction Company will build infrastructure for thenorthern line. The southern line has been awarded to the China RailwayEngineering Corporation.Each project is estimated to cost RM6 billion, according to past reports.Payment would include a barter trade in palm oil.Japan's Mitsui Corporation will provide the systems, such astelecommunication and signaling."The sooner the project starts, the better for the economy, he said,adding that even oil palm smallholders would benefit when India and Chinastarted buying oil palm."Double-tracking can increase the number of train services a day by fivetimes, compared to a single track.DRB-Hicom and Mitsui are undertaking the central project which runs fromRawang to Ipoh, worth RM4.2 billion.